Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Gun is Fantasy

The Five Dumbest Management Concepts of All Time

Five. Many traditional business leaders have a militaristic view of the way the business world works. A glance at the titles of popular business books-Marketing Warfare, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Guerrilla PR-offer ample testimony for this widely held viewpoint. We’re told that we must imitate generals and warlords if we want to be successful managers.

Taking all this to heart, many executives talk as if they were planning the next world war: “This product will do major damage in the marketplace! We’ve armed our sales force. We’ve targeted the right set of customers! The new ad campaign will explode into the territories! This is going to be a major victory! Our troops are ready!”

Military-minded managers also find it all too easy to become control freaks. Because they see themselves as generals and officers, they tell people what to do. They think that good employees should shut up and follow orders. This behavior destroys initiative as people wait around for top management to make decisions.

People actually do this? Perhaps I've been lucky and never had the misfortune to work for guys like this. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Most actual officers I served under did not act like that. Oh, we were not drinking buddies, and once the Man said 'jump' we asked 'how high'. Before that, if the situation allowed [1], opinions were solicited, people were listened to.

Civilians: man y'all got whacked notions of what the military is actually about.

[1] If the lieutenant orders 'Corporal, take out that enemy machine gun', well there isn't a lot of room for debate: the gun has got to go. The majority of of day-to-day work in the military is .. just work. Trucks are driven, airplanes are fixed and flown, boxes are stacked, computers are programed. It's blue and white collar work, but everyone is younger than average, in decent shape and wearing bad haircuts. Also, they cuss a lot.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gay is not the problem

A recent former Marine on the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

True liberty is people freely conducting themselves as long as they are not inflicting direct harm.  And in perspective, if someone in my squad wanted to spend the day talking about how they gargled dicks all weekend, that would have less effect on team erosion than half the shit I saw (like peeing on someone’s girlfriend or smashing the religious guy’s Christ relics he so tenderly put on his well-made rack).  If a problem does however arise as the result of a team member getting in a relationship with another team member, or having an uncontrollable pining for another uniformed team mate, deal with that.  It’s a separate issue from there.   Gay is not the problem.  The problem is the problem.

This is no laughing matter citizen

Mark Bennett has turned up a memo from John Pistole to Robert Mueller . . .
I mean, everything we do makes Americans safer by making it less likely that their airplane seatmates will be wearing bombs in their undies, and they keep complaining: “John, you’ve never caught a terrorist.” “John, the scanners don’t work.” “John, we don’t want screeners groping us or our children.” Waaaa, mine hurts too. Listen up, people: if you want flying across the country to be safer than driving to the convenience store, you’re going to have to give up some of your freedom and dignity. And the fact that we’ve never caught a terrorist just means that YOU NEED TO GIVE UP MORE OF YOUR FREEDOM SO THAT WE CAN CATCH SOME.

Mr. Bennett should watch his'self: Der TeeAssAy ze haf' no senze oft humor, nicht wahr?

TSA has no sense of humor, citizen.

Pic From Oleg.

Monday, December 20, 2010

TSA - Keeping us unsecure since 2001

I know a guy who thought about passenger checkpoints at the airport for a few seconds, figured out a way to sneak a pistol on board an airplane. It involved a small pistol, a pipe stem, a pocket protector, mis-direction at the right time.

He could have saved the skull-sweat.  All you need to do is to shove a pistol in a carry on, assume an innocent expression, and you're in, slick as snot.

Farid Seif, a Houston businessman, usually carries the weapon around for protection. He didn't realize he had kept the glock in his carry-on computer bag until he was mid-flight. Once he landed, he immediately reported the incident.

TSA. We haven't caught a terrorist yet.  But we will.  Real Soon Now.

The bawdy captions write themselves.

Pic from Daphne.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Battle of Lissa, 1866: d'oh

Ever had one of those days?
As the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max limped away, damaged after conducting three ramming attacks, the Ancona closed on her attempting to ram. In the excitement the Italian gunners got a full broadside off at point blank range, but while they had remembered the gunpowder, they had forgotten to load the shot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dress Code

Been to a few funerals. Noticed at the one small-town affair that there was a divide between the old (talking guys who are retired or nearly so) and young guys and gals in their twenties.

The older guys and gals dressed and acted in a way that said 'I don't have much money, but I can dress well and act like a grown-up.' The youth dressed and acted in a way that said 'I am wearing my best t-shirt - what more do you want from me?'

So. At my funeral there will be a Dress Code. Hopefully the people who come will not need to be hit with sticks to act like grown-ups. I will have ninjas on retainer. Show up in a t-shirt and you'll find yourself a sex-slave in Marrakesh before you can say 'Bob's Your Uncle'.

The Dress Code

Men. Suit and tie. Shirt and tie will be allowed on a case-by-case basis. Shave and haircut - mandatory. Shined shoes a must.

Ladies: Skirts with dressy tops, or a dress. Hemlines that flatter one's legs. Tasteful displays of cleavage are required.

Sturgis OS

I want to like Linux.  I really do.  And I do!  It's no longer the young punk, but it's where a lot of cool and groovy stuff is happening.

But spend a decade immersed in Solaris, with brief excursions to BSD-land, and you get used to having things run a certain way.  Spend a few hours with a knotty RPM problem and a fellow can be forgiven for thinking he's dropped into the Sturgis Rally.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tabs. Way too many open tabs.

Focus on what you’re good at, and nothing else! - Neil Patel

TJIC on getting things done.


The TSA is only doing its job, and it's becoming clearer that that job is to make Americans understand that they are subjects, not citizens. Humiliating the Minister Plenipotentiary and Ambassador Extraordinary of the world's largest democracy fits into that: everyone is a subject to Security Theater. I know that these "officers" only mean well, and are dedicated to keeping America safe. They haven't yet caught a bomber, but they will, real soon now.

You can go strangle yourself with that yellow ribbon, or, here is what I want you to do instead of shaking my hand.

The military is ultimately a reflection of our culture or what we would like to believe about our culture. We would like to believe that our military is an all-volunteer force filled with young and old people who represent the diversity (class, sex, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, talent, skills or politics) of our country. We would like to believe compulsory national service has failed to win wars in the past, that a draft is the penultimate form of a dictatorship and that today's military is better than any in our history. But is it really voluntary? Is compulsory national service as threatening as some libertarians would view it? Is the all-volunteer military the "best" our country has ever produced?

Nassim Taleb looks at what will break, and what won't

The great top-down nation-state will be only cosmetically alive, weakened by deficits, politicians’ misalignment of interests and the magnification of errors by centralised systems. The pre-modernist robust model of city-states and statelings will prevail, with obsessive fiscal prudence. Currencies might still exist, but, after the disastrous experience of America’s Federal Reserve, they will peg to some currency without a government, such as gold.

Gov't crackdown spurs initiatives to route around DNS.  Beats my idea of a ginourmous /etc/hosts.

Getting Close To The Machine - Ellen Ullman

The problem with programming is not that the computer is illogical - the computer is terribly logical, relentlessly literal. It demands that the programmer explain the world on its terms; that is, as an algorithm that must be written down in order, in a specific syntax, in a strange language that is only partially readable by regular human beings. To program is to translate between the chaos of human life and the rational, line-by-line world of computer language.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Songs that make me smile

1.  LA Woman, by the Doors.  Always makes me think of one of the finest SF novels I've read, Kingsbury's 'The Moon Goddess and the Son'.  The rest of 'The Doors' catalog I could give a fig about.

I'm playing it now, and from the way Herself is bouncing around to the beat, she may agree with me.

