Friday, May 31, 2019

Not From The Onion: Hillary Clinton To Keynote Cyber Defense Summit

No, this is not a joke. It's apparently 100% tone-deafly, headshakingly, very, very real.

Well, she can, I suppose, relate a cautionary tale of how not to run an insecure email server and then how to run Bleachbit on the same server when you're caught to try and cover your tracks.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

UPS Is Pronounced OOPS

So I'm expecting a package to arrive today, the contents of which may merit a blog post later.

UPS sends a helpful email yesterday that notes the arrival time should arrive from 10:15 AM - 02:15 PM today and since I have to sign for the package someone better be at the home to sign for it.

So I figure I'll work from home in the morning so I can get the package and then go to the office.

They send another helpful email this morning that I can track the location of the delivery truck online.

So I do, with a window open on the computer as I get some work things done.

Viewing their site I can see the truck icon on the moving map. I watch the truck happily roll along, getting literally two streets away from me and I begin to expect seeing it pull up in my driveway.

Then its one street away to the north, so this should be good and I can get the package and head into the office and all is well.

Then it suddenly turns away and bypasses me to the south, traveling along a parallel street right past my house. WTF?

I then at that moment get a new email that the delivery time is now changed to 1:45 to 5:45. That's rather annoying.

It's now, per the icon, a mile south and heading more southerly as it goes. I have half a mind to go chase after it. Whoever came up with the route certainly messed up their delivery efficiency, and my plan for the day is now a bit askew as well.

Update: As of 2:28 the UPS truck icon on the map has quite literally and illustratively gone in a circle around my house, carefully avoiding it at all times, but happily chugging along adjacent streets, including streets that lead to my street.

Last Update: it finally arrived, after circumnavigating the neighborhood at least 3 times.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Stupid Criminals: Learn To Quit While You're Somewhat Ahead

The Detroit News: Mich. man charged with robbing same Walmart three times in one night

Yes he stole from a Walmart on three separate times in the same night.

While the headline is incorrect in that he didn't commit robbery, he instead committed larceny.

He wasn't using any force or threats of violence in his multiple thieving attempts so that's not robbery, but robbery sounds cooler than larceny to the headline writer I suppose.

However, committing three separate thefts from, and then returning to, the same location on the same night after the first and even seconds acts of theft qualifies for a special kind of stupid award. This is especially so as Walmart is pretty good about catching criminals in their stores, so of course he's on video for all three separate felonies.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Flying - Memorial Day Flight To Saginaw

I had panned to fly with Leah to Jackson today, but Leah wanted to see some water on this flight. So off to Saginaw Bay we went. The weather promised nice solid VFR and high clouds that wouldn't be in the way and only moderate winds.

A solid preflight, a good start and we were off from Runway 9L, heading north.

Soon we were 20 miles away form Saginaw's TRSA so we gave them a call, stated out intentions to tour the bay and then land at Saginaw and we got a transponder code and then could fly around the area with no problems.

We flew over Bay City airport on the way:

We soon reached Bay City itself.

Yes, that's the USS Edson below.

A fitting flyover for Memorial Day.

Then up the river to Saginaw Bay itself. You can see from above very clearly where the swollen and muddy river empties out into the blue of the bay:

Then we flew out into the Bay, and over the rather large and impressive Shelter and Channel Island.

After that we headed to Saginaw, landing on Runway 14 after being directed into a left base entry, with a bit of crosswind as the very large Runway 5/23 is out of service for maintenance until August, but the 6,000 feet of Runway 14 more than sufficed.

Then we took off and headed back to Pontiac.

On the way back I was flying so smoothly my passenger actually fell asleep for awhile.

Getting flight following all the way through Flint's Class C airspace. I was instructed to maintain 4,500 feet throughout their airspace and that's what I did. Radar services were terminated once I was 12 miles from Pontiac so I contacted them, was told to ident and setup for and report a left base entry for 9L.

