Loud And Clear

I’m getting the messages to just check out of just about everything.

Last night, I decided to look at the festering cesspool that is Facebook because I was concerned about something that’s going on with a friend.

It recommended I add a blogger/former podcaster I follow vaguely as a friend.

No. How did you pick that up, you spies? I deleted your apps, and have consciously limited my time on your site.

Just not doing it anymore.

Another Saturday

Another week in the books. I still need to figure out how to remind myself that reconsideration is not a bad thing. In very basic military operations, as a leader, you conduct an After-Action Review (AAR) after you’ve finished what you planned to do.

If you have no plan, nobody can ever analyze how you performed.

Where I am, lately, though is reconsidering my initial reactions to news items and ads I’ve seen or heard lately.

The first one was this story out of the US community most-aligned with the DDR.

My initial reaction was, “you chose to live/work there.” That was quickly followed with a variation on the “Learn To Code” meme.

I shouldn’t think that way. The bigger issue is government force to compel compliance with measures taken to address a virus that has a very low fatality rate.

The numbers are presented here. If you’re under the age of 50, doing some quick math, the fatality rate of the virus is 0.02%.

For people over 70, even, the fatality rate is less than six percent.

Trust the science!!1!

Yes, also, do the math.

I’ve said before that I expect that I will probably catch this virus at some point.

I have as much concern about it killing me as I do about dying from a laundry list of other inane things. As the weather gets cold, if I find myself in a place that often serves raw oysters, I might eat some.

The next thing I’m reconsidering is writing off individuals who make misguided political endorsements. There’s been a commercial running here in Virginia in support of Terry McAuliffe, you know, the man responsible for state troopers dying because of actions taken by his party’s local officials in Charlottesville in 2017.

There is a doctor, Joseph Sakran, who’s appearing in TV commercials in support of McAuliffe. My initial reaction was, “can I figure out a way that this guy never treats me?”

In spite of hand motions that are almost as strange as Carey Wedler’s, I shouldn’t just write him off for having incredibly incorrect conclusions about politics.

What he’s doing with these sorts of ads, and I understand that strategy was very effective for President Biden last year, is a form of Argument From Authority, which is a logical fallacy. (Another good take on that is here….)

Doctors used to also recommend Lucky Strikes.

Doing the AAR on that, did a doctor’s recommendation actually help anybody by leading them to choose Lucky Strikes?


I wonder how much advertising might be nullified if advertisers avoided use of those fallacies.

Who knows?

A Saturday

Twenty years after what ended up being a really terrible Tuesday.

In those days, my air schedule was Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8p-6a. On Saturdays, I worked 0500 – 1300. I had Monday and Tuesday nights off work. I was taking something like eighteen credit hours at school, was active in a few campus clubs, and was a senator in the Student Government Association.

I’d moved back home with my parents because I really didn’t have the money to support me living on my own in Newport News. My health, then, too, was starting to be a bit strange. I attributed that to the odd sleep schedule with early morning or late afternoon/evening classes. I can actually recall one of my first cases of optic neuritis while I was pitching in an intramural softball game.

But my schedule was to write college papers late into the nights on Monday and Tuesday to get a lot knocked out in my couple of nights off.

I have no idea what I did that Monday night. I don’t think I’d been out the night before; I often would do things like read in an all-night diner.

But I had a couple of things I needed to turn in on campus that morning.

I heard the reports of the attack on the radio station while I was taking a bath, getting clean to go to campus.

The second plane hit when, or just before I was diving to campus.

I decided a few days ago to look at what I’d written on OD. One of my classes had a professor who required some strange writing practices.

“This Means Something!”


Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Must buy DVD. After payday.

There comes a point, I think, where everyone who is not an idiot realizes that he’s not an idiot. Much of my time is spent writing something or the other. It could be my very informal writing here for my own sake, it could be writing at work for public consumption, it could be writing at school doing formal legal writing, and so on. I have all these conflicting styles in my head, and sometimes I have difficulty adjusting when I’m forced to use a style.

I have a class this semester that requires me to use this very restrictive (very stupid, too, IMHO) style. They’ve got a grandiose name for it, but it slips the mind at the moment. I had to write a paper using this style on Thursday night. It seemed to me that the paper was a serious piece of shit. I felt quite uncomfortable turning it in, as I didn’t think it was good work. It did, however, conform to the model nearly perfectly. I ended up with an A- on the assignment; most people totally bombed it.

Maybe I can do this school shit afterall. It makes me somewhat hopeful for law school, at least. I’m not the dumbass former teachers had convinced me I was.

On a totally unrelated note, has anyone else been following the latest hubub over the crop circles that look suspiciously like the glyph sent out by Aricebo in 1974 and the face on Mars. Those are just freaky when you put ’em side-by-side. “This means something!”


