Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Popularity of Bankers, Now and in the Past


In Alex this Monday, the first since a couple of weeks before Christmas. Follw the rest of this story line at the Alex website

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bush and Really Good Friend

In reaction to the image above and story about how the Saudis want to US to save Hamas from themselves a commenter brought the Treehouse Horror episode where both Dole and Clinton are replaced by aliens.

George:
Uh, Mr. President, Sir. People are becoming a bit... confused by the way your and your opponent are, well, constantly holding hands.


Kang:
We are merely exchanging long protein strings. If you can think of a simpler way, I'd like to hear it.

-- "Treehouse of Horror VII"

Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Group of Psychopaths

"Israel bombed more than 40 security compounds, including two where Hamas was hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits."

Israel kills 208 in air assault on Gaza Strip.
Montreal Gazette December 26, 2008

The above are NOT civilian causalities. These legitimate military targets on a military base. In Hamas occupied Gaza and in the rest Arab world they are complaining that some of heroes of Hamas never got a chance to kill Jewish children.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The High Holidays


...and let not mankind bogart love.

Willie Nelson song "The Little Dealer Boy"
in a Colbert Christmas Special
For the definition of "bogart".

Update 12/25/08
to add youtube video.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Don't Make Santa Angry

And I say again.
Don't make Santa Angry!
This short animation, Santa's Last Stop, is a warning to all who anger Santa.

Class Struggle in Forbes Magazine

A Forbes writer discussing the NY senate seat that Caroline Kennedy wants to inherit, "Good-Bye, Gentry", does something unusual for a business magazine. He half admits that the US has a class structure. I say half admits because although he writer, Joel Kotkin, describes in great detail how the US Democratic Party is run by and for the benefit of a segment of the wealthy population he doesn't continue with an analysis of the US Republican party as by and for a segment of the wealthy population. The difference in the two parties is the vote banks they maintain, cultivate and ultimately ignore. The Democrats have minorities and Republicans have southern whites and like populations.

Orson Welles Almost did Batman

According to a 5 year old article at Comic Book Resources, Orson Welles and Bat-Man, Orson Welles wanted to make a movie adaptation of Batman. At the time the character was about a decade old. He wanted to cast himself, the studio wanted Gregory Peck. An actor who who is and can play best characters that are decent human beings, see all of Pecks most heralded roleslike Atticus Finch, as opposed to the monsters that Welles played so convincingly. Similarly I saw an old interview with Ray Bradbury. Bradbury was hired by John Huston to adapt Moby Dick. Bradbury suggests that Huston would have better played Ahab than Peck. Huston being more of the monster.

The idea of a Wellesian Batman has excited the related groups of cinepliles, comic book fans and fans of comic book movies. Here are some three trailers of a possible Welles Batman movie. This story has also excited the interest of Magniac on AH.com, he suggest a scenario that ASBs or Alien Space Bats, would think this idea so cool that they would bend reality to make it happen. In alternative history ASB is personification of the principle of deus ex machina.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Barney Never Became an Astronaut



This is a reference to [1F13] Deep Space Homer where Barney and Homer compete for a spot on the space shuttle.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wile E Coyote Sues Acme

An oldie from By Ian Frazier that appeared in The New Yorker Magazine, 26 February 1990


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

SOUTHWESTERN DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Tempe, Arizona

Judge Joan Kujava, Presiding

________________________________
WILE E. COYOTE, §
Plaintiff §
v. § CIVIL ACTION NO. B19294
§
ACME COMPANY, §
Defendant §
________________________________

OPENING STATEMENT OF HAROLD SCHOFF,

COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF

By Mr. Schoff:

My client, Mr. Wile E. Coyote, a resident of Arizona and contiguous states, does hearby bring suit for damages against the Acme Company, manufacturer and retail distributor of assorted merchandise, incorporated in Delaware and doing business in every state, district, and territory. Mr. Coyote seeks compensation for personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering caused as a direct result of the actions and/or gross negligence of said company, under Title 15 of the United States Code Chapter 47, section 2072, subsection (a), relating to product liability.

Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions, he has purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, 'Defendant'), through that company's mail order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling. Sales slips made out to Mr. Coyote as proof of purchase are at present in the possession of the Court, marked Exhibit A. Such injuries sustained by Mr. Coyote have temporarily restricted his ability to make a living in the profession of predator. Mr. Coyote is self-employed and thus not eligible for Workmen's Compensation.

Mr. Coyote states that on December 13th, he received of Defendant via parcel post one Acme Rocket Sled. The intention of Mr. Coyote was to use the Rocket sled to aid him in pursuit of his prey. Upon receipt of the Rocket Sled, Mr. Coyote removed it from its wooden shipping crate and sighting his prey in the distance, activated the ignition. As Mr. Coyote gripped the handlebars, the Rocket Sled accelerated with such sudden and precipitate force as to stretch Mr. Coyote's forelimbs to a length of fifteen feet. Subsequently, the rest of Mr. Coyote's body shot forward with a violent jolt, causing severe strain to his back and neck and placing him unexpectedly astride the Rocket Sled. Disappearing over the horizon at such speed as to leave a diminishing jet trail along its path, the Rocket Sled soon brought Mr. Coyote abreast of his prey. At that moment, the animal he was pursuing veered sharply to the right. Mr. Coyote vigorously attempted to follow this maneuver but was unable to, due to poor design and engineering on the Rocket Sled and a faulty or non-existent steering system. Shortly thereafter, the unchecked progress of the Rocket Sled led it and Mr. Coyote into collision with the side of a mesa.

Paragraph One of the Report of Attending Physician (Exhibit B), prepared by Dr. Ernst Grosscup, M.D., D.O., details the multiple fractures, contusions, and tissue damage suffered by Mr. Coyote as a result of this collision. Repair of the injuries required a full bandage around the head (excluding the ears), a neck brace, and full or partial casts on all four legs. Hampered by these injuries, Mr. Coyote was nevertheless obliged to support himself. With this in mind, he purchased of Defendant as an aid to mobility one pair of Acme Rocket Skates. When he attempted to use this product, however, he became involved in an accident remarkably similar to that which occurred with the Rocket Sled. Again, Defendant sold over the counter, without caveat, a product which attached powerful jet engines (in this case, two) to inadequate vehicles, with little or no provision for passenger safety. Encumbered by his heavy casts, Mr. Coyote lost control of the Rocket Skates soon after strapping them on, and collided with a roadside billboard so violently as to leave a hole in the shape of his full silhouette.

Mr. Coyote states that on occasions too numerous to list in this document he has suffered mishaps with explosives purchased of Defendant: the Acme 'Little Giant' Firecracker, the Acme Self-Guided Aerial Bomb, etc. (For a full listing see the Acme Mail Order Explosives Catalogue and attached deposition, entered in evidence as Exhibit C.) Indeed, it is safe to say that not once has an explosive purchased of Defendant by Mr. Coyote performed in an expected manner. To cite just one example: At the expense of much time and personal effort, Mr. Coyote constructed around the outer rim of a butte a wooden trough beginning at the top of the butte and spiraling downward around it to some few feet above a black X painted on the desert floor. The trough was designed in such a way that a spherical explosive of the type sold by Defendant would roll easily and swiftly down to the point of detonation indicated by the X. Mr. Coyote placed a generous pile of birdseed directly on the X, and then, carrying the spherical Acme Bomb (Catalogue #78) climbed to the top of the butte. Mr. Coyote's prey, seeing the birdseed, approached, and Mr. Coyote proceeded to light the fuse. In an instant, the fuse burned down to the stem, causing the bomb to detonate.

In addition to reducing all Mr. Coyote's careful preparations to naught, the premature detonation of Defendant's product resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:

1. Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and muzzle.

2. Sooty discoloration.

3. Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the aftershock with a creaking noise.

4. Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling, and ashy disintegration.

5. Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

We come now to the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes. The remains of a pair of these purchased by Mr. Coyote on June 23rd are Plaintiff's Exhibit D. Selected fragments have been shipped to the metallurgical laboratories of the University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, but to date, no explanation has been found for this product's sudden and extreme malfunction. As advertised by Defendant, this product is simplicity itself: two wood-and-metal sandals, each attached to milled-steel springs of high tensile strength and compressed in a tightly coiled position by a cocking device with a lanyard release. Mr. Coyote believed that this product would enable him to pounce upon his prey in the initial moments of the chase, when swift reflexes are at a premium.

To increase the shoes' thrusting power still further, Mr. Coyote affixed them by their bottoms to the side of a large boulder. Adjacent to the boulder was a path which Mr. Coyote's prey was known to frequent. Mr. Coyote put his hind feet in the wood-and-metal sandals and crouched in readiness, his right forepaw holding firmly to the lanyard release. Within a short time, Mr. Coyote's prey did indeed appear on the path coming toward him. Unsuspecting, the prey stopped near Mr. Coyote, well within range of the springs at full extension. Mr. Coyote gauged the distance with care and proceeded to pull the lanyard release. At this point, Defendant's product should have thrust Mr. Coyote forward and away from the boulder. Instead, for reasons yet unknown, the Acme Spring-Powered Shoes thrust the boulder away from Mr. Coyote. As the intended prey looked on unharmed, Mr. Coyote hung suspended in the air. Then the twin springs recoiled, bringing Mr. Coyote to a violent feet-first collision with the boulder, the full weight of his head and forequarters falling upon his lower extremities. The force of this impact then caused the springs to rebound, where upon Mr. Coyote was thrust skyward. A second recoil and collision followed. The boulder, meanwhile, which was roughly ovoid in shape, had begun to bounce down a hillside, the coiling and recoiling of the springs adding to its velocity. At each bounce, Mr. Coyote came into contact with the boulder, or the boulder came into contact with Mr. Coyote, or both came into contact with the ground. As the grade was a long one, this process continued for some time. The sequence of collisions resulted in systemic physical damage to Mr. Coyote, viz., flattening of the cranium, sideways displacement of the tongue, reduction of length of legs and upper body, and compression of vertebrae from base of tail to head. Repetition of blows along a vertical axis produced a series of regular horizontal folds in Mr. Coyote's body tissues, a rare and painful condition which caused Mr. Coyote to expand upward and contract downward alternately as he walked, and to emit an off-key, accordion-like wheezing with every step. The distracting and embarrassing nature of this symptom has been a major impediment to Mr. Coyote's pursuit of a normal social life.

