Herewith the 3000-year history of alternative medicine in 30 seconds:

1000 BCE: “Eat this root.”

100 CE: “That root’s heathen, don’t eat it. Say this prayer.”

1800 CE: “That prayer is superstition, don’t say it. Drink this snake-oil.”

1900 CE: “That snake-oil is phony, don’t drink it. Take this pill.”

2002 CE: “That pill is artificial, don’t take it. Eat this root.”

— from the always-useful randi.org

The Passing of Tom Emmett


[excerpted from John M. Browning, American Gunmaker, by John Browning and Curt Gentry. © 1964 by the Browning Co. and Curt Gentry.]

The Brownings depended on Tom Emmett for all odd jobs, either at the store or in their homes. He professed no specialized skill but would tackle any job and get it done. On this day he was up on a stepladder near the ceiling of the shop, by the line shaft, taking measurements. His job kept him near the shaft for so short a time that he did not ask to have the power shut off. Nobody paid any attention to what he was doing, except John. He remarked to Ed, “Tom shouldn’t be working up there with the power on.” Ed looked over his shoulder and said, “Oh, he’ll be through in a minute, and I need the lathe.” It happened just then, while John was looking straight at Tom.

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Why I’m not a Switcher


I own two Windows machines that I rarely turn on any more. Even at work, the only thing I use Windows for is handling expense reports and accepting meeting invitations. I own two Macintoshes and an iPod (well, two, but only ’til I find a home for the old 10GB model), and I’ll almost certainly buy a dual 2GHz G5 later this year.

I spend most of my time using Macs these days, but I insist that I am not a Switcher. Why not? Because the Switch ads aren’t about technology; they’re about validation. For years, Mac users have been the whipping-boy of the mainstream computing world, and they’ve responded with a “cold, dead hands” attitude and a cultlike devotion to all things Apple. The Switch ads play up to that.

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“Hey, is this thing on?”


So, after months of benign neglect and minor catastrophes, I’m updating my web sites again. We got the old munitions.com server back intact, I’ve upgraded the machine to OpenBSD 3.3, and I’ve moved this page into Movable Type. I’m even reasonably happy with the layout.

I’ve got lots of abandoned projects to resurrect, the most popular of which is of course my photo archive. I think I still get at least 20,000 hits a day from people who want it back, but the hate mail has tapered off.

Fun with iTunes Music Store


The LXG soundtrack sounded promising enough that I decided to support the iMS exclusive release of it. There was some other stuff sitting in my shopping cart, so I bought it all, synced the iPod, and drove to work.

You wouldn’t think that LXG, Dean Martin, Liz Phair, John Philip Sousa, and Ray Brown would make a good driving mix, but it worked.

Now that’s a smart debugger!


Got a report today that a certain featured news article wasn’t displaying correctly on our boxes, due to some kind of Javascript error. When I read the details, I laughed out loud.

The article was titled “Sexless Marriage.”

The debug output from the box was “missing builtin member.”

How not to write a job description…


…1995 Edition. This is what happens when your senior sysadmin leaves, and there’s no one left with even a tiny grasp of what the job involves. It happened to OSU-CIS; don’t let it happen to you!

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Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance


As disgusted as I am by the behavior of the administrators and school board in response to this incident, it made me feel good to read the story, because the parents didn’t just roll over and let their kid get screwed.

It’s not quite as obscene as the 12-year-old in Florida who was taken away in handcuffs for the crime of splashing in puddles at school, but in both cases you have allegedly-sane adults willing to claim the actions were appropriate.

I think I know who really deserves to be removed from the public schools, and it isn’t the children.

Las Vegas trip highlights: Angela Little


So, I’ve returned from my little road trip to Las Vegas, and I bless the kind soul who let me know that Angela was the X-Mate for this month in ‘X - An Erotic Adventure’ at the Aladdin.

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“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”