Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mixtape - July 31, 2008

New mixtape.

Includes a very kick-ass song - Vantastic - from a duo called 'The Superfantastics'. Alas, I dipped into Folkie Town, indeed all the way past Folkie Town into Filkville. Sorry about that - skip it if you like.

But I think I redeemed the set with some Scott Miller and Yoko Kanno.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And what did I do today?

I pondered the mysterious of life and the funny ways that people choose to attack a problem.

Like, why, given a task to get data from A to B, with the option of doing 'stuff' to it in the process, they choose to park the connection data in a database. Maps, settings for how the server talks to which and who is connected. Queries written in a proprietary language (close to but not quite SQL). All stuffed into a database.

This feels wildly sub-optimal. Was this state of the art ten years ago? What were we thinking?

Now, yes, I can see why you would want to store transaction data in a database. Although for as much use as we put that data to we might as well send it to /dev/null.

Which Windows ain't got but there you go.

But I also had fun - I downloaded Openadaptor and fired up the examples.

From the tutorial

briandunbar_localhost_~/openadaptor-3.4.2/example/tutorial:java org.openadaptor.spring.SpringAdaptor -config step04.xml
INFO [main] Loading XML bean definitions from class path resource [org/openadaptor/spring/.openadaptor-spring.xml]
INFO [main] Loading XML bean definitions from URL [file:step04.xml]

Now fire up the included test.html page

Open Adaptor by you.

Enter a dollar amount, push enter and it writes xml data to the file location defined in step04.xml.

The best part - to me - is that this is a solution that scales in a way that (say) a Visual Basic written application can't.

Define a new connection in xml. Mount it on an NFS share so you can run it from multiple servers. Launch it from shell. Schedule it with cron. Get hardcore and use an enterprise scheduler. Run the proc in the background if it's going to take a while. Stuff like this is what unix is good at.

Of course, the chances of this making it from my laptop (or even my hip-pocket develoment server) to an actual Project are slim to none, but there you go.

Presidential Advice - make sure your tires are properly inflated

Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

I can't wait for the weekly televised broadcasts from the Obama White House:

  • "Simple Repairs for Refrigerator Leaks That Will Save You Money"
  • "Weatherproofing! Keep the heat in the house and money in your bank account."
  • "Have You Checked The Filter On Your Car?"
  • "Watch Your Speed! 55 saves lives and it's good for the Environment."


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fog with a Bite

Yes, China, you can host the Olympics and maybe have clean air so the competitors won't fall down and die. But you'll have to pretty much shut down the entire region to make it happen.

Drastic efforts to curb pollution include pulling half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles off the roads, closing factories in the city and in a half dozen surrounding provinces, and halting most construction in the capital.

Some 300,000 heavily polluting vehicles, such as aging industrial trucks, have been banned since July 1.

Even after doing all that it may not do you a damn bit of good.

'Our job is to decrease the pollution as much as possible, but sometimes it is very common to have fog in Beijing at this time,' Du said.

Chinese 'fog'  by you.

It's fog, with a bite to it; pollutants interacting with sunlight. Nothing to worry about. Unless you to run a few hundred meters very very quickly.

In which I bitch and moan and forget how good I really have it

So .. it's like this. My new best friend is an Enterprise Application Integration server. Written in Visual Basic [1].

I'm digging around to see why it's suddenly decided to flood an ERP application server: how does it talk to that server - what's the logic?

I found something worse than Visual Basic - I found that underneath it all the thing is using batch files to transmit XML files to the server. Lame batch files.

xmlcopy.exe very_critical.xml jde-server-005.yourcompany 6004 200

That's it: 'command file - server - port - timeout'.

I've got nothing against batch files, honest. I love batch files, for what they are, in the same way I like a boot to the head - a simple, direct way to accomplish certain tasks.

Boot To The Head by the Frantics by you.

My ire was aroused when I poked around two connectors, found 22 batch files, each identical to the sample above, changing only the filename. I've got a bunch more connectors to survey.

If I want to change the destination .. or the port .. or the timeout .. of this one process I've go to edit a few dozen files per connector.

Picard Facepalm by you.

