Saturday, July 28, 2012

Well, That's Going To Change My Diet

 In the words of a great man, here is to beer, the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems! I for one plan to use this as justification for a bit of the good stuff with my bacon and eggs.


Oil, The Green Movement, And National Security

Two years ago the President opposed building the Keystone pipeline to allow us to receive and refine Canadian crude. Bad move, you see, Canada is arguably one of our oldest and most reliable allies and so receiving oil from transactions with a Canadian company would reduce our dependance on middle eastern and south american oil fields. That reduction in dependance on the oil resources of potentially hostile nations has been a priority for every president since the creation of the internal combustion engine and it's adoption in military vehicles. Why did Obama block it? Concerns over the environmental impact mostly, and a support for moving away from fossil fuels.

Let's take a look at the why of this. Obviously we need to get off of fossil fuels eventually since they are effectively a finite resource (the earth does produce oil through action of pressure and heat on hydrocarbons in the sub strata of the earths crust and mantle, we just use it faster than it is produced and have such vast reserves due to the millenia of this process taking place without large scale tapping) we have to explore other options for power. Even if you don't buy in to the concept of anthropogenic global climate change, man-made global warming as it is more commonly known, there is little reason not to explore cleaner and more efficient power generation methods either.

The problem is none of the technologies that environmentalists want to replace fossil fuels with are really mature. Even if we switched all corn production in the United States to the production of corn ethanol based biofuel it would only produce between thirty and fifty percent of the fuel requirements of the nation as a replacement for conventional fossil fuels. That is before we get in to the waste gases produced by corn ethanol and it's production, it shares a lot of end chemistry with conventional fuels though. Solar power is arguably the holy grail of green energy, but even now it is fairly inefficient, with peak hours that are middling at best, the plus side is it really is "green" and despite unimpressive peaks is a fairly steady production method through most of the day if weather is permitting. The downside is that you need good weather conditions, solar panels are still fairly fragile, and to get enough energy to be worthwhile you need fairly extensive solar panel "farms" that remove that land from other potential uses. Wind energy shares all the same problems as solar, with the added detractor of needing good wind conditions and their larger profile makes it even harder to get them cleared through zoning. Thermal tapping is an interesting new field, one that needs more research done. Basically the process of tapping trapped lava flows and using the gasses to power turbines, the principles are sound but  it has yet to be done on a truly large scale and can currently only be done in areas where the crust of the earth is thin above a lava flow.

What's my solution, you ask? Or am I just bloviating? Well, obviously to some extent we need to continue oil and natural gas production, it is a steady, mostly safe means of energy production that we can expand in our own country. We do that with the understanding that fossil fuels have to be seen as a transitional power source while we explore other options. We should also begin taking a look at nuclear energy again. No I'm not talking about the old Uranium based power plants, those are old hat and some other countries have moved beyond them to the wonder isotope, Thorium 232. Thorium 232 is 100% useable in the reaction process unlike Uranium 235 which is only .7% useable, and we have enough of it worldwide to supply power across the globe for the next thousand years if the trend in power consumption remains constant. Best of all Thorium 232 is only fissile using priming of a breeder reaction system that transforms it in to Thorium 233, meaning it is essentially impossible to have a meltdown, and completely impossible to have an uncontrolled meltdown. With 100% useable mass the only byproducts of Thorium after it completes several cycles of use and reclamation are inert.

We know all of this because Germany, India, France, and a company in Texas have been operating research reactors that use thorium beads since the mid 90's for the most part, and proof of concept reactors have been in existence since the 1960's, though none have been in constant operation that long. We need to stop demonizing the production of energy and start turning to science for answers, or our national security will always be dependent on Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and other such nations to sell us the fuel our military needs.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Same Swamp, Different Day

So it appears that Eric Holder is refusing to prosecute John Corzine over the vanishing of 1.6 billion unaccounted for dollars because Corzines company was a client of the same law firm that Holder and Breuer, once of the AG's right hand men. And this is the administration that said it was going to be the most transparent ever? That they would clean up the Washington swamp and look out for the people? Ya right.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shadowrun Online

I'm  huge fan of Shadowrun, even if I can rarely get a group together to actually play it. For years there has been rumors of an MMO based on the setting, a massively multiplayer version of the SNES or Sega Genesis, and not the abortion that came out for the X-Box. Well, months ago it was revealed something was in the works on the dumpshock forums, and now there is a kickstarter up. This looks like it is going to be the real deal, and I'm planning on donating to it when I get my next pay, other good causes have been eating in to my budget or I would do it this week, I am going to have to see what my budget allows for but I might just empty the bank account I have for games. Yes I have an account for buying games, it keeps me from justifying further purchases.

