November 30, 2011


Dr. Kapital posts this from the Ritz Carlton in Chicago:

Central banking isn't so hard.  Helicopters, baskets of cash, and suddenly everybody's happy.  

It's good to buy time, but have you noticed, Angela, how it gets more expensive each time you buy more?

November 29, 2011

Meanwhile #2.

The Iraq veteran who stood peacefully while getting shot in the head with a tear gas canister is slowly recovering from his brain injury, and has just started to speak - (good luck finding that in the Chronicle.) Meanwhile, the Bank of America CEO who lied while organizing tens of billions in secretly subsidized loans from the Fed, revealed now in a lawsuit, has not even been hit in the nuts with one little rubber bullet.

November 28, 2011

"I am a Tebowist"

I enjoy every shot of John Fox and John Elway at the end of another Tebow win when they look like they don't know whether to laugh or cry. I am a Tebowist.


The Bay today, from just south of SFO

November 27, 2011

The toilets flush, too

"Someone Rebuilt the Titanic. In the Crysis Engine." (link)

November 26, 2011

Can I get an A-men?

Brad DeLong:

  Who the FUCK are Donald Kagan and Niall Ferguson to dare to claim that I share an essential "Western" identity with somebody like Brigadier General Reginald E.H. Dyer? Or with somebody like Marcus Tullius Cicero, who joked that Julius Caesar was an idiot for invading Britain for the island had no silver to plunder and its inhabitants were too stupid and uneducated to make good slaves?

They can all go off in their corner together.

I am not one of them, and my civilization is not theirs. (link)

Not sure why an economist is needed to explain this, but here you go

"[T]he notion that denying health care to the near-poor is a serious deficit-reduction policy, but raising taxes on the very rich is not, is not something you can justify at all on the basis of the actual numbers." (link)

The next Mars rover, launched today, weighs one ton

November 25, 2011

Made me smile

November 24, 2011


I used to think Base 12 was all that, but I'm getting more partial to Base 3 on account of its optimal radix economy, and the existential appropriateness of a logical system that allows for "true", "false", and "some indeterminate third value."

I think this would resolve the Schrödinger's cat paradox by allowing us to classify the cat not as "alive" or "dead", but as in "some indeterminate state".  And you could do math on that, and everything.

I've looked for one of these on Ebay, but to no avail.  Doubt it would run Skyrim in any case...

Sly Stone said it first

Flamin' eyes of peoples fear, burnin' into you 
Many men are missin` much, hatin' what they do 

Youth and truth are makin' love 
Dig it for a starter 
Dyin' young is hard to take 
Sellin' out is harder

November 23, 2011

Rickles on Ferguson

Part 1
Part 2

The center does not hold

Dr. Kapital tweets this from the Hotel Monaco in Venice:

The hour is getting late Angela.  What will you tell the people?  (link)

November 22, 2011

Wish I could have said that

The best comment I've seen on the UC Davis pepper spray incident.

The walk of shame:


"There is only one thing that works in the face of the iron faces, and that is decency." - Robert Aitken 

Now that I'd pay to see

 Come on Jordan Bring it. One on one. I win lockout over. I'll beat u with my eyes closed and a in and out burger in my right hand


Snark Meter Pegged

 By the Roots, introducing Michelle Bachman.

November 21, 2011

I don't even need a reason

Submitted without comment

November 20, 2011

New stuff not finished yet, but I've redesigned the IRONCANDY blogspot site to be, you know, readable, with the following introduction:

Q: What is Rebar for Tootsie Rolls? A: Put a Sock in Your Pie Hole, Buster!

On a chilly gray November morning, in an old motor oil box unearthed in the half-lit basement backroom of a decrepit booksellers in Portland, Oregon, was recently found a moth-eaten pile of torn, disconsolate WWII pulp detective magazines stacked like a pile of action pancakes, covered in forsaken syrup. The stories within the yellowing, dusty newsprint pages, crumbling, covered in expiring bookstore ennui and both usual and unusual stains, were torn in half, incomplete, and bespoke- yes bespoke -of another era, where a man could do good when he got up in the morning even in San Francisco just by finding the right Nazi joker to sucker-punch in the kidney. And in the day, he could make a little cabbage slapping around a two-timing claims adjuster or maybe an amateur grammarian with a stick up his keister over conjunctions. And by the evening, he could be charming a smoking hot blond tomato who just stepped out of a Vargas poster into distracting him from the existential wounds of modernity, simply by drinking too much and showing her his really neat gun.

