Saturday, March 29, 2014

Quotable Chickelit: "Chardonnay is a great way to get sauced!"

your brain

This breakthrough swept the world as you know. 

If you could bundle the energy that people wept and focus it, she'd be healed on the spot. Don't you think? 

Because her experience is inconceivable even when you try. Have you attempted at one time or another some kind of experiment that tests yourself for awhile what it is like? 

She's led into a room, she trusts completely, how to dress, what to put in her mouth, everything.  She is sat down and handed a page that she sets on her lap. Her fingertips tell her the test will involve familiar things; days of the week, months of the year. Those are the words she'll be hearing. She refers to the page for reference. And this one personal scene as she takes in a new reality moves the whole world on a deeply personal point. 

And isn't your impulse to leap through the screen and hug her body and keep talking? I felt the whole world feeling that.  And we've seen this before with the little kids and it gets me and will get me every time. 


Where you takes your chances.

By yon bonnie banks an' by yon bonnie braes
Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Whaur me an' my true love will ne'er meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'.


"The Value of a Life, Though Toxic and Tiny"

"Bringing home a toad from the science fair, I think, must feel like getting a sister and having a baby all at once — something ritualistic, something that transforms your role and your view of yourself. That is, if you are 11. If you are not 11, bringing home a toad from the science fair is something you’d rather avoid doing, especially if you’ve just buried the fish from the carnival. In the backyard, with a headstone. Here lie Leila and Lu."
He was glistening and green, hot orange underneath.

“Look at his stomach,” my daughter said from the curb, lifting the box to the car window. “Fire-bellied. Look.”

“Wow,” I said. “What a color for a belly. Very exciting.”

“You have to spray him with this water bottle and feed him crickets,” she explained, raising up the bottle and arranging herself and her new companion in the back seat. “Ten a week.”

“Ten, really,” I said, calculating the mileage to the pet store.

Ten live ones. They don’t eat them if they’re dead.”

A Brief History of Earthquakes in Los Angeles

A while back I blogged some excerpts from a wonderful book called The Discovery of San Francisco Bay:  The Portola Expedition of 1769-1770.  The book is a translation of the diary of Miguel Costanso who was a soldier/engineer along that historic expedition up the coast of Southern California.  I love the book's vivid description of the physical geography of Southern California, which must count as the first written description. Costanso wrote a description of the valley where we live which I already blogged about here.

We been having more earthquakes than usual lately. They have been medium-sized and located quite a distance from here.  Nevertheless, I decided to revisit the Portola Expedition because I recall how vividly he described the earthquakes in the L.A. basin as they passed through that summer in 1769. Turns out earthquakes occurred daily.  Here are his descriptions; the notes are partially from the book and partially mine.
Friday,  July 28 1769--From Santiago we went to another place of which the scouts gave us particulars. It was not far, in truth, since we arrived after an hour's march. It was a beautiful river, and carries great floods in the rainy season, as is apparent from its bed and the sand along its banks. This place has many groves of willows and very good soil, all of which can be irrigated for a great distance.
We pitched our camp on the left bank of the river. To the right there is a populous Indian village; the inhabitants received us with great kindness. Fifty-two of them came to our quarters, and their captain or cacique asked us by signs which we understood easily,  accompanied by by many entreaties, to remain there and live with them. [He said] that they would provide antelopes, hares, or seeds for our subsistence, that the lands which we saw were theirs, and that they would share them with us.
At this place we experienced a terrible earthquake, which was repeated four times during the day.  The first vibration or shock occurred at one o'clock in the afternoon, and was the most violent; the last took place at about half past four. One of the natives who, no doubt, held the office of priest among them, was at the time in the camp. Bewildered, no less than we, by the event, he began, with horrible cries and great manifestations of terror, to entreat the heavens, turning in all directions, and acting as though he would exorcise the elements. To this place we gave the name of Rio de los Temblores. [17]
[17] "Earthquake River" The river became known as the Santa Ana river.  Their campsite was east of Anaheim, near present day Olive.
Sunday, July 30--We left Los Ojitos, [18] where there was another earthquake of no great violence, at half-past six in the morning.  We crossed the plain in a northerly direction, steadily approaching the mountains. We ascended some hills which were quite rugged and high; [19] afterwards we descended to a very extensive and pleasant valley where there was an abundance of water, part of it running in deep ditches, part of it standing so as to form marshes.  This valley must be nearly three leagues in width and very much more in length.  We pitched our camp near a ditch of running water, its banks covered with watercress and cumin.  We gave this place the name of Valle de San Miguel. [20]  It is, perhaps, about four leagues from Los Ojitos.  In the afternoon we felt another earthquake.
[18] "Little Springs" Present day La Brea Canyon, north of Fullerton.
[19] The Puente Hills, probably on the route now followed by Hacienda Boulevard.
[20] Now called the San Gabriel Valley. The camp was near the community of Bassett.
Monday, July 31---We left the camping place at seven o'clock in the morning, and crossing the ditch over which we had to lay a bridge on account of the depth, we traveled for two leagues to the west-northwest through fields of dry grass and thickets, which detained us for a long time as it was necessary to clear a path at every step. We crossed a very muddy stream and camped farther on in an open clear spot in the same valley, and close to a gap which was seen to the west. [21]  At half-past eight in the morning we experienced another violent earthquake.
[21] They camped north of the Whittier Narrows.
Tuesday, August 1---We rested today, and the scouts went out to explore the country.
At ten o'clock in the morning there was an earthquake, which was repeated with violence at one o'clock in the afternoon; and one hour afterwards we experienced another shock.  Some of the soldiers asked permission to go hunting mounted on their horses and others to go on foot, with the intention of killing some antelopes, as many of these animals had been seen.  They are a species of wild goat with horns somewhat larger than those of the goats. These soldiers, on their return, said that they had seen a river of fine water--from sixteen to seventeen yards wide--that rises near the gap of the valley to the south, and at the foot of a low hill that was in sight of our camp, and, at the most, half a league distant.
Wednesday, August 2--In the morning we broke camp, and travelling towards the west, we left the valley by an opening formed between low hills.  Later we entered quite an extensive canyon containing many poplars and alders, among which a bountiful river flowed from the north-northwest, and turning the point of a small steep hill it afterwards continued its course to the south. [22]
To the north-northeast one could see another watercourse or river bed that formed a wide ravine, but it was dry. [23] This watercourse joined that of the river, and give clear indications of heavy floods during the rainy season, as it had many branches of trees and debris on its sides. We halted at this place, which was named La Porciuncula. Here we felt three successive earthquakes during the afternoon and night.
[22] They were at the Los Angeles River, approximately where North Broadway bridges the river. The "small steep hill" is the southeastern portion of Elysian Park--about three-fourths of a mile east of Dodger Stadium.  Elysian Park as is looks today:
[23] Arroyo Seco
Juan Crespí, a Franciscan padre along on the trip, named the river El Río de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula, which translates as The River of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula. This the origin of the name Los Angeles.  There's an interesting story behind that name which goes back to St. Francis of Assisi which you can read about here.
Thursday, August 3---We forded the Rio de la Porciúncula, which descends with great rapidity from the canyon through which it leaves the mountains and enters the plain.  We directed our course to the west-southwest over high level ground and, after a march of three leagues, we reached a watering-place, to which we gave the name of the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos. [24] This was a large spring situated in a marshy place where there stood some alder trees of very large girth; the marsh was covered with grass, fragrant plants, and watercress. Hence the water flowed through a deep ditch towards the southwest.  All the country that we saw on this day's march appeared to us most suitable for the production of all kinds of grain and fruit. On our way we met the entire population of an Indian village engaged in harvesting seeds on the plain.
In the afternoon there were other earthquakes; the frequency of them amazed us.  Someone was convinced that there were large volcanoes in the mountain range that lay in front of us extending towards the west.  We found sufficient indications of this on the way that lies between between the Rio de la Porciúncula and the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos, as the scouts saw, adjoining the mountains, some large swamps of a certain material like pitch which was bubbling up. [25]
[24] "Alder (Sycamore) Springs", approximately at La Cienega Park, on La Cienega Boulevard between Olympic Boulevard and Gregory Way.  The phrase ojo de agua (eye of water) was often used in naming springs: an eye in the ground, whence water flowed or seeped.
[25] The La Brea Tar Pits. "Brea" means tar in Spanish.  While there aren't any active volcanoes in L.A. there are other natural oil and gas seepages like Coal Oil Point just offshore.

