Archive for August 6th, 2008

UPDATE:  Pardon the language, but ABOUT GODDAMN TIME!

What a complete scumbag.

He should have been treated like an ordinary citizen all this time, not like he was royalty.  He would have seen harsh treatment a long time before now if it were you or me.


Behind the scenes of Hilton’s mock ad

The 24-year-old heiress memorized her entire monologue, which included Hilton outlining her energy plan, in an online video spoof posted on Funny or Die, the comedy Web site’s content director said.

Huh. Little girls do grow up, don’t they? From last year’s weeping in the slammer to memorizing her lines.

Why do I post this?  To ask one question regarding the original article in hopes of an answer…



What’s to dissect? Greed. There, can someone please pay me now for my analysis?

Wall Street Report Tries to Dissect Financial Meltdown

A group of Wall Street executives released a report on Wednesday that outlined how the industry failed to foresee the financial meltdown of the last year and what companies can do to improve risk management.

The 172-page report (PDF), written by chief risk officers and senior executives at banks like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, also provides suggestions about technical issues at the same time as it offers a bit of a mea culpa.

“Virtually everybody was frankly slow in recognizing that we were on the cusp of a really draconian crisis,” said E. Gerald Corrigan, a managing director at Goldman Sachs and a chairman of the Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group III , which released the report.

I find this atrocious situation entertaining in one sense: They say virtually everybody was slow in recognizing that something was wrong. Uh… who the hell qualifies as “everbody”? I think a huge number of people were screaming that something was wrong and that growth cannot be sustained indefinitely.  Duh.


Did he get this information over the internet like on the TV show “24”?

Motorcade Map Found at House Of Bomb Suspect

Police found a map of Camp David marked with a presidential motorcade route inside the Bethesda home of the teenager at the center of a bombmaking probe, along with a document that appears to describe how to kill someone at a distance of 200 meters, a Montgomery County prosecutor said yesterday at a court hearing.

Collin McKenzie-Gude, 18, also had two forms of fake identification: one portraying him as a Central Intelligence Agency employee, and the other in the name of a federal contractor purportedly protected by the Geneva Conventions, authorities said.

The investigation has expanded to include officials from the CIA, FBI and Secret Service, prosecutors said. McKenzie-Gude, who is in the Montgomery County jail, faces charges that include weapons violations, possession of explosives and attempted carjacking. At the house last week, police found more than 50 pounds of chemicals, assault-style weapons and armor-piercing bullets.


A Luddite’s Midsummer Nights Wet-Dream.  Sort of.

Those of you know me know that (1) I’m involved in aerospace, and (2) that I hate technology.  Sorry, but life is not black and white – actually 37.394 million shades of grey, and I’m complex with lots of issues.  Ask anybody about my issues.  They’ll tell you.

In spite of my hatred of technology, it is a necessary evil and I don’t plan on becoming Amish.  Because of that, and my career, it behooves me to learn, learn lots, learn often, and fight the urge to give up my anti-technology leanings entirely.

Seventh picture down is my favorite but there are others… the wooden computerBeauty, ain’t she?

Nice. I want one.  Go check out their site.  Give ’em some traffic.


Wanna geek out?

Go HERE.  I have already availed myself of quite a few of these books.  Some are HUNDREDS of pages of good information (I found a great digital signal processing book).  One of my big interest areas is in HDR imagery and also image processing.  Yes, it is anti-anti-technology to engage in this activity like I do.  I said I was full of issues, didn’t I?

Example Image Processing:  http://www.ph.tn.tudelft.nl/Courses/FIP/noframes/fip.html

Digital Signal Processing for Scientists/Engineers:  http://www.dspguide.com/pdfbook.htm

Algorithms:  http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~vazirani/algorithms.html

I’ve found other sites that are a bit more download friendly and I’ll link them (if I remember tomorrow at work).

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UPDATE: Moqtada al Sadr has declared that he will step down.  Everyone hold your breath.  $20 says he’s back within 3 months with newly inflamed righteous indignation at yet another crime that the imperialist infidels have perpetrated upon all Islam.


I’m not the sharpest marble in the knife drawer but this sounds pretty stupid to me.

If you were willing to break the law to be here I don’t see any incentive to have a change of heart and make anyone’s job easier by “going back legally”.


Feds Hope Illegal Immigrants Will See Themselves Out

Wanted: Illegal immigrants with clean records who have ignored court orders to leave the country. Immigration officials are standing by to help you leave the country. No jail. No joke.

That invitation drew hardly any takers Tuesday on the first day of a new federal “self-deportation” program that offered 457,000 eligible illegal immigrants the chance to turn themselves in, get their affairs in order and leave the country without being detained. [more…]

source:  Fox News

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I was going to post a lot more of my drivel but it came down to it being a lot of really personal stuff – the Reader’s Digest version is that we had a family reunion with my dad, my family, my siblings and their spawn, and some of their spawn’s spawn.  There was just a ginormous screaming banshee (ban-sidhe, if you want to get technicallish) horde of kids running around.

We roasted a pig, or rather many parts of several pigs, in a pit overnight and ate ourselves silly. After eating, I went up to the house, put on my slacks, shirt, tie, cool shades, and one dress shoe and one sneaker, and led a memorial and prayer for my mom.  It was hard, highly surreal, and didn’t hardly seem adequate.  I’m very good at compartmentalizing so I’ve thus far avoided meltdown – perhaps I can suppress it forever, who knows?  I read her last letter to me later in private, and that was tough, real tough.

