Washing Of The Lions

Pic of the day:  This child destroyed an entire subway line.  Isn’t he the cutest lil’ terrorist?  His parents should be proud!

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In school they told me “Practice makes perfect.” And then they told me “Nobody’s perfect,” so then I stopped practicing.

Steven Wright

“One thing leads to another”? Not always. Sometimes one thing leads to the same thing. Ask an addict.

George Carlin

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Coolest thing ever.  Head over to google maps and check out the happy 8 bit NES style maps that are there for April fools day.   Just click on maps on the google main page and then look for the word “quest” in the upper right hand corner of the page.  Click and enjoy!  For added fun click on the little guy on top of the slider and place him somewhere on the map.  8 bit love is pretty, and just a little pixelated.

More fun than searching google for “Do A Barrel Roll.”

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I am sitting bathed in far too much light listening to someone  commentating on a motorcycle race somewhere in Japan.  I know this because the man is speaking in Japanese.  Why?  Beats me.  My wife has been flipping through channels on Ustream pretty much at random.  After watching two guys on horses moshing with a cow, we now have a Japanese Motorcycle race. Flip the channel and there is… Japanese people shooting darts!  At least there’s no commentary.  Or Rick Santorum.

Looking forwards to the cats and the penguins, at least they don’t yell indecipherably.  The Penguins sound like tiny elephants and the cats sleep at each other when they aren’t jumping on one another.

But I digress.

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Things to do on April Fools day: (note: don’t do any crazy shit and then blame me.  If your an asshole, it’s your fault, not mine.)

Go to the Syrian embassy, light a bag of dog-shit on fire, ring the doorbell, and run!  Classic mayhem!

Play drawception.

Drink a bottle of tequila and drive blindfolded down an interstate.  In reverse. Naked. With a trunk full of napalm.

Bring a banana cream pie with you to meet Mitt Romney.  Smack him in the face with it.  He LOVES that kind of thing.  He’s such a kidder!

Teach a fish to juggle.

Go for a run someplace you’ve never been before!  (R.I.P. Micah)

Sleep in.  It’s Sunday, dammit, you deserve a little bit of a break!   And when you’re done, occupy your toilet.

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Someday I’ll grow a sense of humor.  But I ain’t holding my breath waiting.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.


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Difference Of Values

Pic of the day:   A detail of the the great Eleusinian relief, of the goddess Persephone

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What people outside do not appreciate is that a newspaper is like a soufflé, prepared in a hurry for immediate consumption. This of course is why whenever you read a newspaper account of some event of which you have personal knowledge it is nearly always inadequate or inaccurate. Journalists are as aware as anyone of this defect; it is simply that if the information is to reach as many readers as possible, something less than perfection has often to be accepted.

David E.H. Jones (1965)

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Keith Olbermann got canned today.  Again. I feel for the guy.  I really do, I have been hard put by employers for the last few years, and they are always a fickle lot.  The people at Current TV knew going in what they were getting when they signed Keith to that 5 year, $50,000,000 contract.

And the people at Current claim a “difference of values” is at the heart of Mr. Olbermann’s being fired.  What does that mean anyway?  If my values are different from my employer they have a right to fire me?  Seriously? I have to be that far up my bosses ass just to keep a job in this day and age?  WTF is that about?  That has to be about the most lame-brained bullshit I’ve heard in a long time. I could eat Alphabet soup and crap out a better line than that.

Al Gore is a liberal and the owner of a fairly new news outlet.  Keith Olbermann was a liberal commentator put in charge of the news division.  What kind of idiot boss can’t accommodate the voice and face of the new network?  It sounds much more to me, just based on the “difference of values” bullshit they have no one to blame but themselves in having to deal with getting rid of the closest thing they had to a star on their network.

Can’t blame him for lack of ratings.  The network is not everywhere, and they have signed no other major names to go along with Keith.  Which is Current’s responsibility, ultimately.

Where Keith goes, I will watch, or listen.  Doesn’t mean I won’t still watch current.  I’ve been watching since before Keith jumped on board.  But I went there more often because Keith was there.  Cenk is good, so is Keith’s replacement Eliot Spitzer, but they lose something when they lose Mr. Olbermann. The point man for the cause of liberty for Americans everywhere, not just liberals.

Personally I think Keith should start a brand new 24 hour on-line news/journalism/commentary site. Do for politics what the TWiT network does for technology.  I’d work for him.

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That’s it from here, America.

Question: What Do Titian, Virginia Woolf, and Polling Have In Common?

Answer: Beyond being together in this article, not a damn thing.

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Pic of the day:  Diana and Actaeon by Titian

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Yet there are moments when the walls of the mind grow thin; when nothing is unabsorbed, and I could fancy that we might blow so vast a bubble that the sun might set and rise in it and we might take the blue of midday and the black of midnight and be cast off and escape from here and now.

Virginia Woolf, The Waves

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Santorum is done.  Finished.  Dead in the water.  It’s been nearly three weeks since he has lead in any polls anywhere, for what little that’s worth.  The last one that I read where he had a lead was a poll with a remarkably small voter pool.  Only 301 people polled.  You couldn’t get reliable poll numbers with a sample that small a number of people polled here on Staten Island, population 500,000.  To use that for a national poll is ridiculous.

But then again most polls are pretty damn ridiculous to begin with.  Think about this.  The largest sample size for any poll is 1,200 people polled by gallup.  That is .000009% of the voting population, using the amount of people who voted in the 2008 Presidential election as a template.

I just don’t see how it can be accurate, at least not for the nation as a whole.  And yet the numbers these people come up with are overall at least somewhat correct.  Perplexing.  Most polls from 2008 (to use that election as an example) were close, but they were a fair bit off in a number of instances, and one could make the presumption that it was too small a sample size hurt at least a bit.

Don’t remember it, you say?  Let me remind you.  Gallup had then Senator Obama winning by 11 percentage points, as did Reuters/Zogby.  Both with a MOE (margin of error) under 3 points.  Battleground had the Senator Obama winning by only 2 %, with an MOE of 3.5%.  And of all the major pollsters, 15 organizations, only 2 of them nailed it.  Two.

He actually won with 52.9% of the vote, and by significantly less than the 11%, and more than the 2% given in the above examples.  It does surprise that the pollsters get as close as they do, but the fluctuations in those numbers, and the reason that a lot of these guys miss when they do is due to a number of factors, methinks.

An important one beyond small sample size is wording of questions.  I’ve read a number of these things, and you would be surprised at how biased most of these things are.  Even the ones that claim to be non-partisan have some level of bias in them.  I have not ever seen a single one without it, and that bias leads the answerer to take that bias into consideration when answering the questions asked.

If you ask a series of  questions about a candidate early in a poll, then ask about that candidate and whether someone would vote for them, the prior questions asked will obviously affect those answers, which in turn affects the poll numbers, which in turn affect the people who read and believe the poll.  It’s called the snowball effect.

Pollsters seem to not realize this.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

With Arms Outstretched

Pic of the day:  La Perspective (View through the Trees in the Park of Pierre Crozat) by Antoine Watteau

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O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
To spend that shortness basely were too long,
If life did ride upon a dial’s point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.

William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I Act V scene ii

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With arms outstretched I reach for the ceiling and yawn loudly with a bit of rasp and growl.  Sitting up after stretching towards the sky, I lean forward and reach for the ground, palms down and back arched, slowly moving my shoulders forward and back in a swimming motion.  I arch my head up and look at the ceiling as best I can while in that position, with a snarl on my face.  My lower back is tight, as it always is after sitting for extended periods of time.

When getting up out of the chair, my lower back remains bent in an unnatural position for a few steps.  I have to lean forward and stick my ass out in order to move, and it takes an effort of will to stand up straight and untangle the knot in my back.  I smile at this.  Doesn’t bother me overmuch.  I’m in my 40’s, I’m supposed to be a little stiff and beat after working and living the way I do.  A man who doesn’t have some kind of issues like that at my age simply hasn’t worked all that hard.

And that’s what gets the smile out of me.

The smile turns almost immediately back into a grimace as the pain that was sitting quietly and patiently in my hamstrings and hips decides now is the perfect time to jump up and grab my attention.  In response to this I release a little bit of pain barking “sonofoabitch” and twisting hard to the left while lifting my right knee straight up, then twisting the other way and lifting the other knee.  I do each a few times.  The movement seems to relieve the pain enough to not have it be a bother.

I throw a few punches at the air, as if to declare my intent to fight the pain.  In actuality I do it to get the blood flowing.  Movement keeps the pain at bay.  If I sat still I’d be a damn mess, and I have no idea how people do it.    I couldn’t sit around all day.  Chairs cause pain.  Sitting isn’t something humans were meant to do for extended periods of time.

Other things hurt too, not just sitting.  Running kills my hamstrings, beats my feet, slams my calves.  But that pain I don’t mind so much.  I put that pain there on purpose, and it’s fun to be honest.  Not the pain, but everything else around it.  And since that pain comes with all the good stuff that running brings, I’ve grown accustomed to it, it’s a small inconvenience.

Sitting brings me nothing, so that pain seems larger, and is to be avoided.  Running brings me joy, so that pain seems smaller, and is tolerable.

It’s all a matter of what you’re willing to live with and why.  Why is always the most important question.

Time to put on the old beat up run shoes and get ready to run.  The thought of running cuts through the pain, dissipates it.  The shoes have probably seen over 1000 miles, the feet over 10,000 miles, how many exactly I don’t know, or care.  It’s just a number.  The road kills most of the pain, which makes the number of miles on it matter not at all.  The road is all that matters, and I’m headed for it.

Happiness  is out there on that road.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Not Quite Late Night Idle Talk

Pic of the day:  Xian Museum.  A photo of the Terracotta Army.

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I am so not ready for baseball season at this point.  I’ve watched maybe 2 innings of exhibition baseball so far this year.   As a matter of fact I don’t think I’ve watched much in the way of sports in a dogs age.  No hockey, no nothing, haven’t watched a single second of March madness.

So what have I watched?  When I watch anything lately I watch on my roku box.  I’ve been busy watching netflix, the TWiT network, and  nowheretv, which has a boatload of interesting things on, most notably the prelinger archives and NPR and PRI, which usually have things on that are between 2 and 5 minutes in length.

I write which keeps my eyes busy, so I guess you could say I’ve been busy watching myself write, though admittedly I haven’t done nearly enough of it for my liking.

I guess I’m too damn busy having a life, working(when I’m working,) keeping myself in shape and running around working around das rhino hacienda to watch that much of anything.

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Lazy old me has been looking at the news with some level of bemusement today.  Seems a bunch of people are looking very,very,very hard at every word being spoken in the halls of justice, or what passes for that here, as if today’s words somehow hold the key to the final judgment that the court will pass on, and that it will pass that judgment on tomorrow.

Doesn’t work like that.

All the hemming and hawing about the affordable healthcare act is a bit premature.  Everyone who thinks it’s death knell is nigh or that it will come through all right or that parts will be cut but parts left untouched (if that’s possible I do knot know) will have to wait some time before things finally play out.  It’s not like the Supreme court will finish deliberating this stuff tomorrow and come up with a decision Thursday.

It’ll take a while before the court hands down it’s decision here.  It’s like that with all of it’s decisions.  Expect weeks and maybe more before the final verdict is read in open court.  And with the court being as fickle a beast as it is, don’t expect it to make the judgment you want or think is right.  And the mandate may yet survive, though justice Kennedy being the libertarian he is, and the swing vote on many matters, it may not.

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Most men think dramatically, not quantitatively, a fact that the rich would be wise to remember more than they do. We are apt to contrast the palace with the hovel, the dinner at Sherry’s with the workingman’s pail, and never ask how much or realize how little is withdrawn to make the prizes of success. (Subordinate prizes — since the only prize much cared for by the powerful is power. The prize of the general is not a bigger tent, but command.)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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Whatever you do America, avoid taking flight 191! Apparently a captain on a flight for JetBlue (who else?) lost his zarking mind and started ranting like a loon about Iraq and al-qaida or some such crap.  Wasn’t flying easier and better for everyone when there was no homeland security and the pilots could get loaded and be relaxed about things?

Whatever else you do, don’t count lulzsec out just yet.  A few weeks after the story that broke about lulzsec being taken down, it seems they are back.  The group has hacked a military singles sight and the global IT company CSS.  Military singles had one hundred seventy thousand accounts exposed, and CSS had it’s entire corporate e-mail database exposed.  So much for the end of lulzsec!  Hold on to your passwords kids, it’s gonna be a bumpy night!

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Worn out.  Beat.  Tired.  That is me.  Which is surprising seeing how I didn’t work today, and slept til nearly 9:00 am.  Maybe it’s this lingering cold that has been dancing through my system for the last 2+ weeks, never really a full blown cold but never gone that’s doing me in.  I dunno.  But I just don’t want to do anything.  So it is almost lucky for me that I had no work today, and none for tomorrow.  I don’t really need motivation to work, I like working but when it’s a chore to reach for the remote, then there’s an issue.

Probably has something to do with the medicine I take, which is fairly stimulant heavy.  There’s only so much of that crap one can take over time, I guess.  Which is why even though my nose is still dripping like a leaky faucet I’ve stopped taking the medicine.  When the medicine is worse than the illness the medicine has to go, ya know?

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

A Matter Of Trust

Heard a statement today from Rick Santorum today which made me laugh.  Not “haha that’s funny” laugh, but a “haha, you must be a friggin idiot” laugh.  Sweatervestman said that if President Obama is re-elected that it would be “The end of Freedom in America as we know it.”

You heard that right, A Republican, a man of the party that brought us the concept of warrantless wiretapping of Americans and of water-boarding as a legitimate means of interrogation (coming to a police station near you?) now claims that the man who took out OBL, the greatest threat to America since the end of the cold war is somehow an enemy of the people.

How can you trust a statement like this from a republican?  They claim that the affordable health care act is a government takeover of healthcare, despite the fact that government will not take over health care.  No forcing doctors to become government employees, like in Britain.  No government paying all your bills like in Canada.  No take over, despite all their bullshit.

Republicans said that since they took control of the house they would publish the text of bills 3 days in advance of votes on the house floor.  Nope.  The ball has been dropped on this one on a number of important pieces of legislation on a number of occasions, including legislation to defund NPR and last August’s near government default.

Or maybe I could make the point by stating the lie from the Romney campaign that says The President is trying to end Medicare as we know it, or maybe  that taxing the rich will slow economic growth, when all evidence points in the opposite direction.  Or that the President  is limiting development of American oil shale, when the opposite is true.  Or that taxing the rich would not raise much money.

If you taxed those 400 richest people in America at the same rate that you and I paid, America would have half a trillion dollars extra in their coffers over the next ten years.

So when America hears Sweatervest-man, or any other Republican make statements like this, we all know it’s a giant bunch of crap.

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The hardest part about gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche. As long as that niche is occupied, evidence and proof and logical demonstration get nowhere. But once the niche is emptied of the wrong idea that has been filling it — once you can honestly say, “I don’t know”, then it becomes possible to get at the truth.

Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

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Pic of the day:  The Money Counter, by Pompeo Massani

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That’s about it from here, America.  G’night.

Shallower?

Pic of the day:  Boats and Moon, By Katsushika Hokusai

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I don’t offhand recall why exactly the thought came up.  I was running when it happened, and I tend to mull over the more important issues in my life when I run, because I think most clearly and creatively when I am running. It’s part of the reason I love to run, one of thousands.  But while I was running I was struck with a very deep and profound nihilism.  It manifested itself to me first with a stark ambivalence about my work that I did not know existed in my heart.  I’m going to go over, and beyond the thread of that initial thought here.

I understand the reason for it though.  It is in my head that I will find out soon whether the people at my job want me around enough to hire me full time, and I now realize that I am not as confident about it, or myself in my work as I once thought I was.  So it seems that I am, to protect myself psychologically from the potential shock of yet another disappointment on the job front, disassociating myself from the job.

Then I ended up thinking of things that push my mind away, then towards the possibility of that loss.  Personalizing small events that occur at work and turning them into a reason for them to want me around, or not want me around if I’m feeling like that.  Then I get annoyed as hell because I always tell myself I’m not the kind of person who thinks this kind of thing.

Seemed to me that thinking these things while I was running was my way of getting crap out of my system, crap that was a real annoyance and not right for me.

Why am I feeling ambivalent about my work, beyond the simple “I might lose my job.” bullshit?  There is something deeper(or shallower?) than that there. I run through my mind every emotion I had felt over the last few months on the job and came away amazed.  I have a profoundly negative view of the job when I break it down, negativity I did not want to admit to myself existed.  Looking back, there are a great many points in the day that have me feeling the exact same way that working in office services did.

I was shocked.  And then I asked why I felt that way.  I asked myself if it was the work that did it, was it people, was it me that had me feeling the same way about this job as I did about the job I did for over 2 decades? I found after thinking about each person there that there were elements of each that were at play, and more.

There are people at every job that are assholes. Can’t be helped, it’s as inevitable as the sunrise that you’ll work for and with assholes.  There are portions of the job that are truly fucking tedious.  Paperwork is makework, it is evil, it is stupid, it is useless, it is pointless, it is wrong, only the devil, corporate CEO’s, and their cunt flunkies could possibly give a monkey fuck about them.  There is a better way, this is the 21st century, dependence on 5th century chinese technology (printing) is antiquated and wrong.  And I just have a bad attitude about work somedays.

But I also found that being out of work had given me a view of a world that I desperately want to be a part of.  One where I was not constrained by schedule, where I could get everything done that I needed on my time, not someone else’s.  To have to go and do it for them when they want me to grates the nerves.  Entirely greedy on a personal level, I know, but dammit there has to be a way, or put another way;

Boo-hoo, poor Mikey has to set his alarm clock and other such statements.  😛

Never show a slave the key to his chains, and a path to freedom, or that slave will dream of nothing but that key forevermore, and is never a slave again.  And every time I think of that freedom to do what I want when I want, it pushed happiness further and further away.

Freedom gained and lost.  That was the real reason for my dilemma.  Is money, not great money mind you, just a paycheck that may keep me out of the poorhouse, but never buy me a home, high enough a price to pay for my time?  Why is freedom of movement (for lack of a better term) something you must give up in order to live in this society?  Who decided that should be part of the social contract?

People have said it for as long as I have lived, and for ages before.  There has to be a better way.

Dammit, I need a full time permanent job so I get rid of some of this bullshit that’s dancing between my ears.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.