Sunday, December 31, 2006

Not Eureka!

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."

-- Isaac Asimov

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What I asked for, not what I wanted

I have a website devoted to true type fonts, called Fontage. I've been updating my bookstore with some additional books on typefaces, typography, and type designers.

In trying to find some good books on the history of typeface design, or on those who design typefaces, I used the search terms "type designer." I got such gems as "Death to Diabetes: The Six Stages of Type 2 Diabetes," "The 16 Personality Types, Descriptions for Self-Discovery," and this charmer, "Cocaine, Marijuana, Designer Drugs." Each of these books had the word "designer" or "type" somewhere in the caption, and the other word somewhere in the text of the book. Not quite what I wanted.

I sent email off to Amazon, recommending that one of the options to "Narrow the Search" be to limit the search to words in the title or caption of the object. If eBay can do it, Amazon surely must.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Three Laws of Thermodynamics and Those Who Think They Can Beat Them

**Three Laws of Thermodynamics:
1) You can't win
2) You can't break even
3) You can't get out of the game.

Those who think they can beat them:
1) Capitalism says you can win.
2) Socialism says you can break even
3) Mysticism says you can get out of the game.

**See Quote by C.P. Snow

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dancing and Singing

I was reading other blogs and came across one from a young lady who claimed she couldn't dance. As I started to write a comment on her blog, I thought I'd add it to mine, as well.

I'm mumble-mumble years old, I've taken several years of dance lessons, and I'm perfectly happy dancing the waltz to rumba music. Drove my dance instructor nuts. I think my instructor once had me dancing the tango to swing music just to see if I would have a problem. Not a one. Rhythm? What's that?

My beloved other half says that I'm only allowed to sing in showers because people are supposed to sing off key in showers. And I am one of the few people who lip-syncs to karaoke, because I am not allowed to sing at all.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Your Federal Reserve Bank account has been accessed! Again!

Phishing is an ever-growing problem. Even if you realize the website to which you are directed is not the one from your bank, you are still vulnerable to a number of things. Check out my previous post for the serious side of things.

For some of us, it is one of growing amusement as well. I have a list of email addresses from various companies I forward phishing email to. ("Your Citi account has been violated!" yeah right.) Since I never get just one, I put the report-phishing email addresses in my addressbook. I've got one for the head of security at a credit union. The second time I sent him something, he sent back a thank you, as he hadn't seen that one or the website they were operating from. The last time I sent him something, I said any time he wanted me to stop, just let me know. Haven't heard a thing. I hope some yah-hoo doesn't decide that I'm this great world traveler, based on the "accounts" I have all over. According to the email I get, I have accounts in Alaska, Alabama, Kansas, Indiana, Texas and Tennessee. Oh, and two different accounts in Hawaii.

Man, do I travel a lot, or what?

And with Citi, BofA, Chase, (my credit card with Amazon had been accessed - does Amazon have a credit card?), an assortment of credit unions, the National Credit Union Association (they don't have accounts - I'm waiting for the one about my account with the Federal Reserve Bank), Visa (visa doesn't have individual accounts either), and a host of others.

I choose to be amused. And fight back. To report phishing or spam, these email addresses are useful:

Monday, October 09, 2006

That wonderful no-call list

To answer the oft-asked "why don't you put your number on that list thing," that list-thing has more holes than swiss cheese. One is that it doesn't/can't apply to callers from outside the country, so I get lots of calls from guys who say their name is "John," said with a two-tone Indian lilt. I tried one time going thru with a call, to find the name of the company in the US that hired them, so I could complain. Nope, it's still an Indian company, with a generic name, that was pre-screening calls before selling information to an American company. No joy there.

The other is from companies that have a pre-existing relationship. That pre-existing relationship can be established with a simple advertising letter or postcard. Then they call. I had one guy call and ask "did you get the material I sent you last week?" To which I replied, "yes, and I threw it away." He laughed that salesman sort of laugh when they don't take you seriously. I hung up.

We used to get more than a dozen a night. There's a service from the fone company that filters all calls without caller id and sends them to the "Privacy Manager." If the person wants to talk to us, they give their name to the PM, which then calls us and tells us the name. If we want it, we accept, or forward to voice mail, or tell them to fu... go away. So now those foreign companies put "0" or "800 Services" as their caller ID. Since my fone shows me the caller id, I don't answer Mr. 0's calls. Or Mr. Services, either.

