Saturday, December 26, 2015

Andy's Beef Wellington 2015

We did this last year ( but have refined it and had even more fun.

I despair of cooking instructions that say "season to taste" and "cook until done." So herewith is my own nerdy geek approach to a deontological preparation of Beef Wellington and its accoutrements...

We learned a bit of history of why it is called what it is.

One theory is that it is a celebration of Wellington's defeat of Napoleon by taking an intrinsically French dish (boeuf en croute) and making it intrinsically English as a final snub over Wellington's defeat of Napoleon.

First, however, reflect on the Duke of Wellington. This was one huge suck-up guy: commissioned in 1787, soon became  aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of IrelandHe was a colonel by 1796, barely nine years later (most people take some twenty years to reach that rank: Army Colonel, Navy Captain).

Be that as it may, he certainly was one accomplished fellow. And he decidedly defeated Napoleon.

I just wonder about his love life. 

But whatever, the meal is pretty wonderful and a lot of fun (if time consuming) to prepare (and consume). :-)

I happily spent about three hours preparing and another two executing in the excellent company of a friend and a lovely bottle of Malbec...

I drew inspiration this year from Tyler Florence:

His major contribution was his pointing me to Duxelles, a mix of mushrooms and herbs and other good stuff that supplants the hideous (IMHO) offal-based paté..

As good as it is, I have adapted it as described below. 

So, with all that, pour yourself a small (100ml) glass of red wine and get started:

First, collect the ingredients. Tyler is targeting a three pound roast, I had a one pound Chateaubriand. So I divided his ingredients by three: half a pound (8 oz.) of mushrooms. But not enough, next time go for a pound of mixed mushrooms for a pound of meat.

Shaw's vegetable team are pretty awesome: fresh oyster, shitake, and portabella mushrooms, so I mixed them up. (The checkout counter calls them "Exotic" mushrooms...)

Next, add to Tyler's recipe: I want chestnuts. 

Yes I know, roasting chestnuts by an open fire. Except it is 60°F outside and the fellow who promised me firewood sold it to someone else. So to heck with the open fire, do otherwise: Just roast them on a pan in the oven:

Note the 425°F oven instructions. This comes in handy, as bread requires 450°F while the Beef Wellington returns to 425°F. Time management, later.

OK, we chop all that up and put it in the mix and now are ready to cook the duxelles:

in a skillet at a low heat. As Tyler points out, the point is to remove as much liquid as possible while blending the flavors, so as to approximate a paté without including the offal. But do not throw away or burn off the liquid. Reserve it for the sauce (later):

So while that is simmering down, prep the rest. Cut out the eyes of the potatoes, get the rest of the mushrooms washed and cleaned, chop the ends off the green beans. (I don't like Tyler's "Wilted Greens", in fact I don't much like anything "wilted", including limp wrists...) And when done, we are ready to go into action:

Ah! And this is critical: SEAR THE MEAT.

The idea is to keep the juices inside the meat and not in the pastry!!

Last year we did not know this, so the juices ran and the bottom of the pastry was soggy. Once burned (or soggy), twice foolish.

Additionally, just to make sure, we used the turkey basting rack to keep the Wellington off the baking surface, to allow browning all around.

Phew. Another cup of wine and we are ready to execute:

Ooops. Not quite yet. The shell...

Tyler brilliantly suggests wrapping the duxelles with prosciutto. Yet another delicious barrier to sogging up the puff pastry. So we do so. 

I know there is a huge argument of whether you want or don't want the fat in the prosciutto. Personally, I do not. So I strip most of it away, but save some to serve as horizontal binder across all the fractured bits.

So we lay out the puff pastry and cover it with prosciutto:

Yet another level of detail into which we shall not delve, except to say: 

Most marketed "puff pastry" is margarine based. I wanted real butter, but could only buy it for a family of fifty (restaurant supply). OK, at the time I had some money so did so and froze the rest. It's been in the freezer for a year. And yes, Virginia, it dries out, even though frozen. So a huge opportunity for some capitalist purveying to the top percentiles with authentic prepared puff pastry using butter, not margarine. 

But I digress. In the event we used what we had.

