Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I had a dream that my vote in the 2020 election came down to a choice between a furry and a member of the Insane Clown Posse. Or was it a dream?... "The operator got drunk and turned the wave magnitude to maximum level." I hope nobody got hurt during this. Also hope someone uses that sentence to describe last night's Democratic Presidential Candidate debate... The "bar fight" molecule is my spirit animal...  So California says that they will keep President Trump off the primary ballot unless he releases his last 5-years worth of tax returns. I hope someone sues over this issue. Sues to say it should apply to all candidates seeking office at any level in California. It would be fun to watch certain candidates either suddenly start screaming about the unfairness of the law or simply drop out of their races for office... Cool - scientists create contact lenses that can zoom on command... Yesterday was the anniversary of Tuukka Rask being drafted - by the Toronto Maple Leafs! I somehow did not know that. Tuukka has a stellar 2.19 goals against in the playoffs and 50 playoff wins since joining the Bruins! How many playoff wins do the Maple Leafs have since 2007?...  Still say that in order to run for any Federal office a candidate should first have to both pass the Citizenship test naturalized citizens have to take AND have their scores publicly posted. That would help give voters a true idea of how much a candidate actually understands the workings of this country... 

The Squad

This is funny. And persuasive. I'm an Independent but it should be clear that the Democrats are in trouble.

Now do Baltimore.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I think the people who developed the Guitar Hero game should come out with a Pan Flute version. You could play real music and maybe become the next Zamfir master of the pan flute. Of course the slobber all over the flute would make sharing something of an issue... Chore for today... I know "Learn to Code" has become a punchline to some but I want to do it. My current job doesn't require it but I feel it is something every adult should know how to do - like knowing how to drive a standard transmission...  In Hong Kong the American flag is a symbol of freedom while to some in the US the flag is a symbol of oppression. I think this is a case of some people don't know how good they actually have it... Interesting take on Trump and impeachment from a proud lefty.... The protests in Hong Kong have gotten a lot of attention (and rightly so) but don't overlook the protests in Moscow over how elections are run. Moscow recently saw their largest protest in a decade... The word for today is "matronolagnia" - think of it as the thinking man's way of saying MILF. The power of words!...

Player Comparison

I wanted to make this player comparison this week.

Player A - 1,391 hits / 225 HR / .290 BA / .856 OPS / 118 OPS+

Player B - 1,747 Hits / 229 HR / .313 BA / .882 OPS / 124 OPS+

Player A is Troy Tulowitzki who announced his retirement this week while Player B is Nomar Garciaparra. I make this comparison because of the talk (not a lot granted) of if Tulowitzki is a Hall of Fame Player. I would simply state that if Nomar isn't a Hall of Famer then neither is Tulo.

Interestingly enough both players finished their careers withe the exact same 44.2 career WAR. And that's not where the similarities end.

Tulo finished with 5 All-Star game appearances, 2 gold Gloves and 2 Silver Slugger awards. Nomar had 6 All-Star game appearances, won 2 AL Batting Titles and 1 Silver Slugger. While both players were greats for their time - I don't think you could make a real Hall of Fame argument for either player.

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa disappeared on this day 44-years ago.

I have a valid alibi for that entire day.

Monday, July 29, 2019


Baltimore Ambush: Trump forces Democrats to defend the indefensible, again!

New York Post: Trump is right about Baltimore and the Democrats know it!

The Twitter outrage mobs and their #StandwithBaltimore and other hashtags will prove as ineffectual as the #BringBackOurGirls non-action. Bringing up Baltimore like this is another way of saying "You can't spell Democrats without 'rats.'"

Which it seems when it comes to running large cities like Baltimore or New York is also true.

Linky Links

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

- Joseph Campbell on eternity

- A reminder of how much of a badass Chuck Yeager was (and is)

- Never heard of Zdzislaw Bekinski before but his painting are haunting and his death was tragic.

- The Naval how to get rich (without getting lucky) Tweetstorm is always worth revisiting from time to time.

- Interesting - can the Internet save the department store?

- Also interesting - why you never see mosquitoes at Disney

- This is very disturbing

Charlie Munger's Iron Law

I have what I call an iron prescription that helps me keep sane when I naturally drift toward preferring one ideology over another. And that is I say “I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people do who are supporting it. I think that only when I reach that stage am I qualified to speak.” 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

If President Trump wanted to troll Bernie Sanders he should announce that all employees of his re-election campaign will be paid a minimum of $15 per hour. His campaign coffers should be able to afford that. He could say that he still does not approve of the $15 minimum wage but that he just wants to do right by his people (zing)... 31% of the nation's households do not have access to Internet speeds the FCC classifies as broadband (that's 100 million people). This is a subject that is very dear to my heart and I problem I strive to remedy...  On the flip side that $15 minimum wage for the Trump Campaign could be the death knell for a few of the 1% Democratic candidates like Beto an DeBlasio who cannot afford to pay that rate. They would be placed in a spot where they couldn't not pay that $15 to their employees but they also couldn't cover the payroll expense either. Not sure if losing these bottom candidates and the sniping they'll bring among themselves would be worth the trolling of Bernie... Scott Adams shows you how to be a better writer... "Mouth sailing" would be a good synonym for "babbling". For example, "Stop mouth sailing and get to your point"...   The Patriots should sign Tacko Fall as a defensive specialist. Can you imagine a kicker trying to get the ball over his giant outstretched arms on every extra point and field goal attempt? Worth a shot... Pretty cool idea that never caught on...

Top 5 List - Last Books I Purchased

Yesterday I mentioned I just bought Peter Thiel's Zero to One. Just for kicks here's the last five books I purchased;

1. Zero to One by Peter Thiel

2. Rogues - a short story anthology by writers including Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch (bought it specifically for the Patrick Rothfuss short story).

