Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pity the Dog

The boy needs no pity. He is sixteen and should know better than to leave a pound of bacon on the counter, near the edge, to thaw. Excellent, moderately expensive bacon that was to be bacon and lettuce and tomato sandwiches for dinner.

Pity instead the dog.

Marcus - Hot Dog - Nixie

A good dog. A dog who knows that food on the counter is inviolate. Who was left, alone, with a pound of thawing bacon. Dripping bacon-scented water on counter, and the floor. Getting warmer and tastier smelling by the minute, releasing it's tender meaty smell to the air. Where it flogged her her doggy nostrils, taunting her.

The torture must have been agony, waving a lit smoke under a tobacco addict's nose. In the end, her lust for raw meat overcame her inner good dog and it was gone. And she knew she done wrong: one look at her aspect when I arrived home and said 'I thought you said you had bacon out for dinner?' told the tale.

Poor ol' thang.

Tab Clearing

Simple Math: Taxes Aren't The Answer.  The point is that taxes are a symptom, not the real problem. Spending is (and has been) our problem all along. The size and scope of our government services needs to reflect our means to pay for them, just like anything else. Our politicians, both democrat and republican, want to sell us Ferraris, when we can just about afford Corollas.

Economic Freedom and Quality of Life (YouTube)Excellent video.

Getting Truth's Pants OnA peasant cannot stand to be reminded that there are free men out there... so watch your back.

RPG JS - Create your browser RPG in HTML5.  I need another new toy like I need a hole in my head - but oh so nifty looking.

Tigger - A beautifully simple, command-line based task management system that lives inside your git repo.  I like todo.txt but it's hard to push it off my computer to everyone else.

HaikuAn open source operating system inspired by BeOS.  I need another new toy like I need a hole in my head . . .

Architectural Programming: research and decision-making process that identifies the scope of work to be designed. In prole terms, designing a building as if it were what it is: a system.  Throw in the inputs, out comes your design.  Fascinating.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A vulgar, upjumped, snake-oil-selling, midway-barker huckster

Congress asserted itself and declined to give the President legal cover to conduct a half-assed [1] war in Libya.  To which the Secretary of State Clinton [2] said

Whose side are you on?

The lady is doing her best to make people hate-hate-hate the current administration.  Also: fuck you, bitch.

I had to get my licks in, but I bow to Ken, who said it best, as only a finely trained legal mind with a mastery of the English language could. [3]

You vulgar, upjumped, snake-oil-selling, midway-barker huckster. You venal, amoral, mendacious harpy. You vile, preening, scheming hack. Whose side am I on? I’m on the side of fuck you, bitch. I’m on the side of the Constitution, limited government, limited executive power to kill people, limited executive power to put our armed forces at risk, and the rule of motherfucking law. I can’t believe there was a time when I couldn’t grasp why people despised you. Whose side am I on? You Senator, can you name a nanosecond when you’ve ever been on anyone’s side but your own?

That’s whose side I’m on. What’s it to you?

The shade of George Patton, who knew a thing two about language and the use of profanity in motivating men, is smiling.

[1] One of the worst parts about this whole mess in Libya is how god-awful badly it's being run.  Blow up Libyans, but not too much.  Aim at places where the Qadhafi is staying, but don't actually attempt to kill him.  Do it on the cheap, with airplanes, that don't actually win wars.  You could find better strategists at a comic book shop on Saturday afternoon than at the White House on a weekday.

[2] It is amusing that a chick who was a sort of hippie back in the day is now playing the part of Kissinger in a dirty, illegal, war.

[3] I hope Ken will forgive block quoting in it's entirety.  Excising a snippet did not do it justice.

Windows Powershell - the slimy vegetable of shells

Like a kid eating broccoli and hate-hate-hating it I had a run at Windows Powershell yesterday.

And just like that kid, my very first taste caused immediate retching and revulsion. Gross - people eat this stuff? Willingly?

