Friday, December 30, 2005

10 Worst Americans

Okay so this is the megameme going on everywhere right now, and it is a toughie... I'mna post my list right now, and then expand on the why later.

I'm limiting my list to people who have been americans for the majority of their lives, and not just as a recent thing (various canadian and british actotrs for example), and who have had the worst impact on us as a nation, or whos actions typified the worst there is about us as a society; not jsut individual psychopaths or mass murderers.

10. J. Edgar Hoover: He almost singlehandedly created the worst elements of the law enforcement culture we have today, took actions that were harmful to the country simply because they increased his own personal pwer; and acted asan unelected legislator through the use of blackmail and dirty tricks

9. Rachael Carson: She created the modern environmental hysteria movement out of whole cloth.

8. Joseph McCarthy: Never has a man been so wrong, while being right. Through the most vile and despicable tactics he destroyed the anti-communist movement.

7. Alan Dulles: If it were not for the excesses of Dulles, Hoover could never have gotten away with what he did, nor would there have been a church comittee, and ultimately I doubt there would have been a 9/11.

6. Walter Cronkite: Two Words, Tet Offensive. Is that all? Hell no, but it symbolizes the damage he did, and the actions he legitimized.

5. Gloria Steinem: She was the chief propagandists for the myth of having it all, which is half of what is destroying our country

4. Richard Nixon: In destroying himself, he both destroyed the presidency, and enabled the rise of unchecked media power in those that followed Cronkite, Woodward, and Bernstein

3. Jimmy Carter: Another couple of words (three this time), Operation Eagle Claw. Again this is a mere tiny symbol of the true damage he did.

2. Lyndon Baines Johnson: The single worst president of the United States, and the president to do the most damage by far. The great society, the viet nam war, and the political double dealing all combined to nearly destroy our country. It only took Nixon and Carter to damn near finish the job as the natural progression. The reprecussions of these things are rippling through our society as I write this, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

1. John Dewey: He created and specifically designed the modern public education system to create good liettle ignorant socialist conformists; and that's exactly what we're getting out of it.

The problem with making this a list of individuals, is that in some cases there is an entire group that must be held responsible, for example I cannot blame FDR entirely for the new deal and the social security act etc... but I must blame all of congress, and the American people of the time for acquiescing.

Twisted? Ok I can live with that

How evil are you?

Lesse, this wasnt at ALL predictable now was it

Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very High

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

Help, Help, I've been Memed

Okay, so the good Doctor Bill has tagged me with the "Five Random Things About You That Most People Don't Know" meme.


See the dificulty is, the entire mission of this web site, and several others I have talked about before, is to share my life and opinions with the ether. In the course of said mission, I've talked a hell of a lot about myself, so I don't know how much interesting stuff there is that I havent mentioned...

Ok I know there's lots, but I'm having trouble condensing and refining out discrete elements here...

1. I'm a huge dog AND cat lover, but especially dogs. I happen to like dogs of the "big and scary" variety more than others (Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Staffordshire Terriers among my favorite); but almost all dogs will do. Unfortunately my condo doesnt allow dogs (Even to visit). We ARE getting a cat for the kids though.

2. I'm a straight man who loves show tunes and musical theater. My fav? The Music Man as performed by Robert Preston.

3. I do wood, leather, and metal crafts. My most recent (and uncompleted) project is some hand finished and woodburned wooden boxes as gifts. I ran out of time before christmas to finish them. The next big project? SCA legal partial plate armor.

4. I played the trumpet and saxaphone as a child, but I got impetigo flareups from the reeds and mouthpieces (the constant moisture against the lips) and had to stop. I replaced them with piano and drums, but stopped those too when I picked up the guitar.

5. I love stuffed animals. I have a three foot high Tigger, various stuffed bears, a couple of penguins (linux geek), and others.

Now I am going to break the rules a bit here, because I don't meme tag people; but if anyone wants to tag themselves comment on it here.

Oh an Doc, more stories about your dad would be appreciated when you feel like posting them.


take the psi-q psychic test yourself

The worst piece of gun legislation I've ever read

ALERT TO MASSACHUSETTS READERS: Move, Now, before they ban breathing and eating without a license.

Seriously, this is quite possibly the worst piece of legislation I've ever read in my entire life:

Yes, they want complete registration of ALL firearms, and compulsory liability insurance for all firearms, with a $250,000 minimum liability limit, failure to comply punishible by mandatory five years in prison!

Additionally, all handgun licenses will be reviewed by a 9 member board before issuance, and this is the great part, look at how they want to construct the board:
"The board shall consist of nine individuals, one of whom shall be a member of the gun owners action league, one of whom shall be a member of stop handgun violence, one of whom shall be a police chief selected from a list of four selected by the police chiefs association, one of whom shall be a district attorney selected from a list of three selected by the district attorney’s association, and one of whom shall be the director of the firearms records bureau within the criminal history systems board."

I see... so suddenly a representative from an anti-gun political action organization is qualified to judge the competency and safety of applicants?

Who wrote this, Sarah Brady (well... that's entirely possible).

Lets see reading further on, a one firearm a month hard limit (it's a practical limit now since you need a permit to purchase each individual firearm unless you have an unrestricted license which they almost never give out).

Ahhhh, but here's the kicker:

"All weapons as defined in section 121 including, but not limited to, firearms, large capacity weapons, rifles and shotguns sold within the commonwealth without a safety device designed to prevent the discharge of such weapon by unauthorized users and approved by the colonel of the state police including, but no limited to, mechanical locks or devices designed to recognize and authorize, or otherwise allow the firearm to be discharged by its owner or authorized user, by solenoid use-limitation devices, key activated or combination trigger or handle locks, radio frequency tags, automated fingerprint identification systems or voice recognition, provided, that such device is commercially available, shall be defective and the sale of such weapons shall constitute a breach of warranty under section 2-314 of chapter 106 and an unfair and deceptive trade act or practice under section 2 of chapter 93A."

Ahh yes, all weapons not smart guns are herby declared deffective and unsafe and are now banned; oh and anyone who's ever manufactured and sold one can now be sued.

Yes, it's an effective ban on all firearms within the commonpoverty of taxachusetts.

Oh and for a final kick, anyone not a licensed FFL selling more than two firearms in a 12 month period - no matter who they are sold to, lawfully or not - is mandatorily sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison without parole.

Honestly, I am not capable of editorializing this in an adequately derisory way without resorting to excessive vulgarity, therefore I will leave the spluttering and descending red curtains of blood to my gentle readers.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Letter to GoDaddy

Subject: Domain suspended because of incorrect whois
From: Chris Byrne
Date: Thu, Dec 29, 2005 10:29 am


I would like to complain about my domains and being removed from your name servers, resulting in a two
day (or more, I only noticed it yesterday) service outage. I was told
by your support staff that this was because I had invalid whois

I recieved an email to this effect last week, and updated my whois
informaiton then.

All of my whois information is and was current and correct, on all of my
domains except one ( which had a missing email address. I
have verified this today online with your customer service.

Additionally, it appears that the name servers for;
which have been parked and forwarded using your services for two plus
years, were hijacked and redirected to another service provider.

When I attempted to explain this to your support person he didn't appear to
understand what I was saying, and repeatedly offered to show me how to
set them properly. They HAVE been properly set, for more than two
years, it is only in the last few days that there has been a problem.

I have recently been the target of threats from a muslim extremist
group. They are attempting to take my domains down, they have flooded
me with spam, they have attempted DOS attacks on some of my web sites
etc... Any complaints of abuse or invalid contact information are
likley in the nature of dirty tricks from said groups, or other random

Prior to this, they have used the whois information on my web sites to
send harrasing materials to myself and my family, and to attempt
surveilance on my home.

If you recieve any further requests for information, complaints, or any
unusual activity on this account, I would direct you to the Phoenix
field office of the FBI, special agent #########, at 602-279-5511.