Whoever invented the idea of variables ... he died in vain.

Leaving me with some really tedious and boring crap to tidy up so we can live with this outdated gimpy excuse for Quality until the funds can be signed off and management approval gotten for a new EAI tool.

KL0671 to Montréal - Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport by Points1.

Yeah, I know - someone call the Waambulance. Sucks to be me with a job I love and working indoors and all that. At least I'm not the guy driving the airplane - talk about a day to harsh your mellow.

What I'd like to fool around with is Openadaptor.

It was written - and the development is still directed - by a bank. A German bank. Which was, sure, established in 1786 which make it a sort of Puppy as far as European banks go, but, hey, they've got spunk. The software developed by those guys outta be solid.

[1] A minority of you will skip ahead - the story from here is inevitable and well-known to anyone who has worked in IT for longer than a week.

That's not to say you can't write quality applications in VB. Just that ... like seeing a second Lieutenant with a map and compass .. it's rarely a sign that good things are ahead.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Presented without comment.

Duck by you.

Semi-Random Linkage: Startup ideas, Shirky's Law and Fred Wilson

Paul Graham - Startup Ideas We'd Like to Fund.

We don't like to sit on these ideas, though, because we really want people to work on them. So we're trying something new: we're going to list some of the ideas we've been waiting to see, but only describe them in general terms. It may be that recipes for ideas are the most useful form anyway, because imaginative people will take them in directions we didn't anticipate.

Having ideas is the easy part - execution is hard.

The flip-side of that argument ..

I’ve heard hackers brag that they could have built Twitter over a weekend. Underlying this boast is a misunderstanding of what is truly impressive. Coming up with Twitter required only a small amount of technical knowledge. The hard part was the social insight to realize such a tool would be useful. This is a social insight the bragging hackers didn’t have.

That insight is just as important as building the tool.

And this ..

Fred Wilson wrote two articles in the last few days about globalization and its effect on the Internet. When Union Square Ventures raised its most recent fund, Fred told investors “The Internet is getting more global, more mobile, more social, more intelligent, and more playful.”

I wish the internet was getting more playful- nothing more serious (I've found) than a Malaysian floor manager who can't ship product because The Cow has tripped over The Extension Cord and The Server Room has no power.

Or, just maybe, my sense of humor does not cross the language barrier so good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Applebees - aspiring to mediocraty

Applebee's - aspiring to mediocrity in Wauwatosa.

It's a long tail of woe and not worth telling. It's enough to say that Applebee's is about ten miles of bad country road.

It's not just the Wauwatosa branch (6750 W. State Wauwatosa, WI 53213), our local version has similar issues, and has since they opened.

Ain't no reason to darken their door when similar chow and better service are just blocks down the road.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

NASA at Fifty

From the Economist: NASA at 50.
America's space agency has reached middle age. Will it now recapture the glory of its youth, or dwindle into decrepitude?

Funny - I saw NASA yesterday after work, at at Rosenthal Chevrolet. He was looking at Corvettes.

I predict a wild fling with a floozy, much money expended in an attempt to recapture glory days of the 60s and domestic trauma. In the end, Mrs. NASA is going to end up with the house, NASA will be batching it in those low-rent apartments by the river and his children will be in therapy.



Beaton has an ear for dialog ..

Flunky: With all due respect, Sir - we have no supplies left.

Napoleon: We live off the land!

F: The Russians have burnt everything in their retreat.

N: It all depends on how you look at it! Yes, here is a delicacy!

F: A burnt stick.

N: A finely cooked branch! You have no taste for international cuisine.


My sweetie.

Driving by you.

What is that in front of her face? Her cell phone.

Why is it there? When Brenda took her picture, she was trying to hide her face and drive.

Instead of spoiling the picture, she just made it adorable.

(I dig those sunglasses, babe.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Americans: the greatest desperados, the sternest Puritans

Joseph Bottum wrote ...
Americans swing to such extremes: the greatest desperados, the sternest Puritans.

Click the link to read why. Also - a short passage from Moby Dick.

I dunno if he's right but it sure feels that way.