Then to Pontiac, landing on 9L with a 13 knot crosswind, but no issues and it was a very sweet landing, with compliments from my passenger.

After that we taxi'd back to the hangar, refueled the plane for the next pilot who was coming at 2 for a flight and then we had a picnic lunch at the airport, watching planes land and takeoff.

These planes included N73455, the first plane I ever flew solo:

And N8428S, The plane I now fly solo and own a share in:

That's 1.8, 2 landings, and some more great memories in the books.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Things You Didn't Know You Needed, And Probably Still Don't

The Detroit Free Press: New Detroit store has psychic readings, raccoon penis bones

Ok then. Neither of those items make my shopping list, just saying.

Monday, May 20, 2019

23 And Us

23 years Ago today, Tash and I got married.

While many things change, we've remained together throughout, not remained the same mind you, but we've gotten better as life goes on and we've grown together.

This also marks the rather unbelievable milestone that I've now been married for 50% of my lifespan to date. Hard to believe, but true.

If you told me 23 years ago that I'd be where I am today, with the life I have, and the great family that has made it so, I doubt I would have believed it.

It's been quite the good life together, and I'm looking forward to the next 23 years together and beyond.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Driving By Miss Abby

The cardio health stress test continues apace, as Abby has decided she likes driving my car more than Tash's car, so I've been with her for the majority of her practices.

Today she drove to her high school, which is and will be the man reason for her getting a driver's license in the first place. We made it there no problem, not too much traffic on a Sunday aside from a bit of a jam near a church, and iut got her on some main roads and doing left turns in traffic and changing multiple lanes.

Thence we took an alternate route home so she could try merging onto a highway. Yes, my circulatory system is strong.

She did fine, traffic was light enough, and I was able to talk her through it ok. Lots of neck cranking on my part during the merge and lane changes. No permanent indentations in the armrests.

Then down to Best Buy to pickup an SD card that I had a rewards coupon for, so a 64GB SanDisk Pro card instead of costing $28 cost only $10, which is a nice bargain for a very nice and fast memory card for the camera.

She did good and parked reasonably well by the store.

Then back in the car and thence up and through a roundabout that is ranked the 2nd most dangerous intersection in the entire state, because roundabout plus traffic light - yes, really.

She did fine but did need some help on getting into the roundabout safely as it was kinda hair-raising. Again, I passed this stress test with flying colors and did not even try to curl into a ball and drop onto the floorboards, as tempting as that was.

It's interesting the things she doesn't know that she doesn't know.

For example, she was getting set in the car and I was still in the house with the keys. She got her seat adjusted, mirrors set and had the headlights full on without the car running.

I explained that wasn't a good habit to get into as it drains the battery when you leave the lights on with the car off. She didn't know that, but does now.

Other things included how far should you get over when the police have a car stopped on a road that is one lane in each direction, and traffic lights that are only flashing yellow.

I talked her through these and she did just fine. She's certainly coming along as a driver and getting smoother and more confident, which is a good thing. We spent over an hour on the road, and then to top it off, she drove herself to a friend's house in some heavy rain, which was good experience, so she definitely got her practice in today.

I figure the next driving mission will be to have her drive the gas station to teach her how to fill the car up.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Progressives on Mass Transit: Not Working? Do It More And Harder.

Yet again, the advocates while at the same time claiming that the Q-Line would be the future for mass transit are now admitting that its failing, and their solution is to double down and do it again.

The Detroit News: Opinion: Detroit can still make transit succeed

She notes that already predicted reality: Ridership is down to about 2,490 beow what is required to sustain it and its down, especially from when rides were free - who could have guessed? On top of that, the streetcars are delayed and not reliable, and the system isn't exactly up to spec maintenance-wise.

Again, who could have seen that coming?

But reality never dissuaded mass transit enthusiasts.

Her first proposed solution? Free rides during the time it would be in highest demand for people to pay for rides, to show people will ride it . . .so long as its free. Yes, really.

