Silflay Hraka

2/22/2003




Eerily Appropriate


I am
p

Everyone loves pi

_

what number are you?

this quiz by orsa


Link via A Small Victory


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Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Moletracks, And The "American of Stature" Pool

Is someone in in the Bush administration yanking Paul Krugman's chain? The timing of this story in the Washington post about the post war administration of Iraq seems awfully convenient otherwise, appearing as it did only hours after Krugman's editorial on the same subject was published by the NYT.

Krugman - Turkey has reportedly been offered the right to occupy much of Iraqi Kurdistan. Yes, that's right: as we move to liberate the Iraqis, our first step may be to deliver people who have been effectively independent since 1991 into the hands of a hated foreign overlord. Moral clarity!

WaPo - The Bush administration plans to take complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian who would direct the reconstruction of the country and the creation of a "representative" Iraqi government, according to a now-finalized blueprint described by U.S. officials and other sources.
......
The administration is particularly keen on averting interference by other regional powers, and cites the "ability of people like the Iranians and others to go in with money and create warlords" sympathetic to their own interests, one official said. "We don't want a weak federal government that plays into the hands of regional powers" and allows Iraq to be divided into de facto spheres of influence. "We don't want the Iranians to be paying the Shiites, the Turks the Turkmen and the Saudis the Sunnis," the official, referring to some of the main groups among dozens of Iraqi tribes and ethnic and religious groups.


Krugman - Meanwhile, outraged Iraqi exiles report that there won't be any equivalent of postwar de-Nazification, in which accomplices of the defeated regime were purged from public life. Instead the Bush administration intends to preserve most of the current regime: Saddam Hussein and a few top officials will be replaced with Americans, but the rest will stay.

WaPo - Under a decision finalized last week, Iraqi government officials would be subjected to "de-Baathification," a reference to Hussein's ruling Baath Party, under a program that borrows from the "de-Nazification" program established in Germany after World War II.

I'm not saying Krugman's wrong, mind you. I mostly agree with what he says on Afghanistan, for instance, though he's going to paint the bleakest picture possible.

What I do think is that it's very interesting that a day or so after Krugman saw some manner of plan about post-war Iraq, another plan appears in the media, one that not only appears on the same day as his editorial, but one that specifically refutes two of his major arguments.

There's a mole somewhere, maybe even at the New York Times.

What's also interesting is this idea of a supreme civil authority, supposedly an American '"of stature."' Who? It won't be Clinton, or Carter. Carter proved he couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag, and Bush won't give Clinton a stage of that importance. Colin Powell might be okay. Lamar Alexander's free. So is George Bush Senior, for that matter.

He would be a hell of a pick on a lot of levels. For one, his presence in Baghdad would communicate to the Iraqis, not to mention the rest of the world, the message that America is not going to go away, lose interest in, or abandon Iraq. Putting an ex-president, not to mention the father of the current one, in charge of building the Iraqi democracy would be the most powerful symbolic statement ever made in that region by a western power.

It's too bad he's 78. That's really pushing the age envelope.

My money's on Rudy. He's got the stature, he's free, and he'll be a pretty powerful symbolic statement in his own right.


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Sudden Theme

I'm sitting here surfing the blogroll, and hit two music posts in a row.

Michelle is drunk, and listening to Strapping Young Lad, though how she could for any length of time before losing her hearing is beyond me. My god, I'm getting old.

Wind Rider is listening to Sheherazade, and musing on what might happen to the Muslim world once its women are as free to speak as she.

I'm neither drunk nor musing, but still I thought it only fair that you get to hear what I'm listening to.


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2/21/2003




And it's all for me grog, me jolly, jolly grog
All for me beer and tobacco
Well I spent all me tin on the lassies drinking gin
Across the western ocean I must wander


Beer of the night - Abita Purple Haze. Gave it a 7
Beer of last night - Hoegaarden White

Zod: When did United Colours of Benetton start brewing beer?
Hush, or I'll drink a Killian's Red and talk about how patriotic I am.
Zod: Red, white, and... purple? What are you, stupid?
Don't call me stupid!
Zod: Good, good. Feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon - strike me down with all of your hatred, and your journey to the..
Oh, shut up, geek.
Zod: Pot. Kettle. Black.


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Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Chicken Feed

How much does it take to buy a politician? Less than you'd think. In Georgia, you can buy the political favors of Representative Nathan Deal for only $5000. That's how much Fieldale Farms contributed to his 2002 campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Now this is the U.S., so I know what the first question on your lips is. Did Fieldale Farms get any value for its money, or was buying Rep. Deal a relative waste of money?

Well, at the behest of Rep. Deal, and with no public notification or discussion, the Republican leadership added a clause to the $397 billion dollar spending bill congress passed last week that will allow Fieldale Farms to label their chickens as organic even though they were raised on conventional feed, feed that could contain pesticide and fertilizer residue.

Rep. Deal had tried this before in more open circumstances, and found himself not only opposed by the USDA, but by the entire organic produce industry, as well as non-organic industry giants like Tyson Foods. When that attempt failed, as indeed it should have, Nathan Deal took the more secretive route.

No matter what one might think of the average consumer of organic products, the fact is that organic farming is a $10 billion dollar industry, one that Rep. Deal was perfectly happy to undermine for a measly five thousand dollars.