Thank you,

Chris Byrne

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How Tactical Are You...

The Munchkin Wrangler asks "How Tactical Are You"...

Well that depends on the day, and my clothing.

See I have a few different carry guns, and they score a lot differently:

Yost Custom Springfield Champion (4" SA .45): -10 (and it isn't even gloss blue)

H&K USP Compact (4" DA/SA polymer .45): +15

Glock 36 (3" DAO polymer .45): +17

Kahr K9 (3" DAO steel 9mm): -6
Kel-Tec P3AT (2" DAO - sort of - polymer .380): 0

Huh, I never realized I was carying that many DAO's, because I don't particularly care for the DAO concept; I like options and control over my gun. The thing is, they are great concealed carry guns, because they don't have any controls other than the trigger to snag, or worry about operating in an emergency.

Public and Private information

Fuz posits the following:

"What if two vehicles are hustling along a rural road, doing low-80s in a 75-limit zone, and a Highway Patrol vehicle comes from the opposite direction, suddenly pulls over, reverses direction, and catches up?

The patrol car hovers behind the rear of the two vehicles for about 4 minutes, then passes, hovers behind the front-runner for a few minutes, then lights up and pulls the front-runner over?

Mama-san, passenger with me in the rear vehicle, asks "Why didn't he just pull the guy over instead of waiting so long?"

I, driver of the rear vehicle, replied "He ran the plates."

"Wouldn't he do that after pulling him over?"

"No, he wants to make sure he's not pulling over some psycho who'll try to shoot him. He wants to know whether this will be a one-unit stop, or a two- or three-unit. Bench warrant, multiple traffic violations, expired registration, Al Qaeda, you name it. Run the plates first, know what you're getting into."

Then the wheels were turning. He surely ran our plates too. Hmmmm, the patrolman was probably thinking, serviceman and his wife and kiddies. Nothing interesting here . . . The guy in the front tripped the radar. What about him?

Which makes me wonder: how many times have my plates been run, either by obvious marked patrol vehicles or air units, or by unmarkeds just weaving through busy traffic? What about when optical-character recognition technology is mated with radar camera units and fast, fast realtime connection to the databases, allowing hundreds of plates to be "run" per minute? The potential there for loss of privacy would be staggering. The anonymity of the herd would be gone if it isn't already. The consequences of minor errors, either in the tag records themselves or in the data pipeline between the camera and the DMV, would be enormous.

Johnny Law will assert that he has the power to use government-owned information and commerically-available technology to enhance the apprehension of lawbreakers. How can one object, unless one is caught redhanded and wriggling to escape? The syllogism: the innocent have nothing to fear, therefore the fearful are not innocent.

So how should the civil libertarian respond to this development?"
As unfortunate as this is, there is no rational libertarian argument against the actions of the officer as laws currently stand.

License plates are the property of the state. By affixing them to your vehicle, and operating it on the public roads, you are implicitly giving the state the authority to view these plates, and to access the public records associated with them.

Now as to whether this data can be collected and indefinitely retained for criminal investigation, surveliance, or profiling purposes, that's another question entirely.

Numerous times, in many courts, the argument has been presented that an officer could not arrest someone, because they had no probable cause to run the plates which resulted in a warrant hit and subsequent traffic stop. In all cases these arguments have been dismissed, because the plate number is indeed public information; as is your vehicle registration, and any number of other records that many individuals assume to be private.

I had a similar incident happen just the other day. I was driving home just above the speed limit, when a super trooper got up close enough to me to read my plate, then backed off for about 2 minutes, then accelerated and passed me by. My fiancee seated next to me wondered about his behavior and I said "He was running the plate", to which she responded "Well, it's not like we've got anything to worry about".

That reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back. I was driving just at the limit when a local cop pulled in behind me for about five minutes, ran my plates, and then pulled me over. Unbeknownst to me, I had a bench warrant for an unpaid ticket. When I asked the officer why he ran my plate, he answered with refreshing honesty "Because I had nothing better to do".

This is a basic principle of law, in that public information can be used for any purpose not specifically prohibited by law; and that includes vehicle registration, driving records, birth, death, and marriage records, certain tax and travel records... I could go on.

So what they are doing is in no way illegal, or unconstitutional. The question is, SHOULD IT BE specifically prohibited by law?

Honestly, with the current regulatory regime we live under in our society, this is a prefectly justifiable and correct use of information.

But there is no question that it makes us less free; and that, by it's nature is evil.

The only way to rationally address this is to make these records non-public information. Either through the elimination of the records entirely (an unlikely, and in some ways unwise thing), or by the re-classification of many public records, as private.

I see no reason why my driving records, vehicle registrations, accident record, or any number of other records as I describe above SHOULD be public records; except as an instrument of governmental control. Perhaps all of these, and any other record the government keeps on us, whatever few those can be reduced to in a practical society (and that's another issue altogether), should be treated as is our PHI/PCI (Private Healthcare Information/ Private and Confidential Information) wherein the use of the records must at all times require either a court order, or the consent of the subject or legal custodian of those records.

It would of course complicate matters greatly as regards law enforcement, but in the presence of a pervasive computing environment (which is not far off), it could certainly be technically possible.

It would be an easy re-write of the laws, and a massive policy and infrastructure undertaking; but no more so than the HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley requirements that have been recently promulgated on business.

I think that this is the most likely, and most reasonable compromise position; Al-Quaeda or no.

H/T: Jed at Freedomsight

The Hog Gets Profound

Steve H. AKA the Hog on Ice, and creator of the worlds greatest cookbook (Got one for christmas. Thanks John) has somethign up today about the nature of addicts, but what struck me was this paragraph:

"I'll tell you something wonderful I learned from practicing law. Lawyers are burdened with tremendous responsibility, and the consequences for screwing up can be draconian. So you have to watch yourself constantly. Living with that kind of responsibility taught me the following lesson: in this life, when something goes wrong, you should always look for a way to hold yourself responsible, even if you're not the principal bad actor. Why? So you can beat yourself up and feel bad? No, because if you can think of things you could have done to prevent the problem, you will remember to do those things in similar situations in the future, and because you will generally have a better attitude toward your responsibilities. Responsibility implies control. Find the thing you did wrong, and you will find something you can do right in the future."

I can't imagine a better explanation for personal AAR (after action review) and lessons learned than that.

Go, Read, Be Enlightened...

Francis Poretto has written one of the best essays about the current (and hopefully future) state of trade unions I have ever read.

I am of the opinion that Unions as an institution are simply a manner of free association; and in that association voluntary collectivism can be used to attain goals. The problem lies in the special protected and privileged status of various unions. Why does it exist, and what should be done about it?

Personally I believe that all legal privelige, and co-ercive power over membership should be removed from all laws relating to unions and trade practices. At that point the unions would be exactly what they should be, voluntary trade associations run for the benefit of their members.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The 20 things I know about Kids

So here's my new workout plan: Chasing little girls around, and over, my couch for two hours.

A remarkable effective form of excercise. I don't know if I'm burning any fat, but it certainly tires you out.

So here I am, 15 years of living on my own or with other adults, and all of a sudden I've got a ready made family. Mel is still worried that I'll freak out or something, but that's not gonna happen. It certainly is a change though.

Of course it's not like I haven't dealt with kids a lot. I mostly raised my younger brother, and being the oldest of over 40 first cousins, and a couple hundred second cousins (some far younger than me, some far older), and their kids... lets just say I've changed a lot of diapers in my time.

But this is different. This is MY family.

So what have I learned over the years about parenting?

  1. Establish limits and boundaries: This is part of giving a kid a framework for their life. Set what is absolutely off limits, what are their soft and hard boundaries; both in space, and in behavior. Make them clear, and easy to see and understand. If possible, associate them with something physical in their lives.

    Have multiple categories of limits and boundries i.e. this is acceptable in this limit, this plus this in this other limit etc... and within the tightest of these allow them almsot anything... within reason... to let their minds work.

