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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Contrary Thoughts on Health

First, Caffine, Vitamins, Exercise. Exercise first thing in the morning every day burning about 350 calories and working up a good sweat. Take your vitamins right after exercise and don't eat for several of hours. Finish up with your only cup of coffee for the day.

Second, if its not obvious what it started life as, don't put it in your mouth.

Third, if the food will be the by-product of a one-culinary-night stand with the cook - don't eat there.

Fourth, wash your hands before you eat.

Fifth, an apple a day.

Since I started following these rules over a year ago I have suffered from vastly improved health.

If you don't have the discipline to consistently do this - don't bother.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Responsibility, Liability and Stupidity

It seems that Pennsylvania has passed legislation pertaining to "up skirt" and "down blouse" photography of "intimate parts," specifically the "new act makes it illegal to take pictures of someone's 'intimate parts' without their knowledge or approval in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy."


Where to begin? I guess first with some background grounded in the moral philosphy of the pre-hippie sixties...

First, as a male child of perhaps six or seven, I was taught (by parents, nuns, teachers and the girls themselves) the basic rule that anything placed between a girls legs without her permission (which included a semi-cylinder from the hem of the skirt to the ground on which the girl stood) is fair game to cause the one placing the object in such a position total, complete abject misery - from the girl, from local adult authority figures, and from parents (the girls parents as well as your own). Note that in this archaic definition "rules" the semi-cylinder would not "collapse" with the skirt, when, for example, the girl sat down.

Similarly, male children were also taught that the mere act of looking down a girls blouse or shirt without the girls permission also placed one in a position to receive the abject misery.

Girls were taught these same rules well before the boys would start to test them (both girls and rules). Girls were also taught that any girl who relaxed these rules "got what they asked for." Girls were also taught a strong sense of privacy for the secrets of being girls - secrets which were never revealed to a boy until a certain level of intimacy was reached.

These rules worked well until about the age of twelve or thirteen. At that age opportunities arose where girls would publicly allow situational relaxations of these rules, for example, a girl would willing ride on a boy's shoulders at a pool party or allow the boy to sit in her lap. Any relaxation of rules was, of course, controlled by the girl - though there was always the fear that an overstepping of the rules on either side could result in any number of embarrassing or miserable consequences.

All this worked well as a preparation for the final learning phase of life - the fear of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease phase - which took hold along with the age of cars and high school. Boys and girls, now young men and women, would be allowed more and more responsibility - going to the dance, the game, riding in cars, riding in cars with boys, and so forth - until they reached the age of responsibility (eighteen in those days).

Rules often had corollaries such as "Never where a top (shirt/blouse/etc.) that allowed anyone to see more than you wanted them to" and "Never get into a car with alone a boy you couldn't handle." Note that the rules allowed some latitude in deciding what you wanted someone to see or do with you and that those actions were balanced against the consequences to you and your reputation.

Failures to respect the rules could always be overcome with the right attitude, hard work and taking personal responsibility.

By the time I left high school, everyone knew where they stood relative to the opposite sex - some left to get married, others to school or work, others had babies.

The upshot of all this is, of course, you were responsible for what you did - male or female - with a larger burden of responsibility being placed on the girl.

The rules were obvious and well understood by everyone - as obvious as knowing how to wash your own hands.

Unfortunately, from the late sixties on feminism began steadily eroding these rules. And, as the rules eroded, so did the protection they afforded women. Fast forward to today - the rules have eroded away to nothing.

In their place a miraculous thing called a "right to privacy" has emerged. What is this right to privacy?

Apparently by Pennsylvania law it now means that anyone who might, for some sexual purpose such as publishing the picture on a web site, take a picture of your publicly exposed cleavage or breasts - its not your (the exposer) fault and the law (society) should punish the evil-doer. Apparently, by Pennsylvania law, it also means that even if you allow someone to stick a camera (or cell phone) under your skirt (or, I suppose lift your skirt for the camera or cell phone) its not your fault and the law (society) should punish the evil-doer.

The Discussion

Someone in the office brought up the passing of this legislation in casual conversation.

I took immediate offense. Why? Not because I run lurid web sites. But because such laws limit liberty and restrict freedom to which I am entitled (as explicitly provided for me in the Constitution of the United States).

After expressing my outrage I made it clear that I believe that "everyone is responsible for what happens to them." And let me be completely clear here. If I step outside my front door and I get shot - I am responsible - for I, not the shooter, stepped outside. If I get drunk at a party and get into bed naked with several other naked, horny and drunken friends and I am mistreated sexually - I am responsible - not my friends - for I got drunk and I got into bed. If I go to a restaurant and eat bad food, I am responsible for making myself sick - I ate the food.

Do I mean to imply that the shooter, my friends, or the chief are not responsible for their own actions? Of course not. But neither are they responsible for my actions.

Others expressed grave concern for me and my views regarding my horny friends. "Do you mean that 'no' doesn't mean no!" they cried. "In that particular situation neither no or yes mean a damn thing," I replied. Why? Because why should my party friends take responsibility for my lack of judgement; after all I got drunk, I took my clothes off, I got in bed with them.

Then someone pointed out the fact that there are "hundreds" of "up skirt how-to" web sites showing you "how to convert your gym bag to an up skirt imaging platform". (Hmmm? How would someone know about this? Perhaps this is actually part of the problem.)

I personally don't know any women or girls that would allow a cell phone, camera, gym bag, or anything else to be stuck between their legs in public (certainly not my wife, my daughters, daughters friends, son's girl friend, son's girl friend's friends, my daughters children, friends wives, friends children, and so on ad infinitum; why, in fact, I won't let someone do that either).

Perhaps I don't travel in the right circles? Hmmm? Loose women wearing skirts so large as to allow strangers access under them with gym bags or cell phones? Women of virtue unknowingly but publicly exposing their cleavage?

As my old business partner would say - I might have been born yesterday, but it wasn't at night.

Someone said, "Well, most definitions of responsibility include liability..." Hmmm? I am only responsible for what I am liable for? While that may be an convenient ruse to your mind free of guilt I think that it doesn't work in the real world. Folks often take responsibility for things they aren't liable for, e.g., someone elses child.

But back to "no means no" at the drunken party. "Well," I say, "would you teach your child that in this situation 'saying no' would be sufficient?" Howls erupt! "No, not my child," someone replies. "I would teach my child this is a bad situation and to avoid it in the first place," someone says.

I persue this further: "What about HIV and STDs?" I ask. "Oh," comes the reply, "if you're asked if you have one of these you must tell your partner!" Let's see. If your not responsible and you don't tell me and I get sick - ah ha - its your fault. Never mind my participation.

"Would you teach your child that his or her partner's answer would be the right amount of information on which to make a decision?" I ask. More howls erupt! "No, I would teach my child to know better than that..." is the reply.

Hmmm? Let's examine this model. You teach your child common sense, but push to have stupid, obvious privacy laws passed which make common sense unnecessary?

I think there is a problem. If cars are provided with safety devices (like air bags), people will come to rely on their presence. Similarly, if laws are passed to "protect people's privacy" then people will tend to rely on them (and not on common sense).

Closing The Loop

In the olden days (the early sixties) and before (to the time of the constitution) people were taught simple rules of self responsibility. The rules (and the laws created at that time) relied on personal responsibility. Girls knew where the trouble was - they stayed out of it. Now, trouble is everywhere and girls are no longer special (they are treated like boys).

We're stuck with stupid laws (like public health notices pasted up in bathrooms on how to wash your hands).

Had someone pasted something like that up when I was a kid, it would have been a complete joke...

The Shit That Sticks...

New law: The shit that sticks first sticks best.

This law is important in business when dealing with lawsuits and form employees. The truth doesn't matter. What matters is who gets their shit to stick first.

For example, you can steal all you want from a company so long as you sue them before they sue you. Through the magic of this law any amount of theft is trumped by the fact your employer was so evil you had to sue them (your shit stuck first). Then you settle for an additional profit.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

His Dark Materials?

Take a look at this site (or our copy of the video only here). On the arkadysimkin site scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on '"Click to View" a video of our discovery'.

The location is the Franz Josef Islands near the Artic circle - somewhat near Svalbard...

Points of interest in the video: At about 0:40 seconds in there are some odd carvings to the right, at about 0:46 seconds some strange hair and flesh (perhaps an armoured bear?!?), and at about 1:02 (on the pan back) a view that looks quite like a frozen H R Giger alien or space craft.

This is not the sort of thing you see everyday - though its quite possible that its some sort of hoax?!?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

GCC C++ Implicit Typename is Deprecated

I've had a code base that has evolved over the last seven years. Its been ported to a variety of platforms: Solaris, Linux, Windows, Mac 0S 9, Mac OSX, HP UX and others. For the most part, porting is a breeze.

On the mac I've always used gcc. However, sometimes the standards weenies feel the need to arbitrarily break things that already work. Recently I moved from OSX 10.3 to 10.4 (Tiger). This requires XCode to move to 2.2. This requires gcc 4.0 (for G5 64 bits). This requires fixing stupid, standards committee errors:

The error: 'warning: `typename std::iterator_traits<_Iterator>::value_type' is implicitly a typename'

You can read coherent discriptions here and here.

The reason I bring this up is that my code base supports a language which has maintained full backward compatibility for the last seven years. This is because my customers pay me to use code - standards folks don't have to worry about customers, and, in particular, don't care at all about your customers.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Cowboys per Square Kilometer

I believe I have discovered a new law.

"The density of cowboys per square kilometer increases linearly as the distance increases from the center of a blue (as in "Blue States/Red States") urban center."


1. You have to view the Red State/Blue State data on a "county" level to see the full effect.

2. This is a linear law, unlike the NASCAR fans per square kilometer law, where the increase is exponential.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Sneeches

If there is only one book to read with regard to understanding (at least western) humanity, it's "The Sneeches" by Dr. Suess. Why is this story so important? Because it explains why some people succeed at having lots of money while others do not.

In the story, the "Sneeches" represent the "sheepeople" or great unwashed masses - and "Sylvester McMonkey McBean" represents "Big Business", the "Military Industrial Complex", "George Bush (43)", etc. If you haven't read the story, please do. The text appears to be easily "googled" (for example) - though the pictures are really necessary for the full effect.

In the last two or three decades society has come to believe that "having lots of money" or "having lots of things" equals "succeeding". I myself believe that the definition of "success" is something that, like religion, must be decided for one's self.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Symbolicly, metaphorically, and actually this is me, doing what I always do. Bobbing along in the vastness of the ocean. While I'm doing that I'm also helping someone else learn enough to move onto the next level. While I'm doing that I'm keeping my hat on so my balding head doesn't get sun burned. While I'm doing that I'm keeping my feet up off the bottom so I don't step on sharks. While I'm doing that I'm looking out to sea for the next big wave to unexpectedly come crashing down. While I'm doing that I'm watching those that weren't careful get thrashed by the waves on their way in to shore. You get the idea.

My wife would say that I was doing the typical "man thing" - solving the current problems, not thinking far enough ahead, not worrying about the right things, making the same mistakes over & over, etc. She would probably be right.

From the (Venus and ) Mars perspective I think I (and we) did okay. We raised four kids over thirty years, one graduating from Penn State, and we are not technically bankrupt (assets - debts > 0)! In fact, we still have assets! We're also still alive. Still in reasonably good health. We'll be have the time to generate enough money for our retirement. We'll have time to enjoy our grand children (four at last count).

I've started close to a dozen companies over the last fifteen years and made my living on my own from about 1991. I have no formal training in anything, dropped out of college my second year (to get a job and take care of my wife), and still managed to do okay (sorry Dad & Mom). Most of my life I have written software to do things like make bullets hit their targets, airplanes fly, and marketing messages reach their intended audience (you'd be surprised at the similarities).

I have acquired vast knowledge of PDF (Portable Document Format). I can use PDF to create variable data printing (part of what I do now) as fast or faster than anyone in the world. I sell products all over the world. Have traveled all over the US and parts of Europe.

I have acquired mailing, printing, warehousing, truck driving, HR, and accounting skills. I can take my wife camping and keep her comfortable. I can hunt and fish. I can shoot accurately and keep my guns clean. I can do electrical wiring and plumbing. I can build walls, rooms and porches. I can fix hydraulic lines, run a loader, do body work and plow fields. I can kayak class IV rapids, repel, and run 14 miles a week (when younger I could run a 0:40:00 10K). I can build analog and digital hardware.

Presently, I own several business, maintain (badly) our farm, practice guitar 7 hours a week, and still have time to take my wife out at least three nights a week and have famiily over on Sunday. (I think I've moved up from "not romatic" to somewhere in the "adequate" range - but to move up further I need to learn more about country line dancing and dancing in general...)

The plain and simple truth: I have too much knowledge, not enough time, and way to much wisdom.

So who are we? This is my beautiful wife. I've kept this picture of her since I took it several years ago because I think it reveals her spirit, particularly in her face. She and I have been together exclusively for the last thirty (yes '30') years or so.

During that time together we have survived cancer, dealt with the death of parents, dealt with four children including drug problems and divorce, paid for college, lived in three states including NYC, dealt with out-of-control parental medaling with our children's lives, made and lost fortunes, built and lost businesses, survived depression and post traumatic stress, and survived sexual and mental abuse by parents and relatives.

Though there are more things a couple might do in life than what we have done so far, I (at least), am not interested in finding out about them until its their time.

For now I am comfortable with just "coasting along." The two of us have time together to spend doing the things we chose and we each have time to indulge our personal interests.

Welcome to the Just-Got-Lucky blog...

My wife and I have just permanently driven the last 21+ child (of four) from our home - its time for us to enjoy our lives again. Both of us have many interests outside of raising children; interests which have taken a back seat through all manner of nonsense. This blog is for us to talk about what we like to do, how we feel, and so forth...