State legislator says global warming is good for us and our crops

From my own backyard: Larry Powell, a Republican state legislator from Western Kansas, has asserted that increased CO2 levels will make crops flourish. He cites a study that says that, “atmospheric CO2 enrichment will boost world agricultural output by about 50 percent.” They don’t deny global warming anymore, instead they insist that it is good for us. Here is the link to the Lawrence Journal-World article. The comments are actually much more interesting than the idiotic assertions in the article itself.

Amanda makes her move on Survivor:China

About time, dude. Amanda pulls the move she had to pull on Survivor:China, and James shows he’s a mensch by admitting he screwed up in the post-toss camera confessional. Now that she’s rocking Ship Todd, what is Amanda’s next move? I think she needs to appeal to Eric’s masculinity, Peih-Gee’s paranoia, and Denise’s sense of self-preservation. A final three with some of those people doesn’t obviously favor any one of them, except maybe Amanda for engineering it.

Writers’ Strike bears fruit: American Gladiators returns!

In a promo after Bionic Woman this week, NBC announced the return of American Gladiators, premiering in January. Awesome! This was one of the first shows I watched when I came to this country for college, and it was God-awful. I loved it. I think of it as a precursor to the modern wrestling TV phenomenon, like WWE lite. I can’t wait to see how they update it, if they even bother.

I’ll be buying my next pair of glasses online

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of posts about buying prescription glasses online. The latest is this one, Matt Haughey’s account over at 43 Folders. It has helpful notes on what measurements you need and a liberating result: instead of ordering one cheap pair, order five cheap pairs in different styles! As he points out, after a lifetime of wearing one pair of glasses every day for two years, having a choice of frames each day… wow. I can’t wait. Anyone have any experiences to pass on? Anything I should watch out for? Besides the wrath of my eye doctor?

Can I possibly pass up National Geographic for $12?

I know the price has always been low, but I don’t think I can pass it up this year. We just got a letter from the National Geographic Society offering a year subscription to their magazine (12 issues), a world map, and a “100% guarantee of your satisfaction” for $12.00. Unless you live in Kentucky. There it’ll cost you an extra 6% sales tax. I will pass on the obvious Kentucky joke. But I think we’re getting the magazine. I cut up many an issue from my parents’ stash for grade school reports, and I’d like a big heap of them for the boys to look through some day. (It’ll cost you $15 on the National Geographic subscription site.)

Is the Chevy Volt just another hybrid?

I’ve been hearing a lot about Chevrolet’s new electric car, the Volt. It is supposed to be America’s answer to Toyota in the green car exhibition. On Chevrolet’s electric car site, they proudly proclaim, “It’s unlike any previous EV (electric vehicle), thanks to its innovative rechargeable electric drive system and range-extending power source.” This “range-extending power source” can be gasoline, E85, or biodiesel. Which makes it a hybrid, no? Like the Prius parked in my garage. The only difference seems to be that the Volt does not use the gasoline engine unless you run out of electricity, making electric-only trips possible for short distances. Of course, I can do that today with a modded Prius, or one I buy in Japan. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid concept vehicle with lot of marketing hype. And not much else.

What would you take with you if you were evacuated?

The coverage last month of the fires in Southern California included several stories of people being evacuated with just a few minutes notice. Invariably, something was left behind. It got me thinking.

If I had a fifteen minutes to pack before being evacuated, what would I take with me? We have two cars, and I am assuming we would be allowed to take both. First thing I’d do is strap the kids into their car seats, each with a coat from the coatrack. With them out of the way, I’d send the wife to throw clothing into our luggage, and I’d shout after her to not forget the diapers. Oy, do not forget the diapers. While she is upstairs, I’d busy myself with some of the intangibles.

