29 March 2017

Here We Are



Long time no talk.
What I've been doing is not interesting. I am working on doing other stuff that is more interesting, but until then here's my favorite James song. The only James song most anyone can remember hearing, if we're honest. Still: a simple, catchy song with a fun singing part.

Also: 1993? 1993.

16 March 2017

Are You Having a Meeting? I LOVE MEETINGS

:: SWAG SWAG SWAG SWAG ::
This is floating around the intertubes, and it's good.

If you need to get current on the source/origin then visit the Guardian and watch the short video of the interruption.

Hat tip to my man Scott for the GIF.

14 March 2017

Darling, Indeed



This is my new crush, Kate Darling, who is even smarter than she is lovely.

If you want to enjoy her euphonious voice without being otherwise distracted then you can enjoy this podcast she did with Sam Harris.

A good friend of mine is a high-level executive at Viacom. We got to talking about how looks can get you in the door, but they will not help you do the job. He works in entertainment in LA, and almost all the women in his office are very good looking, and some of them are extremely smart. I asked what it was like dealing with that (otherwise rare) combination, and he said, "lethal".

I laughed, but he's not wrong.

28 February 2017

The Uaries Are Almost Over



The Uaries are a drag. Bad weather, belt tightening from spending money on Christmas gifts, lots of cutting and reductions and healthy eating and Hallmark Holidays and my birthday and ugh it's a load of rubbish. This trailer though, it's pretty good. I'm ready for this movie. It looks like a lot of fun. Bring on Spring already.

20 February 2017

2007 Was Alright


I dunno about 2007 Forever, but mash ups are fun as hell. They used to be called bootlegs and I agree they don't land as hard now as they did when Girl Talk first started swinging haymakers, but they still sound pretty good. Build your own here: http://themagicipod.com/

Or just get down to the above, because that is some good shit. Language not strictly safe for work, so turn it up in the headphones kids.

Happy Anniversary

Beast
Today marks the anniversary of my official arrival on this rock we call the earth. If my mom's narrative is to be believed then I spent the first several years crying and/or shitting myself. I was a crabby baby, is what I mean. Those that know me well will agree that not much has changed, but here we are. Anyway, happy birfday to me. I am going to celebrate by eating some cookies and going to the gym. And hanging out with my peeps, who remain the best. 

My mom sent me an ecard from Jacquie Lawson, who has a website that looks like it was built on aol in 1999 and a huge library of flash animated (of course) gift cards from which to choose. The dark web is a thing, people. Still, Cat Boogie was pretty good, and cats are the best. Unless you get a lame cat, and then she just wrecks your couch and lives forever. My friend Sweet Katie got a kitten and that cat is definitely the best. She is a spicy little meatball - it took her only few minutes to get into my suitcase and see if she could get cat hair on my work clothes. Well played, cat. Well played. 

I hope that you enjoyed your weekend. If you skipped the cards and gift baskets this year then fret not, dear reader. There's always next year. 
Thanks for reading. 

16 February 2017

Consistency

Got my taxes done earlier this week. My accountant has been doing my taxes for as long a I have filed them (25 years and counting), and he has known me for a while longer than that.

My accountant is the parent of one of my friends from middle school and high school, and I more or less grew up at their house since I was there at least once a week during that time. He and his wife gave me rides to practices and games and events and movies, and then when we were old enough their son had a beater of a car so he drove us places: practices and taco bell and movies and the park to play basketball and so forth and so on. They came to every game and school event while in school, and then supported me generously over the years afterwards. (In 25 years I have paid to have my taxes done exactly zero times, which is absurd, but they literally refuse to take my money, so here we are.)

My accountant is a family friend, and he and his generous wife have always been more family than friend. They have been a constant in my life like little else. So when we sat down this year, with me as a middle-aged person, and my accountant family let me know that he has sold the business and plans to retire, I was affected in a way that I did not expect.

I guess the point of this rambling summary is that I am old, and I don't like to be reminded of it? No idea. This is also probably why my self-indulgent, navel-gazing corner of the cybers gets no traffic. I need to start a blog about diet and/or weight loss...

