June 30, 2008

Great Catch

Even though Snopes.com says this is a Gatorade commercial and the catch was done digitally, it's still a great video.

Person of Interest

Remember the Anthrax case, the poison mailings just after 9/11? The "person of interest" in that case, Dr. Steven Hatfill, was just awarded $5,825,000 by the court for damage done to him by the FBI.

Scott Woodward named Freshman All-American

Past Norwell standout, Scott Woodward played third, stole 42 bases, scored 82 runs and batted .364 for the Coastal Carolina Baseball team.  He was named to the Freshman All-American team today.  Congratulations!

June 29, 2008

Good For One Gallon


Did you know Congress gave themselves another pay raise this year?  They gave themselves each $4,100 more a year, so they each get $169,300 a year now. In addition to their salary, they get cheap health and life insurance (about 1/3 the cost we pay) and free outpatient care from any military hospital (even if they never served), they're pension for when they retire is automatically adjusted for inflation and is about three times more generous to them than our 401Ks are to us.  On top of that, the Federal government takes our taxes and gives each Congressperson somewhere between 2 and 4 million dollars for their staff and the administration of their office, they get another free fund for their office furniture, we tax payers fund all the junk mail they send us (every email I send them results in a letter in my mailbox, even when I ask them to stop wasting my money with pointless letters.  Did you get that tax check in the mail?  First they send you a note, saying they were going to send it, then they sent you another note, saying it was almost here, then they sent the check... three mailings to millions of people... what a waste.).

They have also voted themselves tax breaks for having to maintain two homes, they get free travel (spouses included) from non-profit groups for most of their "working vacations."  They've voted themselves free research service, free, reserved parking at work and at the airport, free gyms, free swimming pools and low cost, high quality dining halls.  They get a constant stream of skybox  and other free tickets.  Their pensions grow based on how long they're in office and their other perks, like free research and free mailings, keep them in office. 

In November of 2004, 401 of the 435 sitting members of the U.S. House of Representatives sought reelection. Of those 401, all but five were reelected. In other words, incumbents seeking reelection to the House had a better than 99% success rate. In the U.S. Senate, only one incumbent seeking reelection was defeated. Twenty-five of twenty-six (96%) were reelected.  This is not healthy... how can so many people be so upset at Congress and yet they keep getting themselves re-elected into millionaire-pension-heaven?

June 27, 2008

Is Norwell Structurally Sound?

An interesting discussion from the School Board

There are three structural weak points in the school with one each adjacent to the gymnasium, the cafeteria and the auditorium. The weak points were created by snow load—possibly from the Blizzard of '78 and aggravated a little by the record snowy winter of 1982.

The points are located where lower sections of the Butler System joined with higher sections of the masonry gym and auditorium and with the glass wall of the cafeteria. Heavy snow will naturally drift between the two points.

The reason that the weak points have not been stressed too badly up to this point is because since 1982, there just hasn't been any major single snow events or accumulative snow events to cause any significant stress.

What no one wants is to have something like the Ball State Field house collapse during an ice storm in 1979... even though no one was hurt, there were people inside the Field House when it started creaking and moaning before the collapse.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say.

Congratulations to the Sells

Dave and Valarie Sell, married 25 years on June 25

We're Winning the War

Cheer up, we're winning the War on Terror.  Here's just a portion:

The third and perhaps most significant advance of all in the War on Terror is the discrediting of the Islamist creed and its appeal.

This was first of all evident in Iraq, where the head-hacking frenzy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates so alienated the majority of Muslims that it gave rise to the so-called Sunni Awakening that enabled the surge to be so effective.

But it has spread way beyond Iraq. As Lawrence Wright described in an important piece in The New Yorker last month, there is growing disgust not just among moderate Muslims but even among other jihadists at the extremism of the terrorists.

Deeply encouraging has been the widespread revulsion in Muslim communities in Europe - especially in Britain after the 7/7 attacks of three years ago. Some of the biggest intelligence breakthroughs in the past few years have been achieved from former al-Qaeda supporters who have turned against the movement.

