Monday, March 30, 2009

Haircuts in Neenah

Need an excellent haircut in Neenah, Menasha or Appleton?

You're looking for Mary K. at The Barbershop in Neenah.  That's (920) 729-7060. You don't need a reservation, but the place can be busy - it's a good idea.

Like this: I'm bad at giving directions to barbers.

"How do you want it?"

"Oh .. (waves vaguely) up?  Like .. shorter than this?"

And they nod and go to work.  Results easily guessed.

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about hair.  For eight years at any barbershop on any Marine Corps Base I could walk in, tell the man or woman 'high and tight' and it would just happen.  They didn't even have to speak English.   I got used to it.

But anyway.  Mary understands vague directions.  And every single time it's a quality haircut, regardless of how retarded my guidance is.  She's just flat-out good.  Is it experience or a natural genius for hair?

Man, who cares.  Results count.  See Mary [1] for your haircuts.

[1] Truth in Advertising: we're sort-of related.  She is my step-daughter's sister-in-law.  And I like her kids a whole bunch: they are a passel of bubbly cuteness.  But I would not suggest her if she wasn't awesome.

Don't half-ass it

Dear Mr. President,

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said the U.S. will consult with Pakistan before raiding militant bases on Pakistani territory, as he called on leaders in Islamabad to be “much more accountable” in combating terrorism.

“If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we’re going after them,” Obama said in an interview on CBS television’s “Face the Nation” program yesterday. “But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists.”

Why even bother with getting them in our sights?  About three seconds after we 'consult' with our buddies in Pakistan the target is going to get a phone call and vanish into the woodwork.  And figure out he we found him.  So next time it's just going to be that .. much .. harder to find the fucker.

Either fight the war or don't.  But don't half-ass the job.

Cockatoo Damage

And how long does it take an umbrella cockatoo to chew through an ethernet cable and the router's power cable?

Not long at all.

And did he look proud of himself when he was done?

Oh yes. Yes he did.

Earth Hour - phbbt

Earth Hour. Passed on that nonsense.

Because I live in a place that is icebox cold or colder five months out of the year: turning off the lights and huddling around a candle would have felt too much like living in a cave, or the miserable thatched hut my peasant ancestors in England lived in.

Plus I'm not real hip on meaningless gestures.  Plus I like my religion kept in a church, thank-you-very-much.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Children and head bangers

Via /. comes the surprising news that three year olds are not low-functioning adults.

"For example, let's say it's cold outside and you tell your 3-year-old to go get his jacket out of his bedroom and get ready to go outside," Chatham explained. "You might expect the child to plan for the future, think 'OK it's cold outside so the jacket will keep me warm.' But what we suggest is that this isn't what goes on in a 3-year-old's brain. Rather, they run outside, discover that it is cold, and then retrieve the memory of where their jacket is, and then they go get it."

You might expect a three-year old to plan for the future if you've never spent any time around one.

"If you just repeat something again and again that requires your young child to prepare for something in advance, that is not likely to be effective," Munakata said. "What would be more effective would be to somehow try to trigger this reactive function. So don't do something that requires them to plan ahead in their mind, but rather try to highlight the conflict that they are going to face. Perhaps you could say something like 'I know you don't want to take your coat now, but when you're standing in the yard shivering later, remember that you can get your coat from your bedroom."

Only a head doctor would try that passive-aggressive headbanging crap with a three-year old.

You say 'Get your coat'.  He says 'I'm not cold'.  You say 'Do it anyway'.

Boom.  There.  Done.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reason for optimism from North Dakota

The Red River is rising, threatening to flood out entire towns ....

I just got in from filling sand bags to fight the rising flood waters in our valley. I worked with a bunch of high school students, let out for this purpose.

These young men and women were great. They did the work cheerfully, with minimal supervision, and without slacking.

One small girl held bags for me while I shoveled. I could see the exhaustion on her face, but she never complained.

She did however, abandon me for a tall, handsome young senior. At one time he had three girls holding bags for him to fill, while I had none. ;) (However, he was shoveling like a machine.)

So I paired with a woman closer to my own age who works in the juvenile justice system.  She mentioned she recognized a few of the young folks around...