First, its private-sector benefactors should declare a four-month holiday from the fares, just as when the streetcar first launched operations — and just in time for baseball season, and for the streetcar to take travelers from downtown hotels to the ballpark.

If your system depends on it being free in order to work, there's something a tad wrong with your system, especially when you need rider fares to sustain the system.

Then, after bemoaning that the current payment system is difficult and often malfunctioning, for the poor people who can't afford cars, she claims it can be fixed with credit card readers on every streetcar.

Second, the QLine should install credit-card payment infrastructure onboard, with options for people who don’t have credit cards to pre-pay their fares at shops alongside the route.

Using credit card swipes for a $1.50 fare is a bit much, not to mention the time it takes to process each swipe transaction as a passenger boards and pays over the 3.3 miles that Q-Line travels. Of course, she somehow expects the payment system to be better maintained than the operating history of the system with its current broken payment systems that she has indicated it will be so far, right?

Note how these proposals still won't increase the streetcar rate from the current 20 minutes or more to the 8 minutes that was promised. Bit she does recommend losing a lane on Woodward in each direction to jam traffic in favor of a slow moving streetcar, because, mass transit.

Remember, this is all for a 3.3 mile long system that moves at best at about the speed of a normal walk.

Monday, May 13, 2019

What In The Counter-Factual F Was That Tlaib?

Rep Tlaib (D - Dearbonistan) never fails to enliven up the news.

Her latest faux pas that she's now claiming she was "misquoted" about was her feeling calm about the Holocaust and the hilarious and impressively counter-factual claim that her ancestors the "Palestinians" created a "safe haven for Jews"

The Detroit News: Tlaib says critics are 'twisting' her words as Trump attacks in tweet

Kinda hard to twist this any other way than how she said it:

"There's always a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust in the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, the human dignity," Tlaib said.

"Their existence in many ways have been wiped out and some people's passports. All of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews — post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them.

Yes that's exactly what she said and what she believes, or or at least would have you believe she believes.

Her statement is both rather shocking to those who don't know the Arab mindset about Jews and the Holocaust, and otherwise pretty hilarious as it omits the plethora of anti-Semitic massacres and attacks by Arabs of the region against Jews - so much so that the claim that her people "created a safe haven" is beyond laughable. On top of that, there never was a state of Palestine, so no passports would have existed that said Palestine on them.

The amazingly counterfactual claim that her ancestors provided Jews a safe haven is rather amazing and shows a deliberate distortion and rewriting of history on her part. With her ancestors palling it up with Adolf Hitler and planning to kill all the Jews in the Palestine mandate had the Nazis won, it sure promised quite a safe haven. Such a safe haven they gave, with features like the Hebron massacre even before World War 2, and then countless acts of violence afterwards all the way up to and beyond the founding of the state of Israel.

Of course once she's exposed she tries to claim her statements were twisted is the standard trope of "Who ya gonna believe - Tlaib or your lying eyes and ears?"

Between Ilhan Omar and Tlaib, the Democrats are sure positioning themselves heading into 2020 as the leaders in anti-Semitism and revisionist history.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Doom, Now With Subterranean Gloom

You know Australians live down under, but one Australian at least in advocating everyone lives deep down under.

Yahoo News: The only way is down: subterranean survival warning

In short, no, not just because this is the typical earth is doomed nonsense we've been hearing since The Population Bomb, but also, because Morlocks.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Get That Art In A Burqa, Stat!

The Times: Saatchi Gallery covers up SKU artworks after complaints by Muslims

The artwork itself is now covered in what very well looks like a burqa, as can be seen in the linked article.

The art, being a critical commentary on Islam and its interaction with the west, had Arabic script overlaid on some nude images. If you couldn't predict what was going to happen when you did that. . .

Well, just like the real life interaction between Islam and the West, there's been a rather fractious and vociferous uproar of blasphemy and offense from the Muslim community.

