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Posts from — December 2007

The Truth Is Out There

CNet reports the the anti-virus company, Kaspersky inadvertently quarantines Windows Explorer

The security company’s systems had decided that a virus called Huhk-C was present in the explorer.exe file, leading to its confinement or, in some cases, deletion. As Windows Explorer is the graphical user interface (GUI) for Windows’ file system, this made it difficult to perform many common tasks within the operating system, such as finding files.

In March of this year, Kaspersky criticized Microsoft’s consumer antivirus product, OneCare, for incorrectly quarantining and, in some cases, deleting Microsoft Outlook files.

Given that I have deleted Outlook from my system for its many failures in the security area, and have noted a lot of flakiness in the current version of Windows Explorer, both anti-virus company may have been correct – if it quacks like a duck…

December 26, 2007   13 Comments

Happy Sales and Returns Day

Wren

While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.

It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.

It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblesse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.

As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.

However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”

I have always found Good King Wenceslas really annoying.

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December 26, 2007   16 Comments

Merry, Happy Whatever

Evergreen

Ho Ho Ho!

Happy NODWISH
С Рождеством Христовым
Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Nadolig Llawen
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale
Feliz Navidad
Mer Juli
Happy Christmas

Family in town, so I’m playing tour director and font of local wisdom by researching church services and printing maps.

Blogging may be spotty.

December 25, 2007   5 Comments

Water Is Wet

Via ‘Noz at Rubber Hose we find David L. Stern of the New York Times reporting that Uzbekistan Re-elects Its President

OSH, Kyrgyzstan — President Islam A. Karimov of Uzbekistan won 88.1 percent of votes in the presidential election Sunday, according to preliminary results released on Monday by the country’s Central Election Commission.

The results give Mr. Karimov overwhelming support for a third term, but the contest was widely accepted as a foregone conclusion and casts doubt on the country’s long-term stability.

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December 24, 2007   6 Comments

Unintended Consequences

LJ at Agonist notes the confusion of bankers: BofA chief: Credit-worthy customers default

“There’s been a change in social attitudes toward default,” [Bank of America chief executive Ken] Lewis told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re seeing people who are current on their credit cards but are defaulting on their mortgages. I’m astonished that people would walk away from their homes.”

There hasn’t been a change in social attitudes, the bankers organized a change in the bankruptcy law. You can’t protect your home and you can’t avoid the credit card debt, so the financially prudent thing to do is stop paying for the house and keep paying down those credit cards. You are going to lose the house anyway, so why throw good money after bad?

The financial institutions are reaping what they sowed, and don’t want to admit they did it to themselves. At some point the bankers will realize that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Unfortunately things will get a whole lot worse before they turn around.

December 24, 2007   2 Comments

No One Could Have Imagined…

Andrew North, the departing BBC Baghdad correspondent, looks back on his time reporting from Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion: Iraq: The trauma and the mistakes

“If you go back to the Desert Storm fight [in 1991] they used regular army formations,” said Lt Gen Richard Natonski, when I met him again recently at the Pentagon in Washington.

“They did not resort to what you might call irregular warfare.”

And looking back, he says he now sees the Nasiriya battles as “an indication of what was to come, not that we ever thought that that was what was going to happen”.

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December 24, 2007   2 Comments

What An Idiot

John Amato at Crooks and Liars noted this: Huckabee: Gitmo is too nice

“The inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment than my prisoners in Arkansas. In fact, we left saying, ‘I hope our guys don’t see this. They’ll all want to be transferred to Guantanmo. If anything, it’s too nice.”

Where to begin? I don’t guess that Mr. Huckabee is aware that the inmates in the Arkansas prison system are actually convicted criminals. Their habeas corpus rights were observed at an arraignment; they were represented by an attorney; they received a speedy trial; they saw the evidence used against them; they confronted their accusers; and all of the other rights guaranteed by the Constitution in the Bill of Rights were observed by the state of Arkansas before they were locked up for specified sentences.

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December 24, 2007   4 Comments

Some Leaders ‘Get It’

The BBC announces that the Queen launches YouTube channel

Announcing the launch of the channel, a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said the Queen “always keeps abreast with new ways of communicating with people”.

“She has always been aware of reaching more people and adapting the communication to suit,” she said.

“This will make the Christmas message more accessible to younger people and those in other countries.”

Not surprising in view that last year it was announced that the Queen would podcast her Christmas speech.

The Shrubbery has a video up at the White House site featuring Barney. To quote myself “it’s a bit odd that the smartest male in the White House is the one that is neutered.”

December 24, 2007   Comments Off on Some Leaders ‘Get It’

Gulf Coast Christmas

Christmas Cactus

This is a Christmas Cactus among the ivy on the fence to my Mother’s side yard. The camellias are also starting to bloom, but might take a hit if the temperature drops a little lower. We have to “put up” with these distractions instead of snow.

December 24, 2007   3 Comments

Happy Christmas

Holly, Robin & Mistletoe

[As I listen to A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, I thought I would re-run this post from last year.]

The British have some wonderful Christmas customs that have survived the incursion of Christianity, especially the Puritan party poopers. Stealing customs from the Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians, they have created a wonderful holiday that I fondly remember from time spent there.

The bird is a European robin that is featured on British Christmas cards, as it is a Winter bird in England, unlike the fair-weather laggard of the same name in America. It is bracketed by holly and mistletoe. All go back to the druids and solstice celebrations.

If you read the Harry Potter books you will get a taste, but not the full effect of a British Christmas. A full-on Christmas dinner is wretched excess to the nth degree – Thanksgiving on steroids.

The BBC has the background on Father Christmas.

December 24, 2007   4 Comments

Excessive?

So, I was out and about yesterday delivering this and that to various people and on a major street I noticed the approach of a Fire Rescue vehicle from the opposite direction with the gumballs flashing and siren singing. Even though there was no one obstructing the lane I pulled to the right and slowed down to give up the maximum amount of space and watched for any sudden turns onto side streets.

OK, I like Christmas as much as the next guy, but I want to know who thought it was a good idea to program the air horns on the Fire vehicle to play Jingle Bells? Seriously, if you’re trapped in your vehicle because a guy in a Hummer was talking on his cell phone and didn’t notice the Stop sign or the fact that you had stopped, would you really be thrilled to have the serious professionals who were supposed to be saving your life rolling up to the scene sounding like they just came from an office party?

December 23, 2007   3 Comments

The Eve of Christmas Eve

So it’s time to get everything in line so that there will be smooth sailing tomorrow.

Obviously you need the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas [AKA Twas the night before Christmas] or one of the variations, although Grinchs like August insist on Santa’s Lament.

I assume all of your cards and letters have been sent, and although they won’t be as interesting as DCup’s Holiday Newsletter, we all know that we save them to read aloud after a few too many eggnogs.

But now that you’ve finished putting up enough lights to match the total electrical consumption of a third world nation, you can sit back and watch the North American Air Defense Command’s annual attempt to take out that red-suited commie’s attack on the capitalist system by giving stuff away. [Don’t worry kids, they are using the anti-missile defense system, so there’s no danger to anyone but taxpayers.]

December 23, 2007   6 Comments

Happy Festivus

Yes, today is the celebration of the very untraditional Festivus.

If you celebrate I hope all of your grievances were aired and the airing did not involve the Festivus pole being used in an inappropriate fashion.

December 23, 2007   5 Comments

Passing the Plate

Florida License Plates

Florida Plate Blogging

Beneficiary

Standard Florida Plate

A weekend feature of Why Now.

December 22, 2007   Comments Off on Passing the Plate