Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Saturday morning is my favorite day because I get to cook a decent breakfast. While I like my grits or pancakes, this low carb breakfast is one of my favorites. You will need:

1 medium onion
1 tblsp butter
1 large egg
3 slices bacon

The key to this breakfast is carmelizing the onions. You'll want to slice them as thinly as possible. A mandolin or food processor works best. I like to leave them in complete circles. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to seperate. Carmelization occurs with slow cooking. Do not turn them too often. You are looking for a golden brown color. Don't worry if some of the edges seem to get very dark, almost burnt. The darker the brown the sweeter the taste! it may take upto 20 minutes to develop the taste. That's why I only get to make this on Saturday.

Remove the onions onto a plate. Cook the bacon in the same skillet. Cook to taste but I like mine crispy so that I can crumble them over the top.

Remove the bacon to the plate and add the egg to the skillet. Don't drain the bacon fat! It adds to the taste. Cook the egg sunny side up or over easy (mrs. duck likes over hard but it's just not the same). As the egg is done, let some of the grease drain off and place it on top of the onions. Cover the egg with the bacon pieces and be prepared to make another one for everyone that you let taste it!

Note to Telemarketers

To all telemarketers calling the Duck household:

Sometimes I will pickup your calls, just for fun or because I was otherwise occupied. I will even be polite as you begin talking. I might even listen to your first couple of sentences. But let me say this. If I tell you that I am not interested, STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT! Just wish me a good evening and hang up! You will not change my mind by continuing to ask STUPID QUESTIONS! ALL YOU WILL DO IS MAKE ME MAD!


Shakey Pete's Rocket Theory

I haven't posted politcal in a while but Shakey Pete has a really good post about the recent failed rocket attack. Go read his thoughts at Don't Draw Conclusions From The Rockets

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Eye of Polyphemus Echo Effect

This post, a Random Thought from "Eye of Polyphemus", is hereby reposted on this blog in it's entirety because it's GREAT!
Random Thought

In all his lunacy, do you think Sen. Robert Byrd ever considers holding his breath until his state turns blue?

Thanks, Jamie, for the laugh!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cary Grant - Yep!

Yep that's me. Your friendly ignited Cary Grant!

Cary Grant
You scored 14% Tough, 4% Roguish, 33% Friendly, and 47% Charming!

You are the epitome of charm and style, the smooth operator who steals the show with your sophisticated wit, quiet confidence and flirty sense of humor. You are able to catch any woman you want just by flashing that disarming smile, even if you're flashing it at a kindly aunt or engaging child at the time. When you walk into a room, women are instantly intrigued and even the men are impressed, but you're too nice a guy to steal anyone else's girl...unless the guy deserves it. You're stylish, yes, but you can also be a little bit nutty. However, you're primarily seen as dashing, suave and romantic. Your co-stars include Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, stylish women with a sense of fun.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 14% on Tough
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on Roguish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on Friendly
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 85% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid

Fiction Friday is Here!

It’s a scary thing, writing fiction that others will read but I thought I would give it a shot. Silk is hosting Fiction Fridays, week three. A couple of others have stories posted already.

First the three images for inspiration.

Next here's my story.

Finding Stonehenge

When Sara’s father died, both Sara and Peggy, her mother, withdrew from life, Sara into reading and Peggy into painting. But these solitary activities created a rift between a mother and daughter who were once very close.

Then a tiny miracle opened a small hole in that wall. A college term paper on Stonehenge fired the imagination of a young woman and re-ignited the sparkle in her mother’s eye.

“Sara, I don’t think I ever told you but I’ve been to Stonehenge.”

“Really!” squealed Sara. She found the ancient circle fascinating. The mystic place seemed to call to her.

“Our family had a small home in Amesbury, just a few kilometers from Stonehenge.” Peggy said, “We’d spend a couple of weeks there every summer. My parents sold it just after your father and I were married.” She said wistfully. Lost in thought she added, “I remember every nook and crevice of Stonehenge.”

Sara knew from the look in her mother’s eye that Stonehenge was a very special place.

“Oh mom, I would really like to see it. Do you think…?”

“What? Fly to England! Just to visit Stonehenge? I don’t know…” Peggy hesitated as she grappled for an excuse even though the thought of going back made her heart leap.

“Ok.” she relented, “ Here’s the first dollar of our Stonehenge fund!”

With each coin added to the trip fund, the emotional wall erected between this mother and daughter began to fall. But it wasn’t to last.

