Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Girls Saw Through Him, Electric Blue

News: 7 Dead in "Mass Murder" Drive-By Shootings Near UC Santa Barbara

"Seven people are dead and seven injured after a swift and deadly “mass murder” rampage by a gunman who plowed through the streets in a black BMW, spraying bullets into Friday night crowds in the Southern California seaside town of Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara."

"The gunman -- identified by an attorney for his father as Elliot Rodger -- was later involved in at least one shootout with sheriff's deputies and died of a gunshot wound to the head, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said at a Saturday morning news conference." (read more)

Suspected video of suspected now deceased gunman

two dogs

This is a joke that nobody gets, and I mean nobody. I showed this card to some twenty people before mailing it and not a single person understood the gag. And jokes are simply not funny when they must be explained. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to go through such trouble as to construct a three-page pop-up card, to be so hilarious as this and have no one understand? Like I am the weird one?


I almost ripped it up in disgust. The thing is, the viewer is expected to notice there are two breeds of dog. Two different types. Is that so hard to notice?  It is so obvious. This card convinced me it is an American thing that jokes need be glaringly obvious, overt, slapstick, cutting, hurtful to somebody, childish, and involve no thought at all, because I can draw the same joke in one picture, post it on a British satire site, and be congratulated for my impressive sense of humor. Make that humour.

The dog actually moves into the wall and the word "BLAM" flips out of the wall. That took some effort to get right.

"That answers your question." This one page is the whole joke. It should be a one page joke but I stretched it to three to make the joke easier to grasp. 

I get angry all over again just thinking about it. I hated having to explain it. It ruined the whole effort. Nearly put me off cards altogether. 

Look at that, there's a hole in the wall.

Bashed in nose, bits of brick laying around. Come on! That's funny! 

Video: In a Message sent back in time, what would Patrick Stewart say to his younger self?

Fancy A Tea Party?

Britain's UK Independence Party headed by Nigel Farage is making substantial gains against mainstream British polity: link

Farage is a charismatic speaker, as most any video of him speaking about against the European Union shows.  Here's one of my favorites:

If you're the sort who's cheered by the likes of Farage, relish the moment. If instead you're alarmed by his ilk, take note that the Dutch express similar politics, as do the French. In my opinion, it's a big dynamic equilibrium: push on one side, see an effect on the other side. And the balance shifts when things heat up. Here's a parting thought:

Video: Sen. Pat Roberts Stands Up To Harry Reid on the Senate Floor

"Kansas Senator Pat Roberts recently performed something like an intervention (as the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross called it) addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “Koch addiction.” The Kochs are of course among Roberts’s constituents."

WSJ Essay: Too many Americans assume that troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan must be traumatized.

"A couple of years ago, I spoke at a storytelling competition about some Marines I'd known during our deployment in Iraq and my feelings on getting out of the Corps. After I left the stage, an older woman in the crowd came up to me and, without asking, started rubbing my back. Startled, I looked over at her. "It was very brave of you to tell that story," she said."
"Oh, thank you," I said, a little confused by what was happening. "I'm OK."

She smiled sympathetically but didn't stop. I wasn't sure what to do, so I turned to watch the next performer—and she remained behind me, rubbing me down as if I was a startled horse in a thunderstorm.

It was my first really jarring experience with an increasingly common reaction to my war stories: pity. I never thought anyone would pity me because of my time in the Marine Corps. I'd grown up in the era of the Persian Gulf War, when the U.S. military shook off its post-Vietnam malaise with a startlingly decisive victory and Americans eagerly consumed stories about the Greatest Generation and the Good War through books like "Citizen Soldiers" by Stephen Ambrose and movies like "Saving Private Ryan." Joining the military was an admirable decision that earned you respect. (read more)

Western Engineer

The Fort Cookbook pg 10.
The Fort's nine dining rooms are built around a central courtyard. In Summer months a typical Plains Indian tipi stands in the courtyard and may be booked for special private dinners. It can accommodate up to twelve people , and shoes must be removed within. Since servers must work on theri knees, they get an extra twenty-five dollars. (Is that all?)
Oddly both spelling tipi and teepee are used.

Photo from Roadfood.
Bent's Quarters, a private dining room recreates much of the feel of the 1840's.  A collection of medical herbs of New Mexico and various items of the fur trade period line the shelves; knives, beads, buckles, musket caps, tobacco twists and "segars," tea bricks, loaf sugar, Florida water, lucifers, and much more.
Bent is the name of the original fort in southern Colorado from which The Fort restaurant is modeled.

Tobacco twists

Tea brick
Florida Water is an American version of Eau de Cologne, or Cologne Water. It has the same citrus basis as Cologne Water, but shifts the emphasis to sweet orange (rather than the lemon and neroli of the original Cologne Water), and adds spicy notes including lavender and clove. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth, which was said to be located in Florida, as well as the "flowery" nature of the scent.
Ha! Wikipedia, always so reliable. (neroli is oil from bitter orange tree)

Florida water bottles
Cologne or
(guess which on steamboat exploring Missouri River, first doesn't count)
photos nicked from ebay
In 1829, Scots inventor Sir Isaac Holden invented an improved version of Walker's match and demonstrated it to his class at Castle Academy in Reading, Berkshire. Holden did not patent his invention and claimed that one of his pupils wrote to his father Samuel Jones, a chemist in London who commercialised his process.[16] A version of Holden's match was patented by Samuel Jones, and these were sold as lucifer matches. These early matches had a number of problems- an initial violent reaction, an unsteady flame and unpleasant odor and fumes. Lucifers could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks a considerable distance. Lucifers were manufactured in the United States by Ezekial Byam.[6] The term "lucifer" persisted as slang in the 20th century (for example in the First World War song Pack Up Your Troubles) and in the Netherlands and Belgium today matches are still called lucifers (in Dutch).


