Saturday, March 14, 2015


Elsewhere, commenter William mentioned the song "Dirty Old Town" by the Pogues. Now it is almost Pogues season but not quite yet. So I offer instead the original version of the song by Ewan MacColl.*

I like the juxtaposition of optimistic love and grimy realism:

When I first heard the Pogues' version, I assumed that the song was about Dublin. But it was really written about postwar Manchester, England. The Midlands. A place that really is no more.

Ewan MacColl had no connection to the Pogues that I know of, but his daughter, Kirsty MacColl, sang that famous duet with Shane MacGowan called "Fairy Tale of New York."
*MacColl was a stalwart communist to the death and even wrote songs in support of Stalin and Ho Chi Minh.

Where is Putin?

Is the question a lot of twitter heavy hitters are wondering.

From Richard Fernandez... himself not a twitter heavy hitter, but a dam good pundit...
Rumors that Vladimir Putin is sick or has been deposed, fueled by his recent absence from public events are a reminder of the very real defects of autocracy. The problem, as Shakespeare noted, is that kings however well guarded, pampered and doctored eventually die. Age, disease and mischance take their toll and often leave a country, so recently dominated by a single godlike figure, without any process of orderly succession.
Today there is this, from a twitter heavy hitter...

"Why improve our genomes?"

"Because some stuff in them is just broken. We all have harmful mutations. They are called genetic load. The problem is that evolution can not select harmful mutations out of existence at a fast enough rate to prevent them from surviving, in some cases for many generations. So every one of us might have hundreds or even thousands of mildly harmful mutations."

"Even worse for future generations, our rate of accumulation of harmful mutations has accelerated as a result of industrialization and modern medicine. People who are less healthy due to lousy genes are more likely to survive and reproduce. We should not let our genomes decay across generations." (read the whole thing)

Via Instapundit, where the top comment reads...
Having programmed a few computers in my day - and having had to fix trash heaps of bad code in legacy programs left by previous programmers - I'd actually be more worried about unintended consequences of editing the genetic code (which is after all just a huge computer program). I can hear the conversation now.

"Gee, when we changed that base pair in order to give the kid a genius intellect, it also took away the blood vessels to his kidneys. I wonder how _that_ happened?"
And another thing... weren't the Nazis condemned for something similar to this?

"Why Pi Matters"

"Pi does deserve a celebration, but for reasons that are rarely mentioned. In high school, we all learned that pi is about circles. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference (the distance around the circle, represented by the letter C) to its diameter (the distance across the circle at its widest point, represented by the letter d). That ratio, which is about 3.14, also appears in the formula for the area inside the circle, A = πr2, where π is the Greek letter “pi” and r is the circle’s radius (the distance from center to rim). We memorized these and similar formulas for the S.A.T.s and then never again used them, unless we happened to go into a technical field, or until our own kids took geometry."

"So it’s fair to ask: Why do mathematicians care so much about pi? Is it some kind of weird circle fixation? Hardly. The beauty of pi, in part, is that it puts infinity within reach. Even young children get this. The digits of pi never end and never show a pattern. They go on forever, seemingly at random—except that they can’t possibly be random, because they embody the order inherent in a perfect circle. This tension between order and randomness is one of the most tantalizing aspects of pi." (read the whole thing)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hideaway - Kiesza


Florida Fruit Fence

Fruitcake at the jump

"Booth Babes And Sexy Cosplayers Are In Danger Of Being Completely Banned From Events"

Recently PAX banned booth babes from their events and they are just one of many events including E3 to start banning booth babes. This is an excerpt of what PAX had to say on their booth babe policy:
“PAX has a strict ‘no booth babe’ policy with the purpose of creating an environment where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome, and the focus is on games, not hired booth staff.

Booth babes are defined as staff of ANY gender used by exhibitors to promote their products at PAX by using overtly sexual or suggestive methods... (read more
"HELP! The female anatomy makes me uncomfortable
and yet makes me want to buy things!"
Via Instapundit

Hillary gives presser explaining why we should trust her use of private email server while holding high public office

Apple Engineer Explains Development of 2015 Macbook

The Engineer adds details about the day Tim Cook saw the laptop for the first time.

This video contains approximately 30% of true fact.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Survey: America trusts the military above all other institutions

The Latest from Hillary Email Server Land of the Lost

And ...

Alona cried.