There ought to be no surprise here. It's only their apologists in the Western media who really failed to see the intrinsic evil of Islamists. Those who have had to live with it have never been in much doubt about what it represents. Ask the people of Iran. Or those who fled the horrors of Afghanistan under the Taleban.

This is why we fight. Primarily, of course, to protect ourselves from the immediate threat of terrorist carnage, but also because we know that extending the embrace of a civilisation that liberates everyone makes us all safer.

June 24, 2008

Bishop Luers makes Hoosier History

I've been remiss in my duties and haven't reported on the Amazing year Bishop Luers put together.  The Luers boys won the 2A crown in Football, Basketball and Baseball, all in the same school year.  No Indiana team has ever done that.  Right way, of course, the harping began, saying, "Oh, they recruit the best from all over the city."  But Luers is not the only Catholic High School in Ft. Wayne and they are certainly not the only Catholic High School in Indiana -- and yet no other school has ever pulled off such a trifecta of excellence.

Luers started the title trifecta with a 21-6 win over Heritage Christian in the 2A state football title game in November at the RCA Dome. The Knights moved to Conseco Fieldhouse for a 69-67 win over Winchester in the boys basketball title game and capped it with a baseball title at Victory Field.

The closest any other school had come to the "triple crown" was Penn, who won football and baseball titles in 2001. But the Kingsmen lost in the state finals of boys basketball.

Two other schools, Lafayette Central Catholic in 2000 and Indianapolis Chatard in 2003 won football and boys basketball titles, but lost in the baseball postseason before the state finals.

Although no Luers' player was a member of all three teams, 11 baseball players also played football.

Three of the basketball players also played football, but no basketball players were on the baseball team.

Luers' sports seasons were not without their share of luck, to be sure.  In particular, the Basketball game against Bluffton in the Sectional was very, very close and Woodward was injured in the run-up to the finals.  But luck or no luck, it was a great season.

Congratulations, Luers!

June 20, 2008

Turkey wipes out bridge near Ossian

OK, so it's not a bird "turkey" it's the "Turkey" River, and it's not Ossian, Indiana, but Ossian, Iowa... but I'm sure the headline was worth it to you.  Having just watched Cloverfield, the image of a giant turkey on the rampage in Ossian is nearly too much to bear.

Another take on Tiger Woods

Man Who Used Stick to Roll Ball into Hole Praised for Courage

From The Onion, of course.

Jay Leno & Car Parts

Jay Leno writes in Popular Mechanics about those who love car parts.

So I followed them to a house in the San Fernando Valley that had a couple of '50s-era Buicks in the front yard. We went in through the back door to the kitchen, and there was a double sink. One of the sinks was filled with carburetor ­cleaner, and car parts were soaking in it.

Then, I noticed none of the cabinets had doors, and they were filled with carburetor parts from old Buicks, all carefully labeled with tags saying what they were. As we moved throughout the house, Buick fenders, wheels, tires and other stuff were all stacked up.

So I said to the guy who seemed to be the homeowner, "Single man, are you?" He responded, "Yeah, how'd you know? The wife left eight years ago. Now I can do what I want and collect my Buick stuff."

Is this really necessary?

June 18, 2008

How Green is your Valley

In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former VP's home energy use surged more than 10%.

"A man's commitment to his beliefs is best measured by what he does behind the closed doors of his own home," said Drew Johnson, President of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. "Al Gore is a hypocrite and a fraud when it comes to his commitment to the environment, judging by his home energy consumption."

In the past year, Gore's home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

In February 2007, An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on a climate change speech developed by Gore, won an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The next day, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research uncovered that Gore's Nashville home guzzled 20 times more electricity than the average American household.

After the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore's massive home energy use, the former Vice President scurried to make his home more energy-efficient. Despite adding solar panels, installing a geothermal system, replacing existing light bulbs with more efficient models, and overhauling the home's windows and ductwork, Gore now consumes more electricity than before the "green" overhaul.

Which candidate is this goof-ball endorsing?

June 16, 2008

Eat Waste, Excrete Oil

The answer we're all looking for...

