Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rational Anarchism

"True. But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." - Professor Bernardo de la Paz in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

If that's the basic tenets of being a Rational Anarchist - count me in! 

Also not a bad guide to a moral life. Right up there with John Wayne's from The Shootist.

The Honey Badger

The Nasty-Ass Honey Badger still funny 8-years later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Linky Links

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

- David Goggins: 6 lessons from the toughest man alive

- A hard NO from me

- Cool - SLUSH the Europa deep drill

- Wow- what a difference

- 11 things you might not know about the Grand Canyon

- Rethinking President Grant

- Behind the curtain of "Hollywood accounting"

Life Advice

Nicolas Bate has a list of 22 things that should make your life better or as he puts it - 22 Brilliant at the Basics. As with any of these types of lists you need to customize it to make it your own. Here's the changes I'd make to the list:

4. Make your own bread (no thanks I'm trying to eliminate bread from my diet)

6. Manage your moods (I've taken to telling myself  "I choose to be happy" recently and it is helpful)

7. Write every day in your journal (I'd simplify that to just "Write every day")

How would you customize your list?

(Via Cultural Offering)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Let's Talk Some Politics

Let's be honest - the Democratic candidates who have announced they are running for President so far leave a lot to be desired. I mean a whole lot. And the ones who are waiting in the wings like Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke and Tim Kaine (not sure about you but I completely forgot Kaine was Hillary's running mate) all have their own unique drawbacks. The leaders of the pack seem to be Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.

The DNC may be trying to force out Bernie Sanders by hook or by crook. If the party leaders knew how much "trouble" Bernie would cause there's no way they've let in in the 2016 race. The question now is "Is it too late?" It's probably too late to force any rules on Bernie because if he runs as an Independent he'll take at least one-third of the Democrat's general election votes with him. And it's probably too late to prevent a farthest Left swing of the candidates who seem to want to out "Left" a guy who identifies as a Socialist.

Will 2020 Democrats help Trump by destroying each other is the other question being asked? Does the question really need to be asked? Of course they will! There is no "gentleman's agreement" on the Left. They will take some anonymous and some not so anonymous shots at each other (where do you think those old videos of Bernie or the form where Elizabeth Warren claimed she was American Indian came from). They simply don't have the decorum or the discipline to do otherwise. There is no Reagan's 11th Commandment for the Democrats.

And the more they go after each other the more hardcore supporters of certain candidates will stay home in the general election rather than support the candidate who said such awful things about their candidate. And when it is time for the winner of this bloodbath to triangulate to the middle for the general election - it will probably be too late for that too. How can a candidate spend the next year and a half trying to "out Left" all the other candidates only then to abandon most of that rhetoric? There will be no attempt to try to "hide the crazy"

I think the only chance the Democrats have is for a Centrist candidate to emerge. Someone who can say they support abortion but believes that late-term abortion is not something they think they can support (an opinion held by like 80% of the county). Someone who says "Everyone agrees that pollution and waste are bad so let's try to eliminate those without ruining the economy." Someone who's campaign motto would be - "Let's not go crazy - we have a country to run." Maybe someone like Al Gore?

Sure 13-years ago Al Gore said we had just 10-years to save the planet. Sure he's been widely mocked as the Goracle - the Manbearpig - the sexy poodle. All true but compared to the jokes that are the rest of the pack Gore looks like a Statesman.

Gore was the OG when it come to warning about climate change.Nobody's going to get him with a New Green Deal. And on the economy the guy can claim to be the VP during the Clinton Economy which will help dull any accomplishments Trump has. And age? He's six years younger than Joe Biden. And seven years younger than Bernie Sanders. Heck - he's two years younger than Donald Trump.

Predicting Al Gore joining the race for President. Bet you didn't see that Left turn coming.

This Week in Musk World

Consumer Reports pulled its recommendation for the Model 3 over reliability issues. Tesla says most of those issues had already been addressed. And most of the owner reviews I've seen are beyond positive regarding their Tesla vehicle - like this one

Last week there was a big shipment of Tesla cars to Europe - this week over 1,600 Model 3's were delivered to China. Ahead of schedule! Last week Sentry Mode was also released.

Next week in Musk World we get to see NASA's launch of the Space X Crew Dragon mission. Looking forward to that. And after all the testing the Space X team has been going through - my guess is they are more than up to the task.

And speaking of Space X - Elon says that the costs of the BFR could even be less than the Falcon 9.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Saint Cornelius of Ireland

Though not widely remembered today - at one point Saint Cornelius of Ireland (not to be confused with Saint Cornelius of Antioch) was second in popularity in the Emerald Isle only to Saint Patrick. 

