Thursday, November 30, 2006

World's best athlete

Okay, so she's 100 pounds, can't throw a ball, and has never run a race. But she strikes terror into the hearts of her opponents: Sonya Thomas, "The Black Widow", is one of the world's best competitive eaters.

It's amazing, how it's always these little weedy types who always manage to do things like down 12 tubs of popcorn or 40 hotdogs or whatever... and I don't think it's an accident that she's Korean. As I mentioned before, those Koreans are nuts.

-- Badtux the Amazed Penguin

That $2M ought to come out of Bush's pocket...

instead, it's coming out of yours and mine. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has agreed to pay Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield $2 million as part of a settlement for wrongfully arresting him in connection with the 2004 Madrid terror attacks. The FBI even apologized, which I thought was against the law for any government official or agency to do ("we're the government, we don't NEED to apologize!").

Under Bush's "omnipotent unitary executive" theory of power, he has the power to arrest anybody anywhere for any reason as a 'terrorist', and the FBI arrested Mayfield under that principle. Maybe if the Chimperor got whinged in his pocket... awe no, he'd just expect Poppy to bail him out of that one too, just like with the Iraq Study Group. Well, given that the Chimperor has said he's going to ignore the ISG's "cut and shuffle off" strategy (as vs. "cut and run"), maybe that's a bad comparison...

-- Badtux the "Hit'em where it hurts" Penguin

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jim Webb: One-term Senator

So Jim was tempted to slug the liar-in-chief when the Liar-in-Chief tried to make political hay out of Jim's son, and refused to do a photo-op with the President or go through a reception line to shake the President's hand. Jim, apparently, doesn't suffer fools gladly, and doesn't pretend to. He treats fools the same way he treated the Viet Cong.

This is why I predict Jim will be a one-term Senator. Our electorate has little patience for straight talkers and straight shooters. They want lies, soothing lies, lies that they are a good people, God's chosen people, Americans, and thus they need not care, need not strive for anything beyond their pathetic little useless lives of fornicating and defecating and masticating and accumulating shiny baubles of no import...

In a kingdom of liars, an honest man may be elected, but he will then either become as corrupt as those who preceded him, or be forced out of office, for honesty is the *LAST* thing the American electorate wants. Because honestly, we as a people are selfish, self-interested, ignorant, and possessed of an unwarranted sense of entitlement that would be laughable if it did not lead to such deadly results for the rest of the world. And a little bit stupid, too. Thus why we as a people elect fellow stupid people like George W. Bush to office, or people like John McCain who pretend to be "straight shooters" but in reality are as corrupt as any, and decry "dome-heads" like Al Gore and John Kerry as "boring" because they use these big multi-syllable words 'n stuff, y'know...

The recent election doesn't change that reality. People weren't mad at the Republicans because of the Iraq invasion, corruption, or spending like drunken sailors on liberty while borrowing money from our nation's enemies to pay the bills. They were mad at the Republicans because we're *losing* in Iraq, and that is incompatible with that unwarranted sense of entitlement that says that we're *entitled* to win wars. It's, like, *un-American* to lose a war.

Yessirree, proud to be an American...

- Badtux the Cynical Penguin

Freedom of religion and speech...

is only for good God-fearin' Christians, not for evil heathen darkies.

Welcome to the United States of AmeriKKKa, where we might as well all go around wearing this attire nowdays:

Remember, if you're brown, or non-Christian, or simply have views to the left of Ghenghis Khan, you're just a nigger in today's America, and it's only right that you have fewer civil rights than good white God-fearin' Christians. Why, you ought to be just glad that good God-fearin' Americans don't lynch ya, yessiree!

I am soooo proud to be an American....

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sucker bet: An engineering degree

Did you know that the majority of engineers graduating from college here in the United States never manage to find an engineering job?

The big companies are only hiring Indians and Chinese on H1B's, and ya gotta know the right person at a small company to get a job there 'cause else it goes to the second cousin of the wife of the Vice President of marketing. While overall unemployment is low for college-educated people, there's a helluva lot of kids with college degrees delivering pizzas and driving taxis or saying "do you want fries with that order, sir?".

Meanwhile, a good fixer is never out of work, whether he fixes cars, motorcycles, plumbing, or electrical wiring. Frankly, it makes me wish I'd stuck with that whole electrician thing, a good electrician is never out of work...

No, I'm not unemployed right now. Was just reading an article about an "engineering shortage" and how there wasn't enough engineers graduating to fill all the available jobs, and snorting "Bullshit!". If there wasn't enough engineers graduating, companies would be swarming even the smallest engineering schools looking for engineers. They're not. The big companies only look at the "top twenty" engineering schools, and otherwise hire from Tata and its ilk. The small companies don't look, period.

- Badtux the Bushit-smellin' Penguin

Monday, November 27, 2006

So what happened while I was away?


