Friday, October 31, 2014


     What LabRat said, what Ken said; Rule #1 is still, "Don't be a jerk," I'm done.

Speaking Of Idiots

     An antidote to another day of watching Internet Butthurt ("Those people over there disagree with me and put me down, so I get to say mean things about them right back!!!"), a real-life idiot who might even have died, base-jumping from a tall tower and finding a guy wire in the dark...with his parachute.

     At least he had some skin in the game -- and he's now been arrested by the real-life po-leece and will face criminal charges, after hanging a hundred-fifty feet up in the air for a couple of hours wondering when he was going to die. (Oh, and if there're high-power VHF/UHF  antennas on the tower, he might've cooked his eyeballs.) Tell me again about how tererrrrrrrible-awful those not-like-you Internet baddies are?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"NASA Rocket Explodes!" ...Wrong

     Oh, a rocket did explode yesterday; it launched from a NASA facility, it was even carrying a NASA payload and what's more, NASA wrote the check to pay for the flight.  Why, idiots at news services keep writing "NASA Rocket!" in headlines--

     But it wasn't a "NASA rocket."  The days of NASA acting as its own general contractor, doing much of the initial design, parceling out various parts of a project among interested bidders, overseeing testing, having endless meetings, having to answer to Congressional desires that all the important districts get a share of the work--  Those days are gone, at least when it comes to hauling groceries to ISS and taking out the trash.  This was as much a "NASA rocket" as a UPS truck leaving an warehouse stuffed to the gills with smiling boxes is an "Amazon Truck."  The rocket was built by Orbital Sciences, Avis to SpaceX's Hertz and a part of the very same Commercial Orbital Transport Service/Commercial Resupply Service programs, under which NASA hires companies to deliver cargo much as you or I would hire furniture-moving companies: it's their own business to keep their truck running.

     Orbital Science's truck crashed and burned.  It happens.  SpaceX blew up a few early on, too. I believe Mr. Musk's firm has a lot more flight time on their design and with rockets, actual time under actual flight conditions are still necessary to success.  Even then, it's not a sure thing; the Russians have been launching Proton boosters since 1965 and have had a few fairly spectacular losses. Their R-7 Semyorka/Soyuz boosters go back to 1961, with hugely more launches than any other booster, and they fail, too. Recent failures have been less dramatic but back in 2002, a first-stage failure worse than yesterday's Antares wreck at Wallops Island killed one observer, ruined the payload and damaged the launch pad.   Rockets fail.

     The interesting part to me is the price of this failure.  NASA's Orion program has a $12 billion price tag; the entire COTS program, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences combined, cost $800 million.  And COTS has put the hardware to work, while Orion remains mires in politics and the old-school, bureaucracy-heavy NASA culture, geared more towards pleasing Presidents and Congresses than putting materials and people into space.  And perhaps they have to be -- which is all the more reason to let NASA deal with the politics and put the nuts and bolts side up for bids.  Will there be failures?  Count on it.  There have been failures, deadly failures, under NASA, too.  Space travel isn't safe. --Neither was air travel, early on.  It's an engineering problem and a practical experience problem and the more time is spent at it, the more solutions will be found.

     "NASA Rocket Explodes," harrumpf.  Orbital Sciences lost a payload and messed up a launch pad.  They'll learn from it and try again.
CNN at least edited their headline.  CNBC, not so much.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Butthurt Nation

     I recently posted a rant on the Book Of Face* over an instance of butthurtedness I found particularly egregious.  It happened to be a modified video test signal that included a little moving figure with an arm raised that is called -- and vaguely resembles -- a "wizard."  One of the commenters took it as "promotion of witchcraft" in a very much see-what-They-are-up-to-now way  (As far as I know, it's not -- you need moving object with some pointiness to reveal some kinds of flaws in high-definition video and most of the options carry unfortunate connotations.)

     In and of itself, it was Just Another Day On The Intertubes, but it points to a growing culture of childishly-self-aggrandizing paranoia: whatever you (or, worse yet, "They," which would be any large endeavor of any sort) say or do, no matter how innocent, someone, somewhere, is going to take it as an attack on something they hold dear and believe to be under threat.  It is a mindset in which anything, from choice of liquid refreshment to use of electronic test signals, is recast as move in an ongoing ideological struggle.

