Sunday, June 29, 2008

My most astonishing nieces

They dressed themselves. I'm so proud (sob!) I so love clothing myself (shallowness rocks!). You both look gorgeous, with the sort of style that those "blessed" with fortunes pay mid- to large amounts of same to approximate, and yet, never quite pull off. Much love, Aunt Genie

Must cut post to purchase items they may deign to wear.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My thoughts on the Mormon opposition to gays marrying in CA

As I said elsewhere (but why waste a perfectly good comment)

An unpopular minority - Mormons – trying to limit the rights of another unpopular minority – Gays - on an issue - Marriage - which Mormonism has a somewhat vexed (and very very famous) history, reminds all and sundry about said vexed history, are on the wrong side of history (again – see any number of issues, but perhaps blacks and the priesthood is the closest), hurts the reputation of the church in society at large, does nothing to lessen the distrust of the church felt by the Evangelicals who are the main supporters of the amendment, and is the exact opposite of what the church should be doing.

As to the argument that male-female marriage is "traditional," balderdash. These people mistake there ignorance of history for something akin to fact.

For all of you folks proclaiming that traditional marriage has always been between a man and a woman; right here (for me at least) in the good ol’ U.S. of A, before it was such, for a very very long time (certainly long enough to be called “traditional”) a very wide assortment of native american tribes had (and some still do) “two-spirits.” Basically, these are men who chose to live as women. They could marry, and were considered good luck, or even holy by some tribes. The Navajos, for example saw and still see them as especially gifted at teaching children. So here, in the US, it is not “traditional” for marriage to be between a man and a woman exclusively unless you define traditional to mean “my traditions that I got from somewhere else geographically and haven’t quite forgotten.”

We won’t even get into Hawaiian group marriages.

Soundtrack for post; only one possible.

Pic of Joseph F. Smith, the 7th president of the LDS church with his 6 wives and 45 offspring.

Ceiling cat has competition

Ceiling cat reminds Buddha cat:
Exodus 20:3
3 No can has other ceiling cat!! U gotz other Ceiling Cat, I shoot yous wit mah lazer eyes. Srsly.

Wonder if Buddha has any sharks with frickin' lazer beams as followers....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Panic on the streets of the US

I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again ?

Is the US headed for Argentinian levels of depression?

I say yes. The middle class is the engine that runs an economy, because if there are large numbers of people with coins jiggling in their pocket, there will be large numbers of people purchasing stuff; large numbers of people making the stuff that the others are purchasing, the spiral revolves up.

Since the 1940's, the US has had a thriving middle class. But since, and I have a date for this, since Reagan was elected, the middle class has been diminishing--all those national tax cuts (and corresponding national debt) actually served the purpose of impoverishing the middle class, by cutting services and infrastructure that we all use and need, while greatly enriching the already rich.

Our cliches are coming home to roost. We have a negative savings rate, and the access to credit for the average bank, let alone the average soul, has disappeared.

Here's the gini index, (I love this graph) showing the increasing income disparity in the US. Among the first world, we're an outlier; the two countries above us (with worse income disparity, Mexico and Brazil are both well known for their poverty, slums, violence. Is this our future?

Oh, and hang the DJ, just 'cause.

Same song, only with noose instead of schoolboy, because just one Moz is never enough.

What? Depressed? Listen to this. It's Judee Sill; "The kiss." One of the most tragically underrated songs of the last 35 years. Really. It's off the album "Heart Food," which was rereleased a couple of year ago, hint hint. She, as far I personally know, is the only entry in the "Bach Pop" category of musical styles, and don't give me any of that Pocol Harum crap.

One more.... Live Smiths Madrid 1985 How soon is now? Sound sucks, Cinematographer should be shot; yet, sublime. Watch. Immediately. Only Been up since April. Random cAps AddS importanCe. duH.

Oh, and seeing as how this the post that never ends, JP Morgan has 79 Billion dollars worth of Derivatives balanced by 1.2 billion dollars in assets. Wow. Thanks to Covey at for the link.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Alan Turing!

