Saturday, January 21, 2017

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

This program is described as low-key. Rotten Tomatoes rates it 100% while their audience score is 95%. Netflix viewers rate it 4 stars. I rate it 5 stars. Netflix blurb:
Patrons of an otherwise mundane Japanese diner find simple yet profound connections with one another bsed on the shared love a particular dish.
Mundane diner, indeed. The diner is classical Japanese. This type of place is everywhere. It is eternal. Not only do you get the great visuals of truly great food in preparation, impressive useable ideas for yourself, simple with fantastic ingredients is always the best, you get great storytelling besides.

The first show opens with scenes of modern Tokyo slowing down for late night but still brilliantly lit and quite active. The action is brought down to tiny hole-in-the-wall diner described in scant incomplete detail portions of the whole where we see a purposefully simplified menu offered. The fresh cut vegetables pan fried combined with noodles and broth and your mouth is watering for a simple bowl of soup. The cook serves his customers straight from a tiny kitchen out to a surround counter. The space is very intimate. There is no avoiding your neighbor, no separate tables.

A man sitting with a woman mentions his weight consideration. A woman, his wife presumably, chides him for making excuses every time he orders soba but he still orders the same soba anyway. Then a second woman enters, a cab driver, and she orders her soup without noodles. Very odd. She doesn't want the carbs late at night.

The man turns out to be a late night radio host. He mentions the strangeness of the woman ordering a soup dish intended for noodles but without the noodles. He derides her choice as simple vegetable soup. But that odd choice attracts attention and discussion between the customers and soon enough everyone is ordering the soup bowl without noodles.

The characters connect by the bits and pieces they share at the counter in the diner. The cab driver listens to the radio host as she is driving. The radio host recognizes her from his childhood. She looks like an actress who played on Ninja Squad, his favorite childhood television show. He wrote to her back then and she sent him an autographed picture of the squad. He saved the picture this whole time and brings it into the diner to show the regular customers. They agree the taxi driver does resemble the photo. He mentions this on his show.

She hears him in her cab. He's stirred unpleasant memories. She wasn't a very good actress, but her captain defended her back then. She spoke about how she was the worst actress of all the ninja squad. She was typecast thereafter and got out of the business. I didn't suit her. She'd like to have all that kept in the past. She's pleased with her life now as a driver.

Next the radio host is in her cab apologizing for stirring unwanted memories. He's willing to drop it. She has light brief touching discussions with other diner customers who console and counsel her. She faces her past.

The radio host received a surprisingly heavy response to the mention of the vintage television show Ninja Squad. He started a fan site online to handle the traffic.

Through discussion with diner patrons, the cab driver recalls back then, she came to work early one day to discover cloths spread across the floor leading to her captain wearing her costume. He was shamed and cowering on the floor at the wall curled in a ball devastated at being discovered. His secret was out. He couldn't face her. He admitted to her that he always wanted to be a girl. But from that exposure they became friends and the captain who had defended her as a poor actress became his defender in life. Along the line they were separated.

A female dressed unusually enters the diner with an even more unusual friend. Observing the discussion about this mess of unwanted memories being dredged up and roiled by radio exposure, on the opposite side of the U shaped counter one  quips to the other, "Men. They're all alike. They're like children."

The story develops at a snappy pace. The unusual woman is the taxi driver's one-time ninja squad captain, now in full bloom transition and full confidence. Next he's with the host on the radio dressed extravagantly as female and introduced to the radio audience and reliving the ninja character, repeating the television show's mantra of fighting evil, but he's doing that in full drag, but the radio audience does not know that.

The show ends with all the Ninja Squad cast at the diner in their old power ranger type uniforms of various colors and helmets piling in and seating themselves around the counter filling the space of the diner.

It is a surprisingly beautiful story and nicely told. Had I known I'd be reading so much on Netflix I'd have bought a larger screen. Much more so than cable or over the air. The subtitles on this show are a bit too small for me. I need to move the whole thing in a little bit closer. I put the show on my watch list right off. I recommend giving this show a chance. I think you will like it. Plus you'll get great ideas for your own dinner. And the cook shows in bits and pieces how they're put together. Apparently this show began life as manga and developed to this. It's been a successful show in Japan.

I made some posters...

It's hard making arguments in poster-length chunks but I have been seeing so many Occupy Democrats memes lately that I thought my head would burst at the stupid.

Tell me what you think.  Please tell me if I have spelled words wrong.  
And I'd love to get ideas for more, so put suggestions in the comments!

More below the jump break.  


Ashley Judd recited a "Beat poem" at the Washington Women's March called "#NastyWoman." Intrigued, I looked for the original. I couldn't find the text but I did find a reading by the teenaged poet, Nina Mariah:

Where did the "Beat" label come from? Perhaps one of our beret-wearing readers can help me, daddio.

