Sunday, December 30, 2007

Harassing the Cat

So I'm here at home, installing OS-X on a Mac Beige G3 All-in-One (any
Mac people out there will know what I'm talking about) in the interest
of playing with it (prior to installing Linux).

I've got the thing sitting on the floor, and while it's booting up, my
cat Elf decides to check it out -- and becomes fascinated by the mouse
cursor moving around on the screen. Fascinated enough, in fact, that
she decides to try and catch it...

Except the damn thing won't STAY caught (much like the dot from the
laser pointer), causing her to get more and more frustrated at it.
Finally, she gets so mad that she tries to beat the crap out of it
before heading into the kitchen to console herself with some kibbles.

By the time she gets back, the installation is ticking away, and she
gets interested in watching the progress bar move along. When she gets
interested enough, she tries to sniff it to see if perhaps it's
edible -- whereupon the static build-up on the screen 'bites' her nose
hard enough that she runs into the bedroom to escape it.


Thursday, December 20, 2007


Having been tagged by the wise-ass Jooette from the Bronx (or wherever) , here are my answers to the Christmas meme...

A Jooette doing Christmas memes? WTF?

The rulez:
1) Link to person that tagged me (done above).
2) Share Christmas facts about myself.
3) Tag 7 others (okay, that might be a challenge -- I don't read THAT many blogs)
4) Inform tagees of their misfortune via comments in their blogs.

The Kweschuns:
1. Wrapping or gift bags? Fark that. If I'm gonna give someone something, I generally don't wait for a special 'season'.

2. Real or artificial tree? Fark that, too. No tree for me. My turd-with-a-tail, Elf, would just trash it, anyway.

3. When do you put up the tree? Ummm.... Never.

4. When do you take the tree down? The last time I took a Christmas tree down was somewhere in the mid-70's, I believe.

5. Do you like eggnog? In limited amounts, and when it has been suitably 'fortified'.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The chemistry set I got when I was in 7th grade. Once I started distilling my own alcohol for my burners, it proved to be highly profitable to provide 190+ proof alcohol to a select number of classmates (strictly for THEIR chemistry sets, of course) in high school...

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. Nor have I seen any scenes depicting the conception, either.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Clothes, every freakin' year...

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? If I send any (seldom more than 1 or 2), it's by snailmail.

10. Favorite Christmas movie? How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I root for the Grinch). [I was tempted to name a pr0n movie...]

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I start my Christmas shoplifting early -- around April, or so...

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Lasagne.

13. Clear lights or colored? All my lights are compact flourescents, so neither. Oh, you mean CHRISTMAS lights - I don't do lights, either.

14. Favorite Christmas song? Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Stay home.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? No. But I've got Rudolph's nose in my crosshairs...

17. Angel or star on the top of your tree? feh.

18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? All I ever get is coal, anyway, so it doesn't matter. What I always want is any 3 of the Victoria's Secret models, wrapped in cellophane, but I never get them.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Bloody damn Christmas music everywhere. One of these days, I just know I'm going to go in diabetic shock because of it.

20. What do you leave for Santa? the latest copy of Penthouse.

21. Least favorite holiday song? any of them.

22. Do you decorate your tree with any specific theme or color? The little bit of decoration I do, I use ultraviolet and infrared.

23. Favorite ornament? Nothing, yet, though I'd be interested in a Yule Doos...

It's not so much that I'm a Scrooge/Grinch, but that I'm simply not interested and don't like being hammered with it for two months ahead of time. Some of the local stores replaced the Halloween crap with Christmas crap...

I got nobody to tag -- everyone that I'd foist this off on have already been hit; unless someone wants to have another shot at it?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Apples vs. Oranges

Our local cable TV company -- Bresnan -- has been running ads trying to convince people that Bresnan Internet is superior to DSL. They've been doing this by 'comparing' DSL speeds to those offered by Bresnan.

The ad consists of a person bringing up four different tasks, and showing the time it takes to accomplish them.

It's what Bresnan isn't saying in the ads that grates on me.

From the speeds they're showing, it looks like Bresnan is comparing their (theoretical) top speed of 8Mbps with DSLs (functional) minimum of 256K (if you're close enough, you can purchase higher speeds, too). What isn't mentioned is that cable's 8Mbps is shared (not necessarily equally) with ALL the people on a particular section of the line, and that DSL speeds are for EACH INDIVIDUAL USER. So if you get someone on a cable Internet line with the desire to use it, and hardware to support it, that one person may end up taking 6Mbps of bandwidth, leaving the rest to be shared by everyone else; if you get a DSL line, whatever bandwidth you're willing to pay for is all yours.

Another part of that shared line with cable is that if there's even one Internet Idiot that doesn't have his/her Windows computer up-to-date with antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, and so on, that persons computer is going to be spewing out a lot of bullshit traffic: attempts to spread the Windows virus of the day, attempts to connect to any other unprotected Windows computers, sending out spam emails because the unprotected computer has been turned into a zombie, and so on. That will further reduce the amount of bandwidth available for 'real' Internetting. When I was stuck with Bresnan, I could watch as all the Windows machines on my section tried to get through my firewall - there wasn't a minute that went by that something wasn't happening.

Oh, and let's not forget to compare the reliability of the two services: how often does your phone go out, versus your cable TV/Internet? How long does it take each company to correct the problem, and does that repair 'stick'? As I'm typing this, Bresnan has had a problem with (at least) one of their 'gateways' (how multiple computers can access the same area -- much like the gateway in a fence): it wasn't accessible for nearly half a day, came back up for a couple of hours, and now appears to be offline again. Without that gateway, there could be several HUNDRED people without Internet access - even though their cable TV may still be working. This isn't the first time this problem has come up in the last few months, and isn't going to be the last: word I get from some Bresnan insiders is that they have way oversold their services, and don't have the hardware and infrastructure to support their customers as they should.

In contrast, I have DSL in my area precisely because Qwest has run fiber optic cables up here in the Heights: it literally runs under the street in front of my apartment building.

One last thing to consider is the level of technical support available. From my own personal experience, I have to say that Qwest is far, far superior to Bresnan. Back when I was stuck with Bresnan for my broadband, I was supposed to call their 800 number (a service center in Armpit, Iowa, I believe) to let them know I had a problem. The thing was, the tech support weenie I got was insistent that I go through their cookie-cutter troubleshooting sequence before conceding that there might actually be a problem with their hardware. What actually happened was that I eventually started calling the local office to see if they had received a report of an outage in my area.

The (very few!) times that I've had to call Qwest, though, I've been able to tell their service center people where and what the problem is: "It looks like I've got a problem with the nameserver at because it isn't answering pings." "Hold on while I check it... yup, it's down. Okay, I'll get someone to reset it."

Problems with Bresnan generally took hours, if not days, to get corrected; Qwest usually had them straightened out in minutes (only rarely did something take an hour).

