Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

And a little child....

This occurred on a bus in Canada. A bunch of young men are talking loudly in the bus and using a lot of expletives. They’re also with a female passenger who is apparently their friend and is black.

Young Male Passenger #1: “Yeah, she’s such a f***ing b****.”
Young Male Passenger #2: “Because she’s a black c***!”
Young Female Passenger: “What?!”
Young Male Passenger #1: “Yeah!”
Young Male Passenger #2: “You black c***s can be f***ing—”

(At this moment, a boy of around age 7 gets on the bus. Hearing the rude conversation, the child immediately makes his way to the back of the bus and stands right in the middle of this group, as if challenging them to continue talking.)

Loud group: *stays completely silent for 5 seconds*
Young Male Passenger #1: “…Okay, never mind.”
Young Male Passenger #2: “Um… I meant… you black ladies are… pretty crazy. Yeah. Pretty crazy at times.”

(They stopped using offensive language after that, at least until the young boy’s parents called him back to sit with them!)

Found here

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



I have never seen a fireworks display that was this good.  I believe that it's called a Girandola, from the man or family who makes them.  Based on this, whatever they're paid, they're worth it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hey, Butch?

Butch and Sundance?

Sundance, News Carver, the Tall Texan, Kid Curry, and Butch
Found on WikiPedia, here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oh, Yes.....

Found on this blog.


I'm not a big fan of coarse humour......but this is funny.

No Place Like....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some USBs...

...are better than others.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


When my mother lived with us, she had the habit that when she had something she would need to do -- not routine things -- she'd write a note about it.  Sometimes, she would underline key words in the note.  We always thought it was a bit funny - why would you need to write a note?  And underline it, too?

This morning, thinking about a call I need to make to Verizon to cancel some service.... I wrote a note.  I didn't underline anything.... but I did make a little arrow.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


My daughter just discovered that the guy who likes her.....really likes her.  He's known her for three weeks, and he thinks he's in love with her.  As I mentioned, she was astonished when he kissed her, but there's more.

Turns's out that he's a Satan worshipper. He says he doesn't tell many people, because they think it's about worshipping evil, and it isn't.  Oh, and he says he's a witch, too.

She's told him thanks, but no thanks. And for at least a while, she's going to arrange that everywhere she goes, she has a friend or two with her.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Got a call from our daughter tonight.  She seems to have settled down from the other day, which is good.  Her classes are going reasonably well, too.  But the big news is that she was asked by another cadet if she'd like to date him, and when she said yes, he kissed her, much to her astonishment.

Oh, my!

Monday, September 17, 2012


My daughter just called,  in tears. She was distraught because two upperclassmen at once yelled at her. ( I know, the official position is that upperclassmen don't yell, they speak firmly and loudly.  I figured two girls in their late teens know the difference. )  Either way,  I'm sure the supermoms on the Facebook page would say This is good, she needs to learn how to handle stress, not to mention idiots.  And that's probably true. She does need to be able to handle that.   But right now, all I can think of is Harry Truman's response to the guy who wrote a dispararing article about his daughter...


Found at Yellowdog Granny.


Sunday, September 16, 2012


An article in the online version of Inc magazine mentioned ways to motivate employees for not much money. One was having office celebrations. This was their article's illustrative photograph:

Southern California, possibly. Elsewhere? I kind of don't think so.

Gamers and Star Wars and Such, oh my.

I'm not a gamer (though I'd like to be, I've just never gotten into it, because the idea of hanging out with a bunch of stocky people who fixate on Playstation vs XBox vs Whatever Just Came Out  doesn't fascinate me).  And I'm not a Star Wars freak, for pretty much the same reason.  Finally, I'm not a graphic artist - I don't get much of  the technical detail which motivates people like that, though, like many others, I know what I like when I see it.

And this, I like.  I am in awe of the capabilities of such people.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Call Us

Things like this -- they just delight the heck out of me.


I'm a long way from being one of those people --you know, those people -- who believes that the government is spying on him, particularly.  Yet I do believe that the government is, more and more, accumulating information which can be used - maliciously probably isn't the right word, but certainly in a way that decreases the probability of my liking the result.  I know, they say this information is kept completely safe, only used for authorized purposes, yada yada yada.  It only takes one overly broad Supreme Count ruling, or one hacker's leak of information, or one bureaucrat to decide that yes, national security, or his own curiosity, or something in between, warrants invading my privacy.

So, though I don't act on what he says, I tend to read this blog

Friday, September 14, 2012


When I read Old Man's War, by John Scalzi, I thought not bad.... kind of ran out of the justification for the catchy title fairly soon, but the rest was okay.  So when I saw he wrote a sequel, The Ghost Brigades, I thought, Well, sequels usually suck, but the beginning of that other one was good, so....

This one, the whole damn book is good.  Decent characters.  Believable aliens.  Plausible cliff hangers.  And a villain who isn't stupid or exceedingly arrogant.

Apparently, not everything he's written is good -- there's an excerpt from a novel called Redshirts, on his blog, and it reads like something from fan fiction -- but The Ghost Brigades is quite good.

