Friday, August 31, 2012


It's been a long time since I've had a German Shepherd, nearly twenty years.  For a while, it was too soon, and Jack held a place too special in my heart to even think about another.  Then we had small kids, then I was traveling all the time.  Then life got disrupted like I had never imagined it could, and that's no place to bring a puppy.  Then I was in Austin for a year.  An apartment is no place for a puppy to be all day long.

But now I'm back, and not traveling very much.  I live close enough to the office that I can get home at lunch to let him out.  And Wolfgang is four months old - we'll see how well housebroken he is, but I'm not expecting problems.

He seems quite friendly, very laid back, which is in great contrast to his brother who would jump up on you and nip at your trouser cuffs.  Not good - Bear needs to be de-bounced.  But Wolfgang is so relaxed that he napped on the drive back to Camp Borepatch.  He's had quite a big day - his brother and older sister came trotting after the Jeep as we drove away.  The loyalty of the breed is one thing that I love, and in fact see in myself, and so while it was sad to see (they'll not see him again) it was a reminder of why we so love our four pawed companions.

It's been a big day for him - he was raised on a farm, and despite the breeder's best efforts needed a flee bath.  Not fun, although he bore it with a stoic dignity that once again reminded me of why I love this breed.

He's as big already as Ivan the Terrier who seems happy to have another dog in our pack - he's seemed like he's missed little One Eyed Dog quite a bit, and so hopefully this will fill some of that void.  Crash the Wondercat seems less than pleased  (Do not want!) but Crash is as laid back as Wolf seems to be.  We'll know in a few days.

Watching him nap reminds me of my Jack, though.  It's an interesting feeling to have my own dog once again - Ivan the Terrier is a good ol' dog, but he's the family's.  It's good to feel like I finally can have my own dog, after all these years.

Busy now

Looks like Clan Borepatch is getting a new recruit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mitt Romney: a lying liar whose pants are on fire

You want proof?  You can't handle the truth!

I LOLed and LOLed.

Well, yeah. That's how it works.

Green Mountain Toaster brings the Reality Check for the Romney lovers this week:

Yeah, yeah,Godwin's Law.  RTWT.  And it's not like there are big policy differences.  SCOTUS.  I get it.

I still LOLed and LOLed.  I guess I won't be doing this in March when all y'all are wondering when they're going to repeal Obamacare.  I guess that my expectations are so low that I am unlikely to be disappointed. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dallas Area Blogshoot

Mark your calendars for September 15 and 16.  Bob S has the details.

"Our mission remains: Every Student, Every Day, a Success!"

Yeah, right.  You mean: Our mission remains: cover our butts when Al Gore's Intarwebz casts its jaundiced eye in our direction:
The family of [3 year old, deaf] Hunter Spanjer, the preschooler asked to change the way he signs his name, said the support has been tremendous.

"The encouragement and support is amazing," Brian Spanjer, Hunter's father, said. "It's been more than I could have asked for and it's been extremely helpful."

But, that's not the case for Grand Island Public Schools.

They said they've been receiving hundreds of angry calls and emails, even death threats.

A statement from GIPS Communications Coordinator Jack Sheard said there's more to the story.


The school's statement goes on to say, "Grand Island Public Schools is not requiring any current student with a hearing impairment to change his or her sign language name."
A more cravenly and contemptible ass covering is quite frankly hard to imagine.  The Grand Island, Nebraska school organization combines petty tyranny with cowardice in equal measures.  They thus demonstrate for everyone to see that they are, in every meaning of the word, small.  Well done to the Internet (err, other than the death threat thing) in making your disapprobation known.

And welcome to the Internet, Grand Island Nebraska Public School System.  You seem to think that by aping the prejudices of your coastal "betters" you will win their respect.  Sadly, nothing will win their respect for you because you remain "Flyover Country" and thus will never be more than useful tools to them.  But for the rest of us, aye, we will notice, and give you the respect that you have earned.

And the good Burghers of Grand Island have found out they way your mind works and the kind of men (and women) your are. They know your plans and expectations.  You've burbled every scrap of strategy that you have.  They know exactly what you will and what you won't do.

Please do try to keep up.

Via A Girl And Her Gun who asks a quite interesting question.

Bootnote: It may be that this is the greatest film ever made.  Maybe not, but as the Mythbusters would say: plausible.  But there is no doubt that Peter O'Toole is the greatest film actor who never won an Oscar for any of his many brilliant performances (eight nominations, including this film, all passed by - except for a consolation prize late in life).

Welcome, Citizen

This is perhaps premature, only only de jureDe facto, we have another one of Us:
I'm so very, very happy to report that Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife has just passed her US Citizenship exam today!


As my wife approached the date last year when she qualified to apply for US citizenship, she discovered a stronger desire to be American, and not just a hyphen-American.
Congratulations to Mrs. Paul, Dammit, and welcome.  As I understand it the next step is the swearing in (at least, I hope so).  And I would offer this as a welcome: all of us that you are joining are either Revolutionaries (as you are) or descended from Revolutionaries.  Either we or our ancestors made that break, to come to a foreign land and make it our own.

To make it great.

As I said, welcome.  And Paul mentioned a song that our sophisticated Intellectual Elite shudders to hear.  Well in honor of the occasion, here's another.

But if you got pride and you're proud you do
we could use some more like me and you ...

Welcome, Mrs. Paul, Dammit.  We could use some more like me and you.

Action, reaction

Anyone who doesn't take Truth seriously in small matters can't be trusted in large ones either.
- Albert Einstein
The Intellectual Class has seen itself go from success to success, taking over the Universities, the Media, and all the "chattering class" organs of the Republic.  The Long March through the Institutions has been, to their minds, a complete success.  And so they have commenced using the power granted those institutions by the People as a tool to reshape the People.

As the Church Lady used to say, "Well isn't that special?"

There's a word that this Intellectual Class dares nor speak.  Words have power, as they well know, and to voice the spectre is to summon it.  And so they stumble dumbly past the graveyard, eyes averted, hoping to once again cheat fate.  They do not see the gulf between their supposed virtues as thought leaders, and their flinching from facing the thoughts so common today throughout this Republic.  Talking only to themselves, in their own petty, closed circles, they have become incompetent to actually deal with the Truth as it really is.

I speak as the offspring of that same Intellectual Class, once who grew up immersed in that mindset.  Seeing yourself as the Intellectual Vanguard.  As Monty Python once put it, I got better.

