Friday, August 29, 2008

oh, the irony!

When I first heard that McCain had picked Palin for Vice President, I was thrilled, thinking that this is a person who can really bring something new to American politics.

Once my hopes had been dashed, I reflected on the thinking and this is what I think:

I believe McCain fell victim to the Right-Wing Noise Machine meme that millions of Democrats are utterly disenchanted because the majority spurned a woman, and, buying into that Rovian-generated fantasy (that had significantly-limited validity), he made his decision accordingly.

I could be wrong (uh, yeah!) but wouldn't it be delicious if this was indeed the case.

Still reeling from Pat Buchanan's praise of Obama's speech last night. I never thought I'd live to hear anything like that.

Heading to the beach tomorrow to go kayaking, and spending the night in Lincoln City. Back in Portland Sunday afternoon.

Then, off to Sisters for the Folk Festival next weekend. Busy days (not including the three hours I spent on the phone and web this morning, modifying our travel itinerary for the return from Turkey).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

an unusually-optimistic note

Went out for a walk in the neighborhood with The Dog. He had a splendid time, as always.

Four years ago, there was ONE house in our neighborhood that had a Bush sign. This year: Barack.

Watched the convention this evening. Clinton was good, Kerry, shockingly, was *great*, Biden was OK (he really did flub a couple of statistics, but his McCain wrap-up was well done), but I think the star of the night was Biden's son.

And, when Obama appeared on the stage at the end, that was pretty darn cool.

All in all, this has been a great week for Dems - it's almost enough to make me believe they can pull it off.

In other news, I must say that the first five words in this headline gave me momentary pause.

gustav projected track

uh, oh!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Simulatneously, as I opened an email from Joe Biden, the phone rang and it was the local Obama campaign loooking for volunteers. So many people working on this, how can it possibly fail?

Let me count the ways: fraud, theft, lies, corruption, fear...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Karl Rove strikes again?

this sure sounds like one of his stunts - he's done this sort of thing many times before.

Meanwhile, as we are immersed in the trivialities of the political/media circus, there's this minor detail. Oops.

the earth may be doomed, but this is pretty cool

Microsoft has a new product called 'Photosynth'.

Here is the National Geographic video of Stonehenge, using this tool.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

astonishing news from Thom Hartmann show

Mark Crispin Miller was on, discussing recent developments in the civil case currently working its way thru Ohio courts, that is about to blow the whistle on Karl Rove's election frauds, going back to his involvment with George HW Bush's races.

A reputable GOP-connected cyber-expert is publicly acknowledging that, at a minimum, the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen (duh!).

The clearing-house for this case, with materials and interviews, is here. So many elections have been compromised over the past few years, that my head swims with the wonderment that this story has been so successfully suppressed for this long.

3rd time's the charm

Left the house at 7:15, with Ben driving, to go to the Sherwood DMV office, where he took and passed his behind-the-wheel driver test. We left there significantly happier than the previous two times.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the critical importance of a vice president with experience

I see this meme everywhere: Obama must pick someone like Joe Biden, to calm 'fears' that his inexperience on the international stage is tempered by a Vice President who has been a public figure for many years.

Hmm - wasn't this same argument advanced to argue for W? Cheney had been a fixture of inner circles since the Ford years, and his supposed cool head and big-picture awareness was supposed to compensate for a President whose foreign experience was limited to a Spring Break in Mexico.

I kinda like Biden, and think he'd be fine.

Meanwhile, McCain panders to the crazies by, at yesterday's religious forum, proclaims his belief that a 'baby' begins at the moment of conception. What year is this?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

the united states of hubris

This guy was on Bill Moyers' show last night, and it was refreshing to hear his plain-spoken message, that the US public and military and government are delusional, as far as our place in history.

Rather than being Rome in 20 BC (the unchallenged military master of the known world), we are really the Rome of 450 AD: overconfident, broke, corrupt, living far beyond our means, and on the verge of joining the endless parade of collapsed economies and empires.

Read all about it here and here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

dog day

hot, hot, hot in Portland. Neither of us slept well last night, me due to a lingering cold and the heat, Karen because of the residual effects of her colonoscopy prep and the heat.

taking the day mostly off. I drove her to the facility this morning, then went to Powell's in Beaverton to sell some old books and buy more. Then, at the nearby coffee place, with WiFi, plugged in my laptop and actually did billable work.

Now I am back at the medical facility, waiting for her to be discharged. She hasn't eaten in a couple of days and, depending on her energy level, we will go out for lunch and errands soon.

I am finding free WiFi wherever I need it, and it's great being a high-tech nomad.

I told my New Mexico client (the BLM office in Carlsbad) that I don't think I can complete their project in their budgeted amount (it's turned out to be a rats-nest of embedded forms, table-based audit rules and queries-upon-queries-upon-queries). They like what I've done so far and want me to tell them how much it will cost to fulfill their vision. I don't think they are going to like the answer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

my unblemished track-record of financial acumen

So, back at the beginning of July, I read somewhere (on the internets, no doubt) that it was expected that the Dollar would plummet in relation to the Euro, by the Fall.

Since we are going to Turkey in October, I figured the VERY smart thing to do would be to buy a bunch of Euros, at the low, low price of about $1.60, and then laugh all the way to the bank, as they visibly appreciated over the next 3 months.

Here's the story since then.
Hmmm - that graph is beginning to resemble my Enron options. I see a pattern.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

why does this keep happening?

Several months ago, I was contacted by a BLM office in New Mexico, asking if I was interested in assisting with some programming work. Naturally I said 'yes' and awaited the details.

Time passes.

Then, while on vacation at the beach last week, I get an email from the contact there, outlining a very specific programming need to a database. I analyzed what she sent, and said that it could probably be done in a day or two, and quoted her $750. She thought that was great.

Before anything could be signed, though, I asked her to write up a document, outlining in as much detail as possible, EXACTLY what she needed, so that there would be no misunderstandings. That document arrived in my inbox Monday morning, shortly followed by copies of the FOUR tightly-interlinked databases that are affected.

It didn't take too long for me to realize that the scope of what they want is FAR beyond a 2-day quickie. They are changing the fundamental plumbing of two major data components, that affect virtually every form, query, and report in all databases.

Oh, yes, they forgot to mention that they also want to amalgamate the data from three prior years' databases, and the various table structures have 'evolved' over the years.

Oh, yes, they forgot to mention that they need to go live October 1st, and that their programmer is still making changes to prepare for Oct 1, so the files they sent me earlier this week (to which I have been making my proof-of-concept changes) are not the final versions that my changes would need to go into.

So much for my original estimate. I am advising them to defer implementing anything I would write until their new Oct 1 version is installed and stable. Besides, I wouldn't want to be arriving at my hotel in Turkey, in mid-October, and receive a panic email that things are broken and need immediate attention.

Now, the only question is if they want me to go ahead and build what I can now. That would be OK with me. What a world!


And now for something completely different.

I am currently advertising on craigslist my iPaq (no longer needed because of my SmartPhone) and a digital camera (no longer needed because I bought a better model that takes AA batteries, rather than needing an AC charger for its weird battery). Here's the best scam email received to date:


i want to buy your phone, i have 40$ , if you are agree with my offer !! please reply to me ,with your phone number to call you


Gives you real confidence, doesn't it?

BTW, here and here are the craisglist items. I think I have a buyer for the iPaq this morning.

Monday, August 04, 2008

call me paranoid

so, yet again, the Government announces 'case closed' on an investigation (the anthrax letters) that did not produce a definitive conclusion.

once again, we are asked to believe in the 'lone bug-man' theory.

sorry, but it's too pat, and 7 years too late.