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Nov 30 2005

Drew Snow Shoveling

314drewshoveling.jpg

While in Chicago for Thanksgiving, Drew got the opportunity to do some snow shoveling...an activity which played no small role in my no longer living so far north.

Posted by Don | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 29 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

308turkeytrot.jpg

The three of us drove up to Chicago (Palatine) for Thanksgiving. We got in after midnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I then got up at 6:30am so that I could race in the 5 mile Turkey Trot with my best friend Harry. (We like to do stupid things together.) The temperature was 17 degrees with 20 mph sustained winds and 30+ mph gusts resulting in a wind chill well below zero...perfect running weather.

309birddoneldadrew.jpg

We all, including the Turkey Trot Turkey, then went to the hospital to visit my mom. She had presents ready for Drew's birthday.



310kissinggrandma.jpg



Drew opened his presents, read some books with his Grandma (Ma Danz) and thanked her with a bunch of kisses.



311drewpresents.jpg



That evening we went to Donelda's where Drew got to celebrate his birthday for a third time. By then, he had become an expert package opener.



312readinggrandma.jpg



Friday, mom got out of the hospital and we all went to Donelda's for a day late Thanksgiving dinner. Drew got in some more time reading with Grandma.





Donelda did a phenomenal job making from scratch: turkey, stuffing, corn casserole, mashed yams with marshmallows, mashed potatoes, fresh beans, cranberries, gravy, rolls and a pumpkin pie!

313thanksgiving.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 24 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

308thanksgiving.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

306twofaced.pngSo the liberal Democrats have been squawking about President's Bush's lack of an exit strategy in Iraq and the need to withdraw our troops. The Republicans in the House responded late Friday night, "OK, you want to withdraw our troops...lets vote!":



House Resolution 571: "It is the sense of the House that deployment of US forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."

The Democrats along with everyone else with two functioning brain cells voted (403-3) against the ridiculous measure. Fortunately for our efforts to fight Islamofascism, to bring some semblance of order to the Middle East, for the future of Iraq and for the sake of those who have already died for these noble causes, the Democrats didn't vote in line with the way they've been blabbering off to their froth-mouthed constituents.

307iraqivote.jpgAnd, who's the islamoterrorist loving moron who first came up with this "exit strategy" nonsense? I'm not surprised by the media parroting the Democrats cries of exit strategy...they'd repeat that eating poop was wonderful if it was first put forth by left-wing Democrats. The theme is politically brilliant as so many have ignorantly bought into it, but just the slightest amount of critical analysis reveals its insanity.

If you want to win a war, do you crush the enemy and then hang around making sure no fires start up again? Or do you do something a little more touchy-feely then immediately pack up and head home? I wonder if history has anything to say about this?

World War I:
Exit Strategy: Yes, come home as soon as it's over and start 20+ years of isolationism.
Consequence: World War II

World War II:
Exit Strategy: None.
Return date of troops: Still pending, 60+ years later
Consequence: Germany and Japan become staunch allies.

Korea:
Exit Strategy: None.
Return date of troops: Still pending, 50+ years later
Consequence: No resumption of war.

Viet Nam:
Exit strategy: Pull out after treaty signed.
Return date of troops: within a few years of signing.
Consequence: North reneges on treaty, conquers South, still Communist 30 years later.

Gulf War I:
Exit Strategy: ground troops out, enforcement of terms of surrender from air only.
Return date of troops: nearly all within a year or so of surrender.
Consequences: 12 years of "cheat and retreat," "Oil For Food" scandal, re-invasion 12 years later.

The lesson is clear:

Exit strategies are for wars that you don't plan to win, and to win decisively.

Jay Tea

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayana (1863–1952).

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 18 2005

New Kitchen Faucet

301moenfaucet.pngOur kitchen faucet (shown factory new) had been leaking for sometime now...and not from the spout. It had already been worked on once, but some of its internal parts had continued to corrode and its external appearance had diminished (yellowed) far in excess of what should be reasonable given its mere five year life. It was already an upgrade from the builder's standard fare so we were pretty disappointed in its performance. No more Moen for us.

302emptysink.jpg

So, last night, I took off the old faucet and cleaned the sink to sparkling new. Then it was off to the internet to research faucet designs, manufacturers and models.

303kohlerparts.jpg

Armed with the results of our research, we went shopping tonight and, after considering a number of criteria, came home with a brushed nickel Kohler faucet that just barely won out over a Delta model. After removing all the parts from the box, it was clear that ease of installation was not part of our deliberations.

304plumbershelper.jpg

Fortunately, I had my plumber's helper, Drew, to assist me. Click "continue reading" to see the results of our labor.

305kohlerfinished.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 17 2005

Drew Washing Dishes

300drewdishes.jpg

In our continuing efforts to get Drew to earn his keep, we have introduced him to the joys of dishwashing.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 16 2005

Webhost Upgrade

299webhost.jpgMy webhost can beat up your web host! TotalChoice Hosting, is upgrading their servers:

* Supermicro X6DVL-EG Dual Xeon Serverboard
* 64BIT 2x Intel 2.8Ghz / 800FSB / 2MB cache / EM64T / HT enabled CPU's
* 2x 160GIG SATA HD
* 3ware Escalade 8006-2LP RAID controller
* 1x 160GIG SATA HD

Their speed and uptime, which is already terrific, should only improve. If you are not satisfied with your hosting company, I highly recommend checking out TotalChoice Hosting.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

124rafaelperalta.jpgOne year ago today our nation lost one of its finest, a great hero, Sgt. Rafael Peralta.

My second post about this extraordinary man has received more hits, trackbacks and comments than anything else I've ever written about. The comments include ones from from Sgt. Peralta's brother, mother, service buddies and closest friends as well as from complete strangers, who like myself, inadequately express admiration of the man, gratitude for his service and prayers for his family.

I am closing this post to any comments and trackbacks. If you have something you want to say or wish to send a trackback, please do it in the post entitled: Sgt. Rafael Peralta - New Photos.

Posted by Don |
Nov 14 2005

Google Analytics

297googleanalytics.jpgGoogle released its Google Analytics service today which, if it is everything Google is hyping, should take over the web stats world in no time. It's designed to seamlessly integrate with Google AdWords* (advertisers) and with Google AdSense* (web publishers) but, in the process, may seriously dent or put out of business other web stat programs such as Site Meter and Extreme Tracking both of which I use myself.

298googlegraph.jpgEarly this morning I signed up despite some difficulty due to heavy traffic. It is supposed to start providing analysis "within twelve hours." However, given the fact that almost every tech site has been talking about Analytics today, I'll bet it will be a day or two before reports start showing up with regularity. I'll post again with a review after everything is up and running smoothly.

[* Why in the world is the address of AdWords adwords/google.com/ while the address of AdSense is google.com/adsense/ ?]

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 11 2005

Veterans Day 2005

296veteransday.jpg

                     It is the soldier, not the reporter,
                     who has given us freedom of the press.

                     It is the soldier, not the poet,
                     who has given us freedom of speech.

                     It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
                     who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

                     It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
                     who has given us the right to a fair trial.

                     It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
                     who serves under the flag,
                     and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
                     who allows the protester to burn the flag.

                     - Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

I'd taken the Politics Test a while back, and while the outcome seemed accurate enough, I wasn't crazy about the format of the output. Recently a good friend took the test which gave me the incentive to take it again and customize the results. So with the help of the Print Screen key, here is the part of the test's output I do like...being dead center of Reagan's forehead...Oh yeah!!!

295politicstest.jpg

I can identify everyone in the montage, except for I'm not sure about the guy at the very top left. It looks kind of like Admiral James Stockdale. It's probably Mussolini, since it's in the fascist section and he's the most famous fascist but it just doesn't look like him. Can anyone confirm or have a better idea who it is? [Update: Commenter Bif figured it out...and it's not Stockdale or Mussolini. See the comments if you are curious.]

After the jump, the standard output.

You are a

Social Conservative
(25% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(90% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Republican




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

Social Conservative...yes. Economic Conservative...yes. Strong Republican...yes. But, the best part, it said: "You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness." Pretty accurate, I'd have to say.

Posted by Don | Comments (9) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 8 2005

Drew Turns Two

291drewtwoyears.jpg

Never have two years gone by faster. Mom had set up for the birthday in the living room during Drew's nap. When the first guest, Uncle David, arrived, Drew ran to the door with his usual excitement only to do a double-take and stop in his tracks to exclaim, "Ho-ly-Cooow!" Shortly thereafter, "Ma," "Pa" and "Aaa" (Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Catherine) arrived for dinner.