New York city cops blow away unarmed dude by putting a couple dozen bullets into him.

Iraq is a mess.

Penguin movie is a big hit.

Dear Leader sez that, despite all evidence to contrary, Iraq is just peachy keen and is not, not I say, in the midst of a bloody civil war.

Hmm, I go on vacation and the same old same old happens. I should have just queued up a half dozen "news" articles and posted them while I was gone, nobody would have ever noticed I was gone. I could have reused some of my headlines from anytime in the past two years... doesn't anybody learn? Anybody? Hello? Hellooooo?!

-- Badtux the Dejavu Penguin


are being posted at ImageShack

- Badtux the Migrating Penguin

Bumped to put it on top

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's a mugging...

So I stagger back onto my iceberg after riding for six hours in the rain at 15mph (yes that's right it took me SIX HOURS to cover NINETY MILES because #$%@! Californicators don't know how to drive in the rain (they're almost as bad as the Zonies when it comes to rainy weather, they screech all over and drive 5mph and smash into each other left and right)), err, I'm getting Lispy on you guys here sorry, but I'm tired. But the cats have other ideas. I walk through the door they both start talking to me and rubbing up against me. A short trip into the kitchen showed why -- they'd managed to eat five pounds of food in seven days. EEEP!

Anyhow, I'm tired, so I'm going to bed, if the cats will let me...

-- Badtux the Tired Penguin

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Back to civilization

I am now in Ridgecrest after an amazing two day trip into the most remote valley in California, with a stop at an amazing oasis reachable only via an unmaintained road that is only barely on any map (and not accurately at that). But I will say no more than that. I cannot even post pictures because my camera broke during the trip.

I leave for home in the morning, migration at end. It was an adventure. Especially the parts that involved sending 700 pounds of motorcycle, luggage, and penguin hurtling across deep sand at 30mph...

Now to get some rest!

-- Badtux the Tired Penguin

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Up a canyon without a garage

Warm Spring Camp was built in the 40's by a woman. It shows. This is the only desert camp I have ever seen that has a swimming pool. Empty now, of course, but only a woman would have thought of something like that to get workers into a very desolate place for what was the most profitable mine in.Death Valley -- producing talc!. Photos coming!

So in the last installment my KLR had started running like crap, overheating and sputtering above 5000 rpm. There obviously was no garage available at the abandoned Warm Spring Camp, so I made a diagnosis - dust-clogged air filter - cleaned the filter with wd-40 then soap and water all of went on the fire pit, set it out to dry overnite along with my washing (hey I had lots of water available thanks to Warm Spring and my soap was out so I washed clothes too!). Then I tossed out groundsheet and sleeping pad and bag and slept under the stars.

The next day I used the last of my wd40 oiling the filter. WD-40 is life to a motorbike so this was trouble. I was also still tired. So after breakfast of Caf? Mocha and a breakfast bar I set off back down the canyon to go to the next town, Shoshone, determined to stay on pavement and end up in Beatty and sleep in a nice comfy hotel room. Thanks to my new mastery of the Banzai Theory of keeping the rubber side down I.e. when facing deep sand, gravel, or a steep rocky upgrade on a big fat dirtbike the correct answer is always shout banzai! and give it more gas, I swiftly got back to pavement, then to Shoshone. The bike ran great. My diagnosis of a clogged air filter was apparently correct. I filled up with gas, bought a can of wd40, and went across the street to the only cafe in 'town'.

The burger was good. The fries were only average but still better than the stringy things at Panamint City Resort. There was not, alas, any desert. The pie maker apparently was on extended leave (!).

I then headed north to Death Valley Junction. The roadbed of the old Mojave to Rhyolite railroad paralleled the road for most of the way. At Death Valley Junction a narrow gauge spur once led off to the company town of Ryan, which still sits up atop its mountain of almost pure borax like a gleaming citadel, waiting for the Boron deposits to play out (the mines at Ryan could not compete with the more accessible Boron deposits and the mines went bankrupt, were bought by the same company that owns Boron, and shut down to keep the price of borax up... but the old company town has been kept ready to resume production.for over 70 years now!). At Death Valley Junction the mining company had once maintained a small hotel and community rec hall for railroad workers and visitors to the mines. This is now owned by an eccentric old lady who fancies herself a ballet dancer, although since she is well past 80 you can imagine that she isn't very good. Yet she dances, and the former rec hall is reborn as the Armagosa Opera House.

At Death Valley Junction I turned west towards Death Valley again. I was going to Dante's Overlook, a standard tourist thing that had been closed last time I was there. The old Ryan railbed parallels the route for most of the way. Just short of the Death Valley boundary I saw something strange to my left... a sequence of roads and slabs in the middle of nowhere. The slabs were perhaps cabin sized, no bigger. A former resort or hotel? I guess I will have to google and find out...

