Friday, May 31, 2024


The Democratic Party has crossed the Rubicon.  What's strange is that they're in a fairly weak position, which implies that we will see a ratcheting up of more of their actions to protect "our Democracy".  I don't see any possibility that they will ratchet any of this down; on the contrary, Trump's chances of being Epsteined in jail are getting a lot of discussion these days.

But Rubicon isn't quite the proper analogy.  I posted what I thought was the right analogy back on January 6, 2020.  It's sad to see that it reads every bit as true today as it did then, including an ancient Roman Epsteining.

Dura lex, sed lex.

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."
- Enoch Powell MP, quoting Virgil in "The Rivers of Blood" speech

Enoch Powell was one of the first politicians to be de-platformed.  As with most of these sorts of innovations, this happened in the Old World in the 1960s.  I posted about this seven years ago, although Google can no longer find this; DuckDuckGo can, though (and that tells you everything you need to know about search engines):
45 years ago last month, British MP Enoch Powell gave a stunning speech.  In it, he looked on the immigration of foreign peoples into the Kingdom and the way that this was changing the UK's culture.  It was widely criticized by all Right Thinking People® but at the same time was wildly popular with working class Britons.  Indeed, a thousand dockworkers marched on Parliament in protest when Powell was sacked from his positions of leadership.

Dockworkers marching in support of a Tory politician.

The most famous line in his speech is where he quoted Virgil:
As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'.
He was roundly damned for his "inflammatory" and "racist" remarks.  And so the British Political Class went back to sleep - indeed, the last Labour government intentionally accelerated immigration to make the UK "less British".
Today we saw the occupation of the Capitol building by people "annoyed" by what they (and many others) see as the theft of a Presidential election.  The protesters chased off first the Capitol Hill police and then the Congress itself.  It looks like one women lost her life, shot by a cop.  We'll have to see - early news is notoriously unreliable.

But looking at this, I thought of Virgil.  He of course, did not make up the Aeneid out of whole cloth; Virgil wrote propaganda for the first Roman Emperor, Augustus.  The Aeneid was propaganda, but what propaganda.  It made Caesar Augustus' family history into legend.  Because it was propaganda, it was exaggeration, but it was useful exaggeration to Augustus who while not related to the Great Leaders of the previous century was able to deftly exploit those leaders' exploits to his own advantage.

The most important leader at the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic was Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus,  He was the guy who noticed that while the Roman Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire.  Tiberius Gracchus decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the Roman Working Joe.  He failed, because the Roman political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Gracchus' challenge, and in fact had him killed.    

In short, the Roman Deep State closed ranks to block needed reform.  It was the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic as long cherished political norms (Mos Maiorum) were cast aside.  And so two generations of the Roman political elite were exterminated in a civil war so profound that what was left of the exhausted Republican Elite welcomed the first Imperator with open arms because he ended the civil wars.

Throughout this whole period in Roman History, the Law was supreme.  Of course, the Law bent to the prevailing political winds.  As the Roman said, "The Law is harsh, but it is the Law".  Dura Lex, sed Lex.

Donald Trump is the Tiberius Gracchus of our day.  He is the guy who noticed that while the American Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire.  Donald Trump decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the American Working Joe.  He failed, because the American political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Trump's challenge, and in fact had him [well, we'll have to see if they let him live free, or jail him, or kill him].

But Tiberius Gracchus had many supporters, who didn't let the Roman political elite rest easy.  Likewise with Donald Trump, as we saw today:

Some of Gracchus' supporters were killed, as we saw today.  Looking forward, I am filled with foreboding.  Like the Roman, I seem to see the river Potomac foaming with much blood.  We're already started, it seems.  The only questions really remaining is who is to play the part of Augustus Caesar, and how many of the elite families (and, it must be said, other families) must die before a grateful Republic reaches for their savior Emperor?

But the Founding Fathers knew about the failings of the Roman Republic.  They strived to avoid them in their Republic.  As a student of history I must say that they avoided the Roman pitfalls for 200 years.  Not bad at all.

Never mind that the Romans avoided these for almost 500 years.  God Save this Honorable Republic.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Interesting security idea

Actually, it's a breath of fresh air:

A Google security bigwig has had enough of federally mandated phishing tests, saying they make colleagues hate IT teams for no added benefit.

Matt Linton leads Google's security response and incident management division. Tasked with rolling out phishing exercises every year, he believes tests should be replaced by the cybersecurity equivalent of a fire drill.

Today's phishing tests more closely resemble the fire drills of the early days, which were more like fire evacuation drills – sprung upon a building's residents with no warning and later blaming them as individuals for their failures.

Yeah, that's about right.

