Saturday, November 29, 2008

Addictive Online Game of The Week

You do not want to click the link if you have something you really need to get done on the computer.

Although if you do have stuff to do, why are you reading this?  G'wan, get back to work, slacker.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Burn baby, burn

So .. this bailout thing we're now all on the hook for?

If we add in the Citi bailout, the total cost now exceeds $4.6165 trillion dollars.

That is a lot of friggin' cheeseburgers.

But to put in perspective with inflation adjusted numbers . . .

Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

The bailout costs more than all of those previous expenditures combined.

I don't know enough about economics - I suspect no one person does [1], that's how we got in this mess - to say if this is actually a bad deal.

But it feels like we've lugged bales of currency out into the backyard and set them on fire to warm ourselves up.  Which is great for now - who has the marshmallows? - but I was going to use some of that money to buy groceries and the folks at Citi [2] will be expecting a check next month and - whoops - I just used that money to warm myself in the backyard instead of going inside like a sensible person.

[1] I dunno who said but I heard a wag on the radio say that people with degree and important jobs created this mess.  And we're trusting more people with degrees and important jobs to fix it.  Maybe we need to get some people who can balance a checkbook and give them the job.

[2] Who, ha-ha, is now the government.  Which is me, according to my eighth grade civics class.  Why am I sending myself a check next month?

In which a Nosy Parker is traumatized and exclaims ..

Dear Prudence,

I was nosy and dug around in my mom's things, found a sex toy and now ...

I’m afraid this will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Geez Louise - spare us from melodramatic Nosy Parkers.

If that's the worst thing to ever happen to her she'll have a good life, indeed.

My suggestion?  If you want to see things that will haunt you for the rest of your life, take two weeks of vacation and visit the really bad parts of Dhaka.


An American Solution

The American public had by turns ignored and ridiculed it's Cassandras; city planners, ecologists, demographers, sociologists, immigrants, who had all warned against our increasing tendency to crowd into our cities.  Social stress, failure of essential services and warfare were only a few of the specters we had granted a passing glance.  We had always found some solution to our problems though; often at the last moment.  Firmly anchored in most Americans was the tacit certainty that, even to the problem of nuclear war against population centers, there must be a uniquely American solution: we would find it.

The solution was sudden death.  A hundred million Americans found it.

From Systemic Shock, chapter 19, by Dean Ing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Everyone was at my house last night, for a few hours.  And everyone brought their dogs.

German Shepherd
Toy Fox Terrier
Two basenji
Schnauzer-Poodle mutt

That doesn't look like a lot, but when they were all milling around in the kitchen it looked like a frickin' Disney movie: I would not have surprised by a song and dance number.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Good Day for the Corps

A whole lot of Bad Guys in Shewan, Afghanistan found a few Marines on patrol.  The outcome was sub-optimal from their point of view ...

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

There is a reason why Marines make a fetish out of the rifle - it ain't just for show.

Theodore Dalrymple Online

Links to Theodore Dalrymple's work - writing, book reviews, speeches, interviews - at The Skeptical Doctor


Interviewee: So, if I accept this job, the new-hire process is ...

HR: Orientation on the first day.  We go over the benefits package, sign up for the 401k, choose your insurance package, wipe your personality. Then you go on assignment.

Interviewee: Wait, you said wipe my ..

HR: Personality, yes.

Interviewee: Hmm. And the assignments? What kind of jobs would I be doing?

HR: Well, it doesn't really matter, you won't remember any of them.

Interviewee: Well, sign me up!

I'm looking forward to Dollhouse.  It's by Joss Whedon and while I was not a big fan of Buffy or Angel, Firefly was very good and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog was darn nifty.  So I've got this expectation that Dollhouse won't be so very bad.

Also, it's on Fox, so I better watch it now or I'll have to get it on DVD.

But I really want to know who would volunteer for a job like that.

Guess I'll find out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This year, bad children get more than coal

And how does Santa Claus get presents to the troops?

cub scouts by you.

With style. And firepower.

"Ho ho ho - gunner - fléchette - naughty children"



"Ho ... ho .. ho - fire!"