"If We Can Pick Our Gender, Can We Pick Our Age? Our Race?

"The new news is that Maryland is next on the hit parade of states (it will be the 18th) to pass legislation claiming to protect transgendered individuals from discrimination. It’s due to happen today in fact (if it hasn’t already). If you haven’t yet heard about the Maryland law, that’s because there appears to have been a pretty strict media blackout on it."
Your gender identity – in case you didn’t know – is your perception of yourself as either “male, female, or something else.” And that’s official, according to the American Psychological Association. Many LGBT activists will say that gender identity means your perception of yourself as “male, female, both, or neither.” In any event, most such legislation, including the Maryland bill, define gender identity as: “the gender related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

But a big part of the audacity of the legislation is that it goes by the devious name “Fairness for All Marylanders Act.” What it really means is “Fairness for Some Marylanders,” only those who perceive themselves to be a different gender from the sex “assigned” to them on their birth certificate. (read more)
The Federalist

Earthquake: Near La Habra, California

"Authorities were tallying damage from a magnitude 5.1 earthquake that struck Southern California Friday evening."
Fullerton police said early Saturday that up to 50 people had been displaced because of home damage.

The quake, centered near La Habra, caused furniture to tumble, pictures to fall off walls and glass to break. Merchandise fell off store shelves, and there were reports of plate glass windows shattered.
We have friends there, Chickl and Bags. I hope they are doing ok. If you are so inclined please say a little prayer for them and for the rest of the people there.

Earthquake Map

When you catch a frog

Don't be surprised if it screams.

Smoky Jungle Frog this is the shortest least annoying video. One of the videos on YouTube is thirty-three screaming frogs. Think you can take it?

why I don't fly

Gnarly. The man has a knack for clearing a private area. 

Speaking of gnarly, I was afflicted with callus in the wrong places due to not walking the right way so I tried a lot of different things to correct that and they all failed. Soaking, lotions, scrubbing, pumice, soaking more, lotions for severe things, application, inserts, two canes instead of just one, correcting my gate, thinking of every single step when I walk, and all of that failed. And the thing is I am not walking enough to have those things. If I walked on my hands they wouldn't be callused. Possible exaggeration.

So I go, think of something else. What would an old fashion home remedy be? Probably hot soaking in baking soda or something so I tried that. Dumped 1/3 box baking soda into water hot as I could stand and soaked for a long time. Significant progress in two such soakings, and cleared up entirely in three. And the hot soaking feels so good I keep doing it even though the callus is cleared. I told this to an office of ladies and they all jumped in at once with similar anecdotes and remedies including other ingredients, epson salt whatever that is and scented oils and the like such as that purple one, I can not think of it, wait, I made fun of it, vender, that's it,  la vender. 