  2. Be tough but fair: Don't make arbitrary and capricious decisions. Give kids a set of rules, and guidelines, and follow them, so they know where they stand. If they go outside the rules, discipline them. At first just use a normal word, then a STRONG statement. If the kid is well behaved by nature that's usually enough. If not, then physically stop them from doing what they were doing and talk with them. Finally punishment. Very important, when you make a decision or a rule, stick by it.

  3. Consistency: It's alright to be flexible about the rules, limits, and boundaries, but kids need to have consistency. That includes consistent bed and meal times, consistent play rules, consistent punishments. If the parent isn't consistent it leaves the kid without that framework we talked about. Again, when you make a decision or a rule, stick by it.

  4. Be Flexible: Okay so now that I've told you to set limits, and stick by your decisions and be consistent, I'm going to tell you not to... actually no, I'm jsut going to say, BE FLEXIBLE. Sometimes rules dont work in all situations. Sometimes kids try to follow the rules and jsut can't. Sometimes you jsut HAVE to let them have icecream instead of soup, because they just kinda need it. You're a parent, not a robot. You can't be perfect, and neither can your kids, so why try; worse, why make them try?

  5. Be patient: Kids arent generally little adults. Sometimes they don't remember things. Sometimes their impulses get the best of them. Sometimes they dont really understand what you are trying to tell them. They may want to please you (in fact that's generally their main goal), but not really know how; especially if you haven't established boundaries and limits, and you haven't been consistent. You have to be patient, and don't get angry unless it's very much warranted.

  6. Kids want to please you: As I said about patientce above, as a primary caregiver, parent and authority figure; a kids main goal in life is generally going to be to please you. This sounds great, but because kids AREN'T little adults, and they frequently don't understand what it is we want, it can have some odd results. When they do somethign that they think is going to please you, and it makes you angry, (or worse sad or disappointed) instead, that kid is going to be crushed, or maybe even scared. They don't understand what's going on, and they don't know why you aren't happy with them. In this situation, you just need to go bac to the things above.

  7. Kids will test you: Kids are always pushing. Pushing on their limits and boundaries, pushing the rules, pushing against discipline, and pushing you. They want to see what they can get away with, when; They want to test their environment. Most of all, they want to test their parents. Kids really are little scientists, always experimenting with things, and what's a better experiment than a living breathing person that has authority over them?

    Of coure this is frustrating, and can make you angry pretty easily. You KNOW they understand the rules, you KNOW they remember them, and you KNOW they broke them on purpose, what the heck do you do?


    Easiser said than done I know.

  8. Don't over commit: Yourself OR your kids. Kids don't need to be scheduled every minute of every day. They need flexibility and space jsut as much as you do. Don't fill up their time, or yours, just because you dont know what else to do, or to keep them occupied, or because you're afraid they'll miss something. Kids will occupy themselves and I'm sure you can always find something to do. Hell, if you get them used to always being scheduled and always ahving an activity provided for them, they'll forget HOW to occupy themselves.

  9. Have fun: Kids are fun, yeah they are work, but they are also VERY VERY fun. Not to mention the continuation of our species. Let yourself have fun with them, and maybe you wont be so drained, or pissed off at the end of the day.

  10. Don't be so damn scared of everything: The world is a lot safer than television would lead you to believe. There aren't kidnappers around every corner. Everything gives you cancer including the air, and giving your kids organic apples isn't going to change that. Puppies arent going to bite your kids faces off. Flashing lights aren't going to give your kids seizures. THe wrogn toys arent going to make them get into a second tier state school.

    Lighten up, the human race has survived and thrived this long without specially designed, everything prooof, everything safe, all natural, organic, everything free wonderwidgets, and so will your kid.
Okay so that's the philosophy, lets get down to some specifics. If you want to stay sane, and kee your house in one piece, theres some basic rules to follow, and to make your kids follow (again with reference to the points above).

  1. One toy or activity at a time: If you don't do this, your kids will run your life ragged and leave you no time for anything. Also if you dont do this, you'll be conditioning them for a short attention span. They get to play with one toy at a time, or do one thing at a time, and they need to put that toy away in the proper place before they get the next one, or move to the next activity.

    Some people say this stifles creativity, but I say that's bull. What it does is puts a little limit in their life that will help establish patterns and habits to serve them well for the rest of their life.

  2. Clean up after every toy or activity before moving to the next one: Again, if you don't do this, you will never be able to have time for anything. Teach your kids that before they can go to the next thing, they need to clean up, put away, close up, whatever they were doing, and put it back in it's place; THEN they need to clean up themselves. Again, we're establishing patterns for later life.

  3. Establish a play space: There is one exception to rule one and two. If you establish a special play space for them; where the only thing they do is play, and the toys stay in that space; you can let them play without limits. There, they can play with as much as they want, whenever they want. Just don't let them live in that play space, it's another activity that they can only do one at a time just like the others; and all the normal rules apply once they are done playing.

  4. Meal time is for eating: You HAVE to teach kids that when it's time to eat, we stop playing, put away toys and activities, clean up after ourselves, and then we sit down to eat. We don't run around, we don't play, we eat. We can and should talk, but it's best that you teach kids from an early age to not talk when there is food in their mouths.

    Personally I recommend that you teach kids not to watch TV while eating, unless it's a special treat; but it's so much a part of American culture, and so many of us do it ourselves, that may not be possible.

  5. Meals are a rule just like any other: When you feed your kids, they have to eat. It's a rule jsut like the other rules. They don't get the option of not eating, or of eating only what they feel like, without punishment (even if it's only mild punishment).

    Of course in order for this to work, you have to serve them food they can eat, in the proper portions. My grandmother used to force me to eat far more than I should, and foods that I was allergic to, because damnit there was food and I was going to eat it. Obviously that does more harm than good, but that's not what we are talking about. Mealtime is when kids do most of their testing. They are trying to see how much you will cave in to them; or they are just using it as an easy way to be contrary and take control over their own lives.

    Sorry folks, it may seem mean, but don't let them. You're the parent, and you're feeding them what you think they should eat. The kid eats what you think they should eat, or they don't eat at all.

    Now, here's where being flexible is important. Sometimes kids don't show any indication of being sick, until it comes down to meal time. Then they won't want to eat, or they'll just pick at their food. It may look like sulking, but sometimes it's jsut that they don't feel well. You need to figure out what it is before taking any action, or your not only going to have a sick kid, but one that's upset because they made mommy mad and it wasn't really their fault.

  6. Don't buy toys that make noise: Yeah, kids love them. They also love making you mad with them. It's another one of those tests. Just do yourself a favor and either don't buy them at all, or buy ones that can be easily turned off. If you MUST buy them, don't buy the ones that make repetitive noises, that sing long songs, or that will stop and restart the noise from the beginning every time the toy is activated.

  7. Don't buy toys with small pieces: Never mind the choking hazards, you'll be down on your knees in the carpet looking for the pieces that they flushed down the toilet until you're ready to chuck the whole thing out the window. Kids LOVE small pieces, because they can hide them places... you know, like their little sisters noses. Oh and of course when the small pieces are lost because THEY threw them out the car window, or fed them to Mr. Kitty, they will cry and cry, and cry, until you get them a new one.

  8. Don't buy toys that permanently stain: Again, kids love them. Markers, crayons, paints... oh yeah, they do. But don't buy them; or if you do, make it a rule that is ABSOLUTELY enforced that they can only be used when you're with them; AND that they can only be used in a special place (probably not their play space) that gets cleaned up right away/ ALWAYS stick to this rule.

  9. Don't buy toys that they can eat: I really don't need to go into this one do I

  10. Don't buy toys that make it easy for them to break the rules: If you do, all you are doing is inviting them to do so; and confusing them. The rule says don't throw the ball in the house, but you buy them a kooshball and don't let them take it outside... what does that say to them?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed

Merry Christmas everybody. Here's hoping you are spending your holiday in a way that gives you Joy.

