Monkey, Cats, and Einstein

Pic of the day:  Monkey and Cats, by Yu Yuangji (11th century)


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Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein

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Viddy of the day:  Albert Einstein Radio interview 1940

The  mindset spoken of in this video in general, and in particular beginning around the 4th minute of this video seems to be missing in America nowadays.  But then again, people and times have changed.  We have become more selfish, less good to one another.

Just, tolerant, and reasonable; to use the phrase at the end of the viddy, that is what we were, and what we must be again if we are to regain our greatness as a nation.  It is doable.  And I think we will, but it will take time and patience on the part of those of us who believe in that vision of America to get those who want to divide us to stop being divisive and work for the greater good of America, and not just the selfish aims of selfish individuals.

Just thinking out loud…

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Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.

Albert Einstein

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

A Quick Look At Last Night’s Festivities From the RNC

Pic of the day: Jabberwocky, by John Tenniel

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The charlatan takes very different shapes according to circumstances; but at bottom he is a man who cares nothing about knowledge for its own sake, and only strives to gain the semblance of it that he may use it for his own personal ends, which are always selfish and material.

Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena

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There is actually much less to grasp a hold of and actually talk about in Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the RNC last night than there was in Paul Ryan’s speech the night before. There was simply much less meat in the speech, less actual talk about what he would do.

He did attack the President in a few places, but they were pretty damned weak attacks, I have gone after the President harder than Mitt Romney did last night.

He made a big point of saying that America isn’t better off now than it was 4 years ago. And I can tell you from personal experience that that is a hairy load of bulllshit. 4 years ago the economy was hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands a jobs a month, the stock market was in the shitter, and Oil was at $147 dollars a barrel back then.

Oil is still to damned high, but it is lower in price, as low as the market will allow it to fall. The Job market has not skyrocketed, obviously. But what has happened is that it has stabilized. Is it growing? No. Should it be growing? Maybe. With the amount of shock the American financial system took thanks to the laissez-faire system that the Bush ownership society foisted on us, it is mighty hard for me to imagine things ever really coming back the way they were.

McCain would not have been able to do better. No one could have done more, and with less than President Obama has with the economy, given what he had to work with, and how unwilling the Republicans were to work with him on anything. Never did they come up with a coherent plan to help, just partisan bullshit that was hostile towards the American dream.

For eight years, The Republicans created a new normal like Pinochet created a new normal in Chile when he took over there. Chile was financially much stronger before Pinochet. It was much more vibrant and robust, like America was Pre-Dubya. Pinochet, like Dubya and the Republicans took over and wrecked the place, destroyed the economy and the nation. Difference between Pinochet and the Republicans of the first 8 years of this century in America is that in America they didn’t need to use a military junta to impose their bullshit on the people.

And that in a nutshell is what Romney wants to bring back to America.

Pinochet without all the disappearing people.

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Now some specifics.

Romney says the President’s tax hikes on small business will eliminate jobs. That despite the fact that there have been 18 small business tax cuts, and the bulk of stimulus money went to small businesses. Mitt needs to read up on reality before speaking.

Mitt said that the Presidents assault on coal, oil and gas will send manufacturing jobs oversees. For a reality check, note that during the end of the Bush administration, oil went as high as $147 a barrel. Right now, WTI crude futures are at $96.47 a barrel. We are now less dependent on foreign oil than we have been in years. We are producing more oil than we have in nearly a decade. There are more American oil rigs working now than have ever worked before.

Tell me again how the President is assaulting oil and gas? Oh, and coal? The coal industry is stronger under the President. More people are working in the coal industry. The stimulus put billions of dollars into coal mining, and there is an emphasis being put in the industry not only to burn coal in a more clean manner (despite all the rhetoric there is no such thing as clean coal, but apparently they’re trying to get it cleaner) and make work conditions safer for the workers who do the dangerous work there.

So much for that point. Many of Mitt’s points against the President were of this variety, the easy to dismiss variety.

The speech mirrored Mr. Romney pretty accurately. Mitt is easy to dismiss and is full of crap, just like his speech.

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And thank you Mr. Eastwood for bringing us Invisible Obama and Eastwooding.

You are a good man, Mr. Eastwood, with the courage of your convictions, and you showed that last night. The speech was a flop though. You muffed it, pretty badly. All the stopping and starting, and hemming and hawing sounded bad. You sounded like a down on his luck actor who has forgotten his lines. Because you had. Should’ve stuck with the script though, Clint. That’s what it’s there for.

For inadvertent comedy though… dude. You win. You. Just. Win. You should smile, Mr. Eastwood, at last nights speech.

Then go have a therapeutic yell at some other invisible people in fine bentwood chairs. Bentwood is just a personal choice on my part, you can use whatever style you like. Just don’t let’em tell you to go fuck yourself. No reason to take that kind of abuse, none at all.

🙂

I’ll always think of you as The Outlaw Josey Wales, Mr. Eastwood, no matter your intentions last night. You were and are a great and good man, the moment had it’s way with you, that’s all.

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

Schiele/Vidal

Pic of the day, part i:  Death and The Maiden, by Egon Schiele

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The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western World. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent.

Gore Vidal,  A View from the Diner’s Club

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Damn I am tired.  After spending the day running around, from 7:00 am when I got up to now, 16+ hours later, I have nothing left, so, as a consequence, I think a short video about Egon Schiele I found on Youtube.  And that’s about it.  Gore Vidal can supply the political commentary for the night.

My commentary on the political world tomorrow, methinks. For now enjoy the art, I’m going to bed.

Viddy of the day:  EGON SCHIELE

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Porträt von Wally, by Egon Schiele

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It is notable how little empathy is cultivated or valued in our society. I put this down to our traditional racism and obsessive sectarianism. Even so, one would think that we would be encouraged to project ourselves into the character of someone of a different race or class, if only to be able to control him. But no effort is made.

Gore Vidal, Screening History

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

 

Saturday Idle Talk

Pic of the day, part i:  Bamboo, by Unknown

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Dogmatism and skepticism are both, in a sense, absolute philosophies; one is certain of knowing, the other of not knowing. What philosophy should dissipate is certainty, whether of knowledge or ignorance.

Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, chapter ii Philosophy for laymen

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Viddy of the day:  The Most Honest Three and a Half minutes of Television, EVER

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I watched the above video and was stunned by it.  Well spoken and well written.  Yes it is for television.  Actors.  Scripts.  Camera angle, lighting.  Made to heighten the depth and feel and dramatic impact of whatever thought the person or persons directing and producing a piece want you to feel.  Usually with varied levels of success.

Aaron Sorkin, the guy who created the West Wing did this, created this show, and frankly knocked it out of the park.  Best political speech of the year so far.

The greatness of America seems like, sounds like, feels like, something in the past.  The economic troubles the country is, or feels it is in, one being as good as the other to the mass of Americans.   The state of our politics, our distrust of leadership that we put in place eats into our ability to feel like anything good is getting done for our combined futures.  And we are moving steadily down the ladder in things that actually matter, and have been doing so for a long long time.

Our kids are not as smart as they used to be.  They…We are not as good at math and science as we used to be.

Our workforce is not as resilient as it used to be.  Jobs are things that disappear and never come back, whole industries dry up, seemingly never to return.

Our leaders are followers. They follow the talking heads on TV like they’re trained dogs.

Our military is too large for the small threats that the world presents to us.

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The viddy is from a new HBO series called the Newsroom.  The scene above shoots holes in the empty rhetoric of American greatness, and I believe that whoever wrote that bit is 100% correct, not just with facts but everything. The way it was portrayed, stated, struck a chord.  I want America to be great, but I want that greatness to be real. Not just canned rhetoric that the media and politicians use when they want us to feel good about being … us.

Which they do all the time.

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Pic of the day, part ii:  Tiger, by Isen’in Hoin Eishin

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The world at present is obsessed by the conflict of rival ideologies, and one of the apparent causes of conflict is the desire for the victory of our own ideology and the defeat of the other. I do not think that the fundamental motive here has much to do with ideologies. I think the ideologies are merely a way of grouping people, and that the passions involved are merely those which always arise between rival groups.

Bertrand Russell, What desires are politically important?

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

Words by George Carlin

Pic of the day, part i:  The Plague of Ashdod, by  Nicolas Poussin

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Today’s paintings, as always, are for the people who love the art.  As I have been doing of late, the art is from the Louvre, and it is going to be that way for a while.  There is enough great art there in my current 2 painting a day format to keep me at this for a long time with art from there.  As long as there is great art that I can share, I will share it.

Enjoy the art, enjoy the Carlin quotes, enjoy the video and have a good night.

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4 years ago today, the best comedian this side of anywhere died.  George Carlin was about the funniest comedian the world has ever seen. The quotes here today are an homage to him.  I would add commentary, but he was vastly better at it than I, so I’ll let him speak this night, though he is dead and I am very much alive.

Plus, the dead fuck is still funnier than I am.  That motherfucker.

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Viddy of the day:  George Carlin on Our Similarities.

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America’s leading industry, America’s most profitable business, is still the manufacture, packaging, distribution and marketing of bullshit. High-quality, grade-A, prime-cut, pure, American bullshit. And the sad part is, that most people seem to have been indoctrinated to believe that bullshit only comes from certain places, certain sources: advertising, politics, salesmen – not true. Bullshit is everywhere. Bullshit is rampant. Parents are full of shit, teachers are full of shit, clergymen are full of shit, and law enforcement people are full…of…shit – this entire country. This entire country is completely full of shit, and always has been. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the Star-Spangled Banner, it’s still nothing more than one big steaming pile of red, white and blue, all-American bullshit. Because, think of how we started. Think of that. This country was founded by a group of slave-owners who told us all men are created equal. Oh yeah, all men, except for Indians and niggers and women, right? I always like to use that authentic American language. This was a small group of unelected, white, male, land-holding, slave-owners who also suggested their class be the only one allowed to vote. Now, that is what’s known as being stunningly and embarrassingly full of shit. And I think Americans really show their ignorance when they say they want their politicians to be honest. What are these fuckin’ cretins talking about? If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse!

George Carlin, You are all diseased

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Pic of the day, part ii: Vanity, by unknown

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Now if you think you do have rights, one last assignment for you. Next time you’re at the computer, get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, I want you to type in “Japanese Americans 1942” and you’ll find out all about your precious fucking rights, Okay? All right. You know about it. In 1942, there were 110,000 Japanese American citizens in good standing, law-abiding people who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That’s all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had: “Right this way” into the internment camps! Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most, their government took them away! And rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. You see all, sooner or later. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government does not give a fuck about them! The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. It simply does not give a fuck about you! It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.

George Carlin, It’s Bad for Ya

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

Far To Go

Pic of the day:  Entry of Alexander into Babylon, by Charles Le Brun

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Reagan’s story of freedom superficially alludes to the Founding Fathers, but its substance comes from the Gilded Age, devised by apologists for the robber barons. It is posed abstractly as the freedom of the individual from government control—a Jeffersonian ideal at the roots of our Bill of Rights, to be sure. But what it meant in politics a century later, and still means today, is the freedom to accumulate wealth without social or democratic responsibilities and license to buy the political system right out from everyone else.

Bill Moyers

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8 days of work in two weeks.  10 would be better but 8 isn’t bad.  It’ll help me pay the bills.   But that doesn’t mean I am resting on my laurels.  I am back to looking for full time work.  Because no matter what, until I have a full time permanent job with benefits, I’m just a temp.  Part-timers don’t get benefits.  Part-timers rarely get enough work to make ends meet.  Part-timers don’t get anything but the short end of the stick.

And I’m beginning to get sick of that end of the stick.

I understand that there isn’t always work for me where I am now.  But I cannot wait for their needs and my needs to come together.  I have been waiting for that for nine months.  It isn’t happening.  I have been told it won’t happen.  That the list is full.  There are other places, other jobs and I have begun to look in earnest at them.

In time I will finally land that permanent job.  In time my needs will be met.  This bad luck with finding permanent work cannot last forever.

Nothing does, so there is hope.  But I have far to go before that hope is realized.

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Reading the news headlines can be misleading sometimes.  You can read two different headlines about the same person and the same story and come away with two entirely different pictures of what went on. And that is part of the reason I do not trust the media. I will read and watch things there, I will comment on them, think on them, sometimes even act on them.  But trust?  Never.

One story by the the Wall Street Journal (I go to them occasionally because they are partisan bastards and make no bones about it) said that Jamie Dimon got off easy during the senate hearing he was part of today.   Stories from both Politico and the Washington Post referred to his testimony as a grilling.

It’s testimony folks.  Report the testimony.  Dimon’s words. Congresses words.  Provide context.  If you can paint pictures as divergent as these examples on something as easily identifiable  and simple as congressional testimony, someone missed the context, and the point.  Big money has tossed journalism into the shitter.

Gonna watch the testimony later and find out.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

As a matter of fact, here’s a snippet of the testimony.  Judge for yourself.  Can’t call it grilling, per se, but it’s pertinent, intelligent questioning.

Viddy of the day:  Reed Questions JPMorgan Chase and Company CEO Jamie Dimon

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And yet I am about the happiest man on earth.  My wife, gone on business for a week is finally back home.  Love that woman, and I am happy that she is back in my arms.

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

 

Rest

Pic of the day: Even in Arcadia, I, by Nicolas Poussin

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Fast asleep? It is no matter;
Enjoy the honey-heavy dew of slumber;
Thou hast no figures nor no fantasies,
Which busy care draws in the brains of men;
Therefore thou sleep’st so sound.

William Shakespeare, Julius Caeser, act ii, scene i

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Viddy of the day:  Wayne Brady at the RTCA dinner.

 

Wayne Brady is damn funny. Watch his work on “Whose Line Is It Anyway” if you don’t believe me.  Even with the crap they gave him to work with in this particular show, he made it shine in this video from the RTCA dinner.  Had me rolling in a couple of those sequences.

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Slow days are happy days as they happen, busy ones only in retrospect.  That’s why I prefer the slower ones, you can enjoy them as they happen.  Today was a slow day.  A slow happy day.  Nothing particular happened today of note.  I needed to relax a bit and have me a slow day, the last week had been really physically taxing.  After a few weeks off because there was no work, I had a full week of work.  The work was intense.  Some of the marble pieces I had to move were bigger than I am.  After some time off running I began my running regime again.  Sore as hell at this point, but resting and feeling better because of it.

I need more sleep, but don’t we all?

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No news today.  I’ve been reading it and some of the news is really troubling, but there is plenty of time to write about Syria and all Russia is doing to prop up Assad, and the joy of the Spanish bailout later.

There are a great many things going on in the world that need attention.  But how many need my attention?  Not many to be honest.  I am human, flesh and blood, mortal.  I can’t stand here and yell about the world and all the crap it throws at us every day.  I need rest, and this is a rare rest day for me.

Right now I am gonna sit back, play guitar, and enjoy myself for one night.  Hell, I might even play a game or two on the computer.

You go relax too.  But finish watching the video, the song at the end has some choice bits in it.

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