Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Bethlehemian Rhapsody

Very, very well done.

In Memoriam, or In Celebritas?

I guess it depends on the color of your blaster bolts.

The Hubris of Politicians

Well, well, well. I saw part of a blurb on the news crawler this morning about Gingrich petitioning lawmakers in Virginia to change the law. Curious, I went hunting for information.

Gingrich failed to qualify for the primary ballot in his home state of Virginia

His campaign manager lamented that "only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot". The campaign doubled-down on the stupid by saying that "[...] the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected setback, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action."

Pearl Harbor? Really? That's what you want to compare the mismanagement of your campaign to? How many soldiers, sailors and airmen lost their lives in that event? Now, how many lost their lives because you've known for MONTHS about a Dec 21 filing deadline and couldn't meet it.

The rule of law is the rule of law, Petitioning lawmakers to change the law because you messed up, and to give yourself a mulligan is the worst sort of political hubris. It merely reinforces the notion that politicians think they are better than themselves and that the laws of the land only apply to the little people.

Please go away now.

So, explain something to me

I don't get the hypocrisy amongst the "new media" conservative commentariat.

Their thinking goes something like "Greed is good, capitalism is the best solution, the government should get out of the way and let businesses do their thing, and a properly free market will self-adjust". I understand this theory in general, and tend to agree with it.

But here's the part that puzzles me. Why, when it can be used to score cheap political points, does this self-same group of individuals turn around and decry the fact that a liberal politician went on holiday, or stayed at a $10k/night hotel, or did some other extravagant thing.

To cop a phrase, let me be clear. The only time I would care about where a politician stayed or how much they spent on something is if they did it on the public dime. Have the cash and want to buy a Lamborghini with your own funds? That's great, and good luck trying to drive it in the craziness that is D.C. traffic. Want to go on a "fact finding" junket on the public dime, and take your family with you? Then I start having problems.

I am sick and tired of the totality of the Us v. Them mentality that has set in. Compromise is not a dirty word, and can be done with compromising your principles. Especially in the Senate, the legislators need to remember they are their to govern the country. Obviously, in the House they have more local concerns, and should properly look out for their electorate first, but after that again, work to the good of the country.

These are not hard concepts, and all of these lines in the sand and bright-line tests merely confuse the issue.

There is only one bright-line test I care about: Is it Constitutional?1

1And now let the arguments regarding the definition of "Constitutional" commence

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Putting it all in perspective

As I look around at the chaos and carnage of another "successful" Christmas, and watch the kiddos enjoying all of their gifts, I see something like this and it really puts it all into perspective.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I am insane

I went to the mall today.


But she's worth it.

I just hope she likes it

May the Froth Be With You

(h/t to Laugh It Out on Facebook)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa went down to Georgia

(amongst other places)

How to cut down a Christmas tree

Always remember to use the proper attachments for your tools:

Yes, Jay G, I'm looking at you right now.

It's full of lights!

I don't think the wife would let me put it on the roof
(h/t to Vulpine)
And yes, I know I'm mixing my sci-fi memes again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fortuitous Schedule Mishaps

Yes, I used "fortuitous" and "mishap" in the same sentence.

The original holiday schedule for my company had us observing New Year's day on Friday, 12/30/2011, even though it's on a Sunday. Traditionally, we observe holidays that fall on a weekend on the weekday closest to the event (Friday for Saturday events, Monday for Sunday events). For whatever reason, they didn't do it that way this year.

Well, it seems that all of the other tenants in our office building used the more traditional method, and our building did the same. So our office building is closed on Monday, 01/02/2012.

Yep. That's right.

We get an extra paid holiday day this year due to HR's scheduling mishap.

I don't think anyone's crying about it.

Funny Picture of the Day

The only that that makes it "not funny" is I have two friends that work for Nokia and are losing their jobs soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Updates, get your updates!!

Well, look here.

Barnes & Noble has released update 1.4.1 for the Nook Color.

The biggest feature in this update is that they added the Netflix streaming client. Since they had it on the Nook Tablet, I was hoping they would put it over on the Color as well, and it seems they have.

It also looks like they finally added landscape mode support for reading, which given the free-flow nature of ePub, I always wondered why they didn't have.

Now, the one thing that I hope is in here, but I don't see mentioned specifically, is a fix for the suspend mode issue. Basically, periodically it will refuse to go to sleep, and the battery runs down inside 8 hours. The only way to fix this is to do a hard reset to restore to factory defaults. That didn't start happening until I installed 1.3.1 (as best I can tell) so I'm hoping it's just a software glitch that they have finally corrected.

Oh, and there are a few other eye candy updates as well that seem interesting.

So, you can either wait until the rolling update hits your Color automatically, or you can follow that link above and manually update by side-loading the update file.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So that's how he does it

Have we finally figured out how Robb Allen funds his USPSA matches?


Friday, December 9, 2011

Soldiers' Angels Fundraiser

Yet another thing about which I've been remiss.

Linoge over at Walls of the City is running a fundraiser for Soldiers' Angels.

He has lined up quite the nice little list of prizes and is in the interesting position of having more prizes than he does entrants. So, if you want to support a great cause, go hit the fundraiser page, read the rules, and then go buy something from the Soldiers' Angels store.

What, you're still here? Okay then, let me give you a taste of some the prizes:

A Wyvern .380 pocket holster from Dragon Leatherworks
A not-even-released for general sale Glock Gen4 Lasergrip from Crimson Trace
Flipside wallets
Gunwalker t-shirts

Seriously, go donate to a great cause, and get entered for some great prizes.

Correcting an oversight - Blogroll Update

Not sure why I haven't added him to my blogroll yet, seeing as how he's in my RSS feed and all, but WizardPC has himself his own shiny blog over at Guns, Cars, and Tech.

If you haven't checked him out yet, I highly recommend that you do so.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another day, another security fail

This time, it's at another Dutch digital certificate issuer, Gement.

According to the story, the hacker gained access to one of the web servers through the PHPMyAdmin module. It does not appear that any certificates were compromised, but it's this type of breach that is completely preventable.

When will companies learn that they have to be proactive about security. Put password policies in place, and enforce them, preferably systematically when possible. AUDIT to make sure they are being followed. Make sure you have someone that follows the bug and defect lists for your major components. Patches and fixes are constantly being released. There is absolutely no reason to be running HTTP, FTP, or SSL services with known vulnerabilities. That's just lazy and inexcusable.

