A fetching, drooling machine.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Starting with this release, when a user logs in to the Solaris Desktop for the first time, Sun Java Desktop System (Java DS) is the default desktop environment instead of the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). Java DS has also become the default environment for users who chose a desktop environment on an earlier Solaris release that is no longer present in this Solaris release, such as OpenWindowsTM or GNOME 2.0.
He done some good and the java gang got him in the end. It's for the best - the West is closing and has no place for that kind.
CDE - come back, CDE! 
Tip o' the hat to the best Western ever made.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A child saved the city by taking a piss and now they have statues of him everywhere.Two versions of the story
In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung it in a tree, to encourage them. From there, he urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.
In the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held their ground for quite some time. The attackers had thought of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Juliaanske from Brussels happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city.
Enlightened self-interest is pretty cool.
Thanks largely to hisamishness, the inimitable Leslie Fish sang at my birthday party this weekend. She is currently compiling "Lock and Load" CD of pro-RKBA music. I am working on the cover design for it now. One of the titles is "Hose-down". I filmed it with my pocket camera and it came out reasonably well.
The Youtube video is, as advertised, pretty good.
And lyrics! While filk might not be your cup of tea, proper gun control should be.
Hose-Down by Leslie Fish
Hey you cocky, khaki boys
Proud of all your combat toys.
D'ya think you can spray all your troubles away,
With a hose-down?
Fire that AR rock-n-roll.
When you add the final toll
You don't kill much but sleeves and brush,
When you hose-down.
One good sniper up a tree
can wipe out a whole company.
Because he'll take the time to aim,
While the hose-down boys just spray and pray.
When you go to spray and blast
You use up lots of ammo fast.
How much can you carry?
How long can you tarry,
When you hose-down?
One good well-aimed shotgun round
Can throw as much hot lead around
As the entire clip of an AR zip
When you hose-down.
The point of throwing lead around
Is to make the other guy keep down.
But wear good armor front and head:
You'll stand tall while they fall dead!
It aint' much sense and it ain't much class
To fill the air with smoke and brass.
Everyone can see just where you be,
When you hose-down.
Making lots of flame and noise
May be fun for hot-ass boys.
But you win the game by how well you aim,
Yes you win the game by how well you aim,
See? Instructive, lyrical and Kipling-esque.
 This is kidding, of course - having a well known anarchist filk singer at a birthday party is pretty darn nifty.
Monday, April 28, 2008
In other news, I finished reading Chris Roberson's latest novel, The Dragon's Nine Sons. It's a retelling of the "Dirty Dozen" movie, set in an alternate future where the Chinese Empire and the Aztec-based Mexica Dominion control the world and are at war with each other. The novel's interesting enough, and the alternate history is fascinating. However, I do have a problem - in the book, all Mexica technology requires a human sacrifice to start. Various sensors and sacrificial altars are hard-wired into the equipment.
And I thought we had inventory problems at the plant - imagine JIT when the component is a live person?
Also making an appearance were several examples from non-standard English, such as the Deep South’s “you/y’all/all y’all” (explained as singular, plural and emphatic plural, respectively: “…As in, ‘Jim Bob! You get off my lawn!’ vs ‘Jim Bob! Y’all kids get off my lawn!’ vs ‘I said ALL Y’ALL KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN BEFORE I GO GET MY SHOTGUN!’”)
I said, at Thanksgiving two years ago, to a room full of people
All y’all get in here - dinner is served.
My parents - from Oklahoma - understood. My kids - raised mostly in Texas - understood. Our Wisconsin friends looked baffled; What did you say?
Sheesh - it’s like these people never watched ‘Dukes of Hazard’.
$ cal 9 1752
S M Tu W Th F S
1 2 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Why .. it's missing a whole chunk of days! The explanation ...
The guy that originally wrote the "cal" command on some old Version 7 machine had an off-by-one error in his code. This showed up as some erroneous output when a malloc'd variable overwrote 12 extra bytes with zeroes, thus leading to the strange calendar output seen above.
Now, nobody in his right mind really cares about the calendar for September 1752. Even the *idea* of the year 1752 does not exist under UNIX, because time did not begin for UNIX until early 1970. As a result, nobody even knew that "cal" had this error until much later. By then there were thousands of copies of "cal" floating around, many of them binary-only. It was too late to fix them all.
So in mid-1975, some high-level AT&T officials met with the Pope, and came to an agreement. The calendar was retroactively changed to bring September 1752 in line with UNIX reality. Since the calendar was changed by counting *backwards* from September 14, 1752, none of the dates after that were affected. The dates before that were all moved by 12 days. They also fixed the man page for "cal" to document the bug as a feature.
The 11 days from September 3 to September 13 were simply gone from the records. They searched the history books and found that fortunately nothing of much significance happened during those 11 days.
Wow - AT&T had some pull, back in the good old days.
Offhand - bleh. I was privileged to watch a master shoot in this position, once.
A Corporal in the next relay is shooting the 200 sitting.
Bang. Maggie's drawers. Bang. High and right. Bang. Low and left.
Some grumbling heard; the rifle is messed up. Got to be.
The range OIC, a Warrant Officer 4, strolls up.
Lemme see that weapon, son.
WO 4 tips the sign to the tower. All targets down to half but his. He slips his own magazine into the weapon, tosses it to his shoulder and rips off twenty rounds, offhand - just that quick.
