Monday, January 31, 2011

Madness @ Work

One of my co-workers had a death in the family, and RG organized a chipin account for the employees to make donations online, to help with funeral expenses. NP was asked if he had chipped in and he started complaining that the company was stupid for not having sent him a link. I sent him the link in an instant message. He was still complaining that the organization of the fund-raising effort was poor . . .

VFD: Did you see who organized it?
NP: Oh, okay.
GJ: hehehe
VFD: There you go, see, nuff said

Healthcare Not Dead Yet. Keep Praying

I had a good feeling about it this morning as I was praying, and sure enough the Judge in Florida ruled against Obamacare. He apparently took pains to go into the historical record all the way back to before the current Union was established, to show how this sort of thing is a step too far for Congress.

The supreme Court can hardly avoid hearing this case. Christians, now is the time to step up your prayers that our republic be not lost over this law, and that it will be thrown out when it gets to sCOTUS.

Is Al Gore In Town?

They're talking about temperatures in the 16º range this week. That's 16ºF, in the middle of Texas. A possibility of snow, even. Sure it's January. As I pointed out to NP today, I think this is God's way of making fun of those persons who think we as a race are powerful enough to affect the global mean temperature.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's Not My Fault!

~or~ The Economic Collapse in 2015 Was Not Related To The 2012 or 2014 elections . . .

It has been said that the current flailex in the US' economy is going to result in inflation (re-elect Obama rah rah reporting will come with it) just before the 2012 election, with a recession to follow. Be that as it may be, on a global scale it is now predicted that the total failure to fix (or even recognize) the problems that led to the recent troubles, will bit us in the [deleted] in 2015. So don't be too surprised.

On Disproportionate Response

If your kid chases my kid with a stick and pokes him in the back of the neck, despite being 3x my kid's age, and I take the stick and thrash your kid with it, that is inappropriate. If I sling your kid across the tarmac after he knocks down my kid, that is in appropriate. Not that the thought doesn't cross my mind, but I wouldn't.

However, if I am the first one to reach them, I hope you won't hold your kid's red ear (from me dragging him to you using it for a handle) against me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Free Monitor Causes Hair Pulling

I scored a Gateway FPD2185W from the scrap bin at work. It was dead, and had the classic failed capacitors on the power board. Those were replaced, and the signal cable reseated, and the fuse replaced, and now I've got a 21" widescreen LCD on my desk.

. . . running at low resolution. It isn't putting out EDID data from the VGA port, and my Intel 82865G graphics controller won't allow custom resolutions. No 1680 x 1050 goodness for me! :( Trust me, I spent all afternoon on this, and it's out of the question. The computer is a Dell Dimension 3000 running XP SP3 with up to date drivers, and there is NO AGP HEADER on the motherboard! Just a row of holes where the connector should be! I could get a PCI dual-head video card for it . . . but that's holding up the business end of my fourth monitor output in my computer at work right now. Upgrading the graphics card is likely not going to happen.

I very much hope to be able to get around this problem when I go to a computer a co-worker just gave me. It was increasingly, randomly flaking out . . . possibly due to the dust bunny ranch I evicted from the thing, including dust bridges between components on the high voltage section of the power supply. THAT computer is hip enough to run Windows 7, and I anticipate being able to use ATI's software to set the resolution right, if Windows doesn't want to.

. . . but that will have to wait until I fix some geometry. The case is too tall (by the height of two unused 5-1/4" drive bays) to fit in my desk. I'll either swap to a smaller case (free, off the scrap pile! ) or I'll truncate this one to fit the desk. We'll see!


Edit/update the next day:

The monitor's power supply hums like a mosquito. My home is quiet and my work station is not so this monitor is likely to go with me to work on Monday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

$2 Cash. No Taxes.

If there were an hypothetical situation wherein a person bought something from a retailer, and it were not in the vendor's inventory system, I am 100% fine with the customer slapping cold, hard cash on the vendor's barrel head.

That's against the law!

Okay, call the cops. Call the revenuers. Then, instead of straight $2 profit, we have two options:

Option 1) The company spends 15 minutes of employee time putting the item in inventory, generating an invoice, and recording the sale, and the state gets $0.17. The employee makes $15/hour so 15 minutes of time to register the transaction costs the company $3.78 for a $2 sale. It would be better for the company (financially) to GIVE the customer a $2 item than to register a transaction that must be manually entered.

Option 2) The company Regulatory Girl contacts the police. A dispatcher ($30/hr) spends 3 minutes ($1.50 from the State) entering the call. A patrol officer ($30/hr) responds and spends 45 minutes on the call and filling out reports ($22.5 from the State). The vendor now has to spend 6 hours dealing with the ticket ($90 from the vendor) and pay a $10 fine PLUS paying the $0.17 (with interest) in taxes they (the scofflaws!) INTENTIONALLY FAILED to pay on the transaction. Now between the State and the vendor there is a net WASTE of $120 from the economy

. . . over a $2 transaction.


Officer Dave says: "Who reported this? Seriously? You called the Police to report a $0.17 failure to pay sales taxes? You, ma'am, are a tool. My report will indicate a total lack of proof that this "crime" ever happened, and if you keep talking I might lay charges against you for filing a false report. Never do this again."

. . . Then the company loses $30 in man-hours as the employees all make fun of the whole affair instead of being productive . . .



Photoshop stopped zooming with the scroll wheel on my trackball. This is horrible. This changes how I do my yob. I turned to Mr. Google for help. Turns out there is a checkbox in the general preferences in Photoshop to control this zooming behavior. I re-checked it and did not question why it was unchecked.

Crisis averted, problem solved.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Regarding the My35 I-35 Corridor Advisory Committe Plan

I read the report after I read the KXAN article about it. Yes, I read it. I will give you perhaps too much credit and assume you at least read the KXAN story. I read the report's introduction and skimmed the rest, then read all the Segment 3 parts (Segment 3 is my back yard). From the outset, taking the report at face value, I think it is as good an effort as can be expected and maybe even a good starting point for discussions. The goal is admirable and some of the ideas really are outside-the-box. . . and some of them are just plain dumb. It was part of the plan for the Committee to consider ideas based on merit rather than availability of funding, but this is (sigh) unrealistic. Funding must be considered, and we must DO SOMETHING about the fact that your Elected Heroes in Austin keep raiding the gas tax money to pay for General Fund projects!

They also did not consider feasibility, right-of-way, or environmental concerns. Well that's fine, but when you go for the brass ring in this manner you will be 100% guaranteed to have your plans foiled by environmentalist whackos, property owners, and the sheer impracticability of some of your ideas. That lead me to not delete my initial reaction to the KXAN article:

This is stupid as [deleted].

For interstate and international traffic, we will need expanded rail capacity. We will need expanded automobile capacity in the city centers also. These are taken for granted in the following commentary. What I am on about is a few of the ideas specifically proposed for the Central Texas region (Segment 3).

It is also noteworthy that NOBODY will ride passenger rail in the near-to-mid term future. We will fight it the whole way, then a sub-optimal rail line will be used (see the current CapMetro example) and then it will be too late to do anything about it. Rail is a non-starter for passenger transport IN major cities in Texas. Freight rail: viable probably. Passenger rail: DOA, a financial boondogle doomed from the outset to failure.

"The I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee represents the most robust, direct and longestrunning public involvement effort in the history of transportation in Texas and is the first of its kind to be used in the nation"

That's swell, but I listen to the news all day every day at work, and I had no idea most of these public involvement discussions were underway. I did hear about a couple of them . . . they took place during my commute time.

"The focus groups were comprised* of members of the general public that were recruited from the locations listed above. Participants were recruited via flyers, past recruitment lists, online advertising, newspaper advertising and posts to Facebook groups.

Nobody reads the newspaper. Only a freak show reads or joins a Facebook group or follows twitter for a STREET (note: freak shows tend to like light passenger rail for Austin). Nobody reads newspapers. Flyers are instant litter. Past recruitment lists will reflect a very small group indeed.

The Austin metro area has a million or so people. Highest attendance at one of their supposedly well-advertised workshops was 29. That would be in the high 0.002% range. If you can't get a full 0.003% of the public to bother to attend, you need to turn off the lights, hang your head, tuck your tail and go home because you have FAILED to arouse the public's interest.


This time make sure the people know you are doing it and can make it to the meetings! Otherwise, you only have the interest of people whose "thing" is transportation, and the loonie fringe. If you want considered thoughtful input from the rest of the community, spend a few bucks telling people about a website where they can go and submit and comment on ideas. Getting a few activists together at the Town Hall is so last-century.

"Use and improve upon technology, such as electronic signs, use of AM and FM radio frequencies, smart phone applications, and on-board vehicle communications systems to provide updated traffic information, alternate routes and other traffic management solutions to travelers
on I-35."

This is possibly a waste of time and money. Nobody listens for radio traffic alerts on a different station than they are already listening to . . . we sit in traffic and listen to our stations. On-board vehicle systems, really? In my old car? Mandated (paid by whom?) in your new car? And SMART PHONE apps? You want people to use their handhelds MORE in traffic? Signs and breaking in to the public airwaves on the most popular (or all) channels may be the way. Smart phone apps is not the way.

Discounted highway 130 toll fees for trucks? Unless the toll fee is LESS than the cost difference in diesel burned sitting in traffic ($3?) they will take the non-tolled non-$20 route! They are in business to deliver for lowest cost after all.

"Improve incident management and related agency coordination so that accidents and disabled vehicles can be cleared more quickly and delays can be minimized."

This. It is an ongoing mystery why a fatal wreck in Houston is cleared in 10 minutes and a fender-bender in Austin shuts down the highway for two hours.

"Impose left lane restrictions for trucks through downtown areas and congested sections of I-35."

Yes. This can be done immediately and it won't cost a million dollars

"Consider double-tracking rail lines to accommodate more freight and intercity passenger rail, where feasible."

Yes. Good luck with that through the "rich" side of town.

The Lone Star Rail line: We'll alleviate freight rail traffic problems by eliminating a freight rail artery, and replace it with a non-used passenger line on the same track? Huh?

How do you plan on having people go around town to relieve congestion from intracity traffic? Or are you doing this for the tens of thousands of San Antonio-to-Dallas daily commuters?

A managed toll lane? On a highway already fully paid for by the people currently using it, TAKING AWAY a free lane of traffic?! R U Serious!? The people HOWLED when they started talking about taking away lanes of traffic and putting in tolled lanes when CAMPO was at it. Now you want to take away a free lane of traffic from one of the most heavily driven rush-hour highways in the nation? You want to actually make congestion on highway 35 WORSE by reducing free lanes of travel from three to TWO? What IDIOT thought this was a good idea? Now is the time to start writing your Elected Heroes to demand this does not happen.

I'm for taking the toll off 130 and redesignating it as the interstate, but what a stupid, stupid idea to reduce free lanes through the heart of downtown! Almost everyone I know avoids the toll roads because they are tolled, and they will avoid the tolled I-35 lanes also. Intracity truck traffic will pwn joo! I continue in my unenlightened state: How in the world does a managed toll lane on a previous free way reduce traffic?

Then they want to WIDEN the BRAND-SPANKING NEW 130? It's a big, beautiful, EMPTY highway. I-35 congestion is daily commuters in the city. Simply removing the tolls won't help I-35 during the heaviest congestion times, and the rest of the time traffic is very light. Moving interstate traffic to 130 is swell but I have severe doubts about the need to widen that highway in even the mid-term future!

If you want to talk about ADDING A LANE to IH-35 and making THAT a managed-toll or HOV lane, or double-decking IH-35 through Austin with added lanes, NOW you're talking!

Upgrading 183 to a full freeway without all the lights would have a good effect. If it were a limited-access highway with surface streets the whole way through town (like IH-35 currently is) then that would be spiffing. If they have cantilevered elevated traffic lanes all the way through like on the North side of town, that could mean MORE lanes on the same footprint, even!

We currently have NO Southern California-style genuine multi-level highways. Why?

"Our current funding system is unsustainable"

These project ideas are expensive but that is already taken care of!
Every gallon of gas and diesel sold is heavily taxed, and the legislature never spends a dime of that gas tax money on anything else but road projects . . . OH WAIT our Elected Heroes in Austin ROUTINELY BLOW ALL THE GAS TAX FUNDS ON NON_TRANSPORTATION B.S.! Pretty soon we'll be out of money to maintain the roads . . . oh, wait! Spending the money we were gas-taxed with the ostensible goal of building and maintaining roads, as if it were regular general funds money, is unsustainable.

If the solutions proposed for Central Texas were any indication, the solutions proposed for the rest of the IH-35 corridor will also prove impracticable at best.

Thanks for trying.

* In this report, they repeatedly used "comprised" improperly, where they should have used "composed." It's a quibble, but a pet peeve of mine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We All Worried It Would Be Iraq That Destabilized The Middle East

Saddam Hussein was supposed to be a destabilizing influence in the Middle East. We had to take him out, lest he crazy up the whole works and it all come crashing down. Now, it seems, we will have missed the call. It was liberty after all.

The statists were right . . . democracy is dangerous to the establishment . . . provided the establishment is autocratic . . . or anti-islamic (read: not a caliphate)?

Riots in Egypt against the dictator there follow unrest in Tunisia. Curiouser and curiouser. One wonders . . . do the People seek freedom, or do the muslims seek a Nation? What is the real source of agitation, and who will come out of the fray on top?

And when will the mainstream press see fit to report the story?

Austin Drivers STINK!

I was running way late for work this morning, and as I got on the highway I found traffic was very light. I thought this would make for a pleasant commute, but I was mistaken. It turns out, when traffic in Austin gets lighter the drivers are stupider. Those driving in rush hour in Austin will be surprised that such a thing is possible, but trust me it is so.

Refer to the following image (click to see full-sized)


I was on the northbound frontage of I-35 in lane 1 at the light. A white CARTS car was in front of me. We turned left on the bridge across the highway and . . they . . were . . going . . too . . slow . . because they were going to turn left to go down the South frontage of I-35. As they merged into the left turning lane, and I continued straight, I accelerated as they got out of my way. Then some JACKASS in a full-sized green GM pickup cut me off, and then they cut off the white CARTSmobile. There was about 3 or 4 carlengths of clear lane for the CARTS car to slow to a stop, and into this space the green truck cut both of us off. At maybe 25MPH, with nowhere near enough room to stop. Then they decided this was not where they wanted to turn, and boltered back into the #1 lane . . . to where my car was. My instincts told me there was nobody in the #2 lane where the truck had just been a moment before, so I swerved over into the #2 lane and nailed the gas. I proceeded through the intersection and cut the green truck off because [deleted] that guy.

They turned left at the next intersection.

Note the hands in the following image. These point out the different places where the truck could have made a safe "New Jersey left turn" instead of risking my car and my life, as well as the cars and lives of their fellow drivers.


Ass. Hole.


Next up on the hit parade:


Then I found another TWO of them at the other end of Sam Bass Road. The road turns North, and it is the North/South route intersecting 1431 which runs East-West in the above photo. The left turning cars have a green/yellow arrow and green/yellow/red round lights to guide them through the intersection. I pulled up behind a half-dozen cars as the light turned green-left-arrow. Nobody went forward. Then it sounded like New Jersey as everyone who did not have their heads up their [deleted]s started honking. Not me, it wouldn't have done any good. They were all honking at the female driver in a silver 3rd gen. Mitsubishi Eclipse who failed to drive when her light turned green. As the light turned to yellow-left-arrow she finally went through the intersection. Everyone was going through the light at this point, arrows and red lights be damned . . . except for this one female driving a white Honda Odyssey (with the Honda badge pulled off the backhatch). She saw the green arrow turn yellow and the green circle come on

. . . and stopped DEAD in the #2 and #1 lanes of Eastbound traffic on 1431. In the lanes. This was my turn to honk. Finally TWO cars which had been stopped (because they did not have the right of way as long as Minivandriver's yellow arrow was lit) came South across 1431 and she drove off. I laid down a strip of rubber all the way around her into the #2 lane.


