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


Palin for Prez

Here is Michael Palin debating Bambi.

Gordon Freeman spotted at the LHC

(from the Earth is Square)
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.