Sunday, September 28, 2014

'Nuther Post for RSS check; Jeeps & Studebakers

+George Strayline --most certainly at your convenience--this post is for RSS feed check.

And please, if you would, tell the good readers of this blog whether or not I pass muster as a competent automobile troubleshooter.  At least where starters are concerned.

The brand name of Jeep did pretty well under its own military steam, and not too shabby when taken over by Rambler. When Rambler morphed into American Motors,  that was kinda the beginning of the end of Jeep as a practical, maintainable vehicle.  AM really got worse when Romney ran it, and then it was passed off to Renault, which did it no favors either.

And it amazes me no end when "historians" think they tell all there is to say about automotive history when they stick to the over-worn deeply-rutted roads of Henry Ford.

In terms of vehicular history, nobody's older than Studebaker because that was a company that made horsed wagons before it started making them horseless, and with the Salty Dog, ran rings around the competition on the race track.  Silver Hawk and Golden Hawk were the best in that category, while everybody remembers the Champion, not so much as a classic Studebaker but as The Muppetmobile.

Remember the big deal that the press made about the last VW Bug rolling off the factory line in Mexico?  That's where the last Studebaker Lark rolled off, too. Volkswagon got it from Studebaker.

Found this nice pic of the Studebaker Champion, Starlight Coupe model, on the web. Yup, it's the Muppetmobile, but black. That sexy vehicle to the right of it is the Avanti, which went on to become its own brand after Studebaker went belly up and each Avanti was hand-crafted to order, with a Chevy engine under the hood.

I see a red Packard in the back, off in the distance.  That's what you'll see at the historic Studebaker factory in South Bend, IN, too. It's where the Avanti gets made by hand and you can watch.

My own Nellie Belle looked like this, vintage 1963, minus the radio antenna and minus the back 2 doors. Back then, radios were options to be sold separately, and Nellie didn't have one, and there was no place in the dash to put one if you bought a 3rd party radio, either. Nellie wasn't this fine looking either--I bought her with a junkyard title and her brakeline was completely missing, as was the radiator. 30 days later I had her on the road, licensed, and headed to the ANARC convention in 1978--and that was in Montreal, Canada, at what was La Maison Radio Canada.  Lost tread on all four recaps on Queens Highway, too. Froze a wheel drum just outside Akron OH and that's how I wound up in Beautiful Downtown Burbank....Ohio.  Good times. I did a drawing of Nellie's back end with the caption MONTREAL OR BUST, and that's what made it to the cover of Glenn Hauser's Review of International Broadcasting in 1978.
Technical UPDATE: Here's where I talk more about Nellie Belle specifically, in detail about how I found it literally in scrapping process when I rescued the machine.  I knew the owner and attempted to buy it from the owner when I was informed that he'd lost the keys. I was waiting on word for when he found them, but apparently he never did and sent the car to the junkyard, where I've been known to frequent when I was shopping for other parts.  I didn't find out that it was in the junkyard until it was almost completely stripped of its guts.  I paid $60 for the hulk, towed it home, and proceeded to rebuild.  I found that the engine's head was cracked and in need of replacement, too.

It took a trip to KY to get a replacement head and I had that reconditioned and properly milled at a local machine shop, so yeah--I even rebuilt the engine in it.

Thank goodness for Warshawski's/ J. C. Whitney mail order.  That's where I found stuff like teflon valve seals, chrome cylinder rings and other whatnots that would fit a Studebaker overhead 6 engine.  Yeah--the type of Studebaker engine that typically suffered from cracked heads when the tappets got out of adjustment, and they did that fairly frequently.  The Lark was an attempt by Studebaker corporation to cut costs in response to consolidated motor enterprises like what became General Motors, the latter of which also enjoyed government contracts denied to other automakers. Ford enjoyed such partiality too, and that's pretty much why the multitude of individual automakers either joined or merged with The Big Two or died.  Chrysler and Rambler survived by snapping up other popular but individual model makers but still were barely treading water because of the level of government favoritism toward the Big Two.

Nash merged with Rambler early in American Motors history, and that's the firm that first came up with "unibody construction" with a minimal chassis: Nash-Rambler. Chrysler got Pontiac, and so forth. Studebaker remained defiant, as did Kaiser and so many others that eventually went belly up before American Motors did, and before Chrysler suffered its first bankruptcy crisis.  So yeah--I'm just as fond of Hank Ford as I am of Tom Edison. Meh and a half.