Alan Turing was not only the saint of computer science, creating the mathematical framework for the field, and hence, the modern world; but he was also the single human most responsible for winning WWII for the Allies. You see, he deciphered the "Enigma Machine," not to mention diverse other German codes, with the result that for the last five (5) years of WWII we could read the Germans' most secretest transmissions. With this knowledge, we won. For this astonishing feat, the British awarded him with, uh, well, they discovered in 1952 that he was homosexual, and so not only chemically castrated him, but also fired him. He killed himself two years later.

Today he would have turned 92.

Happy Birthday.

Human perception

An interesting illusion

From the link, above.
Here is a novel illusion that is as striking as it is simple. The two images of the Leaning Tower of Pisa are
identical, yet one has the impression that the tower on the right leans more, as if photographed from a
different angle. The reason for this is because the visual system treats the two images as if part of a single
scene. Normally, if two adjacent towers rise at the same angle, their image outlines converge as they recede
from view due to perspective, and this is taken into account by the visual system. So when confronted with
two towers whose corresponding outlines are parallel, the visual system assumes they must be diverging as
they rise from view, and this is what we see. The illusion is not restricted to towers photographed from
below, but works well with other scenes, such as railway tracks receding into the distance. What this illusion
reveals is less to do with perspective, but how the visual system tends to treat two side-by-side images as if
part of the same scene. However hard we try to think of the two photographs of the Leaning Tower as
separate, albeit identical images of the same object, our visual system regards them as the ‘Twin Towers of
Pisa’, whose perspective can only be interpreted in terms of one tower leaning more than the other.

Long hallways, large buildings, the max tracks, certain aisles at the supermarket, seemingly any long, unbroken parallel lines give me serious balance problems. This may be a hint as to why.

Many more fun illusions here.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mormon Church announces formal opposition to Gay Marriage Ruling in CA

So, in solidarity with my Mormon antecedents, I present Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie (AKA "House") discussing how the perfectly decent word "Gay" has been ruthlessly hijacked from our beloved English language.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Self-portrait, plagiarized.

That's me on the left.

Lots more Banksy Goodness here, and all for the perfectly reasonable price of FREE.


For Gritty Pretty, who mentioned that she might be entering a Thomas Kincaid period.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So, what is the unemployment rate, anyway?

About 9.5%, if you count discouraged workers and the under-employed, and if you add in the undercount from urban areas. Handy metric? Add about 5% to whatever you hear on the news.

More here.

What's inflation? Add 7% to whatever they say on the news.

The lower, good news statistics brought to you, first by Clinton, and then refined by Bush. Thanks, guys.

What's that about a recession, hmmmm?

Not sufficiently depressed? "A nasty period is soon to be upon us."

The Royal Bank of Scotland says "WE'RE ALL DOOMED!" Ahem.

The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks.

Oil: Its a bubble.

This just in: At least 70% of oil futures contracts held by speculators.

Just how much oil prices are being driven by speculation became clearer yesterday as regulators revealed that Wall Street dealers, hedge funds, pension funds and other speculators hold 70 percent of the leading oil futures contracts traded in New York.

From Futures and Commodities News

Why? My take; The Fed, back in May, allowed Investment Banks (not so regulated, just sayin') to borrow money at the same rate as regulated banks--it's not called the discount rate for nothing.

Speculating on Oil is what they're doing with their new-found wealth. Proof? Morgan Stanley currently owns more oil than Exxon.

And look who predicted that Oil prices would go so high! Morgan Stanley!?

Hmmm. Seems familiar. Oil prices rose mysteriously high in the summer of 2006. Didn't prices go down by labor day?

When will the housing market stabilize? One graph tells all....


