Memory glitch

Brian Williams is removing himself from the NBC Nightly News, at least temporarily. This as a result of flak he’s taking for misremembering (to his friends) or lying (to his critics) about a helicopter ride he took in Iraq in 2003.

I’m no big fan of Williams (the last anchor I really liked was Peter Jennings of ABC), but heaven knows I’ve embellished stories of things that happened to me in the past. It’s not clear to me that he deliberately fudged the story in an attempt to enhance his resumé (I’d think it hardly needs it) or he just got some facts wrong 12 years after the event in question. The helicopter he was on did apparently get hit by small-arms fire, or so the pilot says, although now he’s saying he doesn’t trust his own memory of events that day.

It seems to me that now soldiers are stepping in to say Williams is a bum who didn’t do any of the things he said he did. That’s starting to get into Swift Boat Veterans for Truth territory, and we know how much “truth” was behind that group’s statements about Senator Kerry in 2004.

I don’t think Williams is guilty of much here. We’ll see.

Gah. Domain registrars can be annoying.

My linkmeister sites were unavailable for most of the day today. Why? Because my domain registrar wanted me to verify my contact info for the domain, and it had purportedly sent me an email asking me to do so, an email I failed to respond to. So it put a “Client Hold” on the domain, disabling it. If that’s not using a sledge hammer to kill a gnat I don’t know what is, but that was why the sites were down.

I searched all of my email inboxes and folders (electronically! Not visually!) and found an email from the company requesting I verify my info for my domain, but nowhere to be found was there one for

Nonetheless, after my filling out a support ticket (which never got a response) and trying the phone number (which was disconnected after pressing “2” for tech support) I got through to the outfit using a Live Chat function on their website. The polite young man (Suhan S, of course) explained about the verification. I explained I never got an email. He said “Well, give me a valid email address and fill out the security question info and tell me the answer and I’ll send you the verification notice again.”

Anybody see the security hole here? I just picked that security question and answered it! I could have been Joe Fershlugginer or Mortimer Snerd with a valid email address and it would have satisfied the requirements.

Fortunately I am the proper owner of the domain, and I finally managed to get that verified. My sites came back up about 3:30pm my time.

Iceland always surprises

First it let its banks fail rather than bail them out at taxpayers’ expense.

Now it’s allowing a congregation of some 2,400 pagans to build the first main temple of their religion in 1,000 years.

The 350-square-meter building, which will house 250 people, is expected to be completed in the summer of 2016. The building will be constructed around the path of the sun and the sacred numbers of 9 and 432,000 are used in the design, reports.

I’m not a big fan of organized religion, given what certain of its practitioners are doing to other people these days, but this seems to be as much cultural as religious. It’s certainly interesting.


The Four Chaplains

Today is the anniversary of the sinking of the USAT Dorchester in 1943. The ship was torpedoed by a U-Boat at 12:55 AM. 230 of the 904 men aboard the ship were rescued.

The Dorchester’s sinking is notable for the heroism of four First Lieutenants in the US Army Chaplain Corps. The four men, two Protestants, a Catholic and a Jew, were instrumental in keeping panic-stricken soldiers calm during the disaster. They handed out lifejackets from the equipment lockers until there were no more, and all four gave up their own lifejackets to try to save more soldiers. When the ship sank, all four men were last seen standing on the deck, arms linked and praying together.

The men were all posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart, and in 1961 Congress authorized the creation of The Four Chaplains’ Medal to be awarded to them.


Wottagame, Super Bowl Edition

We were stunned. An entire roomful of people watched that finish and couldn’t believe it. After Kearse made that ridiculous juggling catch to get the ball down to the five-yard-line we thought there was no doubt the Seahawks would score the go-ahead touchdown. They had 1:06 left, plenty of time for three dives into the line by Marshawn Lynch. Surely one of them would result in his crossing the goal line.

Well, on the first play from the five, Wilson handed off to Lynch, who got four yards. Now it was even simpler, right? The Seahawks probably had two plays to get one yard for the TD. But Seattle’s coach Pete Carroll called for a pass on the next play, and it was intercepted by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler one yard deep in the end zone. Carroll said after the game that “… we had plenty of time to win the game … we were playing for third and fourth down, give them no time left … but didn’t work out that way.”

Calamity! But now the Patriots had a problem. If Butler had had the presence of mind (I don’t know who would have) to stay in the end zone when he made his interception, the ball would have come out to the twenty-yard line with 0:20 seconds left and plenty of room for Brady to take a knee and let the clock run down. Because Butler advanced the ball out to the two-yard line and then the Patriots were penalized half the distance to the goal for celebration, when Brady set up for the next snap he was in the end zone. If he knelt at that point he’d concede a safety making the score 28-26 and the Patriots would have to free-kick to the Seahawks from the New England 20-yard line with 12-15 seconds left. The way Wilson had thrown the ball to his fellow Seahawks in the second half, after receiving the kick he might have gotten a ball downfield into field-goal territory and set up for a winning three-pointer with one or two seconds left. What to do, what to do?

Aha! Get the Seahawks to encroach across the line of scrimmage before snapping the ball at the one! That’s what Brady did, and it worked. Seattle was charged a five-yard penalty and now Brady could just kneel down. All that strategizing became a little moot when, after the penalty, one of the Seahawks got so furious he was ejected and his team charged another 15 yards, but it was a nifty piece of coaching and executing nonetheless.

My goodness. Congratulations to the Patriots, sympathies to the Seahawks. That was one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time.

If shame works, good

Attention! You parents who think you and a pneumatic blonde who was once a Playboy Playmate of the year are smarter than the medical community which came up with the measles and polio and whooping cough vaccines, please disabuse yourself of that idea.

Would you try to rewire your child’s bedroom with no knowledge of electricity? Probably not. You’d call an electrician, right? So why would you try to raise the child with no protection from some of childhood’s most deadly and disfiguring diseases?

Do you really believe that a proven fraudster who has now had his medical license taken away is smarter than the dedicated researchers who worked for years to develop vaccines to save lives? If so, please do the rest of us a favor and isolate your children someplace where their parents’ stupidity won’t harm the rest of the population.

Gah! Traffic!

I went to the optometrist yesterday to whine that my new glasses (that I got in September; there’s been a long delay between appointments with her) don’t work when I’m sitting at my desktop computer. Either I lean way forward to within a foot of the screen to use the bifocal section of the glasses or I sit five feet back where I can’t reach the keyboard and use the other part of the glasses.

I wondered if the lensmaker had just gotten the prescription wrong, but the doctor checked that and said that wasn’t the problem. Then she looked at the old glasses which I’d gotten at least six years ago and exclaimed “why is the bifocal half-moon so low on these lenses?” It turns out that the new ones, which are half-rims and fairly narrow, have the bifocal section at an appropriate height, while the bifocal sections on the old ones are a few centimeters below the mid-line of the lens.

She suggested either trifocals, progressive lenses, or a pair of single-vision glasses to be used only on the computer. After some discussion we decided that since the new ones I have in hand are just fine for use everywhere but in the office I should just get a “computer-only” pair.

Okay. After all that preamble I went out today at about 1:15pm to go see the Costco or Wal-Mart optical shops and see what the price might be for single-vision glasses. Ha!

This is what I ran into, right at the bottom of the hill. See all those cars heading screen-left? That’s the direction I was trying to go.


After fifteen minutes and a quarter-mile I got mad and said to myself, “I’ll cut over to the other road going that way.” It’s about another quarter-mile to that other road using a residential cross street. Good grief. It took fifteen more minutes just to make it to the other road. At that point I said “I’m goin’ home.”

And I did.