Tag Archives: philosophy

Sacrifice

This is from today’s (27-October-2012) newspaper. You might be able to find the article on myCentralJersey.com, a Gannett Company that takes pains to keep people like me from pointing people like you to interesting disturbing articles like this one.

Just one more reason that I’m getting the fuck out of New Jersey, pronto.

Update: South Brunswick animal sacrifice found to be in compliance with state permits

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — All permits were found to be in compliance for the sacrificing of goats by a religious group on Friday at a Dey Road site.

Detective Sgt. James Ryan said officials from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals visited and determined the activities were consistent with state permits.

At about 11:30 a.m., township police received reports that members of a religious group were conducting animal sacrifices on Dey Road. Police checked with state officials and local animal control officials to see if a religious group has permission to sacrifice animals.

Ryan said group members told police they had a permit from the state Department of Agriculture to sacrifice a group of goats penned up near a white house on Dey Road, about 50 yards off of a two-lane country road near the Cranbury border.

South Brunswick animal control officers also responded to the scene. Ryan said the property had a large pen containing the goats.

 

Coffee Stop

black coffeeThe airport was crowded, busy, and the girl in front of me was ordering this coffee-drink. You know, the kind of coffee-drink with the fancy-ass name that takes two breaths to say, and dammit it had better be exactly right or else… You’ve heard the expression high maintenance? The epitome, right there in front of me, at the front of the line, standing at the service counter. So she made her order and I rolled my eyes.

The kid behind the counter glanced at me, I met his eye and said simply, “Coffee. Black.” The kid turned to his work… and turned back almost immediately with my black. The girl sputtered, started getting arrogant. I smiled and slid a fin, a crazy over-payment for the black, across the counter, turned and walked away. I didn’t look back.

I wouldn’t mind meeting up with her again in the middle of the apocalypse, watching her cope. It’d be cheap entertainment.

Leaving New Jersey Behind

Many of my friends and acquaintances already know this so it’ll be old news, but I’m happy to write that I’m finally leaving New Jersey, once and for all.

Shocked? Well, the time has come.

Pam and I plan our lives on rather long timelines. We may not know what next week holds. But we know what we want to be doing along periods measured by several years or even decades. This chunk was to finish raising Damian, get him though High School and off to college. That part’s just about done. (I think we did a fine job of it, too. What parent doesn’t?)

So we’re off to Florida. Why the Sunshine State? Mostly for the endless motorcycle riding season. Central Florida holds some of the best riding on the east coast, and the best of that will be in our backyard. We figure it’ll hold our interest for many years to come.

Another big reason is that New Jersey is literally sucking us dry. Cost-of-living, taxes and more. So many hands in my pocket I can’t find my… well, you know. We stay here, by the time we’re ready to recreate full time there won’t be anything left.

So, we’re packing up. Taking our property, our money, our spending, our business, and all that other good stuff. Away. To where it’ll do US good.

So far we’ve acquired property, custom-designed/modified a plan (AutoCAD rocks!) for a home that’s perfect for us, contracted our builder… We’ll be breaking ground soon. And come 2013, not a dime more goes into New Jersey’s coffers. Yeah, it really feels damned good to write those words!

Over the coming months I’ll tell you more about this all-consuming adventure. You’ll hear about some of the cool people I’m meeting and doing business with.

WTF, maybe you’ll end up following us down!

“Be seeing you.”

Cablevision and News Corp Duke It Out

Won’t these corporate assholes ever just play nice with each other? Every time they get their collective shorts in a knot there’s only one loser – the consumer. Now, trust me on this one, there’s no love lost between me and Cablevision. They’re the local cable monopoly franchise and, for me, the only viable Internet service provider. I’d drop ’em in a heartbeat if I could, but there are no alternatives. Essentially, they’ve got a gun to my head.

But I digress. In this morning’s email was this missive from Cablevision.

A MESSAGE FROM CABLEVISION

We regret to inform you that News Corp, in an act of corporate greed, has pulled Fox 5 and My9 from your Cablevision channel lineup. This is an unfortunate attempt to extort unreasonable and unfair fee increases from Cablevision and our customers.

