Saturday, October 25, 2014

Saturday Sessions: Music for Halloween (Part II)

A bit more contemporary selection.

Donovan: Season of the Witch

Warren Zevon: Werewolves of London

Rob Zombie: Dragula

Bonus Ebola Track:

Eric Burdon and the Animals: Black Plague


And yes, I do believe that is an old black and white television

Friday, October 24, 2014

United States: Irrational Actor

Given the disparate motives of the various parties, it is unwise for U.S. officials to view the fight against ISIS as a stark conflict between good and evil. Instead, it is a complex, multisided, regional power struggle in which murky alliances and questionable, if not sleazy, objectives are the norm. U.S. leaders need to ponder the options very carefully, because Washington is barging into a geopolitical minefield with a high potential for policy failure and frustration. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. (National Interest - America's Fatal Blunder)

Does anyone really believe the "strategy" of Obama's amateur warlords (John Heinz-Kerry, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Samantha Power and Susan Rice) will produce anything resembling success in the Middle East?

Can anyone explain what "success" would look like?

Does anyone really believe the "good" Syrian terrorists they propose to train and equip can defeat Assad's Russia- and Iran-backed regime, while simultaneously vanquishing ISIS?

Can anyone explain why the "good" Syrian terrorists won't take the money and run into the arms of ISIS, providing them another bonanza of munitions and trained fighters?

President Obama's ISIS/Syria policy absurd, and yet no one is throwing the BS flag. If only it were Bush doing this, at least some tired hippie college professors and OWS rabble would attempt rouse themselves enough to get a news camera’s attention...

It doesn't add up. I've tried following the money, exploring different angles... All I can come up with is that this is expensive political theater to prop up the president's image.

The Islamic world is a madhouse, but each state is acting in its own rational interest.

The Saudis and the Gulf states fund ISIS and oppose Iran's BFF Assad because they don't want Iran running through the Middle East like crap through a goose, and their devil's bargain is a bribe to the terrorists to go pick on someone, anyone other than their own rotten regimes.

Turkey refuses to fight ISIS because that organization is killing Kurds, which gives Erdogan and his filthy Islamists great glee.

Iraq is split along the old Kurd, Sunni, Shia lines, and Iran is prepared to help us defend Baghdad while leaving the Sunnis in Anbar to the predations of ISIS. Iraqi Sunnis welcome ISIS because of their mutual hatred of Baghdad's Shiite regime.

The Euros and the UN dither and blather because they are toothless, balless, feckless, hopeless.

The US is the only nation whose actions are unexplainable, and possibly irrational.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

He that strikes my brother strikes me

D. Gordon E. Robertson

Cpl Nathan Cirillo, Facebook

 In the course of my military career it was both a privilege and an honor to serve side by side with our Canadian allies.  In the wake of this tragic and cowardly attack we stand with our brothers in the Great White North.

I originally had a more formal version of Oh Canada posted, but after seeing this, the Canadian National Anthem played as a symbol of solidarity at the Pittsburgh Penguins - Philadelphia Flyers game, I had to switch to it.

A P.S. to Stephen Harper:  If there's any truth to the rumor that this terrorist attack was prompted by the deployment of 6 CF-18's in the fight against ISIS, go ahead and deploy the other 132 of them if you want, we got your back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Boredom? Anxiety? Despair?

Veteran Jeffrey Adams and his service dog Sharif

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. -- Soren Kierkegaard
I asked a question yesterday, and unfortunately, I don't have the philosophical chops to answer it, or to even moderate a discussion of the topic.

Is there a common thread running through these news items?

* Dutch biker gangs travel to the Middle East to fight against ISIS
* Western Jihadi wannabes travel to the Middle East to join ISIS
* College children bust up a New Hampshire pumpkin fest
* Idiots rush to Ferguson hoping to start a revolution
* Adults fighting over sporting events, from Pee Wee League to NFL games
* The number of 'causes' people become passionate about continues to grow
* An explosion of offense-taking and demands for apology
* A continued increase in psychotropic drug use, including antidepressants

Could it be an existential crisis?  A search for meaning?

All I have are three quotations from proto-existentialist Soren Kierkegaard:

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

The most common form of despair is not being who you are.

For many, perhaps life has no meaning outside of their immediate existence. What is the value of a life that revolves around itself and is lived only for itself?

I could be way off base, but people who study this stuff tell us that a common human desire is to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to belong to a cause that transcends who we are.

Institutions are crumbling around us, as is our belief in them. Where does one turn?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smashing Pumpkins

Is there a common thread to these recurring news items?

* Dutch biker gangs travel to the Middle East and join the fight against ISIS
* Jihadi wannabes travel from Western Christendom to the Middle East to join ISIS
* College children bust up a New Hampshire pumpkin fest
* Idiots rush to Ferguson hoping to start a revolution
* Adults attack one another over sporting events, from Pee Wee League to NFL games
* The number of 'causes' people become passionate about continues to grow
* An explosion of offense-taking and demands for apology
* A continued increase in psychotropic drug use, including antidepressants

Is senseless* violence on the increase? Anyone? Anyone? Finntann?  I think it is.
*-Senseless: No reason whatsoever, no "he bumped into me," or "She stole my guy." Just idiots doing damage to property and persons for kicks.

I withhold my opinion because I want to hear yours. Hopefully we'll get some good comments and I will write a follow-up post.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Welcome to the Fourth Reich

In the stupid things people say department...

When a gambler went to cash out his chips, the man told the dealer he was gambling to avoid catching Ebola from his ex-wife, a nurse who had returned from West Africa.  He then left the casino but a witness was able to get his license plate number.

In the moronic over reaction department...

The 60-year-old man was arrested at his home Wednesday and charged with inducing panic after making the comment at the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland.  He's facing a fifth degree felony charge of inducing panic, and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespass for entering a place of amusement to cause a disturbance.

Cleveland New 5


Eyewitness reports indicate there was no panic.

Seriously Folks...

Is this your America?  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alt+0162 or C backspace /

My First Laptop


You can only take so much ISEBOLA  


In the not too distant past a comment thread started with a German saying and soon turned to the creation of the mysterious letter Ö.  That thread came just a few days after I was contemplating the tragic cultural loss of the ¢ symbol, an atrocity equal in my mind to the Taliban blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan.  How can you mind your cents and let the dollars take care of themselves when there aren't any ¢'s?  

My thoughts on $'s and ¢'s probably came about from a discussion at work regarding the now commonplace QWERTY keyboard and someone complaining about the layout.  In the discussion of the QWERTY keyboard I tried to explain that the reason for the layout of the letters was to prevent the typebars from colliding and/or jamming on their way to and from the ribbon and platen.  The blank stare, glazed eyes, and accumulation of spittle at the corner of the mouth disclosed that I was dealing with either a late Generation-X'er or possibly an early Millennial and I realized I needed to resort to Youtube.  

"Was that before or after you did away with the chisels and stone tablets?", he snidely asked.  So, after smacking him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper I volunteered that the QWERTY keyboard layout went back to 1878 and the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer... 

... that was before they sold out to Eliphalet Remington and his boys who produced the Remington No.2.  The mention of Remington immediately brought back some of the street cred previously lost.

Someday, some learned person will write about the decline and fall of the American Empire, I'm sure he'll start with the introduction of the IBM Selectric and their accursed ball!

I remember when my first office got a brand new IBM Selectric III.  I was the assistant manager (ANCOIC actually), and my boss called me into his office one day.  He was red-faced and fuming... "WHY? Why does this damned thing keep beeping at me", he roared.  I studiously examined the machine, the paper inside it, turned it off and on, and started typing...

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"... I typed, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party", (obviously socialist indoctrination in schools started early).

No Beeps!

"Hmmm", I ventured, "Perhaps if you don't misspell so many words it won't beep".  That was a valuable life lesson for me, for shortly after uttering it I found myself assigned to typing duty and soon learned to keep my mouth shut. 

Many years later there was a bright up and coming young boy that worked in the office.  We all know that he had only the best thoughts of us in his heart when he went out and purchased these for all our computers...

Yet to this day all that knew him and experienced this unnatural abomination of Satan curse his name, although he did fair better than that other guy, the one who like Lord Voldemort shall not be mentioned, he's the one that purchased these...


So, close your misogynistic eyes and start the video below.  Perhaps you'll be able to conjure forth the angelic image of the girls in the steno pool, feel the oily ink upon your fingers, breath in the sweet aroma of carbon paper and the sour wafting perfume of WhiteOut and remember civilization before the digital collapse. (Don't worry, you'll probably get the full effect in a minute or so... after that you're welcome to continue listening if you so desire.)

Stay tuned, perhaps someday when the memory is not so recent and painful, I'll reminisce about dot matrix printers.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Sessions: Music for Halloween (Part I)

Béla Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

Franz Liszt: Totentanz (Dance of the Dead)

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Isle of the Dead


André Caplet: The Masque of the Red Death

Come on, every plague needs a cool yet ominous name.