Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
One player practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it.

		Knute Rockne

2006.12.31

Blog Haiku #11

Silent blogosphere.
A blogger posts.
Sound of nothing.

2006.12.30

Ding, Dong The…What Ever It Was Is Dead

Not sure I can say I’m glad Saddam Hussein is dead (executed by hanging) and yet be against death penalties, but I don’t see any other way this could have played out. Perhaps “glad” isn’t the word. It’s not what I feel. It’s more like a resolved sense of relief. Executing him puts him in a position to be martyred by the zealots who still follow him. Yet, allowing him to live would have allowed him to continue spewing his twisted beliefs about leadership. Given how life seems to be so cheap in that part of the world, had he been allowed to live, I could see a path to a day where Saddam Hussein might be released either because the fragile Iraqi democracy failed or he was “rescued” in some fashion. Ringing the bastard’s neck has certainly erased that possibility.

In a perfect world, he would be incarcerated at Supermax under 24/7, 8 X 8 isolation – no fresh air, no blue sky, nothing but concrete walls and a toilet. Just see that he has air and three square meals a day and leave him to his thoughts. No interviews, no letters, no access to the prison library, no knowledge of the outside world. In such a place, he wouldn’t have been a martyr and he wouldn’t ever be free to work his malice unless the very roots of democracy were dead. If that were to happen, it wouldn’t really matter whether Saddam Hussein was alive or dead.

All this is speculation and what-if’s. He’s dead. The little minds will clutch onto the speculation, what-if’s and what was. Those of true greatness will learn the lessons and move forward. Time has yet to show us what is in the Iraqi national heart.

[Edit History]

2006.12.30

More reactions which echo my sentiments from See-Dubya (guest blogging on Hot Air) and Andy McCarthy (The Corner on National Review Online).

Also, edited grammar for clarity.

Geesh. Judging by the reaction from the unhinged Left and MSM, Saddam Hussein’s sentence should have followed these guidelines.

2006.12.29

Colorado Winter

A second sizable blast of winter arrived today and Jasmine was wearing the storm’s vanguard late yesterday afternoon. Being a Scottish breed, she is built for cold weather.

Jasmine

So far, the chimes still sing, but the drift is building. There is less wind this go around.

Chimes VI

And for Buddha, nothing special…

Winter Buddha V

This is how I remember the winters of my youth – lots of snow and cold.

2006.12.28

The Donald vs. Rosie

Pretty simple, actually. Bad hair vs…well, vs. bad everything else.

2006.12.26

Kill. Worship. Repeat.

This is about as subtle as a pig farm in June (H/T: Classical Values):

Fundamentalist Islamists in Gaza have begun a campaign of bombing and arson against Internet cafes, pharmacies and pool halls.

A group calling itself the Swords of Islamic Righteousness issued a statement claiming responsibility for some of the attacks, denouncing Western, immoral behavior, such as unveiled women and loud music, a Times of London correspondent reported.

The group said it would continue “shooting rocket-propelled grenades and planting bombs at Internet cafes in Gaza, which are trying to make a whole generation preoccupied with matters other than jihad and worship.”

It’s pretty clear. But lets repeat it. Now, put down that Pinot Noir and paté laden cracker and listen closely: “…preoccupied with matters other than jihad and worship.”

No sense in picking up that wine and liver now. If you do, they’ll want you dead. If you aren’t busy worshiping or killing those who are not worshiping and killing, then what good are you? You’ll have to be killed. No compromise. No placating. No bargaining. No freedom. In fact, just make the word “No!” the lead word in all your self-talk. No!

The moderate Islamists might say it’s just an insignificant extreme faction promulgating this position. But the moderates are not speaking up because, duh, they’ll be killed for doing something other than worshiping and killing. Which means they’re not moderates at all.

Qui tacet consentit.

2006.12.25

Crap For Tots

NBC affiliate AZ Central had a news bit about an apparent down-and-out mom complaining about the quality of the toys her children received from the Toys for Tots program The piece was rather condescending, perhaps even a bit mean spirited, in my opinion. Actually, it was down right snarky.

Talking Head One at the end of the piece accentuates: “Toys for Tots say they gave out 28,000 gifts in Flagstaff this year and only received…twocomplaints….I don’t know what to say about that one.”

Talking Head Two: Yeah.

I know what to say. Two complaints for 28,000 toys doesn’t mean what the Talking Head thinks. That doesn’t translate to near pure satisfaction among the recipients. I would say it is likely that the parents who suffered the humiliation of having made the decision to partake of charity, such as the Toys for Tots program, at this time of year particularly, would more than likely not compound that humiliation by complaining about what they received. I would venture there were others similarly disappointed as was “Jessie” in the news bite. It’s just that they didn’t speak up.

Where did they find “Jessie?” Did she come forward or did the news channel seek her out? Either way, I’d agree with Jessie. What she got was crap while the hand offering the gift was promising something better. The attitude of the well paid Talking Heads, as well as the prevailing sentiment in a thread on the news bit over at Hot Air, is that she’ll take her gruel and damn well better like it.

