Hard Softies

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”― Will Rogers

Over the course of my many careers, I have had the honor of serving alongside those who have “been there and done that”, men and women who have stepped up, often in the face of brutal, horrifying circumstances, and did what needed to be done, with no regard for their own safety.

These men and women have come in all sizes, shapes, and personalities, but each one of them has shown a solid core, a hardness, that comes through when needed.

Another pervasive feature is that nearly all of them have, or have had, a canine companion that touched their soul.

It may have been their personal companion or a working animal that was by their side during every shift, but in every case, there was a deep bond, a connection, that only got stronger.

And then their companion dies.

It may be an accident, sickness, old age, or line-of-duty, but in each case, the loss is real and painful.

And when to talk to these hard, stoic men and women about the loss of their companion, no matter how long ago it happened, you see their composure weaken, their features soften, and their eyes mist up when they speak of it.

...And This Is Why We Drink™


Stout Irish coffee:
3 tsp of vanilla infused sugar
Half’n’Half or light cream to taste
2oz Jameson Caskmates Irish Whiskey, Stout Version
1.5oz B&B
add freshly brewed coffee to taste (I use about 12 oz)

It’s not just for breakfast anymore…

...And This Is Why We Drink™

Apple No More

I’ve never been a big fan of Apple.

I’ve been around for a while, and was there for the Apple I, Apple II, Apple IIe, Lisa, Macintosh, but once they went closed source, I just wasn’t interested.

Then SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) wanted an iPhone.

I managed to convince her not to get the original iPhone, since my policy is to never buy the first release of any software or hardware. The first release is almost always just a beta released into the wild, allowing the customers to find and report the problems.

I finally relented when the iPhone 3GS was released. We both bought a 3GS, and were pleasantly surprised with the device.

Then I decided to write a few apps for the device.

This was when it was still possible to make some serious cash if you developed an app that everyone wanted or needed. Even the Fart apps were making money.

When I looked into the process, I ran into the Apple gotchas: You have to program on their computers, with their development system in their language, You have to get a developer’s license in order to sell it at the app store, which has to be renewed yearly, and it could take months before your app was vetted and approved by Apple for inclusion in the app store. Then they kept 30% of every sale, and didn’t deposit any of your sales receipts into your account until it reached a minimum amount.

Undaunted, I bought a “gently used” MacBook Pro, loaded the latest software, paid my admission fees, wrote the software, tested it, showed it to friend and associates that thought it was swell, submitted it to Apple, and waited for the money to roll in.

After several thousands of dollars spent, my net payment for my efforts from Apple was exactly zero. I know I sold some apps, but apparently never met the minimum required to have it deposited. After I declined to renew my developers license, the apps were removed.

At least the iPhone still was working well.

Fast forward several years. SWMBO’s 3GS is just a distant memory, having button an battery problems. She’s moved on to an iPhone 5. My 3GS is still functioning well, although I can no longer update the iOS to the latest version. They stopped supporting the 3GS sometime in iOS6. Doesn’t matter, I use things until they break.

Fast forward to the present, SWMBO’s iPhone 5 is starting to act goofy, and my 3GS is having battery problems, and her iPad is getting long in the tooth. I long ago put away the MacBook, and moved all of my computers from Windows to Debian Linux, and bought a Nexus 10 Android table about 5 years ago that is as solid as a rock.

I decided to buy an Android phone.

After some research, what I really wanted was a Google Pixel, but it wasn’t available for my carrier. So I decided to get a Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge.

It’s a great phone, and I was excited to move my ringtones, photos, etc, from my 3GS to the Galaxy. The rep at my carrier insured me that everything would go swimmingly, all I had to do was use the app that was provided to move everything over.

Not a chance. The app required iOS 7 or better on the 3GS, a no-go. Then I paid for an app that was supposed to work, but it required iTunes on the last Windows machine I own, and still wouldn’t transfer my ringtones.

After several frustrating days, I finally hooked the 3GS up to one of my Linux machines and started delving into the innards of the 3GS.

I finally find the ringtones, only to discover that they have all been renamed with random names, which are cross referenced with a database with my original names, and are converted to a unique file used only by Apple. Undaunted, I copied all of the apple files to my Linux system, fired up Audiocity, and re-named and reconverted the ringtones. Took me half a day…

I will NEVER use any Apple product ever again…

...And This Is Why We Drink™


Kentucky coffee:
3 tsp of vanilla infused sugar
Half’n’Half or light cream to taste
2oz Bookers 130 proof Kentucky Bourbon
1.5oz BnB
add freshly brewed coffee to taste (I use about 12 oz)

It’s not just for breakfast anymore…

...And This Is Why We Drink™

A Perfumed Prince

I was in a meeting a few days ago, when the question came up “What would you do if you were in a position managing others?”.

One of my co-workers piped up “I would lead by example. I’d be right there with them, showing how it’s done.”

I bit the inside of my cheek so hard it bled.

This particular co-worker is NEVER on time, is rarely at her workstation, schmoozes with Top-level management whenever possible, and only does what is convenient or advantageous for being noticed. If something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.

In military parlance, she “talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk”.

Years ago Colonel David Hackworth used, and may have coined the phrase “Perfumed Prince”.

A summary of Perfumed Princes:

  • They make rousing speeches about the necessity of a certain action or project, but when the actual work needs to be done, they are nowhere to be seen.
  • They are quick to point out others to blame when tasks that are part of their responsibilities go wrong, but if there is a success, they take the credit and act as if they did it all themselves.
  • They are the first to take advantage of any privilege of rank or position of authority that they might hold and they put their own wellbeing above those they lead and sometimes even above the mission of the organization.
  • They know very little about what’s happening in the organization, but if superiors are present they speak with great authority — even if they don’t have a clue about what they are talking about.
  • They get promoted not because of real accomplishments, job expertise, hard work, or leadership, but because of their facility at office politics and appearances

You become a great leader by being a great follower. You do what has to be done, when it has to be done. You accept responsibility, and when you fail, you accept the blame, move on, and try not to make the same mistake twice.


...And This Is Why We Drink™