(to the tune of “Ohio” as performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
The compound is under fire
No place for them to flee
No answer to their wire
Four dead in Benghazi
Gotta get weapons
Gotta get boots on the ground
Should have been done long ago
Why were we sent here
With threats from every town?
Who didn’t care? Who didn’t know?
It’s all just demonstrations
They’ll tell you on TV
YouTube can cause sensations
Four dead in Benghazi
And threats to shutter the light
That grey old ladies don’t want to know
It doesn’t matter
What really happened that night
It was a long time ago
No reason to inquire
There’s nothing here to see
Just walk away from the mire
Four dead in Benghazi
Four dead in Benghazi
Four dead in Benghazi
Four dead in Benghazi
Four dead in Benghazi
– No apologies to Neil Young; if he had any cojones, he’d record this himself.
As I wrote here years ago, I was a child of the space age and later ended up working (as a contractor) at NASA/Johnson Space Center on the Space Shuttle flight simulators, then next door at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. And so with interest, I found over at What’s Up With That this link to a truly amazing web-based real-time recreation of the Apollo 11 descent to the Moon. As Anthony Watts says, “Trust me, this will be the best 18 minutes you ever spend online.” Having just done so, I agree.
You see actual footage from the Apollo 11 landing module, while hearing (and reading) synchronized, real-time discussions going on at Mission Control, in the command module, and in the landing module. Furthermore, when you see underlined text in the discussions, you can mouse over to get pop-up boxes explaining the significance of certain items.
What struck me while watching this, in a visceral way that never has before, is what an astounding, near-miraculous, and incredibly gutsy accomplishment this was. We’re talking about technology that is nearly half a century removed from our present day, in an unforgiving and inaccessibly remote environment, with little opportunity to take “baby steps’ towards the actual landing. So much could have gone wrong (as per Apollo 13), and yet we did not lose a single astronaut on these missions. Indeed, we can’t even replicate these missions nowadays.
This is not a lead-in to a plea that NASA be given lots of money and a mandate to return to the moon. Quite the contrary: I believe NASA was the major roadblock to human expansion into space for much of the time since Apollo. Private enterprise and endeavors are the future of human space exploration, and they are finally pushing forward, albeit decades later than they should have.
Here’s the good news: both aerospace and information technology have advanced in the past 45 years. Given what the US accomplished with Apollo in the 1960s, I believe that private endeavors can return to the moon — and perhaps even more — in what remains of my lifetime. Lives will almost certainly be lost in the process, but that has always been the cost of exploration and expansion.
It is a glorious time to be alive. Now, go land on the moon. ..bruce..
“Dishonored” (2012) is one of my favorite games in quite some time. I haven’t put as many hours into it as I have into, say, “Endless Space” or “XCOM: Enemy Unknown”, but it has a moral resonance, stealth flavor, and a multipath openness that’s refreshing, particularly when compared to “Tomb Raider” (2013). I’ve played the original Dishonored campaign to completion four times, and so I was looking forward to the release this past week of “The Knife of Dunwall”, an inexpensive ($10) downloadable content for Dishonored that introduces two new areas within Dunwall and revisits a third. I purchased it on the day of release and have since completed it twice, with a third run-through underway.
In Knife, you play Daud, the master assassin who kills Empress Jessamine Kaldwin at the start of the original Dishonored campaign. The Outsider offers you a chance at some form of redemption by giving you a single name to investigate: Delilah. Your #2 assassin, Billie Lurk, tracks the name down to that of a whaling ship, and your quest begins. Your first mission takes you into a whaling slaughterhouse to question the current owner of the Delilah for more information. The second quest takes you to the well-guarded mansion of the original owner (and namer) of the Delilah to find out more details. And the third quest takes you back to Daud’s headquarters in the flooded district, which have now been taken over by Overseers, who are questioning — and killing — the assassins who work for you. The first mission is clearly the best of the three — not just for the unusual setting, but for the number of different paths you can take getting into the slaughterhouse and getting around it once you’re inside.
The game mechanics are the same as in Dishonored, though you have a few new powers (such as Summon Assassin) and lack a few that you have as Corvo (such as Possession). You’ve got some new weapons — such as arc mines, stun mines, and chokedust — and some corresponding new upgrades, including one I very much wanted in the original Dishonored campaign: additional sleep dart capacity (though only up to 15). You also have the opportunity to buy “favors” for your upcoming mission, such as having a rune left in a given location for you, or disabling certain alarms ahead of time. I would love to see some of these made available as an option in the original Dishonored campaign or a revised/extended version thereof.