2. Rudolph The Redneck Reindeer, via John Boy and Billy.  Because this part [1] always make me laugh:

Santy Claus saw Rudolph's bed all covered with liquor bottles, tobacco juice all over him and cigarette butts all over the floor there and he got real mad and he said to Rudolph, "You better get on the dad-gum wagon and pull my sled tonight boy."  And Rudolph didn't like this kind of loud talk so early in the morning, so he reached over there and spit tobacco juice in in the left eye of Santy Claus then took a liquor bottle and busted it over his head and said, "Get the hell outta here you dad-gum fat hippy!"

Well, see, Santy Claus didn't like that kind of talk, Rudolph coming at him with a bottle and all.  See, Santy Claus had been taking kung-fu lessons from this Chi-nese elf all summer long while he didn't have nothin' to do ...

Mayhem ensues.

[1] Read it with a southern twang for best effect.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Clearing Tabs

John Steakley - RIP.

George Bush interviewed on Facebook:
"If you see me in an airport, I hope you wave with all five fingers. But if you don't, you won't be the first. I'm a comfortable man."

The Danger of a Global Double Dip Recession Is Real
The modern world has for centuries been dominated economically, intellectually, and physically by the civilization that arose in Western Europe in the wake of the Renaissance and Reformation and spread across the Atlantic.

Will that one day be seen as a passing phenomenon doomed to ascend ever upward and then slowly fizzle out like a firework?

Hackertopia: Creating a City as a Startup
Of all the better mouse traps that need to be invented, perhaps the most important is a better city. Americans choose between soulless suburban strip malls, and expensive and congested city centers. Over the past 30 years real estate and property taxes have consumed an increasing portion of our incomes. Houses in hacker friendly cities with good school districts are frightfully expensive. The Boston metro region has median home prices of 400K, and typical San Jose home prices surpass 700K. Yet the price of building a home can be as low as 70K. This disparity hints at an opportunity.

Americans, and Hackers in particular, are on a treadmill. Productivity increases year by year, thanks to the magic of Silicon Valley. But the cost of living increases faster thanks to an out of control regulatory state. Zoning laws, the deterioration of public schools, the growth of guilds and cartels in the health care industry, rising taxes, etc have all made it harder to make ends meet.

Hackertopia is the better mousetrap. The city will provide a remarkably quality of life for an unbelievably cheap price.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crispy Critter

Good: Thanksgiving Holiday with my wife's family. Good people, good times.

Good: Firing up the oven to make dinner for the kids the evening after a long, long, drive home.

Bad: Discovering that a mouse crawled inside the oven to die.

Good: I've used the phrase 'crispy critter' before but I have never-ever been able to use it in a literal sense. 

And now I have.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If Conan were around today . . .

Mongol: Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: Theraflu.

Mongol: ...

Conan: It is great stuff, my friend.

It is!  A bottle of that stuff, a laptop with wireless, hulu and you are set for a sick day in bed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This is not Mick Jagger

And it is a pity

Keith likes to talk a lot about his getting clean from heroin. It is not correspondingly apprehended that he replaced the heroin comprehensively with liquor. Given a choice I select the slurring alcoholic over the comatose junkie as a lifelong professional partner, and I say this with some knowledge of the two alternatives. But neither is strictly desirable.

Later, one grows older and becomes more informed about such things, and I saw I was supposed to have held an elaborate ceremony called an "intervention." Society could have effectively halted the upheavals of the 1960s simply by requiring all of us to "intervene" with one another. In any event, considering half our circle was on heroin and the rest were coke fiends, I think it wouldn't have efficacious in our circumstances.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Breaking up a dreary drive

I am nine, staying with my grandparents. Grandpa driving to town, I'm along for funs and grins. Grandpa asks if I want to see a short cut and so we drive off the highway and around and up and up a butte and onto the top. Park. Stroll to the edge. Grandpa points to the horizon.

'There's your shortcut - straight down.'

He laughs and we drive down the road and into town.

I come from a long line of men who only think we're funny, it's true.

The week of Thanksgiving myself and three boys are going to park our butts in a car and drive, man, for about sixteen hours to grandma's house.

A side trip on the way to my mother-in-law's is planned, no time for other dilly-dally on the outbound leg.

Our over the river and through the woods coming home will take us roughly D.C. - Hagerstown - Morgantown - Wheeling - Columbus - Indianapolis - Chicago - Home.

Is there anything to see on that route?

  • Not far off the road.
  • Can be seen in less than an hour.
  • Free.
  • Bonus if I can break open a lame pun or joke.

Anyone can drive for sixteen hours and see nothing but dreary rest stops, fast food joints and asphalt. How often can you give a kid a memory like the one grandpa gave to me?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

41 years old? What the ...

Terminal Lance: All That Salt.

Check this out: a herd of 18 and 19 year old brand new Marines are being introduced to their platoon sergeant at Infantry Training School (ITS).  Like Max's fictional Gunner Quigley the man looked old.  Wrinkled, leathery skin, grizzled hair, shot through with grey.  Dude looked weathered, man.

I am Staff Sergeant Mason.  I am twenty-eight years old. I have spent the last ten years in the Fleet.  You all will look like me in a decade.

Mason was a darn good boss.  Knew his stuff, knew how to lead [1].  Didn't believe in head games: Charlie (Kickback Charlie, thank-you-very-much) Company got base liberty when we were in garrison.  By contrast, Weapons company upstairs got to spend their nights cleaning their area over .. and over .. and over again.

Still ... dude looked old the first time we met him, ya know?

[1] Also, Staff Sergeant Mason was responsible for my first nickname that didn't include the words 'shit head'.  Humping out to the range early one morning I found myself near the head of the column, stepping out lively [2].  He said, 'Hey, you, Dunbar, look at you steppin' out like a big ol' damn bird.  We gonna call you Big Bird.'

[2] Marines on the march scoot along at a clip most of us would describe as 'running'.  You want to idle along, see the sights, join the Boy Scouts.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Poo. Take a dump. Etc.

When the school year ends, Evan is going to return to Shanghai.

One of the first things, I imagine, his parents will do is sit him down and ask him 'What did you learn in America?'

And he will reply 'I learned American slang for 'poop'.

Don't imagine his parents will be exactly pleased, but that genie is plumb out of the bottle, now.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

When the main gun pops, a tank stops being so humorous

A long time ago, my recruiter smiled at my ASVAB score and said 'Well, now.  Looks like you can pick your MOS: what do you want to spend the next four years doing?'

I briefly entertained armor. The idea of zooming around the battlefield in a 52-ton death-dealing machine was really appealing.  In hindsight, and having some experience with flat tires in January in Wisconsin, going infantry was a good idea.

Working on a tank is not like working on a '53 Chevy.  The parts weigh tons.  If the cupola needs work, a crane lifts it off.  If the crew watns to see the engine, a crane lifts the armor covers.  When the tracks break or wear out, which they constantly do, it is back-breaking work to replace them.  Tracks are deceptively fragile.

Maintenance is hard, knuckle-busting business:  In addition to bum ears, tankers tend to have scarred hands and joints that don't work just right.  Day in and day out the crews sweat over their machines.  If they aren't just repairing them, they are cleaning them with high pressure hose at the Birdbath, a concrete washing area.  It's not fun, not even interesting.  It's just work.  In some respects, being a tanker is like having one long flat tire in January.

The Litlest Statist

My son is 10, decked out with a crown, cape, breastplate, five o'clock shadow.

Monkey: Trick or Treat!

Older Dude on Porch: Oh, are you a knight?

Monkey: No. I'm the king, collecting taxes.

He wins scary costume of the night in my book.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Clearing Tabs

Unhappy with President Obama’s failure to get any real laughs on The Daily Show, Democrats are asking Vice-President Biden to appear on Jeopardy.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5. PDF at the link

So where does America stand relative to its position of five years ago when the Gathering Storm book was prepared? The unanimous view of the authors is that our nation's outlook has worsened. The present volume, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited, explores the tipping point America now faces. Addressing America's competitiveness challenge will require many years if not decades; however, the requisite federal funding of much of that effort is about to terminate.

