Our Pledge of Allegiance

I saw this video on YouTube. It’s a great use of four minutes of your day.

Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance, from his television show in 1969.

Here is a transcription of the video:

I remember a teacher that I had. Now, I went through the seventh grade. I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry. This is true. I’d work in the summer and go to school in the winter. But I had this one teacher, it was the principal of the Harrison School in Vinsennes, Indiana. To me, this was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time, any how. He had such wisdom. And we were all reciting The Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over, this little old teacher. Mr. Lasswell was his name.

He says, “I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite The Pledge of Allegiance all semester. And it seems as though it’s becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word.

“I – me. An individual. A committee of one.

“Pledge – dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

“Allegiance – my love and my devotion.

“To the flag – our standard. Old Glory. A symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there’s respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts ‘Freedom is everybody’s job!’

“United – that means that we have all come together.

“States – individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that’s love for country.

“And to the republic – republic. A state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people. And it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

“For which it stands…one nation. One nation, meaning, so blessed by God.

“Indivisible – incapable of being divided.

“With liberty – which is freedom. The right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

“And justice – the principal or quality of dealing fairly with others.

“For all. For all. Which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

“And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite The Pledge of Allegiance.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of The United States of America. And to the republic, for which it stands. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to The Pledge of Allegiance. “Under God.” Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said ‘That is a prayer’ and that would be eliminated from schools, too?”

PHP/MySQL Output In Two Columns, Newspaper Style

OK – here’s another dilemma that I searched the web high and low for, and couldn’t find a solution, so I made it myself.

My dilemma was that I wanted to query a MySQL table and write the first half of the output in one column, and the second half in an adjacent column. For example, say my table has 65 records in it – I want to print records 1-33 in the first column, and 34-65 in the second column. Everything I found had the output with all odd numbered records in the first column and all the even numbered records in the second column. Like:

1 2
3 4
5 6

I wanted:

1 4
2 5
3 6

Here’s how I wrote the code:

echo(“<table cols=3 border=0>\n”); // create main container table
echo(“<tr><td valign=’top’>\n”);
$sql=mysql_query(“SELECT blah1,blah2 FROM blah3 ORDER BY blah1″);
$howmany=mysql_num_rows($sql);
$i=0;
$half=$howmany/2;
$leftover=$howmany%2;
if ( $leftover == 1 )
$half+= 0.5;
echo(” <table cols=1 border=0>\n”); // create table within the outer table left-hand cell
while ($result=mysql_fetch_array($sql)) {
$blah1=stripslashes($result[‘blah1’]);
$blah2=stripslashes($result[‘blah2’]);
if ( $i >= $half ) {
echo(“</table>\n”); // close the left-hand cell table
echo(“</td><td width=25> </td><td valign=’top’>\n”); // close the outer left-hand cell, put in a filler cell for space, and open the outer right-hand cell
echo(“<table cols=1 border=0>\n”); // create table within the outer table right-hand cell
$half=999999999; // make sure half will now always be greater than $i
}
echo(” <tr><td>$blah1</td></tr>\n”);
$i++;
}
echo(” </table>\n”); // close table within the outer table righ-hand cell
echo(“</td></tr>\n”);
echo(” </table>\n”); // close outer container table

Note that if you copy/paste this code, WordPress likes to make “smart quotes” with the left hand quote symbol being different from the right hand quote symbol. Make sure all your double quotes are really double quotes and single quotes are really single quotes.

Books

Wow, it’s been over two years since I posted anything in this category. No, I didn’t forget how to read or stop, I just got lazy and stopped updating my blog. Here’s where I stand right now:

Currently reading the collection of 56 short stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Doctrine and Covenants (in Section 84 right now – see my previous posts about LDS scripture), and I am about to start Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” today.

The Sherlock Holmes stories are an interesting read – they are 56 stories combined into one collection. Some stories reference previous stories, but each story can stand on its own. I’ve been reading these stories for quite a while. I can’t tell you how far into the “book” I am, because I’m reading the stories on a Kindle, which I really enjoy. I am also reading the Doctrine and Covenants on the Kindle. The Dan Brown is a real, traditional paper and binding book. That may feel weird. 🙂

One interesting and cool feature of the Kindle is that it has a built-in dictionary. If I don’t know a word, I just move the cursor to the word and the definition shows up at the bottom of the page. Sherlock Holmes uses a lot of 19th century words and describes modes of transportation that are no longer in use, so I can just move my cursor and get an idea of what he’s talking about.

