Friday, January 30, 2009

He's no Jimmy Carter

Conservation ...

The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.'

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”

... it's for the rest of us.

I myself don't give a rip what a person does with their thermostat - if you pay for it, crank that puppy.  But if you're gonna try to scold me into wearing a sweater

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times . . . and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,"

and then going home and strolling around in shirt sleeves .. well that's lame.  And in this case I suspect I'm paying to heat that drafty old barn on Pennsylvania Avenue.

At least there is this: Jimmy Carter turned down the thermostat and wore a sweater. President Obama, in this respect, is no Jimmy Carter.

Pandemonium

It's full of cute ...


Pandemonium by you.

Go home, put on a movie

They're working hard for you ...

Mr. Obama's tendency to work late into the night will also pose problems. Politico.com reports that the White House staff is "preparing for a return to long nights, heavy weekend shifts." Requiring a senior staff that meets at 7:30 a.m. to work until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. will quickly cause burnout and diminish the quality of advice and oversight.

Perhaps too hard?

I don't know running a large organization from fishing for cod in the Atlantic, but I do know about working long hours.

Meeting at 07:30 means getting to the office at 07:00 at the latest - you gotta get your stuff lined up for a meeting. Which means leaving for the office by 06:15, so awake by 05:45.  So .. 5 1/2 hours of sleep at best after getting home after working until midnight.

Every .. day.

And this is the senior staff - the younger and dumber junior staff will man up and come in earlier and leave later than their bosses.

You can work seventeen hour days for a while, when it's important. But you can't really do that on a regular basis without burning out. You start making dumb mistakes and your thinking gets sloppy.

Which might not be a great idea when you're the guys who want to run the country.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How is a brain surgeon a kind of artist?

An Imperial Rescript - Rudyard Kipling

Said Mr. Pournelle, "It is generally worthwhile consulting Kipling. Not always, but very often."

An Imperial Rescript

Rudyard Kipling
 

 
  Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser decreed,
To ease the strong of their burden, to help the weak in their need,
He sent a word to the peoples, who struggle, and pant, and sweat,
That the straw might be counted fairly and the tally of bricks be set.

The Lords of Their Hands assembled; from the East and the West they drew --
Baltimore, Lille, and Essen, Brummagem, Clyde, and Crewe.
And some were black from the furnace, and some were brown from the soil,
And some were blue from the dye-vat; but all were wearied of toil.

And the young King said: -- "I have found it, the road to the rest ye seek:
The strong shall wait for the weary, the hale shall halt for the weak;
With the even tramp of an army where no man breaks from the line,
Ye shall march to peace and plenty in the bond of brotherhood -- sign!"

The paper lay on the table, the strong heads bowed thereby,
And a wail went up from the peoples: -- "Ay, sign -- give rest, for we die!"
A hand was stretched to the goose-quill, a fist was cramped to scrawl,
When -- the laugh of a blue-eyed maiden ran clear through the council-hall.

And each one heard Her laughing as each one saw Her plain --
Saidie, Mimi, or Olga, Gretchen, or Mary Jane.
And the Spirit of Man that is in Him to the light of the vision woke;
And the men drew back from the paper, as a Yankee delegate spoke: --

"There's a girl in Jersey City who works on the telephone;
We're going to hitch our horses and dig for a house of our own,
With gas and water connections, and steam-heat through to the top;
And, W. Hohenzollern, I guess I shall work till I drop."

And an English delegate thundered: -- "The weak an' the lame be blowed!
I've a berth in the Sou'-West workshops, a home in the Wandsworth Road;
And till the 'sociation has footed my buryin' bill,
I work for the kids an' the missus. Pull up? I be damned if I will!"

And over the German benches the bearded whisper ran: --
"Lager, der girls und der dollars, dey makes or dey breaks a man.
If Schmitt haf collared der dollars, he collars der girl deremit;
But if Schmitt bust in der pizness, we collars der girl from Schmitt."

They passed one resolution: -- "Your sub-committee believe
You can lighten the curse of Adam when you've lightened the curse of Eve.
But till we are built like angels, with hammer and chisel and pen,
We will work for ourself and a woman, for ever and ever, amen."

Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser held --
The day that they razored the Grindstone, the day that the Cat was belled,
The day of the Figs from Thistles, the day of the Twisted Sands,
The day that the laugh of a maiden made light of the Lords of Their Hands.

Rudyard Kipling

If firearms are a substitute phallic symbol . . .

First they build the gun, then they wrap the airplane around it.

30mm VW by you.

I've heard that saying, but seeing that gun next to a punch buggy puts it into perspective.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What I want from my government is benign neglect

NPR's 'All Things Considered': The relief for Americans that President Obama spoke of in his Inauguration speech are on the floor of the House today for a vote ...

Excuse me, President Obama?  Which part of

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

translates to these bits of crap from the stimulus package?

$19.99 billion in mandatory spending for the Food Stamp program.
$726 million for the after-school snack program.
$650 million for additional Digital TV transition coupons.
$200 million to pay Americorps volunteers.

Graham crackers and juice for the kiddies is bold swift action to revitalize the economy?  Food stamps are going to lay a foundation for new growth?  Television for the love of sweet thorny-headed Christ.

Pigs .. to .. the .. trough.

At the Trough by ballycroy
Legislators in committee dickering over provisions of the Stimulus Package

We seem to have collectively decided in November that something must be done and the government was the one to do it. 

I can't deny that - for a lot of reasons - we're in a pickle.

But the problem with having the government do this is that - at best - a few thousand people in Washington decide what is best.  To quote Tommy Lee Jones from 'Men in Black'

A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

Or to be more charitable: they're making some very important choices on your behalf, for you, based on their own self-interest. 

Whatever comes out of a mess like that in the best of all possible worlds might work. But more often for everyone except those few thousand people the results will be sub-optimal.

Do we need the government to do something?  Probably.  But the very best thing the government could do at this point is to just go away.

We'll export our values on the points of our bayonets

Russ Feingold wants to export Wisconsin Progressive values on the point of a constutional ammendment.

“The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end. In 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution gave the citizens of this country the power to finally elect their senators. They should have the same power in the case of unexpected mid term vacancies, so that the Senate is as responsive as possible to the will of the people. I plan to introduce a constitutional amendment this week to require special elections when a Senate seat is vacant, as the Constitution mandates for the House, and as my own state of Wisconsin already requires by statute. As the Chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee, I will hold a hearing on this important topic soon.”

He explained on WPR this morning that what works for Wisconsin will of course work for all of the other fifty states. Because, I guess, we know a lot more than you guys do about managing your own affairs.

You'll thank us later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Run down south and get some sun

Little Monkey has fully internalized Wisconsin humor. This is natural - whatever memories he has of Texas and it's warm, balmy breezes, the rolling black prairie burning under a bronze sun ... they're faint and distant. All he knows is snow, ice, long winters and summers that are perfect but far too short.

