December 2004 Archives

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December 31, 2004
Quote of the Year

Scanning my Quote of the Day archives, trying to avoid anything election-related, I found a true gem, completely devoid of political content or context:

When first you hold [your child's] hand it’s a tight small walnut balled in protest against the cold and the light. Then it’s the small collection of wiggly digits you’re washing forty times a day. Then it’s big enough so its fingers fit into yours. You’re no longer holding the hand at the wrist; now you weave your fingers together instinctively. I don’t think it’s possible to do this, ever, without some voice in the back of your head steeling you for the day when she pulls away, and pulls away for good. Or at least for a few years. Four, ten, twenty – what counts is that you’ll hold hands again at the end.

James Lileks on parenthood. I think this falls into the category of "Eternal Truths." I wish I could write so well and so profoundly.

Posted by Russ at 06:18 PM | Comments (1)
Best of 2004

I thought about doing a "Best of TacJammer - 2004" post, but as I look back at my output here for the last year, I am chagrined to realize that while I doubled the number of posts this year over 2003, I haven't written nearly as much, as well, or as in-depth as I had hoped or wanted.

It's doubly a shame, since I usually have a lot floating around in my brain that I could write about. And, frankly, I'm not a bad writer. Pity the 'sphere doesn't demand much in the way of technical manuals.

Rather than a "Best of," perhaps a few of my personal favorite posts will suffice.

Posted by Russ at 05:53 PM
Quote of the Day

Heard today:

I have two predictions for 2005.

First: a star in the Andromeda Galaxy, over 2 million light years from Earth, will explode in a supernova of unprecedented power.

Second: within 12 hours, the Democrats and the media will blame George W. Bush.

Predictions by an unknown caller to the Bill LuMaye show on AM 680 WPTF, Raleigh.

Posted by Russ at 04:41 PM | Comments (1)
December 30, 2004
Scope and Scale

The scope of the loss of life in the recent natural disaster in the Indian Ocean has become harder and harder for me to wrap my brain around. From initial reports of 15,000 dead we're now hearing over 120,000 dead, and some are saying it could go much much higher. We'll never know with certainty the final toll, either in lives lost or in lives otherwise shattered.

What seems odd to me is that I was more effected by 9/11 than I am by this. Am I alone in this? Is that heartless?

Perhaps it's because we expect natural disasters from time to time — though admittedly not on this scale. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, volcanos and floods have always happened and always will — there's nothing you, I or anyone can do to stop them. Despite (or perhaps because of) the lives lost every year, we get used to the notion, and we move on.

People who were not personally affected by this disaster will barely remember it twenty or thirty years from now. Think I'm kidding? Folks over 35 or 40 years old may remember this:

The highest earthquake death toll in modern times was caused by one that hit Tangshan, China, on July 28, 1976. The official figure of 655,237 deaths was first adjusted to 750,000 and then to 242,000.

But I'll bet most of you didn't remember it. Those of you who are under 35 or 40 have probably never even heard of it.

We come to accept such losses, as bad as they are, as part of living on Earth. But the Earth is just ball of rock spinning through space, covered with a paper-thin veneer of biosphere. There is no "Gaia" plotting some kind of vengeance on mankind (protests from the tinfoil hat crowd notwithstanding.)

But there are people who would cheerfully cut your throat, and mine, and that of every person you know and every person we have ever met during our lives, given the chance. History notwithstanding, we never really expect that some people would deliberately inflict death on a massive scale, committing acts designed to take as many innocent lives as possible. But there they are, nevertheless.

The genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, the Soviet Union, China, and of course the Holocaust all took more lives than this recent earthquake/tsunami. Not as suddenly, indeed, but just as certainly, and with evil intent.

[And before some idiot suggests it: no, I don't include Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the firebombings of Tokyo — those were done as part of a harsh wartime calculus designed, ultimately, to save lives.]

