Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pyramid in North Dakota.

Pyramid, what's not to like?

The six billion dollar cost, for one thing and the hazardous waste water cleanup at taxpayer's expense for another. Other than that, awesome.

The site was put up for auction and purchased by a Hutterite faith group for just over half million dollars. Their purchase of the site seems a bit odd in that only 1/3 of the 430 acres can be used for agriculture.

But before all that the site housed America's Safeguard system at the height of the Cold War, a defense that managed long range and short range missles both onsite and offsite. The system was obsolete before it was finished but still useful in negotiating SALT II. The site was in full operation a mere three days.

There is quite a lot of good information on the place, photos of inside the compound, now dilapidated and quite dangerous, and various out buildings.

Cold War Tourist


Artificial Owl

Lone Prairie 

To list just a few, but of all the talk about radar systems, computer systems, missiles and bombs and such, it is the remarks of the people who lived there and worked there I find most interesting of all. Here are a few comments to a piece written about the place at  Ghosts of North Dakota.

M E McCollum says:
My husband was a W-4 and we were stationed at this site. It was a great place to be and we thoroughly enjoyed living in North Dakota. There were 100 housing units on the base and we had a 4 bedroom house and it was very comfortable. The Winters were cold, but beautiful and the summers were very mild. My sons started to school in a school house that was built in the 1800′s and was heated by Coal.
It was a wonderful experience for all of and the people there were the best. Very friendly and helpful.
We even had a garden at one of the farms and the growing season was from June 1 to September 1 and of course, it was daylight until about Midnight.
I have never lived anywhere that I enjoyed more than Nekoma, North Dakota.

Kris says:
Caretaker was Buzzy Holmen from Edmore, ND! He was caretaker for 23 years! Put heart and soul into this place! Also, took time to give tours for many people! That was NOT part of his job description!

Dudley Do-Right says:
Buzzy is a good guy. If he was the one giving you a hard time, it’s probably just because there are some spots around the site where a person could fall in/down and get hurt, and so they like to keep the area clear of unguided visitors. Gotta protect the foolish and/or over adventurous from themselves, at least on state property!

I’ve had the chance to take a guided tour of the site, including some of the missile storage bunkers. It’s pretty fascinating.

Bill says:
I lived on the base while in 9th & 10th grade at Langdon High School. We eventually moved into Langdon as the base neared completion and civilian workers families were no longer allowed to ive on base. I left ND in 1978 and returned only once in 1986, for my 10 year class reunion. Most, if not all of the housing units had already been removed. It’s sad to think about all the millions and likely billions of dollars our government poured into the Safeguard program only to shut it down shortly afterit became operational.

Ren Tescher says:
IIRC, some of the housing units ended up in Williston, stacked together to form a couple(?) of (shoddy) apartment buildings, I installed a wash machine in one of those units back in the early ’80′s.

Kitty says:
I worked at this site when it was just a hole in the ground with people scrambling everywhere–it was 1970. I watched this being built and then abandoned. I married a farmer from here who worked at the Remote Sites, MSR and PAR. I still live here and it always makes me sad to drive by and see the remnants of this Government project. I guess it provided a lot of jobs for awhile.

Blaine says:
I was a security guard there until it closed very very sad used to be a lot of hussel and bussel around Nekoma, use to stop at the bar after work and have a couple and then head home to calvin before I worked there as a security guard heard many stories about all of the new equipment buried in the mounds because they didn’t have paper work for the stuff. so sad to see it that way

Don Axtman says:
Don Axtman: Worked at both sites 1st at PAR site near Concrete ND for Napolean Steel and 2nd for Johnson Control at the MSR site near Nekoma ND. We were preparing for transfer to Montana for the second facility when Nixon shut the progam down.

Darrell Graf says:
i I was a firefighter there from the fall of 74 – and this place became operational 30 Sep 75 adn salt II treaty with Gerald Ford provided for a closure (missile removal) in 76 and as a reasult I left. This was like something out af a james Bond movie, security, blast doors, 9 ft thick walls of steel/concrete – were told it could take a direct hit form an atomic bomb (500 megaton) and survive, most ofthe stuff inside that was technical was on big shock absorbers hanging form ceilieng (as I recall there were 7 floors) and would then swing and remian intact during a strike ont he bldg. this ought to be a museum. the storyy inthe 70′s (prior to the space shuttles) was the US was going to b uild space shuttles, and with the capabilities of this building and the flatland in the area, a 10 mile landing strip would be built to be the spaeport for the shuttles Met and worked with LOTS of good people there!
Darrell Graf

Rebecca Johnson says:
I worked there under the YACC Program in 1978-1979. This was a youth program developed under President Carter. Any other YACC program people out there. We cleaned out the buildings, painted dorms, opened the gym and youth center and did a bunch of other stuff. What exactly was the deal with that program anyway. Now that I am older it really make me wonder.

