Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Outsourcing Proposal

I've been really bummed recently that work has me so busy that I don't have time to do any decent blogging, but today the job handed me some fodder that's just too good not to post. I've been reading proposals from outsourcing companies. Here's my review of the disaster recovery portion of one I read today.

VendorX's proposal would be humorous if it weren't so tragic. VendorX's typo-filled response gives no evidence of any existing disaster recovery (DR) plans nor of a comprehensive business continuity (BC) plan. VendorX (in confusing "high availability" with "disaster recovery") boasts that its primary power supply (apparently at its main campus) is a diesel generator that runs 95% of the time. This local generation is backed up by service from the state-run power utility, whose service is available 99% of the time. VendorX keeps replacement parts for its diesel generator in stock and guarantees generator repair within six hours. But (as alarming as all that is) the most striking information VendorX provides is its case study of "Incident -2" (I believe the minus sign is significant). Here VendorX boasts of its emergency response to an electrically sparked fire in Building 1, a ten-story building ("Ground + 9 storeys") that has just one stairwell and two elevators. This ten-story structure is intended to house 5500 employees-though at the time of the fire, there were only 1100 persons in the building. VendorX's emergency response was to manually shut off power to the building and then initiate a rescue of the people trapped in the elevators. An emergency response team (composed of VendorX's senior management) was then assembled in the neighboring Building 2. From there they created an ad hoc plan to deal with this unforeseen crisis.
Overall Score: 1 (but only because “-2” was already taken)

Guess which country this vendor is in.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From My Cousin

I got this story in an email from my cousin in Irvine, CA -- it's just too good not to pass on. (My sincere apologies if this one has already visit all the in-boxes on the Internet, but it was new to me.)

A Baptist Preacher was seated next to a cowboy on a flight to Texas.

After the plane took off, the cowboy asked for a whiskey and soda, which was brought and placed before him.

The flight attendant then asked the preacher if he would like a drink.

Appalled, the preacher replied, "I'd rather be tied up and taken advantage of by women of ill-repute, than let liquor touch my lips."

The cowboy then handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me too --- I didn't know we had a choice."

Friday, April 24, 2009

It Musta Been...

Ten years later and I still don't understand what went wrong in Littleton, Colorado. Maybe, if those angry children didn't have easy access to guns, we wouldn't have had such a tragedy.

Yeah, it must have been the guns ...

It couldn't have been because half our children are being raised in broken homes ...

It couldn't have been because we regularly allow our children to enter into virtual worlds in which (to win) one must violently kill as many opponents as possible ...

It couldn't have been because our children spend an average of 30 seconds in meaningful conversation with their parents each day (after all it's all "quality time") ...

It couldn't have been because we place our children in day care where the law of the jungle teaches them socialization while minimum-wage workers look on ...

It couldn't have been because, on average, each day our children watch seven hours of sexually degrading, violent, televised filth ...

It couldn't have been because our schools teach our children that they're nothing more than highly developed apes, nor that (oddly enough) these same schools contrarily teach them that they're nothing less than gods who have the authority to define right-and-wrong for themselves ...

It couldn't have been because we've demonstrated over 40-million times just how easy it is to rid oneself of the unwanted --- through the simple expedient of killing the innocent ...

Nah ... must have been the guns.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


On Wednesday morning Joyce and I wandered outside before dawn to see the conjunction of Venus and the Moon. We took a few low-grade pictures, but before the Moon eclipsed Venus at 7:22, I had to head to work, so I missed the actual eclipse. If you missed it too, don't worry, your next opportunity will come around soon --- on Oct. 11, 2029. Now you may be thinking, "That's a long time to wait." But I assure you it's not. A twilight occultation of Venus by the Moon happened just once during the 20th century --- on Jan. 13, 1923. So see, you won't have to wait anywhere near as long as we had to wait for this last one.

As I said, Joyce and I took a few low-grade snapshots of the Moon's approach to Venus, but a guy named John McNair of Monument, Colorado captured the whole thing and sent his time-lapse video to where they feature it in today's lead article.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Original Sin

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth ... and God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good.

Article III of the Constitution of the United States begins:
The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court...

The framers of our Constitution clearly understood "judicial power" to mean the application of duly created law to individuals without personal or political bias. There was no intent to vest legislative authority in the judiciary. The Founders took great care to assure that no branch of the Federal government could assume powers that are not specifically granted to it by the Constitution; they instituted a system of checks and balances in which the three branches effectively restrain each other from usurping powers that are denied them. Our Founding Fathers saw the Constitution they had made, and behold, it was very good.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it. For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution says:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.

Having drafted one of history's clearest declarations of personal liberty, the grantors of our political heritage found themselves in a judicial Garden of Eden, in a state of legal perfection and innocence. But as in the fabled garden, there was a forbidden fruit which was pleasant to the eyes, and ... to be desired to make one wise.

