Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Morning After The Night Before

One of the advantages - and there are many, including the martini - of not tuning in last night is that I can get a really good idea of all that didn't happen in the Annual Pack Of Lies Speech from this morning's reprise on NPR.

Hearing donnie's damage control squad pretty well sums up what a disaster is continuing to unfold for those of us who thought America used to be great until November 2016.

Unfortunately the squirming remnants of last night's festivities also include one that sounds as if the latest Kennedy isn't going to be the NEXT ONE.

Democrats better find somebody pretty soon or 2018 is going to go again to the Know Nothings.

I am assuming that, since the major takeaway from Kennedy's speech is the question of whether he drooled or not means things weren't at a political optimum.

The Making Of A Martini

I didn’t watch The Pack Of Lies Speech last night.

Nor was I willing to invoke the KUOW NPR app to hear the post game analysis about what I assume must have been never ending comment about the pack of lies.

I assume some of the subsidiary subjects were such things as:

How many outright hallucinations were invoked?

How many delusional references were used as bases for major national policies?

How pissed did Melina look?

Were there any porn stars in the audience?

Were they wearing black in solidarity?

That is a pretty entertaining set of possibilities.

It was difficult not to relent and touch the KUOW icon.

Or turn on Apple TV.

But I persevered.

That left a need for something to do instead:

So I made a martini.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Some Images From January 2018

In addition to Eggs Benedict as a refuge from the lies, delusions and hallucinations of donnie, I find images that I have taken to be calming and distracting.

So I am going to offer a few from the first month of this disheartening year, on the evening of the first Pack of Lies Speech by donnie to a roomful of his adoring acolytes, to anyone looking for refuge from that historic atrocity.

lopez super moon 010118 00001


lopez unknown water fowl 010318 00000

lopez genji cat 010318 00000

lopez pine siskin 012218 00001


Monday, January 29, 2018

Eggs Benedict

This is from my web site.

I just felt like getting off the woe is us bandwagon for a day or two.


Eggs Benedict depend upon two deceptively simple-sounding, but in actual fact, viciously difficult processes: whipping egg yolks with butter and poaching an egg.  (If the person preparing the dish has, as I do, a toaster oven that requires not quite two times through the toasting process – the full two times producing charcoal – toasting the English muffin can prove a bit dicey as well.)  This recipe is a hybrid of several that I have tried, both from the proportional component of ingredients and also from the standpoint of the processes involved.  My one  personal contribution is the quantity of lemon juice to be added: none of the recipes calls for enough.  Somewhere just short of the juice of half a lemon – but more than a third – produces a wonderfully lemony, but still richly eggy/buttery taste (I have found, subsequent to writing the preceding directions, that 2.5 tablespoons seems about right). The recipes I have encountered call for lemon juice quantities that produce something tasting somewhere between scrambled eggs that didn’t get done and mayonnaise.  But be careful, because anything over that about-a-third-but-a little-more makes it too lemony.  If you use anything but fresh lemon juice you might as well chalk the exercise up to training to see if you can do it without screwing up the butter and yolk mixing process and throw the results into the garbage disposal or feed them to the dog.  This recipe is for two servings of two eggs.  I go really long on Hollandaise, however, so one might stretch it to three servings, but that wouldn’t be much fun.  I have stress-tested this recipe by occasionally doubling the ingredients, and it still works. 


Three egg yolks
Quarter pound of butter that has been allowed to come to room temperature
Juice of one lemon (I juice the whole thing so I can do an eyeball-calibrated  pour of the juice into the eggs and butter.)
Canadian bacon
Jumbo eggs