Jesus and Mo

Practical Chemistry


Any day that starts with a Skype call from my daughter is going to be a good day.  Strange to see her in the cadet dress uniform, though.  It's not quite like she's playing dress-up.....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Keep Going?

Short of a blowtorch, how would you get this guy out of here?  (for that matter, how did he even get in?)


Astonished tonight to read a Facebook post from a french correspondant, at the end of her Irish vacation, listing what she misses.....and the list included me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I found this list here.

  1. Reduce the deficit to less than 3% of GDP by 2015 and chart a course for balancing the budget by 2020
  2. Reform our Medicare and Social Security programs to cut costs and ensure their sustainability
  3. Simplify our tax code to improve fairness, reduce compliance costs, increase participation, and increase revenues
  4. Increase investment in public education, vocational programs, and job retraining to create real jobs and ensure a level playing field for all Americans
  5. Reduce our dependence on non-domestic fossil fuels and encourage lower carbon alternative energy sources.
  6. Affirm my obligation to put our country ahead of party and personal interests
and I think yeah, that'd be nice... But realistic?  Any one of those - at least, 1 -5 - is a whole 'nother 'health care' issue, with legions on each side.  Not to mention that my definition of what's needed for each, when it comes down to brass tacks, might not be the same as yours.  Is 'chart a course' a way of saying 'slash government?' Is 'cut costs and ensure their sustainability' a way of saying 'and cut Medicare, too?' Does Simplify mean 'reduce taxes'?  All of these have interpretations that I agree with, and interpretations that alarm me.

And yet....


Well, apparently I was wrong.

The massive effort by Republicans to purge and scourge the voter registration lists in Florida has actually found clear and irrefutable evidence of illegal voting.

One guy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012


We've been talking a lot, in fits and starts, with our daughter lately, so it wasn't a surprise to get an email from her. But the contents -- that was something else.

It was titled Thanks.

Hey so right now im listening to my roommate argue with her mom about how when her mom has something wrong with her account she takes the money out of my roommate's account (she's 17 until november) and i just wanted to say thank you for never doing anything like that and always being there to pay for things (as bad as that sounds) since i never had a job and it means a lot that you suppported me this much.

Handling the Truth

The title refers to this climactic scene from A Few Good Men.

Colonel Jessup is probably right.  Most of us don't really want to know what it takes to provide the ultimate line of defense.  We don't really want to know how mentally and physically hard someone has to be to stand a post in a lonely, hostile environment.  We don't really want to know what it takes to identify terrorists -- or how often we fail in that task, either letting an actual terrorist go past or falsely imprisoning someone who isn't one.  We're a little uncomfortable at the idea that someone spent a period in a jail compound when they ought not to have been there, but - well - that's just the way it goes. Because we would rather be wrong, and imprison the wrong person, than be wrong, and let the real terrorist go.  Similarly, when we send people to places like Afghanistan, we don't want to know how harsh it really is, how blasted our people become, how often we're seen as the invading enemy.  Sending troops is seen as the right thing to do because - well - that's sometimes all we can do.  It worked in Germany during the 40s, right?

I accept that.  I think that way.  I know it's not entirely right, but I don't know of a better way.  Everything else feels like we're just giving up.

But when I see people say that we need to toughen up cadets - who are in college, not boot camp - because they might eventually end up in Afghanistan, and we need tough people there - well, then I start to wonder about the mind set of the people running the military program in the college.

Say Ah

Daughter tells us that she's sick; others on her dorm floor, too.  She's dizzy, has a 'conceptual fog'.  And she's thinking that she wants to cut her hair, but if she doesn't like it, she can't regrow it until summer.... unless she quits the Corps.  Which she can do as of October 6.  It's a lousy reason, of course,  especially since she's kind of somewhat to a certain extent getting into it, bonding with some of the other cadets...

Until I read in the parents Facebook account about a kid who had to march for 2 3-hour chunks for a) talking in her own room with the door open, and b) not having her shoes lined up neatly. (No, not mine; this was another kid.)  And see a response about how this is good, it teaches them discipline, teaches them how to follow orders.

And then I think Quit the Corps?  Here, let me help you pack.....

Because that kind of thinking is just plain stupid.  Demerits, sure.  March for three damn hours for one freaking demerit? Give me a break. We're not trying to train Seals here. 

Saturday, September 08, 2012

You Can Read Music you scrolled back up to the top, just like me.....

Friday, September 07, 2012


I just read about the girl who posted on Twitter that Obama should be assassinated. The article says that she was flamed unmercifully, and will always carry the tag as the girl who asked for her country's president to be killed.  The first pleases me; I doubt the second will actually occur.  At least, always.

The article, in The Economist, went on to say that several people urged treating such wild-eyed idiots with grace and compassion.  It said that we should not forget such stupidity, but we should forgive it.

I find it hard to agree.  This kid is echoing the snarls of the rabid right.  I would like to believe that, as in the children's stories, treatment with grace and compassion will lead them to understand that they are wrong, both in their holdings and what they urge.  But I doubt strongly that such will occur.  The ferocious right has one goal, and that is the removal of Obama from office.  No matter what he has done well, it hasn't been done to their satisfaction, and no matter where he has failed, the failure is an indictment.  They want him out, and nothing will satisfy them but that.  They have no limits to their vitriol.