As the court is no doubt aware, Defendant has a virtual monopoly of manufacture and the sale of goods required by Mr. Coyote's work. It is our contention that Defendant has used its market advantage to the detriment of the consumer of such specialized products as itching powder, giant kites, Burmese tiger traps, anvils, and two-hundred-foot-long rubber bands. Much as he has come to mistrust Defendant's products, Mr. Coyote has no other domestic source of supply to which to turn. One can only wonder what our trading partners in Western Europe and Japan would make of such a situation, where a giant company is allowed to victimize the consumer in the most reckless and wrongful manner over and over again. Mr. Coyote respectfully requests that the Court regard these larger economic implications and assess punitive damages in the amount of seventeen million dollars. In addition, Mr. Coyote seeks actual damages (missed meals, medical expenses, days lost from professional occupation) of one million dollars; general damages (mental suffering, injury to reputation) of twenty million dollars; and attorney's fees of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. By awarding Mr. Coyote the full amount, this Court will censure Defendant, its directors, officers, shareholders, successors, and assigns, in the only language they understand, and reaffirm the right of the individual predator to equal protection under the law.

by Ian Frazier, The New Yorker Magazine, 26 February 1990

UPDATE
On Alternative History.com Doragon provides this defense of the ACME corporation

Your honor, I am Doragon speaking on behalf of ACME Inc.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. On behalf of ACME, I would like to offer out most sincere condolences for Mr. Coyote. No one should have to go through the level of pain and suffering. But I would care to ask, how do you come about our product? Did you order it online? Who gave you a credit card? Did you pick it up from our warehouse? How did you get in? We don’t allow animals into our building. How did you pay for the items? Do you have a job?

Members of the Jury, I would like to present evidence to show you that not only are our products safe and reliable, but that Mr. Coyote hasn’t been properly using our products. There is plenty of reasonable doubt in this case. There is no way Mr. Coyote could have purchased our products, not legally anyway. And if he did procure our inventions, he did not follow the instructions.

I give you exhibit A. The is actually footage of Mr. Coyote assembling some rocket shoes, presumably to help him catch and kill a defenseless creature. In this footage, you can see Mr. Coyote not even LOOK at the directions. Instead, he simply places the shoes on, and lights a match. IF he had read the directions, he would have known that you must first adjust the settings on the rockets so that they are optimal for your weight.

Your honor, as you could see, Mr. Coyote didn’t read the directions. Furthermore, he was using the devices in over 80 cases of attempted murder. Not only is ACME Inc. not liable, but we are intending to counter-sue Mr. Coyote for slander. He has single handedly caused our stocks to drop each time he used our products. Every time he went off a cliff wearing something with “ACME” written on it, we had lay-off hard working men and women. We are seeking 45 million dollars for damages and fees.

Black Box Debt Instruments and Particle Physics

In a thread on slashdot about teething problems are the LHC, Photos of the Damage To the Large Hadron Collider, see here for photos, there is also comment at the recent failure of American physics. There was a plan in the late 20th century by the Americans to build the SSC, an even bigger particle accellerator than the LHC, however when the cost was going to exceed $12 billion, a third the cost of the B-2 bombers, it was cancelled. This has led to a lost generation of american physicists, or worse the use of physicists to design complicated financial structures on Wall Street.

On the posters in this thread, idontgno, provides a cautionary tale.

And by another odd coincidence, other particle physicists took a detour into Wall Street, where they applied their advanced mathematical knowledge to creating exotic derivatives like Credit Default Swaps

That's the scariest correlation I've heard in a long time.

(credit bank VP) : "'Morning, Erwin, how's the CDO hedge working out? Makin' the firm some megabux?"
(ex-physicist) : "Maybe we did, maybe we didn't."

In the end, the VP opened Erwin Schrödinger's books, collapsed the quantum superposition of mortgage debt obligations, and found that the economy was dead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ninja Kittens have Something to do with Selling Cars

History Repeats

Vetting Barry Soetoro

In the big todo about the vetting questionnaire that the embryonic Obama administration is exciting the blogosphere. Many have pointed out the hypocrisy of during the campaign(s) saying that friends and associates don't matter and now insisting on the opposite. In the comments of one blogpost at ABC a Tero remarks:
It appears that Obama couldn't get a job in his own administration. Admitted cocaine use, long standing membership in a racist church, political associationships with admitted terrorists, communists and marxists, sweetheart real estate deal with a convicted felon, refusal to produce college transcripts, refusal to produce articles and college thesis authored by him, association with candidate for Kenyan presidency, and on and on. He should fire himself immediately.
At Sound Politics a blogpost gives this suming up of Barry Soetoro/Barack Obama/Barry Obama:
It appears that we have elected a president with the charm of Kennedy, the ideology of Carter and the paranoia of Nixon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

End of Wall Street


Check out Michael Lewis's article, the End of Wall Street. The promo line for the article describes it well.
The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.
In the end lays much of the problem at how many financial firms have changed from private partnership to public companies.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nun's Discipline

I was a thug. I was scolded by nuns.

Bill O'Reilly on his
third grade
education, crimes and punishment
Daily Show 13/11/2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama as a Mythological Character


As far back as last spring, also when this editorial cartoon was printed, an OpEd piece in the LA Times by David Ehrenstein, Obama the 'Magic Negro, refered to how THE ONE's worshipers see Bambi as a magical being, a magic negro, who well solve all of life's problems.

For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr Lux - Hotelier with Super Powers

Misanthropes Unite

Anyone can hate humanity after getting shot. It takes a big man to hate it beforehand.

House commenting
on an agoraphobic mugging victim,
HouseS05E07

Islamophobia not Hatred - Pat Condell

Personally I don't do hate speech because I think hate is a self destructive emotion and therefore rather a stupid one. But I do a pretty good line in disdain and contempt speech...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Scientology not as Dangerous as Islam

I personally consider Scientology to be a stupid creed, but I haven't heard about many people living in fear that Tom Cruise will cut off their head while quoting poems of L. Ron Hubbard and then post a video of the deed on the Internet.

Fjordman in essay
Islam, the West and Our "Shared Heritage"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Tetris of Interior Decorating

Obama Cultists Now Very Boring


Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

NEWS ALERT: Humans Behavior Cannot be fully Predicted

“To confuse the model with the world is to embrace a future disaster driven by the belief that humans obey mathematical rules.”

Emanuel Derman, Physicist employed
by Goldman Sachs quoted
In Modeling Risk, the Human Factor Was Left Out.

