We were probably the last kids of any generation that actually believed our government would never lie to us.

John Musgrave, USMC on Vietnam Episode 2 by Ken Burns


We as Americans should have understood the desire of the Vietnamese people to have their own country.  I mean we did the same thing to the Brits.

Robert Theault, Special Forces on Vietnam Episode 2 by Ken Burns

Dien Bien Phu, 1954-05-07

On the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, 1954-05-07: We should have seen it at the end of colonial era in Southeast Asia, which it really was.  But, instead we saw it in Cold War terms, and we saw it as a defeat for the free world which was related to the rise of China, and it was a total misreading of a pivotal event which cost us very dearly.

Donald Gregg, CIA on Vietnam Episode 1 by Ken Burns

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast matey, it’s that time again, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, arrrrrgggg.  Although this year, we have intruders off our port bow claiming that today is also National Information Technology Professionals Day.  This will not be tolerated as those geeks have a couple of days to themselves already, Towel Day on March 25, also know as Geek Day, for Douglas Adams’ birthday; and, SysAdmin day on the last Friday in July.

PS: It’s also my 5th anniversary at DNR today, yea!

Standard Operating Procedure

  1. Admit nothing.
  2. Deny everything.
  3. Demand proof.
  4. Make outrageous counter accusations.
  5. Declare victory and move on.

Apparently this line variously attributed to Shelly Laurenston’s The Mane Event, the CIA, and the FBI has origins unknown, and morphs at every retelling.  I heard the first three points at aForestry Supervisors Meeting on 2017-08-08, but found many variations on the web.

Good advice for brick-and-mortar retailers

Shopping Mall Struggles

The American shopping mall is in the midst of one of its biggest existential crises since the concept was first planted here in Minnesota decades ago, a July 9 story reported.

Article Star-Tribune, 2017-07-09

Retailers, look within

Regarding the July 9 front-page article “Malls facing a revolution,” I suggest stores stop blaming Amazon and start asking the customer why they are not enjoying the experience.  Have you shopped recently?  I went to buy clothes for my granddaughters a few weeks ago.  It was intrusive and not a pleasant experience.

Every store I entered had a salesperson trying to become my best friend.  Not all of us are extroverts.  Asking if they could help me find something is telling me they may not want me to stay.  If they tell me they don’t carry it, I leave.  Wouldn’t they rather I stay and browse or get new ideas?  Every store offered me a credit card along with bonus sign-up points, sale prices and future offers.  This is not the retail business. This is the banking business.  Most of the stores did not have the sizes I needed but told me the items could be ordered online.  Then I should stay home.  Let’s hope I don’t need the item today.  Every store wanted my e-mail to notify me of specials.  I delete free advertising online.  Most of the stores carry unflattering items all resembling each other at similar price points.  I want something unique, fun, colorful and that fits well.  I doubt very much a noisy bowling alley, a Ferris wheel or free water will get me in the door, but who knows.

Letter to the Star-Tribune editor by Julia Fink, Wayzata, 2017-07-16

I thought Ms. Fink had many excellent points and retailers have only themselves to blame for their own decline.

Tennessen warning

What is a Tennessen warning?  In Minnesota the government must give individuals notice when collecting private or confidential information from them, see: Minnesota Department of Administration, Information Policy Analysis Division.

Why is it called a Tennessen warning?  The warning from the Statute, 13.04 Subd 2. is called a Tennessen warning after the original author of the statute, Robert J. Tennessen.

Apparently this is supposed to be intuitively obvious to everyone, but it wasn’t to me, and it took some research with the help of a DNR attorney to figure out why it had this particular name.