Saturday, December 13, 2014

Speak To Me / Breathe

Dems getting sick of Obamacare

This is a piece by A.B. Stoddard at The Hill.

It is a short item that reviews what we've already discussed at length that ends:
Now Democrats hope a better website, more enrollees, some bipartisan fixes and a second affirmative Supreme Court decision can save the law before Hillary Clinton or another Democratic nominee has to finesse a position on it two years from now. If not, these four years are just the first in what could be decades before the Democratic Party is cured of its healthcare ills. 
Commenters are more interesting than the article. Goodness, the commenters have at it over there telling the impact of ACA on their lives already. And yet, after all the cogent discussion there are still some beholden to the plan and to their political party. It is quite amazing to behold. And it forces me to acknowledge that pretty much everybody that I know personally here in Denver will ignore all they are told otherwise and stick to their guns as does poor Luke over there in comments. He is just that impervious, and so are they.

But that is all so unhappy, and far apart from the holiday spirit pervading the the whole season. So here is something instead that caused me to burst out laughing on sight. Seen on Twitter, a place that is not entirely awful and shows good humor still lives. I heard today on some ridiculous holiday advice segment, forget about trying for that perfect self-made Christmas card -- they do not exist. With no words at all, this disproves that position.

Funniest comment:

"Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!"

Who Killed Jessica Chambers?

"Investigators think Mississippi teen may not have been alone when she burned"

Steve Martin: The Great Flydini, Carson 1992

This was done only once on the Johnny Carson Show in 1992. Fortunately, he recorded it, because it was never performed again. (hat tip AllenS)

Channelling Chip...

...and his endless fascination for things Egyptian:

I made a long forgotten comment back here about the modern Corinth Canal and how it was predated by the Romans: link

That in turn reminded me of the modern Suez Canal which connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.  But there is evidence of a much older canal, perhaps first dug by an ancient Pharaoh:

You can still see evidence of that ancient canal (or its modern equivalent) in this satellite photo; notice the green belt veering left:

Guilhem Desq plays Omen on electric hurdy-gurdy

Stick with it please, you will be impressed.

I found the headless player disconcerting so I provided Guilhem's head.

Sony hacked emails show Maureen Dowd is a hack?

"Leaked emails from Sony suggest that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd promised to show Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal’s husband, Bernard Weinraub, — a former Times reporter — a version of a column featuring Pascal before publication."
The end result was a column that painted Pascal in such a good light that she engaged in a round of mutual adulation with Dowd over email after its publication. It also scored Pascal points back at the studio, with Sony’s then-communications-chief calling the column “impressive.”

The column, published after the Academy Awards earlier this year, lamented how “Oscar voters and industry top brass are still overwhelmingly white, male and middle-aged.”
What does it mean and will anybody care?

Friday, December 12, 2014

La Mème Choisi

I like that video because the people (tourists? Strasbourg townies?) seem so bemused.

Just wait until they get a load of the minaret planned for the Grand Mosque in their town:


The iconic prism may have appealed to some members of Pink Floyd, because of their Cambridge, England connection with Newton.

But I was never cool with the line:

Far away, across the field 
The tolling of the iron bell 
Calls the faithful to their knees 
To hear the softly spoken magic spell

birdbox studio, Christmas card

Should the media start naming rape accusers?

"Suppressing the names of rape victims — to say nothing of protecting the identities of those who make false accusations of this horrible crime — is intended to liberate victims from the stigma associated with such victimization, but it also contributes to it. By insisting on anonymity, we cultivate the false belief that rape victims have something of which to be ashamed in a way that victims of other crimes do not. This goes beyond mere embarrassment: Men who have been mugged may very well feel ashamed of their inability to protect themselves and their property, and may feel that their victimization reveals them as being somehow unmanly, inadequately virile. (That this is a less intense and less intimate violation than rape should go without saying.) The victims of Bernard Madoff, many of whom considered themselves financial sophisticates, may very well have felt ashamed of having been victimized. But we do not suppress the names of people who make accusations of fraud or file armed-robbery complaints. Nor is there a political faction in the United States insisting that we “always believe the victim” in securities-fraud cases."