15 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

If You Don't Love This Dog You Are Dead to Me
I hope you had a much better day than the current POTUS. He wrote a goofy love letter to Putin and then Putin scolded him because his National Security Adviser got fired resigned after less than a month because he broke the law. And I don't mean speeding on his way to the office - he was negotiating with the Russians on Trump's behalf while Obama was still in office. Turns out that this is illegal at best, and mayyyybe closer to treason than anyone should be comfortable with. Oops!

One of the suggested candidates for replacing him is David Petraeus, who will have to let his parole officer know if he moves to DC because he is currently on probation for improperly handling classified information

Is there any good news? I dunno. This made me laugh. Is it a real thing? I don't find myself moved by Justin Trudeau but I'm not his target demographic. What says the readership? 

Love to you and yours each and every day. For real: hallmark holidays are bad and dumb. Love your people 365 days a year. That's your life, and it's all you get. 

01 February 2017

And Furthermore...

The other thing that's getting up my nose about Neil Gorsuch and his 'originalist' approach to the law is that he writes essays about how if you don't like the law you should work to elect legislators that can change the law, then leave it to the judiciary to adjudicate.

This is in perfect alignment with Gorsuch originalist views, which leave anything not explicitly in the constitution up to the states. The issue is twofold. For starters (as explained in earlier posts) the constitution itself is a historical document, written by some well-meaning people with no concept of modern society. The second issue is that the legislative system itself is broken: the poor are being disenfranchised at every opportunity, the system is rife with corruption and more influenced by money than the actual will of the people, and also your elected legislators pass some very, very bad laws. If you are a bible-humping neocon like Gorsuch you just shrug and say well, abortion isn't explicitly mentioned in the constitution, and all life is precious because Jesus died for our sins and God loves you, so I hope you enjoy your pregnancy and resulting unwanted child and also it's too bad your insurance doesn't cover birth control but hey that's the way it goes. Not sure what coddled world he lives in, but applying leverage through the legislative branch is not an option for much of the country. It's almost as though he doesn't care, which, hey, about that...

Gorsuch also approves of discrimination on religious grounds. This has been couched as 'religious freedom', which: lol. It is actually a form of enabled discrimination. Most famously it entitles your employer to pick and choose your health care coverage to exclude contraception, because they don't believe in it. Can you imagine working at a place and finding out that basic contraception is not covered because your employer doesn't think you should have access to birth control? I think it's perfectly fair if they provided no coverage at all, but why do they get to choose what is and is not covered? Hobby Lobby was able to get this through the court because they convinced the (five male, Catholic) justices that their belief that certain contraceptives cause abortions (a provably false claim, btw), and providing those contraceptives to their employees is a violation of their religious freedom. In other words: hey I believe this to be true because Jesus, and you can't tell me otherwise, because Jesus. And hey what a weird coincidence that all you guys are Catholic and are voting against a womans right to reproductive health!

This is what we are up against. The ghost of Scalia lives on, and thinking people must keep putting that man and his discriminatory views in the trash where they belong.

31 January 2017

Governed by a Minority Theocracy

Donald Trump was elected by a minority of American voters, and he won the election because the United States uses the electoral college, a system put in place as a concession to slave states with low voting populations. This is just one of many, many fuck ups from our great 'founding fathers', a collection of rich white men who didn't want to pay their taxes (but did want to own slaves, obvs). I'll give them credit: they were willing to die for it, which counts for something.

As a result of this minority election victory, Trump gets to nominate an appointment to the Supreme Court, and his first nomination is a deeply religious man who holds Scalia in high regard. Many conservatives do, as Scalia was their flag bearer on the court for decades: a great friend to big business, to religion, to discrimination, and especially to bigotry, all in the name of a strict interpretation of the 'letter' of the law. Reports indicate that Gorsuch will vote against a woman's right to an abortion, perhaps because it is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution, but more likely because he is a religious nutjob that wants to impose his religious views on as many people as possible. 

