"Memoranda" Archives

August 22, 2008
Memorandum: Housekeeping

From: Management
To: the Cats (Mycah, Kismet, Packet)

It has come to our attention that in the past 24 hours, certain of the house rules have been, to be kind about it, overlooked. In light of this, we would like to remind you of the standards we expect our guests to maintain.

1) The litterboxes are intended to be used for certain biologically necessary functions. They are neither full of toys nor are they archaeological dig sites. Please use them for their intended function.

2) In a similar vein, the carpets are not to be used for litterbox activities. In short, don't poo on the carpet. We are not assigning any blame for the incident which occurred sometime while the Housekeeping staff was off duty this morning... but we are fairly certain it was Mycah. In future, please use the litterboxes.

3a) Though we have taken steps to avoid the formation of hairballs, our efforts have obviously been in vain. We shall redouble our efforts in this regard, but would appreciate it if, in future, hairball expulsion be carried out on a surface that is easier to clean than carpet. (See item #2 above.)

3b) In addition, it would help the Housekeeping staff immensely if, regardless of the surface upon which the hairballs are expelled, you would confine such activities to one spot, rather than making multiple attempts in multiple locations around the house.

4) As for #3b above, but substitute barf for hairball.

5) Be aware that carpet shampoo is not without cost. We would be most reluctant to be forced to choose between the purchase of carpet shampoo and a regular supply of Whiskas "Temptations" treats. Though regrettable, such a choice may be forced upon us due to budgetary constraints and your wholly voluntary behavior.

6) Please note that killing the Housekeeping staff while they are descending the stairs, though no doubt satisfying, would be a suboptimal long-term solution; as you are no doubt aware, you have neither opposable thumbs nor access to the car keys. Please attempt to avoid interfering with Staff while they are walking.

Thank you for your cooperation in these matters.

The Management

From: the Cats (Mycah, Kismet, Packet)
To: the servant

Get bent. Bring on the treats.

No respect at all,
The Cats

The Carnival of the Cats this week is at The Catboys’ Realm with Kashim & Othello and Salmone.

But first, go visit the Modulator's Friday Ark.

Posted by Russ at 05:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
December 06, 2006
Memo to The Cat

To: Mycah
From: the Food Provider
Subject: Pre-dawn barfing

Please don't.

One lapse in decorum is more than adequate.

Posted by Russ at 06:07 AM
May 03, 2006
A Note to Illegal Aliens

Thanks for coming. We have sampled your various cuisines. Lots of good food there. Thanks.

But now we have your recipes.

Your culinary contributions to America have been noted. Now go home.

Posted by Russ at 02:06 PM | Comments (4)
March 28, 2006
A Note to the Paris Riot Police

About those water cannon you're using: add some soap.

Seriously. Those are French students you're hosing down.

Employez le savon. Ils sentent terribles.

Posted by Russ at 02:08 PM | Comments (2)
November 27, 2005
Note to 1st and 2nd Level Network Engineers

To: Technical Underlings
From: Your Escalation Engineer

1) The proper greeting when I walk in the door at the start of my duty shift is "Hi, Russ" or some similarly generic greeting. It is not "I have an escalation for you" or, despite the evident faith and confidence you place in my abilities, "Man, am I glad to see you." It bodes not well for my day if the first thing I hear is someone begging for help. You can wait at least 10 minutes while my ancient laptop boots up.

2) If I tell you there are four people ahead of you in line to get a piece of my time, it means I think their issues are more urgent than yours. If I deem your problem to be more critical you will be moved to the head of the line, so stop pestering me.

3) Contrary to popular office myth, I have tasks to perform that do not involve you or your problems. Just because I am not working on your problem does not mean I'm not working.

4) No, I will not do your job for you just this one time simply because the problem is so unusual. You have peers who likely have seen the situation before. Ask them first. You might learn something.

5) If you haven't done your basic troubleshooting before bringing a problem to me, I will not help you... unless the reason you are coming to me is that you are on the edge of death at that very moment and therefore cannot help the customer. If, however, you actually want to be on the edge of death, go ahead and bring me your problems all willy-nilly — I'll be happy to oblige.

