It wasn't me. You can't prove anything.


I was listening to the BBC this morning. They came across the subject of the way pupils act in school. A mom who had waited until forty to have her child said that she had noticed young parents telling their kids to challenge teachers and stick up for themselves, against both other students and teachers. When they have a problem with something they shouldn't do it. The mom said "Something must have happened in school during the eighties that I missed." When she was a kid no one acted like that. If a kid went home with a not from a teacher, they would get punished twice at home. The whole conversation started as a debate on why children are disruptive and if children are more disruptive now than in the past.
Some one else said Thailand children were very well behaved and never confronted teachers. They have great respect for other students and authority. The trouble is, the kids never question authority. They never confront the government or establishments. The Thai teachers would like to insert some
There were no answers derived during the debate. The truth is, there must be a balance.
I have an opinion. (Say it ain't so Kelly!) While I was going through school, every kid was supposed to be dominant. Every one was taught to be driven, focused. Not every one got the message. It just seems like every one was supposed to be dominant. That just isn't going to work. That will not work on a societal level, or on a personel level.  Instead of training people to be something that they are not, we should teach children to take what they are and use it to their advantage.
I don't have a better solution. What the hell do I know about teaching anyone anything? I can't help but to think that my education could have been better. You have to push people, or they won't do anything. You need to let the cream rise and siphon off the sludge at the bottom for trade school.
They tell every one to go to collage. Then they bitch that there are not enough plumbers or trained electricians. They tell every one to go to collage, then they outsource all the well paying jobs to China and India. Children are our future, so let's make sure to pay those who teach them so little that if they can possible do anything else, they will.
Don't get me started.


Quote of the Day
"A foot on the neck is nine tenths of the law." Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times.
"Luck is my middle name. Incidentally, my first name is Bad." Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times.
Today, the Iraqi people vote for the first time in a long time. We tell our selves that voting is freedom. Unfortunately, I can't call what they are doing true freedom. The Electoral Collage isn't what I would call freedom. In Iraq, they are voting for a party. The situation is so dangerous, that they can't put names on the ballot. That sounds like a place in need of some freedom, if not true freedom. The U.S. has done OK so far. It is easy to be cynical. Hopeful is the hard thing. Today, I'm hopeful for the people of Iraq and the people of the U.S.
Israel says they plan to move out of the West Bank towns. Abbas and Sharon are making noises like they intend to talk. I say hallelujah. Just the want, just the idea is good.

Color Scheme
Scotch desktop color scheme.I'm trying a new color scheme on my desktop. I call it "Scotch". OK, I originally called it "amber", but that was boring. What do you think? It is much easier on the eyes, yet it is still readable.

Goofy Headline
"OPEC Approves of $50 Oil, Holds Output"
Give me a break. I bet OPEC would approve of $80 a Barrel oil with even a bigger smile on their face as they stroll to the bank. OPEC is a cartel. This means they gang up and tell every one else in the world to pay up or get no oil.

"Stop Fidgeting"
I remember being told all my school life to sit still or stop fidgeting. Now it turns out the people who can't sit still may have it right. Who knew?
Nothing happened today. Move along.


Microsoft and Piracy
Microsoft is cracking down on piracy of their products and yet, has their most profitable quarter ever. Whatever. MS has the right to protect their investment. Personally, I think they have an opportunity to solidify their hold on the computer market by cutting the price of some of their products. They are going up on the price for some of their server software. I don't know where I found it, but I heard that MS doubles their money on most of their products.
Here is my point of view. I get hold of old computers. All of these computers had a legitimate install of some Microsoft operating system or other on them in the beginning. That install has deteriorated to the point of uselessness. I cannot legally put a different version of the operating system on the machine. I cannot upgrade the operating system to a more recent and more secure version. I cannot re-install the old version, because no one hangs on to the CDs that came with the computer, and the vendors do not support old computers. Basically, the computer is a boat anchor. MS wants me to A) Buy a new computer, B) Buy a new copy of an operating system and all new version of the software, or C) Give up. Well, that is not going to happen. From now on, I'm putting Linux on old machines. When people come to me for help rebuilding their machine, I'm going to ask for their serial numbers and software keys before I will talk to them. If they balk at paying five or six hundred dollars on an old machine I will point them to or I'll offer a Linux alternative. When they say "I don't know Linux." I'll ask "do you know Windows?" It amazes me how many people complain about learning something new when they never knew the old way.
CrossOver Office: I don't really know if this is any good or not. I've never actually tried it.
OpenOffice: I've used this a couple of times. I like it. Is it compatible with Microsoft Office? Who cars?
FireFox: Is available on Linux. Very nice.
Thunderbird: An Outlook replacement is great. They are at 1.0 and will be a real contender by the end of the year. The only thing they are missing now is some calender functionality and that is already on the way.

Joke Bad Personel Review
1. "Since my last report, this Officer has reached rock-bottom and has
      started to dig."
2. "I would not allow this Officer to breed."
3. "This officer is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a
     definite won't be."
4. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat
     in a trap."
5. "When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."
6 "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."
7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to
       achieve them."
8. "This Officer is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."
9. "This Officer should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better."
10. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all
11. "A gross ignoramus--144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."
12. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."
14. "I would like to go hunting with him sometime."
15. "He's been working with glue too much."
16. "He would argue with a signpost."
17. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."
18. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
19. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other
20. "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."
21. "A prime candidate for natural de-selection."
22. "Donated his brain to science before he was done using it."
23. "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't
24. "He's got two brains cells, one is lost and the other is out looking
       for it."
25. "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."
26. "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."
27. "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."
28. "It's hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."
29. "One neuron short of a synapse."
30. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."
31. "Takes him 2 hours to watch '60-minutes'."
32. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."


Ode to my Birthday (next week or so)
20 years ago today I turned 16.
20 years ago today I couldn't get a license.
20 years ago today I could not become a man.
20 years ago today I had no plan.
20 years ago today I had no light.
Today I turn 36.
Today I do not need a license.
Today I know I'm a man.
Today I have hope.
Today I know the light.
Web Server (continued)
Remember me griping about the web server at work? Well, the politics are being bypassed. Our IS department is outsourced. They get paid by the server. We are using an old workstation for a web server. The IS department's solution is to put this on a dedicated web server. That would be great, but that would more than triple the cost of the product. They won't piggy-back it on another web server because of reliability/load issues (IS speak for pay up you cheep bastards). I'm starting to understand why web applications are not taking off in the corporate world. So, the guy on our side who works for us is running a dedicated wire from the first floor router to th third floor plug. They all end up in the same room in the back anyway.
A server unit is $1200 a month to support (including hardware). A server unit is an arbitrary clump of IS opinion. A web server is four server units minimum. The software is $4000 a year for a five "user" license (it is a web application, so it is a five administrator license). So, $1200 * 4 server units * 12 months = $57,600 per year. Can I administrate a server please? I'll sit there and stare at it units something goes wrong and I'll jump right on it, promise.
We have a new IS group, so these are all probably going to change.