Malthus and capital
Why did agricultural civilization remain mired in the Malthusian trap for over 5,000 years? And how was it possible to eventually escape from it?

Barack Obama: the language a fella uses says a whole lot about his internal head space.
“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're going to punish our enemies and we're going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,' if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it's going to be harder."

Awesomely funny clip: Everything is amazing yet nobodys happy.

The greatest science-fiction story every written

John Carmack
... trends do matter. Small, nearly painless losses accumulate over the years, and the world can slowly change into something you don’t want while you weren’t paying attention. It doesn’t take a cataclysmic crash, just a slow accretion of over regulation, taxation, and dependency that chokes the vibrant processes that produce wealth and growth. Without growth, you get a zero sum game of fighting over the pie that breeds all sorts of problems in government and society.

My core thesis is that the federal government delivers very poor value for the resources it consumes, and that society as a whole would be better off with a government that was less ambitious. This is not to say that it doesn’t provide many valuable and even critical services, but that the cost of having the government provide them is much higher than you would tolerate from a company or individual you chose to do business with. For almost every task, it is a poor tool.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Law of Three

I don't believe half of what I see and none of what I hear.

But I do, I do, I do, believe that what you do comes back to you, three-fold.

Stuff like that will come back on you like deferred maintenance, like bad oysters, like a bad penny, ya dig that, my semi-anonymous stalker from Massachusetts?

Go find a priest: he'll give you the peace you need.

Meaty Emotion

My wife has discovered Korean soap opera: Cinderella's Sister on Hulu.

Kang-sook and her daughter Eun-jo are running away from the abusive Mr. Chang, whom they live with. Mr. Chang realizes that the two ran away with his diamond ring and sends gangsters to catch them. While running away from the gangsters, Eun-jo runs into Hyo-seon in a toilet stall on the train and tells her to keep the ring for her. Kang-sook later visits Hyo-seon's house to get her ring back and finds out that Hyo-seon's father is a rich widower. She successfully lures and marries him. Hyo-seon's father dies years later, and leaves his beloved daughter behind with a mean stepmother, an aloof stepsister, and a large inheritance. The melodramatic tale of two sisters forced to become family through marriage captured the attention of South Korea throughout its run, as it told the classic tale of Cinderella through the eyes of the stepsister, Eun-jo.

Joe Bob says 'check it out'.

My takeaway from casually watching up to episode 16 is that Korean is an excellent language for expressing strong emotion in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Home, Again

Bi-Lateral knee surgery on the the 11th, home on the 15th. Patient is doing very, very, well. Playing nursemaid until November 1st, enjoying every bit of it.

dog on bed

Convalescence room - Convalescent not shown.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clearing Tabs

Ken Langone:
My question to you was why, during a time when investment and dynamism are so critical to our country, was it necessary to vilify the very people who deliver that growth? Instead of offering a straight answer, you informed me that I was part of a "reckless" group that had made "bad decisions" and now required your guidance, if only I'd stop "resisting" it.

We entrust an M1A1 to a sergeant leading a team of enlisted - why are airplanes different?  It's Hap Arnold's fault.
As the Army Air Corps changed into the mighty Army Air Force (2.4 million troops and 80,000 aircraft at its peak), its capable and persuasive commander (General Hap Arnold), insisted that all pilots be officers. Actually, he wanted them all to be college graduates as well, until it was pointed out that the pool of college graduates was too small to provide the 200,000 pilots the Army Air Force eventually trained. But Arnold forced the issue on officers being pilots, and the navy had to go along to remain competitive in recruiting.

10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web.

Transaction cost - am I the only one that finds this kind of stuff fascinating?
In economics and related disciplines, a transaction cost is a cost incurred in making an economic exchange (restated: the cost of participating in a market). For example, most people, when buying or selling a stock, must pay a commission to their broker; that commission is a transaction cost of doing the stock deal. Or consider buying a banana from a store; to purchase the banana, your costs will be not only the price of the banana itself, but also the energy and effort it requires to find out which of the various banana products you prefer, where to get them and at what price, the cost of traveling from your house to the store and back, the time waiting in line, and the effort of the paying itself; the costs above and beyond the cost of the banana are the transaction costs. When rationally evaluating a potential transaction, it is important to consider transaction costs that might prove significant.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Radio Voice

Heard on the radio this morning

"In response to violence in schools, Frank Lasee proposed to arm school teachers!"

Women with guns. Sheltering their charges from predators not by locking a door and hiding under a desk but shooting them dead, dead, dead. 

Sign me up.

Except that as the ad went on it became clear the radio voice was telling me this was bad, and Frank Lasee was living in some place called 'Crazy Town' and I sure don't want to live there.  The radio voice told me to vote for the other guy.

They didn't say who this was, which was very confusing.  Because they can't just say 'Lasee is a nut, vote for Joe Blow who is not' because of some crazy descision by the Supreme Court that, the radio voice told me earlier, allows shawdowy, clandestine, anonymous, evil conservative groups to flood a political race with money.  They are using this evil machination to attack a Republican candidate.

I will keep listening to NPR.  Perhaps the radio voice will clear this up, later.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Visiting Hours

Can you tell that the kids have been in for visiting hours?

Kids Are Allright

Number 3 is on the sticky: Get Better.

I have no idea what Evan wrote for Number 5.  Familiar with hanzi, I ain't.


"Ylma is having you work it out in the most gruesome way possible," I said, "using Saunt Lesper's Coordinates, so that when she teaches you how it's really done, it'll seem that much easier."

Barb was dumbfounded. I went on, "Like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer - it feels so good when you stop." This was the oldest joke in the world, but Barb hadn't heard it before, and he became so amused that he got physically excited an had to run back and forth across the kitchen several times to flame off energy.

Yeah, I'm reading Anathem. Only a quarter of the way in, I have confirmed a long-held opinion: anything Neal Stephenson can write, I'll consume.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is a book different than a shoe?

President Obama nearly got "booked" during a rally in Philadelphia on Sunday, after someone in the crowd threw a paperback his way.

A flung book. A tome given the old heave-ho. A flinger-ino.

Blondie ventures: “Maybe a copy of that craptacular autobiography and they wanted a refund!”

If so they should talk to the author.

Pasty Update

Between my wife and I, we have friends and relations scattered from hell-to-breakfast across the country.

We love you all, but keeping in touch with just the phone takes forever.  It is inefficient. We miss people, sometimes, with important news and I am very sorry about that.

Happily, most of us have adapted to the interwebs and we use this new-fangled stuff to keep tabs on each other.

So. Late last week they had an opening at the hospital and Pasty was asked 'would you like us to schedule your knee replacement for Monday, or do you want to be in constant and irritating pain for another month until your scheduled appointment?'

Which put everything into a state of higedly-pigedly at the house.  We think it's worth it.

She's out of surgery, doctor says she is doing fine. She's in the recovery room, more updates when she's actually awake and in a real room.

I could never do that

"You were a Marine?  Oh, I could never do that, X."

Where X is a phrase like 'I could never stand the discipline' or 'I could not stand being yelled at' or 'I hate it when people tell me what to do'.

This is bullshit.

All of us put ourselves under discipline for one reason or another, and we do it willingly

If you can make the team, hold down a job, graduate college, learn a skill, you can certainly stand four years in the military.  Don't have to be an automaton, don't have to loose your individuality, neither.  Me, I had a problem with authority [1] for  few years, until I settled down: I did okay.

It's just that the consequences of screwing up in the military are more immediate.  Present a failure to adapt in the office, the consequences are slow or no promotion, loss of pay.  It's all very slow and gradual.  Failure to adapt in the military and you will find yourself doing many, many, push-ups with a metaphorical boot up your ass.

