Friday, July 31, 2009

Bell and Harrison

You get the gas I'll get the tolls

Jerry Pournelle
The teachable moment, aka the Great Beer Summit, is done. I don't know if Gates and Crowley were billed for the cost of the peanuts, pretzels, and beer; it's my understanding that the administration has taken to sending bills or collecting credit cards from those attending "private" White House dinners. I'm not sure why. I wonder what we were taught by this Presidential teachable moment? That the Vice President likes Buckler, the Heineken non-alcoholic beer while the President prefers Bud Light? Or that Professor Gates drinks Sam Adams Light? One does wonder what Sam Adams would have made of this teachable moment at the White House.

Me, I wonder if Gates and Crowley shared a ride from Boston to D.C.

Imagine the long stretches of uncomfortable silence.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Power Pole

Clouds and a power pole - Neenah

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Former Big Lots

Boot To The Head

wintercow20 asks 'Why is health care special?'

Health Care (must upper case that word now) is special because Health Care is a human right.

I do not know when this happened. I do not recall this from Civics class in eighth grade.  Perhaps I missed that day.

I know this is so because all of the commentators on NPR (and my local Wisconsin Public Radio) go on as if it were so. So maybe they amended the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or something while I was looking the other way.

So. It is a Right and all of his arguments - as good as I think they are - are moot.

Man that was a neat bit of forensic ju-jitsu, ah'll tell you what.

Give them an inch

Clueless users leaked classified data using p2p tools.  Congress critters get up on their back legs  and blame the toolmaker.
Today he insisted that the company had implemented many of those changes and that the latest version of LimeWire makes it much harder for data to be inadvertently leaked. Those claims were largely rejected by members of the committee, who blasted Gorton for failing to live up to his promises.

Pointing to the examples offered by Boback, Towns said that the file-sharing industry's promises to self-regulate itself had clearly failed. "Specific examples of recent LimeWire leaks range from appalling to shocking," Towns said. "As far as I am concerned, the days of self-regulation should be over for the file-sharing industry."

Scratch a politician, find a guy looking for any excuse to expand his empire.


We are redecorating.
Now painting the dining room gold. The old Tibetan masks will look awesome on the color with the teal and gold sari curtains.
I never, ever, thought I'd live in a house with Tibetan masks on the walls and sari curtains over the window.

She is right: they do look awesome with the gold paint and teal curtains.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Retarded Review of 'The Band From'

Roni from The Band From writes

Actually i'm not that agreeable a person. Should make it a goal to have more shit of increasing retardedness written about me.

Welp okay then.

The lead singer - improbably named 'Roni' as if that is fooling anyone - of this trio from Yakima is an atonal wretch, who clearly belongs far, far from not just a studio but banned in all fifty-two states from performing live and a UN resolution put forth banning this octet from using computers and put into Coventry in the UP.  Where, of course, the world will be safe from their early Beatles meets Skinny Steve Earle caterwauling.

Donation Cat

Donation Cat - Little Ceasers - Neenah

Raising Men

Boys and Girls, Women and Men
Raising Men by Amanda Witt

When my boys were three and four, they spent a good bit of time patrolling the perimeter of the back yard with stick guns. One day they were making particularly gruesome sound effects and my feminine squeamishness, which I try to keep tamped down while mothering boys, got away from me. "I really don't like you pretending to shoot people," I told them.

"We're not pretending to shoot people," my older son said. "We're shooting pretend people. Dangerous ones."

John's meta post, Amanda's post .. well written, all of it.

Raising boys, watching them grow to be men, is fun, but oh my what a responsibility it is.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bell Street Overpass

Neenah, Wi.  Bell Street overpass

A mad world

Recently, Hillary Clinton stated that–should Iran obtain nuclear weapons–we will protect countries in the region by including them under a “defense umbrella.” What does she mean by a defense umbrella?…given this administration’s hostility to antimissile technology, it should be pretty clear that she does not mean a comprehensive missile defense system. Rather, she means that the U.S. will retaliate against Iran with nuclear weapons should it launch a nuclear weapon at any of the protected countries. (During her Presidential campaign, Ms Clinton spoke of “massive retaliation” by the U.S. against Iran should that country attack Israel with nuclear weapons.)