Back to The Fort.
On the east wall of "Bent's" hangs a wonderful oil painting of the Western Engineer, the 1819 flagship of Major Stephen Long and his army on their reconnaissance expedition up the Missouri River. The primitive steamboat had a sea serpent head that belched steam and a serpentlike waterline to throw fear into the Indians observing from the riverbank. The painting was done for The Fort's thiritieth anniversary by Gary Lucie, an artist well known for his intricately detailed and accurate renderings of steamboats and historic American waterways.

Western Engineer

This steamboat is the impetus of this post on account of the sea serpent. I have never heard of such a thing.
[A letter dated June 19, 1819, from St. Louis, ten days after the boats arrival there, further describes this unusual craft: 
"The bow of this vessel exhibits the form of a huge serpent, black and scaly, rising out of the water from under the boat, his head as high as the deck,darted forward, his mouth open, vomiting smoke, and apparently carrying the boat on his back. From under the boat at its stern issues a stream of foaming water, dashing violently along. All the machinery is hid. Three small brass field pieces mounted on wheel carriages stand on the deck. The boat is ascending the rapid stream at the rate of three miles an hour. Neither wind nor human hands are seen to help her, and, to the eye of ignorance, the illusion is complete, that a monster of the deep carries her on his back, smoking with fatigue, and lashing the waves with violent exertion. Her equipments are at once calculated to attract and to awe the savages. Objects pleasing and terrifying are at once placed before him--artillery, the flag of the Republic, portraits of the white man and the Indian shaking hands, the calumet of peace, a sword, then the apparent monster with a painted vessel on his back, the sides gaping with portholes and bristling with guns. Taken altogether, and without intelligence of her composition and design, it would require a daring savage to approach and accost her."]

Terrified indians. 

[My first boss at the FRB was a troll of an old man who smoked a pipe and stank of it. He was very close to retirement and completely old school nose-to-the-grindstone type and his speech pattern was unique involving a lot of "ohs" and a mouthful of saliva. Near the end of each shift all workers would gather in a mad rush to get out the checks processed that evening behind a wall of bins representing each bank. His voice was easy to imitate so in his absence I copied it, a fairly food rendition, from the other side of the bins and put words in his mouth he would never speak in his life involving swears. Then show myself to the workers on the other side and have a good laugh. Within days everyone there had their own version of his voice some much better than my own and saying imaginative and ridiculous things as boys do and thereafter none of us could listen to him with any seriousness at all. It was hopeless. We could hardly contain our laughter with serious matters. He carried these kind of wooden matches in his pocket and told us one time he brushed against a bumper of a truck and they ignited inside his pants. Naturally that became incorporated in our routine.]

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban: "If I see a black kid in a hoodie at night ... "

"Mark Cuban strongly rejected suggestions he's a racist, and accused critics of taking his controversial comments on race out of context. He did, however, apologize for one of the examples he used when admitting he has prejudices."

"In an on-stage interview for the GrowCo conference in Nashville, the Dallas Mavericks owner said: "If I see a black kid in a hoodie at night ... on the same side of the street, I'm probably going to walk to the other side of the street." He added that he would also cross the street to avoid "a white guy with a shaved head and lots of tattoos."

Video at the link

Esquire Interview: Jerry Seinfeld Doesn't Buy the 'Burden of Celebrity'

Scott Raab: Who do you have on the new season of Comedians in Cars?

Jerry Seinfeld: Jon Stewart, Robert Klein, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Wallace. And I've done three of the five. Have two more to go. And it's gone very well. The whole thing is leading me around now. It was really just an experiment. But I love the potential that a technology like the Internet gives a guy like me. I thought, What if I just put something out and didn't say anything about it? People would probably start moving it around for me. It's very self-promoting. Unlike traditional network or movies, where you got to hustle your butt off to get people to notice something, I said, This thing, it'll do it itself. The one thing we are deprived of now is "Have you seen this?" or "Do you know?"

Scott Raab: Everyone knows everything.

Jerry Seinfeld: And they want to know. "Did you hear who died?" Of course I know who died. Everybody knows who died. This is what a good idea does. Here's how a good idea works. Same thing happened with the series. You make it. Then it's like you're in a rodeo and you can't get your hand out from under the rope, and now this thing is still going and it's dragging you around in the dirt.

NYT: Bloomberg, in Israel, Wins a $1 Million Prize, and Then Gives It Back

"Instead of pocketing what to him might be considered pocket change, Mr. Bloomberg and the Genesis organization announced a global competition with 10 prizes of $100,000 available to entrepreneurs ages 20 to 36 with big ideas, also based on Jewish values, to better the world."

I wanted to pay it forward, so to speak,” Mr. Bloomberg told an audience in Jerusalem that included Israel’s black-hatted chief rabbi, a rumpled venture capitalist, graying former Soviet dissidents and Zionist war heroes. “To help others with the same sense of optimism and obligation, which is such an important part of Jewish tradition.”

Mike Hudack: It's hard to tell who's to blame.

"Mike Hudack works at Facebook. He's apparently pretty important there. His title is "director of product management." And he has had it with the news media, especially online outlets with their salacious gossip and click-baity listicles. So he vented his frustrations today on his Facebook page."

Evening newscasts are jokes, and copycat television newsmagazines have turned into tabloids -- "OK" rather than Time. 60 Minutes lives on, suffering only the occasional scandal. More young Americans get their news from The Daily Show than from Brokaw's replacement. Can you even name Brokaw's replacement? I don't think I can.

