June 28th, 2012

#3452: I knew I learned that somewhere trustworthy.

Turns out it's from Og. That is not at all surprising.

It's an example of why you cannot use galvanized steel in something like a gas grill, and even though I read that post so long ago I couldn't remember any of the details--nor even who said it!--the important part stuck: "do not use galvanized steel where it will come in contact with both high temperatures and food."

Now, I could use the galvanized steel to make a new drip deflector, and I could put it in, then turn the thing on "high" and walk away for a while, and just stand upwind of the yellow smoke...but Dad did not raise me to be a dickhead.

At least, not that kind of dickhead.

If something is patently unsafe, I ain't gonna do it. Instead I'll pay the freight and buy a chunk of sheet steel in the right size and use that to make my drip deflector. (I've got to go to Ace and buy a tank of propane this week anyway, so I can get the steel at the same time.)

Og's forgotten more about that stuff than I'll ever learn. I'm just glad I can pick up a vicarious nugget of wisdom or two once in a while.

* * *

Of course, Og is not infallible, either.

I wonder if people were tailgating him on the expressway and making nasty gestures? After all, when your speedometer is calibrated in kilometers rather than miles....

* * *

The nephew is still here and I haven't started dinner yet. He's feeling kind of crummy (nonspecific gastritis) and I've been flopped out all day.

We went out to do some shopping, including a side trip to the fireworks store so I could pick up a couple of fountains. There was this one fountain which was $3 per shot, and I bought two on the 18th intending to try them out and see how I liked them. I didn't manage it before this past Sunday when Lemonzen and I went back; but last night, after Bible study, I tried one and really liked it, so I resolved to go back for a few more of them.

My nephew, being 17, really enjoyed looking at all the fireworks. Heck, I'm 45 and I enjoyed it.

Then, grocery shopping. I managed to get out of the store for $90--because I kept seeing damned good bargains on stuff I will use.

French fries--2 lb bag for $2.39, and they actually had the Texas Crispers back in stock, so I ended up with three bags of fries. *whimper*

Hot dogs: they had the Oscar Mayer 20 packs on sale for--get this--two for $5. So twenty hot dogs was cheaper than a regular 10-pack, and I bought two. With the 10-pack I already had in the freezer, I now have enough hot dogs to last me until September.

Brats: $4 for a 5-pack of Johnsonville, which are the best. Got two.

Also I was looking at stuff for the 4th, so I got a bag of tortilla chips. Figure I'll open up a fresh jar of salsa. Sailor V's bringing macaroni salad and Lemonzen is bringing pie; we're going to have ourselves something of a cookout. Heh. So I'll be buying corn on the cob next week to make some of that, too, and if they're still on sale at the corner store next week I'll get potato salad and cole slaw.

I'm gonna have so much f-ing food on hand.... Well, it means less cooking for me next week!

* * *

Wow--I went and cooked dinner and then got to talking with my nephew. Now it's hours later. Might as well post this.

#3453: So I dug out the old Celeron....

Escaflowne. The old Celeron 333 (overclocked to 500 from the factory). Whee!

See, I was telling my nephew about Carmageddon, and decided--WTF--I'd just show him.

...my original plan had been to run Escaflowne off the TV in the family room. Pipe the video through the VCR and off you go--the video card in this old machine has a composite video out.

Problem is, the TV couldn't quite sync to it, and I don't know why. And I threw out all my old serial mice, so I have to use keyboard for everything. I couldn't really see what I was doing, so I gave up and plugged it into the blab slab in place of El-Hazard.

That worked; and then after some other teething pains I was able to get Carmageddon running. I still can't get the sound to work, and I'm not sure why, but everything else seems to be working.

So we spent some time playing that, and laughing our asses off at how deranged it is.

And once I finish this plate of leftover yakisoba, I'm going to play it some more.

#3454: I'm optimistic

From the beginning I have called ObamaCare "the single largest tax increase in US history". The fact that the US Supreme Court upheld it on the (dubious) legal theory that ObamaCare's individual mandate is a tax means that the SC has given the GOP all the ammo it needs to demolish the law.

"Obama promised no new taxes were in ObamaCare," they'll say, "yet the SC has said it's a tax. We want to repeal this law because the tax is regressive and unfair."

If I were in charge of the GOP I would start making that argument right now. It is a regressive tax. Poor people generally need more health care than the rich do (look it up!) and the ObamaCare individual mandate will hit the poor harder than the rich. SINCE IT IS A TAX it is a highly regressive one.

