Monday, October 30, 2006

al Qaeda video

funny on so many levels - apologies if you've already seen this.

Friday, October 27, 2006

so bad it's...well...AWFUL!

As opposed to "so bad it's good", that is. Here's my vote for the winner in today's "what were they thinking?" department.

Cautiously optimistic about the election, which is a dangerously-vulnerable position, given the track record of these criminals.

In the meantime, while we occupy our days with little things, the big issues are continuing. There was a Yahoo headline a couple of days ago - something along the lines of 'new study from WWF (World Wildlife Fund) claims that Earth is living beyond its means'. I couldn't read it.

Motto for these times, from the perspective of 200 years from now: "It was a Wonderful Life, but What Were They Thinking?".

By the way, for an alternate version, try this. Better.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

a teeny fact that reveals a lot

This morning on NPR, they interviewed a waitress in some small town in some Red state. She described the day that Cheney came thru that town.

He stopped at her diner with his entourage for breakfast. However, Dick didn't order off the menu - actually, he brought his own food to eat.

After all, you never know when Terrorists might find a way to slip poison into one's hash browns.

This is the guy's mentality. Totally paranoid. Don't trust anybody.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

pro-Democratic Party ads

these are fun, especially in the context of the Mac vs. PC ads.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Skilling gets 24 years!

Astonishing. Plus, I read that he is to forfeit $45 million, to go to former employees. Let's see, divided by, say, 30,000 of us, that$1500.

Deducting attorney fees, it might about cover the $650 we spent tonight on wire, at Home Depot (big electrical project in the back yard - details and pictures coming soon.

Ah, Skilling - I met him twice and he seemed about the most smug, oily guy imaginable. Maybe they'll offer to reduce his sentence if he tells them where Ken Lay is hiding, and what he looks like now!

Nah, he can't tell. If he did, the Bush mafia would have him suffer an unfortunate 'accident' in the prison laundry.

Oh, by the way, don't forget to stay the course.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

interesting piece from John Dean

Here - discusses the authoritarian mind-set, both as Leaders and Followers, in the context of the new book about the sham behind the Cheney Administration's 'got Jesus?' approach.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

having a pleasant day?

I sure am.

Woke up this morning at the home of an old friend of Karen's, in a quiet neighborhood on the border between Berkeley and Oakland. Got packed up and walked over to the corner of Alcatraz and College, where I found a coffee shop with free WiFi.

Ate a bagel and drank a gallon of coffee, while I dealt with my email, browsed my favorite left-wing blogs, and actually did some work. Then, around 11, gassed up the rental car, grabbed some lunch, and headed down to the San Francisco Estuary Institute, for this afternoon's meeting of the Northbay Information Commons Developer Group, of which I am a member.

Got here in plenty of time to find the meeting room, then take a walk along the pathways adjacent to the expansive wetlands, with many herons and other bird/animal life happily cavorting in the warm sunshine. As I was starting to doze, sitting on the bench overlooking the scene, I headed back to the meeting room.

Things should get underway in 20 minutes, but, at the moment, I am the only one in the room. We are to meet this afternoon, report on our various projects, and make some plans for the next couple of months.

Fortunately, the meeting place is about 4 minutes from the car-rental return, and I am scheduled for a 7:30 flight back to Portland tonight. Wonder if I can get out of here any earlier?

At any rate, it's a gorgeous day here by The Bay. It would be a great place to live, say around 1880.

Monday, October 16, 2006

getting ready to rejoin airport world

7 am flight tomorrow morning to Oakland, then a drive to Sonoma for afternoon meetings.

Then the short drive to Napa to visit friends (and maybe have a bite to eat) before returning to other friends in Oakland, to spend the night.

Wednesday meetings start at 9:30, and should be ending in enough time for me to comfortably return the rental car and grab the 7:30 pm flight back to Portland. It will be a rushed couple of days, but, heck, I'm not paying for any of it so bring it on.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

a better morning

Took the computer back up to Karen's office, and completed the networking stuff. When that guy turned back on, XP came up, and, without any tweaking whatsoever, Internet Explorer found the DSL modem, it was a major relief.

All that remained was to reconnect to Karen's computer and printer, for sharing of those resources. I had to tweak the Zone Alarm settings to make the connections (the IP address had changed, for some reason), but all was well.

So, the task 'resize partitions' ended up taking 9 hours. My questions are:

1) Are the 'Mac vs. PC' commercials correct?
2) Could using a more sophisticated (i.e. not free) utility have made it simpler?
3) Does my ignorance about disk partitioning reflect poorly on my political judgements?

The best part of the whole story was that Karen called me last night just at the point where my panic and frustration were maxing out. Never fails.

She returns in 5 hours.

Friday, October 13, 2006

what a night!

One of the incredibly-cool things about working at Enron was the 'Click-at-Home' program, where every employee was given a Dell computer and monitor FOR FREE. It was a 866 mhz machine, and I used it as my main home machine for years.

Then I upgraded to something more powerful and it became my back-up machine. Then it developed some weird behaviors, and it sat dormant for a while. Then Karen's assistant's computer started acting flaky, so I put a new CD drive and a new hard-drive into the Dell.

The hard-drive was only 8 GB, which was fine for Karen's assistant's needs - it cost just a few dollars, at FreeGeek. It had been used as a dual-boot Linux/Windows drive, so the partitioning was weird. I spent a little time trying to reconfigure the partitions, and settled for one 2 GB and 1 6 GB partitions, and installed Windows XP on the 2 GB.

You can see it coming, right? XP started complaining that 2 GB was just not sufficient and that disk space was consistently running low. So, in the closing hours until Karen's return tomorrow afternoon, I thought I'd go up to her office at 5 pm this afternoon, use an old copy of Partition Magic to resize the partitions, and go merrily on my way.

Nice try. Partition Magic ended up having to erase everything in both partitions (there was no actual business data on this computer - it only needs to see Karen's computer and have a local install of Office). That was inconvenient, but I figured that all I had to do was boot my XP install disk and away we go.

No luck - it couldn't boot from the XP CD. I broke out in a cold sweat, as I realized that I had totally wiped out this computer. Right then, my cell phone rang, and it was my sweetie, checking in about getting picked up at the airport tomorrow around 5 pm. I gulped and informed her that I had just totally hosed her assistant's computer.

I stayed with it for another hour, trying every combination of BIOS boot configurations, but the thing appeared to be brain-dead. I unplugged the box and brought it home, and ate some dinner while I tried to figure everything out.

I had two copies of Windows 2000, and tried them. One made it about 50% thru and froze. Back to Partition Magic to wipe out the 2nd partition and just make one big one. This time it worked, and, an hour later, Windows 2000 and Office were installed.

Pushing my luck, I tried the XP install CD and, voila, this time it worked fine. It is now 11:45 pm, and XP is just now coming up, looking blessedly normal.

I've been sweating and swearing for almost 7 hours, but the end is in sight. Tomorrow morning, I'll take the box back up to her office, and hopefully complete the networking stuff and get it connected to her DSL line.

With any luck, when Debra gets in Monday morning, she'll never know that, for about 2 hours Friday night, her computer had total amnesia.

What a world. Good night (after the Letterman Top 10, that is).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

busy days

Karen has been gone since last Saturday, and returns this coming Saturday evening. She was in LA for a couple of days, visiting her Mom, before heading on to Phoenix, for a law conference. Naturally, she left me a long list of things-to-do, and, I must say that I have been faithfully chipping away at the list.

That, in addition to dealing with needy clients on three different projects. At the moment, everyone seems to be happy, and there are no fires needing to be extinguished today.

Last night, Brooke, Richard and I played a gig at a great little Asian bistro on NE Fremont. We auditioned there back in June, and the owner was quite enthusiastic about having us play there regularly. Then came summer, with travels keeping the three of us apart (frequently on different continents) until last week.

We finally got together at my house Tuesday afternoon, to see if we still remembered enough tunes to play for a couple of hours, and the rehearsal went very well. So, we had some degree of confidence, going into the gig, that we'd be fine, and we were. I was very pleased with the music.

Unfortunately, Brooke tells us that there is a possibility that her husband will be transferred to Boise early next year, so that might be the end of this group.

You might think that, for the time being, at least we could rely on weekly gigs for the next couple of months, but you'd be mistaken.

I just made plane reservations to fly to Oakland next Tuesday and will be there thru Thursday morning, meeting with clients on two different projects, so no gig next week.

Then, the week after that, Richard is unavailable, so it will be just Brooke and me. Music is an uncertain business - good thing I don't rely on it to put food on my family.

Looks like a b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l Fall day here in Portland coming up. I hope to ride my bike over to the accountant, to pick up some tax stuff that needs to be signed and mailed by next Monday. Maybe I'll pick some more apples today, too.

Of course, all these plans could change in a moment, if an October-surprise email comes thru, from a panic-stricken client...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

*Almost* comical

Heard on NPR: Bush announced yesterday that Alberto Gonzales will be hosting a White House conference on School Violence next week.

'Scuse me, but isn't this the same pResident who, last week on the campaign trail, denounced Democrats whose philosophy is to 'wait until we are attacked before taking any action'?


Thursday, October 05, 2006

World Can't Wait rally in Portland

Nice crowd, enthusiastic and ready to rumble. There were several good speeches especially one by a guy dressed as Ben Franklin, and (very good) Thom Hartmann.

Thom's best line was when he said we shouldn't confuse our elected officials as being our 'leaders'. Instead, he said, politicians are simply people who are always looking to see if there is a big parade going on. When they see a parade, they move to the front carrying a flag, and then say "this is MY parade." The American people need to get that parade going.

I hear on the radio that the crowd is getting out of hand, and the police are considering deploying tear-gas. I left after one young lady got the mike, and exhorted the crowd to ignore the police instructions and the agreed-upon-rules (i.e. stay on the sidewalks and don't block the streets). Apparently, many listened to her.

I left at that point, because I had a sense that trouble was coming, and it's my belief that the Police are NOT the enemy here. This is a developing story.

Meanwhile, here's a photo I took, while things were still well-behaved.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley Foley


John Yoo on NPR this morning

Hear it here. I could not believe my ears.

