Saturday, July 21, 2018

Here we go again!

The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!

The President is in mid season form even before the beginning of training camp. The new NFL anthem policy lasted about as long as the Jets Super Bowl hopes. The policy basically had two options. First they could take the cowards way out. Not come out of the dressing room at all. Or they could set up their own policy if the players came on the field and knell down to disrespect the flag and our nation. The Miami Dolphins were the first team to set up a policy that they would fine or suspend players who decided to knell. The Players Union shit a brick and of course the NFL dropped to their knees to blow them.

Making pickup trucks great again!


So I am waiting at a stop light on Merrick Road out on Long Island. A pickup pulls up with a Hispanic guy blasting salsa music. I go to put the window up and then I notice it.

A sticker of the God Emperor in the back seat. As though this guy is happy driving around with Donald Trump as one of his boys.

You see I think there is a great groundswell out there. Thousands and thousands of working guys of all races and ethnicities who have jobs now or are getting more money in their paycheck. Who don't give a shit what CNN or MSNBC or Lady Graham or Mitt Romney or Songbird or Joe Scarborough have to say. Who don't care about Russia, Russia, Russia.

Support for the President will be evident in unexpected places. Now I don't over value it. His black support might be maxed out at 20%. Which is phenomenal for a Republican. A total game changer. His Hispanic support will be much higher. The media will be dumbfounded. The pollsters will not understand how they got it so wrong.

They will conclude that someone had tampered with the election.

My vote is that it was the Martians.

Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency invites entries

Photo by DARPA














"Picture the Olympic Games — except instead of human athletes, the competitors are all insect-sized robots.

...The robots would be developed for a new DARPA program called Short-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms (SHRIMP). Under SHRIMP, the bug-sized bots will be tested for deploying in locations that are difficult for people to navigate, or are dangerous or inaccessible to humans, according to the statement.

...One of the "sports" categories for the bots will test untethered actuator-power systems, showing how high and how far the robot can jump, how much weight they can lift, how far they can throw objects and how they perform in a tug of war.

The other category is for complete robot designs: The tiny bots will be evaluated on rock piling, climbing a vertical surface, navigating an obstacle course, and performing in a biathlon."


What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Please forgive me



Comments to this video on YouTube are adorable.

terrace garden

The garden is at midpoint. There are still things popping out of the dirt, it's sill filling out. The morning glories still haven't begun to bloom yet. I imagine that's still a few week off. But when they do, oh boy, it's going to be flowers all over the place. Their vines are trying to take over the world.

I gave seeds to a neighbor and told him what to expect. I advised him to plant them in pots on the floor so they'll climb up the railing and spread. I look up to his balcony and see he was modest about it, planting only a few in only two areas, and they have taken over, his whole railing is covered. It's delightful to see. He has his own little jungle up there. Like I do.

He's a cop.

If he's still around next year I think I'll take up a dozen or so caladium bulbs up there so he can max out on the jungle effect.

I have a million pictures to show you. Want to see 'em?

What?

Fine!

How about 24 pictures then?


sourdough starter

My niece asked me about sourdough. Her form of communication is by phone messaging. My nephew told me "Sometimes I wish Amanda had never gotten a smart phone because now she messages 100 times a day." And he's such a sweet nephew, that type of remark is unusual. But that is how my niece communicates, zippy-zappy spurts. Nothing long. Nothing engaging. Nothing with any depth to it. I'm afraid I dissuaded her. It's not her type of thing.

Then I felt bad.

This Denver Power sourdough starter is a good one to start with because it behaves close to how commercial yeast does. Of all the sourdough starters I've tried, the ones purchased online from International Sourdoughs, and from vendors on eBay, and Carl's 1847 Oregon Trail still offered for free, and all the sourdoughs I've cultured by traveling, Hawaii, California, etc., this Denver one is most powerful, fastest, and most close to commercial yeast in speed and reliability. Except a LOT more interesting.

I had been keeping it going as sponge, then burned out on bread altogether, so the last sponge languished in refrigerator untended, unfed, for months. And you just don't do that. Still, when I finally went back to it, the culture sprang back to life as if it had been merely sleeping and not woefully neglected.

But I don't want to have a huge bowl of sponge in the refrigerator all the time. I don't want to be attentive to another live pet. Since this starter springs to life so quickly (comparatively), that makes it reasonable to rejuvenate it from freezing each time. It's that easy to start up. A day and overnight at room temperature. That's it. Boom. It's 'ready to go.
I just now did that again, to prove the point.

I did not reserve active sourdough from the last most recent batch. There are still a few slices left of that bread. Instead, I reactivated the starter from frozen state and began it again, baked a new loaf. And still didn't reserve any starter for next time. There is still quite a lot in frozen powder form.

So to compensate to my niece for giving her the short shrift, I sent her a few teaspoons of Denver Power sourdough stater and a note explaining how to use it, assuming she already knows how to make bread.

It's a simple note in Text Edit. Had I known it would print out to six pages I'd have reduced the font size. Now I'm worried all over again that it's too much for the poor girl to read. She's not the reading type like her brother. Perhaps he'll read it for her and tell her what it says. Maybe she's more capable than I'm giving her credit. I don't know. We'll see.

The note follows.


watermelon

The watermelons are particularly good this year.

That's what a friend said and I agreed. I bought one and it was bright dark red throughout and with very few seeds. I cut it like a pineapple so all the rind was removed leaving a large American football shape, a deep red oval form dripping all over the table.


