Archive for December, 2009


2009 wrap-up – not what you might think!

December 31, 2009

I’ve seen a number of writers, even in the conservative press, painting a pretty dismal picture of 2009. Granted, Obama has been working hard to turn us into a soft tyranny, with the willing help of Demon-crat congresscritters and the lack of aggressive Republican opposition. The economy has, simply, sucked – a house of cards collapsed and we decided to fix it by piling on more cards, then pouring gasoline on them and setting them aflame. (How’s that for metaphor? Or is it analogy?)

But there is a HUGE bright spot in all of this. If McCain had been elected, we would most likely been sliding the same way, but more slowly, like the frog in the pot of slowly-heating water. We wouldn’t notice so much that things were getting worse. He might have even been pressured to be “moderate” and go to Copenhagen and sign some stupid treaty.

Instead, we see Obama, Reid and Pelosi for who they really are. We see the Demon-crats for their real motives of power and control, their vision of statism. No longer can they say they are doing this for the poor and downtrodden – even the poor and downtrodden don’t want the things they are trying to do.

The “climate change movement” – like a watermelon, green on the outside, but big and red on the inside – has been exposed as well. The email scandal was a tipping point for an awful lot of Americans, and I hope for many worldwide. The CCM has been exposed as another power grab, another means of “redistributing wealth,” and another way of controlling people’s lives.

We’ve seen the man behind the curtain, at home and abroad. But will we have the courage, the brains and the heart to do something about it?

Happy New Year to everyone!

And prayers and good thoughts go out to Rush Limbaugh, who was hospitalized yesterday in Hawaii with chest pains. I hope it’s nothing serious and Rush will be back out and playing golf tomorrow!

Need something to read? Educate yourself in the new year:

The leading conservative think tank is the Heritage Foundation.

The leading libertarian think tank is the Cato Institute.

Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny is vital to every American’s self-interest, and to the future of the country

Some interesting science fiction that shows how a libertarian country could exist:

Michael Z. Williamson – check out Freehold

L. Neil Smith – check out the “Probability Broach” series – recent is The American Zone

All y’all have a great end of ought-niner…I’ll be back in ‘ten.

What are you lookin' at?


Help with MIDI sequencers…

December 30, 2009

Maybe I’ve mucked about with my Mac too much. I’ve tried not to, really I have. Last summer I got a Digidesign MBox and a copy of ProTools LE 8. I had problems with it then and just left it. I also got a copy of Digital Performer 6. I also have a version of Logic Express that’s a couple of years old.

None of them work. All are prone to crashes. I’ve spent the last day and a half trying to get them to work. I’ve updated everything, cleaned out plugins I don’t need, everything – and I think things are worse now than before.

My main Mac is a 20-inch 2005 iMac, with a single 1.8 GHz G5 processor. It has 2 GB of RAM and runs everything else happily, even PhotoShop. It’s on as high a version of Mac OS X as it can be – 10.5.8. (Since it’s not an intel Mac it can’t run Snow Leopard.)

Anybody out there with a suggestion? Apple’s Audio MIDI Setup utility crashes, too. When the hard drive was showing signs of failing I had to reinstall the OS and redo the updates, about three months ago. I suppose I could be missing something. I understood the extensions and such in OS 9 but the Unix underpinnings of this OS are too much for me. All I want is a decent sequencer. I used to be able to run DP and Vision on the old Macs and get real work done. It would be nice if audio files were integrated into it, too. Mainly I want to dump MIDI files from Sibelius into the thing and tweak the performances.

The only thing that IS working is Kontakt2 Player. Now that it works I’d hate to remove it.



Avatar musings

December 26, 2009

I got to see it the other day, on a great Sony digital Muvico screen in Rosemont, Il. In 3D, no less. I’m not a fan of 3D, but there have been some great advances. The 3D stuff I had seen before was at Disney World, like the Mission to Mars ride. This one didn’t even give me much of a headache.

Actually, I agreed a lot with John Scalzi’s comments – and we don’t always agree on things. Cameron did something here that science fiction producers will find their films compared to for years – and probably they will find their own films lacking.

Here are my issues with the film, though. (Spoilers Ahoy!) I know that Cameron was telling a story that’s been repeated over and over on Earth over the last 500 years. But it’s not just “ignorant savages” that get nailed. It’s not that far from taking private property from an individual and trying to use the eminent domain defense to build something that will bring in more tax money. But whether we are talking about the Native Americans (oops – Obama calls them “First Americans”) or the Kelo Supreme Court decision, it’s the same thing. Those with power often will feel they can use it to their own benefit, and should, because their needs or wants are more important than those of others, who they feel as being weaker. Rush Limbaugh says ours is a world governed by the aggressive use of force. Other worlds are not going to be any different, says Cameron. It it Big Business? Is it Big Business in league with Big Government? Who cares? It’s still an assault on liberty, right?

And the Na’vi have to defend themselves. How do they do it? Physically, with weapons. Their weapons are animals and bow and arrows, while the other side has assault helicopters and mecha suits, but they win anyway. The very planet helps defend itself. That’s a bit  of a tree-hugger theme, on the surface, but the plot lays out that there is a sort of neural network in the vegetation, so it’s more science fiction than eco-fiction in my view. It’s not volcanoes or weather that do in the attackers, it’s the plants and animals, so it smacks less of Gaia and more of Simak‘s All Flesh Is Grass.

I’ve had kind of libertarian template in my head lately, so I happen to look at this film as another demonstration of why an armed populace will not be dominated. I doubt that’s what the Hollywoodies are thinking, and I even doubt that’s what Cameron was thinking, but it’s still true. Don’t want your property to be taken away? Be prepared to defend it!


Flying soon? Be prepared to take down the terrorists yourself!

December 26, 2009

Apparently the terrorist on Flight 253 was taken down by alert passenger Jasper Schuringa, according to the report in the American Thinker. We’re all going to have to be Wesley Snipes, since the US Government, which is always trying to take care of us, as we all know, wouldn’t put the guy on a terrorist watch list. Let’s see, he’s from Nigeria, studying in London, comes here but his father doesn’t know why, spent some time in Yemen before he came to the US…don’t we have guys who look at stuff like this?

Better practice up on your martial arts and identification of explosive devices, kiddies…


Looking for world-building software

December 26, 2009

I’m building the planet for my explorers in my next book, in the Michigan Enclave universe. I would like some kind of software than would help me build the planet – the whole solar system, if possible. Some kind of fractal map generation would be helpful. Any recommendations? Leave me a comment.


Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2009

From the Gospel of St. Luke:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Ref.: here

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


More grab bag…

December 18, 2009

Well, not really. Just random stuff because I’ve not had time to do much. Final editing of TRS continues, off and on. The Michigan Enclave novel work continues. I’m writing more background and notes. Otherwise, it’s Christmas Time!

So on to the random stuff:

" Kings," with a rotary rocket on the cover!

I recommend the book Kings of the High Frontier, by Victor Koman. (No dead tree version here.) It’s about ten years old and a little outdated, but not where it counts. NASA is, if anything, more screwed up now than it was then. We’ve had the Columbia accident as well as Challenger. The private launch initiatives are going on, slowly. Maybe what will finally make it happen is market pressure. We still need satellites, and the government won’t be able to do anything about it. They’re not really in the satellite-launching business now. Boeing can’t do it all, probably. Who knows how stable the Russian launch business is. The Europeans want to do it but I think they are still subsidizing things. Anyway, the book is pretty well done, although marred by a number of typos. It promotes a private human presence in space for all the right reasons, and Koman makes some pretty good arguments. It’s also a pretty good read. Check it out.

Why does he look so happy?

Time Magazine named Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke Person of the Year. Right. But then, last year they picked Obama, so they apparently don’t know much. I heard Steve Jobs was in the running. He’s a better pick.

I’m not surprised by any of the deals that are being cut in the Senate so that the Demon-crats can pass something they can call a health care bill. Establishing term limits would fix 90% of what’s wrong with Congress, you know.

The Rovinator

I heard Karl Rove on Hannity’s radio show last night talking about how many of the Demon-crats in the Senate might lose their seats in the 2010 elections because they are voting for the health care not-a-bill. It’s possible the Republicans – who have been far too timid in this Congress, in my view – could pick up 5-6 seats just due to the self-destruction of various Demon-crats. I think Joe Lieberman got Harry Reid to elect him Big Chief Super Dude or something in return for his support, with a shiny new Lexus promised as well. Maybe even a pony.

