Archive for the ‘About Me and My Blog’ Category

Memo For File CLXXVII

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Item:

There exists a thread about global warming, in which someone said something pretty damn enlightening and educational. This has sent a jolt through the long-dead four hundred plus comments long thread, which had previously been lying dormant for half a year. Much of the rest of it is stupid. After everyone’s said their piece and the thread lies still for a little while, I’ll do another post on the good stuff that was added.

Item:

There exists another thread about global warming, kicked off when someone was talking smack about Anthony Watts and I lowered myself to ask them what specifically got them all honked off. That led to a debate about whether Al Gore is a hypocrite, which is a bit like debating the wetness of water…nevertheless this thread, like the other one, remains lively. Unlike the other one though, which is mostly stupid, this one is all-the-way stupid.

Item:

The two global-warming-thread flare-ups occurred within just a couple days of each other. I know I was present when both happened (in one case I kicked things off, but in a respondent role, and in the other case I did not kick anything off because I was just minding my own business), and the evidence I have on these events is therefore empirical. It says these two events are entirely isolated. But I cannot shake the suspicion given the track record of the lefty propaganda machine — everything is synchronized, coordinated. “Gravitas,” remember that?

And so, I have tentatively concluded: The first part of 2013 is the time for the left to wage battle in the social media, on the climate change front. For whatever reason. Someone, I think, has decided that and then yelled “go.” I have that just penciled in and am ready to rub it out at any time, but it is a trifecta in play. Lefties have a rep for thinking and acting much like fire ants, and so that is how I think of them.

Something is missing, from these observations, though…can’t quite place it. Or I couldn’t, until…

Item:

ConstitutionAmerica’s First Holy President today signed twenty-three executive orders infringing upon our right to keep and bear arms, something the second amendment says is not supposed to happen. Sen. Marco Rubio had some words to say about this apart from the obvious violation of the oath to defend the Constitution. The comment he made that drew my eye, had to do with the cosmetics of the occasion:

Rubio, often mentioned as a likely 2016 presidential candidate, said it would have been better if [President] Obama had decided to announce his proposals without being accompanied by children. Obama was joined at the press conference by children who wrote to the president in response to the December shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that resulted in 26 dead.

“I think ultimately he has a right to do that, and I understand he has a right to do that,” Rubio said. “I think most of us would have preferred if it just had been a straightforward address to the country because it implies that somehow those of us who do not agree with his public policy prescriptions don’t equally care about children.”

It was almost like hearing, or feeling, something go “click” in the back of my head. You have to agree with the President’s proposals…or else, you don’t care about children. Mulling this over, I managed to get this all wrapped up into a nice tight ball with the loose ends whacked off or tied up. And I’ll explain how, if the reader will permit me just a few more paragraphs to ramble in the wilderness before bringing it back in…

Item:

I’m still rebuilding the wire shelving in the garage. My wife and I are among the very few tenants in this complex who abide by the rules, that garages are there for storing cars, and not stuff. We actually store both, or we did, until a day or two after Christmas. Now we are temporarily violating the rule. The stuff is neatly stacked on the walls, all the way up to the ceiling, thanks to the wire shelving — which collapsed on me. My son and I were getting in to the car to go get my Dad from the airport, right before my wedding. After over five years stable, the shelving picked that exact moment to collapse, chain reaction style, trapping the car. I successfuly extricated the car the following morning but I’m still cleaning up the mess.

In so doing, I’m making a post mortem on the disaster and learning a lot, which dovetails in unexpected ways with what’s examined above. The first culprit, I think, is time. The longevity of the structure I built, without maintenance events involving inspections for structural soundness, or methodical corrections. There are several scores of plastic nodules thrown to and fro by the collapse, and the condition of some of them suggests they were built to support limited weight for a limited time.

Oh but you heard plastic lasts three thousand years in a landfill, did you? Could very well be. But plastic in a landfill just lies around, whereas these nodules, with their tiny ridges, hold in place metal wire shelving, which in turn supports stuff like…fileboxes full of file folders, full of documents that are made from paper, cardboard, and heavy, heavy filmy paper rich with petroleum products. Thirty to forty pounds a piece on those, would be a good guess.

I notice a pattern within the destruction. My assembly of shelving is a mix of brands, some of which package the ugly gray plastic nodules with ugly gray racks of shelving, others of which include pretty white plastic nodules with pretty white shelving. I never did mix the ugly gray plastic with pretty white wire, or vice-versa, and that was a good decision I made. Now, I can see the pattern: Disaster descends upon the parts wherein a heavy load is supported by the pretty white stuff. The ugly battleship-gray stuff doesn’t fail anywhere, even where it supports a heavy load.

Conclusion: There are unwritten load capacities in play here, determined by unwritten design intentions. The decisions I made in construction five years ago, involved a mix of good and bad engineering decision on my part, brought about by these design specs I did not read because I didn’t have them. With the benefit of hindsight I can see I’m working with workshop & garage shelving, intermixed with pretty white stuff intended for more dainty work. Think, providing cubbyholes for adorable stuffed animals in a sorority sister’s dorm room, stuff like that. Fileboxes stored in these, invites calamity. Fileboxes stored in the battleship gray stuff, does not.

Now, here is where we tie all this stuff together:

The global warming malarkey has been bugging me for a long time, especially when we get into these knock-down drag-out back-n-forth things on the Internet. It’s not that the alarmists continue to call me an idiot, although they certainly do that. And it isn’t just me, it’s anybody who doubts what they say. It’s how they so conclude. They produce a study that says A, someone else produces a study that says not-A. A good example would be, we’re still in the middle of a discernible warming trend. As the conversation ensues and the details are teased out, it seems there is opportunity for a complete picture to be assembled of what’s really happening with the measurements being made, and how the resulting statistics are generated and then analyzed. One naturally hopes that with all the discrepancies suitably explained, each side can stop calling the other side a bunch of idiots. But it never seems to go in that direction.

The thought process I see from the climate change alarmists, is one of: Repeat exactly what we say, the way we say it, using the words we use. Or else we’ll call you dumb and stupid.

It’s just like President Obama and the children. Behave this way…or else, if you behave any other way, you will be revealing certain things about yourself that are no to be doubted or dismissed, by anyone else. In that case, it’s that you don’t like children. In the case of global warming, it’s that you “don’t know science,” that you lack reasoning ability, or that you’re just an idiot. In some cases, the alarmists go so far as to bludgeon and berate me and try to get me to echo back some of the things they’ve said, as if, by modifying my behavior, they can increase my intelligence.

Little do they know that, should they somehow succeed at this, I’m just going to head downstairs to my garage and do other unblessed, unsanctioned, unorthodox things. Like build wire shelving six units high. I’m a hopeless case, you see.

By now, I’ve rambled on about these seemingly unrelated items and how they connect together, so that the common connecting thread should be plain to see. But if it isn’t, I’ll state it outright: The proclivity among some, to use the behavior of others to assess their strengths and weaknesses that cannot be so easily known.

There is great danger involved in imposing such a litmus test, depending on the stakes involved.

I identify three such dangers.

One, using fidelity to some pre-defined behavior to determine the presence of a desirable personality/intelligence attribute, if said fidelity is detected, the attribute may be also detected when it doesn’t actually exist. In simpler terms, maybe the guy who agrees with you is really still just an idiot. This is a false positive.

Two, the opposite: If said fidelity is not detected, the attribute may be dismissed when it might actually be present. Maybe the guy who disagrees with you, or does things in a way differently from the way you’d do it, nevertheless has his reasons, and knows what he’s doing. This would be a false negative.

Three, the long-term effect: With repeated imposition of such an overly-simplified, behavioral-driven test to determine competence — over time, and especially within a large organization, independent thinking is going to be discouraged. Slavish, compliant group-thinking, on the other hand, will be not only encouraged, but become a survival strategy. We saw this with President Obama’s news conference today. It was exactly what Sen. Rubio said. Support Barry’s ideas or else you don’t care about the kids.

Some will protest, sensibly, that my error with the wire shelving was to build it that high in the first place; I should have known I was doing something wrong, by looking around and seeing nobody else is doing it. I agree, to the extent that I think the five-year use span was part of the problem. My plan was always to use them as temporary storage, to be replaced by the sturdier stuff intended for the tall-and-high purpose, within a week or two. Somehow that stretched out to the five years, and that’s when failure happened.

Toward the idea that the failure happened earlier — that the only way to win at the game is not to play — I have mixed feelings. There is a certain logic to this. Innovation can be problematic. I’ve seen for myself a lot of half-cocked plans put in place by people, mostly software coders, involving a bit too much cleverness and bringing no obvious advantage to the situation at hand. I myself have been accused of this. And it is my hope that I’m not guilty of it. But at the same time, I’m continually impressed by how far humans can err in the opposite direction. To me, the goalpost at the other end of the field is “not invented here”: Look around and see how many people are already doing what you’re thinking of doing, and if there isn’t anyone, stop in your tracks and reverse course. That is as hostile toward creativity as people can get, it isn’t possible for them to go further than that. And it boggles me how many people take it all the way, and how often they do it.

This is not a red-state blue-state thing, I should add. We red-staters think that way on a regular basis. At the gun range. We have a rule that all guns are loaded, all the time. Should we fortify our tethering to reality and do a good enough job inferring the state of the objects around us, of course we will “know” our guns are unloaded, and thus know when it’s okay to violate the other three rules: point the gun at things we don’t really want to destroy, leave our fingers on the triggers, don’t know our targets or what is behind them. But our rule is to not proceed in that direction. Rules is rules. It isn’t that we lack confidence in our ability to determine what’s going on. We don’t measure this in terms of percentage-correct, we measure it in terms of how many visits we can make to the range without an incident. That is, after all, what really matters. And we want that to be forever. We know we’re all sons of Adam, whose wife made him eat of the apple. All mortals are flawed. So we do not innovate. We assume that the simple chore of determining the gun is empty, is a chore that is beyond us, so that we never rely on it. That is how red-staters forsake independent thinking. We do it when it makes sense to do it.

Blue staters, on the other hand, turn their backs on it all the rest of the time. To them, all of my ruminating about white wire shelving and gray wire shelving, loads, terms of time, et al, is just one huge jaunt down a big bunny trail. The way it should work is the same way it works with global warming, and gun control. I look at established processes, stick to those, and engage in no independent thinking whatsoever because I do not need to. And because of that, it becomes a non-issue that the wire shelving packaging is stripped bare of any manufacturers’ recommendations about heights & weights. I don’t need to know that anymore. And there’s your model: I’m not doing anything new — I mean, ever — and so we have success, because my “need to know” has been whittled down to a nothing.

Creative solutions are not for mere mortals, they are for awesome wonderful superstars like Barack Obama and crew.

The rest of us are supposed to color within the lines. In building garage shelving, in forming opinions about climate change, in supporting extraconstitutional gun control initiatives — even in reporting the news. Yes, this is part of why liberals hate Fox News so much. Even when we learn things only from Fox, from which the other networks abstain from any mention, wherein over the long term the Fox report turns out to be true and relevant, they still see it as dirty. It only partly has to do with partisan politics, that they find the conclusions to be unfriendly. The rest of it has to do with drifting outside the orthodoxy.

EducationPerhaps this comes off as petty. Perhaps it is. But then again, perhaps I can state the problem in a more elegant, persuasive way, like: Think on your own experiences, when someone compares the behavior of another, or the behavior of you yourself, with some pre-established and pre-blessed “template” of the expected and proper behavior. Now, think of what this detection-of-difference entitles them to know — what conclusions they can form about character and knowledge deficiencies, truly supported by the evidence. Now think about what they actually conclude, how much they think they know about the other person. See the problem? Just thinking back on my own experiences with it, I don’t mind telling you, lately I’m just baffled. Blown away. Shocked. The display of lack of humility in situations like these. To say nothing of, the lack of doubt. “He was supposed to do this, instead he did this other thing, therefore I know he’s missing or misunderstanding…this.” No uncertainty, none whatsoever. Absolutely blows my mind.

Because let us be clear on this: Their understanding is not limited to “you should’ve done this, and instead you did that.” No, not by a long shot. They have an encyclopedic understanding of your character defects, your knowledge deficiencies, even your lack of sanity. They know it stem to stern, and they have no doubts about any of it. You. A complete and total stranger they met minutes ago, over the Internet. Amazing, innit?

This gets into a beef I have, shared by some others, about higher education. Compare the climate change research with building the wire shelving. As you read through my experiences and my thoughts on the matter, you may disagree with what I’ve figured out, and you may disagree with what I’ve done about it and where I’m taking things from this point forward. But what’s happening here is, I’m refining my process by way of learned experience. Since I’m past the point of following directions, that’s the only avenue available to me. It is an evolutionary process. I know my previous implementation was flawed, and I expect my next implementation may have some flaws. I improve it by learning from my experiences as best I can.

This is not possible with climate change, for the most part. All the smarmy kids who “know” that big oil is making our planet uninhabitable, simply regurgitate what they have been told. And they get ridiculed for it in some circles, but in other circles they have proven their smarts in this way — by mimicking — but in any case, they do not have any choice. They don’t have satellites. They don’t have weather balloons. They’re told what to think, and they learn it. That they learn it in great detail, with some comprehension of the concepts involved, they think is evidence of their superior intellect. Isn’t that cute? The poor dears.

But they’re not showing any independent thinking…nor can they, because of the subject they’ve chosen that excites them. Independent thinking means, figuring out what’s going on based on what is known; something they have outsourced entirely. From what has been figured out about what’s going on, we who think independently, then plan a course of action. That much is okay with our friends the liberals…but the course of action will be compared with a template. And from any discrepancies that are found there, we get into trouble. But it’s really they who are getting into the trouble.

Like I said, I can see some advantages about curtailing independent thinking that costs more than it nets, and complicates solutions needlessly. But I cannot go along with prohibiting it entirely, and that’s where they’re taking it. Unless your last name is Obama or Clinton.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Seven Thousand

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Morgan Owns Nicolaus

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Pinned Nicolaus’ ears to the back of its head.

Kicked Nicolaus’ ass, while it whimpered away, scuttling home to its mommy.

Made Nicolaus my bitch.

Nicolaus’ old lady is going to call out my name by mistake from here on out…but only when Nicolaus happens to make a particularly expert thrust…which is hardly ever.

Time out: 4:23am
Time in: That all depends. Reached the light rail station at 8th & O at a quarter to five in the afternoon, the train left for Folsom at 5:04 and my long-suffering girlfriend rescued me from the Iron Point station at 5:50.

Casualties: None. Didn’t lose a thing. I think…

Mileage: 79.87, and that’s a new personal best.

Scariest wild animal encountered: Two woods’ kitties. Barton Road is not lit. At all. Barton Road and I are not going to see too much of each other from here on out, at least before sunrise.

Supplies tapped out to “oh shit” levels: None. Unless you count the battery in my cell phone…seriously considering doing something about that. It was like being in prison — you’re allowed one phone call, you know? So I coordinated the train pickup, only after I was a hundred percent sure what was taking place. She was pretty worried, this was twelve hours in. Nice to have someone worrying about you.

And, uh, a place to pee. That one was starting to get a little dicey, But by the time it turned into something to worry about, I’d already made Nicolaus my bitch.

There’s a bar somewhere North of Fremont Landing which came to my rescue. Google Maps doesn’t want to tell me what its name is or even confirm that it exists. Looks like a personal trip out there to find out…

Going to burn some fossil fuels to do that though. I’m done with this route on bicycle. I already made Nicolaus my bitch.

Update: I’m pretty sure it’s where Howsley Road meets Garden Highway. Whatever it’s called, the folks who work there are worthy of your support.

Update: And the pics are uploaded.

First Lady Rump Photo: Fake Butt Accurate?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

This has turned out to be a rather interesting story. It starts a few days ago, over the weekend when we were in Reno. Blogger friend Gerard, like many others, posted this photo:

…and we followed suit. Well, the photo turned out to be doctored. Since then, we’ve been going back & forth on whether we should post some kind of retraction, and if so, what kind. A number of readers have posted comments there, here, wherever else the picture appears that it is, to use disgraced newsman Dan Rather’s words, “fake but accurate.” That seemed a silly thing to say while we were on the road…at which time we were ready to ‘fess up and say “Well, we were blogging from the Droid! It’s really, really hard! That’s our lame excuse and we’re sticking to it!”

But the fake-but-accurate people are closest to the truth.

Consider what is revealed to us by this hacked-up photo:

1. Michelle Obama has a wide load and she walks like a fucking bricklayer.
2. She possesses all the fashion sense of a kindergartner.

It adds up to an indictment against our nation’s First Lady, that she does not make a very good one.

Now, it turns out #2 is falsified by the revelation of how the photo was faked, whereas #1 is not. Michelle herself is not photoshopped in any way, other than her bricklayer-walkin’ bod is imposed into a fake location. And it is fair to compare the crappy posture with the walking style of other female dignitaries, in this case France’s First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Spain’s Princess Letizia. So if the photo raised your cackles about our poor representation at such occasions, this is not a false concern. Our country was supposed to start looking all smart and sophisticated starting January 20, 2009, and there are more than a few places where it just isn’t happening.

Whoever put the picture together, however, for some reason went to the trouble to make it appear this is all the same time & place.

Snookered is snookered, so I think I should say something. But, speaking for myself, I don’t care that much about #2. Maybe there’s gender involved in that; I’m a dude. But I already know Michelle Obama has handicaps in the fashion department. It comes as news to me, on the other hand, to see how pitifully she stacks up compared to other females around the world who are high profile, who carry the privilege and obligation to represent.

This part of it is accurate. I cannot speak for the person who doctored the photo and fiddled around with the staircase being ascended; I don’t know why you’d do that.

Maybe it would be fair to put it up like this:

There. Un-photoshopped.

Talk show hostess Tammy Bruce, who also got snookered, put it this way:

The same point could/would be made by literally placing the pics side by side. I think the comparison of First Ladies is an appropriate one, and that’s what we have here–essentially the First Lady of Spain with Princess Letizia, and the literal First Lady of France, Bruni-Sarkozy. Here we have MObama with her signature issue being how American kids are fat and unhealthy. I do think making a comparison of the woman who points a finger at our kids, of all people, and during the campaign complaining she had never been proud of *us* presenting herself in this fashion on the international stage is fair *especially* with the theme of our First Couple being that Americans (other than them of course) are bitter, clingy, fat and irrelevant. When it comes to mean, I think she has set the tone. In my humble opinion.

Not just her opinion, though. She speaks for me.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XLIII

Monday, July 26th, 2010

We got Boortzlanched this morning sometime between 5:30 and 6:00.

Our all-time record of daily hits, before this, was 14,650 or something in that neighborhood. February 2009, right after the first State of the Union speech by His Holy Eminence, we had put together a handy Venn Diagram to show what we thought of it. Which caught an Instalanche.

Today’s results, in web page hits and page views, compared to the month previous, look like this:

That’s a new record: 16,266 hits as of now, it’s 11:30 and I’m going to bed. My ass has been hurting me all day.

Not really caring too much about the traffic, but looking forward to making the new friends.

Update 7/28/10: Irish Cicero sends congratulations for reaching this milestone.

“Not Much Changed”

Monday, July 12th, 2010

So I’m debugging code or doing a review or running regression tests or whatever…and on my desk I’ve got this little electronic photo frame. I’ve managed to press nearly three thousand images on this 1GB chip, you see, so it takes awhile to cycle through them all. This picture my girlfriend took on one of our vacations came up, from last year, and I realized I saw it somewhere before. And not recently. A very long, long time ago.

At lunch, I tracked down the picture and attached it to an e-mail to my Dad, which read in part:

Seems to me there is a picture of Grandpa Freeberg, identical in activity, profile angle, mood, et al, from a few decades previous. It would be interesting to see the two of them side by side.

Dad came through, and the result had me just howling with laughter.

On the left: Albin “Big Al” Freeberg, 9/1898-6/1975    On the right: The blogger dude, b. 7/1966, still kickin’

Although I must say, since I’m approaching the tender age of 44 this week, I am chagrined at the resulting comparison in the old-man-nose department. It almost looks to me like the gentleman in the color photo has the more impressive schozz, which is not where my expectations were going and not at all in keeping with my memories. Must have picked something up from Mom’s side of the tree. The males in her family always seemed to have noses like sides of beef hanging in a locker.

Other than that, there’s not much difference is there?

Update: Just remembered, Bessie was retired from service to the mobility needs of Yours Truly in early ’08. I’m reasonably sure I put more miles on the old girl than Grandpa put on the Packard, but that isn’t the point. I consult the JPEG header of the image and see it came from the girlfriend’s last camera, 10/2/06 11:51 a.m. This is among the first of many trips to Mendocino by way of Clear Lake. We have been nurturing an old dream, all but abandoned, to leap out of bed at oh-dark-hundred and whittle through that leg quickly. We are geographically wiser now — ya wanna get there early, just leave early. I think our record for speed on this trip is something altogether syrupy and unimpressive, seven hours one-way or something in that neighborhood.

The next shot is 19 minutes later and it shows us approaching Williams which is where the turn-off is. So this must be headed North on I-5 between Woodland and Zamora. No idea where Grandpa is. Ask Dad.

Maslow’s Many Hammers

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

“He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail,” said Abraham Maslow, he of the Maslow Pyramid fame. This is an excellent point; it is so worthy that it has given birth to what has become known as the Law of the Instrument. A craftsman settles upon a procedure for solving a given problem, tailoring the solution to his inventory of available tools rather than to the nature of the problem.

There are many variations of this. In software development I’ve had an opportunity to see them first hand. There may be more that I have not yet encountered, but I thought I’d make a little list of what I can recall personally:

1. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
2. When you have drawn lots of attention to your hammer, everything looks like a nail.
3. When you have invested lots of money or time in your hammer, everything looks like a nail.
4. If you’ve just stabbed yourself with a screwdriver, lots of things tend to start looking like nails.
5. When you are in a position to invoice on a per-hammer-swing basis, lots of things look like nails.
6. If you find out your wife is leaving you for a riveter, things look a lot like nails.
7. When the person in the room who talks the loudest says it’s a nail, it starts to look like a nail.
8. When you’ve just finished pounding in lots of nails, the next thing looks a lot like a nail.
9. When you’re on a deadline that allows for pounding but not riveting or driving, everything looks like a nail.
10. When you’ve earned a degree in pounding nails with hammers, everything looks like a nail.
11. If the hammer is a fan of your sports team and the carpet-stapler roots for the other side, things look like nails.
12. After you’ve read a particularly well-written book about hammers, things look like nails even when you haven’t gone out and bought yourself a hammer yet.

Making My Yummy Sauce

Monday, July 5th, 2010

This is Item #1 at my list of One Dozen Yummy Things, where you’ll find the full recipe.

My Yummy SauceIt’s actually “mine” only in the sense that I really like it, I didn’t invent it. But I do have it down to an efficient, effective process and can pretty much make it in my sleep. It’s one of my more useful talents.

This is a sextupling. Get yer mind outta da gutter…if you follow the link you’ll see a recipe that produces a quart. We snatched up a dozen pint jars this morning, along with the ingredients for six servings. This time around, the carmelization at the bottom of the stewpot, plus the residue clinging to the various jars, measuring vessels, scoops, paper towels, et al consumed slightly more than one pint, so I ended up filling eleven jars. I’ll take them to work. The joke is that I have to figure who I really don’t like, and give them the empty.

It is a July Fourth tradition. The proper way to do it is the night before the last workday before the holiday — which should have meant Thursday. But the “holiday” this year was Monday and the actual date was on a Sunday, which is kinda stupid…what can I say, I didn’t have it together. I think this will work just as well though. As the fireworks stands are being dismantled, it’s the start of “summer in earnest.” Nothing really going on until Labor Day. Just work, sunscreen, books & swimming. And what goes better with that than some really cold bitter beer — and some RIBS! Which we’ll be snagging a week from now.

Nothing goes better with ribs than my magical sauce. Nothing. Pork, beef, doesn’t matter. We’ll set aside Jar #11 for ourselves, and baste the rack on both sides appropriately.

The Right Ear, It Sticks Way Out

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Yup, like I said in the e-mail when he came asking permission, I can’t hide forever. My brother has posted old family pictures.

So if you’ve a mind to do so, you can study the face that is stretched over the brain behind The Blog That Nobody Reads.

Memo For File CXVIII

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

There is a record of dissolution dated November 3, 1991, with my name affixed upon it. And so it seems I had a different marital status up until that date, although I cannot recall much from that era. I remember living in a single-wide, which I did not want but my ex-wife did. Only other former spouses, similarly discarded like so much garbage, will understand how it came to pass that I resided therein all by myself.

I came out of this experience, eventually, whole again but not unchanged. I had nightmares about this piece of crap I’d been sold. But it was inside its dillapidated innards that I began to figure out where I really wanted to live. In there. When it was too late to do anything about it. As I lived the dream of a woman who wanted nothing more to do with me.

I thought of it again just now, as I finished hauling in groceries in hundred degree heat, for the benefit of another woman much more deserving of such male deference. My dream house, you see, has not too many definitions because I’ve not put a lot of thought into it. But it does have an elegant solution for grocery shopping, one that has been reinforced by years and decades of acquiring food. There is a behemoth that guzzles diesel fuel by the bushel for this purpose, which would give Al Gore a heart attack — unless, that is, it was put under his control. Four-on-the-floor. Retractable stepladder for use by full-grown men, not just petite ladies. The fuel mileage is in the single digits. You wouldn’t believe how many groceries this thing holds. In my dream house, I go grocery shopping every three, four, five months or so.

