Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where was the kaboom?

This is the clutch from my daughter's car that blew up in the middle of Iowa last summer.

This is what a dead clutch looks like.

That much shrapnel I would have expected a kaboom.

Gary Johnson Discusses Seeking Libertarian Nomination

SIEGEL: ... why isn't it equally true to say that Republican primary voters in this cycle show no interest whatever in somebody who is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, hence you had little traction in Iowa and New Hampshire?

JOHNSON: You know, I would argue that I'm speaking on behalf of the majority of Republicans but wasn't really ever given a chance on stage. And that had to do more with being excluded from polls that determined who got in the debates. And when I was, I polled equally with those on stage.

Speaking with a broad brush, I think that people consider themselves fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And I think the Libertarian Party certainly stands for that broad brush.

NPR: Johnson Discusses Seeking Libertarian Nomination

Monday, December 26, 2011


It was The Future, part 'Meet the Robinsons', part 'Sleeper', and I was there because I'd been dead, and now wasn't.  Don't ask me how: it involved MRE-size and color pouches with dehydrated person inside.

And it was cool and gee-whiz and flying cars but it was all ashes in my mouth because She wasn't there and I was really sad and when given the choice of 'stay' or 'go' I choose the latter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comment of the Day - Gary Johnson Edition

I don’t have a good explanation for why they spent so much time and energy excluding (Gary Johnson) from the debates — since they clearly believe that most of what he stands for (small government, lower taxes, reduced regulation, drug decriminalization, etc.) is anathema to their voters anyway. The GOP braintrust understand that American voters want a bigger nanny state, more borrowing, more spending, and more military adventures abroad.

Nicholas at Quotulatiousness

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh, wow, we're going to be profound now

Speaking of the security arrangements of the nation-state ...

"The social structure of any nation-state is ultimately determined by its security arrangements," Ng says, "and Mr. Lee understands this."  Oh, wow, we're going to be profound now. Ng is suddenly talking just like the old white men on the TV pundit powwows, which Y.T.'s mother watches obsessively.

From Snow Crash, duh.  No, I'm not re-reading it, I'm listening to it.  This audiobook is, like, the best of that breed, not so much re-reading the words but getting a new take on an old friend.

X is the least we can do for our men and women in uniform and their families who sacrifice so much

Hey, what else can the government do to stratify society, to make it clear there are serfs and their betters?

Members of the military on official travel, and their families, would move through airport security quicker next year under legislation sent to the president on Tuesday.


Troops could go to the front of the line, or a separate line could be created.

Being a soldier don't pay much, you loose some civil rights, and you gotta listen to cranky sergeants, and your family will live in places like Fayetteville and Oceanside and Jacksonville.  Oh and in this new and shining era of the Coke and Pepsi [1] party and never-ending war you're going to get shot at and blown up on a regular basis in far-off places for reasons that have tenuous and dubious [2] connections to national security.[3]

So I guess the very least that we can do is send them to front of the line of grey dab lines.  Give them some bennies that don't cost nothing and anyway the taxpayers are good for it, don't-you-care-about-the-troops and aren't-you-patriotic?

Worked for the Party in the USSR, nu?  And if it further stratifies society, puts the serfs in their place, that's just gravy, man.

[1] My wookie-suit is on order.
[2] At best.
[3]  Sucks, but USMC stands for You Signed the Motherf*in Contract.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crapsack World

The universe of Snow Crash is described thusly; [1]
Crapsack World: Society is in serious decline, and everyone seems determined to ignore that and act like nothing's happened.
Example ...
His black Oldsmobile is a fucking bullseye in a place like this. It's the worst thing he has ever seen, Compton. Lepers roasting dogs on spits over tubs of flaming kerosene. Street people pushing wheelbarrows piled high with dripping clots of million- and billion-dollar bills that they have raked up out of storm sewers. Road kills -- enormous road kills -- road kills so big that they could only be human beings, smeared out into chunky swaths a block long. Burning roadblocks across major avenues. No franchises anywhere. The Oldsmobile keeps popping. Jason can't think of what it is until he realizes that people are shooting at him. Good thing he let his uncle talk him into springing for full armor! When he figures that one out, he actually gets psyched. This is the real thing, man! He's driving around in his Olds and the bastards are shooting at him, and it just don't matter!

It's societal collapse all the way down while everything disarranges [2] .. sounds like a lot of suck, all-righty. And the characters sure 'nuff act like it's just a thing, you know?

Thing is ... if you wrote our present as a novel [3] the reader would think we are in serious decline and everyone seems determined to ignore that and act like nothing's happened.

We're a frigging category on TV Tropes.

[1] Warning: TV Tropes & Idioms is a Pit of Time-Suck. You Have Been Warned.

[2] It is possible that the background of Snow Crash is the disarranged past from The Diamond Age. In which case it's not all despair: The Diamond Age 'verse is an okay place to live, if you're a member of a Tribe.

[3] War in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, krep-heads running for President, Congress in a Red Queen's race to see who can sh*t on the Constitution the mostest, etc.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Dead Jim

Congress just voted  [1] to shit-can the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution, the First is under attack in some kind of internet bill that nobody with a brain is in favor of.

At the rate we're shredding that grand ol' bitch by this time next year I'll have a squad of Marines bunking in my spare bedroom.

[1] Which act appears to me to break the oath [2] each member took on assuming office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Body Modesty

I was in the hospital a few days ago, for a few hours.  Ran into something a little weird.

When I first got there I was not feeling so hot.  I imagine hunters might recognize the look on my face from when they walk up to a still breathing lung-shot deer: a sort of mute look of pain and horror and omg-omg-do-something-oh-this hurts.  A look that says 'A bullet in the brain is the only humane thing to doWhere is my 1911?.'

It got better in a big hurry.  Pain medication is a wonderful thing.

Oh and when I first read this I was like maybe some of you and went 'ha-ha that is so cute but it's just funny not real or anything'.  I now know that Allie [1] has nailed the pain management chart.  I'm going to print that f*cker off and show it to the friendly [2] PA at the doctor's office.  This .. this is a pain management chart and you should pay Allie a whole bunch of money for the rights to reprint it.

Anyway. Pain and I didn't care what happened as long as it didn't involve riding in a car over bumps [3].  Or sudden movement.  Or movement.  Breathing hurtThen I was blissed out on Dilod-oc-whatever and I noticed that I no longer gave a rip.  The sun was out and I was quite happy with the blanket the nurse gave me [4] and all was all right with the world.  Drew Carey was on 'The Price is Right' [5] and even that was okay.

