Friday morning my wife and I were in Portland, Oregon, on our way to the zoo. (More on that later.) We had ridden MAX, the light rail system, into downtown and had to transfer lines in Pioneer Square (AKA Portland’s Living Room).
While there, we saw the new Apple store. It was early in the morning and it wasn’t opened yet.
The architecture was Lego Meets Glass. It was a rectangular building with a long back wall covered with assorted goodies and three other walls consisting of giant panels of glass. The simple design spoke of transparency, projecting an airy, light, sense of come-see-what-we’ve-got. Sleek, clear, simple and white. And, although I didn’t know it at the time, there’s also a lawn on the roof.
I said to my wife, “I’ll bet there’s at least 57 iPads in there.” (Homage to Steve Martin.)
Inside one solitary worker sat at a desk feverishly clicking, thinking and doing about Apple stuff.
In front, slowly traversing the entire length of the store at a leisurely pace, were two security guards. They looked bored out of their minds. I forgot to look to see if they were armed, but we are talking about an Apple store, right? The place was obviously where riches were stored.
There’s not going to be an Oceans 7.1.1 heist here today. Not on my iWatch!
Suddenly a man approached the front of the building. The security guards sniffed him but apparently he checked out. He arrived at the front door and waved at the man inside. He was special. He measured up. He got to go inside.
I’d heard that Apple stores have something called a Genius Bar but I didn’t see a single bottle of booze. Hell if I was going there for a drink.
Unfortunately we couldn’t wait around all day. We had a train to catch. Before we turned away I saw a security guard hock up a loogie the size of an iPod Nano and launch it on the shiny white steps. The guards leisurely turned and began shuffling towards each other again. A vision of the North Korea border suddenly leapt unbidden to my mind.
I felt tingles. This portended good. Suddenly I knew the trip to the zoo was going to be something special. Things were happening. We walked a block and waited for our ride while looking at a Nike swoosh symbol the size of the Titanic.
The China Threat
I’m a webmaster and programmer by trade. Part of my job duties involve administration of the company’s web server. As such, I do my absolute best to block all traffic from China.
Why? Because of the hacking that originates there. There’s not a day that goes by where some automated script isn’t attacking my server, and most of it originates in China. I’m not saying it’s state-sponsored, but on the other hand, there doesn’t seem any official effort to stop it, either. Perhaps it’s a matter of calculated indifference, which I surmise is a close cousin to plausible deniability.
The Great Firewall of China blocks a lot of content from the Chinese people, but it decidedly does not block shit like this aimed at other countries:
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Juvenile Criminal Thoughts
This week brought the news that a 12-year-old boy in the 8th grade took a loaded sawed-off 20 gauge pump shotgun to his school and opened fire, seriously wounding an 11-year-old boy (shot in the face) and a 13-year-old girl in the school’s gym.
cold… calculated… premeditated… random…
The New Mexico state police stated that the attack was “planned.” Part of that planning included the shooter issuing warnings to friends, advising them to stay away from school.
The 20-gauge shotgun is a type of smoothbore shotgun shell that is smaller in caliber (.615) than a 12 gauge (.729). It is often used as a beginning shooter’s practice round and is noted by its yellow hull.
A 20-gauge shotgun is sometimes considered more suitable for hunting certain types of game, because it damages less meat, which makes it suitable for most game birds.
Source: Wikipedia – 20-gauge shotgun
The firearm was obtained by the shooter from “family members,” the police said. The shooter’s Facebook page featured a picture of the shooter beside a deer he had killed during a hunting trip.
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Scientology Hides in Portland
[Guest post from Arthur who was in Portland for the “Grand Opening”.]
I dropped by the “Grand Opening” of Scientology’s latest “Ideal Org” in Portland, Oregon. It was nothing much. I guess that’s typical of these events. Only a couple of hundred Scientologists showed up.
As much as it was nothing much, a few things struck me about the event and how Scientology “welcomed itself” into the community.
The overwhelming image and attitude of Scientology in that neighborhood and in that community was, “We don’t like you, we don’t trust you. Keep out.” There were tons of security all over the place plus rented off-duty police. The police were polite, the Scientologists were most definitely not. At one point I saw one Scientology “security” person hassling a non-uniformed Scientology security person because he didn’t recognize him. That was funny.
If you were not a known Scientologist, you were most…
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