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Saturday, October 02, 2004
6:43:00 AM by DFA *
So Nemo, KD, and I are off to see PJ Harvey in Chicago. Hooray! It's the same theater as her 9/13/2001 show, the same opening act, and if this show is one tenth the quality of that one (quick recap, it was two days after September 11th, they were in DC during the attacks watching the Petagon burn from their hotel, they were horrified with the news, yet they stayed and finished out their tour with the 9/13 show being the first after the attacks, and it was one of the most amazing concert moments of my life) then we are in for one heck of a good time. Cap that off with great jazz and good beer at the Green Mill, and we'll be four sheets to the wind on our way to ecstasy.

A couple of thoughts before I climb into KD's pimp-ride...

Here are a couple of spam subject lines I received this week:

your girlfriend know you watch girls fingering their anus
First of all...I (and likely Mrs. DFA) didn't know that I had a girlfriend. Second, if I do have a girlfriend, PLEASE INTRODUCE ME TO HER! Third, even if I did have a girlfriend, OF COURSE she knows that I watch girls fingering their anuses!!! I mean, if she's my girlfriend she knows what a perverted man I am, which necessarily means that she knows that I watch girls fingering their anuses! Geez! Like this is a shock or something?! (Yes...anuses...that's the proper plural form. But I prefer the funnier, incorrect anii, thank you very much. Gee...wonder why the spammer didn't use the plural form?)
Eleminate Your debt the Christian way
Now...I wasn't sure how to read this... If you read the capitalized words, then it is saying "Eleminate Your Christian," which I've already done years ago, and is something I have highly recommended to anyone and everyone ever since. But if you take a slightly more literal read, they are saying that you should eleminate your debt by using Christian princicples. Which, I guess would be as follows:
  • Before paying off your debt, give your tithe to Mother Church (if you want to not be in HELL when you die because you didn't pay money while you lived).
  • Pray every day for assistance on your debt, while letting the interest rack up to unbelievable levels.
  • Say that the debt is "my cross to bear" to anyone who will listen to your whining, and privately drone on about how these creditors must be infidel unbelieving scum.
  • When the debt is simply Too Much, then declare war on the creditors, invade their territory, kill the infidel unbelievers who would dare enslave another soul with their financial chains, slaughter everyone in the name of God, then proceed to use their land and holdings to live a better, debt-free, Christian life.
How about I just make the monthly payments with a little extra to wipe out some principle instead...

Pease, Lube, and Grok. I'm off to see the wizardess!

4:18:00 AM by mark *
5 hours later... I have once again convinced Windows that a computer that has no SCSI chips, cards, drives, or cables shouldn't use the SCSI drivers to run the harddrives.


Friday, October 01, 2004
11:49:00 PM by mark *
Well, my home computer is fucked. Again. Thanks to Windows. Again. Because I wanted to install a damn microphone.

Tinkering with audio drivers (since it didn't "just work" like it should) leads me to discover more problems with the base OS install. Attempting to correct those problems now leads me to a half dead computer. Thanks Bill!

2:29:00 PM by Kilroy *
I know that some hobbies can be confusing and require a bit of assistance to get into but, really, Dungeons and Dragons for Dummies?!? I suppose it will become known as D&DfD.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
6:50:00 PM by mark *
I'm late to poker but I had to comment on these before I left work:
  • Fake News: Senators Call for Software Exploit Waiting Period... what makes this priceless is the included graphic of the WinXP Start Pop-up featuring "My Buffer Overflows".
  • Real News: Microsoft FAT File System Patent Rejected. They didn't deserve a patent on a derivative filesystem they bought from someone who copied it from someone else's research.
  • Real Fake News: Edwards Notes Cheney Warned of Getting 'Bogged Down' in Iraq... yeah, and we did, didn't we? 10+ years of Baby-Sitting presided over by Clinton and the U.N. for the most part. If we'd started then the 4-5 years till a real government was in place would have been over before Ken Starr finished his Magnum Cigar Opus. And it would have been a bogged down nightmare. It is a bogged down nightmare. Still, if we were baby-sitting it still while Saddam played petty politics with inspectors and tried to rile up Isreal again it would be worse there.

