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RIP SDB

I spent a lot of time on the internet during the lead-up to the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 reading as much diverse information as I could get my hands on.  I read a lot of interesting stuff, most of it completely unhinged.  It was fun. It was informative.  It was thought-provoking.  More importantly, as the shrill screeching of the various camps increased, I began to get a sense of who had a clue and who was completely delusional as their rantings and speculations were confirmed or shown to be completely baseless.  That time shaped my current political views in ways that are still unfolding.  It was a great time for me.

In the middle of all of that, I stumbled onto the website USS Clueless.  The author, Steven Den Beste was a bracing breath of clarity in the fever-swamp I was muddling through.  In addition to politics and the impending war, he wrote about science, technology, engineering, philosophy, and anything else that interested him.  He was clear, brilliant, interesting, and wrote in a calm, reasoned voice that was a refreshing counterpoint to the invective and hyperbole that was, and continues to be, what passes for discourse on the internet.

I was not, am not, nor will I ever be, as brilliant, well read, well educated, nor as deep a thinker as Mr. Den Beste, but, in what borders on hubris, I aspired to be like him.   Although I have never come close, Ratlands exists because he inspired me.

I never met him and I never communicated with him, as I had nothing of value to add to the conversation, and as big a fan as I was, even I knew that rabid fanboi fawning was unseemly and inappropriate.  He quit blogging on USS Clueless over a decade ago, in part due to health problems.

Steven Den Beste died recently.

If you read the comments in the post linked above, you will see that I am one of many who are deeply saddened by his passing.

Comments

My apologies to any of my old readers who happen to drop by.  I know for sure I have accidentally deleted some of your legitimate comments.  Until I get the spam filter thing under control, I’m deleting comments in bulk and there is some collateral damage.

I have also enabled the part where you have to be a registered user to post a comment.   This is temporary.  I don’t have any registered users.  I’m just blocking crap until I get things under control.

Tagged

Of course

So I take another vacation from blogging.  I come back to find 1.65 Million comments caught in my spam filter.  I was surprised, although I guess I shouldn’t have been.  However, here’s the rub:

WordPress has an “Empty Spam” option.  Unfortunately, apparently when you try to delete 1.65 million spams it crashes.  I can delete them singly.  I can delete 20 at a time.  I just can’t clear the spam folder.   A quick bit of math tells me that at 20 seconds per page clear, I have more than 450 hours of work to delete my spam.

 

Mr. Cziltang’s guide to fashion, part 6

I see a lot of people every day. Some of them could use a bit of fashion advice:

(Imagine a bullhorn…)

THIS IS THE FASHION POLICE.  WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED.  PUT DOWN THE SPANDEX AND SLOWLY STEP AWAY FROM THE CLOTHING RACK!

Less than 5 % of you can actually wear spandex and look decent.  If you are one of those people, good for you.  If you THINK you’re one of those people, just don’t.

Mr. Cziltang’s guide to fashion, part 5

I see a lot of people every day. Some of them could use a bit of fashion advice:

If you’re over 6 years old and over 300 pounds, riding the electric shopping in your sock monkey jammies with the feet in them makes you look like the short bus forgot to pick you up for your shopping trip.

Mr. Cziltang’s guide to fashion, part 4

I see a lot of people every day.  Some of them could use a bit of fashion advice:

#4: If you are considering putting your hair up in that little ball on the top of your head (and especially if you plan to add the little headband as an accent), consider that contrary to your own perception, the little ball of hair on the top of your head does not make you look athletic, or elegant, or cute, or sexy.  It does make you look like they had to put your hair up to keep it out of the snot while you were riding the short bus.

Mr. Cziltang’s guide to fashion, part 3

I see a lot of people every day.  Some of them could use a bit of fashion advice:

#3: If you are considering wearing one of those t-shirts with the huge cut-out armholes that go clear to your waist, consider the possibility that perhaps no one else wants to see your armpit hair, and they certainly don’t want to see your man boobs.

#3a: If you are female and considering wearing one of those t-shirts with the huge cut-out armholes that go clear to your waist,  consider that if, while wearing such a garment, a casual observer can tell whether your bra has a front clasp or not, perhaps there’s no real point in wearing such a garment.

Mr. Cziltang’s guide to fashion, part 2

I see a lot of people every day.  Some of them could use a bit of fashion advice:

#2: If you decide to wear white spandex pants, make sure the color and style of your underwear works with white spandex.  There is no color and/or style of underwear that works with white spandex.

Mr. Cziltang’s guide to fashion, part 1

I see a lot of people every day.  Some of them could use a bit of fashion advice:

#1:  If taking a single step sets up a standing wave pattern in your butt cheeks, perhaps spandex should not be your “go to” fabric.

An unheralded return

It’s been over a year since I last posted here.  There’s no good reason for the lack of output other than, in general, I really haven’t felt like I had anything to say.  A lot has changed lately, some of which I may talk about.  The biggest change is that I am, once again, employed full time.  I picked up a job catching shoplifters for a major retailer.  Not, perhaps the most glamorous pursuit, but at its most basic, I get paid to play hide and seek professionally.  What’s not to like.

OK, 8 hours a day wandering around a store on the concrete floor is pretty rough on an old guy, but it is fun, and, more importantly, I appear to have some talent for it.  I have a pretty good eye for things that aren’t quite right.  You know that feeling you get when there’s something about someone that is wrong for the context?  You don’t always know exactly what it is, but you know there’s something?

So anyway, I’m out walking around all day and have plenty of time to think, without being able to avail myself of the distraction that is the internet.  I don’t know if this will, in the long run produce any worthwhile content for Ratlands, but it certainly can’t produce less.

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