Blink works a bit differently for Daud than for Corvo — when you press and hold the activate Blink button (right mouse click on the PC version for me), time freezes, and you can take as long as you want to aim your blink. This is particularly useful in combination with a jump, either straight up or forward off a high point, though it eliminates a bit of the pit-of-the-stomach thrill when you wonder if you’re actually going to make it all the way across to the other side or plummet to the street/floor below.
I think that Knife tends to disappoint a bit when compared to the length and complexity of the original Dishonored campaign. That may be solved in part when Bethesda releases its second Daud-based DLC, “The Brigmore Witches” (which Knife clearly sets up). But as it stands, it is not at all clear how the events and goals in Knife are helping Daud towards any form of redemption, aside from the fact that he can pursue a non-lethal/low chaos solution in all three missions. And even though you can collect runes at a pretty good clip — including being able to buy an extra one (left for you in a marked location) for 150 coins in each of the first two missions — you still don’t have the time to build up Daud’s powers the way you can build up Corvo’s, even though Daud is supposedly much more experienced. Also, as other reviewers have noted, if you’re willing to pursue a lethal/high chaos path, you can rip through these missions in a pretty short time. Finally, there just isn’t anything even close to the emotional payoff and closure that comes when completing Dishonored at low chaos.
But even with those complaints, I still recommend Knife strongly and consider it well worth the $10. I think that many of my complaints will, in fact, be answered — or at least mollified — by The Brigmore Witches, especially if I can transition my buffed Daud character from a completed Knife campaign into the start of a Witches campaign. In the meantime, I’ve got to get back to the Timsh mansion. 8/10. Spoilers after the jump.
Ashton’s Law: Whenever someone tries to do something for you, they usually end up doing it to you. — Alan Ashton (co-founder of WordPerfect), 1974
Alan made that statement in the first computer science course I ever took (CS 131 in the fall of 1974, at Brigham Young University); it remains one of the most important maxims I have learned in nearly 40 years of software engineering. He didn’t term it “Ashton’s Law”; I did, and have referenced as such ever since.
Let me start off by saying that this is not a review of Windows 8. I’ve seen nothing in Windows 8 that has compelled me to install it on any of my Wintel systems (1 laptop, 3 desktops, and a server). All my systems currently run Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, except for the server, which runs Windows Home Server 2011. I was happy with XP, thought Vista was atrocious, and felt Win7 was a great improvement over both. To date, I have avoided buying a newer laptop or desktop precisely because the ones I’ve looked at come with Win8 pre-installed. That itself is feedback: I see Win8 as something to be avoided, not embraced.
Most of what I have read on Windows 8 has served to reinforce that impression, and the evidence is starting to accumulate that I am not alone in that opinion. Here’s the opening of an article that came out today by Louis Ramirez from Real Clear Technology:
Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, it seems that Windows 8 isn’t meeting expectations. According to research firm Net Applications, Microsoft’s latest OS hasn’t even been able to match sales of Vista (which, if you recall, was a major fail for the company). Making matters worse, Microsoft has a long line of unhappy manufacturers – including HP, ASUS, Fujitsu, and Samsung – upset with Windows 8′s failure to revitalize an already-sluggish PC market.
In response, Microsoft is discounting Windows 8 licenses to its original equipment manufacturing (OEM) partners; licensing fees have fallen from $120 to just $30. And while the discount is intended to help move 11″ ultraportables, our deal data suggests that the cut – in addition to the low adoption rate – is affecting prices on all Ivy Bridge Windows 8 systems, including mainstream 15″ configurations.
Perhaps even more telling are comments from a major Win8 app developer that were offered in defense of Windows 8:
Paul Kim, Ratio’s CEO, said part of the reason Windows 8 hasn’t done better so far is that many end users haven’t yet seen the full benefit of Microsoft’s approach.
“There’s a value to using a touch screen and a keyboard at the same time that society hasn’t truly understood because they haven’t immersed themselves in those scenarios that well,” Kim said, describing how he uses his Surface RT on the plane. . . .
However, Whitman added that he is confident Windows 8 will reach a critical mass. ”I think it’s just a slower takeoff,” he said.
First, the comment about tablets and keyboards is just silly, not to mention wrong. Tablets with keyboard have been around pretty much as long as tablets have; I’ve been using a keyboard with my iPad for 2 1/2 years, and do so particularly on planes. Similarly, there are plenty of keyboards for Android tablets. It is likely one of the first accessories purchased by any tablet owner who plans to use her or his tablet for work-related purposes.
