March 13, 2006

What she said

A former social worker went off the deep end. Excerpt in the extended entry:
more...

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March 07, 2006

Grammar lesson

As readers of this blog know, I typically bang out some words on my keyboard and then publish. Proofreading? Spell-checking? These are things with which I'm acquainted and am well-versed in. However, blogging is an escape for me, which means that I spend very little time cleaning up until after the fact. And that cleaning occurs only if I actually notice the problems.

Having said that, let me state that there are many things that people constantly say that make me feel what other people must endure when hearing fingernails on a blackboard. Examples:

1) The overuse of filler words/phrases, especially that annoying bitch "you know". Parenthetical phrase: good. Overuse? Worthy of flogging. Here's a paraphrase of a speech that I heard from senior management recently:


You know, as we proceed along this path, we're likely, you know, to find, you know, obstacles in our way. As these obstacles, you know, appear, we should find ways to, you know, fix them in a way, you know, that prevents them from, you know, happening again.

The speech didn't continue because I threw the offender through the nearest window. Alas, the last was but a blissful daydream.

2) The use of "I" when "me" is correct, especially in prepositional phrases. For instance: "Someone made it for Dan and I" or " They gave it to Sheila and I". Each time I hear such nonsense, my first impulse is to shout "STOP! YOU'RE MAKING MY HEAD HURT!" But I refrain, because smacking them with an aluminum baseball just feels better.

3) Please, please, please, for the love of God, stop saying "I could care less" when you obviously mean "I couldn't care less". Whenever someone uses the first phrasing, I usually say " So you actually do care?" Their response is always, "No, I don't. That's why I said that I could care less." If the idiocy in that statement isn't apparent, I can't help you.

Anyway, it turns out that I'm not the only one with language issues. Excerpt:


When I travel, I don’t need to be treated like Hyacinth Bucket. I want you to understand I speak like you do and that I’ll understand perfectly if you say there’s a kettle in my room. You don’t have to say there are “tea and coffee making facilities”.

And please, can you stop saying “at all” after every question. Can I take your coat at all? Would you care for lunch at all? Or, this week, on a flight back from Scandinavia, “Another beverage for yourself at all, sir?” What’s the matter with saying “Another drink?” And what’s with all the reflexive pronoun abuse? I’ve written about this before but it’s getting worse. Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same person or thing. Like “I dress myself”. You cannot therefore say “please contact myself”. Because it makes you look like an imbecile.

If you send a letter to a client saying “my team and me look forward to meeting with yourself next Wednesday”, be prepared for some disappointment. Because if I were the client I’d come to your office all right. Then I’d stand on your desk and relieve myself.

I’m not a grammar freak — I can eat, shoot and then take it or leave it — but when someone says “myself” instead of “me” I find it more offensive than if they’d said

“spastic wog”.

Before embarking on a sentence, work out first of all what’s the shortest way of saying it, not the longest. There seems to be a general sense that using more words than is strictly necessary is somehow polite. That’s almost certainly why, on another flight the other day, I was offered some “bread items”.

So. What bugs you?

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Intemperate thoughts

So I hear that It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp these days. You know what else is, apparently, even harder? Writing a second effing lyric for your song.

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This week's sign that the Apocalypse is upon us

Lego Brokeback Mountain.

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Beer blogging

Beer Therapy is up and running at Realbeer.com.

Is it really a blog? Well, you can leave comments and/or trackbacks, so survey says Yes. Into the blogroll with ye.

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Cure for what ails you

Ever had a hangover? Surprisingly, I've never had the pleasure, despite deserving one many times in the past. However, for those of you who occassionally suffer from one, here is some advice for you:


Hangovers happen

Hangovers are easy to avoid. Don't drink. Or at least don't drink too much. Because physicians do not absolutely know what causes a "hangover" there are many suggestions for a) avoiding them and b) for recovering quickly when a) fails.

What causes hangovers?

- Drinking alcohol. But you probably knew that.

- Dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic; it makes you urinate and flushes fluids from the body. Drinking coffee only makes matters worse, because coffee also is a diuretic. The dehydration caused by alcohol and coffee can be minimized by drinking plenty of water. A headache is a symptom of dehydration and may be eased with pain relievers and water.

- Some alcohol is worse than others. Brandy, red wine, rum, whisky, beer, white wine, gin and vodka are worst to least in descending order of likelihood to cause a hangover. The British Medical Journal did tests that showed drinking bourbon is twice as likely to cause a hangover than the same amount of vodka.

