Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Otis Rush - I Can't Quit You Baby


Sunshine, kittens, and bacon

Boy, I've been grumpy lately.  Mustn't grumble.






Everyone likes sunshine, right?


And kittens.  You you don't like these, we can't be friends anymore.


Yo, dawg!  We heard you liked bacon, so we made Bacon out of bacon.  Because bacon.  Everyone likes that.

It's weird being an (almost) empty nester

When I got back from my trip to DC last Friday, #1 Son had moved out.  This was no surprise - he's in his 20s and so it's time, and he'd been planning this for a couple months.

But it was strange to come back to an empty room.  Well, a messy empty room, which seems like an oxymoron.

I feel quite torn by all this.  Not that I want him living in my basement into his 30s - after all, it was time for him to stretch his wings - but this is the first time since 1992 that he wasn't living under my roof.

Maybe I'll go through my whole life seeing him like this:






His first beer at the Hoffbrauhaus in 1996.

I must confess that I'm rather disappointed in myself - my sentimental reaction is so common as to be boring.  It's easy enough for me to be boring, so I shall endeavor to be less so in the future.

But one down and one more to go.  When Camp Borepatch gets sold, that will happen too.

The dangers of working in Internet security

Now includes fire bombs:
Russian ATM VXers have firebombed the research lab of an anti-virus firm after its researchers refused to retract reverse engineering analysis of their malware.
The attack followed email threats by the group calling itself the 'Syndicate' to the Moscow company which sold the Shield antivirus product that prevented the gang's malware running in ATMs.
Dr Web says it refused to comply with demands to remove references to ATM malware analysis.
Actual threat or PR stunt?  Explosives seem a little extreme for the marketing department.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Brigid At Her Best

It is a privilege just to read this. 
But it's enough to know, that, which I've learned through the years, that seeing and hearing are both blind and deaf, but the well worn heart can see that which is absolute magic.
-- Brigid 

Misinformation


(via)

Thousands of medical devices reachable from the Internet

I'm shocked, shocked to find this:
Security researchers Scott Erven and Mark Collao found, for one example, a "very large" unnamed US healthcare organization exposing more than 68,000 medical systems. That US org has some 12,000 staff and 3,000 physicians.

Exposed were 21 anaesthesia, 488 cardiology, 67 nuclear medical, and 133 infusion systems, 31 pacemakers, 97 MRI scanners, and 323 picture archiving and communications gear.

The healthcare org was merely one of "thousands" with equipment discoverable through Shodan, a search engine for things on the public internet.
But fear not, no doubt these devices are all configured securely.  Oh, wait:
"[Medical devices] are all running Windows XP or XP service pack two … and probably don't have antivirus because they are critical systems."

Executing custom payloads, establishing shells, and lateral pivoting within a network, are all possible, he said.
You see, this is why we can't have nice things on the Internet ...


Yeah, this would work for Wolfgang


Monday, September 28, 2015

In a Moment

We go along, living our lives, not realizing how fast it can change. The spouse of a very good friend missed a step last night going outside to look at the eclipse. It caused her to roll her ankle, wrench her knee, and then as she fell, she badly broke her wrist. Recovery will take some time, the wrist will require surgery, and currently nothing is normal.

Borepatch's motorcycle tumble last year, my recent bicycle/car interaction, any one of us has stories to tell about how things can change in a moment.


Borepatch: predicting the future better than climate scientists

From your humble blogger, 9 December 2009:
Take away the adjustments [to the climate data], and all the warming from 1850 [in New Zealand] disappears. Change the data, and all the Climatologists will discover that the Earth is "warming". [because all climatologists use the same - adjusted- climate data sets]

Let me say this explicitly: I used to believe that the planet was warming, and that this was likely due to natural (as opposed to man made) causes. Now I'm not sure that the planet is warming.  The data do not show warming over the last 70 years, maybe longer.
27 September 2015:
The US accounts for 6.62% of the land area on Earth, but accounts for 39% of the data in the GHCN network. Overall, from 1880 to the present, approximately 99% of the temperature data in the USHCN homogenized output has been estimated (differs from the original raw data). Approximately 92% of the temperature data in the USHCN TOB output has been estimated. The GHCN adjustment models estimate approximately 92% of the US temperatures, but those estimates do not match either the USHCN TOB or homogenized estimates.
[My emphasis - Borepatch]

And one last little nugget, from a post here on 30 November 2009:
If you look closely at climate data, you will find that all the major data sets consist of two parts:

Raw Data, which is the instrument reading: satellite, thermometer, or proxy (tree ring, ice core, etc). This is data straight from the sensor.

Adjustments, which are corrections applied to raw data to adjust for inconsistencies. For example, it is important to read the thermometer temperature at the same time every day. If the hottest time of the day is, say, 2:30 PM, but you read the thermometer at 10:00 AM, then the day's reading will be low. Adjustments are also made when weather stations are re-sited, and for other reasons.

An interesting question is how much of the 20th Century's warming came from adjustments, rather than from raw data? A picture is worth a thousand words:
What you're looking at is the annual adjustment made to the raw temperature, for each year in the 20th Century. You'll notice that almost no adjustments are made to years up to 1960, and then a very interesting shape appears in the graph.

A hockey Stick.