Launching Powershell from the command line - how? 'ps'? No. 'psh'? No.

c:\> powershell [return]

Eight letters where two would do. And not eight letters in a row, or on the home row or anything useful but spread out all over the gawd-damned keyboard. Ruthlessly condensing commonly used commands to a few keystrokes is something only hairy unix dorks do for reasons that more enlightened beings can only guess at.

I'm surprised they didn't include letters from way up on the row where the number keys hang out in keyboard Siberia.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our lefty military

Aaron points disapprovingly at Cory Doctorow who points approvingly to a Kotte post about the leftist structure of the military.

Seems the military has a lot of tolerance, they spend money on day care, and have the World's Finest Health Care.  Hey look, the military is progressive now let's all sing 'Kumbaya'.

Health care, true.  Mostly.  Unless you are a dependent.  Then you takes your chances.

Tolerance, oh hell yes.  It's one of the very few places left where one can get ahead by merit alone.  Because it makes the military so much more efficient at the lethal business of shooting enemies of the state. 

And it only works because the military takes only whom they want, brainwashes the snot out of them, distills in them the virtues of following orders, group think, and a simplified, selective view of history.

Pity that people who think so much of the military know so very little about it.

Man is superior to government and should remain it's master

Gary Johnson is running for president. Here is a longish interview on Stossel.

He's got executive experience - two terms as governor. Started a business, grew it to a success. He's a small government guy but he's not a nut about it.  Fiscally conservative, socially liberal libertarian.

Come down to it, if you were going by issues I've got more to like about this guy than anybody else in the running.  Control spending, stop blowing people up who aren't a threat, reduce the size and scope of the government - what more could you ask for?

But he can't win the primary. Because Republicans - I am reliably informed by NPR - are a bunch of strait-laced ninnies who will get all upset because he doesn't go to church.

I think citizens are smarter than that.  Screw the pundits, vote your conscience.  I am.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Three months into a one week war

Congress asked the Executive 'Oh, hey, about that War Powers Act and the legal justification for going to war?' and the Executive replied 'Oh hey we're cool. It's not a war. Totally.'

  • 2500 sorties over Libya.
  • $716 million in gas and bombs.
  • Providing most of the intel and refueling to support other people who are dropping bombs.
  • We're only blowing up anti-aircraft missile sites.
  • And whatever those sites need to function.
  • And we're also using drones to drop bombs and kill people.
  • But it's cool: our forces are not at risk because the wogs can't shoot back.
Not A War.

I have not seen such a generous helping of bullshit since my youngest, with a maw full of cookies, insisted that he was not eating cookies. At least the child had the morals to understand he was shucking and jiving: these guys actually believe what they are selling.

The report should have been titled 'Excuses To Do Whatever The Heck I Want To Do Now Shut Up And Let Do My Thing'.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Oh, I thought, I know the answer to this: it's just like the previous solution.  Onward!

Onward into a bramble bush.  First out the gate with the wrong answer, that's me.


For those playing along at home, this is the right [1] solution.

(define (sum-coins penny nickel dime quarter)
   ( + penny ( * 5 nickel) ( * 10 dime) ( * 25 quarter)))

When I learned how to write code we were expected to flowchart, then write the code down on graph paper, then enter it into the terminal. I can see the wisdom of that approach.  On the other hand, it's easy to write fast, make mistakes, then move on.  On the gripping hand it's easy to jam along and and not learn anything.

[1] For some values of right. The user must enter the number of coins in the right order, for example, which bugs me.  Also, I can see where modularizing it would help a whole bunch with readability.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Smells like something and I do not think it is teen spirit

 Can't you recognize bullshit? Don't you think it would be a useful item to add to your intellectual toolkits to be capable of saying, when a ton of wet steaming bullshit lands on your head, 'My goodness, this appears to be bullshit'?

Aw, look at this spread of pics from The Atlantic.  Plucky rebels improvising weapons from junk.  Stalwart do-it-yourself guys whacking at tank cannons with mallets, rocket pods mounted on pick-em-up trucks. 

(Ignore picture 18 featuring some dudes firing rifles at a Libyan airforce fighter jet.  After after three months of 24x7 bombardment by NATO forces enforcing a no-fly zone and humanitarian aid from bombers there is no way for such a thing to exist.)

Plucky rebels.  Barefoot soldiers.  Clear underdogs.  Fighting mercenaries.  And a professional army.  Now what American - rooting as we do for the underdog - could not resist sending other people's sons to help those poor fellers out?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Barbie says programming is hard

Dude gets into programming and finds it's not easy to learn how to code.  C, it turns out, is complex.  Shocked, shocked I am . . .

I can’t help but think a language founded by PhD’s suffers from the ‘shield of complexity’. In other words, those who know it have little interest in simplifying it as it devalues their own knowledge.

I don't know about those guys.  I do flatter myself that I've learned a modest amount about bossing around computers that are based on UNIX, which has a reputation for being difficult to work with.  An awkward interface requiring esoteric commands that, perversely, are easier to wield than a natural language.  Complex is what I'm saying.  What I know from that is this;

The tools are complex because the problems they are addressing are complex.  Those tools are not one bit more complex than they must be.  If the problems like 'ERP for a medium-sized company' could be addressed by a process similar to picking out red peppers, lettuce and mushrooms to make a salad, they would be.  Because the people that pay the bills for all that nonsense would make sure of it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blood On The Gun

Blood on the gun

On safe.  Unfired.  Poor son-of-a-bitch did a tour overseas, came home, got gunned down by incompetent police.  Your average 19-year old grunt in Afghanistan is better trained than your local cops at fast-moving building entry, operates under stricter RoE.

Check this out: An Afghan family is safer having Marines at their door than you are when your local cops get out machine guns and the gungy gear.

Tab Clearing

The Ship of State. Can you feel it lurking just under the surface? I can and I think you can as well. The Greeks knew it as "Nemesis."

When Government Jumps the Shark. The Fanniegate debacle tells us that the progressive ideal is in the process of jumping the shark.

What the F*ck was that? What, you've never had a bad day? Also, did you really think they were buddies, looking at that video?

The Neo-Fredwinian Synthesis: Trouble at the Mind-Matter Interface

The Prophets on Motorcycles by Max Valerio. My prole philistine brain doesn't understand this, but I keep sneaking back and gawking in amazement, like a chimp staring at a Rubik's Cube.

Trotting ahead of Malthus. Speaking of gawking, Szabo comes out with these essays that leave me in awe.

Revisiting GNU Awk YouTube Video Downloader. I don't need this, but I'm sure glad things like this exist.

Slow History Extravaganza. I like the idea. I get all foundered up with two problems. Old books read slow, I get impatient. And: I have no emotional involvement with electronic books. A bound book will sit on the bookshelf taunting me as I walk by: hey, boy, whatsamatter, too good to read about the Peloponnesian War? Sissy. Shamed I'll pick it up and dig into it. Electronic books don't have this hold over me.

The Department of Education has a SWAT team
. Oh, my pardon, not a SWAT team, but cops with rifles, helmets, door breakers and shotguns. Who kick down doors at 6:00 a.m. looking for chicks who are suspected of murder arson embezzlement. They look and act like a SWAT team but not really. Why more people aren't furiously angry at the government for these shenanigans I have no idea.

L’Inconnue. Taken a CPR class? You've been smooching a dead French girl. Pervert.

The New Civility

FC: “Hi, this is Representative (D) Fred Clark.

SS: “Ok.”

FC: “Yes, I just want to give you and John a call again tonight. You may know I’m running against Luther Olsen (R) here in the recall election in the 14th Senate District.”

SS: “Yeah, isn’t that a crime.” [hangs up]

[Answering machine still recording]

FC: “Ok. I feel like calling her back and smacking her around.”

With guys like this, recall efforts are a shoe-in. Democrats have nothing to worry about. Easy-peasy. A walk in the park, is what I'm saying. Keep on keepin' on, guys.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy 14th Love

Fourteen years ago herself made me the luckiest, and happiest, man in the world.

It's had it's up, it's had it's downs.  She's responsible for the former, I'm in charge of the latter.

Been a great ride.  I love her more now than I ever have.

Love is the one thing that can last to the grave, and beyond.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

The first time as tragedy, and the second as farce

Cardinal Obama: The chief martial accomplishment of my administration is Iraq ... Iraq and Afghanistan ... Afghanistan and Iraq .... the chief martial accomplishments are Afghanistan and Iraq ... and Libya .... Our *three* martial accomplishments are Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya ... and Yeman .... Our *four* ... no ... *Amongst* our accomplishments .... Amongst our accomplishments ... are such wars as Afghanistan, Iraq.... I'll come in again.

It's good to be king.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Readable Racket

The two Racket snips are functionally equal, but 'read' different.  To my ill-trained mind the logic in netpay is easier to read, while netpay2 is dense and hard to parse, on first glance.


(define (wage h)
(* 12 h))

(define (tax h)
( * ( / (* 12 h) 100 ) 15))

(define (netpay h)
( - (wage h) (tax h)))

# netpay2

(define (netpay2 h)
( - (* 12 h) ( * ( / (* 12 h) 100 ) 15)))

Possibly the profusion of parenthesis in a LISPy programming is, for me, a pickle.

Anyway. That's another exercise from 'How to Design Programs' out of the way. My monkey-brain has got it's reward pellet for the morning. Onward, Excelsior and etc.

One word: keypunch

A new generation of farm worker training has been announced . . .
Obama today announced a series of new commitments by the manufacturing  industry and colleges aimed at providing half a million community college students with the skills needed to fill jobs in companies across the country.
Maybe keypunch operators.

Take that statement at face value: the American Corporate Empire is going to just wait two or four or six years for 500,000 people to show up?  Aw hell no: those open positions are going to be optimized right the snot out of existence.

Manufacturing jobs aren't just declining because of the economy.  They're declining because the people that run actual manufacturing companies have figured out it's a better deal to increase productivity and profits than employ a herd of schmoes.  How far can this trend go?

There is at least one boat company that employs two guys per shift to make boats.  These guys sit in a booth, run computers that drive the machines that make boats.  Raw materials in one end, out the other end pops a johnboat

This is not an anomaly, this is the future.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Connor, aged 4 months.  He likes his <br/>thumbs.

I'm Blue Bear and I eat thumbs. Arm-nom-nom-nom-nom.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Brought to you by the same folks that run the DMV

Who didn't see this coming a country-mile away?

Wisconsin Right to Life today praised the introduction of Senate Bill 92, legislation that opts Wisconsin out of abortion coverage in the health care exchanges created by Obamacare. The authors of the legislation are Senator Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee) and Assembly Representative Robin Vos (R-Racine).

Welcome to government healthcare

Jeff Greason ISDC 2011 Keynote Address

Speaking of 'space' in Space For Commerce: Jeff Greason ISDC 2011 Keynote Address - A Settlement Startegy for NASA (YouTube).

It's long. It's entertaining. Jeff knows how to talk. I'd launch it in a separate window, and listen.


As long as we've got a government, it is going to spend money on entitlements, and bombers, and space programs. It would be in our best interests if we made sure it was spending our money in wise and productive ways.

This bullshit of 'build a rocket and hope a space program shows up' has got to stop.

Tab Clearing

Did A Massive Solar Proton Event Fry The Earth.  Living here, on Earth, is like living in a house where, once in a great while, the furnace tries very hard to kill everyone.

J.E. Pournelle

The President is apparently proud of giving Chrysler to Fiat after despoiling the stockholders and bondholders in favor of the unions. Now the NLRB is forbidding Boeing from employing people in South Carolina on the grounds that this is a transfer of jobs from a compulsorily unionized state to a right to work state. I don't see how that's constitutional: how is it a power of the federal government to tell Boeing where to build airplanes? Suppose they decide to transfer the work to India or China? This central economic planning does not seem like a good way to recover from an economy in which unemployment is rising, job creation is falling, and although in theory we are in recovery, it sure feels like Depression to many. Perhaps I am unduly discouraged?

It's been called the scariest jobs chart you'll ever see.  As a culture we know how to govern well, how to keep an economy going.  Collectively we keep adding the wrong inputs to the controls as we fly this sucker into the ground.

Excel is not a database.  Introduced SAP at our manufacturing site.  The warehouse people decided they did not like SAP, decided to keep their inventory in Excel.  When it got to be 20mb in size, and loading that thing took 20 minutes, they called IT to 'make it work faster'.  The boss was Not Pleased.

Summer Food Service Program.  Food That's In When School is Out
.  I am sure it's my impending grump-old-man-dom speaking but I bet this got it's start when the people running the regular 'feed the poor kids during school' program decided to expand their Empire.

Houses and the Holy: Pondering the reckless genuine piety of nuns, the mysteries of discernment, juicy turkey,s and where the spattered blood of martyrs may lead.

Check Out What GDP Growth Would Look Like If The Government Were Using The Right Inflation Numbers. We are so boned.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Raising Connor

Heard from the back seat yesterday

Red Bunny: Oh hello Connor, I'm Red Bunny and I'm cute. How do you do?

Blue Bear: I'm Blue Bear and I eat bunnies. Arm-nom-nom-nom-nom.

Red Bunny: Eeek!

Not his uncles, but his mother. She's raisin' that kid right, I tell you.

Friday, June 03, 2011

We're wearing something down all right

Awake from a support call.  Which was easily disposed of, handed off to the analyst who (poor bastard, sorry P) has to log in and edit ratty data.  So what's up in the wide world of sports ..

President Obama on Libya: "Ultimately this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we are able to wear down the regime forces."

Why, seems like only yesterday he was announcing the troops would be home by Christmas, we needed the militia for 90 days to put down the rebels in Richmond, Our Heroic Air Forces would be blowing up people in the name of peace for, what, five days, a week tops.  Ten days at the most, the Air Force promised that this time they could blow shit up real good pinky swear and sugar on top.

Oh and check this out: Dennis Kucinich offered up a resolution requiring us to GTFO of Libya.  Fucking aye-skippy, he got this one right.

House leaders, Republicans who have clearly lost their fucking teeny-tiny minds, postponed the vote on that one, offered up their own, asking the President, pretty-please to explain the mission just one more time and promising that this time they'll take notes.

The military, meanwhile, displaying the can-do attitude that simply does not know the meaning of the phrase 'quit while you are still loosing' insists that 'we're real close to winning this thing and we just need a few dozen more sorties and air medals to get this thing done' or words to that effect.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


An apology the alliance published was its third for such an incident in the past month. Karzai said he was issuing his “last warning” to NATO and would further restrict its ability to conduct attacks.

'Last warning?'  Dude, my people don't well to being threatened.  Let's see ...

  • Bushy Whiskers dead, check.
  • Taliban pee-pees smacked hard, check.

You want us gone, fine.


A long time ago I was assigned to JTF Sea Angel, in Bangladesh. We came ashore, we fed the masses, we drilled some new wells, we done some good.

By week six it was clear the job was done. The ops officer hung a banner, made of fan-fold paper, above his desk, where the general passed by daily.


The general laughed: he was a stand-up guy and knew the score.


Enough blood and treasure have been spent.  It's time to leave.