Russ’ blog archives—2008

Welcome to my web logs for 2008...

Man does battle with the forces of nature...

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

As the year wanes, I want to post some pictures of what this month has brought in terms of snow and inconvenience. In fact, I like snow and don’t grumble much about it, especially since I have a good snowblower and because of the water it assures us for spring and summer. Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to demonstrate the elements’s rather capricious disposition toward us.

It takes me about an hour to do the whole drive and sidewalks, including a a pass over my neighbors’ sidewalks on both sides. This exercise has come some four separate times over the last month.

A hiss and a by-word...

Monday, 22 December 2008

Happy Christmas to one and all,

It’s an understatement to say that I have put some distance between myself and my Anglo-Saxon roots.

Especially when it comes to the kitchen, my ordinarily Anglophile nature disappears directly down the drain. I’ve never had a good meal in Britain outside of a Greek restaurant and I share the sort of pleasant nostalgia about my ancestral culinary traditions as can only one who never allows himself to be placed under the obligation of consuming something ghastly called casserole, green Jello or weird salads and desserts whose composition just makes any sane person ask, “Why?”

This is something I share with Garrison Keillor (of A Prairie Home Companion fame) whose tales of tuna hot dish at Lutheran dinners when growing up in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota and mockery of other egregiously bad Midwestern cuisine make me laugh hysterically because I know exactly where he’s coming from. As a Mormon, I’ve suffered through more horrible ward dinners than anyone should (though I know that there are many non-tasters in this world who inexplicably find the ward dinner a delight) and even defend the food. But, this isn’t intended to insult anyone.

So it is with some sheepishness that I offer this week’s culinary experience to those of you who, like me, find themselves overwhelmed by the childhood memories of the season (the “good” ones). Only, to be sure, I would never leave you with something inedible—even as a joke.

May I present to you...

                                                            ...the fruitcake!

Hehehe, I’m serious. Best of the season to you,


A little trouble with openSuSE 10.3 software installations...

Friday, 19 December 2008

I’ve been having a little trouble with Yast and software installation this morning. Trying to install new software, I’ve been getting an alert “Accessing the Package Management Failed” with an explanation that “Another proces is accessing the package database.”

So, you’d think the solution pretty obvious: get rid of any process consuming the package database, i.e.: get rid of anything Yast going on. But that doesn’t solve it.

Incidentally, it appears that closing some Yast stuff by clicking in its window close box will rid the desktop of a window, but not the processor status list of a process. I say this unempirically: I haven’t gotten out my magnifying glass to prove it, but it appears to be the case so, a word to the wise here not to be fooled by the mere absence of windows on the desktop. It is certainly the case that some obviously Yast-related processes are still running even after closing the windows.

Finally I rebooted thinking that will close something I don’t recognze as a potential culprit, but no that doesn’t work.

In my own case, it was the process opensuse-updater-gnome-applet. I didn’t recognize this right off because I’ve been using this installation for 4 months without a hitch, updater applet and all.

Whatever the case, killing this process did the trick:

  # ps -ef | grep [u]pdate
  russ    3386    3252  0  10:10  ?   00:00:00  opensuse-updater-gnome-applet
  # kill -9 3386

I surmise that rebooting the host relaunched the updater applet which was taking its sweet time thereby locking me out from the package database. I have never experience this before. I think it’s a result of something that has my system in its grip (see below).

Rant about guys who wear pointy black hats with moons and stars...

Predictably, there are moans about this on the Internet and I read a few and took the advice of some. In particular, shutting down the “update applet” came up. The person getting the advice shot back a question about what that was named as he couldn’t find it. As usual, the helpful person went off on some tangent and the poor schmuck was left on his own having heard the words of wisdom from the old man on the mountain though still in the dark as how to implement them.

I don’t what it is about people who know and who answer questions. Why do they want to make it harder than it needs to be? Just give a straight answer. If you are afraid of blowing smoke (because you don’t remember the updater’s process name), then say so frankly, put yourself down here in the valley with the rest of us: we’ll respect you for it.

On another matter...

In fact, my whole host is inexplicably in “crawl” mode right now: after a fresh reboot, it’s excruciatingly slow. Grrrrr...

It’s moments like these that pour water on the fire of my anger against Redmond, but my notebook running Windows XP has been suffering from this for a long time and if I haven’t fixed it—gazillons of processes running I don’t even recognize or want--it’s only because I hardly ever use it for more than a minute or two.

I’m not certain what to do about the slowness, but the Yast software installer seems happy now. Once I get Firefox 3 installed thereby, I’ll look into the speed problem. Actually, Yast doesn’t want to install Firefox 3, but only 2. So, there’s another mountain to climb today.

But, it’s only a little hill. Go to where an excellent tutorial can be found for installing Firefox 3 on both openSuSE 10.3 and 11.0. If you’re careful, you’ll get an upgrade instead of a side-by-side installation.

On the path to better Indian cuisine...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Or, a night of failure, but out of which comes great learning!

I stopped in an Indian grocery store last Saturday night in Seattle because I saw it and wanted to pick up some stuff I otherwise can’t get without driving to Salt Lake. We ate at a newly opening (and most excellent) restaurant in the same building as the store.

I finally decided I wanted to try making dosa, a South Indian crêpe which is made with no wheat flour. My cœliac-suffering friends could have eaten everything I made last night. My roti (what passes for naan at my table) is, of course, always made with wheat flour.

I also tried a new tandoori chicken method and summarily burned and dried out the chicken although if I had not burned it, it would have been most excellent—I’m now ready to edit my definitive tandoori chicken recipe. I do need to add some red pepper to it, though as it wasn’t as pleasingly hot as my former recipe.

If that weren’t enough experimenting, I’ve long been dissatisfied with my khurma and decided to work on that too. What! Three simultaneous experiments? It was not a good idea. So, my nephew, who is going to university here and was over for dinner, became the misfortunate guinea pig. He spent a couple of years in Indonesia. He says he likes Indian food and other foods (of course he does), but I suspect he really just appreciates not being offered grubs, lizards or bugs.

So between the rather amateur dosa, the burned chicken and the very nasty khurma, the rice was the only thing I got right.

I filled each dosa with a substandard potato masala. Trying to be careful not to over-cook the potato as I usually do, I under-cooked it, then got oil in it before I figured out it was under-cooked, and then there was simply no rescuing it. It didn’t taste offensive, but more like really badly done, greasy hashbrowns. I think I’ve got a suitable dosa method and recipe, but the potato masala will have to await further experimentation.