Anyhoo, back to Nellie Belle.  Yeah, I named my Stude after the vehicle driven by the sidekick on the Roy Rogers - Dale Evens show--and that was a Jeep--mainly because ole Nellie was just as temperamental as that particular Jeep was.  But my Nellie was as non-stock as you could get, more suitably represented by Johnny Cash's song, "One Piece At A Time".

Yeah, when I got the ole girl home, I had to find more parts.  I found an Impala radiator that fit nice until you got to the bottom of it.  Bolt holes didn't match down there, but they did up at the top, so I just drilled me some new ones and in it went.

From that point on, ole Nellie would cease to have value as an original stock vehicle--but she was MY Nellie.  Anybody stealing that gal for collectability would get a very rude awakening.  Nellie was mine and nobody else's and I was the only one on the planet that would know how she worked.  When she got temperamental, I'd be the only one who could get 'er running again.

She got all new brake lines, and the brake cylinder got rebuilt, as did the wheel cylinders. Knowing what models of auto that used the same equipment as Nellie came in handy in rebuilding the wheel cylinders, to which I also took a cylinder hone.  I did the same thing with the inside of the engine cylinders, too, by the way, and made a point of getting oversized rings from Warshawski's in that regard.  Also got some updated stem seals for the cylinder valves because if there's one thing Studebaker was notorious for, it was for leaving an oil slick on the ground where ever it was parked. Those stem seals pretty much took care of that.

One of the tests that collectors of old cars make is the Magnet Test--if a magnet don't stick to the body, then the body isn't pristine.  Nellie ended up about 1/8 Bondo and/or fiberglas and would have failed the Magnet Test miserably.  Look at the pic of the Lark again, and notice where the headlights look like they've got eyebrows.  That's the first part of a Stude Lark that rusts out badly, and Nellie was no exception.  But I think I did a damn good Bondo job on those areas that it would take a magnet test to detect that the metal was all gone. No, I did NOT break my arm patting myself on the back for that, either. :P

I put all new lines on the braking system, rebuilt the brake cylinders on the wheels, rebuilt the master cylinder, and all that. Rebuilt the engine with new! improved! non-stock parts via mail order. I fired 'er up, put 'er in gear, and discovered that gear shifting was a rough proposition, so I took the tranny out to see what the problem was.  Yup--it was old age.  It was a plain vanilla Borg-Warner 3-speed stick-on-the-wheel kind of arrangement, and as it happened, I could take an identical Borg-Warner 3-speed tranny out of any other vehicle and make it fit perfectly, which I did.  Tranny came out of a Rambler.

Long story short, I had 'er roadworthy and passing inspection at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles of Illinois 30-ish days later and thought that attending the ANARC Convention in Montreal would make for a great shake-down cruise.  It's what shook out that made that trip a real adventure, part of which was spent in Beautiful Downtown Burbank Ohio because a rear drum froze up.  But hey--I lived to tell about it, didn't I.

Note to the shortwave radio demographic of this blog's audience: Lawrence Magne (you got that right--THE Passport to World Band Radio Lawrence Magne) has a pic of me and Nellie after just getting back from that epic Montreal trip, after which he gave me a lift to the NUvention in Indianapolis...which provided fodder for one of my vintage Clara Listensprechen Reports.  I got the invite from Serge Newman, as it happens, and Larry really thought my Nellie was amazing.  After that trip to Montreal & back, so did I.

For you old NASWA old-timers who remember the "Clandestine Corner" that Larry wrote for FRENDX, you should also remember the masthead artwork I did for Larry's column. It morphed into "Clandestine Cranny", but here's ya a piece of NASWA history for ya.  Yup, I'm the same person who doodled up David Walcutt's column's Log Report masthead, too. We used to be neighbors in Carbondale, and that's how I wound up buying his Barlow-Wadley XCR-30 machine.

So yeah--I'm an electronics person and I'm a mechanic, which turned out to be the big surprise at Motorola when some of the guys who didn't believe a woman belonged in their shop assigned me to work in the mechanics shop out of the electronics technician shop. Much to their consternation, I mastered that, too, ha.  I'm just as much a heavy-machine mechanic as I am an electronics technician, but they had no idea about that.  I haven't stopped gloating over it, either.  I was now a silicon ingot saw meister. All of this snit was noticed by the engineering department in QA, and so they adopted me as their favorite technician, and so I stayed on, and in the process picked up skills with robotics.

