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An evening of bad parenting…

Poor Tess suffered a conk to the head this afternoon when I plopped her on the bed after riding her around on my shoulders. Later, she was cleaning up her room and somehow her little fingers got underneath my knee as I was shifting weight. While I was out running errands, Tam was working out with some hand weights and bopped Tess in the face. When I returned Tess wanted me to tell her about Pegasus before bedtime; so, I dutifully busted out the Bullfinch’s and proceeded to scare the bejeezus out of her with Medusa. So, I put Tess in the big bed so she can watch some TV to calm her down and in walks Tam in a green beauty mask to tell me that something’s moving in the bathroom. Dear Lord!
There’s a cabinet behind the tub that we keep closed because it has an opening to the crawl space under the house. I grabbed a flashlight and opened the door. Inside was an opossum huddled against the cold. $350.00 to have him removed tonight; so, we’ll be hosting the little critter and check on him in the morning. I’m fairly confident he’s the same guy that walks around the front yard at night. If I was certain that I wouldn’t be bitten or have him play dead and stink up the house, I’d invite him all the way in and maybe show him to Tess. Or, not.

I was right…again…unfortunately…

Well, it seems I was right about the Augusta Ballet Company. I have it through the grapevine that the Augusta Ballet
Board has voted itself a presenting company only. This only formalizes what I’ve suspected since the
‘reorganization’ several years ago. I can’t find a link in the Chronicle, or other local news outlets because, I’m
certain, the board would prefer to have this decision be somewhat quiet.

Supporting Ballet is so much easier without those costly dancers and artsy fartsy types living, working, and paying taxes in the

Augusta Ballet

I wrote a fairly pithy letter to the editor at the Metro Spirit. Recently, the ‘Augusta Ballet’, announced a party celebrating the retirement of their debt. The first sentence uses the weak construction, ‘Some people say…’ without telling us who are ‘some people’. This is a celebration of what exactly? Below is my letter:

Dear Editor,

I just read the news of the Augusta Ballet’s emergence from debt. Indeed,
operating in the black is laudable; still, I ask, at what cost? The sacking of
the entire creative staff, i.e. the professional ‘local talent.’ What remains?
A couple of folks occupying an office, conference-calling presenters to pick
touring companies. Big deal.

Benjamin Westafer


Interesting tidbit.

I friend just asked me an interesting question: in Leopard, can you print a document without opening the parent application? The answer, it turns out is a conditional yes.
Having never tried it, I thought; well, open the printer’s queue and drag the document in and see what happens. I’ve only tried .xsl, .doc, and .pdf. The Microsoft documents immediately open the appropriate application and print immediately. With .pdf’s it’s a different story. Pdf’s print without opening Preview or Acrobat.
That’s pretty cool.

PCI Compliance extortion racket

So, two of my clients have received a letter from Elavon (formally) NOVA indicating that they need to pay a third party “Qualified Security Assurance Assessor” to validate their PCI Compliance. This is bullshit. The merchants in question do not store cardholder data. My clients have been told they have until Dec. 15th to get this assessment; or, pay $135.00 a year to Trustwave, until all of the issues are hammered out.
The claim is simply not true. If you look at the PCI Compliance website it lays out the level of PCI Compliance to which one must conform. If you are selling stuff online and you are not storing cardholder data, you should be done. Instead, the credit card companies are asking you to shell out cash to have verification performed.
I’m not against PCI Compliance. In fact, it is a legitimate concern; however, if you are not storing credit card numbers, and you aren’t doing 2 million dollars worth of transactions, you are in compliance. This is an extortion racket created by the credit card companies to scare merchants into buying things they can’t afford. Why this surprises me, I’m not sure: what’s the point of having a credit card if you’re only going to buy things you can pay for outright? My recommendation to my clients is to refuse to accept credit cards on their sites and instead sell through PayPal or Google Checkout. There is no excuse for punishing people who are abiding the principle and the letter of the PCI standards by squeezing them for money. I find it interesting that this letter arrived with a deadline two weeks before Christmas and when Congress is out of session. I see that Elavon donated to the McCain campaign; so, I can bet they are trying to strike while the iron is hot.
If you’re reading this, please use cash. Stop working for these bastards. They don’t care about you except how they can get you to give them money for nothing. I am a capitalist and I don’t mind trading my money for a service; but, this is gangster behavior and it must stop. Until it does, create a PayPal account, and fire these assholes.


I just saw this:

I understand that they have a relatively small geographic area; ‘slightly smaller than Maine.’ and they have lots of money. Still, one marvels at their use of space. Their policy on crumbs found on airline customers aside (it’s a big aside, I know), one is curious how it is that we can’, in our infinite wisdom, afford similar efforts of engineering.

My theory on this is probably population density and relative ethnic, tribal hegemony. I’m guessing that the more populous, hegemonous, and dense is a population, the easier it is to get things done. It’s too bad that we cannot somehow formulate some sort of national identity. I’m not talking about patriotism as much as self identifying as an American.
After 911, there were AdCouncil ads with people of various backgrounds saying, ‘I am an American.’ I wish we could somehow get back to that idea.

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