Hi Chip we will call you tonight. When is a good time? Alona cried when we finally discovered it was not a miss-sent order but a gift from a loving family member who cares about her kids to send us something educational and fun for them.
Touch'n innit.

I like making ladies cry. He's talking about Snap Circuit Alternative Energy. That was an impulse purchase.

I intended to do a post about the liveliness of households, how impressively filled with life some households. The idea arose from watching Snap Circuit videos. All of them turn out to be children playing. And playing very well indeed. One of the videos I cringed when the boy cracked his knuckles before starting off. And loudly too. I stopped the video right there. I remembered doing that at his age. Why did we boys do that? I remember my mother objecting strenuously, demanding I knock it off, but it had already become a thing among us. I cracked my own knuckles again. It hurts. They don't make a sound. It's stupid. Re-started the video. The boy continued showing his little brother how to assemble his toy involving circuitry. The little one comes and goes. His mum is seen through a doorway going back and forth in the background, she calls to him here and there while she's doing chores and as he assembles and makes the video,  and he answers her while tenderly instructing his little brother through appearances. The dog comes by. The cat is seen in the back. A pet bird squawks loudly. The whole house is overflowing with sound and light and life. You think you can smell the place. That is the household this woman created and I am impressed.

By contrast my own household is more like a buddhist temple.

But I cannot find the video anymore. But by looking I did see a lot of kids playing with these toys and all playing so well with them, entirely wrapped up with them. Then I thought, hey, Jim's kids are nearly this age, and they're only this age once. Surprisingly, the toy was only 50 bucks down from 75. The hard part, and this is really hard, picking out which Snap Circuit set to get the boys. Any one of the kits would work. I went for the most childish and universal of all the sets available because the boys are so young.

No birthday. No Christmas, just give it to them. Now. Before they're too old for it.

Bonus: Alona cried. \o/

"Two officers shot outside Ferguson police headquarters after chief quits"

"These police officers were standing there and they were shot, just because they were police officers," Belmar [St. Louis County Police Chief] said. "I have said all along, that we cannot sustain this forever without problems."

Belmar said the shooter was "embedded" among the demonstrators standing across from the officers.

"I don't know who did the shooting to be honest with you right now, but somehow they were embedded in that group of folks," he said.

Protesters at the scene however said on social media that the shots did not come from where they were standing.

"The shooter was not with the protesters. The shooter was atop the hill," activist DeRay McKesson said on Twitter.

"I was here. I saw the officer fall. The shot came from at least 500 feet away from the officers," he added.

Tim Curry talks about Rocky Horror Picture Show

I find this interview fascinating. Once I convinced myself not to be bothered by a blotch that stands for the interviewer's hair I became mesmerized by Tim Curry's voice and his whole attitude. He loses me a couple times by lowering his voice to a whisper, speeding his cadence and mumbling right through the critical punch line, but other than that I learned a lot about this show. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

phone battery stabbed

Kyle is my first boss at the FRB. He smokes a pipe and supervises some 20 young guys and one learning-disabled gal hired under some special deal who never wears the same outfit twice. 

Kyle is a year from retirement and that matters a lot, a bit overweight and short, he scuttles around barking orders, old school, keep your nose to the grindstone, 100% reliable company guy. They boys are something of a herd, a difficult to crack clique when I join them. It is not fun. The leader of the wolf pack is a 29 year-old  6'.4" philosopher-type with a serious problem concerning dating women, concerning his attitude toward women, he is misogynist. 

Two work areas are separated by a row of metal shelves that are backed, each area of divided shelf represents a commercial bank, so a metal wall on one side and a wall of compartmentalized shelving on the other side, with benches and stools for making bundles from trays of bank checks. Checks are sorted by high-speeed machines nearby on the same floor, the incoming bundles from banks of mixed up checks collected through the day are reconciled, the amounts actually match with bundles sorted to individual commercial banks and tossed into shelf compartments of various sizes on the far side of the metal shelf wall. The crew can be heard on the other side of the wall of shelves but they cannot be seen and that is the perfect setup for a joke. 

Kyle's speech is slobbery due to his pipe smoking habit. It is disgusting. When Kyle pulls his pipe away from his mouth a string of his thick saliva stretches from mouth to pipe tip and you're standing there seeing all that dampness and smoke and odor going, ew gross. All his vocalized S sounds are slobbered. Kyle was losing it, not long for the world, the type of guy who dies shortly after retiring. And he did. We all knew it at the time. Odd working with a man so close to the end of his life. His work is his life. Kyle tells us the same stories repeatedly driving the crew nuts. They have his stories all memorized, and that is perfect for jokes. 

