Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chivalry Is Better Than Regulations. Husbands Are Even Better Than That.

So in order to stop the epidemic of rape on college campuses that may or may not be happening, states like California and many universities across the country have instituted "affirmative consent" rules. That is, everyone involved has to agree to any and all escalations of sexual activity. That's going to stop rape.

Right.

Because if it doesn't, you could be expelled from school. Presumably, there are still laws on the books prohibiting rape and threatening all kinds of legal ramifications like jail time, but those laws don't seem to apply on college campuses.

Rape is hand-to-hand combat. Men are larger, stronger, quicker and more aggressive than women, all by significantly large margins. I used to watch my daughter's U17 girls club soccer team get regularly thrashed by a boys U11 team in practice matches. (If I had entertained even the slightest doubts about male physical superiority, watching those games cured me very quickly.) When it comes to hand-to-hand combat, my money is on the bigger, stronger, quicker, more aggressive person every time.

Laws and regulations are all well and good, but they only come into effect after the event. That is, for the boy to expelled or jailed, he needs to have committed the rape first. That seems a little late in the whole process to me. I'd hate to think that was my daughter's best line of defense.

Back in the day, when women actually acknowledged that they were different than men, they focused on landing and managing a husband. In lieu of that, the goal was to have a boyfriend or at least an escort. The husband / boyfriend / escort was expected to provide protection among other gentlemanly services.

These days, when we all seem to think the sexes* are equal, we're left with creating rules to deal with the absence of protective men in the lives of women. These rules, as I said before, that do nothing to prevent horrible things from happening in the first place.

Oh well. I guess that's just the price we pay for being so enlightened.

Here, a college girl shows her appreciation for the head of her university's Sexual Consent Integrated Product Team for having come up with a charter, mission statement and POA&M for the group.

*  - Maybe I should say "genders" to include all 8,712 of them recognized by Facebook, California, UC Berkeley or what-have-you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Movie "Interstellar," Your Endocrine System And Nazis

How's that for a weird linkage?

So we went to see Interstellar on Christmas Day. It was a good, modern Hollywood movie, which means it had high production values and was thoroughly infused with secular humanist religious claptrap. I'm not going to do a full movie review (it was worth seeing), but instead will focus on one particular scene.

The two lead characters, both big Science types who were all about Logic and Knowledge and Sciencey Science, had a chat about Love. Love, the girl explained to the guy, was the great mystery of the Universe, the thing that drives everything else and gives it meaning. The guy swallowed the lecture with a little bit of effort, objecting only to the practical ramifications of the girl's love, not the idiocy of her speech.

Science in Hollywood movies is a wondrous thing. Scientists are practically priests and science-based reasoning is Right and Good. Well, only so long as the science isn't biology. Then we don't talk about it at all. The Philosopher-Priestess giving the lecture on Love apparently didn't know much about her endocrine system.
The endocrine system contains many different physical components that help to regulate everything from sexual function to our mood each day. The health and well-being of the endocrine system is essential to maintaining healthy body weight, growth and physical or emotions development. The endocrine system will greatly affect children and teenagers who are experiencing a high level of development, but different parts of this system will also play a role as we age as well as our function day to day.
So if she'd been an honest Science-type, she'd never have given that speech. She'd have known that Love is just the manifestation of glandular secretions and sexual love in particular is her DNA striving to propagate itself across time. While logical and scientific, that kind of speech wouldn't have been much fun for the movie as it would have unmasked the underlying philosophy of the film for what it was, a modified version of Hitler's Darwinian, atheistic Volk theories, where the survival of the race was paramount.

Nahh. Better to lie about the end results of their foundational assumptions and sell tickets.

To infinity, and beyond!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Save Those Pie Tins!

Whenever we get pies from the store, we foolishly throw out the tins* when the pie is gone. Now dig this.
Add flour (all-purpose or self rising can be used) to a pie plate or other deep-sided dish; set aside. Season pork chops liberally with salt and pepper then dredge in flour. Shake all excess flour off of each chop. Set flour aside.
Gaaaahhhh! All this time, I've been struggling to find something just right for a dredging dish. It as in front of me all the time! Pie tins!

As Paul Prudhomme is my witness, I shall never throw away another pie tin until I have an arsenal of the things for dredging and whatever else I need them to do.

* - To be accurate, we put them in the recycling as they're aluminum. Still, the end result is the same. They're gone.

Update: I just found this great site giving suggestions about how to make awesome pork chops and gravy.

A Styled Version Of The Rain Table For Modesto

I've been kind of embarrassed by the rough nature of the rainfall tables I've posted here as a part of my rainfall database project, so I spent a little time making the thing more attractive.

MODESTO Percent of Normal Rainfall

Date20142013
21-Dec-1421842
22-Dec-1421341
23-Dec-1420940
24-Dec-1420440
25-Dec-1420039
26-Dec-1419738
27-Dec-1419337
28-Dec-1419037

Speaking of rain, I checked out the forecast for California for the upcoming week, and it doesn't look so good. Dry weather as far as the eye can see for most of the state. That 2014 percent of normal number is going to keep falling.

A recap of how this project works


  • Ubuntu server running as a virtual machine under Win7 using the free VMWare Player.
  • PHP script running as a root cron job at 1230 every day, harvesting data by scraping this page using the simple_html_dom PHP library.
  • MySQL database with two tables, city name and percent of normal, data injected from the aforementioned PHP scraper script.
  • PHP scripting on a local Dreamweaver site running on the aforementioned Ubuntu virtual server to extract the data from the database and format it as a table.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Now All We Need Is Some Rain

My rainfall database project is working like a charm lately. It harvests the data from the web every day and stores it in a database. So far, I've got a week's worth of percent-of-normal data. Here's Modesto's.

Modesto 2014, percent of normal rainfall
218
213
209
204
200
197
193

It looks like what you'd expect when there's been no rain, a steady, monotonic decrease. Not very exciting. If we could only get some rain ...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Understanding Freedom

Warning: Spoilers for the movie, Wild are below.

I just went to see the movie, Wild. It's the true story of a woman who goes through all kinds of traumas and engages in a ton of self-destructive behaviors including shooting up heroin and sleeping with anything on two legs. The movie is about her 90-day journey hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, trying to recover from the death of her mother. As the movie follows her sojourn, it relives parts of her life. In the end, she "finds herself" or something like that.

As an aside, "finding herself" amounts to little more than deciding she's just fine and all the horrible things she did, like putting a loving husband through hell as she runs off to live with a pack of heroin addicts, forcing him to come and rescue her, were just fine. So I guess she didn't find herself so much as encase her sins in amber and declare them Good. And that took her 90 days. On the plus side, it seemed to be cathartic.

There's a lot to be said about the movie, but near the end, as she's narrating what she's learned, the recurring theme of freedom in Christian music made complete sense to me. Here was this woman who took 90 days wandering off in the wilderness trying to find meaning while I have found meaning without having to endure a zillion-mile hike. That's a ton of freedom in my book. I am free to do all kinds of things while those trapped inside their self-worship need to burn precious chunks of their lives looking for things I already have.

