Monday, January 30, 2006


I want to introduce you to Gus Van Horn's meme game. If you are a reader, feel free to comment on this post. If you are a fellow blogger, you could write your own post if you want and then send a trackback link. I will update the post during the week...

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life

  • Paperboy in my teens. [Editor's comment: Do you remember Paperboy?]
  • Purchaser of frozen food.
  • Purchaser of raw materials for the production of welding electrodes.
  • Cost analyst at a welding manufacturer in America.
  • Now: Job seeker and small business owner.

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have

  • Winslow Boy.

  • Chocolat.

  • Jour De Fete.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Four Places I Have Lived

  • Manchester, New Hampshire, USA.
  • Troy, Ohio, USA.
  • Sopron, Hungary.
  • Now: Gothenburg, Sweden.

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch

  • Jeeves & Wooster.

  • Yes, Prime / Minister.

  • Fawlty Towers.

  • Black Adder.

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation

  • Hong Kong (1992).
  • Houston, Texas (1996).
  • Lake Balaton, Hungary (2005).
  • London, England (several times).

Four Websites I Visit Daily

Four Favorite Foods

  • Sushi.
  • Kellogg's All-bran fiber bar.
  • Finn crisp bread.
  • Chile pepper.

Four Favorite Beers

  • Guinness.
  • Nutfield Black 47 Stout.
  • Leffe Blonde.
  • Pilsner Urquell.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

  • Somewhere in America.
  • Somewhere in Canada.
  • London, England.
  • Sopron, Hungary.

Four Peo--

  1. XX.
  2. XX.
  3. XX.
  4. XX.

For more on this topic, go The Daily Meme.
Technorati tag: .

UPDATE 02/01/06:

I am keeping myself busy with the preparations for opening our place called Blue Chip Café on March 1 (at least getting the keys and having access to the facility on this date), but I had to "remove my nose from the grindstone" for a short moment... [Editor's comment: Various bureaucrats could delay our planned date of opening, but we will do everything in our power to make it happen a.s.a.p.] I see that Ian Hamet of Banana Oil! has tagged me.

Stay tuned, I will sooner or later write about Danish bacon, "Hamastan," and evil stuff going on in Communist China...

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Have you heard about MorriS Outlook?! ;)

I haven't had time to blog so much this week. I have been very busy with my start-up business and it will be even more hectic in February. We will open the doors to the public in March, if everything is going according to the plan.

I will write posts on and "Hamastan"... I have to try to blog about some positive things also, e.g., BB&T Corporation's stance against eminent domain. Otherwise it is a risk that I will get in a grumpy mood...

UPDATE 01/30/06:

Morris is the Cat of the Week! Check out the Carnival of the Cats #97 at This Blog Is Full Of Crap. [Editor's note to Laurence Simon: Do your cats drink milk? I bet Arla has plenty of milk in stock at the moment...]


It looks like Chipotle will be a hot and sizzling stock. Could it be that the speculators are back in business? I wonder if McDonald's is planning to take stakes in other fast food companies in the future. The Swedish hamburger chain, Max, is growing very fast in Sweden and has become a popular contender to McDonald's.

Here is an excerpt from the article, Chipotle's Chef Has His Payday.

Ells, 40, has come a long way. A 1990 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Ells cooked for two years at Stars, an acclaimed restaurant in San Francisco. He then returned to Colorado with the aim of opening a high-end place of his own. Chipotle (pronounced chi-POAT-lay) would be his "cash cow" to underwrite it. Instead, the burrito joint, named for a dried pepper, became one and then two and then four. Now, the chain boasts 489 outlets and an estimated $600 million in annual sales. This year, it will open at least 80 more. (, 01/27/06.)

As a "chilehead" and lover of chile pepper (including dried and smoked varieties like chipotle), I am sure that I could become a Chipotle Fan.

Fresh and dried chile pepper.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Favorite Comic Artists And Illustrators

***Martin gave me privileges to post to EGO awhile back. Since he is head down with work, I thought it would be a good time to contribute once again. This post from my blog seems to be EGO-worthy. Enjoy***

Myrhaf shares his top ten favorite comic artists here.

I am not into the comics that much, but I do like good illustrators so my interest is piqued from time-to-time by comic artists.

Andrew Loomis is my all time favorite from the Golden Era of Illustration.

From today's comic artists there is only one -- Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows. I do collect his stuff.

Yes, I have a crush on Brandy.


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn.

Google tops the list of topics for this week's edition of "Around the Web".

Google stands up to its own country's government.

Blair at The Secular Foxhole points to a Slate story about Google's refusal to turn over records of your browsing to the Feds. From the story:
[E]very single search you've ever conducted--ever--is stored on a database, somewhere. Forget e-mail and wiretaps--for many of us, there's probably nothing more embarrassing than the searches we've made over the last decade. Google's campus LCD sounds like it's just fun and games, but when a search can be linked to you (through the IP address recorded by Google), that's a lot less fun. And when, as we're seeing, it can all be demanded by the government, that's no fun at all.
I would be glad that Google is doing this were it not for the fact that....

Google is kowtowing to the Red Chinese.

Via Matt Drudge, it turns out that Google has agreed, for the short-term goal of increasing its customer base, to help strengthen a country committed to stopping the unimpeded flow of information (aka Google's lifeblood), not to mention compromise its reputation as a reliable information provider in the process.
By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world's most populous country.

Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google's China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered lengthy delays in response time.


To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country's government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisions on guidance provided by Chinese government officials.

Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, some topics, such as Taiwan's independence and 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects.

Google officials characterized the censorship concessions in China as an excruciating decision for a company that adopted "don't be evil" as a motto. But management believes it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

"We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy counsel. [all bold mine]
So let me get this straight. The way to make a search engine "more widely available and easier to use" is to cripple it. I guess that would follow from the same sort of logic that would interpret "don't be evil" as "help strengthen an oppressive regime".