Anyway.

Monkey and I were watching the weatherman on the local news. I was paying minimal attention - cold today, cold tomorrow yadda-yadda. He jabbed me.

We should go to Fond Du Lac.

Hunh? Why?

It's warm there.

And he smiled.  It was 7 in Fond Du Lac. It was 1 here.

So I guess to warm up we'll just run south to Fond Du Lac and take in the sun, ya betcha.

The Old Games were Lame

Steven Johnson at Bng Bng about Batltleship, Sorry, Bingo, Candy Land ... all of the Ye Olde Board Games

There’s a consistent theme to all these old-school game introductions: almost without exception, I have been mortified by the pathetic game that I’ve excitedly brought to the kids. Not because they’re made out of cardboard and plastic, instead of 1080p HDMI graphics.  What’s irritating about the games is that they are exercises in sheer randomness. It’s not that they fail to sharpen any useful skills; it’s that they make it literally impossible for a player to acquire any skills at all.

Dude's got a point.  A few weeks ago my daughter pulled out a pirate-themed Life.

I played that game when I was younger.  I liked it a bunch. And that night ... it was horribly boring.  Tedious.  The only thing that was bearable around the table that night was the company: I like my daughter and her husband.

We do have family games that the kids do like.  FluxxChrononautsMunchkin. [1] Chess and checkers are our old school games.  We do games - but we've made a choice that eschews the old crap for fun games.

Not only were the good old days not very good, but they were boring.


[1] I love the tagline for Munchkin: Kill the monsters, steal the treasure, stab your buddy.

Via.

Pythagoreans!

 A: Great and I'm out of irrational numbers!

B: I'll use some Essence of Hobbes to make their lives nasty.. brutish .. and short!

Yes, it's Advanced Dungeons and Discourse is complete - Dresden Codak is Back With A Vengeance

Gus and the Do-Good Sailor

From Coyote ..
Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies may soon begin taking some inmates to Fourth Avenue Jail on Metro light rail in a bid to cut costs.  “There is nothing to be concerned or worried about as my deputies will be armed,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a press release.

Transporting criminals on the public transit: sooner or later it's gonna end in tears.

This is a sea story: Gus and another Marine are taking a file of brig rats from chow back to the brig.  The crew know the rules - don't get between the Marines and their prisoners: this was the 70s, the Marines were armed and the brig rats were Not Nice People.

The guy at the back yelled 'Look out!', Gus, at the front of the column, turned and got a butter knife in his chest from the first prisoner in the column.

A helpful CPO jumped in and wrestled the attacker down. Or started to.  Gus butt-stroked him with a shotgun, the prisoner stood down and the brig rats were led back to the brig.

Gus reported to his C.O., knife sticking out of his chest. [1]  Then Gus reported to the sick bay.  Then the C.O. awarded Gus with a forfeiture of pay and reduction in rank.  For not following orders and failing to shoot the CPO who got between him and his prisoner.

So .. yeah.  Prisoners on a train - I can't see that ending well.


[1] This part of the story impressed the snot out of me. If I had a friggin hunk of metal sticking out of my chest I wouldn't march to the C.O. - I'd be on the deck whimpering because, ya know, I've got a gawd-damned knife in my chest. 

But Gus had big ones - I can picture him giving a snappy salute then twanging the knife handle.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wisconsin State Superintendent - Evers, Price, Mobley and Fernandez in the news

With a whopping three weeks left before the election, Tony Evers finally updated his website.   With issues.  Tony - welcome to the 21st century!  On the downside, the old links are now broken.  There are ways around that ...



Van "Conservative Choice" Mobley wants to raise taxes.  What?
On the first question on Wisconsin Public Television's Here and Now (television so good they oughtta sell commercials), Dr. Van Mobley answers the school funding question by suggesting we get the money from
increasing the state sales tax, and then says he would "like" that it be done with a cut in the property tax.

So ... the new conservative message is to .. raise taxes.  You gotta do what you gotta do but ... this is the conservative choice?  Seriously?



Todd Price on WPR this morning said as State Superintendent he is going to campaign for a Constitutional Ammendment to make sure every school gets equal funding.

Doesn't the state superintendent of a middlin'-sized mid-western state have better things to do?  Like ... worry about the schools right here and now instead of a motion to amend the national charter that has about zero change of passage?



Meanwile S4C's choice for State Superintendent - Rose Fernandez - continues to plug ahead, driving the debate.  She's got this going for her: during the last session of the Lege, there was one major bit of legislation that was truly bi-partisan and was fully supported by all comers - after massive politiking and jockeying and hoss trading.

And she was in the middle of it all, and key to getting it done.








Space is not the final frontier

"Space is not the final frontier. The final frontier is the human soul. Space is merely the place where we are most likely to meet the challenge. The victory will occur in the continual process of challenging and testing our limits - both as individuals and as a species - and not in the amount of territory conquered."

Solomon Short

IRCcat

I'm not sure if it's a good idea to be able to boss your server around via IRC ... but other than that, it sure sounds like a nifty tool to have around.

IRCcat
======

As in `cat` to IRC.

IRCcat does 2 things:

1) Listens on a specific ip:port and writes incoming data to an IRC channel. This is useful for sending various announcements and log messages to irc from shell scripts, Nagios and other services.

2) Hands off commands issued on irc to a handler program (eg: shell script) and responds to irc with the output of the handler script. This only happens for commands addressed to irccat: or prefixed with ?. (easily extend irccat functionality with your own scripts)

Kitty!

evil-kittehs by you.

It's funny because it's true.


From Lucas

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Stockdale Paradox

The Stockdale Paradox - from TVWOP

I don't have the answers: like you I'm in the middle of my own story and can't skip to the last page to see how it all comes out.

The questions are fascinating.

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale died in 2005. He served on the Ticonderoga in the Gulf of Tonkin, and was shot down over Viet Nam in 1965. He was the highest-ranking naval officer to be held as a POW, and was Ross Perot's VP candidate in 1992. Interesting guy. Afraid they'd videotape him and show the world a well-treated and valued prisoner, he beat himself with a stool. He cut himself with a razor; he did what had to be done. He limped for the rest of his life.

In the camp, he invented new ways for his men to resist torture, sent coded messages to his wife, invented new ways to break through isolation and communicate with each other. New ways to stay alive. The men cleaning the courtyard, during a period of enforced silence, swept the ground in the syncopated rhythm he'd taught them, silently and defiantly spelling out to him inside the walls: "We love you. We love you. We love you."

