Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2020.08.14
The onset and the waning of love make themselves felt in the uneasiness
experienced at being alone together.

		Jean de la Bruyere


Secure A Country And An Obama Good Night’s Beauty Sleep

Charles Johnson has been shooting security fish in a barrel over at Barack Obama’s official campaign web site. He has a valid point. Obama’s web site isn’t just some hobby site…it’s the official site for a candidate to the Presidency of the United States of America. It would be embarrassing if it were a hobby site. Instead, it’s a little disturbing. A bit like John Edwards’ lack of ability to vet the bloggers he hired as part of his campaign.

Well, good news! Obama’s minions have noticed they need help and have put out the call: Secure a Website and an Obama Victory

Well, seeing how so many other things have been disappearing, Nacht und Nebel like, over at Obama’s web site, I’ve taken the liberty and freedom to repost the job opening:

Secure a Website and an Obama Victory

Obama for America is looking for a network security expert who wants to play a key role in a historic political campaign and help elect Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.
In this role, you will be responsible for:

* Analyzing the network architecture for the My.BarackObama website
* Leading an overhaul of existing security systems and architecture, including policy, firewall, VPN, and networking equipment
* Developing a strategy for responding to hack attempts, DDoS attacks, and other potential threats
* Establishing and managing the security posture of the online campaign My.BarackObama

You must have:

* 3+ years experience in security field or as a security specialist
* A deep understanding of LAMP development processes and best practices Current knowledge of the state of the Internet security landscape
* Proven history of security policy development and implementation
* Proven experience implementing security solutions in clustered, loadbalanced web hosting environments
* Experience with both free and commercial firewall and VPN products
* 3+ years experience maintaining UNIX/Linux systems
* Project plan development and implementation
* Knowledge of routing, switching, and VPN technologies
* Experience configuring networking equipment, including routers, switches, and firewalls
* A willingness to respond off-hours to high urgency security situations

Special consideration given to candidates who have:

* Experience with LAMP applications
* Current security certification (SANS/CISSP, etc.)
* Policy enforcement, auditing, and penetration testing experience
* Knowledge of current e-commerce regulation and requirements (PCI, etc.)
* Understanding of two-factor authentication methods

Unfortunately, this looks to be a boilerplate job application. Given the lax security over at Chez Obama, the Java Zen Table, Chair and Counter Espionage team uncovered this job posting, apparently meant for sometime in the future:

Secure a Country and an Obama Good Night’s Beauty Sleep

Obama for America is looking for a Homeland Security Czar who wants to play at keepin’ stuff from blowin’ up and stuff. It’s a key role in a historic political regime and will help elect Barack Obama as the permanent President of the United States of Arabia.

In this role, you will be responsible for:

* Frowning meaningfully over the network architecture for the My.BarackObama website
* Changing the oil in existing security systems and architecture, including policy, firewall, VPN, networking equipment and other techie sounding things
* Praying for a strategy for responding to hack attempts, DDoS attacks, and other potential threats
* Projecting a managerial and secure posture while online at My.BarackObama
* Picking up the debris left over from bomb blasts and such

You must have:

* 3+ weeks experience in security field, security specialist or a home security company
* A deep understanding of how a lamp works
* Current knowledge of all 60 states in the USA and ability to recognize a secure landscape
* Proven history of things historical
* Proven experience working with a team known for it’s ability to operate as a load balanced cluster ****
* Experience with working for free
* 3+ years experience maintaining eunuchs systems
* Experience with project plan development and implementation and development and implementation and development and implementation and development and implementation
* Knowledge of back stabbing, blaming, non-apology apologizing, bait and switching and herbal remedies
* A willingness to look fabulous at all hours while responding to high urgency security situations

Special consideration given to candidates who have:

* Experience with lamps and lamp shades (English and metric)
* Current vaccinations and immunizations
* Policy “enforcement”, “auditing”, and “penetration testing” experience…RrrooOOoowww
* Knowledge of what the “e” in e-commerce means
* Understanding of two-faced authentication methods
* Their own uniform

Well, good luck with that, Mr. Obama.


Rules Strictly Enforced…

…except when they’re not.


Man Bag…

…New York City style.