Peggy began having trouble with her vision. She battled daily headaches for over a week. One bright, sunny Thursday, a ruptured brain aneurysm took her mother from her. Now Sara was truly alone.

Once again Sara turned to books. She thought reading would mask the pain but it didn’t work.

Still, the memory of the mutual struggle for their trip stayed with her. Slowly a feeling of obligation swelled within Sara. She owed it to herself, and to her mother, to make that trip. A phone call reserved a seat on the next flight to Heathrow.

Just ten days later, Sara set foot on the sacred ground of Stonehenge. She had never been there and yet she felt as if she knew every nook and crevice. Standing next to the Altar Stone, she ran her hand against the rough-hewn block.

A gentle tap on the shoulder beckoned for Sara’s attention. To her right stood a short elderly woman. The wide grin on a wrinkled face gave the old woman a familiar appearance. Her left hand rested on Sara’s shoulder.

“I must have run my hand over that same spot a thousand times.” The old woman said with a twinkle in her eye.

“It’s amazing.” Sara responded, “I mean, what they built here.”

“I’ve always felt this place was special.”

Though they had only just met, these two women found conversation easy. Their new bond of friendship deepened as they talked. It seems both had a great love of literature and art. Both felt drawn to this place. Both had lost loved ones. Both were looking to heal.

“Sara,” started the old woman, “when I lost my husband, I thought I couldn’t go on. We had been so close. I needed to feel him again so I came back to where we honeymooned, in Amesbury.”

“So that’s why this place is so special to you.”

“Yes,” replied the old woman, “but it’s even deeper than that. Our only daughter was born just nine months later. We had started our family here.”

The bonds of family run deep.

“My home is just a short drive. Would you like a cup of tea?” asked the old woman.

“I would love it!” Sara said.

In just a few minutes they arrived at a neat cottage in Amesbury. Bright yellow and red flowers lined a short stone path to the front door. The home was freshly painted a lovely sage green. A small set of keys jangled as the old woman unlocked and then opened the door.

“Welcome to our home.” The old woman motioned Sara through the door. As Sara crossed the threshold she reached back and took the old woman’s hand. Sara walked into a beautiful little foyer. A wooden staircase, directly across from the front door ended at a dormer that let light into the foyer from above.

“My darling, Sara, this is the home where your father and I started our family.”

A shiver ran up Sara’s spine. Startled, Sara spun around. The old woman’s face began to transform. She seemed… younger. The lines and wrinkles melted away. The sparkle in her eyes leapt out and brightened her whole face. What once was flesh and bone was now just a wisp.

In the next instant Sara’s mother was standing before her.

“Mom?” Sara asked tentatively.

“Sara, I wanted you to see Stonehenge but not because of the rocks.” Peggy said, “I wanted you to understand the love that your father and I have for you. You’re drawn to this place because of who we are as a family. It’s now time for you to move on. Create those things for yourself that your father and I created together.”

Her mother smiled as the apparition began to move slowly up the staircase. At the top, a second wisp joined her. Sara saw her father smile at her from the top of the stairs. A loving father and mother were once again reunited.

Sara finally understood. “I will,” her lips trembling, “and good-bye.”

As the image of her parents faded from sight, a strange calm came over her. Sara had missed that feeling of peace. She turned, opened the door and stepped into the bright sunlight for the first time in several years. She had found what she needed; the last gentle touch of her mother, a final smile from her father and the sure knowledge that they would always be there.

Friday's Elephant Joke

Q: Why can't elephants smoke?
A: Because they can't fit their butts in the ash tray!

(hee hee)>@_/

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thursday's Elephant Joke

Elephant Limerick
Two elephants - Harry & Faye
Couldn't kiss with their trunks in the way
So they boarded a plane
They're now kissing in Maine
Cause their trunks got sent to L.A.

(hee hee)>@_/

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Spicy Egg Sandwich

I need a break.

After a couple of weeks of a heavy work load, light posting and some very heavy commenting on other blogs, I decided to post an easy recipe. Simple and yet so delicious. Here's the way I make a…

Spicy Egg Sandwich
1 large egg
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 slice pepper jack cheese
sprinkle of chili powder
1 tblsp Miracle Whip

Crack the egg on a hot griddle with a bit of grease. I like mine over-hard because of the little crust on the edges. While the egg is frying, toast the bread. When you flip the egg, put the pepper jack cheese on so it starts to melt. Sprinkle a little chili powder on for that extra zing! As soon as the toast pops, spread on the Miracle Whip. Put the egg on the bread, open your mouth wide and ENJOY!

