Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mind Numbing Stupidity

Satire is dead.

Faced with the disastrous gulf oil spill, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R, obviously) has a plan to bring more tourists to the gulf coast by offering people gas cards:

Gov. Haley Barbour said that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is open for business, despite the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an effort to encourage tourism, Mississippi Gulf Coast officials are offering $75 gas cards for those who book a two-night stay at one of the participating hotels or resorts listed online at Resident can also sign up online for a chance to win one of four getaway packages.

Yeah, we'll pay for the gas to show you the cost of gas guzzling. Feel free to enjoy a day of tar ball collecting on the beach. At least the war on the environment is going well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Boobies

Debating important issues of the day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Those who can't write, well they wrote about writing. So I like this:


  1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  4. Employ the vernacular.
  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  10. One should never generalize.
  11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  14. Profanity sucks.
  15. Be more or less specific.
  16. Understatement is always best.
  17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

Remind me to follow at least a few of those rules.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oil Rules

(cartoon from Outside the Interzone)

I've had absolutely zero enthusiasm for posting about serious topics lately. It's all too damn depressing, and bitching in a blog post doesn't improve my mood.

Take the gulf oil spill (please), an environmental disaster of epic proportions. It's the inevitable result of our oil dependant society, and a system that rewards corruption. Cheap, profitable oil is sacred, and government regulation is seen as an obscene abomination to be removed or avoided at all costs. BP ignored the old proverb about "an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure", choosing to scrimp on safety valves to reduce costs and increase profits. It was cheaper to buy looser regulations.

So it's somewhat positive that the Obama administration is making an attempt to reform the Minerals Management Service, an agency with the conflicted agenda of both promoting and regulating off-shore drilling:

The Obama administration is proposing to split up an Interior Department agency that oversees offshore drilling, as part of its response to the Gulf Coast oil spill, The Associated Press has learned.

An administration official who asked not to be identified because the plan is not yet public said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will urge that Congress approve splitting the Minerals Management Service in two. One agency would be charged with inspecting oil rigs, investigating oil companies and enforcing safety regulations, while the other would oversee leases for drilling and collection of billions of dollars in royalties.

Currently, the Minerals Management Service, an arm of the Interior Department, is responsible for collecting more than $10 billion a year from oil and gas drilling and with enforcing laws and regulations that apply to drilling operations.

Some critics have said the two roles are in conflict and are one reason the agency has long been accused of being too cozy with the oil and natural gas industry.

An internal investigation in 2008 described a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" by workers at the agency. The investigation by Interior's inspector general found workers at the MMS royalty collection office in Denver partied, had sex with and used drugs with energy company representatives. Workers also accepted gifts, ski trips and golf outings, the report by Inspector General Earl E. Devaney said.

OK, it's really only a small step. The regulators and the industry were (sometimes literally) in bed together, and the results are now washing upon the shore. Separating the regulators from the promoters would at least encourage a moderate level of oversight, and a slight increase in safety.

But it's not going to solve the problem of our societies oil addiction: no winning politician is going to campaign on a platform of "we need to raise the price of gasoline" in the face of "drill, baby, drill". We'll have a nice little moratorium as the result of this disaster, then expand off-shore drilling as soon as the headlines have been forgotten.

And nothing I post on this little blog will have the slightest impact on that truth.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


To some this may seem trivial, but to me and maybe a few others, a horrific symptom of the malaise of our society is that the trains passing through this town are no longer encouraged to sound their horns. Instead, at many train crossings, a long aluminum post with a speaker on top announces the arrival of a train with a recording of a train horn. It is a ghastly poor rendition of what a real BNSF train horn sounds like. Yep- to be sure, some of them trains is mighty loud, but at least there was a human being- the conductor carrying millions of dollars of freight to Barstow and no two train soundings was alike. And so consider the train horn-
As one fairly acquainted with music, train horns commonly play in unison two of the most dissonant intervals of the octave; 7ths and 2nds. These sort of intervals cannot form a triad-duh- the function of the noble, hardworking, BNSF train conductor is to scare things away from the tracks so he doesn't have to deal with turning them into jelly and bone fragments.
Every once in awhile I swear I heard a train sound a perfect 4th, wittily intersticed with the dissonance of his company policy. Some conductors compose their own blarings. What matters is
methinks a BNSF engine is equipped with a horn that is wind-driven. (one can just tell) Well I just hate that fucking robot train sound too close to my domicile. Emits the quality of bad cell-phone reception.
Does the conductor(oh yeah a good friend of mine is one) set his jaw with reticence to let a bad recording(always the same) announce his passage? Why do I sniff something Orwellian?