Recognizing the Truth is a virtue.  There's Marketing, and there's what's actually true.  As the old saying goes, "Marketing doesn't change the Truth, it just makes it better."  The Left may flatter themselves that they can sell anything if they use pretty words, because the People are idiots.  We all know better.

And so the Long March through the institutions has turned out to be a disaster for the Intellectual Class, as the People have seen the politicization of those institutions.  The Left has turned high trust environments into low trust environments.

Action, reaction.

And now the Internet roars onto the scene, breaking business models as far as the eye can see.  Remember Sun Microsystems?  They were the "dot in dot com."  They couldn't harness the power of the Internet, and they got passed by.  Gone, as if they never were.

Information wants to, and will, be free.  And the People find that gives them power, power against the chattering classes that thought that they controlled all the communications channels.  They watch horrified, cow-like in their lack of comprehension, when the message gets out despite their best efforts.

There's no blocking this signal - it bypasses the (unofficial) Organs Of The State (the Media and the Universities), and spreads from blog to blog, from person to person.  It spread from Blue to me.  He says that someone should post it every day.  Now you have it in front of you: how will you spread it?

Because the message cuts through the pretty words that the Intellectual Elite thought they could get the (dumb, but don't tell them) People to swallow, it cuts through the rationalizations, it cuts through the professorial double talk.  It says this:

The People are smarter than the Chattering Classes think.  Wile they are willing to be led, they are unwilling to be ruled.  They bow to no one, and don't think highly of those that do.

The Elites keep telling us that we should be more like Europe.  The People in Europe have never been Citizens, despite the pretty words and fancy rhetoric.  They've always been subjects - to Monarchs, or Dictators, or the current EU which is a Dictatorship Of The Elite with a good PR Agency.

Things are different here, and while the People are happy to get government benefits when they're on offer, the American People are still a practical bunch.  Who when the chips truly are down, will not flinch from the truth.  Who will not cast their eyes down when walking past a graveyard, or when greeting a foreign Monarch.

As I said: now you have it in front of you: how will you spread it?

Truth.  It will set you free.  The Elites are horrified by this - by a simple truth, stated plainly, without the "allowed" pretty words and spin.  Unvarnished.  Bare.  A truth that they can't convince a "stupid" People to believe.

The Dinosaurs sniff a change on the breeze, and roar their defiance.
Three things cannot long be hidden: the Sun, the Moon, and the Truth.
- The Buddha

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

From Ambrose Bierce's breathlessly cynical The Devil's Dictionary:

The Democrat's War on Women

And by "War" I don't mean "won't pay for some new pandering government program aimed at buying votes."  I mean "killed graveyard dead."  And it's a war on men and children, too.  I refer, of course, to the newly released automotive mileage standards that raise average new car mileage to 54 MPG.

This is the second round of this foolishness.  The problem, of course, is Sir Isaac Newton and his inconvenient Laws of Motion.  The only way to reach these targets is to dramatically reduce the weight of a car, and correspondingly reduce the horsepower of the engine:
I was trained as an Engineer, which means I had to take a lot of math and science. Despite the government's best efforts, you cannot change laws of nature. If you want a car to go 33% further on a gallon of gas, you have only three choices:

1. Increase the efficiency of the engine by 33%. Unfortunately, we've had 30 years of research into more efficient engines, and all the big gains are to be had in the early years. Front wheel drive (shrink the power train), unibody construction (instead of a frame), and computer-controlled fuel injection (instead of carburetors) make up the bulk of the gain to date. Despite the promise of hybrid technology and regenerative braking, there simply isn't anywhere near 33% gains in this (for highway driving, at least).

2. Reduce the power-to-weight ratio. No more V8 for you, Mr. Zette - how about a nice 5 cylinder like Mr. Volvo? Well, then Mr. Vette drives just like Mr. Volvo. Say goodbye to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, President Obama! (translation: ain't gonna happen).

3. Reduce the weight of the car by 33% or so, while reducing power by an equal amount. Car handles the same, but gets better mileage. You can have performance and fuel efficiency. You can have it all!

Except you can't. Sir Isaac Newton will not be denied:
Whenever a object A exerts a force on another object B, B simultaneously exerts a force on A with the same magnitude in the opposite direction.
Here's what your new ultralight ride will be sharing the road with:

In a crash, any good intentions of enlightened progressives mean precisely bupkis:
The National Academy of Sciences has linked mileage standards with about 2,000 deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.
And you have to lighten the car weight by a lot more than 100 pounds to hit 54 MPG.  The Fed.Gov is condemning a couple thousand people a year to early graves - men, women, and children - so that they can feel good about themselves for being all "green" and everything.

And nothing but dead bodies will satisfy them.  Don't believe me?  How about a car that gets 80 MPG?

That's a Volkswagen Lupo 3L TDI, which gets not quite 80 MPG using it's turbo-diesel engine.  It's not produced anymore, because of poor sales in part related to the fact that it could not be sold in the United States.

It didn't meet emission standards for diesels here.

So it's dead bodies, and nothing but dead bodies.  The Progressive dream has become a modern day Moloch, requiring the literal sacrifice of innocents - literal dead bodies.  All so that Progressives can feel good about themselves.

That's all quite a mystery to me, how they sleep at night.

TheOnesDay® No. 20

This is the twentieth posting for TheOnesDay®, the semi-regular mocking of the Obama ego.  In celebration of post number 20, I am extremely honored to announce that this post is actually a guest post.  Even more, it's a guest post by Barack Obama himself.  I'm actually verklempt.

----------- Begin Guest post -----------------

Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown—including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure—sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.
—President Obama on the passing of Neil Armstrong
-------------- End Guest post ------------------

I actually could not have mocked the President more brutally than he did.  Remember Alinksy's rules - mockery is an excellent tool, particularly when targeting someone as famously thin skinned as the current President.

Romney 346, Obama 192

I'm updating my prediction for this year's election.  Here are my assumptions that drive the outcome:

1. The polls do not accurately reflect the state of the electorate.  There is a persistent over-sampling of Democrats as pollsters base their turnout projections on the turnout rates in the 2008 election cycle.  The, Democrats were massively energized and Republicans were somewhat demoralized, and so the cycle was something like D+5 or even more.  There's simply no way that we'll see that this year, even with what we can expect to be pretty serious voter fraud.

