Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a relatively uneventful weekend here at The Manse. Probably the most exciting thing was Deb and BeezleBub's trip to Hampton Beach for the day Friday. (Both of them had the day off.) Of course where BeezleBuib goes, so goes Horse Girl. At least it wasn't as trying as it might have been until recently as she's been shorn of her leg cast, making it easier for her to get around and allowing her to go swimming for the first time this summer.

On the other hand I spent my time working on the decks here at The Manse. The prep work prior to staining has taken far longer than I had anticipated, but seeing how good the wood looks now I can say it was worth it. While I could have taken a shortcut by using a chemical stripper, the lengthy precautions required before I even applied it made me rethink that strategy. Not that I'm not going to use it, but I will apply it only in places where other means are too lengthy or too difficult to achieve the results I desire. And even had I used it I still would have had to sand the deck surfaces to smooth them out considering how much of a beating they've taken over the past three years.


It's also NASCAR Weekend here in New Hampshire, with the first of two Sprint Cup races this season taking place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. To say the traffic has been insane would be a major understatement. Just running a simple 20-minute errand to the local hardware store yesterday turned into a 45 minute ordeal with bumper to bumper traffic on the major thoroughfares. Even the local airport was jammed, with numerous bizjets from the NASCAR teams and their sponsors taking up every available space on the ramp.


Eric the Viking gets into a little linky love showing just how awesome our President really is!


David Starr has been doing his part in northern New Hampshire, manning a political phone bank and making calls to potential voters. His take? People's minds are already made up.

Says Dave: “[T]here are a LOT of ardent Democrats out there who are gonna vote Obama no matter what.” Just like the good little Obamabots they are.


There's also this from David as well, where his local cable company has stopped carrying the local TV station (WMUR), meaning he has no means of watching the local (meaning New Hampshire) news.

This is something that has been happening all across the country as TV stations that were once glad that cable systems were carrying their signal at all (it meant more viewers without the need to spend any money) are now charging cable systems and satellite carriers to rebroadcast their signals. In some cases the demands were too high and the cable companies stopped carrying them. (One of the latest has been DirecTV pulling all of Viacom's programming from their lineup because Viacom wanted way too much to carry their channels. Viacom's lineup includes such popular channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.)

This is something that will be happening more often as content providers ask for more money from cable and satellite companies.


In line with what's been happening in northern New Hampshire (as well as a number of other places around the country) and the dispute between Viacom and DirecTV, a lot of customers are asking why they have to pay for channels they don't watch just in order to get the channels they want. They'd prefer a la carte programming, allowing them to choose and pay for only the channels they want. However, as appealing as that sounds (even the cable companies like the idea), content providers like Viacom, Discovery, and so on offer their channels in bundles, meaning it's an all-or-nothing contract. The content providers even dictate which of their channels go on to the various programming tiers offered by the cable and satellite carriers. The argument has been made that by doing so niche channels that would not otherwise survive can remain on the air. Maybe the content providers are looking this the wrong way.

If a niche channel cannot survive on its own, then maybe it shouldn't, at least not on cable or satellite. I can see providing some start-up capital to get going and some kind of support for a limited period of time. But if it can't survive after that time then it's likely there isn't enough (if any) viewership to allow it to continue. Or maybe it should be a narrowcast, using the Internet and operations like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes to provide the program to those who really want to watch the 'channel'.

Something has to change in the business model presently being used by content providers and carriers or they won't survive.


As Scary Yankee Chick asks, “Remind me again why putting corn in everything was a good idea?”

With the drought being worse than predicted, corn harvests are expected to be off. In turn we can expect higher food prices across the board and corn-derived ethanol prices will rise as well.


Earlier I had commented upon how NASCAR weekend has been playing havoc with traffic. I thought it would have settled out once the race itself was under way. Nope. Not even close.

The clueless and inattentive drivers were still out there this afternoon as I had to run yet another errand to the local Wally World. Folks just weren't paying attention to what they were doing, where they were going, or the various traffic signs (including speed limit signs, with some folks driving 30mph in a 55mph zone). This inattention also extended itself to parking lots where I saw almost a half dozen almost collisions on my walk in and out of WalMart.

These folks have got to get a grip.


It looks like the Obama campaign is hedging its bets when it comes to speech venues.

Rather than going to some of the larger institutions of learning like George Mason University, he's been stumping at places like Centreville High School in nearby Clifton, VA.

As one of Glenn Reynold's readers e-mailed:

The Obama supporters who came to the rally at Centreville High School in Clifton, VA (Fairfax County) came from outside the voting precinct. Many drove cars with Maryland license plates and none of them were recognized by the 100′s of neighbors who turned out to protest Obama’s tax increases. The Obama rally was a terrible inconvenience as streets were closed and traffic stacked up, preventing residents from leaving or returning to their homes. And it appeared there weren’t even enough Obama folks to fill the high school gymnasium.

That does not bode well for Obama.


Speaking of Obama, it seems he's caught the Elizabeth Warren disease. You know, the one that makes people like Warren claim that no one ever built a successful business without the helping hand of government. Hmm. I always thought they built successful businesses in spite of government.

Government isn't necessary for anyone to build a successful business. However the Left will claim that without government there would be no roads, no electricity grid, no water, no sewer, no nothing. And while technically correct, those are the expected functions of government. They weren't doing the businesses any favors. And in more recent business expansions the developer usually pays for infrastructure to be added (those self same roads, electricity, water, sewer, etc), not the government.

And it's true that no business succeeded without the help of others, but those others were usually private institutions or businesses like banks, venture capitalists, consultants, and so on. Not one government agency is involved in any of that (except to take their cut, of course).


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the roar of Sprint Cup cars and bizjets have faded away until September, the warm and humid weather is back, and where our big deck is one day closer to being stained.