Saturday, May 14, 2011

Marvel Variants is going to hell

Marvel Variants is going to hell. 

For those of you new to this site, Marvel Variants used to be my boss.  That was back before he promoted himself into the stratosphere and put additional layers of management in place between us so that he could spend more time defrauding comic book geeks. 

Here's why Mr. Variants is going to suffer the tortures of the damned:   I usually run our morning production meeting, and go around the meeting room asking the Plant Managers and salespeople if they have anything for the larger group. 

When I asked Mr. Variants if he had anything new to justify his existence in the company, or on the planet, he pulled out a copy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  The front page had a story of a guy who got a face transplant. 

BOSTON -- A Fort Worth man who received the nation's first full face transplant said Monday that the first thing his young daughter told him when she saw him after the operation was "Daddy, you're so handsome."
Dallas Wiens, sporting a goatee and dark sunglasses, joined surgeons Monday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in his first public appearance since the 15-hour procedure in March.

"It feels natural," said Wiens, 25, who received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and nerves from an anonymous donor. The operation was paid for by the U.S. military, which hopes to use findings from the procedure to help soldiers with severe facial wounds.
Wiens was blinded and his features all but burned away when he hit a power line while painting a church in November 2008.

No one in the meeting knew where Marvel Variants was going with this story, or why he was reading it out loud in the morning meeting.   

Then he held up the picture and said "Out of all the faces that he could have gotten, why did they have to pick Allen Patterson's???"  And he held up this picture. 

Much hilarity ensued. 

For those who don't know me, I spend much of the winter looking a lot like Dallas Wiens, the burn victim in the picture above, but without that cheerful happy-go-lucky expression that Mr. Wiens has on his face.  See below. 

And since I work with a room full of comedians, the responses to "Why did they pick Allen Patterson's face?" were swift and brutal. 

"Well, his only insurance was through an HMO...."

"There were 5,000 radiation victims from the Japanese nuclear plant accident who all needed new faces, and they all got to pick first."

"The guy asked his doctor when he would start to see improvement, and the doctor told him 'Oh, that thing will rot off in a few months.  THEN we'll give you a real face.' " 

They said things about me that were much, much worse than anything I've ever said about Pelosi, Boehner, Republicans, Harry Reid, or even The Teleprompter Jesus.  I took it like a man. 

But Marvel Variants is going to hell.  A hell fueled by variant-priced copies of Daredevil #132, Scooby Doo #1, and Iron Fist #14.   Oh, and the extremely rare Star Wars #1, graded at a 9.6. 

Friday, May 13, 2011


Something goofy is going on with the Google/Blogspot system.  Can't post regularly. 
Two days worth of comments have disappeared.  (all 8 of them!!) 

Will resume the rants as soon as regular service has been restored. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Newt Gingrich is running for president.

Newt Gingrich, who has already proven that he couldn't trim the fat from a Shreveport Casino Buffet Prime Rib, proven that he couldn't balance the blocks for a game of Jenga, proven that he couldn't cut cheese with a chainsaw....
Newt Gingrich, the values crusader who is now on wife #3....
Newt Gingrich, whose Republican Revolution of the 1990's inspired my favorite P.J. O'Rourke quote:

"What a feckless, timid, timeserving [Republican] revolution that was in 1994, as if the sans culottes had stormed the Bastille to get themselves jobs as prison guards."

Yes, THAT Newt Gingrich. 
Newt Gingrich is going to run for President. 

Remember John Boehner telling an interviewer that he couldn't think of any government programs he would eliminate?  Much less entire departments? 
Remember when presidents named Reagan and Bush ran up higher deficits than all other presidents combined?  (This was before Obama set a new standard, but Reagan and the Bushes used to hold the record.) 
Remember when he sat down with Nancy "Greater Tuna" Pelosi to record this plea for increased gullibility?

That's what you'll get with Newt. 

On the upside, he did take down Fort Worth's Congressman Jim Wright. 
He's also a good writer, and can talk history better than any other politician.
When he was a kid, he collected snakes a lizards, which shows he's not a total conformist.   
Also on the upside, Newt left the Southern Baptist Church to become something else.  Catholic, I think.  It doesn't matter, just as long as he got out. 

