On this day

in 1848, James Marshall discovered gold in California. Gold can still be found in the bottom of your pan there today.

The Talented Mr. Strong

So here's my Superbowl take from Latte-Land.

To start it off, I am not a Seahawks fan. I have never really liked Mike Holmgren. I will never consider Matt Hasselbeck a Superbowl caliber quarterback. If it were soley about the QB's, I'd take Peyton 'Choke-in-the-big-ones' Manning over Hasselbeck any day.

I think that the Steelers will have a tough offensive day. All season, Seattle has had great success getting pressure while rushing three or four. I don't expect that to change. And I can't wait to see Lofa Tatupu and Bettis crack heads.

But the key to the game, to me, will be Mack Stron versus Troy Polamalu. Mack is the best blocking back in the game. He DOES NOT miss blocks. Troy is agile and quick enough to get blocked and still fuck up the play.

If Holmgren tries to block Troy with linemen (even the PBL members) or receivers, it's going to be short duty for the Seattle offense. Every running play needs to have Mack putting his hat on Troy. Other wise, Mr. MVP will be seeing a lot more no-gainers. On pass plays, I won't be surprised to see Mack staying in to pick up Porter or Troy on blitzes.

My pick for the game: Alexander out with another concussion and Roethlisberger out with a separated shoulder. After 12th Overtime, Holmgren and Cowher agree on a Superbowl Deathmatch. Seattle wins after Holmgren summons doppelganger and triple-teams Cowher with Craig Stadler and Andy Reid.

Too close to call.



Something is stirring deep down (You! Out of the gutter). Like Ron, though for different reasons, I feel like I'm ready for something new. Working for the Lazy B is surprisingly boring. I've been here nearly 8 years and haven't used my engineering skill at all. Engineering judgement, slightly more.

Working here is definitely not fulfilling. No challenge, red tape, no expectation to perform. Management seems to always be focused on schedule and cost, never about quality in product or performance. So maybe it's time to get serious about moving.

I'd love to work here. I would, in all likelyhood, be able to keep my Top Secret clearance (major plus). The town is small and still affordable (major plus). The company is small and, for now, cutting edge (major plus). But I still don't get the feeling that I would be fulfilled.

I've also toyed with the idea of starting a company. I'm not sure I could pass the PE as I haven't ever done anything in mechanical design since college. I have system design skills...requirements development and management. I have system integration skills...integrating hydraulics, electronics, and structures. I have test skills...testing systems mentioned above. Sadly, at least in my head, those skills are only useful to large companies in large cities. (I'm sure most large companies agree with the Lazy B and assume anyone can be molded into possessing these skills, thus will not pay large sums of money to employ them.)

So basically I have no idea what "my company" would do. To steal and butcher from Bruce Willis in Armageddon, I want to get paid to sit around thinking shit up. I'm pretty good at it, though I can usually find flaws with my ideas. I'm pretty good at finding flaws in things too. It's made me an expert at functional audits.

And I hate cooking. So I can't start a restaurant with Ron, though my wife might want to...


In the Wilderness

Yesterday, in her State of the State address, Governor Gregoire stated
I believe health care is a basic right and not a perk.
I have to disagree.

When I try to determine what is a right, I think of what I would have or be free to do if I was in the wilderness with no government or law to tell me or others what to do. I would have the right to protect myself. I would have the right to say or write what I pleased. I would be free to worship as I pleased. I would be free to associate with whomever I chose in all my dealings. My property would not be taken by others without just compensation, determined by me. I would be free to find food and water through whatever means, so long as I do not violate the property of others. I have the right to travel where I wish barring violating the property of others. I have the right to medicate myself with whatever pills, injections, concoctions, potions, herbs or plants I choose.

These are all rights that in some way have been limited or taken by the government.

Things others would be compelled to give to me do not fall into those categories. While I have the right to pursue food and water, no one is required to give it to me. If I cannot get it on my own I should starve. If I do not have a car, I shall ride a horse, or a cow, or an elk. If I cannot capture such a beast that is unowned, I shall walk. No one is required to provide me passage or mode. I would protect myself with a gun. If I cannot get a gun or ammunition, I shall use a rock. If a rock is not in reach, I shall use my hands. No one is required to protect me. If I don’t like the way you look or sound or smell or what god you worship, I shall not deal with you in any way. You are allowed to treat me the same way. I can make a poltice, or a splint, or find some nightshade to relieve the pain. No one is required or obligated to give me heal my wounds.

These are all "rights" granted by government.

I have no right to sustenance provided at the expense of others. I have no right to transportation or passage through the property of others. I have no right to protection. I have no right forcing you to deal with me. And to Mrs. Gregoire, I have no right to health care.

Finkbeiner misunderstands

The Seattle Times praises State Senator Bill Finkbeiner for changing his position on the gay rights bill. Whatever. The thing that actually motivated me to blog today was a comment Senator Finkbeiner made on the John Carlson Show last night.

