THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: December 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On Predictions about Wartime - Part 1

So the war in Iraq is not going "as expected." So we haven't yet fulfilled the "mission accomplished" promise. So American politicians are testing lots of ideas in the polling marketplace, hoping to find something they can sell. So most of the ideas they're tossing around are some combination of immoral, misguided, stupid, cynical, and bad.

The interesting thing is I haven't heard very many of today's politicians or media types talking about the group of people who predicted -- correctly -- the current situation in Iraq, in some cases before or shortly after the war began ... all the way back in 2003.

It seems to me that if there were a group of people who were wise enough, prescient enough, or even lucky enough to have correctly predicted what the Iraq war would look like today four or five years ago, it would be prudent to see what those same people are saying today.

If they were right in the past about the present, maybe they're right in the present about the future.

For you skeptics who think I'm peddling snake oil, here's links to some articles to support my accurate claims that there are smart, insightful people out there in the world whose views were correct (and I submit are still correct), even if they aren't celebrated by mainstream media or prominent politicians.

Sometime in the near future I'll present for you some recent recommendations and predictions from these guys. But for today let's just have a look at what they were saying the future would look like way back at the beginning of the debacle.

* * * * *

Here's some from Lew Rockwell, who said in an article published March 6, 2003: "What's more, an attack will only further destabilize the region and recruit more terrorists intent on harming us."

Here's some from Ron Paul, the only federal level policitican I am aware of that I respect. His integrity, his constancy are enormously respectable. Plus he's damn wise. He's a man of clarity. In thought and deed.

Here's some from William Lind, a military man with a great deal of military history between his ears.

Here's one from Martin Van Crevald, a war historian and scholar who has written lots of books. One of which I got for Christmas, to the surprise and puzzlement of my family.

Photo Credit: here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On Texas Christmases - Part 3


I cut off the heater running to the main body of the pool in the middle of the afternoon. The water temperature only got up to 75 degrees in there. Then we focused on the spa. And our spectacular water heater cranked the temperature in the spa up to more than 100 degrees in less than an hour.

We kept it hot for two days.

We had a lot of fun splashing around intermittently in the large pool, being cold, and then hustling back into the spa. I see now why hot tubs are so popular. It's fun hanging out in toasty, steamy water while the air temperature around you is in the 40s. It made the sparkling apple cider that much more effective.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On Texas Christmases - Part 2


The water temperature is up to 66 degrees at 10:20 a.m.
Only 24 degrees more to go!


The water temperature is up to 73 degrees at 1:30 p.m.
Only 17 degrees more to go.

(I confess I'm a little concerned about the physics of what I'm attempting here. There is a lot of surface water exposed on our pool, the air temperature outside is in the high 40s to low 50s, and from time to time Old Man Winter is dumping the cold water of rain into the pool by the tenth-of-the-inch. Time will tell whether our heater is up to the task. We may have to just focus on warming up the spa part.)

On Texas Christmases - Part 1

So it's Christmas Eve here in Kingwood. I am calling our anticipated guests. Wondering when they are leaving. It's time to party! Because we live in Texas and not, for example, Denver, we do not have snow. We do have rain, however.

Anyway, we are planning to celebrate with a pool party later this afternoon.

The water temperature this morning was 59.

I started the heater (pictured above) at 8:45 a.m.

Stay tuned for updates as time permits.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

On the Gift Card Phenomenon - Part 1

So there is this new fad in gift giving sweeping the nation: gift cards. A search for the phrase "gift card phenomenon" on Google News turns up over 60 stories. Including this one in the Baltimore Sun and this one from a TV news station in the Twin Cities.

I got a few gift cards already this holiday season.

We had our "Christmas" with my wife's parents at Thanksgiving. And they blessed me with a gift card to Barnes & Noble.

And then I was at Barnes & Noble today shopping for gifts for my family and friends. And, being borderline frugal these days, I went into the store intending to use that gift card my in-laws had given me to make my purchases for people on my gift list.

But I didn't. I forgot.

