29 September 2006


Ever see a book on the shelf every time you go to the store and say, "Oh, next time,"?

I did that for GURPS Dinosaurs. I figured that Steve Jackson, being the dino-nut he is, would never let it go out of print, I have plenty of time to buy a copy. Boy was I wrong.

It went out of print and became a collector's item. I have seen a copy go on eBay for over $150!

I have managed to get a copy from eBay for quite a bit less than that.

28 September 2006

What The Heck?

Why do they drug test JOCKEIES for performance enhancing drugs?

What the hell drug could a jockey take to make the HORSE run faster?

24 September 2006

Live From Yrth

“What magic is this?” he asked with more than a little awe in his voice.
“No magic at all,” I replied, “it's a Bessamer Process Furnace. It makes steel. Makes more steel in an hour than all the smiths of Megalos make in a year.”
“But I thought you were a mage.”
“I am a mage, but not here in the Great Desert. Nobody is a mage here, there's no mana.”
“There's some mana, where we imported it,” Geff chimed in, not mentioning how.
“Imported?” he asked, “To restore the mana to the interior you would have had to start at the edge and create a path to where you wanted magic, and to erase that path with destroy mana would have risked losing your magery.”
“True,” I said, “but we didn't do that. What we kept in our minds, that the Ministry of Secrets wanted erased, allowed us to do things with magic that are beyond their limited imagination. And what we can do without magic is staggering! You'll notice that we have water here, we make it rain.”
“What I intend is nothing short of a revolution. A revolution in technology. A revolution in sociology. A revolution in politics. Without these, I don't get my train set.”
Geff rolled his eyes in response, "1:1 scale train set..."

Explanation of the above:

In a world of Tim's, where the players made themselves as characters, I supposed that I had become a Great Mage on a ringworld and ran a railroad all the way around it.

Not that I am a bold and intrepid maker and shaper of events large and small in real life.

If Geff and I were dumped into Yrth two things would confront us immediately. First is the Ministry of Secrets attempting to erase our minds of anything that upsets the medieval apple cart. Second is Geff's health. His asthma will require either tech for medicine that doesn't exist there or learning enough magic to just cure him. The process of two thirty somethings learning to use magic in a guild ruled setting and not being revealed as outsiders would make us a lot leaner and meaner than we are today. I am supposing that we succeeded and are now getting bitter about the whole nobility and commoner deal.

Naturally we have both read the books that spell out the setting and have a huge advantage over other outsiders that would have been pulled into the world.

I know just enough about the tools to make the tools to bootstrap some of the tech. There is going to be a learning curve as we translate the things that we have read about into things we are building.

We also think from reading about the cosmology of the Yrth system that going out and getting a small meteorite would create a high mana zone centered on it. Knowing how to use magic and knowing about general conditions on the moon would allow us to go there and gather some of this mana-rich material. This would allow us to make a small area in the no-mana Great Desert where magic works.

The next bug hurdle would be the lizard men of the Great Desert. I know more than enough to make a Maxim and gun powder. That should secure us against them. And with no magic, we don't need to worry about scrys or reverse missile.

This Should Be Something

The radical Islamists are in a froth about what the Pope said. They say they are going to suicide bomb the Vatican. This should be interesting.

The Swiss guard is a shoot first, ask questions later kind of elite military unit. Don't let the renaissance uniforms and halberds fool you. Outside of their ceremonial duties they are completely modern. They have a tradition to uphold that they take very seriously. Being the only mercenary unit, by law and treaty, that Switzerland is allowed to export they really work hard to maintain those traditions and reputation.

Swiss units, except the Vatican Guard, were banned from use after the Napoleonic wars, something about them fighting to the last and staying bought...

As I said, this should be interesting.

20 September 2006

I Wonder...

I have been reading about Iran's nuclear plans.

I wonder if we could bring a B-2A at about 45k feet and drop a GPS packaged nuke on the facility(ies) and then issue bald faced lies about it. "I guess they were further along in their nuclear weapons development than we thought and had an accident." Yes, it's obvious. It is no less deceptive than Iran's statements that they are completely peaceful.