Personally, if a company is running software or a configuration with widely known vulnerabilities, and have not made good faith efforts to mitigate (either by changing the config or patching the software) the problem, and customer information is compromised, they should absolutely be liable at law for the breach.

For the individual, don't just rely on the little lock symbol, or color-coding, or whatever other visual indicators your browser is giving you. You are also responsible for protecting yourself. Make sure that the URL is one you recognize, and where you mean to be. Make sure you have anti-virus software at a bare minimum. You should also strongly consider malware and adware software, and even a phishing filter. Most of these products are available as packages or suites, and there are some excellent free alternatives out there.

Oh, and you're regularly changing your passwords, right?

Oh, and you're not using the same password on multiple different systems, right?

Yeah, I know keeping up with all of your passwords is a pain, but there are password vaults and crypts available to help you manage that.

Trust me, keeping up with 50 passwords is less of a pain than dealing with 50 different compromised accounts all because you shared passwords amongst them.

So that's what a Tamalanch looks like

Yesterday, I discovered what blog traffic looks like.

Today, I discovered what a Tamalanch looks like.

Are my blog stats flipping me the bird????
Um, wow.

Because keeping guns off campuses makes them safer

Or something.

Man robs (school) bookstore with knife

Remember, Gun Violence Prevention organizations would rather we cower like scared mice, and call the police1, instead of taking responsibility for our own safety.

1Unless, of course, the police are actually doing their job and busting up protests using methods not approved of by our betters. Then the police are evil nasty people that should be ridiculed, lambasted and jailed.2

2Yeah, my brain hurts too.

Gotta-have-it-itis: Star Wars edition

Thanks Jay G. Now I want one too.

Jay "helpfully" points us to the latest offering in motorcycle wear from UD Replicas.

In space, no one can hear you scream.1

I don't even ride, and I want one of those. It would make a killer Halloween costume. The only drawback is it doesn't look like a helmet is included, so you'd have to find a replica helmet to go with it as well. Oh, and since the utility belt is molded to the jacket, I wonder if it's functional. . . .

But those are just minor little details.

1And yes, I know I'm mixing my sci-fi opuses and quotes

Greetings, visitors

Welcome to everyone coming over from Tam's place. Take a look around, grab a seat, put your feet up, stay awhile.

The fridge is in the kitchen, and there's one in the garage too. Help yourself to whatever you'd like, just please use the recycle bin as appropriate.

In all seriousness, I hope you like what you find, and will continue to visit and read my meager scribblings.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waking my inner child

I just looked out the window here at the office and saw snow flakes coming down. It's actually coming down at a decent clip, but I doubt there will be any accumulation (thankfully).

What is about snow, though? For some reason, my inner child always seems to wake up and demand attention when it's snowing, especially the first good snowfall of the year. Even being in my mid-30s*, I still have this almost irresistible urge to run downstairs and catch snowflakes on my tongue, and to just frolick in the wintery wonder of fluffy water.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's 15 minutes until my next meeting, which is plenty of time to run downstairs real quick!!

Cello Wars

You've probably already seen this, but just in case you haven't:

So that's what traffic looks like.

So this is what happens when you get linked to by both Borepatch and Jay G.

And yes, unfortunately, that is a HUGE day in visits for me.

Maybe I should write more, or better, or something.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This is how it should happen

A cop gets busted running plates without a valid police need, apparently as part of a sting.

He lies about it, and gets caught in the lie.

He has now lost his law enforcement license and can never work as a cop again (at least in Ohio).

The only thing better would have been if they actually pursued the felony charges instead of allowing him to plea down to the misdemeanor.

UPDATE: Greetings, visitors!

Firearms Bleg - Full-sized 9mm pistols

So, I have that happiest of conundrums. The wife knows I want a new pistol, and she only has one request. She wants it to be one that she can shoot too, so we can go to the range together.

This is my happy face.

She's not comfortable with the thought of shooting my S&W Model 28 hand cannon (yet), which I can certainly understand. It can seem a bit intimidating at first blush.

Say hello to my N-framed friend
I don't want to just get a .22LR pistol. I will at some point, but for now I want to get something that she's comfortable with, that she can operate and fire accurately, and that would be a serviceable self-defense weapon. Naturally, my thoughts turn to the first caliber of pistol other than .22LR that I learned to shoot, the venerable 9mm.

I have put together a short-list that I'm researching, and would love your feedback. These are all 9mm pistols, all full-framed instead of compact or sub-compact, currently in manufacture and frequently available used. I'm not hung up on metal versus polymer frame, striker-fired versus hammer-fired, or action type (SA/DA/SAO/DAO). I'm looking to spend under $600, preferably in $450 neighborhood if I can.

With all that being said, here's the list I've put together (EDITED to add the P226):

This will be used by myself as a range gun and occasional carry, and by the missus as a range gun and home defense. Any thoughts, insights, critiques or additions to the list would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yeah, I'm a geek

Today's Kids.Woot deal was just too cool for school:

May the Lunch be with you
Yes, those are sandwich cutters int he shape of a TIE Fighter and the Millenium Falcon.

Yeah, I ordered two of them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Not sure I thought this all the way through

Um, what in the world was I thinking when I decided to quit drinking the weekend of the college football championship games?

I must say, old habits die hard. Very, very hard indeed.

Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

The craziness that is the school policy of Zero Tolerance has once again reared it's head.

In Boston, a young boy was being assaulted by someone who wanted his gloves. So, what did this victim do? He kicked the other kid to make him stop. Self-defense, end of story, right?

“‘Your son kicked a little boy in the testicles. We call that sexual harassment,’” Lynch said the school told her.
Excuse me? A bully attacks a kid. Said kid defends himself, lashing out at one of the most sensitive and tender areas available to him. The attack is stopped. And now the victim is being investigated for "sexual harrasment."

You have got to be kidding me.

This is the same mindset that says a woman shouldn't carry a gun, that she should hope the police arrive in time to protect her from the rapist. This is the same mindset that says "Just give them what they want and they won't hurt you."

Where is the investigation of the bully, that physically laid hands on another kid and choked him? That tried to take from someone else what he wanted by force? There's your harassment right there. Oh wait. That's not just harassment, that's assault and battery.

There are days that I think the home-schoolers have the right idea.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Here, hold my beer. . . .

. . .I'm done with it for now.

I have slowly come to the realization that, for now at least, beer and alcohol are not my friends. Part of my weight issues are related to those empty calories. I've also probably been overindulging of late.

So, it's time to try an experiment. I'm going to put the beer down (mostly) for the rest of the year. I might allow myself one if we go out to eat, but no more than one.

I want to see what happens. I'm pretty sure my weight will continue to move in the proper direction. I think my energy levels will return to where they were months ago (I've been exceptionally tired of late, but have had trouble sleeping). I'm hoping my overall mood and attitude improve as well.

I'd say let's drink to it, but, um, yeah.

And this little pig went Wii Wii Wii all the way home

It's a gaming console, with a fairly simplistic interface. The characters are all cartoonish. It's obviously targeted at kids by and large.

Given all of that, why in the world am I so sore today?!?!?

As part of my on again/off again attempts to drop weight and get healthy, I've started working out on our Wii again. Several years ago, we got the Wii Fit game along with the balance board. For the last two days, I've spent at least 30 minutes each evening doing step aerobics, shadow boxing, hula hoop, and other activities.

This morning? My biceps are sore, my deltoids and shoulders are sore, and my hips are sore.

Everything I did was non-contact. I didn't even do any of the so-called strength exercises. All I did was aerobics and balance games. I guess I'm being a little too exuberant with the shadow boxing or something.

But, ya know what? I'll take a little soreness in my muscles. According to the scale, I've already dropped 4 pounds in two days. I'm sure a lot of that is just fluctuation in water retention, but the scale is moving in the right direction again.

Now all I have to do is keep up my motivation, and keep working out even when I don't feel like it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I don't get e-book pricing

So, Barnes & Noble announced today that Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is now available on the Nook.

I love that book, and so was excited about the opportunity to get it as an e-book. And then I saw the price. $10?!?!?!?!

Really, B&N?

Your own website has the trade paperback for $7.

Manufacturing and distribution costs are significantly lower for e-books, so why the markup? Just because it's new?

I'm reminded of 6 months or so ago when a bunch of old Star Wars books were released. These are books that were last printed 15-20 years ago, and the hit the Nook at $8 - $10 price points.

Even if it's newly released, I have a hard time believing that an e-book should be priced the same as the brand-new cover price of a trade paperback.

Funding a music project - Thousand Foot Krutch

One of my favorite bands, Thousand Foot Krutch, has announced that they are releasing their latest album as an independent band, using "crowdfunding", microloans, or whatever you want to call it. Their contract with Tooth and Nail Records has apparently expired, and they opted not to sign a new one.

They are looking to raise $40,000 for the project, and as an enticement they are offering various packages for certain donation levels. In a sense, they are basically trying to pre-sell the project to the tune of $40,000, in order to make it self-funding.

There have been some complaints about this, however. At least one that I read complained that TFK was just doing this to pocket even more money, that they were a successful band, and they should be able to just pay for it. But my guess is that this band hasn't really worked with a label before. As I understand it, the label assumes all the risk, pays for the entire project, and pays a predetermined amount to the band. Further, the label typically owns all rights and title to the work.

By going independent, TFK will now have complete control over their work, and the freedom to do what they want. However, they have to pay for recording studio time, for mastering, for mixdown, for production and distribution. They have a big enough name that they should not have any problems getting distribution channels.

The more I think about this, the more I like it. It gives them the independence to do what they want. It's not a typical micro-loan or crowdfunding scenario. Every donation of a certain level accrues a benefit to the individual making the donation. You get something tangible for your money. You might be paying a bit more than street value for the project will end up being, but if you're a fan, that's never really been a problem.

So, I say good luck to TFK, and keep throwing up your rawkfist!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

QOTD - Not Getting It edition

I was reading an article in the Denver Post this morning about how the Balanced Budget Amendment fell 23 votes short in the house yesterday.

It's full of the usual diatribes and complaints about how Congress can't afford to limit itself, how we have to be able to spend more than we collect in tax revenues each year.

But here's the quote that jumped out at me:
Democrats overwhelmingly opposed the proposal, arguing that such a requirement would force Congress to make devastating cuts to social programs.
 Um, well, yeah, that's sort-of the point now isn't it. We need to make cuts across the board, as we're spending roughly twice what we collect, and we now have a federal debt of over $15 TRILLION. Calling them "devastating" is just the usual verbal scare-mongering that is sadly used by members of both sides of the aisle. I remember when we would have to say "billion with a 'B'" to distinguish from "million with an 'M'". Sadly, the only time we hear the word 'billion' anymore, it's related to amounts that are usually prefaced with the word 'only'.

It brings to mind the old saw about government spending: A million here, a million there, and pretty soon we're talking about real money. Billions of dollars in spending are now part of the noise floor, and don't even make us raise our eyebrows.

It's like this, Congress. If you don't start making "devastating" cuts to the entire Federal budget, the impending economic collapse will aptly be described as devastating, and we won't even have to use scare quotes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cooking with me - Chicken Parmigiana

I made chicken parmigiana for dinner last night. This is a recipe I cobbled together myself, taking elements from every parmigiana dish I've ever had.

This time, I used chicken breasts, but I usually use tenders. It really doesn't matter.

First, cut up your chicken and marinate in Italian dressing for at least 30 minutes.

Taking a bath, Italian style
Before we do anything with the chicken, let's get started on our spaghetti sauce. You can use canned sauce, made from scratch, or whatever your little heart desires. Last night, I used Wild Tree's spaghetti sauce seasoning mix. All it requires is a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tbsp of the seasoning, and then 20 minutes on the stove.

Let's make spaghetti sauce

Next, take your meat mallet and relieve some of your pent-up aggression. I stretch plastic wrap over the meat as I'm tenderizing it, as I've found it helps reduce gibbet splatter. I try to pound it out to 1/8" thick or so.

You have crossed me for the last time!
Once the meat has been tenderized, it's time to dredge it in your breadcrumb mixture. You can use either Italian-style or plain breadcrumbs. I used plain last night, and then added some Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and grated Parmesan cheese. If you're using Italian-style breadcrumbs, leave out the Italian seasoning.

All dredged up and no place to go

Now it's time to start cooking! Add a little oil to your pan, and heat it up to medium. I use grapeseed oil from Wild Tree, but pretty much any cooking oil will work. Once the oil has heated up, add your chicken. Since we've pounded it so thin, it only takes 3 - 5 minutes per side, at most.

Taking an oil bath this time
Looking happy happy

Don't forget to cook your pasta. I try to start it a little after I've started cooking the chicken, because I usually have to do 3 or 4 batches on the chicken. I like everything to finish up about the same time, so it's all nice and warm.

