Interest Rates on Portugese Bonds Hits 15%

Portugal 10 Year Yield Passes 15% For The First Time, Is Where Greek 10 Year Was In August

And Greek bonds recently hit 415%.

Al Gore Lied, the Climate’s Not Fried

“The sole arbiter of scientific truth is repeatable experiment”
— Richard Feynman

Al Gore’s tabletop climate experiment – supposedly reproduced by Bill Nye the Science Guy – not reproduced by Anthony Watts.

That doesn’t disprove AGW or greenhouse gas theory. It does suggest Al Gore is a big stinkin’ fraud.

Lots of vampire stuff in the RSS feeds lately

The Online Photographer1864 photo of Nicholas Cage the vampire

jwzSelf-proclaimed vampire chick eats homeless dude’s face in front of Hooter’s

Ironic SansVampire Teething Toy

What better thing is there for your baby to sink her new teeth into than a vampire victim? As an example I’ve taken the character Jonathan Harker from Dracula and mocked up what he might look like as a teething toy.

S&P Downgrade of US Debt

To add to what WizardPC said last week.

They said if we didn’t pass the stimulus, unemployment would go above 8%. We passed the stimulus. Unemployment is above 9%.

They said if we didn’t raise the debt ceiling, the stock market would crash. We raised the debt ceiling. The stock market crashed anyway.

They said if we didn’t raise the debt ceiling, ratings agencies would downgrade US debt. We passed the debt ceiling. The ratings agencies downgraded US debt.

Back from the Beach / DSLR Video and Audio

Crab in a Conchsell, Panama City Beach

The Jones family was at Panama City Beach this past week for vacation. This post might have been a hint. We’re back now. We brought back a pound of sand and that was just in one pair of shorts.

For pics, visit our Panama City Beach Photo Album on Facebook. I promise that most of them don’t suck.

Dusty's Oyster Bar, Panama City Beach

DSLR Video

I took a few videos using the Nikon D7000’s video feature. Here’s my favorite one for video quality and content:

Hermit Crabs and Scallops:

My first two digital cameras were point and shoots that had video. Then four years ago I bought my first DSLR. Back then DSLRs didn’t have video, because they just didn’t.

Now that I’ve shot a few videos I realize how much I missed video. Being able to capture moments with my kids is pretty awesome in and of itself. Good video quality is a bonus.

DSLR Audio

Audio quality using the built-in mic is shaky and I wound up with lots of wind noise. The next thing I buy will be a boom mic with a windscreen.

The new Nikon ME-1 is one obvious choice. I like everything about it except that it can only draw power from the flash hotshoe. That limits mic positioning and means that you can’t use a hotshoe flash when switching between video and still photos without swapping the flash and mic. Combined with Nikon’s GPS they’re starting to have accessories fighting for the hotshoe. C’mon, Nikon – add space for a AA battery and avoid that whole problem.

One question I’ve got on the ME-1: can you point it backwards? You’ll want to do that for making tabletop videos with the lens pointed forward and the mic pointing back at the narrator behind the camera.

Another obvious choice is the shockmounted Rode VideoMic. It’s battery-powered, but can be attached to the hotshoe for convenience. I’ve used it at work and the audio is good. The build quality is a little cheap, though, and there are lots of reviews that mention damage during travel.

Katie and Natalie at Panama City Beach:

New Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens ships June 2nd

says NikonRumors. It’s an AF-S lens, so it will autofocus even on cameras like the D40 and D5100 that don’t have focus motors. People who have looked at the test charts are blown away by the quality for a $219 lens. Nikon’s page here.

I love my Nikon 35mm F1.8 AF-S lens so much that I’m considering this new 50mm. I have to decide if there’s enough difference in focal length to make it worthwhile. I’ve kicked around the idea of buying the 85mm F1.8 for a bigger change in focal length. It isn’t AF-S, but my D7000 can autofocus it and it’s out there for $3-400 used.

Greg Mortenson, Bullshit Artist

ReasonTwo Cups of Tea, One Cup of B.S. Lied about starting schools in poor countries and made up tales of daring.

CBS News 60 MinutesQuestions over Greg Mortenson’s stories:

Mortenson (in an interview): One of the most compelling experiences I had was in July of ’96…I went to the area to find a place to build a school. And what happened is, I got kidnapped by the Taliban for eight days.

The kidnapping story was featured in Three Cups of Tea, and referred to in his follow-up best seller, Stones Into Schools, with a 1996 photograph of his alleged captors.

We managed to locate four men who were there when the photo was taken – two of them actually appear in the picture. All of them insist they are not Taliban and that Greg Mortenson was not kidnapped. They also gave us another photo of the group with Mortenson holding the AK-47.

More at Megan McArdle’s.

John Krakauer appears in the 60 Minutes video, and has his own takedown of Mortenson.

Apparently Mortenson actually has done some charitable acts, but he chose to embellish them. Some of these bullshit artists seem to have an inadequacy complex. It’s not that they aren’t any good. A lot of them are actually pretty accomplished. It’s that their achievements aren’t good enough to live up to some standard they’ve set for themselves. Rather than adjusting their goal or striving harder to reach that goal, they lie, undoing all of their good works in the process.

This explains the fall of the dollar

S&P cuts U.S. rating outlook to negative.

Downgrades eventually mean higher costs of boring, which would be disastrous.


Dorothy Lucille Jones, 1926-2011

My parents, Dorothy and Leon Jones

Dorothy Lucille Whitehead Jones died March 28, 2011, at Asbury Place. Mrs. Jones was a graduate of Walland High School, a longtime Maryville resident, and owned and operated Dorolee’s Carpet House until her retirement. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister and friend who will be sadly missed.

