04 December, 2010

I Am Joe's Total Lack Of Surprise

I am sorry, dear readers. I know I haven't been a very good blogger to you. I've been gone for so long, I'd be surprised if there's anyone still looking at this. (Who am I kidding? I was surprised when I first learned that anyone was reading this thing to begin with!) For the 1.25 readers I still have, I humbly and profusely apologize.

And now that that is done with, pardon me whilst I blow my chance to work for the State Department, for I'm citing WikiLeaks documents in public fora.

In multiple places throughout the documents, there are references to members of the State Department, under direction of SecState, to obtain various confidential and specifically identifying features of diplomats: i.e., credit-card information, frequent-flier numbers, other personal identification features, biometric data, et cetera; none of which can be obtained by overt intelligence gathering and other publicly available sources.

Yet whoever actually wrote these orders forgot one fairly significant thing: Executive Order 12333 (PDF warning, 16 page document). In it, Section 1.8 (Page 10 of the PDF) identifies the duties of the Department of State in re: collection of intelligence:

(a) Collect (overtly or through publicly available sources) information relevant to United States foreign policy and national security concerns;


Again, it is stated, in Section 1.7(i) on the same page, that the duty of the Department of State is to collect intelligence "overtly or through publicly available sources".

Riddle me this: What fool would allow his credit card information, personal contact book, frequent-flier account number, biometric information, online handles, or any other information requested by the Department of State in these leaked documents, to be disseminated through publicly available sources? Even a diplomat? Even John Boehner? Even Sarah Palin?

These directives are in contradiction with E.O. 12333. I'll expect to see their resignations on the President's desk this weekend. Which, the way this Administration is going these days, will become a moot point sometime in January 2013.

I don't want to say that, but my early book for the 2012 race has the President as a 10-1 underdog in the General if he's primaried, 3-1 dog if he's not.

18 June, 2010

In Disagreement With Conventional Wisdom

A funny thing. Here in Colorado, we're constantly deluged with the idea that everyone from California is constantly packing up their bags and moving here.

With this map from Forbes, however, we may have to change the "g" in deluged with a "d".

It shows the inter-county movement of people in the year 2008. Fully interactive, you can click on any county you so choose. I happened to check the Denver area counties of Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson. The results are plain: more people from this area are moving to California than moving here from California.

Click your way around. It is truly fascinating. And, of course, the data is from the IRS, so take advantage of your tax dollars while you can.

28 April, 2010

Fun With Telemarketers

Ever get annoyed at those guys?

Read what Tarol Hunt decided to do the other day.

Warning: keep all beverages away from dogs, cats, computers, monitors, and keyboards while reading.

05 March, 2010

A New To-Do List

Eat at all the places listed here.

I'll see you later. After I've gained about 80 pounds or so.

01 January, 2010

What Scalzi Said

This.

Maybe this year can be better than the last.

21 December, 2009

Carol Of The Old Ones

This time of year, we're bombarded with intriguing parodies of ancient and/or beloved holiday music...

So why should I be any different.




Just remember, Jesus may save, but Miroslav Satan picks up the loose puck! He shoots! He scores! Pens win it in overtime! Pens win! Pens win! Oh God, what a finish!

28 November, 2009

Unthanksgiving

For some reason, the stars seem to align themselves just in time to turn late November into a great big dose of bad experiences.

On Sunday, guess who started throwing up blood? If you guessed your friendly ZZ-List Blogger, give yourself 10 points. Insert one huge ulcer, which suddenly decided to start acting like Mount Vesuvius in my gastrointestinal tract. No warning whatsoever. Nada. Zippo.

Which means I'm on a very strict diet.

No heavy spices. No garlic. No coffee. No chocolate. No gravy. No fatty butter. No delicious frosting. No mulled cider. No cheese. No alcohol. No salt. No pepper. No tea. No cranberries. Essentially, this has carved my entire menu down to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, dry toast, plain rice, and chicken. And water. That's it, and I have to stick to it for another three weeks. Make that at least another three weeks, depending on how fast this literal hole in my stomach can heal.

This is not the kind of thing one wants to hear just before Thanksgiving. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't want to hear about it at ANY time, but for it to happen now is a perfect time to make me hate life.

Add on to this a fairly decent-sized bout of the flu. So now not only do I have a searing pain in my stomach, add on the full array of flu symptoms. Plus tack on another two weeks of hacking my lungs out, just as I have for every flu I've had since high school.

But I could still have the turkey, right? Right?

Well, possibly...

So with great anticipation, I wake up at 5 in the morning on Thursday to put the bird in the slow cooker. I go to the back corner of the kitchen counter, where I had left a nice, plump, juicy, delicious turkey to completely thaw. And there's no bird. Yet there is, for some reason, the sound of a very satisfied dog emanating from behind the recliner.

According to my amateur forensic analysis, my corgi suddenly decided that he actually DID have a vertical leap ability when properly motivated, one capable of clearing 3 feet with room to spare. Ein drags the bird off the counter, then across the living room carpet three times, and proceeds to eat his way into sheer bliss.

So instead of cooking turkey, I start cleaning turkey. And dogs. And carpets. And tile floors. And cats. And counters. And dogs again. Ever try to clean turkey fat off of dogs more than halfway passed out in a tryptophan coma? Not easy. However, it is a much easier task than cleaning up the same turkey fat ground into carpeting.

And to top it all off perfectly? It was my birthday on Thursday. So I lit a candle, stuck it in a peanut-butter and strawberry-jelly sandwich, and pretended it was a huge feast fit for a made-for-television holiday special. Unfortunately, my imagination was not quite up to that gargantuan of a task.

Take it away, Meat.



Back when I was a kid, I asked my father if I had come with a registration card and extended warranty. He looks straight in my eyes and says, "Yes, son. But we threw it out with the placenta."

Nobody ever keeps those damn things, do they.

15 November, 2009

Life In Retail

SCENE: A bookstore at Denver International Airport

Customer: Do you have the new Sarah Palin book?

Clerk: Which one? Going Rogue or The Persecution Of Sarah Palin?

Customer: I don't know. It's the new Sarah Palin book!

Clerk: Her own book, or the unauthorized yet still highly favorable account of her time on the presidential ticket?

Customer: HER! BOOK!

Clerk: No, not yet. The release date isn't until next week.

Clerk (sub voca): Even though it was written by a ghost writer.

Customer: Oh come on! Everybody has it!

Clerk: I'm sorry, sir. The official release date isn't until the 17th.

Customer: I know you have them! Sell me a copy right now!

Clerk: I'm sorry, sir. Even if I did have a copy in the store (which I do not), we are not allowed to sell books before their official release date.

Customer: You know what I think? I think you're just part-and-parcel of the left-wing conspiracy against Sarah Palin! You wouldn't even sell her book if you DID have copies!

Clerk (motioning to copies of The Persecution of Sarah Palin sitting behind him): I assure you, sir, that that is not the case.

Customer: I want to talk to your manager! Right now!

Clerk: Certainly, sir. Here is my General Manager's business card. She is available for all customers to speak with at any time.

Customer: Good! I want you fired for this!

[Insert 5-minutes of Customer yelling at General Manager]

Customer (putting away his phone): I'm reporting you to the BBB! And FOX News!

Customer exeunt.

[Phone rings. General Manager is calling the store.]

General Manager: What. The. Hell.

Clerk: Don't worry. That pretty much sums it all up.

[Clerk facedesks repeatedly. In front of customers. Repeat facedesk until fractured skull.]

