898 thoughts on “Scrolled Through the Desert

    • He’d become a DWI punchline around Phoenix for awhile, but it looks like he got his act together before the end. I hope he had some good years before the Alzheimer’s took hold. That’s a terrible way to go.

  1. From the latest Ansible:

    ‘Zachary Mason’s novel Void Star has been praised as cyberpunk in the Gibson vein, but Mason deplored an interviewer’s use of the C-word: ‘Not even remotely. I’m not even exactly sure what it means. Bionic implants and mirrored sunglasses? Yes, the definition eludes me. / I think of it more as literary fiction that uses science fiction and genre elements.’ (KCRW, 29 June) Which makes all the difference. [NA]’

    Fuck you Zarchary, I wouldn’t give you the skin off my shit.

  2. On a serious note, my brother in law is seriously ill in hospital with an infection from a scratch by his pet cat.

    They had to operate to see how bad the infection was.

    Fingers crossed.

    • That’s awful Van. Best wishes to him.

      An unfortunate reminder to wash the area asafp any time you’re scratched or bitten, even if it’s a domestic animal.

  3. Interesting note from a family member:
    “Btw, talking with XXXXXXX’s sister last night – who is a Dr of optometry, she said even with the glasses, LOOK AT THE SUN ONLY BRIEFLY and look away. The infrared can heat and damage the retina even when you don’t feel pain. Staring at the sun causes PERMANENT damage. She is so terrified of this event that she was not going to distribute the glasses, but her patients kept asking and she decided it was better to ensure they had good ones since they were going to do it with or without her blessing.”

    Just food for thought.

      • Heh!
        As I played with that I realized that “Hip-Hop” was actually the rise of the producer.
        While you it helps to have good musicians, good singers and good writers … many of the truly epic Albums/singles throughout history, would not have been so without so guy sitting in a studio deciding what sounds to put where and at what volume each of those sounds should be.
        “Dark side of the Moon”, “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Thriller” just to name a few.
        Hip-Hop was a chance for people with those talents to step out of the anonymity of the studio and do their thing (in real time no less) in front of a crowd.
        So imagine if George Martin or Alan Parsons had set up their equipment, with all of their audio elements in a club and been told to do their thing. A one shot deal that wasn’t being recorded so “mistakes” would be forgotten almost as soon as the next audio rolled. All with the underlying goal being to get people on the dance floor.
        How awesome might that have been?

  4. In response to a Ed made sometime in the past week or so:

    io9 are OK, but really fixated on comics and toys. Fine, OK; it’s the content that works for them and their audience. Me, I get nothing out of their toy obsession, and only rarely get anything out of their comics coverage.

  5. Post-Modern Jukebox and Straight No Chaser co-headlining— and Tiffany scored us random first row tix! Then ice cream doughnut sandwiches afterwards at a place directly under the infamous trump billboard with the dollar signs and mushroom clouds, to the sounds of an all-grrrl punk trio in retro attire. Exciting evening!

  6. Bracing myself (and trying to pack).
    I start my 20 hour 3 day drive (well, 40 hours of round-trip driving over 9 days) tomorrow.
    It least there is a good chance of seeing you guys next Friday night. Maybe half day on Saturday?
    … and of course that whole celestial thing.
    The rest of the trip will be a bit of a drag.

  7. Topping off my iPod.
    I’ve been saving up my Escape Artists podcasts for about 2 months now so I would have something to listen to. I am anxious to finally listen to them!

    • If you can find it, watch the video of the Governor of Virginia giving his statement on the situation. I know nothing about the man but after seeing trumps lame – not going to call out the Nazi’s – response … THIS man came across as Presidential.
      Then I read President Obama’s response … which was to quote Nelson Mandela, and it was a painful reminder of just exactly how far from anything resembling “leadership” our country has fallen.

  8. Well a bit of a bugger.

    British Airways says my flight from Kansas to Charlotte has been cancelled on my day if return.

    It’s an American Airlines flight, but their website doesn’t mentioned it’s been cancelled.