Ian Hamet comments, "The Chinese will not respect you for this. Read The Art of War. They won, and got you to give them the victory on a silver platter. You are now the Communist government's bitch, whether you know it or not."

Precisely. Except that Google have also just told every thug in the world that they are potentially their bitch as well. I now prefer to think of Google as the "sweetheart of the world's cell block".

Which makes me think that ...

The Google Founders Deserve a "Hippy"

Nick Provenzo over at the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism, has proposed three new awards: (1) The Tonya Harding Award for Achievement in the Advance of Antitrust. (2) The Hypocritical Capitalist Award for Making a Lot of Money While Undermining the System that Made it All Possible. (3) The Looting Politician Award for Unprecedented Generosity with Other People's Money.

Of the second award, the "Hippy", he writes:
The "Hippy-Capitalist" should bring attention to the businessman or woman who does the most to undercut (or perhaps misdirect) the moral case for capitalism, yet makes a pile of money for themselves regardless. For this honor, its going to be hard to beat Microsoft's Bill Gates, who along with his wife Melinda, have given millions of dollars in handouts to relieve African poverty while simultaneously ignoring the fact that Africa's woes are caused by dictatorship, tribalism and the absence of the rule of law. There are other businessmen and women out there who are at least deserving of Honorable Mentions, and I ask your help in finding them.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin must have gotten wind of this competition and decided to give Bill and Melinda Gates a run for their money. Forget Honorable Mentions. For pretending that a communist dictatorship is just as good a place to do business as the United States of America, .... For showing the thugs of the world that you'll stand up to them only so long as they do not threaten your short-range profitability.... For pretending that censorship is perfectly compatible with the business of providing fast and accurate search results.... I nominate Larry Page and Sergey Brin for the first "Hippy Capitalist" Award.

As a sidenote, I have the following question for Page and Brin. Is the only thing stopping you from divulging our search results to the government the fact that it hasn't threatened you enough?

That's what I have concluded from Google's actions over the past couple of days, and that is what any power-lusting government functionary who wants to make a name for himself will conclude, too.

Fighting on the Home Front

Robert Tracy relays an amusing and encouraging story from Jack Wakeland about a counterprotester who has found an interesting way to aid the war effort.
A pro-American activist "Concrete Bob" acquired demonstration permits for last Friday night for the curbs in front of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. By applying for the permits before the "Code Pink Women for Peace" did, he pushed them a block away from the hospital...and out of sight for the severely injured soldiers back from Iraq, who are being treated there (including some of the 350 or so amputees the war has produced among American servicemen and women).

"Concrete Bob" is fighting on a front that is becoming as important as Falluja, Tal Afar, Baghdad, and Wiziristan. He's fighting against the anti-American fifth column, their champions in the MSM, and their champion on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He's fighting to keep Congress from de-funding the war in Iraq and handing victory to al Qaeda, Iran, the Islamists of Iraq, and the Bathists of Syria and Iraq.
And speaking of America's fifth column....

Who is William Blum?

I was going to blog this myself, but Grant Jones beat me to it. Daniel Pipes wrote a column on the first author to be featured in Osama bin Laden's Holy Text of the Month Club. Quoting Pipes:
Asked if he was queasy about bin Laden's urging listeners to read his book, Blum replied: "I'm not repulsed, and I'm not going to pretend I am." Quite the contrary, he said: "I'm glad. It's good publicity for my book." And, indeed, it was: Thanks to bin Laden's promotion, Rogue State ascended from 205,763 to 26 on's ranking of most-ordered books.

Blum explained his response by saying he found bin Laden no worse than the U.S. government: "I would not say that bin Laden has been any less moral than Washington has been." He even refused to distance himself from bin Laden's views: "If he shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views." [link omitted]
Pipes makes the point that the left is functioning as a valuable American ally of the Islamists on the home front and underscores his point by noting that "Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal, and their ilk have lavished praise on his work."

Hmmm. In light of the fact that bin Laden and Noam Chomsky have both recommended Blum's book: Would Chris Matthews have gotten away with saying, "Bin Laden sounds like Noam Chomsky?"

That was, of course, a rhetorical question.

-- CAV

This was posted in advance.


Today: See more on at i, Egoist.

Monday, January 23, 2006


We will have our own tea and coffee blend at Blue Chip Café. [Editor's note: The web site will be ready next month.] Our main supplier of tea, coffee and biscotto is working on different blends, but feel free to give suggestions on blends that you would enjoy. Maybe we should test Bourque Newswatch Blend (Sumatran, Santo Domingo, and Guatemalan Antigua)? Do you know any blogger who is involved in the coffee and tea trade?

I am searching for an espresso machine (max. 2-group) at a good price.

For more on coffee and tea, check out Robert Badgett's Coffee eJournal and Christine Torres's Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea.


Sunday, January 22, 2006


I sent a virtual thank-you note to Christopher Columbus and then started the popcorn maker.

Do you like popcorn?


Is Morris moving to Jermyn Street in London?

Box from Charles Tyrwhitt.

Check out Thomas Mahon's blog English Cut.


What will happen with the Japanese Internet company Livedoor and the stock exchange? You could see that the blogosphere is buzzing...

Posts that contain Livedoor per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

In the news:

Here is an excerpt from Lost Budgie's post, Japan Stocks in Trouble, Yahoo Down 12% Overnight - Tulips, Anyone?

It seems that someone has misplaced 300 BILLION dollars in just three days: equivalent to the annual gross domestic product of Sweden. Three days.

One company - Livedoor - is the focus of attention and a police investigation, but there are other rotten eggs in that basket too - not to mention Japanese real estate. (, 01/18/06.)

UPDATE 01/23/06:

In the news: Livedoor CEO Horie to be arrested - Reuters.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


I have added a new category called Affiliate Programs. I have used several different affiliate marketing programs in the past.


It was time to harvest the hottest chile pepper in the world and make a simple dip sauce.

Hot Tepin

The Spicy Food Lover's Bible and Blair's Habanero chips.

Take two Hot Tepin fruits and chop them finely.