Wednesday's Elephant Joke

I love hot chocolate...
Q: Why did the elephant step on the marshmallow?
A: Because he didn't want to fall in the hot chocolate!"

(hee hee)>@_/

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Cindy, Gaza and Rape?

Question: What do Cindy Sheehan, the Gaza Strip protestors and a rapist all have in common?
Answer: The actions they take mask their true motivation.

We all know that rape is not about sex. Rape looks like it's about sex. It may appear to be about sex because it includes an overt sexual act. But it's not about sex. It's about some sick need for control. The rapist only chooses sex because that particular act, violating women in the most intimate way, provides for him the greatest feeling of power. Serial killers use murder in the same fashion. It's not about killing, it's about ultimate control.

So what about the Gaza strip protestors? Isn't that episode about Jewish homes and Israeli land and fairness? Then why is it that people from outside of the settlements are the last ones to leave? Don't the residents themselves have the most to lose?

Cindy Sheehan says she is a grieving mother who only wants the war to stop before other young men lose their lives. But doesn't she realize that we lost 3000+ people BEFORE we took up the fight. Doesn't she understand that shirking the battle now only leaves future generations with a more ominous problem?

I would contend that you cannot truly understand Ms. Sheehan and the Gaza protestors if you only look at their actions. Like the rapist, their actions do not accurately reflect their true motivations. What they really want, even if they don't understand it themselves, is power and control. Now that's a pretty bold statement and I don't make bold statements lightly. I would not make such an outrageous charge unless I had a direct personal experience to back it up. Let me explain.

Today, I walk and talk like a conservative duck (because I am…now) but there was a time when I was young and foolish not so conservative. In fact, you might say I was a regular rebel. But the beginning of my “conservative period” actually came about when I was called upon to be my “most liberal.” My fate was to become a protest organizer!

While attending college, our professors made it known that the University administration was going to close our college as a cost saving measure. This news, of course, infuriated many of the students. Consequently, small group of my compadres and I began to organize a protest. We knew that something loud, exciting and attention getting would surely get the administration to change it's mind.

In just a matter of two or three days we had organized all the students in the college for a powerful day of protests. We were going to start the day off with a class walk out and then hold protest speeches on the front step of the college. The speeches consisted of 8-10 students and one professor, each giving a hard-hitting, impassioned plea about how closing the college was unfair and the administration was tyrannical for even considering it. I capped the speeches with a barnburner that got everyone cheering. We had (by police estimates) only about 1200 people show up but we were a lot louder than those numbers would indicate.

At the conclusion of my speech, all the students grabbed white crosses (built especially for the occasion) and we proceeded to march around campus. Our final stop was the Administration building. Can you imagine 1200 students marching through the hallowed halls of a building as sacrosanct as the Administration building? When we aligned ourselves for a second march through the building, the police stopped us and said that the first pass packed so many marching students into that old building that we had shaken some of the plaster off the walls and we would not be allowed to enter again!

With our final pass through the building thwarted, we gathered on the front lawn of the admin building and proceeded to drive our crosses into the ground like gravestones. We then lay on the ground in front of our crosses; 1200 bodies in 1200 graves all due the uncaring decisions of university administrators was the message. That scene made the paper and the news that evening.

The next day we held another protest rally at high noon (for dramatic effect) on the front steps of our college. We demanded to meet with the president of the University. About the same number of people showed up as the day before but now a larger part of the audience was students from other colleges on the campus. We were really beginning to have an impact! After a couple more speeches from our “dead” classmates, a representative of the President's office showed up, the Public Relations rep, if I remember correctly. She announced that the college would not be closed. A resounding cheer went up from the students. I can still remember the tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment I had. We had BEATEN the Administration!

But then the PR Rep said something unusual. She said that the administration had never decided that our college was going to be the one to close. The option of closing our college was only one of many that had been discussed. She added that she was glad to know the feelings of the students as they were expressed in the protest.

At the time, nothing could have dampened the exhilaration of the moment. That feeling continued for several days, or even weeks, but her final statement began to eat at me. Our professors had told us that the school would be closed. Did everyone misread the administrations intentions? Or had we, the young impressionable students, been misled, even prodded into a protest by our professors? I finally came to the conclusion that we had been manipulated. For what? Because they needed our masses to make the political point.

As I have grown older and wiser, I have gleaned several life lessons from my experience in organizing and participating in that protest.

  1. Organizing such a protest is a heady, intoxicating experience. You are on a mission. You become full of righteous indignation and you are willing to fight for your rights. In the end, I feel that the intoxicating effect of protest, like most intoxicants, is addictive. This addiction drives the addicted person to lead a life full of protests.

