From Pine View Farm

November, 2006 archive

Thanksgiving Reminder 1

It wasn’t the Pilgrims.

(Remember the Pilgrims*? They were the folks who settled in New England because they couldn’t find Virginia–which was probably just as well. Their brand of theocracy probably would not have gone well with the Virginians, who were basically in it for the money. However, there seem to be some who would attempt to re-establish their theocracy today.)

In the English-speaking heritage of the United States of America, it was the Virginia colonists.

But even they have a shaky claim to being the absolute first.

Oh, and have a nice Thanksgiving, those who celebrate it.

*This is a great link!


November 22, 1963 (Updated) 2

I was never a big fan of John F. Kennedy. Where and when I grew up, under Jim Crow in the rural south, he was not popular. There was a fear that he might (gasp!) support the Civil Rights Movement.

After I grew up and my views changed and matured, I realized that, except for the Cuban missile crisis, he was pretty ineffective as a president in getting things done; it was his successor who enacted most of his programs.

Yes, he was an inspiring (and grammatical) speaker: charming, witty, with a sense of humor about events and about himself (things our current crop of politicians could use more of), but his legislative record was spotty, at best, with the exception of inaugurating U. S. efforts to put men on the moon in ten years.

Yet, his death was one of the significant corner-turning events in 20th century United States history.

Attytood points out that the memory is starting to fade:

Today marks a landmark that we never thought we’d live long enough to see here at Attytood. It is the 43rd anniversary of the seminal political event of our early childhood, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And for the first time we are aware of, neither of our hometown newspapers, the Daily News or Inquirer, has a single word about the momentous events that happened on this date in 1963 — even as, ironically, both run long reviews about the new flick about the 1968 killing of brother Bobby.

Addendum, 11/23/2006

Some thoughts on parallels between then and now.


Games, Gamey, History, Hysteria 1

These days, many folks may not remember that the first computer games were text-based, as were the first multi-player on-line games. I remember one of the old No*Name BBS. I never played it, but I remember it.

Wikipedia describes the first computer-based adventure game here.

There is a flash versions of Colossal Cave here, so you can get a feel for how it worked.

And here you can find it applied to contemporary events, with devastating and hilarious accuracy.


Buzzword of the Day 0

From Buzzwhack, “dotsam”:

The Internet’s wasteland of abandoned Web sites, Hotmail accounts, blogs, wikis, MySpace pages, etc., that their creators have ignored for months/years — but are still accessible on the Web.

Struck me, because what’s left of my old website–a redirection page–is still out there, and I left AOL at least two years ago.


Return to Viet Nam: Food for Thought 1

Keith Olbermann lessons not learned:

The primary one — which should be as obvious to you as the latest opinion poll showing that only 31 percent of this country agrees with your tragic Iraq policy– is that if you try to pursue a war for which the nation has lost its stomach, you and it are finished. Ask Lyndon Johnson.

The second most important lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: if you don’t have a stable local government to work with, you can keep sending in Americans until hell freezes over and it will not matter. Ask South Vietnam’s President Diem, or President Thieu.

The third vital lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: don’t pretend it’s something it’s not. For decades we were warned that if we didn’t stop “communist aggression” in Vietnam, communist agitators would infiltrate and devour the small nations of the world, and make their insidious way, stealthily, to our doorstep.

The war machine of 1968 had this “Domino Theory.”

Your war machine of 2006 has this nonsense about Iraq as “the central front in the war on terror.”

The fourth pivotal lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush: if the same idiots who told Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to stay there for the sake of “Peace With Honor,” are now telling you to stay in Iraq, they’re probably just as wrong now, as they were then… Dr. Kissinger.

And the fifth crucial lesson of Vietnam, Mr. Bush, which somebody should’ve told you about, long before you plunged this country into Iraq — is that, if you lie us into a war — your war, and your presidency, will be consigned to the scrapheap of history.


Flip-Flop 2

John McCain:

Yesterday, on ABC News, he basically stated that it would be fine with him if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and thereby erased the 33-year-old federal right to an abortion. McCain said: “I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support….I do believe that we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states. And I don’t believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v. Wade.”

Oh really? Here’s what McCain told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999: “Certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to (undergo) illegal and dangerous operations.” He then reiterated this argument on CNN: “We all know, and it’s obvious, that if we repeal Roe v. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be performing illegal and dangerous operations.”


When Good Blogs Go Bad (Geek Alert) 0

What makes a blog run.

There are three basic elements, not counting the hardware:

A webserver program.

Blogging software, which in turn may require some other support software, such as PHP.

A database engine.

