Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday: Ukraine in hell and I'm doing the plumbing.

Nobody in their right mind believes Putin's excuses, but one of the things I've learned from my favorite old Soviet, gri, is that Putin's ilk has a very perverted sense of what capitalism is and it's whereby Putin's got Europe by the balls.  Europe might be hesitant, sure, but Putin would be as delusional as ISIS if he thinks it's gonna buy him an empire.

Efforts to resurrect the long-gone Roman Empire gave us both the Great War and World War II, so what we see in the Ukraine and in Iraq are just two more attempts to litter the annals of history with both corpses and massive FAILs that can be also seen in the Americas with the Incas and the Mayas. Both Putin and ISIS are trying the same formula and expect different results, so if ever you wanted proof that they're all nuts, here it is.

And so I turn to catching up on domestic chores like I do every Saturday, but this Saturday was a bit different as the tank of the toilet developed a steady drip of a leak.  Closer examination revealed that the leak was springing as a result of a failure of the tank seal where the fill valve passed through to the connection to the water supply.  It was just a rubber type thingie and so I went to the hardware store to find a replacement seal. Shouldn't be a big deal.

In days of yore, it wouldn't have been...but each different design of fill valves means different and incompatible forms of gaskets, and so instead of purchasing what should have been a standardized seal turned out to be a purchase of an entire valve even though the old valve was still operational.

Gri, NOW you can laugh at capitalism.  Go ahead.  It sucks when it comes to snit like this. I did manage to beat the system, though--doing the plumbing myself because I know how to.  I saved my ole man upwards of $50 per hour plus parts, so nobody laugh when I claim to know how a time machine works.  I can even wire up and change the oil, set the spark gap, points and vacuum advance on that sucker too, so deal with it.

I should add that what's laughable, but not all that funny, about capitalism is that it's how ISIS gets its money to do battle with western capitalist interests.  It sells oil on the open market and it's mindless entrepreneurs with an eye toward buying-low-selling-high opportunities such as what ISIS offers.  Western capitalists are basically being handed the rope they'll get hung with, according to ISIS goals. 

Sunday mini-UPDATE: Producing the Enid Summer Chautauqua performances is still a work in progress, and a rough draft of the intro is now available, just recently posted on Facebook.  It's not the final product, but, just for your amusement, here's the rough draft (in HD for a change):


The last piece of music is done by Billy Murray, already mentioned in this blog elsewhere. And I'm still a big fan of his, as well as his occasional duet partner, Ada Jones.

Tuesday UPDATE: via Facebook.
Just became an ex-fan of somebody I used to enjoy watching on the TV series, Andromeda. "Fickle fan" my ass.

Totally kicking that clown to the curb.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Note to the Pecan Googler and an anniversary update

Note to the person who used Google to search for "pecan husks won't come off":

When a pecan husk won't come off readily, it's due to one of the following:
1) it's not properly ripe
2) it's wormy
3) it wasn't properly pollinated and the shell inside the husk has no proper nut kernels inside.

Regardless of the reason, just throw it away. Keep only pecans whose husks come off cleanly with little to no effort.

Thursday UPDATE: ...and along similar lines of entertainment...I just got this notice in my emailbox:

 Ya, the Mysterious Lab has been around for a long time, folks. Please give me at least a scrap of credit for knowing a speck of something about the performing arts.  At least give me credit for knowing a smidgeon more than a box of rocks. Thank you.

 Oh man, was there ever a big jolt of humongous deja vu with this Edison...

Who won? Emile Berliner. Edison stole the credit for the phoograph, too.

