Sunday, July 31, 2005

An Evening at the Shore

The Vorlon Wife and I went to Ocean City, NJ last night. The boardwalk was busier than normal. I guess man people are taking vacation these days. Here’s a panorama I shot that came out not too badly. Its three photos stitched together. The buildings you see on the horizon are in Atlantic City.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/31/05 4:18 PM | Link

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm Doing a Customer Upgrade this Weekend

This weekend has a few work related tasks. I’m migrating a customer’s Great Plains from the Pervasive database to the Microsoft SQL database. After that, I’m upgrading him from 7.0 to the current version 8.0.

Weekends are a good time to do this as the customer is usually shut down and I can do everything remotely. Most of the time is work for an hour and then let the computer crunch for a few hours. Doing this remotely is the ideal way. The only drawback is I need to stay close to home most of the time.

In this particular instance, I attempted this last weekend, but they had a power outage part way through my work. This weekend I cleaned out all the previous work and have restarted it. So far so good.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/30/05 3:34 PM | Link

Photos Before and After My Edits

I thought it might be interesting to compare my before and after results of what I do to my photos. The photo on the left is what I downloaded from the camera. The only edits I have made are to reduce the size to 1000 pixels wide and compressed it so it is easier to download.

The photo on the right is after I’ve tweaked it some. I used LightMachine to lighten the shadows, knock down the highlights a smidgeon, increased both the color saturation and the contrast a bit and increased the photo’s sharpness. Then I applied one of my edges.

What do you think of the differences? Better or not?

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/30/05 9:23 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday, July 29, 2005

An Unusual Business Opportunity?

I received an email a week or so ago from someone asking for a price list of Great Plains. Microsoft had made me remove prices I had posted on my web site. I don’t know why as they were standard prices.

Instead of taking the prices down from the web site, I just removed the links to them. I was a bit surprised, when I received the request for prices, but just emailed a link to the person doing the query.

A day or so later I received an email in which he said they were unhappy with their current reseller and they had some questions about upgrading their system. I responded as matter of fact as I could and told him I was somewhat limited in what I could quote, as I didn’t have access to all the modules Microsoft had him registered for.

I sent him a VAR (Value Added Reseller – that’s me) change form and told him that if he wanted to change VARs all he had to do was to print it out, fill it out and fax it to Microsoft. This morning I received an email that he had submitted the VAR change form and Microsoft had processed it.

My total time in acquiring this new client was about 15 minutes and I have now idea how he happened to find me. Perhaps it was a referral from someone else.

I guess I’d better call him now and see what he wants.

The whole situation seems too weird in that I did so little to get this client. Of course, he may just as easily and quickly disappear. It looks like I need to do a TRI (Trust and Respect Inquiry) with him to see if I want to keep him.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/29/05 9:43 PM | Link

Friday Flowerblogging

This is the Vorlon Wife’s lily. She bought and planted it a few years ago. It comes up every year and flowers. Although each bloom only lasts one day, it has enough buds that it blooms for almost two weeks.

The plant is both my delight and frustration. Delight in that we enjoy its flowers every year. Frustration in that I photograph it a lot, but have yet to get just the shot I want.

This one is not too bad, but I brightened it up quite a bit. By photography, window opportunity is weekends and evenings. Since both flowers and light are fleeting, it rather limits my opportunities for the “just right” picture.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/29/05 9:56 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Clock in Ocean City, NJ

I thought this clock might make an interesting photo. I’m not sure I was right, I did not get the angle, or lighting that would have made it an interesting photo. I wonder how old the clock is.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/28/05 9:19 PM | Link

A High Probility Selling Appointment

In my prospecting a few weeks ago, I came across something that was running Real World Accounting. Real World was purchase by Great Plains several years ago and has not been updated for years.

At the time I called, he said he was going to be out and to call back. I did and said, “It usually takes about an hour and a half of uninterrupted time to see if we have a mutual acceptable basis for doing business, do you want to make an appointment?”

The said yes and we set next Friday morning to meet. Just before I hung up, I asked, “If Great Plains meets all your conditions of satisfaction, what will you do?” He sounded confused by my questions, so I said, “If Great Plains meets all your conditions of satisfaction, what will you do?”

He responded, “Well if it does what we want and the money is right, we’ll get it in here as quickly as possible.”

That’s what they call a “high probability prospect.”

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/28/05 8:32 PM | Link

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Church Business Meeting Tonight

We attended the church business meeting tonight. I was reminded as to why committees are such a bad idea for management. It was trying to herd cats. I guess I’m just used to working in a lean environment where it only takes one or two people to make a decision.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/27/05 9:46 PM | Link

Vincas Across the Front of the House

This is a close up of the Vorlon Wife’s Vincas. She has them planted across the south side of the house, which is the front. Last year she had magenta colored ones, but we felt since they have rather dark green foliage that white ones would offer more contrast. Sadly, they don’t come in yellow. The are very easy to take care of and seem to like the bright sun they received. A good frost in the fall will due them in, however.