The Demon-crats are in such disarray over trying to pass this crazy health care thing that even our boy Al Franken got involved. Better watch out, Edward Muledeer! Don’t screw around with Big Chief Joe! (BTW, I googled al franken muledeer and got nothing…I know I’m remembering the skit correctly. It was a “Masterpiece Theater” kind of thing on SNL. AND I MENTIONED MULE DEER, SO WAY MORE HITS FOR THIS POST!!! YAY!)

Purty, huh?

My prediction: Avatar is going to be gorgeous to watch and very predictable in plot and characterization. It will still make a butt-load of money.

Posting here will be light until after Christmas. That’s the holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Redeemer of Man, for those of you who don’t know. It’s also a time for gift-giving and getting together with family, two things I will be attending to over the next week or so. For the rest of you, check out this book to find out more. What can you lose? Only eternal damnation.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

A Savior shall be born unto you in the City of David.


Grab Bag of Observations

December 8, 2009

Stuff that I have no extended comments on. If you prefer your observations from someone younger or smarter, move along.

I’ve not found a reason to have anything to do with Facebook yet. Or Twitter. Is this post sort of like tweeting?

NCIS: Los Angeles is not nearly as good as regular NCIS. And what the heck is the deal with the Shadout Mapes?

CSI normal is way better than the other two. It’s much better now that Weddle and Thompson are on the show.

Al Gore is an idiot. Is there any reason why anyone should listen to this man? Even compared to the other climate nuts, he’s way over the top.

The problem with the climate stuff is that everyone manipulates data and opinion now…it’s all spin. There’s money to be made and control to be had, and so anyone with truth, or any kind of conclusions that might interfere with making that money and controlling others, must be supressed.

The Obama administration doesn’t care if the data supports global warming or doesn’t. It doesn’t care if the health care issue is handled in the best interest of Americans or not. It’s about control. That’s all you need to know.

This article from, of all things, Atlantic Monthly has some interesting observations. It suffers from lack of focus – the issue of infections in hospitals, I think, disrupts the focus of the article. And I don’t really agree with his recommendations. It does show that something is very wrong in health care, and we could do something about it. Still, it’s interesting.

Virgin Galactic is very cool. They are doing exactly what they said they would do, and with style. Wish I had the money ot fly with them.

You can’t make me believe British Columbia is Santa Barbara.

I spend most of my days with Windows XP. I still love my Macs. The best thing about OS X is the Quartz imaging engine; the display is simply better than any Windows machine I’ve seen. Yeah, I suppose Windows 7 will be better…sure. When Apple bought NeXT they got Steve Jobs and Display PostScript, and therefore Quartz. Smart.

I should be doing something constructive right now, like getting the lights on the Christmas tree. Especially since NCIS LA still isn’t very good.

Switching to Blu-ray was a good idea. I’ve been watching HD tv for so long now that I don’t notice the improved picture as much, but the audio separation is far better than it was with DVDs. Same Denon receiver, same Cambridge Soundworks speakers. Just a Panasonic Blu-ray player replacing the Denon DVD player, which was pretty damn good itself.

We’re still on the Sony tube TV we’ve had for five or six years. It’s the biggest tube Sony built, 42″.   It still does a good job of displaying 1080i. It’s pretty decent even compared to the new plasmas.


Something light for Friday

December 4, 2009

Who says entrepreneurship is dead?

And no, I won’t tell you where you can get it. That’s just wrong.


Derek Sivers gave away a $ 22 million company!

December 4, 2009

Derek Sivers, the founder of independent music distributor CDBaby, has a blog posting on how he gave the company away. You have to read it.

Derek was a senior guitarist in jazz band the year I came to Hinsdale Central from Ohio. That was 1985, and he had the 1980s guitarist look – big hair, red leather pants, etc. He went off to Berklee to learn to be a musician.

Apparently he’s learned to be a lot of things. He is truly an amazing guy. Read his blog posts. You’ll see!