April 29, 2019

We have our quirks, Mr. Moore, but I assure you the cash is very, very real

Just to bring you up to date on your 2014 prediction...the Disney Corporation, a smallish California outfit (seriously:  DIS market cap of $250 bn pales in comparison to AAPL  at $964 bn, GOOGL  at $899 bn, and FB at $556 bn), has a new movie called Avengers: Endgame, which people around the world paid $1.2 billion to go see on its opening weekend.  This makes it the biggest movie opening of all time.

This is the norm, you fool.  California is the baddest economic motherfucker around.  We have the fifth largest economy...(channels Clarkson) in the world:
California’s economy of $2.7 trillion sits behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany. California’s large economy is attributed to its thriving tech sector and Hollywood, according to the Associated Press. It has 12% of the U.S. population, but has contributed 16% of total job growth between 2012 and 2017. California’s gross domestic product also went up by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, helping to give it a push to reach the fifth spot.

Don't you get it?  There's no mirage.  WE HAVE ALL THE FUCKING MONEY. And you are a sad man in a suit that doesn't like girls.

Unless your point was that all of life is transitory and intrinsically ungraspable, that there can be no valid conception of enduring wealth because there is no true being, only becoming, and the hours of our lives are as evanescent and fleeting as flowers in spring.  If that's what you meant...well I suppose I agree, and you have my apologies.

April 27, 2019

Internet effect on speech

In the modern era experts have become concerned about an epidemic of selective temporary mutism, also known as "speechlessness" caused by items viewed on The Internet.  A recent web search reveals many topics that may render the view speechless.  Here is a small sample:

  • 15 Photos
  • This RV remodel
  • Incredibly inspiring story of Auschwitz survivor
  • These chilling historical photos
  • Denzel Washington's life advice
  • This cookbook for refugees
  • 5 blind auditions
  • Argentina
  • This rendition of "The Sound of Silence" - well of course it would
  • This emotional performance
  • These movies
  • The All New 2020 Jeep Gladiator
  • Idealis Zagreb
  • One Pack's Epic Camping Grill
  • 12 Bizarre Mental Disorders
  • A perfect sculpture - it's made of chocolate
  • This Gillette Commercial
  • Home theater installs
  • Little ones
  • These unusual talents

Fortunately, thanks to the widespread practice of good "Netiquette" links to these potentially debilitating webpages often state upfront that consumers may experience symptoms if the content is consumed.

Stay tuned next week, when we will investigate warnings from reclusive millionaires.

We're not so different you and I

“When I met Jack Kirby,” [Starlin] remembers, “He told me that the Hulk was stupidity. The harder you beat on him, the stronger it becomes. Stupidity. I thought, if I want to create characters, I have to give them that one-line tag.” Starlin gave Thanos, “uncontrollable appetite,” for “no satisfaction could be achieved.”


April 25, 2019

Oh, that reminds me

For Absolutely No Reason, Let’s Re-Watch That Elevator Fight Scene From ‘Captain America’


The red/blue test

When working in color, Maurice [Noble] would check his values using red and blue filters, sometimes called monochrome filters. Generally he used red filters, but if a composition had a lot of red in it, he used blue. Using filters reduces color to simple tones, allowing an artist to see and compare values in a composition. This was important to Maurice in making sure the highest area of contrast was either the characters, or the area around the characters.

The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design - (link)

Eisengeiste ProLifehack™ #1

Don't fuck with tigers.
  • Zookeeper on the mend after attack at St. Louis zoo (link)
  • Tiger attacks Arizona animal sanctuary director, former Las Vegas illusionist (link)
  • Video Of Zoo Tiger Pouncing At Girl Goes Viral For All The Wrong Reasons (link)

  • You're welcome.

    April 24, 2019

    Lillard's game winner - coldest shot in years

    Here is a 37-foot step-back game winner against ace defender Paul George, to conclude the series.

    Here it is in Korean:

    George said afterward: "that's a bad shot." Be that as it may, it went in...and the Thunder go home.

    Afterward, Lillard was overcome with emotion:

    The Trailblazers face their next opponent, the Wildling village of Hardhome, next week.

    NBA players react to Damian Lillard's insane game and buzzer-beater - (link)

    April 22, 2019

    Those Yunnan girls really knock me out...

    'Man works hard, the flowers are fragrant'

    Even though these materials turned women into objects that served both commercial and titillating purposes, the genre as a whole nonetheless was seen by many as supportive of the demands for the emancipation of women. Instead of treating females as non-entities as Confucian orthodoxy had prescribed, the posters not merely showed them, but presented them as gorgeously dressed, professional women that radiated an air of self-confidence.


    Wait, I had something for this...

    One of President Donald Trump's picks to serve on the Federal Reserve Board has written that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men's college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life "where men can take vacation from women."


    I can feel my policy tightening already!

    April 21, 2019

    A wistful moment in Palo Alto

    Fresh spring blossoms!
    I think of allergies and 
    rental conditions.

