Friday, October 31, 2014

Michael Jackson - Thriller

Happy Halloween with the greatest music video ever made.  With Vincent Price FTW!

Ghosts of Jack O'Lanterns past

I'm not in shape to do my usual pumpkin carving, so here's one of my favorites from the past few years.

Hello Kitty with EYES OF FLAME is about as scary as anything I can think of ...

Halloween reminder

No child has ever died from poisoned Halloween candy.

Quick update

I can put socks on all my myself now (just like a big boy!), and I've cut way back on the pain meds: none yesterday, and going to shoot for none today.  Maybe this weekend I'll try driving.

Wolfgang hates it that I can't throw a stick or a ball for him, but he keeps me good company anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Hat tip: Counting Cats in Zanzibar.

The lure of "Sudden Jihaddi Syndrome"

Over at Gormogons, Confucius ponders deeply on the basic failures of the current Western Intellectual "Elites" that are feeding the Jihad mill.  Here's a sample:
First, the secular religion which rules the West is great if you’re at the top of the social pyramid. Not having to worry about the morality or purpose of your life is a manageable problem if you’re vacationing in Vail, drinking really good Cabernet (and getting your legislators to legalize weed for you), and using your new tablet to streaming Cosmos and Bill Maher yukking it up over the rubes back in Des Moines (Like you, Dad! See, I’m in New York now! I’m important!). However, for the folks down the pyramid, a world defined by “lifestyle choices” in which they’re condemned to second- and third-class options—and are acutely conscious thereof—is a cruel, embittering joke.
This is very strong stuff, and you should read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Europe craters

Remember how people used to say that at least the Germans would make communism work?  Seems they can't make capitalism work, either:
Third, wholly botched energy reforms, wherein Germany abruptly turned away from nuclear power without putting anything economically sustainable in its place (instead touting that some day, somehow wind and solar will make economic sense) has left the country at a permanent, seemingly long-term economic disadvantage that simply cannot be overcome. German energy prices are fully three times as high industrially as those of their American competitors. As I say to my somewhat nervous German colleagues, "You are all talented, but you are not three times more talented than the Americans".
The punch line?  All the other countries in the Eurozone are worse off than Germany.

Via Al Fin, who has some other interesting thoughts.

Link dump

Can you "hunker down" until the police arrive, or outrun an active shooter?  No.

European Union agrees to cut carbon emissions by 40% in 15 years.  Expect more European companies to build factories here in the USA.

UK police overestimate number of firearms lost or stolen:
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has claimed that more legally owned firearms were lost or stolen over the last few years than appears to be the case, according to an exclusive analysis by The Register.

The discrepancy casts doubt on a new initiative pillorying gun owners for being careless about gun security.
Security is so bad on "keyless entry" automobiles that they are uninsurable in the UK.  Oops.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oh, crap

Now what do I do?

The thought for today: sunshine and kittens

Because everyone loves sunshine:

And kittens:

UPDATE: more kittens here.

9,650 days

I got married that many days ago.  Today our divorce decree gets finalized.  9,650 becomes the final tally.

This has been quite an odd journey, and looks to continue odd for some time.  But as one door closes another opens.  Possibilities emerge where there were none.  The road whispers*, even if it's just on a Honda ...

* Err, once the bones are done healing ...

Kids these days ...

Abstruse Goose delivers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fish for dinner

Seen on vacation.  The heron was like a statue, then lightening fast.

ISIS and the failure of the Western Left

The number of young westerners (especially young western girls) who join ISIS demonstrates the failure of today's left:
I would argue that, even if young people in Europe feel a void, they still wouldn’t run off to join ISIS if leftist rhetoric were different. If our society was still heavily Christian, the predominant view would be that it would be sinful to join such a group. If it were Buddhist, it would be that joining such a group would produce bad karma. Under communism with religion regarded as the opiate of the people, it is hard to imagine anyone joining ISIS. A leftism purged of the nonsense of cultural relativism, multiculturalism, and Islamophilia would also be strongly against a group like ISIS. Moreover, with its general support for underdogs, the left would strongly propel people toward helping the Kurds and not ISIS. It is because the left has the particular character it does these days that young people think that joining ISIS is a reasonable thing to do.
Fortunately this will bite Europe sooner and harder than it will bite us.  Thanks, Euros!

