Category Archives: Small Stuff

COVID-19 and Employment

I just had an interesting experience today. I’ve seen it in regards to others, but this is the first time that it hit me. I managed to hit a traffic cone in the middle of a freeway onramp a few weeks ago, and decided to pay for the damage out of pocket. I knew of this body shop 50 miles south, in Stockton. Over the years they had done some things for various cars of mine – I believe I came to know them through their affiliation (at the time) of the Stockton Mercedes-Benz dealer.

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Spycraft

I think it can be said that countries have at times won or lost wars based on efforts by their intelligence agencies. I remember reading one of Lex’s posts on the subject of the US nuclear submarine Scorpion. I doubt that we will never know what caused her sinking.

Reading up on John Walker awhile back, I shudder to think had we been at war with the Soviet Union, what would have been the outcome with our naval forces. He had given them the same kind information that we had on the Japanese in WW2 – cryptographic codes that let them know of not only naval unit movement, but intentions such as orders to launch missiles from our submarines.

I wrote on the Marburg Files, and how the efforts of Edward VIII may have helped the Germans in their invasion of France. One of the most amazing successful intelligence efforts was convincing the Germans that the D-Day invasion would occur at Calais, and not Normandy. It was so successful that even when Normandy was underway, Hitler believed that it was a feint and held his armor back waiting for the Calais invasion. Stalin refused to believe his spy telling him that the Germans had planned on invading the Soviet Union.

Aldrich Ames decided to betray his country – knowingly causing the deaths of 13 CIA assets in the Soviet Union, because he was going though a costly divorce and had a Columbian girlfriend with the tastes of Imelda Marcos.

Money was also the motivation of Robert Hanssen, who informed the Soviets of our counterintelligence efforts of the FBI. He cause the deaths of a number of Russians who were working with us. He was finally caught by the smallest of oversights.

I just finished a fascinating miniseries on Spycraft, which dealt with techniques, means of communication, and motivations of spies. It includes interviews with former CIA officers, and a colleague of Ames. It’s on Netflix.

I will also have to reread a book I read years ago, Secrets of D-Day. There were some surprising revelations. One of the biggest mysteries to me was the loyalties of the head of the German Abwehr, Wilhelm Canaris. How much he helped the Allies will probably never be known. He was executed by the Nazis in the closing days of the war.

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Brinicle

Posted By lex, on March 5th, 2012

Kinda spooky. If you’re a starfish.

And self-aware.

Extended treatment here.

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How do they do that?

Posted By lex, on January 4th, 2012

Wintertime fun in Finland.

My experience was very different.

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Because, FU

Posted By lex, on September 23rd, 2011

I clearly don’t spend enough time on Facebook.

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The International Brotherhood of Ironyworkers Union

By lex, on September 14th, 2011

State unions protested in force in response to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s actions to limit collective bargaining rights for public sector employees, stop automatic deduction of union dues from payroll payments and allow members to opt out, saying that the governor’s reforms were anti-labor.

Those reforms having passed after some prolonged theatrical kabuki that included state legislators absconding across the border, the Wisconsin Education Association Council just laid off 40% of its workforce:

WEAC Executive Director Dan Burkhalter said Monday that the layoffs and budget cuts are based on a projected loss of revenue as a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s “union-busting legislation.”

Burkhalter said WEAC’s membership decreased because of extra retirements last year and districts limiting their hiring of new employees this year.

He said the cuts were not related to any prediction that there would be a further drop in membership as a result of the upcoming re-certification elections for local unions around the state.

Faced with budgetary pressures and declining revenues, the WEAC made a business decision to cut headcount. For the workers!

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Lawncare Bleg

Posted By lex, on September 17th, 2011

Got three-four of these right in a row in the front yard of the Crushing Burden of Debt. Which is for sale, doncha know? And this can’t be helping.

I tried to locally treat the middle two pairs with fertilizer, seed and gypsum. Came back from Ventura County and the one on the right had mysteriously appeared.

46 comments in the original post with suggestions ranging from gas lines to gophers to…UFOs!

You’re a pretty savvy bunch. Anybody got any idea what’s going on?

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Aviation

By lex, on May 17th, 2011

It was always about getting the girl.

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Open Thread 04/01/2011

Posted By lex, on April 1st, 2011

Your host is winging his way in a rented Cessna 182RG to Las Vegas (baby) to catch the last day of an airborne networking conference, so you are left chiefly to your own devices . I’d ask you not to make a mess, but the 75 comments attached to the post below (as of 0600 Pacific time, 1300 Zulu) render this a vain, futile gesture.

I know: I started it.

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Holiday update

Posted by December 26, 2006

We are well, and everything is well and all manner of things are well. It may or may not be obvious to either of my readers, but the posts of the last two days were written before we ever left the Left Coast, which probably explains the strange absence of any comment on the untimely death of Mr. James Brown.

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