A Good Cause III

Ok, so the Defense Fund site I've spoken about a few times on her has an update on it, I think everyone should go and read up because this is important. I know Ms. Duncan personally and can tell you for a fact that the things this court is putting her through are not only unfair, but border on the criminal and her health problems are worse than anyone is really willing to put words to. I'm doing what I can to help and I help you all will as well.

Full Of Win: A Budget Gourmand Food Update

I love Nutella. Let me reiterate because saying it once does not properly express it. I looooooooove nutella. That gooey, chocolatey, hazelnutty spread will make me stab a fool if they get between me and a jar. A few years ago they came out with their snack & go containers with a compartment of nutella and another with miniature bread sticks and those are awesome, my only quibble would be that they missed out with not using pretzel sticks. The salty-sweet combination would be epic.

Now Ferrero is selling a Nutella snack and drink container, with the third partition containing sweet iced tea in it to cleanse the palate between bites of chocolatey goodness. Unfortunately while it is sold everywhere else in the world it is not available in the U.S. or Canada except through Amazon.com, between this and kinder eggs being illegal here I'm starting to wonder why the world hates chocolate-loving Americans. If the idea of the Nutella snack & drink pack does not make you want to get your grubby mitts on one you have no soul or no taste buds, and are therefor a bad person.

Get Out

A great music video by Ryan Bromberger of Sooutloud.com takes President Obama to task with humor and panache that very few big operations could hope to match. This little tune is seriously infectious, so fair warning, you might listen to is a few times in a row.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anaheim On Fire

Well, the hippies have done it, for 4 nights now Anaheim California has been ruled by a mob of greasy, patchouli stinking monkeys calling themselves Occupiers and setting fire to buildings and other property. I'll be the first to admit, I almost want to congratulate the miscreants. This is a big move for them since it is likely the longest any of them have gone without getting too stoned to move. My question is what exactly do these miserable crypto-socialist whiners really think burning other people's stuff going to do? It doesn't make them richer or better off in any way, it just makes the other guy poorer and I don't know about anyone else but if someone is taking from me I become less likely to listen.

Book Review Time

I just got the missing piece in my collection for a great author and series, David Gunn and his Death's Head series are great pieces of dark, militaristic science fiction. The stories focus on Sven Tveskoeg, an antisocial antihero who gets the job done in his own imitable fashion, armed with his trusty SIG-37 intelligent gun snarking at him while the odds are stacked against him. Sven is an intriguing mix of bloody minded savage, no nonsense soldier and a weird self imposed code of honor that none of the civilized folks around him seem to understand.

It all makes for an interesting read, thanks in no small part to Gunn's ability to write an action sequence and let you in to the head of his main character, who is also the narrative voice. These books have been out for a few years already, but that just means if you can find them they won't cost you too terribly, and the energy of them make them hard to put down.

O'Reilly Gets It Wrong On Gun Control

Just this week conservative editorialist Bill O'Reilly spoke on the gun issue, prompted by the shooting in Aurora Colorado. He laid out such gems as “Anyone who sells a heavy weapon or ammo should be compelled to report the sale to the FBI. It’s a felony if you don’t. That’s what we should have in the U.S.A. and it just makes sense in this age of terrorism. Right now some gun dealers do background checks but nobody reports the sale of heavy weapons like AK-47′s to the feds. That’s insane.” Well, Mr O, you are already required to do exactly that when the store performs a background check on you and you are forced to fill out FF 4473 which addresses criminal history and citizenship status.

O'Reilly further shamed himself by stating “Terrorists could just move in here, buy bazookas and the FBI doesn’t know about it. Here is how crazy this is. If you take a flight lesson, the feds get a heads up. But you can buy a machine gun and they don’t know.” Well, not so Mr O, machine guns and bazookas are class III weapons and also termed destructive devices, which require a special permit to own which can take anywhere from several months to over a year to acquire. Additionally it has been illegal for gun manufacturers to sell new machine guns on the civilian market in the U.S. since the 1980's. The only machine guns a civilian can buy are existing models, even then the cost of the weapon and transfer of the tax stamp often run in excess of ten thousand dollars.

