Saturday, May 3, 2014

U-2 spy plane shuts down LAX

Leading to delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights across the country.

NBC News.

How odd. And yet another reason among hundreds of reasons to avoid flying whenever possible. At this point if you still enjoy flying around then you are a straight up masochist, time and self-respect just not your bag.

The LAX computers overloaded attempting to track the plane passing through miles above regular air traffic. U-2 flies at 60,000 ft., regular air traffic 30,000. Backup computers also failed.

Fail, fail, fail, three fails in one.

The problem lasted an hour and affected thousands of passengers (that had already been abused). 27 cancellations of arriving flights, 23 departures, 212 delays, and 27 diversions. Also delays at Burbank, Ontario and Orange County and other airports (too minor to mention apparently) across the Southwestern U.S.

Edwards AFB is 30 miles north of L.A. Center. A spokesman for  Edwards AFB denies U-2 planes are assigned to Edwards, answering a question that nobody asked.

E15 gasoline

Turning speakers to low is recommended for the video if you care to watch otherwise the soft feminine intonations might very well work as icepick in the hands of a maniac upon them and on your eardrums. (I listened three times and still recovering)


Good for new and for flex-fuel vehicles, not good otherwise.

Snopes rates the alarm email (urgent, send to friends) mix of true/false green, with a red outline   

Popular Mechanics will have you know four things. 

EPA will have you dazzled with their own regulation history and their various waivers.

Choose Ethanol will have you use it to support 383,000 jobs in the United States, because it burns cleaner and cooler in engines which helps performance and extend life of vehicle and can be used by over 75% of light duty vehicles on the road today. And because there is always room to grow! Made from renewable resources, and that is not going to change.
In fact, the number of available resources increases each year. Ethanol is not going to be limited by corn, or other grains, it is simply going to be limited by acceptance. You can start the change. Let’s work together to break our century plus addiction to oil.
"Addiction," ugh, way to loose your audience, Hippy. That is so last century.

Green Car Reports says Automaker groups say E15 damages cars and that EPA approval was rushed. This appears to be a balanced report of pros and cons.

This post is NOT about UFO’s, rather, about the hope that "someday everybody will come together and make nice"

I came across this video yesterday and I was tempted to post it. I say tempted because UFO is sort of a taboo subject among us enlighten few. You know, we are not looking for titillation, we are very serious people. (If you want that kind of thing you can contribute to some other blog ;-) ---> that usually means I'm kidding.

So I thought, how Am I going to post this and get away with it?

Then it dawn on me, like a turning signal on a messenger bike; I know what to do. I’ll say the post is about something else. Body language, look over here, this post is NOT about UFO’s.

Well, it is about UFO's, truth be told, but it is also about Bill Clinton appearing like he is hiding, concealing something.  I did not have sexual relations… hold it; I was going off on a tangent there. That was close call.  

Back to the subject at hand.

The guy, who put the video together, sounds like he knows what he is talking about, I learned a lot, although he claims not to be a body language expert.  I sat through the whole video, not even pausing to go to the bathroom, as I do during a Netflix.

Please watch the video and share what you think.

A New Idea Is Born

Suppose we consider a new life to be like a new invention, which under our laws must be both new and useful.* The novelty of a new life (identical twins aside) is self-evident in its genetic code. Inventions occur (again under our law) following conception and reduction to practice.  The two events may be connascent or sequential. Conception is the fixed and permanent idea of the invention, while reduction to practice is the embodiment of the idea. Like parenting, only an inventor can contribute to conception.

Suppose that new life indeed does begin at conception, but it's not fully embodied until some indefinite point in time. Is it not imperative to dehumanize that new life?
*As for the usefulness of a newly conceived life or idea -- that requires time. The following anecdote may apply.  Sometime in the 19th century, a delegation of government dignitaries visited Michael Faraday to view his electric motors and other inventions. One said "This is all very interesting, but of what possible use are these toys?" Faraday responded: "I cannot say what use they may be, but I can confidently predict that one day you will be able to tax them."

Video: She's a witch!

NYT: Obama Orders Policy Review on Executions

"President Obama declared this week’s botched execution in Oklahoma “deeply disturbing” and directed the attorney general on Friday to review how the death penalty is applied in the United States at a time when it has become increasingly debated."

"Weighing in on a polarizing issue that he rarely discusses, Mr. Obama said the Oklahoma episode, in which a prisoner remained groaning in pain after sedatives were apparently not fully delivered, underscored concerns with capital punishment as it is carried out in America today. While reiterating his support for the death penalty in certain cases, Mr. Obama said Americans should “ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions” about its use." (read more)

So, what do you think?

Should we reconsider the death penalty?

Is it too barbaric for the 21st century?

Or do you hold fast that some crimes are so gruesome that the only penalty commensurate is death.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game

"Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency's response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack."
Subpoena from Issa to Kerry. cc: Elijah E. Cummings, nice touch, that. His name is already on top, and Cummings is sitting right next to Issa. POW right in the kisser.

This is the single mention I heard on the news tonight while scanning the networks. It was described thus, "Republicans are bypassing the usual 'invitation' to testify" suggesting that Republicans are just being vindictive disruptive meany-pants as usual.

PDF letter to John Kerry that accompanies a subpoena.  The most interesting letter I've read all year. It is short and to the point. The longest thing about it is the list of all the names at top. Linked on Drudge who leads with "Disturbing disregard for legal obligations..."  And I suppose that makes me a drudgebot according to the lights of dismissive liberal commentariat.