As Tyler points out, first lay a spread of plastic film (Saran wrap, whatever) and lay the puff pastry on top of it.

OK, now this is the really tricky part. As I found out, if you have let the puff pastry thaw out too long it sticks to the paper. So the first batch was a total loss. So I got out the second one. Except it had broken in the freezer. :-( Third time's a charm, except it also had a few breaks. But letting it mellow a while until you didn't have to force it (about thirty minutes) I could spread it out on the counter and using just a few drops of water seal the cracks, then spread the duxelles on top over the prosciutto. Like I said, we probably needed another ¼ pound of mushrooms and herbs (next time):

Phew. A top up for the wine...

Now we can carefully put the beef on the duxelles topside down about three inches from the left edge of the pastry and then, with the aid of a large knife and spatula, lift the edges of the puff pastry and duxelles over the meat and roll the whole lot to the right, obviously keeping the underlying Saran out of the way. Then tuck the ends in and cover them with the ends of the plastic wrap.

The result:

The butcher manager at Shaw's Middletown, RI did a perfect job: uniform size.

Now let that solidify in the fridge for half an hour while we do other stuff.

Like, bake the bread that we had prepared earlier...

Time management:
• The Wellington requires 30 minutes or so to rest and solidify in the fridge.
• It then requires about 30-40 minutes in a 425°F oven.
• The previously prepared oven-ready bread requires a 450°F oven for about 30 minutes...
• The potatoes require a 425°F oven.

Duh, bake the bread while the Wellington rests, then reduce the temperature to 425°F for the meat and potatoes.

But when the time arrives, yet another important point:

Use a rack. Ensure Tyler's egg wash (whites of two eggs, save the other four eggs for tomorrow's omelette...) covers the whole assemblage, including the ends.

Last year we put the wrapped beef directly on the baking sheet. The bottom became soggy because of the juices. This year, despite the prosciutto, we expected the same, so used a turkey roasting rack to hold the entire assemblage up in the air. It worked just fine:

OK, yet another topup. Set the timer for 30 minutes to check things.

While the Wellington is doing it's thing get the vegetables, potatoes, and other stuff underway. Put the potatoes in the oven with the Wellington immediately:

Then choppity choppity on mushrooms:
and start simmering garlic, shallots, beef bouillon, four slices of butter, lemon, olive oil (including truffle oil),  red wine, mushroom stems, and the previously reserved duxelle juices for a sauce, and fifteen minutes into the drill put the beans in a steamer for about 15 minutes to come out at the same time as the meat:

And while that is going on, nick the remaining chestnuts and set them to roast in a pan under the meat in the oven, while preparing the bread to be rewarmed:

The meat thermometer is essential:

It looked done but the thermometer said 100°F, not 125°F.

Finally, it is done:

And it is served:

:-) Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Due Process

The need for due process:

This cannot be watched by too many people:

"What about the eight amendment? What if we say: "You cannot get a lawyer until you petitition the Government to get of the List?

"What about the first? What if we say: "You cannot get a Google account or go to church until you petitition the Government to get of the List?

"What about..."

Climate, Damned Climate, and Lies

"I’m reminded of a line from one of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories (The Magician’s Nephew), which runs: “Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.” And the climatistas are certainly willing to oblige."

Nothing more to say: Just the facts...


Monday, December 14, 2015

How to connect an AT&T Velocity WiFi Hotspot as a LAN router

BLUF: turn off static IPas.

The AT&T Velocity WiFi hot spot can indeed function as a router for up to eight devices on a given subnet (e.g., Devices shall be recognized and connected for normal LAN and WAN operations, but only if connected to the Subnet through DHCP. Static IP addresses are not supported and shall not connect.


I recently bought a contract for the AT&T Velocity WiFi Hotspot:

Very sweet.

My intent is to move from a landline ISP to the AT&T wireless provider since I'm changing my lifestyle to something considerably more mobile than the present.

It sets up two subnets: Main and Guest. You can set up different permissions for each and it supports up to eight users on Main and two on Guest.

I presently wirelessly entertain two laptops, a cellphone, a tablet, a printer, and an audio player (Logitech Squeezebox) (six devices) all connected to my ( LAN. It has Internet connectivity through a Belkin N+ router connected with CAT 5 cable to a Motorola modem, connected in turn with coax to the local cable Internet provider.