2. There is a real Bradley Effect in play here.  The Bradley Effect is almost always misinterpreted to mean that voters are racist; instead, it shows that voters (rationally) do not want to be accused of racism, and so lie to the pollsters.  This inflates Obama's numbers by a couple of points over what we will see in the ballot boxes where the secret ballot will allow people to cast their vote without being accused of being a racist.  Given the exceptional nastiness of this campaign - the "dog whistle" accusations of the last day are a good example - this reluctance to tell people their real opinion is entirely justified.

3. Perhaps 10% of the voting population has yet to make up their minds, and will not until a couple weeks before election day.  These people are simply not political junkies, and while they take their votes seriously, they just aren't particularly interested in tuning in to the give and take until the big day approaches.  Given that the economy is on the skids and people rationally vote their pocketbooks, this group will likely break to Romney 2 to 1.

The result of all this is that there is between a 5% and a 10% over-sampling of the polls, and to get an accurate picture of how the election will turn out we need to subtract between 5% and 10% from Obama's poll numbers across the nation.

Election Projection shows the current latest polling on a state by state basis.  They currently say that Obama leads Romney by 303 to 235.  However, we've just seen that we need to adjust the poll numbers.  When you subtract 5% from Obama's numbers, all of the states shown as "Weak Obama" go to Romney.  Even more, we're talking more than 5% (but less than 10%).  That category is "Moderate Obama", and half of those will go to Romney.

And that will give Romney nearly 350 electoral votes.  Here's my map predicting the race (click to embiggen).

I actually see this as a fairly conservative projection.  It's possible that a preference cascade can occur during the final weeks of the campaign, where voters either flee Obama or decide to stay home in disgust rather than turn out for the Democrats.  Republicans are showing no signs of being turned off by the negative campaign - indeed, people seem to be getting angrier and more motivated as the mud gets flung and the crazy is dialed up to 11.  A R+6 turnout might move all of the Moderate Obama states into Romney's camp.  That would make this the biggest victory since 1988.

Now I may be wrong here, and as I've said before we're probably better off in the long term with a 2012 Obama victory.  However, this is how I see this developing.  You can create your own map, too.  Remember, the interesting discussion is not the result, but your assumptions that drive the result.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She'd fit right in to the Obama Administration

Maybe Car Czar or something?

Mitt Romney isn't the Hope and Change you're hoping the change will bring


What's the over/under on how long before the Tea Party types feel about Romney precisely how Democrats feel about Obama.  March 2013?

Since Romney is headed to a landslide of epic proportions, I at least have the advantage that I am very unlikely to be disappointed.  My expectations for a Romney Administration are exceedingly low.  So low, in fact, that they very well might be exceeded.

Somehow I don't think that a lot of Tea Party types will be equally impressed.

Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it

Mr. Anthony Ortolani of Westminster, CO found himself facing adversity.  An avid mountain climber, he was scaling Mount Bierstadt with his German Shepherd, Missy.  Weather rolled in, and they began to descend.

Then Missy hurt her paw, badly enough that she couldn't walk.

We all hope that we will never be tested with a life or death choice, that the cup will pass from each of us.  We hope this particularly when we face the choice because of our own recklessness, and our loved ones are facing the outcome.  Anthony Ortolani had to decide what to do.

He left Missy in the snowstorm on the mountaintop and made his way to safety.  With this decision, he revealed all that we need to know about his character.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.
- Mark Twain

So much for Mr. Ortolani.  But have no fear, gentle reader, other climbers heard about the situation and revealed their character, too:
Monday morning, eight days after Missy was left, Washburn led a new search team of eight climbers. Chase Lindell and Alex Gelb volunteered to help.

“The thought of a dog slowly dying on the top of the mountain is tough to stomach,” Gelb wrote about his reasoning for joining the search.

The group powered through a snow squall near the summit of Mt. Bierstadt and found the dog right where Washburn had last seen it, on the treacherous sawtooth. They named the dog “Lucky” and took turns carrying the dog down the mountainside in a backpack.

Astonishingly, Mr. Ortolani wants Missy back.  The rescuers are suing to keep the dog that they saved.  Ortolani has been charged with animal cruelty, but is certain to escape the just sentence that would have been his in a younger and less degenerate age of the Republic - namely, being tarred and feathered.

Worst of all, Missy probably misses her master desperately.  Her pack is broken, even though she has had a significant upgrade in human companionship.  What captures our hearts about our canine friends is that they see us as we would be seen, not as we are.  Alas, this applies even to one such as Mr. Ortolani.

But while Missy will always see him as protector, the rest of us see him as he is: juvenile, reckless, and cowardly when the chips are down.  Missy may remain true to her breed and look at him with the eyes of loyalty, as she should.  I will look at him with the eyes of contempt, as I should.
No man likes to live under the eye of perpetual disapprobation.
- Dr. Sam Johnston
Mr. Ortolani is well advised to get used to it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Secret videos from the Republican Convention floor

Smuggled out of Tampa at great risk, brought to a grateful Internet via the Samizdat Railroad.

The amount of FAIL at this convention will only be exceeded when the Democrats go to Charlotte.  Just sayin'.

Via #2 Son (the video, not the political commentary)


There's a new album out from Muse.

What? Climate Change legislation applies to Progressives?

Who'd have thought?
SACRAMENTO – Large campuses in the University of California and California State University systems are bracing for the implementation of new state rules that will force them to cut carbon emissions or pay as much as $28 million a year to offset their greenhouse gases.


"The University supports the creation of a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, but is concerned that it is being disproportionately impacted by the proposed cap-and-trade rule and that its compliance costs will ultimately be borne by students, researchers, and patients to the detriment of teaching, research, and healthcare activities," wrote Anthony Garvin of the UC Office of the president in a 2010 letter to the California Air Resources Board, the entity responsible for implementing AB 32.
Come on, lefties!  Welcome to your Green nirvana, now pay up.  Sure, it's a regressive tax that will disproportionally impact students, researchers, and the sick.  But well crafted Progressive legislation never has unintended consequences, so quit yer bitching.

And the article delightfully slips the knife in to the hilt, in paragraph 2:
For years, businesspeople have been complaining that the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as Assembly Bill 32, will decimate California's economy and force companies to move out of state.
Maybe the University of California system can move to Texas like all those businesses are.  And the absolute best part of the whole hoist on their own petard thing?
At this point, no one knows what the going rate for carbon credits will be because the market hasn't been established yet. But assuming a cost of $10 to $40 per credit, several public campuses could face multi-million dollar bills.
Six years after the statute passed, nobody knows what it will cost.  That's one righteous display of Progressive Intelligence, right there.