However, the khurma was just nasty. I got the color I was looking for, but the flavor was nothing as good as my usual dish which contains tomatoes.

One of the restaurants here in town has recently begun putting so much tomato into their khurma that it has started looking and even tasing a bit like chicken tikka masala and it just doesn’t taste like khurma any more. This new recipe is an attempt to veer my own back away from tomatoes, but I went too far. This one won’t be up on very soon.

Last, I met a guy in the grocery store and ended up speaking with him. He told me about a great India cooking site, where you can find some pretty great stuff including videos. I learned to cook Thai with a Thai woman. I recommend the visual experience. It’s very hard to learn to cook complicate food like Thai and Indian without seeing it done. If you decide you want to learn to make dosa, you will really need to watch this guy, specifically (the guy from Vahrehvah).

Check out my Indian page at for some new recipes and other information.

News and food from my kitchen...

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The holidays, my favorite time of year, are upon us. There’s caroling (or, at least, practice for caroling) in the air and hints that nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves will soon be pleasant aromas of the air we swim in. I’ve already purchased the mallows and yams for my daughter Amy’s candied yams and a jug of apple juice that will be the basis for a fine yuletide Wassail. And my dear, departed Karen Carpenter began singing her carols in the background of my home office this week. I couldn’t resist—Julene won’t let me listen to her Christmas album any other time of year. (Should I even be admitting something like that in public?)

This week Julene and I surrendered to the inevitable. Our low-quality “solid-surface” counter tops that were in our new home when we bought it nearly six years ago and that have been cracking in unsightly as well as inconvenient ways can no longer be tolerated. So, we’re forced to shed beaucoup bucks to replace them. Our original idea was to replace only the island as it’s by far the worst, but there’s a “thick-edge for free” sale on right now that reduces the total price of all counter tops by about 20%. The reasoning is that our counter tops won’t be getting any cheaper if we wait a year to finish the job (and get the more expensive job of replacing the rest of the counter tops) and getting the thicker edge free now results in huge and irresistible savings.

Although, you might object that if $150K Mercedes Benz sedans were on sale for half price, we’d still be paying $75K for something we don’t need. Point taken. Allow me some shameless justification.

Any of you who have been to our kitchen have probably seen the 30" wide disaster that is my gas cook top. Replacing that has been on the docket since I put the $300 piece of junk in there 6 years ago myself. Last night, as if I needed to, I proved to myself again that a 30" cook top just makes my life miserable when I attempted a simple dinner of New York strips for four, sautéd vegetables and linguine alfredo. It had me trying to use all four burners at once. Okay, the old one still works fine, it’s just black and unsightly--no longer white and merely cheap. And a chisel will take the black off, for about the next 1½ cookings. And it’s way crowded on there with more than two pans. Yeah, Mercedes-Benz again, especially if you want to discuss living standards in Indonesia.

Only two weeks ago we had to replace our faucet as I had rebuilt the old Moen® (a very cheap model) twice in 4 years. And a couple of weeks before that, it was our waste disposal. Just this last week, it was the upper of our two ovens that had been out of order for several months that I got fixed by a very old friend of mine who fixes stuff like that for a living. I could tell you stories about ALL modern ovens, even expensive ones, that would make your flesh crawl every time anyone even suggests you run a cleaning cycle now. This just had to be done for Thanksgiving.

Our kitchen is literally falling apart, but to be sure it’s not like we live in a cardboard box alongside the railroad tracks.

Nevertheless, all arguments aside, we’re diving in. New counter tops, a new sink (’cause our old one is in fact part of our old counter top) and a new cook top.

Oh, sure, I’d like to go with a Viking or Wolf cook top, but I don’t have the minimum $3K. Our new one, shown here at the right stuffed into the old counter top temporarily, is stainless steel, 36" wide, with one burner that reaches 18K BTUs, and, of the four other burners, two reduce down to under 150°. The hot one will be fun as I’ve never had a competently hot flame to work over. The cool ones should give me the ability to make stocks without having to play tricks on my cook top to keep even the smallest burner from boiling (instead of simmering) them. And the whole thing is much bigger and will allow me to have more than two pans on at a time.

It’s not going to be Chez Emeril, but it’s going to be a long-awaited step up.

So, the plan is to put the island in before Thanksgiving and then do the tear-out that weekend (no guests for dinner that Sunday) for the L-shaped counter that remains including the cook top, sink and faucet installations. Still on the “Batemans don’t pay someone else to do something they can do for themselves” plan, I’m doing all the tear-out and the installation of the cook top, which will re-exercise some of my cabinetry skills as I’ll have to modify the adjacent cabinet drawers calculated for a 30" cook space, plus faucet and sink hook up (read: the six trips it will take to Home Depot to get the drains and disposal hook-ups right).

I see this all as Julene’s and my Christmas present. And my January birthday present. And next year’s Christmas. And birthdays and Christmases for years to come.

Recipes of late

Not to cheat you, though you might find yourself disappointed anyway, here are some recipes gathered and tried of late. The pot roast is the only one that’s not completely new, but all 13 loved it last weekend. I added some leek both to the mirepoix as well as to the final vegetable part. Yum. And the bag boys at the grocery store always ask me what the parsnips they’re bagging are for! I should pass out business cards with

Best regards of the season to all.

Pork shoulder

Pot roast

Super-stuffed baked potatoes

Making panko crumbs for breading

Navajo Tacos...

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Yá'át'ééh, shimá ; yá'átééh, shiyáázh,

Greetings honored matron, greetings honored sir,

Yup, I know just a little bit more Navajo than that having studied French at one point in a dormitory next door to another guy studying Navajo. Diné bizaad bóhoosh'aah. (I’m learning Navajo.) Now I’ve said about all I know, oh, there’s stuff about cows, teeth plaque and a frog, I think. It’s all a 35 year-old blur. And yeah, I had to look up the spelling.

The Navajo taco is a peasant dish you might immediately think unworthy of my pretentious table. It probably should be, however, I’ve been lately casting around for just such food in an effort to divert myself from the humdrum of Sunday dinners and also to save a little time.