     At one time, we knew a cigar is sometimes -- most times -- just a cigar.  We used to have more common sense -- or, if you're paranoid enough, we used to be blinkered dupes. We used to understand that most entities aren't waging semi-covert war but merely trying to promote some product or service, however irksome or unnecessary it might be. (Do my teeth really need to reflect UV light? Isn't it enough that they are clean and healthy?)  We used to understand that if someone or some group was out to gore our ox, they'd generally make that well known, rather than resorting to covert stabs in the back. (Or if they were working in secret, they strove to keep it secret rather than proffering barely-hooded jibes and dogwhistles.)

     We used to suffer way less butthurt -- and we knew that most of it was self-inflicted.

     All good things must come to an end, I suppose.  Heck, isn't that just the way They planned it all along?
* If the newer, faster, hipper social media are the Death Of Blogging as is so often reported, it's the Death Of A Thousand Idiots: not just quicker, shorter and hipper, but dumber, too.  It's Internet For The Barely Literate and I guess we shouldn't be surprised.  Hello, Mr. Gresham -- how's the old law practice these days? It's not just the money, isn't it?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Yellow Sky At Evening...

     ...Sailor dunno what to do?  I didn't, either, so I took a photo instead.
        Hey!  You can see the brushstrokes!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Box Full Of Worlds

     I still feel pretty crummy -- severe headache, mostly -- but I'm going in anyway.  Sharing is good, right?

     But the real reason for this morning's posting is something I bought at the grocery last week: it looks like they're selling worlds!
     Small worlds, to be sure.  But still.

     (Actually, fancy chocolates and quite tasty. The outer coating is a kind of color-code for the various fillings.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dammit, I'm Still Not Well

     Middlin'-serious pain (i.e., ibuprofen isn't cutting it), etc. etc. and only one more day of Z-pack.  The exigencies of life being what they are, I will be at work tomorrow, but if I'm not feeling a lot better, afters will include a return to the 24-hour walk-in doctor.

I Aten't Ded

     Though there was a stretch yesterday afternoon when I was wondering -- dizziness and intractable ear pain had returned.  Yes, it was another day largely spent horizontal.

     I feel better this morning, aside from the fact that I was only briefly awake to feed the cats at 0600 and once they had eaten, I fell effortlessly asleep until 0930.  I've had inner-ear infections before but this one is a real doozy.

     And the yard is full of fallen leaves.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Still Getting Better

     Still dizzy sometimes, too.  And I have been sleeping a lot.

     But I'm on the mend, not talking nonsense (seriously, that was unnerving.  It just snuck up and I was having to concentrate to keep from tripping over my tongue in a discussion filled with acronyms), and I was, for a wonder, hungry.

     Here's a tip: you can make fairly crummy corned beef hash palatable if you fry it up with with a half-pound of hot Italian sausage and half of a red onion, diced.  Yeah, not bad; but I would have probably been better off leaving out the hash and frying the sausage some with diced potato.  Ah, well, live and learn.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sleeping It Off

     I'm still dizzy but the initial Z-pack dose and a bit over -- h'mm, carry the two, divide by three, aha -- fourteen hours in bed, most of them asleep, has made a big improvement.  I think I might be able to see normal health from here.

     Nevertheless, I have fed the cats, emptied, reloaded and started the dishwasher and made and eaten A Hearty Breakfast,* and now I've got just about enough energy left to be going back to bed.
* A couple slices of bacon and a stack of four (4) pieces of fancy French Toast with butter and coarse sugar, cranberry juice before and coffee during.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Day Losted

     I have been to the floor (gently), thence totteringly to the doctor, the drugstore, the grocer's, the kitchen (reheated gumbo with a little of this and that, cooking as if I was cooking at sea) and I am gonna climb back under the robots as soon as I have dined--

     What?  A question?  The robots?

     I, for one, find our new automaton overlords warm and comfy!

     The downside is, I have an inner-ear and sinus infection raging.  I was clumsy the last couple of days and yesterday, found myself variously dizzy and, on occasion, making far less sense than usual.  (And isn't that nice, frantically trying to replay your last few words while thinking, "I just said what?")  This morning, I stood up to head for the shower and found myself heading for my knees instead.  I figured if I wasn't doing any better by the time I was clean, I'd be headed to doc-innna-box.  The trip was locked in when I soaped up my hair with my eyes shut and found myself bouncing off the walls -- luckily not the fourth one, what with it being a curtain and all.