Here’s the list I came up with:

  • Clothes, mostly dumped wholesale from drawers into luggage.
  • Medicine, conveniently in the hall closet in labeled bins.
  • Diapers. A cot farm in the Astrodome is not the place to begin potty-training.
  • Cell phone chargers. So many people in the San Diego area forgot to take their chargers with them, and had to beg for a charger from the Red Cross, or from their neighbors on the next cot. A place to plug them in is another problem.
  • My laptop and the NAS. The NAS (network attached storage device) is nice and compact, and has all of our data on it. Pictures, movies, music, documents, everything. The NAS would be a priority over the laptop, actually.
  • Dog. I don’t care if they wouldn’t let me in to the shelter/Astrodome/Red Cross tent camp with my dog, I would not leave him behind. I’ll sleep in the car with him before leaving him to fend for himself. Dog food. Leash.
  • Our document safe… if we had one. We’ve talked about getting one, just haven’t pulled the trigger on it. Probably should.
  • The still-unopened-from-our-move box labeled, “Memories” which has letters and un-scanned photographs and stuff.
  • Flashlight
  • Photo albums (there are only about four or five)
  • The Bag
  • Passports, which should normally live in the document safe, eh?

And I think that’s it. There’s an endless supply of stuff I could be enticed to bring along, from artwork to books to electronics, and some of it might be useful for barter in the post-civilization era, but I am assuming we’d get back to our (burned-out-shell-of-a?) house eventually. If I had time to dig through our storage I might try to bring sleeping bags or ponchos or blankets or something more along the survival line, but with only fifteen minutes I think my time would be tapped out with the list above.

What would you bring?

Time to move on from college football

I like college football. I also like the NFL (this may make me unwelcome in some places, but there it is), but there’s something about the semi-pro nature of college football, and the sheer number of programs, and the rivalries, and the radio announcers, and the terribly flawed bowl system(s, past and present)… it is messy, but sometimes out of the mess comes something as wonderful and fun as the 2007 season was for us, here at the University of Kansas.

It started with a creampuff non-conference schedule that was delightful to watch, as we piled up points and yards and spectacular plays on unsuspecting teams. Nobody thought much of it, but it was fun for us. But when KU started winning conference games (albeit without meeting any high caliber teams like Texas, Oklahoma, or Missouri), it got even more fun. We never got much national media attention until this last week before the Missouri game, but that was fine. We did spawn a nickname, the Fighting Manginos, as well as some unmentionable t-shirt slogans, and the Governor of Kansas was the guest of honor in our Homecoming Parade (that didn’t happen at Iowa). The whole town had fun with it.

We were lucky enough to be in Iowa in 2002 ((Wikipedia has a pretty complete page on the 2002 Iowa Hawkeyes)), when they had their excellent season that ended 11-2. And now we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy this season at KU. A season which will hopefully end 12-1, not 11-2. No offense to the Iowa team (which had players the likes of Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, and Nate Kaeding), but the bowl game in 2002 was disastrous. I hope for better from KU this year. At least Iowa lost the game to Carson Palmer and USC (my mother’s always-root-for team).

The game in Kansas City this past weekend was difficult to watch, though we are glad we stuck with it, as the team did account for itself well in the last twenty minutes of regulation. We switched to the radio announcers at halftime, even with the HD video being about twenty seconds behind the radio (it was like always-on instant replay!), and we had a much better time, despite the losing part. But now it is over.

Everyone here in Lawrence is very happy for the football team, and very congratulatory on their season (despite sending impostors out for the first half against Missouri… really, we could have won that game). And everyone is, en masse, turning to basketball.

There’s another undefeated team in town.

This game is proving hard to watch

Third quarter. This is awful. KU is playing like the team they were last year. Missouri is playing as advertised. I have offered a couple of times to stop watching and put on this week’s Survivor instead. A Mizzou fan holds up the best sign of the game, “Kansas Football, a Tradition since September.” I can laugh at it because it’s funny. The KU radio guys are saying that KU has to be perfect from here on out to win. The score is 28-7 Missouri, and my wife adds, “And what, Missouri is going to have to go home?”