It was brought home for the base of a fruit salad, and although the fruit salad is massive, sufficient to feed the Swedish army while trekking across the Sahara, and although I picked out a small one, it was still too much watermelon, the proportion was off with all the rest of the fruit. And berries. An entire pineapple, an entire large tray of strawberries (cheap as can be right now), mango, papaya, peaches, and kiwi fruit. 


So I processed the watermelon with an emersion blender and made ice cubes. 

Thing learned: watermelon ice cubes go great with Coca-Cola. 


Watermelons are the best fruit ever. Right there is proof there is God and he loves us. Why else would there even be such a thing? It's an example of the art of creation, God the artist, BLAM! "I love you guys." Ta-daaaah: Watermelon.

海の豊饒 (WKRLEM NO-San)

Bach on hand bells led to my friend Mamady Keita, which led to AADE and Baba Chuck Davis, which led to some awesome marimba playing and this happened. I better stop.




I have a rawhide former drum head sitting nearby - I used to build drums like those in that video, but I couldn't sell them, so I stopped making them. But hearing them played reminds me why I used to do such things.

Mamady:


I called him "Mon petit frere" as he is a month younger than I am.

I used to make djembes, but once again, I just barely managed to sell what I made. I started with a neighbor's maple log pictured below on the lower right:


Then I turned a djembe with its shape based on the thrust nozzle of a Saturn V rocket:


It is loud, but not Saturn V loud.

Today I finished a red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana) robox:



But wait, there is more:







Another sunrise

Yay!



Romney: Trump's remarks at Putin summit are disgraceful and detrimental to democratic principles.

Oh?

Because the resistance and partisan treasonous activity within the FBI and DOJ before and after and ongoing have caused the agencies to no longer be trusted?

Please elaborate. To somebody else, because this reader is no longer paying any attention to anything the resistance has to say.

Romney, piss off and go where the Whigs went. You've been delivered your lesson, now learn it.

The Hill, with useless reporting of ridiculous unhelpful things, and even worse prepubescent commentariat.




Thursday, July 19, 2018

Liberals are sending pee-proof underwear to female Democrat senators to get them through long hearings against Brett Kavanaugh nomination.

Elizabeth Harrington at Free Beacon.

By "liberals" Elizabeth means the manufacturers of the underwear, THINX and Icon, the companies behind "period sex blanket and absorbent underwear for bladder leaks.

The company said they were sending female Democrat senators urine absorbent underwear to "prepare them for hearings and other potential roadblock attempts in efforts to stop Kavanaugh's confirmation." According to their press release, the underwear will help the "protect women's rights" by blocking Kavanaugh's appointment.

The company sent care packages to Elizabeth Warren and to Kristen Gillbrand.

A lot more information at the link.

But you don't need any more information to see this is a publicity stunt. The whole thing is ridiculous.

Did someone say Air Force One?

Of course I have seen it fly by, I mean, who hasn't, right? But those words triggered a reminder of one of my favorite operas, Nixon in China, written by John Adams. Now this Adams fellow is not a good person, and most of his work is easily ignored, but he hired a decent librettist and wrote his little fingers to the bone with his quill pen when he put these notes together, and for whatever reason I like this opera.

I was lying on my sofa thirty years ago, halfway napping, when there came a tapping, oops, wrong poem, when I heard this music, I opened my eyes and there was AF1 landing in a way that no normal plane has ever safely landed. No normal non-VTOL airplane, anyway.

Without further preamble, here it is:



Sinuhe vs. David

Describing an episode in the Tale of Sinuhe, considered among the greatest of ancient Egyptian literature, and revered by ancient Egyptians themselves, there are five surviving Middle Kingdom copies and two New Kingdom papyri and twent-five surviving ostraca (chunks of clay pots), James Allen says it is reminiscent of the Bible's story of David and Goliath.

I think Allen has that backwards. The fiction of Sinuhe, predates the David and Goliath story by millennia, so the Goliath story is reminiscent of Sinuhe. And it's only just barely reminiscent in that a huge guy challenges a regular guy and the challenger brings his whole tribe and they set up camp nearby to make their challenge.

This is the peak of the Sinuhe story. Sinuhe runs away from a change in administration, much like a few Democrats flee the U.S. after Trump election for fear of what will happen to them, or disgust with what is happening, and does very well in his adopted new home, is challenged there, prevails as David did in the story about Goliath, and then the rest of the story, not quite half, is about him in old age and enjoying success, yearning for home and his return. Allen does not compare his return to the Biblical story of the prodigal son, although the return is similar, Sinuhe was not prodigal.

The episode is told wonderfully; zip, zip, zip, done. By modern reading, its opening is near pornographic. Amusingly, it can be read as euphemism.

During the night I strung my bow and shot my arrows.
Gave play to my dagger and embellished my weapons
At dawn, Retjenu came.

Ha ha ha. Come on!

He played with his dagger and buffed his pistol, shot his wad and Retjenu came.

You perv!

It's charming. The episode is told charmingly. Retjenu is a place. An area. The whole county was there. This challenging brute had the whole area under his brutish control. Entire towns came to watch him kick butt and take all Sinuhe's possessions, his herds, his people, and all that he owned.