These were a little slow to get going this spring, but they’re making up for lost time now.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/27/05 11:36 AM | Link

What Happens if Terrorists Nuke a U.S. City?

Congress Tom Tancredo was recently excoriated when he said the following . . .

Campbell: Worst case scenario, if they do have these nukes inside the borders and they were to use something like that — what would our response be?

Tancredo: What would be the response? You know, there are things that you could threaten to do before something like that happens and then you may have to do afterwards that are quite draconian.

Campbell: Such as...

Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, um, you know, you could take out their holy sites . . .

Campbell: You're talking about bombing Mecca.

Tancredo: Yeah. What if you said — what if you said that we recognize that this is the ultimate threat to the United States — therefore this is the ultimate threat, this is the ultimate response.

I mean, I don't know, I'm just throwing out there some ideas because it seems to me . . . at that point in time you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine and because other than that all you could do is once again tighten up internally.

What would we or could we or should we do if terrorists get a nuke into this country and take out one of our cities? Who do you hit?

An attack like this could also start the big ball of string to unwind. China might decide that is a dandy time to take back Taiwan. North Korea might decide it was a good time to invade the south. Iran might think that a weakened U.S. could not respond to their invading Iraq.

U.S. power is a glue that holds certain parts of the world in their places. If our enemies see that power as weaker, who know what they might try.

The American people might demand someone’s head.

Another question is if we did promise to hit Mecca with a nuclear bomb every ten minutes for ten hours, would that serve as a deterrent to the terrorists? I don’t know and I don’t know if any one does.

There are precious few certainties in this world. Everything else is a probability function and we are rolling the dice. If we are well informed and make rational choices, we can replace many of the black choice with red ones.

But we cannot completely eliminate the black squares and we never really know how many of each are on the wheel. All we can do is spin the wheel and release the ball.

I hope our government is as well informed as they can be and have contingency plans for all of the above and things I haven’t thought about yet.

Its back to the cold war worries again.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/27/05 8:17 AM | Link

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Eweh! That One was Close!

Sometimes in my efforts to get just the photo, I want I get a little too close to the action. Fortunately, this was not one of those times. I don’t mind wet clothes, but salt water on digital camera not good. Not good at all.

I’m a little disappointed this photo is not sharper. I think I had the ASA cranked a little too high.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/26/05 8:36 AM | Link

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Current Civil War in Iraq

Strategypage has an interesting update how the war in Iraq. It don't look good for the bad guys.

For thousands of Sunni Arabs who worked for Saddam’s security apparatus, the day of judgment is getting closer, and that is increasing the violence in Iraq. Saddam’s enforcers rarely hid their identities, and many Kurds and Shia Arabs know the names, and faces, of the Sunni Arab thugs that tormented, and tortured them, and murdered their friends and family. These thugs have supported al Qaeda’s terror campaign in Iraq, and participated in some of the non-suicide attacks on Iraqis and foreigners. For the last two years, the enforcers were able to hide out in Sunni Arab towns and neighborhoods that were free of government control. But this provided only temporary refuge, and created other problems. The lack of police meant that criminal gangs, terrorist groups and warlord militias were in charge. These three groups didn’t always get along with each other. But they all left the old Saddam thugs alone. Now, with the government taking control of Sunni Arab areas, the Saddam thugs are in trouble, and getting desperate. These guys have several options. They can leave the country. Many have already done this. But there are no real sanctuaries for former Saddam killers. Syria is safe for the moment, but that is expected to change soon. Eventually, however, these guys can expect the war crimes indictments to catch up with them. If they stay in Iraq, they can either hope for an amnesty deal, or getting themselves back into power. Both of these options are being pursued, which means that violence and peace negotiations are both getting more intense. The problem here is that the Kurds and Shia Arabs are not willing to give a lot of Saddam’s killers a free pass. In response to that, the killers are getting more involved in the violence. Now Arab diplomats are being attacked. The message is clear; make a deal with the Sunni Arabs, or get more reminders of how Saddam stayed in power for so long. Playing it this way only makes more Iraqis determined to join the police and army, and go after the killers where they live, and bring them to justice (often on the spot.) The bullets are going both ways.
Posted by The Vorlon on 07/25/05 8:31 PM | Link

Kosovo Music Video

Some Norwegian soldiers made this video while stationed in Kosovo. They obviously have too much time on their hands. But I encourage you to watch it. It's a hoot. Croatia, Albania, somewhere near Romainia . . .

