Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chester Bennington - RIP - and Suicide

This is my maudlin, whiny plea after someone kills himself.

Just a short time after the suicide of Chris Cornell, we learn that Chester Bennington (singer - Linkin Park, STP) hung himself.  ThermionicEmissions sends condolences to family, friends, and fans... we're sorry for your loss. Chester was 41 and left behind six children, from two different wives.

My friend in the music industry says it's partially the industry's fault. I'm not sure if I subscribe to the theory but hear it out and draw your own conclusions. He says the artists are allowed and encouraged to go their own way, regardless of possible harm... this makes money for everybody.  The handlers and those around the artist should be aware of self-destructive tendencies, as well as signs of depression, and act accordingly. I agree with this part.

We could all benefit from learning signs and symptoms. Depression is a terrible, painful thing, and it affects many more than you think. Much like with alcohol and drugs, you cannot fix the problem - the person has to be willing. This does not mean you can't be there to listen or maybe urge them toward help just a little.

If you're thinking of hurting or killing yourself...

Back it up a second.

Did you know you don't have to feel like this?
A lot of people grow up with this, not knowing it's not normal. They just feel like shit. Eventually they or someone recognizes it and they get some help.

Yeah, help.
If it's an emergency, call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Maybe even if it's not. They have people you can talk to who can help you out and direct you to other resources.

If you have family, talk to them. Maybe they can lend a hand - or an ear.
Talk to your friends. One of them might be depressed or know someone who is. There are online support communities. Misery loves company.

Your county/city has a mental health office. If you can't find it, call the county or city main line and ask them. They're there to help you.

It's time to see someone. Someone who sees this all day long, every workday. You are not the only one to feel this way. Through talk and possibly meds, you can feel better.

You may think that everyone's better off without you...

You're wrong.
You're in a lot of pain now and it might be hard to hear but you're wrong.
Do you have family? Friends? A significant other? A pet? Online buddies? Somebody you chat with at the store?

You are going to leave a trail of devastation in your wake.

You might think it's just a little adjustment for them and they'll go on.
You're wrong.
Death isn't one and done: death is forever. It stays with you and you never get over it.

Try something for me, please: pick someone you love. A parent, grandparent, brother, sister, good friend, dog...  they can be living or not. Put just the two of you in a room. Now look them in the eye and tell them you are going to kill yourself. Wait a moment and listen to their answer. You are going to leave a trail of devastation in your wake.  Do you want that?

Yes, Mr. Know-it-All...

My wife suffers from a number of chronic illnesses; among them, bipolar disorder. When she gets depressed, sometimes it doesn't stop there and heads straight for the depths of hell. This resulted in suicide attempts. Through proper medication and therapy, she learned to at least be alert to her feelings. If she starts thinking about hurting herself, she goes to the hospital, where she hangs out until the urge passes and she learns some new coping skills.

Let's talk about devastation.
One day, a long time ago, my wife had to go to the hospital. She awoke in the emergency room, hooked up to all sorts of machines. She was terrified. Then she looked around the room at her best friend and her husband, who didn't know if she was going to make it. They were a wreck. She thought of her family, including a sister who fell and died, and the effects on the family. Right then, she swore there would be no more of this. She was in pain, but never really experienced the effects her actions would have on those around her.

I don't like talking about any of this but maybe it will help someone.
I felt miserable most of my life. It wasn't right. Well into adulthood it finally hit me: I wasn't supposed to feel this way (not very quick on the draw, am I?).  I was diagnosed with depression. It took a while to get the meds right, during which I got pretty low. I could sit in a chair for days, angry or sad or generally miserable, unable to do much of anything that involved getting off the chair. I would never hurt or kill myself.. it's not remotely possible. But at that time, I understood why people killed themselves. Fortunately I don't go there anymore.

Please learn from our experience. Please read it again if you're not convinced. Reach out.. you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Daytime TV Causes More Suicides Than Depression

My wife watches daytime tv.
I cannot begin to describe the horrors. Unless you've spent even a day watching, you do not understand the sheer torture involved.