Meet the Press has become a joke since David Gregory took over. We'll probably never get another Tim Russert. And of course Fox News and msnbc care more about telling their viewers what they want to hear than informing the national conversation in any meaningful way. (read the whole thing)
The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal had a response.

Adm. Bill McRaven: If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed

"Students at the University of Texas at Austin got a rare treat last weekend (May 17) when Naval Adm. William H. McRaven delivered their commencement speech. McRaven, a 1977 UT grad, riffed on the school’s motto (“What starts here changes the world.”) to deliver the 10 lessons he learned during his SEAL training. Among them: If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."

The University of Texas at Austin, May 17, 2014.

clever birds

Thursday, May 22, 2014

9-11 Memorial gift shop

Offensive or not, some gift shop toys seem just plain tacky.

KLEM FM: Charlie Watts' Golden

The key to Led Zeppelin is that somebody is always playing a counter point. You can hear that. ~Jimmy Page
I know that Page was talking musically and about his band, but the observation popped into my head as I began write a tribute to Charlie Watts who will celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary in October.

Through all those years of temptation, one guy stays true and faithful to his wife in the context of The Rolling Stones. That's sort of a "counter point" isn't it?



Hail is the best of all precipitations. This storm had four rounds of increasing size hail. It all melted away rather quickly and flooded off down the channels then the sun shone before the storm finished. Car alarms sounded, people appeared in doorways and at windows, ran for cover, concerned for exposed automobiles, gardens, roofs, pets, their belongings and their own heads. The air chilled. Bracing all around. Then the tornado sirens screamed in the distance again as they did yesterday.

Most of the hail bounced out of the baskets. Too bad, or else they'd be full.

Have you ever wondered how to evaluate a book or movie?

(Shamelessly borrowed from this post from John C. Wright.  Who does not have to wonder if the book he is reviewing is Awesome or not.)

Althouse: At some point the taking of offense itself becomes offensive.

Althouse takes on the 9/11 memorial offended...
Maybe out of respect for the dead, no one who still walks the face of the earth should ever laugh or take pleasure in anything every (ever?) again. More than 100 billion human beings have died, perhaps right where you are standing/sitting/reclining right now. How dare you ever do anything? Look out your window and visualize the ghosts of all the human beings who, over the course of history and prehistory, died within that view. Will you mourn for them... ceaselessly... until you are one of them? If they could look back and see you mourning for them... ceaselessly... until the day you join them, what would they think of you? If they saw you enjoying a grilled cheese sandwich, would they think: How dare you!?
Is that safe?

Questlove Gomes: i think Paris Gray is brilliant

"A Georgia high school student’s clever use of the periodic table may cost her a seat at graduation."
The senior class vice president used the names of elements in her yearbook quote that when abbreviated to their atomic symbol spell out, “Back that ass up.”

“When the going gets tough just remember to Barium, Carbon, Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Uranium, Phosphorus,” Paris Gray wrote.

“Basically, it was me just saying start all over again,” Gray told WSBTV. “You have to go back and start all over.”

Gray’s mother, Zarinah Woods, thought the quote was funny.

“My first reaction was, ‘You are such a nerd,’” she said.

Fusion: Former-NFL Players File Lawsuit Against the NFL Alleging Illegal Use of Painkillers By The League

"Another summer, another class-action lawsuit against the NFL. This time, eight former NFL players—Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, J.D. Hill, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone, and Ron Pritchard—filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the NFL supplied them with illegally prescribed painkillers throughout their careers, which led to medical complications such as addiction later in life."
Specifically, the players are alleging:

1. The NFL illegally and unethically supplied players serious pain medications, including addictive opioids, and NSAIDs such as torodol.

2. The NFL did so for financial gain, in order to keep them in competition rather than allowing them to rest and heal.

3. The NFL “fraudulently concealed” the dangerous side effects of the drugs from players.

3. The illegal prescription of these painkillers has led to dangerous medical conditions later in life, including painkiller addiction, stage 3 renal failure and high blood pressure.

More than 500 other former players have signed on to the lawsuit, which was filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, according to lawyers representing the former athletes. They are looking to make the case a class action lawsuit. (read more)

What would you say is a National Scandal?

The Upshot: More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White

"An estimated net 1.2 million Americans of the 35 million Americans identified in 2000 as of “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin,” as the census form puts it, changed their race from “some other race” to “white” between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, according to research presented at an annual meeting of the Population Association of America and reported by Pew Research."
The researchers, who have not yet published their findings, compared individual census forms from the 2000 and 2010 censuses. They found that millions of Americans answered the census questions about race and ethnicity differently in 2000 and 2010. The largest shifts were among Americans of Hispanic origin, who are the nation’s fastest growing ethnic group by total numbers. 

The census form asks two questions about race and ethnicity: one about whether individuals are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and another about race. “Hispanics” do not constitute a race, according to the census, and so 37 percent of Hispanics, presumably dissatisfied with options like “white” or “black,” selected “some other race.”

The researchers found that 2.5 million Americans of Hispanic origin, or approximately 7 percent of the 35 million Americans of Hispanic origin in 2000, changed their race from “some other race” in 2000 to “white” in 2010. An additional 1.3 million people switched in the other direction. A noteworthy but unspecified share of the change came from children who weren’t old enough to fill out a form in 2000, but chose for themselves in 2010. (read more)

You throw like a girl.

I almost feel sorry for the man were he not so arrogant, so coddled, so self-deluded in imagining he comes off super cool for playing the role of president playing the role of the man by position and position alone tossing the first ball or whatever it is that they're doing. He did not have an older brother to tell him how his athleticism is pure crap and no real father to teach him either as most boys do. I relate to him throwing like a girl. He thinks he is throwing well while it is obvious to all who sees he is not.

Man, this does take me back. Way back. Memories of happiness admixed with sadness and success tainted with failure, but failure that lingers to this day.

I too had an absent father when it came to athletics. He simply was not around long enough for much of  that even if he did have an interest in sports. Although I do recall one brief episode at another place a few years later of my dad tenderly lobbing baseballs to me for practice at batting. But just once. It was a blowout practice session. Frankly I sucked. Never did hit the ball even once. Coordination simply was not there and his "keep your eye on the ball" instruction did not make sense and repeating it did not help. It just did not compute. So unsatisfying for both of us. 

Whatever I managed was learned through the patience of my older brother, Barry, whose patience was limited. The throwing lessen was not with a baseball, rather, with rocks thrown off the edge of a cliff.

At Benton AFB, beyond the firing range, beyond the blueberry bushes and apple orchard, surround by woods on three sides and near to the lake. Dad was there the whole time at Benton but he was working all day and not at the rock throwing scene. 

Barry would take off in the morning and not come back home until dinner. Eventually we were provided watches to coordinate. Watches!  I was inclined to hang around, running in and out of the house. I'm convinced Mum told Barry to bear with me due to her own impatience with my tendency for clinging. I sensed a bit of resentment from both. I could be a pain in the butt.  At that age the gap of one and a half years does make a difference when it comes to keeping up and athletics. 

On one of our daily hikes around the environs of Benton Barry stopped to throw rocks off a cliff so I joined naturally copying. I did everything he did. I threw rocks like he threw rocks for what developed into a rock throwing contest for distance. After a few throws Barry quipped flatly looking straight at me,

"You throw like a girl."

I was crushed. Destroyed. I couldn't believe what I heard. My world inverted. 

"I do not!" 

"You do too." 

Now this was a maddening assessment that haunts me to this day. It does. I am still self-conscious of that harshest of criticisms and it lingers every time I pick up something to throw a nagging voice whispers, make sure you don't throw like a girl. 

 "How should I throw then?"

Barry showed me what I was doing, exaggerating my motions to make the demonstration clear,  and how I should be throwing off the side. 

"I do not!" 

Then I copied his masculine ways. It was an inferior technique for me for throwing and my rocks did not go as far. But that would be the way I must throw or else I will look like a girl.

Bastard. But I must at least thank Barry for having patience with such a spaz for a younger brother. That must have been intolerable at times. Even if his motivation was averting me embarrassing him in front of others. 

This is truly embarrassing. On a national scale. Now I see what he means.

Thank you, Barry, my forbearing brother. I am certain this is how I looked to you. Decades later I related this incident that left such  scar to Barry who didn't remember  and he cracked up laughing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

President Obama Sends U.S. Forces Into Chad

Approximately 80 U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Chad as part of the U.S. efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria,” said the letter from Obama submitted to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).

“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” Obama continued. “The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.” (read more)

Video: What Your Fridge Says About You

Study: "Mice Run For Fun"

"If an exercise wheel sits in a forest, will mice run on it?"
Every once in a while, science asks a simple question and gets a straightforward answer.

In this case, yes, they will...

“When I saw the first mice, I was extremely happy,” said Johanna H. Meijer at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “I had to laugh about the results, but at the same time, I take it very seriously. It’s funny, and it’s important at the same time.”

Dr. Meijer’s day job is as a “brain electrophysiologist” studying biological rhythms in mice. She relished the chance to get out of the laboratory and study wild animals, and in a way that no one else had.
"It is a simple game. Really! - Well, maybe for programmers that is. The idea of the game is to have a mouse navigate through a random maze for the cheese that it is hungry for."

WiredUK: Espionage in a post-privacy society

"We will soon have to live in a world with no such thing as privacy and no such thing as secrecy, says Richard Aldrich, speaking at PINC 15 in Amsterdam. "We will be living in a transparent society, it will be a bit like living in a nudist colony."
We're used to the idea that secret intelligence agencies spy on us, but over the last ten years the big intelligence gatherers have become airlines, banks, internet providers and Tesco -- all of which have more information about us than GCHQ and the NSA put together.

"These organisations are becoming cleverer and cleverer. Cleverer than the CIA; cleverer than the KGB."...

Citizens too though are increasingly becoming intelligence gatherers. By studying the reaction of the blogosphere to the Boston Marathon bombings -- which led to a mob forming outside the house of someone wrongly identified as the bomber from crowdsourced photos posted on Reddit-- we can understand how dangerous this can be. "Espionage is even scarier when it's controlled by you guys," Aldrich tells the audience. (read more)

James O'Keefe punks Hollywood environmentalists

O'Keefe entraps Ed Begley Jr., actress Mariel Hemming, and director Josh Tickell by posing as Middle Eastern oil family to fund anti-fracking movie while disguising the source of funding.

Oh, that naughty James O'Keefe, putting the mental in environmentalism.

Breitbart Big Hollywood.

Love the comments, not the usual fare.

food desert

This is a long screed.  If you happen to suffer ADD as we've seen previously in comments, then let's say fine, goodbye, right here. 

The term "food desert" caught my attention. Odd, that. I just put up a video of food extracted from near desert.
A food desert is a geographic area where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to an automobile. Food deserts usually exist in rural areas and low-income communities. Some research links them to diet-related health problems in affected populations. Food deserts are sometimes associated with supermarket shortages and food security. 
So far so good, makes sense, especially with these buffering qualifiers. No problem here.