Five thousand dollars is....nothing. That's not even the price of a new car, yet it will buy you a Republican House member. I don't know whether to be pissed off because he could be bought, or because he could be bought for so little. I also shudder to think what he'll do when insurance industry legislation comes to the floor. He jumped through all sorts of hoops for Fieldale's five thousand; think what he'll do for the ten grand AFLAC gave him.

If you'd like to contact Rep. Deal about renting or leasing him, you could once e-mail him from here, but's it's been taken down, surprise.

Try calling, (202) 225-5211.

If you'd like to contact Fieldale Farms, either to inform them of a boycott, or just to inquire how one goes about buying a member of Congress, try some of these addresses;

Regional Sale Manager - jeffpaschall AT fieldale.com
Senior Sales Manager - donclick AT fieldale.com
Export Manager - bocoursey AT fieldale.com

Fieldale markets its chicken under the Springer Mountain Farms and Fieldale Farms brands, so if you're an organic consumer, it might be best to avoid them entirely. Their main outlets are Tops Friendly Markets, Stop & Shop, and Giant chain stores. Apparently they sell to Denny's, as well. If you'd like to ask Denny's to stop using their chicken, use this e-mail address; tell_us AT dennys.com.

Here's what I sent them.

Hello,

According to this website, http://www.ams.usda.gov/tmd/FSMIP/FY2001/IA0333%20.pdf, Denny's receives some of its chicken from a company, Fieldale Farms, producer of Springer Mountain Farms and Fieldale Farms chicken.

Fieldale Farms recently attempted to water down strict federal regulations regarding the levels of pesticide and fertilizer residue in organic chicken feed, regulations that I depend on when choosing the food I feed my family.

Thanks to underhanded and undemocratic manipulation of a congressional spending bill on the part of Rep. Nathan Deal (R. GA), this attempt was successful.

I realize that Denny's had no part in this effort, but until the watered down regulations are repealed, or I receive assurances from Denny's that Fieldale Farms is no longer a supplier of your chicken, my family and I can no longer patronize your establishment.

Thank you, and have a good day.


Feel free to use it yourself. I CC'd the fieldale.com addresses, as well. I know from our experience with the Portland Airport that a couple of e-mails has a far greater impact than one would think, so cut and past that sucker if you've the slightest inclination.

Other outlets of Fieldale Farm products, and their contact information

Acme Markets acme-feedback AT eds.com
Supermercados Amigo lomejor AT amigo.com
Bozzuto's mikeb AT bozzutos.com
Giant Foods Contact Form and Phone Number
Ingles Contact Form and Phone Number
Jungle Jim's Contact Form and Phone Number
Publix Supermarkets lee.brunson AT publix.com
Stop & Shop Supermarket kcarroll AT stopandshop.com
Tops Markets info AT topsmarkets.com
Ukrop's helpline AT ukrops.com

Here's the letter I sent Ingles, which is the only store near me. Note that if you copy it, you'll need to replace the store name with the one you are writing.

Hello,

According to this website, http://www.springermountainfarms.com/links.html, your stores receive some of chicken they sell from a company, Fieldale Farms, producer of Springer Mountain Farms and Fieldale Farms chicken.

Fieldale Farms recently attempted to water down strict federal regulations regarding the levels of pesticide and fertilizer residue in organic chicken feed, regulations that I depend on when choosing the food I feed my family.

Thanks to underhanded and undemocratic manipulation of a congressional spending bill on the part of Rep. Nathan Deal (R. GA), this attempt was successful.

I realize that Ingles had no part in this effort, but until the watered down regulations are repealed, I will not buy chicken produced by this company, and probably not afterwards, either. As I do prefer to shop at your stores, I would ask that you make an effort to replace chicken produced by this company, to allow me the widest possible choice of a safe food product when I next patronize your store.

Thank you, and have a good day.


The obvious question here is "Why do I care? "Why go to the trouble of finding all the information above, not to mention writing the letters?"

Well, Fieldale Farms just tried to steal my government. What do you think I should have done? Let them?


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Take Your Daughter To Work Day Reaches Its Logical Extreme

Father-Daughter day in Kuwait.


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2/20/2003




Big Fan Of Their Work

Ever wonder what former U.S. Attorney General and noted peace activist Ramsey Clark does when he's not defending Iraqi genocidal monsters against the U.S.? Well, he's defending Rwandan genocidal monsters against the U.N..

With a notable lack of success, I might add.


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Chocolate In My Peanut Butter

VikingPundit smashes a couple of memes together and comes up with a song parodying the French. "Tell Them Non"

Zod: Non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non
Don't do that.
Zod: Non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non
Must. think. of. other. tune.
Zod: Non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non
Non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non non
Zod: My work here is done.
Non non non non non non Bastard non non non non non non non non non non non non


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Not Quite What They Had In Mind

I just registered with MoveOn.org's Virtual March on Washington. They've scheduled me to call Johnny and Lizbet on Saturday morning to express my opposition to the Iraqi war.

Here's what I told them I'll be saying;

I am against the war because I support keeping Saddam in power so he can continue torturing and murdering his own people. As a committed anti-war activist, I realize that the lives of brown people are not worth one drop of American blood.

No blood for freedom!


Now, go thou and do likewise.

Link via Instapundit

Update: Cut on the Bias is also making some calls on Saturday.


