Monday, December 31, 2007


There's a reason I'm fat...

Barnes & Noble is probably my favorite place to shop and browse.

The picture on the left is my second favorite place in Barnes and Noble.

My favorite place is the music department. All the fun of and you actually get to TOUCH the stuff. Stopped in tonight to spend the gift card I got for Christmas. I picked up Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy. (1970 - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) B&N is comparatively more expensive, but you can't get a chocolate chunk cookie and a cup of coffee at

Before you get the idea that I should spend more time shopping and less at B&N, you can down any amount of snack food while shopping online. At least at B&N I have to work for it...


Saturday, December 29, 2007

To get an idea of what "normal" looks like to me, here is a view out my window at work:



A little about where...

Since this is "practice" before actually starting the project on 01/01/08, I thought it would be approriate to give you a glimpse of my world. Yesterday I posted a pic of my desk. Today, to get an idea of what "normal" looks like to me, here is a view out my window at work:

It's 10:30 am and a cold, dreary day - pretty typical for Indiana this time of year. It's been a wet winter so far...
This view is looking west toward Lafayette's south side. The trucks and trailers have been through the shop for repairs and are parked waiting for their owners to claim them. The smoke stack is at A.E. Staley's south plant. When the wind is out of the WSW, you can smell it. Staley renders corn into syrup, which finds its way into just about everything you eat or drink that's been processed. As a matter of fact, that tank trailer on the right is probably used to haul the syrup.
The view to the east is dominated by a Subaru assembly plant. The shop is in an industrial park that is still under development; if you've ever seen one, they aren't the most aesthetically pleasing places on the planet.
I actually live about 14 miles east of here, in a little town of about 1500, surrounded by farmland - pictures to come, I'm sure. This part of Indiana is on edge of the Eastern Prairie. It's cut up by the Wabash Valley and the various forks of the Wildcat Creek, so some places are heavily wooded and hilly.


Friday, December 28, 2007


Project 365

The year in pictures -


Update 1/2/2008 - I've been posting daily at the Project 365 blog, if
you're interested in hoosiertoo mundania.



First post - My year in pictures.

Actually, my year and three days, as I'm setting this up for Project 365 and this is a warmup.

This is what I see for a large chunk of my day 265 days a year or so:


Environmentalist scare-mongering

The head of one religion weighs in on a tenet of the religion of Gaia:

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

The...Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007


40-odd degrees and sunny by noon - and that means...

...hoosiertoo went for a ride!

Getting out of the mire that passes for my driveway at this time of year was the worst part of the whole ride. There was snow in the ditches still and the road, where shaded, was damp. I'll take it though!

I put in about 40 miles before I had to go to work. It was GREAT! There are several good-sized creeks on the route I took to the Wabash valley - SR 25 through Delphi. The scenery was gorgeous, even with no leaves on the trees. With the row crops down, you can see for miles, and on the county roads you can encounter stuff like this:

Lancaster Bridge over the Wildcat Creek is about six miles from my house. There are no leaves this time of year of course. Farther upstream is Adams Mill covered bridge near Cutler, IN.
I'll have to post some current pictures. Anyway, being in the wind again was fantastic.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Merry Christmas!


From hoosiertoo and his family to you!

Gaudete! Christus es natus, ex Maria virgine!

Click on the mediamasters link on the sidebar to hear "Gaudete" sung by the Mediaeval Babes.

Friday, December 21, 2007


DITTO!! - 12/17/2007

Without a doubt, great bang for the buck.

if you think Beethoven played at ear splitting volume by metal musicians
backed by strings with danged HOT opera singers singing and dancing while
pyrotechnics and a laser light show is going on, then TSO is just the

Quibble: I'd like to see these guys do a non-Christmas show. I realise they are trying to build their audience, but...

Did I mention the female singers were HOT?

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


More neo-conjob, even less gravitas...

if that's possible.

Good Lord. After 4 years of George Bush, do you Republicans really want Mike Huckabee?

Ann Coulter on Huckabee: (World Net Daily link - sorry.)