  2. Participating in a protest is very much a mob mentality. You suspend reason believing all that is told to you. This unreasoned belief can become a powerful motivator in your actions, making you more susceptible to outside forces.

  3. Buzzwords play a major role in inciting a protest. We expended great effort on writing speeches that talked about fairness to the students, pride in the program and financial burden on those who could not afford more expensive colleges. While there was truth (at least from the information we were fed) in these points, the buzzwords elicited cheers and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. This type of rhetoric then fed our addiction.

  4. Finally, protestors can be manipulated by others. In fact, I believe that most protests are started by a very small but persuasive group. Our professors were threatened by the thought of closing the school. My professors served that purpose in my example.

I tend to feel that liberals are much more likely to organize and participate in protests than are conservatives. I truly believe that most people who are motivated to showy protests only do it for the intoxicating effect. Note the Gaza protesters. These are people who are there for the protests! The people with the most at stake have already left.

And finally there is Cindy Sheehan. I don’t doubt that she is grieving (and we all grieve with her), but what is her goal? I know her stated goal, to make President Bush “end the hostilities,” but what hope does she really have of achieving that goal. Is she deluding herself? Is she really there for the “rush” of the protest?

Now it appears that Cindy Sheehan may lose her entire family over this protest. For what? Will her protest bring back her dead son? I don’t think so. You know, I hear that heroin addicts will sacrifice all that they have for their next fix. Almost as if the act of protest were addictive!

Tuesday's Elephant Joke

Oh my...
Q: What did the banana say when the elephant stepped on it?
A: Nothing...bananas don't talk!

(hee hee)>@_/

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday's Elephant Joke

An elephant knock knock joke. Ya' gotta' love it!
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Elephants who?
Ella Phantzgerald!

(hee hee)>@_/

Friday, August 19, 2005

I Want to Introduce You to PolitaKid

Everyone say "hi" to Politakid. Politakid say "hi" to the friends of the Flaming Duck. Good, now that we all know each other, I want us all to gather at his blog, PolitaKid, for a Friday afternoon party!

I think you'll like what you see. Politakid is the only conservative in a liberal family. He writes for a highschool newspaper, comments on local, national and international stuff and LOVES Dan Fogelberg.

We should get along just fine!

It's Time to Circle the Conservative Wagons

Our friend, Scott Randolph, is taking some heat for not volunteering for military service. From his post:
"Folks like Geoff, Hoyt, eaglestowings (all welcome commenters), have asked me when I’m going to enlist."

"Good question - I’m not. I’m a better citizen than soldier."

"Does the fact that I support our men and women that are at war right now, and believe in their cause, and honor their sacrifice, yet have no plans to enlist myself make me a hypocrite? a coward?"

I told Scott that the greater fight is right here in the states. It is making sure that the American left DON'T convince Washington the American people don't support this effort. We need brave young men and women right here shouting that the left are WRONG! Scott has engaged the enemy. Let's help him!

You can read his post and all the comments at Scott - One step further…!

A "Lightbulb" Moment

Question: What is the secret to being successful and making money?
Answer: Follow this ONE tip and you'll be rich beyond your wildest imagination.

Ellison sheds a some light on how to get rich quick. Read
Blog d'Elisson: NO WONDER and you'll see what I mean. Those kids will be rich in no time!

Today's Example of "Typical Ignorance"

From "Ogre's View" comes a great little example of ignorance.
"An actual conversation this morning between the Ogre and the toothless gas station attendant:

TW (Toothless Wonder): That'll be $43.72.
Ogre (while handing credit card): Whew, that's quite a bit, huh?
TW (while taking said credit card): You're using the gold card, right?
Ogre: Not much longer with prices like these!
TW: It's Bush's fault..."

You'll have to go to Ogre's Politics & Views: Blame Bush read the rest of the conversation. See if you can find where the "Toothless Wonder" admits his ignorance.

I really believe that the Democratic Party and fools like "Toothless Wonder" deserve each other.

Friday's Elephant Joke

Time for a minivan.
Q: What do you call two elephants on a bicycle?
A: Optimistic!

(hee hee)>@_/

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Witness the Birth of a Republican

President Clinton caused my change in voter registration from Independent to Republican. Looks like Cindy Sheehan may produce a similar result in this young man. From the post:
"I actually felt myself become a republican today. It was around 10am, when I read the latest update of the Cindy Sheehan saga in I then shot over to read some blogs about it, and perused the comments in some of them, which was nothing but a long series of petty (albeit entertaining) partisan bickering.