Yeah, I actually worked on, repaired, calibrated and programmed actual industrial robots. For real. And an assortment of automated production and test equipment. For a living--got paid to do that, actually in actual fact, believe it or don't. A former co-worker on Facebook (Dennis Gatten) can verify what I claim here in the industrial area.

Okay, I got a question about availability of Studebaker parts & where did I get 'em. Well, as you can see, I used parts designed for other vehicles but I was able to get factory-genuine parts from the old Studebaker plant in South Bend via the on-site vendor, Newman & Altman, who was still making both glass and plastic versions of, say, tail light lenses and such.  Recent of vintage but made with the Studebaker manufacturing equipment. I also relied heavily on mail-order for stuff, too, mainly J.C. Whitney. Plus I did a lot of shopping at junk yards.

I think I forgot to mention what types of robots I worked on/with, and I have to draw a line somewhere between robots and automated manufacturing equipment although the line between the two is rather blurry.  I worked on U. S. Robotics and PUMA "peanut picker" arms, in the main, but the list of automated manufacturing equipment is a very long one, I'm afraid. It should be noted that it's via the automated robotic-like equipment that I became fluent in "speaking" hexadecimal. You could say that I "speak robot" and be quite correct about that.

Okay, you skeptical programming geeks out there, check out this Boolean hexadecimal joke:


HAH!  I hear you laughing from 'way over here. :P :D

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Remarkable U.N. session with Russia tacitly making a point

Rewind the clock just a tad and recall how Russia made claims about how its military actions were counter-terrorism actions against, basically, Islamic turkmen. Fast forward to the Boston Marathon bombing by a couple of delusional youths, and the deal where Russia gave us vague warnings about those folks.  It's a claim now being made by Russian ally Assad, in Syria, pretty much making the Republican hawk faction in this country look silly for wanting to arm the terrorists just so that Assad could be overthrown violently, all the while howling about red lines.

In retrospect, in view of the United Nations that Republicans had always wanted to go dark entirely, nothing looks more loony than the actions they were howling in favor of taking.  We are now looking at a United Nations coming together not with the usual low-level ambassadors but with higher levels of leadership functioning in the manner envisioned by those that formed the League of Nations at the close of the Great War.  The hope in this quarter is that it doesn't fail and repeats the history of being part of the reason why World War II was launched.

We're looking at a lot of differences, alright, but a lot of similarities from the Arab perspective.  In the Great War, the Ottoman Empire was a British ally and a lot of people forget that.  And it was neglected by the British, which is why it switched sides to being a German ally.  The Ottomans, although Muslims, were Turks, and while Arabs embraced the Islam of the Turks, it did come to pass that when the Ottomans switched sides, the Arabs stopped being allied with them, too.  Arabia made a difference in the Great War and it's making the same kind of difference in the current business before the United Nations.

But this puts Arabian royalty in a peculiar position of having to renounce its own state religion, too conveniently passed off as plain vanilla Islam...passed off as plain vanilla Sunni Islam if you're lucky.  When the House of Saud took over Arabia via violent overthrow, it established Wahab Islam as Arabian state religion, and that's not plain vanilla Sunni Islam.  Westerners commonly hear the crap about how the difference between Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam is a simple issue about succession, and nobody proves that to be the false crap that it is than Arabian Wahab Islam where succession is filial, which Sunnis will deny that any Sunni practices.

In order to rule Arabia, the House of Saud was brutal in its takeover and subsequently brutal in the establishment of its version of Sunni Islam while preserving filial (royal) succession.  As is the case of every brutal regime, it persists because its allies prop it up. The Saud regime has become weak as the result of its dependencies and Wahab radicals have known this for a long, long time--even well before Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida, both of which are Wahab progeny.  As are Salafists.  As is ISIS.

Sure, we're working with a Sunni alliance NOW, but you can see why they also don't want to say what exactly they're contributing to the war effort.  Sunnis tend to be Arabs and Turks; Shiites tend to be Persians and, well, Alawites.  Detailing what Saudi Arabia does could very well be seen as blasphemy by the people the royals rule because in rendering assistance to the West, they will be violating what the House of Saud has been teaching as religion.  This could very well prove to be the Saud family's Waterloo and all those previous years of unsustainabilty is going to add up to a wipe-out for them.