I have some of that too, but I'm not going to use it. I'd have la vender smelling hoofies and an oily basin. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

"When I confronted Rhonda about her being a transsexual woman"

Dear Prudie,

"Several years ago I dated a woman named “Rhonda” for three months. I broke up with her after her sister “Amy” revealed to me that Rhonda was born “Ron” and showed me ample evidence. When I confronted Rhonda about her being a transsexual woman, she broke down and confessed that she was going to tell me, but only after we had been intimate! (Luckily we hadn’t been yet.) It wasn’t her transsexuality that ended the relationship, but her deception; I am not a transphobic person. Rhonda took the breakup badly and stopped speaking to Amy, and on top of that their parents took Rhonda’s side and accused Amy of trying to ruin Rhonda’s life out of jealousy. Later, Amy and I began dating and eventually married. Her parents refused to attend the wedding as a show of solidarity with Rhonda, despite Amy’s attempts to reconcile with all of them. Now we are expecting our first child and Amy’s parents have expressed tentative interest in being a part of their grandchild’s life. I, however, want these people to have nothing to do with my child or my wife. They are a toxic influence and their enabling of Rhonda’s deceptive behavior is appalling to me. My wife disagrees. How can I help her cut ties with these horrid people?"

—Trying to Protect My Family

For the response click this link (Via Instapundit)

Every TV Ad Cliche Compressed into a Single Video

Video: A woman hears for the first time

"A video captured the moment 39-year-old Joanne Milne’s cochlear implants were switched on, allowing sounds to flood unchecked into her brain for the very first time."
"Hearing things for the first time is so, so emotional, from the ping of a light switch to running water. I can't stop crying," Milne told The Independent.  read more

NYT: "Report Says Mother Warned Queens School to Watch Autistic Boy"

"The mother of a teenager with autism who disappeared from his school in Queens last fall and whose remains were found in January had warned a teacher that he needed to be watched at all times because he “likes to run” and would leave the building."
But the note the mother wrote about her son, Avonte Oquendo, was never shared with administrators, according to a report released on Thursday by the independent investigator for the New York City school system.
On hindsight, a note seems like an insufficiently expressive way to communicate the extra concerns a special needs student could, given the amount of time the child would be under the school's care.
On Oct. 4, the day Vanessa Fontaine’s 14-year-old son did what she most feared he would do, a security guard saw him running in a hallway and yelled out, “Excuse me!” Avonte, who was mute, did not respond. Another student approached the guard and hugged her, distracting her.
I suppose one should not be expected to turn down a hug.
Around 12:37 p.m., the same guard noticed an unguarded exit door was open — someone had left it that way around noon — and closed it. A review of video later showed that Avonte had gone through it a few minutes earlier.

The series of errors and oversights were laid out in a 12-page report by the special commissioner of investigation for the school system. Its findings, on just how a vulnerable teenager could leave a school building undetected, vanish and die, have been sent on to the schools chancellor and the Queens district attorney, said Richard J. Condon, the investigation commissioner. read more
Tragic. The story goes on to say the mother plans to sue the city. If you were on the jury what would you consider and or recommend?


Where everything's coming up roses and daffodils.



The amazing fish they tell you about in school, you go out and snag them before they embark upon their ordeal that wears them out and kills them. 

Were you expecting a video that shows salmon swimming upstream and gathering in a shallow pebbly clear pool and spawning there, as if performing a religious ritual with ineluctable consequences but that brings forth new life? 

Nah. You can ship your catch home. It's all set up. They anticipate the need and provide service to clean and vacuum package the fish and ship it to your home fast in coolers so you don't have to deal with all that.

This is my ideal excursion. My younger brother and younger sister already went fishing in Oregon, already lived the dream, and that is not fair because this is my ideal excursion, not theirs. 

pork chop

I walked a mile for this pork chop and then had to cook it. Then clean up the mess I made cooking. So I totally deserved it. And I was starving. Starving, I tell you, starving. Always starving. I do not know why I keep doing that. Unless maybe it is the walk-a-mile, cook, and clean up part of it, if the whole thing were not so involved I would probably be fatter. 

Insty on Norman Borlaug

Plus, note this from Borlaug: “(Most Western environmentalists) have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they’d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists in wealthy nations were trying to deny them these things.”

Boy, I sure do. I know what that is like. It occurred to me a long time ago at the FRB where they feed a young guy steadily and reliably without any gaps that I had forgotten what hunger feels like and so did everyone else. Nobody there missed a meal in decades. So I tried it, and it hurt. It reminded me of being a little kid and feeling that all the time. 

Statue by Ben Victor.

Just a few days ago when I saw this I bookmarked a page, this one
They were looking for an artist to design a statue. That is what my post was going to be about. Maybe they want a statue for another place too. I don't know, but I do not think they could do better than this. I do like this a lot. 

I had not heard of Norman Borlaug before this. Looking for information, his name is associated with wheat so Google images page fills up with photos of wheat. I look for wheat photos all the time. I keep a file of wheat photos to use for projects, paintings and pop-up cards. I'm especially interested in how a whole field looks when it is green. 

There is one early photo of him proudly holding up a wheat specimen, and I've looked at so many photos of wheat now that I can tell the specimen is not that great compared to modern day wheat. It' is a thing with them to get the wheat stalk to hold as many kernels as possible, as many as 60, I think. It showed me how far they have come. 

One of the pages I just left said the statue is placed next to the statue of Rosa Parks, and isn't that fitting that...

Stop!  How so? Don't tell me. Let me guess. Food is a civil right and he fought for civil right of having food. Thus, it is fitting they are next to each other. Right? Do I win? 

Or perhaps Norman Borlaug  had a team of activists set up a dramatic episode in advance with media ready and legal teams prepared, and with protection and support through the produced ordeal and with determination all the way through until significant legislation is passed, politicians flipped, and the general modus operandi of an entire political party reversed in the process to one of clear cynical power grabbing. Together in perfect harmony because they are so similar, bookends if you like. Or maybe that was the best open spot for a statue. 

