Thursday, November 26, 2015

An ode to the ever shortening Thanksgiving holiday

By which I mean "the ever shortening time between the end of Thanksgiving dinner and the start of shopping".  At the pace it's going, Black Friday will soon fall on Halloween.

This, of course, was foreseen back in the 1960s.  It was funny back then, in a "ha ha, only kidding" sense.  Now it's "ha ha, only serious".

Giving Thanks

To remember what the celebration was about, you have to go back and see what the Pilgrims went through their first year:
"Of the original 102 Mayflower passengers, four died before reaching Plymouth. By the summer of 1621 there were another 46 deaths among the passengers, and about 25 deaths among the crew. After the General Sickness, only 12 of 26 men with families and 4 of the 12 single men and boys survived. "All but a few" of the women survived"
They had been headed for Virginia. They ended up in Massachusetts. Survival for any of them was in doubt and without the help of the native people, they would not have made it.

 "At summer's end, when harvest was in, Governor John Carver called for a special celebration. The colonists began to gather food for a traditional English "harvest home." This festival was held throughout England at harvest's end to give thanks for the bounty and celebrate the end of the most intense period of work for farmers. The Pilgrims' celebration had a special poignancy, of course, as a counterpoint to years of terrible hardships and a testament to the creation of the kind of religious environment they desired.

The Native Americans traditionally celebrated a harvest festival similar to the harvest home. The Pilgrims invited Massasoit, who came with 90 of his people and whose hunters contributed five deer to the celebration. The Pilgrims gathered corn, wild turkey, ducks and other fowl, fish, and venison. The first Thanksgiving lasted about a week, with three days' straight of feasting with the Wampanoag. The time was filled with prayers, dances, shooting matches, wrestling, and other games.

There is no specific indication of when the first Thanksgiving was held; it is unlikely that it was held as late as November. It was held after the harvest was gotten in and before the arrival of the Fortune in November. It also was not a day specifically set aside for religious worship. The Pilgrims lived so that prayer, the Bible, and the church were part of their everyday lives. The first Thanksgiving included a blessing on the harvest and thanks to God, but it was also a party rather than a serious religious meditation, with five or six days of recreation. The invitation of the Wampanoag was not just about being neighborly; it was also to recognize the special role which the Native Americans played in ensuring the Pilgrims' survival."

As God is my witness ...

The Feast

Pieter Breugel the Elder, The Peasant Wedding
The feast has always been more for the soul than for the body.  Today's holiday is the most uniquely American of all.  A day to relax with family and friends, but one that explicitly calls on us to ponder what we are grateful for.

Me, I'm thankful for quite a lot.  It's a quiet day with just the Queen of the World and me.  I'm thankful that I'm an empty nester - the boys seem to be doing pretty well, but it was time.  Probably best for both them and me.

I'm thankful for the dog park and the puppy play that wears Wolfgang out.  I'm thankful that the move back north looks like it will go fairly smoothly.  Roswell and Camp Borepatch have been good places, but a new adventure begins.  I'm thankful that the adventure looks like it's fixin' to be a good one.

And I'm thankful for you, gentle reader.  The community that we've forged is something special indeed.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have a happy and honest Thanksgiving

Well, maybe not as honest as this ...

I want to disconnect myself from all this emotion.  With alcohol.


Analysis of the Laquan McDonald shooting by the Chicago Police

Eric Raymond does an analysis of the video:
The fast version: I would have said this was what cops call a “good shoot” if it had stopped at the first two bullets. It didn’t. I don’t think this was murder one, but it was at least criminally negligent homicide and those who covered it up should be prosecuted along with Van Dyke.
This is a very thoughtful post on when deadly force is justified and when it - sometimes suddenly - turns into unjustified deadly force.  This is important reading for anyone who carries, so RTWT.

As a bonus, there's a link there to his analysis of the Michael Brown autopsy results and what it likely means about the shooting.  Short version: completely justified in that case.

The Science is settled!

97% of Americans aren't worried about Climate Change:
A new Fox News poll finds that in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the issue of terrorism has become the top concern of American voters. Only 3 percent of respondents said that global warming was the most important issue facing the country today.

When asked what is currently the most important issue facing the country, 24 percent of those surveyed said terrorism. That number stood at 11 percent the last time Fox News conducted the poll. Another 21 percent cited the economy as their top concern. The issue has been at top of the list for most of President Obama’s tenure in office.
From a scientific point of view, this is clearly the wrong answer, since it doesn't provide more grant funding for climate scientists.  Oh, the humanity!

Declssified NSA COMSEC lectures

From 1973.  One-time tapes, codes, TEMPEST.  Fin stuff if you're a crypto-nerd like me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Zero to Jackboots in five two years

It's happening faster than I had thought:
Germany security guards at the main government office for refugees in Berlin have reportedly been caught on camera using openly Nazi language.

Bild newspaper has released video footage in which it alleges the guards call for asylum-seekers to be put in concentration camps.

One recording purports to show a uniformed security guard speaking of getting “swastikas in my eyes”.

“In two years, there will be a revolution here and there will be no more of all this s***. We’ll clean it all out,” the guard, who has not been named, appears to say.

“We have plenty of summer camps, and I swear to you they can be used again. On the gate: work makes you free,” he says.
Boy, we sure need to be more like Europe, huh?

You Know What This Is, Don't You?

It's Glockamole.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Earlier in the Month

I was out for a walk on Veteran's Day. There are some veterans I know that served in combat and I always think of them when this day rolls around. I was preoccupied that day, but I did get the flags flying in the local park after the ceremony had ended. Better late than never.

The department of Homeland Derp

This is me, rolling my eyes:
The US Department of Homeland Security is running dozens of unpatched databases, some of which are rated "secret" and even "top secret," according to an audit.

An inspection [PDF] of the department's IT infrastructure found huge security gaps, including the fact that 136 systems had expired "authorities to operate" – meaning that no one was in charge of keeping them updated. Of the 136, 17 were classified as "secret" or "top secret."
Top. Men.

I know that the problem of "what's on the network" is really hard (actually, it really is).  But if your department has the word "Security" in it, it seems reasonable to think that you'd be better at it than other people.  Especially if some of the stuff is Top Secret.

The 5 Stages of Blogging

Things are only funny because they are true. Stolen from Uncle Jay.

5 stages-

Upon seeing or experiencing some inanity or stupidity, the thought of "I cannot believe the AssHattery I am seeing here."

"This shit is so FUBAR I must blog about it! To the Keyboard!"

After several hundred keystrokes, a handful of Google searches, a wiki-wander or three, missing out on going to lunch with the new receptionist, and a deadline looming for getting that new contract done and submitted- you make promises:
"Just 2 more paragraphs. And a link to that picture on
Then I'll get back to that proposal."

On first proofread:
"What the f... Did a third grader write this?
Nope- A third grader would have done a batter job.
Why do I even try? No one reads this shit anyway. Tam probably wrote about this weeks ago and probably did the job 10 times better."

Fuck it. (presses send)
Like I said- no one reads my shit anyway.
Who gives a shit. At least it's free ice cream. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How to make money from Facebook

You're welcome.

Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi discloses your name and home address

It also helpfully offers a map to your house for potential Internet stalkers:
The Xfinity Wi-Fi service from Comcast is disclosing the full name and home address of residential customers, which is something the company says isn’t supposed to happen. 
The disclosure of such information increases an already exposed attack surface, by allowing anyone with malicious intent to selectively target their marks. 
The following composite image shows residential customers with Xfinity Wi-Fi enabled. They are all in the same town, in the same state, and according to a public records search – none of them have ever been registered as a business. Please note: This image has been redacted by Salted Hash to remove the customer's last name, address, and the map markers which might identify their location.
Click through to see how this all shows up when you search for Comcast Wi-Fi hot spots.

I recommend that anyone with Comcast Xfinity disagree their Wi-Fi IMMEDIATELY.  Instructions are here.  Run, don't walk to do this NOW.

You will need to buy your own wifi router (probably $39 at your local big box store like Wally World).  Run an ethernet cable from your router's "WAN" port into an ethernet port on the Comcast box.  Configure your own wifi, and you will be clean from Comcast stalkers.

The reason that I am so adamant that you need to do this is that the article has enough details to convince me that someone could use this to locate you, spoof your computer's network address, and then do something to incriminate you (say, launch an attack on homeland or download child pornography).  I am convinced that the spoofing would fool whatever logging that Comcast is doing, so their lousy logging would implicate you.

And the punch line is that they just don't care.  The researchers reported this to them and Comcast hasn't done bupkis to change this.

From The Walking Dead

The jo staff work they are doing isn't anything that looks familiar. But listen to the words and it is Aikido.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

This just in

House hunting can be fun - it's all fantasy and dreams.

House buying is a pain in the tail end - it's reality, and a reality that I quite frankly don't find particularly, err, dreamy.

Pat Green - Lucky

This coming week is Thanksgiving - at least here un the USA.  This is perhaps the most deeply American of holidays.  Each of us decides what we are thankful for.  Nothing is organized, nobody sends out a list, it's gloriously decentralized down to the individual level.

It's a great opportunity for a meditation on what to be thankful for.  This meditation is good for the soul, and I hope that in a quiet moment between family, football, and feast you have a short time for this pondering.  The feast is not just for the body, it also feeds the soul.

Lucky (Songwriter: Radney Foster?):
I hope you get to be on a TV game show
And win a million dollars 'cause that's lucky
And I hope a bartender appears with a shot and a beer
Every time you holler 'cause that's lucky

And I hope you get to live in a big old crib
And a fancy neighborhood 'cause that's lucky
And you never have to fight for an invite
To the coolest parties out in Hollywood, oh that's lucky

But if you were just a regular guy
Living beneath this red, white and big blue sky
With your job, your car, your family, your friends
The love of a girl that you know will never end

Then you've already got it made every single day
Yeah, you know what it's like to be lucky

Well, I hope you get the chance for a paparazzi romance
With a supermodel 'cause, yeah man that's lucky
And I hope you're getting chased first place full throttle
In a NASCAR race, oh that's lucky

But if you were just a regular guy
Living beneath this red, white and big blue sky
With your job, your car, your family, your friends
The love of a girl that you know will never end

Then you've already got it made every single day
Yeah, you know what it's like to be lucky, yeah
Well, don't you feel lucky?

But if you're just a regular guy
Living beneath this red, white and big blue sky
With your hopes, your dreams, your faith and your prayers
Every breath you take, every moment you share

Then you've already got it made every single day
Yeah, you know what it's like
Yeah, brother you know what it's like to be lucky, yeah
To be lucky yeah, to be lucky yeah

Come on, don't you feel it?
Yeah, you're lucky

Friday, November 20, 2015

A deal for .45 ACP

It's National Ammo Day, and has .45 ACP for 26 cents/round.


Die screaming in a fire

The TV was on in the hotel room and Squawk Box (CNBC?) came on.  Their introduction?
Greeting from the most powerful city in the world.
Channel, changed.  Could you bastards be any more of a self caricature?