Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A limit to political tolerance....

....was apparently found by California Senator Janet Nguyen, who (amazingly) decided not to sign on to a resolution in honor of the late Tom Hayden, noting his part in putting her as an infant in a leaky boat on the South China Sea, and his failure to acknowledge that he was wrong about the brutality of Communism. 

Now "protocol" says that one ought not belittle a fellow Senator, of course, and yes, people can forgive these wrongs, but I am quite happy to see someone objecting to a posthumous honor for Hayden for these reasons.  There are times, quite frankly, when politicians get along too well, and that betrays that they really might not believe what they say they do.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Only in Sweden. I hope

The town of Overtornea in northern Sweden is considering giving its municipal employees a paid hour per week so they can go home and make love to their spouses.  Now apart from logistical problems--what do you do for the single, and those whose spouses work during the day, how do you make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing  (ewww), and what do you do with the kids--these municipal employees just might have trouble giving blood, or at least would get embarrassed quite a bit.

You see, since prostitution is strongly linked with AIDS, every donor is asked in a few different ways "have you ever taken or received money or drugs in exchange for sex?", and these people would have to answer yes--and then explain that the "john" was their town government. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My take on Macy's

When I first moved to Minnesota, one of the nicest things about shopping in Edina (cake eater territory) was that I could walk into a good men's clothing store and ask for "17 1/2 36-37 fitted" and not be laughed at.  You paid for it, but you could get it--or they would know where you could.  One of the places where you could get fitted suits of good quality was Marshall Field's, and I vividly remember walking into the men's area, and within five minutes the salesman had guessed my size (correctly) and found five suits that would meet my needs.

So what is going wrong now?  Well, in my last visit to Macy's in Edina, what I noticed is that the guys who used to staff menswear are simply not there anymore, and when I looked at the garments they had, polyester blends were far more common than wool or cotton.  Moreover, the old system of identifying garments by size had broken down--nobody cared to make sure that  a 36 waist trouser was on a hanger identified as such. 

In other words, the prices still said Marshall Field's, but the garment quality said J.C. Penney and the  presentation said Goodwill.  In other words, my view is that contrary to their CEO, the company does not need to "evolve" or "execute faster", but rather to remember the things that made them the nation's biggest and bring them back. 

Granted, in a world of fast fashion and spandex garments, it's harder and harder to sell the old Marshall Field's experience, but at a certain point, that's precisely why you hire people in marketing, no?  I certainly try to do my part, and the differences in fit, wear, comfort/breathability, and such are not difficult to describe. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Glad I graduated when I did!

A professor--apparently a liberal one--at my alma mater, Michigan State University, is in trouble after having sent out Donald Trump-themed Valentine's Day cards.  I shudder to think of the reaction the Al Capone-themed Valentine's Day cards I gave out one year would get now. 

Or it might be that, now as then, most people wouldn't get it.  Only two people got it back then, and my wife and I met at their wedding.  I don't think that Capone cards had anything to do with that, though.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A simple question

Recent reports indicate that recent decisions of retailers to drop "Trump" brand clothing, jewelry, and other lines had a lot to do with precipitous drops in business as the election season was gearing up--apparently about the same time "the Donald" wrapped up the nomination.  Now granted, I don't have a good statistical sample of those customers who ultimately made that decision, but one would have to conclude that a significant portion of "soak the rich" Democrats were previously willing to buy Trump brand products.

Now from my perspective, I've found the Trump brand rather tacky ever since I was in high school, but it particularly boggles the mind to contemplate this crowd buying their merchandise in the first place.  If one isn't careful, one is bound to learn something new each day, I guess.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feel safer?

When arrested for having a loaded pistol while flying, the aptly-named Rick Derringer noted that he'd flown over 50 times with such and never been stopped before.  Sure makes me feel safer, but it sounds about right given the rate at which the TSA misses lethal weapons in FBI tests.   

So while I don't condone his failure to read the signs while going through screening--his mistake is not exactly excusable or subtle--it does suggest that we might do well to try something new for airplane security.  I wonder, for example, what portion of pilots are now certified to fly while armed?   (the last data I could see indicated about 10% in 2008)

Bringing rail travel back

Having grown up near Chicago, and within 20 miles of at least 20 train lines in NW Indiana, I'm a huge fan of trains, but quite frankly the reality of train travel (a.k.a Amtrak) leaves a lot to be desired.  And so I was intrigued by this article about "most romantic train rides", especially the picture in this link

Notice what you have is the coal-fired (romantic?) steam locomotive pulling up a grade with....a modern diesel locomotive right behind it.  In other words, they've got the romance and the reality.  To buy the ride, people want both.  And in this case, it's pretty obvious that they're compromising one to get the other.

The solution, if it's practical, is simply to have a small diesel and generator on each carriage--a "doodlebug" configuration--and then let the old steam locomotive be the "crumple zone" in the case of a crash.  I'm told that the typical objection to a doodlebug configuration is, after all, the prospect of what happens in a crash with freight trains. 

Oh, and maybe....just maybe....rework the steam engine to burn natural gas instead of coal.  Maybe I'm just weird, but unfiltered coal smoke is not part of the old romance of rail, but is rather part of why so many of us decided to drive, take the bus, or fly.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Unclear on the concept

Believing (wrongly) that the federal Department of Education has the power to destroy public education, many people on the left are planning to homeschool their children.  The irony here is that since schools allocate funds by the number of students, and since schools really need a quorum of smart, well behaved kids to function well, these well-meaning but misguided liberals are...

.....exercising their power to destroy the public education available to their children.  Oops. 

But that said, if liberals learn how few resources (in money and time) are needed to educate a child well, and the tremendous freedoms offered by home education, all I can say is "the more the merrier."  This is especially the case as it would further the migration of home education away from the teachings of guys like Bill Gothard, and would be tremendously good for the movement.  It also has the possibility of reminding the left of the joys of traditional family life where one parent has primary care of the children, and of reminding Democratic legislators that homeschool freedoms cannot be infringed without extracting a political price.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Fun thought

I'd like to get one of those squarish pink hats--the ones named after a cat I'm told--and embroider "Justice for Juanita, Monica, Gennifer, Paula, Kathleeen, and a bunch of others" on it, and then see who gets the joke.  Or maybe that would be a little bit more dangerous than it ought to be in a world of reality-and-humor-challenged activists.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Liberalism in action

Apparently, the rioters thugs  fascists rioting at Berkeley on February 1 decided, among other things, to smash the windows of the Martin Luther King building on campus.  February 1 is, of course, the start of Black History Month.

It strikes me that the major difference these guys have with the Ku Klux Klan is that they wore black instead of white hoods to cover their faces. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Real man, Monty Python Fan

I may be reading between the lines a bit too much, but this case of a woman marrying the firefighter who accompanied her to the hospital after the Boston Marathon bombing makes me think the firefighter is not only a real man in many ways, but also a Monty Python fan.

Real man because he ran towards the explosion and helped save this lady's life, and then is marrying her, and a Monty Python fan because in the ambulance, he told her that her injury--which required the amputation of her leg above the knee--was only a "flesh wound". 

And come to think of it, marrying an amputee counts as another point for being a real man.  Best wishes to the happy couple!