Vandalize to get what you want

NYC Prohibits Controversial Subway Ads in Wake of Islamist’s Vandalism

Just one day after an Islamic activist attempted to cover over private property in spray paint (and a woman who got in her way), the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York has announced they will amend their rules to prohibit the types of advertisements that offended her.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who writes:

My advice to the Religious Right: Deface anything you find offensive. That’s clearly how to get your way.

Scouts at the Pentagon

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta visits with members of a delegation of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from across the country Feb. 13, 2012, at the Pentagon. The delegation was visiting Washington, D.C., to present the annual report of the Boy Scouts of America to U.S. government officials. (DoD photo By Glenn Fawcett/Released)
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta visits with members of a delegation of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from across the country Feb. 13, 2012, at the Pentagon. The delegation was visiting Washington, D.C., to present the annual report of the Boy Scouts of America to U.S. government officials. (DoD photo By Glenn Fawcett/Released)

Murdoc is a huge supporter of Scouting.

The guy in the green uniform is a Venture Scout, a program that not a lot of people are familiar with. It’s a co-ed program run by the Boy Scouts of America open to young men and women ages 14 (or 13 if they’ve completed 8th grade) through 20. It focuses more on “high adventure” style activities and less on weekly meetings, basic things like knot tying, and merit badges. It’s a great program for those who want to be involved in Scouts but maybe aren’t as interested in all the rank advancement focus or who have aged out of Boy Scouts. Plus it’s got girls. More info on Venture Scouting here.


Spank No More: Why are fewer parents hitting their kids?

The writer of this article appears to come from a different planet than Murdoc.

The most recent national data from the National Institutes of Mental Health, obtained by a Gallup telephone poll, was encouraging in some respects. Almost every parent regularly tries to reason with a wayward child, and nearly three-quarters redirect misbehaving kids into another activity or use time-outs.

Still, many also hit children regularly…

Remarkably, however, a powerful trend toward abandoning corporal punishment is already under way. There has been a dramatic reduction in its use over the past two generations—an unprecedented change in a pattern that likely had been fixed for millennia. In the United States, for example, 94 percent of parents endorsed hitting kids in 1968, but only one-half approved by 1999.

He quotes a sociologist who believes the decrease is “part of the long term civilizing process of society.”

Then there’s

The issue wasn’t that one group was more or less lenient with bad behavior. Instead, middle- and upper-class parents tended to treat children as peers, with the pint-sized ability to make choices, respond to reason, and have valid emotions. It’s not a huge leap then to see children as having nascent civil rights that conflict with regular corporal punishment.

And he says it like it’s a good thing. And

As a result, these children who experience it develop an “emerging sense of entitlement”—a trait that may carry some negative connotations but generally correlates with better verbal skills, school performance, and a sense that they can actively shape the world around them.

So they’ll be the sort who think they’re owed stuff, but at least they’ll have good grades and be well-spoken. (He left out the “they’ll crap in peoples’ yards while whining about student loans,” but it’s his story and he can tell it however he wants.)

For the record, Murdoc is the father in a household that spanks. And as brutal and savage and uncivilized as that probably sounds to some, spanking occurred fewer than ten times total for two kids. The important thing is to be just and honorable. It seems to work.

Being this is the Christmas season, Murdoc’s spent more time than normal in the mall lately. He’d bet that if you take the 500 worst-behaved kids he’s seen, at least 80% of them come from “no spanking” households. He also did not detect any outward signs of good grades or increased vocabulary.

This guy who wrote the article clearly has a different vision of a good society than Murdoc does. Children are not “little adults” who are in many ways equal to the taller people who live in the same house.

Garmin 405CX

Whoa. Just noticed that today’s Deal of the Day at Amazon is for the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS watch with heart rate strap for only $149. Some of you may be aware that Murdoc is a runner, and one of the biggest things he’s done to improve his training is to use a GPS.

I use the 305, myself, but a lot of guys I know use the 405. If you run (or bike) and have been thinking about getting a GPS, here’s a good chance to get one pretty cheap.

Also makes a great Christmas present for the runner in your life. Seriously. Highly recommended by Murdoc.

Hurry, because I don’t know how long the deal lasts.

UPDATE: Looks the one-day sale is over, but it went up to only $159. Murdoc still thinks that’s a good deal. See the comments section for some more info on using these when working out.

I’m not super fast by any means, but I cannot overstate how much of a benefit one of these has been to my training and racing. It’s also very useful on the bike.

Banned from McDonalds

Bacteria Fighting Mom Banned From McDonald’s

An Arizona mom who has been banned from eight McDonald’s restaurants because she kept swabbing their play areas in a search for bacteria says she won’t let it keep her from her anti-bacteria campaign.

Erin Carr-Jordan, a university professor specializing in adolescent development, received a hand-delivered letter from a lawyer on Monday listing eight McDonald’s locations where she is no longer welcome. “It doesn’t mean much to me personally,” Carr-Jordan told “I’ve gotten positive responses from parents who said, ‘Hey, I’m not banned, give me swabs!’”

Videos she took of general nastiness in some Playland areas got nationwide attention. She’s campaigning for state and federal regulations to require places keep their play areas clean.

Murdoc doesn’t think regulations should be needed. All we should need are a few people with cameras and few more people to help spread the word. It’s not like nasty play areas are defensible. Shame them into keeping them clean.

Just Say No

to Debit card fees

Bank of America will start charging debit-card users $5 a month to pay for purchases. The move comes as the cards increasingly replace cash and as banks look for ways to offset the loss of revenue from a new rule that will limit how much they can collect from merchants.

Paying to use a debit card was unheard of before this year and is still a novel concept for many consumers. But several banks have recently introduced or started testing debit card fees.

The story is portraying this as some sort of scheme that’s trapping debit card users. So switch to banks that don’t charge fees.

Tell your friends. Let’s try to get everyone to switch away from banks charging these fees over to banks that don’t charge these fees. Then let banks decided whether or not to charge them.

Just thinking out loud, here.

Rewarding Us With Tax Increases

Will higher-MPG vehicles starve highway funding?


It happens every time there’s a proposal on the table for increased fuel efficiency. Someone runs the math, points out that high mileage vehicles use less gasoline, then warns that less gas means less gas taxes for maintaining roads.

Reminds Murdoc of a story he pointed out a few years back:

Fulton to increase water rates 15 percent

Fulton County officials praised county water users Wednesday for their success at conservation — then socked them with a 15 percent rate increase for their effort…

Utility managers said water use has dropped by as much as 30 percent since last year when Gov. Sonny Perdue asked each county to cut usage by at least 10 percent because of the lingering drought. That has Fulton facing potential default on its bonds, said Angela Parker, public works director.

“We just can’t swallow this reduction in revenues,” Parker said.

A difference with the gas tax decreases due to increasing gas mileage would be that, via CAFE, the government would essentially be mandating conservation. And then probably using that conservation as an excuse to raise taxes.

Meanwhile, since I haven’t posted one for a while, here’s’s Gas Price Heat Map:

Gas Prices by County
Gas Prices by County

Flag Day

Murdoc is making an unscheduled drydock stop for repairs but that doesn’t mean it’s not June 14th.

Dawn at the Ingalls Homestead, South Dakota. Taken in 2006 by Mrs. Murdoc.
Dawn at the Ingalls Homestead, South Dakota. Taken in 2006 by Mrs. Murdoc.

It was a cold, windy September morning when the photo used to make this image was taken. I was sipping coffee and trying to keep our little fire going in the wind, warming up after a crazy thunderstorm-filled night in a tent. Maybe it was the fun we had on that trip to South Dakota, maybe it was the fact that we were out right where the Ingalls had lived, maybe it was simply the beauty of the morning. Whatever the reason, this flag image continues to be one of Murdoc’s favorites.


Murdoc hasn’t been able to keep up with what’s going on over in Japan, but he just heard that another strong quake hit them. Keep them, everyone else in the path of danger, and those who go in to help in your prayers.