    Will have to ring in the morning..grrrr!

  9. Also, do we feel the need to congregate for a Game of Throne viewing on Sunday? Or will we all wait until we get home?

    (is this a question for the mail thread?)

  10. My flight. Is running 15 minutes late. Hopefully that won’t mess with my connecting flight. When I booked my flight I had almost an hour between flights. They changed it a number of times so I now only have half an hour. If this flight is delayed too much, there may be issues

    • Admittedly, it’s a rare thing that I find a Vox article to contain anything remotely approaching intelligent thought. However, that professor pretty much hit the nail on the head.

      While we older generations regularly bag on millennials (though, I often find myself cheering all the things they are supposed to be killing off, especially golf), the statistic that such a large fraction of them favor government restrictions on free speech are probably the one thing that most deeply concerns me about them.

      So, I find myself fully pretty much fully agreeing with this article.

      • “At root, we protect freedom of expression — even hateful expression — in order to strengthen democratic legitimacy.”

        “Many of the Charlottesville marchers weren’t just shouting hateful slogans; they were carrying weapons. We must thus consider not merely the constitutional rule against viewpoint discrimination, but also the lack of constitutional protection for true threats.”

        I like that the author brought up both of these counter intuitive points and I agree with both statements. The freedom to talk about ideas, even hateful and stupid ones, are core to the notion that public discourse is free to consider all things. But also the point were speech becomes threats, it is no longer protected speech.

        • I’m late to this conversation but I thought it was a good article and wanted to chime in saying so.
          I believe you have the right to say hateful evil things in public but you must do so with the realization that the public has a right to to disagree with you, loudly and in great numbers … and if their voice drowns out yours … that is democracy in action.

  11. Hey, everybody! I am in town, posting from the parking lot of Barley’s Overland Park. See you all when you get here!

    I haven’t been following GoT, so I’m not really interested in watching it, but I would absolutely love to continue with Star Wars: Edge of the Empire gameplay if y’all are up for it. :)

  12. Morning Pan. The dittos and I have been up for over an hour. The other lazy bums sharing the house are only just starting to stir :wink:

  13. Two clergy persons are on an airplane, a Catholic priest and a Mormon bishop.

    After a while, the priest turns to the bishop and asks, “Is it still a requirement of your faith that you are not to drink coffee?”

    The Mormon bishop responds, “Yes that is still one of our beliefs.”

    The Catholic priest then asks, “Have you ever had a cup of coffee?”

    “Yes,” says the Mormon bishop, “I have to admit on one occasion, I did succumb to temptation and tried a cup of coffee.”

    The Catholic priest nods in understanding and goes on with his reading. A while later, the Mormon bishop speaks up and asks, “Father, is it still a requirement of your church that you remain celibate?”

    The Catholic priest replies, “Yes, that is still one of our vows.”

    The Mormon bishop then asks, “Father, have you ever fallen to the temptations of the flesh?”

    The Catholic priest replied, “Yes, Bishop, on one occasion, I was weak and broke my vow.”

    The Mormon bishop nodded understandingly for a moment.

    A few minutes later he smiled, looked at the Catholic priest and then said, “A lot better than coffee, isn’t it?”

  14. Well, while it was only a 67% eclipse here in Houston, there were thankfully enough breaks in the clouds today that I could see it. Pretty cool through the proper eyewear.

    The kids were in school today, but the district they attend bought glasses for all students and staff so they could go outside and safely enjoy the event.

    • I’m so glad to hear that some schools out there are getting it right. The schools in Central Florida are so concerned about law suits that they literally put the schools on lock down, with outdoor sporting events cancelled and no one allowed to leave the school. They allowed parents to sign kids out early to go home and watch the eclipse. The dumbest part is that we hit out highest eclipse at 85% at 2:51pm and the schools let the kids go to the buses at 3:05pm. As if the eclipse was suddenly over at 2:52. Infuriates me to no end.

