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Posts from — March 2009

A Recommendation

If you don’t have a local source for bicycle parts, based on personal experience I can recommend Niagara Cycle Works. [YMMV, and they do sell through Amazon if you use that venue.]

I’m restoring an abandoned cruiser bike to usability, and while all I needed was a couple of tires and a properly sized chain, the parts weren’t available at a reasonable price, because of the additional special order charge at the local bike dealer.

They shipped what I ordered, which is something that rarely occurs these days, and, even with the shipping charge, it was cheaper than a certain national retailer that claims to have low prices. [A neighbor shops there based on that claim and swore he could get the parts cheaper – he was wrong.]

I would note that the national retailer only carried white-side-walled tires in the correct size, and I would have had to shorten the chain they sold to make it usable.

March 27, 2009   Comments Off on A Recommendation

Record-breaking Crest

The Red River has already risen above the 112-year-old record and is still rising. It is projected to stay at flood levels for up to a week.

The CBC is the go-to source for information on the flooding as they cover the event in the US, Record-high Red River prompts evacuations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and in Canada, Cold slows flooding in Winnipeg, but warmer days ahead.

The US coverage is centered on Fargo, as if the Missouri wasn’t also at flood stage, and pretty much ignores Minnesota and Manitoba. For some reason US editors have tunnel vision, and won’t deal with regional problems. The biggest city in an area is the only place that is apt to get mentioned.

March 27, 2009   12 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Nano Leopard

Friday Cat Blogging

Isn’t it dinner time?

[Editor: This is Froggy’s brother, Spot [for obvious reasons]. He is actually friendly.]

Friday Ark

March 27, 2009   10 Comments

Flood Update

Things are not looking good in Fargo, North Dakota, as some of the earthen levees are showing cracks and the Red River crest is now predicted at 43 feet.

The Red River flows North into Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, and Canada has its military on stand-by to help out. The Canadians have been battling ice dams that have been forming on the river.

Of course, to the East on the Missouri River, North Dakota and Minnesota towns are sandbagging their levees in hopes of protecting homes and businesses.

The temperatures in the area are around 20° which makes everything harder.

March 26, 2009   Comments Off on Flood Update


The taxpayers picked up the trillion dollar tab for TARP to bail banks out of their bad investments. With the Geithner plan we are on the hook for more of the same with BARF in an attempt to get market pricing on these assets. Now, as the Pensacola Beach Blogger and several others have noted, the Bank of America and Citigroup are using TARP money, that they were supposed to be loaning out, to cover the cost buying BARF targets.

As I’m sure Rook could tell you, drying out a drunk is a waste of time unless the drunk recognizes that they have problem and wants to do something about it. It is obvious that the management of BofA and Citi have no intention of changing. If they are truly “too big to fail”, there is no choice but to nationalize them. Frankly, I personally believe that this is beyond the limits of bad decisions into the realm of the criminal. This looks like an attempt to defraud the taxpayers.

Maybe if the top three layers of management at these banks spend some time in the criminal justice system, others in the industry will figure out that people have had enough of this behavior.

I couldn’t care less how Wall Street reacts. If Wall Street wanted to dictate behavior, they should have come up with the money for the bailouts.

March 26, 2009   Comments Off on Recidivism

What A Mess

From the Canadian province of Manitoba heading South there are rivers, the primaries being the Red River and the Missouri, overflowing their banks in a situation at least as bad as 1997, according to the CBC report: North Dakota declared disaster zone amid flooding.

There was an early freeze this year that sealed the ground, heavy snowfall, and now Spring rains. Just to make things worse, there’s currently a blizzard in the Northern Plains. In addition to the actual amount of water flowing into the rivers, there are ice dams forming creating ad hoc reservoirs that will dump into the rivers when they melt.

A number of areas have improved their individual flood defenses since 1997, which is bad news for those South of them, as the water that would have exited is now be held in the river, causing higher crests downstream.

Eventually everything will dump into the Gulf of Mexico, but not before it tests the levees all the way down the Missouri-Mississippi system.

March 25, 2009   4 Comments

Raptor Crash

F-22 Raptor

CNN is reporting that a F-22A Raptor went down at approximately 10:30AM [no time zone specified] at Edwards AFB in California.

It would probably belong to the 411th or 412th Flight Test Squadron. No word on the pilot.

Essentially we know that taxpayers are out $150 million for an aircraft and may have lost one of our best pilots.

Update: As I feared from the delay in reporting the status of the pilot, the CNN report now says the the pilot did not make it: “Lockheed Martin said the test pilot, David Cooley, 49, of Palmdale, California, joined the company in 2003 and was a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.”

March 25, 2009   8 Comments

Clueless In Escambia County

The Pensacola Beach Blogger noted that “Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan is so mad at county administrator Bob Laughlin that he broke a law of grammar.”