I’m in an odd way lately otherwise. Have kind of this feeling that something is going to happen. I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, though. Nothing bad, just something that I’m unaccustomed to. It could very well stem from the much different treatment I’m getting at school now. This is *not* how I’ve been treated in the past.

Well, half-right on the last paragraph. I wish I could remember who that professor was, and what it was all about.

I might be able to dig up the TeX files. I think they’re around somewhere.

But I appreciate that she really was making me do something outside my comfort level. Things like that did help me write more effectively.

But the Memberberries are kicking in.

When I got into the Student Center on campus where my club office was, it was pandemonium. The place was just filled to the brim with people trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

There’d been a concerted effort at my alma mater in the couple of years before to add a bunch of on-campus students, and many from Northern Virginia. Many, many, many rich kids stumbling around campus trying to figure out what this weird suburban campus in Newport News was all about.

I don’t remember exactly when the news floated across the assemblage that the Pentagon had also been hit.

Okay, now it’s really real. And there’s probably people there on campus who’d been personally-affected.

I phoned the newsroom at the station, and asked if there was anything I could do. I drove to Norfolk, and was actually stopped at the MMBT by Virginia State Police asking where I was going. I didn’t have press credentials, but I had something like a piece of mail in a station envelope in my glovebox. “Carry on.”

When I got to the station, I went to work doing various coordination things around the newsroom. I don’t know if I spent much time on the air — maybe a few local news updates.

I was on the air until the afternoon drive programming started. I went home, got a couple of hours of sleep, then was back in time to be on the air at 2100.

The days that followed are kind of a blur. I know I probably worked probably twelve, thirteen hour airsifts.

Trying to keep up on my school work wasn’t a big concern; I think the campus was eventually closed for the rest of the week.

The first post-attack writing I have is this:

To answer the coming questions, yes, I’m back for the moment. We shall see how it works, and if I can deal with the frustrations that go along…..I have some new tools that should make my experience better. I’ll leave it at that.

I can’t really describe what I’m feeling or what’s going on. Of course, my life has been busy since Tuesday with the associated problems…..work, friends, and especially school. One student’s mother was killed in the Pentagon, and another had a cousin killed and another injured at the WTC. To top all that off, the president of the university sent out a quite insensitive e-mail lecturing us that it shouldn’t affect us, and that we needed to concentrate on our studies so as not to let the terrorists win. Fuck him. I have no respect for him anymore. I didn’t have any classes on Tuesday, but I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate if I had.

Then on Wednesday, a student died in a motorcycle accident.

It’s just been hell.

I haven’t been able to quiet my mind or body since all this started. I feel like it’s important that I do something, but there’s not a hell of a lot that I can do. But if the United States is going to engage in war, I’m going to try to be a part of it. I cannot fulfill my dreams in a country where anyone has to worry about terrorist threats on a daily basis.

So I’m thinking about leaving school and joining the military.

But I’ll write more later.

Obviously I didn’t leave school or join the military. I stayed in radio for the next few years, finally leaving after I decided to make a change — maybe do neat IT work, maybe go to law school.

Instead, I met a college girl in 2006, and am still with her. She was in high school on 9/11.

Never know what’s going to happen.

I could write some about the aftermath, but I’m not sure what the point is. Afghanistan made sense to me. Iraq I was very much against until I heard Tony Blair pitch it to parliament.

But I think my inclinations were correct. It’s really something that stretches over every administration that’s been in power during my adult life.

Oh well.

End of a week without

I didn’t write this week, though there definitely was temptation. Obviously, it was a horrible week.

Obviously the big story of the week is the disaster that is Afghanistan. Obviously, I’m connected to the military. My entire childhood was spent as an Army Brat. My dad would talk about the thing that brought him closest to resigning his commission was Operation Eagle Claw, which he referred to as “Desert One.” What happened in Afghanistan was a modern equivalent.

I have ideas about what happened, but I don’t know that any single person is to blame.

But it doesn’t really matter.

It’s over. They failed. Move on.

In the background, however, unscrupulous politicians are at work trying to capitalize on the situation. (I get that they would like a different word that doesn’t include “capital,” but…)

I just want to go somewhere else.

Stay On Schedule

Late writing today, but it’s Saturday, so I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do…..even if I did write yesterday.

So, what have I done already today?

  • I messed around, more, with figuring out the mess that is Mailman3. When I updated ^H, Mailman2 was deprecated. Getting things back up and running has been a real pain. This is even more true with a completely headless system. What to do, what to do…..
  • Switched away from Apple Podcasts. New player is PlayAPod. H/T Todd Moore. Apple really screwed up with the last update; the app takes about five minutes to load after being off for a while. Nope. Not doing that. But it’s a question of what I should subscribe to, mainly. Oh! I forgot that one. *search* Subscribe.
  • Fantasy Football. Sent pings to some folks who’d previously been in leagues prior to the disaster that was 2020. Not a disaster with the Fantasy season, but just with everything. If anyone is reading here, too, please send me an email if you’d like to join.
  • I still need to figure out the rest of my prompts for this summer’s writing period

Time to keep dragging along

Pushing The Pollster

Got a call today from a push polling outfit.

