Saturday, July 31, 2010

There's a reason for that

Hmmm, what was I thinking about? Well, it was probably wicked cool, and no doubt would be a life changing experience for you to read, but I don't remember right now. Could come back to me later maybe, but could be gone forever, like Mel Gibson's good reputation.

This is the 31st day of July. July has 31 days because Julius Caesar wanted his month to have more days. Augustus Caesar felt same way about his month.

I could do this all day, divulging reasons behind stuff. After all, I'm currently unemployed. But I will restrain myself, limiting the spouting of useless factoids with a self-discipline of Herculean proportions...

Monopoly the game. Everybody thinks was invented by unemployed Depression dude, and it's a lovely story of triumph in adversity. Nuh-unh. Real direct precursor to Monopoly was 'The Landlord Game' invented by a woman, who happened to be a Socialist. Ms. Phillips invented it to show people how they're being oppressed by capitalism, and it leads to a game that earns billions for the Parker Bros. company. Talk about unintended consequences.
Reason Monopoly tokens are what they are? Game rollout, a company that made charm bracelets was contracted. Near zero tooling cost. Monopoly tokens are bracelet charms without a loop.

Reason we have chewing gum is because General Santa Anna lost the Mexican War.

Reason the saxophone is called that, is because Adolphe Sax invented it. Saxophone is only well known musical instrument named for a person.

Reason we say 'lead pencil' is because when graphite was discovered in 1564, was mis-identified as form of lead.

The reason we say 'assault & battery' is because of the Norman Conquest in 1066. Both words really mean the same thing, but in two different languages.

The reason we have charcoal grilles is because Henry Ford couldn't get his wooden windshield packing cases to perfect dimensions so they could be cut up for floorboards with zero scrap.

And yeah, that's why we still use the term 'floorboard.'

Friday, July 30, 2010

Different kind of Leak

Been some great stuff in the news. I want to thank you Western Civilization, for continuing to do amazingly insane stuff, both good & bad. Looks like some French scientists have developed an ointment that heals tooth decay. Works great on mice. Could be available to Dentists, 3 to 5 years.

----Dentalis may cause unexpected explosive fecal discharge, joint pain, intense dreams of bestiality, suicidal thoughts, psychotic delusions, vampirism, hearing disembodied voices and dandruff. Talk to your perscription provider about your Jello intake as this may lead to something you don't even want to hear about.----

I typed that really fast by the way, just like the commercials. But hey? Possible side effects are better than a root canal, right?

But mostly I'm aware of the strange juxtaposition of Dan Schorr passing the same week as most massive dump of classified docs in human history. Those of you who don't know what 'juxtaposition' means, look it up and catch up later...

Dan Schorr is forever linked to the Pentagon Paper leak. Hey, wanna hear a funny? Daniel Ellsberg perhaps had some kind of 'road to Damascus' moment after working years for the RAND thinktank in support of war. I dunno; I'm nobody's judge. Just saying he switched sides about time started sleeping with a hippie chick. Could be egg/chicken I guess.

So... folks in media for some reason often eventually show up at crossroads where I've been sitting on a stump for hours, whittling a better man (or woman) out of a banana than they'll ever be. Therefore, excuse me while I get to the heart of the matter?

Yep, Wiki-leaks is being castigated. The doc dump may lead to some tortures and beheadings, no kidding. And PFC Bradley Manning has been arrested, harumph harumph!!!

So... why exactly does a PFC have access to very sensitive intel docs? Never served in the military, but think rank of PFC sort of low on the ladder.

The enemy may find some names in these documents. Mostly, the enemy will benefit from understanding our intel gathering process. And, might as well say? Many of the enemy take this for a trick. Just telling you the truth; can't help what the truth is, all right?

The enemy is at lower levels, some fairly unsophisticated folk. It's weird really. Above them, cold, calculating people with high IQ. Most levels, they think everything we do is a trick. Hey, wanna hear another funny? The ground fighter bad guys associate Democracy with homosexuality. Yep. They think our women dress in revealing clothing because attracting mates in decadent West is difficult, since most of us men are homosexuals.