A great US Open

We're Tiger fans, so it was a really great weekend of ups and downs as the US Open played out.  I was sorry to miss the action today, but glad to see they both did well and it wasn't a runaway in either direction

He has won three Masters, the first one by 12 strokes. He has won four United States Opens, the first by 15 strokes. He has won three British Opens, the first by eight strokes. He has won four P.G.A. Championships, one of them by five strokes.

CFL Light Bulbs

A nice CFL Light Bulb rant on the floor of Congress. Thanks to Sevens member Gary Ulmer for sending this along.

June 12, 2008

Who is on the Nickel

Whose face is on a nickel?

Norwell Golfer heads to State

McCormick Clouser, a freshman at Norwell,  shot a 71 to advance  to the individual championship final round.  A 77 on the final round took him out of the running, but the future is looking bright for the Norwell golf team.

Canadian Justice

I've written a bit about the Canadian Human Rights Commission putting Mark Steyn and Macleans magazine on trial for writing things critical of Islam/Muslims.  I've written, too, about the French convicting Brigitte Bardot on a similar offense.  There has also been another recent trial in Canada involving the Human Rights Commission, only this time a Christian paster in Alberta, Stephen Boissoin, was convicted of a hate crime against gays for commenting on what his faith says about homosexuality.  The Commission found him guilty (the Canadian Human Rights Commission has a 100% success rate of convicting everyone they bring in front of them) and ordered him to pay $7,000 in court costs and to apologize publically for his beliefs... for his faith.  As you can read for yourself at the link above, the Canadian Attorney General took part in the case against the reverend and said this:

If people were allowed to simply hide behind the rubric of political and religious opinion, they would defeat the entire purpose of the human rights legislation.  It is the Attorney General's position that there is no such thing as "disciminatory political and religious expression," speech is either legitimate or it is disciminatory.

So if you take a political or religious stand against the behavior of anyone, you are violating their Human Rights.  But if the Human Rights Commision takes a stand against your behavior -- well, that's OK... it's a one way street, paved with the best of intentions.

June 10, 2008

Power's Back

Well, after 12 hours or so of living in the pre-industrial age,
Indiana Michigan's estimate of repairing the outage was pushed out to
Thursday. Since our basement was already two inches deep and it was
still raining, I ran out and bought an 8000 Watt generator. It didn't
take long before we had it running, powering our sumps and fridges.

Five or six hours later, the power came back to life. Still a good
investment, I think, since we tend to lose power a lot around here.

June 9, 2008

Power's Out

I don't know about you all, but our power's been out since the storm
about four hours ago. Our direct neighbor took a lightning strike to
his utility pole and his transformer's been leaning with the pole at
about seventy degrees ever since. AEP predicted we may get power back
by midnight, but I'm none too optimistic about that. We haven't seen
truck one, though firemen did come and tape off his driveway for

It's actually kind of pleasent, listening to the radio, reading till
the light bled from the day, and listening to the birds chatter their
evening vespers.

Men Built for Others

The Bluffton basketball team opted out of a tournament they were scheduled to attend this last weekend in order to serve the community after the storms.

Barker and his players were supposed to travel to Indiana Wesleyan University Saturday to play in a tournament with 24 other teams, including several big schools. The Tigers, who posted a perfect 21-0 record this past season before losing to the eventual state champion in the sectional finals, were going to challenge such teams as Kokomo and Indianapolis' Arsenal Technical School.

But after the fast-moving line of thunderstorms dumped more than 1⁄4-inch of rain with winds in excess of 60 mph that knocked out power to thousands and downed trees and power lines, a basketball game didn't seem too important to Campbell.

"This is our community and we have always been men built for others," Campbell said Saturday morning as he helped move limbs from a downed tree.

"We knew a lot of people needed help today because they were unable to do it themselves. We wanted to help other people as much as possible. Basketball doesn't seem that important when you think about what's going on in the community."

That's nothing but class.  Well done, Bluffton!

Rowling Address: Human Imagination

J.K. Rowling, British author of the 'Harry Potter' Books and previous Amnesty International worker, gave an address to Harvard Graduates last week.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard and read. …

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's minds, imagine themselves into other people's places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

Well said, and then there's this

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people's lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world's only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

There are more thoughts at the link, well worth reading.