But that's what you'll get with Newt Gingrich. 

Move along please.  Nothing to see here.  Move along, move along. 

This is a test

This is a test. 
The Blogger/Blogspot program just eliminated a post that I spent 30 minutes typing. 
This is a test. 

Let's see if this works......

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Note to The Aggie: Aren't you tired of going to school ????

I am trying to get the child known as The Aggie through college. 

College is expensive.  Textbooks, thanks to this idiot, are still incredibly expensive. 

The Aggie wants to be a veterinarian.  She has loved mammals, reptiles, bugs and amphibians ever since she learned to walk. 

During the summers, she works as a lifeguard.  Lifeguard training and certification, if I remember correctly, required that she undergo a grueling series of qualifications, then pass a ten day lifesaving course.  The cost for all of this was $200.00

A degree from Texas A and M will cost you around $16,000.00 per year. 

Until today, I saw lifeguarding as a means to an end, nothing more.  Depending on whose statistics you believe, a good vet can bring home between 75K and 115K per year. 

But wait....Here's the Orange County Register:

High pay and benefits for lifeguards in Newport Beach is the latest example of frustrating levels of compensation for public employees. More than half the city’s full-time lifeguards are paid a salary of over $100,000 and all but one of them collect more than $100,000 in total compensation including benefits.

When thinking about career options with high salaries, lifeguarding is probably not one of the first jobs to come to mind. But it apparently should. In one of Orange County’s most desirable beach destinations, Newport Beach, lifeguards are compensated all too well; especially compared with the county annual median household income of $71,735.

It might be time for a career change.

According to a city report on lifeguard pay for the calendar year 2010, of the 14 full-time lifeguards, 13 collected more than $120,000 in total compensation; one lifeguard collected $98,160.65. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 with the two highest-paid collecting $211,451 and $203,481 in total compensation respectively.  Even excluding benefits like health care and pension, more than half the lifeguards receive a total salary, including overtime pay, exceeding $100,000. And they also receive an annual allowance of $400 for “Sun Protection.” Many work four days a week, 10 hours a day.

I don't begrudge anyone whatever they earn, as long as they're not taking it from someone else by force.  But these are government employees, and their compensation is taken from others by force. 
If you live in Newport Beach,  and put your foot down, and refuse to pay your share of this, and say "I'm not going to pay $200,000.00 per year to have Jack Johnson sit on a tower all day, watching damp supermodels frolic in the sand and the surf," the government will show up with guns at  your house and take your assets or put you in a steel cage. 
But all libertarian rants aside, how in the hell can you justify paying $200,000 per year to a freakin' lifeguard?  Is it possible? 
Well, yes.  You just compare the compensation to that of other lifeguards in government jobs, and it all makes sense. 

In a phone conversation, Brent Jacobsen, president of the Lifeguard Management Association, defended the lifeguard pay in Newport Beach: “We have negotiated very fair and very reasonable salaries in conjunction with comparable positions and other cities up and down the coast.” “Lifeguard salaries here are well within the norm of other city employees.” And therein is the problem: Local public worker pay has become all too generous and out of line with private sector equivalents.

On face, the compensation packages for these guards are staggering. But take into consideration the retirement benefits being paid to currently retired lifeguards and lifeguards who will retire at these pay levels in the future and the problem is further compounded. Lifeguards are able to retire with 90 percent of their salary, after only 30 years of work at as early as the age of 50.

Here's a video put out by a California Watchdog group (yes, that's an oxymoron) called Americans For Prosperity - California

Note to The Aggie:  Pack your bags.  Pack up Fat Kitty.  Pack up the idiot Labrador.  We're going to California !!!  (The City Of Los Angeles is hiring Duplicating Machine Operators, and I think I could work my way up to Senior Duplicating Machine Operator before retirement time.  Hit the link.) 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

South Carolina to produce an alternative to ObamaBulbs?