"And, for good reason, we do not offer anonymity to those accused of rape and other crimes. In the case of rape, this and other deviations from normal legal process creates a poisonous asymmetry and a powerful temptation: One can ruin a life while remaining comfortably cocooned in anonymity. Consider the case of Oliver Jovanovic, who was wrongly convicted of rape, and whose prosecution was enabled in part by so-called shield laws that excluded from evidence e-mails between the accused and his accuser in which she expressed her consent to, and her enjoyment of, the sexual acts that transpired between the two. In that case the accuser, a 20-year-old college student, was described by her grandmother as having a long history of having made similar false accusations. Jovanovic served two years of a 15-year prison term before his conviction was overturned."

Questions For Chip

The chart below is a precursor to the modern periodic table. The chart dates from 1718 according to Wiki. It teaches how the then-known "elements"* combined with each other. The top row identifies an element and the columns contain those elements with which it combines. Note that sulfur (middle column, the one with the triangle and the dangling cross) was considered the most promiscuous element, consistent with its primacy as the "soul" of matter according to alchemy:

Click to enlarge or see link above
I wondered whether Chip recognized any of these symbols as Egyptian in origin and if so, to which words and concepts are they related?
*Here are my translations of the "elements" from the French in the chart.  Feel free to correct me:
Esprit acides : Acidic (acerbic) spirits
Acide du sel marin: Lit. acid of sea salt, HCl (which was thought to contain oxygen until Davy showed otherwise: link)
Acide nitreux: Nitric and nitrous acids, HNO3, HNO2
Acide vitriolique: Sulfuric and sulfurous acids, derived from oleum & vitriol.
Sel alcali fixe: Sodium & potassium hydroxides and carbonates.
Sel alcali volatil: Sal ammoniac, NH4Cl, which sublimes and was endlessly fascinating.
Terre absorbante: Silicates (sand) and diatomaceous earth.
Substances metalliques: Metallic substances
Mercure: Mercury was considered to be the spirit of matter.
Regule d'Antimoine: Regulus of antimony -- metallic antimony. Regulus means "little King"
Or: Gold
Argent: Silver
Cuivre: Copper
Fer: Iron
Plomb: lead
Etain: Tin
Pierre Calaminaire: Lit. calamine stone, i.e., calamine ore. Note the French place name.
Soufre mineral: Sulfur or brimstone.  This material held a special place in alchemy, along with mercury and salt.
Principe huileux ou Soufre: The oily essence of organic substances from plants, also called the "sulfur." See the interesting discussion under Spagyric.
Esprit de vinaigre: Vinegar or acetic acid
Eau: water
Sel: Salt held a special place in alchemy along with mercury and sulfur.  
Esprit de vin et Esprit ardents: Any of the flammable alcohols derived from fermentation, e.g., ethanol, methanol, etc.

"Greenpeace damages ancient earth markings leaving footprints in the ground during a publicity stunt"

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “Without reservation Greenpeace apologises to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca lines. We are deeply sorry for this.

The activists had entered a strictly prohibited area beside the figure of a hummingbird among the lines, the culture ministry said, and they had laid down big yellow cloth letters reading “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable” as the UN climate talks began in Peru’s capital.

“This has been done without any respect for our laws. It was done in the middle of the night. They went ahead and stepped on our hummingbird, and looking at the pictures we can see there’s very severe damage,” Castillo said. “Nobody can go on these lines without permission – not even the president of Peru!”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Exodus, the film

The photograph of of Ben Kingsley as Seti I in the new film Exodus that Chicklit uploaded last week for his post The Antidote to Loneliness about the element stibium used in ancient mascara is intriguing because the pharaoh's necklace is a type worn by a young princess. The photograph also shows the top of another piece of gold jewelry, a flat square pectoral. The very tippy top looked familiar.

The genius of Google search allows to delve further and more specifically,

[ben kingsley seti 1 exodus] where the full pectoral can be seen.

The central square is a familiar design known from King Tutankhamun's tomb. It depicts the young Tut attended by his wife, Ankhesenamun. It is the main composition on King Tut's throne. It is a famous piece of furniture. There are several compositions of Tut with his wife, both seated and standing. This is unique. The difference between the pectoral above used in the film and composition on the throne is the parallelism in Ankhesenamun's arms and both of their headdresses and the objects to the sides. There are also other compositions of other seated pharaoh with a female attendant, but this composition is particularly tender and touching. It is unique among its general type.