They all sing and dance together. I can send audio streams from the Logitech Media Server - LMS installed on the laptop to the audio player (Squeezebox), print streams to the printer, sync the cellphone calendar with the OwnCloud server on the laptop, download the London Times to the tablet and more.

All cool.

But my current measly 300 MB AT&T cellphone account costs ~$90 a month. The cable service, offers 250 GB data a month, of which I only use around 20 GB — I don't watch television or play games. Just browsing, email, remote server administration, and system upgrade and software downloads, So I don't need no steenking 250 GB.

And the steenking cable bill is ~$60 a month.

So I'm paying $150 a month for a lot of what I don't want or need (too much landline throughput) and too little of what I do want (mobile wireless throughput).

Hence the change: I can cancel the landline and get 20 GB of AT&T wireless throughput for about the same amount as the previous combination.

But only one catch: how to connect the printer, audio, sync, etc?

Much googling, much experimentation. No Joy.

I could connect the cellphone, tablet, and laptop to the hot spot, but not the printer or audio device. They connect to with no complaint on their part, but the hot spot does not see them.

Much googling again:

• Get a wireless Ethernet bridge. Put it in line to receive WiFi from the hot spot ( and bridge it to the Ethernet port on the router. This would give me subnet to the hotspot. Then connect my devices as usual to the router at and it would all be fine.

     Sorry, the hot spot doesn't recognize the bridge either.

• Get smart about nmap, route -n, ip route add, and a host of other very geeky route table manipulation tools. I can now play the route tables like a keyboard. At least we figured out how to simultaneously connect Ethernet and WiFi (it's the "metrics", stupit...) but still no joy.

Hours spent. Interesting and informative hours, but a total waste of time insofar as solving the problem, except perhaps useful in eliminating many possible causes.

So time is a-wasting, let's just push the car back up the hill to see if the brakes fail again... :-(

Go back and set a static IP for the laptop on the hot spot network. Default gateway (the hot spot) is So let's set the laptop to Just like we did on the existing LAN: the default gateway (router) was 192.168.x.1, the network controller laptop was 192.168.x.2.

So change x=5 to x=7 and it should work the same, right?


Sigh, okay just stop thinking, just do the default: DHCP.

Poof! All of a sudden the laptop now connects. The hot spot does not support static IP addresses!!!

Woohoo! Finally!

Sure enough:

• Set the printer wireless configuration to "Automatic" (DHCP) and read its IPa: We have to go through reconfiguring yast2 printer (we're on Linux openSUSE 13.2 but the principles are the same for other OSs). And then it just works.

• Next the Squeezebox. Same same, change from static IPa to DHCP and it just works. Read its IPa:

• And the same for the CALDAV sync from Android to laptop. Enter the laptop's DHCP IPa ( and poof! it works.


The AT&T Velocity WiFi hot spot can indeed function as a router for up to eight devices on a given subnet (e.g., Devices shall be recognized and connected for normal LAN and WAN operations in the order directed by their metrics, but only if connected to the Subnet through DHCP. Static IP addresses are not supported and shall not connect.

Now I can get on to more important things..

Monday, June 29, 2015


Icons matter.

Images... A picture is worth a thousand words.

Here is mine:

We all need to pay attention.

Functional Decomposition

Mind mapping and functional decomposition:

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) for folks with a short attention span:

ITOT Freemind comes with a host of conversion routines:

          mm2xxx.xsl where xxx is your favorite form

In particular,


does exactly what we want done: a tab delineated .xls file with all the tiers at their proper indentation.

Why should you care?
     Because this is a tool that can help you sort out all the noises in your mind that cause your eyes to open suddenly at 02:00 in the middle of the night.

     If you can get it out of your mind and onto paper (virtual or real) then you can sleep more soundly and comfortably.

Everybody wins.


Functional Decomposition is the process of taking a complex process and breaking it down into its smaller, simpler parts.

It's a bit more complicated than that of course:

But the basic idea is to take a certain number of key elements (referred to as Tier 0) and successively examine them to find their subordinate constituent parts going down layer-by-layer (or tier-by-tier, as is used in the lexicon).

