Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's the garlic, stupid

Interesting exercise. 

I bought some tapenade for after-choir snacks. Though it a bit dear at $6.95 for a half cup jar. 

So I decided to make it myself with the following results (numbers on the right are dollars - the black olives and olive oil are the dearest of the lot):
1 can 6 oz Black olives 1.43
1/4 bottle 2 oz Green olives
2/7 can 2 filets anchovies
1/8 bottle 2 tablespoons capers
1/4 lemon

juice of
1/4 cup 2 oz extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves 0.25 head garlic
6 dashes 0.1 oz Maggi juice

Yields about 15 cups 4.77

At first it was a little flat. And then I remembered the garlic. :-)

 When you do the math it turns out the little jar is 439% more expensive than doing it yourself. 

Maybe I should go into the business of making tapenade...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Streaming Spotify to Squeezeboxserver

Absolutely brilliant. The author should get a Nobel prize.

Well, some prize...

Easy when you know how: zip, scratch, and suddenly Spotify streams go to the Squeezebox Server and out through your media center.

Brilliant. Raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

OK, stop fibrillating, here are the steps, assuming you have a Logitech Squeezebox: 

 properly set up on your [Windows only, sorry. No Mac or Linux so far] system with squeezeboxserver properly installed, otherwise stop now.

+ Install Spotify and subscribe to whatever you wish. Duh.

+ Go to

to read as much as you care, but especially notice the download link. Go there:

+ This will result in your downloading the aforesaid zip file. Extract this wherever you wish, and then look in the "bin" folder in your extraction. You will find a file dsound.dll.

+ Find the location of your Spotify executable "spotify.exe". 

   Make sure it is the actual .exe file, not just a link ("bookmark") to it. 

   Mine is in
    C:\Documents and Settings\C. Andrews Lavarre\Application Data\Spotify

Obviously yours will be different but of a similar form.

+ Move dsound.dll to that location.

+ Reboot. You will now see a round ball in the lower right hand corner of the task bar at the bottom of the screen. That is your dsbridge icon. It takes on different colors, according to the aforementioned slimdevices link.

+ Start Spotify and start some song singing.

+ Open a web browser and go to

to bring up the Squeezebox server. yourIPaddress is the IP address of your machine. You can get it from
    Start>Run>cmd.exe>ipconfigwhich for me returns
    IP Address ....... whatever. YMMV.

Once the server settles down, go to
    Home > Tune in URL
and then enter the following URL:
    http://yourIPaddress:8124 (obviously inserting your IP address per the above)

There shall be a short burp sound and then suddenly, gloriously, your media center will burst into sound, rejoicing in the music.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thanks (BTG and all others cited, silently or aloud)


Thanks for a day in which reality has sunk in, (yet again):

+ The root cause is Political Correctness. People unable to engage in civil discourse based on facts, opinions, and conclusions, and certainly without blowing each other away or pouting because someone doesn't agree with them or has "hurt their feelings":

+ Thanks to my choir fellows for their temperate discussion of these issues (facts, opinions, conclusions: tell me if you have different facts available, but in the meantime argue the facts...)

Thanks to these brilliantly temperate people and their inspiration for me to encapsulate these views herein.

+ Got a letter today saying that the Government and all those "chairs" (Congressional, empty, or otherwise), can't make up their minds, so I (and certainly thousands, if not millions of others, [I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone]) am unemployed as of 28 September. 

Because of their collective intransigence, or incompetence, or both.

Remember that in November. 

As Clint Eastwood reminded us:

These dweebs are our employees. They are our hired help

And if the help won't help ("won't is an active verb: will not: they purposely refuse to do so) then you just have to let them go.

Reminds me of Eddie the gardener. He wants to wash the house, replace the clapboard. I want him to cut the grass and pull the weeds.

I offered him five hours a month at $30 an hour to do what I wanted done.

$30 an hour is a pretty generous offer for manual labor. But he didn't want to do that. He is an artiste.

OK, Eddie le artiste. Goodbye. I pay your paycheck. 

Or not.

So we have parted ways.

+ If you don't understand this then the simple tutorial is that:

      -You do what you are paid to do. If you do not do what you have been paid to do then you shall not be paid to do anything else, and God willing, shall never be paid again to do anything for me.

     - The Congress couldn't come to an agreement on the Budget, but agreed on draconian cuts in order to force themselves to come to an agreement. 

     - The cuts (called "sequestration", google for it) don't take place until 2 January 2013, after the election, but only if some other budget agreement does not take place.

    - But they still would not come to an agreement (nor do what they had been paid to do but instead kick the can down the road) so were forced to pass a "continuing resolution" that would let the Government (sorta) keep working. That means that they can continue to fund "essential services" but no others.

    - Renewing the contract on some geek studying cyber warfare certainly doesn't fit into the category of "essential services".

     - So here we are. After 28 September we are toast.

+  Nice of them (TBTG) to write me an explicit letter so saying, so I can use it to apply for unemployment. 

[Yet another means to suck down (only a small fraction of) the thousands of dollars they have already sucked down from my employer and me against our wills. My objective is to suck down back as much of MY money as I can legally. If anyone wants to argue the morality then please talk to someone else. 

     - Try talking to The One. Rotsa Ruck.

+ I am now going to get it back, by using the same force of your own laws and regulations, voted in by your multitude of people below the 98th percentile.

     - So how does that make me a terrorist?

+ Got the opportunity to reflect on what is causing all our troubles, including the budget intransigence and the recent violence south of Vienna (Austria, not Virginia). And my unemployment.

+ The root cause is Political Correctness. People unable to engage in civil discourse based on facts, opinions, and conclusions, and certainly without blowing each other away or pouting because someone doesn't agree with them or has "hurt their feelings":


Or not.

God bless us all.

Libya, Cairo, Yemen...

How many more Americans need to die in defense of the Constitution? 

TOO many, I'm afraid:

In this case, the accusations are based on total falsehoods:


WHAT HAPPENED was that a few radical Islamist activists led by Salafist Wesam Abdel-Wareth, found a home-made movie online, dubbed it into Arabic and then began passing it off as a “film shown in the US.”

This galvanized the radical Egyptian media, which incited the public further.


Once again, Political Correctness rears its ugly head:


The US Cairo Embassy’s response? “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others. 

Just because someone is offended does not mean freedom of speech has been “abused,” it certainly isn't “abused” by critiques of religion.


First of all:

+ Who is Abdel-Wareth to say who is allowed to watch whatever? Who is this arrogant megalomaniacal narcissistic dweeb?

[Oh, gosh, Abdel-Wareth, I hope I haven't hurt your feelings... Please  don't shoot me. But if you want to do so then please, first discuss it first with my Mossberg 535... 

[Oh, and if you don't understand Mossberg then please,  just Google it...]

+ Who is to say that the words dubbed in by Abdel-Wareth were in fact accurately reflecting the English text of the homemade video, of which the author had every legal and moral right to express under the United States of America's Constitution, regardless of the accuracy of the subsequent translation not authorized by him?


+ Whatever the offense at some arrogant megalomaniacal narcissist, it certainly does not justify killing people, any people, but especially totally unrelated people. 

Like ME.

Gosh, nevermind that words hurt their feelings but didn't actually touch, let alone kill, anyone.

How does KILLING AMERICANS feel to OUR feelings and those of their families, and indeed those of millions of other Americans, most singularly ME


Look: Let's just get over this "feelings" crap. 

People of the Lie. 

Deal with facts, rationally.
“It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” says Romney.

"We are shocked [at the Romney statement]", say's Obama's camp. 

[Gosh, how can you say such a thing? You're not being very nice...]

But they don't counter the embassy statement. Just wimply say, "the embassy statement did not reflect the government’s views". 

So just what ARE those views, hmmm?  

That it is OKAY to go out and KILL people, especially Americans who might look like me, because someone fabricated a story that someone who MIGHT look like me went out and said something that hurt their feelings, so then it is okay to kill me and anyone that looks like me for allegedly hurting their feelings???


Is this racism, bigotry, and all the names liberals fling at conservatives, except in the extreme?  


Come on, punks: defend one tiny detail of this entire sordid, and Constitutionally-challenging event, if you can (you CAN'T).

We need another Constitutional Amendment:  

"Political Correctness sucks and is hereby unlawful and banned."
Reminds us all of the Iran hostage situation, which was resolved "just minutes" after Reagan took office:

"The hostages were formally released into United States custody the following day, just minutes after the new American president Ronald Reagan was sworn into office."

Because they knew. They knew they were NOT going to win that fight.

And they won't this time either, unless the goons fail to get their heads out of the sand:

Perhaps a road map for November:  


I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I really, really would. I'd love to lie around on a warm sunny beach making love and drinking wine and everyone just getting along and making nice.

I really would.

But I also know that that is not going to happen any time soon. Except maybe in the fiction section of the library.

Anyone who thinks it shall happen any time soon is out of touch with reality. 

A real goon.

So in the meantime:
  • We can be your best friend or worst enemy. The choice is up to you.
  • Go ahead. Make My Day.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bears of little brains...

