All posts by cryptosmith

Writer, educator, and consultant in cyber security; author of three books.

More Thanksgiving Rhyme

My friend Tim provided me with some additional Thanksgiving items:

Because you and your family fully appreciates “My turkey, ’tis of thee,” I thought you and they might also enjoy two additional celebratory Thanksgiving pieces. The first is in some editions of “The Four Leaved Clover and Other Poems” but not in others, and because it’s not in the edition you mentioned in your Smatters post, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I attach it below. The second is new, produced by my brother Chuck, and I must warn you, is something of an earworm. (And its basis will be unfamiliar to many in the current generation.)

Have a great Thanksgiving, and pass my love along to everyone there.

Tim

Incidentally, I can’t read “The second” link above either. I’m guessing it’s a turkey-themed version of “Mr. Sandman.”

AN “INSIDE TIP”

Thanksgiving was over, and I, on my bed

Was resting my stomach as well as my head;

For both had been busy ’till late in the night,

Causing turkey and puddings to be put out of sight.

Just as conscience oft troubles the mind of the sinner,

My mind was disturbed by the weight of that dinner.

Then, trying to get all bad thoughts from my brain,

My mind wandered back to Columbia again.

And by thoughts of my Homer and Odyssey smitten,

I remembered that poem which I knew should be written;

But no thoughts would appear for my eager inspection,

And the state of my mind was not good for reflection.

Last, I cried, “Would that turkey could show me a plan

That would bring me to worlds unexplored yet by man!”

Then a voice from within me distinctly replied:

“T. B. Penfield, I will help you, though you’ve put me inside.”

Like the Trojan Aeneas, that hero of old,

My hair stood on end, and my blood ran quite cold;

But the turkey within did not stay in me long,

But straightway came forth, looking hearty and strong.

Then he swelled like a Sophomore who’s bursting with pride,

And he opened his mouth—and he put me inside!

What I saw in that land “unexplored yet by man,”

I guess I won’t tell, for I don’t think I can.

I remember my feelings—not anything more.

What I did is a mystery, and all that I saw.

The next I remember, was the coming of morn

And the night and the turkey were, both of them, gone.

Written December, 1886, in a competition for the coveted honor of Class Poet of the Class of ’90, Columbia University. Professor J. D. Quackenbos decided the contest, giving me the place.

New York City

Candidate Roads not Taken

The first Clinton-Trump debate was last night. I think both candidates did about as well as I expected. Here are two arguments the candidates could have made but didn’t:

  • Clinton: when Trump said “we should have taken the oil” while in Iraq, Clinton should have called him on it. Such “taking” would require war and long-term occupation with lots of our own troops.
  • Trump: when Clinton called for an “intelligence surge” in the context of ISIS-inspired domestic terrorism, Trump should have called her on it. Her surge requires expanded spying on American citizens and weakens national cybersecurity.

I could not have done a tenth as well in the debates as either of them, but these are arguments I wanted to see.

Continue reading Candidate Roads not Taken

Tech-choking Image of History

Excerpt of Adams SynchronologyThere’s something charming about Adam’s Synchronological Chart or Map of History, even if I am a secular scientific type. It shows the history of the world following (more or less) Ussher’s chronology which famously begins everything at 4004 BC. Adam’s chart begins in biblical times, and tracks the “flow of history” mostly in terms of prominent European rulers. The first edition ended in 1871. There are claimed to be editions updated through the 21st century.

I haven’t seen a version displaying dinosaurs.

Continue reading Tech-choking Image of History

Ecobee Air Conditioning Update

Ecobee 3 thermostatIn honor of the bouncing seasons, I turned on my air conditioner a couple of weeks ago. In Minnesota that means you remove the wintertime weather covers from outdoor compressors and then turn on the dusty circuit breakers.

Fortunately I had performed a best-effort wiring of the AC into my new thermostats. All I needed to do was tell the Ecobees to look for AC, and to turn it on. It worked.

AC and heat in our home are completely different systems: while all air conditioners use blowers, not all heating systems do. Our heat uses hot water radiators. I set up a separate “comfort setting” in the Ecobee so that heat sensors wouldn’t confuse the AC system.

Continue reading Ecobee Air Conditioning Update

My favorite meme from 2015

A neighbor has a variant of the Gadsden Flag flying under his American Flag. Instead of yellow, it’s black, but it has the snake and the “Don’t Tread On Me.”

I haven’t found anyone on the Internet who offers a Gadsden Flag with the “Send Snacks” motto. I’d buy one in a second.

This is also a “test posting” – WordPress has a “featured image” setting and “image post” format. I’m wondering what they do.

 

Trolley Misses Matildaville

Dickey's Tavern, Matildaville, VA

A previous post about the Great Falls and Old Dominion trolley line found discrepancies on early 20th century maps of it. The earliest maps routed the trolley through the old Prospect Hill village on Old Georgetown Pike, just west of today’s Madeira School. But today’s Old Dominion Drive follows the old trolley road bed, which intersects the Pike much farther west. This was either a map error, or the developers rerouted the trolley line in the early teens.

This early route would have run near the now-abandoned town of Matildaville, VA, the former site of Dickey’s Tavern (photo above, courtesy of DC Public Library). The expert on Matildaville seems to be Debbie Robison, so I looked her up and asked her opinion. She thinks it’s a map error. She noted a misspelling error that appeared on an early map and propagated to subsequent maps. She herself had seen no evidence of abandoned tracks or roadbed in the Matildaville area, though she didn’t search off-trail.

So the likely conclusion remains “map error.”

Continue reading Trolley Misses Matildaville

The Final Ecobee

Ecobee 3 thermostatLast night I installed my third and final Ecobee 3 thermostat in our home. My children will no longer need to freeze/boil in their bedrooms just because the thermostat doesn’t know any better. Like the first two thermostats, this one required an isolation relay. This post explains the wiring. I also added a “C” wire to power the thermostats.

The people at Ecobee recommend that you hire an HVAC contractor to do this wiring. Follow these instructions at your own risk. Continue reading The Final Ecobee