Annoyed? Me? nah. I get my revenge, more or less, by picking up the phone, blowing into or tapping on the reciever so the computer at the other end switches me to a live person. I then sit there, holding the line open, while the person at the other end says "Hello? Hello?" I had a great one the other day. The guy didn't disconnect the line before he started talking to his super. Unfortunately, it was not in a language I knew. Fortunately, the sounds of a person being trained come across in any language. Query followed by answer. Answer followed by "oh." Or by something that sounded like the guy was doing something step-by-step and waiting for approval. The call was three or four minutes in length, and was most entertaining.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Customer Service at its best

I have friends who think I'm this great computer person. They also assume that great computer people do not have serious issues with computers. For those of you who think the same, I share my recent "issue" with you.

My internet connection went down Tuesday. It happens. Normally, I call my ISP, I get transferred once or twice, until I get someone who knows what "ping the modem" means. He resets at his end, I fiddle around with stuff at my end, and I'm good to go. Down time, less than an hour. There have been times in the midst of wind storms, or wind-and-rain storms that cable internet and tv have gone down. I call to let them know I'm down to give them an idea of how big the area without service is. But I don't sweat it. I'm usually back up within 12 hours at most. No big.

Tuesday's outage was different.

I called my ISP and got their brand new voice-response customer service menu system. The first voice said "press one for service in english, press two for ser...*beep*" as I pressed one. The next voice said "Say one for technical support, blah blah blah."

I said "one."

The voice said, "Say two for accounting, blah blah blah blah."

I said "one!"

The voice said, "Say three for blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah."

I said forcefully, "ONE!" (could it not hear me?)

The voice said, "Say four for blah blahblah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah."

I shouted, "ONE!"

The voice daid, "Say five for...blah blah ..."

"ONE!" (Was it broken?)













"Say eight..."


"to repeat..." (dear ghods no)


"this menu..."


The system gave a strangled squawk.


And then processed my command.

I then got another menu."Say one for complete outage."

Outage or outrage? "ONE!"

"Say two if your tv ..."


"reception is blah blah"


"You can reset your tv box"


"by holding down the"


"power key on the "


"front of the box until"


"the word 'reboot' appears on the display."

This does not belong as part of the menu. Especially a menu I have to sit through in its entirety. "ONE!"

"Say three if it's..."

"ONE!" It's gotten to be a habit now, shouting "ONE" at the phone.

"regarding email."


"Say four to repeat..."


"this menu." Followed by another strangled squawk.


Unfortunately, the system misheard my "ONE!" and proceeded to run thru the entire menu again. This time I realized the strangled squawk at the end of the menu was the prompt to speak, so I waited until it came around again. It would have been nice to have been told at the beginning that the voice-response system only listened after it bored you to tears with its entire menu. I would still have been irritated, but I wouldn't have added severe frustration to the mix. I was not anywhere close to being a happy camper.


"Please hold while we transfer you to the next available representative."

Well, now I was at least in line. I got to listen to scratchy music-on-hold, occassional ads for additional services from my ISP, and a voice saying "we're so sorry you're still on hold...."

I got the usual first-filter person, who passed me on to tech support. I spoke with Donovan, who walked me thru various reset procedures, none of which worked. I realized later, I never saw the all-lights-flash-at-once reaction of someone at the other end sending a reset to my modem (see end of story). Donovan passed me to the next person, reassuring me that he had made notes in the file so I wouldn't have to do this all again.


The next person, who's name I don't remember, but who had less patience than I did at that point, proceeded to run me thru the exact same set of reset processed I'd just gone thru with Donovan.

I said, "I just did these with Donovan."

She said, "I need you to...."

I said, "Didn't Donovan write all this in my file?" If I didn't sound annoyed, I should have.

She said, "I have your file. I need you to..."

Fine. Whatever. I'll do it again. Happy-camper quotient going into negative numbers.

She said, "I need you to unplug your modem."

Did that.

She said, "Turn your modem over..."

I said, "There's a lot of cables back here. so this will take a minute or two. It's not an easy process." I was annoyed and made no effort to hide it. She started getting a bit sharp in return.

She said, "I need you to take the backup battery out of the modem. The door to the battery is on the bottom."

I said, "This will take a bit of work. I've got a lot of cables back here."

