The cloud…

Is our ‘friend’, making everything easier… NOT!

From a friend re Cloudflare, so much for personal ‘security’ by using something other than Google or Safari-

If you’re having trouble getting past Cloudflare’s “Are you a Human”
– Using Firefox?
– Have the CanvasBlocker add-on installed?
Cloudflare has just started getting snippy about being fed a false
fingerprint from your browser (that’s what the CanvasBlocker add-on does.)
To get around this, you have to:
– Edit CanvasBlocker’s settings, and turn on the expert settings
– Add to the whitelist line:
This of course means that Cloudflare will get your true browser
signature, making me wonder who they’re selling or providing that data to.
And Cloudflare DDOS/Anti-bot checks are on so many sites. *deep sigh*

Damned good question…

And then there is this little ‘pearl’ re Google’s cloud-

Buried under the news from Google I/O this week is one of Google Cloud’s biggest blunders ever: Google’s Amazon Web Services competitor accidentally deleted a giant customer account for no reason. UniSuper, an Australian pension fund that manages $135 billion worth of funds and has 647,000 members, had its entire account wiped out at Google Cloud, including all its backups that were stored on the service. UniSuper thankfully had some backups with a different provider and was able to recover its data, but according to UniSuper’s incident log, downtime started May 2, and a full restoration of services didn’t happen until May 15.

Full article, HERE from Ars Technica.

So y’all go right ahead and put your stuff on Google, and use that cloud to store your data. It’ll be safe, they said…

In reality, the ‘cloud’ is nothing more than somebody else’s computers somewhere, and you have no idea where…or who has access to it.

The other thing I wonder about with Cloudflare is how they are going to handle VPNs with this new change, since a ‘true’ VPN logs back to a primary site somewhere other than you usually are, so CF ‘may’ alert that you are logging in from an ‘unsafe’ location.

I know that previously, we had issues with the .gov VPNs both due to the hotel’s ‘treatment’ of VPNs (e.g. not allowing connection), or the VPN dumping the connections from a foreign country (considering it a hacking attempt).

Sooooo, if you value your ‘data’, whatever it may be, I’d recommend a local removable hard drive or thumb drive, updated regularly, and a copy of the same off site at another location.


Or how to grab your readers with those first lines of your stories…

These were collected and shared around a number of years ago, but hold true even today! Note that a number of the authors are women…

DON’T LOOK DOWN – by Jennifer Cruise & Bob Mayer

Lucy Armstrong was standing on the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge when she first spotted the black helicopter coming at her through the sunset.

Based on the rest of her day, that wasn’t’ going to be good.

LOST GIRLS – by Bob Mayer

In the night there is death.

It was one of the first lessons they had taught the Sniper and he had never forgotten it.  Night is a common denominator regardless of terrain, enemy, or mission.  It will always come with the movement of the planet.  He knew how to move unobserved, like a ghost, in daylight, but the night was his special friend.


The ship hung in space, all but motionless, a dull gray in color.  There was no rust on it, of course, but it looked like there should have been.


There never was a history written about the Inner Frontier, so Black Orpheus took it upon himself to set one to music.  His name wasn’t really Orpheus (though he was black).  In fact, rumor had it that he had been an aquaculturist back in the Deluros system before he fell in love….


The two boys looked out through the store window.

“Are you sure it’s him?” asked the first.

“I’ve got his holo on my computer,” said the second.  “It’s him, all right. And see that little guy? They say  they always travel together.”

“Why would he need any help?”

“Him?” was the reply.  “He doesn’t need any help, not now, not ever. Maybe he just wants someone to talk to.”

PRODIGAL SUMMER: A NOVEL – by Barbara Kingsolver

Her body moved with the frankness that comes from solitary habits.  But solitude is only a human presumption. Every quiet step is thunder to beetle life underfoot; every choice is a world made new for the chosen. All secrets are witnessed.

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.

THE RED QUEEN by Philippa Gregory

The light of the open sky is brilliant after the darkness of the inner rooms. I blink and hear the roar of many voices. But this is not my army calling for me, this whisper growing to a rumble is not their roar of attack, the drumming of their swords on shields. The rippling noise of linen in the wind is not my embroidered angels and lilies against the sky, but cursed English standards in the triumphant May breeze. This is a different sort of roar from our bellowed hymns, this is a howl of people hungry for death: my death.


Two men stood in the middle of a shadowed, barren field. Both were human. One was tall, muscled, with dark hair and a busted-up face. His syn-cotton shirt was torn, his jeans dirty, and his boots scuffed. There were telltale weapon bulges under his arms, at the wrists, and at his ankles.

Clearly, he was the bodyguard.


