October 31, 2008


Max Out



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October 24, 2008


Four of the most worthwhile minutes you'll ever spend watching YouTube

Recently one of my good friends informed me that his parents, lifelong conservative Republicans, had decided to vote for Barack Obama. I wasn't too surprised, since my esteem of the couple has always been high despite our political differences. My friend related their feelings as being "people without a party" this year. Again, no surprise considering the past eight years and the dismal campaign/candidates that the GOP has offered up this year.

Their crossing over is indicative of a shift among what must be more than just a few conservatives who see a stark difference between Obama and McCain. It's heartening (and revealing of my own cynicism) to see these people going out to vote FOR someone rather than against an opposing view, choosing a candidate rather than supporting them. Like writer and video compiler Eric Hirshberg said in the HuffPo article accompanying this video: "We don't belong to our political parties. Our political parties belong to us."

More videos of crossover voters can be seen at www.conservativesforchange.com


October 21, 2008


The Monthly Max

With this, the 21st month of the Max, we offer up a retrospective:

In the beginning...

There was scrawniness...

But we got over that.

Last year's holiday card runner-up

One down

And one up

Jammin' with my lobster daddy

And to bring us up to speed:

Yo, cool breeze

Don't be skeered, daddy. Now, that's the gas...


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October 17, 2008


Plungin' like stones from a slingshot on Mars

That would be the force effects of the following screed from John Perry Barlow, a true maverick (a wave of that flag to the impassioned Aiko Annie):

Ten years ago when I was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School, I was on a panel with Senator Ted Kennedy and my tragically late sidekick John Kennedy, Jr. The focus of our discussion was determining when the Internet would likely have the pivotal role in shaping a presidential campaign that television had assumed in the 1960 election of their brother and father. Oddly, for a couple of guys who were deeply suspicious of Cyberspace, they both thought this would happen much sooner than I did, possibly as early as 2000. I said it would be a decade at least. It has now been a decade. And this will now be that election.

Among the many lines of division at contest here - between the 50's and the 60's, between football and frisbee, between a high regard for education and a contempt for it, between weed and whiskey, between Monotheism and Pantheism, between love and fear, between greed and responsibility - is the contest between the highly cybergenic Obama and the apoplectic old race-bating, fraudulently heroic, tail-hook gunning, womanizing, pathologically gambling, unindicted Keating 5 co-conspirator who is literally treasonous enough to possibly entrust the American republic during its darkest hour to a woman who has great legs and cheekbones, combined SAT scores lower than either one of mine, and who, with her "First Dude" were helping lead, until recently, the Alaskan Independence Party, a powerful pro-secession movement. (Imagine Lincoln choosing Jefferson Davis as his first running mate and you get the idea.)

McCain, that disgraceful curdle-brain, that grimacing little tantrum of spoiled Naval nepotism whose greatest military accomplishment (if you don't count crashing three multi-million jets while on joyrides, and contributing to a deck fire that almost sank the Forrestal} was getting in getting shot down and breaking under torture, spent the first part of the debate whining about Obama's low blows and then informed the women and children of America that his opponent had promoted an Illinois law that now legally requires doctors to refuse medical treatment to any child who somehow survives an abortion attempt. Given the abortion methods I'm familiar with, I'm inclined to think such a child would also survive the flame-throwers they'd be using against him toward the end of the movie.

But among his other qualifications for being a 21st Century President , Senator McCain remains proud that, like both Bushes before him, he is computer-illiterate and that he makes his wife Cindy deal with all that.

I thought George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had made me ashamed to be a Republican. But McCain and Palin have pretty well completed the job.

However, since God is merciful, McCain probably doesn't know what I'm talking about. He's watching the campaign on television where he's presented with an edit of reality that is far less damning to him and his campaign than the one I've been watching on the Internet. John McCain is blessed indeed to be spared the online version of himself.