What happens when the first two are working and the last one is not?

You connect to the webserver, but the blogging sofware doesn’t know what to do. It’s pretty ugly (and, of course, a little big).

Click here to find out. (Image opens in a new window).

(I was following this cheesy link when this happened.)


Foxy! 2

My back porch looks out over an open space surrounding an abandoned quarry from which Delaware blue rock was mined (hence the name of the baseball team).

This morning, as I was having my morning smoke (Don’t say it! I know!), I saw two foxes. They were playing with each other, just like a pair of dogs. They played and played, until I got my camera, found out the card was full, cleaned up the card, pointed . . . and then they disappeared into the quarry.

But, if you look real close, you may be able to see them here, courtesy of Google:



Adventures in Linux: Tangoing with Samba 3

One of the things I’ve been doing during my hiatus (see the immediately preceding post) is working on my network. I have two Linux boxes and a Windows box and a big ole 50 GB partion on the webserver that was intended to be a file server for the other computers.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the partition to mount. Opie will understand: it was a spelling error in /etc/fstab. (I left the “s” off of “defaults.”)

(Funny. Our teachers used to tell us that spelling was important. Computers have made it sew.)

Now it mounts .

On to Samba.

I have poked in a deletorious fashion at getting Samba to run over the past 18 months, when I got my first Linux box. Now I have it working.

The webserver can see the Windows box and the Windows box can see the webserver and I can move files back and forth with no problems. My laptop can see both of them. The only wrinkle left is that no one else can see the laptop (I think that’s a firewall issue, but I’m going to let it drop for a while).

Next step–Networking the webserver to a printer connected to a whole nother computer.


A New World 0

I’m moving from the W-2 world to the 1099 world. My job ended (quite to my surprise, I must say–long sad story) at the end of October. But I was lucky enough to pick up a consulting gig that will start next week sometime.

Frankly, I think it’s going to work out quite nicely. I will be doing what I trained to do and what I did for years, doing it at a higher hourly rate, and be off the nine to five grind.

All I have to do is impress my client.

This does account for the hiatus in blogging. I’ve been taking care of other business.


War Diary 0




Turkey 0

Getting ready for Thanksgiving? Good cooking advice here.

I will certainly experiment with the suggestion about gravy towards the end of the interview.


The Republican Party Casts Its Lott 0

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who was ousted as Senate majority leader four years ago because of what some interpreted as racially insensitive remarks about America’s segregationist past, made a surprise comeback today by being elected to his party’s No. 2 spot in the chamber by a single vote after lobbying hard for the job.

Does that mean that Bob Novak was correct

. . . For good reason, the GOP often is called “the stupid party.”

While an unpopular Iraq war and an unpopular George W. Bush were primary causes of last Tuesday’s Republican rout, massive public disapproval of the Republican-controlled Congress significantly contributed. While abandoning conservative principles, the spendthrift House had become chained to special corporate interests represented by K Street lobbyists.

Jonah Goldberg weighs in here. (Yeah, I know I linked to this in my previous post, but he covered a lot of ground.)

The remarks that led to Lott’s loss of position are pretty well known.

Of course, the issue was not that he said that if the country had elected segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond to the presidency “30 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today.”

The issue was the blind lack of awareness of how saying something like that, about a person who ran for the Presidency on a segretation platform, in public might somehow have reverberations.

Dammit, after the century of the civil rights struggle, someone who is not able to realize what he should not say in public (private is another matter) offends the national decorum, if nothing else. And his selection to this post indicates that his political colleagues endorse that offense.

But at least his house will be rebuilt, if not his Senate.



Oh, My 0

Is it merely a sense of entitlement, or is it just plain old avarice:

Gift registries have been set up to help friends of Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee choose gifts for the Huckabees’ new half-million dollar home as they prepare to leave the governor’s mansion.


“Have people never heard of a housewarming? … Can I afford the towels? Yes. That’s not the point,” she told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “They’re excited that we have a new house and they wanted to do something nice for us.”

On Tuesday, the governor criticized media reports about the Web-site registries at Target Corp. and Dillard’s Inc. stores.

Huckabee said the gift registries — first reported by Stephens Media Group — were put together by his wife’s friends for a housewarming party.

er–unseemely seems to be hardly a strong enough term for such acquisitiveness. But it’s the same country-club sense of entitlement that Jonah Goldberg referred to here.

Half-million dollar houses don’t need to be warmed–they’re already hot.


Telepunks 0

I wrote earlier about the glories of Caller ID and of the antics of Republican operatives on the telephone.