Atlanta Blogmeet and (maybe) shoot?

Reader Marc from the Lone Star State is in town, and I wasn't able to meet up over the weekend.

So it's last minute and everything, but is anyone up to get together Wednesday or Thursday evening to show Marc some southern hospitality?  Maybe we can even work a range trip into it, but at least we can have a beer.

Installing Netflix causes network outage

Or something.  I installed a Blue Ray player with built in Netflix yesterday.  Had to get a converter for 10 Base T to WiFi, but everything was working pretty slickly.

Then the uverse connection started bouncing up and down like a final four game.  Bah.

Looks like it's back now.  Blogging can continue.  Forward!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


The AT&T uVerse TV (mostly) works, but the Internet doesn't.

Of course, tech support is via the web. Of course.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Bob has issues

It seems that he's a racist:

And it seems he's sexist:

Don't be like Bob, you racist, sexist scumbags*.

* No, not you.  I was talking to the other blog readers.

Mockery target acquired

What's funniest about this is that it's the Left that thinks that they have a monopoly on weaponized political snark.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight Sonata)

He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Beethoven isn't usually remembered for his piano compositions.  Usually people think of his magnificent symphonic works, and look to Chopin for black and ivory work.  That's unfortunate, because Beethoven pioneered the (then new) pianoforte instrument as he did so much else.  As with so much of the Nineteenth Century's music, other composers followed in Beethoven's footsteps.

Neil Armstrong also was a pioneer, one who also had footsteps worthy of remembrance.

Image via Wikipedia
This music - played by none other than Vladimir Horowitz - captures the somber beauty called for at the passing of a great man.  Indeed, an early criticism of Beethoven's piece was that it was much like a funeral march.  Today, that's a worthy sentiment.

Because when the moonlight shines down, it is reflecting off of the footprints left at Mare Tranquillitatis. A brave, humble man left them while turning down any special credit for the event.

Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, August 25, 2012

One small step for man

Thank you, Neil Armstrong, for inspiring this young boy, these forty years ago.

And thank you once again for inspiring this jaded, cynical man, by keeping a low profile, for not having a publicist, for being a humble hero.

That's quite inspiring.  Rest in peace.

UPDATE 25 August 2012 19:20: Oh good grief.  Astronaut Neil Young? Chet Huntley and David Brinkley are spinning in their graves.

Things I did not know, volume MMCXIV

Did you know that Iowahawk is a statistician and an amateur Climate Scientist?  I didn't.  Did you know that he created a spreadsheet that allows you to try to replicate Michael Mann's famous "Hockey Stick" graph in the comfort and privacy of your own home?

I don't know how I hissed this very detailed and informative tutorial of his.  It's how the sausage is made.

Man, this is hard

The People's Cube decodes Republican secret racist code phrases for you.

Who knew that Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country was so danged racist?

Garth Brooks - Rodeo

We're taking the kids to the Rodeo tonight.  That'll be a first (long story).  And it's a shame, because I love the rodeo.  I can take or leave the bull riding, but the roping is usually done with such speed and precision as to really show off the athleticism that's needed.

For both the riders and the horses.

Garth Brooks owned the airwaves during the 1990s, selling almost 70 million albums (!).  He's the number two top selling solo artist ever in America, only being beat out by Elvis.  If you weren't listening to Country music back then, it's difficult to describe just how overwhelming his presence was.

This song is perhaps iconic of his style, a theatrical mix of western images wrapped up in a pop-country format.  That's actually a pretty decent description of tonight's plan with the Borepatch clan; while most of the crew aren't really Country, they can pretend for a bit.  And have a danged good ol' time doing it.

Rodeo (Songwriter: Larry Bastian)
His eyes are cold and restless
His wounds have almost healed
And she'd give half of Texas
Just to change the way he feels
She knows his love's in Tulsa
And she knows he's gonna go
Well it ain't no woman flesh and blood
It's that damned old rodeo

Well it's bulls and blood
It's dust and mud
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd
It's the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round
It's boots and chaps
It's cowboy hats
It's spurs and latigo
It's the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo

She does her best to hold him
When his love comes to call
But his need for it controls him
And her back's against the wall
And it's So long girl I'll see you
When it's time for him to go
You know the woman wants her cowboy
Like he wants his rodeo

Well it's bulls and blood
It's dust and mud
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd
It's the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round
It's boots and chaps
It's cowboy hats
It's spurs and latigo
It's the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo
It'll drive a cowboy crazy
It'll drive the man insane
And he'll sell off everything he owns
Just to pay to play her game
And a broken home and some broken bones
Is all he'll have to show
For all the years that he spent chasin'
This dream they call rodeo

Well it's bulls and blood
It's dust and mud
It's the roar of a Sunday crowd
It's the white in his knuckles
The gold in the buckle
He'll win the next go 'round
It's boots and chaps
It's cowboy hats
It's spurs and latigo
It's the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo

It's the broncs and the blood
It's the steers and the mud
And they call the thing rodeo

Friday, August 24, 2012

The irony, she is so thick that you can cut it with a knife

The most controversial aspect of Microsoft's new Windows 8 Operating System is the new Metro interface, which completely changes the way users interact with the computer.  No more Start button, Metro gives you a "tiled" interface that is reported to be pretty fancy on the new fondle slab tablets, but which seemingly blows chunks on desktop machines.  And while the Windows 8 beta allowed you to use the old style interface, this capability has been removed in the RTM version.  Get ready for tiles, because that's what Ballmer and company want for you.

Corporations are particularly upset over this, because they (rightly) see huge employee retraining costs in their future.  Quite frankly, I expect most corporate IT shops to take a pass on Windows 8 entirely for exactly this reason.

So what's an IT tech nerd to do?  How to square the circle of a locked in, fascist OS redesign with the need to provide the familiar to the poor users?  Open Source to the rescue:
Windows 8 users need not do without a Start button, thanks to an open source application titled Classic Shell that can banish the Interface Formerly Known As Metro (TIFKAM).

El Reg's antipodean lab installed Classic Shell on a Windows 8 RTM virtual machine running under Oracle VirtualBox on Mac OS 10.7.4. We can report that the application installed without a hint of trouble, and as soon as we clicked in its shell-like Start button we were offered a nice set of options to arranged Windows 8 so that it resembled versions of Windows past.
The irony of Microsoft being saved from the consequences of their arrogant mistake by the Open Source community is about as delicious as anything that I've been seen in ages.  It would be like the Tea Party pulling Obama's fat out of the fire of Obamacare.