Saint Patrick is remembered for driving the snakes out of Ireland. Saint Cornelius was said to have driven the squirrels out of Ireland. This "miracle" of Saint Cornelius later proved to be his undoing. During the Great Potato Famine starving Irishmen and women wished they had tasty squirrel meat to eat and they cursed Saint Cornelius for driving out the furry rodents. In response to this outrage - Pope Pius IX removed Cornelius from the roll of official Catholic Saints. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Robert Kraft

My first reaction to the news about Robert Kraft was shock. My second was embarrassment. For both him and his family. You knew it would be seconds before this man who had done so much for his community became a punch line.

And I was not immune to those temptations.

I thought, "Maybe Kraft was just trying to up his street cred in the rapper community." And "Thank god the articles all pointed out that Kraft was arrested as a 'John' because I don't need the images of the alternative floating in my brain (but if you think about it I'm sure there's some of both sexes who would pay good money to have sex with an NFL owner)." Mea culpa.

Kidding aside the more I thought on it the more my feelings mirrored this:

I didn't care about Malia Obama having an underage drink. Why would I care about Bob Kraft committing a misdemeanor crime?

From a Michael McCann SI article "a first time conviction of solicitation is a misdemeanor offense that does not lead necessarily to any jail time."  What probably grabbed many's attention from the article was that suspects "allegedly paid $59 for a half-hour and $79 for the full hour." I can picture many men reading that and thinking "Only $59? Hmmm...." Meanwhile I wondered "who needs the full hour?"

The answer to that last question is lonely men willing to pay for release and for human company. I feel bad for those poor souls.

And I also agree that this shouldn't be a crime.  And according to former President Bill Clinton oral sex isn't even sex - so what's the big deal? Legalize it and many of the seedier aspects of the situation are removed.

Which brings us to the darkest aspect of this story. The girls working in these "spas" were allegedly being forced to do so. Call it sex trafficking if you like. To me it is slavery and slavery is evil. Legalize the massage parlors and have the places that cater to these needs be inspected and pay taxes on services rendered. Let's stop being puritans about basic human needs and turning a blind eye to the problem of loneliness that plagues our society.

I've seen some getting on their high horse about the aspect of sex trafficking involved here but I guarantee that these sorts of establishments exist in almost any community over a certain size in the US. I've never been to one of these places but I can tell you of three in Worcester that have been operating for years and I'm sure there are others that I've never noticed (of the ones I've noticed one is next to where I buy cigars, one is across from a popular restaurant and one is next to a bar a friend owns). I can't ever recall seeing anyone going into or leaving one of those places but the fact that they've been open for years must mean they have their share of customers.

If you feel strongly about the sex-trafficking aspect of this story feel free to identify the "spas" working in your community and then volunteer to do something about it.

As for me - now that I've written down these thoughts I will try to move on from this story to concentrate on things I can improve in my own life. Not sure about you but I know I'm imperfect however I'm self aware enough to know that spending time judging the venal sins of others won't improve my condition.

Linky Links

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

- Grand Canyon visitors may have been exposed to radioactive materials for more than two decades

- David McMillan of Joe Beef discusses how stopping drinking has changed and bettered his life and relationships. He also recently discussed this at length on a podcast with Joe Rogan.

- Heh Heh

- CBO estimates on Obamacare were way off. The CBO projected that 14 million would go without healthcare due to Republican changes but that number turns out to be just 2.5 million - who it should be noted voluntarily decided against making the purchase. Of all the topics the Democrat candidates have been pushing in order to get attention the individual mandate is no longer one of them. That in itself is very telling.

- Cool - the birth of a planetary system.

- Meanwhile in Canada a corruption scandal could cost Justin Trudeau his job. Polls show Liberal support dropping. Maybe Trudeau can get a job as a yoga instructor? Amusing to think Trump might outlast Trudeau when you look back on all the fawning that was done over the young Prime Minister.

- This is all you need to see to understand the Jussie Smollett hoax.

Iwo Jima

Today is the anniversary of the iconic photo by Joe Rosenthal of raising of the American flag on Mount Suribashi on Iwo Jima. The fighting on the island actually started four days earlier on February 19th. The story of this battle is something every high school student should have to learn before they are allowed to graduate.

Semper Fidelis.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

This B-2 Spirit Bomber is beautiful to me.

You can find the much better resolution original here.

Nick Cafardo

The first thing to understand about Nick Cafardo is that he was a good guy. I mean the type of guy who you've never heard a bad thing about. Everybody liked Nick Cafardo.

The second thing to understand is that he was very good at his job. Especially covering baseball. He was with the Boston Globe since 1989. Imagine covering sports in a town as critical as Boston and nobody having a bad thing to say about a sportswriter - IN BOSTON! Everybody liked Nick Cafardo.

The last thing to note on the passing of Nick Cafardo is he was just 62-years old.  He was working at the park despite it being his day off. He loved his job and he loved baseball. But he was just 62 and he leaves a wife and two kids. He was just 62-years old.