Tornado Pics

Sevens member Scott Elzey sends in these Tornado Pics from the storm on Friday

June 7, 2008

Big Cow

"Chilli" stands six foot six inches at the shoulder... click on the picture for more info.

Track Records

I ran across some Fort Wayne area track and field Sectional 7 State records and was surprised at the dates of some of the records... some of the records have been converted their Metric equivalents. It's not just that Matt Confer and Steve Arnold are still sectional record holders after more than 30 years, but it appears that 1975-1985 was a decade of fantastic track and field athletes. Not only have many of the records stood the test of time, but today's runners seldom even come close. Who knew we were living in a golden age...
Boys 100 Meter Dash
State: * 10.31 1981 Jerome Harrison, Jeffersonville
Sectional: ' 10.40 1985 Dick Cole, Whitko

Boys 200 Meter Dash
State: * 21.10 1982 Jeffrey Patrick, Gary Roosevelt
Sectional: ' 21.20 1975 Matt Confer, Norwell

Boys 400 Meter Dash
State: * 46.99 2002 David Neville, Merrillville
Sectional: ' 49.30 1976 Jim Rogers, Huntington North

Boys 800 Meter Run
State: * 1:50.20 1977 Tom Martin, Evansville Memorial
Sectional: ' 1:53.80 1977 Steve Arnold, Norwell

Boys 1600 Meter Run
State: * 4:04.20 1976 Rudy Chapa, Hammond
Sectional: ' 4:16.10 1980 Greg Osborn, Blackford

Boys 3200 Meter Run
State: * 8:55.10 1975 Rudy Chapa, Hammond
Sectional: ' 9:19.10 1979 Dave Painter, Heritage

Boys 110 Meter Hurdles
State: * 13.64 1976 Jerry Hill, Arsenal Technical
Sectional: ' 14.20 1985 Jay Hosler/Will Luzar, Huntington No/Homestead

Boys 300 Meter Hurdles
State: * 36.34 2005 Bryce Brown, Evansville Harrison
Sectional: ' 39.86 1999 Brad Buzzard, Huntington North

Boys 4x100 Meter Relay
State: * 41.02 1982 Gary Roosevelt, Gary Roosevelt D Young, J Patrick, G Moore, A Price
Sectional: ' 43.53 2007 Marion, Marion

Boys 4x400 Meter Relay
State: * 3:13.66 1980 Gary West, Gary West Side K Carter, C Peterson, W Monogan, S Burnett
Sectional: ' 3:21.90 1973 White's, White's

Boys 4x800 Meter Relay
State: * 7:41.56 6/3/2006 Indpls. Bishop Chatard, Chatard S Ball, C Dietrick, A Poore, T Leone
Sectional: ' 8:09.40 1998 Huntington North, Huntington

Boys High Jump
State: * 7-01.25 1977 Jeff Woodard, New Albany
Sectional: ' 6-11 1988 Mario Cardinali, Wabash

Boys Pole Vault
State: * 16-09 2001 Matt Campbell/Paul Gensic, White River Val./
Sectional: ' 15-00 2006 Zach Rosenberger, Columbia City

Boys Long Jump
State: * 24-07.75 1995 Frank Young, Kokomo
Sectional: ' 22-03.50 1949 Phil Musick, Rochester

Boys Shot Put
State: * 66-08.50 1997 Jeremy Allen, Pike
Sectional: ' 60-05.50 1990 Greg Hart, Homestead

Boys Discus Throw
State: * 217-01 1993 John Schulte, Hanover Central
Sectional: ' 211-10 1990 Greg Hart, Homestead

June 3, 2008

Senate Begins Debate

The Senate has opened debate on a Global Warming Bill
The measure’s sponsors say the nation must take immediate action to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions, but many senators in both parties see the legislation as an expensive long-term plan that would do little to solve today’s energy supply and price problems. In fact, the legislation is not expected to pass in the Senate this year.

