12 August 2017

Retro Style

In creating the post on Ready Player One (see below) I got sucked into a rabbit hole of 80's references, Gotcha shorts, and, happily, some pretty great retro OP polos.

Thanks to the internet some of this stuff is not too hard to find, and some of it is reasonably priced. If it fit me I would pay $40 plus shipping for this sweatshirt (that stripe! that collar! 100% cotton!). Some of it is expensive; not sure I would pay $80 for a shirt made 30 years ago - I would attempt to find a modern equivalent, but at least it is interesting.

Full disclosure: this is the last sweatshirt I bought, so YMMV. The thing about buying a garment like that is unless you lose it or let some girl 'borrow' it then it is likely to be the last sweatshirt you ever buy. That is one of the reasons they don't make them like they used to - the other is that loopwheeled shirts are very expensive to make, especially if you pay your employees a decent living wage like they do in Japan. Still: it will last as long as you do, which is saying something. I got mine because it reminded me of the same garment that my grandfather used to wear when I was a kid. He had gotten several on the cheap in the late 40's and wore them for decades. You can do the same: browse the collection at the History Preservation Associates and buy yourself a hoodie that will last a lifetime. You deserve it.

11 August 2017

Not Bad for an Afternoon: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Just because a lot of people like something does not mean it is good. (See: McDonalds food; Game of Thrones books; Big Bang Theory; etc.) That said, Ready Player One is a fun, easy-readying story with some cringey flat spots and occasionally horrendous dialog that will keep you entertained for the few hours it will take you to finish it. I think it will do very well as a movie, because the script writers will be able to even out the low points and punch up the weakest elements (the romantic storyline and dialog are, and I cannot overstate this, spectacularly awful) while keeping the parts of the story that make it compelling.

That the author's second novel resorts to the same first-person trope as the first suggests that he may be out of ideas. Or that he is a hack. Or both. He definitely seems like a hack in this novel, but it succeeds in spite of itself.

Highly recommended for: anyone that played a lot of atari in the 80's; anyone that spent time in front of an arcade cabinet at the local 7-11 on the way home from school in the 80's; anyone who knows the serial number for the original star trek Enterprise; anyone who owned a 20-sided die and prayed for a vorpal sword + 5; anyone who enjoys references to the classic that was the Last Starfighter.

08 August 2017

History Lesson: Liberty or Death by Peter McPhee

Liberty or Death really good! It is overflowing with detail so if you want to just get the gist of it you can get the kindle version and read the middle chapter that summarizes all the authors theses. Or if you can get your hands on a summary or abstract at a discount that might be good too. 

I read the whole thing and while the overarching themes are easy to recall there are many dates and places that are lost to me; it turns out that I do not need to remember the exact dates for the various revolutions, counter-revolutions, wars, internecine conflicts, and terrors that swept through France between 1789 and 1798. The big picture stuff is quite enough. 

This book overlaps well with Capital in the Twenty-First Century in that some of the root causes of the French Revolution are directly attributable to economic inequality, and Piketty explores them in some detail in his magnum opus. 

Full length book recommended for history buffs. Abstract or abbreviated version highly recommended for everyone else. 

06 August 2017

I Read This: The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland

Sweet Katie was kind enough to share this book with me. I read it and I didn't get it. The story about a woman having what seems to be a mental breakdown. The meta-stories are about aging, mid-life crises, careers, 'love', newspapers, and probably some other stuff I did not pick up on. It is an easy book to read, but not a very easy book to understand. What I did understand I did not think was interesting.

I do not do well with books that have unreliable narrators, and that is a core element of this novel. SK liked the book, and she is a good and smart person that reads a lot, so I think there is a good read in there if that type of book is your jam. It is very audience dependent. Read it and decide for yourself.

02 August 2017

Caught Up in You by 38 Special



Please press the play button and soak this scorching hot all time classic slice of pop perfection into your face. DO IT.

