April 28, 2006

The Nittany Lion Shrine

At Penn State, the most photographed image on campus is that of the Nittany Lione Shrine. Crafted in 1942, it is where all true Nittany Lion Fans go.


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April 27, 2006

Why is the Postal Service so sucky?

I grant that the postal service does a good job at delivering letters. But give them a package, and you'll mostly likely not see it again.

Why is it if I try to track a package from UPS or FEDEX, I can basicically tell where this pachage is within about 10 feet in realtime.

But if you try to track a package via USPS, it will not even have record of the package until about a week after it was already delivered.

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New Podcast

A new podcast is up. Listen here This one is from a few months ago, and it involves my wife and some podcasting while a bit drunk.

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April 25, 2006

Don't Tax Windfall Profits

The fine Governor of my home state of Pennsylvania wants to tax windfall profits. He says that the taxes are unfair.

"The profits are ungodly; there is no excuse for this," Rendell said. "Oil companies should not be permitted to drain Americans' bank accounts to collect record-breaking profits."

But when you really look at it, thier profits were only about 10%, the same as Hershey foods made selling candy bars.

To be sure, oil companies have reaped huge profits in recent years. Exxon Mobil Corp., for example, reported $36 billion in net income last year on sales of $371 billion. That's a profit margin of 10 percent, the same as the Hershey Co. made selling candy.

So it is okay for a candy company to reap profits, but not another publicly traded company, just because it sells oil? Both companies are beholdant to their shareholders. As a shareholder of either company I want to see massive profits. It means more money for.

Plus, the "windfall profits" are a sign that something is wrong in the supply and demand portion of the economy. It means that we do not have enough gasoline.

Windfall or supernormal profits are any profits in excess of normal profit and are above and beyond that necessary to keep entrepreneurial resources in their current usage. However, windfall profits are a vital component to a smoothly operating economy. Windfall profits serve as a signal that there are unmet human wants. Let's look at it with a simple example.

Suppose there's a disaster wiping out food resources in Harrisburg, Pa., and I live in Philadelphia. Prior to the disaster, bread prices in both cities were $2 a loaf. I buy a truckload of bread, cart it to Harrisburg and sell it for $20 a loaf, earning huge windfall profits. When the word gets out that there are profits to be made, what do you think happens? If you said other people will start carting bread to Harrisburg, bakers will start working overtime to produce more bread, people who formerly used their oven to bake cakes and pies will switch to baking bread, there'll be bread conservation in Philadelphia and elsewhere and eventually bread prices will start to fall in Harrisburg and windfall profits would vanish, go to the head of the class. While some might find people earning windfall profits objectionable, the result of their actions, getting more bread to Harrisburg, is precisely what's desired.

What if politicians said, "People are profiting from the misery of others, and we're going to impose a bread windfall profits tax"? Say they legislated a 100 percent tax, taking all of the $18 of windfall profits. Would you expect to see people making all those efforts to get bread to Harrisburg? Suppose there were huge startup costs for companies to expand their operation or onerous regulations for people to get into the bread business, would that be good news or bad news for people in Harrisburg?

What prevents a robust supply response to changes in scarcity conditions in the gasoline market? U.S. oil refining capacity is now less than it was in 1980, and since that time there's been a 25 percent increase in demand. Because of costly environmental regulations, it's been 30 years since a new refinery has been built. According to the American Petroleum Institute, over the last 10 years, it has cost the oil industry $47 billion to comply with costly and sometimes useless environmental controls. There are restrictions on exploiting the huge oil reserves in Alaska, the Gulf and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Tax the oil company? How about let the companies expand production and refining of gasoline.

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They ruined the NHL for me

I've been a long time Philadelphia Flyers fan. Always have been. But recently I think the sport has left me behind. First off, I cann't get Outdoor Life Network on my Dish. It's part of a pissing match between Dish Network and Comcast. Second, even if I had a NHL season pass, the extra games I would get would exclude Flyers games that are blacked out because "I could get them in my market". Yeah, only on Comcast cable. Forget about it.

Second are the new rules which eliminate a lot of the hard checking and physicality that made teams like the Flyers.

That is evident in the current Stanley Cup series against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are a fast skating percision passing team. A team much like the Sabres' "French Connection" team of the 1970s. The flyers did then what would be against the new rules now. Check the shit out of them. The Flyers's philosophy was to make it like skating in a closet for them. Who can pass if they are getting the shit beat out of them.