Staging and readiness is everything in this recipe. 
In the following order do the following: put a plate in the oven at a low heat; fill your poaching pan with water and put it on an element and turn it on high; fill your double boiler with water and put it on an element and turn it on high; put a cast iron fry pan on an element; split the English muffin and put it in the toaster; separate the yolks from the whites on the three eggs destined for the sauce;  I used to save the whites for some future theoretic use, but since I don’t make meringues, and an omelet without yolks is such a grim endeavor, I faced facts and just throw them out;  I’m obviously not a cook; juice the lemon; put the Canadian bacon in the pan; turn down the poaching pan and the double boiler to low; crack the two jumbo eggs into a water glass; cover the Canadian bacon and turn the element on to high; touch the surface of the interior of the double boiler – where you are going to put the ingredients – to make sure that it is pretty hot; you want to get the yolks hot, but you don’t want to cook them; I use a single piece double walled boiler with a little snout where I put the water in; I can tell things are about right by seeing that the water is about to boil out of the snout; I want it to remain just short of boiling; in any event, when the boiler seems hot enough, turn off the element and depend on residual heat in the water to complete the blending process; you might judge it desirable to turn the element on occasionally during that process; that’s a sort of “feel” thing; when the Canadian bacon begins to sizzle turn it to low; the objective is to slightly caramelize the bacon.

Now you are going to jump into the throat of the funnel.
Put the yolks in the boiler and whip them until they seem to thicken – a little – and maybe a few bubbles appear around the edges.  By the time you are finished there will be some semi cooked and hardened yolk around the edge of the pan.  I haven’t figured out if it’s possible to avoid this, but I know you want to leave it alone; don’t try to blend it in – you will just add lumps to a sauce that is supposed to be without lumps.  When the yolks are as described, above, start adding the butter.  With a dinner knife cut pieces – about a sixth of the cube at a time – and add to the yolks and blend until it is melted and combined.  Repeat this process until all the butter has been added.  Whip a little longer to get the mix really smooth and maybe a little thickened – this would be a good time to consider turning on the heat, on low, again.  Then add the lemon juice.  The mix will turn from medium to dark yellow to a lighter tone.  Whip until the sauce thickens, keeping an eye on the heat or lack of it.  When the sauce is thick take it off the heat and put it on a back element.  Keep an eye on it because it will continue to thicken and before you put it on the eggs you may need to thin it with a LITTLE water.  If that is necessary you probably want to do so with the pan back on the element at low.  I find it best to perform this inspection and adjustment if necessary while the eggs are poaching.  The trick is to not thin it too much and cool it too much when you don’t have enough time to recover because the eggs are almost poached.

The poaching pan should have been bubbling along on low, so turning it up to high should bring it to a boil.  Start the toaster and when the muffins are close to being toasted, the water having been brought to a boil, dump the water glass of eggs into the water and turn the element to low and cover the poacher.  Eggs are weird and can’t be counted on to cook the same way in any sort of sequential lifetime pattern, so you have to watch them, which means taking the lid off and looking occasionally.  When they look somewhere near done I lift them gently to the surface of the water with a slotted spoon to see if the whites are too jiggly.  If the whites are somewhere near done the yolks should be hot but runny which is what you want.  So when the eggs are done turn off the heat, put the muffins on the plate; put the bacon on the muffins; put the eggs (you should have moved pretty quickly with the plate/muffin/bacon steps so that the eggs haven’t gotten over-done) on the bacon.

Pour the Hollandaise over the muffin/bacon/egg assembly.  If you have a double boiler like mine make sure that the snout is pointed uphill so you don’t pour water all over your eggs.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Real Reason Is (Chapter One)

The reason donnie wants massive reduction in immigration, tantamount to eliminating immigration, according to donnie is so that we aren’t overrun with terrorists, rapists and drug lords.

The real reason is, that if we let eleven million who are already here become legal workers with legal paychecks, and let a lot more in every year with legal jobs and legal paychecks there would be a lot of money flowing from those paychecks to Social Security.

That would damage the elimination of Social Security agenda.

It would be harder to make the argument that Social Security is bankrupt with a massive influx of new payments into the fund.

donnie and his agenda-brethren predecessors have done an exceptionally effective job of capturing the entire multi-trillion dollar surplus to date in a “vault full of worthless paper” (their term for United States Treasury Bonds) and they have been hoping to deliver the coup de grace by riding the declining native born work force phenomenon into Social Security oblivion; all those immigrants would make that whole project a lot harder.

I should point out that I have just made up all of this, along with everything in the linked post, above.

Fight shit with shit, I say.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Vault Full Of Worthless Paper

I think I have this straight.

It really doesn’t matter, though.

It’s a good story.

And I like good stories.