Spring, Rocky Mountain Style – II

Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day, so nice I sat outside in the yard and watched the stars come out while sipping a homebrew beer (excellent batch, by the way.) Here’s what it looks like from my office window at the moment:

When this storm is done, I likely will need a shovel to clear all this Global Warming from the driveway.


When A Rose Attacks

If you ever want to know what happens to a ball like this…

…after a puppy who could barely hold this ball in her mouth when she was two months old…

…grows up and finds that long lost ball under the couch, the answer is this:

Except the pieces will be scattered hither and yon.


Mixed Metaphor Award

Time to present another Mixed Metaphor Award. This go around the award goes to Barack Obama staffer Mika Brzezinski:

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well, but you can’t argue that the Clinton campaign didn’t do some serious damage in light of the Wright stuff and the bitter comments–

SCARBOROUGH: That wasn’t the Clinton campaign.

BRZEZINSKI: They pounced on it like lemmings.

SCARBOROUGH: That wasn’t the Clinton campaign–

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, please.

SCARBOROUGH: And I don’t know if lemmings actually pounce. I think lemmings go over cliffs.

(H/T Eric Scheie)


Life B.T. (Before Television)

When the younger generation asks us elders, “What did you do before there was television to keep entertained?”, it’s a difficult question to answer. Not hard difficult, but embarrassingly difficult:

We had the The Swing Wing:

“It’s a what?” It’s a Swing Wing! Because “Self-induced Whiplasher” just wouldn’t sell as well, you know.

But that’s not all! We also had Clackers! What fun! What hilarity when those things busted into pieces and flew in all directions. More thrilling than lawn darts! And they say only video games cause brain damage.

[Edit History]


James Lileks elaborates.


Email Noir

Every couple of months I get around to clearing out my inbox and so came across this…er…generous death threat I received…let’s see…7 WEEKS AGO! Geesh. Where are my priorities? Wasn’t very prompt in my (still pending) reply.

From: “Alex Brown” <>
Date: Sat, December 15, 2007 5:01 pm
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Priority: Normal

I want you to read this message very carefully and diligently.

I’m a professional; hence you have no need of knowing who I am, where I am from, until I arrange for a one on one meeting. I have been mandated to terminate your life for some reasons listed to me by the contractor – someone I believe you know very well and very close to you. Consequently, I have been following you closely for a month now and have seen that you are innocent of the accusation leveled against you.

In your best interest, do not contact the Police or try to send a copy of this to any security agents, because if you do, I will certainly know through the impeccable assistance of one of the secret agents who is a friend, and you will leave me with no option than to be forced to do what I have being duly paid to do, beside this is the first time I’m turning out to be a betrayer against the ethics of my profession.

Now listen, I will arrange for us to see one on one but before that I need the amount of $14,000.00, you have nothing to be afraid of. I will be coming to see you in your home or you determine where you wish we meet, do not set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our conversation, I seem to hold the four aces now. You will need to transfer $7, 000.00 to the account I will provide for you, before we will set our first meeting, after you have make the first advance payment to the account, I will provide you with the tape that contains his request for me to assassinate you, which will be enough proof for you to take up a legal action against him (if you wish to do so) and will tell you what to do and protect you, then the balance will be paid later.

You don’t need my phone contact for now till I am assured you are ready to comply, and being silence on this matter is very dangerous. The choice remains yours, and you have the next 72hrs to make that choice, otherwise you will live your limited life watching your back. A word is enough for the wise!

i’m is proud to present Cause Effect, a series about real people making a difference. Learn more

Fortunately for me, the priority is only “Normal.” Yet, Alex’s message has all the earmarks of the dreaded Northern Yukon Maphia. Uh-oh.

Hmmmmmmm, the message originates from Nigeria. Dang! I can’t count the number of “very well known and close” friends I have that are in and out of Nigeria. I’m in trouble. And oops, I’ve posted Alex’s message on the World Wiiiiiiiiiiide Web for his handlers to see and now they’re after his betraying ass.

Well, Alex may be holding all the aces, but that just tells me he’s 48 cards short of a full deck. Spellchecker, Alex. Use it. But whatever.

OK, Alex. Lets meet here. We’re expecting your visit.

Do people actually fall for this crap?