I guess whiney crybabies like Mario Lemieux won over old timers like Bob Clark in respects to how the game should be played.

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April 21, 2006


I love having access to free stuff. So I am now unveiling my Flickr pictures. Since I'm getting into photography a little more seriously, I thouhgt I'd do this.

Take a look

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Seasons of Love

If I hear this stupid Seasons of Love song again. I think I'll poke my ear drums out. This is perhaps the worst song I've ever heard in my life.

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April 20, 2006

Old Main

Here are some pictures I took of in and around Old Main in State College on Monday.





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April 14, 2006

Smoking ban in Jersey

The anti-smoking nazis are at it again. This time in the armpit of America, the shitty ass state of New Jersey. As if I needed another reason not to go to the cesspool which is New Jersey, now they have banned consuming a legal substance inside bars and restaurants.

Banned in Jersey

When it starts:12:01 a.m. tomorrow.

What it affects: Restaurants and bars; public transit areas; all public schools and school grounds; sports facilities, including racetracks and bowling alleys; health-care facilities; parking areas; lobbies; bingo parlors; malls; theaters; clubs; concert halls; museums; and libraries.

The state has proposed banning smoking within 25 feet of smoke-free buildings, but that rule could be amended.

Where smoking is allowed:Casino floors, cigar bars, tobacco retailers, private homes and cars. Hotels and motels may permit smoking in 20 percent of their rooms.

Penalties:Fines of $250 to $1,000 could be levied against patrons who smoke and establishments that allow smoking. Local health officials are the primary enforcers, but officials expect that business owners and customers will largely police the ban. If a patron violates the law, police can be called to issue a summons.

What I find ironic is that a lot of these anti smoking groups, most notable The Truth gets their money directly from tobacco companies or from taxes from tobacco sales.

They owe their livlihoods to the very tobacco companies they want to put out of business. Deep down they don't want tobacco companies to go out of business, becasue that would mean they would have to get real jobs. They just want to inconvenience smokers.

If a restaurant owner wants to have a nice establishment where someone can enjoy a nice cigar with their scotch, then why can't they do that?

Listen to my words, the next step will be an outright ban on somking, and then they will go after other things they deem as dangerous. Maybe they'll tax if you are fat, or give you a ticket for feeding your kid fattening food. Anything these no nothing dogooders don't like you to do, they will attack.

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April 12, 2006

Salvia divinorum

Well, thanks to Fark, I now know of a legal way to get fucked up from a plant. The plant is called Salvia Divinorum, and is related to common sage and mint. You can smoke it or simply eat it. I'm sure there will soon be people who want this banned. God forbid people get altered a bit. Unless it's alcohol, which is legal and TAXED!!

If you ingest or smoke it, you feel groovy.

ost users find that the effects of salvinorin are not conducive to socializing. People given Salvia often feel as though a trick has been played on them; in fact, while under the influence, most people tend to find any external stimuli distracting. Most people under the influence of salvia will remain in place although some users may move around. This can be especially dangerous as the user is in an altered state of consciousness and is therefore at a greater risk of unintended bodily injury. It is advisable to have a sober trip sitter present. The effects of salvia are found by many to be highly spiritual. Others find salvia useful for meditation. Consciousness is retained until the highest doses, but body control, awareness of externalities, and individual personality can disappear with even modest amounts. Even experienced drug users may feel totally out of control and confused. At lower doses the user may experience spontaneous laughter, mild closed-eye visuals, stuttering or strobing visual effects, changes in depth perception, and a heightened sense of color and texture. Moderate doses appear trance-like. Time distortion and open-eye visuals become increasingly apparent. Fractal patterns and geometric shapes may be noticeable with eyes open, and can be very confusing. Many people experience sensations of falling, similar to what is occasionally felt at the onset of sleep. The user may experience fully formed visions of other places, people, and events, especially with eyes closed. At high doses, the effects become more powerful and may additionally include out-of-body experiences, perceptions of gravitational distortion, vertigo, sensations of wind or physical pressure, hearing voices, flanging of sound, significant open and closed-eye visuals, experiencing alternate realities, contact with beings or entities, dissolution of one's ego, and dissociation. It is also typical that, while under the effects of salvia, a person will not realize they have used the drug. The salvia experience is quite different from that of most other hallucinogenic drugs and may be overwhelming, even with the correct set and setting. Most users recommend darkness and silence as the best environment, however, minimal, ambient or relaxing music can be helpful. According to experience reports at Erowid and elsewhere, Salvia seems to produce visual hallucinations which have a somewhat higher level of consistency than other substances. Reports of contact with an entity supposedly associated with the plant, ("the Shepherdess") again with fairly consistent characteristics, are also common. Many salvia users, during high-dose out-of-body experiences, may suddenly "merge" with objects. With the significant time distortion typical of salvia, users may live a lifetime as another person, or as an inanimate object, such as a wall or a piece of furniture. The experiences can be extremely pleasant, or very frightening and confusing. People often fail to achieve the effects the first time they try the plant, possibly due to problems in the administration of the drug. With repeated use, anecdotal evidence suggests that decreased dosage may be possible for the same level experience. Due to the lack of scientific studies on Salvia, if true it is unknown whether this is due to learning proper techniques of administration or a sensitization factor, sometimes colloquially referred to as "reverse-tolerance". Some people who try Salvia find it difficult or impossible to achieve the desired effects. This may be due to an insufficient flame. However, sometimes the results are unpredictable. For example, a user may smoke a large amount and feel no effect, but the next day may smoke a small amount and experience a strong trip.

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April 11, 2006

Doin stuff

I've been quite busy doing work stuff. No time to blog. I will get to it later this week, and have more photographs to share.

I will also share what I got my wife as a Easter present. It should be arriving today or tomorrow.

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April 07, 2006

Short and Horny

Well, we decided to get our remaining goat, Lilly, a buddy. Goats are herd animals, and don't do well by themselves.

We went to a local farm where they had 17 goats to get rid of. We actually left with two, and let me tell you, it was an experience taking them home in my Subaru Outback. I don't think when they built station wagons they anticipated them being used to transport livestock.

Well anyways, here they are. Abby and Billy.


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April 05, 2006

New York Times insults my hometown.

The New York Times, which is to responsible journalism as chewing bubble gum is to preventing pregnancys, has bad mouthed a small rural town in Pennsylvania. What makes it more interesting is that it is where I live.

Read the Article

Although Tamaqua is only an hour northwest of Allentown, it might as well be in another country in another time. On the first day of school, as I drive up Route 309 over Blue Mountain, the car engine strains to make the steep grade, then my cellphone cuts out. On the edge of town, I see a worn sign that says "Coal for Sale" that must be 30 years old. Abandoned strip mines surround and define both the town and the people, who look flinty, dust-covered, squinteyed.

I guess to her we look like that banjo playing kid in Deliverance.

Here is some un-biased info on Tamaqua.

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April 04, 2006

Artsy Stuff

I took these pictures at my Elks Club. They were all taken with natural light, 800 speed film.







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Bill O'Reilly: The Irate Irishman

More and more, Bill O'Reilly is becoming unhinged. Last month, on his syndicated radio show, he threatened a caller with legal action for mentioning the name Keith Olbermann.

O'REILLY: Orlando, Florida, Mike, go.

CALLER: Hey Bill, I appreciate you taking my call.


CALLER: I like to listen to you during the day, I think Keith Olbermann's show --

O'REILLY: There ya go, Mike is -- he's a gone guy. You know, we have his -- we have your phone numbers, by the way. So, if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox security, and you'll be getting a little visit.

HILL: Maybe Mike is from the mothership.

O'REILLY: No, Maybe Mike is going to get into big trouble, because we're not going to play around. When you call us, ladies and gentleman, just so you know, we do have your phone number, and if you say anything untoward, obscene, or anything like that, Fox security then will contact your local authorities, and you will be held accountable. Fair?

HILL: That's fair.

O'REILLY: So, just -- all you guys who do this kind of a thing, you know, I know some shock jocks. Whatever. You will be held accountable. Believe it.

We'll be right back.

Now I think Kieth Olbermann is a blowhard asshole, sophist elitist, but that doesn't give O'Reilly the right to threaten callers who simply mention his name with a visit from "Fox Security". That just sreams of Orwellian big brother doesn't it?

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