Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scared To Death

oh_no_homer.jpgHow Stuxnet is Scaring the Tech World Half to Death by Jonathan Last in The Weekly Standard.

I have only three questions: Who? Why?

...and When?

Update: The Economist has some more clues.

Update: ESR wonders, hackers or crackers?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worst Of The Worst

Cato Institute graded the governors on their fiscal policies. Seven received failing grades.
    F   Washington    Chris Gregoire (D)    39
F Wisconsin Jim Doyle (D) 35
F Colorado Bill Ritter (D) 35
F Illinois Pat Quinn (D) 30
F Connecticut Jodi Rell (R) 28
F New York David Paterson (D) 25
F Oregon Ted Kulongoski (D) 19
Way to go, Ted. Bottom of the class, and by a significant amount.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Computer Engineer Barbie

computer_engineer_barbie.jpgYeah, yeah, I know. I run into these little dolls everywhere I go.

It's an occupational hazard.

Computer Engineer Barbie, new this fall. For $12.99 she's yours.

Come spring you'll see them perched on every other monitor in the cube farm; the hacker's equivalent of the truck driver's little chrome mud flap babe: hey, this is what I think about when I ain't drivin' this truck, or typin' this code, whatever.

Dream on, guys. Barbie really wants to be a TV anchorwoman.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Aptitude Test...

winslow_traffic_cone.gif... would come back about the same, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Got The Field Signs Up

huffman_field_sign_thumb.jpgFinally, this afternoon, after many delays. One facing each way on a busy highway. I don't know that field signs have ever changed anyone's mind, but at this point Jim Huffman is still struggling for name recognition. This ought to buy him some.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Essential Reading

zoe_heller_believers.gifZoe Heller is subversive.

Brendan Bernhard makes the case that this "professed atheist with an M.A. in Marxist theory" has written a profoundly conservative book. I've just finished it and every word he says is true. It's a rip roaring good read too.

My conservative friends can find the hardcover used for 60¢ (plus $3.99 shipping) at Amazon. Liberals will of course want to buy it new for $18.97.

Either way: Buy it, read it. You won't regret it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


My fifteen year old daughter often asks us to define the words we use. His situation is precarious, we said, referring to Grandpa.

"What's that mean," she asked, "precarious?"

I didn't have a good answer off the top of my head. Ask the magic box.

Google etymology: precarious.
1640s, a legal word, "held through the favor of another," from L. precarius "obtained by asking or praying," from prex (gen. precis) "entreaty, prayer." Notion of "dependent on the will of another" led to sense "risky, dangerous, uncertain" (1680s).
I never knew that.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kitzhaber's Thugs

Punch a man in the face for just filming his speech.

...and he goes right on talking.

Hat tip to local blogger Jim Wickre, who spotted this on NRO.


In the Eyeblast comments thread, there's considerable discussion over this man's assertion of his "first amendment rights."

I have to agree, just because it's a "free speech" doesn't mean you have a right to film it. But I don't think it was the "freedom of speech" clause he was referring to as much as the "freedom of the press" clause. Now, granted, video cameras weren't around in 1789, or even still cameras, but a man generally has a right to take notes, and if he can sketch fast enough, draw pictures, and then he can publish them if he wants to. And Congress shall make no law prohibiting him from doing so. But this wasn't Congress telling him to stop filming, this was a church.

So... what would Jesus say?
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? &mdash John 18:23
Yes, indeed: why smitest thou him?
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. — Matthew 18:15-17
You heathen publican, you.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy camera forbid not to take thy vote also. — Luke 6:27-29
See you in November, Kitz.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just In Time For Christmas

cover-iraq-inside-the-inferno_thumb.jpgSigned and numbered first editions.

I've ordered mine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gold, Guns, and Money

In another forum I said
In 1880 the Remington-Keene Frontier Rifle cost $22.00, or an ounce of gold. In 2010 a Remington Mountain Rifle and Scope costs about $1250.00, or an ounce of gold. The value of gold has not changed.
A number of people found that interesting. I've been on about gold a few times. In March I told a little parable.
Suppose you went down to your local currency store with a pocket full of shiny gold coins to purchase an engraved portrait of Grover Cleveland printed on high quality paper with the finest of inks....
A year ago December I quoted Doug Casey.
It's an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. Gold is money.
And before that Ludwig von Mises.
Gold is not the standard money solely on account of its brilliance or its physical and chemical characteristics. Gold is the standard money primarily because an increase or decrease in the available quantity is independent of the orders issued by political authorities.
There's a reason I'm going on about this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


over_the_falls_ramirez.jpgMichael Ramirez, of course.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Like It Sounds

James Taranto.
CBS News reports that Sen. Liza Makowsky misspelled her own name in a campaign ad--and she's running a write-in candidacy! "[The ad] told viewers to visit" That site actually belongs to a supporter of Joe Miller, who beat Muchoskey in last month's Republican primary.