Rather provocatively, the artist included the Shahada, or Muslim declaration of faith, on the image and that's where the outrage began, including comparison to the Satanic Verses. Note the author of the Satanic Verses got a fatwa and multiple and very real death threats and attmepts on his life, so the artist in this case is likely also in a bit of trouble too.

Offensive? Most certainly.

However, clearly no more offensive than for example Piss Christ or Mary in Elephant dung, and Banksy's anti-semitic art display at Art Basel in Miami -- all of which were on prominent display in art galleries without fear, nor were they ever covered up. This is because Christians and Jews, while they may get annoyed and consider it offensive, and even write letters to the editor complaining about it, in the West they don't kill people over offensive art these days.

If you're going to display provocative art, knowing it is provocative, retreating after there's a reaction to the provocation is rather weak indeed, and it tends to reinforce and reward threatening behavior. Setting a policy that offensive art is ok, just as long as it doesn't offend Islam, has some very bad consequences.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Good Morning Guv'nor, Department Of Pre-Crime Calling

The city of London's pre-crime unit must be having to work overtime with the latest news on the results of the facial detection system installed for London's surveillance cameras:

The Independent: Facial recognition wrongly identifies public as potential criminals 96% of time, figures reveal

Facial recognition technology has misidentified members of the public as potential criminals in 96 per cent of scans so far in London, new figures reveal.

The Metropolitan Police said the controversial software could help it hunt down wanted offenders and reduce violence, but critics have accused it of wasting public money and violating human rights.

Is the 96% false positive rate a bug or a feature? After all, in the United Kingdom's new and improved Orwellian surveillance state, it's not that the system is misidentifying the public as criminals, it's just they haven't been caught in the act on camera yet.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Sunday Flyday

After the rigors and drama of the forensics competition over the last two days, it was time to hit the sky.

Not having flown since February, I headed to the airport and preflighted the club's Archer. Peter had finished flying it a half hour before I arrived, so it was nice and warmed up for me.

It started up without any hesitation, and then I did the run up, and headed off of Runway 27R for some pattern work.

It was like I had never stopped flying the aircraft. Even with the PAPI lights out of service, I was doing some nice stabilized approaches and landings. Crosswinds were light to non existent with wind blowing from 310 to 270 from 8-10 knots so no problem at all.

Landings were good.

Lots of other planes were in the pattern, even the Civil Air Patrol came out to get some pattern work in.

DCT's 3EJ was in the pattern as well.

It was busy, and the tower did a great job managing traffic. On my last pattern I had to extend my downwind, following a Cessna Cardinal that also had to extend and we got a pretty good distance away before we could both turn base and head back in to really nice landings.

In short, it was a beautiful day to get legal again to take passengers and good to knock the rust off my wings.

Forensics - Missed It By That Much, But Won In Many Other Ways

Unfortunately, Abby didn't make it into finals.

She placed 7th, missing the 6th place required for finals by 3 points - out of 1,100 possible points.

At State Finals the difference in competitor's scores and performances really is measured in millimeters.

7th in oratory in the whole state is nothing to sneeze at. Quite an accomplishment for someone who only started forensics in November and had never done any public speaking before.

She took not advancing to finals well, and it will give her something to work towards next year.

She made lots of new friends, enjoyed the effort required to compete and really came out of her shell, so it was a highly positive experience.

She's sad its done for the year and already misses the friendly competition and how the competitors, while all trying to win, still support each other and almost all have really good camaraderie and sportsmanship.

Judging these competitions is hard. At the state level the talent of the performers is amazing and it does become rather subjective. Most of my assessments through the competition were typically in line with other judge's perspectives of the competitors, and sometimes not so much. You always want to be fair and its hard to always pinpoint exactly what it is about a performance that really is better than another, especially when both are outstanding.

I judged the Duo finals and to say the performances were all stunning would be an understatement. Incredibly well done, and I had to ask all the competitors at the end how the schools all happened to bring in professional actors as ringers. Not kidding, these kids could take these performances to a professional stage and the audience would be well satisfied.

