Archive for May, 2010

The primary election for Alabama will be this Tuesday.  After seeing Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James surge in the polls, I decided that my vote would be best used to try to stop him.  I really think that this guy would be very, very bad for Alabama.  He’s just not that smart, and he is the typical good ol’ boy politician that you see in this state.  I am convinced that everything he is ever got was because of his daddy (former Alabama governor Fob James).  The other reason I have decided to vote in the Republican primary is that the stone cold truth is that our next governor will likely come from that party.  It’s just hard to imagine this state voting for somebody with a D next to his name for the top office of this state.  That doesn’t mean I won’t vote for the Democratic nominee if I think he is the best option.  But I do recognize the political realities of living in such a conservative state.

That all said, to vote against Tim James, I do actually have to vote for somebody else.  And oh boy, is that tough!  Roy Moore is not an option.  He’s every bit as crazy as Tim James.  In fact, it says a lot that as dirty as the campaign has become, these two candidates haven’t had a word to say against each other even though they are both running strong in the polls.  These two are two peas in a pod, and I fully expect that if only one of these two make the runoff, the other will throw their support behind the one that does make it.

Bradley Byrne seemed like he might be an option.  After all, the tea party crew don’t seem to like him, and he has been the subject of the crazier attack ads.  So I was pretty much thinking that if the crazy folks don’t like him, maybe that’s reason enough to vote for him.  But after reviewing his campaign website and listening to his response to the attack ads, I simply can’t go in that direction.  He is pretty much saying ‘I can be the biggest tea partyer you have ever seen, just you wait!  I can bring the crazy!’.  It is clear that his only real strike for the tea party folks is that he is just not pure enough for them.  I mean, he once gave $500 to Bill Clinton and that just won’t do.  Because if you look at his actual stances on issues, he is every bit as conservative as anyone else in this election.  I simply can not hold my nose and fill the bubble next to his name.  (The clincher is that I just read one of those things where they ask the candidates a series of simple questions.  One of those questions was what is their favorite book.  Byrne’s response was the Bible.  And that would be fine, except I am sure that answer has everything to do with the ‘he believes the bible is only partially true’ attack ad.  So the response comes off as pandering.)

I have decided to go with the dark-horse.  Robert Bentley only has an outside chance of getting into the top two, but he is polling just strong enough that I think he just might pull the upset.  Now don’t get me wrong, this guy is also plenty conservative.  (If you run in this state and have a R next to your name, you are either really conservative or really, really conservative.)  But at least he hasn’t slung any mud during the campaign.  He also is a doctor and is intelligent.  And at least he has some ideas that I can get behind.  He recognizes the need of this state to invest in its infrastructure.  He has some ideas regarding the improvement of education that doesn’t involve the trendy panacea solution spouted by everyone else, charter schools.  Also, I didn’t see any promises on his website declaring that he would never, ever, ever, ever raise taxes, a stance that seems a lot more responsible that taking that option off the table from the get-go that all the other Republicans are doing.

So I’m going with Robert Bentley.  Other than that, I will get the opportunity to vote against Troy King, our sleazy Attorney General who is at least on the take from gambling interests (he really doesn’t even bother to hide it).  I figure if he is not on the take from other interests, he would be at least willing to listen.  I may well not even vote on anything else.  (There are others incumbents that I would love to vote against, but their opponents are mostly ‘Tea Party’ approved.  So I’m just going to stay out of it.)  There is also another amendment to our state constitution on the ballot, in our one state race to 1,000 amendments.  It has something to do with propane gas, and if our state had a sense of humor, it would be known as the “Hank Hill Act”.

The Democratic side for governor has Artur Davis, a guy who I pretty much like so far, and the one I will probably go with in the general election.  But he is also not perfect.  Currently he is a member of the U.S. House.  He voted against the health care reform act.  It’s a move that I am almost sure was a result of a political calculation in relation to his run for governor, not as a stance based in principle.