Then it happend. The good little democrat in me tied the little noose around his neck and jumped off the stool. He just couldn’t take it anymore."

Welcome to the Republican pool, Scott. Come on in. The water's fine.

Read the whole post at Scott titled "Cindy sealed the deal."

(hat tip WitNit)

Thursday's Elephant Joke

Betcha didn't know...

Q: How many elephants does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Don't be stupid, elephants can't change light bulbs.

(hee hee)>@_/

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More Dots!

More from Americans for Freedom!
Americans for Freedom...Afghanistan Iraq Lebanon Egypt Syria Saudi Arabia Iran Belarus...: Specifics about what exactly Berger stole, and if "Able Danger info could have been included

Let's Play "Connect the Dots!"

JP at Americans for Freedom does an admirable job of connecting the 9/11 Commission dots for us ducks who are a little slower on the uptake. Read his "finished picture" at Americans for Freedom...Afghanistan Iraq Lebanon Egypt Syria Saudi Arabia Iran Belarus...: Links are popping up...Atta, 9/11, Gorelick, Berger, 9/11 commission report, Able Danger and you'll see what I mean.

Dan Fogelberg - Good News!

Dan Fogelberg has given us some GREAT news. But I'll let Dan tell you himself. From his website:
August 13, 2005
A personal letter from D.F.

First, let me send everyone some very good news. In our first 14 months of treatment, we have succeeded in slowing the progression of my prostate cancer down to an almost negligible level. Jean and I are thrilled and incredibly relieved and finally feel like we can at last take a breath.

If you would like to read the whole letter, you can find it at Dan Fogelberg ~ News.

Let me second Dan's "sermon" about the need for regular prostate exams. They are IMPORTANT!

OK - Just One More Cindy Sheehan Post

I know what I said but I couldn't resist this piece of news.
"FAIRFIELD, Calif. - The husband of Cindy Sheehan, the mother camped outside President Bush's Texas ranch to protest the death of a son in the Iraq war, has filed for divorce, according to court documents.

Patrick Sheehan filed the divorce petition Friday in Solano County court, northeast of San Francisco. His lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday."

Read the whole article at Husband of 'Peace Mom' Files for Divorce - Yahoo! News.
She lost her son because of his volunteer actions. Now she has lost the rest of her family due to her own actions. For what? A political statement?

Wednesday's Elephant Joke

Just one line today.
An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.

(hee hee)>@_/

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Now You Want What?!!!

I blogged a little about the emminent domain case Kelo V. New London. Now the City of New London wants to charge the land owners rent for living there while the case was heard. Don't believe me? Read Kelo Aftermath - New London Adds Insult to Tyranny at The Center for Local Government: Local Liberty Blog.

Maybe all the mean things people say about government are true. Makes me a bit ashamed to be involved in local government.

Tuesday's Elephant Joke

A little long but that's what makes it funny!
Q: Why do elephants wear shoes with yellow soles?
A: So you don't see them when they float upside down in a bowl of vanilla pudding.

Q: Have you ever seen an elephant floating upside down in a bowl of vanilla pudding?
A: No, of course not.

Q: Why do elephants live in herds?
A: To get a wholesale reduction on the shoes with yellow soles.

(hee hee)>@_/

Monday, August 15, 2005

LAT - "An effective, but costly, cure"

They got it right on Roberts but wrong on Malaria. I guess 1 for 2 isn't too bad. "An effective, but costly, cure - Los Angeles Times":
"ASK RICHARD IDRO IF HE HAD MALARIA as a child, and you will begin to grasp the toll this disease takes on sub-Saharan Africa. Patiently, as though explaining breathing to a visiting Martian, he will answer, 'Everybody got malaria.'"...

"The story of malaria in the 30 years since Idro's recovery isn't nearly as uplifting. The mosquito-borne parasite has grown resistant to the drug that cured him. Malaria's mortality rate is higher today than it has been in decades.

Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Even in tropical Africa, where the Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit the parasites thrive, everybody doesn't have to get malaria.

Historically, vaccines have been responsible for reining in some of the world's worst diseases. In an earlier editorial, we urged the United States and other wealthy nations to speed progress by committing in advance to a $4-billion purchasing fund, to be tapped only if an effective vaccine is developed. This innovative, market-based complement to the "push" of grants would "pull" more biotech firms and their armies of scientists into the search by guaranteeing a payoff for success.