Fed up with the federal government’s ban of the traditional incandescent light bulb, state representatives in South Carolina are pushing for the state to produce and use incandescents solely for its state.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state. Other states have floated the idea, and last year Arizona passed a bill that would have done the same thing, but Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation.

This would be a great idea, and a great example of some long-overdue States Rights civil disobedience if it weren't for the ridiculous "Made In South Carolina" provision. 
But why are people getting so worked up and irritated over these stupid ObamaBulbs? 

When it set up its bulb program in 2006, PG&E Corp. thought its customers would buy 53 million compact fluorescent bulbs by 2008. It allotted $92 million for rebates, the most of any utility in the state. Researchers hired by the California Public Utilities Commission concluded earlier this year that fewer bulbs were sold, fewer were screwed in, and they saved less energy than PG&E anticipated.

As a result of these and other adjustments, energy savings attributed to PG&E were pegged at 451.6 million kilowatt hours by regulators, or 73% less than the 1.7 billion kilowatt hours projected by PG&E for the 2006-2008 program.

One hitch was the compact-fluorescent burnout rate. When PG&E began its 2006-2008 program, it figured the useful life of each bulb would be 9.4 years. Now, with experience, it has cut the estimate to 6.3 years, which limits the energy savings. Field tests show higher burnout rates in certain locations, such as bathrooms and in recessed lighting. Turning them on and off a lot also appears to impair longevity.

But but but....don't the legislators (many of whom actually helped General Electric write this mandate that we use their new product !!!), don't the legislators (who actually proof-read the bill that G.E. wrote, in some cases), don't the legislators know best?  Aren't they the ones who can best tell us how we should conform to Jeffrey Imelt's desires???  You know, the Jeffrey Immelt who is now Obama's business advisor??

Well, no.  The regulators don't know shit.  Here's David Kreutzer, from the same link, explaining why different government/G.E. divisions have mandates to "save" energy by different methods.  Helping in one area sometimes hurts in another. 

My 1993 Maytag dishwasher used nine gallons of hot water and took 84 minutes to clean a normal load of dishes. The current model Maytag dishwasher uses seven gallons of hot water and takes 120 minutes to clean a normal load of dishes. This increase to a two- to three-hour cycle is typical and is the result of efficiency mandates that are met by using fewer gallons of water with much longer cycle times.

The cost of two gallons of hot water is less than a dime. For many people, the additional cycle time of an energy-efficient dishwasher will be an inconvenience greatly exceeding the 10-cent savings. Some people would alter their behavior (sometimes washing their dishes by hand, for example), which could entirely offset these gains. However, the regulator’s calculation of savings ignores these costs. Markets, on the other hand, do not.

Remember this the next time you're forced to buy an ObamaBulb.  They're dim.  They're convoluted.  They're hard to get rid of. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

California - fighting fitted bed sheets !!!

California, whose debt is so great that I fear it will soon sink into the Pacific, just can't find enough evils to legislate against:


INTRODUCED BY   Senator De León

                        FEBRUARY 16, 2011

   An act to add Section 6714 to the Labor Code, relating to
workplace safety.

   SB 432, as introduced, De León. Workplace safety: lodging
establishments: housekeeping.
   Existing law establishes the Occupational Safety and Health
Standards Board within the Department of Industrial Relations and
requires the standards board to adopt and enforce all occupational
safety and health standards. Under existing law, a knowing or
negligent violation of any standard is a misdemeanor.
   This bill would require the standards board to adopt a standard
relating to housekeeping in lodging establishments, as specified.
   Because this bill would create a new crime, it would impose a
state-mandated local program.
   The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


  SECTION 1.  Section 6714 is added to the Labor Code, to read:
   6714.  (a) The standards board shall, no later than September 1,
2012, adopt an occupational safety and health standard for lodging
establishment housekeeping. The standard shall apply to all hotels,
motels, and other lodging establishments in California. The standard
shall require all of the following:
   (1) The use of a fitted sheet, instead of a flat sheet, as the
bottom sheet on all beds within the lodging establishment.
For the
purpose of this section, a "fitted sheet" means a bed sheet
containing elastic or similar material sewn into each of the four
corners that allows the sheet to stay in place over the mattress.
   (2) The use of long-handled tools such as mops or similar devices
in order to eliminate the practice by housekeepers of working in a
stooped, kneeling, or squatting position in order to clean bathroom
floors, walls, tubs, toilets, and other bathroom surfaces.
   (b) The standard established pursuant to this section is not
subject to a permanent variance pursuant to Section 143.
  SEC. 2.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the
Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California

I found this at Overlawyered. 