Anyway, it sure would be nice to be motivated to vote FOR somebody instead of AGAINST somebody every once in a while.  I guess at least I am still motivated to vote, which cannot be said for a lot of people.  The lack of motivation to vote is a stance that I am coming to understand more and more with each passing election though.

(Oh, by the way, Robert Bentley and Luther Strange.  Yeah, you both just got the “World’s (Not So) Funniest Blog” kiss of death since I revealed just a minimum level of support for you.  It’s kind of the opposite of the “Colbert Bump”.  Sorry!)

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Ugh!!!!!!  Well we are learning that the “Top Kill” implemented by BP to stop the oil geyser has failed.  Oh, and while BP didn’t tell us at the time, they tried the “Junk Shot” thing too, and that didn’t work either.  Sigh.  I said in a comment in another post that my fear is that the drilling of the relief well, you know the option that will take months, is really the only thing that can actually work.  This is doing nothing to alleviate those fears!

BP is annoying me with their lack of honesty.  I am not sure what they think they are gaining my not being fully forthright.  Reports are now saying that BP pretty much knew that “Top Kill” wasn’t working a couple of days ago, which is one of the reasons they paused operations a couple of times.  It was at those times that they tried “Junk Shot”, though for some reason they decided not to tell anyone.

But the biggest problem right now is that no one knows how to stop this thing.  It is in no one’s best interest to let this thing leak indefinitely.  Some think that the Obama administration should shove BP aside and take over.  But don’t you think if the Obama administration had any better ideas, they would have done exactly that?  There should have been more oversight concerning these deep water oil rigs, but that ship has sailed in regards to this very accident.  We are all stuck with a very bad problem, and no one really has a solution.

The one thing that does bug me is every time I pass a BP gas station, there are still people getting gas.  I can’t stop the oil leak, but I can refuse to buy gas from BP.  I’m sorry, but BP doesn’t deserve our business.

I just hope that the relief well actually works, because if it doesn’t, this thing may leak for years.

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Plans have been made to build a mosque near the location of where the World Trade Center twin towers used to stand.

NYC Community Board OK’s Ground Zero Mosque Plans

Apparently this has upset quite a few people.  Some of those are family members of 9/11 victims.  Though it seems quite a few more are “tea party” folks and such that feel the need to protect people, whether those people actually asked to be protected or not.

Either way, and this may not be a popular opinion, it has always bothered me that some 9/11 victims want to treat the former WTC twin tower site as “sacred ground”.  Don’t get me wrong, it was horrible what happened to those families.  Awful.  But even so, I just don’t see how the families get to take any ownership of that site.  Say somebody gets gunned down inside a McDonald’s.  Does the victim’s family get to treat the McDonald’s as “sacred ground”?  If not, what’s the difference?

But now it seems that the idea of “sacred ground” is expanding even further.  See, the mosque is not being built on “ground zero”.  It is two blocks away.  So now we are not only going to let the family members dictate what goes on at “ground zero”, but what goes on near “ground zero” too?  How far will the radius extend?  And how does the fact that strip clubs and porn shops are also close to “ground zero” not disrespect the victims?  Or the mosque that is already within walking distance?

This is bringing the worst out of people I think.  I see comments that a mosque shouldn’t be so close to a “Christian cemetary”.  How presumptuous is it to assume that all the victims were Christian?  Apparently a right-wing radio host suggested that somebody blow the mosque up.  Yeah, that will show them terrorists…..er………how it’s done?  And then I see this on YouTube.  A political advertisement for Rick Barber who is running for U.S. representative.  Well let’s see what state Rick Barber is running in.  I mean, I seen plenty of dumb commercials here in Alabama so it will be good to play one from another……aw crap!  It’s Alabama!

Rick Barber: Marine Corp veteran, small business owner, tea party activist, and apparently very angry!  Or constipated, I’m really not sure!  Despite what Mr. Barber may think, “jihad” really isn’t that much of a threat to our freedom and way of life, or at least it wouldn’t be if we didn’t respond in such extremes in pursuit of the unachievable goal of absolute safety.  You know, like not allowing a Muslim group the freedom to build a mosque wherever they would like.  And Mr. Barber, if “man” did not cause 9/11, what exactly did?  So if a mosque is built within a certain distance of “ground zero”, the terrorists win?  We surrender?  Hey, if you don’t want to “mince words”, then say what you mean.  Just say that the enemy is anyone who follows the Muslim faith and be done with it.  Really, that’s what you mean, right Mr. Barber?

