Monday, November 18, 2013

Death of a legend!

Sam Behr died recently. He was 86. Here in Orlando he was notable for two things.

First, he had a store downtown that sold shoes. The store's slogan was "We can fit any human!" And they had any number of improbable stories backing it up.

Second, in the 1980s he became a local media celebrity for his work on TV commercials for Allied Discount Tires, a local tire chain, run by a friend of his if I recall correctly.

Anyhow, here's a sample of Sam's work:

Rest in Peace, Sam, and here’s hoping that in the afterlife your nuts always get hand-torqued and never fall off!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

From the file marked "Inane"

Cross-posted as a guest post over at Comment Home.

From the Baltimore Sun: 

Eastern Shore professors to get bulletproof whiteboards 

Calling "campus violence a reality" to prepare for, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore announced plans Thursday to spend $60,000 on the Clark Kent of teacher supplies: an innocuous-looking white board that can stop bullets.
The high-tech tablet — which hangs on a hook, measures 18 by 20 inches and comes in pink, blue and green — can be used as a personal shield for professors under attack, according to the company that makes it, and a portable writing pad in quieter times.
18" x 20"? I could hide my head and part of my upper body behind that. (I just checked, and I'm about 22" across at the shoulders.) Of course, covering my head and upper torso would be a good thing. If we've learned nothing else from the movies we have learned that it can take days to die from a bullet to the gut.

But the man behind the bullet-resistant white boards envisions an ancient phalanx.
[George] Tunis envisions teachers using the whiteboards to fend off attackers individually or as a group, standing side-by-side to create a wall that could shield evacuating students or to fend off an attacker.
"It's designed to be a last resort and to buy you some extra time," he said.
Yeah, extra time is good. I can see a shooter faced by a phalanx of professors (possibly including wannabe Hoplites from the Classics Department) holding these white boards up in formation, blocking all of 20" of vertical target, max. All he'd have to do is aim low and chop them down like a Ma Deuce through the under-growth in Vietnam. It'd take a committed mad man whole milliseconds to figure this out.

Also from the article:
"It needs to be a great whiteboard and a useful tool so that it doesn't get hidden in the closet," said maker George Tunis. His Worcester County company Hardwire LLC starting out making military armor, then adapted it for the classroom after the tragic shootings last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed.
Maybe it's be useful if you're writing answers down and flashing them to the class? I don't know. But we used most of the large blackboards that measured their dimensions in feet when I was a TA in college, and I don't ever remember a professor only using a space that measured that small. So these things aren't even all that practical for a classroom, despite the claims of the manufacturer.

Distressingly, the school in question doesn't seem to have anyone capable of doing a cost-benefit analysis. How many classrooms does the nation have? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? How many of these classrooms see the kind of random violence where such a device MIGHT have an impact?

These things cost $299 a pop, so they're not cheap. But at least they come in a variety of attractive colors! I'd suggest that they add red to the pink, blue and green currently offered. It would better hide blood spatter and thus be more intimidating to any shooters out there. (See "red coats" for more.) Or perhaps they should be rainbow-colored on the non-writing side, to demonstrate the school's commitment to diversity.

Spending $60,000 on these for this one college in a backwater part of Maryland seems ludicrous. It would be ludicrous for just about any other school as well. (And if there is a school for which this isn't a ludicrous expense, they need to MOVE THE SCHOOL!) Surely there are other things that can be done with the money.

So, can anyone else think of how the school could have better spent the money? Remember that this is a one-time expense (or at least not a regular expense) so hiring an additional security guard is out, as that is an ongoing expense.

What better ideas has everyone got?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

NBCNews: Businesses, Unions, Colleges all say employee hours being cut over Obamacare but WH says “no evidence”

From a report about the report:

But the White House, NBC News reports, says that there is no systematic evidence that this is because of Obamacare....
Right. Instead it's because of the shitty economy. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Answer to the Problem

Problem stated here.


_ _ _ _ x o x o x o

Move 1
 _ _ o x x _ _ o x o

Move 2
 _ _ o x x x o o _ _

Move 3
 o o o x x x _ _ _ _

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lefties for Plutocrats

I've been noticing a weird trend lately, namely that lefties are increasingly in-bed and in-love with plutocrats. For example, today I see a story on Politico about Ralph Nader predicting, and hoping, that a bunch of billionaires will run for the Presidency in 2016. Apparently the only way to save the people from themselves is to let the richest people in the land buy all the important offices and then tell us how we're supposed to live our lives.

Well, that and give a 140,000,000 Mexicans citizenship.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Comments left on Althouse about Democratic Nominee Ages

Comments made on the

""Clinton will take a long, much-deserved vacation, then assume a low-key schedule of advocacy work and lucrative speaking engagements.""

 post on January 9, 2013.
Blogger Icepick said...
The Dems haven't nominated anyone as old as Hillary in yonks. The Dems love their youthful conquerors.

Kerry was ancient by Dem standards at age 61.

Gore was only 52.

Clinton was sworn in at age 46.

Dukakis was turned 55 right around election day in 1988.

Mondale was 56 in 1984.

Carter was a youthful 52 in 1976. (And a decrepit 56 in 1980, of course.)

