My collection of rants and raves about technology, my kids and family, social/cultural phenomena, and inconsistencies in the media and politics.


Chris' Return

We got word last night that Tricia's brother Chris, who has been stationed in Baghdad with the 612th Engineering Battalion, has arrived at Camp Atterbury in southern Indiana. He'll be arriving in Norwalk this Friday for a few days, then back to Atterbury for some wrap-up.

He's not out of danger yet, though. He and some of his friends were heading over to the NCO club for a beer or two, which they couldn't have while in Iraq.

The picture shows Company C during the last couple of weeks of their tour. Chris is on the top row, far right, holding a gun he never had to fire in combat (and that's a good thing). If I have my facts right, the 612th (all three companies) only lost one person on their tour, and that one was an issue of carelessness on that person's part. There were a couple of close calls, where one company or another saw an IED go off before they got in range.

We believe strongly in the good things being achieved by our military, and we're extremely proud of Chris for his service, but we're equally relieved that he's home again.


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Rules for life

While looking for something else on the web (isn't that how the web always works?), I came across a list of some excellent quotes. I liked them so much, I decided to repost them here.

  • There is a God. You're not him.
  • Everybody thinks his duck is a swan.
  • Ask most people for advice on knowing God's will for your life, and they will tell you God's will for their life with your name on it.
  • Not everything you try to do will succeed – nor should it.
  • No one can make you do anything. Your choices are your own.
  • Standard of living is not the same as quality of life.
  • Sometimes we just have to make it up as we go along. When those we respect do it, we call it "creativity" and "being on the cutting edge." When we do it, we're tempted to think we're "faking it" and condemn ourselves for not knowing enough.
  • Sometimes the best thing to do is cry. It does wonders to purge the soul and clear the mind.
  • Whatever comes, God is big enough to handle it, and he is handling it, even when it looks as if neither is true. God can even handle your rage about his poor job performance.
  • If someone hurts you, first try to figure out whether that hurt was intentional or not. Not every hurt is an attack.
  • Too much analysis can be paralysis. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and get moving. The answers, if you need them, will come eventually. If they don't come, you didn't really need them.
  • When you've done all you can do, you've done all you can do.

[via Christianity Today]


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'Twas the night before release date

'Twas the night before release date and all through the house
not a program was working not even a browse.
The programmers hung by their cubes in despair
with hopes that a miracle soon would be there.

The users were nestled all snug in their beds
while visions of productivity danced in their heads.
When out in the lobby there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear
but "Superprogrammer" with a six-pack of beer.
His resume glowed with experience so rare,
he turned out code with temerity and flair.

More rapid than eagles his programs they came.
He whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"On menu! on report! on GUI and delete!
On monitor! on batch job! on function complete!"

His eyes were glazed over, fingers nimble and lean
from weekends and nights spent in front of a screen.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon made it clear we had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word but went straight to his work
turning specs into code - this man was no jerk!
And after laying his finger upon the enter key
the software came up and worked perfectly.

The menus they menued, the deletes they deleted
the reports they reported and the batch jobs completed.
He tested each whistle and tested each bell
with nary a core dump and all had gone well.

The software was finished, the tests were concluded -
even the last-minute requests were included.
Then the users exclaimed with a snarl and a taunt,
"It's just what we asked for, but not what we want!"


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Sunny Southern California

Greetings, from the land where "winter" is a color scheme!

OK, it's not all that sunny, but it's in the 50's, which is a lot nicer than the 20's at home. (Sorry, Trish.) I've been walking around outside in a business shirt and light slacks going "wow, this is beautiful weather". Meanwhile, natives around me are bustled up in winter coats. I actually saw someone wearing a coat with a fuzzy hood, and the hood was ON as she hurriedly sought shelter from the bitter cold. I think I actually saw her shivver.

This got me thinking about an old joke that made the email rounds some years ago. I dug up some parts from various places on the web, dusted them off, merged the best parts, and can now proudly present...

How to tell when it's cold


Hawaiians declare a two-blanket night


Californians put on a sweater


Miami residents turn on the heat


Vermont residents go to outdoor concerts


You can see your breath
Minnesotans go swimming
Californians shiver uncontrollably


Italian cars don't start


Water freezes


You plan your vacation to Australia


Ohio water freezes
Californians weep pitiably
Minnesotans eat ice cream
Canadians go swimming


Politicians begin to talk about the homeless
New York City water freezes
Canadians turn off their air conditioners


French cars don't start
Cat insists on sleeping in bed with you


You need jumper cables to get the car going
Miami residents plan a vacation even further South


American cars don't start


Alaskans put on T-shirts


German cars don't start
Eyes freeze shut when you blink


You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo
Arkansans stick tongues on metal objects
Miami residents cease to exist


Cat insists on sleeping in pajamas with you
Politicians actually do something about the homeless
Minnesotans shovel snow off the roof
Japanese cars don't start


Too cold to think
You need jumper cables to get the driver going


You plan a two week hot bath
Swedish cars don't start


Californians disappear
Minnesotans button the top button
Canadians put on sweaters
Your car helps you plan a trip South


Congressional hot air freezes
Alaskans close the bathroom window
Snowmobiles won't start


Hell freezes over
Polar bears move South
Vikings fans order hot cocoa at the game


Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets


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All a matter of perspective, I guess

Saddam Hussein speaks his mind and it all becomes clear.

Dec 06 12:36 PM US/Eastern

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein shouted Tuesday that he will not return "to an unjust court" when it convenes for the fifth session of his trial Wednesday. As the end of the session, when the judges decided to hold a session Wednesday, Saddam suddenly shouted: "I will not return. I will not come to an unjust court! Go to hell!" Saddam also complained that he had no fresh clothes and had been deprived of shower and exercise facilities. "This is terrorism," he said.

Ah, so this probably explains why all those protestors are calling President Bush a terrorist. After all, think of all the people who can't have a shower or work out because of him!

"At the intelligence headquarters, they put two clips in my ears," the witness said, adding that he was told that if he lied, he would be given an electric shock. When he answered a question, the shock was administered, he said.

That prompted an outburst from Saddam, who complained of his own conditions in detention. He said the court had time to listen to the witnesses' complaints "but does anyone ask Saddam Hussein whether he was tortured? Whether he was hit?"

He urged the judge to investigate his conditions because "it is your duty as judges to investigate the crime at its scene."

"I live in an iron cage covered by a tent under American democratic rule. You are supposed to come see my cage," he told Amin. "Please, Mr. Judge, do not accept any insult to Iraq. It doesn't matter if he insults Saddam Hussein, because the Americans and the Zionists want to execute Saddam Hussein. What does the execution of Saddam Hussein matter? He has given himself to Iraq from the day he was at school and has been sentenced to death three times already. Saddam Hussein and his comrades are not afraid of execution."

Yeah, living in a cage, access to an attorney, well fed, but losing access to your shower and exercise equipment (which means he's had them for some time), compared to electric shocks. I get the comparison right away.

When you look at what he's complaining about, it's easy to see him as a megalomaniac. He's so far removed from reality that he sees the removal of his own luxuries as a greater offense than the torture and killing of hundreds of other people. Add in the way he refers to himself in third person ("He has given himself to Iraq from the day he was at school..."), and his contempt of court, and I don't see how he hopes to win this. I suspect the end is obvious, and he is doing everything he can to appear as a martyr for a just cause, so that his people can continue the fight when he is gone. Like the insurgents, he is providing fodder for the sympathetic left and the mainstream media.

[via AP and Breit Bart]


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