Following up on his “success” with the Sheriff, Bob has created a little problem with the County Commission over hiring a new deputy Escambia County administrator:

County Administrator Bob McLaughlin offered [Cindy] Anderson the job. While she has signed a letter accepting the job, the Escambia County Commission has not yet signed off. The position was eliminated last year. The Escambia commission is set consider the job April 2.

McLaughlin has refused to comment on the position, but county spokeswoman Sonya Daniel said McLaughlin has discussed the position with all five commissioners individually.

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March 25, 2009   Comments Off on Clueless In Escambia County

Out Of Koolaid?

The Local Puppy Trainer reports on a victim of Bushenomics: Destin radio station ceases broadcasts.

How bad was it? “… the station’s revenues have dropped by 75 percent due to the economic slump, the release states.”

There is dead air, where before: “The station aired syndicated talk shows from Glen Beck, Laura Ingraham and Alan Colmes.”

Alas, you would think in an area where Karl Rove has a vacation condo there would be more support for this programming. Maybe they should have held a few bake sales. 😈

March 25, 2009   4 Comments

The Apocalypse

In the weekly mailing of local ads there was a page of coupons for the Florida Lottery!

Times are hard when people don’t have a buck to throw away on an infinitesimal chance of winning millions.

[Note: one of my neighbor’s kids is learning to play the recorder. I have been hearing the same riff for three hours. Music is important, so, as much as I want to do terrible things to that whistle, I will maintain, or scream at the cats, or blog…]

March 24, 2009   21 Comments

Race Day 16 – Iditarod Finish

Red Lantern

Timothy Hunt (64)R 03/24 04:06AM AKDT 15 days 14 hrs 6 mins 22 secs

67 teams started with 1072 dogs; 52 teams with 575 dogs finished including 8 rookie teams.

7 rookies and 8 veterans had to drop out.

Weather was a major factor, with heavy snows just prior to the start of the race, followed by relatively warm weather, and then the brutal wind chill along the southern route and up the coast. There was a 50° temperature swing, not counting the wind chill.

Update: List of Awards for this year’s race.

The City of Nome Lolly Medley Golden Harness Award Winner– Originally presented by the late Lolly Medley, Wasilla harness maker and one of two women to run the second Iditarod in 1974. The award honors an outstanding lead dog, chosen by the mushers. This year’s recipient was Kuling a 9 year old member of Jessie Royer’s team from Fairbanks Alaska. Kuling has completed seven Iditarods and led her team to an 8th place finish in 2009. She was Jessie’s lead dog for all seven of her Iditarods.

March 24, 2009   Comments Off on Race Day 16 – Iditarod Finish


The BBC says they are calling it the Public-Private Investment Program, but it’s Baldrick’s [Timothy Geithner] cunning plan to clean up bank balance sheets.

They are building a “Bad Asset Relief Fund” to create a Septic Bank to deal with the paper, and they say it is undervalued.

First off, no one knows how to value this stuff, because there has been no clear explanation of what they are trying to sell. No one wants to buy it, because they don’t know what they would get for their money. There is no market for these things because people have finally figured out that the people who were selling them lied about what they were selling.

What has been proposed is that the government will loan investors the majority of the money to buy this garbage, and if it turns out to be worthless, the loans don’t have to be paid back.

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March 23, 2009   3 Comments

The Earth Burps

The BBC tells us why monitoring volcanoes is important in its report on the eruption of Mount Redoubt in Alaska.

John McKay has a lot of background and maps on the eruptions in his Boom! post. John has family in the area.

While they talk about “ash”, think powdered glass, and remember that you need something with the hardness of diamonds to cut glass. This stuff does nothing good for living things or machinery. It destroys jet engines. The Air Force has put its aircraft under cover at Elmendorf AFB outside of Anchorage to protect it from the ash.

This is well South of the area where the Iditarod is ending, but it will be a pain for teams returning to Wasillia, Willow, and Anchorage, as well as anyone who wants to fly out of the Anchorage airport.

March 23, 2009   2 Comments

Morning Update – Rachael’s In

Just after 3 4AM CDT:

45 Rachael Scdoris (58) 03/23 12 01:08:50AM AKDT 14 days 10 11 hrs 8 mins 50 secs.
[Someone forgot to change their clock. Now Rachael can look forward to the 3000 mile road trip to take her dogs back to Bend, Oregon.]
46 Tim Osmar (57)
47 Wade Marrs (48)R

White Mountain: [Noon CDT the group is headed for Nome; at 9PM CDT they had finished]

48 Trent Herbst (20)
49 Michael Suprenant (11)R
50 Eric Rogers (60)

Out of Elim: [Both out of White Mountain at 8PM CDT]

51 Heather Siirtola (63)
52 Timothy Hunt (64)R [Red Lantern]

Heather Siirtola must have really been wiped out; she spent 28 hours at Elim before leaving just behind Timothy Hunt just after midnight AKDT.

Scratched at Shaktoolik: Alan Peck (32)R was looking at about two days on the trail alone. Finishing would have been nice, but the winds really beat up on him and his team.

March 23, 2009   Comments Off on Morning Update – Rachael’s In