A new variation on the Nigerian scam.

Yes, I actually recieved this in my email:

bc.. Return-Path:
Received: from maintbot.ironicdesign.com (maintbot.ironicdesign.com [])
by maintbot.ironicdesign.com (Cyrus v2.1.9-Debian2.1.9-4) with LMTP; Sun, 27 Jul 2003 04:11:09 -0500
X-Sieve: CMU Sieve 2.2
Received: from cordelia.ironicdesign.com (cordelia.ironicdesign.com [])
by maintbot.ironicdesign.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 8AE0A4073
for ; Sun, 27 Jul 2003 04:11:09 -0500 (CDT)
Received: from localhost.localdomain (localhost [])
by localhost.antespam.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 2CA2016752B
; Sun, 27 Jul 2003 04:11:09 -0500 (CDT)
Received: from XLC (unknown [])
by cordelia.ironicdesign.com (Postfix) with SMTP id 401FA167527
; Sun, 27 Jul 2003 04:11:06 -0500 (CDT)
Received: from o0.zknyzdg.com [] by XLC id <6646972-43206>; Sun, 27 Jul 2003 08:03:57 -0500
From: “”
Subject: DWG Needed bb
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 03 08:03:57 GMT
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable


I’m a time traveler stuck here in 2003. Upon arriving here my dimensional =
warp generator stopped working. I trusted a company here by the name of LL=
C Lasers to repair my Generation 3 52 4350A watch unit, and they fled on m=
e. I am going to need a new DWG unit, prefereably the rechargeable AMD w=
rist watch model with the GRC79 induction motor, four I80200 warp stabiliz=
ers, 512GB of SRAM and the menu driven GUI with front panel XID display.
I will take whatever model you have in stock, as long as its received cert=
ification for being safe on carbon based life forms.

In terms of payment:

I dont have any Galactic Credits left. Payment can be made in platinum gol=
d or 2003 currency upon safe delivery of unit. Please transport unit in ei=
ther a brown paper bag or box to below coordinates on Sunday July 27th at =
(exactly 3:00pm) Eastern Stand Time. If you miss this timeframe please ema=
il me.

42.4845467 & Longitude -71.1576157 and the ground is 101.3′ above sea leve=

Although those coordinates are a secure guarded area, these channels throu=
gh email are never secure. Unfortunately it is the only form of communicat=
ion I have right now. There is a good chance that sombody will try to redi=
rect the signal. The unit must be teleported directly in a way
that nobody will be able to interfere with the transference.
After unit has been sent please email me at: info@federalfundingprogram.co=
with payment instructions. Do not reply directly back to this email.
Thank You
zshvpth u e
fokyg exitfzu mwoqufm



A dangerous sounding game…

Jon Carroll (who you should be reading) passes along an “interesting corporate alternative to bingo”:http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=%2Fchronicle%2Farchive%2F2003%2F07%2F24%2FDD245316.DTL.

Movement to canonize Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible

If I had not heard it on the BBC World Service first, I would have assumed that discussions of “canonizing Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible”:http://washingtontimes.com/world/20030209-5611752.htm were some kind of silly joke.

Not so. In fact this apparently represents a significant schizm in the Russian Orthodox Church.

This weekend I went to an “exhibition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the North Carolina Museum of Art”:http://ncartmuseum.org/exhibitions/exhibitions/gaudens/gaudens.shtml with my wife and some friends. One of the larger installations is a bas-relief commissioned on the death of “Henry Whitney Bellows”:http://www.allsoulsnyc.org/whoweare/history/historymiddle.htm, a Unitarian minister.

One of my friends remarked that this was from the time period when Unitarians actually believed in something–and I chipped in with my standard line about Unitarians, “Well, something other than ‘Be Excellent to one another’.”

I hope, in retrospect, that it was obvious I didn’t intend to actually denigrate Unitarians by this–Bill and Ted references aside, I have a great deal of respect for people who maintain some sort of faith but don’t seem to see it as an “us vs. them” contest for dominance and hegemony. As an agnostic myself, I don’t begrudge people their faith except when they are unable to see that I do not choose to share it, and respect my ability to make that choice.

I thought I’d do better…

The intent here was certainly to post every day, or every other day, but now I find I’ve gone a week.

However, I have nothing of substance to say, just pointers to the amusing “Mullet Haiku”:http://www.beerchurch.com/mullet_haiku.htm, as well as an amusing “contraceptive commercial”:http://www.wezl.org/supermarket.mpg.

I’m sure that last must offend someone somewhere, but I find it hilariously funny–although I have, in many ways, softened on the idea of kids (not that I want any of my own, but I’m more willing to deal with other people’s children), I still think it’s a thing not to be entered into lightly. I think it deserves some real thought and consideration, and a realization that you are going to be giving up a significant portion of your existence to this child, so go aheadn and be prepared; it’s like living in a budget–try doing it while you have a safety net so you’ll know whether you can do it when you have to.

