Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One of those WTF moments...

For fun, among other things, I replay historic baseball seasons on Action PC, by Dave Koch Sports.

Any and all politics aside, I HIGHLY recommend and endorse their baseball sim game, and have heard great things about their other sport sims as well. If you're into sports history and historical sims CHECK THESE GUYS OUT.  Dave himself handles most (all?) of the customer support personally and is a great guy, who's willing to cut some pretty good deals.

I'm currently replaying the 1952 Season, running the Boston Red Sox (who are now out of it) in the American League and the Brooklyn Dodgers (who I won the Series with in '51) in the National League.

And I'm playing a late season game against New York, and for the first time all season, I just noticed the names of my #2 and #3 starting pitchers:

Click to enlarge:

I guess William will be rooting for the Giants.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Traitors and Trangressions

Up tonight... John Boehner, Ben Carver and Biggots in North Carolina.

(Yeah... I've got to say that that very poor George Takei impression at the end sounded a LOT better in my head!)

UPDATE: Earlier today, Dr. Carson apologized for his comments likening gay people to prison rapists. Apparently his comment were so idiotic that even Dr. Carson realized it!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, Net Neutrality and Bill O'Rielly

Felling better, so here it goes:

Here is the Media Matters piece that I mentioned where, once again, Rush Limbaugh shows that he has *NO. FUCKING. IDEA.* what he's talking about.

In addition, here is a thoroughly dishonest assessment from Fox News,  some truly deranged stuff from a PA Radio Host, and the origin of the "Obama-net" smear.  (I wonder how Al Gore feels about that, you know, havign invented it and all...)

And finally, here is an actually OBJECTIVE, FACTUAL assessment on why this is important, and why the opposition and corporate arguments against it are BULLSHIT.

Couple things...


Yeah, feel like shit today.

So the regularly scheduled video celebrating the FCC's decision to maintain Net Neutrality will instead be replaced by this:


There was more than that, including the skull-fuckingly dishonest manner that this has been "debated" by the Right in recent days, but... ugh... just not feeling it today.

Instead, here are some pics I came across recently to make up for it:

...perish the thought!


In the following video, I'll address William's comments below with the precise level of respect, condor and invective they deserve. Not more, no less. 

(I don't have Brabantio's patience to suffer this fool, so I'm just going to demolish him.)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Flatiron follow up

I'd mentioned in the Flatiron video that I want to get some topographic maps and compare it to the other peaks I've done. Well, I didn't get any maps but I found the info online and it's pretty much as I thought...

Piestewa Peak (aka Squaw Peak) has a prominence of 1,176 feet. It's what I've always considered "Level One:" A decent workout, but pretty much anybody can do it. The trail feels the most gradual, and it has the least amount of hand-over-foot actual climbing.  The only tough part is that the summit is completely covered in red-hot, pointy, jagged rocks. So there's no place to sit down and rest!  But of all of these peaks, it's the one that really anybody can reasonably do.

My video from Piestewa:

Camelback Mountain is my "Level Two."  It has a prominence of 1,334 feet. There are two trails. The Echo Canyon trail is the more "relentless climb" of the two.  It's hand-over-foot boulder scramble almost the entire way.  No question: It's an ass-kicker. But I recommend it over the Cholla Trail for anyone who has any issues about heights. The Cholla trail starts out gradual, like Piestewa, until you reach the saddle, about halfway, maybe 2/3 of the way up. THEN it's a much steeper boulder scramble than Echo, and also one that leaves you feeling a bit more exposed - hence my warning to anyone who has issues with heights. (At one point you'll walk about 50 yard along a 3-foot wide trail atop a ridge with a steep, sheer-face drop off on both sides. If that kind of thing doesn't sound "cool" to you? Stick to the Echo Canyon trail.

My video from Camelback:

Picacho Peak is "Level Three" and probably my favorite. It has a prominence of 1,574 feet, but a total gain of 2,290 feet. This is due to the Hunter Trail going half way to the top, before going all the way back down the other side, and then all the way to the summit. So in a round trip, you'll make THREE ascents: two on the way up, one more on the way down!  It's also the most fun, in my opinion, as there are many sections with ropes and cables to hold onto while you climb. This, and the many rickety bridges, give it a real, "grown up's jungle gym" feel.  It's a tough climb, and will challenge your fears quite a bit, but it's still the most fun in my opinion.  And as it's well out side of the city, about half way between Phoenix and Tucson, it has the best view as well.

My video from Picacho:

So... just to recap:
Piestewa: 1176 foot prominence
Camelback: 1334 foot prominence
Picacho: 2290 foot gain

Flat Iron? about 2800 feet!  More than DOUBLE Camelback!  You start out with a 2-mile hike, gradually ascending just over 1000 feet in the process, before ascending 1761 feet in the last 0.8 miles alone; almost completely a hand-over-foot, boulder-scramble the entire way up. BRUTAL. You almost hike the equivalent of one of the prior peaks just to get to the base of mountain and then start climbing!  I'm not sure what "Level Four" is, I'm calling this one "Level Five."

Videos of Flat Iron in the previous post.

All that said, I highly recommend all of these. The area in and around Phoenix is awesome for hiking. Just go in late-winter or early spring.  By July it just gets way too hot. I was lucky the day I did Piestewa: The Temperature dropped to 90 degrees that day. The rest of the week it was closer to 100. It was 100 degrees on the day of my second try at Flat Iron - so it's no surprise that we didn't make very far up at all that day!  I've been in Phoenix when it's been 115 degrees out. So... Highly recommended... from November to May.

John Stewart sums up the Right's War on Reality perfectly

He is going to be SO missed... Part 1:

Part 2:

And Jimijams (left), a fellow poster over on  MMFA was kind enough to put the "50 Fox Lies" into his Vine, if you want to pause and read each one.

This is what I was talking about in my last post. But John (and hiw writers) are orders of magnitude better than I am at it.  Bravo, again.  We're really going to miss this guy.

Colbert as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Two in one...

Two points in one video - The Conservative Bubble Grows *and* How Vacant and Amoral is the Libertarian Ideology?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Can't say we don't have a sense of humor...

So... Before I make my next post, your typical "I can't fucking believe how stupid they are" type post, I want to remind everyone that I, and most Liberals, can laugh - even at ourselves - from time to time. And I've gotta admit, these Photoshop's of Vice President Biden are hilarious.  I found them HERE, linked to from Facebook, and this all started with what was already one of the most awkward pictures of the man, even untouched:

Yep, that our VP whispering something to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's wife during her husband's acceptance speech.  But enter anime fan, makibanzi and a merely awkward photo ends up inspiring some truly comic gold:

What a creeper. Well, I guess HIS presidential chances are over. Too bad Al Gore had to go and and invent the internet, huh?

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I've been an avid hiker in Arizona for a couple of years now, mainly in the Phoenix area and farther south.  I live in Michigan but I travel to the area a couple of times a year on business and when I do, weather, time and travel-companions permitting, I try to make sure there's a free day either at the beginning of the week or the end to hike some of the trails and mountains in the area.  Until last year, most of the stops have been primarily tourist destinations: Seguaro National Park, Shaw Butte, Camelback (both the Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails), Piestewa (aka Squaw Peak) and Piccacho. Those last three will certainly give an out-of-towner good workout, but last March I tried one that even the locals will admit is a fair challenge: The Siphon Draw trail, on the Superstitions Mountains, up to the Flat Iron at Lost Dutchman State Park. It took me four tries, but yesterday, I FINALLY made it to the top.

My first attempt, back in March of 2014, ended when... Well, you can watch the video, or just skip to 8:10.  It ended with some really bad luck:

I have no pictures or video from the second attempt.  Not worth it, as me and my partner that day didn't make it even a third of the way up.  It was ~100° F, so not a good day to attempt this.  Realistically there was no way I/we were making it to the top that day, but I'm happy to say that he said "quit" LONG before I did.  (You can't always be the strongest or the fastest, but you can always be the toughest.)

My third attempt, this past Monday (Feb 16, 2015), started out later than I expected, as my flight out of Detroit was delayed 2 1/2 hours, and had to be aborted as I risked running out of daylightFear makes you weak, but pride makes you stupid. And, being a Liberal, I'm sure everyone can guess which I will choose when faced with either weakness or stupidity:

BTW... Please disregard every statement I make in that video that includes a NUMBER: 1/2 way up, 3 miles, 1000's of people, etc... Pretty much every estimate I make in that video is off, to a truly absurd degree. I know I've made some mistakes here before, but that video is just beyond the pale in that regard.)
But on Friday's attempt, Feb 20, 2015, my fourth, I finally made it to the Flat Iron:

I said earlier that fear makes you weak but pride makes you stupid... Well, there's more to that: Courage is not the absence of fear, it's finding the will to face it.  Wisdom is not knowing all the answers, it knowing when you don't. And strength isn't being able to do everything on your own: It's having the wisdom and courage to ask for help (and accept it) when you need it.  And I didn't make it to the top on my own.  I got a hand right at the end, scaling the last wall before the top, from a very kind (not to mention patient) local.  I shared a lot of laughs and got a lot of encouragement from fellow climbers along the way, including another tourist/hiker who I exchanged fist bumps with every time we passed each other taking a break as we leap-frogged up the trail. (He made it to the top before me, but then waited for me to make it up.) I got some first aid from a woman with a 1st aid kit on her after I cut up my knee.  I managed to return that favor right away: She stood up and then immediately lost her balance and I quickly grabbed her arm, saving her from a nasty fall. 

The people you meet along these trails and hikes are truly some of the friendliest you'll encounter (a very close second only to fellow mountain bikers, in my experience.)  I wouldn't have made it up without them, and I thank each and every one of them for their help, encouragement, companionship along the way, and congratulations at the top. And some heart felt congratulation to that German tourist, who was significantly more afraid of heights than I am: Well, done sir. And good courage! (Thanks also to all of the very helpful trees along the way, always ready and able to lend a helping hand, and a hearty fuck you to all those scumbag cacti that just got in way! Also the rocks. You guys suck too.)

The other thing I kept telling myself: If Dad can face what he's fighting, for a third time now, I can sure as hell can get to the top of this god-damned rock. Well I made it, Dad. And I'm sure you'll pull through as well.