James C. Collins is a business management writer who's written several management books, including Built To Last and Good To Great. Prepping to interview him, Collins read the Vice Admiral's own record of his time at the Hanoi Hilton:

As I moved through the book, I found myself getting depressed. It just seemed so bleak -- the uncertainty of his fate, the brutality of his captors, and so forth. And then, it dawned on me: "Here I am sitting in my warm and comfortable office, looking out over the beautiful Stanford campus on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I'm getting depressed reading this, and I know the end of the story! I know that he gets out, reunites with his family, becomes a national hero, and gets to spend the later years of his life studying philosophy on this same beautiful campus. If it feels depressing for me, how on earth did he deal with it when he was actually there and did not know the end of the story?"

"I never lost faith in the end of the story," was Stockdale's answer. "I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."

Collins asked him, "Who didn't make it out?" and Stockdale replied immediately: "Oh, that's easy. The optimists... They were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose -- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

That's the Stockdale Paradox: How do you hope just enough to stay alive, without wanting so much that your heart breaks when you hit the rough patches? When you realize rough patches are all we ever have? How can you keep yourself from taking your heart and putting it somewhere safe, in the gauzy soft tissue-ad future, wishing and hoping and praying that the pain will end, and life will go back to being mere survival and contentment? How to take the localized hope that you'll realize your goal, and pull it so wide across the rest of time that you can hope beyond the dashing of your hope? How do you do that without ripping it?

How can you possibly have enough strength to hold onto your faith in the face of evidence that your faith is meaningless and always was? How do you hate just enough to stay alive, but love just enough to be human in the end? How to walk the edge of the razor without becoming one; to burn off your loss without burning off your soul in the process? When they take away even the idea of completion, commencement, the lie of meaning, the black stone and the white; when you're looking at the negative space where the future used to be, how do you remember how to stay alive? What do you do when you can't get out?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Make it up on volume

Dear American Government, Division of Automobile Manufacturing and Employment, [1]

I would not normally presume to question your business doings - but since I am now your creditor, you owe me some answers.

1. Finance

You're borrowing money at 8%.  Lending at 0%.

How in Wide World of Sports do you expect to make a profit?  Make it up on volume?

I'm pretty sure that 'bleeding money like a hemophiliac with his throat cut' was not in the plan you presented last month.  Maybe it was in a footnote?


2. Public relations

The Chrysler Bureau put up a blog post.  It attracted some attention - a whole lot of negative attention.  The right way ... well there are a whole bunch of ways to handle this with aplomb. 

The absolute worst way is to send it into the memory hole and look the other way, whistling a little tune and hoping the whole thing blows away.


You're not welcome. by you. 

Because it won't.


[1] Formerly known as General Motors and Chrysler.

Is there a bear in your oatmeal?

Oh my God, there's a bear in my oatmeal? by you.

Yes. Yes, there is.

Skull Patrol

iraqi_skeleton_warrior by you.

An Iraqi soldier wears a mask with a skull print during
a patrol on the outskirts of Basra, 420 km (260 miles)
southeast of Baghdad November 23, 2008.


Say what you will about the Iraqi army - but if this guy is representative they have their motivation fixed at a very high level.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sledding

The trip started off like this:

Me to the Monkey in the Back Seat: That's a great imitation of somone throwing up.  You can stop now.

And from that low - or at least disgusting - point it got much better.

Today was a school outing.  We went sledding - the hill was 900 feet of slick snowy awesome.   A good time was had by all.

Was it cold?  Oh hell yes it was cold - the temperature was down to about 0 by the time we left.

But that only means you appreciate a cup of soup, a warm living room and furry dogs in your lap when you get home.

OH MY GOD ARE YOU PUKING BLOOD!

This explains a great deal about the Delayed Entry Program [1] ... and Marines
yetiamchosen: So the only part about this curse of recruiting potentials for the marine corps that isn't utterly miserable is fucking with the people that have already signed up. Now, we don't want to scare them off entirely, so we can't just sit there and be like, "You're going to die in bootcamp!" But we can be completely insane with
each other in front of them, and let them draw that conclusion on their own. So we're told to take the poolees on a 1.5 mile run today. No staff nco's there, so we're like, "Fuckit. There's two recruits, there's eight of us ... four mile run." So we start running and I had just had a monster energy drink, the lo ball kind, which is red. That's a dumbass's recipe for disaster, but I really wanted one so I had one anyway. It dehydrates you, gives you cramps, and makes you puke. So we've been running like half a mile and without breaking pace I casually puke onto the side of the road, and keep running. Among marines this is normal behavior, so no one even says anything, but the recuruit is looking like, "Wtf, did that guy just puke without stopping?"

geekryan: lol

yetiamchosen: And he's like, "Dude! Are you alright!" I'm like, "KEEP RUNNING!" and I speed up a little bit, chuckling inside. And then it really hits me and I'm like, going full speed, just hurling all over the side of the road, wiping my mouth, running, hurling and he looks at the puke and he goes, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU PUKING BLOOD!"

geekryan: HAHAHAHA

yetiamchosen: And I go, "THAT'S NOT BLOOD IT'S CONFIDENCE AAAAGGGHHHHH!!!"

[1] DEP - enlist now, spend up to a year doing whatever. In my case working, graduating high school and spending summer weekends at the lake hearing old guys [2] tell sea stories about their time in service. Plus monthly 'oo-rah' meetings at the recruting station so we stay motivated.

[2] People the age I am now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Man up, Mark

In which a letter is published and I am irked to profanity.
Sir: I'm one of the many "lurkers" (i.e. Babylon 5) on you're site, and as such, I'm hangin' on by my fingernails, which BTW, seem to have stopped growing...metaphorically speaking. Given that, I would point out that while DESPAIR may well be a SIN, it sure as hell is not a choice, and I'm just sick of it. The old saw " You may not be interested in WAR, but WAR is interested in you" is analogous to DESPAIR. I did not choose DESPAIR, I was born with it, and after over half a century on God's Grey Earth , my cup overflows.... DESPAIR is the proper name for TERRAFIRMA.... A title for your next book... Be Well, and post this if you so deem...

Best regards, Mark Xxxxxx


Dear Mark,

Your internal mental state is your choice. You can choose to despair and die, or choose to be optimistic and live.

Reach down, grab a-hold. Deep breath. Saddle your own horse, cull your own herd, shoot your own dog.  Own your problems.  Despair is for losers.

Man the .. fuck .. up .. is what I'm saying.  You're embarrassing yourself.

r/s

Brian Dunbar

Attenton single-mother wanna bees

Attention: Anyone who thinks being a single parent is an optimal situation and having a partner is nice but not a requirement.

My wife did an oopsie yesterday and messed up her ankle. Not sprained but it hurts to walk on it.  For a few days she's out of it when it comes to anything requiring mobility.  And my 14-year old son who does his share of chores is flat on his back with the crud.

So it's pretty much me and three kids. One of whom is sick.

Up at 06:00 to let the dogs out. Dropped the Girl off at high school at 07:30. Then home [1] for breakfast and presentable clothing. Work. Then back to school again to pick her up at 14:00,[2] [3] home, then work. Then BACK to the house at 16:45 to pick her up, drop her off at her work, back to the office to check on a job on a production system. Home by 17:15. Laundry. Light house keeping. Back to Wendy's to get the girl from her job at 19:00. Home by 19:15. Dinner in the oven, switch laundry. Serve dinner.