Here’s the header:

Return-Path: <>
X-Original-To: #######################
Delivered-To: #######################
Received: by ################## (Postfix, from userid ####)
id DF26A77488B; Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:01:30 -0700 (MST)
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.3 (2007-08-08) on ##################
X-Spam-Level: *
X-Spam-Status: No, score=1.9 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_40,HTML_MESSAGE,
SUBJ_ALL_CAPS autolearn=no version=3.2.3
Received: from ################## (localhost.localdomain [])
by ################## (Postfix) with ESMTP id 2A3057748A6
for <#######################>; Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:01:28 -0700 (MST)
Envelope-to: #######################
Delivery-date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 19:00:56 -0500
Received: from #################
by ################## with POP3 (fetchmail-6.3.6)
for <#######################> (single-drop); Sat, 15 Dec 2007 17:01:28 -0700 (MST)
Received: from ([])
by with esmtp (Exim 4.68)
(envelope-from <>)
id 1J3gwC-00054G-GU
for #######################; Sat, 15 Dec 2007 19:00:56 -0500
Received: from BLU124-W45 ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.3959);
Sat, 15 Dec 2007 16:01:09 -0800
Message-ID: <BLU124-W459789C97059BCE2029E59DD610@phx.gbl>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
X-Originating-IP: []
Reply-To: <>
From: Alex Brown <>
Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2007 14:01:09 -1000
Importance: Normal
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 16 Dec 2007 00:01:09.0184 (UTC) FILETIME=[C3176400:01C83F76]
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

And the trace:


Location: United States [City: ]

OrgName: Microsoft Corp
Address: One Microsoft Way
City: Redmond
StateProv: WA
PostalCode: 98052
Country: US

NetRange: –
NetHandle: NET-65-52-0-0-1
Parent: NET-65-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
NameServer: NS1.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS5.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS2.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS3.MSFT.NET
NameServer: NS4.MSFT.NET
RegDate: 2001-02-14
Updated: 2004-12-09

RTechHandle: ZM23-ARIN
RTechName: Microsoft Corporation
RTechPhone: +1-425-882-8080
RTechEmail: ***

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE231-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: *****

OrgAbuseHandle: HOTMA-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Hotmail Abuse
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: *****

OrgAbuseHandle: MSNAB-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: MSN ABUSE
OrgAbusePhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgAbuseEmail: *****

OrgNOCHandle: ZM23-ARIN
OrgNOCName: Microsoft Corporation
OrgNOCPhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgNOCEmail: ***

OrgTechHandle: MSFTP-ARIN
OrgTechName: MSFT-POC
OrgTechPhone: +1-425-882-8080
OrgTechEmail: ******


Location: Nigeria (high) [City: ]

% Information related to ‘ –’

inetnum: –
descr: This network has been transferred to AFRINIC
remarks: These IP addresses are assigned in the AFRINIC region.
remarks: Authoritative registration information for this network
remarks: is available for query and modification in
remarks: the AFRINIC whois database: or
remarks: web site:
remarks: The routing registry information (route(6) objects)
remarks: may be published in any Routing Registry, including
remarks: RIPE Whois Database
country: EU # country is really somewhere in African Region
admin-c: AFRI-RIPE
tech-c: AFRI-RIPE
mnt-routes: RIPE-NCC-RPSL-MNT
changed: ********** 20050223
source: RIPE

organisation: ORG-AFNC1-RIPE
org-name: African Internet Numbers Registry
org-type: RIR
address: see
e-mail: *********
admin-c: AFRI-RIPE
tech-c: AFRI-RIPE
remarks: For more information on AFRINIC assigned blocks, use
remarks: AFRINIC’s whois database,
mnt-ref: RIPE-NCC-HM-MNT
changed: ********* 20050223
source: RIPE

role: The African Internet Numbers Registry
address: AFRINIC, see
admin-c: AFRI-RIPE
tech-c: AFRI-RIPE
nic-hdl: AFRI-RIPE
e-mail: *********
remarks: For more information on AFRINIC assigned blocks, connect
remarks: to AFRINIC’s whois database,
changed: ********** 20050223
source: RIPE

% Information related to ‘’

origin: AS36954
mnt-by: MLTL-INT-MNT
changed: **** 20070617
source: RIPE


Beep Beep Day

Catch the fever!

