carbon neutral since 1975

Month: July 2008

Supper Club?

What in the world is a supper club? You see these things everywhere and you wonder. You do not have to buy a membership. It is open to the public, right? Well, I do not have more than ten experiences in a supper club, but with those few experiences, I can say that to me it means a restaurant that has a pretty tasty menu of steaks and seafood with your choice of potato and bread with copious amounts of butter. I can say that it means a restaurant whose wood is as darkly stained as its carpet. * Neither has been updated in 30 years.

A. W. informs us that his grandparents went to the supper club at 6:00 p.m. sharp every Saturday evening and if you were not in the car at 6:00 p.m., you were not going to the supper club. At the supper club, they drank cocktails at the bar for some time and told stories. They ate a meal with all of their fellow supper clubbers and talked a lot more.

* proper thanks to M. G. for an apt simile.

Update: we visited the Silvercryst Supper Club in Wautoma recently and that’s what got me thinking on this subject. I ordered the sirloin and can agree with their advertisements. They have great steak.


Probably one of the more interesting down-homeisms I learned from Dad during my rearing was “That’s about as useful as teats on a bull.” Well, I was reminded of said witticism just the other day when I happened to catch a snippet of Barnyard on Nickelodeon. Lo, there were useful teats on a bull. I say useful because they were on an udder, presumably producing milk. I also say on a bull, but if you had asked the artists or writers of Barnyard, you would have been told he was a “boy cow.” Apparently Barnyard features bulls as well; but calling an animal a “boy cow” is tantamount to calling it a “boy girl.” Otis the "boy cow"

At best, this is confusing and misleading for children. I imagine most adults who care about such things will find it asinine. Besides the obvious complaint about how everyone is getting so citified he can’t tell the difference between a cow and a bull, and besides the standard excuse that “cows don’t walk on two feet and talk either,” I am afraid I have to ask the question everyone else is thinking, but is afraid to ask: is the creator of this movie trying to ambush us with a trans-sexual bovine?

Two days after my encounter with Barnyard, I read a report from the drive-by media about a Dead Sea tablet casting doubt on the resurrection of Jesus. Among other things, the article tells us that a Professor Knohl says “that the text ‘could be the missing link between Judaism and Christianity in so far as it roots the Christian belief in the resurrection of the Messiah in Jewish tradition.'” Really? This is news? Again I have to ask the obvious question: don’t these people realize that Jesus’ death and resurrection were predicted thousands of years earlier in the Old Testament and everyone else already knows this?

The moral of the story follows: Discounting the comic spectacle, the drive-by media are about as useful as teats on a bull.

What about Gas Mileage?

I was monitoring a discussion of mpg at I think folks are generally grateful to be getting 20 mpg in something as awesome as an Xterra (a little more in the 2nd generation), but everyone wants to save these days. One guy pointed out that he generally gets in the low 20s mpg and has gotten as high as 26 in his X using so-called “hyper-miling” techniques, most of which are just common sense things like accelerating slowly, driving slower, and coasting and timing lights.

On our fishing trip I tried to follow a few of these rules, including holding a constant throttle on hills instead of using the cruise control and drafting behind M’s F-250. I got 16.4 mpg pulling Dad’s 18′ boat and that included a lot of fire lane driving and a tiny bit of off-roading. Excellent.

Now that got me to thinking that all of these mileage quick-fixes you hear about are kind of like fad diets and diet pills. Everyone wants to buy a hydrogen generator or a hybrid or nitrogen for his tires or whatever quick fix to save a few gallons of gas when most all of those things will not save you money, even in the long run. If you want to actually save money, you have to not be in a hurry all the time; you have to do simple things like drive the vehicle you already have, slow down, drive shorter routes that may take longer, and carpool.

Footnote: Also, it may help to find a fuel station that sells ethanol free gas. Usually you can find one that sells 93 octane ethanol free (I need 92 octane or more for the supercharged Xterra), but here and there you will find a hidden treasure — the ethanol free gas station.

Supreme Court / Second Amendment

For me, an interesting thing that has come into focus after this recent “2nd amendment ruling” by the Supreme Court is the way that we hear people discuss it. Unless you’re listening to a [C]onservative, you’re going to hear someone discuss how this ruling will affect public safety and mayors and states and subsequent law-suits and what not. But Conservatives are discussing how the ruling is important because it was based on constitutionality.

On the NPR drive home last night (see previous post), they had a segment about a few different Supreme Courts since Kennedy and how that one was a little more liberal and this one was a little more conservative and the other one was such and such. Well, the classification was completely based on “policy” questions like abortion, gun control, and civil rights and they never once touched on the constitutionality of those decisions. Well, this is the real tip-off to liberal media bias — not so much liberal policy preferences — because this is the foundational difference between conservativism and liberalism. So even if they were showing a preference for “conservative” policies but discussing the court’s decisions based on policy preferences, they’ve got a liberal slant. On NPR, they were actually saying that today’s court’s conservative slant (close, but not quite) was a reaction to the liberal court of the 70s. They had no clue that we simply have four judges who are judging cases according to the constitution and the law and four black-robed tyrants and one who wakes up and decides which side to be on depending on how he feels.

Although few people have probably heard him do it (unless they listen to Rush), this is the important point that the esteemed Justice Scalia has been preaching — that is, that judges have no business injecting their “personal policy preferences” (Scalia’s words) into their decisions. They are supposed to be judging, not legislating.

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