Casual Day That Ends In Y { Because I can't wait for Friday

I love this video!

Musings { Technology and Work, part (355/113)+1

Because not all things end in tears and sadness.

Update. My work the other night has a happy ending to the story. I was able to get the system patched. While I was unable to upgrade the firmware of the HBA flashproms. I was able to time warp the patch sets 4 years forward (it was 2/02, I updated it to 6/2006).

I was able to leave it better than I found it. I installed OS disk mirroring, something it never had.

Tomorrow I patch it's siblings.

Response { Why I don't support Hillary

I don't think Hillary is sitting around grappling with her vote decision. I do think that the cartoon suffers from an artist's laziness. But of course political cartoons are all about caricature - Hillary = poll watcher, Bush = dumb/ignorant, Gore = boring, Obama = Jesus. I did some background reading and found her statements about her vote in Iraq. Basically it boils down to, the intelligence provided by the administration (which we now know to be cherry picked) indicated immediate action was necessary. The Iraq war resolution, because of alleged WMDs, did give Bush the authority to use military force but with the understanding that he was going to do it to uphold UN sanctions. And, during a time which the country (Congress included) turned to its president for honorable leadership, Bush showed his true colors as an a-hole (not waiting for the UN inspectors to finish) and basically did what he wanted. Hillary is now defending her vote pretty consistently. If anything, I think her resoluteness on this issue goes against the popular idea of her as a poll chaser. The decision to go to war is complicated so is the explanation, and I think that's what is tripping Hillary. Saying I'm sorry simply ignores that life is full of nuance and comes off as placating if not a bit pandering. I'd also like to point out one more quote from the NYT,

Though Mr. Obama is framing his candidacy to appeal to Democrats who have long opposed the war, until recently he was not among his party’s most outspoken voices against it. He campaigned strongly against the war in his bid for the Senate in 2004, but when he arrived in Washington he waited 11 months to deliver a major speech on Iraq.

Obama is fortunate because he wasn't around in the senate for the vote. He does appear pure, but if that is the criteria for support then I think one should support people like Dennis Kucinich who was brave enough to vote against the Iraq War Resolution. I am cynical enough to say beware of those whose true colors are yet to be revealed.

Some disclosure, I don't really like Hillary or Obama. I also will admit, again, in the general election I will vote for whomever the Democrats tart up for the general election. As of now, I don't really care about the primaries, though Kucinich may be liberal enough to get me motivated. Wait, check that, his thoughts on abortion and gay marriage are liberal enough to make me read more... will report later...

A content appropriate video...

Commerce/Tech { A Fitting End

Every CompUSA in Minnesota is closing.

Don't expect me to shed any tears. Your selection was terrible, your prices were outrageous, your coupon refunds were annoying, and your sales staff were assholes.

I was never treated like anything above excrement when I was there, and I decided I'd had enough a while back and never did any business there again. Given that I'm an IT professional and have an annual budget in the tens of thousands of dollars, your crappy company might have earned some of that scrip if you had bothered to treat me like a valued customer.

I wouldn't even shop at CompUSA in an emergency. There are a number of other computer parts suppliers, and they don't generally make my blood pressure rise like your employees did.

Good riddance.


Politics { Why I don't support Hillary

This picture (from the City Pages) about sums it up:

I feel she will be more of the same old same old. While I would love to see a women President, I don't judge a candidate based on what race, orientation nor gender. She just has too much history, a wishy-washy fence leaning kind of bad that I dislike. Moderate? Sure, I guess, but a more right of center moderate.

Some argue Barack is inexperienced. Well, perhaps he is, but I would rather take a chance on someone like him, an unknown, then Hillary, a known.

Ok all you Hillary supporters, flame away. Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me I'm naive. Am I? Look at yourself. Look at what she's done. Think about 2004, the zoo that was and think to 2008. It will be a zoo (and insane...they predict over $2B, thats billion will be spent by the candidates running). After the last 7 years of Bush, the abortive 2000 election. The War. The environmental crisis. Its time for a change from same old same old. Its time to re-evaluate the office of the President (and Congress). Its time to start making changes. Break the status quo. We have to, or we're doomed as a society if we keep on this course.

