Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Syttende Mai!

Do they still celebrate Syttende Mai in Stoughton, Wisconsin? They did when I was kid growing up in nearby Middleton, WI. We had our own summertime festival called "The Good Neighbor Festival, " always around the last weekend of summer.  Other small communities had theirs too: Sun Prairie had their "Corn Festival." Waunakee had something called "Volksfest," but that went away. Now I understand they celebrate "Wauktober Fest"? Perhaps Titus can enlighten us. Jefferson, WI had "Gemuetlickeit Days;"  Madison had "May Day" (I kid).

The names suggest a strong European influence which I think is waning fast.

Do people do these kinds of things outside of Wisconsin?


Go ask Alice...


Bobby Flay does that too, what Jacuqes said at the beginning. When interviewing for a new chef he has them make an omelet. Do that and everything else fall into place.

That tapping the pan that Jacques does is essential to have the the omelet roll out of the pan. Without tapping the pan then you are left to rely on the spatula and that is not so good. The direction the pan is tapped, on the side of a table, Jacques taps the table top, can determine the direction the omelet tends to fold. That way you do not have to hold the pan as Jacques does here, if you pile it on the left side and tap it on left and on right then you can hold the pan as usual to turn it onto the plate. I make these things constantly. It's actually a cop out meal. A thing done when I'm lazy and basically cheating. Even so, I've been told I make the best people have had. Those were stuffed like burritos.  No brag, I've been told that more than one time. So it's feedback. I've cranked them out for thirty people in sequence and seated everyone at once, back when I was still interested in entertaining. One time at another couple's home, the wife tapped my shoulder and pulled me away from a conversation. "We intended to serve omelets (using their farm duck eggs where 1 duck egg = 3 chicken eggs) but then we realized neither of us knows how to make one." It is a useful skill. Useful for winning the admiration of one's peers, useful for being stuck in other people's kitchen doing their work, useful for enjoying an excellent cop out meal.

I'm told the English teacher has a sense of humor.

My youngest utterly despised having to read Lord of the Flies and I had to agree that whoever thought it a good idea to have depressive (and medicated for it) teenagers read this book is wacked in the head. As a good parent all I could really do was repeat that she didn't need to *like* it and she didn't need to pretend she liked it and when she had to answer questions about it, to tell the truth.

So... the final assignment sort of went like this... and ends like this:

The whole thing’s an analogy. Several layers of symbolism put together like a slightly foul and arrogant ice-cream cake. Probably with “Huminz sux” written sloppily on the top.

All I can say is that the punishment should fit the crime, and I'm assured that the teacher has a sense of humor.

A Couple Chooses a Movie

NPR: How To Marry The Right Girl, A Mathematical Solution

"Imagine that you are interviewing 20 people to be your secretary [or your spouse or your garage mechanic] with the rule that you must decide at the end of each interview whether or not to give that applicant the job." If you offer the job to somebody, game's up. You can't go on and meet the others. "If you haven't chosen anyone by the time you see the last candidate, you must offer the job to her," Alex writes (not assuming that all secretaries are female — he's just adapting the attitudes of the early '60s).
So remember: At the end of each interview, you either make an offer or you move on.

If you don't make an offer, no going back. Once you make an offer, the game stops.

According to Martin Gardner, who in 1960 described the formula (partly worked out earlier by others), the best way to proceed is to interview (or date) the first 36.8 percent of the candidates. Don't hire (or marry) any of them, but as soon as you meet a candidate who's better than the best of that first group — that's the one you choose! Yes, the Very Best Candidate might show up in that first 36.8 percent — in which case you'll be stuck with second best, but still, if you like favorable odds, this is the best way to go.

Why 36.8 percent? The answer involves a number mathematicians call "e" – which, reduced to a fraction 1/e = 0.368 or 36.8 percent. For the specific details, check here, or Alex's book, but apparently this formula has proved itself over and over in all kinds of controlled situations. While it doesn't guarantee happiness or satisfaction, it does give you a 36.8 percent chance — which, in a field of 11 possible wives — is a pretty good success rate.
Also see Freeman Hunt's "Frank Advice for a Male Relative on Finding a Mate" Good Luck... and don't call me Frank ;)

Zero Hedge: The Worlds Unsold Car Stockpile (updated*)

"Houston...We have a problem!... Nobody is buying brand new cars anymore!  Well they are, but not on the scale they once were.  Millions of brand new unsold cars are just sitting redundant on runways and car parks around the world.  There, they stay, slowly deteriorating without being maintained."

