June 28, 2005

A history lesson

Sure, it's a retread of an old joke, but what the heck.

It was the first day of school and a new student named Pedro Martinez, the
son of a Mexican restaurateur, entered the fourth grade in a USA School. The
teacher said,

"Let's begin by reviewing some American history. Who said 'Give me Liberty,
or give me Death?'"

She saw a sea of blank faces, except for Pedro, who had his hand up.
"Patrick Henry, 1775."

"Very good!" said the teacher. "Now, who said, "Government of the people, by
the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth?"

Again, no response except from Pedro: "Abraham Lincoln, 1863."

The teacher snapped at the class, "Class, you should be ashamed! Pedro, who
is new to our country, knows more about our history than you do!"

She heard a loud whisper: "Screw the Mexicans!"

"Who said that?" she demanded.

Pedro put his hand up. "Jim Bowie, 1836."

At that point, a student in the back said, "I'm gonna puke."

The teacher glared and asked, "All right! Now, who said that?"

Again, Pedro. "George H. W. Bush to the Japanese Prime Minister, 1991."

Now furious, another student yelled, "Oh yeah? Suck this!"

Pedro jumped out of his chair waving his hand and shouting to the teacher,
"Bill Clinton to Monica Lewinsky, 1997!"

Now, with almost a mob hysteria, someone said, "You little shit. If you say
anything else, I'll kill you!"

Pedro frantically yelled at the top of his voice, "Gary Condit to Chandra
Levy, 2001."

The teacher fainted, and as the class gathered around her on the floor,
someone said, "Oh shit, we're in BIG trouble now!"

Pedro whispered, "Saddam Hussein, 2003."

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Beer/brewing info

For those of you who do not have access to newsgroups via your ISP, Google has all of the old Dejanews newsgroups available for your reading pleasure. One that you might want to visit regularly is rec.crafts.brewing. As with anything else on the Internet, it's best to keep your crap filter on. Anyone can post, including the guy who makes Pruno, so beware.

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I'm always the last to know

Someone has stolen my idea and created beer radio. Live shows will broadcast on Sundays at 5 p.m., west coast time. Beer related forums can be found here.

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Browser and personal info

Interesting link here. Depending on what browser you're using, this site can tell you:

1) your connection speed

2) information about your hard drive and CD-ROMs installed

3) spyware or parasites infecting your system

4) and a lot more

Worth checking out, even if several of the tests only work in IE.

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June 27, 2005

Children's books that didn't make it

Old, but I couldn't resist posting them again:

1. You Are Different and That's Bad

2. The Boy who Died From Eating His Vegetables

3. Dad's New Wife Robert

4. Fun Four Letter Words to Know and Share

5. Hammers, Scissors and Screwdrivers: An I-Can-Do-It Book

6. The Kid's Guide to Hitchhiking

7. Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her

8. Curious George and The High Voltage Fence

9. All Cats Go To Hell

10. The Little Sissy Who Snitched

11. Some Kittens Can Fly

12. That's It, I'm Putting You Up For Adoption

13. The Magic World Inside The Abandoned Refrigerator

14. Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia
15. The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy

16. Strangers Have The Best Candy

17. Whining, Kicking and Crying To Get Your Way

18. You Were An Accident

19. The Things Rich Kids Have And You Never Will

20. Pop! Goes The Hamster....And Other Great Microwave Games

21. The Man In The Moon Is Actually Satan

22. Your Nightmares Are Real

23. Where Would You Like To Be Buried?

24. Eggs, Toilet Paper and Your School

25. Why Can't Mr. Fork And Mr. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?

26. Places Where Mommy And Daddy Hide Neat Things

27. Daddy Drinks Because You Cry

Cross-posted at Madfish Willies.

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Customer disservice

I'd been having problems renewing my XXXX account online, so I finally called the help desk. The woman was very cordial and accepted my payment information gladly(unsurprising). She also noticed the problem with renewing my account. Something to do with the "current through" date being set to sometime in 1899. She said that my account have been submitted to customer service to correct the database snafu, and that I should call back today to verify my account had been corrected.

I called back and the fun began:

Me: "Hi. I paid to renew my account last week. The phone rep had asked me to call back to verify that everything was okay."

Rep: "I see. Sir, your account has expired."

Me: "I know. That's why I paid to renew last week. There was some weird database issue and I wanted to know if it had been resolved."

Rep: "Sir, your account has expired and you need to pay to bring it up to date."

Me: "I paid the account last week."

