Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Scientists Discover a Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics"

"Physicists reported this week the discovery of a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality."

"The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression."                                                                        (via Instapundit)

It all sounds so sentimental... but

"The 12 All-Time 'Ugliest' Christmas Sweaters"

"Every December, people of all stripes make the rounds of their neighborhood Christmas parties decked in their ugliest Christmas sweaters (see our list for 2012 here). Prizes are often offered at these seasonal soirees for the tackiest v-neck or wool knit, sparking fierce competition among family and friends."
If you haven’t snagged your piece of atrocious holiday outerwear yet, we know where you can glory in the gaudy, revel in the revolting, and win that coveted prize: our ugly Christmas sweaters page. In honor of the 12 days of Christmas, we’ve ranked our favorites from best to worst (or is it the other way around?). So pop a dramamine, sit back, and enjoy. Some are still for sale, but hurry: with looks this ugly, these sweaters won’t last."
You have a picture of a Christmas sweater you want to share with us? Email it to me, include a note if you like, and I make our own Christmas Sweater Collage.

Collector's Weekly

Amazon 1-star reviews for Ted Cruz coloring book

The book looks like this at Amazon

If Amazon reviewers had blogs, their reviews would look like this one at Free Beacon where there are more pictures, I almost said free bacon. 

The reviews at Amazon are worthless obviously, as reviews for a coloring book. The section attracts the most easily agitated partisan types. Even the good reviews are oh so clever ways to say, "You guys crack me up. you guys scare the living poop out of me and that is why I am here"

A theme develops, the tea party types are stupid and want to mindlessly tear down something that is precious and wonderful and great. If only they had sense that is common then they wouldn't be dangerous. Angered at propaganda efforts they find distasteful, overt, aggressive, wrong-headed, misinformed, and worse, an intrusion into their milieu. Racism! Right off the bat with "white crayons' and what I think in that moment I read it is unprintable here.

Here goes.

Martin D. Johnson "Martin"My crayons don't work with this book
The only crayon color that seems to work with this coloring book is "white." The volume seems restricted to a very narrow pallet.

Alfred R. Marzian "tightwad"You must color within the lines
I have one question, and I ask it with all sincerity. Is there a crayon in the color of blind ambition?

Fred Bichl "Thinking man"Third grade PhD in Tea Party
This is a great detailed reference book for adults who want to get a PhD in Tea Party.
The theme of course, is how to destroy a country in 24 pages.

Pre-requisite: Must not have passed the third grade.

gman863 "gman863"Warning: For use with crayons only!
Before purchasing this book, be sure the recipient owns and knows how to properly use crayons.

I was going to purchase this for a friend who actually supports Ted Cruz; however he has not progressed beyond finger painting.

Pennee R. Atkinson "Investigative reader" Brainwashing out children is never good
Talk about indoctrinating children!! Teach them not to think, to avoid any cognitive dissonance. This is a tactic used by dictators to teach young people how to kill other people and think it is the right thing.

Michael J FowlerNew Title is Easier for Three-Year-Olds and Teapublicans
The new title is much better than the old one which was "Teddy the Turd Goes to Washington and Wastes $24 Billion in Taxpayer Funds on a Self-Aggrandizing Publicity Stunt While Working People Starve" which was too wordy for most three-year-olds. It's hard enough getting the little pukes to say "Well regulated militia." We learn how Teddy was born in the little town of Bethlehem, PA - not in some commie country - and there was no room at the inn so they put him in a basket and hid him in the Rush's buttcrack...but I don't want to spoil it! Ignore it today!

solodmI'm so ashamed!!
If only I had know this coloring book existed when my children were growing up!! All those years that I was wrongly teaching them Jesus Christ was the "reason for the Season", And now, when it's too late to indoctrinate them, I find out it's Ted Cruz they should worship? I'm so ashamed!

J. Kulas "informed reader"A Cruz Future would be a bleak one indeed
Funny how Cruz is such a big supporter of the Second Amendment, but ignores the 14th Amendment saying that the debt of the United States shall not be called into question by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and walking out on bills he already accumulated.

mmmjvFor a book that's not about Cruz his name sure comes up a lot
From the blurb (or whatever it's called)

"The Cruz to the Future book is a non-partisan"

"Cruz has openly identifies with the Tea Party and garners support from the Republican Liberty Caucus"

"Texas Sen. Rafael Edward Ted Cruz has become a rejuvenation for the Tea Party movement "

"Not only do pages describe Cruz s early years, education and Tea Party stance"

Sure sounds partisan to me.

