Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Hard to follow Bob Dylan lyrics sped up?

Or a nonsense song meant to demonstrate what English sounds like to non-English speakers.

Wolves, REM Sleep and the Advent of Man

While reading the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD I was struck by the thought that maybe, just maybe the taming of wolves by Homo Sapiens allowed early man to get more REM sleep while the wolves "stood guard" at night.

This extra REM sleep may have allowed for better brain "health", more vivid dreaming and maybe just that extra ingredient to allow mankind to become the dominant species on the planet.

As I said - maybe, just maybe.


Well that explains why we dress up in sheets when we pretend we are ghosts. But why do ghosts say "Boo!"?

Every kid is taught that ghosts say "Boo!" Who decided this? According to our culture and accepted norms - ghosts say "Boo!"  But why would your spirit in death say something you never uttered in life? When's the last time you said "Booo!" when you weren't impersonating a ghost?

Even though I still think it would be funny if someone replaced Patrick Swayze's dialog in the movie Ghost with him just repeatedly saying "Boo!" this is one reason why I've decided not to believe in ghosts.

Another reason I've decided not to believe in ghosts is because of the scientific method. If ghosts were proven to be real and that they could affect things in the real world then that would put the outcomes of any scientific experiment in question. A literal ghost in the laboratory could invalidate almost any experiment. That would spell the end of science and the scientific method.

Although ghosts could prove to be an interesting defense for anyone pulled over for drunk driving. "I'm not intoxicated officer - just haunted by ghosts who like to mess with breathalyzers."

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Linky Links

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

- US Air Force's X-37B Space Plane lands after record 780-day mystery mission. It's like watching the US Space Force being born in real-time.

- Sometimes I have the humor of a 12-year old boy.

- How to get infected with malware. (HT Stephen Landry)

- NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawaii and other states without telling receiving pols. This program is disturbing enough but equally disturbing is the number of "public servants" in the article who won't or can't account for how the public funds are being spent. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

- Very Cool - Van Gogh's Starry Night reproduced using Hubble Telescope images.

- Baghdadi story reveals divided - and broken - news media.

Thomas Peterffy - Freedom To Succeed

This video is from the 2012 election but it seems even more relevant today. I'm curious if Mr. Peterffy comes out with another commercial defending capitalism this election cycle.

Scary Modern Halloween Pumpkins

Monday, October 28, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Keep waiting for one of the Democrats running for President to have a Dukakis in the tank moment. You know its coming... But I guess a Socialist choosing to be filmed in front of empty grocery shelves will have to do for now... Hollywood legend Robert Evans passes away aged 89. I really enjoyed the bio-documentary about Evans The Kid Stays in the Picture... "Practiced execution become game results."- Mike Lombardi... I laughed too hard at this (especially enjoyed the guy's facial expressions)... What comes next? Another MLB pitcher getting to 300 wins or another NFL coach getting to 300 wins?... The embarrassing handling of the death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi by the Washington Post and others reminds me of the time the Obama campaign actually took contributions from "Osama bin Laden" - twice!...

My Kind of Protest

Hemingway Quote for the Day

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." - Ernest Hemingway

Something very powerful to ponder.

Dovetails nicely with Naval Ravikant's question, "If you're so smart - why aren't you happy?"

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Here's my thoughts on the World Series: I'm rooting against the Astros because of the way they handled that female reporter from Sports Illustrated but I want Mattress Mack to win his bets although I'm not going to subject myself to a four hour game if there's any football on that I can watch instead... I'm going to hell for laughing at this (make sure the sound is on)... "Try to learn something about everything and everything about something."- Thomas Huxley... Hard to believe but the last head coach of a Cleveland Browns team to win an NFL playoff game is none other than Bill Belichick... Heh heh - vintage birth control... I seriously spend time wondering if the Harry Potter movies could have been better if they were made by Pixar instead. Perhaps someday Pixar will get the rights to reboot the series... There's less than 100 days until the Super Bowl and I'm still wondering where the hell did the summer go?... Who knew? The first scientist was a woman. Before Mary Somerville - people were called "men of science"... 

Bill Belichick and 300

Bill Belichick goes for his 300th win as an NFL coach today (268 regular season and 31 playoffs). It's an incredible achievement for an incredible leader.

As coincidence would have it his 1st NFL victory came as coach of the Browns against the Patriots and today he's the coach of the Patriots playing the Browns for his 300th.