My first thought, as a codger, was:

Beatniks and politics, nothing is new
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view

The song that went viral for The Strawberry Alarm Clock in 1967 was not sung by the drummer, but instead by 16 year-old Greg Munford, who was attending the recording session as a visitor.

Full lyrics after the jump. Test your knowledge/memory

"You wake up in 2117. What's the first thing you Google?"

Reddit top comments...

Go to Reddit and say... I am from 2017, woke up in 2117 somehow. Ask Me Anything.

I'd google my name.

'What the fuck happened in 2017 that ive just woke up 100 hundred years later!?!'

Is Jaromir Jagr still active? And what new movie is Keanu Reeves going to be in?

"When did WWIII occur?"

If Betty White is still alive.

Has pitchfork technology gone too far?
And then smile as no results come up

Did Emily dip her iambic pentameter in both Walden ponds?

The secret passions of Emily Dickinson revealed 

New York Post By Barbara Hoffman January 21, 2017 

For someone so notoriously reclusive, Emily Dickinson got around. She wrote heartfelt letters to both men and women, clipped flowers and magazine articles, and spoke her mind, at least in poems.
Only 10 were published, anonymously, in her lifetime — out of around 1,800 discovered in her bedroom after her death in 1886. Fiercely private and prolific, she’s long been a mystery: the woman in white, gardening by moonlight. So it’s thrilling to see hard evidence of her life, right down to a lock of her auburn hair, at the Morgan Library & Museum’s new show, “I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson.”
Nearly 100 letters, photos, books and artifacts that rarely leave Amherst College and Harvard University’s archives are finally on view here, including a lovely family portrait of a 9-year-old Emily, with her older brother, Austin, and younger sister, Lavinia. There’s even a musket used by Amherst students, who aimed to join the Union soldiers during the Civil War, and whose shooting drills Emily probably heard from her bedroom. And while the Morgan’s left a few copies of her poems to leaf through during the show, you’ll probably end up wanting to read more. This is shaping up as a great year for the “Belle of Amherst,” who never married and died, age 55, in the home in which she was raised: In April, we’ll see Cynthia Nixon play her in the film “A Quiet Passion.”

"Women’s march baffles women attending Trump’s inauguration"

"Women who cheered President Donald Trump and danced at the inaugural balls in Washington on Friday said the Women’s March scheduled for Saturday has them baffled and indignant that one group would presume to speak for all women."
“I think it’s great, do your thing, but I just don’t know what they’re doing it for. They’re talking about rights, women’s rights, but what rights are being taken away from any women?” asked Susan Clarke, 50, who came to the capital from Charlotte, North Carolina, and wore a blue, bedazzled “Tar Heel Deplorable” shirt. “I don’t understand what the point is.”

The demonstration, which is billed as the Women’s March on Washington, is expected to draw 200,000 people Saturday to the same route as the president’s inaugural parade. Similar marches are planned in more than 600 cities around the world.

At least 15 women interviewed by McClatchy said they objected to the name of the demonstration.

“They can protest, it’s their right, but don’t call it the ‘Women’s March,’ ” said Ellie Todd, 23, who drove to the inauguration with two friends from Spartanburg, South Carolina. “That makes it sounds like it’s a big unified thing, when really they’re picking very divisive issues and protesting against Trump – who by the way is now our president – instead of for something that would bring us all together. It’s not all women.”

Organizers have insisted that the march isn’t an anti-Trump protest but rather a rallying cry for women’s issues and a range of liberal causes that could be threatened by the Trump administration. The event’s policy platform covers issues such as racial profiling, climate change, abortion and LGBTQ rights. The official website lists 177 partners including Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP and Voto Latino.
A rebuttal...

Churchill Returns To The Oval Office

I never realized that it looked like a man craved from crude oil -- even in higher resolution. No wonder Obama kept it out of sight. Anyways, it's good to have him back in spirit.

The contents of our heads

A couple of things caught my attention today that are somewhat related and finally coalesced to single entity.

An item on the Gateway Pundit, one of my favorite rabble rousing sites has a series of tweets that anti-Trump people wrote about Barron Trump.

Barron Trump, oddly has my full attention. He fascinates me for his life experience being so extraordinary. I imagine what it is like to be him. As you know he's ten now and he'll be eighteen by the time this phase is over. We will observe him at this critical growth period and I expect he will be impressive. And it's not just me interested either.