And now it's 21:20, dinner is finished, the Girl is doing the dishes. In twenty minutes I'll pop Little Monkey into bed, read him a story.

Then I'll do more laundry, get my stuff ready for tomorrow.  Have I done my Daily Seven and the exercises for the 101 Program that Steve Barnes sent around?  Haw.

And if I didn't have a partner and that would be my day, every day, for at least eighteen years.


If you have no choice about the matter, well that's one thing.  Dads and Moms will leave, people die.  Shit happens.  You gotta do what you gotta do and God bless you if you're in that situation.

But I cannot imagine that living like this for nearly twenty years is a good idea for one's mental state.  I know it's not physically healthy to be on the go for sixteen hours and drop into bed without any kind of down time.

And this kind of life can not be good for kids - not if you value 30 minutes a day of reading stories and sharing quantity time with your kids while you're in a non-zombie state. 

And .. isn't the entire point to raise a kid to be a healthy sane adult?  Leaving aside other qualities such as love and companionship wouldn't it be easier to have help with that project?



[1] Home-school-home-work sounds sub-optimal but I wasn't close to being either clean or dressed enough for work at 07:15. Plus the way things are arranged and that we live in a small town means I'm not doing a lot of back-tracking.

[2] Early dismissal today while the teachers have in-service training. To learn how to handle bullies. Which you'd think a pack of adults would know about but who the hell am I to question how my tax money is spent down to the schools, eh?

[3] School bus?  Our school system doesn't run a bus service.  You gotta pay a bus company to come around and pick your kids up.  So, yes, it's my choice to save actual cash and spend my time driving the girl around.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rose Fernandez for State Superintendent - and an agenda

Rose Fernandez

I'm not sure what the other candidates [1] for State Superintendent of Public Instruction are up to, but Rose Fernandez is coming out with new talking points.

A few days ago we had a plan for
Milwaukee Public Schools.  Today we've got an actual agenda.

The Rose Fernandez Taxpayer Protection / School Spending Priority Agenda

  • Support levy limits that have restrained the growth in property taxes.
  • Continue to empower local communities to have the ability to exceed levy limits through referenda.
  • Advocate for a merit pay system that rewards good teachers and moves poor performing teachers out.
  • Reduce administrative expenses and devote more resources to pupil instruction.
  • Governor Doyle and his team have been working for several years on reworking the school funding formula. Rose is hopeful that any changes will focus on directing expenditures to promote improved student performance.
  • Understanding we can not afford to go back to the 1980s where mediation-arbitration awards led to skyrocketing property taxes, Rose believes school districts should maintain the ability to make a qualified economic offer to avoid arbitration in a way that allows them to move to a merit pay approach.

  • It's as if there is an election next month or something and Mrs. Fernandez is (gasp) sincere about making things happen after she's elected.


    Space4Commerce is not associated with Rose Fernandez or Families for Rose Fernandez.  We just like her a whole bunch.

    [1] You may be forgiven for not remembering who they are: Tony 'No Content' Evers, Lowell Holtz, Todd Price and Van 'Token Conservative' Mobley.

    All day I face the barren waste ...

    ... without a taste / of culture / cool .. culture. [1]

    If you thought the response to Hurricane Katrina, the IRS and the DMV were bad, just wait until the government gets it's piddy-paws on 'culture' ...

    By yesterday, 76,000 people had signed an online petition, started by two New York musicians who were inspired by producer Quincy Jones. In a radio interview in November, Jones said the country needed a minister of culture, like France, Germany or Finland has. And he said he would "beg" Obama to establish the post.

    If the government was responsible for culture we'd never have had have Hee-Haw.  And that would be a tragedy.[2]

    "We are not quite sure, especially in this environment, what the secretary of the arts could provide, but foremost is advocacy for arts education and awareness of the financial rewards the arts bring to a community," said Weitzner, the host of a chamber music series at the Brooklyn Public Library.

    "We want to get some of the gravy for stuff we like instead of seeing all the money go to hillbilly music and those rock and roll fellows."

    "A month ago at my high school in Seattle, I asked a student if he knew who Louis Armstrong was. He said he had heard his name. I asked him about Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. He didn't even know their names. That hurts me a lot," Jones said.

    Aw, man.  Jones is hurt because kids choose to listen to Beyonce instead of Louis Armstrong. 

    Everyone - let's give him a salary and a position and an official bully-pulpit to shame us for liking stuff that is hip and cool and with it.

    Or, let's not and reflect on the wisdom of Ralph Peters instead ...

    It is fashionable among world intellectual elites to decry "American culture," with our domestic critics among the loudest in complaint. But traditional intellectual elites are of shrinking relevance, replaced by cognitive-practical elites--figures such as Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Madonna, or our most successful politicians--human beings who can recognize or create popular appetites, recreating themselves as necessary. Contemporary American culture is the most powerful in history, and the most destructive of competitor cultures. While some other cultures, such as those of East Asia, appear strong enough to survive the onslaught by adaptive behaviors, most are not. The genius, the secret weapon, of American culture is the essence that the elites despise: ours is the first genuine people's culture. It stresses comfort and convenience--ease--and it generates pleasure for the masses. We are Karl Marx's dream, and his nightmare.

    Secular and religious revolutionaries in our century have made the identical mistake, imagining that the workers of the world or the faithful just can't wait to go home at night to study Marx or the Koran. Well, Joe Sixpack, Ivan Tipichni, and Ali Quat would rather "Baywatch." America has figured it out, and we are brilliant at operationalizing our knowledge, and our cultural power will hinder even those cultures we do not undermine. There is no "peer competitor" in the cultural (or military) department. Our cultural empire has the addicted--men and women everywhere--clamoring for more. And they pay for the privilege of their disillusionment.

    American culture is criticized for its impermanence, its "disposable" products. But therein lies its strength. All previous cultures sought ideal achievement which, once reached, might endure in static perfection. American culture is not about the end, but the means, the dynamic process that creates, destroys, and creates anew. If our works are transient, then so are life's greatest gifts--passion, beauty, the quality of light on a winter afternoon, even life itself. American culture is alive.



    [1] Tip o' the hat to the Sons of the Pioneers
    [2] No, I'm not kidding.  Hee-Haw was sincere and funny and they had good music.

    If Movie Posters Were Honest - Rambo

    Tony Evers - Under Construction Redux

    Nation Consulting LLC (hey guys!) came around today

    Nation Consulting by you.

    Didn't stick around long.  If they're working for the Tony Evers campaign there is now less than a month until the primary.  There is still time to put some content up at Tony's Issues page.

    But not much.  Seriously - what is the point of putting a website and then half-assing the job?

