Things that I am Looking for

Someone once told me that if you decide what you want and announce it to the world, those things have a way of finding their way to you. Sounds like writing a letter to Yoga Claus to me, but I’ll give it a shot. The following is a list of things that I would really like to have:

1. A copy of TCP/IP Illustrated by Richard Stevens, Vol. 1- The Protocols: Universally recognized among “security” types as the hacker bible.

2. A used Lucent chipset DSL modem at a decent price. We’re able to get DSL at the cabin (!!) but they want $200 for a modem, which is just silly.

3. A (cheap) SCSI hard drive, preferably 50-pin, the larger the better. It’s going in the old PowerMac that’s getting a YellowDog Linux installation. File server material, that one.

4. A kick-ass deal on an old F-100/150, preferably with a 302 and a 4-speed manual trans, and olive green. I used to have one of those trucks, and I sold it. I am still kicking myself for that. If you’ve ever had one, you know. They aren’t the most beautiful trucks, their air conditioning never works, they have bad power steering cylinders that need to be replaced every couple of years, but… there’s something wonderful about them. I can’t explain it. It’d be a silly anthropomorphism to say that their dependability is somehow a function of their fidelity and desire to serve, but when I had one for about seven years, it certainly seemed that way. The truck never failed to start. It hauled ridiculous loads of junk from here to there more times than I had any reason to expect. When I sold it, my girlfriend at the time cried. I didn’t just get rid of a truck that day. ANYWAY, I digress.

5. A job offer. To teach history. Hanging out and waiting is starting to wear me out.

That’s really about all that I can think of. I mean, except for that shoebox full of $20s. But everyone wants that. If you read this and looked around at your bookcase/driveway/closet full of old computer hardware and thought “Hey…”, email me. I would especially like to make some sort of trade…

UPDATE: Add to that a hard drive for my laptop. Went wonky today. I was able to resurrect using a panopoly of disk utilities. But who knows how long that will last? yipes….

I take back everything bad I ever said about….

This is directly from Tom Tomorrow’s blog, but he won’t notice that I stole it because he’s in Ireland….

[quote]Judicial Watch was one of the conservative groups that went after Clinton, on Richard Mellon Scaife’s dime, back in the day. At the time, founder Larry Klayman stated, “”I take it to heart when I see the government not telling the truth, not doing the right thing and covering up.”

And what do you know? It looks like he meant it.

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial WatchÃs Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and ¦Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.² The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at:

The documents are here. There’s a transcript of Bill Moyers interviewing Klayman here.

Afterthought: if this is on the level, the implications are extraordinary. I always had it in the back of my mind that Cheney was stonewalling on the energy task force to hide the corruption, the ties to Enron and so on. But what if the sons of bitches were sitting around deciding how to divvy up Iraq? What if that most reductionist of slogans is a simple statement of fact: it’s all about the oil?

Update: I am informed that the lawsuit was filed jointly by Judicial Watch and Sierra Club, a fact which Judicial Watch did not choose to highlight in its press release.[/quote]


My twin brother has been profoundly affected by the crisis in Liberia, which I would wager only about 15% of the U.S. population even know about. Less, I would guess, could find it on a map.

Someone commented and said something nasty about the U.N., which I had to weigh in on, just because it shocks me that what used to be a position held only by rural men with more shotguns than teeth has somehow slipped into the mainstream.

I have a survival tip for the people of Liberia, actually: Find some oil under your dirt. That’ll get the 101st Airborne there faster than you can say “yellow-cake.”


Apparently, this is what happens to people who tell the truth. They ruin one’s spouse’s career:

“The identity of an undercover CIA officer whose husband started the Iraq uranium intelligence controversy has been publicly revealed by a conservative Washington columnist citing “two senior administration officials.”

Intelligence officials confirmed to Newsday Monday that Valerie Plame, wife of retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson, works at the agency on weapons of mass destruction issues in an undercover capacity — at least she was undercover until last week when she was named by columnist Robert Novak.

Wilson, while refusing to confirm his wife’s employment, said the release to the press of her relationship to him and even her maiden name was an attempt to intimidate others like him from talking about Bush administration intelligence failures.”

Would you call that intimidation? A punitive measure? “Shut up or we hang your wife out to dry”? I am speechless.

Whole Paycheck Foods

I have been to Whole Foods a couple of times. In the sleepy little college town that I used to live in, it was kind of an oasis where kids with purple hair and pierced * could work and get discounts on things like organic asparagus and unbleached flour. My only objection to the place was that it was SO FRIGGIN EXPENSIVE. There was an employee owned and operated co-op in the same town where I could buy organic dairy products and produce and it was about a third cheaper.

But I saw plenty of folks wandering into Whole Foods and buying all of their groceries. I figure they were better employed than I was.

Then I stumbled across this web site where some Whole Foods employees are trying to organize and unionize. Seems this hip, progressive, profitable chain of stores is not above old-style union busting tactics.
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Up Late

Whew. Up late and then up early again. I was up until midnight at my folks’ house shelling purple-hull peas, which are basically black-eyed peas. You have no idea how much work fresh food is until you commit to it and find yourself working for three hours to shell two quarts of peas. My fingertips are a dark shade of purple.

But, once I have a little time today, I am going to finish shelling them and cook them about half way, then freeze them. I’ll have fresh peas to cook with rice for the rest of the year.

While I was shelling peas, the rest of my family was cutting fresh corn off the cob and parboiling it so we can have fresh corn all year. You get it about halfway done and then freeze it.

Summer is like that down here. Fresh peaches, corn, peas, beans, tomatoes, berries, fresh fish, you name it… We do whatever we can to save it and keep it fresh so we can have it year ’round. It seems like a lot of work when we try and process a year’s worth of corn and peas in one night, but about mid-February, it’s going to be so nice.

Redneck thrift

On the way into town today my truck started to thump and throb like an unbalanced washing machine in the spin cycle. This is never a good sign. For those of us that have experienced this phenomenon, it is sickeningly familiar and forboding. If you have not, I can only imagine that it’s really really scary. It’s the feeling that comes over your vehicle when your universal joint (or “U joint”) is about to snap and dump your drive shaft onto the pavement.

You have seen cars with this problem. They are the ones on the shoulder of the highway with their drive shafts touching the pavement. Seeing a car like this is kind of alarmingly like my first experience with Freudian anxiety- I was three and the family was at a petting zoo.

That said, I limped the truck to school, trying not to do anything that might stress the damn thing into snapping, and parked. Went to my class, sat there worrying about money and auto parts and getting back and forth to town for a week, completely wasting the day there. After class I ran down and limped the car to my stepdad’s favorite garage.
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Enter the *nix

Considering my entry into the world of graduate level computing, I am starting to look around at the lost and abandoned machines in the closets in my house and think about what flavor of Unix to put on each one.

There’s an AMD K6 450 that I know is going to get SuSe with a Fluxbox desktop. The old PowerMac 8500 is going to get YellowDog Linux 3.0. Supposedly KDE will run fine on Yellowdog without choking, but we’ll see about that.

Some of you are already shrugging and deciding that this entry isn’t for you. You might be right, but if you have an old machine jammed in a closet, you might think about it. Linux and open-source software generally don’t need massive smoking processors to run. And there are plenty of office, email, music and IM clients that run just fine on Linux.
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