Wow. She’s returning the toys and going to buy her own. So, why didn’t she buy her own in the first place?

This says more about the Toys for Tots program than it does about Jessie. Is their program so shoddy that a down-and-out mom would rather scrape to find her own presents than accept the junk dispensed by Toys for Tots? To their credit, Toys for Tots will exchange gifts if a parent chooses. But again, what parent would choose to endure the same humilation twice? Perhaps they think all the toys are of such quality and an exchange would be meaningless. We’re not told by the Talking Head how many of the 28,000 gifts were exchanged.

My take on listening to Jessie is not that she’s complaining for herself but for her children. Working on the assumption that her children would receive something worth about $10 (still a paltry sum in today’s market), she likely didn’t shop for gifts. Now, at the 11th hour, she has to deal with the disappointment of her children. Speaking from experience, some free “gifts”, like free advice, do more harm than good.

I don’t know how the Toys for Tots program works exactly, but it seems to be a bit of a roll of the dice on what you get. Will it be age or even gender appropriate? What prevents the parents from knowing what is in the package? It would likely make for better matches between gift and child.

And what of the donor? If the value if the gift is supposed to be around $10, what the hell were they thinking by tossing $1 gifts in the donation bin? And why did the Toys for Tots volunteers event bother wrapping them when they could plainly see the value was a paltry 97¢? May the donor receive 97¢ worth of coal this Christmas.

2006.12.24

Blog Haiku #10

The light of 68 candles
Warms the room.
But not the heart.

2006.12.23

Free To Sing Again…

Chimes V

Traveling Monkeys

The TSA has rules for handling monkeys. (H/T Bruce Schneier) Hay, I’m a monkey! Or a primate, anyway. Pay attention TSO-types:

  • TSOs have been trained to not touch the monkey during the screening process.

But I want to know, when is the humiliation going to stop?

  • The inspection process may require that the handler take off the monkey’s diaper as part of the visual inspection.

Yet another reason to dislike air travel.

2006.12.22

Blog Haiku #9

The News
That is not News
Is the News

2006.12.21

End Of The Storm, End Of The Day

The storm appears to have passed. There are patches of blue sky…

Blue Sky

…the sun shines on the frozen wind chimes, lighting a promise they will sing again…

Chimes IV

…and still, is Buddha…

Winter Buddha IV

Such is Colorado.

Emergency Almost-Preparedness

Folks in the neighborhood are starting to dig out. My neighbor’s dog, Cher, is loving the weather as well as free reign over the streets.

Cher

And then there is the ever steady Jasmine, inspecting my work on the driveway.

Jasmine

Thought I was prepared for the storm, with a good stock of the essentials (beer and chocolate) until my neighbor returned from a mini odyssey to three separate grocery stores to find his version of essentials (chips, chips and…oh, yeah, chips). He happened to mention about half the gasoline stations were out of gas and closing up. Then it dawns on me (Wow! Two sunrises in one day!) that there is only about a 1/4 tank in the truck. The tankers aren’t likely to be making it through this snow for a few days and then it’s Christmas. So, I saddled up my trusty steed (Chained up, actually. All four wheels, no less.) and off I went to fill ‘er up. I found a station close by with gas and on the way there and back passed about a half dozen cars – sedans, mind you – stuck in the snow with people trying to push their way out. Fools. FOOLS! This is Colorado, not Florida. When it snows, you need something like this:

Pickup

“Protector”, my war pony.

Snowed In

And loving it. The wind chime chimes no more…

Chimes III

    Somewhere within these drifts rests the silent wind chime…

    Roof Drifts

    The view from the front door…

    Front Door View

    That drift hanging over the eve has crashed down several times during the night with a deep thud. Such noises, like Summer thunder, get Jasmine’s attention and she barks to alert the house. This also means that the snow just outside the garage has been well packed by both the wind and the falling drift from the roof. The final link in all this is that I have to chisel my way out when clearing the driveway. Sure enough. The ruler is showing 37.5 inches of hard packed snow.

    Shoveling

    And still, is Buddha…

    Winter Buddha III

2006.12.20

The Day Fades On A Fierce Storm

The snow continues to blanket my humble home…

Chimes II

…while the wind improvises a symphony with the wind chimes (click image to see video)…

Winter Wind Chimes

…and still, is Buddha…

Winter Buddha II

Inside is warm…

Dinner on the Hearth

Yes, that’s my fine dinnerware you see there (Thanksgiving leftovers, yum!) The beer, an excellent home brew we called “Ode to Oscar Stout” in honor of Little Big Man himself, has been featured on this blog before.

The Developing Storm

A view of the wind chimes outside the second floor window. The ridge of snow is a drift being created on the lower level roof by the wind. Normally, there would be a clear view down to the driveway below.

Chimes

This intrepid sparrow has been camped at the bird feeder for the better part of an hour. He is on the down wind side of the feeder and thus protected from the driving snow. Plus, he has easy access to the seed with no apparent competition. In spite of the weather, this little fellow projects a rather cozy image.

Sparrow


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