WTF is a PFC doing with access to 91K classified documents?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anthropomorphic Ridiculosityness

I already enjoyed the english language before GW, but now I LOVE it!!! So much more flexible now!

So anyways... I recall it well. Was on Highland Ave. about a mile from where Casey Jones is buried, not that Mr. Jones has anything to do with it.

'Three Lil' Pigs BBQ' and the neon sign was glorious at night. Twelve foot tall pigs dressed in chef outfits, advancing through fire. Yeah, it moved! They were holding shoulder height a plate of their delicious relatives.

And the smiles on the Pigs' faces were wonderful. Kind of like an airline attendant or Real Estate agent maybe. They seemed so delighted about the whole thing.

Well that place is all gone now. Guess the neon sign got trashed; pity that. Lots more beautiful than whatever's on display at the Tate Gallery right now. Imagine it's something like unmade bed, with pile of dog poop on the left pillow. Couldn't have puppy excrement on right pillow, cause would mess up composition balance, if not gestalt of entire piece. Something about post-adolescent angst in post-modern society, I'd imagine. Yours for only $1.5M!!! It's a steal. You can take my word on that 'steal' part too.

But that gaudy masterpiece neon sign is all gone now. We of a certain age (Psst? rhymes with 'nifty') have become curators of the past. Let's take care not to start sentences with "Back in my day" because really? Start doing that and you're three clicks from "You kids get out of my yard!"

The sign is gone, but advertisements where animals encourage us to eat their relatives, that's still with us. Like couple miles from here? BIG billboard advertising Dodge's Fried Chicken, established 1876. They may still have some of the original food items on sale, for all I know.

Now, this billboard? Huge chickenish looking creature (actually I think it more resembles Big Bird) and it's wearing an apron. The message is clear enough: Come eat my cousins, they're darn tasty!

See, I'm not the type to be swayed by product endorsements from animals who are traitors to their own species. At best they're collaborators. At worst, they're vicarious cannibals!

I think it's really stupid to have animal advertisements encouraging humans to in effect, "C'mon down and EAT us!" Reflects a vapid, fatuous, insipid culture.

Know how that whole thing got started? Yep, that's right, Billy Jack movies.


People ask me all the time, "Hey, Mr. Economics Guy, what's the next major boost to American manufacturing?"

Obviously, it's Justin Bieber commemorative plates. Yep, they'll have to be made in US, because we can't let China find out how silly our culture is. They already know about Paris Hilton; we're grasping for dignity straws here!

Of course, the real boost is really simple. Find $250B in budget cuts, make big deal about it, that'll help consumer confidence.
Let the Bush tax cuts re-adjust on top rates. Alan Greenspan agrees with me there, he's really smart. After all, he helped get us into this mess, right?

But what else you must do is slash Corporate tax rate and Capital gains tax. At the least, that'd be revenue neutral. Would sure spur investment though, especially foreign. At best would be a tax revenue adder.

Well don't go betting your Justin Beiber plate collection that's gonna happen anytime soon!

Instead, the next American manufacturing surge will be clean rooms, and workers wearing Bee keeper looking outfits. Micro-circuitry and Nanotechnology. Hey! I wish it was something else too! What do you want, comforting lies? Go see your Congressperson!

Gizmos too small to see have been slowly moving forward about 15 years now.

Regular people (and by that I mean anybody bored enough to read this blog, you poor devils) have no idea what all Nano-tech can do right now, and what it'll be able to do soon.

A glimpse this week because Wal-Mart announced garment smart tags for inventory control. Employee walks up with scanner, blip! Bra section already sent message to the scanner about replenishment levels. That's old stuff. HEY! Maybe I could get a job putting smart tags in Wal-Mart clothing! Naw, says here the clothes are made in Mozambique. I'm not moving to Georgia for a minimum wage job.