"On the way."

"Ho ho ho - target shredded - cease fire"

Um, anyway.  The turret rotates, the cannon fires confetti.  Of course it won First Prize, Best Youth Group for Cub Scout Pack 9 in Waukesha.


Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

I'm not dead yet!

Was up driving the porcelain bus last night, fell back into bed. Woke up this morning and found the cat perched on the bed next to my shoulder.

"Aw", said my wife, "he was concerned about you - he loves you."

A friend had a better explanation: "They can sense when you're weak."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Space Cadet!

You know why you wanna take this quiz?  For the neato-kean pictures.

Your result for You Wanna Be a Space Cadet? Test...

Space Cadet!

47% Cadet

Congratulations! You have all the makings of a true Space Cadet! Welcome to the program.

You may now tout yourself as being one of the finest people that the universe has to offer, just be careful not to brag too much, we have to appear humble, you know.

You have shown to have great physical ability, attributes, intelligence, and moral integrity! We will love having you as part of our team of upstanding individuals that always fight for the greater good of all, even those that are lesser than we are (which is pretty much everyone else.)

So, Space Cadet! Be ready to experience the greatness of being.... well.... YOU!

Take You Wanna Be a Space Cadet? Test
at HelloQuizzy

Friday, November 21, 2008

A thought for Friday night

Mike's got it right ...
This is loud, intense, vulgar and... well... it's war.

It is all that. God bless 'em that go in harms way so we can lie safe in our beds.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sea Story

The guard house and the barrier are new, but the rest is the same ...

View Larger Map

During rush hour there were two men on duty - a guy at the bottom of the ramp and a guy at the top. Their jobs were to a) guard the ramp against unauthorized entry and b) make sure jarheads driving in and out didn't collide. There was an intercom connecting the two.

Lance Corporal O was at the bottom and, for reasons of his own, started singing into the mic.

'Everybody's gone surfin' ...'

The company First Sergeant ambled by. I'm making the 'knock if off' gesture ...

'.. surfin' USA ..'

First Sergeant stopped. Listened. Grinned. In an accent from the deep south he asked rhetorially "Is that boy singing?"

"Yes, First Sergeant."

"Unh hunh. Unh hunh. Y'all carry on."

Lance Corporal Mud called over the mic, "Was that the First Sergeant?"



Whoops my ass. We had to clean and buff the floor of the guardhouse for that stunt. Him for being a goofball, me because I was senior and didn't make him behave himself.

Good times, good times. 

And Street View is awesome.

Yup, that's Wisconsin

Situation: Weekly School E-Conference
Time: Early

Teacher: Okay, everyone tell me where you live and what's going on there?

Younger Monkey: It's cold. And dark. And cold.

He didn't say where he lived but .. that pretty much describes Wisconsin in November, hunh?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You mean they've already got one of those?

Hey, Representative Barney Frank, what's the Big Idea [1] for bailing out the UAW Big Three Automakers?

Steve Inskeep: I want to ask you about something mentioned in that report from an economist from the University of Maryland. What makes you think the $25 billion would even be enough?

Rep. Barney Frank: We don't think it would be enough. The way we have this structured, they will get $25 billion if the bill passes, with a lot of conditions.  But they would have to prepare and file by March 31 a plan that shows how they plan to get much more efficient and to get cars that can be marketed.

But let me ask you about the first thing you said, Congressman, because you said you don't think $25 billion is enough.

Right, I'm trying to explain to you how it works.


They get $25 billion — the federal government would be in the first position to be repaid. We will come ahead of the debt holders, the shareholders, etc. They file this plan on March 31. If, on March 31, the president does not believe that this is going to get them the viability with energy efficiency cars, they have to repay the loan; they get no more money. If they can show by March 31 a plausible way to go forward, then we would consider giving more money, again, under equally stringent conditions.

The test of any idea is 'would I do it with my money'.  Because that is what is really going on here.

I'm being asked to loan a whole bunch of money to three businesses that are over-extended, are saddled with a lot of debt and obligations their competitors don't have, who have made some bad choices in the past and find themselves in a bit of a pickle.

