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General and Bad CopsJeff Soyer on 15 Dec 2014 05:15 am

Seriously, there are too many bad apples:

A Texas police officer was placed on administrative leave on Friday after he reportedly used a Taser on a 76-year-old man after the suspect had already been forced to the ground.

The Victoria Advocate reported that 76-year-old Pete Vasquez was driving a work-owned vehicle back to his place of business on Thursday when 23-year-old Officer Nathanial Robinson pulled him over for an expired inspection.

Vasquez said that he explained that the car belonged to a car lot, and that the dealer tags made it exempt from having an inspection.

I’ve never heard of someone being arrested for an expired sticker?

GeneralJeff Soyer on 03 Dec 2014 12:33 pm

Prepare accordingly.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 02 Dec 2014 05:48 am

I did bring back the Yosemite Sam tip-jar over on the side. A few readers (thank you!) requested it and I certainly appreciate their generosity. It does help out with keeping my blogs going and is a welcome pat-on-the-back.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 27 Nov 2014 04:57 am

Hopefully you will be spending it with family or friends. I hope it is a pleasant day for you.

For those who have to work, I hope you’re being compensated for doing so, or that at least the bosses find some way to thank you.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 25 Nov 2014 12:51 pm

By now, regulars know that I started up a book review site called The North Country Review of Books. Finally, as of yesterday, I have it functioning and looking the way I want. As with any new website, non-spam/non-hackers are only a trickle.

I need to know what you all think of the site. Please visit it and spend a few minutes exploring it. Especially, if you’ve read a book that I’ve reviewed, consider leaving your own review — it can be brief if you want — and trying out the multiple ratings table below the comment form. For more info on that, see the “About” page. Does everything seem to work correctly? What don’t you like about it? What DO you like about it?

You can also just leave a comment regarding my review, without rating the book. Comments (and replies to comments) are nested to three levels.

What I need to know is — because North Country Review is important to me — your opinions, and maybe to have you become regulars there. Mostly I review sci-fi, horror, thrillers, etc.

Your feedback, here and especially THERE, would be a big help to me. And, it will only cost you some time — not money. Granted, time IS money to you, but it’s for a good cause.

In addition, North Country Review is running the very latest version of WordPress, and using the plug-ins I like. I’m considering that if all goes well, that is what I will “upgrade” Alphecca to.

Bonus: I’ll be looking for more feature book reviewers to join the site. You’d be able to review whatever category of books you want to. Being a reviewer of a book review site has a really cool advantage: You get your books (usually Kindle versions, Advance Review Copies, also known as eARCs) for free. More on that in a couple of weeks. Anyway, please give my new site a test drive.

Thanks so much.

General and "Climate Change"Jeff Soyer on 14 Nov 2014 03:29 am

It won’t surprise you that that this study comes from UC Berkley: Projected increase in lightning strikes in the United States due to global warming.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 11 Nov 2014 04:30 am

Today is Veterans Day. I honor all who are or have served. You have my sincere thanks. Blogs such as Alphecca wouldn’t — couldn’t — exist without the sacrifices you and others in the past have made to keep our country safe and free.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 21 Oct 2014 05:56 am

For two days now I’ve been deleting a gazillion spams. So, comments will be held in moderation. And, it’s time to upgrade to a modern edition of WP so I can employ more sophisticated anti-spamware. That will happen this week. Expect little posting until then. Sorry.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 18 Oct 2014 08:46 am

I thought it was time for a new header to top the pages. That’s Lake Fairlee, looking towards the Fairlee side of it (I’m taking the photo from the West Fairlee side). Vermont has many faults, but lack of beauty isn’t one of them, as you Facebook readers of mine know from the photos I post there.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 13 Oct 2014 06:22 am

From the Barre Times-Argus:

A man arrested this week in Boston is expected to be arraigned next week on a charge that he stole a shotgun valued at $89,000 from the Covey and Nye store on Main Street last month. [in Manchester, VT]

[ . . . ]

The shotgun that had been at the Manchester store was made by Luciano Bosis, an Italian artisan who specializes in high-end guns often used for bird hunting or clay target shooting.

Police said media coverage of the theft and tips that came from people who had seen the coverage led them to Goldberg.

More at the link.

General and "Climate Change"Jeff Soyer on 09 Oct 2014 05:20 am

I blame ‘global warming’:

Sea Ice around Antarctic Reaches Record High Levels: NASA.

NASA scientists say that the southern oceans that surround the Antarctic have record sea ice levels. The sea ice in the region has covered the maximum area since 1979 the date when tracking started.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 07 Oct 2014 03:35 am

Lately, some comment spam has been appearing.

I started experimenting this morning. Henceforth, any comment containing even one link — including in the “website” box on the form, will be held for moderation. I’ll try to check it often throughout the day. If you want the comment posted immediately, just leave the website box blank.

Why not just get rid of the website box? It screws up the Gatekeeper plug-in, that box you fill in with a word to prove you’re not a robot.

Why not just get rid of Gatekeeper? Because it blocks an average of 100 spams per hour!

I wish there were a better way. On my book review site, The North Country Review, I tried requiring registration, only to find dozens of phony registrations per day. Sure, their email addresses were phony, so they never got the confirmation emails, and never actually came back to comment, but it clogged up the “Users” database. So, I simply did away with comments there, not that my book reviews ever generated all that many comments…

I thought about using the Facebook comment plug-in, but a surprisingly large number of people don’t have a Facebook log-in. But, spammers do!

I’m still toying with updating Alphecca to a modern WordPress version, but that would mean the loss of the last four years of posts. That would, however, open up some possibilities.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 17 Sep 2014 05:14 am

…What’s left of it.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 03 Sep 2014 07:38 am

I just can’t imagine going through one of these. It starts out bad, and just gets worse and worse:



Update: Video is gone. Oh well…

GeneralJeff Soyer on 28 Aug 2014 04:19 am

I have family visiting.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 21 Aug 2014 05:10 am

I’m not sure that this is a good thing. From the Sidney Morning Herald:

Find yourself thinking that the spider living in your garden is the biggest you’ve ever seen? You could be right.

New research shows some spiders are getting larger and even doing better in cities than in their natural habitats.

In a study published today in PLOS ONE, we show that city living is leading to bigger spiders that have the potential to produce more young.

Here are real photographs taken with actual cameras using genuine film:



(Yes, I like my old cars.)

GeneralJeff Soyer on 12 Aug 2014 05:40 am

There really isn’t a case to be made for that in this article. More like a physical health issue, judging by two of the three examples given.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 28 Jul 2014 10:03 am

From Variety:

Sarah Palin – former governor of Alaska, erstwhile candidate for VP of the U.S. and polarizing public figure – has unveiled a new subscription-based Internet TV network that promises direct access to her and her supporters.

The Sarah Palin Channel, which costs $9.95 per month or $99.95 for a one-year subscription, will feature her commentary on “important issues facing the nation,” as well as behind-the-scenes looks into her personal life as “mother, grandmother, wife and neighbor.” Palin serves as executive editor, overseeing all content posted to the channel.

Um, no thanks.

GeneralJeff Soyer on 04 Jul 2014 10:16 am


GeneralJeff Soyer on 02 Jul 2014 03:24 am

Yeah, actually it’s a thing:

Attention aspiring ufologists: July 2 is World UFO Day.

It’s a day to raise awareness of what some think are extraterrestrial visits to our planet. The day roughly corresponds to the date of perhaps the most well-known UFO story.

In July 1947, debris was discovered on a ranch northwest of Roswell, N.M., that some think came from an alien spacecraft. Eye witnesses claimed they saw alien bodies at the crash site.

An initial statement from the Air Force said a “flying saucer” had crashed. Later the service said the debris came from a weather balloon.

Judging by the fact that I was alone in the theater at the time, I think I was the only person to see the movie, Hanger 18.

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