The debate, which could last all week, will force senators to take a stand on some of the most difficult, expensive and potentially life-altering questions the world will face in coming decades.

My question? Why do the Global Warmers always focus their laws on preventing the CO2 from entering the atmosphere? The Warmers try to run energy companies out of business, they try to mandate cars and buses no one wants or can afford, they try to criminalize the standard of living they themselves have. Why don't they just pass laws that mandate the temperature they want and penalize the cities, or states (or countries) that exceed the required temperature? Wouldn't this avoid the whole argument about cause and singling out specific criminal industries?

What temperature should Congress mandate for Indiana?

I'd like the temperature in Indiana to be 70

Thought Police Take Down Bardot

Brigitte Bardot was convicted Tuesday of thinking bad thoughts about Muslims. She was fined $23,325 for racial hatred. Bardot, if you didn't know, is heavy into animal rights and complained about the Muslim feast of Aid el-Kebir which is celebrated by slaughtering sheep, saying the Muslims were ruining France.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Day 2

Day Two of the Human Rights Pseudo Trail against free speech in Canada

Solar powered Burro

Moses, the solar powered burro, takes a break at [Sevens member] Scott Elzey's place on 116.

June 2, 2008

Bellmont Closes Norwell's 2008 Season

Bellmont 6, Norwell 5.

Goodmiller, Otis, Kody Kumfer and Bill Denney played in their last game for Norwell.

"The four young men who are going to walk away have done a great job for us," said Weybright. "Ryne and Rhett have been stalwarts for us for four years. It's kind of an end there with that group that was put together last year.

"I think some of the lessons that they've taught the young kids — not just about baseball but about life and passion — will pay dividends down the road," added Weybright. "We're going to miss them and wish them the best of luck."

NOTE: The Braves will play Benton Central (15-14) on Tuesday in 3A regional action at Benton Central (Oxford) at 5:30 p.m. The raindate is Wednesday.

In keeping with Norwell's view that Valedictorians don't exist, the team consulted the rule book to see if one team is actually allowed to win.  In sports, apparently, teams are allowed to win and lose, not so in academics.

Southern Wells Valedictorian

Southern Wells announces their Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Three members of the Southern Wells High School Class of 2007 graduated Sunday with grade point averages of 4.0 or better, with the recognition of class valedictorian gong to Shawn Longenberger.

Salutatorian honors were bestowed upon Joshua Lavanchy, while Casey Carroll finished with the third-highest academic average.

And what is it that Norwell does anymore?  If I remember correctly, the words 'Valedictorian' and 'Salutatorian' are too difficult, the concept of someone achieving more than anyone else is too divisive for the eighteen-year-old Norwell students to handle.  Why they still give out trophies and ribbons to the athletes is beyond me.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

If you haven't been following the case, Mark Steyn is a Canadian journalist who rights for Macleans, which is a Canadian magazine. Mark Steyn's articles and books about the rise of Islamofascism (see "America Alone: the End of the World as We Know it," for example) as they appeared in articles in Macleans, has been submitted to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal as hate speech by some young Muslims in Canada. Other journalists and bloggers have been silenced in just this same way in Canada, but the Human Rights Tribunal has never gone after such a large magazine and such a famous journalist. It seems a lot of the complaints are not about Steyn's original writing, but rather his quoting what different Mullah's have stated in different countries. So this is an attempt to silence someone who is reporting on the Muslim world.

The Human Rights Tribunal, from what I understand, is not like a court -- the Tribunal is, if you will, above the law. It's purpose is to stop hate speech, stop people's feelings from being hurt, and the law makers and law keepers in Canada are duty-bound to follow the ruling of the Tribunal even though it is not a court.

Anyway, at long last, the hearing is underway.

3:26 PM
All of this, so far, is within their rights. They have a right to be offended by Steyn’s piece. They have a right to complain about it, to denounce it, argue against it, ridicule it, and so on. They also have a right to issue whatever outrageous demands to Maclean’s they like, just as Maclean’s has a right to give these the back of their hand. What they don’t, or shouldn’t have a right to do is what happened next: taking their case to the cops. Or rather not the cops, but multiple human rights tribunals.