Second, when you have to argue for the lack of understanding and/or appreciation of your potential customer base as a reason for slow adoption, you’re already in big trouble. Apple’s sold 120+ million iPads in 3 years; Microsoft has sold about 1% of that — about 1.5 million units — in roughly 6 months, or 18% of the same period. (Apple also sold 1 million iPads in its first month and sold 3 million in a single weekend last fall).
Third, all that I’ve read suggests that Win8 — as per Ashton’s Law — gets in the way some of the key aspects of Win7 that I use and rely upon the most. Why would I pay — both in terms of money and in terms of adjusting my working habits — to install an operating system that hinders me, rather than helps me?
Fourth, the UI is ugly. Here’s a quick test: how many OS, tablet, and smartphone manufacturers do you think are going to seek to imitate the look and feel of the Windows 8 user interface? By contrast, how many have sought (and still seek) to imitate the various incarnations of the Macintosh and iOS user interfaces, even at the risk of litigation?
I am relieved to find that many manufacturers continue to sell some laptops and desktops with Windows 7 pre-installed, and I may well go that route when I start to replace some of my aging systems. On the other hand, I may bite the bullet and finally start buying Apple hardware instead, with Win7 running under Parallels when I need it. Not the result that Microsoft was hoping for with Windows 8, but the one they have brought upon themselves nevertheless. ..bruce..
It’s never wrong to stand up to a bully. In fact I have never found a way to put a bully in his place apart from confronting one until they back down.
Enter the Brennan nomination to be CIA chief, in testimony I still proceedings quite fathom, Attorney General Holder stated:
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”
While our current President has been approaching the Constitution from multiple novel angles, this was flatly outrageous.
Now Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has decided to filibuster the Brennan nomination for CIA head. Not the modern “polite” filibuster, but the actual “I am going to stop this POS by ranting non-stop” kind. Will any of the cowards from the opposition party find the spine to support this confrontation?
[UPDATED AND REVISED 03/08/13 1423 MST]
I completed Tomb Raider last night; while I did use walkthroughs for a few segments (without shame, I might add), I mostly did it on my own. Total playing time was a bit over 20 hours. Even though — as I note below — there are some aspects to the game I don’t like, I am still very impressed at what this rather large and dispersed team put together. Also, as an old computer science fart who took a graduate-level computer science graphics class all the way back 1976 — and then wrote my own graphics library (for the Apple II) from scratch in the early 1980s for Sundog: Frozen Legacy — I never cease to be amazed at the ongoing advances in real-time computer graphics animation, as well as physics modeling, and Tomb Raider is no exception (compare the video trailer above with the first  Tomb Raider — actual game play starts at 03:58 or so). In any case, I’ve revised my preliminary review to reflect my thoughts upon completion.
Of the previous “Tomb Raider” games, I only ever played that very first one, and even that not very much — it was my daughter Crystal who was the “Tomb Raider” aficionado (both games and movies). My own taste in games tends to run to 4X and other turn-based strategy games rather than twitch games, and all my games are PC-based. That said, I purchased “Dishonored” late last year — largely because I had bought it for another daughter, Salem, as a Christmas present — and thoroughly enjoyed it (and, in fact, completed the game several times). So with the rebooted “Tomb Raider (2013)” being launched on March 5th, I succumbed to an impulse buy on release day and bought it on Steam. [Note: I'm not sure how many years it has been now since I bought a new game on CD/DVD rather than via electronic download; at least a few.]
That I finally dragged myself away from the computer to bed around 0400 the next morning can be considered my fundamental thumbs-up for the game. My single biggest criticism is reflected by my impulse to quit the game and uninstall it just a few hours before that. I’ll explain both.
The premise is simple: this is Lara Croft’s first major adventure. She is a 17-year-old traveling with an archaeological expedition to search out evidence of an ancient Japanese queen/goddess and her kingdom. Their ship — on Lara’s recommendation — sails into the “Dragon Triangle” east of Japan and is quickly shipwrecked during a major storm on an uncharted island. Uncharted, but not uninhabited — and things fall apart very quickly. The survivors are scatted and some are killed right away. The island itself has lots of crashed aircraft and shipwrecked vessels on or around it; the local inhabitants (apparent survivors) are not at all friendly. Lara has to try to survive, even as she seeks to rendezvous with and/or rescue other survivors of her party, a process that involves a lot of leaping, climbing, dodging and killing. As that happens, you learn more and more about the island, its history, and its inhabitants.