His target goes down and comes back up with a single spot, middle of the bull.
"Aint' the weapon, boy, it's the shooter."
See more artwork at http://www.krisbattles.com/
Hi. This is for you. Don't never say I never gave you nothing.
Gee, thanks. Don't mind if I wrap this dead mouse up? I'll keep it for later.
Oh, I know you'll just throw it in the trash. I don't mind, really. I just spent hours in the basement getting just the right mouse .. oh, never mind.
Wow - you remind me of an ex-wife .. say this thing is still alive. It's twitching it's little mousie paws. You want to finish it off?
What? No, that's gross: I have no idea where it's been. I'm going to saunter under the bed now and feign indifference. Enjoy.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
LETTERMAN: That's a great thing for people interested, not only in sports, but just in life. Because here's a guy if you would've talked to football experts, they wouldn't give you the time of day, and now look what's happened. So if you think you can do it, if you have an idea that that's what you want, by god don't quit for heaven's sake.
FAVRE: Well, you know, my career has been that way. I was never 'the' guy, and always had to overcome a lot of obstacles and was kind of a nobody and all those things. But I always believed and just kept working hard and here I am.
Jesus shared with his disciples,
"I am the Nice Shepherd.
I never say no to my sheep. They love me and I love them and I do anything they want. When the wolf comes I smile and say hello and welcome him into the flock because my flock is inclusive and welcoming.
Other shepherds are not nice. They are divisive and bullying. They have rules for the sheep. They do not accept the wolf and do not let the sheep play with him.
I am the Nice Shepherd. I lay down for the sheep and the wolf. They love me lots and call me by my first name. We love ourselves and we form community. We do not like those other sheep who will not play with the wolf. We do not have them in our flock. We call them names and show them they are unwelcome because they are not welcoming like us."
Friday, April 25, 2008
The other, The Silver Zephyr, was an accident. I had a train in mind for the WPA
bridge and spent quite a bit of time building a deco-style model.
Unfortunately when I put it in the image, it looked very wrong. It
blocked a lot of the detail and added very little. While puzzling out
how to fix it, I conceived the second bridge. His hat was going to be
an Indian War Bonnet, but it got away from me and is now a kind of
We do seem to lead a charmed national life don't we?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
My Boy Jack (1916)
Have you news of my boy Jack?'
Not this tide.
'When d'you think that he'll come back?'
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
'Has any one else had word of him?'
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
'Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?'
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind -
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.
Then hold your head up all the more,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!
I learned this morning that Kipling wrote this poem after his son died at the Battle of Loos. Which makes it super-duper sad.
Hit up your local Army-Navy surplus store now for parkas, mittens and Mickey Mouse boots - it might be getting chilly, by and by.
The scariest photo I have seen on the internet is www.spaceweather.com, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity.
What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.
If the big-brain guys are right we can sledge cannon down the Hudson River, roast oxen on the Thames .. all the cheery old-timey stuff they used to do.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Then he ran into the doorframe with the barrel of his gun.
Flashback to when I was 19 and running through an urban assault course  - I did the same exact thing; except I was running a lot harder and spun around, flailing like the goober I was, before I fell on my ass.
And YM didn't have Gunny W. yelling at him for being a doofus.
 A Nerf shotgun . Sadly, it doesn't fire chunks of foam, but regular darts. But it loads and operates like a double-barreled scattergun.
 Nothing cool like the kids today have  - just a building in the woods.
 Kids today have all the cool toys.
in the cartoon universe depicted the only people able to afford college would be .. kids who enlist for the GI Bill and kids who enroll in ROTC.
I do not know what such a world would look like - I have my hunches based on the work habits of my fellow veterans - but it would be interesting.
Update: Travis points out that I've described an abridged version of Starship Troopers.
My sense of the absurd only steals from the best.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
This is a promo shot of Summer Glau, advertising for “The Sarah Connor Chronicles”.
If the first thing that grabbed your attention was the anatomy of the model, you’re a guy.
If the first thing you noticed was the model of the gun she’s holding, you’re a gun geek.
If you looked at that picture, and your first thought was, “Finger off the trigger!”, you’re a well-trained gun geek.
I am neither a gun geek nor a well-trained gun geek. I'm sure I would have noticed the mis-placed finger given time ...
‘We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election.
On one side, you have a b*tch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and a lawyer who is married to a b*tch who is a lawyer.
On the other side, you have a true war hero married to a woman with a huge chest who owns a beer distributorship.
Is there a contest here?’
Sarah Hall Maney
outside the lines
is scary business
I don't have the courage for it
On my big, bold days, though
I let my red crayon
just streak across a line
Then I swirl my purple and orange
out there with it
in perfect freedom
Coloring outside the lines
is lonely, too
I'm the only one
who doesn't get
a gold star on my paper
The teacher frowns
the kids call me weird
Why don't they see
that I'm not behind them...
I'm out in front
outside the lines
It would be nice
to have a friend
who colored outside the lines,
At five o'clock I was informed that two things were, in fact, wrong.
Vim was broken when I moved everything around on the NFS mount to the new directory structure. Fixing was as easy as re-creating a symbolic link but ... why vim when vi is just as easy to use and it's always there no matter what? I suspect the consultick was paid extra for including a pretty text editor. 'Cause they had to edit the .vimrc file so it matched the terminal colors and took (I'm guessing) a whole billable day.