The murder of nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11, done right before our eyes, might naturally resonate more than a disaster of virtually any scale occurring out of sight, on the far side of the world. But it's not, to me, a question of magnitude or visibility, but rather of deliberation, of intent, and of hate.

If that doesn't have an effect on you, I can't think of what would.

Posted by Russ at 02:53 PM | Comments (1)
December 27, 2004

China rattles the saber:

China has threatened to crush Taiwan at any cost if the island declares independence. The belligerent rhetoric is at the center of a new national defense policy.

Taiwan needs to declare independence? Let's see...

  • They have their own constitution.
  • They have their own elections.
  • They have their own military.
  • They make their own treaties.

Seems to me they are already de facto independent. Awfully presumptuous of the Chicoms to tell them otherwise.

The new 85-page defense policy was released Monday and it reinforced Beijing's hard-line stance against Taiwan's independence movement.

The lengthy white paper highlights a series of regional security concerns, including the nuclear arms standoff on the Korean peninsula and a more aggressive Japanese defense policy. But the focus is on silencing Taiwanese calls for independence.

Because only a fool would think that little peaceful Taiwan is more of a threat to China that a North Korean lunatic with nukes.


Actually, the idea that some Chinese would refuse to be crushed under the tank treads of the People's "Liberation" Army would be more threatening to Mao's heirs. They seem to have no qualms about their people dying by the millions, whereas the prospect of a few million Chinese people refusing to kowtow to Beijing — and giving their mainland cousins dangerous ideas — must really frighten them.

The paper describes cross-strait relations as grim and says the Chinese army has a sacred responsibility to crush Taiwan if it declares independence.

Remember the Tiananmen Square massacre?

The paper also blasts U.S. policy toward Taiwan, especially its weapons sales to Taipei.

Professor Arthur Ding follows cross-strait relations for the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He says Beijing's tough rhetoric is in part a reaction to a small group of Chinese hard-liners pushing for a confrontation with Taipei.

The dinosaurs died 65 million years ago, but the communist hard-liners live on.

"The Chinese government is doing something proactively to diffuse growing pressure in Beijing," he said.

Mass resignations and suicides of the ruling elite would be a simpler solution.

I've long and often said that the United States would be in a shooting war with China sometime in the rapidly approaching future. This story would seem to indicate an accelleration in the approach of that future.

The People's Republic of China is an enemy of everything this country, at its heart, stands for. It's high time those in positions of power in this country recognize that fact.

[Read the rest of the story, courtesy of Voice of America.]

Posted by Russ at 02:54 PM | Comments (1)
December 25, 2004
Quote of the Day - XXV
... But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Clement Clark Moore, the conclusion of A Visit from Saint Nick

Posted by Russ at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day - XXIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The Gospel according to John, Chapter 1, verses 1-5

Posted by Russ at 11:00 PM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day - XXIII
You know something, sweetheart? Christmas is... well, it's about the best time of the whole year.

When you walk down the streets, even for weeks before Christmas comes, and there's lights hanging up, green ones and red ones, sometimes there's snow and everyone's hustling some place. But they don't hustle around Christmastime like they usually do. You know, they're a little more friendlier... they bump into you, they laugh and they say, "Pardon me. Merry Christmas"... especially when it gets real close to Christmas night. Everybody's walking home, you can hardly hear a sound. Bells are ringin', kids are singing, the snow is coming down.

And boy what a pleasure it is to think that you've got some place to go to. And that the place that you're going to, there's somebody in it that you really love. Someone you're nuts about.

Merry Christmas.

Jackie Gleason, as Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners

Posted by Russ at 10:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XXII
There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

Erma Bombeck

Posted by Russ at 09:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XXI
The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.

C. S. Lewis, elegantly summing up the meaning of Christmas

Posted by Russ at 08:00 PM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day - XX
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

Ebeneezer Scrooge, in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Posted by Russ at 07:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XIX
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 2, verses 1-20

Posted by Russ at 06:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XVIII
'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.

For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
I heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.