This takes some head work, as you must ensure that the sub elements you identify are indeed orthogonal, that is, unique and separate from the other elements at each tier. In statistics we refer to such a quality as IID - Independent and identically distributed random variables.

But basically, they are their own thing at any particular tier level.

After doing this analysis at a particular tier, you then decompose that tier into its constituent parts.

And so on and so forth.

The good news is that this gives you a comprehensive view of all the elements of a problem at all of their respective tiers.

The bad news is that it is extremely tedious in coming up with the appropriate indices and even more so renumbering them all if your orthogonality analysis indicates that an element must be moved or removed, or another inserted.

I created a series of Microsoft Excel VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macros in the late 1980s to create an automatically indexed functional decomposition based on the number of columns a particular value was indented:

That served me well for a decade or so of prioritizing and organizing concepts.

But then I moved to Linux in 2002.

Initially there were no such applications, and then in OpenOffice, and subsequently LibreOffice, they manifested themselves in an extremely arcane object model without any of the tools that VBA has to examine properties, methods, and the rest. And the documentation was hideous or non-existent.

So I just left it alone, using my Windows version in a VirtualBox VM (Virtual Machine) when I really needed it.

But the worm turned, things got better, and I got to a point where it was worth the effort to track this down under Linux.

So I did, and I have.

What really broke the ice was finding

which offers a comprehensive (functional decomposition) of all the uno (Universal Network Object) properties, which drive the macros.

The sheet above is now rendered with the click of a button to this:

that you can expand to higher tiers by clicking either the numbers in the upper left hand corner or the + boxes in the left panel.

Clicking 2 gives this Tier 1 expansion:

Clicking 3 gives this Tier 2 expansion:


Now, along comes FreeMind:

that lets you build mind maps:
It has an export facility that gives a number of options.

The most obvious is a HTML rendition:
But this is rife with a host of nested Unordered List HTML tags (ul, li, etc). that are ignored on import to a text editor or a spreadsheet.

'Way too hard.

OTOH. There are other options under FreeMind:

Save as XHTML does indeed give you a clickable functional decomposition, without the index numbers.

Save as XHTML Java version also gives you a clickable functional decomposition, without the index numbers.

But now, working harder, and finding even better:

ITOT Freemind comes with a host of conversion routines:

         where xxx is your favorite form (xls, html, text, whatever)

In particular,


does exactly what we want done: a tab delineated .xls file with all the tiers at their proper indentation.

Microsoft Excel
To export to Microsoft Excel:
1. Use the menu item File > Export > Using XSLT...
2. Open the XSL file "mm2xls_utf8.xsl" (in /FreeMind/accessories)
3. Name the export file something.xls
4. Open the generated file by double-clicking it

Life is good.

But it takes paying attention and doing your homework. Nothing in life is free and you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The worm has turned

I have some awesome BASH (but you can do the same with AutoKey) macros that load my machine on reboot in the morning:
They start a bunch of apps and fill Linux Chromium with a zillion tabs while I brush my teeth and set up the coffee: London Times, BBC, Google News, NOAA Weather, The Weather Channel, UK weather, Newport Patch, NewportThisWeek, The Met Office, The Shipping Forecast, Schneier Online, an a host of others.
The only thing I pay for (besides the Internet bandwidth and my time) is the London Times at about a dollar a day, depending on the exchange rate.
The Newport Daily News costs the same. Which would you prefer?
As for City-centric, Patch gives the Police report, NTW gives substance, including current and relevant editorials, events, and announcements. What more do we need?
Yes, we all need to earn a living. But the new cogniscenti have figured it out: Take a look at SEO rating scales: What matters is Substance. Certainly accompanied by advertising, but not the other way around, which is Madison Avenue shoving eye candy and advertising down your throat accompanied by pablum.
Who needs MSM with their kitty litter container content???
We don't need the MSM to tell us how to think. They need us to listen to whatever substantive content they can come up with and give US a voice.
Or we'll go a zillion other places, including setting up our own fora, such as and
The worm has turned. Thanks be to God. And to the First Amendment to the Constitution, and to the Internet.
So write a script to load each of these and others in separate tabs, start it, go make coffee, prep breakfast, and take your pills, and when you're done with that you have all the world news at your fingertips, without commercials.
And the workspace is ready to go. No clickety clickety of starting stuff manually.
And with the likes of WordPress, set up your own soapbox at Hyde's Corner.
And tell the MSM to pound sand.

What's not to like?

Monday, June 8, 2015

How to import quizzes into's Canvas

Importing a quiz into Canvas is easy when you know how.

Quizzes come from many sources. Today we shall address those derived from Elsevier's Evolve ExamView Test Generator ( — ETG for short.

You must have a subscription, username, and password.

With these in hand:


• Open ETG

What do you want to do? → Create a new test from scratch.

• Click Select while viewing from the toolbar. A dialog appears listing all the chapters.

• Click Select All and all the chapters move to the lower window. Click Next and a page appears with all the questions.

• Work through the pages, clicking only the box to the left of the question you want. If you click higer echelons you'll load ALL the questions. When done, click Finish. You will see pages with only the questions you have selected.


File → Export This will show a host of choices. It turns out that the Blackboard 7+ version is best for at least one institution's version of Canvas. YMMV. Make your choice (BB7 recommended), select the target directory, name the file, accept the defaults and give answers to the questions (e.g., "Directory name: Sample" and click OK to export it.


• Go to the course and open it.

• Settings → Import Content into this Course You may have to scroll right to see the latter as it is in a right sidebar. Click it.

• Import Content → Content Type → Select One Now you see this array of choices. If you have taken my advice above and exported as Blackboard 7+ then select Blackboard 6/7/8/9. Otherwise, knock yourself out experimenting.

• Choose the file to upload.

• Choose among all the other choices. YMMV. Click Import.

• Go to Quizzes in the Navigation panel. You will see the quiz there. Edit as required.

For example:

To change the points:

Quizzes → Sample → Edit → Questions → Question → Edit → pts

(Phew... :-(

But easy if you know how.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Computer FixIts

A friend sent me a document to address for the mission.

OK, I've cleaned it up some more, but the authors are incredibly incompetent when it comes to word processors. It is so easy to do it all automatically if you know how and I'm more than willing to show how.

They have spent a hideous amount of time that I have now removed on tappity-tappity brute force "formatting": centering, date formatting, sequencing, you name it. Tappity, tappity, tappity.

I'll guarantee that if we find ourselves doing a particular thing over and over again, we need to STOP, because someone has already figured out how to automate that. In particular, text formatting is down to a science: centering vertically or horizontally, merging cells, formatting dates into whatever you want (Weekday, month, day, year) are available at the click of a button for a host of formats, including Jewish (Tevet).

So please tell your colleagues: If they find themselves doing something repetitively in a spreadsheet or Word document (or, really, anywhere else) we can assure them that there is an easier way.

Just email me. Although I'll probably post the answer here and email them back with the URL. They don't have to pay for it but it increases my SEO visibility.

People in general, and organizations in particular, need to make the investment to teach people how to use these tools that have been given them.

Hideous amounts of time are unnecessarily being wasted.

I came to a brick wall at the rubric: I've fixed the rest, but they had PASTED THE RUBRIC AS AN IMAGE!!! So there is absolutely no way to edit it.

Ask them for a source for from where they got it. It is probably in an Excel spreadsheet format with which we can do something. But we can't edit an image, at least not with a huge amount of more time.

Otherwise it means rebuilding it from scratch, too late tonight to do that.


I learned this forty decades ago, if you don't know what you're doing, ask (and if necessary pay) an expert. That goes for plumbers, chimney sweeps, gardeners, fixit guys, lawyers,

and computer people.

Do NOT try to do it yourself.

That way everybody wins.




Saturday, May 9, 2015

Water woes

Thank you to the City for good faith response. There have been periodic issues with water bills. A team came and examined my system and found nothing to explain a doubling, but also offered a lot of information:

1. Most cases involve leaks. People complain (as I did) but then never report the result. (So I am doing so).

2. They agree that major leaks don't go away, but valves can get sediment and toilet floats get dirty, that can cause intermittent loss. In my case they did find one toilet stopper weeping slightly.