No, really. The application user has a color scheme with a gee-whiz prompt. Doing things as that user is like climbing into a Cadillac with tail fins; it's baroque.
I have no idea how much adding that stuff on actually cost but .. you know the shadier car dealers who charge hundreds of dollars for 'fabric protection' and then casually Scotch-Guard the fabric? It's like that.
We no longer patronize that consultancy.
The second thing was even easier to fix but far more critical: I neglected to import the application's crontab file from the old to the new host. This is only important if you want the application to actually run at night and gather it's data .. which is the only reason for it's existence.
Duh on me.
Checklists are important for getting stuff done but they also make it easy to go back and figure out why your stuff broke and how to fix it.
We needed to move it  to a new host. Doing this was a finicky process  involving digging around in xml and httpd files and a lot of planning and coordination with two application owners ...
All that work Payed Off.
Today I halted the application on one host, launched it on another and ... it Just Worked. Maybe ten hours of effort over the last three weeks for five minutes of flawless execution.
Oh, yeah - who owns that legacy application now, baby.
 For reasons too complicated and tedious to go into here.
Monday, April 21, 2008
In modern music, the term passacaglia is often used to denote a piece that doesn't necessarily conform to the baroque ideal of the form (and not even necessarily in 3/4 time), but which has a more or less fixed bass pattern (ground bass) or chord progression, sometimes both, that is repeated consecutively throughout most or all of the piece. Sometimes it departs entirely from the form, but retains its essentially grave character (cf. passacaglias by Shostakovich)
While my dog appreciated the opportunity this morning to exercise her neglected baby rabbit butchering skills, I understand you are less than thrilled donating your family to the cause.
But I gotta say that it is mostly your fault; next litter, please locate your burrow in any other location than smack-bang next to the shade tree in my front yard.
Then you can raise a generation of suburban Peter Rabbits in peace and I won't have to dispose of your murdered children.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Speak 'What' again! Thou cur, cry 'What' again!
I dare thee utter 'What' again but once!
I dare thee twice and spit upon thy name!
Now, paint for me a portraiture in words,
If thou hast any in thy head but 'What',
Of Marsellus Wallace!
From 'Pulp Fiction, as performed by the King's Men'
Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Prior to the Chinese takeover in 1959, Tibet was a theocratic state based on feudalism. There was a social caste system where people were born into serfdom. The people born into serfdom, then, were taught the Buddhist notion of karma and reincarnation; that they were suffering from the sins of the past life. However, there was a way out of the caste system. One third of the boys in Tibet were forcibly taken by the monastery and could live in the life of harmony, along with a chance for molestation and rape.I mean, it really says something about how bad the Tibetians were that, when the Red Chinese showed up and raped the place, things actually got a lot better around there.
The lamas and the feudal landlords, who owned the lands of Tibet, did not represent the majority of the population, who were illiterate and poor. The Drepung Monastery was one of the biggest landowners in the world, and it lent money to the peasants at an interest rate of 20 percent to 50 percent. In theocratic feudal Tibet, torturing methods such as eye gouging and amputation were common as punishments for thieves and runaway slaves.
Content gleefully lifted - and serial numbers filed off - from Cryptonomicon, from the scene were Randy and Avi were talking about the Aztecs and Spanish.
I will allow that the Tibetians were not as bad as the Aztecs. A Tibetian peasant at the bottom of the system in 1958 might find that small comfort.
My culture judges a man by the content of his character not the color of his skin.
My culture believes that a man has a right to the fruits of his own labors, and he may feast or famine dependent upon how fat or hungry he wishes to be.
My culture believes that men should behave as gentlemen, and women should behave as ladies.
My culture believes that government is a necessary evil that should only do those things that the private citizens cannot.
My culture believes that a man's faith is between him and his God, and as long as it doesn't involve sacrificing puppies or molesting children, you can pretty much believe in whatever diety you like, but we also get pissed off when people try to enforce state supported atheism by obliterating any reference to any faith, and call believers backwards yokels.
My culture is being assaulted by multiculturalism, socialism, communism, islamic fundamentalism and a whole host of other "isms."
My culture believes that the individual is the first, last, and greatest defense against the "isms" of the world, and that he can, and should avail himself of every tool in the prosecution of this defense, from soap box, to ballot box, to ammunition box.
This culture is mine. This I shall defend.
I love how Mr. Ko reaches all the way back in history to 1954 to mention when the ROK-US alliance was formed, without going back just three or four more years and mentioning why the ROK-US alliance was formed. Apparently it just happened, like legacy software.
Concern is growing that banks may hiding their distress by manipulating a key financial benchmark. It's an interest rate called the LIBOR -- for London Interbank Offered Rate. May sound like a problem for London to worry about. Trouble is the LIBOR is used as the basis of millions of financial transactions around the world, including mortgages and corporate loans here in the U.S.
Nobody is saying the data is wrong, only that it might be. The implications of the benchmark being wrong are interesting - but even more so (to me) the implications of a Kedrosky Data Blog shoving out ratty data.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
He writes well. His worlds hang together - lack of internal self-consistency bugs the ned out of me.
The bad guys get theirs. The good guys, after facing adversity and obstacles, win. He gets the military right - and that ain't easy.
He doesn't do sophisticated Literature - but once in a while you just want a well written book you can chew away at. Actually for me that's most of the time.