This study is working very well. It's forcing me to look up new words everyday, and seeing how ideas are expressed, how Egyptian sentences are formed, which signs are relied upon, how they're manipulated to service expressions. Allen's super meta grammar language is not that helpful to me so much as simply seeing how it is done sentence for sentence. Looking at blocks of text I cannot make sense of it, while Allen's breaking it down into chunks is excellent, although his description of the sentence is not useful to me. "an unmarked adverb clause with pseudo-verbal predicate" for example means almost nothing to me, although I know what he's talking about as it continues, "the term ng3w refers to the longhorn bull..." is clear because it's shown right there in the hieroglyphs. Like when scientists describe the elements of myosis and mitosis by using words they made up so they can talk about specific elements that we see. They created a name for every little thing that we see.  For example, "vesicles derived from the Golgi apparatus move to the middle of the cell along a microtubule scaffold called the phragmoplast." GAWL! I have to look up every single word just to visualize what the guy is talking about when the photographs are right there. Then when the test comes, it's all about the language about the subject than it is about the subject.  And I don't care about comprehending grammarians. I care about reading hieroglyphs. I don't want to learn the meta-language that describes all languages to get at it.

It's a twisted world in which we live.

Because to prove you know it you'll have to master the metalanguage to talk about what you know. Not simply translate text accurately. Here's the episode in all it's charm. There are two panels of hieroglyphs. They're shown sentence for sentence, then returned to the beginning to show Allen's notations for both. The second frame is all of the frames. I turned on all of the Photoshop layers so I'd know where to crop off the bottom and I like how they all show at once. I think that's cool. It's only 3 seconds.


David and Goliath is at First Samuel 17. It's more detailed than Sinuhe's fight with the Asiatic giant.

The whole group of Philistines took up on a hill directly opposite another hill of Israelite encampment with a valley between them. Goliath was 10 and half feet tall. Others estimate 9 feet, 9 inches. (The length of a cubit varies)

R-i-i-i-g-h-t.

His armor weighed 125 lbs. 

Not that much heavier than what US soldiers packed in Iraq heat. 

Goliath taunted Israel to send out a fighter knowing nobody could match his size or his experience. This infuriated the Israelis. 

David was supposed to be watching his sheep. When David kept showing up his brothers told him to get back to his job, that all he wanted to do was watch the fight, and David was all, I can take this dude. I can do this. Who does this obnoxious uncut freak think he is anyway? 

See, that's funny right there. Of all the things David has to refer to about this guy Goliath, David mentions his dick. 

There's humor in the Bible, real charm, that biblical scholars don't admit. That's exactly how guys talk. 

This went on for over a month.

The Bible describes David's dad telling David to take a bunch of food to Saul's camp and pass it to his older and bigger brothers and their commander to find out what they have in mind to do. 

When David arrived they were getting ready for battle. It's reported the King will give whoever kills Goliath will be given his daughter in marriage, that would be several steps upward, social mobility through military career, and would be free from taxation for the rest of their life. Soon as the Israeli warriors saw Goliath they all took off running. 

David's oldest brother heard David questioning the soldiers and got burning mad, "What are you even doing here? Why aren't you doing your job? Who's with the sheep? You conceited wicked little prick. David can't even speak to his brother so he turned around and asked somebody else and the men answered as they did before. Then Saul heard about David asking all these questions and called for David to be brought to him. David told Saul he can do this.

Saul was all, "You can't do this. You're just a kid, you're not fully grown, just a shepherd. Goliath is a grown man, he's YUGE! And he's been a soldier since he was your age." 

David said, "Yeah, but as a shepherd I've had to protect the flock from both lions and bears. I knocked them on their heads and then went in and killed them. The lord protected me from their claws. I can do this, I tell you. Goliath is just another lion or bear to me. I'll do to Goliath what I did with both lions and bears. I can do this. I can do this. I'm telling you, I can do this." 

Saul was all, Fine. Go get yourself killed. The way he put it was, "May the Lord be with you." 

Then Saul dressed up David like a soldier and he looked perfectly ridiculous, a lad in oversized men's tunic and bronze helmet. Like a cartoon, with a sword buckled on that was way too big. David tried to walk around clanging and clunking and weighed down and he told Saul, "Forget this. I can't do it this way. Thanks for the offer but this armor doesn't work for me." Saul was laughing his ass off but it really wasn't that funny. Just the sight of it while the situation was dire. Then David left with his shepherd's staff in his hand and went down to the stream and picked out five smooth stones and put them in his pouch and went down to confront Goliath.

Goliath kept coming closer and closer with his shield-bearer in front of him and he saw that David was just a boy, positively glowing in good health and handsome and Goliath instantly despised him and cursed him in the name of his gods. "What am I to you, a dog that you come chasing with sticks? Come here and I'll make mincemeat out of you and feed your flesh to the birds and wild animals." 

Whap!

Right between the eyes. Goliath went down like a tree forward on his face. David stabbed Goliath with Goliath's own sword and hacked off his head and held it up by its smelly hair with flies buzzing all around it. The Philistines took off and the Israeli soldiers swarmed David and chased off the Philistines and took everything in their camp. 

Saul asked who's son is David but Abner, his commander, didn't know. "Well, find out!" Saul snapped. Abner found David and still holding Goliath's head with flies buzzing around it, brought David before Saul where David told Saul, I am son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem. 

"Why do you ask? " 

"For tax purposes. Plus, you're going to marry my daughter." 

AF1 to be painted red, white and blue

Reporters put it this way, "President Trump says Air Force One is getting a patriotic makeover."

The joke is, Trump's patriotic color is gold. Like his N.Y. apartment, gold door, gold rug, gold walls, gold ceiling, gold furnishings, gold picture frames, gold pictures, gold objets d'art, gold lighting, gold statues, gold columns, gold tea sets. See it. 