On the Internet, he would see the "people's edits" immediately, like the YouTube condensation of all 3143 of his eye-blinks during last night's debate into a thirty second segment, or the highlighting of his reference to Obama's "eloquence" in a fashion that left no doubt that this was his painfully polite euphemism for the vile effluent one can squeeze out of an fast-talking sack of lying shit when he talks about the "health" - a word McCain enclosed in finger quotes - of the baby murdering "mother", who is unable to accept that a child is the natural punishment for her coozing around in fornication, which is pretty much all these black Muslim terrorist baby mamas do, if you know what I mean.

If he watched the much more elaborate coverage of the campaign on the Internet, even McCain would have to be in awe of the fact that Senator Obama has shown almost superhuman dignity, humor (as opposed to sarcasm), and that quality that Hemingway defined as courage, "grace under pressure" even while being carpet-bombed, first by the Clintons and now the McCain/Palin Golem, with six months of sucker punches, lies, trivialities, the guilt of distant or even non-existent associations (often involving black people behaving ungracefully), and now, finally, the direct incitement of murderous intent in crowds spiked with many people who are insane with racial hatred, well-armed, and trained by their government in the accurate use of long-range weapons.

He would have seen the look of enlightened acceptance on Obama's face tonight when McCain fiercely declared his pride in the people who attended his rallies, including, presumably, the ones who shout "kill him" and "off with his head." As he pronounced his appreciation for these unmasked Klansmen, someone like me who doesn't have an abused wife he can use as a computer interface could, with a slight enhancement of certain frequencies, make clearly audible the dry, cold wind that was whistling through McCain's dentures.

At this point, I must pause and ask any other digeratum who zoomed into the Senator's forehead pulse at such moments: Who do you want answering the phone at 3:00 am in the White House: someone with unassailable poise and courage or someone whose rage-readiness and blood pressure make him a fine candidate to pop a valve, thus creating the scenario in which the more blink-resistant President Palin returns the call at 3:45 am?

Who do you want salvaging the economy, someone who believes that if the government is going to recover what Bush's and McCain's cronies looted from the public treasury, the very rich will have to pay some taxes, or someone who believes that we can spend extravagantly on war, greed, weapon systems we don't need, and subsidies for our friends, while taxing only the middle class and the poor?

Finally, if McCain were watch this on the Internet, he would have known better than to make a certain Joe the Plumber the unanimous winner of tonight's debate. Apparently, Senator McCain caught a short network soundbyte of Senator Obama's exchange with Joe Wurzelbacher in Ohio last week. Whatever it was, it allowed McCain to think he could get away with claiming that Senator Obama would deny Joe the fruits of the American Dream, since Joe would have to give his money to Senator Obama who would then "spread the wealth around" presumably to other people of his own shiftless kind. Kind of like Washington Hussein Stalin.

However, if you click on the link I've attached to Joe Wurzelbacker's name above, you will see the full 6 minute discourse between Obama and the supposed target of his communist exploitation, as McCain characterized the hapless Joe.

In fact, what you will see will make you proud to be an American.

You will see a presidential candidate stop and take the time to explain more and in more respectful detail about his tax program to a single plumber from Ohio than McCain has ever explained anything - besides misrepresentations of Obama's resume - to the entire American public during the length of this campaign.

(Thanks to McCain, we know more about Obama's perfidious porkpie of a 3 mil planetarium projector - which McCain still thinks is an overhead slide projector - than we know about McCain's entire economic recovery plan. And certainly more that the payments and favors he took from Charles Keating to keep the regulators off Keating's Arizona S and L which, by some estimates exceeded $3 million and kept them at bay just long enough for the Lincoln Savings and Loan to eat the life savings of many retired investors before requiring the Federal Government to bail it out with $3 billion.)

But I digress. I come to praise Obama, not bury McCain (who is doing a fine job already). Anyway, If you watch the whole "Joe the Plumber" segment, you will see Mr. Wurzelbacker listening skeptically but with equal respect to Obama and providing his own knowledgeable addenda. It is the kind of conversation you can't imagine a president being willing or able to have with a citizen in public. This president will, and in so doing, he will encourage the existence the citizens as worthy of that critical role as Mr. Wurzelbacker appears to be.