My dream house has a garage especially built for the dream behemoth. It’s down by the south end, near the pool area, because the land upon which the house is built is gently sloped such that this is where you reach the lower levels. A dumbwaiter is way over-sized for Queen Victoria’s era, it wouldn’t fit there at all. This is a twenty-first century dumb-waiter. It’s a good seven feet deep by eight-to-nine feet wide. It passes through three or four floors of the main building, delivering hundreds of cubic feet of groceries not only to the main kitchen, but to the computer room as well. Hey, repairs will be necessary and some of them might be local. There are file servers, database servers, video servers, satellite servers, web servers. Every now and then one of ‘em will blow a power supply, so the dumb-waiter stands ready to assist.

That’s the grocery garage. The commuter garage is in another building, on the West side. This is the one I use every single day, as I shuttle my butt to a skyscraper housing a big important software firm of which I am the President and CEO. The commuter vehicle is considerably smaller than the grocery behemoth, costs a good bit more, and perhaps is maintained a bit more lovingly.

I never drive it in reverse. Not at home. Not when I pull out of the garage in the morning, and not when I pull in at night. Driving backwards on any kind of daily basis is a burden I’ve given up here. The commuter garage is round, about 23 feet in diameter total, and there is a twelve-foot turntable in the middle. It rotates 180 degrees clockwise every time the garage door is closed, you see. So it isn’t necessary for this garage to have two openings, in fact it connects to a single tunnel concealed underground.

Porsche 911 Turbo SThere is a pedestrian underground tunnel that links to this commuter garage, and affixed to this is a changing room that is always stocked with clean, folded swim trunks and towels. My servants keep it that way. From here I can dive straight into the indoor pool, which naturally connects to the outdoor pool. So yes, it’s rather rare that a business owner clocks out at five sharp, in fact I know it almost never happens. But it ain’t no big thing. I can work ’til it’s pitch black, pilot my 911 Turbo S home, down through the underground tunnel just like Batman. Park it on the turntable, strip down, walk through the narrow passage way and dive right in. Oh my I do believe I forgot to mention the swim trunks. That’s how it would go when there’s no company; work, commute, tunnel, turntable, birthday suit, indoor pool, outdoor pool, hot tub. And then my sweetie brings me a roast beef samrich. And you just know there’s a waterproof keyboard out there.

Anyway, I thought that was a stroke of genius. A garage for bringing in the food, and another garage for leaving for work. These are two different things you see. Two different lists of requirements.

The master bedroom is a wonder of the world. You could play basketball in this thing. It’s impossible to figure out where the bedroom ends and the bathroom begins. His-and-Hers sinks are spaced apart from each other, and angled away too. There is copious surface space on the female side of this arrangement; before she unpacks her gear you’ll wonder how it can all be put to good use. After she’s unpacked, you’ll wonder why you were wondering. It won’t bother me one little bit. And my beard trimmings in the sink won’t bother her one little bit. The shower stall is more luxurious than anything you’ve seen in any four-star hotel. The tiles are all obsidian. The shitter is in a separate room all closed in, and the sunken Roman tub is in a separate room all open. It peeks out over the balcony. Again, there is an excess of surface space for magazines, champagne ice buckets, roast beef samrich plates, and yeah another waterproof keyboard. There is a fridge built into the base of the Roman tub as well. And of course there is a gigantic glass fireplace.

Master BedroomHer closet — it’s a floor. The next floor down. She descends the spiral staircase, like Venus fresh borne on the ocean waves, in her undergarments, then she makes herself up. Every inch of space under that leviathan of a master bedroom suite, it’s all hers.

The master suite does not seem as functional at six in the evening as it does about eight or nine hours later; it is built for sacrificing R.E.M. sleep for a little more carnal delight. It has 210 degrees of view all over everything. But the way the specially tinted light works with the windows, folks inside can see all over everything outside, while nobody outside can see what’s going on inside. Directly adjoining this is the highest room in the entire palace, the “observatory.” Perfectly round, fourteen feet in diameter, with a powerful electronic telescope and a transparent hemispherical roof. There is very little in the observatory. Just a table for an ice cold beverage, a bean bag chair, and my massive comic book & girly mag collection.

There has to be a wood shop. There has to be one. It has a wood lathe and a drill press and an air compressor and a pottery wheel and an oil change pit. Yeah that’s right, this is a third garage. You park a car to drop off the groceries, you park the car to enter your domicile after a hard day’s work, and you park the car to change the oil. Dream House Morgan is a multi-billionaire software mogul, and he buys his own food and changes his own oil.

The two-wheeled vehicles are in yet another building. There is at least one hybrid bicycle, a real “mountain” bike or two, several high-end racing bikes that cost more than cars. There are pulley systems that store these vessels out of the way up top, there is a repair stand, and storage space for the water bottles, energy bars, spare tubes, spoke wrenches, and apparel. We haven’t even gotten to the motorcycles yet. Hogs, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda. Lots of Honda. The way I figure it, the Goldwing will be stored here, and the trailer will probably go in that other building, in the workshop. There may be some neglected toys, but the Goldwing & trailer will not be among them. They’ll get a workout.

Sunsets are precious to me, and as I get older they are becoming more precious. (This was prophesied to me by a stranger when I was sixteen, and the prophecy has come true.) The westernmost building is set aside for the most masculine pursuits. The largest decking for barbecues is out here, along with a billiards room, and — for when the sunsets aren’t imminent — a home theater downstairs that has no windows whatsoever. Yet another computer station is concealed in this building, also downstairs, sharing the allocated volume with the home theater. My dream house, you see, accommodates my mood during any given moment — not the other way around.

Yes, I have some computing to do that is best done when there are no windows. But that’s one hour out of every four, I’d guess. Maybe less than that. The rest of the time I want to survey my domain, like a majestic lion. And so the top-most floor of the largest, most Southern building, is allocated for a single gigantic room: The Master Study. Primary workstation. Secondary and tertiary workstations. Three monitors apiece. The server room is just adjacent (and the behemoth garage, with eight-foot-wide dumbwaiter, is downstairs). This suite has its own pisser and coffeemaker. And, for when the time is right, a fridge with beer. Perhaps some blogging would get done here now and then. The view is the best in the entire house — a full thirty-five feet off the ground, with a wide-open view of the ocean.

It faces directly South, so the glass shades itself automatically when the sun becomes merciless.

You can swim directly from the indoor pool into the living room…after you swim from the outdoor pool, through a passage, into the indoor pool. And you swam there straight from the bubble-jet hot tub. You can walk from the living room to the dining room. From the dining room, up a spiral staircase, you emerge on a mezzanine which sports a fully-stocked wet bar, overlooking the viewscreen which is sixteen feet wide and displays a projection-teevee image that can be seen by all. Had you kept walking, you could go from there into the full-sized kitchen, but why would you want to do that? There is a laptop docking station by the wet bar, whose video channel can be spliced to this mammoth projection teevee screen. Every now and then, coming home from work, this just might be my mode: I might have an idea I’ll want to refine. I toldja. The Dream House accommodates my emotional profile in a given moment, not the other way around.

So you can watch the viewscreen from below, in the classic furniture cluster. With my favorite Archie Bunker recliner down there. You can watch it from above, at the wet bar. Or a bit closer, from the laptop docking station. Type in a letter, watch it appear on the screen, bigger than a man’s head. Awesome!

When it’s time to watch a movie, the video server is at your beckon-call. It’s connected to a jukebox. Back in the early ’90s, when I was writing the software to regulate a real-life optical-jukebox unit taller than a refrigerator that could store 50 GB (!), the dream house boasted a quieter model that cycled through 6 terabytes. Eighteen years wiser now, I bow to Moore’s Law. I no longer pretend to have an idea of what the goddamn thing stores or how it does it. I just want it to displace this bulky four-level bookshelf which surely must be home to more than 500 discs of James Bond movies, 1980′s teevee shows, and macho-movies like Patton, Braveheart, 300, Beowulf, The Incredibles, Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark and A Bridge Too Far. The remote cycles through a tree-configured database. You sit in the easy chair, and go Movies -> Action/Adventure -> James Bond -> Goldfinger (1964) Sean Connery -> Play. Play & pause are run by a unique clap-on clap-off interface, for those all-important bathroom breaks. And yeah, I wrote the software that does it all.

Pool PartyThe wine cellar is concealed behind a secret panel on the ground floor. It is kept at a constant temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very close to the dumwaiter, for the benefit of those grocery shopping trips that are entirely liquid. There is a thick plexiglass portal between the wine cellar and the indoor pool, from which you can see the swimmers underwater. The wine cellar sort of funnels into yet another secret passage, which leads to the other building with the bedrooms.

There is another building with a real library. Three floors. With ladders on wheels, just like in the old movies.

The Western-most building has a reason for being there, and it makes the most of it. So does the Eastern-most. And the Southernmost. The Southern end is where all the partying happens; the final frontier before you meet the ocean. That’s where my boat is parked. That’s where the extra-large, industrial-level gas barbecue lives. And the bubble-jet hot tub. And the soft-serve ice cream bar. All my house parties turn into pool parties.

Seven buildings all-in-all. Forty-three thousand, six hundred fifty square feet. Four floors if you don’t count that observatory with the electronic telescope, five floors if you do.

But I really haven’t put that much thought into it.

Fallon, NV, Spring 2010

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

This is from a couple months ago when I picked up the boy from his Mother’s following spring break, so he could go back to school and wind up the year. I had an inspired idea: I would shuttle him back throughout Sunday, and use a whole day to figure out what Nevada has to offer. I packed up my 21-speed hybrid bicycle in the trunk of the car Friday morning, and hit Highway 50 from work that afternoon. I booked two nights in Fallon, spending Saturday pedaling around.

You can see my two-wheeled vessel in this shot. Clicky to embiggen.

Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything like that ever again.

I was just noticing, though, as these pictures came up on my girlfriend’s electronic photo frame from across the living room; generally speaking, and this is not an absolute rule, but — the greater misery I had at any one place, the better the pictures turned out.

As far as Nevada is concerned, the people are just wonderful. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you had set out with the engineering objective of creating so great a swath of road with so little to do once you’re there, this would have to go into the record books toward the top of the list of human achievements.

My brother is a single Dad too. His own “Kidzmom” lives in freakin’ Hawaii. Hawaii. On the exact same personal business, I get to carve through the dust bowl that is northern Nevada.

There’s no justice.

Still and all, if you’re in that district and wondering where the nearest cold ice tea & hot bowl of soup might be…and if you didn’t plan what you’re doing, it’s better-than-likely you will…I do recommend Fallon. The one Starbucks, however, has been boarded up. So be aware you’re on a 250-mile ribbon that doesn’t have one — probably the only one in the continental United States.

Yeah. Like I said. If they set out to do that, it would be a miracle of engineering achievement.

Update: Added another still that I think is more interesting, does a better job of capturing the hardscrabble-manual-labor Grapes-of-Wrath character of the area, after removing the color from it. Click for larger.

Memo For File CXVI

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

Your bank, which is where Blue Ravine and Green Valley meet with East Natoma, closes at one sharp on Saturday afternoons.

No, I’m not pasting from the clipboard. I am typing it in by hand, each letter, over and over again. Scolding myself; a true MEMO FOR FILE. It is rage at one’s self you are seeing above, since I have been bitten in the rear end by this before. From here on out I intend to get it right no matter what it takes.

Also, the mail is picked up at one-freakin’-thirty. Oh-fer-two.

That’s okay. On this round of peregrinations, getting the mail out was the only thing that really mattered. The drop boxes by the downtown post office aren’t cleared out ’til three.

Women on Top?

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Chris Wysocki has an excellent round-up of our post-modern feminists lately going batshit-crazy. This is useful right now, because this week a whole lot has been happening at once and you need to be looking in a lot of directions to see how nutty it all is.

The people who call themselves “feminists” are filled with hate, looney-tunes, and they’re acting that way. There is very little unusual about this, in & of itself. What’s different about this week is that their grip on sanity has so weakened that they cannot even act to preserve their precious movement. This is why I call them, not “feminists,” but “the people who call themselves ‘feminists’.”

Treated Like ChildrenLet’s just be refreshingly blunt: This is not a pro-woman movement. It’s just another gimmick to get liberal democrats into office and to keep them there.

ReelGirl is pretty pissed about me pointing this out. She insists that “Morgan seems unable to listen to logic” but this reveals a failure to keep track of her own argument, because any discourse that ensues from “Keep mean girls out of office” is going to be inherently illogical. If logic is your lodestar, then what’s up with this business of adjudicating meanness? It’s just a way to change the subject. We can’t afford sound policies, we can’t afford logic or common sense, we have to keep the mean people out of office.

I pointed out that if the message is “We cannot afford to consider replacing Barbara Boxer because her challenger is a meanie-cow,” it doesn’t resonate much because Sen. Boxer is a very poor archetype of nice-ness. And that’s being charitable.

You guessed it. I’m on the attack now. I’m a sinister, shadowy, menacing remnant of the patriarchy…and the feminists are recoiling, like a 1950′s housewife climbing up atop a chair to escape a mouse. Eek!