The article says that they can be shamed into realization that they've gone too far, but I don't see that, at all.  I think these people have clearly lost their minds. Grace and compassion?  I'd like to see them shipped to a gulag. Which, of course, makes me just as rigid in my thinking as they are.

Part of me says we are in this together, we should try to understand, they might be at least partially right. But most says I don't WANT to be in it with people who think like that, the things they are right about are vanishingly small, I don't see THEM trying to understand ME, plus, they're freaking crazy people!

We need adult supervision, but the adults are either dead, marginalized, seen as irrelevant, or on the sidelines, egging us on. 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I need this shirt.


Saw a BBC show called Copper last night, about a policeman in 19th century New York.  It's dark, but not all all bad.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


This evening, I had a surprising and somewhat unpleasant experience.

Basicallly, I suggested on a Facebook page for parents of Corps of Cadets parents that perhaps some ways in which the corps operates could be improved - for example, a more supportive, less distant approach from the upperclassmen would benefit both them and the freshmen.  Three of the others jumped all over me, saying that of course everything was wonderful, this is how its always been so of course it's perfect, I just didn't understand,  and anyway if I didn't like it maybe I should just go tell the commandant.  So much for a friendly and open environment.

I quit the group.

Hours later, the experience still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

Saturday, September 01, 2012


We were surprised this evening to receive a Skype video call from our daughter.  I've been in the habit of leaving Skype up, since one or two of the French people with whom I speak will call spontaneously, but we didn't expect this.  We had a pleasant if wandering conversation, but it left me feeling a bit unsettled, because she is still thinking that she's going to want to leave at the end of the current phase of their training.  She typed a message to me, so that her room mate would not hear her say it, to the effect that she wants to discuss it when we set her again.  We would be surprised if she has changed her mind, though it is possible: she mentioned that she does not respect people who commit to the year, and then leave before the year is up. Yet she does not enjoy it, and does not see the point to some of their rituals.  She's been through difficult environments, had people yelling at her, but it was always in support of a goal that she could see, and even when she did not enjoy the experience -- which was frequently -- she could see that their goal was her improvement.  Here, she cannot see that, and so she wonders why stay? 

I don't want her to stay, and I don't want her to go.  It's her life, and I'm not just saying that.  As I put it to her, she would not delight us by staying, or displease us by leaving.  This is her decision.  What is important is the education that she is there to receive. In the Corps or not, she would get that.  She'd lose the structure that she wants from the Corps, but at the moment she questions the validity of that - for example, the Corps says they stress study, requiring four hours of it a night -- but sometimes, when the cadet just wants to sleep, because they've been nodding off in class, they cannot -- Corps rules for new cadets are that they stay up until 11PM, no exceptions. We like the idea of structure, but we like the idea of sleep, too -- especially for a kid who has always been reluctant to acknowledge the need for enough of it.   Leaving the Corps would mean losing the possibility of a commission at the end of it -- and that's all it is; they do not guarantee the commission.  That, in turn, would mean that she would have uncertainty at the end of college, like everyone usually does; she doesn't like uncertainly, but - well, that's four years from now.  A lot could happen.

And yet, the thought of her leaving does bother me, and I'm not sure why.  I think it's because I'm concerned that she will feel like a quitter, with all of the negative baggage that that entails.  And yet, if she chooses to leave, I will support her, because I think it will be the right thing to do.  How can doing the right thing make one feel like a quitter?


In kind of a strange mood today.

For one, today is the first day of my wife's retirement.  She's being fairly low-key about it, and indeed intends to find another job.  And, of course, she's normally here on Saturday.  But somehow, today feels - different.

For another, we never did hear from the guys who were supposed to come out and estimate costs for mowing our yard.

And, I've been exchanging notes with a conversation partner who's having some problems in her life.  My daughter said that this happens so often to me, I must be planning to set up shop as a life counselor to French people.  Not quite.  But yeah, it does kind of feel that way. I like this person, but man, she has problems.

Plus, this election scares me.  I think the GOP is going to buy it. 

But mostly, it's this college thing. College itself going well. She likes most of her classes. But the Corps of Cadets thing - uh, not so much.  It's hard to get a clear picture of what's happening down there. My daughter says she is over wanting to be in the corps - their style of operation doesn't appeal to her. Looking at the Facebook page for the parents of cadets, there's a lively discussion about whether the Corps is doing things well.  Most of the comments are from people who are gung-ho, love the corps, pressure makes diamonds, all of that. (Okay, no one actually said that.  But that's the feeling.) It gets on my nerves, a little.

I wonder whether, on October 5 (the first day she can leave the Corps without paying a heavy financial penalty) she'll be moving.  If she does, that will blow her plan of trying for the military (well, except for OTS, but that's a long shot).  If she quits, will she feel like a loser?  If she stays, will she feel trapped?  We did think that this would be a chance for her to get used to how the military thinks, but it didn't occur to any of us that she might hate it.

Stressful period for us, more so for her.