If You’re Looking At Your Phone, I See Part Of The Problem

Posted in News on August 1st, 2014 by Brian

New App Hopes to Prevent Child Drownings:

In response, Cutler created the J-Swim Band: the first wearable device to detect potential drownings.

It is worn as a headband by swimmers or wristband by anyone who should not be in the water.

The sensor detects when it has been submerged too long and sounds an alarm on your smart phone or iPad.

Maybe you shouldn’t be looking at your device when your kids are in the water. Maybe you ought to be looking at your children.

Old Timey Programmer Visits MfBJN

Posted in Blogging, Humor on July 30th, 2014 by Brian

At least, that’s what I glean from this Sitemeter report:

Language: C

I wonder how this blog looked all brackety and semi-coloned.

Book Report: Voodoo, Ltd. by Ross Thomas (1992)

Posted in Book Report, Books on July 28th, 2014 by Brian

Book coverIt seems like I read one Ross Thomas book a year, so I picked up this book. It looks as though my reading has been skipping through Thomas’s decades of writing, with my first read being 1972′s The Porkchoppers and my second being 1982′s The Mordida Man

Like the latter, this book is a straight ahead thriller, and it’s the third book using the same set of characters–but the first I’d read. I was going along, thinking Thomas’s books were all one shots and appreciating the wonder of the detailed back story he’d created for each of these characters until I researched it and realized he was rehashing things from earlier books. I don’t know if this soured me, but I think that the glimpses of the back story stood in for character development. The motives of some of them were unclear, but it was responses to earlier actions not covered in this book. Sadly, this was less effective.

The plot revolves around a London-based, American-run detective agency that is hired to find two hypnotists. The hypnotists were hired to consult with a Hollywood film actress arrested for the murder of her boyfriend, a wealthy producer. After consulting with her, the hypnotists vanished, and no one is sure whether they vanished because they found out something or if they are to blackmail the starlet with revelations she made while under oath.

The two detectives get the old band back together. This band includes a former Secret Service agent they have to spring from a Phillipine prison; a con artist; and an aging fixer/procurer/scrounger. They rent a house in Malibu and begin their investigations.

As I said, I think ultimately, the author relied a bit much on the reader being familiar with the previous books in the series. Individuals really weren’t that well delineated in the text, and the ensemble plotted a bit behind the scenes against itself. Which was revealed a bit in the climax and beyond, but not so much in text. And the ultimate solution to the murder–which differs from the solution for the problem for which the agency was hired–was kinda tacked on and not integral to the main story arc.

The book wasn’t the best of the Thomas books I’ve read. It’s his penultimate work, and at the back of the book, they have the page to order a number of his other books. None of which I’ve read (yet). I thought this book was so-so, and I’m hopefully that reading his earlier work will show that it evolved to this book: that is, a straight ahead, indistinguishable paperback thriller whose predecessors, so to speak, were better.

Books mentioned in this review:

A Venn Diagram For Perplexed Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Staffers

Posted in Music, News on July 27th, 2014 by Brian

Story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Ted Nugent calls Wisconsin critics “unclean vermin,” but Oshkosh show still sells well:

The Detroit-born rock star encountered bad concert karma this week. A Native American tribe in Idaho canceled an August show he planned at its casino, citing his “racist and hate-filled remarks” as cause for concern. Soon afterward, a Washington casino followed suit, canceling two August shows for the same reason.

But Nugent’s Saturday show at Oshkosh’s Leach Amphitheater is still on and selling well — even though the performer, 65, had some choice words for his critics here.

In an interview with the Appleton Post Crescent, Nugent said Wisconsinites who are upset by him are “unclean vermin,” calling it “a badge of honor” to know that some people had problems with his Badger State visit.

He went on: “By all indicators, I don’t think [the critics] actually qualify as people.”

Nugent, 65, was reacting to the online uproar caused by a letter published in the Post Crescent by an Oshkosh resident that called for the show at the Waterfest Concert Series to be canceled, criticizing what the writer called “outlandish behavior and threatening statements that border on the obscene to the bizarre.”

