:: Ray's Periodic Rantings ::

Political blurtings, personal notes, musings and more from a Chicago area Mac guy, neon artist, Burner, remarried widower, and now father.
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:: Monday, October 13, 2008 ::


You know the economy is bad when business is even down for the drug dealers.
:: Ray 11:36 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 ::
Young Master Graeme

I just posted an update to his page, A Ten Month Old Kilovolt! New photos and announced milestones are included.

:: Ray 12:57 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, September 22, 2008 ::
Proud Papa

I wasn't there to see it, but it has been relayed to me that at 9 1/2 months old, Graeme took his first steps today. Look out world...you're in trouble now!
:: Ray 1:25 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, September 19, 2008 ::
Things I have learned by exchanging comments on a so-called "intellectual conservative" website

1) There are actually still ignorant jingoists out there who think we could have "won" in Vietnam.

2) They tend to be the same people who think we can "win" in Iraq.

3) opinion + Ph.D. = "analysis"

4) For all their whining about liberal wackos on sites like DailyKos, supposedly intellectual conservatives are just as likely to RANT IN ALL CAPS.

More to come, if I can stand the stench of hypocrisy long enough to make further observations.

PS To anyone harboring delusions about victory in Vietnam, please read Neil Sheehan's excellent and encompassing A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.
:: Ray 1:56 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, August 30, 2008 ::

Several weeks ago, the American Family Association released a web video encouraging people to pray for rain in Denver on the night of Barack Obama's outdoor acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention -- lots and lots of rain. The video was quickly withdrawn after drawing intense ridicule, but can still be seen here, courtesy of goodasyou.org.

Cut to Labor Day weekend, the eve of the Republican National Convention. Hurricane Gustav is gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico and bearing down on New Orleans, which has already been partially evacuated. McCain and the Republicans are watching the developments and weighing their options, with a delay of the convention on the table.

I don't believe that God exerts day to day influence over such things as the weather, but after the mean-spiritedness of the AFA call for prayers, wouldn't it be ironic if it was the Republican convention that ended up getting rained out?

If anyone actually shows up, that is.

:: Ray 10:18 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 ::

Due to baby and income issues, I won't be attending Burning Man this year. The last time I missed it was 2001, and I pined all week. I have a lot going on now, but it is hard not to play the game: what would I be doing if I was going this year? Monday morning at 11:00AM, I would have been loading up to leave Winnemucca, NV, for the final push down I-80 toward the Fernley exit. Right now, I'd be wearing some neon and riding around on a bike, checking out the city at night, after having had dinner and a beer or two with friends.

Perhaps next year.
:: Ray 12:19 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 ::
A Ponderance

As prices continue to rise on petroleum and all its derivatives, the ones that literally fuel our economy, one has to wonder what resulting visual changes to our lives we will see. Two examples come to mind.

A few years ago, I read about experiments conducted on ocean-going container ships, using large kites as sales to increase fuel efficiency. Apparently, they did obtain decent results. They may not have been compelling enough to implement with the fuel prices then, but now that they are twice as high, will we see increasing numbers of freighters and tankers flying kites?

2) For decades, blimps and dirigibles have existed as aerial platforms with unrivaled endurance and fuel efficiency. With helicopters and airplanes becoming increasingly expensive to fly, will we see a resurgence in the use of lighter-than-air aircraft in appropriate applications?
:: Ray 12:39 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, July 06, 2008 ::

Yesterday, Graeme attended his first baseball game, watching the Sox destroy the Oakland A's at Comiskey (which I will never refer to by its corporate rebranding, "U.S. Cellular Field.") Pix are up.
:: Ray 4:38 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 ::
Seattle 08

Pix of Graeme's trip by train, airplane, and automobile to Seattle are up.
:: Ray 8:35 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, May 05, 2008 ::
Traffic Report

This morning Mary, Graeme and I flew home from Seattle on a redeye. Passing over the city in the pre-dawn light at 5:15am or so was quite spectacular. For commuters suffering through this summerŐs construction and lane closures on I-94, the Edens Expressway, however, I have good news: it was wide open, with relatively few cars moving along just fine. All you have to do is time-shift your commute by a few hours, and you are golden!
:: Ray 12:33 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, April 18, 2008 ::

Some creaking briefly awoke me this morning. Now I know what it was.
:: Ray 10:46 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 ::
Expelled Exposed

I would hope than any of my gentle readers, Christian or not, would be intelligent enough not to bought into this nonsense of creationism/intelligent design. Just in case, have a look at this PBS Nova episode, Intelligent Design on Trial, which pretty much puts the lid on the idea of "intelligent design." And should you be tempted by the latest Ben Stein vehicle, Expelled, then by all means peruse Expelled Exposed.
:: Ray 2:51 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 14, 2008 ::
Unscrew America

Why do websites that encourage you to do something good for the environment have to be boring? I just bumped into one that is downright fun, and the music is so catchy that I have left it running as I write this.

Enjoy Unscrew America!
:: Ray 1:23 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, April 07, 2008 ::
Strangely Prescient

British Airways opened the long-awaited Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport on March 27 of this year, and promptly fell on its face as its technologically complex baggage system failed miserably, causing at least two weeks of problems during which flights were cancelled and literally thousands of bags piled up in an Italian warehouse, among other locations.

The incident reminded me of a 1980 song from Monty Python, called I'm So Worried (low quality mp3 link hosted at http://www.mwscomp.com/sound.html). If nothing else, listen to at least the first two lines of the song for a good chuckle.

OK, for those of you too apathetic to listen, or in case the link expires, here are those first two lines:
I'm so worried about what's happened today in the Middle East you know,
And I'm so worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow...

:: Ray 11:45 PM [+] ::

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