- Different drinks for different folks. If you are allergic to yeast, for instance, unfiltered microbrewed beer might leave you with a terrible headache. Certain people are senstive to sulphur dioxide, an inti-oxidizing agent added to many wines to keep them fresh; others get headaches from chemical substance found in dark grape skins. The latter will drink white wine with no effects, and suffer with red wines.

- Mixing drinks can cause hangovers. Be careful with what you’re drinking and when you’re drinking it. Remember this rhyme: "Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, never fear." Beer or any other carbonated alcoholic beverage is absorbed much more quickly into your body. Drinking it before other alcoholic beverages will cause them to be absorbed more quickly as well.

- The rate at which one absorbs alcohol can depend on mood — increased adrenaline pushes alcohol through the system much faster. Therefore, feeling deeply depressed or ecstacially happy makes you drunk faster.

Taking preventitive steps

- Begin by considering your height, weight and personal tolerance for alcohol when drinking.

- Drink a glass of milk to start the evening. It will retard the absorption of alcohol, and protect your stomach against irritations.

- Never drink on an empty stomach. Food helps to absorb some of the alcohol and aids the body in digesting it faster. Consider eating starchy foods to slow the alcohol absorption.

- Limit yourself to less than one drink per hour.

- Drink a glass of water between each beer you order.

- Back in the '60s, a navy subcontractor provided "hangover shots," vitamin B injections, in the infirmaries of its many large U.S. centers. The shots were massive replacements of the water-soluble vitamins the previous night's massive consumption of alcohol had dehydrated right out of people. A good dose of water mixed with brewer's yeast (which is full of Vitamin B) before going to bed is a poor man's option.

- Even if you pass on the Vitamin B, drink lots of water before going to bed.

You're hung over - some cures?

- Sleep. It gives your body time to recover. A tired or unfit drinker is especially vulnerable to hangovers.

- Keep drinking water.

- Eat. Complex carbohydrates such as bread and pasta will raise your blood sugar level. Bananas are excellent because they contain complex carbohydrates, potassium and Vitamin C. And if your stomach can't face food? Chamomile tea is best, and make the first cup really strong. The chamomile will help your stomach, and if you take in quantities of water with the tea, it will ease the pain.

- Exercise. This will help you sweat the alcohol out of your system.

- Sex. See exercise.

There are doctors who claim hangovers are mostly mental. In that case you may feel the need to punish yourself with a more exotic cures. If so, try the Middle Ages mixture of bitter almonds and raw eel. Or mix together vinegar and raw eggs, and swig them down with a giant gulp.

You might decide you were better off stopping at cure No. 5 above.

Reprinted from Realbeer.com.

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Something's wrong here

Good: Someone won Beerdrinker of the Year for 2006.

Bad: It wasn't me. Bastards.

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March 06, 2006

Bon voyage, Mr. Puckett

Kirby Puckett passed away today at the age of 44.

So long, Kirby. Rest in peace.

Update: Powerline remembers Kirby.

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Dogs and cats living together

Or in this case, Windows and Linux. If you plan to install Linux on at least one machine on your local network and you plan to share printers or directories, then you will need to configure Samba on your Linux machine. Details can be found here. Excerpt:


Samba can be used to allow connectivity between Linux and Windows(95,98,NT,2000). Samba can be used to share printers, share directories, connect to an NT domain, and many other useful features. However, this tutorial explains the steps involved in basic configuring Samba for file and print sharing. For more complex topics, visit the Samba website or type the command man smb.conf on a Linux machine with Samba installed. Configuring Samba is done by editing the configuration file /etc/smb.conf that is usually located under the /etc directory. Everytime you modify this file, Samba must be restarted for the changes to take effect.
...

Samba Log Files

All Samba actions such as login attempts and file transfers can be logged in the /var/log/samba directory. Under this directory the actions are logged by machine name. For example, all actions from the machine named "Morpheus" are logged in the file /var/log/samba/log.morpheus. User actions can also be logged under two files named /var/log/log.smb and /var/log/log.nmb. This is configured in the smb.conf file using the option log file. For example, to log actions by machine name use the following line:

log file = /var/log/samba/log.%m
...

Print Sharing from Linux to Windows

The following section is usually included in the sample smb.conf that allows printers defined in the /etc/printcap file to be shared. If not add/uncomment the following lines in smb.conf:
[printers]
comment = All Printers
path = /var/spool/samba
browseable = no

Then, just restart Samba and add the Linux printer to a Windows machine as you would any other Window's shared printer. The printer name will be the same name specified in the /etc/printcap file such as lp.

