Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Archive for August, 2010

My Fair Land, How I Miss It So

Posted by middlerage on August 27, 2010

I had reported, earlier, that I was reading a biography of Kit Carson – mentioned in a post where I described the somewhat bloody eating habits of mountain men. I finished the book, and can definitely give it a thumbs up, recommend-to-read. I am putting the author’s prior book, Ghost Soldiers, onto my reading list. I was so enthusiastic during the reading process that we were in danger of having it in every other post, including – but not limited to – more gory dinners. Fortunately, I was able to contain myself. However, because many of my readers, and myself, are from “the great state of” New Mexico, I present one more post all about how the “conquering” Anglo-American soldiers (beginning with the Mexican American War, in 1846, and continuing through the 1850s) felt about this new land. Encroaching anglos coming from the much moister half of the continent:

“In truth, no one liked Santa Fe very much. The soldiers filled their diaries with disparaging descriptions of the place. It was a greasy, smelly, drunken, superstitious little town […]  the apples stunted, the windows did not have glass, the houses lacked furniture, and the doors had leather straps and wooden pegs for want of hinges. […] a demented beggar lady picked among the garbage and sucked on old melon rinds.” [From page 125 of the First Edition Hardback]

“Simpson was not unlike most of his countrymen in failing to appreciate such spare terrain. The desert was an […] uninviting world to most Anglos. […] they were still farmers, most of them; their idea of beautiful land was never far removed from valuable land, and valuable land was any that could be used. […They] were in the thrall of a landscape aesthetic that had been passed down from European Romanticists and filtered through New England artists, such as the […] Hudson River School. They were used to finding beauty in greens and blues, in mountain streams, plunging waterfalls, sailboats, and flowery meadows full of fat cows.

But here was a landscape […] forged in an unforgiving furnace: a cursed land. If the Great Plains was regarded as the “Great American Desert” […] then this stark land was Hades itself. […]

Even the sketches and lithographs done by the Kearn brothers show an awkward uncertainty […] the scales and proportions often seem slightly off, the perspectives cramped, the foliage unmistakably Eastern. […] “Buff” was no color for a country […] It was as though they lacked the retinal nerve that allowed them to see the land for what it was […] [From pages 230-231 First Edition Hardback]

The fact was, James Carleton was embarrassed by New Mexico – embarrassed by its poverty, its lack of luster, its low standing in the halls of Washington, where no one seemed to favor elevating the territory to the status of a full-fledged state. According to the prevailing sentiment on Capitol Hill, New Mexico, with its Indian troubles and general squalor, was nothing but a drain on the national budget. For years lawmakers had floated serious proposals to return the territory to Mexico: Why squander any more blood and treasure on such a hopeless cause. [From pages 329-330 First Edition Hardback]

Wow! To return it to Mexico. LOL.

NM I love you and miss you. oxoxoxox

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More Musings, errr, Shit, on Privacy

Posted by middlerage on August 27, 2010

This just in: The 9th circuit court (which rules over several western states including California) has determined it is okay for the Poh-Leece to place a GPS tracker on your car

…  in your private driveway

without getting a warrant.

Why is the wrongness of this so obvious to everyday wankers and not to the courts? We expect our wisemen to be…well… wise.

It comes from a case involving an obvious marijuana grower and thus make it difficult to convince ourselves that this is a bad thing. Hey, it only matters if you’re a bad guy. But it IS a bad thing. Big Brother and all that. I really need to get my rhetorical and debatical chops in order if I want to argue against this shit. But for now, I just know this is erosion. Bad erosion.

Meanwhile, my bud over at muddledramblings has done yeoman’s work (what is a yeoman, and why is his work so noteworthy?) on setting up a how-to guide for email (and more!) encryption. For now, the instructions only pertain to Apple computers, but if you have a Mac (or Apple product) check out his 6 steps to encrypting stuff on your computer: MacGPG

And in other news, I had never heard of LSOs before, but I’ve recently been learning about them. Do you control the cookies on your web browser? Do you prefer to limit some of them, delete those from websites who have no need to track you? Well, Adobe made a super cookie – called an LSO – that never expires, tracks even more of your personal details, and is not manageable via your browser’s usual tools.  Here is a Wired article on the subject.

For my Firefox browser I downloaded a thing called BetterPrivacy to manage these LSOs, but as far as other browsers, I’m not sure.

Update: Jer points Safari users to a product called Flush. I hope he also makes a how-to for using Adobe’s ‘general control panel’.

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Guaranteed to be Meaningless

Posted by middlerage on August 22, 2010

Just about every product you might purchase comes with a guarantee these days, and they almost universally make me laugh at the utter uselessness of them, lying there like the thinly veiled advertising they are.

Well here at Tea Time, we’ve got an amazing Expandomatic™ that’s guaranteed to blow the veneer off the tripe. For instance, take the “Guaranteed to be fresh, or your money back!” statement. After running through the Amazing Expandomatic™ we see what that statement realllllly means:

Dear sap, sorry that this 75¢ bag of potato chips tastes like it’s been bouncing around the floorboards of the vending man’s panel truck for 2 years, but…well…it has. Among dried mouse dung pellets to boot. Sad to say, we know that you work in a fine, tall, glass office building making somewhere north of $25.00 to $60.00 an hour, and that the economics of your time spent in calling this 1-800 number just to get your money back is not even close to your worth. In fact, it’s probably net negative. Not to mention you are savvy enough to realize you won’t even get 75¢ from us, but rather a stupid coupon requiring you to take even more time out of your busy important day to track down a convenience store – all to use a silly little coupon to get a little bag of muncheros when you are no longer hungry. But you were hungry now, weren’t you big boy? and that garish emblazonment of “Guaranteed Fresh” wasn’t a guarantee, but advertising – and it worked, too, di’nt it? Sucked you right in – You gave us three quarters of a dollar that we know we’ll never, EVER, have to return. So thanks. Sucka!

Ahhh, yes, the Expandomatic™ is truly a revolution in Product Guarantee translation. Yes, here at Tea Time we analyze the small AND the large. Let’s turn on the Expandomatic™ and let it run on this roofing guarantee for new roof shingles, Guaranteed to last 30 years!

Dear Homeowner, thanks for taking out an adjustable rate equity line just to purchase these architectural roofing shingles. We know that part of the expensive blow was softened by our magnanimous guarantee of 30 years. Yes, friend, made it a little bit easier to swallow, hmmm? Of course we know that you’re only human.   The chances that you’ll save all the necessary paperwork for 29, 15, heck even 10 years is as likely as you remembering Aunt Bertha’s wedding anniversary next year. Besides, the inscrutable mouse print (what our lawyers like to call ‘Boilerplate’) at the bottom of the guarantee lets us off the hook for only the non-adjusted, inflationary cost of similar material, meaning if you pursue the guarantee, we’ll pony up a 5 foot square patch of whatever high tech stuff we have 10 years into the future and you can bet it won’t match what you’ve got up there now.

But if you’re only human, well, so are we. And as such, in 10 or 15 years, this company is going to be owned by a succession of deadbeat brother-in-laws, before succumbing to unpredictable market forces and going under faster than a rusty submarine piloted by an alcoholic and steered through a strait full of icebergs. Your guarantee will be worth about as much as an empty ketchup bottle at a french fry eating contest. So in the end, this so-called guarantee actually guarantees you nothing, but it guarantees us a little psychology and …well…that’s all advertising is anyway, ain’ it?

There you have it, friends, the world renowned Expandomatic™, guaranteed to put a sober magnifying glass to those not-so-reassuring reassurances from companies everywhere!

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