Saturday, May 10, 2014


That song dates from 1971. It's from the same album as "Maggie May," but never climbed the charts as high which is a pity because it's a great story. I learned a few new things about it at its Wiki page:

Kenney Jones, the usual Faces drummer did not play drums on the track as I had long assumed -- Micky Waller did. That reminded me of finding out that Kenney Jones played drums on the Stones' It's Only Rock And Roll (But I like It) and not Charlie Watts.

Stewart has dropped some of the more controversial lyrics in subsequent performances. I don't recall people getting upset about them in the 1970's. You'll never hear them if you skip through the song.

NYT Metro Diary: Lament for a Live Subway Voice

"My New York wasn’t lost with the gentrification of the East Village — a once edgy, tattered, soulful neighborhood turned into a massive food court."
Or with the closing of CBGB, or the morphing of SoHo into a shopping center, with crowds to rival Times Square.

It was with the audio automation in the subway — that voice, like a computerized Verizon operator, intoning the stops. You could be in any city.

Where’s the man at the wheel who tells you it’s his birthday, gives a thumbnail history of Astor Place or barks, “Let’s Go Mets!” as he’s pulling into Willets Point?

Couldn’t they at least have given the robot a New York accent?

WSJ: Basic Understanding of Game Theory and Incentives

"Here is how he (David Lee Roth) tells the story in a Vimeo video. By the early 1980s, Van Halen had become one of the biggest rock bands in history. Their touring contract carried a 53-page rider that laid out technical and security specs as well as food and beverage requirements. The "Munchies" section demanded potato chips, nuts, pretzels and "M&M's (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)."
When the M&M clause found its way into the press, it seemed like a typical case of rock-star excess, of the band "being abusive of others simply because we could," Mr. Roth said. But, he explained, "the reality is quite different."

Van Halen's live show boasted a colossal stage, booming audio and spectacular lighting. All this required a great deal of structural support, electrical power and the like. Thus the 53-page rider, which gave point-by-point instructions to ensure that no one got killed by a collapsing stage or a short-circuiting light tower. But how could Van Halen be sure that the local promoter in each city had read the whole thing and done everything properly?

Cue the brown M&M's. As Roth tells it, he would immediately go backstage to check out the bowl of M&M's. If he saw brown ones, he knew the promoter hadn't read the rider carefully—and that "we had to do a serious line check" to make sure that the more important details hadn't been botched either.

And so it was that David Lee Roth and King Solomon both engaged in a fruitful bit of game theory—which, narrowly defined, is the art of beating your opponent by anticipating his next move. (read more)

NYT: Rand Paul Diverges From His Party Over Voter ID

"Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky broke Friday with fellow Republicans who have pushed for stricter voting laws as a way to crack down on fraud at the polls, saying that the focus on such measures alienates and insults African-Americans and hurts the party."

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Mr. Paul said in an interview. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.” (read more)

movie posters

That people animated. Some are quite good. Others do not cycle, they just jerk back and forth. That is the key, to create a good loop. There are two pages.

page 1
page 2

This impressed me most. The person had to reconstruct an arm and new hand preparing the gun that is not in the original poster, bashing the safety off or something. Apparently, a person who handles firearms. The easy path would be just lift the arm that is present in the original poster and shoot the gun. The smoke is well convincing too. The angle of the head changes, shoulder lifts, the legs move. All very good. This person is pro.

cow snouts

The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman, put up a photo of four cow snouts he noticed stacked on a street in Peru, quite incredible and an exceedingly unusual photograph for his blog that garnered nearly 100 comments. I am vegetarian, I am vegetarian, I am vegetarian, I am vegetarian, yes, yes, yes, do tell us about yourselves. Never mind the comments, they are what you would expect, not interesting nor useful.

But what is intended for these snouts one must wonder. German designer Victoria Ledig has ideas. Luxury leather goods.




I was alive in the 70's and I do not recall anything like this.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"Skipping songs has become an addiction"

Business Insider: Data Show Our Attentions Spans Have Become So Short, We Can Barely Listen To A Whole Song Straight Through

"Our favorite music data guru Paul Lamere, the director of developer platform at The Echo Nest — which was just purchased by Spotify — and the guy who brought you your state's most relative favorite band, is out with new data showing the magnitude of the habit. He mined Spotify's vast pool of listener data, and came up with some astonishing results." (read more)

Here's the first one, showing what percent of listeners listen to what percent of a given song. It shows:
  • Nearly a quarter of all songs on Spotify get skipped within five seconds of starting.
  • More than a third are skipped within 30 seconds.
  • Nearly half of all songs are skipped at some point.