The song below in particular leaped into my head as we left the theater and I probably won't hear it again without thinking of this poor woman and the hundreds of thousands out there just like her.



Through You the darkness flees...
Through You I'm not afraid
Through You the price is paid...

I am free
Yes, I am free

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

... with a Caribbean flair. Here's Lord Nelson's A Party for Santa Claus, one of my all-time favorite Christmas tunes. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How To Tell The Difference Between Global Warming And Climate Change

With all this talk about Global Warming and Climate Change, some people are wondering if they are one and the same, if they're different, if they're related or if it's all a big hoax by Peronist fascists. My answer is, "No!" Here's how to tell them apart.

When it's hot and/or dry, like it was in Modesto last year (40% of normal rainfall), that's Global Warming. When it's cold and/or wet, like it is in Modesto this year (209% of normal rainfall), that's Climate Change.

What about when things are nearly perfectly average, like it is in Crescent City this year (101% of normal rainfall)? Well, that shows that the oceans are storing heat in their deepest depths. Since heat can't move, it stays there, making it look like things are normal. Don't be fooled. Soon the heat will move and increase either Global Warming or Climate Change and we'll all either fry or drown.

What can we do about this? Well, it all depends on what is happening. Here's a thumbnail sketch of the steps we need to take to prevent things from getting hotter or colder or staying the same.
Global Warming - Increase funding for climate studies and give more regulatory power to the EPA.

Climate Change - Increase funding for climate studies and give more regulatory power to the EPA.

Things Staying The Same - Increase funding for climate studies and give more regulatory power to the EPA.
I hope this little tutorial helped. We all need to do our part to prevent things from happening, whatever they are.

This shows the worst of all outcomes. In the foreground where it's parched and dry, that's Global Warming. In the distance where it's lush and green, that's Climate Change.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I Guess I'm Not Very Permissive

I spent the better part of the day trying to figure out why a PHP connection to a database wouldn't work while it worked yesterday. I got so frustrated that I uninstalled MySQL to reinstall it. As I did so, I realized I was wiping out the database I had created.

Sigh.

One of the things I've learned from this is that finding answers on the Internet is a real hit-or-miss affair. This problem, not being able to create a mysqli object in a PHP script, is a well-known problem. Lots of posts out there on the bulletin boards about it. The common theme is a link to the manual for the php.ini file which is supposed to explain just how to allow the connections, but doesn't.

Argh. File and access permissions and directory includes are the bane of my existence.

Update: I fixed the problem by reinstalling the php5-mysql package. Why did I have to do that? Where did it go? I shut down the server and restarted it in between yesterday and today. Why did that make it go away? Is it going to happen every time I do this?

Argh indeed.

Update 2: My old rainfall database was not destroyed! For some reason, uninstalling mysql didn't kill it. Hoorah! My command line rainfall harvester worked, too. I now have 2 days of data in my database! Now to set up a cron job to get it to run on daily basis!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Oh Sure, It Doesn't Look Like Much

... but it took a little effort to parse the text on the California rainfall page into a table with the names of the cities and their percent of normal rainfall totals to date from this year and last. I used PHP Simple DOM Parser to scrape the page and then dealt with the results as a string. It turns out that NOAA didn't make a table of results, the lazy dogs, and instead just used the "pre" HTML tag to create what looks like a table on their page.


CRESCENT CITY9040
EUREKA13136
UKIAH16418
REDDING17031
SACRAMENTO EXEC AIRPORT20536
SACRAMENTO - CSUS1650
SANTA ROSA17318
SAN FRANCISCO20629
SFO INT'L AIRPORT22826
OAKLAND AIRPORT19134
LIVERMORE21152
MOUNTAIN VIEW - MOFFETT26132

Next up - creating a MySQL table and inserting these values into it. Then we'll create a chron job to do it on a daily basis and after that, it's time to look into graphing them.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What Invention Has Made Us More Money Than Any Other?

The printing press because it allows us to print more and more and more money!

Japan is in recession. Europe is in recession. The Ruble has collapsed because oil prices have cratered so Russia will soon be mired in a depression. Does this spook the markets? Only temporarily. As soon as the Fed revs up those glorious machines and shows a willingness to make sure lots and lots of dollars are available to everyone, we can all get back to the business at hand - making money in the stock market.

Oh, sure, in the old days, a share of stock represented partial ownership of a company that made things. If the company did well, you did well. If the company did poorly, then you lost money. That's not so true any more. Now it represents ownership of a piece of paper whose value can go up and up and up because there are so many dollars floating around looking for something to buy to make more dollars which will make people richer, giving them more dollars to buy pieces of paper that will be worth more dollars because there are more dollars trying to buy them. See how it works? It's all about having lots and lots of dollars, thanks to the printing press at the Fed.
Stocks in Japan and Australia led Asia higher for a second day on Friday, as investor confidence continued to be bolstered by expectations the U.S. is in no rush to raise interest rates.

Buying returned to the region despite lingering worries over lower oil prices. The Nikkei Stock Average jumped 2.4% to 17621.40, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed up 2.5% to 5338.60.

Materials and utilities stocks led in Australia, as the latest indications from the U.S. Fed appeared to overshadow concerns that lower commodities prices would pressure the nations’ producers.
Emphasis mine. Commodities are real things. Chunks of metal, whole cows, containers full of oil and other fluids. Even they cannot stand in front of the power of the printing press. Just when it looks like things will be valued according to their worth, the Fed steps in, shows off its printing press like Vanna White unveiling a new puzzle on Wheel of Fortune and all is right with the world again.

Hooray for the printing press!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Best Online Quiz Yet

New blogging friend leucanthemum b from Composite Drawlings, has this quiz displayed on her sidebar. She came out as a daisy. My snapdragon has this description:
"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."
The best part of this quiz is how well it hides the answer. The questions don't tip off which way the results are going to go. I loved it. 5 minutes of clicking for a smile? That sounds like a good trade to me.

I am a
Snapdragon

What Flower
Are You?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dreamweaver Templates And A Family Home Page

To recap where we are with my project to learn web server creation and maintenance as well as web content creation:
  • There's an Ubuntu server running as a virtual machine on a Windows 7 box
  • Said server runs a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)
  • We've got Adobe Creative Cloud
  • We've got both the FTP and SFTP connections to the server working in Dreamweaver
The goal is to master creating content with Creative Cloud apps and post them to a web server. Adobe makes this very easy.

Dreamweaver now has site templates that give you a sample site which you can edit as you see fit. It's not the same as creating one from scratch, but as I have no design training, they're great for me. I can lean on their proportions and artwork while I play with creating the content that lives inside.