Aside: I'm sick of he-said (10 years ago), he-said (20 years ago). I'm pretty sure that all four candidates can honestly say they know why they did then what they did but wouldn't do it that way now given what they know and how they've grown. Can we move on to real, actual, political discourse? Please?

11:00:00 AM by mark *
Snopes debunks the stupid God Hates On Republicans With Hurricanes myth.
10:41:00 AM by KD *

Just a reminder...

Mark is da bomb-diggedy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
6:07:00 PM by mark *
Porcupine Love.
5:49:00 PM by mark *
"The fruit is also antihemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue and stomachic. These pungent fruited peppers are important in the tropics as gastrointestinal detoxicants and food preservatives."

Cayenne pepper... if you're wondering.

2:31:00 PM by mark *
The spacecraft landed successfully sez CNN. Of course, it follows that up with "but hit problems shortly after the rocket ignited during its vertical ascent. It began a series of about 40 barrel rolls that stopped only when the burn ended and the craft reached its top altitude."


Tuesday, September 28, 2004
5:12:00 PM by mark *
Well, since it turned into a war day here on my nice, quiet little anything blog we might as well mention the article about the Terrorists Failing that I snagged from Ipse Dixit. Good article, recommended.
3:25:00 PM by mark *
Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy has "Three Questions for the Pro-War Blogosphere". Now, in preface, let me say that I don't necessarily consider myself "Pro-War". I'm actually rather ambivalent about the Iraq issue. I rate it as a necessary quagmire. It was a tarbaby we had to de-punch. In general, I believe that war is a fine way to settle otherwise untractable problems... for instance, thanks to war, there is an extremely low chance that the British Crown will be allowed to levy taxes on my children.

First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?

I was indeed in favor of it. And it was a good idea. It remains a good idea. Unfortunately, I think the bullshit about why we went in there was annoying and stupid. In all truth, we were ten years into our war with Iraq, continuing from the time of their attack on our Kuwaiti friends. Once Afganistan had demonstrated just how much military capacity was required to occupy and maintain a rogue country we saw quite clearly that our standing manpower wasn't great enough to fight many battles at that scale at once. And, we had a significant amount of military might already tied up trying to keep Iraq bottled up. By opening another front in the region, we both exposed ourselves to getting into a multicornered affair if Iraq stepped up again and the potential of having to drop our coverage on Iraq to handle some second conflict.

As messy and horrible as it seems, completing the dissolution of Saddam Hussein's goverment and trying to institute a more rational (or temporarily crippled by internal affairs, at the very least) goverment so that we could effectively recover those forces in shorter order was the best solution. Leaving him in power unchecked would be unconscionable and deadly. Continuing to bottle him up for 2 or three more years while the possibility of a second Afghanistan remains extant would cripple our response or force us to do the unconscionable by abandoning Iraq. And worse, if another one crops up in that region we would wind up assaulted from multiple fronts and split up on the ground.

At this point, we could withdraw to respond to a second crisis. The results in Iraq would be nightmarish but they wouldn't be an immediate threat. And every week that we push toward restoring order, local goverment, and the resumption of international aid improves our ability to mobilize in the advent a second, real, terrorist threat.

Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above?

They are the price of doing war. Anyone who is surprised that people are dying over there needs to read a book about war. We're not there to be policemen, we're not there to cuddle them, we're not fighting happy shiny people from planet goodtimes. We're there to crush the machine built by a tyrant and to shake loose the devil-dealers who thought they had room to operate under his umbrella. We are there because we beat them down and they wouldn't play ball when we told them what they had to do to make us leave. We won a war they started but couldn't get them to take the settlement plan we offered as a price of stopping where we did. Of course, we have an obligation to leave it better than we found it because doing less than maintaining and restoring civil order means trouble for ourselves down the road. Beyond that, we're humans and we owe it to our fellow people to not fuck them over worse than is required to save ourselves.