Later: While rifling through an old post I made about "meeting" a new Facebook friend courtesy of Fred Waterer, and how we chatted about old recordings, and I had asked her if she had any Van Brunt...she said she had...and when I revisited that link she gave me I discovered a more recently posted YouTube copy of the first recording of Van Brunt I acquired and became instant fan when I heard it. I'm all but turning handsprings of joy over this find! ...originally recorded by Edison on Amberol cylinder.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Giver movie--a review

Post-Emmy UPDATE: The Colbert Report has Jeff Bridges discussing this film tonight and interestingly enough, Stephen quotes the John Prine song that was performed on show last year ("How Lucky Can One Man Get") and the tie-in is beautiful.  By all means watch the Colbert Report on demand if you can get it.

Yesterday I made a point of seeing this movie mainly because I read THIS review, which mentioned a couple of favorite authors (Aldous Huxley and George Orwell), even though the review panned The Giver somewhat.  Now that I've seen it, I would say that it is indeed a mix of Brave new World and Nineteen Eighty Four, but I would add that there's The Stepford Wives in the mix, too, regarding the culture's attempt at sanitizing family unit cohesion.

Put simply, The Giver is indeed a work of art and the aspects of the art are primarily what the review complains about.  Most movies are formulaic with pointless gratuitous action, sex, gore, terror intended only to attract an audience that dotes on those things.  Not this film. The big name actors in it (Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges) clearly recognized the art of the script as such that the reviewers remained blind to.

Without actually going there, the film addresses the reason why the cultural sanitation is necessary--for every yin of a good aspect, there's the yang of a bad aspect and the point of the exercise is to exorcise the yang while preserving the yin, and then discovers that there's a yin-yang that can't be divorced, and that's genetic engineering without deliberate culling in an artificial Darwinist manner that mankind has used successfully to domesticate wild animals since the beginning of human existence.

The plot is based on sound science, which was of particular interest to me and not likely to be as great an interest to much of anyone else--the science of human emotion and perception being chemistry-dependent.  Every good citizen in this society were, by law, required to take regular medication by both tablet and injection, and when someone was determined to be deviant, they were accused of skipping either the tablet or the injection and were ordered to get their daily dose immediately or face Release, which everyone believed was a sentence to the area beyond the culture's boundary (Memory Boundary) but turned out to be euthanasia.  Yup--when you deliberately skipped medication, you got the death sentence.

Sameness was the objective, and it's unfortunate that Sameness was the result of a perverted sense of civil equality as if civil equality were a bad thing to pursue. On the other hand, the celebration of diversity is the yang to that equality yin, and again, inseparable two sides of the same coin.  As the movie progresses, it also points out that this new world order was important because of the yang of other things: happiness, sadness; delight, pain; peace, war; love, hate.  On that last dichotomy, the Giver (Bridges) launches into quite a stirring lecture to the head leader (Streep), who sees what the Giver is encouraging as dangerous, particularly in the method he uses to train the neophyte Receiver (of the society's collective memories/history).

When the movie-goer considers all these other things beyond what was superficially covered by the movie reviewers, and particularly if the movie-goer is also familiar with the aforementioned literary works (turned into movies: Brave New World, 1984, and Stepford Wives), this movie will linger in your head for quite some time to come.

Late PM PS: I just now got around to reading this month's AARP magazine and there's an article about Jeff Bridges therein. It's a good read, so if you're an AARP member who gets those, read before you toss.  There are a number of good articles about Baby Boomers and sexuality, too, so I guess in a previous post on that particular subject, it appears that the absence of hormones beyond menopause are no obstacle.  But if that's true, then I wonder what's acting in their absence to produce what we used to know as hormone insanity?  Hmmmm.  Well, it's no wonder to me that women who think the occurrence  of this nature have to be nothing short of a miracle. GO COUGARS!!!

An a propos image circulating on Facebook today, which evokes thoughts of a few specific people, some of which are sort-of masters of illusion...

In the fine print it says "Real didn't recognize real until fake showed up".  There's no better an effective cure for what's fantasy/imagination than the cold hard reality of recognizing fake when fake shows up. Just like the saying says: snit just got real.