My current idea is to create a home page on the server, only accessible from within the house, that has various sub-sites which do interesting things. Here are some of my ideas:
  1. Daily scrape the California rainfall totals and plot Percent-of-Normal charts for a couple of California cities
  2. Blend Google Music and our family photos so we can play music while a slideshow runs
  3. Blend Pandora and our family photos to do the same thing
I picked out a template that gives me some basic navigation and have created a site on the server using it. I've stored my files on Creative Cloud so I have access to them everywhere and can edit them from any machine on the Internet. There are so many things to do now that as soon as I uploaded the site and had Dreamweaver working with the server, I sat paralyzed momentarily as to what to do next.

I think the first thing I'm going to tackle is the California rainfall totals chart. I've scraped web pages before with a PHP DOM parser, so I've got a start on that. The project will require me to learn MySQL databases to store the data and some kind of javascript graphing library. Here's the way forward now:
  1. Scrape the rainfall page and create an HTML table with the results for a single day
  2. Design and create the database table for the daily data
  3. Create a chron (regularly scheduled) job on the sever to scrape the rainfalls page and insert the data onto the table
  4. Find a javascript graphing library and plot the data
  5. Profit!
How Step 5 will be achieved is still a bit murky, but I'm sure we'll get there somehow.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Manchester United Is The Best Team In The EPL Right Now

By the time I tuned in yesterday, it was already 1-0 ManU over Liverpool. It ended 3-0 and while there were some freak saves and near misses that kept Liverpool from picking up a goal or three, the scoreline did tell the tale. ManU, after repeated zombie performances earlier this season, is having fun even against top flight sides like Liverpool. Check out the scoring.


Topic change. This morning, I mastered the vsftpd.conf settings that allow Dreamweaver to upload web-readable files to my new Ubuntu server. For security, the default umask setting prevents anyone but the owner from reading uploaded files and a quick change has my sever ready to go for full Dreamweaver experimentation.

Topic change. Yesterday, I pulled the last of my late season tomato plants. They never produced. Instead of throwing the plant away, I dug a shallow trench, stripped off the unripened fruit and buried the rest of the plant so it could rot underground. I'd heard this was a great way to recapture some of the nutrients the plant had ingested from the soil.

Topic change. Meanwhile, over at Trigger Warnings, there's a post about microaggressions. Some socially nearsighted researcher is asking for people to find times in their lives when they've experienced ... oh, what the heck. Just go read it yourself. The study (not Trigger's post) is a complete waste of time. That's probably the saddest part of our obsession with hurt feelings. While I spent the weekend thoroughly enjoying sports and gardening and learning about Linux, these people spent it talking that time when someone asked where they were from.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Watching MSNBC Is Worth 20 Melanin Points

Last night, I went to a BMW-related party where a guy was sneering at how "white" you were if you watched Fox News. The guy's skin looked like a clean sheet of printer paper and he spent his time crewing on racing yachts around the country when he wasn't jawing about the latest Beemers.

Right.

... but since he votes for liberals, he's not considered "white."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

San Diego After The Rain

... gives you cloud panoramas like this one. I left it large so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Replacing God

... with yourself is a common theme with the atheists I've met. One particular fellow I engaged on Twitter summed up his arguments with this exemplar tweet.
His stated positions included the following:
  • The Universe is benevolent
  • Man is more than the sum of his parts
  • Religion attacks self-esteem
He seemed unfamiliar with basic science outside of the common, public-school understanding of evolution. Chemistry and physics arguments went right over his head. For example, the concept that biological organisms are made up of chemical components and therefore inherit their rules and limitations was unacceptable to him. In his rebuttal, the usual hand-waving ensued, something on the order of this:

In the process of chatting with him, the thought struck me that atheists believe in more miracles on a daily basis than the most mystical evangelicals I've ever met.

Getting back to the original concept of the post, the mechanics of his philosophy were quite simple. He had replaced God with himself. He needed someone to play some of God's roles - giver of meaning, arbiter of morality, source of self-worth and so forth, but he didn't want anyone to impose rules on him. When he became God in his own mind, he found meaning and value while maintaining the illusion that no matter what he did, he was a "good" person.

That he had become God to himself (is there a term for this?) was evident in that tweet above. "The Universe is benevolent because it created me." I came back with how grateful the rest of us should be as we owed our benevolent Universe to the fact that he was not born and raised in the slums of Rio. Not being much of a philosopher, he missed that one, too. The exchange put me in mind of a modification of one of the Eucharistic prayers,
and all creation rightly gives @MaximumTrent praise.
In the end, he learned nothing. His devotion to rational thought and evidence were superficial, cloaks for his real belief system - worship of himself. It's not easy to convince a god that he is not divine.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ubuntu Makes Me Late

... actually, that's true for any absorbing hobby, isn't it?

I set up an Ubuntu server as a VMWare virtual machine on my Win7 beast desktop. Using bridge networking, I gave it a unique IP address and now I can play with it from my laptop while I drink my morning coffee. I've learned a ton already and want to learn so much more, but there's always somewhere I need to be in the morning. Consequently, every day, I look up at the clock, wince, then race upstairs to shower, dress and dash out the door.

Every day. Every single day.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

You're All Rancid Pigs And I Hate You, But Don't Take It Personally

Michael Tomasky shows us why bloggers can't have nice things. Without editors to help us write, we make a hash of everything.
I don’t remember a much sadder sight in domestic politics in my lifetime than that of Mary Landrieu schlumpfing around these last few weeks trying to save a Senate seat that was obviously lost. It was like witnessing the last two weeks of the life of a blind and toothless dog you knew the vet was just itching to destroy. I know that sounds mean about her, but I don’t intend it that way.
He compares Mary Lanrieu to a blind, toothless dog, but he doesn't intend for that to sound mean.

Umm, maybe you could have taken a little time to rewrite it. Assuming he put some thought into his prose, it makes one wonder what similes were left out.
  • She was like an Ebola victim whose body would be burned by flamethrowers after she died
  • It was like seeing an overflowing porta-potty wheeled away after Coachella
  • The voters removed her like someone hosing dog vomit off their sidewalk
Next, he describes the whole of the South.
Practically the whole region has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment. A fact made even sadder because on the whole they’re such nice people! (I truly mean that.)
Yes, yes, I see it now. The place is populated by nice people who reject everything that's good. Nice people who are radioactive with racism. Mike would invite you over for dinner, you know, but he hasn't finished Scotch-Guarding the carpet and hiding the silverware. And do you know how hard it is to find plastic covers for ultra-modern furniture? Who sells that pig food those people eat? He can't seem to find it at his local organic food co-op.

Yep, Mikey, that column was a real winner. I'll just bet the people in the South will be reading it over and over. Like every time there's an election.

Now with an introduction by Michael Tomasky!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Politics And The Catican Guard

My wife and I like to keep our bedroom cool when we sleep, so we leave the door onto our balcony open at night. Our house abuts a canyon wherein coyotes, rabbits and owls live. The Catican Guards sleep with us while our Maximum Leader sleeps in whatever place takes her fancy at the moment. Recently, she has been selecting one of our sons' bedrooms.