The Beach Boys better look out.

Hat Tip to Citizen Smash

UPDATE: Welcome to all new visitors to Vorlon Whispers. I hope your visit is a pleasant one.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/25/05 8:07 PM | Link

A Sunset on the Water Photo

I was browsing back through some old photos and came across this one. I used LightMachine to boost the color and make the boats in front easier to see. They I applied one of the edges and this is the results.

As I look back through old photos, one thing jumps out at me. I don’t take enough photos of any one subject. In this particular instance, I only took a couple of shots. I should have taken a dozen. With a digital camera, there is not cost to more pictures. Then I have more to choose from and perhaps can get a better photo.

UPDATE: Someone has called this to my attention and I thought I'd ask if you see it too. Do you see the cowboy riding over the sunset?

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/25/05 9:41 AM | Link

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Goodyear Assurance TripleTred Review

Yesterday I checked the tire pressures of the new Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds I put on Dasher-1. The Goodyear place had set them to 28 psi. Honda recommends 30. I pumped them up to 31.

On the drive to the Jersey shore last night, I found them to be quite responsive. In fact, they go where you point them. If you’re lazy at the wheel, the car will drift back and forth a bit. But if you concentrate on steering straight down the road, they track straight down the road.

When they were at 28 psi, I got the feeling they had a high rolling resistance. At 31, they seem less resistant and the ride is a bit rougher. That’s OK, as I like to have a good feel of the road. One other thing I noticed is they seem to have a very lost steering feel. I can crank the wheel hard over and I don’t feel much resistance at the wheel. Yes, I know I have power steering, but I recall the other tires giving more steering resistance.

Friday I got a couple of chances to push them hard egressing from Route 55 on the off-ramp. They do stick like glue with nary any protest. But they are brand new. We’ll see how they perform after 10,000 miles.

Today I as washing and waxing Blue Velvet (the Vorlon Wife’s vehicle). I was checking the tire pressures and topping them off. She has a set of Dunlop SP Sport A2’s. They are quiet with a nice ride. But I was shocked at how much they had worn. She has about 20,000 miles on them and the tread seems fully half or better gone.

I don’t like to let tires get down to the “replace me” marks. Good rubber is all one has between you and the road. I have also discovered that in a really “toad stabber” of a rainstorm, worn tires will hydroplane. That can be a surprising and unpleasant experience. I think another 10,000 miles and I’ll put a new set of something on Blue Velvet.

UPDATE: If you're a first-time visitor to Vorlon Whispers, Welcome! May your visit be an enjoyable one.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/24/05 7:47 PM | Link

More Black and White Photos

I took one of my photos from last night and converted it to black and white. Then I played with the brightness and contrast to give an effect I rather liked. Lastly, I applied of my edges and this is the result.

What do you think?

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/24/05 8:17 AM | Link

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A Visit to the Jersey Shore

The Vorlon Wife and I went to the Jersey shore (Ocean City) tonight. The water was a very deep blue color and there was more wave activity that normal. I took many photos trying to catch the wave action. Alas, this appears to be the best of the lot and it’s not that good. In retrospect, I think I had the ASA cranked a little too high.

The Jersey shore is not this rocky. This is a man-made stone jetty. It and many like it were installed many years ago in a futile attempt to prevent the ocean from stealing the sand. It failed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/23/05 9:58 PM | Link

Fallujah was the Terrorists Waterloo

Strategpage has an excellent summary of the battle for Fallujah. I highly recommend reading it. In summary . . .

There were about 500 American and Iraqi casualties in the fighting, and 1,200 enemy killed, and another 1,500 captured (many of them wounded.). The biggest casualty, however, was the reputation of the anti-government forces. The al Qaeda and Sunni Arab gunmen had boasted that they would hold Fallujah, and kill hundreds of Americans in the process. The American death toll was under fifty, and the city was cleared of enemy fighters in two weeks. The boasting backfired, and “Fallujah” has become a word the anti-government forces don’t want to hear any more.
Posted by The Vorlon on 07/23/05 9:55 AM | Link

Friday, July 22, 2005

Do You Like Spiders?

Here's a video of a Camel Spider in Iraq eating a lizard. It was taken by some of our troops in Iraq. If this doesn't give you the willies, nothing will.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/22/05 8:47 PM | Link

Friday Flowerblogging

This is another of the Vorlon Wife’s lilies. We wondered what it was until it flowered. The foliage looked like a lily but there were some differences. It seemed to take forever to open up. We now feel it was worth the wait.

Posted by Ted on 07/22/05 10:24 AM | Link

In the Morning Email

I subscribe to Word-of-the-Day from the Meriam-Webster Dictionary website. This morning's word was "gesundheit". Here's where the word came from . . .