Music Industry
I knew there was a reason I don't like paying $15 for a CD. So, this is what happens when I spend money on music. I get the idea that they set up a music company for the sole purpose of laundering money from drugs and murder. These people make me sick. This is the label that used to be called Murder Incorporated.
A friend of mine named Robbin called me yesterday. She was burning some CDs for her friends. She was patiently typing in the name of the songs and the other information. I informed her that if she is online when she puts the CD in, the software will go out into the interment and find the information she is typing in for her. She didn't seem to pay that much attention while I told her. We kept talking and covered topics like who was getting married and who was a racist.
Another friend called later. She has been so busy that we haven't had a chance to catch up. During our quick conversation while she was on her way to UH, I heard the tail-tail beep of call waiting. I haven't figured out my new phone. I can switch over, but I can't switch back. I don't get it. Anyway, after we said our goodbyes,  I called Robbin back and received a great big "Thank you". She was amazed how much easier it was when you were online. You don't have to type in anything. The software just goes out and grabs all the info you need.  You do it once, and the software saves the info in your local database. She was happy. Apparently, that little tidbit of info saved her not only hours this time, but extending infinitely into the future as well. That is why I do this stuff. I actually managed to help a friend with a bit of advice. That feels good. It's too bad she is practically married.

I've noticed I communicate much better through writing than in person. Have I covered this already? Remember my complaining about trying to get IS to give us a static IP yesterday? Well, it turns out it is more politics than ignorance. The new team wants to do things differently than they are done today, but they have not come up with the new way yet. Meanwhile, they don't want to do the old way any more. The result is that we must leave the computer in question in a place where it hits the old router until the new IS team comes up with a new solution.
IP Address
This section is called communication because I am going back and forth with one of the techs on our side via email. He is a company employee. It's nice having someone who actually knows what is going on with the network telling me technical details that make sense. I have a reasonable grasp of the workings of networks. Simple networks and highly complex networks work on basically the same principle. Everything that you can talk to has a unique number. In order to get that unique number (like a phone number) either you ask for one every time you pick up the receiver, or you have one given to you permanently.
Most of the time computers get a new number (or the same one by chance) every time they attach to the network. This works great when you are checking your email, or surfing the net. However, a computer that other computers come to for information all the time (like a web server) requires a number that stays the same all the time. That way, the other computers know where to go. If you are only making out going calls (surfing the net or email) you can have whatever number on your computer. If you are a business, or a hospital where people go for information you need the same number for a long period of time.
When I look people in the face, I don't seem to have that commanding presents you need to lead. However, when I write it seems to come out a bit more. All this information is going through email. I prefer writing to talking to someone face to face.

Candles at Work
No, you cannot burn candles at work. That would be a fire code violation or something I'm sure. However, women both sell and buy candles. They are those girlie candles that smell good, or have some other girlie attribute. Cynthia had one of these on her desk. It is this candle in a can thing that smells roughly vanilla and something. No one just buys candles, right? Anyway, I always walked up to her desk, pulled the lid off and sniffed the candle heavily. I would sit it back down and hide it behind something else on her desk. I'd say something stupid like "If I took that candle, you would never realize it."
Well, our move of offices recently includes a bunch of up-ity-ups moving in to the offices next to Cynthia's area. She got on a Look-Professional kick. The stuffed animals, the Muppets, 8-ball and this candle had to go. She brought it up to me this afternoon. I traded her some very thick and thus official looking PDB (Don't ask) manuals. The candle is burning as I type. It is smelling the whole place up in a good way. Thanks Cynthia.


Support Call (I'm on the support end)
Phone, "Ring ... ring..."
Me, "[Company Name], this is Kelly XX."
Caller, "Is this Kelly XX?"
Me, "Yes, this is Kelly XX."
Caller, "I'm trying to install Program X and my boss told me to call you."
Me, "OK, Do you have a particular question?"
Caller "I went to the install and I couldn't find Program X."
Me, "Use the [Company Name] install page. Go to Start > Programs > Utilities > Add Remove Programs." The company maintains its own install web page. It is a pretty good system. The trouble is, they don't tell any one about it when the get hired. There is zero training in this area. Spend a fortune to maintain a system to save a million work hours and then don't tell any one about it, that is [Company Name]'s modes operandi.
The page opens up and I guide them to the proper link.
Me, "Click the 'Install' button next to the program name."
Caller, "Will that install the program?" I shit you not, he said that.
Me, "Yes." I know the next question by heart. It asks if you are sure you want the computer to do what you just told it to do. Without being prompted I say "Click yes again."
The software installs and there are no more questions. The thing is, this person is an engineer. I have a far too high expectation for engineers apparently. When this happens, you must relax and stop your self from moaning into the phone. I have to watch out for my breathing as well. I tend to sigh without thinking about it.
All in all, this took five minutes of my day. Some one else called a bit later with basically the exact same question. The call was nearly word for word.

Support Call (I'm on the Caller end)
I didn't make the call really. Scott made the call. Here is the situation. We have an NT workstation (yes, NT, that is a different complaint) with ISS (Microsoft's excuse for a web server) installed to run some little web application. The office move we had last week caused the system to break. No one can get to the web page. We drag the machine back to the old Ethernet plug and the page works fine. Here is what is going on. The old plug is on router X. The new plug is on router Y. When we put the page together a couple of years ago we had to call the IS department and as for a static IP address. We didn't get a static IP. We got some one who logged into the router and set it to give the MAC address (this is the number that is printed on every Ethernet network connection in the world) a specific IP address when the router detected it. That worked great. Until ... the computer was moved to another router. The thing is, the IS department cant figure out how they did it in the first place. We have had to wheel that box from the first to the third floor twice now. They keep telling us to do a release/renew. That isn't going to work because we are on a different router. Each router is assigned a specific range if IP addresses. I'm not hauling it back up until I know it is going to work. Scot is of the same mind.
This killed an hour of the day or more.

No one really knows how this Information Technology stuff works. It really is like magic. It has gotten so complex that no one person or even group of people know it all. Companies won't train people any more. They throw you in the water and expect your to build a chemical plant.


Good Sign

"We have declared a bitter war against democracy and all those who seek to enact it," said the speaker in the 35-minute message posted on two Islamist Web sites that have already carried dispatches thought to be from al-Zarqawi.

President Bush declared war on Terrorism. The trouble is, you can't declare ware on an idea.  You can only declare ware on people. That is, if you want to win, you can't declare ware on terrorists. How will you know if you have won, if any one in the world calls themselves a terrorists, your fight starts all over again. You can't win. Well, it is a good sign that the terrorists haven't learned this little fact either.

Guy gets audited by the IRS.
Guy calls his accountant and asks what to do. His accountant says "Dress down. If you look like a bum, they won't think you have any money and they won't go after you."
Guy calls his lawyer for advice. The lawyer says "Dress up. If you look like somebody, they will respect you."
Guy calls his priest for support. The priest says "Sometimes young brides come to me with a dilemma. Their father tells them to dress like a teamster on their honeymoon, their mother tells them to dress provocatively. I tell them it doesn't matter what you ware, because you are going to get fucked."

Messaging (SMS)
I've recently rediscovered SMS (Short Message Service). This is the thing where you type in a message on your phone using the cookie little letters over the keys. I'm sending little "Sup?" notes to friends and trying to figure out how to type faster. There are news services and all kinds of stuff opening up to use this service (including advertising damn-it). Even Google is getting in  on the act, though, I can't get to it yet. In Japan they had a small thumb keyboard that you used on your computer. Some folks can type faster on their phone than they can on the computer. It is no wonder some people find they have medical trouble from too much texting.