So.

To recap:

  1. Ted Nugent does as Ted Nugent is.
  2. Some of his concerts were cancelled elsewhere.
  3. Someone in a letter to the editor to an Oshkosh newspaper complaining that Ted Nugent Thinks Bad Thoughts And Should Be An Unperson.
  4. Ted Nugent does as Ted Nugent is.
  5. People who think Ted Nugent’s concerts should not be allowed did not buy tickets to Ted Nugent’s concert.
  6. People who are aware of Ted Nugent when he is not part of the Approved Current Two Minute Hate, that is, his fans, bought tickets to the non-cancelled concert.
  7. Perplexion!
  8. Sorry, that’s a chain of thought, which might be a bit much for journalists. Here, I have produced a Venn diagram of the situation as Venn diagrams are very popular on Web sites that feature lists of pictures instead of flowing logical thought:

    A Venn diagram of Ted Nugent's fans and Ted Nugent's critics, part 1

    A Venn diagram of Ted Nugent's fans and Ted Nugent's critics, part 2

    In a stunning turn of events, people who wanted to see Ted Nugent and know Ted Nugent did not boycott Ted Nugent at the behest of a letter to the editor.

    Ted Nugent is conservative and outspoken. One would say extreme, but one who said that does not know the word hyperbolic. That is what Ted Nugent does.

    What sorts of headlines did we see when the Dixie Chicks went off on the president of this country abroad during a time of war? “Dixie Chicks Mock President, and Commercial Appeal Evaporates”? No, see saw things like, “After Speaking Truth To Power, Dixie Chicks Release New Album”. Which did not sell, because the appropriate headline should have been “Dixie Chicks Offend Their Audience, Appeal To People Who Do Not Buy Dixie Chicks Albums”. The Journal-Sentinel headline would read “Dixie Chicks Express Right Sentiments, But Concert Sales Flag”.

    It’s not even a matter of who’s right or wrong politically here; Ted Nugent played to type, and the Dixie Chicks did not. He said something characteristic to Ted Nugent, and Ted Nugent fans accepted it.

    The perplexion comes in because journalists think what Ted Nugent said is wrong, and that the mere power of a letter to the editor should have illumined that to backwards classic rock fans and hunters in outstate Wisconsin. The unspoken follow-up, perhaps, is, “Gawd, people in the state where I live and work are soooo dumb! I wish I could get a job in Austin or Boston.” I suspect it’s there anyway.

    (Full disclosure: I’m a lightweight fan of Ted Nugent, having bought a greatest hits collection of his on cassette way back when one bought greatest hits collections from record clubs one saw advertised in magazines. I also, when attending the university, was tasked with writing a myth for my Mythology class, and my shaggy long-haired nineteen-year-old self wrote about the invention of rock and roll where Prometheus “gives” an electrified six-stringed lute to a boy in Detroit, and the teacher asked me to read the myth to the whole seventy kids in the auditorium-sized class.)

Pick Your Star Trek Scenario

Posted in Movies, News on July 26th, 2014 by Brian

You’ve all seen this story because the Internet loves stories about sex, space, and lizards: There is a lizard sex satellite floating in space and Russia no longer has it under control:

At this very moment, a Russian satellite full of geckos — (possibly) having sex — is floating around in space — and mission control has lost the ability to control it.

The Foton-M4 research satellite launched on July 19 with five geckos on board. The plan: To observe their mating activities in the zero-gravity conditions of Earth orbit. Several other earthly creatures, including plants and insects, were also placed on board for experiments.

But shortly after the satellite made its first few orbits, it stopped responding to commands from mission control. The equipment on board, however, is still sending scientific data back to earth, a spokesman for Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems said.

So does this lead to the Star Trek: The Motion Picture scenario, wherein these geckos return at some point in the future with super intelligence and super powers to talk to the Russians who thought this was a good idea, or the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home scenario, where some aliens come to earth in the future to hook up with some swinging geckos and threaten to destroy the planet until their reptilian needs are met?