When you don’t really think that government is the answer to, well, much of anything, questions about whether you think your representative in the state capitol is doing a good job by pushing the government-enforced monopoly to lower prices.

“Has your impression of $Local_Democratic_Delegate improved because his effort to have electricity savings sent back to residents?


“Has your impression of $Local_Democratic_Delegate improved because he’s trying to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recepients?


*confused silence*

Have a nice day!

Local communicatees should be handling electricity; maybe individual neighborhoods/developments/etc…

Why would increasing the amount of government influence over any of it raise my impression of a particular politician?

And this is what I call my last Saturday before going back to work….

But I’ll put in for the Monday after the Comedy show I’m seeing next month off. Even if it’s only in DC, I have leave I need to burn.

Independence Eve

Busy week. Lots of discussion about some of the things I heard towards the end of last week.

Still keeping my thumb on the pulse of the tumult with the LP, and becoming increasingly convinced that there’s lots of folks with exactly the wrong approach to well….just about everything.

That was definitely a left-handed compliment. You can find the sarcasm by clicking on MyProfile, and selecting Insight.

But the tweet speaks to the push on messaging. He was talking in the podcast about focusing messaging to individual personal benefits.

It’s all about you.

That is exactly the sort of messaging that was aimed at the Baby Boomers.

Run a survey of your friends on your My Yahoo.

That’s tack B. So much has gone in to focus in super-serving what used to be the biggest segment of the US population.

Tack A is a refreshing of the RON PAUL 2008 campaign.

Let’s ignore the fact that it didn’t work back then. Or in 2012. But if we do it harder, it’ll be done correctly this time.

Something else I was listening to recently was talking about the Socialists’ push on Socialism. They wanted Sweden or Denmark. They got Venezuela.

But if they’d forcedconvinced one more book more ardently, everything would be A-okay.


So as people exhale more-urgently into the sails of a potential campaign, the less attention and support I can muster.

Maybe that makes me

Nope, I’m not supposed to say that sort of thing.

What else is on tap for this week?

I am off work from tonight until Thursday night.

I will be turning my work phone off.

My corporate email account will get checked because I have the account on my personal iPhone.

I will kind of be marooned, but that’s part of what I want.

(And the other part is Waffle House….)

Maybe I’ll get around to getting Mailman fixed on this VPS.

Maybe I’ll figure out what to write about this summer (Yes, I’m going to do that, even though it’s contrary to doctor’s orders…..)

We’ll see.

Follow Along

That’s kinda what I’m up to this weekend.

  1. Paying a little attention to some of the internal LP things happening with what went on in New Hampshire. Obviously, I’m not a party member, but what happened is fascinating. And wrong. It was resolved last night, I think, but I’m having trouble following the proceedings. I didn’t watch the livestream of the meeting; I was watching the HR Geeks weekly Jitsi get-together.
  2. Speaking of that, I upgraded the software on the VM where all of this runs. I broke the mailing lists. Again. So on my to-do list for the next few days is figuring out how to restore the lists. The list I’d set up for ^H (Sup, dawg?) really didn’t have any subscribers, but there were more on the HR Geeks list. GNU Mailman 2 is gone in the latest Linux distro I’m using, so I need to figure out what’s up in version 3. It appears that they’ve moved past the weird Python database. What I don’t know is whether it stores all of the messages inside the DB backend. If so, that’d actually probably not be a bad thing. When I was younger, I was very opposed to having anything stored in a database. I guess I didn’t really understand the benefits then. Maybe too much reading DJB‘s evangelism about the technical correctness of UFS
  3. I’m headed back to Tidewater sometime soon. Primarily to do family stuff with my Mom. But it’s largely to get away from work for awhile. I’m not taking my work laptop. I’m going to be off. I’ve really not done that at all since probably 2012. So, spend some time with my mom and her mean little dog, maybe go to Waffle House.
  4. Seeing some of the stuff out of the NFL minicamps last couple of weeks has been interesting. I’m wondering if with some of the connections I’ve made over the past few years I can actually fill it with people who actually want to play. I do need to tweak some of the settings again, but I am still committed to points-per-reception, and points-per-completion. Last year I was running something like four teams in the league to make sure we had enough people playing to sorta make the league work. Maybe I won’t need to do that this year.
  5. Summer writing. I’m kind of inclined to do it this year, though it is feeding one of my obsessions. Maybe it’d be better to just do it in July instead of doing the strange month-landing-to-my-birthday thing. Dunno. Writing is an obsession for me, part of OCD, so I’m supposed to try to avoid it. But…
  6. The telemedicine stuff that’s really given me a lot of flexibility over the pandemic isn’t working properly. I can do telemedicine to the doctors I see in DC, but I can’t do the same for my psychologist in Maryland. What the actual fuck? I could ride the WMATA short bus around the Beltway to see her, but that’d be very inconvenient while I’m still working. I hope that, despite that, the days of what I saw going on years ago. Maybe the idea is that you’ll have to join a union, and your health insurance will come through the union pre-tax. We’ll see.