How do you get more thin-skinned than that. Seriously. Try to envision a way. You can’t. This is a movement to empower women?

After winding up my vacation with my girlfriend, who is properly deferential to my masculine will on matters where she knows she should be, although she’s quite strong willed and anything but a wallflower, we headed back into town (the man driving of course), and pulled into Hooters for a big ol’ mess of hot wings. We briefly reflected on this Internet dust-up, and how the owner of the flog is threatening to ban me. It was then I realized something:

I have been arguing with left-wing twits on some kind of networking computer system for twenty-four years now. To my knowledge, I have yet to be banned from anything.

It’s not that I see getting banned as a badge of honor, but a quarter century without having it happen certainly doesn’t command any bragging rights. My God, all the mental instability I’ve seen out there in all that time. Someone should have banned me by now. If this is where my cherry gets popped, I’d say it’s way overdue.

ReelGirl doesn’t seem too interested in dialogue; flog-posters typically are not. I point out the many inconsistencies with what’s been said, and they go away and I figure I’ve killed the whole conversation. And then a whole day later someone comes back and tut-tuts me, demands to know of my military service record or embarks on some other similar tangent.

If they do it again I’m gonna go all Cartman, and tell them to get their fat asses back in the kitchen & make me a pie. If you don’t see why, go back and read Wysocki’s piece from top to bottom. Republican women are pulling off exactly the kind of revolution feminists say they want, and far from celebrating or throwing a ticker tape parade, they’re crying in their Ben & Jerry’s.

Like I said. It’s just another ploy to elect democrats. It’s been reduced to that and nothing more for a very long time now; every now and then we get a stark reminder of it, and it’s up to us to decide whether to pay attention to it or not. We just got another reminder.

P12Update: Forgot to make a note of it. Everything said from their side on that site, is pure garbage. Every single speck. But there is something revealing and notable in what one of ‘em said…others have commented on it before. The graphic that has been in the sidebar on & off for quite awhile now, and has been a constant fixture since the year began. Wonder Woman, side profile, in an action pose, slightly altered to look like Sarah Palin. This brings down thundering disapproval because it is a testament to my “shallow thinking.”

Purest bile, purest nonsense — because if my politics were more in line with theirs and I used exactly the same graphic, the graphic would “reveal” entirely different things. I know it, they know it, everybody knows it, they know everybody (who cares) knows this.

Ever watch a Justice League cartoon? Wonder Woman never really has been just-another-super-heroine, has she. She can’t be, because she was endowed by her mother with the powers of all the Greek gods, including love and wisdom. She negotiates before she fights, but once she’s started fighting she’s all-in, and she’s in it to win it. She does not need any experts to tell her whose ass to kick, she figures it out. She’s a natural leader, possessing both power and judgment. When the other members of the JLA are quarreling like little kids, she’ll put a stop to it. She possesses perhaps the greatest potential, out of all of them, to come up with the most constructive resolution to whatever the problem is. She may even surpass Superman in this respect.

This is not a justification for Heather or for ReelGirl to be reading. They don’t need it. Like I said: They’d see this aspect immediately, on their own, if only my political leanings resembled theirs. (Of course, to make that happen, the reference would have to be to someone besides Palin…but still.)

But I lean right and they lean left. So all that matters is Wonder Woman’s flowing hair, her generous heaving bosom, her succulent bare thighs, and her curvy, sensuous, beautiful star-spangled rear end. Things I personally hadn’t ever even noticed before, myself.

ReelGirl spoke of logic. They’re not really using it over there. They’re “thinking” with their emotions, and this is precisely the trouble into which one gets. You look at things, and before you see what’s really there, you see what you want to see. Your God-given powers of managing your own senses to interact with your environment, naturally deteriorate. Notice that your intellect is not diminished in this way; it simply becomes irrelevant, because you’re only going through the motions of taking information in and not really doing it.

Update: Fellow Right Wing News contributor Kerrie Heretic comments on the nationwide sweep:

Also, as you skim through the Wysocki piece, don’t miss the link to Blogsister Cassy’s spot, she does a very nice job of capturing the widespread psychosis.

We really need to make a record of this and see to it it’s preserved in our long-term collective memory. It’s important. “Feminists” are saddened, shocked, appalled, disappointed…as women on the conservative side are making an historic advancement. Whatever they have in mind for a vision of what’s supposed to happen in our society, this is not it.

Their agenda, agree with it or not, is hidden because it must be. They cannot be trusted.

Update 4/13/10: Lori Ziganto’s post at David Horowitz’s blog contained a graphic I could not resist swiping.

Got a feeling it’s going to come in handy. Again and again.

Girlfriend’s Pictures, Vol. 1

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I told you when the girlfriend woke up, we’d start making arrangements to get those photos uploaded so you can see how much better her camera is. Here are some of ‘em. You can click the thumbnails to embiggen. We’ll start with her zoom-in on her schmuck’s tee shirt:

Here’s the lighthouse at Point Arena which you saw from my own photo album:

Lighthouse, closer:

Once we hit the lighthouse balcony, we both went hog-wild. She has many more where this one came from:

And here you can see the right side of schmuck’s flabby body during our tandem photo session:

Down in the museum, here’s a movie poster for the Mel Gibson flick about the airplane pilot:

Okay, backing up to Monday night & Tuesday morning. Here is the marina in Petaluma, where we started out. I think I might have some pics of this same marina, in fact I know I do. I’ll have to fetch those later for comparison. But it shouldn’t be that important at this point, you should already be able to see the difference in quality.

We scooted on up to Bodega Bay on Tuesday. Regular visitors to the Tides Wharf restaurant and gift shop will be familiar with the hundred year old whaling pot below. Perfectly suitable for melting down whale fat, or for frying up Islamic terrorists in bacon grease:

Duck. She was testing the limits of the telephoto lens.

Sailboat. Don’t ask me about the incline. Some other tourists had questions about this, and none of the locals we contacted knew anything about it. Some exotic gravity-fed method of bilge pumping?

As you leave the Bodega Bay by way of the North city limits, the highway will graciously meet up with the coastline forming North Salmon Creek, popular breaking-out, mounting-up and attire-changing spot for the surfers. We’ve visited here many a time, and I had graciously indicated this was about the point of our vacation where we should start doing the walk-barefoot-in-sand thing.

This is a good test of the camera. She discovered a few weeks ago it is particularly well-suited for close-ups of interesting-looking plant life, like this:

Once down on the beach, she took some pictures of the elevated position and I liked the way this one turned out of the adjacent rock formation:

Seagull. You’ve already seen my pic; compare & contrast.

And here is the schmuck, with a head full of (receding) hotel-shampoo-hair, getting ready to do his barefoot-walkin’.

We have more; actually, these are the boring ones, their value is that you can zoom in and admire photophile stuff, like pixel revolution, blur removal, et al. The ones still in the pipeline are a bit better for piquing genuine interest among those who are not so enamored of such technical minutiae. I’ll get back to the project as time permits.

Lighthouse, Point Arena, 2010

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

So the gal had the idea to visit the Point Arena Light. I ended up having to reluctantly give her some credit on this one. She got the idea while we were watching that chick flick with Mel Gibson in it, the one where I fell asleep about 45 minutes into it. Something about an airplane pilot in the 1930′s. Anyway, they used this lighthouse in the film…which I figured out while we were touring the museum and I saw a poster for a movie that looked vaguely familiar.

You have to be in shape to climb the metal staircase without wheezing and gasping. The lighthouse was built in 1870, entirely wrecked by the 1906 earthquake, reconstructed in 1908 and modernized in 1978. The focal plane is over 100 feet off the ground, as you can tell from zooming in on the front elevation:

This makes for an awesome view. The exterior has been entirely reconstructed; the actual workings of the lighthouse are quite different.

As you tour the museum you’re going to see some of the equipment that was in use toward the end of the nineteenth century, which involves giant Fresnel lenses, air horns, compressors, mercury baths. Nowadays, miniaturization has succeed to such an extent it is a little bit embarrassing. In the picture above, you see what is “crowded” into this big empty chamber that used to be filled with a light: A donation box for painting the lighthouse, some optical equipment and walkie-talkies. Yeah, tour-conducting “apparatus.” And that device outside the window, in the background? That is today’s light. Yeah — slightly larger than a man’s head. That functionality used to fill this room.

Below you see a view from the upper balcony. Click to embiggen.

And here’s a more wide-open shot, of the summer rental cabins immediately below.

We have a bunch of other shots just like this; in fact, these are all from my camera, which is a “better-than-nuthin’” tourist-ey type point-and-shoot model. She’s got the Olympus, which is more of a high-end device and I understand she managed to fill it up with several dozen. When she wakes up I’ll get the necessary swapping done so I can upload some of hers.

North Salmon Creek, by Bodega Bay, June 2010

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

There’s lots of pictures here, perhaps hundreds of final-cut, slide-show-ready specimens from just the last 48 hours. The hotel innerwebs connection will not entirely accommodate all this for the moment however, so for now I’ll just put up these two from yesterday’s romp in the sand.

This was at my request, since my sneakers were giving me claustrophobia from the ankles down. So I waddled around in my bare feet while the lady cavorted in sandals.

I have some doubts now about keeping the toenail. The hot sand seems to have aggravated it. Color’s looking a little funny.

We saw a peculiar weather pattern descending down from the North, from up by Goat Rock. It’s not a smog front and it’s not a storm. Now we’re here at Timber Cove and the weather has actually been fairly mild. Lots of wind but it comes and goes.

Click for larger.

The seagulls are rather funny. We were noticing one of them was literally hogging the shots. He’d figure out when someone was about to snap a picture, then he’d nudge his buddies out of the frame and strike a pose. It’s not all about being a rat-with-wings.

We have many more, and these are not the best. We’ll put it up as time & wireless routers allow…

Auto Play

Friday, June 4th, 2010

I’ve had some harsh words for bloggers who embed objects on their pages that auto-play. Some of those harsh words have made it in here somewhere, I think; although most have not, since I figure they’ll reap the rewards of annoying their readers.

Well, it seems now we’re doing it. The video embed for our Memorial Day weekend post is playing a short advertisement. It happens when you bring up our page, not when you hit the play button. This is not cool.

Yanking the video wouldn’t be cool either. We’ve checked around, and it seems every other blog embedding the code is having the same problem right now. We’ve looked for the same video hosted at a different site, and haven’t come up with anything.

The content itself is really quite priceless, not in a “ha ha” way. It provokes good healthy thinking all year ’round. To put some advertisement in, is in our minds fair. We disapprove of the auto-play. And so we have opted to allow the post to scroll off the page naturally, in the meantime hoping the video host will come to his senses, or that we find an alternative hosting. In the meantime, we’re the reason your computer is making noises. It’s not spyware, it’s us. Given time it’ll go away.

And it’s not our normal practice by any means.

Thatisall.

Update: No it isn’t, I decided to grow a pair & pull it. If you want to see the clip, you can go chasing the links.

Of course our fallen should be honored and we should never forget their sacrifice, but in these early, wild-frontier days of the innerwebs we still live in a somewhat pristine world — compared to the way it’s gonna get during future generations. And I just think when you load a page into your browser, or hit refresh, that by itself should not cause it to make noise. It isn’t right.

If there’s a consensus about this, my hope is it says not only am I correct about this, but it’s a little silly for me to go typing the words in & taking up space with ‘em. It’s one of those things that should just be obvious. People like to read blogs, in the middle of the night. In teeny tiny apartments, with paper-thin walls, with their spouses & kids sleeping. So this needs to be a firm line that won’t budge.

Looking for Two Experiments

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

I’m looking for two experiments that deal with human impulses. One of ‘em I read about and then I promptly forgot all about anything by way of source (book, link, author, institution, periodical etc.). People sat at desks and played a game involving an accumulation of money; if you pressed a button, you could “vanish” somebody else’s fortune a dollar at a time, but it would cost you 25 cents.

The other one I heard about through lunch chatter. You give a small child a gummy bear and leave the room, but before you leave the room you say: If the gummy bear is still there when I come back, you get a second gummy bear. Then you don’t come back. The bear will be gone within 15 minutes, the trick is that within the 15 minutes, it will last an amount of time directly proportional to the child’s intelligence.

Anybody got sources for these? Or some hints?

Update: Ah, my brother came through in the clinch.

The Marshmallow Experiment – Instant Gratification from FloodSanDiego on Vimeo.

The Hello-Kitty-of-Bloggin’ does have its uses after all.

Update: Now that I know what it’s called, I like the YouTube version a little bit better. Not coming through all stoppy and congested and stuff…

I should add that my son is in the next room, in his fourth minute on this experiment. Although I suppose he’s a little on the old side for this.

Memo For File CXII

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

I’m waiting to see if I’m going to lose my big toenail.

You see, the Daddy Fridge that sits outside and assumes the responsibility for storing all of the alcoholic beverages, sits at a certain height above the ground. The door is pressed shut with a magnetic seal, possessing sufficient power to suspend a suitcase full of overfed ferrets from a light fixture so it won’t fall. There is significant jerking force required to rip the thing open, and the door has a certain mass to it. The lower part of the door is elevated above the cement at a height greater than the fleshy part of your foot, but less than your toenail…

Cringing yet? You can see what’s coming?

William the ConquerorI am not altogether sure what worked me into my agitated state this weekend. I do remember something had sapped my patience, and it was time for a refill. And so out I went, to the balcony, to tap into the Daddy Fridge and replenish my supply of mead. My sense of awareness suitably diminished, I pried the door open out of its powerful magnetic beam, and the heavy tempered-glass door went crashing into my toenail, driving it into the fleshy part of the toe. This, naturally, infuriated me. Such insolence! How dare this inanimate object presume to tell me what’s what and what-for. And so I channeled my surge of adrenaline toward slamming the beast shut, so it should know its proper place…bottles of sparkling water atop the fridge, sent flying in all directions by this display of bravado.

Like a Neanderthal brandishing a club, I gripped my twelve ounces of ale by the neck, slamming the screen door shut behind me. And I made it known that, in my capacity as Lord of the Manor and Master of all he surveys, I had asserted my dominance over this inanimate object and taught it a lesson about who rules the roost. A lesson it shall not soon forget! Ha ha!

The Queen of the Castle then informed me that I seemed to be getting some inanimate blood on her inanimate rug.

Nonsense! Quick as a flash, His Lordship sat all cross-legged Indian-style on the couch, pulled over his mini-notebook to continue reading His Royal E-Mails, and in one deft motion pried the metal top off of his mead. But then — hark, what is this? A sanguine solution, warm to the touch, began to pool up under his royal butt cheeks where his toe rested. His Lordship looketh down and beheld the thick reddish liquid gushing out of his extremity.

Begone with ye, intoned Her Ladyship. Hie thee thence to the bathroom sink, and let me not lay eyes upon thy chauvinistic ass until thou hast bandaged thy wound, and acted to stem the flow of thy bodily fluids upon my living room finery.

And so the household patriarch did sterilize his own self, quite obediently, as best he could. He doth knowest his place in the castle.

So who has emerged victorious in that melee, man or machine? I claim victory, for I have made my message clear. One does not throw the fight merely by emerging from it wounded. But I am hoping to keep that toenail. In the next day or two, we shall see.

On a different subject: At the beginning of April, we acquired some new neighbors who live downstairs. We think they might be giant insects in human costumes; humans aren’t supposed to have that many kids. I’m sure they’re breaking the fire code six ways from Sunday. But that is not the worst of it.

They seem to be foreclosed-upon homeowners. Every single one of their fifty-or-sixty kids m-u-s-t have a bicycle, and these are chained out in front of their apartment. Nobody is allowed to wear shoes inside…so these are strewn about as well. Dinner in that household is late, like 9:30 or 10:00. I can tell this because they are fond of East Indian spices, including Curry, Clove, Fennel, Turmeric and sweet Chutney. I’ve given up trying to figure out which among these provokes the allergic reaction my girlfriend has in the wee hours of the morning.

Naturally, each one of the precious chillun’s has a teevee bigger than the one we have in our living room…and the one in their living room, is a freakin’ monster. And naturally, they like to have the volume cranked. Heavy on the bass.

FurballI was just noticing our new neighbors, friendly as they were, seemed to be doing just about everything wrong without even realizing it. Almost felt bad for them. Almost. One day, I had intoned out loud…or silently to myself, I cannot remember which…there’s only one thing they have not yet done. They have yet to acquire an annoying, cantankerous, anti-social, rodent size irascible little yip-dog.

Guh…Morgan. Bad Morgan. Dumb, dumb, bad ol’ Morgan. Why did you have to go and think that?

What do I call the new arrival? HFH for Hound From Hell…or SWT for Snowball With Teeth?

I heard the miserable cur before I saw it. I was hauling home some groceries and I saw a little boy about seven years old coming the other way, but before he came around the corner I heard the barking and the yipping and the snarling and the yelping. This is Folsom, so at first I thought nothing of it — our suburb is filled with people who think they’re walking their dogs, when the dogs are really walking them. But this really was a wild beast. Big as a softball maybe, but still thoroughly dedicated to the ways of the jungle. The scrawny kid continued to pull on the leash in a vain effort to estabish dominance, as I had (more successfully) done with the refrigerator…

And as we crossed paths, something surreal happened.

I began to feel this sensation on my ankles. As if a starving kitten somehow thought I was carrying milk down there. I thought…could it be? No. And I peered down between the grocery bags in my arms, and sure enough, the little demonic furball somehow was laboring under the delusion that my jugular was down there and was lunging for it. The little boy continued more futile endeavors to assert human supremacy, and I continued on my way. “Oh my God,” I thought to myself, “that was the one thing they hadn’t done yet.”

Our apartment unit is the preferred location for birds to build their nests. I know this. I have conducted an informal survey all around the building. Other units have zero nests. We have four.

There is bird shit all over the place. Birds dive at us as if they’re the residents, and we are the interlopers. Worse yet, by international treaty, the government I support with my taxes says the birds are correct about this. It is illegal to relocate a bird’s nest. I suppose we’ve put these laws together to demonstrate our benevolence and harmlessness as a biped species, to get the avians to like us more better. Well, let me tell you, it ain’t workin’. Unless lifting your tailfeathers and leaving a big ol’ trail of white crap all over my stairs, and then dive bombing me on top of it to add insult to injury, is some Audubon Society way of saying “we think you’re just swell” — and I have serious doubts about that — they fucking hate us.

The blessing in all this? I know I’m sensitive to these slights only because my biggest problem in the world…for now…is that by Friday night I might be down to nine toenails. I don’t have any problems bigger than that, and for this I am thankful.

But still, it’s death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts. There are piles and piles of bird shit. My girlfriend’s upper respiratory system closes down some mornings, if we forget what’s going on and leave the windows open, which used to be a favorite summertime ritual of ours. And on the weekends there is that yip-yip-yip-yipping from that untamed, wild furball. I’ve lived in Folsom for a lot of years by now. Poeple who think they can train their dogs, and can, do not annoy me…people who cannot train dogs, and know they cannot train them, also do not annoy me. People who hang onto their untrainable dogs, thinking they can train them while the dog proceeds to whip them into shape — I find that annoying. I see it as a form of animal abuse.

Female VikingMaybe this makes me chauvinistic…again…but it is clear to me that dogs have been built to respond to the sound of an adult, male voice. If when you belt out a command, either for real or in rehearsal, and it doesn’t come out as an octave below middle-C or lower…then, I’m sorry, but you do not have what it takes to train a dog. The canine ear is not going to listen to you. It’s long past time the world became aware of this. Watching these grown women and little boys “walk” the dogs here and there, after awhile it just starts to wear on you. The soprano and alto voices, curtly telling “Oscar” to heel, stop sniffing that, come, sit, sit, sit…and Oscar doesn’t give a shit about any of it. It really starts to get tedious after awhile, all that ineffectual squeaking. It isn’t that I hate dogs. I just don’t think dogs are being treated fairly, if we’re going through the motions of training them but not really training them.

I ordered a disc from Uncle Matty. We’re going to view it one time, for content, then bundle it back up again and leave it as a present, in the middle of the night. It’s about the most neighborly way to handle the problem. We’ll just make that a gift from a secret admirer, if ya will.

But no one is sick. Nobody is coming after our paychecks. No one’s dead, no one’s dying. I’m walking with a slight limp, but what of it? I am descended from Vikings. If they walked around with a slight limp, it meant one thing: A battle had lately been concluded, and if they were around to do the limping then they must’ve won. You should see the other guy!

The Daddy Fridge — whether it’s ripping out chunks of my flesh or not — is stocked full of delicious cold suds.

Life is good.

Passwords

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Alright, the password thing is really starting to get me steamed. Not at you fine, fair people who are suffering from the problem. At WordPress, I think…or my configuration of it. There is clearly something amiss.

I got a gut feel, from working with this issue at my various “real” jobs (software development, enterprise network security & network accreditation, and back to software development again) that in order to find out where the problem is we’re going to have to reveal passwords. That is a big no-no in my world and we are not going there. So I’ll just say, think on your password composition. If you really think the issue is there, I would encourage you to go for six letters in a mix of upper and lowercase, one Arabic numeral and one special character. Mix it up good, make it something you can remember, and that should do it.

Also, enable your browser to accept cookies if you want to be remembered on your computer.

If you think the problem is outside of those, then I want to hear from you. Are you logging into other WordPress sites and being spared from the frustration that somehow plagues you here? My account has always worked wonderfully, but I’m the admin…and with this much bitching from so many smart folks, there has to be something going on contributing to it. What do you see that’s broken?

Please keep the passwords under your hat. Except maybe for the old ones you don’t want to use anymore…and then, only if you think they matter, and they can’t be used as clues for the newer stuff. Password secrecy is a real hot-button issue in my world so please use your discretion.

Thoughts? Experiences? Sound off. We shall endeavor to fix.

Daphne…is Just Plain WRONG!!

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

As a matter of fact, five minutes after I yammer at the kid to put his jammies on and get his skinny ass in bed, this is pretty much what Freeberg Manor looks like…

…except the computer is a HP mini sitting on my lap, and I’m curled up cross-legged on the couch. The dialogue is pretty much exactly the same.

S.I.W.O.T.I.

Update: Our favorite blogsister expounds further about us at Mark’s place:

The three of us, count it four with Mark, aren’t movement conservatives. With the exception of Morgan, I’d classify us as classical conservatives, small L libertarians. I’m not sure where Morgan lands, he’s living outside the box.
:
That you are unable to discern this simple fact tells me that you’re politically ignorant and poorly educated.

That you are rude, unpleasant and belligerent is well documented.

I’m polite, pleasant and belligerent. Anti-Marijuana, pro-states’-rights, anti-abortion-for-profit, pro-child-discipline, anti-tofu, pro-meat, mostly-anti-tattoo, pro-nice-lookin’-lady-in-skimpy-clothes, anti-little-kids’-shopping-cart, pro-clean-new-socks, anti-women-with-short-hair, pro-beer, anti-Hillary, pro-dry-wine, anti-anti-war, pro-soldier, anti-made-up-learning-disability, pro-charcoal-barbeque, anti-communist, pro-Hooters’-waitress, anti-hippy, pro-nuclear-arsenal, anti-carbon-cap-n-trade, pro-family, anti-feminist, pro-Boy-Scouts, anti-needle-exchange-program, pro-Palin, anti-judicial-activisim, pro-Mike-Rowe-Dirty-Jobs, anti-George-Soros, pro-capitalism, anti-woman-politician-in-pant-suits, pro-nice-lookin’-ladies-in-short-skirts, anti-convertible-with-top-down-going-boom-chicka-boom, pro-cute-woman-giving-me-a-cold-beer, anti-Michael-Moore, pro-profit, anti-ObamaCare, pro-free-market, anti-tribal-living, pro-individualist, anti-dickhead, pro-entrepreneur, anti-douchebag, pro-nice-person, anti-sleezebag, pro-law-abiding-citizen, anti-pervert, pro-capital-punishment, anti-murderer, pro-vigilante, anti-rapist, pro-vigilante, anti-kidnapper, pro-vigilante, anti-creep, anti-weirdo, anti-whacko, pro-vigilante…

I like the smell of gunpowder. I like it when the caliber begins with the number 3. I like it even better when the number begins with a 4.

Hooters CrescheI like pretty ladies much better than ugly ladies, and I like fit ladies much better than tubs-o’-lard — BUT!! — if you’re a female, if your hips are 46″ wide, but you love humans and you love strength and ability, you and I will enjoy a bond those skinny man-bashing bitches will never ever know. If you’re pretty, I’ll like you even better when you bring me a cold beer. I like the pretty gals even better when they bring me a hot plate of appetizers with the beer…especially when it’s basted with something slightly tangy. And when they wear something short that shows lots of leg, I like that even better. Cold beer, hot wings, nice-lookin’ bare female leg…and gunpowder. And when I earn money beyond the sensibilities of magnitude of whoever might be paying attention…I get to keep it all…I’m like a puppy when you rub its belly. I’ll follow ya anywhere.

But don’t literally rub my belly, unless you’re my girlfriend.

When I see little kids figure out how to do something they didn’t know how to do five minutes ago, it absolutely makes my day. I don’t care if it’s my kid or someone else’s — well, I do, but the situation holds irregardless. When I see a crooked psychiatrist invent a new three-letter-acronym so a new weakness can be enabled across the decades, I get sick to my stomach and wanna kill somebody.

I think Indiana Jones, as unrealistic as he is, is a role model. Because he’s all about L-I-C-O-R-I-C-E: Leadership, Initiative, Creativity, Ownership of problems, Resourcefulness, Ingenuity, Courage & conviction and Energy. (Those Skywalker boys, as my son and I have noticed, are a little bit light on the O and the C.) T.I., as gritty and realistic as he may be, is not a role model because he’s a thug. He’s missing his licorice.

