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I've been vocally against but largely absent from the debate about Seattle's proposed replacement for the Alaska Way Viaduct, a bore tunnel right through the heart of downtown. Given the volume of the existing voices, I didn't think my voice was necessary, especially after voters rejected it and the only other proposed solution on that ballot, a straight viaduct replacement. For some reason, the ballot did not include an approve-or-disapprove vote on just tearing down the viaduct and making due with upgraded transit and surface streets (the so-called "surface option", which I support).

Well, now it seems the fix is in. )
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Lenny loves to tell stories about his old Barracuda. One, I just realized, helps to illustrate the potential -- and more than a few problems -- with biofuels. Click here. You know you want to. )
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I met Lenny for lunch today. Our work schedules have been out of whack for a few months, so he has had to sit on yet another journey through The Redneck Chronicles. (If you haven't, do check out his tales in my tag Lenny!.) Year ago, he discovered he was financially secure. When that discovery was made, he wisely liquidated just about all of his debt. This included paying off his various vehicles in full.

Imagine his surprise, then, when about 2 am the dogs woke him to a tow truck hitching to his own truck, paid off in full years ago. Step One: Loose the hounds. Once the Rottweiler pair has the driver backed against his rig, Step Two: Exit the house -- no reason to hurry -- in a robe carrying a sixteen gauge shotgun and a .45 Colt. Step Three: With the Colt pointed between the man's eyes, ask politely but firmly what the hell he thought he was doing.

The driver had repossession papers for the truck. A shout to the house brought Lenny's wife down with the payoff papers. In the interim, the driver noted that a truck wasn't worth anyone's life. (Funny thing, when he got to this point in the story I voiced exactly the same thought Lenny did: "It's my truck." The following "And I don't know you" seems unnecessary to the thinking observer.) Once the legalities were cleared up, the driver left alone and unharmed.

There has been a rash of bank screw-ups like this, where notes are lost, where payoffs are misplaced, where the wrong house/truck/asset has been foreclosed upon or repossessed. Our national reaction, for some reason, has been to assist the banks, never mind the rule of law (another reason to hate Chase, it seems).

This can't end well. Especially if you drive a repo truck.
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Friday [ profile] spurious_logic shared this great gif:

Dumb people do dumb things, right?

I shared the pic with a couple friends over email. Today Lenny, infamous Lenny, responded:

yo dude.... I HAVE done that!!!! it was a bigger ride using a yz 125 dirtbike!!!! (didn't fall) out though.... just puked!!!

Sadly, Lenny ain't stupid, so there's goes my theory. In fact, he was probably smart enough to center himself enough and avoid that reverse centripetal ejection, but apparently not smart enough to avoid eating before the exercise.

Then again, thinking back, I'm willing to bet the tendency toward executing stunts like this have less to do with stupidity and more with boredom. Rural living might be great for the folks, but the toll it takes on their kids . . . immeasurable. I speak from experience. Growing up, the walk from the house to the end of the driveway was 3/4 of a mile, dirt in the summer, mud in winter. The only thing that kept me from doing something like that pic shows was lack of a dirt bike.
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Lenny sent me this gem. He gravitates toward the redneck humor, even when it pokes fun at rednecks . . . like himself. From the email:

This was taken in front of the Gardendale, Al abama , Wal-Mart, where the young lady was shopping at the Flea market.

Look closely. . . .

A top made from a bottom!
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This one isn't easy for me to write simply because it involves people I know personally, people who, for one reason or another, are killing themselves in ways our society finds somewhat acceptable. )
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It snowed, then it rained. They mix. Here's a recent cell phone text exchange from yesterday.

Me: You staying dry?

Friend (whose house sits on a tidal estuary island): So far.

Me: (who thought he was at work, not at home): And you're still there? Is the road covered?

Friend: Not quite yet. Just some side puddles so far. Already have hotel room to go when sherriff says to go.

Me: The tide starts to rise after 2126. It peaks at 512 am. 15 foot difference.

Friend: Thanks! That's info i did not consider.

I guess they got the dike under some control.

Friend: High tide flooded garage and carport by an inch.

Go drainage.
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Disclaimer, June 16, 2010: Much of the information you read below is wrong. I wrote this before I read [ profile] ellenbrown's Web of Debt. Therefore, I missed details extremely important to the thrust of this post.