And in the post truth, post fact, alternate universe era of donnie, good stories are about all we have left.

So I hope this story has no basis in fact at all.

So I can be just like donnie, railing on about anything that comes to mind with no relation to truth or reality.

Apparently pretty early in the Social Security era there began to build up an alarming surplus.

That was because Social Security coincided with a variety of New Deal programs that created and filled quickly millions of jobs.

So there were a lot of paychecks to take Social Security contributions from.

There were millions of immediately eligible old people waiting to receive the benefits from the program, but the contributions had them covered and then some.

Apparently they were covered by quite a lot and then some.

That situation was alarming because money shouldn’t just sit around.

Anybody with any sense pointed out that all that money and growing ought to be invested.

Having all that money laying around not earning anything was just stupid.

I guess that sort of decision – to invest government money – requires Congress to pass a law.

I guess somewhere back then Congress passed a law.

I guess that the law said that Social Security had to be invested in only one thing.

Social Security surpluses had to be invested in United States Treasury Bonds.

What could be more secure?

And they paid interest, the way bonds do.

Which is so weird, from my point of view, that I always have to stop and think about how that works.

But they do pay interest.

And they are backed by the United States of America.

What could be more secure?

I guess nobody knew about Paul Ryan and Grover Norquist, Ayn Rand and donnie the dildo back then.

I can see how that could happen.

So nobody ever thought that that secure investment of Social Security surpluses in Treasuries could ever become a key talking point for why a quite solvent program was bankrupt.

One more fact that I guess happened is that one reason, probably the real reason, that Social Security funds had to be invested in Treasuries is that that setup made it easy for one branch of the government to borrow money from another branch of the government to finance useful things like wars and defense budgets and have the debt from one branch turn into an asset to another branch.

That’s pretty neat.

I guess that might be true.

So now in the Twenty First Century that neat trick – if you look at it a certain way - can be the basis for railing about Social Security being bankrupt: one branch of the government owes another branch of the government the principal and accumulated interest on trillions of dollars that have been book-cooked via that neat transaction described above.

Lacking any surplus Social Security (because it’s all in Treasuries) is attacked as bankrupt by all the fiscally responsible republicans.

I guess that means that one branch of the government doesn’t acknowledge that a debt exists to another branch (can you spell default?).

I guess that’s the end game of the neat trick described above.

Besides it’s pretty easy to forget that sort of thing.

Most of us Americans barely have the attention span to remember that donnie consorted with a porn star while his wife was giving birth when the new thing, that he decided to fire Mueller last June had just replaced the porn star in our attention span.

So the debt that makes Social Security solvent is easily forgotten.

And that debt has done a lot of good.

Not only can it be railed about as the reason to shut Social Security down, it has provided the funds for great programs like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and each year’s defense budget.

“All they (Social Security) have is a vault full of worthless paper” the republicans rant.

I hope the Chinese don’t hear about that.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Solar Panels: The Real Reason For The Tariff

Recently I saw this on Facebook.

solar panel tariff

Immediately underneath was this comment.

solar panel tariff reply

Since I have heard a lot about the great solar panel tariff I was able to respond with this:


The installer business has been booming for some years due to a 60% drop in the cost of solar panels.

By pumping that price back up it makes the solar option less attractive and - according to several analyses that I have heard – kills off 23,000 INSTALLER jobs.

trump's agenda is obvious: kill off the solar option in America.

That is a nice tactic in the strategy to make coal and oil back into the dominant energy forms that technology and economics have been driving out of business in recent years.

By making solar panels artificially expensive donnie can kill off the technology that the rest of the world is converting to rapidly and keep America forever under a greasy cloud of smoke.

If this company had been a MANUFACTURER they would not be effected positively by the tariff because the Chinese and Germans have paid the entry cost to dominate that part of the solar industry and American companies, due to short sightedness, can't at this late date afford to try to catch up, which they probably couldn't do no matter what their investment.

The only possible good news is that there are a couple small American companies who are manufacturing solar panels with a different material than silicon.

The tariff might help them to get some business competing with newly more expensive silicon.

That might generate a few jobs, but it’s a long way from getting to the economy of scale that allows competitive pricing in a non tariff world, especially with the trump desire to kill the industry.