This is not from the Hadley/CRU temperature data set, this is from the US HCN (Historical Climate Network)
So we know that 99% of the data has been adjusted, and we know that over 80% of the reported warming in the lower 48 States over the entire 20th Century was due to adjustments - the raw data simply do not show this warming.

And all of this is from the Fed.Gov's own published data.  Let me say it again:
Let me say this explicitly: I used to believe that the planet was warming, and that this was likely due to natural (as opposed to man made) causes. Now I'm not sure that the planet is warming.  The data do not show warming over the last 70 years, maybe longer.
Some of you may have noticed that I'm just not posting much of Global Warming issues.  It's because I've said pretty much all that I have to say, six years ago.

Dumbass of the week

Guy sees a spider on his gas tank as he goes to gas up his ride.  You or I would brush it off, the more squeamish perhaps grabbing a paper towel first.  Our hero?

He flicked his bic.  Hilarity ensued as the station went up in flames.

Well, at least we can wear kilts


(via)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Remember, items in the overhead bins may have shifted position


Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar - Tea For Two

You'd heard this song, even if you haven't heard its notorious background.  While purists might complain about including Broadway numbers in with Classical music, you're likely to hear this only on classical radio these days.

Vincent Youmans was a young man whose plans of becoming an engineer were derailed when he was drafted into the Navy in World War I.  Rather than seeing combat, he found himself in charge of putting on entertainments for the sailors.  After the War, he became one of the "Tin Pan Alley" composers, penning this song along with collaborations with Ira Gershwin and Oscar Hammerstein among others.



This was his biggest hit, which is why you will recognize it.  Vincent Youmans was born on this day in 1898.

So what is the notoriety associated with this song?  It's from the musical "No, No, Nanette" which Red Sox fans will recognize.  The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees to finance this musical leading to 86 years of baseball humiliation at the hands of the Bronx Bombers.

Except it seems that this isn't actually true.  Ruth was sold to finance a forgettable musical "My Lady Friends", not No No Nanette.  Presumably the latter was included in the "Curse of the Bambino" because it was one of the most successful musicals of the 1920s, Ruth's glory days in pinstripes.

The Burgess Folding Shotgun

Here's a shotgun from the 1890s I had never heard of. The Burgess Folder, designed and built by Anthony Burgess. It was latched and hinged at the chamber and could be carried concealed in a holster. Popular Mechanics has an article about it and it was thrown over the transom by a friend.


It was a pump shotgun, with another twist. The pump action was built into the shoulder stock at the rear of the gun. He made a few rifles with the same mechanism in 30-30 and 45-70 as well as standard shotguns with the same pump mechanism.

I don't know what an original folder would actually sell for, I found prices from $2,000 to $12,000. I do know for most of us they are only something to read about.

Burgess was a designer of a number of firearms and developed a  rifle that Colt built called the 1883 Burgess. It competed with Winchester's offerings and was superior enough that Winchester threatened to start making revolvers. Deals were made and production was shut down. Uberti make a replica in both rifle and carbine lengths that retails for around $1500.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sometimes The Punch Lines Write Themselves

Bill Clinton sat for an interview that will be televised on Sunday. In the interview he spoke about Hillary's email debacle. He said and I quote:
“I have never seen so much expended on so little.”
Ken Starr has, though.

Well, one of those will work


Good thing there's a "Living Wage"

Those Progressives and their $15/hour minimum wage.  All those waiters who saw their hours go to zero must be so grateful.


Seen at the bar at the airport last night.

Dale Ann Bradley - Run Rufus Run

Bluegrass is perhaps the soul of American music.  It certainly is as close to the original, ur-music of this land.  Here's one about leaving the coal mine to take up whiskey running. 


Friday, September 25, 2015

A moment of Zen

A haiku:

Repeat after me:
It is always a good flight
When you're going home.

Although it will be strange - #1 Son moved out while I was gone.  I seem to be shedding family as I age.

Good thing I'm aging gracefully.  /sarc

Maybe this "War On Drugs" is easier than I thought


Glad that's all wrapped up, then.

Microsoft security updates violate your privacy

Carl emails to point out some posts he's put up on his blog about security.  Now I've repeatedly advised readers to make sure that they have Windows automatic updates turned on, because Windows has a pretty bad security track record and this is an easy way for people to do something that helps out their security.

Except maybe Microsoft is abusing that trust:
I would hope all Windows users are aware of the deliberate snooping built directly intoWindows 10, and know not to “upgrade” to it. If not, the short form is that MicroNSA believes so strongly in the future of “cloud computing” that it’s going to make Win10 users do it whether they like it or not.
That’s bad.
Worse: It now appears that wasn’t good enough for the NSA’s corporate buttbuddy. They’re pushing a set of updates to Win7 and Win8 that implement some of the same file, email, browsing, and search data snooping to be found in 10.
If you must run Windows, do not upgrade to Windows 10. If you are running 7 or 8, turn off Automatic Updates immediately. Check your system (Control Panel=>Windows Updates=>View Update History) for the following updates:
  • KB3068708
  • KB3022345
  • KB3075249
  • KB3080149
Disable them.
If you aren’t on automatic, check the list of “Updates to install.” If you see them there, right-click on them and “Hide Update.”
These "security" updates are the ones that collect your browsing and usage history and send it to the Borg cloud.  This is a terrible, no good, very bad thing for a security tool to do.  And quite frankly, this is something that security guys have discussed for years, going all the way back to Ken Thompson's Turning Award speech Reflections On Trusting Trust.  For a Turning Award lecture, it's pretty accessible even to lay persons - just skip over the code bits to this part:
The actual bug I planted in the compiler would match code in the UNIX "login" command. The replacement code would miscompile the login command so that it would accept either the intended encrypted password or a particular known password. Thus if this code were installed in binary and the binary were used to compile the login command, I could log into that system as any user. 
It's an undetectable security backdoor introduced from a trusted source - trusted source code, in Thompson's thought experiment.  Microsoft has done something very like this.  "Trust us," they said. "We will keep you secure if you just turn on automatic updates."  And then that trusted channel becomes the means that your privacy is raped and pillaged to fatten their bottom line.

