Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In which I am turning into an old man.

Sears is advertising 'free tire pressure checks'.  For this to be worth the money that Sears is putting into the ads all over the damn radio ... there must exist a whole lot of Americans who cannot use a tire gauge.

This is ... millions of people a day climbing into cars, hurtling all over the city in it and having no idea what makes it go. Air .. tires?  Man, that's for specialists

I can imagine there are people like this.  But I have a hard time understanding why someone would deliberately turn Eloi.

Morlocks are ugly.  But they get stuff done.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Looking for cheap reading material for an upcoming trip, dropped by my local Bethesda Thrift.

Found a suit.  A nice suit.  It looks like the guy had it on once, maybe twice.  Fits like a glove.

For $6.75.  Being thrifty rocks.

That's all. Go about your business, citizens.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Clearing Tabs

Citing a 17% income tax rate, Warren Buffet wants rich folks to pay more taxes. Warren Buffet is acting coy with the truth about his taxes. And what 'rich' is.

Just in time for the back to school season, David Rosenberg's 12 Bullet Points Confirming The Double Dip Is Here. Ruh-roh.

The president bought a new bus. Made in Canada. He said he wanted more jobs in America - Canada is close enough for government work.

Say it with me: One Term President. It could happen.

55 cents of every dollar spent on 'Made in China' products stays here. Didn't everyone know this?

Max Wolf Valerio: Trans Men need to man up. Which is, yes, kind of funny in it's way but also: heck yeah. If you're going to be male, be a man, not a woman with the wrong equipment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Customer Service and etc


The Front Range at dawn. And sunset. And high noon. I'd forgotten what it's like, having actual terrain all around. The Flatirons ... holy cow that is a lot of rock, just poking up into the air.

Boulder. Great city. It's .. Madison. But more liberal, which I did not think you could do. Without the state capitol. And with more bike trails. A more interesting downtown [1]. And it's pedestrian friendly. Possibly to excess: you really should not take for granted that cars will just stop. Eventually some tourist is going to come along, wondering what that blinky yellow light means.

I've never seen illegal drugs offered for sale so openly. If they only had firearms so readily available it would be a little slice o' Libertarian Heaven.

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse in Boulder. Great service. Awesome food. Try the deep-dish pizza.

IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Service. You don't want to use their services. But if a meteor is going to hit your data center, you will be hard-pressed to find a better place to hang out and get things up and running again.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, DIA. Offering a drink of water to customers is a nice touch. The altitude and dry air catches up to a guy just about the time you've reached the rental car building. The staff is very good. If they were any bouncier they'd be flying through the air.

Delta. You guys rock.


The restaurant that will not be named at DIA. 30 minutes for eggs? Funny how, when asked, they were ready just-like-that. Also: no refill on the water. I get that you're busy, but the waitress, while busy hustling back and forth, could have trotted around with a carafe? Maybe .. left one on the table?

TSA. Long lines while complete strangers trample one's civil rights and ... Can we talk?

The thing where you have a team of agents - like four of them - hang out in the boarding lounge and you quarter the area, with two dudes at 12 and two at 3? What are you waiting for? We've been pre-screened and scanned and wanded and shoved around like feedlot cattle. You're there because ... why? I get the 'don't want to catch the good-guys in the crossfire' thing when you're at 12 and 3: but you're not armed with anything more lethal than a badge and a radio.

It's weird to be an American, in an inoffensive place like the airport, watched like you're a potential thug, let me tell you.

[1] Imagine what Madison would be like if the best real estate wasn't occupied by a big ol' marble mausoleum and pest magnet.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

To My Little Sister Whom I Love

This is how you change a flat tire.

  • Activate the emergency brake.
  • Activate the flashers.
  • Open the trunk.
  • Lift up the plywood floor.
  • Read the directions printed on the underside.


Your Brother.

Fifty Years After The End of the World

The Pioneer kept coming. It was caught by an inshore current that carried it briefly to the side. Then the keel hit the bottom, and the ship drove hard onto the flooded beach, carried by its weight, slowing under full forward power until the rudder no longer functioned and the hull veered out of control and slid to a halt not a hundred yards from where we stood. Anchors the size of cars rattled down the sides and splashed into the shallows. The engine stopped, the lights switched off in succession from bow to stern, and abruptly the Pioneer lay dark and still.
The Shipbreakers - William Langewiesche

Pictures, here.

What those pictures put me in mind is fifty years after the end of the world: the last of the old world's machines are stripped to make crossbows, bolts, armor.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Who Gets the Flute?

An Open Question [1] [2] for the 2012 candidates for President.

This letter has been sent - or will be sent - to most of the candidates for the presidency in the Democratic and Republican parties in 2012. Some won't get it - their web site utterly lacks 'contact me' email or a web form.

I have no pretension that I'll get anything but a form letter back. If that.

It would be instructive if they would answer the question. But that will have to wait until a person with more umph asks the question at a debate, or a member of the press with some brass ones pitches it to them. Or, possibly, if a lucky member of the public finds themselves face-to-face with the candidate.

Or maybe you could re-blog, pass it along, send it to the candidates, put a bug in the ear of a reporter.

Sir / Ma'am,

I am asking this question of the announced candidates for President.

The answer will be very instructive, will tell the voters a great deal about your philosophy, how you will perform in office.

I will publish the results on my blog, Space For Commerce, and a mil-blog that I contribute to, The Daily Brief.

Amartya Sen wrote in 'The Idea of Justice' this thought experiment;

Take three kids and a flute. Anne says the flute should be given to her because she is the only one who knows how to play it. Bob says the flute should be handed to him as he is so poor he has no toys to play with. Carla says the flute is hers because she made it.

Sen argues that who gets the flute depends on your concept of justice.

Bob will have the support of the economic egalitarian.

The libertarian would opt for Carla.

The utilitarian will argue for Anne because she will get the maximum pleasure, as she can play the instrument.

Who gets the flute?


Brian Dunbar
Neenah, Wisconsin

[1] On review I see the summary owes a great deal to - if not an outright theft from - Eric Falkenstein at Falkenblog.

Sorry about that.

[2] Tip o' the hat to SouthBend7 for sparking the idea.