Unless, of course, one of those supporters in whom Senator McCain takes such pride leaves one of those rallies just amped enough by their "tough" campaign style, a pint of Jim Beam, a terror of terrorists, and his abusive daddy's fury at all things brown that he'll haul out his "Elk-erator": that .270 Weatherby Magnum which, when he's using his own hand-loaded rounds with the 130 grain bullets and the extended casing length generates a 3200 fps muzzle velocity quite sufficient to drop a trophy bull at 400 yards, or, for that matter, to blow ol' Hussein Obama's nappy smart-ass head right off his skinny-ass Armani-wearin' body.

If that moment comes, hope will really die in America, I think, and hope for America will die in the rest of the world.

But right now hope is alive and well and winning. While fear, hate-mongering, and war-lust look moribund, querulous, profoundly mean-spirited, and almost blind with blinking.

As Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in "Democracy in America," a book more timely now that when he wrote it in 1835, "America is great because she is good. If she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great." This is the moment when we get to choose which she will be. Watch the whole YouTube exchange between Obama and Joe the Plumber and you will know that we are still good.

Then watch the clip on the Internet from four days ago when a Christian pastor named Arnold Conrad opened a McCain/Palin rally with this little invocation that fails to inspire a thoughtful patriot or a true Christian or anyone like me with a degree in comparative religion, but which was, nonetheless, well-received by the crowd and the principal speakers. Rev. Conrad said, "There are millions of people around this world praying to their God -- whether it's Hindu [not a God], Buddha [also not a God], Allah [Arabic for God] -- that [Obama] wins for a variety of reasons. And, Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because, if that happens, they're going to think that their God is bigger than you." Then you see how fragile and stupid our goodness has become.

Personally, I pray to God and Allah and Atman and Jaweh and the Great Spirit and the Holy Who Knows and whatever else you want to call That For Which All Names and Assumptions Fall Short that goodness will survive this moment and that, in 30 years, we will look back on the next three weeks and know that, at a dark time, the American people, sick of fear, war, greed, bigotry, torture, wastefulness, and a diseased fixation on the past, rose up and voted for hope and love and the future. They voted for Barack Hussein Obama and Joe the Plumber's true American dream. Which started to become real for the first time.

And nobody got shot except maybe the very, very few who had it coming. Most of who are presently in the mountains of Afghanistan getting in the American heroin crop.

I truly believe America is at a fork in the road as Barlow illustrates. So even though I had/have issues with BHO, and even though I know my vote won't likely mean shit in terms of Georgia's contribution to the Electoral College, I just can't, after reading this most excellent memo, pass up the opportunity to lend a hand to history.

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October 10, 2008




October 06, 2008


i can has man skilz

According to the editors at Popular Mechanics, you just ain't a completely competent man until you can perform the following 80 "essential skills," plus own the 20 tools listed. A hat tip to Grapes for the link and the following format - bold items add to my manliness, whilst asterisk-ed* items are WTF? for either I don't know what the hell this is or I can't possibly see this as essential (some qualify for all three designations). Additional snarkiness appears in fuschia.


1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car * ???
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle * would temporarily disabling it count?
7. Use a stick welder *
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies

10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia
12. Perform hands-only CPR I'm pretty good with my feet also
13. Escape a sinking car


14. Carve a turkey * I suck at this
15. Use a sewing machine * I did take sewing in Jr. High
16. Put out a fire
17. Home brew beer * I'd love to learn, but essential?
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric * Bleach, right? Besides, blood is manly!
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food
21. Read an electric meter *
22. Shovel the right way * ??? Shovel what?
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall *
25. Split firewood
26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete * Aren’t instructions on the bag?
28. Paint a straight line *
29. Use a French knife * Qu'est-ce que c'est?
30. Prune bushes and small trees * Get real!
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely But it's much more manly to do it dangerously
37. Fix a faucet cartridge * I don't know what this is
38. Sweat copper tubing No sweat
39. Change a diaper Yeah, baby!
40. Grill with charcoal It's not grilling if you don't!
41. Sew a button on a shirt
In a half-assed sort of way, yeah
42. Fold a flag*

Medical Myths I do need to get my First Aid card renewed

43. Treat frostbite

44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How

48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed * Not me, no siree
50. Drop and give the perfect pushup
* Just one? Sure!