At this point it's clear that most people simply will not be able to keep their Windows computer secure.  People like Carl and myself certainly can, although it looks like we both run Linux Mint (and you should, too).  But people who aren't computer security nerds simply won't have the background to examine every single Microsoft security update and make a rational decision about the risks of installing it vs. the risks of not installing it.

Bottom line: as a security professional I cannot recommend that anyone should run Windows if they care about their security and privacy.  Trust can no longer be trusted, at least from Microsoft.  If there are certain Windows applications that you absolutely cannot live without, then keep a dual-boot system where you can boot up Windows for those times you absolutely need that app, but only run that app.  The rest of the time, run Linux, which won't sell out your privacy to fatten its bottom line.  It will never do that, because Open Source has no bottom line.

And you should read Carl's blog, which has a regular menu of techie geekdom, libertarian rants, and that sort of thing.  Plus humor like 50 Nerds of Grey.  Snerk.

Cargo Cut University

Hey, Wheetabix started blogging and didn't tell me.  He has a great post up about the return on investment from college:
Economics 101 discusses supply and demand.  The more you have of something, the less valuable it is.  Think how much you value packing peanuts and plastic grocery bags.  In my 20's, everyone had a high school degree.  The only people who ever wanted proof were the people in the admissions offices of the colleges I applied to.  It had almost no value to anyone else.  The same thing has now happened to college degrees.

High school teachers began to value education over the ability to make a living.  Colleges had a vested interest in increasing attendance.  Government got into the lucrative student loan game.  And education became a product instead of a path.  "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" sounds inspirational, but "be cool, stay in school" is more honest.  What it means now is "we won't let you work, and we have to store you somewhere."
Pretty smart there about more of something drives down its cost.  The only thing I would add is that there is more than  little whiff of cargo cult thinking here - in the 1960s and 1970s college graduates generally made good money.  So let's make more college grads out of whatever is at hand.  The cargo cuts  wanted the GIs to come back with all their stuff so they made GI stuff out of whatever was at hand.

Oh well, I'm sure this will work out fine for the colleges when they just tune their bamboo radios to the right frequency ...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Friends don't let friends upgrade to Windows 10

Seriously, they don't.


Let's Make a List

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

         --Voltaire

Is this the end of the Evil Black Rifle?

Marine Corps to modernize small arms, adding silencers to rifles among other things:
The Marine Corps’ Small Arms Modernization Strategyincludes some long-overdue elements: 
The Corps is considering allowing camouflage painted rifles for every Marine and suppressors for rifle squads, Woodburn said. It’s part of an effort to help Marines blend into their surroundings and communicate better.
My guess is that haters still gonna hate.

Thank you, Yogi. For the laughs, but more importantly for the baseball.

You weren't just great, you always made me laugh.

I'm a Boston Red Sox fan, forever and ever, Amen.  But bless me Father, for I have sinned.  I have been hard hearted .against New York players - despite your admonition to render unto Caesar, etc.  Yogi deserved - and I hope got - better.  Younger generations remember the jokes: Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.  But the young punks don't realize that he may have been the greatest catcher of all time.

While perhaps not as much as Ted Williams, Yogi gave up good years for his country.  The 19 year old Berra found himself off Normandy on D-Day on the U.S.S. Bayfield.   Unlike Williams, Yogi didn't lose the best years of his hall of fame career.  But a hall of fame career it was:
[He] established Series records for the most [post season] games (75), at-bats (259), hits (71), doubles (10), singles (49), games caught (63), and catcher putouts (457). In Game 3 of the 1947 World Series, Berra hit the first pinch-hit home run in World Series history, off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca (who later gave up Bobby Thomson's famous Shot Heard 'Round the World in 1951).

Berra was an All-Star for 15 seasons, and was selected to 18 All-Star Games (MLB held two All-Star Games in 1959 through 1962). He won the American League (AL) MVP award in 1951, 1954, and 1955; Berra never finished lower than fourth in the MVP voting from 1950 to 1957. He received MVP votes in fifteen consecutive seasons, tied with Barry Bonds and second only to Hank Aaron's nineteen straight seasons with MVP support. From 1949 to 1955, on a team filled with stars such as Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, it was Berra who led the Yankees in RBI for seven consecutive seasons.

One of the most notable days of Berra's playing career came when he caught Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the first of only two no-hitters ever thrown in postseason play.

But did I say laugh?  I'm not making this up.



Good night, sweet Prince.  And may flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.  I hope St. Peter has tears of laughter running down his face.