Funny - I have only heard this from younger people who have not found themselves, or older folks who are clearly losers.  Adults making a living . . . not so much.

[1] And I have the Page 11 entries [2] to prove it.
[2] Page 11 is page in the Serviceman's Record Book (SRB) where the bad stuff [3] is chronicled.
[3] The Corps, in it's wisdom, arranged the SRB very neatly.  Page 11 - the bad stuff - comes first.  The page with the good stuff, next.  The first thing your new C.O. sees as he pages through is the list of bad stuff, neatly typed and arranged line by line.  Which totally eliminates any kind of distance between one's youthful escapades and the present day.  The first thing any CO will say is 'Hmm.  I see offenses X, Y, and Z.  (long pause)  We going to have any problems?'[4]  [5]
[4] I do believe they rehearse this line at The Basic School.
[5] The one exception to this was Master Gunnery Sergent Howard, then the (so I was told) senior WM in the Marines, or at least in the 4000 MOS.  She said 'I see you had offenses X, Y, and Z.  (short pause)  Clean slate as far as I am concerned.  Don't fuck up anymore.'  Gob'less you Master Gunnery Sergeant Howard.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Chicken Anger

I wonder who my dear wife can be thinking of when she posted this

Message noted, dear one.



Aidan Cleaning Charlie's Cage

He's cleaning a bird cage.

I love the demonstrated flexibility and inventiveness.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Dude gets a map showing that certain (redneck) states (bumpkins) have (red states) more military (warrior class) personal (lower-income poorly educated rubes) than others. 

Disregarding common sense, cost of living, availability of ports, large tracts of land to be used for training areas, history, the obvious conclusion is that there is a growing social division of class and income between the military and 'the rest of us'.

Oh, there is some division going on.  But it is Mr. Florida and his peers that are receding out of the mainstream, not the military.

Burn Notice

Jurisdiction lacks a fire department.  Guy fails to pay the $75 bucks a year that would get the nearest department to respond.  House burns to the ground.  It is so very sad.  Clearly a failure of Libertarian ideals.

Except the fire-fighters work for the government.

And .. c'mon .. the victims would have paid out the nose for service and you think Fred's Fire Service Inc. would just ignore the found money?

Request from a Marine

“Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she’s a celebrity drug addict. While Justin Allen 23, Brett Linley 29, Matthew Weikert 29, Justus Bartett 27, Dave Santos 21, Chase Stanley 21, Jesse Reed 26, Matthew Johnson 21, Zachary Fisher 24, Brandon King 23, Christopher Goeke 23, Sheldon Tate 27, they are all Marines who gave their lives this week, no media mention. Honor THEM by reposting…”


Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Noting Randy's interest, Doug Shaftoe squats alongside it to point out the features. "It's neutrally buoyant, so when we have it alongside like this, we have it in this foam cradle, which we will now take off." He begins jerking loose some quick release bungee cords, and molded segments of foam peel away from the ROV's hull. It drops lower in the water, nearly pulling the crewman over the side with it, and he lets go, keeping his arms extended so he can prevent it from bumping into them with each swell. "You'll notice there's no umbilical," Doug says. "Normally that is mandatory for an ROV. You need the umbilical for three reasons."

Randy grins, because he knows that Doug Shaftoe is about to enumerate the three reasons. Randy has spent almost no time around military people, but he is finding that he gets along with them surprisingly well. His favorite thing about them is their compulsive need to educate everyone around them, all the time. Randy does not need to know anything about the ROV, but Doug Shaftoe is going to give him a short course anyway. Randy supposes that when you are in a war, practical knowledge is a good thing to spread around.


I don't miss the Marines, much, but I do very much miss the culture of compulsive sharing. Out here in the civilian world sharing job-related knowledge is the exception, not the rule.  So much so that people act surprised when it happens.

Little Voice

When one does X, where X is a system start up that takes a real long time, and then one immediately opens that system's status page, and that shows the system is running just fine, thank you, and then one mutters "Wow - that was quick", one should pay attention to one's inner voice when it replies 'Mmm that was a little too quick.'

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Scout Could

Niece Heather spent a few minutes last night chuckling at Boy Scouts: only nerds, dorks, and goobers are Boy Scouts, in her world.

She's now in the backyard trying (trying) to start a fire in the out-of-doors fireplace.

Who's going to help her?

Not this Scout.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

In Your Heart You Know It's True

Progressives are vampires.  I can prove it.

Accept that vampires are real. Ignore the mystical mumb-jumbo krep about souls: merely hyper-intelligent apex predators.

Being not complete dummies, they wish to conserve their stock of prey, homo sapiens.

Western Civilization is about progress. More social integration, better technology, members are citizens, not serfs.  There are more of us, we're healthier.  But we're better armed, now, and can effectively fight back.   A society that can effectively organize to eliminate blood-sucking ghouls is, from vampire-kind's point of view, double-plus un-good.

Western Civilization is a danger to vampire-kind.

Eliminating this threat is tricky.  Push one way, anniliation and mass die-off.  Push too hard in another, you get a stronger culture.

The prudent thing for Vampires to do is slowly devolve this civilization into a mass of superstition, gullibility, and malleability.  People who will depend not on themselves for their needs and their thinking: the President, the pop star on teevee, someone.  They require prey smart enough to feed themselves, but not so smart they question what goes on around them: dumb down the schools, eliminate critical thinking.  

The end-game is a gentle decline into fuedalism and a new Dark Age.  Ideal hunting grounds for vampires. 

Serfs, not citizens.  Prey, not competition.

I submit that the actions of certain elements of the Progressive wing of politics in America are indistinguisible from the actions of blood-sucking ghouls.

Progressives are vampires, man.  The majority of humans in that wing are, at best, deluded dupes.

Friday, October 01, 2010


Sweet Jesus and His Disciples in a side car: I hate ignorant people.

Like this guy at Boots and Sabers.  Thinks that because you are in a family restaurant in Madison that you get a magic cloak preventing crazy people from loosing their shit around you.

A Son of Liberty: People don’t carry a firearm because their rights are threatened… they carry one because THEY feel threatened.

liberalssavetheword: In a culvers… madison. RIGHT.

Have I mentioned how much cute non-informative nicknames piss me off?  Sign your name or shut the hell up.

In a culvers… madison. RIGHT.

Do not be a nimrod

Violence happens everywhere, not just on dark cloudy nights on the wrong side of town. 

One of the worst massacres I have heard of happened in a Luby’s of all places: a cafeteria full of senior citizens and families on a budget eating lime jello and pretty good meatloaf.  Dude went mental, crashed his truck through the front window, started shooting people.  This was before Texas got some sane gun laws so he shot people dead for a real long time before the police arrived.

Think a Culver’s in Madison has a ward preventing insane people from strolling in?  What is it like in Happy Land?

What else pisses me off?  The Army.

Several hundred newbie troops at Missouri's Fort Leonard Wood and Oklahoma's Fort Sill will soon get either the popular Apple gimcrack or an Evo Android smart phone to make their transition into the Army go a little more smoothly.

They are giving IPods to recruits.  Yeah,we will give an expensive toy to a lazy, fat-headed civilian kid to make the transition to Army life easier.  Maybe they can have the drill sergeants make their beds for them and wake them up gently in the morning.  Maybe they can bring them a cup of water at night, just like mommy does.

 It is like they forgot that their job is to close with and destroy the enemy though fire and maneuver, or to repel the enemy's assault with fire and close combat. Actually go and and shoot people and hit them on the fucking head, slash open their guts with bayonet.

Except, oh wait, they are not teaching them to do that anymore.