His new book, The Last Centurion, is going to be published in August, but it's out right now in electronic form. The first nine chapters are on Baen's Free Library; it's all pretty much exposition and setup for the rest of the book. But it's all rock-and-rollin' exposition and there is a whole lot going on; a global pandemic, incompetent politicians, a new Little Ice Age.
No aliens coming to eradicate humanity - he's already done that - this is billed as 'A Military Thriller About an All-Too Plausible Tomorrow'.
Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Or at least not the first nine chapters. And by 'put it down' I meant 'could not stop staring at the screen and scrolling'.
Joe Bob says check it out.
BD: I can't wash my hands.
BD: I've got a skin condition. Allergic to soap. It happens, you know? So ... it's just out.
BD: Well see what the Human Rights Tribunal has to say about that, Mr. Smarty.
Oh. Dear. Lord.
No, really. Lady works at McDs for about twenty-three years, develops a reaction to soap they use. Tries to negotiate for a position where she doesn't have to wash as often. Except that's not really the way McDonald's rolls; because of national and provincial law, and because making people sick is a sub-optimal business strategy ... everyone washes their hands. A lot.
I have a lot of sympathy for the lady. Having a reaction to chemicals sucks. Not having the ability to work at a place where you want to work sucks. Lady worked at McD's for twenty plus years - she must have loved her job.
Lot of suckage.
Her employer .. well they fired her and they might have been able to avoid it, or make accommodations for her condition.
So it's a pretty unfortunate situation all around.
Anyway, after the Human Rights Tribunal gets through fiddle-fucking around and ordering McD's to pay the woman off .. McDonald's must also "cease the discriminatory conduct or any similar conduct and refrain from committing the same or similar contravention." 
If someone can't wash their hands, just suck it up. What's more important - good public health  or the dignity of the individual? Get with the program, Citizen.
Me, I'd rather not eat food that has prepared by a person with feces under their nails. But I'm sorta reactionary that way, I guess.
 Read the PDF. Maybe I'm missing something.
 What really irks me is that what we're getting to here is that the HRC is saying that it's okey-dokey for Typhoid Mary  to do her thing - act as a carrier and make a whole bunch of people sick - and we can't do a damn thing about it if it would hurt her feelings.
Say goodbye to a hundred-plus years of best practices for Public Health and stomping down hard on epidemics. Say hello to a world where we know how to stop epidemics but we're not allowed to. Because it would hurt people's feelings.
We're not there yet. But you can see it around the corner.
 Which the lady in question is not, and is not at all close to being - I'm stretching a point.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I'm largely tired of opinion -- my own included. I am, however, increasingly fascinated with capturing and incorporating useful, alternative data sources from the edge. You see some of that beginning to happen via Twitter (and I'm advising an interesting company doing work here), but there are all sorts of opportunities at the confluence of unstructured data, companies like QL9 and Kirix, webcams and video analytics, and, yes, blogs.
While I've long incorporated meta-data from blogs in my thinking, I want to make it more explicit. I want blogs about data, sites that reshape and repurpose data as their central purpose. Sort of like a Bespoke with an API, to use one example, but there are lots of others. Bring 'em on.
I hate relating stuff back to Sci-Fi. It works for a fraction of everyone but most people will get massively turned off or bewildered; stop talking about spaceships and particle flux thingamabobs and get back to reality, you freak!
Whatever - it works for me.
In Pournelle's CoDominium universe the US/USSR hegemony had a ban on certain aspects of scientific research - basically weapons, but also anything that would destabilize the US/USSR hegemony is on the hit list. Which could be anything, in practice. It was like what some people imagine George Bush's America to be, except much, much worse.
And some of the guys running the CoDo were shown to have good motives; the CoDo prevented global nuclear war and the collapse of civilization, possibly the sterilization of Earth. Tword the end they knew they could not prevent this, but hoped to buy enough time to establish humanity out of the Solar System, on colony worlds.
Anyway. Part of that effort of keeping the lid on involved the CoDo Technology Cops inserting bad data into the network. The idea was that while you couldn't prevent weapons research everywhere you could subvert the reference books that people were using for the research.
Asking for a flood of data is certainly a good idea - but how do you know you can trust it?
ON THE HIGH SEAS ABOARD HMS PINAFORE
Lookout: Captain! Look!
THE CAPTAIN HURRIES TO THE BRIDGE. THERE IS A SCRUFFY LOOKING VESSEL ON THE HORIZON.
Captain: Ahoy the vessel!
Pirate: 'Allo. Whoo is eet?
Captain: I am Captain Upstanding-Forthwright, Royal Navy. Whose vessel is this?
Pirate: This is the vessel of the Dread Pirate Smeeth.
Captain: Tell your captain to stand by to be boarded.
Pirate: I don't think he'll be very keen - you see we don' need to be boarded today.
Lookout: He says they don't want to be boarded.
THEY ARE STUNNED
Captain: Are ... are you sure?
Pirate: Oh yes, we're doing fine, thanks. Nice day isn't it?
Captain: Well, we'd really like to come aboard. Pretty please.
Pirate: Of course not. You are English pigs.
Captain: What are you then?
Pirate: We're pirates. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly sailor fop.
Captain: What are you doing on the high seas, with machine guns and cannon?
Pirate: Mind your own business.
Captain: If you will not allow us to board we shall take your vessel by force.