Again, differences in performance came down to millimeters. I was consistent with one of the of the other two judges as to which performance came in first, and that one won the entire state competition on points throughout, so I was at least assessing the performance in line with all the other judges as to how it was really outstanding. I had swapped places for 2nd and 3rd with the other judge, and was pretty consistent on 4th, 5th and 6th place. The third judge was very different in perspective. Note that we don't discus our ranking with the other judges and it is all independently decided on, so it is interesting to see where we all agree and disagree.

After the awards ceremony, the team all went out to a restaurant together and this is a really good bunch of kids - bright, learned, well-mannered and quite a few will be going on to college next year, and the rest returning to compete in forensics again.

The coach, a teacher at the school who does this on a voluntary basis, puts in a ton of work all year to make this happen - talk about a teacher making a real difference for a lot of kids. She did a fantastic job indeed and the team did quite well with many placing in the finals.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

And She Breaks into Semis

After the first 4 rounds,the semi final match-ups have just been released.

Abby made it to the semi-finals, so she's now in the top 12 competitors in the state for oratory.

Regardless of whether she breaks into finals or not, as a freshman doing forensics for the fist time, she's come a very long way in a very short time. We'll know soon.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Fun With Forensics - Michigan State Finals

Today I get to put the mental in judgmental.

Abby made it to the state finals for forensics in the category of oratory, so that means I get drafted to judge the state final competition. Happily, its being held at Oakland University so it's close and convenient enough at around 45 minutes or so away in traffic. Luckily I was able to keep y schedule clear today so I could judge, I'm now a certified judge for forensics having passed the certification test, which is nice, I guess.

Downside, today I get two sets of two rounds back-to-back, in different buildings, with a trip to the statistics office and a prep room between each to drop off the evaluations and grab the prep sheets for the second time limited event, with not enough minutes in between the rounds to get it all done. In short, I'm getting some exercise in.

Further downside, it's from 9am to 9pm today and it runs through tomorrow all day as well.

So far I've judged Storytelling and Broadcasting, with some very talented high school kids from all over the state putting their best performance forward. Yep, these kids are all alright.

On a very high upside, the Oakland University Center that is the headquarters for the competition has a food court, and in that food court:

One of only two Chik-Fil-A restaurants in Michigan.

Very, very tasty chicken (spicy chicken sandwich, if you please) and waffle fries makes up for all the inconveniences of running around the campus from building to building. Chik-Fil-A seriously rocks.

The line up for it is super long as its a very popular item indeed, and its worth it.

So I have prose and extemporaneous coming up in a couple hours and going late tonight and then dramatic interpretation and unassigned semi-finals and finals tomorrow. Going to be a very long weekend, but kinda fun.

Ladybird Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap

I'm a listed attorney for a prepaid legal service. As part of the deal, I get referrals from the service, and the customer gets 25% off my legal fees for being a member of the service. Not a bad deal, and it does bring in quite a range of referrals from absolutely insane people, to those with an incredibly strong and unearned sense of self-entitlement, to time wasters, to decent clients, to really good clients.

So, I had a referral six months ago for a potential client who wanted some ladybird deeds done.

Ladybirds are a special kind of deed that, to put it simply, if done right, lets you bypass probate with the property, name who is going to get the property when you die, and still give you complete control over the property including the right to sell it up until you die.

Basically, the deeds are good to avoid probate and can be used in some circumstances for Medicaid planning. See your attorney for details to see if it works for you or not - it is really not the right solution for everyone.

So I chat with this client and she wants 6 Ladybird deeds. Kinda unusual, typically one for the person's residence is the request as that typically works for Medicaid, and if you own more properties you may want a trust and/or LLC structure to handle that.