Here is looking at you Troop.

NFL: Patriots Offer Jersey Guarantee

ESPN: The New England Patriots will become the first NFL franchise to offer rebates to anyone who buys a jersey of a player who is no longer under contract to the team within a year of the purchase.
If fans purchase jerseys from the team website or stadium store and the players whose names are on the back leave the team within a year of purchase, those fans will receive a 25 percent discount toward the price of the next Patriots jersey they buy. Fans, who will have two months from the day a player is no longer under contract to make a new purchase with the discount, do not have to return the original jerseys with the names of former players.

Last year, the team took the unprecedented move of allowing anyone who had bought a jersey of Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with murder, to exchange it for the jersey of another player. More than 1,200 fans took the team up on the offer...

Lileks: Monogamy Envy

"With Mother’s Day nigh, you brace yourself for pieces in Slate and Salon along the lines of “To Hell with Motherhood: The Case for a Holiday to Celebrate the Real Victims of Kermit Gosnell, His Underpaid Staff” or “I’m Sick of Pretending I Love My Child.” Since no one’s written it yet, I’m reduced to imagining how they’ll sound:
Was I the only one who watched The Da Vinci Code hoping the secret message about Christianity was that some Roman version of Hallmark made up Jesus to sell greeting cards? I’m certainly not alone in regarding Valentine’s Day as a manufactured excuse to underscore historical gender norms with a little kiddie porn thrown in (really, what’s with all the naked babies with wings and bows and arrows?), but I know I’m probably in the minority when it comes to Mother’s Day. Hate it.
And so on with the brave, fearless reconsideration of all our cherished notions. One of these days someone will write “My mom hit me with a baseball and I threw up apple pie on the flag” and they’ll close up the sites, having said it all.
Until these pieces are posted, let’s amuse ourselves with The New Republic, where an author wrote “It’s Time to Ditch Monogamy.” A piece from the archives of 1970? No, bold new thinking, spurred by Cameron Diaz’s insights on the superiority of drifting from one chap to the next. Monogamy doesn’t work for Diaz, or the author of the piece, so Ditching must begin. It’s not enough to say, “I just can’t imagine sticking with one person the rest of my life. I foresee a series of satisfying relationships of varying duration and intensity, after which I retire to Nice and become known in the neighborhood as the iconoclastic woman who turned to pottery at the age of 74.” No, you have to decide that everyone should rethink the idea of faithfulness. (read more)

# activism

Hashtag activism actually does focus attention on issues, in its way, directing attention for real actors to take real action in the real world beyond vapid hashtag messages on social message boards, but hashtags after the attention is already focused is mere pointless narcissistic selfie. Especially when you are closest to the the one person invested with sufficient power to direct action. None of this is so interesting as the guy who flat freaks out about sensing Michelle Obama being accused of cheap activism. Lemon, I believe, is not having it. Lemon first assumes the guest is talking about Michelle Obama, and he is referring to Michelle O. although he does not mention her specifically, it still upsets Lemon terribly and Lemon cannot let it go.

Why are we even subjected? Nobody voted for Michelle O. When you hire elect a Democrat president you get a twofer, a Democrat operative wife, When you hire elect a Republican president you get a demure woman behind the man, a gracious hostess to international guests, a woman with a pet social cause. That is my observation of these two fundamentally vile parties. I frankly cannot care about Monica Lewinsky I cannot possibly care about Michelle Obama, I don't care what they are talking about. I'm posting this because I find Lemon's reaction astounding. Astoundingly inappropriately defensive.

What do I expect the first lady to do? She is an unelected person. Not an official. I expect her to pick out White House china and allow elected officials to run the country as they're hired to do, and unelected non-officials remain irrelevant. Whoa, whoa, hang on. Who are you targeting? So who are you targeting? Who. Are. You. Targeting? I'm asking you, who are you targeting?  Who. Are. You. Targeting?

Six times the same question where one time will do and that why I don't bother. 

[Incidentally, "press pound sign" does not make sense to British because they are  thinking, "£".]