A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard. Surprised–it always surprised him to find himself awake without prior notice–he rose from the bed, stood up in his multicolored pajamas, and stretched. Now, in her bed, his wife Iran opened her gray, unmerry eyes, blinked, then groaned and shut her eyes again.

“You set your Penfied too weak,” he said to her. “I’ll reset it and you’ll be awake and–“

“Keep your hand off my settings.” Her voice held bitter sharpness. “I don’t want to be awake.”

Those opening lines apply to ANY story length you’re writing- Short, novella, novel…

The ultimate flash fiction, IMHO, is the six word story- ‘For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.’

Attributed to Ernest Hemingway, there are others that say it is even older, HERE.

In any case, look for how to hook those readers! Especially today, with all the competition out there, those first words ARE important, not only to you the writer, but to grab that reader and bring them into your story!

DEI or DIE???

Apparently, Virginia is paralleling Texas in dumping DEI in universities!

Two public universities in Virginia have scrapped their planned diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements after a review by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R-VA) administration.

Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University canceled their plans to implement DEI-oriented classes as a requirement for undergraduate studies after Youngkin raised concerns about “core curriculum mandates that are a thinly veiled attempt to incorporate the progressive Left’s groupthink.”

However, while the VCU Board of Visitors voted 10-5 publicly in a meeting on Friday to reject a “racial literacy” requirement just before the fall 2024 academic semester, which included the requirement, was set to begin, GMU decided to delay implementation for one year.

Full article, HERE from Washington Examiner.

Gov Youngkin, much like Gov Abbott, is NOT a fan of DEI, and was voted in by the pissed off parents in VA after the debacles in Loudoun, Fairfax, and some other school systems in VA over school board vs. parents over education of their children.

And they aren’t the only ones- “Lawmakers in more than a dozen red states have either passed or proposed sweeping* higher education reform packages curtailing DEI initiatives. Florida banned state funding for DEI programs. Texas banned DEI offices outright. Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order in December that prohibited funding DEI initiatives not just at universities but within all state agencies.”

When you try to shove people into ‘identity’ boxes based on race, sex, or anything else never ends well for anyone. As anybody who has been in the military will tell you, veterans don’t care what ethnicity etc. someone is, their relationships are based on trust and people doing their jobs. Why? Because lives depend on folks doing those jobs and doing them well!

I think after the last couple of years, more and more people are beginning to think that way, not just in red states, but around the entire country!

Your thoughts???

Ye ghods…

Welp, this administration continues to PROVE they can spend money on… stuff…

  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earmarked $7.5 billion for EV charging, with $5 billion allocated to states, but the slow rollout has resulted in just 7 charging stations.
  • Higher standards for new EV chargers, including 97% operational reliability, 150kW power, and proximity to highways, have contributed to the slow progress, along with permitting challenges and power demands.
  • Concerns have been raised by lawmakers and experts about mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and the lack of experience among state transportation agencies in deploying EV charging infrastructure.

Full article, HERE. From Oil Price monthly.

We used to have a saying in the R&D world about ‘vapor ware’…

It looked good on paper, and in all those powerpoint presentations, and ‘worked’ in a lab environment (maybe)…

But when it hit the real world…if it ever did, it usually failed spectacularly! Of course it was never the fault of the provider, but it was those stupid sailors that (insert excuse here).

As far as I know, ‘we’ never blew anywhere near that much money on even the worst failures we had!!!

The basic ‘problem’, IMHO, is that the rules keep changing faster than the states can adapt, nobody is looking at how long, how much it will cost, and who will provide the power required for these stations everywhere.

And the only ones that have successfully deployed ANY stations have all been private companies, with proprietary systems.

As far as I know, there is no ‘overarching plan, standardization, or a designated point of contact that actually knows what is going on. I just wonder how much the ‘cost overruns’ are going to be?

And manufacturers are pulling back on building EVs… This just gets better and better…


Once again the government is ‘fudging’ the numbers on inflation…

Call it a preview of Wednesday’s release of the official inflation figures for April, but American consumers say they expect inflation to go higher — and stay there longer. A New York Federal Reserve survey just out Monday shows that consumers have “raised their expectations for price increases both in the near and longer term, fueled by higher inflation in home prices along with fuel and energy.”

And coffee. Don’t forget the coffee. But I’ll come back to that momentarily. 

Full article, HERE.

The Kobeissi Letter shows once again how BAD inflation truly is, especially if you’re a coffee drinker… Hit the show more on the X feed for an expansion!

And just how scummy and unrealistic the numbers are… Coffee is up 78%, so they drop it… Gasoline is no longer reported (and hasn’t been for a long time), the cost of power is no longer reported, etc…

We’ve done back of the envelope calculations, FWIW, and figured inflation was over 20% the last two years, which means those of us on pensions or military retirements are losing conservatively 10-15% with every ‘pay raise’ we get, since they base it off the CPI!

And what about the elderly who are only on Social Security? I’m afraid to think about what they can and cannot afford, with prescription costs going up. Do they eat, get medicine, pay the water bill, or keep the lights on?

I’m betting quite a few cannot do more than 2-3 of those four…

And it’s only getting worse!

Random quotes…

These came over the transom from the mil-email string…

“To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false;  while to say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.”                 – Aristotle, _Metaphysics_

“If it has tires or testicles, you’re going to have trouble with it.”   – Linda Furney, Ohio State Senator

“I must tell you that I’ve been enjoying my involuntary retirement. And I sincerely hope that George Bush will be sharing that pleasure with me come January.”                 – Jimmy Carter, 1992 Democratic National Convention

“Life. Live it.”

“Sometimes, the road is less traveled for a reason.”

“Follow your bliss.”      – Joseph Campbell

“The world is a very cool place.”      – Miller Brewing Co.

“Philosophy: a blind man in dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there.”               – Lord Bowen

Paul’s Law: “You can’t fall off the floor.”

“A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.”         – Anon.

“I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous.”       – Anon.

“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop.”           – G. Weilacher

“Duct tape is like the force: it has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”           – Anon.

“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.”  – J. Paul Getty

“Hey, who took the cork off my lunch?”        – W.C. Fields

First Law of Midterms: If you are given an open-book exam, you will Forget your book.

“Always remember to pillage BEFORE you burn.”              – Anon.

“Well, you get what you settle for.”       – Louise Sawyer, _Thelma & Louise_

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”             – Mark Twain

“I know the problems of two lonely people don’t amount to a hill of Beans in this world, but darling, this is our hill, and these are our beans.”   – Frank Drebbon, _The Naked Gun_

“He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.”  – H. H. Munro

What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A stick.

Enjoy your week, the only place to go from this is UP!!!


Since y’all want recipes…

Crawfish Etouffee-

  • 4 pounds cleaned crawfish tails
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped bell peppers
  • 4 cloves smashed garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 quarts stock or water
  • 2 Tbsp Tony Chachere seasoning
  • salt and cayenne pepper to taste
  • Tabasco to taste
  • 6 cups white rice

Cook onion, bell pepper, celery in skillet with butter until onions are translucent with cajun seasoning. Add crawfish until cooked through (don’t over cook, they get tough).

Mix flour into stock until completely mixed/smooth. Add bay leaves, green onion, parsley. Bring to boil, then simmer for appx 15 minutes while you do the rice.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco.

Maque Chou-

  • 6 ears corn, husked and cleaned (or cheat and use 4 cans DRAINED canned corn)
  • 8 strips crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
  • add to get 2 tablespoons bacon grease in skillet
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced/chopped
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 chopped large fresh tomato
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions

Cook bacon crispy, crumble, set aside. Cook onion, bell pepper until translucent. Add corn, seasoning, tomato, bacon, and milk to pan. DO NOT BRING TO BOIL! Heat over medium/medium low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add salt/pepper to taste. Just prior to serving, add green onion tops.

Cooking for the crowd…

For years we’ve had a rotation going for who cooks on Saturday nights. Last night was my turn, and since I was NOT having a good day (back spasms), along with intermittent rain, I wanted comfort food…

So I went with a cajun supper… It was supposed to be crawfish etouffee, but they only had 1 1/2 pounds of crawfish, so I threw in some shrimps, so I guess I ended up with Crimp etouffee…

And maque choux as the side, which is corn, onion, bell pepper, bacon, tomato, and milk (with seasonings).

Oh, and biscuits, and no leftovers…

As usual, there were discussions of writing, the issues with Draft 2 Digital (apparently I’m not the only one they are pulling that crap on), and ideas freely shared (get thee behind me muse, I’ve got ENOUGH on my plate right now).


Got your maps???

While the ‘forecast’ isn’t for a Carrington Event, this weekend might be interesting if you rely on GPS or are into Ham/voice comms…

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday that a “severe” G4 geomagnetic storm would hit the Earth perhaps as early as Friday. 

The “very rare” warning hasn’t been issued in 20 years. The radiation will almost certainly wreak havoc on some communications 

“Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations,” the NOAA said.

Full article, HERE from PJ Media and another from CBS HERE.

Here’s a ‘chart’ of how far south the aurora borealis may be visible from NOAA.

Some are saying the lights ‘may’ be visible as far south as Atlanta. Having seen them more than once in Alaska, Iceland, and Greenland, they ARE impressive especially when they are bright enough to read a book with!

They also screw up radio comms…sigh…

Anyway, if you’re up at zero dark 30, you might want to step outside and see if there is anything to see if you don’t have cloud cover!

Oh yeah, while I’m thinking about it, I now have a Substack!