Thursday, July 19, 2007

A little about Mr. Potter

Ok, so I’m reading a story on MSNBC (or Newsweek) about the leaks in the Potter release and how it affects the future of the publishing industry.

My hunch is that the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t have so much lead time before release, but what do I know about that crap.


There was a funny item from the article, though.  A little girl had gone on line to grab a download of the text.  The first couple were frauds, but then she hit paydirt.  This is how she knew:


“This time, she was convinced she had the real thing by the end of the first eight pages, when she found some lovely details on Dumbledore’s youth that only J.K. Rowling could have included, she said.”


Lovely details from Dumbledore’s youth that only J.K. Rowling could have included?  As if this person were a childhood friend?  HE’S A FICTIONAL CHARACTER AND THE DETAILS OF HIS YOUTH ARE FICTION!!!  FICTION!!!


The only difference between J.K. Rowling’s made up version of this dude’s youth and my version of this dude’s made up youth is that she’s going to get paid a heap for it.  It’s not like her making it up actually made it happen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I love John Lovitz

Strength training lately.  Will run tomorrow.


But first…


Reportedly, at the Laugh Factory in L.A., John Lovitz smashed Andy Dick’s head into the bar 4 or 5 times.


I love that man.


For no other reason than it was Andy Dick, his actions are completely justified.

But there is more to the story.


5 months before comic genius Phil Hartman died John and Andy were at a party at Phil’s house.  Andy gives Phil’s wife some cocaine after she’d been sober for 10 years, because, you know, it’s always a good idea to give a recovered/ing junkie some blow.  Fast forward a few months and both Phil and his wife are dead, dead, dead.


Is there a link?  John Lovitz thinks so.


To compound matters a while back Andy Dick strolls up to Lovitz’s table in a restaurant and drinks his companion’s peach schnapps drink (quite manly) and drunkenly tells John “I put the Phil Hartman hex on you, you’re next to die”.  John boggles at Andy and says “What?”, and the dumbass repeats it “I put the Phil Hartman hex on you, you’re next to die.”


As if there was any doubt that this guy was a giant turd.


So, according to John when he ran into Andy at the Laugh Factory he demanded he apologize for the Hartman Hex crap, Andy denied he said it and was introduced to the bar.



Monday, July 16, 2007

Running update

Non-stop, full run, 13:54.71.

And 14:00 may have been out of the question.  I was pushing pretty hard at the end.


I’m within reach of the prelim goal of 15+ minutes of non-stop running.  Once I hit that I’m going to start measuring distance over time, but I think I’ll only “count” it if it’s non stop.  Running the marathon non-stop this year, I think, is the key to the primary goal of finishing in 4 to 4.5 hours.


I did a little strength training over the weekend, but no additional running.


Tonight I’ll run again (or do more strength training) and see what the time is.  Steady progress is very, very exciting.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Running update

My lovely wife got home too late last night for me to run.  Plus I was hip deep in gathering the ingredients for Thelsemar Sausage in the hills of Dun Morough, so I couldn’t go out and run (World of Warcraft people may know what I’m talking about there, don’t worry if you don’t, it just means you have a life).


So, no run last night, but I’m hitting the park on the way home today and tomorrow I’ll hit the pavement before noon for another run.


In other news:


Newsweek had an interview with the governor of the province of Kapisa in Afghanistan.  He said that the ISI (Pakistan’s intel agency) is promoting “Talibanism” in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

When asked why the ISI would be doing that he said:

“Unfortunately, ISI from the very beginning had the idea of having an orthodox state in Afghanistan, backwards, and then using it in the wars against India and Kashmir, recruiting and creating an army of these zealots and sending them to Kashmir.”


Funny, that’s what I said was going on way back when with the connection between N. Korea, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan that went all awry when the Taliban’s pet terrorist went and attacked the WTC.  Pakistan was cultivating a terrorist breeding ground in Afghanistan to send to KashmirIran, Pakistan, and N. Korea were developing nukes together so that Pakistan could counter the presumed threat from India and retake Kashmir—Iran and N. Korea would reap residual benefit from the technology, benefits we’re seeing come to fruition now.  Osama needed safe haven in Afghanistan and Pakistan apparently thought he’d be a good trainer for crazies to send to Kashmir.  Unfortunately he decided to train crazies to attack the US and everything came tumbling down in October 2001.