Mix together with sour cream.

Serve together with chips and rooibos chile "tea" (read: tisane).

Friday, January 20, 2006


FYI: The woman in the new Body In Mind ad is the Page Three girl, Nikkala Stott.



I read in the Swedish business newspaper, "Today's Industry," that the "swimsuit king," Panos Papadopoulos relaunches the Miss Sweden competition.



This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.


I look forward to the first issue of The Objective Standard. I have placed an order for a trial issue of the Axiomatic magazine. I want to renew my subscription to The Intellectual Activist in the near future. Please feel free to support my reading by "dropping cash," clicking on the PayPal button under the Support category, or transferring money via StormPay.


In the news: Swedish women tricked into terror camps.

Two young Swedish women trying to escape forced marriages were recruited by terrorist organisations and forced to spend up to nine years in training camps in the Middle East, it has been claimed.

The women were reportedly approached by men and offered help to escape their marriages. They were told that they would be sent to work in refugee camps in the Middle East run by an international organisation. But when the women arrived, it transpired that the camps were military training bases for a terrorist organisation, Swedish Radio reports. (, 01/20/06.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006


If Osama bin Laden is still alive, could he be hiding in Iran? From Peter Bergen's article, The Long Hunt for Osama.

Iran is another area of concern. Since early last year a number of important al-Qaeda operatives have shown up in Iran, a country that, according to one U.S. intelligence official, some in al-Qaeda envisaged as "an administrative hub" for the group. U.S. officials told me that Saif al-Adel, the No. 3 man in al-Qaeda's hierarchy; Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the group's spokesman; Muhammad al-Masri, an important al-Qaeda trainer; and Abu al-Khayr, one of al-Zawahiri's deputies, have all been apprehended by the Iranian authorities. What the Iranians plan to do with their prisoners is something of a mystery. "We wish we could predict how this is going to turn out," one U.S. official says. (, October 2004.)

Read Thomas Holsinger's post, The Case for Invading Iran. [Via InstaPundit.]


Here is an excerpt from Scott Holleran's interview (Renaissance Man) with Lasse Hallström.

Box Office Mojo: Why did you move to America?

Hallstrom: For the adventure. In 1987, I think I had the fantasy of becoming an American filmmaker. Doors and possibilities opened for an American adventure. I was hooked. I had kids who went to school here and had roots. And, then, suddenly I had no strong [pangs] for Sweden. We go [to Sweden] for three months of the year and it doesn't feel as dramatic when we have to go back [to the United States]. I may soon become an American citizen with dual citizenship. (, 01/18/06.)

I have listed Chocolat as one my favorite movies. Which is your favorite film?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn.

Perfect Send-up of Hillary!

Cox and Forkum must have read my mind when I heard about Hillary Clinton's ridiculous comparison of the House of Representatives to a plantation.

Blogroll Addition

Via Secular Foxhole, I have learned of yet another rather promising Objectivist blog of the political/social commentary variety, this one by a retiree in Detroit, who calls his blog Mike's Eyes. In this post, Mike's eyes close and he has a dream about division of labor.
I would like to tell you how I see news reporters in general. See, to me news reporters are akin to pizza delivery guys. When a pizza delivery guy is on my porch, I give him the money and he gives me the pizza and he leaves. He does not stand on my porch and give me an in-depth analysis of the nature of pepperoni and how it should be digested. That's not what I'm paying him for. It's also not what his boss is paying him for. Now if I call his boss and ask if it's ok for the guy to give me such an analysis, I'm sure he would agree, for a fee of course.
I enjoy looking at the world through Mike's eyes, whether they are open or shut. And now I'm blog-rolling Mike's Eyes. (I can hear the groaning already. Couldn't resist the silly pun.)

More on McCain-Feingold

I recently posted some thoughts related to the left's ongoing campaign to stifle freedom of speech, and two other bloggers in my neighborhood made further points that I think are worth mentioning. First of all, the Resident Egoist makes the following excellent point.
I'd like to note that this continuing loss of freedom in the intellectual realm is nothing but a consequence of the now almost-complete process of interpreting away the concept and principle of the sanctity of property rights from the Constitution. Without property rights, no rights can be practiced in reality at all ....
In addition to freedom of speech being attacked via property rights, it is worth noting, as Myrhaf does, the danger of the incremental nature of the attack.
Incrementalism is a very real threat to American freedom. Ben Franklin said "It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part." When the income tax started it was something like 1%. The politicians who suggested putting a cap of 10% in the law were laughed at; no one seriously thought the income tax would grow to such an outrageous burden as 10%! Today the top rate is, I believe, 39.6%. What would have sparked a revolution in the 18th century is accepted today.

That's why it matters to oppose laws such as McCain-Feingold. Once we learn to live with them, then the statists push for the next incremental intrusion on our rights. And then the next and the next....
And so we have a perfect storm brewing: Already-accepted violations of property rights are about to be used as an excuse to erode away our freedom of speech before we are any wiser.

And if none of this makes any sense to you, read the article at City Journal already!

And our corporations aren't being very helpful, either.

And on the subject of incremental attacks on freedom of speech coming from our government, some of the very beneficiaries of the confluence of Reagan's deregulation of electronic media and the computer revolution are busily undercutting freedom by aiding and abetting dictatorship. An article at The International Herald Tribune discusses which companies and how their flirtations with foreign despots will come back to haunt us here.
Some Westerners will shrug their shoulders, filing Internet censorship in their mental index of Chinese human rights violations. Despite its rapid economic expansion, they presume, China is at best a second-world country when it comes to sophisticated technology.

But Beijing has the very best help. Some of the world's most famous Internet companies have lined up to show China how to cripple the Web.

A partial list includes Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Skype. Each has its expertise. Google removes from its Chinese site whatever the Chinese deem politically sensitive. According to Reporters without Frontiers, "Cisco Systems has sold several thousand routers to enable the regime to build an online spying system and the firm's engineers have helped set it to spot 'subversive' key-words in messages."

