Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ramses III

The man reads left to right.

Birds and animals are facing left so the inscription is read left to right. Read into the faces of people and animals. Sometimes they do face each other as over a doorway, the inscription or painting reads half one way and half the other way, but never together on the same line of writing or in the same phrase.

First, the writing considered sacred in front of the cartouches. It means we'll be looking at regular royal titular, standard formulaic writing: This is the stuff for beginner students because every pharaoh had them throughout all Egyptian history. And this is only a portion of the full blown formal deal.

What do you get when you cross an air guitar and an air samurai?

Meet Japanese Teen Nanami “Seven Seas” Nagura. Winner of the 2014 Air Guitar World Championships.

“The American team had to give in for the Japanese Air Guitar fury when the 19-year-old samurai girl beat also the 2013 World Champion Eric ”Mean” Melin, who scored the 3rd place,” the organizers said in its release.

"Japan’s Keisuke “the Ninja” Nagatsuka, who performed his fantasy guitar in a ninja suit, also finished fourth in the championship finals.
ELB: It's a major award

Marshmallow man finds out he gets into heaven

"Keepers of the Boca Raton look facing tall challenges"

"For a group of residents whose job is keeping Boca Raton looking like Boca, the city's latest building boom is posing the tallest challenges yet."
"Things are getting to the point where it's not just sign changing and painting of buildings," said Linda Baumann, a real estate agent who has been on the board for 13 years. "It's a challenge with all these rentals going in."

"Yes, we have a signature look," said Arlene Owens, who has lived in Boca for all of her 68 years.

Although the City Council has the final say on what is ultimately built, the appearance board has a lot of clout. It's unique to Boca, and those who want to build in the city know they have to toe the line the board sets.

"Aesthetics is not something the law deals with very well, because it deals with different perspectives," he said. "What's one man's fantasy is another man's horror."

"Michael Sam released by St. Louis Rams"

"I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level," Sam tweeted Saturday. "I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career." (read more)

Exit question

Allahpundit asks in his post titled "Scarborough: Obama saying he has no strategy against ISIS is a tactic straight out of “The Art of War
Which chapter of “The Art of War” mentions dithering on whether or not to rescue a hostage who later ends up being murdered by the enemy?
That is Allahpundit's exit question. There is no chapter that address dithering concerning the rescue of a hostage who later ends up being murdered by the enemy. So it cannot be said as Joe Scarborough does say that Obama remarking that he (Obama) has no strategy is a tactic straight out of The Art of War.

Exit answer:

That is a ridiculously specific circumstance to expect to have been addressed by Lao Tsu in 500 bc, however more generally in chapter three, Attack by Stratagem, Lao Tsu does say,
Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; 
Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. 
What Scarborough had in mind most likely is found in chapter 1, Laying Plans. This is among the most familiar quotations from The Art of War.
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
Condensed as:
All warfare is based on deception.
These observations made by a general applying to enemy forces can be understood as applying to allies as well. It can be asked, rightly or not, by a so-called superpower, "why must we always reliably assume the role of policeman for the whole world? Why set up ourselves for 'damned when we do, damned when we don't' attitude by our own allies? Presently this affects you as much and possibly more than it affects us. Pull your own weight." Indeed, why must a U.S. president automatically assume responsibility for forming an international coalition and be the center of that activity, and further be responsible for holding it together to the end? To determine the end, when we see ourselves attacked by our own allies, as we inevitably are. You do it this time.

All the while formulating plans.

We are always formulating plans. To say otherwise is ridiculous. That is what generals do. That is their job all day long. Plans within plans about plans. Twenty-year plans, ten-year plans, five-year plans, one-year plans, six-month plans, next month plans, next week plans, plans for lunch. Layers of generals, all sides of the pentagon, planning every hour of every day, every week, month of the year. They are nothing if not planners. To say "we do not have a plan" is to say "we have not decided conclusively just yet." The elected president may not have settled on his personal plan for immediate action but his generals certainly do have plans, and Lao Tsu was an ancient general not a emperor. The book being referenced is for generals not necessarily for political leaders, heads of political parties. Even so, Scarborough could be correct. Bush II was always similarly underestimated.

Then again...

On the other hand,  search images [Obama eating] There's your guy with a plan. Is it even possible to underestimate this man?


No wonder people have no confidence in his ability for war planning. All his wars occur to his immediate right. All his wars are with his own citizenry.

Unfair? Try [Reagan eating] you get jelly beans and other monkeyshines, Photoshopped parody images.

[Bush II eating] corn on the cob and Photoshop images of that single photo with a kitten in place of the corn, ha ha, very funny, a crow in place of the corn, eating a baby's head, just more mean-spirited Photoshops, pudding, but not the proper images of adolescent junk food that fills the whole screen as it does with Obama. Both of the Obamas. No, Scarborough is wrong. There is no serious geopolitical planner present in those images, merely a community organizer provided the paraphernalia of high office, the full resources of both supporters and non supporters, and quite active on a national scale.

weather moves in

It's been doing this every day. The clouds build up at the foothills then spill of their own weight as they approach and pass overhead, you can actually observe this happening, usually dissipating completely before the clouds reach the city. Then the clouds pass by as they rebuild at the foothills with patches of bright light between. Sometimes making another pass. It is awesome. The previous two days it actually did rain, but not all that much. 

People go about their business, in and out, back and forth, as if nothing extraordinary is happening. We laugh at umbrellas. People bring them then stand in the rain. I saw this at the memorial reception last week. (I also saw someone begin video recording using their  phone in portrait, so I checked them. How's that for intervention, eh?) Oh well, that's Denver for you. The common phrase around here is, "Don't like the weather? Wait a few minutes."

Look how hopelessly confused this is. Numerically, the situation is incalculable. The numbers are all over the map.  Given any national weather map the isobars for high areas / low areas, storms, temperature changes, pressure changes, what have you, all converge smack on top of Denver. Any seed package displaying zones will have color bars converge right at Denver. I can never make head or tails of them. I honestly do not know what zone I live in. And neither does anyone else.