The tweets that Cristina Laila picked out for her piece at Gateway are scraped from the bottom of the barrel, the astringent precipitates that she saw. And this is a very good reason for nice people to abandon that platform. It's the place where people allow their ids full reign while others allow their ids to flap around untethered. Apparently responding to a photograph of the First Family walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. Sometimes Barron's attention is outward to the crowd, other moments his attention is on the street underfoot. He is somewhat in his own internal world while smack center focus of the most amazing events imaginable. His very real outer world is exceptional while his mind is a boy still forming. A sampling:

* Barron Trump counting the minutes until he climbs a clock tower with an assault rifle.

* Are the bookies taking bets on when Barron Trump gets a serious drug addiction and Donald Trump to die (including assassination) in office?

* Barron Trump will be mutilating cats on the White House lawn in like two weeks.

* Barron is going to pump off in every White House bathroom.

And worse. Much worse.

Annie Lennox lyrics on another subject come to mind.

This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I'll never tread
These are the dreams I'll dream instead
This is the joy that's seldom spread
These are the tears...
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head

Very funny, Guys, you always were just so amusing. Here is a glimpse of a real person contrasted with fiery uncensored projections of him, a young person playing with his nephew during a monumentally important event and the little game in the background between a preteen and an infant is so engaging, so universal, that it is picked up by foreign news agencies across the whole globe.

It's A Givhan That She's Racist

WaPo's Robin Givhan moves from: It's OK to refuse to dress the First Family to: Ralph Lauren is possibly the nation's most bipartisan American designer, in less than two weeks.  I think that signals progression in a closed mind.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Johnny Nash

The idea is nicked from Ace's sidebar.

I learned something. I always thought the lyrics say, "all of the dark clouds pass me by" but the girls are right, they say, "all of the dark clouds had me bind."

They're doing Johnny Nash and the chorus. The girls have separate and shared parts.

"Obstacles" is a large "X" formed with both arms, as "block," here the girls show "river" intending to show a winding road. Its the same sign as "path" or "street" or "way" (formed with two "W's").  So you'll see "winding way" immediately before a straight "way."

They're adorable. They're having fun and they're cute.

A lot of beginners try their hand(s) at this song and do rather poorly. 

Trigger Please!

There was a long history of bestiality scandals rocking Hollywood. From the very beginning there was the sad case of Clara Bow with her Cocker Spaniel. Maureen O' Sullivan having sex with Cheeta which resulted in the birth of the simian Mia Farrow. Gloria Swanson and Joseph Kennedy. And of course the cautionary tale of Fay Wray that was later fictionalized in her most popular film.

Nothing was a pervasive and secret as the Hollywood subculture of pony boys. You see many of the stunt men and extra's in the Western serials were actual broken down cowboys from the salad days of the Old West. They were still alive in the beginnings of Hollywood and they had long turned to equine solace on those lonely days on the prairie. It became a cynical subtext in many westerns where the Hero was more in love with horse than the ingénue. The fact was they were trying to hide the truth in plain sight. It was the love that could not neigh it's name.

Why all are the lib douchenozzles complaining about Kellyann's outfit?

I thought it was cool.


IT Crowd

Hello. Remember me?

(No I do not. You look exactly like the cleaning lady I hired to help clear out a room. That is my guess. Sporting of you to show up.) Turns out to be my aunt who flew in from Pennsylvania whom I haven't seen in thirty years. She was young and beautiful when I last saw her and now she looks frumpy and she appears suddenly, no advance notification and pops that question at my dad's funeral. Time has been unkind. How in the world can she expect me to answer properly?

Hello. Know who I am?

(Another bag lady crashing my dad's funeral?) No. She is my parents neighbor whom I also haven't seen in decades. I hardly ever spoke to her back then. How does she expect me to recognize her? Look, my dad died. I'm emotionally distraught. Alright?

They didn't know what to say at funerals. I'm terrible at recognition especially when people change so dramatically. I didn't know there would be pop quizzes. How embarrassing.

As for the mourning so many are experiencing today over politics and the apparent death of their bulldozing dream, I know exactly what to say, and it's not at all comforting or nice. I found this lengthy comment on Reddit insightful. The second one down by commenter rationalcomment made just a few hours ago. It recaps pretty much all we've discussed. The comment responds to another comment about the plane flying over New York dragging a sign reading "We outnumber him! Resist!" as being four months too late. The sponsors of the airplane sign, not comprehending our American republic, prefer simple mob rule.

But it will always be comical. Paula Poundstone had a bit about Bush that had her audience giggling over her childishness, "He's not my president. So I'm not going to listen to anything he says." They do indeed outnumber Trump. In their compressed enclaves and by their inviting massive illegal votes.

Did Hillary catch Bill checking out Ivanka?