Still, after all that, they are not so bad as Jordanian journalists. They are arguing about the Syrian war and apparently feel much more strongly than protecting the honor or intelligence or vanity of one's favorite first lady. 

Bill Dan

Bill is very good at balancing.

Chuck Schumer emerges as key player in Benghazi scandal.


Having poured over White House visitors' log, investigators note Shumer logged into White House at 5:30 and logged out at near midnight long after other parties logged out. They say that sort of thing is unusual, and on the very night a massacre was occurring.

The piece coordinates the meetings between Leon Panetta and General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at 5:00 in the Oval Office with Obama. Schumer met with Michael Lynch at Democratic Policy and Communications Center along with Press Secretary Christopher Scribner and Pete Rouse, Legal Counsel to the President.

One of the objectives of Schumer's visit was to assemble his top aids for a metting with Obama's Chief Legal Counsel. Examiner asks why.

Further, Examiner asks why Schumer and Rouse (!) stayed so late.

[In comments Lector wants to know what it is that we want, a new car? Following through ridicule and through patient explanation we see Lector does not give up, finally suggesting George Santayana is lost on us people. He's the guy who coined "Only the dead have seen the end of war." And, "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." The ironing, it burns.]

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This Story Will Really Piss Off Issa H8ers...

...I mean, the sheer gall of the man:

'How Much Pornography' Does it Take 'to Get Fired' at EPA?

Yellen Out Loud: ‘Deficits Will Rise to Unsustainable Levels’


And "I don't know what to call our system."

How about "Ouroboros For Our Time"?


National Journal: The next time you write an online review, be careful. You might get sued.

"That's what could happen to a Florida man who left a negative review about an Internet router he purchased. According to his Tuesday post on Reddit, where he's asking for legal advice, he received a letter from a law firm in Philadelphia threatening to sue him for an "illegal campaign to damage, discredit, defame, and libel" the company that makes the router.

"Your statements are false, defamatory, libelous, and slanderous, constitute trade libel and place Mediabridge and its products in a false light," the verbose letter from the law firm reads in part." (read more)

polar bear pop-up card

This is a six-page pop-up card in book form sent to a friend for their birthday. Apparently the person liked the card quite well. It was reported to me the recipient shows and explains the card to visitors. Or did at the time.


"Please Bother Us!"

Happy belated 90th birthday to Alfred Bader!

You may have never heard of him. He's one of those American success stories who appear to be waning these days. Not unlike our beloved bagoh20, he started a successful business which grew: Bader co-founded the Aldrich Chemical Company.

Bader's Wiki page lists him as Canadian which I find odd because I associate him with Milwaukee. I first heard of him around 1981 when I saw my first Aldrich Chemical Catalog of Fine Chemicals which graced every chemistry laboratory. You couldn't open a chemistry journal in those days without seeing one of his advertisements which always led with "Please Bother Us!" exhorting his customers to give feedback regarding customer needs.

The Aldrich catalog came out once a year or so and was sort of a Sears Wish Book of what you could buy to supply your experiments. The cover of each new catalog featured a reproduction of an oil painting -- usually a Dutch Masters -- and usually one that Bader had acquired for his collection. More about that here.

Bader, the man, has a rich history: refugee, chemist, businessman, art collector, philanthropist.  Celebrate him.

"A light went off in my head"

Cosmopolitan: "When Emily Letts got pregnant, she knew she would get an abortion. Then she decided to film it. Letts, 25, is an abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey, which is where she had her abortion. The non-graphic video focuses on her face and shows her breathing and humming through the procedure. The doctor on the other side of the sheet is out of view. When she entered the Abortion Care Network’s Stigma Busting video competition and won, the video went viral. Here, she explains why she decided to share her experience so publicly."
Becoming an abortion counselor was kind of unexpected. I was a professional actress for many years. I loved acting, but I felt fairly depressed most of the time. I disliked my body. I felt competitive toward women. I felt completely alienated from myself and everyone else because I was intent on being successful.

I had a friend who was a birth doula, and she fascinated me with her stories about giving birth and growing life. It led me to start looking at my body in a whole different way. I became what’s called a “birth junkie.” I trained as a doula and watched every documentary I could get my hands on. During my training, I learned there are three kinds of doulas: birth doulas, adoption doulas, and abortion doulas. (read more)

NYT: "AMID the sound and fury of the latest culture-war battles — first over breast cancer dollars and Planned Parenthood, and then over the White House’s attempt to require that religious employers cover contraception and potential abortifacients — it’s easy to forget that there is at least some common ground in American politics on sex, pregnancy, marriage and abortion."