I love the wheat in that statue. 

I am convinced grain abundance is the reason Americans are fat. Sugar too. But not dietary fat. Feedlots prove it to me. A cow is out there eating salad all day, then grain feedlot, boom, fat cow. Same with people. But that is not Norman Borlaug's fault.

At the pork chop store today right off a fat girl was digging into alluring display avocado dip. As I mentioned  I was starving, she said something to somebody else, "I'm back" dipped a chip then disappeared, then reappeared and dipped a chip, disappeared, reappeared and dipped a chip and disappeared and reappeared and dipped a chip and disappeared, and I'm thinking "..." 

Berkshire pork chop. Finest of all the chops. That guy is a convincing salesman. The pork chop is good but not that good. But I figured, hey, after all that, what the heck. My meal is incomplete. It lacks something apparently basic.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WLEM-FM Cowboy Troy Country / Hip Hop Mash-Up

Ice Formations In Lake Michigan

Icebergs in Lake Michigan sometimes have stripes, formed  by layers of snow that react to different conditions.  Blue stripes are often created when a  crevice in the ice sheet fills up with melt water and freezes so quickly that no  bubbles form.

When an iceberg falls into the lake, a layer of  water can freeze  to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe.  Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked  up when the ice  sheet grinds downhill towards the lake.

The water  froze the instant the wave broke through the ice.  That's what it is like in Lake  Michigan where it is the coldest weather in decades.  Water freezes the instant it comes in contact with the air.

AllenS: Poll Question

Add your own caption

Hey Joe... leave me some, will ya?

Weekly Standard: "Obamacare penalizes the ‘wrong’ insurance 18 times more than no insurance"

"Would President Obama prefer that you have health insurance of which he doesn’t approve, or no health insurance at all?  Well, based on the penalties in play under his signature legislation, it would appear that he prefers for you to have no insurance at all than to have the “wrong” insurance (as defined, of course, by his administration)."
As those who have been following the Hobby Lobby case—argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday—know, under Obamacare, the “wrong” kind of insurance includes policies that don’t provide “free” coverage of, among other things, the abortion drug ella, contraception, and sterilization (but only sterilization for women).  (Coverage of cancer or heart disease—apparently being less essential—need not be “free.”)
Unfortunately, the post doesn't go into how the "18 times more" calculation was arrived at.

So, why Am I re-posting it?

Easy... because paying 18 times more for something is either a sign of theft/fraud, or, Americans have deeper pockets than previously thought.

What an intriguing phrase, something more or less, "than previously thought".  

In Colorado people seem to have money for pot... so maybe they have some left over for Affordable Health Care, 18 times more worth, than previously thought.

"How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation"

"A New Jersey lawmaker wants to legalize marijuana, tax it and use the revenue to pay to fix the state's roads and bridges."
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari announced his plan Monday, acknowledging that opposition from Gov. Chris Christie could seriously hinder it but pointing out, "He's not going to be governor forever."

Scutari, a Democrat, said allowing adults to legally buy marijuana to use recreationally would curb the drug sales-fueled crime that grips several New Jersey cities and reduce the number of people who get criminal records for pot possession. He also said regulators could ensure the safety of the pot people buy legally.

Part of his argument is also fiscal: It would save, he said, more than $100 million annually if police and courts didn't have to deal with marijuana as a crime. It also would bring more money into the state coffers through a 7 percent sales tax, he said. He did not know how much money legalization would generate but said he expects it to be more than $100 million annually.
What about the other side of the argument, which has held sway for generations? The argument inherently expressed in a question the Governor of California Jerry Brown asked NBC's David Gregory on Meet The Press.
DAVID GREGORY: 40 years ago, we weren’t talking about legalizing marijuana in states either. Is that a good or a bad idea for California?

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D-CA): Well, we have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington. I’d really like those two states to show us how it’s going to work. The problem with anything, a certain amount is okay, but there is a tendency to go to extremes, and all of a sudden, if there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? World’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we needed to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the pot heads might be able to put together.
What is going to be our future?

President Obama meets Pope Francis

"Obama is the ninth president to make an official visit to the Vatican..."

"It was not entirely a meeting of minds. The Vatican has made clear its concern at the Affordable Care Act, which mandates employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception."

"But although Obama and Pope Francis have differing views on contraception, abortion rights and gay marriage, they have common ground on poverty and social justice – themes at the heart of the president’s 2008 election campaign."

NBC News (video at the link)

wake up exercise song

First a few words helpful to know, all basic useful and all make eminent sense, and they're fun.

(two finger gun is cooler)
chick (chicken, bird)
girl thumb brushing the cheek once is fine.

Now you are expert, and you do look fine indeed,  and prepared to act out the first two stanzas. I think they're stanzas. Groups. Paragraphs, whatever.

Could there be a better way to start the day? While the coffee is percolating or dripping or whatever your coffee does, and bacon is frying, there you are singing and dancing and doing your moderate exercises and mild concentration and getting your morning coordination on.

It is a good test to see how the day will go.

"But if it had to perish twice"

Fire and Ice

Fire And Ice (1920) 
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. 
~Robert Frost
From the Wiki:
In an anecdote he recounted in 1960 in a "Science and the Arts" presentation, prominent astronomer Harlow Shapley claims to have inspired "Fire and Ice". Shapley describes an encounter he had with Robert Frost a year before the poem was published in which Frost, noting that Shapley was the astronomer of his day, asks him how the world will end. Shapley responded that either the sun will explode and incinerate the Earth, or the Earth will somehow escape this fate only to end up slowly freezing in deep space. Shapley was surprised at seeing "Fire and Ice" in print a year later, and referred to it as an example of how science can influence the creation of art, or clarify its meaning. Link
Science should inspire art. Full stop.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bunnies / passion pop-up

↓ This is only showing the interest is in Europe. 

