February 10, 2010

QotD: The shop vac . . . of doom

Filed under: Humour, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 19:45

Now that I have a manly garage, with a manly workbench, I was delighted to receive for Christmas a Shop Vac. It’s a magical device that sucks up all sorts of debris, even liquid. It has attachments for everything. I think one attachment is for haircuts, but I haven’t tried it yet. The Shop Vac is gray and black and reminds me of R2D2 so much that I expect it to jack into my breaker panels and reprogram my DVR.

My point is that my Shop Vac is totally awesome. That is, unless I try to move it. It has wheels, but at the first sign of movement, the Shop Vac starts squirming and tossing off attachments like a balloonist heading into a volcano. The hose becomes like a spastic elephant trunk. It will find all of the loose objects in your garage and fling them one-by-one into oil spills and darkened spider nests. If you focus your attention on the flailing vacuum hose, the power cord will wrap itself around your legs and try to trip you into the pyramid of old paint cans. And the screaming. Good lord, the little wheels scream on the concrete floor. It’s Shop Vac language for “LEAVE ME ALONE! DO NOT MOVE ME! I WILL KILL YOU WITH MY TENTACLE!”

The worst of it, if I can pick just one thing, is that the situation totally ruins my manly vibe. I live in fear that Shelly will come into the garage and see me losing a cage match to R2D2.

Scott Adams, “My Shop Vac”, Dilbert.com, 2010-02-10

AGW: the military solution

Filed under: Environment, Media, Science — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 17:25

Brian Micklethwait goes all gung ho and everything, trying to encapsulate the current situation in Climatestan:

Are you bored with Climategate? And bored with me writing about it, again and again? Yesterday, fellow Samizdatista Michael Jennings told me he is. I understand the feeling, and would be interested to hear if any of our commentariat shares it, but as for me, I can’t leave this thing alone. I mean, this is now the biggest single battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, and the forces of darkness are now in definite, headlong, ignominious retreat. I for one do not feel inclined to stop shouting about that any time soon.

However, I do agree that things are now moving on, and that is what this posting is about.

[. . .]

If you don’t think you have any position to retreat to, then you stand and fight to the death. The Hockey Team, along with their most vocal fans, are now in this doomed position. But the CAGW camp as a whole is now deciding whether to back the Hockey Team or to cut them lose and concede the ground that the Hockey Team have so fraudulently occupied. This Guardian leader says to me that the high command of the Grande Armée of CAGW is now attempting a retreat in good order to a position further back, which it thinks it can hold, rather than making a futile last stand now that would only destroy them all. The CAGW camp, as they now wish to remain, losing the I but definitely keeping tight hold of the C, are now concluding that there is no future in defending the now utterly discredited Hockey Team, i.e. Mann and the East Anglians. And although the IPCC gets no mention in this Guardian leader, other CAGW-ers are already saying, with similar reluctance but similar definiteness, that the now utterly discredited IPCC will also have to be cut loose from polite society, certainly in its now utterly discredited form, as crafted during the last decade or so by the now utterly discredited Rajendra Pachauri.

[. . .]

Don’t get me wrong. Crushing Michael Mann and his Hockey Team, sending Pachauri packing, making the letters I, P, C and C spell L, I, E and S in the minds of all thinking people, getting the Met Office to stick to short-term weather forecasting, ripping the panda pants off the WWF – these are very important tasks. When pursuing your enemies after you have won a battle against them, it is important to ensure that as many as possible of the defeated ones do not keep any undeserved shreds of reputation with which to fight again. This is not an either/or thing. The climate skeptic blogosphere is big enough and clever enough to do it all, pushing the old media along with it (UK), or not and just replacing the old media for the duration of the battle (USA) — or the war, or for ever, for everything — as the case may be. But in among sneering at the disgraced Hockey Team, chuckling over the multiple lies and lavish living arrangements of the rascal Pachauri, and gags about how many inches of global warming have just descended upon this or that American city, we should also be getting stuck into the next fight.

I’ve done my best to include a sprinkling of decent links, to reports and to celebratory whoops from this last battlefield, but these are now potentially infinite. A few weeks ago I went on a foreign trip and was largely disconnected from the internet for the best part of a week. Since then, I have been trying and failing to catch up with Climategate. Last weekend, the story pretty much escaped from anyone’s single purview, so large and so complicated has it now become. Basically, a huge retreat in multiple directions is going on, and a huge pursuit, ditto, with CAGW defensive position after CAGW defensive position being overrun by advancing Skeptics. The IPCC citadel, its outer walls having crumbled when Climategate first broke, is now being comprehensively sacked.