My, what a nice bed that will make
Once everything's all finished, it's time to plate it up. First, make a bed of your spaghetti, and put some of the sauce on top of it. Place a piece or two of the chicken on top of that, and then garnish with shredded mozzarella cheese. You can also garnish with a bit of parsley if you'd like, but I didn't do that this time.

Now that looks good enough to eat
Serve with a side salad, and you're good to go.

Bon App├ętit!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learn something new every day - Clear SSL state

I have known for years, as have most Windows OS users, that sometimes Internet Explorer caches data and refuses to let it go. This is especially frustrating when you're trying to test changes to a web site, and you keep getting the old version. Sometimes CTRL-F5 will force a reload, but sometimes you have to go into settings and manually clear your cache and cookies.

Well, I ran across something new this morning. We have an application that makes an SSL connection to a server. That connection was failing. We could ping the target server, run a trace route to it, all of that, so it wasn't a general network failure. However, whenever the application tried to connect, we were getting an error that said "SendSSLMessageBlocking error 12057".

A quick call to the vendor indicated that it was an SSL certificate issue of some sort. They had us uncheck “Check for server certificate revocation*” in the Advanced settings, yet that didn't fix the problem.

Well, Google to the rescue, as usual!!

I ran across this post on Google Groups about an issue with GMail Notifier throwing the same error.

Did you know that Internet Explorer/Windows also has an SSL certificate cache? And that it can get corrupted?

After a quick click of the "Clear SSL state" button on the Content tab and a restart of the service that was failing, everything is back up and running now.

It's a good day if you learn something new.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I don't like the answer, so it must be a conspiracy

I really don't get this mindset. First, the back-story.

On the bus this morning, I noticed a guy I see semi-regularly was using a crutch. I asked him what happened, little knowing the rant I was in for. It seems that 6 weeks or so ago, he was trying to push a car up an incline, it rolled back on him, and the fender clipped his leg, fracturing his fibula. Being a "manly man", he didn't do anything about it other than tape it up or something. He apparently doesn't like going to the doctor unless he's dying, because all they do is try to cheat him out of his money.

Well, fast forward a few weeks. His leg is swollen from the ankle to up above the knee, and he has pain in his groin area. "Hmmmm, that's not good", he said. And he still didn't go to the doctor. A few more weeks go by, and the swelling is worse. He finally goes in to the doctor, who sends him straight-away to the emergency room. They perform an imaging test on his leg (he said MRI, but I think it was more likely an ultrasound), and diagnose him with multiple DVTs. Naturally, due to the risk of the blot clots detaching and causing a pulmonary embolism, they immediately admit him to the hospital and put him on a blood thinner regimen.

He is, naturally, still on warfarin, and will be for at least 3 months.

Now to his complaints. First, he's complaining that he had to be admitted to the hospital. As he put it, "I still have the blood clots, the blood thinner doesn't dissolve the clots. So why did they have to admit me, but now it's okay for me to be out and about?" Second, he's complaining about the cost. He apparently has a catastrophic health plan, so his out of pocket expenses were pretty high. Third, he's complaining about a "conspiracy". You see, he apparently doesn't understand fluid dynamics, and doesn't understand how a blood thinner reduces the risk of one of the clots detaching. He's apparently asked multiple doctors and nurses, and is not satisfied with their answers. Again, he goes back to the whole "if I still have the clots, why did you have to admit me in the first place?" and "why are they giving me rat poison?"

Here's where the conspiracy part comes in. In a round of industry consolidation, all of the area hospitals and doctors' groups have been bought up by the same entity. For a 5 county area at least, if you go to a hospital or see a doctor, they will be a member of this network. Since he disagrees with the original doctor, and all of the subsequent doctors have given him the exact same information, it must be a conspiracy where they are covering for each other and protecting each others backsides. Oh, and they admitted him just so they could bill his insurance plan, instead of it being the best therapeutic option for him at that time. He's talking about seeing a doctor in a neighboring state for a third opinion, since that doctor won't be part of the same medical group.

That set off a whole round of complaining and ranting amongst several of the other riders. I finally had to put in my earphones and crank up the music.

That whole mindset just drives me insane. He waits for over a month to have a fracture and concomitant swelling looked at by a doctor. He's allowed a highly dangerous medical condition to develop, and now he's complaining about the treatment regimen. In less than 5 minutes using my smart phone, I was able to confirm that the treatment protocol he's on is the standard one. But for him, there's some sort of conspiracy in place to separate him from his money.

Are some of the medical costs too high? Absolutely. Do doctors oversubscribe tests? Quite often. The thing is, as I understand it, these items are actually related. Doctors are naturally scared to death of malpractice lawsuits. So, they carry insurance, which is quite expensive, which increases their overhead costs. Then, they test things to the nth degree just to make sure they haven't missed something, instead of going with the most likely diagnosis.

Siri-ously broken

Thanks to Tim O'Reilly's twitter feed, I found out about this article explaining how the protocol used by Siri has been cracked.

First, the only surprise is that cracking Siri took as long as it did. Second, it does seem that while Apple tried to implement some security in the protocol, their implementation was still susceptible to a "man in the middle" style attack. Third, it's quite the interesting read in how developers/hackers/crackers go about the process of reverse-engineering a protocol in order to bust it wide open.

So, if you're technically inclined, there's enough information there to write your own app to utilize the Siri protocol.

The next interesting item will be seeing how Apple responds to this in order to lock it all back down again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rickie, you have some 'splainin' to do!

Rick Perry has released his plan to uproot and overhaul Washington. Perhaps he will make National Arborist a cabinet position.

One of the things that I've noticed about his speech (and this is common with most political speeches) is that it is long on sound bites, but short on specifics. My particular frustration is that the associated portion of his site does not go into much more detail.  It just rehashes the sound bites, outside the limited context of the speech. [EDITED: It appears that explanatory text has now been added. I must have hit the page before it was all available.]

One of the particular items I want to see more about is his proposal to eliminate lifetime appointments to the judiciary. It's one thing to say "[u]nder my plan, future appointees to the federal bench will not receive a lifetime appointment". It's quite another to lay out the particulars of how that would work.

I am concerned on how a limited term length might impact the thinking of a judge. If they know they have a lifetime appointment, then they can slowly refine their approach to the law over time. However, if they only have 18 years (as is outlined in one of Perry's suggestions), then I wonder if they wouldn't approach "big" cases differently, looking to make their mark on national jurisprudence, as it were.

