Friday, 3 May 2013

07:26 – Let me rephrase that. Some months ago, I said that a nice young couple had moved into the house across the street from us and three houses down. As it turns out, maybe not so nice. The paper reports this morning that the husband has been charged with sexually molesting a student and is in jail on $500,000 bond. I’ve spoken to the wife only once, briefly, and Barbara has never spoken to them at all.

It’s probably just as well that we never see them when we’re out with Colin. It’d be awkward to run into her. I mean, what could we say? We’re sorry to hear your husband’s in jail for raping a student. Oh, well. I suspect that house will be on the market again shortly. The wife probably can’t afford the mortgage on one salary, and even if she could she certainly wouldn’t want to live here, with everyone knowing what her husband is accused of doing.

The girl in question is 15 years old, and there’s been no suggestion that the sexual activities were anything other than consensual. He’s only 24, and a first-year teacher. As I’ve said with regard to other similar cases, if he’s guilty, he should be fired under the no-fucking-the-students rule and never be allowed to teach again, but prosecuting him on multiple felony counts seems a bit excessive unless he in fact coerced the girl.


09:08 – Reflecting on what’s happened to our neighbor, I’m again struck by how little credit women give men for their generally excellent behavior. The simple fact, rooted in biology and instinct, is that all heterosexual guys–from boys just past puberty to old men on their death beds–really, really want to have sex with every attractive young woman they encounter. Any guy who denies this is either lying or deluding himself. Three million years of evolution has created this biological imperative: all men want to impregnate as many women as possible, thereby spreading and immortalizing their own genes.

The disconnect exists because women’s reproductive interests are diametrically opposed to those of men. A man’s part in reproduction takes five minutes. A woman’s part takes nine months. Plus the 18 years or more that it takes her to nurture her new baby to maturity. So, ideally, men want to have sex with as many different women as possible every day, while a woman wants one man who will stay with her to aid in child rearing.

The other thing is that men don’t want to have sex with just any women. They want to have sex with attractive young women. The age of the man doesn’t matter. It’s all about the age (read fertility) of the women in question. Biologically, an attractive young woman is attractive precisely because she’s fertile. It’s a subliminal thing for men. We generally don’t understand at all why a particular woman is attractive. But studies have shown that men are subconsciously evaluating the suitability of women for reproduction, subconsciously judging things like their hip/waist/bust ratios and so on. And, while we think of pheromones as something that apply to insects and “lower animals”, we humans are just as subject to pheromones as any other animal. It has been established beyond question that men find women most attractive when the women are ovulating. How can we tell? Because, subconsciously, we recognize that these women smell fertile.

And that brings up the second disconnect. Women think it’s unfair that, regardless of their age, men remain sexually attractive to women, and in fact many women find older men more attractive than younger ones, while men are sexually attracted to young women. It’s no coincidence that the vast majority of men find women in their teens and 20’s most attractive. It’s because women of that age are in by far the most fertile period of their lives. Women’s fertility begins declining when they’re in their late 20’s, and declines precipitously after age 35 or so. But neither women nor men are to blame here. We’re both simply acting on instinct. The wonder is not that some men stray in favor of younger women. The wonder is that most of us don’t. Most of us are well-trained to act against our own instincts, and women don’t give us nearly enough credit for that. As Anonymous famously observed:

Hogamus Higamus
Men are Polygamous
Higamus Hogamus
Women Monogamous

Until very recently, women were realistic about this phenomenon. When a husband strayed, the wife generally didn’t divorce him. She made him aware that he’d been a very bad dog, and hit him on the snout with a rolled-up newspaper. She reserved her ire for the Other Woman, whom she called a home-wrecker. She understood that it wasn’t her poor husband’s fault. He couldn’t help himself. It was the other woman who deserved all the blame, so the wife would confront her and claw her eyes out. That’s biology.


09:29 – Oh, yeah. Here’s a working link to that video that Barbara sent me yesterday. She originally sent me a WMV file rather than a link, but apparently some of my readers are having trouble viewing that file.

It’s a TV commercial, which I generally hate on principle, but I have to admit that this one was creative and well done. Speaking of things I generally hate, I see that Netflix streaming has replaced the butchered version of Coupling with the original, full-length episodes. Ordinarily, I’d refuse to watch any TV series with a laugh track, but I made an exception for Coupling. Mainly because I’m usually too busy laughing myself to pay any attention to the laugh track.

This series (the original British version, NOT the pathetic US knock-off version) gets my vote as the funniest TV series ever. Funnier than Black Adder, even. I’ve been re-watching an episode or two after I knock off for the day and am waiting for Barbara to get home from the gym. Last night, I watched S2E1, which had to be the funniest TV episode ever. I then watched S2E2, which had to be the funniest TV episode ever.


10:56 – Today, I’m making up three different types of antibiotic test paper for the life science kits: neomycin sulfate, penicillin G potassium, and sulfadimethoxine. These test papers are commercially available from BD and other suppliers, but they’re ridiculously expensive for student use. Home Science Tools, for example, sells a set of eight 1/4″ (6.35mm) discs, two discs of each of four antibiotics, for $3.95. That’s $0.50 per disc. Or, even worse, about $1.56 per square centimeter. Or they’ll sell you vial of 50 discs of any of the four antibiotics for $11.50, or $0.23 per disc.

The main reason these tiny test discs are so expensive is that they’re intended for medical/diagnostic use. The antibiotic concentrations are very precise and tightly controlled, and BD and other suppliers always have to build in a lot of margin to cover legal costs if they’re sued. But this is gross overkill for student lab sessions.

We do everything we can to keep the costs of our kits as low as possible, and this was a clear case of something we could do. Make our own antibiotic test papers. The antibiotic concentrations are the same for all three of our test papers: about 100 micrograms per square centimeter, accurate to maybe 10% either way. That’s more than accurate enough for school science labs. This in contrast to the BD discs, which have different concentrations for different antibiotics. (That’s because serum levels are an important consideration for human treatment; the achievable concentration in blood serum varies from antibiotic to antibiotic. For our purposes, we’re actually better off having the same concentration for each antibiotic, so that students can compare apples to apples when they determine which antibiotics are most effective for different types of bacteria.) And, rather than supply the papers as tiny discs, we’ll supply a 2.25×3″ piece of each paper. That’s about 43 square centimeters of each. That’s enough for at least 50 tests with each type of antibiotic, and at a small fraction the cost of using the BD discs. The students can punch their own discs with a standard paper punch.

80 thoughts on “Friday, 3 May 2013”

  1. but prosecuting him on multiple felony counts seems a bit excessive

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Europe owes the US a huge debt of gratitude because we took the tight-assed Puritans and a whole pile of other religious whack-jobs. They were, quite rightly, driven away from where decent people were living and had to go settle where there wasn’t anyone who mattered. (American Indians were already there? Didn’t matter, apparently.) And their tight-ass attitudes are still screwing up our culture, four centuries along. Drinking age of 21, “intoxication” at .08 with a push for .06, smoking, extramarital sex, sex outside of the missionary position, “voluntary” team prayer circles before sporting events, blue laws … bah! Can’t we just deport the people who support all that nonsense? Drive them away from decent people to where there’s no one who matters. Europe, say.

  2. The American tight-arsed pilgrims were running away from other tight-arsed pilgrims, Catholics, Lutherans, Covenanters, etc.

  3. True enough. But at least several European countries–notably England, Sweden, and France–are now majority non-believers. It must be very comfortable to live in those places, as contrasted with where I live, surrounded by Southern Baptist True Believers.

  4. The American tight-arsed pilgrims were running away from other tight-arsed pilgrims, Catholics, Lutherans, Covenanters, etc.

    You’re not wrong, but it’s dying out here. It seems to me that the Christian right in the US has actually gotten a lot more extreme over the past 20 or 30 years. There no longer even a pretense of believing in separation of church and state – they want their religious principles enforced by the government every bit as badly as the Islamist fundamentalists in other parts of the world.

    This struck me just this past week, when we were on vacation in Spain. Over lunch or in the evening most adults had a beer, or a glass of wine. The adults were sitting around or standing around chatting, while the kids ran around playing. Technically, one might argue that the adults were customers of the streetside cafes, but the cafes blend in seamlessly with the public sidewalks and plazas.

    The reason this came to mind was because my last vacation was in the US. We were walking around a park one evening and I mentioned to my wife – hey, let’s go get a beer for the walk. And she reminded me: “Isn’t that illegal here?” After so long away, this struck me as really, absolutely weird. And there is surely no reason for it other than the puritanical fear that someone, somewhere might be having a good time…

  5. But at least several European countries–notably England, Sweden, and France–are now majority non-believers.

    All three of which are being besieged by even more tight-arsed muslims. Not to mention here. All in the name of tolerance, of which the believers have none.

  6. RBT, I agree with everything in your 09:08 update except for this:

    A man’s part in reproduction takes five minutes.

    All I can say is, you’re doing it wrong.

  7. Yeah, I thought about that. What I should have said was that a *young* man’s part in reproduction takes five minutes (if she’s really lucky). As guys get older, that time starts creeping upward. No wonder a lot of women prefer older men, even though they may take an hour to do what a 20-year-old guy can do in 15 seconds.

  8. Yeah, I thought about that.

    Heh. You just knew some jerk would jump on that, and look! Here’s Steve!

  9. This story is sad. And I am betting that the student never, never, never flirted with the teacher (not).

    The simple fact, rooted in biology and instinct, is that all heterosexual guys–from boys just past puberty to old men on their death beds–really, really want to have sex with every attractive young woman they encounter.

    “The simple fact, rooted in biology and instinct, is that all heterosexual guys–from boys just past puberty to old men on their death beds–really, really want to have sex with every XXXXX XXXXX woman they encounter.” Fixed that for you! And woman is correct, not children. Attractive and young is a plus but not required.

    Have you not ever seen “When Harry met Sally”? Billy Crystol’s character basically says to Sally, “Yes, we men want to have sex with every woman out there”. And Sally turns a little green with realization of just how nasty men are.

    “intoxication” at .08 with a push for .06

    If you are on Federal land (such as Highway 36 going through Fort Hood in Texas or any military base), the intoxication limit is 0.04. Many people have found this out the wrong way.

  10. The girl in question is 15 years old, and there’s been no suggestion that the sexual activities were anything other than consensual.