Ryan gleams like a citadel upon an enormous ledge cut into a mountain of borax. They have apparently applied white roof sealent to the roofs asw part of the program of keeping the world's oddest ghost town ready to be reoccupied whenever Boron gives out. You can't get near it of course, it is private property and fenced and guarded by a full time caretaker. So I headed up to a spectacular view of the lowest point in the United States...

Then I went to Beatty, checked into a motel, and started hacking these tomes out on the tiny keypad of a pda fone...

Monday, November 20, 2006

In which a penguin learns about sand

Sunday was spent mostly in deep sand and gravel. I left the campground at around 8am and filled up on gas at Stovepipe Wells and paid my park fee. Behind the airstrip is Cottonwood Canyon Road. So I dutifully aired down my TKC-80 knobby tires, put on my rib protector armor, and pushed 400 pounds of bike and 100 pounds of tools and water and luggage down this sandy "road".

This was hard work, and a couple of times I almost lost it, but I didn't. Finally I arrived in Cottonwood Wash. Which is your typical gravel and rock filled desert wash. Which meant occasionally pointing the KLR's nose at a particularly rugged piece, shouting "banzai!" at the top of my lungs, feeding the beast gas, and praying because speed is the only way to scramble thru some things and you just have to trust your bike. Then stopping at the next decent stretch to catch my breath - wrestling 700 pounds of bike and penguin over this terrain is *work*.

At one point I realized that I must have turned up Marble Canyon rather than Cottonwood Canyon. I managed to get my GPS into topo map mode rather than city streets mode and yep, missed my turn. And had lost my paper map too at my prior map check. Plus it was already past 10am and I wanted to be at Furnace Creek by noon to get my official lunch err map and permit. (Hmm... ever notice how penguin conversations swiftly turn to food?). So I turned around and left. When I hit pavement again I dutifully pulled out my teensy air compressor, aired back up, and hit the road to Furnace Creek.

So I got a replacement map at the ranger station's gift shop. The burger at Furnace Creek Ranch Cafe was bigger than the one at PSR and the fries were hand-cut and meaty (but not as plentiful as at PSR). Fifteen bucks ought ta get ya a good burger and fries, eh? Anyhow about 1:15 I filled up with gas and set out for Warm Spring Canyon and Butte Valley.

What I found out is that Death Valley is *big*. By the time I got past Badwater to the southenmost intersection with West Side Road, it was past 2pm! Going up West Side Road and Warm Springs Canyon road, I eventually realized that the best way to get thru deep sand and gravel on a 700 pound bike+penguin was, oddly enuf, to go FAST. As in at least 25mph. This took serious nerve when every bone in your body is cringing in potential pain as the bike squirms under you, but it works - gyroscopic procession, if you want the fancy term. In the process of doing this, I realized two things: a) my bike was overheating, and b) my bike was sputtering above 4500 rpm. I decided my air filter was clogged with the fine dust we'd been walloping thru, as well as me being totally exhausted. So at Warm Springs Camp, I stopped for the day.

The spring was running, and yes it is warm. Supposedly it is drinkable but I only used it to wash - my air filter, then some clothes, then my hair. (the waste water went into the fire pit not the spring btw - do not contaminate water in the desert!).

I was so tired I couldn't even think about cooking. So I choked down some flavored pouch tuna and pretzle, tossed my ground sheet and air mattress and sleeping bag down on the ground, and went to sleep under the stars.

Death! Valley!

November 18:

Kern River canyon: there is a winding road between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella that hugs the river. Great motorcycling when the road is dry, and it was this time. Odd thing tho. There were cop cars all over the place, and the cops were out of their cars looking down at the river, which btw is pretty low at the moment. One set of cops even had climbing gear that they were setting up...

Ridgecrest: this town exists for one reason: China Lake Naval Weapons Center, where naval aviators learn how to bomb precious cultural artifacts into rubble... perfect prep for their Iraqi duty. more on that later. It is your typical small military town, complete with brand new gigantic Wal-Mart. All I wanted was gas tho. I found it, and moved on.

Trona: armpit of California. Smells like it too. I set the cruise control so I wouldn't get a ticket, and didn't stop.

Panamint Valley: the Navy is bombing the old road from Panamint Valley, which went down past Wingate Pass to go around the south end of the Slate Range, but the feds helpfully chipped a new road into the north end of the Slate Range to take the low road's place. I didn't go down to Balarat to chat with Rock(y) this time -- it was getting late, I was getting hungry, and the burgers at Panamint Springs "Resort" awaited. So I took a few pictures of the dry lakebed, and pushed on up Panamint Valley Road.