We live in a strange world, likely one stranger than we can possibly imagine.

"I can never tell if these Onion stories are true ..."

I can.

Literally Unbelievable is trolling in action.

“On the Feasibility of Side-Channel Attacks with Brain-Computer Interfaces”

No, this isn't an article from The Onion.  It's why I love working in the field of computer security.  This is awesome:
A little-reported (at first) bit of research presented at this month’s Usenix conference makes the startling claim that consumer-grade EEG-based interface devices – like Emotiv and NeuroSky headsets – could be used to gain private information from users.

The combination of sexy gadget and sci-fi attack was too much for the hipsters over at ExtremeTech, with the headline “Hackers backdoor the human brain”, and CrazyEngineers, which took an axe to language with “Hackers Unauthorizedly Access Human Brain”.

Actually, what the researchers demonstrate might be considered unremarkable when you deconstruct it:

1. A consumer peripheral doesn’t secure its communications with its host (other peripherals that use unsecured communications include your keyboard, mouse, and headphones).

2. These particular peripherals actually do what the package says they do.
This neatly captures the nexus of gee wizz - nothing to see move along - quick Robbin to the hypemobile that keeps the industry perennially young.  I can't see anything to worry about here, and I've been trained to be paranoid by the finest minds in the Free World.

But hey, we have two way TVs and hackers recreating Neuromancer!  It's livin' large, in the future!

Pedants can read the actual presentation here.

Major General Ross, where are you now that America needs you?

Two hundred years ago on this date, British forces commanded by Gen. Ross burned the public buildings of Washington D.C.  Showing impeccable manners and breeding, all the city's private buildings were spared.

The White House and the Capitol went up in flames.  Sadly, that hasn't happened since.
POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shakespeare had an editor?

Who knew?

Very clever, and very funny. Rowan Atkinson (of "Black Adder" and "Mr. Bean" fame) and Hugh Laurie ("House").

Old NFO could not be reached for comment

But I can imagine what he would say.


Or not, actually.  I've been feeling guilty lately, thinking that I'm a month behind on changing the oil* on the Jeep.  I mean, the last time I did this was in Texas, and I've been home for months and months.

And so I looked at the data.  What was my mileage when I last did the deed?  2,783 miles ago.

This is a meditation on being home with your family.  A couple hundred miles in Texas, and then 900 miles home, and then a lot of not much adds up to a lot of time home with the family.  I must confess to a sense of discombobulation every so often, as I don't live George Thorogood's song.

I actually think that the longest trip I've taken in the Jeep since April was when #2 Son and I went to an Appleseed shoot, which was only an hour anf a quarter from home.  Some day, I may even get used to this.

Your moment of Zen

Brought to you by ASM826, in a comment left a couple years back:
It will be required of each of us to die in our time. It is who we were, how we loved, and the relationships we fostered that makes up the life we had. It not the length of time we were given, or the way it ends that defines our life.

Love, take the risk and love. To turn away is to choose the Abyss because you have not the courage to risk the possibility of loss. You will thrown life away without ever knowing the joy and sweetness that gives it meaning.

Loving another person is an act of incredible daring in the face of an indifferent universe. To love, and to share that love with another in a way that brings another life into being shows us be creatures of such hope that the very idea of it is miraculous.
To dare like that is an act of insufferable defiance in the face of a cruel, indifferent Universe.  It's an act of insolence, really.  It's what, in the end, makes us human.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.  Loving someone deeply gives you courage.
- Lao Tzu
You might want to go leave a comment at Tranquility Lost, who is in Chemo right now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy birthday, John Lee Hooker

Thanks for all the great music.

Moar Globall Warmeninz

As I write this (last night at 21:00 for you, "now" for me*) I find myself sitting on the veranda here at Camp Borepatch in my suit coat.  It's 76°.

In Georgia.  In August.

It's JayG weather.  Jay, all y'all just come on down if you want to get away from the Boston heat, y'hear?

Me?  I blame Global Warming for the beautiful, cool weather.  Because Global Warming causes everything.

* You're living in my future, it seems.

The George W. Bush of Medieval England

On this day in 1485, England's King Richard III died, sword in hand on the bloody turf of Boswell Field, desperately looking for a horse to speed him from the rout of his army - which serves as an excellent example to us all to always have a backup.

Richard's great tragedy was not that he was a mediocre King, nor that he had his moments of ruthlessness and intellectuality.  Many monarchs of that Scepter'd Isle shared those defects.  No, Richard has gone down in history as uniquely bad - worse even than bad old King John who was so bad that no other English sovereign has borne that name these thousand years.  There's quite a simple explanation for that, really.

Richard's opponent was Henry Tudor, who had William Shakespeare write the history.  It'd take a powerful PR campaign to top that.

Mysteriously, Dick Cheney does not make an appearance in Shakespeare's play, unless it's maybe the behind the scenes guy who strangles the little Princes and eats their bodies to dispose of them.  Sounds like something Cheney would do and hey - does he have an alibi for where he was in 1483?  I'm not making an accusation, mind, just raising a legitimate question.  Like Mitt Romney's taxes.

I mean, people wouldn't be talking about it if there weren't something to it, right?

20 years is such a short time

R.I.P. Vicki Weaver, shot down by the FBI twenty years ago today.  If Lon Horiuchi had been a better shot, he might have got her and her baby at the same time.  That would have been a twofer, or something.  Wonder if that gets you promoted to Special Agent.

And this is another opportunity to remind everyone that not only does Lon Horiuchi walk the land as a free man, but that he gets corporate endorsements.

As it turns out, Janet Reno also walks the land as a free woman.  Passing strange, that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Birth of the Electric Blues

It's said that T-Bone Walker was the first person who ever recorded a Blues song playing an electric guitar.  He came from a musical family, where his parents were friends of Blind Lemon Jefferson.  You might say that he learned the Blues from Jefferson around the dinner table.

He was a pioneer, and influenced some people you've heard of.  Chuck Berry said he was one of the main influencers of Barry's style.  B.B. King said he decided to play the electric guitar after listening to Walker.  Jimi Hendrix started playing the guitar with his teeth after seeing Walker do it.

And did I mention "influential"?  Here's Allman Brothers Band with Eric Clapton doing Walker's "Stormy Monday Blues".

