May 23, 2006

Beastly Dates Ahead

Owlish relates a conversation with someone concerned about the impending 6/6/6 date. Of course the world didn't end on June 6, 1906 (or 1806, or 1706, etc.) And which number of the beast applies? Some early manuscripts of the Revelation make the number 616, others 666. So look out on June 1. Unless you're someone other than a US civilian, since the rest of the world orders their calendar dates differently, and your world didn't end on January 6.

Posted by JohnL at 09:29 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack

The Safety Nazis

Well, I've been pretty incommunicative around here recently. Sorry about that, but I've had my hands full with my job, family, and fighting a [so far losing] battle against the safety Nazis in Texas government.

Virginia Postrel has already posted a good wrapup, and I can't describe the situation better than Tim Rogers at D Magazine. Seriously. Go read those before you continue, or it might not make sense.

Back? OK. I would only add that Reason's Hit and Run recently referenced a Baby Blues cartoon that perfectly describes the current trend of protecting our kids out of their childhoods.

As I've written before, I'm a board member for The Texas Pool (whose website I happened to design and author during my copious free time).

For four and a half decades, the pool has operated without any diving board injuries that would have been prevented by the new regulations. When looking at the cost-benefit analysis of the new FINA-derived standards, it seems that our benevolent state government believes even one potential injury sometime in the future would be too many. That of course disregards the many risks that responsible individuals take and allow their kids to take every single day. I put my kids at greater jeopardy every time I drive them to school. Or let them ride their bikes to school. Or even let them walk across the busy street to school.

But what really cranks me is that this regulation was slipped through on the sly. There was no public comment and no public record in the Texas Register of any kind of justification for the retroactive application of the new depth and spacing standards to existing diving facilities. Also, the standards come from a set of rules governing competitive diving. It's HARD to hit the bottom of a 10-foot pool unless you dive with a really good form, and kids doing cannonballs is hardly good form (I doubt most of them ever get below 5 or 6 feet).

So how can you begin to fight the professional government inflicted on us by the late 19th-century progressives? Our approach is really two phases (possibly three): (1) ask the State Department of Health to reconsider their decision not to include a grandfather clause for existing facilities, (2) ask our state legislators to overrule the administrative agency, and apply a grandfather clause, and (3) initiate appropriate litigation, contingent on finding an interested pro bono firm.

This would be a great opportunity to try out an "Army of Davids" approach. I can't really take the time to research the epidemiology of diving board/pool depth injuries and in any case don't have ready access to a university library with medical or sports injury journals. But from everything I've read to date, there's no real evidence of significant danger, even from a 3-meter diving board, when the diving well is at least 10 feet deep (as is ours). Most injuries occur in less than 5 feet of water.

Would any of my intrepid readers like to take on a pro bono research project? I already have some leads (authors, journal and article titles). I'm totally serious. If so, contact me at

I will be blogging more, on this and other things.

Posted by JohnL at 09:06 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack

Faster Than the World

Michele Catalano's back, and though her current URL still contains "A Small Victory," she's changing the moniker of her blog to "Faster Than The World." Expect a new address in the near future. She has a co-blogger (aka "the turtle") and is narrowing her focus to rock music and muscle cars. Check it out.

I always did like her music posts best.

Posted by JohnL at 09:04 PM | Comments (2) | | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Mars and Venus

The Phantom Professor has a knack for writing something entertaining about the things she overhears. Yesterday's post about an overheard conversation in her health club was no exception.

(She's definitely got the male mentality figured out.)

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May 16, 2006

Photoblog - An Afternoon at the Pool

On Sunday, I gave my wife some quiet time for Mother's Day by taking the kids down to our neighborhood pool. It's a nonprofit, open-membership community pool, and I've been on its Board of Directors for 2 years now (we were members for several years before that). It happens to be called The Texas Pool on the Creek. Can you guess why? (Click for larger).