3. They offer a brochure and dye tablets to do the tests, but you can also use food dye, put some in the tank, wait 5-10 minutes, if the color appears in the bowl then you have a leak.

4. The meters are mechanical and the dials are driven by flow. The readers are electronic but they just read the mechanical value.

5. As Marco points out, they want to know if you have a problem. Call them at 845-5600 if you have an issue.


So the spike is a mystery, but it is what it is.

So the only answer is pay attention. My usage projects normal gain with five days left to the billing cycle.

You can check your own usage and project your bill by using this calculator. You can download it (a spreadsheet) here. Do so and check it out daily. 
All the necessarily politically correct caveats apply, use at your own risk, I've done the best I could, hey I'm just trying to help. If you don't like it don't use it. And it may be wrong:
  1. Enter the data from your last bill in the first set of pale yellow shaded cells
  2. Read your meter and enter the date, time, and meter reading in the second set of pale yellow shaded cells
  3. Enter Y or N in the pale yellow shaded cell under Residential (Y/N)
  4. Enter the expected date of your next bill in the next pale yellow shaded cell under Date
  5. The results are printed in blue.
  6. Pay attention if the number in the bottom right corner is too big! :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2015



I've been having problems with Permalinks in a WordPress site. I found many others having the same problem, but no solutions identified. I'd been working on this for weeks, learning all kinds of wonderful stuff about apache2's mod_rewrite, regular expressions and so forth. All appropriately logged, saved, and posted below.

But then I got caught up in a bunch of events and left it for a week.

When I came back to the problem I noticed that my published site was processing permalinks correctly, while my localhost version was not.

OK! Now I can compare and find the problem.

First I did a side by side comparison of httpd.conf. No difference.

So then I looked at the WordPress permalink settings:
Settings → Permalinks

The disfunctional site had them set to Post name:

The functional had it set to Custom:

So I added the /index.php/ and now it works.

PATHINFO permalinks look very much like mod_rewrite permalinks but for one exception: they have /index.php inserted before them.

Otherwise, they are the same as the "pretty" mod_rewrite permalinks, and are similarly flexible. Anything that mod_rewritepermalinks can do, PATHINFO permalinks can do, with the help of that /index.php part.

To activate PATHINFO permalinks, start your permalink structure with index.php/.

So it appears that we must use PATHINFO Permalinks, not mod_rewrite Permalinks

But why?

More to learn. At least now it is working. Hope this helps others.

============= Previous Post =============

Apache 2.4.10... module rewrite is not responding.

I'm sure it's something simple, but weeks of work have been evaded in finding it.

This is a monster. I have checked all of the following thoroughly:

• The firewall is not the problem. Turning it on or off has no effect.

• .htaccess is not the problem as it reflects what everyone says it should and one is generated by WordPress.

• WordPress is not the problem as mod_rewrite does not respond outside of WordPress.

• PHP is not the problem. PHP scripts all run successfully.

I've worked through all the options of the fundamental Apache2 documentation for mod_rewrite:

     I've set
          LogLevel alert rewrite:trace4
               I find no errors in
                    or anywhere else.

RewriteBase Directive

     I've set this correctly in each affected .htaccess file

Require Directive
     This is generated by WordPress and by analysis is correct.

RewriteEngine Directive
     Both .htaccess files contain
             RewriteEngine On

RewriteRule Directive
The RewriteRule directive is the real rewriting workhorse.
Yeh, ok, except it isn't working. But the rules for /nptbeyond/ are written by WP, those for /test/ are as posted, so who am I to question them. Let's look for another cause.

So everything is totally in order, no shortcuts. But it doesn't work.

httpd.conf might be the problem, but it is very simple. Other than include statements and all the outcommented statements the only parts I've changed read:

# forbid access to the entire filesystem by default

    Options None
    AllowOverride None
Require all denied

# New section

DocumentRoot /srv/www/htdocs

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Multiviews
AllowOverride All
Require all granted

# use .htaccess files for overriding,
AccessFileName .htaccess
# and never show them ;
# The tilde ~ indicates that the text inside the quotes is a PCRE
# The cap ^ indicates to include all precedent paths
# The backslash \ renders the literal value of the period . otherwise
# it would be looking for any single charater before:

    Require all denied

So all seems right.