One thing that Perry does not address is term limits. Once an individual has been appointed to a federal judgeship, is that it? Can they only serve one appointment? Further, while his plank putatively addresses the federal judiciary as a whole, all of the explanatory text merely refers to Supreme Court justices. What is his plan for the various circuit courts and appellate judges?

I'm not necessarily convinced that our justiciary is so broken that it needs to be completely revamped. He seems distinctly concerned with the Supreme Court, yet what percentage of cases in the federal docket are actually heard by the court? I'm sure it's less than 1%.

So, make a better case, please, other than "[d]oing this would move the court closer to the people by ensuring that every President would have the opportunity to replace two justices per term". I'm not so sure I want every President we elect nominating Justices to the bench.

Are you a guru?

I laughed out loud, literally

"If you strike my drum down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine." -- Obi Wan Zuccotti"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Antarctica


The day the LISTSERV died

AOL announces they are discontinuing their LISTSERV mailing list service. (h/t to Joe from a mailing list I'm on)

I have participated in, administered, and been banned from numerous mailing lists over the years. I think they will always have a soft spot in my heart. Usenet and Google Groups tended to have a very low signal to noise ratio, unless the group was moderated. Moderation, of course, introduced its own set of problems, because not everyone saw eye-to-eye with what was considered acceptable. To be fair, some of those same problems existed on mailing lists, but they just didn't seem to be as big.

Yes, you have social media and other solutions, but I think this sums up my feelings best:
"You are coming to the mailing list to discuss a specific topic. When you are on a social media site, it is a bit of a free-for-all. You put something on your wall, but you don't know how many people will see it," Thomas said. "There is more of a community with a mailing list."
 As long as email exists, I think mailing lists will continue to persist as well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some email to check, and then my twitter timeline, and then my Facebook page, and oh yeah, somebody posted something to G+ as well. . .

For great safety

or great revenue?

The city of Denver is using it's red-light cameras to issue tickets to drivers whose wheels cross the white "stop" line. (h/t to Drudge)

I would be interested to know what the authorizing legislation for those cameras said. If it just addressed red-light violations, I fail to see how they can issue citations for stopping over the line.

I think this is just more evidence that the cameras aren't intended for safety, but more for revenue generation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Results that are to be expected

Driving south is more dangerous than going north, with 94 accidents compared to 49
That's because we're all fleeing Cinci as fast as we can.

3 phrases that don't go together.

"Star Wars"
"French Ballet"

Yes, it's that bad.1

1No, I don't offer refunds. Sorry.

Did Polish Airlines hired Sully?

This is just amazing.

I heard a comment on the local news that a passenger reportedly said the landing was so smooth they couldn't tell they went in without landing gear.

I'm sure the it took the pilot a few minutes to release the suction on his seat in order to deplane.

Too cool for school - View Web Source for Android

We have been having an issue with one of our websites, and have been doing extensive testing across multiple devices and browsers. Often times, it's helpful to look at the source code for the page, to help determine what might be causing the issue or to view comments that we inject into the pages to help us with troubleshooting.

By default, the Android browser does not have a 'view source' option. However, thanks to a discussion over on Stack Exchange, I ran across this nifty (and FREE!!!) Android app called View Web Source.

Once it is installed, usage is exceptionally easy. Load the page you want to inspect in the browser, select the Menu -> More -> Share Page. View Web Source registers itself as a "Share" helper, so it will appear in the list of "Share via" applications. Select it, and then a text window is displayed with the page source.

Now, if your rendered page is large, it's not very easy to scroll through and look at everything, but it is certainly better than nothing.

The one feature I wish it would implement is searching, use the default search button on the device. Otherwise, it's quite the handy utility.

I must be insane

When I was younger, I enjoyed running.1 I played soccer, rugby, swam, and ran cross country in high school. I had fairly decent cardio endurance. When I got to college, I was in the Corps of Cadets. We had thrice-weekly PT sessions, and running was always a component of that.

At my best, I could run a 5k in under 17 minutes (averaged about 5:30/mile).

This morning, I ran/walked 2k in 18 minutes.

So why do I have a hankering to get back into running? And to actually do a 5K (a fun run, not necessarily for competition)?

I do remember a sort of catharsis from running. There was this feeling of just being able to decouple, to put the body into motion and to allow the mind to just spin and churn and process. I can't say I ever had huge epiphanies, but I have resolved things, brought things into focus, or otherwise just uncluttered my mental space for a bit.

It may be time to get a new pair of togs.

1Yes, yes, I was running to evade the local dinosaur population. Har-de-har-har.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ruling by Fiat, or Preparing to Fail, Again

President Obama is signing yet another executive order to implement by fiat what he cannot get Congress to implement via valid legislation.

This particular executive order concerns prescription drug shortages and the potentials for price gouging.
“The shortage of prescription drugs drives up costs, leaves consumers vulnerable to price gouging and threatens our health and safety,” an administration official says.
The order apparently directs the FDA to "take action" to help prevent drug shortages. Oh, and it expresses support for bipartisan legislation intended to do the same thing. One of those pieces of legislation is Senate Bill 296. What does this Herculean feat of legislative legerdemain accomplish? It "require[s] a prescription drug manufacturer to notify the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) of a discontinuance, interruption, or other adjustment of the manufacture of the drug that would likely result in a shortage of such drug."

Are you kidding me? You've added a regulatory burden which can be used to bludgeon Big Pharma, and that's IT?!? What is HHS or the FDA going to do? Tell a drug company that they can't discontinue a drug line any longer? This is yet another case of picking winners and losers, and trying the failed Communist experiment of centralized management of industry.

You know what would work better? Remove some of the tariffs and import barriers and allow drugs to be imported from Canada.

Oh, wait, I forgot. Big Pharma went on a successful rent-seeking expedition and got the competition excluded from the marketplace.

So now we see the results of rent seeking and crony capitalism. Drugs are artificially scarce, they're too expensive, and now the government is going to stick its nose into a situation that will only be made worse by their intrusion.

Can we please get something approximating a free market back?

Yeah, that looks about right

I guess Safari got lost in the veldt

Friday, October 28, 2011

The difference between gunnies and non-gunnies

ASM826 has a post about a gunnie wanting a wheelgun

The line that jumped out at me was this one:
My non shooty friends said "you could get a huge, new TV for that cost!" 
I often make a similar comparison, but the other direction. For instance, I'm currently pricing new tires for the van, and  my first thought on seeing the projected total was "I could buy a new gun for that cost!"