Pirate: You don't frighten us English pig-dog. Go and bite your bottom son of a silly person. I blow my nose on you so-called sailor Captain, you and all your silly English k.....niggets
Captain: Prepare the boarding party, guns, one round from the forward five-inch mount, prepare to fire ..
XO: Ur, Captain. The latest directive from Foreign Office.
Captain: ... on my comman .. oh. Yes. Human rights.
Pirate: HE PUTS HIS HAND TO HIS EARS AND BLOWS A RASPBERRY.
With apologies to the Pythons.
Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
1. Write your own six word memoir.
Sure, I checked the airlock seal.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
Was testing out the battery cells,
The airlock gave no warning.
I'm now depressurizing in space;
POP! goes an eadrum. 
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post, if possible, so we can track it as travels across the blogosphere.
Real Debate Wisconsin is not responsible for the adolescent humor in this blog.
4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.
Tag yourself, that's the way I roll.
 to the tune of 'Pop Goes the Weasel'.
 Pop Goes An Eardrum!
Words: Paula Smith
Music: "Pop Goes the Weasel"
You're all alone and drifting in space
Without a suit or helmet.
The vacuum makes your sinus explode;
POP! goes an eardrum.
Was testing out the battery cells,
The airlock gave no warning.
I'm now depressurizing in space;
POP! goes an eadrum.
It seems like a counterproductive move on Rowling's part; Why, yes, go out and sue some of your biggest fans for daring to enhance your product.
Who does she think she is, Steve Jobs?
Monday, April 14, 2008
Fortunately I have the information age to solve a related quandary for me: how do you tell someone who has just lost a treasured friend, but who is the stoic sort and doesn’t need to receive some sentimental email from you while he’s at work (or ever, really), that you are thinking of him (and of her, and the awesome life he gave her)? You wait until the workday is over and then let him come across your condolences in an RSS feed, and hope that he finds some comfort.The Power of the Dog.
Past tense - they lost their land two years ago when the county failed to renew their lease. Killing a fifty-year old business. The land is now a parking lot.
"We are a public entity here, and we have to make decisions that's in the best interest of our constituents we represent," said Randi Miller, Tulsa County Fair Board Chairman.
I'm sure a parking lot brings in a whole lot more rent money for the county than a thriving business brought.
I like being from Tulsa more than I liked living in Tulsa.
Including this one, which gave me the willies just watching.
Straight up - no problem! It's the vertical drop straight down that gives me pause.
Also .. you can get your money's worth from the all-day unlimited pass - but you gotta work at it. Being 13 and 8 helps.
 When we lived in Texas and were less than an hour's drive from Six Flags, OM was too young for coasters. Then we moved to Wisconsin and the nearest amusement park is hours away. We're not fair-goers, carnival rides don't run to roller coasters. There certainly isn't anything to compare with the local amusement park where I grew up.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It's all cool because it's an easier ride on my bike, downtown Neenah is pretty nifty, and the site is a mill that has been shutdown - reusing the property for office space is miles better than just leaving it empty.
I'm not sure about working in a yellow, oval building, but I'm sure we'll grow to like it.
Op-For notes that "Somewhere a safety officer is quietly weeping..." Beyond that, this sort of thing has to be deeply confusing to the enemy: "Achmad, they have leaving their humvee of the uparmor and are making with the pelvic thrusts in the road!"
Wisconsin’s motto, Stay just a little bit longer, is so much more welcoming than Maine’s, Full of grumpy cranks.That's a little unfair to Maine, isn't it?
Name: Bruce Gagnon
Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Check out my new book "Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire" - updated thru 2008
Maybe not so much. Sorry, Maine.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Here is how it works. You fire at the enemy. That's the fire part. And you move forward at the same time. That's the motion. Get it?
You're firing because then your enemy has to take cover. He can't fire back at you when he's cowering behind a wall. But firing is not enough. You also have to move forward, or you won't make any progress. Moving forward brings you closer to the enemy. And closer enemies are easier to hit. You need both -- fire and motion -- to accomplish anything. Almost every military tactic, whether it's employed on air, sea, or land, is a variation on this fundamental pattern.
That part is fine. But then he extends his metaphor and runs into trouble
What do you do if you find yourself reacting to a rival's agenda instead of setting your own? The answer is to break the cycle as fast as you can. If you're a small company, you can't afford to respond to somebody else's fire. The big guys have 10 times the ammunition. So instead, you have to lure them into a Thermopylae of your own creation, where size doesn't matter.
What he's talking about - and going on at great pains to explain - is the OODA Loop. Which is, essentially, acting on your opponent faster than they can take action; by acting on them, quicker than they can act on you, you force them into a cycle of reaction. Eventually they run out of room, airspeed and capital and they crash in flames and you enjoy the lamentations of their women.
It was articulated by Colonel John Boyd in the bad old days of the Cold War - but I suspect the bones of the matter were felt by the great Captains long before there were overhead slides. 
There was a great Marine Gazette article that explained it well to a grunt, way back in the 80s: When artillery is falling where you were 30 minutes ago - you're in their OODA Loop.
Thing is, Joel is a smart guy - it's hard to believe that he doesn't know about this. So why the prose to explain a concept that is already explained?
Also .. I wouldn't use Thermopylae. As last stands go, it was magnificent and heroic but ...
Go tell the Spartans, thou who passest by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.
Unless you have no choice, Heroic Last Stands are to be avoided, not embraced.