These are those stories that were those there.

November 19, 2011


Just sayin'...


And then the waiter says:  "would you like cheese on that?" 

Sorry Fritz, your papers are not in order

Looks like he'll be managing the production of luxury sedans at the Stateville Prison from now on.

November 18, 2011

Stand up and say something

With the cops pepper-spraying octogenarians and the plutocrats laughing it up, I am thinking today of this obituary I saw in The Economist a while back.
When he talked, he sounded tired. He was. Tired of the bollocks. Tired of people not taking responsibility for their inhumaneness to their fellow man.  

November 17, 2011

Mail Call

From: CSG

Thanks for the sack of fungi.

Labels: ,

If the Police Evicted Those Really Occupying Wall St:

The Actual Wall Street Occupiers Update Blog

Updated, 12:40 p.m. | Hundreds of financiers from Chase Manhattan, Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup arrived at work in the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday morning and were met by officers, many in helmets and wielding batons. At least 75 people were arrested, the police said.

The raging financiers then returned to the Exchange, where they yanked out barricades that had been placed there on Tuesday in order to create single-file entrances. Perhaps a thousand bankers streamed into the building, followed by officers who began making more arrests. Officers could be seen shoving and hitting speculators and journalists.

The morning’s demonstrations were part of a Wall Street “Day of Action” planned for Thursday, the four-century anniversary of the corporate movement. It is to include events at bistros throughout the city at 3 p.m. and a gathering at Foley Square downtown at 5, followed by leisurely drives across Lower Manhattan bridges. See latest developments below.

By 12:30, the barricades were back up around Manhattan and financiers were being funneled in single file as before. The chaos had subsided enough for the protesters to order a large number of personal assistants:
tweet avatar
Here at, more than 300 personal assistants ordered! We're bringing first 40 to #libertysquare in 15 minutes. Come 2 entrance w/ cams!
But people strolling the streets a few blocks south encountered confusing situations, sometimes being hemmed in on Broadway by police barricades manned by helmeted officers, who sometimes gave contradictory orders, directing financial services attorneys to move but sometimes not providing egress.

At one point on Broadway, near Wall Street, men in suits and overcoats resorted to clambering over a metal police barricade or ducking through a barricade missing some of its rails. All the while, bands of financiers milled on those streetside cafes, marching north and south, waving martinis and chattering.
11:20 A.M. Financiers Yank Barricades. Some Are Arrested.
Around 11 a.m., hundreds of financiers streamed into the New York Stock Exchange, shoving aside barricades and flowing into the granite expanse that they had been ousted from on Tuesday. They chanted "our money!" and lifted barricades in the air..

Since Tuesday, the NYSE had been surrounded by metal police barricades with one or two entrances that were monitored by police officers and private security working for the Justice Department, and the Federal Reserve, the money's owner.

But when a crowd of several hundred people arrived at the  after the stock exchange march, they did not use those entrances. Instead several CNBC analysts grabbed barricades, first on the south side of the park, then on the north side, and slid them away clearing a wide area for others to flow into the granite expanse that they had been ousted from on Tuesday.

By 11:15 a.m., perhaps a thousand investors filled the NYSE, standing on benches and milling about. 

A line of police officers wielding batons pushed into the crowd at Balthazar's who were noshing on fois gras, but after a moment those officers were directed backward by Joseph J. Esposito, the chief of the department. 

But before Chief Esposito directed the police back, several officers could be seen shoving and punching brokers and journalists. 