The bottom line here is that in realistic terms, if you have a choice between Qwest DSL and Bresnan cable, I'd STRONGLY recommend the DSL. In practical terms, you'll likely never notice any difference in the bandwidth 'differences', and the reliability and security of DSL is infinitely superior, in my opinion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've gone ahead and captioned the image of my cat Elf radiating cute waves as she tried to convince me to NOT displace her, and submitted it to I Can Has Cheezburger:

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

It looks like they allow voting, not that I'd do anything like ask readers to actually do anything like that...

There's a dog-centric alternative over at I Has A Hotdog that shows stuff like this:


Friday, December 7, 2007

Yeah, me, too...


I know I haven't posted anything for a while, but Real Life (tm) has been keeping me busy. Hopefully, this little post will help make up for that deficiency...

For those that haven't already heard about it, there was a project started called One Laptop Per Child: the goal being to provide appropriate educational technology to kids that needed it and would benefit from it. [Note: these would be kids in the second- and third-world, not here in the U.S.]. The original idea was to come up with a laptop (for portability reasons) that was as easy to use (they're kids that have likely never even SEEN a computer, right?) and reliable (2nd- and 3rd-world, remember) as possible. Additional factors were price (affordability), efficiency (power isn't always available or reliable in a lot of places), flexibility (who knows what they're going to be needed for, or what use someone will want to put them to), and so on.

After a lot of testing, design, re-testing, re-design, and so on, what was ultimately developed was the XO, which can be sold for $188. While not any kind of competitor to anything else in the world, the XO/OLPC system seems to have met its goals admirably. Some of its features are:

  • sealed against dust, dirt, water, and about anything else that it might be exposed to
  • built-in 'mesh' networking (ad-hoc networking between XO systems), along with 'regular' wifi
  • color display that can be adjusted to allow grayscale viewing of plain-text documents
  • 4-hour battery life
  • physically scaled for use by kids
  • can be recharged with an AC adapter, solar panel, or even pull-cord charger (think pull-starting a lawnmower)
  • all but bullet-proof (can be dropped from 4 feet [!!] and will keep running)
  • the OS and all applications in Flash memory, so no hard drive to die
  • capable of multiple languages, for local needs
  • built-in camera, speakers, and microphone
  • the mesh networking allows (encourages!) collaborative activities
  • over a dozen built-in applications, ranging from (very basic) word processing, drawing, web browser, music creation, games, and such
  • apparently pretty damn intuitive to operate (judging by some of the reviews I've read)
  • Uses Linux, so it's stable, doesn't require any licensing fees, and can receive upgrades as long as the hardware holds out
  • much, much more...

You might wonder what the hell a third-world kid needs a laptop for - but when you consider how easy and flexible these little boxes are, and the way they can leverage education and learning, you realize that they make a lot of sense: with a donated XO box, a kid doesn't have the expense of paper and pencils (sure, cheap to us, but...), greater resources (if even one XO box can pick up a wifi signal, it can share that link with all the rest, making the entire Internet available), durability (waterproof and all that, remember), educational (even the games encourage thinking and reasoning), and so on.

To have a look at the little buggers yourself, go on over to and see what they're all about. You'll also have the chance to participate in the 'Give One Get One' program, where you can buy one (for $399) for yourself, and have another donated to a kid. On the site, there are also links to reviews of them, and plenty of other nifty information.

If you can, I'd encourage you to participate in the GOGO program - I mean, it's Christmas, f'cryin out loud, and what better gift to give anyone than providing some kid with a shot at having a future?

Friday, November 16, 2007


In this case, that stands for Driving With Intelligence.

You see, I'm old enough that I remember watching how people drove while I grew up, and learned how to drive myself when people still exhibited a sense of responsibility and courtesy when they drove -- and I still try to practice those traits myself. For example:
  • Turn Signals: I have them on my car, and I use them -- even in parking lots, when changing lanes, and (gasp!) actually planning to turn. I'm pretty sure they're still standard equipment on cars, but I don't see them used a whole lot any more. Maybe Drivers Ed classes stopped teaching their use, or something...
  • Speed limits: I observe them, for the most part: if I see a speed limit sign that says "35", I don't consider that the minimum speed as so many folks seem to. Sure, I may go a little over that, if the weather is clear and the road is in good condition and the general flow of traffic is going faster -- but not a LOT faster. I don't think that number on the signs in a Mach number, for instance...
  • Special Situations: Silly me, I figure that if I'm in a parking lot, that implies that cars are parked and people will be walking from their vehicle to somewhere else -- and that I might want to SLOW DOWN to avoid running anyone over. I don't think of a parking lot as a trial area for the Indy 500...
  • Driveways: Again, being the goofy individual that I am, I'm willing to share them with other people -- I steer my vehicle so that I'm on the righthand side, so others can still get by. Unlike so many, I don't plant myself in the middle...
  • Painted arrows: if there are painted arrows on the pavement to indicate which way I should be driving, I'm not afraid to follow directions. Amazingly enough, doing so means that it I find it easier and safer to get around, and even find a parking space, which leads me to...
  • Parking spaces: First, I'm not someone that's willing to drive around for 20 minutes trying to find a spot close to the door; I don't have any problem walking the extra 20 feet if I find an open spot a little farther away. And on top of that, I actually try to get my car parked between and parallel with the painted lines...
  • Sound: I don't have a $1000 megawatt stereo in a $500 car, and my muffler is not only installed but actually works -- I'm not inconsiderate enough to inflict my taste (or lack thereof) in music on those around me, and having "straight pipes" or resonant muffler or an otherwise noisy vehicle doesn't make it any faster or improve my gas mileage at the expense of the hearing of others...
  • Other drivers: Yes, I know they're out there, and I willingly share the road with them. All I want is the little piece that I'm driving on, without the hassle of some jackass that thinks the street is his/her personal property to do with as they please...
  • Driving: while my car is in motion, I actually have my attention on my driving. I'm not yapping on a cell phone while trying to use my laptop while eating a 4-course meal while putting on makeup...
  • Pedestrians: Sometimes, I'm one of them, too -- so I watch out for them, and do goofy shit like NOT stop my car across the crosswalk, make my turns too close to folks trying to cross the street (WITH the light!), and generally recognize the fact that in a contest between my 4,000 pound steel box and a human bean, the steel would win -- and not in a way that would benefit the human...
  • Respect: For starters, I figure anything bigger than me automagically has right of way... I remember watching one of those little, tiny Honda CRXs playing catch-me-fuck-me with a PAIR of tractor-trailers by weaving in and out BETWEEN them...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Well, just FARK it, then...

For the six or seven people out there that haven't heard about (or visited) Fark, it's a news conglomoration site that specializes in stuff that's weird or off-beat. The thing is, the teasers to the various stories are often as funny or more entertaining than the actual story - such as:
First 450 people who show up at Cleveland's convention centre this Saturday with a working handgun will get a $100 gas card. The first person to think this through will get $45,000 in gas cards
for this story.


Poor Jimbo. A highly educated professional, fluent in a foreign language, he's had his blog dragged down by reporting about Hillary and Nancy Pelosi.

Me, on the other hand... well, since I don't get down in the muck the way Brave Sir Jimbo does, my humble blog is a bit more... literate. Sorry, Jimbo! :-)

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ya think?

I took this photo just today, here in Billings.

Sadly, there are doubtless those that need the sign.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My cat is a moron.

As I've mentioned before, my cat Elf has a surfeit of 'character'. To wit:

The other day, she's in the kitchen, killing kibbles (knocking them around on the floor and 'killing' them so they can be eaten) when I decide to go out for a while.

While I'm sitting in my computer chair putting my shoes on, Elf comes barreling out of the kitchen, only to be surprised to find me blocking her way. She immediately freaks out (fluff up, leap into the air), and tears back into the kitchen - going so fast that she can't get enough traction on the linoleum floor to avoid crashing into the wall. Several seconds later, she comes casually strolling out of the kitchen as though it was some other cat that did the crash-and-burn, not her.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Geezer mode

I'm turning 53 (oy!) tomorrow, and while watching TV last night, I started thinking about some of the programs I watched as a kid -
  • Gary Moore
  • Jack Benny
  • Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour
  • To Tell The Truth
  • What's My Line? (I saw the lady that did Woody Woodpecker's laugh!)
  • Gunsmoke (with Chester)
  • Man From U.N.C.L.E.
  • Original Batman (with Adam West)
  • Mighty Mouse cartoons
  • Paladin ("Have Gun, Will Travel")
  • Heckle and Jeckle cartoons
  • Milton Berle (!!)
  • Howdy Doody
  • Romper Room
  • Captain Kangaroo (when he was a YOUNG Captain - and the Tom Terrific shorts)
  • Lawrence Welk (in primetime)
  • Sky King
  • Wanted Dead or Alive
  • This Is Your Life
  • Lone Ranger
  • Rawhide
  • Rocky & Bullwinkle
  • Arthur Godfrey
  • Burl Ives
  • Dick Van Dyke show
  • when TV programs started being shown in (*gasp*!) color
Jeez, I'm old.

SCHOOL 1977 vs. SCHOOL 2007

A friend of mine sent me this in an email. My response was that it would be funnier if it wasn't so damn close to the truth...

Scenario: Jack goes phesant hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1977 - Vice principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his
car and gets his own shotgun to show Jack.

2007 - School goes into lockdown, the Police are called, Jack is
hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors
are called in to assist traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1977 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end
up buddies.

2007 - Police are called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and
Mark. They are charged with assault and both are expelled even though
Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't sit still in class, disrupts other students.

1977 - Jeffrey is sent to the principal's office and given a good
paddling. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class

2007 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie.
Tested for ADD. School gets extra federal funding because Jeffrey has
a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1977 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to
college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2007 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to
foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister
that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.
Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some Aspirin to school.

1977 - Mark shares Aspirin with the school principal out on the
smoking dock.

2007 - Police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug
violations. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high-school English.

1977 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by local human rights group.
Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that making English a
requirement for graduation is racist. American Civil Liberty Union
files class action lawsuit against the school system and Pedro's
English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Pedro is
given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because
he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover Independance Day firecrackers, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.

1977 - Ants die.

2007 - BATF and the Police are called and Johnny is charged with
domestic terrorism. FBI investigates parents, siblings are removed
from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny's dad goes on a
terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during recess and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.

1977 - Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.

2007 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.
She faces three years in federal prison. Johnny undergoes five years
of therapy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Good news, bad news

Good news: I've got a part-time job that pays really well, modelling for a sculptor.

Bad news: he specializes in gargoyles.

New career

I've decided that what I'd like to do is get into an entirely new career.

After seeing what passes for successful musical talent these days, I think I'll go into music -- specifically, I'm going to be a singer.

Not just any singer, though. I'm going to target two different music genres:

I'm going to be the first person to do rap - in a Country/Western theme.

Watch for my debut album.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Okay, I know I'm not the brightest light bulb on the Christmas tree, but I see things that baffle me to no end. F'rinstance...
  • Person pulls into parking lot and goes through assorted gyrations in order to back the car into a spot.
  • People that will tool around in the parking lot at the mall or Giant Box Store for 20 minutes in the hope/expectation that they'll find The Perfect Parking Spot.
  • People that get into line (inside, or in their vehicles) at some establishment or other, with absolutely no clue what they want -- and then proceed to gum up the works for everyone else while they strain their one-and-only brain cell trying to figure out what they want.
  • People that enter a building only to stop just inside the door and stare vacuously into space as they try to figure out where they're at and where they're going. Anyone else that wants to get in is just going to have to wait...
  • People that want to go charging onto an elevator as soon as it arrives at their floor, inconveniencing and annoying anyone that wants to get OFF the elevator.
  • People that wheel the shopping cart out to their vehicle, and after unloading it, can't be bothered to move it to one of the cart holding areas (no matter how close) -- choosing instead to simply push it out of THEIR way, and leaving it for someone else to deal with.
  • People that can't take the time/trouble to take the 3 steps needed to dispose of their trash, cigarette butts, or whatever in the nearby receptacle.

Friday, October 19, 2007

And damn glad of it!

I scored a 11% on the "how fucking JERSEY are you?" Quizie! What about you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Four-legged nuisance

As I've noted before, my cat Elf has a surplus of 'personality'.

She isn't the slightest bit reluctant to do whatever it takes to get what she wants: she has no problem with standing on her hind legs and patting my arm to get my attention while I'm working on the computer. If that fails, she has been know to extend the Devices of Pain And Shredding and repeating her efforts on my side - invariably with success.

Here she is trying to convince me that I don't really need to sit in my chair by playing the "See how cute I am?" card:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lots o' Links

This post is just a way to pass along a few things that have caught my attention the past few days:

What do you get when you cross a little-used street, some assorted colors of chalk, and a damn good artist? A bit of street art that looks like something it definitely isn't.

Not to be Politically Incorrect or intolerant or anything but anybody besides me have a problem with the idea of 'child marriages'? Even if the bride is 3?

Sometimes, the camouflage thing just doesn't work...

All in all, I'd say that this story is an example of the principle of Unintended Consequences. That, and a little Beaurocracy Gone Wild...

While it may not be an Olympic sport, rumor has it that there's going to be an additional venue at the 2010 Games in Canada.

If you're going to do a crime, you might want to give a little thought to your escape plan so you don't make the same mistake this guy did.
If you think election time in YOUR town is goofy, annoying, silly, tedious, or otherwise not worth your attention, you might want to compare it with what happens in San Francisco (don't forget to check out the videos).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Musical Magic

While Britain may not be known for its cuisine or dental care, there is one thing that they've pretty well got the world commodity on: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

To give you an idea of how good these folks are, here's their rendition of the theme from
"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly":

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Line, line, everywhere a line...