Then afterwards I got to thinking ... if I use a gift card someone gave me to pay for gifts I am buying to give to someone else, wouldn't that be regifting (socially unacceptable in some circles)? Same logic applies to a gift of cash, I guess. Though cash is more fungible.

Someone gave me the gift card intending that I would use to buy something for myself. If I then use it to buy something that I am going to give to someone else aren't I effectively transferring the benefit of the gift given to me to that someone else? The exact same result obtains when I get a widget from my in-laws and pass it along to the next victim. I suppose it's a little different -- and a little more morally tolerable -- because presumably I don't actually want the widget (otherwise I would keep it) whereas with the gift card I could get anything I wanted so I am actually giving up a genuine benefit.

Unless it was a gift card to Bass Pro Shops or something ... because that store is for rednecks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On 4GW - Part 1

How can anyone who knows the story of David and Goliath be surprised that the various non-governmental forces around the world can be successful thwarting the efforts of the best the vast military-industrial complex of the developed world can muster?

Read William Lind #106 and William Lind #35 to remind yourself of what you already knew.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

On Being Gifted - Part 1

So back when I was a child I got gifted. Especially at Christmas. And on my birthdays. Just like my children get super gifted now on their birthdays and at Christmas.

One of my gifts I remember most vividly was a slot-car race track kind of like this one pictured here. I got it for Christmas when I was 8, or thereabouts. Except the one I got was smaller. And it had motorcycles for the vehicles instead of cars.

Boy, I loved that thing. At least initially.

I played with it for several hours immediately after I got it.

Now of course I have no memory whatsoever what happened to it. So the question for today is what happened to all the toys and junk I got for gifts all those years? I cared about it a lot. It was something I desperately wanted and looked at in catalogs (I loved those Sears and JC Penney catalogs, they always had tons of slot car racing tracks in them and I always desperately wanted one of the really long ones). Then I got one and I loved it. And now I can't remember anything about it except that I played with a lot on Christmas day and that one of the motorcycles was red.

I suppose I broke it at some point and threw it away.

Either that or I quit using it and my parents sold it at a garage sale.

I'm going to buy another one of those at some point.

Maybe one of the big ones this time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Acres of Diamonds on the Soles of My Shoes

There is a famous speech and book by a man named Russell Conwell called "Acres of Diamonds."

Read it here.


Gary North has been recommending it to his readers for years. Many times over the past months I've gone to the page with the text of the speech and printed it even but had never previously read it. Today I did. Thank goodness.

You should read it too.

Here is my favorite paragraph (emphasis mine):

  • Are you poor? It is because you are not wanted and are left on your own hands. There was the great lesson. Apply it whichever way you will it comes to every single person's life, young or old. He did not know what people needed, and consequently bought something they didn't want, and had the goods left on his hands a dead loss. A. T. Stewart learned there the great lesson of his mercantile life and said "I will never buy anything more until I first learn what the people want; then I'll make the purchase." He went around to the doors and asked them what they did want, and when he found out what they wanted, he invested his sixty-two and a half cents and began to supply a "known demand." I care not what your profession or occupation in life may be; I care not whether you are a lawyer, a doctor, a housekeeper, teacher or whatever else, the principle is precisely the same. We must know what the world needs first and then invest ourselves to supply that need, and success is almost certain.

That is the truth.

Live your life according to that principle and you can achieve Holy Crikey Bonkers Mania.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I am here today to express my current opinion that the new Blogger "Beta" sucks *ss.


I created a blog and account yesterday for my daughter. We are going to publish some of her drawings of princesses for all to enjoy (and buy @ And we even created her first post on her blog. But now I can't get logged in again to the !@#$ blog or to her profile. None of the Blogger "Beta" pages are working. Only half of each of the pages in the log in screen work. I am extremely irritated about it.

Nice work, Blogger!

I'm just damn glad I didn't accept their Trojan Horse of an offer to switch this blog over to the new format as well. When I saw they were advertising it as "more reliable" I smelt a rat.