Right now there are a large number of people in the world who truly think that anything can be talked out and negotiated. I honestly believe they are basically, fundamentally, incorrect. Their world view, however, ensures that any setback or roadbump will be trimuphantly displayed as proof we should have been talking all along and not doing this shooting and bombing thing. At the basis of it all, they seem to believe that only positive reinforcement is required to shape a mind, that words and intentions are all that is needed to convince, that good hearts will be reflected everywhere they shine. I think the carrot is useless without the stick. To train any system, be it a mind, a political body, or culture you need to teach what must not be done as well as what one may do to be rewarded. And the worst thing you can ever do is reward what must not be done.

The people in that region have been assured by their leaders both political and religious that we are a fainting and core-rotten people who would crumble at the first sign of real trouble. Like the bushido of Japan in the 1940s, they really didn't understand how much of our strength comes from apparent weakness. As fractious as our culture is, as divided and weird as we get, we have a shared will born of our belief in our innate right to be fractious, weird and disagreable. As paradoxical as it seems, we really will die to defend our neighbor's right to make a quisling ass of himself. And a demonstration of how willing we are to kick their ass once we're good and pissed off is doing more than people think... unless we flip over and wimp out due to bad press and weak wills just as they expected.

If we finish this, regardless of the overall opinion of our godliness and peaceful intentions, no one in the region will soon be fooled into thinking we're too weak to suck up the casualties needed to bring the war right back to their yard scaled up beyond their wildest dreams. We must teach them that there is loss to their actions, not just that there is no gain. And we can't, ever, reward their terrorist, tyrannical ways lest we invite more of the same.

Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?

The number of troops we free up to pursue other terrorists. The number of years Iraq remains too peaceful, democratic, or discombobulated to threaten us. The number of terrorist factions who can't find a safe haven and have to go on the run from border to border to avoid their own people killing them to keep us from coming back again. The number of people in the region who when polled admit their own people have done more to get them killed than we ever did.

The goal of terrorism is intimidation, the imposition of will. In war, intimidation is merely a tool of a focussed will, a way to save resources for later. Right now, we conquer to take away capability, and attempt to control while rebuilding so that we might leave a non-enemy behind... but the real payoff will be the level of fear we instill in potential enemies. I don't think there is a criteria that will measure that. How do you measure how deeply you've convinced a foreign culture that sticking their bloody hands into our cookie jar will get it cut off and fed to them? As always, the real judgement will come from what actions they take, not from what words they speak, nor what is said about them.

Now... that came out even more hawkish than I thought. Hmm. Still, the fundamental points of why I support the war are there. It boils down to this... we spent ten years punching a tar-baby and getting suck worse and worse before the real wolf scared us into pulling our hands slowly free. But getting our hands free is the real goal. Doing so without losing too much face on the world stage and without just turning Iraq into another gangland nightmare isn't easy... but even doing so poorly is better than having our hands stuck when we find we need them swinging free.

Monday, September 27, 2004
5:13:00 PM by mark *
The only really useful thing to come out of the recent trials of Microsoft and the SCO vs. IBM affair have been the great law-blogs that have risen up to detail them. You can learn a lot from a nice conversational article penned by a (former/current) lawyer.

Check out Partial Summary Judgements on GrokLaw and pretty much everything over at LAMLaw's Wrap And Flow.

Oh, and this Anthrological View on Open Source is pretty interesting also... since it mostly covers the political agnosticism of the free software types. (Please note, I'm doing my best not to capitalize "Free Software" anymore. It ain't that proper a noun and if we win it will be because we mentally made it the lower case choice.

Sunday, September 26, 2004
11:52:00 PM by mark *
Had I mentioned yet that I am doing the election poll worker thing again this year? It's going to be insane. They are hoping for 70% turnout overall. That means 500 people out of about 700 will run through my poll in 12 hours.

The county attorney stated in no uncertain terms, "We will not be this year's Florida!" I love that. They gave us extra instructions on how to handle electioneering. I'm hoping this is the year I get to call a sheriff. Going to be insane... but fun.