And while they did this thing and that thing, between the pain and the bliss I understood that I no longer had a speck of body modesty.  We're in the hospital, man.  You guys see these sick sacks of meat all the time so it's like slabs of meat at the butcher shop.  Do whatever you need.

Well, that was my opinion.  The nurses, the CT tech, and everybody else was all weird about it and insisted I tie up the flaps of my hospital johnny and made sure even when they were scanning and handling my intimate parts they did so with a sheet covering up the naughty bits and reassuring me (the guy who didn't give a rip) that my modesty was clearly being respected.

Me, Mr. Modesty, had no issues.  Guys who see all kinds of bodies day in and day out, did

That's weird, man.

Or maybe the dipla-dodunk stuff is still chasing around my body.

[1] Oh, look at me,  first-naming the funny lady.  It's just handier than 'Allie that funny chick who draws some good stuff at Hyperbole and a Half'.
[2] No, she really is awesome.
[3] I reckon there are seventy-thousand bumps in the two miles between the clinic and the hospital.  The city should get right on that.  Or maybe a hovercraft ambulance for guys with kidney stones - that would make for a smoother ride.
[4] They have a special heating cabinet for blankets.  I need one of those.
[5] That man does not look right with a Drew Carey head perched on a body conspicuously lacking the Drew Carey gut.
  He looks like a bad photo shop.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thin Ice

Jenny: Gresham's purse.

Incidentally, see that head? The stylized image of Liberty in a Phrygian cap? That used to be the norm - almost all of our early coinage featured stylized images of Liberty in one pose or another. It wasn't until the first part of the 20th century that we actually started putting dead presidents on our money.

Now personally, I think once the images of real people start going on your coins, your republic is on thin ice.

Jenny uses coins.  I benchmark the names slapped on our capital ships.

Our first capital ships?

United States.  Constellation.  Constitution.  Congress.  President.  Chesapeake.

Now?  In chronological order ...

Enterprise.  Nimitz.  Eisenhower.  Vinson.  Roosevelt.  Lincoln.  Washington.  Stennis.  Truman.  Reagan.  Bush.  Ford.  Kennedy.

Eleven politicians, an admiral, and a noun.

Republic's on thin ice, brother.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tab Clearing

At What Point?  Now that Congress has repealed the Fifth Amendment, can you please join me in recognizing that this country is on a rocket-sled to totalitarianism?

"Shut Up.  You Don't Get a Lawyer!": The Defense Authorization Act Guts Civil Liberties. (YouTube).

Enemies of the Constitution (video).

Senate Wants the Military to Lock You Up Without Trial.

Ceding Liberty to Terror: Senate Votes Against Due-Process Rights.

The Senate Punted on Terror Law Detainees—and That's a Good Thing.

Can Congress Steal Your Constitutional Freedoms?

This deserves a long essay, a rant, something.  Perhaps later.  The bastards keep shredding the Constitution, people just don't give a damn, and I am just too tired to be outraged.

The Rodney Dangerfield of Politics: Gary Johnson, His Message and Evolving.  Perhaps, we have uncovered why Gary Johnson just can't get respect. When it comes to his pragmatic libertarianism, he believes people should evolve with the facts. But, when it comes to the activists that control his party, they just don't believe in evolution -- ever.

Herman Cain, Fugitive Slave, by L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise.  Cain, however, did not find himself jettisoned from the American electoral process because of his opinions on policy, his past association with the Evil Menace of Fast Food, or even because of the naughty things he was accused of having done with women by three specimens of highly questionable believability and a million braying jackasses of the government-approved news-generating industry. Cain got the boot because—well, let me tell you a story ...

Man tells 12 News He Has Signed 80 petitions To Recall Governor Walker (YouTube).

Org-Mode: Your Life in Plain Text. Org-mode is for keeping notes, maintaining ToDo lists, doing project planning, and authoring with a fast and effective plain-text system.

How 'The West' Beat 'The Rest' With Six 'Killer Apps'. Historians have long struggled to explain how the West became the preeminent political and economic force in the modern world, and why so many people aspire to emulate the lifestyles, fashions and popular culture of America and Western Europe.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Shoot em all let the judge sort it out

... cops in Cobb County, Ga. — one of the wealthiest and most educated counties in the U.S. — now have an amphibious tank.

The picture shows an LVTP-7, with Marines and gear hanging out all over it.  It's not a tank.  But is amphibious.

I could not see what the cops would do with a 30-ton amphibious vehicle that seats 25 combat loaded troops.

Even for cops who are buying all kinds of military hardware that seemed excessive.

I googled.  The reality is the cops in Cobb County, Georgia have acquired themselves an LAV-25.

Which is a 12-ton amphibious vehicle, crew of three, sports a 25mm chain gun, two 7.62 machine guns

The coax gun, of course, is for those times on the mean streets when a 25 mm bullet is just a leetle bit overkill.

See?  That's all kinds of better.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Re: 2012 National Defense Authorization Act

Email to Senator Ron Johnson (R) of Wisconsin.


You recently voted 'nay' on Senator Feinstein's amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.  Long story short, in your considered opinion it is fine and dandy for the government to hold a citizen in custody without a trial.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement.  Shocked, dismayed, upset, angry, are close to the mark, but fail to adequately express my feelings.

My vote for you in the last election was the last one in your favor I will ever cast. 

I'd sooner send a brain-damaged beagle to represent Wisconsin than the likes of you.

Brian Dunbar
Neenah, Wisconsin

I then asked her what was she so afraid of

From B&S
I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan , KS . I asked for her driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The lady took out the required information and handed it to me.

In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. I looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box. Something—-body language, or the way she said it—-made me want to ask if she had any other firearms. She did admit to also havin a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more time if that was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked me right in the eye and said, “Not a f***ing thing!”

I have seen the USSR and it is the future

In which Andy Stern confuses a mythical free-market fundamentalist economic model with the actual way things are in the United States, then writes about it in the Wall Street Journal.

He also comes back from China, deeply confused, proclaiming that it's the future.

While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China's people-oriented development in Chongqing,

Hang on there, Sparky.

It's a real good bet that Stern does not speak Chinese.  Did anyone in his delegation speak Chinese?  I bet, no.  Did he get away from the guided tour, talk to actual people away from the government minders?  I bet, no.

Stern didn't really see China, he saw what the Chinese government [1] wanted him to see.  In terms of actually knowing what is going on he's dumber, now, than before he left for his trip.  It's like he opened a big hole in his head and replaced some of his brains with sawdust.