Oh, yeah, it’s worth noting that I am in the process of building an online bookstore. It’s open for business, but only has about 40-some books listed for sale. If you wanna check it out, it’s at www.booksbygeorge.com – I’m hoping to be adding books to the inventory on a weekly basis. If you check it out, let me know what you think.

Another Solaris item learned

After spending many hours, literally, in trying to figure out why a cron job wasn’t running, I finally stumbled upon the answer. Since this blog is more often than not used as my memory stick (the ram in my brain is beginning to fail), I thought I’d explain the issue and the solution I found.

We recently upgraded a server from Solaris 8 to Solaris 10 using LiveUpgrade. Not a bad way to do things, if you ask me. Once the server was brought up in Solaris 10, one of my users’ crontabs stopped working. In this case, it wasn’t critical, but it was a real pain to catch up what the cron missed (after being gone from the office for 2 weeks.) I tried all kinds of things (except the ones that put me on the path to recovery) including adding test entries to the crontab and seeing if they’d run. They didn’t.

Off to Google I ran. I discovered that our servers are logging cron runs (the log files reside at /var/cron/log), and I hadn’t thought of looking at them until about 15 minutes before the epiphany. I went to set up the servers to log cron runs, because most servers are installed without cron logging. I discovered it was turned on. So, I checked the logs, and found that I was getting the error

! bad user (username) Wed Jul 21 13:38:00 2010

The user is valid, so back to Google. The first answer I found said that you probably have a problem with the user in /etc/passwd or /etc/shadow. The user was in both files, but had been locked using “passwd -l username” – This did not cause any issues in Solaris 8, but once we turned up Solaris 10, the cron jobs ceased running.

The bottom line that I found with this problem is that in Solaris 10, the new security will not allow a user with a locked account to run cron jobs. I assigned a regular password to the user and life is grand once again.

Check it out…

I have just opened an online bookstore, selling primarily used books at cheap prices.  Typical paperbacks in very good condition are selling for about $5 which includes shipping, and hardcovers are selling for about $14, including shipping.  I’m still entering my inventory into the system, so the store catalog will be steadily increasing.  Stop by and browse the store if you’re interested in seeing what’s in my catalog.  The website is http://www.usedbooksbygeorge.com

Something that really annoys the crap out of me!

I have a lot of domain names.  One of them was created for e-mail purposes only.  I also have a couple of domain names for businesses and a podcast.  So here’s what annoys the crap out of me.

Today, I went to a web page of a company that I was investigating.  Their website was www.xyz.com (that’s not really the website, obviously), and xyz was the same name as their company.  On the front page of their website, there’s a graphic that says “Have a question?  Send us an e-mail.  xyz@msn.com.”  Seriously????? If a company is real, they buy a domain name, and build a website, why in the world would they send their business communications through something like msn?  Wouldn’t they have more credibility if their page said “Have a question?  Send us an e-mail.  info@xyz.com”

My skin crawls when I get business cards from “professionals” (business owners, realtors, lenders, etc) with their own website and an e-mail like “ilikecats@aol.com”  (I just made that up.  Don’t send an e-mail to that address.)  Personally, I avoid doing business with someone like that.  They haven’t taken the time or paid the money to figure out how to send e-mail through their domain name.  They could forward their e-mail from “me@mycompany.com” to “ilikecats@aol.com” if they really wanted to.  But, would you look at a house if the realtor e-mailed you from an aol address like that?  I’d find a new realtor!  If someone doesn’t know how to do that, how in the world did they get their web page set up?  They should hire a good webmaster.  If their webmaster doesn’t know how to do that, they need a new webmaster.

To Congress: The 5 Pledges

Ask your congressmen if they are willing to take these 5 pledges.  If they’re not, we need to vote them out and vote in someone who will take the pledges!

To Congress, The 5 Pledges

1. I believe in a balanced budget and therefore will vote for a freeze in government spending until that goal is realized.

2. I believe government should not increase the financial burden on its citizenry during a difficult economic times, therefore I will oppose all tax increases until our economy has rebounded.

3. I believe more than four decades of US dependence on foreign oil is a travesty, therefore I will support an energy plan that calls for immediately increasing usage of all domestic resources including nuclear energy, natural gas and coal as necessary.

4. I believe in the sovereignty and security of our country and therefore will support measures to close our borders except for designated immigration points so we will know who is entering and why. I will vehemently oppose any measure giving another country, the United Nations, or any other entity power over US citizens.

5. I believe the United States of America is the greatest country on earth and therefore will not apologize for policies or actions which have served to free more and feed more people around the world than any other nation on the planet.