Lots of other ideologies/idealists have confronted this problem before. In other times and places reality/minds/bodies/memory have bent and distorted to fit perfection of the word. A worse fate than a couple of lost billions.

US Govenments Dodge Taxes, Adminster Tax Dodges and Crack Down on Tax Dodges

There was/is a clever scheme to capture the rise in value of capital assets while continue to use and enjoy such assets. These deals could also be structured to create losses. In the near past a number of US federal, state and local government agencies got involved in some of these deals with AIG, which were collateralized. Now that AIG has been rescued from their folly one part of the US federal government will probably be going to administer tax shelters for local government agencies that the IRS deems to be NOT legitimate financial engineering.

Read the silly story here.

Odd Pro Confederate Ballad

...I killed a tent of Yankees / I'd like kill some more...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Can You Take a Joke?

There has to be advertising for people without a sense of humor.

Don Draper, Mad Men S02E01

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Used Clothing Shopping with Friday

Friday needs a coat. This gentleman needs a coat no longer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Shambling, Brain Eating Monsters for Bambi

(from bekosh at AH.com)

Remember in Cook County Illinois the dead have voted in the past. Shouldn't the walking also be allowed to exercise their franchise.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Business Consultant



And business consultants wonder why people see them as talentless hacks with no experience. Increased spending on consultants are generally a sign that company has too much money and too little brains.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pet Peeve: the Times versus The Times.

This is a major annoyance of mine. There is an actual difference between the Times and The Times and the London Times. There is no newspaper named the The London Times. There Is the The Times which because of its reputation has spawned numerous copycats/tributes. There is The India Times, The Irish Times , The Strait Times, The Los Angeles Times and of course The New York Times. It has been the practice of people writing from New York to abbreviate The New York Times to the Times this then entails the describing The Times as the London Times. I find this very annoying. It makes a lot of historical research difficult and cumbersome.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Irony

Professor Longhair's one major national hit was, according to Wikipedia, "Bald Head". Would an alternative version of Professor Longhair, a Dr Bald/Mr Clean/Clearscalp/Smooth Man, have a hit called "Long. Long, Long Hair", an erotic retelling of the Rapunzel story?

Howard the Duck Defiled Again

In the latest South Park George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are depicted raping Indiana Jones in recreations of famous movie rape scenes. In the scene based on The Accused, the pinball machine which Lucas rapes Indy is from Howard the Duck the Film. I was a big Howard the Duck fan. I love the cleverness and wit of the original comic by Steve Gerber. Unfortunately as he lost control of Howard the Duck, Marvel claimed he was merely performed work for hire, Howard the Duck was in a death spiral. George Lucas' abuse was enough destroy Howard. Marvel has recently brought back Howard as some halfhearted zombie version of the original comic.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hang the Snobs

I know most of your magazines inside out, I try to devour much as I can.
Ugly Betty

Clearly.
Literary and fashion Snob at Meade Publications

Ugly Betty S01E01

The Business of Love

You know what love is, Belle, a marketing ploy.

Unnamed Madam in Secret Diary of a Call Girk S02E06l

Jazz Musicians, Beret Wearing Heroin Addicts - Colbert

Don't give money to Jazz Musicians they will just spend the money on heroin and berets.

Stephen Colbert

Over and Entering 6th Year

With the Iraq war over and headed into its sixth year.

John Oliver to hapless Iraqi official,
Daily Show 2005/10/09

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lowest Form of Comedy/Entertainmet/Showbiz - Clowns

Where can we find these clowns.
Ned

Drunk in a ditch somewhere.
Ringmaster

Clown focused exchange in Pushing Daisies S02E02


In Homer the Clown there was a similar depressing view of the life of clowns by apprentice Krusty Homer J Simpson
Aw, being a clown sucks. You get kicked by kids, bit by dogs, and admired by the elderly. Who am I clowning? I have no business being a clown! I've leaving the clowning business to all the other clowns in the clowning business.

Zombie Prejudice

People who are dead but not dead traditionally come up against angry mobs with pitchforks.

Ned, Pushing Daisies S02E02

The Rewards of Pushiness

It is in my nature to reward pushiness with inattention.

Emerson Cod Pushing Daisies S0202

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Robert Gallo Snubbed by the Nobel Committee

The 2008 Nobel in Medicine, actually half a Nobel, has been awarded to the French researchers who discovered the AIDS virus. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier isolated the AIDS virus and then gave a sample to Robert Gallo's lab which then anounced that he had "discovered" it. From the American perspective the prize of discovery goes to who ever files the legal forms first. Public domain material has been copyrighted and therefore capture in the US. National anthems that have been in the public domain have been successfully copyrighted in the US. Folk songs have been copyrighted and then captured by unscrupplous music promoters, are there any other kind, this happened to the song St James Infirmary. In the case of AIDS the fight wasn't over the psychic benefit scientific discovery but the materials rewards of a patent on a medical test to detect AIDS/HIV.

Robert Gallo's loss of the Nobel makes me happy.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Rae on Harris

Rae Days are better than Harris years.

former NDP Premier of Ontario Bob Rae
on former PC Premier of Ontario Mike Harris
At CBC Toronto all candidates meeting,
2007/10/07 20:29.

Somali Pirates

There is currently a standoff between Somali pirates holding a cargo ship and the US Navy and soon the Russian Navy.

There are some, Somali and others, who defend the motives and interests of the pirates. On a radio discussion of this current crisis, On Point: Pirates and Power at Sea, there are many Somalis who called complaining and excusing the motives of the Somali thugs. Hussean Fiin of Ceegaag.com, a Somali-American forum, defends piracy by quoting an American terrorist.
The world neglected Somalia for eighteen long years, Injustice, killings, Raping, diseases, Hunger, is what is known about Somalia, The civilized world allow this thing to go on in Somalia so I will say about what is happening(pirates) ‘Chickens Coming Home to Roost’ Malcolm X.
Somalia has not an easy time of it for some decades. The breakdown of state order has meant an undefended coastline. Illegal dumping of toxic waste and illegal fishing have flourished. Somali is also a land of desperate poverty. At first Somali fishermen were merely defending their fish stocks. Later on better financed operations pirated ships further from shore for more than fish.

That Somali is a hell hole is the nobody's fault but themselves. About 15 years there was a major international effort to save Somali from anarchy and civil war. It collapsed after the Somalis demonstrated they would rather have anarchy than order, their own tyranny than another's freedom. If Somali is hell it is because it is filled with Somalis not just other people.

Defensively shipping companies need to revive the practice of convoys. Even if this would lead to more shipping delays and port congestion. Major naval powers need to degrade offensive Somali maritime capacity by destroying ports and coastal communities. Ultimately land needs to be taken for foreign bases to deal with the pirates. A generation or so ago there was foriegn military bases in the Horn of Africa. This stoppped the locals from being too stupid. Aden is needed again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Martial Happiness - Roger Sterling

You want to be right or do you want to be married?

Roger Sterling, Mad Men S02E08

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i(half)Life

Palin for Prez



Here is Michael Palin debating Bambi.

Gordon Freeman spotted at the LHC


(from the Earth is Square)
UPDATE
For those readers of this blog who don't play computer games let me explain Gordon Freeman. Gordon Freeman is a character that you play in the game Half Life. He is a physicist who goes Black Mesa Research Facility, a very large physics laboratory, kinda of like the LHC, and very bad things happen. If want to see what Black Mesa looks like check out this video.

Judgement not Prejudgement

Martin Luther King once dreamed of a day when people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Sadly for Barack Obama, that day has arrived.


I often put this same philosophy in a similar but negative manner.

Don't hate people because of their skin color. Hate people for their own individual qualities.For who they are.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Atheists and Libertarians

Just like there are no atheists in foxholes there are no libertarians in financial crises.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Indian Army Reborn

During the long period of the British Raj, both before and after the Sepoy Rebellion, officers developed a very intimate knowledge and relationship to the subcontinent. They learned obscure languages, they conducted historical researches, they learned the ground. That was the Indian Army that Kipling knew, where many officers had as deep a textural relationship with the Bhagavad Gita as they did with the Aeneid.

That was then, in the new Kiplingesque wars of central Asia officers and noncoms need the same relationship with the ground, locals, anthropology that Kipling's officers would recognize and admire. Here is an article in Harper's that could have been published a century ago about some expedition to Kabul except for the references to computers. satellites and AFVs.

Recent Reading: Something New Under the Sun

I have played many different games over the years that involve resource management. In regard to the nature these games usually treat resources one of two ways. In the Civilization games the resource productively continues from the beginning to the end of game. There might be hiccups like barbarian invasion and like. In other games resource deposits have finite limits. Quarries get played out, fish get caught and forests deforest. At end of these games you don't see all you have built as in Civilization but mainly what destruction you have wrought for the transitory pleasures of success.

In Something New Under the Sun, JR McNeil catalogs the destruction of our planet, the diminishing of mines, wells, farmlands, fishing grounds. This is a deeply depressing book in that it focuses on what we have done and what we left undone. This is an almost encyclopedic cataloging of the degradation of earth, air, water, oil, ore, and other natural rescources done even to our precious bodily fluids. I have read books about nuclear war that had slightly more upbeat. Read this book and be depressed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ballsy Encouraging Words

Trust me, you will come back better and stronger than ever. Like Lance Armstrong but with 2 balls.

Ari Gold, Entourage S0502

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lipstick on a Pig


Recently there has been a flap in the US with Barak equating lipstick on a pig with Gov Palin self description of a hockey mom. This is a cartoon by Michael Ramirez of the Investors Business Daily.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Current US Politics Explained in Terms of OZ

A poster named Dandy commenting on an article, Palin is Hillary's Gift to Obama, was able to the current US election in terms of the story Oz. That is OZ of the Frank Baum series not the OZ of the Oswald Maximum Security Prison series. When I hear OZ I only think of the prison drama now.


Hillary Clinton did not bring us Sarah Palin , Michelle Obama did , and here's how I got there .

Hillary had the largest negative numbers we have ever had with a candidate before the primaries started . (We all seem to have forgot that part) but this put the nation in a O-Sh*t mood to begin with.

With 70 % of the nation not being happy with the direction of the country , it didn't look like it mattered what the republicans did , it was all Hillary Hillary .

In comes a breath of fresh air Barack Obama , with this came an option that was not Bush or Clinton , couple that with the Hillary negatives & the Chicago Style politics (Busing in people from another state) to vote in the Iowa primary & all of a sudden the nation goes holy sh*t , we can kill 2 birds with one stone . Not Bush or Clinton & Break the racial divide all with one vote .

Everything was wonderful in the Land Of Oz . Ding dong the wicked witch is dead . In comes the new Good Witch of the North Michelle Obama , problem was when she spoke it sounded like she was from the Southside and not a very nice witch .

Now all the little Munchkins starting getting a little nervous and by the time they figured out they were not in Kansas anymore they found themselves in New Hampshire . Ah haw, The wicked witch was wounded but not dead .

Now this didn't sit well with the New Wicked Witch from the Southside and behind the curtain she explained to the new Prince (Obama) that it was no longer about becoming King it was all about killing that wicked bi*tch uh, witch .

