Author: chipsquips

Using OO in Business Applications

The day before yesterday I presented on OOP in Synergy/DE version 9.  Here’s essentially what I said:

What is OO?

“OO” is the sound people are supposed to make when they behold your beautiful object-oriented code – but in many cases it comes out “OOPs” instead.  In this presentation I hope to provide some insights on how to evoke the desired exclamation.

Object Orientation is both a design philosophy and a set of programming language features to support it.  Languages that provide the latter are often called Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) languages.  Object Orientation’s primary goal: to make the code describe the real-world objects involved in the application, and their interactions and relationships, thereby reducing the translation between business rules and computer instructions.

How does this apply to business applications?

Well, you could begin to model your business processes in code.  Given an order entry system, for instance, you might make “Order” a class that contains all the data related to an order and the methods to do what an order needs to do.  A class defines a type of object.  So, an Order will contain some general information about an order and a collection of line items, along with methods to retrieve, commit, and maybe validate that data.

You might then find that sales orders and purchase orders have a lot in common, but differ somewhat.  So, you make both the SalesOrder and PurchaseOrder class “extend” the Order class, adding data and procedures that are unique to each, and possibly overriding some behaviors of the base Order class.

As you apply this principle to more areas of your application, you might start to see patterns emerge.  A lot of what you do to store, retrieve, update, delete, and list orders also applies to other types of tables.  You could then make the Order class extend some even more generic class that provides methods and data for manipulating any type of discrete data item.  If you’re familiar with Design Patterns, you might want to follow the Model-View-Controller pattern and call this class a Model.  Then you could create a View class which represents any type of user interface for the data, and extend that for specific ways of looking at certain types of data (input windows, lists, etc.).  Finally, a Controller class could be used to orchestrate the overall behavior of an application, and extended to create specific types of applications.

“Whoa!  You’re talking about a complete rewrite!”  I hear you cry.

You’re right — that’s a bad idea.  Any of you out there who have ever attempted it can testify that for any application that has taken many years to mature, a complete architectural overhaul is not in the cards.  You simply cannot rewrite from scratch and have any product ready to ship before you go out of business.  You need to incrementally incorporate newer methods and technologies in a way that allows you to continue to release your product on a regular basis.  And you don’t want that pavement-to-dirt feeling when your user navigates between different parts of your application.

So, I expect that most of you will begin using objects without even really thinking about OOP.  First, you’ll start consuming some of the supplied classes.  The new dynamic Array class might prove handy, with which you can size an array at runtime without having to use the obtuse ^m syntax.  You’ll be using classes and not even know it.

Or, quite likely, you’ll see the new try-catch-finally structured exception handling in Synergy 9 and say to yourself, “Self, you’ve been looking for something to replace that goto-by-any-other-name-still-stinks onerror statement for ages.  Time to learn something new.”  As soon as you catch your first exception, you’ll have an Exception object in your hot little hands.  You’ll see how naturally you can access the information contained therein using the new object syntax.  Maybe you’ll create your own derived class of exception in order to add your own custom information about an error encountered in your application.  That might be your very first class definition.

Then you’ll start to discover more of the useful features of objects.  For instance, scope and destructors.  How many times have you wrestled with problems related to cleaning up resources when they’re no longer needed?  The UI Toolkit provides the environment concept to release all resources that were allocated in an environment when that environment level is exited, which works fine for many cases.  But in more complex applications you often find that you need to preserve some resources across environment-level bounds.  So, you promote those to global, but then you have to remember to clean them up when you’re done.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the resource would just get cleaned up automatically as soon as you lose all references to it?  That’s what you can do with a class.

As you begin to think more in terms of objects, it will become more natural for you to create classes that model other aspects of your application.  But don’t rush yourself.  And don’t massively redesign, unless you’ve got a lot of extra time on your hands.

General principles

A class should reflect a single type of object.  That means it’s a noun — some actor within your application.  Without referring to existing code, try to describe, in natural language, how your application works from the user’s perspective.  Whenever you encounter a noun, that’s a candidate for a class.

Methods are verbs that describe some action that a class of object can perform, on other objects or on itself (or intransitively).  If the name of the method doesn’t involve a discrete action, then maybe it needs to be thought out differently.

Properties can be seen as adjectives that describe the object, or members that compose it.  If your class has a property that you can’t think of in one of these ways, perhaps it shouldn’t be a property of this class.

A class should extend another class if it passes the “is a” test.  A Bugatti is a car, so Bugatti extends the class of cars (does it ever – this baby can do 253 mph.  Why from here to Los Angeles — of course, you couldn’t do 253 mph all the way to Los Angeles, because there’s always some jerk hogging the left lane at about 180).  A Bugatti is not a chassis.  A Bugatti contains a chassis, it isn’t derived from it.  That distinction trips up class designers all the time.  For instance, given the Model class we discussed earlier (from which an Order is derived), does it extend or contain a database table?

