Saturday, April 30, 2011

Racket Bleg - anyone in the house speak LISPish?

Herself is in Chicago visiting friends.  After doing laundry, raking winter trash from the yard, baking bread, washing rugs, watching Groundhog Day (again) ... I ran out of things to do.  So I picked up the tutorial for Racket.

Exercise 2.2.1.  
Define the program Fahrenheit->Celsius, which consumes a temperature measured in Fahrenheit and produces the Celsius equivalent. Use a chemistry or physics book to look up the conversion formula.

'Deduct 32, multiply by 5, divide by 9.'   The code I came up with works but is unsatisfying - I wanted to cram everything into one expression but can't figure out how.  Or if I can.

(define (fah-celd r)
  (* 5( - r 32)))

(define (fah-celf r)
  ( / (fah-celd r) 9))

> (fah-celf 32)
> (fah-celf 40)

Anyone on my short list of internet friends speak LISPish?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yes it is a retarded way to run a country

For Vishnu's sake, people! Royalty? Hereditary nobility? In the 21st Century? Seriously?!? Can there be any belief more retarded (and I mean that in the most literal sense of the term: the opposite of "advanced") than that someone is an extra-special snowflake because they won the Mommy and Daddy lottery? Have you looked at, say, the Habsburg family photo album?

Well, I dunno Tam. We've got a Secretary of State whose husband was President. A President whose daddy was President. We've got sons of Important People all but appointed to office.

We're doing the hereditary nobility thing. We're just doing it half-assed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Play Along With This

A long time ago some raggedy-ass terrorists stepped out of the fourth dimension turned passenger jets into ad-hoc cruise missiles and killed a whole lot of people. It was so damned improbable it was like living in the back pages of a Tom Clancy novel.

Because, I think, of that improbability, a lot of people got their backs up and decided on the flimsiest of evidence that there was more to it.  And they invented all kinds of alternate explanations like alien death rays [1] melting the targets, or the Jews [1], or a government conspiracy that plotted to detonate the building and flew remote-controlled jet airplanes into the targets to cover up the controlled demo [2] and all kinds of foolishness and hooraw.

These people are so weird and clearly addle-pated and yet so very, very, dedicated that ten years later we all steer clear of them and their ideas, as if they were the weird guy downtown shouting at monsters.

I swear, if George Bush stood up in court and said 'Yeah, I planned the whole dad-gum thing.' and he had documentation and a probe of Gray Aliens in the courthouse to back him up all right-thinking people would nod knowingly and say 'Yeah, right.  Isn't 'Dancing With the Stars' on tonight?'

President Obama released his actual birth certificate today.  And sure as Grey Aliens have a fondness for pointy things, people have pounced on the thing, alleging all kinds of irregularities and muttering 'cover up' and generally turning into the monster shouting guy downtown.

It's a master stroke.  All right-thinking people are steering clear - even more than they used to - of those guys and their funny ideas.  Give the cultural soup a few weeks to simmer and if the public is presented with incontrovertible evidence of funny business surrounding the man's birth, all right-thinking people are going to say 'Yeah, right.  Isn't 'Dancing With the Stars' on tonight?'

Not - I need to add - that there is actually more to Barack Obama than what we see.  It's just funny (funny ha-ha) how these things can work.

[1] No, I am not kidding.
[2] And how much of this is the work of Operation MF, I wonder.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shameless Commerce Division

Bottle caps decorated with skulls, turned into necklaces.

If these words fill you with delight, and even if they do not, hie thee to The Feisty Monkey.

And don't go just because this is my daughter and I'd like to see her venture in micro-business succeed. Do it because they're super-keen.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tab Clearing

Nancy Pelosi: 'Elections shouldn't matter'.

Congress: Online poker for me not for thee.

John 'Autodesk' Walker
Most libertarians and conservatives have great respect for the rule of law and civil discourse. They're inclined to assume their opponents are well-intentioned adversaries with a different vision of how to better the general welfare. This is an error: they are not “liberals” or “progressives”, as they call themselves, but rather enemies of liberty and progress. Enemies explores why champions of liberty must defeat them and how that might be accomplished.

I don't see a contradiction here: Bee Stung

This is the theory that endemic poverty comes about because people are laboring under so many other crushing, egregious burdens, that they can't handle one more thing.  Say, they're discriminated against and illiterate and not allowed to own land.  Even the most trivial of bad luck will make them desperately poor.

This of course is in complete contradiction to Thomas Sowell theory that the way to avoid poverty is to finish highschool, get married and stay married.


Obama's political speech made the issues very clear. According to Obama, Americans are entitled to health care, pensions, unemployment compensation, negative income taxes, and permanent civil service jobs. It is up to us to provide the wherewithal to pay for this. We do not have spending problems, we have income problems, and the solution is to raise taxes on the rich until all the entitlements are paid for.  This is a brutal summary of Obama's speech, but if you boil down what he said, that's pretty well it.

Soy tejano

They also noticed a Hispanic family with three girls ages 8 to 12. The father, a CPA with a Wharton degree, photographed his family in front of the limestone walls of the chapel and told them briefly about the Alamo, telling the girls that “it stood for courage and integrity, virtues they needed to cultivate in their own lives.”

At that point, the Anglo graduate student arrived at the chapel door. He asked, “Why are you even here today? Don’t you know what this place stands for? It represents the rape and destruction of your people.”

The Hispanic man replied politely at first, but the graduate student was persisten

“You don’t understand, you just don’t understand,” he continued. “You shouldn’t be teaching your kids this stuff.”

…at which point the CPA replied with understandable irritation:

Soy tejano (I’m a Texan]. Mind your own goddamned business. It’s my Alamo too.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

iPad Bad iPod Good

... seeing that a congressman can give a speech
that says that the iPad is bad because it creates unemployment by
allowing people to do things and gather information more efficiently.

Guh-wuh?  But .. but .. this is the same guy who wants Uncle Sugar to buy every student an iPod and a laptop.

iPad bad, iPod, laptop good?  Computers are good if the government pays for them?  Goofball politician?  What is going on here?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Viking Wake-Up Call

My grand-daughter in full cry. (YouTube Ahoy) 

And now I know how to say scream 'wake up' in Swedish.

Tab Clearing

TSA looks hardest at people who bitch aloud about the TSA.  Cast your eyes down, keep the mutter to yourself, smile at The Man and say 'yessir', speak only when spoken to.

There’s a strong argument that says if you insist that people pay at least something for a service, even if it’s not much, then they will value it a lot more in the long run.  Parents know this: kids never value something until they pay for it with cash they earned themselves.

Review: WHERE'S WALLIS? Behind Closed Doors: The Tragic, Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor.

Guy makes a joke, cops get irate, bust his ass for harassment, disorderly, resisting arrest.  Cast your eyes down, keep the mutter to yourself, smile at The Man and say 'yessir', speak only when spoken to.

Daphne has a video of cello rockers.
  That is awesome.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Soldiers Talk About

The Allies bugged conversations of German POWs. Predictably with a bunch of young guys  . . .

The record of a bugged conversation from June 1944 reveals the importance of womanizing among the men. The transcriber decided to summarize the discussion instead of noting the men's exact words:

"18:45 Women

19:15 Women

19:45 Women

20:00 Women."

Also, predictably, the soldiers talked about a krep load of unsavory topics that you would expect, and any right-minded person would be horrified at.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Red in tooth and claw.

Or something like that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

'Cos there's something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone

Tam on pundit-television and politics and I don't know what-all
When I was little, I thought that part of growing up involved a magical transformation whereby things you previously thought were icky now seemed exciting and thrilling: Things like staying inside of a perfect, sunny weekend morning and watching a bunch of people on the television sit in chairs and talk about politics. Alas, that transformation never happened, and I still find it icky, albeit for different reasons.

Back then, it was icky because it was boring and I couldn't understand half of what they were talking about. Now it's icky because it's boring and I realize that they're a pack of self-important jackanapes and poltroons without the brains God gave a turnip and all the finely honed grasp of ethics and consequences exhibited by your average neighborhood crackhead, but with better clothes.

Related: herself has never heard 'Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down'. And now, thanks to YouTube, she has.  Don't tell me the 21st century isn't a great place.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Nature: it is awesome

Plants with burs have evolved a very efficient method of reproduction.

The hooks catch the fur of my dog.

I comb them out of her fur, throw them in the trash.

Men come along whose sole purpose in life is to carry the seed, neatly cushioned with refuse, to the dump.

Nature: it is awesome.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Root Cause

The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal government shutdown would undermine the economic recovery, delay pay to U.S. troops fighting in three wars, slow the processing of tax returns and limit small business loans and government-guaranteed mortgages during peak home buying season.

If shutting down some functions of the government
is such a massive problem for the economy, perhaps the solution is to make it smaller so it isn't so much of a threat to the rest of us.

Hold my beer watch me do this

The United States may consider sending troops into Libya with a possible international ground force that could aid the rebels, according to the general who led the military mission until NATO took over.

Army Gen. Carter Ham also told lawmakers Thursday that added American participation would not be ideal, and ground troops could erode the international coalition and make it more difficult to get Arab support for operations in Libya.

It is as if the Democrats looked at how we got into the mess in Iraq and said 'You call that a quagmire?  Now watch how an expert does it."

Sophisticated Europe

A long time ago we had a president who was doing a chubby intern.

And some Americans got uptight about it.

And we were told by Europeans everywhere 'Relax, it's just sex. He's the leader of the country, they have mistresses, it happens get over it you uptight prudes.'

So now with Silvio Berlusconi having sex with underage prostitutes and orgies and I don't know what-all I guess that makes Europe - and Italy in particular - about eighteen times more sophisticated [1] than us hicks in the United States and so-on and so-forth.

Y'all must be so proud.

[1] Sarcasm.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mattie Ross

Picked up 'True Grit' a few days ago on a whim.  I liked the movie well enough, but novel is simply outstanding and I am better for having read it.

Donna Tartt explains Mattie Ross, in the afterword to the movie tie-in novel thus;

.. this deadpan flatness serves a double purpose in the novel, for if Mattie is humorless, she is also completely lacking in qualities like pity and self-doubt, and her implacable stoniness - while very, very funny - is formidable, too, in a manner reminiscent of old tintypes and cartes des visites of Confederate soldier boys: dead-eye killers with rumpled hair and serious angel faces.  Mattie ... is the perfect soldier, despite her sex.  She is as tireless as a gun dog; and while we laugh at her single-mindedness, we also stand in awe of it.  In her Old Testament morality, in her legalistic and exacting turn of mind, in the thunderous blackness of her wrath "What a waste! ... I would not rest easy until that Louisiana cur was roasting  and screaming in hell!" she is less Huck Finn's little sister than Captain Ahab's.

Anyone who is being pushed around, who needs to accomplish much at long odds, who has miles to travel before dark, would do well to look to Mattie Ross.

Display Some Adaptability

Libyan government forces continued attempts to advance against Brega and Misrata while NATO was reorganizing and re-thinking its effort. NATO leadership attempted to reduce the number of “cooks in the kitchen” while attempting to adapt to the Duck’s new “human shield” strategems. By deploying their heavy weapons in civilian areas and advancing in light vehicles similar to those used by the rebels, the Khadaffi forces had created new tactical problems for NATO air forces, which managed 14 strikes on Monday.

Improvise, adapt, overcome.  The big brains at the Pentagon and NATO High Command are being out-generalled by a bunch of desert hillbillies in Toyota pick-em-trucks with machine-guns mounted in the bed.

So lets' see ...

We declared war on a country that ain't done nothing to us.  We had no good idea of how to fight the war, or end it.  Our one Big Idea is to deliver humanitarian aid by F-15.  Our back-up Big Idea is to shrug our shoulders and go 'dur'.

It's like our Betters have never played a board game more complicated than Monopoly.

Monday, April 04, 2011


But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his  judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he  and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any
doubt at all, I'd literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he's smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the  consequences of his actions, and more farsighted. I voted for him  because I trust his judgment, and I still do.

Just admit you're a serf and call it a day. Tug your forelock, bend a knee, stand aside when Your Betters come down the lane: go whole hawg on that thing, buddy.

Fuck that nonsense sideways and silly.

Tab Clearing Mini-Edition

A senior member of the Executive tells the Legislature they're going to ignore the Legislature and do whatever it is they want to do.  Big yawn, whatever.  I am continually amazed that more is not made of this in the news.   You'd think tearing holes in what remains of the Constitution would be newsworthy.

Better living through chemicals.  Oh hell yes I'd take NZT.  Once the prove it's safe.  And I won't pull a Charlie  if I get off the junk.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Wake up, sleepyhead

Lesson from the 4th Sunday of Lent, Ephesians 5:18-14

 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

   “Wake up, sleeper,
   rise from the dead,
   and Christ will shine on you.”

Mission Miracle Mile Trilogy

 I am no kind of appreciator of the fine arts.  I drink beer now and again and think 'Hee-Haw' was and is pretty darn funny.  So I sure am not the target audience for an art book with a run of 12 and that sells for more than I paid for my fourth or fifth-hand used car.

The Mission Miracle Mile Trilogy
is a solo effort in which Dana F. Smith’s digitally enhanced
photography takes center stage. The large version of the trilogy
features thirty-two-inch page spreads that are printed full-bleed with
saturated images of sidewalks, bus transfers, crushed pills, street
vendors, tattoos, transients, and schoolchildren. The effect is
dramatic, each page turn evoking the atmosphere of San Franciso's
Mission street.


Also, I've never been to Mission Street. 

For all that, the pictures are very good and Max Valerio's scrawled poetry on them works real well.