Board membership entails lots of maintenance work, especially as the opening of swim season approaches (we open May 27). One of the benefits of board membership is free access to the pool throughout the year. We drained the pool this week for some maintenance work, and began refilling it on Sunday. The kids have a great time running and sliding down the deep end slope into the slowly rising waters:


And tormenting each other (humorously):


It was a very good day.



(Do the pictures look too blue? I haven't mastered Photoshop Elements yet).

If you live in the Dallas/Plano area, we still have plenty of memberships available, and you can register online. Check it out.

Posted by JohnL at 09:13 PM | Comments (4) | | TrackBack

May 14, 2006

Tongue Tied and Twisted

Lots to say, but no time to say it, really. Hoping to reengage here really soon.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of that new Burger King commercial (I Am Man, Hear Me Roar), found thanks to Lynn:

Nothing much to add, except to note that the product being hawked is NOT the Massachusetts Double Whopper. I wonder why.


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May 08, 2006

They Are Made Out of Meat

Check out the winner of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame's Short Film Festival, They Are Made Out of Meat, based on a short story by Terry Bisson.

The guy in the fez was Francis Dolarhyde in the excellent 1986 film, Manhunter.

Posted by JohnL at 08:48 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack

May 01, 2006


Wow, I just passed the 200,000th unique visit to this site.

The visitor dropped in from Chicago looking for Captain Kirk images, and left looking at Tina Louise.

If you are an Ameritech user with an IP address that starts with 68.72, send me an email with the next 3-digit number in your address, and I will arrange to send you an appropriate gift.

Sorry that I have been such a negligent host around here recently. Thanks to everyone who continues to drop by for the airplane pictures, the SF babes, and the Heinlein quotes.

Posted by JohnL at 10:03 PM | Comments (5) | | TrackBack

Heinlein Quote of the Month (May 2006)

I'm sure I've featured this quote before, but its meaning will become abundantly clear later this month when I divulge what's been taking so much of my time recently. Sorry to be cryptic, but all will be clear sometime around May 20. And I apologize for the length of this one, but it's hard to cut it down (although only the bolded portion will go on the sidebar).

It takes place after the Loonies win their independence from Earth and start "governing" themselves:

Hadn't realized "Free Luna" was going to have taxes. Hadn't had any before and got along. You paid for what you got. Tanstaafl. How else?

Another time some pompous choom proposed that bad breath and body odors be made an elimination offense. Could almost sympathize, having been stuck on occasion in a capsule with such stinks. But doesn't happen often and tends to be self-correcting; chronic offenders, or unfortunates who can't correct, aren't likely to reproduce, seeing how choosy women are.

One female (most were men, but women made up for it in silliness) had a long list she wanted made permanent laws--about private matters. No more plural marriage of any sort. No divorces. No "fornication"--had to look that one up. No drinks stronger than 4% beer. Church services only on Saturdays and all else to stop that day. (Air and temperature and pressure engineering, lady? Phones and capsules?) A long list of drugs to be prohibited and a shorter list dispensed only by licensed physicians. (What is a "licensed physician"? Healer I go to has a sign reading "practical doctor"--makes book on side, which is why I go to him. Look, lady, aren't any medical schools in Luna!) (Then, I mean.) She even wanted to make gambling illegal. If a Loonie couldn't roll double or nothing, he would go to a shop that would, even if dice were loaded.

Thing that got me was not her list of things she hated, since she was obviously crazy as a Cyborg, but fact that always somebody agreed with her prohibitions. Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws--always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: "Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I know I should stop." Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them "for their own good"--not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.

- Manny in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Posted by JohnL at 08:53 PM | Comments (0) | | TrackBack

59 Things

Via fellow Texan, Rightwingsparkle, here are some of the 59 things a man over 30 shouldn't do. The complete list of 59 is here.

I just recently turned 38, and have bolded the ones that I have, in fact, done:

Not bad, I guess.

Posted by JohnL at 08:50 PM | Comments (3) | | TrackBack