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Barack Obama - forty-fourth President of These United States

    A great bit of speechifying, in my opinion.

    We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

    For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.


    As I watched this today I was awed and humbled that we live in a country such as this.

    Time to panic - not

    Why?

    We now have more people employed in government than manufacturing and construction.


    Well, okay, yes, we've got too many people at the government trough. This is not news.

    The good news is that while we have fewer manufacturing workers, the ones we've got are far more productive than they were. Automation enables employers to do more with less, allows people supervise while robots to boring, repetitive and dangerous work. We can reset an entire manufacturing floor to build entirely new components in only a few hours.[1] I don't know for sure but it feels like your average guy on the floor makes more money in real dollars than his counterpart from 1969.

    What we should be doing is not bemoaning the number of 'crats but celebrating the idea of doing more with less and doing a lot of wealth generation in the process.


    [1] The really good news is that all of this takes really good IT people who get to live in places where the cost of living is low. Sure, Manufacturing IT is the dorky white middle-aged guy in a crowd of Web 2.0 hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies - but I get more bang for my buck living in Drivepast, Wisconsin than Silicon Valley.

    Commonwealth Updates

    Patrick stopped posting on Social Services for Feral Children - so it's out of the Commonwealth.

    But he is posting on Popehat, which is the prod to get me to do what I should have done a long time ago - Popehat is now a member in good standing of the Commonwealth.



    Also added is South Bend Seven.   Also a long overdue member ... and this is just such a great post for Inauguration Day ..

    O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
    Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

    T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland


    And finally, I've added The Daily Brief, a group blog that, for whatever reason, sees fit to let me post blather and foolishness. 

    The Daily Brief is, I think, a pretty nifty idea: a group blog written by veterans - our mission there is to bring a former and retired service member's point of view to the party.

    An Open Letter from This Blog Is Full Of Crap

    Because this deserves to be read by a lot of people .. An Open Letter from This Blog Is Full Of Crap

    This an open letter to every extreme left-wing pundit, professor, filmmakers, documentarians, activists, authority figure, elected official, clergyman, or other citizen of this country that said that now-Former President George W Bush would declare martial law or some other national emergency to extend his term, claim a third term, or impose some other extended dictatorial scheme to remain in power:

    Fuck you.

    This country is founded on deeper principles that you can possibly fathom, considering your shallow and paranoid superficial views of the mechanisms which drive and sustain this society.

    Read the Rest

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Interviews on WisconsinEye

    Rose Fernandez - Here and Now

    30 minute interview with Rose Fernandez on Here and Now.

    Leading up to the February 17 primary election for State Superintendent we will talk with candidates hoping to replace current Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster. This week we talk with Rose Fernandez, a former administrator at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and former president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families

    Let's Change DPI

    MPS Turnaround Plan - Rose Fernandez (Video)

    Rose Fernandez Announces Candidacy for DPI (Video)

    Rose Fernandez Info Sheet

    Rose Fernandez - Twitter

    Even .. FaceBook


    Space4Commerce is not associated with Rose Fernandez or Families for Rose Fernandez.  We just like her a whole bunch.

    Tony Evers - Under Construction

    Hey, Tony Evers, the primary for state superintendent is Feburary 17th.  Less than a month away.

    You've added something to your 'issues' page by now, right?


    Tony Evers - Under Construction


    Welp, guess not.

    Dude.  Either add something or take out the link.  You're embarrassing yourself.

    Rose Fernandez in the News

    And what is our favorite candidate [1] for state superintendent up to?

    In the news, talking about the woeful Milwaukee Public Schools

    "The district is really in jeopardy," said Fernandez, a former hospital administrator and ex-president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families. "We've got to get the right people in here."

    In proposing an appointed team to take over MPS, Fernandez identified herself [2] as the first candidate in the state superintendent's race to lay out a plan for the district.

    She acknowledged her plan would require legislation passed by the state Assembly, Senate and governor - all under Democratic control. But she said such action would be needed to address issues such as low graduation rates, low standardized test scores and skyrocketing retirement costs in MPS.

    "This isn't a problem that's easily remedied, but there are proven ways to do a much better job than we're doing here in Milwaukee," Fernandez said. "And, for whatever reason, our Department of Public Instruction has refused to pay any attention or look at ways that they could get involved in providing leadership here."

    As they say, read the whole thing. Van Mobley pretty much agrees that Mrs. Fernandez's plan is a good one, and her opponents are quoted as knocking parts of the plan that don't exist.



    Let's Change DPI

    MPS Turnaround Plan - Rose Fernandez (Video)

    Rose Fernandez Announces Candidacy for DPI (Video)

    Rose Fernandez Info Sheet

    Rose Fernandez - Twitter

    Even .. FaceBook


    Remember: Space4Commerce is not associated with Rose Fernandez or Families for Rose Fernandez.  We just like her a whole bunch.


    [1] Rose Fernandez, if you have not been paying attention.
    [2] Lazy journalism?  Would it have taken much fact-checking to establish that she in fact IS the first one with a plan?  And so far the only one with a plan?

    I hear and obey

    I made the mistake of listening to WPR on the way home.

    There is an urban farm in Milwaukee [1] and they had some schmucks out there volunteering for their National Day of Community Service.  What they were doing was mucking stalls and pens.

    WPR interviewed one guy who said

    I've been waiting for eight years - I waited for this after 2001 for the government to tell me do do something.

    This guy had to wait for eight years for the government to tell him to shovel shit.  Dear ... God.


    [1] Why this is, I have no idea.  Twenty minutes driving will get you to more non-urban farms than you can shake a stick at.  This is Wisconsin, not New York City: this is where food comes from.

    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Wisconsin state superintendent candidates and Milwaukee Public Schools

    Milwaukee Public Schools are sub-optimal. [1]  If what they've been doing is not working, then more of the same ain't gonna help.  Possibly a change in tactics is in order.

    What say the candidates [2] for Superintendent?


    Tony Evers: I'll have something on my web site about this Real Soon Now.


    Rose Fernandez:  Appoint a team of community experts to fix the major problems.   They have three years, then turn the system over to a new school board.  Details here.


    Lowell Holtz:  Boy - those schools in Milwaukee are bad, huh?


    Van Mobley: Sooner started, sooner done!  I won't rest until someone fixes the problem.


    Todd Price: Put the public back in public education.



    Disclaimer: Space4Commerce is not associated with Rose Fernandez or Families for Rose Fernandez.  We just like her a whole bunch.


    [1] How sub-optimal?  The state paid 59 percent of spending in 2007-08.  $13,673 per kid.  A graduation rate of 46% (or 68% per MPS).

    [2] Based on the candidates websites and absolutely no other research.  I figure if they don't care enough to post something, I don't care enough to chase around for the information.



    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Snow Day!

    School was canceled today. Not on account of snow.

    School was canceled because 'if you walk to school you will die'.

