Goodbye Mr. Nimoy

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Thank you for the years of entertainment.

Thank you for the Poetry, Photography, and Mr. Spock. 

Thanks for owning your age and showing us all that aging can be done with grace.

I wish I’d had the chance to thank you personally for all these things and for providing such a great role model. 

You’re going to be sorely missed.

Earth, out.

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OK We’ve got Snow…

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While I could have gone off the hill Monday and I was scheduled to, I decided to stay home warm and safe.

I’m glad I did, it snowed most of the day. 

I drank tea tried to write and failing that blogged a bit.

Then I yelled at a lab for screwed up accounting.  I really lose my mind over late notices, especially when I’ve paid the bill they’re bitching about 2 weeks before the date of their nastygram.

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But mostly what I did on Monday was either watch it snow or shovel the snow from the driveway, and tweak some websites.

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

Don’t bother coming up here to play in it… We’re hosing our side of the mountain down with steam so it’ll be gone soon! 

Not really but that’s the PR we’re putting out to keep folks from over-running us like they did on Jan 1st.

 

NSFW Remember when Google’s motto was “Don’t be evil?”

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Got a notice from Google saying that my blog could no longer have sexually explicit or graphic nude images on it.

Well that’s not a big deal for me since I’ve not been using a blogger site for at least a few years. 

I was intrigued, because they go on to say;

We’ll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.

What exactly does that mean?

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How are they going to determine the artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts wherein explicit nude images are allowed?

Who set them up as the arbiters of good taste? 

One man’s obscene image is another mans art.  We’ve already been down this road with Robert Maplethorpe images. 

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The view of a man bottoming for a greek god (or one who looks like a god) is by some measures beautiful to some people. I could make an argument that such an image is educational, or that such an image artistic or even scientific. 

Why do men participating in such behavior keep going back for more? Is this a function of low self esteem or do they keep doing it because it feels good?

Some societies (Islam) call images of nude women obscene. While others (Generally the rest of the world) call them artistic. The Venus di Milo comes to mind. 

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I saw this coming a long time ago and that’s why gentle reader this blog is on a site that I own, and pay for.

Blogger had a habit of making some content simply disappear with no explanation and if the owner of the content didn’t have a backup well too bad!

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I find myself wondering what the driving force for this is. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that Google has run afoul of global political correctness, and are caving in.

As I said it’s not a problem for me. While their records correctly state that my blogger site, years ago had nude material. All my data was removed from their site and the only thing left is a pointer directing my readers to this site.

It’s a real pity that their records don’t indicate that I haven’t logged into that site in over a year. It’s sad that they didn’t record my numerous attempts to get rid of the blogger site and the failure of their site to process my request.

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As to Google being evil? They’re getting there with each passing day. Complicity in censorship is a big signpost to me, and depending on who they’re trying to appease… Well they might be branded traitors.

I won’t be surprised if soon we won’t be able to find a wide variety of artistic images with our Google search engines.

After all we wouldn’t want to offend anyone now would we?

Here’s a thought… 

Boycot Google for a day. 

Yippee! I’m one of the People Anthem has Screwed again!!!!

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As expected, I got the “We’re Sorry” message from Anthem.

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Honestly I’d rather have them pony up the money for two years on my existing LifeLock membership rather than someone I’ve never heard of. 

At least The credit fixing service is based in Texas and not off shore. I note that the product Anthem is signing us up for is identity repair, NOT Identity theft monitoring.  Since there are a lot of children who were covered under Anthem Policies, Two years of repair is next to useless since children are unlikely to know that their identities have been compromised for possibly decades.

I have no children to protect in this situation, I mention it because the hot ticket in ID theft today isn’t adults, it is in fact children. The crime goes un-noticed for years and by the time a child or their parents figure out something is amiss it’s a sisyphean task to correct the damage.

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It’s my opinion that this email and Anthems 2 year plan is nothing more than corporate hand waving to make it look like they’re taking responsibility for their carelessness, and that they’re taking corrective action.  

I strongly suspect that the measures Mandiant suggests will be deemed as “Too Costly” especially when it’s far cheaper for them to say “We’re sorry” and pay for credit repair that most people won’t take advantage of.

My suspicion is based on experience with large corporations, as an employee and as a victim of ID theft. 

As an employee I’ve sat in meetings where cyber security was discussed and watched executives choose to risk private data (Credit, SSNs, Addresses, Phones, credit ratings, you name it…) because a breach was less expensive to deal with than spending the money on infrastructure upgrades.  The infrastructure has to be constantly upgraded and results in a year over year line item on the budget, whereas a breach is a “one time” expense and since it’s technically a “loss” it’s apparently got a more favorable tax position. 

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Ironically, the same company then lost an HR laptop that contained the whole employee database. We’re talking thousands of employees worldwide and that database residing on a laptop was in violation of the policies and procedures of the company.  Once again the response was, “We’re sorry” we’ll pay for credit repair and monitoring.

Every time I hear of another data breach and the inevitable “We’re Sorry”, I can’t help but see the South Park episode where the oil company drilling has opened a dimensional portal and allowed Cthulhu access to Earth and ushered in 1000 years of darkness…

I didn’t include the whole memo from Anthem, it was pointless. 

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Bottom line is that in addition to the three or four companies that I worked for and who allowed my data to be stolen, The couple of banks where my information has been stolen, now my data has been stolen from an insurance company.  They say they don’t believe my health records, or my credit information has been stolen but they’re less than convincing about it.

When I couple their data breach with the sudden uptick in healthcare related SPAM I have to wonder. 

My SPAM filters have been getting one hell of a workout since Dec 1 2014. I thought it was the usual bullshit running up to Christmas, but now I’m thinking it’s because of the Anthem breach.  Probably the quickest turn on the hack was to sell email addresses.

That would buy time for further analysis and allow full IDs to be pulled from the data, packaged and sold. I have no doubt that every single one of the records stolen from Anthem are already in China, Russia, or Mexico and that there are a ton of counterfeit me’s running all over the place.

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The NSA doesn’t have to spy on us, they can buy all the information they’d ever want on the open market.

Between Google, and data breaches I’ll bet the NSA is considering closing their sophisticated data monitoring centers. Think about the savings!

Yeah, I’m pissed. 

Anthem screwed me due to ACA, Anthem screwed me for an entire year of insurance that was almost completely useless, and now Anthem has screwed me again only this time the screwing will last for years

I’d honestly like to see their assets redistributed to all of us that they’ve hurt in various ways.

Maybe then Banks, Insurance Companies, The Government, and various other businesses would take data security seriously.


Update March 8, 2015

Almost Two weeks later, The Los Angeles Times published a more in-depth Op-Ed that makes many of the points I di in my post.  They wrote their article with only slightly less snark than I did.

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-anthem-is-warning-consumers-20150306-column.html#page=1

OK I’ve got something to say about “American Sniper”

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I’ve read the book, I’ve seen the movie, and Michael Moore needs to shut the fuck up.

When he waddles his Jabba the Hut ass out into a battle field humping 90LBS of equipment and takes on a bunch of fuckers trying to KILL HIM, then maybe I’ll take what he has to say about war, guns, and soldiers a little more seriously.

Until then will someone please tell him to shut his pie hole? I think he’s said quite enough.

Here’s my take for what its worth on Chris Kyle and American Sniper.

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It’s a story of a man struggling to choose between something he does very well, his duty to his fellow soldiers, regardless of the branch of the military they were in, his country, and the love of his life & family.

You can’t read the book without noticing that past a little bit of swagger, and a smidgeon of embellishment, this guy was a real human being.

As to the embellishment… who hasn’t heard “War Stories” from a favorite uncle or grandparent? Chris Kyle didn’t get the opportunity to be that uncle, or grandparent, his life was cut tragically short in part because of his career after the Seal Team.

He was killed trying to reach out & help other vets truly come home.

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As a man, he was stressed about the same things that all of us were stressed about. Am I doing the right thing? Did I make a difference? I could have done that better.

Chris Kyle, from his own words was someone that I’d probably have liked. I don’t know that we’d have been friends. I can say he sure was someone that I’d have respected and might have enjoyed joking and teasing with. I’d have gone to any shooting range with him and no doubt learned a lot.

Chris Kyle was not a racist xenophobe. He called people that were trying to kill him and his team-mates, “Savages” with good cause. “Savages” put explosives in the hands of their children and are surprised when their children are killed. Civilized people get their children out of harms way.

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As far as Chris Kyle was concerned the “Savages” he was killing were evil of the most despicable kind. I suspect that, in part was why he was able to do four tours of duty without being killed. That belief that the evil was around him probably kept him sharp.

But the story is about so much more.

Again Mr. Kyle puts it best. “One day I’m in a war, then next I’m home.”

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How the hell do you deal with that transition? I mean flying from the West coast to the Southeast can strip my gears, One minute I’m in a super liberal Kumbaya place and the next I’m home in a land of Sunday go to meeting “Rednecks”.

I can’t imagine having bullets flying at me one day and my child on my lap the next.

In the book Mr. Kyle talks about his relationship with his wife. Its beyond obvious that he loved her very deeply and loved his children as much or more. She was the love of his life. The book also gives you Taya Kyle’s perspective, which is sometimes a little different than his.

The story ultimately is about him, his loves, and foibles played out against the harsh reality of war. In the end, he makes his family his primary duty and it’s not a simple decision or easy for him to do. The Seals were his family just as much as his wife and children.

How do you choose between one half of your family and the other?

The nuances don’t come through as clearly in the movie as they do in the book. This is not the fault of the movie script so much as it is a matter of the time the movie had to tell the story.

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The bottom line is this, the progressive leftists want to see only the harshness. They want to view this man only as a wind up soldier forgetting that he was fighting for them too.

They don’t want to be reminded that he was a human being and that he had depth and character and a moral compass that pointed north.

Acknowledging those facts means that they would have to abandon their preconceived notions and might actually like the movie, the book or God forbid, BOTH.

Read the book, see the movie then make up your own mind.

See past the battles for buildings and ground. See instead this man’s journey, I think you’ll appreciate this guy as a hero, but more importantly you’ll appreciate him as a man.

You should also know, I cried at the end of the book and again at the end of the movie.

My best friend looked the other way while I wiped away tears at the end of the movie.

I guess that’s why we’re still friends after a lot more years than either of us admit to.

You can always tell when…

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I’ve been interrupted once too many times while trying to write a blog.

Usually I start out having a simple point, then I get interrupted four, five, ten times, and I meander all over hell and gone.

Its been happening a lot lately. The meandering, the interruptions, the loss of my thoughts.

Usually, I’ll trash the whole blog entry. 

There are two reasons for this;

1) I have no clue what the hell I was intending to say,

2) Whatever the hell I did in fact write sounds like a literal translation of Mein Kampf, an Obama speech, or Dianetics 

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All of which read like gibberish and should probably never see the light of day.

Which explains why you’ve been spared, and “You’re Welcome!”

I have a problem with censoring myself. Sometimes I go too far and sometimes I write past the end of the story or point.

Problem is, there’s a lot of stuff rattling around in my head lately and I’m having a problem keeping up with writing it down. 

I need a computer that understands me and that I can just talk at.

I talk to my current computer all the time. It, like my other half ignores me. 

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I suppose that’s why I write books and blogs. I think I have something to say and apparently my readers think so too, so the hell with my computer and other half!

I’ll keep writing. You guys keep reading and our relationship will be just peachy.

I’ll try to get back to writing a blog every day or every other day. 

After all, there’s a lot of weird stuff in my curdled brain.