In 2002, Yahoo signed a document called a "Public Pledge on Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry." That agreement led to disaster for Shi Tao. Shi, 37, worked for a business daily. On April 30, last year, he was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for revealing a top state secret, to foreign Web sites. The secret was an official warning to the news media on the threat to China posed by dissidents returning to mark the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen killings. Yahoo and Cisco furnished the technology that permitted the security services to identify Shi.


Americans who think that in any event China is far away may be jolted by this suggestion from Rebecca MacKinnon, a former foreign correspondent in China now specializing in Internet censorship: "If these American technology companies have so few moral qualms about giving in to Chinese government demands to hand over Chinese user data or censor Chinese people's content, can we be sure they won't do the same thing in response to potentially illegal demands by an over-zealous government agency in our own country? Or will we all sit there like frogs in water being brought very slowly to a boil?"
This last paragraph is particularly alarming in light of the left's campaign finance jihad against freedom of speech.

The Ratchet of Statism

Only one thing can surpass both (1) the protracted effort some are willing to take to increase the power of the government, and (2) how quickly that power can expand, and that would be the epochal time scale needed to repeal such power once it is codified into law. Reader Hannes Hacker sent me the following story:
One of the charges [on a phone bill] is a 3 percent fee on every cell phone bill in America. The origin of the tax predates the invention of the cellular phone by nearly a century.

Annie Brinkman and her friend, Stacey Lemle, don't know it, but every time they use their cell phones, they are supporting the war effort -- the Spanish-American War.

The 1898 war involved Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

The fee began as a luxury tax on phones at the turn of the 19th Century. And we're all still paying for it today.
I'll take his word for it.

If you've ever wanted to go spelunking in the Moonbat Caves of Kos, but didn't want to deal with the guano, Myrhaf has a virtual tour for you. Hilarious.

Tech Notes

One of my new year's resolutions is to find ways to blog more efficiently. Thanks to this comment by the Resident Egoist, I am now able to save an enormous amount of time and headache in the matter of keeping up with the numerous blogs and news sources I like to follow. I am now using the web-based news aggregator Netvibes to keep up with most of the news sources I track all on one page.

This is so convenient in and of itself that it would be worth the effort for that alone, but it also can be set up to do numerous other useful tasks. For example, I have a the three-day forecast in one corner of the screen, a web search tool (preconfigured with my choice of Google, Yahoo!, Icerocket, or Wikipedia), and a to-do list. I just set this up yesterday and haven't even looked at all the other things Netvibes can do. (You could just about run your life with it already and lots of other features are in the works.) The interface is obscenely easy and unobtrusive. My main complaint is that its updating process occasionally will slow my browser to a crawl for a few seconds from time to time, but that is a small price to pay for the amount of time I don't have to spend clicking on blog links. A feature I wish it had, multiple pages, is on the way.

Today, I finally installed Firefox 1.5. I wasn't unhappy with my older version of Mozilla, but I was curious to see what the fuss was about. Big step up. By a happy coincidence, Curtis Weeks over at Phatic Communion happened to post about his experiences with a Firefox blogging plug-in called "Performancing". I have long been unhappy with the editing tool in Blogger, but not quite unhappy enough to migrate away. I came up with one plan to solve that problem, but it may be awhile before it will pay off. This might be a good stopgap (or even permanent) way to edit blog posts without all the hassles of Blogger.

I'd hoped to report on a test drive here, but I am still awaiting my email registration confirmation. Hmmmm.

Cinema Notes

Over at Literatrix, Jennifer Snow gives a very thought-provoking review of King Kong, which I have yet to see. I recall seeing the thing get uniformly (almost suspiciously so) glowing reviews before its release and then do the familiar huge first night followed by a sharp decline in revenues, typical of an over-hyped movie. And then this review by Scott Holleran sealed the deal for me. I decided I'd just skip it.

But now Jennifer's intriguing take has me wanting to at least rent it on DVD.
What is the theme of King Kong? Masculinity.

There is only one female character in the movie, Ann Darrow, and the plot revolves around her completely, but her only purpose is to provide a contrast so that you can understand the workings of masculinity in its proper context. Without anything to compare it against, namely, femininity, the idea of masculinity is meaningless. Femininity is not explored, but simply presented as a generalization in the person of Naomi Watts' character.

Each of the different male characters embodies some aspect of masculinity; all failed or succeeded to the extent that they approached the ideal. Jack Black's character Carl Denham was the perfect archetype of drive and ambition, ...
Very interesting, especially what she says about Kong. Read it all.

She also has posted a spot-on discussion of body "art".

Dalton's Law

I enjoyed this post by Andrew Dalton about how leftists use language.
Then I realized that there is a whole array of words and phrases like this: not only root cause, but also diversity, sustainability, and proportional response. All of these terms have broad meanings in everyday English. But when used by a leftist, they are actually Trojan horses for a specific worldview.
In the comments the question of what the various modified forms of "justice" (e.g., "social justice") came up. Dalton replied, "I was thinking of 'social justice,' too, but that's more conceptually complicated (i.e., the semantic trickery is more subtle) than the buzzwords that I mentioned."

Or perhaps, coming from the mouth of a liberal, all adjectives that modify abstract terms simply mean "not"....

Dropping Moral Context

Recently, but for the life of me I can't remember where, I read someone say of the Abramoff scandal that the focus on that lobbyist is causing people to forget about all the people who accepted the bribes.

Eric Scheie makes a similar observation in the realm of aesthetics.
O'Reilly's guest, one Clarence Jones, maintained that the [cultural] "cesspool" consisted of the usual gangster rap style music which degraded women. If he'd stopped there I'd certainly have seen his point, and I have absolutely no problem with people who dislike the cultural tastes of others condemning either them or their tastes. But this guy was not acknowledging that the rap music fans' taste was their own. Instead, he maintained that "industry executives" were responsible. [link dropped]
Isn't it interesting that the self-appointed elites both deride the taste of the unwashed masses and absolve said masses of responsibility for tastes?