The Lord broke the mould with him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yogi

Back when baseball was the national sport and every little kid dreamed of playing in the bigs, Yogi Berra was one of the players everyone knew about. He played 19 seasons, was the American League MVP three times, caught the only perfect game in post season play, and then went on to a career as a coach and a manager.

But that's not what people remember him for. People remember the famous "Yogi-isms". The things he said that made sense while sounding nonsensical.

While Yogi suits up for his first game on the field of dreams, here's a few of of my favorites.
You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.
It gets late early out here.
Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

--Yogi Berra

How do you know that it's time to update Adobe Flash?

Because it's a day who's name ends in "day":
Adobe has released a critical software update to fix nearly two-dozen security holes in itsFlash Player browser plugin. Separately, I want to take a moment to encourage users who have Adobe Shockwave Player installed to finally junk this program; turns out Shockwave — which comes with its own version of Flash — is still many versions behind in bundling the latest Flash fixes.
brokenflash-aIf you use and need Flash Player, it’s time to update the program (the latest version is 19.0.0.185 for Windows and Mac users). Google Chrome and Internet Explorer bundle their own versions of Flash (also now at v. 19.0.0.185); each should auto-update to the latest. Find out if you have Flash installed and its current version number by visiting this page.
Flash, of course, if the software that makes Internet video work, so basically all y'all are running it.  Scamper off to the Adobe link and get you some security goodness.

And if you're running Shockwave, you really should stop.  It's a sucking chest wound of security fail.


R.I.P. Jimmy Olsen

Actor Jack Larson who played that role on the TV show "Adventures of Superman", dead at 87.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

You Know What This Is, Don't You?


It's a Lexus with custom Chrome rims.

Poor Internet Explorer

The kids all make fun of him all the time ...


Actually, you could replace "Speed" with "Security" and it would be even funnier.

Hat tip: Burt, via email.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Any readers in the Washington DC/Rockville area?

Leave a comment if you want to get together. I'm in town until Friday.

Lay Down With Dogs

Get up with fleas.

On the list of outrageous, infuriating, criminal, and immoral things the U.S. military has done in it's history...
"In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records."

An unhackable computer?

Bluesun emails to point out this development:
The software that kept the helicopter’s computer secure was at the heart of its operating system, and it could be just what the world needs to make everything from pacemakers to insulin pumps and power stationsto cars immune to hacking.
“My hope is that in 10 years’ time, anything that is security critical is running on our system or some other one built on the principles we’ve established,” says Gernot Heiserfrom the newly formed Australian national research agency, Data61. One of its predecessors developed the crucial component of the “unhackable” operating system – its kernel.

...
Known as seL4, the kernel has a few highly secure properties: it can only do what it is designed to do; its code can’t be changed without permission; and its memory and data transfers can’t be read without permission. An earlier version of it, called OKL4, is now in millions of smartphones.
Heiser says that two features underpin seL4’s security, one of which is a new way of isolating data inside the kernel. But the key development was making the code capable of being checked mathematically. Other kernels might have these properties too, but it is impossible to know for sure without mathematical proof, says Heiser.
As devout Catholics say about miracles, that would be something.  Color me skeptical.

There has been a desire for provably secure operating systems for decades.  The first formalized efforts were captured in what was called the Orange Book, which defines what is required to do this.

The Orange Book pre-dates my 30+ career in computer security.  I've personally been involved in Orange Book evaluations of commercial products.  It was not a happy experience.  Lots of time spent, even more money spent, no return on the investment.

The problem is that what the security people want (security, duh) is not what the people budgeting for the computer want (functionality).  Sometimes the security people can impose standards that products have to meet (welcome to the Defense Department alphabet soup of FISMA, FEDRAMP, and JITC), but in the long run the security team will always lose the battle to the end users.

And this makes sense.  Just imagine if in 1950 the government established the Department of Computer Design, and all computers had to come from there.  Do you think you'd have an iPhone today?

And so my skepticism goes far beyond whether this truly is mathematically provably secure - I don't have the skills to really address that, although there's an old saying in cryptography that everyone knows enough to design a cipher that they can't crack (which doesn't mean that someone else can't).

My skepticism goes deeper - if this kernel is as secure as is claimed, then it can only be so because functionality is severely restricted.  If you restrict functionality, you make your end users very unhappy.  If some of these have stars on your uniform, you are unlikely in the extreme to be able to force them to use your system.
"My hope is that in 10 years’ time, anything that is security critical is running on our system or some other one built on the principles we’ve established"
Sorry, you don't get 10 years of reduced functionality - likely at significantly higher cost (those Computer Science PhDs don't pay for themselves).  Your users won't stand for it, or wait for you.

And so while an unhackable computer would be very nice indeed, this almost certainly isn't it.  Oh well, mustn't grumble - more work for Internet Security folks ...


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Overheard

I read the recent poll on drug testing Congress and laughed.  The Queen Of The World asked what's up:
Me: New poll says that 78% of Americans want members of Congress to have to have random drug testing.

The Queen: Well, sure.  Who doesn't?

Me: Well, they pass all these drug laws.  Why shouldn't they have to pee in the cup?

The Queen: They should have to put their pee where their mouth is.

Me: Ewww.  Not saying that you're wrong, but ewww.
Heh.  You can have any sort of sense of humor that you want when you are Queen Of The World.