Then to make up for letting me survive this morning, TWICE on the same stretch of road on the way home, a car (two different cars) tried to zoom up in the right lane and cut me off to pass. In heavy traffic. I accelerated to prevent them cutting me off. If I can mostly-safely avoid it, I don't let people cut me off. Yes, it means a shorter-than-safe following distance between me and the car in front of me. That, I can control. I can brake when I please or ditch onto the median if the car in front goes nuts and jams the brakes. What I can't control is some jerk who does not know how long the back of his sporty little black Audi or fancy new F-250 is, and they pull a reverse PIT on me at 45MPH in traffic with unpredictably-disastrous results.

Someone please get our Elected Heroes in Austin to put drivers education back on the mandatory high school curriculum in Texas!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grumpy Wife Trump

She's grumpy and I'm not writing. More later . . . like, tomorrow later.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Donald Trump For Private Citizen!

The Donald was on with Michael Savage again today. The more I hear that guy talk, the lower falls my opinion of him. If you want someone who can whip up a government-educated crowd into cheers, he may be your boy. If you want someone who can get votes from thinking people, keep looking.

I had the strangest impression that Trump is like bizarro-Obama. Well, that's not entirely fair. Obama's campaign was completely free of substance. Trump at least has some definite ideas. He's on the other side of the political aisle, but he's only a step or a step-and-a-half ahead of Obama on substance, and that ain't saying much.


Uncle mentioned a couple of times in the past week how leftwing media outlets have been pushing the agenda. I was going to leave it lay as a matter of course, but he brought out another example, so I felt like giving you one of my own.

The other day, a college professor with a reasonable-person voice was being interviewed on NPR. They said it is, and I quote, a "source of corruption" that we don't subsidize fruit and vegetable crops to keep prices low so the poor, poor, pitiful poor people could afford to have some veggies. The interviewer totally failed to challenge this opinion, thereby giving tacit agreement.

. . .

Tell me after they cancel $200/month worth of cell phone and cable services how they can't afford fruits and veggies. Corruption my [deleted].

Rough Day, Sweety?

A woman came out the front door of a convenience store where I stopped this afternoon on the way home from work. She had a 12oz. can of beer in her hand already open. Between the door and her car, she stopped walking. Carefully, to keep from spilling I suppose, she took a sip right off the top of her coldbeer.


Why eBay Should Allow Sellers to Leave Negative Feedback

I just had a peek at the ol' company feedback ratings on eBay. We had a fresh Negative and a fresh Neutral. This is unusual for us, because we bend over backwards to keep our ratings up. Out of maybe five hundred sales a month, we might get one negative feedback.

The Neutral was from somebody who bought TWENTY games for the Playstation 2 console. The text of the ad very clearly states, and I quote:
"They are rental games from a closed video store. They do not come with original cases or instructions."

The comment left for the sale: "No original cases?? These god damned video games games ALL came from Hollywood Video"

That was a Neutral feedback. That was bad enough. The following really got my goat.

Shipping costs on items we sell are determined by weight and volume, as UPS loses money if they under-charge a customer (us). If something is small and heavy, it will have higher fuel cost for UPS per volume, and the truck can't hold as many parcels. If something is big and light, it will have higher cost because they can't fit as many parcels on the truck. They charge more. We charge more. As Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb say, "That's logic."

eBay noted a lot of complaints about shipping costs from winning bidders who did not understand this concept, so they implemented a rule that was a temporary pain until we fixed our software for it. We have to CLEARLY STATE IN THE AD RIGHT UNDER THE OPENING BID PRICE HOW MUCH SOMETHING WILL COST TO SHIP. This has not prevented complaints from the dumb masses.

When we closed out a candle manufactury a few years back, we got their candle molds. They had several thousands of molds. We have been selling these for ages and we very rarely receive a complaint. Once we got a complaint they were dusty (stored in a warehouse), once that they had wax on them (a used candle mold with wax on it). Today I was greeted with this gem of wisdom from a "winner" on eBay:
delivery to hi for aluminum

And this is the message they left for a NEGATIVE feedback. Note: these items weigh very little, as they are thin stamped aluminum cylinders. However, they are quite large. In this case we sold them ten round candle molds, about 13.5" long by 4" diameter. Ten of these makes a box that is a couple of cubic feet, minimum; we pad our stuff very well, without exception. This adds up, and if you will look 2cm below the place where it says "Price: US $19.99," you will see it says: "Shipping: $18.86 Standard Shipping." If you want that expedited, I'm sure we could probably add a zero to the price without trying too hard.

'scuse me, make that tryin to hard.

So this [deleted] saw on their screen the shipping cost, hit the button, signed the contract to bid and purchase this lot of very nice, moderately-large candle molds . . . and then gave us a NEGATIVE feedback because the price of shipping -which they agreed beforehand to pay- was "to hi."

Can we send a flaming bag of dog poo to them? No. Can we go take money out of their wallet because they are taking money out of ours when they affect our feedback rating? No. AFTER they get the thing, we can't even deny shipment. There's nothing we can do but add them to our Blocked Bidders List and ask them to pretty-please remove their negative feedback rating. I'm thinking we will file a dispute with eBay also, but THIS is why sellers need to be able to leave negative feedback.

This [deleted] right here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sick & Tired, The Saga Continues

We like to share in our family. That includes minor illnesses. Sick & tired of being sick & tired? You might be one of us!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day Blown, Not Much Done.

Last night/this morning was a blur of non-sleep due to wakeful children irritable with various benign things (teething, dry-air congestion, wet diaper, want a drink, etc). The morning had me keeping a lid on the Zoo while my Darling Wife slept in. A nap was had, then cleaning the house, supper, and more reading.

Reading? Yes reading. I probably spent six hours today reading subscription-only professional medical literature online and taking notes. Fatherinlaw has streaks on a fingernail. #4 has streaks on a fingernail. The same pediatric practice that twice would have preferred to put our babies in NICU instead of waiting a few minutes to a few hours (which was the actual, and correct course of action) wants to get a biopsy of the coloration. Biopsies of nail beds are disfiguring at worst, painful at best. That, plus the fact that subungual melanoma in an infant is about as probable as winning the lottery, has me in "wait and see" mode. But still I are not a dokter, so I think we might have one break out a dermatoscope and have a peek.

Nail matrix nevus with melanonychia longitudina: five-nines probable. Cancer: the one at the end of the number, by the percentage point, waaaay far away to the right of the decimal. Man, when I put it that way, maybe we won't go in for the dermatology consult.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Obama Birth Certificate Fix Is in

Hawaii's new Governor Abercrombie has laid the seeds for possibly the greatest deception ever pulled over on the people of the United States of America. He vowed he would discover President Obama's gen-u-wine birth certificate and end the controversy Obama created once and for all. His report, paraphrased: 'I have seen "something" in the records, but I won't tell you what it is. Take my word for it, the dude is a citizen by birth!'

That this has failed to impress those of us who would like proof that the PotUS is actually qualified to hold the office is rather predictable. But. The stage is now set.

One hopes that at least this time (unlike with the fake Cert. of Live Birth previously promulgated) they will get the letterhead right. The forgers are possibly even now feverishly working through the night to produce . . . something . . . that says "at one point there was a gen-u-wine birth certificate for Barry Soetero." The MSM narrative will then follow: We don't know what happened to the actual certificate, but please be satisfied with this document referring in half-convincing and genuine-appearing manner to that document. And yes, I expect to see this fake document purporting to report on a birth certificate or record of a birth certificate before the next Presidential election.


Who spends $1.4M to prevent his Birth Certificate from becoming public?



Why is this a Big Deal?

If he is not qualified to hold the office of the President, everything he did is void ab initio. Obamacare didn't pass. the New START treaty was never signed. Janet Napolitano was possibly never appointed. It may be possible -but it would be extremely unlikely- that Congress could pass a law saying "what the fraud said, still goes." This is a Big Deal until it is cleared up. President Obama could clear it up in 5 minutes for $0.

. . . if he is what he claims to be.

Shell Games and Open Secrets


So went the hysteria in certain circles. Then some cooler heads followed a bouncing ball and recently figured out that China never stopped buying US treasuries, they just stopped buying them from us.

That the USA runs a trade deficit with China means China will buy something from us with our dollars. The money runs in a great big circle across the Pacific Ocean, because they don't put it all into capital investments in China. If we run a trade deficit, they will buy our dollars, or someone else will, and pass the value of them on to China some way. That you didn't understand this paragraph means you were cheated of an education, but trust me: trade deficits mean we sell them bonds when we buy their plastic crap toys.


NP asked me about this today and I gave him an explanation somewhat as follows. He was uncomfortable at the idea of the Chinese buying our debt, and wondered what would happen if they stopped . . . what would we do if nobody financed our deficit spending anymore? The answer is we would cut spending to the point that we would not spend more than we took (at gunpoint) from taxpayers. What then happens to the national debt? It continues to go away.

Yes, continues. What we have right now is a credit card with a $14.2T limit and a $14T balance. What the big spenders in Congress would like to do is increase our line of credit to $15T or $16T and keep right on spending money we don't have. This, by the way, will be what happens (and then some) if Obamacare is not repealed. What the right-thinking small-government types would like to have happen is that we NOT increase our maximum credit limit anymore.

If you have a credit card with a $14,000 limit and a $14,000 balance, and they won't increase the limit for you, what do you do? You stop charging it up, is what. You stop going out to restaurants and movies on the credit card. I imagine we would start shedding Federal agencies left and right, if we stopped running trillion-dollar annual deficits. This would lead to massive unemployment for government workers, but everyone else would have an effective pay rise, long-term.

But what about the debt? Aren't we in big trouble there?

Not yet, not really. If you can make the $340 minimum monthly payment on your credit card, you can "afford" to have the $14,000 balance carry over month-to-month. If you can ONLY afford the $340 minimum payment, and you charge up more debt, and then you COULDN'T afford the $400 minimum payment on a $16,000 balance, you would be in trouble. But we can afford it still. Every year, we sell more bonds to finance the operation of our national government. Every year, we have to pay a little more on the minimum payment, to satisfy the bond holders.

Eventually, we could charge up so much debt on our T-Bill credit card that we would be unable to make the minimum payments. At THAT point, we would be 100% screwed, and would have to default and cut back on our spending. If we were to cut back so much that we ran a balanced budget starting today, nothing bad would happen with the national debt.

If you continue to make the minimum payments on your credit card, in 30 years it will be paid off. If we continue to make minimum payments on the bonds we issue, the bond holders will be made whole as their bonds mature. In 30 years we will be 100% debt-free as a nation.

Whether this is a Good Thing is a separate argument.

Stomach Bug Going Around Austin

  • A co-worker thought he would be down for a week, and felt better the next day.
  • Another co-worker said he knew 2 children who had been sick, and both recovered in a day or so.
  • A convenience store clerk wears gloves because there are so many sick people handling cash.
  • And finally, #2 was sick and is better, all in one day.


  • Somewhat tired
  • Not hungry
  • Throwing up a little
  • Sometimes with fever

    ^ if that is you, and you live in Central Texas right now, take hope - you might feel much better tomorrow.
  • Thursday, January 20, 2011

    I Could, But

    The news of the day is all very interesting, but I just don't feel like writing about it. Sue me. Better yet, bring me a large pile of twenty dollar bills. Then I'll convert them to noise and bring back a range report!

    Suicide is No Joking Matter!

    . . . which reminds me . . .

    When I was in boot camp, one of my fellow recruits said "I swear to god, if VFD tells one more joke, I'm gonna kill myself!" - I don't think he was in earnest, though. For one thing, he was crying laughing at the time. Plus, I did tell another joke and he didn't follow through . . .

    I So Funny

    Maintenance Guy is installing a sink, and borrowed my teflon tape the other day. Current policy is: Return my tools or I'll ban you from borrowing them. We're on the way to Big Company status, complete with tool tags.

    MG: VFD I still have your teflon tape
    VFD: I know, I have your tool tag
    TS: Do you have a toe tag, in case he doesn't bring it back?
    VFD: Yeah, and I have a pile of them, TS, stop asking questions
    (all): LOL


    #4 was going about her bedtime business, and headed to the head. She came out and said she had to show me something with the light in the restroom. Thinking I was going to be greeted with a burned-out bulb, I went with her. She switched on the light. It was normal.

    #4: It was dimmer a minute ago ( . . . ?!)
    VFD: Yeah? Well now it's really dim! (flicks off light switch)
    #4: DAD!
    VFD:   :-D


    I can just imagine being in some military training institution . . .


    Speaking of which . . . LB used to be a COP in a bad part of the world. In their Police academy, they were told "This is a paramilitary organization! You will salute!"

    VFD: You should have told him: 'Paramilitary? Is that like halfassed military, and you couldn't hack it in the real military?'
    LB: AAAAAAWWWW!!! You would get your ass kicked for saying somethin' like that!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Therapist Helps People? That's Insensitive!

    When I was a lad, my suspicion of government interference in private affairs was fertilized by a story I read. The protagonist got in Big Trouble because he not only wrote a book, but asked if a friend wanted to read it after the friend asked about the work.

    And in the place where England used to be, in real life, you can lose your professional license for responding to what looked like a plea for help from someone with a voluntary self-harmful behavior. Queer activists succeed there beyond the wildest dreams (well . . . ) of queer activists on this side of the pond.

    Dr. Laura said -before she went soft on homersexuals- the end-game of the normalization of deviant sexuality is being able to have sex with children with impunity. You are to be jailed for your failure to recognize that they HAVE TO do what you recognize is destructive, sinful, disgusting, and just plain wrong to the most defenseless among us.

    Coming soon to a country near you, if you will let it.

    Way to Tone Down the Rhetoric

    In response to the President's call for political rhetoric to be moderated after the recent shooting of a congresscritter, the Democrats respond by calling you a Nazi. There is also a comparison of repealing Obamacare to the frikken holocaust!


    Mr. Cohen, did you not get the memo?

    Project Gunwalker, Stirring The Pot a Little

    Project Gunwalker continues. I just wrote my Elected Heroes asking what they are going to do about the BATFE. When are you planning on writing?

    Well Then Just Nevermind

    #1 has a kitty. Said kitty drinks from a bowl that holds about a quart of water, and maybe a few ounces are actually drunk before the water is too icky for an inside cat to drink. Then it must be dumped and refilled. #1 was seen the other day carrying a very-nearly-full bowl of water clear across the house (kitchen to bedroom) to water the cat. She was staring down at the bowl . and . walking . slowly.

    VFD: #1, you know you don't need to fill the bowl that much.
    #1: Daddy this is how I practice being careful.
    VFD: (considers clutzy nature of an 8 year-old city girl)
    VFD: oh . . . well . . . carry on, then.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Whew! That Was Close!

    I looked at the family's financial books a few days ago and about freaked out. For the last six months, we were showing a running total of negative $1000 or so, every month! I began to have thoughts of a second job, or signing up for charity welfare government assistance programs. So I had a talk with my Darling Wife and we looked over the books together; then I realized something:

    Carryover. The first box on the sheet for every month, that I programmed into our book keeping spreadsheet? The one I forgot about? Yeah, that carryover. In late 2010 we started partying and buying presents, and being sickly. We were a thousand bucks down from then, relative to the arbitrary starting number of the carryover from a month before then. We weren't at -$6000, we were at -$1000 and on the way out of that relative deficit.

    Freak-out canceled, crisis averted, nothing (much) to see here, move along people.

    Still broke as a joke though. Diapers and gas got expensive since #3 was born . . .

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    No Blogging. Busy.

    Minor car troubles. This makes alternator number six with bearings going out. Plus I need a drive belt. For a change, now I'll turn in early. Thanks for checking in. Hit up my blogroll (at the top of the page) if you need something to read until next time.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Quote of The Day 01/16/2011

    The reason why someone like Daisy Khan can make the outrageous statement that "the era of extremism is over" is because ethnic cleansing, mass slaughter, Islamic supremacism and genocide is not extreme, but Islamic purity. -Pamela Gellar

    She is referring to the slaughter in Iraq of 80 Christians during worship services, by peace-loving adherents to the Religion of Peace. Full story at Atlas Shrugs, with pictures. Pictures not suitable for viewing by pregnant women, children, or anyone with a weak stomach.


    P.S., It can happen here, and that's why "some people" carry guns in church.

    P.P.S., Why didn't you hear about this on the nightly news? It happened MONTHS ago.

    Disliking Sodium Fluoride In Tap Water: Not Just for Kooks!

    Washington's Blog has a (very) long list of things which, each, would be a sound basis for removing sodium fluoride from the list of acceptable supplements to municipal water supplies. Together, it's a bit of a slam-dunk "why do we still do this" presentation of facts. Read the whole thing.

    Solved: Open Multiple Text Files Simultaneously with a Batch File

    I wanted to open three text files and one program (not related to the text files) all at once. I did NOT want to double-click on all of them, or open a containing folder, highlight them all, then click enter. I wanted to double-click ONE thing and have all four objects open, all at once. This is for a bible study I'm doing only sometimes. At work I use a bunch of shortcuts in the Startup folder to start the things I always use every day, but that is not suitable for this.

    The off-the-cuff answer was to write a quick batch file to do this, but .bat can be a frustrating thing to use. Most of the frustration comes from the way Batch wants one process to close before starting the next thing on the list. I tried various flavors and commands with CALL and START, but it would just by golly not open all the text files at once. This frustrated me enough to spend something like 3 hours finding the solution below.

    The most pressing problem was opening the text files all at once. SaswatPadhi at go4expert presented the following to a user at that site, and it works perfectly within its limitations. Copy/paste this into a new text document (Notepad) and save it as file type "all files" with a filename ending in .vbs (this is a Visual Basic script). This code will open all the text files in a specified directory:

    Dim objFSO
    Dim MyFile
    Dim MyFolder
    Dim objShell

    Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set MyFolder = objFSO.GetFolder("C:\FolderName")
    Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

    For Each MyFile In MyFolder.Files
    If Right(MyFile.Path,4) = ".txt" Then
    objShell.Run("notepad " + MyFile.Path)
    End If

    Replace C:\FolderName with the path to the folder containing your text files. I saved this as open.vbs and ran it, and it opened all the .txt files in the specified directory. There were a couple of text files in the directory I did NOT want to open, and I don't use them much, so I renamed them filename.tx1 and now open.vbs ignores them. I am sure there is a more specific way to do this to include only the files you want (or exclude the ones you don't) but this gets the job done.

    That left opening the separate program. For this, I was sure I could use a batch file. I had managed to get a batch file to open the program and one text file, and I was pretty sure I could get it to open the program and my spanking-new .vbs file. I got it working . . . but, being a .bat file, the Command window wanted to stay open until the program it CALLED was closed. I thought STARTing the program would do it, but that just opened TWO Command windows and nothing else.

    Someone else already had this problem, and Lasse V. Karlsen at gave the solution: the START command is picky. If you have a path or filename with spaces, the path needs to be inside quotes. It also sees what is in the first set of quotation marks as a title for whatever path/process (in quotes) follows. If what follows is another line with another START command, it doesn't work. START wants to start something with a name AND a path, if you use quotes.

    START "name" "C:\path\to.exe"
    will work but
    START "C:\path\to.exe"
    will not.
    note that the name doesn't have to be anything. A set of quotes with nothing between them will satisfy START, so
    Start "" "C:\path\to.exe"
    will work.

    The reason not to use CALL is that it will keep the Batch file running in an open Command window until the last thing it CALLed is closed. START will shut the window when the process it STARTs is started.

    So I ended up with one thing to double-click to open my text files simultaneously, AND open my program, AND shut itself off when it was done opening all these things. It's a .bat file that looks like this. Insert your paths and filenames as appropriate, and it should work for you too.

    START "" "C:\My Folder\Second Folder\open.vbs"
    START "" "C:\Program Files\Subfolder\program.exe"

    Two lines, that's it. It doesn't even need a CLS or EXIT command. It works by double-clicking one icon for the .bat file. Simple, elegant, and 100% effective.

    For those who need a little more spoon-feeding, what you need to do is copy/paste those lines into a new Notepad document, save it as file type All Files, and give it a file name ending with .bat (not .txt). If you need to open more stuff or different types of stuff, you're on your own, but don't worry - someone before you already had the same question; the answer is out there somewhere!

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Government School Extra-Curicular Shenanigans

    Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you. A college student was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital for two weeks when she reported a suspicion of a hidden camera in her room. There was a hidden camera in her room, but I guess she sounded crazy about it. . .

    I don't think that phrase means what you think it means. Local school board member says he wants parents to communicate with the board by whatever means necessary". In this case, a parent responded to a 04:30 robocall about schools being closed that day by sending a 04:30 robocall to the school board members, complaining. That is clever and probably legal. "By any means necessary" is something that was probably said off-hand and without thought. Do you really want someone to be shot with an engraved bullet? A car bomb to protest parking lot rules? I ain't advocating violence here, just saying: be careful in your choice of words. . . .

    Hat tips to Instapundit and Sipsey Street Irregulars, respectively.

    Louie The Lightning Bug Says . . .

    . . . if you'd watched more TV in the 1980s you'd still be alive!

    Both parents and one of the children in a family in Southern California have been electrocuted to death in their own back yard. Even worse: they had two more kids inside the house, now orphans.

    It seems at least partly like it wasn't their fault they died. This was the SECOND time a power line fell and started a fire in the family's back yard. Do you call 911 and wait for the fire company, or do you fight a fire threatening your home? It seems, if the fire was started by a 12kV high tension line, you might want to let it burn.

    The above commercial played on TV during kids' cartoon time when I was growing up, in a mix with at least a half-dozen others starring Louie the Lightning Bug. From the time we were old enough to understand words, we were told to keep away from and not do things that would kill us like curious cats. I guess it might be easy not to see a high tension line lying like a snake in your burning grass, but here's a PSA for you:

    Look out for downed power lines when you go spraying water on unexplained fires in the vicinity of (formerly) elevated power lines.

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Do We Get A Refund?

    We paid a BILLION dollars for a 'high tech fence' on 53 miles of the US/Mexican border. That project is now to be scrapped. I guess the Congressman's brother in-law at the virtual fence company must have got tired of the con (or something).

    BOO! That's the total tax burden of a hundred thousand families, wasted. Good job.

    Good News Trifecta!

    Our church Secretary sent out a notice this afternoon asking for helping hands tomorrow . . . because the new church building is finally ready for use! It's been a while and there were a few bumps in the road but thanks God it looks like we're ready for prime time!

    More Good News For The Republic(ans)

    Chairman Steele is no longer to be head of the Republican National Committee. Good. I don't know who this new guy is, but I'm guessing he'll do better than to run the RNC $20M into the red like Steele did.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Great Good News For The Republic!

    On the same day, I heard two possibly-astonishingly-good pieces of news.

    "Wobbly" Kay Hutchison announced she will not run for re-election. Here's hoping she retires to a quiet ignominy. Now, Texas, let's see if we can get a gen-u-wine conservative in her spot.

    Herman Cain announced the creation of his exploratory committee for President. I cannot tell you in one sitting how much better Cain would be than Romney, Palin, McCain, any of the Bushes, the Donald, or anyone else even remotely on the radar screen.

    Herman Cain for President!

    Quote of The Day 01/12/2011

    Because the murder-free-zone law that protects the rest of us is just not working well enough. The high officials need a double layer of legal protection. -Ann Althouse
    via Instapundit

    That's it in a nutshell: "Murder-free Zone." The reason why gun control laws are all basically dumb*. If you're willing to wrongfully kill someone in cold blood, laws regarding who can have what bits of metal, wood, and plastic at particular times and places are extremely unlikely to be a deterrent.

    *Gun control. It's not about the guns, no matter how much the law and legislator want to make it sound as if it were.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Mission Accomplished: Tucson Shooting Was Bush's Fault

    I was listening to NPR this morning, and got another example of how their reasonable-sounding dulcet tones sometimes hide genuine weapons-grade leftist craziness. The person on the microphone was using words that sounded sane, but they were being coo-coo. The leftists have now tried to lay the blame for the killings last weekend at the feet of President G.W. Bush and his baaaaad-ol' Republican Congressional allies. They let the good and reasonably-restrictive weapons that look like assault weapons ban expire in 2004. Therefore it was easier to get the wicked evil awful 30-round magazine the crazy person used.

    I immediately pointed out (to the radio and the empty air around me) that a) high-capacity magazines were available during the ban and b) nothing was stopping the crazy person from using two guns with normal-capacity magazines anyway. This canard has been noticed by others and there are a few more reasons the argument holds no water. Hat tip: Uncle.

    Donald Trump For President (?!)

    SRSLY Donald Trump? I heard this recommendation from the mouth of a man who says we need to run the country like a business to get the finances of the nation back in order. With the latter I agree. With the former . . . how about we don't pick for our CEO a man who has gone bankrupt THREE times and narrowly avoided it twice more? Donald Trump has a habit of charging up a brazillion dollars in debt on unworkable schemes and then defaulting, or losing money on unprofitable ventures. Somehow he barely manages to cling to the top of the heap each time.

    Those last two sentences are not something I want applied to America. Just say "No." to The Donald.

    I told NP that Trump is apparently clearly going to run for President of the USA, and the first words out of his mouth were: "he's been bankrupt how many times? NP is no fan of Sarah Palin at all and he said he'd sooner choose Palin than Trump for POTUS. I tend to cuncur.

    I heard Trump on a couple of radio interviews and the hosts seemed all rah-rah for him, but he sounded like a government-educated populist ignoramus to me - on both foreign AND domestic policy. Just perzactly what we DON'T need in a President. We need someone sharp AND knowledgeable, both canny and charming, and without a whole heaping CLOSETfull of skeletons waiting to come bursting out at the first opportunity. Besides which, Donald Trump strikes me as somehow slimy.

    If the Republicans decide to nominate him, you can know that they have decided to either a) abandon principle and hope for a win based on name recognition or b) thrown the contest in favor of allowing the Dear President a second term. It would be possible for him to win, if Trump ran against Obama, but it would be yet another election where a plurality of voters hold their nose and vote anti-Democrat again. Again. Again.

    If the Republicans pick Trump, I hope Dr. Savage does make good on his threat to start up a third political party based on conservative principles, as the Republican party will clearly have gone down the wrong road (at least) one too many times.

    I reiterate my call: Herman Cain for President!

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011


    I am it. The dry air is catching up to me and conspiring with lack of sleep to make me feel bad. Ask me what happened today, tomorrow.

    In related news, #4 is on periodic nebulizer treatments and everyone is boogery. Welcome to 29 degrees and 29% relative humidity.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    -1 Soldier. R.I.P. MAJ Winters.

    The world is a poorer place today. A man among men has died.


    ATF Flys Under The RADAR

    Because you won't find this story on the news, ever:
    Let me repeat that for our slower readers in Keene, New Hampshire: the BATFE is smuggling semiautomatic weapons into Mexico to support their claim that the drug cartels are being equipped by American gun dealers.

    Sipsey Street Irregulars: because Mike cares what his government does and so do I.

    Feel fortunate that you have something like a "news" outlet if you hear on your broadcast news how the Pima county Sheriff failed to prosecute the crazy person for making death threats. The loony toons may feel free to ascribe the crazy person shooting up a Town Hall meeting to the ATF's controlling his mind with syntax, to give the ATF cover while the Walking M-16s story blows over. At least the MSM seems to be doing fairly poorly with their "the righty gun clingers caused it" rhetoric.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Crazy Man Shoots Congresswoman

    I told you he was crazy. Uncle links up the real answers to the questions the media is sure to get 100% wrong, i.e., everything gun-related. Surprisingly, nobody called it an AK-47 but I did hear that it was an automatic weapon (which was of course wrong).

    Go read

    One Sick Puppy

    He's been off his feed and staying in his room more than normal. Last night: repeated vomiting, with flecks of blood. Today: brown/black jelly on the floor and vomited foamy mucus. Nice. Well, we didn't pay anything for him. We'll see how he does. If this keeps up, its da vet. We already told the children VFDdog#2 may be dying.

    You know what people did before veterinarians reached the frontier? What we're going to do: pray and watch.


    Update: My Darling Wife expressed indignation that I would consider taking a dawg to a doctor but not our son. Our son with a cold, vs. a dog puking blood. Also she mentioned my more-pressing need for a new pair of sneakers. Hmm . . . maybe I'm the animal lover here, after all. Well, if I can writhe on the bed for a day to see what happens before calling a doctor, a dog can too.

    This post was significantly edited later the same day it was written.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Do Want: Kel Tec Shotgun (KSG)

    Pump action
    tactical black w/ synthetic stocks
    Short as can be
    DUAL 7-round magazines on board (14 total)
    sub-$1000 (estimated) MSRP
    What's not to like?

    Well, okay it's ugly but it's ugly in a utilitarian, 14-rounds-and-no-drum-magazine sort of way. Plus 14 rounds of leaded Magnum 12 gauge would be heavy-ish, but still . . . you'd have 14 of them!

    Thanks For Your Input

    . . . but I almost never watch YouTube videos, and I'm not going to embed them without watching. I also don't often respond directly to unsolicited e-mail. Still, thanks all the same.

    This is Not How Things Are Done!

    In America, we have the ballot box. We do not simply run up and bust caps in the heads of congresscritters! Even if they are Democrats! No, no NO! Bad crazy person, bad!

    The Dodo Bird & Dr. Laura's Career

    Following a minor controversy over "just words," Dr. Laura Schlessinger has stopped her nation-wide syndicated daily call-in radio show. This leads me to wonder: Is Dr. Laura popular because she was syndicated, or was she syndicated because she was popular? Or both? Certainly she has a cult following, but will they bother to follow her on to a non-broadcast medium? Will it all go kooky then go sour, or will she be able to maintain?

    Time will tell. I think, right now, she is working against herself. I went to her website and tried to find a way to listen to her show online. This, by the way, is an awful lot to expect from a radio show listener. I looked for a way to listen to a show currently being sent out ("listen live" or whatever) and couldn't find one. IF you have a paid Sirius or XM radio subscription, or IF you sign up to join her club, then you can listen online. It may just be a "feature" of her website. There may be a "Listen Live" button when she's in her studio and I didn't see it . . . but I think not.

    She may be getting too big for her britches. Let's see how she's doing in the ratings a year from now, when terrestrial radio listeners have found some other (free) show to which to listen. Make no mistake, Dr. Laura is a gozillionaire and doesn't have to do a radio show. She could do nothing or start up a hugely successful private practice again if she wanted to. She wants to do call-in advice radio, though, and she's no longer on the radio. So . . .

    . . . good luck with that.