Philosopher: that toothpaste needs to go right back in that tube

Ooooooh kaaaaay:
Engineers should refuse to work on killer robots, says Australian ethicist Dr Robert Sparrow.

Sparrow's definition of a killer robot includes the Predator drone, a weapon he finds objectionable because “Military robots are making it easier for governments to start wars, thinking that they won't incur any casualties on their own side."

That means “The ethics of working on military robotics today cannot be entirely divorced from the ethics of the ends to which military robots are used,” he writes in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.
Boy, that was sure easy.  Just scoot past thousands of years of philosophical discussion on, say, Catholic "Just War" doctrine and jump straight to drones are bad, mkay?

Not that he might not have a point, but that his facile point recalls the old Economist joke:
Two Economists were taking a hike in the woods when they fell into an abandoned mineshaft.  The sides were too steep to climb back up, and nobody heard their cries for help.

In despair, one sat down and said, "That's it.  We're going to die.  We can't get out."

"Nonsense," said the other.  "Assume a ladder."
Well, it made me recall the joke, anyway.  Hey, maybe the good Doctor is just trolling:

The greatest advertisement of all time

The solution to the Higher Education Bubble

It seems that it's building a new football stadium.  Srlsy.

The argument is that a strong athletics program will raise out-of-state enrollments.  In-state tuition is subsidized, meaning a loss to the school.  Out-of-state students pay more than their "fair share" (let's ignore the Social Justice implications of young people being encouraged to take on debt that cannot be discharged even in bankruptcy so that they can go to some bitchin' games).  So a winning team attracts those lucrative auslanders.

So much for the theory - what does the hard, unforgiving math say?  Uh, nazzo fast:
In 2011 CSU received about 16,000 applications of which about 7,000 were out of state. A top-20 team would therefore boost out of state applicants by 175, a top-10 team by 210 applications and a National Championship by as much as 560 applicants. This boost would be for only one year, after which the effect would disappear. I think it is safe to say that CSU's football successes simply cannot drive large increases in out-of-state applications, even with a national championship every year.
A couple hundred students - that's what that shiny new stadium would bring.  Maybe.

It's really astonishing to watch a bunch of (mostly) leftie Professors* advance what boils down to Say's Law to justify their Higher Ed budgets.  Err, with a bunch of negative social justice implications tossed in, to boot.  But hey, it's not working in the private sector!  I mean, they expect results!

* Dr. Pielke excepted, of course, who pretty well eviscerates CSU's hair brained scheme.  He also has a quite interesting (and recommended - check out the blogroll link) climate science blog.  Since most of you are beastly Deniers, his "luke warmist" approach will stretch your thinking a bit, which is always a Good Thing.

Of course, Dr. Pielke is likely a dirty Commie, but hey, aren't we all?

Anarcho-Tyranny 101

Anarcho-Tyranny is defined as "we refuse to control real criminals (that's the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that's the tyranny)."  Here it is in action.

The anarchy:
The 29-year-old man who was found beaten on the front porch of a home in Capitol Hill on Saturday has undergone two surgeries on his brain but his wife said he was able to squeeze her hand from his hospital bed Monday morning.


District police have released few details of the attack. They said on Saturday that Maslin was found about 8:30 Saturday morning unconscious on the front porch of a home in the 700 block of North Carolina Ave., around the corner from Eastern Market.
Where is the 700 block of North Carolina Ave, SE?  Eight blocks from the US Capitol Building:

Dunno.  Maybe Fosetti lives near there.  I hope not.  In any case, the police are unwilling or incompetent to keep the streets safe even a dozen blocks from our seat of government.

The tyranny:
PRAGUE, Okla.– There’s a bit of diploma drama going on between a local high school and that school’s valedictorian.

David Nootbaar is furious his daughter’s school is keeping her diploma.


Nootbaar said, “Her quote was, ‘When she first started school she wanted to be a nurse, then a veterinarian and now that she was getting closer to graduation, people would ask her, what do you want to do and she said how the hell do I know? I’ve changed my mind so many times.’”
He said in the written script she gave to the school she wrote “heck,” but in the moment she said “hell” instead.
Nootbaar said the audience laughed, she finished her speech to warm applause and didn’t know there was a problem.

That was until she went to pick up the real certificate this week.

“We went to the office and asked for the diploma and the principal said, ‘Your diploma is right here but you’re not getting it. Close the door; we have a problem,’” Nootbaar said.
He said the principal told Kaitlin she would have to write an apology letter before he would release the diploma.
I have a simple solution for this problem.  The good burghers of Prague, OK could round the Principle, Mr. Rick Martin (School Superintendent), and the entire School Board and apply a generous coating of tar and feathers and then run out of town on a rail.

I leave it to my gentile readers to decide the expected lifespan of a private school that took tuition for four years and then refused to give the earned (valedictorian) diploma.  Personally, I wonder if one of Commodore Grace Hopper's nanoseconds is the right visual aid.

Isegoria points us to a good description of why this sort of petty tyranny is so common:
Minor officials prove their status with petty displays of authority, while the truly powerful show their strength through gestures of magnanimity. People of average education show off the studied regularity of their script, but the well educated often scribble illegibly. Mediocre students answer a teacher’s easy questions, but the best students are embarrassed to prove their knowledge of trivial points. Acquaintances show their good intentions by politely ignoring one’s flaws, while close friends show intimacy by teasingly highlighting them. People of moderate ability seek formal credentials to impress employers and society, but the talented often downplay their credentials even if they have bothered to obtain them. A person of average reputation defensively refutes accusations against his character, while a highly respected person finds it demeaning to dignify accusations with a response.

How can high types be so understated in their signals without diminishing their perceived quality? Most signalling models assume that the only information available on types is the signal, implying that high types will be confused with lower types if they do not signal. But in many cases other information is also available. For instance, wealth is inferred not just from conspicuous consumption, but also from information about occupation and family background. This extra information is likely to be noisy in that the sender cannot be sure what the receiver has learned, implying that medium-quality types may still feel compelled to signal to separate themselves from low types. But even noisy information will often be sufficient to adequately separate high types from low types, leaving high types more concerned with separating themselves from medium types. Since medium types are signalling to differentiate themselves from low types, high types may choose to not signal, or “countersignal,” to differentiate themselves from medium types.
The Principal and Superintendent are moderately low status positions - petty functionaries responsible for a couple hundred workers - and not even their workers, since the school isn't their company that they started with their own capital.  The result is that we would expect the displays typical for low status officials - this sort of thing, in fact.

