Bob Owen

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Minneapolis Star Tribune headline (paper version; not on-line) yesterday: Report card has no A's - and no F's -- Ventura expressed pride in his "Big Accounting." True. There were no B's, C's or D's, either. The on-line version of the story said:

Gov. Jesse Ventura's administration on Monday released a "report card" on how well it reached some of his goals. The grades were determined by people within Ventura's administration and by some outsiders who deal regularly in the issues. Grades are on a scale of 1 to 10.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Frank suggests marketing slogans for Pepsi Blue:

"It's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone is vomiting."

"Four out of five people chose it over Windex in a blind taste test."
There are more.

Letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today:

I had to laugh out loud when I read the Nov. 22 letter from a reader asking, "If most professors who have been lecturing for years really do have the power to indoctrinate students with a leftist ideology, then where did all the Republican voters on Nov. 5 come from?"

The most obvious answer? The voters clearly were not very well-educated. Some of us have been saying that about Republicans for years.

-- Kirsten Cackoski, Minneapolis.
More clever punditry from the left. The only fair response to a comment like this is "nah nah nee boo boo stick your head in..."

Busy. Busy. Busy.

Haven’t had time to write a blog, much less read anybody’s else’s. I’m sure other Instapundit has noticed his hit counter has slowed recently.

The boys and I have been skating up a storm. My older son’s mite team is in full swing, practicing hard each weekend. My kid is going to be the goalie next week. The players take turns at this position.

Thankfully, the athletic league provides the goalie equipment. Otherwise, I’m sure, only the lawyers’ kids could afford it. And someone would get sued for scoring a goal. And no one would have any fun.

  • Goalie leg pads: $250
  • Goalie catching glove: $75
  • Goalie blocking glove: $75
  • Goalie chest pads: $150
  • Goalie stick: $40
  • The cost of outfitting your son to play goalie: Priceless.
  • I also got skates for my other son. He doesn’t want to play hockey but he wants to skate. Fine. At least he wanted hockey skates.

    He’s a natural. He falls down. He gets up. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lucky for me it’s cold outside and he has to wear long pants to school. If his teacher had seen his knees after the first night at the rink I’m sure I’d have received a call from social services. “Mr. Owen, are you having problems with anger?”

    The next time we skated I had him wear his brother’s shin and knee pads. Normally I don’t believe in armoring children when all they’re doing is skating in circles on an indoor ice rink. Some parents do; a few kids come dressed for full contact professional hockey. But I want my son to be able to walk when he’s older. So the shin pads are now indispensable.

    Wednesday, November 20, 2002

    Letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today:

    Tuesday's oil tanker spill off the coast of Spain is likely a major environmental disaster. If only the United States would take about 1 percent of the trillions of dollars it squanders on "weapons of mass destruction" and use it to design and build technology that could suck up most of the oil that spills into our fragile oceans every year. We could be the heroes of the world instead of being perceived as "the Great Satan."

    Better yet, of course, we should be moving as fast as we can to build renewable energy technology to replace the deadly fossil-fueled technology.

    -- Don Johnson, Minneapolis.
    Let me see if I understand this: The Greek-managed, Bahamian-registered ship, enroute from a Latvian port, was turned away from Spanish and Portuguese ports after its hull cracked during a storm. A Dutch salvage company fails to keep the ship afloat after towing it 150 miles off the Spanish coast. The ship sinks in waters nearly two miles deep and it's the fault of the United States military that technology isn't available to clean up the mess? (I wonder if that ship used a global positioning system, a product of the U.S. Department of Defense.)

    A related news story had this to say about Spain's efforts:
    However, there was concern that the Spanish authorities refused to help the ship when it first got into trouble last week - a problem also reported in the Erika oil tanker disaster off France in December 1999.

    Edmund Brookes, deputy director-general of the UK-based Chamber of Shipping, said if the Prestige had been allowed into a Spanish port it could have been protected by calmer seas and booms to contain a spill, and the oil could have been removed.

    The Spanish government blamed rough seas and the ship's captain for refusing to speed up the engines to get into calmer waters.

    But shipping experts said speeding up engines when waves were breaking against the side of the damaged ship would have increased the danger.