Via Reddit

Bart the driver

I just now had a flashback to the remote past so hard it's like being there all over again. I can smell it. I can feel all the vibes of that time. I thoroughly feel the apprehension of joining a new work crew, an established clique with their strange cohesion, their obvious pecking order, all males except for one young woman with a learning challenge who was hired by a unique arrangement, and an old man who smokes a pipe, a very odd old-school boss. This would be a tough nut to crack. It was the night shift, and that is a whole different vibe. At the end of the work cycle, work so strange involving turning trays of processed checks into bundles with their page of computer listing and sorting piles of bundles of checks into a wall of bins made of metal shelving, then at the end of it large canvas sacks containing bundles of checks processed that night through Federal Reserve Bank high speed sorters must be delivered to five major downtown banks so they can get a jump on their own processing, and the rest delivered to the downtown U.S. Post Office nearby. Other sacks would be picked up by delivery companies hired by various banks. It was a quick trip around the downtown area, actually a circle within a grid map of the city, but considering the sums involved it was strange for the bank to assign the task to two little dummkopfs like us.

Bart trained me. And Bart was the worst of the lot when it came to responsibility. He drove like a maniac. He didn't care about damaging the delivery truck. He ran right up on sidewalks, bashed through snow banks, He tossed the bags into corners as if they were potatoes. We were twenty years of age. Bart looked like the cartoon in the Gorillaz video Feel Good; 5'7 or so, thin as a rail, thick shoulder-length raven hair, blue denim shirt, skinny jeans, oversized heavy mountain boots, his trademark. He drove a vintage jeep that he restored himself and taught himself to play the banjo, the one thing he was good at. He is second generation Mexican but speaks only vulgar Spanish. We hung out, eventually became friends. To my dismay this break away from the bank after a night of work and constraint for the independent task of delivery, an undesirable task relegated to the bottom rung of the totem pole, the two new guys, was Bart's opportunity to torch up and I am now complicit in a minor crime, at least a firing offense.

The first night delivering bags of checks and driving through the icy downtown streets, the whole thing completely new to me, a bit overwhelmed by the fortress aspect of the bank, with their own FRB guards who have their own firing range right there in the basement, and having just departed the containment bay of the garage where armored trucks deliver and accept the same canvas sacks of coins, that purposefully slows entry and egress and runs parallel with a port staffed by guards behind bulletproof glass so that they can inspect and control the set of seven-ton doors that closed slowly behind us before the regular garage doors rolled up to release us, one bay for entry another bay for exit, this song came on the radio and Bart turned it up loud as the radio goes in the dead of the cold winter early morning when regular people are fast asleep. Neither of us heard this song before but it's so engaging and so simple we both started singing along automatically because we actually were hitting the road and given the choice we would just as soon not come back.

What a trip. That was a very long time ago, the very beginning of my work experience. My only work experience. I grew up there.


Watch the historic inauguration here at Lem's on YouTube:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"How a computer sees history after "reading" 35 million news stories"

So far, humans have relied on the written word to record what we know as history. When artificial intelligence researchers ran billions of those words from decades of news coverage through an automated analysis, however, even more patterns and insights were revealed.

A team from the University of Bristol ran 35 million articles from 100 local British newspapers spanning 150 years through both a simple content analysis and more sophisticated machine learning processes. By having machines "read" the nearly 30 billion words, the simple analysis allowed researchers to easily and accurately identify big events like wars and epidemics.

Similar systems have allowed computers to learn visually about art and even argue a topic.

Perhaps most interesting, the techniques also allowed the researchers to see the rise and fall of different trends during the study range from the years 1800 - 1950. For example, they could track the decline of steam and corresponding rise of electricity – the opposing trajectories crossed each other in 1898. Similarly, they saw when trains overtook horses in popularity in 1902.

By linking famous people to the news from their chosen profession, the team discovered that politicians and writers had the best chance of becoming well-known during their lifetimes. Scientists and mathematicians are less likely to achieve such fame, but those that do will likely see their notoriety last longer.

Not surprisingly, men are more present in the news of the day than women, but a slow increase in mentions of females can be seen after 1900. It would seem that progress continued to be slow even after the study period, as the researchers note that levels of gender bias in the news today aren't much different.

While the large dataset analysis can provide interesting additional insights into history, the researchers have no designs on artificial intelligence replacing historians anytime soon.

"What cannot be automated is the understanding of the implications of these findings for people," said Dr. Tom Lansdall-Welfare, who led the computational part of the study. "That will always be the realm of the humanities and social sciences, and never that of machines."

Via Reddit: Link

WKRLEM: Watch Toby Keith & get some Beer for Your Horses

"Real people, not actors"

If "Real People" Commercials Were Real Life - CHEVY Emoji Ad
Link to source 

"Calorie restriction lets monkeys live long and prosper"

Settling a persistent scientific controversy, a long-awaited report shows that restricting calories does indeed help rhesus monkeys live longer, healthier lives.