    Here in Texas there is an exemption for underage sex if the older partner is within 3 years of the younger partner. Except if the older partner has power over the younger partner, such as a school teacher. They are prosecuting 22 year old women here for having sex with 18 year old men.

  11. Gah.

    When I was at Ft Huachuca for training in the 1980s, Arizona had bowed to the unConstitutional Congressional mandate and raised the drinking age to 21. The post commander announced that his policy was that if you’re old enough to be in the military, you’re old enough to drink. He was relieved of duty.

  12. “The simple fact, rooted in biology and instinct, is that all heterosexual guys–from boys just past puberty to old men on their death beds–really, really want to have sex with every XXXXX XXXXX woman they encounter.” Fixed that for you! And woman is correct, not children. Attractive and young is a plus but not required.

    As always, I was writing precisely. When I said “really, really want”, I was referring to attractive young women. For older and/or less attractive women, I might have written “really want” or even just “want”, depending on the age and attractiveness of the women in question. (I actually went back and added that second “really” after I’d finished the paragraph originally.)

  13. “The American tight-arsed pilgrims were running away from other tight-arsed pilgrims, Catholics, Lutherans, Covenanters, etc.”

    What, no tight-arsed Methodists or Unitarians or atheists? Amazing.

  14. Dave, what you don’t get is that nearly all atheists have no desire to impose their atheism on anyone. What we do want is for religious people to stop trying to impose their views on everyone else. I will freely grant you that religious people of that sort are in a minority even among the population of religious people overall. But their impact is out of proportion to their numbers.

    There are even more than a few Southern Baptists who are live-and-let-live. But there are many more who are not, and attempt to impose their religion, including by force of law, on all the rest of us, including you. You’re a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I have no problems at all with you being RCC. In fact, I’m sure you’d be a good neighbor. We’d simply agree to disagree, and you’d no more try to force me to be religious than I’d try to force you to be atheist. But we’re really in a minority of humanity at large. Most people want to force others to behave according to their own standards.

  15. “…what you don’t get is that nearly all atheists have no desire to impose their atheism on anyone. ”

    I get it that nearly all of youse don’t wanna make me into one of youse. I would still maintain that there are tight-arsed atheists out there, and we’ve seen and heard them many times over the last few years, who mos def *would* impose their views on the rest of us and are remarkably vehement, hostile and aggressive about it, too. Just as there are religious asswipes who are like that. Nobody has a monopoly on the state of tight-assed-ness.

    Now, when can I stop by to go over the Catechism with you…? Signed up yet for the local RCIA class?

  16. We have lots of new neighbors, including one guy who bought a house and moved in along with his sister and either two or three other guys. They’re the ones that frequently have events at their house. They’re prayer meetings, and they have them most Sundays and Wednesdays. We’ve gotten used to having both sides of the street from the end of the block up to our house at mid-way up the block parked solid.

    So, this morning when I mentioned that new-neighbor Joe (who happens to live next door to the religious nutters) was in jail on $500,000 bond for having sex with one of his students, she commented that she’d rather have the religious nutters as neighbors than a guy who screws one of his students. I disagreed with her. Joe seemed like a nice enough guy. The religious nutters are friendly enough–they wave when I’m walking Colin and they drive past–but they’re just weird.

  17. drinking age of 21, “intoxication” at .08 with a push for .06,

    BTW, you are blaming the wrong people for the drinking laws. I think that you need to look at MADD. MADD has been incredibly effective at getting drinking and driving laws written. I can remember being able to drink a beer and drive at the same time here in Texas before MADD showed up.

    Looks like we will have laws against texting and driving very soon. We already have them in school zones now. And we just had a teenager get run over by a dump truck here as she left her school and was texting right into the opposing lane.

    And the smoking laws are for tax revenue and people who do not like to breathe other people’s smoke. I used to not care about smokers but since my first heart attack I seem to be very susceptible to coughing after a couple of whiffs of smoke.

    And the blue laws here in Texas are self requested by car dealerships who wanted to stay closed on Sunday without the competition staying open. Has nothing to do with the religious.

    And you cannot buy beer in Texas on Sunday mornings until noon. I will give you that one.

  18. MADD is also who provides the additional funding to law enforcement to set up DUI checkpoints and do underage sales stings on liquour stores, gas stations, and the like. I cannot stand them. They’re out of control. They won’t be happy until drinking 1 beer means you cannot drive for 48 hours and, if you do, you get 30 years to life in prison.

    I use to work at a gas station way back in the day and a lady from MADD came in with a box of ribbons to set on the counter (for customers to take for free and tie on their car’s antenna). I told her no and you wouldn’t believe the look of shock and disbelief on her face. I just gave her a “Fuck MADD and fuck those ribbons” look.

    Saw this online:

    “It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned,” said Mrs. Lightner, who founded MADD after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. “I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”
    [Original Article]

  19. Kudos to Cindy Lightner for coming out with that; like many, many well-intentioned enterprises, this one was taken over by fucking maniacs. Sort of like the Reformation, since we were briefly discussing religious nutters and suchlike. A movement to end clerical abuses, corruption and to bring the language of the Bible to the people became the smashing of the altars, crypts, statuary, artworks, etc. of 1,500 years of Western civilization, the ‘bare ruined choirs’ of “Shakespeare’s” “That Time of Year” sonnet.