The finest minds of our generation - to contain a second-rate [1] power - are unable to come up with a strategy other than "incinerate each other's civilians".

And to go on to beat this sucker into the ground - can anyone see the Current Occupant [2] trading Chicago for Az Zarqa?

Tip o' the hat for the title.

[1] Second-rate in technical terms, not pejorative.
[2] Whoever it is.

Sunday, July 26, 2009




The Terror of Tiny town
This is a pretty typical western except that everyone in it is a little person.  I don’t find midgets funny in and of themselves.  But the idea of a whole wild west town full of them is bizarre and interesting.
As Ryan said, it's a typical oater from that era: white hats, black hats, horses, a range war etc.  The actors are midgets, the horses are ponies and the actors walk under the saloon doors, not through them.

There is a penguin in the barber shop.  I'm not sure what that's about: did penguins mean something for the audience in 1938?  A shout-out to Admiral Byrd, perhaps?

I watched it all.  After the first twenty minutes I found myself watching not camp but ... a film that was not half-bad.  Yeah, some of the actors are just reading lines but some are not: 'Little Billy' Rhodes is a serviceable Black Hat, Charles Becker does righteous service as comic relief and Yvonne Moray as the Love Interest - man if that chick had been 5'5 she'd be right up there with Garbo and Mae West.

A Place in the Pun

Pun of the Week

Joseph Hertzlinger Says:

If the Sun got suddenly brighter and hotter it would also get bluer. In “Inconstant Moon” the altered moonlight was the first notice of the flare.

Clearly, flares like that occur once in a blue moon.

A man's work, Sir!

(subject line tip o' the hat to Theodore Dreiser)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What I Do


One might be under the impression that my work involves computers and some kind of freaky defective-sperm-meets-egg scheme.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Traffic Light

Traffic Light


I like CheneyCare - it's alliterative.
As I was told by a coworker, because Obama has a good heart and is a smart man, he will know how to best re-organize health care and fix it for all of us!

Ask your coworker whether she supports sovietized health care if Dick Cheney were running the system, or Richard Nixon, or George Bush, or Sarah Palin.

The stereotype the Left enjoys is to paint Republicans as mouth-breathing Fundamentalists and misogynist racists.

If so, does she think the Fundies will allow women to get abortions if the Republicans control all the doctors and hospitals? Does she think the racists will allow the minorities equal access to health care? Does she think the misogynists will make good gynecologists?

I understand why they, the Left, don't trust us and they want to run our lives for us. But they know our side wins elections too, from time to time. I don't understand why they trust us, the Right, to run their lives for them?

Can any of my Left-of-Center friends explain this to me? If Halliburton, George Bush, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, General Jack D. Ripper, Sarah Palin and Enron are running your health care for the benefit of their friends in the Pharmaceutical Industry, how does that help lower your doctor's bills?

Thursday, July 23, 2009



Via ... someone.

In Which I Proudly Let My Nerd Flag Fly

Gaeta's Lament [1]

Alone she sleeps in the shirt of Man
With my three wishes clutched in her hand

The first that she be spared the pain
That come from a dark and laughing rain.
When she find love may it always stay true
This I beg for the second wish I made too.

But wish no more my life you can take.

To have her please just one day wake.

Gaeta's Lament on YouTube. Caution - minor spoilage for Season 4, ahoy.

[1] Ah'll tell you what: Battlestar Galactica Season 4 Soundtrack is some good music - mmm hmm.

Duh Moment

When your Blackberry writes this to it's log file

[11:11:26.480] 2009-07-23
[11:11:26.525] PocketMac SyncManager Started
[11:11:27.685] Blackberry -> /dev/cu.Blackberry
[11:11:29.427] BlackBerry device pin 0
[11:11:30.292] Could not connect to BlackBerry; error code: 3
[11:11:31.162] No mounted media card found.
[11:11:51.165] No mounted media card found.
[11:11:52.362] Finished:0
[11:11:53.496] Progress:ISyncClientConnectingPhase 0
[11:11:55.235] BlackBerry device pin 0
[11:12:00.579] Finished:3

what it is trying to tell you is that you are not supplying the password.