This is separate from Boehner's Select Committee.

Select Committee is different from regular investigative committee. It will be comprised of heads of other committees. They do the full-on testimonies under oath and not the regular five minute question and answer sessions we've seen so far. More akin to inquisition. I believe it is the point were things start getting real.


Hey bud!

Tomato, jalapeño.  Plants grown from seeds born of grocery store vegetables.  

Krauthammer: New Benghazi E-mail Akin to Discovery of Nixon Tapes

The Curse of Oak Island

Has anyone else watched this series on the History Channel? I happened upon it last night and was pretty fascinated. I have enjoyed reading about the Knights Templar and the Rosicrucians since reading Foucault's Pendulum. The Lagina brothers are from Michigan. There definitely is an intriguing mystery there. I hope they find treasure, but the legend says that one more must die for the secrets to be revealed. *gulp*

Bush 43: 'I hope Jeb runs'

Former President George W. Bush on Thursday said he hopes his brother Jeb runs for president in 2016, but added he has “no clue” what’s on his mind.

“I hope Jeb runs. I think he would be a great president," Bush said in an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper. ”I have no clue what's on his mind. And we'll talk when he's ready,”

The Origin of the Phrase “As Dead as a Doornail”

"In A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote about the questionable phrase, “dead as a doornail,” saying:
Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. 
Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
"As with so many etymologies, we don’t know exactly why door nails were used in the phrase rather than something like coffin nails, but we have a reasonably good educated guess. Door nails were long used to strengthen the door. The person building or installing the door would hammer the nail all the way through the boards. On the other side, he would hammer the end flat, bending it so that the nail would be more secure in a process, called “clenching.” In doing so, the nail was rendered unusable for any other purpose. It would be difficult to remove and even more difficult to use again elsewhere. Thus, the bent nail was commonly called “dead” (not just to do with doors, but elsewhere where the nail was bent over and couldn’t be used again.)"

"As to why it is then a “doornail” instead of other cases where such clenching was done, it’s thought it was probably simply because this was commonly done with nails on doors and the euphony of the phrase caused it to stick, where other similar expressions such as “dead as a stone” simply don’t roll off the tongue as nicely."

Another less touted origin theory (read more)

“Aren’t we in the United States? We did nothing wrong”

Terry, who came to Michigan from Iraq in 1970, soon did what immigrants often do: He went into business, buying Schott’s Supermarket in Fraser, Mich., where he still works six days a week. The Internal Revenue Service, a tentacle of a government that spent $3.5 trillion in 2013, tried to steal more than $35,000 from Terry and Sandy that year.
Sandy, a mother of four... remembers, “They just walked into the store” and announced that they had emptied the store’s bank account. The IRS agents believed, or pretended to believe, that Terry and Sandy were or conceivably could be — which is sufficient for the IRS — conducting a criminal enterprise when not selling groceries.

What pattern of behavior supposedly aroused the suspicions of a federal government that is ignorant of how small businesses function? Terry and Sandy regularly make deposits of less than $10,000 in the bank across the street. Federal law, aimed primarily at money laundering by drug dealers, requires banks to report cash deposits of more than $10,000. It also makes it illegal to “structure” deposits to evade such reporting.

Because 35 percent of Schott’s Supermarket’s receipts are in cash, Terry and Sandy make frequent trips to the bank to avoid tempting actual criminals by having large sums at the store. Besides, their insurance policy covers no cash loss in excess of $10,000.

In 2010 and 2012, IRS agents visited the store and examined Terry’s and Sandy’s conduct. In 2012, the IRS notified them that it identified “no violations” of banking laws. But on Jan. 22, 2013, Terry and Sandy discovered that the IRS had obtained a secret warrant and emptied the store’s bank account. (read more)
While trying to avoid "actual" criminals this family made themselves a target of another set of criminals, our own government. In an instance when "government is good" and "taxes are good" is proven to NOT necessarily be so, all the time. For the power to tax is also the power to destroy and there is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Courageous Palestinian Christian confronts 60 Minutes

Christy (Anastas, apparently), a Palestinian Christian relates her experience as citizen under Palestinian Authority.

Seen on PJ media lifestyle cross-posted on Roger Simon's site there. Simon's take is the Walter Durante Prize for mendacious journalism is well-considered for awarding Bob Simon for his 60 Minutes report "Christians of the Holy Land" in which Israel is blamed for violence and for Christians leaving in such large numbers. The video received in email from CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting describes a different situation entirely. The woman was granted asylum in Britain and lives under threat.

The video was pulled from YouTube but put up again by the efforts Jerusalem Institute for Justice, but there is no certainty it will stay up.

I find the comments on YouTube to this video well informed. "I hold your finger." 

This is irrelevant but I fell in love on the spot. Her eyes are extraordinary. She has me. I'm hers. 


For Janet (of Waco fame) and for Spinelli:

"Ne'er the twain shall meet"
~ have you ever been Kipled? 

MSNBC: "We never have a conversation about racism!"

Walking, A place to think.

Famous walkers...

Wordsworth was a walker. His work is inextricably bound up with tramping in the Lake District. Drinking in the stark beauty. Getting lost in his thoughts.

Charles Dickens was a walker. He could easily rack up 20 miles, often at night. You can almost smell London's atmosphere in his prose. Virginia Woolf walked for inspiration. She walked out from her home at Rodmell in the South Downs. She wandered through London's parks.