     Uncle Doc, he shook the old feathered rattle and plied the old otoscope and opined what he was seeing in my sinister ear was was more cloudy than should ever be seen, and I should hie forthwith in search of the fabled and mystical Z-Pack, to which end he granted me a Sigil under the name of the Great Rx.  Such a similarity to my own monicker could only be a Sign and thus with both Sign and Sigil I applied for and was -- eventually, hot damn they were slow at The Floorblues or whatever that sink of iniquity is called -- granted one such Pack, of which I have partook and shall continue to partake of for lo, the next four days.

     And now, gumbo warming me, I'm for under the quilt.  Tomorrow will, I hope, be better.

Now You Wait Just One Ding-Danged Minute...

     Sam Clemens and  those fellows were what?

     (From the Wikipedia article on Samuel Langhorne Clemens, an original work by "Will Murray (Willscrlt)"  This version is, of course, a work of satire, not to be confused with Murray's original.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Uh-Oh: H. L. Mencken is dead, Samuel Clemens Is Dead, Tam Is Sick And Me, I Ain't Exactly 100% Either

     I don't know what she's got but it arrived after days of a dry cough and had turned into a nastily-sore throat by last night.  Trying to play nursemaid this morning, I offered oatmeal ("Um, no.") and the bacon and runny-yolked eggs I made instead, having mistaken a lack of interest in breakfast at all for a lack of interest in cooked rolled oats, was greeted with a skeptical eye.  (In a spirit of helpfulness, I voluntarily reduced the amount of bacon she would have to eat -- I'm a public benefactrix, I am.)

     She's back on the living-room couch, suffering quietly, and I'll be needing to empty the dishwasher before I hit the shower, and thus, my friends, thus I must depart post-hastily. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breakfast: The Full Bobbi

          What with starting the week on a couple of early-morning shifts and very little sleep, I decided to reward myself this morning: A half-thickness filet mignon, a fried egg, fried potatoes, fresh tomato and a little bit of bacon.  Yum!

     Tam appears to be enjoying hers, if the sounds coming from that side of the room are any indication.

     No time for a photo, but you should be able to imagine it.  Tomorrow morning, breakfast will probably be penitential oatmeal. That's fine, I like oatmeal, too.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

So, I Went To The Gun Show

     ...On the day after pay day.  Possibly unwise, if frugality was my goal...
     However, if owning a nice H&R .22 pseudo-Buntline and a psuedo-Webley (a/k/a Enfield No. 2 Mk 1, no star) was what I was after, well!

     Here's a close-up of my .380/200 slugthrower:
     Classy!  Yes, the date is 1933, very much in the range of revolvers I like to own.  The top of the barrel is marked ".38," along with "1933" and the Broad Arrow. It's clearly been civilianized ("civilianised?") and the years and/or owners have not been kind.  Nevertheless, it's something I have been wanting for a long, long time. (The .38 S&W in the first photo ammunition can safely be shot in guns chambered for .380/200; it's not the exact right thing but it works.)

     The H&R is interesting, with its preposterously-long barrel, loading gate and spring-loaded ejector.  It's a double-action revolver using the same "pull-pin" removable cylinder design of many of their .22s.  I'm hoping it will be fun to shoot.

     Seen at the show, several Nambu semi-auto handguns and Japanese revolvers from the same WW II-ish era (both interesting and sad, since the reason those are showing up on the market is estate sales).  One dealer/collector had a Rast-Gasser and a couple of the Japanese revolvers; side-by-side, the hinged sideplate and internal works of the two were substantially the same. The Japanese revolver design was much improved by a top-break. automatic-ejecting mechanism, rather than the Rast-Gasser loading gate and manual ejection.  (This participial particular Rast-Gasser was in remarkable shape; the dealer opened it up and the steel still showed straw color, all the parts as crisp-edged and shiny as if they were new.)

     I had my pocketknife sharpened at the show -- I usually do, since I use it contstantly.  It's gotten so the folks at Knife Sharpest remember me.  Also picked up a nice-looking set of side cutters, some brass brushes, a couple of wood bits in need of sharpening, pin-punches, file handles and a key/small-items case in the form of a softly quilted hand grenade, possibly one of the silliest but most irresistible bits of kit I've seen in a long while.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


     I would not mind the office so much if the office-holders, like some blood-soaked versions of dollar-a-year men, took it with the understanding that it would end with internal exile followed by a firing squad.  But no.

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's "Grassy Knoll" Time!

     Tam just reported from her post in front of the TV, "...A third nurse who dealt with the Texas ebola patient has reported feeling ooky and quarantined herself...while on a cruise ship."

     Did they just tell those healthcare workers to get out there in the world and enjoy themselves as closely to as many other people as they could get?

     It is precisely preposterously coincidental bad news like this, the kind of thing that might be hilarious in a dark comedy but is tragic and deadly in real life, that fuels conspiracy theories.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


     Got home from work a couple of nights ago and turned to look back to my car before closing the garage door to see a fat golden-tan and dark brown cat making to dash away, its back to me.  Not one of the usual visitors, who tend to be gray and black with patches of white, so being a crazy-cat-lady-in-training, of course I sang out, "Well, hi there!"

     At which point the "cat" turned and gave me a sheepish look, as if to say, "Um...yeah, lady, about that 'cat' thing?  I'm workin' on it."  It was not a cat but a smallish raccoon.  It promptly skittered away on tiptoes and fingtertips, headed towards our neighbor's back yard. presumably to raid the cat food there.

     It's probably not the same one I met back when I was first moving in, but it's got similar manners.  Raccoons are clever, nimble and plenty strong.  They thrive in the city and are almost impossible to get rid of, so we're lucky to have a fairly well-behaved tribe in the neighborhood instead of aggressive ones.

I Think Skynet Ate One Of My Friends

     Had some normal e-mail back-and-forth, very low traffic rate, then it suddenly went spammy.  Most of his other online output went spammy, too.  The sole remaining place where he shows up, his posting has gone...odd.  Nothing but roughly-profile-appropriate links.  Can't get a response via any e-mail or online messaging address for him.

     I really dislike calling people up on the telephone.  Given my extraordinary ineptness at (and hard-learned desire to avoid) most close human interaction, if I do dig, I'll probably find out it's my fault.  Or he's found himself a new and better class of friend (in which case, see previous sentence and good for him).

     But the manner of it is...unsettling.

     Well, at least it's not The Ebola, right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Always Happy News To The Newsies When A GOP Candidate Quits

     ...So why not exploit it?  In a very Romney-esque move, the couple took advantage of the media's glee over Ann Romney's anouncement that they are "done, done, done" with making a bid for the Presidency* to announce the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Dideases, which will open in 2016.  Some 200 researchers will work there on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's Syndrome, Parkinson's Disease and related conditions.

     I was never a huge fan of Mitt -- another Massachusetts pol, no deep friend of gun rights on his own home turf, and there's a reason his state is referred to these days as "the cradle and grave of liberty."   Withal, he seemed pleasant enough and Ann Romney bore the strife of his Presidential runs gallantly.  Good on them both for getting a decent day's work from the running-dog lapdog press!  A little more of that kind of subtlety a few years ago would have helped in the voting booth.

     Now if a few more of the perennial it's-my-turn GOP suits would step down, and their party admit there might be a little more wrong in DC than just the policies of a dislikable El Supremo, they might get somewhere in 2016.  --Don't hold your breath; with the media firmly against them and a general tradition of tone-deafness, I fully expect the Republicans to have me voting Libertarian again in '16, even if they mostly only beat up on the Bill of Rights seven-eighths as much as the current leading brand..  (Some of you will blame me for President Hilary afterwards.  Hey, get your party to run someone I can in conscience vote for or shut the heck up.)
* As I have explained before, if a description of the working and living conditions were applied to any other position, no sane person would want the job: you have to live over the store, you're on call -- and frequently called on -- 24/7/365, including vacations; you can't travel without a police escort and your #2 guy -- rather than having been selected as someone who could do your job when you are away as you would do it if you were there -- is usually a boob chosen to placate some otherwise-unreachable group of stakeholders and otherwise a fellow people are worried might inherit your office.  You can't invest freely and the pay, for a top-level executive position, is not all that great.  It's a limited-term contract, your prospects for paying work afterwards are dim, and once your stint is done, you'll retain most of the negative aspects (harried by lunatics, unable to travel without security, close scrutiny by media) but none of the positive ones except fame -- or notoriety.  Come to think of it, even if the job is Leader Of The Free World and Big Giant Head Cheese Of America, what normal person would want it?  You may disagree, but I wonder what Ann Romney wrote in her diary.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Well, That Was...Something

     Went up to Mom's old place to pick up the last few items and drop off my keys, on a kind of gray day.  Warmer, at least.