A Libertarian walks into a bar....

Does it surprise anyone to learn that a libertarian can go into a bar, knock back a few, and then find himself in some political arguments? 

Yes, strangely enough, it happens.  And I have a new strategy for winning.  Winning these disagreements before they even become a disagreement.  WINNING at the Sheen level.  It's not about converting the person you're arguing with, but trying to convert other people who hear your conversation. 

I call it "evangelism through misunderstanding".  You intentionally misunderstand someone's statement, and flip it around to the libertarian position on the topic. 

- A bartender says "I support a woman's right to choose".  Most people who make this statement say it with a level of conviction and righteousness that implies you are a misogynistic oaf if you dare think differently. 

Turn to the bartender and say "You're damn right a woman has a right to choose.  Look at the sorry schools here in zip code _ _ _ _ _.  A woman should have a right to choose which school her kids attend.  It shouldn't be based on the zip code where she happened to buy a house.  Her kids shouldn't be a slave to a system dominated by the teacher's unions.  Give her a choice, and the schools will either improve or go under.  And anybody who disagrees with me hates women." 

If the bartender tries to steer the conversation back to abortion, the intended topic, act as if the fate of one- ounce blots of protoplasm is irrelevant.  Take it back to our lack of choice in numerous government programs.  "Seriously, dude, why don't we have a choice in schools?  You mean, you support the right to choose in abortion, but not schools?  Why?"   

Here's another one, probably my favorite.  The guy down at the end of the bar says "We need to cut out all of this foreign aid." 

Lift your glass or bottle upward, and begin your rant. 

"Precisely.  Exactly," you say.  "We've got 60,000 troops in Germany, and the f-ing Krauts don't pay us a dime for them.  We should bring every one of them back to the house.  30,000 in South Korea, and they're costing us a fortune.  We don't charge the Koreans a thing for defense.  25,000 soldiers and sailors and marines in Japan.  My taxes don't cover the expense of even one single soldier, and we've got 25,000 people defending Japan fergodssakes.  You'd think they could provide for their own defense, but no.  Barack Obama has to defend his empire."
"Now if someplace is having a famine or an earthquake or a typhoon, yeah.  We should help them out.  But that cost is just a drop in the bucket compared to what we're spending on our overseas empire." 

If your victim tries to get back to the relatively small amount that we send to places in dire need of relief, divide the dollar amount in question by $125,000.00 (that's the approximate amount we spend per soldier/sailor) and take the conversation back to our "Free For Everyone Who Asks" military services.  Chances are, the dollar amount we're spending on real aid is less than the amount we still spend defending England from Hitler.  (We have 6,000 people stationed in England.  I swear to God, we do.) 

Here's another one.  My friend Mike Coyne got me thinking along this track.  I've used this twice, and it's loads of fun....
If some loudmouth is holding court at the bar or the next table, and lamenting the number of illegals who are coming into the U.S. and taking American jobs, you should agree with him that it's a low-down dirty shame.  Tell him that you've got friends who lost computer programming jobs to foreigners from Toronto.  You know someone who lost an accounting position to an immigrant from Quebec.  The head of your company's software department is from Serbia. 
Without fail (for me in Texas, anyway) your new acquaintance will make it clear that he was talking about Mexicans.  Illegal Mexicans.  He'll say we should put up a fence with guards and dogs, all along the border. 
Look surprised. 
Say "Oh, I misunderstood you.  Hey, if one of those poor Mexican bastards can swim the Rio Grande and do your job?  You're already screwed."
Go back to your seat and don't say another word to him.  Can you imagine how little there would be in the Social Security fund if illegal Mexicans weren't paying into the system? 

Remember, we're libertarians.  We'd rather be right than popular.