Mary McCollum says:
We were stationed there from 1972 to 1976 and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of duty there.
The people were warm and friendly and it was a great place to be.

My two sons went to school in Nekoma and never missed a day in the winter because of the weather.

We had so much fun at Senator Young Dam riding snow sleds down the dam. What wonderful memories I have ot Nekoma and Langdon.

I haven’t been back but would really like to some day.

Kris says:
Yes, Buzzy Holmen has been the caretaker for 23 years! I even was hired by him for a few summers to mow the site! This is an amazing and creepy site! I saw every part of this place! Im still in awe when i drive by! Its such a shame that it was sold off and not put in hands of someone involved in historical society or someone that can make use of it and bring in jobs for this area! In Defense of the man in the black truck driving you out of the site, you and many others have NO idea of the dangers that lurk this area! People can be killed not knowing where they are going! Regardless of signs not in perfect site, you still obviously saw them, but continued to ignore them! While your photos are great and informational for us all, I saw so many people just come by without properly receiving approval!! Buzzy Holmen was very good about giving tours and taking time from his work! For future adventures, please be a little more considerate of yourself and others! No one wants to hear of accidents happening because of negligence! With that being said, your photos are very good and bring many memories back to all!

Jeremy Shawley says:
I was there this past summer. ALL THE DOORS WERE OPEN!! ON EVERYTHING! No kidding. Other than the wood ticks, it was by far the strangest place I have ever been. Here is my flickr set from there.

Steve Ellis says:
I was at the anti-ABM rally that took place there in 1970, along with about 1,000 other people – mostly college students like me. It took quite an effort to get there as I recall. I particularly remember that it seemed like every highway patrolman in North Dakota was in attendance. Also, I have a very vivid memory of an unmarked helicopter circling above the crowd with a man leaning out the open door with a camera and telephoto lens taking photos of the crowd. We all looked up at him, shook our fists, and shouted “Get F***ked” !
They still built the base, of course…..but it’s good to know it didn’t amount to much in the end.

Susan McDonald Krull says:
After I graduated from college in 1973, I worked at the Safeguard site for a year. My dad was the civilian site manager. I worked underground in the pyramid…..a fascinating experience. I handled logic chassis for the computer systems….computers back then were the size of a room!
Living in Langdon was quite an experience also….flashback to the movie “American Grafitti”….driving down the one main street through town & to the Dairy Queen!
Seeing these photos is sort of spooky….it’s a shame that the entire project was shut down. Brings back many memories.

Open Thread

Add caption

"Spain might pass law that would make children do chores and ‘be respectful’"

A report in ABC, a Spanish-language newspaper, notes that lawmakers in Spain are advancing a measure that would make children under the age of 18 take, “co-responsibility in caring for the home and performing household tasks regardless of age and gender.” As the BBC reports, this isn’t the only thing the parliament-approved draft law would do.

Aside from doing chores, children would, “also have to be respectful to their parents and teachers, and have a positive attitude towards learning.” You might be wondering what kind of punishment children found guilty of not participating in chores or lacking respect might face. You can keep wondering, because as The Local reports, “The draft law doesn't set out penalties for children who fail to fulfill these requirements.”

Vox: Parents and Kids Religious Data

"Kids abandoning their parents' faith is a pretty well-trodden trope in pop culture, but two shows are turning the tables a bit. This season, both The Good Wife and The Americans feature teenage daughters of atheist parents who've converted to Christianity."

Julianna Margulies

"The Good Wife's Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega) has been slowly growing more devout since season two and was baptized in season three. Her atheist mother Alicia (Julianna Margulies) has been generally accepting of the conversion, but tension has developed in the wake of a death close to Alicia, due to Grace's repeated insistence that the deceased is in heaven. Meanwhile, The Americans' Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), being undercover Soviet spies, have no faith, and are furious when their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) joins a church." (read more)

This article is from the Ezra Klein new "explainer" website Vox. You are welcome to comment about that if you want.

Kintsugi, Japanese aesthetic

Kintsugi is a Japanese method of pottery repair that uses gold and other metal powders mixed with lacquer to highlight the damage befallen a ceramic object and by doing emphasizes the pottery's history and use. Rather than attempting to conceal damage, kintsugi glorifies the object's impermanence and imperfection, its history and enhanced character.

Earlier methods of repair were unsightly metal staples embedded with resin. Kintsugi repairs drew upon the long-established Japanese lacquer technique called maki-e that use metal powders mixed with lacquer resin to produce delicate decorative designs. Different metals are used for various colors.

maki-e bamboo 

Kintsugi repaired tea cup

Kintsugi repaired bowl

Kintsugi repair

Soldering. Sort of. Not really, a paste actually, but it looks so.

