Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great Moments in Photo Journalism

Get the Pulitzer folks on the blower! Best picture of the year.

Rats, indeed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Do You Inhale?

Is it me or do they seem to be asking an entirely different question here? I'll bet he's hoping her oral fixation doesn't end with a desire for a scratchy throat and hoarse cough!

In any case, I seem to have stumbled on a small little treasure. The link will pop you over to the Stanford School of Medicine's online gallery of cigarette ads through the ages. Interesting to see how an industry, quite knowingly it seems, worked to addict a generation to its killer product. Hoarse cough? Scratchy throat? Poor wind? Why these in one way or another are all turned upside down to actually sell the product that we all know caused them! Brilliant, in an evil sort of way.

I think the Lucky Strikes are my faves. The overt use of women as sex objects is something that wouldn't pass muster these days. But then what am I saying? None of these adds would pass muster! A baby promoting Marlboros? Santa having a relaxing smoke? Its a crazy mixed up world where evil has triumphed and our culture's most benign, indeed pure, icons are used to promote the killer weed.

Just one thing I don't get. What's the deal with the bride packing a carton of Chesterfields?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Prediction

If John McCain is the definitive winner in tonight's debate, markets will have a substantial rally tomorrow. If Obama is the winner, or if there is a draw, markets will fall.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How Do I Get Tickets To This!

Well, this should prove most interesting. It seems that Prince Charles has "accidently" booked Ms. von Teese to perform at Harrys birthday.

What a guy!

Besides finding the said Ms. von Teese quite alluring, I'd love to see how the royals react to her act. Anyone know how I get invited?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Your Daily Zen

I wanted to direct my other reader to my buddy Eva's latest post. She is doing a month of gratitude, and today is garden day.

Total zen.

I dig this especially because it (with apologies to Eva for soiling her post with politics) speaks the truth to Algore's lie. I'm sure most will believe I'm putting too much into a simple post about gardening, but in my view, the world is a system which we are but a mere part. It seems to me that the thought that we, as simple humans, can throw this system out of balance is the height of hubris and end of the world fear mongering. A simple garden is God's evidence that this thing is so much bigger than us.

Individually, or collectively.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Answer The Question: "Who Is Robert Parker"

Chicago Foodies, a blog by some folks who seem nice enough asked the question, "Who is Robert Parker.

I couldn't help myself.

About O'Bama's Euro Fixation

I always enjoy the moment when Americans leave the U.S. for the first time and head to Europe. They love the outdoor cafes, the trams, and they feel a little self conscious about the language thing. It never fails; they always come back with this dewy eyed "Europe is just the best!" sort of attitude.

Of course the spell wears off after a couple of trips when they realize that European society isn't quite as great as initial experiences led them to believe. Class mobility is extremely limited, governmental intrusions into every day life are much greater, and all those multi-lingual Europeans? Well, to a large degree it is the educated class only. If daddy was a security guard, or if you didn't do so well on those boards when you were 12, there is a good chance you didn't get the education that others received.

To me, O'Bama reveals an innocence and lack of cultural sophistication that is frankly, surprising given his supposed international background. So while I can agree that it would be nice for American kids to learn a second language, and indeed both my children are, it is hardly necessary. I've traveled the world on business my entire career. Negotiated deals, had people on multiple continents report to me while I was working for a European bank. Don't speak nuttin' but good ole American.

Presidential timber? The kid just doesn't have it. Perhaps McCain could make him Secretary of Education.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Load Up On Guns"

In celebration of today's Heller decision.

Oh, and the great seal lasted one day. When are you people going to wake up to this guy? See post below.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Aren't We Rushing Things?

Perhaps the single trait I find most disturbing about our friend Mr. Obama is his arrogance. I'm aware that all politicians have an over inflated sense of self importance, but Barak's preening is just a bit much for my tastes. Others, with less exposure to my state's junior senator haven't perhaps experienced the full metal Barak yet.

This picture, I think, is just a glimpse of things to come. What's the over/under on how long until the new seal is retired?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pursuit's 18 Hours of Smoke

Ok, slightly less than 18 hours, but the meat was talkin' to me and, as everyone knows, you got to listen to the meat brother.

Brisket 14 hours, shoulder 16. Pics above. I'm havin' some more wine and crashing.

Life is good baby!

Pursuit's 18 Hours of Smoke: 6:30pm Update

'nuff said

Pursuit's 18 Hours of Smoke: 4:27pm

Reporting back with the all is well update. Smoking has now been underway for 11 hours and the meat has taken on a delicious black coat that undoubtedly will yield to an impressive smoke ring once the meat is shredded. As far as I can tell, juicy goodness has been maintained.

Interesting encounter with my neighbor this morning at 6a.m. I saw him come out of his garage, and went over to say hello. He asked me if I was "bar be queing" and I informed him that yes, he would be the beneficiary of 18 hours of wonder. To be candid, he looked at me like I was nuts. I attributed this to some sort of personality defect - his not mine - and as a result, felt no ill will toward him.

I truly am a man of the people.

That's all for now. Got to mop the meat, and then go out and get some things for dinner. I think I may take the brisket off at 8pm and serve that tonight. We'll do the pork later in the week.

Pursuit's 18 Hours of Smoke: 9am

Well, things have settled down here at Casa de Pursuit. No more rogue fires, the house is not aflame, and I personally smell like a delicious combination of Cherry and Hickory.

The meat? Take a look for yourself! Them beauties are smoking away! They've been on since 530, but I really didn't get good heat until around 630 due to the aforementioned fiasco. So, I'd say we're at the 2.5 - 3.0 hour mark. They've had two mops and are smoking away at between 190 and 225. Low and slow.

More later

Pursuit's 18 Hours of Smoke - 6:52a.m.

Well, we're up and smoking but it was not without a little mishap....I damn near burned our garden down!

Note to self: When you start a fire at 5a.m., make sure you have coffee first.

Anyway, I won't get into details by I have included a nice little photo of the early morning fire damage.

And those other two pics are the glorious cuts of meat that went in the smoker at 530 this morning. Had a little trouble getting the fire going, the wood was a bit damp, but all seems well now.

We're smokin! More later.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pursuit's 18 Hours of Smoke

Two pork shoulders, one beef brisket. Tomorrow at 5:30am the fun begins.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Words Defy Me

Check out this car. Be sure to watch it to the point where his face actually begins to melt.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Pursuit One Second Thought - 4th Edition, Special Earth Day Inspiration

"Oh crap! This meeting is with the green tech investment guys and I've just printed 10 sets of full color slides! Better go back and print black and white outline format - 6 slides per page. Good thing we have a recycling program!"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Dream or A Nightmare?

I was looking for someplace to go for lunch. It was a nice day, like any other day really, but I had some time on my hands and I thought I'd do something more enjoyable than the normal sandwich at my desk.

"It's days like this that you want a little adventure, find some place new that you haven't been before" I thought. So I walked up Clark street and passed a couple interesting places, but one kind of stood out in my mind. So, I retraced my steps and found it.