"The Cruz to the Future book is a non-partisan, fact-driven view of how Texas Sen. Rafael Edward Ted Cruz became a U.S. senator blah blah blah" and details, through his quotes and public information his ideas for what he believes will help America grow.
(Right off they admit it's a book about Ted Cruz)

Cruz has openly identifies with the Tea Party....
(More about Ted Cruz even though the book isn't about him)

The Washington Post calls Cruz s Texas senate election victory the biggest upset...
(Let's yammer and yap about Ted's Senate win even though the book isn't about him)

Texas Sen. Rafael Edward Ted Cruz has become a rejuvenation for the Tea Party movement
(Did we mention this book isn't about Ted Cruz at all? It's also not partisan)

in the U.S. His 21-hour speech on the Senate floor in September 2013
(That would be Ted Cruz's 21 hour speech, but this book isn't about him, really it's not)

Cruz's beliefs and actions stir much emotion in those following the political realm
(His name also pops up quite a bit in revues of books that aren't about him)

he is a modern 'superhero' to many and looked upon in adoration and abomination by some.
(yeah, we're still droning on about the guy this book isn't about)

millions of people across the country admire, respect and portray Mr. Cruz as a positive role model for children
(We just thought we'd toss that in even though later in the revue we write)

RBCB created this comic coloring and activity book not as an endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz
(We actually typed that with a straight face)

He is a positive role model worthy of study in any school.
(But we're not endorsing him)

Not only do pages describe Cruz s early years, education and Tea Party stance
(But the book's not about Ted Cruz at all)

S. Anderson Oh Dear God NO!
I'm not sure in what fantasy land this was conceived and written, but It's just wrong on so many levels.

JesseBrainwash much,
This looks like another piece of brainwashing. At the age the publishers are targeting this thing towards the last thing such kids should have.

kenneth lovellFirst they came for the wee ones
If Josef Goebbels were to come alive today and see this book, he would realize what an utter failure he had been at the propaganda business. He might also choose not to stay alive for the Ted Cruz Fourth Reich.....

N. Bachers Shouldn't this book be over in the colon cleansing section
Shouldn't this book be over in the colon cleansing section? Proper elimination for a tea-bagger nation. Then it could be a runny-way best seller.

kate atkins#1 Gag Gift
This is a fairly cheap gag gift - I'm guessing most people will purchase this to make fun of it... The cover alone is good for a laugh!

nwxswdebOut of stock?
I'm so disappointed that it's out of stock! i wonder which right wing organization bought out the stock and which warehouse this book will be found as it just gathers dust.

Bruce GreenoughCruz coloring
I see this book is sold out! One would assume Ted acquired as many copies as possible so he could hand them out when he's at Mandela's funeral.

L. McKellar "Mac"Just the facts ma'am!
Can you give no stars? I hope he included facts like the dinosaurs frolicked with human children and earthquakes are caused by scantily clad women. I love colouring dinosaurs. They're fun and ponies are soft!

David s DoroshPure Poop !
Can the far right stoop any lower ? ... most likely .... Next we will have the Ted Cruz II coloring book ... Jeez !

Frank Hoffman "frank59"Diversity? Inclusion? Not terms I usually associate with the Tea Party. 
Looking at the cover, I can only wonder what "Diversity" and "Inclusion" mean to Ted Cruz. I can only wonder because I have no intention of buying the thing, even as a joke, to find out.

Candace J. MarleyHow to book on destroying America through future generations
Our of stock? I would guess that all the paranoid conspiracy theorists and para-military tea party groupies are now well stocked in materials for helping their children grow up with the complete knowledge of knowing how important it is to destroy this country through political terrorist methods.

I do have to question the "Cruz has openly identifies with the Tea Party and garners support from the Republican Liberty Caucus and many independents including democrats." Which democrats exactly so I can make sure I do NOT vote for them?

Consumer CSeriously? Can we say, "big, fat lies?"
This would have been funny if it were only a joke. That it's real is absolutely horrifying. Creating a coloring book to lie to and indoctrinate children smacks not just of North Korea's ministry of propaganda, but of Germany in 1942. But it fits right in with the self-aggrandizing Mr. Cruz's attempt to promote himself into unmerited power. God willing, the bias and deceit will result in this being sold only to people who want to use White-Out to edit in the REAL truth!


My review: The book is lazy. Lazy pictures, lazy research. Too many words, kids don't like full page blocks of words in activity books. They just don't. We can do better ourselves. We can draw better pictures with more interesting vignettes and simpler, more straightforward information. Needs connect-the-dots, a few of those, not just one, and more than one maze. Needs something to cut out and paste. Pictures need better backgrounds. A flat line doesn't cut it for a horizon, even in Texas, even water. It looks like the sort of thing you can do in one day taking your time right there at your desk.

Here is a book to get instead: Robert Sabuda's Little Mermaid. Just out. Great deal too for Prime purchasers. A bit of a better deal than his boyfriend's book that also just came out, Transformers: The Ultimate Pop-Up Universe. Did I say boyfriend just now? I made that up. I have no basis for saying that except I saw them finishing each other's sentences.

"Obama’s Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing"

President Obama’s brain trust on Afghanistan does not know much the U.S. spends on the war each year or the American cost in lost lives on the battlefield.
This embarrassing lack of basic knowledge from State Department and Pentagon experts on Afghanistan at a House hearing Wednesday prompted even a Democrat to say he was stunned.

The setting was the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Issue: Afghanistan and the transition to fewer U.S. troops post-2014.
Washington Times, Click read more for relevant video clip of the testimony

"He tested positive for being the biggest [jerk] in the world.'"

"In an interview with ESPN the Magazine, Armstrong said that -- faced with widespread cheating in his sport -- he would do it all over again and that authorities singled him out because of his contentious nature.
"I knew what my competitors were doing," he was quoted as saying. "We [his U.S. Postal Service team] were doing less. We were more conservative, and that's the reason we were never going to be caught."

"This is a story because I was a bigger [jerk]. Because I was more litigious. Because I was more combative," he said. "And I've heard from a lot of people who say, 'You made all the money, you got all the fame, you deserve this.' And I hear that, and I understand that people think that way. But it's not consistent with what USADA has said.

"If we're going to be honest, then just say, 'He's a [jerk]. We had to go after him.
LA Times


That embiggens, I think. 

It is showing that in the darkness of the early wee morning hours at various points on the globe within minutes of each other people suddenly inquired about bananas all at once and came directly to me; Serbia, Sri Lanka, Lombardia Italy, Dominican Republic Jakarta Indonesia, Greece, Algeria and Spain, and were taken to this flat and uninteresting page, and that is very odd indeed. They are all no referring link. What made them do that? All Chrome except one.


Fake, like the thing is fake:

Fake, like a false idea, a fantasy, something made up:

Fake, as a fraudulent person, a fraud:

F-i-i-i-ve Golden R-i-i-i-ngs

Means pheasants. Says Olga Khazan at the Atlantic linked by Insty.

After all, the days of Christmas are all birds up to day eight where they peter out to regular women toiling and lords and ladies dancing and jumping around all over the place to music well-appointed with wind instruments and with emphasis on percussion.

And this whole time I was taking it at face value, five gold rings that you put on your fingers. That's a lot of rings and it means the person really does love you a lot.

But these pheasants are outstanding and I wouldn't mind having these at all if the city would allow it. Regular pheasants are  already outstanding but these pheasants are super outstanding, just look at their colors. They're better than parrots.

Plus they're not squawking all the time, repeating your favorite most damaging phrases.  Man, these would be great Christmas presents. These are good as peacocks any day. Plus they can decorate your hats and you can eat them.

Olga say also the lyrics are "colly birds" not "calling birds" and that changes everything. Colly means black, soot black. Like blackbirds. Olga says that was a joke, twenty-four black birds in a pie shell so that when it is cut open the birds come flying out. Ha ha ha. Good one. There must have been a lot of birds around in Medieval days of yore.

Here's what twenty-four blackbirds baked in a pie looks like, I drew this for you:

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Band (Open Thread)

The Band - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

"The song's lyric refers to conditions in the Southern states in the winter of early 1865 ("We were hungry / Just barely alive"); the Confederacy is starving and on the verge of defeat. Reference is made to the date May 10, 1865, by which time the Confederate capital of Richmond had long since fallen (in April); May 10 marked the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the definitive end of the Confederacy."

"Robertson claimed that he had the music to the song in his head but had no idea what it was to be about: "At some point [the concept] blurted out to me. Then I went and I did some research and I wrote the lyrics to the song."


Cold Weather Causes Higher Rate of Gun Homicides

The question of how temperature levels impact the urban homicide rate in major urban areas has vexed criminology researchers for decades. 

Part of the problem is that there is no effective model, no workable framework, that allows for a comparison of any two cities unbiased by culture and country.  Comparing gun homicides in Winnipeg with those in Wichita, to use two examples, isn't completely accurate because of cultural differences, but more so because of differences in laws between the two countries.

The identification of climatic opposites - cities with high and low average winter temperatures - is fairly simple.  Weather data is reliable and abundant.  And the methods of collecting temperature readings and then norming them into a seasonal average are consistent city-to-city, largely because of NOAA.

Recently criminal scientists have reached consensus that the populations of Houston and Chicago share so many common traits and are composed of nearly identical demographic and economic strata, that meaningful theories of behavior can be tested. 

The results of the studies are here (excerpted from a paper presented at a symposium in November):

Phone Etiquette: Does the Gentleman Use His Phone at the Urinal?

Dear Gentleman Scholar,

Is it OK to use your phone at the urinal?

Many of the men at Slate

"Thanks for the chuckle, fellas."...

For the answer click at this link via Instapundit

Daily Mail: "Kim Jong Un's uncle executed as a 'traitor'"

"The uncle of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been dragged from a military court and executed for being a 'traitor'."
Jang Song Thaek, 67, who had been considered the second most powerful official in the country and a mentor to his nephew, was killed immediately after a trial.

It is believed he was executed in the customary North Korean way by firing squad.

In a statement Pyongyang called him a 'traitor to the nation for all ages,' 'worse than a dog' and 'despicable human scum' who planned a military coup.
For more click at this link

"Rubio Opposes Murray-Ryan Budget Deal"

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday said that he opposes the budget agreement reached by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), calling the deal "irresponsible."
"We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals, making it harder for more Americans to achieve the American Dream," Rubio said in a statement. "Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans."
The speculation, among tea party faithful, is that Boehner wants to clear the deck for negotiations on amnesty. The speaker has made up his mind to pass amnesty, and, the budget battle would only get in the way of that.

What do you think? Don't hold back.

Talking Points Memo

aluminum anthill castings

Examining closely how the other half lives. And killing them. Skip to 1:00 if you choose.


No wait, a very well-insulated garbage can, did I hear him say, "We're gonna try to do the full crucible?" I know what that means. I read that book in High School and I am very interested in kilns besides. He seems to have made a kiln right there outside. With a garbage can! 

He has me at full crucible with a garbage can. See, now that right there is clever.

Gravely: "Don't try this on your own. And that is exactly what this guy does to get his own casting. (Apparently. There is another voice, "Yer good.") 

It is beautiful. It makes me feel great to get rid of ants anyway and do that in high numbers like this because they come on in great numbers. It makes me feel creepy too all at once. It takes my own inherent observable creepiness to a new level. It goes way farther than I would think of myself. I already question my qualification for dominion by allowing it reduced to whim like this and curiosity and to nefarious imagination if not outright meanness. 

That comes with dominion. Like a god, take out the whole civilization at once, with tiny bitch Noah-rummaging-ants running all around suddenly homeless. And mount their whole city as trophy. Oh, the catastrophe, oh the ant-ity, the great gnashing of ant-teeth.  For ARTS!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Slate: "Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore"

"When I was a kid, I knew two different Santa Clauses. The first had a fat belly, rosy cheeks, a long white beard, and skin as pink as bubble gum. He was omnipresent, visiting my pre-school and the local mall, visible in all of my favorite Christmas specials."
Then there was the Santa in my family’s household, in the form of ornaments, cards, and holiday figurines. A near-carbon copy of the first one—big belly, rosy cheeks, long white beard: check, check, check. But his skin was as dark as mine.

Seeing two different Santas was bewildering. Eventually I asked my father what Santa really looked like. Was he brown, like us? Or was he really a white guy?

My father replied that Santa was every color. Whatever house he visited, jolly old St. Nicholas magically turned into the likeness of the family that lived there.

In hindsight, I see this explanation as the great Hollywood spec script it really is. (Just picture the past-their-prime actors who could share the role. Robert De Niro! Eddie Murphy! Jackie Chan! I smell a camp classic.) But at the time, I didn’t buy it. I remember feeling slightly ashamed that our black Santa wasn’t the “real thing.” Because when you’re a kid and you’re inundated with the imagery of a pale seasonal visitor—and you notice that even some black families decorate their houses with white Santas—you’re likely to accept the consensus view, despite your parents’ noble intentions.

Two decades later, America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies. Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?
 By for Salon

I'll See Your Funny Clip About Dogs AllenS and Raise You One About Magic

Seasons Greetings from AllenS (Open Thread)

"Lem, since it's the Holiday season, here's another funny."

Under the Mistletoe

"Major League Baseball intends to ban plate collisions"

Charlie Hustle, who famously flattened Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star game, couldn't believe Major League Baseball intends to eliminate home-plate collisions by 2015 at the latest.
"What are they going to do next, you can't break up a double play?" Rose said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after MLB announced its plan Wednesday.

"You're not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you're not allowed to try to be safe at home plate?" Rose said. "What's the game coming to? Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball."
In an attempt to make the game "safer", baseball will further soften it's minor, but yet, indispensably aggressive element. You want to avoid a home plate collision? Don't block the plate without the ball in your mitt.
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, made the announcement at the winter meetings, saying the change would go into effect for next season if the players' association approved. Safety and concern over concussions were major factors — fans still cringe at the thought of the season-ending hit Buster Posey absorbed in 2011.

"Ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary and routine and an accepted part of the game," Alderson said. "The costs associated in terms of health and injury just no longer warrant the status quo."

In a sport long bound by tradition, a ban will be a major step.

A Question of Morals and The Power Of The Court

Two people meet while students at the Culinary Institute of America.  They are attracted by their mutual love of the baking and pastry classes and their desire to one day own a bakery.  They fall in love and marry.

While still CIA students, they earn income by selling cookies, cakes, pies and other pastries that they bake in a church kitchen rented for a few hours several days weekly.  They have very good skills and there is a demand from family and friends and a few small cafés for the pastries they bake.
They graduate, and by crowd sourcing start-up money from relatives are able to rent a small previously closed bakery in a city neighborhood.  Using their own labor and that of friends, they refresh the baking equipment, paint the walls, clean the windows, paint the bakery’s name on the door and buy ingredients for the first few months.  The couple is Jewish and their plan is to have their goods certified kosher.  They go through the process and in a short time are able to add the word “Kosher” to their sign, an important thing since  they are observant Jews, and many residents of the neighborhood are also Jewish.

Three years later they have a robust business.  The bell above the door rings constantly as customers come in and out.  They have earned a reputation as excellent cake bakers, and a large part of their business is baking cakes for retirements, weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, and other occasions.  The Food Network has done a 10 minute episode about them and their pastries.

"MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system"

"Despite some of the sharpest political divisions in memory, Congress managed to mount one noteworthy bipartisan effort this year. Since May, the Over-criminalization Task Force, comprising five Republicans and five Democrats from the House Judiciary Committee, has worked diligently to develop recommendations that will address some of the fundamental problems plaguing the federal criminal justice system. The task force has been analyzing worrisome trends such as:"
• the dramatic expansion of the size and scope of the federal criminal code over the past few decades;

• the proclivity of Congress to enact offenses without a mens rea — “guilty mind” — requirement, which leaves people vulnerable to being sent to jail for doing something they had no idea was a crime;

• the tendency to pass laws that are so vaguely worded that the limit of their reach is constrained only by the charging prosecutor’s creativity;

• and the ever-increasing labyrinth of federal regulatory crimes.

At four public hearings convened earlier this year, task force members heard testimony from people representing a wide array of professions and ideologies — from professors and lawyers to everyday citizens who have been unfairly prosecuted. The witnesses all agreed on one thing: Legislation is needed to ensure that criminal laws and regulations are interpreted to adequately protect against unjust convictions for engaging in activities that no reasonable person would assume is against the law.
John G. Malcolm and Norman L. Reimer via Instapundit

"Taxpayers Shell Out $14,000 per Obamacare “Enrollee”"

"In her testimony before Congress today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided an updated dollar amount for the cost of $677 million. In addition to the $677 million spent on the federal Obamacare website, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has shoveled $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to promote Obamacare on the state level."
HHS also released updated “enrollment” figures for Obamacare. According to the agency 364,682 people have “selected a plan” – the equivalent of putting an item in your online shopping cart and leaving it there.

That means the taxpayer cost per “enrollee” is over $14,000.

($4.5 billion + $677 million = $5,177,000,000 ÷ 364,682 = $14,196)
Americans for Tax Reforms

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"DPS officer resigns after found to be illegal immigrant"

"An investigation has revealed an undocumented immigrant was working for over a decade as a Department of Public Safety officer in Arizona."
According to KVOA, Carmen Figueroa retained employment with DPS for 13 years possibly by using a fake birth certificate. She served as a spokesperson for the department, and more recently as an officer.

The investigation into Figueroa reportedly started when her brother applied for a U.S. visa. After Immigration and Customs Enforcement ran a background check on him, they learned his sister worked for DPS.
In the comments, KyleDStraight said...
That right there is just a paperwork problem and the law screwing with good people. As a law enforcement officer she would be a good person in my book. That bugs me that good people can get screwed by the same law they uphold. That's just wrong in every definition around.

Guest Post: AllenS

How to tell if your dog is involved in a sex scandal!

"It was horrible, an absolute circus, really really bad," she said.

"Only he can understand those gestures."

Idiosyncratic then.

That is what I was thinking all along. Near the end they say outright what I was thinking from the start. Why would they hire a person who does not speak the language to interpret the language and so visibly with so many luminaries and for such a broad audience for so long? It does not make any sense at all.

Of course it does. Nepotism. I know somebody who knows all about that. My cousin. Hire him. Okay.

But what he knows is how he gets by with his brother all his life and that is it. I bet.

Worldnews. The interpreter for deaf was fake at the Mandela memorial.

Interpreted for a protracted series of speakers, including Obama, the elected leader of the most powerful nation of the world, you know *sniff*  standing right next to him and watched by millions. The interpreter did not make sense at all to the viewers who tuned in to see. Chief among them, first to remark anyway, not just any ol' schmuck, the first deaf woman elected to South African parliament.

The link describes other non-schmuck types chiming in. 

Judging what they describe without watching to avoid being irritated, so not really knowing, but by  their complaints I thought throughout something contrary while visualizing the interpreter gesticulating unintelligibly. Not to be contrary, but because similar things  happened before.

Chief of British Deaf Association:

"He has no real clue about sign language and has obviously upset the deaf community of South Africa as we have received hundreds of angry messages via Facebook and Twitter," 
...board member of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section, explains:
"The structure of his hand, facial expressions and the body movements did not follow what the speaker was saying."
...interpreter Francois Deysel tweeted during the ceremony that the interpreter was,
"making a mockery of our profession."
They are saying he did not use any of their conventions. There are more angry messages there at the link. None of them are supportive. Why would they do that?

It is how things are in a banana republic. Not that South Africa fully is, but this shows an aspect of that, just like America. It doesn't matter there are professional associations that can do that with mind-blowingly good interpreters immediately available all over ready to go, but somebody up high knows somebody who knows... so there you go. It's what you get. 


On a boat to Isla Mujeres at the dock waiting, for something, not the fast boat that hydroplanes skidding across whisking tourists to a reef of interest, rather the big old luggy ferry type, the cheap boat for locals that takes workers across more slowly and more crowded and uncomfortably for vendors and such for the day, not so many tourists. Multiple decks, I was not on top, but not on bottom either, sitting kind high up and shaded and looking down on the dock just waiting and observing when I beheld two men below on the dock talking to each other in gestures. In Spanish gestures. The whole time I sat there thinking, goodie, two of my favoritist languages right here, two *snap*  two *snap* two favoritist languages in one. I looked hard. Strained to recognize something. Something. Surely something Something logical having to do with the dock, with work, with family. Come on. Come on, I said. 


I was quite rude staring that long, but I couldn't help it. It wasn't idle gazing either, I was studying. And learning.  Nothing. Not one single thing. Man, I am thick sometimes.

Very frustrating. 

But apparently they understood each other just fine. Their private language was complex and contained a lot of delicate one, two, three-finger elements. 

Similar thing happened with a French guy. This time with a group. He was exceedingly animated. Father a pilot, mother an actress, I got that much, one French the other German, natural actor, this guy. My friends spoke with him for hours, it seemed. Maybe one hour.  Smiling broadly and laughing throughout. At length, and with great frustration and apologetically I turned to a friend and I said, "I don't understand a fucking thing this guy says," the person said back to me, "Me either."  Odd, because the American version is based on French. 

Too bad. The people who trusted the interpreter at Mandela's memorial looked a bit foolish and the people who tuned in for that were deprived. They could have had somebody who can nail these speeches precisely. There are awesome interpreters available and I imagine some of the speeches are poetic and touching. All of that is missed. 

But wait, a mockery of your profession?  That is a profession? This whole time I thought people were just being helpful.

"Raul Castro Reaches Out to Obama, but Don’t Call It a Thaw"

"Tuesday’s handshake between Obama and Castro comes after six months of quiet diplomacy between the United States and Cuba—and Castro signaling he’s ready for bigger talks."

The Daily Beast

An Obama Doctrine seems to be emerging.

How many American enemies has Obama had "secret talks" with?

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if we are in "secret talks" with North Korea and al-Qaida. Don't forget al-Qaida.

Go Ahead, Make My Steak

I'm sorry.  I couldn't help myself.  A dog photo.

Hey, the dog does kind of look like Clint Eastwood, though, doesn't it?

"House, Senate negotiators reach budget deal"

"House and Senate negotiators unveiled an $85 billion agreement late Tuesday to fund federal agencies through the fall of 2015, averting another government shutdown and ending the cycle of crisis that has paralyzed Washington for much of the past three years."

I would be surprised if the White House elects to pass up an opportunity to re-fight the government funding battle, which they have claimed political victory for much of the past three years.
“I am very proud to stand here today with Chairman Ryan to say that we have broken through the partisanship and gridlock and reached a bipartisan budget compromise,” Murray said, calling the agreement “an important step in helping to heal some of the wounds here in Congress and show we can do something without another crisis around the corner.”
Interesting choice of rhetoric by Senator Murray, at a time when the Health Insurance system of Americans is in danger, she is focused on "helping to heal some of the wounds here in Congress."
I guess I should be glad she only tended to "some of the wounds", leaving her time to do the business her constituents elected her to do. 

For the details of the proposal, and perhaps more flourishes of meaningless rhetoric, click this link from the Washington Post.



Posted to show the crowd. The camera pans. The tea party should do so well as this.

There is another video displaying at the link. 

The people of the Ukraine are asking the international community to engage in the process of adjustment in the situation in Ukraine. The message on their video reads: 

* sanctioins against their president
* protection for Euro-Maidan
* provide faithful reporting on Ukraine
* control punishment of guilty people in the bloodshed
* to open possibility for change of authority in Ukraine

Chess set

On etsy. 

Sold out!

It takes thirty days. You don't just go whipping these out. 

All specimens were acquired from a captive breeding facility that provides these frozen to feed pet reptiles, so don't go feeling sorry for these mice because they would be snake food otherwise, the seller says. So okay I won't. But now I feel sorry for snakes that have to eat frozen food all the time.

You touch them every time you move your piece.

Then on the bottom of the page if you touch the tag "taxidermy" then the pages never stop. Half of it is not real but half of it is, where you see things like this. 

A wall of water

Moving into the city of Golden Colorado, resulting from an ice jam. A town, really. Reverse 911calls went out and several areas were evacuated, in the uncompromising cold unlit wintery night.

But wait!

Shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, the City of Golden tweeted: “FLOOD ALERT UPDATE: The wall of water may have taken a hard right turn, slowed down and possibly causing it to go back under the ice.”

Phew. That was close. Scary, huh? 

Golden Colorado is a beautiful place. Dominated by a tabletop mountain, the kind you see in Westerns. 

Let's go there.

Denver is growing right into Golden. Golden is just north of Morrison where Red Rocks is. My parents house is near the lake at the bottom.

Washington Avenue is the traditional old main street where the rustic taverns are. Where the rustic tavern is. I only went into one of them.

This is the river that flooded. The remark to the picture notes the level is high. The video shows water much higher.

All this icy water reminds me of my first white water rafting trip. I think that was on the Brown River. For some reason the guide insisted we straddle the raft with one leg in the water the whole way. There could be no exceptions. Our lives depended on us doing this properly. We were to ride it like a horse. All of us. 

The water we were in was snow, what, an hour previous to our being in it. How long does it take to melt and flow out? We are in the melting snow. Riding it. And one of our legs and feet is freezing and the other one isn't. 