I don't quite remember the exact words, but she wanted to know if I kept my modem under a bunch of cables. She sounded incredulous, like how stupid could I be. I have a modem, with cable from ISP, power cord and cable running to router. I have a router, with power cord and three more cables running to various computers. I have all this sitting on top of my computer, a Shuttle (it's so cute), which has a power cord, a monitor cable, a keyboard cable, a mouse cable, and a scanner cable. The camera hooks into the front. All of this sits on a rack in my closet. If I do not want to break or dislodge any of this, I have to move things carefully. I also have most of this stuff tied out of the way, so the cats don't dislodge things when they bang around back there (they like to climb into my lap by coming up over the back of my desk - it's a cat thing).

I said, "I don't see a door to the battery on the bottom of the modem."

She said, in a sharp tone, "There is a door there, on the bottom of the modem."

I said, gently, "I see four screws, a lot of little holes, but no door."

She said, testily, "There IS a door on the bottom."

I said, firmly and precisely, "I see no door or doorlike object on the bottom of the modem."

In a tone usually resevered for talking with the terminally stupid, she said, "There ... is... a ... door... on the bottom,... or the side of the modem."

Ahhh, the side. Guess what? There it was, quite obvious, on the side.

I said, "I found it on the side. It's quite easy to see on the side. It wasn't on the bottom."

She started to say something and I cut her off, since it didn't sound like an apology for insisting the door was on the bottom when there were other possibilities.

I said, "I have opened the door, and I'm taking the battery out. Ok, it's out now."

She said, "Wait a minute before putting..."

I cut her off again, and said, "Yes, so the capacitors can discharge."

After a moment, she said to put the battery back. I did. I told her what lights were flashing and what lights were steady. She asked if I had internet access. I said I did not. She said she couldn't do anything more, that a technician would have to come out and test the line at my end. I asked if there would be a problem if I took this modem by the office and swapped it for a new one. She said it wouldn't do any good (how supportive) and I needed (needed?) to make an appointment to have a technician come out. I asked if I could swap out my modem anyway, as I'd like to see if that worked. She said she didn't see how that would help, but I could do it if I wanted. She then said, wouldn't I like to make an appointment now, as a backup in case that didn't work. I made the appointment. Appointments available were: Stay home all day Wednesday and wait for someone (sorry, no good) or have a specific appointment on Thursday. I took the 3pm to 5pm slot on Thursday.

I then went by the office and got a new modem, just to see if that would help. Stranger things have been known to happen. Since I no longer had a cable phone, I got a much smaller modem, with no battery backup. I asked if I would have to have a reset or do something else to get it to work. The customer service rep said all I had to do was plug it in. Cool. I also left a complaint about the voice-lack-of-recognition system used for customer service. I told the man at the counter that he could tell management that if that system was still in place the next time I had to call customer service, I would be looking for a new ISP. It pissed me off that badly.

I took my modem home, plugged it in, and ... nothing. Still no connection. OK, the squirrels eat my telephone wire regularly, maybe they've moved over to cable wire. Let's wait until Thursday and see what the technician says.


Wedneday, for fun and games, I called customer service. I wanted to get dialup access, so I wouldn't be so cut off. I was going thru internet withdrawals. Guess what? They no longer had that nasty voice recognition system in place. I felt a bit better. However, to be able to use dialup, I had to download... yes, download... the dialup software. Um, I don't have cable right now. Gee, I should have gotten the dialup software before my system went down. If I'd known it was going to be down that long, I would have. Since the meaning of your communication is the response you get, I must have sounded like a raving lunatic, because the poor guy was very carefully telling me to go to a friend's house, download the software, put it on a disk, bring the disk home, put the disk in my computer.... Very carefully, very gently, very politely. I realized I was not in the best frame of mind to communicate rationally, humbly thanked him and went away.


Thursday, 5pm arrives. Technician has not. I call my ISP, wanting to know where my technician is. Customer service rep says the ticket has been closed out. Technician arrived, found nothing wrong, and left. Sorry, technician did not arrive. I'm still sitting here, waiting, without service. Customer service rep apologized and gave me a $20 credit for missing their "on-time guarantee." Great. So what about getting someone out here? This rep sent a query to dispatch to find out what happened. She recommended I call back in 15 minutes, as the query should have caused dispatch to put a response back into the system.

I called back. It seems the technician had tested "outside" and found nothing wrong. However, I still don't have an internet connection.

I said, "I have been waiting since Tuesday for this to be resolved. I want it resolved today."

She said, "I'll check with dispatch about getting a technician out today. May I put you on hold?" And how else do I expect you to be able to talk to someone else but put me on hold?

I said yes. And on hold I went.

She got back to me and said there were no technicians available to come out to my home tonight.

I said, "That is unacceptable. I want this resolved today."

She said, "We have no technicians available. You will have to make an appointment to have a technician come out..."

And what, leave me sitting around again, waiting for someone who doesn't have the common courtesy to knock on my door and tell me he didn't find anything? I think not.

I said, "That is unacceptable. I have waited as long as I intend to wait..."

She said, "I understand your frustration, but we don't have a technician that can come out today."

Bowing to the inevitable, I said, "Ok, when can a technician come out?"

She said, "Monday is the first..."

I was not happy. I said, "That is not acceptable. I have been waiting since Tuesday for this to be resolved. I know you understand I'm frustrated, but I am not going to sit around until Monday waiting for another technician to come by. I've already had a technician come by, without the common courtesy to knock on my door to tell me what he'd found, leaving me sitting here, waiting and wondering what happened. This needs to be resolved tonight or the next call I make will be to another service provider. I want to talk to someone in tech support."

She said, "I can certainly transfer you to tech support, but would you like to make an appointment to have a service technician come out on Monday, just in case this doesn't work?"

Not a chance. I said, very precisely and firmly, "No, I do not. If this does not work, the next call will be to another service provider."

She transferred me.

I explained my problem to the service tech, including that I was very annoyed and he was going to get some of the fallout. He was very nice about it. We went thru the unplug and reset routine again, just because, just to double check.

Then all the lights on my modem lit up, then started blinking in sequence. I said, wow, you've done something at your end. He said, yes, he'd sent a reset to my modem. I kept him apprised of the status of the lights, when and how they went on and off. He asked if I still had two blinking lights and two steady lights. I said, no. I had one of each. He said to press the power button on the front of the modem. I did. And got two blinking lights and two steady lights and an internet connection. I said, is that all it took? I went thru three days of waiting, and aggravation and waiting, and that's all it took? That I sat here waiting for a technician to come by, who didn't have the courtesy to knock on my door and tell me he'd checked? That in all probability the two techs I had spoken with on Tuesday had failed to send a reset and this could all have been solved Tuesday?

He said, "Probably."


Yes, computer geeks have issues with customer service, too. *sigh*

Monday, September 18, 2006

Can I ask you a question?

A friend just sent me an email, listing nine things "I hate about everyone." One of the items was "People who ask 'Can I ask you a question?'.... "

When asked that, my reply is, "You just did."

I actually had someone, call him John, say, "Can I ask you another question?"

To which I replied, "You just did."

John then said, "Can I ask you an important question?"

My reply, "You only get three questions, and you just used them up."

John said I was mean and all he wanted to do was ask a question.

I said, "If you'd just asked the question instead of continually asking if you could ask, you would have had your answer and been on your way."

Then John said, "Well, I wanted to ask you if.....?"

"So ask me."

"I just did."

"No, you said you wanted to ask me."

"I just wanted to ask if...?"

"So ask me."

I finally gave the nitwit the answer he wanted, because he just didn't get that I was trying to get him to stop asking if he could ask, and just ask. He was so determined to get an answer out of ME that I wouldn't be rid of him till I answered. The positive on this: He never asked me another question.

The hardest part was not breaking out in laughter. I really did want the boob to break the habit of "can I ask...?" and laughing wouldn't have helped. As it turned out, nothing helped.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Branding is everything

Getting your brand name out there is important. So large companies have been putting their names on anything that holds still. Or not. But you gotta wonder about overlapping branding, y'know?

NASCAR has this great race, called the Bank of America 500. It's held at the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Well, I guess having a bank sponsor something related to home improvement projects does make some sense.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Smaller government

White House Office of Management and Budget estimates government spending will grow to 20.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2006 from 18.5 percent when President George W. Bush took office in 2001.

Isn't the Republican Party the party of smaller government?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tools of conquest

"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts... attitudes... prejudices. To be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone."

Closing narration by Rod Serling from The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street. Read it again, and hear Rod Serling's voice and delivery.

The story? From here, in brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm.

Suddenly his car — and only his car — starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man’s lights go on.

As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced.

An "alien" is shot — but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help.

The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen, manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there’s no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves."

It was written in 1960. It could have been written today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Just in case you were wondering...

The problem with allowing a big cheese like our President to flout the law of the land (all for the good of Americans, you understand) is that it sets a pattern of behavior.

It seems Hewlett-Packard has seen fit to follow suit.

Fox News
LA Times
so far

Did it ever occur to you that those laws were there for a reason?

Feel safe and secure yet?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Instead Of?

According to a just read headline (NYTimes):

"Going into a critical pre-election stretch, Congressional Republican leaders will concentrate on national security issues instead of immigration."

Um... I thought a lot of the immigration hoopla was based on security concerns. You know, all those nasty terrorists coming in over our unsecured borders, that kind of thing.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

How Can We Make America SAFER?

We can't.

We can require identification to be shown at every state border we cross, but
-we wouldn't be America any more.

We could require people to check in with their local officials if they want to leave their neighborhood, letting the officials know where they're going and why, but
-we wouldn't be America any more.

We could embed RFID chips in all visitors to our citites or states so they could be tracked, but
-we wouldn't be America any more.

We could record every phone call, email, text messaage or other electronic transmission sent anywhere, to make sure we catch any potential terrorists, but
-we wouldn't be America any more.

We could set up anonymous hotlines where neighbor could report on neighbor, reporting any suspicious activity, but
-we wouldn't be America any more.

We could have government enforcers randomly stop people on the street, in their cars, or in their places of work, and ask for proof the person is a citizen, but
-we wouldn't be America any more.

We could require everyone to prove they never spoke with anyone who might be a terrorist, prove they are in no way related to anyone who might be a terrorist, prove they aren't related to anyone in a country that has terrorists, but not only would we not be America any more, but everyone would be suspect -- and without even going as far as six degrees of separation.

We could ban the sale of any product for which it is believed it might ever be used in any way, in any combination, to terrorize people, and live in a kindergarten-safety-scissor world. I'm not sure if we'd be America any more, but we sure as hell wouldn't like it.

We could allow the President to suspend the right to habeas corpus, allowing us to arrest anyone suspected of or accused by their neighbors of terrorism, citizen or not, without having to bring them to trial,
-as long as the President says it is done in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could allow the President alone to decide which electronic communications to monitor without resorting to warrants,
-as long as the President says it is in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could allow the President alone to define what consititutes being an enemy combatant, or an unlawful enemy combatant, without stating the definition of these terms,
-as long as the President says it is in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could allow the President alone to decide to export persons in American custody to foreign countries where they can be "vigorously questioned,"
-as long as the President says it is in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could allow the President alone to decide which actions are "state secrets" and therefore not subject to judicial reivew, or any review at all,
-as long as the President says it is in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could allow the President alone to choose whether he will enforce laws passed by Congress, choose how to define "enforce" and choose to change that definition randomly and without explanation,
-as long as the President says it is in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could change airline baggage requirements without advance notice, whenever someone reports any method for damaging planes, without checking the validity of the method,
-as long as the President says it is in the name of protecting the security of Americans.

We could do all those things. We have done and are doing some of those things.

As long as people are allowed to move around without checks, as long as people are allowed to carry things with them without checks, we will be unsafe.

How far do we go in the name of safety before we stop being Americans?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Twisted Kitty

This is an un-PhotoShopped picture of a friend's cat. She came home from shopping, saw the cat, grabbed the camera and snapped the shot before MuMu got up. I have her permission to share the picture.

Identity theft and warrantless wiretapping

Many supporters of warrantless wiretapping, or other means of mass data gathering by the government, say "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

1) Ever hear of Identity Theft? ID thieves can steal more than your economic data. Data is gathered on you by a company called Choice Point, that claims: "ChoicePoint is the leading provider of identification and credential verification services for business and government." They have information on medical records, legal filings you've made, arrest records you may have. Or someone else has done in your name. Do you know if your records show if you've done anything illegal? Do an Internet search on "Criminal Identity Theft" and be prepared to be horrified. And your credit report will record anyone who's ever used your address. Some guy applied for a job at the local junior college and used my home address. His name now shows up on my credit report as someone who lives at my address. And in some background check somewhere, that can be interpreted as "he lives here." If he gets arrested for something, am I now considered an accessory?

2) Ever hear of Data Entry Error? Anyone who types knows even the best typist makes errors. Anybody who's ever had to deal with massive amounts of data is aware of typographic errors. I heard that a typo in a Nebraska law (I think it was Nebraska) that misplaced a semicolon, made slavery legal in that state until the state legislature could pass a correction. I check my credit reports every year. Every couple of years, someone else's credit data ends up on my report. Since I can't see the underlying data, I assume a transposed set of numbers somewhere. And the above mentioned Criminal Identity Theft can also be caused by "typoed identification numbers into criminal database."

I don't have (much of) a problem with data gathering. It does help track criminal activities. But I'd like to know that someone is guarding the guardians. "Checks and Balances" isn't just a pretty phrase. Sometimes knowing someone is looking over your shoulder is a bloody pain in the ass: Some second-guesser or Monday-morning quarterback is going to nitpick my work. But on the other hand, knowing someone is looking over your shoulder keeps you from taking that first (or second) step down the path to criminality.

So, have you done anything wrong? Or has someone done something wrong in your name and you won't know until the government shows up on your doorstep and takes you away?

When the CIA invests in software...

When the CIA invests in a company that makes identification software, one begins to wonder why. Then again, maybe we don't need to wonder why.

From an eweek article, found at,1895,2004323,00.asp
The following is just a segment of the entire article. It's a short read.

Initiate Systems' IdentityHub software uses a variety of identification protocols to determine whether records stored under similar names in different databases refer to the same or different patients. It also uses such demographic information as birthdays and address to match records to people who have used different names.

The software helps companies find stored information about clients or patients in real time, and it also helps to identify and delete duplicate records. It has also been used to quickly find prescription information when patients enter the emergency department.

. . .

"Working with In-Q-Tel allows us to provide the intelligence community with already proven technology that directly addresses national security needs. The exposure within the intelligence community that we have already experienced as a result of In-Q-Tel's involvement has been tremendous,". . .

The NSA has stated it can't handle all the data coming in from the warrantless wiretapping. The NSA can't correlate it all. It's too much data. Well, this little program may solve that.

Privacy pundits fear RFID because "THEY" will be able to track every move we make. With this correlation software, we can be traced by the tracks we leave in the electronic economy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not bad for a Texas oil promoter

Question posed by Jack Cafferty of CNN: What does a federal judge's ruling that the National Security Agency spying program is illegal mean for President Bush?

It means a clean sweep for President-King George III: He ignores and violates the law as stated in the Constitution. He ignores and violates the law as stated by the Congress. And now he can ignore and violate the decision made by the judiciary. (And on other issues, has ignored and violated international treaties signed by the U.S.) Not bad for a Texas oil promoter.

Universal constants

Two constants in our world are 1) every culture has a flat bread and 2) every religiious/belief system group has prayer elements common to all. Please understand that I use the word "every" loosely. I'm sure somewhere there's a culture or group that does things differently. Ditto with the word "prayer." Just suspend your picknits for a bit, ok?

Flatbread: tortillas, pita, pizza crust

Prayer: clearly visualize/verbalize what you want, release the energy into the universe.

Examples are:

Christian prayer: visualize/verbalize what you want and release it to God to deal with

Buddist prayer: visualize/verbalize what you want and release the energy to the universe

Pagan prayer: visualize/verbalize what you want and release the energy to diety of choice

Many, many, many goal setting systems: visualize/verbalize what you want and focus on it to cause the goal to manifest (from the energy of the universe)

Not having studied lots of religious/belief systems, if my readership (such as it isn't right now) would like to point out such a group that doesn't do a variation on this visualize and release, let me know. Or one that doesn't have a flatbred, either.

Most of us read the beginning...

Most of us read the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, its ringing words of freedom. Well, people, it's time to read a little further down the page.

...the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

[sections cut - read the original at Declaration of Independence

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

[sections cut - read the original at Declaration of Independence

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For those of you who support President-King George III, support his violation of the Constitution, support his violation of the rulings of our courts, what say you to the idea of Hillary getting those self same rights? If those rights are inherent in the presidency, the next president gets to do them to you.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006



A long-range plan whose merit cannot be evaluated until sometime
after those creating it have left the organization.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


George W. Bush is trying to give us the illusion of safety in trade for allowing him to violate international treaties, our own Constitution, and the laws and judgments of our own government.