Interest in this card occurs this time of year. It's only a few years old but I notice stats spike, a small spike on barely looked at pages by internet standard, but a spike nonetheless. 

The card was already featured at 'tuther place, it is for a birthday that coincides with Easter. There was a large party co-hosted here at my apartment, the place was filled, and everyone packed momentarily without herding all by themselves on cue somehow into a side bedroom where cards were placed in a pile on a table. 

Birthday boy is an actor. Sensing the large puffy card would be one of my pop-ups, he held off his dramatic presentation for last. Soaking up the attention and holding it as long as possible he opened this card with much flair to the room crammed with people, page by page to eeews and aaahs, very satisfying sounds. One of Paul's friends, a dumpling of a woman I hadn't met and not knowing me, not knowing me standing right there, clamped his arm and said into Paul's ear, "Do you understand how much somebody loves you?" 

That was her perception. None of them could see, and Paul did not know the card tells two stories at once. The second story has separate mechanisms on each page but much smaller and in black and white. Attention is directed to movement and color so the story of Passion is understandably missed, purposefully so. That would come later upon further closer examination, if at all. 

And it's still a bit of a bummer to get a holiday-related card on one's birthday. Barry's birthday coincides with Christmas so they are blended and I always felt sorry for him for that. And here I am doing it. I chastise myself for not doing something non-holiday related, for taking the easier course by not thinking of something outside of Easter. I have no idea how he took this whole theme-linkage, actually, I haven't spoken much to the individual since. And now, this unfortunate bit to admit, I go dark, I do not like this, I'm not proud of it at all, but I did visit and I did linger a good long while in fact, and upon leaving I noticed a collection of ribbons and buttons and gewgaws and such, peered in for a closer look and noticed they are political in nature.
"That is my political history, my mementos."
Proudly. He had scrounged these things by way of organizing and assembled all the past trinkets collected from political campaigns into a veritable shrine. To his own loyalty. He is bragging in decorative form his political loyalty of which he is quite proud. All Democrat. There was a lot of thought and energy focused on being a loyal Democrat, a loyalty I find ordinarily displaced and when combined with fierceness the combination is stupid. Fiercely uncompromisingly resolutely stupid. Thick-headed. And worse, pridefully thick-headed. He suddenly reminded me of the characteristic I find worst among my East Coast relatives, that stupid prideful resolute thick-headed loyalty. It comes with a smirk that informs your interlocutor is not serious. That altogether creates an impossible situation. And that's all well and good when things are going all well and good but now your displaced loyalty is leading 17.3 trillion debt to 20 trillion debt and you're still Jets vs Sharks, Rams vs Broncos. Loyalty woefully stupidly displaced. I find it intolerably stupid and so my interest departs. That is what happened. 


After twenty years I lost interest completely. Because he cannot be spoken to as a person, anymore, as a friend. Any serious-minded conversation, anything mind-to-mind is forfeited. My soul cannot reach his soul anymore, it is all me and his party, such is the case so often. This is political-wise, and that should be a small part of the whole picture and not count for much, it should not interfere with everything else, it should not close the door to all other things, but it does because now politics is everything and insincere politics that accepts the type debt and corruption, insists on it, make opponents of friends because fierce party loyalty demands it, abandon reason and logic regarding serious matter for gain in small concerns, fight for corrupt files and for corrupt accounts and for creating areas for graft and empowering people who do not deserve power, is unacceptable and my mind and my soul gently steer me away from that. I did not slam my foot down and decide all this, rather, this is what happened. 

Now I look back at that night. It was a pleasant night, only a few years ago, but I look at all the energy and the expense the effort and communication that went into it and I think, "You silly futile person." 

Let Us Trim Our Hair In Accordance With The Socialist Lifestyle

Says the man with the worst hair style on earth.  And he didn't actually say it as much as he ordered it.

Kim Jong-un, beloved leader of 24 million citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has ordered that all male university students are now required to get the same haircuts his very own.

Lucky Nork guys.  No more guesswork about hair styles.   Buzz, snip, snip, shave, shave, product, and done.  Every university man looks like Kim.  Sort of.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a genuine workers' state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression. The workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests.
Says the DPK's official website.

The "liberated from exploitation and oppression" part must not apply to hairstyles, nor does the "masters of their destiny part."  Or maybe it's something lost in translation.  Anyhow, the university guys probably aren't crazy about the mandated haircut.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source tells Radio Free Asia. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes." Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. "Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut'."
Lucky for the Nork women, they get to choose their hairstyles from any of eighteen government allowable coifs, while university men get the Kim Jong-un 90's grunge hairstyle.

Are tickle here.

You can survive falling through the ice

"Fiat 500L: The Rich Inner Life of a Gutless Clown Car"

"The "North American Fiat 500L delivers excellent performance and great driving pleasure," this person perjured blandly. "These enviable characteristics are made even more interesting by typical European handling and precise, responsive steering."
Hmm, not so much. Actually, the 500L (front-drive, five-door liftback) corners like the world's smallest '65 Pontiac Bonneville. At engine speeds below 2,250 rpm, there is no one home torque-wise. You hit the gas and time stands still, a la "The Matrix." And the six-speed manual gearbox is the vaguest, wobbliest such mechanism I've encountered since I was winning dance contests in my three-piece suit. This thing isn't a transmission. It is an intermission... read more
Fiat 500L
She's not much to drive—mille scusi, anonymous press official—but she's awfully easy to live with. Mom always said, that's what counts.
(via WSJ)

Fire and Ice

Offered as a parallel reaction to Chip's post of the dramatic fire rescue in Houston. This dramatic ice rescue was captured on film in D.W. Griffith's "Way Down East."