So we stay with coal and lose 23,000 jobs.

There are 19,000 actual jobs for miners down in the mine, and that number is shrinking: automation and natural gas have continued to kill off coal mining jobs.

Unless donnie goes after natural gas with a surcharge, automation with a jobs tax and makes coal the federally mandated only fuel allowed in power generation.

All of which are probably likely.

As for solar, major countries like China and Germany are rapidly deploying solar, which is one of a number of reasons why they are both enthusiastic members of the Paris Accords.

And in China's case, it's part of their plan for becoming the leader of the world, replacing donnnie’s America.

Which should be easy.

donnie has started destroying or withdrawing from every organization, agreement or relationship that have been the underpinnings of America’s unchallenged position of world leader since 1945.

So we have already given up the position.

Also,we will be too busy being great again.

I Know Nothing

Today donnie was interviewed by the British press.

He was asked about his re-tweet of a hate tweet posted by a far right British hate group, and would he apologize for endorsing the views of that group.

His answer of course was a lie wrapped in multi-level evasion wrapped in hate.

But in essence it was “I know nothing”.

I found that disquieting for two reasons.

First, it was the first public admission of what most of us have known all along.

donnie is just the latest and most malignant form of the old Know Nothing Party.

Second, is even more unnerving.

The only known area that donnie has anything resembling expertise, other than hiring illegal aliens and then stiffing them and the contractors that work on his private company projects is the area of Twitter.

If as he claims, he knows nothing about Twitter, and if that were true, god help us if we ever need him to make any life and death presidential decisions.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

This Is A Good Summary Of How We Got So Screwed

Back in 2012 I was going to be in Paris for five months.

I decided that I needed a blog to post about all the adventures that I knew that I would have during that sojourn.

In 2012, before departing for my five months, I had spent nearly a cumulative year in Paris, life to date, so I was pretty sure I could hit the blog post project running.

I already knew that just getting into the apartment on every new first day was an adventure.

And I knew it only got better with each tick of the clock for whatever precious shred of ones life that one had been privileged to devote to being in Paris

And it pretty much did: I usually posted daily, sometimes twice daily.

That gets to be habit forming.

So when I was back in the United States and subject to all the stimuli that keep me in a constant state of being pissed off I found myself continuing with near daily posts.

I have been back to Paris a number of times since 2012, so there periodically are a lot more Parisian adventures folded into the mix.

But a dominant form of post has been my observations on what is wrong with pretty much everything American.

There is a lot right with everything American, but there is way more wrong than we are supposed to be allowed to realize, acknowledge or admit.

Since the “What’s Right With America” niche is crawling with myriad drooling fools I decided to harness the energy from my being pissed off to participate in a different niche.

I started posting observations on America.

Due to a limited attention span those observations have, if looked at end to end, been brief, fragmented and, from a total construct point of view, incoherent.

Taken individually, I think most of them have merit.

But as anything other than snippets they are valueless.

So I was excited and envious when a friend of mine, yesterday on Facebook, in less than seven hundred words, glued it all together into one compact, coherent whole viewpoint.

This is from Ron Hatchett, a friend of mine since we were Intelligence Officers – lieutenants – at 7th AF HQ in Saigon.

We have kept contact since.

Here is what Ron said yesterday:

“There is something profoundly wrong with the United States of America’s system of government.

For proof, briefly take stock of the last ten years in American democracy, in which a combination of factors — the filibuster, the way we draw legislative districts, Senate malapportionment, and the Electoral College — converged to rob American voters of a meaningful ability to choose their own leaders.

In 2008, President Obama won a resounding victory, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain by nearly 10 million votes. Democrats also won commanding majorities in both houses of Congress, with Democrats holding 60 seats in the Senate at their peak. Nevertheless, the rump Republican minority was able to wield the filibuster to block many Democratic priorities altogether, and to effectively force Democrats to water down major legislation such as the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, because the most conservative Democrats’ (and, sometimes, even some Republicans’) votes were needed to pass such bills.