Two drummers? TWO DRUMMERS. You might want to go dance around a little, blow some rails (that was a thing in the 80's), sing along, or just watch the period-correct video and try to figure out which of those people you would have been if you were that age in 1982. (I'm the guy playing video games and drinking beers, obvs. Talk to girls? Fuck no. Why would I do that?)

Based on video evidence we can infer that many other things were hella dope back in the day: pay phones (lol), chest fur (on the men), tight ass jeans (men and women), shirts that are at least two sizes too small (men, and still a thing today), t-shirts tucked in with a belt (what the actual fuck?), hot blonde bitches playing you for free beers (also still a thing today). Not a thing back in the day? Bras, apparently. I'm not saying I'm into the look, but I'm not not saying it.

This song came out in 1982. Let that sink in for a minute. Some of my younger readers were not even born yet. The last girl I went out with wouldn't be born for another five years(!). Point is, this is an old song. Related: I am old. You're probably old too! How did this happen? No idea. Not much to say about it except this song makes me forget about being old for a few minutes. Actually, it does not make me forget. It just makes me not care for a few minutes. Two very different things, but it will have to do for now. At least until Destiny 2 comes out.

See you on the dance floor.

22 July 2017

Weeks and Weeks




Started some blog posts but they were not good. Even adjusting for lowered standards and long delays between content. I work, read books, do my PT, do my other hobbies (baking, watching League of Legends on youtube, and baking while watching League on youtube). Just trying to make my way in the world, same as you.

Here then is a very good ambient theme song from a movie (Sunshine) that started out promisingly and took a left turn into bullshit. Get down with some instrumental feels. Or not.

Around the time that this movie came out (2007) I worked with a person that I nicknamed 'Sunshine'. She was an aggressively cheerful and hilariously incompetent person. She worked in my department for about 3 years and she was good for some type of issue or challenge around once a month. The issues varied from wearing pajamas to work to having a nervous breakdown and needing to take a leave of absence. (Though these two things mayyyy have been related in some way.) When she had her final extended meltdown/leave and the company told her to take as long as she liked but to not plan on returning I took over her job duties. The saddest part about her issues was that she hardly did any work at all, and she still could not handle it.

The funniest part about her leaving was that IT gave me her computer so that I could access her files, and her password was "happiness". Sunshine, indeed.

09 July 2017

Heavy Reading: Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder

I finished Bloodlands a while back and have been processing, or, more accurately, attempting to process, the content ever since. Snyder paints a vivid account of the scale of the civilian and non-combatant slaughter in the territories between Germany and Russia that occurred between 1933 and 1945.

Is it the heaviest book ever written in English? Given the scope and scale of the material I think it might be. We have the benefit of contemporary firsthand accounts, and the numbers are overwhelming beyond human comprehension.

When you read that Stalin killed over 750,000 people in his great purges of 1937 and 1938, how do you wrap your head around that? If you read that Stalin starved over three million (!!) Ukrainians to death as part of his collectivization strategy in 1932/33 then what does that mean? Do you get caught up in the details of death by starvation, which are so harrowing I do not even want to reproduce them here? Or do you imagine what it would be like if all of San Jose (1.0 million), Dallas (1.3 million) and San Diego (1.4 million) were starved to death? What would that look like?

Once you get past Stalin's successful mass murders - if you can - then you come to Hitler, whose army and their compatriots killed even more civilians and POWs in a shorter span of time. The accounts of Hitler's/Germany's victims are every bit as horrible as anything that Stalin and his teams could design.

Though a difficult read, this is essential history, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

26 June 2017

Good Books from Masha Gessen and Timothy Snyder

Finished a couple excellent books over the weekend. Neither work is very long, and both are essential.