How to Annoy a Libertarian

Nick Provenzo's answer is simple: "Have standards." He writes about reaction to a recent post of his about primitivist American Indians, and the context reminded me of an episode from my own life about a decade ago.

I was married to someone else at the time and her father was a Libertarian, and not one of the better kind at that. He had a marked tendency to proseletyze, especially to me even though I always made it clear I was not a Libertarian and was not interested. He would frequently, just to show that he lived up to his idea of "down-to-earth", I suppose, use epithets to describe Ayn Rand.

This often made familly gatherings quite annoying, but it yielded high entertainment value the last time I ever saw him. On this visit, he had decided to use my fractional Amerind heritage as a hook to get me interested in some Libertarian Indian activist. (Dan Means, if I recall the name correctly.) During his "Dan Means trip", I kept pointing out how the various stands this guy took contradicted individual rights. Finally, in frustration, he thundered, "This is not about individual rights."

Then he realized what he had said. His expression was priceless, not to mention the blessed silence that followed.

There was no need for me to say anything else. That conversation ranks as the most pleasant I have ever had with that sort of Libertarian.

-- CAV

Friday, January 13, 2006


Will Pope Benedict XVI help Tariq Aziz move to Sweden? The former Iraqi deputy prime minister is used to Swedish hospitality. He has participated in propaganda TV in Sweden.

Related: My post, DECK OF CARDS.


The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is published. The report is directed by Babson College and London Business School. I think that the report could be discussed at a future IdeaTank meeting at Blue Chip Café. Here is one thing in the report that I want to have an answer to: Why is Venezuela having the "highest level of early-stage entrepreneurial activity" in the world?

Venezuela, where around a quarter of the population are involved in some sort of entrepreneurial activity, came top of the list. In second place was Thailand, with 20.7%, and third was New Zealand with 17.6%.

At the bottom of the list were Hungary, Japan, Belgium and Sweden, where less than 5% of the population is involved in starting a new company. (, 01/12/06.)

[Editor's comment: So, I am pretty unique here in Sweden then...]

I am preparing for my role as a barista by reading The Perfect Cup by Timothy James Castle. Hugo Chávez is having problem with finding the coffee beans... [Via Publius Pundit.] Maybe I should test some coffee from Nicaragua. [Via InstaPundit.] I am going to try Kona coffee from Hawaii, e.g., Lafayette Coffee Farm.

UPDATE 01/15/06:

Thanks to A.M. Mora y Leon of Publius Pundit for answering my question.

Excellent post, Martin. There's an easy reason why Vz has entrepreneurial activity: Hugo Chavez drove all the legitimate businesses out of business through his anticapitalism policies and forced thousands of people in the streets to be Chiclet-sellers. He can't create jobs and poor people are desperate. That's why Caracas is awash with informal-sector street merchants known as buhoneros. It's only because they can't get real jobs and they are desperately poor and there is an oil boom that this vast informal sector has formed. Chavez has great designs about getting them under state control however. (01/14/06.)


What do you think of the new ad banner on the top of this page? With Chitika eMiniMall you get a description and reviews of a product. You could click on a tab for "best deals" and you could also search for other products. Chitika has been late with the payments, but is now catching up with the transactions for November and December. [Via Jen Sense.]

Get Chitika eMiniMalls

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

When it rains, it pours! On top of going to the dentist in the middle of a very busy week at work, half the bloggers I follow put up some really good stuff. Let's see how much of it I can blog in an hour before I leave for work.

More on Gus's Teeth

Oh. And the trip to the dentist? Pretty good for someone who stayed away for ten years and went mainly to make sure everything was okay: one minor cavity and wisdom tooth fracture. Only the former needs fixing, and that's not urgent.

The trip brings up a couple of things. First of all, the submariners who stop by my blog are doubtless saying, "Wisdom teeth?" The submarine force preemptively extracts pretty much everyone's wisdom teeth as a matter of routine. I am the only one I know of who still has his. By the time that came up, I had already had two other teeth removed from each jaw to make room for straightening, so I had plenty of room for mine.

And the trip reminded me of this funny story in The Onion: "Dental Hygienist Sick of Being Lied To". Before I went in, I pondered what I would say to the inevitable question about my flossing habits. I floss twice a day, but past trips to the dentist have told me that there is no such thing as a good answer to that question. You will be told to buck up and do a better job of flossing.

Imagine my surprise when I was told, "You actually do a pretty good job of taking care of your teeth." I guess one way to avoid a scolding is to say, "I haven't been to a dentist in ten years."

A Question of Font Color

In the comments to this post, I was told that the subheadings in my blogroll show up green. (I coded them as grey.) This guy uses a Mac. They look fine on my computers, but do they look green to anyone else?

Enough about me, and on to the blogging roundup.

Move Over, Commissar!

Chap, an admirer of the Commissar's cartography, but not one to wait to be included on one of his famous maps, has taken matters into his own hands. Move your cursor over the diagram (i.e., the enlarged image) of the submarine at his blog and click to find the various submariners who populate the blogosphere. You can find me at the torpedo loading hatch.

Just Shut Me Down!

And speaking of the Commissar, he has a news flash that bodes ill for anyone who annoys the thin-skinned pseudonymously. He quotes from a news story.
It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."
Good thing Bush is protecting freedom at home while keeping the Mullahs from getting nukes abroad!

Cox and Forkum Skewer Two Republicans

Over at Cox and Forkum is a hilarious cartoon which includes the following dialogue.
PAT ROBERTSON: Perhaps this is our punishment for --
TOM DELAY: Oh, shut it, Pat!
Military Discipline, Then and Now

Over at Molten Eagle, Vigilis looks at a court martial in Britain which seems to have been convened because of a captain's vociferous leadership style.
[There were] five charges of "unwarranted" abusive treatment that went "beyond robust leadership and management" of four officers and Chief Petty Officer Coxswain under his command through repeated, unjustified, verbal abuse. Victims of Captain Robert Tarrant's "aggressive and humiliating" leadership on board HMS Talent, a hunter-killer submarine, felt scared and intimidated. One, Lieutenant Ryan Ramsey, was so frightened that he used to vomit before going on watch. The charges cover a period between February 1998 and July 1999.
Part of me is ambivalent on this one. I don't know what I hated more while I was in the Navy: That particular style of leadership or the kind of people who won't respond to anything else.

Conspiracy Theories Dot Gov

The Gaijin Biker notes that the government now runs a web site that debunks conspiracy theories, and correctly points out that this will only make conspiracy theorists even more paranoid.

Don't Believe the GAO Every Time

Meanwhile, Bubblehead also discusses the value of the government as a source of information and relates the following bit.
I'm hesitant to give much credence to GAO reports because of a yearly paper they put out in the 90s about submarine officer shore duty slots, and how most of them should be eliminated to save money by cutting the number of required submarine officers to that number needed to fill the nuclear billets. (I can't find this report on-line anywhere, but I remember reading the following in Navy Times, so this stuff is unclassified.) Not even considering the effects on retention if sub officers didn't get shore duty, the report complained that several hundred Ensigns were on shore duty; they thought that only 3 of the billets were justified. This might sound reasonable, until you consider that the Ensigns on "shore duty" were the ones who were going through the Nuke pipeline! So, they apparently thought that officers didn't need Nuke School, Prototype, and SOBC. That's marginally defensible, until you realize what the three billets they wanted to keep were.

Back in the day (they might still do this) the NPTUs (other than Charleston) were allowed to have three "Staff Pickup Officers" stay around for a year after their class graduated. They helped train the officers in the following classes. These were the three Ensign billets the GAO said were OK to keep, and you can see where I'm going here: Why keep three officers around to train student officers who, under the GAO plan, wouldn't be there? Any, since there weren't any officers going through the pipeline, where were they supposed to get these three officer? This did not make sense.
Conspiracy theorists should take note: Incompetence very often explains bad information from our government.

Resident Egoist Catches Fire

The Resident Egoist writes three good posts on "security" at Microsoft, "information brokers", and central banking.

Democracy and the Right to Vote

Amit Ghate examines claims that freedom can be measured by whether the people somewhere can vote in elections.
Is the form of government we advocate really best denoted by the term "democracy" and is the freedom to vote truly a citizen's most important right?

Our Founding Fathers certainly didn't think so.
Read it all. I particularly like the end.
To avoid such potentially catastrophic errors, both in foreign and domestic policies, we must dispense with our focus on democracy and voting -- to instead champion the proper form of government: a constitutional republic; and its guiding principle: the defense of each individual's right to life.
The Five New Guys

I figured I'd end this week's roundup by introducing my readers to the five new blogs I added to my blogroll this week since I normally do that when I add them.

1. Toiler at Acid Free Paper notes his surprise at being blogrolled and laments his unfortunate sense of timing! He then tells us what his blog is really about!

2. Bruno T. Raymundo is the author of the The Simplest Thing in the World, first blog on my 'roll from south of the Equator. An Objectivist from Brazil, he will make it easier for us to keep an eye on Latin America's recent leftward drift, as he does in this post, where he discusses a coffee shortage in Venezuela. I loved this opening line: "You old fashioned laissez-faire capitalists, behold the miracles of a 21st century socialist planned economy." But that's not all he discusses. Go over there and check it out.

3. Wayne of Downer's Grove, Illinois, hosts a conservative blog called Wayne's World. He recently pointed out a story on the kind of sentencing our judicial system recently handed out for repeated child rape: sixty days. In our loony world, I am sure this is less than you might get for either (a) yelling at subordinates too much in the military or (b) "annoying" people anonymously on the internet. (See above.)

The judge who handed out the sentence claims not to believe in punishment any more. I have one further question for him: "Never mind punishment. Do you believe in protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens?" From the story, it sounds like the judge has a little bit more on the ball than it sounds at first. His sentence, after all, was meant to force a "low-risk" offender to get rehabilitation. But can child molesters ever really get rehabilitated, and isn't that only of concern to the sex offender himself?

4. What do the seven principles of Kwanzaa and the Symbionese Liberation Army have in common? Visit Andrew Dalton's blog to find out!

5. I introduced readers to Grant Jones's blog some time back with Amit Ghate's help. Through his blog, I learned of the following resource: As of this writing, Islamists have, according to the site, carried out more than 4003 deadly attacks.

-- CAV


Today: corrected typos

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


In the news: Iran rips up nuclear deal with West - Telegraph.

It seems that Hans Blix has more patience than Mohamed ElBaradei... From IranMania / AFP:

The European Union has scope to offer Iran more incentives in exchange for guarantees that Tehran will not build nuclear bombs, former head of the IAEA nuclear watchdog Hans Blix said, according to AFP.

Blix, who has also been the UN's chief weapons inspector in Iraq, said North Korea had obtained more concessions than Iran from Europe.

"I am not convinced that the EU has offered sufficiently interesting things to the Iranians," Blix told AFP on the sidelines of a seminar on nuclear policy in Stockholm. (, 01/09/06.)



Monday, January 9, 2006


I have been talking with Prodos and he is preparing for the start of a podcasting network. I will participate as a host, an assistant to the producer, and a mentor for future podcasters. I am planning to have the following types of guests:

  • Fellow bloggers and Objectivists.
  • Entrepreneurs and businessmen.
  • Inventors, artists, and authors.

If you want to be interviewed, or if you have a suggestion of a guest or topic, please feel free to comment on this post, or send me an email. [Editor's comment: I welcome you to "The Age of Egocasting"! ;) Via collision detection, Ed Driscoll, InstaPundit.]

For more on podcasting, read Glenn Reynolds's post. On a lighter note, check out the French Maids who are giving a lecture on how to create a video podcast. [Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog.]