If we want to promote ourselves as a free, tolerant nation, then we let the mosque get built.  Doing otherwise plays right into the hands of the terrorist’s propaganda.  More importantly, doing otherwise is just plain wrong.

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So Google put up a Pac-Man game on its homepage over the past weekend in honor of Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary.  And somebody else decided to calculate how much the game time and money was wasted as a result:

Google’s Pacman Doodle Devoured 4.8 Million Hours Of Our Time: REPORT

While such calculations are fun for math nerds (oh wait, I’M a math nerd!)….er….I mean, for us really cool mathematically inclined folks, demonstrating how quickly small amounts can multiply to huge amounts, such stories do need to be taken with a grain of salt.  The only way productivity/time/money would truly be lost is if instead of playing the Pac-Man game on Google, people would have been doing actual work.  The fact of the matter is no one is ever 100% productive in a workday.  Heck, many people who hit the Google website probably were doing so for the specific purpose of finding something to waste time for a bit.  Just in this case, they didn’t have to use the search function to find that something!

The real mystery is how the heck did I avoid Google for a whole 48 hours and miss this entirely?  Fortunately Google has hooked up those of us who missed our Pac-Man fix.  Just click on the link below and hit the “Insert Coin” button.  And remember to watch out for your boss!

http://www.google.com/pacman/

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Yeah, the fishing is still really good. I mean, check out the size of that bass I'm holding! How do you like that, Bill Dance!

Two Fat Daddys BBQ. Best....Restaurant Name....Ever! Yes, with that name, I had to try it. Best name, not best BBQ.

Mickeys. The best place to eat in Branson West. Chicago-style hot dogs, philley cheese sandwiches, awesome Italian Beef sandwiches, etc.

And thus my dream of starting an animal collection was crushed!

I still do not get what this sign is all about.

God blessed America. Then He bought some light beer!

Of course being in Missouri, you are going to see....a Titanic museum?

See, Branson is not about cheesy shows!

OK, fine, there are cheesy shows!

And cheesy fisherman waist deep in water! At the fish hatchery, right at the point where they release the trout! I am still looking for the duck in a barrel location that I am sure they have for hunters!

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Whew!  It’s been a while since I have written about my running exploits!  But after taking some time off to let my right foot, you know, actually heal instead of stubbornly running through the pain, I have been able to start running again (pain-free, woohoo!).  And today I finally got back into the racing game, running the Run For Wishes 5k at Alabama Adventure.  It feels so great to be back!

Today was also a little more special because this was the first race that I have done with my running buddy, Lael (who has also come off a break).  It was really neat to have somebody to talk to during the race and share the experience with.  It was also great for motivation (and today, she was doing most of the motivating!).  She could have had a faster time today, and I told her if she wanted to take off that she could.  But she said that we started the race together and we were going to finish the race together.  I was very appreciative of that!

All in all, I think it went well.  The first mile was at 9 minutes or so.  The second mile was slower, pretty much because of me.  There was a pretty decent hill on that stretch (I didn’t really expect hills for this race 🙂 ).  But I think we picked it up pretty nicely on the final 1.1 miles to finish under 30 minutes (29:06 is what I had on the watch).  I was drained!  The temperature was probably around 75, which sounds really nice.  But add a relative humidity of 80% and it is not ideal running weather, at least not for me (but this is Alabama, it is going to get worse before it gets better!).