Rep: " The charge didn't go through. You need to pay to renew your account."

Me: "I'm sorry, what?"

Rep: "You need to pay to renew. The charge didn't go through."

Me: "What do you mean, it didn't it go through? You would have told me if the payment failed."

Rep: "It didn't go through. You can pay to renew if you want."

Me: ::peeved:: "I paid last week. The rep was unable to update my account due to the expiration date being in the 19th century. '

Rep: "Your account has expired, sir. You can pay to renew right now if you want to."

Me: ::voice rising:: "Listen closely. I can pay AGAIN to renew this account, but if two charges show up on my bill I will call back and demand to get my money back, and I won't expend a lot of energy being polite about it!"

Rep: "Hold, please."

--> While the Muzak played, I considered the possible error of yelling at the phone rep on the phone. She could put me on hold until the sun goes nova, if she so desires.<--

Rep: "Sir? You are correct. You DID pay last week and the funds have been applied to your account. And there is some odd technical issue with your account which our customer service reps are trying to fix."

Me: "So when should I call back to verify that my account has been fixed?"

Rep: "It should be okay sometime tomorrow. Why don't you try calling back then?"

Me: ::deep breath:: "Okey-dokey. Sorry for raising my voice to you earlier."

Rep: "No problem, sir. I wouldn't want to pay twice for the same service. I can see why you would get upset."

No shit. We'll see tomorrow if this problem gets resolved.

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And now for something completely different

SCOTUS decisions got you down? Feeling a little blue about the rancor poisoning today's political debate? Then read this story at Captains Quarters for a little pick-me-up.

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Is our children learning?

Words cannot express how disgusted this article made me. Apparently not even objective disciplines such as mathematics are immune from the rampant politicization of our schools. I can already imagine Ethnophysics, where acceleration will be defined as how fast Chimpy McBusHitler scaled up fraudulent plans to invade Iraq.

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June 24, 2005

Blonde joke

Yeah, blonde jokes are a lame attempt at humor, one which defames a portion of our society, yadda, yadda, yadda. Look deeply into my eyes: if you see care OR concern, you're looking into the wrong set of eyes:

Two blondes and a brunette were walking down the beach when a seagull dumps a load on one of the blondes. The brunette says "I'll go and get some toilet paper. " When she left, one blonde turns to the other blonde and says "Boy,is she ever stupid. By the time she gets back, that seagull will be miles away."

If Michael Moore releases another craptacular cinematic Op-Ed, I'll retool these jokes as I've done in the past.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 04:18 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Geeky post to follow

Assembler programs are written with short abbreviations called MNEMONICS, in other words instead of writing GOTO, the programmer writes JMP or even BRA (branch). These instructions are frequently abbreviated into total incomprehensibility.

Of course, we all know that abbreviations are arbitrary. Anyone who has spent any time programming in assembler knows that all computers can be programmed using an undocumented set of instructions. Frequently when an error is made writing a program in assembler a user can actually see the program executing the undocumented instructions.

These instructions vary from machine from machine, but all computers have a certain set of them in common. As a service to humanity, I am here revealing these common instructions for the first time.

ARG : Agree to Run Garbage
BDM : Branch and Destroy Memory
CMN : Convert to Mayan Numerals
DDS : Damage Disk and Stop
EMR : Emit Microwave Radiation
ETO : Emulate Toaster Oven
FSE : Fake Serious Error
GSI : Garble Subsequent Instructions
GQS : Go Quarter Speed
HEM : Hide Evidence of Malfunction
IDD : Inhale Dust and Die
IKI : Ignore Keyboard Input
IMU : Irradiate and Mutate User
JPF : Jam Paper Feed
JUM : Jeer at Users Mistake
KFP : Kindle Fire in Printer
LNM : Launch Nuclear Missiles
MAW : Make Aggravating WhineNNI : Neglect Next Instruction
OBU : Overheat and Burn if Unattended
PNG : Pass Noxious Gas
QWF : Quit Working Forever
QVC : Question Valid Command
RWD : Read Wrong Device
SCE : Simulate Correct Execution
SDJ : Send Data to Japan
TTC : Tangle Tape and Crash
UBC : Use Bad Chip
VDP : Violate Design Parameters
VMB : Verify and Make Bad
WAF : Warn After Fact
XID : eXchange Instruction with Data
YII : Yield to Irresistible Impulse
ZAM : Zero All Memory
PI : Punch Invalid
POPI : Punch Operator Immediately
RASC : Read And Shred Card
RPM : Read Programmers Mind
RSSC : Reduce Speed, Step Carefully (for improved accuracy)
RTAB : Rewind Tape and Break
SPSW : Scramble Program Status Word
SRSD : Seek Record and Scar Disk
WBT : Water Binary Tree