It was kind of a seedy place, full of boisterous people and quite crowded. The interesting thing is that as you passed the place on the sidewalk, I seem to remember a guy there who was kind of on the street, trying to bring people into the place. The same sort of guy that you'd see at a carnival trying to get you to play one of their rigged games. The bar itself had a name, I can't remember exactly what it was, but something like Tom's or Bob's - a very common sort of name.

As you entered the door, you turned left and had to ascend a flight of stairs to get into the joint. Loud voices cascaded down the stairway, and it was apparent the people were having a good, if slightly drunken, time.

As I got to the top of the stairs, I saw that the place was basically a bar. A bit smokey perhaps, but not oppressively so.

"How many?" a guy, I assume Tom or Bob or whatever his name was, yelled out to me

"What?" I asked

"It's Taco many you want?" The guy said

It was then that I noticed he was standing behind a table that was in the middle of the room. Pans with those little flame in a can things were there, and they held the best looking fixin's for chicken tacos that I had seen in a while. I looked up at Tom/Bob's face and he was beaming like he could read my mind. I could tell that he knew I thought those tacos looked awesome.

"Weird", I thought, "A Tom/Bob dude with the best tacos in town"

I told Tom/Bob I'd have three. Three chicken tacos.

"And get yerself a beer to with them" he said. Man, this guy was running the place like it was a midday party. I had the sense that maybe I bit more off than I could chew, but what the hell, I was there, the tacos looked excellent, and I had wanted a bit of an adventure.

Tom/Bob gave me my plate, I found a beer in my hand, and worked my way across the room, to an adjoining room where there were some extra seats. As I entered, I noticed this room was much different. There were only a couple other people in there, and they were just quietly eating their tacos. A couple of them stared at me as I walked in. I figured I should just eat my lunch and then get back to the office. I didn't like the vibe of this new room at all.

I don't recall eating the tacos, and as for the beer, I have no memory of drinking it. But there in front of me was an empty plate and glass.

I felt a little woozy.

"Oh, oh, this doesn't seem right" I thought.

As I got up to leave and re-entered Tom/Bob's room. People were looking at me a little weird. I think some may have been laughing at me. I couldn't really tell for sure, and to be honest, I didn't really care. I just wanted to leave.

I found my way to the stairs, and with heavy steps I trudged down to the main entrance and pushed the door open to Clark street.

It was dark outside.

And Clark street was nowhere to be found.

As I left the building I came out into a very run-down industrial sort of area. There were warehouses, some parked cars and a few people milling about, but not much else. "Holy shit, where am I?" I thought.

I started walking. I figured I'd better move like I knew where I was and like I had a purpose before someone figured out I was in trouble. They'd sense my weakness and I'd be finished!

I walked a block, maybe two. None of the streets were familiar. No Monroe, Madison, Washington, or anything that I was expecting. I did see an entrance ramp for something called the Boreman Parkway, but I had no idea what that was, and it certainly wasn't in downtown Chicago.

"Pursuit" I heard a voice behind me, but kept walking

"Pursuit" It was there again, and I turned around. It couldn't really get a whole lot worse at this point.

There behind me was a beautiful black woman. I remember thinking that her skin was perfect, almost radiant. She wore a simple, perfectly white dress.

"You're lost, aren't you" she said

I could hardly speak. Yes, I was lost. I was dizzy, disoriented, and to be honest not just a little bit frightened.

"Turnaround Pursuit. You need to get back to the city. Just look for the tall shining buildings" she said as she pointed skyward. I could see them off in the distance. How had I gotten so far?

"Here, come with me, I help you get started" She was so nice, so comforting I felt I could trust her. So I began walking with her and I started to feel better. Maybe things would be OK!

As we walked back towards the building that I had come out of I noticed that she had something in her hands. It was a card, or a sign - like those that limo drivers are holding at the airport when they are there to pick up their riders.

Something was written on her card, and although she was being casual about it, I could also tell that she was trying to prevent me from being able to read the sign. In a moment I caught only a glimpse, but it was enough.

"Pursuit - Ohare" was what it said.

At that moment, I woke up to an overwhelming sense of dread

Sunday, April 20, 2008

That Thing You Do!

I've always been a sucker for a tightly crafted, well written pop song. There were several that I thought about posting today since its 60 degrees and sunny outside, but the one that I just can't get enough of is the title track from one of my all-time favorite movies, "That Thing You Do!"

This tune has it all, in just under three and a half minutes: Terrific lyrics about love, a catchy riff that never seems to tire, great harmonies, and of course, a beat you can dance to. The movie itself evokes the magic of a time when just the right song could change the world and propel the band's members to a destiny they didn't know awaited them. It didn't hurt that Tom Hank's omnipresent management was there to provide a guiding hand either. Enjoy

Monday, April 14, 2008

Limp D*cks

I think the pharmaceutical industry is out to get me. In fact, I'm pretty sure of it.

When prescription drug advertising first started showing up on TV, I was all for it. Of course there were your typical objections from scolds who try to control everything. They'd say that the drug companies were spending to much money on advertising, and inflating the cost of the drugs, or that patients were pressuring their doctors to give them prescriptions for drugs that they really didn't need. My view was that this was an excellent way to get information to folks that needed, and if doctors didn't have enough back bone to say no to patients wrongly influenced by a TV ad, then they ought to turn in their license and become chiropractors.

Now, I'm not so sure. I can't say when it happened, but one night a chilling thought came into my mind: What if the drug companies were inserting subliminal mind control messages into the ads? You know, where liquor companies used to supposedly place images of nekked women in ice cubes to convince you to buy their hootch, what if the druggies were somehow doing the same with their products?

"I don't know exactly how they'd do it, but I'm sure it could be done", I thought.

And really, it be simple. In the high blood pressure ad, maybe a silent to the conscious ear sound of the heart beating faster and faster. Or in the sleep aid add, a quiet suggestion that you can't seem to stop thinking long enough to fall asleep. Really, it'd be diabolical. In the frequent urination add they'd have quick micro flashes of a crashing surf. In the ED ad, a flash of a nekked Rosanne Barr.

The more I saw these adds, the more I couldn't get it out of my mind. I became paranoid, convinced that the pharmas were out to get me. "I wonder if they have a drug for that", I caught myself thinking!

I began to watch these adds more closely, I just new I could find the message if I was vigilant.

But then something happened. Specifically, the Cialis people.

Have you ever seen these adds? For the most part they're 50ish sort of couples, who are generally fit, reasonably attractive and hungry to do the horizontal mambo. Only problem is that the big can't can't rise to the occasion.

Fair enough I thought, this happens to folks, and it's good they've got something to help them. Although, I did wonder about the black man whose faucet erupts during some smooching - was his problem different?

Anyway, as I watched these ads, I realised something about these Cialis couples and while I'm no doctor, I really think I can help them. So listen up folks.

If you want to have sex, you need to be in the same bathtub!