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Gates Is Chintzy

    A second company to be a back-up to manufacture engines for the next generation fighter aircraft we need, but health care for the veterans, we don't need? You stay classy, Secretary Gates.

    News Flash: Fluoridated Drinking Water is BAD For Teeth!

    The feds are planning to almost-halve the recommended level of fluorides in municipal drinking water supplies. Good.

    They are doing this -unfortunately, this is a surprise these days- out of apparent concern for a health problem caused by excessive fluoride intake. Turns out it causes cosmetic damage to teeth. Okay, it also causes teeth to rot and fall out but hey . . .

    Gee, if only anyone had known before now that water supplies should not be poisoned fluoridated! I guess it's a good thing the only possible side-effect of massive doses of this supplement without patient consent is a mere cosmetic dental blemish . . . oh, wait. . . .

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Rough Viewing

    I would almost rather see the place burned to the ground, than to see a library full of books go to waste from years of neglect. Especially in a school system that pays the most per student of any, but which lacks money for light bulbs and toilet paper.

    A shameful photo essay on the state of the abandoned schools (and corruption) in Detroit.

    Another Bird Kill

    This time, the explanation is that the birds were killed by cars driving into them, in their hundreds. The last two incidents of hundreds of birds killed were officially fireworks (at 11:30!) new years eve scaring birds then they were blinded by fireworks and flew into the ground. NO explanation for the fish kills.

    Pick one:
  • We are being lied to by government agencies that also don't know what is happening
  • We are being lied to by government agencies covering "it" up
  • The fish were run over by cars
  • Madness @ Work!

    Where I work we have a custom software program written in-house by IT Buddy and one other (ex-)employee. IT Buddy is swamped with maintaining the program, with all the "hey let's try this" he gets from upper management. He had barely finished sending SC off to make copies of a brand-new form for submitting change requests for this software, when I went into his office.

    I told ITB that I had a few ideas, and he said to go get a form from SC. Without the form, he said, the idea is guaranteed to be forgotten and never implemented. I went to find SC to get a few forms.

    I caught up with him in Regulation Girl's office. I asked if he had run off copies of the form yet. He held up a single sheet of paper* and said "This form? We were just discussing it." They were discussing whether or not there should be a request form to be able to acquire a form to (anonymously) submit an idea for consideration.

    Read that last sentence again. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    It was a truly bizarre moment. I could hardly breathe, and was torn between laughing or crying at the sheer absurdity of the concept. I banged my head into RG's office door BANG and it bounced off the wall BANG and I did it again, and again, BANG-BANG BANG-BANG BANG-BANG. I walked away without a form (or a form to request the form), laughing my ass off. I continued to laugh as I exclaimed "My company is turning into Initech!" and then I LOL'd some more. I was afraid a few times I would asphyxiate from laughing so hard. NP was fighting other software-related insanity all day, and he was primed and went off like a LOL volcano when I told him about this. I went back to IT Buddy and he LOL'd as well and said I had to blog about it. When I got home, I laid this on my Darling Wife and she LOL'd.


    *Yes that's right, paper forms to submit ideas for software changes in an internet-based company. That would be, an entirely DIFFERENT form than the anonymous online idea-submission form we already have. The mind boggles.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Even President Obama Thinks President Obama Stinks!

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies." -Senator B.H. Obama, March 20, 2006

    We're over $14T in the hole and we're coming up hard on the (ahem) "debate" over whether to extend ourselves a few zillion more dollars worth of fresh credit card available balance. For once, I find a quote from President Obama with which I can wholeheartedly AGREE.

    It's Funny Because It's True

    My Darling Wife took the healthy half of the Zoo to church tonight and my fatigue/sinus congestion headache and I watched over the unhealthy half. #3 was good, and went down as intended (to bed, not to sleep, but he was quiet at least). #4 is still incapable of goodness or badness, but he also went to sleep on schedule. Then, 20 minutes later, he woke up and started crying. Then he continued to cry. After that, he cried some more. For almost a full hour.

    My Darling Wife got home almost a full hour late (coincidence?!) and within a minute, #4 was smiles and sunshine again, with nature's finest pacifier just where he wanted it. I told her

    VFD: Just don't give him a frying pan.
    DW: A frying pan?
    VFD: You remember the baby dinosaur?
    DW: LOL Oh, not the mama!

    When I was a mere lad, this was funny because it was comic genius. Now, to quote Danny DeVito, "It's like lookin' in a mirra!"

    Study Results Can Be Manipulated? Really?

    Well, at least it got the mercury out of most of our vaccines. The first study linking childhood vaccines to diagnoses of Autism has been debunked. To the tune of "almost half the study subjects had faked medical histories." Wow.

    Madness @ Work

    I let one of the guys at work use my computer. He just wanted "to download a file real quick" onto a thumb drive instead of going back across the building to his own computer. When I came back to my station, he had closed TWO of the internet windows I was using. Windows which required waiting for a lengthy authentication process after logging in, to be useful again. AND he left his own web page open.

    Hold on there.

    When you use someone else's computer, you don't do jack doodly-SQUAT to the stuff they have open. The little red Xs on the screen are radioactive as far as your cursor is concerned. This is a matter of (what should be) common courtesy. If you want to use the internet, open up a whole new process. Start->Programs->Mozilla Firefox. At the very least, open a new tab (File->New->Tab) for your browsing needs. Don't just navigate away from whatever web page they had up and close the tab when you're done! GRRRRRrrrrr . . .It is to my advantage that I use what is possibly the world's most excellent input device instead of a mouse. He didn't like it. Good. Feel free to not use it again. Ever. :p

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Go to a Pharmacy for Your Drugs

    My Darling Wife sent me to the HEB grocery store for some milk and eggs, and I told her I'd also go to Walgreens for some Sudafed for the kids. She said HEB now has a little card on the shelf which you can take to the pharmacy to purchase the evil, restricted pseudoephedrine. I thought that was pretty spiffing, so I stopped at HEB first.

    They have the cards and it looks like they have their act together. I snagged a card for Children's Sudafed syrup, walked over and handed it to the clerk at the pharmacy counter. The PFY told me "this product has been back-ordered, for weeks." I told him "Then you need to give Walgreens a call, because they know where to get it!" and left to go buy my other groceries. This, by the way, comes after they (lying) told my Darling Wife that both Sudafed and Tavist had been discontinued by the manufacturers.

    I went to Walgreens and they had the Sudafed in its usual location, clearly visible from the pharmacy counter. I mentioned the foregoing to the pharmacist, and she said that Walgreens has multiple suppliers. I said "How hard was that?" and showed my State-issued Guaranteed Not To Be A Felon 4 Sho card and paid, and took my thank-you-Jesus-for-this-wonderful-stuff medicine home.

    I think maybe HEB doesn't want to sell Sudafed.

    Incandescent Light Bulbs vs. Halogen Lamps

    The question has been decided, and quite emphatically. I went to the local grocery and bought a name-brand halogen "60 watt replacement" bulb off the shelf for $2. That was surprisingly low, as I had braced myself to spend up to $4 for one bulb. Our regular incandescent bulbs we use at the house cost $1 each.

    I pulled the "daylight" incandescent with the fancy neodymium glass out of the living room fixture, and installed a halogen that looks for all the world like a standard bulb. I switched it on.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new champion!

    That was all she wrote. I have the feeling if people who use the premium daylight incandescents all tried these halogens, they would switch over to halogen to the 99th percentile.


    For the record, the old bulb was a Sylvania Daylight 60 watter, and the new is a Sylvania Super Saver 43 watt halogen. This is as high-end as HEB gets for light bulbs, and it appears to be quite good-enough. In the garage/workshop it's bright like the sun with a DOZEN 40-watt 4-foot fluorescent tubes on the ceiling. We do have one compact fluorescent in the house. It died last night, probably out of spite. It will be replaced with another CFL because it suits the application: slow warm-up prevents sudden BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT! action during 03:00 restroom visits. I'm not really against fluorescents, but I am against mandating their use where it is possibly hazardous, unhealthy, and otherwise inappropriate. As for the environmental benefits of CFL bulbs: humbug!