I feel better about a few things now, although I'll be stiff and sore tomorrow for sure. These kids faced up to a crisis, and believe me it's a crisis here, with guts, grit, and cheerfulness.

These kids have have been raised in a nation with a crap educational curriculum and an increasingly toxic culture. But when the chips were down, they came through.

I don't know if this is just a local phenomenon, this is after all a pretty isolated part of the country. And I don't know how they'd fare faced with a threat that's not just impersonal nature but malevolent and evil, such as resurgent communism or radical Islam.

Still, I feel good about this - and the water is still rising.

Eating Tasty Animals

One word and one word only is appropriate for the critter at this Cute Overload link ...


Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Mr. Evers

Gorgeous Woman is a little irked at Our Mr. Evers

We do not need more politics in our schools. We do need more values, more accountability, and a lot less people that are desiring to line their pockets with special interest money and power.

Rose Fernandez has experience that is needed as a parent and children's advocate. Sometimes it's better to actually chose a candidate that can make a difference. Isn't that why so many people voted for Obama for president after all?


Ears ...
Next life when I have children I want them to come with functioning ears that actually engage in listening skills.

Review of David Hart's Atheist Delusions from First Things

For Christ and for the World

Hart goes on to show how equally cartoonish pictures of Christian persecution, intolerance, and lust for religious warfare cannot stand up to judicious historical analysis. To these topics he adds some very important observations about our supposedly modern, rational, and progressive age. “We live now,” he writes, “in the wake of the most monstrously violent century in human history, during which the secular order (on both the political right and the political left), freed from the authority of religion, showed itself willing to kill on an unprecedented scale and with an ease of conscience worse than merely depraved.  If ever an age deserved to be thought an age of darkness, it is surely ours.”


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Black and White

Jessica B+W

She's not emo - just unaware that Mom was taking her picture.

Aidan in rain B+W

Waiting for Spring.

Cian B+W

"My pants fell down."


Talking about the Younger Monkey ...

Me: And he did this and this blah blah blah - man he is so smart.

Younger Monkey: My pants fell down.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I was never tempted to get inked while I was in the Marines.  If I had been this would have been pretty cool.

Alas, I am not that gung-ho.  Also I would have felt kinda silly after I lat-moved and became a 4063 / 4066.


If you want to sit outside the middle-school gym in your car instead of being inside where it's warm, well it's a free country.

If you want to run the motor for north of 20 minutes to keep warm, man have at it.

But take the Green sticker off the trunk of your car first.

Cat Sh*t One

It's got a 'Battlestar Galactica'ish soundtrack.   And bunnies.  With riflesMayhem ensues.

Not for everyone: My boys and I chuckled and laughed, my wife looked aghast.



Whitespace ..

Whitespace is not "wasted" space.

image_7 by you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bill of Rights - interpreted

The White House: Hey, that Bill of Rights thing? Here is an interpretation. Because cutting and pasting the original text would complicate the presentation. And frankly, y'all don't handle complication too well. We'll just do all the mental pick-and-shovel work, hey?


Second Amendment
White House
The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.

Bill of Rights
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The difference between bearing arms and keeping and bearing arms is the difference between serfdom and citizenry.

Fifth Amendment
White House
The Fifth Amendment provides that citizens not be subject to criminal prosecution and punishment without due process. Citizens may not be tried on the same set of facts twice, and are protected from self-incrimination (the right to remain silent). The amendment also establishes the power of eminent domain, ensuring that private property is not seized for public use without just compensation.

Bill of Rights
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

You guys forgot to note the fiddly bits about the Grand Jury. The Fifth does not establish Eminent Domain, but limited it to public use. Which seems rather important in light of recent abuses.

Ninth Amendment
White House
The Ninth Amendment states that the list of rights enumerated in the Constitution is not exhaustive, and that the people retain all rights not enumerated.

Bill of Rights
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Seriously - what was wrong with the original text that the anonymous author had to repeat it nearly word-for-word in modern cant to explain it? I do not think my eight-grade Civics teacher would let me get away with that.