It is all so simple.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is what it looks like

when you're one of the last ones to leave the office.

Parking Lot - Rain - Dumpster

Those cards at Vanity Fair are so, so, witty

Oh well played, Vanity Fair: a man's job.

If you watched Sarah Palin’s resignation speech, you know one thing: her high-priced speechwriters moved back to the Beltway long ago. Just how poorly constructed was the governor’s holiday-weekend address? We asked V.F.’s red-pencil-wielding executive literary editor, Wayne Lawson, together with representatives from the research and copy departments, to whip it into publishable shape.

VF got their mitts on a speech designed to be listened to, edited that sucker to be read.  Had the girls from research green-ink a few phrases.  Copy-edited a transcript written by a third party.

You sure showed them who is the ignorant yahoo.

By 'them' I mean the suckers who subscribe to Vanity Fair and by 'yahoo' I mean the editor who green-lighted that feature. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Warehouse Door

Warehouse Door In th Rain

Another boring romantic, that's me.

I live in a small town. [1]  With 22,000 people it's the smallest place I've ever lived in.

I took my wife to her belly-dancing class, looked around ...

  • I was related by marriage, in various ways, to 60% of the women present.
  • I knew 20% of the women present as friends of my wife.
  • 20% of the women were strangers.

What I'm saying is that it was nice to show up at a place I've never been to and just know people without having to fool around with socializing and 'get to know you' chit-chat.

[1] Sort of - this is where the kids from the really small towns in this part of the state come to see what the Big City is all about.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up

Never Gonna Give Your Teen Spirit Up.

So wrong that it's circled all the way back to right.

A fifth of the wealth of Scotland

Everyone knows about the Darien Scheme.
The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a colony called "New Caledonia" on the Isthmus of Panama in the 1690s.
But did you know that it took a fifth of the wealth of Scotland to finance the thing and that the subsequent failure bankrupted the entire country?
Returning to Edinburgh, the Company raised 400,000 pounds sterling in a few weeks (equivalent to roughly £40 million in 2007), with investments from every level of society, and totalling roughly a fifth of the wealth of Scotland.
I didn't know that.

The Scots didn't even get any expensive lawn ornaments for owls to roost in.

Great Big Projects whose only purpose is to Enhance National Prestige are all well and good. Until they bankrupt your country. Then it's all 'Oops' and 'welp I guess it's the poor house for us!' and 'Oh, yes, Union with England is a swell idea - can they do something about those loans?'

Instead of mindlessly chanting 'On To Mars' and spending money on corporations 'too big to fail' and dinosaur tech like automobiles I suggest we invest in power generation in space and building a sustainable launch industry so we can get at the 98% of the resources in our solar system that are not terrestrial. Ya know - investing in the future.

Crazy idea, I know.

Heat Conducting Superstructure

Holy Cats

Belknap was severely damaged in a collision with John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1975 in heavy weather off the coast of Sicily. A fire broke out on Belknap following the collision, and during the fire her aluminum superstructure was melted, burned and gutted to the deck level. Seven personnel were killed on Belknap and one on Kennedy.

Someone took a wrong turn, they collided and burning jet fuel dropped onto the smaller vessel.

God Rest Their Souls.

USS Belknap: collision damage.

It took four years to rebuild Belknap

One could hope this caused the Powers That Be to realize that a material that melts at lower temperatures and that conducts heat Real Good is not ideal for warship construction.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Subtly does not become him

Hey, fella. Yes, you, the one who got a little drunk at that party over the weekend.

You know how you thought you were being a subtle asshole?

You were not being subtle.

Cloudy Chance of Rain

Requiescat in pace

July 16th marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. I explain to my daughters that once upon a time we were a great nation that strived for the stars. No more. Now we are ashamed of glory, because some fucking crackhead might feel neglected if we don't dote upon her, and slather her with our largesse at the expense of the Great Things. Obama is sacking the Constellation program. We won't be going back to the moon, and forget Mars.

We Choose To Go To The Moon.

Darrell 'Shifty' Powers, 1923 - 2009

Darrell 'Shifty' Powers, 1923 - 2009
Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center .