Don't take any day for granted. And find something you love to do. Like Nick Cafardo loved covering Boston sports.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If I had three wishes from a genie my first would to have the exact same hoax but instead of Jussie Smollett as the "victim" it would be Roger Goodell. (I have a strange sense of humor)... The German remake of Kids in the Hall looks woke as fuck!... Evidence of society getting lazier; in the 1950's it was called "pornographic movies", in the 70's shortened to "porno's", today just "porn". In 20-years it will be just "p"... Not all heroes wear capes... I get the sneaking suspicion that now that the Steelers have let Le'Veon Bell walk as a free agent, they will first trade Antonio Brown, and then just before training camp Ben Roethlisberger will decide he wants to retire. Somehow that's the way I think things will work out...  Finally some information from the Internet you can actually use - How much boobs weigh in animal terms... Raiders of the Lost Ark is now considered a classic? Man that makes me feel old... 

Linky Links

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

- How can you not root for Tim Tebow? Coaches everywhere at every level should play this message to their kids.

- The TWA Hotel looks wicked cool

- I'm also rooting for Tim Dillard (but obviously for different reasons)

- Is it time to purchase a WiFi 6 router? For most people the answer is definitely no. If you do need to upgrade you may want to just do an 802.11ac router (aka WiFi 5) on which pricing should be coming down.

- Heh Heh

- Interesting - Volvo is now exporting cars to Europe from the US (from their plant in South Carolina)

- What a catch!

103rd Anniversary of the Battle of Verdun

Today marks the the 103rd anniversary of one of the events that changed the world forever. On February 21st in 1916 - the Battle of Verdun began. The battle was to change the course of Western Civilization. 

The idea for the battle was from German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn. He believed that if he could take-out France with a major set battle and discourage England to a point that Germany could be in a position to negotiate very favorable terms. To accomplish his goals - Falkenhayn proposed unrestricted submarine warfare to starve Britain and a knockout blow against France at Verdun. With this major battle at Verdun, Falkenhayn hoped to "bleed France white".

It was an ambitious plan - an aggressive plan. Falkenhayn knew that to attack at Verdun he'd have to take resources away from the Eastern Front and that unrestricted submarine warfare ran the risk of bringing the U.S. into the war. Falkenhayn reasoned that Russia was on the brink of revolution and internal civil war in Russia would allow them to take those resources from the Eastern Front and that the decisive blow to France would come before the US was dragged into the war. He was right on the former but wrong on the latter.

Verdun seemed the perfect place to attack. It actually jutted out into the German lines - so it could be attacked from three sides. It was also of historical and psychological significance to Frenchmen (somewhat akin to what the Alamo is to Americans).

The job of attacking Verdun fell to German Crown Prince Wilhelm. He planned to assault the town from both sides of the surrounding Meuse River but that plan vetoed by Falkenhayn. After coming up with a daring, aggressive plan - Falkenhayn was suddenly cautious. Falkenhayn ordered the attack to be confined to one side of the river. Similar to a poker game, Falkenhayn was beaten on the river. Falkenhayn had pocket Aces of a plan but he failed to put enough chips at risk to drive the other player out. By not being aggressive when he should have - he gave France free cards and allowed himself and Germany to literally be beaten on the river.

With so many people who eventually died in the battle, a poker analogy may seem flip but the fact is the Germans had one million troops against 200,000 defenders. They did hold Aces before the battle.

When the attack finally began, the Germans bombarded Verdun with 1,400 guns that rained Verdun with 100,000 shells every hour. The Germans failed to immediately follow up the bombardment with an full-scale infantry attack and what resulted was a stalemate which was to last for months and months.

The dead and wounded from both sides piled up so that both countries were being "bled white". The French begged Britain to open up a diversionary attack elsewhere on the Western Front to drain resources and men away from Verdun on the German side. Thus the Battle of the Somme was born. 

By the time the battle of Verdun ended almost one million casualties had been inflicted in roughly equal numbers for both sides. The Battle of the Somme resulted in about 1.1 million casualties (about 400,000 British, 200,000 French and 500,000 German). The unrestricted submarine warfare resulted in the Americans being dragged into the War (remember that President Woodrow Wilson was elected on a peace platform). The American joined the fight just as both sides were literally exhausted from being "bled white" from Verdun and the Somme and the rest is history (including the harsh terms imposed on Germany that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party).

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Real Home Ownership Incentive

The Federal Government incents home ownership by allowing the deduction of mortgage interest payments from your yearly tax returns.

I think if they really wanted to have an incentive for home ownership the deduction wouldn't just be for the mortgage interest but should also reward homeowners who have paid off their mortgage.

A simple way to do this would be to have a table that listed the allowable deduction for homes owned without a mortgage. That table would be based upon the home's locally assessed value. This would have the added value of creating a trade-off where higher local assessed value creates value for both the homeowner and local government (which provides many of the services needed by the homeowner). Say a home has a valuation moved from $200,000 to $250,000 - the homeowner gets a higher value deduction while the community gets more local tax revenue to pay for a new school, additional police details, a new fire truck, etc. That could be an equal trade-off money wise for the homeowner but an increase in the number or quality of local services.