This is an account from Saturday afternoon. We have had a game planned since November.
We roll up the characters and, like always, Bryan takes all our equipment and we wake up captured in a wagon. I try to run just for something to do. I fail. We are being rail road-ed.
We are in a tower, held as prisoners.  The door was not locked. We make our way tot the roof. I punched a guy out cold. We have the debate every party has on rather to kill the guy or not. We end up killing him. We divvy up the weapons and what cloths he has. I end up with no cloths and a long sword.
The guy had a horn. We decided not to blow it.
We are on the third floor. We need to move down the ladder. I'm going first. That is what one good punch buys you. I'm going to die. The idea is to surprise them. We fail. The first person to fire is Ethan. He fires a bow. He missed,  but I actually take one of the guys down. That is another thing I like about first level, your entire existence rides on every round. Yes, we didn't die. It is surprising how much we worry about hiding the bodies.
We are finally on the ground floor where the extra crossbow bolts and some spare long swords are kept. So, we gear up for the pending adventure.
We find a kitchen and do what all adventurers do, we start making an omelet. Someone is coming in the door. It is another fight. It's funny. Alexis is a bard who uses a tuba. That is odd enough, but she is a gnome. The jokes are endlessly funny. Anyway. The battle is turning for the worse. Five more guys are coming. We are going to die. I tried to run. No one would listen. Well, we have breakfast with 10 dead bodies in the next room.
Mapping is always fun. We use a white board laid flat on the table. We use miniatures and draw lines all over the place. No one is a particularly good artist. The only tactic is to get people stopped in the doorway while they are chasing us around. Ethan just figured out that most of our party is ranged, except me of course.
Not that it is important to the reader, but this is a tuba, and this is a sousaphone.
We are stuck in a building. The building, holding true with all DnD buildings, is a box with a door. The bad guys are outside the door with a battering ram. They break down the door and we throw a bunch of flaming oil at them.  We are so dead. That is the only way out of the tomb we are stuck in. We have spent the last fifteen minutes reading five different sets of rules on fire damage and splatter effect. They made it through the door. This is the last battle. We are not going to make it. We just figured out that we leveled after the last battle. That gives us a few extra hit points. This is still going to be an early night. - Some one 3'3" is debating whether one not she can tumble over a 5' table tilted up on it's side. - I died. I'm ready to go eat.
We had a joke that we will go to Cheddar's. Sara) loves Cheddar's. She didn't come. That will teach her. (just kidding Sarah)
OK, I'm at negative six and stable. That means I'm helpless and the other guys are left to save me. I bet I'm still going to end up dead at some point. Hmmm, They pored an elixir of love down my gullet by mistake. This could be bad. I think we are all male except Alexis' character. Great. I have no Idea what the ramifications of that will be. Hey, I'm alive.
There is no way to win at DnD. It is much like life in that way. You live for another day. Hopefully, you learn something that will make the world swish by in slightly better greased grooves.


Light Bulb to the Nuke in 67 years. The light bulb was basically invented in 1878. It was a long drawn out process to develop. Sow was the nuclear weapon. The first nuke was used in 1945. That is 67 years. It has been 60 years since the end of World War II. Where is the next huge leap forward?
I'm off to play DnD in a bit. It is being DMed by Bryan (that is how he spells it). He has a low level adventure planned. I prefer low level adventures. All that advanced magic gets on my nerves, for example, stepping 21 miles at a stride, teleportation, major creation, and flying ... don't get me started about flying. It is all just too fantasy. I like the lower levels. You are seriously concerned with getting past the two thugs in the ally. The night watch, in combination with the lack of a night court, is enough to keep you honest out of trouble.
I've consorted with the DM and we came to the conclusion that Rogue Wizard is not my bag. I'm more the Dwarf Fighter type. I'm re-ordering my roles to accommodate this. These are the new numbers.

10 16
16 10
12 12
16 16
9 9
6 6


DnD Character
Roll four six sided dice and remove the lowest dice.
As generated by

Role 1
Role 2
Role 3
Role 4
3 5 2 2 10 +0
5 2 6 5 16 +3
1 3 3 6 12 +1
4 3 6 6 16 +3
3 3 3 3 9 -1
1 1 3 2 6 -2
Total Plus
Those rolls only support a rogue wizard.
So, Hersh is full of crap. Who knew? (hat tip One Hand Clapping)

I've had a couple of people basically complain about the news on the blog. Should I skip the news stories, or start a different blog for news and only put personel stuff here?


More on the Office Move
We have these interesting elevators in our building. For some reason, the designers didn't opt for the conventional cable driven with big boxes on the roof kind of elevators. We have hydraulic pump driven closets of slowness. They constantly break down. They creek an moan. They vibrate. They feel clunky. I have been on the first floor for years. I haven't had to deal with them for a long time. Now, I'm on the third floor. I have to deal with them. I take the stairs if I can. I checked and my phone works on the elevators. I put the front desk (security) on speed dial, just in case.
Coffee Bars
Coffee is like air because it is required to complete the job. Coffee is unlike air in that people complain about it even when it is pretty good. When we were on the first floor, coffee was down the way and around the corner. Now, the nearest coffee is under lock and key by that department. The next nearest coffee bar is broken with no plans on being fixed. The third bar is in a mysterious end of the building that no one knows what they do. I'm heading down to the first floor for my coffee at the moment. This may become an issue. before too long.
I've been running around all morning moving some boxes and helping raid empty offices of their furniture. I had this old six foot wooden bookshelf. It is nice and sturdy. For three years, it sat in my office with a bunch of old VMS documentation sitting on it. In my memory no one ever came by or asked about it. I stuck all the documentation in some cabinets that are bolted to the wall. Now, it is dusty, but empty. The lady moving into my office doesn't want it so I was planning on having it moved up to my new office. I don't really like it. I like the big filing cabinet in Delores' office. Hmmm, she has a wooden desk and would like some nice wooden shelves. "How about a trade?" I ask. Cool. We are both getting our wish. I've been waiting to unpack my boxes until I get something to unpack into.
The printer is right outside my office. It makes annoying noise, but I usually have my earphones on, so that is no big deal. It does make a laser printer smell every now and again, but I got used to that when I used to work at a print house a million years ago. If it were not for that printer, no one would come within three meters of my door unless they were on their way to talk to me.
This room used to be a supply room. I still have the little paper slip that says supply. I cracked a joke this morning that I'm going to hang on to it. I need a button that flips the name tag on the wall and shuts my door on command. I still need to find my notes on how to change my office number in the Outlook phone book thing.

These guys made another winner. This Flash Movie is called Second Term. It is funny, but not as funny as the earlier movies that came out during the campaign.

Darth Tater
Darth Tater
I wonder if they mulled over the name "Spud Vader"? This is the gift for the geek who has everything. Here is Darth Tater. Someone at Hasbro has a good sense of humor. This is the kind of thing that sneaks up on you and just makes you smile.


Office Move
It's funny what breaks when you move offices. I have a 100 base T network connection in my old office. They only put it in because of a particular project. They were supposed to get VoIP a million years ago, but that all fell through. I could have told them it wasn't going to work because the network here, to be honest, is sub-par. The network just can't handle what is already there, much less the ton or two of additional traffic VoIP would bring along. Anyway, I use two computers in my job. One for a normal workstation and the other to test software with as I play with the installs. It's amazing how easy it is to destroy a computer with even the simplest install, or especially, the uninstall. That test machine gets restaged daily. That means, it is over-written with the fresh image of the drive that contains only the day-one stuff. This makes it easy to take chances and try out things you think just might render the machine permanently useless.
The new office only has one half duplex, 10 base-T network connection. I don't care, I'm paid by the hour. Either get me another connection or get me a switch. A friend of mine reminds me in email "You don't want a hub, you want a switch. They are faster and don't cause clashes like a hub." Then I remind him about the robust infrastructure here and he says "Ha!  I forgot all about half-duplex networks.  Man, the dark ages were
only a couple of years ago from that perspective.  :-)" Yes, dark ages. Worry not, the loss in productivity is more than made up for by the fortune this company pays in support to keep those legacy systems up and running.
"I'm paid by the hour." I remind myself.
"I'm paid by the hour." I remind myself again.
There are 50,000 or more nodes on this network. This company used to be the first to apply helpful technologies like networking. There was a day when this company shined as a house of efficiency and innovation. That is what the old-timers tell me anyway. Now, all I hear is people quoting next week's Dilbert, or subconsciously reenacting scenes from Office Space again and again.
Help me God. Guide me to a better way, then, repeatedly, kick me in the ass until I follow it.