Earlier this week I saw Melania in one of her multiple wardrobe changes wearing a red, white and blue dress in stripes that swirled around her figure perfectly, as she played lawn bowling with British children and I thought, wow, that's perfect. [melania, britain, lawn bowls] Because the dress could represent the British flag just as well. Or the French flag, for that matter. Or tons of other flags

They're very good colors.

My impulse is fire up Photoshop and see what that looks like, but it all depends on how the colors are arranged and I could spend all week on variations. I'd be influenced by Melania's outstanding dress. No stars in the blue. No stars. Pity. I love those little stars. Sprinkled all over the place. Even in the red and outlined in the white like they cannot be contained in the blue, like the jet plane bashes through stars and gets them all over, states like confetti. This could be why I haven't been asked to design it. 

I don't need to photoshop to get an idea what that looks like, Shirley, it's already been done many times. [jet plane, red, white blue]

Things I learned from comments.

* Current design done by Raymond Loewy one of all time greatest industrial designers. 

* Original color scheme intended was red and gold but Kennedy found that too regal. Slate blue is representative of colonial times, cayan blue was considered forward-lookng and the font is from Declaration of Independence.

* Obama wanted blue and white

* Color schemes on planes is called "livery." 

Walter Carr, walks 20 miles to his first day on a new job, given a new cary by his new boss.

Carr started out early. A cop picked him up, they had breakfast and the cop drove him part way. The cop radioed his counterparts to be on the lookout for Carr. After a few more miles of walking they drove him the rest of the way. He got to work an hour early. The CEO of Bellhops Moving company, Luke Malin, was so impressed that he bought Carr a ... wait for i-i-i-i-t ... truck.

Psych!

Luke Marklin bought Walter Carr a car.

Which he'll use to find a better paying job that isn't such hard work as moving furniture around. Kidding.

Watch Charles Payne of Fox get choked up.

br />
Seen at the Treehouse

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ex-White House stenographer: Trump is lying to the American people.

Trump didn't use her services so much as Obama did so she "believes" Trump is lying to American people.

Lying is fact vs fiction. Not belief. For example, I believe you're a dope and I think I can prove that.

Story with video at the Hill (with terrible commentariat, loaded with learning handicapped throwing things inside a short bus.)

She has her reasons to be discouraged. *whinging whining crybaby doll voice*  "Obama held off-the-record meetings with press after 5:00 but not in the middle of d-a-a-A-A-A-a-a-y, like Trump does."

Sugar Plum, as holdover, you were suspected of leaking. And you probably were leaking. And the people remaining applauded when you left. Like a spy being deported. Put simply, you weren't trusted by Trump. I'd tell you what to do with your stenographer's pad but your hand is too short. (See what I did there?) Plus Trump videos his important meetings when he wants the public to see how he runs a meeting. He's in control. Not you. Glad you're gone, screen door, etc.

She's flogging a book about her years in the White House. Her audience is specific to whomever is interested in Obama's White House.

Comments at the Hill are worse than useless. They're pathetic. Below grade-school level japes and jibes.

I didn't bother watching the video of her speaking.  It looks similar to "The View."  And she reminds of someone I dumped.

Better comments here, if you like reading what sensible people think of this.

Super Lice

Ew, gross.

I drew this about a a decade ago when an infestation named super lice that was resistant to treatment was in the news. 

I'm posting it again now to dissuade you from clicking through to the real thing. To satisfy your lice-viewing impulses and spare you the disquieting shock of seeing a child in distress. (A child with a gorgeous head of hair.) Now we see why adults used to always have their hands in our hair when we were that age, to play with us as living little dolls with thick silky hair irresistible to touch. And we also see how that impulse is now easy to resist.   


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Peter Strzok mashup / The Salt Mines Are Rich Today

Taking a break from studying. And avoiding vacuuming. And dusting. And doing dishes.

How about some fun with the kids?

The title of the video refers to the old testament, but it has nothing to do with religion, just that Strzok reminds at least one viewer of the devil. Or at least an imp.

The video ends with a catchy tune that my parents would not approve. Too much sweary words. My mum would slap me into next week.

The song is not on Amazon and not on iTunes, it is not picked up by Shazam, but it is on YouTube (until Google finds out about it) and if you like it you can buy it for a dollar here.




Alexander Gerst provides time lapse footage of earth from the International Space Station

Gerst is with the European Space Agency working on experiments on the ISS. He is joined by US and Russian people. (I hesitate to write astronauts because I don't know what they call themselves.) They've been together for a month. More information, if you'd like to have it, at Space.com.

Gerst's Twitter account is also interesting.

Hannity interviews Trump after meeting with Putin


Monday, July 16, 2018

bnri

Scribes of scribes of scribes of scribes. That's me.

I'm pouring through James Allen's Middle Egyptian Literature with a magnifying glass. Literally. And I'm using expand view of Kindle version. He discusses the mistakes that early scribes make while copying stories from previous scribes. Places where ancients were using damaged copies and had to make guesses. Spots where modern linguists encounter the same problems. And word for word the subject is dissected, syllable by syllable, phoneme by phoneme, all picked apart with linguistic grammatical tweezers.

While doing that, and getting their results to printing avoiding their own errata is impossible. Apparently.

Allen tells his readers the blank spot in the text being used is "bnri," the solution was provided by later texts.

It's the part where the character in the story is saying all the good things that his adopted patron provided, "and many sweets would be made for me." The text reads "me would be made for [blank] many." The sign for "many" is a little gecko. It's the cutest little thing but a bitch to draw on account of all its tiny fingers.You don't want this word to come up very often when you're drawing these by hand.