Musings { Technology and Work, part (355/113)

I awoke, slowly, having not slept well again. Nerdwife was already up and showered and had gotten ready for work. I was not fully awake, trying to hold on to what little bliss of a comfortable and cozy bed remained, refusing to arise and face the day for a little longer. She kissed me goodbye, but it seemed like a dream.

I rolled over, shut off the alarm, and fell back into a fitful sleep for another hour. I was trying to sleep in because I knew tonight I would be in late, patching systems.

I finally got up and took a shower. Then descended into my still unpacked office (I put out my WH40K Battlefleet Gothic stuff this weekend and basked in the loving memory of painting the ships and the battles they fought). I was up late the night before switching VCS service groups to other nodes in the cluster so that I could patch the one that awaits me. I made the mistake of leaving my laptop open and logged into work with email open. The emails never end. Somewhere along the line, someone decided email was a real time messenger service and that important things could be conveyed, or worse that they would be read and accepted without discussion. Most people who use email do not understand that it is not 100%, even the USPS isn't 100%. Spelling and grammar have also declined, which is paradoxical since people are writing more. I'm not the best with letters or words, so when I notice, things have sunk to an all time low. I answered a few of the more urgent, to clarify mostly. The I logged off. Work would claim me soon enough. I fired up my PC at home, deciding to check on my WoW auctions. I'm saving for an epic mount, which costs ~560g. I'm level 51 now and need to start. But WoW is undergoing patching, I had forgotten that its Tuesday. Tuesdays are patch day. I instead switch to my Tau army on WH40K: Dark Crusade and progress to eliminate the Eldar, and make major inroads on the Orks and rebuff the Space Marines. But first a quick run to get cash from an ATM and a coffee and scone from Dunn Bros. As I wait in line, my mind wanders again to the Cities, and I miss the selection of coffeehouses that I used to frequent. I change the topic in my mind to something else. I dwell on the Cities too much still. It depresses me and keeps me from enjoying the now and making the best of the here. I think about Saturday. Saturday is nerding. I also need to stop by and visit my Grandparents. I received a frantic email from Grandma, here computer is doing things it shouldn't and not doing things it should. That's not good, but I miss them and I don't see them enough. When she found out when I'm coming, she said she is going to make breaded pork chops and mashed potatoes...how can I refuse? I'm not a lot of things, but I like to think I am a good grandson. Besides, no one else in the family can help, or rather she doesn't trust anyone else in the family to help. She knows I do things with computers.

The coffee and raspberry jam covered scone is delicious. I enter the world of Kronus to do battle.

The Eldar die quickly and are driven from the world. The Orks rise before me in a green tide and clash against my wall of Fire Warriors, who become awash in a sea of red. 5 to 1 kill rate, my Cadre literally kills thousands of them. The Orks are driven from the Bulwark, back to their home territory. I will finish them next turn, which will have to wait.

2:30pm comes too fast. I shutdown the game. Say goodbye to the cats, who both sit and watch me prepare to leave. They are funny like that. Always there to greet us when we get home and there to see us off when we leave.

I am unable to find a parking spot and I don't have change. So I park in a two-hour parking zone near work...I probably have a ticket. Parking has been tight since they eliminated another two parking lots at work.

I go to the hardware recycling center and pickup some components I need to craft a console patch so that I can work remotely on this system instead of sitting in the data center slowly going deaf. When did they start locking the door...

I forgot to lookup where the server was.

The server was moved since I last remember, not uncommon, I remember then that ACs had to go in where it used to be, it is now all the way across the data center and by itself. Damn. I bring a laptop over, the DC Ops Manager put various laptops on stands throughout the data center, they are great tools. I patch the laptop in to the server and head a few blocks away to my office. I remote desktop in and everything seems to work, console output is fine, but input is funny. Everything is changed to funny characters. Almost like I am typing in wing-dings.