The Pentagon is criticizing an article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that says the United States has been carrying out reconnaissance missions in Iran to identify nuclear, chemical and missile sites for possible airstrikes as soon as this summer.
But the Pentagon's response Monday did not specifically address Hersh's contention that the United States has been "conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran since at least last summer" to identify and isolate at least three dozen targets in Iran "that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids."
He [Hersh] said his information came from "inside" sources who divulged it in hopes that publicity about the alleged plans would force the administration to reconsider them.
"I think that's one of the reasons some of the people on the inside talk to me," he said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition."
Cohen noted that Hersh's article has not been "categorically denied" by the Bush administration.
"So there seems to be some confirmation that there is a fairly serious effort under way to gather this kind of information for potential military operations," he said.
Iran, meanwhile, on Tuesday said it has the power to deter any attacks.
"We are able to say that we have strength such that no country can attack us because they do not have precise information about our military capabilities due to our ability to implement flexible strategies," the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani as saying.

My take.
U. S.: "We are not denying it, but we kind of deny it. Shut up. Iran better straighten up." shaking finger.

Iran's Side

Mehr news agency, which analysts say has close ties to the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an editorial entitled "Futile espionage" ridiculed U.S. attempts to destabilize Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
"The United States is well aware that Iran has strongly withstood U.S. pressure for over 25 years ... Today, the Islamic Republic has acquired massive military might, the dimensions of which still remain unknown, and is prepared to attack any intruder with a fearsome rain of fire and death," it said.
"The U.S. and Israel know that they can never militarily challenge Iran, since attacking the Islamic Republic would be biting off more than they could chew and would only choke them if they attempted it," it added.

My take.
Iran: "You don't have the guts!"


Story #2

U.S. commandos are hunting for secret nuclear and chemical weapons sites and other targets in Iran, and have a plan to turn the hard-line Islamic country into the next front in the war on terrorism.
"It's not if we're going to do anything against Iran. They're doing it," an ex-intelligence official tells this week's issue of The New Yorker.
Since at least last summer, the U.S. teams have penetrated eastern Iran, reportedly with Pakistan's help, the magazine said.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whom President Bush has asked to stay on in his second term, has been jockeying for more power to conduct covert ops without nagging congressional oversight.
"It's a global free-fire zone," said one Pentagon adviser.
Iran has fought tooth and nail demands that it open its nuclear energy program for inspection, fueling suspicion that the charter member of President Bush's "axis of evil" is up to no good.
Hersh told CNN that if targets are lined up by this summer, U.S. attacks could soon follow.
They "want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible," a Pentagon consultant told Hersh.

It hasn't been 24 hours since my last post. I'm not sure what to say, other than "You are going ^down^ Iran!" I don't have anything against the Iranian people, except they tolerate an oppressive regime. I know, I know, I'm not the one with a gun in my back. I hope the U. S. isn't looking for another Bay of Pigs. I can so see that happening in Iran.
Another opinion.
From Cynthoughts
1. Open up the music player on your computer.
2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
3. Hit the "shuffle" command.
4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. ...

I don't have any songs on my computer. I used my MP3 player.

01) Marry Lue Lord, Salen.
02) Offspring, Cool to Hate.
03) Melanie C, Feel the Son.
04) Dead or Alive, Brand New Lover.
05) Cowboy Junkies, White Sail.
06) Everlast, Praise.
07) Joe Satriani. Devil's Slide.
08) 10,000 Maniacs, Stockton Gala Days.
09) Tori Amos, Icicle.
10) The Scabs, I Fucked Your Daughter in the Ass, Boy. (That is the name of the song, I can't help it.)

None of my heavy metal songs came up.  That is like half the content of the MP3 player.



The Bush administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions to learn about nuclear, chemical and missile sites in Iran in preparation for possible airstrikes there, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday.
The effort has been under way at least since last summer, Hersh said on CNN's "Late Edition."
In an interview on the same program, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett said the story was "riddled with inaccuracies."
"I don't believe that some of the conclusions he's drawing are based on fact," Bartlett said.
And he [Hersh] said the preparation goes beyond contingency planning and includes detailed plans for air attacks:
"The next step is Iran. It's definitely there. They're definitely planning ... But they need the intelligence first."

Isn't talking about this stuff before the fact considered treason? Anyway, CNN seems to be the last to know. I've speculated on this very blog that Iran is next. I think the fact they chant "Death to America" at the opening of every parliament is reason enough to get them.

Israeli forces will increase anti-terror operations "without restrictions" in the wake of recent attacks against Israeli citizens, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon said Sunday.
"Over the weekend and this morning there has been an increase in Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians," Sharon said before his weekly cabinet meeting.
"Unfortunately despite the change in Palestinian leadership, we see that its leaders have not even begun to take any action against the terror. This situation cannot continue."

It hasn't been 24 hours. I expected this. As I have repeated, Arafat didn't run the place. Abbas doesn't run the place. The armed guys walking through the streets, they run the place. I'm sick of reading about it. I hope on high that something good comes from all of this. All I know of now is death and oppression, both from both sides.

There are only so many ways to win a war.
1) Win the people (Public Relations) through words.
A) Convince the people they should not fight.
"The only way to win the game, is not to play." Learned by the computer in War Games. This is what diplomats are for. This is what happens every day behind the screens. This is the best and only way to avoid death, destruction and terrorism.
a) Diplomacy.
b) Communication.
c) Treaties/agreements.
2) Break the will of the people through actions.
A) Drive the people to be sick of fighting.
Think terrorism. Yes, you can win a war with terrorism. It is rather efficient. It actually limits the number of civilian and military casualties.
B) Destroy the reason people fight.
This does not work against religions, ideals, races, or  really any more. One cannot just go about destroying things these days. Because the U. S. is the only nation that has the ability to simply wipe out a country without resorting to nukes, every one hates us already.
a) Dismantle their nation with bombs/fighting/embargo.
b) Kill the charismatic leader/focal point.
C) Destroy the ability of the people to fight.
Think WWII. Repeat until one side gives out.
a) Bomb the factories to eliminate the ability to make anything.
c) Kill the armies on the battlefield and the factory workers..
D) Kill all the people (Ethnic Cleansing/Genocide).
You can't really do this. This is what the Nazis tried. Look what happened to them. They have a small political party in every free country that is treated like a small annoying, loud dog that used to bite, but doesn't have teeth anymore. It causes deep hatred for generations. Sometimes the revenge heaped upon revenge lasts thousands of years.
3) Threat.
This is not so much a way to win as a way to put off a war indefinitely. It is a great way to get the UN to give you favorable trade status. It is also a great way to hold off the U. S. for a long time. This does not work against terrorism, or diplomacy, though it affects diplomacy greatly.
A) Have nuclear weapons.
B) Say you have nukes.
C) Let people think you have nukes.
4) Gentrification.
Gentrification isn't really the right term. What I'm talking about is the modernization of a country through the sheer will of selling them products and services.
A) Deploy McDonald's and competitors. String phone lines and mobile phone towers all over the place. Bring plumbing, TV and internet to the masses.
B) For example, Iran. Iran has one of the most potent and limiting governments on the planet today. However, when you get people pulled to the side and find out what they want, they tell you "European cigarets" and "satellite TV".
C) China too, is embracing the "western" culture. China is about to become the largest economy in the world. This juggernaut of capitalism cannot call itself a Communist country for much longer. So, the U. S. has won the war with China by this gentrification method in the sense that they will crush us in the near future by taking all the jobs and making everything thus winning the war via the "destroy the ability of people to fight" method mentioned above. And without firing a shot. Not bad. There may be a new way to win a war. "Out bid your enemy on jobs, thus control their economic strings." China and India can write  the book on that one.