Giuseppe Matteo Alberti - Concerto for violin, strings & b c in G minor

Many people think that people in the past were less intelligent, or interesting than people today.  They clearly don't know about Giuseppe Matteo Alberti, a baroque Italian choirmaster who was married six times (!).

Ah, amore.

Sadly, the sum total about Signore Alberti's love life at il Wik is this:
He also was married six times.

His music was pure baroque.  If you like Vivaldi, you'll like this.


The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat is the story of the undergraduate rowing team from the University of Washington. It is a bestseller and recently was released in paperback. In one sense, the book is the story of how the team came to win the gold in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.


 In another, and perhaps more important sense, it is about the pursuit of unattainable perfection that athletes and martial artists seek. Eight oar rowing is a team art, requiring a matching of flow and energy, in harmony with the boat, the water, and each member of the team. It can lead to those shining moments where you approach the limits of what is possible.

“It’s a great art, is rowing. It’s the finest art there is. It’s a symphony of motion. And when you’re rowing well, why it’s nearing perfection. And when you near perfection, you’re touching the Divine. It touches the you of yous. Which is your soul.”
― George Pocock

Friday, September 18, 2015

Library offers anonymous browsing software. Homeland Security objects.

Hilarity ensures:
In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations.

Soon after state authorities received an email about it from an agent at the Department of Homeland Security.

“The Department of Homeland Security got in touch with our Police Department,” said Sean Fleming, the library director of the Lebanon Public Libraries.

After a meeting at which local police and city officials discussed how Tor could be exploited by criminals, the library pulled the plug on the project.
Funny, cars can be used by both honest citizens and criminals.  There's no word as to whether the motorpool also got a visit from Special Agent Friendly.
“Right now we’re on pause,” said Fleming. “We really weren’t anticipating that there would be any controversy at all.”
But word got out, and the community responded:
Update, Sept. 16, 2015: After this article was published, the library received overwhelming support from the community to restart its participation in the anonymous Web browsing project. The library board met Tuesday and decided to restart the effort.
Bravo to the good Burghers of Lebanon, NH for sticking up for privacy.

(via)

Where ASM826 gets his firewood

Long time readers will recall co-blogger posting about his wood stove that keeps his house warm in the winter.  But heating with wood is not for the faint of heart - it's a lot more expensive than you think.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Reflection On The ACA

 Once the government forced us to buy something we were ruined. We can now be forced to buy anything because there is a precedent.

She might not have been a very good novelist, but she was a visionary.

Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.

--Ayn Rand

Wanted: Groundskeeper for football stadium

Old groundskeeper couldn't tell the difference between fertilizer and weed killer.


Thoughts about last night's debate

Boy, howdy, Carly Fiorina is impressive.  Holy cow.

Boy, howdy, Rand Paul was a disappointment.  He was really good going after Bush on medical marijuana.  But he wasn't impressive.

Boy, howdy, Donald Trump is a d-bag.  That doesn't disqualify him from the Oval Office, but wow.

Jeb Bush walks, talks, and quacks like the establishment.  Big applause line when Jeb stuck up for his brother, but I think he's actually befuddled about how to campaign.  Likely this is because his donors don't want him to actually say what he'd do.  Likely that's because he's not as smart as they are.  Dead man walking.

I really want to like Chris Christie.  I really do.  "Who's going to prosecute Hillary Clinton?"  LOL. I loved it when he said a 55 year old construction worker doesn't care about Donald Trump's or Carly Fiorina's careers.  His story about 9/11 was good.  Of course, he'd ban guns.  Good thing he's toast. 

Sen. Cruz may be closest to most of my positions.  He should get more traction, but probably won't.  I don't like him because he's a conservative, I like him because he's a maverick that is willing to drive the herd rather than run with it.  He had a great shout-out to Gun Owners of America.

Rubio will go pretty far, but not this election cycle.  He's pretty impressive, and very young.  He's great on Global Warming.  I wouldn't be surprised to see him offered the Vice President slot.  I also wouldn't be surprised to see him turn it down.

Not sure what I think of Carson.  I suspect that he's anti-gun, but don't really know.  He's what I should like -  the Thinking Man's thinking man.  But I'm not sure.

I'd say something about John Kassich, but very time he opened his mouth I fell asleep.

Nobody is talking about regulations.  This is the biggest gap in the entire campaign, and probably the biggest argument against Trump (who as a big businessman uses them for his competitive benefit).

Who cares about foreign policy.  Nobody will cast a vote based on this next year.

Huckabee was the only one who mentioned the second amendment.  Don't think I like him, but he's there.

Did I mention that Carly Fiorina is impressive as hell?

Lord, Donald Trump is a jerk.

I guess there were others on the stage, too.  Whatvs.

The CNN moderators were pretty goodc, even with the expected gotcha questions.  And the format was decently debate-ish with the candidates challenging each other.

We're not voting ourselves out of this.  None of the men (or women) on the White Horse are going to save the Republic.  But the circus is entertaining and the bread is free.  Are you not entertained?



I did this for you so that you don't have to.  No need to thank me, it's all part of having a full-service blog.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

You need some duct tape to go with those beer cans

You know, to make it a more permanent repair ...


Harry Potter's resume

Heh.