Exit question, which is only partially facetious: How well did the Russians arm those geckos? Because that could result in an alternate scenario altogether.

I’m One Of The Lucky 6.8 Million

Posted in Life on July 25th, 2014 by Brian

6.8 Million People May Soon See Obamacare Rebates

More than 6.8 million Americans will get a refund from their health insurer this summer.

Total value of the rebates will be $332 million, with an average of $80 going to each family. They’ll be issued by August 1.

Thank the Affordable Care Act for the windfall. Under one of the law’s provisions, insurers must issue refunds if they spend more than 20% of what customers pay in premiums on administration and marketing expenses, instead of medical care.

Yeah, I got my $36 check with a letter mandated by law to remind me that Obama’s got my back.

Strangely, the letter from my insurer that said my health insurance was going up $200 a month did not mention the ACA.

I’m sure that’s an oversight.

In Obscurity, Where My Humor Dwells

Posted in Humor on July 25th, 2014 by Brian

I think Tempest Hazard would be a great name for a band. It would have to play electronica, though.

(Source for the joke: the One Hand Clapping guy.)

Book Report: More Cat Tales Starring Hodge produced by Philip Lief (1981)

Posted in Book Report, Books on July 24th, 2014 by Brian

Book coverAm I cheating in my annual book count by counting this book? You bet I am. I actually re-read this book.

I picked this up at a mall on the corner of Fond du Lac and Silver Spring back when it was a little mall with shops and everything. I was in middle school or high school, and by the time I was in college, the mall was just a record store (Mainstream) and a bowling alley at the other end. But for a moment in the 1980s, it had a five and dime in it, and I bought this book for a quarter or something.

At any rate, my oldest child has found my Garfield collections (which I also count). So I remembered this volume and got it out for him, and he was unimpressed.

It’s a collection of cat pictures with speech bubbles. And it’s a sequel to another book that apparently sold enough to warrant the sequel. But. The little quips are amusing, but not what I’d call funny.


You see, the novelty is that it’s cat pictures. With speech bubbles.

It’s the 80s equivalent of half the Internet. It’s a bit of arcana. And it’s amusing to me because the quips are amusing and because I remember being amused by this book when I was young.

But your mileage may vary.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: The Brave Ones edited by Marvin Allen Karp (1965)

Posted in Book Report, Books on July 23rd, 2014 by Brian

Book coverThis book continues my recent trend of military history paperbacks, almost. The trend began with The Battle Off Of Midway Island and continued with Sink the Bismarck!. I guess the trend is also from nonfiction to fiction, as this is not a book about the actual exploits of US GIs. Instead, it is a collection of six short stories set in World War II and the Korean War.

The Collaborator tells the story of an ex-GI living in China when the Japanese invade. He is forced to collaborate with them, culminating in them using him as an infiltrator during an American invasion of a small island. However, their hold on him is broken, and he can finally get revenge.

The Soldier Who Had No Gun shows the story of a chaplain who accompanies a tired, dispirited platoon on a dangerous mission to flank a German stronghold and how he rejuvenates the group.

In The Trap, a British guerrilla war expert is in a plane shot down over a jungle. Pursued by the Japanese, he and his two American airmen have to sneak to safety, and the Brit learns a little something about guerrilla warfare from a native American.

Set in Korea, Night Attack covers a ROK assault on a thinly stretched American position immediately after a platoon sargeant is promoted to lieutenant, and his new platoon sargeant is another man passed over for the job.

In The Raid, a team of specialists is sent to a Japanese prison camp to rescue a submarine commander with knowledge of an upcoming assault. They are to extract him if they can, and to kill him if he cannot.

Operation Christrose tells about a fresh lieutenant coming to a quiet part of the front and leading his platoon on a scouting trip across the river–and into the camp of a German army massing for a surprise break out.

These stories appeared in men’s magazines and The Saturday Evening Post between 1944 and 1963, so between Right Now and 20 years later. They’re pretty vivid accounts and better reading than the normal pulp paperbacks I read.