 Bedford Forrest was supposed to have said "git thar fustest with the mostest," which is certainly the spirit of the thing. Except he didn't, according to Bruce Catton. I just learned something, to my sorrow.
It's not the Red Army hoisting the hammer and sickle over the Reichstag
or Patton demonstrating how he feels about the German Army
but then it's not that kind of war.
See also a slide that's got so much going on it almost hurts my head.
Commentary at The Belmont Club.
Also at Austin Bay's blog.
Slides from General Petraeus' testimony this month before Congress.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Can't happen? Ask the guy running your daily newspaper a dozen years ago if there is anything to the idea that 'the internet' could gut his classified ad revenue ...
What am I talking about? This - it's a site that carries streaming live news from dozens of video feeds and cams - LiveNewsCameras.com - Watch Live Streaming News From the USA and World - Beta Version.
The key feature is a moderator who scans the feeds and, from time to time gives you a pointer to the more interesting items. The moderator - or at least the current pointer, one Athenia Veliz - is not a professional broadcaster, coiffed and reading from a teleprompter. There are minutes long pauses between audio. She pauses, she looks around, pushes her hair back, bangs on the keyboard and mouses around ... she's just this person, working for a living.
For some reason this works better than watching a Ken Doll read the news. Go figure.
Go click. Give it ten minutes and you'll either like it or throw a puzzled glance like a dog trying to understand Shakespeare.
About three seconds after I hit 'send' on a mash note .. the pointer was reading it on the air.
How nifty-keen is that?
Our kitchen and dining room/second living room are combined into one large room, with the wood stove, kitchen range, and chimney forming a sort of island. Quinn has declared this space his personal tricycle racetrack, and he’ll ride his Radio Flyer at top speed around the circuit several times a day.
Haw. My sister had an oval floor plan in her old house - kitchen, living-room, dining-room, hall and back to the kitchen. I noticed one of her kitchen cupboard doors was .. well there was only half of it there.
Hey JP, I asked my oldest nephew, what happened to the door?
I broke it with my tricycle.
In quiet, awed tones he continued: Mommy was mad.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Manualist plays Take On Me. 
Click. Listen and bask in the Awesome.
I can't top the comments from Whatever .. so I won't try.
* He knows he rocks. He’s like the Shaft of hand-farts, and that’s awesome.
* If hand-fart covers of 80s pop songs are wrong, then I don’t want to be right!
 This link is probably being Whatever'd - it's slow to load.
Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that Disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in VietNam. In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous law that weaken personal freedom. ...
So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.
I actually agreed with Heston about guns. Not because I think that having a bunch of people carrying guns makes society any safer- of course it doesn’t- but because I’d imagine that trying to instill gun control in the United States at this late date would be as realistic as asking everyone who uses illegal drugs to report to their local police station and turn over their stash. Also, call me a paranoid, but I don’t like the idea of agents of the government having all of the guns. This just isn’t a good time to talk about yielding more rights to the state.
If not now, when? If not you, then who?
Is there ever a good time to yield rights to the state?
It's not as lame as suspending a kid for sniffing marker  but ... suspension for bringing a spice  to school with no intent to sell? Dude was trying to look cool and hip in front of his peers not rip the potheads off.
So .. ya. If the school was trying to make a kid look cool to the thugs and potheads - suspension is the way to go. I'm biased but he's not a thug or a pothead - he's a kid in a difficult family situation who wants to fit in and be cool.
Looks like the authorities in Numbnuts, Virginia are doing their best to push him firmly the wrong way.
 Hat tip to UTI.
 No, I'm not naive but there is a difference between looking like pot and being pot.
A virtual charter school was founded some years ago. These are the Good Guys. The Wisconsin Educators Association Council - aka the teacher's union aka the Bad Guys  joined a lawsuit  questioning the legality of the school. The local court found for the defendant (hooray) the appeals court for the plaintiffs (boo) which then tossed the matter up to the State Supreme Court.
Things get mucky at this point; the State won't meet until after the beginning of the next school term. The Department of Education  announced that since everything was all helter-skelter there was no way they could send the funds to the charter school because, you know, it's legality was up in the air.
Which left our Heroes in a precarious position. A friendly legislator enacted legislation that would fix all of the problems that the court had found with the current law, plus answer all of the problems that the Governor  had with the same legislation in the last session.
The forces of evil gathered and summoned their minions. Feathers flew, the dust was thick, the People were heard from in great numbers, compromise was reached. It was pretty much as epic a battle as you could find in Lord of the Rings, but instead of dark riders and millions of orcs the bad guys had money and bought politicians.
For my money, well meaning bureaucrats and lobbyists are easily the equal to armies of goblins and orcs.
At any rate a compromise was reached - this is politics - and generally speaking this is a big win for the children of Wisconsin.  We now joint the press release, in progress ...
From Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual Familes
April 7, 2008
We've received word that Governor Doyle intends to sing SB396, the virtual school rescue bill, this afternoon during a small, invitation only ceremony at the Capitol. Our bill will be among several that are expected to be signed at that time.
This is not a public event where our physical presence is required, but we wanted to get this important news to you this morning.
We are extremely glad that legislators of both parties finally worked together and that, with the leadership of Representative Brett Davis, and Senators John Lehman and Luther Olsen, this bill enjoyed near unanimous support and will be signed into law today.
