HA-HA 
N.C. boy shocked after man powers up McCain-Palin campaign sign to prevent theft [Link]

In my youth, when kids did something mischievous and received just comeuppance, the attitude du jour was: "you deserved it and I hope you learned your lesson."

Nelson says it best:



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Phinally! 

Phils Win! Phils Win! Phils Win! Unbelievable! YAHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

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Freedom of Speech 
Tasteless? Yes. Despicable? Sure. Over the line? Probably. Free Speech? Perhaps.

Sarah Palin effigy hung in Halloween display

...but imagine the outcry if the owner of this display said "Barack Hussein Obama" in front of a crowd of people. The Thought Police wing of Obama supporters would be all over him. Imagine the outcry if this were an effigy of BHO himself; it sure as hell would not be interpreted as "political satire."

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A Sighting 
Keeping with the animal theme - seen the other day in my yard: a gray fox. Apparently, seeing these is a rare event. I heard a growl of sorts and looked out in the yard and couldn't believe what I saw. I grabbed the camera, which had no batteries and by the time I found batteries, the fox had moved into the woods. About five minutes later, my cat came trotting in from around the garden. I think the two saw each other but the cat was not aroused with the puffed up fur like he usually has when he encounters something.

The fox was a little more gray than the standard web search images I'm finding and it actually looked a little like a small coyote. However, judging by the ears and tail, this was definitely a gray fox.

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Dead Squirrel in my Golf Bag 
Since the title pretty much sums up what happened, I will expound.

Little over a week ago, we had a squirrel in the garage. Our garage has a typical door and a people door. The squirrel came in through the people door because the car door was closed. Whether the cat brought it in*, chased it in, or it got lost, I don't know. I noticed the cat starting at one corner of the garage (having a cat alerts you to certain oddities). I shooed him away and scooted him inside when I saw the squirrel, cowering behind a boom. I immediately opened the garage door thinking it's a no brainer he would run out through the generous 9x7 opening but no. He scurried along the wall, climbed some (they can scale concrete walls), and shot around and when up the mast for our dinghy. I picked the mast up and was going to lay it out on the lawn but the squirrel jumped out and did another loop. This time I lost him and didn't hear nor see him. Assuming he got out, I let the matter go.

Well a few days ago a stench emerged. After day or two without subsiding, I finally poked around and noticed that an old golf bag was laying on its side. So I picked it up and took it outside. Pulled the clubs out, gently, and then turned the bag upside down and, plop!

The bag, which is now in the trash, is small and narrow - maybe 5" diameter at most.

So, I learned that squirrels don't have good turn-around skills like ferrets do and when scared, will go into any opening, no matter how narrow to escape. These two items, coupled with the fact that he failed to leave through a large opening, passing by it twice, I have concluded that squirrels are pretty dumb.

But a question remains - assuming he lived for while, maybe a week, in the bag, why didn't we hear him trying to escape? Why didn't our cat, an expert hunter with keen senses, not sense him and sit and stare at the golf bag? Granted, the bag was behind a stack of stuff and somewhat hidden but still, I don't know why the cat, at least, didn't clue us on to the squirrel.



*Over the weekend, there was another squirrel in our garage. The cat got this one. When I scooped it up with the shovel, I was surprised to see it move its head, rather lethargically, like he was drugged or, more likely, severely beaten. It was alive but barely so I scooped it up and threw it, like I did with our golf buddy, in back into the woods.

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Ethical Cloud Lingers On 
Tim Mahoney's (D-FL) $121,000 Payoff to Alleged Mistress

Mahoney is the guy who replaced Mark Foley. Look for as much press on this matter that Foley received. Oh wait, good luck on that happening. Of course, if Mahoney were a Republican, we'd all be deaf from the horns-a-blowin' and trumpets-a-blarin' from the media - like they did with Foley.

A Google News search at 14:00 today returns 1,288 hits for Tim Mahoney and 2,271 for Mark Foley.

I also followed up on what I blogged in March.

As of today, a Google News search shows 811 hits for Eliot Spitzer but 2178 for Larry Craig. Kwame Kilpatrick returns 2800 hits. So, I was right that the Spitzer stories would number less than Larry Craig but I was surprised to see Kilpatrick outdo Craig.

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Just a Name 
Another letter to the editor today: [Link]

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Sports Talk 
1. In the latest AP Poll, Pitt is ranked 24. Pitt was a preseason #25 but lost to Bowling Green (ugh) in game one. The remaining schedule is tough - at Navy, Rutgers, at N.D., Louisville, at Cincinnati, WVU, and at UConn. Albeit none of them are ranked but they are viable opponents. I see a 4-3 run for an 8-4 season which is an improvement and will keep Wannstedt employed.