Have you seen these folks? It's no wonder they can't ever get 'er done! They're so busy dragging heavy, cast iron, claw foot bathtubs all over God's green earth, there ain't no way Daddy's gonna be able to get a hard on!

And that my friends is what I think the basic problem is with these folks. They're so busy over thinking the process, that after all the prep is done for their elaborate scenes, all they can really do is soak their tired muscles in the tub, watch the sunset and think about what might have been.

So my advice to the Cialis folks is pretty simple. Put the ED drugs away, and take some hints from the kids in the Abercrombe ads.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Pursuit One Second Thought: Editon 3

Does he mean small town folk cling to guns and religion in the same way some senators cling to black liberation theology?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Night Wine Blogging

Well good evening and welcome back to one of the more popular, yet long absent feature of The Pursuit of Happiness: wine blogging, in this case Saturday night wine blogging.

Allow me to set the scene for you. It is 645p.m. Saturday night. In my kitchen are 8 13 year old girls, here to celebrate PD2's 13th birthday - which was actually 2 months ago. That is another story. At any rate, I just left them with pre-maid pizza crusts, the fixin's for pizza and two hot ovens. Worried? Me? Not a chance. And the screaming that I'm hearing sounds, for the most part, like happy kind of screaming.

We'll see on that.

Any way, I am opening a very special bottle tonight. It seems that fellow commenter over at the Functional Ambivalent, Wally, is a major wine guy. Recently, he revealed a particular wine that has been fascinating him, and well, one thing led to another and Wally and I met on the streets of Chicago this past week to exchange two wine bottles. The wine of choice:

2004Three Rings Barossa Valley Shiraz Reserve. Wally tells me that the highly over rated Robert Parker has rated this baby a 96, which probably means it is a full bodied, blow the back of your head off sort of new world wine. And let me be clear, while I favor old world wines by a long stretch, I can appreciate Parker blow the back of your head off wine too. So we'll see if my expectation is correct, if Wally's recommendation is good, and if Parker still has any taste buds left!

First, the opening. This recently has become more of a disappoint for me. The 3 Rings, as with many other wines, has gone to a screw top. Let me be clear, while this is no indication of the quality of the wine, it is an abomination none-the-less. The opening of the wine, which used to require special tools, and bit of performance and style, and ultimately a satisfying pop, added to the overall experience. Unscrewing a bottle, just ain't the same my friends. Still, I persevere.

The wine has been in my "cellar" for the past three days. So it is at cellar temperature now. I plan to open it, give a sense of the wine right out of the bottle, and then also see how it pairs with dinner tonight. Since this is a shiraz, I've decided to go with a simple steak, hash browns and roasted vegetable medley pairing.

So lets see how this baby tastes.

Out of the bottle this is a strong wine. I haven't tasted it yet, but the nose is quite nice. Fruit forward, with some chocolate and mineral back tones. Mrs. P, who I should say has a minor cold is with me. "Ooh", is her comment as she takes a sniff. A little pepper on it, and earthy are her comments. I have to say, it has been in the glass for a few minutes now and it has a wonderful nose. Strong, but structured.

First taste: Not a lot of fruit. This is more old world in structure, but new world in strength. We both agree, perhaps some cherry, but more on the end. Wow! This is a challenging wine. There is a little pepper, and perhaps some tobacco, but nothing really predominates. An excellent structure. If I were to critique the wine, I'd say dial back on the power and let me appreciate the complexity a bit. Still, wow.

Ok, going to cook dinner. More later.

Well, I'm back. Lets take a taste prior to eating. The wine has been open for 70 minutes.

It is definitely deeper, and little more rich. It has taken on a bit of a silky sort of feel, the taste while not structured per se, is quite strong.

Dinner is finished now, and we're watching Clint in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This wine is definitely the good. I would say though, that from a personal taste point of view, it is too strong. There are wonderful flavors here, but I would prefer to have to search for them a little bit. They should dance in my mouth, instead of fight for dominance! So it is hard for me to distinguish the flavors. The fruit has moved forward a bit- a kind of blueberry sort of taste, but I would still say that this wine is all about the earth. This is the characteristic of all of my favorite wines. When you drink a wine, you should be transported, and feel the land from which it came. This wine does that. It is a new world bang with an old world personality. Well done!

Lets look at what others say. Seems these folks tend to have the same sense, although, while I understand what the guy said about tannins, they really aren't predominant here in the traditional sense. Clearly the tannins are providing a backbone, but the camphor comment was more accurate in my view since this is how they seem to express themselves. I think there is some temptation to suggest that this wine will mellow over the years, and this might be true, but in all candor, I'm not sure. This is a big mutha of a wine, and it is never going to play second fiddle to anything.

So, in summary, an excellent wine. Thank you to Wally for suggesting it. I'd pair this wine with big bold foods such as the grilled steak we had tonight. I'm not sure it would work with spicy foods, since the two would end up competing with each other, to the overall demise of the meal.

Dancing Barefoot

I've always had a thing for tough chick rockers. Obviously, my Sass Jordan post last weekend was a result of this, and my life long infatuation with Chrissie Hynde is another fine example. But in the beginning there was Patti Smith. More than any other, I've always found Patti mesmerizing. Try watching this video without getting completely consumed. I also totally dig the dude playing guitar. Is he jamming his brains out or what?!

A great artist, and a great song.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Piece of Cake!

33 I thought of using one as a weapon against the others before they asked about it on the test. Oh yes, I'm fierce baby.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Pursuit One Second Thought - Edition 2

"Vodka, the liquor for those not man enough to drink gin."

Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things

Back when I was a kid, my dad used to bring home the Sun-Times at night after reading it on the train. He liked the Sun-Times, he claimed, because it was a tabloid and easier to handle on the crowded train car. I've always suspected though, that the real reason was that the Sun-Times was Chicago's blue collar paper, and my dad was more comfortable reading the every man's rag. He usually read the Wall Street Journal in the morning, so the whole tabloid vs. broadsheet bit was a tad suspect.

One of my dad's, and later on my, favorite columnists was Sidney Harris. Mr. Harris was an interesting sort since he was kind of an intellectual and had a habit of writing about a broad range of topics. A notable accomplishment for a writer in a tabloid.

Over time I became familiar with Mr. Harris' work, and he had one feature that I always found fascinating: Things I learned while looking up other things. It was great! In one column title he let you know that in a short time you were going to be treated to certain odd facts and tid bits that would intrigue, inform, and on the whole, entertain. Simultaneously, Mr. Harris was also revealing not only the fact that we are always learning, but that the learning process itself is one of life's great adventures.