When English speakers hear "achoo," they usually respond with either "gesundheit" or "God bless you." "Gesundheit" was borrowed from German, where it literally means "health"; it was formed by a combination of "gesund" ("healthy") and "-heit" ("-hood"). Wishing a person good health when they sneezed was believed to forestall the illness that a sneeze often portends. "God bless you" had a similar purpose, albeit with more divine weight to the well-wishing. It was once believed the soul could exit the body during a sneeze, causing ill health, so folks said "God bless you" to ward off this danger. "Gesundheit," at one time, also served as a toast when drinking (much like its English counterpart, "to your health"), but this usage is now mostly obsolete.
Posted by The Vorlon on 07/22/05 6:38 AM | Link

Thursday, July 21, 2005

New Tires

tire.jpgI spent quite a bit of time surfing the net trying to figure out what tires to put on Dasher-1. I called around for prices and settled on a set of Goodyear Assurance TripleTreds. I could have waited and found something better or maybe a better price. But time was also an element in this equation. Overall, I didn’t do too badly.

Having driven all of seven miles with them, I am unable to give you a good review. My initial reaction is they are much quieter than my other tires and perhaps softer – which worries me a bit.

This weekend, I want to check the tire pressures when they are cool to see what they’ve been set at. Tire places usually set pressures on the high side, but we’ll see. Honda recommends 30psi for Dasher-1.

Posted by The Vorlon on 07/21/05 9:28 PM | Link

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Life Continues with a Few Speed Bumps

This morning I attended the funeral for a friend whose wife died. She died of lung cancer having never smoked a day in her life.

The church where both visitation and the funeral were held was very big. I would estimate the main floor could seat 400 people and there was a balcony do boot. It is a non-denominational church.

The service was very nice. Unfortunately, I had to get back to a client so I could not stay for the burial and later meal - much as I desired to.

It’s after the funeral; I’m lead-footing it up Route-55, when I hear a loud clunk. It sounded like a tire kicked up a large stone into the undercarriage of the body. But then something didn’t sound quite right. I quickly made my way from the passing lane to the right shoulder of the road dodging merging traffic for the local on-ramp.

I stopped the car, opened the door and look back at the rear tire. Flat as a pancake.

I checked my position and decided I was pulled well off the road. I turned on the four-way flashers and exited the vehicle. It was hot. Probably 92 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I opened the trunk and pulled the jack, tire iron and doughnut spare from the trunk. I was surprised to find a small pool of water in the wheel well where the spare resided. There were three frogs and a turtle living there.

I first used my foot to back off the lug nuts. Then I located the jack point, positioned the scissors jack under it and screwed up the car. I removed the lug nuts the rest of the way. They were hot to touch and some parts of the tire/wheel felt hot enough to leave a blister – but I came away unscathed.

The blowout hole was obvious. Although the rubber was still attached, it was held by a flap and the exit hole looked to be about 3/8’s of an inch in diameter right at the edge of the tire tread.

I pulled the wheel from the car, slid the spare into place, snugged down the lug nuts, lowered the jack, tightened the lug nuts with my foot on the tire iron, threw everything into the trunk, and closed the lid.

I visually inspected the now mounted spare and it looked good. I re-entered the vehicle, re-lit the engine and fired up the A/C.

The rest of my day was uneventful. My only problem now is to replace the tire. I’m considering replacing all four tires. Two of them are Goodyear Eagles and I hate them. Although they do seem to be very responsive to steering, they are the noisiest tires I can remember owning. They sound like a truck going down the road.

My challenge is what to replace them with. I put a set of Dunlops on Blue Velvet a couple of years ago and they are very nice tires. Although they’re not as responsive as the Eagles, they have a nice soft ride and are very quite.

Posted by Ted on 07/20/05 10:01 PM | Link

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

From Saturday's Trip to the Shore

I took this photo when the Vorlon Wife and I visited the shore last Saturday evening. The Ocean City, NJ shore is really not this wild. I took this from the Boardwalk, but it looks like there no one there. Believe me, there are many people there.

Posted by Ted on 07/19/05 9:41 PM | Link

Monday, July 18, 2005

Pink Panther Remake?

I came across this and thought to myself, "Say it isn’t true." Are they really doing a remake of the Pink Panther? No one can replace Peter Sellers and certainly not Steve Martin.

But then I look at the trailer and I had to chuckle. Perhaps I’ll take the Vorlon Wife to see it. I see it comes out August 12.

Posted by Ted on 07/18/05 8:47 PM | Link

An Exciting Day

At my last dental checkup, the dentist found a cavity forming. This morning I went in to have it drilled and filled. I went in at 08:30 and was out by 09:30. I always try to get the first appointment in the morning. My theory is, if I have the first appointment, there is less chance that an emergency will put my appointment back.

About 10:30, I noticed my tooth was starting to complain. It was mild at first, but as the day wore on, the complaint got louder and louder until it rather consumed my whole attention.

I made on call in the morning and then another later as the situation seemed to be going downhill. The dentist’s receptionist called me back and told me to visit the Endotontist for a 13:00 appointment.

I showed up promptly. An hour and a half and $1100 later I was out and pain free – even after the Novocain wore off. My first root canal and it wasn't too bad. I just wish they would give you a blow by blow as to what they're doing. I think that would make the experience a lot more intersting.

I still need to go back in about two weeks and they finish up the top of the tooth.

Posted by Ted on 07/18/05 8:27 PM | Link

Sunday's Church Service

The pastor in Sunday’s service had a very interesting point. He said there are five parts to a journey. They are . . .

  • Preparation
  • Departure
  • Endurance - overcome challenges one encounters during the journey
  • Accomplishment
  • Return - one's life is transformed by some newfound power, knowledge or insight

As I listened to this, I thought that I might be able to use this in some of my Toastmasters stories. As I think about it, I think the original Star Wars could be broken down like this.

Posted by Ted on 07/18/05 8:13 PM | Link

Iraqi Terrorists are Running Downhill

StrategyPage has a post on how the terrorists are doing in Iraq.

Normally, guerilla warfare strategy is to start out small, escalating attacks and operations until the insurgents have gained enough popular support and recruited enough fighters that regular military units can be formed that are able to defeat enemy troops on equal terms. In Iraq, this is playing out in reverse. The current “insurgents” started out over two years ago as the Iraqi army and security forces. This crew, led by the Baath Party, had the support of most of the population via an ongoing terror campaign that convinced people that disloyalty was not worth the risk. Right after Saddam’s crowd was driven from power in early 2003, many of Saddam’s core supporters, members of his security forces, and Sunni Arabs in general, continued to fight. But over the last two years, the number of Sunni Arabs supporting the fight declined. Increasingly, the attacks were carried out by foreign Sunni Arabs. Since the guerilla warfare process is rarely tried in reverse, there’s not a lot of research available on how it will all turn out. It would appear that the Baath Party and al Qaeda terrorists, if they continue to make themselves unpopular by killing Iraqi civilians, will eventually disappear.
Posted by Ted on 07/18/05 7:58 PM | Link

Test Post

This is another test post to make sure the scheduled posting works.

Posted by Ted on 07/18/05 5:13 PM | Link

Another Shore Photo

In our trip to the shore last Saturday night, I came across a bunch of daisies at someone’s house. I took several shots and selected this one to publish.

To my disappointment, my own mother, with her discerning eye, didn’t like my Friday Flowerblogging photo. Actually her, complaint was the border I used. You know how much I like to play with those 1600 edges I bought.

In this photo, I first made a copy of it. I then made the copy very light and blurred it. Then I took one of my circular edges and blurred that too. I used the blurred edge to crop my photo (after I’d punched the color and brightness a bit). I then pasted my cropped photo into the light copy, resized it to 1,000 pixels wide and this is the result.

What do you think of this one Mom?

Posted by Ted on 07/18/05 12:10 PM | Link

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Trip to the Shore

The Vorlon Wife and I went to the shore (Ocean City, NJ) last night. I always take my camera and always look for something to photograph.

Lately I’ve become interested in black and white photography. Many years ago, I used to develop my own black and white film as well as print my own black and white prints.

The nice thing about digital photography is you can quickly and easily convert photos from color to black and white. I wonder what you think of my efforts. The photo on the left is, obviously, a color one – after I’ve bumped the color a bit to give it a little more punch.

The one on the right started with the same original. I converted it to black and white and then played with the lightness and contrast to give the results you see. I rather like my black and white photos with a lot of contrast so they can be a bit more dramatic.

I ask which one do you prefer or are both interesting?

As an aside, I had the ASA on the camera cranked up to 200, as it was near sunset and very cloudy. Although there is some digital noise, I don't think it’s objectionable.

Posted by Ted on 07/17/05 2:45 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

From the Front Lines in Iraq

I military blogger stationed in Iraq makes his observation about how it's going over there. He summarizes . . .

I hope to see a free, secure Iraq someday soon. I am working hard for that. I am working hard to stop terrorists from stealing that hope and vision from the majority of Iraqis. I hope politicians quit striving to portray this effort as a failure in order to gain political ground. I hope the MSM quits LYING and starts reporting the other side of Iraq - the 98% that is positive.... I'm not holding my breath.

I recommend you click on the link and read the whole thing. It's not really that long.

Posted by Ted on 07/17/05 12:44 PM | Link

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Waiter! There's a Bug in my Soup!