Whence Turkey, though? They've been suppressing a conservative trend, and the Turkish version of Sunni Islam doesn't jibe with Saudi Wahabism, or even the hybrid Salafism.  Western evangelists who were whining about how Islam needs a Reformation don't realize that Wahabism WAS that reformation, and that Salafism is a reformation of Wahabism, and all these reformations into which you add Al Qaida and ISIS = religious cancer.  Same could be said for today's evangelism as evidenced by megachurches, today's version of a religious Towers of Babel in worship of that golden calf of mamon $$$$$$$.

People die because of this stuff, because there's earthly power in it and the powers that be are heavily invested in maintaining it.  As the House of Saud seeks desperately to preserve itself much like the Ottomans sought to do in the Great War, it'll inevitably hit a dead end.  Such is what's inevitable for any other entity deluded into thinking there's glory in imperial rule.  America has already run smack into its limits in that regard and rather than claiming imperial rule, it must needs seek co operation from co equals in government.  ISIS continues to ignore the basic premise of the first Califate Empire, and that is for Sunnis and Shiites to embrace each other as they did after the Battle of the Camel, in a live/let live configuration where every tribe is ruled by its own Sharia and not the Sharia of other tribes--yes, to function as a Republic where locals are ruled by local law and the imperial government only sees to common defense and welfare.

That's why the Roman Empire was so popular and grew quickly when it was a Republic.  It fell when it became imperial.  Imperial rule is not sustainable.  Note ye well, China, as you deal with your Uyghur situation. If you learn Islamic history via what the West teaches, you're getting only a fraction of the story.  Choose your sources wisely. ISIS didn't.

With love from the UAE. Still, evangelists who claim that Islam is anti-female know nothing of Islamic history. Women in leadership positions began with Mohammed's wife, Khadijah--Mohammed, orphaned camel trader, married UP with that marriage. The last female leader recognized by the Sunnis was the daughter of General Abu Bekr (the first one) of the Koreish: Ayisha.  She led the Sunni troops in battle herself on the Day of the Camel. Fatima and Ali led the Shiites, only they weren't called Shiites back then. They were known for centuries as Fatimites.

A few good points were made after I posted this--it's not like Arabia had much influence over the Ottomans in the first place because we're talking about the height of the colonial period and Arabia was essentially British.  True, but the British weren't Islamic and had no influence over Muslims of any sort, while the Arabs and Turks were both Sunni Muslims, and let's remember that there was an Arab rebellion underway--here's a reminder that T. E. Lawrence was influential in that particular development.  Yup--Lawrence of Arabia.

It's also true that although Arabian Arabs and Ottoman Turks were both Sunnis, the Turk version of Sunni Islam was still significantly different than Arab Sunni Islam, beginning with and not limited to the language difference in view of the fact that, at the time, the Quran was NOT translated from its original Arabic into any other language.  It was translated in to Turkish in the 1920s and that was the first time the Quran was translated at all.  Going back to the time when Mohammed had died, the Quran wasn't in writing AT ALL, since it's universally true of the spoken word that it transfers poorly into writing, lacking inflection and vocal tone.  This is why, to this day, no Muslim of any denomination recognizes the written form of the Quran as being anything other than inferior to the prescribed recitation, a vocal prescription established since the beginning of Islam and conveyed through rigorous training to any appointed to recite it in mosques.

Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, is on record as saying that there's no belief in sectarianism and they don't condone such things.  Well, that's the position of all Sunnis of all flavors, which is why they call Shiites heretics instead of a different sect. They don't believe in sectarianism because Sunnis believe that all Muslims should be Sunnis.  A lot of westerners don't catch that nuance.

Late night UPDATE, BOOKTV Edition: I'd already shut down the computer, getting ready to turn in, flipped the tube to CSPAN-2 and there was a panel discussion in progress with 3 authors talking about today's jihadists. The Q & A session raised a few points pertinent to this post, addressed by the author of The Taliban Revival.  I found the panel discussion on YouTube, and I'll post it here, but not before I point out the important part first. 

A woman asked a lengthy 2-part question about a movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan whose purpose was to foster Sufi beliefs superimposed on both Shiite and Sunni tribes because Sufism has traditionally sought a non-sectarian resolution to traditional sectarian tenets.  The reply was that even though this indeed is universally acknowledged to be the case by all Muslims regardless of sect, Sufism nonetheless poses a threat to the political theocratic power currently enjoyed by sectarian leaders, and that's why it hasn't taken hold as well as expected.  

The video won't embed on this blog, so HERE is the link.