The PSR restaurant was uncrowded, perhaps because it wasn't quite 5pm. I ordered my burger and fries. Good burger. Lousy fries - stringy store-bought frozen things, not fresh-cut like you would expect for a 10 dollar burger(!). An old desert rat on an old BMW airhead (R80) pulled in a few secs later. He spotted my KLR and my helmet and wandered over. "You friendly?" he asked. "Sure", and pointed at the next chair. He was, alas, hard of hearing, so we mostly talked past one another. After a while he looked at the darkness outside, said "I have to go set up camp before it gets dark!", and left. In the dark.

I paid and similarly left. And cursed my KLR's feeble headlamp all the way to Emigrant Campground, where I pitched my tent in the dark and settled in for the night.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The world's stinkiest town? Stockyards gah! 150 miles of fog are over with anyhow, time to get gas...

Funniest question of the day: "is that a BMW?" Err, no....

11:30 AM -- Bakersfield. Rdneck capital of California. Haven't seen so many fat rednecks since my last trip back to Louisiana, but I was hungry...

Badtux The Migratory Penguin

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sad kitty

This isn't my kitty, but I was impressed by how sad he looks about taking a shower. Poor baby!

- Badtux the Bemused Penguin

Why did the salamander cross the road?

Yes, boys and girls, still recycling old photos. This is a Northern California salamander. Temporarily un-flattened, but many of his brethren on that particular road were not so lucky.

-- Badtux the not-flat Penguin

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Spammers suck...

Got a couple of comment spams, so now only registered Blogger users can post comments. Hopefully the comment spammers will go away in a bit and I can open comments back up, but it's too hard to clean up while I don't have good access to the Internets...

Badtux the "Are you SURE it's illegal to kill spammers?" Penguin

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lord of the Realm

The Mighty Fang surveys all that he rules (click the thumbnail for the big picture).

-- Badtux the "Okay, so Blogger photo uploads ain't workin'" Penguin

Sunday, November 12, 2006


As I try to get everything packed for my annual migration, the Mighty Fang, unhappy at his sofa being used for something besides sleeping, settles down amidst the chaos and takes a nap.

From left to right: Large waterproof duffel bag. Fanny pack (straps to number plate on the front of the bike). Large cat. Fender tool pouch (straps to front fender). Large top box (mounts on luggage rack on back of bike). Needless to say, the cats are not happy with having their sofa preempted for motorcycle luggage packing purposes...

I will be posting sporadically or not at all over the next couple of weeks. You might check from time to time anyhow just to see if I've managed to upload some photos...

- Badtux the Migratory Penguin

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It's official: Google is a terrorist organization!

At least, that's what World Nut Daily tells me. They solemnly inform me that: Google hates America's veterans but loves Canada's, Britain's, and Australia's veterans. Google employees donate money to evil terrorists like Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry and Hilary Clinton who want to KILL US ALL! Google accepts ads pointing out that Tom Delay accepted bribes, but won't accept World Nut Daily's ads pointing out that Nancy Pelosi eats raw babies when she isn't defecating upon flags!

It's clear, we must all quit using Google RIGHT THIS MOMENT or... or... THE TERRORISTS WIN!

Hold on, Blogger is owned by Google? Err, never mind... -- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Fact or fiction - anonymous phones?

And the answer appears to be 'yes!'. Just bought a $15 SIM from Cingular for an unlocked HTC Wizard (what I am using to post this message). Could have bought the fone too at the same time. 'Could you give me your name and address? No? I'll just put the store name and address then.' No problem.

This plays a role in 'Dead Children' btw. Kathy drops off the map and uses these 'disposable' fones when some cops in the pay of corrupt politicians are looking to kill her while 'resisting arrest'...

Badtux the Researching Penguin

Friday, November 10, 2006


The educated Mencken poses underneath his college diploma. This cat has more dignity in his left forepaw than the entire modern sordid Republican Party has in its entire collective body.

-- Badtux the almost-as-dignified Penguin

Conspiracy spam

I got comment spam! A comment spammer left this in my comments:

Speaking of impeachment, our new majority should actually USE its subpeona power to launch a REAL independent investigation into 9/11. One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases.

He then proceeded to post about 500 lines of stuff without any line breaks or paragraph breaks. I deleted it, of course, because 500 lines of stuff that has no relation to the posting is just plain spam.

Anyhow, here's my opinion on that: There have been too many whistleblowers come forward and say that the Bush Administration dropped the ball on the 9/11 terrorists for me to believe that there was anything other than willful blindness (at most) involved. Richard Clarke, for example, says that the FBI already knew that several of the hijackers were al Qaeda. And there's the famous Phoenix memo where a frustrated FBI agent tries to get permission to tap the phones of hijackers doing flight training there. In other words, there's just too much paper trail here from people who do NOT like the Bush Administration. It may be that the Bushies deliberately turned their head at the preparations for the attack, and deliberately let the hijackers get on the planes. But the notion that the hijackings were an "inside job", so to speak, just don't fly.