The past few days, I've spent more time than I could possibly have wanted standing in a variety of lines - at the bank, at the grocery store, and so on. Being an inveterate (but not invertebrate) observer of people, here are a few of the things that I've noticed:
  • There seem to be an inordinate number of dumbshits that plan to pay for a purchase with a check, but refuse to start filling the damn thing out while they're in line. Instead, they elect to wait until their entire purchase is rung up to start writing - apparently, they're afraid the date or name of the store will change while they're not looking...
  • A transaction of pretty much any kind that involves a guy is accomplished in fairly short order; one where there are two women will most likely take anywhere from 5 to 10 times longer, depending on how well they know each other - regardless of how many people are piling up in line. There seem to be VERY few exceptions to this...
  • An ungodly number of people wander around that are unable to remember what kinds of food items are available in various fast food establishments - necessitating that they get up to the cashier and stand there staring vacuously at the menu for several minutes while they try to make up their minds. The pictures on the menu only seem to confuse them...
  • Some folks never seem to have learned line etiquette: they see nothing wrong with bolting from line 'A' to line 'B' when 'B' appears to be moving faster - only to want to reclaim their previous position in 'A' when it starts going.
  • There are families that are so close that every last one of them - including Uncle Bob, Cousin Leroy, Grandma Moses, and their dog Ralph - want to share the experience of standing in line.
  • A (fortunately rare) few people don't even seem to grasp the very concept of lining up - they'll wander up to where several people are waiting their turn for whatever product or service is being offered and try to get what they want instantly, if not sooner. Pointing out that there are others waiting - who arrived before THEY did - generally results in look of surprised bafflement as they try to come to grips with the idea that they can't have what they want. Those few that don't get looks of befuddlement are usually of the opinion that they are the most important thing in the Universe, and try the "I'm in a hurry" ploy - and get offended when it doesn't work.
There's one good thing about lines, however: as a vet, any time I go somewhere that there will be other vets, we KNOW how to stand in lines.

Yum, yum!

I've just recently finished one of my (very!) rare forays into McDonalds for a meal.

This time, I elected to go with the Chicken Select option with Honey Mustard sauce. As I was eating, I got to reading the label on one of the sauce packets (keep in mind that items are listed in order of percentage of content):
  • water
  • sugar
  • dijon mustard (distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, white wine, citric acid, tartaric acid, spices)
  • soybean oil
  • honey
  • corn syrup solids (um... isn't 'solids' kind of contrary to the idea of 'syrup'?)
  • distilled vinegar
  • modified food starch (modified from what to what?)
  • egg yolks
  • xanthan gum
  • salt
  • mustard flour
  • titanium dioxide (wtf?)
  • sodium benzoate as a preservative (great - the sauce will probably last longer than I do)
  • propylene glycol alginate (don't know what it is, but it sure sounds appetizing, don't it?)
  • spices (apparently I don't need to know which ones)
  • tumeric
  • artificial color (FD&C Yellow #5, FD&C Yellow #6)
  • contains egg ingredients (I wasn't sure about that 'egg yolks' part, until they added this)
I'm not sure if that is supposed to be food, or a list of contents for a chemistry set...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Screwball cat

I've written before about my weirdo cat, Elf, and I thought folks might like to see what the little stinker looks like - so here you go:
And to give you an idea of how goofy she is, here she is in "stealth" mode (believing that she's invisible) in the bathtub, waiting for me to completely enter the bathroom so I can be ambushed:

Needless to say, it can be a bit disconcerting to head into the bathroom, only to find a sight like that greeting me...

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I went to see what the deal was with this post over at MT Politics, and damn near busted a gut laughing. It's priceless - go see for yourself :-)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Selective Perception

I was just outside the wifi-enabled coffeeshop where I often hang out, having a cigarette, when a grossly overweight woman exited. As she passed me, she felt obliged to tell me "You know, smoking is bad for your health."

My rejoinder?

"And fifty pounds of lard on your ass is bad for yours."

Self-righteous git.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Inconsiderate @55holes

I'm something of a people-watcher, and I've noticed that there are a lot of gonzos out there that seem to move about the planet with absolutely no concern about anyone else. To wit:

  • Gonzo tooling down the road, playing "What's my lane?" without taking the time to see if anyone else is wanting to use the same road he is. Oh, and he isn't bothering with that little stick thing-y on the left side of the steering column.
  • Doofus that doesn't seem to grasp the concept that the vehicle should be parked between the lines in the parking lot. Rather, said doofus opts to park the vehicle straddling the line.
  • Shitbird on a bicycle that elects to park the fscking thing IN FRONT OF the doors to the convenience store, rather than at the bicycle stand six feet away.
  • Twit that doesn't understand that there are little screws that let him adjust the direction his headlights point, leaving them aimed into the eyes of oncoming drivers so that everybody can see that he has high-intensity halogen headlights.
  • Moorons that tool around in inclement weather or dusk/dawn - sans headlights - in light blue and/or gray vehicles that do a simply wonderful job of blending into the background. After all, they can see just fine, so why should they concern themselves with being seen?
  • Dipstick with cellphone that feels obliged to share his half of the conversation with everybody within hearing distance. Bonus points for having an annoying ringtone that everyone gets to listen to a half-dozen times because the dipstick "can't find" his phone.
  • Shitheads (mostly young, but not always) that think it's perfectly reasonable to have a 1,000-watt stereo system with ultra-mega-bass in their car, and have the damn thing cranked up so you can hear them coming from a block away - forcing you to 'listen' to their 'music', whether you want to, or not.

Similarly, something I've seen in offices are those individuals that can't be troubled to consider the effects of their actions on the cleaning crew: having more wastebaskets than they really need, and using every last one of them; people overloading a wastebasket or trash can simply because they aren't the one that has to empty it; people that leave messes (large and small) behind only because they aren't the ones that have to clean up said mess. I'm not saying these folks should be doing the cleaning crews job - only that by showing even a little consideration, they could avoid making the cleaning crews job harder than it has to be. I know how much most cleaning crew people have to do, and every inconsiderate slob they have in their 'area' makes their jobs that much harder, and take that much longer. Myself, I operate under a simple rule: I don't make any more of a mess than I would want to deal with: if I'm emptying the hole-punch, I take the extra few seconds necessary to make sure I get all the little dots in the trash, instead of letting them scatter all over hell-and-gone; if a trash can or wastebasket is full, I'm not afraid or "too good" to pull the bag out, tie it off, and start using a new bag rather than try to cram 20 pounds of crap into a 10-pound bag, or balance a bunch of new crap on top of what's already present.

Sadly, there isn't really any way to even semi-politely tell someone "Yo! Asshole! You aren't the only person on the planet, and the entire fucking universe doesn't revolve around you. If it isn't asking too much, you could maybe get your head out of your ass and consider what's going on around you?" Either that, or we find a way to start installing plexiglass belly-buttons on people, so they can see what they're doing...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


No, I'm not talking the edible kind, but the Internet ones.

