Friday, September 23, 2022
I guess my brain is wired somewhat differently than it is for most people. I even have vivid memories from my eighth month of life, which I believe is somewhat unusual.
The statute of limitations has passed and the decades have melted away so I guess I can spill a personal story that might make you laugh, who knows?
I believe that the year was 1984. Art Fleming had left Jeopardy in 1979 as did announcer Don Pardo, and after a brief John Harlan tenure, it was the new guy Alex Trebec and Johnny Gilbert.
Never liked Alex as much as Art but maybe it was because I was sore after my personal experience and ultimate failure or perhaps it was his politics or general attitude. Who knows?
I was involved in home building at the time and living in Rainbow. I moved there in 1980 with my then wife D. People who knew about my penchant for trivia were always telling me that I should try out for the game show Jeopardy.
So I did.
If my memory serves, and I believe that it does, I took a written test in a large building up in Hollywood. There were over two hundred applicants. The test had approximately 183 questions, very hard actually.
We went home and awaited the results. They got in touch with me, I had nailed a phenomenal score. I only missed three questions and they all had to do with opera, never my strong suit. Only two other people scored as high or nearly as high. We three were the only people that passed the test and were sent to the next level of testing.
We were called back to Hollywood a few weeks later for an oral interview. And I made a fatal mistake, you see I smoked a joint in the car to kill time for the boring early morning two hour drive. I was feeling very mellow. Too mellow.
When I got to the interview I was introduced to a black guy with a huge diamond on his pinkie and a John Shaft type beret over his immaculate fro, fluorescent polyester pants and shirt. City boy. I'm sitting there like a hayseed in my overalls. Hippie Jed Clampett.
He asked me to talk about myself and I took the absolutely worst tack possible. I tried to describe what it was like raising chickens on my avocado farm in Fallbrook. This went over with my intensely urban host like a fart in church. He was having none of the hippie hayseed going on about his backyard fowl. Bad move on my part, I could see his shutters come down fast. Failure to resonate.
I watched the next potential contestant do her thing, Miss bubbly and effervescent. She was giddy and enthusiastic, everything I wasn't, jumping
and up and down and smiling like a Cheshire cat and the dude just ate it up. I guess you could say she did everything I should have done and you would probably be right but I was young and naive and thought that knowing all the answers was good enough.
Long story short, she got the gig, I was quickly shown the door and the rest was history. Failed the oral interview. I had my shot and I blew it, my chance at the big time went up in sativa smoke. Not enough to know it all, you have to be able to read the room. Branding and marketability was key and obviously the urban gent just could not relate to whatever the hell I was projecting at that point of my life.
Another Russian official dies in a mysterious "accident." Putin and his cronies are below contempt, bloodsucking ghouls.
Sounds like an awful lot of bad luck, huh? I was thinking about China's premier now cementing his status as "Dictator for life." First Putin, then XI. And you know what, if Trump had actually won the last election, we probably would be facing the same thing here right now. The man who could not get off the stage. Orange President for Life. Think McCarthy or McConnell would utter a peep?
Russia is holding sham referendums in four areas, and in order to eventually annex them into the motherland and protect the rights of Russian speakers in the eastern Ukraine.
Can you imagine if Mexico started fighting to reclaim Chula Vista and Imperial Beach in order to "save" the Spanish speaking population there? My guess is that we wouldn't like it too much. Stand with Ukraine.
It is quite possible that the internal Russian reaction to the mass mobilization is the tipping point to bring the feral Putin down, could not happen soon enough. "How do I break my own arm?" was one of the hottest search phrases on the Russian internet yesterday, I don't think the citizenry is really down with Vlad's expansionist pursuits. Costs the equivalent of about $9k to get out of Russia yesterday, probably a lot higher today.
Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons to end the conflict, I believe that it would be the last thing they ever did.
When we were in Chicago I chanced upon this group from the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge. They are part of a larger movement of Black Hebrew Israelites, who believe that they are true descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel. Anti white, anti gay, anti semitic, black supremacists, I guess it takes all kinds.
I have seen members of this group get pretty loud and nasty in New York, this gathering was pretty tame, comparably.
