Saturday, September 27, 2003
Friday, September 26, 2003
Hartford Magazine, worth about exactly what I pay for it. For some reason I keep coming back to the phrase "Silk purse out of a sows ear" when I think of someone trying to make a city promotion magazine covering Hartford.
Oh, and their fact checking sucks, too. I spotted this highlighted gaffe in September's issue. Hell, I'm not even sure that there are 80,000 Ferraris in North America.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
... Let's go back and look at how Airbus was formed. In the early 1970s, the only companies producing large passenger aircraft were American firms. Airbus was formed and funded by Britain, France, Germany, and Spain to establish a European presence in this market. It is important to note that what we are talking about here is out-and-out socialism. Nowhere in the origins of Airbus are the dynamics of a free market involved.Read the whole thing.
When Americans complained about having a newly formed competitor subsidized by the national treasuries of four large nations, the Europeans answered with a logic that can only be described as insultingly arrogant. They claimed that American aerospace firms were subsidized by the huge government contracts they received for U.S. military hardware.
Never mind that these huge expenditures by the United States were to compensate for Europe's lack of resolve in protecting itself from the Communist menace. The job fell to Americans to provide a protective military umbrella, and in return we got criticized for how our spending supposedly subsidized our aerospace firms. Even more arrogant, however, was the obvious intent of Airbus to spend taxpayer money to kill American companies and American jobs."
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
As the Maxima came to an open “parking spot” next to a hydrant, he accelerated into it and screeched to a halt. He threw the car into reverse and backed up, tires spinning, into the road perilously close to my car, and then he shot forward again. He repeated this maneuver five or six times, without every getting the car anywhere near parallel to the curb. Finally, he stopped and got out of the car. He took the time to turn on his alarm with the remote in his hand, and I thought it might be over. At this point, traffic started to drift forward, and I decided to move forward in case this irate person got back in his car. This is when the mad doctor started running toward the car in front of me.
The Infinity started to accelerate and almost looked like it might make the light, so the guy stopped chasing: until the light turned red. The guy sprinted again, and flew into a screaming tirade when he got to the passenger’s window. I could make out the word “turning” and lots of swearing, but not much else. This is when I have to wonder what people are thinking. The passenger of the Infinity rolled down their window and started yelling back. Ah, not just one idiot, but two. A small crowd has started to gather on the sidewalk at this point, and one had to wonder what would happen next. Mr. irate turned around and I saw it coming, as he tilted his head back and tensed his throat. He spun back at the car and hucked a big loogie right into the passenger’s face. He turned and walked back up the street as my passenger and I discusses the merits of the words nasty, gross, and yucky to describe the incident. It was then that I remembered the half empty big gulp coke in my center console. I told my passenger to call the guy back and give it to him to throw, but she declined. Hey, just trying to do my part.
The incident reminded me of the last above-and-beyond incident I saw on the road, where a car with EMT (as in probably seen some terrible accidents and should know a heck of a lot better) plates 666 (yes, EMT plate number 666, I still wonder if they were real) cut down the right lane and forced the car going the speed limit in the left lane onto the shoulder when he cut him off so closely. Something about the stress of medical related professions that drives people off the deep end?
"Outsourcing manufacturing to China is like having access to a magic factory where everything is free"
"In an unintentional reference to the tumult of the recall election, Rosenbaum of the ACLU caused spectators in the packed courtroom to break into laughter when he accidentally referred to the [Ninth] 'circus' instead of the [Ninth]'circuit.' "They played this on NPR this morning and it was pretty damn funny. Lawyer Rosenbaum went on to say, (paraphrased) "And I'm the biggest clown."
Monday, September 22, 2003
FEMA Director Mike Brown was on the defensive.Perfectly packed to the rafter's, leaving no space for air in between the packages, this would take over 9,000 standard 40 foot containers to hold that much ice, enough containers to fill several third generation container ships. Six hundred fifty thousand tons of ice would fill a cube ~270 feet on a side. Six hundred fifty thousand tons of ice would fill over a million 19 cubic foot refrigerators to the brim, leaving no room for food.
"We've distributed 650,000 tons of ice down to that area," he said Sunday. "I just find it difficult to believe that we're not meeting someone's needs — if, indeed, they've been articulated to us."
I wonder if he meant 650,000 pounds or 650 tons?