The quote that really stood out for me from the article was what Belichick told his team prior to Super Bowl XLIX Patriots vs Seattle:
"If at any point in this game you start to think beyond the next play, if you start to think about after the game, if you look at the score and think about what could possible be if we win this game, stop and go right back to where you're at and focus on the play that you're about to play. Every single play is a new play and an opportunity to execute and do your job. Because if you don't do that, and your mind starts to wander from what the task is at hand, you're not going to be able to execute."
Be prepared. Be focused on the play at hand. Do your job.

That's how you get to 300 wins in the NFL.

Missouri Executive Order 44

Extermination Order Day:
"...the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description."
Missouri Executive Order 44 passed on this day in 1838. The law made it legal to kill Mormons in Missouri. The law was not repealed until 1976.

It blows my mind to think this law was on the books for 138 years!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Heh Heh

Via Powerline's week in pictures (which I always look forward to)

Linky Links

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

- Heh Heh

- Very good poker tip.

- And just like that my Sober October was over

- The Art of the Elevator Pitch. A pitch should always be easy to say and easy to remember.

- Steven Pressfield - A Prayer to the Muse

- Photobombing in the 15th Century

- The high tech version of Buster Douglas KOing Mike Tyson? Microsoft win $10 billion DoD cloud contract over Amazon.

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Farnam Street's Recommended Reading 2019. I've read only one book on the list and have only one on my reading list. Time to check out some of these book recommendations.

- Ayn Rand on Why Philosophy Matters. Not a huge Rand fan but some excellent points to ponder in this essay.

- Eisenhower Matrix: Master Productivity and Eliminate Noise. One of the simplest yet most effective ways to organize your priorities.

- The Bed of Procrustes - 20 Aphorisms from Nassim Taleb

How an Aurora is Created


Friday, October 25, 2019

A Modest Proposal

Here's a modest proposal to help reduce the national debt. Get rid of the penny.

Hear me out!

The national government announces that the US will no longer be minting pennies. And that from now on every tax will be ROUNDED UP to the nearest nickel. At the same time every check the government sends out and every expenditure will be ROUNDED DOWN to the nearest nickel. .

All the extra revenue gained from rounding up would be applied to reduce the national debt. And the rounding down would add up to some serious savings overall. It helps on both sides of the financial ledger.

Think the plot to Superman III or Office Space but on steroids and on a much larger scale.

How would this not work? People wouldn't even notice.

Hemingway Quote for the Day

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self." - Ernest Hemingway

Really good life advice from Papa.

Dovetails nicely with Warren Buffett's advice to go to bed smarter than you were when you woke up in the morning.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

"Listen America, only three people can wear jerseys: little kids, hot women and somebody who has actually played." - Charles Barkley (Thanks a lot Chuck! Now every American male has to buy his wife/girlfriend a jersey of their favorite player or else we'll get accused of thinking the wife/girlfriend isn't "hot")... Block Me Amadeus would be a great fantasy football team name... With Mohammed Sanu coming on board for the Patriots - I wonder if Gunner Olszewski winds up on the IR with a "hamstring" injury to prevent him from being picked up by another team... Amazing to think it has been just 18-years since Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the iPod. Don't think it's hyberbole to say that this fundamental change in direction from Apple being primarily a computer company has had incredible ramifications on world history... John Daly's Liver would be a good name for a fantasy football team... Sorry but "Vacation Cheese" sounds to me like it should be some sort of category on Tinder... Can't believe I have to say this but NO - TOM BRADY IS NOT GOING TO LEAVE NEW ENGLAND FOR ANOTHER TEAM. No matter what Adam Schefter or any talking head speculates. He's 42 - he's going to retire as a Patriot. This is another example of why I don't listen to sports talk radio...

Linky Links

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

- Good for Shaq. "Daryl Morey was right."

- Interesting perspective on the situation in Syria and our handling of Turkey.

- CRISPR gene editing just got a major upgrade (but it's still not perfect)

- Interesting - what it's like to take an investment meeting with Naval Ravikant

- Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin announces plan to get back to the Moon by 2024. In my opinion the USA only gets back to the Moon in a timely fashion if Blue Origin or Elon Musk's SpaceX is involved.

- 15 habits of "lucky" people.

- So how close are we to the almost unlimited energy of nuclear fusion - at least 15-years away.

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago this was the prediction made by The New York Times. Just a reminder not to believe what you read in the New York Times.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Doesn't Sound Like a Good Idea to Me

Thousands of autonomous delivery robots about to descend on US college campuses. (Starship Technologies announces an expansion of its robot delivery service after raising $40 million.)