There's 500 Billion dollars in Option ARM mortgages out there (peers from Portland, OR to Portland, ME.) These are mortgages that allow the holder, for awhile, to pay less than interest owed on the loan each month (That's the option). The deficit amount is added to the loan total. Of these Option ARM mortgages, apparently 80% of the holders are paying the least amount possible. At some point, they will be expected to actually make a real payment; this is called the reset, and often will double the mortgage payment required. When these loans reset, some huge percent of these mortgage holders will be unable to pay the higher amount; the houses will go on the market, or, most likely, into foreclosure, increasing supply and driving housing prices further down.

The default reset is 5 years after the mortgage was made. Assuming the height of the housing bubble was January 2005, then the resets should start fast and furious in about 2010.

The handy chart, above, shows when Option Arm loans will be resetting; as you can see, this is far from over.

Dr Housing Bubble Explains it All, Much Better Than Me. I borrowed his chart, thanks.

Evolution at warp speed

Richard Lenski has been breeding 12 separate strains of E coli for upwards of twenty years now; over 44,000 generations. In one of his strains, the E coli developed the ability to eat a substance present in the environment, but previously inedible to E coli--citrine--at around generation 33,000. This appears to have required the previous accumulation of a series of otherwise neutral mutations, until, poof! A new function!

Read about it here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brigham Young, mah peeps.

Long story short.

B. Young, to various , 1855. "will no one rid me of this troublesome lawyer?"

Turns out, someone would.

B. Young, to various, 1857. "Will no one rid me of this troublesome wagon train?"

Surprise! Turns out, someone would. Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Troublesome Lawyer:

My GGGma's (Mary Ann Polly Bullock) second husband. Jesse Hartley.

He wasn't Mormon. Brigham Young denounced him publicly; said that he should have his throat cut; Jesse lit off for the territories; he ended up dead. Bill Hickman confessed to the killing. He was never punished.

It’s an interesting event, that parallels, in a small way, the much larger horrors perpetrated at Mountain Meadows a few years later. Brigham Young expressed distress at non-Mormons traversing Utah; they ended up dead. Their killers, save but for a token soul, went unpunished. There's no proof that he directly ordered the killing, I suspect he didn't. But, in such an atmosphere, is a direct order necessary?

It's all in the cover up.

Bad day at work, or there are problems that can't be fixed by Iambic Pentameter.

Irregular Webcomic. It's not going to display; I recommend clicking.


There are downsides to every job.

My philosophy on life; turns out squirrels are involved.

We're all Zen now. We're all poets, too!

I Bring you a site dedicated to self-published Bad Haiku. Cause if it's published, it's bad haiku raised to the level of zen.

Bad Haiku Roks!

Printing Presses, Lame
'cause click click click click click
Instant post, cool me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm voting republican

I'm voting republican because if people want clean water, they can buy it in a bottle, I don't feel like I deserve health insurance, and because Texas needs more billionaires.

Vote republican, you'll get exactly what you deserve.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why the price of gas will go down before it goes back up.

After the speculative high-tech bubble burst 2000ish, the housing speculative bubble was born, and has now burst. Now oil and commodity prices sky high! Coincidence, or just the next bubble?

I found this on the LA Times Blog. A succient explanation.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia says it will call for a meeting of oil producing countries and consumers to discuss soaring oil prices and work to prevent unjustified rise in prices.

Information and Culture Minister Iyad Madani says the kingdom will work with OPEC to "guarantee the availability of oil supplies now and in the future."

In a statement following the weekly Cabinet meeting, Monday, the minister said Saudi Arabia will also work to control "unwarranted and unnatural" price hikes.

He said that the current price of oil is unjustified."

Did you get that last line? As I've said before, this is the end result of the Fed's 180 day loans to "investment banks" outside their normal lending loop. Now we have the major Wall St' investment houses using loans funded by taxpayer dollars inflating yet another speculative bubble based on their own predictions.

It's hard to say what frustrates me more; the blatant market manipulation or the sublime stupidity of the herd of "investors" who believe it. Either way this last round of unmitigated greed/insanity will likely be the straw that finally breaks the economy's back.