Henry David Thoreau, who was both author and naturalist, walked and walked and walked. But even he couldn't match the feat of someone like Constantin Brancusi, the sculptor who walked much of the way between his home village in Romania and Paris. Or indeed Patrick Leigh Fermor, whose walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul at the age of 18 inspired several volumes of travel writing. George Orwell, Thomas De Quincey, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bruce Chatwin, WG Sebald and Vladimir Nabokov are just some of the others who have written about it. (read more)


My "ugh" isn't about what Shaq did in this story. It's about the hypocrisy and lack of grace, as usual. Everybody shaming him must never have done something so awful. Right.

Anyway, good on him for apologizing . (Also, good on him for his auxiliary police effort in Miami.) (link is to Instapundit)

Michael Snyder: "17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine"

"No, the economy is most definitely not "recovering". Despite what you may hear from the politicians and from the mainstream media (shrugging off today's terrible GDP print), the truth is that the U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it was prior to the last recession."

#1 The homeownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.

#2 Consumer spending for durable goods has dropped by 3.23 percent since November.  This is a clear sign that an economic slowdown is ahead.

#3 Major retailers are closing stores at the fastest pace that we have seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

#4 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of all families in the United States do not have a single member that is employed.  That means that one out of every five families in the entire country is completely unemployed.

#5 There are 1.3 million fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than when the last recession began in December 2007.  Meanwhile, our population has continued to grow steadily since that time.

#6 According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, the quality of the jobs that have been "created" since the end of the last recession does not match the quality of the jobs lost during the last recession... (read more)


#17 The number of Americans receiving benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million.

Taken individually, those numbers are quite remarkable. Taken collectively, they are absolutely breathtaking."

Yes, things have been improving for the wealthy for the last several years.  The stock market has soared to new record highs and real estate prices in the Hamptons have skyrocketed to unprecedented heights."

But that is not the real economy.  In the real economy, the middle class is being squeezed out of existence.  The quality of our jobs is declining and prices just keep rising."

BTW... If you are considering blaming the President of the USA, you better think again...

ABC News: Email not released because "explicitly not about Benghazi" has section entitled "Benghazi"

Jonathan Karl is an ABC News white house correspondent.

NYT: Soul of Mad Magazine, Al Feldstein Dies at 88

Al Feldstein, who took over a fledgling humor magazine called Mad in 1956 and made it a popular, profitable and enduring wellspring of American satire, died on Tuesday at his ranch in Paradise Valley, Mont...
The founding editor, Harvey Kurtzman, established its well-informed irreverence, but Mr. Feldstein gave Mad its identity as a smart-alecky, sniggering and indisputably clever spitball-shooter of a publication with a scattershot look, dominated by gifted cartoonists of wildly differing styles.

He hired many of the writers and artists whose work became Mad trademarks. Among them were Don Martin, whose cartoons featuring bizarre human figures and distinctive sound effects — Katoong! Sklortch! Zazik! — immortalized the eccentric and the screwy; Antonio Prohias, whose “Spy vs. Spy” was a sendup of the international politics of the Cold War; Dave Berg, whose “The Lighter Side of ...” made gentle, arch fun of middlebrow behavior; Mort Drucker, whose caricatures satirized movies like Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” (“Henna and Her Sickos” in Mad’s retelling); and George Woodbridge, who illustrated a Mad signature article, written by Tom Koch: a prescient 1965 satire of college sports, criticizing their elitism and advocating the creation of a game that could be played by everyone. It was called 43-Man Squamish, “played on a five-sided field called a Flutney.” Position players, each equipped with a hooked stick called a frullip, included deep brooders, inside and outside grouches, overblats, underblats, quarter-frummerts, half-frummerts a full-frummert and a dummy. (read more)
This was my favorite magazine, back in the early 80's, around the time I had learned to read English. Massachusetts, we had a girl staying with us, extended stay, good looking girl, and there was a guy coming over courting her. He brought the magazine one day and I made him my best friend. Some of the humor went over my head sometimes. But the humor I did understand more than made up for the humor I did not. I just loved Mad Magazine.

minimum wage

Screenshots, links not active. I was looking for something else and saw this. [Colorado District 1 representatives] (Denver)

Why is my representative even talking about this?

Oh. That's right. Marching orders from Party.

On the 'what people think' side, omitted: workers with zero skills, workers entering workforce, leisure and hospitality workers that receive tips, and contrary to the graph provided by Economic Policy Institute, most tend to be young; under 25- 50%, teenage 21%, 3% of total workers over 25 yrs old. Let's not mention persons with criminal records that figure would just mess things, and people with disabilities such that simply cannot perform without constant attention. The graph provided is flatly wrong. 

6% of minimum wage earners are women, 3% are men. 

11% work less than 35 hrs. week

States with most minimum wage workers: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho. Conversely, the states with lowest % of minimum wage workers: Alaska, Oregon, California, Montana, Washington, all under 2%.

The institute that produced the graph states: Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would give working families, and the overall economy, a much-needed boost.

Of course it would. It would tend to move minimum wage toward living wage. Insisting on this demonstrates that policies pursued affect job creation so negatively that minimum wage now must be considered living wage for increasing number of workers.

When I worked minimum wage this was an issue then too, apparently a perennial issue as economies grow, and I was all for it. Employers are rich, I'm poor, easy that, just raise it already. But having endured that and grown I can see I really was a crap employee, although I was the best doggone dishwasher that place ever had. I wanted to be cook, and those guys just didn't see my potential. They dismissed all that I had to offer. 