Tenth Amendment
White House
The Tenth Amendment assigns all powers not delegated to the United States, or prohibited to the states, to either the states or to the people.

Bill of Rights
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Delegated to the United States by the Constitution.

Words matter, especially when they are not present.

We are defined by what we build.

Yes, yes, yes!  From Rands
These are the words and the stories I hear in the Brooklyn Bridge: enthusiasm, audacity, impossibility, and amazement. More importantly, I see a work of bare utility with a palpable sense of confidence, an equilibrium with nature, and a beauty that only grows with time.

We are defined by what we build. It’s not just the engineering ambition that designed these structures, nor the 20 people who died building the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s that we believe we can and decide to act. I’m happy to report our new President agrees when he says,

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.”

Someone, sometime soon is going to start describing the climb out of this impressive hole we’ve dug for ourselves, and they’re going to call it “America 2.0”. Clever, yes. We need a new version of ourselves and that’s going to involve bright, unexpected ideas from those we least expect them from, and they’re going to strike you as impossible. All you need to do to understand these terrifyingly ambitious ideas is to look back at what we’ve already done to understand what we can do.

tail is the awesome

Cool tag line at The Fishbowl

tail -f /dev/mind > blog

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sic Semper Tyrannis - Jerry Pournelle

The truth is that no nation is safe. Tyrants seldom come openly, their hands dripping with blood, their eyes blazing with hate. More often they come as friends of the people, tireless workers for the public good, heroes who will save the nation; who will cut the Gordian knot of parliamentary babble; who will carry out the people’s will.

They come with promises. If we will disarm ourselves, they will provide professionals to protect us. If we give over our property they will assure us jobs. Crime will be abolished. Poverty will vanish. Together we will build a nation worthy of the future.

The temptation is large, because we all, at one time or another, have longed to have an end to striving; to create the future and have done with it. Can we not, by one supreme act, solve all human problems? The way will be hard, but after heroic effort the straggle will be over. War on poverty; war on ignorance; war on illness; war on cancer, mental illness; one supreme act of war, and then eternal triumph. The strife will cease . . .

We know better, of course. We all know the price of liberty; eternal vigilance. Jefferson said it well: "the tree of liberty is a delicate plant. It must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

Venomous Schnoodle

She wrote ..

She (the Schnauzer-Poodle mix dog) bit my right hand about 8 times. I went to the doctor after a couple of days because the hand was not getting better. He said that I could lose my hand and he was very concerned because of infection.

She is so modest. The doctor said that about three times, indicating how serious the problem was.  Also: Schnoodles are venomous. Who knew?

In 'Welcome to the 21st Century' news, I read about the dog bite via Twitter.  And the results of the doctor visit by voice mail.

You'd never know I work three miles from home.

Good enough for Congress

Ken notes that Nigerian spam was included in the victim statements sent to the judge in the Madoff case and concludes

That’s why, as a lawyer, you review every page of every document that gets filed under your name

Phht. If reading just the summary is good enough for the lawyers we elect to Congress, it's good enough for lawyers at Justice

The Top 10 Things you missed on the last ever episode of Battlestar Galactica

From somewhere on /. - The Top 10 Things you missed on the last ever episode of Battlestar Galactica
  1. Baltar constructing his intelligence-enhancing monolith on the plains of Africa.
  2. All 12 Cylon models doing their big Bollywood-esque song and dance number in the central chamber of Cavil's Colony. (Great move snagging Josh Whedon to direct this bit!)
  3. The kick-ass Centurions-vs.-Storm Troopers fight.
  4. After Kara finishes playing "All Along the Watchtower," she goes into an awesome 9-minute extended version of "Freebird."
  5. The Cylons inventing the science of psychohistory, then creating a secret foundation to shape human destiny.
  6. The smoking hot Boomer-on-Athena lesbian sex scene (can't wait for the unrated DVD version!)
  7. Doc Cottle's tearful reunion with his long lost wife, Eunice.
  8. Chief Tyrol telling Adama why he can't heal one of the wounded Fours: "I'm a engineer, not a doctor!"
  9. Adama punching Baltar in the face for about five minutes straight.
  10. Starbuck becoming the Starchild.