I've also noticed some more traffic from the UK, and I also know that a new season of Doctor Who has begun, which may account for some of the hits on the posts where I've posted some TARDIS navigation instructions.  Well, I've deleted some of those, so if you guys want to pick up on TARDIS navigation classes, you'll have to begin at the beginning. No shortcuts. Email me if you want to sign up for classes next term. No exceptions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Amnesty International now in Ferguson MO....R.I.P. Don Pardo

It's very late at night over here but I've been watching cable coverage of Ferguson MO, seeing for the first time the appearance of Amnesty International observers.  And I'm sure a lot of people are doing the same, as well as monitoring Twitter,  Instagram, and such.

What's going to make this blog entry on that different is the recollection of Tahrir Square in Egypt and the question that kept popping up throughout: when is America going to have an American Spring?

Well, isn't that what Occupy Wall Street was trying to do?  But--back to Ferguson MO.  There's a lot that is similar to the events in Tahrir Square, and I'm pretty sure that the people across the globe that are watching events in Ferguson are feeling that the U.S. is in no position to criticize Egypt, or even Russia for that matter, for sending in local militias or whatever they have that passes for a National Guard, or other military into, oh, say, Crimea.

The role of the military in Egypt was criticized in re: Tahrir Square, as was Assad re: Syria rebels.  And now look at the air strikes we're taking in Iraq in what's otherwise a civil/religious war.  Whatever standing the U.S. used to have as a world leader for basic civilization, rule of law, and the like, just vanished in Ferguson MO.

Adding to the solemnity of this late night is word in that the voice of Saturday Night Live died at the age of 96. :'(

Thursday UPDATE: People not familiar with the updated version of the TV series Battlestar Galactica will probably just say that the picture above is of Edward James Olmos...and as far as the actor goes, that's correct.  But it's the story of events on the Battlestar under the command of Admiral Adama that relates to what happened in #Ferguson, big time.

But speaking of favorite actors and characters and science, this was circulating on Facebook:

Ya, that's neither actor nor character, but it evokes the recollection of a deceased local legend of Southern Illinois, who performed a song about this topic.

Uncle Briggs, you are still sorely missed.  I hope they have SAE signs where you are now.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ferguson MO is now an international incident; lesson for China.

Sure, it's an international incident now because Al Jazeera reporters were also roughed up by police.  Here's Al Jazeera's report, which mainly makes as big a deal over the harassment of the two reporters (one of Washington Post, the other of Huffington Post) that our domestic reporters are making a big deal of.  All that Al Jazeera says about its own reporters is, "Al Jazeera journalists covering the protests in Ferguson on Wednesday night were also tear gassed by police" in the middle of the bottom part of the page.

Go figure.

I was on Twitter most of last night because the Twitter feed went fast and furious from various reporters on the ground.  Twitter is where I went when Tahrir Square was happening, and it's where to go when any ongoing event of this nature is in progress, as I Follow a number of news entities there as well as all congressmen.  It's the best place to keep up with developments in Egypt, which include talks of cease-fires and whathaveyou regarding Gaza even though broadcast news entities tend to follow only one item as a major lead, setting the other stuff on the back-burner with only general, superficial treatment.

I would be surprised if BBC America was NOT present in Ferguson, too.

I again recommend Twitter for anyone out there who wants to keep following multiple events at the same time.  If you're still one of those out there who thinks Twitter is just for gossip chatter, I'm here to tell you again--you're wrong.

Thursday UPDATE: Suspicion about BBC confirmed by former Voice of America man and former fellow shortwave radio hobbyist of NASWA back in the day...

Jonathan Marks, formerly of Radio Nederland Weredomroep.
China, the lesson for you is about how police don't bring harmony and can, in fact, disturb the harmony that a community who disagrees with the government enjoys among its members.  Even when it has complaints, it's the community that is in harmony with each other.  Harmony is in the ear of the beholder, not in the arms of any police. The police that are in harmony with a community is a servant to the community--not its master.

Incidentally--Happy Independence Day, India!
You too, Pakistan!

Ferguson UPDATE: Gov. Jay Nixon has put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of law enforcement in Ferguson under Captain Ronald Johnson.

ABC News report

I also see that China has returned to my blog. Hello, China, guess what?  I know about your latest incursions into the South China Sea even though I haven't mentioned such things lately.  If you think I've turned a blind eye to Asia, you'd be wrong. Dead wrong.

China, you cannot achieve what you don't understand; harmony will always be beyond your reach.  Here's a level of harmony that exists entirely without your government thugs:


I will add that I have no doubt that China regards Ferguson as  a justification for T-Square, the Chinese event that cannot be mentioned in China.  Well, the bright side of being that wrong-headed about Ferguson is that maybe China will bring up the subject of T-Square itself while talking about Ferguson. Ya think?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Worldwide appeal of Robin Williams via blog stats & important UPDATE.

What tuppenceworth I posted in my last post regarding the passing of Robin Williams resulted in traffic to this blog dropping to a complete zero, even from China.  It's quite clear that I wasn't somebody slobbering over what I know was an illusion; one of the reasons I prefer being a time traveler to an  historian is my appreciation of cold hard facts, not some biographer's embrace of whatever illusion any given public figure preferred to project and then run with the illusion.  I recognize illusions and mirages when I see them, and having had a few friends of mine attempting or accomplishing suicide in the distant past, I've had the experience with the issues in that regard.

I still expected traffic from the orient, the hackers, the spammers, the tech-heads among them, but even that traffic dropped to zero over night.  That. people, was today's surprise.

Robin Williams was indeed the master of illusion, as are all good actors who engage the audience and take them along for the ride of the presentations.  Therein lay Williams' very strong appeal--they were strong illusions.  But they were still illusions, and that's why I for one wasn't a bit surprised while everyone else was.  The cold hard truth of the matter is that nobody in the audience didn't know who this man REALLY was like, and just the statistics of his 3 different wives pretty much showed conclusively that they thought they knew him but in the end, didn't really.

Although I'm familiar with his schtick and the apparent genius of his various schticks, and enjoyed that like everybody else, I know that I did not know this person. If you find that I have any stuff about Robin Williams off-base, that's fine because I don't pretend to know people that I don't really.

It's easy for a member of the audience to love the illusion.  What's hard is dealing with the cold hard reality, and it's the cold hard reality of actually getting to know the real person which will cure a lot of that.  And so it comes as no surprise to me that fans prefer to hold on to the illusion and bury the reality; a performer's business is to serve up what the audience wants to see, and the audience wants to see--and prefers--the illusion.

Thursday UPDATE: Ya, I realize that the above missive sounds harsh, but you won't catch me pretending to know stuff and people that I know I don't, and I've observed a number of people doing just that.  I don't wish to be included in that group, but by all means include me in the group that describes the ordinary fan.  I'm certainly a fan.  But coming down the pike this Thursday is a posting by somebody who apparently did know this man in actual fact, as shared by somebody that I do know, and his remarks are well worth full consideration:

I would be surprised of those of us of a certain age, who do remember the 60s and 70s, didn't know somebody who had experimented with substances and came out on the wrong side as a result.  I had a number of friends like that including one gal who attempted suicide in the presence of a number of her friends and yet still declared that she was alone and that nobody cared even after a bunch of us showed up when the ambulance did.  It is possible to not have known Mr. Williams personally and still relate deeply to the situation he found himself in.  Don't  know the guy, but I fully understand.  While everybody else seemed surprised and shocked, I wasn't--and that's just it, in a nutshell.

Ferguson UPDATE: All hell's broken loose as if Assad moved from Syria to Missouri and is now in command of the police there.  It's probably just a matter of time before an order is given to fire tear gas canisters into a crowded van just like Assad did. Betcha.