UPDATE: A reader in the know about all things container tells me that volumetrically my math was pretty good, but weight wise I was way off. Forty foot containers are only allowed to carry 39 tons of cargo, so if you packed one to the roof it would be over acceptable weight limits. Using mass as the limiting factor means you would need 16,667 forty foot containers to handle 650,000 tons of ice. Refrigerated containers, one assumes.
FINAL UPDATE: The following news outlets all carried the "650,000 tons of ice" quote unchallenged -- (from Google News)
Pittsburgh Channel.com, PA
Hawaii Channel.com, HI
Iowa Channel.com, IA
WXii 12.com, NC
WMUR Channel.com, NH
Springfield News Leader, MO
Hampton Roads Daily Press, VA
San Mateo County Times, CA
Jackson Channel.com, MS
Channel Cincinnati.com, MA
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, FL
Orlando Sentinel, FL
I guess editors and fact checkers don't get much done these days.
Friday, September 19, 2003
Hot Chocolate or
Here’s how my wife and I spent a Sunday morning a few weeks back.
Hookers in The Morning
I'm up for some reason around 6AM. I hear a car pull into a driveway, hoping it isn't my driveway, but pretty sure it is my driveway since the car sounds pretty close.
When I hear a car door open up I'm even more sure it's my driveway, but I have no idea in hell why someone would be showing up at my place.
All hope that the car is in a neighbor's driveway goes away I hear someone banging on my front door. I now know something is way out of whack because we never use that door, and none of our friends ever go to that door.
My heart drops another notch when I hear the horn being honked repeatedly in my driveway. Looking out my bedroom window, which overlooks the driveway, I see a shitty old Toyota (Camry I think, though it might be a Cressida), broken grill, missing a hubcap & a nice loud exhaust. The passenger side door is open, I can tell the driver is still in the shadows of the car so I figure there are at least two people involved in this foolishness.
Great, I've got to deal with two total freaks at 6:11 AM on what had been a quiet Sunday in the 'burbs.
I yell down, “I'll be there in a second, just please stop honking.”
I throw on the shorts I'd worn the night before, clip my paddle-back holstered pistol on to my waist band, and head down stairs.
I go to the side door, open the door, and trying to not be too loud I ask whomever is at the front door to come around to the side door. I hear a woman react with a curse, then the other screen door slams closed, then she comes around the corner.
Picture this: Black woman, 5' 7" or so, boobs damn near hanging out of her trashy blouse, black leather pants, ridiculously large hoop earrings, blue lipstick & at least 3 inch heels. Loud in voice and appearance.
Clearly I have a hooker and her driver in my yard, a fact that I'm quite sure all my neighbors now know.
I stand facing the door with my left side, my right hand being on the grip of my gun, on which I've now released the holster's retention detent.
I ask her what could she possible want at my house & suggest that she is in the wrong place.
She asks me if "Lee" is here.
I say no, there is no "Lee" here, you've got the wrong house, and I really think you should leave.
She then starts to argue with me that she has the right house, then proceeds to pull a piece of paper out of her purse with my address, “Lee's” phone number, and about 50 words or so of other text on it that I didn’t have time to read.
I tell her that, “Yes, that is my address on your piece of paper, but there’s no ‘Lee’ here, that’s not my phone number, and you have to leave right now.”
She then tells me that she needs to call the number on the note to figure out where she should be, tells me she doesn't have a cell phone, then she asks if she can use my phone, even reaching to open the screen door I'd been talking to her through. She continues telling me how I have to help her sort this out.
The thought runs through my head that this might wind up with me having a dead whore in my entryway.
I cut her off mid-rant, repeat my demand that she get back in the car and leave, tell her how to get to the closest pay phone and tell her again she has to leave.
This goes around a few more times as she tries to convince me to let her in & use the phone as I tell her to get the hell off my property.
Finally she gives in and gets back in the car. It starts up with a bark, likely waking the neighborhood again with its noisy exhaust. They back out of my driveway and head off towards the pay phone I told them about.
Needless to say I'm a little freaked out about this whole affair. Someone, either accidentally or maliciously, sent some incompetent assistant crack-whore on an outcall to my house at 6:00 AM on a Sunday.
