10/09/2011

Summer weather has returned to Lake Winnipesaukee, with temps both yesterday and today well into the 80's. It has certainly had an effect on both the tourist trade, with leaf peepers showing up in increasing numbers, and summerfolk working to close up their camps and cottages for the winter.

Yesterday one of my friends posted on her Facebook page that it was what she called “a Donzi day”, meaning rather than working to get her boat pulled out of the water and prepped for winter storage, she was going to spend the day out on the lake. It wouldn't surprise me is she spent today out there as well.

The vehicular traffic has been heavy since Friday for the aforementioned reasons. It certainly has been heavy at the public boat ramp and docks in our town, with a lot of people pulling their boats out of the water for the year and many of the islanders going back and forth between their cottages and their cars and trucks on shore as they move stuff out in preparation for shuttering their places for the winter as well.

It seems strange for them to be doing that considering the warm weather, but then that's New England for you.

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Speaking of the summerlike weather, you'll get no complaints for us in that regard. Last year we started heating The Manse with the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove at the end of September. This year we might make it until the end of October before we need to fire it up. In light of that, we do have an appointment for the chimney sweep to clean our woodstove chimney this coming Friday. We're also making preparations for the delivery of the first of the four cords of wood from Farmer Andy sometime later this month.

We still have just under a cord left over from last year that I'll need to restack in the garage to make sure it's accessible. And like last year we'll have at least a cord and a half stacked outside after all four cords are delivered. And like last year we will use the cordwood stacked outside first before pulling from the 3+ cords inside the garage. That way we won't have to go outside during the coldest and snowiest part of the winter to get firewood.

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Why doesn't it surprise me that solar panels don't work as well as the public has been told?

Like any product, particularly something as sophisticated as photovoltaic panels, the specifications tend to be optimistic, based on 'perfect' conditions. However there are very few places where perfect conditions exist for any length of time. For instance, here in New England we have to worry about obstructions such as leaves (shadowing the panels or covering them during the fall) and snow. The short daylight periods during the winter certainly decrease their capacity just when they're needed most.

Should we abandon such technology? No. I think there's still years of research and development needed to bring them to the point where they are more cost effective and efficient. Right now they aren't, despite the fact that they are being used across the globe, particularly in places where traditional power grids aren't available. But at the moment they require government subsidies to continue production, meaning they aren't ready yet. If they were, they wouldn't require any government incentives at all.

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Now that the media is paying more attention to the Occupy Wall Street protests, there's a few things I'd like to point the protestors are overlooking.

First, perhaps they should be protesting along K Street and the outside the Capitol Building in Washington DC. That's where all the problems started. Maybe they've chosen to ignore Barney Frank's and Chris Dodd's contribution to the whole mess, between Frank's denial and unwillingness to deal with Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's financial shenanigans and the horrid Frank-Dodd bill that pushed banks to do what they are now being demonized for.

Maybe they should protest outside Bill Clinton's offices (where ever they happen to be), because he helped set up the financial collapse by signing the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had kept commercial and investment banks as separate entities. Once that separation was removed, the funds and assets of the two operations could be blended, which in turn allowed the investment sideto use depositor money in risky investments, like the fatally flawed Mortgage Backed Securities being packaged and sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

And maybe, just maybe, they should realize it is corporations that create almost everything these protestors use every day. Make the corporations go away and all of their fancy iPads, smart phones, laptops, cars, trucks, latt├ęs, blue jeans, and so on will go away, too.

Oh, and let's not forget the astroturf protesters. You know, the union folks out there with their union-shop printed signs bused in to the protests, as well as the non-union protesters hired by some of the protest organizers?

Doug Mataconis has his own take on the ongoing protests, wondering if it's really a protest or a temper tantrum.

One of those he quotes decries the fact that she will be thousands of dollars in debt with few job prospects once she gets her BFA degree. I have to ask her this question: “What did you plan to do with it once you got it?” Unless she was planning on a career in academia or a museum, I don't know if too many other businesses out there looking for someone with a BFA.

Cap'n Teach also adds his 3¢ worth on the subject.

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Harry Reid's problem? Like too many in Washington he's willing to give up long time Senate rules for short term gains. Now that he's pulled the 'nuclear' trigger, the Senate is now no different from the House, removing its oversight from House actions and silencing any minority opinions. It's become the House-Lite, with 335 fewer members. That's going to backfire on Reid in the Democrats in the future.