    Temperatures down to -15 F - and down to -39 F with the windchill.

    Yes, people live where it is colder.  And where they get more snow.  Call me a Waambulance.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    The Great Minds Advice Test

    Hey, you got [1] a few minutes?

    Hie thee over yonder and take The Great Minds Advice Test, if you could. And rate that sucker, please.

    Because it's really-really-really close to winning in the Quality category and it would be all kinds of cool - and fiscally rewarding [2] - to have it win.

    And for being a sport ...

    17602085_a02833c79c

    Equal opportunity pandering ...

    Beefcake by CelebMuscle

    And a peep show.

    Peep Show



    [1] You know you do - you're reading a blog for Pete's sake.

    [2] Granted, not rewarding enough to pay off the note on the house, more like 'buy a few books on Amazon'.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Falling off the spiritual turnip wagon

    And what are those wacky Anglicans up to?

    A statue of the crucifixion has been taken down from its perch on a church in Sussex because it was scaring local children and deterring worshippers, a vicar admitted today.

    The Rev Ewen Souter, the vicar at St John's Church in Horsham, West Sussex, ordered the removal of the 10-foot sculpture of Jesus on the cross just before Christmas, branding it "unsuitable" and "a horrifying depiction of pain and suffering".

    "We're all about hope, encouragement and the joy of the Christian faith. We want to communicate good news, not bad news, so we need a more uplifting and inspiring symbol than execution on a cross."

    I think they fell off the spiritual turnip wagon a few turns ago.


    ew by you.

    If there is no pain, no agony, no suffering, if Jesus shuffled off his mortal coil with a song in his heart and feeling light as a feather then it doesn't mean anything.


    Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?


    That a man died in the worst way possible, utterly alone and bereft of hope, died in pain and knowing that God had - however briefly - turned his face away ... hey guess what?

    That is the Good News because he did it for you.

    Not acknowledging this, treating your parishioners as if they were especially stupid children .. well you might as well be running some kind of social club and not wanting to offend any of the patrons.

    But then we're talking about the Anglican Church, so I guess that's pretty much right.

    Everybodys gone surfin ...

    In contrast to this story ... it appears that you can no longer make surfboards in California.

    Can't .. make .. surfboards .. in .. Cali-frickin'-fornia.

    The Elevator Safety and Economic Opportunity Act of 2009

    Retrovertical transportation, to get our economy moving up again.

    I know a way to create at least a million jobs, almost immediately, at no government expense whatsoever.

    Ban the automatic operation of elevators.

    The Elevator Safety and Economic Opportunity Act of 2009 will preempt state regulation of elevators and will require that after March 1, 2009, no elevator shall carry passengers without being under the exclusive control of a qualified and certified elevator operator. How many jobs will this create? Well, in the early 1950s, prior to the widespread use of automatic-elevator technology, there were something like 500,000 people employed as elevator operators. There are a lot more buildings and a lot more elevators now than there were then–surely, we can count on a million jobs for the operators.


    As they say, read the whole thing.  And do not show this post to a legislator. They won't get the joke and they'll make it a reality so fast it would make your head spin.

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Rose Fernandez - Superintendent

    Accept the premise: we gotta have a Department of Public Instruction.

    And if we gotta have one, we outta have one that's run by someone competent, a lady who has put her skin in the game working for kids and doing the right thing last year to save public virtual charter schools in Wisconsin.

    Because, really, having to fight the education 'crats last year was frustrating. Aren't they supposed to want better schools? Students that excel? Kids that love their school?

    Well, you'd think. But if you think that of the DPI under Elizabeth Burmaster, you'd be wrong.[1]

    Rose Fernandez by you.



    Why Rose? Because more of the same sucks.  Our kids deserve better.


    Let's Change DPI


    Rose Fernandez Announces Candidacy for DPI (Video)

    Rose Fernandez Info Sheet

    Rose Fernandez - Twitter

    Even .. FaceBook


    [1] How's that generous use of italics workin' for you?

    Sunday, January 11, 2009

    Merb does not equal Rails

    I'm teaching myself Merb.  It's superficial resemblence to Rails [1] can trip me up.

    For example, associations.

    Ruby


    has_many :articles


    Merb

    has n, :articles


    What this means is I gotta go look stuff up instead of assuming, which is good for me but man it can frustrating.

    [1] serves web pages, has ruby running around on the back end.

    Twitter - Nitrous Oxide

    The esteemed Mr. Lileks, via Twitter.

    The only possible explanation for Keillor's column this week is that nitrous oxide is just *pouring* out of his laptop.

    I read it.  Lileks is being kind.

    .......

    I'm on twitter as bdunbar.

    No, I don't know what good Twitter is for.  But I do agree with the advice here, about how to use Twitter for marketing and PR.

    Saturday, January 10, 2009

    It doesn't look like much but ..

    This house, right here .. that's where I met the love o' my life.


    View Larger Map

    The first thing she said to me was 'You're staying for dinner'. And while I left that night ... I never left her, you know?

    Friday, January 09, 2009

    When he gets to the afterlife ..

    He'll be taunted with 'Dude. You were shot. By a girl.'

    The ex-cheerleader (age 19) and now an Air Force Security Forces Sniper in this picture was watching a road that lead to a NATO military base when she observed a man digging by the road. She engaged the target, and she shot him. Turned out he was a bomb maker for the Taliban and he was burying an IED that was to be detonated when a US patrol walked by 30 minutes later. It would have certainly killed and wounded several soldiers.

    The interesting fact of this story is the shot was measured at 725 yards.. She shot him as he was bent over burying the bomb. The shot struck him in the butt blowing into the bomb which detonated. He was blown to pieces.



    Dude - you got shot by a girl by you.


    Of course this aneddote sounds a little too pat, a little like a sea story.  Still ... for better or worse we do enlist women and arm them and send them in harms way.

    It's gotta be embarrassing for a faux-macho Jihadi to find out he's been dispatched to Hell by a girl.

    In which Hamas displays incompetence at agitprop

    Dear Hamas,

    You really gotta get better at the agitprop thing.

    Obviously faking CPR and having your own web guy stand in as a cameraman and bereaved older brother ... you people are embarrassing yourselves.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    The Media Savvy West



    American Apparel - we can build stuff in America

    A field-trip report on American Apparel

    A 5,000 person, $500 million low margin clothing company, operating from a single factory in the least business-friendly state of one of the highest “cost” manufacturing countries. Beating the overseas sweatshops and still growing rapidly.

    Interesting read.

    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Muddled reporting from the Gaza

    Wherin it becomes clear the UN brass does not know it's ass from a hole in the ground.

    Who killed the Palestinian driver of an aid truck and wounded two others as their convoy made its way into the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing during Thursday's "humanitarian cease-fire?"