Well, John Law got one:

A former telemarketer has agreed to plead guilty in a Republican phone-jamming plot against New Hampshire Democrats four years ago.

Shaun Hansen faces two federal counts of conspiracy to commit interstate telephone harassment in a deal with prosecutors. No sentencing date was posted.


Drive Throughsome Gruesome 0

I seldom use drive-throughs. I think I got my fill of them at Mickey-D’s when the kids were young. But I had occasion to use one at a bank on Saturday while on the way to visit my mother.

We wheeled into the drive-through lane, third vehicle in a row. A van was at the front.

We sat.

Nothing was happening. The little carrier box was in its nest, but nothing was happening. I remarked to my friend that, perhaps, the driver was filling out paperwork–maybe a loan application. She remarked that perhaps I was not cut out to use drive-throughs.

Then I saw him in his side-view mirror.

An older gentleman (who am I kidding? Probably about my age) yakking on a cell phone.

And yakking.

The Car Talk guys took two phone calls.

Then he saw the box.

He reached out and took it.

And kept yakking.

Meanwhile, the Car Talk guys finished another phone call.

And then he drove away drove away.

With the box.

Still yakkiing.

Fortunately, Suntrust had a spare carrier box.


10-7 for 10-4? 1

The Commonwealth of Virginia does a thumbs-down the State Police’s use of 10-codes; they have concluded that, rather than clarity, they make for confusion:

But the potential for trouble is clear. A few years ago, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives called in a “10-50” while working in Maryland, police said. To Montgomery police, that means “officer down.” Squad cars rushed to the scene — to discover that, in the agent’s code, “10-50” meant traffic accident.


Spam at FTC dot Gov 0

The Federal Trade Commission has disabled their old email address for reporting spam. It is no longer uce (for unsolicited commercial email) at ftc dot gov.

The new address is spam at ftc dot gov.

The FTC says not to expect a response when you use this address. They get too much mail. They do use it in setting priorities on whom to pursue.

I don’t use it for routine spam–I don’t have that much keyboard time!–I reserve it for identity theft emails, such as this one I got this morning:

We recently have determined that different computers have logged onto your Online Banking account, and multiple password failures were present before the logons. We now need you to re-confirm your account information to us. If this is not completed by November 9, 2006, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. We thank you for your cooperation in this manner.

To confirm your Online Banking records click here:

https://login.personal.[name of bank].com/logon/logon.asp?dd=1&Update&Your&Info

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

[name of bank] Customer Service

When I hovered the mouse over the link above, the actual link was revealed to be

http://[bogus address].com/forum/www.[name of bank].com/IdentityManagement/index.html?MfcISAPICommand=SignInFPP&UsingSSL=1&email=&userid=

I forwarded the message, with all headers, to abuse@[name of bank] dot com and to Uncle Sugar.

Note: For reporting such stuff, the address of “abuse at [domain name] dot whatever usually works; the “abuse” email address is built-in to mail servers. Generally, only less than legitimate persons disable it.

Jeez Oh Man and people fall for this stuff!

By the way, here is the whois for the bogus email address, courtesy of Sam Spade. Note that there is a good chance that the actual provider knows nothing about the scam–these scammers set up house for a day or two, then move on quickly.

Domains by Proxy Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd. Ste 160 PMB 353
Scottsdale Arizona 85260
United States
Registered through: Inc.
Domain Name: VPSLAND.COM
Created on: 23-Aug-04
Expires on: 23-Aug-09
Last Updated on: 08-Feb-06
Administrative Contact:
Private Registration

Domains by Proxy Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd. Ste 160 PMB 353
Scottsdale Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599
Technical Contact:
Private Registration VPSLAND.COM@

Domains by Proxy Inc.
15111 N. Hayden Rd. Ste 160 PMB 353
Scottsdale Arizona 85260
United States
(480) 624-2599
Domain servers in listed order:


Ask Amy 0

What would happen if George Bush and Nancy Pelosi sought relationship advice from a pro?

Find out here.


Burying the Hatchet–A Delaware Tradition 0

Yesterday was Return Day, when candidates to to Georgetown, in the center of the state, to hear the returns announced reconcile after the campaign. The tradition is over 200 years old and dates from the day when the only way promptly to know who won the poll was to travel to the County Seat and hear the announcement on the courthouse steps.

Return Day, originally the day when election results were announced in Sussex County, was full of smiling politicians and their fans. Candidates — the elected and the defeated — said they had a great time and were happy to put the campaign season behind them.

Indeed, the event officially concluded with Sussex County Democrat, Republican, Independent and Libertarian party leaders literally burying a hatchet with sand.

Maybe we should export this to the rest of the country.