Posted by: Michael Snyder | June 09, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Way too easy irony, or gold (or at least, sandwiches) from dross

When I was but a wee post-pubescent tot in the rather embarrasingly early 70's (yes, I am old) I had this thing for Rod Stewart and the Faces. Maggie May, Handbags and the Gladrags, Cut across Shorty..... When I was living in Arizona 1n 1977, Rod Stewart came to town, and for the first time in my life I had a chance to see him live. But, "Hot Legs" was on the radio and I was horrified and unforgiving. So embarrassed. Then, to make matters worse, "Do ya think I'm sexy" came out, and I turned my back on him forever, until, well, Youtube. Wha? It, I can only say, Rod now sucked hard--no charm, no finesse, no humor, no slightly just behind the beat singing, no wit, a drum machine? some early Synth crap? It. Was. Too. Many. Periods. in. a sentence. Bad. I can still feel the pain. How could he? The greatest singer since (dear imaginary friends) that italian thug guy.

But, dear reader(s) this story has a happy ending. I just discovered that the chorus in "Do ya think I'm sexy" was a note-to-note copy of a Brazilian song; the author sued, Rod lost in court and the terms of the settlement were that all the profits be paid to UNICEF. Flowers, chocolates, nourishing meals, and inappropriate punch lines all around!

Early Faces: not only Rod in his full-throated 1971 glory, but one of the most underrated (but not underpaid) guitarists of the era, as well--Ron Wood. Ahhhh. Irony, as well as revenge, a dish served best cold.

Love in Vain, Robert Johnson.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stars at sunrise

The window in the staircase in my house. My friend Amy made the stars; (see, over there? You could click....) I like them. Sweet GeeBee took the pic, it goes without saying. He made dinner tonight, too! Is there anything hotter than a man saying, and I quote, "Sweetie, what would you like me to make you for dinner?"

My Neighborhood Band

OK, This is just Colin Meloy, not the entire Decemberists, but they do live and/or practice around here. I see them! At the Fresh Pot coffee shop and having a late breakfast at Gravy. But never acknowledge, 'cause I'm too old, or kool, or embarrassed, or something. Anyway, the second song he plays is my very most favoritest Decemberist song, "At the Bus Mall."

Friday, June 6, 2008

A portrait in Orange, or Harold, the house cat.

Harold may be the reason we have two vacuums; one upstairs and one down. Our house isn't that big, but the quantity of hair he produces is quite impressive. Don't get the idea, dear reader, that I, personally, can even turn on either of the vacuums. GeeBee (buzz, sting!) is the only master of such appliances in our domain.

Pic, since not a complete blur, obviously shows the handiwork of GeeBee, and not the author.


I think refrigerators are just peachy! So many fun images, so little trouble displaying them. Two favorites: the orange drawing in the upper left clipped out of the New Yorker with a caption reading: "The noted air guitarist William Ocean," and the pic of me, mom, and dad in the lower center-left; oh, and, of course, Johnny Rotten, uh, forgive me, John Lyndon, also upper left.

Pic by my dearest GeeBee.

PS. Extra points if you can guess my favorite color.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Music Suggestions Wanted

I may (emphasis on may) be doing the music for an installation this year at Burning man. More details here:

I'm thinking more organic music that has an electronica-trance feel, such as Neu and Can, the German Art-rockers, the trance-gospel guitar player Reverend Louis Overstreet, Nico, maybe early flaming lips "Jesus shooting heroin" So---perhaps something that someone other than me has heard of?

Illusion is a light sculpture on a canvas of 64 large weather balloons. The light array creates a feeling of immense undiscovered space as viewers walk and meditate throughout an area the size of two football fields. Light effects are programmed to evoke a range of moods with soft, fading luminescence interspersed by glimmering, dancing lights. At timed intervals, lighting control stations become active and participants are given opportunity to control the light array. The relationship between light and darkness is a common Western metaphor of good and evil, knowledge and ignorance. The sculpture alludes to the illusion offered by this metaphor.