Just be sure and do it on the right side of the road.


From The Two-Plus-Two-Equals-One Department

The unanswered question is, which had the greater suction, the vacuum cleaner or the black hole at the center of this guy’s head?

A man using a vacuum cleaner to suck gasoline out of a vehicle was burned and his house damaged when the fuel exploded, the Albuquerque Fire Department said.


Marcel Marceau

I had to dig to find this, but it was worth it. It’s the autographed program from when I saw Marcel Marceau perform here in Denver in 1980 (click for larger image):

Marcel Marceau 1

I studied French for 5 years and used it only twice in my life for actual conversation. Once while traveling through Canada and once after waiting near two hours at the back entrance of the theater for Marcel Marceau. I told him, in French, that I thought his performance was fantastic and asked for his autograph (Yes, I have spoken with the mime!), which he gave. Still a memorable performance and an inspiration after more than 27 years.

I was saddened to hear of his passing.


Duty Calls…

[What follows is a transcript of the press conference held today on the West Lawn of the Java Zen campus. (Note: that would be the West Lawn just East of the Main Pavilion and not the West Lawn just South of and kitty-corner from the North Gazebo. For those of you who missed it, you really should learn to read a press release.) The press conference was called to answer questions in light of the disclosure Mr. Engel is up for the National Endowment for the Arts position in the Burge/Goldstein Administration (Come on, people. It’s gonna happen. Accept it and get on with your lives.) So. Having sussed this required some sort of obligatory deed of good word on behalf of Mr. Burge, the Java Zen Table, Desk and Counter Intelligence Teams were mobilized to do what ever it is they do and make something happen. Well, it took some time, what with the sheer volume of police reports and court depositions that had to be dug through, but find the good points they did and so prepared for the anticipated barrage of questions.]

Reporter: Is Dave loyal? I mean, can we trust the bastard?

Gregory Engel: Hell yes. Dave stood by me through that unfortunate “misunderstanding” with Queen Elizabeth II, just like he said he would once it was clear I wasn’t in as much trouble as originally thought. How was I to know the Queen couldn’t swim? And that hair really DID look like a wig. What this means for the country under a Dave Burge administration is clear. There’s, like, no way he’s gonna sit still and let some podunk despot pants the good ‘ol USA.

Journalism 101 Student With A Press Pass: What makes you qualified for the position?

GE: I happen to be a good authority on all things well endowed and I plan on bringing that expertise to a new definition of Art and revised criteria for what gets funded.

Guy Standing In Corner Holding A Broom: What kinds of cultural initiatives would you support while in office?

GE: In addition to National Talk Like A Pirate Day, I’ll have National Talk In Iambic Pentameter Day, National Bang On A Drum Day, National Paint By Numbers Day, and work to make Film Noir the national language. In response to our wildly popular Poetry Out Loud program, I shall expand that to include Pottery Out Loud, Carving Out Loud and, something I’m particularly proud of, Knitting Out Loud. As a collaborative effort with the NEA (The other NEA, National Education Association), I’ll initiate a partner program with the NEA’s “No Child Left Behind” program called “No Child Allowed Ahead.” Together, we shall achieve the perfect balance of mediocrity in education and the arts. I’ll work to see Antonio Vincenzo gets the recognition he deserves for painting the Sistein Chapel baseboards. And The Bean in Chicago…I’ll see to it that thing is spray painted gray. What’s up with that thing? You can’t even straighten your tie while looking into it.

Associated Press Shill: What date do you support for the full withdrawal of the imperialist pigs from Iraq so that the freedom fighters may once again enjoy the human right of killing each other at their convenience? Next Tuesday or Wednesday?

GE: That’s a difficult question. It will depend on whether or not Congress approves of my proposed plan to choreograph the withdrawal as run-away performance art. The costumes will be expensive as will be the extensive stage lighting required for the event.

Reuters Lacky: Can I get a picture of you with your finger up your nose?

GE: With what? You’re holding a banana.

Reuters Lacky: (Damn! Those office dweebs photoshopped the camera out of my hands again.)