Update: I forgot a couple:

CPL: create permanent loop
ICR: ignore carriage return (see SPO)
JCF: joggle cards to floor
PST: pinch and stretch tape
SPO: shred paper output
WWD: write wrong device

and the ever-popular
FSM: fold, spindle, and mutilate

For the record, I was a mainframe Assembly language programmer for 4 years. I am to be pitied.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:45 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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Be patriotic: drink beer

It's almost that time again, folks: July is American Beer Month. Here's an excerpt from a website devoted to this most holy of months:

For the sixth year this summer, July is American Beer Month, a time to learn about, seek out and enjoy great American brews. This year’s celebration offers consumers new opportunities to discover and enjoy the treasures of American brewing.

Americans are the envy of the world when it comes to beer flavor and diversity. During July, every American has a chance to understand how varied and interesting American beers really are today so that they don’t miss out on this fantastic aspect of America’s culinary culture.

This year’s American Beer Month celebrates a different style of beer each week, starting June 19 and stretching through six weeks to conclude on July 31.

Check back each week to learn more about American beer!

And here's a link to help you celebrate this week's style, Wheat Beer.

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Swimming in beer?

You read that correctly: you can go swimming in a pool filled with suds at an Austrian resort.

I wonder if they add die that turns red, warning you when someone pees in the pool. Of course, if they filled the pool with Budweiser, it might taste better. YMMV.

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More yummy goodness

This week, the Internet's #1 pinup girl, Dana, is hosting the Carnival of the Recipes.

Funny. I could have sworn that she quit blogging. My bad. Anyway, it's good to see her back in action. More to the point, she brought food.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:20 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Excellent post

I know that lots of people have been accusing Balloon Juice of being a terrorist-coddling, USA-hating website. Not me. While I've disagreed with him a lot lately, his analyses have always made me think. This one is no exception. Excerpt:

I want a policy that I can whole-heartedly support, one that doesn't degrade our nation while dehumanizing our detainees and doing irreparable damage to our international standing. A policy that isn't counter-productive, and one that makes us safer while preserving our values. One that places a primacy on intelligence gathering, not sadism and excuse-making. A policy that doesn't throw our military physicians into an ethical breach (h/t Crooks and Liars). A policy that doesn't ask our soldiers and sailors and Marines to do things we would never want done to them were they in captivity.

Look, President Bush, his cabinet, Congress- I don't have all the answers, and some might say I don't have any. I don't know where exactly the line should be drawn and what treatment is stern and what is legally abuse and what is legally torture. I do, however, have a real firm grip on what is disgusting and indefensible- but I do really want to help, and I really want to be supportive. So does Greg. So do a lot of really good people all over the country, on both sides of the ever-widening partisan divide. But you have to help us out. You have to do more than just tell me to shut up and go along. You have to do more than just call half the country traitors and accuse them of wanting to help terrorists at every opportunity.

In short, you have to lead. Why is that so hard to fathom?

Not at all.

Update: Much screedier piece found here. Money quote:

I am sick of the over-the-top hyperbole from political hacks and politicans, whose real priority is not the country, but the health of their political party.

I am sick and tired of it all. The Republicans, the Democrats, they can all go to hell. If I could do it over, I would vote for a Nader/Buchanan ticket to just to piss both parties off.

There's a reason I voted Libertarian in 2000, and why I might do so again.

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Good news

Mrs. du Toit is posting again. She also has a link to her new business venture, DidToday. Check it out, especially if you have children.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:26 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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New product to market

I'm going to butt heads with Pampers and Huggies by creating my own brand of diapers: SCOTUS Briefs. Each diaper will have a complete miniaturized copy of the US Constitution on the inside and the names of our current SCOTUS justices on the outside.

The message might be too subtle, but I'm willing to chance it. I expect offers to come pouring in, what with all the extra money people will have after local governments have sold their homes to Chuck E. Cheese.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:11 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 23, 2005

Lileks on top of his game

Yeah, the headline is redundant. So what? Excerpt from this column:

Q: What forms of torture do they use in Gitmo?

A: The interrogators make a point of handling the Quran with gloves, to indicate they accept the prisoners' definition of infidels as "unclean." But the guards occasionally suggest that the gloves are not only washed with the general laundry that might include the socks of Jews, but that sometimes the anti-static cling sheets are deliberately left out.