Well the bug was actually in the Vorlon Wife’s Begonias – and it’s a Praying Mantis. They’re the good bugs. Although they’re not extremely rare, I always consider it a treat when I find one.

They have articulated heads and will track you like a radar unit as you walk around them. It gives them it impression of having more IQ than they likely possess.

This guy or girl has some growing to do. He/she is only about an inch and a half long.

Posted by Ted on 07/16/05 9:25 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Rovegate is Over

It now turns out the investigation into Karl Rove of what did he tell and to whom did he tell it is over. Recent grand jury testimony reveals that Rove learned about Joe Wilson’s wife was a CIA employee from another reporter.

There is no there there.

Once again, the Democrats and the MSM have gotten themselves into a tizzy only to wind up with egg on their face.

How does Karl do it? He seems to have the unique ability to drive his political enemies stark raving mad.

Perhaps someday we’ll learn that Karl has a secret device that sends out thought rays that scramble the brains of his political enemies. Perhaps the Democrats and the MSM should take to wearing tinfoil hats. The metal barrier may prevent the entry of those evil brain waves from Karl’s machine.

As the good professor likes to say, HEH.

Posted by Ted on 07/16/05 10:43 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Monster Attacks the Boardwalk

The Vorlon Wife and I were at the Ocean City Boardwalk a couple of weeks ago and came across the huge orange octopus tearing apart one of the boardwalk concessions in very slow motion. Much to my amazement, no one was taking any defensive action. Everyone walked by as if nothing was wrong.

Posted by Ted on 07/15/05 9:27 PM | Link

Cron Job Test Post

This is a test to see if I have properly set up the Cron Job on my site. If you're reading this, it worked. If you don't see this post, it didn't work and you don't even know I made the attempt.

Posted by Ted on 07/15/05 7:14 PM | Link

Friday Flowerblogging

This is another of the Vorlon Wife’s lilies. It flowers every year and each year it does a little better than the previous year. The only problem with this lily is the flowers only last one day. If I want to get a good photo, I can’t wait.

I’m not 100% happy with this one. Perhaps I’ll try again, if I can get out there while there are still flowers on the plant.

By the way, what do you think of the border on this picture. I purchased the CD and have 1600 different borders I can use. Many I reject out of hand, but many gave an interesting result – like this one.

Posted by Ted on 07/15/05 5:00 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Misplaced Priorities?

Last week terrorists attacked London and killed over 50 people. It was an attack that could just as easily happen in the U.S. Yesterday terrorists in Iraq attacked and killed over 30 children between the ages of 10 and 13.

But what are the press and the Democrats on like bees on honey? Karl Rove.

Beam me up Scotty. There doesn’t seem to be any intelligent life here.

Posted by Ted on 07/14/05 9:32 PM | Link

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Kind of People We Fight in Iraq

The Mudville Gazette has a chilling account of a terrorist attack in Iraq and its aftermath.

Many, if not most of the dead were children loitering and playing near U.S. soldiers at an impromptu checkpoint in Baghdad al-Jadida, a lower-middle class residential district populated by Shiites, Sunnis and Christians.

Near the charred, shrapnel-scarred bombing scene, women draped in black abayas wept as they walked by, and dazed children with tears in their eyes wandered amid bits of metal and bloody human remains. A pile of children's slippers lay on the street.

Tell me again how these terrorists are freedom fighters. Tell me how they are Iraqi patriots and I’ll tell you have your head up you’re a**.

If you want to know, what these murderous thugs are really like, click the link and read the whole thing. It’ll break your heart.

Greyhawk ends his post with . . .

Some day you may hear someone describing the virtues of the "resistance" or "freedom fighters" in Iraq, or claiming moral equivalence between these animals and coalition soldiers. You may even hear someone say we're on a "crusade" against Muslims. When you do, send them here.

Posted by Ted on 07/13/05 9:39 PM | Link

Thumbnails Work Again

Again my thanks to Chad Everett! He worked with my host, Site5, to get thumbnails to work on my blog again. I had almost given up.

To demo this effect you’ll see a thumbnail on the left. This is of a trip we made to Wildwood, NJ last Saturday. They had a Renaissance fair and the Vorlon Wife wanted to see it. The photo you see are two people jousting.

I was rather concerned at the jousting as it looked like you could get hurt with those sticks. The broke a few of them, but never knocked each other off their horses.

I later inspected one of the remnants of the pike and found it was made of what looked like balsa wood. They also looked like they had predetermined weak points so they could easily break. Still, balsa wood, under the right circumstances can be very strong in compression.

They had two guys giving a medieval humorous color commentary during the joust and they were pretty funny.

It was a nice day on the beach as, even with the bright sun, there was a cool breeze blowing. Later we went up on the boardwalk and it was stifling hot.

Posted by Ted on 07/13/05 8:58 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Fear - What is the cost?

Several weeks ago, I attended a telephone seminar put on by the High Probability Selling folks. It was on fear. It lasted 90 minutes. They recorded the whole thing and then mailed out a CD of the whole thing – actually, it was two CD’s.

I have been listening to them. I find there are many people that are reluctant to pick up the phone and prospect. The main presenter at the seminar was Dr. Wayne Diamond. He is a psychiatrist and works with many of the High Probability salespeople.

In the seminar, he says there is no shame in being afraid. But we should admit we are afraid. We should face our fears, decide if they are real or imaginary, and then proceed accordingly. I’m not sure I fully understand his message, but I think I understand part of it.

He indicates that most of our fears are a result of our childhood and how we were raised. He gave a couple examples of people that were poor performing salespeople from fears related to their upbringing. Once they were able to understand their fears and over come them, their sales soared.

It’s frustrating to think that events on one’s life 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago still affect our behaviors today.

I happen to think also about the book I’ve been reading called “Realinoaire.” It’s about a kid whose family was on welfare, later became a millionaire. One thing I happen to notice is how everyone on the kid ran into expected him to be a great success. All his neighbors and especially his mother expressed great confidence that he would succeed.

They didn’t push him. They simply told him he was special and his mother would tell other people, within his earshot, that she expected him to retire her.

I wonder why more parents don’t express the same confidence in their children instead of verbally berating them.

Posted by Ted on 07/12/05 9:17 PM | Link

Is the WOT a Blood Feud?

The Belmont Club has a quotes a post asking is the War on Terror not a war but a blood feud. He quotes Lee Harris . . .

Immediately after 9/11, the general consensus was that we were at war. And yet this evocation of the concept of war bothered me because it did not quite fit. Wars were things that Westerners did. They were fought for economic reasons or for territorial expansion; they were instruments of policy; they had a point and an objective. You knew when a war started, and you knew when it was over. ... when I wrote "Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology," I argued that war was not the appropriate model to employ in order to gain an understanding of the enemy that we faced ...

In the blood feud, the orientation is not to the future, as in war, but to the past. In the feud you are avenging yourself on your enemy for something that he did in the past. Al Qaeda justified the attack on New York and Washington as revenge against the USA for having defiled the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia by its military presence during the First Gulf War. In the attack on London, the English were being punished for their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the blood feud, unlike war, you have no interest in bringing your enemy to his knees. You are not looking for your enemy to surrender to you; you are simply interested in killing some of his people in revenge for past injuries, real or imaginary -- nor does it matter in the least whether the people you kill today were the ones guilty of the past injuries that you claim to be avenging. In a blood feud, every member of the enemy tribe is a perfectly valid target for revenge. What is important is that some of their guys must be killed -- not necessarily anyone of any standing in their community. Just kill someone on the other side, and you have done what the logic of the blood feud commands you to do.

In the blood feud there is no concept of decisive victory because there is no desire to end the blood feud. Rather the blood feud functions as a permanent "ethical" institution -- it is the way of life for those who participate in it; it is how they keep score and how they maintain their own rights and privileges. You don't feud to win, you feud to keep your enemy from winning -- and that is why the anthropologist of the Bedouin feud, Emrys Peters, has written the disturbing words: The feud is eternal.

He then goes on to argue that we cannot continue a blood feud, but must find an alternate solution.

One route to victory, the ugly route, is to match the entropy within Islamic societies with a corresponding entropy within the West. The rising resentment against Islamic immigrants in Europe and the growing willingness in the West to see Islam and even Muslims as the enemy, are all early signs of the transformation of war into a corresponding blood feud. One of the constant themes of the Belmont Club is how this development is undesirable because it will, at the limit, result in the destruction of Islamic society and make us all murderers. The alternative route chosen by President Bush, but only half-heartedly pursued by mainstream politicians, is to decrease entropy within the Islamic world by making those countries functional, modern and free so that the "blood feud" concept becomes as anachronistic in Riyadh as it is in Cleveland.

In my opinion The Belmont Club is some of the best analysis for the War on Terror there is.

Posted by Ted on 07/12/05 6:52 AM | Link

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm Baaaaack!

My host cphosting had a problem they couldn't seem to resolve. At Chad Everett's suggestion and help, I moved my site to Site5. My hosting cost goes from $80 per year to $84 per year, but I go from 500MB of storage to 3GB - Not that I’m even close to that.

But you may have noticed that I like to post photos and each one eats at least 50KB.

Along the way, a curious thing happened. On cphosting, I was consuming about 135MB. But since the move to Site5, I’m only eating 70MB. I don’t quite understand why, but there it is.

