Saturday, July 20, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

So what if that Russian app company sells all those photos and personal data to an Asian company that makes sex dolls? They could create a whole line of "Mouth F*ck a Stupid American" line of  life-like dolls and it would serve you right!... I hope the next big movie is an It and Top Gun crossover like what they did with Alien vs Predator... I laughed way too much at this... It would be cool if TV shows could trade actors the way MLB and NBA teams trade players... Cool stat from Tim Kurkjian, "Ted Williams' career OPS (1.116) is higher than the best single season OPS of any active player." That's how great Ted Williams was!... I laughed way too much at this too... Imagine doing business with someone on the other side of world and while they may seem so obsequious on the phone but at the same time they could be doing unspeakable things to a sex doll with your specific likeness. That's the future!.. George R.R. Martin says that Game of Thrones backlash won't influence his writing. But it will influence his book sales because there are many like me who are just done with the series. I read each book twice but I won't touch his new book. To paraphrase the words of Eric Cartman "Screw that guy!"... How soon before the nickname "the Squad" morphs into the nickname "the Useful Idiots"?...

The Secret Language of Trees

Interesting topic. More information here.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- This actually looks pretty cool (and what great free advertising for AirBnB)

- Interesting man. Interesting story. Interesting history.

- Thanks a lot Canada! Canadian senator's report accidentally reveals locations of US nuclear weapons in Europe. Or maybe the information was leaked to pressure the US to get those nukes out of unstable Turkey? So - thanks Canada?

Your obligatory will Rob Gronkowski un-retire speculation.

- The lone Mustang pilot who held off 30 fighters from attacking B-17's for over half an hour. "It was a case of what seemed to be one lone American against the entire Luftwaffe." Where do we find such men?

- Richard Feynman explains math.

- Why can't we be more like the Swiss?

Climate Change

This article makes a good argument that technology, not alarmism, will help tackle climate change. But while reading it I found myself getting upset on two fronts.

First God damn the people like Al Gore who make alarmist global warming climate change dire predictions for the purposes of either scaring people into voting for them or giving them money (or both).

It ticks me off to hear Joe Biden speak about the need to act on climate change. He was in office for 8 years as VP. What are the Obama Administration's accomplishments on the subject? Answer that one Joe!

And don't give me "Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Accords." The United States has lowered CO2 emissions more than any of the remaining signatories of the Accords which are basically just a fig leaf to cover the inaction of nations and leaders. And while I'm at it let me point out that energy producing Texas has done much more to lower CO2 emissions than tree-hugging California. Hypocrites really piss me off!

Secondly, even though I'm a big proponent of nuclear power, what if there's nothing we can actually do? Even if we go 100% nuclear power and renewables what if the change in climate is due to things outside our control? Things like solar cycles (that we don't understand), changes in the Earth's magnetic field (which we don't understand) or the climate change effects of the Earth's "wobble" changing (again something we know is happening but don't understand). Or a combination of the things we don't understand.

Its common sense to embrace reducing pollution and trying to be more energy efficient. Common sense. But we need to state the simple fact that we truly don't understand our climate (or 95% of the universe we live in for that matter). The science is not settled - on either side of the argument.

Rant over. I feel much better. 

The Day Mary Jo Kopechne Died

On this day, 50-years ago, Mary Jo Kopechne died. She had been riding with the married Ted Kennedy when he plunged his Oldsmobile into a pond at Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy did not report the accident for 10-hours. Kennedy received a two-month suspended sentence, and had his license suspended for a year for his actions.

Meanwhile Mary Jo Kopechne did not live to see her 29th birthday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fear is the Mind-Killer

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I consider myself a person of color. Unfortunately during the summer that color is usually a distressing shade of sunburnt red... Prediction - tight white tennis shorts that were popular in the 80's are going to make a comeback. I'm going to stock up now and start priming the fashion pump before the summer's out!... Uber, Lyft drivers manipulate rates at Reagan National causing fare price surges. I can see both sides of this issue. I can also see just calling a cab... Thinking of changing my name to "Glass of Water" and moving to the NY 14th District to run for Congress. My campaign motto would be a simple "I'm not AOC!" Only way to see if Nancy Pelosi was right about that... Seriously can't believe the number of supposedly smart people who voluntarily uploaded their pictures for that stupid aging app...  I'm also thinking of proclaiming myself a minor celebrity. Who's to argue? So I'd be a minor celebrity person of color running as a Democrat against AOC. That's seat in Congress is as good as mine!... Damn it! It looks like I'm already too late to the party...

You Have to Make Happiness Your Priority

Naval Ravikant on the Joe Rogan Experience. You should do yourself a favor and watch/listen to the the entire podcast. I've listened to it twice already and will listen to it half a dozen more times I'm sure.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Patriots Opening Game

Including today there are 56 days until the Patriots take on the Steelers in their first game of the 2019 NFL season.

Really starting to jones for some football.

Pictured left is Andre Tippett who is vastly underrated historically for the simple fact that he played his career at the same time and position as Lawrence Taylor.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

As a reminder - just 10-years ago there was real concern that the unemployment rate under Obama was going to reach 10%. How soon we forget... "God is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere." - The Book of Twenty-Four Philosophers...  Cool - "Carmen" on the ukulele. Very talented artist... Learned this weekend that Bad Company is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. How is this possible? It's like learning that Carlton Fisk is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame...  Thinking of writing a series of books called The Adventures of Olive Picasso. It would be about an anorexic world famous artist and her yacht enthusiast boyfriend with massive forearms and their (mis)adventures... Ernest Hemingway on alcohol and ending the "mechanical oppression"... Baphomet's Hangover would be a good name for a band or fantasy football team... 

The Malaise Speech

Today is the 40th anniversary of Jimmy Carter's "Malaise Speech." I beg you to listen to it because as George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

The speech starts off:
This is a special night for me. Exactly 3 years ago, on July 15, 1976, I accepted the nomination of my party to run for President of the United States. I promised you a President who is not isolated from the people, who feels your pain, and who shares your dreams and who draws his strength and his wisdom from you.
Jimmy Carter as the ultimate Ombudsman. Not a leader - a listener. Carter took 10 days to listen to "the people" to help set the course on what the nation should do to confront the energy "crisis".  Do the words remind you of other candidates?

Carter lays out a series of programs to confront the energy crisis with the plan to pay for them by taxing the rich through "windfall profits taxes". Sound familiar? Listen to the candidates grand plans and then listen to how they plan to pay for them. Contrast that with what the tax CUTS of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald Trump have accomplished for the economy. The echoes of Jimmy Carter are there if you listen for them. 

Import quotas, mandating by law that corporations meet goals plucked from thin air, and lets not forget rationing for the common man and woman. That was how Carter planned to solve the energy crisis. Seriously, Carter's plan to fight high energy costs was gasoline rationing and monorails. Go ahead and laugh but that was the plan. Go ahead and laugh but at the same time listen to the candidates and hear the echoes of Jimmy Carter. Then you'll probably stop laughing and start praying that the country doesn't have to suffer another Jimmy Carter President.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Two Weeks in Musk World

First off happy belated birthday to Elon Musk who turned 48 on June 28th. Sorry Elon next year I'll send a card..

Tesla's Model S gets the ultimate award from MotorTrend being named the best car of the last 70-years. And Jay Leno is a big fan of Tesla. Positive reviews and awards like this are a big reason why Tesla doesn't even need to advertise. Think of it no advertising at all and Telsa's market share of EV's in the US jumped from 68% of the market in Q1 2019 to 77% in Q2 2019. The 95,200 cars delivered in Q2 also represent another production high in the evolution of the company.

Meanwhile Tesla's autopilot may reach 2 BILLION miles driven before the end of the year. Amazing when it basically didn't exist before Tesla introduced in to the masses. From science fiction to the Model 3 potentially being the first fully autonomous vehicle. Amazing progress!

In SpaceX news Elon says major Starship engine bug has been fixed. And SpaceX also captured its first rocket fairing. Here's what that means and why it is so damn cool.

Finally - out of nowhere came a Neauralink announcement. What's Neauralink you ask? Only Elon Musk's newest and most ambitious company yet (which is really saying something).

Trump in Asia (A Bad Lip Reading)

Too funny.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just saying but if you're an American who supports the US Women's National Soccer Team then by definition if not by extension you support the borders of the United States as a sovereign nation. It's the "national" team. And if you support the idea of national borders you logically would support the protection of those borders by things like the Border Patrol and ICE. Correct?  Would it please therefore be possible to get AOC to condemn the women's World Cup winning team as enabling the detention of children at the border? That's all I want for Christmas... Winning Super Bowls is a snap... If you added "Candidate McCandidateface" to most polls of Democratic Presidential candidates - how much would you like to bet that McCandidateface would be the top vote getter?... Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak says most people should get off of Facebook permanently. I agree and not just for the privacy concerns - also for the mental health aspects. I've never been on Facebook and never will... The trade war with the US is having measurable negative impact on the Chinese economy.