3. The Magic Christian by Terry Southern

4. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Almost finished with this one and its fantastic.

5. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker PhD. Excellent book that unravels some of the mysteries of sleep. I've made it a priority to get a good night of sleep since reading this

I also bought Phil Steele's 2019 College Football Preview but I don't count that as its a magazine. And I bought The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss but I'm not counting this as I bought the book as a gift.

These are the books I've bought since June 10th. I expect next month will be more history or life skills oriented with fewer (if any) fantasy books.

Way Down We Go - KAYLEO

Some music for a Sunday morning.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Peter Thiel

"Even a Marxist thinks that you have to first get the capitalists to do things before you can redistribute stuff." - Peter Thiel

I enjoy moments of serendipity in my life. This past week I listened to The Portal podcast by Eric Weinstein and his first episode was a close to 3-hour discussion with Peter Thiel. It was a fascinating discussion that I will be listening to again.

Then shortly after I listened to the podcast Farnum Street posted an article on Eight Things I learned from Peter Thiel's Zero to One. Needless to say I ordered the book and it should arrive today.

Sometimes when the universe sends you signals - you should listen to them.

Linky Links

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

- The 3 interview questions this CEO uses to week out "jerks"

- Drunk or stupid?

- Locast looks to be an interesting product. As a cord cutter I'm going to have to try it out (especially with football season right around the corner)

- You sure he's a "Greek" Orthodox bishop?

- My spirit animal! (I'm sure those left over cookies and gummies that were thrown away were delicious)

- I really want to learn more about the X-37B "spaceplane" (the unmanned replacement for the space shuttle)

Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis

Let's start Saturday off with a little music why don't we.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Heh Heh

Just a bit dated but after Robert Mueller's wet fart of a performance before Congress it seemed appropriate.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"In you prayers substitute 'protect us from evil' with 'protect us from those who improve things for a salary.'" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

So true.

It also reminds one of Ronald Reagan's famous quote, "The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

So what disappointed more people - Season 8 of Game of Thrones or Robert Mueller's testifying before Congress?... Interesting - ESPN's market research shows that 74% of fans don't want to hear about politics on ESPN. That includes avid fans (85%), Republicans (84%), and Democrats (69%). The idea of Go Woke - Go Broke seems to have finally sunk in with upper management...  "To be completely cured of newspapers, spend a year reading the previous week's newspapers." - Nassim Taleb... This may be old news to many but I had no idea that Paul Simon is "the world's biggest prick" and song thief. Probably going to throw out my Graceland CD over this... Wailing Monkey Climbing Tree would be a good name for a heavy metal Barbara Streisand cover band... Democrats may seize upon the idea that President Trump may not be prosecuted for obstruction while in office which may be even more incentive for some to vote him out in 2020. But that logic also means that former President Obama can be prosecuted NOW that he's out of office if he was complicit in illegally spying on the Trump 2016 campaign. You can't have it both ways...

Linky Links

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

- Heh Heh

- Oil is probably the reason we the US won't go to war with Iran. Missing from this CNBC report - the word "fracking".

- An interesting look into the shooting of David Ortiz by Sports Illustrated. The line, "When the authorities can't be trusted, people are free to choose their own truth" stuck with me. Long read but worth the time.

- New mind-controlled robot arm works without brain implants.

- In the past 20-years world poverty has been cut in half (thanks to capitalism) but 95% of Americans are unaware of this fact.

- Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the A-Rod-Varitek fight. Something that is very dear to the hearts of so many Red Sox fans.

Stop Using Anti-Taxpayer Language

If government can institute changing words like "manpower" to "workforce" and "illegal immigrants" to "undocumented workers" we can surely institute the above language changes - right?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Interesting - real tattoos that change color as biomarkers like glucose change levels

- How humanity won the war on famine. We live in a time of abundance (yet I still had leftover pizza for breakfast)

- This is the type of encouragement I needed today

- Going to have to find a remote place on a clear night this August to see the Andromescopic phenomenon

- The Charlie Munger operating system. "Trust, success, and Admiration are earned." 

- Heh Heh 

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Everyone mentions Bill Clinton as the most likely "candidate" to get caught up in the Jeffrey Epstein underage sex scandal but I wouldn't bet against NJ Democratic Senator Bob Menendez' name coming to light either. He's in proximity to the case (NJ just over the line from NYC) and has been linked to underage prostitutes in the past. Just saying...  Never date within the division!... "Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau... Portland Maine still has an Alternative Rock station (94.3 WCYY) while Boston no longer has one. Advantage Portland... I agree with Jon Gabriel "'Ron Swanson's Neighborhood' would be a great kids show"... "O'yay, O'yay, O'yay - please rise" what the bailiff says at the start of official court proceedings and what men my age silently pray every time before sex... America lost one of its great mostly unsung heroes with the passing of NASA Mission Control pioneer Chris Kraft. He was 95 when he passed on Monday. One has to wonder if he willed himself to hang on until the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing - a mission he was an integral part of. Godspeed Mr. Kraft...


"Anger is an acid that does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." - Mark Twain

So true!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Behind Netflix's 12% stock drop.

- Study shows microdosing can improve mood and focus.

- Iran is starting to feel the pressure of sanctions and needs to try to get to the negotiating table.

- I laughed too much at this video

- Hemingway's advice to aspiring writers. Papa Hemingway would have turned 120 today.

A Short Story About Savings

Old story retold via The Motley Fool

True Then - True Now

File this under the more things change the more they stay the same:
"All middle-class citizens of education have a common belief that the tendencies towards centralization and paternalism must be halted and reversed." - Dwight Eisenhower July 1949
Although I think today it would be more true of middle-class citizens with common sense. Education is no true indicator of intelligence or common sense any more (if it ever was).

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