Maybe it's time to restore the Senate to its original function and repeal the 17th Amendment. Or maybe it's time for Harry Reid to retire.

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The New England Patriots played the New York Jets in Gillette Stadium this afternoon.

There has been a long running rivalry between the two teams for years. Some of that may have to do with two of the Patriots head coaches – Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick– both came to New England from the Jets.

It was a back and forth game, with both sides making mistakes and drawing penalties that hurt them. In the end the Patriots won 30-21.

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Oh, yeah, like this is going to help the economy and consumers:

EPA regulations will shut down 28 Gigawatts of electricity production.

Maybe it's time to tell the EPA to shove it. After all the EPA has been told by both Congress and the Federal courts they do not have the power to apply the Cross State Transport Rule in the fashion they've been using it, giving unrealistically short deadlines (6 months) to implement changes to bring them within compliance.

Call it yet another FAIL for the Obama Administration.

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Can we now make sure that tolerance is a two-way street? At the moment, it isn't, as demonstrated by these two incidents.

First, a student at the University of Minnesota – Duluth was accosted by a Black Panther because he was handing out pocket-sized copies of the United States Constitution. This was followed up by the UMD Director of the Office of Cultural Diversity questioning the student about whether he was part of a white supremacist group. When he answered in the negative, she responded “It looks like one.” (See the video at the end of the linked post.)

Second, in Wisconsin a man was attacked by a Muslim for supposedly criticizing Islam, which the victim denies. This begs the question: “Will the attacker be charged with a hate crime? Probably not. You see, he's really the victim here. Islamophobia and all that....”


Indeed. Like I said, it appears tolerance is a one-way street in America.

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Fred Lapides links to a great piece by Albert Clawson, explaining his job as a “closer”, someone who inspects homes that have been foreclosed upon by a lender. As he explains:

I am the final period on so many significant chapters. I feign dispassion, but I’m not fooling anybody. There is no difference between myself and these people.

The house keys are peeled from a ring. Sometimes they thank me. Sometimes they cry. I wait for their car to vanish before I put up the sign. To most everybody else it is just another house on just another block in just another city in just another financial catastrophe.

But I was there. I saw the dream end.

At least I don’t make them turn out the lights one last time as they leave. That’s my job.

That's one job I'm not sure I could do. I would feel too much empathy, would be able to put myself into their place, feel their anguish, their sense of loss.

As the saying goes, Read The Whole Thing.

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Now that he's settled any doubt about whether he will run for the GOP nomination for President, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has plenty of work to get back to in his struggling state.

There are still billions in pension shortfalls to deal with, a poor business environment due to the heavy taxation imposed upon businesses and residents, struggling schools, cash-strapped towns and cities now paying the price for decades of fiscal mismanagement at all levels, and unfunded state mandates.

If he can pull this off I'd say he'd be a shoe-in for the GOP nomination should he decide to run in the future.

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I plan on performing the last mow of the lawn for the year tomorrow. Normally I would have done it today, but there are one or two sections that require two of us to handle because of the steep slope. While mowing the slopes can be done by one person it takes a lot of extra effort and entails a lot more danger, and these days I much prefer the safe route. And since BeezleBub was working at the farm today and has the day off tomorrow, it seemed prudent to put it off until then.

We will also be trimming back the sumac along one edge of our lawn, It's been growing like a weed (because it is one), and it's been choking out the other trees we want to grow in.

After all of this is done, the Official Weekend Pundit Lawnmower will have its winter storage maintenance performed (change the oil, drain what little gas is left in the fuel tank, spray some Marvel Mystery Oil in through the spark plug hole on the cylinder head, replace the spark plug). After that it will be relegated to the basement until next spring.

One thing I have been considering doing that I haven't done the past few falls – install the driveway edge reflectors on our driveway.

We have a very steep driveway and unless you are familiar with it it can be daunting for someone driving down it the first time. For the uninitiated it can feel like you're driving off the edge of a cliff when you first start down the slope. With the reflectors in place a driver will have some feedback showing them there is actually a driveway on the other side of the dropoff.

The reflectors also serve a secondary purpose by showing us where the edge of the driveway is after a snowfall, giving us some guidance when were out clearing it with the soon-to-be new Official Weekend Pundit Snowblower.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summer weather has returned, the summerfolk are leaving, and where I have the day off tomorrow.