O God of Earth and Altar

O God of Earth and Altar

by G. K. Chesterton:

O God of earth and altar, Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter, Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us, The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us, But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches, From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation Of honor, and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation, Deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together, Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation, A single sword to thee. Amen.

Wal-Mart considered not-so very harmful

Mark Perry has links, facts, figures ..

Myth: According to Robert Reich, Wal-Mart turns “main streets into ghost towns by sucking business away from small retailers.”

Reality: The popular belief that Wal-Mart has a significant negative effect on the size of the mom-and-pop business sector of the United States economy is statistically unfounded.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

He's special

About my youngest ...
I knew that my youngest, Cian, was a special child from the moment he was born. He has proven over and over again during his little guy life. He is the one that used to bathe in the dog water bowl. He was the child that would put his face into a plate of spaghetti and suck up the noodles. He was the one that invented the penis airplane. [1]

It should be no surprise that he comes home from church on Sunday with a handmade card for his Dad and myself. It was in my favorite color, green. He's a very thoughtful and insightful child. On the outside is handwritten "Thank you Mom and Dad" and on the inside "For not giving me up for adoption."

I died laughing. Only Cian.

[1] Don't ask.

I made you a mixtape

I made a mixtape. Which might be the most egotistical thing I've done all day, thinking that what I like you might want to hear.

And yes, the first track is from a science-fiction television show. I happen to think that the song - 'Storming New Caprica' works as a fine bit of standalone music.

Of course when I listen I know that the piece is from a scene that features a few hundred thousand tons of space-going aircraft carrier/battleship popping out of hyperspace 100,000 feet AGL, falling at terminal velocity, spitting out fighter planes through the shock wave, hull burning (clearly this is not a maneuver the builders never even thought about when they laid down the keel) and just before it goes WHAM into the ground it jumps with a nifty *pop* back into space ...

YouTube - Galactica Falling With Style

So .. yah. Enjoy. Thanks to Erica for showing the site.

What does ITAR stand for?

ITAR stand for . . .


Jesus Hector and his Disciples in a side car - if you wanted to design legislation that would get in the way you could not do a better job.

The State's killer app is not really violence but the ability to get in the way and screw things up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sons of Martha - take it to heart!

Why am I still up at 05:30? I neglected my Kipling ...

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a
little before the nuts work loose.

You cannot half-ass complicated stuff like Oracle Application Server. Woe.

Now, where's the coffee?

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cockatoo Vocabulary Report

I walk by. He does his chirp-cluck-string-a-word-thing at me.

I reply "Blah blah blah blah".

Why not? The information being exchanged is not verbal, it's information: 'hello - got a grape - boy I love grapes' and I reply 'hello - I'll get you one later'.

I'll tell you why not. His vocabulary now includes


We've got seventy more years of this.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Must be boring as snot in New Zealand

You New Zealand People must be really terribly horribly bored.

( Maybe you're like me after Battlestar Galactica went into hiatus until 2009: what could you possibly do on Friday night until the last half of the last season resumes sometime next year? )

And yes, a great big juicy smooch to you, too, SciFi Channel. {Asstards.} ) )

But, yes. Some poor wastral clicked here from Selenian Boondocks. Which is weird because Jon is about a thousand times more interesting than I am. Or at least his blog is. He works for a company that's building actual rockets. They've got a workshop and tools and all that good stuff. They even turn the rockets on once in while. They're flight testing hardware.

How fucking awesome is that shit, hunh? I mean gawd-damn.

So this guy - or gal - clicks in and then spends the next hour ( and nine minutes ( and seven seconds )) clicking through the blog archives. I'm not Lileks, Twain or Faulkner. I'm nobody. This stuff is just not that amusing, nor consistantly on topic about anything to be interesting to anyone for more than a few minutes.

All I can think of is that y'all New Zealanders must be really bored. So come on back, y'all, for a daily dose of krep blog.

Carry Permit Holders are ...

Psst - pass it on: Carry Permit Holders are

300 times less likely than the general population to commit a crime. A Texas study found that CCW holders in that state were "5.7 times less likely to commit a violent crime, and 14 times less likely to commit a non-violent offense."

Which you'd expect, if you know the details needed to obtain a carry permit in most jurisdictions.

