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2841  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Hivemind] Looking for education on bourbon and whiskey... on: October 08, 2008, 08:22:29 PM
I've never had the luxury of comparing top-shelf whiskeys. Among the bottom-shelf varieties, I keep coming back to Jim Beam. I can't tell you why, I just enjoy the flavor -- maybe because it stands up to cigars well. Seagrams VO, Canadian Club, and other cheap blends are just too bland.

Whatever whiskey you decide upon, seltzer makes an excellent chaser. I can sip a shot of Beam for an hour if I'm using seltzer to slake my thirst.
2842  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Car Accident - Do you get a police report? on: October 08, 2008, 05:47:50 PM

Quote from: DonD on October 08, 2008, 11:57:29 AM

(Lesson:  Always get a police report)

*(Unless you're really drunk).
2843  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So... what do you think about the stock market today? on: October 06, 2008, 11:35:54 PM

Quote from: Crux on October 06, 2008, 10:58:36 PM

The problem with the bailout was the delay. This whole mess has less to do with money than it has to do with confidence.

Today's news had the feel of a full-scale global panic. Made our $700B bailout seem like a finger in the dike. All we can do is hope that rationality returns before the downward spiral becomes a whirlpool.
2844  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Gone. on: October 06, 2008, 11:29:17 PM
59 is so and death are just not fair. Sorry for your loss.
2845  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: So... what do you think about the stock market today? on: October 06, 2008, 05:28:18 PM

Quote from: DragonFyre on October 06, 2008, 02:48:17 PM

The bailout bill has completely ruined investors confidence in the market. Mine as well

I'm not an investor, but it's my understanding that today's bloodbath is a reaction to financial crises in Europe, where leaders are scrambling to put together their own version of a bailout.
2846  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Wherein I celebrate with brownies on: October 05, 2008, 04:23:27 AM
That's a greenie. I made greenies once. Waste of good pot.
2847  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: anyone watching the VP debate right now! on: October 03, 2008, 07:25:13 PM

Quote from: Brendan on October 03, 2008, 05:35:41 PM

So, stir-up-the-base fundraiser - and presumably she keeps her day job as AK gov?  Sure, that seems likely.  I don't think that means she'll see any national airtime though, as it's not sufficiently important to deserve coverage; those of us who don't attend $1,000-a-plate dinners probably won't hear about her unless she makes the news for Troopergate...

Yeah, that's what I have in mind, but she'll become nationally prominent every four years. Maybe she'll even evolve into a kingmaker. I would not rule out some cabinet post in a future Rep administration, either -- energy or interior, maybe. She is young.

Quote from: Jeff Jones on October 03, 2008, 06:59:15 PM

If her charm & charisma were of great value to the party, where are her interviews? Instead they've been hiding her.

She is no good off-script. But we saw last night that she's quite good at deflecting questions and getting back to her script. She is still new at this, but she's ambitious and clever. She will learn and improve.

Most important, she introduces a new model for conservative women -- feminism without liberalism. She represents a whole new path.
2848  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: anyone watching the VP debate right now! on: October 03, 2008, 05:31:31 PM

Quote from: Brendan on October 03, 2008, 03:31:14 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on October 03, 2008, 03:18:21 PM

She's on the national stage to stay.

I don't see it.  In what role?  Representative?  Senator?  Future Presidential candidate? 

Cheerleader. Srsly. Her charisma and popularity make her valuable to the Rep party, and they know it.
2849  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: anyone watching the VP debate right now! on: October 03, 2008, 03:18:21 PM

Quote from: papasmurff on October 03, 2008, 01:36:40 AM

yeah .....they are

we should take a poll.  Who has a worse accent?  Palin or Bush

She says "nukular". What is it with politicians who can't say "nuclear"? That dates back at least to Jimmy Carter, and he was a nukular engineer.

Apart from that, Palin did quite well. She came off as a perky, folksy, friendly, completely average god-and-country American mom. She can ignore questions with impunity because nobody wants to be mean to her. She has got really strong branding going for her. McCain's going to lose this election thanks to the economy, but Palin is not going to disappear quietly back to Alaska. She's on the national stage to stay.