And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.

His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.

Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more then a man.

For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.

Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom each month of the day,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The solder awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;

I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.

And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
“Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas day, all is secure.”

One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!

Major Bruce W. Lovely, “The Soldier's Night Before Christmas”

Posted by Russ at 05:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XVII
God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Christmas carol God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Posted by Russ at 04:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XVI
Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Christmas carol Oh, Holy Night

Posted by Russ at 03:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XV
I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the word seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.

Taylor Caldwell

Posted by Russ at 02:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XIV
Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.

Ronald Reagan

Posted by Russ at 01:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XIII
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us."

And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

The Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 1, verses 18-25

Posted by Russ at 12:00 PM
Quote of the Day - XII
As [Natan] Sharansky also notes in passing, although he is not a Christian, Jesus Christ taught humans to give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. One does not have to be Christian to take that lesson, or perhaps even to admit that Jesus Christ is the world's greatest teacher of the illegitimacy of totalitarian government. The very idea of everything belonging to Caesar is false in principle. The modern idea of democracy follows in the wake of this teaching of Christ.

In parallel fashion, a leading figure of Enlightenment thought in Italy today, Eugenio Scalfari, the founder and publisher of La Repubblica, has reminded readers of his own paper that Jesus Christ introduced into modern Europe the idea of the dignity of every single individual, especially the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. That is what gave meaning to the terms Equality and Fraternity in the triadic slogan of the French Revolution. To come to the aid of the poor is an essential idea of modern democracy.

And this idea, too, springs in great vividness from the Christmas scene of the endangered infant, the poor shepherds, and the humble animals seeking shelter in the stable under the cold stars, celebrated by angels. It is the poor and the humble who are chosen by the Creator for His greatest gifts.

Michael Novak, in The Power of Christmas

Posted by Russ at 11:00 AM
Quote of the Day - XI
I sat there, closed my eyes, put my hands over them, and tried to imagine the first Christmas. And I saw it. I saw it like a movie. It was a blue black night and there were people on the road and I saw the man and the woman, I saw them going from house to house and being told there was no room. Then they went to a rocky place on a little hill just beyond the houses. There were some trees and bushes and a sort of wooden shanty with hay on the floor. Then there was the cry of a child. Animals came and stared and their breath warmed the air. It was starry. Mary's blanket was Joseph's cloak. And I thought: It's all true. It's not just a story, it's true, it really happened. This struck me like a thunderbolt.

Peggy Noonan, A Child's Christmas

Posted by Russ at 10:00 AM
Quote of the Day - X
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

"What Child is This" (frequently known by the name of its melody, "Greensleeves")

Posted by Russ at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day - IX
For 2,000 years, Christmas has proclaimed a message of hope: the patient hope of men and women across centuries who listened to the words of prophets and lived in joyful expectation; the hope of Mary, who welcomed God's plan with great faith; and the hope of wise men, who set out on a long journey guided only by a slender promise traced in the stars. Christmas reminds us that the grandest purposes of God can be found in the humblest places. And it gives us hope that all the love and gifts that come to us in this life are the signs and symbols of an even greater love and gift that came on a holy night.

The Christmas season fills our hearts with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. With those blessings comes a responsibility to reach out to others. Many of our fellow Americans still suffer from the effects of illness or poverty. Others fight cruel addictions, cope with division in their families, or grieve the loss of a loved one. Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves. By volunteering our time and talents where they are needed most, we help heal the sick, comfort those who suffer, and bring hope to those who despair.

During the holidays, we also keep in our thoughts and prayers the men and women of our Armed Forces -- especially those far from home, separated from family and friends by the call of duty. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, these courageous Americans are fighting the enemies of freedom and protecting our country from danger. By bringing liberty to the oppressed, our troops are defending the freedom and security of us all. They and their families are making many sacrifices for our Nation, and all Americans are deeply grateful.

Laura joins me in wishing all Americans a Merry Christmas.

