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The Lighter Side of Sysadm | Ranting & Raving | Pete's Back Yard


[Last updated Oct 2, 2010] All items here are either Stokely Consulting's own opinions, or the works of others we strongly agree with.

On: Consulting & Small Business | Computing & The Internet
Recipes | System Administration | Life in General
On Consulting and Small Business

Some of our favorite sayings, truths learned from experience:

  • Success is a choice.
  • Over-constrained management is indistinguishable from mis-management.
  • TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.)
  • Never assume anything except a 3% mortgage.
  • I never built a booby trap that didn't catch at least one booby.
  • It's Production or it's Not Exactly.
  • Insanity is doing things in the same way and expecting different results.
  • The technical architecture should mirror the business architecture.

As Bad as It Gets: Superbly written list of all the things you can do to make sure your project gets completely screwed up. Written by Frank Hayes, published in Computerworld.

Business Model Tutorial: It's critical to get a good business model of your software application (What are the business requirements of the software?) before you create a technical model (How does the software function to meet the business requirements?). Creating a good business model is what you do before you create that great UML model, and both are big parts of Stokely Consulting's business. Cecilie Hoffman's tutorial explains the process.

Many business never figure out when a project is doomed, nor how to deal with it. These projects are often called "dead horses". Interested in a dead horse business venture? is a funny piece showing the ways some places deal with their dead horse projects.

Stokely Consulting's Golden Rules of Consulting, the rules we work by and wish other consultants would work by. Stokely Consulting's Breadth of Vision - A Key to Successful Consulting

Being Your Own Boss seminar given by Celeste Stokely at LISA '96 (Chicago, IL, Sept-Oct 1996). This talk covers Stokely Consulting's view of what it takes for you to become a successful independent System Administration consultant. Slides and speaker notes in PDF format (47K bytes).

Three Corporate Lessons:
Lesson 1: A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it. Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 2: A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy." "Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree. Moral of the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Lesson 3: A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

Morals of these lessons:
1. Not everyone who drops poop on you is your enemy.
2. Not everyone who gets you out of poop is your friend.
3. When you're in deep poop, keep your mouth shut.

On Recipes

After a long, hard day of convincing computers to do your will, take a low-tech comfort break with good food. All these recipes are easy to make, even for novice cooks. Mississippi Cornbread is a salty, satisfying, soul food recipe the webmistress grew up with. Mexican Chocolate Brownies give a Mexican cinnamon twist to deep chocolate, chewy brownies. Lazy Cook's Guacamole celebrates the avocado, pairing it with your favorite excellent salsa.

On Computing and The Internet
On System Administration

On being a webmistress where our webmistress gets to share the joy and to blow off steam about the pains of the job.

The Internet: From Here to Ubiquity - Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt's excellent speech to the IEEE Symposium on Hot Chips, August 28, 1997. Read his knowledgeable and entertaining view of what we as a nation and global community need to do to get the Internet out of its current "2 tin cans and a string" era.

The computer mouse was invented by Doug Englebart of Stanford Research in 1967, and modern computing owes much to Mr. Englebart's genius. See this historic U.S. Patent 3,541,541 X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System, issued in 1970.

The Egoless Admin teaches 5 simple, excellent rules to system administrators: 1. Remember, it's not about you. 2. Shut up and listen. 3. Focus on actions. 4. Get out of the way. 5. Always give them something to do. By Ross Lonstein.

Giving good report, or, I keep doing work, why do they keep yelling at me? explains how techies can establish good communication with management, and why it's a very good idea to do so. Good communication can make your work much easier. By Richard Threadgill.

SAGE Code of Ethics is a set of ethics guidlines for system administrators. Extremely well-written!

On Life in General

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
  -- Frank Outlaw

The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
  -- James Baldwin

How To Sing The Blues
by Lame Mango Washington
Attributed to Memphis Earlene Gray with help from Uncle Plunky, revisions by Little Blind Patti D. and Dr. Stevie Franklin

  1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."
  2. "I got a good woman", is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."
  3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes .... sort of: "Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher -and she weigh 500 pound."
  4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain't no way out.
  5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
  6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
  7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Tucson is just depression, baby. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.
  8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg cuz an alligator be chomping on it is.
  9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
  10. Good places for the Blues:
    • highway
    • jailhouse
    • empty bed
    • bottom of a whiskey glass

    Bad places:

    • Nordstroms'
    • Gallery openings
    • Ivy League institutions
    • Golf courses
  11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old ethnic person, and you slept in it.
  12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
    Yes, if:
    • you're older than dirt
    • you're blind
    • you shot a man in Memphis
    • you can't be satisfied

    No, if:

    • you have all your teeth
    • you were once blind but now can see
    • the man in Memphis lived
    • you have a retirement plan or trust fund
  13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.
  14. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues.
    Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
    • wine
    • whiskey or bourbon
    • muddy water
    • black coffee

    The following are NOT Blues beverages:

    • Perrier
    • Merlot
    • Snapple
    • Slim Fast
  15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.
  16. Some Blues names for women:
    • Sadie
    • Big Mama
    • Bessie
    • Fat River Dumpling
  17. Some Blues names for men:
    • Joe
    • Willie
    • Little Willie
    • Big Willie
  18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
  19. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit:
    • name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
    • first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,etc.)
    • last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
      For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi".)
  20. I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer- you cannot sing the blues.


Stokely Consulting,
Email: Celeste Stokely | Peter Stokely
163 14th Trail, Unit B, Cotopaxi CO 81223, (719) 942-3621
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