The idea is acceptance of imperfection, acknowledgement of transience, and this is the difficult part that has no ready Western equivalence, the aesthetic of beauty that is utterly self-unaware.

An object that is self-unaware, as an ideal. How can inanimate objects be aware? Of course objects are self-unaware. See? Told you that is the hard part.

Kintsugi is an expression of wabi-sabi, the sense of beauty in roughness, irregularity, asymmetry, economy, simplicity, modesty, asperity and the integrity of natural things. 

wabi-sabi bowls

Bowls that appear to have grown out of the ground overnight by themselves like mushrooms and stack imperfectly, that is a beautiful thing for its naturalness. The objects are intimate, they actually make you want to hold them. If you are of that frame of mind. 

My first memory of Japan is the bus ride at night from the airport to our digs at Green Park, gazing out the window studying the place taking it in all at once, I was appalled, flatly let down, nothing at all like the photos I saw, the whole place seemed impoverished, the houses unpainted. No paint! No color. Plain wooden houses with no color at all, just the natural wood showing everywhere, the fences, the gates, porches, windows, no paint whatsoever. Mum told me, and she's no anthropologist, "That is their idea of beauty" and I thought in that moment, "This is going to be a long three years." 

They do use paint, of course, I just didn't see much of it the first bus ride. It did take a while to get used to.

Now, this idea of imperfection being beautiful is useful in my own art where I replicate Egyptian frescos, and I am certain it is the imperfections that sell and certainly not their perfection. This idea did not come easily to me either. It was exceedingly difficult to paint or worse carve a plaster then purposefully break it in pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. The breaks guided as well as possible, then live with the result however messy or impossible to reconstruct. I quickly realized those cracks are everything, they totally make the piece, without breaks without damage my art is nothing, and the technique is useful besides to eliminate a bad spot, say a poorly drawn eye, by bashing it out and affect a repair in the spot with new plaster and new paint and leave the repair obvious as if a museum repaired it, without added patina or stain to blend in, as museums do to declare the repaired area rather than conceal it, thereby adding another layer of history, in my case false history. It is very convincing.

And fun.

One need not be artist to invite imperfection, or incompleteness, to take up this idea has application all around. One needn't chuck a cereal bowl because of its chip, rather welcome that imperfection and regard it still useful, regard as survivor and attractive for its history and its humbleness.

The imperfect branch with its imperfect flower. The idea of fence that fails to contain, but does block the view of something unsightly. The idea of wrapping a gift with no intention whatever of concealing its contents. 

I bought a book on Japanese idea of gift wrapping and used some of the ideas the book showed, how to wrap bottles, using fabric instead of paper, searching for unwrapper-like materials, screening, natural materials, folding pleats, leaving it open so part of the contents show through. The author stated something that stuck, that Westerners will purchase an extraordinarily expensive gift, like a Rolex watch that comes in its own special elaborate keepsake watch-box then wrap the gift in cheap thoughtless paper, sealed completely shut tight to conceal it. The Japanese style of wrapping gifts in some cases became more interesting to the recipient than the gift it contained. My wrapping became subject of conversation more so than the gift. And I found it impossible to keep a copy of the book. So far every woman who has looked through the book showed such an interest that I felt compelled to give it to her. Some four or five, so far. The book itself has became an impressive gift. That is what they told me. They couldn't believe I just gave them the book. 

This book is a treasure. It changed my gift-wrapping life. Available for 1₵, this world is irrational, plus shipping which turns out to be $4.00 at Amazon and $3.47 at Abebooks. 


Muddy Waters overcomes his refractory period...albino shouts encouragement:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AP: "Federal judge rejects Wisconsin voter ID law"

Kareem Has It Mostly Right

I'd like to see less calls for running people out of town on a rail and more grace extended. I believe that's the way to teach, but I love that Kareem calls out the media and the secret recording. (via Instapundit)

NYT: Reading Pain in a Human Face

"Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have written software that not only detected whether a person’s face revealed genuine or faked pain, but did so far more accurately than human observers."
While other scientists have already refined a computer’s ability to identify nuances of smiles and grimaces, this may be the first time a computer has triumphed over humans at reading their own species...
In a new study... humans and a computer were shown videos of people in real pain or pretending. The computer differentiated suffering from faking with greater accuracy by tracking subtle muscle movement patterns in the subjects’ faces.
“We have a fair amount of evidence to show that humans are paying attention to the wrong cues,” said Marian S. Bartlett, a research professor at the Institute for Neural Computation at San Diego and the lead author of the study.