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Stealing First

Following the lead of their parents and elders, who have poured out French wine and renamed French fries to Victory Fries, America's teenagers have forsworn the French kiss, opting instead to go directly from hand-holding to heavy petting in support of the war on terrorism.

"Brett, my boyfriend, was like, really hesitant about it to start off with?" said Judy Stein, 14. "He was really against it, you know? He was like, they did all this art and culture and stuff, and there was this guy Lafayette who was George Washington's brother or something, so it's not right, and anyway George Bush wasn't really elected. But once I told him that I would touch....you know.....IT, he was like 'Ok, fuck those guys.'"

While the boycott against french kissing is not yet widespread, many experts consider it only a matter of time.

"Kids today, unlike the unwashed and drug-crazed hippies of an earlier generation, are actively seeking a system of values to live by." says former Secretary of Education William Bennett. "Love of country is much more important to them now, and what better way for a teenagers to show that love than by dry humping like crazed weasels? It's not only more patriotic than frenching, it's healthier. No one realizes the thousands of man-hours lost to mononucleosis each year in this country better than America's teenagers, and they're looking Jacques Chirac in the eye and saying 'Enough! Enough with your germs!'"

While many adults support a decision to cease indulging in "Frog licking", as the practice is now known, they worry about the effect on modern sexual theorization.

Renowned baseball player Yogi Berra worries about the bases. "If we take away the frenching, what does first base become? Is it the feel, the finger? Who do we put on their bases then? You can't just skip first. You can't score if you don't touch all the bases!"

Other baseball experts, including Dr. Ruth Westheimer, think that opening up a base is just what current sexual theory needs. "It solves the age old question of where to put fellatio. Before it was confusing. Is fellatio a stand-up triple, or is it a good lead off third? Some have claimed that it's a run walked in, and others claim it's the result of a balk. Frankly, putting it on third and moving the others up a base not only relieves a good deal of confusion, it more closely mirrors the behavior of the modern middle-school pupil."

Judy agrees with Secretary Bennett about love of country, especially when it comes to Brett.

"He's like, patriotic? All the time now." she stated, idly rubbing a wrist. "Yesterday we were patriotic on the schoolbus, at lunch and during history. Mr. Richardson the history teacher caught us, but he was like a Marine? So once Brett told him how were were being patriotic and supporting our soldiers, he was all like simper fly or something like that? Anyway, we both got A's on our pop quiz. He said he couldn't wait to tell his wife."

Jessica stopped massaging her wrists long enough for one last thought. "You know what I think? I think it's about love. If it feels right, then do it, for your country."

Update: Truth outdoes me yet again. Schoolkids to Be Asked to Consider Oral Sex


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Do some good

I know you have probably all heard of Jesica, the 17 year-old girl that underwent a botched heart/lung transplant at Duke hospital last week. I am sure that most of you know that she underwent a second surgery this morning to replace her heart and lungs again. I just found out that the main fund raiser for her surgeries is a builder from my hometown, Louisburg, NC. While something like this is always tragic, that brought it a little closer to home for me. If you have been touched by Jesica's story, you can help out by visiting her web site at http://www.4jhc.org/ and donating what you can spare to help offset the cost of her medical treatment. Meanwhile, we'll all be praying for her swift recovery. Thanks for helping out!


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Heartstrings and Hand Grenades

Doggerel Pundit's Lament


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Give Me Four Years To Teach The Children And The Seed I Have Sown Will Get My Ass Fired

Meet Ian Harvey, A.N.S.W.E.R. member, and somewhat less than successful molder of young minds.

If that link doesn't work, try this one.


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Holy Non-Attribution Yet Again, Batman!

The Weekly Standard, this time.

Thanks to Clubbeaux for the spot.

Update: And now Woundwort found this! Damn. I don't mind the image appearing somewhere else, but we should get a link back out of it.

Later: Of course, MojoMark does have us blogrolled. Hard to stay angry in the face of that.

More Later: The Weekly Standard page has been updated with a link to us. Woo-hoo!


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2/19/2003




Beer of the Night

Young's Waggledance Honey Ale
Pretty tasty. The honey didn't overwhelm it like I was afraid it would.

Zod: That is the gayest beer name, ever.
What, worse than Gay Pride Beer?
Zod: I....I...
Or Queer Beer?
Zod: I....stand......corrected.
Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!


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Discoveries

Ngnat and I discovered tonight that a small pink and yellow nerf football will, if properly thrown, bounce up off the wall of the stairwell, down from the ceiling of the second floor, off the door to the laundry room and roll all the way back down to the bottom of the stairs. We also discovered that cats do not care for this activity in any way, shape, or form, and will complain loudly and at length from under various beds once it is commenced. The wife discovered that she agreed with the cats, though she did not have to crawl under a bed to do so. I discovered that I am the type of man who, once he conceives of a flight path for a small pink and yellow nerf football that includes a triple wall ricochet and a full stairway descent, will not cease in his attempts to bring forth that vision, even in the face of his wife's bitter, bitter recriminations about smudges and paint jobs.

To be fair, this came as a surprise to neither her nor myself.