Here's Allen explaining what goes in the blank space in the text.


I made it show large so you can see the little pictures. This is the problem I'm having with both copies of his book. Everything is too small to appreciate without serious help.

He wrote it backwards. It's printed backwards. It reads "determinative for plural, determinative for sweet root, i, r, b over n."

This is how it should look.


 

Gawl. Do I have to do everything myself if I want it done right?  

That reminds me of another thing where someone laughed in the wrong place. While George and Paul were learning how to make pizza dough, I turned my back briefly to get the camera. I had only turned around for two seconds and Paul slathered the pizza with 4X the amount of sauce, dumping the whole thing onto the pizza, soaking the whole thing ridiculously with no sense of proportions whatsoever. 

I said what my father would have said, "I turned my back for two seconds. Must I do everything if I want it done right?" That wasn't intended to be funny but both guys giggled hopelessly. They both backed away from the work surface to give space for their shaking. 

"Should I put it back?"

"YES!"

It is summer

It has been very hot and dry lately. Last time I mowed the lawn it was like a dust storm out there:


Today I decided to prune some shrubberies and cut down some poke weeds. The latter were close to 8 feet tall and amazingly well built for a weed. They were overgrown with wild grape plants and vines covered with stickers. While dragging the prunings back to the burn pile I noticed that the spiders in my boxwood shrubs are back:


I don't much care for boxwoods but I am glad they provide a nice home for millions of spiders.

But that's not what I am here to talk about. Nope, what I am here to discuss today is Heracleum Mantegazzinum, which although it sounds Italian, is actually an extremely dangerous member of the carrot family. Looks benign enough:


Contact with the sap can lead to months of pain or blindness. It causes phytophotodermatitis and while that rolls trippingly off the tongue, I really don't want to experience it. Poison ivy is bad. Poison oak, bad. Poison sumac, worse. Heck, after a lifetime of working with freshly cut black walnut I have now gotten sensitized to the point that I get contact dermatitis when the sap gets on my skin. So when I read that this noxious plant is now invading my space I became concerned. Now I hope I have enough sense to avoid it should I encounter it in the wild.

Where is a flame thrower when you need one?

Victor Davis Hanson, Why Europe gets no respect

This essay is another example of you knowing all that already, having all the same ideas already but floating around disconnected, then someone like Hanson comes along and synthesizes all that into column A and column B and you go, "wow, that's brilliant."

Hanson begins by describing the current situation of Trump bullying European leaders and describing the European union as equal and more powerful than the U.S. in theory by population, by combined GNP, by combined landmass and by multiple accesses to oceans and geographical areas, by being the center of the world's largest religion, by some of the greatest nations originating as European colonies, by the number of people worldwide who speak European languages. By European products being household names, Hanson names them, by being the world's greatest tourist attractions, by being the originators of Roman republicanism and its later globalized empire, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

Hanson describes all that Europe has to be proud about, basically, the awesome history of Europe and all its luminaries, its discoveries and all its contributions to mankind. Hanson's list of things that make European astounding is impressive. He rattles off European achievements.

Then Hanson asks why are European leaders feeling increasingly irrelevant? What happened? Where did Europe go wrong? Why so passive-aggressive in their exasperation when a guy like Trump challenges them?
In most high-stakes diplomacy—denuclearizing North Korea, attempting to make China play by international norms of trade and commerce, keeping Vladimir Putin within his borders, destroying ISIS, isolating a theocratic and potentially nuclear Iran, and the perennial Israel and Palestinian problem—Europe is largely a spectator. Its once heralded “soft power” of the 1990s and early 21st century is more soft than powerful. The friends of Europe no longer count on it; its enemies do not fear it.
The high-tech revolution that includes Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, passed Europe by. And judged by the things that great powers are weighed, Europe is waning; fuel, energy, education, demography, political stability, and military power. Hanson cites numbers.

Here Hanson gets to it.

Laws against fracking, German dismantling of nuclear power plants, massive green subsidies for erratic energy, all self-inflicted wounds, have made gasoline and energy costs among the highest globally and making Europe dependent on Russia, Central Asia and OPEC for its energy.

Politically, Europe is no better. They've failed to assimilate diverse people, languages and cultures with long historic grievances into a pan-European nation. At least not without coercion that is not democratic. For all its claims on acceptance of diversity, it's actually intolerant of dissident voices resulting in frustration and polarization. Europe is slowly trisecting. Eastern Europeans revolt at Berlin's open-borders bullying. Mediterranean Europeans resent bearing the frontline burden of immigration. While Britain drifts away.

European government is run by an elite group of professional and bureaucratic careerists exempt from the concrete consequences of their ideology and policies. People other than themselves bear the brunt of massive illegal immigration on their schools, neighborhoods and public safety.

Hanson gets to the point.
The implementation of a social welfare state seeks to provide cradle-to-grave support for a static underclass in exchange for its political support for an entrenched elite. The expensive social project squeezes the middle class, as taxes rise to pay for entitlements for the poor and to subsidize the lifestyles of the mandarins of the administrative state. 
The European social welfare state envisions military expenditures as theft from social welfare entitlements—a viable assumption as long as the United States continues to underwrite European national security.
Hanson describes European socialism as a politics of envy.

European culture is uncomfortable with individual drive toward upward mobility and entrepreneurship. Europe's attitude is exemplified by Obama's infamous declamations, "you didn't build that," "now is not the time to profit," and "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." Europeans see profit as violation of fairness. Liberty is not the operative agenda, equality is, and that applies to anyone who manages to crawl across the border.