I already knew how I was going to make this dish from having enjoyed (yup, I said enjoyed) Navajo Tacos at the Cougar Eats back when I was a student at Brigham Young University. (This was back when BYU still served actual food in the Wilkinson Center, a luxury now long departed from most of campus but especially from the Wilk which now serves only the worst kind of pig swill under names like Taco Bell.) As usual my interest in food anthropology forced me to explore this dish as part of the exercise and I discovered some really amazing things about Navajo tacos. However, unlike my man Alton, I’m obliged to do my own research.

From Wikipedia and other sites, it would appear that back around 1850 following the murder of an 80-year old tribal chief and the forced 300-mile march of many Navajo and other people to a tiny reservation they shared crowded in with some Apache, they were given a minimal subsistence ration of lard, flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk, baking powder and/or yeast. Given the ingredient list and armed with the knowledge that the foodstuffs were frequently spoiled, weevil-infested and/or rancid, you can easily imagine how quickly “Indian fry bread” was born on the western frontier. Weevils fried in rancid lard being much tastier than any attempt to use those ingredients, shall we say, raw? With Mexican and southwestern influences, the fry bread was supplemented with anything that could be found including beans, meat when it could be got, chilies, etc.

So, the Navajo or Indian taco is a little like the Irish dancing without moving their arms. It’s become a tradition born originally in their repression by another people. It’s a sort of protest food, like Brazilian feijoada and, ironically, it caught on. (Yeah, go look that one up about the Irish, I won’t take up space here for it.)

It turns out that Navajo tacos are something of a traditional favorite at fairs and pow-wows around the southwestern United States. Most people only know them from events like those. But they’re so popular that folks write them up with glowing reports on the web and in some cookbooks. Arizona and maybe South Dakota have made them their official state dish.

Now for a slight excursus I’ll tie in later...

Utah has long been a culinary curiosity in many ways with a deep tradition of pretty mediocre when not flat out nasty dishes they enthusiastically lay claim to. As pretty much a native Utahn, I think I’m allowed to say this with all the love and introspection of my 50+ years. Whenever you see something like this, it’s likely the fault of ancestors nigh starving to death and unable to get good food to eat. This was certainly the case of mine. Then too, many of our ancestors came from England where even having sufficient has never stood in the way of them choosing to eat really bad food (but, then I digress...).

One of those traditions that make others strike their heads repeatedly on one side is the scone. If you’re not from here or your roots aren’t here, you’ll be surprised to learn that Utahns think scones are pieces of raised bread dough fried like doughnuts in hot oil. (Elsewhere these are sometimes named “elephant ears.”) If you fed them an actual scone, they’d compliment you with, “Ooh, sweet-tasting biscuit there, got a Southern grandma or something? Can I get the recipe?”

All over in Utah public schools for time immemorial, as well as in the erstwhile BYU campus side-bar eating establishment, Navajo tacos have been served to children. Typically, it’s more or less taco or burrito fillings piled on a (Utah) scone or fry bread. Okay, so that’s a by-gone tradition too since whatever virus infected the student center at BYU also inflicted disease and mayhem in our public school cafeterias, but there used to be these lunch ladies who came and valiantly slogged away in our kitchens trying to make attractive food out of whatever the government supplied to public schools. (Whoa! Do you see a parallel here with anything else I’ve said?)

This is what I’m going to serve today.

But where this goes south is that 95% of the Navajo fry bread recipes are quickbread-based. That’s right, not yeast-risen; instead, baking powder and soda are used to leaven the bread. When I first discovered this, I summarily rejected it for it had not been my experience. Finding recipe upon recipe to use it, however, led me to go upstairs and make up a small batch to try it out. My verdict is that it can be done that way, but the result is heavy and fills your heart with guilt. I mean, if you’re going to ingest something that’s deep-fried, you want the wrongness of the experience to be compensated by some pretty great tastiness.

The couple of recipes I read that used yeast did so in combination with baking powder. I’m skeptical, but I’m going to try it today. Nevertheless, I’m using the yeast too because I wasn’t impressed with the heaviness of yesterday’s experiment. Now lest you accuse me of being a hasty judge on the basis of one beginner’s try, realize that I make really good scones, southern biscuits, corn bread, hush puppies and other dishes closely related to fry bread. (And if you don’t understand why cornbread is related to fry bread, you don’t know how southerners made it.) So, I think I exercised adequate restraint in toughening the dough by over-kneading it and otherwise keeping things light.

If you decide to go for the quickbread under your Navajo tacos, I have a few suggestions. I found that if you roll the dough out pretty thin, say ¼" or even a little thinner, you’ll end up with something that looks a lot more like a flat, Utah scone and is reasonably edible. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself serving hockey pucks to your guests. Now, I tried a couple of those which I slathered in butter (remember the line in Paul McCartney’s song about hands across the water, Uncle Albert, butter on scones and how it melts...) and they were edible. Or would be if I were just coming off a 24-hour fast.

Second, don’t camp on the dough. You’ve got baking powder doing its initial action thing, reacting to the acid in the milk, especially if you used buttermilk, and any time you wait means that reaction is over and perhaps defeated before you get on to the second, heat-induced action of baking powder. Don’t make the dough ahead of time and let it sit (unless you’ve also put yeast into it).


My boys are the greatest!

Monday, 25 August 2008

I already blogged about the great James Taylor concert my oldest son took me to not long ago. It was a great time. Makes me shed a tear for when I was playing music. Okay, so I couldn’t play my way out of a wet paper bag, but hey, back in the 60s and early 70s, what kid didn’t trade in his clarinet for an axe and an amp, eh?

My other boy comes back from Warped Tour, his employer during the summer for whom he manages some big 18-wheeler, all it carries and a crew to set stuff up, and he comes over to dinner at my house. It was my girls’ birthday dinner.

I’m in the kitchen finishing up the masaman curry my youngest daughter requested and a vegetarian yellow curry for my older daughter. He’s carrying an obviously brand new guitar case; I'm thinking it’s a Thompson in there and wondering does he have the $200 stamp to go with it? No, it’s a guitar, of course, and he hands it to me saying “Pops, this is the only thing you don’t have” (the guitar of my youth and I having parted company long ago).

I’m staring at this really nice guitar, brand new, with amazingly decent action (that’s still going to cut my fingertips to shreds because the callouses had gone south long before my old guitar was gone), the sort of action you’d expect on a pretty expensive instrument. It does MIDI (sheesh, time’s passed me by—what does a guitarist do with MIDI, record himself?) and has got some 5 separate pick-ups on it.