Oh and since I wont be posting today or tomorrow after this one, happy Chaunakkah (or whichever variant spelling you would prefer to use - just pretend you're reading this after sunset).

So I've been waiting on this for a while, and if everything went well I wanted to announce this today.

I'm Engaged.

Ayup, I'm going to get married again, to a woman I love very much. To a woman who is as much my best friend as Jim is, and who I was friends with before I ever had a romantic relationship with.

To a woman who can actually be my equal in many things, my superior in some, and my partner in everything.

It's funny, we had the "you're not gonna like this thing about me" discussion - you know the one where you tell people the things about you that you think they are going to have a problem with, like "I ride motorcycles, fly airplanes, shoot guns, play role playing and computer games, and hate communicsts socialists, collectivists and authoritarians of any stripe"

You know the discussion where you're supposed to scare them off...

Her response?

"Great, can I come too?"

Her version went kind of like "Well I want to have more kids, and live in a house in the middle of nowhere with some horses, atv's a big garden, a workshop etc.. and it's got to be near woods and mountains and water, and I want to work, but I think I want to stay at home and raise kids more... maybe I'll work at home and raise the kids".

My response?

"Where can I sign up for that?"

We were both with the wrong people for as long as we've known each other (good people, jsut not the right people); we both said for the entire time "Nah, we're not interested in each other. We're just not each others type. We're just good friends". We both loved the people we were with, but hadn't been in love with them for a long time, and new they were the wrong people; we jsut didn't want to let go.

We both parted ways with our previous relationships at the same time. Though that wasn't intentional; in no way did we break up to be with each other; one breakup was clearly a catalyst for the other.

So we were both out of our previous relationship, and we realized that was a good thing. Then, rather suddenly and forcefully (think "smacked upside the head by Moljinir") we both realized, we were really in love with each other, and maybe had been for as long as we'd been physically hanging out together (we were friends on the net for a while before that) and just hadn't realized it.

So for everyone who thinks this is fast, it kinda is, but it's not as fast as it looks. Think of us as having been together since September, and it's almost new years.

Her name is Melody, ahe has two kids, Rosemary and Shaila (with appropriately cute diminutive nicknames); and we've been "bonding" together as a family like unit the last few days. We just had our first christmas together, and it was great... though Rosie is still having some anxiety about me going away or mommy going away with me; and a little jealousy; it was clear last night that she, and her sister both love me.

And lord help me, I love them right back.

Yeah I'm ignoring John Rosses advice about single moms with kids, but he has a caveat; it's okay so long as they are young, and the marriage dissolved because it was a crappy marriage that shouldn't have happened in the first place, AND she wasnt screwed up too badly by it, AND she isn't just out looking for a meal ticket.

There aren't a lot of single moms like that, and I'm damn lucky to have one of them.

I don't mind the concept of a ready made family; actually I welcome it. We both want more kids, and Rosie is torn between wanting more brothers and sisters, and not wanting to share mommy any more (Shai is too young to understand).

The kids already love my place, and love being around me. My lease is up in April, and we're going to look for a rental house while we build some money for a down payment, and wait for the minibubble around phoenix to slide down a bit (there wont be a major crash here, theres just too many people who want to live here, but the speculators and investors will get pushed out).

We haven't set a date, we're expecting some time around late spring or early fall next year (because of the weather no-one wants a summer wedding here).

Anyway this is why I've been a lot less available, and a lot more closemouthed about my personal life the last couple months. I'm getting ready to have a real family, and it's got me pretty busy.

That said, I'm going to get back to my usual feverish pace of forum posting and the like fairly soon.

Oh and she loves to shoot. We bought her her first gun for her birthday last month (yeah I reported on that, but didnt mention that she was my girlfriend at the time. Oh and I finally have the pictures of that, but my scanner isn't working. Soon as I fix it, they're going up). We'll be getting her a CCW soon, and maybe get her into IDPA.

I gave her a second gun as an early christmas present BTW. A USP compact .45 just like mine, but without nights or the work that I have done on mine. She actually REALLY LIKES the .45; better than the 9mm, and she LOVES her SP101 (though we ALL prefer it with .38spl loads).

So, from all of ours, to all of yours, Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

X-Mas overload

Okay so I've been having what one might call a busy day.

One, I actually had to work today, though it was at least from home. Generated a briefing for AS400 operators, and another for project managers, about the basics of encryption and certificate management.

Yeah, I know...

Then it was on to the final grocery shopping, and wrapping.

Lots and lots of wrapping.

More wrapping.

Oh and did I mention the wrapping?

At least I woke up next to my love, and was able to laze some of the morning with he while I wrote.

Also my friend Ben got back from China, and the final gifts I ordered from Amazon arived (at 7 oclock this evening).

So all is in readiness for the holiday feast, which will include the following:

"Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the MEAT Stupid"

"Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese"

Jim, John, Ben, and Mel and the Kids will be over for the "friends" celebration, and then we head to Mels parents on christmas day for the "family" celebration.

The kids of course get to open ONE of the presents WE bought them, plus the presents Jim, Ben, and John got them; then they get the absolute ORGY of presents the next day at Gramma and Grampas place (which is in the middle of frikken no-where rural arizona. A truly joyful 80 mile car ride through twisty roads and large elevation changes... truly joyful that is, unless you have two unhappy chidrens in the back seat...

Honestly, I love this shit.

Oh and I've been soothing my wrapping pains through the joy that is Penn and Tellers "Bullshit". Nothing says lovin like an acerbic six foot six magician and his semi-mute partner deconstructing assholes on DVD.

UPDATE: As I post this picutre of my tree and the presentage abased before it, it is 0523...

And I'm not done!..

I just couldn't wrap any more damn presents. Mel honey, you're gonna have to finish. I wrapped all the stuff we're opening today, plus those 30lb bigass boxes (the whole load contains, among other things, appx 30lbs of clay, 40lbs of cast iron, 50bs of wood, 20lbs of aluminum, and well over 100lbs worth of paper); the rest is up to you.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's a meme thing...

Okay so it's going around on some of the sites I read, what are your top ten great movies of all time...

Now this is a really tough one. There are movies that are my favorites, but that I don't think belong on an all time great list, then theres the all time great movies, some of which I appreciate as great, but I don't like very much (like citizen kane).

I'm just going to post my favorites, jsut the ones I think of off the top of my head without worrying about being complete, and not worrying about order.

Also, I'm going to cheat and make it my top 100, because I just can't limit it to ten (yes I know that's a lot. I'm a movie nut, and I like too many genres). Oh and I'm going to make some sequel combos one movie (LOTR for example).

Finally, I'm going to restrict myself from including anime and documentaries.

Also you might notice I'ma big fan of Jack Nicholson, John Wayne, Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, and a few others. Actually I can easily make a John Wayne top 20, and at least a top ten from Nicholson.