A remarkable collaboration between two competing research teams — one from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and one from the National Institute on Aging — is the first time the groups worked together to resolve one of the most controversial stories in aging research.

The findings by the collaboration — including Senior Scientist Ricki Colman of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and UW–Madison Associate Professor of Medicine Rozalyn Anderson; and NIA Staff Scientist and Nonhuman Primate Core Facility Head Julie Mattison and Senior Investigator and Chief of the Translational Gerontology Branch Rafael de Cabo — were published today (Jan. 17, 2017) in the journal Nature Communications.

Via Reddit: - See more 

Federal spending cuts could save $10.5 trillion over ten years

"The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.
Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.
...It’s not clear whether Trump’s first budget will include reforms to Social Security or Medicare, two major drivers of the federal deficit.
Trump vowed during the campaign not to cut Medicare and Social Security, a pledge that Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), his pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, told lawmakers in testimony Wednesday has not changed.
Yet it could be very difficult to reduce U.S. debt without tackling the entitlement programs. Conservative House budgets have repeatedly included reforms to Medicare and Social Security, arguing they are necessary to save the programs.
...The Heritage blueprint used as a basis for Trump’s proposed cuts calls for eliminating several programs that conservatives label corporate welfare programs: the Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration, the International Trade Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The total savings from cutting these four programs would amount to nearly $900 million in 2017.
At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.
At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Under the State Department’s jurisdiction, funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are candidates for elimination."

Wide Mouth Frog

Usually there is only one video for any given pop-up book, if that, and sometimes but rarely two videos, but this book has a dozen different recitations. There is another pop-up book with the same idea with more animals and more interesting mechanisms but a less interesting ending. And there are non pop-up versions as well. It's an old and favorite story. There are also puppets available. There is a recording that turns the words into a song that goes with another book, and a YouTube video of a woman who uses that recording with this book, a very animated seated woman caring for children who includes sign language with the music and acts out in exaggerated form in front of three small girls, scaring them with the pop-outs who apparently are familiar with the story because they know the words to the song and sing along. There is also a video of a musical play with a cast of schoolchildren. So it's a favorite and a thing that gets repeated quite a lot.

Some of the women reading it don't seem to fully appreciate the joke. They don't exaggerate the wide mouth and they don't change their tone for the ending. They deliver a deadpan reading. And that's not fun. I've seen it done with the gentleman reading the book using his fingers to stretch his mouth to voice the frog, then at the end uses his fingers to squeeze his lips tight and squeak out the voice for comedic contrast and that totally cracks up little kids.

This boy in the video wants to flip the pages back and forth to see the jaw and beak action. With this book, it is the exact same mechanism on each page applied for different animals, V mechanisms in opposition, different artwork painted on the mechanism and background, the most simple mechanisms possible, the first one people learn. Very little children like Jacob are startled by the sudden projections and they want to stick their fingers in and grab it.

The Australian dad kills me. He knows how to read the book. And he knows how to let his boy play with the book, "The wide-mouth frog was still eating flies when he sore a big great alligadah."

My nephew got his copy today. I'm very interested to know how it went over. I hope my brother reads it well as this dad does. I told this joke one time at lunch and he and his Navy diver friend cracked up laughing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


There's a bad storm forecast for SoCal tonight. My beloved San Luis Rey Valley is under a flood watch. We shall survive!
[added]: Overheard at Lem's:
AprilApple said...
Who needs that ghastly Hunger Games wear anyway?
Hollywad +fashion elites can pound sand.
Become a lumber-sexual, like me. It's ezee.
January 18, 2017 at 8:59 PM
I made a "lumbersexual" tag years ago: There is only one link

Tom Ford

One video of Ford, another of Trump. Full disclosure, I didn't watch either of them.

WKRLEM: "The Founder".....the perfect movie for the beginning of the Trump era

I can't wait to see this movie. It is the story of Ray Kroc who built McDonald's into the multi-million dollar corporation that it is today.

I wonder if they will have that famous story. Ray was looking for investors and he went to his friend who was also a food service machine salesman. Ray sold milk shake machines. His friend sold soft Ice Cream machines. His friend said he was crazy. There was no money in burgers. It was in ice cream. So he didn't get in on the ground floor with McDonalds. That man was Tom Carvel.

I don't know if that story is true. But it ought to be.

I hope they make of movie of Tom Carvel's life. He was murdered. Poisoned by his employees who were stealing from him. That would be one great movie.

In the meantime I will enjoy celebrating a great American corporation.