Tutankhamun was four pharaohs before Seti I, the father of Ramses II and chief protagonist in the film. It is unlikely Seti I would care to possess such a design of a previous pharaoh. Pharaohs were quite egoistic, he'd have one of himself not one of Tut. Like Seti I's necklace we must let that slide for the sake of artistic license.

Oh the things that we do for art.

In viewing the trailer only, a few things stand out as anachronistic violations of history that are also included for the sake of art. 

Viewers are treated with architectural splendor, monuments indeed built by Ramses II but much later in his extraordinarily long reign. He outlived two generations behind him. He outlived the grandchildren of people born during his reign. And it's no wonder his subjects considered him God. In the trailer we see the temple at Abu Simbel with its four colossi depicting Ramses II  himself wearing the double crown of upper and lower Egypt. 

In the film Seti I is shown wearing a single uraius, headgear with the cobra symbolizing lower Egypt, this means his son Ramses II gained territory to the south (upper Egypt) and built the massive statues with its two smaller temples there declaring to the Nubians and anyone else traveling the river there at Aswan, "This is where my kingdom begins, brace yourself, because I am awesome," with smaller statues of Hathor, his chief wife Nefertari, (n-f-r again the repeated design of Seti's girlish necklace) along with smaller statues of his first six daughters.

This monument would not have been built while Seti I was still living. The national treasury would be devoted to doing and building things in the name of Seti I, not to his son, Ramses II. The monuments, then, are included for art and not to convey historical accuracy. This is done with artistic license to indulge visual splendor and not with fidelity to historic facts. 

The sacrifices one makes for art.

Additionally the trailer shows pyramids under construction. Pyramid building ended before 1700 B.C., around the 14th dynasty. King Tut reigned during the New Kingdom at the end of the 18th dynasty, while Seti I and Ramses II reigned near the beginning of the 19th dynasty. All the pyramids were ancient by then. They are included in the film anachronistically for the art.

The things that are done for art.

But sometimes artistic license is carried out for the sake of national identity. The story of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt is central to Jewish salvation. Most Christians take the story of Jewish exodus from Egypt at face value, but the exodus story does not appear in any Egyptian records. Archaeologists and critical scholars date the writing of the exodus at the time of the Babylonian captivity and consider it an etiological story written by Jewish scribes to give purpose to their plight and hold their community together, rewrite their scrolls to create national heroes that can rally their people and impart pride and meaning to their lives. Incidentally, it is also held by critical readers that several separate stories are combined into one, attributes of several separate Jewish characters amalgamated into the character of David. Composite characters created from preexisting material, as we see done even today. This is discerned by studying early texts and noticing small omissions the scribes overlooked, thorough as they were, they did miss a few points here and there. One such is a another name left unchanged and hanging for the identity of shepherd boy who felled the giant Goliath with a sling. Among other oversights and loose clues to redaction. 

Modern scholars no longer use the term "biblical archaeology." Still, by using Biblical text and without the help of modern dating system of A.D. and B.C. designations, (now EC and BCE: for "current era" and "before current era" due to influence of the academic cultural diversity crowd), it is still possible to attempt to date the (story of) the exodus by other means, chief among them the dating of Solomon's temple. 

Kings 6:1, the exodus occurred 480 years prior to Solomon's temple his fourth year would be 966 B.C. so the exodus would take place 1446 B.C.

It is very odd the biblical account does not mention the pharaoh. Who was the pharaoh around this date? This is a problem too due to internal differences within Egyptology itself. The exact pharaoh is not so easy to pin down due to the manner Egyptians recorded the passing of time, quite different from the way we do for them. There are problems with identifying Ramses II as pharaoh during the exodus, if the exodus occurred. 

Scholars look for the pharaoh who decreed the killing of firstborn Jewish children. (Goodness, what is it with royal edicts commanding the killing of firstborn Jewish male children?)  They look for the pharaoh who oppressed Israel. They look for the pharaoh of the exodus event.