So each of these robot delivery vehicles can go a max of 4 MPH. And if the pizza place is 2 miles away and it takes a half-hour to cook your order then the hungry student would be waiting a full hour (at best) to get their pizza? NOT GOING TO WORK.

A human on a bike or in a car can go much faster. Duh!

You're in your dorm room with friends and everyone else orders food which will be delivered by humans while you order something that's delivered by Starship robots. Your friends will be full and putting away their leftovers when your food arrives. You'll be too angry at having to watch your friends eat while having waited for YOUR food to be delivered to enjoy it when it arrives. Next time do you think you order something delivered by the robot again?

Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Stephen Hawking's Big Ideas

Nice little appreciation of Hawking (I think it's narrated by Neil Gaiman).

Monday, October 21, 2019

Put Joe Biden in the Movie Title

I amused myself by replacing part of some of the greatest movie titles of all-time with Joe Biden. Some of these movies actually should be made:

The Good, the Bad and the Joe Biden
The Silence of the Joe Biden
Forrest Gump
Joe Biden 2: Judgement Day
Joe Biden of Arabia
Eternal Sunshine of the Joe Biden
Joe Biden: A Space Odyssey
Inglorious Joe Bidens
Mr. Joe Biden Goes to Washington
- Joe Biden Does Dallas

Good and Evil


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Congratulations to the Astros for making it to the World Series. And as a Red Sox fan I'd like to remind Yankees fans that Boston won the World Series last year... Glad to see the NBA not doing anything to prevent people from wearing Stand with Hong Kong t-shirts at their games. Let's hope these protests don't peter out... I've made this observations before but I see more Tulsi Gabbard signs when driving in New Hampshire than any other Democrat candidate. I fully expect her to finish in the top 3 in the NH primary... This is a good explanation for the basis for the hate Hillary Clinton seems to feel for Tulsi. A feeling I think is mutual...  The Athletic has become the daily sports fix I used to get from the Boston Globe Sports section decades ago. I didn't mind paying for the Globe all those years ago and I don't mind paying for The Athletic now...  Deep sea explorers have found the wreck of the Japanese carrier Kaga which was sunk during the Battle of Midway. Coincidentally there's a big Hollywood movie on Midway coming out next month. Midway was one of the most important battles in US history. Perhaps the best book on the battle is Shattered Sword which I recommend with the caveat that it is pretty dry and detailed history at times... This is so cool. I hope the people tip this busker to the max when they see him... "Hillary Clinton" a Haiku..

Save the Equals Sign

I wish this was a joke but some mathematicians are arguing about getting rid of the equals sign. For the Love of Christ!

This has Social Justice written all over it. "How dare you say a dollar bill is equal to one hundred pennies! That's elitist and anti-democratic. The voices of the one hundred pennies demand to be heard."

And people wonder why public school math scores keep sinking. Plus what about repercussions? How would this effect other sciences like physics? How would you then express Einstein's most famous theory?

A pox on those who wish to get rid of the equals sign. A pox and publicly visible boils I say!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Heh Heh


Linky Links

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

- Fan raised $43k to hand out "Stand With Hong Kong" t-shirts at Lakers home opener. Be interesting to see how the team handles this.

- Yes - this is true. I am lazy!

- CC Sabathia's Hall of Fame case. Was Sabathia better than Luis Tiant? Or Curt Schilling? Neither of those players are in the Hall of Fame.

- Cool science.

- The Trade War seems to be effecting the strength of the Chinese economy. As an aside I loved this quote from the article; "Authorities will loosen policies, but in a more restrained way." Loosening things through further restraint?  That's the Chinese Communists for ya.

- South Park pokes fun at LeBron James for his China comments.

- Heh Heh

A Modest Proposal

Columbus Day continuing to be a federal holiday also continues to be a divisive issue. On one side you have people who say Columbus was a genocidal imperialist monster and on the other proud Italian-Americans and traditionalists. I have a modest proposal with a solution which I think would be acceptable to most Americans.

On this very day in 1781 the British forces under Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown to end the Revolutionary War. America as a free nation really starts with this date. Why not celebrate the date as the new national holiday in replacement of Columbus Day? Yorktown Day could be celebrated on the third Monday in October. The unions would be satisfied since they wouldn't be losing a paid holiday. Italian-Americans couldn't complain since this in no way would be disrespecting Columbus and historically Yorktown is the more important date (beside Columbus really "discovered" the Caribbean not North America). French-Americans would be big supporters of the switch because the French fleet played a huge role in the victory. The only people who might complain are the people who are against glorifying anything that's even remotely militarily related but screw those people.