All ahead full Mr. Sulu

"Mr Chekhov arm Photon Torpedo's"
"Aye aye Capatian."
"Mr. Sulu all ahead warp factor two."
"Aye aye Captain."
"Lt. Uhuru, open a hailing frequency."
"Right away Captain."
"Yeoman, stop looking at my ass."
"What...errr..but Jim you didn't say that last night....and"
"Shut up Spock."

Curses foiled Again!

So I decided to submit my first book to Amazon Kindle self publishing. I have been toying with doing this for a long time as I have several projects in the works and I wanted to put one up as a test run. I have a bunch of things going on. A Western. Three Mafia books. A Western set in the East in the Projects at Red Hook. And a murder mystery. All of which are in various states of completion but still pretty far away from being finished and submitted for sale.

On the other hand I have a bunch of product just laying around of my old stuff. So many people are throwing up books that are just a compilation of old blog posts I figured why not do the same.  I decided to use my old series "Laura Bush's Diary" because I had so many entries and it was enough to make up a book as is without any other work than cut and paste. I want to submit it to use their software and formatting process. This will make future submissions easy.

Amazon direct publishing is a great deal. You get about 75% of the sales price instead of paying 75% to the publisher the way it works with the dinosaur publishing houses. The pricing becomes an issue because you can set your own price. I get a book of the day email from Amazon which lists new authors and what they have to offer and you know what? Most of them sell for 99 cents. I have bought a bunch of books at that price because why not? I mean I bought such masterpieces as "Custer at the Alamo" and "Captain America vs. Thor" for that price. They were perfectly fine and enjoyable. So why not take a shot? 99 cents might be just the ticket to get people to buy it as a lark.

Of course I got screwed. Today both Old Man Bush and Barb are in the ICU. How can I publish something that mocks them while they are on their deathbed. Is that a positive or a negative? Will people be offended or amused? I just don't know what to do.

It is always something.

Chelsea Manning Post

Via Drudge: President Obama on Tuesday commuted all but four months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst convicted of a 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted Mr. Obama’s administration and brought global prominence to WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures.

The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to kill herself last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the men’s military prisonat Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

At the same time that Mr. Obama commuted the sentence of Ms. Manning, a low-ranking enlisted soldier at the time of her leaks, he also pardoned James E. Cartwright, the retired Marine general and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who pleaded guilty to lying about his conversations with reporters to F.B.I. agents investigating a leak of classified information about cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program.

The two acts of clemency were a remarkable final step for a president whose administration carried out an unprecedented criminal crackdown on leaks of government secrets. Depending on how they are counted, the Obama administration has prosecuted either nine or 10 such cases, more than were charged under all previous presidencies combined.

In addition, Mr. Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was part of a Puerto Rican nationalist group that carried out a string of bombings in the late 1970s and early 1980s; the other members of that group had long since been freed. Mr. Obama also granted 63 other pardons and 207 other commutations, mostly for drug offenders.

fast no-knead bread


What's the hurry? Planning averse? Honestly, I must say I prefer the original Jim Lahey discovery reported by Mark Bittman for the NYT that Jenny here refers to that describes overnight proofing. Why? Because time is an important element. Time is what imparts the country in Italian country style bread. Time is the element in biga, a pre-fermentation that gives traditional bread its aged character. Without time then you have rushed impatient American type characterless fast industrial style bread. Jim Lahey's method is the same thing as cooking biga without mixing it with fresh dough. This is fresh dough, and it's good, yes, but it would be even better if you just relax and allow it to sit there overnight. You're already giving it three or four hours, what's another nine or ten? You can start this tonight.

And forget about it. 

Until tomorrow, and pick up where you left off. No rush. No fuss.

Time is a form of kneading especially with extra wet dough. The extra moisture allows yeast to move as it grows as branches and causes the bread protein molecules to form interconnections just as with regular kneading. Time allows the yeast to consume starches and that's what makes this bread healthier and noticeably more delicious. Contact with water causes the enzymes in the flour to autolyze much more completely. The wide open crumb will be more pronounced. 

Jenny says the Dutch oven, a cloche in bakery terms, it can be a ceramic casserole, a cast-iron pot, or a clay cloche, they all work the same way, causes steam, it actually keeps the surface of the bread dough wet and elastic long enough for it to continue expanding inside the pot before the expanding dough hardens and surface expansion stops and begins baking to a crust. The closed pot allows a few minutes more time at that critical stage where bubbles trapped inside the bread are expanding by heat and the bread's skin keeps them all in rather like a large ballon with a million tiny internal balloons. Except the inside does continue to expand after the crust forms so the expanding internal dough breaks through the hardened crust. That's why bakers slash their loaves, so that they can control the direction of the internal expansion after the crust has hardened. The enclosed Dutch oven allows more time for the outer balloon, the dough skin, to expand. See? Time again as an element, an ingredient, of the bread. 

