March 31, 2014

Get in the face of the right Man

It's the super-rich, the top 1/10 of 1% that's the problem, not the orthodontist from Oxnard.

One interesting aspect of this is that these guys own a lot of bonds.  Bonds have risen sharply in value over the past 30 years as interest rates fell, but that story is about over.

A little inflation would sure help sort this out.  Just a little, teeny, tiny bit, say an extra 2% embedded in long-term expectations.

Don't hold your breath.


March 30, 2014

But first...we're going to need a really fast car

March 29, 2014

Sweet dreams

Slow clap.

Data analyst and sometimes pundit Nate Silver discusses data surrounding Other Pundit's punditry around Nate Silver.

Enjoy the meta.

I'm not saying it's aliens, but...

The size is very hard to determine, for example, although the image size at contrailing height suggests that it is bigger than an X-47B. However, the basic shape - while it resembles Boeing's Blended Wing Body studies or the Swift Killer Bee/Northrop Grumman Bat unmanned air system - is different from anything known to have flown at full size, lacking the notched trailing edge of Northrop Grumman's full-size designs. 


Love this

"Noah..." (ding)



Apart from his other interesting activities, I believe Mr. Semple was the author of this dialogue from Never Say Never Again, which takes place with a pistol pointed at Bond's naughty bits:
Bond:  Well, in view of your hatred of men...  
Fatima: Liar! You know that making love to Fatima was the greatest pleasure of your life. 
B:  Well, to be perfectly honest - there was this girl in Philadelphia... 
F:  Shut up!

March 26, 2014

Regard this cat.

March 25, 2014

Cutest stampede ever


#1 son asks "who would you rather see play Batman...Arnold Schwarzenegger or William Shatner?"

I reluctantly went with Shatner because, of all the forms Batman can take, I can't accept him with an Austrian accent.

March 22, 2014

Wait, wait, why can't we say that?

Obviously, we can’t say that everyone with a large signature is a narcissist and therefore a bad leader.


Too bad there's NO OTHER WAY to deliver video content to someone's house...

CEO Reed Hastings sounded off Thursday against big ISPs like Verizon and Comcast, accusing them of compromising Internet freedom and degrading the experience of consumers.


March 21, 2014

Unsung hero

Somehow, I remained unobserved; the only way to take these photos was to remain unseen. You disappear, dressing like the crowd you're in. These people never knew I was photographing them. 



John Cheese recommends

Oswalt's magician story (link)

March 18, 2014

Probably not aliens

Get on Google Earth and type in Pulau Langkawi and then look at it in relation to the radar track heading. Two plus two equals four. For me, that is the simple explanation why it turned and headed in that direction. Smart pilot. He just didn’t have the time.


Space thief or hero? Why not both?

After all, he notes, the spacecraft was set on a course that would eventually bring it back. 


A good moment

March 15, 2014

War Lite

Just a brief endorsement of the wildly successful iPad app Pacific Fleet, a sandbox naval simulation which is, if not exactly accurate, still diverting and even beautiful.  In this scene I command Battleship Yamato, which has an Essex class carrier and a heavy cruiser in its sights (they got the art so right in this game I had to take a snapshot of the scene):

The scene is just a fantasy - Yamato could never have approached so closely, if only because its top speed of 27 knots would not it allow it to catch the speedy Essex carriers, which could make 33 without much trouble.  And, of course, the Americans had good radar.  And, of course, Yamato's inferior anti-aircraft defenses meant it would have been reduced to scrap by American planes had it ever attempted such a maneuver.

Knowing, this, the Japanese generally kept Yamato operating in a ceremonial role, and it did a bang-up job hosting parties and accommodating German emissaries (the maniacs at have summarized the ship's operational record here).

The one time Yamato had a chance to put some ordnance on a U.S. aircraft carrier, at the Battle Off Samar, it scored a couple of hits on the doomed Gambier Bay, and was then gently ushered away from the action before it had a chance to pull a hamstring or something.  And that was the only ship-to-ship combat Yamato saw in the war.  In the full scope and breadth of World War II, it fired its guns at a surface target once.  Its existence changed nothing.  Its feats of arms cannot be measured with a microscope.

The supremacy of Yamato remains a compelling fantasy, however, a shared fantasy between victor and vanquished.  Just as the British venerate Bismarck (but oddly, not its sister ship Tirpitz) which in reality could not have stood toe-to-toe with a single Iowa class battleship, Americans venerate Yamato (but oddly, not its sister ship Musashi).  It is always better, when writing history, to defeat a worthy opponent, not an incompetent one.  So, for purposes of American schoolboys, Yamato was the most fearsome dreadnought ever devised, not a pretty stat-chasing novelty act crewed by the mediocre children of 2nd- and 3rd-tier aristocracy.

The Japanese obsession with Yamato approached cult-like devotion during the war, and was enlarged and nourished by the sci-fi anime Space Battleship Yamato (link) and the Japanese Saving Private Ryan, Otoko-tachi no Yamato (literally, The Men's Yamato).  Here is an excerpt, showcasing the understated narrative technique that distinguishes Japanese cinema:

I think Yamato is best understood by the same logic as the Stuka.  It was conceived and operated as a propaganda device, not as an effective weapon.  Once effective weapons were brought to bear, its weaknesses were ruthlessly exposed.  It was an effective propaganda tool, however, and remains so to this day, a ghostly relic of the imperial dreams of a failed elite.

What you wanna do is follow, for now

Harold Pollack has become for my political life what Roger Ebert was to the Laird's movie choices, a virtually infallible source of wisdom and guidance.

Anyway, Harold Pollack says, via retweet of this, to sign to this petition, so I did.

I feel like a cleaner and better person already.

March 14, 2014

Yet Another Reason I Keep One Around

Not only is a great prop for models, and one of the few lethal weapons no one seems to mind you walking around with, but it is handy in case of Nazis. 

Wiki: "(Jack) Churchill resumed his commission after 
Poland was invaded. In May 1940 Churchill and his unit, the Manchester Regiment, ambushed a German patrol near L'Epinette, France. Churchill gave the signal to attack by cutting down the enemy Feldwebel (sergeant) with a barbed arrow, becoming the only British soldier known to have felled an enemy with alongbow in WWII.[7] After fighting at Dunkirk, he volunteered for theCommandos."

March 08, 2014

You're Darn Tootin'

You're Darn Tootin.

A silent, but the way I've been putting this is that most Laurel and Hardy shorts are funnier than your average entire season of Saturday Night Live.

March 06, 2014

Tough Girls, Adorable Missiles.

Among old doc oddities were these two:

A Missile Named Mac 1962

A wave of sexism, but possibly less brutal than now, in
How Professional Models are Photographed 1940.    
With the Big Time Hollywood Producer guy from Singing in the Rain. 

March 05, 2014

Pussification amok

March 01, 2014

Obviously his fault


The Lego Movie is excellent, really worth your time if you haven't seen it, and not just because it pissed off Fox News for its Romney-like super-villain.  Although that's a pretty good start.

No, my personal endorsement stems from the brilliant, unflinching, depiction of Batman, whom we get to know better here than perhaps we ever have before.  And it's not pretty.  Here is his theme song:

How to steal a ship for fun & profit

"Voodoo priests are a valuable resource in Haiti, and they're reasonably priced..."