Some prices are just too high, no matter how much you may want the prize. The one thing you cannot trade for your heart's desire is your heart.
      ---Miles Vorkosigan, Memory

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Your Federal Reserve Bank account has been accessed!

Phishing is an ever-growing problem. Even if you realize the website to which you are directed is not the one from your bank, you are still vulnerable to a number of things.

  • The most common vulnerability, of course, is entering your username and password. The phisher now has that, and can access your account(s) at will.
  • You can, and often do, get cookies containing malicious code from these phishing websites. Since most sites require you to be able to have cookies enabled to be able to use the site, most people accept most cookies. Most are harmless marketing tools. Those few that aren't, however, can contain software called "key loggers," that logs all keystrokes you make and then forwards them to the phisher. This means every time you type in your username and password, the phisher gets it. For every account you access. Personally, I delete my cookies once a day, and more often if I've gone to a web store to buy something. If I get popups, I very definitely delete my cookies. Most are harmless, but I can't tell which are which. And don't want to take the time to learn.
  • And since Microsoft makes its software so very helpful, Internet Explorer will easily accept what is called a "browser helper object," to help make your browsing experience friendly and helpful. Your Yahoo or Google browser bar is a browser helper object, one you chose to add. And Yahoo and Google want to continue to have your business, so they aren't going to do anything to ruin their reputations. Going to the wrong website and clicking on the wrong thing will get you malicious, possibly invisible BHOs. Your virus software often does not catch these. Try searching for "spyware removal" software, which can get rid of most of these. I spent two weeks and several phone calls working with spyware removal companies, to find one such. The hackers had changed its name and changed where it was saved on the system. I found it, finally, and reported it.

I have a list of email addresses from various companies I forward phishing email to. ("Your Citi account has been violated!" yeah right.) The two you will find most useful are:

Just so you know, the Federal Reserve Bank doesn't have individual accounts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Suffer Not This King!

Yesterday, a holiday was celebrated in some circles, a day celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Yesterday, speeches were made by all and sundry, some good, some not. Every tv news report I listened to had coverage and commentary about the speech made by New Orleans Mayor Nagin, but only C-SPAN covered the speech by Vice President Gore. (full text)

A friend quoted this poem by Kipling. It's amazing how some things never change. We're still having issues with crazy George III.

The Old Issue
October 9, 1899
(Outbreak of Boer War)

Here is nothing new nor aught unproven," say the Trumpets,
  "Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.
"It is the King--the King we schooled aforetime! "
  (Trumpets in the marshes-in the eyot at Runnymede!)

"Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger," peal the Trumpets,
  "Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall.
"It is the King!"--inexorable Trumpets--
  (Trumpets round the scaffold af the dawning by Whitehall!)

  .   .   .   .   .   .   .

"He hath veiled the Crown And hid the Scepter," warn the Trumpets,
  "He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.
"Hard die the Kings--ah hard--dooms hard!" declare the Trumpets,
  Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!

Ancient and Unteachable, abide--abide the Trumpets!
  Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings
Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets--
  Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings!

All we have of freedom, all we use or know--
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw--
Leave to live by no man's leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the king.

Till our fathers 'stablished,, after bloody years,
How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom-not at little cost--
Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost.

Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.

Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure.
Whining "He is weak and far"; crying "Time will cure."

(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,
Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people's loins.)

Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.
Suffer not the old King here or overseas.

They that beg us barter--wait his yielding mood--
Pledge the years we hold in trust-pawn our brother's blood--

Howso' great their clamour, whatsoe'er their claim,
Suffer not the old King under any name!

Here is naught unproven--here is naught to learn.
It is written what shall fall if the King return.

He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom's name.

He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
He shall change our gold for arms--arms we may not bear.

He shall break his Judges if they cross his word;
He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.

He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring
Watchers 'neath our window, lest we mock the King --

Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;
Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.

Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
These shall deal our Justice: sell-deny-delay.

We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse
For the Land we look to--for the Tongue we use.

We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
While his hired captains jeer us in the street.

Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.

Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
Laying on a new land evil of the old--

Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain--
All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.

Here is nought at venture, random nor untrue
Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.

Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:
Step for step and word for word--so the old Kings did!

Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.
Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed--

All the right they promise--all the wrong they bring.
Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King !