I Used To Support This

When I first started supporting Check Point FireWall-1—which is what the product was back in 1996, this is what the User Interface looked like.

A lot has changed in those days. For one, it doesn't run on SunOS or Solaris anymore. Management still runs on Solaris, but not in R75.40VS or R76 and above. And even then, this ancient GUI called fwui doesn't run on it and hasn't for some time.

I remember those days fondly.

Half-Remembered Days

They say that you remember only the good things as time goes on. I suppose it depends on who or what it is you are remembering things about.

I have been thinking about my parents. Given recent events, that's an entirely natural thing, I suppose.

The times I remember with my mom are many. Some of them happy, some of them not. As I got older and started living my own life, the happier memories pretty much became things of the past.

A thought that has persisted for many years is that my mom held it together long enough for me to leave the nest. Once I left and was truly on my own—after college—that's when I noticed the biggest change in my mom. That's when—especially looking back—I can see her going down the long road to whatever brand of crazy she was.

Obviously, I wanted no part of that. And I don't blame myself for this. She made the choice to medicate with alcohol when she wasn't medicating with pot. While I don't know what killed her, it wouldn't surprise me if she drank herself to death.

On the other side, there was my dad. Whom, honestly, I struggle to find too many memories of, good or bad. Most of the good ones involve him playing his guitar—a guitar that my sister now has.As">http://techzillasaid.posthaven.com/some-of-dads-songs">As you can hear from these recordings in 1983, he was pretty good, too.

The bad ones? They involve him smoking and how I smelt after going back to my mom's after staying with him. Smoking ended up killing him.

But as I get older, those memories—good or bad—become less remembered.

The feelings, however, are still there. The good ones, and the bad ones. While I think I've come to terms with most of it, I'm still a little raw from recent events.

This too, shall pass and become another half-remembered day.

A Strange Sort of Symmetry

I honestly can't remember when this picture was taken. Had to have been 20 years ago. Really doesn't matter now. On the left, my mother. On the right, my step-father Richard.

What I do know is that I will never see my mother again. Not in the flesh, anyway.

As I mentioned in other places, I received a call from my aunt a few days ago informing me that my mother was found dead in her house in Hawaii. One I had never been to. Not by Richard, whom she separated with some time ago. Not by anyone that I know anyway.

I had long since come to terms with the fact I wasn't going to see my mother again. She was going down a dark path—one I didn't realize she was going down, but looking back on it now, was clear as day. My wife (who wasn't at the time) helped me see that.

My mother actually cut off ties with me before I had gotten married. She eventually decided to get in contact with me again, but it did not take me long to realize that I could not have a healthy relationship with her. I had no interest in exposing the child I had by that point to her.

So I told her what I needed to tell her and I cut my ties with her. That was in 2001 or 2002, I think, and I've long since come to terms with it.

I had continued to hear about her occasionally from my aunt, whom she still remained in contact with. I would hear things get better, then get worse. Then I stopped hearing anything. Meanwhile, everyone else in the family had come to the same conclusion I had.

Then, I heard she died. At the age of 59.

59. Just like my dad 3 years ago. Who died on his birthday—a birthday him and I shared.

And while I do not have an exact time of death for my mother, since I got the information second hand and the police in Hawaii hadn't done an autopsy at that point, I have every reason to believe she died on my birthday, too, or close enough to it that it might as well be.

And you know what? As utterly morbid as that fact is, I'm quite ok with it. It has a strange sort of symmetry to it.

Why Doesn't MTV Play Music Videos Anymore?

This explanation makes nothing but sense.

We're Living in an Ayn Rand Economy

I">http://www.salon.com/2013/05/18/were_living_in_an_ayn_rand_economy_partner/">I agree with the title of this article in Salon, but the writer clearly doesn't understand Ayn Rand's philosophy or what's really happening in the world.

Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged" fantasizes a world in which anti-government citizens reject taxes and regulations, and "stop the motor" by withdrawing themselves from the system of production. In a perverse twist on the writer's theme the prediction is coming true. But instead of productive people rejecting taxes, rejected taxes are shutting down productive people.

Most people I know don't enjoy paying taxes. In fact, Ayn Rand herself said that "In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary." You can argue that her position is untenable, but it illustrates the point that taxes are, in fact, mandatory.

This author only looks at the fact people and corporations are avoiding paying their taxes in various ways. Which is true: Apple">http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/05/18/apples-tim-cook-to-propose-profit-repatriation-tax-changes/">Apple parks a ton of their profits offshore because of the 35% repatriation tax—money already taxed in another country. Individuals with a lot of income can hide their money in similar ways to large, multinational corporations. And the middle class? They don't like taxes either.Middle">http://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2013/02/12/jobs-arent-leaving-california-for-texas-but-people-are/">Middle class people are moving out of California in droves for that exact reason—the taxes are too damn high.

So it's pretty clear, no one likes taxes, or at least not the kinds of taxes that some would have to pay if they were being completely above board. And what do those tax dollars pay for? Unwinnable wars in other countries, bailing out rich people who made bad financial decisions, and putting people in jail who choose to take substances the government has said are illegal.