    Here is another addendum to be carved on the tombstone of the British Empire

    "Mr. Johnson's incompetence is balanced by his perceived electability."

    (link) - sorry, they want money

    April 20, 2019

    Well, that was enjoyable

    • #1 son:  Hey, didn't you say you watched Shaun of the Dead one time?
    • Me:  Yes, I enjoyed it very much.
    • #1 son:  Did you know the director made another movie?
    • Me: The deuce you say.

    10 Things That Make Hot Fuzz One of the Funniest Cop Movies Ever Made - (link)
    Hot Fuzz is a God-Damned Masterpiece - (link)

    "Ongoing Matters" is the name of my Gang of Four cover band

    I can't get behind your artistic choices, man

    Ian Stewart was present at the session, but refused to perform the piano part on the track due to the prevalence of minor chords, which he disliked playing.


    Impeachy Keen

    Right now I'm much more impeachy than Pelosi but less impeachy than AOC. 

    Nixon blew up apart after his re-election. The timing is significant then, as he had specifically been re-elected through criminal activities by CREEP (remember that one?), and the Congress was in Democratic hands. We are 18 months out from the election, and this is a factor. 

    What I'd like is to see is using the Mueller Report as a road map for specific Congressional investigations, make the redactions more of an issue, and give time and space for the baker's dozen other investigations to proceed.

    Gut: Trump is indeed a traitor,  and Mueller showed the paths of how that might be. (Noting that the NRA spy Butina is still giving up basically a rolodex of GOP contacts and how to manipulate them.) Financial dots are going to keep connecting to show criminal conspiracy with Russians, provable in court or not.

    So research and take time and then impeach: as a fundamental matter of law and democracy, as a hard hammer of accountability.  (While the ludicrous imbalance with the Clinton impeachment is interesting but not really relevant except amusing ourselves with tapes of Lindsay Graham on presidential character. Accusations of hypocrisy mean little in effect.)  Constitutionally, I've never believed you need a criminal standard to impeach: it is by design politically determined.  So while Clinton's impeachment was a bus off the guard rail, "can we impeach?" is not a big deal.

    So it's "should we?" then.  I'm going with yes, but we need keep high pressure with investigations based on now well known information, and wait a little, gathering.

    The politics are so hardened I doubt hearings it would affect elections negatively much, and man am I tired of what-if hand-wringing. (Please cue the next NYT article on "The Democrats have won. But how can they possibly win?" )

    I still believe that the truth given space will add up and declare itself, and the silence and panic on the right now tells this is generally true, as the Mueller Report's impact deepens by the day.  The redactions seem likely to fall, one way or the other, as well.

    Trump LOOKS weak, and disloyal to his own people, and orders his people to lie to protect himself. Not good stuff in right wing circles.  It's not only implausible but exhausting in terms of political capital now to to argue that the President is not a piece of shit, and the Senate knows it.

    At a certain point, it's cheaper for the right to let ship just go ahead and sink. If impeachment hearings soonish can help them just let go, and find inner peace, let's go.

    April 12, 2019

    B-17 "Atmospheric Forces Update: Art Sales Fundraising $8K Goal for a Public Site Proposal

    There is good news on the B-17 project "Atmospheric Forces" front: Laura King, the dean of South Seattle College Georgetown, a public school with an aviation focus with a large lawn area right next to Boeing Field, expressed a strong interest in the project, has a good site, and we're already developing ideas like working with aviation tech students, welders, and historians. 

    It's a natural fit with this institution and it is the best opening so far in the years I've developed the idea. 

    I want to use the next three months to create a dynamic proposal for the public art  including sketches, video , and that will take fundraising to support.  The first fundraising effort,  beginning with direct art sales of my existing work, is for a goal of  $8000 in existing art sales to support materials, design work and studio space to create this proposal for South Seattle College. 

    Phase 1:  "A Sculpture for Ants??"

    I'm setting an $8000 art sales and/ or donation goal to support the next three months for design sketches, materials, studio space and model building (think architectural models) to make a full presentation to South Seattle College on siting Atmospheric Forces there.  

    Sales of any of my existing works are discounted 25% through the end of April to raise funds for this project.

    This will result in a set of formal proposal drawings, presentation materials, wax and rough cast B-17 models, and a 3-d illustration model of the whole sculpture for July.

    Phase 2.  TBA.  This will be a $25,000 goal to create a full combat box of 54  7" wide B-17s in cast aluminum with their contrails leading back to a supporting wall. An art piece in itself, the arrangement of aircraft in their historical orientation would occupy a space about 15' tall, 20' wide and 7' deepen. At this point the fundraising would be more formal like Kickstarter or Patreon, and with luck direct sponsorship of an institution like South Seattle College.  

    One interesting option is each bomber would be cantilevered with a weight behind the wall.  This piece would be mounted on a wall about 20 feet up, and would feature an accurate

    Phase 3. Phase is the meat of the project and would through multiple funding sources and grants support the construction of the full size public sculpture.


