November 2008 Archives

Burnout Paradise

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I've been playing a lot of Burnout Paradise lately, for PlayStation 3. What a great game. You drive cars and motorcycles around the fictional city of Paradise, and the goals are to get fastest times on roads, compete in races and other events against the computer, get a lot of cars by winning races/stunts and so on, and go online and compete against, or with, other cars.

I've completed everything in the offline mode of the game, including winning all the events and awards.

There's four types of event: Race (get from point A to point B fastest), Stunt Run (rack up points by performing tricks), Road Rage ("take out" other cars before time runs out, or your car is destroyed), and Marked Man (combination of Race and Road Rage: get from point A to point B before other cars destroy yours).

I have all 76 cars, which range from vans to sedans to hot rods to pure race cars. The one I use the most if the Carson GT Flame -- a very fast and versatile stunt car -- but I also really like the Krieger Paradise City Police Department Special. Not what you want to see in your rear-view mirror.

Playing online is fantastic stuff: you just hit the D-pad to the right a few times and you're online, in the same car and same location on the map as you already were. Now you're just playing with 2 to 7 other people, doing competitive races and events, cooperative challenges, or just trying to take out each other's cars. When you do that you can get a mugshot from your friend, and then post it online so you can mock him later.

The cooperative challenges are the most fun. There's hundreds of different challenges to perform, such as, "every player get 300 yards of jumps" or "every player jump over the other players" or "every player drive backward into oncoming traffic for 3000 yards" or "meet on the roof of the building across from the car park" (which requires jumping from one building to another, over the street). And you can use a microphone to talk to the other players.

It's a $30 download on the PlayStation Network (also available for Xbox 360, and soon for Windows). They've added bikes and other events for free, and are planning other upgrades, at least some of which will be for pay, including a whole new island added on to the city, a bunch of new cars, and a "party" (pass-the-controller) game mode. It's one of the best video game values out there: you can get dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of gameplay out of it.


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Some of you have met Banjo. We got him around 1996. We're putting him down today. We have a few good pictures of him. He was a good'un.

Last year we lost George to cancer, and last winter we lost Fester. We have Tubbs, Fred, and Thornton (the latter being the only WA native) remaining.

LCE059 Big Bottom (by Spinal Tap)

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This is an original arrangment of "Big Bottom" by Spinal Tap. It's sort of a jazz-blues -- or blues-jazz, really -- version, with layers upon layers of bass (as many as seven bass parts simultaneously).

I think this arrangement really captures the true soul of the original composition, expressing the theme as words never could; hence, the bass guitar does all of the singing.

Created using a BOSS RC-2 LoopStation pedal, Variax Bass, and PODxt Live. The guitar models used (in order) are MiniMoog synth, Fender Jazz, Fender Fretless Jazz, Hagstrom H8 8-string, and Hamer B12A 12-string.

This is the Longest Concert Evar, starring Pudge. Send requests to, or post them here.

Pudge -- LIVE on Saturday Night

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I just got this e-mail:

Congratulations from YouTube

Hi there,

Congratulations! We've selected a clip from one of your videos for a feature in the broadcast of YouTube Live! -- the first ever live streaming event on the site, designed to celebrate our extravagantly talented user community. Your video will be a part of the show, playing alongside live performances from some of YouTube's finest musicians, athletes and most well-known personalities.

You can watch YouTube Live! this Saturday, November 22 starting at 5PM PST/8PM EST on

Thanks, and congratulations again!

The YouTube Live Team

Presumably, they'll be showing a clip from my video that played during the YouTube/CNN GOP Debate.

It's been awhile since I put up some videos ... I am working on a cover of a song right now, and am also gearing up for another Twelve Songs of Christmas. Maybe it won't be twelve this year. Maybe this one will go to eleven (hint, hint).

Gregoire Was Right All Along!

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We are now facing a $5 billion deficit. That's on a budget of $33.6 billion. Which is up more than a third over four years ago.

If only we had listened to Governor Gregoire back in 2006:

Our state budgeting has been a roller coaster. We spend when we have a surplus and we struggle to make painful cuts when the economy slumps. It is time to even out the ride. While the roller coaster is fun at the amusement park, it is no model for state budgeting.

By treating our budget like a Washington family budget -- we will ensure stability and avoid tax increases or Draconian cuts tomorrow.

And by "we," of course, I mean Governor Gregoire.

If she had actually governed this way, we wouldn't be in this mess. She and the Democrats controlling the legislature did exactly what she said we shouldn't do: they spent when we had a surplus, and now we're struggling to make painful cuts when the economy slumps.

She was right that this was no model for state budgeting, and that is why I am confident that the people won't re-elect her.

Oh wait. She won? ... Seriously?

You're joking, right?

I mean, someone screws up this badly, even admitting they know the problem and then doing exactly what they say we shouldn't do, and they can get thrown out of office before their term is even up. No way they'd actually get re-elected.

You cannot be serious.

Anonymous Sources Are Useless

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For years I've been telling people that you simply cannot trust the news media when it reports something based on anonymous sources.

People don't care. Even when I prove to them they can't trust anonymous sources, they do it anyway. People love to get information, no matter how sketchy, and blindly follow it ... as long as it reinforces their preconceptions.

Palin doesn't know Africa is a continent? Sure, if you believe Palin is a moron, you'll just accept that, despite the fact that you can't corroborate it.

There's so many reasons to not believe it: it could be the source is lying; it could be the reporter is lying; it could be the reporter misunderstood, and misreported, what the source said; it could be that the source misunderstood what Palin said. And so on. Unless we as the public know who said what, we cannot cross-examine and test the source to get to what actually happened.

And now we see that MSNBC reported that the person leaking information about Palin is someone who ... doesn't exist. It was a hoax. (Not the leak, but this apparent leaker.)

But if Shuster and MSNBC are so quick to report on someone who doesn't exist being the leaker, why would we believe a reporter wouldn't be taken in by a fake source, or a lying one, on the initial story? And if it turns out the source was wrong, do you really think the reporter would tell us, if they didn't get caught?

I know it's hard for a lot of people, but you do have an alternative: strictly reject news stories that do not have verifiable corroboration for their claims. It's not hard once you get the hang of it. While reading or listening to a story, keep an eye out for what the source of the story is. If it is not identified specifically such that you or someone else could find out for yourself, then ignore the story. Forget it. Pretend it doesn't exist.

You simply cannot trust stories based on anonymous sources. When you do trust them, you show yourself to be a fool, and you contribute to the problem of increasingly irresponsible journalistic practices.

Good Bye, David Brooks

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I have given up on David Brooks.

I wish he'd give up on me.

He's never been a strong conservative, but he often pushed for conservative ideals. But now he's abandoned those. He puts himself in the "Reformer" camp of the Republican Party, and notes:

[The Reformers] argue that the old G.O.P. priorities were fine for the 1970s but need to be modernized for new conditions. The reformers tend to believe that American voters will not support a party whose main idea is slashing government.

I won't bother with going over the entire piece, but I'll just note that if you are not in favor of small government, you are not a conservative (and you're a poor Republican, though one with a long tradition). Small government is the path to liberty. You cannot have liberty without small government. And if you're not willing to push for small government, you shouldn't be a Republican.

The problem is not that American voters won't support slashing government, it's that the Republican Party has not given the people a reason to want to. This is why conservatives desire another Ronald Reagan, not because of some mythical ideal of this Pure Conservative Leader who will lead us to a Promised Land, but because Reagan like no one else was able to communicate why small government was better, and he got the country to agree with him. This is what matters to us.

Brooks bemoans the fact that there is "Republican Leadership Council to nurture modernizing conservative ideas." Brooks is basically saying to us conservatives -- it's not how he sees it, of course, but it's how we see it -- that liberty itself is old-fashioned. We should just give in to socialism, give in to big government, give up our freedom. But the reason we're conservatives is because we reject that. This is what we fight for. It is our political raison d'être.

It's all about liberty. This is the bottom line. This is why our nation was founded, this is why our forefathers died, and it is the only reason why I bother to care about politics at all. For the Republicans and "conservatives" who will abandon liberty, I'd rather they just went all the way and abandoned the Republican Party. (Maybe after over 100 years of this uncomfortable coalition between moderates and conservatives, it's finally time for a split. Maybe not. Ask me again in a few months.)

I don't know whether Brooks is a "coward" or "sellout." I doubt it. Being a coward or sellout would mean that he had held to conservative principles, but one who would so easily abandon those principles in the face of adversity probably didn't.

Tom Friedman, in his non-endorsement endorsement of Barack Obama, said something that should be utterly astonishing, but unfortunately, wasn't:

Never has one generation spent so much of its children's wealth in such a short period of time with so little to show for it as in the Bush years. Under George W. Bush, America has foisted onto future generations a huge financial burden to finance our current tax cuts, wars, and now bailouts.

So according to Friedman, when I vote to keep my money in my pockets so I can provide and save for my children, I am voting to take money away from my children, because all wealth is the government's wealth. That's the only sane way to parse this tripe: our "children's wealth" is spent when government doesn't control that wealth.

It's one thing to say spending on a war, or a bridge, or other actual spending is "spending our children's wealth." But to say that allowing people to keep their own money is such "spending," is socialism. Or worse.

It is talk like this that will make the comeback of liberty and the Republican Party that much easier in two or four years.

(Oh, and Tom, that bailout was a Democratic bill, and besides, your own favored candidate, Barack Obama, says it won't cost ANY money. Frankly, I am a little surprised you didn't tow the party line on that one, but I guess the temptation to attack Bush was stronger than your loyalty to Obama.)

Quote of the Month

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Let's grow up, conservatives. If we want to take the party back -- and I think we can -- let's get to work. -- Barry Goldwater, 27 July 1960.

I am not on the McCain-bash bandwagon. This isn't about McCain. But let's face it: the GOP has not been run by strong conservatives up and down the ticket since Newt Gingrich left. We've not been in the wilderness quite as much as conservatives had been in 1960 -- no conservative President, nor even nominee, in almost 30 years, and Democratic domination of the Congress for almost as long -- but we soon may be.

Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie, Thomas Dewey, Dwight Eisenhower. It's more un-conservative than Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain. But even though I'd defend Dole's and McCain's more-conservative-than-not credentials, and the left tries to paint the Bushes as conservatives, it's not just about the top of the ticket, but the control of the party, and the Bush years were, by any objective standard, anything but conservative on most issues.

I don't know how to fix things exactly, but one thing is clear: if you sit on the sidelines, you're contributing to the problem. Get to work.

As the P-I reports, Mayor Nickels is planning to go ahead with a ban on guns on Seattle City land, and damn our rights: state law allows citizens to have guns there, and explicitly prohibits local regulations to the contrary.

Nickels' spokesperson says the city needs more "clarity" on state law. She's lying. We know what state law says, and McKenna's office gave any clarification they needed. What she means is that she is trying to force the overturning of state law through the violation of it.

Nickels is just one more Democrat who does not respect the rule of law.

The P-I story also falsely claims that President Bush allowed the "assault weapons ban" to expire. No renewal of the plan ever came before him. Maybe the reporter and editors don't realize Congress, not the President, makes laws?

I thought maybe he would feel better in the morning. Nope. I am still bothered by the many liberties to be lost under an Obama presidency and liberal Democratic Congress.

Starting January 20, I am going to keep a list of liberties lost. I'll probably seed a list of liberties likely to lose. Perhaps in all the excitement yesterday you missed the news that Chuck Schumer said he wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

As those of us following along with actual issues are aware, Obama is going to be the most anti-gun President in history, if he follows through on his stated views, his voting history, and so on.

He supported the DC gun ban, which he admits was unconstitutional. He said the expiration of the so-called "assault weapons" ban was a "tragedy." He supports banning a lot of ammo, and making a lot more prohibitively expensive.

Despite his claim of supporting an "individual right" to keep and bear arms, it's obvious his definition of "right" means the government can restrict that "right" into oblivion.

And his friends in the Congress, like the aforementioned Schumer, will go along with any gun restriction they can get their hands on. That he came out on Election Day and talked about restricting the First Amendment tells you that these people are not afraid of anything right now.

So, it's time to stock up, while we still can. I am thinking M-4 carbine, a bunch of large clips, and as much inexpensive ammo as I can get my hands on.

Democratic candidate for Washington Secretary of State graciously came on to Sound Politics to explain his plan for universal voter registration.

Unfortunately for him, his audience was educated.

We challenged his claims, we refuted them, and we exposed him as favoring legalizing voting for noncitizens. Yes, literally.

His plan is to create a massive new database of all information about residents -- and damn the privacy concerns -- that would mark every resident as "eligible" or "noneligible." But there's no data that necessarily tells us whether someone is noneligible, so it would have to assume, given no contrary evidence, that someone is eligible. Which wouuld include thousands and thousands of noncitizens.

Osgood demonstrated many problems, including either not understanding the technology, or deceptively exaggerating what it can do, such as his claim that data errors in his database could be "eliminated" and that it would lead to "utterly eliminating voter fraud." That is, of course, impossible.

And he had no answer to the concerns of recognized security experts that this was dangerous: it would give a false sense of correctness, while creating a giant privacy threat to all residents, by creating this massive new database of all kinds of documents in one place.

I don't think he has a chance to beat Sam Reed, so I am not worried about it. I find it distressing that the Democrats backed him though. Then again, they backed Fred Walser, and on the scale of terribleness, even Osgood pales compared to Walser.

Val Stevens sent out a flier quoting officials of the City of Sultan in their own words, in statements submitted for Fred Walser's sentencing this past June, after his criminal conviction. We hope to get those documents to link to them soon, but here are the quotes, in the meantime:

"Fred Walser, you lied -- and continue to lie -- without regard to the welfare of the people you swore to protect ... Your lies resulted in a great deal of damage ..." -- Cheryl L. Beyer, Sultan City Attorney
"The lies and deceit that happened are unforgettable, and it has left an ever-existing scar on the Public Servants of Sultan, Washington." -- Jim Flower, Sultan City Councilman
"Mr. Walser acted with complete disregard to the City of Sultan ... It was the worst of all possible times that Mr. Walser chose to be so reckless in his actions ... As you could imagine, morale in the Police Dept. hit a low." -- Dale Doornek, Sultan City Councilman
"Fred Walser has cost the City money it could not afford, jeopardized safety of the community and has left many people feeling betrayed by his actions." -- Laura J. Koenig, Sultan City Clerk/Deputy Finance Director

Despite Walser's claims, this was more than a "clerical error" or "memory lapse," in the words of the people who worked with him.

The Democratic Party has -- since his conviction -- spent more than $75,000 on that one's campaign, mostly through the Senate Dewmocratic Campaign Committee. I have no logical recourse but to conclude that the Democrats, the SDCC in particular, and chair Karen Keiser in particular, simply have no concern whatsoever for honesty and integrity in politics and government, having proven themselves, in the campaign of Fred Walser, to be perfectly willing to resort to all sorts of lies and corruption.

This makes me angry; if I were a Democrat, I'd be fuming. These are the people who are representing YOUR PARTY, Democrats.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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