The Good(s) of Wal-Mart 
As we watch and read about the massive fires in California, most of us cannot fathom such tragedy happening to us. Fortunately, we live in a nation where people and businesses rise to the challenge of helping the people who have been displaced because of these terrible fires.

Continuing its trend of helping out victims of disaster, The Wal-Mart Foundation has pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross. According to CNNMoney, the foundation also gave $32 million to Katrina relief efforts. Frankly, I am surprised that CNN actually published the article since Wal-Mart is often seen as the enemy by many liberals and the mostly liberal media.

Corporations are not required to do such deeds and many do not. While this doesn't necessarily prove that Wal-Mart is altruistic, no one can deny that Wal-Mart is a fine corporate citizen when it comes to helping those in need.

People also forget that Wal-Mart wasn't incarnated as the largest company in the world. Yes, it's hard to believe but it's true. There was a time when Wal-Mart was a small fledgling company that other retailers probably laughed at. Sam Walton is the embodiment of the American Dream. Sam started small, worked hard, and over a period of time kicked his competitors' asses back to the Stone Age while completely schooling them on the business of retailing. Everybody wants to be number one but only a very few every get there. Sam Walton was one of those few.

Alas, the Wal-Mart bashing will undoubtedly continue so let's just all remember that we are free to bash Wal-Mart, free to shop elsewhere, and corporations are free to help those in need as they so choose. Many people will continue to despise Wal-Mart, ignoring the hard work Sam Walton and the benevolence of the Wal-Mart Foundation. No one ever said being number one was easy.

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ipw2200 Firmware Upgrade 
I have a Sony Vaio laptop that used to just run Kubuntu but now I have set it up as a dual-boot with WinXP on one side and Slackware 12 on the other. I have had a few problems and the biggest is getting LILO to work properly. When LILO is set properly, the WinXP side gives me a BSOD shortly after it's turned on and just hangs there with a system is shut down type message. However, when I use Bootmagic to select the Windows partition, the machine boots directly to Windows with no LILO screen. I can still boot to Slackware by inserting the Slackware CD and typing this at the prompt:

hugesmp.s root=/dev/hda2 rdinit= ro

which works but it's a pain to do. The second problem was the wireless connection. The module loaded on boot (ipw2200) but I could not start eth0; with the standard "eth0: error fetching interface connection: device not found" error. I did a "dmesg | grep ipw" showed these errors:

# dmesg | grep ipw
ipw2200: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200/2915 Network Driver, 1.2.0kmprq
ipw2200: Copyright(c) 2003-2006 Intel Corporation
ipw2200: Detected Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection
ipw2200: ipw2200-bss.fw request_firmware failed: Reason -2
ipw2200: Unable to load firmware: -2
ipw2200: failed to register network device
ipw2200: probe of 0000:06:04.0 failed with error -5

I found a fix on a Suse forum and that suggested updating the firmware would work; the firmware can be found here:

and I downloaded and installed version 3. I unpacked the tarball, changed to the directly and typed as root:

cp ipw2200-* /lib/firmware

and reloaded the ipw2200 module and restarted the network and wireless now works. Now, if I can only fix that LILO problem...

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An Inconvenient Lecture 
...but luckily a story carried by the Sydney Morning Herald is easily accessible thanks to the Intarweb. You'd be hard-pressed to find this story in any US papers or US-based media's websites even though the lecture was given in North Carolina by a prominent American in his field.

A lecture the media didn't miss was a retired US general who bashed our policy in Iraq, even if they shoved the first part of it into the memory hole. When Lt. Gen. Sanchez, a former commander of American troops, is critical US of policy, it's horns-a-blowin' and trumpets-a-blarin' time by the MSM. Of course, the media hasn't always received Sanchez with open arms, (see below), and they didn't seem too interested in reporting on the first part of Sanchez' lecture.

But if someone in the climate and meteorology field, an expert and authority in that field nonetheless, questions anything the Goracle has said, well, <crickets chirping>. Liberal bias in the mainstream media? Nah........

But you're thinking, "yeah, but Iraq is the bigger news story now."

Alas, perhaps, but Al himself said that climate change (yes, I know that term is redundant) is the most important issue in the world:
He told Sky News television that global warming is "the most important issue in the world."
[ Link]

Oh, but did the media believe General Petraeus' report? After all, he is the current commander of US forces. Surely they would put as much belief into his story as they would for Sanchez. Maybe things were as bad as Sanchez says but it's possible they are improving. Yeah, right, good luck finding that in your local paper or on a cable news channel. Good news out of Iraq is strictly prohibited by the MSM, just like anyone who questions Al Gore, even if that anyone is a real meteorological expert.

Since Al has been in the news of late, surely the MSM would welcome debate and analysis by experts who hold opposing views to Gore's stance on the issue of climate change. After all, aren't dissent, debate, and the questioning of our leaders, even if they are no longer elected officials, the first duty of the citizenry?

Another thing the media missed what that Sanchez also blasted the media for their reporting of Iraq and in fact, tossing back some phrases the media has used to describe him like: "most inexperienced LTG ever" and "liar" and "not a strategic thought" in addition to really calling the media on the carpet for their lack of adherence to journalistic ethics. [Link]

Bravo Dr. Gray. Bravo Gen. Sanchez.

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YASB - Yet Another Smoking Ban  
The city of Belmont, CA, recently passed a strict anti-smoking ordinance that, aside from the usual bans of smoking, actually dictates that people in certain dwellings cannot smoke in their residences. [Story]

What the article didn't mention is that, in an unrelated resolution, the city has enacted a new official greeting to be used when greeting fellow residents or when the police come to your door to enforce the law. The city council is seen in this photo demonstrating the new town greeting.

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"Critics Attack 12-Year-old" the byline above a picture in an AOL news story about Graeme Frost posted today. Since the media failed to do initial fact-checking and the Democrats failed to see that using a child for political purposes can put unwarranted strain on a kid, the media is trying really hard to spin this into a theme that anyone who questions the veracity of the background of a kid propped up by Democrats, well, they must be mean. Their "Checkers speech" attempt has failed.

I feel bad for the kid. His parents should have said "no thanks." But, then again, I don't. Betcha he'll be on Oprah within a week. *sob*

Update: I thought about the headline, which came from the NYT - "Hurt Boy......" The accident the kid referenced happened three years ago! Since most people have been hurt at some time in their lives, I wonder if the NYT will preface names mentioned in other headlines with 'hurt' or maybe 'tired' or perhaps even 'constipated' since most people have gone through those other normalcies of being human too. The NYT is playing the sob story card and putting their usual spin on the news. Well that's my update. This 'hurt' (I've broken some bones in my life and last summer I took a head-first dive over the handlebars of my bicycle) blogger signs off.

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I'm Back 
I wasn't really gone but I did have a problem with my host and the blog software and I couldn't post new entries. Basically, the upgrade was botched somewhere along the line and it was my host and not me as the upgrade is just clicking the 'upgrade' button in the control panel of my account so it's all on their end. I actually emailed the developer of the blog software directly and got an email back and followed his advice and it seems to have worked. One issue that is not resolved is that the 'most recent comments' block on the right no longer adds the newest comments. Another problem is the stray 's' that appears in the footer. I found the file to edit but there is no 's' in there. Got me. update: that's fixed.

I made some posts anyway and they are below under "Missing" Posts.

Oh, an interesting story - remember 12 year-old Graeme Frost who gave the Democratic response to Bush's radio address a week ago? Well, I found a picture of him:

SCHIP fraud?

"Poor" family owns home, business

Media fail at fact-checking of 12 year-old

If this is true, and I am sure if it is the MSM will be all over it (sarcastic laugh), it confirms my long-standing belief that most Democratic politicians say they want to help the down and out, but they don't want to actually have ever be physically near them. [John Kerry voice or Hillary Clinton voice] "eeeeeewwwwwww poor people!!!!!!! get them away from me!!!!!!! eeewwwwwwwww!!!!!![/voice]

I am glad the boy and his sister are ok but this is really low, even for the Democrats.

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"Missing" Posts 
Still Broken (10/06/07 ~8:45 pm EDT)

I chatted with tech support this afternoon and they said please allow 24-48 hours for resolution. Bah. It's now going on 36 hours so hopefull by Sunday morning I'll know what's going on. There have been some comments posted today but the most recent don't show on the side anymore. I wish I could just turn that off or delete it. That's something I'll have to look into; if it's not going to post most recent comments like it used to so there is no point in that box being there anymore.

Rocky Road (10/05/07 ~11:15 pm EDT)

Things aren't looking too good for the Phillies. Losing games one and two at home will be difficult to rebound from. Luckily, the Indians are up 2-0 on the Yankees and hopefully will eliminate them in game three. If the Phillies lose and Indians toss the Yankees aside, that will set me free to root for the Indians for rest of the playoffs.

My "root for" order of the eight playoff teams:

Red Sox

The reason the Yankees aren't at the bottom is that it irks me to no avail that teams that didn't even exist when I was in college are getting to the point where they have as many (Dbacks) or more (Marlins) World Series titles as the 110+ year old Phillies do.

Incidentally, of the eight teams, I have seen home games of seven of them. I have not seen the Diamondbacks' park yet, but I hope to get there within five years. Next on my list, and hopefully next summer, is either Washington or Detroit which, when I get to both, would put me at 18* major league ballparks, or, more accurately, 18 teams in their home stadium.

*Technically, my aim is to see every MLB in their home stadium at least once and it doesn't matter which stadium it is. For example, I've been to County Stadium to see the Brewers play so that satisfies the requirement.

The list so far:
Stadium (in no particular order) & event, if anything significant
1. Veterans Stadium | the last game (09/28/03)
2. Three Rivers Stadium
3. Riverfront Stadium
4. Dodger Stadium
5. Jack Murphy Stadium | Caminiti homers from both sides of plate 1st of three consecutive games
6. Anaheim Stadium
7. Fenway Park | Pedro's first start at home for Boston; 5-0 shutout over Seattle, the day before Easter, 1998
8. Yankee Stadium | I got a flat tire in the Bronx
9. Shea Stadium | against Pirates; Danny Darwin pitched like Cy Young that day, or so said the Mets fans sitting in front of us.
10. Coors Field | they also sold Budweiser there
11. Network Associates Stadium (A's) | Mike Oquist ties MLB record - gave up 14 ER to Yanks
12. Milwaukee County Stadium | 1. power went out for 10 minutes; 2. roof collapse at Miller Park happened two days before; 3. McGwire's 70th HR ball on display; he was the record-holder at that time. 4. the bratwurst was excellent
13. Wrigley Field | parking sucks; actually it's nonexistent, no official lots
14. Ballpark at Arlington | Rangers hit team record 8 homers; rout Astros 18-3
15. Jacobs Field
16. Camden Yards | The streak had already ended the year before. So I had tickets for Friday night and Saturday afternoon (4/23 and 4/24, 1999). I thought, "I'm sure to see Ripken play." Ripken goes on DL for first time in career the Tuesday before. He plays in every game for 17 years and I still missed him.

It's Broken (10/05/07 ~ 11pm EDT)

This blog entry was written with on 10/05/07 ~11pm EDT. I currently cannot add blog entries. I will post this on my blog once the problem is resolved.

One thing I don't like about my web host is that they force me to upgrade the blog software. So, every few months, I have to upgrade otherwise the control panel will not let me in to administer it. Yes, I like having security flaws corrected but sometimes the quick fixes cause more problems so I take the approach that it's best to let others test the upgrades before I do. Anyway, as I figured would eventually happen, the upgrade failed and now the control panel tells me that the blog isn't even installed. The But, it is, of course. The upgrade also deleted the links on the right but I can manually add them and just FTP the file over. Another thing the failed upgrade did was screw up the "most recent comments" section. It no longer shows the most recent comments. So now I have a trouble ticket in. It's a royal pain in the ass.

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Yes, the 1969 Mets truly were amazin' but the 2007 Mets were not. HAHAHA. What a finish for those Fightin' Phils! I was in Jersey last night and had the joy of listening to WFAN for about 90 minutes and boy was it hilarious! It was the best 90 minutes of comedy ever! Mets fans say this is the biggest collapse ever, even bigger than the '64 Phillies. Awesome! What a great job by the Phillies for FINALLY not rolling over and dying in September! Awesome!

My picks:

Phillies over Rockies/Padres
Diamondbacks over Cubs
Phillies over Diamondbacks

Indians over Yankees
Red Sox over Angels
Indians over Red Sox

Phillies over Indians

As for the Eagles, they're done. Hopefully someone will knock the Cowballs off in the first round of the playoffs this year.

Go Phillies!

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A New Lowe 
I went to Lowe's this morning and, lo and behold, they had Christmas stuff out for sale. Of course, it was really holiday merchandise since the big-box retailers, to quote myself, "like to profit from Christmas, but can't bring themselves to say 'Christmas' in their advertising." I detest the blatant commercialism of Christmas; especially when hidden under the guise of "holidays".

Maybe what every American should do this season is send an email or note to all his or her friends and relatives saying that instead of gifts this year, let's pick a worthy charity and make a donation instead. I am really tempted to do that and have been for years. Of course, I do donate to charity already but a few dollars more to a worthy cause is never a bad thing.

Why is Christmas on my mind so early anyway?

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Quick Thought 
Anyone else notice that as the terms "tolerance" and "diversity" become more common, especially in our schools, the word "Christmas" becomes less common? Heck, who am I kidding, the word "Christmas" is gone from our schools and colleges.

Yes, I know it's September but it was just something on my mind.

As I've said before, America has an unnatural aversion to the word "Christmas."

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Good Column today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Jack Kelly.

From the article, a quote from a Democrat Senator:
No one wants to call (Petraeus) a liar on national TV. The expectation is that outside groups will do this for us.

True colors show through. Leading Democrats are unable to believe anything a four-star general whose decorations on his chest are the size of a tablecloth says about the job he's doing. He knows more about Iraq than any liberal blogger, Congressman, or journalist out there, guaranteed.

Quote from Kelly:
Opening statements at congressional hearings remind us that the egos of our lawmakers often exceed their IQs.

So true; Reid, Schumer, and Lantos have proven they have sub-prime IQ's. They are incapable of being able to deduce that America can do things right and unable to realize that what's bad for Bush can also be bad for America. This is akin to a miscreant child wishing something bad would happen to his parents but not being able to understand the effects of such action.

I cannot, and neither can almost all of the American people, know how accurate Petraeus' report is. However, I will believe a fellow American, especially one who is a distinguished and accomplished professional in his field, who says he's presenting a true and honest report long before I believe any opinion by any members of congress who are openly rooting for special interest groups to call such a distinguished and honorable man a liar.

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I have been to the World Trade Center twice in my life. The first time was rainy day in the spring of 1982. The roof viewing platform was closed so we had to settle for the top floor. The second time was on December 26, 2001. Here are two emails fused together that I sent out that day almost immediately after getting home. Having a copy of Time's Person of Year issue would be handy.


I just got back from NYC where Pilzer and I had a personal tour of the World Trade Center site. Pilzer's boss, Chris Hillmann, (whose company has been doing work there since September ( took us to the 21st floor of One World Financial Center (not open to the public), which is mostly vacant and somewhat repaired now. Apparently some of the floors like 23 and higher are ready for business again but no one has moved back in yet. Chris said that thousands and thousands of windows in all the nearby buildings were blown out. 1WFC is right next to where the south tower was once located. We looked down into the pit where the cleanup was. All the buildings around had some damage and many were still vacant. It was incredible to see. What was once a hub of business activity was now all vacant and damaged buildings. Outside, we were inside the restricted perimeter but not where the actual digging was being done. We walked over to Moran's ( for lunch past all the people who were looking at it from ground level a hundred yards away. We saw it from twenty-one stories up and right on top of it. Out of respect I didn't take a camera even though I had a much better view than those with video cameras who were outside past the barricades.

If you look at this week's Time (Person of the Year issue)...

1. The picture of the shirts in the Brooks Brothers store - the store is east of the pit and 1WFC (building I was in) is SW of the pit. I was a little closer (but much higher up) to the scene than the store is.

2. The picture with Kofi Annan (orange crane behind them) and Giuliani is right in front of 1WFC. I viewed the site from the 21st floor of that building. If it appears the building isn't that tall it's because there is a roof on the 10th floor and then the building cuts in a little. We could not gain access to 10th floor roof. The walkway (not in picture) I will talk about is directly behind Giuliani.

3. From 1WFC there is a walkway that used to connect to another building (the hotel that collapsed? - I'm not sure) Now it stands just barely connected to 1WFC. Anyway, the walkway is still standing, which is really amazing. We walked through that and could get a good look from there too. The walkway was probably less than 75 feet from the ground and right on top of where the equipment begins for the pit workers as well as closer with a less obstructed view than the VIP viewing platform.


Another thing I remember from that day was watching fireman retrieve some remains. There was some activity and Chris said that looks like they found something. Sure enough, in the next day's NY Daily News (or Post) there was a picture of the activity I saw. More remains were found.

I also remember being able to see damage from New Jersey before we even got on the ferry. There was a building with visible damage of a lobby atrium.

Now that I think about it, I am surprised we were allowed on the walkway. It was really damaged and we could only go part way as rubble blocked the rest of it.

Also, I could still see the steel from the parking decks below the towers and I remember seeing a large (several feet in diameter) pipe or two that no longer connected to anything and just left a big round hole at the box wall of the pit.

It was just eerie to look at the Manhattan skyline from New Jersey that day and just stunning to really see what happened up close.

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