In short — I’m pro-freedom. Pro-ability. Anti-co-dependence. Pro-strength. Anti-drug-dealing-scumbag-fuckwad.

It really can’t get any simpler than that. Any questions?

Come Sunday, It’ll Be Alright

Monday, April 5th, 2010

No, it wasn’t four lonely days in a brown LA haze. It was two lonely days in a pea-soup kinda fog and a whole lotta snow driving. Echo summit, which I used on the way over, and Donner which I used on the way back, were both unkind and unrelenting.

Could the following people report to the DMV to surrender their drivers’ licenses — in the imaginary universe in which everything’s done my way:

The driver who had to enter I-80 from the entrance ramp, in Truckee, and absolutely had to get in front of me until he figured out I was there — and then, when it was too late for me to take the lead, slowed down to twenty miles an hour so we could all figure out what to do.

The nice looking lady in a way-too-big truck who had to charge past me like I was standing still, pull out in front, and slow way down while she figured out what to do.

The lady with chains on her car who pulled up to the spot where they remove them for you, and, in front of me, come to a complete stop while she figured out what to do.

All of these encounters taking place on Donner. For diversity’s sake I am presuming the first of the three was a male. But get this one thing straight, folks — speed has to be kept restrained beneath a certain threshold, and uniform.

Also, a demerit for the driver of the car with an Obama sticker on it, who was clearly in the process of giving the poor chain installer guy some grief about the money being charged, or why don’t they take personal checks, or what-not.

I was pretty glad to get home. The Echo experience was just a ritual chain-installing pain-in-the-ass. Sixty whole miles of driving around with the goddamn things on a Friday night, but nothing went wrong. Donner was really scary. No bloodshed in the many, many accidents…but the twisted metal was absolutely horrific, you had to have special boots just to walk around on that slippery shit let alone drive on it, and some of my roadway companions were completely brainless. A four-wheel-drive unit, probably the victim of his own hubris, was flipped around facing the wrong way but outwardly seemed unscathed. He was one of the fortunate ones. Cars split open, front ends crushed, back ends entirely removed from the rest of the car, fenders wrinkled up like aluminum foil when you crumple it into a ball and give it a good squeeze.

I’ve never understood why the Siskiyou has such a notorious rep. I still don’t.

Just Not Working Out

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Here I sit on the couch cross-legged, in my jeans barefoot and shirtless, with my big ol’ belly spilling all over the keyboard. Lovely Saturday, full of fresh air outside, and I’m not in it. Because it’s a bit too fresh. As in dripping wet.

This “stay in shape by riding my bike on the weekends” thing is abso-freakin’-lutely not working out. The chosen dieties. Murphy. Evil weather-gremlins.

Doubt me? Take a look at this:

Brings to mind the old saying: Just because you’re certifiably paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. “They” being the weather muses. I know I’m not that important in the cosmic scheme of things, but on the other hand I know what random chance looks like…I know what a conspiracy looks like. What’s above resembles much more the latter than the former.

Viking PrincessSwimming laps in the pool for now. This is the 38th parallel, dammit — I can see real palm trees from right here — I shouldn’t have to wait until mid-March for the get-blood-pumping season to start. I already declared the season open a good month and a half ago.

So glad I’m a dude. We can look somewhat gelatinous and somewhat sexy, at the same time. Still and all, I gotta do something that doesn’t involve sitting. My ass can’t take it, just for one reason. The Freeberg ass draws mostly from Scandinavian genetic material, and it really shows. There’s nothing back there. There’s about as much cushioning in our rear ends as there is in the dietary staples that feed into it…and what fed into the asses of our ancestors…which is mostly white codfish.

There. Now you’re not going to watch viking movies quite the same way ever again, are you? It’s good you come by to get my perspective on these things.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XL

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Got a text message from Cassy Fiano. Turns out she was the driving force behind our HotAir launch from last week. Looks like she sent the text the minute she submitted our link, and we didn’t hear the phone go off. Didn’t notice the text message until a day or two later. Thanks Cassy!

Slightly different subject: There is a rumor going around that Dr. Thomas Sowell is the author of a quote that actually came from us,

Intellectualism has become the readiness, willingness and ability to call dangerous things safe and safe things dangerous.

Yeah that sounds like it would come from him. But no, what happened was John Hawkins managed to score an interview with Dr. Sowell about the new book coming out, and chose to open it this way:

All right, and right off the bat let me ask you about a quote that showed up at number 11 on the best The 40 Best Political Quotes Of 2009,

Intellectualism has become the readiness, willingness and ability to call dangerous things safe and safe things dangerous.

Now this is a common perception among a lot of people. Do you think there is any truth to it?

Oh, my God, yes.

Awesomesauce. Thanks for leading with that, John. And to Gerard for linking it, made me all giddy to find out about this. Even if my name sorta slipped into the memory hole. That’s alright.

Of course, if you watch Sowell interviews a lot of them tend to go this way minute to minute, so I’m not joining much of an exclusive crowd. “Dr. Sowell, do you agree with this, do you agree with that, do you agree with this other thing over here?” Kind of like throwing palm fronds down in the dirt before The Savior in Jerusalem. But we’re flattered nevertheless. This is one of the great thinkers of our time, perhaps the greatest. Even if he has little way of knowing who we are.

Updating Our Sidebar

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

If my math is right, we have 503 sidebar resources now, and that does not include the sister sites that are listed under the Webloggin and Blogs For Palin containers.

It probably does include a few dead sites that, once upon a time, titillated me sometime in the last four years or so. Not much we can do about that.

That includes 442 bronze blogs, which is the emblem we use to represent, for lack of a better phrase, “some guy with a blog.” Some guy whose politics are kinda-sorta in line with ours. If you’re one of the 20 turquoise blogs that means you’re a left-wing maggot-infested hippie of some kind…but we made up our mind we kind of like you anyway, because unlike most liberal hippies you’ve been found to have an occasional original thought in your dreadlocked head.

A blog cannot be silver unless it is the culmination of some collaborative effort. To be one of our 32 silver blogs, it is not enough to just write some stuff, you have to host something. You have to have some kind of panel of contributors, and you have to have some criteria, written or not, about the writers that qualify to participate in your panel.

And the seven blogs we recognize as gold, are household names. You walk up to someone who doesn’t know jack about blogs, and say “hey I read something in a blog” and that person might say “Oh, you mean like (insert name of blog here)?” If you pass that test, you might be gold.

Which leaves just two platinums. Platinum means I’m addicted and have been addicted for years. Platinum means Boortz and FARK, just those two.

Now here’s the thing.

Somewhere around the beginning of the year, I lost the sidebar. I have been keeping it in version control, but I hadn’t done a “commit” on my version control archive since several weeks before Christmas. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out who I lost, and get their links all restored to the blog roll.

Also, we have an unofficial, unwritten policy that if someone links to us, we link to them — unless they’re being dicks, which is something that hasn’t happened for a lot of years. And lately we keep on finding some poor soul who’s been faithfully linking to us, for years maybe, without us linking back. We catch it and catch it and catch it some more…think after you take a load in the ass with a shotgun, and for years afterward you’re digging pellets from back there and after awhile you just resign yourself to the fact that your ass has pellets in it and you’ll never get them all. That’s where we’ve been. Except we appreciate it more than digging lead pellets out of our ass. But the digging continues. It’s getting tiresome. We appreciate the attention, but we don’t appreciate catching ourselves denying the same to others.

So we also have a policy not to give shout-outs. We don’t want to fall off that brink of running a blog just to put up passive-aggressive “Am I The Only One Who” posts. So we don’t SNUL.

Our policies are in conflict with each other.

The shout-out must proceed.

So give me a shout if you’re linking to us, and we’re not linking back. We are sufficiently frustrated now we’re ready to admit we need the guidance. Or, if you’re not linking yet and you would like to link.

And you can comment too. If you think one of our links is a left-wing pinhead and I failed to realize it at the time I categorized whoever it is…or if you find one that’s dead. One that regularly puts up pictures of female body parts, and we don’t have our courteous little NSFW tag by their link. We’d like to know about that before anything else. It’s kinda important…

So go to town. Yes, we’re soliciting input. Say hi, say “here’s my blog,” whack us in the back of the head…criticize our friends…whatever. Let’s hear it.

Memo For File CVII

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I’ve decided the time has come to honor the advice of The Bastidge, and follow it. There is certainly a valid point to be made that the world, and therefore the populace that inhabits it, straddles a chasmatic divide separating two unacknowledged communities, and that each of these communities in perfect isolation would enjoy a harmony that must elude us as we co-exist with each other as a monolith. The divide has something to do with order versus chaos, clarity versus obfuscation, substance versus packaging, individual rights versus community obligations, opportunity versus security, pulling your weight versus fitting-in, logic versus emotion.

We’re seeing it right now with the health care debate. And it substantiates the point all the more when we observe that much of the controversy and dissention swirls around this ramshackle, oxymoronic thing called a “public option.”

I called this “Yin and Yang” out of a desire to get to the bottom of what causes people to pursue, throughout their entire lives, one way of thinking over another. The Yin work within boundaries; the Yang do not. The concept is centuries old, and dates back to periods in different world cultures in which femininity itself was a concept synonymous with the stewardship of quiet, contemplative female chores. In societies like this, it naturally follows that men think of things the way women do in ours, and women must think of things the way men do in ours. Here’s a litmus test: Friend of a friend buys a new car. Or, gets carjacked. It’s a great story to tell for sure, but who is to spend time talking about it?

In an agricultural setting, what happens to one has at least the likelihood of impacting everybody else. And so it makes good sense for people to get together somewhere and swap stories. But these are “Shut Your Girl Mouth Men Are Talking” societies. To whatever extent checking-this-out evolves to become a necessary household chore, it is a manly chore. A railroad’s coming to town, maybe (how does this change things?). Farmer Brown’s crops got wiped out by the cold weather (are ours next?). Who goes down to the saloon to find out about this stuff. It’s not the Mama; there are meals to be cooked, a floor to be swept.

Now, we have the automobile. The printing press. The Internet. Womens’ Lib. And when the time comes to swap tidbits of useful news, who does that? Here is what a lot of people are missing: This is a perfect reversal. We do not have mead halls where the men go to drink beer out of steins and compare prices of bushels of corn. It would be awesome if we did, for sure. But it’s not happening, because the gender roles in our society have flipped around in a perfect one-eighty. Men retreat into their own little worlds, not unlike the kitchens that enveloped their great-grandmothers. Their “kitchens” may be just about anything: A computer with a stubborn virus on it; a classic car that’s being rebuilt; a ham radio or a model train set down in the basement; but there is always a project, it always has a border around it, and that’s what men do.

This awesome Art of Manliness article offers a chronicling of what happened to our mead halls. It began, irony of ironies, with us guys being decent and kind enough to give the ladies the right to vote. Prohibition followed that, and…

For centuries, a man could visit a bar and be in the exclusive presence of other men. Because drinking was seen as a corrupting influence on the “purity and innocence” of women, bars were completely off limits to ladies (exceptions were made for prostitutes, of course). Out of the presence of women and children, men could open up more and revel in their masculinity over a mug of cold ale. However, the bar as a men’s only hangout would quickly see its demise during the dry years of Prohibition.

By banning alcohol, Prohibition forced drinking underground. Speakeasy owners, desperate to make a buck, accepted all drinkers into their establishments, regardless of gender. Moreover, the economic and political empowerment women experienced during the 1920s and 30s made drinking by women more acceptable. By the time Prohibition was repealed, the female presence at the local watering hole had become a common appearance.

World War II only further eroded the male exclusivity of bars and pubs. As more women entered the workforce, it became acceptable to socialize with their male co-workers in taverns and lounges after work.

Today, there aren’t many bars around that cater only to men (gay bars being an obvious exception). Instead, bars have become a place where the sexes come together to mingle and look for a special someone.

Note the article’s title: “The Decline of Male Space.” Men used to own the world. Now, we don’t. We have relinquished the privilege and obligation of socializing, turned it over to the gals, and toddled off to the basement to go play with our train sets. The women do what we used to do — they hold court and they compare their notes with each other, try to see if there’s some hidden meaning of everyday events that might affect the family.

This is precisely what their great-great-grandfathers did. The very same thing.

And so I grow weary of having to explain this. Yes, “Yin” is traditionally female, although I use it to describe a personality attribute that predominantly is to be found in our males. Yang, likewise, is traditionally male, although it describes things our women usually do and that our men, typically, don’t. The concept didn’t flip around, the gender roles did. And so, I have to concede that The Bastidge is accurate in his critique:

Your theory’s alright, if a bit vague and rambling. But Yin and Yang have a specific meaning, and you’re using them more or less backwards.

Yin is a concept roughly aligned with the female, but the concepts covered in your theory- group consciousness, socializing, consensus, softness, weakness, emotion, passivity, are all associated with it.