Ok, the list:

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Usual Suspects
  3. Real Genius
  4. The Star Wars Trilogy (the new ones... meh)
  5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  6. The Entire Collected James Bond series (yes I know that's cheating massively. It's my list)
  7. Roman Holiday
  8. Star Trek IV
  9. The Longest Yard
  10. Spaceballs
  11. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (the worst movie ever made that way on purpose)
  12. Pirates of the carribean
  13. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  14. The Incredibles
  15. The Godfather
  16. The Godfather II
  17. Goodfellas
  18. The Searchers
  19. The Shootist
  20. As good as it gets
  21. Chinatown
  22. One flew over the cuckoos nest
  23. Apocalypse now
  24. Full Metal Jacket
  25. Animal House
  26. My fair lady
  27. True Grit
  28. The Green Berets
  29. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  30. The Longest Day
  31. Kellys Heros
  32. The Basketball Diaries
  33. The Dirty Dozen
  34. The Magnificent Seven
  35. They Were Expendable
  36. Rashomon
  37. Yojimbo
  38. Sanjuro
  39. Shichinin no samurai
  40. Reap the wild wind
  41. The Quiet Man
  42. Rio Bravo
  43. Pale Rider
  44. Casablanca
  45. The Philadelphia Story
  46. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  47. Auntie Mame
  48. Donovans reef
  49. Hellfighters
  50. Guess whos coming to dinner
  51. Taxi Driver
  52. The Deer Hunter
  53. Pulp Fiction
  54. Reservoir Dogs
  55. Brazil
  56. Time Bandits
  57. 12 Monkeys
  58. Seven
  59. The Fifth Element
  60. X-Men
  61. Good Will Hunting
  62. Rounders
  63. The Professional
  64. Heathers
  65. Pump up the volume
  66. Beetlejuice
  67. Ronin
  68. The Replacements
  69. Semi-tough
  70. The Longest Yard (the original)
  71. Glengarry Glennross
  72. Scarface
  73. Batman
  74. Platoon
  75. Mr. Roberts (and Ensign Pulver)
  76. The Big Sleep
  77. The Maltese Falcon
  78. True Romance
  79. A history of the world part 1
  80. The Producers (the original)
  81. Hackers
  82. Wargames
  83. The Matrix
  84. Blazing Saddles
  85. Robin Hood - Men In Tights
  86. Young Frankenstein
  87. French Kiss
  88. Much Ado ABout Nothing (Kenneth Brannagh)
  89. Othell0 (Fishburne)
  90. Henry V (Brannagh)
  91. American Beauty
  92. Aladdin
  93. Dead Poets Society
  94. Tombstone
  95. The Bridge Over the River Qwai
  96. Cool Hand Luke
  97. Necessary Roughness
  98. The Right Stuff
  99. L.A. Confidential
  100. Saving Private Ryan
Now that's a big list, and actually I can think of 100 more right off the top of my head, and I KNOW tha't not the right order...

Oh, and from looking at the order you might be able to see some interesting patterns into how my mind works.

Wow, I am SOOOO going broke at Amazon next year...

Todays episode of "It's funny because it's true"

And heres one that oughta be...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This is what my logs have looked like for days...

I've had a few hundred hits from Saudi, Egypt, Syria and the like every day for the last week. As I said yesterday, the fatwah fuckwits are passing the pics and vids around again.

I wonder if this is going to happen every couple months forever? I know Kim has the same problem with some of his older work, as does Steven Den Beste.

Okay, I love Elvis as much as anybody...

Well, anybody sane anyway... but I just heard Harry Connick Jr. doing blue christmas.

It doenst have anywhere the soul or mournful tone of Elvis (of course not), but I think I like his version better.

Coolest/Funniest/most twisted holiday songs so far today:

Santa Drives a Hot Rod - Brian Setzer

Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong

Leroy the Redneck Reindeer -

Fairytale of New York - The Pogues/Shane McGowan and Krista MacColl

Ok I REALLY love that song (actually I'm a big Pogues fan anyway), just look at the lyrics:

It was christmas eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The rare old mountain dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold christmas eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of new york city
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the nypd choir
Were singing galway bay
And the bells were ringing out
For christmas day

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you

But THE best has to be...

Santa got run over by me chebby (my chevy) - Manic Hispanic

You have GOT to listen to this. I can't find lyrics on the web but it KICKS ASS... (actually Manic Hispanic kicks ass in general. I need to pick up Grupo Sexo)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese

Soo the classic comfort food, Macaroni and Cheese... It's one of my favorites, and probably one of your too... but it needs a little something more to be a meal for a REAL man...

It needs....

It needs...

And so that's what we're gonna give it. If this doesn't fill you up, nothing will.


1 pound macaroni (or other pasta)
1 pound bacon
1 pound extra lean ground beef, or cubed boneless chicken
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 pound grated parmaggiano (romano and asiago acceptable)
1/2 pound crumbled feta
2-3 cups whole milk
2 large bell peppers (one red, one green), diced 1/4-1/2" (optional)
2 large tomatos (beefsteak, or similar sized heirloom - optional)
1/2 cup shallots, minced (optional)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup bacon grease (from cooking the bacon)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon powdered mustard
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350, and boil enough water to prepare your pasta (varies depending on pasta).

Boil the pasta in water with a little salt, oil, and vinegar to a firm al dente consistency.

While the pasta is boiling, cook the bacon to medium crispy, and drain off and save the grease. Measure out 1/4 cup of the grease and 2 tablespoons of butter into a saucepan.

If you are using chicken, saute in bacon grease, butter, and a little olive oil until medium brown, and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, paprika, and lemon juice while cooking.

If you are using ground beef, drain well and season while cooking as with chicken, plus a bit of balsamic vinegar for flavor. For either meat, drain well after cooking.

If you are including the vegetables, saute the peppers and shallots when the meat starts to brown, and then sweat the tomatos for about 2 minutes at the end of cooking.

In the sauce pan with the butter and bacon grease, make a white flour roux. Whisk the butter and grease over a medium heat, and move constantly until the butter begins to brown. Whisk in a little balsamic vinegar and then whisk in the flour, mustard seed, and some black pepper and paprika. Over low heat, keep whisking for about five minutes, until the flour is cooked but not thickened. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more bacon grease. If too thin, add flour (carefully). If it begins to clot or burn, reduce the heat and add a bit more butter or grease, and a bit of milk. When done the mixture should be light golden brown, and a thick creamy texture.

Lightly beat the eggs, then incorporate them thoroughly into the milk (alternately, temper the beaten egg mixture by beating some of the roux into it, then fold the tempered mixture back in and whisk for 2 minutes or so - this will ensure that no raw egg is in the sauce if necessary). Whisk 1 cup of the milk egg mixture into the roux on a medium-low heat, and begin incorporating the cheese Slowly add a total of 3/4 of the cheese, and the rest of the milk, incorporating and smoothing the mixture thoroughly as you go. Incorporate the rest of the seasonings in this process.

Once the cheese has been incorporated stir on the heat for about 2 minutes, and crumble in the drained bacon. Then the ground beef, or sauteed chicken, and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Drain but do not wash the pasta, and combine the pasta and sauce mixture together in the pot.

Heat a little butter and bacon grease in the pan, and lightly toss the breadcrumbs in the mixture over the heat.

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9x12 deep baking pan (or similar size) with the breadcrumb mixture, and sprinkle a full layer of cheese over it. Pour in the macaroni mixture, then cover with breadcrumbs and the remainder of the shredded jack and cheddar. Sprinkle parmaggiano and crumbled feta over the top, and bake at 350 until the cheese forms a crust with dark brown edges and peaks.

This recipe serves 4-6 people as a full (large) meal, and 8 as a side dish. If served as a main dish, I highly recommend making some bacon grease cornbread to go with it. It's carb-tastic!

Oh and cornbread makes a GREAT bread topping instead of standard bread crumbs.

And be sure to check out:

Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 12 - Lard Ass Wings
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 11 - Bacon Double Macaroni and Cheese
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 10 - It's the meat stupid
Recipes for REAL Men, Volume 9 - Labor Day Potatos
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 8 - It's a pork fat thing
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 7 - It may not be Kosher...
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 6 - Andouille Guiness Chili
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 5 - Eazza the Ultimate Pizza
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 4 - Two Pound Meat Sauce
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 3 - Highbrow Hash
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 2 - MuscleCarbonara
Recipes for REAL men, Volume 1 - More Beef than Stew

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Favorites

So I was thinking about what would my "top 20" Christmas and holiday songs be for a single CD... and let me tell you that's pretty hard to do actually.

See I sing, and I grew up singing choral music, so theres a LOT of hymns, and choral stuff that I love; but are pretty obscure. Also I jsut love singing chirstmas songs (both carols and pop tunes). It's sometimes hard to separate the songs I love to sing, from the songs I jsut plove to here (or both).

Honestly 20 isn't enough, but I figured it'd make a good CD, so that's what I included. Also I don't want to sort the songs by order of favorites, because it really depends.

I've included an artist reference for my favorite versions:

Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Andy Williams
Silent Night Bing Crosby
The First Noel Bing Crosby
White Christmas Bing Crosby
Little Drummer Boy Bing Crosby and David Bowie
Let it Snow Burl Ives
Baby it’s cold outside Dean Martin
Adeste Fideles Luciano Pavarotti
Hark the Herald Nat King Cole
Have yourself a merry little Christmas Nat King Cole
Oh Holy Night Nat King Cole
Oh little town of Bethlehem Nat King Cole
Oh Tannenbaum Nat King Cole
The Christmas Song Nat King Cole
I’ll be home for Christmas Perry Como
Silver Bells Perry Como
Pretty Paper Randy Travis
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Roger Whittaker
Carol of the Bells Trans Siberian Orchestra with Choir
Joy to the world Various (I like a bunch of different versions, some solo, some choir)

Oh and my ten favorite christmas music artists in not a very particular order:

Nat King Cole (the best voice for the softer songs)
Burl Ives
Bing Crosby
Dean Martin
Andy Williams
Perry Como
Luciano Pavarotti (no-one does the projecting songs better)
Randy Travis
Roger Whittaker (great christmas music, hate his other stuff)

Instrumentally I dig Vince Guaraldi, Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the old Arthur Feidler stuff with the Boston Pops (though John Williams did the christmas concerts 100 times better, I just never hear those recordings. I went to them a lot as a kid growing up in Boston).

And no, I don't have any women on my favorite chirstmas singer list. The songs I like, I just prefer the male voices on; again probably because I'm a singer myself.

Let's make it a meme; pass it on.

A Christmas Tale

Now here's a man who understands the true history of Christmas...

Oh and yes, that is a somewhat stylized picture of my tree. We started putting it up at about 2100 last night, and finished about 0045.

I went out looking for fake trees that didnt suck this year, and all I could find was prelit trees. Every unlit tree I saw was a real piece of junk. Finally I gave up and just bought a prelit one.

We went out to Michaels and had a bit of an ornamental orgy, because all their handmade ornaments were 80% off (hand blown glass, and glass sculpture ornaments for $1 and $2 a piece), then we got a bunch of satin red, gloss green, gloss blue, and clear with gold plain bulbs in a few different sizes. Oh and that brocade teddy bear tree skirt. I LOVE that thing.

I REALLY need to fluff this tree out some more, and maybe take about 2/3 of those white bulbs out and replace them with colored ones. Get some reflections in the glass of the ornaments etc...

Oh and no-one sells tinsel, or "icicles" as some may know it, or the fuzzy metallic mylar garlands around here anymore. Yeah they're tacky, but it's kind of christmas tradition with me...

Up next, wrapping all those damn gifts. A lot of irregularly shaped ones, and one the size of a pre-teen boy. Joy is mine, it is, it is...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This is why he's one of my faves

The irreplaceable Eric Raymond writes:

"I like it when villains or dangerous idiots are killed by their own folly. That seems just to me. More importantly, it’s how other people learn not to be that way. It’s evolution in action; it improves the meme pool, or the gene pool, or both.

This is actually one of my gut reasons for favoring drug legalization, though I’d never thought it through quite so far before. I don’t think we have enough selective pressures against idiocy any more; I’d like idiots to have more chances to kill themselves, ideally before they get old enough to vote or reproduce. Not because I relish their deaths, but because I want to live in a future with fewer idiots in it."

Frikking brilliant. Read the whole thing.

Topic for debate

If Ted Williams hadn't taken four seasons out of the prime of his career to do his duty as a U.S. Marine; he would now be regarded as the greatest baseball hitter of all time, (instead of the fourth or fifth) and possibly the greatest PLAYER of all time (instead of 8th to 10th as he currently polls).

Williams always considered himself a Marine first, and a ball player second. Good man.

Followup proposition: Against todays pitching (and defense in general), the great hitters of the 30's through 60's would be mediocre players. Todays level of training, preparation, athleticism, and natural talent is so high that none but the absolute best of the games past could measure up.

Example: 2003 ALCS

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thank god for Barry Beelzebub

THIS is what you get with an out of control welfare state:

"So what are we to do with the Atkins/Williams family? You know. The one that’s had more media exposure than that bloody Crazy Frog advert in the past few days.

That we have to call them the Atkins/Williams family should give you a clue. The matriarch, single mother Julie Atkins (38), is a product our family-free society. She has three daughters, some of whom appear to be called Williams, presumably in honour of a long-departed "father".

And now we really get into it. Eldest daughter Natasha got pregnant at 16 and gave birth to a daughter called Amani. (The fact that she can’t even spell "Armani" is a matter for the education authorities in Derby, where the family lives.)

The father of Amani does not appear to be on the scene. Described as a 38-year-old Asian gambler who still lives with his mum and dad, he must be fervently hoping that his parents aren’t in the habit of watching television or reading newspapers. One toss of the dice too far, eh pal?

We now turn to daughter number two, a 15-year-old called Jade, who gave birth to a daughter called Lita last December. (Why the child is named after a Bristol City striker is neither here nor there. The father is a local teenager who appears to have conveniently forgotten the one-night stand that resulted in his offspring.)

If this wasn't enough, may I introduce Atkins/Williams daughter number three? Step forward Jemma, pregnant at 12 and mother of 14-month-old T-Jay. A boy, I think. (Bear with me on these names. At least the kid isn't called Matalan or Lidl. Yet.)

Now it doesn't take a genius to work out that young Jemma must have been having sex at the age of 11. What is surprising is that her mother apparently knew of the situation and possibly even condoned it, allowing her child to cavort with her "boyfriend" in the next-door bedroom. The mind truly boggles.

When I was 11, I was still collecting stamps and had only just started smoking. The thought of playing Doctors and Nurses with members of the opposite sex would have been quite outrageous. Apart from the odd dalliance with Helen Swinbank in her Wendy House, of course.

The Atkins/Williams family came to national attention after complaining locally about the awful conditions they have to live in. Their three-bedroomed council house (and didn't you just know that was coming) is apparently too small for this multiplying brood and they would like somewhere bigger, if you don't mind.

For the record, this State-funded baby factory brings in around £31,000 a year in benefits, paid for by you and me. They pay no rent or council tax. They have a big telly and a DVD player. And a freezer full of Findus Crispy Pancakes. And free lottery tickets every Saturday.

So who do we blame for this situation? Who do we take to task for the fact that an 11-year-old girl is having sex with the connivance of her own mother? Well not the feckless Ms Atkins for a start. She blames the schools and the government. According to her, none of her children received sufficient sex education at school and therefore fell foul of what they thought was innocent horseplay.

What rubbish. Innocent horseplay at the age of 11 is playing conkers and tag in the playground. Not re-enacting porn films with a boy just out of long trousers while your mother sleeps in the next bedroom. As a parent I feel sick to even think about it. Frankly, I'd call the police. The woman is an accomplice to a clear-cut case of statutory rape.

And anyway, the fact that her eldest daughter, Natasha, managed to sleep her way through two miscarriages and an abortion before producing a child gives lie to that assertion. Hadn't the stupid girl worked out by then what was causing the morning sickness and the craving for coal?

But however horrific these local difficulties might be, we have to accept that for many children, shelling out illegitimate kids like a Birds Eye combine harvester is simply a career move. They have no ambition, no plans for the life ahead. A quick bunk-up with a passing hoodie and Hey Presto! They're someone, they're a mother.

And with that status come the rewards. Benefits sufficient enough to provide a steady supply of cheap white cider, packets of Lambert & Butlers and some Elizabeth Duke bling. Food for the cuckoos in the nest, even if it does only amount to microwave pizzas and oven chips. And perhaps even their own council flats, where they can entertain further passing scrotes.

Then come the ASBOs, the additional multi-coloured kids, the elasticated waistbands, the tattoos and, eventually, the disability benefits from obesity and chronic smoking. With a bit of luck, the ever-swelling brood will by then be asthmatic, reaping further rewards. And special needs, of course. Which means a free car. It's like Bingo, only in real life.

And you have to say, as a career plan it beats working your balls off for 50 years only to find out that your pension has been swallowed up by the demands of the welfare state. And Gordon Brown.

In other countries such teenage fecundity would be encouraged. After all, we need more citizens coming into the workforce to help look after the swelling ranks of the old. There is only one problem with that theory. In all likelihood, the offspring of the likes of Natasha, Jade and Jemma will merely continue the cycle of state-funded leeching. They won't contribute to society. They'll just continue to take, setting up baby factories and feral hoodie gangs of their own.

There is only one way to tackle this problem. Before any woman under the age of 25 is allowed to have a child, she must first obtain a Baby Licence. She will only be able to do this by first proving that she has the basic intelligence, the financial means, and the secure family structure that will allow her to bring up the child properly.

Any tracksuit-wearing trollop who "falls pregnant" whilst not in possession of a licence will face a compulsory termination. End of story. (And don't pull that face at me, Ms Middle Class Lefty. It suited you to have your potential sprog aborted when promotion beckoned. All we're doing is making the decision for those incapable of reasoning for themselves.)

And do you know the saddest aspect of this story? I've had to abandon this column's Scrote of the Year Contest. Once Julie Atkins appeared on the scene, there was only one winner."

Yaknow what's frightning, Ireland is even worse in a lot of cases. I realize there are a lot of references those on this side of the pond wont get, but trust me, it's bad.

Aaron MacGruder may hate white people...

... but he is one funny sum'bitch

Politically IN-correct

A near perfect review

This review nails exactly what I disliked about "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", and indeed has that same sense of "I liked the movie, but there was a lot I didn't like and here's what"...

"All these missteps add up to the difference between what could easily have been one of the greatest family films of all time, and what is, instead, merely a good one. Though the film misses greatness, even in this diminished form Lewis’s story is still well worth seeing, and the film adds enough to the experience to keep things fresh."

Sadly, that is exactly correct. I liked the movie very much, but I could have truly loved it, had it been done better.

Here's hoping that the 110 million domestic in just the first two weekends (and DVD sales are going to be a screamer for this one... I'd guess total worldwide gross of around $400 million plus more in DVD sales) prompts them to continue the series, and do a better job of it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Justice is Done

At 12:35 am pacific standard time this morning, Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed for the crimes of murdering Albert Owens, Tsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang, and Yee Chen Lin.

Before his execution he had this final statement:
"My lack of fear of this barbaric methodology of death, I rely upon my faith. It has nothing to do with machismo, with manhood, or with some pseudo former gang street code. This is pure faith, and predicated on my redemption. So, therefore, I just stand strong and continue to tell you, your audience and the world that I am innocent and, yes, I have been a wretched person, but I have redeemed myself. And I say to you and all those who can listen and will listen that redemption is tailor-made for the wretched, and that's what I used to be….That's what I would like the world to remember me. That's how I would like my legacy to be remembered as: a redemptive transition, something that I believe is not exclusive just for the so-called sanctimonious, the elitists. And it doesn't -- is not predicated on color or race or social stratum or one's religious background. It's accessible for everybody. That's the beauty about it. And whether others choose to believe that I have redeemed myself or not, I worry not, because I know and God knows, and you can believe that all of the youths that I continue to help, they know, too. So with that, I am grateful….I say to you and everyone else, god bless. So take care."
A bit sanctimonious, but still... I don't know I think the guy had a hell of an ego, but I really do think he was indeed ready to be judged by God.

I surely hope that California still commences it's executions with a priest or minister intoning "and may God have mercy on his soul". If Tookie is true in his repentence, then he just may.

Only a gun nut

So the last few times I've walked around in these shoes I've noticed a jingling sound. I didnt really think much of it, but jsut now I was walking with no change and no keys, and it was irritating me.

So I take the shoe off, flip it over, and what do I find?

Somehow a 9mm shell casing, had trapped itself INSIDE the sole of my shoe (rubber sole with internal bracing for shock absorbtion), along with a pebble; and it was rattling around in there.

I just couldnt stop laughing.

Oh and it wasn't mine either. It had a glock firing pin impression and I don't own a 9mm Glock anymore; and the last range trip with a friend who does, we weren't shooting this brand of ammo.

Funny stuff

Being Irish

Got these in a forwarded email, and I couldn't resist. They are generally true for me, though I'm 6'2", I DO sing very well, my sisters are 10 years younger than me (two step sisters, Patricia and Kirsten), and I don't play golf good OR bad(but the rest of my family does).

I've highlighted those especially relevant ones in red
Being Irish means...

  • you will never play professional basketball
  • you swear very well
  • at least one of your cousins holds political office
  • you think you sing very well
  • you have no idea how to make a long story short
  • you are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf
  • there isn't a huge difference between losing your temper and killing someone
  • much of your food was boiled
  • you have never hit your head on the ceiling
  • you spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling
  • you're strangely poetic after a few beers
  • you're poetic a lot
  • you will be punched for no good reason...a lot
  • some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations
  • your sister will punch you because your brother punched her
  • many of your sisters are Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary...and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth
  • someone in your family is incredibly cheap
  • it is more than likely you
  • you don't know the words but that doesn't stop you from singing
  • you can't wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking
  • "Irish Stew" is the euphemism for "boiled leftovers from the fridge"
  • you're not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency
  • there wasn't a huge difference between your last wake and your last kegger party
  • you are, or know someone, named "Murph"
  • if you don't know Murph, then you know "Mac"
  • if you don't know Murph or Mac, then you know "Sully"
  • you'll probably also know Sully McMurphy
  • you are genetically incapable of keeping a secret
  • your parents were on a first name basis with everyone at the local emergency room

The town I grew up in is according to the census bureau the most Irish and most catholic town in America. I just went to my high school reunion, and yeah Rory, Sully, Murph, Mick, Maureen, Maeve... Connoly, Flannagan, Flaherty, Doherty, Murphy, Sullivan, Colleary, Hannigan, Gallagher...

My family? Forget about it. Hell I have aunts Mary, Catherine, Alice, Maureen, Susan, Allison, and Helen, and uncles Robert, Patrick, John, Brian, Thomas and David.

Yes, every last one of them is named after a saint (including myself, and my father who I am named after, and his fater who we are both named after), if you count the ones only the irish count.

I have more than 10 cousins and an uncle named Patrick.

Monday, December 12, 2005

How I spent my Sunday

I woke up next to this:

Then she woke up, and was less than thrilled with having her picture taken. I don't particularly care.

I spent the day driving this:

In a lovely little small town in southeastern Arizona

Then I went flying in this (different plane but same type. The pic I took didn't come out):

Aint I a lucky bastard?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Lions and witches and wardrobes oh my

Ok firs tthings first. GO see it now. Best movie this christmas without a doubt.

A few details that irritated or caught me:

They were mostly respectful and very good with the christian alegory, but sometime sthe imagery was a bit heavy handed or 'cute. Note the spear in Edmunds side for example.

The whole white witch = Boudiccea thing was irritating.

Actually I really liked Tilda Swintons performance, but she never showed any of the fear or venality that should have been part of the role; only defiance and ass kickitude.

The kids were cute, really looked like a family, and were decent performers (rather important that; but a lot of little irritations:

1. Peter is a stronger character than that
2. Susan is both sweeter, and more annoying
3. Edmund... well they jsut screwed that one up

The kid who played Edmund did a great job, but the screen play and direction just butchered his character (whe is actually the most important of the kids in the later books).

Side note, he apparently grew 6" over the filming of the movie, and it definitely showed.

Production design was great, and the animation was excellent, but the anti-aliasing on composited shots was poor. You could clearly see the environmental differences between animated and real, even in matted backgrounds.

Oh and some names and places were messed with a bit. Part of the hollywood thing really.

I should note, great voice acting all around; but liam neeson didnt have enough resonance or depth for Aslan. Or at least they didn't mix him that way.

So now that I'm done criticising, let me say again, this is a great movie, you will be smiling from beginning to end, your kids will love it... GO SEE IT

Oh and buy them the books. Read them to your kids if they are too young, or have them read them, but please buy them. Jack Lewis is one of the great authors of all time, and every child should read these books.

The Prometheus Society?

A commenter left a link to an article about the prevalence of social and psychological difficulties in those with extremely high intelligence. Interesting article, from the prometheus society.

I was familiar with the various 999 clubs and societies, and Mensa (and was once a member of Mensa - too many assholes), but not Prometheus. Anyone have any experience with them?

Apparently I qualify having recieved over 149 on the SBIV, though my old SAT score was only 1540 and they want 1560 (new would be 1600. They changed the norming and scaling in '95). Actually I qualify in several ways from several of the tests. Of course finding the records of those... oy I probably don't want to bother.

But if the organization is useful and interesting, maybe...

Oh and I jsut took the "International High I.Q. society - ultimate I.Q. test" and only got 136; but again, it's one of the worst formatted tests I've ever seen. Only 35 questions, more than half of them were on geometric pattern recognition (worse, dependingt on pseudo-random color patterns as well), and several of them had what I would at best call highly ambiguous answers i.e. none of the options available were entirely correct; or multiple options were.

One of the things I really hate is when they ask a question that if framed as pure SIMPLE physics would have a definite answer, but if taken in the real world example that they use to frame the question the correct answer in pure COMPLEX physics would be incorrect.

Classic example...

Imagine a monkey, suspended by a frictionless pully, with a frictionless rope, and no rolling resistance; counterbalanced exactly by a weight on the other side. What will happen if the monkey starts to climb:

1. The weight will rise and the money will not move
2. The weight will rise and the monkey will fall
3. The weight will fall and the monkey will rise
4. The weight will not move and the monkey will climb
5. nothing will move
6. The weight and the monkey will both move higher

Okay so the SIMPLE physics answer is 4, the monkey will climb. Assuming the system maintains equilibrium of mass, then it will remain in balance, whether the monkey is climbing or not.

The only problem is, that assumes an inertialess system with no swing in the rope; and that the monkey never exerts enough force in climbing to upset the equilibrium of the system.

If the monkey is EXACTLY counterbalanced by the weight, then the energy the monkey expends in overcoming it's inertia, the energy of acceleration, and the swing in the rope are going to cause the weight to bob a bit; and over the length of the climb, the weight is going to very slightly change position.

If the monkey uses enough force to unbalance the system more than the oscillation would damp out, then the weight will move upward, then bob back down slightly, with every pull; however unless the rope is weightless, every bit of rope on the monkeys side will further unbalance the system and therefore cause the weight to move up until it hits the pulley. At that point of course the monkey would climb up just fine.

So which answer do they want? BEcause none of them are actually "right".

How about this one,

You have two containers one with 1 liter of water, the other with 1 liter of milk. Take one teason of milk and evenly mix it into the water to make a water/milk mixture. Now take one teaspoon of the water/milk mixture and mix it into the milk to form a milk/water mixture.

There is now:

More milk in the milk water mixture
More water in the water milk mixture
More milk in the water milk mixture
More water in the milk water mixture
The same amount of water and milk in both mixtures

So anyone see the immediate and obviou problem with this question?


Or is that just overthinking the problem?

The Smartness cult continued

Occaisonal commentor, and general philosopher and prognosticator Francis Poretto had this to say about my "How Anal am I" post from thursday:

"Good, professionally developed tests of any sort give consistent results, which this one does not.

As regards IQ testing for the 0.01% of the population six or more standard deviations above the mean, there are inherent problems. Standardizing such tests is next to impossible, and making them sufficiently challenging to measure fine variations among persons that gifted risks making them incapable of gauging ordinary intelligence, for a variety of reasons. So if you're one of those fortunate few, the numbers will always be wildly variable.

Myself, I don't obsess over it."
Lord knows I am well aware of the standardized testing issues. I jsut hate tests that are poorly constructed; and unfortunately as near as I can tell that includes ALL I.Q. tests no matter who built them or delivers them; at least if you're "smarter" than about 140 or so.

The highest I've ever scored on an I.Q. test was an estimated 200 (almost none of the tests even try to measure over 200, and anything over 140 is an estimate) when I was three years old. The lowest was 157. The mean is about 180.

They wanted to put me in first grade. I was both physically large enough (I was 5ft at 9, and I stopped growing between 12 and 13, at 6'2"), and emotionally mature enough (you wouldn't last long in my family if you weren't); but my mother was adamantly against "Treating me different because I was smart".

One of the many many huge parenting mistakes she made over the years. I love her, and she did her best, but even she admits she was a horrible mother.

Here's the thing though, I grew up in a family of loser geniuses. Not a one of my aunts and uncles has an I.Q. under 120, and most of them are over 140 - but none of them were able to deal with it, and all of them were and are basically losers in the game of life, given their intellectual capabilities; though some have made good.

Grandmother, grandfather, father, mother, all over 150. My father is a lifetime criminal who has spent more than half of MY lifetime in prison. My mother had one small business after another because she jsut couldnt live with a "normal" job, but after a few years she would abandon the previous business and move on to the next, even if it was successful; because she jsut didn't care or got bored.

I taught myself how to read between age two and three. By the time I was five I was regularly reading Steven King, Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert etc...

All of that put me into a "special" category for as long as I attended state schools (all of whom got extra money simply for having me there). My Mom hated it, but my grandfather LOVED every minute of it. Here I was, pride of the family, scion of the generation...

My family were (and are) such perfectionists it's kind of difficult to decribe. If I got a 98 in school, the comment was never "Great, an A", it was "Why didn't you get 100... wasn't there extra credit you could take".

I was poked, prodded, tested, turned inside out... I learned to fuck with psychobabblers heads by the time I was about 8. I would get every question right on the test, but deliberately invert the answer key, or deliberately get the hardest questions right and the easiest wrong etc...

When I was a kid my mother refused to let me skip grades, which I always found kind of irritating because I was doing high school course work by the time I was in 3rd grade, and college work by the time I was in 6th. She ABSOLUTELY refused to send me to private school full time, or any special schools for the gifted, both of which were makign me offers all the time. One time the state even tried to take me away from her because some psychiatrist said she was endangering my welfar by not letting me go. She DID at least let me attend the accelerated and supplemental classes.

By the time I was 13 I was just tired of it and I refused to participate in any more unless there was a clear and direct advantage to my doing so; or the law required it (like the CTBS, SB, and ASVAB).

It's funny, but I finished highschool with a 4.5 GPA (extra GPA credit was given in my school for AP classes) and too many incompletes and absences to graduate. I tested out of high school at 16, and went to college with enough advanced credit to be between a sophmore and a junior in my first semester.

I joined the Air Force the day I turned 17, and finished my degree (double major Aerospace Engineering and Comp. Sci. with a minor in math) while serving in the AF, at 19.

You know what I got out of it? Burned out at 24 with a failed marriage, a business and economy in the shitter, ulcers, overweight, overstressed...

All in all not worth it.

I wouldn't change my intelligence for theworld; it is part of the very definition of who I am. It's transparent to me; as I said in "The Smartness Cult". Sometimes people ask me why I'm so smart, or why I know all this stuff (or sometimes why I'm a know-it-all) and all I can say is "Why are you a girl, and I'm a boy".

And of course the one that always gets them "Yup, I've got an I.Q. over 180. That and $4.50 gets you a latte".

I won't even get into the cow orker issue...

Ahhh I'm just rambling. It's Saturday morning and I got up too early (girlfriend had to leave early for work, got up with her)...