    Or the Bolshevik revolution in Russia nearly a hundred years ago; “they killed the Tsar and his ministers…” and got the murderous genocidal butchers, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

  20. Anyone here still laughing off the billion firearms estimate that Bob and me have made several times here???

    Are you thinking that you are high, low or spot on?

  21. “The other thing is that men don’t want to have sex with just any women. They want to have sex with attractive young women.”

    Sorry to be a pedant but some guys don’t find women of any age attractive. They just wanna hump other guys. This is incomprehensible to me at the emotional level, but also for evolutionary reasons. Such guys aren’t likely to pass on their genes so how does homosexuality evolve? I know this question has been “explained” in various ways, non of which look very convincing to me.

    “And, while we think of pheromones as something that apply to insects and “lower animals”, we humans are just as subject to pheromones as any other animal. It has been established beyond question that men find women most attractive when the women are ovulating. How can we tell? Because, subconsciously, we recognize that these women smell fertile.”

    How do you explain the evolution of concealed ovulation in humans? It probably evolved so that males would not be certain of who fathered a baby and so would be less likely to avoid supporting an infant they knew was not theirs.

    Personally, I find certain women attractive regardless of what time of the month it is, and older women who are still (presumably) fertile would be worth a, ah, “shot”. They may be less fertile than a 20 year old but any chance for a guy to pass on his genes is worth it.

    “And that brings up the second disconnect. Women think it’s unfair that, regardless of their age, men remain sexually attractive to women, and in fact many women find older men more attractive than younger ones…”

    A while back a man I know had an affair with a woman who was only a few years younger than his wife. I thought his wife was very attractive and the “other woman” a dog. Okay, so age might have been a factor, the fact that he may have increased his chances of fathering another child might have been a factor. But this chick, who was probably less than five years younger than his wife, was not the least bit pretty. Most guys would insist on her having a bag over her head while they did it.

  22. OFD wrote:

    “What, no tight-arsed Methodists or Unitarians or atheists? Amazing.”

    There were no Methodists ’till the mid C18.

  23. “So, this morning when I mentioned that new-neighbor Joe (who happens to live next door to the religious nutters) was in jail on $500,000 bond for having sex with one of his students, she commented that she’d rather have the religious nutters as neighbors than a guy who screws one of his students. I disagreed with her. Joe seemed like a nice enough guy.”

    “she” = “Barbara”? That’s my assumption. If so I would have thought she would be more libertarian.

    I still think teachers who have sex with their students under 18 should be sacked and criminalized, if only as a deterrent. But I wouldn’t want them given fifty years, just a year or two to try to teach them a lesson. If the student is over 18 just sack the teacher.

  24. “There were no Methodists ’till the mid C18.”

    No chit. They were apostate Anglicans. Was there a specific century one has in mind for being a religious tight-arse? And there were no Anglicans until the mid C16. Ditto Lutherans.

    “…her having a bag over her head while they did it.”

    I remember that phrase from long ago, also the two-baggers, where YOU also had to have a bag over YOUR head. And coyote-ugly, where if they fell asleep on your arm and you didn’t want to wake them in the AM you’d chew your arm off, like a coyote in a trap.

  25. Lynn wrote:

    “I can remember being able to drink a beer and drive at the same time here in Texas before MADD showed up.

    Looks like we will have laws against texting and driving very soon.”

    Lynn, you’re crazy even by Texas standards. No one should drink and drive at the same time. And texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving is just irresponsible. I do it occasionally, but try to pull over and stop if I can.

    “And the smoking laws are for tax revenue and people who do not like to breathe other people’s smoke. I used to not care about smokers but since my first heart attack I seem to be very susceptible to coughing after a couple of whiffs of smoke.”

    People should be allowed to smoke on their own private property, or that of others with their permission. But only if those places are not generally open to the public. If someone wants to smoke in public otherwise they should be outlawed, literally, and have to wear bulls-eyes placed over various vital organs.

  26. I remember like it was yesterday routinely drinking beers and smoking ciggies AND doobies while driving, in MA, ME, TX, and CA back in the Bronze Age. I also remember one time drinking a bunch of 151-Rum doubles, driving 25 miles home from the bar somehow and then slugging down a six-pack of Bud tall boyz. No talking on a cell phone, though; they hadn’t been invented yet. And this was when I was still a working street cop; had just left the bar packed with other street cops who poured me into my car when I left.

    Nowadays I’d just be taken out and stood against a wall and shot for that, no arrest, no trial.

  27. [snip] *young* man’s part in reproduction takes five minutes (if she’s really lucky). [snip]

    When my younger sister was pregnant the first time, she & her husband came over to visit / celebrate. He was bemoaning the physical travails of pregnancy, and all the work he’d been doing towards creating a nursery, etc. My sister looked at him and said “Look buster, your part took nine minutes, mine takes nine months.” And had she known, would have added “And ends with a very sharp knife being drawn across my abdomen.”