Baby's I-Want-That Face from Kieren on Vimeo.

Risk Management

"If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,”
Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday."  Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to the Jewish state... (read more)
Then Monday, yesterday, Kerry backtracked... 
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry issued an apology after it was revealed by The Daily Beast that he said Israel was at risk of becoming an “apartheid state.” In a statement, Kerry said “I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.” He also said “apartheid” was a poor choice of terms. In his statement, he said “if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word.”
Usually, what people say at first is what they really mean to say.  Kerry backtracked because there was a bad reaction to it.   Kerry potentially risked campaign donors for democrats if he had stood by his statement that Israel risked becoming an apartheid state.

ht Michael Haz


"You're a human, aren't you?"

(Amused) Yes, I am human. How did you figure that out?

Well pleased with my top deductive reasoning, "I knew it! Your footsteps. You are first person around here in hours with footsteps. You have the weight that no one else has. "

"What are you talking about? "

"Everyone else is gone now, and then there is you."  

There were thousands. Hundreds crowded close by. Dozens packed very near, more people than could possibly fit in the tiny room we were in, and that is odd I admit, but there they were, all packed in, overlapping, and all attention directed on a single person in control of the meeting assembled to direct things. The outer fringes just curious. Everyone else minded him. Completely. There was one main guy a few helpers and thousands of observers, interested somehow in what is going on. Interested somehow in me.

I couldn't move. I was out anyway. But even so tied up with tubes in both arms and wires all over crisscrossing attached to machinery and I didn't know but a tube also inserted into my penis as well. Entirely tubed up, completely wired up, flat on my back unable to turn even a quarter turn, a torture rack, and balanced it seemed on top of a hemorrhoid the size of Montana. 

"What were they doing?" 

"They were telling me how to become well. And I wept because I could not take it all in. I told them hold on, I cannot deal. I told them it is too much. Too much information. Too much all at once. They poured gallons into a pint container.  I cannot process all that they say. I'm missing everyting. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.  They told me don't worry about any of that, they're skipping my brain althogether. They comforted. The told me relax and receive. I asked how? The main guy said they are talking directly to my body, my mind not involved, giving my body instructions directly. Direct instructions on how to heal. Sensing my incomprehension the guy elaborated they are talking directly to my cells. And then I relaxed. 

And now they're gone."

"That did happen. The pulmonary specialist really did issue instructions for you to shut up. He said he never had anyone talk so much as you under anesthesia. He tried to slide the instruments through your mouth but your incessant jabbering risked damaging the equipment and you would not shut up so he inserted the instrument through your nose instead." 


"There really was a medical team here last night.  You were scheduled for lung biopsy anyway, nick off a pice of lung to examine, so when you were wheeled into ICU the doctor decided to do it right then instead and get that out of the way while you are out." 


"Those clever bastards. They overlap with the physical world. They do the same thing at the same time as the humans except differently, and it is all so plausibly deniable. Oh, that is clever. I don't doubt what you say. Not at all. I accept all that. Yes. But it is minor compared to what really happened, now I know what I know and I know I experienced something quite remarkable, something far more remarkable than mere biopsy. Something I can never forget." 

This nurse took an interest in me for my oddness, I guess.  She came back frequently and just talked. She gave me a thin book about Christian spirituality and other miraculous things, but honestly, it seemed a bit silly and childish compared with what I just lived. 

I survived the pneumonia and the accompanying hemorrhoid the size of Alaska. I could not understand why all the fuss about pneumonia, and lungs and white blood cells, and oxygen and heart rate, blood pressure, and nutrition and nobody cares about fixing this obnoxious giant hemorrhoid the size of Siberia, and said so. That is not funny. "The hemorrhoid is not life-threatening. The other things are." But my ass was most of my misery, the pain that I felt, and nobody cared. There were no spirits for hemorrhoid-healing, the cell-lessons did not extend there.

So when a boy says he saw heaven and reports what he saw, he does know what he knows, and the thing that happened to him will be his possession for the rest of his life. 

There is more to this story. Interesting elements, I think. Some day I might tell the rest.

Monday, April 28, 2014


U2 guitarist The Edge is quoted saying "You Get What You Give" is the song he is most jealous of: "I really would love to have written that."

Jesus Changed Water Into Wine...

...but now the Federal Bureau of ATF is blocking that miracle. Developing story.

global climate

Race's Matter*

Melanin Theory is a curious bit of pseudo scientific race theory which asserts the superiority of certain peoples because of their increased melanin content -- you can read some of the crackpot hypotheses at the link, but there's very little in the way of substantive support.

Melanin -- the molecule -- is ubiquitous (except in arachnids) and it comes in three basic flavors (cf. the link above) called eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin.  New words for you too?

