Thursday, December 31, 2015

The view from Castle Borepatch



I arrived with Wolfgang at 0200 this morning for the closing, armed with a cashier's check and a Power Of Attorney for the Queen Of The World. Time pressure made me leave a partially loaded truck behind with her, but 'tis done: Castle Borepatch is ours.

And when the Harley gets up here, we are bang in the middle of prime riding country.

But uff da, what a month It's been.

Texas Gets Open Carry Tomorrow

Skip the MSM hysteria. Here's the website for Open Carry Texas.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Camp Borepatch signing off

The movers are here. The first picture from here was very like this one.




Lots of water under the bridge since then. Wolfgang and I will head up north later today. He will stay with friends until the Queen Of The World and I get there at the end of the week.

Needless to say, blogging will be spotty.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Smell of Christmas

There are any number of things that can trigger a memory of childhood Christmas. It might be the pine smell of the Christmas tree that you remember as a child. The way the closets smelled at your grandparents house. The sweet smell of pipe smoke from a blend your dad used.

For me, it's sugar cookies baking. That smell takes me back, I can see the house and the decorations, remember being six years old and just about split in half with anticipation. We made some this week and in the midst of all that is happening in 2015, they still worked their magic.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Georg Frederick Handel - Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus

Not my favorite bit from that piece, but appropriate for the day.   It's been quite some time since I've been to a Handel Sing-a-long and likely can no longer sing the baritone part from memory.  But that's OK - in packing up Camp Borepatch I found my score.  The next time I have I have an opportunity, I shall be prepared.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas to all

Life is chaos, with the Queen Of The World and I both scrambling to get everything packed my Monday when the movers show up.  But there is something about this day that gives one pause, to ponder something bigger than oneself.

Even in the Trenches, 101 years ago on the Western Front.



Yeah, chaos could be much worse.  May the spirit of the season be with you and yours.

Christmas At Tam's

Click over to View From The Porch and watch the video of Tam's Fun Show Song. When there are offerings like that I really miss being able to leave a comment. So Tam, here's my thanks for another year of snark and good gun blogging. I stop by every day.

Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual property thief. Dead Hooker Magazine.

Putting stuff on your blog that someone else made is no problem if you give credit and link.  Not so much if you don't.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Jagged Edge of the Glass

Not my words, but the quote below echos my thoughts on the jagged edge of Christmas 2015. My son died November 4th. My mother found she had cancer three weeks later. Last week she found out it is inoperable. My world is very different than it was at Christmastime last year.

The author I am quoting lost a child to cancer.
 I have stumbled upon four truths about Christmas this year that I would like to share with others who are hurting, grieving, or lonely.
  1. Christmas will be hard.
  2. You aren’t alone in your hurting.
  3. Sitting in a fetal position crying doesn’t change truth number 1, it just gets uncomfortable.
  4. December 26th will come.

So let us raise our glasses to the smooth side, drink in every bit of Christmas joy we can scrape together, knowing that the decorations will soon come down and maybe, just maybe, next Christmas will hold a bit more merriment.

Airportblogging

Mid-afternoon at National Airport is PACKED. Traffic jam on the roads, traffic jam at the elevators in the parking deck, even at the bars by the gates.

I can't even imagine what it will be like this evening, or tomorrow. Glad I'm not going anywhere until after Christmas.

If you're planning on flying, give yourself an extra hour.

Nice gift wrap!

I wonder what the present is?


Monday, December 21, 2015

Scout Leader Mauled By Bear

All the wire services have the story. A Boy Scout leader and three Scouts were exploring the entrance of a cave. A bear attacked the leader. He hit the bear with his rock hammer, the Scouts called 911, he got airlifted, now they are trying to find the bear. All wrapped up in four short paragraphs.

Getting mauled by a bear is not all of it. Right there in the story is the unspoken problem the Scout Leader and the Troop will face. It was one leader, alone with three Scouts. It might be okay for the Scouts to go hiking alone, but it is a policy violation in Scouting in the modern era for one adult leader to be with Scouts by himself. 

You can't even email a Scout unless you CC the Scout's parent or other leaders to ensure the contact is appropriate. 

And you're supposed to self report any policy violations.

By the time this is over, he'll probably wish he was back in the cave with the bear.




Sunday, December 20, 2015

Airport security line whining

I got the closest parking place to the terminal that I think I've ever had. Then a massive delay at security theater. And Southwest Business Select didn't get me TSA Pre. Bah.

I liked it when I wasn't flying so much.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What the hell, Nabisco?

It seems like White Fudge Oreos are in stores for about a nanosecond, starting at some undefined moment after Thanksgiving.  The situation is so bad that scalpers are peddling boxes for $10 on Amazon and eBay.

$10 for cookies.

[blink] [blink]

I actually wouldn't care except these are the favorite cookies of the Queen Of The World.  You're putting your marketing tag line "By appointment to HM Queen Of The World" at risk.  And more importantly, I'm getting tired of driving from Kroger to Public to Target to see if maybe another shipment had arrived.

In future if you would endeavor to be less of an arrogant ass, I should be ever so much appreciative.

Law school professor: NFL's DeflateGate investigation "undermines the integrity and public confidence in the game"

Filed in an amicus curiae in the appeal of Tom Brady's suspension.  Also:
“If adverse inferences should be drawn from a party’s failure to produce relevant evidence,” Blecker writes, “the League’s failure to produce either gauge overshadows Brady’s failure to produce his cell-phone — especially when all phone records confirm that the NFL has all relevant texts.”
Even if you don't like the Patriots, the NFL's willful ignoring of the science and investigative process is pretty unsavory.

(via)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song

Perhaps the greatest Christmas song ever recorded.  They picked the right title ...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Go now - coolest Google doodle EVER

Google often puts up "doodles" to commemorate events of the day.  Go NOW to google.com to see the doodle they made in honor of Beethoven's 245th birthday.

Go now - it won't be there tomorrow, and it's as astonishingly magnificent as old Ludwig deserved.  I love the puzzles where you put together pages of sheet music for his songs - and must brag that I did the Ode To Joy on the first try.

For those of you who might miss this doodle, here's the Ode To Joy, done as only the Japanese can (yes, it's true, with a chorus of 10,000!).  Thanks, Ludwig.  And thanks, Google.  For a little while, you weren't evil.

World War II sabatoge manual looks like Dilbert

The OSS was the WWII precursor to the CIA. One of the things they did wad create a manual for prople in occupied Europe on how to sabatoge the war effort.

Direct sabatoge was dangerous, so the manual was long on passive-aggressive suggestions. Basically, it described a Dilbert future.

https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/CleanedUOSSSimpleSabotage_sm.pdf

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

George Thorogood - Rock 'n Roll Christmas



That's John Lee Hooker dressed as Santa.

Out of Chaos ...

... comes order.


I close on Camp Borepatch tomorrow.  It's been chaos.  I expect that to continue for a couple weeks.  I hope at the end that Chaos will catch a Greyhound Bus to the Coast ...
Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
- Henry Adams

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Well, that was fun

The Harley wouldn't start, because the batteries in BOTH fobs were dead. Off to Home Depot - they were out of that type of battery. OK, off to Publix. Success!

Home. Swap batteries. Security system is happy..

Battery doesn't have enough juice to turn the motor over. Need to take the seat off to get to it; need to take the trunk off to get to the seat. Where did I put the tool to unlock the mounting lugs ....

Aw, screw it. I need some relaxing time after all this "relaxing time".

Rumors of my death are greatly exagerated

Just too busy even to have time to spit. Yesterday was a bit of a breaking point - went to bed at 9:00 and slept 14 hours. Now instead of packing up Camp Borepatch, it's dog park time.




Tomorrow's a new day and the grind will begin again. But this afternoon will be on the Harley. Screw it- let's ride.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Life

Next weekend the family gathers for a weekend to celebrate Christmas. My three sons will be here, along with my daughter-in-law and possibly one or two other people. We picked the weekend before Christmas months ago so that everyone could be where they needed to be on the actual holiday.

The gathering will be one place setting smaller. But now that I know everyone who can be here will be here, I feel the need to celebrate. I will be baking next week, all the traditional cookie recipes, perhaps a ham, and homemade bread.

She and I went out this afternoon and bought a Christmas tree. Made a fresh cut, got it in the stand, got out all the old decorations and played Christmas carols while we trimmed the tree. It felt like an act of defiance against the darkness. It felt like life.


Game Theory and the rise of Donald Trump

Game Theory is a field of mathematics originally developed to try to mathematically derive optimum solutions for card games in the 18th century.  It has developed into a major field of analysis used in computer science and even the design of crypto systems.  Any of you who saw the film "A Beautiful Mind" have at least a passing familiarity with the subject.

You probably even know the most famous example of Game Theory: The Prisoner's Dilemma.  Two prisoners are (separately) offered a deal - rat out the other guy or keep silent.  If they rat and the other guy doesn't, they go free and he gets a long sentence.  If neither of them rat, they both get short sentences.  If they both rat, they both get long sentences.  And most importantly to the prisoner, if he doesn't rat but the other guy does, he gets a long sentence while the other guy walks.

It's a one-time deal, which makes the math simpler.  Real world situations are not so simple, and a variant of the Prisoner's Dilemma has incorporated this.  Tit For Tat is a sequential set of prisoner's dilemma events where the strategy is to play what your opponent played in the previous round.  If your opponent was cooperative, you will be cooperative; if he screwed you, you will screw him back.

What's interesting about Tit For Tat is that mathematical proofs have shown that it leads to the outcome with maximum combined utility.  If your opponent always screws you, you're no worse off playing Tit For Tat, but if your opponent is always cooperative or also plays Tit For Tat then both of you derive the maximum benefit.

The political establishment (we're talking both parties here) has essentially been captured by big business and the wealthy, with the coastal educated being coopted by University research grant funding and public sector Senior Executive Service or Think Tank employment.  The elite has been repeatedly screwing the middle class (who have no such access to University to government jobs).  This has been going on for a couple of decades now.

The middle class has been playing nice, listening to red, white, and blue songs of "we're all in this together".  The recent GOP presidential field has been a stunning display of this: Mittens Romney, Sad Sack McCain, GWB, Bob Dole, Bush 41.  Each tools of (Dole, McCain) or members of (Romney, Bush pere et fils) the establishment.

And for two decades, the middle class has been squeezed for the benefit of the elite.  EPA regulations have gutted American manufacturing, free trade has accelerated the movement of high paying jobs overseas, open borders have displaced millions of Americans from traditional good paying jobs (say, construction).

It's got to the point that the Middle Class has shrunk from 61% of the population to 51%.  Neither party is doing anything about it.  Neither party is even talking about it.

Enter Game Theory.  "Play Nice" as a strategy simply isn't working.  Trust in government has been declining for the same 40 years that the Middle Class has been shrinking, but the elites have gamed the system to ensure that no real change will get in the way of them fattening their portfolios at the Middle Class' expense.  The urge to play Tit For Tat has been building, but has had no outlet.  The field has been prepared, over the course of decades, for a candidate beyond the control of the elites.

Hello, Donald Trump.  He was already a "name brand" to TV, and so the Media couldn't ignore him.  He's a billionaire, and so the donors couldn't control him.  He's a smart deal maker with a long history of persuading people to do things.

Right candidate, right time.  Four decades of rapine has led to this point.  The outcome was, you might say, inevitable.

And so the shrieking madness that we see from the elite and their hangers on in the Media, government, and Universities.  The man was supposed to implode because of his many "gaffes" and yet keeps strengthening in the polls.  And the dirty secret that nobody is talking about is that Trump attracts a lot of support from Democratic middle class voters - especially men who think that Hillary is a crook (the Clinton Foundation has scored a billion dollars of donations in political pay-to-play deals) and a liar.

Of course, the Media won't talk about that because the narrative is that Trump must be defeated in the GOP primary or Hillary walks to victory.

Odd that you haven't seen any polls to back that up.  I wonder why.

Tit For Tat is essentially a reputational game - get a bad reputation by screwing your opponent and you pay the price.  The mathematics is unmistakeable on that.

The Middle Class finally has an option to play against their opponent.  An opponent who has a deservedly poor reputation.

No wonder Trump's support seems rock solid.  The mathematics is unshakeable.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

News

I'm back from the land of no wireless access, which was chosen for that very reason. You see, we've been busy.


The Queen Of The World and I tied the knot over the weekend.  I wasn't meaning to leave her behind when I move to Maryland at the end of the month, and there was a solution to that problem.  Happily, she said "yes".

And she's good in a fix - say, a motorcycle accident; hopefully one that's not about to happen to the happy couple here.


Sadly, a weekend full of happiness and relaxation is now the meat grinder of getting quotes from movers and getting things packed up.  Oh, well - it could be way, way worse.

I could be doing it without her.



And so all y'all will see more of the adventures of the Queen Of The World here.  Heck, maybe that even makes me King Of The World.  Which, I'm told, is almost as high a rank as hers ...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Another Loss

One of my son's friends, Taylor Hunt, died in a kayaking mishap in Ecuador last week. He was one of a group of guys that called themselves the Dawn Patrol. Taylor left a touching tribute to Mike last month and now he is gone as well.

Here they are, all together, on a better day.



Green 5.5" from Brian Burton, with Taylor and Mike on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Back in a while


I'm off for an extended trip, one where Internet access is either not available or not desirable. I plan on being back next Tuesday, so feel free to put your feet up on the coffee table and scratch where it itches.

There will be a big announcement when I get back.  It's good news, so watch this space.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Joining Obamacare Marketplace

The UnitedHealthCare CEO says associating with the Affordable Care Act marketplace will cost them half a billion dollars in losses over two years.

The, err, alure of the motorcycle

Ahem:
Not known for making the most exciting motorcycles, BMW has triumphed over a lawsuit claiming one of their bikes left a man with a 2 day long erection. This via the Marin Independent Journal:
Wolf claimed he suffered an acute case of priapism -- a painfully prolonged erection -- after riding his 1993 BMW motorcycle for two hours. He claimed the vibrations in the "ridge-like" motorcycle seat caused the condition that lasted several days, so he sued BMW North America and the seat manufacturer, Corbin-Pacific Inc.
The jokes sort of write themselves.