Why the sneaker?  Everyone asked that… “Why the sneaker?

My answer was simple:  “Because it would have driven my mother absolutely bugshit nuts.”   She was a very proper person – some would say “perfectionist” (erm-ahem) – but things had to be just so, or they would get under her skin.  It was my last chance to try to get under her skin.    I’m not sure many people understood my thinking, but I know she would have. I used to call her Felix and she’d call me Oscar.

We stayed for a few more days.  One day we took off in the morning and went and put mom’s ashes where she wanted to be buried, with other family members.  I told my dad that when I go, I want to be cremated and flushed down the toilet, because I’d make it to the ocean eventually.  We’re a gallows-humor kind of family.

That night Cruel Wife and I got away to Eugene and had dinner at an italian restaurant I’ve loved since I was a kid.  Unfortunately it has gone downhill since the last time I remembered it, but we did see something really bizarre next door:

Bare Bones – Self Serve Dog Wash

Only in Eugene…  Lord, grant me the strength…

It brings up an interesting thing we noted while in my hometown.  My hometown has grown but as they say, “the more things change the more things remain the same.”  It has become yuppieville with a twist. All about town we found people sitting on street corners looking for handouts of one variety or another. One sign said:

Will wrestle your mother-in-law for donations.

I would almost pay good money to see that.  I suspect there’s a street-fighter under that demure exterior.

Another said simply:

Will accept verbal abuse for donations.

At least they are creative. It is a sign of the times. Jobs aren’t as scarce as in Michigan, but they are hard to come by. In a town where a huge number of people were employed as millworkers, loggers, truckers, and related jobs, the downturn in the lumber industry has had a profound effect. It is still a town with character though, and probably always will be.  Still, I wonder at the amount of (or lack thereof) self respect one has to have to set up a folding chair and a shingle to advertise that one is available for handouts or, best case, work.  I don’t know about you but of the two people, one who sits on a corner waiting for an offer or the one that comes to my door actively seeking work… I’m going to hire the one who gets off his butt and is looking.

By Friday we were ready to go home.  Before we could leave, though, I had some people I wanted to see.

We visited an old boss of mine who we will refer to as “Squatting Bear”, which is appropriate since he gave me the mock-indian name “Spitting Beaver” while I was a firefighter.  I was given that name because I was a voracious consumer of sunflower seeds, so you can get your brains out of the gutters now, please.

He’s a cranky old Forest Officer, but the best damn boss you could ever hope for. Under the dictionary entry for “redneck” there is a picture of this guy, but he’d give you the shirt off his back, back you up in a fight no questions asked, listen to your stories, make you suffer when hung over (which he did one day, making me scrape paint in hot direct sunlight for hours), and tell the worst jokes in the world. He presented me with some patches to mark my time while in his employ.  My proudest, since it came from him:

As Cruel Wife and I drove up to his house I said “Ten dollars says he brings up the ‘Spitting Beaver River Excavation Project’.”   I was not disappointed.

The story goes like this, and it varies depending on who, exactly, is telling it –

It was a wet day.  In fact, the summer had suffered from an excess of rain, which is saying a lot for the Willamette Valley.  The State Color is “Rust” if that helps your imagination any.  The fire danger was somewhere around minus 73 on the 0-4 scale.

In the between-fire down-times, one can only sharpen just so many pulaskis, shovel blades, chainsaw blades, or listen to the scanner while drinking coffee for just so long.  Actual patrolling was possible but not even the animals were up to lighting fires, it was so wet, and we had already needed pulling out of a mudhole once.

So, we decided to loan some pent-up energy to a late afternoon project, one in which we would widen a creek-bed running down through a residential area (the boss’ back yard).  We were excited to actually have something to do… a GOAL.

I was busy trenching a rocky and root-bound area, wielding my pulaski to pry loose and drag out rocks with wild abandon, and around 8″ deep, I ran into a really tough tree root.

NOTE:  The pulaski referred to in this story is the very same one that would hit me in the head sixteen years later…

Usually putting the flat (mattock) end under a root and prying will cause the root to pop and then a hack with the blade will free the area of the root.  This root would not pop.  So, I opted to hack at it with the blade – ONE and TWO, only to find another one immediately below the first and hacked at that with even more force.

SPLAAAASHHHH-HISSSSSSSS!!! Water geysered into the air at least forty feet until the water pressure dropped off to nothing.

In my first two hacks I severed the electrical lines to his well pump.  In the next hack I severed his main water line to his home and luckily did not electrocute myself while standing like an idiot in water up to the ankles of my boots and getting sprayed from head to toe.

My father, being an electrician by profession, was willing to make a call even at 5 o’clock.  After listening to the whining, griping, drama-queen antics of my boss, dad and I decided to present ol’ Squatting Bear with a bill that was made to order. (click on the bill below for the large version)

We visited with more longtime family friends and then went back to my dad’s house, spent time with my sister and her kids, and then took off for Portland.   I took a shot leaving dad’s house, which I always do when I leave the piece of land where I grew up.  That there is a picture looking from up by the house down to the county road.

On the way to Portland, we saw some nice scenes.  See how purty and green it looks?

Once in Portland, we got a motel room, returned the vehicle (good riddance), put the kids to bed, and got rested up for an uneventful plane ride home.

Only gripe was that the pilot of the plane, Kaptain Kangaroo, bounced us down the tarmac and all the way to the terminal, but I’ve had worse.

If anyone knows of a useful solution to jetlag going east, please let me know.  Three hours isn’t a lot, but it is enough.

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