I have no illusions, that this new feature in my blog will be as revealing or as regular as Mr. Harris', but I do hope you find the following of interest:

1. Since the first Thanksgiving, cooks with varying degrees of success have been stuffing turkey cavities with all sorts of items in an effort to impart more flavor to the turkey. The best way to ensure that you're successful in this venture is to first stick with aromatic vegetables, and the most importantly, steep them in a cup of water in the micro-wave before draining them and putting them into the turkey

2. Penultimate: Means the NEXT to last. For some reason I thought it meant the last

3. Division 1 schools can only give 9.9 scholarships for each female soccer team per year. Division III schools are barred from giving athlete's sports scholarships

4. Note to Hillary and Obama: The vast majority of lost jobs in Ohio went to states with lower taxes and right to work laws, not foreign countries. For example, GM is right now building a new plant for hybrids in Texas, not Ohio or Michigan

5. And speaking of manufacturing, per the St. Louis Fed we now manufacture more goods (even adjusting for inflation) than we ever have! We're just doing it with less people per unit produced.

6. Following on this productivity theme, in 1900 it took 40% of the population to feed the country while today it takes only 2.5%

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Pursuit One Second Thought - Edition 1

"It seems to me that the Sully who Sully thinks he is would be embarrassed by the Sully that Sully really is."

Absolut - Dopes

I see that Absolut has apologized for its recent Mexican ad depicting an enormous chunk of the United States as being part of Mexico. Apparently, there is some nostalgia in Mexico for some long past “good old days” when the western U.S. was part of our neighbor to the south, and Absolut was playing to this nostalgia by hoisting the above map up on billboards across the country.

As could be expected by everybody, save for the uniquely clueless execs at Absolut, a great cry of protest was heard from those who saw the ad as an insult to the U.S. Of course, they’re correct, if perhaps a bit overly vociferous in their outrage. And what does this say about Mexico? Whatever latent fantasy exists there for a return to the above drawn borders, the fact is that the land is U.S. territory and by virtually any measure we’ve done far more with it than anything our neighbors might have contemplated. As someone put it, the only real difference would be they'd be trying to sneak into Oklahoma.

What I love about this controversy though, is how even in the supposed triumph of this ad, Mexico still loses and seems to not have even noticed! Because, while the map represents their view of a better world, the message itself is written in English.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Confession

Well, after my swearing off the Cubs post from a few years ago, and my little "Welcome to the season schmucks" post earlier last week, I believe it is necessary to 'fess up.

Yesterday, I took PD1 out driving. She is 16 in a couple days, and we haven't come close to doing enough driving to qualify her for her license. So I thought it would be good to go out for a couple hours on Saturday and just drive all over the place. As it turned out, Saturday was a beautiful day, with plenty of sun and a 63 degree breeze.

Naturally, I thought of grilling out for dinner, and suggested to PD1 that we drive into the city to Paulina Market (The Mecca of Meat) and buy a selection of fresh sausages for the grill. As we were driving in, traffic was a bit heavy and I realized that it was probably Cubs traffic; Paulina is very close to Wrigley Field.

As I mentioned this, PD1 suggested that it would be a most excellent adventure to see if we could scrounge up some tickets and take in the game. Who could argue with such logic?!

So we found some guys parking cars on their empty lot, and as we pulled in PD1 asked one of them if he knew where we could get some tickets. Immediately, the guy was on the phone and told us he could get us two club box seats in the 6th row, behind third base.


Well, we haggled a bit over the price, I went to the ATM and a moment later some dude pulled up on a bike with our tickets. What a fantastic time we had. I had a beer, PD1 a pretzel, the game was exciting and most amazing of all - the Cubs won.

A spectacular afternoon for us and proof that the best times are those that you don't plan. They just are meant to be.

Face Melting Rock and Roll

I was working out today, and this tune came up on my Ipod. Man, Sass Jordan just rocks, or at least she used to, I have no idea if she still does. At any rate enjoy this, and while you're at it, contemplate this musical question.

If Sass Jordan and Chris Robinson had a rock and roll baby, would it not be the most soulfullest, rockinest child ever?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Whew boy, now I know why Al Gore has lost so much weight! Click here my friends.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Gusher!

I found this article in a link off of Instapundit last week, and Scott referenced it in a comment he made over at Tom's today. Originally I thought about posting it, but for one thing it was Friday night and a manhattan (2 cherries) was issuing its seductive call, and for another I figured this news would be all over the place.

After all, one of the main problems this country has when it comes to energy independence is that we put so much exploration off limits. There is ANWAR, the coast of Florida and California, just to name a few. When one considers the enormous find off of Brazil late last year and other recent, although admittedly lesser, discoveries the concept of "peak oil" becomes just a bit creaky. This is particularly so with the price of oil at such high levels, which has the benefit of making costly extraction technologies more economic.

Which brings us to today's link. Apparently Montana could be sitting on a literal ocean of oil. We'll know more when the U.S. Geological Survey is released, but if this is true this find would dwarf virtually all other known reserves in the world. Add in the oil sands of Canada, and suddenly we see that North America could be viewed as oil rich.

I won't argue the politics of any of this. All I want to know is why isn't anyone talking about it?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Goin' For The Hundy!

Spring has sprung here in Chicago,and hope once again is born on the north side as the nation's most hapless collection of professional mopes strides to the plate in another misguided attempt to wipe out 100 years of misery. Will 2008 be any different than the previous 99?


I say this with no glee in my heart. Truly, it pains me to see the sorry spectacle begin again for the 47th straight year of my life. Already the legions of sorry fans, who expect nothing more from their baseball dollar than a crumbling field with ivy covered walls and an unbroken, unparalleled record of failure, have purchased 2.8 million tickets to watch a team that is congenitally programed for failure. Nothing will change, because nothing ever changes at Wrigley.

The Cubs are where careers go to die, famously disastrous trades are made, and billy goat curses stand in as stooges for the greatest string of incompetent management to ever occupy the offices of any business, any where at any time. Just in my lifetime the '69 Cubs collapsed in spectacular failure (see the above black cat "cursing" the Cubs as it strolls by Ron Santo), Leon Durham's Gatorade sodden glove missed a simple grounder in the '84 unraveling against the Padres, and of course, the awful Bartman incident of '03.

Cubs fans though accept this fate. Hell, they flippin' embrace it and it's damned embarrassing. Somehow, the legions of deluded fools have convinced themselves that this spectacular record of failure is not an indictment of a knowledge-less fan base that refuses to hold an incompetent front office accountable for misdeeds that border on the felonious. Oh no, in the bizarro world of Cubs fans, spectacular incompetence equals lovability!

Don't you just feel it? Instead of Take Me Out To The Ballgame perhaps Cubs fans would be better off singing the refrain of the great Offspring song, Self Esteem, "The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care. Right? Yah!"

I never thought about it, but perhaps they were Cubs fans too.

Ah, I admit it, I too used to belong to this sorry group, but '04 was the final straw for me. After the Bartman collapse literally took the life out of the team - it was just one bad play for heaven's sake - I saw that it would never be. Not then. Not now. Not ever. I swore off the Cubs for good back then and related my defection in this post (can't find it, move on), and there is no turning back.

So, against all hope I wish the Cubs my best, which, against their historic ability to snatch failure from, well mediocrity, gives them absolutely no hope. But hey, the ivy will grow, Ronny Woo Woo will, um, "woo woo", crusty old grannies who have been sitting in the bleachers since "nineteen forty and two" will continue to molder in the sun, and the beer will flow. And most importantly a fresh crop of new Cubs fans will born and cursed by their insane parentage with a love for all things "Cubbie". One or two will even be named Wrigley and be forced to bear witness to their parent's psychosis throughout their entire life. Yup, things will be just as they always have been.

See the circus comes to town every year because as P.T. Barnum said, "A sucker is born every minute".

Sunday, March 30, 2008

When Worlds Collide

Wow, this can only be described as the two worlds of alternative rock and bosanova linking up to produce one unholy offspring that may ultimately destroy the world.

Then again, its kinda catchy don't you think?
***UPDATE***: This, is just short of tremendous. I think we've learned today that a great song just cannot be denied.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Every Rose Has Its Thorns?

I'm not quite sure what to say about this, but I knew I had to blog it. Which, as you can imagine, is a bit of a challenge.

You see, every week I get an email from the Musicbox Theatre that lists their films and show times for the upcoming week. I use the term "films" as opposed to "movies" not because I'm trying to impress you with my superior culture, but simply because the Musicbox is an art film house, and this is their favored terminology.

The truth is I've never been to the joint, although I do have great intentions to actually make it there some day. I love movies, and most of the ones I truly enjoy are the more obscure things like this one or say, this one, and I have great intentions of buying this one. So, you know, one of these days I'll be a patron (see, I can totally work the lingo!) of this fine establishment. Until then, I might just rent Slapshot and Fast Times at Ridgemont High tonight in sort of a double feature of my misspent youth. Mrs. P has never seen either of these fine movies and I really should expose her to the pure genius that they represent.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand: The Vagina Dentata Myth. Oh, didn't I mention that? Yup it turns out that there is a whole myth out there that I've never heard of and somebody has made a film of it - the sick bastard. Lets let the movie's website explain the plot:

"High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group's most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad's increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth".


As I said, I don't quite know what to say about this. For one thing, it sounds like a blow job gone horribly wrong, which I suppose can be a real fear (note to the director - thanks for that pal!). On the other hand, this seems to be something far more sinister; a kind of beast lurking within if you will.

Given, that I've never heard of this myth and haven't really had this sort of fear, I can't say that a, I mean, with this topic ever occurred to me. This may be because I'm a well adjusted human being, or perhaps explain way I'm a business man instead of a bereted, gaulois smoking, provocateur.
Or both.

Yet, I find myself oddly attracted to this film. It definitely will appeal to my taste in horror films, and there really hasn't been many good ones since Hollywood's fascination with gore took over. It is clearly an original take on an old genre. so maybe, just maybe, we'll take a trip to the Musicbox in the near future. If so, I'll report back.

UPDATE: As I was moving through the On Demand movie listing last night I noticed that Slapshot was showing. What are the odds that a 31 year old movie would show up on pay per view the very day that I blog it? Kismet I tell ya, so we ordered and watched it with PD2 - which might have been a bit of a mistake, given the general level of cursing and nudity prevalent in the movie. At any rate, it was as good, or better than I remember. A terrific comedy and social commentary on violence in America. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On This Day In History....Paper Dresses?

I don't know where I got my odd fascination with women's fashion, but it probably harkens back to all the fashion shows that my mother dragged me to when I was a kid in the '60's. I don't remember these events at all, but she claims we went so I kind of have to take her word for it.

So with that bit of background, I give you today's post. The Scott Paper Dress.

Yup, exactly 42 years ago today Scott Paper launched a program to sell dresses like the one pictured here. All the lady of the house had to do was send in $1 ($6.51 in 2007 dollars according to the inflation calculator) and Scott would send back a dress and 52 cents worth of coupons for other Scott products. Incredibly, the company sold 500,000 of these babies!

Now my first thought was with all the smoking that went on in the '60's it is a minor miracle that afternoon bridge parties at the club didn't end up in tragic conflagrations ("Oh the humanity")! Of course I should know better than to doubt good ole American enginuity; The things were made with fire resistant paper, natch.
In fact it was a "flexible, triple ply paper reinforced with rayon scrim" that could be worn for up to 5 wearings (enough for a season dontcha think?) depending on the "clemency of the weather, and the intensity of the wearer's frug" according to this piece in Time.

Frug? Don't ask.

So it is with great pleasure and not a little melancoly that I salute a wonderful advancement in disposable wear from a time gone by. Sure it was goofy and impractical, but don't you just wish a little bit for a time when we can afford to let loose a like this? It's the little things, hula hoops, big gas guzzling cars with enormous fins on the trunk, beehive hair do's and three martini lunches, that make me wonder sometimes if our parents didn't have the right idea.

What? You were expecting an Obama post?

Monday, March 17, 2008

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Rate Cuts...

...What we need is some capital in the financial system to support the massive de-leveraging that is under way. As the Journal points out in this excellent piece from this morning, rate cuts are leading to declining dollar value, which is leading to less confidence from investors to inject capital into the U.S. which is making the economy less stable:

"The problem is that dollar weakness is making both of these problems worse. The flight from the dollar has made U.S.-based investments less attractive, at a time when the U.S. financial system urgently needs to raise capital. And the commodity boom is translating into higher food and energy prices that are robbing American consumers of discretionary income. In the name of avoiding a recession, reckless monetary policy has made one more likely."


Since we know monetary policy is like sex - exhillarating when you first do it, but it takes 9 months to see the full results - and since the Fed first started lowering the discount rate in the fall, perhaps enough is enough. Afterall, much of this problem started with Uncle Alan's Liquidity Party back at the turn of the century, and it is unclear to me that we need a repeat of that fiasco.

So far the broader economy seems to be holding its own without completely tanking and we have both fiscal and monetary stimulus underway so this might be a decent moment to take a breath and say "Steady as she goes".

Come for the economics, stay for the sex jokes and rockin' tunes!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cunning II

In the post below, I revealed what has now become obvious. Hillary's attack, utilizing Geraldine Ferraro, was a planned hit that went better than anyone could ever have imagined. Incredibly, it turned out to be the campaign equivalent of softening up the defenses with an air assault prior to the ground invasion.

To be clear, it was no mistake that the Rev. Wright video, which has been in the public domain since the start of the campaign, received broad public exposure this week. Once the Ferraro remarks drew Obama into playing the race card as described below, Hillary's friends in the mainstream media started running stories on Wright as a means of saying, "Oh yeah pal? Who did you say is running around with racists?" This certainly explains why Ferraro agreed to run point on this attack since it was all but certain that once the public was exposed to Wright's noxious racial theories, Ms. Ferraro's comments would drift out of the public consciousness.

Incredibly, Obama continued to fumble this story going into this weekend. First, the Wright attack was brilliantly timed so that it would receive Thursday and Friday news cycle airing, while any Obama denial would land in the Friday night/Saturday morning graveyard of public attention. Further, instead of remaining consistent with his theme of new politics and change we can believe in, Obama seems to have resorted to unbelievable, Clintonesque denials:

"...The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments.
...Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good."

