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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Hairdo Bloviation #6

Here's Chris Matthews for Monday and Tuesday. In a fit of compassion and kindness he didn't do any one-on-one interviews on the Tuesday show. Although his interviews turn out to be informative and interesting. Thanks Chris.

Monday 1/23/06 data:

Guest _____________ Guest talk time ____ Matthews talk time

Carole Keeton Strayhorn ___ 5:14 ___________ 2:15
Robert Stein ____________ 3.28 ___________ 1:51
Paul Burka _____________ 2:58 ___________ 1:58

Total ______________ 11:40 __________ 6:04

Matthews talked 34.2% of the time. Once again - Goddamn! the blogger interface sucks. Go into bold and you're stuck with it for the rest of the post. Bunch of maroons. Will comment on subsequent post - give your eyes a rest.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Iran Roundup

The last couple of days have seen some interesting writings concerning Iran's nuclear ambitions. First is a dash of cold water on the whole idea. The Cunning Realist thinks the rhetoric is a little overheated. OUR rhetoric. He makes the point that the White House hasn't quoted U.S. intelligence wrt Iran's nukes for three years.
The next one is quite a bit more negative. Joe Katzman reviews the situation and hopes that we all have solar panels and, I would think, fallout shelters. Then he proceeds "It gets worse."
Then George Friedman gets radical and suggests that the mullahs are counting on an attack from the U.S. or Israel as it would restore their cred as the most badass of all the Muslims. And THAT'S what it's all about.
The three together will keep your brain occupied for a few hours.

UPDATE: Here's one more, shooting down the idea of a single EMP bomb knocking out the whole country.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Cat in a Box

Continuing the 'critter tales' series:

It must have been around 1962 that, reading the Charlotte Disturber, I saw a long obituary about a local character who sounded pretty interesting. Not that an eleven-year-old boy was in the habit of reading the obits. Something in the header must have grabbed me. His name is lost to me, but among other things he was an avid outdoorsman and a serious prankster. How serious? This serious. He and his friends once caught (don't ask me how) a young mountain lion and were pondering whether to let it go or do something interesting with it. They retrieved an old piece of luggage from one of their homes and put the lion (again, don't ask) into the suitcase. Then they set the suitcase by the side of the highway and waited. This was a two-lane road in the 1930's or earlier. A car went by, then another. Then a big sedan drove by, jammed on the brakes and reversed. Coming even with the suitcase the door opened, a hand reached out and snatched it and the car roared off. For about 100 yards. Then the car screeched to a halt, all the door opened and four men ran screaming in mortal terror. Soon after an ill-used, thoroughly pissed-off young mountain lion stepped out of the car, looked around and vanished into the woods.


Hairdo Bloviation #5

Ooops again. I looked at the two Brit Hume news episodes I've recorded and noticed that he's not really an interviewer. He talks to reporters on the scene and his panel at the end of the show. Oh well, I should watch these things more closely. Still, I'll time Chris Matthews next week and maybe Russert the next. Sorry 'bout that.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Hairdo Bloviation #4

Okay, the bad news is I somehow botched the Thursday show. Only recorded a few minutes and then it stopped. But I'm not sorry. I've suffered enough. And when you see the last guest on Friday's show you'll want to give me a medal. I watched these two TWICE to get the times. TWICE!!!! If not a medal, maybe a cigar, a cookie. Something! Oh yeah, I decided to include much of the overtalking as ignoring it would have seriously distorted the data. O and his guests do a lot of it, a lot. Without further ado (or whining):

Friday (1/13/06) data:

Guest______________Guest talk time____O'Reilly talk time

Leslie Crocker Snyder____ 2:24 __________ 1:37
Rachel Marsden________2:19___________ 1:06
Tyson Slocum__________2:38___________1:57
Geraldo Rivera_________4:48___________2:26

Total _______________12:09 __________ 7:02

O'Reilly talked 36.6% of the time.

On average for the four shows I timed O'Reilly did 39.2% of the talking when he had one guest. This is astonishing but about what I'd expected. I'm going to time Brit Hume next week and Chris Matthews the following week. Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


The elk and the melon

Another in the intermittent 'critter tales' series. This one happened about 25 years ago at my friend's mountain property. The cabin wasn't up yet but they had put up a teepee and created a very comfy area around the fire pit. The guys all went up for a bachelor party (the victim puking and saying 'this is sad' isn't part of the story) and did some fine barbecuing. Don had brought up a huge watermelon and set it on a damp spot of ground to cool overnight. As it happened I bedded down about two feet from the melon and promptly passed out. In the morning the melon was gone except for the heart - about the size of two fists. Instead there were hoof prints made by a HUGE elk. He'd eaten the melon and probably found the rind delicious, the outer meat bearable, but the heart was just too damn sweet, so he left it for us monkeys. Don and I made short work of it and toasted the critter's health.