And I keep looking too. Last night for example, I could not make sense of the map provided by USDA misc 1475 in Pamela Crawford's book. The color key provided is useless to me. Denver sits in a yellow dot within another dot inside a larger dot inside a bulge that juts from an arm that dips down from the regular broad yellow band.

That tells you when it comes to plants, do whatever you wish. You will have your own little microclimate somehow depending on your precise situation, your protection of terrain, of vegetation, of fences, other buildings, what have you.

Or else it means expect extremes and never count on anything actually growing. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Rotherham: In the face of such evil, who is the racist now?"

"The Yorkshire town where 1,400 girls have been sexually abused by Asian men is a byword for depravity – all because people wouldn’t rock the multicultural boat."

The American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman said "the first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool" coupled with the bible quote "God will not be mocked... a man reaps what he sows." has given me a lot to think about, in the context of this story.

The story of what has happened to hundreds of children in Rotherham is too ugly for words. Yes, uglier than the almighty ugly racism. To just say the twenty-first century people of Rotherham failed the weakest among them, in unforgivable ways, is, in itself, a weak testament to the disappointment an incomprehensible apparent attempt at a higher calling has wrought.
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody
They used to say, in the days when the road of progress was not an autobahn, be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

May God have mercy on their souls... and ours too.

Container planting of herb and flower combinations

A person I know not all that well recently killed himself thereby shocking everybody who knew him. A gentle and quiet soul, nobody sensed anything remote to this coming. There was a lot about the man that I did not know, chief among them his driving interest in plants. I never heard him speak on the subject. This one interest of his overlaps one of my own. I'd like to have some nice potted plants for my own terrace and for them to include the herbs that I use for cooking and a few vegetables too, but also flowers so the whole thing is attractive,  but frankly, I do not know what I am doing. I do have a knack for killing pretty much every plant I touch, and my efforts look like a mess. Up close they are a mess. From afar they are the envy of the whole building. People around here say so, "Oh, so you're the guy with the plants on the balcony." But that is only because everybody else is worse, or has no interest at all. 

When the friend died I looked through his pinterest page which turns out to be vast. Tons of plants are listed, all of them designer-type container plants. One of the pins said, "This picture is from a book by Pamela Crawford." I looked at her website that links to her YouTube videos. Read a bit, watched a few. I put her name in Abebooks search and bought the first book on potted plants that came up.

Easy Container Combos: Herbs and flowers. 

The idea is potted herb gardens can be jazzed up with flowers. The book is filled with ideas about what to keep in mind and how to go about to pull it off successfully.

I read the book last night. It is easy. Lots of pictures. As much a thick magazine as a book. It refers back to her site and to her own products. Profiteering? Possibly, she seems to make everything she talks about readily available. But it looks to me like she is actually trying to make things readily available for beginners to get started right off while profiting from that by the way. The cost of supplies seems reasonable. The impression I get is she learned through mistakes. 

This cheers me greatly. That is how I learn.

By making every mistake possible. 

More than once.

The reception was held at the dead person's house, a bit eerie being there the first time without him, the place claustrophobically packed with people, only a few of them I knew, but all were in outright awe of his front yard and back yard gardens composed of large planters surrounding the perimeters with every combination of flower, foliage, herb and vegetable known to gardening in striking combinations and in full leafage, full bloom, full fruition all around, bizarre combinations one might not consider unless they were driven, bursting out and pouring over large glazed ceramic containers. I noticed dark eggplants hanging among flowers, and chile plants pendant within non-chile plant foliage, strawberries where strawberries do not belong mixed with non-strawberry plants, and orchids with tons of various types coleus, sweet potato vines, spikey Ti plants jutting up all over the place, upright blooming fiery celosia, large elephant-ear type leafy Caladium leaves boldly suspended in mid air everywhere, fuzzy fennel and dill filling in, begonias all over the place, to name only a few. 

WSJ Essay: Why Doctors Are Sick of Their Profession

"All too often these days, I find myself fidgeting by the doorway to my exam room, trying to conclude an office visit with one of my patients. When I look at my career at midlife, I realize that in many ways I have become the kind of doctor I never thought I'd be: impatient, occasionally indifferent, at times dismissive or paternalistic. Many of my colleagues are similarly struggling with the loss of their professional ideals."
"It could be just a midlife crisis, but it occurs to me that my profession is in a sort of midlife crisis of its own. In the past four decades, American doctors have lost the status they used to enjoy. In the mid-20th century, physicians were the pillars of any community. If you were smart and sincere and ambitious, at the top of your class, there was nothing nobler or more rewarding that you could aspire to become...."

"Consider what one doctor had to say on Sermo, the online community of more than 270,000 physicians:

"I wouldn't do it again, and it has nothing to do with the money. I get too little respect from patients, physician colleagues, and administrators, despite good clinical judgment, hard work, and compassion for my patients. Working up patients in the ER these days involves shotguning multiple unnecessary tests (everybody gets a CT!) despite the fact that we know they don't need them, and being aware of the wastefulness of it all really sucks the love out of what you do. I feel like a pawn in a moneymaking game for hospital administrators. There are so many other ways I could have made my living and been more fulfilled. The sad part is we chose medicine because we thought it was worthwhile and noble, but from what I have seen in my short career, it is a charade." (read more)

"The Dirt on Your Sponge"

"Tod Maitland, 56, is a sound mixer and 30-year veteran of the film and television business, having worked on more productions than there is room here to list.... Matthew Flannery, 43, a cameraman and photographer, is also an inventor (his first contrivance, he said, was a cordless phone base station “repeater,” or range extender, which he thought up when he was in high school)"

"In the ’90s, the two crossed paths on the set of “Sex and the City.” More than a decade later, they are presenting their first product, a kitchen sponge cleaning device called SpongeBath that is more akin to a plot thread in a “Seinfeld” episode than anything the “Sex and the City” writers would have dreamed up. Scheduled to go on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond in early September, and Amazon later in the month, it was not available to test. But its YouTube video reveals a sleek, toasterish object and asserts that your kitchen sponge, a smelly, disgusting bacteria magnet, is 200,000 times dirtier than your toilet seat." (read more)

clean vinyl records

Ghettofunk13 cleans his lp vinyls using wood glue.

