Kurt's "Magic" Quadrant

I was recently reminded of a quote from a German General, Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, in 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!"

So I give you, Kurt's "Magic" Quadrant. Apply this to your community/project/workplace and see if it doesn't ring true!


Cat-a-log FAQ

I received a surprising number of questions related to the cat-a-log series. I've attempted to collect them all, and answer them here.

Q: Does your wife think all cats are sweet? What about dogs?

A: Any member of felis catus is by definition unconditionally sweet. She also views many dogs as sweet, though they tend to be held to a much higher standard, (for example, "humping" is unacceptable and any dog known to have committed such an act is Not Sweet).

Q: Could I interest you in a cookbook of Vietnamese recipes?

A: Sure. I always enjoy sampling new ethnic dishes.

Q: I'm moving soon and am unable to bring my pet anaconda with me, will you give it a home too?

A: Possibly. How big is it? What does it eat?

Q: These posts are fake, right? You don't really live with all those cats, do you?

A: I shit you not.

Q: Do you plan to update your blog if you get any new cats?

A: Absolutely not. If any more cats show up here I plan to kill myself.

That's all (the cats) folks

Apparently there is in fact a 15th cat (or a 14th for you purists out there). If cataloged, it would have been Unknown #3, an as-of-yet unnamed cat that comes to my porch to eat the food my wife puts out. I wasn't able to get a picture, and I'm not sure I recall ever seeing it (they all look the same to me anyway). A shame really, rumor has it that it's missing a paw, I could have had some fun with that.

Interestingly, I received quite a few comments on these articles, almost all of which could be described as schadenfreude. There were also a number of questions, I will attempt to answer those in another post.

Cat-a-log Day 14: Pepe

Last but not least, Pepe.


Alright, granted this one might be borderline, but to be fair, many people refer to these guys as Polecats. It comes onto my porch to eat from a dish of food, and my wife and daughter have named it, I think that counts for something.

Other interesting facts:

  • Smells awful.

Cat-a-log Day 13: Unknown 2

Unknown #2... or is it Zorro?

Unknown 2

Yet another cat that I suspect has applied for citizenship under the terms of If it eats, we must greets. I refer to it here as Unknown #2, but someone let slip the name "Zorro" when the subject came up.

Other interesting facts:

  • None.

Cat-a-log Day 12: Unknown 1

This one has been cropping up more and more.

Unknown 1

When I first brought up Unknown #1, my wife explained that it was not her cat, she didn't know why it was hanging around, and that more than likely it belonged to someone and was just wandering a bit. This would be comforting if I hadn't heard it before (see day 6 and day 11 for current examples).

And yes, it eats the food that is placed outside.

Other interesting facts.

  • None

Cat-a-log Day 11: Garfield

Moving on...


This is Garfield, another cat who obtained amnesty through If it eats, we must greets.

The look on his face in the picture above it pretty typical for him. I think he's bummed because he showed up 10 cats too late and has to sleep outside.

Other interesting facts:

  • My wife thinks he's sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 10: Baby

This, is Baby.


I have three words for you. Pure, Unadulterated, Evil. You have never met Baby (and if you are lucky, you never will), but rest assured, she hates you with a passion. When you look into her eyes, you can almost see the gears turning, the plot being hatched. I have little doubt that given the means and opportunity, she'd kill us all.

Other interesting facts:

  • The most ironically named of all our cats.
  • Sold the movie rights of her autobiography to Rob Zombie for an undisclosed figure.
  • Bites (literally and figuratively).
  • Sweet? Surely you jest.

Cat-a-log Day 9: Zoe

Got cat?


Believe it or not, there are some that don't like living in an infestation a house full of cats. Take Zoe here for instance, she hates it.

Zoe is Chloe's sister, one of two that represent the first of our cats. She used to be happy and well adjusted, but runaway immigration has taken a toll on her sanity, (at this point there isn't much left). She experiences violent mood swings that result in physical confrontations with other cats one minute, and pulling her own hair out the next. Poor Zoe.

Other interesting facts.

  • Once hid in the same place for 3 days (non-stop).
  • Goes by the alias Zo-zo.
  • My wife thinks she's sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 8: Thumper

Damn, this is starting to feel like work.


Meet Thumper. Thumper's most distinctive feature is the absence of a tail. It was recently explained to me that this is the way he was born, but I'm having a hard time accepting that. You see, Thumper is fearless, and I don't mean fearless in a heroic kind of way, I mean fearless in a lack of common sense, isn't afraid even when he really really should be, kind of way. I always imagined that there was some fascinating story of extreme stupidity behind that missing tail, and I'm having trouble shaking it off.

Other interesting facts:

  • Has a foot fetish (seriously, wtf?).
  • Enjoys extreme sports.
  • Is Alfie's brother.
  • My wife thinks he's cute handsome (and sweet).

Cat-a-log Day 7: Chloe

It's been a week now; there are still more cats.


