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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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March 13, 2008
And on the way home...
Filed in: Current Affairs

I'm normally still working late.

Tonight, I left the office and drove out to the entrance of the business park.

There, four or five of our local finest were blocking the intersection and had the spot-lights on full blare. A professional young policeman approached me and asked me where I was coming from - asked some further details about my building.

I asked him what was up.

He said "Someone brandished a shotgun in the lot next to your building a little while ago and attempted to steal a construction truck."

(I had noticed that there was a helicopter flying around for some period of time before I left the office.)

He told me as I left to be safe. I noticed at the other entrance to the park another full complement as well.

This is an example of the best kind of use of tax dollars. These fine young men and women give me good cause to feel safe. It's certainly no fun for them to be out late in the evening following up on someone who could be dangerous. Their professionalism and genuine interest in the welfare of the general public is a good sign that there are many things right in the world.

Thank you SPD!

Pulled by Emcee on March 13, 2008 at 01:48 AM
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March 12, 2008
Clinton distances from campaign staff, Obama follows suit...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics


In an unexpected move, Hillary Clinton has terminated her entire campaign staff.

"She just felt that it was important to distance herself from everyone involved with the campaign as a preemptive strike against controversial statements that anyone might make" said former campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson.

Patti Solis Doyle, former campaign manager, said "This is really for the best. Now we will be able to say what we really think without it impacting the campaign."

Mark Penn, former Clinton strategist, and Evelyn Lieberman, former campaign chief operating officer, issued a joint statement, saying "We are declaring war on the politics of personal destruction. David Axelrod and his ilk will have to look elsewhere to engage in the perpetual racist slurs that they've been projecting at our campaign. They'll have to create their own straw persons now."

Former general counsel for the campaign Cheryl Mills was not available for comment.

Following the Clinton news, Barack Obama's campaign issued a similar statement.

Former Obama media consultant, David Axelrod, said "We had actually come to the conclusion for Mr. Obama to distance himself from his campaign staff before the Clinton campaign made their announcement. We were just not able to notify everyone that they were terminated in time to make this announcement before they made theirs."

"From this day forward, anything that David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs, William Daley or any other former adviser or consultant to this campaign who says anything that is controversial in any way, Mr. Obama categorically repudiates." Axelrod continued.

"Further, Mr. Obama will not be answering any questions about this staff restructuring today", he continued, "please direct any questions that you have about this to me", adding, "this campaign can no longer be about who digs up more skeletons on who, or who continues to make the fewest slip-ups on the campaign trail".

When asked about how he could take calls on campaign issues if he was no longer the campaign media consultant, Axelrod said "Look, just because we no longer have the title doesn't mean that we can't volunteer to continue to support the campaign. That's what those Clintonistas are doing and you know it. Don't think for a minute that we're going to allow those racist thugs to shuck and jive their way out of supporting their candidate to avoid personal responsibility. We're much better at it than they are."


Pulled by Emcee on March 12, 2008 at 05:53 PM
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So what kind of league is the NBA?
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

It's where this can happen:

The Seattle Sonics have been in Seattle for just over 40 years! Going to be gone in 3, 2, 1...

If it can happen in the 15th largest metro market can it happen in yours?

H/T for AOL link: JJ

Pulled by Emcee on March 12, 2008 at 12:03 AM
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March 11, 2008
Japanese Antique Photo Album (Part 3)
Filed in: Art, ok maybe that's too strong a word, Current Affairs, Japan, Photography


The next picture is of a Tea House in Ueno during spring. (Note the spelling as 'Uyeno').


Unfortunately, the original photo was significantly overexposed so a good bit of the detail was blown out. The artist did an admirable job of providing some amount of detail.

I also converted the picture to LAB color (nothing to do with laboratory) and worked with some shadow/detail tools to bring out as much detail as I could from the original photo. It's not the best in the collection but I like the well, the rendition of cherry blossoms and those posed in the picture.

This is a good reference to the Japanese Tea Ceremony. And this one, perhaps focused a bit more on the spirit of the tea.

Pulled by Emcee on March 11, 2008 at 07:04 AM
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So what did you?... die or something? (Part 3)
Filed in: Current Affairs


Turns out that if we are doing a chemical test, then after the hunk of cheese - it's just back to picture taking again. No more adenosine. Whew!


I had follow ups to schedule of course. And a story to tell.

My first meeting was with the cardiologist.

He kept me in suspense for a little while. Eventually told me that as far as he could tell I was OK. We looked at ticker pictures. I asked him to explain them. I think he basically told me it was beyond my pay grade.

...Continue reading "So what did you?... die or something? (Part 3)"

Pulled by Emcee on March 11, 2008 at 03:25 AM
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March 10, 2008
Japanese Antique Photo Album (Part 2)
Filed in: Art, ok maybe that's too strong a word, Current Affairs, Japan, Photography


OK, here's the first one.