6) No, I haven't memorized the passwords for every network device we support. That's what the databases are for.

7) If you presume to schedule my time for me, please be sure to tell me in advance of the scheduled time. Otherwise I might get testy.

8) Do not presume to schedule my time for me. Ever.


Posted by Russ at 10:08 PM | Comments (2)
July 16, 2005
Control of the Internet

To: Syria, Brazil, Ghana, China, et al.
CC: U.N telecommunications ministers

I understand you all would like to take control of the Internet; specifically, by taking the authority to assign top level domains, IP address ranges, etc., from the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

When your countries invent and build the Internet, we'll consider it.

Until then, mind your own damned business and keep your damned hands to yourself.

Update, 17Jul05: more from Michelle Malkin here.

Posted by Russ at 12:59 AM
May 23, 2005
Note to Senator McCain

To: Senator McCain
From: a GOP voter

I don't care how long you spent shackled in a cell in a Vietnamese prison camp. You have now burned up every bit of goodwill your wartime sacrifices might have engendered, and are now operating on a "GOP-karma" deficit.

If this nation should ever be so unfortunate as to have you on the presidential ticket, I will almost certainly vote against you.

No one who spends as much time aggrandizing himself and preening for the media at the expense of the party and principles which got him into office as you do deserves the support of the party or the people who adhere to those principles. No one who so obviously craves attention and acclaim deserves either.

Do your party and its voters a favor, and retire from public life.

Update: Patterico is on the same track. Ace, too.

Posted by Russ at 09:16 PM | Comments (3)
March 05, 2005
Note to Meineke

To: The folks at Meineke Mufflers
From: an irritated customer

I went to you guys because you're nearby and you have a reputation for competence. Not brilliance, but I don't need brilliance. I just needed my cracked muffler replaced.

It might have behooved you to make sure the parts you had on hand were the right ones for my truck before you disassembled the existing muffler.

No, I will not leave my truck with you until Monday.

No, I do not want to leave muffler-less and come back on Monday.

Yes, you will put my broken muffler back where you found it underneath my truck before you all go home for the day because you close at 2pm.

No, you will not be getting a return visit from me.

Posted by Russ at 04:29 PM | Comments (4)
February 28, 2005
Infernal Machines

I know I'm not the only person who hates answering machines. Everyone I know hates talking into them, unless they have had a chance to prepare the little 30-second speech they're going to give — and sometimes even then.

But I really hate having to listen to the messages people leave on my phone. Invariably, people break one or more of the following rules:

   1) Don't mumble — enunciate.

   2) Speak up, don't whisper.

   3) Don't rush through important tidbits of information like, say, phone numbers. I don't want to have to listen to the message two or three times to get the number correct. And be sure to repeat the important things slowly and clearly.

   4) If you have to spell unusual words — or website addresses — then for pity's sake, learn a standard phonetic alphabet. Don't make it up as you go, leaving the listener to wonder what the heck you said.

   Wrong: "Go to [mumble].com — L as in lachrimose, O as in outfit,  S as in syzygy, E as in elephant, R as in radish dot com."

   Right: "That's mysite.comMike, Yankee, Sierra, India, Tango, Echo dot com."

This has been a public service announcement.

Disregard at your peril.

Posted by Russ at 09:16 PM | Comments (4)
December 06, 2004
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)
September 10, 2004

To: Dan Rather
CC: Chairman, Federal Elections Commission

It's pretty clear that your source (the Kerry campaign?) for the Bush memos has burned you. Badly.

If there's one thing I know journalists don't like, it's being "played" by their sources.

(Played unwillingly or unknowingly, I should note — many in the mainstream media seem to have no problem at all "playing ball" with certain political factions in this country.)