When a US Army general made the decision recently to remove bayonet assaults from the array of skills soldiers must learn during basic training, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Because, in the future, all war fighting will happen in some magic happy place where you don't have to get dirty: Our Brave Soldiers will point their fingers and say 'phsssssh', loud noises being aggressive and we couldn't have that in Our Army, now could we? We are too busy stroking our IPODs and wishing for an imaginary future that ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN.

Jack wagons.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Reach of War, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines in Iraq

Go here, click 'Sniper 1'.

You're welcome.

The King of Slack

There have been, I have no doubt, enlisted guys who have cut themselves more slack than Our Hero. Snuffies who have run bigger scams. Our Hero had the sweetest run of slack and scam that it has been my privilege to witness.

Like this: Computer Sciences School (MCCSS) at Quantico was at the time located on the second floor of a specially-built computing facility, far, far from the company office. When an enlisted man assigned to CSS requested leave it was approved by someone at CSS. The clerk would run the paperwork to the company office, where the records were kept, and the clerks there would do their data entry magic.

Our Hero was the clerk for CSS. You are ahead of me, I'm sure. He would request leave for a day here, a few days there. It would be approved. The paperwork, would depart CSS, evaporate on the way to the company office.

He ran this scam for most of a year before EAS. Built up quite a stock of leave time to sell back to the Corps. And while, when actually present for duty, he worked as hard as any clerk ever does, he was remarkably bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a guy who had officially worked 10 hours a day for a year without a break.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flyers - the tool of every successful personal service business

Columbia County prosecutors say 72-year-old Gerald Hilliker solicited sex at a highway truck stop in the town of Caledonia last July. A criminal complaint said Hilliker distributed a flyer with a list of sex acts to truckers at the Highway 33 rest stop.

People will now say very unkind things about this soon-to-be former icon of the teaching industry. This is un-called for.

Flyers, man: how often do you see that?  Utilizing the skills gleaned from 48 years worth of 'Career Day' events I bet he had hissself a business plan, too.

I, for one, welcome the entrepreneurial spirit of Gerald Hilliker.  We need more of that in this year of Grace 2010.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Afghanistan is somewhere else. Mexico isn’t.

Fred Reed on Mexico, the Drug Wars, going to heck in a handcart.  An excerpt.

It is getting out of hand. The killing of policemen, judges, and mayors is now common. Journalists die in droves. After the murder of another of its reporters, El Diario, the major paper of Ciudad Juarez, published the following editorial, addressed to the drug lords:

“We bring to your attention that we are communicators, not mind-readers. Therefore, as workers in information, we want you to explain to us what you want of us, what you want us to publish or stop publioshing, what we must do for our security.

“These days, you are the de facto authority in the city, because the legally instituted authorities have been able to do nothing to keep our co-workers from continuing to fall, although we have repeatedly asked this of you. Consequently, facing this undeniable fact, we direct ourselves to you, because the last thing we want is that you shoot to death another of our colleagues.”

This is astonishing. It is worse. A blue whale singing Aida would be merely astonishing, but here we have the editors of the major newspaper of a substantial city stating candidly, with perfect clarity, that the narcotraficantes, not the national government, exercise sovereignty over the city. The federal government understandably denounced the editorial. No capital wants to be told that it does not control its territory. But this is exactly what the paper said.

The US had better think about what it wants on its borders. As long as drugs are illegal, they will flow and the gringos will buy and the narcos will roll in dough. Nothing will stop or impede this.

Shanghai Kid

We've acquired [1] a foreign exchange student from Shanghai. Completely nice kid named Evan. Smart as a whip, super friendly and helpful.

Their idea of personal space doesn't leave a lot of room for much space. On a recent trip to the mall we  walked shoulder to shoulder. Which set of my proximity alerts: I am an American, I like my space, man.

After a while it just was not a big thing.  It's Evan: he walks close, is all.

They may have funny notions of what we're up to in America.

"You were Marine?"


"America have soldiers all over the world?"

Thinking of Kaplan's Imperial Grunts: Yes.

"America want to rule the world"

Well, golly, no. We don't want to rule the world, we want buy and sell stuff.  Like Baywatch videos.

Then I had to explain Baywatch: my big mouth.

[1] It's a long story. The details are not important.

Tax on Stupid People

You played 1040 games of Mega Millions. It cost $1040. You won $81.

Courtesy of the Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator, via SB7.

And it ain't no big payoff neither.  A few bucks here and there: enough for a meal - or part of one - at McDonald's.  Enough to keep the sucker coming back for more.

Like SB7, I've got mixed feelings about government sponsored gambling.

  • I ain't gonna stand in the way of a man who wants to gamble: go to Hell in your own way.
  • It gives me the willies when The Man is running the house.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

That is the point of encryption

From the Terminal Lance forums

My favorite trouble call is still
Her: "Oh HI! This is *the data chief at a unit I don't support, but my predecessor had a bad habit of wanting to help everyone so she keeps fucking calling even though I tell her I won't support her*
Me: "Hey SSgt, what's up?"
Her: "What happens if you forget your password to an encrypted file?"
Me: "You're fucked, SSgt"
Her: "Well, when you burn something, it becomes unencrypted, right?"
Me: "Only if you have the password."
Her: "Oh, well, my computer at home doesn't have GE, so if I take my HD there, the encryption will fall off, right?"
Me: "No."
Her: "What the fuck? Why do they make it so hard?"
Me: "It's kind of the entire point of encryption, SSgt."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Life Goes On

Oh boy does it ever.  I'm going to be a grandfather.[1]  Meet Baby Knoke:

Baby Knoke

A first name has yet to be chosen.  Minority opinion favors Beowulf. [2]

[1] Hey, mom: you're going to be a great-grandmother.
[2] If one is going to go unconventional, go with a kick-ass name, is my take on it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Country My Ass

Got a checkpoint up the road ahead better pull out your ID
And your taxes just went up again gotta cough up some more money
Be careful what you're saying when you're on the phone you never know who might be listening in
They got cameras watching everywhere you go so they know just where you been
You know you better think about the books you read or your name might go on a list
Don't take too many pictures now, or they'll think you're a terrorist
They're watching you every time you turn around and they don't like what they see
You gotta be f*** ing kidding me if you think this country's free

My Country My Ass (YouTube)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spiders - Mess Duty

Things I was going to write about tonight, but gave it up as a bad job.


Mess duty in the pot shack in Okinawa, Japan.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

List of various governments

TM Lutas is looking for a list of the various governments in the United States

50 state governments

3000+ county governments

tens of thousands of municipal governments

intermediate government institutions like Indiana’s township governments.

I have been looking for such a list in the US for some time and have
come up empty. There are a lot of sources that do part of the job but
nobody seems to be doing the full list.

I don't think it can be done.  Compiled, with a lot of work.  You could never be sure you've got everything, unless you've got a staff of drones. Maintaining it would be a bitch.

This would be a list you'd think the Federal government would have.

Back In Time - the public drinking cup

My local paper [1] publishes 'Back In Time'  - local news in the past.  A beer wagon tipping over.  Irish arrested for being drunk [2].  The abolition of the public drinking cup.  The .. what?

1910: The public drinking cup must be abolished in schools of Wisconsin, as well as in parks and on trains.  The order of the state Board of Health, issued last spring, becomes effective soon.  Two years ago, the Legislature enacted a law pronouncing the public drinking cup unsanitary and the Board of Health promises to rigidly enorce the law.  Bubbling fountains [3] will have to be installed at all parks and schools.

At one time progressive-minded municipalities (and railroad companies) supplied a barrel of water and a cup for drinking.

We might conjecture that people thought nothing of drinking from a cup a stranger had just used  Oh, sure, the polite thing, one supposes, was to use one's hanky to wipe off spit after use.  Only an effete would raise a fuss about germs, or drool, or disease.

The past is a strange country, indeed.