The fundamental game design is, “Die until you get it right.” Getting it right can involve escaping physical threats (e.g., rock slides and collapsing/burning structures), killing and/or escaping from groups of bad guys, solving puzzles, and traversing difficult/dangerous terrain (often while dealing with one or more of the other three threats). The game story itself is relatively linear, with cut-scenes at key points; you do, however, have the ability to revisit formerly discovered areas to search for additional items. You don’t have the ability to save games directly (though you can have up to three different games in progress); that is done automatically for you, so when you die, you are automatically restarted back at the last save point. I will note that in some cases, that last save point is somewhere in the middle of your current firefight or crisis — sometimes that’s an advantage, but other times, it’s a pain in the butt, since you can’t go back and start the whole encounter in a different way (or avoid it altogether).
As you go through the game, you gain experience points, which in turn convert into skill points, which allow you to ‘purchase’ different skills. Similarly, you scavenge for salvage points and weapon parts, which can be used to upgrade your weapons. Both upgrades — skills and weapons — can only be done at ‘camps’ that you encounters throughout the game. You can ‘fast-travel’ between certain camps (once you have found them on foot), and using a campsite creates a new game savepoint. The weapons themselves (you start out with none) are only gained through specific encounters with cut-scenes. Note that weapons are (largely) useless without ammo; it’s very easy to run out of ammo during a major fight sequence, so you have to think carefully about which weapon you are using, and how fast you shoot. You also may find yourself searching dead enemies and otherwise scavenging ammo in the middle of a firefight, which can make things rather tense.
There are, in fact, a number of tombs to raid along the way; they are all uninhabited and largely exist to present puzzles to be solved. If you do successfully explore the tomb, you get experience points, but they otherwise have no impact on the game (i.e., they are completely optional). Similarly, there are several different classes of objects that you can search for and find – documents and various items — that gain you some experience points and give you some background on what’s going on at the island (from several different perspectives). Finally, each region usually has a few task challenges (e.g., finding and stealing eggs from a certain number of bird nests) that also give you experience points. Again, that these tombs, artifacts, and quests are completely optinoal, and their only real benefit or impact on the game is the gain in XP.
It took me a little while to get used to combat — the general principle is ready-weapon-and-aim by holding the right mouse button down, then fire by tapping the left mouse button (or in some cases the space bar) while still holding the right mouse button down. Movement is WASD/Space (FLRB/Jump), with Shift, Ctrl, and Alt as modifiers. E is the general ‘interact with object’ button, F is used primarily in melee situations. Several situations require you to tap or mash (press repeatedly) certain keys for the desired effect; for example, when wrestling with a bad guy (or animal), you repeatedly alternate A and S to struggle (holding them at bay), then use F to kick or bite at a key moment. The screen will often prompt you as to the right keys to be using at that moment. The most useful key is the Q key, which triggers your ‘survival instinct’. What this actually means is that the current scene fades to a grayscale display, and important items and locations light up. (Here’s a video that summarizes the basics of the game.)
You can have up to four weapons and can select among them using number keys (1-4) or the mouse scroll wheel. Note that as the game goes along, your weapons will add additional capabilities; these can be chosen by repeatedly selecting the same weapon. Combat itself (at least at the Easy level) feels a bit more like Torchlight II than like Dishonored — you can take on an awful lot of bad guys and kill them all while surviving and recovering from an awful lot of punishment — but from my point of view, that’s a good thing.
All in all, the game is fun and compelling; not many games can make me stay up until 0400, particularly when I knew I would have to get up at 0645 to put the trash out (which, by the way, I did). It is also very immersive.
I do, however, have some criticisms (and one near-deal-breaker). First, the game has no ‘crouch’ mode, at least in single-player. There are some alternatives — you tend to crouch down automatically behind half-height structures, you can trigger a brief ‘roll/evade’ mode during combat by pressing the Shift key, and you can ‘walk’ instead of run by holding the Ctrl key down while moving. But I really, really miss the ‘crouch’ movement mode from Dishonored, as well as its ‘lean around the corner and peek’ commands (Q/E). I’m really surprised at how awkward stealthy movement is in TR, given its milieu.