From pure economic pov, the correct thing to do is abolish minimum wage altogether. The government has no business in that. But legislators do imagine themselves lords of the economy and by pulling levers this way and that and our allowing it, they make themselves so. Unless stopped. Cries by politicians to raise minimum wage is admission they've messed things so sorely that minimum wage conflates with living wage as must be for the damage they've done. Okay for those who already employed. Not okay for those shut out from employment due directly to this specifically and this type of government meddling.

This subject is a bit boring. Like children arguing over matters long settled, I'd avoid it, but here it is again. Apologies for being so boring, but the subject was delivered from on high, and with no small force. They have to be answered.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pyramid in North Dakota.

Pyramid, what's not to like?

The six billion dollar cost, for one thing and the hazardous waste water cleanup at taxpayer's expense for another. Other than that, awesome.

The site was put up for auction and purchased by a Hutterite faith group for just over half million dollars. Their purchase of the site seems a bit odd in that only 1/3 of the 430 acres can be used for agriculture.

But before all that the site housed America's Safeguard system at the height of the Cold War, a defense that managed long range and short range missles both onsite and offsite. The system was obsolete before it was finished but still useful in negotiating SALT II. The site was in full operation a mere three days.

There is quite a lot of good information on the place, photos of inside the compound, now dilapidated and quite dangerous, and various out buildings.

Cold War Tourist


Artificial Owl

Lone Prairie 

To list just a few, but of all the talk about radar systems, computer systems, missiles and bombs and such, it is the remarks of the people who lived there and worked there I find most interesting of all. Here are a few comments to a piece written about the place at  Ghosts of North Dakota.

M E McCollum says:
My husband was a W-4 and we were stationed at this site. It was a great place to be and we thoroughly enjoyed living in North Dakota. There were 100 housing units on the base and we had a 4 bedroom house and it was very comfortable. The Winters were cold, but beautiful and the summers were very mild. My sons started to school in a school house that was built in the 1800′s and was heated by Coal.
It was a wonderful experience for all of and the people there were the best. Very friendly and helpful.
We even had a garden at one of the farms and the growing season was from June 1 to September 1 and of course, it was daylight until about Midnight.
I have never lived anywhere that I enjoyed more than Nekoma, North Dakota.

Kris says:
Caretaker was Buzzy Holmen from Edmore, ND! He was caretaker for 23 years! Put heart and soul into this place! Also, took time to give tours for many people! That was NOT part of his job description!

Dudley Do-Right says:
Buzzy is a good guy. If he was the one giving you a hard time, it’s probably just because there are some spots around the site where a person could fall in/down and get hurt, and so they like to keep the area clear of unguided visitors. Gotta protect the foolish and/or over adventurous from themselves, at least on state property!

I’ve had the chance to take a guided tour of the site, including some of the missile storage bunkers. It’s pretty fascinating.

Bill says:
I lived on the base while in 9th & 10th grade at Langdon High School. We eventually moved into Langdon as the base neared completion and civilian workers families were no longer allowed to ive on base. I left ND in 1978 and returned only once in 1986, for my 10 year class reunion. Most, if not all of the housing units had already been removed. It’s sad to think about all the millions and likely billions of dollars our government poured into the Safeguard program only to shut it down shortly afterit became operational.

Ren Tescher says:
IIRC, some of the housing units ended up in Williston, stacked together to form a couple(?) of (shoddy) apartment buildings, I installed a wash machine in one of those units back in the early ’80′s.

Kitty says:
I worked at this site when it was just a hole in the ground with people scrambling everywhere–it was 1970. I watched this being built and then abandoned. I married a farmer from here who worked at the Remote Sites, MSR and PAR. I still live here and it always makes me sad to drive by and see the remnants of this Government project. I guess it provided a lot of jobs for awhile.

Blaine says:
I was a security guard there until it closed very very sad used to be a lot of hussel and bussel around Nekoma, use to stop at the bar after work and have a couple and then head home to calvin before I worked there as a security guard heard many stories about all of the new equipment buried in the mounds because they didn’t have paper work for the stuff. so sad to see it that way

Don Axtman says:
Don Axtman: Worked at both sites 1st at PAR site near Concrete ND for Napolean Steel and 2nd for Johnson Control at the MSR site near Nekoma ND. We were preparing for transfer to Montana for the second facility when Nixon shut the progam down.

Darrell Graf says:
i I was a firefighter there from the fall of 74 – and this place became operational 30 Sep 75 adn salt II treaty with Gerald Ford provided for a closure (missile removal) in 76 and as a reasult I left. This was like something out af a james Bond movie, security, blast doors, 9 ft thick walls of steel/concrete – were told it could take a direct hit form an atomic bomb (500 megaton) and survive, most ofthe stuff inside that was technical was on big shock absorbers hanging form ceilieng (as I recall there were 7 floors) and would then swing and remian intact during a strike ont he bldg. this ought to be a museum. the storyy inthe 70′s (prior to the space shuttles) was the US was going to b uild space shuttles, and with the capabilities of this building and the flatland in the area, a 10 mile landing strip would be built to be the spaeport for the shuttles Met and worked with LOTS of good people there!
Darrell Graf

Rebecca Johnson says:
I worked there under the YACC Program in 1978-1979. This was a youth program developed under President Carter. Any other YACC program people out there. We cleaned out the buildings, painted dorms, opened the gym and youth center and did a bunch of other stuff. What exactly was the deal with that program anyway. Now that I am older it really make me wonder.