I consult a co-worker. We get some long cables and do what you should not do, string cables over the raised floor to establish a patch connection. Much time is spent checking and re-checking and verifying the cables and connections, but to no avail. We figure the ASICs in the serial connector on the host are bad. This makes the job far more interesting, and much, much riskier. The machine is venerable. The likelihood of something going wrong when you touch it are high. Uptime is over 400 days. But the kernel level says the OS is running at a patch level off an old CD, I figure it to be Solaris 8, 02/02, but I'm too pre-occupied to look it up at the moment. It is part of a large, but dwindling cluster of systems built by the previous regime as I call them. The collection of cowboys and pseudo-admins from whom I, and the rest of the team inherited the environment. The stuff they built are land mines waiting to go off. And they frequently do, and then we have to pickup the pieces. In most cases this is actually a blessing in disguise as we can rebuild them better, and most importantly more supportable. But we pay, for everything we do, we pay. The political price is always high. The previous regime left us in a spot of 'most hated'. Not by all, we have allies and friends, but we have many enemies. Though the winds are changing and slowly we are coming to at least professional understandings. At my old job I learned the valuable ability to separate people from the work they do. In most cases you can dislike, hate the person at work, only to find away from work and the pressure and stress they are not at all bad people.

I digress. I un-encapsulated the OS disk, its not mirrored. Few of these ancient systems have mirrored OS disks. Without a console, I have to patch in multi-user mode, another 'don't try this at home' situations, but options are few. Patching from such an old kernel rev will mean it will take probably 8 hours on weary ultra-sparc II CPUs. They're tired, if you listen you can hear the wheezing of age in the system's fans. The groan of its power supply. The age of its machine spirit. I try to do what I can revive and resuscitate these old installs, but you can only bring them back from the dead so many times before you just must retire them.

So far the patching is going, but the moment of truth will be the reboot...hours from now.


Politik { Wow, just wow

My first response - this is jaw droppingly disgusting. (Check out their ACLU 'commercials' also...) But I just had a realization. Is this their visceral response to The Daily Show/The Colbert Report? How will we ever come together? Or even co-exist?

Other thoughts... so does this mark a new acceleration in the increasing trend towards infotainment? This is being done by Fox News. Arguably those special 'news magazines' hours on all the 24 hour news channels are only a hair more legitimate. Assuming there will be an interview segment, will liberals be as sporting and as brave as a number of conservatives who have gone on TDS/CB? Thought it could be suggested that the conservatives who do choose to go on those shows are either ignorant, arrogant, or simply want the media attention. Or at least to go on Fox News the next day and bitch about it.


Priorities { Budget

Energy dependence is probably the single greatest threat to our ongoing security as a nation and as an economy. Reducing dependence on foreign oil, as well as fossil fuels generally, is probably the single most needed development to secure any future for America. The only reason the world pays any major attention to Southwest Asia and the 12th century cultures living there is oil. If Africa had as much oil as Saudi Arabia, you can bet American soldiers would be knee-deep in the Sahara on some foolhardy empire-building exercise. When things get tough, expect America to consider Canada and Venezuela as potential targets.

Proposed Department of Energy R&D budget for FY2007: $2.7 billion 1

Proposed defense budget for FY2007, including the requested money for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through FY2008, but not counting the interest on the debt that defense spending has been responsible for: $745 billion 2

It is clear by these choices that we have little interest in actually fixing our problems. America's major interest seems to be keeping the oil industry and defense contractors flush with cash while Rome burns.

Cut the military budget by $100 billion. Today. Put half that money into renewable energy research, and the other half into subsidies for communities to work on ways of conserving more and becoming more efficient. We will be both better for it generally and we will be more safe. Our security theater and neocon hawk methods are only speeding the demise of an America that can be salvaged. The promise of easy motoring, a car in every garage and a suburban house with a white picket fence for all is over.

In short, America, put your money where your mouth is and invest in things that give us a future, instead of just incompetently trying to prolong the inevitable.


