Wednesday, July 30, 2008

He Stole It From Me

From a Glenn Beck interview with Ron Paul:

GLENN: What do you think about the idea that you gotta vote for the lesser of two evils, no matter what side it is, you've got to vote for the lesser of two evils because half a loaf of bread is better than no bread?

CONGRESSMAN PAUL: I think it's one of the dumbest ideas around. I think that that is a real wasted vote because the two parties have blended together and there's not any difference, nothing really ever changes. You elect a conservative Republican and the deficits explode. And you elect the Democrat to change foreign policy and they make the foreign policy worse. So I think if you really want your vote to be counted, you have to take a principle stand and vote for, if you are left leaning, take a stand for one of the alternative candidates who are left leaning. If not, if you tend to be libertarian, vote libertarian or for the constitutional party.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Feel A Song Comin' On...

No, I'm not about to break into song but my head is churning with the rumblings of a new creation. This happens only about twice a year these days, contrasted with my late teen years when two songs a week was average. Giving birth to a ditty is an exciting but time consuming process that is immensely satisfying. Bear with me, beloved... when birthing is going on you'll see me a tiny bit less but I'll be more enjoyable to be around.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Oil Post

On June 18 President Bush lifted the Executive ban on offshore drilling for oil and called on Congress to lift their ban. You may have noticed that since then, even though we are still in the peak summer driving season, that the price of a barrel of oil has dropped over 10% and the price of gas has fallen about 7%. Funny how the price of gas shoots right up when oil shoots up but then lazily drifts down in price when oil drops.

Incidentally this ban was imposed by his father. Remember him? Mr. Wishy-Washy? If the lesser of two weevils is elected we'll have another one! Just a cheery aside.

The liberal eco-freaks say we can't drill our way out of this energy conundrum but we certainly can't conserve our way out of it. This lifting -o-the ban is a good first step, causing the speculators to spaz out and sell which causes the price to drop. Speculators? Yeah, they're the traders that drive up the cost of oil, speculating that in X months or years there will be Y demand for oil and thus the price should be Z. No reality or market demand behind this, just edumacated guesswork. Until recently the only ones who could participate in the oil speculation market were those with vested interests: oil companies, airlines, small rocks and furry woodland creatures. There is an obvious interest in being able to keep prices low and reasonable so that they can sell their products at a lower and more reasonable price than their competitors. However in the past few years it's opened up and anyone and their brother's cactus can participate. If you have a 401k or mutual funds you are probably participating in this speculation... you bad boy, you.

This isn't the only reason oil has gone up. The weak U.S. dollar has less buying power when it comes time to buy those barrels, but that's another post.

Oh, and I'd like to state that the "windfall profits" of the big oil companies (the ones who arranged to buy the oil, have it shipped, refined it, arrange to have the gas delivered, all that mundane stuff called "work") amounts to about ten cents per gallon. Taxes on gas are around 18% of the price, currently 73 cents per gallon. What did the government due to earn such a hearty "windfall profit"? They allowed the companies to exist. And this ten cents per gallon profit is most certainly taxed again when it gets back to the company and when it is used to pay employees who pay sales tax out of the money that is left after they pay their income taxes out of that money that was generated ten cents at a time. Consider this - without taxes your gas would currently cost $3.27.

That's enough for now. Wake up! Class is over.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Smoochypants!


Um, pay no attention to the "65" on the pictured cake. She's not 65. Not even close. I just liked the garish colors on this monstrosity.

Friday, July 18, 2008

From Some News Article

"Being African-American, you know, I do have some biases," said John Douglas, 67, of Villa Rica, Ga., an Obama supporter. He said the pride and thrill he feels about the possibility of the first black president "has been building up for my lifetime, it's been building up since the inception of our country."

"Being caucasion, you know, I'm not allowed to have biases," said Uvulapie, 37, of Indiana, a conservative candidate supporter. He said the pride and thrill he feels about the possibility of being able to vote for any Presidential candidate who might even remotely reflect his conservative Constitutionally-based values "has been something I've been longing for since I was first able to vote in 1989."

I may have posted this before (my brain has never been known for it's memory) but for years I voted for "the lesser of two evils" because I didn't want to "throw my vote away" on some third party candidate. But guess what? For twenty years I've been throwing my vote away on wishy washy candidates who refuse to support the Constitution. No more! I doubt that the Country Club Republicans will get the message when they lose votes this election... look at what happened during the 1992 election with Ross Perot and they just called it a fluke and gave us another lukewarm candidate in 1988. At least I will be voting my conscience. I had a revered professor in college who said that you vote based on a persons character because character dictates how they will handle the issues. That man was wise, but not wise beyond his years 'cause he was pretty old. Enjoy your retirement Hopalong!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lake People

I just asked two guys I work with who have lake property and apparently the purpose of sand bars IS to stand around and drink. You might even get to stand in waist-high water and drink next to a guy who is making room for more drink! WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING MY WHOLE LIFE?!?!?!

Weathering Heights

A MAJOR UPSET! Based on recent weather predictions the previously lackluster WANE has now pulled into the lead with a slim 559 while is at 575 with WKJG now trailing at 593. This is now based on about two full weeks of results so you know they're about as accurate as national polls.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obligatory Garden Post

We are soon to be in serious trouble. Last year we had four green bean plants and they provided amply for us. This year it's more like fourteen and we're hoping to store some food up for the upcoming apocalypse.

Last year we had five tomato plants and too many of 'em rotted on the counter. This year I only bought three. Then my girl found a yellow one. Then I remembered how the spaghetti sauce was a bit runny so I bought a roma for it's thicker pastiness. Then one caught on from a batch of heirloom seeds I was trying. Then one spontaneously sprung from the garden from last years droppings and how can I kill something to hardy (plus I'm hoping it's a Brandywine because by the time I bought all my plants there was no more room for a Brandywine). So it looks like we're going to be double overrun with tomatoes.

The heirloom carrots are doing well but the pepper plants are puny. I threw some pumpkin seeds in the compost pile so with any luck Walmart won't get as much of our moolah this October.
And all this came about because I saw some baby tomatoes this morning and started looking for that great marinara sauce recipe we used last year.... and couldn't find it. Shhhh... don't tell the Mrs. as she'll be mightily saddened. By the way, pay no attention to the weeds in the picture above.

Also growing are the raspberry plants. Three years ago they went in and did nothing, last year we had a double handful of berries. This year we can't keep up, a delightful position to be in!

The lone grape plant also went in three years ago but since it shared the same space as the thriving raspberries and was starting to work it's way under the siding I moved them this spring, hoping that I was gentle enough to not disrupt what should be their first crop. They did some sprouting and then withered, leaving one disappointed amateur horticulturist. But then they started plumping up! And up!

And up! There are currently about the size of a dime but I haven't time to go take and upload new pictures... gotta get ready for church y'all.

For those at Redeemer, well, we didn't make it. That baby was up last night and I suddenly realized that I had let time get away from me and would need to get five kids up and ready (plus two groggy adults) in an hours, plus we are going to my dad's right after church so we'd have to pick up and pack changes of clothes for everyone (plus swimsuits) and I made the executive decision to skip church. The fault is all mine. Sorry.


Artists depiction of the head of the Hoffman household.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I've Been Tasered

From my lovely wife...

Ten years ago and more.

*What was I doing ten years ago?

I was getting ready to leave my sub $20k per year job at The Lincoln Museum for a job out at Lincoln Reinsurance. My now thirteen year old son was still in diapers and Matthew was on the way. I sold two pieces of musical equipment for cash.

*What are 5 things on my to-do list for tomorrow?

Change the oil in my car
Mow the yard
Make dinner
Finish my novel
Start my symphony

*Snacks I enjoy:

Chocolate, peppermint ice cream (okay, almost any ice cream), pies (blueberry, cherry, and sugar cream), cashews, spring surprise, wood and rocks.

*Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Get my wife a maid
Stop "working" so I could focus on my family and hobbies
Buy that sweet $1800 acoustic guitar I test drove
Grow my dreadlocks back out

*Places I have lived:

Indiana: Scottsdale Arizona, Anderson, Fort Wayne

*Jobs I have had:

Hoffman Nursery garden center plant waterer
Hoffman Nursery bill payor
RAX (salad bar guru)
K-Mart - Homecenter and Electronics
WFCV weekend radio operator
Various computer lab geek jobs in college
Business owner - Manna Music
Jericho Music and More!
Freelance writer for Whatzup - CD reviews, a classical music column for a number of years, a handful of features
Web developer
Payment Processing Specialist for Lincoln Annuitites
Museum Store Coordinator - The Lincoln Museum
Special Projects Analyst - Lincoln Reinsurance
Database geekery at Lincoln Financial Advisors
Production Support - current
Cabana Boy - future

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ever noticed how weather forecasts are often wrong? Me too. Ever wonder if there was a way to determine which weather source was the most accurate? Me too. Ever spend over a week writing down forecasts from three sources and then putting them into a database so you can devise calculations to find the most accurate? Me too.

Those not prone to geekery, please stop reading now.

For each of the three local weather sources, two television stations and, I wrote down their forecast for the next seven days, including the current day, for both the high temperature and conditions. Eventually the conditions were broken down into Sunny, Partly Cloudy/Partly Sunny, Chance of showers/snow or scattered rain/snow or part day rain/snow, and Rain/Snow. There was a slight bit of human element in converting the various phrases for each source to these categories ("Partly Sunny with Scattered Thunderstorms" becomes, um, "Chance of Showers"). The day after I would get the conditions and high temperature from

The analysis was in two parts.

Temperature: One point was given for every degree they were off on their forecast seven days away, two points for every degree they were off on their forecast six days away, three points... etc.

Conditions: I gave much more weight to conditions then temperature. If they say it's going to rain in three days and you change your plans, well, that's much more serious than if it was four degrees warmer than forecast. Each of the assigned conditions were given a value based on severity - 1 point for Sunny, 2 for Partly cloudy, etc. The difference between the forecast condition value and the actual condition value was then multiplied by five for the seven day forecast, ten for the six day forecast, fifteen for the five day forecast, etc. The logic of this is that if they are wrong on conditions a week from now, well, no big deal. If they louse up tomorrow's forecast then someone needs more training.

The lower the number the better the forecasting abilities. Make sense? Should I get a life?

I found that my previously preferred source was the worst of the bunch. ACK!

WANE TV - 325

Indiana News Center - 277

Weather.Com - 273

Admittedly, this is only based on six full days of data and a handful of partial days. I intend to analyze a two week span soon. Results will be posted.