I was raised a nominal Christian

That is to say, I was raised in a military family that spent the majority of my youth in the Southeastern United States, where Evangelical Christianity has a significant influence, and although my parents were not themselves particularly devoted to organized religion, members of my mother’s family were, so I was exposed to it now and again–so I end not knowing if, say, I was ever baptised, though I would be suprised if I wasn’t.

Anyway, I certainly haven’t considered myself a Christian since I could make an informed choice, and since leaving college I have been pretty open about it–while your average Christian and I certainly would certainly share a number of values, I suspect we would differ on many things as well, including _why_ we hold those values.

Still, I live in North Carolina and Billy Graham country is just a bit up the Interstate, so I’m sure that an awful lot of the people I interact with here would identify themselves as Christian, and perhaps even as Evangelicals. Normally that doesn’t even show up on my radar screen–as I said, we share a lot culturally, and although I’ve rejected a portion of that culture, I’ve hardly rejected all of it–but then I read something like “this”:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/10/03/60minutes/main524268.shtml, or I remember the fact that Jerry Falwell claiming “that September 11th was his God’s judgement on America”:http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/09/14/Falwell.apology/, and it absolutely scares the piss out of me.

As spectacular as September 11th was, it was hardly the first instance of domestic terror the US has ever experienced, and a lot of that prior work was done by just that sort of nutjob, who thinks his Christian God has told him to “bomb an abortion clinic”:http://cgi.cnn.com/US/9801/29/bombing.update/ or something moronic like that.

I wonder if those sorts of crimes will be ruled as terrorist actions by this all-too Evangelical government we seem to have elected?

My Favorite Subversive…

So, my wife is a librarian. If you ever doubted–or even just hadn’t thought about it–you need only consider their reactions to the Patriot Act to realize that librarians are on the side of all that is good and true in this world: there are librarians out there who are considering breaking the law so that you, good person, can know when your government is spying on you.

Anne, as a librarian with a law degree, has been part of a panel discussion in Fayetteville, NC (where Fort Bragg is located) regarding the Patriot Act, and is starting to accumulate a bit of a speaking schedule in the local academic community regarding the Patriot Act. Finally, she was one of several librians interviewed for “this article in the News & Observer:http://www.newsobserver.com/front/digest/story/2471743p-2298944c.html, about NC librarian’s reactions.

In the weeks since her speaking engagement in Fayetteville, we’ve often joked to one another that if we weren’t on some FBI list somewhere before she spoke, we certainly must be on one now. It’s unfortunate that, in this land of freedom, it doesn’t feel much like a joke.

Dr. E. F. Codd has died

The Mercury News has “a nice obituary”:http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/5676110.htm. I cannot help but find it interesting, in this time where the words traitor and unamerican are seeing a lot of use, that he left the country in disgust at McCarthy’s witchhunts.


“Read carefully”:http://coxar.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/

Ah, the joys of community wireless.

So, I’m able to sit here in “the local independent coffee shop”:http://beantraders.net/ and do work in the morning because, unlike, say, Starbucks, they’re willing to spend the $50/month to have a simple wireless setup free for the using.

Seen in TurboTax’ context-sensitive help.

bq.. Do not use this form to report:
* …
* Illegal Kickbacks
* …

p. So, is it a subtle joke from a writer, or is it one of those warnings that springs from a lawsuit? “Your honor, they only caught me because TurboTax did not specify that I was not to report my Illegal Kickbacks on Schedule C!”

It was pretty…

…but ultimately, ??The Two Towers?? disappointed me.

I do not think I am being obsessive about the movies exactly replicating the books–frankly, I have a great deal of affection for Ralph Bakshi’s animated version which plays _much_ more fast and loose with things than Peter Jackson has.

What I do look for is staying true to the characters.

So, changes in the flight from Hobbiton, the lack of Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Wights in both versions, the changes in the way the whole Rohan thing unfolds–even, after a second viewing of the first film, the modifications to Arwen’s part–do not particularly bother me, because they do not seem to distort the characters, even if they do some violence to the story itself.

Faramir, though, gets screwed, and for no reason I can discern. In fact, in the book a large part of the point of the interlude in Ithilen with Farmir is setup for what happens in Gondor later, and the person that Peter Jackson has portrayed does not, in my opinion, fit into the place that the character in the book fits–so one is forced to wonder what further distortions, on top of the time wasted in this whole stupid Osgiliath segment (including Sam’s clanging speech), are going to have to be made to try and fix these seemingnly unnecessary changes to the story brought on by some bizarre need to create extra tension.

I think I need to remember in future to _not_ see movie adaptions of books for which I have some affection, because the filmmakers cannot win with me–if they stay too close to the book, I walk out wondering why I spent my money, but if they stray too far, I walk out wondering why I spent my money.

Perhaps this explains why I go to so few movies.

Next up in the list of potential disappointments…??X-Men 2??. Although, in fact, I have high hopes for this–??X-Men?? was a much more subtly done movie than I ever would have expected, and they showed great respect for the characters while telling a story that had not been told before. Perhaps Brian Singer and company will pull another rabbit out of the hat…

How consistent is your belief system?