Mary McCollum says:
We were stationed there from 1972 to 1976 and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of duty there.
The people were warm and friendly and it was a great place to be.

My two sons went to school in Nekoma and never missed a day in the winter because of the weather.

We had so much fun at Senator Young Dam riding snow sleds down the dam. What wonderful memories I have ot Nekoma and Langdon.

I haven’t been back but would really like to some day.

Kris says:
Yes, Buzzy Holmen has been the caretaker for 23 years! I even was hired by him for a few summers to mow the site! This is an amazing and creepy site! I saw every part of this place! Im still in awe when i drive by! Its such a shame that it was sold off and not put in hands of someone involved in historical society or someone that can make use of it and bring in jobs for this area! In Defense of the man in the black truck driving you out of the site, you and many others have NO idea of the dangers that lurk this area! People can be killed not knowing where they are going! Regardless of signs not in perfect site, you still obviously saw them, but continued to ignore them! While your photos are great and informational for us all, I saw so many people just come by without properly receiving approval!! Buzzy Holmen was very good about giving tours and taking time from his work! For future adventures, please be a little more considerate of yourself and others! No one wants to hear of accidents happening because of negligence! With that being said, your photos are very good and bring many memories back to all!

Jeremy Shawley says:
I was there this past summer. ALL THE DOORS WERE OPEN!! ON EVERYTHING! No kidding. Other than the wood ticks, it was by far the strangest place I have ever been. Here is my flickr set from there.

Steve Ellis says:
I was at the anti-ABM rally that took place there in 1970, along with about 1,000 other people – mostly college students like me. It took quite an effort to get there as I recall. I particularly remember that it seemed like every highway patrolman in North Dakota was in attendance. Also, I have a very vivid memory of an unmarked helicopter circling above the crowd with a man leaning out the open door with a camera and telephoto lens taking photos of the crowd. We all looked up at him, shook our fists, and shouted “Get F***ked” !
They still built the base, of course…..but it’s good to know it didn’t amount to much in the end.

Susan McDonald Krull says:
After I graduated from college in 1973, I worked at the Safeguard site for a year. My dad was the civilian site manager. I worked underground in the pyramid…..a fascinating experience. I handled logic chassis for the computer systems….computers back then were the size of a room!
Living in Langdon was quite an experience also….flashback to the movie “American Grafitti”….driving down the one main street through town & to the Dairy Queen!
Seeing these photos is sort of spooky….it’s a shame that the entire project was shut down. Brings back many memories.

Open Thread

Add caption

"Spain might pass law that would make children do chores and ‘be respectful’"

A report in ABC, a Spanish-language newspaper, notes that lawmakers in Spain are advancing a measure that would make children under the age of 18 take, “co-responsibility in caring for the home and performing household tasks regardless of age and gender.” As the BBC reports, this isn’t the only thing the parliament-approved draft law would do.

Aside from doing chores, children would, “also have to be respectful to their parents and teachers, and have a positive attitude towards learning.” You might be wondering what kind of punishment children found guilty of not participating in chores or lacking respect might face. You can keep wondering, because as The Local reports, “The draft law doesn't set out penalties for children who fail to fulfill these requirements.”

Vox: Parents and Kids Religious Data

"Kids abandoning their parents' faith is a pretty well-trodden trope in pop culture, but two shows are turning the tables a bit. This season, both The Good Wife and The Americans feature teenage daughters of atheist parents who've converted to Christianity."

Julianna Margulies

"The Good Wife's Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega) has been slowly growing more devout since season two and was baptized in season three. Her atheist mother Alicia (Julianna Margulies) has been generally accepting of the conversion, but tension has developed in the wake of a death close to Alicia, due to Grace's repeated insistence that the deceased is in heaven. Meanwhile, The Americans' Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), being undercover Soviet spies, have no faith, and are furious when their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) joins a church." (read more)

This article is from the Ezra Klein new "explainer" website Vox. You are welcome to comment about that if you want.

Kintsugi, Japanese aesthetic

Kintsugi is a Japanese method of pottery repair that uses gold and other metal powders mixed with lacquer to highlight the damage befallen a ceramic object and by doing emphasizes the pottery's history and use. Rather than attempting to conceal damage, kintsugi glorifies the object's impermanence and imperfection, its history and enhanced character.

Earlier methods of repair were unsightly metal staples embedded with resin. Kintsugi repairs drew upon the long-established Japanese lacquer technique called maki-e that use metal powders mixed with lacquer resin to produce delicate decorative designs. Different metals are used for various colors.

maki-e bamboo 

Kintsugi repaired tea cup

Kintsugi repaired bowl

Kintsugi repair

Soldering. Sort of. Not really, a paste actually, but it looks so.

The idea is acceptance of imperfection, acknowledgement of transience, and this is the difficult part that has no ready Western equivalence, the aesthetic of beauty that is utterly self-unaware.

An object that is self-unaware, as an ideal. How can inanimate objects be aware? Of course objects are self-unaware. See? Told you that is the hard part.

Kintsugi is an expression of wabi-sabi, the sense of beauty in roughness, irregularity, asymmetry, economy, simplicity, modesty, asperity and the integrity of natural things. 

wabi-sabi bowls

Bowls that appear to have grown out of the ground overnight by themselves like mushrooms and stack imperfectly, that is a beautiful thing for its naturalness. The objects are intimate, they actually make you want to hold them. If you are of that frame of mind. 