One such story is about Kyle's habit of keeping his Diamond stick matches for his pipe loose in his pants pocket. He keeps his lit pipe in his pants pocket too but that's another story and it does show how his entire wardrobe will smell of pipe smoke, his whole body, every cell permeated with pipe smoke, his breath is pipe smoke, his aura that even non-psychics read is pipe smoke. His story is about him walking through the bank parking lot with vehicles tightly packed in, he walks by a truck with a high bumper and the edge sticking out strikes one of the matches inside his pocket igniting the bundle inside there burning his leg and a hole through the pocket and through the pant leg. Kyle is seriously burned and hurt. 

Almost as hurt as when he was hit on the head with a sack of nickels. 

Nickels from the mint. It is a real thing. Kyle has ridiculous bank-related stories of pain and suffering. It's a battlefield out there. His stories are perfect for jokes.

At the time I was not fitting in. 

It's frustrating. This whole fitting in thing gets more and more wearisome.They all know each other. I'm odd guy out. It's up to me to somehow.  Returning from lunch, this is at night, the work group with the rows of WWII era adding machines that go up to 999,999.99 set up like a classroom are all absent with the whole crew of guys and one gal on the other side of the wall sorting bundles of checks that they created using as wrapper the computer printouts from the high speed check sorting machines. They are all busy making their bundles with others industriously and skillfully sorting them by tossing them into the shelf compartments. They're good people. They're quiet for once. They know what needs doing and they're doing it. The situation is perfect for a joke and finally I can bust a move. 

As I approach the dividing metal wall with the crew behind it and out of sight of each other, I put on my Kyle-voice, so splendidly easy to mimic, surprising that the boys were not already doing it. I pretend to be talking to somebody about the work situation as I approach, the only thing Kyle would talk about aside from repeating a tale and only while working. To the crew behind the wall of shelving my voice will sound like Kyle approaching. If my impression is imperfect, there is nothing to contradict the suggestion of the setup. There is only one Kyle, after all.  I say some ordinary thing about what I am expecting from a supervisor's point of view, the sort of thing Kyle will say, the crew can hear Kyle will soon make an appearance on their side of the metal shelf wall, but right before that my joke is to say something  Kyle is incapable of saying, Kyle cannot swear, so I put those words in his mouth, that is the joke, to shock the crew with Kyle swearing. I choose the harsh sweary language for its sibilant phonemes to rely heavily on slobber, "and thosthssssshe cocksthsssssuckersthsssss better have thosthssssse bundlesthsssss sthsssssorted." Boom. It's me. 

The crew is delighted with the joke and join in immediately. They really do like this one. Now this is a good joke. Within minutes there are twenty versions of Kyle saying ridiculous things. Everyone suddenly tries on their own Kyle's voice, making him say something impossible. The variously ridiculous things that different people put into Kyle's mouth by using his voice, the nuances they latch on to reconstruct Kyle's essential sound, the things they pick up and keyed into and emphasize and exaggerate all  keep each other in stitches for the remainder of the year. I mean it. Everything becomes funny. Nothing is funnier to the crew than the poem "Hiawatha" in Kyle's voice. All this situation lasts until Kyle's retirement. Nobody can keep a straight face whenever Kyle says anything during the remainder of his time there because Kyle does the best impression of Kyle compared to any of us. He cracks us all up whenever he speaks. Discipline is destroyed, official discipline, but that is okay because we have our own discipline and everything works very well. There is nothing that Kyle can say that won't  have the boys creased up laughing because they will hear each other saying the same thing as juvenile comedy. 

"We are being mugged... we are being mugged"

Judge Napolitano Mansplaining

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More Hillary Press Conference...

Photo h/t: EBL
This is what Checkers would have heard today were he still alive. Just click on the "play" button.

Check this out on Chirbit

Hillary Clinton Press Conference...

in two words: Make Me

Link to video of the press conference in full

Volokh: "No, a public university may not expel students for racist speech" (UPDATED)

"Some Oklahoma University students in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity were videorecorded singing (as best I and others can tell),"
"There will never be a nigger at SAE
There will never be a nigger at SAE
You can hang him from a tree
But he’ll never sign with me
There will never be a nigger at SAE
Oklahoma University president David Boren said, “If I’m allowed to, these students will face suspension or expulsion.” But he is not, I think, allowed to do that.