And when someone notices that the material from the bomb HAD to come from the US, we'll blame the security leaks that were well documented during the Clinton administration at Oak Ridge.

18 September 2006

Letter To My Senator

The Honorable Bill Nelson
309 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Nelson:

As a Floridian and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you

My reasons for wishing to change my status from U.S. citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, what I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years.

I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out. Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year, so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of the last five years taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent return for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005 and I estimated a gross savings approximating $36,000. After the fine this would yield me a net savings of $34,000.

In addition, I would reap the other benefits of being an illegal alien such as free health care, avoidance of paying Social Security taxes, buying automobile insurance, serving on jury panels, etc. If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for your assistance.

16 September 2006


If you really want to listen to the music, find a song in a language you don't understand.

Sometimes the lyrics get in the way.

15 September 2006


It's not everyday that I win one, so I waited a couple of days to comment on it.

Long time friends might recall Kenny Canniff kicking me out of his Gulf Coast Super Sport Club (GCSSC) last year.

He relented and "allowed" me to come to club meetings a few months ago. This coincided nicely with me finally getting to the point of being able to be around him without having a strong desire to put 230 grains of lead and copper into his forehead.

On August 20, 2006 Jim Meyer founded the FLA branch of INC. INC nominally means Impalas 'N' Caprices. August 23rd was our first meeting, at the same time and location as the GCSSC meeting. Everyone who showed from the old club joined the new club! Except Charlie.

The reason we are behind this new club is Kenny's insistence that he OWNS the club, it's HIS club, President and founder. Even though he didn't found it... We disposed the dictator and have a democracy now.

He is DEVASTATED! HAHAHAHAHAHA He's well on his way to alienating the people who still liked him personally even if they didn't like his club.

So, Mr Canniff, when you told me way back last year that YOU would win in our little conflict; you lose. I have a club to be a part of that welcomes me.

09 September 2006

What We Should Do

Since the Moslem apologists keep telling us that the terrorists are a small minority of Islam at large and we shouldn't blame them as a whole, while doing nothing to condemn the so called minority.

That is exactly the arguement we should be using! Mecca just evaporated in a cloud of radioactive dust? Just two guys in a bunker, not representative of America as a whole, sorry about your loss. Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?

06 September 2006


Some things in my life are defined by what they do for me.

Like my computers. I have used every MS OS since DOS as a user. I have used many Apple products. I have fond memories of the Apple ][ series. I played a bit with Geff's Mac SE30 (if I got the model right). I have an iMac running 10.3.9.

I have never been a programmer.

What does the iMac do that none of my Windows machines do? Listen carefully Mac snobs. NOT A SINGLE COCKSUCKING THING! It's a computer you dunderheads! It does nothing I want a computer to do better than any other machine I currently own. There is only one exception where the iMac shines, I can start every single app and it doesn't slow down. THAT IS ALL! That's a big thing, I will grant, but I have not experienced the "magic" that I was led to believe would naturally follow from merely owning one.

"OK Mr Thag, since you hate Macs, what does your vaunted Windows machine do that the iMac doesn't?" asked in a tone that suggests that I will not have an answer. Well, I don't hate Macs! I happen to like my little iMac. But if I want to play a flight sim, I can't with an Apple OS. I can't with Linux either.

What about stability? The more I play with computers at the unwashed user level the more convinced I become that hardware has a lot more to do with it than the OS. Apple has rigidly controlled the hardware for a long time, and my PC desktop is made from some serious parts. The game machine is just as stable as the iMac. The HP laptop is not. Hmmmmm.

I have considered one of the newer Macs, but I keep hitting the price barrier. I can have one hell of a Windows machine (or Linux) for a lot less than a Mac. Becuase I am a high end flight simmer, I know what hardware costs. And Apple is raping you.

Geff has mentioned some really nifty features with OS 10.4. Wanna bet those features get wrapped into what ever OS MS puts out next?