Ghettofunk, damn. Ghettofunk1, damn, Ghettofunk2, damn. Ghettofunk3, damn.... Ghettofunk12, damn. 

Dying For Their Cause

Madame Marie Curie, who coined the term "radioactivity," died of radiation. She was a heroic pioneer.

So it's sad to read that five co-authors of what will be an important contribution to unravelling the Ebola virus have died from Ebola: link

May they rest in peace.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Alan Lightman: "My Own Personal Nothingness"

"My most vivid encounter with Nothingness occurred in a remarkable experience I had as a child of 9 years old. It was a Sunday afternoon. I was standing alone in a bedroom of my home in Memphis Tennessee, gazing out the window at the empty street, listening to the faint sound of a train passing a great distance away, and suddenly I felt that I was looking at myself from outside my body. I was somewhere in the cosmos. For a brief few moments, I had the sensation of seeing my entire life, and indeed the life of the entire planet, as a brief flicker in a vast chasm of time, with an infinite span of time before my existence and an infinite span of time afterward. My fleeting sensation included infinite space. Without body or mind, I was somehow floating in the gargantuan stretch of space, far beyond the solar system and even the galaxy, space that stretched on and on and on. I felt myself to be a tiny speck, insignificant in a vast universe that cared nothing about me or any living beings and their little dots of existence, a universe that simply was. And I felt that everything I had experienced in my young life, the joy and the sadness, and everything that I would later experience, meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. It was a realization both liberating and terrifying at once. Then, the moment was over, and I was back in my body."

"The strange hallucination lasted only a minute or so. I have never experienced it since. Although Nothingness would seem to exclude awareness along with the exclusion of everything else, awareness was part of that childhood experience, but not the usual awareness I would locate within the three pounds of gray matter in my head. It was a different kind of awareness. I am not religious, and I do not believe in the supernatural. I do not think for a minute that my mind actually left my body. But for a few moments I did experience a profound absence of the familiar surroundings and thoughts we create to anchor our lives. It was a kind of Nothingness." (read more)

Mystery: Who is Senator Gillibrand protecting?

"Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been called a “honey badger” and “porky” by an array of slobs in the hallowed halls of the House and Senate, but the New York Democrat has laughed off the sexist slights and pushed back at her boorish colleagues."

“Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!” one of her older male colleagues said. Her response: “Thanks, a—hole,” she said in an excerpt from her book.

Judicial Watch: Feds’ Bulletin Describes Threat of Imminent Terrorist Attack on Southern Border

Who are we to believe?  There is this:
Gen. Martin Dempsey, speaking to reporters on board a military plane traveling to Afghanistan, said Sunday that he believes the Sunni insurgent group formerly known as ISIS is not currently plotting or planning attacks against the U.S. or Europe.
But there also is this:
Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source.  “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.
The radio chatter about an attack suggests that it may be somewhere near El Paso.
 Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued.  Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.
But General Dempsey says:
Dempsey said that so far, there is no sign that the Islamic State militants are engaged in "active plotting against the homeland, so it's different than that which we see in Yemen."
On the other hand....
 Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.
 Is it confusing, or are Americans being told something less that the truth by the administration, through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?  That's impossible to answer accurately because we have unknown unknowns.

Links to the articles from which the quotes above were taken here and here.

Who do you believe?

“It seems unlikely, until you’re there looking at it”

"The phenomenon is similar to ice shove, which occurs when water currents or wind push ice beyond the banks of frozen bodies of water."
“The amazing thing is that in the hottest, driest place on the planet, we have these arctic conditions that are allowing the rocks to move,” Norris said.

During three months of observation, the scientists recorded rocks moving at about 3 to 5 m/minute and travelling up to 224 m across the valley.

For those many rocks to move during that period requires a perfect alignment of rainfall, wind and temperature shifts.

Last year, an unusual amount of precipitation left about 7 cm of water on the playa — something that happens only about once every two decades, Norris said.

“You need this confluence of events that is really, really rare,” Norris said.

St. Louis shooting

An apparently disturbed man is wielding a knife on a St. Louis sidewalk. The odd thing about it is people are walking by him as if nothing much is happening, proceeding as an ordinary day. It is not ordinary. Somebody is recording on their phone. The police have already been called. A police cruiser pulls up and two cops emerge and confront the disturbed individual who paces back and forth, jumps up onto an elevated lawn, approaches the officers, apparently shouts, "shoot me, just shoot me," and they do. They kill the man dead on the spot to the shock of the witnesses who lingered.

I've been thinking about this for days. 

I still cannot comprehend it. 

I suppose the police do not know what we know that people walked right by unharmed, almost as if, "Eh, there goes another nutter," but still unharmed. Witnesses are uncomprehending of the shooting as I. 

Comments to the video are not helpful in understanding. The comments I got through say police are trained shoot to kill not to disarm, not to harm. But that does not answer why the police did not tase and arrest the man. Why did they have to kill the man dead on the spot? Was he so threatening to them in their moment? 

They most likely said, "Drop the knife," and the man disobeyed. Taking just a few steps in the direction of the armed and ready police is all it took to kill him.

Kill him.

It's over. Just like that. Dead on the sidewalk. A life for a simple act of non compliance. 