Once upon a time we had no cats. None, zip, zero. It was a glorious time. Then one day my wife came to me wanting a kitten. I was initially opposed to this idea but it was clear how important it was to her, so I agreed. She brought home two. Two. One of them was Chloe.

Chloe is a thin and frail cat, which I theorize is the result of some genetic condition which has also left her with an inability to maintain proper core body temperature. As a result, she's been forced to adapt to a parasitic lifestyle, sapping heat from the laps of humans in order to stay alive.

Other interesting facts:

  • Wishes she were a dog.
  • Idolizes my son.
  • Squeaks instead of meows.
  • Also goes by the alias Klo-klo.
  • My son thinks she is sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 6: Stevie

Day 6, Stevie.


To the best of my recollection, Stevie was the first cat integrated under the If it eats, we must greets line of reasoning. As you may know, during the Salem witch trials the accused were thrown into a pool of water, if they floated they were deemed witches. If it eats, we must greets is a similar false dichotomy that states that if you place food out for a stray cat, and it eats it, then it must be your cat.

Also, this picture is just begging for a lolcat interpretation.

Other interesting facts:

  • The most mysterious of all our cats.
  • Claims to have previously belonged to both D.B. Cooper and Jimmy Hoffa.
  • My daughter thinks she is sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 5: Fat Boy

With all of these cats, you didn't really think there'd be one named Skinny Girl without a corresponding "Fat Boy", did you?


Fat Boy is in fact Skinny Girl's brother, and has the distinction of being the very first cat in our house with a penis. Others would follow, but he was the first. Respect.

Fat Boy is the exact opposite of his sister, the yang to her yin. He struts around the house like he owns the place, and is not easily startled or intimidated. He is so arrogant and obnoxious that if he catches you cleaning a litter box, he'll run straight in to drop a deuce while you're cleaning it.

Other interesting facts:

  • Has (severe )issues with flatulence.
  • Doesn't give a rats ass what you think about him.
  • Is too sexy for this shirt.
  • Also goes by the aliases Phat, Phatty, and, Phatphat
  • My wife thinks he's sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 4: Kiwi

Pictured below is Kiwi.


Believe it or not, I actually like this cat. The reason for this should be obvious, I mean look at her, she's adorable!

Kiwi is one of the many cats that were brought home from the Human Society to be "fostered". At the time she was covered in mange and way too young to be away from her mother. My wife and daughter spent countless hours treating the mange and bottle feeding her while I tried to pretend she didn't exist. Now, you'd think all of that TLC would have resulted in a strong attachment to her caregivers, but you'd be wrong. No, she likes me.

Kiwi will crawl up into my arms while I'm seated on the couch or in front of the computer, nuzzle my face, and then work her way onto her back until she is being cradled like a baby. Sometimes she'll reach out with her paws, put one on each side of my face, and meow softly.

Considering what it took to bring her back from the brink, my wife is pretty emotionally invested in Kiwi. When she sees Kiwi and I together she experiences some combination of dismay, betrayal, or gag reflex. Hey, what can I say, Karma's a bitch.

Other interesting facts:

  • Is awesome.
  • Also goes by the alias Keekee.
  • My wife thinks she is annoying.

Cat-a-log Day 3: Skinny Girl

Next up is Skinny Girl.

Skinny Girl

Let's talk about that name for a second, "Skinny Girl". That's only a short step up from names like Cat, Dude, and Hey You. It would stand to reason that if you find yourself struggling to come up with unique names for your pets, then it is entirely possible that you have too many.

Again, I don't really have much to say about this one, it's a relatively recent arrival. Don't read too much into the expression on her face in the picture above though. She appears confident, maybe even arrogant, and she's anything but. This is one seriously skittish cat and I consider myself lucky to have gotten any picture at all, (about 250 milliseconds after the flash fired, she shot straight up into the air and then hauled ass).

Other interesting facts:

  • Goes by the aliases Inny and Neenee.
  • My wife thinks she's sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 2: Alfie

I give you, Alfie.


I really don't know much about this cat, it hasn't been here very long. It is one of many that were/are being (temporarily )fostered here.

What I do know is that you do not want him around when playing darts. Soft-tipped darts inevitably fail to stick from time to time. From the moment a dart hits the floor you have scant seconds to retrieve it before Alfie snatches it up and runs like hell.

Other interesting facts:

  • Is incapable of resisting the allure of a laser pointer.
  • My wife thinks he's sweet.

Cat-a-log Day 1: Star

Meet Star.


Best described as Not Quite Right, Star's mother was a feral stray who rejected her as a kitten, (those wacky animals and their maternal instincts, go figure). A firm believer that no kitten should be left behind, my wife assumed custody. We've had her for years now.

For the most part she keeps to herself. One notable exception to this is bedtime where she demands a prominent position either on or next to my wife. For some reason finding this position always requires a bit of trial and error on her part, and invariably results in several close encounters of her ass and my face.

Other interesting facts:

  • The other cats are unanimous in their dislike of her.
  • If wronged, she will piss on something important to you.
  • Goes by the aliases Tar, or Tartar.
  • My wife thinks she's special, (and sweet).

Cats, cats, and more cats

There are a lot of cats living in and around my house. A lot. When I mention this to people, they invariably want a number, but the truth of the matter is I really don't know, (if that isn't the surest indicator of Way Too Many, I don't know what is). So, I've decided to conduct a little experiment.

Each day, starting tomorrow, I will profile one cat found living here. I will catalog the entire population in an attempt to determine if there are fewer or greater cats than there are days left in 2008.

Let the wagering begin!

R.I.P. Ruta Maya

What the hell? I leave for a couple of weeks and return to find my coffee shop all boarded up!

Boarded up

Ruta Maya served fair trade coffee, obscure (and often excellent) microbrewed beers, and a tasty (although arguably overpriced) lunch. Add free wifi and the fact that they were basically right across the street from work and you had an excellent "home away from home".

My co-workers and I spent many an afternoon working from what became referred to as the "Martin Street Office"...and now it's gone.

Can't Drive 55

I don't know when this started, but I like it.

Speed Limit

Taken on I-10 East about 30 miles west of Junction Texas

Accomodations in San Angelo

I'm giving a talk on Saturday at the Texas Open Source Symposium entitled An Introduction to Mercurial. I'll be driving there but hadn't considered making a room reservation until today. How hard could it be to book a hotel room in San Angelo Texas, right? Sheesh.

I started out with a Google maps search that included the zip code of the venue, and began working through the options ordered by proximity and user submitted reviews. So first up were places like Comfort Suites and Holiday Inn, about a mile from the venue with reviews like, "I've never had customer service so good!". It ended with obscure motor inns on the opposite side of town with reviews like, "WHATEVER YOU DO, NEVER STAY IN THIS DISGUSTING PLACE". I called 18 different places and they were all booked.

Apparently there is some kind of triathlon or something going on this weekend.

Fortunately for me, Tarus Balog is also speaking. Fortunately for me he is also a smooth talker because he was able to get his room upgraded to one with two beds, (after finding out that he had made his reservations for the wrong month and got them to give him a room anyway, I might add).

Update: It's been suggested that this is the reason all of the hotels are at capacity.

Hell Hath No Fury Like ...

Earlier this year Lisa Nowak, a US Naval officer and former astronaut became infamous after she allegedly tried to kidnap her cheating boyfriend's love interest. I pretty much ignored all of this back when it was considered news-worthy, but I just came across her Wikipedia page where it details the events of February 4-5:

She had packed latex gloves, a black wig, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded tan trench coat, a 2-pound drilling hammer, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, about US$585 in cash, her computer, an eight-inch Gerber folding knife and several other items before driving the 900 miles (1,450 km) to Florida. Early police reports indicated that she used diapers during the trip but she later vehemently denied wearing them through her lawyer.


Not Ready To Be A Grandparent

One of my daughter's electives this semester is Child Development. That's the course where you're issued an infant and graded on the condition of the child at the completion of the assignment. Return anything other than a healthy well-adjusted baby and your grade suffers.

When I was in high school your "baby" was a raw egg. You were encouraged to personalize your egg/baby and many people did (drawn-on faces, clothing, facial hair, tattoos, etc). As goofy as it sounds, lugging around something as fragile as an egg is difficult for a high schooler so it's not surprising that many of them came back cracked (or worse), Attempts at cheating were common and usually consisted of hard boiling the baby, or replacing it with a suitably similar one in the hopes that the teacher wouldn't notice (somehow they always did though).

My how times have changed.

Sara was issued a startlingly realistic doll, a carrier which doubles as a car seat, a diaper bag, a bottle, and several changes of clothing.

This doll not only looks like a real baby, it's weight and other physical characteristics are very close to that of a real infant. To the point of making it creepy. It's also jam-packed with electronics.

Sensors in the doll detect feedings and diaper changes and record them for later download by the teacher. Let its head fall back or subject it to any undue impact and that will be recorded as well. You'll know when it's hungry, or needs a burping or changing because it gets "fussy". If you fail to respond to your baby's needs properly, and in a timely fashion, it transitions from "fussy" to Screaming At The Top Of Its Lungs. For added effect, the eat-excrete cycle is also accurate which means waking in the middle of the night to care for it.

The program is convincing enough that when my daughter takes her homework someplace public (she can't leave it at home. that'd be bad parenting), she receives very authentic looks of disapproval.

High school child development courses are always pitched as a way of teaching how to properly care for a baby, but in reality it's always been about scaring the living shit out of teenagers. They may have finally succeeded, I for one am terrified.

I don't know if I should be impressed by the genius that is Baby Think It Over, or saddened by the fact that teenage pregnancy is enough of an issue to warrant such extremes.

No. Way.

Police hunt farting dissident.

NP: Get Stoned, Hinder

My Two Cents

I've had people offer me their two cents before, but this is ridiculous.

Two cent statement