No wall to wall back to back 24×7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that’s not right.

Let’s give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Requiescat in pace, Soldier.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Charles Bolden's First Day as NASA Administrator

The Marines have landed and have the situation well in hand.

Charles Bolden - First Day at NASA  The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand.

Maybe. This is NASA we're talking about.  What they're really good at is spending lots of money on lawn ornaments for owls to roost in.

Rocket Park  From


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cesare Lapini's Psyche with Butterfly

People Suck II

Dear Snoopy Neighbor Lady,

They are boys, aged 14 and 9.  They are loud.  They play-fight with sticks [1].  And toy swords.  And squirt guns.  They wrestle [2].  They know how and when to throw a punch.  They do not talk back to adults because they are polite.

I encourage all this because I am engaged in a long-term project to raise men, not milksops.

They were in our backyard engaged in rannygazoo.  They were not killing each other and implying that boys acting like boys is cause for calling the social services folks is a load of buckwheat.

You can go tend your knitting, lady, and I'll tend mine.

Respectfully Submitted,

Brian Dunbar
Data Dink and Former Lance Corporal of Marines

[1] I discourage this, but I am aware that it happens.  I do not like 'sticks as swords' because sticks can break in unpredictable ways (you'll put your eye out) and broken sticks go WHACK in the lawnmower.

[2] The older one gets the best of it mostly with his weight and reach but the younger one is sneaky and gets in low blows and hair pulling: it evens out.

People Suck

At age 66 she had twins, becoming the world's oldest new mom — and raising questions about maternity so late in life. Now she is dead at age 69, leaving behind boys not yet 3.

"I think everyone should become a mother at the right time for them. Often circumstances put you between a rock and a hard place, and maybe things shouldn't have been done in the way they were done, but that was the only way to achieve the thing I had always dreamed of, and I did it."

Paraphrased: I.  I.  I.  It's all about me. 

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick:  If you're lonely buy a dog.  Don't go out and whelp a pair of kids at an age where you are likely to die before they reach their majority.

It ain't about you, sweet cheeks - it's about them.  Always.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Eighteen years old, October eleventh - Joe Haldeman

Eighteen years old, October eleventh

Drunk for the first time in her life,
she tossed her head in a horsey laugh
and that new opal gift sailed off her sore earlobe,
in a graceful parabola,
pinged twice on the stone porch floor,
and rolled off to hide behind the rose bushes.

It gathered dust and silt for two centuries.
The mansion came down in a war.

For twelve thousand years
the opal hid in dark rubble, unmoving.
An arctic chill worked down through it, and deeper,
and glaciers pushed the rubble thousands of miles,
very fast, as opals measure time.

After millions of years (the Sun just measurably cooler)
a female felt the presence of a stone,
and waved away yards of snow and ice;
waved away dozens of yards
of frozen dirt and crushed rock,
and held, in what resembled a hand,
this bauble of gold and rainbow stone:

felt the sense of loss in that silly girl,
dead as a trilobite;
felt the pain that had gone into penetrating
the soft hyperbolic paraboloid of cartilage
that then displayed the decoration;
felt its sexual purpose:
to attract a dissimilar pattern of genes
to combine and recombine a trillion trillion times,
and become herself.

She briefly cherished the stone,
and returned it to its waiting.

Politics - feh

Ah, Oracle? You got your staff's politics in my tech support.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Front flip on the trampoline


America kicks ass - in spite of, not because of, the government

Ladies and Gentlemen: Life in the the United States of America, 2009.

Wired News: You and your son built your rocket in your garage with your own cash?

Paul Breed: Correct. It’s basically been a father-son effort, and we’ve done 98 percent of the work ourselves. We got some help from local rocket fans, and hired someone with help with the FAA regulations.

Two guys and a few interested amateurs can design and build, in a garage, a rocket that will reach outer space. With pocket money. For fun.

But in order to deal with the government ... ah that's where your brighter-than-average engineer duo must hire a specialist.

Update: Edited to clarify and to satiate critics.

The most dangerous thing in the world ...

Near my barracks in Parris Island was a sign, “The most dangerous thing in the world is a Marine rifleman.”