I have added another category. This one is called EGO Exchange. I will place a Jittery auction box when it is up and running again. For more on Jittery, read the following:

Talking about auctions, please feel free to check out the auctions at StormPay.


I have added a category called Word of Blog Ads. [Hat tip to BusinessPundit.] I have listed banners for the following organizations / sites:

If you want to spread the word about EGO, please follow the instructions:

Spread the word! You can show your support by advertising us on your blog sidebar or web page. Copy and paste the HTML code from our page at to post our banner to your site. Then, return to our page to track the banner's progress, and how many clicks your blog has made possible.

Saturday, January 7, 2006


When do you think micropayment will be a common way of doing financial transactions? Here is an excerpt from an article in Forbes magazine:

The market for Internet and wireless micropayments is expected to increase to $11.5 billion in revenue by 2009, up from $2 billion in 2003. But that's just a fraction of the estimated 400 billion transactions of less than $5 made by U.S. consumers, a total market of $1.3 trillion. (, 12/29/05.) "Missing links" blog reports that the micropayment company BitPass has acquired Yaga.

The market for digital currencies got a big setback with the criminal investigations of E-Gold Ltd. From Florida Today:

The FBI last month raided Jackson's Melbourne business, Gold & Silver Reserve Inc., the parent company of e-gold Ltd., and his home in Satellite Beach.

In the raid, federal agents took files and hardware related to e-gold -- a Web site Jackson started in 1996 which turns physical dollars into digital currency that is backed by gold repositories in London and Dubai. As of Thursday, no charges have been filed against Jackson or his businesses. (, 01/06/06.)

I think that James Turk's company, GoldMoney, will get more customers after the article (Through a Gold Bug's Eyes) in BusinessWeek. I corresponded a little bit with one of these "gold bugs" during my school time in New Hampshire. Have you read James Turk and John Rubino's book, The Coming Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit from It?

For more on gold, read Gene Arsenberg's report, Gold Bulls Thrive, Bears Skinned, and my posts, AURUM: THE SHINING DAWN OF PRECIOUS METALS and TAX FREE DAY AND GOLD STANDARD.

UPDATE 01/10/06: For more on online payments, check out Ryan Donahue's Coinblog.


I have placed three Pajamas Media ad strips in the left sidebar. I hope that Tom Troja, VP Marketing & Business Development, will be successful in finding advertisers. I hope it will be more of this type of ads, instead of a bunch of "public service announcements" and other types of annoying advertising. The good thing is that Juliette Ochieng, a.k.a Baldilocks, is coordinating the communication and feedback between the bloggers and members of Pajamas Media.

I don't think that "Pajamas Media will destroy BlogAds." According to Bloomberg [via WebProNews], "the market for online ads will increase 32 percent to $16.6" in 2006, so I think it is room for plenty of new players on the market... Here is an excerpt from Daniel Rubin's article, Blogging finds its audience in 2005.

Corporate America recognized the power of blogs to spread buzz, from MSNBC buying about 800 advertisements on sites that run Blogads to the proliferation of the medium as a marketing tool. Of course, Rocky Balboa has a blog that chronicles the production of Sylvester Stallone's sixth film about the Philadelphia fighter. (, 01/06/06.)

It is important to find the right KEY(WORDS) TO ADVERTISING. I hope visitor #121,274 found that he / she was searching for...

I am happy with signing up with Pajamas Media because I got a good deal compared with what I have made with other advertising programs so far. I probably will keep Google AdSense, because I am halfway to get a cheque... Have you seen that you now could advertise specifically on my blog? Click on the link saying "Advertise on this site" if you are interested. I am not sure that I will keep Chitika and CrispAds forever, due to the small amount that I have earned so far.

UPDATE 01/10/06:

Anonymous commentator
on Steve H.'s post, My Plans for the Afternoon:

Martin is sure he's going to make a fortune. It's practically all he talks about, ads and how much money he is making. I think they may have sold one since I ran across this over the weekend but so what? Who visits these blogs and will they click on Radio Shack? I'm no marketing expert but I'd say no.

When they said they were going to be a revolutionary news portal, I thought they meant they would be reporting on world news, not just about themselves.

I used to read some of those blogs regularly. PJM has managed to homogenize them to the point where it feels like read one, read them all to me. Ironically, through the ensuing, let's call it banter, I've discovered bloggers like you, Moxie and Dennis.

A plus for me but I don't see how driving away readers is a plus for them. (, 01/10/06.)

UPDATE 01/11/06: [Editor's note: Here is my comment on Hog on Ice.]

Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

I've gotten back on track enough to resume posting my midweek roundups again. I will probably revert to Wednesday next week.

The Geezer on Gun-Grabbers

Bothenook points out an interesting point made by a San Francisco-area columnist about a law there (which is being challenged in court) to make gun owners turn in their weapons without compensation. He quotes from the article.
San Francisco is supposed to stand for choice. This is supposed to be a town where tolerant individuals don't pass laws that, in essence, say: If I don't do it, you shouldn't either; if you do, you go to jail. Yet the gun ban ends choice -- for the law-abiding, at least.
Interesting double standard. And speaking of double standards, ...

The "Intelligent Design" of the Left

Over at TCS Daily is an article that notes the astonishing similarity between Intelligent Design and socialism.
People on the political left, while characterizing conservatives as being flat-earthers, do believe in a form of Intelligent Design. For like their conservative counterparts who believe that nothing as complex as nature could possibly have emerged without being designed, Beltway bureaucrats and DNC Keynesians believe nothing as complex as an economy can exist without being shaped in their image.
The main problem with the article is that it fails to speak of the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Namely, that many conservatives are "flat-earthers". This would especially include the Creationists. In merely playing "gotcha" with the left, the article thus does both capitalism and evolution a disservice: The problem isn't just that "ID should be protected from 'hegemonic control by those in power'". The big problem is that in academia, the notion of objective truth accessible to reason is under contstant attack from both the left and the right, and that these attacks come disguised as blows for "diversity" or freedom of speech.