Dear reader(s), musical suggestions would be appreciated.

Smoke, drink, and be merry, or tomorrow we may have arthritis.

Moderate drinking cuts chance of getting Rheumatoid arthritis almost in half. Drinking and Smoking, even better (for the arthritis.)

What next, Heroin as a baldness cure?

People who had a moderate alcohol consumption were 40 and 45 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis compared with people who did not drink or drank only occasionally, it found.

Among those who had a high consumption, the risk was reduced by 50 and 55 percent respectively.

Most surprising was that the biggest benefits were seen among smokers with a genetic profile known to make them vulnerable to the disease.

Congrats Utah! Lamest reason ever to oppose a law in another state.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (and 9 other AGs) has asked California to delay their same-sex ruling because he's afraid people might file law suits over it! Eeek! Not Law Suits! What's an Attorney General to do? Better yet, what's a lawyer to do? Perhaps they could accuse the California Supreme Court of heresy and threaten to poke them with soft cushions.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four* *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.
Ximinez: Now, old lady -- you have one last chance. Confess the heinous sin of heresy, reject the works of the ungodly -- *two* last chances. And you shall be free -- *three* last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have divulged in my previous utterance.
Wilde: I don't know what you're talking about.
Ximinez: Right! If that's the way you want it -- Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mapquest locates sarcasm (I'm working on the title)

If you've lost your sense of sarcasm, and you've checked your purse, the back seat of the car, and the freezer, with no luck, you might think about looking in your right parahippocampal gyrus.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How to read an astrological chart

Derren Brown gives accurate astrological readings. Turns out to be pretty simple.

Embarassing personal admission: It has always seemed to me that humans are basically simple creatures with language. The language allows us to convince ourselves otherwise. Just out of my grasp are the few rules that we follow. The video above, is a hint.

Monday, June 2, 2008

'Cause i haven't posted any riot grrrls for awhile

(fan video--has the original recorded track, listen for the song, what? You still think it sounds like it was recorded in a well? Quityerbitchin'.)

Actual Bikini Kill in concert--sound quality somewhat less? more? than horrific, but still awesome. Which reminds me, dear readers, any adjectives, hmmm?

That girl she thinks she's the queen of the neighborhood.
she's got the hottest trike in town.

Rebel Girl.

When she talks, I hear the revolution,

I think I want to take you home
I want to try on your clothes.

Kathleen Hanna in all her Bikini Kill Glory.

The rather absurdly emo boy (6 4 155 lbs, low cut girls jeans too small tshirt black rooster hair) at the local video store played this song once. He's not there anymore. I still mourn his passing.

Ps. I consider this a cure for, uh,

Barbie? Pop culture in its various forms? Though for the full vaccination, the Ramones should also be involved.

What, you thought losing money was a bad thing? Or, Red is the new Black.

Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc. and four other U.S. financial companies have used an accounting rule adopted last year to book almost $12 billion of revenue after a decline in prices of their own bonds. The rule, intended to expand the ``mark-to- market'' accounting that banks use to record profits or losses on trading assets, allows them to report gains when market prices for their liabilities fall.

This means that banks (and don't you so wish you could do this?) are recording their losses as gains. Totally too Kool for Skool. You have a 401 K? Take note.

Bo Diddley RIP

I walked 47 miles of barbed wire,
Used a cobra snake for a neck tie.
Got a brand new house on the roadside,
Made out of rattlesnake hide.
I got a brand new chimney made on top,
Made out of human skulls.
Now come on darling let's take a little walk, tell me,
Who do you love,
Who do you love, Who do you love, Who do you love.

Friends, family, I know you don't click on my links. Spies have told me. You doubt my, uh, taste. For, uh, either good reason or no good reason, depending upon the phases of the moon. Click here. C'mon. I promise Courtney Love wasn't even in the country when this video was made. You go, Bo, down below; you and the Duchess, rockin' it. Who do you love?

ps. do not go gently into that good night--strap that red rectangular guitar on tight and charge right in.