But that’s enough for the day. My mug filled with Lorenzotti Coffee is empty, the podcast I’m listening to is about finished, so I should stop.

Theme Of The Week

Theme of the Week 89 – Where is the most inspiring place you have ever been? Why was it inspiring?

I’ve been mulling this one for a while today as I burn PTO to deal with the new Federal Juneteenth holiday.

I think the only place that’s ever really inspired me lately is inspiration to leave.

I think my wayfaring childhood plays a big role in that. Maybe there’s certain keys that remind me of unpleasant places I’ve landed, but I’m trying to think of somewhere

I really don’t think anything would give me positive inspiration now due to my limited eyesight. Inspiration triggered by something aside from visual stimuli seems tough. The auditory stimulations, maybe, is a route, maybe.

But the visual things I saw before I could really appreciate them might have desensitized me to things I really should appreciate.now.

Similarly, I remember as a kid marveling at the USS Alabama on a car trip over Mobile Bay. After living for several years near the USS Wisconsin, when I saw it again, the awe was missing.

Now with my vision basically gone, I don’t know that there’s anything that’s really taken me in more than a decade.

So I don’t know.

Part of the reason I’m under professional psychological care is that I think about doing risky things, knowing that there won’t be anything enthralling that comes out of it.

Most of what I think about doing is generally harmless. The things that I think about doing could be dangerous. But I don’t do any of them.

Normal people don’t have those sorts of thoughts.


Make The Magic Smoke Come Out

As a fledgling programmer, there was a bit of sick satisfaction when some of my shitty code would actually destroy a piece of hardware by something it did.

Obviously, I was not trying to destroy that video controller worth a few hundred bucks, but what I was trying to do shouldn’t have caused it to almost catch fire. Or not. It’s all DC, so the caps did exactly what they’re there to do when fed too much juice. (I looked to see if I could find this now-obsolete item, but couldn’t. I can’t even remember the name of the vendor. I bet if I dug back through my archives, I could find it, but…..I shouldn’t have been doing RS-232 programming. Yes, I have a science degree, but it’s in a non-technical science. The same thing would have probably wouldn’t have happened had I sort of gotten commands to come out of the port using the hot-language-du-jour, and not the correct language for the job, C.)

Seriously, I just sent too many commands to this thing too quickly, and it started smoking. If I’d been connected with a RS-232 cable, and could type about fifteen times faster than I do, the same thing would have happened.

Writing about this was inspired by some of the topics I’ve been tracking. Probably there was some discussion of things that happened with cyber attacks against the Colonial Pipeline, and Iran in this episode of The Fifth Column. There was also something that Amélie linked on Twitter, and led me down a rabbit hole.

I was in the midst of the ^H VM migration (a bit of recursion, likely, if you click that link), and playing with the various mess that is the IPTables replacement on Linux.

As I’ve gotten constant probes from certain bad areas, I’ve sort of taken the approach of temporary DROP operations with Fail2Ban. Repeated abuses come, and I start restricting entire countries.

rule family="ipv4" source address="" drop
rule family="ipv4" source address="" drop

I can remember when you’d use things like reject –reject-with-tcp-reset to try to really overload attackers’ network gear. I don’t do it anymore, because it’s just easier to let attackers’ attempts fall into the ether.

You’d be justified, even, in affirmative responses. No NAP violation, because you’d first been attached.


And that I can’t be sure is part of why I’m just dropping shit.

But if I did know, for sure, that the attacks were actually originating from where it appears they are, immediate defensive response is justified.

There’s a reason nobody dares attack the Norks (see #4 there). They’ve got lots of big fucking guns. Even if half of them cook off on the first fire, they’ve killed millions of people in South Korea before those guns could all be taken out. No nukes needed.

Would covert action to eliminate some of those assets early be immoral?

The Colonial Pipeline and JBS attacks happened. Would retaliation for those attacks be justifiable? I think so. What about retaliatory attacks against other things in the area from whence the attacks came? I don’t know.

I can’t remember where I saw a discussion of this, and the question of transition from cyberwar to kinetic war.

The sorts of things that float around my scarred brain.