    According to the foreign media, who based their information on UN sources, IDF tank shells blasted the truck. According to the Magen David Adom medic who claimed to have taken the Palestinians to an Israeli hospital, the truck actually came under Hamas sniper fire.

    What is certain is that there is one dead Palestinian, and two others being treated at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center for gunshot wounds.

    UN officials in New York placed the blame squarely on Israel ...

    Whoa - this one is a poser.

    Tanks rounds - I know this is a shocker - blow shit up. That's what they are for.

    Rifle bullets tear people up.

    It is safe to assume that if you've got one dead guy and two wounded guys with bullet holes in them that what got them was not big frickin' shell from a tank but a yahoo with a rifle.

    'Cuz a 120mm shell had hit them they wouldn't a) have bullet holes in them and b) there wouldn't have been enough of any of them left to carry to the hospital.

    Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

    Dear Lazyweb: I am frustrated by PHP

    Dear Lazyweb,

    When I run a PHP [1] script that contains this line


    24. define("GRID_SOURCE", "C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\htdocs\slGrid-2.0\2.0\");
    26. include(GRID_SOURCE."class/gridclasses.php"); //Include the grid engine.

    this is written to error.log


    [Thu Jan 08 11:27:37 2009] [error] [client xxx.xx.xxx.xxx] PHP Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_CLASS in C:\\Program Files\\Apache Software Foundation\\Apache2.2\\htdocs\\slGrid-2.0\\2.0\\view.php on line 26, referer: http://website.xx.xxxxxxx.com/slGrid-2.0/2.0/


    What in the world is wrong with line 26? I stare and stare and the it sure does SEEM correct.

    Update a few minutes later ...

    Duh - I'm an idiot. Replace '\' with '/' on line 24 and you're set.

    I gotta think this isn't an error an actual PHP coder would make. I looked at that line and eighteen years of looking at a DOS command prompt told me it was 'right'.

    [1] I have this in my .sig file: "PHP is what Microsoft would invent if they were trying to clone Perl."

    Wednesday, January 07, 2009

    Elliot 'Horn Dog' Spitzer

    Elliot 'Horn Dog' Spitzer on how to spend a lot of tax money and cure the problems in education ..

    Provide funding for robotics teams at every school. If you ever want to see intellectual competition in the arena that matters today—technological wizardry—visit the robotics competitions that now exist in some schools. Make these competitions as universal as football. Make it cool to design the next cutting-edge video game or iPod.


    Watching guys sit in front of a terminal for fifty hours a week making a program video-game or circuit designers working on a CAD tool ... man it's going to take more than a whole lot more than just money to make that kind of stuff cooler than football.

    It takes a weird kind of guy to think otherwise. It's like he's not even living on the same planet as the rest of us.

    Or he's spent all but two years of his adult life working for the government.

    Via.

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Conspiracy

    Conspiracy by you.

    Hydrogen filled Mammal

    Manatee.  Big .. manatee by you.

    Snoopy Dance

    So ... my day? I spent part of my day doing stuff that I love-love-love. In particular looking at a Really Important FTP server to see why it failed for ten minutes last week.

    I love this kind of nitpick crap so much it's not funny.

    Put me in a job where I gotta deal with people and their problems all day long and I suck. [1]

    When the job involves looking intently at rows and rows of text and thinking hard about how machines work, I seem to do okay.


    Long story short these lines in /var/log/xfer repeated 43 times in four seconds

    Dec xx 14:05:40 hostname ftpd[17939]: connection from apphost.domain.com to ftp.domain.com
    Dec xx 14:05:40 hostname ftpd[17939]: FTP LOGIN FAILED FROM apphost.domain.com


    I found this line in /var/log/messages

    Dec xx 14:05:44 hostnae inetd[28216]: ftp/tcp max spawn rate (40 in 60 seconds) exceeded; service not started


    And a light went on in my head like the bells of St. Marks' ringing changes up on the mountain.

    Because my server is doing exactly what it should be doing.

    And this makes me happy.


    [1] I can tolerate it for months at a time. Hell, I went for a solid year doing desktop support in a dysfunctional environment [2] but it drove me bugfuck crazy. I hated the work, but I liked the people I was working for and I guess I was faking actual competence because they kept me around and said things to my boss like 'he's really good, don't take him off the contract'. Also the motherly administrative assistant in Marketing gave me cookies when I came around. She didn't give just anyone cookies.

    [2] How dysfunctional? Every .. single .. worksation had a hand-coded IP address. In 1999. All 2,253 of them. Maintained in an Excel spreadsheet. That was kept on a server. That was not backed up.
    [3]

    [3] Why, yes, the spreadsheet did spontaneously corrupt one day. How did you know?

    Monday, January 05, 2009

    Spit goes 'clink'

    Sleigh bells ring
    are you listening?
    In the lane
    snow is glistening.
    A beautiful sight ..


    Whoa there!

    You know why the snow is glistening?  It's because the temperature warmed up from gawd-damn it's cold to just below the freezing point of water.  Then as it got dark the temperature dropped to spit goes 'clink' and all of that slushy water on top of the snow pack - and on the streets and the sidewalks - turned to glistening ice and it's worth your life to walk to your mailbox and back.

    Winter wonderland my foot.

    Title hat-tip.

    howl.php

    Lileks .. that darn Lileks ...


    He said something about “if code is poetry then WordPress is Ginsberg” and this is what happened:

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
    madness, ranting and pounding their keyboards,
    dragging themselves through CSS options at dawn
    looking for an angry fix
    anglebracketed geeksters burning for the ancient mathematical connection
    to the sullen dynamo of the machineries of PHP.

    Sunday, January 04, 2009

    Pigs to the trough

    President Obama: Blah-blah American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan blah blah. "That is how we will achieve the number one goal of my plan—which is to create three million new jobs, more than eighty percent of them in the private sector."'

    Jake Tapper: If you do the math: 20 percent of three million means 600,000 new government employees.


    So ... no pushing.  Stop crowding.  Uncle Sugar's got enough for everyone at the public trough.

    And you, in the back, asking where we'll come up with  $33,600,000,000 [1] for salaries (per year) for this crowd ... stop making trouble, Citizen.


    [1] Assuming an average salary of $56,000 each.

    Throwing shit at heavily armed Jews is a bad idea

    MacLeod writes

    In the interests of balance ...
    Both sides of the story, shown here.

    And what he links to is a horrorshow of Palestinian bodies, blood and tears at the hands of the IDF, juxtaposed with harmless and homemade missiles lobbed by the Pals into Israel hurting .. nobody.  Why, some of those pictures might even be fake.

    The idea that them Hamas fellers is just a bunch of Huck Finns and Tom Sawyers throwing harmless pipe bombs around and hurtin' nobody seems somewhat implausible given the suicide bombers and explosives and 'Death to Jew' chants employed by Hamas but whatever.

    What I saw in that photo montage and in the news is that the Pals are acting like like inept tools and the Israelis are employing violence with precision, determination and skill.

    Yo, Hamas: a high civilian body count means you're doing it wrong.


    Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

    War movies are depressing

    "War movies are depressing" she said. Then she left the room to chit-chat with her girlfriend.

    That made me think: I've never found the war movie genre depressing.

    A good war movie can show man at his worst .. and best.

    Speirs in Band of Brothers by you.

    This is from 'Band of Brothers' episode 'Breaking Point'.  I defy you to watch that episode to the end ..

    Carwood Lipton: Sir? These men aren't really concerned about the stories. They're just glad to have you as our CO. They're happy to have a good leader again.

    Ronald Spiers: Well, from what I've heard, they've always had one. I've been told there's always been one man they could count on. Led them into the Bois Jacques, held them together when they had the crap shelled out of them in the woods. Every day, he kept their spirits up, kept the men focused, gave 'em direction... all the things a good combat leader does.

    You don't have any idea who I'm talking about, do you?

    Carwood Lipton: No, sir.

    Ronald Spiers: Hell, it was you, First Sergeant. Ever since Winters made Battalion, you've been the leader of Easy Company.

    and not shed a manly tear.

    Saturday, January 03, 2009

    Alien wasps and expectations

    The hen-fest in the next room [1] was nearly over as I flipped through the channel listings and paused on BBCA ...

    Agatha Christie's 10-day disappearance in 1926 may have been the result of amnesia, a nervous breakdown or a giant alien wasp.

    Wait ... what? Alien wasp?

    Ah .. Dr. Who.

    [1] Which was kind of nice.  For about five hours the house was filled with feminine chatter as they did hair, drank wine, did handicrafts and made merry. But I didn't have the participate, just listen.  Plus I got to entertain my sorta-kinda nieces.  Also there was good food and drink. Also, all of my wife's friends are easy on the eyes.

    So it's a win-win-win-win.

    Lament for the Makers

    William Dunbar. 1465–1520?
      
    21. Lament for the Makers



    I THAT in heill was and gladn├Ęss 
    Am trublit now with great sickness 
    And feblit with infirmitie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Our plesance here is all vain glory,         5
    This fals world is but transitory, 
    The flesh is bruckle, the Feynd is slee:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    The state of man does change and vary, 
    Now sound, now sick, now blyth, now sary,  10
    Now dansand mirry, now like to die:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    No state in Erd here standis sicker; 
    As with the wynd wavis the wicker 
    So wannis this world's vanitie:—  15
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Unto the Death gois all Estatis, 
    Princis, Prelatis, and Potestatis, 
    Baith rich and poor of all degree:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me.  20
     
    He takis the knichtis in to the field 
    Enarmit under helm and scheild; 
    Victor he is at all mellie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    That strong unmerciful tyrand  25
    Takis, on the motheris breast sowkand, 
    The babe full of benignitie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    He takis the campion in the stour, 
    The captain closit in the tour,  30
    The lady in bour full of bewtie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    He spairis no lord for his piscence, 
    Na clerk for his intelligence; 
    His awful straik may no man flee:—  35
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Art-magicianis and astrologgis, 
    Rethoris, logicianis, and theologgis, 
    Them helpis no conclusionis slee:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me.  40
     
    In medecine the most practicianis, 
    Leechis, surrigianis, and physicianis, 
    Themself from Death may not supplee:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    I see that makaris amang the lave  45
    Playis here their padyanis, syne gois to grave; 
    Sparit is nocht their facultie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    He has done petuously devour 
    The noble Chaucer, of makaris flour,  50
    The Monk of Bury, and Gower, all three:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    The good Sir Hew of Eglintoun, 
    Ettrick, Heriot, and Wintoun, 
    He has tane out of this cuntrie:—  55
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    That scorpion fell has done infeck 
    Maister John Clerk, and James Afflek, 
    Fra ballat-making and tragedie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me.  60
     
    Holland and Barbour he has berevit; 
    Alas! that he not with us levit 
    Sir Mungo Lockart of the Lee:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Clerk of Tranent eke he has tane,  65
    That made the anteris of Gawaine; 
    Sir Gilbert Hay endit has he:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    He has Blind Harry and Sandy Traill 
    Slain with his schour of mortal hail,  70
    Quhilk Patrick Johnstoun might nought flee:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    He has reft Merseir his endite, 
    That did in luve so lively write, 
    So short, so quick, of sentence hie:—  75
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    He has tane Rowll of Aberdene, 
    And gentill Rowll of Corstorphine; 
    Two better fallowis did no man see:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me.  80
     
    In Dunfermline he has tane Broun 
    With Maister Robert Henrysoun; 
    Sir John the Ross enbrast has he:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    And he has now tane, last of a,  85
    Good gentil Stobo and Quintin Shaw, 
    Of quhom all wichtis hes pitie:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Good Maister Walter Kennedy 
    In point of Death lies verily;  90
    Great ruth it were that so suld be:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Sen he has all my brether tane, 
    He will naught let me live alane; 
    Of force I man his next prey be:—  95
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 
     
    Since for the Death remeid is none, 
    Best is that we for Death dispone, 
    After our death that live may we:— 
        Timor Mortis conturbat me. 100



    From.

    Timor Mortis conturbat me
    in English is "fear of death disturbs me"

    Friday, January 02, 2009

    No Recession For Me - text

    Bob Peischel from Holton Sentivan + Gury was kind enough to send me the text of the 'Count Me In' monologue at No Recession For Me.

    Foolish optimism, perhaps.  But it costs little to feel that way and gloomy dour pessimism is no way to go through life.

    I am not suggesting you can will a recession away with a bad-ass attitude. But you can out-run it.

    Three point plan.

    One: what do you do? Do you make something? Make it better. Are you in a service industry? Then raise your game and do more without asking for more.

    Two: if you are laid off or about to be laid-off, check our I'm-too-good-to-pump-gas-or-pour-coffee-attitude at the door and pump gas or pour coffee if that's all that's out there. Extra hours, hours you're not looking for work, try volunteering.

    Three: if day-to-day economic news and screaming mi-mi's on cable TV are twisting your insides into little knots of CNB..C me dying here ... stop watching, stop reading - stop and go make your own good news.

    So is this all just bullshit? No. This is the American way my friend .. and it's hard work, but it's worked before .. in times far more challenging than these.


    If you'll excuse me, I'm off to make my own good news.

    Camelot Barbie

    I don't really care if Caroline Kennedy is appointed to be the junior senator for New York but I love-love-love this nickname:

    Camelot Barbie

    Thursday, January 01, 2009

    January 1, 2009: Wisconsin New Year

    I may write more about the year past and the year to come. But probably not. This isn't that kind of a blog.

    You can say this about Wisconsin: living here means you don't have to send someone down to the Quickie Mart for ice. Just send the kids out into the yard with the cooler and fill 'er up with nature's natural beer chillin' white goodness.