Saturday UPDATE, post-Zito Edition:
For the people who already read the Friday update, noting the references to mathematics which got passed over,  I got a happier note for ya. It's mathematics getting cute.

Friday UPDATE, John Zito Edition:

John's a Deist, though, and we're tangling once again on the "cosmological argument" where he proclaims that an atheist can't disprove that there is a deity and some actually acknowledge that a deity is possible.  I countered with the definition of "agnostic", where an atheist is convinced there's no deity and a person who admits to the possibility of a deity is actually an agnostic in his admission that he doesn't know for sure.

This was in a separate thread, a precursor to the one where he just posted a picture of a black rectangle, then added the comment which I added my comments, thus:

...and that's the score this inning, with discussion ongoing, of course.

What John's overlooking is that it's all relative, and there's no actual "high" or "low" to this, that mathematics does take into account "imaginary numbers" and "irrational numbers" but treats them as quantifiable (finite) unknowns. Science deals with what can be measured even if the quantity is unknown, so therefore it's required to be defined as a quantity, and all quantities are finite.  Oh, John, John--you still fancy yourself to be the master logician, don't you.  LOLz.

And so I wrote the following response:

I've said it before and I'll say it again--today's state of science is in dire need of a reinvention of the zero, an aspect of mathematics that was introduced into Europe during the Dark Ages by the Arabs, who were far more scientifically advanced than the Roman numeral-confined Christians, and without which the Christians would have never had a Renaissance nor an Age of Discovery.  The concept of an absolute zero as being equal to absolutely nothing causes it to be mathematical and scientific fiction.  Todo o nada = fiction.  The sum of that stuff (the summary, the summation, the sigma) is as relative as the R in TARDIS.

Zito Edition UPDATE 2: Sorry, folks, but the show's over already. John edited his numberline question slightly to include another participant, and the discussion wound up thus:

UPDATE 3: Nope, the banter continues, with a question about how do I know we actually sent somebody to the moon. Ahhhhh, consider the source. The rest goes seriously downhill from there. Things hit rock bottom when John tried to bring up why blacks were black and decried any mention of genetics. At that point I dropped him from the Friend list and he's currently blocked. I don't stand for bigots of any sort.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Another argument re: audience on Facebook w/Keith Perron & Craigy Ferg update

Topic UPDATE, Craig Ferguson Edition:

The same day that I posted the below missive about audience issues, CBS' late night talk show launched on the theme of "the 18 to 34 year old male demographic", introducing another aspect of how professionals do audience analyses: demographic break downs. To begin with, TV  networks have long known that one doesn't simply guess or theorize about what they think they know about an audience--the get the facts first and then, as in this particular demographic citation, establish a "target demographic".

Determination of not just the size but the type of audience has always been the business of the organizations that hire performers, not the performers themselves as they're not wont to hire the likes of Nielson with their own money to do that.  Performers are not in any position to do a good job of audience analysis themselves, and that's a given, no matter how a performer may protest to the contrary.  Organizations like Oklahoma Humanities Council don't do anything more complicated than taking a head-count of only those members of the audience who deign to sign their tally sheet, and they simply note increases or decreases in numbers without factoring in much else.  And then they cut funding when their tally sheets don't add up to enough.  Sure, that's not fair, but that's how it is, and funding depends on it regardless.  The closest to a demographic analysis the OHC ever gets is when the local emcee asks for a show of hands how many in the audience are from out of town, out of state.  It doesn't get better than that.

My blog audience comprised of shortwave radio people online would be wise to note that the main reason for a number of traditional shortwave broadcasters have closed down shortwave facilities altogether is because they say that the biggest audience is online, not tuning in shortwave anymore.  They're quite correct about that (and have the audience analysis numbers to back 'em up on that), but there are also consequences to abandoning shortwave radio for the Internet--the Internet is where websites get more lost in, and China for one recognizes that, as we can see from China's proliferation on shortwave, filling the spectrum vacuum left by others.  They also think that jamming is important, and that capability is being expanded as well.

Thus ends today's brutal reality check update.

It is a perpetual source of amazement to me at how public performers of a wide range of sorts persist in being misguided about their audience, and that's despite such professional audience analysts like Kim Andrew Elliott and Nielson.  One thing that these performers have in common are an overestimation of their influence over the same.  Keith in particular thinks that being super-classy is a way to hold an audience.

The discussion got kicked off when I Shared the video of the gal who quit her TV job by announcing her cannabis establishment and simply walked off the set while broadcasting live.  It's been making the rounds on social media for the past couple days, so most folks online have seen it...