Go read the whole thing, which is liberally studded with links to follow. Should keep you busy for a bit, anyway.

Horrors! The opposition is opposing our policies!

Filed under: Politics, USA — Nicholas @ 10:15

David Harsanyi looks at all the problems with the current form of government in the United States:

If you’ve been paying attention to the left-wing punditry these days, you may be under the impression that the nation’s institutions are on the verge of collapse. Or that the rule of law is unraveling. Or maybe that this once-great nation is crippled and nearly beyond repair.

You know why? Because the 40 percent (or so) political minority has far too much influence in Washington. Don’t you know? This minority, egged on by a howling mob of nitwits, is holding progress hostage with their revolting politics and parliamentary trickery.

Leading the charge to fix this dire problem is New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who advocates abolishing the Senate filibuster to make way for direct democracy’s magic.

It had better be quick. The populace is fickle. Jacob Weisberg of Slate believes that Americans are crybabies who don’t know what’s good for ’em, causing “political paralysis.” Even President Barack Obama, after his agenda had come to a halt, claimed democracy was a “messy” process — as if that were a bad thing.

Actually, “democracy” isn’t only messy, it’s also immoral and unworkable. The Founding Fathers saw that coming as well. So we don’t live under a system of simple majority rule for a reason, as most readers already know.

The minority political party, luckily, has the ability to obstruct, nag and filibuster the majority’s agenda. Otherwise, those in absolute power would run wild — or, in other words, you would all be living that Super Bowl Audi commercial by now.

Living in a country with elected representatives (republic, democracy, or whatever) means that more than one point of view is aired in the halls of power. Folks, that’s a feature, not a bug!

“The Green Police, they live inside of my head”

Filed under: Environment, Liberty, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 10:05

Lorne Gunter also appreciated Audi’s “Green Police” Super Bowl ad:

Far and away the cleverest ad from this year’s Super Bowl was Audi’s “Green Police” commercial for its A3 TDI clean diesel sedan, which is greencar.com’s 2010 Green Car of the Year. It’s easy to find on YouTube and well worth the search. The 60-second spot is a brilliant send up of the excesses of the environmental movement, so brilliant that green and lefty blogs have been angrily denouncing the ad ever since it aired on Sunday during the NFL Championship game.

Too bad nobody told the carmaker it’s OK to laugh at its own production. The company’s timid explanation is that Green Police are “caricatures” designed to gently steer people through “a myriad of decisions in their quest to become more environmentally responsible citizens.” (I am at this moment sticking out my tongue and making a poking motion toward the back of my throat with the index and middle fingers of my left hand.)

To the soundtrack of a re-recording of Cheap Trick’s 1979 hit song Dream Police, the ad features jumped-up little eco cops — often wearing fetching shorts and driving Segway-like, three-wheeled, enviro scooters — harassing ordinary people about the green morality of their everyday consumer choices.

On its website, Audi insists its ecocops are “not here to judge, merely to guide,” yet the first scene of the commercial features a young man paying for his groceries who chooses plastic over paper. Suddenly, a Green Police officer springs up from behind, slams the shopper’s face into the price scanner and exclaims “You picked the wrong day to mess with the ecosystem, plastic boy.”

Yep, that’s both gentle and non-judgmental, alright.

Audi’s ad is an incredibly useful example of how a message can be interpreted in radically different fashion by different audiences. To many in the green movement, Audi is poking fun at their expense and minimizing the danger to the environment posed by allowing people to make their own decisions. To many libertarians, Audi is illustrating the kind of dictatorial control over peoples’ lives that many in the green movement believe to be essential “for our own good”.

It’s not the affair that disqualifies him for mayor, it’s the lies

Filed under: Cancon, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:50

Royson James sums up the Adam Giambrone scandal pretty well:

Mayoral candidate Adam Giambrone can be gay if he wants to, or bisexual. This is Toronto.

Giambrone the playboy can have a 19-year-old girlfriend on the side, a common practice among the political elite of the day.

Giambrone the TTC chair can use the couch in his city hall office to bed Kristen Lucas late at night when he should have been using the office to solve customer-relations problems at the TTC.

Giambrone the defender of the public purse can even give his girl and her mother inside information about an upcoming transit fare hike while barring commuters from hoarding tokens in advance of the said fare hike.

And when caught with his pants on the ground, the man with the clean-cut, fresh, youthful image can admit only to having an “inappropriate” text message relationship with the girlfriend, as if it amounted to mere digital sex, a peccadillo.

But the 32-year-old city councillor can’t do all that and expect Torontonians to embrace him as their mayor.

Update: Giambrone seems to have realized it’s over: he’s announced that his bid for mayor is over.

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