She insists she wants ladybird deeds and doesn't want a trust or anything else. She insistently wants ladybirds and nothing else will do. It is the first case of complete Ladybird fixation I've ever come across. Fine, I outline the advantages and disadvantages and then quote her the discounted price on doing and recording all 6.

She then hangs up and doesn't call back and I figure she was either kicking tires, or just didn't want to pay for the service.

The provider service calls me three months ago asking if I had dealt with her. I noted I had had a conversation with her 3 months before then, but she didn't retain me or pursue the matter. They then refer her to me again as she apparently wants to do it.

So she calls again, I quote her the price again, and she faxes me over the current deeds to look over. I quote her the price yet again, she doesn't retain me and actually asks for a further discount as, according to her, since I would be doing 6 deeds she should be entitled to a bulk discount. I calmly explain that she's already getting a 25% discount off the cost and if she can find it done as well for cheaper she's welcome to go do so. Then she hangs up and nothing happens for a couple more months.

She then calls last week, deciding she wants to do 4 deeds and wants to meet with me after hours, because she works. Fine, I stay later one night last week and she comes in, she asks lots of questions about the process, again asks for a bulk discount on 4 which I again explain isn't going to happen as she's already getting the 25% discount. She hems and haws, I expect her to leave after wasting my time yet again, but finally she writes a check for the 4 deeds - At this point I know to demand the full fee upfront for the deeds as I can tell exactly what will happen if I don't do so.

So, I get the deeds done, and actually correct an error in the legal description on one of the deeds that has crept into it, and they're ready to go.

She called me yesterday in the late afternoon wanting to come in immediately to get them done, after hours of course, because she be working.

Well, the first after hours day I can fit her in is next Tuesday, as I'm booked solid yesterday, and Friday and Saturday and not available due to other things going on, and even if I was, not sure I'd be inclined to make a special trip to the office and set aside Saturday time for this person after all this nonsense and attitude.

I note she can see me during normal hours on Monday or normal hours or later on Tuesday.

She states she's very concerned, because what if something happens and she dies over the weekend?

I tell her that the deeds aren't effective until they're signed and notarized. I then state to her in a rather deadpan manner that she should avoid unnecessary risks before coming in.

She's very insistent though and all wound up about doing them before Monday, because after her delaying doing anything for over 6 months, she wants them done quickly just in case, and I should drop everything to make that happen and arrange to meet her at her convenience.

I calmly point out she's waited over 6 months to do anything and odds are that she should statistically should survive until Monday to sign the deeds.

After a fair bit of carrying on, she then agrees to meet Monday during the day, we will see when she actually shows up.

She then actually asks that if she dies before she signs them, will her heir get a refund of the legal services?

Yes, seriously.

I explain that no, the heir would not get a refund as the work is done and awaiting her signature. She gets all wound up about that.

I tell her to be careful, drive safe, and I'll see her Monday.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

NRAAM - Honor Guard Pistols

Wandering around first with DaddyBear and Drang, I soon met up with some attorney friends and we then unfortunately got separated from DB and Drang.

Moving around the show floor, we met and chatted with Michael Bane by the Honor Defense booth and chatted with him and the Honor Defense rep.

Honor Defense is a US company located in Alabama making a nice compact Shield-like pistol, the Honor Guard.

Some differences from the Shield include a modular chassis approach similar to the Sig 320, so you can change grips and slides on the same firearm and customize it to your own preferences, including adding a manual safety. Honor Defense also claims the pistol is more accurate than the Shield and comparable compacts such as the Walther PPS and Glock 43.

Overall, the operation is very Shield like and it is of comparable size, while the grip feels a little thinner and fits better in the hand and the trigger felt nicer, but that's rather subjective wihtout taking ti to the range and trying it out. Seems like a nice pistol if you're looking for a compact carry 9mm.

It's at a price point comparable to the Shield and Walther PPS. You can also customize one direct from the factory for shipping to your FFL.

The Honor Defense rep noted the market in compact handguns is rather soft currently, but he expects the market is going to heat up come election time in 2020.