This is what people of St. Louis mean when they riot to demand justice. This makes sense of their disjointed speeches. Their argument does not make sense in isolation of the riots but it does make sense in context of this larger experience of their whole lives. Justice generally, to treat mental disturbance as such. Not everything is a criminal act deserving of instant death. 

We are shown the video of Michael Brown stealing some small package of come type of cigars and stiff-arming the store proprietor and viewers of that incident outside of this context of widespread unemployment and little hope for advancement and general injustice regard Michael Brown as obviously criminally minded. Not deserving of death for stealing cigars, but later, not interacting with police as we've all been taught. You do not approach cops in a threatening manner, Ever. That's just a plain simple fact. But that is not deserving of instant death either. 

That is how the people there see the whole situation as living inside it. Bashing in the policeman's eye socket does complicate the narrative greatly. Goofs up their grievance. But so does this video complicate the narrative greatly, and I imagine many other incidents too like this that are not recorded but known without video proof, and lived every day, experiences lived and real and then additional narratives imagined, the unknown details filled in by what is known by experience.

By what I see here in this short video, this strikes me as quite slobbish, careless and ruthless police work. This is the injustice that is lived every day and protested. This is what causes rioting. This is what causes what is termed riot tourism, outsiders swarming the town specifically to act out and tear up the place in riot -- make their own justice, absurd as it seems to outsiders they are protesting this and incidents like this that they live and are not recorded, so not known to people who do not live it.

Convince me otherwise. I won't argue.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Joan Rivers live at the Apollo, London.

Goodness comments to the articles on Joan River's medical emergency are vile. Yes. Not only are people stupid, way off base, they are actually malevolent in ways indicating a type of mental disorder. Must everything be about politics? They must. Because of the following. I wonder, "where in the world does a remark like this come from?" Out of the blue, disconnected with events. Divorced from fact. Here is a man spoon-fed his politics who then spits out his own vile worldly-knowledge onto his little baby bib, projecting his own disorder onto others.  

ArlingtonVA's Finest • 9 hours ago
Uh-oh. It's only a matter of time before hyperventilating GOP teebaggers begin shrieking uncontrollably, and blame this ugly woman's health problems on Obama, Hillary, Benghazi, gay marriage, atheists, or women using birth control pills.
Brace yourselves, folks.

Dumbass cannot even spell tea baggers, but he does have somebody's balls in his mouth. That is how he thinks he knows so much about people he does not even know, fancying himself knowledgeable while knowing nothing at all.  Shrieking about politics on an item about a comedian's health emergency, who herself is undoubtedly liberal Democrat while projecting that shrieking onto others.  If he knew the slightest whereof he speaks he would join tea party activists and not project his own serious mental disorder onto straight thinking people.

Joan Rivers is funny. Vile, yes. Rude, yes. un p.c., yes, yes, yes. That is what makes her funny. I see in my history I've viewed some 10 or so of her videos. I do find the humor a bit worn. Still she has me laughing outright here and there. And I cannot think of a single political activist who does. I keep imagining her when she is not "on" and still funny in ways that I find my own best friends funny, vile, rude, and un p.c., willing to transgress the things usually held sacred, at least sacrosanct. Willing to toss out the opposite for shock, just for an impolite laugh.

Or a groan.

Just as well a groan as a laugh.

Do you know what Beethoven is up to these days?


Awwww. Grow up! Her humor arises from a willingness to face directly life's abuses, to pull things right off the wall, a groan every bit as good as a laugh.

The LDS guy I mentioned earlier in the ice bucket challenge post was showing me around once his linebacker friend showed up, a huge black guy oddly named Harold both incongruently discussing a new marble countertop that is vast in a kitchen that sees only microwaved dinners. I honestly could not care less. I expected to slide one in unnoticed, my own little secret, my own private laugh, but surprisingly both of them caught it, "I do like marble countertops but nowadays they are used so extensively one tends to take them for granite." They both stopped dead and glared at me conveying silently, "you ass." I thought it was funny: an LDS stricken man  and a black linebacker discussing interior design. Who knew they were perceptive to puns?

'All in the Cause of Science' or 'Those MythBuster guys have nothing on me'

Link to the original source of the question at hand...

Somebody fell asleep in the rain and I left the cake out... again

The WH Will Not Be Sending DOJ Investigators

An unarmed white kid was shot and killed by a black police officer in Salt Lake City.

This isn't getting much media coverage, is it?  Maybe it's the lack of protest porn that keeps the television crews away from the story.  Screaming protesters, tear gas, militarized police, looters, and burning buildings make for a better visual.  It appears that none of that happened after this shooting, although friends of the deceased held a small rally.

The New York Times fleetingly reported the story  as an "oh, by the way" kind of thing, but nothing in depth of any kind.  The White House hasn't commented.  The Reverends Sharpton and Jackson haven't been to Salt Lake City.  Trayvon Martin's attorney hasn't put his mug on camera over this shooting.
Now, note the similarities to the Michael Brown story, except in this case there’s no evidence that the victim actually committed a crime, as there is in St. Louis.  And note the total absence of any mention of race in this story.  There is absolutely no mention of race.  Now, from all accounts, Dillon Taylor didn’t obey the cop’s orders because he was wearing headphones. He may not have heard the order to “get down.”  He reportedly was trying to pull up his pants in order to get down on the floor.
In any case, he didn’t resist. He didn’t hit the cop. He didn’t try to flee, and yet he was shot dead.  The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, but in this story there was no reference whatsoever to race.
Or when he heard the officer yell "get down!"  maybe the kid thought it was a dance contest, who knows?  We certainly don't, because the coverage has been atomic particle thin.

You might have missed this as well, what with all the Ferguson coverage and outrage and so on.  The Police Chief of a small Texas town was shot to death during a routine traffic stop.  No protests, no press announcements made by an angry looking Attorney General Eric Holder, no vacation-interrupting statements by a peevish-looking President Obama.  Nada.  Because this event, like the one in Salt Lake City, aren't narrative compliant.