Have Yorktown Day replace Columbus Day. So let it be written so let it be done.

The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey from Iskander Krayenbosch on Vimeo.

The Hero's Journey based on Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces and borrowed by Hollywood over and over.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Heh Heh

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Had a dream that Donald Trump's butler was to be played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Tarentino movie adaptation of the 2016 Presidential election. Yes I know Trump doesn't have a butler and this was only a dream. But I'd really want to see that movie... They should do spinoffs of The Walking Dead but set them in different periods in history. You could have The Medieval Walking Dead, Civil War Walking Dead, etc....  "You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger." - the Buddha... "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool! I will call you later." Written by Donald Trump but voiced in my head by Mr. T.... I'm predicting right now that LeBron James' Space Jam 2 will be a massive bomb... Cheers had such great writers and characters. I'll always mist up over this scene. Just wish the clip was a little longer so we could have seen her tell Roy to hit the bricks... 25 of the best Oscar Wilde quotes. This is one of my favorites, "When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is"...

The Importance of a Single Vote

On this date in 1867 the United States purchased Alaska from Russia for the price of $7 million which worked out to about $.02 per acre. This purchase was known at the time as Seward's Folly after Secretary of State William Seward who arranged the purchase. Seward was also in charge of trying to get the Senate to ratify the treaty authorizing the purchase. The treaty was ratified on April 9th but it passed by a single vote. 

Think of that. If one person changed their vote from yes to no - Alaska might not be part of the US today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Linky Links

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

- Toronto Raptors fans to give away thousands of pro-Hong Kong t-shirts on opening night. Good for the folks who came up with this. Be interesting to see how the team handles the situation.

- Hollywood's new self-censorship mess with China.

- 25 cool Australian slang terms.

- Citizen scientists find thousands of asteroids in Hubble images. Cool.

- Boston represent!

- China vows to retaliate against US Congress for passing Hong Kong human rights legislation. Trying to bully Hollywood is one thing but trying to bully the US Congress should get your hackles up Left and Right.

- Laird Hamilton's 5 rules for healthy living.


Interesting article on concussions in high school sports. Skimming the article it would be easy to come away with the conclusion that girls' soccer (8.19 per 10,000 athlete exposures) is almost as dangerous as boy's football (10.4 per 10,000 athlete exposures).

Surprising - right?

My issue with the study stems from their very definition of a concussion which according to the article is "defined as occurring as a result of practice or competition, requiring medical attention and being diagnosed as a concussion." [Bold emphasis added.]

I suffered a concussion my senior year during practice. I was the starting tight end (and defensive end) and the play called for me to run a crossing route and then...

All I remember is getting up and everyone (coaches included) cheering and laughing about the big hit I just took. I simply walked back to the huddle for the next play. Teammates clapping me on the back at how stoically I was shaking off the big hit. Truth is I was in a fog. I had no idea what people were talking about. I was briefly knocked out.

That concussion did not require medical attention and was not diagnosed as a concussion. I have to wonder how many other similar boy's football situations may have gotten missed by this study. I also have to think that any head injuries in girls soccer are much more likely to get noticed and get medical attention.

BWV 848 - JS Bach


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Al Gore (71) is younger than Donald Trump (73), Joe Biden (76), Bernie Sanders (78) and the same age as Hillary Clinton (71). I think the reasons nobody ever brings his name up is because Manbearpig is so unlikable and some realize what he's been pedaling all these years won't hold up under the close scrutiny he'd receive on the campaign trail... As long as the protests continue in Hong Kong the NBA will not be free of the controversy surrounding their relationship to China. And if China puts down the protests with violence then the NBA is going to have end their business relationship with the communists or the results to their contracts in the US will be catastrophic... I stand by my opinion on the movie Birdman. Love Michael Keaton but this movie was completely overrated crap. Has anyone bothered to rewatch this movie since it came out 5-years ago? You don't ever see it playing on cable. You know why? Because it was crap... Due to the uncertainty of the revenue from China I think Celtics forward/guard Jaylen Brown would be wise to sign rookie contract extension for about $20-25 million a year. That money might not be available in a year because as I noted above the situation in Hong Kong is not going away and if the Chinese revenue goes away the salary cap comes down and teams will have much less to spend... And speaking of China and the NBA... 

Joke of the Day

Heh heh.
Bill worked in a pickle factory. He had been employed there for a number of years when he came home one day to confess to his wife that he had a terrible compulsion. He had an urge to stick his penis into the pickle slicer. His wife suggested that he should see a sex therapist to talk about it, but Bill said he would be too embarrassed. He vowed to overcome the compulsion on his own. One day a few weeks later, Bill came home and his wife could see at once that something was seriously wrong. "What's wrong, Bill?" she asked. "Do you remember that I told you how I had this tremendous urge to put my penis into the pickle slicer?" "Oh, Bill, you didn't!" she exclaimed. "Yes, I did." he replied. "My God, Bill, what happened?" "I got fired." "No, Bill. I mean, what happened with the pickle slicer?" "Oh...she got fired too."

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Good for Enes Kanter

Not everyone in the NBA is a stooge.

Hat tip Instapundit

Linky Links

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

- Even Matt Taibbi is saying the Left is trying to engage in a coup against the President.

- And just like that LeBron became the focus of a future episode of South Park

- What is this magic?

- This is an interesting situation and perhaps deserving of a Presidential pardon.

- Why Metformin could help you live a longer, healthier life.

- Agree 100%

- This was well done.

Something That Has Always Bothered Me

Couple of years ago there was an AXE shampoo commercial that claimed that 85% of girls found dandruff on a man to be a turn-off. What the heck was wrong with that other 15% of women polled?

Did they find dandruff on a man to be a turn on? I mean it seems like it was a yes or no type of poll.

Given the profitability of niche marketing - shouldn't AXE have been marketing fake dandruff to men trying for sexy time with that 15% of women by now?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Steve Kerr and China

I had been willing to give Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr the benefit of the doubt. No longer.

The guy said this just 2-years ago, "If you look at the history of the world, the biggest problems come when people don't speak." Now Kerr is a cross between Sargent Schultz's "I see nothing, I see nothing" character and an epitome of what Stalin termed a "useful idiot." 

I think Ethan Strauss of The Athletic (subscription required) may have nailed it with this quote"
"Upton Sinclair said, 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it,' he just as well could have been describing the phenomenon of NBA players and coaches proclaiming total ignorance on China."
They see nothing! They see nothing!

Linky Links

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

- 100 of the best leadership quotes of all-time

- Too funny!

- Does coffee induce autophagy? Autophagy is the body's way of cleaning out older or damaged cells in order to replace them with newer healthier cells. You want autophagy ergo you should want coffee.

- Agree 100% (but recognize that you may have to be of a certain age to really appreciate it)

- A big, bipartsan opportunity for nuclear power

- Very cool new invention

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Yahoo! offered to buy Facebook in July 2006 for $1 billion. Can you imagine how different our society would be today if that offer was accepted?... Beautiful women wearing nothing (but milk)... Maybe its just me but I consider the TV remote to be a much bigger invention than sliced bread... Who knew? Erwin Schrodinger didn't even own a cat... If I were Joe Biden's campaign advisor I'd tell him to blame all those Ukrainian shenanigans on the Dukes... Hypothetical - if Xi Jinping invites the NBA Champion team to a celebratory dinner in China does that NBA team dare refuse the invite? I know I said "hypothetical" but I just as easily could have said "hypocritical"... I can't understand why no NFL team hasn't picked up former Patriots punter Ryan Allen. He's one of the best punters in the game. That he's still unemployed is mystifying...

Happy 244th Birthday!

Chuck Yeager

72-years ago today American icon Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier (clip from the movie The Right Stuff). As impressive as that feat was the day before, October 12th, was also the anniversary of another jaw-dropping feat in American history.

On October 12, 1944, Chuck Yeager shot down 5 German planes becoming an "Ace in a Day". 

Incredible feats by an incredible American hero.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Trump's Trade Deal

So The US and China have reached a Phase One trade deal. I view this as a "win-win" for President Trump and the United States.

The deal basically says China will purchase between $40-50 billion in US agricultural products and the US will not raise certain tariffs from 25% to 30% (a raise that was supposed to happen next week).

China buying billions in US agricultural products helps US farmers and in return all we gave up was not raising certain tariffs. A move that doesn't cost us anything.

I have to pat myself on the back because I called this over a week ago:
So look for China to offer to buy millions of tons of food from US farmers during the next round of trade negotiations as their "act of good faith" towards "finalizing" a deal or at least getting a break in tariffs.

Linky Links

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

- Terminally-ill scientist turning himself into world's first cyborg

- China hit by EU tariffs as high as 66%. Tariffs seemed limited in scope but it could be the first step in a widening trade war. So are tariffs only wrong when Trump uses them?

- Heh Heh - laughed way too much at this.

- Kenyan becomes first person to break marathon's 2-hour barrier

- Rembrandt painted the best portrait of freedom ever. A little art lesson for a Saturday morning.

Interesting profile of Jeff Bezos. That it was written by a person who was not a fan makes it all the more interesting. (Long read)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Tom Brady now has more rushing TD's on the season than Leonard Fornette, Alvin Kamara, and Saquon Barkley... This is very good life advice and an interesting exercise... Many-sided Mediocrity would be a good name for a band (or a descriptor of the next Democratic Presidential Debate)... I'm guessing the person happiest about the NBA/China kerfuffle is none other than AOC. Think about it - since this came up nobody has even cracked one "eat the babies" joke.. Good point... Sesame Street has a new muppet whose mother is addicted to opioids. Too bad in real life a child of a mother who is an actual addict is unlikely to have the luxury of HBO because that's the only place new Sesame Street episodes are broadcast... 

Linky Links

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

- "Get up! Begin your day!" Steven Pressfield

- The woke NBA keeps looking worse and worse. The Trailblazers bow to anti-Semitic pressure.

- Heh Heh

- The situation with China would effect both the owners and players in the NBA since potential loss of the Chinese revenue would negatively impact the salary cap.

- WTF? I don't want to believe in UFO's but I also don't want to ignore the evidence

- What's the latest in poker's biggest cheating scandal? A $10 million lawsuit.

- Turkey and the Kurds: Its more complicated than you think

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Brett Favre turns 50 today and I'm still disappointed that the nickname "the junk mailer" never caught on... You knew this was coming - President Trump chastises the NBA, Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovitch over their failure to speak out about Chinese human rights abuses. Now if any NBA player criticizes Trump between now and the 2020 election the response will be "so this guy thinks its OK to find fault with me and America but when he had a chance to speak out about China - the coward turned and ran." The NBA has completely abandoned the moral high ground... "The most contrarian thing of all is not to oppose the crowd but to think for yourself." - Peter Thiel... Reasons to Drink would be a good name for a band... On this day in 732 Charles "the Hammer" Martel defeated the Muslims at the Battle of Tours. Many credit Martel's victory with saving Western Civilization... "The secret to being likable is to not care if people like you." - Ed Latimore...

When Even the Daily Show is Making Fun of You

The bit skewers the NBA but many a truth is told in jest as well. Look at the way they handle China.

Some Farnam Street Knowledge

- In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed.

- Externalities: Why We Can Never Do "One Thing"

- Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules of Writing

- First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge

- 10 Principles to Live an Antifragile Life

- Entropy: The Hidden Force that Complicates Life

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

See drinking is good for you! Those quotes are from this medical study... My new motto in life is - Earning, Burning, Learning or Having Fun. The burning refers to calories (exercise) and I find it a nice little way to remind myself not to waste time... Reminder why people usually point their hyperbolic pronouncements toward the young. Because older people like me remember when the Democrats used a slogan like "Vote or Die" BACK IN 2004! Yeah - nobody friggin died because they didn't vote...  Was it just me or did everyone confuse Marge Schott and Madeline Albright? Just me?...  "You have to be odd to be number one." - Dr. Seuss (love that quote on so many levels)... Maybe the Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders are (much) better than people expected. Maybe Antonio Brown made a (huge) mistake in shooting his way out of town...

More on China and the NBA

First off let me say that I give Steve Kerr a complete pass on this issue. Kerr's dad was the President of American University in Lebanon. Steve Kerr's dad was targeted and assassinated for the crime of being an American in a foreign land. So I give Steve Kerr a pass if he only feels comfortable speaking on domestic political situations.

One question I keep asking myself is if the NBA will prohibit any pro Hong Kong apparel at games this year. Can I show up at a Celtics game with a T-Shirt that simply has Darryl Morey's Tweet on the front? (These T-Shirts would be a great business idea for some enterprising person out there.) Will the Celtics require me to either cover up the shirt or leave? There's nothing offensive to the shirt. If yes - then I think I would never give the NBA another dime in my life.

If no - then what a great way to protest in support of Hong Kong. Can you imagine China having to censor every video shot of the crowd filled with people wearing these pro Hong Kong shirts? Priceless.

Linky Links

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

- Clarence Thomas opens up about finding God "In one of the darkest periods of my life"

- Interesting look at Johannes Gutenberg and his place in history

- Deciphering confusion about the Kurds. The map was particularly enlightening.

- 39 book recommendations from Charlie Munger

- Sadly this is probably true these days

- How is this not a bigger story? Israel and Gulf States working on "historic pact" to end conflict between them.

- Paulina Porizkova remembers Ric Ocasec

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The NBA and China

First off let me say that I really feel for Darryl Morey. He made what he thought was a simple Tweet of support for friends who live in Hong Kong. Then he quickly found himself in the center of a maelstrom of controversy. I completely understand why he deleted his Tweet of support for Hong Kong and apologized. Not sure how I would have reacted if a seven word Tweet of mine suddenly put billions of dollars of revenue in question for my employers.

Second - two quotes keep popping up in my head when I read about the situation:

"You have to lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck on the warm teat of China." - South Park

"What profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul." - Mark 8:36

The Ringer has a pretty good take on the situation.

Excellent point from Kyle Bass and Yahoo! Finance - how could Darryl Morey's Tweet offend anyone in China since Twitter is banned in China. It's a joke. And Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports also has a good handle on the situation. I feel it should be pointed out that Morey has just 200,000 Twitter followers. His original Tweet was probably ignored by most. But now millions are aware of his Tweet because of the Chinese bullying.

Slate argues that the NBA should leave China. They have a point. Now that the Chinese are aware of how eager the NBA is to be their money-grubbing lapdogs - this is just the start of the demands that will be foisted on the NBA if they want to continue to suck on the warm teat of China.

But what if the NBA called China's bluff? What if they said "If you don't broadcast the Rockets games - you don't get any NBA games"? The NBA is very popular in China and taking away the NBA games is an easy way for unrest to foment. Messing with the working man's sports is always a tricky proposition.

When the histories are written - China's bullying reaction to Morey's innocent Tweet and the NBA kowtowing to the Chinese may be looked at as an important turning point in the decoupling of the United States from Communist China. Or it may be looked at as a turning point where the average Chinese working man turned against their Communist Overlords. 

Or it could be viewed as when America chose sucking on the warm teat of China over freedom.

Sergeant York

On this day in 1918 - Sergeant Alvin York became a household name when he (along with others) killed 32 Germans and captured 132 others in the Argonne Forest in France. York was awarded the Medal of Honor for his deeds. 

Sergeant York's fame was spread by the 1941 movie Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper starring in the title role.

Some people may ask why we don't have heroes like this in today's military. The answer is that we do still have such men but the media today just doesn't celebrate them like they used to.

Monday, October 07, 2019

South Park and China

"You have to lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck on the warm teat of China." - South Park

South Park has been banned and scubbed from Chinese Internet for criticizing the way China handles dissent and human rights.

And unlike the NBA - the creators of South Park have no problem sticking to their freedom of speech (and sticking it to the Chinese Communist Party while they're at it).

President Trump really should award Matt Parker and Trey Stone the Presidential Medal of Freedom but not mention China at all during the presentation ceremony. That would be the ultimate troll move.

Ginger Baker

Rock legend and drummer extraordinaire Ginger Baker has passed away at age 80. You can see his virtuosity in the above drum "battle" with Art Blakley. Ginger Baker invented the drum battle. And the rock drum solo too!

You can get a really good idea of who Ginger Baker was (including who he was as a human being - hint not great) and his place rock history from the documentary Beware of Mr. Baker.

Lefsetz also has a nice appreciation of Ginger Baker's place in rock history.

Free Daryl Morey

Houston Rocket's GM Daryl Morey simply made a pro Hong Kong protesters Tweet but his punishment was swift and severe.

Daryl Morey may actually be out of a job because he Tweeted "fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong." That's it. And the league that loudly supports Colin Kaepernick's "take a knee" and was going to remove the All-Star from North Carolina over the same-sex bathroom issue completely caves to their Communist Overlords in China. In seconds they caved!

Morey was quickly forced to delete the "offending" Tweet and apologize. Daryl Morey was forced to apologize for supporting freedom. Let that sink in.

Who knew that the NBA owners and executives could be exposed as money-grubbing useful idiots to the Chinese Communist Party this quickly?

Remember "You have to lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck on the warm teat of China." - South Park.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

"Eat the babies! The throat babies! Am I right ladies?" - Dave Attell... I like this acronym when it comes to advice on how to give a good presentation - KILL (Keep It Likable and Learnable)... Perhaps the best MMA move I've ever seen... Great advice and wisdom to remember! "If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind." - the Buddha... "I ate the babies with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." - Hannibal Lecter... If we've been actually living in a simulation the past 3-years perhaps the code was written by George RR Martin. It would explain a lot and also explain why his last book has yet to be finished... There was no magical equivalent to Google in the Harry Potter universe. I wonder how that magical equivalent could have changed the Hogwarts experience. For example - Harry would have found out who Nicolas Flamel was in seconds in the first book... If President Trump wanted to troll Kamala Harris he could pardon any parent that was jailed as part of California's controversial Truancy Law - a law Harris as District Attorney supported... 

Sesame Street and PBS

HBO has announced that new episodes of Sesame Street will now only be available on HBO Max and that the streaming of old episodes will also only be available via their service. And with that announcement goes the Democrats biggest defense against PBS losing public taxpayer funding. Remember when Mitt Romney brought up cutting funding to PBS - the cries were "He wants to kill Big Bird!"

Now Big Bird has moved his nest to a gold-plated gated community.

Don't get me wrong - I do not see defunding PBS (and NPR for that matter) as a big deal because of the relatively low amount of tax funds we're really talking about. And I do see the value of the children's programming on PBS for kids whose parent can't afford to give them iPads as playthings.

But if President Trump ever wanted to defund PBS and NPR - now that Big Bird has flown the coop - it would be the perfect time to announce to cuts.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Linky Links

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

- The cheating scandal rocking the poker world. I'll admit I'm one of those who find these things mesmerizing.

- Cool optical illusion

- Good article on Gen IV nuclear power

- I'll never be able to unsee this

- Good take on why Trump is different from other Presidents (from CNBC of all places)

- Fantastic story on the kidnapping (and murder?) of 5dimes Tony (Sean Creighton). The article is also a good primer on the history of on-line betting. Would make an excellent mini-documentary series.

Language Thought for the Day

A "rank amateur" is "a person who is completely inexperienced or inept at a particular activity." Basically a person who sucks at doing something.

However, a "ranked amateur" is considered a person just a step below being a professional at a particular activity. Boxing and golf are probably the best examples of ranked amateurs.

As an aside - Ranked Amateur would be a good name for a blog.

Friday, October 04, 2019


"You got to lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck on the warm teat of China." - South Park 

The theme this week seems to be China and the US - a new Cold War.

This article looks at the relationship between China and the US in "rear-view mirror" terms to the USSR / USA Cold War. The author does a good job explaining why military confrontation is less likely today.

The struggle today is less ideological and more in tune with national interest - specifically economic interests. Countries are not going to buy into China's version of manifest destiny (such as their Belt and Road or New Silk Road Initiatives) but they will bend to financial incentives. Micro individual serving economics (such as the money and incentives given to individual companies, politicians or "influencers" such as Hunter Biden) versus Macro "Communist vs Capitalist" dogma. Useful idiot individuals willfully sucking on the warm teat of China harming their own nation's national interests in the process.

This article also makes the Cold War comparison but argues that Communist China may be weaker than it appears. It may look stronger in comparison to the USSR in terms of military and economic strength but its reliance on the US is a huge weakness. I agree.

The Chinese tried to punish the US for Trump's increased tariffs by cancelling orders of millions of tons of soy beans thinking this would hurt Trump politically. But China tried to buy soy beans from Russia only to find that Russia barely has enough crops to feed themselves. So look for China to offer to buy millions of tons of food from US farmers during the next round of trade negotiations as their "act of good faith" towards "finalizing" a deal or at least getting a break in tariffs.

China also still has to deal with the protests in Hong Kong. Sadly the Chinese will use the fact that most Americans are "bored" with the story and no longer paying attention to institute a hardline crackdown. My hope is that President Trump uses the One China Two Systems deal which was supposed to be for 50-years to point to the Chinese - how can we trust you not to break our agreement? This could be the only thing that might lessen to blow on the freedom loving Hong Kongers.

Couple this with China not following through on promises to stem the tide of fentanyl coming into the US from known Chinese sources. Now Trump has reason to institute new and harsher tariffs. And if framed as trying to end the fentanyl epidemic - the American people will love him for it. (Look for a move along these lines in the next 12 months.) 

These arguments don't even touch with the Chinese genocide of the Muslim Uighurs (which really exposes what sort of people we are dealing with).

Decoupling is actually the end game goal. The threat of delisting Chinese companies from US stock exchanges foreshadows this. I don't think the US follows through with delisting until at least after the 2020 election. It is also more leverage for President Trump to use in negotiations. But slowly but surely there will be a decoupling until the words "Made in China" are poison to most Western societies.