There will be slight overlap in each of the following screenshots, to establish visual continuity, so please bear with me.  Keith Perron immediately took issue with the video and posted that as a comment on my posting--

Well, folks, that's the score as of this inning.  I just got a couple more Notifications that Keith is posting more arguments, so this is not the end of the matter.  More to come, apparently.

It seems to be a universal phenomenon that performers just don't have a grasp of the aspects of the audience that are most important, preferring to think that the world revolves around them in that regard, and then can't figure out why their audience and even number of fans wane over time, as they will invariably.  They just write 'em off as "fickle" and dismiss it without further thought.  That's the problem right there--failure to think, combined with the urge to blame people other than themselves for the phenomenon.

Performers, just do this simple math:

The more appealing to an audience you are, the bigger the audience you get at each subsequent performance. You get fans who will want to see every performance but that won't be every person in the audience.  Get huffy with your audience and it'll shrink, and you'll be so surprised when the people who cut your checks for you cut you too--you get paid to draw an audience.  If you piss off even your fans, you get a smaller audience with each appearance.  If you keep drawing fewer and fewer people, you're not worth what you're being paid, so don't act so damn surprised when you get the axe.

 UPDATE: Chuck Todd is reported to be doing worse than David Gregory in the ratings.
From Politicus USA
Jason Linkins made THIS prediction in August and it goes to the following point about CBS' expectations of Robin Williams with The Crazy Ones.

Alright, Sir Skeptic, let us by all means discuss the case of CBS' cancellation of The Crazy Ones and the early speculation of that being a factor in the suicide committed by Robin Williams, before news about his diagnosis was brought to light.

CBS was counting on Williams to draw an expected large audience for CBS, and it's likely that CBS' expectations were unrealistic.  Robin Williams' name alone is quite a draw in its own right because of the size of his fan base, let alone others in the audience.  CBS still puts faith in audience analytics such as Nielson provides, too, but there are other audience analyzers in business besides the time-venerated Nielson company precisely because the nature of the "competition for eyeballs" that the Internet has introduced, and the "watch later" factor introduced by Tivo, and multiple TV sets in multiple rooms.

From Williams' point of view, he was a personal failure to draw the audience that CBS expected, and the public expected that this was reason enough to get depressed enough for at least an attempted suicide.  That's not an unreasonable scenario.  What is an actual scenario: the rising performer thinks the crows is ALL about him/her and gets narcissistic to the point of pissing people off, causing a steady trend of diminishing audience numbers. Posterboys for this: Justin Bieber and George Michaels--among many many many others.

Keith here rose to media prominence by riding on the back of the former popularity of a long-defunct Radio Nederland program which he personally revived: The Happy Station.  The former host of the original program, Tom Meijer, had/has a long-standing fan base even though he's been off the air for decades.  Tom Meijer gave his blessings to Keith's efforts and so there was a presumption of fan base transfer.  Of course the two men are quite different even though the former attempts to mimic the latter, and no one expects any different; Tom, after all, took over the show upon the retirement of its previous very popular show host (Ed Startz) and had some huge shoes to fill for that fan base.  Tom, unlike Keith, succeeded very well indeed, and I submit that it was because of Tom's own attitude toward an existing, well-established audience. Keith, not so much.

Keith, not so much, and it's because his basic personality and attitude which rather clashes with the raison-d'etre of a show with the name of "The Happy Station" and with the motto of "Smiles Across The Miles".  He boils down to an antithesis of the premise under the proclamation that he's all about being classy.  Read "exclusive", and exclusionary he's become; he's one of those who subscribes to the unfounded notion that fans are fickle and if the audience doesn't like him, it's the audience's fault.

Robin Williams, on the other hand, had a very large and loyal fan base to the point where people who didn't know him personally still loved him, but that still wasn't good enough for CBS.  Great Expectations is why Gregory got fired from Meet the Press. Performers, keep that in mind when you think that the audiences you draw now is what makes you the center of your circles in the entertainment universe to treat as callously as you will.  You take your audience for granted when you do that, and they're actually granted to no one.  The audience makes the choice to see you and if you give them a reason to quit seeing you, it's YOUR fault, not theirs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meredith Vieira's #WhyIStayed speaks for many, many, many women

By now, Meredith Vieira's story of domestic abuse has made the rounds in the news circuits and she makes a number of good points.  Not that I was ever in an abusive situation myself, being someone who has successfully avoided such entanglements thusfar--but I've known a good number of women who were, including but not limited to a woman who went back to the guy who knifed her and she dropped the charges.

