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2 Years Of Chamber Battles

January 16, 2009

I just thought I’d mention that the Chamber just had its 2nd birthday.   I’ll crack open an adult beverage to celebrate, but first I thought it’d be kinda neat to offer a little insight on where we’ve been.  A sort of “by the numbers”, a couple years in:

chamberstats

Top 10 posts all-time (by hits):

Title Views  
WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance 4,929  
Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush 4,797  
Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina 2,379  
Confirmed: Cindy McCain Is the Crypt Ke 1,685  
Racy Idol Photos: Brilliant! 1,654  
The Perils Of Posting Legitimate Questio 1,534  
The Cost Of “Infrastructure” Vs. War 1,383  
Who The Heck Is Johanna Cardona? 1,359  
Greetings Lizards! (Update: Banned) 1,285  
Is Andrew Rove “Prepared For War”? 1,182  

Top 10 search terms (how we were found):

Search Views
karl rove 2,900  
chenzhen’s chamber 2,287  
big mac 975  
chevrolet aveo 728  
tall 642  
george w bush 605  
johanna cardona 583  
godzilla 515  
chenzhen 455  
cyrus the great 430  

Top 10 clicks (links visitors clicked):

URL Clicks
time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,16… 264  
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonella_Barba 208  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 176  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 175  
technorati.com/search/johanna%20cardo… 139  
redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm… 122  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/… 115  
wordpress.com/tag/wordpress-political… 99  
littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog 89  
technorati.com/search/video%20johanna… 85  

Traffic by the month:

chambergraph
click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it!  A modest blog, to be sure, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun so far.  Here’s to a couple more!

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Bush’s Departure Reminder

January 16, 2009

Somewhere within all the coverage of the jet diving into the Hudson river, I happened to notice Bush decided to give a farewell speech (something his father didn’t do).  As it turns out, I’m kinda glad he did, ’cause I’d almost forgotten to pick up some beer for the party I’m gonna have in a few days.  I’m sure he’s glad he did it too, ’cause if nothing else, it gave him one last chance to stand up in front of America and make those ridiculous eyebrow-contorting smirks:

bushfunnyface1

from yesterday's video

After this boilerplate performance, I take great comfort in the thought that this was the last display of fumbled phrases and childishly robotic over-enunciation of everyday words.  The last attempt to whitewash his unwise decisions with platitudes about “taking the fight to the terrorists” and head-scratchers like “promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity”.   The last Bush speech from behind a podium. 

Finally, it’s over.

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“The Music” Vs. “The Message” (w/poll)

January 9, 2009

Sometimes, the inspiration for threads here in the Chamber come from rather odd places, and this is going to be one of those times.  You see, yesterday, I was hanging out on the showroom floor at the dealership, and I couldn’t help but notice that the background music playing over the speakers was what I used to call “Jesus music” (these days, usually referred to as “Contemporary Christian“).   It was playing all day.

At first, I couldn’t understand why in the heck someone would decide such a thing was appropriate for the environment (considering the fact that any Buddhist, Hindu, Hmong, Jew or Muslim could walk through the door and want to buy a car), but then another thought struck me.  First though, I should say that, during my time in this particular profession, I’ve come to realize that this genre is more popular than I would have expected, based on how many radios are tuned to KTIS when we hop into customer’s cars and run them through the wash.  But I didn’t really take the time to stop and ponder it all until yesterday.  christian-albums

In any case, the thoughts began with something like “What the heck is with this stuff, anyway?”.

I’ve got to wonder if anyone would be rocking out to “Awesome God” if you changed the lyrics to, say, something about beer.  Or women.  Or politics.   Also, is it just me, or do all the male vocalists sound the same?  I mean, I think I could tell that I was listening to CC before I heard the first “savior” or “redeemer” uttered in the song, just based on style.  I dunno, there’s just something about it that gives it away. 

Look, I enjoy all kinds of music.  My MP3 player often skips from reggae, to pop, to classical, to metal, to hip hop when I’m playing it.  I can understand why some people enjoy opera and country, even.  But the vast majority of what I was listening to yesterday was just plain bland and mediocre.

So, I guess I have to assume that our KTIS junkies out there listen to it for the message rather than the quality of the music.  I guess there is that choice.  But I can’t help but think that, at some point, one would have to deduce that what you’re listening to is simply the best material recorded by people who happen to sing about Jesus, and that you’re ignoring the huge selection of tunes out there that are really much better from the perspective of raw musical talent.   So why continue?  Perhaps it could be viewed as a sacrifice of sorts, like some kind of perpetual Lent?   

Anyway…

I had this discussion with my girlfriend, and I was surprised to find out that the lyrics themselves actually effects her taste in music as well.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be that shocked, ’cause once I thought about it for a second, I guess I could understand that there would be people out there who can’t get into anything instrumental, no matter what sub-genre.  A sort of a “can’t like it if I can’t sing it” mentality.  And if one is going to sing it, it’d be more entertaining if the subject was something meaningful to them on a personal level, I imagine.   That’s her, and maybe that explains the KTISers as well.

As for me?  I told her that I’m quite the opposite; the song could be about a dog taking a poop on a rug, and as long as it was catchy, I’d probably like it.   It’s definitely more about the rhythm and harmony in my world.  Give me some powerful chords, groovy beats, and impressive solos, and I’m usually diggin’ it.  

So, I have to ask, who’s more weird?

(I suppose there could be a third, less common category: principle.  By that I mean the selection was about the artist him/her/themselves, and not the lyrics or music per se.  For example, you choose to listen to U2 because of the work Bono does, or don’t, based on it.  What happened with the Dixie Chicks might be another example)

-Exit question:  Is there a name for the two schools?  Or should we coin them in this thread?

