Aug 182016
  • I remember when 386 meant an Intel 80386-powered desktop computer, and it was blazingly fast and thousands of dollars. I also remember that in 1989, our controller Sam at Madison Books & Computers rated one. It was a Toshiba. Did you know they only stopped production of the 80386 microprocessor in 2007? It’s been a mainstay for embedded systems. It powered a couple of high-end-at-the-time mobile phones, too.
  • The tire pressure warning system in the Technical Writing Express is throwing an error because it’s lost contact with one of the sensors (i.e. probably an exhausted battery). The tires have another 15,000 or so miles to go. I think I’ll just wait until I buy new tires to deal with it.
  • Is Mike the most morally and ethically consistent adult character in all of Breaking Bad? I think he just might be.
  • I might get a OnePlus 3 for Christmas. If it were next week, I definitely would. We’ll see. Four months is an eternity in tech.
  • The boys’ school starts football next week. College starts the week after. It’s here! Now break, weather!
  • Headed into my second season as Upward director at church. I’m excited about avoiding some pitfalls I now know about the hard way. And I’ll miss coaching, but I’m definitely not this year. It was just too much last year, and consequently my kids didn’t get my best.
  • Where do generals keep their armies? In their sleevies.
 Posted by at 7:15 am
Aug 172016

“You don’t get to decide what offends me!”

This is, of course, true, but only trivially so. Any of us are free to be offended by anything we like. I’m offended when sesame seeds come on my hamburger bun. I’m offended by freight trains with an odd number of cars. I’m offended when the sun does that same tired eastern-sky-to-western-sky trajectory over, and over, and over…

The line tends to be a little more charged than that, though. Generally I hear it in matters of alleged racism or sexism. It may or may not be underpinned by accusations that I can’t possibly understand because I’m a white male, and my privilege blinds me.

You’re right, typical person who says the above. I don’t get to decide what offends you.

But I get to call what offends you ridiculous. And being offended by this Photoshopped photo that Ellen DeGeneres tweeted yesterday is ridiculous.


(This is Olympic champion Usain Bolt, in case you don’t know that. He is, as I type, the fastest person ever timed.) Accompanying the photo, Ellen says: “This is how I’m going to run errands from now on.”

This is, according to masses of people on social media, heinously racist. It’s a privileged white woman using a black man like a pack animal. She’s Miss Daisy, I read more than once. She should issue an immediate apology.

Blah, blah, blah.

Shut your mouths, you pathetic, fatuous, unthinking whiners. Every single one of you sit down, shut up, and listen to me.

In the first place, it’s a great photo, because it’s Bolt giving the camera a smile in the middle of a competition. I’m an aggressive non-follower of the Olympics, and even I picked up on that from my feeds here and there.

In the second place…this is a photograph of the fastest person in the world.

Do you get that? Do you see that that’s the salient point?

Do you really believe in your heart that somehow Ellen wouldn’t have done this if it were a white man, or an Asian woman, or (insert whatever identity you want here)? No, of course you don’t. So how is it racist?

Do you find anything in the past behavior of Ellen DeGeneres that would lead you to believe she’s racist?

It’s something that gave Ellen a chuckle and she shared with her feed, thinking it would generate more. That’s the extent of it. That is where thinking, reasonable people stop processing this. And I sincerely hope that, invited to opine further on this, she doubles down. I hope she says no, I’m not going to apologize because I did nothing wrong, and by the way, all of you just relax.

If you’ve decided it matters in this photograph that Usain Bolt is a black man, then you are the problem. You are manufacturing crisis.

You are the racist.

If we can’t all figure out how to presume some basic common sense and a little charity of spirit, then all of our sociocultural problems are insurmountable.

 Posted by at 12:08 pm
Aug 162016

The Village of Providence Car Show, benefiting Still Serving Veterans of Huntsville, is set for Sunday, October 9, from 1 pm to 5 pm. The show is free for spectators. If you want to show your car, you can register online for $15 per car, or the day of the show for $20. is a cosponsor of this year’s show. Hope to see you there. It’s a lot of fun for a marvelous cause!


 Posted by at 9:40 pm
Aug 152016

I was browsing the products available at Amazon Launchpad, and happened across a fantastically executed smartphone. It’s especially good for the married man with a girlfriend. Meet the NoPhone.


The NoPhone is compatible with all carriers, and features unprecedented battery life. Best of all, it arrives ready to use. Talk to your wife on the phone she knows about, and keep this one for your paramour.

It’ll be your little secret.

 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Aug 122016

Our sons are old enough now that I have to consider carefully how to blog about them. (Well, even more carefully.)

Some things are still easy. If they say funny things, they’re generally happy for me to share those, though most of those become Facebook statuses and not blog posts. But regular goings-on are more complex for them now. (Funny how that happens as you get older.)

I mean, Aaron was really mad at me when I took this photo of him, but he was also 2. I didn’t give his personal privacy any thought at all, and I don’t feel any differently about it more than nine years later. (While I’m sure there are those who would cluck their tongues at even that, I’m also sure they’re a small minority. Two-year-olds generally deal with unpleasantness with a meltdown. That’s not novel. I’m not embarrassing my 2-year-old showing him having one.)

But that kid’s 12 now. His brother will be 15 this fall. They’re beginning to have problems and experiences that much more closely resemble adult problems and experiences. They’re grappling with awkwardness—some manufactured, but some cruelly inflicted by puberty. Serving up some of the blow-by-blows they’re going through right now to my blog readership would be unkind.

And sometimes I do want to write about them, because they’re good stories. I may still, one day, for some of these things. The anecdotes will be 10 or 15 years old before I share them, though.

And I’ll still choose very carefully.

 Posted by at 7:58 pm