"Down Syndrome and Abortion Hypocrisy"

"Down Syndrome is where the rubber hits the road for opponents of abortion. Approximately 90% of Down Syndrome pregnancies are terminated with an abortion. This behavior is entirely rational, given the enormous difficulties of caring for a Down Syndrome individual from adulthood into old age.  These numbers are, however, strikingly discordant with polls showing that a majority of people oppose abortion. While the numbers for Down Syndrome abortions remain so high, abortion poll numbers represent the meaningless expressions of personal preferences for an ideal world rather than core beliefs that survive the reality of an imperfect biological world."

A Reasonable Blog

Chase Bank is Closing Accounts of Porn Stars?

"Chase Bank is closing the accounts of hundreds of people who work in the adult industry, according to multiple reports."

"Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton posted images of the letters reportedly sent to stars in the adult industry informing them of the account closings. Hilton reported that the accounts would be closed on May 11, 2014."

" reported Friday that Chase had closed the account of porn star Layton Benton, who told the site that Chase said her account was "a risk." Citing sources, the site reported that Chase is targeting specific types of transactions such as deposits from webcam shows."
“I got a letter and it was like please cancel all transactions, please fix your automatic pay account and make sure everything’s taken care of by May 11,” Presley told XBIZ. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account. Even though I don’t use my account, it’s my personal account that I’ve had since I was 18, when it was Washington Mutual before Chase bought them out.”
CNBC via Twitter

An Emerging Donald Sterling Side of the Picture (Is it too late?)

Legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans said 'There are three sides to every story - yours, mine, and the truth.'   So far, we've only heard an explosive audio tape, which in it of itself did manage to cause quite a stir, alleging one 81 year old Donald Sterling, asking, pleading to his girlfriend 'not to bring black people to his games'.

The question at hand, for the purpose of this post, I suppose, is to question the prevailing interpretation of the partial audio tapes.

An interpretation of the context behind the explosive comments, has come to light on a blog called Steve Sailer: iSteve. The post reads kind of like a Behind The Music segment, except, Donald Sterling (I keep wanting to type Rod Serling) is not a musician. He is a billionaire, who also happens to be Jewish.

I excerpt the iSteve post titled Donald Sterling: The Elderly Cuckold's grasp for dignity here...
We don't have the beginning of the conversation, (the taped explosive conversation) which would presumably be very interesting. The parts of the recording leaked have the flavor of a well-rehearsed entrapment. But here's early on in what was leaked (no doubt by Team Stiviano*):
V: ... I'm sorry, sweetie. Everything was OK and perfect.
DS. I'm just telling you, you told me you were going to remove it, so Dennis, the second Dennis looked at me and made that comment.
What was "that comment" that the second Dennis made that so wounded the 80-year-old sugar daddy? (read more)
In order to understand the context behind the surreptitiously recorded comments of one Donald Sterling, I had to temporarily, as it were, put myself in his shoes. Why would he say the things he said?

After reading the post, my conclusion is that what Donald Sterling didn't want her to bring to his games was her predilection for instagramming herself with sports stars, "broadcasting it" (in his words) like she (his girlfriend) was in the market...  In that context, when he says 'I don't care if you sleep with them... just don't bring it to my games'... makes sense. He was telling her, in other words, don't rub it on my face with the Instagrams, for all the world to see, that I'm really not enough of a man for you.

Dodger slugger Matt Kemp and
Donald Sterling's mistress V. Stiviano

In that context, the skin color of the men his mistress instagramed herself with, could be incidental, collateral, but not necessarily the source of Donald Sterling's pleading with her, not as much as the sport stars penises. Still, I say it could be, because when it comes right down to it, I really don't know what is in his heart, even though I've read Sterling does have an unsavory racial past. 

It's a sordid affair, no doubt, but, I brought it up yesterday and everybody in America is entitled to at least a phone call, a defense, a last meal, after the hair is clipped, before the switch is flipped and the game of musical chairs is allowed to continue, uninterrupted. Sorry Chickie.

ht Michael Haz

* Stiviano is the young mistress that recorded Donald Sterling.

Rhhardin: Morale Boosting Generosity


Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Monty Python reunion show will be broadcast in movie theaters worldwide"

"In July, the surviving members Monty Python will reunite for a series of live performances at London’s O2 Arena, marking their first time together onstage in 15 years. Tickets to the shows sold-out instantly; however, audiences around the world will still have the opportunity to catch the troupe in action."

"According to Variety, Monty Python’s final live show, set for July 20th, will be broadcast in 1,500 movie theaters across the world, 450 of which will air the show live. Dubbed “The Last Night of Monty Python”, the show will be directed by legendary designer Aubrey Powell."

