Speak of the Devil

I’ve had something bugging me for years. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember specific dates anymore. It all started when I was in high school. I think it was about 10th grade. Fall; so November 2000 perhaps.

It all started at a Hunter’s banquet at the church I went to at the time. A bunch of us were volunteers to help serve and bus tables.  A friend, Ethan Bennicoff, and I were working together most of the night and were having a fairly regular conversation– until it got really weird.

Through the process of conversation various people’s names came up– people we didn’t even know were at the event. Moments after we brought the name up in conversation we’d look up and see the person walking past. The first time it happened we gave each other a funny look and Ethan said “speak of the devil.” From there it only got worse. It happened at least 20 times that night, each time with us looking at each other and saying “speak of the devil.” Each time getting creepier and creepier.

For those that don’t know, or didn’t click the above link– “speak of the devil” is a short form of the idiom “speak of the devil and he shall appear.”

This continued through high school, happening fairly regularly. By the time I had graduated I think it had happened at least 50 times. We didn’t really keep count, but it was enough for it to be a running joke. We could talk about people and they would show up. (If only we could harness this when we needed somebody!)

It happened on and off over the years since even though I’ve had little interaction with Ethan other than my first wedding in 2005, and a friend’s wedding in 2007. Recently it’s begun to happen more frequently. Unfortunately in my old age of late 20’s I haven’t kept track.

Most recently this week it’s happened a few times. I was talking with a friend the other evening about the cost of Air Force One. I noted how it came up to my area and did touch and go practice at MDT on occasion. These practice sessions are always unscheduled so there’s no way I could have known. The next afternoon, guess what plane I saw circling around outside my window?

I laughed to myself and immediately went to tell another mutual friend that was in the know since the other person wasn’t online. No sooner did I tell the mutual friend, the other person signed on. This was all within a matter of two minutes. It was a double “speak of the devil” — and quite creepy at that.

Tonight after dinner I was talking with my wife and continuing a conversation from earlier in the day. A person’s name came up and not 30 seconds later my phone lit up– a twitter notification from that person. The tweet was not a reply, but a random question. The timing was a bit odd to say the least.

Maybe I’m reaching a bit with the whole online scenarios, but it still happens IRL too. Perhaps I should start a blog to log the occurrences. I don’t know. What do you think? 12 years later and it’s still happening and still freaking me out.

Closing Equal Employment Opportunity Loopholes

Mr. President, if you want to help fix unemployment in this country, and get good people that want to work back in jobs, how about we fix bullshit discrimination loopholes.

Under Equal Employment Opportunity laws, employers currently cannot discriminate based on:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Equal compensation
  • Genetic Information
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race/Color
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Harassment

Lets add a few more to the list like lack of Facebook / online presence and credit history.

Apparently businesses have been asking potential job candidates to show them their Facebook pages that are password protected, or even going as far as to ask them for their password so they can log in as you and snoop on their own. This is a huge privacy issue… but employers get away with it. It’s akin to giving them the keys to your house and allowing them to snoop around. The job market is tough, if you tell them no, they’ll just find someone else who will gladly give up their privacy in an attempt to get a job.

On top of that, apparently they’re now determining eligibility based on whether you even have social accounts like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you don’t the assumption is that you have something to hide or are antisocial and you’re therefore a liability. This is ridiculously absurd and should never be a factor for general employment. Obviously if you’re going for a marketing job, showing knowledge of how to use Facebook, etc is likely a job requirement, but that’s where the line should be drawn.

I personally don’t have a Facebook account. Some people think that’s crazy which is fine– that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. I have no need for Facebook. For me I see it as a huge time waste. I’m on Twitter and that’s enough of a time drain as it is. I get out, go to WordCamps and other conferences, hang with friends, have large BBQs in my back yard. That’s quite far from being antisocial if you ask most people. And I lead quite a happy life without the drama of Facebook.

Credit is another touchy area and this one hits a bit closer to home. One of my neighbors has been unemployed for 2 years. Finally almost got hired last week– passed background checks, drug screening, and even had a start date. Then he was informed he failed a credit check. No job.