Finkbeiner said something to the effect of, "I tend to be a libertarian on personal and business issues." I think he misses, quite widely, one of the firm tennants of libertarianism. That being, that as an individual you have the right to associate, whether in personal dealings, business, financial, educationally, with whomever you wish.

What Finkbeiner says, in supporting the revision of the discrimination laws, is that if you own property, you cannot decide to whom to rent your property. If you own a business, you cannot decide who you hire. Your freedom of association is subjugated to a state mandated right of others to your business and property.

If Finkbeiner was truly "libertarian" on these issues, he would be pushing for the complete removal of the discrimination statute. If he was truly "libertarian" he would understand the difference of preventing the state from discriminating (clearly a violation of citizens rights) and preventing an individual from discriminating against whomever they choose(a Constitutionally protected right).

UPDATE Rhetorical: What happens in the case of a white supremecist rental owner and a Phillipino renter? The discrimination clearly protects the white supremecist's "creed" while also protecting the renter's race. Which takes precedence?


To the "Merry Christmas" Brigade

Stop. And Think.
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

Dr. Seuss and the Grinch got it. Why can't you?


Winter Rituals

After perusing the local Christmas Tree (oops - Holiday Tree) lots, I realized that it just wasn't worth buying a tree. A nearby U-Cut Lot had 4 to 5 foot Noble Firs starting at just $43. For 9+ feet they wanted over $90. And the church lot wasn't any cheaper. 6 to 7 footers starting at $58.

But our wonderful Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest trees are cheap. Any tree for a $10 fee. Up to 5 trees per vehicle.

We hit the Forest Service office at about 8:30 Saturday morning. They gave us our permit, a map, asked if we had chains, and told us to have fun. Had I known we'd be going to the top of a mountain (3980 feet after leaving I-90 at 1840 feet), I would have dressed better. Thankfully, I found a great tree. It made trudging through waist deep snow in hiking boots and jeans worth it. At one point I sunk down to my arm pits. I probably topped the tree something bad, but considering I cut below my knee in snow up to my nuts, I did better than most people.

By 11:30 I was finished tying down the evergreen and got to enjoy watching the idiots. "Four wheel drive" does not mean "drive anywhere you want" drive. And to the idiot in the OLD blue Jeep Cherokee, at least make sure your 4x4 works before you take on an unplowed road. Next time it'll save you an hour or so digging out.


How soon they forget

SI.com forgets an interesting little bit while remembering Gino Torretta on their Heisman Bust List. The runner-up and clear choice that year, a sophomore running back from San Diego State University, Marshall Faulk.

Forty Yards and a Cloud of Memories

I miss playing football. Watching it has never excited me...unless it's the '9er's in the Super Bowl. Flag football just isn't the same.

There's a certain feeling of invincibility you experience with a good set of pads on your shoulders. It's like being Superman, minus the heat vision. Staring through the facemask is like peering through the visor of a suit of armor. Most people that haven't done it wonder how one can see, but they don't realize that you actually see through it...Superman's X-Ray Vision. There's a comforting tightness to the pants with their thigh pads and knee pads. It's as if they hold in all the energy escaping your body and store it for you to use later. The sensation of lacing up is one you never forget and never quite experience again.

Memories of the field are a bit more fleeting. Like clips in an NFL film, only bits and pieces remain. Returning a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and the crestfallen weight upon seeing yellow on the grass. Nathan Roberson making one block that turned a 3 yard slant into a 70 yard touchdown. Joe Pett throwing JT Ball a hip fake on the three yard line and walking into the end zone. How Grant always managed to end up on the bottom of the pile with the funble in his hands. The tears in all our eyes, even Dad's, when we won the league championship.

In college, laying out for a ball everyone considered uncatchable and catching it...and the bruise from elbow to shoulder the next day. Covering the fastest guy on the team and not getting burned. At the RCA Dome, watching Tony Kohl knock the living crap out of a guy trying to catch a ball in the end zone. Kelly Ojalla, 6-2, 180, lighting up Stu Quaid, 5-5, 245, in practice. Nature runs. A jumble of game films composed into a highlight reel in my head.

I turn 30 this month. I haven't laced up since I was 18. It makes me sad.


Something I never knew

The Navajo Night Chant:
With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty above me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk.
In beauty it begins.
In beauty it ends.
Quietly I follow the way.

Thanks to Under the Ponderosa.

Behind the line

I am completely convinced that if Jerome Harrison had gone to a non USC Pac-10 team, he'd be sitting at the Downtown Athletic Club. If he'd have gone to the reviled Notre Dame, SC might not be playing a bowl game at (adopted) home.

With this guy's line, he makes me think of all of Barry Sanders' years in Detroit. Hopefully he's below the radar enough to get picked by a team that can get some push.