The first is Masha Gessen's illuminating account of the origins of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. The author does a good job summarizing his origins, and a less good job summarizing how he initially made his money (by defrauding the city of St. Petersburg in contracted food purchases totaling more than $100 million). I am much more interested in the latter than the former, so I could have used a lot more detail there but overall it is quite good. Gessen does a better job detailing the many, many ways in which the state (Putin, and his surrogates) manages to coerce, manipulate, intimidate, steal, and kill the competition. Russia is a very fucked up place, and Putin is a brutal dictator. It is more than a little disturbing that our current president admires Putin very much, and seems to endorse his extractive, exploitative economic policies as well as his control of the media. (Putin regularly kills people that he considers his enemies, and was also instrumental in a domestic terror bombing campaign in Russian apartment blocks that consolidated his power.) I rate this book 4 out of 5 Putin Centaurs.

The second book is short enough to read in a single sitting, although it is very a book I plan to revisit periodically. On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder is superb, and it summarizes very well why 'leaders' like Trump are dangerous for democracy. (Inciting violence against a free press, lying constantly and aggressively, subverting democratic principles such as voting rights for all, etc.) Buy two copies, and give one to a friend. (Trigger warning: if you want to bask in the ignorance and willful stupidity characterized by the Republic of Trumpistan then browse the one star reviews. Remember that when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you is full of fuckwits and morons.)

19 June 2017

Coal is Not Coming Back



John Oliver outlines why coal is not coming back, and even if it does, it will not do much to help the economy. Put simply: not enough people work in the coal industry. What would help the working class people that used to have viable careers in the coal mines is a social safety net. That would cost money, but the executives can spare it since they are making more money than they can spend. The problem is that the dumb fucks voted for the one person who will absolutely not, under any circumstances, help create a social safety net. They voted for a person that wants to cut taxes for rich people. Sad!

10 June 2017

Lies, Walls, and Hypocrisy



How's that wall coming along, Mr. Trump?

Long time no talk, as usual. The past couple weeks have been very... interesting. Consider this: The embattled leader of the nation retreated to give a speech to religious fanatics while his former head of domestic security testified before the legislative branch about the leader's efforts to derail an investigation into corruption and collusion with foreign powers. Where could such a thing happen? Some pathetic banana republic or similar third world shithole? Yes! But also in the richest, most powerful nation on earth.

This week, while James Comey was testifying before Congress about how his boss had insisted on 'loyalty', Trump was giving a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian group. It was pretty great! Trump talks a big game about (hashtag)religion, and the fact that this is what is helping prop him up as he fails from one topic to another says a lot about how unbelievably hypocritical some people are.

Trump is not religious! Trump is not a Christian! He just mouths the words because they get a positive reaction from people that think they are 'under siege'. Which: if you want to create a theocracy of any type in America then you are not under siege, you are an anti-Constitutionalist fucktard. I want to live under evangelical Christian law exactly as much as I want to live under Sharia law, but only one of those things is being actively promoted by organizations around the country. Hint: it's not sharia.

Trump, the standard bearer for that special subset of devout christians who have repeatedly cheated on their wives and have no interest in paying their bills, will stay in office as long as he pushes their pro-business agenda. Donald Trump is a clown. He has no long-term plan. The vague initiatives his office has suggested so far are remarkable only in how they will line the pockets of himself and his associates, and how little they do to help the egregiously stupid lower-middle class and lower class citizens that voted him into office.

Trump is a mouthpiece and agent for a group of people who hate the working class, who want to keep every last red cent for themselves, and tough shit if you are poor or do not have health insurance or both. Consider again that Donald Trump, serial adulterer, a man that bragged on tape about being a sexual predator, is a champion of conservative Christian groups. Donald Trump, a man that serious business people famously do not take seriously, in large part because he does not pay his bills, is the champion of Big Business.

There is nothing these people will not do in order to push their agenda. They do not care if Russia helped swing the election. They do not care if the environment gets trashed. They do not care if national parks get bulldozed. They do not care if poor people die because they cannot get health care. They do not care if poor people go hungry. They do not care that jails are overflowing with non-violent drug offenders. They do not care that black people are being gunned down in record numbers. They only care about the holy dollar, and Donald Trump is truly their lord and savior.