"Even the most pro-choice politicians, for instance, usually emphasize that they want to reduce the need for abortion, and make the practice rare as well as safe and legal. Even the fiercest conservative critics of the White House’s contraception mandate — yes, Rick Santorum included — agree that artificial birth control should be legal and available. And both Democrats and Republicans generally agree that the country would be better off with fewer pregnant teenagers, fewer unwanted children, fewer absent fathers, fewer out-of-wedlock births. Where cultural liberals and social conservatives differ is on the means that will achieve these ends."

Cosmopolitan, New York Times


Mother's day May 11, 2014.

Proflowers, what you see; what you get.

Poorly reviewed online.

Site jabber 1.5 stars out of five stars

Fat wallet, some people like it, most people do not.

Flowers arrive as buds. The scheme is planned that way. Flowers bloom at different rates so the arrangement of different type blooms shown is not what occurs at home. People report some roses not opening at all. Separate species of cut flowers are shipped in a box each stem with their own separate life sustaining glass vial, a test tube with a rubber stopper. So they start out looking alright in the box. The vase is well protected. They are not arranged as with baby's breath, just the flowers and vase, it is up to the recipient to do the trimming and the arrangement.

This would baffle my mother to bits. I know that as fact. She would not be able to comply with instructions to cut the stems first, trim leaves, add whatever else to complete an arrangement, trim stems and leaves, add elements not shipped such as bizarrely shaped twigs, and spacing plants such as baby's breath, add nutrients, change water, then within three days recut the stems, change the water, and re-feed. All that was well beyond her. 

My favorite thing was buy flowers out of the grocery store cooler and and create an arrangement myself using one of her vases, a feat that completely mystified her and she said so. She said to another woman, "I don't know how he does it."

"I have the gene, Mum." 


"Never mind." 

But flowers for Mum, any plant for that matter, is tantamount to consigning them to certain prompt death. In her world it is the thought that counts, then they die. And quickly too. Like that *snap* 

I'd do the same thing for my landlady, buy the same bunches. Two completely different reactions. Mum would be all, "These should be red" no matter what color or type best on that day, and the plants would go limp, dying, dead within just a few days, the dead curled flowers displayed as corpses as reminder of what was, while my landlady would flip right out properly thrilled with receiving a bouquet and she'd care for them tenderly extending their life by weeks. I am not exaggerating. The contrast was between them sharp as could be. 

That was fun. I should do that again for the ladies I know now. What an unexpected surprise that will be. I forgot until right now how fun that was.

NSA tweet

They're trolling.

Trolling as in drop a line with a hook in the water and drag it along to catch something. 

Clues: "@NSACarreers", "#Mission Monday" "#news"

And probably "view translation" if it were clickable.

Ignore spacing because NSA are known bastards. That leaves double letters and frequency. Expect further bastardry like purposefully omitting frequently used lletters.

a  i
c  t
d  o
e  h
f   n 
g  d
h  b
i   e
k  r
l   k
m g
n  l
o  m
p  a
q  c
r   s
t   w
v  u
w  y
x  p
z  x

Meh. Letter substitution. Missing f (odd, that),  j, q, v,  z 

tpfc cd lfdt tepc ac cplir cd tdkl pc frp? qeiq
want to know what it takes to work at nsa? Chec
i hpql ipqe odfgpw af opw pr ti izxndki qpkii
k back each monday in may as we explore caree
kr irrifcapn c d xkdciqcafm dvk fpcadf
rs essential to protecting our nation

[Want to know what it takes to work at NSA? Check back each Monday in May as we explore careers essential to protecting our nation.]

Got that? Check back each Monday for career spots at NSA. But then you would  be working with proven snoops, compromised types. Maybe you would even be able to check on your x surreptitiously and get away with it.

This trolling reminds me of Henry Hook. Longtime crossword compiler for Boston Globe. Word genius like no other. I mean it, Henry is singular. His puzzles infuriatingly break well-established rules in order to pack them more completely with thematic entries. The rule breaking, misspelling sometimes, is accepted by fans because his entries are so imaginative, so entertaining so vast and and so satisfying when solved, but you do have to allow that extra wiggle room for genius to flourish.