Just a thought.

EDIT: There's a much more elegant solution proposed in the comments.

Linky Links

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

- Heh Heh

- Yoga and breathing help the brain unwind

- Cool

- Strategy vs Tactics: what's the difference and why does it matter?

- Also cool

- Lots of next generation nuclear plants may be coming soon. And the article doesn't even list the fusion models that are being worked on.

- Was society darker or just more honest back in the day?


We live in an age of abundance! Read! Just wish I could remember where I first found this.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Thunderstruck - 2 Cellos

These guys are awesome!

Bon Scott

On this day back in 1980 Bon Scott died - some say he choked on his own vomit but his death certificate says "death by misadventure" (wouldn't that be a great name for a band?). Anyway - here are what I consider the top 5 AC/DC songs with Bon Scott as frontman.

1. It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
2. Whole Lotta Rosie
3. Highway to Hell
4. Jailbreak
5. (tie) TNT (tie) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) may be the most perfect hard rock song ever recorded. There is no way to improve on that song. Not many people know this but Bon Scott wasn't even the original lead singer for AC/DC. It was a guy named Dave Evans who Scott replaced after about a year.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The amusing thing about the Jussie Smollett hoax is now the phrase "This is MAGA country!" will be used as a punchline to make fun of the media and celebrities who fell hook line and sinker for the hoax. Their bias is worthy of much mocking... I still really want to see an Olympic ski jumping contest where all the athletes have to wear those flying squirrel suits... I would love to own a cafe with one of these machines... Just found out that Leonard Nimoy was a huge New England Patriots fan. Because of that he's now my favorite Star Wars character... See what I mean... "Gratitude is the wine of the soul. Go on. Get drunk!" - Rumi... Whenever I do yoga I say, "I have to do this more often." Whenever I drink too much I say, "I'm never doing this again." Yet somehow I find myself often drinking too much and doing yoga too little...

Linky Links

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

- How the Green New Deal would exploit poverty-stricken people across the globe.

- No thank you!

- This could be a pretty cool movie.

- Wicked cool

- Is marijuana as safe as we think? Interesting article by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Could push-ups be the key to heart health?

- Cool

Iowa Caucus 2020

I am still obsessed with the idea of running for President in 2020. It's not like I have a burning desire for politics or a giant ego that needs to be stroked. It's just that I'm pretty sure I could do better than Martin O'Malley's 0.6% of the vote he got in 2016.

Seriously - you should be able to convince enough strangers to vote for you as a favor or as a joke to do better than 0.6% of the vote. My real goal would be to fall between the 1.8% Mike Huckabee got and the 4.5% Rand Paul got. That should be enough votes to earn at least a single delegate. Me and that lucky delegate would party our asses off at the National Convention.

My platform would be simple and straightforward. "I'm a regular guy running for office because I want to send the message of bringing common sense and fairness back to politics." That's my whole platform. Oh - and I would always ask for the order. I would shake people's hand, look them in the eye and not let go until they promised to vote for me come caucus day.

The federal regulations allow a candidate to pay themselves the same salary as the office they are seeking. So I could potentially pay myself up to $400,000 for running for President. Time to line up some heavy duty sponsors!

Lynch 2020. I have to start working on the bumper stickers.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

This Week in Musk World

With Valentine's Day this past Tuesday maybe the big news on the Tesla front this week was the features and upgrades starting with the perfect time to use Tesla's Romance Mode.

Sentry mode was made active.
Dog Mode was released.
- And of course let's not forget about Fart Mode.

The Kia Niro EV could emerge as the leading competition to the Model 3 in the US. That is once the car is available in more than 12 states. Audi teases the Q4 e-tron as a potential competitor to the Model Y. The Q4 e-tron SUV is not scheduled to be available until late 2020 (is that why they called it the Q4?) or 2021. The Model Y gets a head start as it is supposed to be ready for shipment in 2020 and if it gets a perfect crash-test safety rating like it's big brother the Model X then the Model Y will be tough to top. Meanwhile Amazon invests $700 million in electric pickup truck startup Rivian. Setting up Bezos vs Musk once again (like SpaceX vs Blue Origin). GM is also rumored to be an investor in the Michigan based startup.

Threats of competition are nothing new for Tesla. But if Tesla can continue to top the lists of "most satisfying" cars this competition will continue to exist largely on paper. And as noted by Morgan Stanley - Tesla's Supercharger Network is a big competitive advantage. Even if Tesla opens up the Supercharger Network to other manufacturers just the subconscious sheepishness of an owner connecting to a Supercharger with a big "TESLA" on it will make them feel probably a little more than second class.

In non-hypothetical news - the first big shipment of Model 3's made landfall in China this week. Real cars, real revenue. The shipments would continue to be in place until the new Gigafactory in China is complete. But once again - real cars, real revenue.

In SpaceX news - it could cost less than $500,000 to move to Mars and maybe as little as $100,000 according to Elon. Musk stated that the return trip would be free for those wishing to leave. He also stated that the chances of him going to Mars is 70% (kinda skeptical of that). SpaceX is facing certification review by the Pentagon. It is stated that "it's not known what sparked the Pentagon investigation" but a cynic could say that the answer was supplied earlier in the article when it was noted that certification allowed SpaceX to "take on regular defense contractors Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp." Money talks.

An Elon Musk backed AI company created a text generator AI that's too good out of the box causing the company to slow down the project to look for potential harmful issues with the technology. Musk hasn't been active with the company in over a year and does not sit on the company's board. It should also be noted the Musk is also one of the most outspoken leaders on the existential damage AI could cause to mankind. All that said - I would like to read the rest of the 1984 story the AI text generator would have created.

Artificial Intelligence may be an existential threat but self-driving cars can be an actual threat as underlined by this recent crash. I'm not sold on auto-pilot for any vehicles yet. That doesn't make me a grumpy old man either. Just makes me a pragmatist.

Scott Adams and Naval Ravikant

Wide-ranging informative discussion between Scott Adams and Naval Ravikant. Takes about and hour and a half but well worth your time. I will be watching/listening to this more than once.

EDIT: Found two sites that did notes on this great discussion

- Podcast Notes
- Yule Heibel

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Still one of the greatest scenes in TV history

- Steven Pressfield: How to overcome resistance & why talent doesn't matter

- Getting ahead by being inefficient

- Heh Heh

- Perhaps the headline of the year

- Interactive map plots your address over 750 million years of Earth's history

- From a Church in Philadelphia, Sports Reference Informs the World. Cool story on one of my favorite web sites.

The Mirrorworld

"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." - William Gibson
AR [augmented reality] Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform - Call it Mirrorworld is a fascinating article in the latest Wired. The article was written by Kevin Kelly who has a proven track record of being out front of new technology changes in society.

After reading it I was convinced that future generations and historians may look back at Pokemon Go! the same way we look back at Ford's Model T. The Mirrorworld is coming and in fact in many ways is already here.

Just not widely distributed yet.

Jocko Willink - Good

Get some!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Bruce Lee at the 1967 Long Beach Tournament

Cool stuff.

Via Tim Ferriss' 5 Bullet Friday.

Linky Links

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

- I really want this bobblehead

- The guy's a badass

- Heh heh - meanwhile in Peru. Maybe it's an emotional support llama?

- Absolutely a Green Deal I could get behind

- Heh heh

- Social Security does need some changes to make sure it is viable long term. But I think any plan that doesn't include gradually increasing the retirement age to reflect increases in human longevity is just ignoring reality.

- How can you not root for Isaiah Thomas?

Venezuela and Bitcoin

The Motley Fools say Bitcoin is about to face an important test. The energy to power Bitcoin mining and thus driving the whole blockchain transaction process may become too expense to support the model. And of course this made me think of Venezuela.

In specific it reminded me of my Modest Proposal to have Venezuela adopt Bitcoin as their national currency. Even though Bitcoin prices are way down from their peak - they are still double of where they were when I first made this proposal.

The amount to be disbursed among all the people would be less (because of the price increase) but the basics of the Modest Proposal are still the same, But I'd add one more wrinkle. I'd purchase a number of small nuclear reactors to both shore up the robustness of the power grid in Venezuela and to also put any excess power towards Bit-mining. 

It's a win-win all around. The people of Venezuela get a needed infusion of capital into the system, currency and pricing gets stabilized, going with Bitcoin basically as the national currency means the information infrastructure also gets upgraded, and the power grid is made more robust. Win-win-win-win.

So let it be written - so let it be done.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Linky Links

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

- This is kinda why regular people distrust the media on climate change

- 10 principles to live an anti-fragile life

- Tolstoy's 10 rules for life. Think I completely disagree with his 7th rule.

- Dilbert's Unified Theory of Everything Financial. Good to review this every once and a while.

- These tires actually look pretty cool

- We don't need a green new deal. The Earth is already getting greener (according to NASA)

- Mookie Betts may be the best athlete alive

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Maybe one of the reasons these "new" Democrats are so anti-Israel is that 42-years ago Israel basically switched from socialism to capitalism and that change has made all the difference... "I went to the doctor and told him 'my penis was burning'. He said "that just meant someone is talking about it." - Garry Shandling (one of my favorite quotes)... How to get rich (without getting lucky). You need to revisit this thread from Naval every once and a while... I still think the word "disseminate" should refer to when a man masturbates to climax... Rio de Janeiro means "River of January". I wonder if somewhere there's a Rio de Febrero?... I think the crisis in faith in the Catholic Church stems from the fact that such a big deal is made out of First Communion. Second Communion? Not so much. That's when things start to go off the rails... February 14th could easily be renamed National Shave Your Legs & Pubics Day sponsored by Lady Gillette instead of Valentine's Day and there would be more truth in advertising...