    There's obviously no way to solve this problem

    [T]he cost of the four most popular insulins has tripled over the past decade, forcing many of the millions of Americans with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who rely on the drug to skimp on or skip doses.


    April 11, 2019

    The USAAF A-11

    Though numerous wristwatches were produced in the U.S. and issued to the military during World War II, the A-11 is perhaps the most iconic. With its legible black dial, white indices, nickel or silver case and one-piece strap, the A-11 has become synonymous with American horological prowess and industry, with tens of thousands made during the war...


    Before crossing the event horizon, please remove your watch

    In a life that is going wrong, when one stands at the margin, very often the last meaningful item in your possession is your watch.  It comes up again and again in moments where an individual is crossing over, leaving our sight for unknown realms.  The Greeks would place a coin in the mouth of the deceased, to give to Charon to cross the river Styx.  So maybe that's the way to think of it - a watch at the exit, a coin at the entrance.  In any case, oftentimes one's last act in extremis, is arranging for the disposition of the watch.

    A field hospital at Gettysburg

    As he lay mortally wounded, Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead - the point man on Pickett's charge - made his final arrangements.  The Baltimore Sun reports that he sent regrets to his old friend Hancock, and gave instructions that his watch be conveyed to him on his passing.  

    The Warsaw Ghetto

    In the summer of 1941, Willi Georg, a German Army signalman, visited the [Warsaw] ghetto on his commanding officer's order. A pre-war professional photographer, he took four rolls of films – around 160 images – during his one day visit to the ghetto.

    Object description:  "A young man in the doorway of a shop in the ghetto. Note he has taken his hat off to comply with the German order to remove headwear in the presence of German personnel. The shop offers fresh eggs, sweets and watches. The sign in the window reads - "I buy old watches for top prices".

    From The Holocaust Encyclopedia:


    I greatly admire the Facing Stalingrad project of Jochen Hellbeck at Rutgers, in which he tracked down soldiers from both sides who had been there and talked with them in 2010.  The timing was perfect.  These people were in their 80s and 90s, and most had maintained a principled silence about their experiences.  But at that stage of the game even the most stoic types tend to lose their filter a little bit, and even when the subject seemed initially reluctant, Hellbeck generally got an earful.  A good photographer accompanied him, and her work helps bring the conversations to life.

    Johann Scheins was still pissed about losing his watch during the surrender:

    [T]hen all of a sudden, at around 3:30 PM, two Komsomols came in, the Russian Hitler Youth... Two men. Chassy. Chassy – watches, watches, watches. Various things, various watches, various chassy. So every German took off his watch, and I took off my watch. My watch had a silver watchband. I placed it on the ground and laid my boots on top. That’s what I did. And one of the Russians saw that and beat me with his gun.

    The Western Front

    In All Quiet on the Western Front, young Kemmerich lays dying in the hospital in 1914, annoyed at the pain in his foot, which he does not know has been amputated, and concerned about his watch, which has gone missing.

    It grows dark. Kemmerich's face changes colour, it lifts from the pillow and is so pale that it gleams. The mouth moves slightly. I draw near to him. He whispers: "If you find my watch, send it home--"

    It's like rooting for the gun lobby


    We call that an 'Alaskan' landing, except we don't have radar up there

    April 10, 2019

    Fancy that

    John Steed: And what's the end product? The perfect politician?

    Dr. Clement Armstrong: Exactly. Government by automation.

    John Steed: Sounds like an electronic dictatorship.

    Dr. Clement Armstrong: It's the only solution.


    April 07, 2019

    Unclear in what way?

     It’s not entirely clear who might be legally responsible when an AI system makes an error or causes a problem.


    Vendor:  I am selling you this AI system to drive your car.

    *Car crashes*

    Vendor:  It is unclear who is responsible for this.

    April 06, 2019

    Comedy: serious business

    The essential function of the comedic act remains the same: to produce laughter through the “mental jolt of a sudden leap from one plane or associative context to another.” What is changing is not the nature of laughter but the range of its accepted targets. “As laughter emerged from antiquity, it was so aggressive that it has been likened to a dagger,” Koestler notes. Traditionally, comedians used the dagger of wit to stick the powerful, exposing hypocrisy and abuses that threatened the public good. Now, abetted by the abundance of online platforms, other actors have seized that dagger to attack the weak, not the strong. Meanwhile, the powerful, online and off, demand a coercive loyalty that sees laughter as sedition, and seek to disarm and suppress would-be comedic assailants.

    At this contentious national—and global—moment, when authoritarianism is on the rise around the world, it’s important to keep humor above ground. Comedians who twit presidents or kings are in the firing line because they are on the front line. They are the advance guard of the war against those who treat human beings like cartoons. If we don’t defend them, the joke will be on us.


    I often think of Ramsgill, but never quite get there

    per Stroud:

    Even now, sitting at your desk, worrying, troubled,
    you can gaze across Middlesmoor to Ramsgill...

    Photo source (link)