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Two Years Ago

Two Years Ago: What I Don't Believe

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On January 1, 2008, I posted:

A partial list of Things I Do Not Believe:

Global warming/climate change being primarily driven by human influence
The USDA Food Pyramid as a guide to healthy nutrition
Intelligent Design as a scientific theory
String "Theory" as a scientific theory
The Iraq War was a Bad Thing
Government Bailouts help anybody at all in the long run except politicians
You (singularly or collectively) know better than me how I should spend my money.

Two Years Ago: Boulevard "Long Strange Tripel" ale

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On December 30, 2007, I posted:

Having completely recovered from my India Pale Ale experience the other night, I ready a glass of the third in the Smokestack Series of ales from Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company.

The Long Strange Tripel ale is lighter in color, and in flavor than either of the previous two entries in the Smokestack Series that I've sampled.  It is of course a more full-bodied beer than the mass market Bud/Miller/Coors stuff, and probably a bit more full than Boulevard's Wheat beer.  It is not bitter at all (danke Gott) and I deem it most agreeable.

Now, all I need is a Jackrabbits win in men's basketball vs. San Jose State tonight, and the evening will be complete.

Two Years Ago: Boulevard "Double-Wide India Pale Ale"

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On December 27, 2007, I posted:

I admit up front--I don't care for India Pale Ales.  I find them too bitter for my taste.  And the second in the Boulevard Brewing Company's Smokestack Series of ales doesn't disappoint there, with an IBU of 55, it's quite bitter to my palate.  But it shares a lushness with the previous entry, the Sixth Glass ale, and has a sweetness which is unusual in an India Pale Ale. 

Boulevard's web site warns that this one is "not for the pedestrian palate."  I'd have to agree there--if your tastes run to Bud or Miller or Coors or any of the mass-market American beers, you probably won't care for the Double-Wide.  If however you're a bit adventurous in your beer consumption, and don't shy away from sampling microbrews or obscure foreign beers, you'll find this one interesting at least, and possibly more.

Two Years Ago: Boulevard "The Sixth Glass" Ale

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On December 25, 2007, I posted:

First of a series of four "Smokestack Ales" from the beloved Boulevard Brewing Company right here in ol' Kansas City Mo.

It's . . . yummy.

Its color was a robust reddish-brown in the wine glass from which I partook of its charms.  It has a bit of a thick feel in the mouth, not at all bad.  A bit creamy, actually.  It has not a harsh taste in it at all, being a mellow, well-behaved ale--actually, a bit sweet.  The 750 ml bottle is not nearly enough but at the same time, probably quite enough for an evening's beverage enjoyment.  Trust me, you don't want more than one bottle, unless you're with friends.  Whoo, it's starting to take it's effect on ol' filbert here.   Very nice.  I'll be going to bed soon.

I'll give it a full 10/10.  Very, very good.  If you see it in a liquor/package store near you, snap it up.  Good stuff, Maynard.

Two Years Ago: Escape from KC

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On December 11, 2007, I posted:

Here's what the plan was: We would fly out on Tuesday afternoon, in order to be in New York in plenty of time to board our cruise ship on Wednesday for our 10-day Caribbean cruise. Everything was in order--hotel reservations, airline tickets, everything.

Then . . .


Ice storms are not good. Ice storms are bad. Ice storms are very, very bad. Ice storms are, if you will, not at all cool.

So, on Monday, the National Weather Service says "We're putting out an ICE STORM!!!!!! WARNING at 6 p.m. on Monday until noon on Tuesday." (They may have left off the all-caps and the extra exclamation points--I'm not sure.)


Snookums gets a call from her mother at about 9 a.m. Monday. "Your brother thinks we might want to get a hotel room next to the airport tonight." Since all of Kansas City is at least 30 minutes from the airport (and our house is closer to 45 minutes away), this is good advice. We decide to take it, so we get ready to bug out. Snookums' mom likes to worry about travel, so she's already on board with the plan. Snookums' dad is cool with it, and her sister, who has just arrived from Wichita, is up for the change of plan as well.

So, we get to the Airport Fairfield Inn at around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. We dump Snookums' parents in their room, dump our luggage (and Snookums' sister) in the other room, and head over to the airport long-term parking to drop off sister's van. Then we take the parking bus to the terminal, in order to transfer to the Fairfield's bus which will pick us up and take us back to the hotel.

In the meantime, we decide to check to see if we can check in. Snookums runs inside. I flag down the bus and ask the driver to wait. Snookums returns and says that all of the early morning flights on Midwest out of Kansas City for Tuesday morning are canceled. Well, our flight is an early afternoon flight. The check-in person told Snookums to call Midwest's reservation line.