Second — and again, this is in comparison to Dishonored — usually there really is only one path/set of choices from point A to point B. One of the brilliant aspects of Dishonored’s game design was not just that you had multiple physical routes and actions you could take to accomplish a given task, but that there were both immediate and long-term consequences to those choices. Not so in TR. You have some freedom to wander around a given setting, mostly to find salvage and tsotchkes, but usually there is pretty much one way, more or less, to get to your next destination, with some predetermine encounters. In many cases, you can’t even backtrack; that is, the opening you just emerged from will not let you retreat back through it to regroup or better prepare. Still, the underlying game design model is cinematic — there is a very definite story arc that pretty much pins down what’s going to happen next — and within that model, the game succeeds very well.
Third, there are a few sequences — in particular, a two-part sequence about a third of the way through the game that I will describe in the ‘spoilers’ section — that can be very frustrating and tedious to get through. That two-part sequence in particular — which represented a grand total of about 60 seconds of on-screen action — blocked me for an hour and a half on the first night I played it, and that was with the game setting on ‘Easy’. The issue wasn’t solving a puzzle — it was shifting left and right multiple times at just the right moment, where a shift just a split second too early or too late would end up killing Lara violently (and let me just add: what is it with the game designers and graphic impalement?). What should have been a visually exhilarating sequence was, instead, the Nearly Endless Loop from Hell, particularly since there is no way to avoid or bypass it. Yes, I did finally get past it — but knowing it’s there may be enough to keep me from ever starting a second game.
Even so, the NELfH was worth enduring to be able to reach the point of shooting lots of ruthless bad guys (as well as handy nearby drums of fuel) with [minor spoiler alert] fire arrows; I’m a sucker for any game that lets me be a deadly archer. And weapons just got better as things went along.
There are, of course, some bugs as well. I ran into three bugs in fairly short order about halfway through the game, two of which were fixed by completely exiting the game and then relaunching it. All three occurred during an escape from a burning temple complex. In the first — while Laura had a spotlight trying to light her up, while a high-powered machine gun was firing at her — Lara suddenly went into a continuous dodge mode (as if I were holding the Shift key down). This meant that she was constantly running around and was very difficult to control. It continued even after she was killed and the segment restarted. I thought it might be my keyboard, but I brought up a text editor and verified it was working just fine. I exited and then restarted the game, and it went away.
The second — not fixed — happened when she was subsequently running across a bridge being destroyed at Mathias’s command. The camera angle was looking back at her (i.e., you saw her front). Every time I would press W (run forward) to speed her up, she would slow down and be killed by the bridge’s collapse. After half a dozen tries, I finally pressed S (run backward) — and she sped up in the forward direction and made it off the bridge. I don’t know if an exit/restart would have fixed it; I figured it out before I got to that point.
Let me note in passing here that quite often TR does not give you much or any freedom of camera, whereas other times it’s just fine. A minor annoyance, but an annoyance nevertheless.
The third happened when Lara then subsequently tried to climb to the top of a burning building to rendezvous with a helicopter. She jumped from collapsing flooring onto some railing, walked up the railing and jumped onto a suspended crate, and then jumped from the crate to grab onto a window ledge, where she dangled. At that point, the W key should have raised her up onto the ledge and out the window, but it didn’t. She could move side to side; she could let go and die; but she would not get up on the ledge. I tried every key; nothing worked (including killing her a few times and restarting the segment). I finally did an exit/restart — and she leapt directly from the crate onto the ledge and climbed out to the roof.
There was also an intermittent bug that occurred a few times when I went to upgrade skills or weapons at a campsite: the whole display was reversed, as if I was looking at it from behind. This one was a tricky one to get out of; the game in a few cases turned unresponsive for a period (i.e., ignoring the ESC key), but each time, it finally cleared itself.
Note that once you finish the story arc of the game, you are allowed to go back in and use the ‘fast travel’ mode to revisit parts of the island to continue to explore, find/collect items you had passed by previously, and complete some of the regional challenges the game presents. I did this (for about 3 hours) after finishing the game; at first, it appears that all humans had disappeared, and I thought I was going to get bored very quickly. Then I encountered several groups of hostile bad guys at the third region I visited (the mountain village) and so started having fun again.
Unlike most of the other games I’ve enjoyed in the past year — Endless Space, Dishonored, Torchlight II, XCOM, and Skyrim (which I still haven’t finished) — I’m not sure how inclined I am to replay Tomb Raider to completion again. It’s true that now that I understand more about experience points and salvage, if I replay it, I will probably be more inclined to thoroughly milk each region for all the XPs/salvage I can get out of them so that I can move up the skills and weapons curve faster. But I know pretty much what’s going to happen when, and the ‘die until you get it right’ design almost means that, in fact, you really never lose a game — you just choose to keep going or choose to give up.
Still, all things considered — and even with my criticisms — I think the game is an astounding accomplishment, and I’ll cheerfully give it a 9-out-of-10 score. Highly recommended.
Spoilers after the jump.
OK, so I was (and am still) dismayed by the outcome of the elections, and all that has happened during the two months since has done little to alleviate my concern. Given that plenty of other blogs continue to fight the political fight, I am taking a hiatus from that fight myself. Except, of course, when I choose not to. In the meantime, I need to consider what I want to focus on here. Haven’t decided yet.
I am, however, writing a novel based on the computer game SunDog: Frozen Legacy that Wayne Holder and I developed nearly 30 years ago. Here’s the prologue (PDF), and I will continue to post sections of the novel as I deem them complete enough to make public. Feedback is welcome. ..bruce..
It’s hard to believe that this is only day 2 of the cruise — we have been underway since about 5 pm on Sunday, with only a half-hour pause at the Bahamas in a vain attempt to see whether we could make our scheduled stop at Half Moon Cay (answer: no). So right now we’ve been at sea for something over 50 hours straight (and at reduced speeds, since we skipped an 8-hour layover in the Bahamas); tomorrow will be our first actual (and second scheduled) landing, at Ocho Rios in Jamaica. On the other hand, we did cruise within about 8 miles of Cuba (really), so that was some excitement today.
The sessions today were all excellent, if usually a bit depressing. On the other hand, I’m currently upstairs in the Crow’s Nest (I keep wanting to call it “10 Forward”, though “11 Forward” would be more precise) for the usual late night gathering, and my notes and schedule are downstairs. I will revise and extend my notes in this post later, when I have access to them.
[Place saver for notes from today's sessions.]
Also, I feel horribly underdressed right now; tonight was one of the two formal nights at dinner, and all the other men here are in dark suits or tuxedos, with the women in various formal dresses and pants suits. I appear to be the only person here who went back to his/her cabin and changed clothes before coming up here. At least I wore a dress shirt and real shoes with my jeans, instead of the polo shirt and sandals I originally had on.
Speaking of dinner, that was in fact the hightlight of the day. The NR Cruise is set up so that you sit at dinner with a different group of other cruise attendees each night; three of the seven nights, your dinner table includes one of the NR Cruise speakers. Tonight was the first ‘speaker’ dinner for Sandra and me, and Scott Rasmussen (yes, that Scott Rasmussen) was the guest at the table. We’re actually friends with some of the other NR speakers, so we know that it can be a touch challenging for them to be lively, witty, etc., every night for a different group of people. But Scott, who was there with his wife Laura, was friendly, engaging, interesting, and informative. As noted, he spoke on a panel yesterday, and at dinner we continued to discuss the challenges he raised that the Republican Party faces going forward. We also talked about him helping his father co-found ESPN, how he subsequently got into polling, and some of his thoughts on the future direction of polling. Oh, and on top of the intensity of this election year in his polling business, he and Laura live near the coast in New Jersey and lost power for six days due to Sandy (though they were spared any damage).
Well, sitting here, underdressed, with an iPad and keyboard balanced on my lap does not appear to be the right context to socialize and mingle (though Jim Geraghty was gracious enough to stop and say hi). Plus we have a 7:30 river tubing trip in the morning in Jamaica. I will go shake a few hands and head to bed. ..bruce w..
Our port o’ call at Half Moon Cay (Bahamas) was cancelled due to strong winds and heavy swells (tenders are used to transport passengers to and from the island), so we spent the whole day at sea (with some strong swells, which seem to have died down in the last hour or so).
Two sessions today. The first had Jim Geraghty interviewing Scott Rasmussen and Ralph Reed — Jim’s opening question was, “What the hell happened?” Bottom line (as per Ralph Reed): “we cannot lose 80% of the minority vote and win a national election.” Rasmussen was quite blunt: “the Republican brand is damaged”; he also pointed out that the Republicaan primary slate turned off a lot of independent voters before the nominee was ever chosen.
The second session was on the state of the economy; Kevin Williamson moderated, with Kevin Hassett, Alan Reynolds, and Andrew Stuttaford. Bottom line: yeah, we’re in deep trouble, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
The best session is going on right now: Roman Genn, James Lileks, Peter Robinson, Jonah Goldberg, and Rob Long in the traditional Night Owl comedy session.