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First Strike

Is it OK to strike first? The vagaries of English have struck first. They like to do that. And anything English does, is A-OK by me.

My hope is that I will strike it rich. In that case, I really don’t care who went first. If it is the first grocery store to strike, well then it depends how hungry I am. Hungry = Don’t strike first. But then my stomach has kind of struck first already, so technically they wouldn’t be striking first.

In bowling, it is tantamount to strike first and often in order to rack up the highest score. If you know that you can pull off the first strike successfully, then you may also be able to parlay that into a liquid commodity procured via the wallet(s) of your defeated foe(s), from the bar.

Tyoes usully strike fist and may go unoticed. Thankfilly I find and eradictate them all! I laugh at there feebil attempts! Bwahaha! Note: Apparently typos have feelings, too. As I was typing this last sentence, three words flashed on the screen. YULE BEE SARI, –THE TYPOS Not sure what they meen, but their only tpos aftr all.

Jackie Chan’s First Strike was a fun movie. Lot’s of action and not too much plot to get in the way. And he got to wear a marine land shark character suit.

If you are a pitcher, you job depends on striking first. If you are the batter, though, you ought not ever strike, first or otherwise.

Other than those times listed above, I’d have to say it really depends. Thankfully I am rarely in situations where I will have to attack. Sometimes, too, it is better to wait and let the other strike first. This is becoming more apparent to me playing chess. It goes against my natural instinct to wait. I like to capture pieces. Unfortunately, I find myself at a distinct material disadvantage in the middle game, without a clear recollection of exactly how that came to be the case. If I wait, I am more likely to keep even or even be ahead a point or two. It makes the difference.

BTW–since I wrote that section about typos, I have hit way more wrong keys than usual. Funny. But just in case, I hereby offer formal apologies to THE TYPOS.


O cruel fate!

Well, at least it is healing up finally. One would think, or let me say I used to think, that typing involved only the tips of one’s fingers. Not so, not so. I also used to think that my double-edged Safe-T razor, that big metal one that has the blade edges tucked inside and out of harm’s way, could slice so deep, so cleanly, close to and below the nail. ‘Twas a quick prick and sharp. One also has rather, shall we say, exuberant blood vessels there so near the finger tips. I tried typing, but even my feather-light touch would continually push apart those two pieces and expose the brilliant, angry, red crescent-moon. *Sigh*

I guess that I am surprised that I am still surprised by how much I don’t realize how much this hitherto unknown and unfelt parts of me are used in everyday activities until they are somehow damaged, given my life-long yet unwilled propensity for self-inflicted collateral damage.

I think that last sentence made sense, but it is late and I am trying to make up for lost time. Maybe I should re-read tomorrow 😉


OK, out of order, a dollar late and a day short. How would I tax people? No, the better question is How do I tax people? The answer is simple–with my blog, of course!

November is getting closer and I really am going to have to get my priorities in order. No more cheesy, late responses to the daily post! (Famous last words…)

Do you agree with the death penalty?

That would have to be for me a qualified, ‘it depends.’ Of course that would be of little comfort to those awaiting sentencing, and would be impossible to use and apply fairly. Could you just imagine a grumpy judge or jury deciding whether or not for them the offense qualifies for meeting out death to a fellow human being?

Rather than delve directly into argumentation, opposing views, pros and cons, &c., I thought that I would relate two stories that come to mind whenever the topic of the death penalty is brought up, one fictional and one true.

The first one comes from Planet of the Apes–the original movie. I don’t remember all the details, but relevant ones are that one of the apes had killed another ape. This had never happened before, so they had no precedent to follow. Could they let him go? Not a wise choice. Would they kill him themselves? But then they would be guilty of the same crime, some argued. They group of apes ended up chanting his crime out loud at the miscreant as they closed in around him. He climbed up a tree to try and get away. He ended up falling off the branch on his own, so to speak, and died when he hit the ground. Were the other apes going to kill him anyway? Were they trying to drive him away? Did he subconsciously let himself slip and die, because he could no longer bear the accusations of his peers or his conscience? That is left up to the viewer.

The other story is how a small country made up of many islands around about the Indian Ocean dealt with a murderer. I saw it on a news story in the 90s and it had all taken place several years earlier. A German man and his girlfriend were vacationing in that country. I don’t remember all of the details, but he ended up killing her and there was heavy drug use involved. Now, this country did not have the death penalty, did not really have violent crime to speak of for so long that they were in a quandary as to what to do, because it would be setting a bad precedent to just let him go, and he would in all likelihood keep on using the drugs that had contributed to the murder, and might do it again or something worse. This country’s leaders did not want to see anyone else get hurt either.

So this is what they did, and both he and the German government agreed to the arrangement. Since this country did not have any prisons, they sent him to one of there most remote islands. It had a small, self-sufficient population who had also agreed to take him in. The only contact with the outside world was from a few boats a year that were sent to check up on the people living there and trade for a few provisions. They took the man in,  and he became apprenticed to the village carpenter, and got married to one of villagers. He helps repair the homes that get damaged during the stormy season.

The news commentators were of the opinion that this was just terrible. How could justice be served in this way? He kills someone, and then gets to live in paradise as if nothing had happened at all. What they meant was that it wasn’t fair, and that he should have been punished more harshly for what he did. But I would ask those commentators, to what end? And what would be harsh enough without going too far? Who would get to decide?

I think that country did the best possible thing in the given circumstances. In reality he is in prison. He is not allowed to leave that island, ever. It serves one of the purposes expounded for the necessity of prisons, which is to keep people who are a danger to themselves and others out of the general society. Another reason for prisons, or correctional facilities as they have been called, is to reform the prisoner. Without commenting on the success of this reason in prison systems around the world, this killer is reformed–completely. He no longer can use or have access to drugs. He has learned a useful skill and spends his time helping others surrounded by his new family. He has all but forgotten German, his native language, his English. He speaks now only the dialect of those native inhabitants. He cannot return to his former ways, friends and family or to the amenities of modern life. Who he was is dead, and so he has suffered the death penalty, and yet without the loss of additional life.

Well, these are two of the things that come to mind. Hopefully food for thought.

The First Snag at Chapter 2

Plunging through PCL Chapter 2. It’s an exposition chapter to kind of show off what lisp can do by making a simple database for a music collection using property lists. Pretty cool, right?

And halfway through I hit a snag. Yesterday everything worked fine. Today I added some of load and save features, started up the REPL again and BOOM! the function to add records no longer worked. Not the new functions, mind you, but the one that already worked. Frustration and Head Scratching abounded.

I realized what the difference was. When I restarted the REPL, obviously the previous definitions were cleared. This should not have been a problem, because I reloaded the file with all my work. But here is the catch. The book builds up the program piece by piece, so that by the time you have all the major functions built, the global *db* is already defined. But that value gets wiped if you restart. So when the code tried to push the list onto *db* it landed me in the debugger. Apparently one cannot instantiate variables that way, at least in lisp.

Added (defvar *db*) to the file and it works fine now, even after restarting the REPL.

This leaves me with two (for now) questions:

  1. Would setf have been a better choice?
  2. More generally, I dislike the idea of defining globals, so what might be a better way to achieve the same goals?


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