The poor little Prince had been raised by his mother only , and did not realize the Father is generally the one to take the leadership role in a family so whatever Mama said was just the way it was . Now being connected to the Wicked Witch from the Southside it just seemed normal that she knew best .

With a brush off the shoulder & a finger in the air the little Prince was walking on cloud nine . Following the lead from the Wicked Witch from the Southside it seemed he could do no wrong .

Many Munchkins still wanted the wicked witch from the west to take back over but would be satisfied if they could just be part of the family . But no The Wicked Witch from the Southside was not to have any of that & told the Prince to finish her off . And so he did & picked a warlock from the east .

Munchkinland was in disarry as many were not wanting to be ruled by the Wicked Witch from the Southside . In the distance they saw an old warrior rising out of the ashes to become The Phoenix Firebird , A little hope had returned but was still not enough to knock out The Wicked Witch from the Southside .

As the Prince was speaking to all the munchkins in front of his Greek stage the Wicked Witch from the Southside was waiting behind the curtain to make her entrance . While leaving the stage that evening the Wicked Witch from the Southside was snug as a bug in a rug .

While trying to calm the Munchkins the old Wise Phoenix Firebird listened & learned their hearts had been broken and only a mother could mend it again . As he looked to the north for an answer he realized The Real Good Witch From The North was what the Munchkins yearned for .

Without hesitiation he summoned her to heal the wounds caused by the Wicked Witch from the Southside . Being a Good Witch , Good radiated from her very being .

The Wicked Witch from the Southside power has been diminished to a point of irrelvance and the Prince now finds himself on his own , something he has never had to do & it shows .

While he continues to try a find his way , the Good Witch Of The North keeps telling the munchkins all they have to do is click their heels & say . There's No Place Like Home .

Happiness has returned to The Land Of Oz . Ding Dong the wicked "WITCH'S" are dead .

The Pointlessness of "Liberation"

In a NY Times story about the the continuing legal problems of professional sleazeball Jacob Zuma, next El Presidente of the Republic of South Africa and unconvicted rapist there is this quote on "liberation" movements.

“In the African context, liberation movements have been very successful at bringing an end to colonialism, but their record in instituting a democratic political order and protecting and consolidating democracy has been abysmal,” said Achille Mbembe, a political scientist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. “South Africa has found itself in a state of uncertainty — radical uncertainty and extreme volatility.

I would point out that their [liberation movements] record in instituting any order is also dismal. Forget about making the trains run on time it is too difficult to make the trains run at all. Things rapidly go down hill fast as maintenance declines and trained engineers and specialists leave. Let us remember that liberation movements are primarily about taking power and dividing the spoils. Many things get broken in a revolution, glass, eggs, skulls, machinery, people. In the African context there is also crippling racism on the part of the new governments that mean human resources are dismissed if it is the wrong skin tone/religion/tribe. At the end of the spasm of liberation there is oftentimes less spoils to divide.

In time South Africa will decline. Natural resources and natural resource income is not enough to keep Nigeria and the Congo from being hell holes.

Head Hunting

The graveyards are full of indispensable men (De Gaulle)
Great! Lets recycle them! (Dr. Frankestein)


William Blake, the AH.com poster not the poet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Photos of China's Destruction

Here are some images of the environmental degradation of China. While not as as powerful as Edward Burtynsky's work it is still very interesting. In the above photo a bootless man is mining coal using very primitive methods

Monday, September 08, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Forrests as Lungs

More Living Cars



Here is an Honda Ad from Australia that is set not in Australia but in London. It shows a city filled with anthropomorphizing cars. See an earlier post that also includes speculations into these car cyborgs. Also here is a casting video for the ad.

Guide Dog Assisted Squash

Friday, September 05, 2008

POW Camp Made McCain

Gitmo isn't a prison, it is leadership academy,

Jon Stewart 20080903

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Democracy versus Feudalism

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

Calgacus, AH.com

The German Games

The Economist has an article on the cottage industry of the German board games, An affinity for rules?. The article in a little bit of pop psychology of how Germans are oppressed with rules which is why there are so many complicated rules.

From my perspective there is a major genre of games that is not done by the jerries, war games. Kriegsspiel was originally a creation of some Prussian staff officers, Von Reisswitz father and some, who created was is essentially table top miniatures, see here for photos of rare surviving copy. That was the 19th century after the great loss of WWII Germany was under new management that banned the use of nearly all WWII symbols, no swastikas. I have a sub game wherea red diamond is used instead of that symbol. Also WWII put militarism out of fashion so economic games are produced instead. Avalon Hill was an American game company that could be seen as a counterpart to German board game industry except nearly all their games military and most of these were set in WWII. Sadly Avalon Hill is now owned by Hasbro and most of their back catalog is out of print.

Chart Your Last Name

From AH.com comes an a link to web applet that allows you chart the relative popularity of last names. Publicprofiler/Worldnames has the census data for only for most of Western Europe, North America, Argentina, India, Japan and ANZAC. So it has some limitations but it is still gives some interesting answers. The statistical model seem to fall apart when it deals with subregions smaller than 100k it returns weird numbers. In the AH.com thread many people were discussing the frequency of their "real" names not their user names.

  • "Mulroney", as a last name not as swear word, is more common in Quebec than in Ireland as a whole.
  • "Ruggles", are densest in the NWT. However the numbers might be deceptive since at a frequency of 275 per million only about a dozen in the NWT must be named Ruggles for that rate.
  • "Campbell" is densest in PEI with 1% of the island with that surname.

Ronald MacDonald - Raver

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Looking for a Quiet Life

Errol Flynn is gone and so is my taste for swordplay.

Roger Sterling. Mad Men S02E06

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ruins From Old Detroit

While reading the comments in another blog, The Death of Johannesburg, I came across another blog of urban decay. Forgotten Detroit is about the great marooned and abandoned builgings of downtown Detroit. I have only visited Detroit once but it is hard not to impressed by these empty buildings surrounded by empty sidewalks, with non stopping/slowing cars speeding by. The site also includes before and after photos and floor plans.

Angry South Africa Expats and Wrecked Buildings

Following a link in some comments I came across a blog The Death of Johannesburg, that chronicles the deterioration of that city since the ANC took power. South Africa, in the bad old days, was pointed as an example of racial oppression. It was also one of the richest cities in Africa if not the world. Now "Free" South Africa has a sky high murder and rape rate and many downtown Jo'burg buildings have been abandoned for security concerns and occupied by squatters.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What the US VP Does - According to Colbert

  1. Break ties in the US senate
  2. Shoot old men in the face.

Hype we can believe in

Bambi

Generation Kill

Is any one else watching this fictionalized documentary, Generation Kill. What sells it for me is the presence of the actor who did Tobias Beecher in OZ as a journalist..

Thursday, August 28, 2008

War vs Appeasement

You can have more war, or more appeasement.

LBJ

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mass versus Custom Manufacturing

In a AH.com discussion, AH Challenge: British Leyland Still Going Strong, Nick Sumner has an analysis of the decline of the British auto industry.

Was British dominance of Formula One racing in the 70s, 80s and 90s a symptom of the decline of the British volume car industry or part of the cause? In the 80s and 90s the manufacture of Formula One cars was by and large a British cottage industry.

I think it might be seen as a symptom because F1 would attract the best engineering talent - if that talent saw no future in the volume side of the industry then getting into F1 would be even more attractive than would generally be the case. This would of course cause a decline in the engineering talent pool available to the volume manufacturers.

On the other hand it might be seen as part of the cause - did so much design and engineering talent accrue to F1 that there was too little left over for the volume industry?

I'm not saying for a moment that F1 might be the principal cause of the decline of the British car industry - that would be bad management - but did it have an effect?

In the 1950s, Italian manufacturers won the annual Formula One constructor’s championship eight times. British and German manufacturers managed one win each. The British volume car industry was both strong and profitable.

In the 1960s British manufacturers won seven times, the Italians won twice and the French once. The British volume car industry began to falter finding foreign competition increasingly difficult to beat.

In the 1970s British manufacturers again won seven times, Ferrari taking the other three championships. The competitiveness and quality of British volume cars declined steeply, markets were lost abroad and foreign penetration of the home market increased.

In the 80s all 10 championships were won by British manufacturers. The British volume car industry continued its precipitous decline.

In the 90s British manufacturers won eight of the constructors championships, the remaining two, were one by Benetton formula which at that time was a British registered company. The Benetton cars were also manufactured in Britain so you could argue that once again it was a clean sweep across the decade for British manufacturers. The British volume car industry died.

Is there a link here?

The Anatomy of Living Cars

Jake Parker, an artist, has theorized about the cars in Cars. They are part animal and part machine, in sci fi terms they would be cyborgs, or daleks. Jake has suggested a possible version, however the nervous system is a little out sized. There was a NFB cartoon from 1966, What On Earth, that purported to be a report from Earth by Martians explorers. This film also saw cars as alive and we human as the parasites. For even more cartoon anatomy studies check here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Taliban Charity

In reaction to story of Taliban terrorists killing aid workers on Jihadwatch a pulsar182 offers this sick joke about Taliban compassion.

  • So..
  • How does the Taliban help disabled children....
  • by providing more disabled children so they won't be lonely..

In Africa and elsewhere some moslem "leaders" have considered the polio vaccine as part of some Zionist plot, so more crippled children there too.

The Lords of the Economy

Corporations in the East adopted a feudal approach to organization, without even being aware of it. There were kings and lords, and there were vassals, soldiers, yeomen, and serfs, with layers of protocol and perquisites, such as the car and driver, to symbolize superiority and establish the boundary lines. Back East the CEOs had offices with carved paneling, fake fireplaces, escritoires, bergres, leather-bound books, and dressing rooms, like a suite in a baronial manor house.

Tom Wolf explaining how the egalitarian Silicon Valley
culture was a created by Midwesterners
and not but hard driving MBA leaders.


This was from a link in slashdot story about how US corporations don't want hire Americans anymore

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mark Twain in Turkish Occupied Constantinople

Mosques are plenty, graveyards are plenty, but morals and whiskey are scarce. The Koran does not permit Mohammedans to drink. Their natural instincts do not permit them to be moral.

Mark Twain in Innocents Aboard

Changing Demographics in US Music Sales

Percentage of Music Market by Age of Consumer

You can see why the US music industry is in trouble. In 1990 more than 70% of music sales were to those under 30 years of age. now with iTunes the biggest segment isn't teenagers but people over 45. Boy bands don't sell well to people who already have developed musical tastes and collections.

The Rise and Fall of US Music Sales

U.S. Music Sales, 1975-2005: Vinyl, cassettes, and CDs

The RIAA doesn't have a lot to complain about since CD sales are still higher than the peaks of LP and cassette sales. Considering the manufacturing cost for CDs is small compared to earlier media, what's the problem.

Evil Pastry

Funny Bunny Suicide



In a thread on Comic Curmudgeon a Naked Bunny with a Whip has a link to odd and funny bunny suicide cartoons. The panels that follow these ones show the consequence of assaulting aliens.

Penguin Inspecting his Troops



It is Nils Olav, a Mascot of the Norwegian King's Guard, or Hans Majestet Kongens Garde. He and his predecessors live at the Edinburgh Zoo and every time the Norwegians take part in the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo they come by and promote him.


Propaganda Posters

This compilation of political posters was put together a right wing blogger. It is making a an association between postering styles and ideologies. You could also make a comparison between political ads and tolilet paper commercials. (See a previous post about ChiCom posters for more commie agitprop)

Offensiveness

The right to offend is far more important than the right not to be offended.


- Rowan Atkinson

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Help the Astronomers

You too can help sort the galaxies of the universe. Galaxy Zoo enlists people to to map the universe. Very little training is needed to make almost everyone as good as professional astronomers. One of the volunteers was even able to discover something new, check here for story.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Politics and the White Man

It is so refreshing that a white man has a voice in political process.

Stephen Colbert discussing SwingVote.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Children as Bartenders

Good times! I've said it before, but it always bears repeating: children make excellent bartenders.


Yes. They can be counted on not to get drunk (since children almost never like the taste of liquor) and start messing up the recipes, and they love playing with bottles and glasses and the like. Alas, my parents did not have me tending bar at their parties. I think my mother would have thought it was unseemly (not dangerous or immoral).

Discussion of Mad Men S02E02
on Television Without Pity.

Children's natural gift for bar tending has been noticed before. In the Simpson episode, Bart the Murderer, where Bart gets a job bar tending at the Legitimate Businessman's club and is soon famed for his Manhattans.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

How The Internet is Destroying Literacy

Here is a report about how the internet is changing reading habits and reading skills.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Crazy Quebeckers

There seems to be something in the Quebec gene pool a psychotic bent that gives rise to a disproportionate number of cold blooded killers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Passive Aggressive Batman

I'm not going to kill you but I don't have save you.

Batman to frenemy Henri Ducard in Batman Begins

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Star Tek Nerdity

People often make fun of nerds. Today on one of my favorite nerd site, AH.com, I have come across an amazingly nerdy thread, though admittedly in the nonpolitical chat section. On sports bulletin boards there are arguments about the greatest left handed pitcher in the pre-expansion American League. This argument, "who's the greatest Klingon warrior ever?", encapsulates all of the nerdiness of trekers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Prophetic words

"[The Germans] will never know what fighting [is] until they meet in a popular war, American or British troops."


Phil Sheridan

Friday, July 11, 2008

An Apt Description of the Undead

They're dead. They're all messed up.

Policeman describing the zombie hordes
in Night of The Living Dead.

Comments About Paul Bernardo by his Lawyer

He is polite, he is respectful, he is appreciative of my time - thats three more attributes then most clients.


Paul Bernardo defense lawyer Tony Byrant
on his client, in Macleans June 30, 2008

Montaigne said no man is hero to his valet. But in this it is possible for a monster to be human to be human to his lawyer.

Space Hipsters - Whatever


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Alien Wrestling


Here is amusing little video about Alien Wrestling, the IWE. Thankful it doesn't use the stereotypical Star Trek fight music that Futurama also employed on a number of occasions.

The Alpha Bravo NATO Standard Phonetic Alphabet

When ever I use this phonetic alphabet I often get strange signs looks and questions. I don't know why since it has been an international standard of most of the "free world" for more than half a century, it was adopted in 1951. Remember I am not the weird one for using it and if you don't know it yet you are the weird ones, or do need another 50 years to learn it.

Living With Clockwork


I have no idea what this is about. But it looks interesting. Here is some more information about this and the movie it is an except for from The Cabinet of Wonders.

Monday, July 07, 2008

More Creepy Union Busting Ads


This series of ads uses that actor who played Johnny Sack on the Sopranos. But the ads are lying. Right now under US labor law there can be a vote for union representation after 30% of a bargaining unit has signed union cards. All the proposed law does is make union recognition automatic after 50% +1 have signed union cards. What the ad implies is that the identity of people who sign union cards now are secret.

Unfortunate Ad Placement

The Problem with Buffering

Toilet Paper as Civilization

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Magic Thinking and Politics

Assuming some one like is someone just like you because you like them is a little silly. In the discussion of this editorial cartoon on Ted Rall's site there is this observation by Thomas Daulton.

Geez, this is sooo sooo true, (plus a Trek reference to boot! Thanks ! !)

However, it wasn't just 1992 when that happened. Even as late as 2000, when I posted stuff on my website about how Al Gore was proposing a larger military budget and more Star Wars than George Bush, people would write me and say (and I quote) "He'll drop all those things once he gets into office, he's only saying that to fool the hicks in the South, you have to read between the lines."

Sorry, Aggie Dude, I think it might actually be more intelligent to vote for [or against] a candidate because "you know where he stands" rather than voting for him because you fantasize that he agrees with you. At least it's realistic. I think, I hope, I pray, that the last eight years of unresponsiveness on the part of the Democrats has really taught people a lesson: when a candidate expresses support for something, {like, say, telecom immunity or bombing Iran}, -- even conditional support -- then what it means is that they support it. So if you do not support that idea, and the idea is important enough to you, then you might consider voting for someone else, or else the policy you disfavor is likely to pass with the help of your vote.

Corollary: if you think your favorite candidate is lying or exaggerating or otherwise misleading voters with his statements, and that you know his "true" stance, well the odds are better than even that you are the one being deceived, not the other voters.

How to Stop Commies


Here is ad for a short film festival, in Toronto but I never saw it on TV there, of a man facing down a column of Chinese Communist tanks.

You Are What You Shoot - Sony


Here is an ad from Sony Cybershot that promotes the idea that using a camera should be a daily event or you will be seen a little simple. Here is a collection of short ads from the same campaign.