But sub-Saharan Africa's dying children can't wait years for a vaccine. Here too the world's wealthy nations can help, by creating a similar fund to pay for an exciting but expensive drug compound made from a Chinese herb."

LAT promotes hugely expensive high tech methods when there is a cheaper and better alternative, the use of DDT to control the mosquito population. Before you fly off the handle, I have read "Silent Spring" and I am fairly well versed on the problems with DDT but we need a cheap and effective method of control. It must be used as part of an integrated plan but Mexico proved it's value. Only the current first world mindset around DDT prevents it's use.

But that will never happen. And African children will continue to die.

LAT - Roberts "Not worth fighting over"

Read the entire op-ed "Not worth fighting over - Los Angeles Times." (There's a free registration required.)

From the article:
"THE BATTLE OVER the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court has hardly begun and already it feels anticlimactic. Much to the dismay of various ideologues, Roberts is the kind of bland, affable — and competent — figure who fails to inflame target audiences.

Which is exactly why Roberts will probably take his seat on the court the first Monday in October. Confirmation hearings remain, of course, and there is still time for further revelations about his conservative views to arouse passions on either end of the political spectrum. (Choose one: he is excessively/insufficiently doctrinaire.) But the chances of another confirmation brawl are increasingly remote."

That was easy! The mind is there, I just hope this equates to a Scalia type spine.

My One and Only Cindy Sheehan Post

Cindy Sheehan has been covered to death (I don't like posting on the popular funk that most call news) and I don't really have much to add. Most certainly you can guess my position anyway. So instead I'll point you to an outstanding New Zealand based blog, Silent Running, that has a good post on Cyndi Sheehan. Read Tom Paine's post

"It's all Cindy Sheehan, all the time!".

The REAL Duck's Grill?!

I want one!

4397_9080531638.jpgPicture from gizmag Magazine

Then my flying could be earth bound.

Monday's Elephant Joke

Looking forward to Monday and then...
Q: How can you tell that an elephant has been in your fridge?
A: By the footprints in the butter.

Dang elephant! I was gonna' use that butter to make "Duck Fudge!"

(hee hee)>@_/

Friday, August 12, 2005

Minority-Majority Voting Districts - The Real Story

Question: What is the purpose of a minority - majority voting district? (making sure that there are some voting districts where the minority population is actually the majority of voters in the district).
Answer: The intended effect and the actual effect are two different things.

The theory goes something like this. When a jurisdiction changes the voting district lines, the elected officials are required to ensure that the minority population is fairly represented. The current method of accomplishing this is to create districts where minority populations have a majority of the vote. But the districts must be created in the same proportion as the minority is to the rest of the population. Maybe a little math will help. Suppose 27% of a city is Chinese and there are five council seats. The city MUST create one voting district (1 of 5) which at least 51% or greater Chinese. That means that this minority-majority district will elect 20% of the City Council. This ratio assumes that the Chinese citizens will have a good opportunity to elect a Chinese representative. They ARE NOT required to create two minority-majority districts because that would be 2/5 or 40% of the council seats and that would exceed the 27% rate of the minority population.

So what effect does this have on the makeup of legislative bodies? Ken Masugi at The Local Liberty blog talks about this in Roberts and Voting Rights. My own experience mirrors what he has to say. Democrats tend to believe that this ensures minority representation and republicans are more than happy to guarantee that minority voting strength is concentrated in one district.

There have been many studies on the subject with many different conclusions. In my own jurisdiction, the minority populations tend to have very heavy voter turnout. This generally means that a minority representative is elected in this district. The irony is that the turnout is so heavy that if these citizens were more evenly distributed, there is a chance two or three minority representatives may be elected to the council. I guess it’s good that one district is guaranteed but I would rather take a chance on two or three districts than be guaranteed one.

Friday Fun Meme

Dr. Steven Taylor tossed out the Friday Fun Meme. He wants to know who your childhood heroes were (but they must be from your elementary school years). So here's mine.

5. Richie Rich ("The Richest Boy in the World" and I wanted to trade places with him!)

4. Flipper (sing with me! "They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he")

3. Chet Morton (faithful sidekick of Frank and Joe Hardy of the Hardy Boys mysteries. I always pull for the underdog.)

2. My Scoutmaster (63 years old, 5th degree black belt, ran us ragged hiking in the Colorado mountains and beat the crap out of a 24 year old brown belt that challenged him to a sparing match)

1. Mrs. Riska, my fourth grade teacher. (taught me about discipline, hard work and reward)

While you're here, you really should read PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science � FFM: Childhood Heroes.