Attention S4C visitors from outside the United States: you're welcome to kibitz, criticize, bitch, moan or whine. Commentary is always welcome!

But do recognize that what we're talking about a right that is written into the charter of the United States. You might not like the idea of rednecks, yahoos and other ordinary citizens with weapons but .. until the Constitution is formally discarded, it's as much a part of this country as free speech, separation of church and state and the right not have troops billeted in your house.

If you must, think of it as a peculiar national quirk. Everyone's got 'em.

Ipsos Custodes

The really interesting South Bend Seven comments on this picture ...

Knock knock!
Tell me with a straight face that staring down the business end of an M1 Abrams would not fill your heart with dread. (And you pants with something even less pleasant.) You know what would scare me the most about this scene? That the crew has casually stashed a cooler on top of their vehicle. Not only will they unload serious Old Testament firepower, but they plan on breaking later for frosty beverages. It's a true badass that can level half a village in the morning and still be ready for a picnic in the afternoon.

To be fair to the crew - it's probably bottled water in that cooler. The Marine Corps has gotten seriously uptight about booze in the past decade or so. It's probably a good thing - a beer now and again is not bad but the culture we had of 'drinking to excess because you're young and you can' wasn't exactly good for anyone except the bar owners and floozies in Kinville.

His main point is spot on.

I don't like government sponsored violence, but to be perfectly honest I like the idea that there are big scary men with big scary weapons ready to reign down truly biblical amounts of destruction on people who might try to harm me and my neighbors. It's ugly, but somebody has to be ready to do it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Paul Harvey said it, I endorse the sentiment.

"Gonads are useful for their purpose, but they are no substitute for brains."

That is all.

wav format audio file, here.

Knockin' on heaven's door

The cooler perched on the turret adds a jaunty touch, I think.

From the always perky

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fists of Fury

Man takes matters into his own hands, assaults criminal, puts criminal in hospital.

Waiting for cries of outrage in 5 .. 4 .. oh did I mention he used his fists and not an e-vil firearm? 3 .. 2 ...

Chuck Norris

Criminals feared the day Chuck Norris came to town ..

Dear Lazyweb - An Answer

I asked
What I (think I) need, then, is a way for a plain-jane html page to refer to a common source for the header and footer. A single file to change and bam all my complexity goes away.

The answers were

Use frames. Suck it up and use PHP. Use a touch of Ruby [1]. Use make and C to take the source HTML and turn it into 'real' HTML.

The actual answer combined the last two items and lay in the tool I was using to make the web site in the first place. It's called nanoc. Whazzat?
nanoc is a tool that runs on your local computer and compiles Markdown, Textile, Haml, etc. documents into static web pages, ready for uploading to any web server.

It's written in Ruby, natch.

Long story short - see the tutorial for details - tag a page's YAML file with the bits specific to that page. In my case I have a unique title for each page

title: "The About Page"
header: "yes"

call it out as a partial in the layout file

<% unless @page.header.nil? %>
<% end %>

What's going on here is that every page has a title (not shown above) - but not every page may get a header or footer.

Compile and bam - nanoc generates valid html and dumps it into the output directory. gzip, sftp, and you've got a website.

[1] Out of scope but interesting is that the more I dabble with Ruby the more it seems that Ruby can be utilized in the same way PERL is now - a scripting language for doing odd chores in situations where shell is too limiting. This is not a world-shaking insight or even a new thought of course, but it pleases me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Joss Wheden Show that Fox Network Can't Screw Up

Joss Whedon has a new show. And no way in hell can Fox Network screw up ... Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Because it's on the internet. Free. For one week only. As Ezra said ..

The plot (without spoilers) is very simple. Supervillain wants to be taken seriously and join the Supervillains league. He also loves the beautiful girl in the laundromat. It’s hard being a supervillain. If you are a Jossverse fan, a musicals fan or just a goofy side project fan, Joe Bob once again says check it out!

Not just cowboys - singing cowboys. And a supervillain.

Act I - streaming right now.
Act II - July 17.
Act III - July 19.

(The server appears to be timing out - you might want to check out YouTube if you just gotta have it.)