If it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk, it probably is a skunk.

There's not a whole lot to be said for belief in this thing called "woman's intuition" when you see so many women getting stuck like that, or when women get cheated on and she's the last one to believe that it actually was happening "under her nose" while being totally clueless when all the clues were there.  Women who are fortunate to have avoided such men as that were more than just lucky, though. They could tell, you can call it "woman's intuition",  and acknowledge that these women were actually paying attention to it.  It's not the exclusive purview of women, though; such characters as Sherlock Holmes and his side-kick Watson used their intuition to great advantage, and yes, they were fictional characters but the product of the mind of a male.

So is the concept of marriage as a definition of property ownership right down to a male's concept of children and mate as chattel.  Sure, women got suffrage and limited property ownership rights, but still as long as the woman was single. Marriage might theoretically be more enlightened today, but there are males out there that don't understand that, especially the steeped-in-tradition conservative types.  The woman might think she still owns herself, but the abusive spouse begs to differ.  And so I remain single, not ever having married even once. I go to bed boss and I wake up boss with no man as my lord and master. Fork that snit.

I've always been my own boss and I'll be in a nursing home first before that changes. Nobody gets away with telling me to shut up, pipe down, do as I'm told, or give me orders. Not nobody not no how, not ever.

UPDATE, Goodell Statement Edition: I'm seeing some quoting polls how fans don't think this man should step down.  I'm seeing a league that has made no move on this issue until the sponsors started pulling their support. The NFL has never been concerned before about the issue at hand and isn't concerned about it now--the only thing they care about is the sponsorship.

I'm seeing a union that's too interested in covering/protecting criminal behavior, and as liberal as I am, I do NOT support unions that do this.  Given the misogyny of union tradition at the get-go, and not just in sports, I'm one liberal who does not support unions no matter what.  This snit DOES stink.

Saturday PostScript: The image immediately following is certainly food for thought as a different aspect of Adrian Peterson's case, and worthy of serious consideration...

Meanwhile on Facebook--battle of the sexes continues...

...whups, not done yet.  THIS just happened...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday---America's religion pre-empts news. Again.

The show 60 Minutes has been delayed yet again for #!$!#@&*!! football, and I don't mean soccer. ISIS, not even you can get America's attention during football season.  Screw football--gimme HOOPS. Meh.

Oh yeah, I'm well aware of the fact that 3 high-profile suspensions in the NFL were in fact the news lately, and all of them had to do with domestic abuse, which I've addressed on this blog before, in general terms.

Football is a violent sport that has none of the trappings of gentleman sportsmanship that accompanies, say, rugby.  It's not just that sportsmanship in the traditional sense is discouraged in American football, but it fosters a culture of violence and nothing reflects that aspect more aptly than the female football fans that were asked to comment on camera.  Appalling. It's the sane fans who have their limits on loyalty, not the fans who remain loyal no matter what.

Fan loyalty is why the NFL is big business despite its official non-profit status.  The old saw "it's only a game" doesn't wash when looking at the high number of people who got maimed by it and died for it, and that includes the people who marry people in that violent religion and have kids by it and faithfully raise those kids to worship it too, all the while being tolerant of daddy when he brings his work home with him.

Please.  Too often, fan loyalty = insanity, and this is a prime case of it.  Sure, it's "just entertainment" but you gotta wonder about the sanity of people who are amused not just by the nature of their entertainments but also by the depth of their loyalty to those who conspire to pick the fans' pockets via such ephemera that leaves lasting marks on the youngsters, not to mention the women.

Me, I'm not a loyal fan of anything or anyone mainly because I've got higher standards than that. Now, come ON, America. Get your priorities straight and get on with something more important for a change.  Surprise me.

...and now I find out that the last story on 60 Minutes is about --yup-- fracgin' football. Meh and a half.

Monday mini-UPDATE: Still doing plumbing 'round here, but this time on a natural gas line. You can bet your sweet bippy I know how to do that correctly, too. Are you impressed yet, guys? Hey--up yours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday's Topic A: Jihadistan and lessons from history; Thurs. Topic A

I'm writing this right after listening to the President's Address about dealing with "The Islamic State", an entity that fancies itself to be Califate material while taking pages out of the Genghis Khan playbook and intermingling them with Western mythology about how early Islam spread, a mythology which is patently wrong.