  28. Lynn, you’re crazy even by Texas standards. No one should drink and drive at the same time.

    Ok, I’ll bite: why not? Say I’m on the way home after a long day at the office. I’m thirsty. I could get a coke, or a bottle of water – or a beer. What possible difference does it make? The amount of alcohol will be negligible, and anyway far below what I would be allowed to consume.

    It really all comes down to personal responsibility. Because “some idiot” will drink half a bottle of whisky at the wheel, the government restricts the behavior of everyone. Why not nail the bastard who causes problems, and leave the rest of us alone?

  29. Well, when I’m doing other stuff I find that I give a lot less attention to what other drivers are doing. Whether that’s polishing my glasses, texting, looking at the “scenery”, drinking a can of coke, a beer or litre bottle of bourbon. Since other people’s lives are at stake I feel I ought to give driving my full attention. Even if I’m driving in the middle of nowhere I need to think about the cops and paramedics who will have to clean up the mess.

  30. So, by your reasoning, because talking with passengers is far more distracting than drinking a can of whatever, all private vehicles should be limited to one occupant?

  31. Of course not. And I’d dispute that talking to someone is more distracting than drinking a soda.

    Anyway, you and Brad would soon change your tunes if a family member or friend was killed by a texting or DUI driver.

  32. Well, I’ve seen several studies that all concluded that the driver talking to passengers was far more likely to cause an accident than the driver drinking a soda. I don’t have time to look for them but Google is your friend.

  33. As Google is our friend, so is Common Sense, which a lot of people lack. Don’t do stupid things, is what it boils down to, and pay attention to what you’re doing, whether it’s driving or carrying a concealed handgun or using a chainsaw in the back yahd. Unfortunately, as brad mentioned above, one idiot causing mayhem will then snowball into Our Nanny the Almighty State, personified nowadays by the NYC mayor, making life difficult for the rest of us.

    There are folks who can drive, talk with passengers, slug down a beer, change the radio station, etc., without causing a problem. There are others who can devote 100% attention to their driving and still have an accident. In between….multitudes.

    “Okay Dave, you’re *even crazier* than Lynn.”

    Not to worry, homes; all them wild oats were sown long, long ago. Think Prince Hal dumping Falstaff, Ancient Pistol, Bardolph, et. al. and becoming King Henry V. A model, a paragon, of sobriety, rectitude and probity.

  34. you and Brad would soon change your tunes if a family member or friend was killed by a texting or DUI driver

    Possibly, but that doesn’t mean that we would be right.

    There’s a spectrum between too much regulation and too much freedom, but right now most of the world has gone to far too much regulation. Every tragedy that makes the news sparks a call for another law, another regulation – but old ones never go away.

    Really, every law ought to come with a sunset provision, and should require new debate rather than just being blindly renewed. Regulations should also automatically expire and require explicit legislative re-authorization. Failing this, we are driving down a one-way street that just gets narrower and narrower as regulations close in from all sides.

  35. There’s a spectrum between too much regulation and too much freedom, but right now most of the world has gone to far too much regulation.

    Well, in my opinion, *any* regulation is too much regulation.

    It pisses me off that I have to get my driver’s license renewed before my birthday next month. Why should I have to do that? Why should I have to have a driver’s license at all? What point is there?

    I told Barbara this morning, only half in jest, that I was considering just letting my driver’s license expire. If the cops stop me, I’ll just tell them I’m an illegal immigrant, because they don’t have to have driver’s licenses.

  36. I fall right in here with brad and Bob; I’m really tired of all the rules, regulations and ordinances cluttering up our lives and making them more miserable than they have to be; and the nature of the State has been that ‘give ’em an inch and they take a mile’ for many long centuries now. Our particular State is now fine-tuning and ratcheting up the project and doing a swell job, too.

  37. Anyway, you and Brad would soon change your tunes if a family member or friend was killed by a texting or DUI driver.

    My first child was, in fact, killed by a drunk driver. He died not long afterward and it never once, in the 29 years since then, occurred to me to push for restrictions on drivers or drinkers.

    Miles_Teg, take your sanctimony and shove it.

  38. @SteveF; to be fair, I don’t think Miles_Teg (greg in Oz) had any idea about your first child, as I also did not. And it probably wasn’t a great idea for him to throw out that wild pitch.

    In my time as a street cop I was on both sides; even after seeing the carnage wrought by the occasional impaired operator, most of us continued to drink and drive until the relentless, and now RUTHLESS, public and media and political pressure, not to mention the fear of losing our jobs and being arrested ourselves came into play. Once again, something with possibly decent intentions got carried away and now we have what we have. Maybe the pendulum will swing back again someday, but it doesn’t look like it.

  39. Well, when I’m doing other stuff I find that I give a lot less attention to what other drivers are doing. Whether that’s polishing my glasses, texting, looking at the “scenery”, drinking a can of coke, a beer or litre bottle of bourbon. Since other people’s lives are at stake I feel I ought to give driving my full attention.

    So, can I drink a bottle of water while I am driving? But, I see nothing wrong with drinking a beer and driving. Just so long as it is one beer. You can drink the rest at home. But, drinking and driving here in Texas will get you a 30 day stay.

    BTW, when I drink nowadays, it is one drink a day and rare. I stopped drinking more than one drink a day a long time ago. And, my heart medicine will not allow any more than one beer a day as it interferes with it. And, I flunked my test Thursday so I get more heart medicine, otherwise known as rat poison. I am moving up to 8.5 mg/day of Warfarin for my tachycardia as my INR was 1.8 (needs to be 2.0 to 3.0).

    Took my Lady to see Trace Adkins last night. That dude is my age and ripped. 6’6″ and I’ll bet that he is not 200 lbs. And 16″ or 17″ guns. Sigh, I need to lose 50 lbs and start lifting again.

    SteveF, I am sorry for your loss. Parents should never have to bury their children.

  40. Mr. Adkins has an inch on me but I got about 70 pounds on him. Don’t have gunz like that but does a 19″ neck count? Also, I can’t sing or play an instrument.

    Damn, I guess I am not “ripped.”

  41. Lynn, you’re crazy even by Texas standards.

    BTW, thank you! I am just into personal responsibility and turning very Libertarian.

  42. “Miles_Teg, take your sanctimony and shove it.”

    Sanctimony? Bullshit. I don’t care if the nutcase anarchists here want to live without laws, but the sane 99% of us think some laws are useful. Not all of them, but arresting drunk drivers before the act rather than after them is a good one. Want to abolish speed limits? Even on roads that aren’t safe for high speed? Yeah, I suppose you would. Don’t try to prevent crime and don’t blame or punish it afterwards? Well, you’re welcome to it.

  43. OFD wrote:

    “I don’t think Miles_Teg (greg in Oz) had any idea about your first child, as I also did not. And it probably wasn’t a great idea for him to throw out that wild pitch. ”

    Of course I didn’t know, but why does it matter? If a family member or friend died due to a drunk driver (for example) I’d sure blame the drunk and want them locked up and to lose their licence. I know correlation isn’t causation but anything that takes attention from driving increases the probability of an accident. Suppose any of the anarchists here saw a family member get in to a car driven by a person they knew to be drunk? Would you do anything? Try to dissuade them? You wouldn’t? Yeah right.

    Wild pitch? It’s the most obvious question to ask. What about the cameras in Boston that caught the marathon bombers? I’ve heard no complaints about those intrusions on our liberties after the fact.

  44. Greg, the problem is that “drunk” is relative. I drink about a beer every couple months. At 0.02%, I don’t doubt that I’m more dangerous than a habitual heavy drinker is at 0.10% or even higher.

    Years ago, a group (I think it was MADD) got NASCAR driver Kyle Petty to volunteer to show the effects of increasing BAC. He started off dead sober and drove through a slalom course as fast as he could without knocking over any pylons. Then he drank some bourbon, waited for it to take effect, had his BAC checked, and drove the course again. He repeated that several times over some hours, but the result wasn’t what MADD expected. The drunker Kyle got, the faster he made it through the pylons without knocking any over.

    Does that mean drunk drivers are better than sober drivers? Of course not, but it does establish that the degree of impairment at various BACs is completely dependent on the particular individual, so presumptive rules like 0.10% or whatever are completely useless. They don’t make it illegal for me to drive when I am seriously impaired, and they make it illegal for some folks to drive when they are not noticeably impaired.

    My argument has always been that drunk driving should be completely legal, but that drunk wrecking should be severely penalized. And I’d much rather take a chance on an occasional drunk driver than have the government “protecting” me against them.

  45. Incidentally, did you guys see the poll about violent revolution that was in the headlines yesterday? Apparently, 29% of those surveyed thought we’d have armed rebellion in the next few years. Less than 50% thought we wouldn’t. The remainder were unsure or refused to answer.

    I also see that several states are passing laws that tell the federal government to get screwed, including one that actually requires local police to arrest federal agents who attempt to enforce some federal laws. And, the way things are going there, it looks like South Carolina may again be the first state to secede.

  46. “My argument has always been that drunk driving should be completely legal, but that drunk wrecking should be severely penalized. And I’d much rather take a chance on an occasional drunk driver than have the government “protecting” me against them.”

    Well, as I said, correlation isn’t causation. Some drunks are probably better drivers at 0.10% than I am stone cold sober, but for most people an increase in BAC decreases their concentration, warps their perception of speed and their ability. Seriously, how many drivers are like Kyle Petty? Would you work in your lab with dangerous chemicals after a couple of bottles of wine? If someone was driving you somewhere would you prefer that they be drunk or sober?

    If I was driving you somewhere would you prefer that I be sober or have had six margaritas? Last time I had that many I couldn’t walk straight, let alone drive.

    I agree that many laws designed to “protect” us are infringements of our liberty, counter productive or just ill thought out. But that doesn’t mean they all are. You and the rest of the gang would throw the baby out with the bath water.

  47. “Incidentally, did you guys see the poll…”

    I didn’t see it but I’d believe it. Glad I live here rather than there. Our politicians and political system are bad, but nothing like as bad as yours, and I don’t see a way out for you guys.

    150 years ago secession was a dopey idea, now it’s probably a good idea for many states, and I think may well happen. Or at the very least states will start telling the Feds to FROAD.

  48. Do you have a link to the poll? I have to wonder if the participants didn’t self-select. I have trouble imagining that the average American thinks along those lines.