A line of helmeted police officers formed a cordon along the south side of the building, holding in place those barricades that had not been moved by the crowd. Columns of officers filled Balthazar's, equipped with wooden batons and handcuffs. Officers could be seen leading people down that street who had been cuffed behind their backs.
10:15 A.M. Scores of Arrests Near Stock Exchange
Officers with batons moved on the crowd on Beaver Street near Broad Street. 
Robert Stolarik for The New York Times. Officers with batons moved on the crowd of Stock Analysts at Le Circe, disrupting the salad course.
At the stock exchange in the early morning, many members of the group pushed through lines formed by police, waving bearer bonds and banging iphones as they moved. The police started taking brokers into custody who had sat down on the street about a block away from the exchange.

"Sidewalk!" an officer shouted, shoving Mayor Bloomberg out of the road. 

Another protester held a sign nearby: "Tear down this Capital Gains tax" The demonstrators and the large deployment of police officers snarled traffic on streets around the exchange.

Financiers chanted, "We are the 1%' and "We are afraid of your nightsticks!''

Financiers had vowed to prevent protestors from reaching the stock exchange on Wall Street, and some citizens did appear to have a hard time reaching the building. But the stock exchange opened for trading as usual at 9:30 a.m. 

About 10 a.m., Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said "there are probably between 50 and 60 arrests." Most were in the conference rooms, he said. About 30 to 40 of the arrests occurred there, Mr. Browne said. He said another 20 arrests were in a handful of other locations, such as the New York Yacht Club.

One of the more intense confrontations took place before 10 a.m. near the intersection of Broad Street and Beaver Street, where a few hundred people had gathered, drinking and chatting and brandishing black umbrellas. 

A line of police officers surged into the crowd, shoving brokers, bankers and investment consultants to the sidewalk, grabbing some and hurling them to the ground, and using long batons to strike others with overhand blows. Officers then walked up Beaver Street pushing the crowd back. Many of the bankers moved around the corner joining another group sitting in a circle, performing makeshift repairs on their shattered monocles.

About 11 :30 a.m. at the corner of Nassau and Pine Streets, about 300 people stood and sat in the bar  waving hands and ordering appetizers. A few minutes later, a police officer announced through a megaphone: "You're obstructing financial traffic. If you don't leave Le Circe, you'll be subject to arrest."

At Pearl and Wall Streets, there were some arrests as the police tried to keep the streets sidewalks open for ordinary people. Most of the charges stemming from those arrests were for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and fradulent financial transactions in excess of $100 million. 

Protesters marched on Broadway across from Zuccotti Park on Thursday morning. 
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times. Dirty Hippies gathered to delight in the widespread arrests of raging financiers. 

November 16, 2011

The Joys of Escape Pods

One of Cracked's finer efforts.

Et tu Newt?

Dr. Kapital posts this from the regulatory capture bar at the 18th World Offshore Convention:

Helping a government-sponsored enterprise with its own dedicated regulator preserve the status quo?  A nice paycheck, but it's just not cricket, old chap.

And still you doubt

Women forgets alien in fridge.

November 12, 2011

Meditation on 'Terms of Enrampagement'

I generally don't care for violence in entertainment. Some folks see it as harmless, and derive some enjoyment.  The Laird, for example, might relax for the weekend with back-to-back viewings of Straw Dogs and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, with Bullet in the Head for dessert. My tastes run more toward 1970s sitcoms and Youtube virals. Don't know why. Could be a left-handed thing.

Or a Christian thing. I've adopted something like the Easterbrook Compromise. His autotext on this is: "as TMQ readers know, my compromise with my Baptist upbringing is to be pro-topless but antigambling." He's also anti-violence - recall that he lost his job at ESPN for a time because of remarks that started off as a denunciation of the violence in Kill Bill. I'm on roughly the same page, though a bit more tolerant of gambling. I'm definitely anti-violence. And we can agree that topless is cool.

I think serious religious analysis supports this. In the Twelve-ish Commandments, nudity is not mentioned, and lust is delimited really only by marital status. Killing, by contrast, is strictly proscribed. Jesus washed the feet of prostitutes, not soldiers or Hong Kong film directors. The Dalai Lama says he misses sex, but does not admit similar longings for (say) gladiatorial combat.
Q: Is there anything you regret, Your Holiness?
A: Yes, the prohibition on violence. I wish, just once, I would could pound Cain Velasquez's face into a bloody pulp. I call this True Fulfillment.
(I don't mean to offend our secular readers with these Deo-centric rationales - if you prefer to find your own path, modern methods make that possible.)

