December 28, 2004

The New York Times: A Day of Devastation

It's instinctive in humans to search for the meaning of an event like this, once shock and grief have begun to subside. And there will be plenty of meanings to find in the ways that humans reacted as this disaster struck and in its aftermath as the relief effort begins. But except for our obligations to help the victims in any way we can, the underlying story of this tragedy is the overpowering, amoral mechanics of the earth's surface, the movement of plates that grind and shift and slide against each other with profound indifference to anything but the pressures that drive them. Whenever those forces punctuate human history, they do so tragically. They demonstrate, geologically speaking, how ephemeral our presence is.

A search of the New York Times since 1996 on the words 'global warming' produces a return set of 12,837 records. Scientists are now claiming that the Earth has not been this 'warm' since the 1500's. The opinion piece referenced above states it best, although it is doubtful that the New York Times is reversing its position on the damage your SUV is doing to the environment.

"...the overpowering, amoral mechanics of the earth's surface, the movement of plates that grind and shift and slide against each other with profound indifference to anything... "

There were no SUV's in the 1500's - what caused the Earth's warming then? The transient nature of mankind is nothing compared to the earth itself. We are but a temporary scourge on the surface of an entity that existed long before we did, and will continue to do so, long after we are gone. I think it is pompous for humankind to believe that it even has the capability to exert such forces as to destroy the earth. And the earth has ways of letting us know...

December 27, 2004

Welcome to Gmail

A Google approach to email.

Gmail is an experiment in a new kind of webmail, built on the idea that you should never have to delete mail and you should always be able to find the message you want.

If you would like an invitation to Gmail, my Gmail address is below.

The key features are:

· Search, don't sort.
Use Google search to find the exact message you want, no matter when it was sent or received.

· Don't throw anything away.
1000 megabytes of free storage so you'll never need to delete another message.

· Keep it all in context.
Each message is grouped with all its replies and displayed as a conversation.

· No pop-up ads. No untargeted banners.
You see only relevant text ads and links to related web pages of interest.

I have 4 invitations to the Gmail Beta. (That's a large-scale user testing phase, for you non-geeks). Right now the only way to get a Gmail account from Google is to be invited. You can buy invites on Ebay if you want to - but the 4 I have are free. And if you want one, just let me know. alandix - at -, you would have to replace the - at - with the & symbol. I am trying to not let this address get harvested by too many spammers, even though it has a pretty awesome built in spam filter. I really like the conversation labeling. So far that is the best feature - no more trying to remember the folder you stuck something in - I really like it.

Archives are working now

In case anyone has clicked on the Archives over on the right and found them to be links to empty holes in Cyberspace - I just fixed it. Funny how a web guy has about 20 broken links on his site and never notices, but finds broken links on someone elses site and spends 20 minutes debugging it for them and sends them a detailed email about how to fix it. (Yeah, I have done that.)

USA versus Everybody

Peace on Earth, good will toward man. Kind between a rock and a hard place when it comes to supporting Taiwan. Independence was something the British vowed to crush at one point in American history too.
China Army Will 'Crush' Any Taiwan Independence Move
Forget about "links" to al Qaida - The militant group Ansar al-Sunna should be as big a priority as bin Ladin himself.
Iraq Militants Post Video on Bombing of U.S. Base
And things aren't going so well in North Korea either.
Nuclear Weapons Program: North Korea
But here is the real kicker, and information you will be lucky to find unless you look for it...
Poll shows troops in support of war
So here is my fear, eventually something is going to pop and I am not entirely sure why it hasn't already. Everyone knows that the US Military is underfunded for the missions it is currently being tasked with. The December 26th natural disaster will surely warrant some diversion of US Military assets for HA missions. If China decides to take back Taiwan, we have to respond. If North Korea invades the South, or worse yet, nukes them, we have to respond. The question is though, with what? Not the Reserve and National Gaurd, they're as tapped out as the active duty forces.
I am not going to predict anything, for fear I would be right. Lets just say I am not comfortable right now. Not one bit.

This just posted to Drudge. Looks like if we help Taiwan in a pinch, Russia may be a possible ally for China. How Nice.

December 23, 2004

ACLU in Half-Baked Bush Smear

White House-approved "torture" tactics include "sleep deprivation and stress positions," as well as "loud music, interrogators yelling at subjects and prisoners with hoods on their heads."