Compare and contrast to the "Superintendent" of a private school, who is very likely to be the owner of the school.  Not only would that person not be so entirely clueless as to the consequences of his actions to his future prospects of prosperity, as a business owner he would likely be considered a medium status official.  His signalling will be aimed at differentiating himself from low status officials.

This is a typically wordy and Borepatchian way of saying that it's all Monkey Brains, anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Drive like lightening. crash like thunder

I've been saying for years that in their rush to add new computerized, Internet accessible features, car manufacturers have been blowing off security.  Seems that I'm not the only one, and a well known company is putting their money where their mouth is:
McAfee has hired the infamous Barnaby Jack to hack into cars, reports PC Pro UK.

Jack is a researcher who shocked the world when he demonstrated ways that crooks can force ATMs to give them cash. He also showed off a trick that causes medical pumps to spit out lethal doses of insulin.
OK, things are fixin' to get really interesting, really fast.  My suspicion is that the design teams are about to go from zero to damn how do we fix that in 5.3 seconds.  Never mind their lame denials:
Yet, Ford spokesman Alan Hall said his company had tasked its security engineers with making its Sync in-vehicle communications and entertainment system as resistant as possible to attack. "Ford is taking the threat very seriously and investing in security solutions that are built into the product from the outset," he said.
Translation: now that it's getting all real and in our faces, the next version will suck at least 50% less.  Fortunately for Ford, their competitors are all in the same leaky boat:
Toyota said it was not aware of any hacking incidents on its cars and said it had built-in protections. "They're basically designed to change coding constantly. I won't say it's impossible to hack, but it's pretty close," said Toyota spokesman John Hanson.
And I won't say that Toyota spokesman John Hanson is an idiotic PR flack who spells "security" as S-E-K-U-R-I-T-Y, but his statement is nothing but Bravo Sierra.
Car makers are rushing to make it easy to plug portable computers and phones to vehicles and connect them to the internet, but in many cases they are also exposing critical systems that run their vehicles to potential attackers because those networks are all linked within the car.

"The manufacturers, like those of any other hardware products, are implementing features and technology just because they can and don't fully understand the potential risks of doing so," said Joe Grand, an electrical engineer and independent hardware security expert.

Grand estimates that the average auto maker is about 20 years behind software companies in understanding how to prevent cyber attacks.
I would bet big money that every word of this is Gospel Truth.  Demonstration attacks have been created that use the CD player, and that come into the car via MP3.  It's almost a certainty that WiFi, bluetooth, or (shudder) Internet (hello, 3G!) could be the vectors.  A moment thinking like an attacker can give you scenarios galore.  How's this: An SMS to a targeted user causes a map to get downloaded from the Internet.  The map contains malware that causes one tire to deflate, the throttle to firewall, and the brakes fail, but only when the car reaches 70 MPH.  It also wipes any logs so that the accident is hard to reconstruct.

All of my gentle readers can add their own scenarios, no doubt.  And so the term "Detroit Coffin" seems to be coming literally true.  Drive like lightening to add the Internet and computer control.  Mission accomplished!

Romney app more obnoxious than Obama app

But both are extremely obnoxious, and you shouldn't use either.  Both campaigns have iPhone and Android apps you can install on your phone.  Don't:
Last Wednesday, Reuters published a story that touches on security concerns surrounding President Obama’s app. Reuters reported, “The app is helping hundreds of volunteers and staff with the voter drives that the campaign sees as a vital way to combat a crop of voter identification laws that could reduce Democratic turnout in swing states… But the implications of having a stranger’s name and address at one’s fingertips has raised the hackles of privacy advocates…”

GFI Labs decided to dig deeper and, at the same time, make a side-by-side comparison of both apps for Android. Here’s what we’ve found out about the Romney and Obama apps.
So what did they find?  A lot:

Riddle me this, GOPman: why does Romney's app need to turn on your camera (CAMERA) or microphone (RECORD_AUDIO)?  Riddle me this, Obamabot: why does your app grab contacts (READ_CONTACTS) or your GPS location (ACCESS_*_LOCATION)?

I know that you're both politicians and so the only reason that you kiss babies is so that you can get closer to swipe their lollypops, but do you have to try so hard to live down to my worst expectations?

Remember Borepatch's First Law of Security, folks: "free download" is Intarwebz-speak for "open your mouth and close your eyes".

Via El Reg.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming ...

Gun banners are evil tools

Print this post out, and give it to your gun banning acquaintances.

We hear this, and the only possible explanation are that these people are evil - determined to seize all guns from the population and ensure a monopoly of force to the government - or tools.  Perhaps well meaning tools, but ignorant and easily led by the evil group. 
Some nights the wolves are silent, and the moon howls.
- George Carlin

There's no "common sense" here.  Or compromise.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


A hero is someone who has given his life to something bigger than himself.
- Joseph Campbell
On August 20,1944, 168 Allied airmen arrived at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.  They were not treated as POWs by the Germans; because they had tried to evade capture and escape back to their own lines they were treated as Terrorfliegeren - war criminals.  And so instead of being in a POW camp, they were in Buchenwald.

That's where the 168 found their hero.  His name was Pilot Officer Phil Lamason of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Lamason was senior officer, and knew that they wouldn't live long in that place unless they stuck together, and so he organized them by nationality and appointed commanding officers to impose military discipline.  Then he started negotiating with both the German and existing Prisoner power centers.  He had no luck with the Germans, and in fact almost got himself shot when he told them flat out that while Buchenwald was a slave labor camp, his men were POWs and would not (by the laws of war) participate in forced labor.

But he quickly won the respect of the prisoner's organization which, while underground was surprisingly wired into the German command structure.  Using this, he was able to get a note to the Luftwaffe, via some workers who were detailed to work at a nearby airbase.  A couple of Luftwaffe officers came on an inspection to see if POWs were being kept at the camp, and their report went all the way up the chain of command to Hermann Goering, who pitched one of his legendary hissy fits about the situation.

Goering, of course, didn't want his own downed airmen abused by the Allies, and so stared the Gestapo down.  The Allied fliers were transferred to one of the Luft Stalag camps a week before the Gestapo was scheduled to shoot them.

Lamason had heard of the scheduled executions, but kept the information to himself to keep morale up, and in the hopes that the Luftwaffe would come through.  It was a near thing, but Lamason's coolness and level-headedness in the face of threatened death maintained unit cohesion and inspired his men to survive.  Only two died (of disease) under his command.