Dear Lazyweb

Dear Lazyweb,

I'm building a website. I'm trying to avoid a complicated kind of thing - just 'a bunch of static html pages'.

One of the first things I did was code a header and footer. Cut - paste to other pages and we're good to go. You know where this is going, don't you Lazyweb?

Now there are more pages than I thought there would be, based on the design spec [1]. Okay no problem - cut - paste the header and footer code to the new pages. Except that what was 'simple' if tedious for two pages is now becoming lame as the problem space scales. And the footer and header will change so I'll have to edit 10 .. or 12 .. or 15 files to execute a single change in the header ... this way lies madness!

Of course I'm inserting a '300' related graphic here. Wouldn't you?

What I (think I) need, then, is a way for a plain-jane html page to refer to a common source for the header and footer. A single file to change and bam all my complexity goes away. [2] [3]

So: static html, load up an element common to the website. How 'bout it, Lazyweb?

[1] design spec in this case being 'conversation with my wife' over dinner.

[2] I wish. But at least I've reduced the number of complex things.

[3] I know how to do it with PHP, but I'm trying really hard to avoid that - my hope is to turn the job of 'creating pages' over to someone else (Hi Sarah) and she doesn't know PHP. Plus PHP seems like overkill for the task.

[4] It does seem like I'm heading into the realm of needing a CMS, doesn't it?

Monday, July 14, 2008

I do not think he said what you heard

You know how Prime Minister Maliki said it was time to negotiate a timetable for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq?

He didn't say that.

The prime minister was widely quoted as saying that in the negotiations with the Americans on a Status of Forces Agreement to regulate the US troop presence from next year, "the direction is towards either a memorandum of understanding on their evacuation, or a memorandum of understanding on a timetable for their withdrawal".

That was the version of Mr Maliki's remarks put out in writing by his office in Baghdad.

It was widely circulated by the news media, and caught much attention, including that of Mr Obama.

There is only one problem. It is not what Mr Maliki actually said.

What he actually said was: "The direction is towards either a memorandum of understanding on their evacuation, or a memorandum of understanding on programming their presence."

Italics mine.

Actually, it's more complicated than that. Why is it complicated? The governments of Iraq and the US are negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

Details at the BBC story above, analysis at Belmont Club.

The Great Debate By R.S. Gwynn

The Great Debate

By R.S. Gwynn

I say we must have change.
Our changes will consist
Of things you may find strange.
I have a little list
Of things we plan to change.

I too say we should change,
Change but not too much.
We’ll simply rearrange
Some agencies and such,
Which means we will have change.

Of course by “change” I mean
(And, please, make no mistake)
Not a sweep that’s clean,
Not change for change’s sake,
When I mean “change,” I mean.

I’m glad that we agree
That changes should be few,
No more than two or three—
Changes by me, not you.
It’s nice that we agree.

You’re twisting what I said.
You’re mangling what I meant.
The polls say I’m ahead.
I should be President.
You’re mangling what I said.
You’re twisting what I meant.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The stabilizing fins did it for me

Well, that and this pic from here ...

Hours after I read that I am still chuckling. Yes, I am easily amused.


Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

Customer complaint - well played: Part II

Hey, Laurie from Dreamland Comics? When you're caught doing a sock puppet
If you go to Google and put in “Laurie” and “Dreamlandcomics”, you get hits.

Laurie’s last name on this site matches the last name of the owner of Dreamland.

Then we looked at a “whois” query to see who registered and owns, we looked the street address of the the store, and we looked at the shipping address that Laurie used for the HeavyInk shipment [1]...

Concede. Give up. Chalk it up to lessons learned. Declare victory and go home.

Because you can't win, you can only make things much, much worse by coming back to the scene of the crime and making a stink and calling people 'retards'.

Keep it up and the first hit in Google is going to be the HeavyInk thread and you'll look like yokels. Forever. Not a threat, just the way the world works.

Kudos to Tyler for the last line in that thread

P.S. — We prefer learning disabled.

[1] D'oh!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Customer complaint - well played

Mr. Corcoran of Heavy Ink handles a customer complaint with grace.

