INFO: Red Maple. Taken by my friend David Swanson, Sony ILCA-77M2, March 18, 2016, Sacramento, California. On: Flickr.
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INFO: Red Maple. Taken by my friend David Swanson, Sony ILCA-77M2, March 18, 2016, Sacramento, California. On: Flickr.
1,380 total views, no views today
We had a Facebook discussion yesterday on the mistakes of 9/11, who “started it,” and whether it’s going to go on forever. Here was my prognosis:
I think, in some very unpredictable future, the Mideastern people themselves will get sick and tired of being pushed around, raped, murdered, incinerated and told what to do on pain of death by every warlord in the region (and by some foreign powers). At that time, they will, somehow, have to forge a better way that works for everyone instead of dividing and fighting. I call that “democracy” but they can call it anything they want. Democracy cannot be imposed, forced, rushed, or peddled like snake oil. It has to be chosen freely, and that is one thing no foreign power can do for a people. They have to do it themselves.
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[Gallup.com] “WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four in 10 Americans say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly. This ties the historical lows on this measure set in 2014 and 2012. Prior to 2004, slight majorities of Americans said they trusted the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio.”
Trusted the mass media is an oxymoron:
“The media” is a catch-all term which includes an unholy gamut from NYT, WaPo and WSJ all the way down into the subterranean morass of People magazine, rightwingnews.com and National Enquirer. This means nothing, however, to people who think “vetting” is a recreational activity for cats and dogs, never fact-check, and believe everything they read.
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I gave up my Bay Area apartment and now live full-time in my home in Phoenix. The house is full of Bekins Boxes. I’ve been on the go 24/7 since June 3. This is the only post for July 2016, unavoidably a record low.
First, a note to my phone caller who left a message on my machine while I was out of town. You were interested in asking the owner of summitlake.com a question, but forgot to say what it was. (The domain is not for sale.) You forgot to leave your name. You asked me to please return your call, but for some reason the call terminated without leaving the number. Your message was polite and courteous. I probably would have called you back, out of curiosity, as you sounded like you are about the same age as me. You evidently did not find the Write Us links on this site, so you resourcefully found a phone from a lookup service. I have updated the contact instructions in the WELCOME header on this HOME page. Sorry, there is no way to contact summitlake.com without using the security forms.
It is hotter than billy in Phoenix. The pool requires a lot of maintenance in the summer. There are a thousand and one other things to do – the joys of home ownership! Out of a piece count of 131 Bekins cartons, I have about a hundred to go, and I’m not going to kill myself deciding where things go, or by setting a deadline, All I ask is a carton a day.
As we swing into August, I have several new photos from Swan and other friends waiting to be published, and one or two of my own. Regular readers, if there are any, will have noticed I do not do “political” posts as much as I used to, and most of those are here on the HOME page (rather than in a Department). We are either preaching to the choir these days, or pleading to deaf ears.
Enjoy the summer heat. We will have to suck it up and get used to increasingly wild temperature swings. I am looking forward to October here; October and May are the two months where the weather in Phoenix is generally the equal of any paradise in the world.
Adios until the next time, Amigos.
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Facebook today, on the rebuttal proposition that we do not have a right to know what’s in our food and how it’s produced.
Correct, no scientifically vetted evidence has been produced that GMO foods are harmful, or will prove to be over a long period of time, but as an argument against GMO labeling this is a red herring.
Some of the arguments below [other comment posts] could have come straight from ConAgra or Monsanto. The comment below that “every natural food we eat is genetically engineered through millennia of selective breeding” fails to acknowledge how many results of natural cross-breeding, cross-pollination and radiation-induced genetic modification don’t make the evolutionary cut. Most of nature’s experiments went the way of the Ford Pinto than survived.
Consumers have a right to expect to be informed where their food comes from, how it is grown and fertilized, and if it is GMO should that be a concern to them. The industry rebuttal is that it is none of our business, that “we know what’s best for you,” and “we’ll decide what you need to know because printing a label is SO expensive and competitively disadvantageous.”
I don’t particularly spend time reading labels at the market because the huge issue for me – at this time – is the industry’s astoundingly resolute stance that where our food comes from and under what conditions it is produced is “proprietary.” I support food labeling laws but IMHO the only thing these folks listen to is profits. Buy the brands and foods that you trust and boycott the rest, as individuals, if not in some more organized fashion.
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More hot topics: my challenge to Facebook readers
Some months ago I offered a challenge on these hallowed pages: we have a right to own a rifle or a pistol. So why doesn’t the Second also afford us the right to own a rotary cannon or a hydrogen bomb? How do you draw the line? What is the principle?
No one responded. Anyone’s first response would be, “Alex, that’s just common sense. No individual should own a hydrogen bomb.” But that doesn’t tell us how we can KNOW that, how we can draw the line. Is an M-1 semi-auto rifle OK? A Ruger? An H&K? Everyone says the AR-15 is suitable for “self defense.”. What about 50 caliber machine guns? What about fully functional M-61 tanks? What is the line between personal self-defense and battlefield atomic warhead mortars? What is the principle? If we don’t like where this seems to be leading, i.e. that there IS a line, all the more reason we should think about it.
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I share the sorrow, outrage and concern of the nation on the infamous event of this week. It was not the first, and will not be the last. It is said to be the largest lone-wolf massacre to which propaganda from so-called ISIS has been linked, but it was not the largest. We won’t forget the Oklahoma City bombing, a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P
All good points you raise, but yes, people need to understand that it really was a terror thing. The other factors, known or conjectured, include: religious conflicts, sexual identity issues, psychotic behavior including wife beating and verbal abuse, and probable rejection issues at Plunge and on the gay dating sites for all of his obvious psych issues.
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I probably spend too much time on Facebook. I also put huge blocks of my retirement hours into Perl projects, and yes, I’m still writing my book. Readers rarely respond to posts here, in part because the anti-spam interface makes it a pain. On my Facebook page, a good post will usually get a few “Likes,” sometimes maybe a dozen. I got 53 “Likes” on a New York Times post on another issue. This one on Bernie is well on the way., so I thought I’d get off my butt and share it. The rather snide NYT article is “What Is Sanders’ Endgame?” and you can read it there. My reply follows.
“At the end of the day, is his ethos greater than his ego?” There was no call for this small-minded NYT conclusion. Sanders has been a game-changer from the beginning. He forced [almost] all the other candidates of both parties to either address or pay lip service to important national issues they’d rather ignore. If he cashed in his chips tonight and retired to a remote cabin to contemplate his long decades serving the public, he has already made more of a difference than many presidents-elect. Bernie has raised our expectations.
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from my Facebook post March 31, 2016
I have worked, briefly, at establishments where morale is low, and you can see it in the faces, slow movements and attitudes of the employees. Once you work in the same conditions yourself, you’ll never denigrate the employee. I blame the workplace, and the buck stops at the employer. I worked retail for 11 years. By just walking into a store and observing, I can be prepared to get no better treatment than the employees I see by just looking around. We are not just getting what the marketplace supports with bare-subsistence wages, we are also getting the employer’s attitude toward running its shop. I take that as nature’s way of telling me to shop elsewhere.
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My site move posts of November 23 and 24 (scroll well below this entry) hasn’t been updated since February 4. We do have new Photos posted, and hope you enjoy them. Here is the current status of tweaks and fixes at our new home at ICDSOFT:
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“We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians; they are all targets in this fatwa” ~~ Osama Bin Laden May 1998, interviewed by ABC reporter John Miller.
“As the long roll call of mass shootings added a prosaic holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., to its list, a wide expanse of America’s populace finds itself engulfed in a collective fear, a fear tinged with confusion and exasperation and a broad brew of emotions. ~~ New York Times N. R. KLeinfield Dec 3, 2015
Let’s make this clear once and for all: the distinguishing characteristic of terrorism is mass murder for the purpose of inciting demoralizing fear and disarray. We should not not differentiate between terrorists who are white, black, Muslim, Christian, left-wing, right-wing, KKK, Neo-Nazi or “other.” They are all targets, not to be feared, but to be identified and neutralized by any means acceptable in free societies.
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You’re reading this on our new home server at web host ICDSOFT. We’re moved on from our old home of 17 years.
Friday November 4, 2015
Wednesday November 25:
Tuesday November 24:
As of Nov23 345PM PST, this front HOME page loads, but links (still pointing to the transferring domain) do not work.
There will be site disruptions and inoperative features as we bring the new site live. Although the transition has been relatively seamless so far, sidebar PHP widgets are going to be inoperative until we get the new PHP and Perl hit counters working again.
Thanks to you all for your support and readership over the years, and may we enjoy many more!
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I got into a social media thread where some folks vented their outrage by the recent news that the University of California Berkeley declared itself a gun-free zone, effective immediately. My reply:
You’re always welcome in my home, but it isn’t a gun-free zone for me, only for you – because I own it and you are free to go elsewhere if you don’t like the house rules.
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I never thought I’d live long enough to see this hoped-for day. Congratulations to all American couples who finally won legal recognition for a universally cherished legal and moral right. Summitlake.com has argued for same-sex equality from 1995 until the recent time where we were just one more small voice in a national “yea” for equality for all.
Not to quibble excessively about something we’d looked forward to for half a century, but there was something disturbing about the 5-4 split on the court.
As reported in the New York Times analysis:
Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
We’re left with a stronger impression that marriage – any marriage, heterosexual or same-sex – is deemed a privilege granted by the States, not a right. We urge fellow Americans to consider that if a “right” can be imperially granted, a broad swath of individual rights not explicitly enumerated in our great Constitution may be deemed “privilege” that can be taken away. We (all Americans) must defeat the notion that rights can be compromised under the uncertainty and inequity of popular or regional votes.
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Congratulations, Ireland! From the New York Times:
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BIRD FEEDER: Heavy rains coming. Took the feeder off the top of the porch table and put it underneath, providing a “roof” to keep the feeder and seed dry. The little birds figured it out in a couple of hours. The big birds never figured out how to get seed out of the little feeder slots, but the little birds are messy eaters, so the big birds got fat on the spillage. Today, I watched a puzzled big bird, perched on the rim of the bottom tray that holds the spilled seed. He was staring right at the relocated feeder. He couldn’t figure out what had happened. “DUUHHH, where did the food go, George, where did it go?”
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The terrorists who assassinated staff at the offices of the satirical Parisian magazine “Charlie Hebdo” also attempted a hostage situation at a kosher supermarket outside Paris, where they were shot dead by police within the last few hours.
Much attention has rightly been paid to the acts of terror themselves, and to the increasing threat to free speech in Europe and beyond, and to the absolute necessity of fighting by whatever means, if necessary, to preserve that right. But there is a finer shade of question to these awful events, France’s “911,” which as yet has received scant examination.
We must ask ourselves what we might expect if a satirical cartoon “intended to highlight public issues” ridiculed and disgraced the Christian Jesus with a humiliating and mildly pornographic image. In some parts of Europe and America, the lynch mobs would be still be assembling. It’s not a question of free speech – of course we are free to speak plainly in the western world – it’s a question of matching the message to the issues. While I admire Charlie Hebdo’s courage in the abstract, their implementation was very junior-high-school and puerile. It was a gratuitous slap in the face to the majority of 1.6 billion Muslims in the world who live in peace for much the same values as we do. None of this in any way mitigates or ameliorates the terrorist attack of Charlie Hebdo offices, and I am glad those terrorists were shot dead. But it is worth thinking about.
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It’s not a full-fledged “new year’s resolution,” but I neglected this site in December, with only two posts – an all time low, I believe, since 1995. I can do better!
I had cataract surgery in November, the fastest and safest procedure in the world. All went well, but any such procedure seems to take the wind out of my sails. I pampered myself, slept outrageously (but it was glorious), and re-thought how I’d been pursuing a massive Perl project I’ve had on my mind for some years. You know what that means!
430PM Update: new Quotes database installed. Links updated!
It involves our venerable “Quotes” database, accessed from the front page of this site for years. I don’t have a counter on it, so I have no idea who else uses it, but I use it all the time. With about 6,000 quotations amassed over the decades, the database has only one keyword field.
Take this quote, for example:
Bumper sticker seen on "Support our Teachers" auto: "Why is money always available for war, not for education?" Our guess: there's four whole syllables in 'education', only one in 'war'.
With only one keyword, I’d assigned the keyword “war.” Should that have been “teachers?” Or “education?” Why not all three?
No, no, the NEW quotations database and app is not available yet. It will be, much sooner than I’d expected:
A former manager used to tell us, Simplicity comes at the end, not the beginning.”
I rewrote all the Perl code and supporting libraries in connection with the project, in addition to adding four keyword fields. I created two new apps for my own use, Entry and Update (so I can add keywords, among other reasons). The first two months of coding were a minefield of unsatisfactory trials, mistakes, and “almost pretty good” results. I took the core program apart and worked on each piece again, then put them all back together. Voila, mon ami!
So it took about 2-3/4 months to work up the three prototype apps that finally worked perfectly. And then, only an hour or so each to convert them to “production” apps. That’s “portable!” You should see the new Quotations database version 81 in a few days.
In the meantime, as if this makes up for December’s lapse, I’ve today posted a new photo by my friend Swan, and a short personal recollection of a remarkable candlelight dinner in the Mojave Desert. You can see the short excerpts and links to the post pages below.
May 2015 bring happiness, laughter and friendship your way!
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We’re getting a little tired of reading harebrained opinions by pundits and experts about Sony’s decision to yank its movie “The Interview” after Sony was hacked, apparently by the petulant North Korean regime.
1) It’s Sony’s movie. There is no “right to be shown a movie.”
2) By all accounts this was a B-grade comedy with very little artistry or other redeeming merit. There are very few right-to-free-speech issues here.
3) The movie is Sony property and Sony’s decision to run it or not, not the media’s, and not the so-called cybersecurity experts’.
4) If Sony decided to run the movie anyway, and even one of 18,000+ theater outlets had been victimized by a terrorism bombing attack, the media and the public wouldn’t be screaming “capitulation,” they’d be screaming for Sony’s head on a platter for risking public safety by inviting a terrorist response.
5) The only appropriate response to North Korea is beyond Sony’s expertise, and hopefully Anonymous is working on that now.
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I had lunch with a very old friend earlier this week. He is an old-school (1960’s) conservative. I mentioned how the media, including a channel he watches, savages the President with smears and lies. His answer surprised me. He said: “I don’t care WHAT party a person is from, the President of the United States is OUR PRESIDENT and he should be treated with respect, dammit!”
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GREEN STARBURSTS by my friend Gary Sharp, on Flickr. iPhone5/Hipstamatic, July 14, 2014, Schaghitchoke Mountain. Appalachian Trail, Connecticut. Fascinating little plants! See post for image in PHOTOS.
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