24 October, 2009

Henry Jones Syndrome

Professor Henry Jones: Well, he who finds the Grail must face the final challenge.
Indiana Jones: What final challenge?
Professor Henry Jones: Three devices of such lethal cunning.
Indiana Jones: Booby traps?
Professor Henry Jones: Oh yes. But I found the clues that will safely take us through, in the Chronicles of St. Anselm.
Indiana Jones: But what are they?
[pause]
Indiana Jones: Can't you remember?
Professor Henry Jones: I wrote them down in my Diary so that I wouldn't *have* to remember.
~~~ from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

It's been two weeks since the world trembled before the power of this FULLY OPERATIONAL computer of mine...

Okay. I'm not fully operational still. The reason is that I can't remember all of what I was doing way back before I had a special-effects sequence in the middle of my computer. I can't remember where all of my little e-mail caches were, scattered to the winds on various servers. I can't remember all of the sites I went to. I can't remember how many of the vast multitude of Shoutcast stations I had bookmarked in Winamp. (For that matter, I'm missing about half of my former media library.)

So if you know me, and you are wondering why the hell I haven't been participating in whatever discussion/project/whatever-the-hell that I used to be doing, drop me a note here in the comments. (Not like I actually expect one will actually turn up, mind you. Hope beyond home and all that good rot.)

And you want to know the real bugger of it all?

I have a backup of my entire history, bookmarks, usernames, passwords, and all the other pieces of information that would let me completely resume my old presence... But I can't find the physical memo pad that I used to write down the location of said backup.

le sigh

09 October, 2009

A Minor Technical Malfunction

Unusually, this latest delay in my posting schedule has been due to some rather significant computer problems. Most of the time, my lack of blogging is solely due to a PEBE scenario. (Problem Exists Between Ears, a variation of the PEBKAC difficulty: Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.) [Minor Edit: This acronym is now officially in the Urban Dictionary.]

Yet this time...

Facedesk. Serious, undiluted, without hesitation, repeated facedesk.

In mid-August, my hard drive decides to retroactively join the Heaven's Gate cult and commits suicide. Great, huge gngngnaaaarch-ch-ch-ch sounds as it gives up the ghost, magic smoke, flames, sparks, the ghost of Harry Caray singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"... While my computer never exactly stopped on a dime and gave me a nickel change, it at least could plod along with the better of them. Yet without that magical operating system, it suddenly became a paperweight bigger than my dog.

Okay. Fine. Not that big. But definitely bigger than my cat.

So. Fast forward 1 week until I have my paycheck in hand so I can buy a new hard drive. Install hard drive, install XP, install frequently-used programs, start installing infrequently-used programs...

pop

Huh?

And now magic smoke comes from my CPU. Friendly happy magic smoke. We all love that magic smoke, don't we? (No. Not that magic smoke, you drug-addled freaks.) Closer examination also reveals a deep-fried mobo as well as a dead power supply.

*headWALL* and repeat ad infinitum.

No computer. At all. Period.

By the fourth hour, I'm starting to go into significant withdrawal symptoms. Shaking hands, nervous glances over my shoulder, constantly muttering at my dead box, saying things like "Just one more website, man! That's all I need!", extreme paranoia, a tendency to try to click on top of people's faces to try to get them to expand on whatever they had just told me... It was pure misery. Suffering. Frustrated, Incorporated. Yet instead of getting murdered in my sleep for my insanity, we came up with a much better plan.

Between myself and my roommate, we gather about $700 over the next 6 weeks in order to buy a whole new computer. For us, that's a fairly significant chunk of change, and not one that can be taken lightly. So I started sniffing around and found the very nice folks at Micro Center, who then, after hearing my tale of woe, decided not to laugh at my pitiful existence.

Instead, they sold me this.

Don't tell my roommate how little I paid for it. I used the spare cash to get a new monitor, a better keyboard and trackball, a few stacks of DVD-R, some Flash keys... Well, you get the hint.

And after everything was done, then I went for a beer or few. I needed them.

And now, to eat something besides meatless and sauceless spaghetti for the first time in a month.

03 August, 2009

Orly? RLY!

With the more-than-odd LOLcat-esque name of Orly Taitz, it would only be a matter of time until she would do something that would feature her picture on FailBlog. And this is the moment.

What is the current listing status for www.orlytaitzesq.com/blog1?

Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 17 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 8 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2009-08-02, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2009-08-02.

Malicious software includes 10 scripting exploit(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 2 new process(es) on the target machine.

Malicious software is hosted on 3 domain(s), including cybercrime-protection.cn/, security-alerts.cn/, mcafee-malware.com/.

1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including security-alerts.cn/.

This site was hosted on 1 network(s) including AS6245 (NETWORK).

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

Over the past 90 days, www.orlytaitzesq.com/blog1 appeared to function as an intermediary for the infection of 1 site(s) including zillr.com/.

Has this site hosted malware?

No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

How did this happen?

In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message.

Next steps:

Updated 3 hours ago
Now, what exactly does this mean? Is she an evil hacker who desperately wants to crash the computers of all Americans so she can take over Walt Disney World? Nope. What this means is that she's been too busy desperately monetizing her blog and cashing in on her 15 minutes of fame that she got a wee bit careless as to who wanted to run scripts on her website.

Seriously. This woman has earned a whole bunch of snark.

05 July, 2009

Meta Tags

I've been sitting here and doing some serious questioning of myself recently. It has not been for anything that I have done, but how the world around me seems to have altered perceptibly. Which then begs the question: has the world itself been altered, or has my perception been altered?

