Tuesday, January 31, 2017

character ... or not

War takes courage and a certain liqueous stupidity.

Peace takes character.

From this, if true, it can be seen why I'll be damned if I can think of a single 30-year period of time during which the United States was not involved in one armed conflict or another.

If war is the rule ... almost worse than the bloodshed and loss is the infernal need to praise its creativity and kindness.

It really is easier to understand things where war is a 'given.' And it really is easier to see why various groups find it necessary to speak of the joy and wisdom of mankind.

OK, guys, douse the bull-shit-o-meter lights. It's time to pat ourselves on the back.

Character .... does that actually mean something?


Passed along in email:

A young man named Donald bought a horse from a farmer for $250. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day.
The next day, the farmer drove up to Donald’s house and said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the horse died.”
Donald replied, “Well, then just give me my money back.”
The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”
Donald said, “Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.”
The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?
Donald said, “I’m going to raffle him off.”
The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead horse!”
Donald said, “Sure I can, Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.”
A month Later, the farmer met up with Donald and asked, “What happened with that dead horse?”
Donald said, “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at five dollars a piece and made a profit of $2245.00
The farmer said, “Didn’t anyone complain?”
Donald said, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his five dollars back.”
Donald is now in the Whitehouse!

A-I skunks poker pros

Every day for the last 20 days, between the hours of 11am and about 10pm, four of the world’s top poker players have been sitting in a Pittsburgh casino playing against a software robot called Libratus.
With only a few hours of the Brains vs Artifical Intelligence competition left, Libratus has won more than $1.5m worth of chips from the humans. It would take a miracle for the human players, Dong Kim, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou and Daniel McCauley – all specialists in no-limit Texas Hold’em, a two-player unlimited bid form of poker – to make a comeback.
It’s a crushing defeat for humanity, but a major milestone for artificial intelligence.
Little by little and bit by bit (Go, Chess, Jeopardy), it seems that one of the best and most extraordinary things human beings can do is to fuck up.

Monday, January 30, 2017

voodoo day

The group's young leader, Vicentia Chanvoukini, known by her followers as "Lady Perfect", has proclaimed herself a god.
Lady Perfect is a god? Makes sense to me. I think I have a lot of friends like that, maybe. But does anyone else get mildly-to-majorly disgusted at the human gene -- religious or otherwise -- with the need to be bigger and better and more profound or eerie or powerful? You want to be god? OK ... just do it around the corner where others don't need to get infected. You want to head the sect or lead the English department or wear the crown that launched a thousand ships?

Just make sure there's enough room for the other skate-boarders on the playground.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

George Carlin ... seriously

It's higglety-pigglety, perhaps, but it's George Carlin and therefore intelligent from where I sit. Everyone gets skewered in this best-of compendium. Worth listening to all of it ... even if you skip a bit.

State Department putsch

Thomas Countryman was on his way to Rome for an international meeting on nuclear weapons on Wednesday when he found out he had been summarily removed from his position. The senior diplomat turned around and got on the first flight back to Washington.
It was a sudden and unceremonious end to 35 years as a foreign service officer, the last four months of it as the acting undersecretary for arms control and international security. But Countryman was not alone. The Trump White House carried out an abrupt purge of the state department’s senior leadership last week, removing key officials from posts that are essential to the day-to-day running of the department and US missions abroad.
When I was a kid, I would get a very hard spanking when I was caught out messing in adult affairs that might have looked like fun but were outside my competence.

Trump appears to turn screws

A global backlash against U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration curbs gathered pace on Sunday as several countries including long-standing American allies criticised the measures as discriminatory and divisive.
Governments from London and Berlin to Jakarta and Tehran spoke out against Trump's order to put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily ban travellers from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries, which he said would help protect Americans from terrorism. [Reuters]
Is anyone -- anyone outside Donald Trump -- gaining from the confusion and acidity whose tsunami is rising? Is anything easier than war? In large measure, my wife refuses to discuss Trump et al. I think she may be closest to right.

In the wee darkness of today's dawn, I awoke thinking of 1. The Button Hermit, a wholly-concocted person who paints miniature, connective scenery on buttons that will adorn one shirt or such. The small collectives are very expensive ... or free as is most art.