Broadcast tv went to hell years back, with radio. There's absolutely nothing of value, with the possible exception of news, and even that's questionable.  Things seem to go in blocks, starting with news at some hour at which even plants (and ants) are still sleeping. Then it goes to Yack Shows, where one or groups of women talk about celebrities, including Wendy Williams; an exceedingly tall woman with 400 wigs and humongous breast implants. You never see her and Frankenstein in the same room, but I shall go no further. The only thing worse than this gossip hound is her mind-controlled audience, whose entire output consists of drooling and "WOO WOO." Then a couple of non-caucasian women yack about celebrities and all talk at the same time. Then a huge block of Judge Shows, including Judge Judy, who is the rudest woman on tv and an incredibly negative Jewish stereotype. These go on for hours, with anyone who can fit into a robe raining down justice on some of the dimmest bulbs ever to appear in court. It's not fair to expect people to have a college degree (I couldn't pass the drinking exam) but most of these people don't have high school degrees. If they do, all of them failed grammar. Four times. They might not have left high school til they were twenty five, several days before they appeared on the show.

In between and around the March of the Stupid are the 'movies'. Because there is nothing on tv and because there isn't an original thought left in tv (or movies or music), new stations are popping up (like vicious weeds you cannot kill). They are probably taking advantage of copyright lapses and airing the absolute worst crap you can imagine: black and white war movies, 1970s television shows, and the real mind-blower - an entire network devoted to 70s game shows.

Wife is fascinated with history, with a special emphasis on those wacky and wild nazis. I don't claim to understand this and probably don't want to. As a result, there are frequently nazi movies on tv. You know - the family friendly, touching nazi movies. But do not despair.. non-nazi war movies are good too, provided they're black and white. Were people black and white in the forties? When war is temporarily over, the 'classic' black and whites start, with murder mysteries and stories of men loving unhinged women and someone killing someone else for the money.  One network picks ten of these gems, perhaps throwing in a 70s or 70s or 80s horrid period classic (in color!), and runs them all month. I don't even watch this crap and can recognize some of the lines. Wife, who has the attention span of a fly and the continuity of an infant, can watch this delightful deluge of mediocrity each time, with it being new each time.

So I sit there, diligently doing something horribly important on my computer, and being forced to listen to this drivel.

Don't forget the commercials! 1-800-SUE! If you've been injured, experience death, have mesothilioma, or transvaginal mesh, there are altruistic guardians of what is right called lawyers. You may be entitled to a cash reward and these folks are right there to help you. After you're done litigating, there are about fourteen variations of the Need Cash Now commercial, which run til you want to get all stabby with close family members. Finally, you can get paid to take care of your very sick relatives or be a cosmetologist. Both require silly outfits.

I have to admit it's fascinating to look at bits of 70s tv, to see how far we've come in production and technology (and writing - my God). Of all shows, CHIPS (remember that?) has absolutely the best car crashes we have ever seen, bar none. Today's car crashes cannot hold a candle (or a flamethrower) to these. The entire freeway winds up littered with completely smashed up hulks of 70s Land Yachts. The world could probably do without Rockford Files, Quincy, and the rest of the 'programming,' especially the torturous Murder, She Wrote, which runs two episodes, for the specific purpose of getting viewers to change the channel to some other mind-eating network. Like the Game Show Network. Can you imagine watching Jeopardy from 1974? The host and all of the contestants have been dead for 20 years. If you don't watch out, you might join them.

  • We are still fighting the Great Ant War of 2017 but it appears the ants have decided to stop sending soldiers to the front. We're getting stragglers. Perhaps they found a better target. What could ants possibly want in a bathroom. A tub area? I hope they went to visit the Crazy Lady, although I suspect even they are terrified of her. If the ants ever take over, only she will be left standing.

Police are getting bodycams that identify places and people. The manufacturer, Motorola, claims it's not facial recognition, it's object recognition. Yeah, ok.  This is all ok, though, because it's for the children. No, really, they're tugging heartstrings because it can look for missing children. Heaven help us. When this gets loose, which it will, it will only get worse. Let's see... my state has facial recognition on drivers licenses. Wanna bet.....

While we're at it, there's a critical flaw in Segway Hoverboards, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. There you are, Michael J. Fox, on your hoverboard, when some wag cyberchild hijacks the local surveillance camera to watch what happens when he turns the hoverboard upside down, hurtling you to the sidewalk. Seven minutes later, it's uploaded to Faceyspaces.

  • Google is using your entire search history to create a personalized news feed. Although there are certain things you can do to minimize what Google knows about you, the best way is to stop using it. Duckduckgo is the way to go.

Pennsylvania is reporting ninety billion hacking attempts against it last year. There is no information available about how they arrived at this number, but it looks to be in reaction to scores of reports that they were hacked during the election. Let's ignore the fact that this breach might have something to do with the last election (seriously?). PA does want us to rest assured there is no evidence of the Russians hacking into the voting machines. No evidence at all. Nothing to see here - go on home.

I suspect the total number was arrived at by taking the number of stop signs in the state and dividing it by the number of pet squid belonging to the residents in the state. The resulting number is multiplied by that year's state deficit and added to the governor's salary. This number is divided by the number of strip clubs visited by state employees with state funds. See - easy as PI.

  • A Canadian family had some interesting luck the other day. They were having some ice cream when someone bit into something, later identified as a catheter. The ice cream company charged them extra for the medical device, the health system had the police arrest them for using an unprescribed medical device and, being Canadian, the family apologized.

If English managed to produce a lot of words that had the first and second letter capitalized, I'd be the fastest typist on the planet.

  • Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer at the Mayo Clinic. ThermionicEmissions wishes him good health. He has already introduced legislation to bomb the clinic.  
  • No, it's never too soon.

A Florida man, upset that AT&T trucks were parked on his property, asked them to move. Apparently he was not satisfied with the answer because he came back with a gun, shot out all four tires on one truck, walked to the other truck, reloaded, and shot out each of those tires too. He also shot out a radiator and into the body of a truck. In the obligatory interview with the neighbor, who only spoke Spanish (because this is Florida, US), he was such a nice guy.

In unrelated news, AT&T has ordered all of its employees to take an intensive two week course in what is a driveway and what isn't a driveway, as well as in which you should park the truck. So far there has been an eighty percent fail rate.

  • Internet of Things Strikes Again: Alexa, everybody's favorite in-home listening device, got remotely updated so now its users are part of Amazon's Social Network.  You upload your contacts to the mobile app and everything gets thrown into the network, including the pool guy, some person you helped with their computer, people you don't remember, and your car mechanic. All of these people can add you. You can add them. If you don't like them, there was no way to block, but Amazon fixed that. If you want out, you have to call an actual person to be unsubscribed.
  • As one would expect, Alexa users aren't really concerned. Ho-hum.

The dog did everything but sit on my head this morning in bed. He did walk up, plop down on my pillow, and proceeded to pant and whine, about five minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off. No one set the dog for that time, so it was annoying. When I went to let him out, he went and slept by the door in the other direction. I thought the poor little bugger wanted to go out, get some breakfast, or some meds... no - he woke me up so he could sleep in a different place. You tell me who is running the house.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Just Paying Additional Shipping and Handling

Yesterday I hit the Daily Double, when power and cable went out, one after the other. Today only the cable went out. But I am not worrying, as Comcast has their Best People on it.

Let this serve as inspiration to you, that if cable internet/tv is important to you, you have some sort of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), aka Battery Backup. They are available in many ratings and packages. Some newer Comcast and FIOS installations have a battery backup for their service.Plug in all your devices you want to continue working in event of power outage: cable modem, router, wireless, laptops, chargers, etc. These will protect you in the event of power outage, but not cable outage.

  • When asked, "Won't the laws of mathematics trump the laws of Australia?", the prime minister replied, "The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia." Next up: Australia enacts law against gravity.

Jet, the online retailer bought by Walmart last year, has struck a deal with smart access provider Latch in an effort to make deliveries easier for its customers in urban areas. What this means is that deliveries can make it past the main joint door and tenants can allow the delivery in from their cell phones. Oh yeah, access will also be granted to all of Jet's business partners will automatically get access. What could possibly go wrong?

  • It's World Emoji Day. Emergency Rooms across the world are on alert for people slitting their wrists and taking huge amounts of any kind of pills they have around the house. This blog is and will always remain, 100% Emoji-Free.
  • Bulletin: cancer cured.

The people whose information got stolen from Ashley Madison, the cheaters' website, are eligible for up to $3,500, via a $11.2 million settlement. Not that readers of ThermionicEmissions would need this information...

  • Finally, a Mac item I can get behind. Unfortunately you cannot make use of it without iTunes and the iPencil.

The FBI has warned parents that Internet of Things toys could present a safety and privacy risk.  You're kidding. No, really - the FBI wasted no time in jumping on this matter to keep you safe. After all - it's for the children! 

Seriously.. a federal agency, so far beyond things that they are just getting around to issuing an alert on IoT-connected toys. How long have I been warning you about this? When it implodes, which it will, it will give me no pleasure to say "I told you so."  Ok, maybe a little.

  • Apparently the Hollywood Bowl gave up wood from its seats. Fender is making guitars out of the wood at $12,000 each. That's a little steep for most of us, and of questionable value (and tone) for those who can afford one. Perhaps they need a clever ad campaign:
  • Monty Python may have blown their nose at it
  • the wood was very wet when the Beatles played
  • Hendrix burned an entire row ($20k extra for the burnt wood model)
  • Jim Morrison had sex in the first row (with himself), right before the police showed up
  • I'm a natural ad man, aren't I?

The secret to self-driving cars is to drive them yourself.

  • Does Steve Harvey shout out the wrong name in bed?

I really like tying my wife up. Sometimes we have sex.

  • Toasters are a cruel joke, played upon us by the Bread Lobby. I put my bread in, like any normal person, and set it to medium. When it's done, it becomes apparent that the toaster and I are not in agreement about what constitutes medium. I think medium is defined as starting to turn brown. Toaster thinks medium is kinda warm. But only on odd-numbered days. Regardless, I get frustrated and put the semi-toast back in. At this point, no matter how I set it, the toast is coming out black - there's simply no way to avoid this. I've tried old toasters, new toasters, and toaster ovens, all with the same results. So if I'm still in a Toast Mood, I have start over again, with new bread, enriching the Bread Industry.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Blobfest 2017 - All Things Change

Three years ago, through providence or State Department of Roads, we stumbled upon Blobfest. This is a yearly celebration of The Blob, Steve McQueen's first film role. The theater scenes from this nightmare of a horror movie were filmed at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. For the past three years, we have attended, but I'm not completely certain why. Like most things, it probably has something to do with Retail Therapy<tm>.

Phoenixville is a weird place.
It had a certain charm, a very long time ago. A very very long time ago. It was a bustling little town which featured most of the charm you'd want to find in a bustling little town, whose retail center was about two blocks in most directions. Why they even had a post office (I'm stretching here).

Then something happened.
I don't know what. Do I look like an historian or something? The place went right down the plumbing. Major stuff closed, like some industry or something. At some point I noted that it wasn't a ghost town because even the ghosts had gone.

Then something else happened.
Perhaps tired of being The Town That Time Forgot, they decided to get hip and with it. A friend moved there and said they were bringing in some larger acts to local venues. The town was giving it a try, and why not; it's really a nice area, with great old houses and the aforementioned business area.


Across the street, with a fine view of the Colonial Theater, is my grandfather's store. Like some of the businesses on the main drag, it has been there forever; certainly longer than ThermionicEmissions has been around. In fact, it could be said that it has been around longer than I've been alive. And if one were to say that, one would be correct.

I kinda grew up in that store. My grandparents got to have their grandkids come to the store for hours at a time, 'helping out' and doing whatever grandchildren did.  We celebrated holidays, especially Christmas, with good food and family from all over the place. We learned a tiny amount about business and I got to perform certain duties, even as a frustrating little bastard. There was a large basement, full of dirt. Lots of dirt. Very old dirt. As this town is in close proximity to Valley Forge National Park, it's possible that George Washington slept on it. Or slept with someone on it.

We had our favorite pizza and bakery on the block. The greatest thing for kids had to be the 5+10 store. It was a local Disneyland, with incredibly looooong aisles that you could get lost in. Every variety of candy and bauble and toy you could imagine. I remember parts of it vividly (and I remember very little, which has absolutely nothing to do with drugs, legal or prescribed). 

Years passed and we all grew up around the store and the grandparents. Grandpa was serious about his business but also a bit of a wildman, with a twinkle in his eye. One day we watched him chase Grandma around their dining room table. Grandpa started getting really entertaining after a while. At a restaurant, he wasn't happy with the way his steak was prepared, so he picked it up and kept banging it on the table, saying, "rubber steak and chicken nuggets," over and over again. It took quite a while for the laughter to die down. The laughter ceased when the increasing hilarity was diagnosed as alzheimers. 

The store was sold to distant family, then kinda passed into family history. It was still there, but the owner was on vacation. Imagine the look on her face when some weirdos popped through the door, claiming to have grown up there.


Three years ago we went to our first Blobfest. Fortunately for me, you didn't have to know anything about The Blob to appreciate it... I never saw it. I have a wife with an absolutely frightening ancient movie internal database. This came in handy today when I mentioned there was a fire extinguisher parade. I think a fire extinguisher parade is a wonderful thing for its sheer randomness. Apparently in the movie, they used fire extinguishers on the blob. I kinda prefer the random version.

The first Blobfest provided an opportunity to visit our local Disney 5+10 store. Unfortunately it had shrunk to almost nothing; the long aisles full of candy were long gone. I swear there were things for sale that were there in my childhood. The following year, the store was closed.

This year's fest was the largest yet, with the festivities expanding damn near half a block over last year's. Don't take my sneering tone as derision - I like the event and the total schlock vibe. Talking about schlock, there's a Miss Blobfest, complete with a dress out of the Munsters, but with lots of nuclear colors accenting the black.  Twice as many vendors lined the street, with even more horror-related junk than before. There were more artists with weird... pieces of art. Weirder than the art was the people. I don't know if they all moved into the city or like to visit Blobfest a lot, but they arrived... the weirdos. The goths. There was a mandatory twelve tattoo admittance requirement, which was heartily eclipsed by most in attendance.  Last, but most regrettable, were the hipsters. Man buns. More piercings than skin. Really bizarre facial hair. The Smell of Smug. There was also a vintage car show, which had shrunk a bit. We took my parents for fun and the sake of history... they hadn't seen the place in quite a few years either. History came full circle.

In spite of the larger event, someone needs to get hold of the event before it degenerates into a shitfest. It's pretty low-rent. This year's highlight was toilets. Last year there were a few Porta Potties, centrally placed. This year was different... as I understand it, one needed a ticket to use the facilities. The tickets were available at the theater. At the theater, one was informed that they had to purchase a ticket to a movie to use the facilities. If one had some sort of intestinal agita, it made for a Bad Day. Fortunately there were retail establishments.

Fortunately there were retail establishments. Two stores are particular favorites of Mrs. lefty. I think we comprised about one quarter of their revenue last year. 

In the midst of two vendors with odd t-shirts and a guy making art out of old vinyl albums, was my grandfather's store. Closed, as it is every year during Blobfest, we went to look anyway.  There were the remnants of the alarm system I put in when I was in my teens. But that was it. The store was closed. Out of business. The inside, with its way out of date display cases, was nothing but a shell. One would assume the basement still has the original dirt. It was a bit of a shock and a period on an early part of my life.

I called my brother to fill him in.
With simple wisdom, he said, "All things change."

Rubber steak and chicken nuggets. Rubber steak and chicken nuggets.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fidget Spin THIS

Did you know that we're using Windows XP in almost every power plant? A security expert says 'we're just hoping for the best'.

Watching the Internet of Things and the Power Plant Debacle is like watching a train crash in incredibly slow motion. I desperately want to be wrong about this but nothing seems to have changed.

Manufacturers refuse to learn. With every generation of technology there are faults. These faults need to be catalogued so they can be eliminated for the next generation. We've had PCs since the 80s, yet many things in many fields come out and fail to learn simple lessons. The most egregious these days is Internet of Things devices. It's bad enough that people are ok with appliance and light bulbs phoning home, but the security implications are staggering.

Add all of this knowledge to everything from government to huge utilities to small businesses, who are not updating their technology and failing to patch it if they have. They're sitting ducks. Windows XP is dead and has not been supported for quite a while. This was no surprise - Microsoft announces end-of-life long before the date arrives. There have been quite a few versions of Windows since XP, all of which were apparently ignored. While I don't feel sorry for most businesses that get hit, when we're talking hospitals and electric utilities, it can affect us all.

End of periodic rant.

  • A Swedish minister said that reducing the number of cars on the road is a gender issue because their prevalence in Swedish cities results in men taking space away from women. Somewhere, unknown to most, is a book called Feminism: The Stupid Rationale Guide.

If you haven't lately, make sure to check for updates on your android phone. There are a number of nasties floating around and you always want to have the latest patch. One of the reasons for the nasties is crapware uploaded to Google Play that misses their detection and is installed on phones. Please only install android software from the Play store or an appropriate third party. When you're deciding whether to install or not, check the software description and reviews carefully. Look for grammar mistakes and obvious fake reviews.

Which brings us to the latest android ransomware. It threatens to send your internet history and private pics to all your friends if you don't pay. I don't know about you, but my friends would die of boredom reading my internet history (if it weren't deleted as soon as the browser closed). My pictures are largely of Marshall, and aside from the Modern Transsexuals site, I don't surf anywhere interesting.

  • Because engagement parties, pre-engagement parties, wedding showers, baby showers, weddings, baby naming, and parties for the sake of parties, the Committee On Bilking Friends, Family, and Others, has released its latest mandated celebration: the gender reveal party. Our understanding is that this event is to reveal the gender of the baby, not the whatever the mother identifies as this week. As for the gender of the father or what he identifies as, who gives a rat's ass? Parties are exclusively for women.

If you've ever worked remotely, this list will be spot-on. If you haven't, it will merely be amusing.

  • According to Symantec's research, 84% of people will connect to any wifi that's free and strong enough, carrying out their daily activities, including financial transactions, email, and accessing adult content. Don't be one of the 84%, please.

Marshall Update: His operation/biopsy was postponed a few days because his output wasn't what it should be. Short diet change should fix this. Pain meds, because he's whining a bit for no apparent reason. The mass occasionally bleeds, so the furniture and the parents now have dried blood in weird places. He managed to tip over some paperwork, which is now stained from water after his pool visits, plus dried blood.

  • Another Aviation Scientist tried to open the door on a Delta plane recently. The hero was a flight attendant, who hit him over the head with a champagne bottle. The plane burst into applause and Delta charged her for the bottle.

Mrs. lefty asked who ate the trash. Marshall said it was the Russians. CNN backed him.

Speaking of Mrs. lefty, she just called to tell me there was a 'moo cow' out in the middle of the street, in a shopping center. They've been getting loose a lot lately, just not in PA. She said it was prancing around. It took a few minutes to figure out it was some dude in a cow suit, doing a promo for Chik Filet.

  • The data of at least six million Verizon users has leaked online. Verizon says it's ok - none of the information was stolen. After the initial report, it took Verizon only nine days to fix the leak. Verizon stated that this was due to "human error" and that no loss or or theft of customer information occurred. Further, they maintain that only six million records were exposed, not fourteen million, as the firm that discovered the 'human error' stated.
  • Taking Verizon at its word, there were six million records exposed to the entire internet, because a third party vendor misconfigured a server in THE CLOUD. But no data was stolen. Not a single person saw one bit of the data, because they had to have the specific url of the misconfigured cloud server.
  • This is obviously why Verizon Wireless users pay more for their accounts. You don't get this kind of service with lower-priced carriers.

Tomato plant research has produced something interesting: when caterpillars start eating leaves, the plant releases a chemical that sets the caterpillars on each other.  Kinda like politics.

  • Part of the slow motion mass casualty collision that is facial recognition is happening now in airports. It is allegedly for foreigners leaving the country, per Congress and sped up by a Trump executive order. Well, yes, all scans are deleted after 14 days and yes, you can allegedly opt-out, this information goes to our good friends at DHS/CBP.

Noted constitutional scholar and part-time telephone pole, Rosie O'Donnell states "I don't care if you want to hunt. I don't care if you think it's your right. I say sorry. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison." No doubt all of her bodyguards are unarmed too. I need to find a job where I can get paid very well to say Stupid Shit<tm>. Several of my readers might state that this blog is that job but I must correct them; I don't get paid for this.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Soggy Cocker

Happy After July 4th, folks. Check the emergency rooms for your friends and neighbors because the fireworks were flying, as well as the limbs and digits. I hope your pets were ok during the BOOMs.

  • The Girl Scouts of America have announced a cybersecurity badge. To earn it, they have to hack Nordstroms or Macys and deposit their stolen booty into Bitcoin, with a receipt.

Since Marshall's pool went up, he likes to go out to do his business, then take a dip before he returns. Whoever lets him in yells SOGGY COCKER so the other one can make sure there are towels to cover his favorite spots. This tends to happen at 12am, before bed. Since he's mostly deaf, the fireworks did not bother him. Last year there was barking.

In less pleasant Marshall news, we saw some blood in his mouth and took him to the vet. It's a growth and he's scheduled for surgery and biopsy next week. Your best wishes because it's going to come up benign are always appreciated. He is in no discomfort and his behavior is absolutely normal (whatever that means).

  • Out driving the other day, I noted a sign. It said "Do not stop on railroad tracks." We need a sign for this? There are actually people who stop on railroad tracks? Of course there are. Some very large law firm made a lot of money right before the sign went up.

My buddy learned something new last week: letters come back to you if you fail to affix a stamp. Life is for learning.

  • We know CNN has given up any pretense of decent journalism and pretty much makes things up at this point. After the recent very silly, unpresidential Trump tweet, CNN actually managed to locate the person who made it, got an 'apology', and threatened to publish his name and info at any point in the future. This, me hearties, is blackmail.
  • Would Walter Cronkite do this?
  • Have they gone insane?
  • This has absolutely no relation to journalism.
  • With the 'detective work', CNN has pissed off Reddit, where they discovered the artist. It is very dangerous to piss off Reddit, so things should get interesting shortly...
  • If this bothers you, stop watching CNN.

I tend to misbehave. I'm particularly bad at funerals and churches. And weddings, which are technically funerals where you can smell your own flowers. My buddy is an alcoholic and I volunteered to go to a meeting for support. It turns out I also exhibit misbehavior at AA meetings...
  • you do not tell anyone you're powerless over the effects of chocolate
  • if asked to share, do not start out with "Three nuns walk into a bar..."
  • noting that meetings are the place where you exchange your alcohol addiction for your coffee and cigarette addiction is also frowned upon
  • breaking out into song and sighing while looking at your watch can earn you some pretty nasty looks
  • telling the story about three hookers and so much Jack Daniels that you had to be told what you did with the donkey is very amusing, but should probably wait til long after the meeting is over
My friend thanked me profusely, noting that he felt so supported that he didn't need any more support for quite a while. Sounds like win/win to me.

  • Everybody's favorite network, Faceyspaces, won another one in court, when a suit was thrown out over tracking users after they signed out. The judge said the plaintiffs did not show harm or prove a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Solution 1: do not use Faceyspaces. I know you're surprised that I'd suggest this, but we must do what we must do.
  • Solution 2: the tracking takes place via cookies. Disable cookies-at least 3rd party cookies. This may make FB behave strangely (moreso) but it's worth a shot.
  • Solution 3: use browser addins that aggressively block and clear cookies - especially trackers. Ghostery will stop trackers and works on most, if not all, browsers. Firefox has a Self-Destructing Cookies addon, plus BetterPrivacy
  • Solution 3+: configure your browser to 'forget' history when you close it. This will remove all cookies, data, and history. It can also be accomplished by using the Private Browser Window in most browsers: the moment you close the window, all data is erased. It is important to close this window/browser or your data will be available to the next places you visit.
  • FYI: cookies are tiny text files that sit on your computer, placed there by sites and ad networks. They remain after you log out or leave pages, where all subsequent sites can read them. How did one site know you looked at lawnmowers on another site? Cookies. How can they possibly know to put an ad for Tampax on a completely different site? Cookies. How is a detailed profile of you built up on Faceyspaces and across huge ad networks? Cookies. How can all of your information eventually be matched up, with income and other personal details? Cookies. Your choice.

A huge WWE leak has exposed the data of three million wrestling fans. The bad news is somewhat mitigated by the fact that most of them don't know their own data.

  • You're probably asking yourself "How do I protect myself from this ransomware and malware he's always going on about?" Here are some safe strategies:
  1. Don't go online.
  2. Don't do anything stupid.
  3. Keep your operating system up to date/patched
  4. Don't do anything stupid.

Parents have been warned over exploding fidget spinners powered by Bluetooth. Yes, everything's better with Bluetooth. Related: do not get them stuck on your penis.

  • Read about the Military Industrial Complex's war for our data. Article references the UK but the idea remains the same.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Russians - It Was the Russians!

It was the Russians, who visited this blog in great numbers. They hacked nothing, did not interfere with any ThermionicEmissions business or elections, and furthermore, did not provide ice cream or ice cream-like substances.

  • This is an iAnniversary for the iPhone. Over one billion have been sold, at around $600 per. Barnum was right.

Everybody's favorite "whatever she is", Miley Cyrus, has proclaimed she has no age or gender. I suspect she has no input from certain important parts of her brain that really should be working but have been beaten into submission by alcohol, drugs, or torture. If she makes it to middle age, she's going to be embarrassed.

Having said that, I want to let you know that I have no body. This makes all that extra weight irrelevant and thusly halts the weaning off ice cream and vanilla buttercream frosting. Further, today I identify as a 2N2222 transistor.

Satire aside, I hope she manages to escape and somehow do so with a shred of sanity.

  • WARNING: the furries have descended upon Pittsburgh, PA. Run for your lives.

If your computer reboots and you get a ransomware screen, turn the power off immediately, then you can get most of the data off your hard drive. If you don't know how to do this, ask a kid. Of course we don't have to worry about this because we make frequent backups, right?

  • Our long national nightmare is over: Marshall got his new pool the other day. The original pool developed many small holes for no apparent reason. Maybe their cheap plastic develops holes via contact with grass - I have no idea.
  • Marshall greeted the pool with a serious sniff-over, followed by the ceremonial filling of water, which he proceeded to drink from the hose. He thoroughly soaked himself, randomly got in and out, scrupulously avoiding most of my attempts at taking his picture. A chip off the old block, he is.
  • Now, at 3am, when he goes out, he can come in, completely soaked.
  • Regardless of hour, we all must listen closely for the ceremonial scream, "SOGGY COCKER!" At this point, we have to get out the towels to cover all surfaces he might perch upon.

Today is Social Media Day. In spite of this, I'm writing shit (professionals call this Creating Content, but I'm fairly distanced from professional) on my blog. After that, I'll log off and hang out with Marshall.

  • Something happened today. Something so rare, so odd, so unbelievable, I don't even know how to type it out. But you know me - I'll try anyway.
  • The morning 'news', in between social media reports and sports, said it was going to be warm in the morning, hot by noon, and REALLY hot in the afternoon. AND THEY WERE CORRECT.
  • I managed to be outside in the afternoon and it was quite hot. Not ridiculously humid, just very humid. But hot. The kind of mostly sunny day in which it's just best to stay inside because the car will overcook your buttocks the moment they hit the seat.
  • If we go out, I'll take my freezer packs and duct tape them around my head.

Ukraine Security Service blames Russia for 'Petya' outbreak. Well, who benefits? They were the obvious choice. I'm not saying it was Russia, but that's the quick answer.

  • Can someone please explain to me why Scarlett Johanssen cut her hair? Was there a life change? That woman's hair is a national treasure. It's not like she's ever going to look like a boy, but still...

Apparently it's going to be a good/bad season for ticks. Good for ticks, not so good for us. It is recommended to keep grass short to give them no place to hide. Parents should check their kids when they come inside. Because your crazy mom, with OCD, will now have a legitimate excuse to check every hair on your body, methodically, one by one.

The news story on ticks went on to describe how to remove the little buggers. And no tick story would be complete without constant references to lyme disease, including how relatives of the talking heads were diagnosed with it.

  • Today's best line: If you need stamps, they're right here in the lion.

Mark Zuckerberg, head of Faceyspaces, says 'Facebook is the new church.' 
Is it bigger than Jesus?
I sure hope he won't be laying hands on anyone, other than his wife.
Now we'll have to deal with generations of Face-O-Philes, molesting children digitally.
All money and treasure will be concentrated in the San Francisco area, with no one allowed to see it and no auditing.
Zuckerberg will get Serious Headgear - taller than the pope. He will insist on a similarly lofty title, like Your Poofitude or His Godliness.

Could there have been a better gift to me this morning? I don't think so.