They've got three months to work up a plan to make efficient cars and market them.  Because, I guess, up to this point the boys in Marketing have been playing Hearts in the break room.  God only knows what the engineers have been doing instead of their jobs, all this time.

Then they submit this plan for approval to a guy who has never worked for a for-profit company and whose business experience is nil. 

And if this guy says 'yes' then I will loan these folks more money.  How much more is not specified .. and the spokesman for the plan gets kinda shifty-eyed and starts talking about a bunch of hoo-ha when I ask how much.

Pass - but thanks for the opportunity!  I think I'd rather keep my money in a high-interest savings account instead of .. well you didn't say what the interest rate would be did you?  Hmm.

I've got a better idea!  Why don't we draft a law so that any company could go to a special court and get protection from creditors while they reorganize?  Jobs might be lost, but not all of them, some creditors might have to settle for partial payments .. but it is sure 'nuff better than the entire shebang going out of business.

Crazy idea, I know - but it's worth a shot.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

[1] Idealism is based on big ideas. And, as anybody who has ever been asked "What's the big idea?" knows, most big ideas are bad ones.
O'Rourke, P.J. (1994), All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death. Sydney (Picador), 256

How do you say 'annoyed' in Japanese?

If, twenty years ago, you'd told me that finding NULL in a vendor's SQL table

SchLastRunDateTime LastStatus
----------------------- ----------
2008-11-15 21:56:00.000 0

where I expected to find a date would be the cause for grumbling and discontent ... well I would have not known what you were talking about. What the hell is ess-queue-ell, I would have said and how do I say 'you're pretty and I'll love you forever' in Japanese? Because that last was really important to me, once upon a time.

But, seriously. I've got a reasonably good script to yank data from that bastard and shove it into a dashboard - all so the end user will leave .. me .. alone [1] and they gotta screw it up by letting NULLs in their table which means I gotta do an exception [2] or something in the PHP so it returns something and doesn't just STOP and crap this into the log

PHP Fatal error: Call to a member function format() on a non-object in

Because that is really annoying.

[1] And by that I mean save time in their operations cycle by self-referencing status reports vice submitting a request to the Help Desk that says, basically, 'Things are broken and I don't know what is wrong'.

[2] In fact what I did was to not use the record that could contain NULL and use another one with identical data.  That does not seem to have NULL at all.  Which doesn't exactly fix the problem but it sure enough hacks around it.

Pirates is dumb

Arr ...

In its clash with the pirate vessel, the Tabar's crew hailed the ship and demanded it stop for inspection, and the pirates threatened to destroy the Indian ship, the ministry reported.

"Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar," the ministry said.

What kind of a Rambo-esque Dream-World does one live in where 'shoot machine guns and grenades at a warship equipped with a 100mm gun' is a viable tactic?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Deploy a Boot To The Head

Ye Gods.
I have a total of 66 students, but a handful have dropped out. So, of the about 60 who came to the three recitations, one student had done the readings. For two recitations, nobody had read anything, and one girl read in one recitation. Attendance was fairly high. However, the average per recitation was about 0.33% of the students having read.

So ... when it's clear they have not actually done the assigned work, you can deploy a boot to the head?

No? Pity.

You know what - Marines are encouraged to take correspondence courses from Marine Corps Institute. These are not scholarly, but are of a practical nature - NBC, land navigation, desert warfare, riot control - courses geared to junior enlisted.

Still - it's studying and course work and requires time and dedication.

I don't have statistics at hand but I'm pretty sure the completion rate for those is higher than 0.33%.

I feel sorry for Rufus - he's clearly a good bloke who likes what he does and wants his students to succeed.

But it tickles me to imagine a bunch of jarheads have a better completion rate than kids at University.

On Again! On Again! by Jake Thackray.

On Again! On Again! by Jake Thackray.

I love a good bum on a woman, it makes my day.
To me it is palpable proof of God's existence, a posteriori.

And .. video!

Warning - mildly offensive. If you have no sense of humor what-so-ever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I've been keeping up my payments .. like a sucker

And what is the government spending my money on this week? Debt forgiveness - for dumb people.