2. The Caligula Preparatory School [a Trump enterprise] in which price and sale and cost are given a four-year framework in which to be nourished.

Unfortunately, when I look up Caligula, his alleged cruelty and insanity seem to be dubious at best and certainly not deserving of the company of the likes of Trump.

Yes, my wife probably has it right. The person who tries to do away with Trump will probably be called crazy and will certainly support Trump's own aggrandized vision of himself. Just forgetaboutit.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

untranslatable emotions

Perhaps "a little mbuki-mvuki," the urge to throw off your clothes as you dance...

Or perhaps uitwaaien – which encapsulates the revitalising effects of taking a walk in the wind?

Untranslatable emotions must, of course, be translated.....

Friday, January 27, 2017

Music from another room

Another musical force I knew/know nothing about:

Mohsen Namjoo - Zolf ft. NBE Orchestra [Live in Amsterdam]

magical stuff or "complete garbage"

I do not presume to claim an understanding of what is being discussed, but I am willing to admit a puckish smirk when the decorous veil of academia slips and one hand-maiden chastises another in plain-ish English:
Other scientists working in the same and related fields have told the BBC that the team's paper is short on the kind of data needed to make a proper assessment of its achievements.
"Complete garbage," is how Eugene Gregoryanz from Edinburgh University described the research. "Like everybody else who works with hydrogen at high pressures, I am appalled by what is being published in Science."
That there is so much scepticism is natural. If what is being claimed pans out, it would represent one of the major physics breakthroughs of recent decades.
The "complete garbage," if that's that it is, relates to
Scientists in the US say they have at last managed to turn hydrogen into a state where it behaves like a metal.
If that is true - and it is a controversial claim - it fulfils a more than 80-year quest to produce what many have said would be a wonder material.
Theory suggests metallic hydrogen could be used to make zero-resistance electrical wiring and super-powerful rocket fuel, among many applications.
Ranga Dias and Isaac Silvera are the Harvard researchers behind the work.
They report their experiments in this week’s Science Magazine.
Somewhere is the lost recesses of my mind, I seem to recall that the possibility and implications of what is asserted here would be akin to turning lead into gold.

without a backward glance

Photo choices in The Guardian

the Penny Farthing

In a time when too much information strikes me as lacking substance or flavor or any seriousness that extends beyond narcissism, the following passed-along-in-email offers a little respite:

Penny Farthing enthusiasts endure to this day. Please invite me when you plan to try yours out.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

liberals with guns

... some left wingers take a more pessimistic view.
"It just feels like we are living at the end of the world and everybody expects the apocalypse to come sooner rather than later," says Clara, the nursing student.
"So learning how to shoot a gun doesn't seem like a bad idea. Certainly more useful than learning how to make PowerPoint slides, or whatever." -- BBC Magazine Dec. 20

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

392-pounder reclaims Japanese crown

Japan has formally named its first home-grown sumo grand champion in almost two decades, in a boost to the traditional wrestling sport.
Kisenosato, 30, was promoted to the top-most yokozuna rank after his win in the first tournament of the year.
He is the first Japanese-born wrestler to make it since Wakanohana in 1998. Five wrestlers from American Samoa and Mongolia have made it in the interim.
Foreign wrestlers have come to dominate sumo, amid a lack of local recruits.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trump administration's gag order????

Trump bans agencies from 'providing updates on social media or to reporters'

Administration put de facto gag order on EPA and agriculture department staff, following similar guidance for USDA and Department of Transportation, reports say

man robs bank to escape wife

A 70-year-old man from Kansas has pleaded guilty to a bank robbery on Tuesday, saying he did it to escape from his wife.
Lawrence Ripple robbed a Kansas City bank, last September, and then waited in the lobby until police came.
He told investigators he would rather go to jail than live at home, and now faces up to 20 years.