Travel broadens your horizons

Err, or not.

As someone who's relatively very well traveled, all I can say is screw the rest of the world.

Philosopher Kings

House of Lords Drone committee chairwoman is shocked to discover that Google Maps shows a picture of her rose garden.

We can expect the highest quality, well thought out public policy with these fine people in charge ...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Picture of the year

White gun nut unrepentant after shooting down minority youth.  #StopTheHate:

Damn Canadian racists ...

Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre

The Dance of Death
Halloween is later this week, which means we need classical music with a spooky edge.  Fortunately, that's not hard to come by - you just have to get a little more adventurous with composer selection.  And quite frankly, it's hard to gt more adventurous than Camille Saint-Saëns, the late romantic French composer.  He was a child prodigy, possessed perfect pitch, and more importantly had the mind of a polymath: in addition to his many musical compositions he published scientific papers on the acoustics of ancient Roman amphitheaters, wrote the first score for a motion picture, and sailed through the newly completed Panama Canal to conduct an orchestra in San Francisco.

This piece is based on a poem by Henri Cazalis, from a very old French superstition.  Each year Death appears at midnight on Halloween and summons the dead to rise and dance while he plays his fiddle.  The piece opens with a harp playing a single note, repeated twelve times: the clock striking midnight.  The E Flat and A violin chords that follow are sometimes called the "Devil's chords".  The piece is spooky and vigorous all the way through until the end, when the music quietens to a pianissimo as the dead return to their tombs as dawn breaks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Allison Kraus and Union Station - Ghost In This House

This is the weekend before Halloween, and so music calls for ghostly and supernatural.  Fortunately this is pretty easy since country music has a ton of great songs on the subject.  This is an old Shenandoah song redone in the usual amazing way by Allison Kraus and Union Station.

Ghost In This House (Songwriter: Hugh Prestwood)
I don't pick up the mail
I don't pick up the phone
I don't answer the door
I'd just as soon be alone
I don't keep this place up
I just keep the lights down
I don't live in these rooms
I just rattle around

I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse, I haunt these halls
I'm just a whisper of smoke
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

I don't mind if it rains
I don't care if it's clear
I don't mind staying in
There's another ghost here
She sits down in your chair
And she shines with your light
And she lays down her head
On your pillow at night

I'm just a ghost in the house
I'm just a shell of the man I was
A living proof of the damage heartbreak does
I'm just a whisper of smoke
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse, I haunt these halls
I'm just a whisper of smoke
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

Friday, October 24, 2014


Vacation was pretty fun, looking at the pictures.

Who'd a thunk it?

Thank you, Grammar Nazi


The Sopwith Camel, the Hawker Hurricane, and the Harrier jump jet

What are airplanes from the company founded by Sir Thomas Sopwith.  If you are a military aviation nerd, you will love this in-depth article at The Register.

Adobe ebook reader spies on you

Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters detailing a user's reading habits.

Previously, this information was not encrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept it.

The software collects detailed records about the books the user has been reading, such as which pages were read and when, and sends this intelligence back to the server. There is no way to opt out of this short of deleting the application.

Now that information is transmitted using HTTPS, apparently.
There's a whole lot of not getting it wrapped up in that last bit.  Those of you who use Adobe's ebook reader might want to choose an alternative.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lee-Enfield rifle finally being phased out by Canadian Military?

Maybe, maybe not.
The Canadian Rangers — a component of the armed forces reserves — conduct sovereignty patrols and assist search and rescue missions in the Far North and in remote coastal regions across the country.
And the red-shirted Rangers — made up largely of aboriginal volunteers — have been using Lee-Enfield rifles little changed from the First World War version since the group was first established in 1947.