"The car industry would never sell these cars at massive reductions in their prices to get rid of them, no they still want every buck.  If they were to price these cars for a couple of thousand they would sell them.  However, nobody would then buy any expensive cars and then they  would end up being unsold."

(The images on this webpage showing all of these unsold cars are just a very small portion of those around the world.  There are literally thousands of these "car parks" rammed full of unsold cars in practically every country on the planet.)

*Update : That Zero Hedge Article On Unsold Cars Is Bullshit

Financial Times: Veterans scandal risks engulfing Obama

"Amid contrived outrage over Benghazi and the improving fortunes of its healthcare reform, the Obama administration could be facing a genuine scandal about its treatment of military veterans that has the potential to attract broad political condemnation of its competence..."
... the subject really began to gather steam three weeks ago when CNN interviewed Sam Foote, who had recently retired as a doctor after working for 24 years for VA hospitals in Phoenix, Arizona. He said that as many as 40 patients had died after being placed on a hidden waiting list that could last for up to a year, while officials at the hospital shredded documents and faked evidence to make it seem as if waiting times were under control.

Since then... whistleblowers have alleged similar practices at least seven other VA hospitals around the country and claimed that officials at the hospitals were sometimes paid bonuses for reducing declared waiting times.

The political impact of the scandal has been somewhat muted so far, in part because of the respect still enjoyed by the veterans affairs secretary, retired four-star general Eric Shinseki who was himself wounded twice in Vietnam. Appearing before a Senate hearing on Thursday, Mr Shinseki received pointed questioning, but in a tone more respectful than almost any other cabinet member would have encountered. “I am mad as hell,” he told the committee.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Department of Justice doesn't have any plans to investigate allegations that veterans placed on secret waiting lists at VA hospitals died while waiting for care.

Quand vaches saints... ils marchent dans...

Autrans, France

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Michael Sam Show!

In the week following his draft by the St. Louis Rams, the Oprah Winfrey Network announced that they would film a documentary series about Sam, chronicling his efforts to make the team. link

And people thought Sarah Palin was a "drama queen" for starting a reality TV show.

SunTrust Bank Cuts Ties With Benham Brothers Due to Conservative Beliefs

More progressive fascism.  It's horrible. 

The Benham brothers are Christians.  SunTrust Bank, for whom they have sold thousands of foreclosed homes, unexpectedly cut all business ties with them in a fifteen minute period because of the Benhams' religious beliefs.

This progressive fascism has to be fought against and stopped.


USDA buying submachine guns high capacity magazines

Why is U.S. Department of Agriculture buying .40 calibre submachine guns and 30-round capacity magazines?

Executive Order written by President Obama on March 16, 2012.

"NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS". This gives the president authority to seize control over all resources in the nation (labor, food, industry, etc.) as long as it is done "to promote the national defense". 
(1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer; (2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy; (3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources; (4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation; (5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and (6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials. 
A commenter at abovetopsecret asks, how is this different from the executive order that Clinton signed, and earlier orders by Bush? PDF  The earlier orders speak to readiness and cooperation between government departments.

The answer to that is previous orders do not authorize seizing property. The new order includes the phrase "under emergency and non-emergency conditions." HotAir.

Hot Air, Legal Insurrection, AoSHQ, Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway, all agree this is boilerplate and nothing untoward.

Then why make changes?

That was then and this is now. Previous orders were before Homeland Security. But It is a matter of trust. There is none. And of scale. Departments are outsized. The scale is inverted between officials and the governed. We are governed without consent. We've seen what a vindictive executive does, how he behaves when pushed. How departments are kept open and used against citizens while bitterly complaining about being shut down even as it was himself who did the shutting in order to avoid talking. So important to "have a conversation" except when it's not. Park Service specifically in the last instance. But we also see border control being made useless while departments with scant need for firearms are powering up unreasonably. We've seen political leadership and media cynically use  emotionally charged gun-related madness-related catastrophes to immediately bust moves across the whole nation in multiple states to pinch second amendment rights to private ownership of firearms of law abiding citizens that do nothing to prevent such catastrophies. PDF Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging. While simultaneously building up stocks of firearms and big ones at that, including shocking amount of ammunition throughout various departments that few will agree require guns to carry out their original tasks, their original purpose for being. The departments continue to grow unreasonably large while private citizens' constitutionally protected rights continue to shrink, all incrementally.