He was banned from annual competition because he reliably wins and because his personality is somewhat difficult. Later welcomed back.

He showed up in comments at NYT crosswords and insulted us all with his baseness that deeply offended the more delicate formal types, other constructors with their own group gravitas, masters who help new constructors along took deep offense and said so. He really was surprisingly vile.
"I for one will not buy another H.H. book until H.H. apologizes." 
And he did! I did not think that maternal chiding would work, but it did work. She spoke directly to him as if he were a child and he responded that day. Apologized immediately. Another surprise. And remained civil thereafter. That was the most interesting thing I saw over there in NYT crossword comments.

I stopped reading comments because they maintained a rule to not discuss puzzles until after noon. A ridiculous rule, I thought, a holdover from print in an internet age. We argued. I lost the argument. The rule-striken martinets reigned supreme. One in particular, a doctor in Florida, who then died, allowing a rule change but by then my interest had waned. Plus Will Shortz bent the difficulty-curve allowing more solvers to a greater audience, dumbed down the beginning week puzzles intolerably. They became more like filling out medical forms.

Henry's start in cryptology is legendary. The old-time NYT crossword editor was quite proud of himself for designing a puzzle with extra panache. Once solved, by reading the letters around the edges as separate sentence, ignoring spaces and providing new spaces, a new message appears:
You have just finished the world's most remarkable crossword
The fourteen-year old Henry was not at all impressed. He wrote his own puzzle with his own message, and did it fast besides,  and sent it to Eugene Maleska, a word-genius in his own right.
What makes you think your puzzle is more remarkable than mine
Now that sort of thing is common. Sadly, puzzle construction is the only thing that Henry can do. He is utterly without skills besides cranking out puzzles. But, man, can he crank them out. His work for a week done on the fly, as you or I would hand-write a note in a few minutes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Faking Bad" Update

I've added two new "objets de plastiques" to my line up first described back here.

Heuvos (sunny side up)

Heuvos (raw)

"Colorado Symphony Marijuana Concerts Pass With Regulars"

"One of the more surprising things about the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s recently announced “Classically Cannabis” concerts is just how easily the concept seems to be going down with its long-time supporters."

"The CSO’s frontline fans tend to be older, 60-plus, even 80-plus, and they’re as traditional as fine arts fans come. They dress up for concerts and follow a code of conduct that includes guidelines for everything from the unwrapping of hard candies to the appropriate moments for applause."

"But they’re not so strict when it comes to introducing marijuana into the experience for some concert goers, especially when it might bring in badly needed revenues for their beloved orchestra." (read more)

"Ban on drone photos harms free speech, say media outlets in challenge to FAA"

"The New York Times and other major media outlets have accused the Federal Aviation Administration of “chilling” journalism and violating their First Amendment rights by banning the use of unmanned aircraft for news photography."

"The media outlets made the claims in a “friend of the court” brief (see below) filed Tuesday in support of Raphael Pirker, a drone hobbyist who was fined $10,000 by the FAA for using a five-pound drone to make a promotional video over the University of Virginia."

"A judge dismissed the fine, agreeing that the FAA did not have the authority to impose it, but now the agency is appealing the decision and, at the same time, has been warning media outlets and others not to use unmanned aircraft for photography." (read more)

Study: U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created

"The American economy is less entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades. That's the conclusion of a new study out from the Brookings Institution, which looks at the rates of new business creation and destruction since 1978."

"Not only that, but during the most recent three years of the study -- 2009, 2010 and 2011 -- businesses were collapsing faster than they were being formed, a first. Overall, new businesses creation (measured as the share of all businesses less than one year old) declined by about half from 1978 to 2011." (read more)

"Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Tuesday blasted an Obama administration proposal to create up to 100,000 more guest worker permits for the spouses of foreign workers, calling it a plan that would keep 100,000 Americans from finding jobs."

“Fifty million working-age Americans aren’t working,” said Sessions, an outspoken critic of Democratic immigration plans. “Yet the administration is now going to immediately add almost 100,000 new guest workers to compete against unemployed Americans."
Washington Post, The Blaze

I Bring An Unaccustomed Wine

I bring an unaccustomed wine
To lips long parching, next to mine,
And summon them to drink.

Crackling with fever, they essay;
I turn my brimming eyes away,
And come next hour to look.