Credit is usually used as a measure of risk because someone with a lower score could be more desperate and could potentially steal from the company. While this is ok in some cases, it’s hard to not discriminiate. In the case of my neighbor, his credit was fine while previously employed, but being out of work takes its toll on not paying debts. That should be expected, especially in this economy, but should it be used as a factor in his eligibility? Probably not.

There are good job candidates all over that can’t get jobs because of how employers still find ways to discriminate against them. If we want to fix unemployment, here’s a good place to start. Help people that want to work be more likely to get jobs and get their lives back on track.

The US Postal Service is killing itself

I just stumbled across a Reuters article that said the US Postal Service was failing due to the internet. People sending emails instead of mailing cards and letters was what killed the postal service. There are a few problems with this argument.

Its been well documented that the the problems with the US Postal Service stem from the out of control pension system as well as the congressional mandate to provide service to every single household is what’s causing the problem. Also, the fact they USPS is trying to deliver packages is ridiculous.

If the US Postal Service thinks that a higher volume of mail would save them from disaster, they’d be crazy. Volume of mail (income) is going down, while costs are going up. Anybody with a business background would tell you that’s a recipe for disaster. Even if you marginally increase your income, you still need to reduce your costs.

My grandfather is a retired postal inspector. He retired in his 50’s… he’s nearing 90 years old now… retired for 30+ years. Last I heard his government pension was about $80,000/year. Yes, you heard me right, $80,000/year. Must be nice… but it sure as hell isn’t sustainable for the USPS to keep paying pensions like that.

This whole debacle reminds me of other industries failing to adapt. The RIAA and MPAA have fought tooth and nail to avoid the digital era… instead of adjusting their business model, they cling to the old and dig their hole deeper by attacking people. Remember when they fought VCRs? Now they’re delaying movie rentals longer in hopes of people giving up and buying the movie instead of waiting, therefore making them more money.

In the end, the US Postal Service using the argument that the internet is killing them is just ridiculous. The USPS has been around for a long time… in one way or another before it was officially run by the United States Government. I wonder if anybody ever argued that other forms of communication like phone lines would kill them? Before any electronic communication, letters were the only way to communicate across distance. Did the mail volume go down with the advent of a phone in every house? I bet it did. Its much easier to pick up the phone and call your friend.

Stop blaming the internet for your failing business model.

Restored Archives

I set up my first WordPress site back in 2004 when WordPress was a very immature project. It was a great site and there were some good discussions, but due to some circumstances in 2006, it led me to delete my blog and all my content. It wasn’t necessarilly “deleted”, but taken offline.

About 2 years later, near fall of 2008 I set up my site again. Just to get something going I started from scratch and never imported the content. There were some bad memories with some of the old content. I wanted to move on.

Over the past 6 months or so I had toyed with re-importing the content. I had the backup. The last version I had run with the old site was 2.0.4. Today I decided to pull the trigger and import the old content.

I’ve imported 439 posts into this site. Now I have archives back to 2004. In September it will be 8 years I’ve been using WordPress– since version 1.2. It truly is an awesome publishing platform.

Should I Write This on Twitter?

There’s a lot (not alot) that gets said on Twitter and some things really can’t be conveyed in 140 characters. On Twitter, your only real option is multiple tweets or a service like Twitlonger.

It’s something I’ve thought about on and off for a while now. The other week I stumbled across this post from Ian Stewart regarding tweeting vs blogging. It was the inspiration for a code muse last weekend. The result of that was shouldiwritethisontwitter.com as well as some more thinking about the subject in general. (Code from that site inspired by Aaron Jorbin’s Scotch is for Shippers site).

After looking at my personal blog and seeing how few times I’ve written a blog post in the past year and then looking at my business blog and seeing the blog entry dated May 17, 2011 I decided things need to change.

I’m going to try and write here on things more personal where pretty much anything is fair game. I’ll continue to keep my blog over at Fusionized Technology WordPress related and more technical. Hopefully when I think about tweeting something and realize it’s blog material I’ll generate a few posts per week.

The last thing I want is someone setting up a site like this: When did Nacin last blog?

Mr WordPress On Your Bed

A friend pinged me on IM today and sent me a chunk of latin that was filler in a word document. It’s uhh… interesting when you run it through Google Translate.

Original latin:

Suspendisse bibendum magna sit amet lectus molestie faucibus. Sed semper blandit tortor. Etiam cursus.