2. Wisconsin over PSU this weekend. (Yippie!)

3. Phillies over the Dodgers in six. Boston over T.B. in five. Phillies need to get those bats working again but I think they are the better team and will step it up notch to combat the hot Dodgers. Rays' dream season will end facing the team of the decade.

4. I predicted this in August but don't think I blogged it: Eagles 9-7 this year.

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Duplicity 
Ever notice that the same people who castigate ExxonMobil for making a profit are the same people who are making the most noise about all these firms losing insane amounts of money?

When big companies make money, the market does well. When ExxonMobil makes money, some people want to lynch them. Democrats have gotten their wish (just before a presidential election, coincidentally), big greedy American companies falling on hard times and now they gripe about it and pass a feckless pork-laden bill that will cause more problems than it solves; rewarding fecklessness and passing the bill onto us - well, at least the most responsible of us - those who live within our means.

I say put ExxonMobil in charge of everything, they seem to be able to do what the government can't do - make more money than they spend.

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Crickets Chirping 
Here's an interesting column today by Jack Kelly from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Funny Money

I am sure the neutral media [sic] is throughly investigating who Mr. Good Will, Doodad Pro, and three Palestinian refugees are who have nothing better to do with $33K are as I type. /sarc

I particularly like this line:
CNN recently sent a reporter to Little Diomede Island, the westernmost part of Alaska (2.4 miles from Russia) to determine whether Sarah Palin had ever been there actually to see Russia with her own eyes. But CNN -- and the rest of the media -- have been incurious about the Obama campaign's fundraising.


No MSM bias, right.

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Digital HF 
I bought a Rigblaster Nomic sound card interface so I can try digital HF on amateur radio. All the cables I needed were included and all I had to configure on the Nomic was the jumper settings that are specific to each radio.

In order to do digital (modes like RTTY, PSK31, Hellschreiber, Olivia, etc.) you need three basic items:

1. A computer with a software application that functions as your control. The software app I chose was Fldigi which has Linux and Windows versions.

2. A rig that that is capable of data modes, which is most nowadays.

3. A sound card interface. This is the device that allows the computer software to work with the radio.

In the digital modes, your rig is just transmitting and receiving data and the computer and software do all the encoding and decoding and use the sound card interface to control the radio. Digital is just data so you aren't using voice and with the software it basically looks like IRC or IM except that you are transmitting and receiving on a specified frequency instead of using the Internet. On the amateur bands, certain frequencies are restricted for data transmissions only.

Hooking everything up was easy and getting the software to work was easy, too. However, I was using the XP side of my laptop. The Linux side is Mandrake 9.2 and it didn't have what it needed to compile Fldigi and I forsaw a massive dependency problem if I updated that check that failed (gcc-cpp) during ./configure. Plus, my main Linux PC does not have an RS-232 port. A serial cable is used to transfer the data between the PC and the Nomic. I will need to buy a USB to DB9 adapter before I try digital HF on my Slackware machine.

I have 'listened' on both PSK31 and RTTY modes; PSK31 seems to have more activity but I haven't made any contacts yet. I can see the data and activity in the window so I am receiving without a problem. I've put out a few CQ's and answered a few but with no luck yet. I am pretty sure I have everything connected properly and the software configured properly so I'll play with it as I get time and update once I know it's working.

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Scary thing is, I might be right 
Last month, I made a post speculating what might happen to the world markets if ExxonMobil ever fails; (as many people in this land are hoping for, by the way). Judging how the market reacted today to a Congressional vote on a handout from the taxpayers, I might be right.

Additionally, after years of rooting for bad economic news and pumping up anything that was even remotely bad (and overlooking anything that was good - like when the DJIA topped 14K, the MSM made sure they didn't credit Bush, but he'll get a big chunk of blame for this current plunge), the MSM looks to have gotten their wish - crisis right before election day. Part of this is a manufactured problem designed to do just what it's doing - give people gloom and doom right before we go to the polls. The big part, of course, is the people themselves - spending, borrowing, and living beyond their means and lenders and the government doing their best to encourage it. It has now come time to pay for this foolishness and licentiousness that took root in the late 1990's; a prime example why the "if it can be done, it should be done" philosophy is nothing more than obtuse judgment and immaturity. But I digress, philosophical ideology is not entirely to blame, there's been plenty of malfeasance from everyone from the top down in both politics and business.

Just as children need their parents, even if they don't think they do, society needs the acute and mature who are the responsible citizens who manage their affairs properly and we seem to be a vanishing breed.

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