51. Run rapids in a canoe*
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
Though I'd much rather Gilligan
54. Shoot straight*
I'm pretty honest most of the time, though
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
* Fun, but essential?
56. Escape a rip current Got me here

Primitive Skills

57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes

I'm going to claim these on the grounds that success is a combination of preparedness and common sense

60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids

65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand * ?
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral
* I mean really...
69. Fly a stunt kite * See above
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
* Again, really?
75. Ride a bike


76. Install a graphics card *
77. Take the perfect portrait *
78. Calibrate HDTV settings *
79. Shoot a home movie *
80. Ditch your hard drive * ???

Master Key Workshop Tools

81. Drill driver
82. Grease gun
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel*
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit* Is this a shovel (and is there a right way to use it)?
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench * Aw, just fudge it (snap)!
94. Air wrench
Which would also require a compressor
95. Infrared thermometer *
96. Sand blaster *
97. Crosscut saw *
98. Hand plane * File the last four under "gimme a break"
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges *

At the risk of seeming sexist, it was upon number 15 that I considered why this is exclusively a list of skills for men. I can personally attest to how much more wonderful life would be if my better half could perform nos. 9, 32 and 67.

I am surprised by the number of things that the editors considered essential to manhood. To choose the most ridiculous one would be hard, but I'd say that car waxing, meter reading, bush pruning, flag folding, mountain biking, football spiraling, whittling and all the ones listed under "technology" suffice for the definition.

In the comments section of the article were a few good suggested replacements such as knowing how to swim and how to use map and compass, though that is fast becoming obsolete in the satellite age.

Lastly, I must credit the Boy Scouts for influencing a major portion of what I'd consider an impressive if debatable showing of my manliness.


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October 03, 2008


One bad mutha...SHUTCHOMOUTH !

This just in:

Wells bids $15 MMM for Wachovia; scuffles with Citi

Reuters, Friday October 3, 2008

NEW YORK - Wells Fargo & Co agreed to buy Wachovia Corp for about $15 billion, upstaging a government-backed Citigroup Inc bid for Wachovia's banking assets with a deal that would catapult it into the top ranks of national consumer banking.

Citigroup demanded Wells Fargo drop its surprise bid, which comes four days after Wachovia preliminarily agreed to sell its banking assets to Citi...

I am a Wachovia customer. As I have deposits that amount to half a gnat's turd in the grand scheme of things, I have not been worrying much in the face of news about the bank's travails. But now I'm inclined to go get mine, slide (not stuff) it into the mattress and let these assholes duke it out without me.

But the BIG economic news, of course, is that the Bush Bailout+ finally, after five grueling days of uncertainty for Wall Street and its minions, slithered its 451-pages of graft through the House, which had wisely slapped down a much trimmer bill earlier this week.

Many economists are regarding October 3, 2008 as a date that will live in infamy. I use that turn of phrase to point out the irony of how the world's richest man, as told to Charlie Rose on Wednesday , regards the entire U.S. economic situation.

So, what are we being bombarded with? How about the "Exemption From Excise Tax For Certain Wooden Arrows Designed For Use By Children" which, appearing on page 301, is among hundreds of tax relief sausages cooked up on the big Congressional barbe-queue [sic]. The EFETFCWADFUBC, as I will fondly dub it probably just this once, applies (I think) to manufacturers of "certain wooden arrow shafts...consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means of enhancing the spine of such shaft (whether sold separately or incorporated as part of a finished or unfinished product) of a type which after its assembly (1) measures 5/16 of an inch or less in diameter and (2) is not suitable for use with a bow as described in bullah, bullah, bullah..."

What is this saying about Congresspeeps who, finding Monday's 108-page version of a free (and credit) market/home/business-saving $700 MMM financial rescue objectionable, switched their nay to yay for the fattiness that includes a children’s wooden arrow excise tax exemption in it? Only that as usual, they are all too willing to give their constituents the shaft.

With a h/t to DCup - "Because what goes around comes around"

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