O'Reilly even suggested that every purchase of large quantities of ammunition or high capacity magazines should be investigated by the FBI. You really want that sort of intrusiveness and expansion of government Bill? Millions of rounds of ammo are sold every year in the U.S. and many serious shooting enthusiasts think very little of buying several boxes of ammo if their preferred brand is on sale. Illustrating that point, my friend D. just bought several hundred rounds of Hornady A-MAX ammo because he was able to get a good price by  bulk buying. I don't get to shoot as much as I like, but there was a time I thought very little of going to the range and burning through a hundred rounds or more in an afternoon to keep my skills sharp.

The point? with all that ammo being sold, and so many people buying what an outsider to the hobby would call large quantities of it, you would need to hire on thousands of more agents to investigate all the purchases. With this economy does that sound like a winning plan? So Mr O, please enlighten us on how you would make these new restrictions you seem such a fan of actually work. Or you could actually learn a little bit about firearms, their enthusiasts, and responsible gun owners and our culture.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

It's going to come as no surprise to a regular reader, but I'm pretty far from being a fan of the bug eyed liberal loon, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Something about her comes across as incredibly smug whenever I watch her in interviews, and as this ad shows she really is Miss Information. Enjoy!

Jumping The Shark By Humping A Dog

Sarah Silverman is one of those female comics that is usually funny in a "oh look, the cute girl is trying to shock us" kind of way, I watched her show on comedy central and got a few chuckles, which is more than Paula Poundstone ever got. Unfortunately she is trying to be both funny and relevant by making a mocking ad suggesting casino magnate Sheldon Adelson rescind on his offer to help fund the Romney campaign and instead donate his vast wealth to Obama and his reelection effort. I'll leave it up to the reader but I think she missed the mark badly here. She isn't very funny, just kind of gross, the worst part is at the end though. Viewer beware.

Maybe Film Critics Should Stick To Talking About Movies

In the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado film critic and lefty douche Roger Ebert wrote an article for the New York Times that manages to miss the point beautifully, in it he states that the gun-free zone of the Cinemark theater proves self defense does not work. "That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended." In the words of the genius that panned Gladiator.

Are we sure this guy is even capable of following the point any more? Maybe his articles actually get written by the American Dad creative staff and they thought they were writing a screed by Roger the alien, not Roger Ebert? Nah, the tone of the article is a lot closer to the smug condescension of Haley. Either Ebert is willfully ignorant of the facts of the case, namely that Holmgives performed his attack in an area he could reasonably expect there to be no armed resistance, or he is being intellectually dishonest for the sake of his own anti-2nd amendment politics. Either way he should stick to what he is supposed to know and get me a frakking review of Expendables 2 to ignore when I go to happily Stallone, Statham and the rest more of my money.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where Your Soul Lies

I love martial arts, but even more than I love unarmed styles of fighting I am a swordsman. Something about the clean lines of attack... of intent... speaks to me and the weight of a sword in my hand feels so natural that usually only minutes after getting a strange blade in hand I can control it as well as the ninja or longsword racked beside my bed, both of which have wear patterns mirroring my hands. Some of my friends make jokes about this fixation, but they are jokes colored by understanding. My close friends know I'm a strong believer that to be a man you need to be a warrior, at least as much as your body allows, but beyond that you have to test your self.

Over the years, I've found the practice of sword forms as exercise, meditation, and preparation to be instructive. The rythm of it is unique and... well, as the great masters of fencing remind us, in ferro veritas, the sword is truth, when your life is safe vouched  by only a breath and your own skill, self deception is a silly practice to keep. I know this all seems a bit self serving, but I would suggest to any reader that they find that art that touches their soul like swordplay touches mine and make it the crucible you use to test and refine yourself.

Why I Am Proud To Be A Cultural Elitist

Most people wouldn't even use those words to describe me, I'm of European descent, but I love anime, martial arts, and have worked in a Japanese steakhouse. I think aboriginal art is pretty cool, and admit that ghurka soldiers fight like ever loving devils. For all of that when some over educated (and my does that label seem odd coming from me) twit goes on about colonialism or other justifications for white guilt it sets my blood boiling. To be perfectly honest for all the horrors my cultural forebears might be guilty of there is much good that they perpetuated as well.

Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press made copying books faster and cheaper and thereby made literature more accessible to the masses. Shakespeare and his plays illuminated the human condition in all its myriad forms, from tragedy to romance and absurdity. The medieval knight started off as little more than a soldier and warlord but through the influences of the church became an exemplar of gentility and refinement as well as strength. And the church? Oh my, it may be trendy to bash the papacy and all that support it, but through the dark ages it was holy brothers of the Catholic faith who safeguarded the works of ancient Rome and the near east.

The renaissance, that great enlightenment that saw the thinkers of Europe to ponder the human condition and how we are all connected to one another form the basis of modern thought on morality and civility itself the world over, and modern ideas of equality between the sexes can be traced in their nascent form to Eleanor of Aquitaine and her support for the ideals of courtly love which placed the heart over.... baser organs shall we say?

Eastern mysticism, aboriginal shamanism, and a whole host of other ways of looking at the world might be interesting, but the classically European method of looking out and seeking order amongst the chaos, of building always upon what is, has served the world well and so I'm proud to be a distinctly "Western" thinker.

Vindication!

A couple of days ago I wrote an article about 2nd amendment rights and how they help control shootings like the massacre in Aurora Colorado, well Doug Giles of Clash Daily has an article up echoing my sentiments. It's well written, puffed up with machismo, and most of all an entirely logical look at how responsible gun ownership saves lives. I would suggest you read it, the viewpoint is not being echoed in the media but it's all the real scoop.

Return of the Budget Gourmand


Corned Beef and Potato Rosti:

Rosti is a Swiss treat of shredded, cooked potatoes fried into a thick cake until golden. In Switzerland rosti is so popular that many markets sell potatoes pre-grated and cooked for use in it, though with this recipe grating them raw and placing them in a strainer eliminates the need to cook them without sacrificing flavor. For this recipe fold in some onions and corned beef for a breakfast dish that gives a nod to corned beef hash. If so desired, you could sub in pastrami for the corned beef in this recipe. Store-bought is fine, or you could make your own.

TIME/SERVINGS
Total Time: 35 mins
Makes: 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 pound white potatoes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 ounces corned beef or pastrami, small dice (about 1 cup)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Peel the potatoes and grate them on the large holes of a box grater. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and transfer the grated potatoes to the strainer. Add the salt and pepper and toss to combine; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle half of the potatoes over the onions and stir to combine. Press with a spatula into an even layer. Sprinkle all of the corned beef or pastrami evenly over the potatoes, then top with the remaining potatoes and press again with the spatula to form a large potato cake. Cook undisturbed until the underside is golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. To flip the rosti, slide it out of the pan onto a large plate. Place a second large plate over the potatoes and invert. Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Slide the rosti back into the pan, reshape if necessary with the spatula, and cook the second side until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Slide onto a cutting board, slice, and serve
Viola, delicious corned beef and potato rosti!

Laugh At The President

Obama talking about businesses and how the owner of a business didn't really build them has already become a meme so if you want to laugh at the dog eating bastard go on over to didntbuildthat.com to see all the things people thought they built, but President Barry is having to correct them on, the man is damn busy apparently.

Can Every Politician Please Shut Up About Aurora

I know this will seem callous but could every politician just shut up about the tragedy in Aurora? We get it, you feel their pain. F**king ghouls. The fact of the matter is we all feel bad for the people who were hurt or lost loved ones in this shooting, you would have to be a sociopath not to, politicians don't need to remind us of the fact they are human since they fail far too often for us to forget. They do press events like the president did last night not to show solidarity with the victims but to pull at our heart strings.Gustave Le Bon described the psychology of crowd behavior quite well a century ago, emotion is the great manipulator of crowds and a politician speaking in the wake of one of these events is not appealing to our reason.

Call that cynical if you must, but even if it is cynical it is far more likely than the idea that President Obama was so overcome with emotion 4 days later that he needed to read a prepared statement in front of the national press. It is incivility dressed up in mourning clothes to pretend you care about each individual in a crowd of victims you have never met and recount their stories while trying to curry public favor, and every politician right or left who does it should be shamed.