Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fun With Robots, Continued

     "Alexa, would you put beans up your nose?"
     "You need to be sure you wouldn't do that."
     "Alexa, is there a Santa Claus?"
     "Alexa, why would you have cookies?"

Friday, June 14, 2019

Updates, Updates

     It was a Windows update the other day.  Today it's a Firefox update.  Will the computer run better or worse?  Unknown; I gave up and started up the Raspberry Pi.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

It's Thursday

     Get through today, get through Friday.  That's as ambitious as my goals are right now.

     It's ridiculous how difficult this schedule is for me.  I can't quite believe it, and then I'm irked at myself for the gastrointestinal upset, staggering exhaustion and mood swings, as if they were moral failings or something I could overcome by a concentrated effort of will.

     They're not.  They're physical limitations.  Past doing my best to get enough sleep, healthy food (not doing as well there as I should, but a lot of things don't sit too well) and taking my vitamins and OTC pain  meds, there's nothing I can do but hang on and do my work as well as I can.

     I'm going to shop for new and better window blinds this weekend.  That would have helped this week.  Not being able to get my room really dark is a big obstacle to falling asleep.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Some Computer Oddness

    Mozilla keeps improving Firefox.  The improvements keep jamming up my desktop computer.  I'm starting to think it's time to find another one and I'm not looking forward to it.

     Or is it Firefox?  Microsoft Edge is just as crashy.

     I'm thinking it's a hardware problem.  My desktop machine was old and underpowered when I bought it.  Need something fast, cheap and moderately powerful, though I don't run any computer games, so the performance requirements are modest other than the occasional dozen open tabs in Firefox.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

It's Oh-Dark-Thirty, All Right

     Today, I learned that if the Japanese military had been in the habit of reading the Chicago Tribune, WW II might've run a lot longer.

     You see, in June 1942, a Trib reporter spilled the beans about the U. S. reading encrypted IJN radio traffic, thanks to a buddy who was XO on the USS Lexington.  It's still unclear exactly how the Tribune's Stanley Johnston got the information from Commander Morton Seligman.  Seligman, an otherwise exemplary officer who had been headed for great things, found his Naval career stopped cold; Johnston narrowly avoided being brought up on espionage charges and the whole thing was swept under the rug, in hopes the Japanese military wouldn't notice.

     Given the complete lack of love between the Tribune's Colonel McCormick and President Roosevelt dating back long before the war, FDR probably regretted having to officially ignore the incident.

     What do you know, Imperial Japan wasn't reading the Chicago papers.  They never found out we were reading their mail, or at least a fair amount of it.  They might not have believed it; feeling secure behind a difficult language for outsiders to learn and an encryption scheme that added complications to a mechanical system similar to Germany's Enigma, they apparently never considered any risk to their secure communications other than losing code books to the Allies.

     To this day, the Tribune considers their report quite a wonderful scoop; but it could have delayed the war's end by a couple of years if Japan had realized we were reading over their shoulder the whole time.

     Commander (on retirement, Captain) Seligman served ashore until 1944, and never uttered a word of complaint or explanation about it for the rest of his life.

Monday, June 10, 2019


     I am especially not a morning person when 6:20 a.m. feels like getting on toward lunch time.  Also, this day has been seriously Monday so far, including witnessing a near-miss almost T-bone between a speeding fire truck and a distracted late-night driver, at a construction site in an intersection on my way in to work.

     At work, already one major and one minor piece of equipment have failed in mysterious ways; well, not so mysterious for the major item: "It was making a sound like a wired pulled too tight, so we shut it down and got the wires out from under it.  Then it didn't work when we turned it back on." Ya think?  And I can't even think about starting to try to fix until it -- and I -- get clear of the ongoing task, which will run for another thirty minutes at least.  Yes, I understand the old horse knew the way home and these new-fangled autymo-biles aren't even smart enough to get lost.  Isn't that a good reason to pay closer attention?

     It would seem not.

     One o'clock seems so very far away.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

And Welcome To Sunday

     I'm working the early shift all this week, barring anything seriously unexpected, so posting will probably be a bit random.  I hope to have gotten a head start on it by waking up extremely early today, and I'll be hitting the hay early this afternoon, too.

     But first, a trip to the grocery and the five and dime, to stock up for the week ahead!

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Pickled Peppers Hash

     Corned beef hash, of course.

     A brand of pickled goodies I hadn't seen before showed up at our nearby grocers: Jeff's Garden.   The Mild Banana Pepper Rings -- "Sunshine Mix" -- looked especially good, so I bought them.