In 2010, in part because the watered down stimulus did not juice up the economy enough to keep the incumbent party from being blamed for the ongoing effects of the recession, Democrats took a bath at the polls. Though Democrats recovered their standing with the voters in the very next federal election, their deep losses in 2010 had profound consequences because they gave Republicans control of many crucial state legislatures and governors’ mansions during a redistricting cycle. Republicans drew state legislative and congressional maps that were so aggressively gerrymandered that, in some states, Republicans won over 70 percent of the congressional seats even in election years where Democrats won the popular vote.

In 2012, President Obama won reelection. Democratic U.S. House candidates also won nearly 1.4 million more votes nationwide than their Republican counterparts. Yet, in large part due to gerrymandering, Republicans enjoyed a commanding 233-200 majority in the House at the beginning of the 113th Congress. This undemocratic result not only prevented Democrats from enacting legislation that could have fired up their base, stimulated the economy, and improved their party’s chances of winning the 2014 and 2016 elections, it also gave Republicans the leverage to shut down the government in 2013.

Meanwhile, Republicans enjoyed even bigger windfalls in state-level races. In 2012, for example, Republican candidates for the state assembly received “48.6% of the two-party statewide vote share for Assembly candidates and won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly.” Two years later, they “received 52% of the two-party statewide vote share and won 63 assembly seats.” More recently, in the 2017 election that resoundingly elected Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Democratic candidates of the House of Delegates outperformed Republican candidates by more than 9 percentage points. Yet Republicans still enjoy a narrow 51-49 majority.

In February of 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died. Scalia’s body was barely cold before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would not allow anyone nominated by President Obama to be confirmed. Senate Republicans then successfully held the seat open for a year until Donald Trump could fill it.

McConnell was able to pull this stunt because Republicans enjoyed a 54-46 majority in the Senate in 2016. They held this majority, moreover, due to the fact that the Senate is so egregiously malapportioned that its membership bears no resemblance to the nation’s partisan preferences. The 46 Democrats in the Senate in 2016 represented more than 20 million more people than the 54 Republicans.

More than a year after Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. The 45 senators who opposed Gorsuch’s confirmation represent more than 25 million more people than the senators who supported him.

And then there is the ultimate insult to the American voter. Donald Trump occupies the White House, despite the fact that he received 2,864,974 fewer votes than his Democratic opponent.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

donnie the sham At Davos

It’s going to be entertaining.

It’s going to be interesting.

It’s – most likely of three possibilities – going to be ridiculous.

Or it’s going to be all three.

Probably all three.

donnie, the least informed leader in the world, (perhaps even in World History) is going to make a speech to the most informed people in the world.

The entertaining and interesting parts are going to be whether those leaders – the informed ones – snort derisively or laugh uproariously – during the speech, or whether they, intermittently, do both.

The ridiculous part is going to be the “for certain” thing.

That is going to be donnie the sham giving a speech to actual leaders.

It should make good TV though.

I’m not sure that cameras are allowed.

Mabe Emanuel and Angela will catch the action on their iPhones.

Anybody know their Facebook handles?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Let The Spin Become Intense

Now that the great battle of the narrative goes into full swing in relation to the most recent government shut down the dichotomy couldn't be starker.

And one can see a set stage for the next election.

The republicans are all saying the same thing: facts, and begged questions (an old debating term for an old debating error) and gross unsubstantiated assertions and aligning them in a manner favorable to the party lie.

That puts a slick, coherent - albeit totally false - view of the situation out for publication.

The bet is that the same idiots that voted republican previously are just waiting for slick, coherent reasons to do it again.

That is probably true.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are muttering various vague and incoherent allusions to FDR and the New Deal.

They apparently are gearing up for the election of 1936.

If that election comes around, they probably will win it.

Since, however, the imminent election is for the year 2018 they might want to figure out what people really want and need.

Or at least trump up some facts, and begged questions (an old debating term for an old debating error) and gross unsubstantiated assertions and align them in a manner favorable to some central party myth.

That seems to work for the republicans.

Friday, January 19, 2018


It is pointless to point this out but the Democrats aren't "blocking" anything in the Senate.
 Last time I looked, having 51 seats in the Senate doesn't allow those 51 seats to force the other 49 to vote their way.