Happy 96th Birthday to Chuck Yeager

Today is General Yeager's 96th birthday. Happy birthday General!

I'm guessing if you asked him - he would probably be more proud of this accomplishment than of breaking the sound barrier.

Speaking of breaking the sound barrier.

And here's another example why Chuck Yeager is the man!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

God Emperor Trump

You know the Donald has to love this depiction of him. The image is from the Carnival of Viareggio in Italy. Please note the American flags at the base respectfully waving.

A lot of hard work went into the creation of this. And it seems to be a labor of love.

American Thinker argues that Trump is much more popular abroad than our domestic media would have us believe. I agree.

I can't help but recall the giant paper-mache heads of Reagan at protests in Western Europe. Meanwhile Reagan was a beacon of hope for the people of Eastern Europe - a fact that went pretty much unreported at the time.

Could the same thing be happening again?

Linky Links

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

- How not to be stupid

- Manta Rays are awesome

- Heh Heh

- Bergeron at 1000 - must watching for Bruins fans

- News that went under the radar - US and South Korea sign cost sharing deal for US troops

- Dolly Parton is an American treasure

- Heh Heh

Top 5 - Perfect Albums

Cultural Offering has a list of "Perfect Albums". I agree with most of his selections and the ones where I'm not in 100% agreement is only because the album is new to me (but I'll try to rectify that). That said - here's 5 albums I'd suggest adding to the list:

1. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
2. Live Bullet - Bob Seger
3. Back in Black - AC/DC
4. London Calling- The Clash
5. Frampton Comes Alive - Peter Frampton

Just missing the cut - The J. Geils Band "Live" Full House and the Grosse Pointe Blank Soundtrack (highly recommended but not sure if soundtracks are allowed).

Monday, February 11, 2019

This Week in Musk World

This week in Musk World.

Tesla cut the price of its Model 3 once again this week - this time by $1,100. The stated goal is to get the price down to $35,000 which could happen in 6 months or so but that would require trimming another $7,900 off the price. These price reductions could be achieved by "a combination of workforce reduction, manufacturing improvements, and greater economies of scale from higher-volume production." The higher volume should be helped with new markets and speaking of - Model 3's started being delivered in Europe so Elon Musk went over to tour the operations.

Also helping higher volume production will be the introduction of the Model Y - the all-electric Tesla SUV.

Even traditional media like CNN have taken note that the Model 3 was the top selling luxury car in America last year. The article brings up a good point though - Tesla didn't have a Super Bowl commercial. In fact I can't recall ever seeing a Tesla commercial. Maybe that's why traditional media have been so negative to Tesla - other car manufacturers buy lots of ads.

The Model 3 basically was a dead-heat in a drag race vs a 560-horsepower BMW M5. The Model 3 seems to be getting most of the media attention these days but the Model S remains perhaps the most badass EV out there.

In other car news - is Tesla going to work with Mercedes on an electric Sprinter van?

CNBC wants to know whatever happened to Tesla's Solar Roof tiles? It's a valid question but now I wonder if Tesla bought broadcast ads if the question would be asked in a more positive way. Meanwhile - even old homes can be fitted with solar and with Tesla Powerwalls. My opinion is that it is the Powerwalls that will be the real game-changer (for a number of reason).

SpaceX has a goal of 24-28 launches in 2019. SpaceX's website says that they have "secured over 100 missions to its manifest, representing over $12 billion on contract." By itself SpaceX is looking like a formidable company.

It really is amazing how much happens every week in Musk World. Being Elon must be exhausting!

Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford

Worth listening to every once and a while.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

What's Next for the Patriots?

Tom Brady will be back next year so will Bill Belichick so you have to like the Patriots chances (as always)

The three biggest questions going into the offseason are:

1. Will Rob Gronkowski retire? Nobody would begrudge Gronk if his decision was to call it quits because of the damage he's piled up over the years on his body. Gronk was the best tightend in NFL history. But if he does retire what do the Pats do to address the position?

2. Trey Flowers is an unrestricted free-agent and Belichick has a history of letting players walk to get the big money elsewhere. I hope he makes an exception for Flowers who is an elite defensive lineman. Belichick showed he was unafraid of paying a defensive player top dollar when he signed Stephon Gilmore to a big free agent deal. I hope he does the same for Flowers.

3. Trent Brown is another unrestricted free agent who was a big part of the team's success this season. Unless he takes a discount to be Tom Brady's blindside tackle I'm not hopeful that he doesn't sign a massive contract elsewhere.

Next season's team could be greatly helped by the return of injured LB Ja'Whaun Bentley and OL Isaiah Wynn two rookies who had their seasons cut short but should be ready for 2019.

Josh Gordon could be reinstated by the NFL as early as May. That's means he should be available in time for OTA's and training camp. Do the Patriots bring him back? I think they do. Gordon's failure was his own and I think his teammates are pulling for him to get well. And the coaches know he can produce on the field. I can see them bringing Gordon back but saying goodbye to Chris Hogan.

Greg Schiano will be joining the Patriots coaching staff as the new Defensive Coordinator. He replaces Brian Flores who is now the head coach of the Dolphins. Schiano and Belichick go way back and the McCourty twins played under Schiano at Rutgers so I think this transition will go rather smoothly.

Not to be overlooked is the fact New England has 12 draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft. These picks include 4 in the top 75 selections. Depth should be a strength next season.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Albert Finney

The great actor Albert Finney has passed away at age 82. Above is one of the first scenes I think of when I think of Finney. It's from one of my favorite movies Miller's Crossing. But I think this scene from Miller's Crossing shows the type of person Finney was. Did you see Finney? He was dressed in drag as the housemaid. All his scenes in the film were done but he stuck around because he was having so much fun with the production. And the Coen brothers liked him so much they put him into that scene as a lark.

He was great in the original Murder on the Orient Express. (The remake was shit.) Literally for decades I didn't recognize Finney as Poirot.

And this musical number from Scrooge always puts a smile on my face.

Finney had a long career. He first appeared on screen in 1956 and his final appearances came in 2012 - as Kincade in Skyfall and as Dr. Hirsch in The Bourne Legacy. Such a versatile man. Such a great career.

The world is a poorer place today.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

In the wake of the Patriots Super Bowl victory many sports journalists were saying this season may have been the best coaching job in Bill Belichick's Hall of Fame career. Yet many of these very same journalists never (including this season) vote for Belichick as NFL Coach of the Year... You seriously have to wonder if the reason the Catholic Church in the US isn't excommunicating politicians who claim to be Catholic yet who also publicly support later term abortion is because the church is afraid those politicians would retaliate by going after the church for protecting pedophile priests... Speaking of the church - oral sex promoted in the Bible!... Still think that a sitcom about All-State's Mayhem guy dating Progressive's crazy girlfriend Flo would be worth watching... "The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." - Benjamin Franklin... Adolph Hitler's sister in-law was named Bridget. Bridget Hitler. That just sounds funny to me. Like the name of an Irish punk band... 15 years ago today. I wonder if any other athlete from that issue is still active in their sport (never mind still playing at MVP levels)...

Linky Links

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

- Autonomous ships may become a big part of the Navy. I can see these being put to good use by the Coast Guard as well.

- Finland's guaranteed basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment. Of course it boosted happiness - these people were getting "free" money.

- Big fan of the X-Man

- Wow - this was the best Super Bowl party! I was amused that even the homeless guys skipped the Maroon 5 halftime show.

- I'm not aged 65-80 but maybe it's time to start taking 500 Mg of Resveratrol daily

If we are going to all PC about it why doesn't baseball just change the DL to the DA (Differently Abled) list?

If this doesn't get you a little misty then I seriously don't want to know you

Friday, February 08, 2019

Top 5 - Miscellaneous Nuggets from the Baseball Hall of Fame

Went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown last week and there were a few things I want to make note of. Here's the Top 5 of those things:

1. The Hall has these little circular emblems under the plaques of Hall of Famers who served in the military. I feel strongly that Ted Williams should have had two emblems under his plaque not just the one noting that he served in both WWII and Korea. There should have been one for WWII and one for Korea.

2. Carlton Fisk has his numbers, deservedly so, retired by both the Red Sox and the White Sox. Wade Boggs also has his number retired by two teams, the Devil Rays and Red Sox. I don't think either team should have retired Boggs' number.

3. The Yankees have retired the number 8 twice - once for Yogi Berra and also for Bill Dickey.

4. Buck O'Neil never made it to the Hall as a player but I was pleased to see the Hall recognized his special place in history with a statue.

5. Steve Garvey had his number retired but by the San Diego Padres not the Los Angeles Dodgers. I thought that interesting because when I think of Garvey it is always as a Dodger. Garvey has not been elected to the Hall but if he was I'm pretty sure it would be a as a Dodger.

This might only amuse me but I chuckled when I saw a bobblehead of Jerry Garcia in the SF Giants exhibit. What does not amuse me is the fact that the Washington Nationals do not recognize the retired numbers of the Montreal Expos. Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub and Tim Raines deserve better that that.

Cell Science for Laymen

I love this! What great names - "chamber of secrets", "Jell-O of life", etc.

