Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Casey Hampton - Fit or Fat?

Casey Hampton, the Michelin Man of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been placed on the Steelers' PUP (Physically Unable to Perform") list. Looks like this PUP needs to lose a few of his spare tires.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Premium Beers?

A recent AP article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers, was discussing how beers with more alcohol and flavor were increasing their market share. Which is all good, considering the lack of flavor in what most Americans call "beer."

But then the article went on to describe Budweiser, Coor
s Light and Miller High Life as "Premium Beers." Scott's Spot looked up "premium" on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, which defined it as "a high value or a value in excess of that normally or usually expected" which means that CoBudMiLob is not in fact a premium beer.

Let's face the facts. Bud, Coors and Coors Light, and Miller barely qualify as beer and have brought this situation on themselves beca
use they have refused to brew and sell real beer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Packaging Advances - Putting Tofu and Pudding Into Balloons

If there's one thing that we excel at in America, it's packaging. Consider the following examples:
  • When I was a kid, Nabisco Graham Crackers were always stale in the wax paper packaging. Now, they come in heat-sealed plastic packaging that is airtight but virtually impossible to open. You can never break into a package without destroying at least one entire cracker. The packaging is destroyed in the process of opening - there's no re-sealing them, so they still go stale if you don't eat them the first day.
  • Same thing for Ritz Crackers. No getting into one of those plastic sleeves without a knife or scissors.
  • Have you purchased motor oil recently? The packaging is very efficient. Until you try to dispense the oil into your car. It's next to impossible to aim the oil coming out of the spout! It takes a few days to burn off all the oil I spill on my engine.
But the Japanese are going to fix all this. They're experts at packaging, too. Just check out the picture below. They're packaging tofu into what looks like balloons.

According to PingMag, the Tokyo-based magazine about Design and Making Things, when you want your tofu, which I can tell you is nearly never at my place, all you have to do is use a toothpick to pop the balloon, leaving you with a ball of tofu and a very little waste. I'm thinking of using these to replace the egg toss at my next family reunion.

A company called Bocca is apparently using the same type of packaging with pudding, according to this other article in Japanese. Putting these into your kids' school lunches could prove to be disastrous!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An A- Is Good Enough

You Have A Type A- Personality

You are one of the most balanced people around

Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want

You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back

Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!

You live life to the fullest - incorporating the best of both worlds

Evidence That I Missed My Calling

You Should Be a Doctor

You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.

Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.

You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.

You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:

- Are always learning new subjects

- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.

I'll Confess, I Think of Myself as More Sociopathic Than This

I have a lower sociopathic potential than expected...

You Are 32% Sociopath

From time to time, you may be a bit troubled and a bit too charming for your own good.

It's likely that you're not a sociopath... just quite smart and a bit out of the mainstream!

Barack Obama Offers a Real Plan for Success in Iraq

Here's a plan for Iraq offered by Barack Obama, as published in Sunday's New York Times. It's time to change our support of Obama from lukewarm to red hot!

My Plan for Iraq

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Barack Obama, a United States senator from Illinois, is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

US Airways To Further Increase Passenger Crankiness

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, One of America's Great Newspapers, today reported that US Airways is making the domestic skies a little less friendly by removing the in-flight entertainment systems. That is, if you want to watch a movie, you'd better bring your iPod Touch.

Spokesman Phil Gee says the movie systems weigh about 500 pounds each (or 1.5 US passengers), forcing planes to use more fuel to get around the country. The company will keep movies on its international flights, where the passengers are lighter.

Concurrent with this change, US Airways today announced a slogan change from "Fly with US" to "(Sigh) Fly with US".

Democrats Capitulate on Wiretapping Vote

Senate Democrats capitulated today on HR 6304, a bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to expand wiretapping powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies cooperating in the despicable National Security Agency wiretapping program. Particularly disappointing were the votes of Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, although it is possible that Specter thought he was approving wiretapping of NFL coaches in the Spygate scandal.

More predictable, but disappointing nonetheless, was the vote of the spineless presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barak Obama. Obama had long opposed giving legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in the N.S.A.’s wiretapping program, even threatening a filibuster during his run for the nomination. Instead, he voted with McCain.

The Democratic majority in the 110th Congress has been a big disappointment. It has had a number of opportunities to stand up to George W. Bush's policies, and has done its best disappoint the constituents who put it in place.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Amy Winehouse - Will She Survive 2008?

I normally create my annual Ghoul Pool (see 2006, 2007, or 2008) sometime around New Year's Eve. But I'm thinking I need to amend mine now. Or very soon. I want to get Amy Winehouse on it. She may not survive long enough to get on my pool for next year.