(via)

The road goes ever on and on

A new job opportunity has come up, one that's a big step up from where I am.  And so on Monday, I'll start a new gig at a tech company in the Washington DC suburbs.  I'm not a fan of that area but the offer was too good to turn down.

And so when Camp Borepatch finally sells, I'll point the tires north and find myself back in my old stomping grounds of Maryland.  I left there in 1996, bound for London.  Then Atlanta, Boston, and Atlanta again.  Now this.

It seems like a lot of moving.

And it will be strange to have the kids gone.  That was going to happen anyway, but I thought they'd be across town, not hundreds of miles away.

Those of you here in the ATL who would like to meet up sometime in the next month or so, leave a comment.
Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
- Seneca

Nope, Nope, Nope

I ride a bike almost every day. I have done trail riding on a mountain bike and would love to pick my way along some single track up the mountains out west. Slowly. I have no desire to do this.

The whole time I was watching I was wondering just how far away the nearest hospital was.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kentucky Headhunters - Big Boss Man

Because it's awesome to ride the Harley with this blaring from the speakers.


On the limitations of intelligence


Totally Stupid Agency screws up your locks

Facepalm:
Air travelers who don’t have firearms in their checked luggage probably use a special Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved lock. What is a TSA approved lock? I’ll let the TSA’s very own Blogger Bob explain:
TSA has worked with several companies to develop locks that can be opened by security officers using universal “master” keys so that the locks may not have to be cut. These locks are available at most airports and many travel stores nationwide. The packaging on the locks indicates whether they can be opened by TSA.
In other words TSA approved locks are locks with an included backdoor that can be used by TSA officers to access your luggage. I will take a moment to note that the use of TSA approved locks is not lawful when firearms are in your checked luggage so those of us who do fly with them do not, and legally can not, use TSA approved locks.
Guess what happened with the TSA's backdoor key?


Golly gosh, let's all remember to thank the Republicans for this smoking crater of a failed Agency.  And let's make sure to vote for some more Republicans so we can get even more!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Longer Than Seventeen Minutes

Hillary withheld five months of emails.

Sometimes the good guys win

David Ortiz was a huge part of the revitalization of the Boston Red Sox in the aughties, when they finally emerged from the New York Yankee's shadow to win three World Series championships in a decade.  One of the few things I look back on with fondness from my days in Massachusetts was their 2004 series win.  New England went nuts - people would go to the cemeteries to leave "Boston Red Sox World Champion" hats on the tombstones.  Tough Irish cops in Boston were unashamed to have tears running down their faces.

I even did my own part, one Halloween:


Box score of the final series game, by yours truly.  The neighborhood moms were (mostly) a little mystified, but the neighborhood dads thought that it was the cat's meow.

But back to David Ortiz, who is playing out what is likely his final season.  Ortiz has always been a ray of sunshine in the Red Sox clubhouse, with a perpetually upbeat attitude that was mostly missing from the Sox in the '80s and '90s.

Well, the good guys win sometimes.  Ortiz has achieved the following milestones: over 500 home runs, 3 world series rings, and if he hits another 22 doubles he will have 600 doubles.

To put that in perspective, only three other players have had 500+ home runs and 3 world series rings:
  • Babe Ruth
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Reggie Jackson
That's some company, right there.  and there are only two other players who had 500 homers and 600 doubles:
  • Hank Aaron
  • Barry Bonds
Bonds was a cheater, but Big Pappy's numbers kept coming after the league cracked down on performance enhancing substances.  It's not often we get to watch the closing of a career when we know for an absolute fact that this is a hall of fame player.



Hat tip: Chris Lynch, who gave the stats that led me down this memory lane.

UPDATE 14 September 2015 16:22: Here's an example of the feeling in New England in 2004.  While this is a parody, it really isn't.  I was there.


"Surely this wound will get me home."

A dying Tommy's last words at Ypres.

Your NFL team cheats

Really.

Hat tip: Rick via email.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Remember Christine Lee Hanson

When the totality of it becomes overwhelming, I make a special effort to remember just one person.

Christine Lee Hanson. She was traveling with her parents to visit Disneyland in California on United Flight 175. She was three. She was the youngest person to die on 9/11.

She should be seventeen.



Look through the stories of the murdered.  

Pick one and learn about them, their life, and what their loss means to those left behind. 

Then remember.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
--Laurence Binyon



Maurice Duruflé - Requiem


Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Et lux perpetua luceit eis
Amen 


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Intelligence Agency chiefs shocked to see public distrusts them

Shocked, I say:
WASHINGTON, DC – On a stage in a ballroom in the Walter Washington Convention Center on September 10, the heads of the United States' intelligence community gathered to talk about the work their agencies perform and the challenges they face—or at least as much as they could in an unclassified environment. But the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency also had one particular mission in mind as they took the stage at the Intelligence & National Security Summit, an industry event largely attended by government officials and contractors: stopping the poisoning of the public debate around their missions, and especially around the issue of encryption, by unreasonable haters.

CIA Director John Brennan suggested that negative public opinion and "misunderstanding" about the US intelligence community is in part "because of people who are trying to undermine" the mission of the NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies. These people "may be fueled by our adversaries," he said.