The actual scientific names are a lot less poetic and memorable.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Richard Feynman on the value of science

- Life advice from Ernest Hemingway

- Cool - two neutron stars colliding

- Heh Heh

- Hmmm - Big Telecom companies sold users GPS data to bounty hunters. Who else did they sell this data to?

- Speaking of Virginia

Ronald Reagan

Today would have been Ronald Reagan's 108th birthday. Next to the "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!" speech - the above is the speech I most remember him for. Speech gets me every time.

Here's 10 things you might not know about Ronald Reagan.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Yesterday 1.5 million people turned out in Boston for the Patriots Super Bowl victory parade. I was not one of them. I went to the first Patriots' parade in 2002 but it was so cold that I watched most of the parade go by from inside a bar. Never went to another... I see this Julian Edelman t-shirt and all I can think of it Edelman's story would make a good "Santa: the Early Years" movie... Holy crap! Man is attacked by mountain lion - man kills mountain lion WITH HIS BARE HANDS! He choked the beast to death. Dana White should sign this guy up for the UFC!... Non-Recurring Phenomenon would be a good name for a movie studio (and a nice tribute to William Goldman),,,  "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." - Pablo Picasso... Fighting a big cat on land is terrifying but after seeing these photos I'm thinking fighting one in the water might be even worse... Anthony Davis' dad says he doesn't want his son traded to Boston because the Celtics aren't loyal - pointing to their trade of Isaiah Thomas. Ten years ago Anthony Davis' dad would have used the excuse that he didn't want his son traded to the Celtics because Boston is a racist city. So I guess that's progress?...

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Great Jeep Ad


Linky Links

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

- Harley Davidson's new LiveWire $30,000 electric motorcycle

- That must have been a huge tree

- Redundant words you can eliminate from your writing. I'm guilty of many of these sins.

- Heh Heh

- Interesting - the dirty secret of el Chapo's downfall.

- Heh Heh 

- Cool - grains of salt under an electron microscope

This Week in Musk World

USA! USA! USA! The Model 3 was the best selling luxury car or SUV in the US - "the first time in decades an American carmaker has been able to secure the top spot." As the article points out - this may be an indictment of Cadillac and Lincoln more than anything. Not to take anything away from Tesla though because the Model 3 was also ranked by Consumer Reports as the Number 1 Car in Owner Satisfaction. USA! USA! USA!

Tesla cars have been shown to be robust when it comes to handling wear and tear with minimal maintenance costs.

According to Elon Musk the Model Y is up next but close behind is going to be the Tesla pickup truck. It supposedly looks like a smaller Tesla Semi but one cool feature I think is the plug in port(s) for electric hand tools. That could be a killer app for workmen.

One Tesla story I think has been underplayed is the demand for Tesla vehicles in Europe. A demand that is only now being met.

It is interesting to look at some of the negative "news" about Tesla and wonder who is sponsoring this stuff? Like the Washington Post's profile of Elon Musk's use of a private plane. Is there going to be a follow-up article in the Post on Jeff Bezos' use of private jets? If not then I'm going to chalk this up to the Bezos owned Washington Post taking a collateral damage swipe at Blue Origins (another Bezos company) biggest competition SpaceX and their primary owner in Musk. And people wonder why nobody trusts the media.

The article is another example. Tesla had 83% market share of all EV's sold in the US but Tesla's fourth quarter earnings were deemed "relatively disappointing" because they missed some analysts estimates. What did those analysts want? 100% of the EV market?

In other Musk World news - SpaceX is getting closer to a manned mission to the International Space Station.

Monday, February 04, 2019

On This Day in History

As Foretold in the Prophesies

Patriots Win the Super Bowl!

After a 98-day drought the City of Boston finally gets another championship! (And a Duck Boat parade on Tuesday.) Great day for Boston and all of New England!

So if you bet $100 on a moneyline parlay on the Bruins, Celtics and Patriots all winning yesterday you'd have won $460. (And you'd probably mention it in a blog post.)

It's amusing because it's kind of true. There just wasn't the same joy to this as the other five. Maybe it had to do with how hair-pullingly frustrating the actual game was

And the lack of fanaticism wasn't just because of the politics creeping in. Although I do like The Times of Israel noting that Julian Edelman was the first Jewish player to win the Super Bowl MVP. (As a reminder Robert Kraft was also responsible for being the first person to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Israel.)

Go Pats!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Go Pats!

It seems agreed by football fans and players that Tom Brady is the best to ever play the game.

The real debate is where does Brady fit in the pantheon on American sports icons. I think it's too early to place him in his proper place in history. The man is 41 and still leading teams to the Super Bowl.

If you believe in omens then Ty Law getting voted into the Football Hall of Fame is a pretty good one for Pats fans.

End the drought indeed! There are 3-month old children in New England who have yet to experience the joy of a championship. Won't someone please think of the children! (Boston sports fan are spoiled - I fully agree.)