Friday, January 31, 2014


Ozzy Osbourne appeared briefly onstage with Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler the other night on the Grammys:

I used to love Black Sabbath. But by the time I got to see them -- in 1974 -- they could barely put on a show. They showed up over an hour late at their Madison, WI show and played for less than that. My most vivid memory (from safely off to the right up in the stands) is the lights abruptly coming back up after 45 minutes or so and the angry mob of drunken fans refusing to leave. A well-aimed, empty liquor bottle struck Bill Ward's bass drum and bounced off. Black Sabbath had sodded off, never to return. I was pissed off -- $4.50 was a lot of money to me then -- equivalent to $25 or so today.

Ozzy explains what was going wrong behind the scenes at the time:

(The clip is from Penelope Spheeris' epic "The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years").  Watching Ozzy cook bacon and pour orange juice is worth the click.

Black Sabbath still can't seem to reconcile with original drummer Bill Ward. My cursory read is that they badly mistreated him over the years and still enjoy doing so. Screw them. I won't forgive them or give them another dime until they do. Nobody lives forever, so kiss and make up.

‘Evidence Exists’ Christie Knew About Lane Closings

"In a letter released by his lawyer, the former official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago."

What do they say?

It's not the crime, it's the cover-up.


"Getting To Know The Voices In Your Head"

"A few months back, while riding the subway, some words fell out of my mouth: “No, no, don't worry about it.” Addressing no one but myself, I blurted this phrase while mentally replaying an earlier, embarrassing conversation. Although I have occasionally muttered out loud when alone, this was the first instance in such a public space. No one seemed to care or even notice. Still, I could not help wondering whether my mind was drifting too far from the familiar realm of the functionally neurotic. Was I spending too much time in my own head, obsessed with soliloquy?"

"To my relief, it turns out that just about everyone talks to themselves, both out loud and silently, much of the time. The habit begins in childhood with what psychologists call private speech: speaking to oneself aloud while playing with a favorite action figure, for example, or making bunny ears out of shoelaces. As we age, most of us converse with ourselves out loud much less often, but at least a couple of studies suggest that most adults and adolescents sometimes speak to themselves audibly. In a 2006 study by psychologist Adam Winsler of George Mason University and his colleagues, 46 of 48 women admitted that they murmured to themselves now and then. And we all talk to ourselves silently throughout life. Psychologists call this type of thought inner speech or self-talk, and it occupies about one quarter of conscious experience."

If you want to read the rest of this Scientific American article you will have to register and pay a fee.

"Doesn’t Anyone Read the News?"

"If analysts at Microsoft Research are correct, a startling number of American Web users are no longer paying attention to the news as it is traditionally defined. In a recent study of “filter bubbles,” Sharad Goel, Seth Flaxman, and Justin Rao asked how many Web users actually read the news online. Out of a sample of 1.2 million American users, just over fifty thousand, or four per cent, were “active news customers” of “front section” news. The other ninety-six per cent found other things to read."
Various influences shaped the study. The data was collected only from Internet Explorer users (who, the authors say, tend to be slightly older), and it represents only those who agreed to make their Web-browsing history available. Additionally, just because people don’t surf news Web sites doesn’t mean that they don’t get news from other sources, like physical newspapers, talk radio, Twitter, “The Colbert Report,” or the evening news.

That said, the sample size, 1.2 million, is impressive—far greater than that of a typical survey. And the number of people whom the study shows to be paying attention to the news online is consistent with the low ratings of cable news during the same period. Also, as opposed to relying on what people said they did, the Microsoft researchers drew on a record of what they actually did, which is significantly different...

Assuming that Microsoft’s numbers show a real phenomenon, though, they do introduce some perspective. Journalists and political junkies often presume that everyone cares about politics all of the time. But the fourteen-per-cent number makes it seem more like a hobby or a subculture, something like the N.H.L. or Nascar—a deep obsession for some of members of the population but of limited interest to anyone else, unless something extreme happens.
The New Yorker Magazine

Will she run for a 14th term?

"Democrats need to net 17 seats to hand Pelosi the gavel, and analysts expect little movement, with President Obama's low approval ratings and redistricting reducing the number of competitive districts.
The decisions by Pelosi's California allies also raise the prospect that the minority leader herself could decide to retire—if not this year, then in the near future. (On previous occasions, Pelosi has said she's running for a 14th term.) She's played an active role in helping her party fundraise to take back the House, and she has shown no signs of slowing down. But California's filing deadline is more than a month away (March 7), giving her time to change course.

In a statement released this afternoon, Pelosi reiterated she is running for another term.

"I'm running. I've already started the paperwork process. My work is not finished," she said.
...Before the 2012 nonpartisan redistricting, most House seats in California were gerrymandered to the point where most members stayed in their seats indefinitely. (Before the last election, the average tenure among California members of Congress in 2012 was just under 16 years.) Many of the more senior members developed close ties with Pelosi, and sought to move up the congressional leadership chain instead of pursuing statewide political office.
...That's changed recently, thanks to a redistricting shake-up and Democratic efforts to recruit younger, more diverse talent to the state. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made a concerted effort in 2012 to recruit a diverse crop of outsiders, bringing in newcomers such as emergency physician Raul Ruiz and Mark Takano, the first openly gay person of color to hold a seat in Congress."

Here's a little background on her from a well-written 2009 article that contains some well-placed Taibbi-esque jabs, but without the overkill:

"After all, for Pelosi, vote counting is something you do with people you love. She’s the seventh child and only daughter of Thomas “Big Tommy” D’Alesandro Jr., a slick dresser who wore diamond rings on each of his pinkies and began representing Little Italy in Maryland’s House of Delegates at 22, followed by five terms in Congress and three as Baltimore’s mayor. (When asked about his rival in one election, D’Alesandro said, “I don’t know [who he is], but it’s some no-good son of a bitch, that’s all I can tell you.”) Nancy’s childhood home functioned as D’Alesandro’s auxiliary office, with a portrait of FDR in the living room, copies of The Congressional Record stored under her bed, and an open door for constituents searching for jobs, permits, stop signs. The kids manned the front desk, Mom stirred a pot of stew for the hungry, and the blessings that constituents received were written on index cards, then organized into a “favor file.”

After graduating from Trinity College, a girls’ school in D.C., Pelosi married a financier, with whom she then moved to Manhattan—“I love the way the adrenaline just comes up through the ground in New York,” she says—and then San Francisco, when her husband was offered a job at a bank that was lending to tech companies beginning to spring up in Silicon Valley. She began to host Democratic fund-raisers in her home to meet the new community. “Moving to San Francisco at that time, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable for her to trip, but she’s as straight as can be,” says Marc Sandalow, author of Madam Speaker, another biography of Pelosi. Jerry Brown, a high-school acquaintance of her husband’s, needed help running against Jimmy Carter in the 1976 primaries, and Pelosi offered to set him up in Maryland. He carried the state, and she was awarded a seat on the Democratic National Committee for her efforts, quickly rising through the ranks by formidable fund-raising skills and helping to organize the 1984 convention in San Francisco. She ran for national party chairman, but withdrew when she realized that she didn’t have the votes. It’s the only election she hasn’t won in her political career. “People tell me that I was the best-qualified candidate,” she grumbled at the time. “But some of them tell me it’s too bad that I’m not a man.”"

New York Magazine

... or best offer

I never do that. Never. EBay. I just pay them.

I broke another 30W CFL. They're great for photography but they stick out from regular lamp sockets and tend to break. Tend to break when they're slammed around hard as I do. Last time I bought four 30W CFL curly bulbs for $9.00 each and that was the highest wattage and the lowest price I could find. With shipping, $40.00.

Since breaking three of them I've been using 100W incandescents from the 100W incandescent light bulb mountain, purchased in advance of our -- broadening of choice.

And then I saw 42W CFL mentioned and that rekindled my interest because it is even better than 30W CFL. I need two, but two extra would be good for backup. I'm willing to pay $10.00 each.

[A friend dropped by with a co-worker one day as I was assembling a wooden frame in my apartment. They asked what it was for and I told them a frame for tomato plants I was starting in an Earth Box in the back bathroom. The frame was five feet tall and the two people laughed their butts off at the ridiculous optimism of tomato plants growing that tall from seeds. Turned out the plants outgrew the frame that was extended with bamboo pieces and the plants could not fit through the door. They grew seven feet tall powered by two 30W CFL bulbs before taken out to the balcony in Spring.]

I notice on eBay the cost for 42W CFL is all over the place. Generally about $8.50 thereabouts for one or for two bulbs, and I am pleased with that price. The price goes down with quantity and the best price I see is $60.00 for 25 bulbs but that is way too many 42W CFL curly lightbulbs.

But I was willing to pay $40.00 for four.

And that cost discrepancy puts me on the teeter-totter of indecision.

And I thought,
"One: then I would have two outrageous overkill light bulb mountains.
Two: that is a lifetime supply, far more than I need.
Three: I live in Colorado, this activity is immediately suspect.
Four: I wouldn't blink at $50.00.
Five: I dare myself to risibly lowball an offer and invite abrupt rejection.
Six: that would be $2.00 each."

Just give me your lightbulbs!  Offer $50.00.

Offer accepted.

Conclusion: I should dare myself more often, and try even lower.

"McDonald's worker's Happy Meals had a bit extra: heroin, authorities say"

"A McDonald's employee in Pittsburgh was arrested Wednesday after undercover police officers said they discovered her selling heroin in Happy Meal boxes, according to a criminal complaint."
Shantia Dennis, 26, was arrested after undercover law enforcement officials conducted a drug buy...

Customers looking for heroin were instructed to go through the drive-through and say, "I'd like to order a toy." The customer would then be told to proceed to the first window, where they would be handed a Happy Meal box containing heroin...

Dennis is charged with two counts of possession, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of prohibited acts of delivery and one count of possession with intent to deliver.

Friday Levity


You cannot watch this video without laughing so hard that tears come to your eyes.


Where we dance with the west wind.

What's on your mind this fine Friday?


Three things that John Fogerty did first:

  • Invented the wearing of flannel shirts (way before Kurt Cobain);
  • Wrote songs that crossed the color barrier (in reverse)
  • Promoted bad helmet haircuts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guest Post: "Rough Track from Weekend Session"

"Old Dawgz lead vocalist and bassist, John Filipponi, dropped by Chez Howlin' Steve this weekend to put down some tracks on my Zoom R24. Here's the first rough edit out of that session... The Marshall Tucker song, Can't You See."

"Johnny and I have been harmonizing for four years! We follow one another so effortlessly. I've listened to this track a couple of dozen times. Voices of the angels. (And, of the devils.)
When my wife, Myrna, passed away, I thought that this aspect of my life, singing in close harmony, had ended. Johnny has been a Godsend."

"Big Joe will be adding vocal backups and lead guitar to this track. The Old Dawgz are still in the process of deciding which tunes will make the new CD. I just wanted to include my readers in on the process."

Harleys, Cars, Girls & Guitars

Amenobamahotep IV

Jay Caruso's goof on making a new avatar for Mark Murray that Ace linked reminded me of something immediately. 

The name belongs to Akhenaten, King Tuts dad before his dad's fifth year of reign and before he changed his name from Amenhotep and moved the capital from Thebes to his new city of Amarna. Tut's dad changed the religion by cutting off the priesthoods and directing the wealth of the country to his new priesthood. Akhenaten upset the balance of Maat throughout the land. The land in the shape of a snake. Completely disrupted the priesthood system thereby disrupting the entire economy, the whole thing, priesthood, beliefs, economy are inextricably linked. Nothing worked properly. The nation  floundered, except for the capital city, Amarna.

A similar colossus is part of the traveling Tut exhibition that landed next door for months. I took everyone I knew there who would go. Called up old friends. (Surprising to me how many had excuses not to go.) Surprising too how many American blacks I know do not know nor care that Egypt is serious black history. One fellow who used to live on my floor that did go was amazed to recognize African features among the statuary of Tut's relatives. To my tremendous embarrassment he reached out and touched the stone statues, the African-looking statues included to describe Tut's time in the galleries leading to the galleries devoted specifically to Tut's tomb. And the alarms did not go off, and the guards all around did not intervene. I said, "Don't touch those." But he could not resist, and the guards did not bother him. The guards wanted him to touch the statues. 

The very next day I am asked to move back by the guards from pointing to specific hieroglyphics on Horemheb's stele.


One lady I took there, a religious person, upon seeing this colossus in the fourth gallery said, "Isn't it amazing their religion stayed the same for that whole time?" 

I said, "Yeah." 

But it did not stay the same. The characters changed all over the place, continuously, in fact, that whole time taking on fresh attributes from new sources, combining attributes, amalgamating entire deity attributes, sharing attributes, combining by syncretism as fortunes of individual city-states rise and fall that the deities are associated with, and the myths evolve with them.

[When it comes to Egyptian "H," you must decide which "H" sound you want. 

The emphatic H, like I did here.
The pharyngeal H like Arabic, or Hebrew
The voiceless velar fricative like German "ach" ]

Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars And Their Careers

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

“They make themselves look huge”

I knew there would be a lot of passionate defenders of swans, but we can’t base our management policies just on the aesthetics of a bird when it has such negative impacts,” said Bryan Swift, the conservation agency’s statewide waterfowl specialist."
Few knew about the proposal to eradicate mute swans. Those who did expressed shock and drew an analogy with New York’s immigrant population.

“If they were born here, they should be considered native by now,” said Michael Vangi of Bayside, Queens, whose father was born in Italy and who stopped near the bay for lunch. A co-worker, Joseph LoRe, agreed. “I’m not an environmentalist, but that seems kind of messed up,” he said, referring to the extermination plan. “Is that how we treat immigrants?”
NYT / Region - Click read more below for a 'Raising Mute Swans' video

Dunham's nudity on 'Girls'

"At a Television Critics Association panel for Girls on Thursday, a writer for The Wrap asked the show’s creator and star, Lena Dunham, why she insists on appearing naked so often on the show. “I don’t get the purpose of all the nudity on the show. By you, particularly,” the writer, Tim Molloy, said to Dunham. “I feel like I’m walking into a trap where you say no one complains about the nudity on Game of Thrones, but I get why they’re doing it. They’re doing it to be salacious. To titillate people. And your character is often naked at random times for no reason.”
Dunham, likely bored by the subject which has been raised again and again since the show’s first season, brushed him off by saying her aim was realism. “It’s a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive,” she said. “If you’re not into me, that’s your problem.” Judd Apatow, who executive produces the show along with Dunham, took a harsher stance, later accusing the journalist of asking a question that was not only “sexist and offensive, it’s misogynistic.”
But Molloy was still confused, going on to write a post about the panel where he again noted his confusion over why Dunham’s character frequently appeared naked. “I don’t like it or not like it,” he wrote. “I just don’t get the artistic reason for it, and want to understand it, because I’m a TV critic.”"

'Lawsuit claims Eli Manning, NY Giants scammed fans with bogus 'game-worn' gear'

"Included in the lawsuit is a 2008 e-mail exchange between Inselberg and Joe Skiba, in which Skiba appears to acknowledge he created fake game-worn gear at Manning’s request."
“Hey Joe, my buddy was offered an eli game used helmet and jersey. Are these the bs ones eli asked you to make up because he didnt want to give up the real stuff?” Inselberg writes in the exchange.

Skiba — replying from account “” — writes, “BS ones, you are correct…”
I had a hard time deciding whether to title this post Trooper's LamentEli must die or The NY Giants suck!, they are all that good. In the end, I decided to go with the real one from the NY Post.


Where charm has its limits. 

Share something cute your kid once said. When my daughter was about eight, she said, "I'll be ready in a gypsy."

Michael Grimm

Earlier I thought Michael Grimm Republican representative for New York was Democrat. Assumed it by the place and by the description, and was wrong about that. This brutish behavior is the first that I know of him although I see I should have known him earlier than this. I wanted to see what he looks like and notice there is a another person with the same name.

Another Michael Grimm whose public behavior is not brutish, not psychotic (break you in two and throw you over the balcony, not that). The opposite of that. Tender, sympathetic, human, soulful.

I am cynically turned off by the hardship story. Character flaw. Anti-empathy response. Then he mentioned Katrina, and I'm all, "Please." Then, at the third video he said Katrina again and I have that same cynical anti-empathy response but he add, "That was the house I grew up in. Gone." 

Pow. Got me. Right in the solar plexus. 

That got me. How well I relate. Turn around and the whole thing is gone.

He did win the season. The award was one million dollars. Part of that did go to building his grandparent's a new house. It all worked out brilliantly. I found his story compelling. 

Let It Bleed

Brian Jones played maracas, oboe, alto saxophone, and harpsichord on that 1967 song. Shortly thereafter, things soured. Allegedly, the following exchange between Jagger and Jones occurred during the recording of "You Can't Always Get What You Want":

Jones meekly asked an agitated Jagger, "What can I play?" Jagger's terse response was 'I don't know, Brian, what can you play?'

A year later, Jones was dead. I'm looking for the source of that quote. I think it's in Keith Richards' "Life" however I can't word search it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chili Bowl Midget Nationals

The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals is a race held indoors in Tulsa every January, two weeks after Christmas.  For racers and fans, Chili Bowl is like a late gift from Santa.  It's racing's winter Super Bowl.  For many younger racers, Chili Bowl is an opportunity to be noticed by the owners of NASCAR teams and sponsors, with the hope and possibility of being signed to a development contract leading to a ride in the big game.

The drivers are young and old.  Some are as young as 16, others like Sammy Swindell are in their 60s, having raced all of their lives.   Faces in the pits include current NASCAR drivers who own racing teams that run at the Chili Bowl.  You'll see glimpses of Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne in the race video.  They love this form of racing and invest money and time supporting it.

More than 200 racers compete.  The racing covers five nights, with the main feature on Saturday night in which winners of the other night's races compete for the top prize money and trophy.

The cars are called Midgets because of their small size and very light weight.  They have a 72 inch wheelbase and a highly modified four cylinder engine producing 350-450 horsepower in a 1200 pound car.  The cars are very unstable and need a full roll cage with side protection and a secondary cage around the driver.  There are no unnecessary pieces on the car. No clutch, no starter, no battery. The cars are push started.  The transmission is a one-gear affair, and the car is either in gear or not in gear. The driver sits in a custom fitted seat, strapped in by a seat belt harness and shoulder belts.  The drive also wears leg and arm belts to control the travel of legs and arms in the event of a rollover.

The cars are designed to turn left, as fast as the run down the straightaways. The rear tire diameters are staggered to make the cars turn left.  There is no left front brake for the same reason.  The cars are steered as much with the throttle as with the steering wheel.  And they are powerful - the front wheels lift off the track under hard acceleration.

Here's a very well done video of this year's race.  I hope you enjoy it.  Tickets for next year's race go on sale in March and will sell out quickly.

Chili Bowl 2014 from Tim Truex on Vimeo.


"Traffic apocalypse: Snow in the southeast leaves commuters, schoolkids stranded all day on the roads"

"And by “all day,” I mean 18 hours or more. Some people were out there overnight. The lucky ones were close enough to a Home Depot or supermarket that they simply pulled over, walked to the store, and slept in the aisles."

Hot Air

UPDATE: 13 Examples Of People Being Awesome In The Middle Of The Atlanta Traffic Jam
(If Atlanta was anywhere near California, you know Bags would have been there helping out)

Via Instapundit

Duck Dynasty's ratings decline...

...even though Phil Robertson's suspension was temporary, and he did not miss any filming of the new season:

"There were high expectations for season premiere on January 15th after the weeks of free publicity the show received due to Robertson’s comments about homosexuality and the subsequent, short-lived “suspension” he was given by A&E. But the notion that an even larger Christian conservative audience would flock to the show in support of Robertson was dispelled after the first episode of the season on Wednesday, January 15th drew 8.5 million viewers, a 28% drop from the fourth season premiere last August, which had 11.8 million. It was more on par with the third season premiere in February 2013, which had 8.6 million.

This week’s episode, with 6.6 million viewers, marked another large drop from the second episode of the fourth season, which had 8.5 million viewers. In the 18-49 demographic that is particularly attractive the advertisers, the show also saw a decline. While last season’s premiere had a 5.0 rating, this week’s episode was just 2.9. That put it below network competition like American Idol (4.5) and Modern Family(3.4)."

This is puzzling. Even if the number of viewers didn't increase, such a drastic drop means many loyal viewers aren't watching. Any guesses as to why? I have a notion but I'd like to hear yours first. 

“Let me be clear to you: You ever do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f------ balcony,”

Rep. Michael Grimm of New York, under investigation for alleged campaign finance improprieties, threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony during an interview following President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
After a brief back-and-forth about the validity of the question, Grimm concluded, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

Both NY1 and Grimm’s office released statements following the incident.

“I was extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests,” New York City’s lone Republican congressman said in a statement.

Grimm continued, “I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor. I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”
N.Y. Rep. Grimm Threatens Reporter on Camera


Where we make up to break up.


Ella Enchanted

Moms and dads of a certain age, what is your favorite kids' movie or feature-length cartoon you used to watch with your children...over and over again. Mine is Don Bluth's Thumbelina.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

First Drudge and now the professor.

"And no one will remember it!"

Psssst....Anyone Wanna Buy A Fiddle?

It's not as good as the one Charlie Daniels plays, I'm pretty sure, but maybe one of your kids is taking lessons or something.....

It is described as being possibly priceless.

Here's a better Link.

Help Wanted - Insider Threat Analyst Job

Location:  Washington D.C., US

Insider Threat Analyst - 01155488

Key Role:
Work with government and commercial organizations to develop and implement insider threat program solutions.  Apply knowledge of cyber, counterintelligence, security and information assurance to support baseline functional standards to facilitate the development and refinement of insider threat programs at the enterprise level.  Develop and use assessment methodologies to identify risks and recommend threat countermeasures.

Applicants selected will be subject to a security investigation and may need to meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.  TS/SCI clearance with polygraph is required.

This is the job you've been waiting for, isn't it?  No more pecking away at blog comments here and there, this is the real deal, the opportunity to use your mad skillz.  And you are Jack Ryan or MacGyver or Mitch Rapp.

It's time for you to come in from the cold and search for insider threats.

Contact Booz Allen for more information.

"Draft: Translation as a Performing Art"

"I compare it to walking down a highway, if ordinary reading is driving at 60 m.p.h. And it seems, sometimes, when you’re translating, measuring, and recreating everything you read in another language, as if you can actually leave the highway and walk off into the landscape. Walk around the trees and buildings and see what’s on the other side, how they’re constructed."

"People talk about untranslatable words, but in a way, there’s no such thing. It may take three words, or an entire sentence, or even an interpolated paragraph, but any word can be translated. Short of swelling a book into an encyclopedia, however, there is no way of dealing with the larger problem: untranslatable worlds."

"In an interview with The Paris Review, Bill said something very fine: he explained that as a professor at Bard, he was sometimes asked what other departments his classes could be cross-referenced to, and he suggested performing arts. After all, a translation is a performance (whether in another medium or another language) of a written text."

Overheard: AllenS

"Did Allen ever solve his slushy exhaust pipe problem?"

Un po' di Galateo

Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior (Il Galateo, overo de 'costume) by Giovanni Della Casa (1503–56) was published in Venice in 1558. A lively guide to what one should do and avoid in ordinary social life, this influential courtesy book of the Renaissance explores subjects such as dress, table manners, and conversation. It became so popular that the title, which refers to the name of one of the author’s distinguished friends, entered into the Italian language. To “not know the Galateo” means to be impolite, crude, and awkward in polite society. link
I often "forget my Galateo." Here is Galateo on puns and word play:
Jingling Puns 
     You will meet also with some people, who, for every word that is spoken, have some other word, without any meaning, ready at hand, by way of jingle; others, who will change the syllables of a word in a trifling, foolish manner; others will speak or answer in a different manner from what we expected; and that without any wit or beauty of thought, as, 
'Where is my Lord?' -- [In his clothes, unless he is bathing or in bed]. 
'How does this wine taste?' -- [A little moist, I think]. 
'How is this dish to be eaten?' -- [With your mouth and the like].
   All which kinds of wit (as you will easily apprehend) are low and vulgar. But to discourse what kinds of wit are most elegant and genteel, is no part of my present design; for this has been done already and very copiously, by men far my superiors in learning and ingenuity. Besides, as all true wit affords immediately sufficient and certain testimony of its own grace and elegance, you can very rarely err in this respect, unless you are blinded by an immoderate degree of self-partiality: For whenever a jest is really facetious and elegant, there immediately arises an appearance of mirth and laughter, joined with no common degree of admiration.
    If, therefore, your witticisms are not instantly approved by the laugh of the company,* for Heaven's sake, do not attempt to be witty for the future, for you may take it for granted, the defect is in yourself, and not in your audience. For the hearers, being immediately stricken with a ready, genteel, and delicate repartee or bon mot, cannot possibly forbear laughing, though ever so desirous, but must necessarily laugh, though against their will. 

Ezra is hiring

"Project X (working title) is a user's guide to the news produced by the beat reporters and subject area experts who know it best.

We'll have regular coverage of everything from tax policy to True Detective, but instead of letting that reporting gather dust in an archive, we'll use it to build and continuously update a comprehensive set of explainers of the topics we cover. We want to create the single best resources for news consumers anywhere.

We'll need writers who are obsessively knowledgeable about their subjects to do that reporting and write those explainers -- as well as ambitious feature pieces. We'll need D3 hackers and other data viz geniuses who can explain the news in ways words can't. We'll need video producers who can make a two-minute cartoon that summarizes the Volcker rule perfectly. We'll need coders and designers who can build the world's first hybrid news site/encyclopedia. And we'll need people who want to join Vox's great creative team because they believe in making ads so beautiful that our readers actually come back for them too. 

Sound like you? Then apply now.

Job location: Vox Headquarters, Washington, DC. "

Ezra Klein has signed with Vox Media. Based on the negotiations with the Washington Post, which did not pan out, it is speculated that he "plans to hire at least three-dozen editorial staffers at the new venture."

"The Explainer Question of the Year"

"Thousands of you (Slate readers) sifted through the topics that this column was unable to address in 2013—a list of matters of minuscule importance, such as why venison is not usually made into soup, and when people started drinking beverages through straws. But these were just the also-rans. What were the runners-up?"
In third place, with 8.1 percent of the votes, a question of meteorological anthropology: What did Native Americans think of tornadoes? This would have been a tricky one to answer, as some American Indians seemed to view them as a cleansing while others called them punishment.

In second place, with 8.7 percent, some cross-cultural lexicography: I love palindromes (“A man, a plan, a canal—Panama!”) but I’ve always had an English-centric view of them. What are some palindromes in other languages? What’s the easiest language for palindromes? Another question that doesn’t have an easy answer. As they say in Iceland, Amma sá Afa káfa af ákafa á Samma—“Grandma saw Grandpa enthusiastically groping Sammy.” Let’s leave it at that.

And in first place by a wide margin, with 12.3 percent of the votes, our Explainer Question of the Year for 2013: Countless times in TV shows or movies, characters urge a wounded figure to stay with them, not to lose consciousness. Is there any medical basis for this? Doesn’t the body need to lose consciousness to cope with the emergency? Might these dramatic and good-hearted souls actually hasten the wounded character’s death?
Stay With Me!

Do you have any of these sorts of questions? Do you want to share them? Maybe somebody will pop in with an interesting answer. More interesting than the answers on 'Media Day'


Where love means never having to say you're sorry.

If someone calls you a clown, what should you call them back?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stuck (Open Thread)

“The best scenario is a baby in nine months”

"A woman is on course to become the first in the world to give birth from a transplanted womb, after doctors successfully introduced an embryo into her body."
The embryo was transferred last week, months after the unidentified woman, who has a genetic condition that means she was born without a womb, became one of nine to receive pioneering transplants last year.

The transplanted womb was donated by the woman’s mother, so a baby would also be the first born to a woman using the same womb from which she emerged herself.

The egg from which the embryo was grown was the woman’s own.

“When I read about it I cried for many hours,” said Sandra Boine, a 26-year-old Norwegian sales assistant with the condition.

She believes a hospital in her home country may eventually be willing to perform a similar operation.