What Nano-tech can already do, and on the near horizon, is mind boggling. It's like Star Wars. Or maybe Star Trek... could be Star Search maybe, not sure which exactly. But I'm fairly sure the late Ed McMahon has no involvement.

Microchip inserted in a plastic milk jug at molding machine. It's chemically sensitive. When milk starts going bad, chip turns on and broadcasts to ceiling mounted unit in dairy section. Goes straight to Dairy manager's PC, so he can go back there and put milk on sale. Naw, they wouldn't do that! Whatever they do, the info is there. The tech has already been patented.

Not sufficiently boggled yet? Near future, your grocer can offer 'Super-savers' club. Take a gizmo home, plug into your PC. Stuff in your house, like margarine, shampoo, consumables. Chips in that stuff will shoot message to your PC module when they're running low. When you turn your PC on, module shoots info to grocer, and coupons for said items are e-mailed to you. Tech almost in place right now; cultural resistance will slow implementation.

Ya say you're not satisfied, ya say you want more? I could tell you was one of the smart ones, minute you sauntered up with that Moon Pie & RC Cola. Since it's obvious you're a customer of great refinement, tell ya what I'm gonna do?

How would you like, if instead of open heart surgery, you get a Nano-tech injection? Still years away, it looks promising in the MIT research so far. Tiny little things loaded into a hypodermic. They've been engineered to detect certain chemicals, and then release their cargo meds at that site. After that they become inert and leave the body through urine stream.

Yeah, it looks like ten years out. What will happen to all the Surgeons and OR personnel? Oh, they'll be just fine! Probably go into the lucrative Justin Beiber commemorative plate business.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eyes on the Spies II

Well I don't know either. Why IS a pineapple called that? Sure wasn't named by a trained Botanist, I'll tell ya that! Has nothing to do with conifers, and doesn't taste like an apple.

Hey, did you know pine cones are differently gendered? I don't know how they tell each other apart, but they manage. There's a bunch of pine trees, right? Hmmm, what was I gonna type about... Oh yeah! Spies!

Homegrown turncoats, interesting people psychologically. And war-time, we presume to understand motives of 'our' spies. So these folks, among dozens I could name, may seem bland. Well first? You don't EVER have a handle on a first class spy. Second, each of these three? Could've minded their own biz. In fact? None were ordered to go dance around a very efficient, merciless death machine. In each case, military authorities FIRED them before they HIRED them. These people volunteered to dance with the Reaper...

Virginia Hall: Very intelligent, wanted to work in Diplomatic service. Woman, best job hope was clerk in those days, but OK. They mostly didn't want her sort. And she kinda shot her leg off in 1932 in hunting accident too; looks like stateside for Virginia. We never liked her anyway, too uppity. She happens to be in France when the Panzers roll and suddenly becomes quite popular with the OSS. Speaks French flawlessly, totally immersed in the culture, invisible except for the limp; wooden leg y'know. She usually went around disguised as an aged French peasant woman. When it got too hot, she barely escaped Gestapo by hiking across the Pyrenees Mountains, at night, with a wooden leg. And then those that didn't want her once, sent her back to France. She did pre-work for the Normandy invasion. That's my Virginia.

Juan Pujol: I like him some. He volunteered to spy for Brits and they declined. So he figgered to get hired as Nazi spy and then re-apply. Wicked smart and imaginative, Juan turned his entire spy network of 27 Nazi agents over to Brit Intel. But one thing? None of this spy network actually existed. The cat invented people, constructed all kinds of soap opera interactions among them, jobs they held, and fake info, long before OSS decided he might be all right. Nazis were paying Juan huge amounts of cash to support non-existent spy network. Juan Pujol was instrumental in convincing Nazis, the Normandy attack was a diversion; keep the Panzers at Calais. Juan Pujol. Only person I know of who was awarded both the Iron Cross and the MBE.