Spiders on Drugs

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Not sure if this should be filed under "unintended consequences of government programs" or "perverse incentives backfire"

- Cool - the Dzhanibekov effect

- Very good list. Agree 100%. (Via Steve Layman)

- See - no excuses! Do something with your life!

- Producing graphene from carbon dioxide

- More cool physics

- Why Hong Kong is so important. Also can I admit that I find the term "Gucci serfdom" to be a brilliant phrase (and it would make a great name for a band).

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Does anyone seriously believe that Jeffrey Epstein would have been arrested if Hillary won the 2016 election? Seriously?... After the Civil War Robert E. Lee asked Congress for a pardon. It was never given... The future of grocery stores?... I agree that the US men's and women's soccer teams should be paid the same. I know the men's World Cup generates billions in revenues while the women's World Cup's revenue is measured in millions but that's worldwide. In the US the interest in the two teams is about equal and so should be the pay... But while we're at it - the Women's World Cup Finals generated an overnight TV rating of 10.0. How about we pay the winning team of any college football bowl game that generates a 10.0 rating or better the same as the US women's team just got paid? Where's the social justice activism for something like that?... OK if we're being honest the reason the Boston Bruins made the Stanley Cup Final this season is because the Tampa Bay Lightning shit the bed in the playoffs. Doubt that will happen two years in a row... Rest in peace Ross Perot. Running as an Independent may have cost George H.W. Bush a second term and gave the world Bill Clinton but Perot did a lot for veterans and much of his charitable work was done anonymously...

Rip Torn

Actor Rip Torn has passed away at age 88. Known for many iconic roles to me my favorite was starring in this music video:

Torn was 80-years old when he filmed this. Also hard not to think about Rip Torn's legendary fight against Norman Mailer.

Torn was one of a kind.

E.B. White

Today would have been E.B. White's 120th birthday.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Public Service Announcement

I read a study once where the experts explained that putting ice cubes up the rectums of unconscious people has no physiological benefit and can even lead to seizures and stroke. Of course I laughed at such a silly study. And the more I thought about it – I funnier I thought it was.

After thinking about it for a while I came to the unmistakable conclusion that men were completely responsible for such a thing. In order for the study to be done in the first place people must have been putting ice cube up the butts of unconscious people. Who would do such a thing? Men! A woman would never see an unconscious person and think – “Instead of calling an ambulance for help I think I will jam a large ice cube up the ass to see if that wakes the person up.” Say that to a guy and the chances are his response would be, “What the heck – give it a shot.”

And who would design and OK the spending for such a dumb study? Men! Do you think they told the test subjects what the study was all about? “OK we are going to knock you unconscious and then place ice cubes of different sizes up your rectum.” How would you like to be the test subject that ended up having a stroke because you needed the $50 the experiment paid? 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Top 5 - Books I Re-Read

Almost every year for longer than I've had this blog, on or around June 30th I pick up and re-read Michael Shaara's great book The Killer Angels. The book is a retelling of the Battle of Gettysburg. Every year I marvel at the courage of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and I wonder why such a supposed great military mind like General Lee did not take the solid advice of General Longstreet.

And every year I'm grateful for circumstances placing Chamberlain on the scene at Little Round Top. And that the back of the Confederacy was basically broken on the heroic yet futile Pickett's Charge the final day of the battle.

Every year!

Re-reading it this year got me thinking of other books I've re-read numerous times. So here are the books (in no particular order) that I've read and re-read at least 10-times each over the years:

- Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  First read this in college as part of an English class and was hooked.

- Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Fun book and for years this was my go to beach book. The movie was awful though.

- The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. First read this as a senior in high school and I love to go back and re-read it every once in a while. As much as I enjoy Maugham's writing I have never read what is acclaimed as his masterpiece Of Human Bondage. Same is true of Steinbeck's masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath. Over the years I've bought several copies of each but I think the more I'm urged to read something the more I resist the task. Just one of my foibles I guess.

- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. My favorite book by Hemingway.

- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My own personal Christmas tradition is to re-read A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. If you're not into reading the book you can watch the Patrick Stewart version of the tale - it's almost word-for-word from the book. Plus you get to see McNulty as Scrooge's nephew Fred.

EDIT: How could I forget Kim by Rudyard Kipling. This is another of my favorites. Now I just need to find my copy of the book.

The Harry Potter series of books are getting close to being on the list but I haven't re-read all of the books 10 times (yet).