George W. Bush, Presidential Christmas Message, 2004

Posted by Russ at 08:00 AM
Quote of the Day - VIII
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

Dr. Seuss

Posted by Russ at 07:00 AM
Quote of the Day - VII
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah, Chapter 9, verses 6-7

Posted by Russ at 06:00 AM
Quote of the Day - VI
For many of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is "hurry". And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries — nearly twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.

Burton Hills

Posted by Russ at 05:00 AM
Quote of the Day - V
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Christmas carol O come, O come, Emmanuel

Posted by Russ at 04:00 AM
Quote of the Day - IV
Christmas is a joyous holiday, and joyous people tend not to behave like Torquemada. By my rough calculation, 99.87 percent of Christians who say "Merry Christmas" to people who aren't Christian do so because they're trying to be nice. And, by my equally rough calculation, 97.93 percent of people who take real offense when they're on the receiving end of such Yuletide wishes are trying to be a pain in the — uh, well, they're trying to be a pain.

Jonah Goldberg, Politicizing Christmas — Lighten up!

Posted by Russ at 03:00 AM
Quote of the Day - III
For a 7-year-old who begged Santa for an Erector Set, "Waiting for Godot" ain't nothing compared to waiting for Christmas. The no-parole, hard-time sentence of the days and nights before Christmas starts with a soul-grinding trial: the blessed moment school closes for the holiday vacation. As it is, second grade is an endless drag. Then the ecstasy of raising and decorating the Christmas tree gives way to the agony of waiting for the day to arrive.

The Day -- you finally get the go-ahead, and your fingers shred the hideous snowman and icicle wrapping paper and uncover the secret source of the rattle in the present you've shaken once an hour for the previous week.

What adult with a clear memory of childhood doesn't sympathize?

Austin Bay, in "Wait"

Posted by Russ at 02:00 AM
Quote of the Day - II
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee to-night.

Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Posted by Russ at 01:00 AM
Quote of the Day - I
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world - stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death - and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.

Henry Van Dyke

Posted by Russ at 12:00 AM
December 24, 2004
When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best

The Rev. Donald Sensing has posted his Christmas Eve sermon.

Posted by Russ at 03:12 PM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day
As you count your blessings this Christmas Season, give thanks for our military. They defend us in a world filled with evil, bring hope to the persecuted, and have worked miracles in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are bringing peace to the Middle East that has known little peace. Their work is far from over.

Donald R. May, Blessed are the Peacemakers

Posted by Russ at 02:28 PM
December 23, 2004
Snake Oil

Nyquil... "the nightime sniffling sneezing coughing aching stuffyhead fever so you can rest medicine."

More appropriate, I think, is "the knock you just far enough on your butt so that the symptoms just don't bother you and you can get some sleep... and sleep you will — far more than you planned or wanted... medicine."

At least I'm well-rested. But I imagine the people down the street are complaining today about the odd coughing noises that kept them up all night.

Posted by Russ at 01:22 PM | Comments (1)
December 22, 2004
Just Plain "Ass"

Here's someone who's going to get coal in his stocking:

A 17-year-old is accused of firing a pellet gun from a second-story window, hitting a man dressed as Santa Claus on Monday night. Police said the boy confessed.

Maybe the ACLU will defend the poor oppressed-by-Judeo-Christian-symbology kid in Santa Court. He may be an insufferable jerk, but doesn't he have a right to get a stocking full of goodies?

Posted by Russ at 03:20 PM
December 21, 2004
The Truth Will Out

Via Beth, an insight into the deepest darkest corners of my soul...

You are 72% geek
You are a geek. Good for you! Considering the endless complexity of the universe, as well as whatever discipline you happen to be most interested in, you'll never be bored as long as you have a good book store, a net connection, and thousands of dollars worth of expensive equipment. Assuming you're a technical geek, you'll be able to afford it, too. If you're not a technical geek, you're geek enough to mate with a technical geek and thereby get the needed dough. Dating tip: Don't date a geek of the same persuasion as you. You'll constantly try to out-geek the other.