Who does this guy think we are? Whether or not Obama actually sat in the pew during one of this loathsome man's tirades is hardly the point. It simply defies credulity that the good Senator, who titled his book Audacity of Hope after Wright's sermon Audacity to Hope, was blissfully unaware of this Wright's views. Furthermore, if he somehow was unaware of these views, what does this say about his judgement?

Unfortunately for the Senator, there are folks out there on the other side of the political divide looking at the evidence. Check out this post from Rich Lowery over at the corner which seems to indict the truthfulness of Obama's denial of knowledge. Key quote:

"And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light bill…"

So Obama is a liar or at the very least, a typical politician looking to cast himself in the light most favorable to his target audience. This second alternative really seems to be the case. In the early part of his career, he apparently adapted his views to those of his predominantly black constituency, nodding in apparent agreement with the Reverend Wright during one of his explosive sermons. Now, the Senator is repackaging his image into a post racial appeal that necessarily requires him to turn his back on some of the more questionable associations that helped fuel the early stages of his career.

As a result, we see today that the good Senator has been caught between his old life, and the sanctimonious image he has crafted for himself in this new stage of his career. These two points are irreconcilable, yet instead of coming clean for the electorate and admitting that he may have made some mistakes in the past, he is choosing to follow the Clintonesque path and lie in order to have it both ways.

The problem is, we already have a Clinton in this race and she, at the very least, is clear about who she is and what she will do to get elected.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Once again I find myself surprised that I am the only person, perhaps in the entire world, to see through the cunning campaign trickery in the Democratic party. When I last exposed a dastardly ploy, it was the Obama campaign planting the photo of him in traditional garb, and blaming it on Clinton operatives.

Today we have a trick by a real Clinton operative; and it's a good one. Ms. Geraldine Ferraro, last seen in 1984, has turned up as an honorary finance member of the Clinton campaign saying some controversial things in a newspaper interview. By now, everyone is familiar with what she said - essentially that Obama has been successful in the campaign because he is black.

I won't argue the merits or racial aspects of what she said, that is for other, far simpler minds to dwell on since it is essentially a side show. The real meat of the matter is what is going here? Was it a ploy, a slip of the tongue, or something else all together? In my view, this was a planned move by the Clinton campaign from the start. Here is why.

Essentially the Clinton's have realized that Obama has out maneuvered them and gained the high ground in this campaign. The game has almost run out and they need to accomplish one of two goals very soon:

  1. Either bring Obama down to earth pronto and demonstrate that he is unelectable in a manner sufficient to convince enough super delegates to vote for Hill or,

  2. Damage him enough so that he cannot win in November against McCain and preserve Hillary's chances to run again in four years

With these two goals in mind, the Clintons needed an expendable minority to go after Obama and execute their diabolical plan. In this role, Ferraro has been perfect.

The plan, works on 4 levels:

  1. On the first level Ferraro is effective in questioning Obama's readiness for office. A previously unknown candidate with a thin resume and vague promises of change is uniquely vulnerable to this assault. No matter how this turns out, this issue is raised and will not go away.

  2. The second level is to play to the white blue collar workers in the Democratic party and the black voters who still harbor doubts that a black man is electable in this country. In both cases it plays to the voter's fear that Obama is a gamble, and in the white blue collar voter's mind a potential beneficiary of some sort of electorate granted affirmative action vote, which the white voter believes is unfair and is unwilling to go along with. By themselves these are powerful motivators to swing voters to Hillary and try to save the nomination for her. But there is much more to her plan.

  3. This next, third level is particularly crafty, and I must say Obama so far has played right into Hillary's hand. You see, up until now much of Obama's appeal to the white wine and intellectual crowd has been, in their mind, that he has been above racial politics. Indeed his message of "change" stands as much for a change in the way that black candidates run their campaigns as it does for anything else. He is running as an American, offering himself for service in a time of need. Powerful stuff. Hillary realizes that to win, she absolutely must pull Obama down and once again make him the aggrieved black candidate and thus distasteful to the white winers. Sadly, Obama has taken the bait, and spent the past two days talking about race in place of the qualities that made him such a successful candidate. All it cost Hillary was an honorary member of her finance committee as Ferraro was booted earlier today.

Of course, at this late date, all this conniving may still not be enough to secure the nomination which is where Hillary's awful plan rises to it's most diabolical level. You see, Hillary, by making Obama crawl down in the mud with her, is trying to install a fatal flaw in the Democrat's most likely nominee. If she can't win now, it is imperative in her view that Obama be stopped in November. If McCain wins, she will have a shot at a 75 year old guy, who already is looking pretty frail, in four years. If Obama wins, he will either cruise to re-election in four years, or lose to a Republican. In either case Hillary is out of the running for 8 years if Obama is elected to the presidency, after which, his vice president will be the most likely successor. Scorched earth politics are all that can save her now.

The bottom line is that the Clintons have never been about the Democratic party, or America, or anything else that the rest of us hold dear. They are all about the Clintons, and one wonders why it has taken the Democrats so long to figure this out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sweet Relief

Well, thank Goodness that 17 year nightmare is over.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Super Tuesday Part Deaux Prediction

Ok, I'll go out on a limb.

Tomorrow is a big deal in the Demo race and the funeral dirges for our gal Hill have already begun to softly play in the distance. Convential Wisdom says they'll be in full parade tomorrow night and the "Hillary!" campaign is toast by Saturday.

Hold on just one moment, cuz I ain't sure that is what is happening.

Counterintuitively, I believe the results will show a small trend back to Hillary. She will do better than expected taking Ohio in greater numbers than polling indicated, and deliver a virtual tie-to-ever-so-slight victory in Texas. This will completely screw up the Democratic delegate calculus causing Wolf Blitzer spin into into a masturbatory frenzy the likes of which have been unseen since Limbaugh first witnessed the Dukakis tank video.

O'Bama forces will attribute the results to Republican meddling - the forces of the politics of cynicism donchaknow - but those of us in the know will realize that it is the initial stages of buyers remorse setting in on the Obama campaign.

Place your bets here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Pope of Hope or Common Liar?

Well interesting development on the campaign trail today. It seems our buddy Mr. O'Bama may have been caught in quite the lie. You know who I'm talking about, the Pope of Hope, the man who is going to change politics as we know it?

See, as the story goes, and it remains to be seen if it is true:

" a member of Mr. O'Bama's staff telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value."

Well this is interesting as far as it goes, and of course all politicians shade the truth from time to time, but it seems to me that there is a little more here. It is one thing to say, "I'll reduce your taxes" and never mean it, and quite another to call a foreign minister and say, "I'm going to lie to the American people and it involves my country's relationship with yours, but don't worry because I don't mean a bit of it".

If true, this belies both an inherent dishonesty, which is natural for an Illinois politician, and a complete misunderstanding to the importance of candor and truth in dealing when it comes to permanent treaties with your allies and neighbors.