And there's a lesson or two to be had from The Great War insofar as the other reasons that the Ottoman Empire fell.  The common denominator: Arabia, Saudi or otherwise.  You know, the home of the Wahabis, the common denominator between IS and Al Qaida.  The entirety of the Arabian Peninsula set itself against the Ottoman Empire when the Ottomans switched loyalties from the British to the Germans.  And thus we see history repeat itself more than once.

Obama's choice of words were interesting--on the one hand he says that the Islamic State isn't a state, and lists the reasons why this is so...and on the other hand repeatedly calls it "ISIL" as if it is in the entire Levant, wherein lies a portion of Egypt and Israel.  Just because it's in Syria doesn't make it in the entire Levant.  And yet Obama didn't make the case of a threat to Israel, and he could have.  Go figure.

I expect China is still reading my blog--they frequent this site with several visits every day--and China has its own situation with the Uyghurs (Turks), and common to both China and Russia, the  other tribes of Turkmen, all of which have their own visions of a grand Califate, and as such won't find it difficult to recruit from India, Kashmir, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, all of which don't find Pakistan terribly far away.  China, you have bigger problems than Japan et al in the South China Sea, you idiot.  While it may be true that western Europe is distracted by Putin's military exercises eastward, what makes you think that Putin's exercises don't also have China in mind, too? The term "idiot" just doesn't begin cover your description, China.

So you're going to go in league with the Russians, now, China?  Really?  And not joining up with the rest of the West given that IS is a common enemy, and adding the West to your enemies list? You're not just an idiot, but you're a blithering idiot, and I'm sure your fellow idiot, N. Korea, is proud of you in your idiocy. In looking at Japan the way you do, you're still stuck in the turn of the 19th to 20th century, you silly goose. Get your nose out of your Little Red Book and take a look around you at what the world is TODAY.

History is a great thing to learn from, but it's a lousy thing to keep getting stuck in.

The last time I saw a map of  the original Califate Empire, it was on The Daily Show and I saw right off how wrong it was.  It didn't show Islamic rule far enough East, nor far enough south into the African continent.  This is what I mean by erroneous West mythology regarding Islamic history, but just as scratches the surface. It's clear to me that IS is following Western mythology rather than actual Islamic history even though "Abu Bekr Al Baghdadi" (put in quotes because it's clearly a symbolic alias, not the man's real name) fancies himself to be an historian, but there are clear gaps in his knowledge.

Proof? Like I said, his strategy mirrors that of Genghis Khan; if it was truly according to Islamic history, he'd be operating more like Saladin.  He isn't, is he, my Muslim friends. Saladin. Remember him? He's the reason why the West has Freemasons and Shriners. Debatably, he's the reason the West had chivalry, too (Celtic scholars will indeed debate this, and my position would be Richard the Lionhearted import).

Thursday Topic A UPDATE: Commemorating the events of 9/11/2001 like everyone else and considering how timely it is just prior to this date to deliver a Presidential Address re: "Islamic State" and the brutalities it has committed.  And then getting a commitment from Syria's Assad in terms of welcoming U.S. air strikes on Syrian territory.

Not much different than China's threats in the South China Sea compelling an erstwhile reluctant Japan to change its mind about its trade sticking points to become more willing to sign on to the TPP without complaining any further.

It's also worthwhile stating, yet again on this blog, that the original Califate Empire was both Sunni and Shiite thanks to the accord which was reached at the conclusion of the Battle of the Camel, and Saudi Arabia might as well repent its Wahabism, which is contradicted by this and subsequent Califate Islamic history.  Wahabs just pretend to go back to Mohammed's original Islam without actually doing so, and they're frauds.  They and all their religious progeny, which includes Al Qaida, Boco Haram, the group in Indonesia, the group in the Philippines, and Islamic State, etc.  Wahabism/Salafism is a perversion.

Speaking of perverts, so are the Loose Changers/Truthers.  I've been able to debunk the lot of them by being experienced in boiler furnace combustion along with a bit of basic chemistry involving not only combustion but construction (concrete/cement, specifically).  Sure, I know that the whole purpose of the official analyses of how the Towers fell were aimed at reducing prospects of liability lawsuits, and no, I don't trust them either, but the Truthers are just 'way the hell out in orbit scientifically and are just flat out wrong across the board.

Via my new Canadian music history friend on Facebook.  She wanted this image to go viral, and so be it.