As you know, we opposed the imposition of the enrollment cap, demanded by the Governor, which will soon become law along with the other provisions of the bill. However, the legislation's good far outweighs its bad. Today is a day for each and every Coalition member to rejoice. This educational innovation will now be allowed to continue to grow and thrive in Wisconsin. We came all the way back from the brink of closure after the December Appeals Court Ruling: Our schools have been saved.
While we will work together to address the enrollment cap and other important issues in the months and years ahead, today is a day to rejoice and celebrate a job well done. We were up against the State Teachers' Union, perhaps the most powerful special interest in Madison. After a couple of lengthy lawsuits, several variations of legislation, multiple public hearings, an 1,100 person rally and dozens of action alerts like this one, we can finally say, definitively...
Congratulations. Now, on behalf of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families, you are hereby empowered to give your kids a hug/high five/gold star from us!
Please note that my participation in all of this was limited; I went to a rally, I wrote letters, I pestered my assembly rep and senator. Older Monkey testified in front of the Assembly but that was all his doing - my input on what he said was limited to .. well saying 'good job' when I read what he wanted to say.
 Booing and hissing as in an old fashioned melodrama are appropriate at this point.
 Which, to be fair, was initiated by Concerned Citizens in the virtual charter school's home district. Though you never heard much from them, not even in WEAC's propaganda. 
 Things that make you go 'hmm'.
 Generally that phrase makes me itch. But consider that I gain nothing from this but the continued existence of my children's school. I am not a paid lobbyist nor a politician nor a bureaucrat.
Apparently there is no honor among thieves (or, at least, nurses who were dumb enough to sign an incorrect inventory, and now want to pass the hot potato to the next sucker), and so you should follow some simple rules to avoid being the next sucker.
If you're the motor pool NCO don't just accept the operator's word that the vehicle is in the same condition that it was when he checked it out.
When you are the ongoing Sergeant of the Guard do the weapon and ammunition count in the armory yourself.
And so on.
Trust but verify are words to live by.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
And in addition to updated images of scantly clad women (often posed on a phallic looking warhead)
Is it possible for a warhead to look non-phallic? Form follows function - a warhead exists to penetrate stuff with minimal effort.
A vagina shaped warhead would be sub-optimal for this purpose.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Femdefence is an on-going project first presented in 2003. The project includes the creation of an imaginary product, which bears the project’s name. The “product“ is a kind of protection against rape, somewhat similar to a tampon in that it’s user carries it inserted into her vagina. The basic idea is that the woman carries the protective device in her vagina. In it there is a sharp pin which has a penetrating effect on the perpetrator’s penis in the event of a rape.
I submit that anti-rape device that require the victim to be prostate before use is sub-optimal.
Furthermore, unless you spend a lot of time with your head in a cloud if airy nonsense, this is a solved problem.
And the victim .. well she won't exactly be a victim .. can remain upright and unhurt.
Now - I do know that the point of Sociological Images is to present imagery for comment and not to (say) come up with real ideas for genuine problems. But that post was especially goofy.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Kohlberg's stages of moral development are planes of moral adequacy conceived by Lawrence Kohlberg to explain the development of moral reasoning. Created while studying psychology at the University of Chicago, the theory was inspired by the work of Jean Piaget and a fascination with children's reactions to moral dilemmas. He wrote his doctoral dissertation at the university in 1958, outlining what are now known as his stages of moral development.
His theory holds that moral reasoning, which is the basis for ethical behavior, has six identifiable developmental constructive stages - each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than the last. In studying these, Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgment far beyond the ages originally studied earlier by Piaget, who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Expanding considerably upon this groundwork, it was determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice and that its development continued throughout the lifespan, even spawning dialogue of philosophical implications of such research.
Kohlberg used stories about moral dilemmas in his studies, and was interested in how people would justify their actions if they were put in a similar moral crux. He would then categorize and classify evoked responses into one of six distinct stages. These six stages are grouped into three levels: pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional.
Fascinating. A lot of this looks like common sense stuff - but it's nice that guys with big brains on board have bothered to observe, confirm and write it all down.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Never fear - every Friday he posts a video review at SmartFlix. Here is this week's edition ..
Let’s Grow Mushrooms! No. No, let’s not. I know some people regard them as delicacies, but I can never shake the childhood definition of mushrooms: slimy brown things that glopped out of a can, all the same size and shape like congealed lump of smoker’s mucus shoved through a Play-Doh Fun Factory.
It's not nearly as good as last week's entry ' .. on dog Training'.
Once we’re at Fenster’s house, we meet his dog. A poodle. (Of course.) Fenster, we learn, paid to have his poodle learn how to fetch sodas from the fridge. The dog uses a rag tied around the door to open the fridge. If I may interject: we trained our dog to do this. We praised him to the skies and said good dog aren’t you just a good dog yes you are. Then it struck me: teaching a dog to open the fridge is like tossing your teen the keys to the liquor cabinet. Plus, the dog would have to bring the sodas in his mouth. I’ve seen what he eats.
But even a 'pretty good' effort from Mr. Lileks is miles better than the wrack some commentators put out on a weekly basis.
It started with a blockquote from comments on this blog post
These are bizarre and terrifyingand
I just want to clarify where these come from. It seems relevant. They totally freak me out,and
The idea that the only way we think we can make a safer, better society is for everyone to carry a gun is incredibly sad. It's also individualistic--the answer to racism, rape, and gay bashing is to carry a gun, not have any form of social organizing.and
The Holocaust ones are particularly offensive. When the agents of the totalitarian state come for you, they always come in groups. What are you going to do, pull your gun and have three of them shoot you before you can shoot one of them? Either way, you're just as dead.