So I generally don't like violence - even "cartoon violence" - in my entertainment. Why then did I enjoy - immensely - the Archer episode 'Placebo Effect'? (Key excerpt here, until they take it down.)

Blogger Eric Hochberger has posted a review of 'Placebo Effect' that gets at some of the key stuff:
Without introducing Ruth, Archer's rampage would have been yet another selfish moment in his life. But by getting so close to an elderly cancer patient, Sterling revealed his sensitive side that his character hides so well. Layering her throughout the episode in marijuana-induced flashbacks gave Archer a purpose the audience could get behind no matter how dark and violent things got.
Yeah, that's it. Righteous violence. Sweet, tasty, revenge. The Laird once told me that media depictions of justified violence had been found to be the most harmful type for the moral development of children. Taken seriously, he noted, this would make Star Wars the most harmful movie of all time.

There's something to that. Even as a small child I noticed - despite serious efforts at moral education by the local church - that revenge was very satisfying. And it wasn't a shallow or temporary was rich, lasting, and rewarding. And franky, that hasn't changed much in adulthood. Who among us has not riddled a sadistic crime lord with bullets after tracking him to his hideout in Mongkok? Who can honestly say they didn't enjoy the experience?

But no, that's Why is 'Placebo Effect' so engaging? What is it reminding me of?

Oh...I got it. I'd been thrown off by the narcissism thing. Archer's a narcissist, and I'd been focused on that, forgetting that narcissism and killing are on fairly intimate terms. You know who else was a killer narcissist? Well, yes. Yes. Yes, him too. But you know who else?

Right, Achilles.

When did Achilles light up the Trojans? When they killed Patroclus, the only thing he loved that wasn't him. And so it is with Archer. Ruth's death pushes a skilled killer into The Rampage Zone.

But unlike Achilles, who was half-man, half-god, Archer is just half-man. Reduced to a quivering shell by his chemo, he is flickering in and out of coherence and consciousness.  The vomiting is a nice touch, recalling Eliot:
The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
I think you could add "with a shotgun" right there at the end and it would sort of work.

So you have this...this otherworldly rampage, this unholy rampage. And that's where the Iliad takes you, too. All the speeches and fighting and little side stories are just a prelude to the Very Special episode when Achilles loses his mind and rips through the Trojan army.

It's not personal, it's not business, it's just what he has to do: Lycaon begs for his life, but "it's a rampage, Lana!" Alexander Pope translates:
These words, attended with a shower of tears,
The youth address’d to unrelenting ears:
"Talk not of life, or ransom (he replies):
Patroclus dead, whoever meets me, dies."
There is something horribly pure in it, something past hate or grief, or any moral calculation. The killer, intoxicated with power, assumes the mantle of God, unmindful of the consequences.
"Give a guy a gun, he thinks he's Superman. Give him two and he thinks he's God." - Woo, 3:08
But Archer does not pretend to be a god. As a comic hero he has the advantage of his genre - his many and obvious flaws do not doom him, but serve as light entertainment for the rest of us. In the process however, we accidentally glimpse, amid the grief and rage, something resembling a soul.


In a sea of football yak yak, Chris Brown's "Draw it Up" pieces for Grantland are refreshingly...good.

Russians : Mars Missions :: French : Fleet Actions

"Phobos-Grunt will run out of battery life and begin a decaying orbit around the Earth until it - and the 12 tons of dangerous fuel it is carrying - makes an unwelcome and uncontrolled return to the surface."

Trip down memory lane here.

(To be fair, the ones that got through did get some pictures.)

November 11, 2011

Secret campaign strategy

"We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim..."

Once a Century


November 09, 2011

Shut it down

It's not enough to fire the coach.

The entire program was complicit.  Penn State football now stands for just one thing.

To all the students demonstrating tonight, screaming in anger, gathering at Paterno's house:

Shut up.  Go to class.  Study hard.