And it's a tax, all right. The SC has said so. The function of the judiciary is to interpret law--and they've interpreted ObamaCare's individual mandate as a tax.

Sadly, there are three things wrong with this idea.

1) The GOP is the stupid party. This is true for a variety of reasons, but they don't want to use a hard-hitting strategy that might actually win. Why? Because

2) The GOP is also the party of "Democrat Lite". They want ObamaCare; they just don't want ObamaCare as it's written. The GOP doesn't give a wet fart about "small government"; they want "big government, only a little smaller than what Democrats want". They like being in charge, too, after all!

3) Besides, if they do something like that, the press will say bad things about them. (The press will say bad things regardless, but see #1.)

There's evidence which suggests that Justice Roberts changed his mind and voted to uphold ObamaCare. I wonder why? Might there be something that someone is holding over his head? "Hey, if you don't vote the right way, we'll let this get out...."

Alan Caruba: "Obamacare has now transformed the United States into a police state." Is that a bit much? I'm not so sure. If Congress has the power to tax behavior, where does their power end?

I think ObamaCare is bad law. It's socialized medicine. It's going to ruin the medical system in this country. But I don't think the final chapter has been written, either.

Borepatch thinks it's a disaster for the Democrats. I hope he's right.

* * *

Low-carb better for you than low-fat. I've become a believer in this. I've lost weight since I stopped drinking sugar water all day.

* * *

Borepatch on the money to be had in climate doomsaying. Sure, the guys in the trenches aren't going to get rich making up global warming data--but they'll keep their jobs, and in this economy that's important.

How'd you like to be an unemployed weatherman in a depression? I didn't think so.

* * *

Femnism: If you're a man who lusts after a young and hot woman, you're a douchebag. But if you're a woman who will only date rich men, you're discerning. That's how it works.

* * *

Karl Denninger throws in his fifty cents on the ObamaCare ruling. "What little was left of The Constitution died today, June 28th, 2012," he says.

I'm still not so sure about that. It was not, after all, an uncritical statement of constitutionality; the SC didn't say, "There's nothing wrong with this law! Get outa here before we have the bailiffs kick you nuts in the butt!"

We'll see, I guess. (I was hoping the whole thing would be overturned, of course. And I still have to wonder who has what on Justice Roberts....)

* * *

In his novel "Door Into Summer" Heinlein's protagonist invented a floor cleaning robot he called "Hired Girl". The only similar name I can think for this one would be racist which is probably why John Deere chose to call their lawn-mowing robot the "TANGO E5".

...and guess what?
The unit is powered by a 36 volt, 2600 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery and will mow an area of up to 1,800 square meters. This space has to be defined by a user/specialist dealer installed boundary wire that helps to keep the mower from heading across the road and visiting your neighbor’s petunia bed.
That's where my own thoughts were going.

But it needs gasoline power and a self-refueling capacity to be what I envisioned. That way you buy 5 gallons of gas and dump it into a tank in the thing's docking unit, and when it senses that it's low on fuel it simply goes back and refills before resuming its task. And it sends you an e-mail (or otherwise notifies you) when there's less than a gallon of gas in the dock's tank.

Overall, this sounds very good to me, though; only real problem is the price. It's around $3,000, and for $3,000 you can get your grass cut by a couple of Mexicans landscaping service for about three years. How long does that lithium ion battery last? How many discharge cycles? And how much does it cost to replace it?

At about $1,000 it becomes a doable proposition for most people, and below that it becomes commonplace. We'll see!

#3455: It's kind of fun to do this

And it's a good way to spend a day that's STINKINOUSLY HOT LIKE THE DAYSIDE OF MERCURY OR HD 189733b.

Damn is it hot outside. Here's a dramatization of how things went when I got up this afternoon:
I went to the front door, opened it, and stuck my face outside.

Me, slamming the door shut: GAAAAAH!

Nephew: What's wrong?

Me: You just stick your face outside!

Nephew, going to front door: GAAAAAH!
So here I am, working on making the Celeron (Escaflowne) work 100% again.

I have already gotten it to recognize a USB mouse (plugged into a PS2 mouse adaptor, but it works!) and connected to the Internet. Right now I'm downloading drivers for the sound card, and trying to install Firefox. Whee! Copying files via the switch is a bit cantankerous, but it works well enough.

The sound card in Escaflowne is a Sound Blaster AWE 64. Damn. And apparently there are drivers for that card for Vista.

So there are still problems (such as there being no sound in Carmageddon) but it's still fun!