Police officers who draw their guns and fire when the believe they face imminent danger are excoriated by the police-hating media.  Police officers who don't draw, or who don't expect a life ending threat are shot to death by someone pulled over for a routine traffic stop.  They are largely ignored by the media.

Balance, people, balance.

I checked.  There are about 780,000 police officers in the US.  Ninety-nine percent of them are good men and women on a mission to help others.  One percent are jerks who should be hounded off the job.  And some won't make it the to the end of the shift.  The media is doing a good job of painting all of them with the contrived narrative that all cops are bad.  

Don't be part of it.

Donatella Versachi ALS bucket challenge

It would be easy to ridicule Donatella Versachi, a Monet if ever there were one, I'm tempted to apply mezzotint pixelate filter to drive the point but she maintains a distance and cleverly distracts attention from herself. Difficult to resist ridicule as she does say "ASL" and not "ALS," two entirely different afflictions. 

Since Donatella mentioned ASL -- how's that for segue? -- here is how you say "ice + bucket + challenge" in American Sign Language.

"Ice" is pantomime for your hands and arms freezing. This is more relevant to ALS. It bears on why a bucket of ice water was carefully chosen for the challenge in the first place. Being doused with ice water does come very close to what ALS sufferers feel. It is what having ALS feels like to some afflicted when they lose control of their nerves. They are frozen out of control of their motor nerves similar to the way one loses muscular control by being doused with ice water. That is the point of the challenge. So, being doused is more than merely acting out for attention. If you ask, "why bother, why not just write a check?" The answer is to attempt to convey what the disease is like while still making a donation.

I met a gentleman with ALS and we hit it off real fine. Long story shortened, he invited me to his home the same day. I was expecting a dump but it turned out to be a very nice and expensive well appointed high rise condominium. While there he invited another of his friends for me to meet and the three of us ended up having dinner there at his place. I could hardly understand a word the man said and I kept asking him to repeat. His version affected his speech.  His friend, a linebacker type guy, a huge man, could understand him a lot better than I. It was a bit embarrassing. A few weeks later when I called back he could not  recall me or our encounter. Apparently I didn't leave much of an impression, or maybe that is part of his problem. 

The word "bucket" is also a pantomime motion of carrying a bucket by its handle.

The word "challenge" is a two-handed sign that depicts two thumbs rising up from the sides for a face off.

But just to complicate things, some signs look similar to each other and comprehension comes by way of context. Some people say the word "bucket the same way they say the word purse. This person changes hands, but how would you know that?  You would have to know that "ice bucket challenge" is trending or you would be likely to mistake the word for purse, and there is no "ice purse challenge," and that is why translators wait until the sentence is finished and not translate word for word as they go. It gives the appearance of being behind, or slow on the uptake, but one must wait for the end for the meaning to complete.

This gentleman's sign for "purse," is a common way to pantomime the word. It closely resembles the pantomime sign of walking a dog on a leash.

There is another way to say "purse" that uses one hand to depict the shape of a bag under the opposite arm. 

There is also another way to sign "bucket" by describing its shape with two hands. 

I've been reading online much disgust with this whole fad. Why not just write a check and shut up? Why all the attention drawn to oneself? Why all the self-promotion? Why all the bandwagon hopping? Commenters have their own answers, and it is not at all nice. Other questions about the challenge are more thoughtful. 

Michael Hiltzik writing for the L.A. Times has a few (impolite) questions about the ice bucket challenge. He contends:

  • Is the ice bucket challenge the best way to decide where to put your charitable donations? No.
  • Despite the ice bucket challenge, ALS is not our leading health concern
  • The ice bucket challenge may be diverting needed dollars from worthier causes
Anthony Corbohal is a photographer. He responds to these challenges. 

Cofounder of the ALS ice bucket challenge, Corey Griffin, and close friend of teammate and ALS sufferer Pete Frates, has died August 19 of drowning in Nantucket. He jumped off the roof of a local business into the harbor.


Has there ever been a better pean penned about car travel?

Two asides: First, the lyrics have a few surprises in case you've never followed them to a "t" --  I put them after the jump.

Second, Keith Moon, arguably at his peak, pulls off something astonishing here: he makes the song's rhythm go "sticky" -- fast and slow. He's working in concert with John Entwistle of course.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Noisey: "The 123 Worst Musicians of All Time"

"We know everything about music, and we're well aware that music can be evaluated completely objectively."

It would make sense to call the Beatles a boy band except, lyrically, they fall pretty far short of the One Directions of the world. Songs like “Hello, Goodbye,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” could have been written by three-year-olds, while “Hey Jude” sounds like a bunch of dudes smoking pot and jerking each other off while yodeling. It says all you need to about this group that the most famous thing they ever did was walk across a street together.

"He started out as an overt racist and then turned into an overt appropriator. No wonder My Aim Is True is a beloved hipster classic."

Jim Morrison looked good shirtless and wearing a necklace on a poster. But that’s about as far as he got because the only real influence the Doors have ever had is inspiring a generation of college freshmen dudes to learn how to play six chords on their dad’s acoustic guitar through

Bob Dylan is possibly the most self-absorbed, self-mythologizing piece of shit to ever pick up a guitar. By writing inscrutable songs that pretend to elevate the byzantine dramas of his whiny, privileged life to some sort of self-construed poetry, Bob Dylan paved the way for our current vapid culture of appreciating personal expression over any form of talent. He couldn’t sing, he made a bunch of terrible gospel albums, and he sold out his core folk fan base and its laudable values of anti-commercialism by going electric. Although he was seen as a voice of change, he demonstrated himself to be selfish at every turn of his career. And worst of all, he has two first names.

"Jury Acquits Texas Father Of Killing Drunken Driver Who Crashed Into His Kids"

"A jury on Wednesday acquitted a southeast Texas man of murder in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver who had just caused an accident that killed the man's two sons."