“The Rangers were not issued this weapon to fight an enemy, they were given the rifle because they are operating in one of the harshest environments in the world,” says Capt. Mark Rittwage, officer commander of the 3rd Canadian Patrol Group, Northern Ontario.

“And . . . the predators that are there, polar bears, wolves, even bull moose during rutting season, can cause a danger to our Rangers,” Rittwage says.
It seems that the Canadian military is putting out a bid for replacement rifles to equip the Rangers, but it also did this in 2011 and withdrew the tender.  Certainly I'd prefer to have my Enfield than many (most?) semi-autos in -20°C weather.  Err, if I were to venture out in -20°C weather ...

It only hurts when I laugh

Shamelessly stolen from Chris Byrne's facebook page ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Environmental Science: reduced carbon emissions are actually increased carbon emissions

One of the benefits of fracking has been a substantial reduction in the cost of natural gas.  This has caused a lot of coal fired electric generating plants to shift to natural gas which has substantially reduced carbon emissions.  Now I don't much buy into the whole ZOMG Greenhouse Gasses are killing teh childrenz thing, but you'd think that people who do believe this would think that this shift would be A Very Good Thing Indeed.

Alas, no.  Because cheaper energy leads to increased energy use which leads to increased greenhouse gas emissions.  Because Science!
A new study published in Nature has revealed that switching to cheap Natural Gas will not reduce CO2 significantly, because all that cheap energy will stimulate the economy so much that we will all use more energy.

According to the abstract;
If these advanced gas production technologies were to be deployed globally, the energy market could see a large influx of economically competitive unconventional gas resources. The climate implications of such abundant natural gas have been hotly debated. ... Here we show that market-driven increases in global supplies of unconventional natural gas do not discernibly reduce the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions or climate forcing. Our results, based on simulations from five state-of-the-art integrated assessment models of energy–economy–climate systems independently forced by an abundant gas scenario, project large additional natural gas consumption of up to +170 per cent by 2050.
Because computer models say so. 

And so we see that the Environment Science establishment is not interested in reducing impacts, it is interested in ending economic growth.  OK, then. How many children and elderly must freeze in the dark to satisfy the computer models?  The World wonders ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oooh, shiny!

Apple to Fanbois: All your data are belong to us

If you use OS X Yosemite, your laptop sends data to Apple even if you disable this in System Preferences:
Having read DuckDuckGo's privacy statements, you might decide to switch Safari's default search to DuckDuckGo. If we enter a new search in Safari, we can then search the logged data to see who the search terms are actually sent to.

The logs show that a copy of your Safari searches are still sent to Apple, even when selecting DuckDuckGo as your search provider, and 'Spotlight Suggestions' are disabled in System Preferences > Spotlight.
It would be interesting to see what breaks if you put network Access Control Lists to block access to *  I'd think that it might effectively brick your laptop.

No mention at the article as to what (if anything) Apple does to fight National Security Letter snooping.  My guess is little or nothing.

Remember, Linux is free.

Thank you

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things.  The discomfort is less than it was, based on how much I've been scaling back on the meds.  I'm back at work which is interesting since it's not easy to type with limited use of my right hand.  I find that I get tired very easily (still) which is very frustrating - this is the first time that I've had to convalesce for more than a day or two, and it's very annoying that I still need help getting dressed.  Bah.

But I'd like to thank all of you who left comments expressing encouragement - that's some powerful medicine right there.  I've been really quite dreadful about replying to emails, and will try to catch up.  Thanks to everyone who sent a note.

And a HUGE thank you to reader Tony, and also to Chris Byrne for offering to come down to Florida and trailer my bike back to the ATL.  I'm speechless at the generosity you showed.

Lastly, it's hard to express just what a relief it's been that this blog has been in the capable hands of ASM826 while the meds have had me orbiting Mars.  His daily dose of bloggy goodness has removed a real source of discomfort from me, letting me put down the keyboard for what's really been two full weeks (!) without letting things go dead here.  Thanks, brother.