Yang is roughly male, but also strong, factual, direct, resolute, hard, aggresiive, etc.

In their crudest, most basic form, yin and yang refer to the female and male sexual organs.

My use of these names was arbitrary anyway, and that was on purpose. For the last five years I have seen these as placeholders for something more descriptive that would, and should, come later. After I’d given it another think. Well, with this morass of a health care “debate” that has been taking place, and will surely flare up again later this year, I’ve been forced to give it another think. Besides of which, I’ve met lots and lots of manly-male guys who do their thinking in a much “Yangy-er” way than a lot of the females…so the genders don’t fit well in any case.

And I think the terms are these:

Architects and Medicators.

The word “Architect” is chosen with care. Way back in our history, when written language was a novel idea, architects were “master builders” (which is the etymology of the term). These things they labored to construct, with every little piece of it not put in place properly, could very likely collapse and wipe out an entire family in a heartbeat. And so laws were passed condemning failed architects to a death by stoning (Code of Hammurabi, Law 229). That’s a little gruesome, but it had the effect of galvanizing their chosen profession into a noble discipline.

In their own little community, a “Climategate” e-mail scandal would not, could not, have been tolerated even for an instant. Things were the way they were — period. An angle was ninety degrees, or it wasn’t — period. Up was up and down was down — period. There was no room for bastardizing the peer review process into some mutation of what it was intended to be, to ostracize and excoriate colleagues who spoke measurable truth. The architect, hundreds of years before Christ, lived in an object-oriented world and thought about that world in an object-oriented way.

Okay, now let’s look at what I’ve set up as the polar opposite.

“Medicator,” similarly, is chosen with deliberate thought and intent. “Physician” doesn’t work because physicians are supposed to adhere to the Hypocratic Oath and First Do No Harm. The verb “medicate” is applied to addictions, primary among those being mind-altering substances. It speaks to a process of adjusting one’s emotional response to reality as a first priority, with recognizing that reality as a distinctly second-place priority. Medicators do not heal. Nor do they seek to do harm. The long-term welfare of the body is simply outside of their concern. It isn’t that they don’t care, it’s that there is an emotional well-being that they prize more highly.

To recognize reality as it really is, and to adjust one’s emotional profile in response to the reality so that it is unconditionally cheery, are two mutually-exclusive goals. It may not seem to be the case when reality happens to be pleasant. But when reality is unpleasant you can choose to wrestle with it to whatever extent is required to fix a problem, or you can choose to ignore it in order to keep your emotions on a high and even keel. The sacrifice of long-term satisfaction in order to achieve a short-term high is, of course, a defining hallmark of medicating.

One Revolution AwayNow, these people trying to shove this fustercluck of a health care bill down our throats: It’s no mystery at all where they come down. They are medicators. It is not a primary goal of theirs to actually treat illnesses, heal the sick, bring “healthcare” or “access to healthcare” to “the uninsured.” Nor are they trying — architect-style — to solve any kind of a problem, President Obama’s unceasing speechifying notwithstanding. Think on it: When is the last time you heard anyone in Washington use those phrases above? Been awhile, hasn’t it? No, lately it’s about “getting this done.” Beating the opposition. Winning. Make things the way they/we want them to be. But wait just a second…we’re half way through an election cycle, one that began with their decisive victory. They already beat the opposition. Their victory is forgotten, however, just like a druggie’s high, and they find themselves incomplete, hungry, after-buzzed, struck with a raging case of Delerium Tremens if they don’t score another victory. And after they get that done, of course, they’ll need another and another and another. They live out their lives on a hairpin turn, just like a druggie. Time loses all meaning for them. Bliss is constantly one hit away.

It’s not about health care, of course. It’s about how we think about the world around us. The medicator lives in a gilded cage, waiting passively for someone to come along and fix the latest problem. He does not solve real problems, he does not support anyone who would solve real problems, he does not live in reality. He considers reality itself to be an inimical force. This, ironically, provides a liberating effect. Of course it’s all about the way one does one’s thinking to perceive the world around him, and with someone else assuming the burden of actually fixing the problem, the thinker enjoys the luxury of thinking about things as a non-architect. In a non-object-oriented way. With every little thing on God’s creation, melted together into a sloppy mess. And this overly-medicated “thinker” does not think, in turn, about the resulting mess; instead, he picks up an emotional vibe from it, and shares it with other self-medicated thinkers. That’s the model of reality as perceived by the medicator: A great big ball of warm, gooey wax that’s all melted together, and is now giving off vibes. Hopefully good ones, but if they’re bad ones then someone else needs to fix something — or it’s time for another “hit” of something via one-more-revolution.

Disciplining a child provides a similar contrast. To the architect, everything is cause and effect: The child engaged in undesirable behavior, therefore something needs to be modified about what the child perceives as proper or improper. The solution is to teach the child a new taboo. This can be done through direct communication if the child shares the desire that his behavior should be proper, or through punishment if he does not. First of all the transgression has to be properly categorized — bad attitude, or simple misunderstanding? Then we assess what the child understands about etiquette and go from there. In the Architect’s world, that’s what we do.

In the Medicator’s world, the exercise really is one of medication! Concentrating on something is not a task that was, for one reason or another, failed in this case; it is an ability that has gone missing because the child’s “brain isn’t wired quite right.” Of course the solution is to put the child on a prescription for some goop that will alter his emotional state, and make the process “easier for him.” (It’s nearly always a him.)

Another acid test is when a complex system of any kind starts producing the wrong output, because some unit within it starts to go all wonky — with all the other units in good order. To the Architect and Medicator alike, this is a no-brainer, but they come up with polar-opposite solutions. The Medicator wants to chuck the whole thing and start from scratch, whereas the Architect sees a puzzle to be solved in separating what’s good from what’s busted. Think of Blondie and Dagwood getting in one of their matrimonial melees about whether to call the plumber.

I commented last month that I had finally expunged the malware from my HP Mini notebook. My victory announcement was premature, it turned out. The beastie lived on, downloading other crap onto my platform. It shames me to say it, but if I were to act purely on logic and reasonable cost-benefit analyses, I would have taken the “scorched earth” approach much, much earlier than I did, and lost a lot less time. It became an Ahab/whale thing; I lost sight of fixing the problem, and concentrated instead on figuring out entirely useless trivia about it. Where’d I pick up this thing? What exactly does it contaminate? How come these packages over here can detect it and fool themselves into thinking they’re cleaning it, when they’re not? How come that package over there seems to have “wounded” it (toward the end, it locked up the netbook instead of popping up an ad, which is what it was clearly trying to do)…but can’t quite get all of it?

See, neither Architects or Medicators enjoy a monopoly on always having the right idea. Medicators throw things away in bulk — they are much more inclined to announce “this entire thing is bolluxed!” That is often the right approach, and I have to make a confession…my second one, now…that I’ve often missed out on this advantage when it comes up. Medicators seem to think life has no puzzles in it, none whatsoever. And they probably think this because, in the world they construct around themselves by accepting some responsibilities and simply walking away from some other ones, they’re absolutely right. Choices confront them — choices in which the wrong answer results in some kind of personal suffering — and they become petulant, unpleasant, and then someone else swoops in and solves it for them.

In their world, the question of who gets the “rep” as a problem solver, is completely isolated from the record of who did or didn’t actually solve problems. At no time has this been more evident, than this first year of watching our new President struggle with the demands of His new job. He is a dedicated Medicator. He fixes nothing. The only responsibility He takes is to refine the emotional buzz that comes from this thing or that one…and having failed even at that, He has a ready finger-of-blame to point somewhere else so He can give Himself a good report card. Which He did, actually. That one single act speaks volumes not only to how He thinks about the world and the challenges within it; it is a tip-off to how medicators think as well. You’ll notice this about them if you know some really dedicated ones personally. They enter into conflict with others, because they tend to demand the final word about their own work. It was up to par, the other guy just has a mistaken interpretation of “par.” They followed the instructions they were given, it’s the other guy’s fault for not giving them the right ones.

Running a meeting is yet another good litmus test. Some meeting chairs do it right: Agenda item, question, answer, does anyone have any objections, next agenda item — boom, boom, boom. Others engage in this ludicrous and time-consuming practice of using the forum to adjust the emotional tenor of the participants, as if it’s a high school pep rally. Buying a car: Any salesman will tell you, some people turn their thoughts to the TCO with considerations such as gas mileage, service records, availability of parts. Others worry overly much about how they look when they’re tooling around in the car, what strangers will think of them.

Homeowners’ Association bylaws can be written to accommodate one of these halves of humanity, or the other, or both. This is a rather interesting situation, because the bylaws represent an attempt to “architect” a successful neighborhood, through the “medication” of the emotions of the people who observe it. Here and there, though, we see stories in the news surrounding HOA bylaws that are, to turn a rustic phrase, just plain stupid. They don’t do anything to make people feel good and it seems extravagant and far-fetched to suppose they could have anything to do with preserving the value of the property. Banning the American flag is the one example that springs immediately to mind, since those stories have a way of jumping onto the front page.

The last time we linked one of these, the story in question showcased a persistent trait among the Medicators: proxy offense.

[M]anagement told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

The controlling curmudgeon lays down the curmudgeonly rule, and the curmudgeon is silent on whether he or she personally finds the emblem, the e-mail, the cologne, the pin-up calendar, et al, offensive. It’s much more often proxy: Some third party is offended. Or some third party could be offended. The impossible-to-meet “Could Be Interpreted As” standard of cleanliness. It is conceivably possible, therefore the contraband has to go. The curmudgeon will oversee the removal. But it’s business and not personal, see? Just like something out of The Godfather: “Tell Michael I always liked him, it was business, not personal.” Some nameless faceless anonymous person complained, or could complain.

This dedicated Architect says — Medicators really shouldn’t be running anything. They don’t want to. They don’t want the responsibility. This is why these columns are now coming out, some serious and some satirical, that speculate openly that President Obama is perhaps bored and disenchanted with His own job. I no longer consider it to be commentary outside my sphere of knowledge, to proffer that President Obama had some serious misgivings the first time He made a decision about something that had little-or-nothing to do with winning an election, saw that His decision had a direct bearing upon the outcome, and emotionally recoiled. I have seen this happen too many times, up close. In the months since then, the country has been buried in this “awkward stage” in which He tries to confront each and every single challenge with a vision that, as this-or-that chapter reaches the final page, the emotional buzz of those watching has been fine-tuned and frothed up into a desirable state of bliss. This is, I’m sure, why we’ve seen so many speeches out of Him during His first year, and will doubtless see about that many out of Him during His second.

We live in a society in which our every want and need is met, with resistance or inconvenience that is at best negligible. It may not seem like that to us at the time because we’re spoiled; we tend to mistake a temporary slow-down, or wrong turn, or setback, for a real possibility of failure in acquiring what we’re trying to acquire. Deep down, we all know we’re not really being challenged by much of anything; we will get what we are trying to get, one way or the other, so long as some minimal quantity of our peers are also trying to get the same thing. If all else fails we’ll band together and our populist rage will force someone to give it to us. We’re supposed to be so worried about “the economy” but we have our beer, our coffee, our big teevee screens. The only things that are really in jeopardy are the self-respect and dignity that come from having a job, and the same for our children. All other things are guaranteed, in one way or another. They don’t face any real jeopardy.

This state of hyper-safe hyper-civilization has aggravated the divide between — whate’er you wanna callzem, Yin and Yang, or Architects and Medicators — as I’ve pointed out before. It creates a bigger divide on such fundamental questions as: What is a good speech, anyway? What is a convincing argument? Is it thinky-thinky or feelie-feelie? In other words, do you progress systematically among the first three pillars, basing your opinions/inferences upon available fact and things-to-do upong the opinions/inferences. Or, do you just stir up a whole lot of motivating emotions in your audience, get them all outraged against some straw-man Snidely Whiplash, anti-logical exuberance for your “ideas,” Obama-style?

And the fact is, Architects have a definite idea in mind about the answer to such rudimentary questions.

Another fact is, Medicators have a definite idea about the answer as well. These ideas are not the same. They are opposites.

Another fact is, neither side is willing to budge on such issues. If you have a pulse, and a brain, and you’ve been using your brain to solve problems that confront you here and there…each day you stay alive further enmeshes you in the answer you chose, way back, before you were five years old.

And the least inconvenient fact of all is that if we cannot agree on questions like those, we aren’t going to agree on anything else.

We are engaged in a discourse between people who understand how to make real decisions, and those who do not understand this and do not seek to understand this. They don’t see the need. But since they’ve “won,” for the time being it is their job…even if they continue to find ways to weasel out of it, and blame others when the job goes undone.

Seattle’s Bicycle Problem

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Hooray! Something to talk about besides Obama’s dazzling incompetence, the media’s dazzling ass-kissing, or the dazzling hatred and jealousy of liberals who hate Sarah Palin.