292drewcandles.jpgDinner was followed by a birthday cake in the shape of the number two, a tradition started by Grandma Danz sometime in the 60s. A copy of the original template had been FedEx'd from Chicago for Mary to use...no pressure or anything. 293drewunwrapping.jpgDrew blew one candle out on the first try and then after a dozen more attempts extinguished the second. Cake was followed by unwrapping of the gifts. Drew was fascinated with everything he received and wanted to open and test out each gift before moving on to the next.

Drew thanks and sends his love to all his relatives for helping to make his birthday extra special.

294drewgrandparents.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |

289sonybmg.pngThis past week the internet was abuzz with the news that Sony BMG (under their Sony, Columbia, Epic, Arista, Jive and other labels) has been protecting some of their CDs, possibly since March of 2005, using a method that previously only scum-of-the-earth virus writers used. The method involves "rootkit" technology which hides software from the user and from security software such as your virus scanner. The problem is that once installed, and invisible on your system, there is no mechanism to stop anyone from accessing the rootkit and hiding and running malicious files on your computer!!!

Uninstalling the rootkit yourself is all but impossible and would likely result in rendering your computer's CD player inoperable. Once caught, Sony lied about the risks their rootkit causes, and then issued a software update that it says, "removes the cloaking technology component that has been recently discussed in a number of articles." But, this appears to be a lie too. And, you can't download the "removal" program without giving Sony a ton of personal information.

290sonyinstaller.pngIt all starts when you put the CD in your computer, a EULA (End User License Agreement) pops up. I highly suggest NOT agreeing to it. Although I've never tried it, apparently Sony's copy protection scheme can be thwarted by merely holding down the shift-key when loading a contaminated CD. Also, the Sony malware only affects PCs and does not affect Apple computers. As a general rule, you should never have to install anything on your computer just to listen to a CD you have legally purchased.

I've never been an advocate of illegally downloading music, but given this latest incident and the music industry's history of illegal price fixing, payola scandals, suing innocent people, and generally being a paleolithic purveyor of cultural crap, I'm beginning to become sympathetic to the downloaders.

Watch for lawsuits against Sony to follow in 3...2...1...

[Update 1: List of infected CDs provided by EFF.]

[Update 2: The lawsuits have begun.]

[Update 3: Sony BMG pulls CD copy-protection software.]

[Update 4: Sony to pull controversial CDs, offer swap.]

[Update 5: Sony rootkit removal tool worse than original infection.]

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Nov 4 2005

Big Ball of Fur

288bigballoffur.jpgWhen I tell you our cat is just a big ball of fur...I'm not exaggerating.







Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

287tulsawhirled.pngI've been incredibly remiss in having never blogged about the huge stinking pile that is Tulsa's only daily newspaper, the Tulsa World or, as some call it, the Tulsa Whirled. The newspaper is such a grossly slanted and bias rag that we long ago cancelled our subscription. Subsequently, many of the newspaper and its owner's more corrupt dealings and old-boys club antics came to light. But, what more could we do since we'd already cancelled our subscription? Hello Photoshop! So, I offer up to the blogosphere the above Tulsa Whirled logo to use as you please.

Michael Bates of Batesline has done an excellent job of documenting much of the Tulsa Whirled's yellow journalism. As a result, and as further evidence of the Tulsa Whirled's freakish disconnect from reality, they threatened to sue him:

The reproduction of any articles and/or editorials (in whole or in part) on your website or linking your website to Tulsa World content is without the permission of the Tulsa World and constitutes an intentional infringement of the Tulsa World's copyright and other rights to the exclusive use and distribution of the copyrighted materials.

Therefore, we hereby demand that you immediately remove any Tulsa World material from your website, to include unauthorized links to our website...

Yes, you read that right. A newspaper which owes its very existence to the First Amendment saying to someone, "don't quote us" and...try not to laugh, "don't link to us." Of course the rag only threatened people who were writing things it didn't like: Chris Medlock, Tulsans for Election Integrity and TulsaNow. It completely left alone other people who were quoting and linking willy-nilly, proving that the copyright claim was just a smokescreen for there bullying tactics.

But that is just one example of the Tulsa Whirled's behavior that merits it the big stinking pile logo. Check out Batesline's Tulsa Whirled archive for more...and remember to hold your nose while you do.

Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (4) |

286poohandrobin.jpg

Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin (Drew and his Aunt).

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |