Police mace protesters during a demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Mandan, North Dakota, U.S.
Police mace protesters during a demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Mandan, North Dakota, U.S.
Police mace protesters during a demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Mandan, North Dakota, U.S.

It’s one of those days again. Holidays. Days that are celebrated in this culture which I do not celebrate. Thanksgiving is the day we brainwash children into believing some BS about Pilgrims (the wrong name for the group to which it refers, used only recently) and Indians (again, a term incorrectly applied. The “discoverers” of the “New World” at first thought they had found a new route to India). The true story isn’t so flattering to “our” ancestors. I put “our” in quotes because, frankly, who the hell do I mean by “our”? Who is the “we”? I had no ancestors in this country before 1900. Many Americans didn’t.

The descendants of the people we reference in these “history” stories are the blue blood WASPs you usually find running things in the GOP and elsewhere. According to TheFreeDicionary.com, a WASP is a “white person of Protestant English or other Northern European ancestry, especially one belonging to the American upper class. [W(hite) A(nglo-)S(axon) P(rotestant).]” The term is often, but not always, used in a derogatory way. George Bush (W. and H. W.) had ancestors on the Mayflower.

The passengers on the Mayflower, those we incorrectly refer to as Pilgrims, were a small community of religious fanatics who referred to themselves as “Saints” and believed they were chosen by God. Unable to get along with normal people, they fled to the “New World” (new to Europeans), where they “appropriated” some land. One of the secular passengers, called “Strangers” by the “Saints”, had been washed overboard and drowned during the rough, stormy passage, and one of the “Saints” later wrote that he deserved it, that God killed him for being “a proud and very profane yonge man.” (http://www.history.com/topics/mayflower) Sound familiar?

Many of these arrogant land-grabbers died during the passage and the first couple of years in their new home. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the indigenous people teaching them how to survive, they would have all perished. And how do you think the native people were paid back for their generosity? The descendants of the WASPs are still screwing the descendants of the natives today! (Keystone, for one recent example.)

Ah, but I digress. After reaping their first successful harvest, the Saints threw a three-day party to celebrate and give thanks for their survival. This is the Thanksgiving celebrated in the USA today. I doubt if Native Americans celebrate it. I don’t. I’ll go to see my mom in the nursing home today, armed with pumpkin pie and coffee. We’ll talk about how many of her friends and family are dead. How someone keeps stealing her phone. It is always returned just before I visit. How the food there stinks. How she wishes she could go home, but she has no home to go to. I sold it. It’s not like Medicaid rules demanded that. She tries to figure out how long she has left. Every day, the dementia gets a little worse.

I try to be thankful every day – thankful for the few people I have in my life who get me through each day. I’m thankful for the shelter and sustenance I enjoy, and for the relatively luxurious life I live. A far cry from the times I was homeless or imprisoned. So… to those of you who celebrate this day, I wish you a joyful day filled with love, family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving! For those, like myself, who hold this day in a different regard, let’s take some time to appreciate the true meaning of this day – the devastation and genocide of the indigenous peoples of the North and South American continents perpetrated by the Europeans who invaded their land, whose descendants are still persecuted today. There is no way we can right the great historical wrong but can we, at least, stop harming them still? Happy Wrongdoing!

The new year is always a popular time for making resolutions, turning over a new leaf, starting with a clean slate, or whatever you choose to call it. I’m sure there are more blog posts on January first each year than any other day.

I spent the entire day working, because that is my resolution: I must bring one of my (too) many projects to fruition this year. I hope to blog about the adventure as often as possible. But, if I want to get this post in on time, I must end it here. :)

Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!


Jedi Knight or Code Warrior?

I was checking for Java versions on my newly installed Linux Mint Debian Edition. The command ‘which java’ resulted in /usr/bin/java and, like magic, a new character was born. (side rant: Why, in every other *nix command, is the version info given by -v or –version but, in OpenJDK, it’s -version? Pisses me off. Adherence to standards, people!)

Posted in Uncategorized.

I was listening to songs of my youth last night, many were rather sad. I like sad songs. Drinking was not part of the evening’s entertainment because my liver is shot. I can’t have more than a couple of beers without feeling ill. That’s probably a good thing.

Sitting down to the computer this morning, I found YouTube still open in a browser tab, so I played a few more. Mistake. Often, I finish these musical bouts of self-pity and nostalgia with Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Not a huge Judy Garland fan, I just like that song and ,no, I’m not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Instead, this morning, my match with melancholy ends with Puff the Magic Dragon. For many, it’s a bittersweet tale of the lost innocence of childhood. It has always been that for me. Afterwards, I took a shower before starting work for the day. I’m in the shower about five minutes (I take long, hot showers), singing Puff,

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.

and when I get to the next line,

Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,

I start crying like a baby. I was completely overwhelmed with grief. It’s been seven years since my brother’s death. My little brother. Most people who knew the six foot Chief of Police had a different image of him, no doubt. But, to me, he was always and will always be my little brother. And when he really needed me most, I wasn’t there for him. People have said many kind things, the usual things people say. You can’t blame yourself, no one could have known. I knew. And I can never forgive myself. I will never stop missing Patrick, my little brother. And I will never sing that damn song again.

Patrick Kissane
Patrick Kissane
October 31, 1962 – January, 23 2006

Last night, I watched a 60 Minutes episode on CNBC which explored the danger foreign hackers pose to the US, especially to the banking industry, the government, and the power grid.  The story (which seemed to be pieced together from stories originally aired on 11/08/09 and 3/27/09) highlighted the rapid spread of the conficker worm, which even infected the station’s network during the production of the show.

They interviewed an exec from a popular security company who, not surprisingly, explained the need for his companies products.  The 60 Minutes crew completely fails to explain the best and cheapest way to avoid the danger: don’t use Microsoft Windows.  The media never seems to grasp there are alternatives, like Linux, that will protect you from 99% of the malware without the need for special security software.  Are these media outfits on the Microsoft and Symantec payroll or are they just not doing a thorough reporting job?  The answer is yes to both.

Media ignores Linux because Microsoft is a major advertiser and they don’t want to lose millions of dollars in ad revenue.  Another reason is most people producing these stories are ignorant of Linux and the technical issues involved.  The OS (operating system) is never even mentioned.  Wake up and smell the conspiracy, folks.  You can and should ditch Microsoft Windows and use Linux – it’s faster, more secure, and free.

Video links:
The Internet is Infected
Sabotaging the System

Related Stories:
The Conficker worm on 60 Minutes
60 Minutes Missed the Elephant in the Room

I am often asked why I prefer the Linux operating system (OS) to Microsoft Windows or MacOS.  One reason is that I like the concept of free sharing of ideas and information espoused by the Linux community.  This is in stark contrast to the vicious, litigious culture of trade secrets fostered by proprietary software producers.  Another reason is the ease with which I can configure my Linux desktop to my liking.  Using other systems, I’m forced to change the way I work to fit the system.

Windows, MacOS, and Linux

In an effort to make clear my more objective reasons, I’m putting together a chart comparing Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.  It is a work in progress.  I will add points of comparison and update the data as necessary.  If you find any errors or have suggestions, please let me know.  Obviously, I have a bias in favor of Linux, but I want the chart to be fair and accurate.

I hope this will save me from explaining my preference repeatedly.  I also hope this will make it clear to all why Linux is a superior system, demonstrated by a simple comparison of specifications.  Of course, as always, I support your right to pay too much money for an inferior product if that makes you happy.

For the first in a series of video updates, I thought I’d warm up with Bony Maroney in my ‘fake-ass Johnny Winter that I haven’t played in years’ style. The slow bit at the end is a transition to the John Lennon cover from his underrated album, Rock n Roll.

My fellow Americans… Happy Independence Day! Hope the holiday weekend has been fun. While we’re busy waving flags, grilling burgers, shooting off fireworks, and shouting “Hooray for US!” let’s remember what this day means.

Today, we celebrate our hard won freedom from an oppressive, tyrannical government which held little regard for the rights of the individual. The many were heavily burdened so a privileged few could benefit. Sound familiar? We won this precious independence by taking up arms and saying, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore.”

Ben Franklin on Liberty and Security

Just remember that, if we again feel the heavy boot of such would-be kings on our necks, we must be willing to fight again. Enjoy your ball games, your BBQ, your family reunions… and exercise your right to bear arms. Come the revolution brother, you’re on one side or the other.

It’s that time again.  Time for a change.  I’ve felt this coming for a long time, but it is scary.  Partly because I’m not so young anymore.  I’m exhausted all the time, in pain every day.  I just want relief, not more discomfort.  But I know, if there is any hope of getting my life back to good, change I must.  Why is it so hard to change, though?  In a recent article called Making Change, Dr. Leslie Becker-Phelps suggests the need to develop “compassionate self-awareness.”  I like that phrase.  It’s the first change I need to make that will enable all the rest.

The Happiest People

Change in Relationship Status

I’m becoming single again.  I know it is the right thing for both of us, but I’ve never been good at dealing with breakups.  I realize I’m hurting her more by extending a relationship that isn’t (and will never be) what she wants, than by ending it.  I hope she can see that.  I hope we can remain friends.  She is a wonderful, loving woman with a bright future and a big heart.

Change in Financial Status

My financial situation is a mess.  At my age, with by background, I have little hope of becoming employed again.  Perhaps it’s a blessing.  I have no patience left and do not suffer fools gladly, even when I’m working for them.  I will be exercising my sales muscles, despite my fear and loathing of sales.  It’s the only way I can build my online revenue into something livable.  Fortunately, it’s something I can do anywhere I have an Internet connection.  Which leads me to the scariest part.

Change of Scenery

It’s time to go.  I’ve lived in this house (in a state I detest) for five years.  That’s twice as long as anywhere else I’ve lived since I was sixteen years old.  Wanderlust?  No, believe me, I’d much rather settle in somewhere.  But where?  “LA’s fine but it ain’t home.  New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.”  Time has come for a road trip.  I have no money, but I can’t delay it any longer.  A quarter of a century ago, I left New Jersey with my last (damn small) paycheck in my pocket and the clothes on my back.  Put my thumb out on I-95 and I was gone.  If I have to, I’ll do the same thing now.  It will be hard, no doubt.  But staying here is killing me.


Change of Faces

Since the death of my brother in ’06, I’ve been trying to look after my mom.  She’s eighty-one now and still manages to push my buttons.  My best friend, more like a sister to me, lives here and I will miss her more than words can express.  I just can’t stay any longer.  There are people and places I want to see before I die.  That event isn’t as distant as it once seemed.  The time to act is now.  Change can be scary.  But never changing is death.