Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

9/26/2008

Whiskey of Mass Destruction

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,By Bread Alone,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I love single-malt Scotch.

I don’t drink very much these days, due partly to age and partly to getting broken of it during chemotherapy. But, I still like a good single-malt Scotch now and again. Apparently, I’m not the only one. According to an article that ran on Wired’s Danger Room blog, there’s a particular distiller that noticed their webcams getting a lot of traffic from the Pentagon. After a discreet inquiry, it turns out that the distilling process they use, and, one presumes, the equipment, is very much like a process used to refine weapons of mass destruction. What was happening is that trainers were using these webcams to train weapons inspectors! Whiskey as a training aid! Yea for government work!
And, apparently, in honor of that, the fine folks at the Bruichladdich Distillery made a “WMD – The Inspectors” whiskey. Sadly, this seems to be a collector’s item and, in the States, you have to settle for “WMD II The Yellow Submarine 1991 “, which can be found about halfway down this page.

No word on how good, smooth, etc. it is at all. Or, if there’s a government discount!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Our devotion to truth may bring us into conflict with those around us. What we need to remember is that we are not responsible for convincing anyone else of what we believe to be true."

9/11/2006

Rest In Peace

Filed under: Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:53 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Many people will be thinking back to what happened on this day in 2001, when a group of tragically misguided fanatics created terror on a previously unimaginable level by flying two passenger airplanes into the the World Trade Center twin towers and a third into the Pentagon. Some fewer people may recall the heart rending heroism of the passengers on the fourth plane, who managed to wrest control back from the hijackers and, sacrificing their own lives, crashed their plane in a field where the damage and horror could be minimized, if such a thing is possible.
Many will remember the heros who went and did their job in the face of impossible odds, trying to save as many victims of that terrible tragedy of hate and terror and politics as they could. Many paid the ultimate price in that effort, giving up their own lives in exchange for others.

The terrorists who rained destruction on us five years ago wanted us to be crippled. For a time, we were. I don’t think much work got done terrible day, five years ago. Though, I remember working a full day, even as people around me went home to sit glued to the television, frozen, impotent, and frustrated. I remember the shock and unreality of the whole thing. It didn’t seem possible, but it had happened. And, five years later, we still feel the after-shock from that event. We still deal with the repercusions.

I hesitate to add my voice to the multitude. My message less uplifting, less hopeful. I worry that those brave people sacrificed their lives only to see us less free than we were before that terrible day. In the years since that horrific day, that event has been used to justify some of the worst abuses of power and violations of our freedom ever recorded. Which is precisely what the terrorists were after. They want us to be afraid. They want us to change our way of life based on their actions. They want us to live in such fear that we willingly give up what generations have fought for in this country; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I’ve heard the arguments for why I shouldn’t mind having my every move watched by government “keepers”, all of whom, I have been repeatedly assured, are there for my own good. I’ve been told that if I have nothing to hide, I shouldn’t mind the invasions of privacy or the loss of freedom. Interestingly enough, similar arguments are used for things like gun control. Why should I need to have a hand-gun to protect me? The government keeps me safe, right?
My response is the same, to both arguments. “Where do you draw the line?” and “That’s what Chancellor Hitler told Germany, too.” The second argument for what I shouldn’t let the people in power erode my civil liberties comes right from my old neighborhood. From men and women with numbers tattooed on their arms. Men and women who remembered how things started there. How the loss of small freedoms, meant to “improve” life, led down that slippery slope into Hell. They remembered, but there aren’t many left. Those survivors are mostly gone, lost to age and illness and time. We think we know better now, but we don’t. As has been said before, those who do not remember history are destined to repeat it. We must remember. We must never forget either of these things and find the balance between protect ourselves and throwing away all the things that we have worked and sacrificed so very much to have. We’re still the “freeist” country in the world, but that means less today than it did.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”
-Benjamin Franklin

10/6/2004

Being Watched?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:26 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Two disturbing stories…

One of these two stories about our eroding personal rights and freedoms is bad enough, but taken together they’re downright frightening. Both come from WiredNews and are as stale as last week. First, there’s an article about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Sounds harmless enough, right? Well, does it sound harmless when they’re using spy satellites to monitor our own country? Okay, they have justification for it under the umbrella of Homeland Security, but doesn’t it make your skin crawl just a little bit? I’ve joked about the satellites watching us for years, but, well, it’s not a joke anymore. The government really is watching us!
Now, combine that with this article about the Pentagon seeking U.S. spy powers. Are you starting to squirm yet? I know it made me a little antsy when I read this one. Can anyone say McCarthyism?

I wonder how long it will be before this post gets registered in my file at the Pentagon?

6/2/2003

The Federal Excuse Makers

Filed under: Deep Thoughts — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

And, the secret agents reply!

In a follow-up article to my last entry, the Pentagon defends their master plan to invade our privacy. Oh, and they changed the name of the little devil to put our minds at ease. Yeah, like that’s gonna’ help! Didn’t they learn anything from the whole Predator thing?
Anyway, I guess we better start being carful to only buy the “right things”. No more Arabica coffee, eh? Hate to have anyone in the government think I was drinking an un-American cup of coffee!

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