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Probably most of you are aware that the New York Attorney General is alleging that ex President Donald Trump and three of his kids fraudulently deceived his lenders by inflating the value of his real estate holdings, not just a little but at times by a factor of nine or ten. He not only fudged on the stated value, up or down, depending if he was talking to a tax man or a banker but also on the square footage of the properties. Trump valued his Fifth Avenue penthouse at $327 million dollars (a price never paid before for a NYC apartment) but he also inflated the actual square footage to three times its actual size.
“We found that Trump, his family, and the Trump Org used fraudulent and misleading asset valuations over 200 times in 10 years on his annual financial statements. These statements were then used to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and insurance coverage.” Letitia James
In typical Trump fashion, he is blaming the lenders for his falsehoods, he says that they failed to do their due diligence. Basically, it was their fault for believing him in the first place. And in the end, everybody got paid, at least according to 45. Cheating is evidently a time honored part of the game, expected really.
...in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Trump said his company’s financial disclosures warned banks not to trust the information provided.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
It looks like 45's good luck might be finally coming to an end in this case. Neither the Special Master nor the 11th circuit is buying his baloney. If you are saying the documents are declassified say it, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.
This is the government definition of a declassified document.
Declassified documents originally contained classified information that was either removed or redacted, or the information was determined to no longer require protection under E.O. 13526, rendering the document unclassified. Executive Order 13526 establishes the mechanisms for most declassifications, within the laws passed by Congress. The originating agency assigns a declassification date, by default 10 years. After 25 years, declassification review is automatic with nine narrow exceptions that allow information to remain as classified. At 50 years, there are two exceptions, and classifications beyond 75 years require special permission. Because of changes in policy and circumstances, agencies are expected to actively review documents that have been classified for fewer than 25 years. They must also respond to Mandatory Declassification Review and Freedom of Information Act requests. The National Archives and Records Administration houses the National Declassification Center to coordinate reviews and Information Security Oversight Office to promulgate rules and enforce quality measures across all agencies. NARA reviews documents on behalf of defunct agencies and permanently stores declassified documents for public inspection. The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel has representatives from several agencies.
Declassification is a complex ritual, records have to be kept and there has to be a chain of custody. But not according to Trump apparently. One needs to merely think about them and poof, like magic they are declassified, end of story.
The presto magic defense, I really don't think he is going to get very far with this mode of thinking. What brilliant lawyer came up with this one, John Eastman or Jeffrey Clark?
He can try to put everything back in front of the friendly judge but at this point she may need to start showing some objectivity to save her reputation, she will be forever known as the jurist who laid down for her master and concocted a ridiculous defense for him out of whole cloth.
But perhaps she doesn't even care. Will be interesting to see.
I am not a border hawk or anti immigrant. My father was an immigrant as were my mother's parents. But they came to this country legally and took their citizenship very seriously. Did everything the right way. Didn't demand anything and were grateful for the freedom and opportunity that America gave them. Worked their ass off and realized the American dream, never became a burden on society.
Most people seeking entry to this country today are also just looking for a better life for their families. I admire that. But unfortunately, there is a limit to how many people we can accept in this country and how many of the world's downtrodden we can actually handle. We have a right to only accept a finite number and we have a right to secure borders. As much as we would like to, it is simply not possible for us to solve all of the world's problems. Don't break the rules and then demand citizenship, that is not the way it works.
We don't see an explosion of illegals here in the North County, we have a large immigrant community of Mexicans and Guatemalans in Fallbrook that have been here a long time and are pretty well integrated.
But I guess things are quite different in Texas and Arizona. So different that the Vice President was called on her platitudes by a fellow democrat last week, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D - Texas.)
Or so I thought anyway...
It was supposed to come sometime between Thursday and Tuesday, was hoping for the former so that I could haul some stuff but no luck.
Inside was this small cardboard note, thank you for your order.
I thought that was nice, to send a note, but where was the large package?
Sameclub or Claudia Mart LLC are Texas or Wyoming ripoff artists and I had been had. Turns out that there have been a bunch of scams reported at their Sheridan address. Next time I go to a tangible store and put my hands on the item before I give them my money. Tangible goods. Still, the card was a nice touch...
Monday, September 19, 2022
Point of no return? Chaotic tipping points.
Why I will never buy a Tesla.
...Among DeSantis' high-profile supporters are podcast host Joe Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and billionaire and Trump megadonor Peter Thiel.
Yentas and fake toes?
Sunday, September 18, 2022
I am wading through the last episode of the Tolkien based Rings of Power. The series is awful, but not quite as bad as the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit film series was. I am a committed Tolkienologist, have read pretty much everything J.R.R. ever wrote, multiple times, and all of the film adaptations have been dreadful, in my opinion. Overly sentimental and lacking in majesty.
I can't stand the deviations from the original (e.g. the lack of Tom Bombadil) in the previous films and the complete takeover of Tolkien's universe in the new one where stories are created out of whole cloth. Was that really necessary?
Now some people are offended by the more multicultural tones of the series. Honestly, I like that. It is the other stuff that bothers me, the need to fill in the gaps of Numenor and the middle earth canon. Sort of like taking a spray can to the Mona Lisa, totally unnecessary.
The Lord of the Rings is almost a religious text for me. How would you like it if I decided to write the new book of Schlomo and drop it in somewhere between Deuteronomy and Leviticus? You would cry apostasy and have me burned at the stake.
And I don't know if you have noticed, but Galadrial and the elves have pretty much been denuded of all their magic. Just a bunch of muggles with pointed ears at this point.
"I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible." Peter ThielPeter Thiel with all of my being and fiber. I loathe him and his philosophy and the candidates he supports and the places he plants his dirty lucre.
Thiel is also a lover of Tolkien. His companies all have Middle earth inspired names, Palantir, Arda, Mithril, Valar, Lembas, Rivendell, etc.
The other day I was reading about his border detection technology, which is called Anduril, after Aragorn's sword. Scary stuff. Never sleeps, never blinks, the high tech Anduril towers spreading along the U.S. border. Funded by Thiel, the autonomous surveillance towers can detect a human from 2.8 km away.
I don't know about you but this seems much more like Mordor type stuff than Lothlorien, I did not know John Ronald Reuel Tolkien but I have read enough about his life to think that he would find his middle earth cosmology being co-opted like this quite horrific, as I do. Raise the Shire, the evil doers are at the gate. And they are not the poor immigrants. The Balrog in the story is Peter Thiel.
This massive fallout shelter includes all of the standard “UPGRADED” amenities: bullet resistant doors, NBC air filtration systems with blast valves and over pressure valves, double counter with sink, shelving for food storage, water pressure pumps, showers, water heaters, grey-water evacuation tanks, grey-water evacuation pumps, 12 volt LED lighting, solar generated charging system with batteries for back-up power, 12 volt TV/DVD combos, infrared security system, fresh water inlet, 120/240 volt inlet, staircase w/ handrail, painted interior and exterior coating/corrosion protection.
I don't know about you but the whole deal seems a bit misguided and short sighted. What will a beautifully decorated concrete box buy you but a ringside seat on the Titanic? How long will your food supply last and do you think that you will have any chance of ever growing something again in the coming nuclear fall out?
What will the fancy expenditure buy you? Most of your family and friends, not to mention the people who helped you amass all that gelt, will probably be toast. Would it be worth it to be the last y chromosome standing, now entrusted to carry on the human species?
I think that I will opt for the demerol liquid morphine shot in the hip. Had one after an early surgery and I was riding on a big soft marshmallow in la la land. Make it quick and make it easy. Personally I would miss my peeps, see no pleasure at all in being the last rich guy standing.
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Ricardo sent this: Oklahoma semi truck full of dildos "lost its load."
America's dead podcast courtesy of Renee.
Jonathan Hill found an old Fallbrook photo on Facebook.
Barry sends this shot over from the Musee D'orsee in Paris.
Shawn sends Red Sprite Lightning!
Don't look now but this year's team looks to be pretty good and are now four and one under their first year head coach Ross Johnson.
They beat Ramona for the first time since 2003 last night, their fourth consecutive victory. From the stats it looks like they have a great junior halfback in Chris Bausch.
Anybody want to go to a game?
Today is my shop's 25th anniversary. Proud to have survived and even flourished at times, has been a good run although the trip was not without its low points.
Lois and Bob brought me a lovely Boston cream celebration cake this morning. We shared it over at Jamie and Kathies' shop.
You know the blog I sent out the other day announcing the shop birthday?
Thanks to all of my friends and clients who have made my dream a reality and have been there for Leslie and I during the ride.
Well I got this rather snarky letter in response from an old friend who used to be an english teacher:
Try Leslie and Me, grammar is your friend...
Thought it was a little bitchy but hey, maybe she was having a bad day. Truth is, it sounded okay to me the way I wrote it. But obviously it was offensive to some. I started looking at the rules for this sort of thing; is it serving as a nominative pronoun or "subject" or a predicate nominative or "object?"
She is right I guess, which I hate. Hope not too many of you were offended. Maybe just enough...
I was listening to a political commentary the other day and a speaker commended his cohort for slipping the word orthogonal into the conversation. I think it is getting a lot of play all of a sudden. Like redound or granular did last year.
But I also realized that I had no idea what it meant. I thought I did but I was reaching. You see I was an architecture/art major and we did orthogonal projections in technical drawing, showing objects in a variety of two and three dimensional views.
Here's the classic definition: Noun. The two-dimensional graphic representation of an object formed by the perpendicular intersections of lines drawn from points on the object to a plane of projection. Also called orthographic projection.
I would look it up.
The other word that has been floating around my quiver of late is a german word, zugzwang. I study a lot of chess and the word frequently comes up. It describes a point in chess or any other game where making any move will only worsen your situation.
The word comes from German Zug 'move' + Zwang 'compulsion', so that Zugzwang means 'being forced to make a move'. Originally the term was used interchangeably with the term zugpflicht 'obligation to make a move' as a general game rule.
Here is an interesting article on the subject from Quanta Magazine, The Secrets of Zugzwang in Chess, Math and Pizzas.
I believe that there is an i ching corollary for just such a state, where everything you might attempt to do will only ultimately turn to shit.
I believe the Chinese word for the hexagram translates to hide under the bed and wait for it all to blow over. And who hasn't been there?
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Not sure why but the blog has been blowing up in Sweden the last few days. Tack så mycket!
I have noticed that there has been a lot of rock and roll gossip on the net recently, most of it decades late. George Harrison thought Rod Stewart an idiot, with the brain the size of a marble. Keith Richards couldn't stand Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin hated Tull. Lou Reed didn't like a host of great musicians including Roxy Music and Frank Zappa who he dismissively sniffed was “the single most untalented person I’ve heard in my life. He’s two-bit, pretentious, academic, and he can’t play his way out of anything.” Which is sort of funny because Zappa was incredibly talented, both as a player and composer and Lou Reed had negligible musical virtuosity, if any. Terrible sense of time, as bad as mine, frankly. Reed also bashed the Who, which is also sort of funny because he later played a lovely duet with Townshend, who could play circles around him.
I was reading something that caught my eye the other day about Jimi Hendrix and his antipathy for Pink Floyd and the "psychedelic" bands.
In an early (January ’67) interview with Unit, Steve Barker asked Hendrix about the burgeoning psychedelic scene. Hendrix didn’t think highly of what was being categorized as “psych” at the time. “When these cats say, ‘Look at the band — they’re playing psychedelic music!’ and all they’re really doing is flashing lights and playing ‘Johnny B. Goode’ with the wrong chords … it’s terrible.”
For whatever reason, Barker followed that by asking if Hendrix had seen Pink Floyd.“I’ve heard they have beautiful lights but they don’t sound like nothing,” Hendrix replied. About 10 months later (November ’67), Barker again interviewed Hendrix for Unit. On that occasion, he asked Hendrix how he got “caught up in the hippie scene.” Hendrix answered by saying the Experience didn’t want to fall into categories like “hippie” and psychedelic.”
“It bothers us because ‘psychedelic’ only means mind-expansion anyway,” he said (via Hendrix on Hendrix). “I can’t hear one single word the Pink Floyd are saying,” he added, somewhat obliquely. “It happens to us, but that’s just anybody’s opinion.”
When I read the part about flashing lights and Johnny B. Goode in the wrong key I had only one thought, he has seen the Grateful Dead! They were the absolute masters of playing Chuck Berry in the wrong key. And often slightly out of tune.
It would have been fun to see Jerry and Jimi jam, that is for sure. East meets west, stylistically. In and out of key.