Saturday, January 31, 2015

We Must Be Vigilant Against Hateful Groups Like The Boy Scouts

... because we want more of this:

A video posted by Waka Flocka (@wakaflockabsm) on

and less of this:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
The chap in the video is Waka Flocka Flame, a rap star. We saw him in a TV ad and looked him up. Here's the lyrics from one of his hits. As far as I can tell, he is not under attack by any of the social justice enforcement groups in academia, the media or politics.

Compare those two samples of their work and I'm sure you'll see why California judges should have nothing at all to do with the Boy Scouts, but feel perfectly secure in working with Waka. We know what kind of country we all want to live in - the Waka Flocka kind, not the Boy Scout kind.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Gender Theory And The Boy Scouts

A lawyer friend of mine told me yesterday that there's been an ethics ruling in California forbidding state judges from interacting with the Boy Scouts because of their stance on gays. I saw a news piece about it as well, but I'm in a hurry and don't have time to find it now.

I'm not up to speed on gender theory, but it seems to me that the Boy Scouts are an organization for boys who identify as boys. Is there a problem with that? If we had the Tran Scouts for boys who identify as girls, would there be a ruling forbidding judges from dealing with them?

Is it that no one can choose their friends any more? I suppose that as long as we didn't organize officially and wear uniforms, I could host friends and their sons who want to do manly things without fear of reprisal. If I did so and a gay fellow objected, would he be able to sue me in court because I won't let him play with us?

For theological reasons, the Catholic Church does not distribute the Body of Christ to non-Catholics. Can we be sued for that?

The Land of the Free has gotten really complicated.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Bump!

In the mythical, far-Eastern city of Shanghai.

And not much of a bump, either. The drought goes on.

One storm in over a month. Ouch.

More Feminism, Please!

Social media is all a-twitter* with stories of new idiocies from crazy feminists, typically from our institutions of higher learning. Everyone's racist, some women don't have vaginas, the cis-gendered patriarchy oppresses them on a daily basis, blah blah blah. I'll bet that furniture stores in college towns can't keep fainting couches in stock.

Personally, I love it. I've got a daughter who is reaching marriageable age and every time I read about some brainwashed chick foaming at the mouth about sexism, racism or whatever, I think, "One less. Muuhahahaha!"

I really do think that "Muuhahahaha!" part, too.

Look, there are only so many decent guys out there. These days, what with porn, weed and student loans, herds of prospective husbands on the hoof are pretty thin. Every young feminist is one less competitor for my daughter because every one of those loons might as well be wearing a "CRAZY CHICK" sign taped to their backs.

So go to it, universities! Teach courses like The Problem With Whiteness all you want. Force everyone to take Women Of Color classes. It just means more guys available for my daughter to marry.

Dear feminists - while you were screaming about transgendered rights, this girl bagged your man. Losers.
* - All a-twitter! HAHAHAHAHA!**

** - Hey, someone has to laugh at these.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Convincing 1955 To Be 2015

During the Charlie Hebdo imbroglio, I discovered this cartoon and this quote from President Eisenhower.
Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend our own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.
There is no way on Earth that my parents or their contemporaries would have found that cartoon to be even vaguely acceptable. If you were from 1955, you'd have to have been several standard deviations off the norm, on the order of Jack Kerouac, in order to think the cartoon wasn't worthy of censorship.

1955 America was America, too. 2015 does not have a copyright on that title.

Over the last 60 years, our morals and society have gradually changed. We did not become the porn-besotted, weed-soaked, worship-our-groins nation overnight. It took 60 years of deliberate, incremental steps to get here.

When we interact with Muslims, a decent mental model might be 1955 America. Imagine trying to convince Harry Jones of 1955 Cleveland that all family structures are equally valid, that sex on TV is fine, abortion is OK and religious symbols need to be removed from all public places.

Then catch him up on social pathologies by showing him things like this.
Lolcat translation: Moral dekadenz not goin so well akshually.
Two things are going to happen that don't happen in conversation with someone from 2015.