[Take the Polygeek Quiz at]

Ya. It was pretty much a given.

Posted by Russ at 07:35 PM
Putting the "Ass" in "Assessment"

Being humiliated by a computer may be a common experience for some people, but it's pretty rare for me. Today, though, I had to take an online "skill & knowledge assessment" test of my network engineering abilities.

Now, I will grant, written tests of practical, hands-on skills are usually unable to fully capture the essence of the skill being tested. But to make up for that, the test writers seem to have gone off the deep end as far as the difficulty level goes. I haven't sweated so much over a test since I took the CCIE lab test back in '98.

I blew some really easy questions:

The access list command access-list 100 deny ip blocks traffic from which source addresses?

and scored on some of the more difficult ones:

What is the default metric of an EIGRP route redistributed into OSPF without a defined metric?

OK, that wasn't really difficult, but I'm pretty rusty on my Routing Protocols kung-fu — I had to guess. I wish they'd asked me at least one question about ISDN or T1s or 802.11b.

After it was done, the online proctor told me I did OK, but I still feel like an idiot.

Posted by Russ at 12:28 PM | Comments (1)
December 20, 2004


Something is so wrong about this... this is North Carolina, after all.

North Carolina. In the South. Isn't it supposed to be temperate, or mild, or something?

At least it's above zero. And there's no snow or ice — knock wood.

But a white Christmas might be nice... as long as the snow melts by the next day

[Yes, yes, I know - we get this sort of thing every year. That doesn't mean I have to like it, though.]

[Well, maybe a little.]

Posted by Russ at 01:34 PM | Comments (2)
December 19, 2004
Quote of the Day
Why do fringe liberals, Muslim terrorists, European socialists, and communists all hate Christianity? What is the common thread that joins them? They desire to control others, and they despise the fact Christianity promotes freedom based on personal responsibility.

Donald R. May, at

Posted by Russ at 12:59 PM | Comments (1)
Blog of the Year

Powerline — which, while not solely responsible for the Rathergate smackdown, nonetheless played the major role — has been named Time Magazine's Blog of the Year.

Big Trunk, Hindrocket, Deacon: this photoshop was meant for you (and Charles, and Bill, etc., etc.) Pity it couldn't come sooner.

In other news, some hick Texas politician was named Man Person of the Year, apparently for his efforts to resurrect the draft, to shred the Constitution and to steal your grandmother's Social Security checks.

Posted by Russ at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)
December 18, 2004
If Only

Being a balding coffee junkie, this was bound to catch my eye:

Coffee to cure baldness

It's from Pravda — so you know it has to be true!

German medics arrived at the conclusion that consumption of large caffeine doses prevents baldness.

Massive doses of coffee every day didn't help me. Why didn't this study come along ten years ago when it might have done me some good?

Male's hormone testosterone is responsible for baldness in men, meaning that the more testosterone a man as, the more prone he is to losing his hair.

Oh. Well, that explains it.

Head of the research team Professor Peter Elsner states that hormonal boldness could in fact be prevented by means of caffeine.

As a result of their extensive research studies, German scientists arrived at a fascinating conclusion! Apparently, claim the scientists, it is possible to prevent baldness at an early age by means of treating hair with products containing caffeine (for instance by rubbing a special solution into the scalp).

What, I'm supposed to have dunked my head in the coffee urn? That would, y'know, hurt... plus, it might slop coffee on the floor, which would be a catastrophe.

However, the scientific team advises coffee lovers against consuming their favorite beverage in excess to fight baldness.

Oh, now they tell me. I guess all that coffee every day hasn't done me any good... not for baldness, at least.

According to an expert-cosmetologist Adolf Klenka, "one would need to consume 60-80 cups of coffee per day for the caffeine to reach hair follicles."

OK — if I have to cut down, I have to cut down.