Casual Friday { Life and Death of a Pumpkin

Creepy and well done.

Casual Thursday { Moonwalking bird

Does this mean moonwalking is a prevalent meme in nature?

Work { Java DST upgrade script

The change in Daylight Savings Time caused by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has resulted in nightmare conditions for some in Information Technology as almost every operating system required a patch of some kind in order to correctly adjust for the new DST rules. Many apps (most noteably Exchange) also require patching. Those that cannot be patched have to be upgraded or work around have to be put into place. Java is one of those Apps. More information regarding Java can be found at http://www.sun.com/dst. To make my life a little easier I wrote the script below to aid my efforts to patch/upgrade the system JRE and the Symantec/Veritas JREs on Solaris systems. Its not as clean as I would like and there are many improvements I would do as well as streamline some of the logic.


# java_dst.ksh ###
# author: Me
#version: 1.1
#purpose: to automatically find/update JAVA JREs on Solaris hosts
# and catalog completed and unsupported JRE instances.

# changelog:
# 20070215 me: streamlined script/debugged
# added find/update for /usr/openv/java
# 20070214 me: script debugging
# 20070211 me: script creation
# peer review:
# 20070214 co-worker1
# 20070215 co-worker2

export PATH

# global variables
# base directory where script runs
case $0 in
"./java_dst.ksh") BASE=$(pwd) ;;
*) echo "WARNING! This script needs to be executed from the directory in which it resides, otherwise the script will not work."
exit 1 ;;
export BASE


if [ -x ${SYSJRE}/bin/java ]; then
export PATH
echo "WARNING! No system JRE defined as ${SYSJRE}! Please investigate."
ls -ltard ${SYSJRE}
exit 1

# intro
echo "This script will scan the target host for installed JREs in /usr and /opt."
echo "This script will also update any JREs found with the '-u' option."
echo " "

# functions() {}

find_jre() {
# find installed JREs on system and catalog them

JRECATALOG=/var/tmp/$(uname -n)-jre_catalog.out
JREVEROUT=/var/tmp/$(uname -n)-jre_versions.out

# better search string, will not cross mount points or non-local file systems,
# will not also exec the version option on the java installs found, will
# elmininate sparcv9 (64-bit) entries as they are duplicitous
echo "Searching for installed JREs in /usr and /opt..."

find /usr /opt -local -xdev -type f -perm -o+x -name java -print -o -name sparcv9 -prune >${JRECATALOG}

# catalog the version of the JREs found, for documentation purposes
echo "Cataloging installed JRE locations and version..."
echo "Versions will be saved in: ${JREVEROUT}"
echo "Installed JREs found will be saved in: ${JRECATALOG}"

# initialize version output log
echo "">${JREVEROUT}

for x in $(cat ${JRECATALOG})
echo "${x}"
${x} -version 2>&1
echo "done."

# update the master catalog with JREs installed on system for future
# reference
if [ "${OPTS}" = "B" ]; then
echo "Copying ${JREVEROUT} to ${MASTERDIR}..."
echo "done."

echo "Note: ${JREVEROUT} will not be copied to ${MASTERDIR} unless the '-u' option is specified."

install_jre() {
# install JRE 1.5.0_11 on target host, re-link /usr/java to new JRE.
# JRE installed will be /usr/jre1.5.0_11

tar cf - ${JRE15} | (cd /usr ; tar xvf - )
mv ${SYSJRE} ${SYSJRE}.old
ln -s /usr/${JRE15} ${SYSJRE}
${SYSJRE}/bin/java -version
echo " "
echo "If version (Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_11-b03)) appears, then JRE 1.5.0_11 was successfully installed as the system JRE."