[1] News-Record, Neenah Wisconsin
[2] The more things change . . .
[2] Older Wisconsin folk refer to drinking fountains as 'bubblers'.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Low Expectations

(Tea Party Candidates) are often accused of craziness one MSNBC commentator said Angle “sounds like a mental patient.”

Not liking the UN, the DEA, Social Security, pot, and so on and so forth marks one as a loony.

Man, I could care less how Candidate X feels about fluoridation. Is she going to spend money like a drunken sailor in Shanghai?  If 'N' then she's got my vote.

Kind of pathetic that two-hundred and so years of existence we're of necessity reduced to such low expectations for our politicians. But there you go.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shave and a haircut

In 1989, I re-enlisted in the Marines.  In exchange for another four years of service, I was guaranteed a lateral MOS from from 0311 to 4063.  One thing I never understood nor got used to was some of my fellow REMFs attitude to being on the range, with guns.

You get out of the office for the day.  You get to make things go bang.  You get paid for it.  How is this not heaven on earth?

Did an M60 range one day.  Nothing ambitious - sit on the line, the gun on it's bipod, everyone sends a belt or three down range at enemy barrals and logs.  We had much ammunition left after everyone did their mandatory course of fire.   Turning in ammo is a pain, can't throw it away: gotta use it up.

The instructor could find only three volunteers to burn up the rest of the ammo - himself, me, a former 0331 turned logistics guy. Had a blast tearing up the targets, playing shave-and-a-haircut, shredding bits of North Carolina scrub.

Everyone else was all 'can't we just go home' and 'waaah it's raining' and 'ew I don't wanna get muddy'.  I never hated my fellow clerks and jerks more than on that day

Attention - whiners, moaners, groaners,

the unhappy, the perpetually miserable, the professional grump, the purposefully unhappy, the folks whose glass is always and forever half-empty.  #1,867 is for you. 

And me.

The word was not granted to us to express our misery, but to transfigure it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Agile PLM 9301 - Solaris SMF - RBAC - How-To

Agile PLM 9301 - Solaris SMF - RBAC - How-To

How-to use Service Management Facility (SMF), role based access controls (RBAC) to allow root or a service account to launch Agile PLM v 9.3.01.

Feedback welcome.

  • WebLogic Server (WLS)
  • Dependence on network services.
  • This method excludes Tomcat (File Manager) which I have not put under SMF yet.
  • The file locations differ from standard for SMF in order to accommodate the way Solaris zones are implemented at my employer.
  • Output logged to /var/svc/log/application-agileplm:agileplm.log


Two script files. We put these in /ops/scripts/agile/exec - where /ops is a symbolic link to an NFS mount on NAS.

  • agileplm_node_manager
  • agileplm_managed_host

Validate manifest
svccfg validate /ops/scripts/agile/exec/agileplm_miii_$SERVER_TYPE.xml

Import the manifest
something goes here, will add after I wake up

Did it work?
svcs -a | grep agile

Add this line to the bottom of /etc/security/auth_attr
solaris.smf.manage.application/agileplm:::Agile PLM Management ::

Assign authorization to the service account.
usermod -A solaris.smf.manage.application/agileplm srvcagl

Add authorization
svccfg -s agileplm setprop general/action_authorization=astring: 'solaris.smf.manage.application/agileplm'

Assign authorization to the value authorization
svccfg -s agileplm setprop general/value_authorization=astring: 'solaris.smf.manage.application/agileplm'

Did it work?
svcprop -c -p general agileplm

Output should be
general/enabled boolean true
general/entity_stability astring Evolving
general/single_instance boolean true
general/action_authorization astring solaris.smf.manage.application/agileplm

Enable the agileplm service
/usr/sbin/svcadm enable agileplm


Shell script template. Edit and rename where appropriate

# Copyright 2004 Sun Microsystems, Inc. All rights reserved.
# Use is subject to license terms.
# ident "@(#)agileplm 1.0 07/01/2010 SMI"
# Agile PLM SMF script. Brian Dunbar for Plexus
# You MUST edit so that local variables are true
# AGILE_TYPE for the server - file_manager, node_manager, managed_server
# AGILE_USER for the local service account
# AGILE_HOME for your path to Agile
# PIDFILE where you want the process ID to be written to.
# this is rather more complicated than I would like. Suggestions welcome.

. /lib/svc/share/

# Here in case we use svcprop more than we do now. See 'man svcprop'.

getproparg() {
val=`svcprop -p $1 $SMF_FMRI`
[ -n "$val" ] && echo $val

# if [ -z "$SMF_FMRI" ]; then
# echo "SMF framework variables are not initialized."
# exit $SMF_EXIT_ERR
# fi

# can aslo be file_manager, managed_server. Change for type of host

case "$AGILE_TYPE" in
echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - YOU SHOULD NOT SEE THIS
exit 1

# execute functions
echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - START $AGILE_TYPE
cd "$APP_DIR"

echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - STOP $AGILE_TYPE
cd "$APP_DIR"

echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - START $AGILE_TYPE
cd "$APP_DIR"
./ "$cmd"

echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - STOP $AGILE_TYPE
cd "$APP_DIR"
./ "$cmd"

echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - START $AGILE_TYPE
cd "$APP_DIR"

echo `date +"%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"` - STOP $AGILE_TYPE
cd "$APP_DIR"

case "$1" in
/bin/rm -f ${PIDFILE}
echo $"Usage: $0 {start|stop}"
exit 1

case "$AGILE_TYPE" in
echo $"Usage: $0 {node_manager|file_manager|managed_server}"
exit 1

case "$cmd" in
echo $"Usage $0 {start| stop}"
exit 1


<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE service_bundle SYSTEM "/usr/share/lib/xml/dtd/service_bundle.dtd.1">
<service_bundle type="manifest" name="agileplm">
<service name="application/agileplm" type="service" version="1">
<dependency name="network" grouping="require_all" restart_on="none" type="service">
<service_fmri value="svc:/milestone/network:default"/>
<exec_method type="method" name="start" exec="/lib/svc/method/agileplm %m" timeout_seconds="480">
<method_credential user="srvcagl"/>
<exec_method type="method" name="stop" exec="/lib/svc/method/agileplm %m" timeout_seconds="480">
<method_credential user="srvcagl"/>
<instance name="agileplm" enabled="false">
<method_credential user="srvcagl" group="plm"/>
<property_group name="agileplm" type="application"/>
<property_group name="startd" type="framework">
<propval name="duration" type="astring" value="child"/>
<propval name="ignore_error" type="astring" value="core,signal"/>
<propval name="utmpx_prefix" type="astring" value="co"/>
<stability value="Evolving"/>
<loctext xml:lang="C">AgilePLM</loctext>
<manpage title="agileplm" section="1"/>
<doc_link name="Agile Product Lifecycle Management Documentation Library v9.3 " uri=""/>

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Lights

September 10.  Kaukauna - 14 Neenah - 7

Kaukauna over Neenah, 14-7.

The one touchdown we did score was a pleasure to behold: a minute left, receiver broke out, snagged a long pass, darted across the goal neat as you please.

Something about a small town, high school football, a nip in the air, cup of warm coffee in hand: it's just all so right, ya' know?


Force Recon style.

They finally cut one last hole, and called in with our loudspeaker that it was safe, the Marines had control of their ship, and to please come out.  The ship’s captain peered hesitatingly from behind a steel bulkhead, still unwilling to come forward.  Sgt Chesmore ripped an American flag patch from his shooter’s kit and held into the room as a final identification.  The captain broke into a huge smile and immediately called his crew from their hiding places.  They ran forward, unlocked the final barricaded door in their “citadel” and were escorted topside.  Excited.  Exhausted.  And happy to have their ship back.

Sometimes, it feels pretty god-damned good to be an American.