Definitions of food desert are all over the place, you'll have to pick one or two or all of them. The idea originates in the UK. Always such a good Idea to look to island socialist countries for a template to overlay our own regarding legislative and regulatory ideas.
1) 1995 UK      
a) populated areas with little or no food retail provision  
b) areas of relative exclusion where people experience physical and economic barriers to accessing healthy foods 
2) counts the type and quality of foods available for purchase and the neighborhood residents being impoverished and unable to buy such foods 
3) access, or the degree to which individuals live within close proximity to a large supermarket or supercenter offering consumers a wider array of food choices at relatively lower costs 
4) urban areas with 10 or fewer (grocery) stores and no stores with more than 20 employees.
Wikipedia states the origin and theories for development 

Land-use policies that facilitate development of predominantly wealthy and white suburban neighborhoods have altered the distribution of food stores. Where policies and legislation in the form of regulations by government departments separated from republican form of democracy. They are top down rules originating from studies, themselves originating in foreign countries. Tap into the whirling gears and you will hear, "wish I had thought of that." We will be studied as subjects from afar and regulated from on high. 

So we see racism as impulse right off the bat. Straight up. Apparently somebody noticed all those lily white neighborhoods out therein the suburbs, those awful suburbs where people set up to avoid inner city crime and pollution have awesome grocery stores that the cities lack, with their fine expensive restaurants that sell only the best of all food. Can you imagine why? How many studies are needed to sort that? And what can government types do to remedy this lopsided situation? White people have it so good, they always did, and people of color always end up with the short end of the stick.  
Wealthy and white suburban neighborhoods. Apparently leaving urban people of color behind. There are no poor whites living in cities in these models, conversely no wealthy people of color to speak of in suburbs.  
I must note at this point the attitude is broadly shared. When I told my family I intended to rent a place downtown they were all against it citing crime statistics published in the newspaper. They were of one mind. 
Back to the article, land use policies facilitate mostly wealthy and white suburban areas have altered the distribution of food stores. 
You think? The box stores must be located where expansive warehouses can be built with large lots for parking or else they are useless. For the most part that precludes inner cities but not necessarily. 
Prevalence of food deserts in poorer neighborhoods is driven by lack of consumer demand as the poor have less money to spend on healthful, nutritious food.
Not so. Consumer demand is driven by consumer preference. Not by lack of money. Food and housing is subsidized and those subsidies are subverted. That is where the change needs to take place, if it is felt change must be forced then at least get that part right. The food made available in inner cities will be the food the customers in inner cities demand. If demand is for fast food, convenient food, processed goodies, then that will be the food that is provided. If natural food, basic elemental food, nutritious natural items used to make home meals is demanded in inner cities then that will be the food that is sold there. Transportation, storage, refrigeration, are needed for both processed and unprocessed food.
But then this.
From an economic standpoint, low demand does not justify supply.
That sentence is why I am writing this post. It could not be more wrong. Low demand exactly justifies low supply. That is basic economic law of supply and demand. It took studies to come up with a statement that seriously wrong.
Food retailers are also discouraged from opening chains in low-income rural and urban communities because of crime rates, transportation costs and low return of investment.
Discouraged from opening, all wise economic decisions from supply point of view. But supply transportation and crime are not chief problems nor insurmountable not the thing preventing natural food being supplied. Take a car tour of any length and you will notice an unseemly plethora of Walmart trucks crisscrossing the nation. They enter the cites as readily as they enter suburban areas.
Furley et al. describes food desert creation as arising where "high competition from large chain supermarkets has created a void."
Well Furey and others are flat wrong. High competition from large chain supermarkets means they are filling a void or else they would not, could not exist. The void is in inner city demand for natural food.
As a result, the food supply within inner-cities includes less variety, denying some urban residents the benefits of healthful foods at affordable prices.  Remaining food retailers in inner-cities are gas stations, convenience stores, tobacco stores, drugstores, and liquor stores. A diet based on foods from these locations consists primarily of processed foods high in calories, sugars, salt, fat, and artificial ingredients.
Bull. Those items had to be transported just as natural food must be transported. Refrigerated just as natural food does. The problem is natural food does not turnover and so cannot be justified being stocked. So canned food, bottled food, frozen food, prepackaged processed food wins the day and it wins it by demand. Inner cities apparently demand crap food and so that is what is offered. Supply is responsive to demand.

That prejudicial word "remaining," Furley missed the previous assertion of startups being discouraged. It implies a fixed number leaving cities for suburbs and ignores startups making a studied choices for location. No internal change in this model. Gas stations, convenience stores, tiny grocery stores, bodegas, 7-11 stop and shops will stock whatever is demanded. Liquor stores appear in suburbs too. You will find huge liquor stores smack in the center of cities, in suburbs and beyond in exurbs as well. They and bars are everywhere demand supports them, and that turns out to be everywhere.
Remaining food retailers in inner cites are stocking their shelves with the items that sell. If fresh vegetables and fresh meat sold then that is what would be carried. If those items fail to turnover then it is obvious, even to government bureaucrats and unelected officials without economic education, that it is unprofitable for sellers to stock them. That is the reality of the situation as it exists. Not some odd and nefarious off kilter conspiracy of white people. 