Honorable mention:

- Man on Fire by AJ Quinnell fun revenge book that's even better than the Denzel movie version.
- Noble House by James Clavell.
- The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss will end up on the list above (once he finishes the damn third book!)

Happy Jeff Fisher Day

Monday, July 08, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- HP, Dell, Microsoft moving some production out of China. Money quote, "China's labor costs aren't as attractive as they used to be. Between the IP theft, the spying, and the security issues, staying is not as appealing as it used to be.

- A guy walks into a bar. Still my favorite long form joke.

- News you never hear reported -  Global Greening is happening faster than Climate Change. "The amount of vegetation growing on the earth has been increasing every year for at least the last 30 years."

- Love stories like this.

- The art of blooming late. Some nice advice and encouragement, "ages 40 to 64 constitute a unique period where one's creativity and experience combine with a universal longing to make our lives matter."

Wisdom from the Talmud

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Wonder if protesters once they finish with Civil War generals then turn their attention to any statues featuring horses with the thought that they represent forced servitude and animal cruelty. Don't laugh this could easily happen... France has turned into one of the worldwide threats to free speech... "When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love." - Marcus Aurelius... Such a cool graphic - gives you a perspective on just how short human history actually is... I freely admit I have no idea what's happening with Brexit... 100% true!... Congrats to Holy Cross and Celtics legend Bob Cousy on being presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom...

America the Beautiful - Ray Charles

When you think of patriotic songs - Ray Charles version of America the Beautiful should be near the top of anyone's list.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Friday, July 05, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- So when I complained that Consumer Reports was peddling useless pap - this was the sort of information to help combat the effects of aging and helping to reduce the risk of dementia that I was hoping for.

- Interesting - the engineering and architectural challenges to creating lunar habitats

- For 20-years the nuclear launch codes at US Minuteman silos was 00000000. From a few years ago but worthy reminder that our nuclear arsenal may not be as secure as you'd expect.

- Transcendence - this looks like a pretty interesting docu-series.

When Did Consumer Reports Become a Click-Bait Site?

This article from Consumer Reports got me genuinely upset - Lifestyle Changes Could Cut Dementia Cases, New Study Says: Here Are Nine Things You Can Do to Help Lower Your Risk.

Let's start with the basic math. The article says that Alzheimer's affects about 14% of Americans aged over 71 - so that's 14 people out of 100 over 71-years old. Then the article says that researchers have identified 9 key risk factors "that together could account for 35% of cases." So 35% of 14 people - that's basically 5 people. Small but still 5% of 100 people over 71-years old is significant.

What are these 9 key risk factors that I can try to change to mitigate my chances of dementia if by chance I am in that affected 5% of the population over 71 in America?

Well the first key factor is "limited education" prior to age 18. Well fuck - I went to college but the people who didn't what are they supposed to do? Create a time machine to remedy their limited education?

If you're middle aged (45-65) Consumer Reports suggests you avoid high blood pressure, obesity and going deaf. No shit Sherlock! Couldn't stop thinking that if I were obese, deaf and had high blood pressure there's a good chance I wouldn't even make it to 71-years old to be part of this damn stupid report in the first place.

Oh and if you're over 65-years old the "expert" writer at Consumer Reports says these are the things to avoid to help ward off dementia; smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation, and diabetes! Surprised they didn't add in getting hit by a bus or any sources of major brain trauma while they were listing things everyone knows should be avoided.

They would have been much better off just saying "try to stay active, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of sleep." But no they had to come out with this click-bait bullshit instead. I think the reason I got so upset is because I used to respect Consumer Reports so much. Now?

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- MAD Magazine is shutting down. An end of an era.

- Steep decline in nuclear power would threaten energy security and climate change goals. You can't be for fighting carbon emissions and trying to curb "climate change" and yet still be against nuclear power.

- 3,400-year old palace discovered in Iraq

- How Beautiful We Were by Vanderleun

- A Fine Time to Become an American. Congrats to Niall Ferguson,

- This is great

Message From the Opposing Viewpoint

And the rebuttal.

EDIT: The Queen of England weighs in

EDIT II: A Real American chimes in

Top 5 - Memorable Things that Happened on the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July. Here are the top 5 things that happened in US history on the 4th of July. Don't forget that July is American Beer Month.