[1] The government and the people are one and the same to a degree that is really hard for someone raised in the West to get.  It's - not to put a fine point on it - alien.  I, personally, blame Communism.

The only Western counterpart to this I can think of is working for a Big Company.  You toil there, your input in your group is valued, or not: you're a cog.  You have no choice in the company's direction, it's plans, it's goals.  Having an opinion is encouraged, officially, sometimes, and there are official channels for that, but woe to you if you actually dissent: you'll be fired quicker than you can say 'Jack Robinson'.

From the outside, you don't see a separation between 'IBM' and 'IBM people': it's all just IBM.

It's interesting that Stern is advocating that this kind of government is better than that representational democracy jazz.

The Gun

Sometimes .. only the gun can stand between Good and Evil. (video)

The General is speaking in English.  Brandishing an M-16ish rifle.  Go, Team Anglosphere.

I don't see a big holophobe thing in the audience, like some commentators at the link.  I got the same 'ooh now that is different' thing from a crowd of jarheads in an office with an M249.[1] 

It's not the gun, but 'place where there is not normally a big-ass gun' and 'gun'.

If he'd dragged in a drill press the same thrill would have run through the audience.

[1] The fun part was putting a machine-gun on my desk on it's tripod (feed tray up, of course) after the training was over. 

What's that for?  Customer Service.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kidney Stones - all they are cracked up to be

"You know, PhyrePhox," Judge Fang said, "I really appreciate the moments of levity and even childlike wonder that you are injecting into this process.  So often when we strap people to the torture rack, they are unpleasantly tense and hardly any fun at all to be around."
 "Hey, man, I'm into new experiences.  I get lots of experience points for this, huh?"

'The Diamond Age', Neal Stephenson

Well boy howdy did I get a truck-load of experience points today.  Like .. my first ambulance ride.  And my first CT scan.[1]

I've always heard that kidney stones hurt.  This is how much they hurt;

The way it feels when you take a hard blow to the crotch, how it's pain but beyond pain and all you want to do is curl up in a little ball and whimper and it takes forever to go away but it's really over in a minute and in five you're right as rain?

I had the feeling for three hours today. 

But there is more!  Every so often I had these really actually incredible spikes of pain where it felt like one of my testicles was being crushed by a vise.  Actual pain to go along with the 'kicked in the crotch by a horse' feeling.

In the end the gals in the ER had enough of my crying and whimpering and begging for a bullet and they gave me Diploids or Diplodocus or some really cool drug that started with a 'd' and that settled me right the heck down.

"On a scale of 1 to 10 your pain is  .."

"Zero. Gimme some more of that Diocletian stuff, maaaaan."

[1] Don't let me hear you say the 21st century sucks.  CT scans are fucking awesome.  I, myself, can't wait for Obama Care to ration those fuckers like I hear they are in England.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tab Clearing

'Chess Game' by Kristopher Battles.

Jerry Pournelle: Adam Smith told us that whenever two capitalists get together, their conversation turns to scheming on how they can get the government to restrict entry into their business, and thus reduce competition. The usual method is to introduce regulations that make it impossible to start a competitive business on a shoe string. Over time those schemes create a Nomenklatura that governs all, and makes lobbying more important than productivity or ingenuity.

Attack Cartoons: You're all familiar with the broken clock that is right twice a day. ron paul is like a strange broken clock that is right 23 hours a day. then you get to some foreign policy midnight, and in stead of chiming, it barks and smears itself with poo.

Freedom Twenty-Five: What is the ultimate meaning of Dr. Paul, quite possibly the one decent man left in American politics?

It is this: Future historians will have to conclude that even now, with the United States approaching her nadir, the American people had a choice. The western world’s decision to commit suicide is one that must be continually renewed.

Representative Jesse Jackson (D): "We’ve got to go further. I support what [Obama] does. Clearly, Republicans are not going to be for it but if the administration can handle administratively what can be done, we should pursue it. And if there are extra-constitutional opportunities that allow the president administratively to put the people to work, he should pursue every single one of them."

Craig Ferguson: I don’t think that cynicism is a lack of belief in America. That cynicism is despair at the complications of process and government. It doesn’t have anything to do with the belief in what this post-Enlightenment country is and can be. This is a great idea, and if you mishandle a great idea, you could end up in a lot of trouble. But it doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea. It’s still a great idea. We may disagree on how to handle that idea, and that’s unfortunately part of the great idea.

The Czar: One interesting aspect that many of our readers may not realize is that, technically speaking, Keynesian theory has not been proven a failure by recent events—because under strict rules, it has not even been tried. That is the dirty little secret on both the Right and the Left: Keynes never argued for massive government spending—Keynes merely argued that government spending was an important multiplier for lowering wages and prices. Our Federal government simply assumed that meant an increase in overall government spending...because that is what they wanted to do anyway and made up this justification for it.

Sandra and Woo: These are management consultants, Richard. From IBM Oracle. They don't understand your techno-babble.

Barack Obama: But we've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We've kind of taken for granted -- well, people will want to come here and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."

China's Black Market City: Chen Mingyuan has lived here all his life, but he still gets lost every time he drives into Wenzhou. “All the roads in this town were built by businessmen, so none of
them make any sense.”

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Living in small town means

Knowing the people moving into the house down the road and the people moving out of the house down the road.

And signing up to help them both.

Dog: Good News and Bad News

Bad News: The small fluffy dog got out while we were gone.

Good News: She was waiting for us at the bottom of the driveway, under the mailbox.  In the rain.

A small, sad, soggy, mass of wet fur waiting for her Mom.  In that canine 'I'll wait here for years if need be' way.


A sheep bleg

Saw a video yesterday.  One of the people I follow on Facebook, or GPlus or Twitter shared it.  I thought it was at JWZ but no.

It was:

Five or six girls, wearing sheep hoodies, pink bikini bottoms. Wee little bells around their necks.  A delusional passer-by.  The girl at the end is a real dog.

And now I can't find it. Not in my browser history.  And it was funny: I can't delusion stuff that nifty.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I have a lot to be thankful for.  The Philmont Grace sums it up real nice.

For food, for raiment,
For life, for opportunities,
For friendship and fellowship,
We thank Thee, O Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The time to stop talking was five minutes before you opened your pie-hole

Post deleted on advice from counsel.

Which is your loss, Dear Reader.

Because it was funny as hell.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

We would also like a cookie

We demand a vapid, condescending, meaningless, politically safe response to this petition.

It's not The Onion.  It's at

You should sign this. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011


A sign telling all Bad People where victims may be found, helpfully provided by the City of Madison [1]

I have no problem if you want to hang this up. Your property, your business. You gotta do what you gotta do. Live and let live, maaaan.

If I had a shop in Madison I would put one up [2]: it's expected. Not having one would be like slapping up a 'I love Ronald Reagan' sign on your window. You'd be a fool to do that and expect people to patronize you in that town.

But the expectation of some on the left is that everyone who hates-hates-hates concealed carry should put these up at their house. No, really, I seen it with my own eyes.

Why would one go out of their way to advertise one's helplessness? If someone gets killed with that sign on their door, can we call it suicide?

[1] Insert the obvious 'X square miles of crazy surrounded by Y' joke, here.
[2] Not that I'd heed my own sign. When in Rome do as the Romans do but keep your sidearm handy.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Halloween - 2011

My youngest as a Jawa.

All credit to my wife who sewed the costume and is generally an outstanding gal.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Juggalo Madness

“I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”

- Steve Martin


Saw lefty guys I know posted this on Facebook.  I call shenanigans.

As long as we've got a state, and it does stuff that needs to be done, it has be paid for.  Taxes are a way.  Not the only way, perhaps not the best way, but it's what we've got.

One objection I've got to paying taxes is all the dumb stuff the government spends that money on. 

Paying teachers for two days of time off to attend a state-wide teaching convention that (drum-roll) was cancelled months ago.  Paying for a crack-team of SWAT cops to handcuff someone's grand-ma in the Denny's because she had a moon rock.

And for the Eff-Bee-Eye to spend God-knows how much money to write a report that declares that Juggalos are a threat to law, order, and the American Way.

Them fellers is weird and dresses funny and listen to god-awful music and fetish off-brand soda.  Danger-Will-Robinson-Danger.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tab Clearing

I slept for maybe five minutes last night.  Then work's help desk called, and I spent the next eleven hours fighting a mother-lovin' fire at work.  I got a great deal done today but not much of what I planned on doing.  Not complaining - I'm well compensated for what I do and I like it.  Just .. man it's been a day.

So .. links.

The Roots of Lisp - Paul Graham.    In 1960, John McCarthy published a remarkable paper in which he did for programming something like what Euclid did for geometry. He showed how, given a handful of simple operators and a notation for functions, you can build a whole programming language. He called this language Lisp, for "List Processing," because one of his key ideas was to use a simple data structure called a list for both code and data.

Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine, Part I   I don't know if I'll understand this, but I'm going to give it a go.

Progress and its Sustainability - John McCarthy.  With the development of nuclear energy, it became possible to show that there are no apparent obstacles even to billion year sustainability.

The Sayings of John McCarthy.  When there's a will to fail, obstacles can be found.

US Air Force grounds the F-22 fleet (again).  I sure hope the Air Force kept the receipt for the F22. I want cash back, not store credit.

disable/enable dtlogin.  Work.  You don't think I'd run CDE at home do you?

AIRcable - Serial5x.   Saw one of these at work.  Sitting next to a rack, which is next to a machine blowing a hurricane of cold air across one's head, is an awful way to work.  This lets you get out of the room and into the hallway, while talking serial to the equipment.  I need this.

Dreamsongs - Blending Art & Science.  I don't know why I opened this up.

Professional Educators (I am the only one professional enough to teach children (BOOM)) [1]  told kids there was an intruder, go, run, hide.  They lied.  They lied so they could search the school for drugs.  They didn't find any drugs.  Anyone with a passing acquaintance with high school knows how friggin' improbable this is, can draw conclusions about the effectiveness of treating children like inmates.  And that of the Great Drug War.

Confessions of an Actual Man.  Men are like little boys, always wanting to go higher and faster, to explore jungles and invent exotic aircraft. Always childlike, we love to race alone across the late-afternoon deserts of Arizona on a Harley, with the air furnace-hot and sunset burning out from incandescent reds to rolling waves of oranges on celestial beaches, the night rising from behind distant mountains. Women want granite counter-tops. These last, and are easy to clean.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

[1] That never gets old.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Government can't take out the trash efficiently. Solution: get rid of the trash cans.

The idea is to reduce the load on the authority’s overtaxed garbage crew, which is struggling to complete its daily rounds of clearing out 40 tons of trash from the system.

An idea only a bureaucrat or committee would embrace.

Look.  One person is going to be a good guy and carry his trash out of the subway.  A dozen people might.  Tens of thousands of people are a mob.  A mob will leave all kinds of crap behind.

Asked what waiting passengers would do without a garbage bin, Bianca
Thomas, 22, waiting for a Brooklyn-bound train at Eighth Street, pointed
straight at the track. “Right there,” she said, noting several plastic
water bottles strewn by the third rail. “They’ll more than likely toss
it. Nobody wants to walk around with trash in their hand.”


It is too early for politics

Who is the only candidate promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in 2013?

Who is the only <br/>candidate ...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Glorious Revolution

I arrived here in 1995, a broken down vaudevillian from the old country. When I arrived in America, here is what America asked of me:

Nothing.  I was free.

Free of my own past, free to succeed, free to fail.  America did not even ask me to be a citizen. I choose to be a citizen.

Whatever mistakes we make along the way we, the People, always correct them. We the People, the citizens of the United State of America, are it's voice , we are it's soul, we are it's expression. Our leaders are but servants to our voice.

That is our Glorious Revolution.

Craig Ferguson - Prologue from 'A Wee Bit O' Revolution'

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Thrift vs Responsibility is a terrible conflict to throw at an Anglo-Celt

Wisconsin Department of Justice sez in regards to the 2011 Wisconsin Act 35 (aka we get to tote guns around, now)

Act 35 requires applicants to provide proof of firearms safety training. Any one of the below listed documents will be accepted as proof of meeting the law’s training requirement:

3. Proof of military, law enforcement, or security firearms training.

  • Former military: DD214 or DD256 form showing either “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” discharge
    or release from the US military.

Hey - I got me one o' them.

And?  Does the lege think that being in the service confers small arms proficiency?

In theory everyone who gets out of the service is a certified friggin' Rambo.  Death from above.  Etc.  In practice ... not so much.

Your average guy or gal learns the basics of firearms safety, knows how to carry and utilize a rifle.  They may fam-fire a pistol. [1]

There is nothing that says a former service member knows how to safely carry and use a concealed firearm, nor that they understand the legal and ethical ramification of using deadly force.

It's a stupid requirement. [2]  Either the regs should say 'pass a proficiency test meeting metrics X, Y, Z' or it should stay silent and let everyone carry.  

A kind of wink-wink-nudge you're in the club deal is flat-out retarded.

[1] Grunts will know all about shooting a variety of weapons.  Squids think that anything that doesn't take a team to prep and fire and a ship to carry it around and isn't really a weapon a'tall.

[2] I confess to an internal conflict.  I can carry concealed without having to pay: cool.  But I know deep in my heart that I'm never done that, have no idea what I'm doing.  Training is called for.  I guess that's what 'be a responsible citizen' is all about.  Thrift vs Responsibility is a terrible conflict to throw at an anglo-celt.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ve Vant Ze Money Lebowsky

Everlasting Phelps

It’s been nagging at me how useless and nihilistic this whole Occupy Whatever “movement” (more like a fit) has been about,

Hold that thought.  Nihilists.  Demands.  Hey ...

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.
Nihilist: Ve don't care. Ve still vant ze money, Lebowski, or ve fuck you up.
Walter Sobchak: Fuck you. Fuck the three of you.
The Dude: Hey, cool it Walter.
Walter Sobchak: No, without a hostage, there is no ransom. That's what ransom is. Those are the fucking rules.
Nihilist #2: His girlfriend gave up her toe!
Nihilist #3: She thought we'd be getting million dollars!
Nihilist #2: Iss not fair!
The Dude: Hey, cool it Walter. Look, pal, there never was any money. The big Lebowski gave me an empty briefcase, so take it up with him, man.
Walter Sobchak: And, I would like my undies back.
Donny: Are they gonna hurt us, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny. These men are cowards.
Nihilist: Okay. So we take ze money you haf on you, und ve calls it eefen.
Walter Sobchak: Fuck you.

Oh, Big Lebowski - you are always there for me.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Clearing Tabs

Node.js is Cancer. Node.js is a tumor on the programming community, in that not only is it completely braindead, but the people who use it go on to infect other people who can't think for themselves, until eventually, every asshole I run into wants to tell me the gospel of event loops. Have you accepted epoll into your heart?

Warren Buffet wants to pay more taxes.  Perhaps he should start by having Berkshire Hathaway paying the taxes that it already owes “The rough translation of the report is that Berkshire Hathaway did not pay all the federal taxes that it was required to for 2002 through 2004.  The IRS examination team caught Berkshire Hathaway on at least some issues.  Instead of paying up, Berkshire Hathaway is threatening the IRS with protracted litigation and is in the process of cutting a deal with the IRS Appeals office.”

Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) is an ignorant pus-weasel.  I have spent time working to comply with regulations.  Most recently this very weekend where a application that calculates regulatory compliance got a bit of bad data from ERP and threw up all over itself. In the end fixing it is going to involve four people @ several hours each.  Not counting the time Friday and Saturday that three of us spent holding up it's hair while it threw up in the toilet and whimpered.

There was nothing productive about it.  It was wasted time, time during which I neither delivered value to my employer, nor made life better, nor built a product, nor had a lot of fun.  The only thing I did was ensure that somewhere an auditor is happy.

Op-Ed: Obama 'Devastating' for Civil Liberties. (NPR).   (The) purpose of this column, is to address the fact that President Obama is a perfect nightmare when it comes to civil liberties. He not only adopted most of President Bush's policies in the civil liberties areas when it comes to terrorism, but he actually expanded on them. He outdid George Bush.

Obama has taken everything that Bush did and dialed it to '11'.  We wanted change ...

Evolve. A case for modernization as the road to salvation. Technology got us into this mess. Only technology can get us out.

The sound of capitalism.
Hip hop music was blamed for the August riots. But behind the celebration of “bling” is a culture of entrepreneurship.

Markets Not Capitalism is a powerful and long-overdue compilation of Market Anarchist thought.  And although editors Charles Johnson and Gary Chartier seem to have made the farcical mistake of including a couple of my pieces they have done an amazing job on the whole.

Vive La Revolution!  The US is probably getting ready for a revolution. Back in the Cold War days, the CIA was asked to do a portrait of a country that might have a revolution. It decided that such a country would have three characteristics:

Occupy Wall Street: Fighting Capitalism, One Food Cart at a Time. And while the occupation has been compared to the Arab Spring and Tahrir Square, the mostly Egyptian kebab cookers and breakfast sellers who are losing their livelihoods aren’t too sure.

Co-lateral damage, maaaaaan.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Take Back Your Government

Take Back Your Government!: A Practical Handbook for the Private Citizen Who Wants Democracy to Work
Robert Heinlein

From politics I have come to believe the following:

(1) Most people are basically honest, kind, and decent.

(2) The American people are wise enough to run their own affairs. They do not need Fuehrers, Strong Men, Technocrats, Commissars, Silver Shirts, Theocrats, or any other sort of dictator.

(3) Americans have a compatible community of ambitions. Most of them don't want to be rich but do want enough economic security to permit them to raise families in decent comfort without fear of the future. They want the least government necessary to this purpose and don't greatly mind what the other fellow does as long as it does not interfere with them living their own lives. As a people we are neither money mad nor prying; we are easy-going and anarchistic. We may want to keep up with the Joneses - but not with the Vanderbilts. We don't like cops.

(4) Democracy is not an automatic condition resulting from laws and constitutions. It is a living; dynamic process which must be worked at by you yourself- or it ceases to be democracy, even if the shell and form remain.

(5) One way or another, any government which remains in power is a representative government. If your city government is a crooked machine, then it is because you and your neighbours prefer it that way - prefer it to the effort of running your own affairs. Hitler's government was a popular government; the vast majority of Germans preferred the rule of gangsters to the effort of thinking and doing for themselves. They abdicated their franchise.

(6) Democracy is the most efficient form of government ever invented by the human race. On the record, it has worked better in peace and in war than fascism, communism, or any other form of dictatorship. As for the mythical yardstick of "benevolent" monarchy or dictatorship - there ain't no such animal!

(7) A single citizen, with no political connections and no money, can be extremely effective in politics.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Thursday, October 13, 2011

For UNIX heads

$ rm dritchie/dmr

It reads more like a Hollywood script than an actual Quds plot

"The Quds Force has never been this sloppy, using untested proxies, contracting with Mexican drug cartels, sending money through New York bank accounts, and putting its agents on U.S. soil where they risk being caught. It reads more like a Hollywood script than an actual Quds plot," he said in an interview. "I'm sure the administration is acting on solid evidence, and possibly this is the work of some rogue element of the Quds Force that for some reason is intent on embarrassing Tehran. But something doesn't add up. The Quds Force is simply better than this."

Robert Baer in Iran containment strategy cast in doubt

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pity they both can't loose

Two men, including a member of Iran's special foreign actions unit known as the Quds Force, were charged in New York federal court with conspiring to kill the Saudi diplomat, Adel Al-Jubeir.

And just as Mr. Attorney General Eric "Either a lying whore [1] or an incompetent boob" Holder was all in trouble and stuff for lying to Congress.  Guns ... Mexico ... testimony ... something.  Memories fade. 

Anyway: I thought we were just shooting guys in the head, now.  Trial by jury is so last month.

"This really, in the minds of many diplomats and government officials, crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for," Clinton said.

Wouldn't that be the business of Saudi Arabia, not the State Department?

The U.S. criminal complaint said the Iranian plotters hired a would-be assassin in Mexico who was a paid informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Be nice if we caught a gang of bad guys where the key player wasn't working for the government.  Just once in a while.  Kinda mix it up.

[1] This is harsh to actual whores.  Sorry, ladies.


Frame of Reference

Every law involves the use of force. From now on, instead of saying "That should be illegal" say "Anyone who does that should have 3 grown men slam their face into the sidewalk, be shocked with electricity, be chained up, and be thrown in a cage where they'll probably be raped."  Think about the laws with that frame of reference and you'll be amazed how quickly you become a Libertarian.

Paying Someone To Kick Your Ass Should Be More Fun

Monday, October 10, 2011


Attention, Hordes of English Lit and Women's Study majors down to Occupy Wall Street:

Compensation: $350-$650 A Week Depending On Responsibility & Length Of Time On Staff.

Y'all need to get yourselves over to the Working Families (WFP) and get paid for sleeping in the park and waving signs.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tab Clearing

John Walker: Why I Am Not a Conservative.  Among infringements upon liberty, it's difficult to top murdering citizens without any legal proceeding whatsoever.

SB7: Judge, Jury, Executioner.   The President of the United States of America unilaterally claimed the power to execute his fellow citizens based on nothing but his own say-so. That actually happened in real life. How are people not seething with anger about this? Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one that gives a shit about the rules?

NYT Ombudsman: Who Can't America Kill?  The answer, as a matter of law, is simply unknown right now. That is an extraordinary thing, arising out of the new tactics and technology in use in the American offensive against terrorists and their networks. For the news media, it should be intolerable that the question goes unanswered.

Yet, by the ground rules of press and government interaction now in place, the government opts not to say and the press, including The New York Times, is pushed back on its heels.

DIY Laundry soap.  I am so going to whip some of this up.

An Argument Against Taking Occupy Wall Street Seriously. I guess the idea is that the American people will give up capitalism once they see how wonderful it is to camp out in a park and dress up like Zombies.

Occupy Wall Streeet Could be Disaster for Democrats.   ... when this many famous millionaires get preachy at the same time it can only mean one thing: they’ve had it up to here with the rich.  Just as when hundreds of protestors claim police brutality their next logical step is to demand a larger and more powerful state, of course.

Jerry Pournelle: Occupy Wall Street?   I can’t say I really blame the “Occupy Wall Street” groups. If I were their age I’d be thinking of joining them. They don’t really know what they want, but they really don’t want more of what they’re getting.

JWZ: Liquid Television.  Wow, it looks like MTV has posted the Liquid Television series from the early 90s -- possibly all of it! Good quality, too. 

I introduced my teen to The Maxx.  He's likes it!

Macdonough's Song

Macdonough's Song

"As easy as A B C"--A Diversity of Creatures"

Whether the State can loose and bind
In Heaven as well as on Earth:
If it be wiser to kill mankind
Before or after the birth--
These are matters of high concern
Where State-kept schoolmen are;
But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
Endeth in Holy War.

Whether The People be led by The Lord,
Or lured by the loudest throat:
If it be quicker to die by the sword
Or cheaper to die by vote--
These are things we have dealt with once,
(And they will not rise from their grave)
For Holy People, however it runs,
Endeth in wholly Slave.

Whatsoever, for any cause,
Seeketh to take or give
Power above or beyond the Laws,
Suffer it not to live!
Holy State or Holy King--
Or Holy People's Will--
Have no truck with the senseless thing.
Order the guns and kill!
Saying --after--me:--

Once there was The People--Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, 0 ye slain!
Once there was The People--it shall never be again!

Planets are the abusive parents of evolution

Planets are the abusive parents of evolution. Their very surfaces promote warfare, concentrate resources into dense defensible patches that can be fought over. Gravity forces you to squander energy on vascular systems and skeletal support, stand endless watch against an endless sadistic campaign to squash you flat. Take one wrong step, off a perch too high, and all your pricey architecture shatters in an instant. And even if you beat those odds, cobble together some lumbering armored chassis to withstand the slow crawl onto land— how long before the world draws in some asteroid or comet to crash down from the heavens and reset your clock to zero?

'The Island' - Peter Watts

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Tab Clearing - Part Two

New York State Senators Klein, Savino, Carlucci, and Valesky: Free speech is an entitlement, granted by the state.

Proponents of a more refined First Amendment argue that this freedom should be treated not as a right but as a privilege — a special entitlement granted by the state on a conditional basis that can be revoked if it is ever abused or maltreated.

North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.

"You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It's a little bit more contentious now but it's not impossible to try to do what's right in this state. You want people who don't worry about the next election."

She's joking, of course, said her PR guy.  I dunno: she sounds (mp3) dead serious to me.

This is dangerous delusional bullshit and needs to be dismissed with extreme prejudice.

Tab Clearing

 `A Fatal Self-Absorption.   The difference between Americans and Mohammed Ali is that when he said, “I am the greatest!” he was.

COGs: Citizens Who Were Originally Generic.
  When the world is overrun with vegan community organizers who is going to fix the transmission on a Chevy?

Obama Most Scandal-Plagued President?   ... historians are about to document a rash of Obama scandals, any one of which could tarnish a presidency.

SB7 - Digest: 6 Oct 2011
Mao, like Stalin and three year olds throughout history, could not conceive of the world as an objective reality external to his own mind. Flying a plane is an actual thing you do to manipulate reality. It is not subject to ideological purity or politics. You can not magic that skill into existence by decree.