First, Harry's not going to be intimidated by the ad hominems the libertines throw around today to bully their opponents into silence. He hasn't yet learned that you have to wriggle around, avoiding the chance you could be accused of homophobia or being a fundamentalist. Our accepted norm of not morally judging behavior will be alien to him and he won't accept that. Talk about the oppressive cisgendered Patriarchy is going to sound like what it is - lunacy.

The second thing that's going to happen is that Harry is going to dunk on you, over and over and over again. That graph is just the beginning. There are lots more. The moral prudes from the 50s who warned of what would happen if we allowed the libertines free rein have been, for the most part, proven correct. Accusations of racism aren't going to fly, either, as Harry beats you to death with statistics of black poverty and black family structures.

The data is available to all of us right now. The difference between then and now is that the people of 1955 would be willing to use it and would dismiss the condescending sneers of 2015 out of hand. As our moral compass has decayed, our ability to call things what they are has as well. It was a necessary loss in order to maintain the fiction that our new "freedoms" were not destructive. They are, but we can't say that.

Muslims can. Accusing a devout Muslim of being a judgmental prude probably doesn't have the same effect as it does on one of our modern university graduates. I've no doubt that their Imams are shoving these statistics in their faces on a regular basis. Since their moral attitudes haven't had 60 years to be gradually diluted into nothing, they're not going to be pushed around with our idiot, Unitarian-style arguments.

If our modern, secularist leaders are going to win cultural arguments with the Muslims, they're going to have to show them the concrete advantages of porn and weed. Good luck with that.

Monday, January 26, 2015

No Coffee Break Today

8+ years of daily blogging has made me able to compose a post in my head and free-write it as fast as I  can type. I don't even have time for that during a coffee break today as I've gotten some great business opportunities (yes, multiple!) in some emails and it's time to get cracking!

I'm in such a good mood that I need to share it and who better to set the tone than ...

I hope you have a day that makes you dance like no one is looking!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

And The Best English-Style Brown Ale Is ...

Dogfish Head Indian Brown!

Last night was the Papist Pub Party and we tried 6 different English-style Brown Ales accompanied by Bangers n' Mash and Steak and Kidney Pudding. Here's how the voting came out:
  1. Dogfish Head was the clear winner.
  2. New English Brewing was also unanimously acclaimed.
  3. Ale Smith was mediocre. That was a real surprise to me as I had expected Ale Smith to win.
  4. Founding Fathers was mediocre. That was not a surprise. I've tried it before and thought it marginal at best.
  5. Mass-produced Newcastle actually held up well against those two and was considered palatable.
  6. Samuel Smith's was horrible. Contrary to the good reviews given Samuel Smith's on various beer websites, this native Brit was almost undrinkable in comparison to the others. Many of my guests did not finish their samples. I recall seeing one person out of the corner of my eye attempt to get the taste of it off of his tongue with sandpaper.
The food was well-liked as well. In addition to the dishes mentioned above, we had English Sweet Peas and Leeks with Brown Butter. All of the recipes came from this book, which has never produced anything but good food for me.

Now I need to go on the wagon for a while, despite having a fridge in the garage well-stocked with brown ales. I woke up with a bit of a head this morning. :-)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Biting Off More Potted Shrimps Than You Can Chew

Tonight's the Papist Pub night and I've got plenty of cooking to do. Steak and Kidney Pudding, Leeks in Brown Butter, etc. There's still shopping to do as well. What am I doing? Trying to figure out how to connect my TV to our SONOS sound system. And blogging. Hmm. Maybe I'm trying to do too much. Maybe I should just do the first things first as they say.

How about you? Do you find yourself biting off more than you can chew on a regular basis?

And the Potted Shrimp? I was giving some appetizers a try in my "test kitchen" earlier this week and tried this recipe. It's an old way of preserving shrimp, encasing them in clarified butter. Clarifying the butter removes the milk fats and keeps the butter from spoiling. You add some spices (mace and anchovy paste in this case) to give it a more distinctive favor. You spread the concoction over toast as shown below to make a delicious meal. Or a passable meal. Decent, but not worthy of guests.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why Does Saudi Arabia Have Such A Large Military?

In a comment a while back, Interweb Amigo Tim pointed out that Saudi Arabia has one of the largest armies in the world. Fourth largest, if I recall correctly. Here's why.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Firing The Money Bazooka In 3..2..1..

There's nothing that printing lots and lots of money can't solve! With Europe falling into recession, the ECB is swinging into action!
FRANKFURT—The European Central Bank said Thursday it plans to purchase over €1 trillion ($1.157 trillion) in public and private sector bonds by the fall of 2016, a landmark decision aimed at combating stagnation and ultralow inflation in a region that has emerged as a top risk to the global economic recovery.
Printing gobs of cash has a long track record of success. Look at the way the ECB was printing money just a year or so ago and how well that kept things humm ... err ... humming ... err ... well, maybe that's a bad example.

Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has had really huge success with the whole money-printing thing.
Image source.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guys' Night At The Papist Pub

On Saturday, I'm hosting a pack of Papists at my pub for a tasting of English-style brown ales and some British food. We're all married and have kids of various ages. We're all fairly active in the Church.

The idea came to me while drinking some delicious Ale Smith Nut Brown. I thought, "There are so many of these English-style browns out there. A taste test would be a lot of fun, but having 5 or 6 22 oz beers is going to leave me in a liquid state with a massive hangover. I know! We'll build a party around this!"

When I sent out the invitations, everyone responded with enthusiasm. I'm going to ask, but I'm betting that the last time any of us hung out with nothing but other guys was ... more than a year ago? When you're busy with your family, hanging out with the fellas just doesn't happen.

I'm doing all the cooking myself and have decided to go with two main dishes, one normal and one very British. The normal one will be bangers and mash. The more unusual one will be a steak and kidney pudding. There's a great British pub and shop here in San Diego, Shakespeare's, that sells authentic British food. That's where I get the bangers - British sausages. I've got a cream soup picked out as well as a shrimp appetizer. There will be leeks prepared with a recipe from Newcastle as well.

Desert is problematic right now, but I've got to go down to Shakespeare's for more bangers anyway, so I ought to be able to find something for afters.

As far as the beer goes, I'm thinking that 5-6 beers will be plenty. Here are my candidates:
  1. AleSmith Nut Brown
  2. Samuel Smith's Nut Brown
  3. Newcastle
  4. Abita Turbodog
  5. New English Brewing Co Brown
  6. Avery Ellie's Brown 
  7. Lost Coast Downtown Brown
  8. Dogfish Head Indian Brown
I'm open or more suggestions.

As my truly deranged regular readers know, I've been a huge Newcastle United fan for the last four years, but ever since Alan Pardew left the Toon to go manage Crystal Palace, they've been my second favorite club. I'm not sure if I'll decorate the house (the Union Jack hanging over the door?), but I might play music like the Dave Clark Five's Glad All Over.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Boy Meets Gulls

We had some scraps of white bread left over from an appetizer recipe, so I took them down to Mission Bay to feed the gulls. This lot of scurvy knaves made short work of the bread and then stood around looking to cause trouble.

I got a couple of shots of gulls in the air, but since I wasn't using the sport mode on the camera, they came out too blurry to share. Oh well, there's never a lack of opportunities to photograph seagulls here in San Diego.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Proper Rainfall Chart

... thanks to Google Charts.

Modesto hasn't had any rain since I started this project almost a month ago. In fact, most of California has been dry over that time.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


... PHP, MySQL and Javascript is proving to be a bit of an undertaking.

My rainfall project produces a MySQL database with a table of rainfall data for several California cities. I have PHP code that can read it and create a table from it in a browser like so.

Modesto Percent of Normal Rainfall


Graphing this data has proven problematic in PHP, requiring me to learn javascript in order to use the excellent Google Charts library. Javascript, being browser-side, doesn't integrate well with the MySQL on the server. My first guess at solving this problem is to write a PHP script which produces a CSV string of the rainfall data and have the javascript code read that page in as a string. I then parse the CSV into an array and insert it into the graphing library.

Bite-size pieces. It's all going to have to be done in bite-sized pieces. I just wrote the PHP code to make the CSV. Now it's time to take a mental break and watch the Arsenal-ManU game.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

President Eisenhower And Charlie Hebdo

Here's what Ike had to say about censorship.
"Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as that document does not offend our own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship."

Remarks at the Dartmouth College Commencement Exercises, Hanover, New Hampshire, 6/14/53
Emphasis mine.

Do you think Ike would have found this to offend his ideas of decency?

Whatever. Dwight Eisenhower couldn't have been a real American because he wasn't for utterly unfettered free speech. He probably would have been called a coward like all the other people who won't republish porn images of religious icons.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Google Charts Beats pChart

... like a drum.

For my rainfall project, I've been fighting with the PHP pChart drawing library for some time now, trying to get it to display labels and titles, format axes and so forth, all to no avail. Things work in their examples, but don't work in my code. The documentation for pChart is a complete mess as versions have deprecated functions, but the documentation on the web still shows them as active. The only way I know which functions are really there is to start writing the code in Dreamweaver and have its auto complete feature show me what's available.

I picked pChart because I knew PHP, but didn't know JavaScript very well. I've wanted to learn it, but I didn't want to compound the difficulty by learning a charting library while learning a new language. That concern has been thrown out the window.

Google Charts is a charting library provided for free by ... Google. Everything about it is first class. The documentation is clear, the results are beautiful and its only drawback is that it's written for JavaScript.

Oh well. I was going to learn JavaScript anyway.

Moms Are Always Beautiful

... just like Momma Daisy!

Momma Daisy is blooming right now.

I'm trying to remember what year I got her. I'm thinking it was 2005, but it could have been earlier. One of the women who gave her to me (a going away present at work) retired recently. She was always amazed that Momma was still alive. Momma's been my favorite plant ever since I got her, a symbol of people I loved.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My First Car

... was a 1969 Dodge Dart. There's a site with some great old car brochures. Here's the one for the '69 Dart.

What a way cool idea for a website, no?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where Leadership Was Missing In The Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Almost everyone has had their fill of Muslim violence. That's why the mob was so quick to rush to the defense of Charlie Hebdo. Had CH been shot up by gays for a homophobic magazine cover, there would have been no marches. The cops would have dealt with the issue and it would have faded from the front pages quickly.

The mob had no purpose other than defiance. That's why the cartoons were republished in so many places and why the mob became irate where they weren't. Defending free speech was the cause and everyone signed on.

Defiance is divisive. One side is defying the other. Divisive acts when violence is a real option is not a good idea. Mobs aren't good for much more than defiance, though. That's why we needed leadership. As far as I can tell, we didn't get any.

Leadership would provide a strategic goal. I'd suggest the strategic goal here is to get the French Muslims to feel French and defend French customs. Trashing their sacred icons may be a terrific act of defiance, but it's a lousy sales technique when you're trying to sell them on the idea of being French.

Imagine going into a shoe store where the salesman screams that he doesn't think you have the brains to pick out a pair of socks, much less shoes, slacks or shirt.

Leadership would have focused the protests on more than defiance. It would have used the energy of the mob defending free speech and channeled it into something more. The goal of assimilating the Muslims would have been front and center and this horrible incident would have been proof that assimilation was needed.

Instead, all we got were republished, blasphemous cartoons and an in-your-face march. Six months from now, those 6,000,000 Muslims in France still won't feel very French. Our political leaders failed us utterly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Importance Of Fathers

Here's an interview with an inmate about what it was like growing up without a father. The anger surprised me. The video is less than 2 minutes long and is worth watching.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Developing On A Laptop Is The Worst

I spent an hour this morning playing with my rainfall graphing project. Southern California got some rain this weekend and I wanted to see how it affected the charts. I've got pChart working and it's very powerful, but I'm still not facile with it and I need to keep a browser window open with my latest chart page, the manual and examples as I write code in Dreamweaver. I also need a window open with HeidiSQL, my database viewer.

I've got a laptop with a single 17" screen.

Yes, that's a big screen and my friends at work mock me for having such a monster to lug around, but it's still not anywhere big enough to make web development easy. At work I've got two screens and have worked with three in the past. That makes things so easy! This is torture.

In the end, I wasn't able to label the axes, draw a legend or create a title. Pathetic. Enjoy?

Percent of normal rainfall for San Diego. The upper curve is this year, the lower curve is last year. There's a slight uptick after yesterday's rains. The x-axis is the date going from 21 December 2014 to 12 January 2015. The y-axis probably goes from 20% to 220%, but I'm not completely sure.

If I could master labeling the graph dynamically, I wouldn't have to type this. Sigh.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The End Game Is Easy To See

... if you're Nostradamus.

In Afghanistan, Muslim crazies used mortars to blow up centuries-old Buddha statues. In Iraq, they burned ancient, Catholic churches to the ground. In Nigeria, they recently stormed a village and killed about 2,000 people.

There are something like 6 million Muslims in France, free to move about and engage in commerce. Some of them are crazy. Some of them are, shall we say, less than impressed with French culture. Museums full of French art, for example, may be sacred to the French natives, but are not sacred to the Muslim crazies. Mohammed is sacred to Muslim crazies.

If you're going to draw Mohammed in various slanderous poses and you've got 6 million potential enemy combatants in your country and lots of ill-defended cultural icons, you might want to consider just how this is all going to end. Yes, you defended free speech. Now you need to think about defending the Louvre.

Aside: A friend of mine called car bombs the strategic bombing campaign of a military that lacks an air force. How many museums can stand up to a direct hit by a thousand-pound bomb?

What strikes me the most about our war on Islamofascism is how mentally unprepared the West is. With every move, we assume that we can dictate just how far things will escalate. When President Obama decided to bomb ISIS in Iraq, all I could think was that we had a long, undefended border and lots and lots of soft targets. At least with America, the Muslim crazies aren't already here in huge numbers like they are in France.

On the plus side, we can still draw crude porn pictures of religious figures, so we've got that going for us.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Devil And Peter Tork

As we rush to war on the Interweb Tubes to defend utterly unfettered free speech, here's a bit of old news from 1968 about an episode of the Monkees entitled The Devil and Peter Tork.
Contrary to popular belief, this episode (the fifth completed for the second season), was held back by NBC due to its satanical jabs at network censorship--the word "hell"--rather than the lyrical content of the song "Salesman." Note that a distinct "cuckoo" is heard when Mike, Davy and Micky utter the word (or try to, anyway). Previously, "censored" Monkees episodes wherein a "cuckoo" replaced an offending expletive are No. 15, "Too Many Girls" (a.k.a. "Davy And Fern") and the closing moments of the previous episode, "The Monkee's Paw."
Here's the episode in case you want to watch it.

Friday, January 09, 2015

So You Still Want To Stand Up For Charlie Hebdo?

... after seeing this? It took less than 30 seconds to find that. There's more. Lots more.

There you go, absolutist free-speechers. Those are your teammates.

When the Black Panthers shoot up a Klan cookout, how many of you will be wearing Confederate flags and singing Dixie as you march through the streets?

Count me out.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

What Are We Defending?

Drawing Mohammed in pornographic poses?
Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses.

While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not. Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years.
The people at Charlie Hebdo were not on my side any more than the guys who shot them. A pox on both their houses.

Interestingly, while the people on Twitter agitating for reproducing Hebdo artwork might not know the full, scurvy truth of the content of that rag, it's a good bet the Muslims do. If you wanted the Muslims to feel isolated and surrounded by hateful, filth-encrusted infidels, this was a great way to do it.

Be careful who you take on as an ally. They may bring with them enemies you wouldn't have had otherwise.

Update: Good friends Tim and Foxfier have taken me to task over this to some degree. My question is, why would anyone, individually, implicitly defend Hebdo? Would our lives be missing something without sufficient porno pictures of Mohammed? Is there a crucially important characteristic to the kind of people who draw pictures of masturbating nuns that we can't do without?

I have no fear that there are plenty of guttersnipes who will now draw all manner of slime about the Prophet in retaliation. That crowd will be plenty big enough without us. Why should we feel the need to join in?

Find and prosecute the murderers, yes. But publish nasty pictures of Mohammed? Why?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

And The Reason We Need To Get All Wound Up About Charlie Hebdo Is

... what?

A pack of smarmy creeps like the ones that produce The Daily Show mocked Muslims. Crazy Muslim fanatics went into their offices and shot them up. Apparently, the proper response to this is for all of us to publish attacks on the Muslim religion. At least that's what I'm reading on Twitter.

Um, why?

Look, I'm sorry the people got shot, but I don't see any need to follow their lead. Why do I need to get into the gutter with the writers at Charlie Hebdo to show that I don't like terrorism?

This blog started with a post about Danish cartoonists and threats of violence. I didn't think they were worth imitating, either.
So here we have a bunch of disrespectful creeps drawing cartoons that enrage a bunch of fanatical maniacs and we’re supposed to take sides? If, in 1940, Germany had declared war on Japan, just what would we have done? How about nothing at all and let them fight it out. It can’t be anything but good for us. Not every event in the world requires us to take sides.
In a later post, I said supporting the cartoonists by repeating their slander against Muslims was like attacking Stalingrad.
For the most part, we have completely blown it with respect to the Danish cartoons. We have taken the bait and run headlong into the battle the Islamofascists wanted to fight: a frontal attack on Islam.
I'm not a big fan of recreating Stalingrad from the German point of view. I'm sorry the people at Charlie Hebdo got shot, but I'm not going to join them in being ill-bred swine.
When (the Islamofascists) use (violence) to defend the Koran and the Prophet from Western libertines, they get recruits.

Let’s withdraw from Stalingrad before the trap closes around us all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Central California Needs Irrigation

... is becoming apparent from my rainfall data scraping experiment. Despite being above normal for the year, Modesto hasn't seen rain in over two weeks. You can't do dry dirt farming like that. Everything would die.

December 21: 218% of normal
January 5: 162% of normal

At this rate, with no rain, Modesto will fall below average for the year by January 22.

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Male Gaze Is Everywhere! All The Time!

Good Lord.
The male gaze is something that society, even beyond feminist circles, is finally beginning to acknowledge ... The male gaze, which refers to the lens through which mostly white, heterosexual men are viewing the world, is a lens of entitlement...

Train yourself to see the gaze everywhere. Because that’s exactly where it is.
That's from the site, Everyday Feminism, apparently a resource for women who don't want husbands and enjoy paranoia. I found it by Googling "male gaze" after hearing a feminist use it in a video. Plenty of the ideas in that post are repeated in the media.

Why are we listening to these people? Why do they even get a hearing in the media with their infinite-loop lunacy? Train yourself to see the gaze everywhere because it is?!? What's the difference between that and the people who think the government is using beams to read their minds?

I had no idea their craziness was so foundational.

This is what you get when you mix the writers at Everyday Feminism with crazy cat ladies.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

In Yuma, They Riot Over Sports

Well, "riot" is a bit of an overstatement. It's more like a mild yawn.

After yesterday's historic NFL playoff thrashing of the utterly impotent Arizona Cardinals, the Yuma Sun led with this story.

That's right, they led with ... European skiing.

The only thing I can think is that it's so darn hot and dry in Arizona that they watch Alpine skiing for relief.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Shorter Gene Demby: I Like To Chant And March

NPR contributor Gene Demby has a blatherthon of a post on Politico. It's 3 pages long and you want to drink a tall glass of rye whiskey after the fourth paragraph. Under the heading, "Suffering For Your Art," I read the thing so you don't have to. You're welcome. Here are the dimlights*.

First, it looks like I didn't get wound up enough about people I've never met getting shot for doing stupid things.
The shattering events of 2014, beginning with Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, in August, did more than touch off a national debate about police behavior, criminal justice and widening inequality in America. They also gave a new birth of passion and energy to a civil rights movement that had almost faded into history, and which had been in the throes of a slow comeback since the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. 
I wasn't shattered, nor was anyone I know. Instead, we watched sports, drank beer and cooked delicious food. Our kids went to school. Plants were watered and trash was taken out. Other than marvelling at people like Gene yelling about some thuggish dingbat who picked a pointless fight with a cop, nothing around me was "shattered."

Apparently, I was supposed to join a "movement" or something like that. Gene goes on for pages and pages and pages (at least it seems that way) about the movement and how dynamic it's become. The dynamism is shown by things like this:
Sarah Jackson, a professor at Northeastern University whose research focuses on social movements, said the civil rights establishment embraces the “Martin Luther King-Al Sharpton model”—which emphasizes mobilizing people for rallies and speeches and tends to be centered around a charismatic male leader. But the younger activists are instead inclined to what Jackson called the “Fannie Lou Hamer-Ella Baker model”—an approach that embraces a grass roots and in which agency is widely diffused.
I embraced the San Diego "@deanriehm - @bdaddyliberator - @mad_maximilion - @doodooecon" craft beer model. That's where you stop at Albertsons on the way home to pick up a big AleSmith ESB or Firestone Union Jack. This movement is characterized by grassroots-fed beef cooked on a grill and wins for our sports teams that are widely diffused throughout the season.

Honestly, I tried to read the rest of his narcissistic gum-flapping, but the best I could do was skim it. Just what all the marching and chanting is supposed to accomplish is beyond me. I've been around a little while and from the looks of things, longer than Gene. While "organizing" might be a good thing, it's utterly irrelevant in your life compared to going to church, getting married, picking up valuable skills, getting along with your bosses and devoting yourself to your spouse and children. You can march and chant all day, but if you don't do those basic things, you're going to be a failure.

In the time I've spent working with the homeless, mentoring fatherless young men and coaching kids, I've yet to see a life that could have been improved if only more people had attended rallies and "organized". I'm not sure what concrete things Gene intends to accomplish by waving signs around and clogging up our streets with shouting people. Maybe concrete things aren't the goal. Maybe the chanting and marching is the goal.

I wish Gene all the luck in the world with his movements and rallies and gabfests. I hope he has a great time. Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to working on some PHP code, cook a Cajun Prime Rib and follow @lee_ryder to see if Newcastle can beat Leicester City today in the FA Cup.

Mississippi Smothered Chicken in a big cast-iron skillet. Marching and chanting doesn't get the food cooked, Gene.
* - Since the thing is so utterly pointless, it doesn't really have highlights or lowlights.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Graphing Rainfall

I spent a little time installing the GD graphics library on my server and then scouted out some PHP graphing libraries. I ended up with PHPGraphLib which is about as stripped down as you could imagine. The results were underwhelming.

There's another one called pChart that seems a lot more capable, but I tried to use it and mistook m own incompetence installing GD for its failings, so I punted on it and went to PHPGraphLib. It turns out that all I needed to do was reboot the server* and I was in business. I'm going to re-install the pChart library and try that. This one looks like some researcher needed some quick and dirty graphing functions and threw this one together. It hasn't been updated in quite some time.

* - Rebooting. Is there no problem it can't solve?