Odd news

Hunter Biden has done some bad things in his adult life – clearly unsavory, maybe even criminal. He also has the misfortune to have a prominent father, drawing attention to his flawed life. The Republican party has been brutal in their pursuit of him as a proxy for attacking the President. Now Hunter has offered to testify at a public hearing with the Congresscreeps who have pursued him to, well, testify. And guess what, those same Congresscreeps won’t take him up on it. Congress doesn’t want a public hearing. Hmmm, maybe they’re afraid that the public will see that they’re all bluster, no evidence. It’s a chickenshit move on their part. No shock there.


UK’s 95-73 win over Miami last night was a thing of beauty. A big win against an experienced top-10 team. This Cats team is already surprising everyone, and they’re gonna shock some folks when we get a big man in the lineup.


I just discovered FlightRadar24. Wow, what a cool view of worldwide air travel. Never wonder where your loved one is during travel again. And the sheer number of aircraft in the sky at any moment is…amazing. Air traffic control is a BFD.


What an odd time we live in. AARP is advertising Rolling Stones concert tickets as a benefit. They’re the sponsors, fergawdsake. I just can’t wrap my head around it. What’s next, Rascal’s sponsoring a Rush reunion?

Unhappy endings

It’s that time in my life, unfortunately. Two deaths in my circle in the last week. One, a dear friend from Socal, someone I’ve known for 20+ years and K for longer. We puzzled over her non-response to our recent Thanksgiving dinner invitations – she was a regular at our feast – but then we learned that she died two days before Thanksgiving, after a lingering illness that obviously became acute. A friend/neighbor offered to take her to the ER a few days prior, but she waved them off.

The second is one of my high school football coaches, Teenie Vanhoose, who died a day or two ago. Teenie was a large man with an imposing style. As a player you didn’t want to get on his bad side. But he was a good man and a good coach. We wondered why he was a no-show for our HS football reunion last month, and now we know why. Coach Vanhoose wearing #70, RIP.

I know this is just the beginning. Those of us who live longer than average (fingers crossed) will see a lot of departures. And those of us who check out early, well, we miss that whole parade of remembrances. I saw a quote recently, and it applies here: “Being 20 in the 70s was a helluva lot easier than being 70 in the 20s.” So, so true.


Today we’re having a lot more trees cut and trimmed. Our westward view will change quite a bit. We’re fixing two problems here: (1) significant fire hazard close to the house, and (2) the trees in question shade the solar roof during the second half of the afternoon, cutting our system’s efficiency by about 25%. Here’s the “before” picture – I’ll post the “after” picture sometime later in the week. Cutting trees this large is a slow process. These are beautiful tall eucs, and I hate to see them chopped. But it needs to be done.

One more thing

It’s Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a strange period in which we are required to eat leftovers for several days and pretend we enjoy it. In reality, it’s just our (my) conservative upbringing telling me “you must not waste food!”. The leftovers are good on Day 1, but by Day 4 it’s prison food.


UK sports is having a moment this weekend. UK men’s hoops destroyed Marshall last night, setting all time records for scoring in Rupp Arena. It was a little bit of fun to watch, but there was zero drama. I felt bad for Marshall – I hope they have a better season after this. Poor Huntington WV needs all the good news they can get.

And today UK football takes on the #9 UL Cardinals in “The Governor’s Cup”. UK will have a hard time winning this one, as UL is tough and motivated.


I’m spending the morning researching the millions of summer trips/cruises possible, as K has asked for a trip as an Xmas present. Setting the desire for a surprise aside, I’m gonna have to ask for some more details on this one. After two hours web surfing and sorting through all the possibilities, it’s just too large a search space. I know what I would like to do, but I need to get some info on what she would like, to avoid that awkward moment when both of you realize the gift isn’t what she really wanted. Been there, done that.


The TV transplant is complete. I ended up with an LG 4K C-series OLED, and it looks wonderful. I had it unpacked, in place and running about 45 minutes after getting it home. It’s about half the weight of the old Panasonic and measures 65″ diagonal instead of the previous 55″. Ten years of technology progress in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to seeing all my old favorites with better, brighter color and more resolution.


Super Pig invasion imminent. As if we needed one more thing to worry about.

Black Friday

This is a shitshow for the poor folks now stranded in Europe. An extreme case of caveat emptor.


Yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner was a success – very tasty, and all the new dishes worked well. The Basque-style rustic cheesecake was superb. The day’s only downside was my aging self’s inability to eat like a teenager. With enough food on hand to feed a small village, I could only manage a single plate full, then maybe a few choice bites. The resultant food coma was epic, making the rest of the evening a somnabulant one.

I’m gonna have to think of some other way to enjoy Thanksgiving from here on, because the old way just isn’t working. I’m not quite ready for holiday dinners at Denny’s, but…I may have cooked my last feast. At least it was a good one.


Poor little Donny had a bad Thanksgiving (legal problems), so he sent this uplifting message to the world at 2am:

“Happy Thanksgiving to ALL, including the Racist & Incompetent Attorney General of New York State, Letitia ‘Peekaboo’ James, who has let Murder & Violent Crime FLOURISH, & Businesses FLEE; the Radical Left Trump Hating Judge, a ‘Psycho,’ Arthur Engoron, who Criminally Defrauded the State of New York, & ME, by purposely Valuing my Assets at a ‘tiny’ Fraction of what they are really worth in order to convict me of Fraud before even a Trial, or seeing any PROOF, & used his Politically Biased & Corrupt Campaign Finance Violator, Chief Clerk Alison Greenfield, to sit by his side on the ‘Bench’ & tell him what to do; & Crooked Joe Biden, who has WEAPONIZED his Department of Injustice against his Political Opponent, & allowed our Country to go to HELL; & all of the other Radical Left Lunatics, Communists, Fascists, Marxists, Democrats, & RINOS, who are seriously looking to DESTROY OUR COUNTRY. Have no fear, however, we will WIN the Presidential Election of 2024, & MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”

The man is an infinite pool of hate. He should be jailed for crimes against capitalization, if nothing else. And 30-40% of American’s want to re-elect him as our “leader”. Unreal.


It’s time to replace the 6-7 year old Panasonic TV in the main room of the Socal house, and wow! Buying a new TV has gotten complicated. The models, the variations, the nomenclature – it’s really confusing. QLED, QNED, OLED, mini-LED, direct backlighting, full array backlighting, B3, C3, G3…the variations go on and on. And different manufacturers use slightly different numbering systems for the same features. So I put on my engineer’s hat and started reading up on what all the jargon means.

After a few days of that, I’ve settled on an LG OLED for the new TV. All the LED variations are the most confusing part, and it turns out that all the LED variations in backlighting and LED types are due to manufacturers trying to make their offering as good as plain old OLED (organic LED). OLED is king of the hill in terms of picture quality, so that’s what I’m buying. It’s available for pickup at a nearby BestBuy, so Black Friday, here I come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Thanksgiving. That’s about 60 of them that I have the possibility of remembering, and about 40 of them in which I took an active role in hosting. The last 20 or so I’ve wandered into the head chef role, where I make a lot of the meal for our Turkeyday gathering. It’s fun and it’s an excuse to drink some good wine while cooking.

I looooooved Thanksgiving as a young adult. Infinite food, a mix of family around, sports on TV, other folks doing all the work….what’s not to like? Some years I ate 2-3 full meals, going from home to grandparents to a girlfriend’s house. Thanksgiving was an anchor point in my young person’s awful habit of eating anything/everything available. With no consequence, until much later.

These days it’s different. Metabolism isn’t what it was and consequences abound. So I’m trying to eat and drink quality over quantity. With friends and family spread over hell and creation.

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, I have much to be thankful for. Good (though precarious) health. Great friends, great family. Enough money to be comfortable. Grandsons! I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been fortunate to live most of my life on the Easy Setting, and I’m thankful for that. I’m aware that much of the world doesn’t get to enjoy that.

With all that in mind, I wish the world a nice, safe, peaceful Thanksgiving Day. One can always hope…

Also in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here’s a photo from Thanksgiving a few years ago. I’d call it Twin Turkeys.

Cooking Day

Marquette beats the Kansas Jayhawks Assholes. I just wish it could have been us. Between Bill Self and the extremely arrogant, dislikable Hunter Dickinson, Kansas is the new Duke.

And just to put some icing on the cake, Tennessee lost to Purdue in the same tournament. Sweet!


It’s Cooking Day today. Put the work in today, enjoy tomorrow.


The average IQ of San Diego went down a few points when this guy visited. I can’t decide if it’s good that he’s in office to shame the Republicans, or bad because he’s a waste of oxygen and taxpayer dollars. I’ll go with the latter.

Thinking out loud

Great idea – if you’re leaving Xitter, start a blog! You don’t get the immediate feedback, but it’s *your* platform and you can control what gets said and done there.


I have a friend who *really* wants to jump on the LLM / generative AI bandwagon with his tech services business. Trouble is he hasn’t put in the work to understand what these tools are really capable of (and more importantly, what they’re incapable of). His ideas are all over the place. On one hand I want to help him, but on the other…it could turn into a big project. I’m thinking about it. At this stage of life, everything is a tradeoff with the limited time one has.

Thinking out loud, some of the things that current-gen AI models can do for a tech consulting firm are:

  • Writing proposals. Proposal writing is tough and is an unbillable expense. Most people aren’t good at it. With someone in charge who knows the right queries to use, proposals could be done in days instead of weeks, using 1-2 people instead of 5-6. And every successful proposal is righteous input for the LLM (large language model), improving it fast.
  • Writing documentation. Technical manuals, reports, how-to essays…so much writing. This could be a mix of billable and unbillable work.
  • Writing code, like database queries, Excel and PowerBI formulae, HTML code, etc. A single analyst can do the work of 3-4 using generative AI as a force multiplier.
  • Automation of routine data entry. Not sure if this is an RPA (robotics process automation) or LLM type problem, but one way or the other it’s not hard to automate.
  • Natural language exploration of large datasets. Previously you had to combine a business expert with a data analyst to explore what’s really going on in a large dataset produced by a business process. Any good LLM can be that data analyst and answer the business expert’s questions quickly and authoritatively.
  • Rapid onboarding. Tech firms have to invest time in training their new hires, and an LLM can be a useful Q&A resource for newbies. How do we do this? Where can I find that? Etc.
  • Contract review. Contracts can be large, complicated and hard to understand. An LLM could be a good first reviewer (before paying a lawyer) for the business layman trying to understand all the terms and conditions.
  • Customer service or employee service chatbot creation.
  • Project management support. Generating a detailed project plan from just a few inputs. Analyzing a project plan and identifying the missing details. Generating PM reports.
  • Teach clients how to do all the above – an applied AI practice, if you will.

That’s not a complete list, but not bad for just thinking out loud.

Thanksgiving week

I simply can’t understand why religious people embrace DTrump, one of the worst humans in recorded history. He’s profane, nasty, hateful, juvenile, deceitful, crude – everything that the folks in Sunday School said you shouldn’t be. This article from Hullaballoo lays it out in stark detail. The MAGA evangelicals who love Trump are hard to understand – hypocritical at best, and complicit in Trump’s evil.


I’ve spent the day today getting ready to spend a bundle on the CA property. Trimming or removing almost 30 trees. Fixing the pool/spa heater. Paying the property taxes (no small thing in the socialist republic of CA). Paying the multiple insurances (one just for fire, another for regular homeowners). Socal is an *expensive* place to live, getting more expensive all the time.


I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, even though we’ll have a smaller than usual gathering. The final menu:

  • Pumpkin soup
  • Smoked turkey
  • Mashed potato casserole
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Green bean casserole
  • Stuffing (not inside the bird)
  • Cranberries
  • Basque-style cheesecake
  • Quintessa (and any other wine I feel like opening)

Everything home-made, including the cheesecake. Cooking many of the items Wednesday (soup, casseroles and cheesecake all actually better after a night in the fridge) and of course serving Thursday.


I don’t have much to say lately. There are some interesting things happening in the world, but my overall reaction to them is “meh, whatever”. Here’s a list of short thoughts.

  • Elon Musk continues to poison his reputation and his brands. His bizarre behavior aside, Starship’s second launch was awesome. Big success, even though both the Super Heavy booster and the Ship itself blew up just after they (over)achieved their mission goals.
  • KY football is regressing, fast. Maybe Mark Stoops isn’t the great coach he was reputed to be.
  • I just learned that almost everyone I know is taking Ozempic. My friends are getting skinnier.
  • Trying to find a health insurance solution that covers us in both KY and CA, allows some choice of MDs, and isn’t crazy expensive is a real challenge. I have less than two weeks to figure it out before open enrollment ends. (Who the hell decided that you get to make this oh-so-important decision only once per year during a random couple of weeks?)
  • The second season of For All Mankind is as good as the first.
  • Thanksgiving is only five days away. The Cookening begins.

And that’s all, folks. No deep thoughts, no clever stories. Maybe that’s why it’s called No-vember.

Let’s try again tomorrow

Elon Musk disappointed me twice this morning. Once for flushing X-Twitter further down the drain. How can the person who created Tesla and SpaceX be the same person who is busy making a fool of himself on social media?

The second disappointment is that SpaceX moved the Starship launch window to tomorrow, 11/18. After I got up at 430am all excited to watch today.


I had a practically perfect day yesterday. Binge-watched the first season of For All Mankind (holy shit, that first season is *good*). Took a two mile walk. Had a couple of glasses of wine and a great caprese salad at our backyard vineyard. Read a book, took a nap. Finalized some travel plans. Listened to Pink Floyd and Tame Impala at about 100 db. Solved a nagging post-retirement health insurance dilemma at the perfect time, during the open enrollment period for 2024. All in, a great day. Let’s have a few more of those.


Heather Cox Richardson provided a great summary of Pres Biden’s meetings with China’s Xi Jinping this week. She notes that the power dynamic has shifted and that China is more ready to have a constructive relationship with the US. Great news. Can you imagine if Trump was our leader during this moment? Biden is doing a great job in positioning the US as first among equals on the world stage. Trump’s foreign relations track record is/was awful, embarrassing, idiotic. International relationships require thoughtful and careful actions, not bluster and threats. I’m thankful we have someone in the job right now who understands that need.

It’s happening

It’s happening! The launch window for launch attempt #2 of SpaceX Starship opens at 5am PST tomorrow. With that in mind, I just started watching For All Mankind, an Sony/Apple-produced series detailing an alternate history of spaceflight in which the Russians reach the Moon first. It’s absolutely great, and I don’t know why it took me so long to tune in. November 17th will be spaceflight Friday.


In case you’re wondering if the latest AI-based systems are ready for prime time, here’s some data that should be considered. All these LLM-based (Large Language Model) systems have “hallucinations”, a friendly word for when the systems just make shit up. In other words, they lie to you. As a result, you can’t trust the damn things. So no, not ready for any application where ground truth matters. Any application involving human safety or financial ties, nope.


We had a seriously wet day here yesterday, with 1.25 inches of rain in the afternoon. Plus, lightning and thunder. It was great.