Often you can get away with inaccurate inheritance models for a while.  But eventually, the practice of deriving classes from things that they logically contain causes conflicts, because you end up wanting to derive them from more than one ancestor class.  Use the “is a” test to avoid that problem.

Signs you should have contained:

–You feel the need for multiple inheritance

–You add way too many methods

–You don’t override any virtual methods

Sign you should have inherited:

–You replicate all of the same methods and just forwards or duplicates them

What else to avoid

As Ken Lidster has said to me on many occasions, OO rewards a good design handsomely, but punishes a bad design to the end of your days.  Lets discuss some common pitfalls.

In Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns, Steve Yegge describes how Java’s (and C#’s) insistence on requiring all functions to belong to a class causes programmers to manufacture many needless nouns in order to perform any activity.  You don’t have to fall into that trap in Synergy/DE, because Synergy/DE provides stand-alone functions.  So if your description of a process begins with a verb, just make it a function.  Don’t give it an actor if it doesn’t need one.

Classes whose names include the words “manager”, “broker”, “locator”, or any other verbal noun, should be suspected.  If the noun’s purpose in life is merely to perform some action, then that should be a function instead of a class.

What about singleton classes?  Singleton classes are only instantiated once.  Sometimes that means that they’re really just a set of global data and functions disguised as a class.  Take, for instance, an Application object.  Java and C# virtually require classes like this because otherwise you can’t get anything done.  Because these languages require that you have a class to contain any function, you typically pick yourself up by your bootstraps by creating an Application object that has, at least, some sort of ”run” method.  You don’t need that in Synergy/DE, unless it’s useful.  Singleton classes can be useful for encapsulating related data and functions together, creating derivations of similar applications, and for avoiding global naming conflicts — but be careful not to let them become big, miscellaneous messes or just the equivalent of namespaces.

In OOP and the death of modularity, Chad Perrin notices a trend in object-oriented programming in which classes become coupled with one another, reducing modularity.  Sometimes, by thinking in terms of objects rather than starting with processes, you can bundle too much functionality together into one class.  Interfacing with such a complex class soon requires complex knowledge about how that class operates, creating unnecessary dependencies.  By contrast, keeping the design simple and atomic requires less intimate knowledge and maximizes reusability.

Geek24 provides a series of humorous programming quips, including: ”The great thing about Object Oriented code is that it can make small, simple problems look like large, complex ones.”

Unfortunately, that often proves true.  But you can avoid doing that, and make OOP work for you instead:

Avoid creating overly ornate inheritance hierarchies.  Focus on the abstractions that you use in the business model, and ignore the rest.  In real life, we always ignore certain layers of abstraction.  It’s useful, for instance, to talk about an overnight envelope as a type of shipment, but we rarely need to state the fact that all shipments are types of molecular collections.  That’s not the level on which we operate.  Likewise within an object hierarchy, don’t bother including ancestor classes that no one will ever need.  Make use of inheritance where it makes sense.

Rule of thumb: simplify.  If adding a class simplifies the code and makes it easier to understand and manipulate, that’s a good design.  Oooo.  If it complicates the code and adds unnecessary layers and dependencies, you were better not to use objects at all.  OOPS!  The beauty of Synergy/DE is that it lets you decide.

Tags: apotheon, bugatti, designpatterns, geek24, oop, programming, steveyegge, synergyde
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Great Scott!

Bump, bump! — dropping off the end of the pavement onto the abandoned dirt road. I could almost feel it as I read the words “Here ends Fitzgerald’s manuscript” and continued on through notes he had written about how he intended to finish The Last Tycoon. Up until then, I had enjoyed reading this final novel at least as much as any of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s other works. He was a master of character analysis told through action. It’s a pity that a sudden heart attack interrupted his work.

I have now read four of Fitzgerald’s five novels all in a row. The only reason why I omitted his second novel, The Beautiful And The Damned, is because I don’t own a copy. I received a set of only four novels among other books from my first wife when we separated. I could be making this up, but I think they had belonged to her parents who were Pentecostals and therefore disposed of the one book because of the word “damned” in the title. If they had read the other books, I’m sure they would have gotten rid of them, too.

Of all of Fitzgerald’s novels, my favorite turned out to be — not The Great Gatsby, but rather Tender Is The Night. This story bored me at first, but I stuck with it on the strength of the pleasure I derived from Fitzgerald’s earlier novels and my own stubbornness about finishing a book once I’ve started it. By the end of the first “book,” however, he had me hooked. This story penetrated me in ways that I can’t even talk about yet.

All in all, my journey with Fitzgerald delighted me. As with most popular notions, the picture of the dismal spokesman for The Lost Generation falls far short of the man it’s meant to portray. I’m only sorry he didn’t write more.

Tags: books, fscottfitzgerald
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Intelligent spam

With a title like that, you might think this post more properly belongs on the head lemur’s blog, which bears the title “raving lunacy – oxymorons for the 21st century”.