Nancy Wakes: Born in NZ. Married a French millionaire, and months later, the Panzers rolled through Paris. Nancy was initially suspect by Brits and OSS. Why would a millionaire's wife get involved? Actually, Nancy didn't ever apply for the job. She didn't ask permission; she set up her network of spies. Well, guess they did some espionage... nope, not much really actually. Mostly they killed Nazis and exploded stuff. Nancy's group had a 14 to 1 kill ratio against very well trained, very well armed SS. 14 to 1 is impressive. Might've bumped up some after Gestapo tortured and killed Nancy's husband, but I've not seen the graph.

Ms. Nancy never asked to work for Allied Intel, not far as I know. Just went ahead and did what she saw to be done. They eventually begged her to flank attack at D-day and have safe houses ready. She must've been one hell of a killer angel leader, to command such loyalty from her group. Gestapo called her 'White Mouse' because she could avoid any trap. Offered 5 million Franc reward for her, but no Nancy.

According to my sources? Nancy Wake, who once slit SS sentry throats and timed fuses beneath railroad bridges, now lives peacefully in a retirement home in Richmond, England, aged 97.

But perhaps my sources are conjured phantoms from Juan Pujoul, still active in the disinformation trade. And besides? One never really knows anything for sure about a spy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I HATE Sequels!

"Jaws" and "Star Wars" really began the sad decline. Before that, weren't really sequels in Hollywood mentality. No such thing as "To Kill Another Mockingbird" right? Oh sure, there were plenty of character driven series; every Roy Rogers movie has essentially the same plot. But it was Spielberg and Lucas who got the Roman numeral ball rolling.

And there were event movies in the pre-Steve/George era. "Gone with the Wind" and "Ben-Hur" were huge. "Psycho" was also big. Perhaps if we'd been at 2010 media integration levels in 1959, could've seen "Ben-Hur II."

But now we have Roman Numeral Disorder in full array. I don't mind when they make sequels of films that weren't good in the first place. Do hate it though, when a pretty little thing that just flies like a beautiful bird, gets purely mercenary shlock attached to it. That "Arthur" movie? Absoultely great film. "First Blood" is also an amazing thing to watch. Hey, wanna hear a funny? Of course you do!

It's because of Stallone's closing rant in "First Blood" millions of people believe returning Viet Nam vets were spat on. Some of the actual veterans now believe they were spat on! How about that for effective art, huh? And I threw that in for you cinema snobs, because? Every movie doesn't have to be Fellini or Bergman to be real art, OK? If a movie says honestly what it wants to accomplish and does it well, that's a form of art!

So yeah! "First Blood" is a great film. "Arthur" is great, "Die Hard" is an effective movie. None needed a sequel; they were stand alone pieces pretty in their own right. But they all got sequels, didn't they? I blame it on that pernicious blight to which I've traced the decline of this once great nation. Yep, that's right; Billy Jack movies.

I shouldn't be so negative though; really, that's not like me. Will instead offer ideas for sequels that I'd watch... "Ghost II" where Patrick Swayze returns from the dead to save Demi Moore from marrying Ashton Kutcher. How about "Dances with Polar Bears"? Kevin Costner helping Eskimos fend off the encroachment of whaling fleets. As an aside, I should say? I totally support the indigenous Alaskans' right to hunt whales as their ancestors did. I just want them to use ancestor technology. Go ahead, paddle up on that sperm whale and fling a harpoon into his haunches; should be interesting.

Could go on and on. Let's face it, I've got loads of free time at the moment. But the point is though? I have to do a sequel myself. One blog post about spies just isn't enough. They're fascinating people, and I respect even those who worked against my nation. Next blog post, I have to do our folk in World War II. Hey dig that? Even wars got sequels now!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eyes on the Spies

Yep, somebody's actually making a movie about the John Edwards mess. Hey, maybe they can get Mel Gibson to star in it! Might as well; can't imagine who in the world would go see a John Edwards movie... well except for John of course.

Aside from the tawdry elements, the John Edwards implosion is essentially a classic espionage op gone awry. And it went south for same reasons spy rings often fail. Lower level operatives start feeling increasingly expendable, begin building lifeboats, things reach critical mass and chain reaction happens. Now John Edwards feels about as welcome as a New Orleans banjo picker.