Taking the exodus as fact, scholars believe the pharaoh of the exodus would most likely be Amenhotep II (middle of 18th dynasty, one pharaoh before Hatshesup the female pharaoh, and thirteen pharaohs before Ramses II) who reigned in Memphis away from Thebes and  closer to the delta, closer to the land of Goshen and to the Israelites.

video of Michael Brown assaulting an old man

Per Sabo (unsavoryagents) on Twitter and  Facebook. A video has surfaced of Michael Brown sucker punching a thin gray-haird man knocking him to the ground, but curiously, not knocking him out. He takes the man's backpack and rifles the man's pockets. The man struggles, Brown punches him again. Moments later one of Brown's sidekicks knocks the man out smashing his body into a porch chair.

The video is difficult to watch.


"As the 12-year-old fell to the ground, his chopsticks wedged into his neck"

Jun Chia was rushing across his school playground after buying a takeaway from a nearby noodle stand, when he was hit by an electric scooter ridden by one of his classmates parents.

Astonishingly, an x-ray revealed that they had caused absolutely no damage to any of his key organs.

'He was really very lucky,' medic, Zhou Jen told local media, adding that a CT scan had revealed that the chopsticks had missed the Chia's trachea, oesophagus and key blood vessels.

He underwent surgery to have them removed. (more pictures at the link)

"Psychologists Have Uncovered a Troubling Feature of People Who Seem Nice All the Time"

"The irony is that a personality disposition normally seen as antisocial — disagreeableness — may actually be linked to 'pro-social' behavior,'" writes Psychology Today's Kenneth Worthy. "This connection seems to arise from a willingness to sacrifice one's popularity a bit to act in a moral and just way toward other people, animals or the environment at large. Popularity, in the end, may be more a sign of social graces and perhaps a desire to fit in than any kind of moral superiority."

Denver Butterfly Pavilion

Kids, butterflies, spiders (and insects).


I just now bought 2 sets of 3 compact fluorescent lights made to fit my two Aerogarden units. I intend to start up one of the units and leave the other idle for now. I also put together an herb combination for its 7 compartments. I'm better at planning now that I know how they grow. The thing that amazed me is at checkout the buyer is offered several shipping options, I recall the list a bit unusual: regular shipping, two day shipping, overnight, and economy, I think 5 to 10 days. The machines have been sitting there unused, I'm in no hurry, so I opted for slowest of all. The box arrived within two days.

Aerogarden is having a holiday sale. Their mailer said 20% off all orders. The offer  is repeated throughout the sales booklet. I usually throw those things away, but this time I read it to catch up with developments. Also, free shipping for orders over $50.00. That is why I bought 2 sets of lights (6 fluorescents) where one set is needed immediately. Mine still light up well enough for photography but they are not strong enough for plants to grow best. Their online checkout system did not calculate the discount. I wrote them, "Apply the discount or don't apply the discount, but for goodness sake make it clear which items qualify."

It occurred to me after I emailed all those discounts might apply only to their hydroponic units, not to replacement lights nor to their seed kits. Oops.

They emailed back immediately and applied the discount, and I'm not even sure they were supposed to. That is my experience with their customer service. They bend over backwards to please cranky customers. Like me.

Previously I complained about a seed pod not germinating. They replaced it.I complained about one of the three light fixtures failing. They replaced the whole top. So far, their customer service has been 100% responsive and beyond to any complaint I come up with. It makes me feel a bit of a jerk for being so difficult to please and so complainy.

I bought stock in this company a long time ago because I thought the whole idea was fun. I researched first. I studied the highs and lows of its stock price and saw that it followed a regular pattern along with two central holidays. The pattern ran reliably from around $4.00 a share to upwards of $9.00 a share. I could have fun buying and selling twice a year, reliably doubling each time. So I popped for it. A lot, actually.

The company president lives in Boulder and by my reading seemed to me something of a hippy type. I imagined him wrapped up in his idea as I would be and brought the whole thing to fruition, a labor of real love. I imaged him sticking with his commercial project through his hippy old age. I presumed far too much. Immediately after I bought stock he sold the company. The new majority owners and new management sold off a huge chunk of common stock to raise capital in order to make significant changes. The company operated in the red for quite some time and now that my stock is diluted its price took a nosedive, like this:

They no longer even qualified for NYSE. Junk stock. Penny stock. I lost interest in following. I have no idea what it is worth, nor if they are back on the exchange. I decided to keep the stock anyway, to not just bite it and take the loss, rather, hang on and see what happens. After all, I liked the idea at the beginning and I still do, more than the company president does or did, apparently. He turned out to be pure businessman, built his company then cashed in and took off, not to be heard of again.