I also discovered that a toddler is more than happy to retrieve small pink and yellow nerf footballs that didn't quite make it all the way down the stairs if she can heave them down the rest of the way. Ngnat discovered that heaving a small pink and yellow nerf football the rest of the way down the stairs is even more fun if you manage to hit Daddy in the face with it. I discovered that a toddler, having once hit her father in the face with a small pink and yellow nerf football, will attempt to do so again and again, getting closer all the time, until she ends up throwing from less than a foot away, at full strength. The Sainted Wife discovered that this almost made up for her inability to discover even the slightest smudge on the wall, as it was very hard for me to keep that "fucking smug look"* on my face when dodging small pink and yellow footballs. Ngnat discovered that Daddy dodging face footballs was possibly the funniest sight ever, and that one could not throw nearly as hard when one was overcome by giggles.

I discovered that even with a lapful of giggling toddler, I can throw a small pink and yellow nerf football in a perfect spiral, one that will end up with the ball bouncing two feet or more up into the air after it comes in contact with a cat head peering round the turn of the stairway.

I discovered that small pink and yellow nerf footballs will get taken away by more responsible parties if one doesn't play with them nicely.

Fortunately for the sake of sports enthusiasts the world over, I saw my dream of a triple ricochet with a full descent fulfilled before this occurred.


*the bad word was not actually said in front of a toddler, but rather implied very effectively through the use of tone, body language, and lip reading.


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Peace Mongers

I am tired. I am tired of hearing about war. I am tired of hearing how our world is going to hell in a hand basket. I have said several times that I am mixed about our apparent impending war. I know Saddam is “a bad man” (all apologies to Mohammed Ali), and I would love for him to be removed, but I would also love to avoid war, as most people would.

That said, I have had it up to HERE with the marches and actors protesting our government’s approach to Iraq. Every single day I am hearing about actors or groups of people marching and demonstrating against the “War with Iraq.” Enough already. I may wish that it would be handled differently, and that this crises could be settled peacefully, but I DAMN sure will not protest or publicly demonstrate against our men and women in uniform. If you don’t like it, start a blog and write all the pages you want to on the subject, but it makes my skin crawl to see all of these public displays. We have the right to demonstrate and state our views, but something seems very wrong about the way some of us are dealing with this situation.

I will trust that our leaders will work for peace first, using force as a final option. I do not feel the need to rent a billboard or get on CNN and tell everyone how wrong the US is and how we should deal with this situation. Having a sitcom, or being in a shitty movie does not make a person an expert in foreign affairs. Sure, I have my own ideas of how we are dealing with this situation, but I recognize that I am a schmuck with a blog. That gives me a place to state my opinions without acting as if I am an expert.

Janeane Garofalo, please go back to being a bad supporting actress and leave the game of war to people who have actually seen a gun before. Being a policewoman in Copland does not make you an arms expert.

Update: This is the very reason I was trying to get at in this post. Regardless of whether or not we are protesting the government, this is an inevitable reaction...........shades of Vietnam. Link came from Just Your Average Catholic Guy.


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The Few, The Bad, The Attempted Killers

This is one of the more disturbing stories I have read over the past few days. With all of the patriotism ringing through this country, it is a reminder that bad seeds are everywhere.


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Big Can O' Whoop Ass

Prarie Dog, my contact with sources in the navy sent me this link , he received it in an email. I am planning to get one on my Hummer (which I also don't have yet).

This is a stupendous test shot of the LOSAT (Line of Sight Anti Tank missile). It's being launched off of a HUMVEE, which carries two loaded canisters on each side (4 missiles total). The commander/gunner can acquire and track three targets simultaneously, and engage one. Since the missile is hypervelocity (5000 feet per second), and has a maximum range of 5 kilometers, it doesn't take long to reacquire and engage the next two targets. The missile carries a kinetic kill warhead and penetrates all known or projected armor; it is 5 times more lethal than today's hottest tank round. It is also air droppable by parachute and can be sling carried by helicopter. Turn up the sound and watch this baby burn in!

This must give Iraqi tankers a warm fuzzy feeling


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Out to Get Me

Could not reach blogger all bloody day, though seemingly everyone else could. Everyone else being Kehaar, Laurence and the Tarheel Pundit, the latter of whom had lunch with me today. I could reach pro.blogger.com, and status.blogger.com, but not blogger.com. The status site was as useless as ever. Telling me when blogger has problems would be fine, except that blogger always has problems. What would really come in handy would be a little note saying "Everything's fine right now."

Not that you would ever see it. Hurry, Google, hurry!

Just as well, really. What with the storm, it was my first day back in the office this week, and the things I was unable to do from home had gotten slightly piled up. So I took care of those, and troubleshot permission problems on the new php server, and installed Java on two Linux web servers, or did eventually. That took far longer than it should have. Something about those one of those servers didn't care for the AFS files system it was connected to, so copying and removing files took absolutely forever.*

It was during one of those "forever" periods that I came up with the flag below, so delaying it was the only impact the outage had. It was enough of one that I figured it would be too late by the time I finally posted it, that Laurence or Michelle would have beaten me to it. They have a talent for that type of thing. Others do as well, of course, but those two are the ones whom I know to check.

Which I did as soon as I got home, for about the fifth time overall. No point in having a good idea if someone else has it first, you know?

And of course Blogger came right up afterwards, which gave rise to the paranoid fantasy that for some reason UNC was blocking blogger, or blocking my PC in particular. The Man had noticed me, and set in motion the wheels that grind slow, but exceedingly fine. I figured it was the bumper stickers that finally did me in.