     No one there.  Texted my brother, offering to leave the keys and use the snap lock on the front door so the place would be buttoned up, if not dead-bolted.  He replied he'd be on his way shortly and my sister was en route, so considering there was little in the house, I could even leave it unlocked if had to leave before either arrived.

     As I was making a last sweep through, my sister showed up.  Now, we are very different people; and she did raise four very nice kids.  She even writes (poetry), has taught High School and college English classes and has (as you might expect) advanced degrees.  She's done an awful lot of the "detail work" with Mom, going item-by-item, weekend after weekend, in a long and often emotionally painful keep/donate/pitch.  Conversely, my work and other factors have caused me to miss one entire weekend and overwhelming emotion has had me struggling to leave my house and mostly silent and distracted when I get to the old place throughout this process.

     So when I said to her that this has been very difficult, she responded as if I was claiming some special burden.  I tried to back away from that and she mentioned in passing Mom was scheduled for more surgery in November, then lit back into me.  She made it pretty clear the price of finding out when Mom would be in the hospital was submitting to a harangue about how little I had done and how dreadfully hard she had worked, at bitter don't-you-interrupt-me length.  And how "she'd been trying to tell me" about Mom's next surgery the previous weekend, in a coy series of telephone messages about "weird news about Dad," that I had asked her to just text or leave the information as voicemail, since telephone conversations with my sister are lengthy, discursive* monologues.  (Also, "weird news" about a dead parent?  How often is that anything you really wanted or needed to know?  The guy did as best he knew and now he's gone.  Leave him be.)  She had refused to do so -- I found out from Mom Saturday it was just a bank mistake, in which they'd duplicated an existing account in my late father's name.

     I didn't want to deal with the conflict Sunday, so I went to my car and left before my sister had worked up a full head of steam, resulting in a last-word text from her, "You'll just have to find out from your brother!" and I thought, Yes, I will.  I've had it with her; for now, she's seen the last of me.  And that's probably for the best.

     Family: you're thrown in with them by accident and convention tells us we must love these people we grew up beside.  That doesn't mean we necessarily like one another and trying to fake it just leads to more pent-up resentment.  Forget that; I'm out.
* So maybe we're not that different, though I hope I am less negative.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Transitions: Moving Mom's Home

     My Mom has been in an assisted-living facility for something like six months now -- a nice one, very apartment-like, as much independence available as people can handle and help if needed (food options range from a dining hall to cooking in a nice little kitchen in your rooms to meals brought to you, for example).

     Meanwhile, she's had a house full of stuff, two lifetime's accumulation, hers and my late father's, plus whatever the three kids had abandoned.  Clearly, the paid-off house needed to be turned into money, but the things in it--  They needed to be turned into a much smaller bundle, memories distilled down, the silly decorated-brick bookends my sister made at age 12 going to Mom's new place, the massive, multi-level Victorian-style iron plant stand I gave her a decade ago leaving with me, Dad's assorted tools to my brother, sewing items culled and sorted -- some staying with Mom, some to granddaughters (Sis and I having accumulated our sewing tools and supplies ages ago). And so on, and on and on, with the bulk of the work falling to my siblings, my own employment being a bit short on days off just now.

     Even so, it is surprisingly affecting and I found myself misty-eyed and/or morose several times yesterday, remembering earlier times.  That house was never my home, but it was a refuge a couple of times, once for several months between jobs, and later after I broke my knee and the doctors wouldn't let me go home alone until I was out of the leg-immobilizer.

     And today, a little more to do up there.  Then I'll leave my set of keys and.... No more.  My brother and the new owners are closing the sale Tuesday.  It's an ending of sorts and a hard lesson to learn: it all comes down to this.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Phased Plasma Cannon In The 40 (Mega)Watt Range?

     Not exactly.  But some days it seems awfully close:
     C'mon, it's got to be exotic weaponry, right?  --If you priced the lens we removed just before this picture was taken, you'd be sure of it!

     (Doesn't look a bit like this thing, though.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Whine, Whine

     Why is it, the morning I volunteered to take the trash cans to the curb, it's cold, rainy and I have a headache? 

     I'll try for stunning insights another time -- here's a picture of a pretty sunset instead.
     That's better.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Civilization Is A Disease Vector

     I'd been snickering at the "ebola has gone airborne!!!" alarmists -- the trope is a rehash of one applied to AIDS/HIV and, conversely, is a sneeze not airborne enough?* -- when I realized it in fact has gone airborne, and used our passenger jets to do so.