As for the "controlled demolition" of the WTC towers, I talked to a very anti-government architect, and he says that "pancaking" as was seen here is exactly what he would expect in the situation, where the fireproofing was displaced by the impact and the building's core served as a stack to turn the vaporized fuel into a blast furnace capable of melting steel. Remember, steel is melted at the foundary that creates it using nothing other than natural gas and air. And jet fuel has even more energy than natural gas.

As for the notion that devout Muslims surely would not engage in behavior that contradicts their religion: Ted Haggard. Ted apparently devoutly believes all that crap he spews about how homos are evil and stuff. Yet he did the dirty with another dude anyhow. Human nature isn't changed by the fact that one has adopted a religion, and seemingly "moral" Muslims go off the tracks just as often as seemingly "moral" Christians.

In short: Two jet airliners piloted by hijackers ran into the WTC towers and brought'em down. That's the facts, jack. A jet airliner piloted by hijackers ran into the Pentagon. That's the facts, jack. We might quibble whether the Bushies knew and turned their heads to make sure that they got their "Pearl Harbor" event that they wanted, but the fact that there were hijackers and jets and that this is what caused everything to happen... well, that's off the table.

-- Badtux the Conspiracy Penguin

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Impeach Bush!

Err, maybe not.

Now that the Democrats have taken both houses of Congress, what does it mean? President Bush is going to continue doing exactly whatever he wants to do, regardless of what Congress says. Bush holds to President Andrew Jackson's view of the powers of the Presidency. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Jackson had no authority to remove the Cherokee to Oklahoma, Jackson said "Mr. Marshall has made his ruling, now let him enforce it" and removed them anyhow. If Congress passes a law that says that Bush can't do this, that, or the other, Bush will shrug and say "Congress has made their law, now let them enforce it." After all, he is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, which, as ole Governor Earl K. Long of Louisiana pointed out when telling the Louisiana legislature why he wasn't going to defy a desegregation ruling, "they got the goddamned atomic bomb!"

Thus why I haven't exactly been jumping up and down for joy, because the only resort that Congress has, in that case, is to impeach Bush. And as Nancy Pelosi noted, that ain't happening. Impeachment is off the table for the simple reason that the Democrats don't have the 60 votes in the Senate. They could create a circus, but that's about it.

So what about Nixon, you ask? But that was a different Republican Party. That was the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater -- dignified men of principle in pinstriped suits. Nixon resigned because his own Republican Party bolted from lock-step support of Nixon and Barry Goldwater went to Nixon, with several members of the congressional Republican leadership behind him, and told Nixon rather bluntly to either resign or we're going to vote with the Democrats to impeach you. I don't see any leader in the modern-day Republican party with that sort of integrity or that willingness to pitch Bush II over the rails of the sinking ship of state.

Pelosi can change this by investigating, investigating, investigating, pounding at the corruption in the Bush administration (and lord knows there's plenty of corruption to pound at). But short of Bush doing something stupid like hiring thugs to break into Pelosi's psychiatrist's office to dig up dirt on her and said thugs getting caught by the cops, I don't know if even that is enough to break the Republicans away from Bush enough that they'd vote to impeach him.

Not to mention that impeaching Bush means... President Dick Cheney. Somehow I doubt that Darth Cheney would be an improvement!!

-- Badtux the Skeptical Penguin

Expanded from a comment I made at Spontaneous Arising, crossposted in slightly revised form over at the Mockingbird's Place.

President Darth Cheney prepares to bite the head off of a cute kitten for his mid-day meal, shortly after taking his daily restorative bath in the blood of nubile young virgin girls.

Gearing up....

Sierra Trading Post has darn good prices on closeouts for hiking/backpacking/traveling clothing. Like, $20 for nylon zip-off pants that would normally cost you $60 if bought at REI or etc...

Mountain Sports has great prices and free shipping on most stuff for orders over $50.

Campmor has even better prices, but not quite as big a selection of things like drybags and map pouches and such.

I'm about to start packing the bike for my annual migration... I'll try to post a picture of it when it's all packed, just your basic two-wheeled pack mule :-).

- Badtux the Campin' Penguin

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Priorities, priorities...

I understand we had an election yester... oh look! Over there! It's a Britney Spears white trash divorce!

Hey, a penguin has to keep his priorities straight, right? I mean, c'mon. What's an election, when there's white trash to make fun of?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Some like it hot

The quart bottle of hot sauce above is 2 weeks old.

One experiment I want to try: Hot sauce as salad dressing. Hmm...

-- Badtux the Hot Penguin

Syncing Windows Mobile and Palm on same system?

I managed to get it working by switching the Treo 700P to Bluetooth syncing, which actually works with the Palm (it doesn't work with the HTC Wizard, because Microsoft Activesync can't seem to keep track of where the Windows XP Bluetooth stack is plopping the pseudo-serial-port... pitiful, just pitiful). So I sync the HTC with the USB tether, and the Palm with Bluetooth. But boy, it sure would be nice to be able to sync the Palm using the USB tether again... anybody got both to sync while tethered? Curious penguins want to know!