Oh Microsoft - you kid you

Oh, Microsoft.

In the old days you could start a Windows service from the command line like so:

net start "service name"

where "service name" was actually the display name.  Which was odd but you got used to it.

In Server 2003 we can now do this so:

sc stop "service name"

But guess what?  The value "service name" is now ... the service name. Which might be the same as the Display Name.  Or it might not be. Because things like that make life interesting when you're trying to get stuff done.

Moments like that - that make me feel like I'm walking into a glass door while sitting down - that's what I treasure about working with you, Microsoft.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dude, I think your boat is bent

As a guy who has done his share of fumduckers on the water [1] ...

USS Hartford - Damaged Sail by you.
USS Hartford makes port following a collision with USS New Orleans.

I winced when I saw this.  I bet there was a helluva *clang* inside Hartford when that happened.

[1] Albeit with much smaller and less expensive watercraft.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Dear Google StreetView

Next time, let me know when you are taking a picture of my house - I'll make sure the grass is cut.


All The Way Dead

You can make the Dog play dead.

Bang! Dead Dog.

You can make the Dog stay dead.

All the way dead.

With bacon on her muzzle.

I said all the way dead.

But good luck keeping her from rolling her eyes and drooling when she's playing dead with bacon draped across her muzzle.

Friday, March 20, 2009


egvick asks "Does this photo speak to you, as it does to me, about the importance of human exploration?"

Going nowhere by you.

It would if the spacecraft on the pad was going somewhere.

Putting replicas of three ships that did go somewhere in front of a ship that just goes up and then round and round for a few days - that's just sad.

The Story So Far

In Last Week's Episode ..

Congress wrote into a bill that allowed AIG to pay bonus money. President Obama signed the bill into law.

Congress and the President got on their moral high-horse and said how awful it was that AIG followed the letter of the law.

Congress is passing a bill that taxes those bonus monies at 90%.

Which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Regardless of how you feel about the specific matter - does anyone think that de-facto changing our tax policy from progressive to confiscatory is a good idea?

Links ..

They told me that when Bush was President ..

Dodd Fesses Up: Admits AIG Bonus Amendment Added at Behest of Obama Administration

RSpec Soliloquy - By Mr. Steve Eley

RSpec Soliloquy - By Mr. Steve Eley

should be || should_not be: that is the expectation:
Whether 'tis nobler in the parser to interpret
The outputs and side effects of outrageous duck typing,
Or to inherit against a sea of matchers
And by declaration extend them? To fail: to raise;
No more; and by a raise to say we throw
The exception and the thousand natural returns
The code is heir to, 'tis a specification
Devoutly to be wished. To fail: to raise;
To raise, perchance to rescue: ay, there's the rub,
For in that state of exception what tests may fail
When we have injected in this matcher code
Must give us pause: there's the RSpec
That makes calamity of such long backtraces;
For who would bear the Flogs and Heckles,
The oppressor's Reek, the proud man's Cucumber,
The pangs of despised Rcov, the spec_server's Drb,
The insolence of Autotest and the spurns
That patient merit of the occasional Rakes,
When he himself might his validation make
With a bare assertion? .....

Ballmer and Torvalds - BFF

He's about the last guy you'd think would argue for Linux ...

"Apple gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction. The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."

Indeed. Why pay an extra for a logo
Microsoft Windows Logo by dustinjacobsen
when you can just get an operating system for the exact same piece of hardware?

Linux Logo by josevnz

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Poor Pluto

Next they'll rotate and shun him ...

Poor Pluto by you.

Dear Unilever

I send out application after application, looking for work in the marketing departments of big companies, and I don’t have the right degree. I don’t have enough experience. And then I sit in front of the TV and holy shit every commercial is so bland and toothless and ineffective. If these commercials are the product of those degrees and that experience, then I hope to fuck I never acquire them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clay Pigeons in Blackburn

I am the 3,453 person to write something about this today.

The Chawners, haven't worked in 11 years, claim their weight is a hereditary condition and the money they receive is insufficient to live on. ... The family claim to spend £50 a week on food and consume 3,000 calories each a day.

The 478th to say something about this.