The Taliban’s agent, Osama, attacks the US.  The US looks at Pakistan and says “help us fix it or you’re next and your little nuke cohort is going down, too”.  That’s how Iran and North Korea are related to the September 11th attacks.

How Iraq is related, I’m not sure.  Unless a stable Iraq really is a stepping stone to Iran so that we have forces staged on both sides of Iran for when the shit finally does hit the fan.

I love being right.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My inaugural address

My fellow Americans, I stand before you today at this podium, after taking that unique and special oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, behind this seal for the first time, with the growing realization of the burden that is settling on my shoulders and only the slightest understanding of how we, as a nation, are going to get through the interesting times we find ourselves.  We are seemingly besieged on all fronts with frightening and immediate events that are streamed into our lives twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year.  Year after year.  Day after day.  Minute by minute coverage of the latest and greatest threat that can kill, hurt, maim, destroy, or shatter your world in all ways imaginable. 

There are armies of soldiers hidden in the shadows trying to kill our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends in far away lands.  They are striving to attain an elusive goal that seems to slip through their fingers each time the seem close to achieving victory, not unlike desert sand.  We worry for them and are afraid for their safety.

There are armies of poor, downtrodden immigrants marching on our own borders speaking a language we don’t understand, living a lifestyle we cannot comprehend, and doing work we cannot imagine doing.  We don’t know who they are.  We cannot number them.  We cannot understand them.  We cannot, it seems, stop them.  We don’t know who is coming over in the tides, whether they be just workers of fields and construction, or whether they be workers of iniquity and darkness.  We simply do not know, and we are afraid.

There is crime on our own city streets.  Crime across town that is brought to your living room nightly which makes it seem that your own sanctuary is right in the midst of the storm.  “If it can happen there and it’s so close to here, maybe it can happen here, too” you think to yourselves.  We are nervous.  We are afraid for our own safety.

Your own federal government, is seemingly spending itself recklessly into oblivion.  What of the promises we’ve made to future generations?  What of the promises we’ve made to this generation?  Medicare, mecidaid, social security, basic safety standards on the transportation networks and food supplies, guarantees for the citizenry against abuses by the corporations, guarantees for the powerless against the demands of the powerful; these are only some of the promises we’ve made to our own citizens.  Then there are the promises we’ve made to citizens all across the globe.  Citizens of the United States, not in fact, but in spirit.  All those across the world who yearn to live and die as free men and women.  Who yearn to accomplish their potential.  Is your federal government living up to those promises?  Will that government be able to deliver the goods on those promises to future generations?  Has the government of these United States turned away from the understanding in our own founding documents that ALL persons are endowed with basic human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  We are nervous.  We are afraid for our future and the future of our kinsmen across the globe.

What of our retirement?  What of our environment?  What of our own last days?  Will they be comfortable?  What of our neighbors’ retirement, or last days?  We worry for ourselves.  We worry for those we love. 

I stand here now as the executive of that government.  Had I known more fully so many months ago when I strove to pursue this office the breadth and weight of the burden now falling on my shoulders I would say that I was the reluctant executive of that government.  But I am no reluctant executive.  I sought this office not because of the limousines, or fine suits, or the fact that I will never again have to touch a doorknob in my life, but because I understood that there was anxiety and we as a people are nervous and we as a people are afraid.  Not because of the known, but because of the unknown.

But the unknown is not something to fear, it is something to define.

We stand before a world waiting to be shaped.  We stand before people who are waiting to be freed.  We stand before peace that is waiting to be achieved.  We stand before a future—while yet unknown—that is waiting to be known.  We stand before our future, and our future is expecting an answer as to what we are going to do.  Are we going to shrink from the challenges that face us?  Are we going to shy away from the looming deficits and challenging budgets that are going to come with the fulfillment of our promises to future generations?  Are we going to look to our kinsmen across the globe and tell them that the rights endowed to all men by their creator only extend to those lucky enough to be born in these 50 states?  Are we going to look across town at the storms that rage in our own cities and throw our hands up in exasperated silence?  That is not the America for which I sought to be President.  My America looks at those challenges and says “We will!”  My America looks at the challenges across the globe and says “We can help!”  My America is nervous, yes.  But my America has no need to be nervous or afraid, because my America is strong and resilient and has reaped a mighty bounty of all the blessings bestowed on this great country.  The poorest of other nations would give their very lives to live the life of the poorest here in my America, as evidenced by the legions of men and women, yearning to be free, flooding our borders leaving behind absolute desolation and coming to nothing more than a chance at an opportunity—not an opportunity, mind you, just a chance at an opportunity.