My first memory of Japan is the bus ride at night from the airport to our digs at Green Park, gazing out the window studying the place taking it in all at once, I was appalled, flatly let down, nothing at all like the photos I saw, the whole place seemed impoverished, the houses unpainted. No paint! No color. Plain wooden houses with no color at all, just the natural wood showing everywhere, the fences, the gates, porches, windows, no paint whatsoever. Mum told me, and she's no anthropologist, "That is their idea of beauty" and I thought in that moment, "This is going to be a long three years." 

They do use paint, of course, I just didn't see much of it the first bus ride. It did take a while to get used to.

Now, this idea of imperfection being beautiful is useful in my own art where I replicate Egyptian frescos, and I am certain it is the imperfections that sell and certainly not their perfection. This idea did not come easily to me either. It was exceedingly difficult to paint or worse carve a plaster then purposefully break it in pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. The breaks guided as well as possible, then live with the result however messy or impossible to reconstruct. I quickly realized those cracks are everything, they totally make the piece, without breaks without damage my art is nothing, and the technique is useful besides to eliminate a bad spot, say a poorly drawn eye, by bashing it out and affect a repair in the spot with new plaster and new paint and leave the repair obvious as if a museum repaired it, without added patina or stain to blend in, as museums do to declare the repaired area rather than conceal it, thereby adding another layer of history, in my case false history. It is very convincing.

And fun.

One need not be artist to invite imperfection, or incompleteness, to take up this idea has application all around. One needn't chuck a cereal bowl because of its chip, rather welcome that imperfection and regard it still useful, regard as survivor and attractive for its history and its humbleness.

The imperfect branch with its imperfect flower. The idea of fence that fails to contain, but does block the view of something unsightly. The idea of wrapping a gift with no intention whatever of concealing its contents. 

I bought a book on Japanese idea of gift wrapping and used some of the ideas the book showed, how to wrap bottles, using fabric instead of paper, searching for unwrapper-like materials, screening, natural materials, folding pleats, leaving it open so part of the contents show through. The author stated something that stuck, that Westerners will purchase an extraordinarily expensive gift, like a Rolex watch that comes in its own special elaborate keepsake watch-box then wrap the gift in cheap thoughtless paper, sealed completely shut tight to conceal it. The Japanese style of wrapping gifts in some cases became more interesting to the recipient than the gift it contained. My wrapping became subject of conversation more so than the gift. And I found it impossible to keep a copy of the book. So far every woman who has looked through the book showed such an interest that I felt compelled to give it to her. Some four or five, so far. The book itself has became an impressive gift. That is what they told me. They couldn't believe I just gave them the book. 

This book is a treasure. It changed my gift-wrapping life. Available for 1₵, this world is irrational, plus shipping which turns out to be $4.00 at Amazon and $3.47 at Abebooks. 


Muddy Waters overcomes his refractory period...albino shouts encouragement:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AP: "Federal judge rejects Wisconsin voter ID law"

Kareem Has It Mostly Right

I'd like to see less calls for running people out of town on a rail and more grace extended. I believe that's the way to teach, but I love that Kareem calls out the media and the secret recording. (via Instapundit)

NYT: Reading Pain in a Human Face

"Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have written software that not only detected whether a person’s face revealed genuine or faked pain, but did so far more accurately than human observers."
While other scientists have already refined a computer’s ability to identify nuances of smiles and grimaces, this may be the first time a computer has triumphed over humans at reading their own species...
In a new study... humans and a computer were shown videos of people in real pain or pretending. The computer differentiated suffering from faking with greater accuracy by tracking subtle muscle movement patterns in the subjects’ faces.
“We have a fair amount of evidence to show that humans are paying attention to the wrong cues,” said Marian S. Bartlett, a research professor at the Institute for Neural Computation at San Diego and the lead author of the study.

Baby's I-Want-That Face from Kieren on Vimeo.

Risk Management

"If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,”
Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday."  Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to the Jewish state... (read more)
Then Monday, yesterday, Kerry backtracked... 
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry issued an apology after it was revealed by The Daily Beast that he said Israel was at risk of becoming an “apartheid state.” In a statement, Kerry said “I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.” He also said “apartheid” was a poor choice of terms. In his statement, he said “if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word.”
Usually, what people say at first is what they really mean to say.  Kerry backtracked because there was a bad reaction to it.   Kerry potentially risked campaign donors for democrats if he had stood by his statement that Israel risked becoming an apartheid state.

ht Michael Haz


"You're a human, aren't you?"

(Amused) Yes, I am human. How did you figure that out?

Well pleased with my top deductive reasoning, "I knew it! Your footsteps. You are first person around here in hours with footsteps. You have the weight that no one else has. "

"What are you talking about? "

"Everyone else is gone now, and then there is you."  

There were thousands. Hundreds crowded close by. Dozens packed very near, more people than could possibly fit in the tiny room we were in, and that is odd I admit, but there they were, all packed in, overlapping, and all attention directed on a single person in control of the meeting assembled to direct things. The outer fringes just curious. Everyone else minded him. Completely. There was one main guy a few helpers and thousands of observers, interested somehow in what is going on. Interested somehow in me.

I couldn't move. I was out anyway. But even so tied up with tubes in both arms and wires all over crisscrossing attached to machinery and I didn't know but a tube also inserted into my penis as well. Entirely tubed up, completely wired up, flat on my back unable to turn even a quarter turn, a torture rack, and balanced it seemed on top of a hemorrhoid the size of Montana. 