Last week, the government announced a program that will substantially lower payments for many homeowners who have little or no equity, but only if they are at least 90 days delinquent.

In a campaign fact sheet, President-elect Barack Obama says he "recognizes that the real victims in the subprime mortgage crisis are not the lenders, but the millions of borrowers who followed the rules and whose only crime was taking out mortgages that lenders told them they could afford."

So .. wait. All I gotta do is just stop paying Citi for 90 days and The Man will lower my payments? And blame it on my lender?

Wow - this President Obama guy is a swell fella.

Sign .. me .. up.


Headline from a Homer Simpson quote I really like. Homer is hanging out with his dad in the Old Folks Home. He watches a guy in a wheelchair and then mutters ".. and I've been using my legs all this time - like a sucker."

Oracle - killing me softly with their song

And it's in the key of indifference.

This is what I did not write to Oracle today when I was promised a review of my problem fourteen days ago that has still not taken place.

a) close the ticket so I know you officially don't give a rip.
b) transfer this SR to someone who cares.

Thank you!

It must be nice being the guys who choose to go with Oracle, sign the dotted line, write a check and approve the project.

Because it sure 'nuff sucks to be the guys who have to deal with Oracle after they make the sale.

Ten Cannots

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

William Boetcker, 1873 - 1962


... rosemary and thyme

Your result for What Spice Are You Test...

You are Sage!

20% Habanero, 40% Sage, 10% Thyme, 10% Ginger, 20% Garlic, 0% Curry, 0% Cinnamon and 0% Oregano!

Sage is a very classic herb. You tend to use intelligence in making decisions instead of brute force.

You are the type of person that people want to get to know and be friends with. You don't feel as if you have to impress people because you tend to be very self assured.

At a party you would be happy to just sit in the corner and watch people, or perhaps find someone to have an intelligent conversation with.

You prefer to think before you act, as you are rather analytical. You can be both dazzling and graceful. People tend to notice you without you trying to make it happen.

You may not be religious, but you are very spiritual. You desire relationships that last rather then passing ones.

Take What Spice Are You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cookie Checkers and Guns

And today? Nothing special.

Except we played cookie checkers! If you're a Younger Monkey playing with - and for - cookies sharpens one's concentration.

The only real problem is after a few rounds you run short of checkers - but so it goes.

And ... William Shatner playing Denny Crane - on the topic of gun control.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

MacVim and NERD Tree

My quest for the text editor nirvana [1] goes on .. next up, MacVim.

MacVim is a port of the text editor Vim to Mac OS X.

My fingers are used to VI so that's a point in it's favor.

MacVim supports multiple windows with tabbed editing

Really? I like tabs. I really like TextMate's file drawer however, so I'll probably not use it much ..  what's that you say?

The NERD tree : A tree explorer plugin for navigating the filesystem

Do what?

Check out this demo

The NERD tree allows you to explore your filesystem and to open files and directories. It presents the filesystem to you in the form of a tree which you manipulate with the keyboard and/or mouse. It also allows you to perform simple filesystem operations.
Well, golly - that is pretty slick.

MacVim with NERD Tree by you.

[1] Like sailing, it's not the destination, but the journey.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What have you done today to spread your awesomeness?

Spread your awesomeness . . .

Anarchism is the most logical and principled position there is. We automatically win every ethical argument vigilantly taken to its conclusion. Anarchism is embedded in every advance and hope for the future. Every modern ethical awakening has struck against hierarchy, every successful component of the information age adopts more and more anarchistic attributes. Anarchism IS the individualist dream. You, you personally, can singlehandedly start the motherfucking revolution. You're going to have to.

Anarchism is not some mechanical proletarian revolt, nor is it some impersonal mathematical reality of laissez-faire economics. And it's certainly no throwing up your hands and saying to hell with it. Anarchism is a simple ethical and philosophical realization: to be a fully living, thinking human being you have to let go of your power over others. They must let go of their power over you.

The thing is, you already know this. (You're awesome.) So why don't you embrace it further. (And be more awesome.)