This is torture? Horse-shit. It's your freshman year at any military academy. Actually, probably not anymore, but it sure was when I went through it. (1992).
Oh my, we better not find out you are yelling at those future murder-bombers. Whatever.

Macromedia 2004 Holiday Card

Happy Holidays from the company that makes the product that I use to make a living.

Macromedia 2004 Holiday Card

Anything with a Penguin in it has to be cool, right>

December 21, 2004

Always Low Wages, Sojourners Magazine/February 2004

Where would Jesus shop? As much as I hate spin off's of an already cheeky bumper sticker (WWJD?) This one is worth talking about. So many products from countries other than the US sit on Wal-Mart's shelves - but are they destroying the American economy?
Always Low Wages: "Always Low Wages"

I don't shop at Wal-Mart - only partly because of their business practices. Target is easier, closer and in the case of my neighborhood, cleaner and having the appearance of "safer". Don't even start raising your eyebrows and muttering things about racism - I don't want to hear about it. When I drive to Target I am driving away from Downtown and toward homes with lower insurance rates - the exact opposite is true when I drive from my home toward Wal-mart. Crime reports don't lie, and I don't care who commits the crime - judgmental or not, its just a fact. Anecdotally, there is more often a squad car or three in front of Wal-mart than there is in front of Target in the area I live and work - so that is partially where the feeling of "safety" comes from.

Anyway - Wal-mart employees apparently don't make enough money to shop at Wal-mart. My question then has two parts - 1) Where do they shop? and 2) Why don't they go get jobs at Target? The free market has to work in all cases not just some. If Wal-mart doesn't pay competitive wages, then how to they keep a steady workforce? Either something about the Wal-mart culture is not being reported, and there are other reasons people continue to work there, or as I have long suspected - there are just a lot of really stupid people in the world and Wal-mart capitalizes on that fact.

I am not stating that there are tons of jobs available, but lets face it, working at Wal-mart doesn’t really require a myriad of job-skills. They have employees whose sole purpose is to stand at the door and smile. If they are only paying those people $7.50 an hour – what is stopping those people from standing behind the counter at say, McDonald’s with their smile? Again, it doesn’t require a lot of training to add “Do you want fries with that?” to their repertoire and for another $2.00 an hour and the ability to actually shop at Wal-mart, I’d say its worth it. I’d tell them to shop at Target though. I think its safer.

December 15, 2004

Firefox ad readied as market share increases

The first time I used Firefox I could tell that it was better. When I started downloading the extensions that enhance the superiority of the browser, I knew I would be using it instead of IE whenever I could. It appears I am not alone.
Get Firefox!
Firefox ad readied as market share increases

Try it, you'll like it. I even started using Thunderbird, the Mozilla email client. I like that too.

Get Thunderbird!

December 14, 2004

The Globe and Mail: Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV

The Globe and Mail: Rutgers researchers may have stopped HIV

Here's a ray of hope for today. My question and possible topic for future blogs as this develops: Will this drug be something that can truly "stop HIV/AIDS" worldwide, or will it for some indeterminate period of time be available only to people with money in developed countries? (Keep in mind that a majority of the people infected with HIV and the AIDS virus do not have money and live in underdeveloped countries.)


I so need to rant right now - but I will have to wait until tomorrow.  Sometimes stuff happens that makes so much sense it doesn't make any sense.  Something good comes along a day late and a dollar short - and you settle for something just "okay".  You suffer through "okay" until it starts to become annoying, then eventually unbearable.  That same something good comes along a second time, and you have to risk the unbearable "okay" to take a shot.   Sort of a definition of life, isn't it?  I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.  Again, another definition of life.  I wish I could stop defining life and just start living it.


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Syndication...of what?

I spent a good part of tonight learning about syndication and publishing of XML and Atom feeds. Learned quite a bit from and I did all of this for someone else's blog site, and in doing so, realized that I haven't written anything here in about a month.

So I set up all the syndication and pinging and XML feed stuff. I "burned my feed" to not coin a phrase, but borrow one that seems like it was coined mere months ago.

I even hooked up some automatic stuff with Amazon that will automatically insert links to products that are sold there when I talk about them in my blog. If you were to click on said links and then follow through and purchase said item, I would in theory get a commission on said sale.

So if I were to mention the fact that I would love to get the Big and Rich CD for Christmas, I would assume that there might be a link to said Big and Rich CD in my feed. You could click on the link, buy the CD and send it to me, AND I would get some money from your sale!! Isn't that devious? Of course, it is only going to put links in every third post I write, and only if said post is greater than 50 words long.

So yeah, I am trying to motivate myself to post more and more often. The next thing I am going to do is look into some micro-content thing that is supposed to make your blogs look even cooler than they already do.

Right now, there is only one person I know of that actually takes a look at this blog once in awhile, and I am not sure if he still does. Tony, if you do, buy me that CD for Christmas, will ya?

November 19, 2004

Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

Here's a nugget: Western Media Misinforming About Iraq
I don't know how my friend that sent this to me found it - it surely wasn't linked to CNN or FoxNews or any of the Networks.

November 18, 2004 should come out with a new ad campaign based on this article stating that humans are "made to run" - the scientists state that running is what differentiated us from the apes.

Nike. Run, you monkey.
Peggy Noonan hits the nail on the head with this article. She is much nicer in stating it - she says "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh", quoting Arlen Specter silencing a crowd before a speech. OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
I on the other hand, have been more prone lately to the proverbial "STFU" or "I can no longer tolerate your incessant, whiney babbling."

November 16, 2004

Another damn reason I should change careers! ThisisLondon: "Study links PC use with glaucoma" - not only do I sit in front of a computer for more than 40 hours a week, I have TWO MONITORS!!!
In this article, The New York Times > Washington > Election Over, McCain Criticizes Bush on Climate Change, Senator John McCain called the White House stance on climate change "terribly disappointing" and said inaction in the face of mounting scientific data was unjustified. How about the mounting scientific data on the other side of the coin?
There is as much data against taking action as there is for it.

Flags at half mast today in Minnesota, in rememberance of our former Governor Elmer L. Anderson.
Here it comes, The Da Vinci Code (2005), the Movie. It will star none other than Forrest Gump himself, Tom Hanks. And Opie (Ron Howard) directs. Sure to be on my Top 10 list of what not to go see in the theaters. I may not even rent it.

November 11, 2004

Chief anonymous-shipmate,

I decided to do something different this year on Veteran's Day. I asked some people command if they would join me - a little dissapointed in the response, but I am going forward with my idea anyway.

I just wanted to personally thank you for your service; for going before me and paving the way. Every time I put on my uniform, I think of the sacrifice and honor and duty performed of all of you in the retired mess, and all of those with the fouled anchors that made the ultimate sacrafice. It makes me proud that I have the honor to carry on the tradition, and keep alive the history of the world's greatest Navy.

Thank you again for your service, and have an outstanding Veteran's Day.


Chief Dix,

It was a pleasure to read your email this morning. I join you in saluting all who have sacrificed - especially those who gave the ultimate.

I don't believe we have met (although I could be mistaken), however I also deeply and sincerely remember the feeling (daily) each and every time I pinned my anchors onto my collar to start the work day. The joy to have been selected to the ranks of Chief Petty Officer coupled with the good things I was able to do (due to the rank), was, and is an indescribable feeling. I'm fortunate to still be working for the Navy as a civilian so it is as if I never left.

The key to my success was ALWAYS those I worked with. Between the fantastic comraderie in the Mess to those who worked for me - they all contributed to our common goal of keeping the nation strong.

I envy you for the fact that you still wear the uniform. Continue to do what is important - take care of the Sailors!

Again, thanks for the email...and I join you in thanking every American who has had the integrity, courage, and values to serve proudly.


Chief Anon

June 24, 2004

Such a cool domain name, such a pointless site. "Zoinks!!" is the expletive made famous by Shaggy in the Scooby Doo cartoon, and more recently the live action (except for Scooby) movies.

Since this site contains nothing but a statement of the truly obvious, it doesn't score as well as the first "pointless web site". This site is pointless, but reviewing it is also pointless.

Works well for me, I really didn't want to spend a lot of time on it today, I have to go find a missing disc.

2 of 5 Pointless Points

June 23, 2004

I am going to start something today - who knows how long it will go on. If it is anything like most things I start, probably only a few days to a few weeks, but at least my subject matter is never ending. I am going to review pointless web pages.