If it had said “an ambitious colonel” it would have come closer to truth.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Big Monkey's Machine

Aidan's Machine

This is an Infernal Contraption machine. It's purpose is to attack my pile of parts and in-hand cards and destroy them.

It worked very, very, well.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shattuck Park - Neenah, Wisconsin

7/11/09 - Shattuck Park - Neenah Wisconsin

Shotgun Friday Night

Twitter Chat.
bdunbar: Daughter's bf will be at dinner. She said, 'Be nice". That means 'Don't clean the pistol at the kitchen table and glare.' Dang.

joe:boyfriend?! How old is your daughter?

bdunbar: I quote the girl herself "Sixteen. And a half."

joe: I vote for the shotgun

Haw.  Also ...

PastyD: Daughter's boy toy came for dinner and family game night. He survived. He said, "My family isn't like this." They don't play chrononauts? Man.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Nixie at the door

That Ain't Workng

And today?

I spent the day working on a Habitat for Humanity house. Hanging drywall - ceiling and wall.

If guys hanging drywall designed houses rooms would be entirely square without any funny short walls or odd corners.

But .. I like to think I work hard. Guys who build stuff work hard: I just sit on my ass all day and watch stuff on a computer monitor.

Also - while I do not think I would like building for a living ... there are worse ways to make a living, ya know?

Demon begone from my brains

Heard on the TV:

"Tomorrow on Blah, the ladies love LL Cool J." 

Which entered my head as 'Tomorrow on Blah, the ladies love Ladies Love Cool James'

Which is darn silly.  But it would not stop chasing it's tail in my head until I wrote it down, here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Buh-Bye MetaLink

Oracle is doing away with Classic MetaLink.

Dear Oracle - Meta Link is STILL Broken

Some reasons why making everyone use 'My Oracle Support' is sub-optimal.

  • The name is retarded. [1]
  • I can't use the scroll button on my mouse.
  • I can't use the space bar to page down.
  • Except .. in places I can use the space bar.  And the scroll wheel.

This isn't about customer service or or lowering TCO or any of that whitewash and I wish they would cut the bullshit. 

It's about making something that worked, but looked old, into something that looks new and shiny but does not work so well as the old version.  Because new and shiny looks good on the ol' internal resume and Oracle is about five years past caring about the poor bastards who have to deal with their ever increasing product line. [2]

And they are not gonna be able to do much about that because Flash is a horrible, horrible thing for this purpose and they are stuck with it.

Anyway. I might as well stop picking on Oracle because it's not going to get any better and no matter what a dozen low-level PMs out there might say on the phone they don't care what I think and they won't care what anyone thinks as long as the stock price keeps perking along.

[1] It is barely okay for a consumer kinda deal.  My Pretty Pony.  My Sony Support Center; like that.  It's ludicrous for a support site used by working professionals only when they must and who don't want a Personalized Oracle Experience - we just want to get stuff done, get systems back on line, and get back to work.

And I darn sure don't want to think about how much money we have paid Oracle for stuff and how much is going into this abomination instead of putting more people to work at the Help Desk.

[2] Take a look at the list of Oracle's Cavalcade of Crap - it looks like GM's product line before they lost their shit.  And that list does not include all of the stuff that Sun brings to the party.

You don’t win friends with salad! You don’t win friends with salad!

Role Reversal
General Grrlpower sat down with my group of friends. She monopolized the conversation. It wasn’t long before she steered the subject to hosannahs for Obama and snarky Daily Show-style jeers for his putative enemies. Zeets, who was wearing mirrored aviator glasses, forgot to check himself.

“Fuck that. Obama is putting this country in debt. We’re going straight down the toilet.”

You could've heard an asparagus sprig drop.

Roissy in DC is funny. Joe Bob would say 'check him out' but from the number of comments on his blog, you probably already are.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Shave and a Haircut

You know how they picked the patient to use these tools on? He was the one too weak to fight off the doctors.

From  Lithotome (1740s-1830s) This lithotome was us

From<br/><br/>Hernia Tool (1850s)<br/>This unique tool was used

From  Tonsil Guillotine (1860s) This method of remo