For those that aren't familiar with them, Internet 'cookies' are little bits of information stored on your computer by some (most, actually, nowadays) Web sites to keep track of what you do on the site. All they are is little bits of text that is stored on your computer - rummage around in your computer, and I'll wager that you can find a directory called 'cookies'; have a look at what's in it, and even open up a few of them with a text editor to see what I'm talking about. It's also worth mentioning that the cookies you get on one particular site can ALSO be for organizations than the one you're visiting:

While this is a truly great idea for places like blogs (to keep track of your user info for making comments, for example), online shopping (what items you have in a 'shopping cart' or your user ID), and so on, they're also subject to being abused.

You see, cookies like these can be set to expire at the end of whatever time the website wants them to - anything from the end of your current online session to many, many years in the future. As long as the cookie hasn't expired, the website can use it to keep track of your specific computer, and what you do on their site.

What a lot of people don't know is that a lot of sites are signed up with various marketing outfits to try and gather as much information as they can about who visits their site: when they visit, how often, how long they stay, what they look at, and so on. When enough of this kind of information is collected, the data can be analyzed (or "mined") to determine some fairly precise profiles - not just of users in general, but even specific users if they have broadband (or a permanent or semi-permanent connection [and thus unique Internet 'address'] to the Internet). To verify this for yourself, configure your browser to 'always ask' whether or not to accept cookies; I think you'll be amazed at how often you get a little popup dialog! And while you're doing that, also have a look at when those cookies expire. I just did a visit to the New York Times website, and the first cookie that my computer asked me about was set to expire in 2015. Now why in the name of Cthulhu would the NYT need/want to keep track of little 'ol ME for that long?

The reason I bring this up is that I have my web browser configured to 'always ask', and set to apply my answer to ALL cookies for the site in question, and I've noticed that a lot of websites are defaulting to trying to get me to accept their cookies for really long times - most of them seem to want to expire in 2038. Now, this is fine, as I say, for blogs or an online store (if/when I actually start to buy something), but it seems a bit much for a site to try to give me a cookie like that when I first drop into their main page.

Granted, in MOST cases, these cookies aren't that big of a deal. But the operative term there is "in MOST cases". Personally, I don't think that any of the online marketing and data-collection outfits has any inherent 'right' to keep track of where I go and what I do on the Internet; and I'm enough of a privacy and rights advocate to think that companies and people shouldn't be trying to collect the kinds of information that's possible with cookies unless they both tell the user what they want to use the cookie FOR, and limit the use of the cookie to a specific purpose and for an appropriate period of time. Otherwise, the use of cookies will be subject to even MORE 'mission creep', resulting in even more personally-identifiable information being collected simply because the site owners can. For example, if (say) Amazon wants to give me a cookie, then they shouldn't do it until/unless I actually indicate that I want to buy something, limit the use of that cookie to keeping track of stuff I want to buy, and have it expire at the end of my browser session - and clearly tell me what they want to use it for (and ONLY use it for that purpose); giving me a 'forever' cookie immediately when I arrive on their site should be strictly verboten.

As I said, I have my browser set to always ask me whether or not to accept cookies, and to apply my answer to all the other cookies the site tries to feed me; I am very intolerant of cookies being set to expire later than I think is necessary or appropriate, and generally tell my browser to have them expire at the end of the current session.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Executive Toys

Over the last few weeks, I've had the misfortune of spending more time than I'd like in a number of different offices - including those of some executives.

Something I've noticed is that the more 'important' someone is (or believes themselves to be), the greater the likelihood that they have one (or more) 'toys' in their office.

I don't mean Slinkys, or dartboards, or stuff like that; what I'm talking about is crap like indoor artificial waterfalls (varying in size from desktop models to something that likely needed a dolly to haul it in), personal water coolers (the kind with bottles on top), and any number of other things that could have some vague functionality and usefulness. Except that in a few rare cases, these 'toys' are not in real, actual use - in fact, most of them had clearly not been used in quite some time, but were still cluttering the office of the executive in question.

I'm left wondering: did these indivuals buy these things with money from their own pockets, or (as I'm afraid) did they manage to exercise their 'authority' to get them in a probably petty exercise of power? If these items were purchased with 'company' money, what did the rest of the staff think about it, and what was the effect on office morale?

For myself, I don't think I'd want to work where anyone was allowed to buy crap like that using 'company' funds - it seems to suggest that there's simply too much petty politics, power games, and other nonsense to make it tolerable, never mind enjoyable, place.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I suppose that everyone has heard or made a comment on the ostentatious consumption of those with a high level of disposable income - most notably, those that drive vehicles like Hummers, the extra-large SUVs (such as the Yukon, Suburban, Navigator, and the like).

While I'm not a big fan of such monstrosities, I can understand that they do meet a certain specific designed function: the (perhaps theoretical) capability of going places that most other vehicles can't. By way of illustration, the original Hummer was the military version that was designed to meet the needs of ground forces. I wasn't surprised when there was a civilian version developed - after all, the military aren't the only ones that need to get from point "A" to point "B" regardless of what terrain might be between them.

Similarly, the SUV (which is short for Sport Utility Vehicle, after all) was designed with the idea that the owner/operator had the need to travel places where there weren't any roads, and other rough terrain - say, a rancher that needed to get himself and a small-ish crew to a remote location, surveying crews, and so on.

However, these vehicles have pretty much lost all claim to 'sport' or 'utility' for the simple reason that far too few of them are used for either of those purposes. I've taken to really observing the SUVs that I see, and I daresay that for the vast majority of them, the closest they've been to 'off road' has been when the owner accidentally ran one of the tires into a flowerbed. I mean, really: would a rational, normal person that intended to take a vehicle off road and into conditions that could conceivably cause damage to the outside of it give it a fancy paint job? Or rig it with all that shiny chrome? I sure as hell wouldn't!

I'm reminded of a supervisor I had at the first job I had when I got out of the Navy: he'd gone out and bought a fancy Jeep with 4-wheel drive that was capable of taking him just about anywhere he wanted to go - he was into fishing and hunting, and some of his favorite spots to engage in these activities were fairly remote. The problem was that his shiny new Jeep also came with a fairly elaborate paint job on the hood (an eagle), pinstriping, and a pretty snazzy basic paint job. The net result was that he didn't dare take the damn thing off the road in case anything scratched it!

Something else that I've noticed about the majority of the SUVs I've seen on the road is that it is very rare to see more than a couple of people in them - in fact, most often, it's one person driving (in the case of a Soccer Mom, she might have a kid or two in the back). That's hardly the efficient use of resources (not just the fuel to drive these monsters, but the energy and materials needed to MAKE them) that I like to see. I've heard a number of different justifications why people 'need' these behemoths, but none of them really works:

  • I need 4-wheel drive (fine - there are smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles that have that, if not ALL wheel drive)
  • I need the space (what? for you and one or two other people?)
  • They're safer (maybe for you when you get into an accident because the damn things have so much inertia that you can't stop them on wet/icy/snowy road, but whoever you run into is probably fucked)
  • I need the capacity (sure, maybe once or twice a year; it'd be cheaper to rent a U-Haul those times)

No, I figure people buy the damn things purely to be seen in them: they can drive a monster like that, so they're damn well going to, regardless of any other consideration.

Oh, that FEBF that's the title for this post? Some little old ladies once hit W.C. Fields up for a donation to some charity or other; he told them that the only organization that he gave money to was F.E.B.F. The granny-ladies made the mistake of asking him what it meant - and he politely explained that it stood for Fuck Everybody But Fields.


During my somewhat mis-spent youth, there was a period when I was actually a member of a Boy Kraut troop.

That membership was not out of any commitment to the Boy Scout philosophy, a desire to live a Better Life, or any of that nonsense.

I just wanted to go camping.

As a consequence I ultimately found myself a member of the Nerd Patrol.

Oh, that wasn't the actual name we had (it was something like Flaming Arrows or Babbling Brook or somesuch). No, that was the function we served, compared to the Eagle Patrol, Bear Patrol, Wolf Patrol, et al.

Granted, there were a couple of guys in the patrol that likely shouldn't have been in the Boy Scouts, anyway - but the majority of us were members simply for the camping and other activities. Not a one of us ever got as far as First Class, for example - we simply didn't give a shit about merit badges or any of the other nonsense.

None of us was into sports or athletics or any of the other things the guys in the other patrols were so serious about. Rather, we did stuff like play chess, read books, and engage in similar non-jock pursuits.

Thus, we were subject to a certain amount of harassment by the other patrols - right up until we decided that enough was enough.

Once that decision was reached, it was a fairly simple and straightforward process of deciding how to deal with it. We knew that we couldn't compete with the other patrols on their terms; we ultimately settled on using something that we had that they apparently didn't: brains.

Sure enough, it wasn't but a couple of camping trips later that a couple of guys from one of the other patrols did some damn thing or other to make things difficult for us. We didn't fuss or complain or anything else. We just waited for our oppotunity for a little creative retribution.

That night, the patrol whose members had given us such grief discovered that someone had spiked some of their firewood with small magnesium rods. Now, magnesium wire (more like thread) is what is flashbulbs use - it burns really hot, and with a bright, bright light. It's also damn near impossible to put out - certainly not with anything a bunch of Boy Scouts out in the middle of nowhere are likely to have available. So the magnesium rods (probably about the size of large kitchen matches) tended to burn with a vengeance, screwing up any sense of tranquility or comraderie that might have existed.

Naturally enough, the other patrol associated this singularly unusual event to us - and tried to complain to the Scoutmaster. When he came to us (with a couple of the patrol members in tow), we did our very best "Who? Us?" impression, and asking what possible reason we would have for doing anything like that.

If the guys from the other patrol had fessed up, we would have had our asses in a real sling; but since they didn't, we were off the hook.

After that, it didn't take long for the other patrols to figure out that if they screwed with ANY of us, they were taking on ALL of us - and could look forward to some serious payback: they might discover that during the night, the ashes of their fire had been thoroughly 'seeded' with black powder, making the next mornings campfire rather 'vigorous'. Or they might get a repeat of the magnesium-in-the-firewood trick. Or perhaps their firewood might prove to have a hollow spot that contained chemicals (equal parts of sulfur, sugar, and phenolthalene) that would emit a dense, odorous smoke. It was never anything permanent or that caused any kind of injury (other than a few guys returning home sans eyebrows, anyway), but was inevitably something that drove the point home with a sledgehammer: don't mess with those guys.

I don't doubt that the Scoutmaster figured out what happened, and knew what was going on - and I expect he understood that we weren't doing anything to anyone that hadn't started it in the first place. We never got caught (that I know of, anyway), and even got a smile and look of what I think was appreciation for our 'style' after one of our paybacks.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Scrood Agin

Thank you, Republican gonzos in the Senate: thanks to your votes on the Defense Authorization Act, you've shown that you don't give a damn about the rights of the American people.

For those that weren't aware of it, there were two amendments attached to a bit of legislation meant to fund the military for FY 2008. These amendments were a call to re-establish the right of Habeas Corpus (which allows us Mere Mortals to challenge being incarcerated by the government) in the wake of all the "anti-terrorism" crap that Dubya has implemented in the wake of 9/11. Well, thanks to the votes of a bunch of candy-assed, chicken-shit, scumbags in the Senate, the attempt to give us one of our fundamental rights back was prevented.

So we are still subject to being tossed into a jail/prison cell, shipped off to Gitmo, or god-only-knows where else at the whim of whatever federal agent or agency that claims to be doing Dubya's work.

Nice going, you bunch of fucking weasels.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Difference of Opinion

While here at home, I got a phone call this afternoon:

"Hello! This is not a sales call. Please stand by for an important announcement. Someone will be with you shortly..."

On hearing that, my first thought was "Not a sales call, huh? Sure... and Santa Clause is going to bring me lots of presents this year..." - but I waited, anyway.

Several seconds go by, and I hear "Hello! This is not a sales call. Please..." (you know the rest).

Query to self: "If it's so damn important, why the hell isn't a Human Bean making the call instead of this damn 'bot?"

A few seconds more, and it's time for the not-a-sales-call 'bot again.

Query to self:"If it's an announcement, why not just tell me, instead of going through all this bullshit?"

Seconds tick by, and I get another not-a-sales-call.

Query to self:"This is 'shortly'? If I hear that damn 'bot again, I'm hanging up..."

On hearing the next "Hello! This is not a sales call...", I did hang up.

Clearly, whoever the hell told that farookin' machine to call me has a different idea of what constitutes "important", "announcement", and "shortly". If they really want to talk to me, they'll call back.

Otherwise... fuck 'em.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


After seeing this prank on SFO, I've recalled a number of the various stunts that I and others have pulled on each other.

Just this morning, I had something pop into mind:

As a two-part prank, an individual allows himself (or herself, if so inclined) to be temporarily tattooed with a design that resembes the 'cuts of meat' think one can find in butcher shops and the meat department of some stores. This individual then takes a place in the area used for a medical school type class that involves dissection or anatomy, so that the students pull the sheet back only to be presented with the sight of a human being marked for piecemeal resale.

The second part of the prank is simply for the individual to remain as still as possible until such time as one of the students touches him (her), and then suddenly - and preferably dramatically - coming back to life.

I'm don't doubt that one or both of these have been done before, but I still think that it would be highly amusing to witness.

Yes, I have a warped, sick, and twisted sense of humor.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What next?

Over the course of the last few days, I've noticed something else that's serving to let me know just how damn old I'm getting: 60's and 70's rock-and-roll set as Elevator Music.

I'm not talking "Way to San Jose", either.

Stuff I've heard has been such things as
  • Jeremiah was a bullfrog
  • These boots are made for walkin'
  • Riders in the Storm
  • (what I'm pretty sure was) Paint it Black
  • White Room
Jeebus. What's next? Purple Haze?