      • That is pretty damn sad. Well, for my part, I wrote a letter to the superintendent and all the members of the school board regarding the fact that with our early start to the school year, the kids would be in class the day of the eclipse. I suggested it would be a great opportunity for the district to get glasses for everyone and take advantage of the opportunity. I was a bit disappointed that I never got a response from anyone, but they sent out an announcement a few days before the start of school that everyone would have the opportunity. They also sent home opt-out forms for parents to fill out if they didn’t want their kids to participate.
        So, I can’t claim credit for making it happen. I’m sure several parents in the district expressed concerns about kids missing out since the school start date had been moved up. But I can at least say I did my part. We bought glasses for the four of us months ago and I was going to send them to school with my kids if they didn’t get any provided.

  15. Thanks everyone that made it out here for the KC meetup. You are a cool group of friends and it was a blast hosting you. For those travelling today, I hope you make it home safe and with no hassle.

  16. Safe travels everyone!! Thanks for a great MMMmmmeetup. We missed all of you who were not in attendance this year.

    I’ve decided that my family is going to move permanently into ditto’s office. I hope he and T-Cat don’t mind.

  17. I have to say the flight from Charlotte to London, at just over 7 hours seemed to fly by.

    The Airbus 330 had a similar layout to the 777.

    American Airlines over booking an international flight was a dick move by the company.

  18. For those that didn’t know, I had to take a connecting flight to Charlotte then back to Phoenix. I had a few odd characters flying out to KC and the first leg out to Charlotte. So on my final leg back I was in first one to my bank of three coach seats. I sat back watching the motley crew of potential seat neighbors walk past. No not fat Gandolf! whew… No not the scary biker dude! whew… Not the elderly sick woman! whew… I ended up with a Miley Cyrus look alike. We high fived each other when the central seat person never showed up. Another wreaking ball avoided.

    • I agree with the author that many of these points are irritating. I don’t agree that the show is “terrible”, the dragon scenes are a payoff for the years of punishment the viewers endured. Plus, HRR’s procrastination have left the producers to fend for themselves.

      • I agree that GoT has become so formulaic that it’s lost some of it’s appeal for me.

        *mild Spoiler*

        I was hoping the Night King would fail at the final scene of this last episode, just so the show wouldn’t feel so cliche at this point.

      • I’ve found that when the show has scenes with low special effects, it still manages to do what got me into the series in the first place… surprise me. It loves to set your expectations for a character or set of characters and then completely turn those expectations around. In this season, at least, the ridiculous and most formulaic nonsense seems to be associated with the grand scale special effects scenes.

    • My better half is too addicted to WD for me to avoid it. I’d have been happy watching the first season and the eventual final one and not watched the episodes in between.

    • I found very little reward to following WD, which is why I dropped it after season 3.

      GoT, on the other hand, has had many, many rewarding moments – – and some great storytelling.

    • I like Walking Dead. Season 2 was dreadful, but the rest of the series was quite enjoyable for me. Except for the ridiculous cliff hangers at the end of most seasons that mostly had people wondering for years if Glen had finally bit the big one.

    • Sorry :-/ :-/ :-/ Thank you for shipping it.

      Incidentally, we found the barcade at Zona Rosa, and because I got the high score on their recently reset Galaga machine, I got a free pint glass there too. Take that, alien bug swarms!

    • Yeah, the clown bit is too close to be coincidence.

      Is it possible that she’s saying he needs to confront it head-on instead of deflecting because of the seriousness of the allegations? Not necessarily saying he’s guilty and needs to fess up? I dun quite know.

      I’d be seriously disappointed if these allegations were true.

      • I have no dog in this hunt, don’t really follow CK and haven’t seen this show but I found the following to be misleading.
        “Notaro remains firm that CK has nothing to do with the show in a new interview with The Daily Beast. “He’s never been involved,” she says. “His name is on it. But we are writing the show, the writers’ room. We’re sitting in editing. We’re acting. We’re on set. We’re doing press.”
        Lewis CK is listed as “Executive Producer” for this show. 90+ % of the time, everything mentioned above is NOT handled by an executive producer. The vast majority of the time the “Executive Producer” is just lending their money or their name to a project to help get it produced. Frequently, in exchange for that they will be responsible for hiring the Producer and /or maybe the Director or a few other lead people but that is it.
        So saying he is not at all involved is probably correct and completely normal. It is the writer’s framing of it, as if there is something unusual there, that seems a little bit like the writer is trying to start the article off with a manufactured, sinister overtone. I just don’t see any need to try and manufacture a false sense of outrage when the rest of the allegations do that quite well by themselves.

  19. While we were eating dinner, one of the televisions was turned to CNN and they were talking about Harvey. The header showed ” Texas officials encourage writing your name and social security number on your arm if you choose not to evacuate”. This led to the discussion whether this was for identifying for deportation purposes or morbidity.

    • Just before Katrina, desperate first responders in Mississippi resorted to that, trying to drive home the seriousness of the situation in an attempt to try and get some of the old timers to evacuate. Those folks had weathered a lifetime of storms and figured they could ride it out.

      I talked with one paramedic who saw an entire family that was likely to be killed because the 80 year old patriarch refused to leave. She told him if it was her time then so be it. Problem was her sons were not about to abandon her and their wives wouldn’t leave them.
      The paramedic finally ask her to please write her name and SS# on her torso because the bodies they found after this sort of event had usually been thrashed around in the water with a lot of debris that tore off their clothes and limbs or at least their fingers making, them hard to identify.
      Interestingly enough, THAT did the trick. She still wasn’t concerned about her own morbidity but the idea that people would see her naked … that was a deal breaker.
      Humans. Go figure.

    • We’re still here. Actually, we got a couple of inches of rain during the night, but we’ve been in a region that has largely been free of rain the rest of the day. The big training arm of the storm was further east and the tornado was several miles to the west of us.

      So far, so good!

      • There’s apparently also a displaced alligator concern across many southern neighborhoods, due to Harvey.

        I don’t care if it is a great band name– I really don’t want Displaced Alligators on my street.

  20. What a difference a day makes. Bayou behind the house is definitely the highest we’ve ever seen it. My weather station shows we’ve had 15.75″ since the begining and 5.5″ of that since midnight.

    For once, the weather folks may not have been exaggerating…

      • It’s hard to say. The bayou behind our house still has several feet of vertical, and of of course it spreads out much wider as it does so. What’s harder to gauge is how much water is pouring in still from upstream. They’re still talking about another 20″ over the next couple of days.

        What really makes this even more difficult is just how widespread the deluge is. We’ve had issues in previous years where particular spots got overwhelmed. This time, there’s no dry spots our real capacity for the water to drain to.

        Maybe it’s too much of a precaution, but we have started moving some essentials up to the second floor.

        • I think that is clear thinking on your part.
          What do they call it .. a cost/loss study ? Which would make you the most upset a year from now – that you did some unnecessary work … or that you didn’t head off a bunch of loss when you had the chance to?
          Besides, got to do something to keep the kids busy! :)

          Hoping for the best.

  21. Well, the power has lasted long enough and the flood waters remained at bay for the really important things – got to see the Game of Thrones season finale. Holy Cow!

    Now we’ll see what happens overnight. At least with how the weather radar looks now, I think I’ll be able to wake up to dry floors again in the morning.

    • Here’s hoping you are high and dry for the duration.
      Any chance you have “flood insurance”?
      I tried to buy some after Katrina and State Farm told me that you can only get it through the federal government. The Federal Government told me I could only get it if I lived in an officially zoned flood plane. I do not.

      I wonder how many folks in Houston live in a “zoned” flood plane. I wonder how many bought the special flood policy … because “home-owners” will not cover that. This is going to be bad :(

      • We do carry flood insurance. According the the map, I’m outside the 100 year, but inside the 500 year flood plain. So, we do at least have that going for us. It would suck, but it wouldn’t be a financial catastrophe. It is separate from our home policy, as is our windstorm insurance. That may be the best plot armor in this case – we’re too well covered to have something happen…

  22. Since I looking to stay up for a while to make sure we weren’t in for a repeat of last night (and so far, we’re looking dry in my neck of the woods tonight), I took the opportunity to watch that “Rememory” movie. Overall, I enjoyed it. The premise was interesting and rather original. Dinklage definitely carries his weight.

    Not likely to win any awards, but not one to be ashamed of, either.

  23. Crap joke, nicked from twitter:

    I’ve been trying to teach my dog to balance an amphibian on his nose but you just can’t teach an old dog newt tricks

    • It is a very good essay.
      Boiled down to a few sentences, I think his point is – We all feel/have felt pain caused by someone else. We share that as humans and maybe we should allow that to be a starting point that brings us together.

      • Super Troopers is overloaded with hilarious moments. There’s a lot of stupid-funny, but also a lot of classic moments. I have zero faith that Super Troopers 2 will be any good.

        The first Rocky is a Best Picture winner, and I recall it being pretty great stuff – – especially if you don’t know the ending. (cough) I do think you can stop after 1, although Creed is supposedly just as good.

  24. I just put kitty’s water dish in the dishwasher. The way she’s acting, you’d think she was dying of thirst. The fact she has another water dish is beside the point as it’s not her favourite dish. Sometimes she’s worse than having a kid around

  25. Today’s movie is I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
    The Netflix Write up: a nervous nurse who scares easily finds herself caring for an ailing horror novelist while living In a house with hidden secrets

    It’s a Netflix original, which means nothing as I’ve seen some of those which were not very good (Spectral comes first to mind)

  26. I admit, this movie dose have some creepy moments. However, I thin 80% of it is because the nurse (the main character) is weird and creepy herself. Seriously, I wouldn’t want her looking after me

  27. Yep, the Texas outpost of Deadpan Land remains high and dry. We had quite a bit of rain directly on us and upstream of the watershed that we sit on. Still, the bayou behind the house is holding at the level it has for the last few days. Flow velocity has shot way up, through.

    Jen’s parents and sister did get a good bit of water in their homes, unfortunately. They’ve gathered up their stuff and are currently trying to find enough dry pavement to get from her parents place over to us.

    At least for our place, I think the threat has not passed.

  28. … and this is disturbing
    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

    Highlites –
    “Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”
    “It may be a comfort, but the smartphone is cutting into teens’ sleep: Many now sleep less than seven hours most nights. (snip) Fifty-seven percent more teens were sleep deprived in 2015 than in 1991. In just the four years from 2012 to 2015, 22 percent more teens failed to get seven hours of sleep.”
    “The correlations between depression and smartphone use are strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone. As the technology writer Nick Bilton has reported, it’s a policy some Silicon Valley executives follow. Even Steve Jobs limited his kids’ use of the devices he brought into the world.”

        • I read somewhere it was more access to social media (which can be accessed by the phone)more than the phone itself. After all, if you want to feel depressed, as a school aged child, ask the world of social media how you look/feel/or any other such things. People can be cruel.

          • Yep.
            The article states – “What’s the connection between smartphones and the apparent psychological distress this generation is experiencing? For all their power to link kids day and night, social media also exacerbate the age-old teen concern about being left out. Today’s teens may go to fewer parties and spend less time together in person, but when they do congregate, they document their hangouts relentlessly—on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook. Those not invited to come along are keenly aware of it. Accordingly, the number of teens who feel left out has reached all-time highs across age groups. Like the increase in loneliness, the upswing in feeling left out has been swift and significant.”

      • Funny you should ask. . . . I thought she sounded mostly great, but she was struggling a bit to hit the high notes. She was acting surprised about it, so I assume she was just having an off-night. She’s 64, belting out these songs every night, so it’s going to happen from time to time. Unfortunately, she was a tiny bit of a diva about it, blaming AZ dryness and cutting off “Hell is For Children” before it finished.

        I’d still recommend seeing her while she’s still performing.

  29. I find the ideas of eating dogs is revolting.

    I know it’s hypocritical as pigs are just as intelligent and I eat bacon.

    But I still find it revolting, I don’t care who you are.

    • This is an interesting quandary. Excluding the vegetarian argument, there are other animals that fall in the same category, the horse comes first to mind. This is considered a delicacy in some countries but there are people who would cringe at the idea. How about monkey? Not chilled monkey brains ala Indiana Jones, but actual cooked meat?
      On a related note, that falls under my crazy upbringing, when I was on the farm we had a sow named Spot. She was all pink except for one black spot on her nose. She was basically a pet dog. If you went to pet her, she would roll over to get a tummy scrub. She would come when called, and was generally a 500 lb. dog. Ostensibly she was a breeder, but there came a time… You just don’t know how it affects a twelve-year-old girl to see her pet headless, strung up on her back legs, with the blood pouring out.

      In conclusion, while I admit the idea is also distasteful to me, if it was the normal food choice in the land, I would probably try dog. I’ve had wolf, would it be much different? It would just add to the list of exotic foods I have tried. Again, it would have to be what is normally eaten in the area. I have no desire to try such delicacy in North America, or anywhere else it is not the normal custom. I’ve eaten enough “pets” to last a life time, thank you very much.

    • That’s a pretty awful story, Ryah, but apparently pretty common. I’m glad I was a city boy.

      There’s zero logic to my rules:
      I’ve eaten rabbit.
      I wouldn’t eat dog, although I might if I ever visited Taiwan or China, and it was served to me. Same for horsemeat.
      I eat pork, but am uncomfortably aware of their intelligence, compared to dogs.
      I will never eat octopus or dolphin – – or any kind of primate. These creatures have shown too much self-awareness for me to ever consider them a food source.

      These rules set to change when our current world leaders push us into a Mad Max apocalypse.

  30. And we tried some new Netflix series today. Norsemen is clever and fun. “Dad of Light” is good and moving, though the last episode was not needed.

  31. Saw the new “Defenders” show was now on Netflix so I decided it was time to quit procrastinating and get with it.
    Been binge watching “Iron First” and “Jennifer Jones”.
    When I finish those I shall tackle the other one whose name escapes me at the moment.

      • Jennifer Jones … not bad. Could be better. Not as quick paced and “snappy” as I am used to from my Marvel shows … but maybe that is what they have to do to pad out a weekly show in order to get a full season of episodes. Also seems to rely on the title character doing things that are sometimes just stupid, in order to keep the plot from getting wrapped up mid season. a lot on the title character doing things that seem stupid. Also, also … I find it interesting that the show is chocked full of graphic violence, graphic sex and strong language … but no nudity. IMO that doesn’t effect the show, I just find it interesting that of all of the things they are willing to show happening to the human body … they draw the line at actually showing it naked. I am 12 eps into it.

        Iron Fist – As I have never been a martial arts fan, I find I am liking this a LOT more than I thought I would. I am 4 eps into this and I like that there seem to be multiple sides to this story line and it isn’t clear exactly who the “good” guys are. So far I am like this more than Ms. Jones’ story.

        • In defense of JJ:

          As far as I remember, most of her stupid actions were done either out of emotional conflict, general self-destructiveness, or mind control.
          I also winced at a lot of the villain’s antics. The metaphor was very powerful, and definitely struck a nerve with me.

  32. Well I have a confession to make:

    I’ve never watched ‘This is Spinal Tap’

    Seen clips, but never watched it from beginning to end.

    Tonight I shall rectify that on a trip to the arty cinema.

  33. A few days back I had a dream that Fox was bringing “Fire Fly” back as an animated series. The few scenes I caught worked pretty well.

    • The fact that it fails to talk about the million dead SOUTH Koreans that would result or the untold number of Japanese that would die (prevailing winds will carry the fallout over Japan) makes me fear it isn’t a joke.

