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It was a happy surprise to discover that Gretchen's brother, Jeff, was in town and had called Gretchen to arrange to meet us for breakfast over at T-Bob's this morning. The conversation was very silly, to the point where I do not remember what prompted this to come out of my mouth, but suddenly I announced:

"That's it! Gale Force Boobs!"

I am not sure exactly what this would mean or how they might work, but I have this nasty suspicion that they have something in common with Earthquake Pills...
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So I'm surfing the Web and my eye is caught by one of the clickbait headlines that I usually avoid clicking on, because, well, waste of time.

"Genetically modified Bibles are coming."

Say what? How do you genetically modify a Bible? And why would you do that? And what would it mean? And...

I look again. Oh, not Bibles. Babies. That's very different.

Never mind.
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I needed a laugh today. I so needed a laugh.

And sometimes, comedy is simply something really annoying happening to someone who isn't you.

So if you can laugh at someone who has really had a bad day, feel free to click on this endearing tale of The Imperfectly Housebroken Dog and the Little Roomba That Could (But Really Shouldn't Have).
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I was sitting in the stands, looking at the various Sox fans who were wearing Chris Sale jerseys and came to wonder if there is now a new market for distressed Chris Sale jerseys.
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I ran across this article today and I thought of you. :) And how much fun you could give your hardworking DM...

How To Get Your Bard Properly Killed.
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I don't post much about politics because -- well -- what's the point? But here are a few thoughts in the wake of the Iowa caucus results.

  • I think that Megyn Kelly should moderate all of the Republican debates.
  • Apparently, Bernie's crew lost all six of the coin flips that were required to settle the results in tied caucuses around Iowa. Roger Goodall should launch an immediate investigation -- that, or hire some of these folks to flip the coin for the Super Bowl.

    Yeah, I think that's enough for now. :)
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    We need something funny in our lives. Accordingly, here is Dave Barry's 2015 Year In Review.


    Dec. 19th, 2015 10:34 pm
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    Ted Cruz is by no means my favorite candidate for President. But he appears to be a big fan of The Princess Bride, to the point of quoting bits of the movie on the stump, complete with character voices. And he's running the ad that's linked below in Iowa tonight during Saturday Night Live, so it seems he's got something of a sense of humor.

    Thus: not my favorite candidate for President, but quite possibly the one who would be the most fun to have dinner with some time. :)


    Nov. 12th, 2015 03:38 pm
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    Ah, yes, I remember that fine definition of stress.

    "Stress is when you do not choke the life out of someone who you desperately need to do that to."
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    Gretchen, watching the news with me, exclaimed "That explains it! Tom Brady destroyed his phone because it had Hillary Clinton's emails on it!"

    I have heard less plausible theories.
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    I have a plot for a movie that is free to anyone who would like to adopt it.

    It's a comic farce along the lines of The Producers, except that the protagonists here, rather than being a small struggling outfit, are the executives of a big, big film studio. At some point, in a fit of stupidity, they green lighted a movie with a couple of frequently bankable comic leads that revolved around their bumbling attempts to assassinate the leader of a Third World (or -- as some might suggest -- Fourth World) country.

    Well, the time came to screen the movie and it was horrid. It made Ishtar look like an Oscar winner.

    The studio was going to lose a ton of money and a great deal of face. They could just choose not to release the film, but then they'd end up taking a total loss on it. They'd bought insurance that would pay out if the movie wasn't completed or if it couldn't be screened due to some outside force not under the studio's control, of course, but insurance wasn't going to pay out just because the film was a giant turkey that was scheduled to arrive a bit too late for Thanksgiving, but just in time for Christmas.

    And then someone got a brilliant idea. They could hire some mid-level hacker with just enough skill to obscure the true situation and let him release a huge chunk of files that he'd gotten from "hacking" into the movie studio's computer systems. There'd have to be some actually embarrassing info embedded in there, but nothing too terrible.

    "So which would you rather do? Spend some time apologizing for mildly off-color humor or lose millions of dollars?"

    "I'm thinking. I'm thinking."

    Then the fake hacker could threaten to bomb theaters showing the film -- just following orders, of course. Naturally, theater chains wouldn't want the liability risk, so they'd drop the film en masse. And the studio could regretfully pull the film from distribution.

    So there they are, sitting in the executive offices, drinking champagne as they're congratulating themselves for having pulled this off and gotten the insurance money.

    When everything falls apart -- because, of course, it has to.

    The fake hacker sees a YouTube video of the fans of the usually bankable comedy stars in tears over the fact that the film will never be released. And this touches him, so he drops all of the information about the hoax into the lap of the local U.S. attorney, the release timed for just after he has successfully fled with his share of the loot to a non-extradition country.

    And the studio execs are left holding the bag.

    So what do you think? Would some studio be interested in this? :)
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    Many years ago, I was a junior systems programmer for the CERL PLATO system down at the University of Illinois. And one day, this happened:

    I was one of a number of junior sysprogs at CERL back in 1980. We had an office / bullpen upstairs where we would go and take care of business, usually during the non-prime time hours after 10 PM. And, of course, we would leave our terminals signed on, because we were all well-behaved junior sysprogs and would never dream of derfing one of our compatriots.

    "Derfing" was what you did to someone who left their terminal logged in. You'd head out, find a public notesfile, leave a message saying "I am a derf", and let everyone ridicule them.

    What can I say? We were young computer nerds. :) And we would never derf one another.

    Until the evening when Kevin Nortrup walked out of the room for a few minutes and we dumped a "I am a derf" note into Pad using his terminal. Now once you had responded to a note, the original poster could no longer delete it, but we didn't quite manage to get a response in before Kevin returned, saw he had just been derfed, and angrily deleted the note, logged off, and headed off to work somewhere else.

    I had inherited PLATO Notes from John Matheny when he'd moved on to CDC in Mpls and I knew many secrets. One of them was that there was an editor that a system programmer could use to resuscitate a deleted note. And so I did. And then we responded to it. And there was much rejoicing in the junior sysprog room.

    Of course, Kevin discovered that we'd undeleted his note. And it didn't take him long to figure out that he could delete the note using the same tool that I'd used to undelete it. So he did.

    I put the note back.

    Kevin scrambled the pointers to the note in the file. Poor form, as that might damage the whole notesfile.

    Well, this meant war. One of my compatriots logged into the enforcer, which allowed him to watch what program Kevin was in and to log him out if he tried to go somewhere we didn't want him to go -- such as the Notes editor. I bounced in and undeleted the note again, restoring the pointers that I had carefully copied down, having anticipated Kevin's most recent move.

    Kevin saw the note was back, headed for the Notes editor, and we bounced him out. Several times, in fact.

    Meanwhile, various readers of Pad were greatly amused to see the derf note appear and disappear and appear again. Obviously, the systems programmers were at play.

    Finally, Kevin took advantage of the fact that he had a key to the console room. He went there, logged onto the console -- where we could not boot him out of a program -- and deleted the note once and for all.

    Of course, this was all much too good of a story.

    The thing was, none of the utilities that we used were logged. But everything that you did from the console was logged, so the only person who left fingerprints was Kevin. And when the owner of Pad, who was not so much a fan of Kevin's, complained about the abuse of his file with the system editors, Kevin was the one who got the stern lecture.

    Not too much later, John Matheny added a logging feature to the system Notes editor.

    And we did not play that game any more. :)
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    So here's a clip of Robin Williams on a USO tour when he's interrupted by the lowering of the flag at the base he's at, which is apparently called the "retreat ceremony". (I knew about the lowering of the flag from having lived on Air Force bases in my youth, but never knew what it was called.)

    He'd never seen this before, as it happens.
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    I worked briefly for G.D. Searle as a summer intern and once met Donald Rumsfeld at a meeting that included all of the summer interns that the company had hired; thus, I remember him, although I am nigh unto certain that he does not remember me. :)

    And as I was cruising the Internet this morning, I found this letter from the man which reminded me of what I was thinking as I looked over my tax returns yesterday.

    Your mileage may vary...
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    Yesterday, I posted asking what you might think the euphemism, "I'm dropping a note to Mr. Adams", might mean.

    And here's the source and the intent:
    Explanation inside... )
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    From last night's drive home from OVFF:

    What would it mean if I said "I'm dropping a note to Mr. Adams"?
    billroper: (Default)
    My friend, Mike Bentley, passed along a link to a trailer for the classic film -- cut to modern specifications as a summer blockbuster.
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    It's actually not too bad around here -- other than a work problem that erupted this evening -- but it strikes me that a lot of a time the source of trouble (or woe) is simply that things just need to slow down, dammit.
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    [ profile] catalana left Ada. Thunderstorms ensued which knocked out the power across a large swath of Ohio.

    She flew from Chicago to London. It remained stubbornly dry here, although it rained most of the time that she was in England. Given that it was raining before she arrived, I'm told that we can't pin this on her.

    She flew back from London to Chicago and then, on Thursday, headed back to Ada.

    At 2 AM the next morning, it rained here.

    The following afternoon, it rained a lot, producing a three-and-a-half hour rain delay down at Wrigley Field, where the Suttons had come up from Indianapolis to see the Cubs play.

    It is important to know who to blame for this. :)
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    If Spider-Man lost his last close living relative, would he be dismayed?


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