- Badtux the Technogeek Penguin


This is being posted from my wifi-enabled Windows Mobile PDA talking via Bluetooth to the modem on my Treo 700p cell phone. Wicked!

Badtux The Wireless Penguin

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Bleh. Penguins were not designed to eat lettuce. Penguins were designed to eat pizzas. With anchovies.

Alas, health says no :-(. Weight bumped up a bit above what's healthy for me, so it's back to low-cal chow for a couple of weeks... bleh. Just bleh.

-- Badtux the Calorie-restricted Penguin

Democracy in America: It'd be a good idea

40% of Californians voted via absentee ballot this year. I'm one of them. Breaking away from work to find my polling place, stand in line, yada yada yada... who needs that hassle?

Democrats want people to vote and pass laws making it easy to vote. Republicans pass laws discouraging people from voting and indeed the most widely syndicated Republican comic strip author (Bruce Tinsley) has spent the last week encouraging people NOT to vote. So who really believes in democracy? (Hint: It ain't Republicans!).

Personally, I think we ought to just do the whole purple finger thing and just let anybody vote who shows up at the polling place. Fuck all this voter registration shit. If you're in America, you get to vote, because that's what democracy is all about. But what's good enough for Afghanistan and Iraq is, apparently, not good enough for the good ole U.S. of A... we gotta make sure all our voters are numbered and classified and that only "our" kind of people vote (not "those" kind of people... you know, THOSE people wink wink?) and so forth...

Democracy in America. It'd be a good idea.

-- Badtux the Votin' Penguin

Predict the size of the "Diebold Bounce"

Yes, it's election day, though I voted two weeks ago (via paper absentee ballot) so I get to stay at work. Just curious: how big do you think the Diebold Bounce will be today? Will the Republicans gain 3%, 5%, 7% from the Diebold Bounce?

Meanwhile, I'm going to be boning up on my Spanish... como se dice, "expatriate" en espanol?

-- Badtux the Bouncy Penguin

Microsoft ActiveSync kills Palm Desktop

Now that I have ActiveSync going for my Windows Mobile PDA, Palm Desktop suddenly refuses to sync my Treo 700p. GAH! The Evil Microsoft strikes again! (Unfortunately the Treo 700p doesn't do WIFI, so I need the PDA too if I wish to guarantee connectivity on the road...).

Monday, November 06, 2006

Death Vengeance

So now Saddam Hussein has been condemned to die. No tears for Saddam here. But it does raise the question: What's the point?

It's not as if killing Saddam is going to bring back any of his victims, after all. It's not going to protect any future victims from Saddam either. That would be quite well taken care of by simply putting him into a new version of the Spandau Prison somewhere outside of Iraq for the remainder of his natural life (which is not likely to be long anyhow). So what's the point?

Well, that's clear. The point of the death penalty is vengeance. Period. Otherwise Death Row prisoners would not be on automatic suicide watch (can't have the prisoners off themselves and deny us our petty vengeance, after all!). And the Bible is pretty clear on vengeance -- it be agin' it. "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" and all that jazz, y'know.

And death by hanging is especially vengeful, its whole point being cruelty and vengeance. Yet the right-wing psychos insist it's a great thing for someone like Saddam, despite the fact that it's vengeance, not necessity. I suspect these psychos claim to be Christian. Pathetic. Simply pathetic. Anybody who claims to follow a certain philosophy, yet so obviously has never read the holy book of said philosophy, is... hmm... how shall I put it? Deluded? Demented? Word just ain't comin' to me...

Now, there's one more argument used in support of the death penalty: That it would have some sort of "deterrent effect", i.e., prevent other people from committing crimes. Let's put an end to that one altogether. Texas, Florida, and Louisiana are among the leaders nationwide in executions -- and lead the nation in murders per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, that "sinful" state of Massachusetts, with no death penalty, has close to the lowest murder rate in the nation. If you look through the list in the Uniform Crime Report of cities with populations over 10 thousand, you rarely see a city in Mississippi or Texas without at least one murder. The large majority of cities in Massachusetts have no murders. Anybody who thinks the death penalty deters murder is either an ignorant fool too stupid to look up the actual numbers, or a liar. Or willfully ignorant, just pulling bullshit out of his ass in order to justify vengeance.

And the notion that hanging someone like Saddam is going to ddeter some other evil dictator from offing his own people... well, that one doesn't even pass the laugh test. I mean, c'mon. That whole "Evil Dictator" thing just sorta requires offing bunches of your own people... somehow I doubt that any evil dictators elsewhere are going to lose sleep because Saddam is hanging from a tree in the middle of Baghdad! I mean, c'mon. can you see Kim Jong-Il losing any sleep because Saddam is getting hung? No? Didn't think so...