I went out to lunch with my parents. My dad is looking for a source of cherries. He suffers from gout and cherry extract seems to help. Doctors want to put him on medicine that has all kinds of side affects. If you eat a handful of cherries, the symptoms are gone. We went to whole foods and a store on Westhimer. No one has anything close. Every one told him to get on Google.
So, I get a phone call out of the blue. It is Brian. He is getting a "free" bed from a woman who lives next door to his mom and needs some help moving it to his mom's  apartment until he can barrow a truck and heft it over to his place.
"No Biggie." I say and off we go.
We end up over at his mom's place. I run into his sister. We haven't spoken in a while. It felt good for someone to be happy to see me. Do you know what I mean?
We move the mattress and box springs. We sit around and shoot the breeze for a while. I get introduced to all their animals. Brian and his sister set up her new computer. It turns out we all have basically the same mobile phone.
On the way out the door, we swapped a table from one car to another (don't ask) and put a sticker on Brian's mom's car window. She gave me some flavored coffee that we are going to have to try the next time we Play DND or something.
I need to hang out more often.
Here is a real definition for the word "Gormless". The spell checker didn't throw a fit or anything.
I ran into this word on  (Two) (three). I swear, the writer(s) at User Friendly just get off using funky words. I think it kicks off the forums. I can't say I'm impressed with this comic lately. It seems to have fallen off a bit.

Training the Terrorists

President Bush has described the war in Iraq as the central front in the campaign against terrorism, and he has said its role in attracting foreign fighters has had the beneficial effect of luring Islamic militants who might otherwise have plotted attacks against the United States.
The report says "experienced survivors of the war in Iraq" may supersede current leaders of Al Qaeda to become major players in international terrorism, a possibility neither Mr. Bush nor his top advisers have given prominence to.
More broadly, the report says, "we expect that by 2020 Al Qaeda will have been superseded by similarly inspired but more diffuse Islamic extremist groups, all of which will oppose the spread of many aspects of globalization into traditional Islamic societies."
The report says the danger of a conflict between great powers that could develop into total war is now less likely than at any time since 1900.
The United States "will retain enormous advantages, playing a pivotal role across the broad range of issues - economic, technological, political, and military - that no other state will match by 2020."
But it says the likelihood that Iran, North Korea and possibly others may possess chemical, biological or nuclear weapons increased the threats to the United States.

Some people insist on finding only the bad in everything around them. I refuse to let myself believe that Iraq is worse off after the war. I just refuse. Democracy has a tendency to sort itself out. That, or it falls to another form of fascism. What kills democracy are the rights of the individual. It never fails, people think they should be protected from everything and they forget that there is no way to do that. Too many resources protect the individual, and the majority falls apart. It gets democracy every time.


Casting a pall over Saturday's swearing-in of newly elected Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Israel announced Friday that it was cutting all contacts with Palestinian officials in the wake of a deadly militant assault on a border cargo terminal.
Palestinians criticized the Israeli decision as premature in light of the fact that Abbas, who was elected Sunday to succeed the late Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority president, had not even taken office when the attack occurred. Six Israeli civilians were killed late Thursday when Palestinian militants armed with explosives and automatic weapons struck the Karni commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Three Palestinian groups claimed joint responsibility for the attack on the cargo terminal, the main commercial lifeline to the impoverished coastal territory. They were Hamas, the largest and most powerful of the militant organizations; the much-lesser-known Popular Resistance Committees; and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has ties to Abbas' Fatah movement.
Even before Thursday's attack, the militant groups explicitly challenged Abbas' call for a halt to the armed struggle against Israel. Militants in Gaza launched mortar and rocket attacks against Jewish settlements and Israeli towns as Abbas campaigned in the seaside strip, and they reacted angrily when he said the salvos served only to bring Israel's military wrath down on Palestinian civilians.
"Not just the prime minister, but everyone in Israel is angry," Gissin said. "We have been trying to ease the Palestinians' harsh living conditions, and here we are with innocent, murdered Israeli civilians." The ban on contacts with the Palestinians would be lifted, Gissin said, "when they take real steps to prevent terror activity."
"I don't want to say exactly how much time we should give him, but it definitely needs to be a number of weeks in order to see which direction he's going," said Vilnai, a minister without portfolio.

I'm telling you, the militants run the place. I don't know what Abbas can do to stop them short of rounding up the usual suspects and giving them turns in front of a firing squad. Israel is an established government. The militants want to bring it down or push Israel into the sea. They don't seem to care about this whole talking thing. If Palestine becomes a nation, Israel can declare war on it when the militants shoot missiles across the border. That is tantamount to invasion under international law I bet.

Caving In

The guidelines recommend that consumers limit trans fat, partly hydrogenated vegetable oils that have been found to be worse for the body than even saturated fat. But while the advisory committee report that was the basis for guidelines capped intake of trans fat at 1 percent of total calories, that limit was not included in the recommendations.
That was a clear victory for food manufacturers who rely on hydrogenated oils for a variety of processed foods, and who lobbied against the numeric limit. While many companies are eliminating trans fats from their products, the Agriculture Department has estimated that they are in 40 percent of processed foods.
The guidelines were a matter of intense lobbying by industry and advocacy groups over the past year.
The advisory committee, which recommended more dairy products, cited a report, partly financed by the dairy industry, that found that low-fat dairy products helped people lose weight.
After lobbying by the sugar industry, the Department of Health and Human Services helped persuade the World Health Organization in 2003 to eliminate a recommendation that sugar account for no more than 10 percent of calories.
But the final recommendation on sugar in the guidelines is actually a bit stronger than the one in the advisory committee report, which said only to choose carbohydrates wisely. The new guidelines say people should consume foods and beverages with little added sugars.
Dr. Richard Adamson, the vice president of scientific and technical affairs for the American Beverage Association, a trade group, said in an interview Wednesday that there was no proof that people gained weight because they consumed added sugar or lost weight when they cut back. Dr. Adamson said he objected to the guidelines' assertion that studies indicated that beverages with sugar and other caloric sweeteners made people gain weight.
But Dr. Kelly Brownell, director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders and a prominent food industry critic, said that over all, he was pleased. "These guidelines are a clear step ahead of where previous ones were," Dr. Brownell said. "The issues on weight control are more specific than in the past, specifically with exercise and the suggestions on limiting added sugars and caloric sweeteners and things like soft drinks."

There is more of lobbying than weight loss in this new guideline. It always makes me sick that corporations get what they want and no one sticks up for the people. Isn't that why we vote for these bastards running our country?  All it takes is crossing the proper palm with silver and all the bad news about fat and calories goes out the window. Don't trust this report. Don't trust the expert opinion. Don't trust any one but your stomach.
Eat what you are hungry for. Think good thoughts when you think about food. Your body (the brain stem) doesn't know why you think bad thoughts about food. All it knows is 150 million years of evolution that says "bad thoughts about food means we can't get enough." and it shifts the body into starvation mode. When you think about food force yourself to think things like "There will always be enough food." and "I can eat any time I need." Try to relax and let yourself feel content about something. Maybe this will switch your Id/brain stem into thinking there is plenty to eat and it will not kick your body into starvation mode when you are hungry. If you sit there, thinking about a big stake, and say to yourself "I can't eat that because I'll gain ten pounds." all your body hears is "Thought about food, felt bad, can't get enough food." and decides to do something about it.
I very much believe that that feeling of anxiety has a great affect on your body. When you think about things, you cannot let yourself feel that stomach clenching anxiety. Whatever that thing you think about is, will be treated as a bad thing by your entire system. You are inadvertently teaching your body how to react to the thing that caused the anxiety. You are reinforcing the undesired response.
I've been trying this lately. I've failed many times, but it has worked a few times too. Not just about food, but when people come to my office with goofy questions and when I get some assignments. I also try it when I think about school and relationships. That seems to be working too. I feel more open on the idea of returning to school. I feel far better about relationships lately than I have in a long time. Now, when I feel in a good mood, I don't just expect a bad mood to follow. It is OK to be in a good mood. I suppose it is OK to be in a bad mood too. I wonder if I can figure out a way to train my body (brain stem) to dislike bad moods.
I'm in a mood where nothing sounds good. I can't even eat. I don't want to read. I don't want to watch a movie. I don't want to go out. It is too late to go out really. I don't what to order food. It is too late for that anyway. I really don't like it when I get in these moods. I'm just not sure what to do about it. I came home and went straight to bed. I remember only that I dreamed, not the dreams themselves. I slept from 4:15 or so to about 10:00. It was a  day at work, but not particularly bad.

Only stupid people are happy
Of course, this is not true. It is more wishful thinking on my part. Sometimes I believe the scientific powers should bread, or clone stupid humans so the intelligent have some one to mate with. It seems intelligence is inversely related to happiness and satisfaction. I, fortunately, am not that intelligent. I bet I'm about half a notch north of average. I only have my opinion there. on the happiness scale, I'm a bit south of wet badger.


OK, this one takes the cake. I was taking a test. It was test anxiety time. The funny thing is, I vaguely remember another dream weeks ago where I studied for this very test.


I've been remembering my dreams lately. It is annoying. I had the typical caught naked at work dream. It used to be school. I really think I had this dream to wake me up so I would go pee. I believe that each part of the mind has it's own attitude. The part of my mind in charge of sleeping wants to stay asleep. The part of my mind in charge of peeing has little choice but to invoke a classic to wake me up. I have a vision of my mind that appears like acre of cubicals. Each entity has it's own agenda and capabilities. No one is really in charge. It is just a Amish-mash of interdependent, unmotivated, self centered little gnomes.

Monday evening I finally managed to put a new ringtone on my new phone. I have not received one call since. It is normal. No one calls. Why should they. Most of my communication is via email these days. I have another friend getting rid of their home phone. They have mobiles and digital cable (for the cable modem). I would follow suit if it were not for two things. My apartment complex uses some funky cable company I don't trust. 911 doesn't work properly on mobile phones yet. They can't immediately tell where you are on my service. It will come.

Life is Carcinogenic
Here is the latest annoying article on what will probably kill you. It says processed meat causes colon cancer. If I eat broken glass, it will hurt me. If I eat nothing but one thing, it will kill me. If I cross the street without looking I'll get squished. Looking both ways has already been patented. They are running out of things to run tests on. They are going to get around to saying water gives you cancer next.
Preying will not give me cancer. Loving will not give me cancer. Giving will not give me cancer.
I dreamed I was eating something last night. I had dinner. I wasn't hungry. Sometimes I'll have dreams of eating when I am hungry. I hate that. I don't remember the details of the dream because I woke up having bitten the crap out of my tung. I didn't taste blood, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. It's funny, sometimes you can fall asleep in pain. That is a good thing. I've forced myself to sleep through migraines.

Ford Motor Company no longer makes parts for Model-Ts. Why do we expect software companies to support their products indefinitely? Some of the folks at my day job have blown a gasket because Microsoft is killing support for NT 4.0. What pisses me off is software patent holders who have no intention of supporting old products who want to prevent third parties from supporting the old software. This is called a forced upgrade. If the old software does what someone needs, don't force them to upgrade. Honestly, Microsoft cannot support its old products for ever. It simply puts out too many products for that. I don't have a problem with it. Don't sue people who come out with services to do it themselves.

Abbas ineffective

"Abu Mazen (Abbas) will not try to confiscate the illegally held weapons, he will not take on Hamas," Zeevi said in comments broadcast on public radio.
"Abu Mazen will try to convince (Hamas) and appeal to Palestinian public opinion to put pressure on the terrorists by explaining that this generation has suffered enough," added Zeevi.
"I believe he understands that he now has to take a strong position, an open, vocal, clear position against terrorism," Powell told Fox News.
"But more than just take a position, he has to fight against those forces within the Palestinian community that still think there is a role for terrorism."

Abbas just doesn't have the clout to take control over the armed thugs who call themselves freedom fighters. They run the place and unless every one gets jobs and a nice place to live, that they don't want to loose, a family they want to protect, and a government they don't want to fall, they will keep fighting.

KKK Gets Recognized
KKK roadside trash sign
I'm not sure what to say about this. It is constitutional. Personally, I think the KKK is on par with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. My two cents, anyway. This is a wonderful country. This kind of thing proves it. I love America. Some of the people are real pricks.

Offbeat from USA Today
Every one keep your eyes pealed for a guy trying to pay for a Ferrari with many bags of nickels.
Dog vs Eagle ends in a draw.

Teachers Cheating

Earlier this month, an Indiana third-grade teacher was suspended after being accused of tapping students on the shoulder when they marked wrong answers - the state's third alleged incident in as many years.
In September, Mississippi threw out portions of test scores at nine schools after discovering more than two dozen cases of alleged cheating. One fifth-grade teacher was fired after allegedly helping students on the writing portion of the test.
And in July, nine Arizona school districts invalidated portions of their test scores after teachers allegedly either read sections of the test to students or gave students extra time to finish. It was the state's 21st case of cheating since 2002.
The problem, say many education experts, is that the tests have been tied to teachers' job contacts and bonuses.
HISD has acted quickly, creating an Office of Inspector General to look into the allegations. "We must administer a testing process with total integrity," said Superintendent Abe Saavedra at a news conference last week. "And on those few occasions when someone decides to violate the rules, HISD will take swift and decisive action to stop it."
But cheating won't stop until the high-stakes testing system is thrown out, says Linda McSpadden McNeil, an education professor at Rice University who has studied the issue extensively. She believes No Child Left Behind is treating education like a business, with strangers managing schools remotely.
"You could have a great arts program, an unsafe playground, your ceiling falling in, or national merit scholars," says Dr. McNeil. "But all they look at is the passing rate of the children in your building."