Religious dogma is rubbish whether it is coming from a bible-humping neocon like Gorsuch or a koran-humping imam, and it belongs in the trash. Gorsuch reportedly prefers to determine constitutional law based on the intentions of our founding fathers, who, as I have reported in this space before: thought slavery should be legal; did not think women or anyone who did not own land should be allowed to vote; believed firmly in oligarchy; did not believe in an income tax; and did not have the benefit of what we would now consider even the most basic science education. (Your three year old that washes their hands after using the toilet knows more about germ theory of disease than they ever did. Think about that for a minute.) Their gross ignorance in matters of science and physics aside, I feel comfortable saying that maybe those guys weren't as great as people make them out to be. Anyone trying to figure out what the founding fathers intended should remember that they put it to a vote and most of them decided that, on the whole, slavery was cool and good and why would we ever let a woman vote are you insane? 

One thing they were clear on was the separation of church and state (from that hallowed slaveowner Thomas Jefferson!), but that's another area where Trump, et. al. are doing all they can to ignore and revoke your rights, and it's another thing that Muslims and Christians have in common: they both believe they have God on their side, and their righteousness and piety will lead all of us to glory. Fuck them and fuck their nonsense. It deserves your contempt, and you should reject it without exception. 

Here's the key point: religious dogma injected into your government deserves your contempt regardless of what is written in the US constitution, because it is a terrible way to govern. 

The constitution was written by a bunch of men that didn't have the benefit of a modern college education, or the foresight of what our country would become. That's our job as citizens: to move forward. Trying to interpret what they 'intended' by reading the tea leaves makes as much sense as trying to fly an airplane by talking to someone on the ground that died 200 years ago. 

Neil Gorsuch is probably a very nice man, kind to his children, good to his friends. He is also a man that wants to enforce his religious views on as many people as possible. I say no to that, and no to government by a minority theocracy. Resist

29 January 2017

Meh

Hello friends! 
I started a long post about President Clownshoes Trump's inaugural address. It was topical and relevant and interesting and depressing as hell. So I tabled it for now. 

I do want to point out that the same yahoos who have spent the last 8 years making false accusations about how you cannot trust the government are now in charge, and they are working overtime to make their wildest dreams come true. Irony is real. 

I had more comments about current events but I'm not in the mood. Instead, here is a picture of a pony in a sweater. 

23 January 2017

Hot Jam of the Week: Bleachers and Charli XCX - Rollercoaster



I don't do much these days, surgery recovery and all. I could write a blog about Destiny (the game) but I'd rather be playing Destiny (the game) than write about it. So let's hear some music!

Apparently this is a cover? I never heard the original and don't much care. This is three minutes of pop perfection. Enjoy.

17 January 2017

Russian Literature Can Be Funny: The Possessed by Elif Batuman

In between the economics books* and the history books I like to mix in something that isn't history or economics. I'm not picky as long as the alternative reading is easier to get through than 700 page books on history or economics (or the history of economics).

To wit: This is a very good and funny collection of essays about a topic in which I have only a peripheral interest (Russian literature). It is said by pretentious a-holes those who purport to know that you cannot truly understand Russian literature unless you can read it in the original language. I have heard this enough times that I guess I believe it? I'm not going to learn Russian so it's not verifiable.

This is a very interesting and funny book about capital-l Russian Literature, and about academia, and about intellect, and about reading, about relationships, and about investing time and effort and energy in the pursuit of those things. If it is true that you cannot fully appreciate Russian Literature without mastering Russian, then this is probably a better use of your time anyway. And you can always read the original works later, if that's your thing. Anna Karenina is rubbish. Or 'the best novel ever written', depending on who you ask. lol nah - it's more boring than econ books.




* This is more than a little unfair as the Piketty is very accessible and well written, but there's only so much you can do with the driest of dry subject matter. Credit to Piketty and his translator for making it as good as it is.

06 January 2017

Daft Science: COINS Brings the Noise




A guy (COINS) made a bootleg record of Daft Punk and the Beastie Boys. This is the best track by some distance, but the others are worth a listen if you are the type of person that enjoys some Daft Punk or some Beastie Boys. This remix, and this project, is over two years old(!!). I finally caught up with it this year, so that's fun. Enjoy. 

04 January 2017

Bears!

Sam Harris is smart. And occasionally funny. But mostly smart.