So it's clear. Hanging Saddam isn't Christian, and all those people gloating over how Saddam is going to be hung aren't Christians. If they claim to be Christians, they're lying. Perhaps, most importantly, to themselves. Somehow I suspect they'll get a real awakening when they close their eyes the last time and get a whiff of the brimstone awaiting them...

-Badtux the non-vengeful Penguin

Cross-posted over at the Mockingbird's place

Blogging from my cell phone

Yes, it works!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Where'd the penguin go?!

Preparing for my annual migration. Got a Panasonic ES4815 Travel Shaver yesterday, tried a couple of stores, finally found it at The Sharper Image in the mall. Thing runs on two AA batteries (runs fine on the rechargables), and is more compact than a regular razor and a small can of shaving soap, while not requiring water (important, since my annual migration ends up in the middle of a desert). It doesn't shave as well as a blade, but shaves fine for when I'm migrating. I also got a new baklava, one designed with a helmet liner built in and a nice fleece neck muff. This will feel nice on my head when the weather is cold! Also got a Fog City shield for my helmet to keep it from fogging up, and some velcro and double-sided tape for making a neck gaiter out of the heavy-duty vinyl-coated fabric from a cut-up cheap Sierra Trading Post dry bag (that costed me a whole $10 on clearance).

For some reason, motorcycle rain gear doesn't seem to include protection for the neck area, and on multi-hour trips in the rain water ends up running down one's neck and back. Ick. In the past I've made ad-hoc neck gaiters out of plastic garbage bags as required to stay dry in the rain, but they are noisy and difficult to deal with (not to mention that the duct tape is messy!). The vinyl-coated fabric is too heavy to flap, and the velcro closure will make it much easier to put on and take off. (The double-sided tape is for making the "U" bend at the top to a) keep water from being pushed over the top by the wind, and b) keep the top from cutting into the skin).

I'm still deciding what to do about the blog while I'm off on my migration. While I'll be hauling along my WIFI Win-CE PDA which is capable of using the Blogger API to blog, there really isn't going to be much to blog about during the trip, since I have no way of getting photos from my camera to the PDA (my travel camera doesn't do Bluetooth). Carrying a laptop while migrating via motorcycle doesn't work too well, unfortunately, because of limited space and too much vibration.... sigh.

Anyhow, I should be back on a regular posting schedule tomorrow. Which has been way TOO regular lately, but...

-- Badtux the Verbose Penguin

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I have a rule: I don't watch movies in theatres. Sorry, sticky floors, screaming children, cell-phone-yakkin' morons, and the woman with the beehive hairdo who seems to always find the seat right in front of me just don't do it for me.

Last time I broke this rule was for Fahrenheit 9/11. That was an interesting experience. But I'm getting the urge to break this rule again for the Borat movie. Pretty much all the reviewers agree that it's the funniest thing they've seen in a long time -- and wickedly snarky about the state of American culture.

Question: Should I?

-- Badtux the Inquisitive Penguin

Bumped to keep it on top.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Yum! Dessert!

Delicious! Just want I want to see on my dinner table!

-- Badtux the "I don't like cats THAT much!" Penguin

Closets the size of friggin' football stadiums

Is there anybody in the Republican Party who isn't gay, a pervert, or both? Now we find out that Pastor Ted likes gay sex and meth. Uhm, who is Pastor Ted? Well, he's like the big cheese of the evangelical movement nowdays, and Preznit Dimwit's conduit into the nutcase evangelical community. As in, talks to Dear Leader or Dear Leader's Puppetmaster Karl Rove every Monday.

Hmm, kinda makes a penguin wonder what exactly Pastor Ted and Karl Rove were talking about...

"Anti-gay" Republicans. Closets the size of friggin' football stadiums. Feh.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

He found Jesus

Police twice stunned with a Taser a 120 pound kid armed with a Bible who was shouting "I want Jesus!". His crime: he refused to acknowledge them which of course is a crime in Amerika V. 6.0 -- when a police officer approaches you while you're doing nothing wrong and asks "your papers please", you're required (according to the last dance of the Supremes) to show him your papers. Just like in the good ole' U.S.S.R., yessiree!

Now, you might think being Tasered twice might have something to do with the fact that the kid had to be hospitalized, and died the next day. But nooooo! The county coroner sez he just died of being over-excited. Nosiree, being electrocuted (twice) by the cops had nothing to do with it!

Hmm, I guess that folks who die after being electrocuted by this thingy just died of gettin' over-excited too:

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Demonic possession

The mighty hunter waits for unsuspecting prey as he lurks atop the... bookshelf?