Let's face it, some people are stupid. Half of all people have below average intelligence. They are finding genetic links to reading and spelling disorders. (I misspelled disorders, but the spell checker caught it.) It is just plain fact that not every one is going to make it in society. The very name "No Child Left Behind" dooms the project to failure. Nationwide numbers don't apply to every hamlet. Every child is a unique person. Every child presents unique challenges. Telling teachers they are not going to get a promotion or loose their bonus if the kids don't improve is not going to help the situation. Like I have any better ideas.


It is the opening line on so many phone conversations these days: This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.
The taped message is so common that many callers might assume that no one is ever listening, let alone taking notes. But they would be wrong.
Monitoring is intended to track the performance of call center operators, but the professional snoops are inadvertently monitoring callers, too. Most callers do not realize that they may be taped even while they are on hold.
It is at these times that monitors hear husbands arguing with their wives, mothers yelling at their children, and dog owners throwing fits at disobedient pets, all when they think no one is listening. Most times, the only way a customer can avoid being recorded is to hang up.
Some privacy advocates worry that monitors, as well as operators, can steal customer passwords and other sensitive data. Thus far, few documented cases of identity theft have been unearthed involving monitors, and most monitoring companies screen their applicants. State wiretapping laws generally do not provide protection against recording of call center conversations (the taped message at the start of the call is in most cases considered an adequate privacy warning).
Sometimes, refereeing means reporting off-color calls - known in call center parlance as a "hot line" - like the flirtation that Mr. Pike overheard. Plenty of other calls also raise red flags, including customers and operators who shout, swear, talk politics or threaten bodily harm. Anyone hanging up - either an operator or an angry customer - sends out warnings, too.
Joyce Van Doren, an assessor for J.Lodge, recalled one man who canceled the cable service that was in his name because, he said, he had just divorced. The man, however, failed to hang up the phone when the customer service agent ended the call, so the tape kept rolling.
That is when Ms. Van Doren heard him reveal his real motive to a friend in the room: getting back at his former wife, who was going to be livid when she came home to find the cable TV disconnected.
Operators can also be marked down for being too helpful. Ms. Van Doren recalls one who told a customer about a special promotion on a cable service that was to start two weeks later. The customer was delighted, but the operator was reprimanded for failing to make the sale the day the customer called.
With thousands of call center jobs moving overseas, monitors are also noticing a growing reaction against operators with foreign accents. More customers now ask to speak to an American after they hear an operator with an Indian accent, said Miriam Nelson, who helps run Aon Consulting's center.
Perhaps inevitably, monitoring is also moving offshore. HyperQuality, which is based in Seattle, has 100 call monitors in New Delhi who eavesdrop on call center workers around the United States. Those raters, oceans away, are trying to make sense of hot lines and hotheads, too.

I'm going to start randomly saying creepy shit while I'm on hold.
When things aren't going my way on a support call, I try to "kill them with kindness." That gets amazing results more often than not. I have worked both sides of the call. I've done support calls. I've made many calls to support of all kinds. I should come up with a book that has two halves. The first half for the call center people and the second half for the callers. The call center half would be titled simply "Next". The caller half would be titled "I'm Next".
Really, the same advice needs to go to both groups. Put yourself in their shoes.
If I'm the caller, I have to expect to give the same information to every one I talk to. I need to understand that the person on the other end is making $0.35 an hour (in India) and knows nothing about American culture. Treat people with respect. Speak slowly and don't expect any miracles. This person has had a week of training if you are lucky and probably knows nothing about the actual workings of whatever the thing you are calling about is. They just have a screen in front of them telling them what t say.
The assistant must realize the person would not call unless they needed something. They are probably paying for the service and want to be treated with respect. They want the problem to go away and most likely feel like the whole transaction is a waist of their time. Remember, you have had a whole week of training. The people on the other end have had none.
I've actually called the wrong mobile phone company asking for help once. I called my old mobile phone company looking for help on a different companies services. "oops!" It didn't dawn on me until the lady said "I can't find that number in our system."
I get calls every day asking me things that should go to the company's very expensive support. This company spends a fortune for support and people hate to use it. I support databases and package software. I get calls for Excel trouble. I get general XP questions. What is a good mp3 player? How do I get a program to move off the second monitor if the second monitor is no longer hooked up? Come on.


Office Move
My day job has decided it is most prudent to move me to another office. Actually, a bunch of people are getting shuffled. The real motivation behind this is the window offices. Some time in the past a bunch of up-at-y-ups decided it would be good for moral to put themselves in cubicals. The only real accomplishment this achieved to my knowledge was to make rumors more accurate. Any one could hear what the managers were saying on the phone for example. The high level folks are sick of not having offices and windows. Thus, we all get to move around. I am glad for the change to be honest. It is about time for a change.
I got an office at the end of a hallway. It is full of ceiling high metal cabin ates right now. It was used as a storage area. The scene from "Office Space" where the guy with the stapler was told "Ya, we need you to move your office down to the basement. We need this area for boxes." I found out a minute ago that some one will move the cabinets by the end of the week. I did scope out the mobile signal in my new office. Even with the metal cabinets, I get a full signal. This whole move thing will be a huge productivity suck for a week or so while people pack, move, and then unpack. I think in the long run, it will be better.

Trade with China

The United States lost nearly 1.5 million jobs between 1989 and 2003 because of increased trade with China, according to a report released on Tuesday by a government watchdog committee.
The job losses have accelerated and moved into unexpected new sectors as the trade deficit -- which reflects the gap between imports and exports -- with China skyrocketed to a record $124 billion in 2003, report author and EPI senior international trade economist Robert Scott said.
"The assumptions we built our trade relationship with China on have proved to be a house of cards. Everyone knew we would lose jobs in labor-intensive industries like textiles and apparel, but we thought we could hold our own in the capital-intensive, high-tech arena," Scott said in a statement.
"It is hard to overstate the challenges posed by this export behemoth," the report said.

We track a trade deficit, why not a job deficit?


Sub Hits a Mountain

The U.S. Navy submarine accident that killed one sailor and injured 24 others occurred when the vessel -- traveling at high speed -- hit an undersea mountain head-on, Pentagon officials said Monday.

"Head-on"? I'm glad the mountain didn't broadside the sub. That might have been dangerous.
The trouble with common sense is, it's rare.

Did i say how I fixed MDM.exe constantly crashing? I deleted the file. So far, so good. No more crashes. I don't have a clue what kind of damage that did to the system. This program is the Debug Manager. It seemed to start when I installed Visual Studio 6. We have an archaic version of Studio. I'm sure there is some patch out there to cover this. I bet Studio 5 has a hard time overwriting the system files in XP because of the new security stuff.
There is this anti-virus program my day job runs called Symantec. That is onto itself no big deal, accept this part of the program called Real Time File Something that checks files as they are written, that bogs the machine to a halt. I mean, what is the point of running a virus program that renders the machine useless? The IT department wisely rebuilds the virus software every now and then. I don't want to set off any flags by removing anything. I think running virus software is a good idea. I'm limiting the types of files it scans to the bare essentials.

By By IE
I've been saying for a long time that people should Drop IE. Some of the security experts are finally catching up. I say get FireFox. Some "alternate" browsers are really just add-ons to IE. Be careful. But, I've said this ump-teen times and still, most of my hits are from IE on this blog. What is a geek to do? I must invent User 2.0. That will fix everything.

Finally! The cable came in. It took me half the night to get the software to work. The stuff I downloaded had crappy USB drivers. The stuff that came with the cable, had good drivers, but the software itself didn't really work. It didn't actually mention my phone on the package, only in the ad. Bastards. Right now I have the Itchy and Scratchy theme as my ringtone. It was worth the frustration and nineteen reboots. I only paid $13 for the cable and software. I'm glad I found that other kit on the net. I still can't get the infrared to work. That will have to come later I suppose.


Current Homeland Security Terror Alert Level is as follows.
Terror Alert Level
Water and Black Coffee
I have abandoned the "only water and black coffee" thing. It wasn't working out. What I'm doing in stead, is drinking a glass of water of equal volume before I drink something else. I can get away with putting anything I want in my coffee or drinking sodas. I just have to drink a glass of water first. I had two glasses of water this morning one soda and one coffee. That means I have to drink a glass of water next before I can have anything else. This might work out a bit better.

I went wondering around the internet looking for emoticons. I found all kinds of crappy "buy a bunch of graphics here" sites. Then I fell on some simple sites that had what I was looking for.
CyberGifs had a couple of graphics.
MSN has some. has avatars and smilies. They give links to put into your site. The world graphic below is an example. I'm going to use that as my avatar on some sites.
This is an avitar image. Has a larger list. I like the little swinging smilie.
Swinging Smilie
Mostly, all of these places are incomplete. There is no money in smilies.


Gere, say it ain't so
First the gerbil thing, now this. I never liked this guy as an actor. Now, I hate him as a person. Listen to what the costars, , in Gere's Palestinian ad to get out the vote this past week have said about Jews.

Joining Gere in the announcement are Sheik Taissir Tamimi, the head of the Islamic court in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Atallah Hanna, the spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
Even though he evidently is not familiar with Hollywood superstars, Hanna has his own heroes, according to the Jerusalem Post, which quoted him as praising suicide bombers: 'These martyrdom freedom fighters are the heroes of the people and we are proud of them. We categorically reject suspicious attempts to cast suspicion on their deeds. They are not suicidal, as some are claiming. Nor are they terrorists, as others are claiming. They are resisting the occupation.' According to the report, he also called for the liberation of Palestine 'from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river.'
Gere's other co-star, Sheikh Tamimi, was quoted in 1994 as saying: "the Jews are destined to be persecuted, humiliated and tortured forever,and it is a Muslim duty to see to it that they reap their due. No petty arguments must be allowed to divide us.Where Hitler failed, we must succeed."

Oh, but you can't listen to what people say in the middle east, you have to watch what they do. I've heard that somewhere before. All I see people do is murder each other daily, kill women in the name of honer, and fire rockets at schools full of children who happen to believe in a religion they don't like. God, please nuke the place and start over?
Why do people do the things they do? Why do I still, to this day, have to stop myself from looking straight into a flashlight when I turn it on?

Mardi Gras
Man, I misspelled Mardi Gras as "Martigraw". Talk about getting hits. I get three hits a week off that misspelled word. I'm starting to think this may be a cottage industry waiting to happen. Get your page viewed by dyslexic web surfers. our software will make sure your page look misspelled to the search engines, but spelled correctly to the surfers. Of course, I also got a hit today for "free public nudist photos". How the hell did that happen?
There are a bunch of web cams on that site. I'm watching a bunch of cars traverse an intersection. It is still cool to watch a live cam, even when it is just tabbies and cops wandering around. I spoke too soon. Someone just walked by and some one biked by too. This is a pretty happening place at 4:55 AM on a Saturday. HEY! That guy ran the stop sign! I better stop watching. HA! 5:42 AM, the street sweeper went by.

Publicity Stunt
We have some things in common with the middle East. I've seen this kind of crap here in the west, but apparently, Islam does allow for deliberately putting one's self in harms way to make the evening news.

With scant chance of winning the Palestinian presidential elections, Mustafa Barghouti on Friday turned one last time to politics' dark art: the publicity stunt.
Like anywhere, the escapade included a phalanx of invited cameras. But this being the Middle East, there were special effects: the candidate in a taxi, Israeli authorities, and a biblical script - the climax occurring outside the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the most incendiary platform in all of the region's conflict.
Barghouti, a physician and democracy advocate, has made arrest and detention hallmarks of his campaign. This last lob for attention didn't disappoint. He pledged to pray at the mosque, though Israel barred candidates from campaigning there, then approached the Old City, a video camera rolling from inside the cab.
An Israeli officer halted the taxi and conferred with other police by radio. "What should I do with him?" The reply: "Stop him. Stop him here for the time being." And the expected climax. Barghouti was asked to join the officers in their truck. He protested in English, "You are arresting a presidential candidate," and implored in Arabic, "Somebody get me a rug. If they prevent me from praying in the mosque I want to pray here."
Barghouti, 50, was detained, then released, but not before flashing the V sign and shouting, "Call President Carter." (Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. president, is heading an election monitoring team.)
So went the final day of campaigning to replace Yasser Arafat as head of the Palestinian Authority. The Israelis said Barghouti abused a permit to enter Jerusalem for election meetings. He insisted he was highlighting obstacles to free elections. Most polls put him well behind in Sunday's vote.

This doesn't make me sick. This doesn't even make me bat an eyelash. I just don't care. Really. I'm only posting this here to tell you , that I don't care. It isn't his fault for doing it, it is the people's fault for buying it. If the people of this country, oops, territory fall for this kind of deception, then they get what they deserve.

The curs of the Simpson's

Where is my stinking data cable? I can't find any reference to my order. Great. I wonder if it didn't go through. It was $15. Crap. Of course, it is $80 on the T-Mobile page. The ringtones on my phone still suck. The price has not gone down. Hurry up and send me my data cable.
Man, it is nice outside. It is jacket weather. It is sunny and just plane nice. I just went to the mailbox to check on my  data cable. No dice. It isn't going to dampen my day.
I got the extended life batteries. So far, so good. I thought from the picture that they were black. They look just like the other battery, only with a hunch back that prevents them from fitting most of the same cases.

al Qaeda in Boston
(Hat-Tip LGF)
Not that I think Boston is any more immune to terrorism than any where els, but it just struck me as a place NOT brimming with terrorists. However, it seems to be a destination for al Qaeda members sneaking through the Mexico U. S. border. I've heard of that a couple of times. I've been asking, along with every other Texan, "what is to stop ten thousand terrorists from walking into the U. S. from Mexico?"
Another link from Michelle  Malkin.

Did I say two-faced. Abbas back-pedals on "Zionist Enemy" comment. This is what we are in for when he takes over. Great, Arafat Jr. That is all the world needs.

Palestinian “moderate” Abu Mazen could give John F. Kerry lessons in flip-flopping; the same day he tells Israeli media he didn’t really mean to call Israel the “Zionist enemy,” he incites a Palestinian crowd with a phrase that deliberately echoes Yasser Arafat’s “millions of martyrs marching to Jerusalem:”

For goodness sake go read that whole entry on LGF.
There is more at Michael J. Totten

Nikon D70
Damn-ti, I need a good camera. This guy got a cool camera and took a bunch of stupid pictures with it. A Nikon D70 is a 6.1 megapixel camera that takes all the cool 35mm lenses for that frame of camera. It also uses most other attachments. I'm a Cannon man, but I want a real camera. One I can take creative pictures with when I want. I want to pay nothing for it and get a gazillion-pixel image. I may have to wait for that one. It isn't the pixel, it is the performance. I just made that up. It is a good thing I'm broke, or the depressing use of that nice camera would make me go get my choice of the moment, the EOS-10D, or the EOS-20D, or the EOS-1D Mark II. Who am I kidding? I would jump at a Rebel. I may have to pick up a Rebel this year. I wonder if I can find one cheap on eBay? (nope =[ )