Thank you, Captain Martin, 1st Lieutenant Williams, Staff Sergeants Hatrick, Homestead, Holm, Sergeant Chesmore, and the rest of the team.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn [1]

I do not intend to burn a Koran any more than I would burn one of the vedic collections, or the writings of Zoroaster or a Mithran text, nor do I think that a Florida clergyman will much affect the contest between the West and Islam; but if I have to fight I would rather be fighting for the right of the old guy to burn the book than be trying to arrest him for doing it.

Jerry Pournelle, on 'Burn the Koran Day'

[1] Well, that was a predictable title.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Spirit of the Bayonet

Sergeant Kris Battles had some Marines over to his studio to pose for reference pictures for his Belleau Woods sculpture.

Yeah, yeah: Marines have combat artists and - being Marines - they are very, very, good. So what? So .. this.

From -

Ignore the campy dough-boy helmet.  Look at the size of the friggin' knife on the end the rifle. 

A bayonet like that . . . a man could really reach out and touch someone, ya know what ah mean?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Big * Dumb * Slow

Your taxes are paying for this shit.

Space Your Face

Yeah-yeah-yeah. A small blurb runs at the end with some space propaganda. It's educational. The children will be all over this one. It'll go viral and promote the space program among the young and clued-in. [1]

It does not actually cost a lot of money. [2]

So? This is not the kind of foolishness and shenanigans a responsible government should be up to.

It's perfect for the American Federal government, circa 2010.

Big - Dumb - Slow - WTF NASA

[1]If you'll buy that, I'll throw the golden gate in free.
[2] Relative to, say, an M1A1 tank, a HMMWV, or lunch for 10 staffers on Capitol Hill.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The greatness of America is the right to protest

Manifesto for Half-Arsed Agile Software Development.

How-To clean baked-in grot inside the microwave. One cup water, 1/4 cup vinegar. Nuke for three minutes. Wipe with a towel.

MongoDB is web scale. HAW! And: NSFW. "You read the latest post on and think you are a f*cking Google and architect and parrot slogans like Web Scale and Sharding but you have no idea what the f*ck you are talking about."

Never Gonna Stnd For This by Teachenor Clark.

November - it's just a start.

And we all of us still have the ultimate vote: vote with your feet and leave. Just ... go.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

All human procreation and farming must cease!

SB7 on the James Lee [1]

This is blissfully contradictory:
9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy.

11. You’re also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing.
Get it? Less economic activity, less production, but more employment and more construction.

Not constructive, productive, solutions, dear SB7.  The solutions for item 11 are alluded to in item 5

All human procreation and farming must cease!

We may discard the first item as impossible: procreation will happen.  Just ... will.

The latter points ... hunter-gatherer societies utterly lack the concept of unemployment.  There is always more to be done than there are hands, what with dingos eating the babies, disease killing the weak and unlucky, the elderly dying at the ripe age of thirty.

[1] For those not following along, a nut who posted a manifesto (now gone from the internets) and went after himself some hope and change at Discovery Channel.

Oh captain, my captain. My sweet, sweet, captain

It's back to school time. That, and this thing, and the other, got me to thinking about the handful of teachers I had in high school who were, I mean, totally, hot.

I'm 43. The youngest of these fine ladies is pushing past 70 now.

Time flies when you're having fun.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Brian: your package has been delivered

At 4:44 p.m. on August 28 someone in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (zip code 15229) mailed a package to Senoia, Georgia.

I assume their name is very similar to 'Brian Dunbar', for that person told the post office to send Track & Confirm updates to my gmail account.

To my doppelganger in Pittsburgh: your parcel was delivered today at 1:12 p.m.

Hyperbole and a Half

When I was five or six we did this really lame thing: everyone was a best friend. So, Derek was my first best friend, the kid across the street [1] was my second best friend. Curtis Neat up the street was a best friend of indeterminate number. Laurie Keller [3] was my first best friend who was a girl. And so on. Shortly after this phase ended (probably when we all hit first grade together) we moved from pastoral Eugene, Oregon to dusty, humid, Oklahoma.

Anyway. I like this cartoon / blog a whole bunch. If I still did the lame best friend thing this would be my best webcomic friend, is real funny and poignant and draws in a jagged artistic way.

I still like the other webcomics, just as much.

One for my wife: A Better Pain Scale.

One for Heather: Spiders are Scary. It's Okay to be Afraid of Them.

For the Boys: Dog.

[1] Kyle? Carl? He wore cowboy boots all the time. Unless that was somebody else. His older sister gave me a butterfly for my birthday. Whatever his name, his mom and dad had a big orange monster cat that came across the street and picked fights with our tabby [2]. Under the house. Sounded horrible: two tom cats hissing and growling and yowling and tearing each other up, right under the floor.

[2] Cleverly named Kat. We had to call him something at the vet and it isn't like cats come when their name is called. My parents picked out a better name for the dog: Frisky.

Frisky came to a bad end. Unable to adjust to city life he was sent to Grandpa's farm. A few months after his exile he, and the rest of Grandpa's dogs, found a porcupine.

Rags, Percy came back with quills in their muzzles: lesson learned, porcupines hurt. Frisky, displaying an inability to adapt to the bitter end, kept eating porcupine until he had mad amounts of quills jammed in his throat. And his gut. I imagine his intestines looked like an old pincushion just before you throw it away when you cut it open to get the pins out.

[3] I feel a little bad, now, that Laurie wasn't a best-best friend because if anyone was, she was. Because Derek could be a little bit of a dick. But he lived next door. Laurie didn't live next door, she lived oh, blocks and blocks away. But in my memory she was always cool and friendly and she had an awesome back yard and a cool house. And she was not a wiener like Derek could be. Also, she's the reason I got a new bicycle when I was five. That's cool, man.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The boat is sold. Got room in the garage. Got some cash to add to savings. So that's good.

I highly recommend Sailing Texas if you need a boat, especially if you need to sell a boat.

Excluding the constant readers who expressed interest, I received two serious inquiries from this ad, in the nine days it was running.  That is way more calls than I expected - I hoped to sell it quickly, but I was prepared to keep her on the market for months.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Selling the Guppy - yet more pictures.

More picture of the boat-for-sale - here. Now including the sort-of-infamous shower handle on the foredeck.


I didn't put it there. I've never used it. I can't even trip over it, easily: afloat it feels to me precarious to stand on the foredeck of such a small boat. So, mostly, I don't. On the trailer you're not bouncing around so tripping over stuff on the deck is not a problem.

It's cruft.

I speculate: the intent is to keep an anchor on the foredeck. The gray cups are to keep the flukes from scaring the deck. It's handy so you can run up there, kick it overboard, anchor quickly.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Like being inside a kettle drum

Big New Office has the nerds, clerks and geeks sitting in a huge open bay. Glass on two sides. Fronts a wide stretch of river on one side, open field of gravel on the other.

What is it like when rain and wind sweep across that open expanse?

It's really .. I SAID 'IT'S REALLY LOUD.'

Don't blow up a Marine . . .

When he came to, he was standing on his feet holding his weapon, turning to see the remnants of the blast and wondering why his squad had a look on their faces as if they’d seen a ghost.

Garst’s squad stared at him in disbelief. The square-jawed Marine has a tendency to be short-tempered, and the realization that the blast was meant to kill him spiked his adrenaline and anger.

“What the f--- are you looking at?” he said. “Get on the cordon!”

Marines: blow them up and it just irritates them.

Before he finds out where my flanks are, I'll be cutting the bastard's throat

Boss: We're going to give you a brand-new system to admin.  It's a big deal, the head shed has bought in, the developers are rarin' to go.  If work was World War II, this would be the Third Army, getting ready to tour the the Third Reich.

Me: Sounds cool - what's the application?

Boss: BizTalk.