For the record, I've been working through these details using the Live CD versions of Puppy Linux and Damn Small Linux. My success has been mixed so far, but that's due to in part to my inexperience with Samba and the security running on my home wireless network. Despite my current issues, I've had pretty good success running both Linux distros on my old over-amped 486 machine. In fact, once I work out the bugs, I'll probably install the miniature Linux directly onto the hard drive.

Notes: DSL already has Samba available, which isn't surprising since it's really a stripped down version of Knoppix. Puppy has it available as a download, although it wasn't intuitively obvious how to find the download request. It was one of those right-click/button-select options/*.info lists that allowed you to select the desired software. Again, not intuitive, but I'm not an RHCE. Yet.

If I wanted to take the simplest approach and create an actual print server, rather than installing a shared printer, I'm opt for FREESCO. It boots from a !floppy! and
plenty of documentation/bug fixes can be found at the FREESCO Faq. More up-to-date documentation may be found at the FREESCO DokuWiki.

Update: Read some more of the DokuWiki and found this information: Quick Win2000 + FREESCO Printserver how-to. Excerpt:


I’ve read alot of different methods for setting up printing from freesco with windows. Most include installing 3rd party software and other(imho) unnecessary things. I found setting up the freesco printserver to work with win2k is very easy:

  1. enable printserver (lp1) with port 515 in advanced options on your freesco box.
  2. goto your printer setup in win2k and Add Printer.
  3. Choose Local Printer (not network printer) and disable auto-detect
  4. Select “create a new port” and choose “standard TCP/IP port”
  5. In add port, Printer name should be your Freesco’s IP address (in my case 192.168.0.1) your port name will will itself in.
  6. In Port Configurations you will want to set your protocol to “LPR”, your “raw settings, port number” to “515”(your freesco printer port), “LPT Settings, Queue Name” should be “lpr” and “SNMP Status Enabled” should be checked “community name”. “Public” and “SNMP Device Index” should be “1”

My guess is that this'll take about 10 minutes. Knock yourself out.

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March 02, 2006

What he said

The whole Crunchy Con debate strikes me as somewhat, umm, retarded. I've long felt, since reading Dreher's views that there was whiff of self-evident superiority in the attitudes of the people calling themselves "crunchy cons". Turns out that I'm not alone. First up, TKS. Excerpt:


I expected to be done with Crunchy Cons until the book arrived, but there was a bit more positive response to my two cents on the Crunchy debate than I expected, so... here's another thought or two.

A long time ago, a graybeard who had worked at the Washington Post was addressing a group of young journalists, including me, and he said, “It’s not just important to know who you are; it’s important to know who you aren’t. You are not necessarily the common man. Your experiences are not universal. You cannot and should not assume that your readers have had your experiences, and that your worldview is ‘normal.’”

It’s a good lesson. He pointed out that he had heard colleagues saying that the difficulty in finding a good nanny was the biggest single problem facing America today (this conversation was back in the mid-90s).

Haven’t gotten my copy of Crunchy Cons yet, but throughout his career – the New York Post, NR and NRO, Dallas Morning News - Rod writes with clarity and passion about his experiences – spiritual, career, social. In fact, his fearlessness, honesty, and “writing from the heart” are probably what I admire most about him.

Having said that, Rod seems to have presumed that his experiences, tastes, and worldview are much more common than they are; that he’s not just a guy who likes organic food and traditional values, he’s the voice of a Long-Ignored, Rising Movement (or Sensibility). It would be nice to get a better sense of how many Crunchies are out there –Thousands? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions or more?

Anecdotal evidence, even from “ literally hundreds of NRO readers”, does not a social trend make. I’ve heard from probably more than 100 NRO readers sharing their positive experiences with Turkey; this does not necessarily signify the rise of the Turkophilic Cons.

The Crunchblog began with a manifesto that declared, in its very first point, “We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly

I’m trying to come up with a statement that more directly and arrogantly claims, “I’m just plain better than you,” and it’s just not coming to me.

Russell Wardlow appears to be on the same page here and here. Excerpt:


I agree it's serious, in as much as all of this is another example of soft-headed, emotional types trying to reintroduce sophistry, ignorance and welfare statist impulses in the guise of an atrocious brand name with the letters "con" appended to it. A brand name whose purpose is also to feed its adherents' egos by convincing them they're Hip! and With It!, all the while protecting them from the unpleasantness of having to reason through any of their positions.

Couldn't have said it better myself. No really, I couldnt't. Or hadn't you noticed the Sitemeter numbers for this blog?

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