The hands still hug the tardy glass;
The lips I would have cooled, alas!
Are so superfluous cold,

I would as soon attempt to warm
The bosoms where the frost has lain
Ages beneath the mould.

Some other thirsty there may be
To whom this would have pointed me
Had it remained to speak.

And so I always bear the cup
If, haply, mine may be the drop
Some pilgrim thirst to slake,

If, haply, any say to me,
"Unto the little, unto me,"
When I at last awake.

- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Awesome Nerdy T-Shirts

Stumbled upon this awesome t-shirt site this morning. I've been reading for a half hour now and giggling. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


LL has a hilarious parody video at his blog Virtual Mirage which I want to link to give him some traffic.  L was a loyal fan and commenter at my blog El Pollo Real before I "moved" here.

Anyways, tonight's song (and parody) concern that phenomenally successful YouTube video in which everybody plays just one guitar.

Bad Words

They had me with the title, this does look like an interesting movie.

The review on Free Beacon is good.
Bad Words is the platonic ideal of a cinematic comedy.
Which caused me to look up "platonic ideal." Knowing Wikipedia tends to dazzle with intellectual pretension I chose Yahoo Answer instead. A risk, I know. But this:
Plato said that a particular horse can "flow", like in time it will get old and die, but the "ideal" or "form" of Horse is eternal and immutable.  
OR, you might think of it in terms of cookies, yum, cookies! If you see ten gingerbread men all sitting on the counter that all look the same, you have a subconscious understanding that they came from a cookie cutter, and what that cookie cutter is like. In Plato's world, that cookie cutter in the "ideal" of a gingerbread man. 
Pretty good answer. 

First time I've seen Kathryn Hahn. All this makes me want to see the movie. 

anteater pop-up card

'Ere, have yourself an ant.

Sent to a friend for no reason at all. I thought it was funny. But now looking back I see how this can read as "thanks for nothing." 

The rest here.

Air Care Colorado

Guess what I got to do yesterday.

O jour frabbejeais! Calleau! Callai!

The drive is around this mesa on the far side of town, getting close to Boulder. I practiced in Google Earth so I knew in advance what each intersection looks like. 

The station closest to me always has obnoxiously long lines. That has been my experience. So I decided to have a drive out to Golden instead. Online, Golden always show reliably short lines. Except for today. I ended up waiting obnoxious long there instead of nearby.

But I was ready for that! 

With my camera. 

As I and my truck approached the front of the line it suddenly became arbitrary, as usual. Third from the front I was directed to move into another lane, their sign language signals are appalling. You have no idea for certain they are pointing at you. The woman in front of me was directed to another lane too but after I moved. Very odd, that. The whole thing awkward. Then once there I was directed by another person to switch back to the original lane we were all in. Which put me and the woman in the same waiting room. I suppose the line behind me became too long. My truck was finished before the woman's car in front of me started. This time the arbitrariness worked to my advantage, but those slights are noticed and resented. 

Monday. Beginning of the month. Two points against speedy bay access.

Directly across the station Carhartt has an outlet. Turns out an excellent shop. Like Army Surplus except a lot better organized with all of the sizes available, even 29W 34L, proving not all outdoor workers are cows as Amazon expects American men are judging by sizes available. And the best part about the whole thing is everybody I met even at Air Care Colorado is so pleasant and nice. So it is impossible to stay cross for too long. And it is a pleasant and interesting drive out there besides.

Lookout Mountain, popular hang gliding site, Buffalo Bill's grave (wonder who's buried there), Colorado School of Mines, and Coors an abject eyesore just like Gates Tires used to be. That place needs an overhaul. Or tons of urban graffiti. Coors should invite artists to have their way with murals on all those gray cement walls as are done with train cars. The plant dominates the valley.

USA Today: Was Toronto Mayor Ford denied entry to U.S. for rehab?

"Was flamboyant Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied entry into the United States last week after flying to Chicago to check into a drug and alcohol rehab center?"
The tantalizing prospects were first raised in an exclusive story by The (Toronto) Globe and Mail that said Ford turned back after boarding a plane in Canada bound for Chicago.

Ford has acknowledged problems with alcohol abuse and smoking crack cocaine. (read more)
I came across this story while listening to Rush.. or I should say he alerted me to it. Rush sounded perplexed (or pretended to sound perplexed) that the US can, apparently, keep people out of the country. It is possible to keep people from entering the country. Who knew?