news 'n' corornations 'n' stuff

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel said Tuesday it approved 2,500 new settler homes in the West Bank, signaling a major ramp-up of construction just days after the swearing-in of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose election has emboldened the settlement movement.
Trump is widely expected to be more sympathetic to Israel's settlement policies than the fiercely critical Obama administration, and has also vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Israel's nationalist government has welcomed the prospective change in policy, but it also risks igniting Palestinian or even regional unrest.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's opening work day offered a look at his tricky balancing act between American businesses and the working-class voters who propelled his march to the White House.
The name of the game, Trump tweeted before dawn: "Jobs."
US authorities have seized $20m (£16m) in cash discovered in a bed frame under a mattress in a Massachusetts flat.
The cash is believed to be linked to a $1bn pyramid scheme involving TelexFree, a company that claimed to provide internet phone services.
Investigators uncovered the cash while following a Brazilian man, who was charged in connection to the haul.
Federal prosecutors say the defunct company swindled almost a million people worldwide out of about $1bn.
Anecdotal: Bosoms have blossomed under the Trump insurgency. Has anything improved or declined?
Donald Trump is now president. This challenges many of us, not least members of the press. Countless reporters are still shaken and stunned by how he singled out a CNN reporter, one of the most respected news outlets in the world, to attack and humiliate him during his first press conference since winning the elections. Worryingly, none of his fellow journalists in the room stood up for him at the time. This wasn’t Trump’s first attack on the press, and it certainly won’t be his last. The first White House press briefing, held on Saturday, featured bullying, threats and unproven claims. That is why a new level of solidarity and cooperation is needed among the fourth estate.
The news media have not got the courage of their own alleged convictions. To defend the republic and its people is popular right up to the moment when it is called into action. So, in one sense, Donald Trump is not so wrong ... which is not the same as saying Donald Trump is right.

All of this scatter-gun info tickles down on the barn roof. Is anything happening? I suppose Netanyahu is that much closer to coronation.

Monday, January 23, 2017

stop being so egregiously clean!

OK, I realize that the implications might be a multi-billion-dollar u-turn, but since I seem to be going through something similar, I kind of wonder:
A year ago James Hamblin, a senior editor at The Atlantic, started showering a lot less. Then he gave up altogether. “It was a very gradual process,” he tells me. “I weaned myself off it over six months and found myself getting less grimy, oily and smelly.” How often does he wash now? “I’m vigilant about washing my hands,” he says. “I will rinse off if I’m drenched in sweat after a run and need to be at dinner in ten minutes, or if I have terrible bedhead and look unprofessional. Other than that, basically nothing.”
Some scientists argue that regular showering disrupts the body’s delicate ecosystem and damages our microbiome: the rich community of bacteria residing in and on our bodies. One recent study found the Yanomami, one of the world’s most remote indigenous tribes living deep in the Venezuelan Amazon, hosts the most diverse constellation of microbes ever discovered in humans. The message is that washing less may not only be good for the environment – less water, fewer products – it might be good for us, too.
What, precisely is so bad about how people smell? True, some over-extend the privilege, but there is something like a $5 cat house about the body lotions and perfumes and whatever other sorts of camouflage smell-mongers can array before us. Chicken shit is pretty awful, I think, and pig shit can be the same, but walkin'-around body odor is ... well, isn't it just life?

I don't know, but I do know I am taking fewer showers than once. Is it worse to smell or not to smell?

"weather bomb"

A powerful “weather bomb” has hit New Zealand, cutting off rural towns, flooding major roads and dumping snow on to bare alpine ski fields at what should be the height of the southern hemisphere summer.
The significant low edged over the South Island late on Thursday afternoon, causing landslips and snow, and went on to lash the country throughout the weekend.
Auckland in the North Island suffered major power outages, while rivers on the west coast of the South Island rose rapidly in a matter of hours, lapping at road-sides and carrying large debris, including trees washed down from the Southern Alps.
Warnings and road closures are still in place in the central and southern parts of the South Island and the Southland farming town of Waikaia remains cut off, with soaked pastures threatening farm infrastructure and farmers urgently evacuating livestock to higher ground.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

keen world

From a BBC story about falconry:
My eyes searched the dappled camouflage in front of me – tree limbs, leaves and shadow – but I could not see her.
“Just keep walking,” Healy-Rennison instructed. “She sees us far better than we can see her.”
“Eyes like a hawk,” I mused aloud, treading onward.
“Ten times stronger than a human’s eyesight,” said Healy-Rennison, adding, “Like reading a newspaper across a football field.” (emphasis added)

reflection time?

