This Week’s Book Review – Shale Boom: The Barnett Shale Play and Fort Worth

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.... [Read More]

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Voting is a grave responsibility

The NYT has put an “extremely detailed map of the 2016 presidential election” tool online.  Here’s a high-level look at much of the Chicago area.  The map is color-shaded by vote percentages.  As you would expect, the city and some surrounding areas are heavily Democratic.  It looks like Lake Michigan swamped onshore, inundating the coastal plain and a few low-lying places farther inland.

Even in the sea of blue, however, there is a rather odd outlier, the very deep blue rectangle circled in black.  Since I grew up nearby, I immediately knew what was up.... [Read More]

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Total Lunar Eclipse: Now that’s a dark one!

On the night of July 27, 2017 (as reckoned in Universal Time, as we use at Ratburger.org), the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century occurred.  As I am writing this, the total eclipse is just about to end.  The eclipse is not visible in the Western Hemisphere.

Total lunar eclipse: 2018-07-27, mid-eclipse... [Read More]

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“Eugenics” by Another Name…

Replying to 

Everyone will stay opposed to ‘eugenics’… right up until the microsecond that they can use it to give their own kids an advantage in life.... [Read More]

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TOTD 2018-07-27: The Limits of Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is a powerful and vital right.  More than any other right, it dethrones the State, placing it subordinate to the conscience of the individual and the Supreme Being he chooses to acknowledge.   This is why the Left cannot stand it – they cannot bear the competition.  Only the Party and the State  can define meaning – in essence, they want to establish Leftism as State religion, and block the free exercise of any other faith.  Social Justice is indeed a jealous god, wrathful and merciless.

That said, there are limits to religious freedom.  You cannot claim that heinous crimes are justified by your religion and expect to get away with it – no sacrificing children to Moloch (unless they are aborted fetuses).  You need some degree of common sense restrictions – you cannot form the Church of Rockso and claim tax exemption along with having cocaine consumption as a sacrament.  This is all common knowledge.... [Read More]

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Shangri-La

In 1933, James Hilton’s wonderful novel Lost Horizon appeared, introducing the mythical place of Shangri-La to the public’s imagination. The first movie version was released in 1937. The novel’s 1939 reprinting as “Pocket Book #1” eventually sold millions of copies. FDR jokingly said the 1942 Doolittle raid on Tokyo was launched from Shangri-La. That same year, FDR dubbed his Maryland retreat (now known as “Camp David“) “Shangri-La”, and by 1944, the name was attached to an aircraft carrier.

Wikipedia declares with great seriousness that “[a]cademic scholars have debunked the myth of Shangri-La and argued that this has less to do with an unexplored place and is more connected to a fantasy of the Western world.”  (Emphasis added.)  Oh, for Pete’s sake. Hilton wrote a novel, dammit. Others have occupied themselves with making attributions regarding Hilton’s sources and/or explanations regarding his motivations, apparently because a great story by itself apparently does not suffice.... [Read More]

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What was your first “NEW” car?

Well, mine was bought new in 1972, while I was on active duty in the Army, in Corpus Christi Texas, it cost $2,800. I took it home and after a few days had to take it back because the finance company backed out. I had a loaner for a week and then financed it through Beneficial Finance, (are they still around?). I had it through the 70’s and it finally gave up the ghost in the early 80’s. At best I clocked over 50 MPG! I had it behind the house, where I was working on it, then had a marriage break up. She sold the car for scrap I think. So what was it?

Continue reading “What was your first “NEW” car?”

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