McGovern was 50 in 1972.

Humphrey was only 57 in 1968. And the Dems really had the hard-on for that little twerp RFK, who was 42.

The one that surprised me was LBJ in 1964: only 56!

JFK was only 43 when he was elected in 1960.

Adlai Stevenson was only 52 and 56 for his runs in '52 and '56.

That gets us all the way back to Truman, who was 64 when he ran in 1948. But his circumstance (like LBJ's) was complicated by the fact that he was running as a sitting President, having assumed office on the death of his predecessor.

When FDR ran in 1932 he was only 50 years old.

Al Smith was only 54 when he ran for office back in 1928.

John W. Davis was only 51 when he ran in 1924.

James M. Cox was only 50 when he ran in 1920.

Back to 1912, when we get Woodrow Wilson, who was 55.

William Jennings Bryan was only 48 when he ran in 1908.

In 1904 the Dems nominated Alton B. Parker, who was only 52.

In 1900 it was William Jennings Bryan again, this time only 40.

In 1896 William Jennings Bryan ran at age 36! It was a weird year, and the Dems had two candidates, of which Bryan was the regular. The gold one was a golden oldie, the 79 year-old John M. Palmer! But Palmer was part of a splinter group. The actual nominee was the very young Bryan.

The you get Grover Cleveland, who ran three times, in 1884, 1888 and 1892. He won the first time, at age 47. He was only 55 for the last run.

Winfield Scott Hancock was 56 when he ran in 1880's closely disputed election.

All the way back to 1876, when the Dem nominee was Samuel J. Tilden, who was 64! It was another closely disputed election. (It came down to a controversial count in ... wait for it ... wait for it ... FLORIDA!)

All the way back to 1876, and only two men (Kerry and Tilden) over 60 were nominated to be President. (I don't count presidents who were already holding office, which excludes Truman.)

I'll keep looking back at the records, but Dems just don't like old people.

1/10/13 12:16 AM
Blogger Icepick said...
Horace Greeley would have been 60 on election day 1872. Another ancient. Just as well he didn't get elected - his wife died shortly after the election, then he went mad and died before the electoral votes had been cast! That would have been a total freakin' nightmare.

Horatio Seymour ran in 1868. He would have been 58 at the time.

McClellan would have been 37(!) on election day in 1864.

In 1860 we had two Democratic candidates, Stephen A. Douglas from the North (age 47) and John C. Breckinridge (age 39) from the South. Douglas died in June of 1861, by the way, of typhoid fever.

Surely in 1856 we must have gotten some old fart from the Dems. James Buchanan Jr. age 65! Woohoo!

Franklin Pierce was only 47 on election day 1852.

Lewis Cass lost in 1848, at age 64.

James Knox Polk was the winning candidate in 1844, age 49 on election day.

Martin van Buren would have been 53 on election day 1836.

Then we get all the way back to the Founder of the Party, Andrew Jackson. He was 61 on election day in 1828. He won that election. But it was a grudge match from four years before, when he would have only been 57.

Now all of those candidates in the old days of the 19th Century probably were in a bit worse shape than we might expect for their ages. But still, going all the way back to the founding of the Democratic party, we only have a handful of Dem nominees who were 60 or older when nominated for their first run. Only seven by my count (it's late, I'm tired, if I miscounted someone correct me) and several of those were prior to the Civil War.

Not counting Truman (anomalous because of how he was chosen President) or the splinter party candidate Palmer, there is a huge gap of 128 years between Tilden getting nominated at 64 and Kerry getting the nod at 61. One-hundred and twenty-eight years! And let's face it, Kerry was a somewhat youthful 61.

So only six regular first-time non-sitting candidates over age 60
since the party was founded. There have been 10 under 50! That includes the last two that actually won the Presidency for the Dems.


Hillary will be 69 on election day 2016. She would be the oldest regular Democratic nominee ever, by 4 years. She couldn't beat a back-bench-er of a state senator who barely did anything with his then current job when she was only 61 and had the backing of a large swath of the Democratic party, name recognition, and all the money in the world. Why should we think she'll be able to do better now that she's eight years older and has more record for opponents to chew up?
1/10/13 12:48 AM
Blogger Icepick said...
What's really bad is that a few of the 60+ candidates for the Dems can be dismissed from consideration.

As I've mentioned in the previous two comments, Truman was in his 60s but was running as an incumbent, having been selected for the job in 1944.

Palmer was a splinter candidate.

Greeley was the candidate more or less by default, as no one with more credibility wanted to run against Grant in 1872.

And Andrew Jackson himself had been in his fifties when he first ran, losing a hotly disputed election in 1824.

When you get right down to it, the Dems have really only picked first time nominees over age 60 on four occasions: in 2004 (Kerry, lost), 1876 (Tilden, lost), 1856 (Buchanan, won) and 1848 (Cass, lost). And again, they've gone under 50 either nine times (if you only count Bryan's three runs as one run) or eleven times (if you count all three). And yes, I apparently miscounted in the prior post.

Still, Hillary would appear to have missed her shot. Dems do not nominate people as old as she'll be in 2016, and only rarely people as old as she was in 2008.
1/10/13 1:00 AM