All this concomitant with alarming fiduciary irresponsibility of Pentagon destroying 1 billion dollars of ammunition. USA Today. The waste quite incredible and unconscionable.

When seven of the ten wealthiest districts are in the Washington beltway and the heaviest most numerous firearms are held by government department then in power and wealth, if not beauty and talent, our country can be be described accurately as inverted.

Outside the Beltway 


From Project Gunrunner, Project Gunwalker, Operation Fast & Furious, Operation Castaway, Operation Wide Receiver, Operation White Gun, Operation Grenadewalker, Direct Commercial Sales Program, to as yet proven failed weapons transfer at Benghazi, it is shown quite clearly that when it comes to guns and ammunition, firearms and weapons our political leadership, our government as a whole is proven hopelessly irresponsible and outright dangerous to the world and to our own freedom. We deserve much better than this.

Rinos and rats.

"Make Mine Freedom" (1948)

Meade makes a brief cameo at 1 min 15 sec; don't skip through.

The theme of "isms" as a problem in American politics is very old now; see for example this old clip from "You Can't Take It With You" (1938).

The admonition of against an ever more powerful State is no less true today.

All of the dated industrial examples (e.g., the auto industry) can be supplanted with more recent examples.

Nursing Manager Gloria Akalitus

“We don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people”

"Ever since my mother joined the North American Bluebird Society, or NABS, she’s had it out for the English house sparrow — a bird that, when it isn’t devouring butterflies and yellow flowers, is pecking out the brains of bluebird mothers, dumping their lifeless bodies in the grass and then throwing their children out to die.

“Imagine if you had a neighbor like that,” Mom once said to me. “What would you do?” (read more)


"Here’s a question. If — and this is a big if — the United States could dispatch a swarm of heretofore secret super-drones to find and kill every member of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, would you be in favor of doing it?

"I’ll even modify it for those of you who are squeamish about killing terrorists who slaughter men, women, and children with abandon. What if the drones could simply paralyze the terrorists long enough for the U.S., or the Nigerians, or some duly authorized force of U.N.-sanctioned “good guys” to apprehend them? Would you favor it then? (read more)


"We do not create trouble but we are not afraid of trouble," Fang said (chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army) at a Pentagon news conference after meetings with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"Dempsey appeared to be slightly irritated as he waited to comment while listening to a long-winded response by Fang on the current dispute with Vietnam over offshore oil drilling rights. (read more)

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Lemmy retorts on shorts:

NYT OPed: The Commencement Bigots

Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to give the 248th anniversary commencement address at Rutgers University this coming Sunday. She canceled after a small knot of protesters pressured the university. It’s no contest who showed more class.

Near as I can tell, the forces of intolerance objected to her role in the Iraq war. O.K. And by shutting her down, the point is ... what? That extremism, whether in the climate-denial echo chamber of Republican Party elites or in the fragile zone of college faculty lounges, is the worst enemy of free speech.

Thanks to the bigots, Smith College graduates will be deprived of the thoughts of Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund. She withdrew this week, under pressure from people who object to the I.M.F.’s role in the “strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems.” So, one of the world’s most powerful women will not share insights with one of the nation’s most prominent women’s colleges because of a concern about patriarchy. Evil men — that’ll show ’em.

This was followed by the swift departure of Robert J. Birgeneau, a former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, as a speaker at Haverford College. Yes, you heard that right: The man from Berkeley is not suitable for the sensitive souls of Haverford.

For guidance, these censors could have consulted the Rutgers student mission statement. “We embrace difference by cultivating inclusiveness and respect of both people and points of view.” Diversity of perspective? Thy name should be academia. But of late, too many schools are opting for well-vetted bores. Pursue your dream, live your own life, don’t forget to floss or use sunscreen, and if you’re forced to share a hall with people you don’t like, shout them down and kick them out the door. (read the whole thing)

"Firenado" East Of Oceanside

h/t: link

The 'Right To Be Forgotten' claim

The Telegraph - An ex-politician seeking re-election, a man convicted of possessing child abuse images, and a GP who received negative reviews from patients have all asked Google to delete their internet histories, after the European Union’s top court ruled that data about individuals held by Google must be removed on request

The European Court of Justice said earlier this week that an individual has the "right to be forgotten" when such personal data "appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed". (read more)


What is wrong with Nebraska?

This is a personal email exchange but I think it could be interesting to others.