The new management hooked up with Scotts Miracle-Gro fertilizer. Another company I like. That combination opened new possibilities for outlets of retail sales. They developed new marketing means. And most importantly they developed new lines of product. Some of their new units at the time were cute as bugs. Made in the shape of bugs. Ladybird bugs. All those smaller units are all cute as can be, soccer balls, flying saucers, cow pattern, what have you. They might have dropped some of those and kept only the best sellers.

Now the super jazzed up top of the line fluorescent type that I own are the old style, almost obsolete. Their new line uses LED lights. Their tippy-top of the line costs less than mine did back then. Plus the lights needn't be replaced, a significant savings over time. The whole setup is much better than before. Fluorescents wear out, although still very bright, their brightness diminishes somewhat so for best results they should be replaced. But I do not do that. I limp along with weakened light and the units work okay, just not as good as they could. The lights are proprietary, they do not fit anything else, and that bums me out. Apart from the two Aerogardens, I have two cheap 40W fluorescents in shop fixtures aimed at a poinsettia in regular potting soil that is doing better than it would in a window with strong but mostly indirect winter light. I considered using those instead.

I must say, the new management team is doing everything right. They introduced a whole line of cute small girlish units suitable for children, and made their super units even more super duper while keeping prices suppressed. This encourages repeat sales of their seed kits. They extended their seed kits to include more herbs, more vegetable choices, and more flowers. They broadened their line of accessories from simple items like vinaigrette cruets and plant clippers, to more significantly useful supplemental water containers, bulk liquid fertilizer, growing media, various growing bowls for specific plants such as strawberries, additional baskets for growing your own seeds, starter seed trays and the like. They changed the electronics to be more reliable. They held down the cost of everything. I'm tempted to buy two more of their most powerful LED units but I am loath to part with what I have. 

My Aerogarden 7 was nearly $300.00, I think. I own two, and I bought a few more for gifts and had them delivered to different states. I forget how many. Nobody mentions them. They're probably wasted. Now they cost $160.00 And now they added one even stronger than this shown below that they call "ultra."

Their newest LED models range from quite inexpensive (and probably rather weak but I don't know) to LED Miracle-Gro Aerogarden ultra, regular cost $300, on sale now $290. 

That is not 20% off. I think if you called you'd get even more off everything, seed kits as well. Liquid fertilizer comes with the seed kits.

The pole holding the lights extends quite high, triple the height shown, telescoping upward as plants grow to accommodate the type plant that you select. Tomatoes take a lot of height, more so than, say, lettuce varieties. It was actually quite fun growing lettuce in the dead of winter and having it available all season. Herbs too. I had herbs in one room and lettuce in another. The lights and the pump are automatic, set to the type seed kit you've got going. And, man, do they go on, bink, the whole place is flooded with light. I like that a lot. I like having bright light in winter. Plus it helps with photography. 

Submarine Sandwich by PES

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“If she was acting on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, then she deserves an Oscar”

"The three students agreed to be interviewed on the condition that The Post use the same aliases as appeared in Rolling Stone because of the sensitivity of the subject."
They said there are mounting inconsistencies with the original narrative in the magazine. The students also expressed suspicions about Jackie’s allegations from that night. They said the name she provided as that of her date did not match anyone at the university, and U-Va. officials confirmed to The Post that no one by that name has attended the school.
Key details of The Rolling Stone story of gang rape at the University of Virginia continue to unravel.

Accounts by friends of the victim, who met with her just after the supposed rape, now differ significantly enough to put into question the entire story. Friends, which by the way, were never contacted by the Rolling Stone journalist for the story, or anyone else, until now. (read the whole thing)

You cant make this stuff up!

Spend Spend Spend

The law is still funded, but there's no new money for it. There's also no new ACA-related funding for the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the two agencies most responsible for implementing the law.

The bill only funds the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees most immigration policy, until February. But negotiators gave new money for immigration programs at other federal agencies. There's $948 million for the Department of Health and Human Service's unaccompanied children program -- an $80 million increase.