As far as I can tell, it's mostly secular liberals swooning over Huckabee.
Liberals adore Huckabee because he fits their image of what an evangelical
should be: stupid and easily led.

Granted, Coulter has been a reliable shill for the current administration but I think she gets this one right. It's been pointed out by Mark Shea, among others, that at least Huckabee gets life and the torture issue right, but I'm not sure he couldn't rationalize those positions away too.



Secession is in the air.


WASHINGTON - A group of "freedom-loving" Lakota activists announced a plan
Wednesday for their people to withdraw from treaties their forefathers signed
with the U.S. government.Headed by leaders of the American Indian Movement,
including activist, actor and Porcupine resident Russell Means, the group
dropped in on the State Department and the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela,
Chile and South Africa this week seeking recognition for their effort to form a
free and independent Lakota nation. The group plans to visit more embassies in
the coming months. - Argus Leader

There's some little bit of speculation as to how the "secession" will play out from Neo-Con(federate)s on the web. Apparently they've been smoking the same whacky tobaccy as Means, et al. It's telling that the self-appointed tribal leaders picked such staunch friends of the U.S. as allies in their quest for recognition.

This is, of course, a hot topic of discussion in Rapid City - I found all of six comments to the Argus Leader article - all negative. All told, almost as newsworthy as other secession movements - New Hampshire and South Carolina come to mind.

You'd think activists would have better things to do.

"Indian Reservations...are..confronted by nearly insurmountable economic
problems. These problems and their consequences have given recervations the not
very flattering label of "slums in the wilderness." (Hagan, 1971,1972) ... A
closer look at Indian reservations often shows that because of their isolated
locations, poor natural resources, and limited economic potential there is
a high degree of marginality." - Indian Reservations in the United
, Klaus Frantz, 1999

Seems like a great bet for successful independence. How many casinos can the nation support anyway?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007


Random thoughts on law, justice, cops and robbers

Mandatory sentencing is a travesty. Plea bargaining is also. I think it would be better to charge a defendant appropriately than to shoot for the moon, the prosecutor figuring to get him to agree to a sentence appropriate to the crime without the inconvenience of a trial. That the prosecution thought the punishment was appropriate to the alleged crime is evident because of the lesser nature of the charge that was offered. If the prosecutor accepts a plea to a lesser charge from a criminal who is clearly a danger to society and deserving of the harsher sentence, then the prosecutor is derelict in his duty.

I also think it would be better to allow the judge to sentence according to his prudential judgement. This would prevent miscarriages of justice that have people in prison for minor offenses far longer than than is reasonable or proportional to their crimes. I realise that mandatory minimum sentencing has been enacted as a reaction to perceived undersentencing by judges, however there are mechanisms to remove judges who are not doing their jobs. Politicians choose the easy way out, bowing to public pressure to do something even if it's wrong, as enacting legislation for mandatory minimum sentencing clearly is.

Mandatory sentencing and plea bargaining are refuges for lazy and/or incompetent prosecutors, defense attorneys and demogogues.* Don't even get me started on prosecutors who load up defendants with multiple charges all related to the same crime in the hopes that at least one will stick.

I’ve got little use for the law; I’m much more interested in justice. Justice is not served by our current "justice system." There are far too many incarcerated Americans, many serving ridiculously long sentences for victimless crimes. Far too often, the size of one's bank account or the color of one's skin tilts the scales one way or the other. It's far too easy to run afoul of the law; there are too damn many of them. At a guess, most people break at least a couple every day.

After reading the following, you might suspect that the opinion expressed above could be a reflection of my attitude toward authority.**

I was recently pulled over because my car's paint job didn't match the color on the registration. This was due to the fact a clerk at the BMV entered the wrong color on the registration. I was in a neighboring county, so the cop had picked out my plate (profiling) and was running it to see what he could find out. While pulled over, Officer Friendly informed me that my registration was not signed (by me) - a citable offense.

Disclosure - I tend to be lippy with cops.*** In this case, when he told me why I was being pulled over, my response was, "You must be bored." When he told me about the "citable offense" my response was, "You must REALLY be bored." He offered to spend some time writing me up if I wanted to continue showing lack of respect. I demurred, disrespectfully. He didn't write the citation anyway.

Fighting a traffic citation is no-win; of course, they know this. Fines are a revenue source - yet another perversion of the justice system.


Before you get the wrong idea, I don't have a problem with policemen doing their job. I've given known cops a hug now and then - brothers in Christ. My biggest problem with the police vocation is the us versus them mentality that develops. Of course, that's a problem in any profession. When I was in the Coast Guard it was the same; I was a boarding officer, the nautical equivalent of a traffic cop.

Another problem is that people who are attracted to positions involving authority over others are generally people you wouldn't want to have that authority. The clannishness of the police tends to insulate them from all but the more egregious offenses committed by one of them. Anecdotal evidence being what it is, you have to take claims with a grain of salt, but there are too many instances of evidence being planted and crap like this:

Kathryn Johnston, 92, was murdered in her home by police serving a no-knock warrant obtained by perjury. After shooting the poor woman police officers made no effort to save her life and even after realizing their mistake, they left her handcuffed on the floor, bleeding, while they planted marijuana in her basement.


I reiterate - it is not my intention to tar every cop with the same brush. Some of my best friends turned out to be cops.**** Police have a legitimate role and I'm sure the majority are good people who do their jobs well.

I contend that the system is broken, subject to abuse, not subject to accountability and that the best cops in the world are enforcing laws that shouldn't even be on the books. Is it any wonder that relations between cops and even ordinarily law-abiding citizens are strained?

*Please note that the above statement doesn’t apply to lawyers in general, although my opinion of the profession isn't particularly high.

**It's often been pointed out the man is less rational than rationalising. I'm self-aware enough to know the difference.

***I was nearly arrested the last time I was pulled over for a seatbelt violation. Apparently, cops don't like being referred to as brownshirts. This one took exception to being told that he could stick the relevant part of the code up the governor's keister.

****If you knew some of my best friends, you'd be worried.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


From the "don't ask, don't tell" department:


This Hickory Farms beef stick smells suspiciously like Ken-L-Ration.


Proof that not ALL National Review Online...

columnists have gone over to the dark side - endorse Romney? Are you kidding me?

John Derbyshire endorses Ron Paul:

If you think that our efforts against jihadist terrorism constitute World War Four (I don't), you will not want Ron Paul for president. (Jonah Goldberg's article "The Tradition of Ron Paul" in the Dec. 17 issue of National Review is key reading in that context.) If you think there would be a whole world of difference between what Hillary Clinton would accomplish in the Rome-of-the-Borgias down there on the Potomac, by comparison with what Rudy, or Fred, or Mitt would accomplish, you won't be supporting Paul.

If, however, you think that much of the underbrush that has grown up around our national institutions this past 40 years needs to by pulled up by the roots and burned, before it chokes the life out of our Republic, then Paul's your man.

There isn't much difference between idling over a cliff or going hell bent for election - over the cliff you'll go. Better to stop before you get to the edge and reverse course. As C.S. Lewis has said: if we've taken the wrong path, the true progressive is the one who turns back first.

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Monday, December 10, 2007



While sitting in the local McDonald's over breakfast one Sunday morning with my Mexican-American wife. I overheard a snippet of conversation mocking Spanish speakers, another make disparaging references to Hispanics and yet another droppng the "n" bomb in reference to Blacks. I was embarassed by the blatant disregard shown for the people around them by the ill-mannered blockheads. I can only imagine what my wife must have felt, although she didn't say anything; I know how it made me feel.

The following is adapted from a short lecture I gave to high school juniors and seniors in CCD.

“Much of the current population of the US is immigrant. Best estimates are that some 13-14% - 40 million people - of the current population is immigrant. All parts of the country have been affected by this phenomenon, although some regions more than others. Memphis’s population, for instance, has been estimated as high as 31% immigrant and Savannah 21%. Far heavier proportions of the influx have affected the Middle West; Minnesota and Wisconsin, in particular, have had heavy immigrant influxes, leading to references to the area as Little Mexico.

While the reaction of native born Americans (not Amerinds) to this wave of foreign settlement has been varied, there has been some violence and persecution and inevitable results in the field of politics. Immigrants have been welcomed en masse in some states, like Wisconsin – to the point of allowing non-citizens to vote. Other states, like Kentucky, have been less eager to welcome them, even denying the vote to naturalized citizens.

The thronging immigrants are not only different in language and appearance from native born Americans, but their outlook and social customs are much different. Many of the immigrants are Roman Catholic, further complicating assimilation with the Protestant majority. Of the various anti–Catholic and anti-foreign organizations is the American party, which has gained control of local offices in Maryland and in New Orleans. The legislature is predominately Republican and Democrat, but many legislators are sympathetic to the American Party cause, and many mainstream candidates for president are also affiliated with the American party. An ex-President of the US has actually been nominated, and accepted that nomination, for President.

One of the greatest sources of embarrassment to leaders of the major parties is the necessity for taking a stand one way or the other for or against nativist policies; however, the need of business and the military, coupled with a low birthrate among more affluent Anglo-Americans, requires a pool of labor sufficient to meet the demands of both, and immigrants are the most obvious source of labor. To this end, the sitting President of the US has requested that due to the shortage of labor, governmental encouragement of immigration was necessary, whereupon Congress has passed laws to that effect.

While many aliens have been advanced on the road to citizenship through various amnesty programs, and others have entered the Armed Forces as aliens, most immigrants have been unorganized and working for lower wages than their native counterparts and even though the minimum wages has been rising – if, indeed, the immigrant workers are paid the official rate – the cost of living has increased even faster. There has been much friction between immigrants and natives in part because the natives believe - with some justification - that immigrants are holding wages down. There have been demonstrations for and against immigrants and even some violence.”

Now, before we continue I’m going to clue you in on a little secret. The foregoing was basically a paraphrase of a 47 year old book* about conditions that led up to the Civil War, mainly the period between 1850 and 1860. I tweaked the numbers based on the percentages and changed the immigrant problem from Scandinavian, German and Irish to Mexican. This is not the first time the nation has had to deal with massive immigration. Catholic teaching tells us that immigrants are human beings, and if we haven’t learned anything else this semester so far, I hope we’ve learned how we should regard other human beings made in the image of God.

In The Compendium of the Social Gospel of the Church, we are

297. Immigration can be a resource for development rather than an obstacle to it. In the modern world, where there are still grave inequalities between rich countries and poor countries, and where advances in communications quickly reduce distances, the immigration of people looking for a better life is on the increase. These people come from less privileged areas of the earth and their arrival in developed countries is often perceived as a threat to the high levels of well-being achieved thanks to decades of economic growth. In most cases, however, immigrants fill a labour need which would otherwise remain unfilled in
sectors and territories where the local workforce is insufficient or unwilling to engage in the work in question.

298. Institutions in host countries must keep careful watch to prevent
the spread of the temptation to exploit foreign labourers, denying them the same rights enjoyed by nationals, rights that are to be guaranteed to all without discrimination. Regulating immigration according to criteria of equity and balance is one of the indispensable conditions for ensuring that immigrants are integrated into society with the guarantees required by recognition of their human dignity. Immigrants are to be received as persons and helped, together with their families, to become a part of societal life. In this context, the right of reuniting families should be respected and promoted. At the same time, conditions that foster increased work opportunities in people's place of origin are to be promoted as much as possible.

I have written on this before. True charity would dictate that we insist the Mexican and other Central American governments do something about the sorry states of affairs in their own country and desist from depending on the US to do what they should be doing for their own citizens. Also I would reiterate that, and this is my opinion, charity does not demand that we let everyone in who wants in. They should at minimum wish to become one of us, and while we can and do welcome them, there is a process they have to go through to qualify as "one of us."

Again, this is not the first time that the U.S. has had to assimilate large numbers of immigrants who spoke different languages and had different religions and customs. One need only take a drive to Southern Indiana and see the towns and churches built by German immigrants. From place names to surnames to festivals and businesses that recognize and celebrate German heritage, their presence is indelible. Likewise, Irish, Italians, Poles and Greeks have contributed to the wonderful tapestry that is the United States.

It is a matter of fact that all parts of the world have belonged to someone other than the current occupiers at one time or another. Many conveniently forget that our Mexican-American brothers and sisters were already living in territories extorted from Mexico during the settling of Texas by Anglo emigrants that saw no need to assimilate - and their subsequent rebellion against rightful Mexican authority. As a result of the Mexican-American war of 1846, even more Spanish speaking people were added to the population of the U.S.

The "solution" to the problem of immigration is as simple as it is politically unpalatable for the panderers in Washington:

  • Drastically reduce access to social services for non-citizens. **
  • Amend immigration laws to eliminate the granting of citizenship to children born of non-citizens.
  • Set a coherent immigration policy with realistic quotas and MANAGE THE BORDERS with Mexico and Canada.
States and municipalities are limited by federal law as to what they can do; immigration is one of the areas for which the federal government is legitimately responsible, although it's no surprise the feds have screwed it up. Municipalities can enforce local codes and laws, as long as it's done universally. Locals can't enforce residency rules against a houseful of immigrants and ignore the natives next door who are in violation of the same code, for example.

Given the current political climate, I suppose it's too much to ask of the federal government to actually do it's job, and small town mayors and councils are ill-equipped to handle the problem. Demogoguery replaces reason and so nothing much changes, except for the worse. It takes an uncommonly brave politician to take on the problems at the local level.

I guess I could have made a scene in the restaurant by correcting the boorish oafs. In only one instance was I reasonably sure I knew who had said what, and I don't make a habit of upbraiding complete strangers based on overheard conversations. I think adressing the situation in class or here is more productive.

* The Civil War and Reconstruction by James G. Randall and revised by David Donald (2nd ed, 1961)

**While we're at it, drastically reduce access to services for everyone else, too!



Extra-curricular crap from the Pacers - again...


"I also hope they cut out the extra-curricular crap that has given the franchise and the city a black eye over the past few seasons." - Oct 29, 2007

A vain hope as it turns out:

Indiana Pacers team leaders Sunday publicly admonished Jamaal Tinsley for
being out at a time and place that put him in harm's way -- in the sights of
someone wielding an assault rifle -- and said it's time for professional
athletes to make "smarter" decisions.

Someone in a group of people fired on cars carrying Tinsely and his
friends outside the Conrad Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis early Sunday.
Pacers equipment manager Joey Qatato was shot in both elbows.

Tinsley & Co are just lucky that thugs (of whatever race) seem to be reliably bad shots. In this case the shooter fired .223's into the Rolls that was occupied by Tinsley and equipment manager Joey Qatato and managed to wound Qatato in both elbows.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007


Hoosiers to play 13...

IU will meet Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl on New Years Eve. It will be the first bowl appearance for the Hoosiers since 1993.

Having been around for the Bill Mallory era and the subsequent descent into mediocrity or worse, I couldn't be happier for the Hoosiers. That the appearance will come following the death of the coach who helped revive the program is bittersweet, but Coach Bill Lynch and the team have certainly done their best to make the late Terry Hoeppner proud.

Go Hoosiers!


I'm somewhat disappointed that the Hoosiers got sent to Tempe as I could have attended the Motor City bowl in Detroit, and Central Michigan would have been a logical matchup for a team so long out of the picture.

Instead, Purdue will play CMU for the second time this season, and it would be a major upset if they were to lose. The rest of the matchups for the B10 look to be tough. LSU-tOSU looks to be a repeat of the title game last year, in which tOSU was exposed by Florida. Illinois will likely get thumped by USC. Michigan is toast in their matchup with Florida. Wisconsin (vs. Tennessee) and MSU (vs. BC) also have tough draws. At first glance, Penn State (against TAMU), IU and Purdue look to be the only wins this year, and of those three, all but Purdue will be toss-ups.

Not looking forward to listening to how weak the B10 is for the next year. Again.


The basketball Hoosiers got by the Salukis, 64-51, Saturday night behind 22 points from freshman Eric Gordon, who is a beast. Not likely he'll be here next year, but I'd love to have him on campus for a couple of seasons.

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