    Never mind, I found it. It certainly seems to be a reasonably conducted poll. I suppose the one question it leaves open is what people understand under “protecting liberty”. Possibly gun control advocates imagine forcefully collecting guns, whereas gun advocates imagine the opposite. Interesting in any case…

  49. The interesting thing is that the states in which there’s been talk of secession are almost always those that are net gainers in terms of taxes paid versus federal money dispensed.

    Well, if things get really, really bad, Barbara and I can always pack up and head for Canada. Or maybe a little place in Vermont near a lake shore. I’m told that I’m a wizard and that wizards are welcome anywhere.

  50. Lynn, thanks for the sympathies. It was almost 30 years ago, so either I’m well over it or it’s cysted over. And, yes, it’s bad to bury your child (and her mother, though that wasn’t as shattering). In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I’ve resigned myself to life at a desk and pretty well stopped going after bad guys, because my mom expressed some concerns.

    Miles_Teg, I called your earlier comment sanctimonious because you were saying that you had an enlightened viewpoint of an issue and that if only we troglodytes had sufficient experience — traumatic experience, at that — then we would see things your way. Perhaps “sanctimonious” wasn’t precisely the right word; “self-righteous” will do nicely in its stead.

    RBT, I agree completely with your position on drunk driving and in fact take it further: I don’t care if you’ve been texting, watching a movie on an iPad mounted to your steering wheel, talking on the phone, talking with passengers, eating, drinking water, drinking beer, putting on makeup, or changing your clothes while driving. If you can drive without getting into or causing an accident, then no harm, no foul. On the flip side, if you get into or cause an accident, I don’t care if the cause was any of the above, mechanical failure, or sheer ineptitude.

  51. “What about the cameras in Boston that caught the marathon bombers? I’ve heard no complaints about those intrusions on our liberties after the fact.”

    My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that most of the camera lenses were in peoples’ cell phones and when The Authorities made a plea for anything anyone might have, they got the necessary footage from one or more of those, i.e. cooperative citizens. There may have been one or two actual surveillance cameras out there but I’m unclear of how much relevant footage they got.

    Likewise, the cops had just stood down, called off the street-to-street search, figured the bad guy had already left the area, and had actually skipped the street the bad guy was on. Only reason we got the younger brother is because Mr. Boat Owner wanted a ciggie, which he planned to smoke on his own private property by the way, and noticed the tarp flapping or loose on his boat. The cops didn’t catch him, and when they got there, they riddled the landscape with a bunch of rounds fired, as is their wont, thus endangering everyone else in the vicinity, again par for the course nowadays.

    Let’s run that poll again in another couple of years, say, when Lady MacBeth of Little Rock runs for Prez. We may yet see a stare-down between the states and the Fed again, and we may also yet see whether or not the Fed’s troops will fire on fellow American citizens, and then we’ll see if American citizens fire back. As for South Carolina, I have both relatives down there (that I haven’t seen or heard from since I was a kid) and blog/email correspondents, and there is apparently a strong secesh movement there, with links to European organizations likewise. A weaker one up here in Vermont.

  52. net gainers in terms of taxes paid versus federal money dispensed

    The US federal government is spending much more than it receives in taxes. Almost every state is a net gainer in the sanctioned crooked accounting.

  53. Of course, those figures are skewed because they count military spending on bases, so states with large or multiple military bases show up as net tax consumers, when obviously that federal spending didn’t go directly to the state or its citizens.

  54. The key word here, as SteveF mentions, is “crooked.” And the word “accounting” is to be understood as in no way, shape or form, conforming to any sense of financial reality. Even I, a worthless English major, understand this. Language in the West has become positively Orwellian beyond Eric Blair’s wildest imaginings. Ironic that a modern PM is also named Blair, just another war criminal.

    Wanna see some fun? Close down all the overseas military installations and 90% of the ones in CONUS. Like I recommend. Cut DOD by 75% for starters. I can hear the howling now. Tough shit. We don’t need this mess. The trillions spent on the Sandbox and the Suck could have been used to fix national strategic infrastructure and industry and have had plenty left over to ramp up STEM education and provide a safety net for the truly vulnerable and defenseless among us.

    But my fellow pseudo-conservatives won’t hear of it; DOD is the Holy of Holies; can’t touch it. And the libruls love it just as much when they’re at the wheel. I note again that by far most of these chickenhawk sons of bitches never saw war and never have their own families subject to wars.

  55. Whoa, the three biggest states (California 37 mil, Texas 25 mil, New York 19 mil) are all donor states. I never would have thought that Kali and NY were donors. We in The Great State of Texas have known that we were donors for a long time.

    Just the highway gas tax alone is maddening since Texas is such a large state (800 miles by 400 miles) and little of the federal highway money is spent here. We have declared shovel ready projects all around South Texas and NONE are being funded by the feddies. Instead, we are voting new taxes into hand and building with those.

  56. I sorta hope Texas will leave the so-called Union at some point, like the Carolinas and maybe Vermont and NH at some point. Y’all are being screwed, worse than us, even.

  57. OFD wrote:

    “…see whether or not the Fed’s troops will fire on fellow American citizens…”

    They did at Kent State, so I don’t see why some of them won’t obey orders from Lady Macbeth or whoever. Many won’t, of course (I hope).

