Author Archives: Bill Brandt

Speaking truth to power

Posted by lex, on May 20, 2006

 

Seems very fashionable these days. It’s “brave,” you know. So long as, when you say the word “brave,” your definition is expansive enough to include conventional definitions as well as the emergently popular standard of self-referential acts of guerrilla performance art taken without the least whiff of attendant consequence.

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Endorsed

Posted by lex, on January 13, 2006

 

Via John at the Castle, and I’m entirely on board:

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

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So you say you want to be a SEAL?

Posted by lex, on May 15, 2006

 

Qualifications

General: A U.S. Navy SEAL candidate must:

– Be male.

– Be age 28 or younger (servicemen can be 30).

– Have good or correctable eyesight.

– Score well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery tests.

Physical: A screening test requires that candidates:

– Swim 500 yards using breast or sidestroke (or military underwater recovery stroke) in 12.5 minutes or less, then rest 10 minutes.

– Perform at least 42 push-ups in two minutes, rest two minutes.

– Perform at least 50 sit-ups in two minutes, rest two minutes.

– Perform at least six pull-ups (hands face forward), rest 10 minutes.

– Run 1.5 miles in boots and BDU trousers in less than 11.5 minutes.

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Been reserving judgment

Posted by lex, on January 15, 2006

 

Been trying to stay optimistic about Iran, and its nuclear program and it’s Holocaust-denying president. I mean, maybe the EU will finally have the stones to stand up to what is, after all, a renunciation of their nuanced application of “soft power.”

And even if Iran, a long-running sponsor of international terrorist organizations joined Pakistan and India as the latest member of the nuclear weapon power club, there’s no guarantee that they’d start flinging ballistic missiles, all regardless. It’d be pretty much the textbook definition of a state acting against self-interest, what with the Israelis no doubt prepared to go down grappling. And maybe a suitcase nuke would take time to develop and work its way into the hands of Hezzbollah and from there to… where? We could have maybe five years, right?

Right?

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The definition of ambivalence

Posted by lex, on May 5, 2006

 

The good news: Learning that your number one son will join the crew of a guided missile destroyer for his summer NROTC cruise, during the course of which he will work, eat, berth and enjoy time ashore with the enlisted mess.

The rest of the story: Said man-o’-war will be at the time of his joining located in Thailand, where the crew will spend some number of days enjoying the local sights before returning home.

Those who know, know.

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Shh!

 

Posted by lex, on May 6, 2006

 

He’s taking a mid-term.

“Engineering Risk Benefit Analysis.” Decision trees, probs and stats. Binomial, exponential, Poisson and normal distributions. Random number generations, excel spreadsheets and simulations. Graphs.

And he’s not half stressing over it.

So. Shh.

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Brief conversation with myself when I was magically transported back to 1983

Posted by lex, on December 21, 2005

 

2005: Microsoft. Put every dollar you have into Microsoft. Borrow money to own this stock. Trust me.

1983:

2005: Sell everything you own and short the market in September 1987. And for God’s sake, get off the margin!

1983:

2005: Jump back in with both feet in November of that same year, after the crash. Microsoft again until the mid-90’s, then sell down to 10%. Buy Cisco, buy Qualcomm.

1983:

2005: Dump everything no later than January 2001. Trust me on this – people are going to say “it’s different this time.” It’s not. In 2002, ease back into cyclicals on the Dow, and avoid tech. Any questions?

1983: Dude – what happened to you?

2005: (Looks down) Oh, yeah. About that – how about laying off the desserts and second helpings?

1983:

2005: You greedy BASTARD!

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Questions for the blogging set:

Posted by lex, on April 20, 2006

 

What the hell is “phentermine”?

Is it only advertised through comment spam?

Does anyone really believe that this is a successful branding strategy?

And finally, why, over the course of the last few days, has my phentermine spam-count (thankfully trapped in comment moderation) gone up so dramatically?

It’s like a hockey stick, I tell you!

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Friday Musings 12-09-05

Posted by Lex, on December 9, 2005

 

Well, it’s Friday and I don’t know that I have a thing to talk about except for the fact that today was our final presentation in MN 3105, better known to those of you at home as the Project Involving the Little Lego Robot. I’m rather surprised to report that of the five teams out there running the maze, overcoming the obstacles and marking the “survivor” targets, ours was the only design to successfully accomplish all goals.

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Too soon?

Posted by  lex, on April 3, 2006

 

Universal Films is making a 9/11 movie: “United 93.” (Link goes to a trailer.)

Ed Driscoll notes that certain people think we’re not ready for it yet – that’ it’s too soon. And too controversial: We might get angry, or something. Launch another one of those anti-Arab domestic pogroms like the ones that happened in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

Interested to hear your thoughts…

(H/T to Glen(n) for the link)

Update: Chap certainly sounds ready. Which leads me to a sad realization: People like Kris in New England don’t need to see this movie – their lives are filled with the awareness of loss. Many of us engaged one way or another in the fight don’t need to see it – we’re committed.

But maybe some of those who need to see it most, simply won’t – that market that I mentioned in comments works two ways.

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