The Third Wave, CNC, Stereolithography, and the end of gun control.  And remember that thing about information wanting to be free? In our glorious jetcar-free, but peer-to-peer-laden future, collecting and swapping is no longer just for baseball cards; it’s also for plastic printing your own AR-15 magazines and lower receivers.  You can make the part of the gun that is legally a gun.  In your basement.  And there isn't a damn thing the government can do about it.

This might be the goad that gets my basement cleaned up this winter.

The price of life

Steve Jobs is dead: world goes mad with adulation and eulogy. Film at 11.

Me, I wonder, now that he's dead, how long it will take OS X to devolve into a pile of mush, unusable krep, and suck.

I give it five years.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Fiat Voluntas Tua

BlueCross&BlueShield of Tennessee, who happens to be the good doctor's insurer, funded a study how Obamacare would affect access to healthcare state wide. Their analysis suggests that in 2014, 700,000 Tennesseans will become insured, many of whom are younger men eligible for Medicaid, and the rest will be able to purchase subsidized policies through state run exchanges.

There are consequences of this influx of insured patients on to the insurance rolls.

And they are not good ones, as the doctor goes on to explain.

We took a working system - not perfect but it worked for the majority - and made it worse for everyone.

"...children of Merlin, chasing a gleam. Children, too, of Eve, forever building Edens--and kicking them apart in berserk fury because somehow it isn't the same."

That Walter Miller was a pretty sharp cookie.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Ding dong al-Awlaki is dead

Anwar al-Awlaki is dead.  Fine: he wasn't a nice guy.

I have some serious issues with how he was killed.  And you should, too.

The Executive, all by it's lonesome, just murdered a  U.S. citizen, without pesky krep like due process, a speedy and fair trial.

Whacking a citizen with a drone is no different than executing him in the street.

So - we set a precedent.  Act against the interests of the United States, or threaten to,  and the government can order you to be killed and fuck due process. [1] [2]

[1] Who defines what is a threat?  Why, the guy with the gun.  Don't worry - if you done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear [3]
[2] Not my words - that's what Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on the radio this morning.
[3] If you believe that I have some ocean front property in Arizona for sale, cheap.

Internet Bid

For complicated reasons [1], I need an internet provider.

I spent a bit of time on the phone with Time-Warner, persueading them to take my money, but they found it difficult to do so.  We used to be a cable subscriber to them, which was confusing.  The residential gal could not access the business side's records.  The business guy couldn't find my records at all.  It was a big ol' suck.

So.  I live in Neenah, Wisconsin.  I need 'internet' for a family of four.  I don't especially care how it comes in, DSL, cable, ISDN, wireless, fire alarm circuit, just 'inexpensive' and 'reliable'.

[1] For a real long time, work paid for internet access.  It was a perk!  They're not doing that anymore. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You've seen this before

"We don't allow faster than light neutrinos in here," said the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar.

Beer Bread Recipie

This is easy and quick.

3 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs white sugar
1 12 oz can beer

Mix dry. Add beer. Bake @ 350 for 50-60 min.

Also a great way to dispose of excess beer that you might have. Say, if someone saw a great deal on lemonade beer that combined the worst aspects of both.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Minneapolis - St. Paul

Ten hour round trip for a two and one-half hour field trip. The math doesn't work out logically, but the Kid loved the science museum.  He also loved the roller coasters at the former Camp Snoopy at Mall of America.  I remain convinced that roller coasters are best after-the-fact and not during.

Best part - watching the Kid manipulate the wave pool controls to adjust the bottom, frequency and size and watch the waves change shape, when they broke on the 'beach' and so on.  He went at this for a real long time.

And there is news on the dinosaur front!  Sauropods, when I was a child, lived in swamps because their enormous bulk would collapse on land.  This seemed an unlikely survival strategy but whatever. 

Sometime between 'when I was a child' and 'now' Learned Scientists changed their minds.  Sauropods are now nimble critters, bounding across the landscape like gazelle.  I'd like to see Martin Perkins capture one in a net - boy that would make a keen Wild Kingdom episode, hunh? 

Diplodocus could even use his tail like a bull-whip and slap the carnivores around like Billy Sunday whacking drunks in a saloon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I Like Living in the 21st Century Part N

Modern Dentistry.

Any era before now I'd be looking at years of grumpy misery as my gums recede in the face of plaque and bacteria and my teeth fall out, one by one.  In the end I'm drinking warm water and most of my calories come from oatmeal.

Now?  I get a dose of Novocaine, the nice lady works away for ninety minutes with an ultrasound, some minty red goop, and some mintier goop and with good luck in a few months the situation [1] stabilizes.

And you get teevee while you're tipped back, mouth open.  Can't beat that with a stick.

[1] It's my own dumb fault, of course: genetics and parents who took me to the dentist on a regular schedule gave me a good set of teeth.  Then, after the Navy stopped ordering me to the dentist annually, I just stopped going.  Don't do that.

Make the Call

Act like everyone else.  Are your papers in ordnung, serf?  When it comes to making our public spaces safe .. we're all in this together. 

Make the Call - Civilian (YouTube).

Where one can find this in the original German?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reasons why I like my job.

Error messages!

death not achieved conventionally at /Users/bdunbar/bin/ line 4678.

That one is just cute as a basket of puppies.

There is only fairness

President Obama is open about it now. There are no property rights. There is only “fairness”; the Constitution means nothing, liberty is not important; we must be ‘fair’ and that means that those who now pay most of the taxes already now get to pay even more because the government must continue to grow at 7% exponential. Forever.

J.E. Pournelle September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

How much for that doggie in the window?

The F-35 - one expensive machine.

The air force insists that it is $65 million each, while the Department
of Defense says when all costs are included; it will be more like $111
million each.

$111 million will buy

That better one gawd-damned good airplane.  I mean it better poop gold bricks, whistle 'Dixie' and blow up bad guys for that much cash.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

A gremlin minute?

Got a cookbook at the used book store, printed in 1966: "Uncle John's Original Bread Book" [1]

For St. Patrick's Day Oatmeal Bread we have ...

Spoon mixture into large greased bread pan and bake in 350° F. oven for 70 gremlin minutes;

What in the Wide World of Sports is a gremlin minute?

[1] By John Rahn Braue, copyright 1961.

An elephant is faithful—one hundred per cent

The text of 'Horton Hatches The Egg'.

So the next time I need to read my grandson to sleep, and don't have the book handy, I won't have to rely on memory.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I've been to funerals. Some in funeral homes with the charm of a school cafeteria. Even the nice ones are just places where you can say a few words, a prayer or two and you're done. The best you can say about them is that they're better than nothing.