    “Cut DOD by 75% for starters.”

    Get out of Afghanistan, the Middle East, Germany and Korea for starters. That should save a bit. Then look for more places to get out of/shut down. Has the US gone in to Jordan yet? I heard talk of it. Madness.

  58. Texas seceding? Too many damn Yankees (no offense) have moved in, not to mention progressives (Austin was once a nice city). Sadly, I just don’t see it.

    Actually, I don’t see it happening anywhere. Just look at the Free State Project – how few people were really willing to take action. Nothing even difficult, just move your residence and help take over the politics of a state that already had substantial libertarian leanings. The project went absolutely nowhere.

    I must be in a pessimistic mood today…

  59. The local Free State types would have resented to hell immigrant Free Staters. Just like both sides in a fist fight hate “mediators”.

  60. Don’t regular folks still outnumber “Yankees” in the great Lone Star State? Or have they rolled in and taken over the politics and the media like they’ve done elsewhere in the South and West? I am descended from the same people as these sons of bitches, unfortunately, and I know full well how they operate. They (We) are relentless and RUTHLESS. I give you, to wit: The War of Northern Aggression. Before that, our War of Independence. Before that, our English Civil War. Cromwell’s New Army has metastasized into the Wilsonian imperial force we have now.

  61. Irish people remember Cromwell, none too fondly. “The curse of Cromwell be upon you” is still used in arguments, I here. He did worse stuff than smashing beautiful old stained glass windows.

  62. Cromwell and his murderous thugs have a well-deserved reputation for butchery and slaughter, besides the stained glass and icons he smashed. That said, he was also a courageous and resourceful cavalry general, and his New Model Army eventually swept everything before it. At the Restoration, many of his people emigrated to Nova Anglia, unfortunately, and among them are numbered some of my own ancestors. Pilgrims and Puritans, but eventually, having tired of all that Calvinist nonsense, Quakers. My paternal grandfather was farmed out, literally, as a young kid in southeastern Maffachufetts, with his siblings, to various foster families when his father could no longer take care of them. He was raised among Quakers, but then in his own act of rebellion, maybe, enlisted in the Army for the Great War. We’ve been soldiers and sailors ever since.

    Mrs. OFD is all Irish (-American) and she and her clans also remember the Lord Protector none too fondly, while ironically married to one of his soldiers’ descendants.

  63. @OFD: Sure, regular folk probably still outnumber the Yankees. But like anywhere, most folk of whatever stripe just want to get on with their lives, and avoid any sort of serious political issues. Even if you only polled native Texans, anything to do with secession would probably have only a marginal chance of success. But with all the non-Texans in places like Dallas and Austin, the chances are essentially zero.

  64. Don’t the native Texans and regular folks ever get tired and fed up with the newcomers messing with their lives? Or will they blow it off, like here in New England, until it’s too late?

  65. …will they blow it off, like here in New England, until it’s too late?

    I assume that is a rhetorical question? 😉

  66. Brad, I hope you’re right, but I fear you’re wrong.

    I read history a lot, and the US is now in a place that it’s never been. The degree of hostility between groups is incredible. Pro-choice hate pro-life people, and vice versa. Democrats and Republicans talk past each other, and neither has any use at all for the other. Structural unemployment is growing all the time, and the long-term unemployed have passed hopelessness on their way to utter despair.

    I think we’re on the beginning of a long slide into relative poverty and simmering social unrest, much like Ayn Rand wrote about in Atlas Shrugged. I think (hope) OFD is wrong about a complete collapse. It’s the frog-boiling thing. People will take a lot, but only so much. What I truly fear is that a demagogue will appear, promising to make everything right again, and that he’ll be elected just as Mussolini and Hitler were. If I had to guess, I’d say that Heinlein was prescient and that we’ll end up with a Nehemiah Scudder.

  67. Don’t regular folks still outnumber “Yankees” in the great Lone Star State?

    Don’t know. We are very close to becoming Kalifornia. Very close. Houston, Dallas and Austin went there a while back. If the illegals get to vote, we will become a strong blue state immediately if not sooner.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that Heinlein was prescient and that we’ll end up with a Nehemiah Scudder.

    Hey, that’s not funny! Nehemiah Scudder was an admiring follower of Uncle Adolf. The secret police will be executing people all over the place. OFD and Bob will the amongst the first to disappear. I will be in the second wave.

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  68. @Lynn: I left Houston off my list, because that’s the one city in Texas I’ve never gotten to know, so I really didn’t know enough to say. Dallas was lost years ago – heck, it wasn’t really Texan when I was in college there too many years ago… Austin was fine until it got “discovered” – I went back for a short visit last year, and hardly recognized the place…

    Maybe the Texans could secede from Texas :-/

  69. I would have never thought that Texas would turn liberal but the State Legislature is getting ready to pass a bill to prefer water for cities over the farmers. So, people in the cities will have plenty of water but no food. This drought thing and all the people moving here from Kali is really starting to tax all of our systems: water, roads, electricity (it is my prediction that the state net, ERCOT, is going to fail when we have a hard summer).

  70. “OFD and Bob will the amongst the first to disappear. I will be in the second wave.”

    Ah, I so love an optimist!

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