Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chicken Brains part deux

So in my earlier post I shared the tale of the smart chicken, but I didn’t realize how smart.

The chicken that died was nick-named Twister. She was an awesome chicken who was a very reliable egg layer AND she was very nice.

My wife loved that chicken.

On the other hand, Kiwi our new pet chicken laid eggs, infrequently. They were fancy eggs mind you but, the last 6 months hadn’t laid a single egg.

So my wife was planning to off her. No eggs, no feed. We have rules in this house.

But apparently Kiwi had plans. The minute Twister died, she immediately seized the opportunity to become the new pet chicken thereby earning a permanent reprieve from the soup pot.

The sign of the time

My son was given a small model SR-71 blackbird. The plane was already pretty beat up because the toy was a hand me down from another toddler.

After having fixed the SR-71 for the fifth time, the writing was on the wall, Nicholas needed a new one.

So I went to and bought him a new plane… And since I was there, I could not resist buying him a model F14 …


A symbol of US military supremacy … built in …



The irony is not lost on me… Our military might, as toys, built in China…




After 8+ years on Yahoo!’s hosting site, I moved. No longer …  I am …

Was it the crappy interface, the poor customer service, the lack of tools, or the price?


None of the above.

Database errors. I started getting database connection errors when I tried to access my blog.

Doesn’t really inspire confidence that they know what they are doing there…

I’ll eventually move the domain to hostgator and I’ll recreate the URL… but good bye Yahoo!…

You will not be missed or even pissed.

Battery life low on Android – EAR SPLITTING SOUND – Battery life low on Android – EAR SPLITTING SOUND

I love my Samsung Galaxy S4 except for the ear-splitting, marriage destroying notification that the battery is low.

The sound is loud enough to raise the dead. Thankfully I know how to use an axe.

So what’s the problem, you ask – just disable the notification.

Well it turns out that the notification is a system sound. Unfortunately there is no option to disable system sounds.

Enter google.

So I spent some time looking for the answer, and found many many other folks who were just as tormented as I was.

There were folks who proposed I recompile the entire Android kernel, then there was the folks who recommended I root my phone and remove the offending sound, and then there was the folks who recommended I discard my phone and buy an iPhone.

Fortunately, just as I was imagining what kind of ritualistic violence I could practice on my phone, someone recommended Sound Manager on the Android app store. Apparently this app, can disable system sounds.

The ear-splitting sound is a thing of the past.

And the folks at Samsung need to learn a lesson on usability… Or maybe they are deaf from the tone…

Book Review – Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time by Ira Katznelson

This is possibly the most fascinating review of the New Deal Era I have ever read. Mr. Katznelson explores how the evil system of segregation and racism distorted the revolutionary impulse of the New Deal.

Mr. Katznelson explores the origins of the New Deal and the series of compromises that created the new America.

What he does, very well, is transport us to the time place and the specific challenges that liberal democracy was facing. In particular, confronted with gargantuan problems other societies were rejecting democracy in favor of totalitarianism. Among the over intellectualized élite the idea that liberal democracy could deal with the problems of the state was viewed as silliness.

And yet, somehow, the United States was able to use the power of the state and to keep democracy at the same time.

And for those of us who are watching the Republican Right tear the power of the state to protect the poor, this is a fascinating book because it shows how revolutionary that impulse to change the nature of government was.

What I found most fascinating though, was the impact of Racism on the New Deal. Throughout the period of the New Deal, the southern Democrats were key to getting legislation passed. And they were willing to support legislation as long as it never touched the evil system of segregation.

The Southern Democrats support of the New Deal was that they had poor white men they wanted to help. And their solution was to tax the rich Northern industrialist and transfer wealth south. However, nothing could be done to touch the evil system they had in place.

So for example, they were in favor of a minimum wage as long as it did not touch house maids and farmers. They were in favor of unions until the unions started championing equal wages for all. They were in favor of programs that gave block grants to states instead of national programs because block grants could be used to help the whites and keep everyone else out.

In fact, the entire project known as states rights was not about preserving the liberty of individual states, but rather the white man prerogative to keep their boot on the back of the neck of the non-white and women.

What is fascinating is how the South want to protect the white man’s right to be free, did not align with Naziism because Nazi’s restricted the white man’s freedom … An amazing tribute to the South’s ability to keep two conflicting thoughts in their head.

And lastly what is fascinating to me is why the South is so passionately in favor of military spending. The Southern states benefited immensely from the growth in the military industrial complex in the WWII and Cold War era, and supplemental military spending disproportionately favors them. In effect, the South hates jobs programs that benefit anyone but themselves. Unlike everyone else they wrap their job program in the American Flag.

Twice in the last 150 years has America attempted to reform the south, once in the post Civil War during reconstruction and once more in the 1960’s during the civil rights era. The sad reality is that during the most important revolutionary era, the failures of Reconstruction cost America bitterly.

Reading this book reminds me of how compromise with evil is necessary, but fighting evil is essential.

Can I have my money back Steve?

Apparently a federal judge ruled that Apple violated anti-trust law and conspired to raise prices for e-books.,0,3253817.story

For those of us who bought e-books, that is not a surprise. I remember when e-books cost 9.99 not 14.99.

All this proves is that large companies with infinite budgets will use their market power to screw over the consumer. And that things like the anti-trust act still add value.

Take that libertarians.

And I want my money back.