Dad's memorial was at the lake, at the yacht club where he'd spent so much time. Where I spent a lot of my childhood, come to that.

I can't think of a better place for a memorial than a place the deceased loved to be at, where his presence is so close

The priest said

When Bill died he left his boat tied to the rigging dock. It took six of us an hour and a truck to haul his boat out of the water. Bill could do it in five minutes, alone, with a Mercedes.


Every one of us here has had a moment when Bill would wander over to what we were doing, offer some advice. And his way was always right, and easy.


In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother Bill, and we commit his body to the deep.

And we did. And it was good.

Later I'm driving home. In deep night of the Iowa countryside, behind the wheel of a truck just a little bit younger than I am. V8 motor throwing noise into the night and heat into the cab. My youngest is in the middle of the bench seat, his head leaning gently against my arm, sleeping.

With my youngest dozing at my side, I felt him one more time. Then he slipped away.

Rest in Peace, Dad.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Got a good motor and she does scoot right along

This is sitting in my driveway, now.

New Truck - Front

A 1975 Chevrolet K10 Silverado.

Real 1970s technology inside: Bench seat. Wing windows. Prominent ashtray. No cup holders.

New Truck - Inside

Drive this for very long I'll be taking up manly 1970s habits like smoking, disco, and terrible country music.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Little Dog - Big Bone

This is a Happy Dog

Pixie, a Toy Fox Terrier, with a rib.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In which I am turning into an old man.

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

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

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

Morlocks are ugly.  But they get stuff done.

Friday, August 26, 2011


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

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

For $6.75.  Being thrifty rocks.

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Clearing Tabs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Customer Service and etc


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

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

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

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

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

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

Delta. You guys rock.


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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 07, 2011

To My Little Sister Whom I Love

This is how you change a flat tire.

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


Your Brother.

Fifty Years After The End of the World

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

Pictures, here.

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

Monday, August 01, 2011

Who Gets the Flute?

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

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

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

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

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

Sir / Ma'am,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bob will have the support of the economic egalitarian.

The libertarian would opt for Carla.

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

Who gets the flute?


Brian Dunbar
Neenah, Wisconsin

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

Sorry about that.

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I found the wheat

I was reading The Idea of Justice by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, now in paperback, and he starts out with the following example.

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

Sen argues that who gets the flute depends on your philosophy of justice. Bob, the poorest, will have the support of the economic egalitarian. The libertarian would opt for Carla. The utilitarian will argue for Anne because she will get the maximum pleasure, as she can actually play the instrument. Sen states there are no institutional arrangements that can help us resolve this dispute in a universally accepted just manner.

I liked the thought experiment better when it was called 'The Little Red Hen'

“I found the wheat, I planted it, I weeded it, and when it was time to harvest it, I did that too. I took it to the mill to be ground into flour and at last, I baked it into bread.

“Now,” said the little red hen, “I’m going to eat it with my family.” And she did.

Nothing more universal and just than telling the cow, pig and cat to go f*** themselves and eating that bread with your family.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

In Which My Economic Illiteracy Is On Display

If the United States can't keep it's economic affairs in order then perhaps we don't deserve to have a AAA credit rating.


A solution for the problem

So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1
trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and
write checks on the proceeds.

I like it: if the government can wish money into existence then why can't it wish up more money, in really interesting denominations?

Time Passes

In a bag of tools at Dad's cabin was a hatchet. Looked at the sheath - BSA stamped on it. A thirty-year old hatchet, purchased for camping with the Boy Scouts when I was in middle-school. I never felt any particular attachment to it, but .. it went home with me.

The blade is still sharp. Gonna take care of that sucker. Perhaps my boys will find it in a bag of tools when I pass on.

My grandparents lived near here, for a while. Farming alfalfa [1] then selling / servicing irrigation equipment. Yvonne or Michelle took a picture of it - better than this one but from the same vantage point - blown up to poster size - and it hung on the wall at Dad's cabin. Now it's on the wall of my cube at work. The description of how a tuff ring forms caught my eye ...

... created when basalt magma rose to the surface and encountered the wet muds of a lake bottom. Powered by a jet of steam, molten basalt was blown into the air, creating a fountain of hot lava particles and frothy ash. The pieces and blobs of hot lava and ash rained down around the vent and formed a saucer-shaped ring of lapilli tuff and volcanic ash sitting like an island in the lake waters.

Kaboom. Nothing you'd want to stand around and watch.

That corner of the country is like that: a constant reminder of violent events in the not-so-very distant past [2].

Geologic calamity in slow motion.

[1] It does not make any kind of sense to pipe water to the desert for plants that one will turn into cow food. But there it is.

[2] And the not-so distant past. It was quite a deal, watching ash cover Vancouver inches deep.


Money cannot buy
The fuel of Love:
But is excellent kindling.

To the man-in-the-street, who, I'm sorry to say,
Is a keen observer of life,
The word intellectual suggests straight away
A man who's untrue to his wife.

-- W. H. Auden, "Collected Shorter Poems"

Who would hire any of these guys to do a job? They don't know anything.

"A guy increases the debt by 40%, GDP growth is on the way down, food stamps are up 40% and to accomplish this we spent four trillion dollars!"

He sounds upset. I cannot imagine why.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A distinction without a difference

...keep it up, GOP, and you'll have me voting libertarian next year.

"But!" You say. "If you vote for a libertarian, Obama will win again!"


The difference between Mr. Fungus and myself is that he's still got faith in the Republican Party and mine kind of flew out the window a while ago.

Going to vote for Gary Johnson.

If he doesn't get the nod I'm going to vote for whatever nut the Libertarian party cranks out.

Michaelis, what are tanks for?

"Michaelis, what are tanks for?"

"To kill, sir."

"Take your tanks to Suwon," Ridgeway said.

"Fine, sir," Michaelis answered.  "It's easy to get them there.  Getting them back is going to be more difficult because they (the Chinese) always cut the road behind you."

"Who said anything about coming back?" Ridgeway answered.  "If you can stay up there twenty-four hours, I'll send the division up.  If the division can stay up there twenty-four hours, I'll send the corps up."  That, thought Michaelis, was as the start of a brand-new phase of the war, the beginning of the turnaround.

From 'The Coldest Winter' by David Halberstam.

'To kill, sir.'  Korea was a disaster for everyone involved.[1]  The clarity of purpose and will shown by Michaelis and Ridgeway must have been a ray of sunshine to everyone involved.

[1] Except the Chinese government.