FBI Director James Comey referred to the backlash against his lobbying for backdoors into encrypted communications provided by the technology industry as "venom and deep cynicism" that are making a rational discussion about what could and should be done nearly impossible.
Let me explain it for you scooter: after repeatedly lying to the American public you want the to put their trust in you so it makes your job easier?  That takes a special kind of stupid.  You want trust?  Free Edward Snowden and jail General Clapper for perjury.  No?  Thought not.


Yo, Intel big cheeses!  Since it's Saturday and I need a country music song, here's one for you.


Friday, September 11, 2015

National Review: still idiots

Trump doesn't use the words "Freedom" or "Liberty":
Did you ever think you would see the day when the GOP front-runner rarely uttered the words “freedom” and “liberty”?

Perhaps some Republicans can be accused of loving liberty and freedom too much — or at least using those words as rhetorical crutches. Donald Trump is not one of them. The current GOP presidential front-runner rarely uses the words “freedom” or “liberty” in his remarks at all.
Yeah, well so what?  Since when has the Republican Party stood for freedom and liberty?
  • USA Patriot Act rushed into law in 45 days after 9/11, containing a grab bag of power for the Police State - thank you, GOP.
  • NSA domestic surveillance using secret warrants in a secret court, started under a GOP administration.  And this super spying couldn't prevent the Ft. Hood massacre or the Boston Marathon bombing.  Thank you, GOP.
  • General Clapper perjured himself under oath before Congress denying domestic spying.  He's still a free man man.  Thank you, GOP.
  • The TSA gropes my junk every time I fly.  The TSA was started under a Republican administration.  Thank you, GOP.
  • Lois Learner is still a free woman.  The GOP won't do anything about it, because they hate the Tea Party.  Thanks, guys.
  • Republicans swept to control of Congress promising to repeal Obamacare, which tells me that I have to purchase as much of a product that I don't want as the Fed.Gov says.  The GOP won't do anything about it.  Thanks, guys.
At this point I'm about ready to vote Democrat.  The GOP will still vote for all the things that will take away my freedom, but they will weep and rend their garments when they do.  At least the Democrats will be happy when they cast their vote - may as well vote against the Congressional Theatre Troupe.

And nobody at National Review has the two brain cells it took to rub together to arrive at this conclusion?  Good golly.

Mea culpa

Uncle Jay describes the five stages of blogging.

I am so busted

14 Years


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Magic Sam - All Your Love

Interesting TV introduction, then awesome Blues.


The Last Day in the Old World

September 10th, 2001 was a Monday. I had scheduled a day off a couple of weeks in advance, and we had made plans to go canoeing. The perfection of the day was breathtaking. A Carolina blue sky, a light breeze, afternoon temperature in the low 80s.

 

We put in at the landing in the primitive camping area in Goose Creek State Park. The marsh grass and trees were showing some signs of fall. The creek runs up through the park becoming narrower as it goes. We slowly picked our way along, stopping to look at birds and wildflowers. When we got to a point where all we could do was turn around, we paddled back out.

Going past the landing, we paddled out into the Pamlico Sound. The breeze was in our faces, so it was slow going, but the water was calm enough for the canoe. We paddled almost all the way across, enjoying the exertion. When we turned around it was a fast run back to the creek, 20 minutes to cover what had taken a couple of hours going out.

We sat in the sun on the landing and ate and talked. After we loaded the canoe on the truck and started home, she fell asleep. I remember it so clearly because it was the last day of the old world. A carefree, gentle day on the water, shared with a fine woman. There will never be another day like it in my lifetime.


Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.
–Wayne Dyer

Climate "Science" is just about the money

Shot:
In a just world the United States would pay back the $4 trillion dollars it owes, according to new research, for trashing the climate.

Global warming wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed the lion’s share of the carbon pollution to our currently-unfolding catastrophe—the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets, of course—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming from our carbon-stuffed skies will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So, since the rich fueled the crisis that’s about to soak the poor, they might help chip in to soften the blow.

That, in super-basic terms, is the concept of climate debt, which guides current emissions negotiations and efforts to distribute funds for adaptation to nations most affected by climate change. If you acknowledge, as the UN does, that there’s a carbon budget—an amount of greenhouse gas pollution the world can collectively churn out before we land in dangerous warming territory, currently figured at a 2˚C threshold—then it follows that nations that have overstepped theirs should pay back those who haven’t.
Chaser:
The long and model-unpredicted Great Pause of 18 years 8 months in global mean lower-troposphere temperature as recorded in the RSS satellite monthly dataset is inexorably driving down the longer-run warming rate, when the IPCC’s predictions would have led us to expect an acceleration.

clip_image002

The graph shows the entire RSS lower-troposphere satellite dataset for the 440 months January 1979 to August 2015, with the bright blue trend on the entire series equivalent to just over 1.2 C°/century. Overlaid graph in green is the zero trend in the 224 months since January 1997 – more than half the entire 440-month record.
So the USA owes the world $4 Trillion because SCIENCE™! but the IPCC "scientific" climate models are mystified as to why it's been almost 20 years with no warming.

Seriously, this whole Global Warming thing is nothing but phlogistonated luminiferous aether.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Milton Friedman explains Europe's immigration crisis



I think that this is from the 1980s.  Not sure if I agree with him on the benefits of illegal immigration - I doubt that he included the cost of unassimilated immigrants (schools, law enforcement, etc).  But he explains the entirety of the crisis in Europe.