The one Korea story, and the Korean veterans I saw speak at a recent memorial dedication, have brought to mind how forgotten that war is. Whereas World War II continues to throw off films and culture and whereas the Vietnam War overserves as a metaphor, you don’t get a lot of fiction or film out of the Korean War. And what a brutal place it was to fight.

So I enjoyed this short collection and really see myself going on a 20th century war tear here for a bit.

Books mentioned in this review:

Instapundit Makes The Millennium Allusion

Posted in Blogging, Books on July 21st, 2014 by Brian

Instapundit alludes to Millennium:

JOHN VARLEY, CALL YOUR OFFICE! No, really, he should be demanding royalties from this guy: Ukraine rebel leader claims Flight MH17 was filled with already-dead bodies.

My review of the book here. And, yes, I’ve seen the movie. Three times.

Our Own Royko

Posted in News, Springfield on July 21st, 2014 by Brian

The Springfield News-Leader has a metro columnist now. His debut is entitled “Springfield as good a place as any“. Highlights:

Springfield, in my estimation, is as good a place as any. It’s got its own drama and history. It has highlights and faults.

It has culture and religion and art. And, if you’d prefer to avoid a 15-hour flight for comparisons, you can just take my word for it.

. . . .

I’m not saying I’ll never leave Springfield, but it’s got enough to continue my curiosity, for awhile.

This piece, by way of introduction, is to explain what I’m doing as the News-Leader’s metro columnist.

I am pretty sure he’s serious.

The newspaper, meanwhile, is almost to the point of its distributors taping it to rocks and throwing it through living room windows.

Book Report: The Conquering Sword of Conan by Robert E. Howard (2004)

Posted in Book Report, Books on July 19th, 2014 by Brian

Book coverThis book is the third of the three in the Conan set by Robert E. Howard.

This volume includes:
“The Servants of Bit-Yakin” wherein Conan climbs into a hidden redoubt with a temple in it. Priests seek audience from an oracle within the temple, and a faction has brought along a woman to act as the oracle and to order the priests to put Conan to the death. Conan, of course, has other plans, including collecting the mythical jewels said to be in the temple or nearby.

“Beyond the Black River” which takes place in the wilderness at the Pictish frontier. A shaman of the Picts is getting ready to lead the clans against settlers in the area, and Conan and some others try to delay them enough for the settlers to escape.

“The Black Stranger” A nobleman has brought his retinue to a coast of the Pictish wilderness to escape someone pursuing him. One day, pirates show up looking for a treasure rumored to be nearby, and the nobleman might have to ally with two competing bands of buccaneers to escape his pursuer. Then Conan shows up with knowledge of the treasure, and he plays all ends to get a ship of his own.

“Man-Eaters of Zamboula” deals with an inn and a town with a deadly secret–at night, certain savages collect those out-of-doors and those unlucky enough to stay in a particular inn for a grisly feast. And Conan finds himself in that room.

“Red Nails” finds Conan pursuing a woman warrior who has fled from their mercenary crew after fending off an unwanted advance with deadly result. Conan and the woman find a strange city on a plain where a society has degenerated to two warring factions opposing each other from different sides of the large building that is the city.

So these plots, again, are more complicated and less repetitive.

It’s interesting that these, the last of the Conan stories, often take place on the frontier and Conan takes on a certain Natty Bumpo/the Deerslayer vibe to him. I wonder how much Howard wanted to do that. Of course, in the writing chronology this holds true, but in the chronology of Conan’s life, he is not relocating further and further from civilization, and certainly not for the same reasons.

So I was a bit sad to have finished the Conan stories. I mean, I’ve got the other Howard things to go through sometime (after I buy them), and there are some non-Howard Conan books to read. But not the original. Not the original.

And Howard did all this by the time he was 30. Sometimes, when I was young, I thought I’d like to live the pulp writer lifestyle, banging out these works for a couple hundred bucks a throw and living in a seedy apartment while I did so. I never did make many sales. As a matter of fact, by the time I was 30, I’d only sold a single short story for five bucks to a magazine made on a photocopier. Ah, well, I guess I still have a chance to make it as a pixulp writer if I turn my mind to it.