Who's On First (Updated)

I love Abbott and Costello so much that I even got my kids interested in their movies. But the skit titled "Who's on First" is a classic that everyone immediately recognizes. Dash, over at Boiling Point, has written a new take on the old classic. Read a new "Who's On First" and tell me, with a straight face, that it's not funny! I dare ya'!

(hat tip: WitNit)

Friday's Elephant Joke

Something to think about at the party you're having this evening.
Q: What do you give a seasick elephant?
A: Lots of room.

(hee hee)>@_/

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Light Posting Apology

Sorry for the light posting but I have been fully involved in a discussion about the role that science plays in my religious faith.

What?... you didn't know that science and religion (creation/evolution debate) can peacefully coexist? Well, it's my contention that they can. If you would like to read my views and maybe even join the debate, just head on over to The Apostropher and his question about Intelligent Design.

Maybe I'll post the discussion over here when we are done.

Thursday's Elephant Joke

I'm hungry
Q: How do you make a dead elephant float?
A: Well, you take 10 dead elephants, 10 tons of chocolate ice-cream, 5 tons of bananas,.....

(hee hee)>@_/

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Liberty And Culture: Moderate Islam is Not the Solution

I am not schooled enough in the history of Islam to know if all of the facts are correct but I have read the Koran and was astonished at the stance that book took towards "infidels" and women. I will say that several commentors seem to verify that the facts are right.

If the facts are correct, then I must agree that with the poster that "Moderate Islam is Not the Solution". In fact, it seems to be a complete impossibility! Scary stuff because that greatly reduces our options.

(hat tip Political Yen/Yang)

Today's Elephant Joke

Today it's one of those compound jokes that I love so much!
"Q: Why do elephants wear sandals?
A: So that they don't sink in the sand.

Q: Why do ostriches stick their head in the sand?
A: To look for the elephants who forgot to wear their sandals."

(hee hee)>@_/

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Today's Elephant Joke

Imagine yourself lying in bed.
"How do you know if there is an elephant under the bed?
Your nose is touching the ceiling."

(hee hee)>@_/

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Stress of 9/11/01

Sometimes I have trouble understanding the emotions of others. Just last night I had a lengthy discussion with my kids about the nature of "fun." We had just seen Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. (American Chopper for the unwashed) break down a door for "fun." I have trouble understanding how that can be fun. I just don't get it.

Along the same lines, Peter Jennings died after a short battle with lung cancer. The story goes that he quit some twenty years ago but relapsed during the events of 9/11/01. The reason he cited for the relapse was "stress."

Now, I lived through 9/11 also. Without trying to sound callous, how could anyone be stressed enough over the attacks to start smoking again? As horrible and terrible as the attacks were, one should be more stressed over the thought of driving down your average American street. When terrorism breaks into the top ten leading causes of death amongst Americans, then I'll get stressed. Until then, I just don't get it.

No Additional Attacks?

Question: Why haven't there been additional suicide attacks on US soil?
Answer: There are several reasons.

USA Today has a good article on the subject titled Why suicide attackers haven't hit U.S. again.

The reasons suggested really cover the full range of thoughts. From the article:
  • Suicide terror takes a team.

  • U.S. Muslims want the American dream, not jihad.

  • The U.S. homeland is better protected.

  • Al-Qaeda Central is dead.

  • Bin Laden is patiently planning another blockbuster.

  • Muslim terrorists are focused on U.S. allies in Europe and U.S. troops in Iraq.

  • We've been lucky.

Read the article for the details behind each point.

I think that the ultimate answer is some combination of all the above. As long as everyone realizes that another terrorist attack is possible then we can continue our efforts to prevent them and reap the benefits of the good luck that we have enjoyed to date.

Today's Elephant Joke

A bit of Monday levity!
"Why are elephants vegetarians?
Who can afford to eat 125 pounds of hamburgers a day?"

(hee hee)>@_/

Sunday, August 07, 2005

American as Apple Pie!

Question: How American are YOU?
Answer: Only you can answer that question but the quiz below might help.

I'm an AMERICAN Flaming Duck!

You Are 76% American
You're as American as red meat and shooting ranges.
Tough and independent, you think big.
You love everything about the US, wrong or right.
And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you (or risk a duck bite)!

How American Are You?

(hat tip WitNit)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Poor Helen Thomas Redux!