Q: It might all be worth it if we learned something. Have we learned anything?

A: Who knows? We have to err on the side of self-castigating doubt, reflexive suspicion of the military, and a churlish institutional bias against reporting anything other than bad news that might sap the national will. So let's assume the interrogators learned nothing.

Q: Wow. This is bad.

A: It is. It's worse than Waco, because at least those people aren't suffering anymore.

Q: When did they build this place?

A: After Sept. 11, 2001.

Q: That date seems familiar for some reason. Did something happen?

A: Not really. You can roll over and go back to sleep.

Q: Isn't it our role as citizens to be wary of government?

A: Sure. But take this quote: "I call on those who question the motives of the president and his national security advisers to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad." That was Sen. Dick Durbin in 1998, when Bill Clinton attacked Iraq. But that was then, and this is George W. Bush.

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Required reading

And today, it's from Megan McCardle. Excerpt:

Now, these are smart people. They know that abortion wasn't a constitutional right until the Warren court discovered it in the emanations and penumbras of amendments that had pretty much nothing at all to say about abortion. It would be one thing if those people claimed that abortion should be a constitutional right--though such arguments often rest on muddy definitions of constitutional rights which boil down to "things I don't want to argue about"--but that isn't quite the argument I'm addressing. Rather, I'm talking about people who genuinely believe that the procedure that was used to find the right to abortion is somehow illegitimate when used to remove it. But Plessy v. Ferguson1 was constitutional doctrine for much longer than than Roe v. Wade has been. Yet none of those same people believes that Brown v. the Board of Education was an illegitimate abrogation of the constitutional right to discriminate. Only on abortion is the fact that one court has declared abortion to be a constitutional right used to argue that, therefore, another court has no right to say that it isn't, full stop, no added justification needed.

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Shit on a fucking stick. I can't even read this SCOTUS Kelo decision without cursing, so you'll forgive me if I rant and rave on this blog. Or you won't. Either way, I'll sleep fine at night. Excerpt:

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses - even against their will - for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.

The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me?! Is there any locale in the entire US where a county wouldn't receive more revenue from a shopping center or store than from property taxes? I'll probably need to move there if I want to keep my house.

Fuck these money-grubbing elected officials who sanction activity such as this, and fuck everyone who says "It's okay". It's NOT okay.

Here are the SCOTUS members voting for the majority decision:

John Paul Stevens
Justice Anthony Kennedy
David H. Souter
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen G. Breyer

Now tell me again why the Senate battle for judicial confirmations isn't important. This country needs a different type of judge on the bench to revisit and overturn this decision. And it will be appealed again once the makeup of SCOTUS changes.

By the way, will someone bitchslap George Bush the elder for putting David Souter on the bench? Please?

Update: Kevin at Wizbang is a bit more restrained in his post. The Puppy Blender is succinct in his analysis: OUR STATIST SUPREME COURT STRIKES AGAIN: They've had quite a run lately.

No shit.

Update: Will Collier has more. Excerpt:

This is a dreadful decision. If politicians have the right to take your private property and give it to somebody else just because the other guy claims that he can generate more taxes from it, then property rights have ceased to exist in the US.

The localities are still required to pay "a just price" when one of these takings occurs, but the price even a willing seller would be able to get from his property just took a huge hit. All a developer has to do now is make a lowball offer and threaten to involve a bought-and-paid-for politician to take the property away if the owner doesn't acquiesce.

Update: Michelle Malkin has a roundup of related links.

Update: I'll post more links as soon as I have time, but I believe that Blogs of War has it exactly right:

Have a home on nice corner lot? Better hope that a fast food chain doesn't take an interest in it. Live near an airport? Holiday Inn would love to build a high-rise hotel where your home now stands. Corrupt, cheaply bought, local officials now hold your family's future in their hands.

This is the breeding ground of a revolution

: Arguing with Signposts has a rather large collection of related links.

Acidman makes the best assessment of the Kelo decision:

I call bullshit on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:16 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Slime attempts to rise to the top

So Randall Terry is running for the US Senate. What an effing disaster. I don't want that pretentious, sanctimonious asshole anywhere near a federal office as a visitor, let alone an elected official. Want a great Terry quote? Here's one that I lifted from Neal Boortz's website:

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good ... if a Christian voted for Clinton, he sinned against God. It's that simple. Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called by god to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. Theocracy means God rules. I've got a hot flash. God rules."

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:05 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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