NYT Politics section: Sotomayor Finds Her Voice Among the Justices

I am a lawyer’s judge,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor said last year. “I write very technically.”
That was true at the time. But something has changed in the current Supreme Court term. In opinions concerning human rights abuses, the death penalty and, most notably, affirmative action, Justice Sotomayor has found her voice.

“She’s setting a public agenda,” said Cristina Rodriguez, a law professor at Yale. “She’s looking for her moments. And her willingness to talk about how biography informs judgments challenges a lot of people’s notions about what the law is supposed to do.”
I thought the justices were supposed to be above politics.

Monica Lewinsky: Why now? Because Tyler Clementi

"Maintaining that her affair with Clinton was one between two consenting adults, Lewinsky writes that it was the public humiliation she suffered in the wake of the scandal that permanently altered the direction of her life: “Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. . . . The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.” (read more)

Vanity Affair


Was Hitchens intellectually dominating WFB in this historical clip (as some commenters there suggest)?
*A post in the style of deborah

Ron Paul: Why We’re No Longer Number One

"Last week World Bank economists predicted that China would soon displace the United States as the world’s largest economy. The fact that this one-time economic basket case is now positioned to surpass the US is one more sign of the damage done to American prosperity by welfare, warfare, corporatism, and fiat money."

"Some commentators have predicted that China’s reign as the world’s largest economy would not last long. This may be true. While China has made great strides since adopting free-market reforms in the 1970s, China is still run by an authoritarian government whose economic policies distort the market in order to benefit state-favored industries. These state-favored businesses are often controlled by politically-powerful individuals." (read the whole thing)

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Last Element

Element 117 is one step closer to joining being added to the Periodic Table -- its existence has been independently confirmed by a German team: Link

But the atomsmiths still have haven't found the legendary "Island Of Stability"

Now here's where it gets interesting contentious: A Russian team claimed to have made the same element 4 years ago. Here is a very watchable video describing announcing element 117's initial discovery:

Wiki has a page on Ununseptium, the placeholder name for the new element. It now remains to be properly named.  Suggestions?  The Russians, Americans, and Germans already have elements named after their respective nations: Ruthenium, Americium, and Germanium. If the Russians and Germans end up slugging it out for priority, perhaps it could be called Stalingradium.  Or how about Putinium or Merkelium? How about Obamium?


h/t Lem

Supreme Court: Opening Prayers at Council Meetings Constitutional

"The Supreme Court has upheld the right of local officials to open town council meetings with prayer, ruling that this does not violate the Constitution even if the prayers routinely stress Christianity."

"The court said in a 5-4 decision Monday that the content of the prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion." (read more)

Dissenting, Justice Kagan wrote...
"I have no doubt that every member of this Court believes as firmly as I that our institutions of gov­ernment belong equally to all, regardless of faith. Rather, the error reflects two kinds of blindness," Kagan wrote. "First, the majority misapprehends the facts of this case, as distinct from those characterizing traditional legislative prayer. And second, the majority misjudges the essential meaning of the religious worship in Greece's town hall, along with its capacity to exclude and divide."


Wikipedia: "The English common name for the order is the mantises, or rarely (using a Latinized plural of Greek mantis), the mantes. The name mantid refers only to members of the family Mantidae. The other common name, often applied to any species in the order, is "praying mantis", because of the typical "prayer-like" posture with folded fore-limbs, although the folk etymology "preying mantis" is sometimes used in reference to their predatory habits."

May Flowers

Anthony Bourdain: Under the Volcano (Feliz 5 de Mayo)

"Mexico. Our brother from another mother. A country, with whom, like it or not, we are inexorably, deeply involved, in a close but often uncomfortable embrace. Look at it. It’s beautiful. It has some of the most ravishingly beautiful beaches on earth. Mountains, desert, jungle. Beautiful colonial architecture, a tragic, elegant, violent, ludicrous, heroic, lamentable, heartbreaking history. Mexican wine country rivals Tuscany for gorgeousness. Its archeological sites—the remnants of great empires, unrivaled anywhere. And as much as we think we know and love it, we have barely scratched the surface of what Mexican food really is. It is NOT melted cheese over a tortilla chip. It is not simple, or easy. It is not simply ‘bro food’ halftime. It is in fact, old— older even than the great cuisines of Europe and often deeply complex, refined, subtle, and sophisticated. A true mole sauce, for instance, can take DAYS to make, a balance of freshly (always fresh) ingredients, painstakingly prepared by hand. It could be, should be, one of the most exciting cuisines on the planet. If we paid attention. The old school cooks of Oaxaca make some of the more difficult to make and nuanced sauces in gastronomy. And some of the new generation, many of whom have trained in the kitchens of America and Europe have returned home to take Mexican food to new and thrilling new heights."