I hang out downstairs for a while to make sure they’re gone, then I go upstairs to fill the wife in on the details she may have missed listening in from an upstairs window. I’m pretty wired by the whole event, figuring it will be hours before I fall back asleep.
About ten or fifteen minutes after they left, I went downstairs to get a drink. To my surprise and dismay I saw that the shitty Toyota is sitting down the street a bit from my house, idling, clearly contemplating pulling into my driveway again.
As it turns to pull into the driveway I dial 911. The wife yells down to tell me that she's calling the cops but I tell her “Too late.”
One of the nice things about the town we live in is its damn near total absence of crime, so much so that when you call in a suspicious persons report you get a near immediate two car response. The cops parked to block the shit-box in my driveway, get out & start questioning the hooker and her driver.
Here's the highlights of what I could overhear:
- She'd been at a "party" earlier that morning and a "friend" told her she should "meet" "Lee" and "date" him, giving her the address and phone number. She said all this in, I think, truly believing that the cops accepted her story at face value, not for a second thinking that she was describing criminal actions.
- When first asked to provide ID the hooker balked.
- They claimed to have gone and used a payphone, called "Lee". They further claimed that "Lee" told them that they had the right address & that he was simply "around back".
- The hooker repeatedly asked the cop "Why would someone lie to me & give me the wrong address?" I swear she was convinced that her John was hiding somewhere behind my house.
- Once they finally got ID from the hooker, the only thing she could produce was her welfare card, her driver's license having being suspended.
- The guy driving her had an expired license, but only recently so.
- They said they were looking for someone in a town about ten miles from where we live.
- At some point, after the cops told her and her driver they had "10 seconds" to leave Simsbury or they'd both be arrested for trespassing and breach of peace (for the third time they were told this), I actually heard the hooker, in all seriousness, ask one of the cops,
"Can I have a dollar so I can buy a hot chocolate at the Dunkin Donuts?"
This lead to another minute or so of dialogue, the cop being incredulous that this stupid whore hasn't taken his charitable offer of leaving town quickly to avoid arrest pitted against the pea-brained whore's desire for hot chocolate. Eventually she caves in, the cops move their cars to make room for them to leave. They leave & I'm happy to report that I've never seen them again.
(The reason I could overhear all of this from 50 feet away was because she spoke pretty loudly & it was damn quiet (except for her, the car & the car's horn) that morning. Once or twice she tried to engage me directly in conversation, never apologizing but in some vain attempt that I could explain why this was all happening to her.)
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Life here is ok...just spent 6 hours today flying to and from Baghdad...weird huh? how many people can say that they have done that? I ride around Mosul with a loaded M4 and M9 and my finger on the trigger...also a weird feeling, but I have resolved that I am full prepared to shoot the motherfucker that fucks with me or my soldiers......Well, I threw on my engineering hat and realized from his report that the problem here isn't with the magazines, its with the springs in the magazines. Soft factory magazine springs are actually a pretty common problem, especially for competitive shooters. I remembered that there was a company called Wolff Spring that specialized in making better than original equipment springs for all sorts of firearms application.
"I have a favor...our M9 (Beretta) magazines are pieces of shit...how hard would it be for you to get 15 round clips (or even 10) that have a stronger spring that will keep pressure on the rounds...at the end of the day I have to literally shake the bullets out, even after having cleaned the clip the day before!!!! It is not very comforting...."
I quickly found exactly what I wanted to order (A ten pack of +10% M9 magazine springs) on their pretty easy to navigate website, but the only shipping option on their check-out screen was via UPS.
Not wanting to waste time having the springs shipped to me just so I could mail them to my friend, I called Wolff Springs toll-free number to see if they could ship my order via priority mail. (APO addresses are accessible only via mail.)
The order taker wasn't only able to help me, she gave me an even more dismaying bit of news. Turns out "a lot of people" are placing orders like mine, buying replacement springs destined for service members deployed to Iraq. The failure of too-soft magazine springs under rough conditions is known but not being addressed. Sad, really, that the brass is ignoring/doesn't-know-about this simple yet critical piece of information.
I emailed my friend back letting him know my plan & making sure he doesn't also need some replacement magazines and here is part of his response.
Thanks for ordering...when I said "10" I meant 10 rd clips...but actually 10 springs is a good idea...i can give a couple to my roommate and my boss....Thanks man!! How much do I owe you??His money is no good here.