You'd think a person running an online store (that's Dreamland Comics of Schaumburg, Illinois), of all people, would know that full disclosure is the way the game is played.

A Vibrant Culture of One

L. Shane Carlson wrote

Vibrant cultures want something; exhausted cultures don’t. And what do we actually want, today? For a thought experiment, imagine hearing this on tomorrow evening’s new shows:

The Vatican announced today that it will soon begin colonizing the planet Mars. Many parts of the mission remain unclear, but the plans to launch the first rocket from a pad on the island of Malta appear definite, with a tentative launch date in July 2010. The goal will be to establish a colony capable of sustaining itself within 20 years, with the long-range aim of completing the terraforming of Mars within 100 years. Accompanying the initial group of 142 Catholic settlers on the 297-day flight will be a priest and an auxiliary bishop from the diocese of Rio de Janeiro.

I'd say

  • They've got a lot of engineering to do to make a launch date of 2010.
  • So that's what Burt Rutan is up to.
  • 'Add To Shopping List' *Click*
  • Honey, you did say you'd follow me anywhere.


  • Hey, Father Flanigan? I've been meaning to speak to you about converting ...

A thing I did not know this morning - Bull Sharks

Bull sharks (carcharhinus leucas) cavort in fresh water. I knew that but not this ...

Until the 1970s, researchers thought the sharks in Lake Nicaragua were a separate species because there was no way for the sharks to move in or out. It was discovered that they were jumping along the rapids just like salmon. Bull sharks tagged inside the lake were later caught in the open ocean.

The thought of a seven-foot long shark (females get up to twelve feet in length) leaping rapids like a salmon ..

.. fish are friends, not food ...

well if that doesn't make your day, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Homage To A Government

Homage To A Government

Philip Larkin
England, 1969

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.



The imperatives of the present are an inconvenient obstacle to heaven. The needs of the near future, even more so.

resolve by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai

by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai

it used to depress me
that love over time falls away

like fast-food hamburger wrappers
or used band-aids, torn from
their practice, decaying in the sun

i used to want love to last forever
or else like a piece of plutonium,
glowing hot in its chamber, dangerous
and worthwhile

it'd be kept in the
same way: metal cases armed
by two security guards, a key
in the lock, the rod jostling 'round

now, i get that love is meant to
be survived, not possessed, experienced
like sunshine, like a breeze of the ocean,
sand upon the skin.

none of these last forever
but they do return
when you seek to find them

so is the certainty of love
locked in the frightened human body
reaching out, hands flailing,

not knowing which way to turn.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blood looks real pretty in the twilight all dark and shiny

As I sat outside in the twilight, splicing a power cable for the pump in the pond, I thought to myself, self

... all that Skin So Soft you slathered on [1] really made your hands slick. If your cutting hand slips it's going to hurt ...

And you know what? I was right.

[1] Skin So Soft makes excellent bug repellent.

A film - and firepower - full of awesome

We saw WALL-E. It is a film full of awesome. How full?

Watching the lead character go about his business, I forgot it was a cartoon and just fell into the story.

He's a trash compactor. She's on mission and packs a kick-ass gun. Can they find true love?
And where can I buy a gun like the one EVE carries?

I suspended my belief so hard I was able to ignore great huge chunks of back story that made no sense. Until the lights came up.

That's an impressive bit of story telling.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Keillor Brand Sour Grapes

I was listening to NPR this morning and 'Prairie Home Companion' came on. Hunh, I thought to myself, Garrison Keillor is, all things considered, a charming humorist when he sticks with his 'humor in everyday America' shtick.

Hello everyone, and welcome to blah theater in beautiful somewheresville. Happy Birthday, America: we're in poor shape, but we'll get better.

Gah - he can't make it past the opening without dispensing sour grapes.

In which I propose new unit of classifcation: A passel of Cliff Clavens

A passel of Cliff Clavens: A group of individuals delivering a meaningless trivia of suspect value or veracity.

What we have here is 'Cultural Context'.

The members of the school board are a passel of Cliff Clavens.

The X Studies department at UW? A passel of Cliff Clavens.

Add it to your vocabulary, make John Ratzenberger a happy man.