And speaking of "delicious ironies", the article's allegedly pro-capitalist author merely alludes to the root of this "hegemonic control" that afflicts academia, public control of the educational sector, while not even broaching the subject of privatization!

What? Is the author afraid he might offend religious conservatives who might want to use public schools as a means of making sure most kids say their prayers?

More on Iran

Martin Lindeskog is on the ball with another roundup on Iran. Here, he quotes Robert Tracinski of TIA Daily.
I have said that Iran's nuclear weapons program will be the top issue of 2006. Well, the clock starts ticking as of now: Iran has announced resumption of its "research" program, which the New York Times correctly notes, is a euphemism for Uranium enrichment to develop a bomb.

But the big revelation comes, ironically, by way of the far left British newspaper The Guardian, which summarizes intelligence reports showing that Iran is working to build a nuclear missile capability that can strike at Israel and even, in the not-too-distant future, at Europe.

If we're going to stop the Iranians, we need to act soon. What are we prepared to do?
In the same issue, Tracinski pointed out a Washington Times editorial that discusses Israel's possibly taking out Iran's nuclear facilities, and asks the obvious question: "[W]hy don't we just do it ourselves?" And the matter of Ariel Sharon's health should underscore that point.

Book Review

Jennifer Snow reviews The Millionaire Mind at her blog, Literatrix.
Definitely a book worth reading, although I took mild exception to his bizarre ideas that integrity is genetic(?) and God helps people run businesses. While belief in God might have psychological benefits [But at what cost? --ed], I really doubt that the Lord made Chick-fil-a more successful because it observes the Sabbath.

Oh well. Just ignore those bits.
Well, that's the bad. Visit her blog for the good!

Movie Recommendation

Blair at Secular Foxhole recommends the movie Chasing Freedom.
This movie may be of interest to those who are concerned about immigration law and protecting our own freedoms. The films flaws are minor compared to what any thinking person can gain from watching it.
Google, Anyone?

I enjoyed the discussion that occurred at the end of this post. And oh yeah. Those rumors of Google computers for 200 smackers were just that.

And that's a wrap!

-- CAV


In the news:

Don't miss to read Robert Tracinski's article, Americans Against the American Dream: To Be Anti-Immigration Is to Be Anti-American. You could comment on the article at TIA Daily blog.



The time is running out and the clock is ticking...

[Editor's note to the mullahs: tictac...]

Here is a commentary (Iran Starts the Clock) by Robert Tracinski of The Intellectual Activist.

I have said that Iran's nuclear weapons program will be the top issue of 2006. Well, the clock starts ticking as of now: Iran has announced resumption of its "research" program, which the New York Times correctly notes, is a euphemism for Uranium enrichment to develop a bomb.

But the big revelation comes, ironically, by way of the far left British newspaper The Guardian, which summarizes intelligence reports showing that Iran is working to build a nuclear missile capability that can strike at Israel and even, in the not-too-distant future, at Europe.

If we're going to stop the Iranians, we need to act soon. What are we prepared to do? (, 01/04/06.)

Related: My post, COUNTDOWN TO TERROR.

Monday, January 2, 2006

2005 WRAP UP

I want to write a similar post as I did end of 2004 and send out a thank-you note to my readers for visiting my blog during 2005. I want to thank my fellow bloggers, traders, supporters, sponsors and blog partners for a great year! I also want to thank the individuals who have purchased products from the EGO store and my wish list at Amazon.

Thanks to guest blogger Gus Van Horn for the gift! DHL delivered it today.

Here are some personal highlights during 2005:

  • January: I started out the year by mentioning my New Year's resolutions in the field of my career, hobbies, and relationships. At the moment, I am concentrating on my start-up business, but I am still interested in international job opportunities. I have plenty of hobbies that are keeping me busy in my spare time. When it comes down to a romantic relationship, I am continuing to searching for the right one... I am positive that I will meet a potential candidate for a future romantic partner during my next trip to America.

  • February: My post, BOOKS IN THE MAIL, is a good representation of my keen interest in literature. I am looking forward to set up the library section of the Blue Chip Café. Most of my personal library is still stored at a friend's place in Ohio.

  • March: My post, MARTIN: THE SOLO PROTEST WARRIOR, is an example on how I have been fighting against the rampant anti-Americanisn in Sweden. March 19 marked the second anniversary of the United States-led war in Iraq.

  • April: My blogging has led to me to many interesting things. Here is one example.

  • May: This year I combined the celebration of my 37th birthday with my 3rd blogiversary.

  • June: I think this column by Steve Forbes was a great defense of open immigration and future residents of America. As many of you know, I studied and worked in America between 1997 - 2002, and my long-range goal is to return to the land of opportunity - America.

  • July: By reading the above paragraph, you could probably figure out that I celebrated INDEPENDENCE DAY in a grand fashion.

  • August: I spent two relaxing weeks in Hungary. Here is a post packed with preparations for the trip, a call for guest bloggers, and thoughts on my InstaLanche.

  • October: It is great how you could get in touch with new individuals by blogging. I had an American individualist with a great personality, visiting me in Gothenburg.

  • November: I got indirectly slammed by a leftist moonbat for joining Pajamas Media. Morris the cat and Gus Van Horn came to rescue...

  • December: The end of the year has been hectic with the preparations of starting a new business venture.

So, what are my plans for 2006? Here are some ideas:

  • For this week, to come up with the Book of the Month. You are welcome to give me book recommendations.

For you fellow bloggers out there, go to Blog Business World and read Wayne Hurlbert's post, Blog Year Resolutions 2006.

I will end this post with an excerpt from 's, article, Lord of the blogs. [Via American Digest.]

There's something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere -- the big-bang "electroniverse" where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day. As I write, the number of "blogs" (Web logs) and "bloggers" (those who blog) is estimated at between 50 million and 60 million worldwide.

Although I've been a blog fan since the beginning, and have written favorably about the value added to journalism and public knowledge thanks to the new "citizen journalist," I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability. (, 12/28/05.)