There aughtta be a law...

Turd with a Tail

a.k.a. the Hairy Nuisance, Fur-face, Useless Lump, Her Royal Highness, and a number of other things.

In short, my cat, Elf (shortened from L.F. which is the abbreviation of Lap Fungus).

She "suffers" from a surplus of personality and character:

  • If her (dry) food dish is empty (that is, she can see the bottom of it, regardless of how much is still piled up along the sides), she'll let me know by coming and licking my nose - usually at Oh-Dark-Thirty when I'm sound asleep.
  • She'll prepare to ambush me by hiding under the corner of the bed - forgetting about her tail, which normally sticks out and ruins the surprise. I've been known to stand just outside of ambush range and give her tail a little shake, which has prompted her to try and leap into the air in surprise; since she's under the corner of the bed, these leaps are frequently accentuated with a solid 'KLUNK!' when her head impacts the bed/frame. A few moments later, she'll appear from under the other side of the bed as though nothing happened.
  • She doesn't seem to be sure if she's a dog or a cat: she'll periodically want to play 'fetch' with one of her toys (a stuffed mouse) - I'll toss it, she'll go 'catch' it, beat the crap out of it, and bring it back for another go - several times. That, and she has a predeliction for licking (not just once, but repeatedly) me whenever I give her a little 'scritch' (soft scratching) anywhere on her body. Since a cat's tongue is a LOT rougher than a dogs (think 60-grit sandpaper), it's a cheap way of getting dermabrasion...
  • She won't eat solid canned food. She's fine with the Iams she has available all the time, but the canned food I give her to supplement her diet (a couple ounces every other day) has to have water added and mixed in until she has something resembling soup before she'll eat it. This isn't just for SOME brands of canned food, but ALL of them.
  • Half or more of the chunks of dry food have to be dug out of the dish and knocked around on the kitchen floor before they can be eaten.
  • Her food dishes are in the kitchen; therefore, if I go into the kitchen, it's obviously to feed her. If I fail to do so, she'll lay in the middle of the floor (making me work around her) in protest.
  • She is absolutely fascinated by inkjet printers. I'm a computer geek, and work with a variety of printers for one reason or another; if I run a test print, Elf is there to keep an eye on it.
  • Similarly, CDROM/DVD drive trays MUST be beaten/slapped as they close - apparently just to make sure they know who's in charge.
  • When I go to bed, it is mandatory that I spend a couple of minutes rubbing her ears, petting her, and generally demonstrating my subservience before she'll let me go to sleep. If I don't do it long enough, I'll get head-butts, the inside of my nose sniffed, or any one of a number of other attention-garnering maneuvers.

"There are many intelligent species in the Univers. They are all owned by cats."

Friday, September 14, 2007

AARP and me

Yes, that's the American Association of Retired Persons - a.k.a. The Geezer Club.

Some months ago, they sent me an invitation to join (I'm soon to turn 53, if it matters); I responded by sending their invitation and application back to them with the explanation that I don't agree with their positions on just about everything(1). I also told them that I didn't want to be bothered again. Yes, I know that I could get a host of various benefits were I to join; however, joining would also add my membership fees/dues to their resources, and thus enable them (that much more) to espouse positions that I don't agree with.

Yesterday, I got an offer for AARP life insurance.

I've sent the (un-completed) offer back with the handwritten annotation that I don't want any, ever, and asking that I be removed from their list.

I've also sent them a digitally-signed email advising them that I wish to be removed from any and all AARP mailing lists, offers, products, proposals, or anything else AARP-ish. Here's hoping the senile old gits get the message this time.

(1) The AARP is against the idea of requiring proficiency testing for older drivers and against the idea of 'means testing' for eligibility to receive Social Security benefits, for example.
Yes, pulling someones drivers license is denying them a measure of freedom - but it's also protecting the public at large from a possibly dangerous driver. I wonder if they'd fuss if the DL laws were written so that alternate license renewals required proficiency testing...
And I don't see any reason why someone with a 7-figure (or more!) bank account should be collecting Social Security checks: they clearly have quite enough 'security' methinks...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


With a hat-tip to Randy, it turns out that I'm more of a nerd than I thought (but not as bad as I was afraid :-) ) says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Damn kids...

So, I go into a local coffee shop to cop a little wifi, and order a cup of "unleaded"...

Whereupon the kid behind the counter gets this deer-in-the-headlights look on his face. I then have to re-specify that I want decaf.

When I get it, he asks me "What's the deal with 'unleaded'? I heard about it in a science class, but I never really understood it."

After I explain to him about gas stations and Regular versus Unleaded, he understands the reference - and I realise that he never knew about gas stations offering anything but unleaded gasoline.

On the heels of that I realized just how OLD I am.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Darwin was an optimist...

I'm starting to wonder if the human race stands any chance whatsoever of survival. I mean, I keep seeing various and sundry people doing things that strike me as being more than a little contrary to the continuation of the species - yet these people continue to wander the planet.

To wit:

  • Mooron pops out from between vehicles in grocery store parking lot without troubling himself with looking to see if any vehicles are coming his direction.
  • Mooron tooling down street in SUV while yapping on cell phone AND trying to eat non-sammich food item that required 'juggling' said food item
  • Mooron riding bicycle at night - said bicycle having no lights or reflectors, and rider wearing dark clothing while weaving wildly onto and off of the street.
  • Mooron standing at fuel pump at gas station while yapping on cell phone and smoking a cigarette.
  • Mooron college bimbo talking about getting passed-out drunk at a party, and the inconvenience she experienced after having apparently had unprotected sex with some (apparently large) number of males.
  • Mooron motorcyclist zooming down road on crotch-rocket (at well over the speed limit), his "protective gear" consisting of flip-flops, shorts, wife-beater undershirt, and backwards-facing ball cap.

I'm starting to think that perhaps we should start allowing a strictly Darwinian selection process to take effect: I think it would do wonders for overpopulation, increase the overall intelligence of the species, and do wonders for the planet.

"Left to its own devices, Nature cures stupidity."

Language Perversion

I got a call this morning (!!) from Qwest - the (sounded) young lady on the other end started out by telling me that it was a "courtesy call".

10 seconds later, I knew she was lying to me.

It wasn't a courtesy call, it was a marketing call: she was trying to get me to sign up for one of their service 'bundles' (DSL, digital TV, phone). Now, maybe it's just me, but a courtesy call is something along the lines of "So, how are ya? Things goin' okay? Anything you're unhappy about with our service, or that you think we need to work on? Can we buy you a beer?"

Trying to convince me to spend more money on services that I neither need nor want is NOT a "courtesy" call - and calling it such is just another perversion of the English language. Such perversions of the (American) English language are usually the result of some marketing drone having a case of mental flatulence: "Hey! Instead of just asking folks to buy more stuff, let's tell them it's a COURTESY call and then try to get into their wallets!"

Here are a few more things in Marketing Speak, and their English equivalents:

"New and Improved" = Get ready to start paying more for this

"New Package" = Same price, less stuff

"Service" = like the cow gets from a bull

"Economical" = not worth what you're paying for it

"Quality" = won't break until the warranty expires

"Guaranteed" = if you bitch long enough, we'll replace it

"Latest technology" = damned if we know if it'll work

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Huh? Wha'd you say?

This story is farookin' hysterical: a bunch of neoNazis and KKKers tried to hold a membership drive/rally, only to be proven to be a bunch of clowns... by a bunch of clowns:

KKK: "White Power!"

Clowns: "White Flour!" (run around throwing flour in air)

KKK: "White Power!"

Clowns: "White Flower!" (run around throwing white flowers in air)

KKK: "White Power!"

Clowns: "Tight Shower!" (bunch up under prop showerhead)

KKK: "White Power!"

Clowns: "Wife Power!" (female clowns pick up, carry male clowns)

VERY nicely done, IMHO.

Hat tip to Randy


There is a YouTube video of the event:

Posting frequency

Well, now I've gone and done it...

I've set things up so that I can post to this by email -- meaning that posts will turn up whenever some Random Thought pops into my head.

Stand by to be amazed, disgusted, amused, horrified, pissed off, entertained, or anything else :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Your Papers, please!

There's a story on Slashdot about a young man that was arrested as a result of his refusal to allow a Circuit City "Loss Prevention" person to inspect his bag on the way out of the store.

Due to the event happening in Brooklyn, Ohio, there are some aspects of the situation that put it in a rather 'unique' context (scroll down to the bit on Ohio's laws on personal identification).

There are those that might argue that Circuit City (and its parking lot) are private property, and thus subject to whatever rules or policies that CC wishes to implement. Others might say that he's a 'troublemaker' for refusing to comply with the request when doing so would be so easy and simple, and would have saved him all the trouble he now faces.

Personally, I think he should be applauded for what he did and the stand he's taking. From my own reading and experience, this type of 'intervention' by Circuit City, Best Buy, and even the "greeters" at Wal*Mart (that want to 'check your recipt' on the way out), is not intended so much to stop shoplifting as to impede someone from bringing an item to the register and having the cashier ring it up as something else (or for a lower price). In effect, these stores are using all of their customers as a tool against employee theft.

My position is that if Circuit City, Best Buy, Wal*Mart, or any other retailer wants to reduce or eliminate employee theft, then they need to take the matter up with the employees - NOT ME. Further, if one of these stores "thinks" that I maybe, might have shoplifted something, then they should be obliged to make the charge/accusation outright, rather than pretending they're not accusing me of anything by 'checking' me on the way out. That way, when their accusations are shown to be incorrect, they can be held accountable for their actions.

I'm also supportive of the kids position on refusing to cough up his drivers license - he wasn't operating a vehicle, he responded truthfully to the questions the police officer asked (whether the cop knew WHAT to ask for is should be HIS problem), and was the one that requested the police in the first place - because of the actions of two CC employees that followed him out of the store and physically prevented him (or his family) from leaving. Let's not lose sight of the fact that the kid was right about how he was obliged (under Ohio law) to identify himself - whether the cop(s) or anybody else likes it, or not.

It's my position that too many individuals have been turned into sheeple, ready to waive their freedom, rights, dignity, and liberty at the slightest provocation. Folks bitch and moan about cops and other officials abusing their power - but aren't willing to stand up and fight those abuses, and defend themselves. This young man IS ready to do so, and I think he deserves every bit of support we can give him.

End of the season

Well, it looks like we're about done with this year's wildfire season: they've finally gotten control over the largest fire in the state of Montana this year: Chippy Creek.

At 99,090 acres (that's just shy of 155 square miles), it was the largest --- but certainly not only --- wildfire of 2007. Shucks, the darn things were even visible from space.

Wildfires like these are simply a fact of nature here in Montana; indeed, they're considered a natural event, and the general approach is only to try and contain them to keep them from destroying life and property, not actually try to put them out.

The only ones that seem to have a problem with this is the folks that move here from somewhere else (most notoriously Californicate), build a house/cabin right on the farookin' edge of the forest (preferably out in the middle of nowhere), and then demand 'city' services like ten-minute response times from volunteer fire departments twenty miles away. The vast majority of these dipsticks would benefit from reading the Code of the West, and re-thinking their options.

I've lived in several different parts of the country (including Jersey [Hackensack, Westwood, and Bergen]), and always been fascinated by the idiots that move from Place "A" to Place "B", and then immediately try to make the new place like the old one. By way of example, I grew up (in part) in Albuquerque, New Mexico - which is, essentially, part of the desert Southwest. Yet there wasn't any lack of ding-dongs that would move there from places like Ohio, and insist on trying to grow a nice, lush, green lawn in an area that patently didn't naturally support such.

There's an area of Albuquerque just a little north of 'downtown', where the owners have small-acreage properties (suitable for a horse or two, for example). Most of these folks have homes that are appropriate to the history of the area: ranch style, adobe, and the like, done in traditional Southwestern earth tones and pastels. Well, except for the one putz that decided he just had to build a white 3-story Southern plantation style, complete with columns. Needless to say, it stands out like a turd in a punchbowl.

There is a similar situation in Phoenix, Arizona - a city once known for it's dry climate is now facing problems brought about by steadily increasing humidity caused by folks that don't grasp the concept of 'desert'.

Yo! Moorons! If "home" was so much better than "here", how about you go back there, and leave us the hell alone? WE moved here because we like the way it IS NOW, and we consider this "home", now, not where we came from. 'Kay?

Friday, August 31, 2007


That's kind of like being pwned, only by a feline --- and it has happened to Jimbo:

Congrats, Jim! Now you have another boss in the house! :-)

Blogger v. WordPress

At the suggestion of Randy (of Secular Franciscan fame), I had a look at the WordPress blogage site, and what all was involved with it.
I was left feeling a bit less than impressed: they don't allow users to upload their own tools/accessories (understandable, of course), and want to charge varying amounts in monthly fees for anything more than basic blogging.
Blogger, on the other hand, either offers a wide variety of add-ins, or provides links to third parties that have services compatible with Blogger.
Since transferring my old Different Lemming entries wasn't all that important to me, the flexibility and openness of Blogger settled things for me.

Monday, August 27, 2007



Apparently, Blogger will export to something vaguely WordPress-like, but can't import data from a WordPress blog (which is what ADL was done in/with).

To get my Different Lemming posts into Blogger, I'd have to do manual copy-and-paste for each and every post I wanted to transfer.

Now, don't get me wrong... y'all are nice people and everything, but I'm not real wild about the idea of going through all that to get stuff from the old blog to here.


I previously had another blog, A Different Lemming, hosted on my own server, but a variety of factors has caused me to have to shut it down for an indeterminate period of time.

But since I want to continue blogging, I'm firing up this blog as an interim-to-permanent substitute.

I'm going to see if I can transfer entries from my ADL blog to here, but I'm not making any guarantees or promises.