Monthly Archives: December 2008

Your Democrat-Dominated Congress At Work

Giving themselves a pay raise.

I don’t see any Republicans opposing it, so they aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory…but Democrats who voted to invade Iraq still blame President Bush for it…until they take credit for the war being a success.  And Democrats also blamed Republicans for the failure of at least one bailout bill, even though they had enough Democrats + Republicans to pass it, just because Republicans didn’t vote for it in enough numbers to provide Democrats with political cover, so they cancelled the vote.

So, yeah: I think we can lay this squarely at the feet of Democrat Congressional “leadership”.

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Filed under economics, leadership/parenting, Politics, rant, Social Issues

How Many Guitars Are Enough?

I’ve noticed that some professional guitarists change guitars and change endorsements as often as most people change their underwear, say, around once a month.  (What?)

But other professional guitarists choose a guitar and seem to stick with it for years and years and years, and get associated with THAT guitar.  David Gilmour’s guitar, B.B. King’s Lucille, Brad Gillis’ red strat (although the last few years he seems to be switching around quite a bit, including Hamers).

Is there ever one perfect guitar?

How many guitars are enough?

For me, it is mostly function, partly appearance:

I lust after beautiful guitars.  But a beautiful guitar that plays crappy isn’t worth it, and an ugly guitar that sings takes on a beauty all its own.

Part of the answer to “How many guitars?” for me is what I’ve had a chance to play.

Before, 2 electric guitars were probably enough: one superstrat with a locking tremolo and H/S/S configuration with the bridge Humbucker splittable, and a H/H fixed bridge.  That way I’d have most traditional sounds and techniques covered.

But then I needed a 24 fret guitar.  Got one with a fixed bridge.

And then I wanted a 24-fret with a tremolo. (Why I want to have a trem guitar when I can’t use ’em for shit is beyond me, but I do).

That’s 4 right there.

Then I started to realize the difference between maple, rosewood, and ebony fingerboards.

So that is making me look for an ebony fingerboarded guitar.

Sonic differences also require another roster spot.

So I have:
1) my Carvin, fixed bridge, 22 fret, splittable H/S/S, low action, maple fingerboard, swamp ash body.
2) my JB Player Sledgehammer H/H, 22 fret, rosewood fingerboard; possibly swamp ash body; keeping it because it is unique among my guitars for the sweet neck position tone and the unique feel of its low, narrow frets for chording.
3) Hamer XT SATF, 22 fret, H/H, rosewood fingerboard; keeping it because of the Hamer/Duncan Design tone, and overall ease in playing, and beauty of the flamed maple top
4) Hamer Stellar 1, 24 fret, H/H, rosewood fingerboard; keeping it because of the Hamer/Duncan Design tone, and 24 fret flexibility, and unique (to me) Lacy Oak figuring
5) Shredder guitar – this one isn’t fixed yet.  All of them I have right now have 24 frets and rosewood fingerboards.  I have a Fernandes Pro with a Sustainer, H/H with a good vintage sound and the sustainer for good trem tricks; I have a Hamer Korean Cali, H/S, but haven’t been able to play it because I haven’t fixed the burr in the high E string saddle…no idea how it sounds/feels, because (I think) that’s why the guy sold it on eBay…buyer beware, eh?; I have a Hamer Korean Centaura, H/S/H, sounds good and the trem stays in tune, but I haven’t played it much because I haven’t had time to fix the action/tuning/intonation (action is high because I was strugging to get it tuned; you guys have told me how to fix it, but haven’t gotten around to it yet).  But I’ve heard enough good things about the Peavey Vandenberg that I have been considering discarding all three of the aforementioned shredders.  the Vandenberg is known for its thin/fast neck, and its ebony fingerboard would be unique in my collection.

I think I could be quite happy with 5 electric guitars, once I decide on my shredder.  I would have enough to be able to grab the guitar that matches my mood and style of music, but few enough that all would be in regular rotation.

Thoughts/reactions?

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Filed under guitar, Me, philosophy

Income “Justice”

Mickey Kaus has some good stuff on unions and “distributive justice”, i.e., using unions to ensure income equality and redistribute wealth.  Unfortunately, Kausfiles doesn’t have links to individual sections, so you just have to keep scrolling down for more.

All this discussion of unions has been spurred by the UAW drag on US automaker competitiveness.

The discussion makes me think of a truism I realized a few years back in discussing business with my brother-in-law: great gain only comes about through great cost/risk, and heavy responsibility.