More good news for Miller: A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows him leading the three-way race with 42%, vs. just 27% for Mussolinowski and 25% for Democrat Scott McAdams.

The Associated Press reports that Mysteriowsky "said Monday she feels that Republican leaders have turned their backs on her as she mounts a write-in bid to try to hold onto her seat." She "told The Associated Press that the focus in Washington seems to be more on 'adding numbers to the team' and less on the quality of a candidate."

But wait. Party leaders are supposed to support their party's nominee, and defeated incumbents* are supposed to step aside gracefully. Apparently nobody bothered to tell that to Mickeymouski.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Lesser Of Two Evils?

Since its very early days this blog has provided a search box in the side bar, and up 'till now it's been a Google monopoly. No longer. You now have a choice of either Google or Bing.

Which is the lesser? How should I know; you think I'm St. Peter?

Let me just say that, while I believe that William Henry Gates III is a deeply, deeply evil man, his company, as a hole, don't be eviller than the Google.

They both write crap for software.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Video Gamers

Borepatch has a PSA.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Forty Years Ago Today

turtle_island_jimi_hendrix.jpgJimi Hendrix died.

I'm not much into rock music any more; I mostly listen to classical. To compromise, I'm listening to a CD of Jimi Hendrix's compositions as performed by the Turtle Island String Quartet.

I think he would have liked it.

No, I think he would have loved it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rainy Weekend Read

americas_one_child_policy.jpgTake a break from politics. How about a little demographics instead?

The most important article you'll read this weekend is the cover story of The Weekly Standard: America’s One-Child Policy by Jonathan V. Last.
In the face of 35 years of failed incentives, Japan’s fertility rate stands at 1.2. This is below what is considered “lowest low,” a mathematical tipping point at which a country’s population will decline by as much as 50 percent within 45 years. This is a death spiral from which, demographers believe, it is impossible to escape. Then again, that’s just theory: History has never seen fertility rates so low.
It's a voluntary human extinction movement.

Friday, September 17, 2010


d-d-deercolor_thumb.jpgThe new, improved Democrat party unveiled a logo redesign so pathetically lame that everybody's making fun of it.

This wonderful illustration — and psephological prediction — comes from the ever amusing Weasel Times & Stoat Intelligencer. (Link in my side bar in case you lose it.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Constitution Day

Remember the Constitution? Whatever happened to it anyway?

dirty_dozen.jpgThe Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom by Robert A. Levy and William Mellor

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meg and Jerry

Willie Brown on the California governor's race.
...let me set the record straight on Whitman's charge that Brown was getting an allowance from his parents until well into his 50s — he's still getting it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Old School Mates

I've added a new list of links to the side bar. This time it's people who, purely by chance and circumstance, went to high school with me. Let me reiterate: it's not their fault. David Handy and Phil Fake have long been in my side bar, of course. The two new ones blog anonymously, so I won't reveal their not-too-secret identities, but one of them, the Lounge Lizard, has posted his bio, which gives a lot away.
returning to roseburg in 1960. one year after the roseburg disaster of 1959. my father purchased a small 25 seat restaurant for $10,000 which was why we all moved back to roseburg. this restaurant became my father's dream business. he named it chin's restaurant. so original.
anonymous_chin_at8yrs.jpgAh, yes. I have many happy memories of Chin's Restaurant. John and I used to go there at 2:30 in the morning, order a Family Style for Four, and eat everything down to the fortune cookies. Oog.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WWF Cage Match

It's an eye-gougin' body slammin' tag-teamin' cage match between Am Spec and Weakly Standard over the Christine O'Donnell - Mike Castle primary contest in Delaware.

There will be remorse in the morning on both sides. When they sober up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

O’Donnell Wins!

Stacy McCain reporting.
Christine O'Donnell has won the Delaware GOP Senate primary, defeating Mike Castle, Allahpundit, Charles Krauthammer, and Jim Geraghty. With 75% of precincts reporting, O'Donnell leads 53%-46%.
I've added him to the News Bath, at least through November.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bitter Clingers

William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal:
If the president and the mayor and the imam sound bitter about the 71% of New Yorkers who would like to see the Islamic Center moved, we shouldn't be surprised. It's what happens to folks who cling to their liberalism and their antipathy to people who aren't like them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blackwell Hill Fire

blackwell_hill_fire_thumb.jpgCharlie ran into the kitchen.