This is one of the few pictures in the album that doesn't identify its location. I don't recognize it. It's certainly a terrific example of a pre-Meiji period Japanese garden. And the costumes seem to fit the late 1800's time period these photographs were taken. It's also a significant posing effort. This was likely taken originally with a fairly big-box camera with relatively slow film. The people were posed with an aesthetic intention that is equivalent to the garden - fits with the Japanese way I think.

This is also one of the more realistically colored in the collection - i.e. less stylized.

The stone bridge in the foreground and the background looks particularly remarkable. I don't recall seeing any 'slab' style bridges in Japan. It may signal that this is a private garden in that slab bridges like that likely could not stand public traffic. That's just conjecture on my part.

For all of these photographs, I have scanned at at least 300 dpi resolution and used my standard smoothing filters in Photoshop. I've not modified the images in any way by hand.

What do you think?

Pulled by Emcee on March 10, 2008 at 06:54 AM
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And the Saturday Night Live Skit Goes To...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics

Parody often communicates truth with a stranger-than-fiction aspect.

Saturday's SNL skit continues a rather pro-Clinton series from the New York based show. Despite its comedic character, to me there's just a stark sense of reality to the projected Obama White House. Naivete in the current state of foreign affairs is absurd. And that's just the point.

The skit is evoking Hillary's recent 3 AM call advertisement. And she is taking the call. Taking the call as an adviser.

Hillary in night mask almost posits  “Bill! It’s for you!” as Dick Morris suggests.

In stark contrast, it's the missing party that comes to mind.

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 43% had seen at least part of the commercial which was played incessantly on news networks and other outlets for days. Another 16% had heard something about it and the overwhelming majority (81%) correctly identified Hillary Clinton as the candidate whose campaign ran the commercial (see the commercial).

The commercial was credited as one factor enabling Clinton to turn her campaign around in Texas last week. But, 42% of all voters said the person they’d most want to answer the phone was John McCain. Among all voters, 25% picked Clinton and another 25% named Obama as the person they’d want in the White House when a foreign policy crisis call arrived. [Ed: Emphasis added.]

H/T for the Dick Morris piece: JJ

Allah at HotAir has a pithy take as well.

Appears that Ed Driscoll beat us to the punch on the McCain obvious. Check out his mashup:

Michelle thinks it's ultimately the left hand wringing.

Pulled by Emcee on March 10, 2008 at 01:07 AM
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March 07, 2008
Japanese Antique Photo Album (Part 1)
Filed in: Art, ok maybe that's too strong a word, Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

Dear Mrs. Hapke has inspired me by scanning and posting a series of old post cards that she has. Things like this are nostalgic, yes, but they are also very interesting little captures of culture, maybe even art. I'm really enjoying seeing what she's putting up and am looking forward to her progress with them.

Last year (I'm pretty sure it was last year) I obtained an old Japanese photo album in an estate auction. It was one of those things where I low bid on the opportunity and lost to a higher bidder. Several months later the VP of sales of the estate auction company called me on the phone and told me that the deal had fallen through and I was next in line. "Did I want the album?" Well, erm, yes I did.

We completed the transaction and I could not have been more pleased with this collection when I received it. It's a bound album - but the backing has pretty much fallen off - the album 'cover' is made of carved and polished wood with a carved mettalic inlay - quite beautiful. The pictures were originally taken with standard silver emulsion type film and were all black and white.

The fascinating and unique thing about this album is that all of the photographs have been subsequently hand colored and are as much art pieces (in my opinion) as they are photographs.

I'll start with a scan of the album cover...


I couldn't scan the entire wood boundary in my scanner but I think you can get the sense of it. It's probably about a half-inch thick and the design is painted on the wood underneath the very thick resin or varnish coating. The bas-relef is carved out of some kind of metal and is embedded in the wood frame. I don't know what the process of creating the relief was but it's quite attractive.

There are around sixty photgraphs inside the album and I've scanned and worked on about a dozen so far. I think some of them are quite marvelous.

Are you curious to see them?

Pulled by Emcee on March 7, 2008 at 10:40 PM
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Eleanor Clift thinks it's the Algore...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics

In what has to be the most farcical suggestion during the presidential campaign so far, Eleanor Clift in Newsweek posits that after Obama and Clinton finish bloody and tired that the Algore will take the Dems home.

Wait, this is in the Onion right? Nope. Newsweek.

And Katrhyn Jean Lopez at The Corner thinks it's McCain/Clinton - with a sidelong smile of course (I'm hopey anyway).

Pulled by Emcee on March 7, 2008 at 09:59 PM
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March 06, 2008
Save our Sonics!
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

Among the many important things that were happening today, one VERY important event happened.

A local group has put together a deal to keep the Sonics basketball team in Seattle.

A lot will depend on the legistature and the league - but it seems like the pressure is on at this point.

If you are interested in what's been going on in the pitched battle the last few months...

Save Our Sonics

Sonics Central

Supersonics Soul

Pulled by Emcee on March 6, 2008 at 10:58 PM
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