These snow storms and cold weather are completely messing up my tiny terrace garden. Plan A --> Plan B --> Plan C.

Plan D will be give the f up. 

Does the odd weather have the catastrophic effect on your enterprise or are your plants safely tucked in under the dirt? Will they be able to punch through? Have they already? How are you coping?


Chip, For now the drought is certainly over, 2.8 inches rain mixed with snow. Ice crystals on dog's outside water dish AGAIN this morning, always worrisome as the wheat head is now forming inside the stalk. One cannot tell the extent of frost damage until the wheat ripens in July. The frost damaged plants will turn white instead of gold and there isn't any kernel formation within the head. 

I had the wheat sprayed with liquid nitrogen and the ultra expensive chemical named "Beyond" ($548.00 per gallon) just days before the rains came. The plant always suffers a "burn" (yellowing) with the nitrogen unless there is adequate moisture present. The yellowing should subside very quickly now with this abundant moisture. The Beyond herbicide is a very harsh chemical & is designed to eradicate three specific weeds, those being goat grass, cheat grass and rye. Though there isn't any visible damage to the plant, when the plant is weakened from drought or harsh winter conditions, it stuns the plant & sets its growth back by 5 or 6 days or up to 7-10 days depending on the stage of growth when sprayed. 

I was late in spraying because my fields were still recovering from retracting below the soil surface through the winter. Soil erosion from strong winter winds was the most pronounced I have ever seen, drift after drift of "blow dirt," which is as fine as desert sand, some drifts even covering fence posts & small trees. Out of my 23 fields, only one was released by crop insurance adjustors as being a total loss. I hate to say this, but the best thing that could happen now would be a devastating hail storm later in the season so I could just collect on crop insurance as this will be a very low producing yield even if I should be able to harvest it and the cost of harvest will be at an all time high, nearly $100,000 just to combine. 

I sold my remaining bushels from 2012 last week @ $8.00 per bushel (remember, I didn't harvest any wheat in 2013), the storage cost were eating me alive & I dared not wait any longer as the new 2014 Texas wheat crop will soon be harvested & when that grain hits the market the price always goes down. Wheat prices closed down again yesterday & settled at $7.65 so I'm glad I sold @ $8.00 (I missed the high by a nickel, $8.05 has been the high in the last 10 months). 

This morning I am awaiting the County Sheriff as some gutsy thief has siphoned 1000 gallons of diesel fuel out of one of my tanks, finding out yesterday that fuel is not insured under my farm policy unless it was taken out of insured tractors, ugh, so I'm starting off the season with a $3,700 loss. Fuck. The sheriff tells me that two other farmers and a construction site are also reporting fuel theft. I suppose I will have to install security cameras for next winter when I'm absent from the farm. 

My last blood test on April 25th showed "continued deterioration of the kidneys," requiring blood test now once every two months to monitor progression into dialysis and/or inevitable kidney transplant. Needless to say, I'm somewhat depressed these days. D

IRS Conservative Groups Targeting Update


Judicial Watch: New Documents Show IRS HQ Control of Tea Party Targeting; Documents also Reveal Unusual Pressure from Key Democrat Senator to Target Conservatives.

Interesting, isn’t it, that Levin decided not to run for re-election after the IRS scandal got out.

Related: IRS’s tea-party noose tightens: Targeting campaign was directed by HQ in Washington, D.C. – not by a few ‘rogue agents’ in Ohio, documents reveal.

UPDATE: Judicial Watch Obtains New Documents Showing IRS Targeting Came Directly From Washington D.C.


April Apple said...Where's Deborah?
And Haz? I know Haz is traveling extensively - but I note no check- in in a while...
May 14, 2014 at 4:37 PM
We miss you, deborah!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The New Yorker: Why Jill Abramson Was Fired

Baquet will be the first African-American to lead the Times.

Fellow-journalists and others scrambled to find out what had happened. Sulzberger had fired Abramson, and he did not try to hide that. In a speech to the newsroom on Wednesday afternoon, he said, “I chose to appoint a new leader of our newsroom (managing editor of the New York Times) because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects …” Abramson chose not to attend the announcement, and not to pretend that she had volunteered to step down.

As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. (read more)



Oceanside is now surrounded by 2 or 3 different wildfires. If the wind shifts, we'll be choking on smoke.

Faking Bad Update

This one is now part of a retail display at a local store:

Margarita Time!