     Civilization is a disease vector.  The plagues of antiquity didn't hit when culture's candle was guttering low and isolated populations of huddled villagers hardly heard from the rest of the world.  Nope, you need some basic level of trade and travel, a certain population density, and a link that reaches a pool of the infected.  While your circle of friends is likely to be made up of a hundred or so people, most of them in close geographical proximity, it takes only a stunningly small number of world travelers to link your circle with everyone else's -- yes, Kevin Bacon is only six hops away and I sure hope that's just hay fever his friend's friend's second cousin's babysitter has got.

     Once upon a time, the Black Death came shambling down the Silk Road.  These days, ebola flies coach.  Don't like it?  Of course not!  But it comes with the territory.  Once it was silk; now, it's the exotic materials in your smartphone's battery.  You can't get 'em without travel. 

     Civilization is and has always been a race between problems and solutions -- and each solution carries with it another set of problems.  Stop running and they'll overwhelm it.
* If it isn't, there's always anthrax -- but listen up: anthrax is a bacteria; forming tough, wretched little endospores that linger for decades is what it does.  Ebola is a virus and like the common cold, it wants to travel from one warm wet environment to another.  Roughly, ebola sticks to doorknobs while anthrax drifts on the breeze, and that right there is the useful difference between "airborne" and "not."  Also?  Wash your hands.

Autumn Chili

     Here's a pot of what I consider "base" chili -- what you get when you remove all non-chili ingredients:
     ...Though I admit mild Poblano pepper is pushing it.  I wanted some of that dark, almost earthy taste.  Otherwise, we've got good beef, onion, a Hatch chili and both fresh (tiny oblong, sliced) and canned (petite diced and a little tomato sauce).

     You can push this in a lot of directions with spices alone -- some cinnamon, a touch of cloves etc. and you've got Cincinnati-style, and very good it is, too.  I stuck with salt, pepper, paprika ("hot"), a little cumin, even less garlic, and some cilantro, chives and basil.  The end result is fairly mild -- I could have used another Hatch chili -- but flavorful.

     And then I added some "secret ingredient:" Peri-peri sauce.  You can think of it as South African hot sauce (since that's what it is) and even the stuff the store sells as "mild" packs a nice punch.  Lots of flavor along with, in a vaguely Worchesetershire-ish direction but not nearly as astringent.  Perked that chili right up.

     Midwesterners, used to "chili" as a mild red stew with kidney beans and elbow macaroni (plus beef, onions and tomatoes) will look askance at this.  Beans can be added if desired, and I probably will for leftovers (black or pinto beans?  H'mmm), and since I am, after all, a Midwesterner, I did serve this over some angel hair pasta, at least in my bowl.  YMMV.  --"May vary?"  This is chili; it almost certainly will vary.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Transportation Svelteness Agency? Not Exactly

     I'm not meaning to poke fun at people with weight issues -- but if there was a drinking game triggered by seeing an overweight TSA agent, no one flying commercially in the United States would ever board a flight sober.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Noid Noid

     Um, don't look now but in NYC, payphone watches you!  Or your smartphone.  The system uses little Bluetooth "beacons" to ping passing cellular phones. Turning off "location services" might -- might -- disable it.

     Even the city's socialist mayor wasn't cool with it, and asked the company to turn 'em off.  (No word on removing the devices, so one supposes NYPD might ask them to be turned back on, all sub-rosa like.  Or is that too paranoid?  Hey, it's 2014.  Big Brother -- and his nieces and nephews in the advertising business -- is watching.  The only question is how thoroughly.)

Monday, October 06, 2014

"They Ain't Puttin' Me On A Bumper Sticker!"

     The U. S. Supreme Court having successfully kicked the gay marriage can down the road, I am reminded that the members of the present Court grew up -- or were already grown -- when "IMPEACH EARL WARREN" billboards and bumper stickers were popping up like toadstools throughout the South and Midwest.  Much as the Justices may admire the late Chief Justice's organizational savvy, they've also got to be aware that no matter how they rule, they'll come in for some Impeach-Earl-Warren level loathing and scorn and in the modern political climate, that's not a really good or even especially safe place to be.

     Much as you -- or, as one example, Indiana's Governor -- might like the United States Supreme Court to rule on this issue, it's going to take cleverer finessing than anyone's come up with so far to get them to do it.

