Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Arbitrator’s Ruling Banishes the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez for a Season"

They may be hoping they get an Alex Rodriguez fan, but even then, I’d be surprised if any state court judge would hear his case,” said Steven G. Eckhaus, an employment law expert with the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
Selig suspended Rodriguez last August, citing his “use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited, performance-enhancing substances” over many years. Rodriguez, who admitted to using performance enhancers over a decade ago, when playing for the Texas Rangers, has denied using such drugs since then.
"The way the law works he might play the whole season." Says Yankee fan, Trooper York.

I believe Alex's best argument, in his own defense, that he has never tested positive for PEDs, has been completely undermined by the world's best known PED violator extraordinaire and all around pathological liar, Lance Armstrong. The idea that Alex Rodrigues may not have tested positive for PED's just doesn't carry any weight any more.

Re forming immigration law

Try it. We'll put you out.

I'm tired of hearing it. 

Exhausted, actually,you wear me out. The axiom is our immigrations laws are in shambles and must be fixed. That is the starting point of any discussion, and Little Sister, that does have a familiar frenetic activist ring. 

I reject that starting point and pick up elsewhere to speak my own language. My separate concurrent discussion flatly rejects the language provided and skips over whatever terms are prompted by whatever panel I find myself, it begins; our immigration laws are well-thought out through long dragged out deliberative process, the laws are solid, humanitarian, flexible, and meet our nation's needs, past, present, and into the future, irrespective of continuous activist efforts to subvert them. 

It continues, indeed, our immigration laws serve as a model for open societies across the globe, and anybody arguing otherwise has a political aim in mind and is using emotion, again, to distort the actual real picture, again, and weaken our country's defenses and internal makeup, again, with unfortunate side effect of disrupting labor. Again. Immigration reformers seek cheap labor, a diluted franchise at the ballot box and they utterly fail at defending wide open porous borders, activist proponents for reform fail to defend wide open unrestricted libertarian free flow of labor. No country that I know of does this, not that it is a requirement, reform proponents fail to defend why the United States should be first among nations with free flow of labor across borders. 

I  pulled this bizarre insistence out of my ass because the smell of your own sudden insistence makes it obvious where you pulled yours. 

The second axiom is Republican donors are for immigration reform because they like cheap labor too but their base does not for sensible reasons all nations give for their own immigration policies. All of them do. Just try emigrating to Canada. 

<alert>
A friend I knew did. He's a mess. OMG. A friendly mess. On all kind of public support, was stricken with BDS on top of all his actual handicaps including cognitive processing, "Damnit, I'm leaving." And he meant it. Actually did attempt to emigrate to Canada, but Canada has better sense than to take on another ward of the state. 

"What? No wait, what? I"m happy to see you but you convinced me you moved." 

"They didn't accept my application." 
</alert>

See?  And he is a regular  person. You'd expect him to be able to go back and forth at will, to be whatever he wants, Canadian, American, be all you can be, but no, he was rejected by Canada for citizenship, and sensibly so, I think for medical reasons. 

So who are these Republican donors who insist on cheap labor to the extent they will have borders wide open to inflow so great it affects the whole social structure. Who are they? Open Secrets Republican corporate donors for 2012 election cycle.

Bank
Finance
Senate Conservative Fund
Club for Growth
Blue Cross
Beer
G.E.
Auto dealers
Verison
Exxon
Kkoch
Some insurance
a lot more, it's all ordinary

Honestly, I don't see anything unusual, nothing out of line. Unless these break down into distinct immigration-related industries, like agriculture and home building I am just not seeing it. 

And incidentally, the next "Koch bros." shibboleth you hear, probably within the next minute, point to this Open Secrets page. It shows a particular type of madness, an obsession so fantastic it clouds out everything else on the list of donors that would otherwise completely overwhelm that obsession. 

Here's the thing I'm hearing that is so irritating coming from Tech companies and especially from newly minted billionaires, an idea, an attitude that formed  early when I was already out of the labor force. My first laptop that I bought with my own cash, I had already bought hundreds as purchaser for FRB, but now my very own. I called tech support and got it. A person in a distant land. The employment situation was not all that great in the U.S. at the time and then I cast back and recalled the angst I felt first entering the work force, back then, looking for suitable employment, trying to get my education to work for me after working so hard to get it. That this new tech company was not training young Americans I found deeply offensive at the time, and still do. Why were the American kids left to their own resources to come up with the education they hope industry will desire when the industries themselves have resources to train for their specific requirements?  Why is tech industry demanding pre-educated employees? Why do they claim they require tech graduates now from outside the country instead of training American students themselves today? The tech companies could do a lot to ease American strain on education, strain on employment, they could have a huge impact on that but instead they lobby to add to social problem both ways. 

I say, screw that. Train American students. Provide the educations yourself for your industrial tech needs, and cease lobbying for cheap labor. I say write laws that wrap tech companies up into the education process as solid repayment for their lobbying efforts.

Snow melt fog


This Morning
It was beautiful.

Faking Bad

I'm trying an experiment: I have an improved product and want market it via the Internet.  Don't laugh until you hear me out.

My "product" is something I formulated for making fake spills. I developed a recipe for faking most any clear or colored liquid and semi-solid. The materials are a polymeric plastic and a secret coloring method. I add trash for context. Here is an example of a liquid spill: a driveway disaster I fooled people with in my neighborhood: My neighbor actually cussed upon seeing this as he rushed back inside to get something to clean it up -- the mess oozing down his driveway -- before he realized it was fake:

oil slick
Here is another, a ketchup spill. You can buy these on the Internet. Mine are better because I pay attention to texture. For example, spilled ketchup or mustard doesn't flow and spread like oil or water -- it's more like paste. I'm also constantly tweaking my formulas to get the colors and "look" as realistic as possible. I understand the chemistry behind these creations.
Ketchup
This is not an offer to sell at this point...I'm just trying to gauge interest. My goals are simple. I want to recoup investments in time and material. As a stretch goal, I'd like to make enough money to buy myself a new iPhone (I lost my other one last summer in a boating accident).

I can also do custom spills where the customer provides the container and I match the color of the spill. I can also scale-up any spill to make similar spills (but each is a snowflake!).

April Fools Day is coming sooner than you think.

More examples of spills after the jump. None of these are available, but I can make more. Please make a comment or suggestion.

"Most highways aren't long enough to need one"

"Colorado officials think a difference of one-hundredth of a mile will be enough to stop thieves from stealing the mile marker 420 sign along Interstate 70."
Amy Ford of the Colorado Department of Transportation says the "MILE 420" sign near Stratton was stolen for the last time sometime in the last year, and officials replaced it with a sign that says "MILE 419.99."

Ford says it's the only "420" sign to be replaced in the state that recently legalized recreational marijuana.
"Mile Marker 420 Becomes 419.99 to Thwart Thieves"

"It is not known whether surgeons were able to re-attach the men's ears"

"Two drunk Russian men each cut off an ear after taking part in an arm-wrestling match in a remote Siberian town."
The contestants had been celebrating Orthodox Christmas on January 7 when they agreed to the forfeit if they lost the match.

But when they failed to determine a winner, they decided to call it a draw.

In a sportsmanlike gesture both agreed to severe their ears - one completely, the other partially

Their wounds were likened that to painter Vincent Van Gogh who cut off his ear during a bout of depression.
The "best rated" comment...
After the match one turned to the other and asked "would you like another vodka Yuri?" and the other replied "no thanks, I've got one ear".

“The end of the conflict will come only when the Arab world recognizes the innate right of the Jewish people to establish an independent Jewish state in the Middle East. And that recognition has not yet come.”

"Ariel Sharon, one of the most influential figures in Israel’s history, a military commander and political leader who at the height of his power redrew the country’s electoral map only to suffer a severe stroke from which he never recovered, died on Saturday in a hospital near Tel Aviv. He was 85."

"President Shimon Peres of Israel confirmed the death in a statement on Saturday, saying that Mr. Sharon had “lost his final battle.”
 
New York Times

bri-i-i-i-i-i-ng

Hello.

Hello, This is your prescription service, presently our lines are busy, please hold. Estimated waiting time...

Hello.

Yes. That was fast.

Hello, we have an important message for you but first we we must confirm

Yes, yes, all that.  *completes identification*

Sir, *exasperated* our computer is offline right now, we cannot access accounts. Please call back in two hours.

A girl. Apparently with no idea how impossibly unprofessional that is. They call me, instruct me to wait, then tell me they have something important to tell me but they don't know what it is, make me confirm I am me. And finally instructs me to call back, and when. I'm their employee, you see. Such a bother. My attitude is give my your paycheck and I will. This is the sort of thing that causes me to become quite cross. And now I must tell the people who hired these people on my behalf.

They'll email when they have things sorted. If not I'll talk around them. They're impossible. Cost cutting. Man, that place used to have the best customer service too. They assumed you were desperately ill and a complete mess incapable of doing anything right and they did everything possible to make things go without a hitch. You could call any time and reach a competent person completely aware of the gravity of your situation, they'd have an emergency thing sent FedEx and in your hands the next day.

Not now. The place has been bought. Along with so many others. That is one serious area that is flat not steady. Cost assessment, profit analysis cut customer service right out of the picture and replaced the entire unit with a girl who nearly has finished her GED. Best bet with them at this point is avoid human contact altogether and do everything possible online.

Adam, well may we labour still to dress this garden


...still to tend Plant, Herb and Flour,
Our pleasant task enjoyn'd, but till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, 
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wilde. Thou therefore now advise
Or hear what to my minde first thoughts present,
Let us divide our labours, thou where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 
The Woodbine round this Arbour, or direct
The clasping Ivie where to climb, while I
In yonder Spring of Roses intermixt
With Myrtle, find what to redress till Noon:
For while so near each other thus all day 
Our taske we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
Our dayes work brought to little, though begun
Early, and th' hour of Supper comes unearn'd. 

-John Milton, Paradise Lost

They do move in herds

Friday, January 10, 2014

How Are Ya?

Are you feeling alright today?    Even though we are beset with daily problems, are you pluggin' along with your eyes on the horizon?   Resilience is a wonderful character trait.

I've been hoping that Deborah would recant her exit strategy from this garden of happiness, and that Darcy would find occasion to plant some seeds here that will grow to full bloom. 

I was doing laps at the gym this morning, listening to a couple of 40-somethings chattering about how happy their high school lives were compared to their today lives.  I don't get it.  Maybe that's because I'm in a monogamous, committed relationship with the present, and having an affair with the past is off the menu.  You can't go back in time to find happiness in the present.

Anyhow.

If this doesn't put a smile on your face, you're in need of smile therapy.



Spoiler alert:  Count the Robertson cameos.

Freedom and Judgement

In Praise of Libertarian Judgementalism
"The state’s decriminalizing of an activity or substance doesn’t transform that activity or substance into a moral, healthy or admirable one. And libertarians don’t have to act like it does. You can celebrate the fact that people are free without celebrating all the dumb things those people do with their freedoms." - David Harsanyi
Something is wrong when we make the State the arbiter of morality. In so many ways we end up viewing expressed disapproval as an assault on someone elses freedom, and why? Because we've bought into the assumption that approval or disapproval, right and wrong, must be expressed with the coercive power of the State. There is no live-and-let-live if every judgement is reflected in law.

Waiting for gat in Illinois


Mommy wants to know where her kid is

"Tracking devices make me uneasy, but I have to defer to parental paranoia, which requires knowing where your children are. A watch/tracker/phone, Filip, may help."
I find Filip less odious that most tracking devices. This may be partly because of the bright colors and appealingly goofy oversize design. Available in red, hot pink, bright green and blue, it has a chunky charm.

To use the phone, you install the free Filip app on a parent’s Android or iOS device. Then you link to the Filip itself. You can follow the locations of up to five of the Filip devices. You can also set a “safe zone,” which is the distance a Filip can travel before your phone receives an alert.
A couple of possibilities on why the company settled on the name Filip.

fil·lip
noun
1 something that acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity

2 archaic a movement made by bending the last joint of a finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it; a flick of the finger
verb
(fillips, filliping, filliped)
[with object] archaic
propel (a small object) with a flick of the finger 

The Urban "Filip" could not possibly be the source of inspiration for the gadgets name... or could it? 
The very essence of sexyness, has very much money, and makes it rain on them hoes. also likes to wear alot of gold.

Filip also is a word that can also be used instead of "chick magnet" 

Romain Laurent

Photographer. Living and working in New York City, from France. Every week does a loop portrait and posts them on Tumbler here. His portfolio here.


These are gifs. All portraits. Mostly absurd.

It occurs to me you can do this yourself, for a real regular portrait of yourself or your family or pet, for your home, the type that is displayed. 

Imagine having a portrait like this, or something like this, with one element moving and running continuously within one of those electronic frames, as a slideshow sped up.

The cameras today come with sequential firing so you can take several shots in a row for sports and other action shots. That would be helpful for a thing like this.

If you intend something absurd then the subject can move so you have a set of five of the same shot with one single difference. For instance, rotate standing for five separate shots then use all five legs with one body.

In Photoshop, the thing that changes is superimposed upon a single background. Or not. Some setups would not require Photoshop. Looking over Romain Laurent's site, I think, forces you to start thinking of things you can do with your own family. Goofy things that they might like to keep. Large part of the memory recorded is the process of making a recording merely for the purpose of recording something. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What I'd say (Open Thread)


 
 
"According to Charles' autobiography, "What'd I Say" was accidental when he improvised it to fill time at the end of a concert in December 1958. He asserts that he never tested songs on audiences before recording them, but "What'd I Say" is an exception. Charles himself does not recall where the concert took place, but Mike Evans in Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul places the show in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Shows were played at "meal dances" which typically ran four hours with a half hour break, and would end around 1 or 2 in the morning. Charles and his orchestra had exhausted their set list after midnight, but had 12 minutes left to fill. He told the Raelettes, "Listen, I'm going to fool around and y'all just follow me".

Wikipedia

Florida Man is Lucky To Be Alive

"Rutledge is a truck driver from Orlando, Fla. He was on his way to Indiana with a delivery when this week’s winter storm hit."
About 6 a.m. Monday, after the snow passed, Rutledge was staying at a truck stop in Whiteland. His brakes were frozen, so he went under the truck to fix them. That’s when the truck shifted in the snow.

“It caught my left side and my left arm was pinned by the axle of the truck,” Rutledge said.

He was stuck in below-zero temperatures, unable to move.

“I wound up being frozen to the pavement in the snow,” Rutledge said. “As I got colder and colder, I was yelling but nobody could hear me.”

That’s where that miracle – or maybe something more – came in.
What is the lesson? Never go under the cab without a Bluetooth. Which you may buy using our Amazon portal, at no extra cost to you, while supporting this blog's contributors. Thanks.

aquarium



The vertical white lines are a magical waterfall. Shhh, that's what the fish think.

"Colorado Restaurant Introduces Weed-and-Food Pairing Menu"

"When you go to a gourmet restaurant, you might find yourself asking the sommelier to recommend a fine wine to complement your meal. But now, as more states begin to legalize recreational marijuana use, diners will soon be asking another question: What fine weed will enhance my dining experience?"

"Patrons of Colorado’s Hapa Sushi have already begun asking this important question thanks to the restaurant’s new pot-and-dinner pairing menu. Back in 2009, the restaurant launched a print campaign that encouraged smokers to come eat sushi to satisfy their munchies. And now the chain, with locations in Boulder and Denver, is back on the pro-weed scene, urging locals to toke up and eat up — at the same time."

"The lady will have your finest blunt."

Thanks for all the fish

Guys, would you believe that this coming September I will have been commenting on chat boards for ten years?  I think it's time to call it quits.

You have been such good friends, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time and affection. 

"Obama Donor to Head IRS Tea Party Targeting Investigation"

"The attorney heading the internal investigation into potential unfair targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is a frequent and significant donor to both the Democratic National Committee and President Obama, Rep. Darrell Issa revealed today, in what he calls a "startling conflict of interest" that jeopardizes the investigation."

"Rep. Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder revealing new information that reached the committee on who is conducting the internal investigations at the IRS regarding the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups. Seeking an explanation as to why the FBI has been unresponsive to the committee, Rep. Issa
noted that current and former IRS officials revealed Barbara Bosserman, a trial attorney within the IRS's Civil Rights Commission, is leading the internal investigation."

"Bosserman's leadership raises all sorts of questions about the investigation's fairness. Rep. Issa's investigations revealed that she has been a loyal financial backer of the DNC since 2004 and has donated multiple times personally to President Obama's two campaigns. Her personal donation total reaches $6,750 to both the party and President Obama."

Breitbart via Instapundit @09daytona tweet

"Google+ Invite Lands Man In Jail"

"Last month, according to a report, prosecutors said Gagnon's former girlfriend received an invitation to join one of his Google+ Circles. She'd recently broken up with Gagnon and had obtained a restraining order against him soon afterward. Upon discovering the unwelcome Google+ invite from her ex-beau online, she went down to the local police station with a print-out of the invitation. Roughly 90 minutes later, police arrested Gagnon for his Google+ activity and was later charged with violating the restraining order barring contact with her."

"The only wrinkle? Gagnon's attorney claims his client never sent the request, arguing that he "has no idea how the woman ... got such an invitation" and "suggesting that it might have been sent by a robot," The Salem News reports. It sounds like an almost comical mishap fit for a soap opera, but the interaction is a common one on Google+, where it's often unclear how or when users are actually on the service--and whether they actually count as "users" to begin with."

Did Thomas Gagnon violate the terms of a restraining order via computer or did Google's aggressive social network cast him into a circle of hell?

Somebody I Used to Know, ask



Impressive. This is the real deal. This is how deaf people talk. The lyrics are distilled to their basic ideas, stripped of English and expressed using the conventions in abbreviated form throughout. Each vignette looks like a simple movie, a Vine entry. They do actually speak like a married couple. The concept of the lyrics are translated precisely with no attention given to music as if there is no music at all. 

"I used to know" is abbreviated "past" a partially formed karate chop chopping backwards three times that you barely even see and not lifted to the full "past back there behind my back" position, spoken like a married person, meaning "all that happened." 

"Nothing" is two zeros pushed at the person, very graphic sign, she uses a dismissive scramble and wave off, just as a married person would do. "That you were right for me" she uses "breed" a "meshing" of gears that performed explicitly conveys mechanics, actual gears but performed abbreviated like this conveys "fitting together". And that is how married people and very close friends talk to each other. Abbreviations like this  throughout.

731 comments over there on YouTube and that is a lot for this sort of thing. 

Prisencolinensinainciusol




Adriano Celentano, popular guy in Italy for a very long time. Influenced by Elvis Presley and by Jerry Lewis. Written to sound the way English sounds to non-English speakers.

It's goofy. I love this with all my heart. The whole thing but mostly the left and right ventricle, and it makes me happy every time. Attitude. That's what this song has.


His other most famous song, La coppia più bella del mondo.

Governor Christie's Lane

NJ's Governor Chris Christie is in big trouble.
The mystery of who closed two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge — turning the borough of Fort Lee, N.J., into a parking lot for four days in September — exploded into a full-bore political scandal for Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday. Emails and texts revealed that a top aide had ordered the closings to punish the town’s mayor after he did not endorse the governor for re-election.
Up until now, the governor had managed the allegations by using his well known bluster, verbally intimidating anybody who would dare ask any questions. And, ultimately, when questions persisted, a staff mistake.

Today, however, a paper trail has surfaced.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of the governor who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

Later text messages mocked concerns that school buses filled with students were stuck in gridlock: “They are the children of Buono voters,” Mr. Wildstein wrote, referring to Mr. Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono.
Where is the governor's friend, Barack Obama, when he needs him?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Will Wait (Open Thread)


The banjo is pretty rare in British folk music. Probably for good reason. The Pogues were obvious exceptions. And so were good olde Led Zeppelin who used it to good effect in "Gallows Pole" (wait for it at around the 2 minute mark with the drums):


The banjo is an American instrument.

Here's What Serious Racers Do In Winter

Screw about 200 drywall screws through your motorcycle tires from the inside out, put your safety gear on, and let's race motorcycles on ice.

Never let winter mess with your fun.




Palladian sent me a dirty picture


So I framed it.

*Tap Tap* I Call To Order Today's Meeting Of The Mensa Society.

My fellow members, good afternoon and welcome to today's meeting of the Mensa Society.

Today's meeting highlights a documentary film of several of our fellow members engaging in a race  / demolition derby on a frozen and snow covered lake.  The rules were simple:

You must race a full-size beater car.

You must be drunk and smoking cigarettes.

Helmets and seatbelts are prohibited.

Take at least two drunk friends with you in the car to hold the beer and yell encouragement.

As you will see, the documentary was produced with the highest quality equipment and dialog.

There will be a discussion after the film.  Thank you.



"Attentive Target security guard helps cops save a kidnapped 7-year-old girl"

"An employee at a California Target store helped cops find a man accused of snatching a 7-year-old girl from her home last week."
Security specialist Roxanna Ramirez said she spotted a suspicious man in the Pittsburg, Calif., store on Friday, and cops busted the creep later that night on a suspected kidnapping charge.

“He was just being weird. Like, his activities were not normal,” Ramirez told local TV station KPIX 5.

The eagle-eyed department store detective said she wrote down the license plate number of the suspect’s car after his behavior turned even more bizarre after he left the store.

“He was pacing back and forth. He was changing his clothes in the parking lot. He started messing around with his backpack,” Ramirez told the station. “And at one point, he was sitting in the car, shaking his steering wheel.”

Alleged perp David Douglas admitted he kidnapped Natalie Calvo – but later bizarrely claimed the crime was only a “cry for help.”
If you see something, would you say something?

I mean, you don't want to make a mistake. How do you know who is who these days?

Click "read more" and you'll see what I mean.

YouTube video as cause of Benghazi 9/11/12 attack not mentioned in latest round of reporting

Originally, as Obamas reelection campaign was in full swing, it was an anti-Muslim YouTube video that purportedly, as told and retold by Susan Rice, caused Libyans to "spontaneously" rise up and attack the American consulate.

But then, as more details of the attack became known, the types of heavy weapons used and other conflicting features, inconsistent with the YouTube video narrative, the story changed. Had the YouTube Video been on VHS, instead of the internet, I could say they "shelved it".

By then, the reelection of Obama had been secured, and, more of the truth of what happened, could safely be aired, without the fear of 'embarrassing' the outgoing "what difference does it make" Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For a long while, we have waited and waited, for the capture, president Obama promised to "bring to justice the killers that attacked our people".

And then, out of the blue, last month, the NY Times, in a long article, revived the YouTube video narrative, leaving a lot of commentators puzzled, not only as to it's timing, but also it's content. The length of the article, I supposed, was designed to impress upon the reader, some form of authoritative, last word on the subject. If it indeed the NY Times hoped Benghazi would go away, clearing Hillary's path in the process, their attempt seems to have failed. If anything, I believe it revived interest on a subject that should have been cleared up by now.

Like out of some poltergeist script, Benghazi is back on the news again. This time, however, the YouTube video, Hillary helping convenient narrative, is notably absent.
U.S. officials suspect that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee played a role in the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and are planning to designate the group he leads as a foreign terrorist organization, according to officials familiar with the plans.

Militiamen under the command of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah, participated in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, U.S. officials said.
For the continuing rest of the story click Washington Post.

And then I realized "Oh, no."

"I left the bloody child in the car."



Someone switched the person speaking to this white guy. Impressive lip-syncing there, but that is part of matching the accent(s), barely moving the lips at all, still impressive.

I don't know why they do this, here is the original. It all makes sense now. Racists. 

Addison



Addison came into the studio with her mother and was introduced to a panel of two women judges for admittance to the pageant school, I think. The other girls already in the school were present snickering at her rough abrasive abrupt unladylike personality. 

The woman is a mess. She says, "Now watch my hips" as she taps both her own shoulders, then "We'll do it together to the right," while orienting her body for moving left, the girl adapts to her dodgy instructions brilliantly.

This is one of the reality shows, Kim of Queens. 

Through all the nonsense and raw goofiness the girl says something touching. At length the woman asks the girl directly, "What do you want to learn out of this?"  Addison answers, "To be a girl."

"That. I can work with." 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Got Mead?

Liquor store conversation:

"Do you guys sell mead?"

"Why yes, we do.  Let me show you what we have."  We walk together to the dessert and specialty wines aisle.

"I recommend this one -- Chaucer's Mead"

"Oh really? What about that one? I like the packaging." 

"That one calls itself Meade but it's not real mead; it's a white wine flavored with honey."

"That sounds kinda fake...so what is mead?"

"Mead is fermented honey/water.  It's an ancient drink...older than wine actually...in Europe at least. The Germans call it Honigwein which means 'honey wine.'"

"I'll take the real one...fewer characters but more character...and for less money. Thank you, you've been most helpful."

Surprise! Walmart Health Plan Is Cheaper, Offers More Coverage Than Obamacare

Everyone knows Walmart has awful health insurance.  We hear about that all the time.  Walmart provides lousy insurance for its poorly paid workers who aren't allowed to join the Service Employees International Union and organize for better benefits.  That's why every Walmart store should be scrubbed from the face of the earth, at least according to some who hate Walmart.

Washington Examiner comparison of the two health insurance programs found that Walmart's plan is more affordable and provides significantly better access to high-quality medical care than Obamacare.
A Journal of the American Medical Association analysis from September showed that unsubsidized Obamacare enrollees will face monthly premiums that are five to nine times higher than Walmart premiums.
JAMA found the unsubsidized premium for a nonsmoking gouple (sic) age 60 can cost $1,365 per month versus the Walmart cost of about $134 for the same couple.  
The medical journal reported a 30-year-old smoker would pay up to $428 per month, in contrast to roughly $70 each month for a Walmart employee.  A family of four could pay a $962 premium, but the same Walmart family member would pay about $160.
Sidebar: The AMA actively supported the passage of the Affordable Care Act, largely because there is big money in it for the AMA.
Worse yet, the AMA has become an arm—sometimes a strong-arm –of the government. Under the balanced budget act, there is a fixed pot of money for physician reimbursement. In this fixed pot scenario, if internists, for example, are to be paid more for their patient care, someone else—general surgeons say—must be paid less. Needless to say, everyone wants a seat at the table when the government money is doled out, and who is more knowledgeable to be in charge than…you guessed it– the AMA. Theoretically, all specialty areas of medicine have representation in this process, however, that is not always the case. According to the AMA rules, if a specialty society doesn’t maintain a certain level of AMA membership among its members it loses its seat on the bargaining committee. In other words, the AMA says, “Belong to us or you won’t get paid.”

"California now has 407 foot wide vinyl record on top of it"

"The record is labeled as The Eagles’ “Hotel California”, but it doesn’t actually contain any music… if it did there would be no way to hear it anyways. This is part of a campaign to highlight The Forum’s re-opening, which The Eagles are playing at."

"It is made up of 250,000 square feet of vinyl and weighs about 25 tons. The record will be up through January and can be seen by travelers flying into LAX."





"The song has been given several interpretations by fans and critics alike, but the Eagles have described it as their "interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles". In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said the song was about "a journey from innocence to experience...that's all".

"In 2008, Don Felder described the origins of the lyrics:
Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into L.A. at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.A. at night... you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that... what we started writing the song about. Coming into L.A.... and from that 'Life in the Fast Lane' came out of it, and 'Wasted Time' and a bunch of other songs

Dennnis Rodman, Kenneth Bae

Dennis' remarks are incomprehensible. "Nah, I got this. I got this." But he doesn't have this. He is not capable of answering coherently. Obviously not a trace of diplomat in him.



But this is coherent. Kenneth Bae is an activist working against a paranoid government who got caught. From Kenneth Bae's surprisingly candid Wikipedia page, here is Dennis Rodman being coherent:
On May 7, after reading an article from The Seattle Times,[54] former professional basketball player Dennis Rodman sent out a tweet asking his friend Kim Jong-un to do him "a solid brick of coke a cola" and release Bae.
 "We got a black president [who] can't even go talk to [Jong-un] ... Obama can't do shit, I don't know why he won't go talk to him."
“Guess what? That’s not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae, ask Obama about that. Ask Hillary Clinton"
Cogent besides, no?

Here in today's video he is trying to say, he does say, "It opens the door." And that's all you can expect. That and being mule, we can expect things back and forth beyond basketball, as friends do, get up to things they can get away with when they have their own planes and passes through customs and such. Boys will be boys, but hardly ever respectable diplomats. Too much is being put on him when the best he can do, and surprising at that, is open a door. 

A black woman I know would answer questions she found personally intrusive by holding out her hand for inspection, "Do you see a ring on this finger?"

I hear Rodman saying, "Do you see me wearing a diplomat's sash?"

Cape Hatteras live cam

Here's a live cam that randomly changes view. There are also links to other mid-Atlantic beaches. Lately I've been wanting to go to the beach and just run and run and run. 

"It's cold outside" ubiquitous post...


Germans look to Islam in hopes of saving themselves.

"For the first time, German public schools are offering classes in Islam to primary school students using state-trained teachers and specially written textbooks, as officials try to better integrate the nation’s large Muslim minority and counter the growing influence of radical religious thinking."
For German authorities, countering the expansion of more radical religious thinking has presented a vexing problem. For now, the domestic intelligence service keeps close watch on a growing number, with 4,500 Salafists under observation in 2011 and 5,500 in 2012, according to an annual government report.

Increasingly, attention has turned to education and ways to nurture greater inclusion for Germany’s approximately four million Muslims, a number that has steadily increased since German industry recruited the first Turks as “guest workers” in the 1960s.

One answer, officials in Hesse hope, is being put in effect in classes where young children are guided by a state-trained teacher working from a state-approved curriculum.

In one class, Timur Kumlu recently asked his 19 6-year-old students each to take a strand from a large wool ball. He then instructed the children — whose parents hailed from Muslim countries as varied as Afghanistan, Albania, Morocco and Turkey — to examine how, like the threads, they, too, were woven together.

It was a simple lesson containing a gentle message filled with symbolism — that they were linked by their Islamic faith and practices of prayer.

“We are now all bound together — you come from different countries, and so do your parents,” said Mr. Kumlu, who reminded the children that while their parents came from Afghanistan or Albania, they were born in Germany. 

“I think it’s clear now that for years we made the mistake of alienating people,” said Nicola Beer, who as education minister in Hesse was one of several politicians, professors and teachers who pushed for the Islamic instruction. Now, she said, Germans recognize that “we are here together, we work together, and we educate our children together.”
It will be interesting to see how this experiment works out. Does prayer in schools lead to children growing up terrorist? Our own US constitution precludes that kind of experimentation here in the US. So, we just get to watch, from afar, hopefully in safety.

NYT

Paul's dad



His name is Tommy the Barber. 

freaking out your pets

Speaking of...

Since that bubble blowing, spritzing incident very early on, every dog in our house, every dog I owned or owned me, thought I was magic. It goes with the territory, they all get spritzed in the face and stand there in awe at my palpable powers.

Dogs are amazed you can throw things too. From a dog's pov that is an impressive super ability. That is why some of them want you to keep doing it over and over.

Cats too. Today would have been a great day for a cat. Today would have blown their mind.

Fish too. I stick the end of the hose and flick it back and forth through the hair-grass where darker Thai moss grows in tight among the tiny blades and comes up as a dark green clump. The fish think the hose is doing the flicking, not me. They can see me sitting there innocently. My hand ushers them to the other side, and they're grateful for my custodianship. You can tell, it comes across.  The moss clump moving through the hose looks like a mouse. Snails too. It is a snail massacre with the hose, they end up in the toilet bowl. They climb up the sides in there. A teaspoon of bleach and they all slide down into a little pile at the bottom ))) flush ((( .

This would have been fun to mess with a dog or a cat.






Monday, January 6, 2014

Today's PSA


Unemployment benefits extension, raising minimum wage

I must be serious for a minute. It happens. I'd rather concentrate on things more important to me like perfecting hazelnut toffee and dying 501s bright colors but occasionally I'm compelled to think something unhappy through. 

If GOP were not such elephants stuck in their anachronistic ways they would get out ahead provoking instead of hiding. I just now saw under headlines at Hot Air, House GOP scales back agenda hoping to avert election-year trouble.

Instead of causing it.

That is their elephant stuck in mud problem.

How conservative.

The FED does not belong to Obama Administration, the POUS selects his FED chairman two years into his own term, at this point I am not splitting hairs between what the FED does and what Obama administration policies call for, they could be antagonistic but in this term they are not, so what government does then, as a whole, printed money, by TARP, by so-called quantitative easing I, II, III, they talk like that, that is printing money, holding interest rates incredibly low for incredibly long has the effect down on Earth to dilute each individual dollar. The less dollars one has to work with, the greater the impact of that dilution. 

I see this defense a lot of this economy: The stock market is at an all-time high.

Well yes, Facebook commenter, it had better be. Odd defense coming from a successful businessman like yourself. It is a good thing you own stock, and a lot of it, and diversified too for that to be an advantage for you. Where else is that new quantitative easing money to go? Where do you imagine it eventually ends up? And cost of commodities and services rises according. Most everything is more expensive automatically because of puffy new money. 

It is a Monopoly®™ board script. It even looks so, pretty colors, changing colors all the time, changing portraits. Plays the banker, "Here ya go!" Big pile of money suddenly distorting industries, picking winners, picking losers, folding up the board, taking your play pieces, dice, penalty cards, risk cards, go to jail cards, board, cash and shutting down. Because you flat don't want to talk to your -- what? -- your uncooperative half. The half you'd rather not even recognize. 

GOPs opponents are already preparing to provoke. The GOP recoils and hopes things work out well for them by contrast, instead of provoking. 

Why aren't GOP leaders out there saying, "Hell yes, extend unemployment benefits. We must. This administration fucked up the economy so badly, created so much unemployment it would be cruel to do otherwise. We must make them wards of the State until the American people are freed up to correct this economy."

As to minimum wage, why not? Why the hell not? It's all funny money anyway. Funny fucking money. It's trash, and you are reminded of that every time you touch it. Nobody wants to even touch that crap. It's all numbers at this point. All that extra puffy quantitative easing funny-money MUST go SOMEWHERE  so why not to ...

... me? Give it to me. I'll put some -- where? -- in the stock market. Driving up the cost of companies by driving up demand. The whole thing is fiat currency anyway. That is the ridiculous cartoon state this economy and its currency is in and the farce is now so broadly understood save for Facebook commenters. Hand it over. 

That is what we would be hearing from GOP, that by policies pursued by this Party in power and this specific administration are 

1) the cause of so much unemployment, so much of it unreported, so that even government's own unemployment figures are not trusted. 

2) the cause of that unemployment being extended for so long is ideologic and can evaporate immediately. 

3) the cause of devaluation of money that is available to them. Their wages if they have wages 

4) at this point in the development of the banana republic the money is the same thing as such you would print off yourself at home. Script for a monopoly game, where the board and the pieces and the bank and the jail and the opportunity cards and chance cards, the railroads, public works, hotels and houses, roads, land, air, the whole board, and room the game is played in, the amusing colorful money, are all manipulated by the same entity, so yes, of course, hand it over. 

Try winning an election once in a while. 

Guest Posts Welcome

Yesterday. in my "I like This Idea for a Post This Morning" (still going strong today) I asked yous guys (a little Trooper lingo there) to suggest topics, that may have gone "neglected", for us to post, discuss, chew over, kick around etc... And, the never disappointing, always obliging, Bagoh20, (Bags, as I call him) shared something I thought I make into a "guest post".
I think something that is very important to a huge number of real people, yet is rarely covered is the subject of opportunity. How can people young and old find, develop, and exploit opportunities to succeed, grow, and build things outside of the standard and over-used one of go to school, go to more school, succeed at school, and then when you are already grown up, go figure out how to make a living by talking someone into hiring you to do what THEY want you to do.

It's not a plan for happiness or self-fulfillment for many people. It's a path based on maintaining the security of doing what you are supposed to for as long as you can pull it off. It's avoiding risk, avoiding challenge, and missing your calling as an individual. It delays for as long as possible your contributing to the people around you, which is how you become self-sufficient - by people needing your work.

The only place I see this stuff addressed is in the work of Mike Rowe. We need more discussion about how people can become valuable assets to their community through self-development that starts out very quickly paying off, and keeps building that throughout a life.

Our education system is a shambles of narrow political experimentation and pet projects of a few philosophies which are antagonistic toward diversity and unconcerned with results. They are experiments insistent on proving their hypothesis with no interest in real results for individuals. Failure is ignored and success is manufactured, and failure is what a great many are getting.

We need more discussion, exploration and experimentation with teaching trades, commerce, business building, how to work in a way where you parlay your minor successes into big ones over a lifetime.

Many immigrants are learning these things, and leaving natives behind in the area of personal development and growth because they arrive without the standard plan as an option, blocking their view of their real opportunities. The reason that immigrants take so many jobs is that they take the damned job. Then, they run with it, advance, start businesses. They don't see their parents' couch as the only alternative to college or a cushy job.

Many millionaires and highly successful, self-actualized individuals and families living great lives owe little or nothing to the standard plan.

I'm not against education - I still work on it every day for myself - but the way it is being done and sold is mostly a scam - a high end version of the stuff sold on late night TV as get-rich-quick lies. They take your money, waste you valuable time, and in the end, leave you to your own devices anyway, but wounded and broke.

That's a lot of rant against what isn't working, but I see the successful people all around me, including myself, and many found a different ways, which people don't really see anymore. They are there. They should be better known.
Thanks Bags. This post also gave me the opportunity to plum the tags bar. (mix metaphors, too late)

It's A Great Day To Be Alive

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it is a beautiful winter day.  You're all okay.  I'm okay; everyone in my family who is supposed to be okay is okay; those who aren't okay are doing the best they can.

The marvel that is the human mind created insulation, windows, running water, flushing toilets and reliable furnaces.  My life is so much more comfortable than that of my ancestors a mere three generations back.  It is cold today, and I'm in a warm house that required I do nothing more than click the dial on a thermostat.

I pushed a button on the coffee maker and hot coffee was produced.  I opened the refrigerator and there is food, including fresh fruits and vegetables.  Modernity is a blessing.

My internet friends are on the other end of this electronic gizmo.  What a nice group they are.  It's another day filled with goodness, grace, forgiveness, love, laughter, mercy, kindness and delight.

I think to fully enjoy this day, I'll not complain about anything.  This day is too good to be wasted complaining and whining.

Joralemon Street

We walked in the street on Joralemon Street.

(Geraniums white and geraniums pink


Brightened the flats on Joralemon Street.)


The sun rode the brownstones


A short pace away.


And turned before setting the night on the day


To wave us a shadow that banded the street.


(Geraniums guarded Joralemon Street.)


He slid from the housetops


And hurried away


Leaving night in his place on the husk of the day,


And we walked in the shadows along the dark street


And knew how geraniums smell in the dusk.

-Patricia Hubbell

Here is another poem from the On City Streets poetry anthology. When I first read Joralemon Street, I wasn't very taken with it, but have learned to love it for the mood it invokes. Here is an article that mentions the anthology, and shares feelings of nostalgia like mine. It also clued me into the pronunciation of Joralemon, after all these years.

"China Has Daycare for Husbands Who Hate Shopping"

"Some married men love shopping. They adore it. But some absolutely abhor it. And in China, there's a special place wives can ditch them: husband storage!"

"Called "laogong jicun chu" in Chinese (老公寄存处), which literally means "husband cloakroom," the rest stations are for husbands who are either knackered from shopping or for those who would rather spend their time doing something else."
 
husband cloakrooms
I guess, here in the US, a guy could always wait in the car.

magnifying lens

Well, since you cannot comment down there comment here. Tell me how wrong I am. Because at the doctor's office I was sitting there in a little room waiting for ten minutes and a couple things happened in there while waiting.

1) I was holding reading glasses in my hand and notice the lenses magnified the carpet magnificently. At arms length I could read the carpet like a carpet examiner. Every fiber showed up brilliantly, every weave and irregularity every fragment and I was amazed.

It seems a simple thing but there it is, the carpet on display on the surface of the lens bigger than the actual carpet. How does the glass make it actually bigger on the surface of the lens than it is in real life? How? What kind of magic is this?

I think I figured it out. The lens bends the light waves within the glass, for light is waves in this model here not photons, or perhaps the light is continuous streams of photons, lines. Within the lens the lines are bent outward toward the edges of the lens. Everything is bent outward so everything appears larger on the surface. The eyeball isn't doing anything unusual with the glass, the glass is not tricking the eye.


The lines go through the lens but bend within the lens and lines are distorted, exaggerated in the center from the bottom of the lens to the top of the lens and lost from the bottom edges out the sides and nothing unusual happens with the eyeball, it sees things normally including the surface of the lens.

So there's that. 

Ten minutes is a long time in a room by myself, he's lucky I didn't start playing with the equipment he leaves there, tuning forks and such, there are some interesting things to get into. I closed my eyes and looked up at the light and that backlit all the junk in my eyes alarmingly. My tears are filthy. I couldn't believe all the grit in there, and wondered, how am I going to cry all that out. It worried me. I tilted my head and all the grit in there sloshed to the side, then tilted the opposite way and all the junk in my tears sloshed to the opposite side. I tilted my head back and forth like a windshield wiper, the junk sloshing inside tears like a washing machine. That's right when the doctor walked in.

"What's wrong with you?"


Man, this is a dirty town. Disturbing, isn't it? I bet you have grit in your eyes too.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Here's The Plan

We can't sit here and take this bullshit arctic attack.  This is America.  Everyone meet at the arrows with your space heaters.

News presenters

Are stupid. In large part, they just are. I did not find this recording of a presenter interesting, not realizing his rant is recorded. But why not? Why doesn't he realize that possibility? Because he is colossally stupid. And then later I was standing there, relieving internal pressure that is a call of nature, when the thought of this guy being so incredibly insouciantly guard-down stupid and all other guys besides, the one who decided to keep it, the one who mixed them up, and best of all the woman's dumbfounded nonplussed expression, probably a friend, caused me to laugh so hard I lost control of steady aim and I still cannot stop laughing and now with a mess to clean up besides. 

Ladies, please do not be offended, okay? This link is about how stupid guys are sometimes, how arrogant, how unselfconscious, and how hilarious that disaster can be. I hope they don't pull the video down for being too ugly.

Obama's Jump Shot for the Ages

Now we know why Barack Obama spent so much time in the gym those last days in Chicago before taking off for Afghanistan. He was practicing jump shots, preparing for the sensational 25 footer he sank in the Kabul gym in front of cheering US troops.
All practitioners prepare. Professionals are defined as much by preparation as practice. Great professionals practice as Obama does, their focus on key moments, striking, often unexpected occasions and opportunities. ("Photo ops" is the vulgar phrase.)The great practitioner takes a longer view than the people around him. The fine, diligent New Yorker piece by Ryan Lizza about Obama making his slow, challenged way to political office in and through Chicago shows him learning the ropes and continually abandoning them for other ropes, other learning, other modes of advancement. The same goes for his negotiating with University of Chicago law deans and professors who wanted to recruit this brilliant, attentive young man,one going so far as to tell him after a political defeat that he had no future in politics but might well have a great career in the academy and then perhaps as a public intellectual, a la Judge Richard Posner. Obama accepted an office, a stipend, and some lecturing on constitutional law, but nurtured his political career, his long view, as he wanted.
Because of the recent Wimbledon tournament, I think of Richard Williams, seeing the money and glory earned by women tennis players, buying a book on the sport in order to learn it and then working thousands of hours with two of his daughters to make them international champions.
These are great triumphs of practice and professionalism. The knowledge of oneself, the people around, contemporary conditions, and future possibilities is so great for both these
men--one is tempted to use the word genius for them. The basketball shot that Obama made in that gym was photographed and sent around the world. I expect that it will become what is too frequently called "iconic," and will be found in history books or their digital equivalents for a long time...
TNR July 2008

Mike Tyson on Mike Tyson

"Strangely, times of success are most dangerous for me. When people tell me, “You’re great” or “Your comeback is amazing” or “You’re a god,” I could feed right into it and go get high. Hey, if my life is so good, how could smoking a joint be bad? How could a shot of Hennessy or a line of coke be so bad when everything else I’ve been doing is great — especially when there are beautiful, successful people feeding my ego and supplying the drugs? So I’ve learned that when people congratulate me, that’s when I focus on my flaws. That way I don’t allow my narcissism to fly sky-high and allow me to think that I can act out without any consequences."

"Fighting to Kick the Habit"
Mike Tyson’s Drugs and Alcohol Resolution. NY Times Op-Ed.

I like This Idea for a Post This Morning

Nicholas Kristof is asking readers to suggest "crucial-but-neglected" issues they would like him to write about.
So here’s your chance to tell us what we’re missing. I invite readers to suggest issues that deserve more attention in 2014. Make your suggestions on my blog, nytimes.com/ontheground. I hope to quote from some of your ideas in a future column.
Granted, I'm not much of a writer, certainly not in the category quoted above, but, we do have a lineup of talented writers, commentators, whom, may be persuaded to write about something you might be interested in. Who knows, maybe, long lost given up for dead subjects could be revived and reunited with a grateful reader.
You could make your suggestions on the comments, here. While I can't promise anything, it will be good to know what interest you.