Been a lot of spies in the news lately though. This little gang recently rounded up in New York City for example? From what I know, they'd been mostly schlepping around nite clubs, trying their hands at various businesses, romances, and FBI caught the pretty one at an NYC coffee shop. Really, the whole thing sounds like the 'Friends' TV show to me. FBI claims to have been fully aware of the group for years, well for about as long as 'Friends' was on the air actually. So I don't think anybody in that spy ring ever made KGB employee of the month. Impossible to say reasons for timing of the roundup. Could be domestic politics, or we needed to make a trade with Putin; we'll probably never know for sure.

Kendall & Gwendolyn Myers though, that's a lot more interesting. Homegrown spies are always more interesting. Great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, grandson of man who built National Geographic to household word it is now. Kendall has PhD from John Hopkins; a college that wouldn't let me run a floor buffer. All those advantages, and he used them to spy for Cuba; weird.

All homegrown spies share one thing in common. Some may spout ideology, but without exception each has a personality that somehow feels embittered and disenfranchised from his culture. Cambridge 5 group was good example there. By age 25, they'd all enjoyed all the privileges Britain could offer, and were ruthless spies for Russia. Maclean for example was so eager to betray his homeland, KGB took unusual step of recruiting him off the bat as what's called 'straight penetration operative.'

Oddly ironic term, since Maclean was bi-sexual. Maybe he was a part-time employee, I dunno. And that's another thing? Closeted homosexuals make GREAT spies! They're already practiced at leading double lives, so what's another gonna hurt?

So tell us all Mr. David, who was the best spy ever, homegrown or otherwise? Well, obviously the one we've never heard of. But Klaus Fuchs was most devestating. He's the Los Alamos guy who gave USSR and China the A-bomb secrets.

Ineffective but worth mentioning: Sam Dickstein was US Congressman on USSR payroll. Now cut that out! No, I don't know what Sam's sexual orientation was!

Here's an allegedly interesting one: William Dodd, Ambassador to Germany just before WW2? His daughter Martha was a dedicated Soviet agent for twenty years. Yep, another anti-capitalist millionaire. Her NKVD code name was 'Liza.' Yeah, I wish it'd been Rachel or Pheobe too, but can't have everything. I will say this though, she sure wasn't a homosexual. According to historians, I'm surprised she found anytime for espionage really.

Yeah, Martha was a 'straight penetration operative' too all right? Happy now? Cut it out will ya, I'm trying to run a family blog here!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Middle-aged Parties

In my teens, when I went around looking like Cherokee Jesus or something, I attended a couple of parties; well, a half dozen or so. I'm not going to talk about those experiences. Yeah, you probably think my reticence is due to statute of limitations concerns, but it's not that. Mostly, I just don't remember.

They were apparently some fairly boisterous affairs, at least that's what the Police officers told me later. I am competent to reflect on the mood of the old times, and compare it with the party we hosted last evening.

Middle-aged parties, the music isn't quite as loud. You'd think it'd be right opposite, because after all our hearing isn't what it used to be. Loud music is useful when you're around people and you can't think of a darned thing to say to them. By age 53, you should've learned not to invite such people. Which brings me to another crucial difference between teenage parties and middle-aged parties; turnout.

When you're a teenager, it's not a party unless you have more than twenty people. Like many seemingly bizarre cultural practices, there's a hidden logic at work there. For one thing, if something really bad happens, it can be blamed on some 'weird kids who just showed up.' Yes, it's true the more attendees, the more likely it is something bad will happen, but? Via sheer numbers, it's less likely the bad thing will happen to you personally.

Main thing is, for teenagers, social status is in part derived from the size of parties attended/hosted. Middle-aged parties, not like that.

And last evening's party, there were little ones milling about. That's a common thing in middle-aged parties. One guest might have a six year old, another guest might be talking about her son in the Army, and both guests are the same age. Members of my generation did our reproductive duty on a totally unpredictable timetable.