updated_hosts_log A


updated_hosts_log() {
# update the ${MASTERDIR} logs
case $1 in
A) # updated
echo "###"
echo "# $(uname -n) system JRE updated"
echo "# $(date)"
echo "###"
${SYSJRE}/bin/java -version
B) # issue
echo "###"
echo "# $(uname -n) Symantec JRE non-updatable $2"
echo "###"

update_system_jre() {
# update the JRE using tzupdater or unbundle the new JRE if needed

echo "Checking installed system JRE (${SYSJRE})..."
SYSJREVER=$(${SYSJRE}/bin/java -version 2>&1 | grep "^java" | cut -d\" -f2)

case ${SYSJREVER} in
1.4*|1.5*) echo "updateable JRE version found ${SYSJREVER}, updating..." ;${SYSJRE}/bin/java -jar ${TZUPDATE} -u ;echo "done."; updated_hosts_log A;;
*) echo "non-updateable JRE version found ${SYSJREVER}, installing ${JRE15}...";install_jre ; echo "done.";;

update_symantec_jre() {
# update Veritas/Symantec Product JREs, will only work with JRE1.4 or greater
# only Veritas/Symantec Products v4.0 or greater are supported
# any version less than 4.0 found will not be able to be updated
echo "Checking for and updating the following packages: VRTSjre, VRTSjre15, VRTSob..."

for x in $(echo "${NBUJRE} ${VRTSJRE14} ${VRTSJRE15} ${VRTSJREOB}")
SYMJREVER=$( ${x} -version 2>&1 | grep "^java" | cut -d\" -f2 )
echo ${x}
case ${SYMJREVER} in
1.4*|1.5*) ${x} -jar ${TZUPDATE} -u ; echo "Updated ${x}."
"") echo "\c: not installed. ";;
*) echo "Non-updateable JRE found: ${x}"
echo "See http://seer.entsupport.symantec.com/docs/286461.htm for instructions and impact to this host."
echo "Per Symantec, JRE updates are cosmetic and only affect the GUI."
updated_hosts_log B ${x}

usage() {
echo " "
echo "usage: ./java_dst.ksh [-u]"
echo " -u: find/update JREs"
echo "no opts: find JREs and save output to /var/tmp"

# main()

if [ "$*" = "" ]; then
while [ "$*" != "" ]; do
case $1 in
-u) find_jre B;update_system_jre;update_symantec_jre; shift;;
*) usage; exit 1;;

Life { Me not good with English this wek

I don't know if its the lunar alignment or fullness or that I may be getting arthritic but it seems like I can't makes me my letters good this week.

Top 5 problems:

1) 'know' when I mean 'no'
2) 'their' when I mean 'there'
3) 'windws' when I meant 'winds'
4) missing the lttr 'e'
5) letter 'd' is playa-hating me


Politics { Al Franken stumps in Rochester

Al Franken stopped in Rochester. Al is running for U.S. Senate, the seat currently held by Norm Coleman. I was initially going to miss it, but decided to go. I was not sure if I was going to throw my support behind him, since its still 21 months until the election. But I found the rally to be good. There were a lot of people there, a lot more than I thought there would be, but I need to change my perspective. Rochester is no longer the conservative bulwark of Minnesota that has moved to the north Metro.

He was very personable I felt and worked the crowd. He liked to mingle and meet with people.

(sorry the quality is poor, all I had on me was my cell phone)

The theme of his stump speech was 'Leadership'. Something I agree with, and it was mainly that we need new leadership, that our currently leadership has failed (and made things worse).

His main points were:

*Leadership; we need stronger leadership, especially in the Senate
*Universal Healthcare; access for all, the Republicans said it was easy, why didn't they do it?
*Support of education (especially higher education); increasing support in programs that allow more people to go to college (i.e. Pell Grant)
*War contract oversight; Coleman is on the permanent committee overseeing war contracts to investigate fleecing, corruption, mis-use, etc. and he is doing a poor job at it
*Getting rid of the Bush tax cuts for the very rich
*Support of the troops, and the partitioning of Iraq; I wish I could remember the name of the plan, but my memory fails me
*Rebuilding our credibility and place with the rest of the world; after it was squandered post-9/11
*No privatization of Social Security; keep private firms out of it
*Stop the gutting and attacking of labor by the government; help and support labor
*Stop the gutting/elimination of Veteran's benefits (and research to help them with such things as injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury)

When his time was up, he decided to have a question and answer session, and we the audience, while not being pre-screened (all were welcome), did not really have any tough questions for him (I'm not sure why, usually Minnesotans, especially liberals always drop the tough questions, and don't hesitate to do so). The best question that was asked to Franken was really more of a request, and that was to keep "Coleman's feet to the fire."