By the way, as a side note, I happen to know Micheal Wilson quite well. In a previous life he and I were on opposite sides of a business transaction and I found him to be a charming, honest and very engaging man. Quite famous in his country as well which became apparent the night of our closing dinner. I was host and arrived at the restaurant a bit early to make sure everything was just so, and noticed that a lot of the restaurant's staff were milling around - far more than we needed to handle the 15 or so people in our room. Finally I asked a waitress what the deal was, and she said in her McKensie Brothers accent, "Oh, Michael Wilson is in your room tonight, we all would like to see him".

Can you imagine a restaurant staff in America standing around to see Henry Paulson? Me either.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Traditional Garb

In what can only be described as a descent into the "politics of personal destruction" the opposing democratic candidates released photos today of their opponent in the traditional garb of his/her respective culture.

I don't know about you, but I find that first outfit, far more horrifying!

n.b. Post slightly edited to "horrifying" from "terrifying" once I was fully able to process just how offensive the outfit was to the standards of modern fashion and stylish women everywhere.

One Question

While these $3,600 shoes are the best indication yet that we will not enter into a recession, I do have one question for Antonio Berardi: What happens when you're walking into a strong wind?

The entrepreneur in me sees a strong aftermarket for $800 click on heels.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cora's Coffee Shop - California Dreamin'

I'm a bit tardy in posting about my trip to L.A. in part because I forgot the link from my camera to my computer, so I figured I'd wait until I could post pics and text. Then, after arriving home last Monday, I was over taken by events here and well, now I'm beginning to catch up.

One of the reasons I've always loved L.A. (yes, I really do love it), is because it is a wonderful food town. Another reason is because of the outdoor lifestyle that can be found there.

I've had so many great times in L.A. that combine these two aspects of life - many of which were actually in winter. Drinks of the rooftop of a building that we just finished developing, a multi-bottle wine fest on a crisp February night overlooking Huntington Beach and on this trip, cocktails on the Getty's patio overlooking downtown L.A. on a clear night.

So, upon reflection I guess I should also add drinking, to outdoor lifestyle and food!

Well, last Friday I had another one of these L.A. moments. After two successful days of business in town, I found myself with a free morning before my afternoon flight to Phoenix. The weather was perfect; Sunny, a slight breeze off the Pacific, and only a faint chill remaining in the air, I walked out of hotel on the ocean and headed to Cora's.

I had been walking past Cora's for the previous two days and from the moment I saw this place I was intrigued. The food savant in me recognized immediately that this smallish joint with only a couple seats inside and an ivy enclosed patio would be the perfect spot for a nice leisurely breakfast. Unsurprisingly, I was not wrong and Cora's offered a brief respite from the constant L.A. vibe.

I chose a small table on the patio, natch, and began to review the menu:

  • Orange Pancakes and Blueberries

  • Huevos Rancheros

  • Caprese Omelet

  • Smoke Salmon & Eggs Panini

"Oh boy!" I thought, "What in the world am I going to do!"

After some deliberation, I chose a prosciutto omelet with cheddar cheese, and opened my Journal to catch up on the day's news. As other orders passed my table I noticed something kind of cool about Cora's food. It was kind of an obsessive/compulsive's dream! Pancakes were fluffy and perfectly formed. Omelette's were shaped like little cylinders with nary a spec of egg out of place. "Weird", I thought since the rest of setting was so casual and relaxing. Still it was oddly nice, kind of a yin and yang sort of thing.

I couldn't wait to get my food.

My breakfast arrived in short order and I was not let down. The same perfectly formed that I had seen pass my table was there in front of me accompanied by a perfectly square piece of thick brioche toast and a roasted 1/3 wedge of potato. My waiter cracked some fresh pepper over my food, and I was ready to eat.

The omelet was very nice. Not fluffy and dry like so many places, it was almost perfectly cooked. Just the right amount of mildly sharp cheddar and chopped prosciutto were tucked neatly (of course!) inside. I can't be sure, but I'd swear that it was cooked in olive oil instead of butter, which was a nice touch. The potato was roasted so that it was crispy on the outside, yet full of moist potatoey goodness on the inside. Cora's kept me in a never-ending cup of Illy coffee to complete a lovely breakfast experience.

So, to sum up, go to Cora's. It's on the Ocean, just north of Vincente on the west side of the street. Tell them Mr. Monk sent you. I'm sure he's a big fan.

Update: Wow. Looks like I need to change the date on my camera!


This is an absolutely brilliant approach to managing the spice drawer mess. I found the link over at Chicago Foodies, and while I have a pretty good spice drawer situation currently, we are in the process of building a small cottage up north, and this approach will work perfectly. Interestingly, the designer used canisters that he purchased at The Container Store. I'll have to go and see if I can pick some up.
Gosh, if I just knew somebody who, oh I don't know maybe worked there, then maybe I could get a bulk deal for about 50 or so........

Friday, February 8, 2008

To My Daughter


I can’t believe it! Today is your 13th birthday! I know you’ve heard Mom and I say it before, but time certainly has gone by fast.

It seems like only yesterday when Mom told me that I was going to become a father again. At the time we didn’t know if you were going to be a boy or a girl, and we made sure the doctors never told us – we wanted it to be surprise.

Maybe it was because of the anticipation, but those 9 months took forever to pass, and the final days before you were born seemed to be the longest. Mom went to the hospital a few days early to make sure everything went well, and your sister and I stayed home and kept up our daily routine of school and work.

Finally, on Tuesday morning, the doctor said it was time.

The day you were born, PD1 went to stay with Grandma and Far Far, and I went to the hospital to be with you and Mom. After a long day, you finally joined us sometime around 7p.m. and I became “Dad” to my second daughter. I’d never been so happy in my life!

The next morning PD1 came to meet you for the first time – it was a moment that I will never forget. As she came into the room, you were quiet and very aware looking at all of us and probably trying to figure out what was going on. PD1, who brought you a small stuffed animal - your first present - wasn’t quite sure of who this new girl was. She looked at you a little suspiciously and we had to convince her that it was ok to hold you! We all thought both of you were very cute together.

We’ve often talked about those early months with you PD2 and sometimes I’ve felt a little bad about how we’ve teased you about being so colicky. Yes, at times the crying was difficult, but what has gotten lost in this story is how close we became to you during those times. You see, Mom and I had to work out a schedule to take care of you since we both were working, and you didn’t sleep very much before waking up. This arrangement resulted in one of my most treasured memories as a father.

Every night, Mom would go to bed early and I would stay up to give you your last feeding. It was during these times PD2, that I had the most wonderful moments with you. The family room, quiet except for the sounds of a “Rockford Files” rerun on TV, was where you and I would sit in the Lay Z Boy chair and rock quietly while I gave you a bottle before bed time. It was a simple thing, and I know it doesn’t sound like much now, but the magic of those quiet moments with my new-born daughter was incredibly special.

