Thursday, May 31, 2007

First 100 Degree Day of 2007

Temperatures today reached 101 degrees this afternoon. Our first 100+ degree day of 2007. It certainly won't be the last. If this is a usual year we should have at least 100 more of them this year.

So far it has been a mild spring season. Last year our first 100 degree day was May 11th. Most years we don't get to June without at least one 100 degree day. This year we almost made it.

I have enjoyed our mild spring so far. My dear wife says that a mild spring usually leads to hotter than normal summer. But I figure it all this global warming means longer milder spring times than I'm all for it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Forever Stamp

The United States Post Office has come out with a new stamp. The forever stamp will not have a price posted on it. You buy the forever stamp at the current first class postage rate and the stamp is good for first class postage – forever. Even if the first class postage rates go up, your old forever stamps are still good.

I like this idea. Not because I intend to stock up and save money once the rates go up. But this way I don’t have to count how many stamps I have laying around and then go buy enough one or two cent stamps to make them all good. I’m still trying to use up the last of my 37 cent stamps, not to mention my 39 cent stamps.

USPS Forever Stamp

I have heard several people saying that they plan on stocking up on the new forever stamps so that when the postage rates go up, they will be saving money. I have a better plan. Just save your money. Buy stamps when you need them and invest the money that you would have spent on stamps so that it is earning some interest or dividends.

Now before I go too far with this I should explain – I’m not an investment banker, a financial analyst or a stock broker. I’m just a guy who did a little simple math and decided that I don’t think that stocking up on 41 cent postage stamps is going to be a good hedge against inflation.

Let’s look up a little data, and then make some assumptions. Over the last 5 years, postage rates have gone up 4 cents. The last 10 years – 9 cents. 15 years – 12 cents. 20 years – 19 cents and so on. On average the postage rates tend to increase a little less than one cent per year. So I’m going to be pessimistic and assume that they are going to go up 1 cent per year every year.

Since I need a place to start, let’s assume that you use about 5 stamps per week, or 260 postage stamps per year. That seems to be about what my family goes through with birthday cards, Christmas cards, and the miscellaneous items that we still need to mail each week. The number used to be a lot higher, but with online bill paying, I only have to mail about one check per month.

If I use 260 stamps per year, over the next 5 years I would need 1300 stamps. If I buy forever stamps now, those 1300 stamps will cost me $533. But since I expect the price of postage to go up 1 cent per year, if I wait and buy my stamps as I need them over the five year period I would pay $559 for my stamps. So buying a five year supply of forever stamps now will save me $26 over the next five years.

Well, I have a different suggestion. Instead of spending $533 on 1300 stamps that will sit in my drawer for five years I plan on buying about 260 stamps each year as I need them, and investing the rest of the money in an account that earns at least 4% compounded monthly. That way my invested money earns enough interest that I can pay the income taxes on my earnings, and still earn enough to cover the increased cost of the postage increases.

So how could I lose or win in these situations? If the postage rates don’t go up one cent a year, then I’m money ahead. If they go up more than one cent a year they I’m going to wish I had bought 1300 stamps when I had the chance to. If my investments earn more than 4% then I’m money ahead, if they earn less, then I’m behind again. If the Democrats get their way and my taxes go up then I lose.

Of course I will try and be smart about buying my stamps. If in August the Postal Service tells me that the first class postage rate is going up 2 cents in November and I know I need 100 stamps for Christmas cards. Then I will buy my stamps before the price increase. What idiot wouldn’t? I think everyone understands the concept of “On sale.”

So is it a good idea to stock up on forever stamps or not? Like everything else in life there is no clear cut answer, which, by the way, I’m getting tired of. I miss the good old days of my youth when my decisions were much easier. Do I whack my sister when she pisses me off and then let Dad wail on my butt when he gets home, or should I just go outside and blow the heads off her Barbie dolls with my left over 4th of July firecrackers and risk Mom yelling at me for days if I wasn’t able to blame it on the kid across the street.

Never mind, I guess the decisions I had to make a child weren’t all that cut and dried either.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Math Can Save Your Life

My dear wife sent this to me...

I was riding to work yesterday when I observed a female driver, who cut right in front of a pickup truck, causing the driver to drive onto the shoulder to avoid hitting her. This evidently angered the driver enough that he hung his arm out his window and gave the woman the finger.

" Man, that guy is stupid," I thought to myself. I ALWAYS smile nicely and wave in a sheepish manner whenever a female does anything to me in traffic, and here's why:

I drive 48 miles each way every day to work.

That's 96 miles each day.

Of these, 16 miles each way is bumper-to-bumper.

Most of the bumper-to-bumper is on an 8 lane highway.

There are 7 cars every 40 feet for 32 miles.

That works out to 982 cars every mile, or 31,424 cars.

Even though the rest of the 32 miles is not bumper-to-bumper, I figure I pass at least another 4000 cars.

That brings the number to something like 36,000 cars that I pass every day.

Statistically, females drive half of these.

That's 18,000 women drivers!

In any given group of females, 1 in 28 has PMS.

That's 642.

According to Cosmopolitan, 70% describe their love life as dissatisfying or unrewarding.

That's 449.

According to the National Institute of Health, 22% of all females have seriously considered suicide or homicide.

That's 98.

And 34% describe men as their biggest problem.

That's 33.

According to the National Rifle Association, 5% of all females carry weapons and this number is increasing.

That means that EVERY SINGLE DAY, I drive past at least one female that has a lousy love life, thinks men are her biggest problem, has seriously considered suicide or homicide, has PMS, and is armed.

Give her the finger? I don't think so.

I actually drive only about 3 miles to work each day in light traffic. So my odds are significantly better, but I opt for caution anyway.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rachel is Back

Rachel Lucas was one of the first blogs that I started reading. She was caustic, irreverent and totally un-PC. Also, if she didn't invent the phrase "asshat" she certainly used it enough to make it her own.

Then several years ago Rachel quit blogging. For a while I really missed her daily rantings. Then I found other blogs to read. But few of them were as entertaining as Rachel was. I still remember the day I removed the link to her blog from my links list. It was like pulling the plug on a brain dead loved one. I finally had to admit that she wasn't coming back and it was time to quit hoping she would suddenly wake up and start writing again.

Rachel claims that this time she won't be so political. Yeah right. But I'm willing to wait and see.

So check out Rachel's new site at:

I should warn you that Rachel sometimes uses some rather colorful language. So if you find that sort of language offensive don't click on the link above.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dolphins Finally Wake Up?

I think that someone on the Dolphin's staff may have finally gotten their act together.

Last week news was released that Ricky Williams the Dolphin's persistant drug abuser failed his 4271st drug test.

Alright that may be a slight exageration, but the Dolphins have given Ricky Williams more than enough chances. It's time for this team to finally cut their losser running back loose and move on.

Today when asked about Ricky Williams' most recently failed drug test Coach Cameron replied:

"I will not allow our fans to be let down by people that are not on our roster -- not again,'' Cameron said. "It's my responsibility not to let that happen. We have the greatest fans in the game, and we've got men on our team that we're going to focus on.''

Maybe the Dolphins will finally send Ricky Williams on his pot smoking way and get down to the business of trying to rebuild their football team.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vote For Wyoming

We're in the finals folks and need all your votes.

Most Dominant College Mascot on Earth: Spartans vs. Cowboys

So get clicking and vote, as many times as thier system will legally allow you to.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Friday, May 11, the Washington Post carried an article by retired Army officer Ralph Peters about how our military should be Relearning the Art of War. Colonel Peters issues a rather biting assessment of Congress and many of our military high command.

IN his remarks at the Pentagon yesterday, President Bush stressed two things: The troop surge - which still isn't complete - must be given a chance, and the Democrats need to knock off the shenanigans and vote our troops the funding they need to fight.

On the second count, Congress is behaving disgracefully. Guess I'm a slow learner, but it took me until now to realize that when Pelosi, Reid & Co. chant "Support Our Troops!" they're talking about the enemy.

That may sound harsh, but it's true. There is no way that today's morally bankrupt Democratic leadership is going to sit by and let George Bush win this war. They have too much political capitol invested in making sure GWB, and by extension all of America lose. It is the only way they can be seen as winners.
As the generals who led infantry platoons and companies in Vietnam fade from the ranks, we face an incongruous situation in which our lieutenants, captains and majors are combat veterans, while the generals above them never fought in a direct-fire engagement or led daily patrols through Indian country.

Junior officers now have a better grasp of what war means than Army generals do. Platoon leaders want to win. The generals want to make people happy.

Too many Americans have forgotten what fighing a war is like. It is not pretty, it is not clean, and it is not without cost. I grew up listening to my Grandparents talk about the sacrifices they made to support the war efforts in WW1 and WW2. When is the last time you were asked to sacrifice anything for the sake of this war. All the American people have asked to give is our unwavering support to our military. Not just lip service support from the likes of Queen Pelosi and Prince Harry Reid.
Whatever happens in Iraq, the core lesson isn't that such conflicts can't be won - that's nonsense - but that you can't win if you're more concerned about placating your critics than about defeating the enemy.

Our troops know how to fight. Their leaders don't.

The worst part of this is that the worst leaders we could ask for, our democratically controlled Congress now wants to take over control of this war. On so many fronts this will be a disaster of nation shaking porportions. Pray that GWB keeps his veto pen inked up and enough of our Congresscritters come to their senses and manage to keep all the lose at all cost bills from passing.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Martian Sunset

Now this is cool...

martian sunset

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Global Climate Change?

We have been hearing a lot lately about global climate change. Actually we were hearing a lot about global warming. But since comedians kept making jokes about Al Gore giving global warming warning speaches while it was snowing outside the environmentalists have started calling it global climate change instead. I have more to say about this topic, but still have several things left to get finished up for my middle school volleyball team before next thursday, so I'll write more later. In the meantime here is an article you should read.

The Faithful Heretic
is about 86 year old Reid A. Bryson the father of the science of modern climatology.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Almost 40 years ago, Bryson stood before the American Association for the Advancement of Science and presented a paper saying human activity could alter climate.

“I was laughed off the platform for saying that,” he told Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News.

In the 1960s, Bryson’s idea was widely considered a radical proposition. But nowadays things have turned almost in the opposite direction: Hardly a day passes without some authority figure claiming that whatever the climate happens to be doing, human activity must be part of the explanation. And once again, Bryson is challenging the conventional wisdom.

“Climate’s always been changing and it’s been changing rapidly at various times, and so something was making it change in the past,” he told us in an interview this past winter. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?”

“All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd,” Bryson continues. “Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air.”

Little Ice Age? That’s what chased the Vikings out of Greenland after they’d farmed there for a few hundred years during the Mediaeval Warm Period, an earlier run of a few centuries when the planet was very likely warmer than it is now, without any help from industrial activity in making it that way.