More of my "objets de plastiques" here.

Le Petit Prince

The Little Prince

This is a book for children on philosophy of life. At its core the book is a fable about war, not a description of war, rather about the emotions that war evokes, the uncertainty that war imposes, the fear experienced by victims and participants in war and about isolation. All that can be relieved or eased only by intimate associations and by love.  The trees that threaten to overtake the boy's asteroid are considered symbols for Nazis. The book is appropriate for children due to its visual imagination over its logic. Meaning is explored through contact with reality pure and simple over ideals of reality, that is for example, one cannot love roses as a set, idealized roses conceptualized, one can only love a single rose, simple and fragile and flawed and temporary. This is expressed in the book as purer perception of a child uncluttered with adult distortion and bias and by adult insistence.

The narrator draws a snake that has eaten an elephant. When shown to adults the adults  insist it is a picture of a hat because that is what the doodle-drawing looks like. When corrected, no, it is a snake that has eaten an elephant the adults insist maybe drawing is not for you perhaps better to look to other lines of preoccupation. But shown to a boy, the drawing is recognized for what it is, an elephant inside a snake.

In another instance the man is asked to draw a sheep. He tries but finds he cannot manage a sheep so he gives up and draws a box instead. When the drawing is shown to the boy, the book's Prince, an alien, the sole being from a nearby asteroid, he recognizes it immediately, "That's it!" Thus one of the central aphorisms: On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." Those two lines there took some thirty edits. The book is whittled down to its bare essence. Entire episodes cut because they were deemed unnecessary to the thrust of the tale. 


Schrödinger's sheep

The whole book is heavily edited, in many areas as much as 2/3 removed. Dozens of final drawings edited, all the drawing of the narrator are edited out completely.  Drawing from his own experience as pilot, the pictures that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry drew of the pilot, himself by his downed plane in the Sahara are all removed for being too unambiguous, too concrete. The pictures still exist and they are displayed at special exhibitions but they are not in the book. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry doodled a lot and gave his pictures away. Many drawings were discovered by another pilot in the cockpit of his plane. Other drawings were  recovered from crumpled wads in his studio. He doodled on letters and on notes to friends, on napkins and table clothes, on scratches of paper. He doodled all over the place. But he was by no means an artist so these pictures, scribbles, paintings for the book are naïvely inept. 

The book was written at a large house on Long Island where a group of French expatriates held up during the Second World War. Saint-Exupéry never did manage English. His Salvadoran wife was unfaithful in the American sense of the word, but she was a true friend for life. This is believed to be the meaning of seeing with the eyes of the heart. Had he been able to see through all the trouble she caused him then he would have been better able to perceive her true love, she his imperfect tamed rose. Writing the book was suggested by the wife a publisher to occupy Saint-Exupéry's troubled mind while unhappily exiled here in the U.S. 

Saint-Exupéry met the Lindbergh family briefly and it is thought the character of the prince is based on their golden-haired son, Land Morrow Lindbergh, but then this:
[On a train] Between the man and the woman a child had hollowed himself out a place and fallen asleep. He turned in his slumber, and in the dim lamplight I saw his face. What an adorable face! A golden fruit had been born of these two peasants..... This is a musician's face, I told myself. This is the child Mozart. This is a life full of beautiful promise. Little princes in legends are not different from this. Protected, sheltered, cultivated, what could not this child become? When by mutation a new rose is born in a garden, all gardeners rejoice. They isolate the rose, tend it, foster it. But there is no gardener for men. This little Mozart will be shaped like the rest by the common stamping machine.... This little Mozart is condemned.
Dedication to a friend staying through the war inconspicuously in France :
To Leon Werth 
I ask children to forgive me for dedicating this book to a grown-up. I have a serious excuse: this grown-up is the best friend I have in the world. I have another excuse: this grown-up can understand everything, even books for children. I have a third excuse: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs to be comforted. If all these excuses are not enough then I want to dedicate this book to the child whom this grown-up once was. All grown-ups were children first. (But few of them remember it.) So I correct my dedication: 
To Leon Werth,
When he was a little boy
Werth knew Saint-Exupéry's wrote a novella dedicated to him but did not see it until months after Saint-Exupéry's death. His plane disappeared somewhere over the Mediterranean in July 1944

The book is translated into over 250 languages including some very strange unlikely to have any Western book translated including odd African languages and including Latin (but not including Egyptian Hieroglyphics and I try not to hold that against it, surely mere oversight.) There are forty-seven versions translated in Korean, fifty versions in Chinese.  The book continues to sell two million copies a year worldwide. There are widely varied adaptions from movies and TV, records, cassettes, and CDs, radio broadcasts, stage performances, graphic novels, board games, video games, and advertisements.

