Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rise of the Phoenix

The Phoenix arose from the burning embers of the funeral pyre, and fire came from its razor-sharp beak, along with a frightening sound.  The boy recognized that within the screech, there was language, and meaning, but he was too young, too afraid, too uninformed, to understand what it meant:

"Complacentiam mors est.  Noli timere, quia iam sunt in domo mea."

"But what can I do?  I am afraid, for the fire almost engulfed my village."

"Ah, puero vos sentio indefensos quia vos cognitione carent, et notitiis. Est ignis causatur quia vos non agnoscerent, in his autem, substituto fantasy pro re. Non tibi hostiam tibi causa doloris lacessierit."

"I'm sorry, I did not know!  My little village is so small, and I have never seen the world, nor can I imagine anything beyond my bedroom walls."  

"Video et te misereri. Nolite timere. Sis felix, quoniam tu instituis. Liberavit scientia, ut possit vim bonum quam malum. Hostia amet velit tincidunt sed oportet - quod tam facilis et perspicua."

"Yes, I see.  I feel as if the sun is rising for the first time in my life."

And the two began their journey in earnest...

Phoenix (Mythology)

A phoenix depicted in a book of mythological creatures by F.J. Bertuch (1747-1822)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Battle of the Bands, Ginormous Egos Edition

I was driving a few days ago, and decided to listen to some KISS, and a funny thing happened.  I heard the song "Deuce," which until that point, I'm pretty sure I had heard a total of one time.  The opening riff started, and I had to rewind it, listened, rewound one more time.  Well, that was interesting.  Check out the opening riff of the song, and see if you recognize the initial guitar sequence:

The clip is from a 2010 concert in Europe, but the song itself is from KISS' eponymous debut album, in 1974.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Pass Your Emissions Test

As a public service, and because we now live in the age of misinformation, where it seems that more than half of what you hear, see or read is completely false, I will now share with you some tidbits about emissions.  For those who live in a state without emissions testing, whose car is super squeaky clean and doesn't have an issue with the "Check Engine" light, or simply don't care, feel free to move on (as if I could stop you anyway).  For the rest of you:

  • As of 2003, 33 states, plus the District of Columbia, required emissions testing.  I believe the number is more now, but the actual number is fairly irrelevant to this post, and I'm sure you know if you live in an emissions-testing state.  (State Emissions List)  And if you really, really aren't sure, check here...State by State Emissions Laws
  • In order to pass an emissions test, your car has to pass several tests for gas emissions of various types, under varying degrees of engine temperature and speed.  In addition, a vehicle must pass a fairly rudimentary safety inspection.  The one item that isn't rudimentary, however, is that your "check engine" light must be off.  If it is on, the vehicle fails automatically.  
  • You may be interested to know that California actually has its own, more stringent regulations those those of the EPA, managed by the California Air Resources Board.  Also, 16 states have adopted those more stringent regulations rather than following EPA standards (technically, if you follow CARB, you are already following EPA standards, as they are less strict).  Emission Standards
  • You've probably received advice like this in the past:  What Not to Do.  I encourage you to ignore it.  Also ignore the smogcheck facility guy who tells you to just "run it for 100, 200, 300 miles," or the mechanic who gives you similar worthless "advice."  None of these "fixes" will enable you to pass the emissions test, though there is a slight chance that such measures will turn off your check engine light.
  • For every car make (i.e., brand), there is a specific emissions sequence that you can follow to turn off your check engine light, and ensure that your car will pass emissions.  If you're interested in knowing more about it:  Emission Test Cycle.
  • The standards aren't going away, but rather they are tending toward worldwide standardization similar to CARB's standards (Emission Standards).
I'm focused specifically on the check engine light, so if you have a problem like your catalytic converter exploding, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Well, That's a Relief

Java and Flash - Tools of the Devil

The linked post is as follows (in case the link doesn't work, or FB doesn't like you):

Other than the fact that nearly all malware designed to infect Macs, is based on either Java or Flash, this is excellent news.

Toyota Carlsbad and the Continuing Spelling

Oddly enough, the following advertisement was changed the day after I shot this pic.  Then, this morning (a couple days later), I see that it's back.  Toyota Carlsbad, because I feel for you in this epidemic overtaking our nation, I will spellcheck your ads for free.  Though I may require you to fire your ad agency first, since the ad itself pretty much blew.  My opinion is free, too.  'Cuz I'm a giver.

The pic, in case the link doesn't work, or you're simply scared of The Facebook:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Advice on the Flu (Well, the Flu Shot Anyway)

Hey, do what you like, but I never get the flu shot.  And I never get the flu.  How odd is that?  Then again, I subscribe to the belief that the flu shot compromises one's immune system at exactly the worst possible time, and you just end up getting a different strain of it, due to your increased vulnerability.  But my 47 null data points could be wrong, while the media and public health officials could be right, since they've all diligently researched it, of course.  Even more interesting, if you ask your own doctor, you may be surprised by the response.

Cheers, and happy flu season.


Baffled by News Anchors' Lack of Speaking Prowess

Perhaps the public schools are letting us down.

Or maybe people just want to be cute.

I have no idea.

But how someone can be a nightly news anchor in an almost-first-tier news market, yet not know the correct pronunciation of the word 'zeta', is beyond me.  Especially when his name is Carlo.  I'm no linguist, but I'm pretty sure Carlo is of Latin derivation. As is, of course, Latin itself. And Greek. And Roman. And the last time I looked, Rome was in Italy. And Cecchetto, Carlo's last name, seems pretty Italian to me.

Then again, I'm no expert. You be the judge.

PS - Yes, I know he's from Omaha, don't ruin the story for everyone.  I'm from Iowa, and still, I somehow know how to pronounce zeta.  And just for the record, it's Los Zetas in this particular case.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

People Unclear on the Concept

I've always thought Oracle was tremendous at marketing its products, especially since they tend to suck so much.  In fact, they make a software (Java) so poorly designed and executed, yet so widespread, that it is single-handedly responsible for many of the most destructive internet security breaches of the 21st century.  Like any true marketing organization, a la P.T. Barnum, that doesn't stop Oracle from touting "security" and "stability" when marketing this plague.  And lest you think it's unfair to pick on a single product from Oracle, I'm not - this one just happens to be in the news right now.  They make plenty of other products that suck badly, though those ones tend not to open your internet portal to cyber-criminals by merely clicking on a web page.