In today's installment, please feel free to visit, the very "pointless web site" that motivated me to this monumental undertaking.

This site, operated Feedback Communications and owned by Keir Jens-Smith is simplistic in its pointlessness. It features an image of a standard issue, green-translucent, plastic water pistol. Its a squirt gun with the word "crapola" emblazoned on it. The mouse-over for the image is also artistically simple. It simply says "[bring out the big guns]", in an understated, lower-case fashion.

The quote below the water pistol image, by
Hunter S. Thompson is probably the single most pointless aspect of the entire site. The text on a web page is what usually leads a visitor to meaning, something to tie images to ideas and help make the message clear.

When I tried to decypher this site, the quote threw me off the track, which perhaps was its purpose.

I'll let you make some of your own observations, then come back to this site later and try to enlighten myself and you as to what it means, what its point might be. Until then, I am going to go eat my spaghetti.

4 of 5 Pointless Points

March 26, 2004

Beautiful out the last couple of days. It will probably rain this weekend, they are saying that anyway. I doubt it. I have Drill this weekend which normally means the weather is beautiful. I was teaching Sam how to play P-I-G the other day; we had just put the basketball hoop back up. I waited until he made one and then I missed on purpose. I told him, "Ok, now I have P!" Then he missed, I made one and he missed, so I said, (not in proper English) "Now you got a P!" He just looked at me funny. He said, "No I don't." I started to explain that after I make a basket and then he misses, how he gets a P. But he interrupted me and yelled "Dad, I don't hafta pee right now!" He thought I was telling him "You gotta pee." Lesson: proper grammer and pronounciation with 4 year olds is a good idea.

March 19, 2004

The snow is gone and it is supposed to get up to 50 degrees today. Right now it is 49, but the wind is making it feel like about 40. Everything is covered with sand and salt, makes the world look dirty around these parts. A couple good hard rains will take care of that.
To motivate myself to start running again, I looked for a race to sign up for. I missed the deadline for Grandma's marathon this year, and its too early to sign up for the Twin Cities Marathon. What I found was a suprisingly shorter route, only a 5K, but to me much more meaningful than any race I have run in the past. It became something more than just a reason to train. My Race for the Cure Page.

March 05, 2004

The snow was all gone. All that remained were the big piles where the plows had stacked it up high and dirty. Sam starting wanting me to take the training wheels of his bike, because we can "see the grass now!" That has been remedied. Early, early this morning it started snowing. And it is still snowing. Looks like about 4 inches where I live, more than that to the South and East. We had a huge snowball fight in the driveway this morning. You can hardly tell I shovelled before the battle broke out.

February 13, 2004

Lots of snow here now. It has been snowing off and on for a couple weeks and it seems like there is always something on my driveway that needs to be moved. We have been lucky in that for the most part it has been the light fluffy snow and not the dreaded wet, heavy stuff. On most occasions I am out shovelling off the driveway by myself. Or at least cleaning up what my neighbor didn't get with his monstrosity of a snowblower. I think it has a bigger engine than my truck. He does other people's driveways once in awhile just to justify its enormousness. One recent shovelling evolution had me, and my youngest two sons out in the cold, battling to clear space. I was at the bottom of the driveway chipping away at the dam, which is the hard packed snow that the city plows back into your driveway after you just got done clearing it out. It was about 9 inches thick and packed too tight to be broken up with a shovel. I had to use the ice chipper. I would break it off in large pieces, then break the large pieces into smaller ones so my youngest, Caleb, could lift and throw them up over the snowbank into the yard. This went on for 15 minutes or so, and every time I looked over my shoulder, there's Caleb chucking snow chunks over the bank. I realized he was not making any progress at all though, there was still a lot of them on the driveway. So I put down the chipper and walked back toward him and started helping him pick them up and throw them into the yard. As I threw the first couple over the bank, another one sailed past my head and landed right back in the middle of the driveway. A couple steps forward and a peek over the snowbank revealed my middle son, Sam, throwing chunks of snow back on to the driveway at a pace equal to or maybe a little faster than Caleb was clearing them.

February 04, 2004

Interesting article that I will share but not comment on. The fact that I am posting it should allow you to read into my thoughts on its content.

Addiction, Brain Damage and the President

January 29, 2004

Dixbert's Blogs are now Atom newsreader enabled.

Here is the link to the Site Feed.