I STILL cannot post thumbnails. I am hoping that Site5 can resolve that, but at this point I'm not particularly optimistic.

Let me just reiterate, Chad Everett has been a big help through my trials on this. If you need help with your Movable Type, I highly recommend his services.

Thank you, Chad.

Posted by Ted on 07/11/05 8:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, July 8, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

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This is one of the Vorlon Wife’s lilies. This variety seems to have their colors a little faded this year, when I think back to how they looked in prior years. Although it may be my memory that is inaccurate and not the color.

As you can see, I’m still experimenting with borders on my pictures. In this shot, I combined two different photos into one. In the process, I used one of the many edges I purchased and downloaded.

I like using the irregular borders, but white was starting to become boring. I wanted something faint by not white. I’m still not 100% satisfied with this one, but I’d OK until I figure out something better.

What do you think?

Posted by Ted on 07/08/05 12:35 PM | Link

Monday, July 4, 2005

What a Great 4th of July Photo

I stole this photo from StrategyPage. I really like it and thought it would make a great 4th of July photo. Those are F-16's over the Statute of Liberty.

Click the thumbnail and wait a bit.

Happy Birthday America!

Posted by Ted on 07/04/05 7:28 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Sunday, July 3, 2005

Whacko Journalists Make Iraq Suffer

This from StrategyPage . . .

Iraq’s Sunni Arab rebels are trying to capitalize on the hostility of Europeans, and some Americans, to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Many foreign journalists have created a mythology that there is a legitimate “insurgency” in Iraq, composed of men who are valiantly attempting to ”liberate” their country from “foreign occupation.” The Sunni Arabs are actually trying to restore their dictatorship, and resume decades of brutal oppression towards the Kurds and Shia Arab majority. Their al Qaeda allies want to turn Iraq intro an Islamic dictatorship. Many foreign journalists have gone along with the Sunni Arab propaganda, despite growing protests from the Iraqi government that this policy is supporting terrorism and efforts to return Saddam Hussein's government to power. Saddam had spent a lot of money to buy support from foreign politicians and journalists, and now many of these people feel compelled to continue that support. Getting behind al Qaeda attacks against Iraqi civilians is rather more difficult. But many who oppose American counter-terrorism strategy and tactics, have no problem in calling al Qaeda terrorists "Iraqi insurgents", and "foreign supporters of Iraqi independence" (from "foreign occupation.") When the histories of the Iraq war are written many decades hence, this double-think by so many journalists and politicians will be seen as very strange. For now, however, it's often just, "the news."
Posted by Ted on 07/03/05 9:51 PM | Link

A Trip to the Beach

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The Vorlon Wife and I went to the beach (Ocean City, NJ) last night. It was pleasant and before we left, we donned out jackets. Click on the link to see the scene just before the sun set. This is looking north. The object in the center off in the distance is the Music Pier.

Still no thumbnails.

By the way, what do you think of my experiments with different borders?

Posted by Ted on 07/03/05 9:35 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Backyard Photoblogging

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This is a photo out the back window at your back yard. The pink row you see are the Vorlon Wife’s Impatiens. They’re coming along very nicely. The white dish you see is really the birdbath. In our case, we have it sitting on the ground instead of on a pedestal. We’ve recently gotten some nice rain, so I’ve stopped watering the lawn – for now.

You’ll notice there is no thumbnail to click on, only a link. That because my web host had yet to properly load Image::Magick. I have asked them to load it, and they said they did. However, I still cannot generate thumbnails and when I query my Movable Type; it tells me that Image::Magick is not loaded. I’ve entered a support ticket, but am unlikely to get the problem resolved until after the holiday. Sigh.

Posted by Ted on 07/03/05 5:59 PM | Link

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Orrell Family Reunion Photo Album is Up

I just finished posting photos from out trip to West Virginia to attend the Orrell 2005 Family Reunion. You can view all 26 pages at this link.

Posted by Ted on 07/02/05 1:59 PM | Link


My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

Proverbs 4:19-27

Posted by Ted on 07/02/05 9:12 AM | Link

Friday, July 1, 2005

Friday Flowerblogging

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This is the Vorlon Wife’s Prickly Pear Cactus. They grow wild in New Jersey. The Vorlon Wife has seen fit to transplant some to her flower garden. Although the flowers are very pretty, they only last a day and then are done. You gotta be quick with the camera to capture them. You also must NOT touch the flat cactus pads. They have very fine needles and you’ll get a handful of them and they are very difficult to remove, as they are almost invisible.

This post does not have a thumbnail because my host, cphosting, upgraded their server and then need to install a module for my thumbnail to work. I rather suspected I would have a problem in one area or another.

Posted by Ted on 07/01/05 4:35 PM | Link