Couple Of Thoughts For Today

Thought One

I am embarrassed to say that this just occurred to me.

In my defense it has taken years of outrage with occasional accompanying outbursts to my blog and the associated stewing and brewing that that activity entails to distill this thing I am about to say into expressed language.

The thing I can't accept anymore is that we don't have anyone, in any political party, or from any walk of life, that tells the truth.

The best one gets - and it has a pain deadening affect when it aligns with ones own proclivities - is spin.

Spin is the act of taking facts, and begged questions (an old debating term for an old debating error) and gross unsubstantiated assertions and aligning them in a manner favorable to somebody’s whim of the moment.

I hear "The Founding Fathers" invoked all the time.

T think if the Founding Fathers were to see and hear our current state of affairs, they, in that Council of Leaders that I have included as characters in some of my writings would shout in unison "Bullshit!!"

Thought Two


They are bringing down the Tide Pod Challenge??!!

Why would anyone want to bring down the best, self policing, tool of genetic house keeping in world history???!!!

I might be being ironic.

But maybe not.

The current denizens of DC, especially the denizen in chief are all exhibit A examples of how the world could have been better, if we had had Tide Pods, and if we had had Challenges when those denizens were young.

Which points to:

Thought Three

Here is an interesting idea for a new fiction genre: "Political Fantasy Time Travel Set In A Utopian Past, Designed To Avoid A Dystopian Future".

And think of the movies that that genre might spawn.

And graphic novels.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Potpourri 16 January 2018

donnie is nearly obese.

(I guess I am impressed at the re-definition of “obese”.)

But he got all the old folks questions right: he remembered “banana” and “sunset”; probably took hours to memorize those; but what a guy; he did it.

And then there is the porn star who has jumped into things:

Odd, I think all the trump women look like porn stars.

I guess having one as first lady is a step forward – from something, to something; I guess.

But then one needs to remember donnie saying that Ivanka was a real “piece of ass”.

One wonders if that was conjecture, or if it was  testimony; or if it was wishful thinking.

A year or so ago I was exiting The Galley when a three or four sized family group stood up, and, stimulated by an allusion to that trumpian love of daughter remark that had just passed across one of the huge screen TVs, one of the male members of the group said to no one in particular, and everyone present “I can’t imagine what conversations around their dinner table must be like”.

I cheered.

Monday, January 15, 2018

What Could I Possibly Have Been Thinking?

In a recent post about donnie’s “shithole” remarks I – in one of my trademarked regressions from the point that I seem to be trying to make – said

“diverse as those of us in that white world demographic actually are, we are uniformly cursed with the label "white".

I actually meant that.

It wasn’t some sort of half baked attempt to make a half baked point in support of a half baked main thesis.

I used it because I believe it and  believe that the existence of it, if understood and acknowledged, would make for greatly more productive human discourse.

But I believe it for substantially more personal reasons.

My wife is a quarter Japanese.

That makes my daughter an eighth Japanese.

I have an estranged grandson who is some percent Cherokee.

I have an estranged granddaughter who converted from Christianity to Islam.

There is probably a lot more that is interesting that I don’t know about.

One might wonder why I don’t just drop this sad blog and write a novel.

I do.


But those facts in my narrow little life are the reason why I said “diverse as those of us in that white world demographic actually are, we are uniformly cursed with the label "white".

I’ll bet there a a couple others somewhere such as I.

Somebody Is Lying

Since either Dick Durbin is lying, or the republicans present in the now famous Thursday immigration meeting, are lying - it's as binary as it's possible to get - donnie either called a large part of the world shitholes, or he didn't; and since the assertion that donnie called the bulk of the non white world "shitholes" seems to not be setting well with the entire non white world, AND a large part of the white world (diverse as those of us in that white world demographic actually are, we are uniformly cursed with the label "white") and since the reaction of a large part of the rest of the world may constitute the last nail in the coffin of American World Leadership, I can't see any alternative to an investigation into what donnie did or didn't say last Thursday.

And I would like to add this statement to my video about why we need to impeach this vapid, sad, stupid lying sack of shit.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pentagon Papers: The Addendum

I just heard Les Gelb, who apparently “curated” the writing of the Pentagon Papers.