-Added miscellaneous factoid:  Did you know that they sang “Shout to the Lord” on American Idol last year?  I didn’t think I’d see that, but here it is:

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Dipshits For Franken

January 5, 2009

Well, the long and arduous task of hand-counting nearly 3 million ballots is complete, and it appears that Franken has emerged victorious:

The state Canvassing Board certified final results this afternoon in Minnesota’s marathon U.S. Senate race, but that won’t end the battle between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, whose Senate term ended on Saturday.

Moments after the board certified that Franken had eked out 225 more votes than Coleman, attorneys for Coleman said they would file a lawsuit within 24 hours.

Of course Coleman will sue, so the drama isn’t quite over yet.  But considering the 400+ vote swing, I’m inclined to take us back to a post I made back in November, before the recount began, where I posed this question:

If Franken does wind up winning, and it’s the dummies that put him over the top, what does that say?

Now, I say dummies, assuming that the majority of the people who weren’t counted by the machines the first time around were my fellow Minnesotans who did something like this on election day:

(I made this up; NOT an actual ballot)

(I made this up; NOT an actual ballot)

Needless to say, part of me wishes that the recount swung the other way, even if I voted for Franken myself. After all, there’s something to be said about an association with people who aren’t bright enough to fill in a little circle on a ballot.  And while there are those who may theorize that “funny business” was at play in the outcome, there were those who predicted from the very beginning that the undervotes would fall in Al’s favor, based on demographics and exit polls (which is a nice way of saying that the elderly and uneducated are more likely to vote for Franken, and are also more likely to screw up their ballots).   Is my reasoning sound?  I’m not certain, and maybe I’m too lazy to dive in and research it down to the last vote cast.  But on the surface, it looks like Franken might owe his victory to a smattering of dipshits, if this was indeed the statistical handful of voters that put him over the top.  

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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A New Chariot, And A Challenge

December 23, 2008

Well, I decided that the winter beater was a little too beat, so I pulled the trigger on one of these Aveo 5 SVM’s that we had on the lot at my store.  It was a steal, ’cause it was sitting out there 60 days and the boss had it priced for less than what we owned it for.

Anyway, it’s a silver 2007 with about 12,400 on the odometer.  It seemed like a smart buy since it has plenty of factory warranty left, my techs said they hardly ever have problems, they hold their resale well, and I should be able to achieve some pretty respectable MPG’s with the little 1.6L engine.  Although, I did splurge and get some 16″ wheels for it (since I naturally get a discount, and the stock 14’s were just too cheap-looking), so it might effect my efficiency a tad.  We’ll see.

czaveo1

By the way, SVM stands for Special Value Model, which means that this car is about as no-frills as one can find these days.  A basic AM/FM radio, crank windows, 5-speed manual transmission, no A/C, cruise, or power…anything.  Pretty much just the essentials are included, although it does have side impact airbags and a nifty digital clock right on the dashboard.

As far as the MPG’s go, I thought I’d spend the winter tracking the tank and see what this little golf cart can do.  The goal is to beat my summer car, the modified 2000 Cougar aka “Slow and Low”.   On paper, this looks easily achievable, considering the official EPA numbers:

aveovscougar

The Aveo is definitely at a disadvantage, however.  Consider alone the ambient temps here in Minnesota in the wintertime (below zero for most of last week), which translates into both less efficiency when she’s going, but also burning gas while she sits there warming up (I’m sorry, but when it’s 10 below, I’m going to run it for at least 5 minutes.  The car was so frozen the other day that the clutch actually stuck to the floor).  Now, add the snow factor (and all the spinning and slogging that results), along with the fact that I wouldn’t consider myself as an expert with a stick shift, and that I won’t be logging nearly as many highway miles (I’m transferring to a store that is much closer to home)….I think we might have a pretty good competition here.

So, for the record, Slow and Low burned 213 gallons of fuel and travelled 6505 miles last season, which sets the mark to beat at 30.537 MPG.  Can this little Aveo do it? 

Mileage logs will be tracked here.   Or, better still, I’ll try to figure out a way to paste the tracker button

somewhere on the main page (it’s a little too wide for the sidebar).

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Holiday Greetings, From The Chamber

December 18, 2008

I just thought I’d mention that my activity will be a little light around here, with all the hustle and bustle and whatnot.  But don’t worry, I’m still checking in when I get the chance.

Anyway, here’s one of my rare open threads.  But if the holiday season isn’t a sufficient topic of discussion in and of itself, I’ll take the liberty of adding a little entertainment in my own style…

So, since I was in the mood for some classic kung fu from the ’70’s, I’ll present the final scene from The Mystery Of Chessboxing (aka Shuang ma lian huan), where the infamous Ghost Faced Killer meets his demise. 

I know its cliché, but they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.  Too bad, really.

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Coining Blago’s Hairstyle

December 14, 2008

Well, people started talking about it the minute the Illinois governor made headlines last week, so I figured that I might as well give my 2¢.  The topic?  Blagojevich’s hair.  Just what do you call it, Mr. Google

But hairdressers all over America needed little else than to look at his hair — “there’s no name for that,” said Calvin Klein’s hairstylist Roberto Novo. “Ugh” — to gasp in horror.

OK Roberto, I’ll consider that a challenge, and offer up my take.  There was one resemblance that immediately came to mind for me (probably because I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life):

blagovshelmet

I’m going to call it…the CCM

(please excuse the fact that I reversed the image; I did so for illustrative purposes)

So with that, I pat myself on the back for my moment of brilliance, and open the thread up to general Blago discussion. 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

BTW-  I still can’t pronounce the guy’s name, so “Blago” it shall be.

Update:  I’ve been running into a few more side-by-sides, so I’m going to post them here as I go:

Bla-lego-vich

Bla-lego-vich

(h/t Tex)

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