From Pine View Farm

September, 2014 archive

Suffer the Children 0


Waterlogged 2

Some years ago in the mid-70s, some of my friends and I took a driving trip through the Outer Banks. It was my first visit there.

When I saw homes built dangerously close to the water (homes that now are on stilts because the Atlantic Ocean is gonna do what it’s gonna do), I recall remarking that “Americans go all stupid when someone says ‘waterfront property.'”

According to my local rag, that may be starting to change.


Contractual Obligations 0

Jim Wright reminisces about the Republican Contract on America. A snippet:

. . . then they made a big show of signing the Contract with America in front of the TV cameras, with John Boehner front and center – and why not? He was one of the guys who wrote it. Newt Gingrich usually gets credit, but back then John Boehner was the young Paul Ryan Whiz Kid who was going to change things, man, change America. If you wonder what Ryan will look like in 20 years, well, there you go – maybe a little less orange, but Boehner is Ryan all grown up, old and leathery and cynical.

As contracts go, it was pretty straight forward. Republicans pledged on their solemn honor to reduce the size of government and make the tiny remainder accountable to the people. Boy it sure sounded good, that Contract with America. Republicans were going to clean up corruption in Congress, reform tort law, and reduce the welfare rolls.

But it was a trick. For you see, they had no honor – solemn or otherwise.

Do read the rest.


“Just Kidding” 0


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Be polite to your sibling.

Houston police say a 13-year-old girl has fatally shot her older brother in an apparent accident at the family’s home.


Brotherhood 0

Men are pigs.

When I was in college, I thought briefly about joining a fraternity. Then I realized, why the hell should I pay dues to get drunk, when I could get drunk quite nicely on my own for the cost of a six.

I guess I missed the part about exploiting co-eds to make myself feel like a Real Big Man.


How Stuff Works 0

Yastreblyansky explains the David Brooks Pablum Pump.


War and Mongers of War 0

Randolph T. Holbut wonders why we keep doing the same thing harder. A nugget (emphasis added):

The people who thumped the tub the loudest for invading Iraq and Afghanistan want the United States to go to war against the Islamic State.

They apparently learned nothing from the past 13 years.

Is the Islamic State brutal? Yes.

Are they an existential threat to the United States? Only if they get an army, a navy, and an air force. Like al-Qaeda. they don’t have them and are unlikely to gain the military capability to attack the United States.

So, why does our nation have to go through this dance all over again — ginning up a war against an enemy that sits about 7,000 miles away from our shores and doesn’t have a military force worthy of the name?


It’s safe to say nobody knows for sure what will happen next. But looking back at the effectiveness of the last 13 years of America’s Mideast policy, one can see that continuing the same approach isn’t the answer.

Yet President Obama is committing our military forces to another Middle East war. Riding a wave of manufactured fear, he thinks he has no choice.




How difficult it is to save the bark of reputation from the rocks of ignorance.


“The Talk,” Reprise 0

Another black man shares his memory.

When I was 14, my grandfather sat me down for “the talk” – not the birds and the bees, but “the billy clubs and the bullets.”

I brushed him off. I thought that in my majority-black hometown of Newark, racism would not reach me. Little did I realize that a healthy fear of the police would become a survival skill for a young black man.

My wake-up call came at 16.

Follow the link for the rest of his story.


The Game of the Name 0

Jon Stewart takes on the NFL Redskins team name.

Below the fold in case it autoplays.

Read more »


Denial for Sale 0

Businessman holding bag of money:  It's not cheap. First I have to dig a deep hole, then convince hime (picture of GOP elephant burying his head in the sand under sun labeled

Via Job’s Anger.


Lessons in Factions 0


The Power of Advertising 5

Thanks to YouTube’s new practice of force-feeding advertisements, I have realized that I will never ever do business of any sort with “Mass Mutual,” nor wear “Android Wear.”


BB4Win 0

BB4Win stands for “BlackBox for Windows.” BlackBox is a venerable window manager for *nix. One of my favorite Linux window managers, Fluxbox, is based on BlackBox. If I can’t run Enlightenment, I run Fluxbox.

I recently installed one of the BB4Win GUI varirants, xoblite, on my Windows 7 box. Unlike the Windows interface, it is highly configurable, in ways other than mucking about with eye candy.

This is what it looks like. In the picture, you can see the xoblite right-click “Start” menu and, behind the browser, the xoblite menu, which is a simple text file, is open for editing. The system monitor that you see in the bottom right of the screen and the weather gadget in the top left are from rainmeter, a Windows alternative to GKrellM or conky (I’ve used both, but I think I prefer GKrellM.

xbolite interface

Click for a larger image>

If you wish to investigate alternatives to Windows’s clunky interface, this is a good place to start.

I have not tested this on Windows 8. I have helped a friend with Windows 8. Windows 8 sucks is less than desirable.

Sadly, BB4Win development seems to have stalled. One hopes it will pick up again.


xoblite almost, but not quite, makes using Windows fun again.


“The Talk” 0

Elon James White remembers “the talk” and what it says about blue on black crime. Here’s a snippet:

I received The Talk™ when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I remember it because of the context that I received it in. I’ve always been forgetful and for a long time I wore both my bus pass holder and home key around my neck underneath my clothing. I remember my Mom telling me that if I was stopped by a police officer and he asked for some sort of proof of identification, like my bus pass, that I should never reach for it myself. Tell the officer where the identification he requested was located on my person and keep my hands in clear view. This seemed silly to me but my mom was so serious that my normal 9 year old pushback was immediately silenced. Mommy seems scared and if she’s scared then I’m scared.

Now go read the whole thing.


The Southern Strategy and Republican Paradise 0


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

The hunt for politeness:

District Attorney Pat Dougherty said the infant’s father had been sitting on a couch holding the infant when the bullet tore through the window of the home.

Dougherty said the bullet is believed to have come from hunters on private property across the street. He said they had permission to be there.

The DA is calling it accidental because of course hunters are allowed to blaze away at anything without knowing what’s there.



Dave Barry:

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.


And Now for Something Completely Different 0

Old photo of strange-looking tree

Cick for a larger image.

Via All Things Amazing, an image site (some images NSFW).