1. First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech.
For the other reasons espoused by the professor go to this Link.

[UPDATED in light of the students' expulsion]



"Iran dismisses GOP letter while Obama says it aligns them with Iran hardliners"

"In an open letter to the Islamic republic, the 47 Republicans, including Senate leaders and several potential 2016 presidential candidates, reminded Iranian leaders that President Barack Obama is in office only until January 2017, and a successor could scrap the agreement if Congress has not approved it.""We believe that the letter has no legal value and is propaganda," Zarif said, quoted in Iranian media.

"The senators must know that under international law, Congress cannot change the content of the agreement.
And the Iranian regime must know that our constitution provides a roll for our congress to play in matters of foreign treaties. They are not just a potted plant. 
"Any congressional action to prevent the implementation of any agreement will violate the international commitments of the (US) government.

"The world is not just in America," Zarif added.
While president Obamas reaction to the GOP letter was... well, Obama being Obama, saying "it's an unusual coalition" to see US Republicans talking directly to Iranian hard-liners."

I would expect the US president and the US congress to work together on this very serious business.

Têtes Raides - Moderato


Looks like 50s America to me. I like it too. Know what else looks American to me? UK's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna called, Electro Velvet that has a distinct look of roaring 20s America, unless UK had flapper dancers too. It could happen. DO NOT follow the link and watch the video Electro Velvet or it will wreck this song. Or maybe these two places, France and Britain, secretly dig our culture and take parts of it for their own as we accuse ourselves of cultural appropriation. No, it is not appropriation. Nor is it cultural imperialism. It's sharing and enjoying each other. It is what humans do.

This is what I noticed in two videos brought to my attention. I read all day long British people and French people speaking uncompromisingly harshly about Americans, often non sequitur as if with serious chips on their shoulders on the subject of us. Then there are these two videos that to me show cultural appropriation from us and it is a beautiful thing seeing what they do with it. I'll accept different analysis, but this is what I'm seeing.

Slight switch here. 

At a personal level, bringing this down to the immediate street, I swear, the things I read online and see covered by news regarding racial and national interaction is not anything close to my personal direct experience daily and with only few rare exceptions, including interactions with police. I would tell a different story. Every day serves good examples, even today on usual rounds that took me no further than one city block and very brief exchanges with no one but strangers, were you to follow and observe you'd conclude it is all charmed. I do. I am amazed at what people volunteer. Mixed with the indifference of students whizzing by, in the span of thirteen minutes I can list six separate incidences where people moved closer into my personal space either to greet me, address me, or assist me unnecessarily. Right to the last seconds of returning to my building when a man happened at that moment to perceive us both entering near the same time, race ahead to outpace me to open the door for me. And I'm thinking, "Is this a movie or what? Did this city become Utopia with the release of daylight savings time?" Is it just Spring? I mean, who says "Hello there!" in passing while crossing the street? All races, different accents, worlds intermingling in a state of apparent grace.

Maybe it's my haircut. I do not know.

How to Improve Immigrant's English, 1940's instructional film.

See, the problem with the way you talk is, you're going, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot.

The Sinhalese guy did seek out professional help, trying to fit in to society. He did bother seeking out the office with the unusually high doorknob. The phonetics instructor did analyze the situation as requested and he did provide the solution. Comments to this video on YouTube are entertaining. They are mostly divided between supporting the video made for its time and those condemning the video for surface racism.

All commenters agree the man is not hard to understand. There was no need for him to repeat his first inquiry about getting to 48 Paddington Street at Edge Way Road. That everyone says they understand the man shows how far multiculturalism has developed. It is not just immigration that produces this improved ear for exotic accents, it is also  media with technology and travel, more thoroughly penetrating cultural exchanges.

My all time favorite phrase in this cadence is Apu frustrated with Homer Simpson, ""

Monday, March 9, 2015

Video: Man spends a year proposing to his girlfriend

peace be upon him

In comments on another site a person wrote, "Obama, (piss be upon him)..." three times in one short comment. I stopped reading comments right there thinking, "I made a card expressing that sentiment a long time ago." But nothing to do with Obama, somebody else was in mind.