Denver is a good example. There is a grocery store across the street that I do wish carried fresh vegetables and meat. But those things do not sell. Turnover is required or fresh food goes off and is wasted. For proper food I must go just a just a little bit further by a few blocks in any direction to find proper grocery stores that are alway packed full. It has nothing to do with transportation. Two very upscale markets within walking distance even for a fellow who does not walk all that well. And excellent sources within brief driving distance, biking distance, cab distance, bus distance, with excellent restaurants as well all available on foot. Food all around. Transportation is not the problem of obesity on supply side of the equation nor the demand side. However poor food choices is. There are also poor food choices supply points dotted all around.
The section on access to quality of food begins with a confused statement. 
The main factor used to classify a community as a food desert is distance from nutritional food retailers. There is no standard for "inadequate" access or "adequate" access to food. 
Well then, charge right ahead to conclusion, and they do with studies that use distance to markets measured various ways. Centering on closeness to food but the food too expensive. Yes, more expensive when overhead is more expensive and crime makes doing business more expensive, and low turnover makes food more expensive, then more expensive all around, the same applies to turnover of fresh items, waste of unsold items, parking, and the junk food that is still the choice of the subjects under study is still more expensive by weight and by what can be done with it than natural food. It is not possible for highly processed food to be less expensive than natural food because so much more is involved between production of raw ingredients and consumer. The emphasis is why people are fat. Specifically, and racially, why poor people of color living in cities are fat, never mind the astonishing number of obese suburban wealthy white people. The answer to the question with distorted emphasis on race is poor food choices all around, and those choices are driven by 1) marketing, goodness just look at the cereal aisle. It is all highly processed grains and packaging and cartoon figures looking down. 2) government jacking such as food pyramid and war on fats, salt, sugar, carbs, what have you, emphasizing the use of grains as with feedlots, and instruction through schools, manipulation of federally subsidized school lunch programs, and agency propaganda and lobby influences  3) ease and deliciousness and novelty of highly processed food. The joy of unwrapping things. Subsidize all you want for good food, whatever system is contrived will be subverted to preference, and preference is strongly in favor of convenient delicious satisfying processed food. That is the thing that must be addressed for change, if change you must. Everything else follows naturally from that. Stop buying crap and it will cease being sold, or at least slowed by comparison. Insist on natural food, buy it where and when available, go to it, and it it will be supplied. It does not get much more straighforward than that.
Residents of food desert areas have no alternative but to utilize private cars, travel several miles on foot, or use public transit to gain access to healthful food. Consumers without cars are dependent on food sources in their closest proximity. 
Pow. My aching heart. You got me. Same holds true for rich white people in suburbs. You think those splendid stores are always right next door? For I too must seek out good food, and I don't walk so well, and my truck is old. What if it breaks down? I live on the edge. If only it would come to me. We do have milk delivery, but not to me. I live in one of the rare no-go areas.
Make up your mind already. And they leave out of their analysis, getting someone to drive, pooling resources,  and bikes, motorcycles, and as obese urban poor and disabled are the subject, they will naturally have one of those get around power wheelchairs paid for through medicaid. Doesn't everybody?  I had one offered to myself.  Now how am I to remaster walking when tooling around in a motorized chair? They pass me up constantly on the sidewalks as I walk to the grocery. I see the back of their heads speeding off as they blur past me, like Stephen Hawking speeding by in their motorized chairs but fatter, an arm straight up int the air flipping me off from an increasing distance. 
A study by Inagami reveals that the distance traveled to food stores is an independent predictor of BMI. The problem increases in rural food desert areas, where closing the distance to nutritional food access is impossible on foot.
Somehow they are getting enough food. Enough to stuff in their pie-holes to keep them obese. It does take a lot of work to get and stay fat. One must constantly think about food, constantly do something to acquire food, if not prepare it, continuously shove it in one's mouth, constantly get up and poop it all out and continuously wipe one's own butt.
Of course rural life increases BMI, a development so natural by restricting access to good food.  If only one could raise chickens out there in rural areas. What a bummer. One cannot raise chickens within most U.S. cities, by law, and now we learn impossible in rural areas too. Eggs can come only from grocery stores too distant to be any use. Just think of all the difficult to obtain natural food items unavailable in rural areas. Such food deserts, those rural areas. If only gardening were possible out there and the science of caning sufficiently advanced. If only people in rural areas could have horses and carts. Do beekeeping and such. Damn those Mennonites for not sharing their closely held secrets of survival and wellbeing. If only bicycles and adult tricycles snow mobiles, tractors and sleds were not withheld from rural poor people of color, forget about whites, they are not part of these studies. 
Researchers have determined that distance to food is also psychological
You think?
The physical distance from fresh foods determine eating behaviors and preferences for palatable, processed foods. To create a healthy relationship with food, researchers recommend creating a direct connection between fresh produce and consumer. Examples of this include urban farm programs and incorporating healthful foods in schools.
Finally. Getting close. Here's the chance blow it, here comes the chance to seize control of school lunch programs, subsidized, of course. Time for an anecdote. We're leaving wikipedia. 
I want to see if Denver has food deserts because I'm feeling kind of dry.