Plus a tourist had died the week previous to our trip by the shock of being tossed into cold water, so a new policy was instituted among the guides that everybody would be prepared for the shock of the cold water and learn by doing and be tested on being tossed into the cold rushing water and work one's way to the edge without panic. Some four separate tour groups amounted to about thirty or so tourist-adventurers, nobody was eager to do that, but it was just the sort of thing I did all the time in the much warmer Red River in Louisiana, and the slower, shallower Platte River too. Don't tell my parents, but I did that with friends all the time, and tried to swim upstream. Of course you cannot swim upstream, but we tried, and that's why I'm such a stud to this day. So in that group of strangers that morning I boldly volunteered to go first, to get that bit over with, shocking my traveling companions who didn't know about my previous Red River swimming upstream experience and so didn't expect such things from me and momentarily won the admiration of my peers. It was the coldest water I ever jumped into and doing that told me don't ever do that again.

Honestly, the leg in the ice cold water the whole time was enough to put me off white water rafting permanently but the subsequent times that was not required. Every once in a while you get a dictatorial guide. It is an odd experience, coming down a mountain like that. What happens in that mountain channel all day in and out of the sun, wet and then dry then wet again, is you switch back and forth between being intensely hot and intensely cold all day long. 

And you go, "Maybe we should do the 1/2 day trip next time." 

The Devil Who Took A Wife

All this talk of Niccolò Machiavelli and his sage advice to princes overlooks some equally sage insight he gave to men regarding women. Il Demonio Che Prese Moglie (The Devil Who Took A Wife) was originally published in 1539 under the title La Novella di Belfagor Ardiavolo (The Short Story Of Belfagor, Arch-Demon). The whole story is here, translated. I have an Italian copy bound in my trusty Beginning Readings In Italian. I found a synopsis here and repost it below, but the whole story is not too long to enjoy. To me, the story is a a mash-up of Trooper York's "Hell Needs A New PA Announcer" and Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life." But instead of an angel sent down to Earth from Heaven, it's a demon sent up from Hell back to Earth:
The princes of Hell plan to send Belfagor, an archdevil to earth to find why all men state women as the cause of their damnation. Belfagor takes the human name Roderigo and weds Onesta, who he actually falls in love with. But his wife brings misfortunes and debt and Roderigo is chased from town by a mob, only to be saved by Gianmatteo, to whom Roderigo promises great riches. Roderigo says he will possess a woman and Gianmatteo will pretend to exorcise her. Gianmatteo learns of a girl possessed and exorcises Roderigo from her, but Roderigo says that the payment will not make him rich enough, so he possess the daughter of King Charles. Gianmatteo is called upon to take the demon from the daughter of King Charles. He leans over to whisper in her ear and tells Roderigo to leave. Roderigo agrees, but says he is no longer bound to Gianmatteo and for him to stay out of his way from now on. Gianmatteo is rewarded and before long he is called upon to help the daughter of the King of France, who shows signs of being possessed. Gianmatteo reluctantly goes to perform the exorcism. Roderigo is stubborn and will not leave the girl and Gianmatteo tells the King that he will try one last ceremony on Sunday. That Sunday, crowds, the clergy, and instrumentalist gather in the town with the possessed girl high on a scaffold above them. Gianmatteo asks for Roderigo to leave one last time and Roderigo mocks him. Gianmatteo cues the band to play and Roderigo asks what the horrible sound is. Gianmatteo tells him it is his wife, coming to fetch him back. Roderigo panics and flees at the mention of his wife and returns to Hell to report the 'troubles, humiliations, and hazards of the matrimonial yoke.'

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Former Hillsborough teacher sentenced to 38 years for sex with student"

"Calling her "a parent's worst nightmare," a judge sentenced former Hillsborough County schoolteacher Ethel Anderson to 38 years in prison Monday for performing oral sex and other lewd acts on a 12-year-old boy she tutored on weekends."

"There are those that believe that nothing's wrong if the defendant is a woman and the victim is a male," Tharpe said Monday. "This court does not recognize gender. If it's proven, as an adult, that you had sex with a child, you can expect to go to prison."

Tampa Bay Times via Instapundit

Real illusion or Fake illusion?

"Have you seen the latest optical illusion that’s been going around the Web? You simply won’t believe your eyes."

"A probabilistic strategy based on past experience explains the remarkable difference between what we see and physical reality"

Slate, American Scientist

"boyfriend jumped to his death after his girlfriend insisted on going into another clothes shop"

"A man jumped to his death after a furious row with his girlfriend who insisted they go into another clothes shop."
An eyewitness said: 'He told her she already had enough shoes, more shoes that she could wear in a lifetime and it was pointless buying any more.

'She started shouting at him accusing him of being a skinflint and of spoiling Christmas, it was a really heated argument.'

The shouting match ended when the man chucked the bags on the floor and jumped over the balcony, smashing into Christmas decorations on his way down before hitting the floor seven stories below causing shocked shoppers to flee in panic.
Mail Online. Update: Althouse believes "Christmas Shopping" was just a cover story.

