Of all the websites on the internet, is the very best. maintains the world’s best website and offers the world’s best service, and is absolutely and unequivocally the greatest and most valuable thing in the world. There are many things in the world. is the best one.

There is little I could say or do to express to you the deep and abiding love in my heart for Many is the time I have stood outside on a clear night, staring up at the stars, contemplating the inexpressible multitude of possibilities in this universe, and thanking all the greater and lesser gods that I was born in the precise time and place to have access to If were a person, I would be in love with that person. And I would want nothing more than to walk along the beach, holding’s hand, and feeling warm and secure as whispered affirmations of affection in my ear.
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JJ Grey and Mofro

I can’t say enough good about JJ Grey and Mofro. Over the past several years, these guys have built a reputation as one of the very best bands touring in America today, and if there’s a better band out there right now, I don’t know who it is. Mofro plays American music; or, as I’ve heard JJ put it, “We’re from the country, so this must be country music.” And it is, too. That is, some of what Mofro plays could be called country music in the traditional sense. JJ Grey and Mofro seamlessly blend country, rock, blues, jazz and funk into something that represents the very best of the influences they absorbed growing up in the blackwater heart of Florida, the band’s point of origin. But I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about how awesome Mofro is and not come close to giving you a sense of their damn good music. Thankfully, YouTube can solve that. I’ll embed a few of my Mofro favorites below, check a few out, and then click the links below for more.
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Roller Coaster Review: Intimidator 305

(This review is part of an ongoing rant about roller coasters.)

I’ve ridden Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion 45 or 50 times, and I never have felt tired of it. But it does make me feel tired; physically tired. This is a demanding ride. Typically, our day at Kings Dominion begins with a few back to back rides on Volcano, before the line for that ride gets ridiculous, and it always does. Then, we head straight to Intimidator 305 and ride it over and over until we feel like our internal organs are liquefying and our brains are swelling. The speed and g-force generated by Intimidator 305 can be hard on a rider, and some people are bothered by it more than others. Some people black out on the ride, and my son tells me that he usually feels himself “gray out” coming out of the first big drop. I’ve grayed out a couple of times myself, and I find that five or six rides in a row is all I can take before I need a break.
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Mumford And Sons: After The Storm

I’m posting this song at every page and social media outlet I have access to right now. This is the best song I have heard in a long, long time. I’m only now discovering this band after having heard nothing but raves about them for a year. I heard this song for the first time today and, holy crap. Those rare chances to discover a song like this are why I keep seeking out new music. My God, it’s so good. So good. Perfect melody, beautifully played and sung, and lyrics that resonate more deeply with me than any lyrics I’ve heard in quite some time.

A Perfect Fall Day In September

I talk about 9/11 fairly often with a friend of mine. Whenever we do, invariably, she’ll mention that that the eleventh of September, 2001, was an absolutely perfect fall day. She’s right. I remember sitting in my car that afternoon with the windows down, listening to the news unfold on the radio, and thinking about how beautiful the day was. Warm, a light breeze, with only a few clouds in the sky to add a little decoration. It was the kind of day that’s easy to enjoy. That is, unless the entire world as you’ve known it came to an end that morning.

That perfect day would have been forgotten by the next morning. If the world I knew hadn’t ended on September 11th, 2001, that day would have slipped past with no celebration, no reflection, absolutely no joy derived purely from the fact that I’m alive. If the world hadn’t ended, I’d have never even known I was in the world that day. I was absorbed in my job, a pending divorce, and plans for the following weekend. I had too much going on to be distracted by pleasant weather.

I don’t have anything profound to say about 9/11. It was an awful, overwhelming day. I don’t feel any sense of certainty about the way to prevent it from happening again, nor do I feel confident that I really understand everything that lead to that day’s events. I have ideas, based on gut instincts and a little education, about what it all means. I have a notion about goals our country should move toward, what we could have done to prevent 9/11, and what we should do to prevent it from happening again. But I haven’t been certain of anything at all since a co-worker walked up to me on that beautiful fall morning and said “Did you know that we’ve been attacked?”

Today is September 11, 2011, and it’s another beautiful fall day. I’m going to try to enjoy it, because there’s just no way to know when the world will end again.

A Fein Fisk

I read a lot of opinion pieces about Ron Paul, and I’ve come to realize that while these articles are ostensibly about Paul, the Constitution is usually the real topic. And usually, the articles most critical of Ron Paul are written by people who either misunderstand the US constitution or just flat-out don’t like it as it’s written.