1. 1776 Colonies declare independence
2. 1826 Presidents, patriots, rivals and friends John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both die on the same day
3. 1863 The surrender of Vicksurg to General Grant (Vicksburg would not celebrate the Fourth of July for the next 81 years)
4. 1831 James Madison, last of the founding fathers, dies
5. (tie) 1804 Lewis and Clark celebrate first 4th of July west of the Mississippi (tie) 1939 Lou Gehrig gives his "luckiest man alive" speech at Yankee Stadium

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Excellent summary of How to Win Friends and Influence People

- The reason renewables can't power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. Renewable power polices in Germany have been an utter disaster. Will we be smart enough to learn from their failures?

- I did not know this

- Yesterday was the anniversary of one of the most courageous military charges in US history. Col. Joshua Chamberlain - where do find such men?

- Dunkin' dumps store owners for hiring illegals. Good for Dunkin'.

- How the Battle of Gettysburg turned the tide of the Civil War. (Ht Stephen Landry)

Capitalism vs Central Planning

As I was reading this excellent article on Central Planning vs Capitalism - I had a few thoughts that came to mind that I wanted to jot down.

Even before this quote from Adam Smith appeared in the article:

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

I was thinking of supermarkets.

Specifically I was thinking of a scene in the book MIG Pilot: The Final Escape of Lt. Belenko where Belenko is brought to a supermarket in the US for the first time. He couldn't believe that it was real. There's no way, he thought, that there could be so many goods, so many choices available to just ordinary citizens. He thought it was a CIA fabrication set up to impress him.

Venezuela too used to have supermarkets. Then the people VOTED to have a socialist in charge. Now there are no more supermarkets and people are either fleeing the country or staying and starving. Once again - the people VOTED for socialism because they were promised free stuff.

Now some people in the US are VOTING for socialists like Bernie and AOC. This brings to mind another quote:

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The first day of NBA free agency was as exciting and crazy as expected. KD and Kyrie to Brooklyn, Jimmy Butler to Miami, Al Horford to Philly, and Kemba to Boston were the major dominoes to fall. Now the NBA world awaits for Kawhi Leonard's decision,... Reminder - if you are looking for some summer reading here's Naval Ravikant's recommended reading list... "What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience." - Adam Smith... 80% of all insects live in the jungle. Ergo - I will never live in the jungle... Aggressive Prophesies would be a good name for a sports betting site... As far as I'm concerned the big unanswered question from the 2016 election is did John Podesta ever find those discount Viagra pills he was looking for when he fell for the Russian phishing scam?... Frisky Biscuits would be a good name for a band or a fantasy football team... The big surprise for me on the first day of NBA free agency is that neither the Lakers nor Clippers made a major splash. For the past nine months we've been reading about how much NBA players want to play in Los Angeles and then nothing. Despite both teams having at least one max cap slot available... Final reminder - Joe Biden is an anagram for "I need job"...

Pretty Much Sums Up the First Two Democratic Debates

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon backs Trump on healthcare transparency. This transparency would help drive down the costs of healthcare. Wonder what Dimon, who identifies as a Democrat, thinks of his Party's candidates supporting free healthcare for illegals which would increase premium costs for everyone paying into the system?

- This always makes me chuckle

- A reminder for when watching the Democrats debate - "Medicare for All" would cost $32.6 TRILLION over ten years Not even DOUBLING existing taxes would be enough to pay for it.

- Jackie Mac has an interesting look into the issues behind the Celtics issues last season. She warns not to put all the blame on Kyrie - but I'm blaming Kyrie just the same.

- Heh Heh

- To the villain, it's a zero sum game

- The best explanation I've read for why Gandalf didn't just use the eagles from the start in LoTR.

Remembering Gettysburg

One hundred and fifty-six years ago to this very day Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee were massed on one side of a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg while Union forces under newly appointed General George Meade were amassed on the other side of the small town. Over the next three days these forces were to fight arguably the most important battle in the history of the United States. Yet today you will hear very little mentioned of the battle in either the newspapers or on TV. 

Why was this the most important battle in the history of the United States? 

General Lee had come North out of Virginia to find the Army of the Potomac and to beat it in open battle. If he was able to accomplish this – then Confederate President Jefferson Davis was to give Abraham Lincoln an offer of peace. 

If Lincoln accepted this offer of peace then the country would have forevermore been divided into two nations. If Lincoln refused the offer of peace (which he would have) – then chances are that Lincoln would have lost his bid for re-election to the Presidency. His opponent General McClellan would have accepted the peace plan if elected and again – the nation would forevermore have been divided. 

Think of the implications: 

· How much longer would slavery had survived? Would it still exist today? 

· Would a Spanish Mexico and an English Canada have taken over what are now the Western States? 