“Battleground God”:http://www.philosophers.co.uk/games/god.htm is likely to make you think about your answers, maybe a lot, even if it doesn’t change your mind about them.

I had 1 direct hit (although I would almost swear that I actually answered differently than they said I did) and 1 bitten bullet (which means I’m consistent, but perhaps outside of the normal moral footpaths).

I had a Political Science professor in college, Dr. Daniel Pound, who started his Political Theory classes saying that he never taught anyone anything but a better vocabulary with which to articulate their pre-conceived notions. “Tests” like this make me think of him because that was, perhaps, the class that made me realize that I needed to consider what I believed and try and articulate it and see if it made sense.

I was sad to hear that he died recently, having retired only last year.

If you like ’90s Bowie…

…and you’re a guitarist, you might want to check out “this interview”:http://www.guitar.com/features/viewfeature.asp?featureID=178 with Reeves Gabrels, his guitarist from ’89 to ’01.

For my part, and, I’m sure, much to the dismay of people I know–including Anne, who has to endure the guitar turned up too loud–I find that the things he does on guitar just make sense to me.

Maybe that’s why it was so damn incoherent.

So, it appears that, at least initially, David Lynch’s ??Mulholland Drive?? was meant to be a _TV_ series. If that weren’t absurd enough, apparently a big feature was going to be lots of cameos by Marilyn Manson.

No, I’m not kidding. I couldn’t make up stuff this silly. Look at the (unfortunately not directly linkable) March 12th entry at “Nothing Records’ March ’99 Newspage”:http://www.nineinchnails.net/news/mar99.html

I recently watched ??Mulholland Drive?? and not even a naked Naomi Watts could really make me enjoy it. Put that together with catching about 15 minutes of ??Wild At Heart?? recently (how the hell did _that_ get to basic cable!), and you really have to start wondering if David Lynch has done anything worth watching since ??Elephant Man??.

More SF trip

The next morning in Sonoma, took a couple of random pictures.

Stopped at a few wineries, and picked up a case-worth of wine to bring back. The most important was probably “Wellington Vineyards”:http://www.wellingtonvineyards.com/, where we picked up quite a lot of their most excellent port.

SF trip

Flew in the afternoon of the 27th. Saw the Dorado crew for lunch, then drove up the coast. Stopped at Rockaway Beach (I think) to take some pictures.

After this we continued on to Sonoma.

libwww-perl updated today

Marking the end of my pathetically long hiatus from doing any actual Debian work, I uploaded a new version of libwww-perl, based on the new upstream 5.69 release. It doesn’t close every bug (there’s a couple that need more looking at, and a couple that are probably going to get ste to wishlist), but it closes several, it compatible with both testing and unstable, and should even be installable on stable, though it’s unlikely to ever actually show up there.

Fun in the sunshine state.

Of course, it was amazing to realize that it’s been three years and ten months since we left Miami to move to Durham–that means we’ve been in Durham almost as long as we were in Miami, and that Durham is very soon going to be come the second longest time I’ve lived in one place, and not very long after that, the longest time I’ve lived in one place (the current holder of the title being a small villiage about 20km outside of Ramstein AFB, Germany).

Anyway, we decided to travel back because various and sundry of our friends here have new children, and, well, it’s been a heck of a winter–the beginning of March seemed like a reasonable time to bug-out and absorb some heat.

Nor were we disappointed–instead of the normal temperatures in the 70s you see this time of year, Miami has experienced a bit of a minature heat-wave, and has been seeing summer-like temperatures in the 90s.

The flight was uneventful, and we got to the first place we were spending the night with only some small period of time spent lost, though it did serve to remind us that Miami was not a place of unalloyed delight.

The next day was fun–lunch at a the Miss Saigon Bistro, a better-than-average Vietnamese restaurant.

We spent Saturday morning at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, from which I came away with a bunch of pictures.

The Big Book of Amber, Zelazny

OK, so it’s the ??Great Book of Amber?? rather than ??The Big Book of Amber??, but it certainly big, and there’s some reference to my childhood that I can’t quite apprehend but nevertheless makes it stick (Note: the options you get “on Barnes & Noble”:http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=big+book+of are wierd and fascinating).

I’ve never read any Zelazny before, and it’s distinctly wierd for me; as I’m sure Unix old-timers would cringe to hear me admit that I know Perl infinitely better than sh and awk (I barely know awk at all), I’m sure many SF fans will look askance when I admit that I recognize the writing well–it reminds me of Steven Brust.

Now I’m not saying this is an original observation in any way–I think I probably picked it up from Steven himself on GEnie many years ago.

What strikes me, though, is the extent to which I think the student may have surpassed the teacher. Steven’s prose seems much more consistent and polished–Zelazny seems to have no problem with going from a formal feeling “fantasy prose” to something much more “20th century conversational” in the space of about three sentences, and I have to say, it drives me a little bit nuts.

Not so nuts that I’m not going to continue or anything–when was the last time I dropped a book entirely? Oh, wait, last week, just before I started this one…

“Boycott Amazon.com!”:http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0380809060