-- Badtux the Pounced-upon Penguin

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The coming epidemic

The American health care system has two problems that virtually guarantee that there will be an epidemic within the next twenty years, a pandemic that will kill several million Americans, make 1/4th of the remainder seriously ill for weeks, and cross all socioeconomic lines to infect insured middle class Americans and the wealthy as well as the lower-class uninsured. These two problems are:

  1. Lack of funding for preventive care, and
  2. Lack of universal health care.
Let's look at the first. It makes sense that insurance companies would fund preventive care -- that the insurance companies would be the first to push immunizations, exams, early diagnosis for critical illnesses, and so forth upon their customers. After all, a healthier clientelle means less money spent, right?

But such a notion is naive. The goal of pretty much all health insurance companies in the US today is what you’d expect: To pay out as little as possible while taking in as much money in premiums as possible. It’s called “capitalism”. Duh. Now, you’re saying to me “if the insurer doesn’t pay out money, people will get sicker!” But health insurance in the US is tied to the employer rather than to the individual. The health insurance company is betting that, by the time you get sicker, you’ll be with a different employer and thus a different health insurance company. In short, they’re gambling that you’ll be with another insurer by the time their penny pinching catches up with you.

The result is that there is little funding for preventive care. You have lots of smokers where insurance companies won't pay for stop-smoking programs. You have lots of fat people where insurance companies won't pay for weight-loss programs. You have lots of people who don't see the doctor regularly enough to catch diseases such as hypertension which are harmless if caught and treated early, but cause serious illness if allowed to linger. You have lots of people who aren't immunized. You have, in short, a reservoir of unhealthy people who are perfect as the early disease vector for the coming epidemic, since they will catch the bug more easily and there's enough of them to spread it all around. And the insurance companies don't care, because, thanks to the fact that insurance is tied to employers rather than individuals, they're gambling that these people will be with another insurance company by that time. In the meantime, they have their profit. That's all that counts, right?

Now, let's focus on the other factor that makes the coming epidemic inevitable: Lack of universal health care.

Now, you'll say that this is "socialism", perhaps. But this is important. Universal coverage is the only way to prevent reservoirs of disease from lingering in the population, reservoirs which can mutate and explode into epidemics that kill insured as well as uninsured. The 1918 flu epidemic is a classic example, which killed 20 to 40 million people and depressed the average lifespan of Americans by 10 years as well as killing tens of thousands of healthy young American soldiers in Europe (more died of the Spanish Influenza than died of German bullets!), but any serious disease which is allowed to linger in the population due to lack of universal health care can mutate that way.

For example, there is a new strain of TB slowly spreading that is resistant to any known antibiotic. TB is normally easy to treat, but by failing to have universal coverage, a reservoir of TB infection has been allowed to linger in the population, and it is slowly mutating. It will take just one more mutation to make it as virulent as it is antibiotic-resistant and we’ll have a TB epidemic to match any in history—a TB epidemic that will affect rich as well as poor, insured as well as uninsured. That is the cost of lack of universal health care —- epidemics that kill millions of, including those who do have access to health care. Universal health care doesn't just benefit Jose' and Latrice. It benefits me too, because I'm just as likely to get sick and die as Jose' and Latrice if lack of universal health care brings on the coming epidemic.

It’s time to admit that the American experiment in employer-provided health insurance is an utter failure. If we don't fix things, we will have the super-pandemic that I describe above. Even today, my mother (with 40 years of experience as a health care provider) reports that doctors are seeing more and more disease that just doesn't respond to any known treatment. All that needs to happen is one mutation for virulence, and the pandemic is here. I don’t know what needs to replace the current system, but there’s plenty of good systems out there. For example, the #1 and #2 health care systems in the world are the French and Swiss health care systems. They have completely opposite ways of handling things which I won’t go into here, but the important part is that the Swiss system, which is probably the closest to the American system, has insurance purchased by individuals, not by employers, meaning that insurers actually have an incentive to keep their customers healthy. And both systems provide universal coverage, either via a government insurance company similar to Medicare funded by payroll taxes, or via subsidies for those not able to afford full cost of insurance.

Whatever we do, it needs to be done ASAP. Because by having 45.8 million uninsured Americans and skimping on preventive medicine, we insure that there's plenty of unhealthy people to serve as the vector for the coming epidemic... and once it's out there in large numbers, no amount of employer-provided health insurance is going to protect you.

-- Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

Cross-posted to the Mockingbird's place.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

And white trash retirees wept...

But never fear, these new guys will take your place as the epitomy of bad taste:

-- Badtux the Tasteful Penguin

John who?

My newspaper tells me that I'm supposed to care about what some dude named "John Kerry" says. Why? Why is anybody paying any attention to this LOSER anyhow??? He promised to fight for the Presidency, then broke his promise. Frankly, I don't have the time of day for chickenshits like that.

- Badtux the "I'd rather pay attention to winners" Penguin