This experience taught me something about life that I hope you will learn as you grow and mature. In life, the big events that you expect to form the base of most of your memories often turn out to fall a bit short of your expectations, while the quiet moments that you share with your loved ones sneak up and remain imprinted on your memory forever. This is what happened to me, and I’m grateful that I have this memory of time with you.

So, today my youngest daughter turns 13. This is an important moment in your life PD2, because it is more than the simple passing of another year. Today, you officially begin to leave your childhood behind and start on the road to becoming a young woman. To be sure, it is an exciting moment, but it is also one that we need to stop and recognize for all its importance. In the book of your life, you are about to begin a new chapter and what you write in these ensuing pages is entirely up to you.

So I wanted to mark this moment for you with my thoughts, and hopefully some pearls of wisdom that you can consider. You see, as a teenager, you need to start thinking about your life, about what type of woman you will become, and what mark you want to leave on this world. You are an extraordinarily lucky young lady. God has given you life and blessed you with free will. He has seen to it that you have all the advantages one could pray for in this world. These circumstances are a blessing, but they also are a challenge. To those in whom much is given, much is also expected, and you have been given so much.

Your intelligence is unequaled. I know there are people in this world that may have a higher IQ, but your intelligence is special. You are a quick learner and your wit brings with it the ability to leave people laughing at a moment’s notice. This gift is special, because it presents you with a unique challenge. You can choose to use your intelligence to help you do the minimum work required to meet expectations, or you can use it to explore your world, and help you make connections that others never even have the opportunity to see. My dream for you is to find the joy in hard work and deep introspection, to recognize that there is so much to see and learn, and for you to revel in the discoveries that you will undoubtedly make.

Your personality is infectious and you make friends easily. PD2, I’ve always been amazed at how quickly you can integrate into a group and make friends with virtually anyone. Perhaps this is partly because as the second child you’ve always had to try a little harder to keep up in our competitive family. Whatever the reason, it is a talent that few people share, and as you build your confidence and leadership skills I know that you will find ways of using this talent to help others see not only your wonderful personality, but also the insights and knowledge that you have gained in this world with your intelligence.

You are sensitive. Mom says that you are, like her, an empath, and this is undoubtedly true. Time and time again we’ve seen you demonstrate an uncommon sensitivity to the emotions and feelings of others. This is one of the things that make you most special.

The next few years, PD2, will be very important in your life. You will experience moments of great challenge, the disappointment of failure and the thrill of great success. This is the natural course of life. Your job is to take these challenges on, and no matter what the outcome, make sure that you always learn from each experience and that you never give up. Perseverance, PD2, is the key to success in this world.

More than most young ladies, I believe that you are well equipped to handle the challenges of being a teenager. You already have built a solid sense of who you are, what you believe in, and you have developed a moral sensibility that will help guide you to making good decisions. For this reason, I want to challenge you to follow your heart! So many teens are led astray because they want to fit in and be popular. Sadly, in doing so they miss a key point of life; our differences are what make the world such a wonderful place! Standing out as an individual and contributing those talents and thoughts that make us special is not always easy, but it is always rewarding.

As a teenager it is important that you begin to find your way in life and as you do, that you hone your talents and build your confidence so that as an adult you can master anything that life will throw at you. Above all remember to thank God for your blessings and help those who are less fortunate. Doing so takes a strong sense of purpose, courage and confidence. I know that you will find joy in your growing freedom, purpose in your growing responsibility, and that you will learn that you have the strength to live your life with dignity and grace.

Of course, you are not alone on this adventure PD2, and you never will be. Always remember that Mom, PD1 and I love you, and that we will always be there to share in your life and support you. Let us help you and guide you. We may not always be right, but we will always be honest and loving.

There is another thing I need to tell you, and this is exactly what I told your sister when she became a teenager three years ago. The years ahead, indeed the rest of your life, will be filled with temptation. You are lucky to live in a world where God has given you free will. You will decide what you want to be, who you want to marry, where you want to live. You will also be faced with real choices between good and bad, and it will be important to choose wisely. Your life or lives of others may even depend on it.

To help you I can provide some advice. I have found in my life that those who make bad choices failed to distinguish between pleasure and happiness. Understanding the difference can help serve as a guide in life. Pleasure is something that provides a physical sensation; a glass of wine, buying a new car, taking a drug. Happiness is a much deeper feeling. It cannot be achieved by these things, but rather only by doing what truly touches your inner soul.

Pleasure will always seek you, either through advertising, a friend, or even someone who doesn’t wish you well. Happiness requires you to find it. Pleasure is cheap, you experience it, and it goes away. Happiness is work, you pursue it, achieve it and it remains.

I don’t mean to suggest that pleasure is bad, because at the right time, in the right place, in the right amount, it surely will add to your life. It should not, however, become the goal of your existence. Too many people fail to recognize this and end up in an endless search for fulfillment because they never chose to accept the challenge of first finding their own inner voice.

In the coming years as life’s temptations come to you, remember this distinction and choose wisely.

So welcome to the teenage world PD2! Mom and I look at you with such pride knowing that you have already accomplished so much in life, and at seeing what a wonderful young lady you are becoming. It is with great love that I wish you “Happy Birthday” today, and it is with great excitement that I look forward to watching you become a young woman over the next few years.



Thursday, January 24, 2008

When a Sullivanist Calls

Just another Ron Paul supporter, who claims to know what true conservativism is. Don't think he'll be writing a book though.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Poseur Alert

Really, you couldn't write this stuff. The Ron Paul enthusiast does it all by himself.

Madam Chairwoman Speaks, You Listen Comrade

Well we have an early entry for harrowing read of the month: Our glorious Madame Chairwoman (in waiting) deigned to give the state news outlet an interview covering all things economic, including her plans for restoring "balance" between the central planners in the government and the (dark) "market forces". Madame Chairwoman says:

“If you go back and look at our history, we were most successful when we had that balance between an effective, vigorous government and a dynamic, appropriately regulated market,” Mrs. Clinton said. “And we have systematically diminished the role and the responsibility of our government, and we have watched our market become imbalanced.”

She added: “I want to get back to the appropriate balance of power between government and the market.”

Understanding that Dear Madame's thoughts are much too complicated for a simple member of the rabble class to understand and I hesitate to question her all too obvious wisdom. Yet I wonder, when was the glorious time that she references when we were able to achieve this wondrous "balance"? And how will we measure our "balance" as we approach the optimal state? Will our collective vibrations come into tune, or will we need boot of government to heel the non-conformists? Oh, I do hope Madame Chairwoman shares with us her vision of "balance" and what it will look like for all our comrades!

Naysayers, I know, will point out that this didn't work out so well for other states. Weaklings! They didn't try hard enough! If we must work harder we will! If we must sacrifice to support Dear Madame's vision of "balance" our sweat will water the fertile soils of our motherland until a glorious bounty of "balance" springs forth from this nation like a perfectly formed baby child from mother's ample yet undoubtedly supple loins!

I quake with anticipation. Deliver us now Madame Chairwoman! I beseech thee!