Oddly, I do not see mentioned on this  list of media the pop-up book version available through Abebooks for $10.75 including shipping, and through Amazon, of course, for a good deal more.

Marvin Gaye: Negotiation means getting the best of your opponent

"Boko Haram is preparing to announce a list of key militants that it wants released in exchange for its schoolgirl hostages, The Telegraph has learned."
"Sources close to the group say that an Islamic cleric from northern Nigeria will be authorised to negotiate on its behalf with the Nigerian government, and to seek a freed prisoner for every one of the kidnapped girls." (read more)


"The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released 36,007 convicted criminal aliens last year who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings, according to a report issued Monday by the Center for Immigration Studies.

"A majority of the releases were not required by law and were discretionary, the organization says.
According to the report, the 36,007 individuals released represented nearly 88,000 convictions, including:
  • 193 homicide convictions
  • 426 sexual assault convictions
  • 303 kidnapping convictions
  • 1,075 aggravated assault convictions
  • 1,160 stolen vehicle convictions
  • 9,187 dangerous drug convictions
  • 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions
  • 303 flight escape convictions

In the first story, The Telegraph report clearly states what the terms of negotiations are between the kidnapers Boko Haram and the government of Nigeria. In the second story, however, the terms of negotiations seem murky.

Who gets what in exchange for these conviction releases, here in the United States?

Commenter Lydia said...
These releases have been happening since a 2001 Supreme Court ruling saying aliens cannot be detained for more than six months if efforts to deport them have failed.

Between 2001 and 2004, nearly 134,000 were released. So, it's not just the Obama folks doing it.

More about it here.

Mr. Repeaty

This is quite old in internet terms, Oct. 2011, and it has nothing to do with us in the United States, and yet, and yet ...

We've seen similar here too. Except much more fierce than this. The more vicious the better. It seems that is how one advances in Party.

It is amazing the man can get anywhere at all. Impressive he can dress himself, if he does. Clearly unfit even for dishwasher. We do have our own.  Oh how we laugh and laugh, in place of more serious emotion. Presented for your amusement, Ed Milliband.

Crocodile Tears

Little Hurricane, a San Diago group of two members, Anthony Catalano and Celeste Spina. 

This is a touching song about a trusting and adoring woman in love with a gentleman who is flat not having it presented in call-response form. Lyrics provided so you can sing along first go. 
I’ll blow you a kiss from across the room. I’ll let it miss so you don’t assume. Please tell me that you want me, you need me. Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe me. I have no one to call me baby. Sure is sad no one calls you lately. I try to run but I don’t know how to get there. Keep on running you’re going nowhere. 
You fear the sunrise, you can dry your eyes, your crocodile tears 
I just need a man who will stay. You can save it for a rainy day. Won’t you help me get my life on track?. I’d oblige but you stabbed me in back. Ride with me I’m headed south. I cant believe a single word from your mouth. You and me are like biscuits and gravy. Now I know that you’re crazy. 
You fear the sunrise, you can dry your eyes, your crocodile tears. 
Can’t believe a word you say, you can save it for a rainy day. Had to tell you not once, but twice. You need to take your own advice.

dancing bats

This one-minute video is actually a serious commentary on American political dynasties, the unreported  blood-sucking drain they have on society and our unique civilization turned upside down and made the brunt of jokes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NYT: Filing Misstep May Fell House Veteran Conyers

"For nearly 50 years, John Conyers Jr. has represented Detroit in the House of Representatives. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and the second-longest-serving member of Congress still holding office. But now he may be felled by a political mistake fit for an amateur: His petitions for re-election lack enough valid signatures."

"The misstep has left politicians and constituents amazed. After all, at this point in his career, Mr. Conyers should be a shoo-in, his campaign machine well-honed. He first took office in 1965 during the auto industry’s boom years, long before towering debt and municipal bankruptcy took hold. Many here cannot recall when they were last represented by someone else." (read more)

“We have to ask the obvious question of whether the congressman was set up.”

Is this exorcism racist?

Is This Tweet Racist?

Video: Top 10 Reasons why Mario is NOT a Hero!

My nephews play and consume everything Mario Brothers video games. A while back I caught them watching this video. The Morality of Mario.

We can't even hurt each other, we can't even inflict pain!

David Brooks: The Problem with Confidence

"So my first reaction when reading of female underconfidence* is not simply that this is a problem. It’s to ask, how can we inject more of this self-doubt and self-policing into the wider culture. How can each of us get a better mixture of “female” self-doubt and “male” self-assertion?"
But my second reaction is to notice that people are phenomenally terrible at estimating their own self-worth. Some Americans seem to value themselves ridiculously too little while others value themselves ridiculously too highly...

The person with the self-confidence mind-set starts thinking about his own intrinsic state. The person who sees herself as the instrument for performing a task thinks about some external thing that needs doing. The person with the confidence mind-set is like the painfully self-conscious person at a dinner party who asks, “How am I coming across?” The person with an instrumentalist mind-set is serving a craft and asks “What does this specific job require?” The person with a confidence mind-set is told “Believe in yourself.” This arouses all sorts of historical prejudices and social stereotypes. The person with an instrumentalist mind-set is told “Look accurately at what you have done.”
One of the hard things in life is learning to ask questions that you can actually answer. (read the whole thing)
* a "fascinating" summary of “The Confidence Code” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman on the current issue of The Atlantic.

NYT: Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt

"A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries."

"Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said."
ADDED: Senator Marco Rubio weights in...


Catches bass from subwoofer

grandpa vs vacuum cleaner

Monday, May 12, 2014

random act of kindness


Ramblin' is as interesting word and theme in popular music. Led Zeppelin recorded that song in 1969. A few years later, The Allman Brothers hit with "Ramblin' Man" written by Dickey Betts, ostensibly based on Hank Williams' 1951 "Ramblin' Man"  Of course, in a black and white world, everything traces back to Robert Johnson who first recorded "Ramblin' On My Mind" which inspired the Marshall Tucker version of "Ramblin'." If the racial thing isn't confusing enough, let's introduce a woman: Fast forward to 2008 when Cat Power rewrote Hank Williams' song, "feminizing" it: "Ramblin' (Wo)man"

In such cases of confusion, I take solace in etymology.

ramble (v.) Look up ramble at
mid-15c., perhaps frequentative of romen "to walk, go" (see roam), perhaps via romblen (late 14c.) "to ramble." The vowel change perhaps by influence of Middle Dutch rammelen, a derivative of rammen "copulate," "used of the night wanderings of the amorous cat" [Weekley]. Meaning "to talk or write incoherently" is from 1630s. Related: Rambledrambling.

Another Hitch In 'The Never Ending Party'

Another Hitch: chirbit

Elanor Clift

Because you always do scream in hysteric attack while threading the needle, parsing delicate language with fact you know to be flatly wrong, while everyone present and everyone watching knows the precise contrary true. There is a phrase for this situation, I've seen it here, about flak being heaviest directly over the target. Her target. She is obviously protecting Hillary Clinton presumptive Democrat candidate for U.S. president 2016, and this is what it takes.

Please do not bother to click through, do not watch the video, if by chance you haven't already. I do not see how it is possible to have missed it thus far. The video is everywhere all at once, and it only confirms what you already know and it can only disturb a lovely gray wet snow ides of May. On the other hand, if you are masochist, behold again the on-air seppuku of the most vile of a dying species.

Geithner: White House Wanted Me to Lie on Sunday Shows

"Timothy Geithner, the former secretary of the Treasury Department, says the White House wanted him to lie in scheduled appearances on the Sunday TV talk shows. As Geithner writes in his new memoir:"
“I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute. Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.”
"Of course, Geithner would not have been the only official from the White House to have misled the American people on the Sunday talk shows. Susan Rice famously came under fire for blaming a terrorist attack on a YouTube video in appearances on the shows."

The Weekly Standard

"Chicopee woman faces wiretapping charges after allegedly recording her own arrest"

"A Chicopee woman apparently got a little too loud and belligerent while drinking on Chestnut Street Sunday morning, and refused to cooperate with police when they asked her to quiet down. When she was about to be arrested, police say the woman activated the voice recording feature on her smart phone, hid it in her purse and surreptitiously‎ recorded the entire arrest. Now she faces the unusual charge of unlawful wiretapping." (read more)


tl:dw electrified, not baked.