And good reads like these Conan stories are just the thing to inspire one to become a writer.

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: The Bloody Crown of Conan by Robert E. Howard (2004)

Posted in Book Report, Books on July 18th, 2014 by Brian

Book coverThis book is the second in the three books that make up the complete set of stories that Howard wrote featuring Conan the Cimmerian. As you will remember, I read the first, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian in January.

This book features three tales:

“The People of the Black Circle” features Conan carrying off the queen of a country to use as ransom for some of his followers. She’s seeking revenge on a band of magicians for the death of her brother, and as Conan and she flee from a magician following them, they team up to defeat the magicians.

“The Hour of the Dragon” is the only Conan novel, and it tells the story of how Conan loses the kingdom of Aquilonia and works to get it back.

“A Witch Shall Be Born” talks about a female ruler deposed by her presumed dead twin sister who was left to die at birth because she had a witch’s mark upon her. Instead of dying, she goes onto become a witch and impersonates her sister, a benevolent ruler, until Conan puts a stop to it.

One of the knocks I had on the first book was that the stories were a little formulaic and repetitive at times; with this book and the three stories within it, Howard has concocted some more elaborate plots that are difficult to sum up in the single sentences above. Which is good.

Not only am I continuing to be impressed with this series, but I think I’ll pick up some of Howard’s non-Conan work. Maybe with Christmas’s gift cards.

Books mentioned in this review:

The Human Torch Is Passed

Posted in Life, Personal Relics on July 18th, 2014 by Brian

So as I was digging through boxes in the store room for this post, I came across a box of old comic books not in poly bags. As I glanced in the box, I saw many were without covers, and I thought they were the old Gold Key and Harvey comics from my Great Aunt Laura.

When my mother and her sisters were young, they’d go spend the night with Laura from time to time. Somehow, they ended up with a stack of comic books in the non-super hero genres, with a lot of Richie Rich, Caspar the Friendly Ghost, Hot Stuff the Little Devil, and Wendy the Friendly Witch series along with some Disney comics. When we ended up in the St. Louis area in the middle 1980s, as I was beginning what they call Middle School down here but Junior High in Milwaukee, my brother and I ended up with this well-worn collection, many of which were missing covers and whatnot. I thought I’d rediscovered them.

So I mentioned them to my oldest, who is eight years old and ready to begin reading comic books. And I cracked open the box last night to find that the box contained not my Aunt Laura’s old comics, but my comic books from my elementary school years.

My elementary school comics

Allow me to explain.

I have several boxes of comics neatly organized and in poly bags. These comics come from my high school and college years (and beyond), when I wanted to organize them and take care of them. I had thought I’d gone through and bagged my whole collection a decade ago, but….

This box contains books I bought at the drug store when I was living in the projects, when I could sometimes scratch together a buck to buy a comic. Or, more likely, I’d scratch up a buck and buy a poly bag with three remaindered comic books (you see, it’s not only my music collection that was built on grab bags). Because I was ten years old, and because some of the remaindered books already had their covers partially removed for the retailer refund, these books got read over and over and worn out.

So they now look like my Aunt Laura’s did then. Except these are older to my children than those comics were to me when I got them.

So I bagged up the ones with covers, and I’m considering letting my child(ren) read through the others.

It’s not easy, of course: Although they’re falling apart, they’re relics from my childhood that my children will, in all likelihood, destroy by sleeping on them, walking on them, fighting over them, and whatnot.

Even now as I glance through them, my eyes catch a panel or the title, and I remember the story clearly and even some of the other panels within them.

Of course, my aunts did not have these qualms in passing their childhood comics along. They were just comics, and my mother and her sisters were adults. But I’m a 21st century adult, which is closer to 20th century child than 20th century adult. So I’m going to give them to my children, but I’m going to have to read them again first.

Sure, I’m a pack rat, but some days that pays off in finding something treasured and only half-remembered amid the piles of clutter I can barely walk through.

I Scored .5 On This Quiz

Posted in Life on July 16th, 2014 by Brian

10 Things Americans Waste Money On:

Things I do in italics:

  1. Credit card interest (I pay them off monthly.)
     
  2. Deal websites (Meh, never interested in them.)
     
  3. Appetizers (Not often, anyway, but sometimes I’m hungry enough to eat the free bread, the appetizer, and the entree.)
     
  4. ATM fees (Not often, anyway. Once a year when I’m away from my bank? And not recently, since I’ve forgotten my PIN.)
     
  5. Overdraft fees (I have overdraft protection and pretty good cash flow these days.)
     
  6. Speedy shipping (Faster than Amazon Prime? Who needs it? Also, I buy most of my music with AutoRip, which is instant.)
     
  7. Designer baby clothes (No babies currently, and pretty much relied on Walmart and garage sales when I did.)
     
  8. Unused gym memberships (An underused YMCA membership currently, but I’m nursing a strained adductor just like Grandpa.)
     
  9. Premium cable packages (Here’s where the .5 comes in. I pay $10 a month for a sports package so I can see ball games. No movie channels or other tiers though.)
     
  10. Daily coffee trips (Although I used to be guilty of daily coffee runs when I worked in downtown St. Louis, I work from home now, and the coffee trip is to the counter. I do spend a lot on K-cups, though. And Gevalia premium coffees.)

If this quiz were 10 Things Brian J. Wastes Money On, it would be:

  1. A large garden that doesn’t yield more than it costs and that doesn’t really count much as a hobby because I don’t spend as much time as I’d like working in it.
  2. Instant music purchases that get lost in the existing library and get listened to once or twice or when I remember them.
  3. Buying new books when I have stacks of books to read. Also, buying (albeit cheaply) stacks of books when I have stacks of books to read.
  4. Adopting and pampering pretty much any stray cats that come along. Although it’s not as bad as that, we have acquired four in the last year and have taken them to the vet multiple times.
  5. New hats. I’ve spent $130 on Panama hats over the last year. I spent $40 on a fedora the year before. I am out of control.
  6. Subscriptions to periodicals that come faster than I can read them.
  7. Too frequent visits to Ziggie’s for breakfast.
  8. Supplies for hobbies I might take up one day, but don’t. Although this was more of a problem in years past, I still sometimes pick up supplies for a hobby right at the time I end up putting the hobby down for a while.
  9. A refined wine palatte. As the cash flow has improved, my taste in wines has gone from five dollar wines to ten dollar wines and beyond. I could curtail the wine ration and go back to the Yellow Tail now that the hideous 2012 vintage has passed from the retail scene.
  10. Expensive coffees with Chock Full O’Nuts. I go through cost-cutting phases where I cut the coffee budget to the core. This is often followed by a ‘Hey, we’re doing okay, why don’t I get better coffee?’ period. We’re in the better coffee period now.

So how do you do on wasting money like most Americans or like Brian J.?

In Comic Book News….

Posted in Culture on July 16th, 2014 by Brian

I understand Archie is going to be replaced with a female Archie.

Or something.

This is news for adults?

Book Report: Sink the Bismarck! by C.S. Forester (1959, 1979)

Posted in Book Report, Books on July 15th, 2014 by Brian

Book coverSuddenly, I’m on a World War II naval battle kick, first with The Battle Off of Midway Island and now this book. What a contrast they make.

This book, originally titled The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck but retitled after the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck! came out went through quite a number of printings; this paperback is still in print 20 years after the original and 38 years after the events depicted in it. What kept it alive? Past generations’ interest in actual history? The movie in heavy syndication on television that had not fragmented into a billion channels? Perhaps both, maybe neither. But I’m prone to idle speculation.

The difference in naval doctrine is stunning. Although I’m no naval military history expert, the book might capture a turning point in naval operations. The Bismarck is a big battleship with big guns that knocks out a British battleship (the Hood), and then goes around the Atlantic for a couple of days. Will it harry shipping? Although that might have been the idea, it does not engage shipping and starts making a beeline for France when it’s clear that the British aren’t cowed and are actively hunting it. This might represent the 19th century way of naval war.