Last night, the Guards were on High Alert. Something was afoot in the canyon and every half an hour, they'd hear a noise, vault off the bed and rush onto the balcony like RAF pilots hearing an air raid siren in 1940 racing for their Spitfires. Physics being what it is, when 35-pound and 12-pound dogs leap, an equal and opposite force is produced on the bed and whoever might be underneath their feet. In the panic of the moment, they didn't pay much attention to who or what was under them.

Once on the balcony, they could do nothing but watch, fret and discuss. Events were happening too far away for them to engage and in any case, there's not much two dogs can do in the middle of the night in a canyon that big. This did not prevent them from becoming uselessly alarmed when something happened and annoying everyone else in the room.

And that's why you shouldn't discuss politics at dinner parties.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Anyone Who's Afraid Of The Guys In The Chess Club Needs Professional Help

MSNBC is a comedy station. It must be. Dig this.
CHLOE ANGYAL, FEMINISTING.COM: ...It is hard to read an article like this and avoid the conclusion that we live in a culture that hates women, just hates us. ... (I)t would be at our peril to pretend that this (rape) is just a frat problem. Yes, it (sic) at frats and football teams, but it also happens on the chess team and in dance companies.
So the boys on the chess club at your local high school hate women and want to rape them. Incomprehensible.

Or maybe they just hate people like Chloe Angyal. That, I could understand.

Friday, December 05, 2014

It's Not Like He's A Tame Lion

... is a recurring quote from the Chronicles of Narnia wherein Aslan, the divine Lion, is described as both "animal" ("human") and wild. In Aslan, you find unimaginable power, deep love and complete humanity, all of it totally out of your control.

Continuing on with lessons from this excellent book,


there was a passage in particular that hit me with a thought I'd never had before. The author, wrangling with a friend over her concept of God and questioning her commitment to atheism, has a prayer experiment suggested to her. Before she starts her experiment, a thought occurs to her, triggered by that line, "It's not like he's a tame lion."
Josh’s allusion to Aslan was an abrupt reminder that the subject of my planned ‘experiment’ was a Person. . . and a Person of infinite power, dangerous, unconstrained by what I would prefer ‘God’ to be like.
I was reading the book in bed the other night, my wife beside me reading one of her own, when that passage struck me like an enormous fish wielded by John Cleese.


The impact was so great that I wondered if some of the fishy-smelling, salty water had splashed onto my bride. God as a Person, a real Person, that was something I'd never absorbed through all my studies and Mass attendance and Confessions. It's one thing to say that God has a plan for your life or that God shows you opportunities to do His will, but it's another thing entirely to realize that the Person who opens those doors for you is a real person.

In the old days, when my kids would do something stupid or wrong, I'd get mad. In person and in my own way, I would get mad. with yelling and everything. However, when I sin, I never thought of my sin being against a Someone. It was always breaking some impersonal rule, putting up a tally on some score sheet somewhere.

As the miracle I experienced a few years back was extraordinarily personal, one meant solely for me by Someone who knew me and loved me deeply, you'd think I'd have learned. Nope. Blockhead that I was, I needed a converted atheist to show me the light.

It's not like He's a tame lion.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

I Wanted To Learn, But Not That Much

I've got a fairly new Dell desktop machine that's pretty sweet. i7 processor, 12 GB RAM, the only thing it's missing is a solid state hard drive. The thing runs Win7 (just a life support system for Adobe Creative Cloud as far as I'm concerned), but I wanted to learn the ins and outs of managing a Linux server.

I bought a second hard drive for this box (1 TB for $70 at Office Depot), unhooked the existing hard drive because I'm a sissy, afraid of possibly overwriting my Win 7 disk and put the new one in. I've got a pair of books on managing Ubuntu servers and both come with 12.04 installation disks.

Yay?

I installed Ubuntu server version 12.04 and ... couldn't get the thing to pick up a DHCP address from my router. In fact, I couldn't get it to do anything at all on the network. It knew it had an ethernet adapter and could set it up, but beyond that, it was lost.

It turns out that this is a known bug with version 12.04. There were fixes posted on the web, many of which I tried, but to no avail. I learned things about the command line and requesting status from running services, but in the end I gave up. Too much learnings!

12.04 being a bit old, I went online, got the latest version - 14.10, made an installation CD and installed that. It worked right out of the box.

Yay!

Now, off to learn how Creative Cloud apps work with a server.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Cleaning Up After Your Own Funeral Has To Be The Worst

My wife had a dream last night that she not only had to host her own funeral, but she had to clean up afterwards. When she woke up, the thing that made her most unhappy was not that she was dead in her dream, but that some of the guests had brought children who had left their toys everywhere. How rude!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Whatever CNN Is Paying Donna Brazile, It's Not Enough

... not when she comes up with gems like this.
Today, we need a national commission on justice. One that is more than a fact-finding commission. One whose purpose is reconciliation. This one should be modeled after South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu.

There was an emphasis in that commission on reconciliation. There was a marked effort to forgive...But the process of forgiveness also requires acknowledgment on the part of the perpetrator that they have committed an offense.
Awesome! A bunch of overpaid, elite snobs sitting in meeting rooms in Washington DC deciding just how much some of us need to apologize. Can't you feel the reconciliation? Imagine that glorious day when the Commission publishes a report. All across America, families will gather to hear what they have to say.

"MARTHA! MARTHA! COME QUICK! THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON JUSTICE IS ABOUT TO RELEASE THEIR FINDINGS!"

Won't that be great? Once they've reported out, we unlettered, filth-encrusted swine can read the single-syllable version (or have it read to us, more likely) and begin the reconciliation process of begging for forgiveness.

...

Actually this might not be such a bad idea after all. If it means that the next time some weed-soaked thug attacks a cop and gets shot for his trouble I'm not expected to sit with my hands folded and eyes downcast in a pose of great contrition mumbling just how very, very sorry I am for whatever it was I did, I'm all for it.

Monday, December 01, 2014

There Are Mornings When Coffee Isn't Enough

... and those are the mornings you need to run CAT-5e cable to your daughter's bedroom.

Now there's something that will really wake you up!
I'm really proud of myself. After many decades of being a dufus, I am now slightly less of a dufus. I'm a morning person with lots of projects under way. I can never seem to get anything done in the morning because stores are closed and/or I don't want to wake the rest of the family. I finally figured out that if I staged my parts and equipment during the day, I could polish off projects in the morning.

Staging the gear doesn't take long and it allows you to spend plenty of time with the family. That's what had tripped me up before. I didn't see the point in working on a project unless I could finish it in one swoop. By breaking it up into two parts, I could get it done and give my wife and kids the attention they deserve.

In this project, I'm giving my daughter a Ubuntu computer for her room and, not being a big fan of WiFi*, I decided to run wire to it. Yesterday, I drilled holes for the cable and fed it through, leaving it dangling out of the wall. This morning, while she was elsewhere, I wired up the sockets. I'll finish this project off tonight when I install the wall plates and move the computer into the bedroom. After about 3 months of wishing I could get to it, it's done. Yay!

Next up: A dual boot desktop machine - Win7 and Ubuntu server. Eventually this will include a virtual machine manager so both systems can run at the same time. More on that as it develops.

* - We have a wireless network in the house, but whenever possible, I prefer to run CAT5e into a room. WiFi is great, but when the Interweb Tubes don't seem to be working or have slowed to a crawl, WiFi is just one more unknown you need to diagnose. If troubles happen to a computer hooked up by wire, there are only a couple of causes.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Time Cannot Extend Infinitely Into The Past

I just finished reading this book and absolutely loved it.


As someone who once styled themselves as a theoretical mathematician, I was happily surprised and somewhat embarrassed to have learned the title of this blog post from this book. The concept had never occurred to me before.

The problem with a Universe of infinite age is that you can't reach any given point in time. That is, if time goes back infinitely through endless repetitions of Big Bangs and Collapses, you can't get to the November 30, 2014 and watch Southampton blow a perfect chance to at least draw with Manchester City after Man City went down to ten men because of a stupid challenge by Mangala near the box.

Where was I? Oh yes. Time.

Since time is sequential with one second following another, in order to reach the moment when Frank Lampard scores in ridiculous fashion for City, you need to cover the time between when you started counting and when the ball went into the back of the net. If you go back in time 90 minutes, the game hasn't started, but we know those 90 minutes have taken place. You can go back to the year 1066 and we know that time has happened. You can go back to any time you like and we know that time has gone by.

If the Universe was inifinitely old, no matter how far you went back, there would be moments older than that. Since time is sequential, those moments must have taken place. If that were the case, you could never wait long enough to get to Frank Lampard's goal. The current moment in time could never occur.

Ergo, the Universe had a beginning.

Way cool, no?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Let's Put More Trust In Government

... except for grand juries. Grand juries are the lapdogs and tools of racists.

There. Have I got the whole progressive idea right now?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

For $300,000 You Can Get Someone To Read A Teleprompter At You

... or, you could buy about 4 Lotus Elises and then get one of those text-to-speech apps to read the text instead.

I can tell you how I'd spend that $300K if it were mine.
Hillary Clinton, it turns out, bags 300 large to read a teleprompter.
When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”
The money is just the beginning. There are scads of special demands. My favorite was this one.
After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors [for] her to read from.”
Outstanding! She will walk around the stage like a real professional speaker would do, acting like it's all spontaneous as a pair of huge video screens fill her empty head with thoughts written by someone else.

For heaven's sake, would it kill her to memorize her speech? It's not like she's saying anything new or revolutionary. She hasn't had an original thought in her life. Everything is calculated and hedged. What does it say for her intellect that she can't manage to mechanically regurgitate her progressive platitudes by now?

And how about UCLA? What a pack of rubes. If I had a kid in their MBA program, I'd withrdraw him immediately. If you can't convince your administration that 300 Gs is insanely overpriced for someone who reads pablum to you, you should all be fired and the school shut down.

Stepping back a bit further, this is beautiful. A politically hyper-connected, pampered, egocentric woman with insignificant credentials is being paid $300,000 of taxpayer funds to blather about income inequality and why even more needs to be taken from the taxpayer. I think this has all played out before.

Hillary Clinton = Eva Peron.


Catican Note: Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I seldom do holiday posts and was going to do one today when I saw this. Oh well. Here in the Compound, we hope you eat up, watch football, make merry and share love with the family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Let The Baby Have His Bottle

... and let the media and the rioters and the race baiters have their fun far away. Where we live, it's just something you read about.

Yesterday, I was at a police station helping my daughter deal with her very first ticket. It was for a minor infraction, thankfully. At the station, there were several people gathered for job interviews. Some administrative position was open and there must have been 6 people queued up for their chance. One of the guys, a young black man, was sitting outside, waiting. As we left, I asked if he was there for a job interview. He said he was. I smiled and said, "Good luck!" He gave me a big smile and said, "Thanks!" I then told him I'd say a prayer for him, which got another big smile and thanks.

According to the media and the activists, I probably shouldn't have done that. I should have glared at him or walked as far as possible on the other side of the walkway, checking to see if the police were in range if he suddenly attacked me. As I drove away, I could have locked my car doors so he could hear the "CHUNK!" as we left.

Naaahhh. I think I can live my life without advice and help from the news media and the pundits. So can the rest of us. The pleasant interactions I've had with blacks in the last couple of days remind me of the Zimmerman Days of Rage when I was working downtown at Catholic Charities. A few blocks away, black activists were giving speeches and raging away. In our little storefront office, people of all races were laughing and smiling.

This is why I watch sports instead of the news. They don't tell me how I'm supposed to think and feel.
Image source.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Frankly, I Think HyperX Could Have Shown A Little More Sensitivity

The choice of words in this ad on a Ferguson rioting YouTube video does seem a bit inappropriate.

Perhaps they could have said, "Release that part of you that is filled with righteous anger at the social injustices which have led to the perfectly justifiable burning of businesses which had no part whatsoever in the shooting of Michael Brown."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Most Creative People

... don't care if the talent catches their death of cold?

Reading an article on the web, I came across this clickbait ad for another web site. It did not have the intended result on me.
The photographer is wearing a down jacket so long and heavy that they look like Arsene Wenger on a cold, London Saturday. The model must be freezing her cute, little tuckus off. That's not exactly a turn-on.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Catholics Are Judgmental

We all know this to be true. All those rules, the Sacrament of Confession*, and that horrible homophobia - it all adds up to judgmentalismishness. Lots and lots of it.

You're a sinner and so am I. That's all there is to it.

Yesterday, my wife and I taught the remarriage class for the diocese. It's a mandatory class for couples who want to get married in the Church and have been married before. This time, an unusual number of couples were already civilly married, some for many years. They wanted to finally get right with the Church. In the eyes of our hateful Catholic rules, they were, as one couple said with a laugh, "living in sin."

We all pointed and screamed at them in a rage.

Actually we didn't. One of the advantages of being a sinner and recognizing that everyone else is, too, is the ability to have a little perspective on this stuff. Those rules and regulations aren't there to make you feel guilty. You can do that on your own. Those rules and regulations are there to provide an ideal to strive to achieve.

Everyone in the room had been around the block a few times, so to speak, and the conversations during the class were fairly deep and sophisticated. We all recognized that the atomic bomb blasts we had set off in our lives through divorce, infidelity, drugs, alcohol, abuse and so on were the result of not following the rules.

It's almost like God laid out those rules because He loves us or something. Crazy, I know. (Why hasn't anyone told us?)

In any case, the class was a lot of fun, we led them through discussions of the primary ways marriages fail and got the couples to have conversations about topics they may not have addressed. There was lots of laughter and no one pointed fingers of shame, despite the fact that the room was full of world-class sinners. Instead, we acknowledged the existence of objective rules, laid out by Someone Else for our own good. If any of us felt deservedly shameful, it was an added bonus.