English Translation:

Mr WordPress on your bed is great here. But you are always more. An accident.

The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever. Period.

I’ve made various recipes over the years yet this one was hands down voted the best by every family member that had some.

The recipe is actually a combination of two separate recipes. I took the brine portion from one, and instead of continuing and cooking it as-is, I picked up another recipe to finish things off. The combination of flavors in the end, along with the moisture retained by brining results in an always moist and very delicious turkey for Thanksgiving. On top of that, its a fairly easy recipe to prepare. So without further adieu…


  • 1 1/2 gal water
  • 1 1/2c real maple syrup
  • 1c Morton Kosher salt
  • 3/4c brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a brining bag. You may need to use a food grade bucket based on the size of your turkey. Brine the turkey overnight in the refrigerator or in a cooler filled with ice. 

Some recommend boiling everything to help dissolve all ingredients but I don’t bother. If you do boil as your normal brining routine, make sure to cool to room temperature and chill in the refrigerator before adding the turkey to the brine. I usually end up making 2-3 batches of brine to completely cover the turkey in the bucket. 


  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1 onion – quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Granny Smith apple – quartered
  • 1c butter – at room temperature
  • 2Tbsp rosemary leaves – fresh and chopped
  • 2Tbsp thyme leaves – fresh and chopped
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 3c apple juice
  • 1c water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Remove giblets from turkey cavity, rinse turkey and pat dry.
  3. Place turkey on roasting rack in roasting pan, breast side up.
  4. Salt and pepper inside and outside of the turkey.
  5. In a small bowl, combine butter with 2Tbsp of rosemary and 2Tbsp of thyme.
  6. Spread the butter mixture between the skin and the meat going as far up the breast as possible. Coat the outside of the skin with any leftover butter mixture.
  7. Place quartered apple, onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme sprigs in the cavity of the turkey.
  8. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine
  9. Pour the apple juice and water into the roasting pan and place the turkey in the oven.
  10. Cook the turkey until done (180°F in deepest part of the thigh), basting as needed. Don’t over-baste because opening the door frequently lengthens roasting time. Note: With a brined turkey, it seems like the cook time is 15-20min/lb which is significantly shorter than an unbrined turkey. 
  11. If the turkey browns too quickly, cover with a loose aluminum foil tent.
  12. When the turkey is done, allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

There was a comment posted on a Politico article regarding Ron Paul suggesting impeachment of President Obama following the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. I’d like to address a few things.

The comment:

I guess Mr Paul who claims to know the Constitution forgot the oath he took to protect and defend against enemies foreign or domestic. Anwar al-Awlaki was an enemy of the United States unless Paul can prove otherwise.

The oath:

Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter: So help you God?

Obviously the commenter fails to understand that the oath was to defend “The Constitution” from enemies, both foreign and domestic… and not to defend the United States from enemies, both foreign and domestic.

If you can find somewhere (anywhere?) in the Constitution that says that elected officials have a duty to protect the United States, regardless of what’s right or wrong, please… by all means correct me because I can’t find it.

Early snow at Laurel Summit and Phillipsburg

With all the global warming and climate change debate going on, I find this paragraph from the NWS State College office this morning somewhat of interest. (Text has been cleaned up for readability but otherwise unchanged). Source

.Near term /until 6 pm this evening/…

0.7 inches of snowfall has been reported by the co-op observer at Laurel Summit this morning…. with an accumulation of 1.2 inches at Philipsburg. This marks the earliest date in the cool season that measurable snow has been recorded at these sites. Co-operative weather observations have been taken at both Laurel Summit and Philipsburg since April and December of 1997 respectively. Both KJST (Johnstown-Cambria County Airport) and KBFD (Bradford Regional Airport) have been snowing since 10-11z (6-7am EST)… with the snow falling heavy at times at KJST around 12z (8am EST). Temps at 34°F mean little accumulation in most places… but Mesonet observations showed some of the ridge top locations at 30-32°F around daybreak.

Regional web cams show a coating of snow even on roadways coating with snow at elevations above 1700 feet… such as Route 22 from Gallitzin through Ebensburg… to Chickory Mountain… where much of this road stretch is between 1800-2200 feet.

ramblings and more from ryan duff