So, I’m now wondering how to get those callouses back? And, uh, it ain’t a bicycle: the fingers don’t seem to remember much either. Guess I’d better start with a shoulder strap and an amp. And I’ll get to try out that pick Prince dropped on his tour my son was working last spring that he picked up right after the set it was dropped in. And an umbrella to protect my new acquisition from any errant purple raindrops.

I’m singin’...

		Well, you don't know what we can find
		Why don't you come with me little girl
		On a magic carpet ride!

And I’ll have to hit my friend Paul back up for the chords.

Check out my new guitar at Godin Freeway Classic

The real masters of Western cuisine...

Saturday, 16 August 2008

After spending 6 years and most of my life in or in orbit around France, it only takes a simple trip to Gloria’s Little Italy Trattoria (see URL below) to remind me that there is only Italian cuisine and everyone else is just copying or putting their own spin on it. France does it with butter and cream, Spain does it with soffrito, the British do it with hot water , everyone does it with products of their own culture and terroir (local flavors), but no one outdoes Italian cooking. And the practically terroir-less Americans have tried to put it into a can or dispense it from a machine. Bleech!

Italy is the master. Italy is the standard by which Western cuisine is measured and accomplished.

I think what spoiled me for Italian when a child, and still puts me off most everywhere else I go, is the rather nasty thing that passes for tomato-based sauce in this country. Acrid or bitter, stale and lifeless, red sauce on pasta is my bane. My knee-jerk reaction is to order alfredo everywhere I go (which, strictly speaking, isn’t even Italian, but a heavy, cheese-loaded besciamella invented in the United States).

When I’m at Gloria’s, I lap up pomarola and ragú like a famished dog.

Today I had her spaghetti con pollo alla parmiggiana (chicken parmesan) which I had not yet tried. People have complimented my own version of this, but I hung my head in shame. And the sheer delizia coupled with the realization that I may never conquer this sauce took me almost to the point of swooning in mid-ristorante. (Later, I left without so much as a single spoonful of my favorite pistacchio-flavored gelato.)

After sheepishly removing the bread basket I had set on my empty plate to hide it and showing it the owner, he explained to me (in Italian) that, privately, the family "polishes" their plates with scraps of bread too; they even have a verb in Italian for it. I’m so shameless! Never accompany me to Gloria’s for you may find me in a corner licking the plates!

Oh, if I could make a pomarola or a ragú like Gloria’s, it would be as if I could play the organ in a cathedral--so many keys and pedals to press, and so many stops to set just right.

I’m going to get started tomorrow afternoon with some capellini (angel hair pasta), basil, garlic, parsley and whole, peeled tomatoes. This will be a side dish to some salsiccia alla romana (Italian sausage with fennel, olives and garlic) I’m going to take a swing at after watching Lydia Bastianich earlier today. Most of my picky eaters are gone tomorrow. Let’s have some fun!

Getting Eclipse or NetBeans up...

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Yesterday and today, I worked to get a copy of my source code down from the repository. Last week, I had already viewed all the source code, but I am always better at understanding when I can crawl through it in a debugger. Anyway, there will be a need to crawl through it eventually if only to fix bugs.

There are some problems with getting svn working in the Eclipse Ganymede release. In particular, see Raymond Hulha’s blog on this topic. For whatever reason, this hasn’t completely worked for me yet. When I attempt to get the code down, I get stopped halfway.

NetBeans 6.5, on the other hand, has no trouble whatsoever with this although I’m awaiting some suggestions on best practices for setting up a project based on existing source code in order to save myself some headache.

At this point, it appears that I’ll have to use NetBeans which is unfortunate because, while NetBeans is cleaner and simpler to use, I have many months more experience using Eclipse and just about everyone else I know uses the latter.

Finishing up my monitors...

Thursday, 7 August 2008

So, today things are going well enough that, after getting a thorough guided tour of GWAVA Retain, the product I’m going to be working on, I came home and tackled getting svn set up and then my monitors.

Note: all along, I’m devoting attention to real issues like getting Eclipse up and running and gaining access to my source code via svn. In particular, it has become clear that Pulse does not work on 64-bit Linux. This promising tool just isn’t ready for primetime use and, I fear, never will be because Pulse have already released a commercial version. Whatever the commercial version’s faults, you can be sure that they’ll get that version working at the expense of the free one. I don’t resent this, but it is a little unfortunate to leave the 64-bit Linux platforms hanging without a solution and, probably also in the commercial environment.

I went to to give this a shot, found out that my NVIDIA card isn’t a legacy card and so could be set up using their modern YaST intervention, which I did.

Having done that, I went for SaX2 from YaST to change the resolution and, indeed, was able to find my 1920 × 1200 setting which had not been there before. I chose that and dismissed the Card and Monitor Properties application (SaX2) which then wanted me to test the display. I did that and, as often happens, SaX2 froze and I had to kill it and reboot.

Rebooting, I found the left (main) screen updated and the right one still at 1280 × 1024. Then, I resorted to Computer->Control Center->Screen Resolution (a process named, gnome-display-properties, I think. Or it was Graphics Card and Monitor Properties). I looked for the opportunity to control the settings for the second monitor and found them (at present, with both set up, I’m unable to find this again). I changed the resolution and dismissed the dialog and rebooted.

This time I was missing all the icons when my desktop came back. My nephew mentioned that I should use # nvidia-xconfig, so I did that and rebooted again. My icons came back and both monitors were perfectly configured and mapped respective to each other. My nephew has done this before; he says NVIDIA got wise during the 2 years he was in Russia (he came back last November) and this is easy now—as compared to the ( nightmare I described in my two adventures.

In the background, you see (grossly stretched) a twilight photo of the ruins of Richard the Lion-Hearted’s castle dominating the Seine River valley in Normandy (above Les Andelys).

Today’s little nightmares...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I keep thinking how ironic it is that I loathe Microsoft and love Linux, but, in the end, realize that I’ve been working at setting up my development host for the last nigh five days and am still not looking at code. There’s a reason you’d never wish Linux on your grandmother; it’s just dang hard to put stuff together. We’re just never going to crush Windows with this thing.

I spent a few minutes trying to solve the absence of a flash player on Linux 64 as evidence by the failure of the Poodwaddle calendar on my own home page to work. I looked around, I Googled various solutions written over the last couple of years, and came back totally bredouille.

Installing the GroupWise client...

GWAVA stands for “GroupWise Anti-Virus Agent”—the original product of the company I’ve joined. So, it stands to reason that I would set up and use this e-mail client. If you’ve never used it, you have no idea what a total pile of $%&* Microsoft Echange (Outlook) is.

Attempting to install GroupWise on my Linux 64 client, I encounter

russ@taliesin:~/downloads/groupwise> rpm -ivh novell-groupwise-gwclient-7.0.3-20080609.i386.rpm
error: Failed dependencies: is needed by novell-groupwise-gwclient-7.0.3-20080609.i386 is needed by novell-groupwise-gwclient-7.0.3-20080609.i386 is needed by novell-groupwise-gwclient-7.0.3-20080609.i386 is needed by novell-groupwise-gwclient-7.0.3-20080609.i386

I found these libraries by launching YaST, selecting Software->Software Management->All and entering "stdc" into the filter. (See illustration below this blog entry—click to see full size.) Because it appears to me that GroupWise is 32-bit, I had to get the "old" stdc++ and 32-bit standard C++ shared library. Using rpm -qil, I determined that it was compat-libstdc++-5.0.7-121.1 that supplied the missing libraries. This is the "old" stdc++ library. Go figure.

russ@taliesin:~/downloads/groupwise> rpm -qa | grep [s]td

Then, of course, I was obliged to get root in order to install GroupWise:

russ@taliesin:~/downloads/groupwise> sudo rpm -ivh novell-groupwise-gwclient-7.0.3-20080609.i386.rpm
error: failed to stat /var/lib/gdm/.gvfs: Permission denied
Preparing...             ########################################### [100%]
1:novell-groupwise-gwclie########################################### [100%]

The error about /var/lib/gdm/.gvfs is a semi-permanent SuSE 11.0 screw-up that’s already Bugzilla’d and will be fixed soon, I hope.

The GroupWise rpm places an icon on your desktop without which you might be hard-pressed to figure that the path to the application is /opt/novell/groupwise/client/bin/groupwise. Launch it and fill in the info.

Sweet baby James!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

My son took me last evening to see James Taylor. I have never been a rabid fan, but I have surely always been a fan and, if I were to re-acquire competence at the guitar, his stuff is what I would play more than much else. (Paul Simon’s chords require six fingers plus your thumb.)

Once the hellacious Utah sun went down (temperature signs around town had all been over 100° yesterday), the evening became quite pleasant and during the ninety-odd minutes we awaited the beginning of the concert, it was gratifying to see myself more and more surrounded by folks my age and older, and some a few years younger who dragged their teenagers along for an education. That’s right, we gotta show generation Y what music is ’cause it ain’t broadcast on the local pop stations, is it?!

Now, James Taylor does a pretty good concert if you’re for relaxing a bit and like his mild banter. The reward is some pretty sweet sarcasm and irony about what’s going on talking about how he and the band had to learn some cowboy songs so they could play the Calgary Stampede, but then singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma ’cause as he says, if Broadway knew what western music was, this must be it. He also went on about how his really good friend Carol King wrote this tune back when they were touring together and how little did he know that it would be like being sentenced to prison for the rest of his life meaning he’s been forced to sing it every night practically for 40 years. Lots of good laughs and he did a really good job on You’ve Got a Friend.

He did his signature Steamroller Blues. And, he donned an electric axe for the number. Now, I don’t know if it was his sensitivity to the preponderantly Mormon Utah crowd, but he used a lot of mumbly, scattish and incomprehensible diction manifestly on purpose as this piece is pretty transparently about enthusiastic intimate relations between husband and wife (or, between people who should not be doing this if they are not husband and wife).

Good stuff and the lead guitar player had a real edgy Stratocaster he broke out (for that number alone as far as I could see). Besides the Strat, he used a Telecaster a lot and an SG on one or two numbers plus another Fender model I didn’t recognize. Man, that’s an arsenal I would have killed for when I was a young man...

I think I would have enjoyed the concert with a lot more enthusiasm had I not tried to slash my wrists last Friday. I got four stitches and it still hurts to clap. Nope, I’m not going to recount “stupid” for you today.

And, I’m not going to say anything about Carolina being on anybody’s mind, even sweet little Alison’s. My man James did a right good job of it himself last night. It was delicious.

Installing openSuSE Linux 11.0 and other adventures

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

This blog is going to take a sudden technical turn. I usually keep such notes to myself or, at least, out of my blog and in some place I can access them when needed again by me or others. Well, what I have to say technically is probably more useful to mankind than any social or political opinion. So there you are.

Last Friday, I started with GWAVA Technologies, Inc. See products and company information at I work from home.

Friday I started installing openSuSE Linux 11.0 on my new 64-bit Intel (generic, home-manufactured) box with two Dell 24" LCD monitors.

First, I installed KDE because I wanted to play with the new visual effects in Compiz. KDE sucks rocks. I quickly started over and installed a useful desktop: GNOME.

After getting everything up and running, I started to download the developer software (gcc et al.). I was going to need that to relink my kernel (which I may have to do later on) in order to get both monitors working, but suddenly they started working, if not in full resolution mode. That’s a problem for another time.

Network settings...

I had trouble with getting the network going. At first, automatically, DHCP was being used which worked fine. Then I got around to assigning a convenient static IP address (convenient for my environment). Nothing worked after that. I tried going back and that didn’t work either. I got:


Download failed.
Download (curl) error for \
    ' \
Error code: Connection failed
Error message: Couldn't resolve host 'download'

So, I’m asking myself, “Why would anyone in his right mind write a configuration utility that, for a network setting, relies on the network for information?

The answer came this morning that a switch I left alone because I wasn’t certain of its function was defaulted differently than in SuSE 10.x which I’d never had trouble setting up. This switch is whether to use something called NetworkManager or rely on a legacy utility, ifup. I recognized ifup as reminiscent of ifconfig, but I wasn’t ready to deny SuSE its default setting without greater confidence. I mean, why would I being using YaST in the first place if it weren’t my goodwill in letting SuSE do as much management as it thought necessary?

Copying deep hierarchy in DOS...

Just so you know my life is as hard as it gets, since I upgraded my Windows XP Home box to XP Pro, I haven’t been able to get foreign media types to mount. If I plug in my iPod, a thumb drive or card reader, they never mount. So, I click on Start then right-click My Computer and choose Manage. There, I click on Disk Management where I’ll usually (but not always as in the case of an SD card from my stepdaughter’s camera) see the “removable disk” if I scroll down past my hard drive (C:). Then I can right-click it and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths... to make the assignment.

Oh, did I say that this doesn’t make it so you can see the drive in File Explorer? Yes, I’ve Googled for a solution and I found people moaning about it, but no one couched a solution I could implement. It sure takes the wind out of iTunes sails. It’s a nasty piece of work to juggle an iPod on my Windows PC because I have to keep mounting and re-mounting it. After the sync step, it sort of disconnects itself. It was a real trick putting photos onto it.

This works fine because I’m perfectly cozy with command lines. However, there are things you don’t want to do with the DOS command line. Like copy whole directory structures from one place to another. It’s exactly what I needed to do as I brought home some personal stuff accumulated on a computer at my former place of employment.

DOS copy is the most frustrating, simple-minded utility anywhere.

I never liked xcopy, but I knew it was created to palliate the appalling moronicity of DOS copy. However, it took me a bit of messing about before hitting upon the right options to use to get the subdirectories both created and their contents copied. I did it in two steps, but my nephew assures me it can be done in one (with the /E option):

xcopy /e /s /t  <source> <destination>
xcopy /e /s     <source> <destination>

The /T option ensures the subdirectories all get created. The help mutters something about /E coexisting, but it wasn’t clear. The first command creates empty subdirectories and the second fills them. It works. Oh, yeah, the second command should probably use *.* because unlike on UNIX where * gets you everything, it only gets things that don’t have an extension on DOS.

Future nightmares: dual head monitors on Linux...

Having dealt with this before ( January, 2006 and again in May, 2007), I knew I was in for a mess when my company sent me two fine 24" Dell LCD monitors. Toby jes luvs real estate when he’s writing and debugging code even if the Eclipse workbench is badly implemented for dual-monitor use.

To its credit, SuSE 11.0 at least somehow came up with the fact that I had two monitors (mapping them both as the same one so I had two sets of of the same goings on) and, later, when I stumbled upon a setting by which I could tell it I wanted them separate and side-by-side, it complied (something SuSE 10.0 and 10.2 never did—for me at least).

Of course, I was moaning about this to my nephew who told me first of nvdia-xconfig, then of which looks very promising (I won’t check the first one out unless needed). This is a note to myself to remember to look at this URL when I get over being productive with my new box which is functioning at the moment as if it displayed 1280 × 1060 instead of 1920 × 1200. He said he never modifies /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Yeah, me neither, except when I have to because Sax makes worse what you’re able to do already.

64-bit JRE on Linux...

I don’t know about running the JRE on Windows 64-bit, but I can tell you that as soon as I tried to run Pulse and Eclipse on my new box, nastiness was the order of the day:

russ@taliesin:~/dev> eclipse/eclipse
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Repeated allocation of very large block (appr. size 16384000):
May lead to memory leak and poor performance.
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
<<No stacktrace available>>
<<No stacktrace available>>
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
<<No stacktrace available>>
<<No stacktrace available>>
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
GC Warning: Repeated allocation of very large block (appr. size 65536000):
May lead to memory leak and poor performance.
GC Warning: Out of Memory! Returning NIL!
Exception in thread "Refresh Packages" java.lang.OutOfMemoryError
<<No stacktrace available>>

It’s a pet peeve of mine that any operating system installation would leave useless software merely because of licensing issues. Fine. Then don’t put something useless on there. Put a note saying to go get it from somewhere else. Yeah, annoying for those who don’t use Java, but Java has to be put on their box, but in this case

touch /usr/bin/java

would have worked every bit as well.

So, here’s the scoop, best delivered by this page. Basically, you just go get Sun’s JRE. In my case, I also uninstalled the existing one from SuSE (and it’s alreday completely gone so I can’t report the name of SuSE’s): Eclipse will not start.

Of course, you can leave yours in place and follow the advice on this page for starting Eclipse with the right one. Why would I want a broken one left on my box?

Orson Scott Card on homosexual marriage...

Thursday, 4 July 2008

Orson Scott Card addresses an important attitude at the beginning of his blog: we don’t (or must not) condemn those who feel that this is their way through life or that there is some sign of acceptance society must give them. Of course their imitation of marriage is a fraud and will not bring happiness, but them and their desire is not what we should condemn.

I have several disjointed, but brief thoughts on this.

First, isn’t it odd that at the very time heterosexuals are rejecting marriage, homosexuals (some of them, anyway) are trying to champion it?

Second and back to OSC, the number of individuals who are homosexual is exceedingly small (something around 2% or less). The number of them who want or care about marriage is even smaller.

It is the homosexual lobby that inflates this mess to a national debate, a collection of a few homosexual, but also benighted heterosexual would-be do-gooders who are promoting this odious and fraudulent farce. These do-gooders are the same ones who go all weepy over the thought of taking the life of someone who, given half a chance and a motive, would take theirs, or rape their wife or molest their daughter or son. They seek, as Plato reminds us by a characterization of his mentor’s accuser, Melitus, in his Apology of Socrates, that he “is always seeking the worse causes.” (You will remember that the out-come of that trial was a cup of hemlock for the master.) How like today’s ACLU?

Last, I have always agreed with OSC’s point about opposing logic with logic. How many times are you left speechless by a witless appeal to God’s authority, or what the speaker presumes he can rightly attribute to God? How compelling, even between debating Christians, is the assertion, “because God says so”?

Monty Python have made this attitude the stock and trade of their mockery and irreverence throughout their Flying Circus television series and their later movies. (And, it’s sad that none of them have ever gotten past it much to the sorrow of this long-time fan.)

OSC’s examples are are perfect and his reordering of the logic of one position is a model that many earnest believers should think upon and implement: Homosexuality (or homosexual marriage) isn’t wrong because God condemns it, it’s wrong because it will not bring us true, lasting happiness: God tells us this and this is why God forbids it.

While I’m ready to believe that we aren’t the only contributors to this sound reasoning, I am nevertheless pleased to know that it is the Mormon religious tradition that first and foremost preaches that we (human beings) and our immortality and eternal life (that is, our happiness) are God’s absolute work and glory. All commandments of God are to be seen in that light and not in the traditional, or perhaps mostly Roman (but nevertheless pervasive outside of the United States) Christian view of God as an unmerciful being who inflicts terror and punishment upon mankind who sits only just above Satan and his devils in the order of things.