The bill once again prohibits new standards that would ban the use of cheaper, less energy efficient incandescent bulbs. The proposal was first introduced and set in motion by the Bush administration, but the Obama White House allowed the change to continue, despite sustained consumer demand for older bulbs.

White potatoes, to be exact. The Women, Infants and Children program that provides food aid to low-income families would receive $6.6 billion, a $93 million cut from the last fiscal year. But the program will be required to ensure that "all varieties of fresh vegetables, including white potatoes, are eligible for purchase" through the program, said Republicans. The change is a big victory for the potato lobby, which has long fought to be part of the food assistance program.

There's $257 million for the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, including $25 million more to expand the Sexual Assault Victims’ Counsel program.

Well, only if you're attacked. There's $1 million in the bill "to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves."

"Germans take to the streets to protest against 'Islamisation'"

A new type of anti-immigration protest is sweeping across Germany, as thousands take to the streets against what they say is the growing “Islamisation” of the country.
The new protests, which began in the city of Dresden in the former East Germany, feature no neo-Nazi slogans and have nothing to do with the traditional far right.

Instead the demonstrators have adopted the old rallying call of the protests against the East German communist regime that brought down the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, “Wir sind das Volk”, or “We are the people”. They say they want to preserve Germany’s Judeo-Christian Western culture.
Thousands joined the latest anti-Islam march held in Germany


  1. I'd like someone to animate the "c" in cromnibus into a little Pac-Man that eats the other letters

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gruber explains healthcare vs taxes

In the previous video Haz showed Gruber denies designing a system that eluded CBO considering the plan a tax while admitting it is tax to Supreme Court. He repeats this denial several times.

In this video Gruber lays out what he considers lopsided pay increases in the form of additional healthcare options that are nontaxable vs regular wage increases that are taxable. He brags about speaking on this subject for years. He lays out how many uninsured people could be provided healthcare with the money government takes in by taxing increases in corporate healthcare benefits beyond an unspecified level. He states outright it is his favorite part of the plan and he brags about the plan being exceedingly clever. In short, he brags about all he denies before the committee in stating he did not write the healthcare plan, but boy, did he ever advise on what was written. In the video he claims responsibility for what he denies responsibility for now.


The FRB where I worked is their own insurance company but they have a regular insurance company administer the plan for them. This is common practice among large companies. Of late they acquired a new company to administer all their benefits not just insurance. The new company called me at home to interrogate into matters that are none of their business. The caller, a nice sounding friendly understanding chap, began the conversation without the usual double check list of questions that assures they are speaking to the right person and that they must ask by law. The caller just launched right in with incredibly intrusive interrogation. Naturally, I took umbrage and told the caller so. I was not cooperative. I could have been phished for all I knew. He advised there would be paperwork along the same lines to follow. So I was ready.

I could not believe what they sent me. I still cannot get it out of my mind. The cover letter threatened straight up that my coverage depended on compliance. 

I did comply, but not well. Half the questions I crossed out, several I wrote "none of your business." I circled the threat on the cover letter and suggested it might be time for me to call a lawyer. As I proceeded through the six pages of interrogation my responses became worse. 

"Do I look like your form-filling bitch?" "Fuck you," and "Stop being such nosy cunts," that sort of thing throughout the six pages. They asked about other sources of income. They asked about skills that I have. They asked if I build websites, if I have a website, what the address of the website. Exceedingly intrusive lines of questions having to do with routines, times I usually go to bed, times I usually wake up, clean house, do dishes, cook, laundry, hobbies, and the like. All that presupposes routine. Things that have nothing to do with administering benefit plans. I wrote" none of your business." They asked for my SS# twice, they asked for my email address twice. My address they have, my phone number they have. My physician, they have all that. I wrote, "Look, you  wanted the contract, you got the contract, now administer the contract and otherwise leave me the fuck alone! 

They brought out my French side completely.

It seemed as if they are complying with government intrusion themselves. It seemed like government is making them collect data. Stuck between rock and hard place. They asked me information they already have, and used to contact me. So I was filling their forms for them. I am doing their work, being treated as an employee. 

I am nobody's employee.

Or else this is government's way of cross checking to sort through and weed out insurance fraud.

Usually the FRB will contact as well to prepare people to expect such a thing. But not this time.

Oddly they did not ask the more natural and important health-related questions: how many times have you fallen the last year?"  They didn't imagine asking, "How many times have you been transfused?" Nor, "How many seizures have you experienced?" Those three answers would have shocked them.

I cannot get rid of the anger. I just cannot. It's been a week and I dwell on being dragged back thorough all the things that make people give up. That's not how I succeed. I do not think about the things holding me back, rather, I concentrate on what I can do. I must. This whole line of questioning is damaging psychologically. It really is. That is not just idle hyperbole. They are forcing me to concentrate in detail on the things I actively avoid thinking about. And it pisses me off. It makes me realize, Dude, you really should be more miserable than you are. I'm distracted. I cannot think of each footstep as I must to stay upright. I took a spill the next day like like a gymnast. I never know how that happens, I just collapse. On the way down I calculate how to minimize damage but at that point there is not much one can do except fall as well as possible. I actually rolled and landed on my back between two pieces of hard furniture with inches to spare on each side, and framed art behind glass that I took out of storage and haven't found a place for yet. I landed on carpet and came within inches of ending up in a pile of glass shards, but I didn't because I had practiced falling and getting back up. I got up with no injury at all. Nothing even hurt. Nothing pulled. Not even the shakes that usually follow. I wish I had that on video so I can examine what went wrong. It was the first time I fell in a year, maybe a year and half. I've been doing quite well, actually. I am certain it was the distraction that caused the failure. At least that's what I'm blaming. 

Writing this was good practice for what to write the FRB. I feel better already. 

In Case You Missed The Gruber Hearing

Here are videos of two questioners.  Both are remarkable.

First, Congressman Thomas Massie.  He's an ordinary looking guy, but he also has a graduate degree from MIT and holds 24 patents.  He quietly takes Gruber apart.

This is a video of Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis. The best part begins after 3:00 or so.

"Sweater-wearing sheep found wandering in north Omaha"

“We’ve had sheep here before but never one in a sweater, so that’s pretty unusual,” Hilpipre said. “We’re thinking maybe he wandered away from a live nativity scene or maybe he was in an ugly Christmas sweater contest and just decided to leave.”

The shelter holds stray animals for three days before putting them up for adoption. The sheep, who has yet to be named, could be available for adoption as early as Thursday.

“Sometimes people will put a sweater on the sheep after they’ve been sheared but we don’t know if that’s the case here,” she said. “We hope to get him back with his owner or find a good home.”

Lost Sheep of Omaha

"Obama, Bush teams battle over torture report"

"What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it," former vice president Dick Cheney told The New York Times. "I think that's all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program."

Here is one of the Justice Department lawyers that wrote the so called "torture" memos.

What Does This Mean?

Seriously.  What the heck does this even mean?  It is impossible to be in any public space and not hear it playing in the background.  It isn't even about Christmas.  You could take out the word "Christmas" and plug in "Groundhog Day" or "Indy 500" or "Pancake Brunch" and the song would make as much (meaning none) sense.

Yes, I'm crabby this morning.

Ferguson Die-In On Train Tracks?

Berkley train protest

Roger L. Simon

In an excellent and brief essay At pjmedia Roger Simon explains Hillary Clinton's remark that we should have sympathy for our enemies by making a comparison with Rolling Stone's Sympathy For the Devil. After asking which enemies she has in mind and why we should empathize he goes on to describe Hillary as not so great a master of English, misspeaking frequently, reminding readers of familiar examples.

Simon postulates the problem with Hillary is she no longer knows what she thinks. Hilariously, to me, he writes you can almost see the gears grinding when asked a question, "What did I think in the days of  Saul Alinsky?  What did I think back in Little Rock? What did I think when Bill was president, first term, second term? Should I bake cookies? Why did Monica keep that dress?  How could I have left those billing records in the White house?  Is this good in Ohio? What did I think when senator?  When do the Watergate hearings start? What did I think when ..."

That's half of it, I don't dare lift the rest. It is too funny to ruin.

The thing I love about modern internet communication is you can write directly to authors that affect you. To congratulate them, to thank them, to point out errors, or to say simply, "Hello."

    1. New RLS blog Explaining Hillary’s ‘Sympathy for the Devil’
    2. Thanks for the outright belly laugh. :00 am, now my neighbors know I'm quite insane.