Jesus wept.

29 May 2017

Routine Update On Why There Are So Few Updates / Chris Cornell



I don't hit the blogspace much because I do not have much positive to contribute. Donald Trump is an overgrown piss baby and remains a joke amongst his 'peers' - stretching the definition of the word there as Trump is surely peerless among the Western world leaders in his ignorance and ineptitude. Still: he is an elected 'leader', and he interacts with other leaders. I could write ten thousand words on the inadequacy of his leadership but you can read better accounts from people that are getting paid to provide it.

In other news my back hurts a lot and it has a severely negative impact on my mental health. Not ideal. Not much inclined write about that, because who the fuck wants to read it? Not me. 

Big Cheese pointed out that Chris Cornell died, and that was a bummer. Indeed it is. His death hit a lot of people right in the feels because Soundgarden was their soundtrack to the 90's. However, it wasn't my soundtrack, because while you literally could not escape Soundgarden on tv or the radio back in the day I always thought their music was wildly overrated. Spoonman? Really? Black Hole Sun was maybe not terrible, but after the 800th time it starts to wear on you. Check out their list of hits (and there are some monster hits here) and tell me if anything has held up very well. I don't think so. Plus I was always more of a Pearl Jam guy anyway. YMMV

Even so, Chris Cornell was a great vocalist, and when steered towards a pop song like Hunger Strike (linked above) he shows off his immense talents. Guy was amazing, and this song remains a good singalong, if you're into that. I have it on good authority you can pound a natty light during the execrable bridge. It's a testament to how good Cornell is that you even want to stick around through that bridge. This song succeeds in spite of itself, in large part because Cornell was a legit outstanding vocalist. He was 52. 

15 May 2017

You're Good For Me




Old-school Trance classic right here.

There's a lot of hot air about how the new 'trance' music isn't as good as the old trance music. Styles change, tastes change, etc. Some of the new music is actually pretty good, but some of it, well, it's shit. But plenty of the records back in the day were shit too. So whatever. Enjoy this one because it's an all-timer.

I can confirm that the current music coming from Above and Beyond is most definitely NOT as good as this. 

Also, happy belated mother's day to all the mom's out there. I made my mom a roast leg of lamb, and also some banana bread. She doesn't much care for either item, and she's a thousand miles away. More for me! She appreciated the gesture. 

11 May 2017

Congratulations



Hey what's new?
No news here. Work is work and also there's that other stuff. Who wants to talk about that? Not me! This is a remix of a song that was quite a hit earlier this year. I like this one better. YMMV.

30 April 2017

Firsts

Over the weekend my friend's kid and I shared a joke for the first time. Or as much as you can expect in a joke from a child that is 3.5 years old.

We often do a high five for hellos and successes and also snacks, because it's good and fun to high five with the youths. So when I tucked Jr. into her car seat over the weekend we did a high five to celebrate (as you do). After that she immediately smiled and stuck her foot out and said, "high foot?" I laughed a lot, and said yes, absolutely, and tapped her foot with my hand. She was well pleased with her witticism, and so too was I.

Maybe you kind of had to be there. But that's true for most things, isn't it?
See you out there.

27 April 2017

'The Chronic' Doesn't Mean What It Used to Mean

Hi! If you were/are a frequent visitor to the blog you probably noticed that posts have really fallen off lately.

The reason is that I have been having some problems with my back, and I am in a lot of pain, all the time. Chronic pain is a bummer. Like, a real bummer.

You learn a lot when you are in pain. For instance, I learned in one of my psychology books that humans can become desensitized to almost everything. The only exceptions are very loud noises and chronic pain. : /  (This was in Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman).

More fun facts: did you know that one of the few things besides crushing poverty that will reliably make you unhappy is chronic pain? I didn't know either! (LOL actually I did because I've been living it, but it was fun to read in a book, in this instance it was Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.)

So things are not good. They might get better. They might not. Life is uncertain. If you want some excellent books to read I highly recommend both Thinking Fast and Slow and Sapiens. In between you should take a nap.