He told some anecdotes about his life in Minnesota growing up and that of his wife's and how her family, due to many hardships, still were able to overcome, thanks to support structures like Social Security survivor's benefits. I've heard these before in his books, but it was nice to see and meet his wife in person and put a face to the words.

Overall I enjoyed the rally, I enjoyed seeing fellow liberals turn out. I enjoyed meeting and seeing Al in person (after years of just seeing him on the TV and hearing him on Air America).

He was passionate and I feel sincere.

Politics { Olberman and Bush SotU


WoW { Peaceful day fishing

Fishing near Nighthaven, Moonglade-Kalimdor-Azeroth

What I caught:

Raw Redgill x13
Raw Nightfin Snapper x1
Raw Mithril Head Trout x2
Greater Mana Potion

Fishing lvl: 228 (I finished the really excellent Nat Pagle artisan fishing quest, where you have to catch 4 rare fish from all over Azeroth)
Fishing Pole: Nat Pagle's Extreme Angler FC-5000
Cooking lvl: 289 (been using fishing with cooking to level both)

The other day when I was here for the Lunar Festival, I had to fight this (as part of a larger group):


(Yes Horde and Alliance were working together to defeat him)

The Lunar Festival is based off the celebration of the Chinese New Year. A time of celebration of things to come, remembrance of those who came before and cause to put aside difference and party. I did 20 of the Ancestor quests, which take you all over Azeroth, and each one gives you a Coin of Ancestry, which are used later in Nighthaven for gifts such as clothing, fireworks, dumplings, etc. They also give you tidbits of advice (similar to fortune cookies) and send you notes in the mail where you get either Lucky Rocket Cluster (+250 health), or Elder Moonstones (creates a circle of lesser moonlight for 3 minutes). I enjoyed myself. It took me back to places I haven't been to in a while and pushed into to places my level (at the time 49) usually can't take you (like Silithus).

Someday, probably when I hit level 60, I will post a blog of my travels in Azeroth.


Musings { There's a writer inside me somewhere

I just need to find him. I started this blog a few years ago to partially capture my random ramblings that friends said should be shared with the world and as an effort to help me write better. I've also been keeping a personal journal since November 2004.

I'm still not a writer, let a lone a good writer. Part of it is that I don't have a focus or a muse. I tried non-fiction political stuff with the blog, but that is more just venting of my internal anger. I've written some stuff that others have called 'epic poems', mainly around the start of the un-life of my WoW character. I can write poetry (I used to have a whole collection when I was younger, I bound them together and gave them to Nerdwife when I was woo-ing her), but I've forgotten them and are lost to time (unless Nerdwife can find them in storage somewhere, she has all the originals and onlys :). I like poetry, writing it more than reading it. But my poetry is just more like this:

capture random thoughts()

Its never been called good. I don't write it for praise though, I often write it for myself or for friends.

I thought about making movies, but I watch (and was inspired by) Northern Misfit, but with my current spot in life, I don't have the energy (or the money) to make films. Critique them...hell yes (and post the reviews here if I feel like it). Make them, no.

I'm starting to read more, and to read outside of my preferred areas (political non-fiction, sci-fi, fantasy) and have delved deeper into philosophy, general fiction, and poetry. I've also revisited the greats like Mark Twain. I can appreciate the excellent writing, but I can only recreate what others have done before. Not my own creations.

I know writing is just do it. And do it again. And again. And again. Like with almost anything, practice makes perfect.

What gives me heart is, even though I do not know if I have a novel in me or will ever be a good writer, some truly bad writers (both technically and plot-wise) have published.