First known use of the phrase, here, by ElamBend.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday Cat


Tiger has a drinking problem

You don't have to drink. You choose to drink. Get some help.

Note - not my cat. You're lucky if you ever get to see him, unless it's dinner time.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Rodger Young

Shines the name of Rodger Young ...

"Come back here!" The Lieutenant shouted. "It's suicide." The young private ignored the lieutenant's concern. If someone didn't knock out that enemy gun, the entire patrol would probably die. "Come back Private Young....THAT'S an ORDER!" The lieutenant shouted again.

For a moment the young private paused, turned to look back at his lieutenant....and smiled. "I'm sorry sir," he said. Then he smiled again. "You know sir, I don't hear very well." And then Rodger Young turned away from his lieutenant to continue crawling forward.

Rodger Wilton Young - wikipedia.

Young, Rodger W. - Medal of Honor citation.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How-to Revision-Stamp Your Rails Apps

It's the little things that make me happy. Like a nifty technique for automagically revision-stamping a Rails application.
Capistrano, after it exports an application from an SCM repository (such as a Subversion repository), writes an extra file to the application’s root directory. The file is named “REVISION”, and, as you might imagine, it contains the revision number that was exported. Displaying this information in your application’s UI is straightforward. Here’s the addition I made to a view partial that is displayed on the application’s home page:

Click the link for the rest. I love stuff like this. Also this ...

Fort Rock in Lake County, Oregon. My grandparents lived near here for a few years, raising alfalfa, then selling and servicing irrigation equipment.

Small Town

You know you live in a small town when the lead item on 'Channel 5 News at 10' is a live broadcast from the Fourth of July [1] fireworks show.

"And the fireworks keep getting bigger and better as the show goes on! Now back to you, Jim."

Why yes, yes they do. In other news, the longer you stand in the rain, the wetter you get. [3]

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

[1] Only in the big city of Appleton would they do the Fourth of July show on the 3rd. On a Thursday. In the smaller [2] cities of Menasha and Neenah we're doing our show on the 4th, as God and George Washington intended.

[2] And clearly superior.

[3] On the other hand, it sure beats hearing about a triple-murder drive-by shooting, or the shenanigans of our Elected Officials.

Marine Logic

As an approach to life it lacks nuance.

But once you get going, stuff happens.

From the always awesome Military Motivator.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Deer and Dog

What kind of dog is that?

He's a Catahoula. They need about 8,000 acres of ground to roam around in, they're smart as a whip. In other words - a lot of work.

This one liked to snooze away the hot summer days submerged in the horse trough, only his nose poking up out of the water.

Awww ...

I didn't take this - I just found it squirreled away on my hard drive. Clearly Momma Deer thought that the blossoms matched her fawn well enough. Never mind that they're on someone's front porch.


We've got this guy. He and his partner commit armed robbery at a Subway.

A 71-year old man - who at the time was being forced into the bathroom - drew his weapon and shot them both. Got one in the head, the other in the chest. The latter fellow ran for his life, and was found by police hiding in the bushes.

The dead dude's grandmother is upset.

He should not have taken the law in his hands," said Rosa Jones, Gadson's grandmother.

Well, spit and hellfire, Mrs Jones - it's not like the law was right there keeping Mr. Lovell safe, was it?

Her husband, Ivory Jones, also condemned the media for its portrayal of Lovell's actions.

"I don't condone what they did, (but)

Well thank God.

I definitely don't condone the news people making him out to seem like they're making a hero out of this man because he shot somebody down," he said.

Fair enough. As an official non-new people, then, I'll announce (as if anyone cares) that

To all who shall see these presents, greeting:

Know Ye that Mr. John Lovell of Plantation, Florida, for the actions taken June 25, 2008, is a Hero and shall have all the accolades, respect and honors that said office shall enjoy.

Given under my hand this day, July 2, 2008.

Brian Dunbar


S4C also wishes to tender their condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Ivory Jones, for the loss of their grandson. We also extend these condolences to Mr. Arrindell's friends and family.

Requiescat in pace.

Dear Workstreamer

Dear Workstreamer,

Letter redacted per request.