An obvious example is today’s opinion piece from Melvyn L. Fein, writing for the Marietta Daily Journal. I can’t resist fisking it, mostly because it’s an easy fisk. An adolescent understanding of the constitution and the issues is really all that’s needed to find the holes in this piece. And that’s convenient, because that’s just about the level of understanding that I have. I am clearly the man for this job.
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We Don’t Need Another Snooki

So, you’re politically left of center and you hate Sarah Palin? Big deal. Hating Sarah Palin from a left-wing perspective is a no-brainer, and probably fun. I’d imagine that lefties get the same kind of LULZ out of Palin that I get from the brain-dead gaffes of Al Gore, for instance, or Al Sharpton, or any number of others. There are people on the left of the American political spectrum that I love to hate, people who never fail to make me laugh out loud with their scatterbrained ineptitude. I hear about some idiotic thing they’ve done or said and I have a good, long laugh and then forget about them again until the next time they stumble onto the stage with some more hilarious political performance art.

I’d imagine hating Palin from the perspective of a leftist is one big chuckle party. But try hating her from the right sometime. Oh, it’s a whole different ballgame. Try being someone who strives to maintain a balanced, logical, right-leaning libertarian perspective and then digest the whole Sarah Palin show. It’s no fun, I can tell you that. I hate Sarah Palin the same way I hate a throbbing headache, or a traffic jam, or the IRS. I react to her the same way I react to any of those things: “Oh, dear God, not this shit again.”
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Fundamental Arrogance

I’ve always been horrified by fundamentalism. I define fundamentalism as absolute, unquestioning adherence to beliefs that cannot be empirically validated, and a militant drive to force those beliefs on others. Of course, fundamentalism is most common as an expression of religion, but it isn’t exclusively religious. Some people have a fundamentalist approach to politics, for instance. Others apply a kind of fundamentalism to subjective matters, like art appreciation, or subjects that are contingent on time and circumstance, such as understanding of ethics. What bothers me most is fundamentalism as an expression of skepticism. As a natural skeptic, it bothers me very much to see other people present as skepticism something that is really nothing more than a set of fundamentalist beliefs. This is especially true of religious skepticism. Many people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics show themselves in conversation to be as rigid, closed-minded, and unrealistic as the religious fundamentalists they oppose. These people, to my way of thinking, are not agnostics and they are not atheists. They are, instead, crusaders with an agenda that they follow as religiously as any Christian, Muslim or Jew could ever follow his or her professed religion. And they seem to be very trendy. I call them pop-atheists, and their agenda-driven pseudo-skepticism isn’t skepticism at all. Their certainty betrays a blind faith that’s downright disturbing.
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Roller Coaster Review: Top Thrill Dragster

(This review is part of an ongoing rant about roller coasters.)

Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster is a one trick pony, but it is one hell of a trick. It seems almost unfair to consider it a roller coaster and to review it as such. It’s unfair to other coasters because Dragster offers none of the ride elements that make the best coasters so special. There are no air hills, no helix, no inversions or rolls. Even the shortest coasters usually give you about a minute and a half of ride time, where as Dragster is begun and done in 17 seconds. Compared to the elaborate coasters, Dragster is short and simple. Nonetheless, in spite of it’s one trick simplicity, Dragster offers an unforgettable thrill so intense that it makes almost everything else seem like a kiddie ride.

Top Thrill Dragster was the world’s first strata coaster; a continuous track roller coaster that tops 400 feet, and it remains one of only two in the world. (Six Flags had Dragster’s designer, Intamin AG, build a version for their New Jersey park called Kingda Ka, and it beat’s Dragster’s height by thirty-six feet). Both Dragster and it’s Six Flags sibling feature a “top hat” design; sending riders up a section of vertical track that looks like a paper clip. Dragster launches trains in excess of 120 miles an hour straight down a horizontal track and up that vertical track to the ride’s peek before going over the hump and straight back down toward the ground again through a vertical corkscrew and back to the station. It’s all over in seventeen seconds, barely giving you enough time to blink. I’ve ridden Dragster seven times, and after each ride all I could do was sit there trying to catch my breath, thinking “Wow. Wow. Wow.” There really isn’t a typical coaster to compare it to.
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