I guess it's all about priorities.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm mad too, but for a different reason

JayG goes off on the biased coverage from CNN.

I agree with him mostly, but I'm just as frustrated with Perry.

If we knocked Obama for not having a plan, then shouldn't we be as up in arms at Perry, or Cain, or any other candidate that doesn't have their ideas fleshed out. This is not something you make up as you go along. Even though I don't agree with a lot of it, at least Romney has a plan out there, and has given it thought, and has had a chance to tweak it (whether or not it's what he'll actually do once he's in office is another question entirely).

But for Perry to say "I've only been working on it for 8 weeks" is flabbergasting. How long have you been Governor? I'm sure you've thought about running for President for quite a while. It would be nice if you'd fleshed out your policy positions a bit more during that time.

Gov. Moonbeam sees the light

From an AP article over at Yahoo! Finance:
Gov. Jerry Brown will propose sweeping rollbacks to public employee pension benefits in California, including raising the retirement age to 67 for new employees who are not public safety workers and requiring state and local employees to pay more toward their retirement and health care, according to a draft of the plan obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Color me shocked, but it definitely provides some vindication for the Scott Walkers and John Kasichs of the world.

Outlook Express can compact messages

Every time I reboot my work laptop, I get a message stating "To free up disk space, Outlook Express can compact messages." That's an interesting trick, because I don't even have OE installed on this machine.

At first I assumed it was something in the Run key of the registry, but a quick perusal of the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run key didn't show anything related to Microsoft Office, Outlook, or Outlook Express. I ran msconfig.exe and checked everything it said was loaded. No joy there either.

Finally, I turned to a Google search, and turned up this thread.

Basically, here's what's going on. When you install Windows Search, it has some default locations that it will index. Those include your "My Documents" folder, Outlook if you have it installed, and Outlook Express (apparently, even if it's NOT installed). But how does Windows Search indexing a non-existent installation of Outlook Express trigger a prompt to compact messages?

Well, each time OE starts or is accessed, it increments a counter that is stored in the registry. Once this counter goes above 100, it prompts the user to compact messages at the next reboot. If the user selects "Yes", the counter is reset. If they don't, it's not, and you get nagged each time.

So, the fix is a two-step process. First, we have to tell Windows Search to stop indexing Outlook Express. To do that, look in your System Tray (the spot at the right edge of your task bar with all those funny icons, next to the clock). There should be a magnifying glass icon down there (you might have to expand your systray to show hidden icons). Right-click on the magnifying glass, and then select Windows Search Options. In the Indexing Options dialog that comes up, you will most likely see two or three entries under "Included Locations". One of these will say something like "Microsoft Outlook Express: Main Identity". That's the culprit. Click the "Modify" button, and in the next dialog box, uncheck "Microsoft Outlook Express" and then click OK. Click "Close" to exit "Indexing Options".

Now, Windows Search will stop accessing Outlook Express, which will stop incrementing that counter. However, you will still get the "compact messages" prompt the next time you reboot. There are two ways to make the message go away. First, just click "Yes" the next time it comes up. Since you're not using Outlook Express, it won't have anything to do, but it will reset the counter back to zero. Alternatively, you can edit the registry entry yourself to reset the counter1. To reset the counter yourself, run 'regedit' and then go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities key. Under there, you should see one entry that is called a GUID. It's a big long scary looking alpha-numeric value in between curly braces ({}). There should only be one entry under there. Expand that, and then drill down into Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0. In the 5.0 folder, you should see a key that says "Compact Check Count". Reset this to '0' (zero) and you're all done.

The next time you reboot, you shouldn't get that annoying message.

1Normal disclaimers apply. Intended for advanced users only. Back up your registry first. If you screw up your computer it's not my fault. If you're not comfortable doing it, take it to a professional.

P.S. - I'm still trying to figure out why the system does the Outlook Express Compact check if OE is not installed. My guess is that some Office service pack did a stealth or partial install of OE, because OE is nowhere to be found in my "Add/Remove Programs" dialog.

Quit stats

One year, four months, three weeks, and one day. 10186 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,037.35. Life saved: 5 weeks, 8 hours, 50 minutes, according to SilkQuit

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

QOTD - Top Shot Edition

 Obviously, since Dustin was sent to elimination, there were some misjudgments about skills.

Yeah, I think that about sums it up.

Have car, will travel

Frank Bruni pens an article about the evils of state reciprocity:
Between deciding whether I should wear my sports coat or pack it, if I should go to the local airport or the one an hour away with cheaper fares, and trying to remember if I'd armed the alarm system, I thought I had this business travel thing down pat.
Well, not quite!!! Things could be much worse, especially if I had a vehicle operator's permit in my state, but wanted to drive around in some other state as well.
You see, my state merely requires that I pay a licensing fee and subject myself to the ignomity of proving I'm a resident. They might also require that I've never been convicted of felonious vehicular man slaughter.
Some states are tougher. They have different requirements regarding visual acuity, age, response times and recurring training required for the proper operation of a motor vehicle. Yeah, the rules are different in different states.
Thank the Good Lord Above for the Conveyance Association of Roamers, keeping a keen eye out for any Machiavellian institutions that might try to curtail the free travel rights of Americans.
The C.A.R is pushing a statute, the Diverse Roamers In Vehicles Extolling Reciprocity Act of this year, that would amelioriate the itinerant wanderer's concerns. Should Congress see fit to pass this bill, any state that allows a citizen to move from one place to another, regardless of the certification requirements, would be obligated to allow the citizen of another state to do the EXACT SAME THING, no matter the other state's rules.
Spike T. Wheel, C.A.R.'s chief spokesperson, recently said that the current legal environment "presents a nightmare for interstate travel, as many Americans are subjected to state laws that ignore the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution."
Nightmare? That could plausibly apply better to C.A.R, though it's not the first adjective I think of when considering their current agenda.
Contradiction, hypocrisy: those words rush in ahead. The bill thus far has more than 872 Republican co-sponsors in the House, many of them conservatives who otherwise complain about attempts by an overbearing federal government to trample on states’ rights in the realms of health care, tort reform, education — you name it. But to promote interstate travel, they’re encouraging big, bad Washington to trample to its heart’s content.
Imagine how apoplectic they’d be if, on certain other matters, Washington forced their states to yield to others’ values the way this bill, the D.R.I.V.E.R. act, would compel Oklahoma, North Dakota and Florida to honor more vehicle operator regulations from the South and West. As it happens these three states all allow 6-wheeled vehicles, which more conservative states do not have to recognize.
It’s not fair to talk only about Republicans. D.R.I.V.E.R has dozens of Democratic co-sponsors as well, and when Democrats controlled Congress for the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, they made no major progress on vehicle control. Reluctant to cross C.A.R., they let it slide.
In 2009, when Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, was about to enter a tough re-election battle in Nevada, he actually voted in favor of legislation highly similar to D.R.I.V.E.R. It was defeated. That same year President Obama signed a law permitting vehicles in national parks.
The story on the state level has been just as sad over the last few years. Wisconsin recently approved expanded vehicle operator legislation, leaving Illinois the only state in which certain people can’t drive a car. Several states have enacted laws spelling out that cars can in many circumstances be driven to bars.
One was Tennessee, where a state lawmaker who sponsored the legislation, Curry Todd, sometimes drives a vehicle. I know this because he was drving it when Nashville cops pulled him over two weeks ago for drunken driving. They also charged him with operating a vehicle in public while intoxicated. At least that’s still illegal.
New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and several other states don’t have reciprocity arrangements that allow someone like Todd to drive a vehicle in their state. That’s because New York officials can deny vehicle operator licenses on a case-by-case basis, whereas many other states — South Dakota, for example — don’t put much stock in such scrutiny.
The D.R.I.V.E.R Act, now in the House Judiciary Committee, makes a mockery of our diverse values and strategies for public safety. If it were enacted, off to New York the South Dakotan tourist could go, Mazda RX-7 churning along..
That’s not liberty. More like lunacy.
Oh, wait. He got confused on his deodands. 