Japan agrees to halt whaling

News passed through a Yahoo group email yesterday. Everyone gleed. Answered today contrarily. 

Japan Agrees to End Commercial Whaling

strictly speaking, "in Antarctic reserves"

Actually I love to eat whale meat in sashimi with gingered
soy-bean sauce (shoyu) and with a cup of cooled Japanese
sake, what a delicacy!

Talking points:
1. There is no IQ list in the animal kingdom, say, the IQ of cow
is inferior to that of whale. Even cow reveals some sign of
affection, for example, when bobby calf is drawn apart.
If you have some solid objective evidence showing
whales have higher IQ than other species, I would recomend
you to submit your paper to the peer-reviewed international
journal, e.g., Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Science USA.

2. Minke is not endangered ecologically, now plenty, it is the consensus
of scientific community. In this context, I would recommend
subspecies-based controlled whaling. Japan do not
advocate of whaling of blue whale / Balaenoptera Musculus.

Measuring Success in Conservation
Assessing efforts to restore populations of marine mammals is partly a 
matter of epistemology: How do you know when enough is enough?
American Scientist, July-August 2000
available at

3. There are many strange mode of life all over this planet,
e.g., there are some people eating meat of dogs! or
chasing and hunting wild animals and finally kill with
knives and spear brutally, actually within the soil of the
western side of the USA, as a hobby!.

Difference of culture must be preserved.

BTW, I would like Caucacians refrain from eating whale
meat, since if they learn that delicacy, the prices would
skyrocket and overfishing non-stoppable, then we
the Japanese people will be unable to access to that delicacy,
as maguro tuna had become so after sushi is accepted
overseas,,,,,. I am afraid that some of my friends in the
USA experienced the delicacy of meat of whale during
stay in Japan and were amazed at palatability. Of
course, I issued gag-order to them.

Akio Hasegawa, M.D., PhD
Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan
New web host <>
<Facebook: Search with "Akio Hasegawa" or "長谷川章雄"
(and icon with beard and mustache)

Clooney engagement


Why no Wonder Woman movie?

It can easily be argued that Wonder Woman was overtly feminist in design... she was an Amazon and came from a culture and place that excluded men.   It would be appropriate that she (if she had an origin movie set in 2015) spend a great deal of time experiencing culture shock and under-estimating the ability of men to be competent at anything... which only works if she's wrong about the men.   In other words, Diana isn't feminist... she's sexist.

Which is likely the biggest reason that we haven't gotten a Wonder Woman movie.  -- They need me to write it. :P --  Because what people pushing for a Wonder Woman movie want is a ode to feminism... and that wouldn't be right.  For all that Wonder Woman could be used to frame an exploration of gender roles and preconceptions, it doesn't work to do that flipping of perception unless the thing that Diana learns is that men are every bit as real as women are real.

Make Wonder Woman a female Captain America, as parochial and "Boy Scout-ish", as set in her ways and misconceptions and unwilling to easily get over what she knows is true... and we could have something rather amazing.

It's not going to happen... partly because the idea is pushed by people who think that Thelma and Louise portrayed "strong" women.  And who think, not that a Wonder Woman movie would be awesome, but that a Wonder Woman movie ought to be viewed as a moral need.

(I think this guy sells posters... )

"The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel"

One aspect of the results will be evident as soon as you start looking through them: the debatability of the choices and rankings once you move beyond the first few. For instance, anesthesia (46), which, on its debut in 1846, began to distinguish surgery from torture, barely made the top 50, and that was only because one panelist pushed it hard. If I were doing the ranking, it would be in the top 10, certainly above the personal computer (16 on our final list). In this case the test for me is: Which would I miss more if it didn’t exist? (Our panelist John Doerr, a well-known technology investor, said he worked his way through his own top‑25 list using a similar set of “pairwise comparisons,” asking which technology he would miss more.) I rely on personal computers, but I got along fine before their introduction; I still remember a dental procedure in England when the National Health Service didn’t pay for novocaine.


Which would you remove and replace with something else? What would you rank higher than it is listed? What would your top five be?


Where we prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet.

And would it have been worth it, after all, 
Would it have been worth while,                                           100 
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, 
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor— 
And this, and so much more?— 
It is impossible to say just what I mean! 
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 
Would it have been worth while 
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, 
And turning toward the window, should say: 
  "That is not it at all, 
  That is not what I meant, at all."                                          110
        .     .     .     .     .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; 
Am an attendant lord, one that will do 
To swell a progress, start a scene or two 
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, 
Deferential, glad to be of use, 
Politic, cautious, and meticulous; 
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; 
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— 
Almost, at times, the Fool. 

