Friday, December 18, 2009

Awesome John Stuart Mill Quotes

"The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

John Stuart Mill

"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

"Over one's mind and over one's body the individual is sovereign."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

There's nothing I can add. How prescient that these things were said over 100 years ago. I guess it's true, those that do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life Imitating Seinfeld

I think that most of us, except the truly party blind among us, can agree that our current President really does not have the experience, nor the common sense, necessary to take our country back into the world leading economic and military powerhouse that it once was. So, I was pondering this predicament when I remembered an episode of Seinfeld. Kramer somehow found his way to the inside of a business, and managed to make people think he actually worked there. He wanted to become successful at this business, even though he wasn't actually employed. He was "fired" with the folowing conversation:

Kramer: "What did you want to see me about, Mr. Leland?"
Mr. Leland: "Kramer, I've been reviewing your work. Quite frankly, it stinks."
Kramer: "Well, I've been having trouble at home and, uh, I'll work harder. Nights, weekends, whatever it takes."
Mr. Leland: "No, no, I don't think that's going to do it. These reports you handed in, it's almost as if you have no business training at all. I don't know what this is supposed to be."
Kramer: "Well, I'm just trying to get ahead."
Mr. Leland: "I'm sorry, there's just no way that we can keep you on."
Kramer: "I don't even really work here."
Mr. Leland: "That's what makes this so difficult."

Now, try this version:

President Obama: "What did you want to see me about, American Public?"
American Public: "President Obama,we've been reviewing your work. Quite frankly, it stinks."
President Obama: "Well, I've been having trouble at home and, uh, I'll work harder. Nights, weekends, whatever it takes."
American Public: "No, no, I don't think that's going to do it. These reports you handed in, it's almost as if you have no economic training at all. I don't know what this is supposed to be."
President Obama: "Well, I'm just trying to get ahead."
American Public: "I'm sorry, there's just no way that we can keep you on."
President Obama: "I don't even really work here."
American Public: "That's what makes this so difficult."

The ease with which it overlays is almost eerie...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Random Thoughts

When driving away from a red light, your minivan should not be outrun by the fully loaded semi truck/school bus/cement truck in the lane next to you. The people that are behind you on their way to work know that, too, and that's why they used the lane behind you, and not behind the aforementioned large lumbering vehicle.

Despite common knowledge, you will not, in fact, get a large electrical shock if you use your turn signals to let your fellow drivers know your intentions.

If you run out of gas, and the gas guage reads empty, claiming that "the low fuel light never came on!" will only elicit guffaws by the guy working on your car when he points out that you don't, in fact, have a low fuel light.

If you are the only one at 4-way stop, it is your turn. The guy behind you knows this, too.

When driving on the highway, it is perfectly acceptable to leave the left hand lane to allow faster traffic behind you to safely pass you. You are not a traffic cop, trying to keep people from speeding. Unless you are a traffic cop, keeping people from speeding, then you are. Still, you should let traffic pass you on the left. It's safer that way.

Monday, November 23, 2009


What is going on in our society?

I was raised, and my chosen career, makes it akin to a mortal sin to knowingly, and deliberately cause someone else to be delayed or inconvenienced in whatever it is they're doing.

It appears that I am alone.

I sit at a stop sign, on my way to work, and the pedestrians in the cross walk not only don't speed up, they deliberately, and visibly slow down. Looking at me like they are challenging me to hit them.

I drive on the freeway, I am driving slightly faster than the rest of traffic, though I am still being occasionally passed by someone wanting to go faster than I. I move to the right when faster traffic comes up behind me, but many people stay in the left lane as I approach them, even though there is no one in the right lane. Sometimes they deliberately slow down in front of me.

I sit, waiting to turn left out of the parking lot at the grocery store where I just spent a few hours worth of my paycheck; I wait for the traffic coming from my right, and they turn into the parking lot. Gee, the auto manufacturer's should make some sort of an external indicator, a "turn signal," if you will, to let me know that it was okay for me to go, since you were turning in to the same parking lot I was trying to leave. Then, when I register my irritation, I get "flipped off." If you would have expended that energy flipping the switch by your left hand, rather than flipping me off because you caused me deliberate inconvenience, wouldn't the world be a better place?