News Corp is demanding more for Fox 5 than we pay for every other broadcast channel. In fact, they want more for Fox 5 than we pay CBS, NBC, ABC and Univision combined and are asking for more than $150 million a year. That’s an $80 million increase for the exact same programming! In these tough economic times, an increase of these vast proportions is irresponsible and unfair.

We have made numerous fair and reasonable proposals to News Corp and they have refused every one. And now, News Corp has pulled the plug on Fox 5 AND My9. This was News Corp’s decision, not ours. We want to keep these channels on the air while we negotiate a fair agreement.

As a result of News Corp’s refusal to negotiate, Cablevision is willing to accept binding arbitration to resolve this matter fairly. We are confident that an independent third party will agree that what we are offering to pay News Corp is fair. We call on News Corp to accept binding arbitration, and return Fox 5 and My9 to the air until an agreement is reached.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by News Corp’s actions, and we ask for your help. Call 1-877-NO-TV-TAX (1-877-668-8829) or visit www.cablevision.com/fox and tell News Corp to put Fox 5 and My9 back on the air, and to keep you out of the negotiations.

Thank you for your patience, your patronage and your support.

(The link in their message eventually expired. I removed it, but note that when it appeared in Cablevision’s email it actually pointed to an internal tracking link before being forwarded – deceptive at best.)

[sigh] Who’s the bigger liar? If you take Cablevision’s statements at face value then News Corp looks like the dick. I’m sure that if I sought out News Corp’s take – I didn’t bother – I’d find that Cablevision looked like the dick.

It’s the customer that takes it on the chin. Pam‘s grumbling that some of the television shows she likes are affected. I told her to watch ’em over the ‘net. Me? I don’t watch television, no time for that, so I’d dump the subscription and not miss it in the least. (Sure, I’d lose the multi-product discount I get for the Internet service portion of the bill but the benefit is so small it doesn’t matter.)

Well, here’s to hoping those profit-mongering bastards resolve their differences.

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

This one’s planted firmly in the WTF department. See for yourself.

http://www.vhemt.org/

“May we live long and die out”

The Jetsons

Remember The Jetsons?
The cartoon aired in the early sixties and painted an image of the future that was just so fantastic, so far-out, that it could only exist in the cartoon world. Certainly, we would never live to see it.
Well, this is the world we do live in today.
Okay, sure, we don’t have flying cars – probably never will – but so much of what they showed is so commonplace today it isn’t funny. Think about it.
I’ll soon need to use the air conditioning in my home. It’s been so cold this spring and summer that I’ve used it exactly once so far this season. And that was only because I had changed out a thermostat and needed to test the system. So the other day I ran it all day and night. I awoke to find it running full-bore, the suction line frozen and little, if any, air moving through the ductwork.
I spend a bit of time with Google and soon learned more than I had ever known about air conditioning systems, more than enough to troubleshoot my system.
It reminded me of that old movie, The Matrix. Remember Neo’s famous line? “Jiu Jitsu? I’m going to learn… Jiu Jitsu?”
“Air conditioning? I’m going to learn about… air conditioning?”
We live in an unparalleled age where most of what you need to know is just a few clicks away. I swear, sometimes I gotta pinch myself.
Don’t take it for granted. Think, and contribute what you can.

Remember The Jetsons?

The cartoon aired in the early sixties. It painted an image of the future that was just so fantastic, so far-out, that it could only exist in the cartoon world. Certainly, we would never live to see it.

Well, this is the world we do live in today.

Okay, sure, we don’t have flying cars – probably never will – but so much of what they showed is so commonplace today it isn’t funny. Go check out excerpts from some episodes on Hulu. [That is, if you can find ’em without paying. Seems they forbid that now so I’ve pulled the link.] Think about what you see.

I’ll soon need to use the air conditioning in my home. It’s been so cold this spring and summer that I’ve used it exactly once so far this season. And that was only because I had changed out a thermostat and needed to test the system. So the other day I ran it all day and night. I awoke to find it running full-bore, the suction line frozen and little, if any, air moving through the ductwork.

I spend a bit of time with Google and soon learned more than I had ever known about air conditioning systems, more than enough to troubleshoot my system.