Robin Hood or How to fund public television...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Imagine you watch television on a public channel. Between shows—not in the middle of them as is the wont of commercials stations—you’re subjected to five minutes of commercials—just before the news, just after and before the movie begins, then after the movie before the late-night political discussion or the panel deploring the waning of modern theater. The next segment simply begins and there are no commercials before its end.

Imagine you get the idea to halt altogether these commercials (why? are they too annoying?) which bring in nearly $1.5B per year, but realize that to meet operating costs you’ve got to make up for the shortfall. Your viewers are already forced to contribute over $100 annually per piece of television equipment for the privilege of owning it. (This doesn’t include the cable bill either.)

Naturally, you cast your eyes around the commercial and economic landscape for a solution and they rest upon...

...the lucrative telecom and Internet connection business which caters to the middle class. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Fleece a market the State abandoned two decades ago because it couldn’t come close to meeting consumer demand and that has ended up in the hands of...

...hated capitalists despite whose basic evil nature also seem to have the organizational skills to make a whole industry function efficiently and effectively.

Yes, my friends, bored with inactivity, a government commission in France has decided it’s been long enough since someone demonstrated clearly the Comely Hexagon’s* utter socialistic disregard for the fruits of its citizens’ labor—the pockets of those very citizens the state has counted on to pick since time immemorial. Why ask all citizens to pay to have commercials disappear, only to hear them grumble and whine, when you can tax the activities of the most industrious thereof indirectly?

What do commentators say of this? They caution that this tax “risks winding up on the backs of the public anyway in the form of increases in monthly cell phone and Internet connection invoices.” Duh! There is risk involved here? Or is this a suggestion that those provider’s bills be capped precisely so they cannot replace the lost revenue? Sheesh, send them back to college Economics 101.

Well, why eliminate commercial advertisement at all? In fact, I personally always thought television commercials in France were innovative, interesting and inoffensive given that there was always so short a time in which they could be aired. Each day I watch televised news on France 2 via Internet connection. I once wrote begging them to lengthen their stream to include the commercial advertisements a part of which I occasionally get to see at the end of the broadcast (and a great way to keep one’s finger on cultural goings-on).

* France is known to its citizens as “le bel Hexagone” because of its general shape as being six-sided.

Go quietly, Texas...

Friday, 30 May 2008

So, we see that Texas CPS won’t give up and go quietly or penitently nor will that morally bankrupt judge who originally backed up CFS and abetted them in this action. She refused to sign the papers today that would unravel this travesty so the families can begin the long months and years it will take to put this behind them. Before this can happen, CFS and the judge require that...

1. Each parent come forward with proof of parentage. This is the least annoying of the three requirements, but it is still an attempt to place the burden of proof upon those wrongly treated by renegade authority in the first place.

2. Each parent must sign up for “parenting” classes. This is tantamount to admitting being in the wrong. Texas government agency pride is at stake here and the Texas justice system will not go down without a fight on this one: these people are wrong to believe what they believe and they must be reeducated.

3. Each parent must sign an agreement not to leave Texas. These people must agree that they were in the wrong, that they are incompetent parents and that they are no longer sovereign citizens of the United States of America, but henceforth unconvicted felons who may not leave a jurisdiction without opening themselves to rearrest so their children may be legally taken this time and them incarcerated if not for anything like the horrors of child abuse Texas believes these people guilty of.

I’d like to say that I can’t imagine any state government being so fundamentally evil as to perpetrate wrongdoing in so obvious a way upon people who aren’t the flavor of the month. Unfortunately, I think there are attorneys general and agency heads across America sharpening their swords with the wisdom gained from this experience and, the next time it happens, no court will be able to save the victims. I can hear them clucking under their breath over Texas being just a bunch of dumb bubbas who bungled their golden opportunity.

And, you’ll think me paranoid in this, but I don’t think for one minute that the ever so vague association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has nothing to do with this. It doesn’t matter that you and I know that these people are as far away from being Mormons as incense-burning monks in Lhasa. There has always been for Texans this back-burner issue of having Mormons or their ilk in their sights. And I’m pretty certain they’re not alone. Of course, I don’t think Mormons are the lone ducks in the shooting gallery either. Just wait and see what’s going down in America after 8 years of Barak Freakin’ Obama bin Laden’s White House.

Once again: it doesn’t matter that these people’s lives are wrong before God and wrong before the society they live in. Until legally proven by painstaking due process to be criminals, they are NOT wrong before the constitution and laws of Texas or the United States of America. It may be almost as frustrating to us as it is for the state of Texas to acknowledge in the case of these perverts, but hanging upon respect for this fact is our entire safety and well being. On this hangs all those rights we go to sleep at night in the peace of assuming safe: speech, press, religion, keeping and bearing arms, assembly, petition, safety from search and seizure, from cruel and unusual punishment and forced self-incrimination. (Yeah, just count how many were broken here and will continue to be.) I would rather know Warren Jeffs rages unpunished somewhere than see him bound and me with him just so neither of us does any harm.


“ The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ”

H. L. Mencken

Texas and Mein Kampf

Saturday, 24 May 2008

I’m ordinarily not one for suing the government for this or that inconvenience or dissatisfaction even when incompetence is involved (or, especially when mere incompetence is involved). However, I would today gladly contribute money to see the State of Texas reduced to a pathetic, public pensioner incapable of so much as even paving its own roads. I hope that the FLDS will do this country a favor by suing the literal pants off Texas and winning so much that that lovely capitol building in Austin is shut down and turned into a museum to the likes of Sam Houston, Davy Crockett and Colonel Travis.

This despite my complete, “not on board” attitude about the FLDS and how I wish their leaders would all contract horrible flesh-eating diseases and die within the next six months.

I would support one of those “frivolous-style” lawsuits demanding more money than Fort Knox even holds, millions upon millions for each child, mother and father wronged here. And I would hope for a judge actually awarding it. Nothing less than the total destruction of the totalitarian government of Texas and, in particular, its Child Services and Justice Department, would satisfy me. And I want that woman judge strung up on what’s left of Treaty Oak on West Sixth Street in a good old-fashioned necktie party with much cheering, flowing whiskey and discharging of pistols. Let Ranger Cordell Walker and DA Alex Cahill find themselves employment in the film industry or something. Replace the lot of ’em. Maybe divide Texas up between its surrounding states for administration (good luck east Texas, but you asked for it).

Then, I’d like to turn the frowning eyes of the country so intently upon California that the cockroaches in that state’s government scurry to the nearest trash heap to hide themselves. I want David Archuleta singing in Sacramento, “The eyes of America are upon you.”

Unlike the awkward, rough and tumble cowboys in Texas, California has been more clever about this whole thing, preferring to let Texas take the heat for stupidly implementing what California plans to spring on its citizens in a more clever and genteel way, samplings of which, like the recent court decision to ignore the stated wishes of nigh 70% of the electorate in forcing down their throats the marriage of homosexual couples, come at a frightening pace in our day with scarcely a cry from the general citizenry who leave to the few special interest, militant family organizations the whole and hopeless responsibility of standing in the road against a 100-ton evil monster. The dispossession of Californians’ rights under law will be no less total and no less abusive, and you will see Californians not only deprived of parental rights, but forced to pay from their pocket the reeducation and indoctrination by the state of their own children irrespective of their personal beliefs and principles. This isn’t something that will happen in a vague future years away, but for real and in the next few months, maybe even this coming school year will parents be told they’ll be fined or jailed or both from withholding their children from the public school system.

Why? Why would I ask for something so unreasonable, so petty, so unforgiving, so destructive? Because there is not a single, caring parent left in this nation who shouldn’t be trembling in his boots, who will ever be safe from the jack-boot of state-sponsored tyranny. (I don’t consider atheists “caring” parents, who happily abandon the education and indoctrination of their children to what they think is a benevolent and just state). What is being tolerated in Texas by its citizens and by the rest of this nation who hate the FLDS and don’t care what happens to them is a sign of what’s coming in this country to the rest of us--Catholics, Jews, Mormons and the Baptists running Texas State government, and the result of it will be at least as devastating to the other 49 as what I propose for Texas today. Let’s cut to the chase scene, do it now in the southwest, step on the cockroaches and see if we can’t head this thing off before Amerika begins to resemble 1930s Germany or 1950s Soviet Union.

Have I mentioned how relieved I am not to be the parent of a child in modern America?

And, uh, how’s your day going?


“ Every election is a sort of advanced auction sale of stolen goods. ”

H. L. Mencken


George Carlin asks out loud the question on everyone else’s mind...

“ Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them? ”


Sunday, 16 March 2008

This week I’m inconsolable. A friend announced she’s headed back to France for a couple of weeks’ stay in Normandy which serves only to remind me how far from the fair country I am (and how long these last eight years seem). This is the bend in the Seine called Les Andelys.

There’s a song, J’irai revoir ma Nomandie ("One day I’ll return to my dear Normandy, the land that gave me birth"). And so I’m thinking primarily of Camembert, the king of cheeses, and Pont l’Evêque, no slouch either (the very cheese that accompanied me home from my mission back when the curmudgeons of U. S. Customs would let you through with something like that). Normandy spells two things to the French: milk products and apples. To me it spells those things plus more green in a few square feet of countryside than can be raked out of the entire state of Utah in spring. Alas.

I cracked open a tin of pâté after church today to spread on a slice of bread fresh-baked this morning. It didn’t help.

Here’s something that doesn’t help either, but maybe it will interest you—this week’s innovation, one of those decadent dessert things you eat at Marie Callender’s or Village Inn thinking you want the recipe, but realizing it’s fatal to any intent you have at constant, good nutrition. I took mine to Pi Day last Friday and ate only a tiny sliver since I had no way of sampling it ahead of time. The mistakes I made are duly noted in the recipe.

It was very good, but I’m remarkably immune to sweets when there’s delicious savory to be found.

Which there was that evening at Gloria’s Little Italy, a new restaurant opened in Provo I’ve told some of you about. Julene, her daughter, son-in-law and I were “celebrating” their departure from our household by dining on tortellini with ragú, gnocchi with pesto, fettuccine with shrimp besciamella and lasagna with ragú. Gloria makes the gnocchi fresh each day and only cooks it immediately before serving an order. Her pesto is gaining renown around here. I lap up Gloria’s ragú like a famished dog—I’ve always been very hard to please when it comes to tomato-based sauces.

It’s Sunday, this afternoon’s menu will be a twist on pollo rosamaria with garlic mashed potatoes and I’ve decided to do some crêpes for dessert. It’s Julene’s birthday tomorrow, so she chooses and she likes this dish. I’m racheting up a notch with some prosciutto. Except for the twist I’m adding, all this has long been on

Panem et circenses...

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

I do not believe in political change as long as those who govern us are men. There are only two possibilities in the reestablishment of the Nation...

One is a bloody revolution in which the present State is over-thrown and the Constitution readopted. This is NOT a permanent solution as the last 232 years have taught us (actually, it only took the first 50 and that was without the tools of the demagogue—mass transit and instant communications).

Two is for it to be lifted from above.

Neither is likely to happen any time soon even if we look forward to the second, but the first will NEVER happen because the people have no spine for it. The cultural make-up of the U.S. has been diluted by greed on the one hand and on the other by uninformed peoples who came here for economic advantage not liberty which they do not understand and neither do they understand that their new advantage is only a vestige of that original liberty.

Arguably, the second cannot happen without the people being willing to do the first, but that’s a different discussion.

And no, it has nothing to do with race: Mexicans and Argentines don’t get it for the most part, but neither do Southeast Asians, Africans or Europeans. They only ones who get it are we few to whom it’s been handed down and we’ve resisted assimilation into the entitlement-motivated masses that surround us and who will vote for the candidate that seems most reliable in his intentions of maintaining or extending the present system of entitlements.

Can any statement more accurately describe the intent of the campaign ads for Clinton and Obama? Pick the pockets of the rich—it’s only fair, say they, and put the money to use where it will do the most good.

Republican Party membership only slightly increases the chances that someone gets it; that claim is fast losing ground as you can see by observing politics in Utah from the Legislature to the Governor’s office: they are all Republicans and they are all out for power, money and influence.

What the few want is more power—what the people will give them in exchange for the same thing as under the Roman Empire: panem et circenses (bread and circuses a.k.a. food and entertainment).

In the end, it’s the battle that has been waged over the same issues of moral agency, ownership and responsibility for billions of years now. That never changes.

See Panem et circenses in Wikipedia.