“It means a lot because I’ve now got a chance to make a child on my own. There’s hope for us now.” She said that her mother and sister had each offered to donate their womb to her, if the Swedish procedure proved successful. 
Eight of the recipients suffer from MRKH syndrome, a congenital disorder which affects one in 5,000 women and prevents the womb from developing.
In the comments Really?Really!Really said ...
Are you kidding. This has already been done. A no-nothing from Chicago's womb of corruption has been transplanted into the corrupted womb of DC…

Irish Democracy

In an opinion piece in yesterday's USA Today, Glenn Reynolds quotes from Two Cheers for Anarchism, by Professor James Scott:

""One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called 'Irish Democracy,' the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs."

...And, as it turns out, most of the people signing up for Obamacare aren't the uninsured for whom it was supposedly enacted, but people who were previously insured (many of whom lost their previous insurance because of Obamacare's new requirements). "At most," writes Bloomberg's Megan McArdle, "they've signed up 15% of the uninsured that they were expecting to enroll. ... Where are the uninsured? Did hardly any of them want coverage beginning Jan. 1?" It looks that way.

If the program fails, it won't be because Republicans stopped it, despite all the House votes and defunding efforts. It will be because millions of Americans' passive resistance brought it to its knees. Irish Democracy, indeed.

...So, despite all the federal laws on the books, Colorado has de facto nullified them, and started a process that may very well snowball, all without directly attacking the federal laws, or the federal government, at all. Meanwhile, millions of Americans may be in the process of effectively killing Obamacare simply by staying home.As we struggle, mostly in vain, to rein in the metastasizing power of a federal government that has grown out of control, perhaps Irish Democracy offers a solution. Sometimes it seems like that's the only kind of democracy that's likely to make a difference."


“It looks like someone is doing paint by number.”

"Watch out, George W. Bush. Another man has joined the former president atop the list of America’s most beguiling painters: George Zimmerman. Art world watchers are not amused."

“Angie” is not the first time Zimmerman has picked up a brush. In December, the former neighborhood watchman sold a blue, latex paint illustration of the American flag with the text “God One Nation with Liberty and Justice For All” for $100,099.99 on the auction site eBay.
“It’s very primitive,” said Jason Edward Kaufman, a contributing editor at Art+Auction, about Zimmerman’s work, “the sort of thing an art critic wouldn’t look at twice.”

While the American flag painting may look like a military ad or a patriotic poster, “Angie” looks like a “bloodbath,” Kaufman said.

“They’re just kind of so appalling that you hate to make comparisons,” said Andrew Russeth, art critic for the New York Observer, when asked to place Zimmerman’s painting in the context of a particular artistic movement. “It looks like someone is doing paint by number.”

Russeth panned the paintings as “a desperate cry for attention.”

“People like George Zimmerman and George W. Bush who don’t seem to be able to make their cases in other ways kind of see art as a field in which they can redeem themselves,” he added.
George Zimmerman’s Paintings: A Critical Appraisal

UPDATE: The Associated Press has demanded that George Zimmerman halt the sale of one of his paintings because the news agency says it directly copies an AP photo.

“It’s tea, not coffee, you know.”

“My dress, my dress, my dress, my dress!” she repeated, grabbing on to the ends of her expensive-looking, body-hugging white dress. A thick, brownish liquid formed an egg-shaped stain, dripping off the end of the cloth. A pool formed there, the liquid encompassing her white high-heeled shoes, staining them likewise. Next to her stood a tall man, unmoving man, holding a tilted cup, empty but still dripping with the last of his beverage.
Then, the woman turned into a tornado of fury and brown stain.

“WHY THE [expletive deleted] WEREN’T YOU CAREFUL WITH YOUR [expletive deleted] COFFEE? THIS IS A [expletive deleted] TRAIN! YOU KNOW TO HOLD IT BETTER THAN THAT! I HAVE A [expletive deleted] INTERVIEW, YOU [expletive deleted] KNOW!” she wails.

As the brakes started to squeal and the train entered 79th Street, the tall man smugly motioned to get off the train.
A Spilled Cup on the No. 1 Train

"Video: Oklahoma proposing to “ban” all marriages?" - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports | Via HotAir

Planet Baggage

New York Times magazine needs help with their Photoshop so I volunteered.

There is a galaxy of scandals depending on how nit-picky you are about it. Listing them means grading them by importance and grading a politicians scandals by importance makes one look and sound like a ruminating drunk, a political crackpot.

That works in reverse too. Mention one scintilla of support for political dynastically-minded family and at this point you self-identify as malevolent political crackpot. 


Where eclecticism meets good taste.

Good morning, fellow Lemuelites. Anyone been watching the McConaughey/Harrelson program, True Detective? It shows on Sunday nights, and is rather good. Thoughts?

“Wait, you can do it more than once??”

Number 21 of 30 things said by kids about sex. Seen on the Single Dad Laughing blog.

Hilariously innocent / damaged permanently : same-o / same-o. Honestly, Parents, shut your doors already. One said his kid came home from sex ed with misapprehensions at eight years old. Another child with questions is shown a condom, "You mean they're square?"

Max, agent, make me reach. Thanks a lot.

I am told Li Na's speech is brilliant, that it is hilarious. Universally, her fans find this speech hilarious. They love her already and this speech makes them love her more. 

Why? It is charming. Yes. I do like a lot how she first acknowledges her opponent. That is touching. It does not seem remarkable to me. Is there something about tennis I'm missing? Are tennis victory speeches known for being boring insincere and unhumorous and stayed? Why do the comments wherever this is posted say this is hilarious? 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why I hope The Seahawks Win The Super Bowl

Because of this.

Why I Hope The Broncos Win The Super Bowl

Because of this.

How will Ezra do?

According to Huffpo, Ezra Klein is leaving the Washington Post to begin a new venture, and has enlisted the aide of fellow Juicebox mafioso, Matt Ygleisias:

"Klein's possible departure from The Washington Post had been the talk of D.C. media for the past month, with the paper finally announcing Tuesday that he, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews were leaving for a new venture.

Yglesias, a longtime friend of Klein who came up in the same political and policy blogging world, is the first non-Post journalist to join up [now that he will be leaving Slate].

Klein has not yet announced the site's name or his financial backer, but speculation within the Post has focused on Vox Media as investing in the project. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Klein has been in talks with Vox -- which owns sites like The Verge, SB Nation and Curbed -- among other potential investors."

For some background on the origin of the term, Juicebox Mafia:

(2009) "Much internet attention has been given to the “Juicebox Mafia”, a group of very young, Jewish, liberal bloggers who have been sharply critical of Israel, especially in the wake of the recent Gaza incursion. The terms Juicebox Mafia was coined and popularized by ideological opponents of the group (Noah Pollack in Commentary, Marty Peretz in the New Republic);  but like the terms “Tory” and “queer”, it’s an insult which fast became a badge of honor.  The core of the Juicebox Mafia would include Matthew Yglesias, Spencer Ackerman, Ezra Klein and Dana Goldstein." -Jeet Heer

(2008) Marty Peretz of The New Republic stated the the "tag-line" was specific to the "Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein and Ackerman trio," and was "provided by a regular contributor to TNR," which according to Spencer Ackerman, was Eli Lake (scroll to third comment). In the same piece Peretz also said: "I pity them their hatred of their inheritance. Actually of both their inheritances, Jewish and American. They are pip-squeaks, and I do not much read them. But when any one of them writes a real doozey it is likely to come to my attention.I have known one of them, Spencer Ackerman, a smart young man but, alas, not as smart as he thinks and certainly not as smart as he needs to be. He worked at The New Republic for maybe two years or even three for which I apologize; you can look up his trash by yourself."

I recall when fifty-something Mickey Kaus was let go by Slate, and a short time later Ezra, then in his early twenties, was brought aboard. You know that left a mark.

peace doves

The scene could be written by ZAZ where natural law is played for irony. Where are the doves expected to go, back to their own cote? Looking for a current vid of this I notice releases where the birds hangs on the window sill unwilling to fly off into danger. The kids grow up to be cynics. 

Park Bench (open thread)

A walk in the park.

"... there are cultural forces at work"

"A seemingly un-American fact about America today is that for some groups, much more than others, upward mobility and the American dream are alive and well. It may be taboo to say it, but certain ethnic, religious and national-origin groups are doing strikingly better than Americans overall."

NYT Oped: What Drives Success?

"House Republicans to Offer Broad Immigration Plan"

"House Republicans are preparing to unveil their own broad template for overhauling the nation’s immigration system this week, potentially offering a small opening for President Obama and congressional Democrats to pass bipartisan legislation before the end of the year."
Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders are expected to release a one-page statement of immigration principles this week at their annual retreat in Cambridge, Md., according to aides with knowledge of the plan. The document is expected to call for border security and enforcement measures, as well as providing a path to legal status — but not citizenship — for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, the aides said.
“The principles they lay out I’m sure won’t satisfy everybody,” Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, said at an immigration forum on Friday. But, he added, “if we can make some compromises here for the good of the country, I think we have a very good chance for the first time in a long time of changing something that is really damaging all of us.”
For more of this article click NYT link


Where we shoot and ask questions later.

ZZ Ward

This morning's wake-up brain teaser:  How many famous firearm moments from songs are we able to list?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"... she is vulnerable to people looking for meaning in her every move" (Open Thread)

I came across this video while looking for something to link to Dave Spector's commentary on Caroline Kennedy's, "undiplomatically frank", take on the Japanese annual dolphin hunt. (That sentence was a mouthful).
"The lyrics are the words of a sinister, controlling character, who is watching "every breath you take; every move you make".
I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realize at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control. —Sting
"Sting later said he was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He insists it's about the obsession with a lost lover, and the jealousy and surveillance that follow. "One couple told me 'Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!' I thought, 'Well, good luck.'" When asked why he appears angry in the music video Sting told BBC Radio 2, "I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle little love song, when it's quite the opposite."

Bikini fashion show

11 bikini styles...what works and what does not?

Glenn Reynolds

C-SPAN2 BookTV. Forty minutes. "The New School" How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself" at Manhattan Institute for Public Research. New York City Harvard Club.

For the video you might need to type in [glenn reynolds] into their search box upper left, then a small window opens.

It was neat-o seeing Glenn Reynolds on television today speaking to serious people and pleasantly without contention or animus. He delivers a very good talk, better than his brief videos, I bet his vocal coach told him bring it down an octave. I sure enjoyed listening, and the questions were good too at the end, he handles that all very well, but they are not saved here. He has his tour down pat. He opens and closes with "something that cannot go on forever will not go on forever."  It is positive, and it is helpful and you will be smarter by listening. Who am I kidding? You already heard it several times over, it's just fun seeing him say it again like that all at once. He is getting very good at this book promotion regimen.

I like his ideas and his organization of them because he provides positive solutions. He is describing more so than criticizing, although his criticisms about administrative bloat are harsh, and from a personal standpoint he validates a few of my own ideas about good shortcuts and provides a lot more positive material when talking about these things, beyond, "Oh man, I sure am glad I'm not your age facing all this." So lame when unaccompanied with possible answers.  Glenn Reynolds has helped me  in talking to people on this subject and to feel more positive and hopeful about their own future without taking on ridiculous debilitating debt.


Baby hummingbird.

Selling: Check out Mitt on Netflix

“It is not appropriate to say only dolphin hunting is inhumane”

"[M]s. Kennedy (U.S. ambassador to Japan) has quickly surprised her Japanese hosts by being undiplomatically frank on delicate issues. She created a stir recently when she publicly expressed concern about a bloody annual dolphin hunt that is widely condemned abroad, but that many Japanese view as a part of their traditional culture."
“Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” Ms. Kennedy wrote last week on Twitter. “USG opposes drive hunt fisheries,” she added, referring to the United States government’s stance on the hunts, in which dolphins are herded into coves so they can be hacked to death.
I thought Obama was not a co-signer to American exceptionalism. What is Ms. Kennedy doing, promoting a version of our values over there? Who does she think is in the White House? George W Bush?
“How do you rein someone like her in?” said Dave Spector, an American who has worked in Japan for more than 25 years as a television commentator and who has followed Ms. Kennedy’s ambassadorship closely. “Her father is on the 50-cents coin, for crying out loud. She is bigger than life.”

Her fame is so formidable, he said, that she is vulnerable to people looking for meaning in her every move.

But others quickly criticized her for sticking her nose into something that they say is not her, or any other foreigner’s, business. Some angrily reminded her that Commodore Matthew C. Perry opened Japan at gunpoint in 1853 to secure ports for American whalers.

“We don’t want to be told such things by Americans who used to kill whales just for their oil,” said one user. Another was succinct: “Stupid woman! Go home!”

How do we move forward?

Even while Obama has been busy generating debacles some of the rest of the world has been performing miracles.  The most effective retort has not been despair but the flank attack; to ignore Washington and make things work on our own. And perhaps that is the way of things; for the green shoot has outpaced the termite from the beginning of the world and the candle, though it wavers, never goes out without someone re-lighting it again.
If disaster has a silver lining it is the realization that the Obama cavalry is not racing to rescue just over the horizon. Any chance of getting out of this bind is strictly from initiative. Get going. There’s nobody here but us.
John Buchan, who was part of the generation whose universe was shaken by the Great War remarked upon the tremendous healing power of life. He talked about how “the world must remain an oyster for youth to open. If not, youth will cease to be young, and that will be the end of everything.” We try and try again, if not in one way then another.

"Free Crack Pipes Urged To Slow Spread Of HIV In SF"

"Barbara Garcia, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, elaborated in a phone call to KPIX 5."
“This is a recommendation from a community group,” Garcia said. “And we get lots of different kinds of recommendations. That recommendation has not come to me. And I’m telling you that if it did, I would say ‘absolutely no, we are not going to distribute crack pipes.’ We have a lot of things to consider for those who are using crack for improving their health. And the distribution of crack pipes is not something I’m going to consider.”

Crack pipe distribution programs have been successful in Canada, said Laura Thomas, a member of the HIV Health Services Planning Council (HPPC), the group that recently suggested San Francisco consider a similar program.
“San Francisco has a long history of being at the cutting edge of things that we have turned out to be very right on… and I would like to see this one be another of those things that we were right about before the rest of the country catches on,” said Thomas.

“It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s a great program,” said Thomas. “Once you can bring people into your program, make them feel respected, taken care of, then they’re more likely to come back and get on HIV meds and want to be engaged and taking care of their health.”

transmission tower

Beebee beep beebee beep. Come on, Kids, let's climb a transmission tower. We won't get in trouble. This is the pinnacle of monkeyhood. I dare you to watch the whole thing. Theses guys should be awarded honorary prehensile monkey tails. If you chose to stick with the video and resist that, whatchacallit, vertigo thing that happens with the GoPro swinging back and forth way up there indicating his head is moving around wildly and probably unnecessarily for dramatic purposes while climbing onward and upward as the tower tapers to a pole, then to the top of that pole, you will notice him say as he reaches thunderstorm height, and you sit in your robe and your house slippers and sip your morning coffee, "There is no fast way down," and you think to yourself, you have to think this, "There isn't?"

He failed to mention those spiky things, the metal flowers on long stems he called them, that attract electrical charges in the air to dissipate before building up to lightening strike, they are also fun to throw at people from up there like Ninja stars, the prank victims never do see what hit them.

This video is helpful for you to copy, what to take with you, tools, paraphernalia, how to dress, what to say, buzzwords, when you attempt this yourself should anyone challenge your authority to climb the tower.

Friday, January 24, 2014

We've arrested the wrong Bieber

Top Secret

The movie. It's old.

Entertaining and almost funny in places, and in some other places actually quite amusing. From the standpoint of guessing which sight-gag the new scene holds and the satisfaction that comes from being right each time, or experience disappointment the scene is not made even more ridiculous, more sight-gag and joke loaded. Like a Mad magazine. The boots are used again, framing-gag, and the joke of forced perspective never gets old. Yes it does. No it doesn't.

And the satisfaction that comes from observing actors grow in their craft over time.

Somebody said, "Thanks, I just bought that off Amazon."

I thought that must be kind of cheap. See for myself, I'd watch. Turns out apparently the movie is such a national treasure Amazon offers it free streaming for its Prime customers to make sure all of us see it and that is pretty much everyone. Like Inconvenient Truth, and Fahrenheit 911, and Birth of a Nation, that shows the film is right up there with Citizen's Cane.

You can watch it for free.

It is important film about world history, WWII Nazis and how Americans behaving like Elvis Presley prevailed in the war by everyone being confidently silly. Educational.

One of the best parts is where the hero is introduced to members of French Resistance, all exaggeratedly menacing. Camera pans the line of characters so you look for the gag, and there it is, one fighter is pumping a spring-loaded top. Over-the-top menacing with weaponry so expect them to behave as tender pussycats. Nigel the anti-hero is shown as the character in Blue Lagoon. As the fighters are introduced it is apparent right off you are being put on, their names are ordinary French words and now they must stick with these names, Chevalier, Montage, Detante, Avant-Garde, Déjà Vu (have we not met before, Messier?), Garçon, Soufflé Escargot, Chocolate Mousse, and they all look like roughnecks.

This is the fun way to learn Spanish.

I found it interesting that someone finds these the star moments.