Please turn down the sound in this clip to better enjoy it.

A Sinkhole

A sinkhole, also known as a sink-hole, sink, swallow hole, shakehole, swallet or doline, is a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer. Some are caused by karst processes—for example, the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks or suffosion processes. Wikipedia

"A list of 97 taxes Americans pay every year"

"Americans will fork over nearly 30 percent of what they earn to pay their income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story. As you will see below, there are dozens of other taxes that Americans pay every year. Of course not everyone pays all of these taxes, but without a doubt we are all being taxed into oblivion. It is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Our politicians have become extremely creative in finding ways to extract money from all of us, and most Americans don't even realize what is being done to them. By the time it is all said and done, a significant portion of the population ends up paying more than half of what they earn to the government. That is fundamentally wrong, but nothing will be done about it until people start demanding change." 

"The following is a list of 97 taxes Americans pay every year..."

(#54 is now considered the new normal)


Pfffft, meant to type "hair-raising fire rescue", I don't know why "religion" came out.


Think ahead

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cut-up and Paste-up: The First Lady's Praise Non-Praise of America

In another installment, where I take/cut different texts and put it back/paste together, in an attempt to... irritate and confuse you, says the George Costansa, Oppositarian, tyrannous (small t) Magnus in me (small m). I took the fist lady's statements in China, a Jezebel Post called Sorry not Sorry: How to Non-Apologize and ...
And my story isn’t unusual in America. Some of our most famous athletes, like LeBron James, and artists, like the singer Janelle Monae, came from struggling families like mine, as do many business leaders -- like Howard Schultz. He’s the head of a company called Starbucks, which many of you may have heard of. When Mr. Schultz was a boy his father lost his job, leaving their family destitute. But Mr. Schultz worked hard. He got a scholarship to a university, and eventually built the largest coffeehouse company in the world.

Being called out on your shit is the worst. It can be humiliating, frustrating, and hurtful. When it happens, the natural reaction is often to be dismissive, defensive, or to complain that the other party just "doesn't get it/you/jokes". I say, go with that feeling. Because if lots of people are telling you that you're dead wrong, you definitely don't want to stop and examine why that is... 

And then there’s this other guy I know who was raised by a single mother who sometimes struggled to afford food for their family. But like me, this guy got scholarships and loans to attend universities. He became a lawyer and a professor, and then he was a state senator and then a national senator. And then, he became President of the United States. This guy I’m talking about is my husband, Barack Obama. (Applause.)

If you want to issue an effective non-apology, it's not that hard. Actually, it's the easiest and fastest thing to do in a difficult situation. Like Robert Frost said*, fuck a road less traveled — let's take the easy way out!
Since authentic apologies are direct, specific, and truthful, your non-apology should be obscure, unclear, and completely miss the point.
1. Quick tip: if "sorry" is immediately followed by the word "if", "you", or "you're", then you are most likely not apologizing.

But warned that not everything is perfect. "Now of course, living up to these ideals isn’t always easy.  And there have been times in our history where we have fallen short.  Many decades ago, there were actually laws in America that allowed discrimination against black people like me, who are a minority in the United States.  But over time, ordinary citizens decided that those laws were unfair.  So they held peaceful protests and marches.  They called on government officials to change those laws, and they voted to elect new officials who shared their views," she said.
Isn't it funny how the pain and misery causers, the one percent, like LeBron James and Starbucks Howard Schultz, millionaresandbillionares, not paying their fair-share, are also, at the same time, an inspiration, what America represents for the first lady. I want to tell her to stop shifting scripts, at home, and abroad. Is that too much to ask?

ObamaCare Gadsden Flag...How To Riff Back

It doesn't really work as a visual parody because it changes more than one element, the snake and the phrase, but leaves the color intact. 

Here is a parody I did a while back which changed only one element:

I made that when I had access to better graphics and a color printer.

Here's an idea for a Tea Party retort:

1) Take the Gadsden flag, keep the colors, and the phrase.

2) Remove the usual snake image, and insert the Rod of Ascelpius:

3) Adjust the colors such that the white space is filled with the same mustard color.

The resulting image would symbolize a threat to thousands of years of health care with the familiar phrase, "Don't Tread On Me."


Has this been done?

Best Ever Opening Line In A Political Commercial.

Put Those Collards Down. You People Are Gentrifying Greens.

Since the beginning of January, Whole Foods has been screaming it from their Facebook pages, corporate blog, news affiliates, and tastefully designed signage: “Collards are the new kale!” While at first glance this just seems like a flash-in-the-pan and downright lazy line of ad copy, its casual, trend-focused language raised red flags among some people. When Mikki Kendall, a Black feminist and writer who tweets as Karnythia, began riffing on the laughable idea of Whole Foods and their customers “discovering” a vegetable that had been a staple of working class Black and White Southern Americans’ meals for centuries,the hashtag #foodgentrification was born.

(Is this the right time to point out that the linked article was written by a woman named Ho and published in Bitch Media? I thought you might want to know, because it seems like life often imitates The Onion.)
What all of this adds up to is a massive PR campaign aimed at rebranding collard greens, divorcing the vegetable from its working class and indigenous affiliations to place it squarely within the culinary crosshairs of the same massive gourmet health food apparatus that turned acai berries, quinoa, tofu, and chia seeds into “superfoods.” Though the health benefits of such foods are well-documented, their trendiness within majority populations tends to result in a generally unhealthy outcomes for their cultures of origin. The tendency takes the form of a curious kind of reacharound logic wherein economic and racial minorities are castigated for eating “primitively” and “unhealthily” while their traditional foods are cherry picked for use by the upper class as “exotic” delicacies. As a result, the price of that food item inflates to meet the surge in mainstream demand for it.
What is "reacharound logic"?  Anyone care to hazard a guess, because the author leaves us not a clue as to its meaning.

Nor does she provide examples of racial minorities being "castigated for eating "primitively" and "unhealthily" while their traditional foods are cherry picked for use by the upper class...".  Does she refer to criticism of the junk foods bought by people receiving governmental aid?  That is not isolated to any one racial group, although perhaps in her mind there is only one racial minority.  No, wait, she references working class "white" and "black" southern Americans.  Working class, that convenient catch-all for people in an undescribed demographic.  Everyone who has a job is working class, am I right?

Ageism and the Colonoscopy don't test well

While looking for something to post this morning, via Insta, I came across a long New Republic article about "ageism" at Silicon Valley. I don't like the term "ageism", it has a phony connotation with me. How can you be accused of phobing the natural state of things? I mean, people get old and slow down. If you are young and vibrant, why charge you with the burden of consciously attending to the feelings of the old and slow? Isn't it enough that they, the young, are going to have to pay for our health care, Medicare, welfare, social security and ObamaCare?

Don't hold me to that list of who is paying what benefits, it's early in the morning and I don't have the luxury of time. I'm going to be 50 this year, and so, when I saw that NYT article about the dreaded turning-50 test (colonoscopy) I had to read it. I though I could tie it to the "ageism" article I mentioned above. It didn't work, it wouldn't work and it couldn't work, because I don't like either of them. I had nothing positive to bounce off of. Trying to uplift two things you don't agree with, or don't like, it's nearly impossible. I say nearly because I'm sure there is somebody who could ;)

I haven't had the colonoscopy, so I don't necessarily have the experience of saying I don't like it because I went and lay down, on my side, trough it. But, according to what I read in the article, it's invasively uncomfortable. There is no going under either.

Hence,  I'll just leave you with a short from the long article of the subtle scourge of "ageism" at Silicon Valley.
Over lunch it became clear that Stamos (a startup entrepreneur) is preoccupied with age—not so much his own, but with the way his industry fetishizes kids with little insight into the questions he considers worthy. At one point, he complained that “listening is a really hard skill for young folks.”

Stamos is fond of telling a story about sitting down with an engineer whom an acquaintance had referred to him for advice. “I meet with the kid and he’s twenty-one, twenty-two,” Stamos recalls. “He was smart. A Harvard computer-science major.” The kid said he’d already done two start-ups and was looking to try a third. His previous venture was a website where women could enter their medical information and find out which one of hundreds of birth-control pills suited them best, with the least amount of side effects. The website would arrive at the answers by trawling bulletin boards and chat rooms across the Web and learning from other people’s experiences.

“Really, you got this funded?” Stamos asked. Yes, said the kid. “But it obviously didn’t work out,” Stamos replied. Right, said the kid. At which point Stamos began to piece together what must’ve happened. “You collected the data and realized a lot of the data out there is horrible, and you couldn’t make sense of it,” he said. The kid allowed that this was true. “You probably talked to CVS—everyone talks to CVS. And they thought it was the best thing since sliced cheese, but they were never willing to buy it.” Again the kid said yes. “Then you realized that anything you’re doing that has to be regulated, like making medical recommendations, requires FDA approval.” By now the kid was demanding to know how Stamos had guessed all of this. “You see these gray hairs?” he said. “It’s the classic model everyone goes through. I know it from Phase Forward.”

Egyptian Art

This is what makes my personality so difficult of dealing with sometimes, I simply cannot be pleased. I take something great and nit pick it to death, mangle its intention until there is no joy left. I am supposed to love this and I almost do but I cannot.

I am showing this because commenters love it. I do not. There is something wrong with me. Commenters learned something. They think it is awesome.

He mentions Picasso, I did like that because it showed understanding right off.

They do show hands both ways, grasping things especially, but not right/left feet. However, I do show both feet when I paint them. So I'd be fired. Or whipped. Big toe on one foot, all the toes lined up on the other foot.

The answer couldn't have been clearer, he says. He needn't go all the way to Karnak just to discover continuity through centuries. That puts me off right there, because I know he and his crew went to Karnak because he wanted to go to Karnak, not to uncover this trivial bit of information already well known, all that traveling for so little payoff. That is not a huge discovery, but he is playing it as if it is. He is extremely slow on the uptake if he must go all the way to Egypt to find out something simple and basic as this. Come on. Superfluous travel, wasted energy, global warming, rising sea levels etc., etc. 

Karnak, truly awesome. Yes, yes, yes. We know. That is the place where the tempest stele was uncovered within the third pylon as junk rubble filler, the third such set of pylons with their 80' streaming banners presenting some IMAX propaganda scene on the façade and with arches that lead to a courtyard or to a walled avenue of sphinxes, so over the centuries, a temple within a temple within a temple to the hippodrome, awesome, yes, in its megalomania and in it evidence of their abject inability to manage a steady roof unless it comes to a point even though they had centuries to sort it.
"... and in all that time, this was the only image of the body anyone ever saw."
In 2-dimensional wall art, not statues. He does mention statues later. So why this here?

And the grid did change. Middle Kingdom grid is different from old Kingdom grid, And it reverts to a neoclassical following the disastrous Amarna period. An art historian knows this. The grid for the figures on King Tut's tomb is noticeably different from those before it, before the gap created by his father. The grid used on Tut's tomb itself is a reversion to an earlier period noticeably different from this classical grid because his dad messed up art so much. Tut's dad changed this grid and this representation utterly. It was shocking. Still is shocking. The Amarna art look like aliens. So this statement about it being the only image seen is quite wrong. 

Notice in the hippodrome when the camera scans up the column I wish they would linger. Give a guy a chance to see what it says. 

The lollypop is a circle and a 1 under it,"ra," Three vertical scratchy lines with a bow on top is three fox skins "mes, the two upside down j's are "s s", so Ra mes s s, Ramses. They want you to say Ra mes ses. Ramses II, the great builder did this part of the add on. Great builder or not, he still couldn't do a decent roof. What good is a cavernous room when it's 90% stone columns? You could seriously hurt your neck just reading the things, and it all turns out to be bragging anyway.

Back at the tomb, the king died, work stopped on the tomb, bad news for the tomb painter Ramose, (ra mes again unless the O is specified) but the bad news part is conjuncture. Ramose undoubtedly went directly on to another tomb. He was part of a bureaucracy, a cog in the machinery, not a freelance artist suddenly cast out of work as the narrator suggests.

The type of grid noted in the video is seen frequently. The video suggests it is singularly unusual case. Not so. It is actually common to see incomplete works and from them extrapolate process. People died all the time while their tombs are in process. The grid is seen frequently.
This is why it stayed the same for so long. Clearly society didn't want it to change.

That proves it, this guy is terribly slow on the uptake, that is my frustration.
Their obsession with order made these statues just as rigid as their paintings. 
Eh. They also need to stay in one piece, a bit of a trick when chiseling stone, a leg separate from the matrix tends to break, the mass has to be carried on a leg (You see Renaissance era David with a tree trunk to help hold him up) arms cannot be extended, certain limitations having to do with material and scale. It is not just obsession with order. Things did change over time, the fortunes of cities changed so too the deities associated with them the attributes of gods changed combining their backstories developed, they fell in and out of favor, changed through syncretism, some like Isis had cults well beyond Egypt long after the last Ptolemy.

The video ends hyperbolically, "ABsolute precision, aSTONishing scale, yes, yes, yes, you were talking about style. The rising inspirational violins are not helpful in understanding Egyptian style. They developed revolutionary quarrying and masonry skills to do. just. that. yes, yes, yes, you were talking about style

Not because of how their brains are hardwired, but because of their... cul-cha.

Gawd. Why did I even show this?  

Rambling hiker

Classic Fast Show.

Check out the comments on YouTube if this doesn't seem funny.

Know the most common owl in Britain? 

The tiny teat owl.

Found chiefly in kitchens. 

Monday, March 24, 2014


I ran across this old video looking for something else.

LOL at the Rod Serling intro -- I could do that!

I learned a couple stray facts about David Lee Roth:  Born in 1954, he grew up in Indiana but moved to LA as a teen. His father was a successful ophthalmologist and real estate investor. His uncle owned Cafe Wha? in NYC during its heyday and he claims to have hung out there as a kid. He met the Van Halen brothers at a community college. He did a cameo bit in The Sopranos. He actually seems like an OK guy. But can you imagine?

Dogs Family Tree: 'From tiny chihuahuas to rottweilers'

  • Family tree highlights the diversity of dogs and how the pure breeds are interconnected
  • Chart features 181 dog breeds from tiny ‘toy’ animals like the pug and the fluffy pomeranian to working dogs like the Alaskan malamutes and family favourites such as golden retrievers and terriers
  • It might seem incredible that dogs with such different visible characteristics – from their size to their type of hair – can be so different, but it is because all dogs are members of the same species – Canis lupus familiaris
Zoom in at the Mail Online link

After missing out twice, kid finally gets the baseball

The Diplomat: "Interpreting Putin's Decision"

"So why has Putin risked Russia’s economic welfare and political space to swallow Crimea, push Ukraine out, and alienate the entire Western world? Is Putin “in another world” as German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed he is? In my opinion, there are at least two considerations behind Putin’s decision."
The first is the realist, geo-political consideration. In Putin’s world, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly one fourth of its geography, one half of its population, and more than half of its GDP. Among the “lost” territories are those that are strategically important or militarily advanced, such as Ukraine and the Baltic states. With the eastward expansion of NATO, and the integration of former Soviet satellite states and republics in Eastern Europe and the Baltics into Europe, the traditional buffer zone between Russia and the West is increasingly squeezed and Russia’s space for strategic maneuvering becomes smaller with each year... (read more)

The second consideration is more psychological in nature. Following the end of Cold War, embracing the West was the first priority of Russian foreign policy. But to Moscow’s dismay, it found that the West still harbored strong reservations and considerable distrust. Years spent courting and wooing provided little of what Russia craved most: equal membership in the West and economic prosperity. Though Russia became part of the exclusive G8, it never enjoyed the full status and say of the other seven members, always remaining an “other.” Economically, the shock remedy proposed by the West and faithfully implemented by Boris Yeltsin didn’t bring the expected economic benefit. Instead, it took Russia’s economy into freefall, leaving the average Russian worse off than before.

It was Putin who saved Russia from its miserable condition. He readjusted both Russia’s domestic and foreign policies, and distanced the country from the West, instead seeking opportunities to resurrect past Soviet glories. As the Russian economy improved, the West found that its time was passing. The 2008 economic crisis hit the U.S. and Europe hard and they found themselves more reliant on the emerging powers, Russia included. It is Britain, France, and even Germany who are now busy appealing to Russian oil bacons to buy more and invest more. The balance of power between Russia and the West has shifted... (read more)

Russians, and especially Putin learned a hard lesson from the post-Cold War romance with the West: For all the talk of democracy and freedom, the fact remains that the strong dictate to the weak.

With Europe rotten and United States weakened, a resurgent and confident Russia will definitely not let a geo-strategically important former Soviet republic fall entirely into the West’s camp. By annexing Crimea, Putin not only secured Russia’s naval base and its strategic gateway to the Black Sea, he also sent a powerful message to Ukraine and the West: Ignore Russia’s legitimate strategic concerns at your own peril.
The Diplomat via ZeroHedge