Professor Elsner in turn notes that "even though a person would be willing to do just that for beauty"s sake, our research did not cover the way caffeine intake influences one"s scalp. We did prove however that caffeine should be used as an external substance that should be applied directly onto the scalp."

External substance... feh! Humbug! Caffeine is made to be ingested, period.

According to him, those men who are genetically predisposed to baldness, should consider such "caffeine therapy" while they are still relatively young.

Whoops. Too late for me.

German medics consider that rubbing coffee ground into the scalp is the most effective way to prevent baldness.

And the least effective way to get caffeine into the bloodstream, where it belongs. I'll keep my hot cup o' java and my shiny scalp, thanks very much.

Posted by Russ at 10:29 PM | Comments (1)
December 16, 2004
As if you weren't already bloody sick & tired of the sight of me

Is it the weekend yet?

Posted by Russ at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)
December 13, 2004
Busy Week

I'm very busy for most of this week. No posting 'til the weekend, I expect.

Until then, click on the blogroll buttons (over on the left there) to visit some great blogs.

Posted by Russ at 10:53 AM
December 12, 2004
Blog Etiquette: Trackbacks

For good or for ill, the past week has brought higher-than-usual traffic to this site, which has had the side-effect of reminding me of one of the rude little things people do that irritate me: bogus trackbacks.

I don't just mean trackback spam. I don't get much of that, thanks to MT-Blacklist. No, I mean bloggers looking to increase their own traffic or their TTLB Ecosystem link counts without having the common courtesy to actually link back to something I've posted.

[For starters, my traffic just isn't that high. There's not much benefit to it.]

When I get a trackback, of course I check the link. I don't get so many that I can ignore them.

So people, here's the rule: If your post does not contain an actual link to my post, I will summarily delete the trackback. I don't care who you are. You get no free linkage from me unless I say you do.

Quite simple, isn't it?

And yes, this has happened more than once, with a couple of repeat offenders. It's bloody rude. The Blacklist awaits the offenders if it happens again.

More on the matter from the Commissar.

Posted by Russ at 03:41 PM | Comments (4)
December 10, 2004

Yesterday was a somber day around the VRWC as one of our own, Spence, lost his brother LCpl Kyle Renehan to wounds sustained in Iraq. For those of us who did not know Kyle, it was an occasion of great sadness on behalf of Spence and his family.

[Our friend Beth has kept us all apprised of the situation from the beginning. Thank you, Beth — you are an angel.]

A young man's life — the unfulfilled potential which no one now can ever know, the children he will never raise, the things he will never do, the good times he'd celebrate and bad times he'd overcome — these are all gone, and for that we grieve for the fallen.

As we mourn, though, it is not so much for Kyle as it is on behalf of those left behind. They have lost the son, the brother, the cousin, the nephew and the friend they all knew, and all that he might have become is gone. They will have their memories, his medals, the token artifacts of his life to remind them of him, but he's gone and nothing of this Earth will completely fill the hole in all their lives that he leaves behind.

Knowing they are in pain, we who did not know Kyle can empathize, we can mourn with and for them, we can try to comfort them, but their grief is theirs — it is up to them and to God to fill the gap Kyle leaves behind... and though it will take time, fill it they will.

Kyle's war is over. Rest in peace, Marine.

For the Renehan family, a much harder struggle lays ahead. May God grant them the strength to bear it.

Spence, I'm not good at offering advice, all I can do is recount my personal experience from the loss of my father. Time will never heal your loss completely, and you probably won't want it to do so. But you will someday be strong enough to live with the hurt, and you will be able to look back, remember, and smile about the good times. And your friends will be here to help, whenever you need it.

Posted by Russ at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)
December 09, 2004

Kyle Renehan, Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps.

Requiescat in pace.

Posted by Russ at 04:14 PM | Comments (1)
December 08, 2004
2004 Weblog Awards

Since the last endorsement I made was completely successful (I credit myself for Bush's victory), I thought I might make some endorsements for the 2004 Weblog Awards currently under way.