Linton's idea of a possible alternative is considerably different compared to the tests office workers have become accustomed to over the years.

Hello!  I am a Phishing Email. 

This is a drill - this is only a drill!

If I were an actual phishing email, I might ask you to log into a malicious site with your actual username or password, or I might ask you to run a suspicious command.

You can learn more about recognizing phishing emails at and even test yourself to see how good you are at spotting them. Regardless of the form a phishing email takes, you can quickly report them to the security team when you notice they're not what they seem.

To complete the annual phishing drill, please report me.

Thanks for doing your part to keep

A. Tricky. Phish, Ph.D

This seems like a much more productive approach, IMHO.  Which means that it will be ignored by The Usual Suspects.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Did you hear about the guy who collected candy canes?  They were all in mint condition.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Jo Dee Messina - Heaven Was Needing A Hero

Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer.  Beach, swimming pools, and backyard barbecue is the agenda for most.  But that's not what the day is about.  I posted this twelve years ago and it still captures the spirit of this weekend.  Christian Golczynski is around twenty five years old now.


Memorial Day isn't about barbecues for Christian Golczynski.  He was eight years old when LTC Ric Thompson handed him the flag that had draped his father's coffin.  That was five years ago.

This weekend will be the fifth Memorial Day where he won't be thinking about barbecues.  Next month will be the fifth Father's Day with an empty chair at the dinner table.

That is what Memorial Day is about.

I've posted this song a number of times over the last year or two, as it captures in music the sound of a heart breaking.  The song alternates between memories of the loved and lost, and the stumbling emptiness as the singer tries - and fails - to make sense of the loss.  It's not your typical sentimental Country music song, it's pure, 100 proof grief.

For some, that is what Memorial Day is about.

There is no official music video for this song; Messina is no longer the chart topping singer that she was in the 1990s.  But people have taken this music and found photographs that amplify the music and make it personal.  The second picture is one that I found particularly moving - nearly as much as the one of young Master Golczynski shown here.

This is what Memorial Day is about. 

Heaven Was Needing A Hero (songwriter: Jo Dee Messina)
I came by today to see you
Though I had to let you know
If I knew the last time that I held you was the last time,
I'd have held you and never let go
Oh it's kept me awake night wonderin'
Lie in the dark, just asking "why?"
I've always been told you won't be called home until it's your time

I guess Heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up for what you believe and follow it though
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is that Heaven was needing a hero like you

I remember the last time I saw you
Oh you held your head up proud
I laughed inside when I saw how you were, standing out in the crowd
You're such a part of who I am
Now that part will just be void
No matter how much I need you now
Heaven needed you more

'Cause Heaven was needing a hero
Somebody just like you
Brave enough to stand up for what you believe and follow it though
When I try to make it make sense in my mind
The only conclusion I come to
Is that Heaven was needing a hero like you

Yes, Heaven was needing a hero...that's you.

Abraham Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby is justly famous:
Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln
Christian Golczynski also laid a sacrifice on that same altar of our freedom, a sacrifice costly beyond our reckoning.  I hope that the fullness of time will ease his anguish as well.  I fear that it will not.

That is what Memorial Day is about.  Not a barbecue in sight, just pure, 100 proof grief.  This weekend as you go about your normal business of life, remember SSgt Marcus Golczynski.  And Christian.  And what that sacrifice means.  May this Republic be worthy of them.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mozart - Requiem in D

The older I get, the grumpier I get.  Sometimes I look on our society and feel like I am getting my Jeremiah on, which is never a good look.

Memorial Day is one of the times that this reliably happens.  Look, people, this holiday is not about barbecues and beach.

Remember them, that their memory not fade.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.  Et lux perpetua luceat eis.  Amen.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

GE Medical Ultrasound imager critical security vulnerabilites

"Vulnerabilities" meaning plural: remote code execution, ransomware danger, other cool stuff.  

The good news: you need physical access to the device (supposedly; of course these would *never* be put on the network ...).  The bad news: it's unlikely in the extreme that these devices will ever get patched.

If only someone had been warning them of this problem ...

Monday, May 20, 2024

Random photo

Ten years ago, the trails behind the Roswell (GA) Mill dam.  Wolfgang chased a deer there, more than once.

 He loved going on these walks.  I did, too.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Your moment of Zen

A sunset is heaven's canvas.

- Unknown

Photo credit: Borepatch

Friday, May 17, 2024

I'd totally eat this

Via YARGB, here's a recipe for Peruvian Lomo Saltado. The french fries look odd but I bet it's delicious.

Thursday, May 16, 2024


I don't trust stairs.  They're always up to something.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Is the Signal secure messaging platform actually secure?