Well, You Missed Blasphemy Day

     ...Though few people miss it by much.  September 30 came and went with barely a prohibited swear word around here, minced oaths being the order of the day.  Still, any laws that would condemn the work of Twain and Mencken to the fire need looked at with a critical eye and perhaps we could all stand a reminder that there is no right to not be offended.*

     At least not on the topic of religion, in (most of) the United States.  Elsewhere, as the Washington Post reminded readers this past May, things can be very different.

     Things must be different indeed in WaPoLand, which chirpily informs readers, "Apostasy laws remain on the books of a minority of countries [...] most of which happen to be predominantly Muslim." [Emphasis mine.]  "Happen to be?"  Gee, what're the odds it just "happened" that way, y'think?

     C'mon, WaPo, step on some corns.  September 30 only comes once a year but spinelessness lingers.
* Nor is there usually any need to go out of your way to offend, something the more raucous defenders of liberty would do well to remember -- there is a difference between not bowing to the other fellow's lares and penates and deliberately kicking them over.  Come to think of it, some of the nosier supporters of anti-blasphemy laws could stand a good strong dose of the very same physic.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


     Fried diced potatoes, kissed with a tiny bit of "Cajun seasoning," cooked in bacon fat (the bacon itself having been lightly peppered, which produces not so much a peppery taste as a campfire-cooked flavor) and sprinkled with dried chives while draining on a paper towel, the aforementioned bacon and an egg cooked -- fried at low heat -- in sesame oil for a tender texture and complex, smoky taste, washed down with cranberry juice and a nice big mug of tea -- since Tam all but finished off the coffee before departing for her lunch, slaving over a hot keyboard at Twenty Tap or some other heathen tavern and I didn't find out until I was plating up my own meal. 

     No harm done; a cuppa good PG Tips was exactly what my brunch called for.  Coffee would have overpowered it.


     Not a total fail; the Data Viking and I went to the antique-radio club meet (a fairly small one) and had a nice, if definitely chilly, time.  Drove back to Indy, stopped in at Zest and had a very nice breakfast, came home and, at 1:30 in the afternoon, I ran out of energy.

     One hundred percent o-u-t.  DV headed back home home and I laid down, figuring I'd nap awhile and wake when Tam came home from her day's adventures.  Didn't happen; I woke up hungry about ten p.m., made some soup that did not set well, and went back to bed, from which I  arose very reluctantly shortly after six this morning.  --And to which, I do believe, I will return soon.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

I'm Off--

     Probably way off, but that's not how I meant it.  I'm off to an early-morning radio thing.  Details and maybe even photos may follow.

     I need something kind of non-work-related; I have worked all or part of the last two weekends in a row.  Nice to have the work, not so nice to lose the time.  (On the other hand, they laid four people off last week, so complaining would be particularly insensitive just now.  Too much work definitely beats no work!)

Friday, October 03, 2014

Ebola: Just One Short Of A Major Fail

     Not the disease so much as the hype and hysteria; we have already got:
     1. Guy with ebola
     2. Who decided not to seek treatment (until it looked like he was gonna die)
     3. And who lives with family in a smallish apartment
     4. In a major U. S. city.

     You know what this needs to be complete?  For him to be a Muslim.    Applied paranoia (as opposed to the merely keyboard variety) in

Thursday, October 02, 2014

No Smoking, No Eating, No Drinking

     ...And don't step on the air hose, either.
     They won't let us have any fun in the squirt-booster bays on the starship Lupine!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Mike Pence, Presidential Hopeful?

     The man must be a masochist.  Indiana's Governor Mike Pence is making Presidential-candidate moves.  On the face of it not a terrible idea, him being a personable, likeable guy.  But alas, he's an economic moderate, and while by Indiana standards he's only an averagely social-conservative Republican, on the national stage that translates into extremely socially conservative.

     It makes him pretty much unelectable; his administration has already given the Dems all they need to generate scare quotes just over the gay marriage issue alone.  The media will gleefully join in that pigpile.  And given that he's not all that great on fiscal issues, I don't know if a lack of electability is such a bad thing: I might tolerate a hardline SoCon if he was everything I wanted on economics, but it's too steep a price to pay for anything less.

     Try again, GOP.  At least come up with a candidate I can root for before you kick him to the curb in favor of what ever tired old party hack is "next in line" and I vote for the LP candidate instead again.