      • The simple fact that the Chinese have told the US that they will come to NK aid if the US attacks first also means this could quickly spiral into a nuclear confrontation.

        • There is the theory that Kim is the only leader out there that is more (or at least equally) inept than Trump.
          That Kim is a figure head who is propped up and kept in power by his Oligarchs. As long as this handful of men continue to be able to run their side hustles and fill their off-shore coffers, Kim is allowed to play “great emperor”.
          CHINA is the key here. They are the ones that allow trade to continue with NK. That NK is a huge thorn in the side of America and China is the one making NK possible … gives China a BIG bargaining chip.

          So I have heard it suggested that this whole situation becomes defused if the US is just willing to negotiate with China. I am not sure what piece of the puzzle they want but if the US was just willing to suck it up and give it to them … this apparently ends with out ANY of the nightmare scenarios.

          So all we have to do is have Trump be the adult in the room and let China “win” this one.

      • Interesting point about NK’s motives. Unless they have some secret unknown supervillain scheme, they have nothing to gain from an exchange vs. the US. As scary as those maniacs are, the scarier maniac is in the White House.

        While I don’t advocate head-in-the-sandism or chosen ignorance, I’d also warn against hanging too anxiously on to these headlines.

        Other things you can do:
        Remain informed, spread awareness, notify elected officials of your concerns, get involved with legit activism, rock the vote.

        • I’m reminded of the line in “War Games” that “the only winning move is not to play.” I’m not an advocate of a preemptive attack especially considering the death sentences we’d be handing our allies. But in the same token, NK will keep on upping the capacity and range of their weapons. Add in the fact that it is in NK’s, Russia’s and China’s interest to keep NK a functional dictatorship as it is a distraction for US policy. I guess the best case is that NK evolves the way China did and becomes less fanatical as it ages, but there are no indications that will be the case.

          • I still think this is a “follow the money” issue.
            Get China to play along with threatening to seize the off shore assets of those who are really running the shore and Kim will become a tiger with no teeth. Got to get China to be interested in curbing this problem … and then those pulling the strings will get Kim to calm down and go back to focusing on his Elvis Cosplay and hanging out with Dennis Rodman.

  34. As for North Korea – I’m not yet convinced that a preemptive strike is the least worst alternative. I agree that China is the key, since they are the ones keeping what few lights are still on in NK.

    That said, about the only leverage I could see that we could apply would be a full on denial of access to the US market for all Chinese products until they stop propping up NK. Of course, that would likely crater the US economy in the process. Still, I’d rate that as a less worse prospect than a shooting war.

    This has truly been a cluster going back through several administrations and none of them have handled it worth a damn.

    • As I have heard it explained, we have NO pre-emptive strike capability that shuts down even MOST of NK offensive abilities. At least not in the first round.
      Apparently their Nuke program is widely spread out in deep underground facilities that would be impervious to our nukes and take a long time for us to find with bunker busters and there is NO guarantee that we even know where it all is.
      Also, NK apparently has the worlds largest collection of chemical weapon artillery shells and they are all aimed at SK. At the first sign of any “incoming” NK would lay waste to 100’s of thousands. Also – the THAAD systems they are installing in SK are for missiles. They do nothing to artillery shells.
      So a pre-emptive strike does some damage, knocks out some capability but all it really achieves is the start of a shooting war.
      Really, the term “pre-emptive” is a bit of a misnomer here as it doesn’t pre-empt a night mare. If it could produce anything positive I suspect it would have happened years ago.

  35. Also watched a much better Arnie film called Maggie. A really well done, zombie slow burn that actually made something new of the tired genre. I know it wasn’t all around reviewed well, but Arnie is honestly brilliant and the fresh, heartfelt take makes it a Lo Pan winner

  36. Crap joke, that may or may not be based on a true event:

    An retired WW2 fighter pilot was invited to speak at an all girls school about his wartime carreer.