My old nemesis: Windows.  That krep always ends up being hard to manage, difficult to administer, expensive, a nightmare for every right-thinking system administrator who likes his weekends free of support calls.

Expecting Windows to be Enterprise anything is like asking Montgomery to step up the pace, like asking him to come up with a plan to invade Holland that does not involve driving hundreds of tanks down a one-lane road, on top of a dike.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Selling the boat - pictures!

I believe that I mentioned I'm selling a boat.

Here are some close-ups.  So, when you drive for a fair piece and show up you won't be taken aback by the amount of cruft a 30-year old sailboat can pick up.  Some guy hacks in a motor mount here, another adds a compass, yet another wires it for electricity, some guy mounts a faucet handle for an anchor windlass.  It adds up.

More pictures to come.  Sure makes you want to buy a boat, hunh?

Houston, we have a throblem

I laughed.  I cried.  Well, no. But I did laugh. It is so not safe for work.[1]

F*ck me, Ray Bradbury (YouTube, ahoy).  By Rachel Bloom

[1] And by not safe for work - it's got swears, boobies, semi-explicit sex acts.  So, really, no worse than you'd see downtown on Saturday night.

Frankly, my dear ...

In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.
But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.
~Dorothy Parker

My lovely wife writes everything that needs to be said about Recent Events of Notice, here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Guppy 13 For Sale

Must sell my Guppy 13. White with yellow trim, wired for electricity.

Guppy 13 - 'Gumdrop'Guppy 13 - 'Gumdrop' starboard

Guppy is a pocket cabin-cruiser with a short run from the mid-70s. Cockpit seats two to three adults, cabin sleeps two.

More information on the Guppy is here.

I'd love to keep her but due to medical reasons I'm unable to sail. I can use the space in the garage, she deserves an owner who can use her.

Asking $1500 obo. Includes trailer, 4-horse outboard, full rigging.

Email or leave comments.

Here are some close-ups.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welfare Check - in which the police agree with me about my daughter's ex

What did I do today?  Many, many things.  One of the things was to stand on my porch and say this to a police officer making a welfare check:

Well, the story is true, in the bare outlines, but the details not right, spun to the worst possible assumption and .. hey did you say the anonymous caller was male?  My daughter has an ex-boyfriend ...

And we were off to the races.  I don't really know but I think the POLICE take a dim view of being used as tools by dim-witted Lotharios.  Just a guess.

So, BWUTDMD [1].  If you're trying [2] to enact some kind of drugged-up movie-of-the week revenge fanasty where you get the girl and everyone loves you, stop.  You are embarrassing yourself. 

What comes around goes around and it comes back with more kinetic energy than your small-town, special-needs, short-bus riding, teeny-tiny brain housing group can appreciate.

You just don't know.

[1] Boy Who Used To Date My Daughter.
[2] Proof?  Ain't got none.  Don't need it.  We can assume a Mysterious Stranger with unknown motives, or we can go ahead and blame an infantile, manipulative, whiny, no job holding, living with his mommy and daddy, jack wagon ex-boyfriend.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cyborg are Hawt

Pasty's New Knee

It's a model of Her new knee. The technical aspects of getting this sucker in place are fascinating.

In ye olde days the doc would whack out the old, rotten joint, fit the new one, all using the Mark I Eyeball.

They used templates.  Which works real good.  If you match a template.

Enter CNC. This thing measures the patient six ways from Sunday, cuts everything precisely to fit.  Talking about this the doc started to dive into technical-talk not out of place in manufacturing: sample sizes, quality control, medians, outliers eliminated. 

This made me trust the guy abolutely.  This isn't some early 20th century hackery, but a high-tech assembly process, with computers doing the hard, finicky painstaking work.

You don't even need to be sedated: all they need is a spinal block so you don't wiggle around and screw up the robot. 

It all sounded so damned cool.

And it is!  Great days we're living in, where an otherwise young chick with degenerative arthritis faces not decades of crippling pain but .. surgery, pain [1] and mobility a few months later.

Which is great because Herself is getting real tired rolling round Wal-Mart in a wheel chair to do the shopping.

I confess I was a little disappointed when the doc said the shiny stuff goes on the inside.  My feeling is if you're gonna have cyborg bits installed they should look like cyborg bits, ya know?

[1] And, let's not kid ourselves, it's not a little bit of pain but a whole bunch of it.  Once you work through that you're good.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It is the humidity and the heat

Water.  You are in the air.  Get in the ground where you belong.

Looked at the lake this morning.  Could not tell where the lake stopped and the air began.

It is that humid.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Who approved this ship and just who the hell designed it?

I got up for a minute, came back, and saw that a second level had been added to the capsule. I asked if it was an attic, but was told that it was a bathroom (Wyatt is apparently more into the hard-SF aspects of fiction than, say, all the 12,000 people associated with Star Trek…).


I don't care if the ship's high tech.
I don't care if it has a holodeck.
I don't care if there's life support.
Okay I guess I need the life support.
But anything beyond that, I don't care,
As long as there's a place somewhere a man can go.

How we've tried to find it!
Tore apart the bridge and looked behind it.
Who approved this ship and just who the hell designed it?
We'll have to have a word with them when we get home.

'Comforts of Home' - Bob Kanefsky

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ah! Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

Mr. Nadler's bill would "require the IRS to adjust tax brackets proportionally in regions where the average cost of living is higher than the national average."

In other words, the various tax brackets would apply to residents in certain regions at higher income levels versus other parts of the country. A family with an income of $50,000 or even $1 million in Manhattan would pay less federal income tax than a family with the same earnings in Omaha. The bill is called the Tax Equity Act ...

A more accurate title is 'Hey Out There In Fly-Over Country: Fuck You' act.

Representatives Nadler, Bishop, Israel, Lowey, Maloney and McCarthy: you are associated with a pack of thieves, liars and cheats 535 strong who, nearly to a man, deserve long stretches of time in jail for the laws you've flouted, the bribes you've taken, the damage you've done to this country.

You are a pox on this land, a disease in the body politic. Y'all aren't even very smart except for the low cunning needed to come up with ever more inventive ways to cheat the public and lie your way to another term in office. You deserve neither re-election nor pension, nor any job that does not involve the phrase 'Would You Like Fries With That'?

You should be turned out of your office to make your way by your scant wits in the world you insist the rest of us live in.

Representative Nadler - fuck you.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Clean Desk Is The sign of an Idle Mind!

Saw these photos on the Internet about a person's mind and his desk... Here are a few samples.........
LLOL [1]

And yes, it's not fair to compare an actual work space with the a show office..  Still.


[1] For those just coming in, Literally Laughed Out Loud

Form 1099

There was a hullaballo recently over some recent legislation - next year every business transaction that exceeds $600 per vendor requires a form 1099.  Looked over the spec (pdf) for doing this electronically.

From my nerdly POV it's a little odd but nothing so very bad.  Each record submitted has 750 positions, each position has data, if not it's blank.  If it's odd but it's standard and you can work with it.

This made me pause;

Position: 518
Field Title: Vendor Indicator
Length: 1
Description: Required.  Enter the appropriate code from the table below to indicate if your software was provided by a vendor or produced in-house.

I cannot imagine why the IRS would care if the bits are from a program written 'in house' or from a vendor, how it would enable them to more efficiently execute their mission.  Somewhere a clerk or two are making a tidy living compiling statistics that no one can use and only they care about.

As for the actual system - the way the IRS wants you to do it is login to a web page and upload each record one attachment at a time.  Come back in a day or two [1] and see that the file was entered correctly.

Which ... geez .. it works but man it sounds so clunky.  No wonder business guys are raising holy heck about it. 

[1] In my minds eye there are a pair of IBM micro-computers chugging away on the files using a really cleaver batch file to upload the data to a mainframe.