Archive for the ‘Admin’ Category

Christmas is coming.

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

I’ll post another reminder after Thanksgiving, but remember: clicking on Amazon links, or using the search box, gives us a small kickback on your purchases, and allows us to indulge our penchant for small electronics, knives, books, and movies from the 16 page list, “A partial and incomplete list of movies we might want to watch or have talked about watching (with annotations)”.

(I maintain that as a Google Doc which is shared with a few friends. I’m not sure I want to share it here, and if I did, it would be read-only. But if you ask directly, I might think about it…)

(Speaking of the Amazon search box, is anyone having trouble with it? It seems to be working okay for me, and I thought I replaced that when Amazon end-of-lifed the old version, but Lawrence made a comment to me the other night about it not working…)

I don’t expect gifts: the thoughtful and pleasant people who hang out here are more than enough of a gift for me. However, as an administrative note: if you are someone who feels inclined to purchase a gift for me, please do not purchase this book. Thank you.

(However, I wouldn’t object to a book on goat raising. Especially those Nigerian dwarf goats. I have been trying to persuade my mother that she needs a dwarf goat, or some dwarf cattle, to keep the Corgi company and give it something to do besides park itself under the bed.)

(Via. The funny thing is, I’d actually heard of this guy, or at least his toaster project. I would be more interested in the toaster, though it strikes me as an inferior version of “I, Pencil”.)

The nicest thing anybody has said about me so far this week.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

In the context of a discussion about “What’s wrong with rednecks?”:

You have all of your teeth.

TMQ watch.

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Our blog traffic has spiked up in the past couple of days, and we haven’t been able to figure out why. It doesn’t seem to be tied to anything specific we’ve written (our stats just show a lot of folks looking at the homepage/archives) but there do seem to be two things that are kind of popular: our list of Austin city council members, and people looking for Gregg Easterbrook’s ‘Tuesday Morning Quarterback”.

We don’t have anything new to report on tha second front. Here’s what Easterbrook is saying:

TMQ

We are trying to keep an eye on his Twitter for more substantial updates, but that’s all we have for now.

Random notes: February 22, 2016.

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Two from the NYT:

Save the endangered Long Island skeet!

Harper Lee was a big fan of Opus. Yes, the penguin, from “Bloom County”.

Mr. Breathed could barely believe what he was reading: “How ironic is that here, she is desperately upset that I’m letting my character die for her when millions around the world, for generations, have been upset that she let her characters end?” he said, referring to Ms. Lee’s never publishing another book until the contentious release of “Go Set a Watchman” last year.

Borepatch left a most gracious note on the last obit watch, which was much appreciated. I’ve been feeling like all I do is write obit watches these days. It also feels kind of lazy sometimes; but I like to think that there’s some historical value, if not now perhaps in the next few years, in noting these deaths and how they were covered.

And every once in a while you find an obit for someone who didn’t get the attention that Harper Lee or Scalia got, but deserves some attention. Speaking of that…

And speaking of lazy, I do have some longer pieces I want to write. Some of them are still in draft status, waiting for things to come together. Then there are some things that I expected to be able to write longer form entries about that just haven’t materialized yet.

I’d love to be able to write about my ongoing experiences with the Austin Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy, for example. But we’re only two sessions in and the first one was mostly back-patting. I’m hoping that there will be things that are worth writing about (and that I can write about without breaking any rules) soon. (If you’re really interested in the actual police academy and the training process, there’s a set of videos up on YouTube.)

Quick movie note: Lawrence and I went to see “Hail, Caesar!” yesterday. Lawrence liked it more than I did. I don’t think it is a bad movie, but it seemed slight and insubstantial.

We watched “Burn After Reading” a few weeks ago, and I liked that a little more: it may have something to do with almost everyone in “Burn” being utterly insane. (Especially John Malkovich’s character; but then, Malkovich adds that extra special touch to everything he’s in. I’m still not going to see “Zoolander 2”, though.)

TL,DR: wait for “Hail, Ceaser!” on streaming.

Yearly administrative note.

Friday, December 4th, 2015

This is your yearly reminder: if you use the Amazon search box on the right hand side of the page to buy stuff, I get a small kickback.

Said small kickback, as you all know, goes to purchasing toys for crippled orphans supporting this blog, mostly by enabling our purchases of Robert Ruark and Jack O’Connor books, along with other crap in general.

(Speaking of Ruark, I’m reminded that I have two historical notes coming up back to back before the year is over. One of those should be of some interest to Lawrence…)

(And speaking of Lawrence, I would be remiss if I did not note, as I do every year, that books from Lame Excuse Books make fine presents for the holidays, especially if you have SF or horror fans on your shopping list.)

I believe I recommended Amy Alkon’s Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck last year, but I’ll plug it again as she deserves it.

Another book that was loaned to me by a friend, and that I’ve almost finished – I will be purchasing my own copy, so I have no qualms about recommending it – is Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I somehow missed this when it came out in 2012, but it’s a very good book about the psychology of introversion, how to cope with being an introvert, and how to cope with significant others/family members who are introverts (if you’re an extrovert) or extroverts (if you’re an introvert).