Helen Thomas: To date, there are an estimated 700 million pictures without frames in the United States and another 3.8 billion exposed to excessive sunlight due to inferior quality window treatments, the condition of which is worsened by the effects of global warming and rising crime rates in all major metropolitan areas which it has been substantiated that the average Iraqi disapproves of highly in light of the ongoing and uncontrolled rise in health care costs but still the government insists on charging admission to view national treasures. Is that something you will change?

GE: Like changing a diaper on a baby, you bet.

Wolf Blitzer: Can you promise us a good scandal out of the NEA? This beat is sooooooo boring.

GE: I’ll see if I can rearrange the rotunda statuary to suit your needs. Thank you all for coming.


A Candidate For Our Times

Friends, the darkness is at an end. Not since the heady days of Pat Paulsen’s misguided bid for the presidency has America had a candidate worthy of the ineptitude required of the office. At long last, that candidate is here and he is Dave Burge. Go forth, my friends, and party-hardy. And for Dave, what can I say but “Dude! You got ALL my votes!”



From The Good-Doggie-Gooooooood-Doggie Department

I don’t get it. This is America. We can put a man on the moon, evaporate milk and, most miraculously of all, find a way to entertain ourselves with the likes of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. So why is it we can’t figure out a way to get coyotes to attend some anger management classes? There ought to be a LAW that makes them behave, damn it! Please, think of the pets! If is saves at least one Bichon Frise it will have been worth it.

Coyote Warning

Came across this sign while on a bike ride this afternoon. Huge sections of field and brush were marked off, crime scene tape style, with these big scary red signs planted at regular intervals. Any PETA persons available to get in there and teach these pesky coyotes how to play nice in the neighborhood? I’m sure all you’ll need to do is sit down with them and show them you care. Perhaps some hugs and kisses will help, too.


Althouse’s Law

[The blue ribbon panel of scientists at the prestigious Java Zen Institute for the Proliferation of Inconsequential Science and Humanities debated long and hard on whether the effects described herein should more appropriately be labeled “Althouse’s Catch,” but in the end settled on “Althouse’s Law.” The simple reason being that law professors ought to have laws named for them. That and a threatened law suit from the Amalgamated Union of Catchers, Baggers, Trappers and Boxers. Since it couldn’t be substantiated that Althouse has caught so much as a single cold in her life, the panel elected to avoid a reckless and litigious war of definitions. Besides, catches should be named after judges. – GPE]

Althouse’s Law: A law of discussions whereby the central point of an argument is increasingly marginalized by exaggerating, accentuating or obsessing on either the example elements of the argument or trivial, yet entertaining, side bars. The most common end result when Althouse’s Law has taken effect in a discussion is that the examples initially used to illustrate the original point or the trivial side bars become themselves the central theme of the argument. The effect of Althouse’s Law is accelerated if the examples or trivial side bars include so called “hot button” references such as breasts, divas or tears.

Similar to Godwin’s Law, when a discussion is trapped by the effects of Althouse’s Law, all meaningful discourse related to the original argument is no longer possible. Left unchecked or unrecognized by those caught in the flow away from the original argument, the extreme and ultimate end of Althouse’s Law results in the unfortunate casting of the unwitting into Althouse’s Vortex1.

Althouse’s Law was named for University of Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse, who’s personal blog was instrumental in elucidating much of the underlying effects described by Althouse’s Law.


1 Althouse’s Vortex is a theoretical blogosphere construct. There is much anecdotal evidence that Althouse’s Vortex exists, however no one has ever returned from having been caught in such a structure so very little is know about its nature. What is know is that those who claim to “get” Althouse generally end up in the Althouse Vortex. There seems to be a force at work in regards to the Althouse Vortex that is similar to determining whether or not one is a “hacker.” You’re not a hacker until someone else, preferably a recognized hacker, calls you a hacker. Likewise, you don’t “get” Althouse unless someone else, preferably someone on the “gets it” list, says you “get” Althouse. This quandary was at the heart of the debate on whether to call the effect defined in this post Althouse’s Law or Althouse’s Catch.

Evidence of having fallen into Althouse’s Vortex usually comes in the form of repeated ad hominem attacks against a particular author even though the attacker may, in fact, agree with the author.

[For the record, I don’t get Althouse. At all. – GPE]

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