Things like pesky little election soap operas are just getting in the way. Never mind that Obama cat, he's no where near as awesome as you. So, and I'm just saying this, what have you done today to spread your awesomeness?


PHP and it's insistence on having a ';' at the end of every line can go take a flying leap sideways.

Gawd damn that stuff is annoying.

But on the other hand I went from complete ignorance about SQL Server 2005 Driver for PHP to a useful script that pulls data into a dashboard so that's something.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cheery thought to go to sleep with

You know how sometimes you'll see a single shoe on the side of the road or the freeway?
Apparent 6th severed foot found in British Columbia

What appears to be a separated human foot inside a shoe -- possibly the sixth discovered in Canada's British Columbia in the past 15 months -- has been found on a riverbank, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Wednesday

Until just now I assumed they were empty.


Ingvar Kamprad - stickin' it to the man

Flat Pack Accounting (from The Economist)


IKEA - Corporate Structure. (from Wikipedia)

What happens to the boodle that IKEA makes?  We .. don't .. really .. know.  The parent for all IKEA companies is Ingka Holding.  Ingka Holding belongs lock stock and boodle to Stichting Ingka Foundation.  Which is a Dutch-registered tax-exempt non-profit legal entitity.  Which is worth just about $36 billion. 

And what do they do?  Their mission is to make the word of interior decorating a better place.

IKEA says only that this money is used for charitable purposes and “for investing long-term in order to build a reserve for securing the IKEA group, in case of any future capital requirements.” IKEA adds that in the past two years donations have been concentrated on the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden. The Lund Institute says it has recently received SKr12.5m ($1.7m) a year from Stichting Ikea (which also gave the institute a lump sum of SKr55m in the late 1990s).

After that it gets complicated and it made my brains hurt just thinking about the skull sweat deployed by legions of accountants and lawyers to make it all happen.

What I know is it makes my Uncle Dub's [1] scheme to cheat The Man by taking cash jobs off the books at a discount look like the small change it was.

My hat .. is .. off to Mr. Kamprad. Stick it to the man, brother.

Also .. I gotta get me one of them non-profit foundations.

[1] Name and relationship changed to keep peace in the family.

Culver's in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

11-12-2008, Culver's in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

11-12-00 - Culver's in Oshkosh, Wi by you.

We did have the flavor of the day. Not bad, if a little heavy on the 'oreo' bits for my taste.

Also, that's overcast and rain - but it sure does look like it's about to snow, doesn't it?

In which I'm pleased at my own wit

My .sig file generated this at the perfect moment on Monday ...

love_that_sig by you.

Oh yeah - I'm all that and a bag of chips.

Guns N' Roses - the short version

The short version of the Guns N' Roses story: Appetite for Destruction was a great rock record, in my opinion, but nothing they released after that was nearly as good. Chinese Democracy probably won't be either, but there's something fascinating to me about the fact that Axl Rose has spent a full third of his life working on this album. He makes Brian Wilson look restrained.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Veteran's Day

Andrew Klavan: 'Five Days at the End of the World'
After five days in Nuristan, I began the trek home. A circuitous six-hour chopper ride returned me to Bagram, where I waited days to catch a C-17 back to Kuwait.

Bagram’s an enormous base, a slapdash city of thousands. I stayed there in a spartan but private cubicle in the “Hotel California,” the hut for journalists. I was lying on my cot one night when I heard an announcement over the loudspeakers outside: at midnight, there would be a Fallen Comrade Ceremony to honor a soldier recently killed in theater.

I wandered out into the muggy darkness and saw a ghostly sight. Soldiers wearing yellow-green reflector straps over their uniforms drifted out of the misty darkness from every direction. They began to line up beside the main road. Soon, they were standing along the curb as far as the eye could see.

At midnight, a Humvee pulled out of a driveway across the street. It carried a flag-draped coffin bound for transport home. Flanked by two trucks, it began its journey across the airfield. The soldiers saluted. I put my hand over my heart. The Humvee passed slowly by.

When it was gone, the soldiers silently dispersed, the glowing green stripes of their reflectors fading, and finally vanishing, into the mist.