  I grow old . . . I grow old . . .                                              120 
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. 

  Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? 
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. 

  I do not think they will sing to me. 

  I have seen them riding seaward on the waves 
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back 
When the wind blows the water white and black. 

  We have lingered in the chambers of the sea 
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown               130 
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.


Let's put this baby to bed.

"Bye-bye Car Wash, Farewell Wipers: Future Cars Won't Get Dirty"

"Of course, one challenge is to prevent messes in the first place, says General Motors, which has been conducting research on ways to keep passengers, especially children stuck in back seats known to industry engineers as “the puke zone,” from getting car sick."
“We know through other scientific research that even if our eyes are focused on a fixed point – if we can see the outside passing by in the window – our brain is telling us that we are moving,” explained Don Shreves, GM’s Human Factors engineering group manager said. “But if our eyes are at a downward angle and do not see the view outside the vehicle, our bodies become sensitive to motion and increase the chance of sickness.”

Among other things, the research has shown GM engineers that passengers are less likely to get sick when DVD screens are mounted overhead.

Liberty GB Leader Paul Weston arrested for quoting Winston Churchill

Paul Weston was on the steps of Winchester Guildhall with a megaphone addressing passers-by. Asked by a woman who came out of Guildhall if he had authorization, he answered, "No." She responded, "That's disgusting." He was arrested within an hour.


Well, he was being annoying.

In the comments:

The book is called “The River War” and was first published in 1899. The passage Weston read out aloud is in the original 1899 edition (now a rare book accessible only in some old libraries), but was removed from the later abridged edition which is the one most readily available.

Unfortunately, the Gutenberg project people have not been able to obtain a copy of the 1899 edition to digitize it and place online; they were only able to get hold of the later abridged edition.

Oculus Rift prank

La Planete Sauvage

Vimeo 1 hour 9 minutes. French with Spanish subtitles, so two ways to get at the dialogue, three ways if you count the 9 or so segments in English uploaded to YouTube but you might likely know the story already. I saw this a long time ago at my parents house and as everybody I was taken by the imaginative art.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Must Sell Mint Los Angeles Clippers Do To Personal Reasons

USA Today - "The NBA is investigating whether racially insensitive comments in an audio recording obtained by TMZ were made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling."

"The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information," NBA executive vice president of communication Mike Bass said. He also said the league is conducting a "full investigation."
Via TMZ. Click here for the explosive audio. But first, please remove any children... old and infirm from the room as a precaution. Safety Matters. And lastly, remember to send some Love the Lem's way.

wheel of justice

Utterly pointless.

The film Idiocracy was more prescient than imagined. I haven't seen it but I read about it.

This wheel of justice is a real thing. I checked Channel 4/WJXT, turns out to be Jacksonville FL station searched "wheel of justice" on their site and discovered they do this once a week.

The video showing presently on their own page is better than this one but it embeds oddly here so checked out  the U-tubes and the segments are posted there too, but this one is not up yet.

Believe me, we are laughingstock. I feel shame.

The sayings of Lazarus Long

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

-Lazarus Long, Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein


What else should a human be able to do?

"Holder to remain U.S. attorney general through November elections at least"

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plans to stay on through November's mid-term elections and has no timeline for an exit after that, a Justice Department official told Reuters on Friday.
"The Attorney General does not plan to leave before the mid-terms. That does not mean that he is definitely leaving after the mid-terms, just that he is at least staying through that time," the official said.

There has been speculation over when Holder, 63, might step down from the post he has held since shortly after President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

BBC: Why is Kim Jong-un always surrounded by people taking notes?

"In the photographs - from the country's official Central News Agency (KCNA) - Kim Jong-un observes a unit of women conducting a multiple-rocket launching drill. He strides around a fishery station. He gives a pilot on flight training a pep talk. He enjoys the facilities at a renovated youth camp."

But who are those men meticulously taking notes? They're not journalists, but soldiers, party members or government officials, says Prof James Grayson, Korea expert at the University of Sheffield. What is happening is a demonstration of the leader's supposed power, knowledge, wisdom and concern, says Grayson. It's "on-the-spot guidance", something instigated by his grandfather Kim Il-sung in the 1950s. "It's part of the image of the great leader offering benevolent guidance," says Grayson.

Despite the fact that tablets are available in the country, paper notebooks remain the favoured medium. "These are pictures that will be broadcast on television and shown in the state media, so those who are there want to be seen recording Kim Jong-un's every word," says Grayson. "It's about presenting him as having broad knowledge - however, it's ridiculous, he can't possibly know about all of these different things. It's important, however, that the apparatchiks that surround him are seen to be hanging on his every word."