"Dad, there's a really big fire really close!"

I stepped outside. Sure enough. It was close.

Blackwell Hill rises less than two miles to the east of us, but there's a river between, and as the breeze picked up in the late afternoon it blew the fire over the hill toward Medford.
blackwell_hill_bomber_drop_thumb.jpgAt least three helicopters dipped buckets of water from the river to douse the flames, but the fire spread rapidly.

Then the bombers arrived, coming in high and making great mile-wide turns over our house as they picked their line of attack.

It's dark now and the hill glows with the embers of a hundred little fires. It will take another day to mop it up.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

WSJ September 12, 2001

Click for full size.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Labor Day Derb

Some of the finest writers have occupied the page inside the back cover of National Review. Florence King wrote the Misanthrope's Corner, and then Mark Steyn the Happy Warrior, and now John Derbyshire, who calls himself The Straggler.

Straggler 94 — has it been nearly four years? — was on work.
Biologically speaking, we were not made for work. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors back in the Paleolithic didn't work much. "If they had full stomachs and their tools and weapons were in good shape... they hung out: They talked, gossiped, and sang." (Cochran and Harpending, The 10,000 Year Explosion.) Real hard work came in with agriculture — and stayed with it, to judge by the still-current saying that "if you've once worked on a farm, nothing else ever seems like work." With industrialization came the alternative of a twelve-hour day at the mill or down the mine....

Now work is ebbing. As machines get smarter and more productive we are slipping back to Paleolithic standards of idleness. Certainly the dignity of labor is a long-lost concept...
Well, I still believe in the value of hard work, but four or five hours a week ought to be sufficient.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What I Think About When I Think About Pragmatism

First the editors of The Wall Street Journal warn Delawareans not to vote for Christine O'Donnell because she can't win in the general election, and then Sarah Palin weighs in with an endorsement of the same.

I'm a little reminded of the final scene from Rambo III, except Ms. Palin would never use language like that.

Update: Jeffrey Lord at American Spectator explains why they hate her.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We Are Americans

A very bipartisan juxtaposition of quotes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

School Rhymes With Cruel

across_the_valley_vertical.jpgIt started today. Leslie woke at 6:45 to mix blueberry pancakes and scramble eggs. Marielle came down at 7:30 because she likes a leisurely breakfast; Charlie at 8:15 because they have to leave by half-past.

"Drive carefully — the pavement's wet."

And they were gone.

Leslie drove into town to run errands and Timcat and I were alone. I pecked away at an email.


Waiting. Just outside the office door.


The old feline mind-meld trick. I played dumb.

"Is that you, Tim?"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

That's not fair!

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes 16 miles from Port-au-Prince, a city of 700,000 in Haiti, and 230,000 people die.

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes 13 miles from Christchurch, a city of 400,000 in New Zealand, and no one gets killed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Turtle Island Plays Hendrix

turtle_island_quartet.jpgReview in The Wall Street Journal. Get the CD (or MP3) at Amazon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

You Made Me Play You

Eric Felten in The Wall Street Journal.
A federal judge in Hawaii ruled last month that a man claiming to be addicted to a videogame can sue the game's maker for gross negligence in not warning him he could become a joystick junkie. Craig Smallwood alleges in his lawsuit that, as a result of playing the online game "Lineage II," he has "suffered extreme and serious emotional distress and depression, and has been unable to function independently in usual daily activities such as getting up, getting dressed, bathing, or communicating with family and friends."

Mr. Smallwood did not specify how this differs from the condition of the average video-game aficionado....
There's more snark. Read on.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

sibling_rivalry_on_our_lawn.jpgOn our lawn about ten minutes ago.

They weren't going at it very hard; just rattling their racks. It's 90° in the shade and they were panting like dogs. After a minute or two they gave up and headed down to the river. There's a nice cool bar down there where they can have a drink and a swim.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nugget Butte Summit

old_airway_beacon_tower_2020_thumb.jpgI've been invited to climb Mt. McLoughlin again, and so, since returning from the campout, I've been training. Today I walked out the door promptly at 5:00 and reached the summit — of Nugget Butte, that is — at 6:30.

The old radio beacon tower is still hanging in there and so, apparently, are my legs. I wasn't even sore.

Got to remember, though:
Mt. McLoughlin = 3 × Nugget Butte