None of this changes that MS is a shitty company. I hate them and hate being forced by my flight sim habit to use an MS OS. The Genuine Advantage BS and Validation shit have made me decide that I will not be moving beyond what I have now for the flight sim.

Apple needs to start charging less to be competitive. Or they need to admit that they aren't trying to be competitive. But they can't do that, SEC regs... And the Mac Zealots need to shut the fuck up. It's not better to the degree they seem to claim. If you listen to them, using a Mac is like fucking and using a PC is like jerking off. THEY ARE WRONG.

By the way, Steve Jobs is every bit as evil as MS and Bill Gates, don't fool yourselves folks. He's just hid his tracks better. And there are damn few companies that are as litigatious as Apple.

The choice is Hitler or Stalin not Jesus or Satan.


I forgot security.

The iMac is running zero malware and anti-virus stuff. It doesn't need it. Macs are inherently more secure than PCs. For the moment.

Linux starts more secure, but I have two examples of managerial feature creep that created exploits. Not a function of the OS to be sure, but illustrative that nobody is immune.

There may come a day when there are so many features in the Mac OS that they get all sorts of exploits just like MS.

I have also read that some of MS problems on exploits is the CUSTOMERS insistence that their old software continue to run with the new OS. That would make it very hard to fix things as cludges are added to keep old software running.

Here's the BUT for the Mac snobs: Just like a prison is inherently more secure than an open field, one can secure a field and empty a prison. Both take real effort to acheive, but it is acheivable. Please stop acting as if XP cannot be made secure and OSX cannot be made vulnerable.

The Mac attitude really reminds me of the Vette attitude among (some) car people. It doesn't matter what my car can do, it's not a Vette.

I know of some exceptions to this attitude. Geff is my friend who likes Macs who doesn't look down his nose at my PC, he just tries to point out what Apple is doing better objectively. Lee is my friend who hates MS, but doesn't act like I'm retarded. He also owns a third gen Vette. John is my friend who owns a fifth gen Vette and uses Linux who will actually talk about the relative advantages of either the cars or the computers. These three are not Mac snobs. They are just about the only three people I know who work with computers and use Linux/OSX who are not acting like I am some sort of leper.

PS, try finding a CAD package for a Mac.


05 September 2006


The following is from here: Dead Link To Lex

I am 95% in agreement with him (I don't regard abortion as a sin), and he says it better than I have been...

I believe that human life is sacred.

I believe that democracy is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others.

I believe that liberals are builders, and conservatives are defenders. I believe that both are important.

I believe that government’s primary functions should be to defend the borders and deliver the mail in a timely fashion. Everything else is pretty much discretionary, open to debate and subject to revision. People don’t really want to be governed, but they need to be. Still, I believe that government is best which governs least.

I believe freedom is more important than equality. If the only way to make things more equal is to reduce freedom, I’m not interested. Human nature being what it is, equality will have to be enforced, while freedom will have to be defended. I’d rather be a defender than an enforcer.

I believe that taxes are a necessary evil. The fact that they are necessary should not obscure the fact that they are evil. You work to provide for your family, and the government asks a share of the bread wrung from the sweat of your brow. Societies have responsibilities, but only because they collectively choose to. There is a social contract in effect: We do owe our less advantaged brothers and sisters the chance to pull themselves up out of the mire. But they owe it to us to take that chance.

I believe that the taxation system is fundamentally coercive: It may be your money, you have earned it through your labor, but if you don’t pay, eventually a man with a gun will show up at your doorstep and take you away.

I believe in privacy.

I believe in charity.

I believe in virtue.

I believe that charity is a private virtue.

I believe in personal responsibility.

I believe that choices are actions, and that actions have consequences. If you didn’t pick up on this growing up, you weren’t paying attention.

I believe that a market economy offers the best opportunity to live a good life to the most number of people. If you believe differently, I’d like to see your analysis.