And this is really, really funny.  Courtesy of Miguel:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jimmy Buffett - Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Be wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes
to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have already fled:
seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next day. 

- Horace, Odes
Life is not what you plan, it's what you live.  Two weeks ago I rode off on a motorcycle adventure, one where the plans did not include a stay in the Intensive Care Unit.  The ancients knew what a fickle goddess Fortuna was, and how to mentally prepare for a fickle world.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a dream; our world is now. 
Carpe diem, seize the day.  Even now envious time has fled.

As someone who has spent much of my time on this good Earth living in either the past or the future, this has been a subject of much meditation  lately.  I've wondered if I've watched two thirds of my life pass by without actually living it.  Life, and love, and family - all make life worth living.  All can change in the blink of an eye.

Seize the day.  Life is now.

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On (Songwriters: Jimmy Buffett, Matt Betton)
I bought a cheap watch from a crazy man
Floating down canal
It doesn't use numbers or moving hands
It always just says now
Now you may be thinking that I was had
But this watch is never wrong
And If I have trouble the warranty said
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

And it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, we've seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain leaking through the door, tides at war

If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead
It will make you strong
Don't try to explain it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

And it rained, It was nothing really new
And it blew, seen all that before
And it poured, the Earth began to strain
Pontchartrain buried the 9th Ward to the 2nd floor

According to my watch the time is now
Past is dead and gone
Don't try to shake it just nod your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Don't try to shake it just bow your head
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Friday, October 17, 2014

History is destiny

Europeans think that 100 miles is a long way.  Americans think that 100 years is a long time.
- Unknown
This is the smartest thing I've read since, well, this.  Why is it impossible to heal the Red/Blue state divide?
Conflict wasn't baked in to the American experiment because one side wanted slaves and the other didn't. That's naive "I can look back 150 years; I'm a scholar!" thinking. Conflict was baked in to the American experiment because the continent was settled by two peoples who have despised each other for a thousand years and committed the worst atrocities imagineable on each other every time they got the chance.
Go read it all.  It's a millennium of ancestral hatreds pushing the current political landscape.  And since history is destiny, this is obligatory:

UPDATE 17 October 2014 15:43: There's a good discussion of in-group vs. out-group dynamics and 800 year hatreds here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No surgery for now

Hurts like crazy but the collar bone looks like it might heal in a sling.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Keeping Evil Spirits away

Lord Rutherford discovered the structure of the atom. He was a pillar of the rational Victorian scientific establishment, and so it came as quite a surprise to his fellow scientists when they saw that he had a horse show nailed over the door to his laboratory (pointing up to catch the good luch, 'natch). When asked if he believed in all that rot, he replied, Of course not. But I am assured that it works whether or not I believe it.

Those new to the motorcycle community may find themselves similarly mystified as Rutherford. Many motorcycles have small bells mounted on them, bells that catch the evil spirits and bad luck. As someone trained the same rational scientific world view as His Lordship, I was skeptical.

Well, I'm here to report that it works whether you believe in it or not.

The bell gave its all for rider and bike. Got a new bell now. Don't know if I believe in this sort of superstitious rubbish or not, but it appears to work whether I do or not.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 10, 2014

Firearms, hospitals, and Dilaudid

Because the hospital wasn't in the People's Republic of Massachussets but rather in the United States of America, they were easily able to handle my concealed carry pistol.  As a matter of fact the ICU nurse cleared the chamber.  He also rides a Fat Boy.  Cool guy.
But handling the pistol was no fuss, no muss.  Security has clearly done this a lot.  They kept it safe and I signed to get it back.
But it's locked in the back of the SUV now.  They have me on some righteous pain meds, the ones that effect your judgement. No doubt Nanny Bloomberg is adding this to the list of things to ban.  To keep teh Childremz safe from injured Borepatches.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quick update

7 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and a bruised lung. I was lucky that the lung didn't collapse or get punctured. They had me in the ICU for almost 24 hours. The guy in the next room didn't make it this morning. I guess it could have been worse.

We were riding along route 98 getting ready to turn left to cross the bridge to Navarre beach. Traffic was stopped at the light.

Construction was under way, and the turn lane had had the blacktop ground down, ready to be resurfaced. There was a lip in the road top which I was watching.

What I didn't see were the craters under the old blacktop, and my front tire dropped into a valley that wouldn't let the wheel turn. The bike wrenched down, hard. On me.

It was nice that almost instantly there were a half dozen people around helping. One guy lifted the bike off my leg. A waitress from Waffle House put a towel under my head as a pillow.

I had only been going 10 MPH coming up to the light. I think that going either slower or faster would have let me keep control.

I didn't do an inspection of the bike but it looks like it's OK other than the windscreen which was busted up. Maybe there's more wrong but that will have to wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Jumbo shrimp

Military Intelligence. Good Government.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Alcohol was involved

In the writing of the book. It was Hunter S.Thompson, after all. What did you think I meant?

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Cool stuff seen at Thunder Beacj

I love seeing the different vendors because there's ways something cool.  The coolest thing anyone bought yesterday was a .50BMG bullet pendant from Make My Day Jewelry.

No pix (phone is wonky) but click through for the fun stuff.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Thoughts on long distance motorcycle riding

I had been worried that my smallish (3 gal) gas tank would cause us to stop all the time.  In reality, the stops were all to stretch and unkink muscles.  And to warm up (it was cold when we left).

Layers of clothing are your friend.

What hurt the most when we got here weee my hands.  I really hadn't expected that.

I got lousy mileage.  The weight of the luggage really cut 10 MPG.  That and my fat ass.  I could see this as a reason to move to a bigger bike.

The wind sorr of around, which was surprisingly tiring.  I couls see that as another reason to move to a bigger bike.

A faring and heated grips would have been nice in the cold.

I have a blister on the pinky of my throttle hand.  I had not expectes that.

People were universally friendly to bikers who were clearly on a serious trip.

Waking up on the beach is the cat's meow.

People tell me I need a tattoo.  Not happening.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


The view from the hotel balcony.

Now it's time for adult beverages.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Gonna git you, Gator

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We've gone from rain to sunny an in the 50s. Layers are good. Chaps, too.

The bike loads pretty well, from this:

To this:

Next stop, Florida.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 3, 2014

Stupid rain

Still in the ATL. Rain all the way to Florida.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The hush before the roar

Of the engines, that is.

Not too much more that I want to add to this thing now.  That may change after 300 miles each way, but 7 months and almost 2,000 miles have let me make this bike to be much closer to what I want.  Go team me!

Vacation is a'coming

I have this sticker on my helmet.

Oh, foo

The weather for tomorrow's motorcycle trip from the ATL to Panama City Beach looks spectacular:

Rain, all day, all the way.  Sweet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why it's smart to be a slacker

Elusive Wapati finds an epic rant on why Millennials are smart to slack off:
And then we have the Wall Street scams.  Corzine didn't go to jail and neither has anyone else.  Nor are the hospital administrators who billed out those charges for services never performed, or any of the other corporate interests that are always looking for a way not to make an honest profit but rather to rip you off wholesale.  These aren't little rip-offs either; those plague every society and it never ends, because there are dishonest people in the world everywhere.  No, these are big robberies that ought to be felonies everywhere and always, yet today they never are.  Go ahead, try to start a business or get ahead, but the dice roll on one or more of these *******s getting their claws into you and destroying everything you built, and your inability to obtain justice if they do, makes the deal rather less attractive than it used to be.
There's an old game: The Two Things.  You have to boil down everything about a particular thing into two characteristics.  It is a nice focusing exercise.  The Two Things about economics are:
  1. Incentives count.
  2. There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Both of the links above examine aspects of these two points.  Recommended.

Kilted To Kick Cancer - Final

Wow! Over $14,000 raised!  Thank you to everyone who donated, either to Team Borepatch or any others. 

And congratulations to Jay who beat me like a rented mule.