More later as I am able. Thanks for dropping by.

09 April 2017

Put Some World in Your World




This is very well executed. Found it here.

08 April 2017

So I Guess We're at War Now?

LOL J/K - America is not at war. A small subset of the armed forces are at war; America is at the mall.

Turns out the President can unilaterally bomb a sovereign nation (and spend over $100 million) without checking with Congress first. Related: Donald Trump is a goddamn moron.

Over 400,000 people (so far - this number is sure to increase) have been killed in the Syrian civil war since it kicked off several years ago. They have been killed with 'conventional' weapons: guns, bombs, bricks, etc. The United States stood idly by, and with good reason. There is very little strategic advantage to getting involved in that mess besides to help Europe prevent more refugees from washing up on their (and our) shores.

A few days ago around 100 people were killed with 'chemical' weapons, and Trump opted to spend over $100 million by launching missiles at an airfield that was fixed in less than 8 hours. (A million dollars a person! Imagine how far that money would go if you spent it on, I dunno, the American taxpayer? You can buy a lot of books for $100 million, if you gave a damn about that sort of thing.) Strategically, this is a failure, even by the generous standards of low-exposure warfare. Publicly Trump has enjoyed the endorsement of a great many clowns and fuckwits possessed of a very limited understanding of armed conflict in general and the Syrian civil war in particular.

Trump has no plan. He has no strategy. He has no solution. All he has is the most powerful military in world history and a TV stuck on Fox news. The man is a gross incompetent, and he has surrounded himself with gross incompetents. Setting aside the home for misfit toys that his cabinet has become, consider this most recent effort in Syria. It is vintage Trump: expensive, ineffective, and grossly ill considered. It is a gesture every bit as empty as the man himself.

I spoke with a person that loathed Trump before this action. She recently watched a documentary on Syria, and she was very emotional about the fact that the United States needed to do 'something' to stop 'that man'. The documentary seems very compelling - the trailer alone tugs at the heartstrings, with swelling music and emotional appeals (notice the obligatory little girl at the end for peak empathy). None of this is news as such, because reports of brutality have been coming out of Syria since before the rebellion even started.

Here's the thing: My friend is an otherwise rational person, but she let her emotions get the best of her. It is very definitely not the United States' responsibility to do anything that is not materially in the best interest of the United States. Starting a war with no exit strategy and no clear path to victory is not in the best of the United States. The challenge is further complicated by the fact that religious factions are almost certainly going to fill the power vacuum left when Assad gets what he deserves. That prospect reminds me of something but I can't quite put my finger on it. Hmm.. maybe I'll think of it later.

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.

02 January 2017

Hot Jamz from Earlier This Year: Bury It by CHVRCHES, remixed by Gareth Emery



No idea how long this song will stay up on soundcloud - it might stick because the audio quality is not very good. If not then just go here - it's the first song in the mix. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

01 January 2017

Science!

This is a hangover 'cure' from Chubbies. Apparently it's the same thing the WHO recommends if you have cholera. I haven't had a cholera type hangover recently but still: thanks, Chubbies.

Dr. Connor's Hangover Cure:
  • 1 liter of water
  • 6 teaspoons of sugar
  • A half teaspoon of salt
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime for flavoring

Happy New Year! Now Get Up and Get Going

Photo was taken earlier this year after my friend Tim and I had worked ourselves into a right state on the Assault bikes*. We both died. You can see the outline of my body on the ground left over from before I began the resurrection. (RIP, Tim.) Visited with Tim about this photo yesterday and he said, "I didn't even know you were dead too. I thought I was dead all by myself." Good focus, Tim. But no, I was also dead.

There's a life lesson in there somewhere and I think it is this: man tights are a-ok but sleeves will make you weak.

Good luck in 2017. See you out there.

* Yeah that's what they are actually called. It's an airdyne, but it needed a new name because IP infringement and all that.