* - No, not Reconciliation, it's Confession. You did wrong and now you must confess. Confess! Like so:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spider Mites

One of our late-season tomato plants was recently attacked by mobs of spider mites. After getting photographic evidence and investigating disciplinary actions against said mites, we chose to go old school and used dogs and fire hoses on them. The dogs didn't do much other than wander around the yard, seemingly unaware of the mites (a crafty ruse on their parts, no?), but the hose blew the mites off the plant and we hope that's the last we see of them.

I had wondered if there were predators we could buy as the mites were gathered in huge numbers. For aphids you can buy ladybugs and the ladybugs will make short, delicious work of the aphids. Ladybugs are not recommended for mites. I think the size difference is too great. It would be like inviting guests over for dinner and serving them a couple of rolls of Sweet Tarts. Unsatisfying all around.

In any case, here is the photographic evidence of the spider mite assault, in case I ever need to present it to a grand jury. Even after cropping in Photoshop, it's still in reasonably high res. Click and enjoy.


Friday, November 21, 2014

I Miss The Border Already

So if we're not going to deport anyone, just what are Border Patrol agents going to do now?

Why have a fence at all?

Is the border a marker for which government gets the taxes? If you're on this side, the taxes go to Mexico City, if you're on that side they go to Washington, DC?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chuck Norris

A routine patrol took an unexpected turn for police in Gresham, Oregon, when they spotted a goat stuck on a roof...

‘The goat will charge you,’ one neighbour told the officers during the incident last week. Another told the perplexed Gresham police team that the ‘goat only respects one man’ and warned them to stay away.
The goat only respects one man...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Matt Taylor Should Have Said About His Shirt

A dude lands a probe on a comet zillions of miles away and a pack of harpies goes bananas because he's wearing a shirt with pictures of comic book chicks on it. The story becomes his shirt and not the unbelievable feat of engineering and science.

Why? Why did anyone listen to these shrews in the first place? Because we did, that's why. We choose to listen to them every day, rather than doing what we should ...



Scene: Press conference room. The room is buzzing with reporters awaiting his apology for wearing a sexist shirt. Matt shows up, this time wearing a button-down Playboy-logo shirt with a cigar stuffed in the breast pocket and carrying a big tumbler of bourbon on the rocks. He stops at the podium, takes a big swig from the tumbler and sets it down. He looks at the room in scorn.

"I'd like to start this by saying I despise every one of you in this room. You chose to come here, hoping for me to apologize for wearing a shirt when you could have been chasing down those harridans and asking them what their problem was. I'm going to start with a brief slide show about the mission."

Matt, clearly with a bit of a buzz, proceeds to flash about 3-4 slides up on the screen with massive equations and geometry diagrams. They're inscrutable.

"I know what these mean. The hags that complained about the shirt don't. I doubt any of you have a clue, either. I'll be giving hard copies of them to each of you so you can see what real work looks like."

Matt takes a drag from his drink again, puts it down and pulls out his cigar. As he studiously clips off the ends of the cigar, looking intently at it and not the reporters, he says, "You know, you guys have a choice. You can either report on accomplishments and ingenuity or you can write gossip columns. You have chosen to write gossip columns."

Matt lights the cigar and takes a puff. After a bit of obvious pondering while looking at the smoke rising from his cigar, he takes another drag from the tumbler and says, "For the life of me, I can't figure out why I should care what a pack of whiny, little, spoiled brats has to say about what I wear. I never have before. Why should I start now?"

He puts the tumbler down and stares at the reporters. "Why do you? You need to ask yourselves why you decided that these pipsqueak scolds deserved your attention. I'm beginning to wonder if their ranting is as much as you can comprehend."

There's a long pause as he picks up the tumbler again and turns to leave. "Maybe you should spend a little time studying physics instead."

Matt walks out, never looking at the reporters again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another Reason I Love Twitter

Twitter allows me to connect with athletes and musicians. I've become a big Peter Furler fan and whenever I mention him in a tweet, he always says, "Thanks!" by favoriting that tweet. Recently, I tweeted a photo of a friend's grandson whose shock of black hair made me think of Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez. I mentioned Ayoze and it must have brought a smile to his face because he favorited it, too.


Here's a little of the real Ayoze himself:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Animal-Induced Insomnia

On Saturday, I made the mistake of changing our Maximum Leader's food. Seduced by Science Diet's claim that their new food had no grains and was therefore better for cats, I ditched the Purina One Salmon and Tuna.

Bad move. The new food was not a hit with Her Serene Furriness and she let me know in no uncertain terms most of Saturday night. She was hungry. Very hungry.

We've also had a rabbit make occasional raids on our yard, getting in through a place in the fence where erosion had created a hole underneath. The Catican Guards could detect these invasions and would rally to our defense with leaps and barking, driving the lagomorphic intruder away in great pomp and style. On Saturday night, the rabbit was particularly aggressive.

Sleep? Why, no, we didn't get much. Why do you ask?

Yesterday, we picked up a bag of Purina One and replaced the anti-rabbit portions of the fence. We briefed the Catican Guards on the new situation and fed our Maximum Leader into a state of digestive torpor.

Ahh, sweet, sweet peacefulness.

The Guards during the briefing session. Note their attentiveness.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What If The Arawaks Had Battleships?

Reading Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, a few thoughts have struck me re: America being built on the back of genocide and racism.

As background, the first natives Columbus met were helpful, peaceful Arawaks. Columbus, without any apparent moral qualms, captured some of them and used them as guides, interpreters and intended to bring them back to Spain to show to the King and Queen. His actions seemed natural and unquestioned as there is no record of debate on the topic.

While the Arawaks were peaceful, the neighboring Caribs were not. They were slavers and cannibals and the Arawaks were terrified of them.

Columbus and the Spaniards are frequently portrayed as greedy thieves and racist maniacs. Whatever their motives, let's engage in a little alternate history fantasy for a moment. Imagine that the Arawaks, instead of possessing technology equivalent to the Caribs, had superior weapons and boats? Now assume that this technological disparity lasted for, say, 200 years. Don't you think that over a 200 year time period, even the peaceful Arawaks would eventually say to each other, "You know, I've had my fill of these little swine Caribs. They can't seem to control themselves. Let's go finish them off once and for all."

Or how about this: "My wife and kids never seem to have enough fish to eat. Those pathetic Caribs do nothing but use up resources and make trouble. Let's go beat the tar out of them and take their islands."

There's an offhand remark in the book that some of the native tribes had done just that prior to Columbus' arrival, blotting out some particularly annoying neighbors. The Aztecs most certainly did that to bordering tribes prior to Cortez.

So what's the big deal with singling out the Spaniards? Yep, they killed to looted. Columbus himself was monomaniacal about finding gold. I find it hard to believe that any of their contemporaries would have acted differently.



Here, we see Arawak battleships in action against the Caribs.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sing Along With Jonathon Gruber!

