"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"gunna be at west hall today"

Back in the day, I used to type things on a typewriter. The only check on my spelling was a secretary who -- fortunately -- could spell a lot better than I. Then came word processing, to which was quickly added automatic flagging of misspelled words. Of course, this feature gave a false sense of security, since every time I typed "Untied States," the program properly failed to report that I didn't really mean that.

But then came "autocorrect." No need to scan the document, no need to judge what flagged words were supposed to be. Some computer code and a database and you were good to go.

Also back in the day, on those unusual occasions when I really wanted to communicate with someone right now, I'd dial the telephone. Now and again I'd dial a wrong number. No big deal (so long as I didn't instantly say "Hey babe!"), just apologize and dial more carefully.

These days, of course, we have email, instant messages, and texting. Hit the SEND button, and the message is away, beyond recall, whether you've dialed the wrong number or not.

So what happens -- here in the second decade of the 21st Century -- if you text "gunna be at west hall today" to advise one of your buddies that you'll be at West Hall High School today? What if you text it to the wrong number, and it's sent to a stranger? What if autocorrect gets hold of "gunna" and corrects it so that the message, sent to a stranger, reads: "gunman be at west hall today."

The Gainseville (Fl.) Times reports:
An autocorrected text message, accidentally sent to the wrong number, was the catalyst to a lockdown Wednesday at West Hall middle and high schools.

Just before noon, law enforcement and school officials issued the lockdown after a West Hall community member reported a threatening text message.

The text, saying "gunman be at west hall today," was received and reported to police around 11:30 a.m. But after police tracked the number, they learned the autocorrect feature on the new cellphone changed "gunna" to "gunman."

The message being sent to the wrong number added to the confusion.

As law enforcement learned of the text message, the schools were notified to go into lockdown as they investigated the origins of the message.
Every day, in every way, things get better and better.


We all say stupid things

But not all of us say them, repeat them, record them, and then broadcast them to the world at large.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cat has human well trained

That's not such a big deal. My cat can sign "let me sleep."


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22, 1732

King George III asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what George Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, "They say he will return to his farm."

The King replied, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."


Monday, February 20, 2012

"We sure put dad through the wringer those last few months."

An interesting reflection from the Washington Post:
With unrealistic expectations of our ability to prolong life, with death as an unfamiliar and unnatural event, and without a realistic, tactile sense of how much a worn-out elderly patient is suffering, it’s easy for patients and families to keep insisting on more tests, more medications, more procedures.

Doing something often feels better than doing nothing. Inaction feeds the sense of guilt-ridden ineptness family members already feel as they ask themselves, “Why can’t I do more for this person I love so much?”

Opting to try all forms of medical treatment and procedures to assuage this guilt is also emotional life insurance: When their loved one does die, family members can tell themselves, “We did everything we could for Mom.” In my experience, this is a stronger inclination than the equally valid (and perhaps more honest) admission that “we sure put Dad through the wringer those last few months.”


George Orwell's Home


Why you need a shotgun: Reason # 284

We're all familiar with the usual reasons that ownership of a shotgun is virtually mandatory. For example, when your daughter's boyfriend comes to the house to pick her up for a date, it's important that he see you sitting at the kitchen table, cleaning your 12-gauge. And nothing beats a shotgun for repelling zombies.

Now this story comes to us from the Orangeburg, South Carolina Times & Democrat:
A remote-controlled aircraft owned by an animal rights group was reportedly shot down near Broxton Bridge Plantation Sunday near Ehrhardt, S.C.

Steve Hindi, president of SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), said his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying.

"It didn't work; what SHARK was doing was perfectly legal," Hindi said in a news release. "Once they knew nothing was going to stop us, the shooting stopped and the cars lined up to leave."
He said the animal rights group decided to send the drone up anyway.

"Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out," Hindi said in the release. "As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter."

He claimed the shooters were "in tree cover" and "fled the scene on small motorized vehicles."
At The Volokh Conspiracy, this raises questions about "Drones, Privacy and Air Rights." We agree that there are interesting legal questions involving possible violation of FAA regulations, whether there would be a right-of-action against my neighbor spying on me this way, and operation of such a thing over public lands.

On the other hand, we also think it's important for all concerned parties to be aware that we've established a no-fly zone out here above our little patch of Fauquier County.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vote Whig!

Via Despair, Inc.


Hello? Yes, this is cat.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring Training: when all things remain possible.


I'm trying to remember . . . .

. . . but I'm having trouble. Mother Teresa's funeral was live-streamed over the Internet, right?


The Good Old Days: 1989

Not really that long ago. It's not as if we didn't have cellular telephones, you know.

In case you're wondering, the $799 price tag works out to something like $1,400 in current dollars.

And before all you morons under the age of 30 smile indulgently and move on, take a look around you. Ponder your car, your laptop, your iPhone, your toaster, your DVR, your Dolby 7.1 home theater sound system, and consider this: in 25 years, at least one of those things is going to look hopelessly antiquated, and your kids are going to laugh at you.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I get SO confused

It's illegal for an Amish farmer to sell unpasteurized milk.

But it's ok to sell guns to Mexican drug cartels.

Next thing you know, the President will propose to continue funding failing "green power" companies, but cut off money for vouchers so that poor kids in Washington, D.C. can get a chance to go to a better school.

Oh, wait.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snark in 140 characters

If you don't know Iowahawk, you're missing a lot.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Why DOES Rick Santorum hate women?

It's almost as if David Gregory is reading from memos sent out by the Democratic National Committee.  Or maybe he's just drawing on his wealth of personal experience, which tells him that "everybody knows" Catholic guys hate women; you know, the whole "patriarchy" thing.  In an ideal world, Santorum isn't our candidate, but you've got to love a guy who laughs in Gregory's face.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Your cat is making you crazy

No, I don't mean that. Nope, not that either.

Here's the science.


Friday, February 10, 2012

It's True: Posting has been spotty. Here's the reason.

Owen did a cost/benefit analysis on Tuesday, and concluded that he needed additional space more than he enjoyed effortless chow-time. Confronted for the first time with (albeit limited) nutritional choices, he solved the dilemma straightforwardly: "Yes, please."

Being a Conservative Sucks

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Employee Sucked Into Aggregation Turbine

A horrible and tragic accident:
NEW YORK—Shocked and saddened witnesses at the Huffington Post's news-aggregation facility have confirmed that employee Henry Evers, 25, died Wednesday after being sucked into the website's powerful news-repurposing turbine, where his body was immediately torn to pieces.

The 200-ton content-compiling device, developed by Greek multimillionaire and site co-founder Ari­anna Huffington, sucks up original articles from around the web with its massive rotor assembly, re-brands them with the Huffington Post name, and then spits them back out on the company's home page.

Workers said that when the machine ground to a halt at approximately 11:30 a.m., Evers reached inside to dislodge a particularly thoughtful 700-word Christian Science Monitor essay on the unrest in Syria that had become jammed.

Apparently unprepared for the aggregator mechanism's quick restart, Evers was gruesomely dismembered by its rapidly spinning blades, which soaked the room in blood and unprocessed news content.


From One Little Pocket of Real

The Los Angeles Times reports:
The Scottish have long been accustomed to ridicule and bafflement over their accents from their fellow Brits, who strain to decipher words like "cannae" and "daftie" (for the record: "can't" and "fool"). But you'd think that Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant in Apple's latest iPhone, would take a nice Scottish brogue in its stride.

Think again. Since the phone debuted in October, many of the Scots who rushed to buy it have discovered that their new "smart" gadget can't understand them. This is true despite the fact that their phones are set to "English (United Kingdom)" under the "language" setting for Siri, which doesn't seem to take the distinctive Scottish burr into much account.
A problem that led almost immediately, here in cyberspace, to this:

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Because golf is a serious game

More at io9.