So how do those expenditures help people, exactly? What infrastructure does that build or maintain for the common good? From what I can see those that are paying taxes are funding a whole lot of activities that, at the end of the day, do not actually do them any good.

Compulsory taxes are a forced redistribution of wealth. What's worse is that the redistribution is not from the rich to the poor, but from the poor to the rich. Because who controls the people that make the laws? The rich, who can afford to bribe the lawmakers to make more favorable laws for their pet projects and get a tax break to boot.

And you know what? That sounds an awful lot like what Ayn Rand foretold in Atlas Shrugged. Who is John Galt, indeed.

Monopoly in Style

Many years ago, my wife bought me a really fancy Monopoly set. It doesn't get used all that often but it's quite the set!

Mary Wanna Work. Even When She's Stoned.

From Weird 1972 Experiment in Marijuana Use:

In the winter of 1972, 20 young women took part in one of the weirdest scientific experiments in this country's history.

For 98 days in a downtown Toronto hospital, their brains, hearts, kidneys, livers, blood and urine were rigorously tested and analyzed. A team of nurses kept round-the-clock records of their behaviour, logged at half-hour intervals.

Just how was marijuana affecting the 10 who had to smoke it every day?

The results of this study basically showed that the one thing people didn't lose while smoking pot was motivation to do what they felt they needed to do. In other words, the traditional "stoner" would probably be a slacker even if he stopped smoking the wacky weed. Normal people would more or less continue to live their lives, do their jobs, and so on.

Eventually the countries of the world will get over this "marijuana is bad" trip.

False Flags Still Don't Fly

Aside from No Agenda, I also am a regular listener to the Corbett Report, which provides another data point in my quest to find out the truth of what's actually happening in the world.

In 2010, James Corbett recorded this piece on False Flags, which started making the rounds again shortly after the explosions in Boston last week. Corbett highlighted this piece on Corbett">http://http://www.corbettreport.com/episode-266-the-terrorists-have-been-identified/">Corbett Report Episode 266 where he also made the point that the concept of False Flags are clearly entering the consciousness of enough people that the mainstream media made a point to discredit the idea it was a False Flag event.

Meanwhile, ask yourself why we're not seeing more on the fertilizer explosion that occurred a few days later in West, Texas—a">http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/21/west-texas-plant-explosion/2101025/">a disaster that caused a lot more damage and deaths than the explosions in Boston.Or">http://rt.com/news/iraq-election-attack-killed-876/">Or the explosions that occurred in Iraq earlier that day killing far more than the people in either Boston or West, Texas.

More Than A Feeling

I have a lot of thoughts about what happened today in Boston. Unfortunately, none of them are going to be particularly popular.

While it is certainly a tragedy that people needlessly lost their lives today in the bombings that occurred, the real tragedy is only just beginning.

When I first heard about this event, my thought was: false flag. No facts. No research. Just my gut reaction.

Maybe I've spent too many hours listening to No Agenda. But clearly I wasn't the only one thinking this:

It turns out the guy that asked this question was a guy from InfoWars, a mainstream "alternative" news source that, quite frankly, rubs me the wrong way the same way that traditional mainstream news media does, just with a different point of view.

And surely the media people at this press conference knew who this guy was and let him ask his crackpot question, purely for the purpose of discrediting the idea that maybe—just maybe—there's more here than meets the eye.

Who did it? Who cares. Because whoever the news media ultimately reports as the parties responsible, they are but pawns in a much larger game.

In the last decade or so, I've noticed a series of tragic events followed by a public outcry by the public to "do something" followed by measures that, ultimately, restrict our freedom in the name of making the population feel more secure.

I feel safer with freedom than I do with thugs in charge of keeping me safe. Because at the end of the day, the thugs are only looking out for themselves, not me.

Who's behind it? It really doesn't matter. All I know is I feel like a crab in a pot with water and the water is heating up.

Done Editing

I've gotten out of the habit of writing blog posts.

It's actually really hard to write something coherent that doesn't take me an eon to churn out. That's certainly a lesson I learned with my books that I wrote more than a decade ago.

I should have learned that lesson back in 2007. Maybe I did and I forgot, though.

Or maybe I just don't care as much now as I did back then. Maybe I know how to write better and so I need less editing.

Whatever. Now that I have a way to record my thoughts from anywhere and make them available on the Internet pretty easily, why do I need to write anything at all?

But speaking is a lot harder, at least for me. Mostly because you only get one shot at it. At least in person.

When I do a podcast, I've gotten to the point I do one of two things: leave it as is or re-record it. I may occasionally edit something but that is getting rarer and rarer.

Meanwhile, until I hit the "create post" button, the entire stream of consciousness I am typing is here just waiting to be edited.

Or not. Even though I edit a lot in my mind before I type, I'm getting to the point now where I'm done editing. I am who I am. I'm going to say what I'm going to say. You're either going to like it or think I'm full of shit.

Or maybe you'll like it even though I'm full of shit. Whatever floats your boat.