The cover makes the common conflation of peas with peace. There is no reason to have a pile of cooked peas for a cover. It is not decorative.

The first page shows a guy on the background rock climbing and nearly at top with another pop-up guy already up there unzipped pissing on him.

The stream is gold string a female realtor gave me to use in cards, so I did.

That's two goofs on the word "peace."  Second page:

Third page:

I never sent it. The card languishes in a drawer. Ditching the peas and the piss, later versions of the third page put a sheep in the pond for "peace be a pond ewe."

My older brother told me this card tickled the shit out of him because it is completely senseless. He never did met a pun he didn't like. He's the kind of guy who delivers groaners with heavy pauses and insists on recognition for them. He'll jab you with his elbow, "Get it? Get it?" He wasn't accustomed to seeing bad ones presented with such displaced confidence. That is what's so massively stupid about it. To go though so much effort to be so stupid. The whole thing put him in stitches. 

Another version that also never was mailed:

I still haven't given it up. I still like the sheep and I still like the groaning pun. The pond ewe is likely to show up again as a random page in another card.

Orange County Starbucks Alleged Tip Jar Thief Apprehended

A 26-year-old man remained in custody Sunday for allegedly attacking a retired police officer after the suspect reportedly stole a tip jar from a coffee shop.
Police explained Cardenas (the suspect) allegedly grabbed a 40 pound metal sign, and struck the customer in the head.

He said being hit by the sign was “like getting hit by a baseball bat.”

Fahey told the newspaper that after being struck, he told Cardenas he was carrying his Glock 26. He said Cardenas came at him with the sign a second time.

“You don’t want to do that,” he said he told the suspect, “I will shoot you.” He said Cardenas then jumped back on his bicycle and fled.
Upon reading this story I was reminded of a comment by Ken in Tx, on another blog, in regards to the police shooting in Madison Friday evening. Someone said "Police shoot too many people." to which Ken in tx responded...
I disagree. I think they don't shoot enough people. Let me explain why I write that.

When I was a kid, cops were allowed to shout, "Halt or I'll shoot." And then they did. A guy I went to school with was shot like this after robbing a service station. The US Supreme Court put a stop to that.

Back in those Bad Old Days, we did not lock our doors, day or night. We only locked them if we left town for a few days. You could leave your bike or other toys in the yard overnight and they would be there in the morning. Actually you could leave your bike anywhere unlocked, and it would be there when you came back. People did not lock their cars. GM cars could be started without a key if the ignition was left unlocked. Most people did. My brother and sister and I walked to school from the 2nd grade on, about a mile. The only bad thing to happen was the dog followed us and got run over. We walked or hitchhiked 10 miles from our subdivision into town for the movies. We walked through multi-racial neighborhoods after dark, with no danger or even threats, only polite greetings. This was in the bad old days when decent people respected the authority of the police and those who were not decent feared them. "Halt or I'll shoot." was part of that.

What happened to le chat? 

Thwock, Matt Harvey, a poem about Wimbledon

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Did Eric Holder too use alternate e-mail account for official business?

"Attorney General Eric Holder’s criminal division head, Lanny Breuer, was caught forwarding controversial Fast and Furious-related emails to his personal account."
Obama Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Holder’s former assistant attorney general for civil rights, allegedly used his private email account to leak non-public information about official business.

As to whether Holder himself ever used personal email for government business, the Justice Department isn’t saying. A spokesman did not respond to requests for information about Holder’s email practices.

In Justice Department emails turned over in a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Holder’s email name is redacted with no explanation. It’s unknown whether the redactions conceal use of an email address that does not belong to an official government account.
That the practice appears to have been rampant goes without saying, we expect these clowns to hide, but, that nobody noticed until now is unforgivable.

"A Better World, Run by Women"

"Research has found that women are superior to men in most ways that will count in the future, and it isn’t just a matter of culture or upbringing—although both play their roles. It is also biology and the aspects of thought and feeling shaped by biology. It is because of chromosomes, genes, hormones and brain circuits."

"And no, by this I don’t mean what was meant by patronizing men who proclaimed the superiority of women in the benighted past—that women are lofty, spiritual creatures who must be left out of the bustle and fray of competitive life, business, politics and war, so that they can instill character in the next generation. I mean something like the opposite of that."

"All wars are boyish..." (read the whole thing)

Today is International Womens Day