To paraphrase: it's unfortunate that many people will likely be imprisoned indefinitely, without any opportunity to hear the evidence against them (if there is any), and any chance to make their case that for their utter innocence. It would be 'too expensive' to make the government do the research to examine the particulars.

I am sickened at this callous disregard for human rights. As I recall, we hold certain truths to be self-evident, that among these are that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. (The above typed from memory, not pasted).

Maybe someday there will be justice, and these people will be imprisoned under the same conditions they have decreed for hundreds (thousands?) of unfortunates. Unfortunately, it seldom happens that tyrants get the same treatment they brought to others.

The Betrayal of American Ideals is complete. We don't give a shit for your so-called 'Human Rights'. It's 'too expensive' to do this, just as it's 'too expensive' to reduce carbon emissions.

Better not think about this. Maybe I'll go shopping.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Foley matter - my personal opinion

Folks, let's look at the pattern. Whenever a news story breaks that seriously questions Bush on Iraq, within 48 hours another story takes over the media, one often with a sexual overtone.

Remember the JonBenet killer hysteria? We don't hear too much about that guy any more, do we?

The latest: Bob Woodward's book gets people beginning to seriously question statements made by Rice, Rummy, and Bush, and, a couple of days later, it's Foley-gate.

My guess is that the Foley story coming out on Friday was a Rovian sacrifice-him-to-divert-the-masses ploy, that has now curiously snowballed out of their control. Whether or not it takes down Hastert as well is still an open question, but you have to admit that, once again, the public is diverted from having to look at Iraq/terrorism timelines, and do the 'hard work' of reconciling Condi's statements with the inconvenient truths.

How convenient that the media has salacious IMs to play over and over, instead of real issues. Karl is indeed The Master - now if only he can find a single Democratic predator, his work is done.

Ironic times

Seen on Yahoo News this morning, a new British report about the urgency of dealing with climate change, before the consequences become dire. Note the final paragraph:

"[The] presentation comes just days after PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a report stating that it will cost $1 trillion to curb emissions of climate warming gases over the next generation."

Too bad - we already spent that trillion in Iraq.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

seen on a Crooks and Liars blog comment

The item below is pasted from an anonymous Comment seen on a blog, so, of course, it is entirely suspect. Hal Turner is apparently a hard-core white supremacist anti-semitic nutjob. Wonder what to make of it (if anything).

Updated Saturday, September 30, 2006 3:04 PM EDT


The existence of a hideous plan to sacrifice a U.S. Aircraft Carrier as a pretext for war with Iran is presently being uncovered! The Hal Turner Show has been told that within the next five (5) weeks, the United States will "suffer" a missile attack upon the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, presently on patrol near the Persian Gulf. This attack will appear to be from numerous "Silkworm" and/or "Sunburn" missiles which will sink the vessel and kill most of the 5,000 crew onboard.

The "attack" will be blamed on Iran and thus provide the Bush Administration with an excuse to go to war with that nation.The Hal Turner Show has learned that the missiles used to attack the USS Enterprise will not be fired from or by Iran, but rather will be a "false flag operation" made to LOOK as though Iran carried out the attack!

The USS Enterprise is the worlds first nuclear powered aircraft carrier. It was Commissioned in 1961 and is due to be decommissioned in 2014 or 2015. The ship was selected to be the "victim" of this "attack" due to its age.

THOSE PLANNING THE ATTACK ARE INSIDE THE U.S. AND ISRAELI GOVERNMENTS and view the loss of the Enterprise crew as a necessary sacrifice to induce Americans to support war against Iran.

Put bluntly, the ship and crew are to be cannon fodder. I am being fed more information and expect to be able to name names as to who is behind this plan. Check back often."

So, I only post it here so that, should this actually happen, I can point to this October 1, 2006 entry. If it doesn't happen, that would be a very good thing.

Zappa karma

Last June, en route to Spain, we spent a day-and-a-half in New York City. We stayed at the Beacon Hotel, in the Upper West Side. As our cab pulled up to the hotel, we saw the marquee for the Beacon Theater, next door.

Playing the next night was Dweezil Zappa and friends, in a program of Frank's music. Both boys would have loved to go to that concert, but, alas, we missed it by about 4 hours, having to head to the airport instead.

Fast forward to yesterday.

Dylan comes home with this week's Willamette Week, and there is a large ad for that same concert, coming to Portland in December. He said, "maybe this time I'll get to see it."

Sadly, no. About the time that Dweezil takes the stage that night in Portland (Dec. 21), Karen, Dylan, and I will be in the air, en route to Burbank, for a Christmas-week trip to California and Mexico. This time, we miss it by 2 hours.

I suppose that's progress.

In other news, it was great hearing George McGovern on NPR this morning, with his plan for Iraqi withdrawal. Ah, what might have been...

Finally, a very large number of Brazilians are heading to the polls today to elect a new government. Gee, national voting on Sunday - what a concept. One would almost think that having national elections on Tuesdays is a calculated way to make it difficult for working-class folks to vote. Naaaaa - couldn't be.