While perusing the latest reading recommendation provided to me by WitNit, I found an amazing allusion to the current Helen Thomas situation. It's in a book called "The Gift of Fire" by Richard Mitchell. I can't tell you what I think of the book (yet) because I found Ms. Thomas in the Introduction. From the introduction to "The Gift of Fire":
"The castigation of fools is, of course, an ancient and honorable task of writers and, unless very poorly done, an enterprise that will usually entertain those who behold it. No matter what else we imagine that we believe about the propriety of compassion for the unfortunate, we do like to see fools exposed. It's funny. And it is not only funny; it is the great theme of Comedy, and a mild, domestic counterpart of the great theme of Tragedy, in which we rejoice, however sadly, to see villains brought down."

What really made me chuckle was inserting the name of Helen Thomas (or any other fool du jour) in all the appropriate places. I think you'll find that it works on sooo many levels when you also insert her name appropriately in the last sentence.


True Knowledge Gives Us True Power

If Victor David Hansen were to say to me, "Knowledge is power," I would believe him. Mainly because I know that he actually understands how facts, figures, quotes and dates can be misrepresented to promote a hidden agenda. How do I know that? He has very succinctly stated so in an article titled Today's Politicos Invent the Past. From the article:
"First, in our schools, formal study of the past has given way to the more ideological agenda of the social sciences. Mastery of historical facts is seen as passe, while the less educated instead 'do theory' to prove preconceived notions.

Second, good intentions don't always equal good history. Being politically correct often makes us plain wrong, relegating history to melodrama and negating history's power to put tragedy into context.

Third, we're in thrall to the present affluent age, convinced that our own depressing experiences are unique, naturally dwarfing all prior calamities.

But history is not a parlor game used to prove a political point. Instead, at its best, history should offer us solace that we are never really alone."

It is so nice to see someone who values history for what is actually tells us and not as a prop for some half baked idea.

Wisdom is Power?

Question: What is the nature of wisdom?
Answer: This is going to take more than one sentence!

In a recent post I noted my disdain of the phrase "knowledge is power." I feel that it is an incomplete notion that accomplishes little other than helping someone push a hidden agenda. My posted thoughts about the phrase were complete but that post garnered some comments about the nature of knowledge and wisdom that I think deserve some additional thinking.

Posts on the nature of wisdom are not new to the Flaming Duck. In fact, I started a previous discussion with a post called Today's Teaser and expanded on it with one called Intelligence v. Wisdom Redux.

I find that most people tend to tie the notion of "wisdom" to the personal characteristics of "knowledge," "experience" and "intelligence." This notion is so pervasive that it's almost as if you could write a mathematical expression with it. Simply writing,
Knowledge + Experience + Intelligence = Wisdom

and the notion would be complete.

While I realize that reducing a complex personality trait to some kind of mathematical expression has it's one problems, I have been associated with enough "wise" people to begin to feel that wisdom is NOT the sum of these other traits. It is, instead, some kind of ability, separate and alone, that uses all the other traits to increase itself. You might say that Wisdom BENEFITS from Intelligence and Experience and Knowledge but it is NOT based solely on these traits and it certainly is not the simple sum of these traits.

In my wanderings around the blogosphere (which are small compared to others), I have only stumbled upon one other blog that I can use to help refine my notion of wisdom. Mark over at Zenpundit has written a couple of posts discussing horizontal and vertical thinking. He describes the notion of horizontal thinking thusly:
"Horizontal thinking can get the expert out of that mental cul-de-sac by setting aside analysis in favor of synthesis, intuitive pattern recognition, suspension of judgment, reversing/challenging premises, counterfactual thought experiments and brainstorming alternatives."

I would say that the personal trait that would allow an individual to practice and be successful in “horizontal thinking” could rightly be called "wisdom."

So what do you say? Is wisdom the sum of our life experiences? Or am I correct in my assertion that it is an inborn trait, something that could be learned to an extent, but definitely a talent that stands beyond knowledge.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

One of Lifes Biggest Problems Solved!

Watch this video to learn how to fold a shirt quickly and easily!

(hat tip: Commonsense Runs Wild)

Monday, August 01, 2005

The "First" Neocon!

A quick read of The Quietist: JFK: Neocon? and Pedro will have you conviced that it's true. JFK was a neocon! From the post:
"JFK, with his tax cuts, his Peace Corps, his anticommunism, and his belief in the humanitarian uses of American power (as well as the post-WWII moral responsibility of a great power to not turn a blind eye to oppression and atrocity in the world) would today be scorned as a 'neocon.'"

Oh DNC! What have you turned into!

(hat tip Political Yen/Yang)