"In remarks at Nelson Mandela's funeral, Obama makes it personal"

"Michelle and I are the beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America and South Africa, and countries around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not done," he added, reminding the crowd that people still suffered under oppression." (bold mine)
"Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land. It stirred something in me," Obama said. "It woke me up to my responsibilities - to others, and to myself - and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. "And while I will always fall short of Madiba's example, he makes me want to be a better man."
What is a "fact", as the term has come to be understood politically?

On the upcoming anniversary of a letter Niccolò Machiavelli wrote—"called the most celebrated in all Italian literature—to his friend Francesco Vettori announcing that he has just completed “a little work, On Principalities.” It later acquired the title The Prince, under which it became the most famous, and infamous, book on politics ever written"... a writer for the Weekly Standard attempts to briefly dissect its implications for us today.
The phrase “effectual truth” appears in Machiavelli’s writings only once—“to concentrate its power,” Mansfield says—and nowhere else in prior or contemporaneous Italian or Renaissance literature. It seems to be merely one of Machiavelli’s excuses for his immoral teaching: a prince must have recourse to the effectual truth of how men do live, as distinct from how they ought to live, so that he may learn how not to be good, lest he come to ruin among so many who are not good.
Difficulties in the text reveal a deeper meaning. Those who wish “to make a profession of good in all regards” are above all the ancient writers who “imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in truth.” The effectual truth is not merely the truth that has an effect. It is the visible truth, the truth of sense perception, of concrete reality—the truth that displays itself. Here is the creation of the concept of “fact,” which is meaningless unless understood in opposition to what purports or aspires to be but is not fact: that which is merely supposed or hoped for or believed. Here also is the beginning of the break with ancient metaphysics and teleology that has, after centuries of working through the implications, left the West morally bereft. If what cannot be felt or seen cannot be real, how can it guide our actions? Attempts to find the answers through “science”—the latest being brain chemistry—only further radicalize the Machiavellian premise.
Washington Examiner, Weekly Standard and Andrew Sullivan via Althouse

Where are your fathers?

Anecdote alert:

Con permiso, if you can stand it, in-between K and 1st grade I was sitting there minding my own biz wax when my Father said, "I want to talk to you two boys alone." And I was all "Goodie!" Because I love special attention like that. He became very serious and said he took a phone call from some person in town. We lived in a small town in Pennslyvania at the time, amusing to me now, named Duchshore. Exactly like Mayberry except not Southern. Laugh at the name if you like, I won an art contest there first prize in the whole town for painting a Halloween scene on a window. 

The caller said he observed my older brother, Barry, pick up an apple from an outside display. I pictured the display in my mind. I knew what he was talking about. The town seemed far from where we lived, but it was probably around the corner, within walking distance. The caller said he observed Barry think about stealing it, and then set the apple back down. He did not steal the apple. But it looked like he was going to.

For that moral instinct my father ceremoniously awarded my glorious older brother, Barry, a dollar. And not just a regular dollar, a big heavy metal silver dollar. And I got nuth'n. 

Except Barry's lesson and reward by observation. Moral tautology by osmosis. Second-hand. Like the shirt. So thanks for that, you two. I guess. 

But at the time I was sitting there thinking with my paucity of vocabulary and pathetic means of streaming thought, 

"Shit. This hardly bends the arc of the moral universe toward justice in my direction, now does it?" 

But in child-like more innocent words. Actually, I recall thinking, wow, you got a dollar!

Scene two. 

Bait Car on t.v. They go to minority neighborhoods and create a tempting situation with a tricked out vehicle that can be lock down remotely. Put on your most cartoonish Mexican accent to read this: "Oh man, you guys don't even play cops and robbers no fair no more." That was amusing to the arresting officer because the crook was being honest and direct in his self-awareness. 

The episode I saw depicted one young black man after another, three in a row. Inside the car they are recorded talking to themselves about the situation they are entering and doing. When arrested they all feign innocence and offer an explanation in contrast to the recording. When presented with the recording and their story collapses in each case there is a moment where the dynamic changes, the arresting officer becomes parental. All three exchanges track with transactional analysis, the dialogue becomes Parent-child. 

"You took something that does not belong to you." 

A sentence so simple it cannot be misunderstood. That is the thing a parent says to a child when they are very young. Their heads drop as if hearing it for the first time, or remembering something distant. 

The cop's attitude then seemed to be, well, let's use this bait car and go do us some parenting. 

The young man says, "This is entrapment." 

And it is!

The cop says, "No. Entrapment is where I say, "Hey, there's a car over there, it's probably a great idea to steal that car." Did anybody say, "Hey, go steal that car?""

Glumly, "No." 

There is acting when presenting the false story. We observe their behavior when they are acting. They are not good actors. They had no sense of being observed in the car, they do, of course, when arrested, at that point the camera is overt. I honestly got the sense these men, all three, were actually hearing this type parenting for the first time because that look of a young child hearing the words come from his father is Oscar material compared to the story they give to the officer when first arrested. Maybe not. But it made me sad to think it.