    "You needed somebody to lie next to it and take it slowly in; she was only a few miles off the shore when it started," said one person. "The captain was trying to save the darned thing."
    But there's always a good reason to hate the U.S.

    Sunday, November 17, 2002

    Unless America converts to Islam. It's just that simple.

    What will the "It's our own fault" folks say about this?

    (AP) A statement attributed to al-Qaida threatened more attacks in New York and Washington unless America stops supporting Israel and converts to Islam, an Arab TV reporter who received the unsigned document said.
    Just picture the left embracing the execution of gays and prohibitions against women working and learning.

    Steven Den Beste, writing on anti-war demonstrators in Toronto, has a perfect one sentence comment for them:

    The war against Iraq will have a horrific impact against innocent civilians. And the status quo doesn't?
    Apparently the protestors know something Den Beste doesn't (hey, they're happy, happy people - remember the 11 million to zero election results?)

    Wednesday, November 13, 2002

    Andrew Sullivan asks today:

    A QUESTION FOR THE AGES: In losing the Minnesota Senate race, Walter Mondale succeeded in losing an election in every single state in the country. I wonder: is he really the first? Has anyone else been such a stellar loser?

    Tuesday, November 12, 2002

    Driving other peoples' cars.

    I got to attend a General Motors squad car demonstration recently. GM reps gave a presentation about their police vehicles. We watched a video that lasted 15 minutes. Then they turned us loose on the cars. These guys didn't waste any time.

    We were at the Worthington, MN, airport. Part of one runway was blocked off for our use. Several Chevy Impala squads, complete with lights and sirens, were waiting for us. After donning crash helmets we took the cars out on the course and attacked the orange cones. The whole purpose was to drive the cars hard. Don't pinch me - I don't want to wake up.

    GM also had a police package Tahoe complete with a night vision camera mounted on the roof. The camera was hooked up to the laptop computer mounted between the front seats. Who says Apache pilots get all the fun stuff. I wasn't able to locate the 30 mm cannon that surely should come with such a package.

    When we got tired of driving the squad cars fast (I know, I know, how can I say such a thing) we had a whole other fleet of brand new GM vehicles to test drive. The keys were in the doors and we could take them out by ourselves; no salesman sitting next to us. There were pickups and cars in every size and a number of SUVs including a Cadillac Escalade EXT. The Escalade EXT is hideously ugly on the outside but like shellfish, delicious on the inside. It had acres of leather and wood. It probably accelerated faster than any of the squad cars. Of course, I could see the gas gauge moving as quickly as the speedometer. Want something bigger than the Escalade? The GM guys had some H1 and H2 Hummers on hand also. As I drove the H1 outside the airport grounds I waited for a Cessna to mistake its gray roof for a landing strip. The H1 was huge. But it only seats four. Unfortunately, it had neither night vision nor cannon.

    I couldn't think of a better way to spend a nice fall day - driving new cars and trucks to my heart's content. And someone else paid for all the gas. Thanks, GM.

    An example of unsafe weapons handling:

    (Anaova) A Museum in Chicago has found some of its antique firearms were loaded and could have gone off at any time.

    Staff at Chicago's Field Museum made the discovery when they were cleaning its collection of more than 300 weapons.

    Black powder with the power of six or seven sticks of dynamite was found in 15 powder horns, a rifle, one pistol and two cannons.

    Thursday, November 07, 2002

    Boy would a beer taste good.

    After work and school, my younger son and I stopped by my parents' house. My older son had an extra class after school so we had an hour to kill before we could pick him up. My younger son did his homework while we waited.

    Boy would a beer tase good.

    After an hour we picked up my other son and went home. Dinner, laundry, etc. No beer in the house.

    Later, I hear the garage door open and there's my dad. My younger son had left his homework at my dad's house. There's my dad -- with a folder and a paper bag.

    "Here. I thought you'd like these."

    He must read minds.

    Two bottles of Pilsner Urquell (brewed in the Czech Republic).