On the one hand, the voice of the people -- some three million of them -- made Hillary Clinton the latest president of the United States. On the other hand, the pope cautions against the ground-swell of populism that, in broad-brush terms, put Adolf Hitler in office in 1933. You might think that the clash of populism-pro's and populism-con's would engender reflection. Instead, according to my very-inaccurate sniff-o-meter, populism smells delicious or dangerous depending on who is selling it this morning.

Oy-veh -- Hillary won and democracy has been flaunted.

Oy-veh -- Trump won and democracy has been upheld.

Those who know history better than I will be able to reflect on Rome's wrangles over the will of the "people" and the glistening exceptionalism of the Senate ... it's all crystal clear ... until you dig in.

As far as I can figure out, the 45th president hasn't DONE anything yet.
Women activists, outraged by Trump's campaign rhetoric and behavior they found to be especially misogynistic, spearheaded scores of marches in the United States and sympathy rallies around the world on Saturday.

"My Diet" photos

Found on the BBC by Teddy Everett and titled "Fruit Ninja," a picture that could be phony or could be real. I need a lesson in Photoshop or Snopes or something....

Saturday, January 21, 2017

do we get a break now?

OK ... Donald Trump is now president of the United States. Unless I'm mistaken, everyone is being circumspectly muted: Do they want a place at the trough more than they want something resembling honor? It's not clear which way to jump.  Trump signed on yesterday; Obama signed off.
Trump took his first steps in that direction on Friday. Before attending his inaugural balls, he signed an executive order aimed at undermining former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The order notes that Trump plans to seek the "prompt repeal" of the law. But in the meantime, it allows the Health and Human Services Department and other federal agencies to delay implementing any piece of the law that might impose a "fiscal burden" on states, health care providers, families or individuals.
And so the bullshit begins: Repeal the health care law ... well, sort of ... if it is not too discomfiting ... and you just know who's going to end up holding the slimy end of this stick -- the very people who cheered Trump on. Repeal health care without coming up with a replacement ... but blaming the Democrats for a lack of a replacement ...

It all makes me wonder a bit how different -- in reality -- things might have been if Hillary Clinton had won.

And if anyone missed it, the people who need the most help receive the least of it, I suspect.

keep the drone fires burning

Obama goes out with a bang:
A US military air strike in north-western Syria has killed more than 100 al-Qaeda militants at a training camp, the Pentagon says.
Spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said the camp in Idlib province had been in operation since 2013.
The attack involved a B-52 bomber and an undisclosed number of drones, officials said.
The strike on Thursday was the second major US military attack in the final hours of Barack Obama's presidency.
Less than 24 hours earlier, a combination of B-2 stealth bombers and drones killed up to 90 so-called Islamic State (IS) militants in two camps in a remote area of Libya, officials said.

Friday, January 20, 2017

everything and its price

"If we don't own responsibility (for the problem of displaced workers), it's only going to get bigger," Procter & Gamble (PG.N) Chief Executive David Taylor said.
The scope of the employment risk from what the WEF calls the "fourth industrial revolution" which "blurs the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres" is unclear.
A University of Oxford study in 2013 said nearly half of U.S. jobs were at risk, while in 2015 Forrester Research predicted a net loss of only 7 percent by 2025, as some lost jobs will be replaced with new ones.
Forrester predicts that by 2019, one-quarter of all job tasks will be offloaded to software robots, physical robots, or customer self-service automation.
Even the corner office may not be safe.
On the very day (today) Donald Trump is scheduled to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, comes this piece from Reuters ... automation is poised to take the jobs Trump has promised to restore. Various Republicans are sucking up to Trump and his flamboyent, self-centered ways. Nor do Democrats want to be kept from the trough.

But the jobs, dignity and honor?

the numbers that count

Passed along in a perfect e-mail:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

penises, beware!!!

An Instagram account depicting nipples in extreme closeup aims to topple sexist double standards in censorship on social media.
Genderless Nipples shares closeup images of nipples taken at such proximity, it is difficult – if not impossible – to tell whether they are male or female. After just 70 posts in six weeks, the account has close to 50,000 followers on Instagram.
Instagram is notoriously rigorous in removing images of women’s bare breasts, prompting the #FreeTheNipple campaign ongoing since 2012.
You mean?! You mean?! Do you actually mean that if I wait long enough, this up-to-date means of blissful communication will actually reveal a naked human being??????

