Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Parables? Shmareables!

So to stick with the sci fi theme...

Current events, the non-final frontier.  These are the voyages, blah blah blah.

There are lots of sci fi stories about telepathy.  Lots.  One of the more common themes, if I recall correctly, is the harmful social effect that true un-regulated telepathic powers would create.  Imagine if everyone knew how much you

  • disliked white people.
  • liked Bob's wife.
  • REALLY liked Bob's wife.
  • hated Carl's wife.
  • REALLY hated Carl's wife.
  • liked musicals.
  • REALLY liked musicals.
Point being, you have your public, acceptable face, which lets you keep your job and your friends and your family intact, which is good for you and good for society.  And you've got that inner face that really wants to check on those back issues of Stump Humper magazine (yuck).

In my mind it started with bumper stickers.  From announcing "I HEART SOMETHINGOROTHER", progressing through "My kids rocks!" and the silly stick figure family crap, ending with various versions of "Fuck You if You Don't Agree!".  But I'm a grumpy Old Guy so who cares what I think.  What I know is that social media (and other factors) has made a bunch of people in this country unafraid to reveal their true inner selves, and made them feel encouraged to do so.

So pull down a statue, brawl with a nazi (I never get too upset when a socialist beats up another socialist), call for pogroms, go ahead.  Now I know who you are.  Yuck.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This is Tranya. I Hope You Relish It as Much as I.

So we have this happen:

North Korea Backs Off Guam Missile-Attack Threat

SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Tuesday, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”
And you know, I've seen this episode.


I've felt for a while that we needed more Kirk and less... not-Kirk.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Adding Some Certainty to CCW, Maybe?

I live and work close enough to where this incident took place that it's of interest to me.  Heck, I drive through there every day to and from work.  Is what's being suggested perfect?  Nope.  But it's better than nothing, in my opinion.

Pulling the whole thing from Shot in the Dark:

--------------------------------------------------
"Joe Doakes emailed me this request:
The case is over.  The next one hasn’t happened, yet.   This is the time to restart the conversation about the Pistol Protocol. Please run this letter on SITD.
Joe Doakes
So here is the letter:
Open letter to politicians, cops, citizens:
I write to enlist your support for law-abiding citizens.
The recent Falcon Heights shooting occurred two miles from my house.  I have a permit to carry a pistol, same as the driver. The cop was acquitted and social media is howling it’s a racial outrage but I’m not interested in who’s to blame in this specific incident.  I’m only interesting in making sure it doesn’t happen to me.
The evidence at trial boiled down to this:  the officer thought he gave a command which the driver failed to obey.  The eye-witness passenger thought the officer gave a different command which the driver was in the midst of obeying when the officer fired.  Neither the officer nor the eye-witness had time to think up a lie to pad the video to make themselves look better for a jury.  They both believed they were telling the truth as they heard it.  It’s a classic case of eye-witnesses recalling identical events differently.
I don’t want to die and the officer doesn’t want to kill me.  How can we work together to make certain that doesn’t happen?  Police have standard procedures for high-speed pursuit, for approaching a stopped vehicle, but apparently there is no standard procedure for Encountering A Lawfully Armed Citizen.  The advice I got in my permit-to-carry training was: “inform the officer you have a pistol and ask how he wants to handle it” which is another way of saying “There are no rules, the officer will make up something on the side of the road, but if you fail to comply, you die.”  That’s not good enough.  The driver might not hear clearly because of a crying kid or complaining passenger.  The office might not hear clearly because of traffic noise.  And instructions can be misinterpreted with deadly results.
The Falcon Heights incident is a vivid illustration of why the current make-shift policy is not good enough, why there must be a standard Pistol Protocol for officers and permitted carriers to know and understand, and why the high-stakes nature of an armed encounter demands the Pistol Protocol be stupid simple to understand and yet crystal clear to follow.
I think permit holders and law enforcement leaders should meet to negotiate a standard Pistol Protocol, add it to every law enforcement curriculum and role-play it in every permit-to-carry training session.   Here’s a draft:
Step 1.  Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) approaches stopped vehicle, Permit Holder (PH) rolls down window, puts hands on the steering wheel and keeps them there.  No other movement.
Step 2.  PH says “Officer, we need the Pistol Protocol. I have a permit to carry a pistol.”  PH says or does nothing else until PH receives verbal confirmation from LEO that the Pistol Protocol is in place.  If LEO fails to confirm, PH repeats the request for the Pistol Protocol.
Step 3.  LEO repeats back that PH wants to use the Pistol Protocol, thus verifying that the officer is aware of the existence of a legally permitted weapon and that a dialogue has begun about how to secure the weapon.  LEO says or does nothing else until he confirms that the Pistol Protocol is in place.  “I confirm you have a pistol and a permit to carry.  We are now using the Pistol Protocol.”
Step 4.  LEO instructs PH as to the next thing the LEO wants the PH to do so the LEO can secure the weapon.  Could be “move your car to a safer location” or “open the door using your left hand and step out” or whatever the situation requires, taking into account lighting, weather, number of passengers, etc.  Whatever LEO instructs, PH repeats back before doing it, LEO affirms or negates (followed by repeat of intended instruction).    “LEO:  Using your right hand, slowly turn the engine off, then put your hand back on the wheel.”  “PH: I’m going to use my right hand to turn the engine off, then put my hand back on the wheel.”  “LEO: that’s correct, go ahead.”  At that point, the driver turns the engine off and puts his hand back on the wheel. 
Step 5.  PH, moving slowly as LEO watches, carries out all LEO instructions until LEO announces the pistol is secure.
Step 6.  When LEO announces the pistol is secure, the Pistol Protocol is not ended, it is in recess.  LEO instructs PH what else to do (driver’s license, proof of insurance) and writes summons or gives a warning to complete their other business.
Step 7.  When LEO is finished with other business, LEO tells PH that LEO is restarting the Pistol Protocol to safely transfer the pistol back to the PH but LEO does not transfer the pistol until PH confirms that LEO has restarted the Pistol Protocol.  “LEO:  I’m restarting the Pistol Protocol to hand the weapon back to you.”  “PH: We’re back using the Pistol Protocol now.” 
Step 8.  LEO tells PH what LEO intends to do with the pistol, PH repeats it back, then LEO and PH slowly and carefully transfer the pistol back to the PH.  “LEO: I’m going to hand you the magazine to put in your pocket, then the weapon to put in your holster.  Do NOT load the weapon until you have left the scene.”  “PH: You’re going to hand me the magazine to put in my pocket and the pistol to put in my holster, but I won’t load the weapon until after I leave here.”  “LEO, okay, here’s the magazine . . . pocket, good . . . and here’s the pistol.”
Step 9.  LEO and PH go their separate ways.
There could be fewer steps, more steps, enhancements and improvements, but the key elements are (1) both LEO and PH affirmatively and verbally acknowledging the existence of the pistol so they can deal with it safely and (2) both LEO and PH read-back instructions to avoid misunderstanding, before any movement takes place.
This draft is not perfect but it’s good enough to be going forward.  Next step, figuring out how to get pistol carriers and cops on board.  Volunteers are needed to negotiate in good faith.  And salesmanship to convince cops and permit holders that it’s something they need to learn.
Could use a catchy phrase to help people remember.  The fire prevention people hit a home run with “Stop, Drop and Roll.”  How about:
Say It.  Repeat It.  Do It.  
Tell me.  Hear me.  See me.
Listen.  Repeat.  Comply. 
I work for the local government bureaucracy.  My bosses are sensitive to political pressure and controversy.  I can’t speak out in my own name so I’m writing this under an assumed name to ask for help. 
If you see merit in the idea, please take the ball and run with it.  If it’s not your cup of tea, can you forward it to someone who might help?
The tragedy in Falcon Heights ruined several lives.  There is absolutely no reason to ruin more.  Help me prevent that.

Joe Doakes, Saint Paul, Minnesota"

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Hello, how may I not help you today?"

I had no idea I was so pissed off about this until I was typing back and forth with my co-blogger just now.

So, a few weeks ago, United Airlines beats the shit out of a paying customer and throws him off their airplane.  Which I guess they can do.  I don't know.  The backlash was, well, you may have heard about it.

Then a couple of days later some American Airlines flight attendant allegedly gets into it with a passenger over a stroller and almost gets in a fight with a passenger who intervened.

So I read tonight that Delta, apparently keen to get in the mix, this week kicked a family off a flight because of some mix-up with using car seats for 2-year olds and what seems to be overbooking.

Story here.

Now, I actually watched the video for this one because the comments pointed out how calm the guy was, so I didn't feel like I was just watching for the car crash.  And here's the thing:  I don't know anything about airline rules, or FAA rules, and I'm not going to even speculate on who was right or wrong or why on this one because really, I have no clue and I wasn't there.  But what I do know about, see, is customer service.  I know a lot about it.  I've done more of it than I really care to admit, sometimes.  And so I'm watching and I'm pretty "hmm, that's interesting", until the part where the guy essentially says "OK, so this is happening.  What are you going to do to help us now?" and the customer representative, the key individual at the tip of the spear effectively replies "Nothing.  Once you're off the plane, you're on your own."

WRONG!

WRONG!  WRONG!  WRONG!

After the month the airlines have had, and KNOWING you're being recorded on peoples' phones, the ONLY correct answer at the speartip is some version of "We will bend over backwards to help you as best as we can within our rules and regulations."

Nothing short of that is even remotely acceptable.  Accept no blame.  Admit no responsibility.  Focus on the aftermath.  Demonstrate competence and compassion.  Leave the customer thinking "well, the event sucked, but I have to admit, the way they handled it afterward showed they at least cared."

If I were the king of Delta Airlines right now, that speartip person would be fired.  Every member of that crew would be fired. Their supervisors would be fired.  Anyone involved in the decision chain for that incident - fired.  Every department head I didn't fire would be running around my office building the next day yelling "WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!" at the top of their lungs until they collapsed in pools of their own spew.

I'm not exactly in love with Japanese culture, and I don't know who's running (JAL) Japan Airlines these days, but if something like this happened to them I bet a pizza that the CEO would be on national TV the next day in a white kimono, opening his own belly.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cask of Amontillado, Anyone?

So... if it's not an April Fool's thing, I guess the Fort Hood shooter creature is going on a hunger strike to protest his betters.

And I guess my response is 




Wednesday, February 8, 2017

But I Was Going Into Tosche Station to Pick Up Some Power Converters!

2016 and environs.  Wow.

To start off, I like the whole "Dewey Defeats Trump" thing.  I really do.  But other than that...

Very end of 2015: Joe the Cat goes under the plunger.

Winter 2016: Friend's marriage dies.  Very sad.  Helped him move.  Bought a bag of army men for his little boy to play with when he visits.  Very sad.

Winter 2016: Friend's teenage child commits suicide.

Winter 2016: Colleague at work diagnosed with terminal brain tumor.  We're not close, but he shines like a beacon of "not done yet, mofos" just a few feet away.

Spring 2016: Soap opera-y trials and tribulations At Work.  Gawd, by now, even I find them boring.  But there they were.

Summer 2016: Sam the Dog needs me one last time.

Summer 2016: Another friend's marriage ends.  This one stings a bit more for him.  Or maybe just more deeply.

Fall 2016: "This thing" on another direct colleague's neck at work is diagnosed as cancerous.  Let the radiation and chemo begin.

Winter 2016: Close friend goes to Urgent Care then ER after a couple of weeks of suspected cold-> flu -> maybe pneumonia/bronchitis.  They immediately check him into hospital ICU for AML (Leukemia).  "One of the most aggressive and virulent" cases they've ever seen.  Goes in on December 22nd, is sedated and on a respirator by Xmas day, kidney dialysis on the 28th, and after family arrives in-state and gets the full story of how badly he's deteriorated, he passes quietly on January 5th, an hour after everything's switched off.  Spent January with another friend cleaning out the apartment.

So, that was my personal 2016.

As far as I can tell, the only good thing that happened was that I was introduced to this:




When I watch it I can't help but think of "Oh Kungas, we're going to have so much fun!"




Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Principles

Some conservatives: "We should boycott lefty businesses!"

Me: "Have you ever HAD Cherry Garcia ice cream?!?!!?!?"

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Some Models

Federation Torpedo Boat:


Federation FF:



Together:


With a PL 1:1000 primary hull for scale:


Fed Old CL:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sam the Dog Final Bark

I brought Sam the Dog home almost 10 years ago.  He looked like this:


Most of the time since then he looked something like this:



And this June he managed to fool everyone and look like this for a few seconds:


Mid-July he went off his food a bit.  By the end of July he simply wasn't eating anything but smidgens of scraps of chicken and steak, and was losing weight.   In the second week in August I had him in for an ultrasound which was inconclusive, and then a CAT scan which spelled out "Lymphoma".  My vet pushed the plunger for me on 8/16.

I sure didn't expect to have to deal with all that again so soon.  I know every dog is the best dog ever, but Sam was the best dog ever.

Once again, as with Joe the Cat, thanks to everyone who's helped me with Sam over the years.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Attack of the Killer 1985

I have been assimilated.

Now that I have seen it, I can formally partition my life into BKF ("Before I saw Kung Fury), and AKF ("After I saw Kung Fury") sections.

Find 30 spare minutes.  Then watch this.  All of it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Star Wars VII

No spoilers.

From the trailers and posters I figured it wasn't a movie for me.  I was probably going to just wait for the BluRay.

But then my buddy asked me to take him to his early AM colonoscopy appointment, and afterwards he bought me breakfast and took us to the new Star Wars movie.

The experiences were similar.

After a few weeks of contemplation, and having only seen Cloverfield, the first Trek abomination, and TFA, I type the following:

To me, JJ Abrams is the knock-knock joke of moviemaking.  His stuff is watchable because I'm vaguely interested in seeing how it works out, but the dread outweighs the anticipation, and the dread is always rewarded.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

These Kids Today, My Elddaz!

You gotta figure that for at least the first 500 years, whenever Elrond heard remnants of the Dunedain refer to Amon Sul as "Weathertop", it was the equivalent of me hearing "I'll meet you at the Amonizzle Shizzle".

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Joe the Cat Final Meow

Today was Joe the Cat's sign off.  He had a great run (14 years) but in the end the combo of diabetes and kidney and spleen issues was too much.  He had another bad day and night yesterday so I made the call and took him in this afternoon.

Thanks to everyone who's fed him, scritched him, had their blood sucked by him, cooed over him, nearly been suffocated by him, had their lap warmed by him, rescued rubber bands from him, snatched dice away from him, or sneezed out dander from him over the 13 years he administered Fort Sam the Dog for me.  He will be missed.


"(2003) Hmm.  This dwelling may serve my needs for approximately 13 years after all..."

Monday, December 21, 2015

Nominal.

Nominal.

Good word.

http://www.spacex.com/webcast/

Watch the video from a couple of seconds before launch (about 21:00) and stick with it for 15 minutes or so.  You won't be disappointed.

Nominal indeed.

There's a Balrog in the Woodpile.

President Tired of Being Better Than All Of Us says the problem is that we Just Don't Get It.

http://hotair.com/archives/2015/12/21/obama-its-the-medias-fault-that-people-are-worried-about-isis-you-know/

It's not that I'm afraid of ISIS, Mister President, I just don't like to see Orcs ascendant.  Especially Orcs that are coming here and killing Americans, and encouraging other people to join the Orc tribe by way of ISISing by proxy.

And it is entirely your fault and responsibility that Orcs are multiplying in the Misty Mountains.