Ballard bicyclists are suing in order to make the Burke-Gillman trail safer, and Andy thinks that’s rifle-water-tower messed up. The discussion thread underneath has quickly blossomed into a mash-up about the clock tower metaphor and what towering assholes most bicyclists really are, especially in the Pacific NW.

A large part of this issue is something we see entirely too much of these days – businesses being interfered with for the sake of frivolous agendas. Businesses in the area already successfully sued to stop the trail from being completed because not only would it create a dangerous environment for the cyclists, but it would damage the business’ ability to be successful. None of which matters to the cyclists, who can’t avoid crashing on stationary railroad tracks that they’ve ridden over hundreds of times before, but somehow like their chances against enormous, moving gravel and sand trucks crossing the proposed path.

I’m a veteran of both Burke-Gillman and Jedediah Smith, which meanders within four miles of my current front door and then zips off a dozen miles in one direction and twice as far in the other. However, my familiarity with B-G was just a little bit more sparse than I would have preferred. And I did not see Ballard from that vantage point. Back in the Seattle days I was in the area of 15th Ave. NW, I was not yet fully versed in the discipline of living a low-drama life with high-drama women, and I did not yet have a need to engage the long distance regimen to try to stay skinny. So in those days if I ever made it to Ballard I was usually burning up dead dinosaurs. I’m not familiar with the intersection. I know the megalopolis up there, I know the trail, and I think I understand this community of what WestSoundModern calls the “spandex mafia.” I suppose you could make the argument that I are one.

Yes, we have too many lawyers. Yes, a lawsuit is probably the wrong answer.

I must say, at the same time, a lawsuit over traffic control is probably a better use of the tort system than most others.

To me, bicycling is really all about exploring. That, and finding a way to do my regular errands that’s good for my credit rating and heart health. Therefore, to my way of thinking, a trail that is safe for the seasoned locals but unsafe to newcomers because there’s some thing you have to learn, is an unsafe trail. And by that, I mean within reason; we don’t want to go full-tilt on this. If you don’t want to have to be prepared for the unexpected when you’re “exploring,” then what you are doing isn’t really exploring.

And I must say, I have been supremely annoyed at these liberal-buttwipe-places…by the time I follow Jedediah Smith to its terminus, I’m definitely in one…the spots that like to shout from the mountaintops how green they are, how bike-friendly, how futuristic, how French. And then when you ride there you encounter hazard after hazard after hazard that clearly demonstrates to you that bicycles are an afterthought, if they are any thought.

This is high on my list of peeves: Left-wingers who talk about a green lifestyle, and then use their cars like the egg-people used their little floating pods in Wall-E.

It isn’t a reality I appreciate much, but it is a reality nonetheless: Bicycling has a lot to do with liberalism, and liberalism has a lot to do with talking a good game and not following up. Liberalism also has a lot to do with subsidizing certain lifestyles with general-taxpayer money, while screaming like a banshee if anybody talks about subsidizing anything else with general-taxpayer money. I’m funny like that, I see it all as part of the same plateau. It’s just as legitimate to me to see Jews and Muslims and Atheists forced to pay for Christmas, as it is to see dedicated car-drivers forced to pay for bicycle trails…or non-parents forced to pay for school districts. I disapprove of it all. But it quickly becomes absurd when you try to completely purge any of those practices.

Liberalism, it should be noted, also has a lot to do with being a pussy. Being in a crowd of people who are all doing the same thing. I prefer bike riding solo. It has not escaped my notice that if I do anything just a tiny bit rugged, by which I mean just a teeny tiny bit non-comfy…riding when it is, say, 55 degrees…early in the morning…foggy…solo is exactly what I am. Most bicyclists are out there at a certain time of the year. Even here, on the 38th parallel. I start riding at 4:30 in the morning, eight hours and sixty miles later I’ll see “real” folks start crowding up the trails, when it’s sunny. They’re clocking in as I’m clocking out.

But the fact of the matter is, we spend too much money on bicycle trails. Or maybe we do. Bicyclists should pay for their own. Perhaps it is the close cultural kinship bicycling shares with France, and therefore with socialist lifestyles. But in all my experiences, bicycling resources like this are always bought and paid-fer out of general funds; capitalism and private enterprise are never given a shot to address the demand. I think that is wrong. Being a bicyclist doesn’t mean you’re impoverished. To paint with a slightly broad brush, it means quite the opposite. You wouldn’t believe some of the hardware and apparel I see out there. You think your car costs more than the equipment some of these guys are “driving”? You need to think again, and think again hard.

Many of them are gazillionaires. The trail, to them, is one of their gazillionaire playthings. We offer these playthings the same municipal priority as any homeless shelter. There’s no reason for this. Burke-Gillman, as it is, is something of an engineering masterpiece and the culmination of a significant expenditure of city resources across decades. The city government, which has taxed many citizens who will never even see Burke-Gillman, has done its bit for the bicycling “community.”

I do see the other side of things when I read the details, and quickly reach Old Iron‘s conclusion,

You could set up one of those motion sensor cameras and make one HELL of a bloopers reel.

…and I know Iron’s making a joke, and probably not in favor of doing something about this. But in all seriousness, to me that’s my definition of when things have been taken too far. The “blooper real” standard. If you’re going to have a trail with bicycle logos all over it, there shouldn’t be any candid camera points along that trail. You know that feeling you get in a car, don’t you? That the people who designed the road are trying to fight you? Trust me, it’s no more fun than that when you’re on a bike.

From what I’m seeing here — and I could very well be wrong — a sign would be fine.

We don’t want our lawyers actually designing our roads and our trails. From what I know about this particular pickle, things are starting to cross that line.

Not In It For The Attention, Mind You… XXXIX

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

…but The Blog That Nobody Reads got a prominent mention last week, in Webloggin’s farewell post.

Webloggin was the byproduct of an earlier blog called Threshold-55. Three years, a bit of burnout followed by a 6 month layoff and then this beautiful site. We had many blogging members come and go. The Machete of Truth whom I miss dearly, Big Dog, Teri O’Brien, House of Eratosthenes, Republic of Biloxi, Jodi 210, The Otto Show (now a group blog called The Inside Straight), The Right Wing Cafe, Right Girl (aka Girl on the Right), Faultline USA, Bookworm Room, Right Truth, Okie on the Lam, Soccer Dad, The Absurd Report and The Intolerant Fox.

I can’t even begin to thank each of these blogs and their respective owners for contributing the finest conservative commentary I have ever read. You have been an inspiration!
:
Please don’t think that the left has won one here. In fact quite the opposite is true. Webloggin is redundant in nature and it has simply outlived it’s usefulness. I am the acting Watcher at Watcher of Weasels and this has become my central focus in the blogging world outside of Newsbusters. Many of the Webloggin members also blog over at WoW so I urge you readers to follow us there.

As of this week I will begin redirecting readers to Watcher of Weasels and hope you pass on the word. You have all been kind to me and the other Webloggin members and you have my utmost gratitude.

Happy trails, Trip. Thanks for hosting us during those three years before we moved onto our own domain here…and see you at the WoW.

Also, as some of you know, yesterday we managed to snag a HotLaunch, meaning we somehow earned a prominent mention at HotAir and it sent our SiteMeter stats spinning all wonky. We’ve already seen I dunno how many new accounts set up for commenting, so we’ll probably get some new friends out of this. That’s always a good thing. Take off your coats and stay awhile, ladies and gents. Besides, it’s cold and wet out there tonight, and you weren’t thinking of getting back on that highway anyhow.

What brought ‘em in? Our post yesterday about a NewsBusters article — drawing our attention to a couple of wrinkly old hippy ladies who were acting like sixteen-year-olds…fulfilling most, if not all, of the things I’ve been noticing about the Palin bashers for awhile. In the space of a few minutes, they managed to hit all the high points. At least ten, maybe more, out of the 25.

There are many these bitter people running around. Most of them have rights and responsibilities on par with those of normal people…and while they’re acting all concerned that “we live in a country where [Palin's accomplishments are] possible,” it seems to escape their notice that a lot of other people are pretty concerned, legitimately, about them. The ignorance they represent, and the hate. It doesn’t even have that much to do with politics, or liberalism, or Barack Obama. We’ve already managed to find out a few things about what’s taking place here, but it’s still something that requires further inspection. There’s something there that has gone undetected for awhile. Something living underground, predatory, slithering, toxic.

We won’t root it out. People have a right to be prejudiced. But we’ll probably learn a lot of helpful things about it over the next couple of years.

My Latest Malware Adventure

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

The HP Mini that is used as the “blogger-book” has been intensive care these last two weeks due to spyware. Friday morning, something downloaded something, and it was put in a coma. So I lost half my weekend, but this time it seems I got it all out.

Parts: $80 (two software licenses). Services: $100. Labor: That would be my time…geez, I don’t even want to think about it. At one point I got snookered into downloading the Firefox install from the wrong location. Gyah, a newbie mistake. And we’re moving in the wrong direction here!

I described it in a letter to family, jotted down as the smoke was still clearing:

Wish there was some agency that would accept claims on this stuff, and then seek civil remedies against the vermin who write this crap. How wonderful that would be. “Okay Mr. Freeberg, we’ve filed a lein [sp] on Mr. Xxxxx’s house, and his paychecks for the next twenty years. Your share is $36, here’s your check, chalk the rest of it up to experience.” I’d take it.

That is pure CAS. Once again…it is somehow not do-able, even though common sense tells us it would either solve the problem relatively instantly, or educate us in some new way about its nature.

Whenever I start running this place, it shall be done:

46. Spyware is VANDALISM. Viruses are VANDALISM. We will return to our old habits of hunting these vandals down and prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.

I will expand the government to start a Bureau of Malware Damage Compensation. It will be responsible for filing civil suits against these guilty parties and placing liens on their property and income. It will accept and validate claims for anti-virus software licensing, computer services, and time lost by the victims, and as the proceeds of these liens are collected, it will compensate them. Persons and businesses.

Why do we have to wait for me to take charge, anyway?

Your new pet pit-bull shows signs of taking an unhealthy liking to human flesh…you get rid of it, now, with terror in your eyes. Right? Because you know you will be held accountable. Sidewalk in front of your house ices up, you clear it, because you’re afraid of some clumsy oaf ending up owning your house.

But the spyware keeps pouring out, like some spigot somewhere is rusted into the “wide open” position. The money we spend defending against this, treating it as some weather pattern that’s just plain striking at us whenever it’s a mind to do it, like a hurricane or something…it’s really a staggering amount. It’s actually pretty hard to measure.

We, generally, are pussies. We don’t punish anything anymore. Just arbitrary reports of some nebulous qualification for “racism” or “sexism”…or anything else that would justify, in some flimsy ramshackle way, a really, really easy collection of revenue. Everything else gets a pass. We don’t punish to actually correct behavior anymore; it’s got more to do with paying yesterday’s bills. We’ve stopped thinking about tomorrow.

Update: You know, I’ve often thought I should expand that list of things I’d do if the day ever came that I could be dictator. There are so many things that would go on it, if I could be persuaded to be as meddling, as nitpicky, as tyrannical as your typical liberal. If I was struck by lightning and the voltage somehow fried away the libertarian synapses in my brain, leaving everything else intact.

What if I were pre-disposed to run around like Obama just announcing this-or-that person is “acting stupidly” and telling them what to do? And running this place. All three branches of government in the palm of my hand.

If Morgan governed like Peter The Great, ordering all the men to shave off their beards…you know the first thing I’d do. Anyone with less than a ten mile commute who can’t give me a doctor’s note, m-u-s-t ride a bicycle to work. And I’m not interested in a healthy lifestyle, making people thin, any of that stuff. I’m interested in waste. When you ride a bicycle on a regular basis you become fixated on — things rubbing up against the tires, the spokes not being tightened right, the air pressure not being up to par.

We’ve lost this. And that is why the malware is floating around. We’ve become an eight-cylinder SUV society. For all the nonsense we babble about global warming and how worried we are about it, we’ve become a culture in which we just press the gas down when we want to go somewhere, and we really don’t care about the imperfections in the system that makes it all go until the bill for gassing it up again is ten dollars higher than what we’re used to paying. And then, we don’t fix anything until the power steering makes a godawful squealing sound or the transmission conks out. Then we bitch and cuss about how it cost three thousand dollars and the mechanic must be out to screw us over.

The point is that complex systems can run right, or they can run not-so-right. If they’re running not-so-right…in other words, your daily computing chores include as a component in the system some asshole freckle-faced kid four time zones away who likes to write malware…and isn’t getting punished…it becomes a pay-me-now pay-me-later kind of thing.

Stocks. Whips. Dungeons. Whatever it takes. We put up with behavior that, by rights, people should be genuinely afraid of doing.

Says More Than Any Panel of Any Cartoon, Ever

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

…about me, that is. Just placed an order for a custom coffee mug, spent more money than I should’ve, maybe. Partly because my current mug is 15 ounces and I think 20 is closer to my natural size.

Is this guy spying on me, or what?

Yes Scott Adams, I still think you’re a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle. But after I’m all calmed down, I gotta admit that’s funny right there.