Lunchtime workout for 2011-10-26

I just walked 3.2 mi in 1 hour and burned 362 calories. Total burned so far: 725 calories! on 10/26/11 at 12:07 PM #cardiotrainer

PETA files another lawsuit

But this one is a little different.

They are accusing SeaWorld of violating the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (the prohibition against slavery) based on their treatment of 5 killer whales.

I sincerely hope that the case is dismissed with prejudice on pre-trial summary judgement, and that PETA is smacked with punitive damages. They are clogging the court system on something that is no more than a publicity stunt. It wastes time and money, on the parts of the government, SeaWorld and PETA themselves.

PETA can waste all the money in the world they want purchasing billboards.  It's their money. I might not agree with the message, or the tone deaf approach, but hey, there's that whole 1st Amendment thing, and last I checked, PETA is compromised of actual humans.

This, however, is a travesty, and a sham.

What's next, suing farmers for slavery of produce?

If you were in need of gift ideas

There is a new Pratchett book coming out

As you sow so shall you reap

Yesterday, I pointed to a discussion Rod Dreher had with his son about Herman Cain. In a later comment, Rod  agrees with his son and says further that "this idea that somebody who has never run even for school board is a perfectly fit candidate to run the most powerful country on earth is democratic-Romantic nonsense."

Then, today Rod talks about satisfaction with Congress, and what issues are most important to the electorate. He identifies that "It's the economy, stupid." I wholeheartedly agree with that conclusion. But then, he concludes with this little gem (emphasis mine):
And yet, and yet. I never know what to make of polls like this. Everybody hates Congress, and the picture of the electorate this poll paints is about two tics away from being pre-revolutionary. But you know what? A lot of these guys are going to be sent right back by the voters, and if not, they’re going to send in someone who is going to defend the status quo. People are angry and frustrated, but that doesn’t translate into much at the ballot box. Meh.
 So, which is it Mr. Dreher? Do you want someone that has been captured by the system, that has "political experience", or are they the root cause of the problem?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ignore them, and they will go away

Apparently, the members of Westboro are picketing a school in the Cincinnati area today.

I think the principal's take on this is exactly right:
“While we appreciate and understand the anger, disgust and curiosity of our community members, showing up at Oak Hills High School will only provide the WBC exactly what they want. In fact, WBC returns over and over again to those locations that generate the most resistance. If we have a large group of people show up to counterdemonstrate, we will be inviting WBC back to our community for future pickets. The only way to make this a ‘one time and done’ event is to make sure it is not profitable for them in either attention or money.”

Lunchtime workout for 2011-10-25

According to my Cardio Trainer app on my phone, I just walked 2.9 mi in 1 hour 2 mins and burned 330 calories. Total burned so far: 329 calories! on 10/25/11 at 12:08 PM

Becoming less of a man


That's what the scale read this morning. I've been stuck between 195 and 199 for months now, and I'm getting frustrated.

I realized my activity level has decreased a bit during this period. I stopped getting off the bus early to walk several blocks, and instead rode it right up to the building. I stopped walking in the evenings, opting instead to occupy my couch while stuffing snacks in my face.

So, I have a pretty good idea as to the root causes of my stasis, and I'm once again trying to get serious about seeing the numbers on the scale decrease.

I got off the bus at the first stop this morning, and walked the ~4 blocks to the building.

Last night, I did two laps around my subdivision, which is ~1.5 miles (ran the 1st, walked the 2nd).

Weather permitting, I'm going to start walking at lunch.

I don't think I'll ever again see the 135 I weighed right out of high school, but if I could get back down to the 160 - 170 range, I'll call that good.

The only surprise is it took this long

Google Buzz is officially on the chopping block

It's a product that never really saw any decent adoption, and it's been made obsolete by Google Plus.

My only request would be that they take some of the integrations they had with Buzz (like Blogger automatically cross-posting to your Buzz feed) and add them to G+.

QOTD - "The political ruling class has won" edition

Rod Dreher recounts a conversation he had with his son last night.

The take-away quote for me?
“No, seriously. You’re telling me this guy has never been elected to anything — and he wants to be president?”
I wonder what he would think of someone like Cincinnatus.

Monday, October 24, 2011

You Might Be An ER Physician/Nurse If...