Lately I’ve been receiving more spam comments on this blog, many of which get past Akismet, that attempt to read like real comments. They make general observations about the wisdom of the post, or complain about some technical problem. That’s probably why they elude spam filtering, because they sound germane — although a human (like I pretend to be) can quickly recognize that they don’t address the topic of conversation at all. They usually occur on older, high-traffic posts, too. So I delete one or two of these per day.

Today I happened to notice this one:

In case you aren’t viewing images (or can’t make it out), the comment reads:

I will tell fairly … the first time has come on your site on purpose “clever spam”.  But to write that that close on a theme it is necessary to read. Has started to read – it was pleasant, Has subscribed and with pleasure I read. Very to be pleasant your site – interesting The maintenance, pleasant design for reading …

Ironically, Akismet caught this one.

Tags: akismet, spam, wordpress
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TSA Tease

My sister sent me the following proposed alternative to the newly instituted intrusive pat-downs and scans at airports:

All we need to do is develop a booth that you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have hidden on or in your body. The explosion will be contained within the sealed booth.

This would be a win-win for everyone. There would be none of this crap about racial profiling and the device would eliminate long and expensive trials.

This is so simple that it’s brilliant. I can see it now: you’re in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system, “Attention standby passengers, we now have a seat available on flight number…”

Of course, that relies upon the cooperation of the TSA. I have some other suggestions that we passengers can implement ourselves to peacefully protest the intrusion:

  • If you’re male, grab a copy of Penthouse at the newsstand and work up something, um, firm for the agent to pat.
  • When asked to submit to the pat-down, tell the agent that it’s only fair that you do the same for them once you’re “done”.
  • As the agent begins, remark “It’s been so long since anyone’s touched me.” As their hands near your crotch area, close your eyes and start to moan — culminating with a shouted “Stay on it! Yes! YES!!!”
  • When asked to remove some item of clothing, take it all off. Yes, the Full Monty. To the agent’s surprised look, respond “Nice one, ain’t it?”

They might not allow you on the plane, but you’d have a lot more fun than squeezing your butt between two fat guys on row 36 anyway.

Tags: airport, security, tsa
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A mindful discussion

For those of you who can’t get enough of the massive discussion of inductive, deductive, and abductive reasoning over on TechRepublic, here are excerpts from an email exchange I subsequently enjoyed with Andreas Geisler (aka AnsuGisalas):

Andreas

That was … I was going to say fun, but I’ll settle for intense.

And futile too, I guess, except for the endurance practice.

Your stance on absolutes was very interesting, may I ask what calamity of reason led you to it? It’s hard to imagine that discovery being easy. Wasn’t for me, at least.

Still can’t bring myself to really use logic, it feels somehow dishonest, like cheating or misleading people on purpose.

Chip

You are very perceptive.  I was once an absolutist and very religious.  I believed that the Bible was the inspired Word of God and therefore infallible.  I studied the Bible voraciously, reading many different translations as well as learning Hebrew and Greek in order to read the “original”.  As you can easily imagine, it was that study itself which led me to several epiphanies: (1) there is no “original” — if there ever was, it is long lost; (2) the texts we have are filled with contradictions, historical errors, and personal biases that also conflict with one another.  The Bible is therefore an essentially human document — in fact, all revelation is essentially human because even if it might come from a superhuman source it must be expressed in human terms, which are inherently limited.  Therefore, practically speaking, there is no divine revelation — at least, none that can be trusted absolutely.

This revelation (har) precipitated a search for other principles to replace reliance on divine absolutes.  Having been burned once, I remained cautious of claiming an early success.  That caution has over the years become my sole gospel.  I am a radical agnostic.

Andreas

That’s a very thorough approach, going all the way down to sources. It would be worthy of respect, even had you stopped there.

It’s not so much that I perceived traces of trauma, as that I know this place here, this absolutelessness.

We humans are fragile, easily spooked, and I think the natural state for us is to accept the givens and the cultural bedrock – as absolutes. Cutting the anchors isn’t something done lightly. So, seeing that you’d done so, I knew to wonder why. I don’t subscribe to this state being superior of and by itself, probably you don’t either, so I certainly don’t expect that it’s a necessary end-state for the able. I just don’t know how to be otherwise.

I too am a person given to strong religious faith, and also to logic… and I find myself rejecting both. For me the rejection of reliance on dogma and the rejection of the absolute as such did not come at the same time. First I lost my touch with faith by having a prayer answered – and failing to reconcile a benevolent and omnipotent interventionary with the existence of mundane evils. It was a short-circuit.

Much later I came to think of the nature of our senses, and the manner of our conceptualization of reality. And it was again a short-circuit. I went down to the axioms, and found circulars.

I chose to cut the ropes at the end of my perceptions – not wishing to make any claims about the “real” that I cannot back up. I am at peace with this: that it may exist absolutely – but that if it does, I’ll never know the difference.

I have come to associate a strong defense of firm ground with the beginning of suspecting it’s reliability. [The defender] may simply change his footing, but it will let him advance even further. Anyway, to have something to learn is hardly a matter to be pitied, is it?

Chip

Well put, Andreas.  It seems that you and I have covered much of the same ground in our respective journeys.  Like you, my earlier disillusionments have taught me to be more humble than to ever say that “I’ve arrived,” so I readily grant that radical agnosticism may one day prove to be inadequate for me.  It seems to be “the truest thing I know” at this moment, but it may not always be so.

I share your mistrust of logic.  After all, it is a human invention, no matter how realistically it may or may not mirror the postulated “real world.”  I see it more as a disciplinary tool with which to question assumptions, rather than as a path to enlightenment.  Generally, it’s more of an obstruction on that path, so it should generally be applied after the intuitive leap has been allowed to find a footing on the other side of the chasm.

“I have come to associate a strong defense of firm ground with the beginning of suspecting its reliability” — that’s quotable.

“Anyway, to have something to learn is hardly a matter to be pitied, is it?”  I like the optimism implied by that question.

Andreas

I think the usefulness of formalized reasoning is greatest in using the paper as a buffer. We’re not so good at handling multiple objects at once (I’ve heard that 5 +/- 2 is the usual limit), so having the assumptions laid out on paper can help us see where we’re cutting corners. But that’s for induction and abduction as well as deduction. The problem, I think, arises from the conscious mind – it’s an obvious kluge on an otherwise well-functioning system. It tends to do these things, deduction in particular, half-bakedly. The subconscious does everything on the fly, but the conscious mind doesn’t seem fully equipped for that, but it tries anyway.

Chip

Yes, it’s interesting how disabled the conscious mind seems compared to the subconscious.  Perhaps the subconscious is just as disabled, but most of its workings seem so murky to our conscious minds that we can’t even detect its flaws — only its occasionally amazing successes.

Andreas

I think you’re right about the subconscious… the way I see it – having marinated my conscious in my subconscious for a long time now, trying to bridge the gap between them – all that I say, and all that I write too comes straight out of those murky depths. So, whoever it is that *I*am, I’m it subconsciously.

So, I can’t examine that, no way.

I do think that the subconscious is fast enough to compensate for the uncertainties involved in it’s method though. And I don’t think the conscious methods are better, excepting in some instances – using paper and enormous discipline.

Chip

“Enormous discipline” is right, because it is far too easy to oversimplify anything, and thus invalidate the whole logical approach. The subconscious seems to be better suited to take all of the complexity into account, though of course it isn’t conscious of doing so.

Unfortunately, by definition, the subconscious cannot examine its own methods, let alone allow others to examine them. Therefore impostors abound. The distance separating the prophet from the shyster appears to the logician to be at most a hair’s breadth — and indeed it’s very easy for one to slip into the other, although they must thereby move across two vast and very different worlds.

Tags: abduction, absolutism, agnosticism, bible, deduction, dogma, induction, intuition, logic, relativism, religion, subconscious
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One down, three to go

Yesterday, my son John graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from the Metropolitan State College of Denver. He is the first of my four offspring to reach this milestone, and he did it almost entirely on his own.

John started his college career at Lewis and Clark, to which I mailed not unsubstantial monthly checks. That ended when John dropped out, however. When he later attended MSCD, he didn’t ask me for help. He worked his way through instead. For that, he can be proud — he has already demonstrated an ability to get along in the world, and I’m sure that will serve him well.

I had really hoped to attend John’s graduation, but circumstances got in the way — as they often have in our relationship, I’m sad to say.

Congratulations, John!

Watch out, world!

Tags: college, family
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If less is more, I just dd’ed a shedload

You may have noticed a few changes here at Chip’s Quips, as well as at my other blogs. I’ve changed the theme on all three to do less:

  • Less overriding of colors and text styling
  • Less padding and margins
  • Fewer images

My goals in so doing were simple:

  • Load faster
  • Fit more content into less space
  • Conflict less with user preferences

That last point was triggered by my own. In keeping with my darker GTk theme, I changed my Firefox default text colors to green on black. You’d be surprised how many web sites override text color without specifying background color, or vice versa — and they almost always assume that the default will be black on white. A lesson there for web designers: if you specify either text color or background color, please specify both. In any case, I can now read my own sites in green on black without imposing that preference on my three other readers, by leaving both foreground and background unspecified.

You’ll notice that links also use the default colors specified in your browser preferences, nor have I made any effort to remove their “text decoration” (normally underline).

I’ve even implemented my very own theme music which plays automatically on each page load. In keeping with my minimalist site design, it is composed of an infinite number of rests having a duration of zero milliseconds each.

Tags: css, styling, themes, wordpress
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No Qwestion

Up until December, I was pretty happy with Qwest. Even though we could only get 1.5/1.0 over DSL here, we got it reliably. Then all of a sudden, it went down the tubes — or rather, it stopped traversing said tubes. Service failed about a dozen times in December, and was down for as long as eight hours each time. They were having trouble with a DSLAM. That’s understandable, and I retained my patience until about the fifth or sixth time it went down.

I checked into 4G wireless Internet, but here on remote Bainbridge Island it just isn’t ready for prime time.

As much as I hate even remembering my past history with Comcast, I decided to use them for Internet service. I’ve had it for about a month now, it hasn’t gone down yet (knocks on head) and I’ve only had to recycle the modem twice. Best of all, I reliably get 14/6 or thereabouts, which saves me a lot of time working with remote clients.

I finally turned off the Qwest DSL line today. The email confirmation contained this image at the top:

I think they may be right.

Tags: comcast, dsl, internet, qwest, service, telco
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Ten years after 9/11, have we learned anything yet?

Following are two emails I’ve been saving since September 22, 2001. Since Wally has passed away, I don’t see any reason not to share some of his unique insights with the rest of the world. At the time of the attacks of 9/11, Wally had already retired from the US Air Force as a Lt. Colonel, having risen from the lowest Airman rank. He was my father’s best friend, and like him he was former NSA. These emails really bothered me when I first read them, but they’ve haunted me periodically over the last ten years. Now they seem in many ways prophetic. I haven’t edited them at all, not even for spelling.

Let me offer you some things to think about. These have bothered me since the destruction of the World Trade Center and though I’d prefer to ignore them they keep coming back. I like things clear cut, simple and direct, and this situation isn’t. I think, in the final analysis, it is these paradoxes that define the problem, if not the solution to it.

First let’s establish some generally accepted facts:

Osama bin Laden is a fanatic, prepared to die for his so-called jihad, but he isn’t stupid. The attacks we know he has planned, or that someone close to him planned, worked and worked well. They showed estensive knowledge and understanding of our operations and remarkable care and simplicity in their planning and implementation.

Afghanistan is a primitive nation full of ignorant people cut off from the rest of the world. These same primitive people fought the armed might of Russia to a standstill while their villages were bombed to rubble and any social amenities or order they had was destroyed.

Afghanistan is governed, if you want to call it that, by the Taliban Militia, a collection of bloody fanatics who are determined to hold on to power by any means necessary, and who keep the whole agonized country virtually closed to the rest of the world to ensure the continuation of that domination.

It is generally accepted too that neither the Taliban Militia or the Afghani people had anything driectly to do with the WTC bombing. Their only sin seems to be their refusal to surrender ben Laden and perhaps their paranoid hatred of anything western that goes back centuries.

Another chilling fact is that it is becoming more obvious each day that we are preparing to go to war with Afghanistan using a military designed to fight another military machine, to destroy a civilized, industralized country’s productive capability and power grids, to sever communications and transportation lines, break up its government infrastructure and induce chaos as these systems fail. None of which exists to any degree in Afghanistan.

Now, lets ask and perhaps answer some questions:

Are we deliberately closing our eyes to the fact that the Afghanis are not our enemy? If so, why? They are gnorant, stupid, vicious fanatics, yes, but they’ve always been that. Why are they now, suddenly, our enemines? They just can’t bite that high up, not unless we go to them anyway. They’ve became the focus of our anger and frustration, the focus of our paranoid tunnel vision, only because bin Laden has saught and received sanctuary there.

You ever wonder why bin Laden picked this benighted country to hide in and why he remains there even today? Possibly because he fought there and feels welcome there, but perhaps for other reasons as well. You ever for one moment wonder if we are being sucker baited? The Afghanis will fight anyone, anytime who invades their country. They won’t even need the Taliban’s orders to do that. It is instinctive and has been since Alexander visited years ago. They have a collection of barren rocks that nobody wants, except as a possible land road to India, and they will fight to the death for each sun baked stone. That’s all they know. Afghanis remind me of hydophobic Apaches. They weren’t a very effective fighting force either until the US Cavalry made them one. The Afghanis were well taught by first the British, then the Russians.

The Pakistanis are our friends. Yeah? For how long? Sure they hate the Afghanis, and the Iranians hate the Iraqis, the Syrians hate the Egyptians too, but they all hate the infidel. The Saudis are totally dependent on us for survival, but they hate us too. Can it be that most Moslems actually distrust and generally dislike all westerners? Is it because our religions are diametrically opposed. The Quran teaches that the “people of the book” are to be tolerated. Then why? Perhaps because too long has the western world, which we represent, denied them their rightful place in history. We are the usurpers, the dirty, defiling, infidel pigs who pervert and profane everything we touch. We defile women and welter in pornography, poison our bodies and minds with alchohol and we seduce their youth to our ways. We brought the Jews back and support them against the children of Allah. Worst of all we deny the one true God, Allah, praise be his name. We are a dispicable, terrible people, children of evil who all just men must hate. What’s so hard to understand about this? If you can’t understand it then we should just accept it.

Christianity and Islam are the two great competing civilizations and religions of the earth. We won and they lost, but only for the time being because Allah put a joker in the deck and gave them the oil. Gradually the tide has begun to change. Neither side is at all happy with the situation. Osama bin Laden just wants the tide to flow faster, that’s all. Will destruction of Afghistan reverse the flow? I doubt it. In fact, the damage we incur “teaching the Afghanis a lesson” will undoubtedly accellerate the flow considerably.

But isn’t all Europe with us in this crusade against terrorism? When has Europe ever really been with us? Take a look at the last cursades in this area, against the same basic people. First, they failed. Second, they were disorganized messes, basically profit motivated, if managed by fanatical Christians. In fact the situation was virtually reversed with brutal Christain armies raping and pillaging across relatiely peaceful Moslem kingdoms. We don’t have the long term motivation the Crusaders had, guaranteed salvation and all the loot they could carry, but we may well achieve the same long term result. I believe our luke warm allies will comdemn us in the UN before for autrocities against the Afghani people within a year. I believe that long before any meaningful victory, if such a thing is possible, is achieved the enthusiasm of our staunchest allies will have faded away like the monring dew. How about the enthusiasm and bloodlust of the American people? President Bush says we are in it for the long haul. Well, it is going to be a long and brutal haul with our western allies dropping away and other Moslem nations weighing in on the side of the Afghanis. Are we ready to fight the whole Moslem world? If we do have to, are we ready to fight to win? They obviously don’t think so and neither do I. Do we, all by ourselves, have the testular fortitude to engage in a scorched earth, genocidal war with the Afghanis and their eventual allies? I doubt it. Our anger is fierce now, but how high will it burn a year or two from now as the body bags start to fill. Oh, yes, the flags fly now outside every house, but where will they be then, over the long haul. You see, I remember Vietnam. Most don’t, or don’t seem to, but I do.

Does anybody really expect Russia and China not to provide the opposition, no matter who, with weaponry? Wouldn’t we, under the same circumstances? We did. We poured weapons and aid into Afghaistan when the USSR invaded. I’m sure they’d just love to return the favor. How long do you think that the Afghanis can resist us with an inflow of Russian and Chinese weapons? They fought the Russians for ten years, and then they had something to lose. How long today with virtually nothing to loose?

Has it ever occurred to anyone why, with $5,000,000 on bin Laden’s head, there has been no takers, not even any attempts or offers? Ossama bin Laden is the santified bait. He is a willing sacrifice. He isn’t a patriot to these people, he’s a saint. Christ was bought for thirty pieces of silver, but we can’t buy bin Laden for five million. Think about it, people.

Do the people of the United States really think that the whole Moslem terrorist world is going to sit on its hands watching calmly while we hammer the Aghanis? What is going to happen back here, on the home front? Bush and the government have obviously considered it, but nobody in the suburbs has. What will happen to our freedoms? Travel will be restricted, and I don’t just mean air travel either, and perhaps firearms ownership. There will be military and police checkpoints on our streets, a national ID card and an economy as flat as stale beer. We may not exactly resemble wartime Britian under the blitz, but then again we might. Every day you and I will have to prove we are Americans and on ligitimate business. How about gas rationing? All the good things associated with fought a war fought here, on our own turf, will be ours. Oh, I know that the terrorists won’t equate to lions in the street, more like swarms of biting flies, but lions might be
easier to cope with.

This is my conclusion:

Afghanistan is a huge mouse trap found, if not built, by Osama bin Laden. He means to lure us into it using himself as bait. It is almost perfect for combat against a modern, industrialized nation. It has no real government, and no military, production, communication or supply systems to destroy. The whole population is capable of using most basic military hardware such as shoulder launched anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and mines. Every Afghan male seems to come equiped with an AK-47. It will be a war of ambushes and traps, a war of unspeakable and sadistic brutality fought in a harsh, mountain desert environment. Words like autrocity and collateral damage will eventually lose their meanings and should be expurged before we even go in. If we are not prepared to conduct a genocidal war we’d better not invite ourselves to one.

I don’t know how the military intends to conduct the war in Afghistan, but if it is the same military that gave us Bosnia and Kosevo then we will probably suffer a pathetic rout Even the declaration of victory and followed by immediate retreat won’t save us this time. They’ll just follow us home, along with the numerous friends. This isn’t even the military that fought its heart out in Vietnam. This is the new, politically correct military and it will soon find it has little stomach for facing Afghani tribesmen and slaughtering Afghani women and children, but it could learn in time. Question is do we want it to.

I think the destruction of the WTC towers was a mistake for the terrorists. I think attacking Afghanistan will be a mistake for us, but I also think it could be a massive mistake for the rest of the world too. In the unlikely event we went into Afghanistan and stayed the course the monster that came out the other side might be something somewhat other than the terrorists and so-called neutral observers hoped for. I don’t think this country will be destroyed, but I think it could irreversably changed. God help us all.

Yes, I’d like to do something about the atrocity at the World Trade Center, but first I’d like to see this country accept partial responsiblity for the slaughter. If you go about on your hands and knees wearing a sign that says “Kick Me” you probably going to be treated with something less than respect, even if you are a 600 pound gorilla. Here we are, a country that can’t even secure its own borders, preparing to take on a bunch of hard core fanatics who just broke the only other military machine on the planet. Figure Afghnistan to be supported by the whole Moslem world, plus, under the table, China and perhaps Russia and us to have qualified support from perhaps England and Canada. You think you’ve seen terroism now? Think again. This is only the beginning. When the slaughter starts in Afghanistan it will start here. Kiss your freedoms goodbye. The United Sates will become an armed camp, under siege.

I’ve been expecting some other nightmare to be visited upon us anyway, a not so subtle nudge from Uncle Osama to keep us motivated, so that we don’t stop and think our way through this. If it is a trap then we need some more motivation.

Do I think we can pretend it is business as usual, that nothing happened in Manhattan? No, but I do think that men wiser than me had better sit down and think this one out before we make an emotional commitment to suicide. Would I use nukes? You damned right. We will be forced to eventually with our economy in ruins, or people disheartened and disorganized, our sons butchered in Afghanistan to no purpose and facing virtually the whole Moslem world with our so-called allies disclaiming all responsibility for our brutal acts. There’s probably nothing much to nuke in Afghanistan, but a few towering mushrooms straight off might give the rest of the world something to think about. Not everybody lives in caves and mud huts. Why not open the game by putting everything in the middle of the table? We’ll eventually be comdemned in the UN by the whole world anyway. Oh, they are great sympathizers now when we are doing the dying by the thousands, but when we start the killing they will only remember that we are the frightening Giant of the West.

Americans refuse to believe or understand the amount of envy they generate in even the nations of modern Europe just by being Americans. We want to be loved too much and can’t understand why we aren’t. This cannot and will not ever happen. Even in England, in 1943, we were often barely tolerated and sometimes outright disliked. Just another invading force, if by invitation. Not their sort, you know, but these were our closest friends and allies. In our perpetual persuit of international love we demand entirely too little respect. We are the most powerful nation on the Earth and we are spit on in public. In the absence of either love or respect we must settle for, even hope for, tolerant comtempt, or we can teach the world to fear us as a foundation for the respect it had better learn. If the Moslems knew that nuclear weapons were even a possibility they wouldn’t be jerking our chain now. Why do you think it was an airliner instead of a suitcase nuke? We have more and bigger ones, that’s why. Even bin Laden knows not to go there, or does he? Is that the next step, if we don’t lurch into attack mode on command?

So, now we are pointed directly at Afghistan, bombers in the air, fuses lit on our missiles. The Taliban Milita will not accomodate our demands. I doubt if they could if they wanted to. The confrontation is now, the result is inevitable. You see anything wrong with this scenario? Who benefits? Not the Afghanis and not us. They do the dying because that is the only thing they do well, that and killing. We are sucked into a timeless killing field where we can pour out our blood and energy in them barren mountains and deserts until we are empty. Someone, perhaps Osama bin Laden, perhaps not, has put us exactly where he wants us. All our blustering about “Now you’ve really made us mad,” is rediculous. That’s is exactly what this whole affair was intended to do. This wasn’t just an isolated exercise in escalating international terrorism. It was part of an overall plan, but do we have to follow their scenario? It seems, like a blind bull, that we do.

I’m getting old, an unavoidable circumstance. I’m getting tired too, tired of apology and weakness, and now tired of stupidity. These little people can’t destroy us, but they can give us an opportunity to destroy ourselves and goad us into accepting this gift of self destruction. I think that “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” was a mistranslation. Better it reads, “Whom the gods would destroy they first permit to become stupid, or ignorant and apathetic.” End. Walt

This second email apparently follows some harsh criticism from other recipients:

Alright, so maybe I’m totally wrong, unfeeling, unpatriotic even. Then again maybe I’m not. At least my hypothesis makes sense and nothing else offered so far does. There is just too much emphasis plased on bin Laden, entirely too much, and most of it by bin Laden. Illogical for a man who is deadly logical. He wants us to come for him and he has a damned good reasons.

Permit me to be more specific, if possible:

I believe we’ve been suckered in. I believe we have walked into a trap. I believe we are utterly butt-fucked. I believe we are utterly outclassed and won’t admit it.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that GW is just running with the bloodthirsty, idiot pack, actually leading it, until such a time as he can get enough data together in order to draw sound conclusions and formulate a good plan to do what has to be done. I hope and pray that at that time all the hysteria will stop and the American people will stand behind him for that “long haul.”. I hope the CIA is out there with the Moussad (?) pulling out all the stops, cutting throats, roasting balls, etc., in order to find out who, besides bin Laden, was behind this. I hope that then there is a overwhelming, deliberate and public effort to eliminate every person of any importance in all the governments of all the middle-eastern countries who knew and validated this atrocity on the USA. I’d suggest targeting each individual with a smart bomb and video the result, to hell with any collateral damage. I don’t care if he hides in an orphanage or hospital. I want payback big time, but I don’t want us tied up in a war of attrition with the vicious village idot of the Moslem world, namely Afghanistan. Hell, they aren’t even involved. Can you imagine any thinking terrorist trusting an Afghani to function in a plot this complex? We could be butchering them (and them butchering us) for another decade or two and they would enjoy the whole thing. Killing infidels gives purpose to their otherwise useless lives and dying in the process is probably the only way they’ll ever get out of Afghanistan. And go straight to heaven, yet? Can you believe it? They do. If it didn’t destroy us utterly it might make us stronger, but would you want to bet the future of our country on that? Look how much stronger Vietnam left us.

But I don’t think I am wrong. I expect the cruise missiles to start to fly any time, followed by the bombers. And what good will it do? None, absolutely none. And when the Army generals see that they’ll want to send in the elite ground troops, totally ignoring what happened to SPETSNAV forces there. Now if we retargeted and got rid of some of our old nuclear tipped ICBMs that would be another thing entirely, but we won’t. We don’t have the balls even if we still had the missiles. But if we did you’d hear assholes slam shut all over the middle east and, north, south and west. No, we are the masters of hesitation, of doing a job half way then quiting after declaring that it is finished, of premature ejectulation. We are going to be a full partner in a total disaster, we and the Afghanis, from which it may take years to extricate ouselves. Oh shit, oh dear. Vietnam didn’t teach us much, did it?

But we are dragging our feet somewhat and I think right now, in some major American city (Los Angeles comes to mind, probably wishful thinking) there is another well planned scenario playing out involving a weapon of mass destruction, possibly not another airliner, though they do work so well, but perhaps at a nuclear power generator or major hydro electrical dam. Something big and spashy (not a play on words). All the other strikes were flashy, attention getters and point makers. If they took two years to set up the WTC and the Pentagon, they had two years for Step Two, and don’t think there isn’t a Step Two and possibly Three unless the FBI has muddled their plans. They could have killed more people, but they wanted to make a point and they succeeded. This one will will have to be even bigger and better, made in Hollywood, and it will kick us the rest of the way up the chute like a prime steer and onto the killing floor of Afghanistan.

I really doubt they want to force us into anything nuclear. Like I said, we have more and bigger ones, but I still wouldn’t rule out a suitcase nuke of some sort. This one has to be big and dirty with heavy casualties to really get our attention and freeze what little reasoning power we have left. It has to send us charging over the edge screaming for blood. They can’t wait until we get past our rage and hysteria, and start to think. Bush is taking too long. He is talking hot and acting cool. A bad combination for the ragheads. He has to be pushed and it has to be now. Osama is playing his part and the Afghanis are playing theirs, only we hesitate in our frantic search for justification before we act. I think we might be just about to get that justification. The world’s TV eyes are on us. The play, as written by Osama bin Laden or his ghost writer, must go on. The curtain is going up. Allah wills it.

Hey, I got this great idea. We need to find somebody to produce about 500,000 little enameled crosses, Crusader crosses, and bumper stickers. “Join the Crusade for Justice” and “God Wills It” and “I’m a Crusader for Christ.” I think they would sell like hotcakes. Nothing too flashy. Just about 1″ by 1/2″, red enameled over gold fill plate, a clip in back. Maybe put some on rings or pegs for those with pierced noses, tongues, nipples, etc. I tell you there are thousands to be made there. Hit the market early before we get copied. You can’t copyright a crucifix you know. The guy who designed the sew on Crusader crosses, (Wasn’t his name Peter the Hermit?), you think he ever made a penny out of it? No, he let it get away from him or the Church go it all. Well, it was just a thought. Can’t you patriots take a joke? End. Walt

Well, I’m thankful that Wally’s prediction of another successful major attack hasn’t proven true. Yet.

Tags: 911 wally war afghanistan memories
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WordPress 3.0 upgrade

I’ve just upgraded all three of my blogs to WordPress 3.0. Please let me know if you experience any interruption of service.

WordPress 3.0 is nicknamed “Thelonious,” after the great jazz musician Thelonious Monk. Monk’s artistry was exceptionally creative, despite (or more likely because of) his apparent mental health issues. Hopefully WordPress 3.0 does not import insanity along with its innovations. If you’re supersititious at all, you won’t be comforted by the fact that 3.0 is also the 13th major release of WordPress.

When upgrading, I always do a test run first on a site that I maintain for testing purposes. For the first time since 2.0, the upgrade required me to delete some files first (it’s a recommended practice that I usually ignore). This time, I couldn’t get to the admin after uploading the new files. But after deleting wp-admin and wp-includes and reupping them, it all worked. YMMV.

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming. Today it’s C++.

Tags: theloniousmonk, wordpress
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