     It's a flavor I hadn't tasted in years, delightfully savory, not overpoweringly hot,  and I tried some in a green salad, where they added just a little extra.  The other day, it occurred to me that they'd probably work nicely in hash, so I tried it.  (Don't ask me just what the flavor is; the ingredient list on the bottle is refreshingly short and there's nothing unfamiliar -- peppers, vinegar, tumeric and rosemary, plus salt and some preservative.  But it's a flavor I remember from childhood.)

     What I made was Bobbi-style hash, with a thin layer of flour (plus a pinch of pepper and Italian seasoning mix) in the bottom of the pan so it'll form a nice crust, some onion and parsley mixed in with the canned hash and an egg cooked on top.  I snipped up a couple of tablespoons of the banana pepper rings and mixed them in before tuned it out atop the flour, pushed the edges up all around so there's a gap for the excess liquid, and cooked as usual, six minutes or so over medium geat before breaking an egg over it and cover it until the egg is done.  I added some chives and Summer Savory on the egg. A little Manchego cheese diced on top, and there you are.

     It was tasty!  The peppers blended right in; I probably could have added even more but the balance worked well.

Friday, June 07, 2019


     So, say you're a solid conservative state Senator, with a record of voting along party lines; and say you're running for Mayor of the state's largest city.

     What wouldn't you do for votes?

     Jim Merritt plans to walk in the Indianapolis Pride Parade this weekend.  The parade organizers, pointing to his voting record in the legislature, aren't happy about it.  Unwilling to find themselves branded as exclusionist, a compromise has been reached, in which he will be marching as a private citizen and not as a mayoral candidate.

     Look, I'm not going to offer up any broad value judgements here, other than to note that the local rainbow types tend to avoid the sort of debauchery reportedly found in coastal metropolii when they have their parade and picnic; it's a sedate enough event that the local office-holders usually make an appearance, Democrat and Republican alike.  It's not my party but if they wanna go tromping down the street, waving banners and whooping it up, fine; they're Americans; they can do that.

     On the other hand , if you're a state Senator with a serious social conservative voting record, it's pretty much flat-out pandering to show up and stick a rainbow ribbon in your lapel.  All it does is alienate your base and make people who'd never heard of you go look up how you voted.  I'm sure there will be Republican voters in the Pride Parade crowd -- this is Indiana, after all --  but it's a demographic uniquely positioned to be disinclined to forgive his RFRA vote.

     It makes you wonder if he'd bite the head off a live chicken if he thought it would get him that cushy office high up in the City-County Building.  I'm pretty sure his party can find a better candidate.

     The debate about civil rights for a long-despised minority vs. religious practice is one worth having  -- not in my comments section, but at a societal level -- and it's ongoing.  Many people have deeply-held feelings about their positions on these issues.

     From the evidence, state Senator Merritt isn't one of them.  You have to wonder what else he'd be flexible on.  Possibly everything.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

At Last, A Decent Night's Sleep

     With one thing and another -- headaches, distractions, last-minute cleanups and, yes, television -- I hadn't had a really good night's sleep in quite some time. 

     Made up my mind yesterday that I was darned well gonna get to bed early, and what do you know, after only a short detour into dozing on the couch after my salad and sandwich,* I actually managed to spend some quality time with Little Nemo!

     Maybe I'll start a trend.  At least a personal one.
* Mixed spring greens with orange bell pepper, black olives and feta cheese, alongside two toasted slices of rye/pumernickel swirl with pastrami, mild pickled banana peppers, Swiss cheese, thin-sliced Buffalo chicken and a little bit of horseradish in between.  Which is how you get dreams like this.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Wednesday, Migraine

     Thanks for stopping by!  I have taken OTC analgesics.  I'm waiting for them to kick in.  It will be good when that happens.

     Until then, not so good.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

"Yanqui, Go Home" (Union Jack Edition)

     The President of the United States is in Great Britain, making State visits and doing his usual sort of things -- sniping at critics, admiring the crowned heads, etc.  Some of the Crown subjects aren't too happy about it.

     At one time, I would have fussed about the futility of protesting foreign leaders.  What's it gonna do?  Do the sign-wavers and balloon-toters believe he's going to see them and think, "Oh, dear, the good people Foreignostan find me objectionable," return home forthwith and resign on arrival?  Not how it works; even in the UK, where Prime Ministers are, occasionally, embarrassed out of office, that's not actually how it works.

     But anymore -- face it, historically, it's been safer in most countries to criticize the leader of a different country than your own (with the exception of protesting USSR bosses in most of Eastern Europe during the Soviet years); the Brits have already chased their PM out and they're feeling their oats, at least as much as they ever do.   If they want to have a Five Minutes Hate funfair, they're going to, and at least they're not trying to re-invade India or anything along those lines.