Next year in Luna City

A poster for Moon Zero Two.

The Moon Community in the year 2021 has wimmin running around carrying pistols and flying space ships?  In 1960s era bikinis?!

Sign ... me ... up.


We're here to take you home

Scared, alone, a civilian engineer kidnapped by very bad men.  He estimated his odds of being rescued by the military a one out of a hundred chance.  Then late at night .. they came.

“They knew who was who,” the engineer said. the SEALs quickly demonstrated that, aiming their silencer-equipped weapons to shoot and kill the kidnapper in the room before he could fire a round. The engineer said he heard the sounds of the operators shooting and killing a guard posted outside.

The SEALs turned to the now former hostage and told him they were there to take him back.

It's all over the internet.  The best we have, putting themselves at risk to bring back one of our own. 

It won't be on CNN.  If it's in the paper, it will be inside, below the fold.

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

He says all that like it's a bad thing.

Our Betters

We have been guided by a Republican administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth and they may be able to sustain it for a while but it doesn’t work in the long run.

— Jim Moran (D-VA)

Golly.  It's like the 20th century didn't even happen.

I may will find myself saying that a lot the next four years.


Marine Corps Q & A

Happy 233rd, Marines!

Q: What does U.S.M.C. stand for?
A: You Signed the Mother-lovin' Contract

Q: What do you get when you cross a Marine with a gorilla?
A: A retarded gorilla.

A sailor in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, ''Wanna hear a MARINE joke?''

The guy next to him replies, ''Well, before you tell that joke, you should know something. I'm 6' tall, 200 lbs, and I'm a MARINE. The guy sitting next to me is 6'2'' tall, weighs 225, and he's a MARINE. The fella next to him is 6'5'' tall, weighs 250, and he's also a MARINE. Now, you still wanna tell that joke?''

The sailor says, ''Nah, I don't want to have to explain it three times.''

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

Semper Fi - Happy 233rd

Why, guess what today is?

Establishment of the Marine Corps, 10 November 1775

This resolution of the Continental Congress marked the establishment of what is now the United States Marine Corps.

"Resolved, That two Battalions of marines be raised, consisting of one Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels, two Majors, and other officers as usual in other regiments; and that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or inlisted into said Battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required: that they be inlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present war between Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress: that they be distinguished by the names of the first and second battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered part of the number which the continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of."

Happy 233rd.


Our Presidents by you.

A reminder - yes, besides the obvious - that for a time we liked our leader to have bushy chin whiskers.


Sunday, November 09, 2008


Don’t start your next text message with ‘rm -rf /’
Imagine a single-app computer that reboots and tees every character you type both to the foreground application and to the shell … as root.

JWZ links to the goods:

Yeah, uh, ‘oops.’

Well, that's a big fum-ducker all-righty.  But what is this 'Tee'?

tee - read from standard input and write to standard output and files

So I could do this?

ls -la | tee file.txt | more

I must lack curiosity or something - if I'd ever heard of this I have no recollection of it.  Seems blazingly obvious in hindsight - if you can pipline you surely can stick in a T join.

 And I can think of some shell scripts I use that really need to be refactored.

Learning Stuff is the awesome.

Winter sets in

It started snowing as I was sweeping the last of the front-yard leaves into the gutter.

Well, that's it then: nature is telling me to give the back-yard leaves a pass and that it's time to cocoon until Spring.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Willpower and the Home Office

Ray Bradbury on writing 'Fahrenheit 451'
I was driven out of my garage by my loving children, who insisted on coming around to the rear window and singing and tapping on the panes.  Father had to choose between finishing a story or playing with the girls.  I chose to play, of course, which endangered the family income.

From the Afterword in the 1989 printing, copyright 1982.

I know exactly how that is.  Kids - or at least my kids - are so darn entertaining I have to exercise an enormous amount of willpower when I'm working at home.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thanks, Milwaukee!

One worry (a minor one) is that if I loose my job in Drive Past, Wisconsin [1] I'd have to acquire a job in Green Bay (long drive) or Milwaukee, which would require me to move.   I like it here.  Plus I'd have to deal with rush hour again and I doubt I'll be able to find a house two miles from my employer there.