You have to pay the cost of researching the market, getting the education, earning (or persuading others to provide) the capital before you can start a business, and then you assume the risk and responsibility of running that company.  You don’t have the luxury of calling in sick when you don’t feel like working, or your business (and income) will suffer.  You don’t have the luxury of working just 40 hours/week and forgetting everything as soon as your work-day ends.  You don’t have the luxury of wasting time to get to the lunch hour or quitting time…not if you want to have a successful business.

You have to be driven, not lazy; you have to spend your time and effort, not just give the minimu; you have to take responsibility, not let others take responsibility for your employment, health care, disability, unemployment insurance, etc; you have to strive to be the best, not just “good enough”.  If you do these things, wealth will flow to you.

If you do not, if you just do your 40 hours and come home, wealth will not naturally flow to you.  You will be paid low wages.  Those low wages might not even be enough to live on.  Time does not have a set value/worth.  If you do not give quality hours to the creation of value, then you do not deserve to be the recipient of wealth.

One of the reasons I will not and cannot vote Democrat is because the party’s platform is based on the idea that they can artificially channel wealth away from those who work to earn it to those who merely exist.  Democrats place an extremely high minimum value on all human lifestyles, and attempt to create a social system to support that belief.  It sounds all good and shiny, of course…but I don’t assign values to anyone.  I let people assign values to themselves by the amount of effort they put in to their lives.  And being smart about how you apply that effort is a force multiplier (that’s USAF speak for: you increase your effectiveness by applying force at the correct point). 

If someone works really hard at, say, creating/finding art in the defecation of hooved animals, I’d say they were wasting their time and not deserving of any wealth being shunted to them that they didn’t earn for themselves in the art marketplace.

“Art” isn’t intrinsically valuable.  Subsidies for Art are ridiculous, in that Art is when Soul cries out to Soul, and receives a reply.  Many people may want to be Artists, but it is only when they connect that they truly manifest Artistry; struggle is part of the Art, so by subsidizing Art, we are actually preventing Art from being produced.

Likewise, most jobs are paid very close to what their value is.  There is some artificiality, of course, but not much.  I remember seeing a woman complain that garbagemen and plumbers are paid so much when she had to have so much more education to get her Junior College teaching job (or some such thing).  Well, formal education is an artificial job requirement, and not really that hard, difficult, or odious.  The obvious suggestion for this lady is: if you want to earn more money, go be a garbage collector.  She apparently is not willing, like many, many other people; the combined effect of this is that if they do not pay garbage collectors enough, no one will be willing to do it, and her garbage will rot, stink, attract vermin, and endanger health right outside her door.  Her disrespect for those who do necessary jobs simply because they don’t have the education she does is unfair, and only because she values education more than she values having her garbage taken away.

The thing is, if all you want out of life is to not have a difficult or hard job, you probably won’t earn much money.  If it’s easy, everyone wants to do it and the glut of supply drives down supply. 

Somewhere else, some other woman* was complaining about having to work long hours as a supermarket cashier with no health insurance for her carpal tunnel syndrome.  The thing is, 40 hours a week isn’t really that long.  Because I take ownership of my job, I often work 55-60 hours a week.  To tell the truth, when I was right out of college, I worked 60 hours each week as an assistant manager at a restaurant and felt horribly overworked; now it is routine, and I get zero overtime.  I get the same whether I work 40 hours or 60 hours.  I can tell the difference in my leisure time between the two, but like I said: I take ownership of my job, and of my life.

If your focus is on your leisure time, you are not really taking ownership of your life.

One final thought in this semi-incoherent, clearly disorganized rant: you know who has the most comfortable life of all?  No responsibility at all, just eating and relaxing?  Aside from Congress, I mean?

Animals who are being raised for slaughter. 

You want to be a sheep?  Fine.  Don’t expect my efforts to pay for it.  More thoughts on this later.

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Filed under economics, leadership/parenting, philosophy, Politics, rant, Social Issues

Time Waster: Guitar Heros

I’ll be spending too much time poking around this site, I’m sure.

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Herm Edwards: A Few Thoughts

1) Herm is a good coach.
Evidence: look at how bad the situation there is.  Exactly 2 years ago, Mangini was supposedly a genius who rebuilt the Jets into a playoff team from the shambles of Herm’s suckiness.  Yet Mangini is now fired.  1 playoff appearance in 3 seasons, no playoff wins.
Herm, on the other hand, made it to the playoffs 3 times in 5 years, with 2 playoff wins. 