Hairdo Bloviation #3

Here's the Wednesday (1/11/06) data:

Guest_______________Guest talk time_____O'Reilly talk time

Andrew Napolitano_______3:30_____________1:51
Jerry Barton___________2:28______________1:44
Michael Lewellen________2.44______________1:39 ___(LOTS of overtalk)
Harvey Silverglate_______3:29______________2:50

Total:________________10:11____________ 8:04

O'Reilly talked 44.2% of the time. A new record. Sorry for the indiscriminate bolding but, as many of you know, the blogger interface isn't worth a shit in a whirlwind. 44.2%!!! Why even bother with guests at all? Maybe soon he'll just look into the camera and moo for an hour.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Hairdo Bloviation #2

Here's the data for Monday and Tuesday for O'Reilly:

Monday 1/09/06
Guest_____Guest talk time______ O'Reilly talk time

John Ashcroft____ 6:14____________3:42
Dick Morris ______2:30___________1:06
Rabbi James Rudin _3:14___________1:04
Juan Williams_____1:35___________1:58

Total: _________13:33 _________7:50

O'Reilly talked 36.6% of the time.

Tuesday 1/10/06

Allan Mansoor_____2:29___________1:06
Lawrence Leamer___1:58__________2:28
Greta van Susteren__2:38__________1:36
Bob Kohn_________2:09___________:50

Total: __________9:14 ________6:00

O'Reilly talked 39.3% of the time.

Looks like he's as talkative as I'd supposed. He really goes on about Ted Kennedy (guest L. Leamer) and Harry Belafonte (J. Williams), although I don't disagree with either of his assessments. Let's see how the week turns out, and how the other hairdos perform in the following weeks.


Hairdo Bloviation #1

I've long noticed that Bill O'Reilly books very good guests on his show. He often gets the person who'd have special knowledge and insight into the issue on the table. He then doesn't let them get a word in edgewise. He blabs, he opines, he asks for agreement for whatever just came out of his mouth. But, his eerie charisma keeps me coming back. I've finally figured out a way to exact vengeance. This week I'm recording all five showings of 'The O'Reilly Factor'. Then I'm going through, stopwatch in hand, and tallying up the time used up by the guest and by the O'Reilly Creature. I'm not counting story setup, guest intro and thanks, or the inevitable overtalking. These times will be accurate to a few seconds. Oh yeah, I'm only doing the one-on-one interviews. With two guests it gets confusing. Plus, I'd then have to watch the whole segment THREE TIMES. I may be a wacko, but I'm not a masochist! Monday and Tuesday's data are almost done and will be posted later tonight or tomorrow morning.

I plan to give Chris Matthews and Brit Hume the same treatment in the following weeks. Should be interesting.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Greatest Blond Joke Ever

This is the funniest blond joke in history. I'm still chuckling.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Lightning Juice

A few months ago I read about using lasers to ionize an air column (simulating a giant lightning rod) to induce a lightning strike. Of course, the right weather conditions are still required. A short time ago I read about rapidly recharging batteries from NEC and Toshiba. The NEC battery recharges in 30 seconds. I'm not an electrical engineer, nor do I play one on TV, but I can put two and two together. Might we begin using lightning as a power source? Inducing 15 to 20 lightning strikes would fully charge a battery array the size of Montana. Well, maybe Vermont. Even grounding away most of the charge an enormous amount of electricity could be acquired. The grounding and modulating gear would probably look a lot like Frankenstein's lab (Karloff version, of course - definitely not Rocky Horror version) and be just as exciting to work. Florida, western North Carolina, and the Seattle area are all recipients, year-round, of massive amounts of lightning. They'd be the best places for the first, let's call them 'bottles'. More serious engineering would be needed for massively upgrading the national grid so the juice can be shared.

Reading this article I found that central Africa is Lightning Central for our planet and the foothills of the Himalayas are a close second.

Is this something to be excited about? I welcome comments from any engineers out there, or anyone else for that matter.

UPDATE: Ooops. It looks like a lightning strike does indeed put out a prodigious amount of energy, but the actual output lasts a lot less than the visible bolt and is measured in microseconds. Enough to roast a few turkeys. Oh well, gotta run. The lead-to-gold machine just arrived, needs unpacking.

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