Preceding her in death were her ex-husband, Leon Jones; infant son, Stacey Jones; daughter, Tana Howell; sisters, Elizabeth Lafollete and Louise Ward; brothers, J.D. Everett, Bobby Ray Whitehead and Jerry Whitehead; parents, Fannie and Willie Everett, and adoptive parents, Nola and Lawrence Whitehead.

She is survived by her brother, Claude and wife Maureen Everett; sister-in-law, Shirley Whitehead; sons, Eric Jones and Les Jones; daughter-in-law, Melissa Moore Jones; granddaughters, Katie and Natalie Jones; and best friends, Ed and Nell Kiger. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Friday at McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home.

For those not familiar with Maryville, McCammon-Ammons is downtown next to St. Thomas Episcopal Church and across the street from The Tomato Head restaurant. After the receiving of friends I’m inviting friends and family to join us at Brackins Blues Club a block down the street. Brackins is 21 and over. – LJ

Word of the Day: Blockwort/Blockwart/Blockleiter

From Wikipedia:

In Nazi Germany, a Blockleiter (block leader) was the lowest official of the NSDAP, responsible for the political supervision of a neighborhood or city block and formed the link between the NSDAP and the general population. Also colloquially known as a Blockwart (block attendant or warden), he was charged with planning, spreading propaganda and developing an acceptance to the policies of the NSDAP among the households (typically 40 to 60) in his area.

It was also the duty of the Blockleiter to spy on the population and report any anti-Nazi activities to the local Gestapo office; this allowed a Nazi terror state. This was helped by keeping files on each household (Haushaltskarten). Due to such activities, Blockwarts were particularly disliked by the general population. Other duties included allocating beds in homes for visiting NSDAP demonstrators, the collection of subscriptions and charitable donations especially for Winterhilfe and organising the clearing of rubble after air-raids. It is thought that there were nearly half a million Blockleiter.

Today, Blockwart is a colloquial German insult word for a person who feels the motivation to keep people in line, esp. by reporting them to officials or pressing the enforcing of rules (esp. petty rules) upon people.

Via Marko, who has a story about a real-life blockwort in modern Germany:

Meet Horst. He went into early retirement five years ago at the age of 50. He has decided to use the time on his hands by enforcing the parking rules in his home town of Osterode in Lower Saxony. He leaves the house every day with a notepad and a camera, and collects license plate numbers of parking violators. When he gets back to his house in the afternoon, he diligently writes up an Anzeige (citizen’s report of an infraction to authorities) for each infraction, and then faxes the stack to the local county office so they can issue traffic tickets.

In the last four years, he has sent in ten to fifteen Anzeigen per day, for a grand total of 15,000. He even wrote up a life flight helicopter that had landed on a public street to pick up a patient.

Previous WOTDEasterlin Paradox

No-fly Lists: What could possiblie go wrong?

Immigration Officer Puts Wife on the No-Fly List

An immigration officer who worked for the UK Border Agency managed to get his wife out of his hair for three years by putting her name on the no-fly list while she was visiting the in-laws overseas. Officials confirmed on January 30 that the man had confessed to adding his wife’s name to the list after she left for Pakistan, with the result that she was not allowed to get on a plane to come home.

Notice this Kafka-esque touch:

Airline and immigration authorities refused to explain to her why she was not being allowed to travel, although I imagine she put two and two together after her immigration-officer husband stopped answering his phone.

Yeah, that’s why due process is such a nice idea. Being able to face your accuser, answer charges, correct the record, that sort of thing.

As you might expect, the husband was smart enough to tamper with immigration databases but not smart enough to avoid getting caught. Or, at least, it appears that at some point during the three years he forgot he had exiled his wife, and that he had done so by putting her on a list of people considered potentially dangerous. He later applied for a promotion, which required a new background check, which showed that, lo and behold, he was married to somebody on a terrorist watch list. That raised some eyebrows, and the officer then admitted he had tampered with the list.

Dude, if you don’t like your wife man up and either work it out or get a divorce. And if religious beliefs clash with divorce then they clash with exiling your wife by putting her on a no-fly list.

I hate to break it to you, Tam …

but that’s what it’s like for many of us who live with a woman.

“I have mentioned before that my roommate gets lost in her own thoughts while she’s in the shower in the morning, and then winds up in mid-monologue when she cuts the water off, the results of which can be very non-sequiturish for those of us who have been just sitting in the office down the hall minding our own business.”

Stocks Underperform Gold in 2010

“Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy’s tangible assets . . . [but] in the absence of the gold standard . . . there is no safe store of value,” Greenspan wrote back then, pointing out that without a gold standard in place, there is little to prevent governments indulging in wild credit creation. “Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights.”
Alan Greenspan

Zero HedgeStocks Continue To Underperform Gold :

While the biggest near-term catalyst for the market will be the imminent earnings release from AAPL, which itself defines the market due to its massive weighing in various indices, stocks once again fizzled when priced in gold. The S&P for October continues to underperform gold, and today closed unchanged priced in non-fiat, which merely reaffirms that the loss in dollar purchasing power is not being compensated by the stock bubble. And yes, this happened even though it was a POMO day. As we have speculated, gold has become nothing less than a natural short hedge to stocks: one, which, however unlike traditional shorts, has no upside limit.

Word of the Day: Backhoe

From Dave Foulk’s Facebook: “Backhoe (noun) A mechanized digging machine used to find gas and water lines.”

I love Dave Foulk. From another status update this morning: “Horse walking down the middle of Tazewell Pike near Ridgeview Road.”

Previous WOTDSokushinbutsu