    Faint Glimmers of Hope

    The freshmen and newly-minted-conservative Republicrats in Congress are giving me reason to think that it may not be the end of the Republic just yet. They are making noises anyway about not raising the debt ceiling (now that you and I have officially reached $14T in the hole). They are proposing new rules for the House. Sure, rules (like Speaker Pelosi's Pay-as-you-Go rule) are easy enough to waive for every bill, but they sound sincere. They are even looking to poke a sharp stick in Obama's eye by staging a vote to repeal Obamacare even before his State of the Union Address.

    It looks like they may actually be starting on the right track. Now if only they can avoid being bought by lobbyists, and avoid caving to calls for "tolerance and bipartisanship" from the people who shut them completely out of power for the last two years.

    Quote of The Day 01/04/2011

    "The word "efforting" is prohibited for use under my roof, except in jest, and then only occasionally!" -me, 6 minutes ago

    Efforting: it is not a word. It is what people say when they are too lazy to use the additional four or five words required to make "effort" make sense in a sentence. Saying "efforting" makes you sound like an ignoramus. Now, nod your head in agreeance and we can all move on to the next posting . . .

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Gas Prices: Where Is The Outrage?

    President Obama is getting his wish. He said he wanted gasoline prices to go to $4/gallon gradually (so it's not such a shock), and here we are creeping up through $3/gallon again. As the leftists in the press have their hero in office right now, this is not a problem like it was when the other guy's ox stood to be gored. Government interference with the energy market is screwing up the prices we pay for oil and gas. Still. This toying with our pocketbooks is something for which I previously criticized President Bush; but the treat-the-people-like-they're-stupid tactic has been brought out yet again. So, yet again, I will criticize.

    The Department of the Interior says they will allow some drilling for oil to resume. The economy will take off like a shot now, surely!

    Hold on there.

    This is how the leftists try to convince the Useful Idiots out there that someone in D.C. has a clue what should be done. What should be done is briefly summed up as "Drill here, drill now, pay less" but there is a problem with that strategy. The problem is that the Democrats in Congress are beholden to watermelon environmentalist pressure groups. We CANNOT allow drilling here, now, for lower energy prices, because it prevents Democrats being supported by the leftist environmentalist-whacko base demographic. So what we'll do instead of "Something" is put out statements which sound nice but will have little short-term benefit.

    When you tell a giant monster mega oil company they can't drill for oil anymore, they take their half-million-dollars-a-day-whether-they-are-drilling-or-not drilling platform somewhere they can, you know, actually drill. Scheduling this takes many many months. For Uncle to suddenly turn around and say "just kidding, come drill again!" will lead to relatively little effort in the short-term. Not only is it hideously expensive and time-consuming to relocate and start up a drilling rig, the payout is long-term. The roughnecks sometimes have to keep drilling for a while to produce a winner. It is even possible, if Exxon (or whoever) thinks Interior will turn right around and kick them off their oil lease again in six months


    coming back. But you rubes in flyover country will hear that President Obama tried to get the oil companies to come play again but they wouldn't. The press can then whip up your feverish little mind to blame the Republicans now (closer to being) in power, and the Democrats escape blame for the damage their policies do. Great success!

    Don't fall for it. Remember next November: incumbent politicians from BOTH parties allow the moratoria on new drilling to continue, year after year. Energy security? Is that a lobbying group?

    Vote the bums out.


    In Related news, President Obama has failed yet again to live up to his promises to the environmental movement, and declared he will allow deep water oil drilling just like the Deepwater Horizon was doing before it blew up in the gulf . . .

    Trashy Detective Mystery Part IV

    Today at lunchtime I called Former Trash Co., Inc. and talked to "Erica." She said my Darling Wife had called and canceled our trash service on the 16th of last month. That was a bit of a surprise, because I had told said Darling Wife that I was calling Former Trash Co. as I dug an old bill out of the filing cabinet this morning . . . and she didn't mention having called them to cancel the service. So I got off the phone with "Erica" and called my Darling Wife, who said they were putting words in her mouth. I called Former Trash Co., and spoke with "Mikaela" and got a slightly different word the second time around.

    It turns out this was the person who processed my account closing. It was done at the order of the City of Davesville. The effective date of the cancellation of our service: Last Friday, the day after I got the notice from Davesville that we had to (or else!) use the service the fascisti in Davesville pick for us. This lady who wasn't lying straight out her [deleted] was kind enough to give me the direct line to the Person to Speak To in Davesville. So I called them.

    The person at the City office was, at that moment, looking at my "Unhappy Camper" letter. She was all cheerful and nice, and said we could feel free to leave our trash bags at the curb until New Trash Co., Inc. Local 743 gets around to bringing us a new trash can. That'll be about a week. Contrast this with the DAY it took Former Trash Co. to get us a new trash can, but okay it's da gummint, what are you going to do?

    I'm going to hope the dogs don't get into our trash bags.

    The lady at the City asked about the recycle bin I didn't order. I told her I could grow a potato plant in it if they really wanted to send us one, and confirmed that we could order a recycle bin if we wanted to, later.

    So there it is. My tax dollars hard at work.


    She didn't say anything about the deposit.

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Wake Up, Loud People!

    Senator "loud people" Lindsay Graham, possibly in an attempt to compensate for having a girly name, is proposing permanent bases in A-stan. Great. Just what we need. MORE troops permanently forward-deployed.

    How about this instead: Posit terms that, when met, mean we will have "won" in Afghanistan*. Then install new Rules of Engagement that allow actual combat. Follow this with enough troops and kickassery to actually meet the terms of "victory" whatever those might be, then bring all our men home.

    Qui bono?

    If they start making actual serious appropriations committee-level noises about this, it will be time to call out the loud people. For now, just realize this is what some of your Elected Heroes want to do with our money.


    *Raise your hand if you can name our strategic objectives in Afghanistan.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    WTH That's Just WRONG.

    I was looking for some nasty-nose information and stumbled on the website of the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin. There, I found this messed-up image:

    That right there is why Austin and the Central Texas region would be uninhabitable without modern chemistry. You are looking at (approximately) 1.27 brazillion little bits of pollen coming off ONE ashe juniper ("mountain cedar") tree. That, plus the 32 gallons of water an adult cedar consume every day, are reason enough for me to be willing to join up if someone starts a "CHOP EM ALL DOWN DAY" in Central Texas.

    Also wrong:

    We didn't know what the mystery plant in the back yard was until just now. That'd be ragweed, to which my Darling Wife is allergic.

    There is no such thing as fresh, clean air in Central Texas.

    All images are taken from, home of the Allergy and Asthma Center of Austin. Click on any image to see it full size.

    Winner of the most-amusing website name of the day: People Against Cedars

    Providian & Martha Kunkle: Chutzpa!

    It takes a pretty high degree of disrespect for the law and the customer to have robo-signers in your company lie to the judge on a routine basis. It takes a special kind of send-me-to-jail-please chutzpa to have as one of your robo-signers a woman who has been fifteen years DEAD. Wow. From Naked Capitalism

    It Gets Better. It Gets Better.

    Sometimes, a parent must tell himself things like this, to maintain his sanity. Three nights running, for at least half of a nonstandard (short, from staying up late) sleeping period, #4 has been unable to sleep without being held comfortably by a parent. No, we don't have a manual on comfortable positions. No, what is comfortable now will not necessarily be comfortable in half an hour. No, you can't so much as slump your head on a couch pillow to fall asleep, even if the baby is mostly lying on couch pillows, because it will move (and thereby awaken) him. No, the other children will not sleep past dawn, regardless of how much rest you have managed to get.

    Six months almost exactly, and a little cold, and a whole frikken MOUTHFUL of teeth trying to come through at once. It gets better, eventually. It gets better. It gets better . . . .