The specific component of that interview that seems to require scrutiny is that some of our leaders: Johnson and McNamara, didn’t think that the war in Vietnam was winnable.

That is genuinely amazing.

It is amazing because, except for a small group of deranged American officers and an even smaller group of deranged conscripts, the vast majority of all of us who were there could see that we were there to participate in a year long barbeque (they – the puppet masters - sent us a lot of frozen steaks, so we always had a lot of barbeques; those, and the annual Bob Hope show made it all worthwhile) after which, if we didn’t get killed, we could go home and pretend that we hadn’t been at the barbeque, that we had just been in an insane asylum for a year or so.

None of us thought the war was winnable.

Most of us thought that because we could see that we weren’t even trying.

Because trying would seem to imply that somebody thought that the thing was winnable.

Which nobody did.

We went to as many barbeques as we could fit in in a year, checked off the days on our figmo calendars and waited hopefully to not be required to give a shit.

I did that and I got home and I went on with my interrupted life.

So when the great Pentagon Papers hoorah came around the first time, I never paid much attention.

I was too busy being excited about working for IBM.

That has been true until this most recent reprise of The Papers.

Gelb’s testimony in tonight’s interview has been the last crystal in what has tonight become a several month developing super saturated solution.

And out of that super saturated solution there – for me – keeps thrumming a low frequency message: “you have written an addendum to those papers”.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

For IBM Retiree Eyes Only

If you think jargon and ridiculous products are a post IBM phenomenon, I submit this little story.

There is a guy on Lopez Island who works at Sunset Builders Supply – our hardware store – who is an IBM retiree. 

Mysti got to talking to him awhile back about the fact that we are IBM retirees also, and inevitably it got into war stories. 

Mysti came back from the encounter saying that the guy had worked on a gigabyte data storage device during his career. 

Given that when he did that was when either a tape drive or a 2314 were the max sized data storage devices that we had, and that neither of them was anywhere near gigabyte size, I was pretty interested.

I had no idea what the product could have been.

Given that its capacity boggles the mind, given the date of its supposed existence – the late 1960s – I had to find out more about it. 

The next time I went to Sunset I found him and we talked. 

It turns out the product was the IBM Data Cell which was a Defense Department RPQ that I don’t think ever got really taken seriously as a product, for reasons I will elaborate, below.

I think it is complete happenstance that I knew what my fellow retiree was talking about.

It happened  that the Data Cell was the subject of the final project in one of my advanced IBM classes: we had to do a timing of the thing in relation to some specified data retrieval exercise.

Timing a seek/read function for a disk drive is pretty straight forward.

Since the Data Cell was an essentially mechanical (as in not very electronic) nightmare the timing was complicated enough to be a good exercise with which to bedevil IBM trainees.

The device was a massive array of Mylar strips that were hung in compartments. There were lots of strips per compartment and lots of compartments.  Each compartment and strip had an address that a computer driven mechanical arm could interpret, access and grab – so the theory went – and wrap the Mylar around a cylinder with the cylinder then being inserted into a read only device to retrieve whatever it was that was written on the strip.

It worked occasionally; mostly it just scrunched up strips of Mylar into unusable flotsam.

When it did work people mostly wondered why they didn’t just have a tub file of cards with some expert human clerks to access information from it.

Because it was slow when it wasn’t scrunching.

But it still lurks in my memory as an example of the ingenuity of our engineers.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

“I’m A Very Stable Genius”

Remember Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man?

When he and Tom Cruz were in the beautiful old Buick?

“I’m a very good driver”, Dustin’s line was.

I guess the fact that I had more confidence in the autistic Hoffman at the wheel of a beautiful old Buick in an old movie than I have in “donnie the stable” is unnerving to me.

I’m probably alone in that feeling.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Bande Desinnée II (Et Dernierre)

Again, this is from Patriotic Christians for a Better America.

I have no idea if they actually exist, or if they just like to issue bandes desinnées that might piss off donnie.

So here is the rest of it.

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John Young: Hero Of Heroes

In 1981 I was standing on the unfinished first floor of what was to be a two floor house looking out on Lake Champetra.