You go through the door into the store in front of me and my family, you see me and know I'm there, yet you let the door close in my wife's face.

I'm not sure what's going on in our society. I can't help but wonder where this "my life is far more important than yours" attitude starts, but I'm very tired of it.

Friday, October 30, 2009


If I have a choice of something being one of two ways, shouldn't that, statistically, mean that I should "get it right" around 50% of the time? Why, then, when I'm unravelling my earbuds to listen to some tunes, do I end up with the left earbud in my right hand around 95% of the time?

Friday, October 2, 2009

No Chicago Olympics

Good. I didn't want the Olympics 60 miles from home. I think it's a colossal waste of time, money and real estate.

I mention this, because I mentioned, "No Chicago Olympics" to a "friend" here at my day job. I added, "It's a good thing Obama spent all that time, money and effort."

To which he replied, and I am not making this up, "That's no worse that Bush did."

Wow. I thought that having elected the Saviour, himself, we would be past the Bush Derangement Syndrome, by now.

But, then he added, to reinforce how wrong, I apparently am, "All you Republicans are the same."

Wow, I guess I've been told.

I give. There is no hope.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roman Polanski

So, Whoopi Goldberg thinks that what Roman Polanski did to that 13 year old girl isn't "rape, rape."

Interesting defense. I wonder if it'll work in other situations:
  • I wasn't "speeding, speeding."
  • I wasn't "cheating, cheating."
  • I wasn't "stealing, stealing."
  • I wasn't "fighting, fighting."
  • I wasn't "killing, killing."
  • I wasn't "racing, racing."
  • I wasn't "drunk driving, drunk driving."

Let's get this straight, when you are 44 years old, and you get a 13 year old girl drunk, give her illicit drugs, and force yourself upon her while she says, "no, no," that is RAPE, RAPE! There is no other way to explain it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Green is a color, dammit!

I have often threatened that I may just go postal at some point when I hear someone using the word "green," not in reference to an actual color.

Yesterday, at the auto parts store where I work part-time, we got our weekly stock order. In the order were some new parts, including Sylvania's "Green" Eco-Friendly Headlight bulbs. "W" as in What, "T" as in The, "F" as Heck?

Eco Friendly headlight bulbs? Really? I don't have the package in front of me, but the packaging makes some claims like reduced CO2 emissions, and reduced fuel consumption and money savings.

The only thing I noticed is that the low beam side was 48 watts, rather then the normal 55 watts. And they're $25 for a pair, instead of $10 each. Great. How is that going to save the planet?

Generally (but not always), the lower the wattage, the less bright the light output. So we may assume lower light output, though this may not be true, because Sylvania's own Silverstar and Silverstar Ultra produce a brighter (whiter) light with the same 55 watts.

After the engine is running, the electrical requirements of the vehicle are supplied by the alternator, which is driven by a belt, driven by the engine. Yes, it take energy to turn the alternator. Most modern day alternators can supply upwards of 140 amps. Watts are calculated by multiplying amps by volts, so assuming 14 volts, and 140 amps, you get a total of 1960 watts from the alternator.

Taking the same 14 volts, and subtracting the 48 watts from the new "green" bulb from the 55 watts from the "non-green" bulb, you get 196 watts of savings (for the pair). Approximately 10% of the max output of the alternator.

I'm sure there is a way to calculate how much fuel is consumed by generating X amount of wattage, but if your vehicle gets 25 MPG with your headlights on, the A/C at full blast, and the stereo cranking out your favorite tunes, while the kids are watching Spongebob in the back seat, how much fuel, and therefore CO2 emissions, are you going to save by reducing the headlight wattage consumption by 10% of total alternator output?

BTW, I do not buy into the idea that CO2 is a pollutant, unless it is exhaled from a politician spewing socialist propaganda.

Thursday, September 24, 2009