    Tuesday, November 05, 2002

    My wife and I just got back from voting. The line at the polling place stretched all the way to the outside doors. We waited for about 50 minutes before we received three paper ballots: one for judges, one for almost everything else and one for the Senate race. The Senate ballot will be hand counted and went into a cardboard box. I sure hope that race isn't close because I see all sorts or lawyers jumping all over it.

    I’m without vehicle today and working from home. My fine German station wagon is in the shop for an 80,000 mile checkup ($ ouch) and brake repair ($$ ouch, again). It’s been a great car until one set of brakes self-destructed the other day. Kids, hope you like that mac and cheese. Hope you like it again tomorrow. And the day after. And what, exactly, is wrong with water instead of milk?

    I work for a company that allows me to work at home any time I need to. I have a computer and an extra phone line so my home office is just as good as my work office. Some of you scoff and think, “That means they can make you work at night and on weekends.” They can. But they hardly ever have asked me to do that. And when I’ve had to work an hour or two on a weekend my boss is the first person to look the other way on Friday afternoon if I want to leave early. It’s a two-way street at this place and I love it. And if there’s a blizzard, I can work at home and forgo the lottery of getting to work in one piece.

    Today we’re getting the first real snowfall of the season. What a beautiful day to work at home. The rest of my family are all at school so I have lots of peace and quiet and I really get work done. Yep, I’m updating the blog but since any trip to the restroom has a much shorter walk, I’ll call it even.

    The snow won’t stay around. It’s 30 degrees now but should hit 40 later. I need that snow to melt. There’s a nice, thick layer of leaves under that snow which I need to clean up. A rake works much better than a shovel for yard work.\

    Over lunch it will be time to vote. I get to avoid the early morning and after work rush at the polling place. I’m actually looking forward to watching the results tonight. James Lileks has another great Mondale bleat today. You must check it out. Blogger IMAO has this reminder about voting:

    Just wanted to remind everyone that today is election day, the day you pick the candidate you think will best kill all of America's enemies. Just remember, everytime someone votes for a Democrat, baby Jesus cries.
    Whatever the results of all the contests today, let's salute the end of campaign commercials! Here, here.

    Monday, November 04, 2002

    Here's the lastest news at Channel 4000:

    The bitter taste of coffee used to keep kids away from caffeine, but now caffeine is available in countless sweetened pops, energy drinks and even pills.
    I've been drinking Pepsi for years. I wonder when they started adding caffeine? And caffeine is available in pills? I have a clever suggestion for a product name: No Doz. Oh wait, is that taken already?

    Friday, November 01, 2002

    In the eyes of my kids, last night's trick-or-treating was a success. They had to wear winter coats over their costumes because it was about 30 degrees but they didn't seem to mind. Each boy made a good haul.

    They were cold and tired when we returned home. Afterwards, they enjoyed chocolate fueled sword fighting and fort building with their cousin. My sisters both visited and one brought her dog. I suspect that dog got in on the sugar binge as it just wouldn't stop moving.

    By 9:30 last night the kids finally started to wind down and the dogs stopped wrestling. By 10:00 all the visitors had left for home, my kids were in bed and the candy was safely out of the reach of our dog.

    The only evidence of the night's commotion were the green glow sticks. Forgotten, they were still shining, still ready for more trick-or-treating.

    Lileks always has a good bleat but this one about Walter Mondale rises above. Here's a sample:

    I found the text of an upcoming Mondale ad. It accused Norm Coleman of giving public money to two companies that had laid off 750 workers last year.

    Oh, that’s rich. Coleman did indeed lend public money to Lawson Software to lure them to build a big new office building in St. Paul - an $84 million loan made possible by tax-increment financing. I abhor outright gifts to companies just to convince them to build pretty buildings, but using TIF to revitalize downtown St. Paul is a defensible position. Reasonable people can argue about it. And when they’re tired of arguing about it, because it’s boring, they can chew on this:

    Northwest Airlines received $230 million from the Federal Government in bailout money after 9/11.

    Northwest has cut 10,000 jobs since 9/11.

    Walter Mondale is on the Board of Directors of Northwest Airlines.

    Oh: and Walter Mondale gets 24K in free airline travel a year from NWA.
    Yes, the Minnesota DFL party has found a man to carry one Wellstone's fight for the little man.