Read, and go vote!

Voting Page    Endorsee's Page
Best Overall Blog  —  Power Line
Best New Blog (2004)  —  INDC Journal
Best Group Blog  —  Blogs for Bush
Best Humor Blog  —  Hog on Ice
Best Liberal Blog  —  No endorsement.
Best Conservative Blog  —  The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Best Election Coverage  —  Blogs for Bush
Best Media/Journalist Blog  —  Michelle Malkin
Best Tech Blog  —  Gizmodo
Best Culture Blog  —  A Small Victory
Best Sports Blog  —  No endorsement.
Best Photo Blog  —  No endorsement.
Best LGBT Blog  —  No endorsement.
Best Military Blog  —  Argghhh!
Best Online Community  —  No endorsement.
Best Blog Design  —  O.F. Jay's Grill & Chill
Best Essayist  —  Eject! Eject! Eject! — Bill rocks. Buy his book!
Best Canadian Blog  —  Daimnation!
Best UK Blog  —  Belgravia Dispatch
Best European (Non UK) Blog  —  The Dissident Frogman
Best Asian Blog  —  No endorsement.
Best Middle East or Africa Blog  —  No endorsement.
Best Australia or New Zealand Blog  —  Tim Blair
Best Latino, Caribbean,
or South American Blog
  —  Babalu
Ecosystem Based  —  (View the Ecosystem)
Best of the Top 100 Blogs  —  One Hand Clapping
Best of the Top 100 - 250 Blogs  —  Serenity's Journal
Best of the Top 250-500 Blogs  —  Speed of Thought
Best of the Top 500 - 1000 Blogs  —  Oh, That Liberal Media
Best of the Top 1000 - 1750 Blogs  —  No endorsement.
Best of the Top 1750 - 2500 Blogs  —  Newmark's Door
Best of the Top 2500 - 3500 Blogs  —  No endorsement.
Best of the Top 3500 - 5000 Blogs  —  No endorsement.
Best of the Top 5000 - 6750 Blogs  —  No endorsement.
Best of the Rest (6750+)   —   No endorsement.

Next year they need to include a "Best spiffy gizmo on a blog" category. I think my blogroll drop-down menus could have won... if I had written the Javascript myself, that is.

Posted by Russ at 07:52 PM | Comments (6)
Don't Ask

Q: How was my day?

A: I wore a suit today, fer cryin' out loud.

That's never a good sign, unless you're a CEO of something. Which I'm not.

Posted by Russ at 06:22 PM
December 07, 2004
Pearl Harbor, and a Lesson - 2004 Edition

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

This is the battleship U.S.S. Arizona in the 1930s:


And this is the U.S.S. Arizona and 1177 of her crew today:


It would behoove our enemies — actual and potential — to realize that when the United States went to war after an unprovoked attack in 1941, it ended in fire.

America has a long memory.

More from:
Silent Running,
Michelle Malkin,
Florida Cracker,
Rooftop Report,
Backcountry Conservative,
Flynn Files,
Shot in the Dark,
Power Line,
Castle Argghhh!,
Outside the Beltway,
The Commisar (and here),
Val Prieto.

[This post is a slightly-edited repeat of last year's Pearl Harbor post.]

Posted by Russ at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)
December 06, 2004
Quote of the Day

Today's quote of the day comes at the end of this brief portion of an interview on Dayside with [the very cute] Linda Vester, with Christopher Hitchens, regarding his book Love, Poverty and War:

Hitchens: Michael Moore openly says that he regards the murderers and torturers and beheaders in Iraq as the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers.

Vester: Which a number of people in this room take a dim view of.

Hitchens: I should hope.

Vester: Why do you in particular... I mean, you're tough on Michael Moore in your book. Why?

Hitchens: Well, because he's a scumbag.

Emphasis mine... because it can't be emphasized enough.

