July 3, 2015

I thought you might enjoy seeing my latest hobby project. It's a collection of Texas images grabbed from Google Earth. I have high-resolution versions that would make good-sized photo prints, but I can't figure out exactly what I would do with them. Framing would be expensive. We have more stuff to hang on walls than we can handle right now.

I was hoping to come up with between 100 and 200 images—enough to make a book. But there are only so many strong, unique looks to the landscape. I ended up with 27. So no book.

Anyway, check it out: Orbital Texas.

July 3, 2015

I don't think that I have issued official notice that we have moved into the new and improved bungalow, so here it is. This is day 12 after the move. Jeanne moves boxes of crap into my office faster than I can move them out. We're not done unboxing; we're still in the stage of setting things here and there, to be sorted out and rearranged later. I've spent a lot of time getting electronics up, running, and responding to reasonable requests.

It's a wonderful house, though it's a long walk from front door to back bedroom. Not because the house is particularly large, but because bungalows are linear and we made ours even more linear, in an L-shaped sort of way.

Nutty Brown clacks his toenails across the brand-new hardwood floors, slowly grinding off the finish. When he gets excited and scrambles to bark at a cat out the window, I just roll my eyes and remind myself that there's gin in the freezer.

July 3, 2015

This morning Trulia sent me an e-mail with 22 Boerne homes newly listed for sale. All but two or three were new construction. Most of those were not yet finished. Prices from the low $200s to the mid $300s. Bedroom suburb.

July 1, 2015

Donald Trump is polling in second place among Republicans in New Hampshire and Iowa. I think it's more than name recognition.

Trump has been particularly idiotic this week, and it seems to be gaining him fans. Try to swallow this: some people genuinely admire Trump; the worse he behaves, the more they love him. It's true. It leaves me wondering when we will see a Kardashian in the White House.

This is not so much about the gasbag that is Donald Trump as it is about the pop-culture, disengaged, low-info nitwits that populate our nation. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy and he is us.

The Republican Party was doing a pretty good job of suicide even before Trump took the plunge. Their bloated field of candidates has been compared to a clown car more than once. Putting Trump in the mix only confirms that it's a mush of non-serious self-aggrandizers. The party is directionless and leadership-free. The Republican primaries threaten to destroy the last shred of the party's credibility.

July 1, 2015

I think our router is melting down. I was doing another painful, hours-long troubleshoot and, after piercing many false masks, decided that the router was making everything else crazy. This was the best moment: I was on Amazon, shopping for a more capable router. I found a dandy. Amazon said that if I ordered it in the next nine minutes, I could have it by Wednesday, the next day. I clicked the link to buy it, but the router crashed and took the Internet down. By the time I put the pieces back together, Amazon couldn't deliver a new router until Thursday. Well played, router.

July 1, 2015

I am always offended by that cheesy, prevaricating, smirky dipshit Paul Begala. I am often offended by the self-important yet trivial CNN. Today I am offended by both.

State Department e-mails reveal that when CNN asked Begala, an official CNN contributor, to grade Hillary Clinton's performance as secretary of state, he first e-mailed her top staffers to obtain some talking points. Armed with that helpful information, he gave Secretary Clinton a grade of A+, which he dutifully reported back to the department.

Okay, we all know that Begala is a shameless shill, but it hadn't dawned on me that he was a direct talking-points mouthpiece for Mrs. Clinton. I thought he made up his own material. Worse, what's the point of CNN putting that kind of unfiltered political rubbish on the air? Why pretend that it's someone's opinion? Why cloak it as news? "Flash: Hillary's staff thinks Hillary's doing a great job." Really?

What? CNN, Donna Brazile and talking points? Oh, don't get me started.

July 1, 2015

Once the advocates of same-sex marriage came up with the term "marriage equality," and once the media welcomed the phrase, the game was over. You're going to see a lot more movements adopt that terminology. Immigration equality. Water equality. Health-care equality. You probably won't see assault-rifle equality.

I was never an advocate or an opponent on the issue. I was strongly in favor of equal legal rights for same-sex couples, but I did wish that someone would come up with a term that made a polite distinction between same-sex marriage and the old-fashioned kind. So my opinion was, as usual, muddled. I'm fine with the outcome.

I'm not particularly fine with the process. I have a states'-rights streak, so I think marriage is a matter of state law. I have an originalist streak, so I note that the nation's founders never could have guessed that marriage equality, if you will, was buried somewhere in the constitution that they wrote. This was not really a legal decision; it was a social decision that amounted to an amendment of the constitution. It wasn't the first, and it won't be the last. My legalistic streak is offended that we engineered this social change at a time when around 60 percent of the citizenry agreed with it. It takes more votes—and more process—than that to amend the constitution.

Many have noted the slippery slope of marriage that lies ahead. I also note the danger of setting a precedent to the effect that the Supreme Court can socially engineer the constitution when a majority of the public is on their side.

June 25, 2015

I got all-new TV and audio stuff, and yesterday was the day to install it. I'm pretty handy at that sort of thing, but Satan is deeply involved in things with wires, so you never know.

I wrote this post in detail, but it gets long and boring, so I'll cut to the chase. When I hooked everything up, I had no image and no sound. It took four hours of troubleshooting to fix it. I had a bad network jack and a bad HDMI jack. A bad HDMI cable. The Internet went down. The cable signal went crazy. The cable box turned out to be bad. A beeper that worked fine a week ago turned out to have stone-cold-dead batteries. In other words, the new TV and new receiver worked perfectly, but everything else was a disaster. I had to go through four or five layers of troubleshooting, peeling back layer after layer of issues. Insane.

Martini? Yes, please.