*Here's a slightly more technical explanation, for those who may care. AFS stands for Andrews File System, which is a distributed file system with a common name space. Didn't mean a thing to you, did it?

You know the file system in your computer? Think of a really big one,so big that it is spread across tens or hundreds of computers(distributed). People and other computers can plug into this file system and in theory see everything on it (common name space), if they have permissions. Mostly they don't, but they can see parts of it. Every computer that plugs into it also has its own internal file system, but for all intents and purposes, a computer treats AFS as part of that internal file system.

So I can copy files to and from AFS into my web servers, or from one web server into AFS. It's especially convenient for moving files from one computer to another when you don't want to mount a drive or can't use FTP for some reason.

Anyway, on at least two occasions I've had trouble deleting files in AFS space when accessing them from a Linux box. Our Solaris boxes have no such problem, and usually I'm coming from one of them, so I don't think about it much. It's not that the computer refuses to delete the files, it just takes forever to complete the process. And when I say forever, I mean ten or twenty minutes, when ten or twenty seconds should have been sufficient for the command a hundred times over. The same thing happens when trying to copy files from Linux into AFS space, though not, oddly, from AFS space to a Linux file system. It's hard to troubleshoot as well, since AFS is administered by a entirely separate group. I could not even kill -9 the copy or delete processes, and yes, I was root. "kill -9" mean to end a process with extreme prejudice, to shut it down immediately with no thought for the consequences. You can always do this. Horrible things are afoot when you can't. Root means, well, God. Running the binaries in AFS space from a Linux command line gave a different set of problems, in that they never finished, but they could be killed.

The files I was moving were two Linux binaries, one for Java 1.3.7 and one for 1.4.1, that produced a .rpm file once they were run. And as everyone knows, once you have a .rpm file, your installation goes very smoothly. At least it does if you have all the prerequisite files in place, which we do.


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23 Skidoo

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is at Kesher Talk

Upcoming Carnival stops include;

March 5th Gut Rumbles
March 12th The Daily Rant
March 19th Wylie Blog
March 26th Dancing with Dogs
April 2nd Go Fish
April 9th Solonor's Ink Well
April 16th Billegible
April 23th The Kitchen Cabinet
April 30th Clubbeaux
May 7th Common Sense and Wonder
14-May The Inscrutable American

If you'd like to host the Carnival, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.


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The New French Flag, as designed by Mr. C. Powell



Update: Josh Heit has posted a lovely poem about our garlicky friends.


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2/18/2003




Short Bus Confessions



Link via The Short Strange Trip



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I Am Become Spam, The Destroyer Of Worlds

There's a note at the top of U.S.S. Clueless that made my day.

20030218: Just wanted to let everyone know that I have now received fifteen copies of the "Complete Military History of France." I do not need any more. Thanks.

We've gotten a few copies mailed to us, too. Responding to them was extremely pleasant, for obvious reasons.


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Shiny Things From Blogdex

Dammit, now my space bar is broken.

Fun with your protein bag
Get a clean cloth or paper towel. Stick out your tongue, then dry it thoroughly with the cloth. Keep sticking it out so it will dry a bit more. Now challenge your friends to feel your dry tongue surface. Weird and creepy. Grab the hands of unsuspecting passersby, and force them up against your warm dry tongue.


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Broken Halos Fixed Cheap

Comments are back, finally. Yall've been saving them up, right?

Also, Beer of the Night, since it doesn't really deserve a post of its own, Foster's Special Bitter


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I had to do it



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The Circus is Coming to Memphis

Mike Tyson is crazy. He is not just a menace, but he is a traveling freak show who is sitting on a powder keg. After reading about his latest stunt, I'm thinking it is worth watching his upcoming fight to see what happens. I don't think it is a question of whether or not he will win, I am thinking he is more likely to:

1. Cry like a baby when he is introduced
2. Rip the head off of the bell ringer for clanging the bell too loudly
3. Hump the girls walking around the ring with the round number of cue cards
4. Fling feces at his opponent
5. Gut his opponent and "eat his children"
6. Grab his crotch and call all of the spectators "bitches"
7. Hump the gates of Graceland

I think the guy may have some anger issues.


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This Water Sure is Cold.

Deep, Too.


British men are getting penis extensions in record numbers.

Possible explanations;

It's an anti-war practice. Apparently the movement is full of dickwads.
It's an Islamic thing. After all, Allah already has his.
Hey, it already thinks for me. It might as well take my phone calls, too.
Tired of being taken for a Frenchman at annual physical.
Decided that "Cockney" should be taken literally.
Cheaper than fixing teeth.

Have reinterpreted third verse of "Rule Britannia"

Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke.
More dreadful, more dreadful
From each foreign stroke.
As the loud blast that tears the skies,
Serves but to root thy native oak.


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Airport Security Blows

I know we will all feel better knowing that this guy was stopped in a Miami airport...........on a layover!!!! He had already flown from Jamaica to Miami on his way to the Bahamas. Look at the countries he has visited (Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Pakistan). Shouldn't they have just shot him on the spot? Of course, if he is a would-be terrorist, we should at least applaud him for his honesty. The officials asked what he had and he replied, "Gasoline." All we have are our values, and honesty was obviously one of his. I'm not sure we should be that alarmed that a Japanese tourist was carrying a grill and gasoline on the plane with him, but we should be scared that some yahoo let him get on board with a hibachi strapped to his chest.