My fellow Americans, we can.  There is not a challenge that we cannot look dead on and, without the slightest wavering in our resolve say, without hesitation or doubt, “we can”.

And this promise I make to you, my fellow, nervous, uneasy Americans.  We will.  Because my America can.

Running update

The plan is to run tonight.  I get home, relieve the missus from her role as uberdomestique, then when baby goes to sleep and mommy returns home from her “me” time I’ll lace up the shoes and hit the bricks.  I should be running sometime close to 8:30 tonight in my neighborhood, so it should be nice a cool out—by Texas July standards.  The goal is 15 minutes solid running, no walking.  Then, next weekend, the big distance runs begin.


After next weekend I’ll start alternating between distance and timed runs.  I really want to work on the non-stop thing.  Even at the “peak” of my marathon training I can only think of a couple of training runs that I just ran without stopping.  One was the absolutely fantastic 11 mile run I whipped out at a 00:09:00 mile clip.  The other was… um… well, I guess I can only remember one training run that I ran without stopping.  Then again, at the “peak” of my marathon training I think I only ran twice a week and maybe 12 miles that week.  I didn’t run much, even at the peak.  Which is why I think that even with a moderate level of real, focused training I should be able to pull off a 4:30:00 marathon.  Despite the fact that I’m 2 years and 20 pounds heavier.  At least I’m still good looking.

In other news:

Read a “4 financial tips to avoid” article on yahoo today by way of the Wall Street Journal.  4 financial tips for young people that they should avoid.  In the intro they acknowledge that avoiding credit card debt and funding your 401k are good advice.

These are things to avoid, according to them:

1.  amass cash.  Experts say 4 – 6 months living expense should be kept in a liquid emergency account.  They say “bah” because if you save 10% of your after tax income it’ll take 4 years to amass 4-6 month’s living expense.  4 YEARS!?!  Besides, in the event of emergency you can borrow from your 401k.


Lets see, if you avoid credit card debt like they suggest, and are smart enough not to get into a car note right after graduation, living expenses amount to rent, utilities, and food.  Going out, movies, cable, and fashion accessories are not living expenses, they’re luxuries.  In the event of an emergency, you simply don’t need a new set of red pumps or another golf club.  Putting the handy dandy financial calculator to work… Rent shouldn’t be more than ¼ of take home, food and utilities shouldn’t be more than equal to that.  Even if you’re putting away 15% in the 401k you’ve got 35% of your paycheck left over.  Split that a little less than down the middle and you’re socking away 15% into savings.  Leave it alone and in 2 years VOILA!  You’ve got a fully funded emergency fund without even trying.  Not 4 years.

2 years?!?  Yea, I know.  That’s a long time to sit on your hands.  Unless you consider that you’ll probably already be on your second job by the end of that second year (4th, if you’re me).  Or you can rearrange that budget and put a little less into the 401k the first year (just enough to get the employer match, usually 5%), a little less on partying, and a little more on making sure you don’t lose your apartment when you lose your job and in less than 12 months you can have that fully funded emergency fund.  All you need is rent, utilities, food for 4 months.  Or you can go lean and just sock away a couple grand.

Besides, borrowing from that 401k in times of long term emergency (read, unemployment), means you’ve just undone that “stay out of debt” and “save for retirement” thing in one fell swoop.  Way to jeopardize the present AND future.


2.  Buy big.  The advice to avoid is to get the biggest house you can afford versus the biggest house you need.


That’s good advice.  There’s no need to buy too much house and have 3 rooms sitting empty because you expect it to appreciate in value.  You’ve still got to pay property tax.  You’ve still got to pay utilities.  You’ve still got to pay maintenance.  You’ve still got to mow the yard.  Figure out where you’re going to live and rent while you’re figuring it out (remember, that first job probably isn’t a keeper), and buy what you need (plus a little bit for expansion) when you’ve figured out what you want to do when you grow up.