Referring to Oleg Volk's imagery, like this
and wrapped up with this picture
Then I did something foolish with cut-paste and it all went into the bit bucket.
Just as well - the people who responded to the post are intelligent, smart and all I was doing was tossing the rant bomb around.
It's wacky but that's how we do things here. I suppose the guys who wrote the state constitution just loved them some Democracy or something.
A fellow who was appointed by our current governor lost an election this week. We join the blogger in mid screed ...
But they know what they did and what they do. The popping of champagne corks in country clubs, gated-community mansions and right-wing radio studios could be heard throughout the state – or at least in the North Shore and western suburbs – and throughout the nation, where the attack on the independent judiciary is driven (and funded) by the same devious greed-heads who brought you Junior Bush and the war in Iraq.
I am not sure how a fair and open election  is an attack on an independent judiciary and a political appointment by a single man is not. Me, I think it would be the reverse.
We've always been at war with Eastasia.
 51% - 49%
 I just now discovered this - the right to hunt and fish is written into our state constitution. That is totally kick-ass.
Good morning, Dog.
What does my good girl want? Let me scratch your ears.
No, it's not that, I mean that feels nice but ..
Yes, I know. Breakfast.
No, listen I"m trying to tell you ..
** urk ** urk ** urk **
Yeah. Sorry about the mess on the blanket. Hey, I feel better now!
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Ramtha is the entity that Knight says she channels. According to her, Ramtha was a Lemurian warrior who fought the Atlanteans over 35,000 years ago. She says that Ramtha led an army of over 2.5 million across the continents, conquering two thirds of the known world, which was going through cataclysmic geological changes. According to Knight, Ramtha led the army for ten years until he was betrayed and almost killed.I guess that makes Ramtha a sort of George Patton? Maybe an Eisenhower or a MacArthur.
Oh, there is more.
She also owns the copyright to Ramtha
You can copyright deity?
and conducts sessions in which she pretends to go into a trance and speaks Hollywood’s version of Elizabethan English in a guttural, husky voice.
Why would a 35,000 year-old warrior - a sort of Patton or MacArthur of his era - speak in Elizabethan English? Maybe he snuck in for a quck visit in in 1503 to acquire the language .. but then he hasn't updated his dialect? This might be evidence that he's not a terribly bright entity.
It's possible he's having us on about conquering the world thing.
At any rate I'm not sure a guy who was born before there were IPods has a whole lotta perspective on the modern era.
And he looked at me and he said: "Beloved woman, I am Ramtha the Enlightened One, and I have come to help you over the ditch" And, well, what would you do? I didn't understand because I am a simple person so I looked to see if the floor was still underneath the chair. And he said: "It is called the ditch of limitation", and he said: "And I am here, and we are going to do a grand work together."*
She omitted the part where Ramtha rolled his eyes and thought for a long minute about finding a new channel who understood obvious metaphor.
Thompson spent $10 for black and white paint to make appropriate changes to the highway signs. He said, “I paid my handyman, Terry Waddell, another $10 to clean up and paint the signs.”Tomah isn't the big city of, say, Neenah, but it's not a whistle-stop either - 8,419 people per the 2000 census.
Thompson referred to his frugal $20 campaign as a metaphor for how government should be run. In his previous term as mayor he cut city expenses by 13% while improving services to the community.
Thompson says that large expenditures should be decided in referendum by the people, not by a handful of city council members. “The people have been left out of the political process at all levels,” he said. “I want to change that.”
He went on to say, “We’re going to change government at the grassroots level. I want to show that libertarian values are American values, that we, the people, don’t want government bureaucracies meddling in our private lives.”
Why the hell didn't we elect this guy to the governor's office back in 2002?
Because Libertarians have a lot of good ideas but can't win elections. Phhhht.
This is the leaflet that has been prepared for us to hand out to those "space warriors" who will be attending the Colorado Springs confab next week. Since we know that some of them regularly view this blog they can get an early glimpse.
The von Braun quote is from 1950, and he was talking about working for the German Army in 1932.
In 1932, the idea of war seemed to us an absurdity. The Nazis weren't even in power. We felt no moral scruples about the possible future abuse of our brain child. We were interested solely in exploring outer space. It was simply a question with us of how the golden cow would be milked most successfully.
In fine agit-prop tradition, they spelled General Schriever's first name wrong. But they get style points for Euro-izing it to emphasize the 'Nazis developed the space program' theme.
I wonder if it even matters that the only source for General Schriever's quote  are far-left papers that repeat the quote and don't provide context.
 I admit it was a hasty search - corrections welcome!
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
- Babe. It's spelled 'racisim'.
- "Leave Brittney alone, you bastards!"
- That woman is about two tons of crazy in a quarter-ton truck.
- Making threats to pseudo-anonymous people on the internet .. oh, I am all trembly.
You're clicking that link at your own peril: You Have Been Warned.
Update: I am not one of the people she is calling out for racism.
Ya, kinda like that, if you subtract the blood and power tools and the goober on the PC and add a woman who has had a serious heart attack only a few months ago and a guy home for lunch.
That is all.
Cartoon from Stuff Happens.