"Prosecutors alleged that Barajas killed 20-year-old Jose Banda in a fit of rage after Banda plowed into Barajas and his sons in December of 2012 while they were pushing a truck on a road near their home because it had run out of gas. Twelve-year-old David Jr. and 11-year-old Caleb were killed."

'I would like to welcome you to Iran ... Help me!'

"He could be funny anywhere. We were such close friends," Billy Crystal said of Robin Williams in a special tribute to the comedian aired midway through the Emmy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles last night (25 August)."
He made us laugh. Hard. Every time you saw him - on television, movies, nightclubs, arenas, hospitals, homeless shelters for our troops overseas. And even in a dying girl's living room for her last wish, he made us laugh. Big time.

And for the most part, the audience at home and in the Nokia Theatre crowd appeared visibly moved by the segment.

In particular, it included a short snippet of a stand-up performance during which Williams borrows a pink scarf from an audience member in the front row and wraps its round his head to simulate a Hijab, or Islamic headscarf. (read more)

"Police Sergeants’ Union Warns Against Democratic Convention in Brooklyn"

"A union of New York City police sergeants warned the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday against holding its 2016 convention in Brooklyn, issuing an open letter that doubled as a broadside against a mayoral administration with which some officers have grown increasingly frustrated."
In the letter, addressed to the group Mayor Bill de Blasio wooed during its visit to New York two weeks ago, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Edward D. Mullins, said the city was going “backward to the bad old days of high crime, danger-infested public spaces and families that walk our streets worried for their safety.”

He presented a city overrun with “squeegee people” and other panhandlers, with shootings on the rise and morale among police officers flagging.

“The D.N.C. should choose another venue,” said the letter, which appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times and The New York Post. “Mayor de Blasio,” it continued, “has not earned the right to play host to such an important event.”
Mayor de Blasio chalked it up as an attempt to "benefit their own position in contract talks".

Aw bless

Omar the Chechen

"The rising star of ISIS, the Sunni insurgent group terrorizing Iraq, is a fighter known as Omar the Chechen — a young, fierce military commander whose most distinctive feature is an unmistakable red beard.

His nom de guerre is Omar al-Shishani, and he’s only 28. Terror analysts say his growing profile demonstrates not just the reach of ISIS but its ferocity: Al-Shishani grew up in the spartan Pankisi Gorge of Georgia, hardened by decades of fighting.

...Al-Shishani has commanded ISIS forces in Syria as they work to erase the border between Syria and Iraq. Analysts say he may already be the military chief for the whole movement.

...Unlike Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, Omar the Chechen is not afraid to show his face. He appeared in an ISIS video over the weekend, asking God to grant his fellow fighters martyrdom if they can’t establish an enormous Islamic state.

...Al-Shishani, whose given name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, is from the Caucasus region of Georgia, torn by strife as long as he has been alive. He served in the national army and was discharged after an illness, a former neighbor told The Associated Press.

The BBC, citing Georgian military records, reported in December that it was tuberculosis.

...The State Department estimates that 9,000 foreign fighters have joined the civil war in Syria. And the Chechens, who have fought Russia in the Caucasus for decades, are among the most feared.

Al-Shishani commands perhaps 500 to 1,000 fighters and has risen with a sustained campaign of success. His groups have avoided crippling losses, including fighting both the Maliki forces and the troops of Syrian leader Bashar Assad."


This is unusual. I was going to post quotes from an article from Voice of America that I have bookmarked, but is no longer there:

White House: No Plans to Coordinate with Syria Against Militants

That article said we were not going to coordinate with Assad because the US does not think he is the legitimate leader of Syria. The article also said our planes are currently flying reconnaissance missions to see what bombing needs to be done. The link in my bookmarks now goes here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Obamacare Now Pays for Gender Reassignment"

"For that (gender reassignment surgery) Payne, who is now 44, said she needed health coverage. “It is not a simple, easy, magical surgery,” said Payne, a photographer who lives in Palm Springs. “Trying to do this without insurance is a big risk. Things can go wrong … not having the money to pay for it would be awful.”

“The law and policy are on a transgender person’s side for the first time,” said Anand Kalra, program administrator at the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center.

I hate it when this happens

"The spat [between a man and a woman, both 48] began on United Airlines flight 1462 because one passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 lock that attaches to a tray table and jams the reclining mechanism of the seat in front.

The male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the device to stop the woman in front of him reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official said.

The dispute on the service from Newark to Denver escalated to the point that the airline decided to divert to Chicago’s O’Hare international airport, according to Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein.

...The plane then continued to Denver without them, arriving an hour and 38 minutes late, according to the airline’s website.

Both passengers had been sitting in United’s “economy plus” section, which advertises four more inches of legroom."


Jeff Smith

The frugal gourmet. I understand he was accused of being naughty but he was never criminally charged, that his insurers settled and that pretty much ended things including his show. He died in his sleep of heart disease, so spare us the lectures of good vs bad cholesterol.

No chipped beef for you! The videos are all pathetic. Don't bother. This guy prattles aimlessly about the Stanley Cup while his suffering wife stirs. They are all using prepared sliced sandwich beef either from tins, or jars, or vacuum packages, drowned in simple Béchamel sauce. You can do better. None consider nutmeg, customary for Béchamel, none consider chile powder or chile sauce, none even consider Worcestershire, an obvious addition. None consider onions nor garlic. Jeeze Louise. You can do this same thing with leftover steak, corn beef roast, or chicken, and all of that would be improvement. They serve it over toast, but any starch will work. Noodles an excellent substitution over toast, baked potato would be better, even left over baked potato, even microwaved potato. Riced mashed potato with a teaspoon of horseradish with chipped beef made of leftover steak would make a gourmet meal out of shit on shingles. 

Screw frugality. Food is one of the few real pleasures in life, so go for it. That is not saying you should be profligate. You can do very well for yourself by sticking with basics. Turns out, by modern standards of eating, peasants of old ate very well. It has nothing to do with frugality, saving coupons and such so that you end up purchasing in bulk things you wouldn't purchase otherwise, then purchase storage cabinets to save things for decades taking over rooms and garages as your coupon obsession is exercised, and everything to do with mastering basics. 

Gourmet Cooking for Dummies was one of the books given to me by Olga. Written by Charlie Trotter, a famous chef. I looked up "eggs," surely there would be a whole chapter, don't you think? 

No. Just a mention of eggs on two pages. For dummies indeed. 

Master eggs, the things that they do as glue, as thickener, as emulsion, their nutrition, their puffing ability, their sauce making ability, the variety of forms that they take, their wonders to behold, their general excellence, their utter simplicity, their beauty, and you go very far in mastering cooking generally, but they get only two mentions in Cooking for Dummies. In my humble opinion that makes the book nearly worthless. It is a seriously fatal lacuna. 

But here is what I noticed about this video.

Rice porridge
corn meal mush

They are all the same thing. They are a grains and kernels ground to powder and cooked in 3X-4X the amount of liquid; water, or some kind of broth, even tea or coffee.

In this case the rice is more liquid to form a gruel soup. The corn mush is chilled and allowed time to set to a solid (as all of them will). The grits are corn that is treated first with lye before milling to rid the outer corn kernel husk and making the kernel more easily digestible. The remnant lye leaving behind its own unique and attractive flavor. This is the same thing as masa harina, the powder used for tamales and to make corn tortillas.

This idea of milling a kernel to flour can be extended to any dried bean. Flavored in any way beans are flavored and left in its mush form, not diluted to soup or set and chilled to a solid. They can be all cooked to flavorful mush. It sounds not so great, and it looks a bit worse, but this has become one of my all-time favorite things to make quickly.

I want some right now.

I can make this flavorful bean mush breakfast with fried eggs as quickly and easily as people prepare morning coffee.

I keep all kinds of kernels and beans sealed tight in mason jars. It makes for a colorful collection. And it looks like I know what I'm doing, as cook, as artist, as kitchen set designer, as photographer. Eh.

I also keep all kind of flavor agents handy, my spice rack is an entire kitchen cabinet that includes dry onion and dehydrated garlic, various prepared curries, various chile powders, and the like.

A tiny spice rack that spins around makes me sad. It tells me the person does not know what they are doing.

I can randomly select any dry bean, chickpea, legume, any dry kernel, any rice variety or popcorn, and process it to powder using an electric coffee mill, then microwave in 3X+ water or available stock along with butter and dry herb, garlic, onion, what have you, and in minutes produce flavorful mush to spread on a plate as base for two eggs fried quickly in butter. Then slide the eggs onto the mush. The buttery pan available to press toast into.  Cleans the pan and butters the toast simultaneously.

The bean, or kernel, or grain mush comes out differently each time because each time selections are random.

A mere 1/4 cup dry bean, kernel, or grain + 3/4 cup water + dry spices + butter.

No need to buy cornmeal in a box, grits in a box, chickpea flour. No need for any of that. The great thing about it is nothing is lost to oxidation, manufacturing processing, packaging, production, transportation and storage. The powder is milled freshly.

A tortilla is perfect for getting the last smear of  flavorful mush mixed with egg off the plate. So you won't have to lick the plate like a dog, as I do, to get the last drop, it is that compellingly delicious.  Toast works as well. Sourdough toast sends the dish right over the top. POW! Breakfast does not get better than this.

I wonder why Jeff Smith missed this connection between the elements of his presentation. Why did he fail at that grand final unifying field theory that would simplify his entire array, and make his presentation all so clear?

I do not understand why my understanding has failed to sweep the whole world.

I just don't.

Those Chinese mentioned have the whole world of grains available to them to do what they're already doing with their rice gruel and extend it beautifully with eggs and some kind of bread.

Those Southerners mentioned with their grits have the whole world of grains and dry beans available to them, why limit their focus to hominy?

That corn meal mush guy mentioned has the colors of the rainbow in beans and grains and more available that all do the exact same thing, if solidify and fry it they must. All the beans and kernels and grains do that.  Why limit the focus to corn?

This failure to see and embrace what I've found is beyond my comprehension.

Also, why the slagging on bacon and eggs? That was the best of the lot. Jeff omitted toast and jam with coffee, a typical Denny's type breakfast.  The problem occurs by having that same meal every single day for years on end onto decades. The problem with it arises from absence of variety. And that is what I am trying to convey.

My dad would have fried trout for breakfast just for a change.

Jeff Smith leaves off Mexican breakfast, desayuno, a variety of light meals offered in the cool of a morning that promises a blazing hot day, with birds noisily chirping in nearby cages in the shade or outside. A concha with jam or a pastry roll, juice, coffee, milk, fruit, toast and tomato.

Japanese have miso for breakfast. There is a vast variety of miso. A mug of miso soup is easy to prepare as instant coffee. It is controlled fermented smashed beans, so, partially digested by microscopic organisms, that aids in digestion by humans, in the form of thick sludge the consistency of peanut butter, mixed with hot water. That's it. Bang. Miso soup. It is delicious. By itself, or as base soup for tofu and vegetables, noodles and such. Faster than preparing fresh coffee. An extended breakfast will have rice, fish, egg, vegetable relishes and the like in small portions.

The South River miso pictured is the best available in the United States.

Jeff Smith omits mentioning that college students have this idea of fast variety nailed. Leftover pizza is all this at once in an instant. No preparation required.  Leftover pizza straight from the refrigerator is a perfect breakfast of carbs, protein and fat, that is, grain, sausage, flavorful sauce, cheese. Perfect.

Originally I searched Frugal Gourmet to show Jeff Smith's comfort with dead air time. I recalled his show somewhat relaxing. I recalled he did not have a need to prattle, jibber jabber all the way through. That is what I remember of his excellent show. It seemed to me quieter than modern cooking shows as exemplified by Rachel Rae, the greatest of all prattlers, Jeff's show was more relaxed more filled with quietude as he simply demonstrated. I wanted to use two videos to contrast with modern shows that insist the host keep talking, to keep blabbering about what and who and why and when and by what mechanisms they do what they do, extending even to family anecdotes uncles and great aunts the whole family tree, even pets, to keep the presentation interesting to an audience that demands constant stimulation and emotional connection. But then Jeff Smith prattles all the way through this video and there went that whole idea, completely blown. What a bummer.

"Bedbugs found on N train after conductor is bitten"

"The subway system has 5.5 million riders every single day and we can't check all of them for bedbugs before letting them on the train," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said earlier this month. "That said, when we get reports of bedbug sightings we investigate — and exterminate. This is an interesting story but not a big problem."

NY Daily News

"Lois Lerner's emails aren't missing after all, lawyers say"

"Government lawyers have told a watchdog group suing over the Internal Revenue Service scandal that Lois Lerner’s emails aren’t missing after all."
Attorneys for the Justice Department surprised Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, on Friday by saying that they have copies of every electronic message ever sent from Lerner, a former top IRS official who is a key figure in a targeting scandal involving conservative groups that sought tax-exempt status...

“So, the emails may inconvenient to access, but they are not gone with the [broken] hard drive,” Judicial Watch spokeswoman Jill Farrell told the Washington Examiner.

According to Fitton, the attorneys told him the backup system would be “too onerous to search,” but acknowledged that Treasury Department inspectors were investigating it.

“This is a jaw-dropping revelation,” Fitton said in a statement. “The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails.”
Is it possible that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen didn't know about this backup system?

Update: Filing Reveals Lerner Blackberry Destroyed

John Doe's impressive editing skills

Where's Wall●E?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Study: "Rote memorization plays crucial role in teaching students how to solve complex calculations"

"By tracking a group of young students over the course of a year, the authors show “that children learn to associate individual problems with the correct answers. Repeated problem solving during the early stages of arithmetic skill development also contributes to memory re-encoding and consolidation, thus resulting in enhanced hippocampal activity and ability to recall basic arithmetic facts… The maturation of problem-solving skills is characterized by a gradual decrease in the use of inefficient procedures such as counting and an increase in the use of memory-based strategies.”

"As a scientific justification of rote learning, the study seems likely to further polarize the controversy over math teaching styles, in which arithmetical fundamentalists are squared off against the popular and progressive forces of “discovery-based” learning, in which students are encouraged to find their own ways to the right answer." (read the whole thing)

Via Instapundit

Two questions

"Saudi Arabia [has become] part of a group of countries – that includes Jordan, the countries of North Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen – nominated to fall within the scope of [IS] savagery. They have geographical depth and the kind of topography that allows the establishment of areas governed by the management of savagery. In addition to factors like a weak ruling regime, weak military presence in remote areas, a promising Jihadi Islamist presence, the nature of the people in these areas and the ubiquitous presence of weapons among people. (A. Naji, The Way of Empowerment, ibid pp.8-9).

...A lot of people close to the Saudi regime rejoiced over ISIS’ control of Mosul and its expansion into other Iraqi provinces. Some of them went as far as to describe ISIS’ fighters as “revolutionaries” and to consider what ISIS did as a “liberation movement”. Suddenly, however, the public mood changed dramatically once IS was announced and there was talk of its expansion into the south where the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia discovered that there is an ISIS society dwelling in the midst of the Wahhabi society that it thought it managed and controlled. The House of Saud noted that a Wahhabi resurgence was launched from outside the border this time and it represents the biggest and most dangerous threat faced by the Saudi regime since its inception [in 1744, when Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the dynasty, joined forces with the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of the Wahhabi movement, a strict puritanical form of Sunni Islam]."

1)  What are the odds that Islamic State will take Riyadh, Mecca, or Medina?

"[The arsenal formerly controlled by Gaddafi in Libya] reportedly includes 4,000 surface-to-air missiles, each capable of downing a passenger jet, and thousands of barrels of uranium yellowcake. An inventory collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accounted for 6,400 yellowcake barrels.

Bharuddin Midhoun Arifi, a former human trafficker and now commander of 2,000 fighters in the city of Sabha, was one of the main inheritors of the regime’s abandoned weapon reserves.

“Sometimes I’m afraid that al-Qaeda will get me. Other times I fear that the Americans or French or British will fire missiles from the sea to destroy all I control.” Arifi told the Times. He claims that al-Qaeda had most recently offered 1 million dollars for some of the weapons, an offer which Arifi says he turned down. “I told them…this belonged to my government.”

Rows of the mortars and rockets stacked in crates, however, suggest some of the weapons have been shipped to Syria, along with hundreds of Libyan’s who have joined the rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

No actions were taken to remove the uranium, which after intensive processing could become weapons grade, despite the U.N. mission in Libya suggesting its removal. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammad Abdul Aziz echoed similar sentiments but with no avail."

2) In the wake of the Arab Spring, why did the US government fail to secure Gaddafi's arsenal?

ButterUp KickStartup

"A Sydney-based trio of "avid butter enthusiasts" has come up with this knife, which renders cold, hard butter into dainty and pliable curls, and the group's Kickstarter seems to indicate that this is something people need in their lives."

"While the Stupendous Splendiferous ButterUp guys continue to exponentially surpass their funding goals, just remember there's an age-old cooks' trick for softening butter: Cut a slab, put it on a cutting board, and whack it with the flat part of a knife blade. Pros: This technique softens butter into submission right ahead. Cons: It doesn't produce the pretty, pretty squiggles of fluffy butter like the ones depicted in the video here. It's your call really, and probably subjective based on how much you like toast."