Luckily, the citizens of Milwaukee have made it likely that any businesses still in that fair city will be fleeing north [2] .. and right into my lap.

The Milwaukee Paid Sick Leave Initiative is a rare citizen initiated measure in Wisconsin, 2008. It was brought to the ballot by utilizing direct legislation, which allows citizens to propose legislation to a city or village.

The measure intends to require employers in the City of Milwaukee to give employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or nine days per year. The paid time off could be used if the employee is ill, if a family member is ill, or for time off used to attend to medical or legal issues resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

And did citizens of that fair city decide to give business yet one more reason to flee? Boy, did they!
Approved, by 69% - 31%, making Milwaukee one of only three cities with such an ordinance. The others are San Francisco and Washington, DC.

Thanks, Milwaukee!

[1] I write that with a great deal of affection of course.

[2] This assumes the Lege with their brand new Democrat majority doesn't find it in their best interests to drive taxes through the roof and sending business fleeing clean out of the state.

300 in Fifteen Minutes by Cleolinda Jones.

From '300 in Fifteen Minutes' by Cleolinda Jones.


LEONIDAS: I’m not going to war! I’m just going down to the corner store!


LEONIDAS: Three hundred of my closest friends, yes.


[And thus, the noble Spartans go off to meet their destiny to the tune of some kid tootling on his double flute, their fabled war chant fading into the distance:]
© 2007 Cleolinda Jones. Please quote or link back, do not repost.

[Very, very slowly.]

Music to confound stereotypes by

Looking for good classical music?  Behold: Music interpreted by Mr. S. D. Rodrian

I had the Mozart's Piano Sonatas playing most of yesterday - he's really very good.

I know - this takes the 'knuckle-dragging Marine' image and completely trashes it.  And just in time for the Marine Corps Birthday next week.  But what can you do?

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Hooray - my head is partially filled with useless world trivia!

Your result for Show Me the Money Test...

65% Money_minded!

You scored 65% Money_minded. There is no pass or fail for this test, but it does give you a small indication (very small) of how well you know your international money and tidbits of useless world trivia. Congratulations! For most tests in school under 60% means that you failed, but for the sake of this test whatever score you get means you are a winner in International currency. Why? Because you were brave enough to take this test!! Besides, you may have accidently learned something!

If you want to know the answers to the test, just scroll over the information below and you can see the answers.

1. Austria 2. Australia 3. Bangladesh 4. Ethiopia 5. Finland 6. Greece 7. Tibet 8. India 9. Iraq 10. Russia 11. Pakistan 12. Portugal 13. Afghanistan 14. Wales 15. Yemen 16. Yugoslavia

Take Show Me the Money Test at HelloQuizzy

Encryption is your friend - so are strong passwords

While both campaigns were busy ramping up for the internet generation and Web 2.0ing the electorate .. they forgot to attend to security on their systems.

According to the Newsweek story, a federal agent told Obama campaign officials that they had an IT security problem "way bigger than what you understand. You have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system."

Technical staffers working for Obama later speculated that the hackers might have been from China or Russia, the story says. It adds that a security firm retained by the campaign later plugged the security holes.

Geez Louise.

Looking Glass

Well, hunh.

Carl Cameron talking to Bill O'Reilly just now on Fox reveals that McCain aides were truly "shocked" at the "gaps in knowledge" Sarah Palin displayed once they were stuck with her.

Wait a second.

Un-named McCain aides, Bill O'Reilly and Fox News .. are now such an authority that everyone is going to just .. believe this [1] without attribution?

Welp, after looking at the internets today .. guess so!

Are you people so infatuated and/or in the mopes that you have difficulty comprehending bullshit when you see it? That maybe, just maybe, this is politics and a blame game and payback by operatives in the back room? That if you just accept this on face value you are being the gullible sap that they (you know who 'they' are) are counting on you to be?

Sure, Governor, you know Africa is a continent - now. When did you stop beating your husband?

[1] And if Bill O'Frickin Reilly said Senator Biden couldn't spell c-a-t ... you'd just believe it? Really? Preconceive much?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama

Congratulations to President-Elect Obama: you've done a man's work, Sir.

A (Samuel) Johnsonian

T.R. Fehrenbach wrote this a few months ago ... I think it's still relevant.

Every four years, we're told that "this election" is vital; we can either change the world or terrible things will happen if the other side wins.

If you believe this, I suspect you are either very young or a fool.

Me, I'm a (Samuel) Johnsonian, believing in regulating imagination by reality and instead of thinking how things may be, seeing them as they are. In short, what is, is.

Like most thinking Republicans and the smarter sort of Democrats, when my candidate lost, I found the best revenge was making money. Fact is, most of us do better when our side is out of office because we are not distracted by politics.

Candidates run on words to get us to the polls. Take words with a grain of salt. Whoever becomes president, you will only grow fatter, or lose more hair, and still have to pursue happiness.

The future is waiting and it won't just happen - you gotta work for it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

'Enough with the election' meme

1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.
2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your blog of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
3. Include these instructions, and share the love.

naughty by you.


Despair is not only a sin but bad tactics.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Update from the home front . . .

I have been cautioned that I should not say of a dancer from Poland: "She has a big butt."

It is, however, fine and dandy to say "she's got a European caboose."

So that's okay.

Aut disce aut discede

In which the government of Britain just .. gives .. up
Several local authorities have ruled that phrases like "vice versa", "pro rata", and even "via" should not be used, in speech or in writing.
(derisive snort)
Other local councils have banned "QED" and "ad hoc", while other typical Latin terms include "bona fide", "ad lib" and "quid pro quo".
Because it's essential that you set no standards what-so-ever.
But the move has been welcomed by the Plain English Campaign which says some officials only use Latin to make themselves feel important.
Funny - I use words because they convey meaning and nuance.
A Campaign spokesman said the ban might stop people confusing the Latin abbreviation e.g. with the word "egg".

He was misquoted - what he actually said was 'everyone must proceed at the pace of the slowest and learn at the pace of the dumbest.'

Yard Signs

There is a nice twenty-mile stretch of Wisconsin 29 from the interstate to Kewaunee.  The road is straight, but hilly and and there are only a few places where you gotta slow down for towns.

A whole lotta people who live on that road have yard signs. I didn't count but I'd guesstimate it's an even split between Obama - Biden and McCain - Palin signs [1]

Who has put up the signs grabbed my attention.

There are a fair number of businesses out there.  Not concessions or chains but single- proprietor shops; a gravel pit, heavy equipment rental and repair shops, metal fabrication shops, a lot of farms.

Every Obama-Biden sign was at a private residence. Every business that had a sign - and most of them did - had prominent signs up for John Gard .. and McCain-Palin.

Means nothing of course and it's only anecdotal - but it sure is interesting.

[1] There are also a few for Representative Steve Kagen. One of which was amusingly [2] vandalized on Saturday: Kagan's slogan is "Together We Will"  - underneath a wag had spray painted 'Raise your taxes!'

[2] This is not an endorsement of vandalism, just noting the humor.

Paying your electricity bill is patriotic

Wow.  I'm gonna need those middle-class tax credits [1] that Senator Obama wants: they'll come in handy to pay my electricity bill.
You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.
Awesome.  Because expensive power driving costs through the roof is exactly what we need.

As a campaign slogan I'm not sure 'Vote Obama - he'll double your electric bill' is a winner but what do I know?

Cross Posted to The Daily Brief.

[1] Of course, I only qualify for two of them.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kewaunee Inn

Oh, and the Kewaunee Inn?  It's still a wonderful hotel.

If you're in the area, book a room: you'll be glad you did.

Random Wisconsin City Name Generator - The Return

Behold - the return of the ... Random Wisconsin City Name Generator, by Jim Senderhauf. Who is from Indiana.

Say it with me... Ash-butte-neida-nee

Say it with me... Washa-a-osha

Say it with me... Rhine-bago

I myself spent most of the weekend on the shore of Lake Michigan in Kewaunee, which sounds like a made-up name but is not.