Posted by Russ at 02:01 PM | Comments (5)
Note to the Folks at NRO's The Corner

Jonah Goldberg, in The Corner, regarding weblog awards, et alia:

Journalists are constantly writing stories about blogs, but they don't think the Corner counts because magazine blogs don't fit their storylines about the pajamahedeen and all that....

And a bit later, he quotes a reader:

Why don't hardcore bloggers consider The Corner a blog? Well, ya'll are missing a couple of key elements that separate you from the rest of the blogosphere: a blogroll and links within posts to other blogs.

My reply....

Mr. Goldberg:

There are other elements missing from The Corner that bloggers tend to appreciate — comments and/or trackbacks. Usually, one or the other is good to see. Instapundit has neither, but he does have a blogroll.

On a site such at The Corner, I would not honestly expect to see comments — the trolling and spam would be ridiculous — but sites such as Power Line and Michelle Malkin do implement trackbacks.

I think something else more fundamental is at the heart of it, though: the team at The Corner are professional pundits. Blogging is, at its core, an activity undertaken by people who are not paid to do it. Hence the great deal of disdain circulating in the 'sphere for those bloggers who have been revealed to be paid tools of, say, George Soros.

You folks have, of course, never been the slightest bit shy about who y'all work for. So there's no problem with that as far as the 'sphere sees it. But you are paid to do it.

Now, if at the end of the work day you went home and started posting to your own private blogs — thinking of Malkin, here — that would be a fundamentally different thing.

There is a broad spectrum of online punditry: from little-guy me at home in my pajamas talking about barbecue, to someone like Emperor Misha I who gets a few thousand readers a day, to Instapundit, to "small big-media" sites like The Corner, all the way up to the major news outlets' online opinion pages (which often do have some elements in common with blogs — e.g. a feedback/comment system.) Somewhere in that spectrum is the dividing line between "blog" and "non-blog," and I would put The Corner on the other side of the line.


Update, 12/8: more from The Big Trunk at Power Line.

Posted by Russ at 01:28 PM | Comments (3)
December 04, 2004
MT-Blacklist Bug

I rely heavily on the great tool MT-Blacklist. Due to the abundance of low-life Comment and Trackback spammers — may they all die in slow and painful ways — I in fact use the MTB interface to this site more than use the ordinary Movable Type interface.

[I know, I know — I need to write and post more. Feel free to beat me up about it.]

Now comes word of a critical bug in MT-Blacklist ver2.x, which is what is required for sites, such as this one, which use MT ver3.x.

In short, don't delete secondary weblogs operating on the same MT install unless you really don't care about losing all the data on your main blog.

I maintain a second (hidden) blog which I use for design and testing purposes. Deleting and re-instantiating it is something I've done in the past as an easy way to wipe the slate clean for a fresh design. I helped a friend with her design just yesterday — if hers was an MT blog, my site might not be here right now.

I'm exceptionally glad I heard about this when I did.

Read more about the bug here.

(via Redsugar Muse)

Posted by Russ at 05:56 PM
December 03, 2004
LCpl Kyle Renehan Update

Beth has all the details.

Update: see this.

Posted by Russ at 03:44 PM
December 02, 2004

I lost something valuable. Not monetarily valuable, but it had loads and loads of sentimental value. I've retraced my steps over and over trying to figure out how and where I lost it, all to no avail. I have no clue to what happened to it.

It was something unique and irreplaceable. At least, I don't think I'll ever be able to find another one even slightly like it.

Maybe it'll turn up later. Such things have an almost magical way of reappearing when you least expect them. I really would like to find it — I may end up burning down my house and sifting through the ashes to find it.

There's no other word for it: sometimes I'm such a loser.

[Update, 12/5: Found it.]

Posted by Russ at 12:43 AM | Comments (3)
December 01, 2004
Quote of the Day
What's the number one cause of death in the world?
Pissing off Americans.

Who else could it be but Frank J.?

Posted by Russ at 07:27 PM