For lack of better terms to describe it, the world itself seems to be chugging along at the same rate. Another day, another 78 cents after taxes. Same crap, different administration. Gravity still sucks, and the only thing in the universe that is truly boundless is human stupidity. Extremists are still extremely powerful, and being a moderate is only acceptable in moderation. LOLcats are still funny, and Dennis Miller hasn't been funny in years. Three lefts make a right, and two wrongs don't make a right. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and a body at rest remains at rest even when acted upon by an outside force unless said force also pulls the blinds, turns the radio up loud, and takes away all the covers.

Or, in my particular case, threatens to poop in my shoe again.

So no. The fundamental rules of reality remain the same.

So what about my perception has changed? I'm not entirely certain, yet there is one factor that I cannot discount.

Certain blogs are no longer fun to read. Admittedly, we all came to fruition during the Bush Administration. With a new team in the the White House, it would obviously bring about some form of change in how we public diarists would act and react to world events. Yet my reaction has been the same for certain writers on both sides of the political divide, and it can't be a mere coincidence.

Glenn Reynolds was once a staid and determined defender of the status quo. He was able to defuse progressive arguments with a single quip, post a three-word review of a gadget, and support the Administration with his full voice within three posts that would flow seamlessly together with the same voice, intelligence, and wit that has made him one of the hallmarks of the 'sphere. Yet now it appears he has changed into an all-snark-all-the-time format, determined to win as many argumentative points as possible against as many people as humanly possible.

Duncan Black was once a determined outsider, pseudonymously speaking truth to power as frequently as possible, gathering strength to where it was needed and dispersing weakness where it gathered. And now he is part and parcel of the status quo, and I see in him the same qualities I did in the gang at RedState: defend the principles of your political philosophy at all costs. Your side can do no wrong, and if they do wrong then they weren't on your side to begin with.

Everybody at Protein Wisdom? The only reason to have read that blog was for Jeff Goldstein. And now that Goldstein only posts sporatically (A bit of the pot and the kettle coming from me, yes?), with those rare occasions consisting of mostly fundraising pitches? It is no longer the land of the drunk and the home of the armadillo that I came to love when I was first reading blogs and thinking to myself "Dude, if you could be half as good as this guy, you'd be famous the world over!" For want of an inspiration, a great thought was lost...

The gang at Shakeville? From way back in October, when it became clear to everybody but the most dedicated GOP loyalists that Obama was going to stroll through Election Day untouched and unscathed, the underlying attitude shifted. It became less of a simple "I'm mad as hell.", instead becoming, "I'm mad as hell, so why isn't someone doing something about it!" The sense of entitlement has grown immensely and, as said entitlement grows unfulfilled, the sense of anger and resentment and petulance has grown accordingly. Oddly enough, one of the contributors over there is named Petulant, which only goes to reinforce the opinion.

Even the four folks at Balloon Juice are starting to sound more than a bit off axis these days. Fortunately for them, they're still willing to beat the verbal crap out of the Powers-That-Be for their errors, regardless of the meaningless letter beside their name. For that alone, they remain on my reading list.

As for the rest of the blogs I've listed? I haven't read Instapundit or Eschaton in over a month, and only peek into PW and SV on rare occasion to see what they are getting up in arms over. It is getting to the point to where I am having trouble justifying their continued presence in my bookmarks.

So instead of trying to find more big names, I will be looking for lower-tier bloggers to read. To use the Ecosystem as a scale, nothing higher than a Flippery Fish, and the lower on the food chain, the better I'll appreciate it.

Leave suggestions in the comments. No restrictions regarding D, R, L, C, or P. I'll read just about anyone at least once just as long as they blog mostly about politics. (Sorry, Jed. I'm just not that into guns.)

30 June, 2009

So Right And Yet So Wrong

This tribute to the fallen pitchman:


Appropriate, a nice tribute, and really friggin' funny, all at the same time.

21 June, 2009

Not In The Job Description

There seems to be a minor error in logic rotating around the progressive blogs these days.

First comes a diatribe from The McEwan:
Instead, the brief justified the law, using the same tired old chestnuts we came to expect from Obama's predecessor, including the despicable comparison of states' right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages with their right to refuse to recognize incestuous marriages and unions that would be considered statutory rape under state law, as well as the pathetic contention that a union between one man and one woman is "the traditional, and universally recognized, version of marriage." Blah blah yawn.
And second from The Drum:
[Copy/paste from three articles regarding the Obama Administration's legal briefs]

Hope and change, baby, hope and change.
Now let us enter back to our high school Civics classes and state the division of powers within the Federal Government. The Judiciary Branch judges based upon the laws. The Legislative Branch passes legislation which become laws. The Executive Branch executes the laws. Remember those concepts?

Over the last 8 years, we have had an activist Executive, more than willing to enact his own legislation from the Resolute Desk. Whether by the use of signing statements that ran contrary to the legislation as passed by Congress, or by the issuance of permanent Executive Orders, the second Bush Administration ran roughshod over the Constitutional division of powers and performed as a second source of national law. And we of the blogosphere are used to this style of performance, with the Oval Office running roughshod over established law whenever it became inconvenient to the stated goals of the Administration.

Yet not the Obama Administration. They are recognizing that their duty to the country as a whole is to follow the laws of the country as a whole, whether they may agree with them or not. That is the task of the Executive Branch: to execute the laws as they exist. Not to ignore laws they find inconvenient, or disregard laws they campaigned against, or force new laws to be made outside of the division of powers; their task is to perform under the laws of these United States.

And to see an Oval Office that holds to the laws of this nation?

That is hope and change I can believe in.