Like the insertion of cuss words, naked body parts have been gaining sway in small screen drama. Breasts -- which is to say female breasts -- are almost a sine qua non these days. Man tits have always been OK. But what I'm waiting for is the break-out Moment of the Pecker ... together with the show, "Full, frontal hard-on ...."

Naked people ... uh, haven't we been here before?

being an elephant ... maybe

If you were an elephant (Guardian)…

Why do elephants seek out other elephants? Not primarily for sex, or for an extra arsenal of receptors to pick up the scent of poachers, or because they assume that the others will have found particularly nutritious food, but because they like other elephants.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

no more columns

The most recent Christmas season took on a particular glow this year.

First, Donald Trump, a man who seemed determined at every turn to display his selfishness, was going head-to-head both with Santa Claus -- a guy I like -- and Jesus Christ -- a guy a lot of people claim to like. Questions abounded: Would the tempestuous Trump fire Santa? And if not Santa, how about Jesus?

Second: Would Donald Trump actually become a president of the United States -- a job spoken of in well-modulated tones reserved for what was once the most powerful and magnetic country in the world? The answer seemed to be 'yes,' and yet this was a man who spoke in explosive tweets and reversed course frequently.

And third: On the day after Christmas, I found myself, at 76, in one of those ergonomically-praiseworthy and passenger-dubious beds reserved for heart/lung patients at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. And it was from that perch that I was given a chance to see America sold out in one way or another.

Drugs, of course, warmed my medicinal stew. I saw things from behind the lenses of opaque whites, pale blues, an occasional red ... you know, the pill repertoire. It was clear that the Republicans would do what they could to dismantle health care in America while pretending like Pinnochio's nose to offer an honest replacement. Victory without effort is so much easier than what was once called "sweat.".

And then, floating up in this hospital miasma was the announcement that Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus would close up shop come May. In an era of 141 characters and Tweet mentalities and Twitter presidents, it all seemed appropriate: The world powers gathered in Davos to carve up the financial pie: Trump was serving; China was buying.

It was time to lie back and relax. Would there be a pill for all this? Sure.

I do wonder a bit if those who got sick to death of the sissy liberals will remember who it was who left them in their second pile of smug and uncaring shit.


About 50 years ago, my first publicly published piece was in the Gazette. Et puis, the last. Too frothy. Too energetic.

No more columns.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

kick adam in the ass

As Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential reins in the U.S. and thence to auction off the rest of the U.S., China seems poised to make its move and buy the store out.  Eeeeee-haw, there's gold in them-thar hills and if Donald gets his cut, everything will be fine.

It is hard to imagine what Trump might do after Jan. 20 when he is scheduled to be inaugurated. Running a country is only as fun as proving you can do it.

But China takes a long view of things and may be the perfect customer for Trump and his fire-sale.
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) -- China is taking the world's most elite annual gathering by storm.
President Xi Jinping leads a Chinese delegation of over 100 officials and scores of business executives attending the World Economic Forum, embodying a tectonic shift at an event that started nearly a half-century ago among Europeans and Americans.
Xi's opening plenary address Tuesday to political and business leaders is shaping up as perhaps the highlight both of this year's WEF and Xi's one-country European visit to ultra-stable and chronically neutral Switzerland.
"The two countries will strive to maintain world peace and stability, promote common development and jointly maintain a global trade system which is open and tolerant," Xi told reporters at a joint briefing with Swiss President Doris Leuthard on Monday. "We will push global governance toward a fairer and more reasonable direction."

Trump auctions America ... or anyway that's my guess

As Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential reins in the U.S. and thence to auction off the rest of the U.S., China seems poised to make its move and buy the store out.  Eeeeee-haw, there's gold in them-thar hills and if Donald gets his cut, everything will be fine.

It is hard to imagine what Trump might do after Jan. 20 when he is scheduled to be inaugurated. Running a country is only as fun as proving you can do it.