    “So there were two of the fuckers behind me, three fuckers to the right of me? Another fucker to the left” he told the audience.

    The headmistress went pale and interjected:

    “Ladies, the Focker was a German aircraft”

    The pilot replied:

    “That may be, but these fuckers were in Messerschmitts!” …

    • I had a client back in the 80’s who used to tell me that one on a regular basis. He kept forgetting he had already told me. He especially liked to tell that if there were any women present.
      ick

      • Speaking of games, we finally got around to playing Clank! at our house. My son won both games, but it is a fun game with lots of potential strategy. Don’t believe the rated 45 minutes a game, it takes at least a couple of hours with 3 or more people.

  37. Well, I did my research on web hosting sites and wrote up a report for my boss. Once a decision is made, I get to create a website from scratch. I’m both excited and frightened of this prospect.
    I keep doing things I’ve never done before in this job. It’s kind of cool.

  38. this Irma kinds scares me. My heart goes out to all of the people of the Caribbean Islands, the Keys, and Southern Florida. I hope the predictions are wrong and that this storm weakens over the next day or so, to a (less catastrophic?) smaller beast.

    Good Luck, TRA! I think you are primarily out of the path, but still….

    • When I went to bed last night I thought we finally had an elderly relative convinced to drive North to the Orlando airport this morning and LEAVE.

      This morning she texted that she was rethinking because Irma had weakened. *face palm*
      Sure. Down to 175mph. Like that is going to make a difference.

      Told her to consider which scenario was “worse” … spending a nice weekend in Atlanta that maybe didn’t turn out to be necessary – or having to camp out in her house for a week or more with no power and maybe no water.

      Clearly she is going to wait until it is too late and she CAN’T leave.
      Humans.

        • Well she has decided to stay and ride it out.
          In her “pre-manufactured home”.
          Based on the other old timers in the retirement community telling her that in Andrew they barely got any damage.
          Never mind that this storm dwarfs that one.

          So I am starting to make my list of what I need to take on a rescue mission late Sunday/early Monday.
          Of course this could all just go away.
          It could.

    • At the moment, in Orlando, we are at a high probability of experiencing tropical storm force winds and a low probability of experiencing hurricane force winds. I’m expecting to lose power for a few day, but to have a relatively damage free experience. Only time will tell on this one.

  39. Jack, further to the earlier conversation, I gave a list of 8 top choices to my boss, putting Hostgator as my top pic. They get an editors choice rating through PC.Magazine and seem to do everything we need. It’s really hard to know without actually working with them
    Whether or not M goes with my recommendation… *shrug*

    • It may be a bit late for this but the last few times I went searching for a host site … one of the things I did was to call a host companies “customer support” phone number.
      For one thing, I wanted to see how hard it was to get to a human on the phone.
      When I did get a support person, I explained exactly why I had called and gauged what kind of reception I got. A small percentage were surly or sounded tired and haggard (an indication that they were overworked) which to me was a warning sign. Most were actually receptive and thought this was a pretty good idea.

  40. A former co-worker suggested “Mary Kills People” to me. It’s an interesting series, only 6 episodes for the first season. If nothing else, it opens up the dialogue. It is well acted though.

    FYI Van, the Brit isn’t the bad guy :P

  41. New Toadies album out today. Hope its good. The thing about the Toadies is that their last 3 or 4 albums are the epitome of 1/3 greatness, 2/3 filler.

  42. … aaand just got a phone call.
    Seems that all the old timers who had convinced her to stay … have now evacuated. So she has now hit the road with her infirmed next door neighbor.
    Hope she doesn’t spend the duration of the storm in her car on an interstate.

    • That’s been a definite risk here. The gas stations along the interstate have run out of fuel and traffic is reportedly moving around 5-7 miles per hour (significantly slower that Irma). People are getting stuck on the highways with no gas and just leaving their cars there to be towed away. Central Florida is still on par for Cat 1-2 winds, so we should be prepared. Again, never know until it hits (supposedly tomorrow afternoon).