Biden's grasp of the issues is obviously superior, but that's just boring.
2850  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civilizations II: v2.0 Preview on: October 02, 2008, 01:44:37 PM
I read somewhere that we will be able to block technology brokering (the tech "kiting" that makes each new technology spread rapidly to all of the AIs). That is one of two changes that I would really welcome. The other is a trading proposal feature (present in CIV) that lets you ask "What will you give me for this?" or "What do you want for that?" Getting to Yes in GalCiv2 is often a drawn-out, hit-or-miss process.
2851  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Palin opens mouth, useless comes out. on: October 02, 2008, 01:28:00 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on October 01, 2008, 06:51:09 PM

They apparently appreciate that she's real and that she had a "good moral religious base."  ... When I listed Palin's many shortcomings, they argued that her shortcomings only add to her appeal and make her more "real". 

As I have often said, Americans vote their hearts, not their heads. If Palin emerges from tonight's debate looking sympathetic, she wins. If Biden appears to be mean or smug, she wins. Experience and expertise are beside the point.

I'm not sure when Americans decided that we should be ruled by sympathetic, folksy, average millionaires than cold, elite, educated millionaires, but this is a lesson the Dems have still not learned.
2852  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser American Ale - Actually good on: October 02, 2008, 01:24:17 AM
I'd like to try it someday and make up my own mind. If I get a chance to try one without paying for it, that is. Haven't had a Bud since I was 16, so I don't know what that aftertaste might be.

My packie is having a beer tasting on Nov 1 with seven tables and 50+ beers. Maybe that will be my chance, although it's very unlikely that A-B would be invited to join all the microbrewers.
2853  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Back to the Future... 2, or 3? on: October 01, 2008, 03:16:18 PM
I don't remember either sequel. I must have seen them when they first came out, but not since then.
2854  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Medical] Don't know what to do about my tonsils... on: October 01, 2008, 03:13:31 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 01, 2008, 02:14:45 PM

Anyway - my HR guy pointed me to our Health Advocacy group.  Apparently they routinely turn $600 dollar Rx bills into bills for 100 bucks.  If anyone can negotiate on my behalf, apparently they are the guys to do it.  No wonder our healthcare system is a mess...

The primary purpose of an insurance company is to maximize ROI for their investors, which they achieve by denying payouts whenever possible. Many is the time that they have used the wear-him-down technique on me to deny covering legitimate bills.

They do, however, have some discretion.

I recently incurred a $135 charge for some chest xrays that my doc ordered. I wasn't expecting and couldn't pay that bill, so I called the insurance company's WTF Line. Turned out that I had not yet met my $250 deductible (I thought that I'd met it months ago). However, the young lady on the phone offered to "back it out" for me "as a courtesy." Whaaa? You can do that? Yup, they would cover the whole procedure, but I will still have to meet the remaining $135 of my deductible if I have any further charges this year. I just have to avoid medical care until my deductible resets in three months.

It sounds like you know a guy who knows a guy who can make the charge go away.
2855  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: We're all going to dieeeeeeee!!11!That on: September 30, 2008, 08:23:42 PM

Quote from: Brendan on September 30, 2008, 04:22:32 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on September 30, 2008, 04:21:56 PM

My strategy of not having any investments is working out just as I planned.

Your +0.0% for the year is beating my mutual funds, to be sure.

Actually, my small Roth IRA is averaging around +3.5% in CDs and annuities. I'm very risk-averse. My slightly larger rollover IRA, and my wife's even-larger 401k, have undoubtedly evaporated. I'm afraid to look. But I never really expected to see any of that money anyway.
2856  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: We're all going to dieeeeeeee!!11!That on: September 30, 2008, 04:21:56 PM
My strategy of not having any investments is working out just as I planned.
2857  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Scarlett Johansson Off the Market (w/ NSFW Image Tribute) on: September 28, 2008, 03:09:19 PM
Brian Reynolds?! Wow, she must be huge into strategy games!

Oh, wait.
2858  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: No debate thread? on: September 27, 2008, 02:29:39 PM
Obama's performance was cool, cerebral, and nuanced. McCain's was more folksy. Obama won brains. McCain won hearts. Since elections turn on feelings, not thought, McCain gets the win.
2859  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Where do you fit on the Political Map? on: September 26, 2008, 08:09:57 PM
That's a pretty simplistic test. Oh well...

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 100%.
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 40%.

According to your answers, the political group that agrees with you most is...


LIBERALS usually embrace freedom of choice in personal matters, but tend to support significant government control of the economy. They generally support a government-funded "safety net" to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations, defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.

Mostly true. Although I don't identify myself as a liberal, I side with them more often than with conservatives.
2860  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 46 hours since my last cigarette on: September 26, 2008, 08:00:01 PM
Good luck! I broke my cigarette addiction over six years ago now, after having smoked for 30 years. Nicorette was the crutch that got me through. First you break the habit, and then you break the addiction. I quit the gum after three or four months.

On most Tuesday nights I get together with some friends at a bar, and I bum 2-3 cigarettes. I look forward to those, but I can easily do without if my smoker friend doesn't show up or if I blow off my bar night that week. I also smoke a few cigars each week. I can easily go days at a time without one, although I prefer not to. For me, it's all about control (willpower, as PeteRock says). I can enjoy tobacco without becoming addicted. But it took me literally years to master that.

One thing that helps: Don't dwell on never having another cigarette in your life. Concentrate on not smoking one now, on beating your cravings one at a time.
2861  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Palin opens mouth, useless comes out. on: September 25, 2008, 02:27:48 PM
I'll try ta find ya some an' I'll bring 'em to ya.

Fixed. That Fargo accent is really getting on my nerves. Politicians are supposed to sound like Southern hicks.
2862  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Someone Explain Mopping to Me on: September 25, 2008, 04:36:34 AM

Quote from: The Myoclonic Jerk on September 25, 2008, 02:02:54 AM

Is there some trick to mopping well, and mopping quickly? It honestly seems like a wasted task (except in the winter months) if I'm attempting to do it comprehensively.
Mopping well and mopping quickly are mutually exclusive. The few times each year that I'm moved to mop our ancient linoleum floor, it goes like this: Sweep. Mop with cold soapy water. Mop with clean hot water and let dry. Rinse again if necessary. Damp mop with wax/acrylic. Let dry and put down another coat of wax if necessary. It takes hours, but the floor looks great.

If you're mopping concrete floors, use a lot of bleach.
2863  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Could a Third-Party Candidate Become President? on: September 24, 2008, 04:26:16 PM
Short of a cataclysm, no. The system was set up by the major parties to perpetuate itself.

An extremely charismatic candidate with infinitely deep pockets in a time of crisis might have a remote shot at it. I'm not holding my breath. We might be facing an economic cataclysm right now, yet there is no alternative to Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
2864  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Obama's Science advisors on: September 23, 2008, 02:51:30 PM

Quote from: joeyjazz on September 23, 2008, 01:33:46 PM

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong since either one of them could end up being president in a couple months.  Hopefully the debates can put some of that to rest for me.

I doubt that either candidate is personally involved in the nitty-gritty of science policy, except insofar as saying whatever gets them votes. I'm sure that those responses were prepared by staffers with an eye on the popularity meter, and the candidates signed off with unknown degrees of interest. We agree that both teams published good statements. McCain has a strong record of supporting technology initiatives; Obama doesn't have much of a record, period, so it's harder to know where he really stands.

With the ongoing financial meltdown dominating the news now, our next president is likely to be severely hamstrung by crisis management, so science policy details are probably moot. Their overall enthusiasm for science might be more relevant. McCain deserves an edge on that front...and then immediately loses it for his anti-science running mate. Thanks to Palin, Obama offers better odds for a pro-science White House. IMO, of course.

I wonder if any of this will come up at all in the debates, or if the economic crisis will drown out everything else.
2865  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Obama's Science advisors on: September 23, 2008, 04:46:49 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on September 22, 2008, 09:53:25 PM

I don't think people are voting on the merits of the arguments so much as following their political biases (which are very obviously liberal/Democrat)

Quote from: joeyjazz on September 23, 2008, 12:36:40 AM

I can actually picture Obama personally doing the research and discussing things with the experts on his team and then coming to his own conclusions.  I'd be surprised if McCain even knew this thing existed

Comedy gold.  icon_wink
2866  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Obama's Science advisors on: September 22, 2008, 09:53:25 PM
You can now vote, question by question, for which campaign's answers you like better.

Obama gets an "A" and McCain gets an "F" on space policy, even though McCain's is clearly more detailed and better thought-out. I don't think people are voting on the merits of the arguments so much as following their political biases (which are very obviously liberal/Democrat) -- at least, based on the couple of questions that I checked. Too bad.
2867  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: question regarding craigs list on: September 22, 2008, 03:32:08 AM
2868  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Obama's Science advisors on: September 21, 2008, 04:24:01 PM
Both campaigns answer 14 policy questions about science. Side by side for easy comparison. We did a thread on this over at OO.

The condensed version of my take: Obama's answers are more thoughtful and complete, and better informed. McCain's are more practical, with a strong emphasis on technology and applied science, and emphasis on his experience dealing with these questions. McCain addresses the orbital access gap, while Obama does not; relying on the Russians for manned spaceflight is going to emerge as a major problem in the next few years.

Based purely on this page, Obama's the stronger science candidate with deeper answers. However, just 6 months ago, before he was the nominee, he wanted to give most of NASA's budget to the Dept of Education -- typical Dem pandering to teachers unions. I do not trust his commitment.

If I were basing my vote purely on science policy -- and if my vote mattered -- I would probably tilt toward McCain. But I think both candidates answered these questions well, and McCain's anti-science vp scares me away from him entirely.
2869  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Terminal Cancer on: September 21, 2008, 04:11:19 PM
I'm sorry to read your news. If it's in his bones...well, I suppose it's his judgment call whether enduring chemo is worth an additional year of life, probably with considerable pain. 

Lildragon reminds me I need to fax in those papers tomorrow to get a colonoscopy.
2870  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How has the economic downturn affected you? on: September 20, 2008, 03:55:37 PM

Quote from: Sarkus on September 20, 2008, 04:54:56 AM

Quote from: mikeg on September 20, 2008, 12:40:01 AM

I'm a 48 year old and while I too have seen some tough moments for our economy here and there, what we are just now STARTING to feel is NOTHING to what we WILL go through.  Mark my words.  Things haven't even begun to get bad.  This country is like a person with 10 credit cards that are completely maxed out saying, "I gotta do something about all this debt.  I know.  I will get an 11th credit card and pay off the 10 maxed out ones and all will be good."  Our gov't has spent everything we have sent them in the past 20 years times ten with no regard to what would eventually happen.  The piper is coming to get paid and we are screwed.  If anyone believes there is an easy way out of this without years of very very very tough times ahead I believe they are completely deluding themselves.  Medicare and Social Security cost alone, what with the Babyboomers retirement boom just a couple of years from being in full swing, will absord nearly ALL of the taxes we now pay.  Forget everything else the government tries to fund.  It is going to get ugly.   I hope I am wrong wrong wrong.

I hope you are wrong as well, but a few months ago my father, who remembers the Great Depression as a small boy (he was born in 1931), told me he thought we were headed towards a very bad economic time, much worse than anything since.  I've been thinking about that a lot the last few weeks.

I'm 51. I entered the workforce during Richard Nixon's wage-and-price controls and Gerald Ford's Whip Inflation Now and Jimmy Carter's stagflation. I have weathered numerous recessions since then. I have a bad gut feeling about this one, too. It's fundamentally different than those that have come before. I'm not sure that the old rules and remedies are going to apply, because the government's usual bag of tricks is already exhausted. Pump priming with deficit spending? Tapped out. Interest rate cuts? They're already very low. Tax cuts? Taxes are already low and government is running huge deficits. This morning's headline said that September tax receipts in Massachusetts are running $200 million behind last year, it's likely to get worse, and emergency budget cuts are coming.

I'm just one more old-timer chiming in. But it feels to me like this snowball is just getting rolling.
2871  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How has the economic downturn affected you? on: September 19, 2008, 03:31:58 PM

Quote from: kratz on September 19, 2008, 03:13:15 PM

I AM noticing the bump in food prices in our supermarket... I'd say that's the main place I'm feeling the pain. 

That little detail falls under the whole "no raises in three years" thing that I mentioned earlier. The grocery budget is stagnant, and prices are certainly not. I plan each week's menu, shop sales, buy nonperishables in bulk, and use coupons to stretch the budget as far as it will go. For the past six or eight weeks homegrown tomatoes, peppers, beans, and squash have helped out a lot...but the gardening season is over. We will not be enjoying fresh produce for very much longer. My freezer full of homemade chili and spaghetti sauce will help some, though. Still, it's getting to the point where I might have to divert part of my beer budget to food.  crybaby
2872  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How has the economic downturn affected you? on: September 19, 2008, 01:18:53 AM
My (very) small business was growing at a healthy clip until August. Success is predicated on continued rapid growth for the next two years, because I'm starting from such a small sales base. It was already challenging before the economy went toes-up. The general pullback in retail sales is affecting my livelihood directly -- I earn a percentage of sales.

Meanwhile, while my meager income is growing too slowly, my wife has not had a raise or bonus in 3 years. She made up the difference with credit card debt. When that galloped out of control, we had to refinance it with home equity. 

So the short answer is that our income declined, then stagnated, we went into debt, our savings are steadily declining, and our credit is mostly tapped out. We are counting on the time and money that I've invested in Curio City to pull us out of that, and it was on track to start doing so next year. While that might still work out, tight credit and frightened consumers are going to make it much harder than it already was. The next three months are critical.

So click that signature, folks. Christmas is right around the corner.  unibrow
2873  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: A financial S storm is brewing. Fannie/Freddie seized. on: September 17, 2008, 05:40:33 PM

Quote from: Blackadar on September 17, 2008, 05:22:26 PM

Isn't the Fed bailing out these compainies akin to Socialism/Communism?  Where are all the Conservatives who scream "FREE MARKET, FREE MARKET" when the Dems talk about helping people keep their homes?

Privatized gains and socialized losses = a capitalist's wet dream.
2874  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Perfect CRPG - What would YOU want? on: September 16, 2008, 06:00:18 PM
Boobs. Dinosaurs. And spaceships.
2875  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Bonanza! [Investing] on: September 16, 2008, 03:41:38 PM
If I had any money, I would be stuffing it in the mattress (MAT) right now.
2876  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OO off line for a short time on: September 15, 2008, 02:35:24 PM
I deleted a post last night. Brought it to its knees again.
2877  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apathy in Healthcare? on: September 14, 2008, 02:23:51 PM

Quote from: Destructor on September 13, 2008, 07:48:30 PM

Doesn't it make you wish you were on ACCHCS (or however the hell you spell the state run insurance for the poor here in AZ)? You could go straight into the hospital for anything, including the common cold, and they'd make sure you'd get treated for it before you left. Oh, and it doesn't cost you a flippin' dime, either.

Next-best thing: Massachusetts just legalized doc-in-a-box pharmacy clinics. We'll be able to walk into drugstores and get on-demand care for minor things like sore throats, rashes, ear infections, etc. I'm not sure how payment will work, but I do know that they'll accept insurance and the cost will be less than seeing a real doc or going to an ER. Keeping a lot of routine complaints out of the mainstream healthcare system ought to hold down costs and improve access for everyone.

On the down side, all those sick people could turn drugstores into plague centers now.  Tongue
2878  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Apathy in Healthcare? on: September 13, 2008, 05:48:20 PM
Oh, who cares?  icon_wink

Now that we've got that out of the way...I had a similar experience when I was in an HMO. Once, when I went in for emergency treatment, the attending physician asked me who was my primary care doctor. "Um...I think it's you," said I. He thought I looked kind of familiar. We remembered each other on subsequent visits.

Now I've been with the same doc for at least 15 years, and we have a very good working relationship. As soon as I step outside of his office and deal with specialists, though, I become just a case number with symptoms again.
2879  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Large Hadron Collider to Have "Practical" Spin-Offs? on: September 13, 2008, 05:42:28 PM
Atoms smash into each other at high energies all the time. They just aren't in the habit of doing it in front of detectors, while we're expecting them. I think the most commonly cited example is cosmic radiation hitting our atmosphere.
2880  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: [Poll] What's most important in a Presidential candidate? on: September 13, 2008, 02:43:12 AM

Quote from: Brendan on September 12, 2008, 10:10:05 PM

I disagree with your assessment of this being "far and away a left-leaning board."  If anything, it's largely centrist.  For every rabid liberal hyena like myself, there's at least three squishy independents (and quite a few notable lunatic fringe right-wingers).

I haven't been coming here for very long, so I claim some remnant of an outside perspective. This board is polarized between a staunch Democrat majority and a reactionary conservative minority. Most threads degenerate quickly into name-calling and insults, leaving it uncongenial to non-ideologues. But then, I'm one of those squishy independents who sees at least three sides to every issue (your side, my side, and the truth).
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