But China takes a long view of things and may be the perfect customer for Trump and his fire-sale.
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) -- China is taking the world's most elite annual gathering by storm.
President Xi Jinping leads a Chinese delegation of over 100 officials and scores of business executives attending the World Economic Forum, embodying a tectonic shift at an event that started nearly a half-century ago among Europeans and Americans.
Xi's opening plenary address Tuesday to political and business leaders is shaping up as perhaps the highlight both of this year's WEF and Xi's one-country European visit to ultra-stable and chronically neutral Switzerland.
"The two countries will strive to maintain world peace and stability, promote common development and jointly maintain a global trade system which is open and tolerant," Xi told reporters at a joint briefing with Swiss President Doris Leuthard on Monday. "We will push global governance toward a fairer and more reasonable direction."

Friday, January 13, 2017

synchronous fireflies

Although there are about 2,000 species of fireflies in the world, synchronous fireflies ­– ones that can coordinate their flash patterns ­– exist in just a handful of places on Earth. And to see their most dramatic light display in the western hemisphere, you’ll need to head to the US, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

mass murderer's complaints heard

SKIEN, Norway (AP) -- Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik told a panel of judges Thursday that his solitary confinement in prison had deeply damaged him and made him even more radical in his neo-Nazi beliefs.
Dressed in a black suit, the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 bomb attack and shooting spoke coherently and without emotion as he addressed the panel considering if his isolation is inhumane....
Breivik, 37, was speaking during a hearing at the high-security prison in southern Norway where he is serving a 21-year sentence and has been in solitary confinement since 2012.
The government is appealing a lower court ruling that held his constant segregation was degrading and violated European human rights standards.

white flag era

I am trying -- seriously trying -- to read the news and keep up with a press doing what it can to keep up with almost-president of the United States, Donald Trump. [Here's one example] A recent stay in the hospital for heart irregularities hardly seems an adequate excuse for the lack of understanding I have found and the exhaustion I feel.

Honest to god -- what the fuck is going on? Will someone shoot this mutt and put him out of my misery? I don't understand prolonged narcissism (Trump) and more, really can't find the energy to parse it. I guess I will rest my head on the pillow of the word
Alternatively, I give up. Trump hates my country, hates its roots, hates its honor ... I hope there's beer in the fridge. I hope some idiot thinks s/he can parse it all and, having parsed, extract some sense and a modicum of affection.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

myopia writ large

... while approximately two-thirds of Americans believe that robots will inevitably perform most of the work currently done by human beings during the next 50 years, about 80% also believe their current jobs will either “definitely” or “probably” exist in their current form within the same timeframe.
I wonder if anyone else is as sick as I am of the cutsy-wootsy conformities of what are currently called "robots" when it comes to previously-human chores. If it looks like Pac-Man, does losing a job become any more palatable?

Second question: Will robots put Donald Trump out of a job?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

coming of age

Woo-hoo young women in Tokyo celebrate a coming-of-age day.

  • The annual holiday marks teenagers turning 20 and so reaching official adulthood in the country
  •  It celebrated on the second Monday of the year in ceremonies across Japan - from the mountains to the coast
  • Young people attend ceremonies in local town halls and offices, with parties afterwards for family and friends
  • The age of 20 is significant in Japan because that's the age at which it becomes legal to drink, smoke and vote.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

in the interim .....

In  the meantime....

In the time between going to the hospital, having death more or less laid out again as a not-terribly exciting option, and regaining a sluggish reconnect as Donald Trump edges up on the Jan. 20, 2017, inauguration....

My younger son moves closer towards a deployment in a Middle East where, yet again, the once-great United States, has not seen fit to declare a state of war that nevertheless pop-pop-pop's from the barrels of weapons sold largely by the USA.

My middle son sprained his ankle and hobbles around the house. My wife does the heavy lifting, from keeping medical tabs to ... to ... to....

Other swaths and hitches of organization. Is anything organized any more? Hospitals, I suppose, are organized though fewer people seem to get the care

In the meantime, I notice that it is becoming acceptable for women to be fat ... thick ankles ... waist lines that really do damage to the plumping female form. It's probably just my bias .... everyone loud and shiny-bright-but-largely-stupid....