"What were they doing?" 

"They were telling me how to become well. And I wept because I could not take it all in. I told them hold on, I cannot deal. I told them it is too much. Too much information. Too much all at once. They poured gallons into a pint container.  I cannot process all that they say. I'm missing everyting. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.  They told me don't worry about any of that, they're skipping my brain althogether. They comforted. The told me relax and receive. I asked how? The main guy said they are talking directly to my body, my mind not involved, giving my body instructions directly. Direct instructions on how to heal. Sensing my incomprehension the guy elaborated they are talking directly to my cells. And then I relaxed. 

And now they're gone."

"That did happen. The pulmonary specialist really did issue instructions for you to shut up. He said he never had anyone talk so much as you under anesthesia. He tried to slide the instruments through your mouth but your incessant jabbering risked damaging the equipment and you would not shut up so he inserted the instrument through your nose instead." 


"There really was a medical team here last night.  You were scheduled for lung biopsy anyway, nick off a pice of lung to examine, so when you were wheeled into ICU the doctor decided to do it right then instead and get that out of the way while you are out." 


"Those clever bastards. They overlap with the physical world. They do the same thing at the same time as the humans except differently, and it is all so plausibly deniable. Oh, that is clever. I don't doubt what you say. Not at all. I accept all that. Yes. But it is minor compared to what really happened, now I know what I know and I know I experienced something quite remarkable, something far more remarkable than mere biopsy. Something I can never forget." 

This nurse took an interest in me for my oddness, I guess.  She came back frequently and just talked. She gave me a thin book about Christian spirituality and other miraculous things, but honestly, it seemed a bit silly and childish compared with what I just lived. 

I survived the pneumonia and the accompanying hemorrhoid the size of Alaska. I could not understand why all the fuss about pneumonia, and lungs and white blood cells, and oxygen and heart rate, blood pressure, and nutrition and nobody cares about fixing this obnoxious giant hemorrhoid the size of Siberia, and said so. That is not funny. "The hemorrhoid is not life-threatening. The other things are." But my ass was most of my misery, the pain that I felt, and nobody cared. There were no spirits for hemorrhoid-healing, the cell-lessons did not extend there.

So when a boy says he saw heaven and reports what he saw, he does know what he knows, and the thing that happened to him will be his possession for the rest of his life. 

There is more to this story. Interesting elements, I think. Some day I might tell the rest.

Monday, April 28, 2014


U2 guitarist The Edge is quoted saying "You Get What You Give" is the song he is most jealous of: "I really would love to have written that."

Jesus Changed Water Into Wine...

...but now the Federal Bureau of ATF is blocking that miracle. Developing story.

global climate

Race's Matter*

Melanin Theory is a curious bit of pseudo scientific race theory which asserts the superiority of certain peoples because of their increased melanin content -- you can read some of the crackpot hypotheses at the link, but there's very little in the way of substantive support.

Melanin -- the molecule -- is ubiquitous (except in arachnids) and it comes in three basic flavors (cf. the link above) called eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin.  New words for you too?

"Down Syndrome and Abortion Hypocrisy"

"Down Syndrome is where the rubber hits the road for opponents of abortion. Approximately 90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies are terminated with an abortion. This behavior is entirely rational, given the enormous difficulties of caring for a Down Syndrome individual from adulthood into old age.  These numbers are, however, strikingly discordant with polls showing that a majority of people oppose abortion. While the numbers for Down Syndrome abortions remain so high, abortion poll numbers represent the meaningless expressions of personal preferences for an ideal world rather than core beliefs that survive the reality of an imperfect biological world."

A Reasonable Blog

Chase Bank is Closing Accounts of Porn Stars?

"Chase Bank is closing the accounts of hundreds of people who work in the adult industry, according to multiple reports."

"Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton posted images of the letters reportedly sent to stars in the adult industry informing them of the account closings. Hilton reported that the accounts would be closed on May 11, 2014."

" reported Friday that Chase had closed the account of porn star Layton Benton, who told the site that Chase said her account was "a risk." Citing sources, the site reported that Chase is targeting specific types of transactions such as deposits from webcam shows."
“I got a letter and it was like please cancel all transactions, please fix your automatic pay account and make sure everything’s taken care of by May 11,” Presley told XBIZ. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account. Even though I don’t use my account, it’s my personal account that I’ve had since I was 18, when it was Washington Mutual before Chase bought them out.”
CNBC via Twitter

An Emerging Donald Sterling Side of the Picture (Is it too late?)

Legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans said 'There are three sides to every story - yours, mine, and the truth.'   So far, we've only heard an explosive audio tape, which in it of itself did manage to cause quite a stir, alleging one 81 year old Donald Sterling, asking, pleading to his girlfriend 'not to bring black people to his games'.

The question at hand, for the purpose of this post, I suppose, is to question the prevailing interpretation of the partial audio tapes.

An interpretation of the context behind the explosive comments, has come to light on a blog called Steve Sailer: iSteve. The post reads kind of like a Behind The Music segment, except, Donald Sterling (I keep wanting to type Rod Serling) is not a musician. He is a billionaire, who also happens to be Jewish.