Site Feed

There are already a bunch of newsreaders that support Atom, including NewsMonster, NewzCrawler, NewsGator and BottomFeeder. You can find a growing list of newsreaders at

[Valid Atom]

January 28, 2004

OK, yesterday's post was a little off. We are now experiencing close to the worst winter has to offer. When you are driving in to work and hear on the radio "Today's high is expected to be 2." you can be sure you are in for some cold weather. It was -8 this morning. For those of you unaware, the " - " in front of the number means it is on the other side of zero, as in negative. In other words, about -22 Celsius. With the wind chill, another term that some Southern people don't understand, the actual thermal effect on the body is between -24 and -38 degrees. (Or -30 to -40 Celsius). Wind chill below -50 and they close the schools. I was just talking with a co-worker about school closings. When I was in grade school, 1977-83, school closed once in awhile because of feet and feet of snow. It took some time to clear a path through 24 inches or more of snow. In my adult years, I haven't seen the schools close because of snow. It just hasn't snowed that much at one time, plus the snow removal technology has gotten better. Schools are often delayed by an hour or two, but are rarely closed due to snow. Now it is the temperature. More proof of global warming I guess. Tomorrow is supposed to be colder than today. The siver lining in all of this is that they don't have to worry about the St. Paul winter carnival ice palace melting before the end of the festivities.

January 27, 2004

Many parts of the United States are experiencing what we here in Minnesota like to call "a bit of winter". Doesn't mean much to us except it is time to watch the stupid people crash their cars into ditches and bridges because they don't know what "slow down" means or think it doesn't apply to them. Some of us have to shovel because the last few winters have been so completely lame that it makes no sense to purchase a gigantic snow-thrower that would likely sit in the corner of my garage scaring my kids and not get used due to lack of snow.
So as I was leaving for work this morning, my wife called out, "Try not to work super-late tonight."
Apparently I am unknowingly becoming some kind of over-achieving work-a-holic. The funny part was though, in true, dyed in the wool, born and raised in Minnesota fashion, my three year old son Caleb chimed in right after his Mom, "And dribe carefuwy!"

January 22, 2004

The new U.S. Armed Forces Identification cards have a chip in them. They are "Smart Cards" - and if you are trying to think of a way to create a new Oxymoron out of that, trust me, its been done. Anyway, the chip on mine is this little gold leaf looking thing that looks a little bit like it belongs on the side of a Vulcan "Bird of Prey" space ship or something. Somehow this tiny bit of metal stores my login credentials, my digital certificates, my Exchange and Commisary benefit levels and a whole host of other information about me. It also has the added bonus of the ability to trigger every doorway loss prevention alarm at every Walgreens, Target, Barnes & Noble and Electron Hut in the nation. Fortunately for me, in the same manner that people now completely ignore car alarms, I am left completely alone when exiting said places of business, setting off a whirl of sirens and lights each time. Not once has any employee or law enforcement officer even so much as given me a second glance. I wonder why. I have a theory...I am a white guy with very short hair. I have seen Target employees rush out after people that have set off the alarm before, and now that I think about it - none of the customers they pursued were white guys with really short hair. I think I may be on to something here. Is this not approaching a level of trust of white guys with crew cuts that seems intoxicating? The power to corrupt is infinite, and I feel like it is my duty to take advantage of what I perceive as complete and unabashed racial profiling. I could probably walk out of Target with a snowblower with out even so much as a blink from those that should prevent me. Anyone want a new DVD player?

January 21, 2004

Hard to believe that Microsoft thinks that this guy is some kind of threat. Mike Rowe from Canada is usurping the Microsoft name in an effort to confuse the masses. I'm sorry, even the masses aren't this dumb. Even the masses will know the difference between and You, you are a member of the masses. Click both links and then write to me and tell me how confused you are, then I will help enlighten you. Send your comments to me at
Here is the news story from the Official Spin site.

January 15, 2004

Good grief, when you forget the password to log in to blogger, then it has been too long since the last one.
I will have to set a reminder or something to get myself to write something here.

My wife's grandfather passed away on Tuesday. He joined his wife of many years, who passed away last August. Family changes. It used to be me that looked up to the grandparents and aunts and uncles - I am far from being the grandparent yet, but I am now an Uncle to two little girls. Time marches forward, I guess.