January 31, 2009


The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposed deletion of the article below. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page (such as the article's talk page or in a deletion review). No further edits should be made to this page.

The result was no consensus. MBisanz talk 06:51, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

That means I stay.

For now...

January 30, 2009

George Orwell

"Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it."
- George Orwell

Last year I read Down and Out in Paris and London by Orwell. Well worth the time it took. He lived hard for a while.

"easy money is oft times hard"
-Steve Forbert

January 29, 2009

Train station in Leipzig

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On the convention floor in Leipzig
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On the tram in Leipzig

This is the tram on which we were rapping.

My boss is the one who took the photo.
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Personal Myths

A friend of Doreen's thinks that she invented 3D Seismic. As flattering as that sounds, she did not. She even wrote him a note saying that she did not. But it is part of his personal myth for Doreen. It is a source of great merriment for us whenever we see him (which is seldom)

A friend of mine believes in her heart of hearts that I made an investor presentation in rap. I know why she believes this, but it is stuck in her head and she just cannot get it out.

The reason that she believes this is that when I was working for Bell Geospace and we were in Leipzig for an EAGE convention. My boss and I were coming back to our hotel from the convention center, and we may have had a beer or two. So we started rapping on the tram.

It's tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time.

Especially on a tram.


Before fire, they ate us.

After fire, we ate them.

January 28, 2009

Sock Puppets, Meat Puppets, and poking the bear.

Some of you may know that I am listed on Wikipedia (well, at least for now I am). And that is the gist of this post.

I got on Wikipedia originally because of my board seat at PGS. All the other board members were on the Wiki, and lo and behold, I was, too!

Then I poked the bear. I thought it would be cool if I would have my birthday listed on the "Births: July 6" entry. But the calendars are very closely monitored, and it was quickly removed. Then my entry itself was listed for removal. I poked the bear, and the bear bit back.

There is a (fairly short) discussion about whether or not my listing will stay. I do not know if it will or not. That is not for me to decide.

What I cannot do (though it is tempting) would be to create a bunch of new Wikipedia identities and then have them all say great things about me. Those are called "Sock Puppets" and are strongly discouraged.

The other thing I cannot do (and you, dear reader, should not do) is recruit all my friends to rally to my defense. These are called Meat Puppets. (Not Meat Puppets the band. They are quite good, but not the same thing)

The Wikipedians are very strong willed. And not very nice at times. (But they always say "Don't take it seriously") So I am steeling myself for a potential unpleasant result.

But please, don't be a Meat Puppet. (seriously)

And I promise to never poke the bear again. (Who am I kidding? I live to poke the bear)

January 25, 2009

Happy Burns Day!

Address To a Haggis
Addressing the haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

(sonsie = cheeky)

(aboon = above)
(painch = stomach, thairm = intestine)

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

(hurdies = hips)

His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!

(dicht = wipe, here with the idea of sharpening)
(slicht = skill)

(reeking = steaming)

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit" hums.

(deil = devil)
(swall'd=swollen, kytes = bellies,
belyve = soon)
(rive = tear, ie burst)

Is there that o're his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

(olio = olive oil, staw = make sick)

(scunner = repugnance)

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

(nieve = fist, nit = louse's egg, ie. tiny)

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whistle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thristle.

(wallie = mighty, nieve = fist)

(sned = cut off)
(thristle = thistle)

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

(skinkin ware = watery soup)
(jaups = slops about, luggies = two-handled
continental bowls)

Doreen and I watched The Dark Knight yesterday.

Apart from being a little too long, I thought it was pretty good. Heath Ledger was excellent as The Joker. It is nice to have really crazy bad guys. (he wears the make-up to cover scars. You hear a couple of stories about how the scars were made, so you don't really know what the truth was. But you are pretty sure his father was involved)

The Batman was played by Christian Bale. I can take him or leave him. His girlfriend was played by Maggie Gyllenhaal - I like her in just about everything she does. But the best was Alfred - played by Michael Caine. He used the same accent (his real accent?) he used in The Man Who Would Be King. Morgan Freeman was Lucius Fox (the R&D guy) He was pretty good, too.

I never read any comic books (as opposed to comic strips. Now if there was a movie about Mary Worth or Apartment 3G I would be all over that!) so I don't really have the back story of these comic book movies (we also recently saw Ironman. Robert Downey Jr is great. Can't wait for Sherlock Holmes) which leave me at sort of a disadvantage sometimes. Why is Bruce Wayne saving the world? How did he get his money? Why does he only go out at night? (I know, I know he is the BATman. The BATman - get it? but why?) It is a mystery.

But I am pretty good at the willing suspension of disbelief thing. So I just sit back and enjoy it...

January 24, 2009

Randolph LeBlanc Jr. RIP

My Uncle Randy passed away this week. He was married to my Aunt Charlie (Charlotte) - one of my mother's sisters.

He was very good to me when I was a child. I grew up in Appleton, WI (about 20 miles south of "that foolish Green Bay" as my father would say) but visited south Louisiana (Franklin, in St Mary's Parish) every summer.

Uncle Randy was always the fun uncle. He ran St Mary's Iron works, a fabrication plant that serves the sugar industry and the offshore oil industry. He had boat (a wooden Chris Craft that later sunk)
and took me offshore more than once.

He loved to eat, and to drink, and was, well, just a touch bossy (I know, I know "de mortuis nil nisi bonum". But that wasn't too bad. I, myself have on rare occasions been called bossy) I just loved going to visit him and his whole family.

(Thanks to Claire Vath (his granddaughter) for the photo. I took it without permission. I hope you don't mind)
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Britannica rags on Wikipedia (again)

This is an interesting blog entry by Nicolas Carr:

All Hail the Information Triumvirate! (The Web, Google, and Wikipedia) | Britannica Blog

It talks about how Wikipedia is starting to dominate all Web information. (read the entry. It isn't really that long, and it is interesting)

I am a bit skeptical of his snarky conclusions ("Wisdom of the Mob") because of his position on Britannica's Editorial Board of Advisors (would you trust someone on the board of GM when they criticize Fords?) but some of his points are interesting.

I use (and occasionally contribute to) Wikipedia. It is astounding how good (and how fast!) the Wikipedians are.

Here is a case in point:

If you ever read anything about coffee, there is a myth promulgated in all "conventional" sources that it is the second most traded commodity in the world (after oil). I posted (originally on the "discussion" page) how that was patently untrue (one word: Iron). Since then, the Wikipedia article is one of the few that does not repeat this inaccuracy.

While I don't have a copy of Britannica, I would place money that they claim coffee is the second most traded commodity.

Anecdotally, Wikipedia wins.

January 23, 2009

Old photos

Doreen and I are in the process of assembling old photographs to get them ready for scanning. (We are using a service called Scan My Photos) Some of the photos can't be sent off, so I had to scan them here.

This is a photo taken at my high school graduation - that would have been in May or June of 1975.

That is me looking at the photographer.

I remember the day quite well. My old debate partner (Kimberly Taylor) beat me out to give the commencement speech. She was talking when I saw the photographer walking on the field (We had an outside graduation. It was the first time that my high school (Appleton High School West) had an outdoor graduation)

I watched him instead of paying attention to Kim. (I had heard her speech before anyway. Something about this not being the end, but the beginning, and the challenges we face. You've been there. Love you Kim, but it's true)

I even noticed him snapping the pictures.

This was on the front page of the local paper (The Appleton Post Cresent) the next day.
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January 22, 2009

Sliders at Little Bigs

We went to one of Doreen's park's events this evening for "Young People" (I don't think we would qualify as members) at a great restaurant in town called Reef.

It just so happens that the owner of Reef also own a "slider" restaurant that opened recently by our house, We stopped there after the event to get a trio of sliders for supper.

And I got to tell you - there were unbeleivably good! I am glad we can walk there as the parking lot is crowded.

Little Bigs is worth a trip for anyone who lives in Houston.

January 21, 2009

Larry McMurtry

We went to see Larry McMurtry speak at Rice University this evening. He is the author of the books (among many others) Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment. He also co-wrote the screenplay to Brokeback Mountain.

He is about 73 years old, and while still certainly creative and productive (he just finsihed another novel) comes across as a very cranky old man.

He really, really loves books. And by books, I don't necessarily mean the contents, but the physical books themselves. Doreen and I certainly share that feeling with him, but he seems to be taking it to an extreme. It seems he believes that nobody under 40 reads books anymore, and that the publishing industry, along with bookstores, will soon fail. He even thinks that the Kindle is a bad thing.

It was interesting to hear him talk, though. And one thing for certain is that the crowd was old.

Now, Apropos of nothing, we did run into our learned friend David Archer there. (I do not believe, though I may be wrong, that he hails from Archer City). For a while, no matter where we went to see a cultural event, we ran into David. Once, we even ran into him (and his lovely better half, Phyllis) in New York City! (Imagine that!)

January 14, 2009

Let's call things as they are.

Obama has too much to lose to start cow kowtowing to special interests like this:

4G war, conflicts of interest loom behind possible DTV delay

That is actually not change I can believe it. It is politics as usual.

The appearance of impropriety is sometimes just as bad as impropriety itself.

Bush, by Eugene O'Neill - James Fallows

Many links lately, not much personal insight. Too much work. But the following is interesting:

Bush, by Eugene O'Neill - James Fallows

January 4, 2009

Welcome 2009!

I am not the type to make New Year's Resolutions. I have never done so, and will not start now. But I do like to look forward to the new year. And to review about "lessons learned" from the old.

I enjoyed somethings about 2008. The election (with everything that came with it!) some of the trips we made. Catching up with old friends. The last couple of weeks has been especially enjoyable around the house. We didn't leave town, but we did have some great times here. (See our day late NYE party, our very private NYE dinner, making goose gumbo [a tradition now] from leftover Christmas goose, and the preparation for Christmas itself)

I won't dwell on the badness of 2008, but it was mostly focused on the performance of our investments. Of course, as a good friend said not long ago, it is all about Cash Flow right now. Forget Net Worth! (words to live by)

I trust that in 2009 we will see the economy stabilize, oil prices go up to a more rational level that will sustain exploration as well as alternative solutions.

I believe that my company will return to a more robust level of growth in 2009 (from a very anemic, though positive! growth level in 2008)

And I hope that the health of my loved ones and myself remains good in 2009.

I don't think that 2009 will be an easy year. But that isn't the point, is it?

Happy New Year!