Questions to ask

I’ll preface these questions by stating that I am just learning about many of the situations that these questions ask.  So, if you ask me for details on a particular question, I may not be able to explain without further research.  These questions were asked by Glenn Beck during his program on Fox News the week of August 24.  Here they are:

Day 1

  • Our unfunded liability for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is close to $100 trillion. Is there any way to pay for these programs without bankrupting America?
  • We are in so much debt, why spend more borrowed money on cap-and-trade and healthcare programs before we stop the flow of red-ink?
  • The stimulus package funneled billions of dollars to ACORN. How does giving billions of dollars to ACORN stimulate the economy?
  • If it was so important for congress to pass the stimulus bill before they even had time to read it why has only a fraction of the stimulus money been spent 6 months later?
  • Bush said he had to abandon free market principles in order to save them, how exactly does that work?
  • Why won’t members of Congress read the bills before they vote on them?
  • Why are citizens mocked and laughed at when they ask their congressman to read the bills before they vote on them?
  • Was the cash-for-clunkers program meant to save the earth or the economy? Did it accomplish either?
  • How did Van Jones, a self-proclaimed communist, become a special advisor to the president?
  • Did President Obama know of Van Jones’ radical political beliefs when he named him special advisor?
  • The Apollo Alliance claimed credit for writing the stimulus bill—why was this group allowed to write any portion of this bill?
  • If politicians aren’t writing the bills and aren’t reading the bills, do they have any idea what these 1000 page plus bills actually impose on the American people?
  • If the ‘public option’ health care plan is so good why won’t politicians agree to have that as their plan?
  • If town hall meetings are intended for the politicians to learn what’s on our mind—why do they spend so much time talking instead of listening?
  • Politicians are refusing to attend town hall meetings complaining, without evidence, that they are scripted. Does that mean we shouldn’t come out and vote for you since every campaign stop, baby kiss, and speech you give is scripted?
  • Why would you want to overwhelm the system?
  • Is using the economic crises to rush legislation through congress what Rahm Emanuel meant when he talked about “not letting a crisis go to waste”?
  • What are the czars paid? What is the budget for their staffs/offices?

Day 2

  • Who is “surrounding” the President in the White House?
  • Do any of the President’s advisers have criminal records?
  • Are the President’s advisers working to better the country or their own ideals?
  • Who are the anti-capitalists in Washington?
  • What roles do they have in crafting bills?
  • What was “STORM”? What happened to the founders, where are they now?
  • What qualifications must one have to be a Presidential adviser?
  • What is the difference between a community organizer and a community activist?
  • Do the czars have power?
  • Should a communist have the ear of the President of the United States?
  • What role did the Apollo Alliance play in crafting bills?
  • Does the President know the co-founder of the Weather Underground is a board member of the Apollo Alliance?
  • How many people in the administration are connected to the movement for a democratic society?
  • What role does George Soros play… CONSTITUTIONALLY?

Day 3

  • Why does the FCC have a diversity “czar”?
  • Who is Mark Lloyd and how does he plan to “balance” the airwaves?
  • Will he bring back the Fairness Doctrine or worse?
  • Cass Sunstein once said he wants to balance the Internet; is that next?
  • Will broadcasters who leave the airwaves be allowed to go to satellite or Internet without government regulation?
  • Is there any place (that has a mass audience) where the government wont regulate free speech?
  • Why does it seem every member of the Obama advisory team hates capitalism, unless those companies (like G.E.) are in bed with the administration?
  • If Lloyd has his way, stations who don’t comply to the governments definition of the “public interest” will have to pay a massive fine — that helps support public broadcasting:
    • What will be the definition of “public interest”?
    • Who defines “public interest”?
    • Why should it be balanced? Because it’s public airwaves? (Well, there are public roads that go by my house and I don’t count how many Republicans and Democrats are driving on them)

Day 4

  • Why do we need a civilian force?
  • Who is posing a threat to us?
  • Who will this “force” be made up of?
  • Who is the real enemy?
  • Does the president know of a coming event? If not, who builds an army against an unrecognized enemy?
  • Why won’t the media get off their butts and look into these radicals in the White House? And into this civilian army?

Think about it…..

Obama’s health care plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it and whose members will be exempt from it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke.  What could possibly go wrong?

Irony

Yesterday, on the way home from work, I was behind a local police officer at a red light.  A car made a very interesting right turn (mostly legal), which caught the attention of the cop in front of me.  I was thinking he should get pulled over for, but he didn’t.  The humor in this tale is in the license plate of the creative driver.  Are you ready for it?  The license plate is “DONUT 1”