· Would Nazi Germany been stoppable in WWII without a “united” United States? 

· Would Communism have been defeated without a “united” United States? 

Luckily we did not have to find out because Jeb Stuart did not return in time to inform General Lee of the Union’s strength; because General Heth ignored Lee’s order to not engage the enemy on the first day; because General Ewell lost his nerve and did not attack and take the high ground when he had the chance and because Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine made their heroic stand on Little Round Top. 

The North won the battle and went on to win the war. For that we are thankful. 

Months later after the battle, on November 19, 1863, a somber President Lincoln made the following speech: 
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.
Now it’s a 156 years later and you would be hard pressed to find mention of the battle anywhere. Funny – Lincoln thought we would remember the battle and forget his speech but the opposite has occurred. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The United States has always been a forward-looking nation. We tend to dream of the future instead of dwelling on our past. It is one of our strengths. 

Still - we should remember the sacrifice men made today and the next three days 156 years ago to preserve for us the great Nation we have today. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

This is Why I Don't Like the Eagles


NBA Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous NBA thoughts and observations as we near official NBA free agency.

I'm 100% in favor of the Celtics offering Kemba Walker a 4-year max contract. I hope this signing comes true... That would leave just starting center as a position of need for Boston and the solution I'd love to see happen is Danny Ainge trading a 2nd round pick in next year's draft to Phoenix to get back Aron Baynes who might not be the best talent available but who we know fits chemistry wise and is familiar with Brad Stevens system. Assuming this transaction would be allowed by the CBA... There's been some speculation that Kevin Durant will file a massive lawsuit against Golden State for the way they handled his injury. I don't see this happening for three reasons. First if Durant still gets a super-max contract from some team (which he will) then where's the financial harm? Second Durant's own doctor cleared him to play in the finals. Finally Durant has made and will continue to make a boatload of money - why do something so negative that can potentially do as much damage to Durant's reputation as it would to the Warriors? Discovery is a bitch... Amused by the rumors of Houston trying to acquire Jimmy Butler. I really don't see him as a fit there because last time I checked the game is still played with only one ball. This has the potential to have the team chemistry of gummy bears and acid.  Also rumored that Boston might try to facilitate the sign and trade with the aim of getting Clint Capela which would be nice but not if it were to cost Marcus Smart. I'd be 100% against that...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Awesome! Allman Brother's Whipping Post played on just strings by Berkley College of Music Students

- Interesting - Jony Ive, iPhone designer, announces Apple departure. He was more than just the iPhone designer - he along with Steve Jobs created the whole iconic look and feel of pretty much all of Apple's products.

- NASA announces Dragonfly mission to Saturn's moon Titan

- Speaking of NASA and space - extraordinarily beautiful pictures of Jupiter via the Jet Propulsion Labs

- 20 cognitive biases that affect your decisions

- The sibling rivalry that burned up an $800 million oil dynasty. Insane, but true story. Long read but fascinating. About a third of the way through I started picturing the two brothers as Will Ferrell and John C Reilly

Friday, June 28, 2019

Treaty of Versailles

100 years ago today. Doubt it even gets mentioned in the news.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- The story behind Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" and the poet's own reading of his masterpiece. Though for my money - this is the best recital of that poem of all time!

- It's the weekend!

- This is pretty cool technology. But I can't help but think that just having more natural plants and trees around would provide the same (or better) results.

- Science says that the "Impossible Burger" may not be safe to eat. Good - I never planned on trying fake meat anyway but now I have science on my side.

- Nick Saban on the 5 choices we have in life

I Need You - America

Such a simple yet beautiful song you really don't hear much anymore.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

This Week in Musk World

Liftoff of the Falcon Heavy early Tuesday morning - NASA photo
Another jam packed week in Musk World.

SpaceX had another successful launch early Tuesday morning. This time it was the Falcon Heavy STP-2 mission for the DoD.

This mission also marked the first time the side boosters that flew on a previous Falcon Heavy mission were reused. Big item in making Falcon Heavy more cost effective than the competition.

This past week SpaceX also got its (extremely) tentative NASA dates for the first Crew Dragon astronaut launch.

BBC's Top Gear does a Model 3 road test and comes away very impressed, "This [the Model 3] is the traffic light king. It's an AK-47 disguised as a butter knife." Host Chris Harris was so impressed he announced he was buying one.

Speaking of the Model 3 - it is probably the safest car on the planet (according to NHTSA testing).

James May (formerly of Top Gear) reviews the Model S P100D and calls it the "greatest muscle car that America has ever produced." I think his admiration is a little more than grudgingly given from this traditional motorhead and there's a more than a little bit of snark even in his compliments.

And speaking of the Model S - this past week marked the 7th year anniversary of its availability. In 2012 2,650 were delivered and last year 245,240 customers got their Model S's. I'm sure that number will be surpassed when the 2019 numbers are finalized.

Tesla will now also now be offering some collision repair via their service centers and mobile repair service. I really like how Tesla is moving to becoming a full one-stop shop for all car related needs. The car, the charging (Superchargers and Powerwall), the maintenance and repair and even soon insurance for the vehicle.  Oh and also "fast pass" access to The Boring Company's tunnels (very cool video).

Finally - Tesla Powerwalls now starting to be used in the telcom sector to replace diesel generators. This could be significant when coupled with solar recharging for remote cell sites and towers.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Always skeptical when I read that the Celtics or Patriots are targeting certain players. Danny Ainge and Bill Belichick do not share their intentions with the media. That said - I hope the reports of the Celtics trying to sign Kemba Walker turn out to be true... Heh Heh... "Habits are the compound interest of self improvement." - Srinivas Rao... Who knew? Before Evel Knievel became famous as a daredevil bike rider he had a brief stint as a semi-pro hockey player... Interesting viewpoint on Democratic Party insanity from an old school liberal... Heh heh, "It's only physics if it comes from the Physique region of France. Otherwise it's just sparkling math." - Anna Hughes...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bourdain Day

I was unaware that today is Bourdain Day. Today would have been Anthony Bourdain's 63rd birthday but his time on this earth was cut short by his own hand.

Perhaps my favorite Bourdain quote:

"I should have died in my 20's. I became successful in my 40's. I became a dad in my 50's. I feel like I've stolen a car - a really nice car - and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there's been nothing yet."

If you want to reminisce about Anthony here is a pretty good interview from 2016.

Or this appreciation of Bourdain by Alan Sepinwall.

Or this one by Stephen "Vodkapundit" Green.

If you feel like drinking here's a list from 2015 of every bar Bourdain visited on TV.

As for me I think I'll put No Reservations episodes on in the background while I work and later I'll raise a glass to Uncle Tony.

3 Rules for Losing Weight

Excellent advice on how to lose weight - Jason Helmes and the 3 rules:

1. Eat 2 or 3 meals - no snacking
2. Eat whole foods
3. Don't drink a calorie

Excellent advice. So simple yet so effective but also so hard to follow. Exercise is an important component too (especially some form of weight training) but if you are really overweight it is best to start with just the 3 rules while trying to do some daily walking.

My only issue is with rule 3 - I like to believe my morning coffee is calorie free. And to be honest sometimes I make beer one of my 3 meals.

Another Irish Drinking Song

By Da Vinci's Notebook

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just saying but you may find more Aaron Hernandez than Kyrie Irving jerseys in Boston next year... There should have been an episode of Magnum PI where Magnum witnesses Higgins murder his ex-wife and a waiter but decides to keep silent about it for years... Can you imagine how different the history of the Knicks would have been if Pat Riley was given full control of the franchise instead of being allowed to bolt for Miami all those years ago... Still firmly believe that "sticktum" should be a word. It is more pleasing to the ear than either "anus" or sphincter". Make it so... Jack Dempsey said the only man he ducked fighting when he was heavyweight champion of the world was Ernest Hemingway. He didn't want to hurt the great writer who was insistent on proving his manhood... When did we start calling 70's soft rock Yacht Rock? Did I miss the memo?... MMA Jesus would be a good name for a Christian rock band...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Norman Borlaug - the man who helped feed the world

- Heh Heh

- Physics is cool - the bead chain experiment

-  Cool - David Simon's pitch to HBO for The Wire

- Much has been made about Hollywood LOUDLY threatening to move TV and movie production out of Georgia because of the new abortion law. But do you recall how QUIET Hollywood was when they moved TV and movie production completely out of the US because of the passing of Obamacare?

- Did Trump just revolutionize healthcare in the US and nobody notice? Love this change. One thing I'd add - any unused HRA or FSA funds should be able to be rolled into IRA or 401k retirement plans at the end of the year without penalty. "Use it or lose it" is so silly and wasteful. Maybe this change will even help the Hollywood hypocrites to move some of their TV and movie productions back to the US.

- So awesome!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Redemption Day - Sheryl Crow and Johnny Cash

In a recent interview Rick Rubin said that Johnny Cash considered Redemption Day to be his favorite and most important cover they did during their partnership. That's saying a lot considering how well received both Hurt and Rusty Cage have been over the years (two personal favorites of mine - the Hurt video makes me tear up every damn time).