But it is not.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Yes, I'm a tattletale. I am not going to be nice.

I'll call 911 in a heartbeat and I'll exercise my Second Amendment rights.


I'll help fill up the NPD database with information about the trouble spots (weird people hitting on me, people trying my back door in broad daylight, people trying my front door after midnight). 

But I'll also be able to handle the eight to ten minutes required to work through the 911 maze and have the police deploy before they actually appear on my doorstep (national average is eight minutes). 

Have you ever actually called 911? It takes at least three minutes just to get to the right person able to listen ("Fire, Police, or Medical? Stay on the line. Beep".)

Don't waste their time, but the next time you see anything even faintly legitimately suspicious call them. They will be appreciative of the information and YOU will get an education as to how long it takes to get a response. 

Not their fault. Just the way it is.

Which they did in both instances in about ten minutes, no complaints. And in both cases they caught the perpetrators. Both well known down-and-outers, druggies, whatever. Sort of like Gray with an eighteen count rap sheet.

NPD never told me what the final outcome was, I don't really care as long as the perps don't come back.

But if the perps had gotten through the door in that time it would have been too late.

For them.

So, do not depend on others for your safety. BE PREPARED.

Gosh, someone famous said that once upon a time...


Be Prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.

Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, April 24, 2015

in incertum sagittam dirigens sui pes

I've been doing great with a remote server, especially with fail2ban, but getting tired of keying in the password to log in, so decided to set up key login. 

As I was doing ssh-copy-id to transfer the key, a system alert message popped up and I screwed up the copy. Now I can neither telnetftp, nor ssh to the server. It just hangs.

Fortunately, the vncserver on the remote restarts on boot, so I can get into the remote to do work. But I want to fix telnet, ftp, and ssh. All three are blocked. They do not refuse the connection (no "Connection Refused" response) they just hang with no response at all. They don't even time out.

That was about 0830 this morning. It is now 1700.

Guess what: 

     fail2ban works. 

Apparently my little farkling around exceeded the three failure rule and I ended up blacklisting myself.

Problem solved and, in the meantime, I've learned a lot about ssh.

All good.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

mod_rewrite woes...

I'm having a problem with WordPress that is preventing my advance on another website. In short, I can't get "Permalinks" to work in any but the "Default" mode. Any other choice results in the same form:
which results in the dreaded 404 error.

Permalinks are features of WordPress that let you choose the format of the links in the pages that you post. You can choose among Day and Name, Month and Name, Numeric, or Post name. Each of these should provide a different format. But choosing any of these renders the same result: Post name in the form above.

Use of any but Default requires:

Installation and activation of Module rewrite (mod_rewrite) in the server.
Our server is /etc/apache2 version 2.4 and is up to date.
We have searched for the module and found it as /usr/lib64/apache2/

It also exists in the Apache Server Module list with the Status of Enabled.
We have tested it with and its The latter says it is not being used, despite being Enabled.
So how else to tell the server to use it other than enabling it?

Various other settings in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf, other subordinate .conf files, and the .htaccess files in the various server directories. In particular, we need:
+ A directory section in httpd.conf referring to the entire server path

Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Require all

+ In WordPress's home directory, the FollowSymLinks option enabled.
Done, in the section of httpd.conf as well as in the local .htaccess above the WordPress section.

Checking the logs:
Explicitly set LogLevel alert rewrite:trace3 to enable logging rewrite events.

cat error_log|grep 'rewrite' returns no recent rewrite issues.

But there is an implication that FollowSymLinks and SymLinksIfOwnerMatch must both be on. We had the former already, add the latter and restarted the server: No change.

I found another string to follow, perhaps tomorrow:

It's nice to know I am not alone.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Reality versus fantasy

Rants are good. Political correctness is not.

Rather providential (and gripping, inspirational and comforting) for me after a
few little local tiffs that this piece of paper should drop through my mailbox today;

Frank Capra’s America and Ours
March 2015 | Volume 44, Number 3
John Marini
University of Nevada, Reno

This is what these conversations are all about. Not about self-licking ice cream cones, but about facing reality and solving problems so that everybody wins.