Bittman revisits Jim Lahey and makes this suggestion that Jenny takes up, "Hey! I just now thought of a way to do this faster," and Jim looks at Mark with disgust and dismay because Mark missed the whole point of extended proofing and time as an ingredient of the bread. Jenny does too. 

At any rate, recommended. Doing this will change your attitude about bread entirely. Discovering this was a wonderful thing. I haven't bought a loaf of commercial bread in a decade. <--- lie. I bought two. One was mass produced. I ate a few slices and didn't even recognize it as bread. It's a hoax. I threw away almost all of the loaf. The second one was bakery sourdough and although very good, I liked it real well, but it didn't have any actual sour tang to it at all. My own sourdough is 10x stronger, due to three days cold proofing, than specialty store's version. It was good country bread, but it is not proofed beyond overnight so it is not sour. And that's discouraging. If you want strong sourdough bread then you must make it yourself. Not too dissimilar to this. In fact, making this dough and sticking it in the refrigerator for three days will come very close. The difference being commercial yeast is a single organism isolated for its insane fartiness so the result will lack the complexity that multiple yeast and bacteria organisms impart. 


That's my best impression of a shark which doesn't need a male.

I feel like there is news we're ignoring. Feel free.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Female shark learns to reproduce without males after years alone"

Who needs men? A female shark separated from her long-term mate has developed the ability to have babies on her own.

Leonie the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) met her male partner at an aquarium in Townsville, Australia, in 1999. They had more than two dozen offspring together before he was moved to another tank in 2012.

From then on, Leonie did not have any male contact. But in early 2016, she had three baby sharks.

Intrigued, Christine Dudgeon at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and her colleagues began fishing for answers.

Via Drudge: Link

Steve Harvey is sorry, so sorry!

Comedian Steve Harvey is under fire for mocking Asian men.
During a segment on his eponymous talk show on Monday, the 59-year-old comedian made fun of several self-help books, including one titled “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men.”
“Excuse me, do you like Asian men?” he asked the audience. “No thank you.”
He then suggested a new book title, “How to Date a Black Woman: A Practical Guide [for] Asian Men.”
“That’s one page too!” He says. “‘You like Asian men?’ I don’t even like Chinese food. It don’t stay with you no time … I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.” "I mean I guess if you want a needle dick you get yourself an oriental. No wonton head for you!"
Though Harvey spent most of his segment cackling at his own jokes, people on social media weren't laughing.

The Pack is Whack: Aaron Rodgers Neighborhood

This is why Aaron Rodgers is silent on festering family drama

New York Post By Jaclyn Hendricks January 17, 2017 

Whispers surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ family feud are getting louder and louder as the Packers move closer and closer to the Super Bowl.
Days after the New York Times investigated Rodgers’ strained relationship with his family, a source close to the quarterback revealed he has no plans to comment on the rift.
“Aaron has never wanted to air this out in a public forum. He’s going through great precautions not to make things worse,” the insider told People. “You’re not going to see him on Oprah crying about all of this. He will deal with his family issues privately.”
Rodgers’ family drama went fully public last summer following Jordan Rodgers’ appearance on “The Bachelorette.” As Jordan moved further along in the competition, he came clean to now-fiancée JoJo Fletcher about the fractured relationship with his older brother.
“I have a great relationship with my brother Luke. Me and Aaron really don’t have much of a relationship,” Jordan explained. “It’s just kind of the way he’s chosen to do life, and I chose to stay close with my family, my parents and my brother."
“It’s not ideal, and I love him. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes and have the pressure he has and the demands from people he has. Don’t have hard feelings against him. It’s just how things go right now.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

Not Just Third Reich Tactics, But Robert Reich Tactics!

Fantasies of smelly gas warfare:

Fantasies of Trump failing...

...notable for avoiding what not to do as evidenced by the first video. So, own it, shorty.

"‘Never Trump’ national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted"

They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.

But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae.

Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.

One letter, with 122 names, was published by War on the Rocks, a website devoted to national security commentary, during the primary season in March. The other, with 50 names, including some repeat signatories, was published by the New York Times during the general-election campaign in August.

More at the Link : via Drudge 

Dick Solomon's fear of pop-up book

The book Solomon is reading called ABC Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures by Jan Pienkowski. Available on Amazon here for $5.81 + $4.00 shipping. Or $60.00 for "like new" meaning someone didn't appreciate it enough to tear it up. (Children tear them up, that's how you know they loved it.)