I don’t see a shipping date for Archer Season 6 yet, but How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written made me laugh more than a cheap TV tie-in book by some anonymous ghostwriter had any right to. (But get the Kindle edition, or a used copy.)

cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra

Edited to add: Also. If I’ve managed to irritate you, please consider supporting the fine folks at Popehat through their Amazon link instead.

Also also: I haven’t given them any money, but I’ve always been kind of fond of the HouChron‘s “Goodfellows” program.

Also also also: the Reason Foundation is having their annual fundraising drive. And they will accept bitcoins, too.

Random notes: November 1, 2015.

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

In case anyone was wondering, the hand surgery went about as well as I expected: in that, I lived through it and didn’t die on the table from a bad reaction to the anesthesia or something else. My left hand is still wrapped tightly, but I’m approaching maybe 1 1/3 hand functionality. At this point, I’m off painkillers and it really doesn’t bother me: the itching is more disturbing than anything else.

===

I’d managed to avoid breaking any bones or surgery requiring more than a local anesthetic for over 50 years. So much for that record.

I think what bothers me the most was the loss of continuity of consciousness, if that makes any sense. What I mean: one moment, they’re telling me that they’re going to put a sedative in my IV line. Next thing I know, they’re telling me the surgery is over and I’m okay. It just feels…weird, for reasons I can’t articulate. It’s not like going to sleep: it feels more like a gap during which I stopped processing memories. I need to think through this some more.

===

I haven’t seen this covered elsewhere yet, and I’d really like to see coverage in someplace I trust more than the WP, but: the FBI is switching back to the 9mm, and away from the .40.

The new 9mm round — known to gun aficionados as the 147 grain Speer Gold Dot G2 — is significantly more effective than what FBI agents carried into the field in 1986. According to Cook, the bullet has been rigorously tested and has received high marks in the FBI’s most important category for bullet selection: penetration.

This also means new pistols for the FBI, and that’s going to be a windfall for somebody. It also won’t shock me to see the current administration attempting to use the procurement process to advance their political goals…

“We are on a completely different program,” one senior HRT operator said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the team’s arsenal.

Heh.

Admin note.

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Blogging may be a little slow for a bit. In particular, TMQ Watch may not go up tomorrow again.

The backstory here is that I managed to hurt myself Saturday afternoon somewhat seriously. There is a backstory to that which I may go into later. Anyway, one ER visit and two doctor visits later, I’m resting more or less comfortably, but typing one-handed. I go in tomorrow for surgery on my left hand; it will be outpatient surgery, but with general anesthesia and a nerve block, so I expect this to be a most-of-the-day affair, and to be pretty messed up for some hours afterwards.

So things will be catch as catch can for a bit. Wish me luck if you feel so inclined.

Blog shoot October 10th.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

I’ve been negligent in announcing this; partly because I figure everyone who reads this blog reads Battleswarm, and partly because it looked like there may be some complications.

Now it looks like the complications have worked themselves out, so: this a general reminder that Lawrence and I are planning a blog shoot at Eagle Peak at 5 PM on Saturday, October 10th. This will be followed by dinner at the Oasis at 7 PM.
More details over at Lawrence’s blog. Contact me here if you have questions.

TMQ Watch: August 25, 2015.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Well. Well well well. Well.

We’ve been wondering when the first TMQ of the season was going to show up. We’re well into the pre-season and there’s no TMQ on the ESPN site. We’ve been watching Easterbrook’s Twitter: usually he links to his columns there, but there’s been nothing.

Apparently we missed the news. We fired up the Googles, and according to a certain website (one we have a policy of not linking to), Easterbrook’s deal with ESPN wasn’t renewed at the end of the 2014 season.

We would figure that Easterbrook would take TMQ elsewhere, and that he’d link to it on his Twitter, but perhaps he’s grown weary of writing it?

Tonight, when we get home, we’ll pour out a blueberry-almond martini for TMQ. If the column does show up someplace else, we’ll let you know, but we won’t promise that we’ll link to it or resume TMQ Watch: if Easterbrook goes somewhere like Salon or Slate, for example, we won’t follow him there.

Obit watch: June 9, 2015.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Vincent Bugliosi, former LA County deputy DA, the man who prosecuted Charles Manson, and co-author (with Curt Gentry) of Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. (Edited to add: NYT obit.)

(I’m back home now and slowly dipping my toes into the water. After action report to come soon-ish.)

Obit watch: April 14, 2015.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Günter Grass, noted German writer.

Somehow, I managed to miss his admission that he was an SS member during the war.

(Sorry for the radio silence the past few days. I’ve been on the road and just got home last night. More about this later.)

Your city council, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, January 16th, 2015

I just finished updating the “Contact information for the Austin City Council” page with the latest information. Please let me know if you find any errors or omissions.

The pages on the city website appear to have eliminated actual email addresses (relying instead on contact forms): if you happen to have a real address for your council member, you might share it. Fax numbers are also not present, but that may be an artifact: it looks like they’ve reorganized the phone system to make things a little more logical.

It hasn’t been that long since the council was sworn in, and I’m sure it will take some time for the council members to get their individual pages set up the way they’d like. I’ll try to keep an eye out for changes, but, again, I’d appreciate help from my readers on that.

I still need to get the Travis County Commissioner’s Court page updated, but with a little bit of luck I’ll be able to do that on my lunch hour.

Edited to add: The Commissioner’s Court page is now updated.