I'm wondering how many of these Dr. J, Ambulance Driver, or TOTWTYTR empathize with:

  1. You believe 90% of people are a poor excuse for protoplasm.
  2. Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you.
  3. You believe a good tape job will fix anything.
  4. You have the bladder capacity of five normal people.
  5. You can identify the positive teeth-to-tattoo ratio.
  6. Your idea of a good time is a full arrest at shift change.
  7. You find humor in other people's stupidity.
  8. You believe in aerial spraying of Prozac.
  9. You disbelieve 90% of what you are told and 75% of what you see.
  10. You have your weekends off planned a year in advance.
  11. Your idea of comforting a child is to place them in a papoose restraint.
  12. You encourage an obnoxious patient to sign out Against Medical Advice so you don't have to deal with them any longer.
  13. You believe that "Shallow Gene Pool" should be a diagnosis.
  14. You believe the government should require a permit to reproduce.
  15. You plan your dinner while performing gastric lavage.
  16. You believe that "Ask-A-Nurse" is an evil plot thought up by Satan.
  17. You believe that unspeakable evil will befall you if the phrase "Wow, it's really quiet" is uttered.
  18. You refer to Friday as "Dump Day".
  19. Your diet consists of food that has undergone more processing than most computers.
  20. You believe chocolate is a food group.
  21. You take it as a compliment when someone calls you a bastard.
  22. You compliment complete strangers out in public on their "good veins".
  23. You have ever referred to someone's death as a transfer to the "Eternal Care Unit".
  24. You don't think a referral to Dr. Kevorkian is inappropriate.
  25. You have ever referred to someones death as a "Celestial Discharge".
  26. You have ever answered a "lost condom" phone call (See "Ask-A-Nurse" above.)
  27. You refer to someone in respiratory distress as a "Smurf".
  28. Your idea of a really good time is Duelling Shock Rooms.
  29. You have ever wanted to hold a seminar entitled "Suicide: Getting it right."
  30. You believe that "Too Stupid to Live" should be a diagnosis.
  31. You have ever had to leave a patient's room before you began laughing uncontrollably.
(h/t to a friend from Dallas)

The lost art of opening doors

As the bus rolled into downtown this morning, one of the riders noticed that it had started raining. This set off a flurry of bag-searching, moaning and wailing as people that forgot to check the weather forecast realized they didn't have an umbrella to hand.

One of these was a lady sitting across from me, a casual stranger that I frequently see on the bus. We both work in the same building, and used to see each other on smoke breaks occasionally. She remarked that at least she didn't have far to run, because our stop was only 1/2 block from our building.

As I stepped off the bus at our stop, I shook out my umbrella and opened it. I then stood there waiting for her to debark, and held it up for her to stand under. She just stopped and looked at me like I was crazy, and then said "You don't have to do that." We walked the half-block to our building, and as I was putting away my umbrella she thanked me profusely.

What has the world come to when a gesture of common courtesy is no longer common place but instead has become as rare as hen's teeth? I am one of the few that I've seen at our office building that will hold doors, or help someone carry a package, or pick up a stray piece of trash. I think it is a sad commentary on our society that actions like this are treated as suspect. You are a misogynist, or have an ulterior motive, or a persecution complex, or something. It can't be that you're just being nice.

And we wonder why political discourse has devolved to the extent it has. There is no longer a middle ground; everything is black and white. You are for us or against us, and even if you agree with 99% of The Agenda®, that 1% where you differ will cause you to be ostracized.

Our system is broken. Or, better, the people that run the system are broken.

And I wonder if it's all because nobody holds open a door.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Film Review - Courageous

The Mrs. and I had a way-too-rare date night this past Friday, and we went to see the new movie Courageous. This movie is from the same group that did Fireproof. The general framework of the story is a group of Sheriff's  deputies that struggle with personal and work hardships and their faith.

It could be legitimately characterized as a sermon wrapped up in a so-so plot. To be fair, it was almost exactly what I expected. The story telling and acting were better this time around than they were in Fireproof. The cinematography was better as well, but still week. You can tell the Kendrick's are coming into their own, but are working with a smaller budget than the big movie houses.

I do like the subtle "twist" in the story line. By this, I mean that for me, my first impression (I didn't read the advertising slug for the movie, just heard radio spots) was that it would be about guys who exhibited courage in their careers. Knowing who was involved in the film, I should have realized that was a simplistic view. Instead, the movie takes guys in a demanding job, on where everyday courage would be expected, and then counters that by looking at what God's definition of courageous might be.

Is it more courageous to apprehend criminals, or to stand up for your family? What kind of courage does it take to make a stand and say "I will do what's right, regardless"? What sort of courage is required to say "No" to your kids now, so that you can "Yes" to them later?

Those are all questions this film attempts to answer.

All in all, I think it does a good job. Will the mainstream movie industry accept this film? Most likely not. On IMDB, it's receiving a little over a 6/10 rating, which is better than I thought it would have. This film is intended for a very specific audience, and in that regard it achieves what it sets out to do. In our theater, it seemed quite well received (there was a round of applause at the conclusion).

I can see this film being used as an outreach or challenge opportunity by churches, and not just a date night flick couples.

If Christian-centric morality plays don't turn you off, I can highly recommend this movie.

Overheard in the office

So, apparently a co-worker needed a different option for bus routes, because the one they were using just wasn't working out. Doing their due diligence, they researched all of the routes that had stops near their home, focusing exclusively on the "express" routes, instead of the "local" routes.

I overheard the following "rant" this morning:
So I was checking out the 2X, because it's supposed to be an "express", but it takes forever to get downtown. It picks up in my area, goes all the way out to the airport, and then heads downtown. Then on the way back, it leaves downtown, goes all the way out to the airport AGAIN, and then heads to my stop. Seriously. Why are they calling that an Express route?
According to the transit provider, the 2X route is called the "Airporter" or "Airport Express", with buses every 20 minutes that provide service to the Airport.

I just had to shake my head and walk away.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Confusion of terms?

During his energy policy speech today, Rick Perry apparently (according to a tweet from TeamRickPerry), said that he would use revenues from increased energy exploration to "pay down [the] deficit".

According to dictionary.com, a deficit is defined as:


  [def-uh-sit; Brit. also dih-fis-it]  Show IPA

the amount by which a sum of money falls short of therequired amount.
the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceedincome or assets.
a lack or shortage; deficiency.
a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap: The team's major deficit is its poor pitching.
a loss, as in the operation of a business.
Basically, it is the gap by which expenditures exceeds revenues. How exactly does one "pay down" an budgeting problem? You can pay down the accumulated debt, or you can use the revenues generated to fund some aspect of the budget, thus reducing the deficit, but there is nothing there to physically pay down.1

And people wonder why Borepatch refers to the Republicans as the Stupid party.

1Yes it's a minor nitpick, but if you're stumping to become POTUS, clarity of terms is rather important.