Denver’s ‘food desert’ mirage: the road to health is paved with good intentions
(… ) I sat next to one my students who had her newly mandated healthy federal school lunch in front of her. She wouldn’t touch it. Instead she pulled out a black plastic bag from under the table, put her finger in front of her mouth, told me not to tell, and showed me her Hot Cheetos. Later, she took her banana from the school lunch and smashed it against the stairs.
That does blow my mind. Blam. All over the place. I despaired when I read it. My earliest memory of food-related concupiscence is for bananas. Bananas were like an amazing dessert to me except better. A real if not rare treat. All fruit was a treat to my child self no matter the type no matter how often I had them, because they came from trees and bushes and they are sweet, but especially bananas. I wanted to peel it like an ape, wrongly it turns out, they actually just break into it, and pretend I'm a monkey and hop around reverting evolutionarily to monkey noises, but I especially wanted to eat banana's soft smashy delicious fruity goodness. Then toss its wonderful peel on the ground  and try to skid like they do in cartoons. I was obsessed with bananas. Mum put up a bunch out of reach, they were green and she was having them continue a few days to turn yellow, but I did not know that. When I opened a door to a forbidden basement stairwell, this was in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, and not yet enrolled in kindergarden, I discovered them up there on shelf above stairs impossible to reach, even for a monkey. I concluded she was hiding them from me, damn her, because she knew I'd devour them. Her putting those green bananas up there really bugged me. Now the thought of children passing the chance of such a fruit treasure like that in their lunch and then not appreciating such a fine gift, is impossible for me to process. I do not understand it. I just do not. But that is the problem here pinpointed. Not subsidized lunches. Not distance to groceries. Not wealthy white people living in suburbs and poor people of color stuck in cities, rather the problem is attitude about healthy food starting in childhood propounded by adults. Everything follows from that. If one perceives your people of color choose to eat poorly then talk to them directly about that and stop finding other areas to place blame. Especially as it is presumed to use government resources outside democratic principles to attain well-meant goals by misidentified problems. This is especially galling arising as it does from an unelected wife of chief executive with no genuine power to affect government agencies, yet she does. That should not be allowed to happen, but it does. If she wants to be racist about it, and she does, the studies cited do, and by appearance of deeds she does, then she must talk to her people about what good food is, what good portions are, what food sources to support and which ones to dismiss. I sense she is doing all that too, but that is all she should be doing. Start a national garden, yes, but stick with it through shutdown just as farmers must suffer setbacks. We see reported her setting poor examples of eating. The goodies she and he are seen scarfing. Fine. But not as spokesperson or high priestess for good eating. She goes for the junk just like the rest. From what I can make of these recapped studies they appear to be largely bogus with far too much prejudice and too much emphasis on race and leave out the market distortion and damage done by government jacking. Nowhere is marketing mentioned. Good natural food needs no marketing. Crap food does need marketing. Nobody gave Mrs. Obama official power, she took it, and that is possible only because her supporters give her unofficial power over everyone, and it is employed through government agencies. But preference will rule. It always does. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The younger (older?) Jeff Beck:

He's playing the Greek Theater this August: link  I'd like to go, but look at those prices!


Piñones means pine, pine nuts
Piñónes means sprockets, gear and chain

Great Basin States, U.S.

Lonquimay, Chile

NYT: a little soul-searching

The worst part of it is, I’m burning stuff not for heat, but for aesthetics,” said Ryan Matzner, 29, whose West Village apartment has enormous stacks of firewood on either side of a white brick fireplace. “It’s like, ‘Wait, this is actually pretty hypocritical.’ It’s very similar to the idea of a cork in a wine bottle instead of a screw top.” He added that it was an “aesthetic kind of thing that’s purely for the sake of tradition.”

These reflections have not stopped Mr. Matzner from building fires when he throws parties, when he wants to make s’mores or when he wants to impress a lady. But he often uses the clean-burning Duraflame logs, not, he admits, so much out of eco-guilt, but because they burn more quickly and less smokily. (read more)

AP: Thailand's martial law gives rise to selfies

AP: Sometimes you never know when the opportunity for an interesting selfie will present itself.

When Thailand's military declared martial law early Tuesday, troops appeared on the streets at some key intersections in Bangkok. That didn't necessarily mean the situation was tense, however.

Bangkok residents going about their morning routine didn't hesitate to stop and snap a few photos on their smartphones.

Some posed with soldiers, who complied amiably.


I've seen this new collapsing grill featured some four or five places. It is definitely clever and nice looking.

But it is not practical at all for fires or for cooking. Tripod design is inherently unstable. It must have four legs. There is no point in having open fire that high off the ground. Dangerously open to airflow that cannot be controlled. Embers would be flying right out of it and all over the place. It is unsuitable for camping that its collapsing design and light weight implies. Weak unstable legs. Top heavy, you could not flip a hamburger without first stabilizing the entire thing. One dog rushing by and the whole thing is over. This is a disaster, several disasters standing there waiting to happen. Once ignited the thing is on its own to do what it will. It folds like an umbrella and it is not all that portable. Wired. Video

Comments on Wired are worthless. Obviously not campers, however everyone is expert on chain mail.

On the other hand this firebox seems quite sensible for camping. It addresses those camping concerns. And it is reasonably priced besides.

This kayaker is making Bannock indian bread using his camping firebox. He appears to be using a slightly less expensive model.

You can tell by the man's charming accent he is from some foreign country, like France.

[Unrelated to portable grills, the streets in Denver running north and south and lined up parallel immediately west of Broadway are named after indian tribes and arranged alphabetically, so, Broadway, then Acoma, Bannock, Cherokee, Delaware, Elati, Fox, Galapago and so on to Zuni. On the other side of Broadway the streets are named after presidents arranged not so well alphabetically.]

Monday, May 19, 2014

Salsa cruda, guacamole

Salsa cruda
Salsa fresca
Pico de gallo

Surprise, they're all the same thing. But I like the cognitive "crude" so I'm going with that. It also means "hangover," same as English "I got the crud," and "raw" and "harsh" and "stark" and the like. Because the salsa is basic. Nothing to it at all.

There is no good reason why you would ever buy a prepared salsa now that you know. What a regrettable rip off to sell it. Salsa can never be as great as you make with fresh ingredients. And I mean great. It makes me sad to see all those jars. I bought one recently and confirmed, it is so wrong to do that with fresh ingredients and pass it off as food. It must be consumed the same day. It does not store, it does not refrigerate well.