Casual Friday { "We are teaching the Machine"

"The Machine is us."

I've seen this video popping up on numerous blogs and in numerous places. I think its beautiful. The Internet is one of the wonders of the world. It links us in way never before possible. The message at the end is also great, "we will need to rethink a few things...copyright, authorship, identity, ethics, aesthetics, rhetorics, governance, privacy, commerce, love, family, ourselves."

(PS: First seen on Northern Misfit's blog, then on Wonderland)


Tech { Computer...

Voice recognition like you see in Star Trek still has a looooong way to go...

I laughed until I cried. As a programmer, I can feel their pain. And I thought emacs was difficult to use.

It was like watching a train wreck, I couldn't look away.


Boycott { Mars Corporation and NFL

Makers of Snickers brand tooth decay accelerate among others. During the super-bowl they aired an ad that promoted violence against gays and lesbians and directed you to their website to vote and it also showed NFL player reactions to the ads. These ads were endorsed by the NFL and carried their logo. This was not accidental inconsideration, these ads were designed on purpose. The Mars family are major contributors to the Republican party.

I haven't really eaten much candy since I entered my 30s, mainly because my tolerance for things sickly sweet is diminishing rapidly, so I already am not giving them any money. But their corporation makes many, many things, so I will be checking the labels carefully from now on.

Words { Before there were 'Freedom Fries'

There was 'Liberty Cabbage' (aka sauerkraut).

'Liberty Cabbage' euphemism appeared during World War I when anti-German sentiment in this country reached a peak and people did not really like the Kaiser. While very similar to the idiocy that gripped this country in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War with the whole 'Freedom Fries' b.s., the main difference being, however, we were actually at war with Germany (which I realize still does not make it any more correct), whereas we were not at war with France in 2003.


Neologism { equivalation


To consider competing or opposite positions on an issue to be equivalent, despite a lack of evidence to support one of the sides.

as Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy put it:

Treating a dubious position as arguably equivalent to a legitimate one.

Dignifying questionable claims and disreputable agendas provides sensational fodder for an increasingly entertainment-focused news media. It also brings those claims and agendas within striking distance of acceptability.
This concept is quite popular on television and radio noise factories. For great examples, see Global Climate Change deniers and Intelligent Design/Creationism proponents as they are shown in mass media. Essentially everyone who is informed, educated, and qualified on the subjects is in large agreement, yet you'd think theories of Global Warming and Evolution/Natural Selection were in crisis.

Science is not cultural relativism. The mass media is giving credibility to nonsense to keep the verbal diarrhœa flowing so they can sell toothpaste ads. Many calls to 'teach the controversy' are people who cannot emotionally accept the conclusions we make given the evidence, and so they push for a false equivalence of their unsupported hypotheses as if any criticism warrants parity. Most often this is an appeal to popularity, where the uninformed believe their gut to be on equal ground with evidence.

Books { Potter's end

Book Seven is due out July 21, 2007, a week after the 5th feature film debuts in the States, quelling the rumors of 'seven being the most magical of numbers' and having the book come out 7-7-7, a week before instead.

I'll have to pick up the Americanized version in July, as my preferred British Special Edition Hardcover won't likely be out until the end of this year, and it is not like I'm going to wait to read the ending. Just gives me an excuse to revisit the last book later in the year when my Brit text version arrives.

In any case, the final book will be a bittersweet thing when I finish it. Rowling has indicated that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the final book in the series, although she has left herself open to more charity books like "Quidditch Through the Ages" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them". C'mon Encyclopedia of Wizardry and Hogwarts: A History! I'd love to see a Harry Potter version of Tolkein's Silmarillion, if a bit lower key.

Happy Imbolc.

UPDATE: Looks like the Book Seven British Special Edition Hardcover is due out at the same time ! No more waiting months! I preordered it but odds are I won't get it for a few days after the 21st, so I'll have to walk around with my fingers in my ears for a week or so.

In Memoriam { Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins has died.

1944-08-30 to 2007-01-31

Her voice will be missed.