Sure, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Scientists to reanimate 30,000-year-old 'giant virus' found in Siberia.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy birthday, Dad

Today would have been Dad's 87th birthday.

It's strange, but four and a half years after his death, I still think of him every day.  Some days it's a sad remembrance, but mostly it's situational - I will be doing something and I will suddenly hear his voice whispering in the back of my head.  Dad was never short of advice, although it was almost always good.

I'm moving furniture here in Camp Borepatch as I get it ready to sell.  I almost always hear him remind me Skin grows back; varnish doesn't.  Thanks, Dad.

But some memories are deeply embedded.  A long forgotten scent can bring a sudden cascade of them, an unexpected upwelling of that part of our soul that tells us who we are.  Brigid writes of this and her Dad, and the scent of after shave.  My Dad used Mennin, and the one time I smelled it in the last few years all I could think of was him and all the memories of times long ago.

Thanks, Brigid, for all those memories.  And this bit made me laugh out loud:
I think the perfect man natural scent would be some sort of mysterious combination of gun cleaning fluid, coffee, bacon, woodsmoke, and dark beer (with a slight undertone of 20 year old British Motor Car Wheel Bearing Grease.)
Because there is absolutely nothing in this whole wide world that's not improved by bacon ...

Kilted to brûlée the crème


Who is that mysterious man at the Outlet Malls and why is he wearing a kilt?  It's just your humble blogger getting a butane torch to make some crème brûlée.

I'd never done it, but the Queen Of The World loves it.  As it turns out, it's dead simple:

Warm 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a sauce pan.  You're not looking for boilage or even a simmer - wisps of steam means you're fine.

In a bowl, whisk 3 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar for 2-3 minutes until the eggs are light yellow.  SLOWLY pour the cream into the eggs, whisking the whole time.  If your cream is too hot and you pour too fast you will curdle the yolks which will be kind of nasty.  So don't do that.

Pout the mixture into ramekins and put the ramekins into a large flat baking dish.  Fill the dish half way with hot water (the water will moderate the oven baking and give you a yummy smooth consistency).  Bake at 300° for 35-40 minutes.

Cool the ramekins.  Now it's time to brûlée.  Sprinkle the top of each with sugar - at least a teaspoon and maybe two.  You want good coverage.  Now take the torch and play the flame over the top, moving constantly.  The sugar will melt, then it will bubble, then it will turn brown - that's where it's just starting to burn (brûlée) a bit.  That's when you're done.

But the reason for the kilt is the Kilted To Kick Cancer fundraising.  Donations for Team Borepatch are appreciated, but the point it to fund prostate cancer research.  100% of donations go directly to research.

Get kilted, get checked.

Some of you have emailed saying that the site isn't taking your credit cards.  I've notified the admin, so please keep trying.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Acting panzer!

I was riding the motorcycle to Frye's Electronics when I passed the Alpharetta VFW Post. Now, I've been past there a hundred times but this time I looked more closely and then I rode over for a closer look at this:




That's an M60, almost as old as I am. Darn it, I could have brought the kids here when they were little.




While there's no climbing allowed on the tank, you're welcome to sit in the 40mm AA and scan the southern sky for sneak attacks from neighboring Roswell.

It's an unlikely event as Alpharetta has established air superiority with its Shooting Star, one that dates from just 3 years after the end of World War II.



It's odd how you can miss something interesting so many times. I'm glad I stopped missing it.

UPDATE 7 September 2015 11:48: The post title was supposed to be "Achtung Panzer" but the iPhone autocorrect changed it in a way that kind of kicked over my giggle box.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Now that's a firearms product endorsement!

Spike's Tactical has introduced an AR pattern rifle that it calls the "Crusader":


Features not only include Psalm 144, but sports a Crusader's shield logo and has a safety switch labelled "Peace", "War", and "God wills it".  Heh.

But the marketing stroke of genius?  Demonstrating epic level trolling:
A new assault rifle called the "Crusader" went on sale this week, bearing a Bible verse on the magazine to deter Islamic terrorists from using it, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Florida was swift to complain, reports Fox News.


Manufactured by Spike’s Tactical in central Florida, the $1,395 AR-15 has a Bible verse etched into it that says “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Etched on the other is a symbol of a Crusader's cross from the Middle Ages. The weapon's safety selector has three settings: Peace, War and God Wills It.

Company spokesman Ben Thomas, a former Navy SEAL, said the scripture is like an insurance policy to keep it out of the hands of terrorists:
“When you make a rifle, you have to understand that it could be used for ill deeds if it got in the wrong hands."
And the company didn't need to wait long:
Naturally, CAIR felt compelled to weigh in, presumably because they felt Islamic terrorists might be offended:
“Sadly, this manufacturer’s fancy new gun won’t do anything to stop the real threat in America: the escalating problem of gun violence,” a spokesperson said. “This is just another shameful marketing ploy intended to profit from the promotion of hatred, division, and violence.”
The spokesperson had nothing to say about the escalating problem of Islamic terrorism, or about the terrorists themselves promoting hatred, division, and violence.
I'd have much more sympathy for CAIR if they hadn't spent the last 15 years being pure, grade A insufferable prats.

Maybe I need to get one of these, just to bother the Right Sort™ of people.