Only 4 coaches in the history of the Jets have lasted for 5 years.  Herm is one of them.  Two of the other three only made the playoffs twice, one only made it once.  All have far lower percentages for making the playoffs.  Herm is tied with two other coaches with 2 playoff wins.

Herm survived, and actually somewhat succeeded in a place that chews up and spits out coaches.

2)  Herm is not a good coach.
I wait until all the evidence is in before I make a judgment.  It would be silly to judge Herm a failure when we are 2-10, then have the team go on a tear and win the final 4 games with large margins of victory.  Likewise, it would be silly to judge Herm a success when we are 2-10 but actually competitive against playoff-caliber teams in 4 straight games.  Because anything can happen in the last 4 games.

Well, anything did happen.  We laid an egg against Buffalo.  In retrospect, that’s when the wind fully left our sails.  We were competitive against the Broncos and Chargers after that, yes, but in hindsight, you can see the team wondering how they were going to manage to lose this time…

And in the last game of the season, when the players were auditioning for a job and had a chance to make a case for Herm staying the Head Coach, they sucked.

3) Herm is a good coach.
It isn’t every coach who has the confidence to let his O Coordinator go against his own conservative offensive vision and run a tricky, wide open offense.  Herm let Gailey do it, and was rewarded with a fairly prolific offense that could (and did!) score on anyone.  Everyone who said Herm was inflexible and stubbornly conservative was proven dead wrong.

4) Herm is not a good coach.
There is no excuse for our defense being this bad.  Injuries play a factor, yes.  The Broncos might have been 9-7 or even 10-6 with consistency in their running game.  But the fact is, despite injury/performance problems in their secondary (Both CB and S), all over the RB squad, and even their O-line, the Broncos overcame the problems and nearly won the division.  The fact that Shanahan allowed the greatest division-lead collapse in NFL history is one of the only sweet moments I will take from this barren season.

BUT.
Herm and Gunther should have been able to do better with what they had.  Our secondary is actually pretty good.  We shouldn’t have gone into training camp with Nap Harris on the roster if we weren’t going to let him play.  We shouldn’t have gone into the season with Pat Thomas as the MLB and no experience at MLB to replace him.  We shouldn’t have gone into the season expecting Donnie Edwards to be a full-time player. 
We had reason to believe we were set at D-line…but we should have been more active before the trading deadline once it became obvious that were absolutely NOT set at D-line.
Our secondary looks like they might actually be pretty good.  So why are we still 28th in pass defense?

Herm has done some very good things here, like finding some good players to build on and keeping the players from quitting even at 2-12 (although they apparently quit at 2-13).
But his failures on the defense outweigh his successes. 

Bottom line: Herm should go.  If Clark decides he stays, then he should replace the ST coach, and all the defensive coaches other than Gibbs.

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Filed under Chiefs/NFL Analysis

Will Herm Be the Chief’s Coach Next Year?

I can’t find the original report, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen apparently says no.   On a chat message board, a poster said:

Herm Edwards is on the way out he believes. He said that Clark Hunt wants a new young GM to grow with and that most likely means a new head coach.

Thinking critically, it is too soon to assume anything about Herm.

In this report, we have a fact and an assumption.

Mort has learned (along with everyone else…it’s not exactly a secret) that Clark wants a new young GM. Someone with an eye for talent.  Someone who will help develop the Chiefs’ identity.

Based on Mort’s experience (along with everyone else…again, it’s not exactly a secret), a new GM will want his own coach, and Herm is gone.

This is an assumption.

A counter-fact is that Clark backed Herm’s vision for the team over CP’s, leading to CP’s departure.  That [i]strongly[/i] indicates Herm has good standing in Clark’s vision for the team’s future.

One could also easily assume that Clark wants a new, young GM because, in part, he can dictate to him to hold on to Herm as Head Coach for at least another year.

From what I understand of Clark’s personality, this is more likely.

Actual journalism is on the decline all over the place, in sports as well as politics.
A good reporter would research and include a list of GM’s who have NOT replaced the coach when they took over, and perhaps even explain/compare/contrast the reasons behind it, instead of just giving a gut reaction/judgment.

I’m not saying Mort is a bad reporter, but this sort of opinion is no better than anyone else’s opinion.

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Merry Christmas!!!

Er, Merry Christmas Eve!

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