But forget about football.  The Penn State "Program" has forfeited its right to existence.

Update:  Alan Barra elaborates, eloquently, here.

President intercedes on behalf of Eisengeiste


November 06, 2011

A good tune

Dr. X posts this from his musicological research cave somewhere in the Hawaiian archipelago:

Notes on the song here.

Café Divine (belated) review

For a while there Washington Square was a restaurant graveyard.  Some of favorite places (not just mine) went by the wayside:  Little City, Moose's and the WashBag (farewell Ed), Caffé Malvina...  For a while Mama's tried to hold the fort alone, but man cannot live by brunch alone.

Things are looking up.  We looked in at the Park Tavern today, and it does look like a worthy successor to Moose's.

But the real discovery was next door at Café Divine, in the old Caffé Malvina space at the corner of Stockton and Union.  Back in the day, when the market was beating my brains out, I'd come on a quiet weekday to just sit there.  The food wasn't special, and I don't remember much about it except how much I loved the space.  Formerly a corner drugstore, it had a mosaic floor and 20-foot windows.  I could sit there for hours, and sometimes business was slow enough they'd let me.

Café Divine has taken that space and made a real nice restaurant of it.  There's a simple but excellent menu with pizzettas, prix-fixe dinner if you want it, and terrific desserts.

And one badass espresso machine

We weren't there during one of the musical performances, but we had a great time anyway.  They've obviously figured this out.  My only regret was that I hadn't looked in sooner.


Well that's interesting

This new fellow, this Tim Tebow, seems to have a bit of potential.

To go from this to this so quickly...well, that's just character, is what that is.  Pure and simple.

Oh, Elway was at Stanford this week, probably scouting linebackers or something.  Serves you right Elway, you crapsack executive watchamacallit.  You are now Max Bialystock and the Denver Broncos are The Producers of the NFL.

I hope the wildly popular Tim Tebow salvages the season and leads the Broncos to within a hair's breadth of a playoff spot, but perhaps just falling short.  In this way Denver can neither reap the glory of ultimate victory, nor the dark fruits of defeat.  And I hope that happens every year, for ever and ever.

November 04, 2011

Too late to put in a stop

Dr, Kapital tweets:

There are bad trades, and there are trades so bad you have to retain criminal defense lawyers.

November 03, 2011

But why would any of them feel like breaking windows at the Men's Wearhouse?

About 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7% of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, defined as those at 50% or less of the official poverty level. Those living in deep poverty represent nearly half of the 46.2 million people scraping by below the poverty line. In 2010, the poorest poor meant an income of $5,570 or less for an individual and $11,157 for a family of four.

November 02, 2011


This is a game deserving of your attention, and I think your money, as well.

I bought Minecraft back in February with version Beta 1.2. I started playing again this week (Beta 1.8). The commercial model is a bit different from most games: rather than raising capital to develop the game, have a free beta, then charge for the release, they charge for the beta to fund development of the game, and the price will go up for new customers when the game is 'finished.' It currently costs $21.95. There are currently more than 3 million paying customers.

This game is different, to say the least. The vast majority of the (enormous) world is simulated in meter cubes. The entire world is modifiable. You can construct buildings, farm land, hunt animals, and spelunk caves. At night, the monsters come out. Nearly every useful item has to be constructed from raw materials. The point of the game is to build, explore, and survive.

The graphics are primitive and beautiful. It runs in Java, so OS compatibility is not an issue. I think this would be a good game for kids, too.

It supports multi-player, and there are servers available, but this doesn't interest me so much as running a private server for friends to explore and cooperate in developing the same world. If you might be interested, let me know.

(Above: sunset from on top of my cabin, overlooking my small wheat farm.)

Forever young, though probably not cheap

Nice to see they're putting significant efforts into this.

Won't be much good to the 20,000 kids who died yesterday, mostly from preventable causes.  But still.

November 01, 2011

My lawn: get off it

Turbo Pascal was smaller than the C++ Wikipedia page.

Mob Mortgage

The feds make what is apparently a stylistic distinction in mortgage company management.