3.  Get a life.  Insurance agents suggest young folks get cash value while they’re young because it’s cheaper than when they’re old.  WSJ suggests term life over cash value because, well, it’s better.


An even better suggestion:  skip it all together until you’re married.  HUH?  Yup, you heard me.  The point of life insurance is to take care of those you leave behind by replacing your salary with a life insurance policy.  You get 10-15 times your salary in a policy—term life policy—and take the cash, put it in an annuity, and let the annuity pay out to your beneficiaries out of the income.  But if you’re not married and have no kids, why have life insurance above what it takes to put you in the dirt.  And if you have some cash socked away, that should put you in the dirt when you’re gone.  Then you save an extra $25 to $45 a month for that emergency fund.  Until you get married or have a kid, though.  Because then the only responsible thing to do is get life insurance to take care of them.


4.  Go for growth.  The common wisdom is invest in stocks while you’re young because time will gloss over market variances.  Better wisdom is a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds with a long view towards ultimate financial independence.


Even better wisdom is to invest only in what you know.  Unless you’re able to study the market daily, pay someone else to do it and put your money into a fund that is a balanced portfolio with a long view towards growth and financial independence.  If you’re checking investments every year, or 6 months, or every month, or every week, you’re not checking it enough.  A day is eternity in the financial world.  Enron didn’t collapse in a day, but every day for 3 months that stock bled millions in value until the company finally collapsed.  If you’re checking ever 6 months you missed that boat entirely.  A fund manager is checking daily, hourly even.  Those guys get paid very well to do what they do.  If you’re going to build your own fund do it with money you’re not at all afraid to lose.  The stuff you want to keep, give to a guy (or gal) who is paid to make sure you keep it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Running of the cows

Women in Spain are demanding a “running of the bulls” for chicks.  Instead of using bulls they want to use cows because, you know, women are weak and bulls might hurt them.  (Or they’re just smarter than the guys who insist on running in front of bulls who DO hurt them.  But nobody ever argues that women are smart, they’re just weak, too.  No, I will not open that jar of jelly for you unless you admit it, so there.)


They’re dubbing it the “running of the cows”.


Insert horrid joke here.


My personal favorite:  Why do they even need the heifers to have a running of the cows?

Second favorite:  How do they expect to outrun cows while chained to the stove?


Please send you hate mail.  That way I know I have readers.

Running update

Nothing to report.  I’ll hit the trail on Thursday, unless I wake up early to run tomorrow.


Meanwhile, didja hear what happened in China?  The former head of the Chinese version of the Food and Drug Administration was executed for accepting bribes that resulted in low standards of food quality and, consequently, deaths.  Executed.  Screw up, act incompetently, get dead.


Meanwhile, over here you can be completely incompetent in a federal position and you’re patted on the back by the Decider in Chief and everyone is told you’re “Doin’ a great job!”


Sounds almost like a Yackov Smirnov bit just waiting to happen.  “In my country, kill people and get cushy private sector job.  Here, kill people an [gunshot]”

Monday, July 09, 2007

Running update

Ran a little over the weekend.  I didn’t keep stats, but it felt pretty good.  It may have been 12 solid minutes.  I know it wasn’t less than 10.  I’m feeling something entirely different than I did a couple of years ago.  I’m feeling stronger as I run than I did then, though I’m not running as far yet.




And no matter what a salesman or someone who recently leased a car will tell you, leasing a car is NOT the cheapest way to buy a car.  Don’t believe the lie, because it is a lie.  There is a reason why dealers love to lease cars, and it’s not because it’s the cheapest route to go.  Think about it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I won't use the "I" word

But “Angry Bear” does:


And James Madison does:


“[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds tp believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty”


Here is some context:


Notable:  “the maxim would never be adopted here that the chief Magistrate could do [no] wrong."


I like the second one more because it’s not a crazy spiel against The President but rather a commentary on the impeachment of the former President (and potential first fellow). 


He’s the guy we got.  Sure.  No sweat.  He’s better than the alternatives that were presented (probably) or at the very least he’s better then HOW the alternatives were presented.  But COME ON!!!  You’re going to commute the sentence of a guy who was convicted of doing what you told him to do?  BEFORE THE APPEALS PROCESS WAS FINISHED??!?!?!


Something doesn’t smell right with that one.  It stinks of cronyism and covering up your own tracks and certainly obstruction of justice and CERTAINLY authorizing and condoning illegal acts.


Like I said, I won’t use the “I” word.  I’ll let one of the founding fathers do it for me.

Hooray Sanity!


For the first time in a long time I’m actually proud of a Television news reader.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Running tonight

Either tonight or tomorrow morning I’ll get a timed run in of 12 to 15 minutes.  A couple more timed runs of up to 20 minutes and then I’ll start going for distance runs again.  I expect to do my first organized run before the end of July.

It’s a busy month, though.  There’s the national birthday tomorrow, 3 family birthdays, and then the honey-dos around the house.  The 2 free weekends are going to be taken up with extended family gaherings and a baseball game.  We’ve got a busy month.


Speaking of baseball, I sat in the diamond section last night for the Astros game.  Waaay awesome.  Under the seats is a sit-down buffet restaurant.  Everything except alcoholic drinks is free.  I was 4 rows from the field.  In the top of the 8th I went and sat 3 rows back of and directly behind Mr. McLane himself.  For 3 batters in the top of the 8th inning of the Houston Astros game from July 2, 2007, I was on tv keeping score.




After the game Uncle Drayton signed my scorecard.  So  Freakin  Cool.


I recorded the game on my DVR.  I’m going to try and figure out how to record it so I can save it for ever and ever.

Monday, July 02, 2007

check it



Joseph Breda

Treasury Accountant

Carriage Services, Inc.

3040 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 300

Houston, TX  77056

Direct:  (713)332-8582

Fax:  (713)332-6006


Horrid weekend for running

Rained all weekend.  Yuck.

Did get a break long enough to swim.  That was nice.  No running, though.  That was nice, too.  Worked out like a fiend, too.  Weird how some exercises are much MUCH harder than they look.  Take the “flatboard” as an example.  You hold yourself flat with only your elbows and toes touching the ground for at least 20 seconds at a stretch—3 times—lengthening each set so that the final set is longer than the first set.  Simple, right?  That’s what I thought.  The natural tendency is to let the waist droop toward the ground OR the butt tent up into the air.  The goal is to strengthen both the back and front at the same time.  The result is this crazy shuddering as the muscles start to do things you haven’t asked them to do, pretty much ever.


And crazy sore sides the next day.  That happens, too.


Plus I’ve discovered the joys of World of Warcraft.  That sucking sound was all time being consumed by my computer.


In other news it seems we’ve killed or captured all of the smart terrorists.  I get the car bombs in the middle of London.  That would be deadly and destructive enough with the likelihood of killing and/or disrupting traffic and commerce.


But ramming an airport?


With a car?


Then lighting yourself on fire?


In Glasgow?


You’ve got to be kidding me.  Seriously?  You think that was, like, even close to being problematic?  You created a traffic jam.  You suck just about as much as the dumbass on Highway 290 here in town who is trying to exit on Mangum from the far left hand lane and has come to a full stop with his right hand blinker on waiting for the rest of the freeway to come to a full stop so that he can cross 5 lanes.  You, Mr. Terrorist, are that guy.


What’s the encore?  Are you going to go to the emergency room with just a head cold so that you can hold up the line for people who really need help?


What about going to the grocery store and paying with inexact change?


Maybe try to make a return without the receipt?


You’ve gone from explosions and attacks on a grand scale to creating traffic jams.  You people suck and are beginning to suck even more.  You’re like the new version of the 1980’s British punk rockers.  “YEA, SREW DEE AYSTABLISHMEN, MAN!  I’M GONNA TAKE DIS EARRIN AN PU IT IN MY NOSE!!”  You’re just a bunch of doofuses running around making traffic.  Quit it.  You’re not funny and nobody cares.


And no, I’m not afraid of you.  Because as you’re sitting there screaming “Allah huakbar!” and smashing your face into my fist again and again trying to make me succumb to your “bloody nose attack” and bleed all over me until I surrender my rights and freedom to your stupid ideotheology, I’m going to be patiently waiting for the police to pull me off of you and throw you in federal ass-pounding, got not rights, wear this black bag over your head jail and put these electrodes on your testicles while these dogs bark at you jail.  Then I’m going to go grab a big fat double cheese burger and eat it on the observation deck of the tallest building in the city because, by God, I’m not afraid of you at all.