Emma, said: "I'm a student and don't have time to exercise" she said "We all want to lose weight to stop the abuse we get in the street, but we don't know how."

Jesus wept, lady.  This is not hard: you are eating too much and not exercising enough.

1. Stop putting food in your pie-hole.

2. Get off your ass and stroll around the block. Take the stairs. Get off the bus a stop or two before yours and walk the rest of the way.  You don't gotta have special equipment or a gym membership to exercise. 

3. I refuse to believe that your day is so jam-packed that you are running around like a hyper-active monkey from 'get up' to 'lay me down'.  If you were you would not have a weight problem.

Yeah, I'm mean.  But criminy, some people's children.

Hey, Wesley Clark!

Hey, Wesley Clark?

If people want machine guns, let them join the military. We got em! But for public and personal use, absolutely not.

Fuck. You. [1]

1. You are retired. Your rank is 'civilian'. What is this 'we' shit?

2. Join the Army and you get to use automatic weapons. Sometimes. But not whenever you want. You don't get to shoot at whatever you want - sergeants get irate when you try. You do not own whatever weapon they tell you to use, you operate it.

3. You might as well say 'You want freedom of speech - go to work for the New York Times'.

4. The point is this America and the ability to own and use firearms is written into the charter.

So eat shit. Sir.

That said, I'm not real hip on owning machine guns. But my personal feelings have nothing to do with the matter, nor does the opinion of Civilian Clark: it's written down that we can own and operate firearms and until that very basic Right is repealed, opinions to the contrary are moonshine and sunbeams.

[1] You too, Geraldo.

Toy Pink Poodle

She's a German Shepherd. Big for a female. She looks like a police dog when she sits in the picture window, gazing at the street. She radiates 'grr' and 'don't mess with me' all over the place.

Unless she's carrying her toy pink poodle around. Or her teddy squirrel. Then she looks a little goofy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hurry up, Spring

- clonk - clonk - clonk -

Older Monkey, why are you hitting the driveway with a shovel?

I'm not hitting the driveway.

Um ...

I'm moving the ice.

Okay ...

Into the sun.

Because ..

So it will melt faster.

We are so ready for spring.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Generation Kill - Some Issues

I picked up a copy of 'Generation Kill' at the thrift store the other day.

Generation Kill is a 2004 book written by Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright chronicling his experience as an embedded reporter with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion‎ of the United States Marine Corps during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. His account of life with the Marines was originally published as a three-part series in Rolling Stone in the fall of 2003. "The Killer Elite", the first of these articles, went on to win a National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting in 2004. [1]

Problem - because he focuses on the Lance Corporal war he misses the grand sweep - even when he spends a few paragraphs setting the action in context it's from the Lance Corporal point of view.  This is a waste, in my opinion and the book suffers for it.   Heck, forget the grand sweep of the campaign - more than a few paragraphs on the how and the why of just I MEF's operations would have been fine.

Maybe he could have channeled the ghost of Cornelius Ryan for the job: if he had he would have avoided a lot of what irks me about the book.

Like this: Reporting that FLIR stands for Forward Looking Infrared Radar.  Or that Second Marine Division is based on South Carolina.  Calling an AK-47 a machine-gun.  Describing mortars as bombs launched with rockets.  That a bit of blown-up tank flew hundreds of kilometers and clonked a guy on the head.

I could not go for more than a few pages without finding something like that.  And everytime I did a little voice asked me if I could really trust the rest of what he was reporting on.

An A for effort: driving in HMMWV in Iraq with those guys took a lot of balls.  C- for execution.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Finish the job

4seasons By Pasty by you.

Four Seasons by Pasty Dunbar - acrylic on canvas

She wrote

What's wonderful is that even though things get messy, in the end you have knowledge, memories, or a lesson that you've learned. Sometimes the strokes you make may be all wrong and you have to cover over it and start again. But the end result is worth it when you actually stick with it and finish the job. You learn that when something doesn't work you just don't try it again, or at least you would hope that you wouldn't try it again.



Guy mixes unrelated YouTube videos, creates brand-new music.

And it is really, very awfully good.

The internets let artists collaborate online. And across time and space.