I believe that if I choose to work hard in high school to get to a good college, work hard at my career in pursuit of a better life for my family, and save money for my retirement, that shouldn’t make me a piggy bank to plunder for those who didn’t make those choices. If you choose to teach or “help people,” because that’s important to you, you shouldn’t be surprised if the market disfavors those choices in favor of those who actually make tangible things for other folks to buy. That’s what markets do, and ours is a market economy. You should be content instead with the non-remunerative rewards of your chosen field.

I believe that if everyone took responsibility for those people and those things that they can directly impact (family comes to mind, friends and neighbors come next), that the world would be a far better place. Think globally, act family.

I believe it’s time for another beer.

I believe in sin.

I believe that envy is a sin.

I believe some people should be ashamed.

I believe that abortion is a sin. I am not sure it should be a crime, because I know that my beliefs are based on a religious philosophy, and not everyone shares that philosophy. My philosophy does not require them to.

I believe that legislatures should legislate, executives should execute, and judiciaries should interpret.

I believe that what any of the three branches of government usurp the role of one of the others we have ins some measure ceased to be that which we were justifiably proud of having been - a glorious experiment in personal liberty by self-government which is not yet demonstrably and finally a success.

I believe that Roe v. Wade was poorly found. I do not think judges should emanate into the penumbra. I find nothing in the Constitution that permits them to do so.

Notwithstanding the preceding, I believe in stare decisis .

I believe that the principal element in “the freedom of choice” should involve keeping one’s knees together. Get that one right, everything else falls into place.

I believe that humanity is not a birthright, but a testable proposition. Notwithstanding my belief that human life is sacred, I believe that society has the right to defend itself against people who commit horrible crimes, and punish them proportionately. I believe that right includes the ultimate sanction. I believe that there are those who look like us that are not of us, who by their acts of inhumanity have proven that they are not human in that fundamental way that separates us from other mammals. I shed no tears when vicious murderers are put down, pour encourager les autres.

I believe that the DH rule spoils the game.

I believe that not all change is progress.

I believe in the law of unintended consequences.

I believe in learning from those who went before.
Quo desiderat pacem, para bellum

I believe in passion.

I believe that rational analysis will always win in an argument with passionate beliefs.

I believe that wrestling with pigs is counterproductive. You just get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.

I believe that people of good will may disagree. I believe the other guy often has a point. I think he probably got there through a valid process. I don’t believe that disagreeing with him necessarily makes me a bad person. I believe that anyone who truly believes that it does is not worth arguing with. If you don’t agree, please see preceding belief.

Update: Erin should really, REALLY read that last one again.

01 September 2006

Why Thag Doesn't Fly Anymore

Number one: My ass remembers being probed at SeaTac. While answering their endless questions about my laptop, I forgot to take my keys out of my pocket and set off the metal detector. Because I was wearing combat boots, that got me "special" attention.

Number two: What they are doing and how they are doing it is not really making it any safer than before! The reason 9/11 hasn't happened again has a lot more to do with the FBI finding out about plots beforehand and acting on them before the terrorists have a chance to get to the airport, let alone pass through security.

I have heard it described as Kabuki Theatre Security, and that seems apt.

The security people are well into the "I have power and no accountablity" zone.

Of course, this limits my travel because it costs a lot more in time and a bit more in gas to drive.

It makes it real hard to get to places like Las Vegas for Aunt Bat's 40th. But driving has its advantages, like when I get where I am going, I have a car! When in Iowa it is essential. I know too many folks there. And since most of them are in different circles, asking one to shuttle me around just doesn't work out.

I used to love flying. I still love airplanes. And it's people who are between me and the planes who have ruined the fun for me.

And as Dave pointed out, how long until the terrorists notice the huge crowds of unarmed people in line at the check in counter?

How long before we notice that it really is a narrow demographic that is doing this? If we applied the level of fairness to rape cases we are applying to travel security screening, we would have to arrest women and only when we got to trial could she point out that she doesn't have any method of making semen, let alone depositing it forcibly.

A rape with a semen sample was committed by a man. Terrorists who blow up planes and/or crash them into buildings are middle eastern islamic males 18-40.