Tomato, onion, serrano chiles diced finely to fit on a chip, that is the basis, then lime salt and pepper. Finally whole leaf cilantro. I can end the post right here.

For guacamole simply add avocado to salsa cruda and smash with a fork leaving chunks.

Do not process to smoothness as people do. You must overthink this to get it wrong. It is that simple.

Oddly, avocado does not outweigh the other ingredients in guacamole. This is where most people go wrong. Whatever amount you are making, think 50% avocado / 50% tomato by weight and you will produce the best guacamole you ever tasted.

There is no garlic in original salsa cruda. That is a gringo addition. 

From The Fort pg.17  
Regarding Cilantro:
Many people recommend mincing cilantro. I find that the good coriander flavor disappears when it is chopped, so I always pull the leaves off the stems and use them whole. I think it makes for a better flavor. But cilantro is a strong flavor and is an acquired taste for many people, so it has the ability to ruin an otherwise completely palatable dish for those who don't like it.  
I think that, in a perfect world, cilantro would be as common in this country as lettuce.
It is that common around here. And cheap as can be too. I grow it by the boatload on my own terrace but only because I like watching it grow. There is no other point in bothering.

Some people like the back-of-the-mouth hotness of jalapeños. I think they're like a llghted charcoal briquette in the throat. I love pickled jalapeño chiles, but in salsa cruda, I prefer the slim green serrano's taste and "bee-bite" front-of-the-mouth hotness.
I did not know that. Serrano it will be from here on out.

3 large firm tomatoes (+4 avocados if making guacamole)
6 serrano chiles (less for guacamole)
1/4 large white onion (more for guacamole) 
6 sprigs cilantro (more for guacamole to 1/4 cup)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 lime juiced (less for guacamole)

Obviously vary the serrano or jalapeño to suit your own tolerance for heat. Consider having cilantro leaves on the side because there are deep anticilantrophobes roaming among us. Incomprehensible, but they insist it is based on scientific biological fact.

I must add there is a downside to being so ace at making the best guacamole your people ever tasted. They do say so. You will be called upon to make it repeatedly and in large amounts. It might even be the sole reason you are invited. You will be pulled aside to fix other peoples' screwed up preparations when they mistakenly add too much lime or whatever, and there will be nothing to do but start over.

The thing that distinguishes my own versions from others I've tasted, besides leaving chunks, is the addition of cumin and coriander (seed of same plant as cilantro), two spices in scant amount that yell rather loudly, "Mexico!" 

Incidentally, I attained my winning recipe at an early age from a Spanish textbook where I learned:

tomato - tomate
avocado - aguacate
onion - cebolla
garlic - ajo
sour cream - crema agria
dice finely - trocea finamente
hard boiled egg - huevo duro
cumin - comino

Pico de gallo - beak (or peck) of the rooster  
salsa fresca - fresh sauce 
mole - mass, pile, bulk, sauce (in Mexico)  so guacamole really should be aguacatemole if language were logical but there you go, a contraction of sorts.

* my versions with more words and more photos.

Holy cow, look Pa, our dead cousin's ex (Desiree Perez) is in the news...

"[M]ultiple sources told the Daily News that A-Rod’s last chance for a dignified exit ended when he turned to Desiree Perez, a Manhattan nightclub manager with a lengthy criminal record and close links to hip-hop mogul Jay Z."

Desiree Perez parties with Beyonce
While Perez is not an employee, officer or agent of Jay Z’s new agency, Roc Nation Sports, sources say she is a major behind-the-scenes influence.

“She’s directly involved with the athletes,” one baseball insider said. “She has a lot of power.”
Perez with hubby Juan Perez (l.) and rap superstar Jay Z.
While sources say Perez was behind much of A-Rod’s failed legal and PR strategy last summer, Rodriguez describes her only as a “long-time friend.” (long article - read the whole thing if you want to)
It's not complicated. Alex Rodrigues reputation is undergoing a rehabilitation. If he is to become a brand again, after reinstatement, this is an essential phase of his rehabilitation. Somebody needs to be blamed, a narrative developed, explaining his decision to fight MLB.

Desiree Perez is apparently being used as a piece of the PR puzzle. 

Neuroskeptic: "Mr. B kept Cash on his mind both day and night"

"A man developed a passionate love for the music of Johnny Cash after being implanted with a brain stimulation device. The unique story is told in a case report in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal, published on the 6th May."
The authors, Mariska Mantione and colleagues, describe the case of “Mr. B”, a 58 year old Dutch man who had suffered from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety since the age of 13.

Numerous medications and psychotherapy had failed to provide relief. So Mr B. was given deep brain stimulation (DBS) as a last resort treatment. The electrodes were placed in the nucleus accumbens.

It worked: his OCD and anxiety symptoms went down, down, down, so much so that he felt like his spirit was finally unchained:
Mr. B. reported he felt very confident, calm and assertive and he started to call himself “Mr. B. II”, the new and improved version of himself.
But it wasn’t just his symptoms that changed; his musical taste did too. Previously Mr B had been quite fond of the Rolling Stones, but he wasn’t really a big music lover. However,
…a half year after DBS surgery, Mr. B. stated that he was turning into a Johnny Cash fan. He had been listening to the radio, when he coincidentally heard “Ring of Fire” of the Country and Western singer and experienced that he was deeply affected by the song. Mr. B. started to listen to more songs of Johnny Cash and noticed that he was deeply moved by the raw and low-pitched voice of the singer
His appreciation for the Man in Black soon progressed from liking into devotion. Mr. B kept Cash on his mind both day and night (read more)