She calls, finds out that there's a 6:50 p.m. flight on Monday night that has seats. OK, can we switch to that flight?

Sure! says the reservation agent. Do it! says me.

So, we hustle back to the Fairfield, burst into Mom and Dad's room, and tell them to pack it up, we're going to New York TONIGHT!  And BONUS! the Fairfield Inn doesn't even charge us for either room that we already messed up.  We decided we like Fairfield Inns.  A lot.  Go stay at a Fairfield Inn tonight.  For us.  For the children.

Anyway . . .

We get packed up, get on the Fairfield's bus, get to the airport, get checked in, have plenty of time for a sit down dinner, get on the plane, fly to LaGuardia, get in a cab that holds all of our luggage and a wheelchair, and get to our New York hotel like clockwork.

Oh, yeah, when we got to the baggage carousel, there is a TV screen of the next few Midwest flights.

The 6:30 a.m. departure from La Guardia to Kansas City is already canceled.

You know, every time since last Thursday when I've looked at the weather forecast for Kansas City, it's gotten worse. This time, at 11:45 p.m. Monday night, is no exception:

In the bizarre world of the NWS, "occasional" is more likely than "likely". Looks like KC's gonna get some freezing rain.

The more I look at that National Weather Service graph, the more I'm looking forward to the Caribbean.

Two Years Ago: The CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential Debate

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On November 28, 2007, I posted:

I don't think you could pay me enough money to watch what will likely be the most grotesque parody of serious political discussion since . . . well, since the CNN/YouTube Democratic Presidential Debate.

And no, I didn't debase myself by watching the Democratic one, either.

Upon further consideration, you probably could pay me enough money . . . but we're talking at least ten figures here.  And that still wouldn't make me LIKE it.

UPDATE:  Was I right, or was I right?

According to the industry magazine Advertising Age, I seem to have been right.
Again, I don't know that it's necessarily wrong to have opponents show up during these forums. But the problem for CNN is that it didn't do the same for the Democratic YouTube debate and it's just coming off a Las Vegas debate where it seemingly pushed a student to ask Hillary Clinton that ridiculous diamonds or pearls question (and included James Carville in the post-debate analysis). Like George W. Bush finding out which 30% of the country still supports them, then doing something to frustrate even those voters, CNN seems intent on finding its few remaining Republican voters and driving them into the arms of Fox News. (You just have to take a quick glance at Drudge to see how this is being played on the right.)

(Emphasis mine.  Hat tip Instapundit.)

Two Years Ago: The view from the other side of the world

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On October 22, 2007, I posted:

I'm traveling, so posting has been nonexistent for a while.  But now, I'm sitting in a hotel lobby on the side of the world that's in the light when it's nighttime back home in the USA, and it's a depressing thing.  No, not the hotel lobby itself, which is as fine as any you could hope for.   But this side of the world is ugly, nasty, poor, and heartbreaking.  It's disgusting, messy, and dirty.  But people live here, laugh here, have fun with friends here.

The news is filled with terror attacks, monkey attacks on city assistant mayors, more terror attacks, cricket, more terror attacks, Bobby Jindal, and more terror attacks. 

Time to start thinking about coming home.

Two Years Ago: The problem with health care

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On September 21, 2007, I wrote:

I've thought for a while now that one of the biggest problems with health care is the concept of insurance--private or public (Medicare).

John Stossel:

America's health-care problem is not that some people lack insurance, it is that 250 million Americans do have it.

You have to understand something right from the start. We Americans got hooked on health insurance because the government did the insurance companies a favor during World War II. Wartime wage controls prohibited cash raises, so employers started giving noncash benefits like health insurance to attract workers. The tax code helped this along by treating employer-based health insurance more favorably than coverage you buy yourself. And state governments have made things worse by mandating coverage many people would never buy for themselves.

That's the root of our problem. No one wants to pay for his own medical care. "Let the insurance company pay for it." But since companies pay, they demand a say in what treatments are—and are not—permitted. Who can blame them?

Then who can blame people for feeling frustrated that they aren't in control of their medical care? Maybe we need to rethink how we pay for less-than-catastrophic illnesses so people can regain control. The system creates perverse incentives for everyone. Government mandates are good at doing things like that.

Steering people to buy lots of health insurance is bad policy. Insurance is a necessary evil. We need it to protect us from the big risks--things most of us can't afford to pay for, like a serious illness, a major car accident, or a house fire.

But insurance is a lousy way to pay for things. You premiums go not just to pay for medical care, but also for fraud, paperwork, and insurance company employee salaries. This is bad for you, and bad for doctors.

(Emphasis mine)

We need to break ourselves of the habit of paying for routine health care with insurance, and reserve insurance for catastrophic care and for serious chronic conditions.