Dan Drake's Home Page
Political Rant Section
So far (2003-04-16), what new things have we learned from the war in Iraq,
and what can we learn from any surprising events? Here
is a partial answer that may surprise some.
I also have four variations on an incorrect
political joke (not the same as a politically incorrect joke). If you
dislike offensive anti-administration jokes, skip this; it will just
annoy you, and surely you have better things to do with your time than
seeking out the sensation of being annoyed.
Here are also some fossil rants: one on Berkeley
and the last war but one and two on the infamous
Ebonics resolution of years ago.; and one examination of Washington reality
versus real reality in terms of the previous Administration.
The noted historian of science Stillman Drake, though appropriately
described as a 24-hour intellectual (or, as we would now say, 24/7),
did not spend all his time examining
and timing ball bearings on inclined planes. Here, for the first time
anywhere, are four items of my father's Sherlockiana. Prepare yourself
for some shocking revelations.
The FBI in Peace and Naughtiness
Have you heard how J. Edgar Hoover defined the limits on the FBI's
authority to take action on certain kinds of naughty behavior? The
story seems to be going the rounds and gives no sign of dying out. So
here are the true facts.
What Web site is complete without a crude attempt at humor? Look at it
this way: at least I don't have a Barney page or a Phantom Menace page.
These notes on the entire corpus of Lord Peter Wimsey stories are a
work in progress, but at least there's a beginning: notes on
five of the books (as of 2001-04-26) and on the project as a whole.
Here are a few games that have caught my interest at one time or another.
Here's a small collection of possibly useful items, including
- A card game of pure psych, in which you know where all the cards are but have to
outwit your opponent in the timing of playing them. Play GOPS against the computer.
- The old Parker Brothers standby, Risk®: here are the odds on all dice rolls, and on
a fight to the death between armies of any size.
- A funny variant of checkers, Stackup Checkers, which requires very clear-headed planning
for long series of forced moves. Be the first on your block to write an AI program for it.
This space is reserved for an appreciation of Richard Mitchell's book
The Gift of Fire. But I haven't worked up the abstracts
yet. Meanwhile, you could check out Mark Alexander's
collection of works by Mitchell, or Jason Molenda's
collection of The Underground
This piece took shape suddenly in my mind one morning when I had been reading too much
about Business In The Nineties and such stuff. The Joe Hill connection seems to have been
inspired by an interview with
Every day the analysts sing the praises of some company which has decided to
relieve itself of spare cash by chasing its own stock in the market. What's
it all about? More to the point, cui bono? Who is to benefit from it?
A couple of years ago I wrote a note to some friends, answering the question. I've now augmented it with a
response to the boilerplate that always runs in the newspapers, explaining the
benefits to shareholders.
As I told Joe, I sometimes read annual reports and other SEC filings.
Some of them are good for a laugh; if you share my perverted sense of
humor, take a look at some recent insults to
What? This guy knows the Clintons? He knows somebody who knows somebody
who had it on the best authority? No, I've never met them, and I'm not
likely to spend $50,000 on meeting that Eisenhower Republican and his
more liberal but more stiff-necked wife. Nonetheless, I've lived a
life, or a good part of one, and after a while it gets to be remarkable
how much the events in fairyland, as reported by the wire services,
resemble what happens in real life. Here, then, are two events from my
brief history as a responsible businessperson; see how they relate to
those crazy alibis the Clintons try to pass off.
What did the Oakland Board of Education have on its collective mind when it passed
the resolution on Ebonics? That's not answerable, if only because groups don't have
minds. But we can know exactly what they said. You lucky
folks can even get an analysis of the board's resolution in the same place, but you can
read the original document without it.
- The Lonesome Cowboy Configuration System (an RCS front end). Updated:
Version 1.22 has binary file support and improved date handling.
- A program to check the validity of all links from a Web page,
with a new option to mirror the files found.
- Some comments on Java from a weird point of view
The essay that would not die: You can tell this was written by a
programmer. When first written, it may have been a bit long-winded and
self-indulgent, but it had a point. As it acquired bug fixes and features,
or corrections and new data, it became pretty much incoherent. Like much
software, it's not worth the
trouble to re-write completely, and yet it
calls out for an update. So, here's
an additional document with some new data.
It includes a recantation of virtually anything favorable that I said
about the Oakland school board or anyone on it, based on the board's own
Here's to Microsoft
Copyright© 1995 Owen Drake
Drawn by my son, usually an OS/2® user, after Windows 3.1® told him it just couldn't find the memory for the insanely demanding task he was performing: saving the drawing he'd done in Paintbrush.
And what's that beast up there?
A wyvern: a small species of dragon with eagle's legs.
The knot in the tail is authentic, at least for wyverns in the Drake (Draco) family. So is the beard.
Citations in the OED give the lie to T. H. White's
description of wyverns (in Sword in the Stone) as
little dragons that hid in bushes. Maybe he was dealing with chihuahuiverns.
For more information on dragons and pythons and people named after
them, see my Infrequently Asked Questions.
People who have stumbled here by searching Alta Vista for Drake and
genealogy may find something to amuse them, though no really serious
Last modified April 16, 2003. Built April 16, 2003