He turned down a career that would have had him as the first pilot to land at Heathrow Airport because he wanted to return to his native New Zealand.  He lived there quietly until his death 3 months ago.  A quiet life, without a Press Agent in sight - that was a common virtue from the generation that faced down Nazi and Imperial Japanese Supermen.

Rest in Peace to Pilot Officer Lameson, DFC, and to the other departed veterans of the KLB Club.

Chicago on the Chatahoochee

"Vote early, vote often" seems not to be a motto solely for yankees:
We were told to expect higher than usual turnout for last week's TSPLOST vote.  But a turnout of 3300 percent might be a little much.

Fulton County had four precincts with more than 100 percent turnout, including one at 3300 percent, Channel 2 Action News reports. The average turnout across the state was 10-20 percent.


The Secretary of State's office -- which has already loudly complained about a lack of cooperation from Fulton election officials -- says it would like to know exactly how such a ridiculously high turnout tally is possible.
Me, I don't support voter ID laws because I'm worried about illegal aliens voting.  I support the laws because I don't trust the election officials.

Concealment vs. Cover

Learn the difference. Unless that table is made out of armor plate, the outcome might be suboptimal. 

But I'd think that a Tommy Gun would make a great defense against home invasion ...

French Nazis. I hate those guys

Wandering Wikipedia led me to this, which is one of the more strange episodes I've run across.  French Nazis on the Eastern Front:
The Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (French: Légion des Volontaires Français contre le Bolchévisme, or simply Légion des Volontaires Français, LVF) was a collaborationist French militia founded on July 8, 1941.


It volunteered to fight against the USSR on the Eastern Front. It was officially known to the Germans as Infantry Regiment (Infanterieregiment) 638.


In October 1941, a French infantry regiment (638th), 2,452 men strong, crossed the frontier of the Soviet Union as part of the foreign contingent of the German invasion force. They were sent to combat in december 41 around Moscow. They suffered heavy losses and were soon retired from the front, while a third battalion were created in France to compensate the losses.
Ultimately, the remainder of the French collaborationist forces were combined into the SS Charlemagne Division.  After the war, most of the officers were hanged by the French government.

Weird.  Now France had been home to a bunch of fascist movements from the late 1800s.  Action Francaise was perhaps the biggest, but was by no means the only one.  So I guess it wasn't surprising that you'd find enthusiastic Nazis there during the war; that they'd don the uniforms of les bosches is what kind of floored me.

Isaac Albéniz - Suite Espanola Op. 47 (Leyenda)

Spanish classical music often means guitar, and this piece is one of the most famous of the guitar works.  Albéniz was a child prodigy who applied to the Paris Conservatoire at the age of seven, and who toured internationally by 12.  Sadly, he died at 48, but left us this work.

This music would have come to us via the Musopen project, a 501(c)(3) organization that hires musicians and orchestras to record great music that is released into the public domain.  They have a growing library of MP3s from Beethoven to Bartok, all free to download and share.  Free as in released under the Creative Commons Public Domain License.  If you love classical music, you should stop by and browse.

Sadly, Blogger doesn't seem to let you upload MP3s to your blog posts anymore.

As with the spirit of Creative Commons, if you like the downloads, you might want to consider donating to Musopen.  As they get more money, they hire musicians to record more music.  They also have sheet music in PDF format, again released to the Public Domain.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Scientists study the world as it is ...

Scientists study the world as it is, but engineers build a world that has never been.
- The Jet Propulsion Lab's Theodore von Kármán
Atomic Fungus informs us of the death of Hans Camenzind, inventor of the 555 timer - the most used integrated circuit in history.  It is so venerable that I had them on my breadboards these thirty years ago.

The Choir Invisible perhaps now keeps better time.  Resquiescat in pace.

OK, I'll play, too

Sam links to an interesting post at Not Clauswitz about the history of you as told by the music you listen to.  It's a dopey NPR questionnaire, and you have to sort of be a dope to play along.  OK then, here goes.

1. What was the first song you ever bought?  Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon.

2. What song always gets you dancing?  I used to be pretty light on my feet, fifteen years ago.

3. What song takes you back to your childhood?  Mom and Dad were big Peter, Paul, and Mary fans.  This was my favorite when I was little.  Used to be able to play it on the guitar in College, where I learned that more than a couple of girls also loved it.

4. What is your perfect love song?  I've posted this a couple times before.  The best is here.

5. What song would you want at your funeral?  A bit young for me to be planning that, but here goes.  I just ran across this a few months back, but it's hauntingly beautiful.

6. What is the one song that describes you?  I'd like it to be this one.  That's a high bar, right there.

So meme away, everyone!

Blackberry Smoke - Leave A Scar

Southern Rock is alive and well, playing at local venues all over the South.  Blackberry Smoke is one of those bands on the cusp of breaking out into wider recognition.  I for one hope they do, because that recognition would be well deserved, and while it's OK for a band to open for Skynyrd, it would be sweet to see a band who can write something like this have opening acts at their concerts.

Because this really captures the soul of working man's rock 'n roll.  Life is hard, and you do what you can.  You live as big as you can, and when you go out, you hope to go out as Blackberry Smoke themselves say on their web site:
Don't go out quietly, slide that casket in on two wheels and scream, "Hot damn that was fun!"
That's a prayer, if you think about it.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

Leave A Scar (Songwriters: Blackberry Smoke))
The old man was a good man he raised his children right
He taught us how to work hard and showed us how to fight
Told me about the good Lord and when to use a gun
Made me very proud of where it is that I come from

When I die put my father in the big same urn
Look down at me smiling I don't want no beating tune
All I leave behind me is a ragged old guitar
I may not change the world but I'm gonna leave a scar

Years a row nobody, the old man turned me loose
Way cross town I learned about those sad ol' country blues
Taught me how to prep my heart from trying to make it right
Told me not to ever break one alone at a time

When I die put my father in the big same urn
Look down at me smiling I don't want no beating tune
All I leave behind me is a ragged old guitar
I may not change the world but I'm gonna leave a scar

Hope you have me on your memory like a painted old tattoo
I might not make a history book but I'll burn a page or two

When I die put my father in the big same urn
Look down at me smiling I don't want no beating tune
All I leave behind me is a ragged old guitar
I may not change the world but I'm gonna leave a scar