On 09/07/2012 11:48 AM, Mike Cullen wrote:
We live in the state where
Mike: you're going to confuse people of little minds. We live "in the *condition* in which..." It is not a geographic thing. It is an intellectual thing. And if one has no intellect, no neocortex, then it is irrelevant. Have another can of beer. Burp...
 marginalized by tribal leaders.
Brilliant: AOH, 5th ward, good ol' boys
relies on hitting home runs.
and snappy little sound bites. A recent sound bite by a recently acquainted journalist has her saying "we are entertainers as well as informers"...
 little accountability
unless Guido is your friend. But by all accounts Guido has been out of work since around 1993. Thank you Mr. Cianci...
Even then, the losing or convicted incumbent
Some see the quick elixir as term limits
But don't you see? All the citations you have given above are *precisely* the manifestations of the *absence* of term limits.

People get in, with the aid of the good ol boys or Guido or the AOH or other "tribal leaders" and then, like your reinforced concrete runways, you can't get rid of them with anything less than a nuclear bomb. 

Or another Guido.

(Is Guido a Second Amendment right? ... But I digress...) 

but this only constrains the supply side.
No. You are mistaken: term limits *liberate* and *extend* the supply side.

Term limits empower the smart individual to participate without a sense of hopelessness.

And they threaten and intimidate the incumbent: they keep his eye on the ball for his own credibility and ethical reputation (so better to be a consultant, not a lobbyist, thereafter). They give him the courage (as the military are given) to do exactly the right thing and be the best that they can be: "You are expendable, so have nothing to lose: just get out there and give it your best."

But if you are in debt to Guido, the AOH, and the tribal leaders then you can't do that. Nor can you if you aspire to be a suckerupper. Oops, sorry, lobbyist.


As it is, anyone with half a brain (well, at least above the 80th percentile of the bell shaped curve) knows that it is virtually hopeless to actually participate in politics with conviction and integrity *because you cannot have an effect* other than irritating others.

(Ooops, gosh, what does that say about the conviction, integrity, and intellect of the incumbents? ... Mmm. Gosh, sorry. but so be it, the cat's out of the bag, bridge under the water, so to speak, :-), so let's just carry on...)

So they direct their efforts elsewhere unless desperate for a job. Thanks to Steven Covey...

So the only answer is to
always vote against the incumbent, no matter who they are, since that is the only way to break the stranglehold that incumbency has on the intellect of this country and shall continue so to do until term limits are in place.

why a broader base of citizens are not running for public office?
Precisely because of the *absence* of term limits.


Since I *shall soon be out of work (thank you dear Congress and Mr. President, all of whom I blame; I haven't been fired, there is just no money left to pay me) I DID apply for the City Manager position, but TPTB decided Ms. Howington more qualified. So be it.

I DID then consider running for City Council but was too busy doing real work to get around to trying to be a politician until the deadline for filing was past.

But even if those had not been the case, I still would have faced the foregoing problems of "tribal leaders", as you say.

One *can get around this condition, but perhaps not in this state, without extremely courageously exercising your First, and if necessary Second, Amendment rights (and rites).

My younger friend Dan faced this exact type of exasperation in trying to break into the local dental surgery and anesthesiology world. He succeeded, but only with extreme courage and employment of those rights.

But this time next around, if I'm still desperate for a job I'll try again.

Thirty years of "got-mine+want-more-itis" seems to have caught up with us.
Ayup, and we get what we work for and deserve.

Apologies to anyone who can't read more than two paragraphs without another can of beer.

God bless them good ol' boys.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Re-repairs Approved for Bellevue

Newport this week reports the title above on the front page of Newport this week on the Thursday 30 August 2012 issue.

Interestingly, Google cannot find the report online. We can find almost everything from that issue except this one article.

So I can only offer the print issue as attribution, available at your corner NTW stand (and I've kept a copy).

Perhaps Gunga Din can find it... (He's a local Googler: you're a better Googler than I, Gunga Din)...

Why does this smell fishy? Is it merely the striper season? or is it something else?

The following statements from the printed article are presented for your consideration:

+ The City Council voted to approve a $428,000 project to repair the faulty repairs to Bellevue Avenue performed less than six years ago.

I cycle and run that route and confirm that it was a thoroughly shoddy job. The concrete is dissolving in the salt and rain, the intersectional caulking is ripping out. And the storm grates are dangerous (see below. Oh! and who built the crumbling curbs for the America's Cup median along Bannister's and Bowen's Wharf? But carry on...)

A total mess.

+ The original job cost $500,000 and was performed by Aetna Bridge Company.

+ The new contract bid has been won by... (drum roll... envelope please...): Aetna Bridge Company.

Hooray, hooray! Who at Aetna Bridge Company knows someone who knows someone who graduated from Rogers High School?

(interestingly, this little factoid is not reported in the print edition until page NINE... Is someone leaning on Tom Shevlin? But I digress.)

"Never mind", say the City Council (bar one member): "trust me":

+ It wasn't Aetna's fault. The bid specifications were at fault.

+ The City Manager (who, to her credit, was NOT a part of this fiasco), Charlie Duncan, and others "have confidence" that the specifications have been correctly stated this time.

Oh well, alright, let's all just get along. Hugfest, please.


Right. Both Ms. Howington and Charlie are civil engineers, right?



Wrong on ALL counts.

For my detractors (of which there are a few and from whom I've heard before):

Look: This is not a matter of "getting along" or "being nice". This is a matter of half a million dollars of OUR, make that YOUR, money going down the drain and yet another half million ABOUT to go down the drain with no discernible return. Have you any clue of what half a million dollars of YOUR money could buy if you had been allowed to keep it??? Wake up!!

I could "get along" quite happily on half a million of OUR dollars. But consider the following:

1. I only trust people so far as to be "confident" that they will follow the money:

    + How about a THIRD PARTY (NOT City) review by licensed civil engineers (I am NOT one) to review the bid package and ENSURE that the specs are indeed correct, THIS time.

    + I am certain you can find several such engineers in the area who would gladly spend a week or so doing just that for $10-$15K...

    + Indeed, it doesn't really take a civil engineer, just an inquiring mind. See point 4. below.

2. It is going to cost almost as much the second time around as it did the first time: once fooled, twice foolish, as my grandmother taught me:

How can ANYONE conscience giving a second contract almost as big as the first to the perpetrator of the first, to fix the problems of the first? Certainly, how could anyone conscience doing so without due diligence, third party analysis, and 360 degree review??? Does anyone doubt what other good could be done with another half a million dollars of OUR money? Aetna will soon be laughing all the way to the bank. What goons. Look:

    a. If Aetna were so lily-white, they would have recognized that the specifications were inadequate. If they didn't then they were incompetent. And shouldn't be granted the correctional contract. They'll just screw it up again. (And never mind the City's engineering staff's incompetence for having so specified in the first place...)

    b. If Aetna did so recognize and had had any integrity they would have so informed the City.

        i. If
Aetna did recognize the inadequacy and did not inform the City then I maintain that they were criminally negligent and predatory.

        ii. If
Aetna did so inform the City and some City official said "shut up and do it anyhow" then that official is criminally negligent.

3. So any way you cut it, someone was either incompetent or criminally negligent or both and should be made to pay. Which was it, hmmm?

    a. Aetna did not recognize the inadequacy: ergo, incompetent.

    b. Aetna recognized the inadequacy, did not inform the City: ergo criminally negligent and predatory.

    c. Aetna recognized the inadequacy and informed the City: Responsible, but situation beyond their control.
    Now the City is culpable. Whom did Aetna inform?

    d. City was informed and did nothing: ergo: incompetent and criminally negligent. Whom did Aetna inform?

    e. City was informed and told Aetna to shut up and carry on. Now really criminally negligent. Whom did Aetna inform?

We can carry on with the last two points much much further. But at the end of the day, Whom did Aetna inform, and if not why not?

So the bottom line is that the Council should not be allowed to slither out with a limp "oh, well, we screwed up" (for half a million of OUR dollars) and then blow away yet another half mil (of OUR dollars) doing the same stupid thing all over again with the same incompetent or dishonest or both perpetrator.

(Reminds me of the old joke about faulty brakes and the software engineer: push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again...)

Good on Kate Leonard for trying to fight it. Hopefully the above gives more ammunition.


Now, going forward:
4. Paybacks are hell: Just specifically what were the original specifications that were in error, and how have they changed this time and why? What other changes were made, and why, and what changes were NOT made, and why not? Someone (who was the city's lead engineer on the project? Ms. Forgue?) should be squirming and doing a lot of explaining.

5. I also understand "Engineering Changes" and the costs they incur, but this time around, would you please include a specification that the storm grates be installed with their slots orthogonal to the direction of travel and be rectangular instead of square, to prevent subsequent incorrect reinstallation by drain maintenance crews?

As it is, they are a square and subsequently a hodgepodge of correct (orthogonal to the direction of travel) and incorrect (in line with the direction of travel) installation, resulting in a biker having to swerve into the traffic lane to avoid them or risk having his front wheel jammed in the grate.