Sheryl Crow recently released her "duet" version. Which is equally beautiful and powerful.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Rasputin sings Beyonce

- Interesting thread on Trump and Iran

- NASA has a probe that has been stuck on Mars for months. And they are trying to rescue it.

- Library Porn

- Drew Brees wins $6.1 million jewelry lawsuit. Why so much jewelry in the first place Drew? Are you compensating for not having one of these?

- Creepy but yet you cant help but find yourself trying to find the clown in each picture

- The Ancient Greek philosopher who was exiled for claiming the moon was a rock and not a god.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

So on the bright side - the final tally of the Celtics trade with the 76ers was Jason Tatum and Romeo Langford for Markelle Fultz which is a win... Getting a Ph. D. like a boss!... Reminder - if a pro player comes to your hometown team and professes (or pretends) to believe that the Earth is flat - that is a gigantic RED FLAG! Caveat emptor Brooklyn... If reincarnation is real I'd like to come back in the next life as a brown bat. They sleep 19 hours a day... Another reminder - over the past 15 NBA seasons only 8 franchises out of 30 have won the championship and only 7 have made multiple trips to the finals. The Celtics are on both of those lists. Boston fans should chill out... I'm just hoping that none of the players picked by the Celtics last night picks Rich Paul as their agent..

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Interesting long read on what drives Marvel's movie blockbuster machine from Harvard Business Review

- Never thought of it that way

- Apple weighs 15-30% capacity shift out of China amid trade war. Apple is not alone in looking to possibly make changes on relying on China based production.

- Heh Heh (Lakers joke)

- The idea that the shooting of David Ortiz was a case of mistaken identity is more than a little fishy to me

- This was a nice story. Alex Trebek is a North American treasure.

- Mexico becomes first country to ratify the new USMCA trade deal.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ph. D - Poor, Hungry and Determined

Such a great story. How a Janitor at Frito-Lay Invented Flamin' Hot Cheetos. So many great life lessons in such a short article.

Recently, a student asked him how he was teaching without a Ph.D.

"I do have a Ph.D.," he [Montanez] responded. "I've been poor, hungry and determined."

And I know the article is a couple of years old but it's new to me. Such a great Horatio Alger story!

The State of the Celtics

Tonight is the NBA Draft and even though the Celtics have first round picks at 14, 20 and 22 (plus a second round pick at 51) - Boston fans are in a panic. They are in a panic because it looks like both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are choosing to leave the team as free agents.

C'st la vie - chill out. Things are still very good.

Right now the Celtics could start the following players:

Marcus Smart (PG), Jaylen Brown (SG), Jason Tatum (SF), Gordon Hayward (PF) and Aron Baynes (C). That's a pretty good - and young (except Baynes) - starting five. Plus they'd be very fun to watch. And when you have Robert Williams playing at center - that's one of the best defensive lineups in all of the NBA.

Most Celts fans would like Kyrie Irving to leave at this point. The most common sentiment is "I'd be happy to drive him to the airport." Al Horford deciding to leave was a surprise and I for one will remember him fondly as a pro's pro who did all the little things and did them right. But going forward don't be surprised if the most common description of Horford in Boston will be "33-year old" Al Horford. But that's getting ahead of ourselves because Horford hasn't left for sure. He could just be testing the waters (unlikely but possible).

If Horford does leave then suddenly the Celtics have about $30 million in cap space (assuming Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier also leave as free agents) to use on one or two solid players. Add in whatever player(s) Danny Ainge drafts tonight and suddenly you are looking at a pretty deep 9-10 player roster. Sure they won't be top heavy with stars like Kyrie and Anthony Davis but it will be a solid lineup that will hopefully be (mostly) drama free.

Plus Boston still have Memphis' top pick in either next year's or the 2021 draft. That should end up being one of the best picks in the draft. Things are good in Boston. Celtics fans should all take a deep breath.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Venezuela is now awash in US dollars. Wonder what these folks would say if they were told that the idea of Socialism is getting popular in some circles in the US. And "awash" is the wrong adjective. I'd say "clinging to" is more accurate.

- Outside Magazine's best road trips in the US and Canada.

- Teddy Roosevelt did not believe in wasting precious time

- Interesting - Russia unveils a floating nuclear power plant. From the description it sounds like this is a Gen IV nuclear plant.

- Even the dead become victims of Socialism in Venezuela