So I guess this is where I talk about alcohol consumption. Among my social circle they're just around many people who consider drinking a competitive sport. Oh I'm sure such individuals are out there somewhere; they're just not going to be found on my patio on Saturday night.

A middle-aged party is a handful of people sitting around, conversing quietly on the kids, politics, work. The grille is going, snacks are provided. Every once in a while "Amber Nicole! I said stop that!" pierces the soft evening air. No fist fight breaks out, nobody vomits... well I think maybe Amber did once, but that's not my point.

My point is that one's vocabulary changes through the years. What teenagers call a party, I would now call a near-riot. What I now call a party, teenagers would call a bunch of old people sitting around. Congrats David! You've turned into your parents!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Utterly Stupid Utterances

My preference is to address actual events, rather than talk about people talking. There's too much of that goes on already, my opinion. It's not journalism; it's gossip columnist stuff. Yet sometimes... things get said by public figures that rise to the level of legit news.

Mel Gibson in a phone call with his estranged fortune cookie gal said...
'You go around dressed like a slut. It's all your fault if you get raped by a gang of African Americans.'

Now, I didn't quote exactly on that last part. The whole thing would be much more amusing had Mel said 'African Americans.' Then he could go around saying, "What, what? I used the proper term!" But instead, Mel used the most radioactivist world in our whole dang culture! Wonder what's gonna happen now... he'll probably lose his radio show. No wait, that's Don Imus. So I guess what happens to Mel is not a whole lot really. He's been almost exclusively Producer/Director for years now, and one can maintain a low public profile in that role.

Mel's next project I believe, is to be a Viking epic. And true to his recent schtick, the film is planned in original Nordic language, with subtitles. So it's to be stuff like... "Odindammit Sven! Ja dropped da sword in da fjord!"

Oh, he might put out some press release regretting his poorly chosen words in a heated argument, but I don't see Mel calling on Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton for tag team humiliation therapy and absolution. Could be wrong, but that doesn't sound like Mel's style. And while we're on that topic?

Who decided that Jesse & Al are the spokesmen for tens of millions of Americans who just happen to be dark skinned? You're treating a very diverse group of people like infants by presuming any two people speak for their aspirations and values.

But back to Mel? You're a smart guy Mr. Gibson, so I expect you to fathom my simple advice. Either stay off the booze or stay off the phone, OK?

And I wish Mel Gibson was the only braying jackass of the week, but there's this Michael Steele guy? For those of you who have, you know, actual lives? Michael Steele is chairman of the Republican National Committee. I don't blame you for not knowing that. Mr. Steele made a speech this week, press not allowed. But you know these dang cellphones...

Michael said something like, "We have to keep it out there, Obama started this war in Afghanistan"
... and it just got dumber after that. Now see? I wish no harm on any person, but? I KNOW why I lost my job, but I can't figure out why Michael Steele still has his job!
I'm going to stop short of saying Mr. Steele is an affirmative action beneficiary. He's personable enough, and quite articulate. Every time he says something stupid, his pronunciation is flawless.

But again? If the GOP insists on having a black spokesman, surely we can find somebody a little more grounded in reality? There are lots of smart black people! You take that George Washington Carver for instance? Invented peanut butter. I'd have starved in elementary school, if not for GW Carver. OK, that was a trifle hyperbolic there. I'd have been stuck with jelly sandwiches in my 'Man from Uncle' lunchbox. And a jelly sandwich, it soaks the bread after a few hours, so it's a big soggy mess. PB & J on the other hand, is a delightful combination. Much as I admire George Washington Carver, I wonder about the events surrounding the first date between Peanut butter and grape jelly. Did he invent that too? Someone should make a movie about that.

Dang! I got off track again. So anyways? I know the GOP is trying to show a welcome mat by having Michael Steele as RNC Chairman, but the reverse of desired outcome is delivered. It looks like the GOP found the dumbest black guy in the entire US. Well, except for Dennis Rodman of course...