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Bloom And Grow......Forever!

You thought they were gone for good.

You thought you were safe.

You were wrong.

The hills are back.

The hills are alive...

with the Sound of Music.


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"Rush" to Give an Opposing View

I might listen to this proposed radio program, but Al Franken? WTF??? Is this really supposed to be an answer to Rush Limbaugh? I don't see how getting Al Franken to do a liberal radio show will help dispense the message they want to send. The only message I think I might get (admittedly a registered Democrat) is that this party is a joke reaching at straws to combat the Republican successes of late. This has all the potential to be a train wreck, similar to the way that the Dennis Miller experiment worked out on Monday Night Football.


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Ooops, Wrong Organs

Can you think of a bigger mistake than this? Those people who immediately think that the family is planning a HUGE lawsuit are completely missing the picture.


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It's Not Personal, it's Business

Okay, I've given up trying to find the "First Iraq, Then France" bumper stickers online.

So I'm going to print them myself.



$2 plus shipping, which should run less than a buck. Call it 3 bucks, total. Who wants one?

Update: Use the Paypal button, por favor.
Make sure you sign in so you can send me a mailing address.

I'll keep this on the main page of the blog until I sell the stickers. After that it will descend into the depths like a regular post.


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The Silflay Hraka Short Bus

Here is my offering.........we are going to the zoo later (does anybody understand that link?).




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2/17/2003




But Honey, It's Medicine! You Wouldn't Deny A Man His Medicine Now, Would You?

I've been really playing up the "beer is good for you" studies for all they are worth. Now, instead of rolling her eyes and complaining about my spendthrift ways in the beer section of the grocery store, she just purses her lips and taps her fingers on the cart.

Today's beer - Juju Ginger
Yesterday's beer - Samuel Smith's Organic Lager
The day before that's beer - Samuel Smith's Organic Ale

Ahh, life is good. I can feel myself getting healthier by the minute.

Update: Found a site that lets one rate his beer. They have the Tabernash (I gave it a 7), but not the Sam Smith beers. Here are the beers they currently have voting enabled on.


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Because Susan B. Anthony Deserves It

I see your President's day, and raise you a Civil Rights Leader Day.


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Shiny Things From Blogdex

"Where, when as death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew."

"As flies to wanton boys,
are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport."


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Teenagers Are Getting Younger

We're all stuck in the house today due to the winter storm. I'm upstairs, taking care of the relatively few demands coming in from work. Ngnat and the Sainted Wife are downstairs, or were until the Fantasia dvd came to an end.

I'm still not clear on all the details, but apparently Ngnat started whining something fierce upon learning that no, she wasn't going to get to watch another movie. When the wife suggested that whiny girls were tired and needed naps, Ngnat walked across the entire room to where her mother was sitting, and pointed a finger at her.

"No!" said our precious progeny. "You shut your face!"

She's in time-out now. She may be in time-out for the rest of the day, for all I know.

I've never seen a grown woman so torn between rage and giggles.


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Anatomy 101

I forgot about this story that I have been meaning to share, once again about the Bug. We were changing her brother's (without a nickname as of yet) diaper and she loves to sit by us and talk to him and kiss on him. Yesterday it seems that she finally recognized that something wasn't right in his diaper. She pointed to his..........unit and said, "What is that?" In a panic I said, "His dingle," to which the wife replied, "It's not his dingle." Then she offers to the Bug, "That is his doobie," which is what her family apparently called it. All I could imagine was Bug going through life talking about doobies and it would give "smoke a doobie" an all new meaning, so I quickly axed that idea. So now, we are calling it nothing. Any suggestions? I will take all suggestions with one understanding.....I cannot stand the thought of having her use the correct term for eternity. I can't explain why, but hearing her say the "P" word for the rest of my days sends shivers down my spine.

Without a good suggestion I am going to go with "unit."


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Protesting in San Francisco

I read where there was a massive turnout for protests in San Francisco against the war on Iraq. I would think this would be extremely confusing for everyone involved. I imagine that a small crowd starting walking to protest the war and others joined in for a variety of reasons. By the end of the march, these were the statistics:

8% Against the war on Iraq
56% For gay rights
15% For legalization of pot
12% Want to save the whales
9% Want to end apartheid (they were too stoned to understand)


Next time somebody wants to hold a protest, make sure it is in a place where it will be easy to understand what the hell the protest was for.


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Sleeping With The Bug

The Bug has never had any trouble going to sleep. I emphasize the word NEVER. Those of you who are parents understand that the word “never” means very, very few times. She always has been so sweet at bedtime, giving us hugs, saying her prayers, telling us she loves us and nestling under the covers to get warm before drifting off to a peaceful slumber…………..something has happened.

Understandably, Bug has gone through some changes lately with the recent addition of her brother, but she has seemed to handle this transition rather well. Sure, she wants attention, but she hugs him and kisses him and tries to help him when he cries, so I am not sure if this is the problem or not. It could be that she just wants us to get her out of the bed.

She has a great vocabulary and I think this has only served to frustrate me as the dad because I have been under the assumption that I could talk to her and reason about things. After one night and a nap gone horribly wrong, I decided to talk to the Bug about her crying.

“Why are you crying?,” I patiently asked.

“For you,” she said sweetly, meaning she wanted me to come into the room.

“Well, I have to go to sleep and so do you. We all have to go to sleep, okay?”

“Okay,” she answered as though I had solved the problem.

“So, are you going to cry anymore?,” I asked to make sure she got it.

“No,” came the reply, extra sweet this time.

Needless to say she wailed before I get to the door. For one nap and one night we just let her cry and she has fallen asleep within 15 minutes, which I know is good compared to some of the stories some of you could share, but that is the worse she has ever done. Thankfully, last night’s sleep came without incident and we hope that trend will continue, but I have my doubts.

It is amazing to me how quickly my attitude could change if I didn’t work hard to remain calm. We I leave the first time I am kind, patient, and loving, telling her to go to sleep and that I will see her in the morning…………..after about 5 minutes of crying I am ready to go in there and tell her to be quiet or “I’ll really give you something to cry about” (I am just looking for a reason to pull that one out of the bag).

The first night that things went bad she tried everything she could think of. She cried and waited………..she called mommy and waited……….she called daddy and waited, and you could hear those gears working. Then, after a period of silence she yells out, “I have a POOPIE,” thinking that would bring us in there for sure, but I refused to go at 4 in the morning, plus I knew she doesn’t poop at that time (those of you without kids think that is weird, those of you with them know about learning when your kids poop). After one more period of silence she yells, “I need a book,” as if we would be harming her intellect if we did not bring her a book before sunrise. Eventually it ended, but not before I entertained myself by telling my wife all the ways I could use the “F” word with the Bug to get her to go back to sleep. I will have to share those at some point, I came up with some surprisingly funny ones, given that it was 4am. Right now I may take a nap.

Update: Apparently the story reminded Tony at Trojan Horseshoes of a good story of himself as a child.


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Dark Windows

March 3rd is the next dark of the moon in Iraq. According to the conventional and by now extremely widespread wisdom, this is the best time for an attack on Iraq, as it maximizes our night fighting advantages over the Iraqi defense forces. Of course. if everyone knows that dark of the moon is the best time for an attack, then the Iraqis do as well. They're certain to be at a higher state of readiness then, so the question becomes one of whether the advantage that dark of the moon gives us outweighs the certain knowledge that tactical surprise will be harder to attain on that night.

But we don't have to attack on that exact night. A cloudy night might work as well, and there's plenty of those in the winter, including all this week. As well, as the calendar draws closer to March 3rd, the moon is not only growing smaller and thus reflecting less light, but actually present in the sky for less of the night. There's a period of a 10 days or so on either side of the dark of the moon where the moon will be below the horizon for a significant number of hours.

I can't link directly to the resultant table, but you can see a moonrise/moonset calculator showing those days here;

Use these values:
Type of table: moonrise/moonset
Longitude 44:22 E
Latitude 33:14 N
Time Zone: 3 hours east of Greenwich

The conventional wisdom is also that this is the last chance Bush will have before the desert heat and sandstorms kick in for the summer, and there are a lot of pundits primed to go ballistic if March passes without an attack.

Of course, attacking when no one thinks you can is the biggest surprise of all.


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2/16/2003




And Another One Goes Into The Bookmarks



Zod: Why'd you put it right beside The Boondocks?
I want to see if they fight.
Zod: Like that time with the wasp and the spider in the jar?
Yes.
Zod: Ooooooooo.


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Lazlo Tothbot

You know, I thought some of the posts in the comments section sounded familiar

To respond to all of Mr. Bigwig's modes of thought would take up too much room and time. I would like to address the most lewd ones, though. By way of introduction, let me just say that I am making a pretty serious accusation here. I am accusing Bigwig of planning to break down the industrial-technological system. And I don't want anyone to think that I am basing my accusation only on the fact that many people are incredulous when I tell them that he intends to instill a subconscious feeling of guilt in those of us who disagree with his jibes. "How could Bigwig be so raucous?", they ask me. "It doesn't seem possible." Well, it is decidedly possible, and now I'll explain exactly how Bigwig plans to do it.

Link via the Daily Pundit


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Marking The Fall Of The Sparrow

It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that the Iraqi plan of battle described in the New York Times depends on delaying the advance of American forces towards Baghdad, then forcing ground troops into an urban combat situation once the city has been reached. "House to house" fighting has been a theme in the media for months, and occasionally CNN, Fox of one of their ilk will broadcast pictures of American troops charging into a plywood house, training for just such a scenario.

I bet Saddam gets a little glow in the cockles of his heart when he sees those stories. I bet Hitler did too, every time he read an intelligence report on the forces under General Patton, training for the invasion of Calais.

Those pictures are a lie. Combat in the desert is like combat at sea. You want to engage enemy forces, not occupy a patch of ocean, or desert. Yes, we need to occupy Iraq cities eventually, but there's no reason to do so so at the beginning of the war, as U.S.S. Clueless has pointed out. Oil fields, dams and bridges, yes. Cities, no.

Saddam's plan, at least the one described, is built upon an incorrect assumption of U.S. strategy, and strange as it may seem, an underestimation of American military power, in that he expects to be able to move significant numbers of troops around, as Iraq did during the month of bombing that proceeded the Allied ground invasion in 1991.

Many of the Republican Guard forces are now dispersed, a move that is intended to help them survive the airstrikes that would open the allied campaign. But as allied ground forces approach Baghdad, the Iraqis are expected to rush to fighting positions that have already been stocked with ammunition and supplies.

That's just stupid. In this war, every Iraqi highway is going to be a potential Highway of Death, from the very beginning of the war.

I also don't believe anyone thinks there's going to be a month long bombing campaign. A week or two of airstrikes followed by a ground attacks seems to be the most common assumption. The problem with such a scenario is that it's 1991 all over again, just faster. Most of the forecasters in the punditocracy and the blogosphere have accepted that the war is going to unfold in a manner similar to Desert Storm. The Iraqi plan of battle, at least the one in the NYT, also assumes that the United States will fight the previous war. In fact, the whole of their plan depends on it.

It's a classic mistake, one with its own cliche. Generals are always prepared to fight the last war. Its most famous embodiment is the Maginot line, built by the French after World War I, in the expectation that the next war would be one of static trench warfare as well.

We're not going to re-fight the 1991 war. If we do, then heads should roll, starting with Don Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks. I'm not positive what the initial phase of the war is going to look like, though I have some ideas about it, but what I do know is that it will be as shocking a surprise to the world as the first phase of the 1991 war was. Only after the battle has begun will people realize that the Iraqi leadership were only the physical targets of a shock and awe campaign. The offensive will also have political targets, among them recalcitrant allies, the anti-war movement, and the American public.

Most of you probably have some memories of Desert Storm; I doubt that there are many early teen readers or younger among the Hraka audience. If there are, feel free to skip ahead, and turn down that awful noise you call music. Now, for the rest. Do you remember the technological hard-on that war gave the American public? Do you remember the sheer sense of awe you had when Brent Sadler of CNN reported watching a cruise missile flying through downtown Baghdad? The technological theme of that war was so strong that it was being called the Nintendo war less than a month afterwards.

Now, how many of you would still choose to play games on a 1991 Nintendo? How many of you would still use a 1991 computer?

Now, would you use 1991 battle plans? Saddam is hoping Tommy Franks will.

If we do fight the previous war, then the Iraqi plan is probably the best one Saddam and his generals could come up with under the circumstances. It wouldn't matter in the long run, because we can beat them militarily no matter what their plans are. We have too much of an edge in weapons, men and material. Saddam's plan is to make it through the opening phase of the war, then hope that we lose the will to finish the job in the face of televised images of Iraqi civilian distress and suffering. In Saddam's mind, In order for him to win, he's got to make the war look like a quagmire for the U.S. Letting the war unfold in accordance with those plans, even if we think they can't keep us from victory, would be the height of arrogance and stupidity.

Planning for a re-fight of the 1991 war might make sense, if the technology we used at that time had not changed much in the interim. Past tactics retain their authority when technological change is slow, but that pace has been anything but slow in the 12 years since Desert Storm. Here's one example: Satellite imagery.

In 1991 the best satellite imagery could resolve details on the earth's surface that were 10 meters or larger, things about the size of your house. Color resolution could only pick out something about twice that size. Now civilian color imagery can resolve individual cars. Military imaging is always ahead of civilian. What do you suppose military satellites can see? What do you suppose they've been doing for the past few months, if not years?

They've been making maps of Iraq. And we're using things other than satellites to survey the battlefield. There's also Predators, Global Hawks, aircraft, passive sensors, and special forces and probably a couple of other things I've forgotten. We know more about the layout of the Iraqi countryside than anyone since God.

Not that this will prevent mistakes from happening, or casualties from being incurred. There'll be more than one incident of friendly fire hitting our troops, and more than one instance of civilians dying. Technology can't prevent mistakes, and it can't prevent deaths. But it can allay them, reduce them.

At this point, Iraq is the best mapped area on the planet, and there's no reason to think our military map of that country can't be updated in almost real time. I wouldn't be surprised if Iraq territories of specific interest have been overlain with a computerized one foot by one foot grid, one that is automatically checked for changes once or twice a day. If Saddam has buried anything in the last six months, we know where it is, and we'll know when Iraqi troops move towards that location.

I don't think they'll make it all the way, once they get the order to move. If American forces wage the kind of war I think we're planning, then they won't ever even get the order to move. If there's a template for the second Iraqi war, it's probably Panama rather than the first Iraqi war. There are major similarities, in that we'll have control of the skies from essentially the outset of hostilities, and we face a force that is on the whole weak, but possesses some more potent elements. Smart bombs and and cruise missiles will be part of the attack, but so will paratroops, tanks, marines, mechanized infantry and special forces. Everything is going to happen at once, as our combined forces attack simultaneously, from Turkey, Kuwait, the Kurdish enclave, and possibly even Israel or Jordan. We'll have troops attacking from very surprising places, in very surprising places, once the balloon goes up.

Whether it is successful or not, our plan is to end the war in a matter of hours, not days. Don't be surprised if you wake up one day and the major fire fights are already over. Do be surprised if you have to watch combat footage for two weeks on the evening news. Be surprised, and be worried. No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy, but two weeks of hostilities will indicate that ours was seriously out of whack.

Update: One Hand Clapping fleshes out the course of the campaign.


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