It should not be a competition.

In this case. try coming to America in steerage (remembering the smells) and taking the train from NYC to California at age six. You know hardship, you know reality, you now know freedom, and are hugely grateful for it. His parents literally kissed the ground when they finally arrived in California.

Or, in my case, try being put on a plane alone at age 13 to be flown 3000 miles on a piston-engined DC-4 to America, and not being allowed off the plane in the Cienfuegos ("100 fires", lovely) Cuba fuel stop because I had been born in Cuba and would be taken into custody as a deserter if I left the plane.

FWIW, I then at the tender age of thirteen learned about SOVEREIGN TERRITORY: Any ship (or boat, like mine) or aircraft under a particular flag (USA in our case) is Sovereign territory: any attack against it or its passengers is an attack against our nation.

A bit complicated for a 13-year old to comprehend, but the stewardess explained it and so I did.

Certainly better than steerage, but a some twelve-hour flight nonetheless.

So we all need to  know and address the difference between reality and fantasy.

And now defend that liberty with your life.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

This is long but powerful. We all need to think

I wish I had received this before Easter Sunday.

  *How The Apostles Died/ The Death of Jesus*


*1. Matthew*
Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

*2.  Mark*
Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

*3.  Luke*
Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

*4.  John*
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome; however, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos.  He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

*5.  Peter*
He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.  According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

*6.  James*
The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.  When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.

** This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.*

*7.  James the Great*
Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem.  The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

*8.  Bartholomew*
Also known as Nathaniel, he was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey.  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

*9.  Andrew*
He was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.  After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led
toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour.
The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.' He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

*10.  Thomas*
Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent.

*11.  Jude*
Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

*12.  Matthias*
The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

*13.  Paul*
Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundation doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament. Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles And disciples during their times For the sake of the Faith. And ye shall be hated Of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew

*Faith is not believing that God can.  It is knowing that God WILL!*

*Jesus' Death*
*The Death of Jesus*
For the next 60 seconds, set aside whatever you're doing and take this
opportunity! Let's see if Satan can stop this.


At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to death.  At the time Crucifixion was the  "worst" death. Only the worst.  Criminals were condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned to death by crucifixion Jesus was to be nailed to the Cross by His hands and feet.

Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long. The nails were driven into His wrist. Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There's a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the Wrist that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breath. Both of His feet were nailed together. Thus, He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross. Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breath. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.

Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of  suffering? A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water From his wounds. From common images we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side... But do we realize His wounds were actually made in his body. A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even large nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear. But before the nails and the spear Jesus was whipped and beaten.

The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body. The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. The Crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have survived this torture. " He had no more blood to bleed out, only water poured from His wounds. The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters(just less than a gallon) of blood. Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His chest...All these without mentioning the humiliation He suffered after carrying His own cross for almost 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his face and threw
stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part, where His hands were nailed).

Jesus had to endure this experience, to open the Gates of Heaven, So that you can have free access to God. So that your sins could be "washed" away.

All of them, with no exception! Don't ignore this situation.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Where we are

I've been out of work for two years, nevertheless diligently seeking work. I don't understand that  but it is what it is.

I've been encouraged, and have subsequently endeavored, to seek an online presence that will draw visitors and subsequently advertising income.

The operative word is income.

But it still isn't happening.

I've given up time from local chat groups to address a wider audience through Facebook.

Part of the problem may be being too honest, as discussed here:

Consequentially, it occurs to me that we need to consider the various *types* of human relationships.

is a well respected treatise that make a distinction between visceral ("feeling") and neo-cortex (intellectually "thinking") recognition of attraction to another person. You may viscerally love them (be hot for them, "feel" that they mean well, whatever) but know that they are a total idiot (neo-cortex).

We need to put both on the table and sort it out.

Or, conversely, you may totally admire them for their intellect, intelligence, commitment, and perseverance (Winston Churchill and Benjamin Franklin come to mind) but abhor them as fat drunken slobs, which both were (visceral)...

What the HR people say in the end is this: I don't care about the color of your eyes, the color of your skin, or your blood type. All I care about is your BEHAVIOUR. Fix that and we'll all get along just fine.

Starting with MYOB and keep your hands off my stuff.