Just when you’d gotten used to the idea of having your vacation home trashed by Hurricane Bruce, word comes that The Weather Channel will start giving names to winter storms this coming season. The list of names for the coming winter has a Greco-Roman theme to them though Dr. Data feels that a Norse theme might be more appropriate. Read the story and decide for yourself.

A tip o’ the chapeau goes to Dr. Data’s super sibling brother for bringing this to his attention. Thanx Jim!

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I have been a subscriber to Anu Garg’s A-Word-A-Day for well over a decade. Five times a week, I get an e-mail with the word of the day, its origins, its definitions and an example of useage. In recent years, this e-mail has grown to include a thought for the day.

Here is the one for Sept. 19, 2012:


To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged. – Norman Mailer, author (1923-2007)


You can, among other things, sign up for A-Word-A-Day at http://wordsmith.org/.

Some of you can probably remember your fathers, uncles or grandfathers talking about such radio “personalities” during World War II as Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally or Lord Haw Haw.  One of the speakers who portrayed Haw Haw was actually an American. (For those who are wondering, Lord Haw Haw did not invent the English landscaping feature known as the “Ha Ha”!) Whilst we are the subject of Americans, Tokyo Rose was often portrayed by Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American citizen born to Japanese immigrants and Axis Sally was an Italian/American named Rita Zucca. During the Korean War, American GI’s had Pyongyang Sally (no relation to Axis Sally).

Now that we are in the age of the internet, our troops in Afghanistan have “Facebook Frances” only this time, it’s not about demorialising propaganda. Instead, it’s all about intelligence gathering. It seems that the armed thugs known as the Taliban have been posing as attractive women on Facebook in order to dupe the troops. (“Hello American GI! Would you happen to have your geospatial co-ordinates handy?”)

ZDNet’s story is on the short side so I’m going to let them do the rest of the talking. Warfare goes digital as the Taliban pose on Facebook as “attractive women” to steal military secrets.

I thought that I would take a moment and give you a folksy update on what’s going on here at The Parsons’ Rant. Think of it as a fireside chat but without the cardigan.

Book Reviews

Yes, I know that I haven’t done one in a while and that I have yet to publish the most recent one on Goodreads. At this moment, I have 4 books in the Review Queue© due to a reading binge in August. With any luck, I’ll get one of them out there in the next 7 days.

Blog Posts

My contributions to the worlds of technology and Young Adult Fiction have been sporadic of late. Part of this was due to my annual week at Virginia Beach and part of it was due to ongoing work at the palatial family estate in Hopewell. My brother and I have been labouring to drag the big house – kicking & screaming – into the 21st century. For example, Dr. Data spent four days last week replacing the electrical outlets with three-prong sockets. Most of the two prong sockets were original equipment and the house appears to have been wired by someone drinking bathtub gin. The face-plates for the outlets have a quarter-inch of paint on them and the necessary screws refuse to turn like they should. At this point, I am about 1/3 of the way through this project.

The fun doesn’t stop there. The house has a laundry list of repairs/fixes and the contractor has announced that he is ready to commence work next week. Therefore, I will make yet another trip to his ancestral home to oversee the work. Since I usually do not have much time in Hopewell for frivolous things like  blog posts, the faithful followers of The Parsons’ Rant will have to do without for 5 or 6 days.

From the Mailbag

Mr. John Doe of Anywhere, USA writes: “Hey Dr. Data! What’s with all the reviews of books about mermaids? You weird or something?”

It’s time for Dr. Data to come out of the closet and confess that he has been a certified mermaid geek since the age of 5. While, ordinarily, he does not believe they exist, he has been known to see one or more after consuming more than one wee dram of Hebridean single-malt. What Dr. Data is working on is an urban fantasy on the subject of mer-folk. These novels have been his research into how other authors have handled the subject. In separating the wheat from the chaff,  he has come upon a number of good authors and exciting stories.

Will Dr. Data ever publish his novel(s). His standard reply is “Not bloody likely!”

That’s It for Now

Time to post this puppy and take Lady Judith out for a bit of lunch.

You will, no doubt, remember my “By Way of Apology” post from last week where I both acknowledged and bewailed the problems with this blog site, to wit, trying to reach a specific page from outwith the site left you with a 500 Server configuration error. I also promised to try to promptly divine the cause of this error post-haste.

Well, that last bit was sidetracked by guests from out-of-town, my mother-in-laws birthday and three book reviews to crank out so I could get back to reading again. As of this morning, my burdens were (temporarily) lifted and I set about trying to sort the problem out.

For some unknown reason, the site is working properly again. I have no idea why, when or how this happened but the problem seems to have vanished as mysteriously as it appeared.

Carry on.

Since 7/13 of this year, The Parsons Rant has been experiencing some configuration issues, the cause of which is unknown. We are working to resolve them as soon as possible. In the meantime, direct links to posts and pages may or may not work properly. Simply go to howardparsons.info and navigate from there. We apologise for the inconvenience.

One of the nice things about being here at the reunion of the 290th is that I get to talk face to face with a number of people who follow this blog. One complaint that I’ve heard both here & elsewhere is that the Twitter Bird can be quite annoying in that it will perch over whatever you’re trying to read.

I added it to this site so that folks could read my last tweet. Well, since 99% of my tweets come from blog posts, the bird is rather redundant. So, Cynthia Teles, the Twitter bird has flown the coop just for you.

Penn Station is a madhouse this time of day. Plenty of people dashing about; Most of them going in one direction and looking in another.

Not much time between trains here. Just enough to ave a Nathan’s hot dog & some fries. I’ll have more time between trains when I return on Sun. Plenty of time to sample exotic foods like Dunkin’ Doughnuts, etc.

The train pulled out 2 min late. This is my favouite part of the trip; Rolling up the Hudson enroute to Albany. Unfortunately, my Flip video recorder is packed in my bag. Will have it handy on the way back. The light should be better then, anyway.

Nothing to do now but sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery. Oh yeah, add strangling the loud mouth across the aisle to that list.

On my way North via Amtrak. My brother Jim was returning from NYC & we were in the same station @ the same time but he couldn’t get down to my platform.We’re just 2 trains that passed in the night.

Waiting to finish switching engines so we can get rolling again. I want to hit the Cafe’ Car as soon as I can.Breakfast was a good while ago.

More from NYC in about 3.5 hours.

This Month’s Rants

January 2020
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Dr. Data has PAD - Pipe Acquisition Disorder

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