Seductively beckoning was the apple of judicial review, the luscious sin of presuming that the opinions of judges are superior to the acts of legislatures.

The first American jurist to covet this fruit was Justice Samuel Chase of Maryland. He stated in his dissenting opinion to the 1798 Supreme Court decision in 'Calder v. Bull': "I cannot subscribe to the omnipotence of a state legislature, or that it is absolute and without control; although its authority should not be expressly restrained by the Constitution, or fundamental law, of the state. An act of the legislature contrary to the great first principles of the social compact cannot be considered a rightful act of legislative authority."

While Samuel Chase may have been right about the folly of of the Connecticut Legislature in this particular case, this does not justify his assumption that judges are inherently more qualified to decide what is (as Justice Chase put it) "contrary to the great first principles of the social compact." According to our Constitution the power to enact good or evil into law belongs the People and their representatives; creating law is not the prerogative of a small judicial elite.

Samuel Chase may have been the first and most clear-spoken advocate of original sin, but it fell to Chief Justice John Marshall to craft the most famous and precedent-setting assumption of judicial power in 'Marbury v. Madison'. In writing the majority opinion, Justice Marshall concluded that the Congress had granted the Supreme Court jurisdiction that the Constitution expressly denied it. He convincingly argued that the statute at issue had the effect of altering the Constitution (without following the amending process prescribed in the Constitution) and therefore, the Supreme Court was obliged to declare it unconstitutional. Thus, in one decision, the Supreme Court refused to accept a power given to it by the Legislative Branch, while at the same time it assumed the power of judicial review, something that no legislative body would have ever contemplated granting.

While the power to create or overturn laws is clearly vested in the Legislative Branch, Justice Marshall's reasoning may be defended since it does rest on the very words of the Constitution and the original understanding of those words, and because it argues persuasively against the extension of judicial power through legislative act. And for most of American history, it has been assumed that all three Branches had the same obligation to ignore clearly unconstitutional laws. During the last half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, the Federal courts repeatedly struck down state laws which would have infringed on the property rights of private citizens.

For a few years in the early 1930s, the power of judicial review even restrained the usurpations of the New Deal. But soon the High Court saw the benefit of joining in the power grab, and having once tasted the tantalizing fruit of judicial review, jurists were irresistibly drawn to using that power to assert their authority over the Legislative Branch.

Though under the leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren the political agenda shifted to the protection of individual liberties, the assumption of greater and greater political power by the courts continued unabated. The Warren Court was the first to openly declare itself the final arbiter of what is and is not constitutional; thus, subtly declaring that the words of the Constitution have no objective meaning beyond what the current black-robed oligarchy says they mean. And this assumption of greater judicial power shows no sign of slowing. Each generation of jurists demands and wields more and more political power. 'Marbury v. Madison' has been distorted by successive generations of legal authorities to justify the assumption of absolute dictatorial powers by the judiciary.

In our law schools today, our most respected legal scholars offer their serpentine arguments in favor of expanding the power of the judiciary. These snake-oil salesmen unashamedly declare to their impressionable students: Ye shall not surely die. For ... in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes will be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

From 'Marbury v. Madison' to 'Roe v. Wade' the exercise of judicial review has inexorably extended the power of the judiciary until it now invades every aspect of American life. It strikes down the will of the people with disconcerting regularity; it enacts political agendas which no legislative body would dare consider. It mandates busing of children; it redraws legislative district boundaries; it levies taxes by declaring our school financing "unconstitutional"; it frees criminals in the name of prison standards; it restructures city councils; it dismembers major corporations (remember the Bell System?); it short-circuits the political debate over abortion. All this it does without concern for the will of the People and without fear of political retaliation. The average American feels powerless to resist the will of this unelected judicial elite --- and the average American is right. He is powerless.

And the Lord God said to Adam, "[behold, thou] hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, 'Thou shalt not eat.' Cursed is the land because of you ... for thou art dust, and unto the dust shalt thou return."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Idea

As a service to my vast readership, I try to post helpful hints now and then. And with Mother's Day fast approaching, time is running out for you guys to find that perfect gift that tells your mom or the mother of your children just how much you love her.

So, here it is: the perfect Mother's Day gift ...

For more videos, go here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Warning Label

I went for a physical yesterday and got my blood-pressure-medication prescription renewed. Of course, my sweet wife Joyce is concerned about my health, so I wasn't overly surprised when I opened my email today and found a note from her advising me of all the terrifying side effects associated with the use of Diovan:
abdominal pain, allergic reactions, back pain, blurred vision, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, joint pain, low blood pressure, nausea, rash, runny nose, sinus inflammation, sore throat, swelling, swollen mouth and throat, upper respiratory infections, vertigo, viral infections.

As much as I appreciate Joyce's concern for me, I was a bit puzzled about what good this information is. Then it occurred to me that the warning label can be put to excellent use. It makes a pretty nifty little song (to be sung to the tune "The Rose", made famous by Bette Midler)

Diovan ... can cause reactions,
can put you fast asleep,
swell your mouth, cause infections
and coughing way down deep,
headaches like a skull incision,
and cause your nose to seep.
Diovan ... can blur your vision --
and Lord, it sure ain't cheap.

It's the cough with diarrhea
that makes you fill your pants.
And infections resp'ratory,
your romance don't enhance.
It's the throat all sore and swollen
that cannot seem to spit.
Only urge to purge your colon
will make you give a shit.

Then there's sinus inflammation,
rash, fatigue and aching back,
fainting spells, chronic joint pain,
dizziness and dental plaque.
But that pill, when I swallow,
when I gulp and down she goes,
keeps my blood pressure normal
and then ... so I blow my nose.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Sad, Sad Day

It brought a tear to my eye...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Boyle Is Hot!

Thanks to Leeann for finding this amazing story:


According to the Torah, today (the Sunday following Passover) is the Feast of Firstfruits.
Leviticus 23:11 "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it."

... it is indeed the day to celebrate Firstfruits.
1 Corinthians 15:20 "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Words of Wisdom From Jack Handy

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."

The face of a child can say it all ... especially the mouth part of the face.

If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let'em go, because ... man, they're gone.

To me, boxing is like a ballet ... except there's no music, no choreography and the dancers hit each other.

Instead of having "answers" on a math test, they should just call them "impressions," and if you got a different "impression," so what? Can't we all be brothers?

Probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seems that way.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room talking to you, which is why I don't like to read good books.

Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait ... I guess that's like a regular window.

When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police. But then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had antlers.

Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, "Why did they believe me?"

I hope that after I die, people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."

Before you judge a someone, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? ... He's a mile away and you've got his shoes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Nowadays the U.S. auto industry is hurting from foreign competition, but back in its heyday it hardly took note of its competition -- especially from the world's smallest car manufacturer based in El Paso, Texas. I of course am speaking of VBSWTC (Van Buren Street Wooden Transport Company), a company with a total vehicle output equal to one percent of Tucker Motors. Ours weren't your run-of-the-mill hunks of UAW-bolted metal. We were a family-held firm who built eco-friendly vehicles long before anyone had ever given any thought to the environment. We used only the highest quality bio-degradable materials -- a.k.a., old scrap lumber -- the most abundant renewable resource of our one-car garage (as if one car could be crammed into that garage with all the junk we had). The only drawback to the manufacture of wooden rolling stock was the procurement of components that ... well ... rolled. Wheels were in chronic short supply, so we, the brothers of ingenuity, made do with ex-roller skates which we securely rusty-bent-nailed into spare two-by-whatevers. (Important engineering tip: Roller skates of Japanese-tin manufacture will bear the weight of two kids per skate -- any more compressive load and skates will cease to function ... ever.)

Although skates made less than optimal rolling stock, we did have the compensation of a concrete test track with a steady three-percent grade, beginning at our front yard and terminating in a limestone-boulder-strewn drainage ditch way down at the big-numbered end of the 3000 block. Though (back in those vacuum-tube days) we lacked sophisticated Computer-Aided Design software to model the physics of our design, through full-scale modeling and trial-and-error testing (admittedly mostly error) we determined that within the length of our test track, wind drag and bearing friction got nowhere near the asymptotic limit on acceleration. The rhythmic "clickity-clickity" tempo of the skates over evenly spaced expansion joints (steadily progressing from a stately Adagio to an alarming Presto) was restrained from its Prestissimo Finale only by the fickle track's length. Thinking back, a functional braking system (although completely superfluous for most all of the trip down the block) would have come in real handy during those final panicky fifty feet that preceded the boulder field. Those limestone blocks did have a nasty tendency to strip the undercarriage from one's craft.

Luckily, we were well prepared to deal with such unforeseen vehicular wreckage. Our able manufacturing workforce immediately transformed into a crack team of highly skilled repair technicians -- artisans who deftly pried rusty-bent nails from the chassis, hammered straight the twisted metal of the former roller skates and then re-fastened our Globe-Union wheels to the timber even more securely with yet more rusty-bent nails. But alas, as with Tucker Motors, the Big Three-Minus-One (i.e., Mom and Dad) finally did us in, putting the squeeze on our supply chain until we found it impossible to keep the assembly line sufficiently supplied with wheels. (We ran through our entire stash of left-over skates from the previous Christmas and the 'rents saw no need to procure more "just so you ungrateful kids can destroy perfectly good toys.")

Oh well, better to have dreamed big and failed than never to have dreamed at all.