Sunday, May 12, 2013

Links for 2013 May 12

Gore Is Romney-Rich With $200 Million After Bush Defeat
Liberals will claim this is a fair 200 million, unlike Romney's which was built off PE???

Obama’s Cybersecurity Lifts Check Point: Israel Overnight
What about Palo Alto Networks?

ESPN Wants to Pay Your Wireless Bill (Restrictions Apply)
Slowly lurching towards net non-neutrality

The Glock Divorce Comes to America, Revealing New Details About the Gunmaker
The tide has gone out

NYPD Plans to Release Non-Toxic Gases in the Subway
Who is making money off this?

Cost to Treat a Lung Infection: $97,214? Why New Data Are Useless
Healthcare is the next finance. When the revolution starts there will be a whole less useless clerks pulling 1/2 a million a year...

Tiffany vs. Costco: Which Diamond Ring Is Better?
Cost of diamond is directly proportional to boast value to a woman's girlfriends... Better to get a shitty Tiffany's than a GIA vertified Costco...

Weird Bloomberg headlines - May 12

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The most beautiful anti-war poem

"Ave Imperatrix"

Set in this stormy Northern sea,
Queen of these restless fields of tide,
England! what shall men say of thee,
Before whose feet the worlds divide?
The earth, a brittle globe of glass,
Lies in the hollow of thy hand,
And through its heart of crystal pass,
Like shadows through a twilight land,

The spears of crimson-suited war,
The long white-crested waves of fight,
And all the deadly fires which are
The torches of the lords of Night.

The yellow leopards, strained and lean,
The treacherous Russian knows so well,
With gaping blackened jaws are seen
Leap through the hail of screaming shell.

The strong sea-lion of England's wars
Hath left his sapphire cave of sea,
To battle with the storm that mars
The stars of England's chivalry.

The brazen-throated clarion blows
Across the Pathan's reedy fen,
And the high steeps of Indian snows
Shake to the tread of armed men.

And many an Afghan chief, who lies
Beneath his cool pomegranate-trees,
Clutches his sword in fierce surmise
When on the mountain-side he sees

The fleet-foot Marri scout, who comes
To tell how he hath heard afar
The measured roll of English drums
Beat at the gates of Kandahar.

For southern wind and east wind meet
Where, girt and crowned by sword and fire,
England with bare and bloody feet
Climbs the steep road of wide empire.

O lonely Himalayan height,
Grey pillar of the Indian sky,
Where saw'st thou last in clanging flight
Our winged dogs of Victory?

The almond-groves of Samarcand,
Bokhara, where red lilies blow,
And Oxus, by whose yellow sand
The grave white-turbaned merchants go:

And on from thence to Ispahan,
The gilded garden of the sun,
Whence the long dusty caravan
Brings cedar wood and vermilion;

And that dread city of Cabool
Set at the mountain's scarped feet,
Whose marble tanks are ever full
With water for the noonday heat:

Where through the narrow straight Bazaar
A little maid Circassian
Is led, a present from the Czar
Unto some old and bearded Khan, –

Here have our wild war-eagles flown,
And flapped wide wings in fiery fight;
But the sad dove, that sits alone
In England – she hath no delight.

In vain the laughing girl will lean
To greet her love with love-lit eyes:
Down in some treacherous black ravine,
Clutching his flag, the dead boy lies.

And many a moon and sun will see
The lingering wistful children wait
To climb upon their father's knee;
And in each house made desolate

Pale women who have lost their lord
Will kiss the relics of the slain –
Some tarnished epaulette – some sword –
Poor toys to soothe such anguished pain.

For not in quiet English fields
Are these, our brothers, lain to rest,
Where we might deck their broken shields
With all the flowers the dead love best.

For some are by the Delhi walls,
And many in the Afghan land,
And many where the Ganges falls
Through seven mouths of shifting sand.

And some in Russian waters lie,
And others in the seas which are
The portals to the East, or by
The wind-swept heights of Trafalgar.

O wandering graves! O restless sleep!
O silence of the sunless day!
O still ravine! O stormy deep!
Give up your prey! Give up your prey!

And thou whose wounds are never healed,
Whose weary race is never won,
O Cromwell's England! must thou yield
For every inch of ground a son?

Go! crown with thorns thy gold-crowned head,
Change thy glad song to song of pain;
Wind and wild wave have got thy dead,
And will not yield them back again.

Wave and wild wind and foreign shore
Possess the flower of English land –
Lips that thy lips shall kiss no more,
Hands that shall never clasp thy hand.

What profit now that we have bound
The whole round world with nets of gold,
If hidden in our heart is found
The care that groweth never old?

What profit that our galleys ride,
Pine-forest-like, on every main?
Ruin and wreck are at our side,
Grim warders of the House of Pain.

Where are the brave, the strong, the fleet?
Where is our English chivalry?
Wild grasses are their burial-sheet,
And sobbing waves their threnody.

O loved ones lying far away,
What word of love can dead lips send!
O wasted dust! O senseless clay!
Is this the end! is this the end!

Peace, peace! we wrong the noble dead
To vex their solemn slumber so;
Though childless, and with thorn-crowned head,
Up the steep road must England go,

Yet when this fiery web is spun,
Her watchmen shall descry from far
The young Republic like a sun
Rise from these crimson seas of war.

Oscar Wilde. The complete opposite of Kipling when it came to war and imperialism.

Words to live by

By James Mattis

[Dear, "Bill"]

The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.

With [Task Force] 58, I had w/ me Slim’s book, books about the Russian and British experiences in [Afghanistan], and a couple others. Going into Iraq, “The Siege” (about the Brits’ defeat at Al Kut in WW I) was req’d reading for field grade officers. I also had Slim’s book; reviewed T.E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”; a good book about the life of Gertrude Bell (the Brit archaeologist who virtually founded the modern Iraq state in the aftermath of WW I and the fall of the Ottoman empire); and “From Beirut to Jerusalem”. I also went deeply into Liddell Hart’s book on Sherman, and Fuller’s book on Alexander the Great got a lot of my attention (although I never imagined that my HQ would end up only 500 meters from where he lay in state in Babylon).

Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.

For all the “4th Generation of War” intellectuals running around today saying that the nature of war has fundamentally changed, the tactics are wholly new, etc, I must respectfully say … “Not really”: Alex the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying (studying, vice just reading) the men who have gone before us.

We have been fighting on this planet for 5000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. “Winging it” and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession. As commanders and staff officers, we are coaches and sentries for our units: how can we coach anything if we don’t know a hell of a lot more than just the [Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures]? What happens when you’re on a dynamic battlefield and things are changing faster than higher [Headquarters] can stay abreast? Do you not adapt because you cannot conceptualize faster than the enemy’s adaptation? (Darwin has a pretty good theory about the outcome for those who cannot adapt to changing circumstance — in the information age things can change rather abruptly and at warp speed, especially the moral high ground which our regimented thinkers cede far too quickly in our recent fights.) And how can you be a sentinel and not have your unit caught flat-footed if you don’t know what the warning signs are — that your unit’s preps are not sufficient for the specifics of a tasking that you have not anticipated?

Perhaps if you are in support functions waiting on the warfighters to spell out the specifics of what you are to do, you can avoid the consequences of not reading. Those who must adapt to overcoming an independent enemy’s will are not allowed that luxury.

This is not new to the USMC approach to warfighting — Going into Kuwait 12 years ago, I read (and reread) Rommel’s Papers (remember “Kampstaffel”?), Montgomery’s book (“Eyes Officers”…), “Grant Takes Command” (need for commanders to get along, “commanders’ relationships” being more important than “command relationships”), and some others.

As a result, the enemy has paid when I had the opportunity to go against them, and I believe that many of my young guys lived because I didn’t waste their lives because I didn’t have the vision in my mind of how to destroy the enemy at least cost to our guys and to the innocents on the battlefields.

Hope this answers your question…. I will cc my ADC in the event he can add to this. He is the only officer I know who has read more than I.

Semper Fi, Mattis

History doesn't repeat but it rhymes

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier
So-oldier ~of~ the Queen! "

~ Rudyard Kipling  - "The Young British Soldier"

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Inactive" account manager

I can imagine the conversation around the table as they brainstormed a name for this feature.

Setup my inactive settings today. Truly nerve wracking as you confront your own mortality. Try it out to see what I mean.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

High Flight

Distilling the magic of flight...

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
More background behind the poem here...

Came across this poem when reading more about Reagan's speech after the Challenger shuttle disaster in 1986.
"The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave... We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Oldie but goldie

What do you do guaranteed?

I hate coffee

I hate the way the taste stays with me for next 3 days. I hate the pungent smell that hits my brain.

And most of all, I hate going to fourbucks for it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Book Review: As far as my feet will carry me

It never rains but it pours... Must be my character trait... The dry spell has been broken and the reading habit is back.. with a vengeance.

The latest object of my affection is this one...

German officer captured towards war'e end. Sentenced to 25 years in East Cape, Siberia (eastern most part of Russia). Really bad conditions. Escapes and walks to Iran.

Comparisons are inevitable with "The Long Walk". Not as captivating as the Long Walk... But still good. If The Long Walk is 5 stars, this is 4.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book Review: The long walk

God it has been ages since I read a dead-tree book.

The first mention I saw of this book was on reading about the controversy surrounding the author in the Readers Digest. This is the story of a Polish officer imprisoned by the Soviets in the Siberian gulag in 1941 after the invasion of Poland by Germany and USSR. He escaped from the Gulag with 6 friends and walked all the way to India in 11 months...

The Readers Digest says the essence of the story is true. But the pilgrimage was undertaken by some other polish officer who was later debriefed by the author after his escape...

Anyway a pretty good read...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thoughts on insider trading charges against McKinsey, Intel, IBM'ers

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad"

~~ Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Information design done right

Making sense of the Galleon ring...
From the WSJ

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bagger Vance and the Bhagvad Gita

Watched "Legend of the Bagger Vance" after a long time... This is one movie I can watch again and again... On the same day!!

Winston Churchill said that "golf is a more expensive way of playing marbles". I agree. Yet I love this movie.

Bagger Vance is as much about golf as "Gone with the Wind" is about the Civil War. Golf is merely a backdrop to the story.

The movie is actually a modern day interpretation of the Bhagvad Gita. Will Smith (Bagger Vance) as a caddy plays the role of Krishna advising the confused Batt Damon (Randolf Junnah - R Junnah - Arjuna!!) about discovering himself, pulling himself backup and moving on with his life.

Charlize Theron, Will Smith and Damon have given performances which I dont think will be repeated in their career..

Run, don't walk, to get this movie. Something worth adding to a collection if you have on