For example, below I state that interest is created through loans. This is incorrect. The money issued at the time the loan is finalized is the money actually created. Money is literally loaned into existence by banks, not printed by the Federal Government as everyone seems to assume.

I'm sure I'll post an update soon. For now, though, I intend to leave the post below intact. It will give me a chance to review what I've learned over the years by showing me what I believed in the past to be true. I apologize for the mis-information.

If you must delve, the erroneous original post is below the cut. Remember, though, it is wrong. )
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Every loyal reader should remember my co-worker Lenny, Star Trek geek and recently discovered Microsquish millionaire. He had an interesting weekend, it seems. His friend (whom I shall dub "Alf," or "Another Lenny Friend") came over with his son for a visit. In the course of yakking and general catching up, Alf noted that Lenny's Boy (13 years old) shouldn't be playing World of Warcraft, since it was a "bad influence."

If you ever want to wind up a parent, just question his or her rearing decisions. Lenny, avid WoW player himself, wished to know the logic behind Alf's proclamation. "Too violent" was the best Alf offered.

Okay, said Lenny to Alf, your son (8 years old) plays video games as well. What is he allowed to play? This list proved intriguing, coming from a guy who just slammed WoW: Splinter Cell, Halo, (several other First Person Shooters with which I am not familiar), and, of course, games in the Grand Theft Auto series.

So you're saying, continues Lenny, that Alf's Boy is better adjusted because Lenny's Boy plays WoW? That Alf's Boy is better able to resist violence and violent actions?

Yes, says Alf.

So they decide to prove it. Though steeped in redneck land, Lenny's place does not suffer from a dearth of tech toys. While the boys were playing outside, they rigged a webcam to Lenny's living room computer. They then brought out Lenny's weapons, the full arsenal. To attract the WoW in Lenny's Boy, they laid on the couch Lenny's Klingon Bat'leth, two Highlander-styled samurai swords, and a crossbow (without bolts). For the GTA kid, they added the shotgun, a 30/30 rifle, and Lenny's stainless Colt .45 automatic. All the firearms were unloaded, the ammo stored safely away. Then they called the boys in to the house and went down to the garage and watched the boys via the webcam.

For a good ten minutes, nothing much happened. Lenny's Boy logged onto WoW to show Alf's Boy his characters. After a while watching this, Alf's Boy gravitated to the couch and all the goodies. Alf's Boy picked up the .45.

"You better not touch that," said Lenny's Boy, "That's Dad's gun!"

"Why not?" said Alf's Boy, "It's just a toy."

The experiment was ended. Dads came upstairs. I imagine there was a bit of discipline meted.

It's just a toy. I grew up in a house stacked with firearms. I was taught at a very young age that they go boom, can do a lot of damage and they are alwasy loaded. By stark contrast, Alf's Boy plays GTA quite a bit, and other than the semi-automatic assault weapons available in the game, his favorite is the stainless automatic handgun. To him, a boy who had never picked up a real gun, they were all just toys.
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What would you do if you found out quite suddenly you were a multi-millionaire? I'm not asking this rhetorically. Just over a year ago, I saw it happen to someone I know. )
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I thought I'd share some of my other investigative interests with the general LJ crowd. Y'know, just for chuckles. By now, most of y'all out there know of my interest in electric vehicles and alternative energy sources. There are lots of reasons for this interest; but recently, a very good reason -- and the evidence supporting it -- is making its way through the headlines.

Meet Dr. M. King Hubbert. )

Addendum October 19, 2007: 74.3 Million barrels per day might just be the peak. We will know for certain only after years have passed, but it looks like this global extraction record was set in May of 2005.
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Remember my coworker Lenny? Well, he came into work today with another doozy of a story involving threats to his family's safety thwarted only by the timely and judicious exercise of his Second Amendment rights.

This time, no shots were fired; but more guns involved. )
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On my thirteenth birthday, my Dad gave me the gift of a quote from Mark Twain:

When a boy turns 13, put him in a barrel and feed him through a knot hole. When he turns 16, plug up the hole.

For sometime now, I have wanted to tell a story I heard at work that illustrates what a freakin' handful the teenager can be. It's a good one. Longish, but featuring pedophiles greeted not with the bodies of young children, but with shotguns! And best of all, it's true. Really. )

And as much as I hope you are in some way entertained by this, do remember these assholes exist. Spread the word.


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