Thursday, January 21, 2021

And So It Begins


Thursday, January 7, 2021


 Or, Trump, no.  Oh well. It was nice while it lasted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Trump. Yes.

 Trump Yes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


That Hunter Biden Story Thing.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

How About That?

 OK, I'm watching the RNC liveblog of the last night of the RNC convention.

Pretty much only reading transcripts (the only way to fly IMO).

But I did fire up the "intro video" for the Trumpster, and it's got the SAME cadence as the Tony Stark intro in the first Iron Man movie. I bet you a pizza that ain't an accident.

I love seeing competence in action.

"That's good, but we need more of a Tony Stark vibe..."

Sunday, April 19, 2020

TANSTAAFL. But Sometimes the L Goes on Sale

I told myself for a while that I didn't need, didn't care, wouldn't get.

The Complete Works of RAH: The Virginia Edition

But they're having a sale.  So...

It'll be a while before it they get here (The 'rona + book rate) but when they do, I think it'll actually be hard to move my current RAH collection to the basement.  Even Number of the Beast.  Each of those books - the Ballantine box-set juvies with the Darrel K. Sweet covers, the 1-point font Signets, the ugly-cover Berkeley's, and the big-ass hardcovers, has a big memory (or two) for me.  I grew up with them - they entertained, informed, and instructed me.  (Well, maybe not Number so much.*)

But it's a lot of books.  And if I'm upgrading them...?

Gotta keep 'em though, because as we know, one is none, and two is one.

* I read this recently that claims Number is actually an instruction book for writers. I'd have to re-read it again to see if it holds water.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Oo Mao Mao!

Why is anyone surprised that the ChiComs are tyrannical bastards?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

When the Tellerite was murdered, I was quite incapacitated.

Proof Sarek was in Epstein's cell!

KIRK: How was he killed?
MCCOY: His neck was broken. By an expert.
KIRK: Explain.
MCCOY: Well, from the nature and location of the break, I'd say the killer knew exactly where to apply pressure to snap the neck instantly.
KIRK: Who aboard would have that knowledge?
SPOCK: Vulcans. On Vulcan, the method is called tal-shaya. It was considered a merciful form of execution in ancient times.
KIRK: Spock. A short time ago, I broke up an argument between Gav and your father.
SPOCK: Indeed, Captain? Interesting.
MCCOY: Interesting? Spock, do you realise that makes your father the most likely suspect?
SPOCK: Vulcans do not approve of violence.
KIRK: You're saying he couldn't have done it?
SPOCK: No, Captain. I'm merely saying it would be illogical to kill without reason.
KIRK: But if he had a reason, could he have done it?
SPOCK: If there were a reason, my father is quite capable of killing. Logically and efficiently.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Bumper Sticker People

Good advice that, once you've been using the internet for 7 minutes, everyone knows and takes to heart: "Never read the comments!"

But then... Twitter: "We're nothing BUT the comments!"

I'll never understand bumper sticker people.

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Symbolic of his struggle against reality."

38 years ago this was hilarious.  Because it was ridiculous.

10 years ago it was cautionary.

Now, in certain places in the country, the behavior shown is illegal.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Nooks & Crannies & Horror

Terrible thought:
There existed a time 
When there were humans
But there was not yet any butter.

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."



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.