But there are other better dinosaur pop-up books than this, several that get 5 star ratings

I bought the Frozen pop-up book. Should get here on Wednesday. Finally remembered to use Lem's Amazon portal. I have the Poe's Raven book too. The ladies in the office were the first to see it and they properly flipped out. It's great having a book you can read in one minute.

The Secret of Kells

Kells is a cartoon available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, considered by many a masterpiece of animation. The film is rated highly by audiences everywhere except Rotten Tomatoes where the critics rated it 91% but the viewers rated it only 85%. It does much better elsewhere.

I didn't want to watch it. Not my sort of thing.

But I did. At first I didn't care much for the sketchy form of drawing, simple lines, for example a cat's mouth is a circle with an x, human fingers are blockish and unrealistic, monk's hoods are squared off, color fields are blocked with no contour shading, their movement up stone stairs is simple drawings advancing step by step, no actual body movement at all.

The story is about a boy set up in a medieval monastery under the care of his uncle the abbot whose chief concern is building a wall to protect from imminent viking attack. An outsider monk visits whose chief concern is completing a book. The boy is not allowed outside of the monastery and the forest is forbidden. The visiting monk needs berries for green ink. This is the conflict of interests. The boy wants to help the visitor with the book.

Turns out the boy has artistic ability and the visiting monk is loosing his eyesight. The boy must overcome his fear of failure, his fear of the forest, and assist with the final drawings in the book.

The boy dares to go into the woods and runs into trouble immediately.

A girl appears who lives in the woods and saves him from disaster. The story follows loosely romance format, boy meets girl; girl hates boy; circumstances draw them together; boy and girl become fond of one another by overcoming obsticles. At first the girls says she will help if the boy promises never to come back into the forest. He agrees. Then the girl changes her mind and invites the boy back anytime he want to.

The vikings do attack. Their cartoon characters are barely drawn at all, just black blobs with thick swords held upright advancing en mass menacingly. Like chess pieces. That's all. There is not much detail to any of the characters so emotions and movements that are added like hair whipped by the wind are all conveyed with amusing economy. A lot of the animation looks like paper cut outs and a lot of the movement looks like transparencies and stop motion, but when the boy goes into the woods then the animation changes, detail is lavished, the drawings, their compositions their complexity and patterns, their colors and impressive details and the mood created all amount to a very real tour de force in animation. It is the forest scenes that arrest viewer's attention and evoke their high regard for this movie. It is altogether brilliant.

The story is solid besides. The monster in the story, the Crom Cruach, is an actual celtic mythological monster. In the end the grown up boy revisits the monastery and meets his downtrodden discouraged rueful elderly uncle clutching a remnant of the book that the boy helped complete, a single drawing by his nephew, saying, "This is all that I have left," and grown nephew hands him the finished book.

The forest scenes blew my mind. Right there are a million ideas for greeting cards. If I ever get stuck on ideas for a forest scene then I have only to turn to this film. The intertwining vines and tree limgs is very close in style to the intertwined celtic designs.

A lengthy sampling of frames of the forest scene follows. And after I snapped these with a Nikon from the television and resized and reframed them in Photoshop, I realized I could have more easily referred to Google images for [secret of the kells] nearly all the photos there are these same frames. Nevertheless, these are the frames, the designs, that impressed me.

WKRLEM: This is the real American who is playing at the Inaugural

Fuck you media. Fuck you Democrats. Fuck you protestors. God Bless America.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Obama Opens NSA’s Vast Trove of Warrantless Data to Entire Intelligence Community, Just in Time for Trump"

"With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security."
The new rules allow employees doing intelligence work for those agencies to sift through raw data collected under a broad, Reagan-era executive order that gives the NSA virtually unlimited authority to intercept communications abroad. Previously, NSA analysts would filter out information they deemed irrelevant and mask the names of innocent Americans before passing it along.
Reddit top voted comment:
This crosses a huge line. The NSA can have our data because they aren't law enforcement. 4th amendment protections are there to keep law enforcement in check from abusing their power. This straight up bulk violates everyone's 4th amendment rights, and as far as I'm concerned, courts should throw out any case this data touches.
Via Reddit: Link

Opera star Andrea Bocelli backs out of singing at Trump's inauguration after receiving death threats

The revelation came as another singer – Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday – last night pulled out of the President-elect's festivities after being threatened and branded an 'Uncle Tom'.

When blind tenor Bocelli announced he would not sing at this Friday's celebration, it was widely reported it was because fans had said they would boycott his concerts and records.

But a source said the 58-year-old had been determined to 'press ahead' and sing but had pulled out on the advice of his security team after receiving threats to his life.

A source close to Bocelli, a friend of Trump's, said: 'Andrea is very sad to be missing the chance to sing at such a huge global event but he has been advised it is simply not worth the risk.'

Via Drudge: Link