A competitor claims that it's not:

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov issued a scathing criticism of Signal, alleging the messaging service is not secure and has ties to US intelligence agencies.


Durov made his remarks on his Telegram channel on Wednesday, pushing a variety of points against the rival messenger app, including alleging it has ongoing ties to the US government, casting doubt over its end-to-end encryption, and claiming a lack of software transparency, as well as describing Signal as "an allegedly "secure" messaging app.


The Register could not find public reports of Signal messages leaking due to faulty encryption. We also have reached out to the company and will update accordingly. 
I'm not sure what to think here, other than the US Intelligence Community is doing no favors for US tech businesses, and hasn't for a long, long time.  This sort of accusation will get some traction, whether it is true or not.



Tuesday, May 14, 2024

GPS attacks under way in Eastern Mediterranean and Baltic


I would think this wouldn't just be limited to flights but also to shipping.  Chartplotters are an awfully handy thing but paper charts are probably immune to these attacks.

Monday, May 13, 2024

More info emerges on the UnitedHealth cyber incident

None of it is good for UnitedHealth.  Multiple rookie security failures - including no use of multi-factor authentication for remote login, no network segmentation, and no internal security threat hunting. 

I don't know if there will be lawsuits over this, but this is all basically indefensible.  After all, they are a healthcare provider, and HIPAA/HITECH mandates all of this.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Dad Joke CCCXXIII - A Mother's Day Dad Joke endorsed by The Queen Of The World

She says this is one of her favorites, from personal experience: Being a Mom to teenagers will make you understand how some animals eat their young.

Personally, I think that this is hilarious: Motherhood is a fairy tale in reverse.  You start out in a beautiful gown and end up cleaning everyone's messes.

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms, and to everyone who has a Mom.

Thursday, May 9, 2024


When the Roman Empire was split into Eastern and Western halves, do you know how they did this?

With a pair of Caesars.

(Actually, this is literally true)

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Ammo deal alert

UPDATE 8 MAY 2024 12:18: Never mind.  The description was dodgy and misleading, and the price is for 200 rounds, not 1000.  Pretty disappointed in CMP's marketing on this. And for that price you can get new (not decades-old) ammo.  Thanks for the comments from alert readers.

CMP is selling 1000 round cans of .45ACP Ball surplus ammunition for $150 plus shipping.  This is about the best deal I remember seeing for .45ACP in a long time.

Limit one per customer, regular CMP purchasing rules apply.

They also have 500 round bricks of .22LR for $80 which seems pretty good.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

WWI U-boat sauerkraut soup

This was actually very interesting.  I'd eat that.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Kaiser Permanente shares user data with Google, Microsoft, and others

Well, well, well:

Millions of Kaiser Permanente patients' data was likely handed over to Google, Microsoft Bing, X/Twitter, and other third-parties, according to the American healthcare giant.

Kaiser told The Register it has started notifying 13.4 million current and former members and patients that "certain online technologies, previously installed on its websites and mobile applications, may have transmitted personal information to third-party vendors," when customers used its websites and mobile applications.

Kaiser has since removed that tech from its websites and apps, and said it is not aware of "any misuse of any member's or patient's personal information."

Yeah, I'll bet.

If you get Kaiser Permanente insurance at work, you might want to ask your HR department for an assessment of whether your data was included in this data sharing scheme.  It's hard to see how at the minimum HIPAA-adjacent data was not shared here.


Sunday, May 5, 2024

Manuel Maria Ponce - Sonata Mexicana

I don't think I've ever highlighted a Mexican composer here, but Cinco de Mayo is a great excuse.  Andres Segovia performs on guitar.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

John Prine - My Old Kentucky Home

It is a tradition at the Kentucky Derby for the crowd to sing "My Old Kentucky Home".  It's also a tradition for the crowd not to know any of the lyrics except for weep no more my lady.   It's mumble mumble mumble WEEP NO MORE MY LADY.

So as a public service for this 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, here is the late John Prine with all the lyrics.

Friday, May 3, 2024


How does a cucumber become a pickle?

It goes through a jarring experience.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

First Herculaneum scroll decoded

Now this is cool:

Newly deciphered passages from a papyrus scroll that was buried beneath layers of volcanic ash after the AD79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius may have shed light on the final hours of Plato, a key figure in the history of western philosophy.

In a groundbreaking discovery, the ancient scroll was found to contain a previously unknown narrative detailing how the Greek philosopher spent his last evening, describing how he listened to music played on a flute by a Thracian slave girl.

What's even cooler is that this is one of the carbonized scrolls that people tried to unroll decades ago, causing enormous damage to the scroll.  They were still able to scan it and put it back in order.