From Pine View Farm

February, 2007 archive

Toll Piazza 2

As my old boss would have said, this is not right:

A firm that advises investors on corporate-governance issues said yesterday that Robert I. Toll, the chairman and chief executive officer of Toll Bros. Inc., a builder of luxury homes, was overpaid.


In the February proxy statement, Toll, 66, was listed as making $29.3 million for the year ended Oct. 31. Of that, $10.1 million was exercised stock options, a $17.5 million bonus, and $1.3 million in base pay.

$1.3 million in base pay should be enough for building little–well, big–boxes made out of ticky tacky, little big boxes all the same.


Drumbeats 0

I’ve been working all day. I’m all about cooling towers.

So has Will Bunch. He’s all about the drumbeats.

As Gilda Radner might have said, “If it’s not one fraudulent war, it’s another.”




What a–you will please pardon the expression–mutual mastur admiration society.

The only thing worth a look is the gowns. Because it’s all packaging, no package.


Pine View Farm 2

Pine View Farm


Snobia 4

We did our regular weekly grocery shopping today. We put it off yesterday because Second Son came home for a visit.

Bad luck. Bad choice.

Snow was forecast (well, actually, it’s coming down at a pretty good clip as I type this–looks like a couple of inches on top of what’s left on the ice from last week’s storm–and I do mean ice) and no signs of stopping any time soon–the forecast is one to four inches, followed by freezing rain for about twelve hours (ouch! more ice).

The supermarket was mobbed.

Now, this is hardly a wilderness–unlike, say eastern Colorado, where houses may be miles apart and many miles from the nearest services.

There is hardly anyone in my neighborhood who lives more than a 15 -minute walk from at least a convenience store–maybe 20 minutes with snow on the ground.

Yet, when snow is forecast, citizens’ eyes glaze over and, like zombies, people head for the supermarket, there to scarf up all the bread and milk in sight (even if they don’t eat bread and don’t drink milk) in some sort of primitive, mute ritual.

It’s some kind of bizarre, sublimal reflex, as if the word, “snow,” triggers a vision of the Yukon and, somewhere deep in their subconscious, people imagine themselves marooned in their log cabins until Sergeant Preston digs them out, three episodes from now.

It’s fantastically, farcically in(s)ane.


Conservapedia 0

Jon Swift, via Andrew Sullivan.

It’s gotta be true. It’s been conservatively filtered. Remember, the Law of Gravity pulls only to the right.

(Aside: Words fail me.)


Coalition of the Shrinking 0

Dick Polman:

But let us assume, just for the sake of argument, that Blair and Cheney are correct about things going pretty well around Basra, and that everybody else is wrong. If that were the case, then why wouldn’t the British agree to simply shift their remaining forces to the more violent Baghdad, where they could reinforce Bush’s Surge? Blair, in his remarks to Parliament the other day, never even mentioned that option…because it is politically untenable back home.

All of which is further proof that the term “coalition forces,” a staple of cable TV news, is a misnomer. By late summer, after the latest British drawdown and a scheduled pullout by Poland, and a scheduled pullout of Danish ground forces, the tally of non-American troops will total roughly 11,800. That’s only enough people to fill half the seats at a Sixers basketball game in Philadelphia. And, at most, that’s only 10 percent of all the troops in Iraq; by late summer, Bush will be supplying, at a minimum, the other 90 percent.

And the uber-President continues to insist that things are going well.

Which prompts the question: Do they lie to themselves as much as they lie to the rest of us?


New Vistas 0

All folded up:

A Reg reader got in touch to tell us that since installing Vista on his machine he can no longer rename folders he creates on the network.

Creating a new folder on his machine’s own drive is fine but there is no way to name or rename folders or files on the network. Calls to the hardware manufacturer were not helpful but the retailer where he bought his machine was more helpful.

Bizarrely the bug seems fairly well known – there are posts on Microsoft’s TechNet dating backing to last summer.

And I was considering getting a new Windows box. The PIII is starting to drag under the weight of Redmond.

Guess I’ll wait until Microsoft has Windows working.

Nah . . . I’m 57 years old. I don’t have that long.


Nertz 0

Good grief!

The cavalry is on the way.

All I can say is, this takes–oh, never mind.


Taking Odds: Was the Pick-up Driver on a Cell Phone? 0

From the newspaper that would have a four-page front section if it weren’t for the Boscov’s ad:

A Minquadale Fire Company truck — with its lights and siren operating — was traveling south on U.S. 13 at McMullen Avenue, state police spokesman Sgt. Joshua Bushweller said.

As the truck neared the I-295 off ramp, a 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck turned off of the highway and into the path of the firetruck.

(Actually, Boscov’s is a great store–possibly because it’s still family-owned. They are, I think, single-handedly keeping the Wilmington paper afloat. And the News-Journal is a Gannett newspaper, so it can’t help it–it’s from the company that brought you the MacDonald’s of newspapers.)


Election ’08 0

Non Sequitur



Problem Solving Flow Chart 0

In my line of work, flowcharts and algorithms are frequently used to help people solve problems according to a predetermined routine. Check this, check that, and so on.

Like this one, which applies to any problem:

Problem Solving Flow Chart

Diagram composed with dia

Well, someone has found the problem solving flowchart used by the Current Federal Administration:

Problem Solving Flow Chart

With a tip to Phillybits.


Windy 0

Little bit of wind today. In fact, it was kind of like South Dakota.

The speed limit on I-495 has returned to 65 mph after being lowered to 45 for more than two hours because of high winds.

Delaware State Police said wind shear knocked an SUV into the guard rail in the northbound lanes near the Pennsylvania line around 1:30 p.m.

Old joke I learned from a South Dakotan:

Why is South Dakota so windy?

Because North Dakota blows and Iowa sucks.


Cultural Illiteracy (Updated in Comments) 4

What is wrong with this story? (Opie, you’re not allowed to enter the contest. I know you’ll catch it in a second.)

Having taken action not to subject even one hair to the sometimes-degrading process of therapeutic redemption, the freshly head-shaved Britney Spears has signed the guest register at “an undisclosed rehab facility” (as her rep Larry Rudolph says to People mag), ostensibly to battle addiction (by battling your tendency to battle against yourself, 12-step sages say). No idea how long Brit’s sojourn is to last. Last week, the Kevin Federline survivor enjoyed a measly 24 hours at Eric Clapton’s über-selective Crossroads Centre in Antigua.

The news comes after days of derision aimed at Brit’s decision to shear her pop-star hair. But consider Ellen Ripley in Alien 3. Or Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. (Even Marlon Brando’s phantagasmoric pate in Apocalypse Now!) Unlike Solomon, who became a weakling after Delilah sheared his manly locks, women who are untressed gain power. (Brando transcends gender.) Their baldness emboldens them to act boldly, like that sublime killer virgin, Joan of Arc.

And isn’t Brit our PoMo Joan, whose destiny is to lead us all to a place beyond red states and blue states. A place where we all get to hang with Paris and Lindsay every day.


Where Do Ash Wednesday Ashes Come From? 2

From left-over Palm Sunday Palms.


Self-Incrimination 1

via YouTube. Gotta be careful with them crotch-rockets.

A man has been accused of driving his motorcycle through a built-up area at over 100 miles per hour, filming the ride and posting the footage on the internet. Jeremy Parrott, 37, of Somerset, was questioned by police after they saw the video on YouTube.

The film shows a Yamaha R1 superbike driving through traffic, squeezing between two cars driving in opposite directions and returning to Parrott’s home address. The video does not show the driver, and Parrott has not admitted being the driver.


What Frightens Conservatives? 6

Well, maybe not all conservative. Just a certain subset of them.

Jon Swift analyzes the undercurrents:

Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck are both terrified–terrified! But its not terrorists who are making them so anxious. Global warming isn’t what’s frightening them. They’re not afraid that people will stop taking them seriously and that their ratings will plummet forcing Fox and CNN to cancel their shows. What has them shaking with fear is the prospect of having friendly conversations with African-Americans.

“Now you got to feel sorry for us white folks here, because I’m telling you now I’m afraid to say anything. . . . Instead of black and white Americans coming together, white Americans are terrified,” said O’Reilly. “Now we can’t even say you’re articulate? We can’t even give you guys compliments?”

“I don’t have a lot of African-American friends,” confessed Beck. “I think part of it is because I’m afraid that I would be in an open conversation, and I would say something that somebody would take wrong, and then it would be a nightmare. Am I alone in feeling that? Now we can’t even say you’re articulate? We can’t even give you guys compliments because they’ll be taken as condescension?” As Joe Biden recently learned, you can’t even say something nice about blackpeople without getting attacked.


Abandon Hope, Ye Who Enter Here 2

Andrew Sullivan, John (not Juan) Cole, and Phillybits (yeah, I know it’s a strange combination, but there it is).

I really don’t have anything to add to what they have already said so well.

Oh, except this:

Happy Belated President’s Day.


Collector’s Alert 0

Get ready to join the auction:

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) launched its Del Boy auction website on Sunday, offering everything from a fully-armoured Land Rover Discovery (£9,500) to a complete RAF uniform or a Gordon Highlanders kilt.

The site has been flogging off old Army gear for a while, but the auction section should really liven things up. Items currently being offered include a Green Goddess fire engine, for which bidding stands at £1,000, or a rather splendid red Guards uniform, which could be yours for just £30.


Extraordinary Rendition 0

NPR tries to track down an airline company implicated in extraordinary rendition. (That’s a fancy word for kidnapping and torture.)

They find–wait! there’s nothing behind the curtain.

From the Day to Day website:

A political scientist professor is focusing on the mode of transportation as way to establish accountability in cases of extraordinary renditions, the CIA practice of kidnapping terror suspects and then flying them to secret prisons around the world. Colin Fogarty from Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

It’s worth 10 minutes of your time to hear this. And wonder about the people who do this sort of stuff in your name.

More here.