It reminded me of that old movie, The Matrix. Remember Neo’s famous line? “Jiu Jitsu? I’m going to learn… Jiu Jitsu?”

“Air conditioning? I’m going to learn about… air conditioning?”

We live in an unparalleled age where most of what you need to know is just a few clicks away. I swear, sometimes I gotta pinch myself.

Don’t take it for granted, my friends. Think and contribute what you can.

Global Warming Swindle

“The global warming alarm is dressed up as science, but it’s not science.  It’s propaganda.”

Actually, this is a pointer to video, not something to read.

http://blasphemes.blogspot.com/2009/04/global-warming-swindle.html

“The environmental movement has evolved into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries. I think it’s legitimate for me to call them ‘anti-human’. Like, okay, you don’t have to think humans are beter than whales, or better than owls or whatever you don’t want to. Right, but surely it is not a good idea to think of humans as sort of being scum, you know, that it’s okay to have hundreds of millions of them go blind or die or whatever.  I… I just can’t relate to that.”

Patrick Moore
Co-founder, Greenpeace

I think I may start selling t-shirts.

‘Our’ Jobs

Bob Evans wrote in Information Week’s Global CIO Blog an article entitled IBM, Microsoft, And The Myth Of ‘Our Jobs’. [Alas, another dead link pruned.]

Proving once again that there are statistics to support just about anything you’ve got to say.

Some Favorite Windows XP Registry Adjustments

Since I’ve been asked, here are a few of the registry adjustments I make soon after kickstarting an XP system. By no means is this an exhaustive list. No, it’s just the stuff that I consider a minimal start for all systems.

WARNINGDon’t come crying to me if you hose your system beyond belief, because for the uninitiated messing with the Windows registry directly is somewhat akin to performing open-brain surgery. In fact, I’m not going to tell you how to perform edits on the thing, back it up in whole or part or anything like that. You should already know how to do those things. If you don’t, well, please move along, nothing to see here.

With that out of the way, I’ll state what should be obvious. The registry keys mentioned below are each one line. Sometimes embedded spaces will cause wrapping that shouldn’t actually be.

The default responsiveness of the Start menu is designed for effect, not utility. Adjust it to your liking by adjusting the value here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\MenuShowDelay

This has a default decimal value of 400. 100 usually does it for me.  The ever-so-popular TeweakUI utility adjusts this, too, but it’s easy to just do it this way.

If you’ve got enough memory in your system you can pull the Windows kernel into RAM. Absolutely don’t do this if you’ve got less than, oh, 256 MB.  But who doesn’t have 2 GB or more these days?

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\DisablePagingExecutive

Choose one of these values:
1 = disable paging and run kernel from RAM
0 = normal, paged operation

It should be obvious that you want to set it to 1. You’ll need to reboot to make it take effect.

Did you know that NTFS maintains standard 8.3 file names that are compatible with DOS conventions? Those are the ugly looking all-caps things with the tildas and such that you may have seen in a file list every now and again. Creating and maintaining them is an overhead you can live without if you never have a need for this compatibility. Nice that you can easily disable it and keep your MFT a little less cluttered at the same time.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation

0 = enabled
1 = disabled

Set to 1 to gain some file system performance, at the expense of compatibility with that older file system you probably forgot about long ago. You’ll need to reboot to make it take effect.

Oh, and before you ask: no, I’m not sure whether it cleans up existing 8.3 junk or not. I never bothered to check, but I’d suspect not.

Windows XP helps speed its bootup with a prefetch cache, located by default at C:\Windows\Prefetch. Some folks say that every now and again you should delete the contents of that directory, and the system will rebuild it cleanly. I personally wouldn’t bother with that, just let Windows deal with it. But you can control what gets prefetched with this adjustment.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher

0 = disable prefetching
1 = prefetch application launch files
2 = prefetch boot files
3 = prefetch as much as possible

Setting this to 3, of course, is a good idea.

The Disk Cleanup utility doesn’t actually clean up all of your temp files as you might be led to believe. Instead, it checks the last access of these files and if it’s 7 days or less it keeps ’em around. Fortunately you can fix this.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Temporary Files\LastAccess

# = number of days of retention

Personally I like 0 days. One good reason is that it’s nice to have the slate as clean as possible when defragmenting. (But if you’ve got an SSD you might want to leave this one be, as small writes exact a serious performance hit.)