New Rule: Recruits must buy U.S. made athletic shoes

Defense Department issued a new rule that could require recruits in boot camp to use their one-time allowance for shoes to be purchased through New Balance.

Military Times.

The rule is worded otherwise but the effect will be all recruits buy from the one single American company that supplies them. The new rule is pushed by Democrat representative from Maine, Mike Michaud.


No. I would not buy a car from this guy. 

Apparently taking a cue from his executive that it is okay to coerce broad swaths of captive audiences to purchase things they otherwise would not purchase from places they otherwise would not purchase from when profit is channeled and benefit devolve to Party. 

New Balance is the only company in compliance with Berry Amendment (1941) or will be compliant if their prototype passes. New Balance is located in Mike Michaud's district. Boo.

The Berry Amendment is intended to direct government purchases to American companies wherever possible. 

Army, Navy, Air Force, but not Marines. Marines have a separate allowance that does not specify shoes. So all recruits in bootcamp for three services. 

What a coupe. What a haul. What blatant favoritism. Mike Michaud and his like really do not appreciate market forces or individual preferences, both essential to our economic system, and the malignancy toward both is so obvious I honestly do not see why he is not shouted down by the rest of the House all at once, traduced on the spot, and why would military brass acquiesce. They don't care. Apparently.

Let's get in the shoe business and offer competition. I know people who wear New Balance and would never buy anything else. They really are good shoes I am told. But so what. Being recruits the young guys probably won't mind, they might even think, "wow, our leaders really do find for us the best stuff available and direct us wisely" but they have more faith in political leadership than I do. 

This is wrong. So unAmerican to distort market forces like this, to use enlistees like this to drive business to friends. There ought to be a law! Wait, there is. And he wrote it. Boo. Boo on insidious corruption. Boo, giving all those recruits money as part of their pay to be spent at only one place, as if direct payment to New Balance. For all those shoes.  

It'll be an extension of uniform. I'm not clear if this is for off duty, if so, there will be two ways to spot those guys out on leave, by their  hair and by the same style shoes. 

Quit complaining. New Balance are great shoes. But look whose having a sale.

Friday, April 25, 2014

catch 22

I do not recall this scene from the film. I must have been getting popcorn or perhaps someone was covering my eyes. At any rate, gruesome. Linking this brief scene for its comments.


1965's "See My Friends" was the first song that had a sort of mystical quality to it. It's also proto-psychedelia. And it was influential. According to the Wiki, Pete Townshend said at the time:
See My Friends' was the next time I pricked up my ears and thought, 'God, he's done it again. He's invented something new.' That was the first reasonable use of the drone—far, far better than anything the Beatles did and far, far earlier. It was a European sound rather than an Eastern sound but with a strong, legitimate Eastern influence which had its roots in European folk music. link
The drone sound that runs through the record was accidental -- much like the sound of the guitar in 1964's "You Really Got Me."

Ray Davies explains:
I played the song for the first time to my two sisters in Muswell Hill, using this beaten-up 12-string Framus guitar. It had a great quality, but when I played it in the studio, I got too close to the mike, and it started to feed back. And that provided the drone that ran through the record. I remember Shel Talmy saying "we'll never get all this sound on there, so I'll compress the shit out of it.' It ended up a mixture of my stupidity, Shel's opportunism and engineer Bob Auger's technical ability. I'm not sure it's a great song, but it's a great record.
In a widely quoted statement by Barry Fantoni:
I remember it vividly and still think it's a remarkable pop song. I was with the Beatles the evening that they actually sat around listening to it on a gramophone, saying 'You know this guitar thing sounds like a sitar. We must get one of those.'
Six months later, The Beatles released "Norwegian Wood."

Whose that girl?*

I'm sure Trooper knows. And I'll bet Ed does, too.

*A blog post in the style of Trooper York

Life Is Rough

Sometimes a man needs to take a time-out.

A quick check of the blog world tells me that racism is the topic that replaced gay marriage, laws can be waived at whom by DOJ and POTUS, crooks can buy presidential decisions, and Miley Cyrus has bacteria.  In other words, nothing changed, except maybe Obama unfriended Putin or something.

Well, I need to get another beer.

Carry on.

Georgia's new gun laws

"Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law today what supporters call a historic victory for the Second Amendment.

The new law, called the “Safe Carry Protection Act”, vastly expands where guns will be allowed in the state.

As of July 1st, licensed gun owners in Georgia and visitors from 28 other states will be allowed to bring a gun into a bar without restrictions and carry a firearm into some government buildings. Under the law, school districts will be able to decide whether they want some employees to carry a firearm, and religious leaders can decide whether to allow licensed gun owners to carry guns into their church, synagogue or mosque.

Deal said the following about the bill:"