Monday, September 15, 2003
Sort of sums up his whole campaign so far. It really was sort of pitiful to watch, Sen. Edwards realizing mid-sentence he'd made a mistake, then sort of begging/joking/reminding John that his people had promised they wouldn't make fun of him.
After Sen. Edward's appearance concluded Late Night Senior Political Correspondent Stephen Colbert went on a tear that was mostly attacking The Daily Show, but more than indirectly belittled Sen. Edwards for actually choosing to announce on such a pitiful cable channel.
[Google news tells me that TV Barn had this on Saturday.]
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Friday, September 12, 2003
If obtainable at all, I imagine that rates for life insurance, business interruption, property & maybe even health coverage for employees working in the towers would be (rightfully) astronomical. What insurer would want to write policies on buildings built as replacements for structures that were twice the target of terrorist bombings? Heck, they may not even be able to get the necessary insurance & bonds to cover the construction period, much less needed continuing coverage for commercial tennants.
(All of my speculation here assumes that the government would stay out of this and not force and/or subsidize coverage in light of the added risks statistically present at that site. If forced to write coverage at below market rates, expect everyone in the region/nation to get stuck with higher bills to cover the increased risk.)
Thursday, September 11, 2003
ABCNEWS later voluntarily turned over the depleted uranium for inspection by homeland security lab technicians, who confirmed the material was harmless depleted uranium.Ditto for The Washington Post:
ABC News said it placed 15 pounds of depleted uranium, a harmless substance that can be legally imported with a license into the United States, into a steel pipe with a lead lining and placed in a suitcase for shipment from Jakarta, a city with substantial ties to terrorist groups, to Los Angeles.UPDATE: I just found a link to a great summary of the non-threat created DU by Michael McNeil over at Impearls.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
What next, lawsuits against clothing manufacturers for failing to make all garments bullet-proof?
Sunday, September 07, 2003
Anyway, there's a poster over there who goes by the name Target Schmuck who really makes me laugh. Target Schmuck posted this rant in response to my pre-auction announcement that I would be selling off a funny fake credit card I received in a mailing targeted to owners of websites.
I am constantly impressed with the level of writing, inspection, reflection and thought that people can put into their posts on what basically is a focused gripe-session. Sure, I get plenty of bozo posts that don't survive moderation, but on the whole the site actually produces a lot of impressive material, much of which could actually help Target get out of the funk it seems to have fallen of late.
Hello, do you know me..............?.....I work in the backroom of one of the biggest retail corporations in America. Yet, I'm only known by my employee number, my computer printout sheet, & my alias on the "Target Sucks" website. That's why, whenever our DTL [District Team Leader], RTL[Regional Team Leader], or other bigwigs come to visit, I whip out my blue "TARGET SUCKS" card-reconized by all jacked-over team members throughout the entire store chain. It's fast, fun, & it shows the respect I have for my leaders who made it all possible for me to live on tuna & noodles to where I'm growing gills. For me, the "TARGET SUCKS" card lets me hold up that finger to show we're #1-we just don't tell 'em which finger it is! The "TARGET SUCKS" card- don't come to work without it!
Too bad nobody at Target corporate seems to be working on anything other than pushing its stupid "Red Card" Target-branded-Visa, cutting hours to the bone, reducing employee benefits & scoring cashiers on a speed rating system that penalizes employees for interacting with customers.
And hey, it don't cost nothing.
Friday, September 05, 2003
On the night of Wednesday, August 27, two men dressed as computer technicians and carrying tool bags entered the cargo processing and intelligence centre at Sydney International Airport.
The men, described as being of Pakistani-Indian-Arabic appearance, took a lift to the third floor of the Charles Ulm building in Link Road, next to the customs handling depot and the Qantas Jet Base.
They presented themselves to the security desk as technicians sent by Electronic Data Systems, the outsourced customs computer services provider which regularly sends people to work on computers after normal office hours.
After supplying false names and signatures, they were given access to the top-security mainframe room. They knew the room's location and no directions were needed. Inside, they spent two hours disconnecting two computers, which they put on trolleys and wheeled out of the room, past the security desk, into the lift and out of the building.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
He did a quick sketch, then a nice digitial image, and then following my instructions he even set up his own CafePress shop to peddle the design.
Click image to go to his shop.