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Diary
By lm (Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 04:36:47 PM EST) (all tags)
This week is finals week. 3 tests and 1 term paper to go and I'm `free' until January.

Over on Doxos, I've put up a retread from a couple of years ago that I don't think I ever posted anywhere more public than a particular gated community where it didn't get much attention: Seeking Justice in the City; Seeking Justice in the Soul. This one is all about frustrated desire.

Inside blather and television woes follow.



Last spring (or was it fall?) when we first plunked down for an HDTV, we lived right in the middle of the city center of Cincinnati. Even without an external antenna, the internal tuner pulled down a great mix of Digital stations from over the air. Consequently, with our cable line hooked up and a `basic' cable subscription (I dunno how `basic' 50+ channels is) we got pretty much the best of both worlds shy of a digital package that would have required renting a set top box for every tuner in the house.

But here in an edge city in Maryland, the local digital channels don't come through without a bit of love from an antenna. Unfortunately, there is only on co-axial input on the tv. So I either get cable and analog channels or OTA and digital channels. This makes me sad.

I tried using a splitter in reverse. I didn't think it would work. It didn't. I suspect the only way to get both the antenna and the cable to work at the same time is a combiner of some sort. And even that may not do the trick.  I'm guessing that there will be interference between the analog OTA and cable signals. I may just be screwed.

Suggestions are welcome, especially cheap suggestions.

:: :: :: :: ::

Now that the election is well over, Bill Ayers comes out to address himself and manages to spend quite a few words saying almost nothing. I liked the point of his last paragraph. But most of what came before seems very much to me like a non-apology for blowing up other's people's stuff.

Salon, in an article debunking the Obama birth certificate conspiracies made a really good point, ``don't be too surprised if, sometime after Jan. 20, defendants in federal trials suddenly claim they can't be prosecuted. If Obama isn't really president, then laws he signs have no effect, Department of Justice prosecutors have no authority and judges he appoints aren't legally judges. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just part of the conspiracy.''

Good Economic Times for North Dakota. I suspect that when the zombie apocalypse happens, North Dakotians will be in good shape in more ways than one.

Obama is calling for a massive public works effort. Doesn't he know this has been tried before? Eisenhower tried that back in the fifties and we all know how that turned out.

The first complaint I've seen about separation between Church and State in the US having gone too far that I agree with. Well, maybe this one wasn't the first. But for the most part, I'd prefer that the feds stay out of my religion. However, when it comes to stripping the word `God' out of reproductions of monuments that have the word prominently inscribed, I think someone's being too touchy.

Cheating over Cheeta or as it's actually titled, A Lie of the Jungle. It would appear that the world's oldest living chimp is not the world's oldest living chimp and that the current owner of Cheeta has been cheated.

The End of the Revolution covers the decay throughout Castro's Cuba.

:: :: :: ::

Friday was a very interesting lecture on the study of metaphysics as the science of being as being in the tradition of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. It was a very nice lecture. And, if they put up a video of it as they have of several of the other lectures in the series, I'm going to recommend it to a few friends. (Two other lectures I've found exceedingly worthwhile are Dominic O'Meara's The Transformation of Metaphysics in Late Antiquity and Carlos Bazan's On Angels and Human Beings. James Ross's Mere Metaphysical Possibility was also entertaining.)

Afterwards I was talking with some other grad students and the subject of the court cases concerning Obama's birth certificate came up. I was a bit surprised college educated adults had such trouble grasping what exactly a birth certificate is. It's not complex, at least not in the US. All it is the state certifying that it has a record of the named subject's birth. Back in the bad old days, sometimes this took the form of a photocopy of the actual certificate. More often than not, these days it consists of a computer print out of the relevant information. The latter is no less a birth certificate than the former. Technology marches on.

But the bit that really sticks with me is someone mentioned how Obama's election has a silver lining of sorts. It makes him feel perfectly just in his anarchist tendencies because now he can lawfully hate the entire US government. Alrighty, then.

:: :: ::

My face is getting pretty fuzzy. I suppose No Shave November is over and then some. I think I'll keep going for a bit longer. December 24 seems like a great day to shave for more than a few reasons. On the other hand, I'm in increasing need of a haircut.

Weight varied from 174 to 176 this week with most days clocking in at 175. This is the first week in two or three that there where was noticeable progress in the downward direction. Hopefully the plateau is crumbling.

All my morning miles were under eight and a half minutes. I should push harder to get them all under eight.

Doing a bit of reading here and there, I discovered that situps do more for your legs and back than for your abs. I do need a strong back but I've got that territory covered with other exercises. Hence, I'm dropping situps from my regime for crunches (normal and `reverse') for the time being.

:: ::

I racked the gallon of hard cider I started about a month ago. It needs to age a bit I think, but it's far better than I had thought it was looking to turn out based on the small taste I got after the first racking. It's a bit dryer than I like in a cider. I guess the next go around I'll try spiking it with added sugar. But the general method turns out far better cider than I've gotten in a bottle. And it's quite a bit cheaper too, $7 for a glass jar filled with a gallon of organic apple juice + ten cents worth of yeast.  And a bit of effort. I bet it would be quite good mulled and spiced.

The new batch I started is samha. The recipe looks mostly like sugar water + yeast. Supposedly it's some sort of Scandinavian May Fair holiday drink. But it looks interesting as it uses brown sugar + table sugar. I'll be interested to see how that turns out.

::

The Sci-Fi channel had a not too unbearingly bad movie on a Cyclops during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. I wasn't paying close enough attention to whether or not the historical detail was done well. It was fun.

But the real jewel of the evening was the rerun of `Monster Ark.' Not because I watched it, mind you, but because the very idea is so awesome. The implementation of the idea, I suspect was more typical for a Sci-Fi channel special than Cyclops. But the notion of a second Ark from the days of Noah being filled with two of every wicked and evil creature is a grand one. Worthy of James Morrow's Bible Stories for Adults (especially #17: The Deluge) or Graham Greene's Twenty-One Stories (especially The Second Death).

Unfortunately that idea was not really the idea that was developed. I guess we need to go through life with the Sci-Fi Channel we have and not the Sci-Fi Channel we wish we had.

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Looks like it will be time to be cleaning up my desk in very short order | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I have a pair of rabbit ears by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:42:28 PM EST
They have coax cable IN, and coax OUT, with a switch on the back.  Yours for the shipping.

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I've got something similar by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:49:57 PM EST
I'd rather have something that works seamlessly. I don't want to have to get off the couch, flip the switch, pick up the remote, switch from cable to OTA just to watch broadcast tv in HD.

If such a thing exists, I guess what I need is combiner that adds only the frequencies of the digital channels on one of the inputs.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
only thing i can think of by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 01:57:49 PM EST
only because i saw one at Walmart was a RCA input/output combiner.  Which doesn't help you, but i am thinking such a thing does not exist.


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Click
[ Parent ]
Once upon a time ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 02:06:38 PM EST
... when standard cable was only on VHF, I could use a UHF/VHF combiner as digital OTA comes over the UHF spectrum (at least for now). But analog cable has long since moved up into the UHF frequencies. So, as I learned the hard way, using a simple combiner simply creates interference both ways.

Maybe I'll go picket Comcast.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Don't forget your obliques! by me0w (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 07:23:15 PM EST
They like getting a work out too!

"the only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
Everyone* knows that exercise is teh badd by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 01:28:55 AM EST
[*] For everyone read DrH

[ Parent ]
I'll confess ignorance by lm (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 04:31:11 AM EST
I didn't know what obliques were until I hit google. Wiki (YMMV) says that traditional crunches also hit your obliques. But even if they didn't, I'm fairly certain that the trunk twisting versions of the toe touches in 5bx plan on the later charts hit the obliques fairly well. So I should be in good shape.

But I should also mention that it's a great name for a muscle. `Oblique' is much more fun to say than `ab' even if ab can fit into more spots on a scrabble board.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Tinfoil Hat Time! by duxup (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 04:03:40 AM EST
It seems the "Taxes are unconstitutional!" have an argument that holds more water than someone arguing that they don't have to follow a law based on the idea that Obama shouldn't be president and they don't seem to get far.  For the most part the folks who make those arguments are up #### creek already if they have to try to make a legal argument like that.

I did enjoy the claim that Obama went back to Hawaii to further the conspiracy....  as if he himself needed to sneak into some government office and falsify some records.  I can imagine him dressed all in black shuffling down an air vent Damn it i'm running for president, shouldn't I have some people who can do this for me?


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Personally I think the new argument is stronger by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 04:26:04 AM EST
The constitution says that a president needs to sign a bill for it to be a law. Were it true that Obama is prohibited from being president, no bills he signed would be laws. Of course, is SCOTUS settles the question, as they have settled the tax question, then it those that continued arguing the case could be said to have the same level of delusional thinking as the anti-taxers.

SCOTUS has long ruled that income taxes were constitutional. See Brushaber and Pollock as two examples. Pollock confuses quite a few people as it struck down a federal income tax as unconstitutional because they don't look into why it held the particular implementation of the income tax was unconstitutional. Prior to the sixteenth amendment, taxes on labor was considered an excise tax (an indirect tax as the tax wasn't directly on income but on labor) but tax on unearned income was considered a direct tax. The constitution has specific requirements that hold for direct taxes at the federal level that do not hold at the indirect level. This sixteenth amendment recategorized unearned income taxes as indirect taxes for which the federal government has undisputed arbitrary  ability to excise under the constitution.

So the anti-taxers not only have to argue about the sixteenth amendment but also have to get several supreme court rulings overturned. But in the case of Obama, were he not really a US citizen, there would be no settled law. And, given the current makeup of SCOTUS, I think they might actually have a chance of making that argument were it not the case that Obama's ability to demonstrate rather conclusively that he is a natural born citizen.

The real reason why it's a silly case is that Obama has a birth certificate in his Chicago office that he has been making publicly available to any member of the press that wants to see it. Those arguing that it is not a real birth certificate fail to understand what a birth certificate is. It's just a piece of paper that a government agency (in this case the state of Hawaii) uses to vouch that someone was born under their jurisdiction. That's all. And that seems good enough to me as evidence that Obama was born in the US.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Gah! by duxup (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 04:52:12 AM EST
Husi ate my post. 

Anyway I still think the Tax folks argument has more meat (it is all baloney but meat none the less) as based on what I have seen their argument seems to be based in law, even if misinterpreted.  They loose just like the birth certificate folks will.   Yet the Obama can't be president thus he can't sign laws argument is based in some wonky conspiracy theory that there is some faced certificate or something fishy going on.  How far does that argument go?  Argument: He's not qualified!  Answer: Yes he is.   Case closed.

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[ Parent ]
One more down by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 07:07:24 AM EST
SCOTUS declined to hear Donofrio this morning. In a way, it's a shame because the unique thing about Donofrio is that it challenged not just Obama's natural bornness but also McCain's (and even Socialist Worker's Party candidate Roger Calero). Not to mention, I suspect that these lawsuits are going to keep sprouting up until one gets smacked down hard.

There's two more active cases that I know of. And at least four (including Berg and Donofrio) that have been dismissed. I suspect the cases are going to keep coming.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Maybe by duxup (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:07:15 AM EST
It seems to be one of those "OMG this is HUGE!" Internet fueled fanatic things.  I really don't see this going anywhere, certainly not to the point that it gets heard by the high court.   The facts of the case don't seem to actually demonstrate any kind of constitutional issue to be addressed.   Dudes are qualified to be president.  If that is the case the higher courts aren't going to bother as there's nothing constituational to address.  The folks who keep raising the issue can claim there's some sort of constitutial issue but just claiming so doesn't get you into the SCOTUS, there needs to be some facts that raise the issue not some loons on the internet.

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[ Parent ]
In this case, it's not just on the Internet by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 09:06:14 AM EST
It's also something I've seen people discussing here and there outside the world of the Information Superhighway. And it's something that quite a few people believe enough to file lawsuits. I think those lawsuits are going to keep on coming.

Will they get any traction? I predict not. But an argument could be made that it would be in the public interest to allow at least one of the cases go forward so that judgments of both law and fact can be made.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
How far can it go that it hasn't already by duxup (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 07:35:38 PM EST
If they made it far enough to appeal to the supreme court a determination on the facts of the case have been made.  Unless a mistake has been made someone(s) it has already been decided dude is legal, and unless there is some sort of mistake there is no reason for it to go anywhere as far as the supreme court because as far as I know isn't there to decide the facts of the case, just the constitutional implications.    If the fact is that the dude is legal to be president, there is no constitutional question at all. 

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[ Parent ]
It hasn't gone to trial by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 03:05:53 AM EST
That's how much further it can go. Just because something is true doesn't mean that a court have of law has decided it was true.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Huh? by duxup (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 01:11:21 PM EST
I didn't know you could even put something up for consideration by the supreme court that hasn't had a couple reviews by other judges...

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[ Parent ]
Denofrio never saw a trial by lm (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 05:26:16 PM EST
Either did Berg. Bother were dismissed without any finding of fact or determination of law other than standing. Both were then appealed, eventually to  SCOTUS.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Interesting by duxup (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 07:10:25 PM EST
I wonder if SCOTUS has ever bothered hearing a case where it couldn't even get its foot in the door elsewhere.

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[ Parent ]
From Radio Shack by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 04:58:08 AM EST
Remote Control A-B Switch and Non remote version.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I'm slowly resigning myself to such a fate by lm (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:23:17 AM EST
I'm starting to suspect that my cable provider back in Ohio (Time/Warner) may have simply been feeding all the local HD channels in the basic package but that the cable provider here (Comcast) does not. If so, I was only under the illusion of pulling digital OTA channels back in Cincy.

Boy am I surprised that I'm starting to miss Time/Warner. I didn't know just how good I had it until I had to deal with someone else.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Everyone in DC hates Comcast by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 10:45:28 AM EST
Check out Pegoraro's chats at the post, almost weekly complaints.

That said, Silver Spring should pick up OTA HD fairly well over rabbit ears.

Also, see if your TV has a CableCard slot, Comcast is supposed to support that.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
With rabbit ears, I get pretty good reception by lm (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 11:08:42 AM EST
I can pull down most DC channels and a fair number of Baltimore channels. Personally, I'd just as soon ditch the cable. I watch it because its there.  But my wife and daughters draw the line at cable. It's one luxury they're not willing to go without.

Actually, what I think would work best is a separate tuner, if they make such a thing, that allows for separate antenna and analog cable inputs. Or, failing that, perhaps an external ATSC box with an HDMI passthrough. I suspect that the core of my problem is that the tv manufacturer presumed that all (or last most) HDTV purchasers would have digital cable. The single co-ax input would be neither here nor there to a cable box with an HDMI connection.

The A/B switch you pointed out would also work. But at the price of inconvenience. I'd have to switch to antenna and then use the TV menu to switch to OTA every time I wanted to not watch cable. Reverse for going back. I like to keep things simple for the end user.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
If you're willing to spend a few bucks more by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:59:32 PM EST
Get something like this. You can program it, via your PC, to do all that switching with one button push. And you can label the buttons with names like "Watch Cable" and "Watch Antenna".

Yes, it's $100. Look for used/open box/refurbished ones. I got the 670 for $70 at Beast Buy as an open box item during the after Christmas sale.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
typically by garlic (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 04:13:10 AM EST
a splitter in reverse IS a combiner. it's just a micro strip line that schematically looks like a Y. inputs vs outputs are only important because they are impedance matched.

comcast in chicago puts the OTA HD channels on their cable line. Before I got a cable card, they showed up at the same spot (2-1, 11-2) as they did over the air.


Looks like it will be time to be cleaning up my desk in very short order | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback