News & Commentary





Kyle Said a Mean Word


Perennial NASCAR bad-boy Kyle Busch "misspoke" during a post race tirade against a fellow competitor who had 'applied the chrome horn', attempting to root the rear of Kyle's second-place car with the front bumper of his third-place vehicle and spin him out during one of the final laps of Sunday's race.


Bush later referred to the move as "retarded", a word which apparently is no longer socially acceptable and while it drew the mild ire of NASCAR's ruling cabal there was no fine or loss of points. Perhaps because he is not in contention for the championship currently, the verbal diarrhea of multiple NASCAR champion Bush was not considered of sufficient impact be penalized, and was quickly apologized for to the alleged on-track offender by the vocabulary-challenged miscreant. Bush will apparently also attend sensitivity training.


The exchange did spark many responses on online chat apps with one by the parent of a son afflicted with Down's Syndrome perhaps also one of the most "ignorant"  (a word denoting incorrect behavior caused by a lack of knowledge), suggesting the proper phrase should have been "intellectual disability".


While I spent time in California some years ago, I am not particularly a fan of politically correct speech; I don't enjoy people chiding me for what they may view as my poorly chosen words. However, there was one phrase from that period which seemed so pertinent, I took it to heart and have continued to use in my speech and writing ever since. I do not consider someone to be "disabled" but rather have removed that negative word from my vocabulary to be replaced with the positivity of the far more supportive word, "challenged".


In other words, Busch should probably not be thought of as having less talent than another other her driver named Kyle, who will probably win the NASCAR championship this season.


Let us show some compassion and refer to Kyle Busch as

"competitively challenged" or perhaps, just finally overmatched.





Missouri, the "Show Me" State


A well detailed article on this morning's Ars Technica's website spotlights a bald-butt romp of governmental ignorance and its ineffectual cover-up, oddly reminiscent of the infamous Royal Nonesuch and serendipitously brought to light in the state in which the Mark Twain's fictional comedic literary exposť occurred.


An official state website intended to document the educational capabilities of Missouri's teachers apparently exposed their full Social Security numbers due to a coding glitch. When a professional security consultant brought the faux pas to light, state officials including Missouri's governor and others began a full court press campaign of misinformation and "fake news" designed to deflect liability from themselves, claiming the security consultant, a college professor, had hacked the website and attempting to prosecute him for a nonexistent crime.


If you could use a good chuckle this morning, take a moment to follow the above link and read the whole story.






I suspect I probably am getting old and crotchety as my wife sometimes scolds me but there are a couple of things which genuinely pique my ire. When I am dealing with questions on an online form and am offered a so-called "chat" session, the implication is that I will actually exchange verbal speech with someone, hopefully providing nuance to the site's one-size-fits-all checkbox or a query which neither defines or nor answers my request.


Instead, most websites attempt to shunt seekers into a text-tennis exchange with either an offshore CSR (customer service rep) who does not properly speak English and/or understand American cultural idioms. Sometimes more recently, you'll be 'matched' with an artificial 'intelligence', coded to end the exchange if questions are not to its programmed liking.


The point being that, to me, the term "chat" refers to a comfortable sit-down between two humans to discuss something on an intimate level. My many years in the IT industry's have long ago removed me from newbie status. I can generally discuss Technology 101 pretty fluently, something that many CSR's cannot. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've had to educate an entry-level service rep about either their product or general technology in order to make myself understood. I generally do it good-naturedly in the interest of furthering their education but can quickly become somewhat ruthless when they repeat their inane monitor-script for the second or third time. What really frosts my nads is a 'beancounter-mandated' help desk philosophy designed to 'herd' serious inquiries about problems or obvious bugs into dubious explanations of their status as 'features'. Please!


I've recently completed writing a book which has had me almost totally occupied for some time. Now that I'm able to take a bit of a break, I'd like to extend my writing talents to a remunerated position for a while. I'd love to find a creative writing gig, perhaps a periodic blog post writer, paid as a 1099 contractor rather than a W-2 employee for obvious tax reasons. unfortunately, Indeed.com keeps offering me positions writing contracts and as a marketing writer. it seems the only current  online definition of 'creative writing for pay' is that of an e-marketing scribe, a keyboard sideshow barker of some sort, hawking mediocre goods and/or dubious services, all while faithfully maintaining the vaunted 'brand identity' of their parent firms.


A while back a comedy routine parodied a Madison Avenue advertising campaign's search for an ethical description of a new medication. The end result was the only honest thing they could say about the pill;


"It's Round!"




I'll show You Mine if you Show Me Yours


When I lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas for five years from 1978 through 1983, I applauded the basic common sense woven into many of that state's laws. Unfortunately, during several periods of economic malaise since, federal intervention has mandated changes to some of Texas' traditional rules and regulations such as being allowed to carry shotguns and rifles in the back window racks of pickup trucks. That is no longer allowed.


I am not particularly in love with Texas' current stance on abortion. I personally believe that is a matter of choice between a woman and her conscience, at least during the first full trimester of a pregnancy. Once a fetus can survive outside the womb, that infant then has rights too


I do wholeheartedly support Texas' emerging stance on trans-athletes. That state's House of Representatives recently passed a bill mandating all student athletes be required to compete only as their birth or biological sex rather than their chosen gender identity. let's hope the Texas Senate and the governor agree. It's just common sense.

Update:  Texas Governor Abbott signed the bill into  law Monday 10.25.2021.




For Sale To the Highest Bidder


It has been reported online a number of times in the past few days that the deportees from Afghanistan have been involved in altercations with their "minders" on military installations where they have been housed pending resettlement. A headline this morning on Google News reported that many of them have now "walked off" said reservations, presumably to disappear into the general population of our country.


These folks were "evacuated" from Afghanistan during the last few days of the U.S. occupation of their homeland primarily because of their "willing cooperation" with US military forces in their country, who probably paid them considerably more than their own government could for their "services". I wonder who's paying them now,

and for what?



Hillbilly Heroin


There is apparently still some justice in the Justice Department. Late Wednesday the Feds filed a motion to set aside the recently-approved bankruptcy petition of the Purdue pharmaceutical firm controlled by the Sackler family, producer and distributor of OxyContin, an opioid estimated by some sources to have caused up to500,000 deaths. The Sackler family is believed to have benefited to the tune of some $10 billion from the manufacturing, marketing and sales of OxyContin.


The recently approved bankruptcy settlement of approximately $4.5 billion was against Purdue, but contained an outrageous exemption from personal liability for the Sackler family to which Justice Department, quite correctly, took serious umbrance. The first family of enabling opioid abuse has stated they will not pay the $4.5 billion without the liability exemption. The control of $175 million in Sackler foundations is also in play.


 Stay tuned, this sounds like a much-better fight than the one at the OK Corral!





In an article on Ars Technica's site this morning, a production  Lucid Air EV (electrical vehicle) has finally been certified by the EPA as passing the elusive 500 miles-per-charge range (achieving 520 miles on a full charge to be exact). Very exciting news! However, the death knell has been sounded for today's trendy larger wheels and tires.


The article also quoted the testing of the same vehicle, normally equipped with 19 inch wheels and tires, when equipped with the larger 21 inch optional rubber. With the larger wheels' increased drag, the vehicle's full-charge range dropped to 481 miles. Bye-bye 20s!



Is It Real Or Is It  ..... ?


I urge everyone to read an Ars Technica article posted this morning on their website. It concerns a rather nefarious spoofing of email addresses in Microsoft's Outlook 365 email client recently brought to light. Microsoft says they aren't fixing it according to a MS spokesperson, or have they?





We apparently now have a shortage of oxygen for administration to Covid patients in hospitals. God forbid SpaceX doesn't have enough LOX  (liquid oxygen) to launch the next several thousand of their 2 to 3 ms latency-lagged space junk satellites next week.


The number of unvaccinated people who have now acquired the Covid virus has obviously reached a tipping point. Hospitals are turning away patients critically ill with other disorders because there are no beds for them.


The vaccine has not yet been approved for children under the age of 16 so any situations requiring exposure of that age group should definitely mandate masks. I personally am fully vaccinated as is my wife and we do not like masks but we also do not want to risk the life of a child by possibly exposing them.


Grandstanding politicians refuse to insist on mask wearing in schools while others appear to be insisting just as staunchly on mask-wearing mandates which unfortunately panders to the fears of the unvaccinated. Add the unreasoning terror  of those who, for whatever reason, have chosen to never be inoculated and yet bang the drum for everyone to wear masks so they themselves will be protected. Factor in those parents who are so sick and tired of their children being at home that they will expose them to anything in order to get them out of the house and back in school. What a flipping mess!


If we put 50% of the money and PR talent into Covid vaccination-motivation as we currently spend on ads selling dog food or pimping new cars, we wouldn't be in this situation.



Cloud Tendrils


A recent online post on a reputable site discusses changes made by Google to links they maintain to your files stored in the Google cloud. This is the first time I've seen anything in print acknowledging that third parties can and do routinely access your cloud-based storage!


Data is often stored in the so-called cloud, supposedly safe, secure storage, by individual users and businesses with insufficient capacity on their systems to store their IP (intellectual property) locally. Many technically unaware newbies also utilize cloud storage routinely because the option to store data locally is not always an intuitive choice. Microsoft, among many others, practically mandates utilizing cloud storage as part of their Office 365 Suite. Clicking "save" will routinely send documents to Microsoft's cloud. Of course, no one would ever code that to make "mining" of your IP easier, would they?


Let's play a game. How many times will you have to say "no" to the Edge browser  when trying to set Firefox as a new Win 10 computer's default browser? FYI, although I haven't yet set one up yet, I understand it's impossible to avoid Edge with Windows 11.


I have long advised clients not to use any cloud-based storage schemes because of tier inherently insecure nature. I am appalled that most banking institutions now utilize cloud-based storage for some of their data and increasingly, along with most other businesses, are now using cloud-based applications, presumably because it lowers their overall infrastructure costs.


If you need to protect serious intellectual property such as confidential contact lists, secure financial information or other sensitive data, the best policy is to maintain a "closed circuit" Ethernet-based computing network on your own premises which is not connected to the Internet and which has no "{wireless tendrils" which can be latched on to. Even these basic precautions can be breached if someone is serious enough about getting into your cookie stash. About the best that can be done with modern technology is to make it difficult enough for hackers to break into your infrastructure that they will find an easier mark.




331 Million People Now In US


Does that include illegals now picking fruit and vegetables, washing dishes, mopping floors and cleaning toilets? Probably, and if you question a career politician caught with their fingers in the cookie jar , most will probably also insist the dead have an absolute right to vote as well.


We provide little but crowded tents for migrant kids thrown over the border fence but if higher census figures open up more slots for politicians to belly-up and root in the public trough, they'll count every single one!




Posts may be edited for typos and as facts and statistics are verified



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