I excerpt the iSteve post titled Donald Sterling: The Elderly Cuckold's grasp for dignity here...
We don't have the beginning of the conversation, (the taped explosive conversation) which would presumably be very interesting. The parts of the recording leaked have the flavor of a well-rehearsed entrapment. But here's early on in what was leaked (no doubt by Team Stiviano*):
V: ... I'm sorry, sweetie. Everything was OK and perfect.
DS. I'm just telling you, you told me you were going to remove it, so Dennis, the second Dennis looked at me and made that comment.
What was "that comment" that the second Dennis made that so wounded the 80-year-old sugar daddy? (read more)
In order to understand the context behind the surreptitiously recorded comments of one Donald Sterling, I had to temporarily, as it were, put myself in his shoes. Why would he say the things he said?

After reading the post, my conclusion is that what Donald Sterling didn't want her to bring to his games was her predilection for instagramming herself with sports stars, "broadcasting it" (in his words) like she (his girlfriend) was in the market...  In that context, when he says 'I don't care if you sleep with them... just don't bring it to my games'... makes sense. He was telling her, in other words, don't rub it on my face with the Instagrams, for all the world to see, that I'm really not enough of a man for you.

Dodger slugger Matt Kemp and
Donald Sterling's mistress V. Stiviano

In that context, the skin color of the men his mistress instagramed herself with, could be incidental, collateral, but not necessarily the source of Donald Sterling's pleading with her, not as much as the sport stars penises. Still, I say it could be, because when it comes right down to it, I really don't know what is in his heart, even though I've read Sterling does have an unsavory racial past. 

It's a sordid affair, no doubt, but, I brought it up yesterday and everybody in America is entitled to at least a phone call, a defense, a last meal, after the hair is clipped, before the switch is flipped and the game of musical chairs is allowed to continue, uninterrupted. Sorry Chickie.

ht Michael Haz

* Stiviano is the young mistress that recorded Donald Sterling.

Rhhardin: Morale Boosting Generosity


Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Monty Python reunion show will be broadcast in movie theaters worldwide"

"In July, the surviving members Monty Python will reunite for a series of live performances at London’s O2 Arena, marking their first time together onstage in 15 years. Tickets to the shows sold-out instantly; however, audiences around the world will still have the opportunity to catch the troupe in action."

"According to Variety, Monty Python’s final live show, set for July 20th, will be broadcast in 1,500 movie theaters across the world, 450 of which will air the show live. Dubbed “The Last Night of Monty Python”, the show will be directed by legendary designer Aubrey Powell."

Japan agrees to halt whaling

News passed through a Yahoo group email yesterday. Everyone gleed. Answered today contrarily. 

Japan Agrees to End Commercial Whaling

strictly speaking, "in Antarctic reserves"

Actually I love to eat whale meat in sashimi with gingered
soy-bean sauce (shoyu) and with a cup of cooled Japanese
sake, what a delicacy!

Talking points:
1. There is no IQ list in the animal kingdom, say, the IQ of cow
is inferior to that of whale. Even cow reveals some sign of
affection, for example, when bobby calf is drawn apart.
If you have some solid objective evidence showing
whales have higher IQ than other species, I would recomend
you to submit your paper to the peer-reviewed international
journal, e.g., Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Science USA.

2. Minke is not endangered ecologically, now plenty, it is the consensus
of scientific community. In this context, I would recommend
subspecies-based controlled whaling. Japan do not
advocate of whaling of blue whale / Balaenoptera Musculus.

Measuring Success in Conservation
Assessing efforts to restore populations of marine mammals is partly a 
matter of epistemology: How do you know when enough is enough?
American Scientist, July-August 2000
available at

3. There are many strange mode of life all over this planet,
e.g., there are some people eating meat of dogs! or
chasing and hunting wild animals and finally kill with
knives and spear brutally, actually within the soil of the
western side of the USA, as a hobby!.

Difference of culture must be preserved.

BTW, I would like Caucacians refrain from eating whale
meat, since if they learn that delicacy, the prices would
skyrocket and overfishing non-stoppable, then we
the Japanese people will be unable to access to that delicacy,
as maguro tuna had become so after sushi is accepted
overseas,,,,,. I am afraid that some of my friends in the
USA experienced the delicacy of meat of whale during
stay in Japan and were amazed at palatability. Of
course, I issued gag-order to them.

Akio Hasegawa, M.D., PhD
Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan
New web host <>
<Facebook: Search with "Akio Hasegawa" or "長谷川章雄"
(and icon with beard and mustache)

Clooney engagement


Why no Wonder Woman movie?

It can easily be argued that Wonder Woman was overtly feminist in design... she was an Amazon and came from a culture and place that excluded men.   It would be appropriate that she (if she had an origin movie set in 2015) spend a great deal of time experiencing culture shock and under-estimating the ability of men to be competent at anything... which only works if she's wrong about the men.   In other words, Diana isn't feminist... she's sexist.

Which is likely the biggest reason that we haven't gotten a Wonder Woman movie.  -- They need me to write it. :P --  Because what people pushing for a Wonder Woman movie want is a ode to feminism... and that wouldn't be right.  For all that Wonder Woman could be used to frame an exploration of gender roles and preconceptions, it doesn't work to do that flipping of perception unless the thing that Diana learns is that men are every bit as real as women are real.

Make Wonder Woman a female Captain America, as parochial and "Boy Scout-ish", as set in her ways and misconceptions and unwilling to easily get over what she knows is true... and we could have something rather amazing.

It's not going to happen... partly because the idea is pushed by people who think that Thelma and Louise portrayed "strong" women.  And who think, not that a Wonder Woman movie would be awesome, but that a Wonder Woman movie ought to be viewed as a moral need.

(I think this guy sells posters... )