The NYT Reluctantly Delivers Bad Economic News

The single best gauge of the economic recovery — better than the headline unemployment rate — may be wage growth."
So ignore April’s sharp drop in unemployment. Pay no attention to the creation of 288,000 jobs announced on Friday. The most important number in the latest jobs report did not change at all."
Average hourly wages for American workers held steady at $24.31 last month. They have increased just 1.9 percent over the previous 12 months. But after adjusting for inflation, real wages have increased by something like 0.5 percent." (read more)
How A Popular Two-Letter Word Is Undermining Your Credibility
3 of 3 - “So” demonstrates that you’re not 100% comfortable with what you’re saying.
Just as the “so” setup announces that this portion of the conversation will be very deliberate, it also demonstrates that you’re not as comfortable with your story as you think you are."

Rather than just plainly answering their question, you’re relying on the crutch of a practiced blurb. Usually, whatever follows “so” is a carefully crafted sentence, evolved over many iterations and audience reactions."

There’s a reason we do it. In psychology, it’s what’s known as a “marker.” It’s a little cue to our cognitive mind that says, “Quick, call up that part that we practiced.”
Just like a speaking coach will tell you not to fill empty space with “um,” you should avoid framing your answer as a rehearsed pitch by starting with “so.”


Chinese special effects

Comment: Were it Hollywood, it'd be $1M CGI and look fake.

Flight of the Bumble B Cups

It started with Waveya Ari uploading clips to Dvorak Symphony No. 9 inspiring artifus to use the same clips to Rimsky-Korsakov.

And this got me thinking, chicks are weird. Look but don't touch. Hey, my eyes are up here. Whadaya mean I dress is provocatively? 

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Dino Valenti of the Quicksilver Messenger Service wrote the song, but The Youngbloods made it famous in 1967.

I like the '60's era celebrity footage equally cut with "normal" people footage. I think I spied Sixty Grit with Carol_Herman.

Speaking of hippies, did you know that this summer marks the 50th anniversary of Ken Kesey's 1964 west-to-east Merry Pranksters road trip?

The Gulf of Alaska

water, bodies of


Atlantic Ocean

Cross the pond

Cross the ocean

This information is provided by hydrology. You are welcome. 

Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson under fire over his use of the N-word

Jeremy Clarkson has released a video "begging for forgiveness" over allegations he used the N-word during filming of Top Gear.

Lemon Roasted Chicken with Wild Mushrooms

I love to cook. I love to cook much more than I actually cook these days, but in the meantime I am saving recipes. This picture and recipe from the Crepes of Wrath blog makes my mouth water.


"Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved a man with a beard. To me, they meant strength, power, MANLINESS. Someone who could protect me. Unfortunately, you guys have turned it into a fashion statement. The beard has turned into the padded bra of masculinity. Sure it looks sexy, but whatcha got under there? There's a whole generation running around looking like lumberjacks, and most of you can't change a f**king tire."

"Look, I get it. I really do. I understand the motivation behind your beardedness. In fact, I even pity you. Thousands of years of evolution priming you guys to kill stuff, and chase stuff, and f**k stuff....and now what? You're stuck at a desk all day. No battles to fight. No wars to wage. So you assert your masculinity the only way you know how. You brew beer. You grow some hair on your face." (read more)

NYT: "we must finally acknowledge that altruism isn’t enough"

"THE national transplant list just passed a morbid milestone: More than 100,000 people now wait for kidneys.

We are at this point largely because even though demand is growing, donations from living and deceased donors have remained flat, between 16,500 and 17,000 annually, for the past decade. Between now and this time tomorrow, 14 people will die, many after languishing on dialysis for 5 to 10 years, while their names slowly crawled up the queue.

The problem lies in the requirement that all organs be given altruistically... Federal law is widely interpreted as forbidding donors to receive anything of tangible value in return for their lifesaving deeds. (read more)