Add a Copy To command to Explorer’s context-sensitive menu, where it’s always ready for use.

Just add the following key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Copy To

with a default value of
{C2FBB630-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}

And, while you’re at it, add a Move To command as well. Add this key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Move To

with a default value of
{C2FBB631-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}

Of course, neither of these do anything for system performance but may help your performance.

The Patron Saint of Motorcyclists

This came up in conversation the other day. There’s a patron saint for most everything you can think of, and for some reason I thought that the bikers’ patron saint was Gabriel, who also looks after messengers.

But no, it’s Columbanus, an Irish saint who lived from 540 AD to 615 AD. Recurring themes in the stories of Columbanus are virtue, women and beer.

There’s much to be found on the Web about Columbanus and, of course, there’s a Wikipedia article.

But near as I can tell there’s no Saint Alphonzo – as in Saint Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast, a zippy little number by the late Frank Zappa.

The S Word

I was cleaning up some backwater directory and ran across this oldie. According to the datestamp I must have saved it well over a decade ago. Nope, don’t know the origin. But I think it’s still funny, and still true as ever.

If you find the S word offensive then definitely don’t read on. Otherwise…

Continue reading The S Word

Business Loss: Is That A Spade I See?

The other morning on the televised news I heard of (yet another) corporate muckety-muck drawing a comfortable salary (USD6M, in this case) despite their company’s recent losses (some USD40B). And it got me to thinking about terminology.

Take the term from which this entry derives its title: ‘loss’. I’m thinking that this is one of the most misused terms around – especially today, as it applies to business and economics. It seems to be deliberately chosen to create a feeling of sympathy for the ‘lossee’, and I think that the feeling is completely misplaced.

Let’s first look at a perfectly accurate usage. “Joey Psychotic lost his home and all of his possessions to fire this morning, believed to be started when his hungry cat kicked over an unattended prayer candle…” This makes sense – Mr. Psychotic had a home. But it was consumed by fire, reduced to a wet, smoking pile of rubble, crawling with investigators. Not a home by any stretch of the imagination. You feel sorry for Mr. Psychotic, and you should (even while questioning his religious rituals).

Now, how about this one: “The Acme Prayer Candle Company lost forty billion dollars over the last three quarters of this year due to slacking demand. Stockholders fear bankruptcy as…” Nope, I don’t buy it. That which you do not have cannot be lost. Acme didn’t lose anything – they never had it in the first place. See the difference?

Let’s take a stab at writing that a little more accurately: “The Acme Prayer Candle Company failed to realize forty billion dollars in profits over the last three quarters of this year. Acme executives cite slacking demand as the cause of their failure to deliver promised value to stockholders, who fear bankruptcy as…” Acme didn’t lose, they FAILED.

Fail brings a whole different set of emotions than loss. It’s not that failure is necessarily bad, either. After all, failure can be a very powerful teacher – well, provided one can grasp its message, which isn’t a given.

I don’t feel much sympathy toward anyone that can (mis)direct their company to failure, and yet still pull down six million greenbacks. I won’t bet on their learning anything, either, unless it’s something along the lines of, “hey, look what I just got away with!”

Maybe the companies that are failing should be allowed to fail, their directors along with them. A multitude of companies, built on good ideas, managed competently, would certainly spring up in their place. I’m not denying that there would be great steaming heaps of economic pain along the way, the likes of which most alive today have never seen.

But America, still the greatest land on Earth, would emerge stronger than ever.

Folding

“How does one fold a bra?”

“Fold!?!  A bra is like a beer can!  The only correct thing a man can do with ’em is empty ’em, & toss the empty asside………….8^)”

“I Can’t”

You’re finished as soon as you say those words. You’ve set yourself up for failure. No, something less than failure, because you’ve already accepted, embraced an outcome with the same certainty as your next breath.

Infinitely better it is to try, no matter how feeble the effort. You have a chance. No matter how small the odds of success, it is opportunity measured as something greater than zero. And no matter how it turns out, you will have gained experience and probably a bit of knowledge as well.