The thing that leaps out at me every time there's another Gruber video surfacing showing how he thinks we're all imbeciles and every time Obama says he's going to do something directly contrary to the stated wishes of the voters is that we're all just so much window dressing to them. We're all cardboard cutouts on the grass beneath the balcony where El Presidente and his retinue speak at us. We're extras on the movie set providing crowd noises. What we want doesn't matter to them at all.

With that in mind, I offer this hack job on a verse of a song by that Soviet-loving idiot, Woodie Guthrie.

This Land Is Our Land
This land is our land
  It is not your land
Back to your hovels
  you simple morons
We make decisions
  We know what's best, yeah
You only think you get to vote


Author's note: The word, "yeah" is a great syllable-filler when you need to finish a song to close off a blog post and get to Costco to do the week's shopping.

Sea Turtle Off Cape Kinau, Maui

On previous trips to Maui, seeing sea turtle was a rare treat. This time, we saw lots and lots of turtles. In fact, on our last snorkeling session, I had to push one out of my way to keep it from running into me. The turtle didn't mind, it just kept cruising along, doing whatever it was it was doing.

The video below was shot with my GoPro Hero3 without any filters at all. On this trip, we discovered that the red filter at less than 20' of depth makes a hash of the scene, turning everything a sickly yellow. There's another filter designed for snorkeling that is only slightly red and I'm going to get one of those before our next tropical island foray.

In the meantime, this video really is best seen in full screen and HD. The lower res versions don't do the turtle justice.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How The Rich Get Richer, Japanese Style

Here's how I think it works.
  1. The Bank of Japan (BoJ) prints money and buys government bonds.
  2. Government retirement accounts sell their bonds to the BoJ to buy stocks.
  3. The Japanese stock market goes way up.
At the same time:
  1. Rich Japanese borrow money at artificially low interest rates using their accumulated wealth as collateral.
  2. They invest this money in the stock market.
  3. They make scads of cash because of numbers 2&3 above.
In other words, if I, rich Japanese dude, can borrow at 1.5% and invest in the stock market where the return is 10-20%, it's free money for me. Note that nothing was actually produced. No goods or services were provided. At the risk of seeming egotistical, I will quote myself from The Rise And Fall Of Bear Stearns.
Midway through the book, I found that I despised Alan Greenberg. He is the quintessential greedy banker. Nothing has value to him and all that matters is making more and more money. Even the money loses meaning as money after a while and it becomes just a pile of poker chips. In reality, money represents value created through human labor. $20 is equivalent to two grown men working for an hour on your landscaping, a point seeminly lost on Mr. Greenberg. When he found a new financial instrument that allowed Bear Stearns to reap more profits, those profits were just numbers in an adding machine. Contact with the real world was lost as time went on.
This is Alan Greenberg on a national scale. Short of some kind of Black Swan event, clobbering the market, this bet is a sure thing. Printed money is pouring into the stock market. What direction can it go but up? As soon as the central bank ceased to be independent of the government, this was bound to happen.

Meanwhile, you, wage slave that you are, have no such collateral or access to big, low-interest loans. You toil along and pay your mortgage or rent and buy groceries and gasoline without enough yen on the side to join the party. You stay where you are while I float in a sea of money.

This is what happens when governments, central banks and the wealthy collude. It's a hallmark of fascism. Awesome, no?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Artistic Urchin

We found this perfect sea urchin shell while walking on the beach near Kihei, Maui. My wife took this photo with her phone with the urchin resting on a glass table on our lanai. I love it.

The photo was left large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Black Durgon Triggerfish

Yesterday, we found a new favorite snorkeling spot on Maui, better even than Ulua Beach. It's Cape Kinau, way down south almost at the end of Makena Road.


I got a lot of video, including a nice one of a sea turtle. While the Black Durgon below aren't colorful, there was just something about their schooling and swimming I loved. The video is still in 720p, so full screen and HD might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Do Spiders Get Motion Sickness?

Sitting on the lanai of our rental here on Maui, there's a tiny spider who has spun a web between two chairs. The breeze is blowing her* back and forth as she sits in the center.

I had to use manual focus to get the shot. My eyes aren't the best, so I apologize for the mediocre quality.
Is she getting airsick as the wind blows her this way and that? Strangely enough, when I see spiders in windy webs, I feel a little sympathy for them, wondering if it's hard to hang on and if they get nauseous. It's all very silly, I know. Spiders have been doing this for millions of years. I'm sure by now they've learned how to spin tiny air sickness bags which they store on their front legs.

* - Notice how I made the spider feminine? I did that to smash the patriarchy! Not only that, I think she's a lesbian. Take that, you heteronormative bigots!

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Few Thoughts On Mass Amnesty

So President Obama, as near as I can figure, is threatening to turn a couple million illegals into citizens if he doesn't get his way with some kind of "comprehensive immigration" bill. On the surface of it, this seems insane. The more I think about it, the more insane it becomes. Here are a few random thoughts, in no particular order.
  1. Someone ought to ask him or his henchcreatures, "What is a border?" As far as I can tell, we don't have one. If unattended children can get into a place without much effort, then that place isn't secure at all. What's the point of even drawing a line on a map and saying this side of the line is one thing and that side of the line is another if children can cross the line at will?

  2. If Obama can leave the southern border unguarded and then turn everyone who crosses it into a citizen, why can't a future president do the same with a different nationality? What if a devout Catholic president said that everyone from Ireland and the Philippines can get in for free and then I'll make them a citizen with a wave of my magic wand?

  3. Where in the constitution does it say that he can do this? Article II, Section 2 is the closest I could find to granting the president such powers, but it seems pretty sketchy to me. 
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
    I could see where that might allow him to grant amnesty, but making them citizens is another thing entirely. All of the stuff about rules for becoming citizens is granted to the legislature.

  4. How does this not end with impeachment? Can you allow any president to simply run wild? Clinton committed perjury and that was enough for impeachment proceedings. This is orders of magnitude worse. If this happens and is allowed to stand then you no longer have a legislature worthy of the name.

  5. Where on Earth did Obama and his cronies go to school? What were they being taught? I know the answer to that one already. They were taught by the same lunatics that teach my daughter right now. It's all activism all the time. There are no rules, no classics, no standards, only injustices to be fought and fought and fought. Rage, organize, vote, picket, protest - these are what she is taught, if only implicitly and yet constantly in every class, science included.

  6. If it does not end in impeachment, how does this not end in secession? If the president can make things up out of thin air and impose his will on the states, a la King George, why do they have to stick around and take it? Dittos for a judiciary gone mad. To take one instance, Californians voted legally to amend our state constitution to define marriage and the Supreme Court said our constitutional amendment was unconstitutional. From that point on, Californians ceased to have control over their government.

  7. Further along the secession point, how much weed and porn do you need to consume on a daily basis to surrender sovereignty in border and sovereignty in law and lay around taking it? If Federal courts can overturn your voting and Obama dissolves the border and lets everyone in to vote, you cease to be a citizen and have become a subject. Does anyone care?
I guess that last thought is the most important. Is moral relativism so pervasive that only a few holdouts still care about this stuff?

It's a weird time to be an American, man. A really weird time.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating either impeachment or secession. This is just some noodling around, a free thought writing exercise triggered by the events of the day.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Urchins And Coral

... seen while snorkeling at the Molokini crater. I left it large so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Mission Trails Clouds Time Lapse

When the groomer called and told me the Catican Guards were running an hour behind schedule, I was already in the truck heading over to pick them up. Fortunately, I had my camera gear with me and was near a very nice photography spot in Mission Trails Park. The video below was the result. Enjoy.

The video is available in full 1080p, so a full-screen viewing might be worthwhile.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Imaginary Friends Are Fun!

... and the president has millions of them.
“To everyone that voted, I want you to know that I heard you,” Obama began. “To two-thirds of voters that chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”
He listened to people that didn't talk? I wonder what they were saying to him. I bet it was something about global warming, racism or contraception. Those are really, really important things. Those are the kinds of things imaginary people talk about a lot. They must be, because that's what the Democrats tried to sell for the last few months of the campaign. It's too bad the imaginary people didn't go vote. They're probably smarter than the goobers who did.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Maui Sunset

Not spectacular, but still very nice.

Crazy Tea Party Republicans Hating Women And Minorities

Just look at this picture of Mia Love (R) who won her Congressional race in Utah. Look at it! It represents everything that's wrong with the Rethuglicans.

#WarOnWomen #Racism

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

San Diego Au Naturale

Here's a little palate cleanser for all of the election news. This is a photo from Mission Trails Park here in San Diego. It's what San Diego looks like, sans imported water. I left it rather large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I Don't Understand. Am I Supposed To Wolf Whistle Or Not?

So there's a video of some chick walking past a bunch of minority dudes getting catcalls and wolf whistles. (I'm not going to find it and share it here because I'm too lazy right now.) This has feminists in Full Freakout Mode, demanding, err, something. I'm not quite sure of what they want, probably because what they want is fundamentally contradictory with something else they want and so the whole thing is incoherent.

Now I come to find out that Lena Durham, Hollywood social justice fascist that she is, penned this piece of rubbish for the mass murdering trolls at Planned Parenthood giving a list of 5 reasons why you should vote.
1. When you vote, you feel so, so good...I wore fishnets and a little black dress to vote, then walked around with a spring in my slinky step.
Wait, what? She wore fishnets and slank around all day? I dunno, maybe she did it in her bedroom where no one could see her. If she did it out in public, then she was deliberately inviting ogling and wolf whistles. But we were just told that guys aren't supposed to do that.

I give up. I have no idea what these bitter, feminist skanks want. It's all so Escheresque. The staircase is going up and down at the same time and there are people walking on the top and the bottom and if you turn the picture to any side it still makes sense and now I think I just sprained my cerebral cortex trying to figure it out.

Whatever. Here's something we can all understand. A wonder goal by Papiss Cisse.


Now that makes sense.

Update: If you watched that goal and want a laugh, watch the first 20 seconds of this video to see a group of British sports talk blokes witnessing it live on TV in their studio. Wonderful.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Scott Peters Is The Worst. Or Maybe The Worst Is Carl DeMaio

Thanks to redistricting, our Politburo congressional midterm election is one of the few competitive ones in the whole country.

Aside: isn't that awesome? In a nation that prides itself on being a democracy, our congresscreatures effectively have positions for life.

Money is pouring into this race from all over the place and their ads are omnipresent on TV, usually playing back-to-back. There's not a single positive one in the lot, save for a 30-second spot where someone says Scott Peters handed them wads of cash or something.

Carl DeMaio is this runty, gay dude who oozes loud-mouthed self-importance. Scott Peters is a diffident, WASP-y weasel who looks like the type seen in the background of Mussolini photos wearing tailored suits bought with looted money. If either of them sat next to you at a bar, you'd be handing the bartender a $100 bill to clear a $15 tab and heading for the door without waiting for the change and most of your drink untouched.

I have no idea what either of them stand for or what they'd do once elected. I do know that Scott Peters did his best to wreck San Diego by having us borrow tons of money so he could hand it out like a big shot. In any case, I don't have the slightest notion what my vote means in the race between these two.

A bigger pair of loathsome, self-aggrandizing weasels you might never find.

And there's no one else on the ballot.

Thanks to our election rules, there is no one from the Green Party, the Libertarians or even the Peace and Freedom party for whom I can vote. I can't even protest vote. This weekend, after enduring another pair of ads which informed me that Scott Peters' hand was in the till up to the shoulder and Carl DeMaio was a puppet of the Tea Party and hated students, I told my wife, "That's it! I'm voting Libertarian or Green Party or ANYTHING but these two!" She quite agreed. Then I looked up the ballot and found no other choices.

Yay for democracy.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Purple And Fuzzy

I'm pretty sure I've posted a photo or four of this kind of flower before, but, gosh darn it, it's fuzzy!

I left it large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

More fuzzy = more better.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Party In Tokyo!

First, a trip to the liquor store.
(T)he BOJ (Bank of Japan) said it would expand its annual asset purchases—its main tool to spur higher inflation—to ¥80 trillion from the previous target range of ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion. The central bank aims to achieve the new target mostly by buying more Japanese government bonds, cementing its status as the single largest investor in JGBs. The BOJ also said it would triple the pace of its purchases of stock and property funds.
Then, the wild binge at the BOJ's house.

Japan Mega-Pension Shifts to Stocks
Government Makes Bold Bet on Inflation, Higher Equity Returns
Afterwards, a really bad hangover.
TOKYO— Sony Corp. reported a hefty net loss of ¥136.0 billion ($1.2 billion) for the July-September period as it wrote down the ¥180 billion book value of its struggling smartphone business.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mistaking Cuba For Japan

Continuing along with my reading of Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus:

Columbus was not looking for India as most people think. He was looking for Japan and China.

The essence of Columbus' view of the world. "Cippangu" is Japan.
That map represents what Columbus derived from the stories of Marco Polo and others. The errors in distances came from two primary sources.
  • Columbus used too small a value for the number of miles in a degree of longitude, making his version of the globe too small.
  • Marco Polo overestimated the size of Asia, the Sea of Japan and Japan itself, effectively merging the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Note that the map above is more pessimistic than the one Columbus used. His distances were shorter because of the smaller value he had for the number of miles per longitudinal degree.

What's interesting is that Columbus reached the Caribbean near enough to where he thought Japan lay to reinforce his incorrect notions of geography.

Cuba and Haiti could easily have been mistaken for Japan at first.
It's worth remembering that everything Columbus saw was from the deck of a small ship. His horizon was on the order of 10 miles. A sailor of that time could miss something as large as China or Japan by 30 miles, a tiny distance in a vast ocean, and never even know it. Columbus was well aware of this and it gave him hope that Japan and China lay just out of sight even as he came up empty on one island after another.

More later. I've got some Linux to play with now, so I've run out of time here.