The British, on the other hand, bring the house. They have a number of cruisers, a carrier, and whatnot working together to target the single battleship. This is more akin to what we’re used to in modern warfare and, indeed, reflects more of the strategy of the battle of Midway that will come only a couple years later.

I’m probably over simplifying it, but the claim seems valid to my layman’s eyes.

The book is a partially fictionalized retelling, as Forester recreates conversations that he can most assuredly not have access to. It does make this book approachable and readable, but not academic history. The book clocks in at only 118 pages, too. Remember the days when paperbacks were only 150 pages? Heck, I remember the days when hardbacks were only 180 pages. But then price inflation meant they had to make them fatter to justify higher prices–compare to portion sizes at restaurants–but there was something to be said for a quick, informative read like this. Back when people read.

It’s worth a read. I might even want to see the film now to see the movie-ized version of a fictionalized historical incident looks like.

Books mentioned in this review:

I’ll Take Misleading Headlines For $200, Alex

Posted in Headlines on July 15th, 2014 by Brian

Stealing canned corn could bring 10-year prison term

What is this? A story of a three-strikes-and-your-out mishap, where some starving miser steals a can of corn to feed his malnourished children and faces an inhumane sentence because he’s stolen two cans of corn previously? Not hardly.

The specific charge to which both Nunn and Sherley pleaded guilty involves a theft that occurred on May 11, 2013, at the Snappy Mart Truck Stop in West Plains. Nunn and Sherley stole a 2000 Wabash trailer (valued at $7,500), which contained a load of Green Giant canned corn (valued at $73,008).

The trailer, owned by Bryant Freight, was in transit from Minnesota to a food bank in Arkansas. Nunn and Sherley admitted they traveled through Missouri and Indiana with the stolen cargo before being apprehended in Michigan.

They stole a trailer full of corn. Bound for a food bank.

And they’d done this before.

Canned corn, indeed. Maybe the headline writer couldn’t spell trailer and load of cargo.

An Old Timey OS Throwdown

Posted in Life, Personal Relics on July 14th, 2014 by Brian

On Facebook, a friend posted a picture of a copy of Windows 98 Update in its original retail packaging. Not to be outdone by any poser who would pretend to be a hoarder, I proffered the following collection:

20 years of Windows

That’s Windows 95, Windows 98 SE, Windows NT Workstation, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, and Windows XP Professional. All within easy reach.

So some other poser put up a picture of Solaris 2.6. Well, all right, then, if we’re defenestrating, have a look at this bad boy:

GEOS 2.0

That’s GEOS 2.0, a circa 1986 GUI for Commodore 64 users who wanted their C64s to look like a Macintosh. Although this was not in reach, I retrieved it from storage in about five minutes of digging through boxes, an exploration that showed me I have two copies of Bard’s Tale for the Commodore 64. But only two copies for five Commodore 64s and a Commodore 128. I must fix this balance by finding more copies of The Bard’s Tale.

I could not, however, find the copy of CP/M Plus from 1983 that came bundled with my first Commodore 128 for people who wanted their Commodores to look like a PC. I must have included it when I sold my first Commodore 128 (WHAT! You sold a computer? Well, I was young, and I needed the money).

So what’s the oldest operating system you’ve got, son?

Traveling Tip

Posted in Life on July 13th, 2014 by Brian

If you’re trying to give directions about a location in Branson, Missouri, if you say, “It’s on 76 by that tattoo parlor with the General Lee out front,” you’ll have to be a tad more specific.

Also note that it’s faster to travel down Highway 76 in Branson on Google Maps than it is to travel down Highway 76 in Branson itself. Unfortunately, both of the tattoo parlors with the General Lees we saw this weekend (which represents only 67% of the General Lees displayed on Highway 76 this weekend, which according to scientists is actually more General Lees than were present on the set of Dukes of Hazzard on any given day in 1981) did not have them out front when the Google Maps cars went by in 2013, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. And, hey, I’m some guy on the Internet. You can trust me.