Four Grad Students Sitting on an Ant Hill

Confused Undergrad:  What are you doing?
Me: It looks like they're sitting on an ant hill.
Grad Student: Yes, it's an ant hill. That's sort of the point.
Me: I hope it's a dead ant hill.
2nd Grad Student: Yeah, me too.
Grad Student: We're looking for garnets.

Apparently ants will bring up sapphires and rubies, even diamonds, if that the sort of thing under the ground where they live.  Here it is garnets.

The best things about geology (or Earth and Planetary Science as we call it at UNM) are the field trips and that assignments involve a lot of coloring.   Coloring and field trips... it's like being a kid all over again.

Clearly, I need a brown leather hat.

This is also a fun thing about geology:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

CNN: Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he's sorry

"I'm a good member who made a mistake and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview set to air on Monday. "Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It's a terrible mistake, and I'll never do it again."
"If the owners feel I have another chance, then they'll give it to me," he said.

The matter of the team's sale is with the NBA's Advisory/Finance Committee, which met Wednesday in a conference call. Members discussed the "termination of Mr. Sterling's ownership of the team," the NBA said in a news release.

If the case proceeds to a full vote, 75% of the owners would have to approve the forced sale.

However, an attorney for Donald Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, told CNN Friday that she wants to keep her 50% stake in the team.

"She wants to remain a passive owner,"
Video of newly surfaced, explosive recording of Sterling at the link.

North Dakota photo essay

Denverpost, noticed on smalldeadanimals.

This would be the front license plate, I think, or perhaps they drive really fast in reverse.

Psych! The last one is mine.

NYT: “Isn’t it just played everywhere?”

"At 9:30 p.m. on Monday, the Powerhouse Gym in central Beijing was a half-hour from closing. As usual, “Going Home” began looping over the loudspeakers, sending the weight lifters and treadmill runners fleeing for the locker rooms. The manager, Zhu Mingde, followed, eager to turn off the lights and lock the doors. Mr. Zhu could not pinpoint when “Going Home” had become China’s adieu anthem, nor could he identify the famous musician behind it. But despite its lack of lyrics, he understood the melody’s cultural significance. “All I know is when they play this song, it’s quitting time,” he said."

In China, Kenny G’s instrumental “Going Home” has been used for years as a way to tell people to leave.

Add your caption

Michael Sam: "I Should've been drafted in the first three rounds"

CBS Sports - "Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in NFL history to be drafted when the Rams took him with the 249th pick on Saturday, but Sam almost didn't make history because he almost fell out of the draft."
Sam was taken with the eighth-to-last pick, meaning he almost wasn't drafted at all, something he found rather shocking. The NFL's first openly gay player said he should've been picked higher.
Whatever happened to "I'm just Happy to be here"?

Here are selected quotes from the USA today story "What took so long for Michael Sam to be drafted"?
Remember, sometimes it's all about image.

Had it not happened, if Rams GM Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher not decided to draft the prospect who made his mark across the state in Columbia, Mo., about 125 miles away, it may have been a long, long time before a person came out in the manner that Sam did.

"This is a football decision," Fisher said. "We are very, very comfortable with everything about him."

Yet amid all of the back-slapping for the NFL, there's an essential question:

Why did it take so long?
Never mind that this is the first time an eligible for the draft player come out as a gay man. What would gay activists have the NFL do, in the absence of an out of the closet NFL prospect?
Why did Sam have to wait until a team used what is generally regarded as a throwaway pick?

Sam demonstrated great courage in revealing before the NFL scouting combine in February — under the pressure of being outed — that he was openly gay.

He also made an apparent great sacrifice.
The way I see it, this "story" is more about the condemnation of other people (the wrong kind of people now) who didn't make it happened whenever it was that it should've happened, rather than a celebration for a gay guy making a team.

NY Post: A Chinese American Mother's Day

"Mother’s Day is a good day in our house, partly because of the general bonhomie that links us with the many moms in our lives. There’s my wife, the mother of my children. There’s also her mother and my mother, both still with us and adored by their grandchildren."

"And in the special recesses of our hearts, there are three more. These are the women who brought our daughters into the world — three women in China whom we have never met and whose names we don’t even know but to whom we owe our family." (read more)


CNN: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list

"At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list."

"The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources." (read more)


Blogger :
"Let me just say here and now that this shit really pisses me off."

‏Twitter @Fenway_Nation :
"I wish @BarackObama cared half as much about our veterans as he did a gay #NFL draft pick"

International Relations Studio C