Here is Hanson's best part.
Out of this complex matrix emerges the haughty European mindset that it alone has transcended the limitations of human nature, convinced that enlightened ideas about soft power and pure reason can eliminate war, poverty, and inequality not just inside Europe, but globally as well.
Here is the most useful part for argument.

Loud proclamations on human rights along with antipathy to religion as a sort of dark and unenlightened force from Europe's troubled past have deluded the European Union about the ultimate sources of its safety and prosperity. Its postwar arc to affluence and security in part rested on US military subsidies along with running up large trade deficits with the US that supported the evolution of global economy. European policy in reality hinges on trading with anyone, while in the abstract it opposes human rights abuses. Europeans speak loftily but behave with self-interest.

China assessed Europe and concluded it cannot or it will not do much about China's mercantilism based on violations of all the canons of postwar trade agreements. Two-million Muslim migrants assume correctly that Europe is divided and incapable of using political and moral will to protect its own sovereignty, far less defend its political and religious history and its traditions. Russia accepts that an unarmed and energy-deprived Europe will not do anything to check Russian expansionism. To Russia, Europe is more worried about oil and natural gas supplies than it is in translating its outrage over Putin's authoritarianism into any real pushback. Better for Europe to buy as much Russian gas as possible while damning Trump for colluding with Russia and for being too soft on the Russian oligarchy.

Hanson cites polls. (skip)

American solutions to European crises in confidence are unthinkable: deregulation, tax cutting, more referenda, increased defense spending, fracking, border security. Those solutions are antithetical to European elite's self-preceptions and humanitarian pretensions and would force a collective admission of failure.

Hanson saves his best shot for conclusion.

Europe is left with its signature mythology that pan-Europeanism itself kept the peace for 75 years, that ignores US-led NATO and the anomaly that Germany did not develop nuclear weapons while the traditional frontline enemies in two world wars did, on the instinct that power not pretension keeps the peace.

Finally, Europe isn't mad at Trump and the people who elected Trump for being crude, rather, they're angry because they know that Trump and the US are needed now more than ever by a continent that has lost its way.

So then, Europe gets no respect because Europe lost its way.

Princess Bubblegum makes a sandwich



I don't know why I laughed so hard.

Part of it is the thing being translated in Russian. Part of it is the world the writers created is so off the wall. Another part is something so odd being so popular, this clip received 995,500 views so far and provoked 1,230 comments, also off the wall. Fans adore this cartoon, and the fans in comments are a bit weird, and they get put off when a scientific character who argues against magic with wizards who practice magic, then uses magic to make bread. I split a gut when the cinnamon bun says, "peace out" and walks away, imagining that translated into Russian. The success of this cartoon kills me. 

I would be a terrible standup comedian. 

I don't know why I think some things are funny. And I haven't a clue why other people think things are funny. I was thinking today, people laugh in all the wrong places. 

The checkout guy was taciturn. He was not to be amused. I have no idea what his bag was. Ungracious. Uncommunicative. Unresponsive. Strictly business. Rather slow. Then he told me the cost and I said, "I accept the terms." A thing that I say, it's not intended to be funny,  and he cracked up laughing. Both of them did. 

What's funny about that? 

I told the young woman at work when the forklift ran over my foot it hurt so bad so quickly I was traumatized. She died laughing at that. I was offended at her laughing, I was actually physically hurt, I said, "Look, it hurt. I nearly passed out." And she doubled her laughing, and now I'm really mad at her for responding so inappropriately, so I said, "Stop laughing it's not funny." And at this point she's in hysterics. Inappropriately. "Shut up! Or I'll rip your arm off and toss it across the room." She had an artificial arm and an opposite artificial leg. She had no business even working, but she is the persevering type person and the idea of me saying I'd rip off her arm was actually plausible and hilarious to her. She was always fussing with snapping her arm on. She never had anyone say such a mean thing and she thought it was all terribly funny, me complaining in extreme about injury so minor to her, and my anger with her culminating in my crude threat were all somehow hilarious to her. I can never forget this minor event because there was nothing funny about it, yet she was falling all over the place out of control laughing. That was decades ago and I still don't understand it.

Jeff Glor with Face the Nation interviews Trump

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dowd: silly little sister

Have you ever gone down to your city's drainage? Into its sewers? It's dumps? We did. As boys do. When you follow the terrain down, down, down, you usually encounter water. The air gets heavier, the plants change to the type that like having their roots kept wet, insects increase, small reptiles increase, and the ground softens to mud such it can pull off your shoe. That's what it's like reading New York Times journalists.

Come with me. Let's go to the smoldering dump.

Maureen Dowd writes about the upcoming Helsinki summit as an absurd little girl. To her politics is all personality and looks, left swipe, left swipe, left swipe, and hard realities of geopolitics don't even exist. Her mind and emotion is with the British balloon floaters. That's the only thing she bothers to see. She sees only skin. Only surface.

Minacious.

With a word she attempts to establish she's smarter than you so you should probably give her some credibility. Nobody uses this word in conversation because they've learned it's self-isolating. Everyone knows that. Except Maureen Dowd imagines by using superior vocabulary she can establish the gravitah of her authoritah. Fail. It means menacing, as you most likely know. And it means Dowd is a dope.

"I had dinner with Putin once."

So what. Her paper sends her around. She got a glimpse a the real KGB agent behind the diplomat mask and it shook her so badly she couldn't eat. And that's why she doesn't mention what was served. She doesn't remember. The cold visage showed her the killer. And somehow she knows Donald Trump's father taught Donald to admire killers.

No mention Putin is head of state, like it or not, the U.S. president deals with the heads of state that he's given, not the ones he'd prefer to speak with. Just as her fellatee did. Just as Bill Clinton did. Just as Jimmy Carter did. Just as Hillary Clinton did with her ridiculously girlish reset button with peregruzka printed on it instead of perezagruzka, the dopes. But those are the people Dowd supports unwaveringly while she sees nothing but poison in Trump.

Good.

Dowd and her NYT getting their asses kicked to the mud is mere side-benefit to having Trump. She, and they, are incidental to the bigger picture.

Trump hugging Putin as Putin stabs at our democracy is an incomprehensible mystery, but only to Dowd. She's seeing them hugging already, they haven't even met. She left out kissing. Hugging and kissing, that is the imagery Dowd is trying to convey. In Dowd's conceptualization Trump must avoid contact with Putin or else Trump is just like Putin. Twins.

Republicans are not flummoxed and craven and scrambling to go along as Dowd says, rather, they're dealing with the profound civics lesson delivered them by the American voters who've conveyed quite clearly through elections in series that lead to Trump that they've had enough of their bullshit. Just as we've had quite enough Dowd bullshit.

"Berating our European allies, NATO, the N.F.L., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. and canoodling with the mendacious and scheming Russians."

Here Dowd, have a drink of water. You're overheating. Dowd thinks our allies can do no wrong with respect to America, our lopsided trade agreements and our shrinking middle class mean nothing to girls like Dowd. It doesnt' matter to Dowd that NATO countries shirk their defense responsibilities and leave the massive burden to the U.S. Disrespect the American symbol within American institutions means nothing to Dowd and neither does the N.F.L mean anything to Dowd, beyond using it for striking polemic points, and she knows full well, or should know, the extent of FBI perfidy. She left out DOJ. She has nothing to say about Fusion or Crowdstrike or DNC indirect collusion with Russia for the fake-ass dossier at the core of the FISA warrants that gave breath to the fake-ass investigation still going on. No mention of Russia being an 80's fixation as Obama responded during debate, and no mention of Obama ignoring the intelligence brought to his attention. All of that is lost to Dowd's girlish screed. And this is why those institutions are no longer trusted and neither is NYT, and neither is Dowd. Flounce, little sister.

In Dowd's world Trump meeting Putin is a "pas de deux" a ballet dance for two, and to Dowd, Trump is kowtowing to Putin not delivering the smackdown as he's done with everyone else. Because that is what Dowd knows by experience. She had dinner with Putin, she tells us, and after observing Obama in action that's all she can see happening. Projection, dear Dowd, it's not just another river in Egypt.

"Maybe he is the Manchurian candidate, in need of a hypnotic tuneup." Full stop. Where were you, little sister, when Obama said clearly on hot mic he'll have more room to move after the election? No, dear, if any president was Manchurian candidate that would apply to your idol of worship, the boy wonder.

"Perhaps it's an Oepidal thing ... " And perhaps it's not. Perhaps it's two heads of state meeting on important matters conveying to each other where they stand on certain issues. Nord Stream 2 pipeline is not mentioned in Dowd's jejune screeching diatribe the real center of Russia's interference with the United States and European security, and our discussions with our precious allies, chiefly Germany. Dowd cannot mention that because Trump happens to be right, and Trump's interest is protecting America and its future and those are not Dowd's concerns, she only sees faces, hugging and dancing and personalities, and allies, and smooth sailing. She is shaken and her being rattled is showing.

Good.

I'm glad Dowd is rattled because when Dowd isn't rattled then things are much worse.

"Or maybe it is, as it so often is with Trump, the most puerile answer: He is affronted by the suggestion that he won his election illegitimately. This is, after all, a man who is still obsessing on the size of his inauguration crowd and how he won Wisconsin's electoral votes and Ronald Reagan didn't. (Except that Reagan did.)"

Or maybe Dowd has lost her mind. Maybe that's Dowd's most puerile answer, as it so often is when discussing anything Republican, the party in place to keep crackpots like Dowd rattled and out of influence. Away from reporting real things and instead reporting her own underdeveloped isolated bubble-wrapped precious New York City emotions, her weirdly neurotic interpretations so remote from actual events. No, Dowd, it is you who are obsessing over Trump's crowd size and how he won Wisconsin's electoral votes because your sick ailing unsteady candidate was so certain the state was in the bag for her, the state so loaded with like-minded crackpots, the system so thoroughly corrupted, that she didn't even bother to campaign there. Does Dowd penetrate anything beyond liberal and surface Democrat perceptions?

"So rather than accept the reality, laid out in detail by his own Justice Department, that we are in a dangerous cyberwar with Russia, the president did what he does best ..."

For Christ's sake, woman, we're always in dangerous cyberwar with Russia! Everybody knows that. And the detail laid out by Justice is extremely damaging to DNC who refused to turn over their servers. It lays bare the activities of outside contractors given access because it would have been impossible for F.B.I. to reach the conclusions it did since DNC refused to give them their servers. Is that too deep for your comprehension, little sister? Your DNC is corrupted and so is your FBI. All this is amazingly clear to everyone who doesn't live in NYC-Washington or Los Angeles-San Francisco. But not to Dowd.

From here Dowd sinks even lower relying on the ad homonyms of other like-mided rattled dopes incapable of political comprehension "Apricot Toddler" as dubbed in Britain. He was not dubbed in Britain, a few childish liberals much like Dowd except more imaginative who also have no comprehension of what's happening to them, their supercilious ideologies rejected, called him names and those are things that resonate in little girl's minds.

"Pounds the high chair, makes messes, pushes buttons, stage-manages cliffhangers and filigrees his 'labyrinth of lies,' as Jaron Lanier call it.

This is Dowd pounding her highchair, making a mess, pushing her NYT reader's buttons. And who the hell is Jaron Lanier? Are we supposed to know him? Just another person who calls Trump a liar and that resonates with little girl Dowd. She's using somebody else's words again. She likes the sound of her echoes.

"Rod Rosenstein ..." Full stop. Whatever Dowd says is too stupid to read. Congress is taking steps to impeach Rod Rosenstein for being unreliable, unfaithful, as Dowd writes this nonsense. But Dowd needs Rosenstein's unreliability to make whatever idiotic point that she has about guessing about Trump being mad about being upstaged by Rosenstein press conference.

"It was as though they were sending a message to Trump before his Putin meeting Monday that 'We've got our eye on you.' " Precisely reversed. We've all got our eye on Rosenstein, with a mind toward complete restructuring of FBI over the abuses of offices and direct interference in American elections, the exact thing Dowd and her tribe keep attributing to Russia without confronting their own  corruption.

Now Dowd writes about Rosenstein indictment of 12 Russian agents and connects them to Putin, the indictment safely tucked away in a safe unavailable for pubic examination on people who will never see court and details that will never be known to judges or jury, all to keep this bogus Russian nonsense alive through midterms to satisfy the likes of low-information voters like Dowd and give her stinking failing party a chance.

Dowd sees only the GIGANTIC balloon that SOARED over London and dominated the city and the puny political minds such as Dowd's. A balloon for a girl. Yes, British satirists know exactly what works on dopes like Dowd. All it takes is a few thousand pounds and a little balloon smaller than Macy Thanksgiving Day toys. All it takes is an undersized floating bouncy castle.

Dowd wraps it up by calling Trump a baby. Criticizing him for not being nice. For speaking his mind about trade and about Brexit. She calls him an ugly American. She says that it's up for debate whether Trump is a sad aberration in American history, a mere blip.

Ha ha ha haha. What a f'k'n dope. OMG. She has it exactly reversed. Trump's presidency is already far more consequential than Obama presidency, the guy Dowd was blowing for eight years.

There you have it. Our little trip to the drainage ground has ended. We pulled out sticks, and overturned rocks, we found bicycle parts, license plates, unique filthy bottles, discarded toys, worn out tires, old books, tattered memes, shredded ideologies. We grabbed snakes and lizards and salamanders. We saw rats and a badger and carrion birds  We return sweaty and soaked, smelling of fermented bacteria and in need of a bath. We must hose down our clothing and our shoes before taking them off to launder, and then head straight for the shower.

Dowd, you disdainful sanctimonious foppish dopy little girl, we so look forward to crushing your battered rattled head again.

Whose bwoad stwipes and bwite stars through the pewawus fight

O'er the wampawts we watched were so gawentwee stweaming.

Fox, three-year-old boy sings national anthem at baseball game.

Drake Grillo.

Auburn, minor league game. Auburn Doubledays and Lowell Spinners.



Making lager great again

A small Helsinki brewery is paying an amusing tribute to the upcoming Helsinki summit by issuing a limited edition lager showing President Trump and President Putin on its label with text, "Let's Settle This Like Adults."

Oh? It's not a tribute. It's advertising. Don't you know anything about business?

The beer is in high demand and they've sold out the full 10,000 bottle run ahead of Monday's summit.  Samples have been delivered to U.S. and Russian embassies in Helsinki.

Cute. Well done. Should have made more. Underestimated demand.

That takes a bit of planning. Beer ferments for two weeks. George's and Paul's beer was insufficiently carbonated after two weeks so the place added sugar before bottling for the yeast to consume, just as it's done with Champaign. That added another week. And they do things very scientifically downstairs so that shows us there are variables difficult to account for. Paul reports he thinks the alcohol content is higher due to that because he drank one beer and it made him feel loopy.

He always feels loopy, so a bit more loopy than normal.

Washington Examiner. Who failed to show a photo of the label.

What's wrong with them? Don't you think that's essential?

I went to a BBQ at Paul's house and my beer label making rep preceded me. Everyone there had already seen the trial labels that I showed you here. They were more impressed than you were. They were tickled someone would just zip out over a dozen little pictures. They talked about and voted for the ones they liked best. The little sketches were just toss-off ideas, all rough drafts to get a sense of what Paul might go for, but his guests got a real kick out of them. So now I'm focused on beer labels and Washington Examiner doesn't even think that it's relevant enough to show it.

GAWL!

I'm amazed at what people do with these things. There are so many very fine talented artists out there. You have one chance to create an image for your beer that will be attractive to consumers. It's advertising in a small square. It's such a strange packaging thing, so incidental to the product, yet so important to sales. Beer bottle labels are crucial. They become iconic, as this one will. Something that people save as memento for the event. Something that goes into scrapbooks, or even possibly framed and displayed, if this event was important in their life. And 10,000 is not such a terribly small run. Ten gallons made four cases. That's only 96 bottles. Let's say 100. That makes the run, 1,000 gallons of beer. 960 bottles of beer. Yeah, I guess that is kind of small.

I like their label a lot. This is fantastic.