I was listening on a battery powered radio/8 track player as the news link I had tuned in was documenting the first space shuttle take off.

John Young was in command.

Even though I couldn’t see what was happening, I was able to visualize what was happening due to the magic of radio (remember those Stan Freeburg ads?).

The liftoff went as planned.

I wasn't surprised.

Too bad humanity came back to earth after all our unbelievable success – all the lunar landings and all the other  near space travel, including the construction of a huge space station -  and decided that grubbing for coal, rather than reaching for the stars, was our true and proper destiny.

God speed John.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Une Petite Bande Desinnée Pour Toute Le Monde

The logo on the first frame is Patriotic Christians for a Better America.

I have no idea who they are, and probably would not approve of them if I did; and that source explains the Biblical quotations.

Having said that, I think this is as funny as anything I have seen for quite a while.

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More to come later.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tired Of Tires? Fake News For 4 January 2017

donnie and some associated, higher class imbeciles, announced a great new initiative today.

Starting immediately, the Social Security Trust Fund money is going to be used to build a new kind of power plant.

They will be fairly small, stand alone facilities designed to burn discarded tires.

They will be open and air vented so that “America while becoming great again, will be able to see the tangible trademark of becoming great again: massive smears of black inky smoke hanging over the skies of greatening America”.

The idea apparently was proposed by Secretary of State in Waiting ivanka trump kuschner.

She was in India recently controlling labor unrest in the sweatshops that produce her fashion-like products and saw vast piles of car tires, and she said to herself, so she has said, “why don’t we just build a place to burn all those natural resources (she is Second in Waiting for Secretary of Interior) and make zoom zoom?”

“Zoom Zoom” is apparently an alternate term for electrical power.

Or it may be an intimate trump/kirshner term.

Sarah the vicious wouldn’t elaborate when asked in today’s press farce.

“Private stuff is …” she said with her usual vigor.

But anyway …

… the thought is that, in addition to the obvious domestic use of the ivanka burner, America can design and fabricate an exportable tire burning power generator that can be sold to African and Middle East countries so that when their various populations take to the streets they can use the tires they burn to generate electric power and fund the opposition – those who are burning tires in the streets.

“Synergy at an unprecedented level for international relations” ivanka was heard to mutter as she boarded Air Force 19 – a Dehaviland Beaver - with a scotch rocks in hand.

“And what a boost to the balance of trade” leaked out later.

Two scotch rocks seem to make everything better.

daddy trump jumped on the concept.

“Brilliant idea”, said donnie this morning; “you can see the brilliance of my intention to replace Rex with ivanka”.

When asked what becomes of the seniors who will lose Social Security benefits, donnie said “if they were decent people they wouldn’t need Social Security”.

Actually he said “fuck em”.

Or maybe that was Sarah the vicious.

Genji The Cat

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This is a picture of Genji, a feral cat who lives at out house.

We first saw her about 5 years ago.

She has a crippled left leg, but she can move, jump and go after voles with amazing agility, especially considering that she is three legged.

Because of her leg, when we first knew her, we called her Gympy.

We thought she was quite a handsome orange male cat.

Most orange cats are male.

We had been told.

In 2014 we discovered that she was really a girl.

Five kittens were proof of that fact.

We captured them and her and got her to a vet for shots, neutering and chipping – the vet said the leg was unsalvageable – and we adopted three of the kittens.

LAPS - an Island animal shelter/halfway house - got the other two good homes.

Genji still shows up most days for breakfast, and sometimes for dinner.

She still won’t let us get near her, but she does at least seem to look upon us as arms length benefactors.

Which feels sort of like friendship.

But as the years pass and she gets older and the winters seem – even to me, who also keeps getting older – to be colder, we worry about her.

But she is a wild animal.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Some Big Moon Pictures

The moon has been shouting for attention the last couple of days.

So I have given it some.


Here are a few pictures that have resulted.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

A Few Images From New Years Day

I saw a picture of the so called first family this morning.

They looked like some sort of refugee group from central Europe.

Maybe they are.

Here are a few pictures of what might be construed to be life in some segment of America.

A segment in which I might find myself.

Quite a long way from Emolument Florida.

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