Donald Trump instills the poetry: "This is is the way the world will end/ This is the way the world will end/ This is the way the world will end/ Not with a bang but a whimper." And in the meantime I no longer have what it takes to look things up, to double-check

The bourgeois, I-own-it minds are on the tube. Their lack of imagination is frightening.

There are more tits on tv and more pot/marijuana (drug world has not yet settled ) and pretty soon moderation -- the use of an expletive other than "fuck" -- is likely to become chic.

It would be nice if something were sassy/classy instead of just brittle and loud

I don't know what this post is about .... I imagine I'll add to it.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Here's a morning routine for you. After the alarm on your smartphone goes off, it's time to roll out of your "smart" bed and give your hair a good run through with your app-connected brush. Don't forget to use your smart toothbrush in front of your smart mirror. After that, your smart pillbox will remind you to take your medication. And remember to put on your smart jeans, so they can give you directions while you leave your phone in the pocket. Sound like a typical morning? Tech companies at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas would like it to be. 
[BBC] The largest shipment of US brigades since the fall of the Soviet Union is arriving in northern Germany.
The first of the 87 tanks and 144 military vehicles were being unloaded in the port of Bremerhaven on Friday.
The equipment and 3,500 US troops are to be deployed along Nato's eastern frontier. The deployment aims to allay worries of potential Russian aggression in eastern Europe.
However, some fear the large number will exacerbate tensions with Moscow.

Friday, January 6, 2017

parkour death

An "inspirational" British free runner has died after a "train accident" on the Paris Metro.
Nye Frankie Newman, from Guildford in Surrey, died on 1 January, his parkour group said.
The 17-year-old was a keen participant of the sport, in which people climb and jump over obstacles and buildings.
Luke Stones, a fellow member of the Brewman parkour group, rejected suggestions Mr Newman had been "train-surfing" at the time of his death.
The cause of Mr Newman's death is not yet known.

photos from the Guardian

Sensible nonsense, somehow:

Neville has travelled from Scotland to Pittsburgh, Helmand and beyond, documenting humanity with a clarity of purpose defined by social responsibility

Thursday, January 5, 2017

military uniform rules eased

Look the same, shoot the same, bleed the same .... fashion the same.

[Reuters] -- The U.S. Army has taken new steps to make it easier for Sikhs, Muslims and other religious minorities to obtain approval to dress and groom themselves according to their religious customs while serving in the military, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Army Secretary Eric Fanning, in a memorandum signed this week, revised the uniform policy to set appearance standards for people seeking religious accommodations to wear beards, turbans and head scarfs.
The new rules also enable brigade-level commanders to approve the religious accommodations, an authority that previously rested with the Army secretary. Denial of a religious accommodation may be appealed as high as the Army secretary.

unyielding but fair ... WTF

Step by step I do what I can to return to the 'rational' and quasi-rational land of sanity last seen before I entered the heart-healing health world a couple of weeks back.

But by licks and trips, I am stymied and, like the latter-day elderly person who has "fallen and I can't get up," I have fallen, can't get up and more than anything, don't give a shit about getting up. What, for example does the phrase, "an unyielding but fair-minded conservative" [Jeff Sessions] mean? Seriously ... conservative, liberal, what does it mean? A fair-minded person who is unyielding? Will someone parse that for me .... or ... no, wait, parse it for someone else. It is ludicrous no matter what the starting point.

This is "outside" its own mind description ... or, if it's not, then the world of impending Walmart feudalism has taken a large step forward. 

I am tired, I guess. I hesitate to say the world has gone mad. I hesitate to say that I have gone mad. I hope there is a good sit-com TV show in the offing.

OK ... Bush and cohorts get the money ... couldn't we do something nice for each other? What a wuss I am become.

worth coming back for

Some things I think are worth coming back for and among them, as I fished around for bits and pieces of touchstone to come back to after the health-care hazies and crazies was

I wonder if anyone else feels that really you should find a thing or two worth dying for. Not that the opportunity to die will be given, but just the knowledge that as compromises go, this is a pretty good one. It has fuck-all to do with taste ... it's just that this something or other swabs your decks and issues its own A-A-A-A-M-M-M-M-E-E-E-E-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N-N!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

welcome home

Welcome home card that seemed to  cover the bases: