Friday, August 31, 2007

Democrats in Iraq

Some Democrats went to Iraq to visit the troops, including my old crazy Congressman Jim Moran from Northern Virginia. This is a guy who got into a fight with an eight year old and claimed the kid tried to carjack him. Anyway, they found that some joker had handed out biographies of them to the troops and Iraqis with selected quotes calling the war a failure and so on. Now they are upset, and said that they were "slimed". I think they just need a thicker skins.

See: Lawmakers Describe "Being Slimed in the Green Zone"

Long Weekend

A long weekend stretches before us, wondering what to do. I will probably end up doing nothing but cleaning and watching college football, but right now there is hope of doing something more meaningful and constructive.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Guitar Hero - Rock of the Eighties

I got this tonight. It is so cool, all the songs of my youth as they say. We thought that it was easier than all the guitar rock songs of GH II, until we tried to play Judas Priest "Electric Eye". Man, that is a lot of fast notes.


We have our first home Middle School football game. The school has a Seventh and Eighth grade team, so two games really. Despite the rain, which we need, it should be a good time.

Unfortunately due to the weather the band couldn't perform. So we didn't go.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Arsenal 3 - Sparta Prague 0

Arsenal advances in the Champions League. Good for them, as it will be a long year in the Premiership, I think.


Cesc Fabregas tribute to absent friend

New Nano IPOD

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Home Again

Back home from picking up A's Nano from FEDEX. This is a new one, and it is substantially redesigned from my 20 month old one. It is just amazing.

Contented Cat

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2005

Opened this tonight, it is very nice. Bold, fruity flavor.

Music of the Eighties

If you cannot tell yet I love the music of the Eighties. If I saw it on MTV in 1983-84 especially. Anyway after seeing the songs on Guitar Hero II - Rock The Eighties I have to get it. I like everyone of those songs!

Football in Alabama

Well, it is that time again. Time for another college football season. All of Alabama holds their breath for the two prodigal sons, Alabama and Auburn, hoping a National Championship is in the works. As much as I hope the new Alabama coach, Mr. Saban, can turn things around; I am not sure that he will. Auburn I don't really care for, but I am sure they will be alright.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why I Hate the Patriots

Yet another reason to hate the New England Patriots. Samuel, the second best cornerback in the lead statistically last year held out from the Patriots as he wanted a big contract. He finally came to terms yesterday and will play for them this year. I am listening to ESPN radio on the way home, and suddenly he is terrible. After a year of hearing how good he was and if he didn't come back to the Patriots how bad they be, he loses out in the contract struggle, and now he stinks. Typical biased coverage of the Patriots.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Size of the US Army

Recently, according to the New York Times, GEN Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, was asked about problems in Iraq. One of his responses was that the politicians who cut the Army in the 90's are to blame. In 1991, for Desert Storm, there were 18 active Army divisions and 10 National Guard Divisions. Today there are 10 and 4 respectively. Granted a 2007 brigade is much more capable than a 1991 brigade, but it would be nice to have 30 more. This would solve two of the problems with the current war. It would allow units to rotate less often, and it would provide more troops on the ground. I think GEN Petraues has proved with the surge that the key is to have more troops available in Iraq.

Even if the Soldier of 1991 was less capable individually then today, and he certainly is better equipped in all areas except combat rifle, 80% more would be a good thing.

Of course, without a draft or the enlistment of foreign mercenaries there is no means available to quickly grow the Army 80%.

Mazdaspeed3 from Winding Road Magazine

Music is cool too, but the helicopter is kind of annoying.

F-22A in Alaska


The F-22A Raptor takes off with afterburners during a demonstration Aug. 20 at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. The demo was the closing event of the 90th Fighter Squadron's 90th anniversary. The aircraft was flown by Maj. Paul Moga, the Air Force's sole F-22 demonstration pilot. He is assigned to the 1st Operations Group at Langley AFB, Va. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Garrett Hothan

Whatever you think about the F-22 it is a cool aircraft.
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Sunday Morning

Hanging out drinking coffee, reading and playing AA. I should really do something with my life.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nuclear Holocaust Videos

In the Eighties one of the common themes of music videos was life after a nuclear holocaust. Bands and performers as diverse as Tom Petty, Rick Springfield, Nina all did videos about this. Even Utopia did one too. Many times they had absolutely nothing to do with the song at all.

Newly Repaired Car




They managed to save the grill, and my cool front plate. "ROLL TIDE."

They matched the paint and pinstriping too.
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Friday, August 24, 2007


Well I still have my job and I got my car back, which is pretty good. I will post photo's tomorrow. And it looks like it may rain actually. Anyway, read this article: Market Rally. It might make you happier.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Turnabout is Fair Play

Had a horrible day at work as our leadership implodes. I hope I am not held responsible.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Drunken Ramblings

Had a good night out with TV talking about wrapping paper, kings and so on. Work is rough right now as we are floundering around with little or no communication and palace coups rumbling around. Good thing we are all adults with the best interests of the Soldier at heart.

An Unattributed Article

The AFP, most recently confusing bullets with unexpended cartridges, published this piece: Most Policy Experts Call US Surge a Failure. There is no one given the credit for writing this thing. You can argue about many things, but how is this journalism? This looks like an AFP called a few people and wrote an opinion piece.

For an example of fun with numbers and statistics see:

Misleading NYT/Globe Articles Portray Income Growth as Income Decline

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Tree in Alabama

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Spiraling Ever Onwards

Work today was fun, everytime we think there would be a break it just keeps piling up. My gov't boss had the pleasure of being yelled at by her sort-of gov't boss. It is always embarrassing.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pinot Noir

Just finishing up a cheap bottle of Pinot Noir. It wasn't bad, really. I will be honest I have bought some ~expensive wine and some cheap wine, and the cheap wine is often good. I guess that makes me more philistine-ic then I would hope.

MIke Vick and ESPN

What I love about the coverage of Michael Vick on ESPN radio is that each of the announcers prefaces whatever they say with "I love dogs", or words to that effect. I guess they don't want people to think they endorse dog fighting or anything.

End of the Day

Found an old college buddy on Facebook. Pretty neat. I cannot Facebook from work which is annoying. I figured a way around the twittering thing.

Another week

Getting ready for yet another exciting week of briefings, postponed decisions, and more briefings. It is a good thing I can make PPT slides.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

If you ever want to watch my ustream show, here it is:

What it looks like

Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 @ DIGIADS
I was kind of hoping that I would get my car totaled by the insurance company so that I could buy a new one. I am planning next year to get one anyway. I don't understand how the insurance company came up with the value for my car, as I certainly could not sell it to anyone for what they said.

Anyway, if I could get a car today it would be the Mazdaspeed 3.

Miami Vice music

One of the things they did with each episode of Miami Vice was choose one song to use at the "most important" time. They used old and new ones, but mainly new ones. In the second season they reached a point where people were writing songs specifically for the show.

If you have seen the first two episodes you know that the theme was "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. Later episodes had "Smuggler's Blues" by Glen Frey and a host of others. For the first show of the second season, Glen Frey wrote "You Belong to the City". They also often had music stars on the show. Like Glen Frey, the band The Power Station, and others.

Bar Camp Block

My brother works in the new dot-com industry, that while it has not reached the days of the late Nineties, still has recovered quite a bit. Unlike my industry they do lots of neat social things. Probably because they can share information a lot more easier then we can, and also because what they are working with is actually new and neat. I deal with policy and procedures, it is not new and definitely not neat.

Yesterday he and some of his employees went to a "Bar Camp". The bar in this means they take over a bar or restaurant, and people just meet and share information. The only requirement is pre-registration and a desire to talk about what you do and know. This one they did a block party, so they took over a whole street in Palo Alto.

I am jealous, probably because I will never attend an event like this.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A night of drinking tequila, blogging, twittering (?), and playing America's Army. I can get used to this, but it is not the most constructive way to spend my time.

Futility of Good Intentions

The local paper,, has been running a series on how screwed up the HSV schools are. Like a few remaining school systems, many in the South, the HSV schools are governed by an agreement with the Federal Justice Department on desegregation. This has been since 1970, and despite as my father states, who lived here in the Sixties, they were one of the first systems in Alabama to desegregate. Because of this the entire distribution of elementary students is screwed up. There is a fancy, model development being built in West HSV. The developer donated land to build a school, assuming the people who bought his houses would go there. They built a K-8 school.

As this is the newest, and considered best, school the system began transferring children from other non-performing elementary schools. They were also attempting to balance the racial make-up of the school. They also zoned it for a huge area of expansion for the city to the West. So now the new school is 20% overcrowded, and there are other elementary schools within a few miles of it that are at 33-50% capacity. They won't transfer students to these schools as it "might" violate the desegregation agreement, and also they don't want to move back to their old schools. There are less then 20 kids going to the school from the housing development it is in. Of course, parents are up in arms over this. The school system basically has labeled these parents as "racist". So nobody will do anything, and the system will stay out of whack with lots of unhappy parents.
It actually rained last night. I think that is the first time in August.

Friday, August 17, 2007

There is a guy in town who has a blog. I don't know how well it is read. But he is highly critical of the program I work on. Unfortunately he is hidden by anonymity, and I cannot comment directly to him on his site or here. It is very frustrating, as he obviously does not know the whole story, or if he does, cherry picks the information to support his viewpoint.
Went out to Macaroni Grill and ate too much. So much for losing weight. Other than that it was yet another exciting day of PPT slides at work.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

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Thinking about Miami Vice. When I was in High School it was my favorite show. It was on Saturday nights at 1000 EST, I believe. But it could have been Fridays. The show made no sense, but the music was good.

Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton

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I will state again that I do not understand the stock market.
Well they are going to fix my car. It will take a few weeks. I don't know if it is really worth it, but I cannot argue with them.

More Insurance Company Fun

They gave me the rental car for three days, so I have to go back again today to get a longer contract. I don't see I will be seeing my car, or its replacement, any time soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My fantasy baseball team has stunk all year. Usually I go through at least one good period, but not his year. I don't know, I guess I don't know the players as well as I should. Anyway, I manage the best I can but I just don't have the horsepower. There is always next year after the Fantasy Football season.
Homework fun!! All I have to say.

Insurance Company fun

The claims adjuster called me to start the process, and helpfully pointed out that the bank associated with my insurance company had pre-approved me for a 50K car loan in case my car is totaled. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2007 Toyota Corolla @ DIGIADS

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Rental Car Fun

I went back to the rental car place to return the Dodge Charger they gave me last night. It had been smoked in and was much too big. I got a Corolla. Smaller, but still smells weird. It also needs a good cleaning of the interior, which I will do this weekend. The Charger is the most recent American car I have driven other than a minivan, I don't think I will be buying one.
My formally good looking car in better days. The passenger side front light, etc was taken out.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Well I wrecked my car this afternoon. So I will be without it for a while.
The weekend is over, they are much too short. Another fun week of work to look forward too. The added benefit today of corporate ethics training.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Had a nice dinner with my parents and some other friends. Ate and drank too much. My father broke out the single malt for an aperitif. Cheers. Scotland has given us so many good things.
The beautiful blue sky of Alabama.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Here is a blast from the past, sort of. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoff got together and recorded a bunch of 60's classics together as Sid & Susie. Matthew Sweet was big in the 90's, and Hoff was in a band you might of heard of one time or another, The Bangles.
Came home to find the power off. The temperature in the house in the high Seventies. It is about a 100 outside. Luckily it came back on a few minutes ago.

Another Low Point for Print Journalism

According to the Washington Post Ombudsman, Deb Howell, the sports section routinely edits peoples' quotes to make them grammatically correct. This is in violation of the paper's policy. This came to light when the exact same quote was used by a Post reporter in a story and one in a column. The Post changed the quote to make it proper in the story, the columnist did not. Then to make it worse, when the column was published on, the changed the quote to match that in the story. The writer of the story is unrepentant, claiming that he often cleans up the language of minority athletes as he is conscious of "about the differences in class, background and race -- I'm an African American". He also then goes on to say, indirectly, that white southerners are just as stupid, and with their quotes "reporters instinctively clean up their language."

So much for being unbiased.

Edited to fix a spelling error and quote

Friday, August 10, 2007

Let sleeping cats lie!!
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Guess where? I work with a whole bunch of St. Louis-ites. They seem old-fashioned in the comfort they express of the greatness of their home city. East St. Louis does not count.
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We have lived in Alabama for almost three years. This is the only snow we got. BTW, it was gone within four hours of this picture being taken.
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Friday finally at last. The boys want to get guitar hero, but we will see. I don't know if it is really worth it.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It is hot. I am hanging out, watching a little TV, thinking of things. I was watching Black Hawk Down, which has some great helicopter footage. I am also using Twitter quite a bit, as I can update that from work via text message.
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I am due to get a new car soon, but am really tempted to buy something used, but classic. There are lots of cars like that here in the South. A guy at work has an 89 Corvette, blue on blue, that looks nice. It would be a lot cheaper then new too. I must think.
Since I haven't seen a video other than country in about five years, I don't know how they are doing them now. I remember when they started making "story" videos. Most of them were hilarious, as they didn't really know how to do a three minute story. The best is Steve Perry from Journey's "Oh Sherrie". It is a video about making a video, something that was not unique for long.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I am a child of the Eighties. I find myself browsing Itunes and You Tube to find videos that I remember from my youth. Of course today my children have Ipods and so on. It is completely different. Nobody today remembers how much MTV changed things. I wish Itunes had a better collection. My favorite videos are ones that are really hokie, and don't make any sense at all. A classic example is "Take It Easy" from American Anthem. Another is "Big Crash" by Eddie Money. He spends the whole time singing while his partner does all the work.

Simple Philosphy

Tying in with the whole truth thing is how do we know what we are experiencing is the truth? In the car business they say there are three sides to a story - the buyer's, the seller's and the truth. This, obviously, is the same in everything. I sat in a meeting today and took notes. What I wrote down was not a transcript, but my interpretation of what was said by the participants. They will have their own interpretations. Unfortunately, this allows people to deny later what they agreed too.
I had a professor in college, a grad student really, who described the simplest philosophical experiment. How do you know that you are not really a brain in a vat being fed sensory data? You don't, because your brain believes it is living in a world that may be false. An extension of this is the "Lathe of Heaven" argument. In this book, whatever the protagonist dreams becomes the world he is living in. How do you know that every day your world is not changing a little and today's reality is not yesterdays?
Had a busy day with a two plus hour VTC with the Pentagon. Then I typed up the meeting notes. I have the ability to do almost verbatim notes, so I always get tasked to go to these kind of meetings.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


The first class I had to take when I did my MA in history was on historiography. One of the guys in our class made the statement that whatever the most recent work on a subject became the "truth", as the author had the last word. We called him "Truth" from then on. Of course, he was completely wrong.

The problem of really understanding history, the truth, is that you don't always know the motivations of the participants, and history is a participatory exercise. As Alan Clark wrote in his seminal work, Barboarossa, "What were Hitler's private convictions, which he turned over in his mind, in the darkness of his bedroom, concerning the state of war and the prospects of the Reich?"

Without necessarily understanding the reasons for a decisions, the actual history is hard to explain.

While this may seem self-evident, in a great deal of history and in news reporting, which is a form of history, this is often hardly explained. Much of the work is superficial, trying to explain in sweeping terms events that turned on the most mundane matters.
I was able to get to Banditos, with T, and also today at work was much better, but who knows what happened after I left?
Hopefully today will be better, maybe I can escape to Banditos.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Played some America's Army. Fooled around with Ustream, and twittered (?) with a bunch of people.
Had a great day, didn't leave work until 1900 CDT. We were trying to build a chart, and we got our $$ mixed up.

We were building a chart because someone gave comments this weekend to someone else, who gave them to me. It is difficult that way.
Starting another week, the weekends are too short. My wife has jury duty and the kids have there first full week of school. We start early in Alabama.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My friend TV is an artist and will be in the Monte Sano Art Show next month, so go by and see him if you get the chance. Based on last year their is a lot of good stuff there. Of course, there is the quotient of horrible stuff.
One thing we sit around and discuss at work is the differing uses/abilities with the computer. We have people who graduated from college in the Sixties, Eighties, Nineties and in the last seven years. Some of them have been using MS applications since god knows when. Us old guys struggle with them, but I can remember a job without email, voicemail, using wordperfect.
If I am going to post I need to post. I have been crazily adding to my IPOD. The problem is anytime I add something I need to delete something, so I am purging the things I haven't listened too in months.


I am trying to start this thing again, since it is the Oughts, I will try and post some things I think about here and then. My old blogposts were at I think I left the "s" off of this one, so you can catch up if you care to.