Dan, you went along with the story. We all know why — all protestations to the contrary, you are a partisan, and willingly took the bait, hook, line, sinker, rod and reel. I'll bet you feel like a complete putz (at the very least.) You ignored the old saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

You also ignored your primary responsibility: to tell the truth. You have, in fact, been made into a tool of the Democrat Party, in essence giving them free campaign season advertising for their scurrilous lies.

This being the 21st century, it is no longer fashionable for a disgraced man to take a bottle of liquor and a revolver into a room and close the door behind him to "do the honorable thing." In this day and age your only honorable option, Mr. Rather, is to offer an apology and immediately submit your resignation.

But that's not enough. When you have to make your public retraction and apology for the false story based on the forged documents, you should take the opportunity to issue a little payback.

Name your source, Dan. Tell us all where you got the forged documents.

Burn him, Dan — publicly.

Subject him to the opprobrium of the journalistic profession. Let Americans know who has deceived them, so that his word is ever after worthless to anyone with any appreciation whatsoever of Truthfulness.

Sure, some will treat that person as a hero. "Nice try," they'll say, "too bad you got caught." Michael Moore will no doubt be signed to direct the bio-pic.

I want to see who comes to the defense of your source, Mr. Rather. I want to know who it is that will excuse this inexcusable behavior.

Do the right thing, Dan. You have the opportunity. Tell us the truth — the whole truth.

Posted by Russ at 09:00 AM | Comments (2)
July 10, 2004
Fashion Observations

OK, maybe I'm too much of a hermit. I mean, it's tempting to stay in front of the computer, but I really ought to get out more often. So I took my Mom to dinner tonight, nothing fancy. Just a country-style buffet place (with steaks!)

But something struck me as odd.

From my observations, I concluded that we have a denim shortage in this country.

What, you might ask, is your evidence?

I saw scores — hundreds, even — of young women strolling around, and their bluejeans simply were not high-rising enough to reach the bottoms of their shirts/blouses. The same applied to the women in denim skirts and shorts. Obviously, I concluded, a market shortage has forced the price of denim so high that clothing makers are skimping.

Then my Mom noted that it's the fashion these days to bare the midriff. Sigh. Yet another setback for empirical observational science.

Mom - 1; science - 0.

That being the case, I have a purely subjective comment or two to make. To those ladies, girls, and other womenfolk:

1) You look like hookers. Unless you really are a hooker, knock it off.

     1a) If you really are a hooker, find some place other than a family restaurant to ply your trade.

2) If your gut sticks out farther in front of you than your boobs do, you might want to rethink the whole bare midriff concept.

     2a) It's just... just... so wrong...

     2b) And it's seriously repulsive — like Spandex at a Jenny Craig newcomers' night.

3) While it may be marginally tolerable for plumbers to do so, flashing butt-crack is not considered de rigeur, nor is it as attractive as you may think it is.

4) What the heck are you doing with a tattoo on the small of your back?

     4a) Is that supposed to mean something?

     4b) Do your parents know about this?

Thank you for your attention.

Posted by Russ at 09:44 PM | Comments (7)
June 18, 2004
Not getting the message

To: Islamofascist goat-rapers, camel-lovers and paederasts
Re: the murder of Paul Johnson

Apparently you either did not receive or you failed to read my previous memo. I suspect the latter, as your education — such as it is — has obviously left much to be desired.

Either way, you just don't get it.

We as a nation can sustain many individual murders. Each is a tragedy for the family involved. And yet we continue to hold ourselves back from unleashing our full fury. We can still afford to.

But, as I have noted before, our forbearance will not last forever.

Understand me, here: we American people will not long restrain our wrath. It will not take many more such incidents before we will demand that our forces, either military or covert, begin to exact a toll against you that you will not be able to pay but once and for all time.

The manner and method of our response will be of our choosing. You have no say whatsoever in the matter. Continue on the path you are on, and it will not be long before all the things you accuse us of will actually begin to happen.

Your homelands will feel the tread of American boots.

Your families will receive visits by armed men in the middle of the night.

Your homes will be destroyed and your fields sown with salt.

Your governments will be replaced.

You and your comrades, when taken alive, will receive the treatment accorded by the laws of war: interrogation followed by summary execution.

Our mercy and compassion will be reserved only for the children. Our children and, yes, yours. Our future generations. But your children will not be allowed to follow in your ways. You will have no posterity.

And that's if we are successful. If we are unsuccessful, your dreams of a new Caliphate will end in fire.

It's you versus us. We choose us.

Update: an excellent summation at XRLQ.

Update 2: Jeff reports that the perp and a pair of his fellow thugs have been killed. Three down, several hundred thousand (?) to go.

Posted by Russ at 04:54 PM
June 15, 2004
Memo to FoxNews

To: FoxNews.com
Subject: Site Design

I'm a big fan of FoxNews, and have been from Day 1. Indeed, at 6'8", I may very well be one of your biggest fans. You provide an invaluable service.


I have seen your new website main page design.

It sucks.

Not it could use a little bit of work sucks.

Not someone must have missed a design meeting or two sucks, nor a forget the useability tests, we don't need 'em sucks.

Not even wow, our concept was flawed from the beginning sucks.

I'm talking about 30 solar masses' worth of Hoover™ vacuum cleaners collapsing inwards to form a black hole sucks. I mean industrial- and astronomical-grade suckage.

It appears you have given the keys to your web server to a pack of hyperactive highschool sophomore "Web Design 101" students. Students who also happen to be colorblind. And on crack.


I say this not only because I dislike the design on first sight, but also because for a number of years I have been a website architecture, navigation and design professional, with an emphasis on methods of providing content clearly, easily and accurately.

[This is what I used to be responsible for. I'll bet it gets more pageviews every day than your site does.]

Because I am not one to criticize without offering suggestions, I have a few tips for your design crew:

  1. Make reading Web Pages That Suck mandatory for your web team. It's not Holy Writ, but it's definitely useful.

  2. Don't intersperse your content with advertising banners throughout the page -- cluster the ads off to the side.

  3. Speaking of "off to the side," in my current browser at a screen resolution of 1280x1024 there is a whole lot of wasted screen real estate off to the right. Consider using CSS, or even a percentage for the value of the width="xx" attribute in the <table> tags to define the screen area used, instead of fixed-width tables.

  4. Consider stripping the ads from your main page altogether, and limiting their placement to a banner and/or sidebar on each individual "content" page.

  5. Don't have multiple instances of the same item on the page (such as the market data listed at the top of the page and then again halfway down.)

  6. Lose the background image. No one can see it, and it just wastes bandwidth, particularly for users with dialup connections. I know, I know -- it's not a huge image, byte-wise, but trust me on this.

  7. Consider a permanent ban on pictures of Michael Moore. They only serve to nauseate your readers.
On the "plus" side, at least I don't see you using any <blink> tags. So maybe there's hope, after all.

I hope you'll take these critiques in the same spirit in which they are offered.


[h/t Spoons.]

Posted by Russ at 09:19 AM | Comments (6)
June 08, 2004
Note to Ted Rall


I saw what you had to say about Pat Tillman. I have read what you wrote with regard to the late President.

I have seen entirely too much of you. I suspect I am not alone in this assessment.

You should consider yourself fortunate in two respects you may not have previously been aware of:

  1. As I live nowhere near any place you might frequent, the odds of me encountering you in the street are vanishingly small.

  2. I have no idea what you look like.
Were I to encounter and recognize you, the remainder of your sojourn on this earth would be measurable in seconds, not minutes.

I would cheerfully snap your twig-like neck, and spit in your face as you struggle and fail to draw your last breath while the world goes forever dark before your eyes.

If you were to show up at my front door with an angry mob at your heels, I would let you in - so that I could do the mob's work for them.

But I don't hate you Ted.

That may be a difficult concept for you to grasp. As full of hate as you are, you probably cannot imagine that other people don't perpetually seethe. You drown in your own bile every day and you don't even know that, inside, you are as dead as the last Dodo.

I hold you in contempt. I despise your works. I revile your beliefs and until my dying day will work to defeat them.

But I don't hate you. No.

I pity you.

I pity you as I would pity any poor, dumb animal that were sick or injured, mindlessly hurting itself and all others around it.

As with a rabid dog that simultaneously suffers, and endangers others, I would be inclined to put you down with hardly a second thought.

And if it were ever to happen thus, and I were called to account for it, I would suffer my punishment gladly, knowing I had put a pathetic, wretched creature out of its — and our — misery.

But it'll never happen - see items 1 and 2 above.

Get some psychiatric help, Ted. It can't hurt, it might do some good, and if nothing else, the hours you spend with a competent psychiatric professional will be hours in which you do no harm.

I think this is what is meant by a "Red Curtain of Blood" moment. I'd be tempted, but no, I wouldn't actually harm Ted. Not permanently, anyway. But the rest of what I say stands.

As an exercise in catharsis, this has been quite ameliorative. I'm feeling much better now.

Posted by Russ at 07:37 AM | Comments (27)
May 11, 2004

To: Subhuman Islamofascist Scumbags
CC: Fifth-columnist fellow-travellers, J. Chirac

You have seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib, and are now using them as an excuse to continue your murderous ways... not that you ever needed an excuse before.

You think the humiliation inflicted on your imprisoned fellow terrorists was the height of American infidel behavior? You think that was a terrible and unforgiveable offense?

You think the murder of an innocent civilian is supposed to be justified by that? You suppose that beheading Nick Berg - or any of us - is an appropriate response?

It may behoove you to take note of one comparatively minor fact: the Abu Ghraib incident was the behavior of a small group of bored, jaded, poorly-trained rogue soldiers acting independently, without the sanction of the United States.

Just imagine what we will do to you if we, as a nation, get really pissed off and then act on it.

The only reason these poor excuses for soldiers are being prosecuted is because we had decided to extend the benefits of Geneva Convention coverage to your terrorist buddies. We didn't have to. Indeed, the laws of war would allow our troops to summarily execute anyone captured while illegally engaging in combat.

We're above that. We can afford to be magnanimous... for now.

Our magnanimity, patience and forbearance will not stretch infinitely. If and when the breaking point is reached, neither you nor your cause will survive. Even the continued existence of your people and culture would be in danger. We destroyed two nations and killed millions of their young men during a single war in the 20th century. What makes you think that we would hesitate to do so again if it became necessary? If it comes down to "us versus you," what makes you think we wouldn't choose "us?"

Some people claim to want nothing more than peace and stability in the Middle East. Think on this:

How stable would the region be if your deserts were converted to radioactive glass? How peaceful, if your cities were made into radioactive rubble?

Thank you for your attention to this matter,
The Management

Update: More info (and more vociferously presented) on the subject from Emperor Misha I, plus the world's longest comment thread. Well, the longest I've personally seen.

Update, 6/17/04: Bill Hobbs has similar thoughts.

Update, 6/18/04: See also my followup post.

Update, 6/15/05: More from Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report — "Anything short of summary execution is us simply being nice for its own sake!"

Posted by Russ at 11:24 PM | Comments (3)
August 12, 2003
An open letter to FoxNews

Something was bothering me about FoxNews - and James Taranto pointed it out, prompting me to say:

Jeez, will you people please stop calling them "homicide bombings"?

Of course they involve homicide - that's the damnable idea. What distinguishes them from a pipe-bomb in a mailbox or a car bomb in front of an embassy is the suicide of the splodeydope. Calling it a homicide bombing sounds just plain dopey, and it really grates on the nerves - I cringe when I hear it.

If you feel compelled to use a unique term for what is correctly referred to as a "suicide bombing," then by all means, use "genocide bombing." That, at least, would describe the real purpose of the attacks against Israeli schoolchildren, bus passengers, and market-goers.

A P.O.ed viewer

Glad I got that off my chest. Go ahead, call me pedantic.

UPDATE: Oops... neglected to link to the source for the term "genocide bombing" - fixed it above.

Posted by Russ at 07:32 PM