This race has a lot of positives going for it.  First, and most importantly, it is for a great cause, The Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Second, participants get free admission to Alabama Adventure, a local amusement park, for the entire day.  Not only that, but anyone who signs up for the “Family Fun Run” also gets free admission to the park, and the fee for that run is only $10! (Lael was able to bring her husband and very energetic 3 year-old daughter to take advantage of that.  I know they are all having a blast today!)  The food spread wasn’t too bad.  They had plenty of fruit, some plain bagels, glazed donuts, some snack size bags of cookies, and plain biscuits (though I would have preferred some breakfast meat on the biscuits!).

I don’t have any real complaints.  I did think the water stops were a bit oddly placed, with the first stop only about a half a mile into the run.  Not that big of a deal on a race that’s only 5k though.  The park doesn’t open until 10:30am, which leaves a lot of downtime between the race and when people can actually start doing stuff in the park.  Not sure what can be done about that though, since running the race later would also mean running it in hotter weather, and I was plenty hot as it was!  One thing I think the race organizers could do a better job of is publicizing the fact that all race entrants get free admission into the park, particularly for “Family Fun Run” entrants.  A $10 fee is an outstanding deal to get into the park (I think it is normally $35 per person plus $10 for parking).  I think they could get a lot more participants to enter and bring the whole family if they publicized that fact (I only knew because I e-mailed the race organizer).  But all of that is minor!

Next up for me is the XTERRA race at Oak Mountain Park on June 12th.  I apparently suffered from temporary insanity and signed up for a 10k race out there.  The course from what I am told will be brutal.  I will be walking a lot of that, and I am fully prepared to finish dead last in my age group.  But I am just going to enjoy the race atmosphere.  And not get hurt.  That last one is very important.  That’s because entry forms have been submitted, fees have been paid, and accommodations have been arranged for the first half marathon Lael and I will be participating in.  We are officially in the Running For The Bay half marathon at Apalachicola, FL on October 23rd!  It’s going to be, as Lael likes to say, perfect!

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Wow, the political ads in this state reach a special level of dumbness.  Check out this attack ad against Republican candidate Bradley Byrne (paid for by “The True Republican PAC”):

So Bradley Byrne supported the teaching of evolution in our schools.  The horror!  And apparently evolution is a liberal idea.  Probably socialist even.  I think it was a theory pushed by Marx himself!

Then he said that the bible was only “partially true”!  Oh no!  Must be a liberal, because I know liberals do not believe in the bible!  (I run with a liberal-leaning woman who is very active within her church.  But I know that’s really all just a clever ploy just to look Christian!  She’s not fooling me!)  Let’s look at what he actually said, without all that “…”.   Here’s the quote: “”I believe there are parts of the Bible that are meant to be literally true and parts that are not.”  Now somebody might come along and think ‘Hey, isn’t that guy just saying there are parts that are literally true and other parts that are only figuratively true?’  You know what I call those folks?  Pointy-headed liberals!  Look at you, with your fancy words like “figuratively”.  Go back to Harvard you carpetbagger!  The bible is meant to be taken word-for-word literally!  For example:

Leviticus 20:9

If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.

This is Alabama.  We take the bible literally.  The man I elect governor of this fine state will pass a law to issue the death penalty to all those who curse their father or mother, to be consistent with the literal translation of the bible.  Maybe it is the actuarial man in me, but cursing is not nice.  And it makes sense…………………………………………………………does it to you?  (Makes sense to Byrne, he has since publicly stated that he believes that the bible is all literally true, every word.)

Gasp!  In his history as legislator, he has voted for tax increases!  This is Alabama, there is a special place in hell for anyone who has ever supported a tax increase, ever!  If the government is so smart, how come they can’t figure out how to pay for stuff without money?  Hey government, go get a job you lazy bum!  Government is probably an illegal immigrant anyway.  We should send government back to Mexico so it will keep its hands off our Medicare!

Wait….hold on….darn sarcasm button got stuck in the “on” position again!  I have to take that thing to the shop!  Anyway, this is what our political race for governor is looking like.  Pretty sad, right?

But at least we have this guy, still cracking me up with his Tim James parodies:

Gold!  I think if it looks like this race is going to really be decided between Tim James or Roy Moore, I am going to write this guy’s name in when I vote!

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