Protecting Public Safety Should Never Mean Holding a Job With Low Wages

This should not be a surprise to anyone who knows how things really work.

If you're going to put people in a position of dealing with public, ensuring the safety of travelers, and expect them to be honest, you have to pay them well.

We should elevate TSA service to a much higher level; it should be a career choice with prestige and respectability. These people should be hired after extensive background checks, fitted with decent uniforms, and led by quality people.

Instead, we get moron, layabouts and slapfaced idiots who are lucky to be pulling down GS-7 wages. They're ruining it for the people who are dedicated and decent.

Kurt Schlichter Drops a Royal Turd

Hilarious wingnut fail from Townhall:

Sure, the royal couple gets paid out of the British treasury, but it isn’t as if Prince William sits around being fanned and fed grapes. Besides cutting ribbons and promoting charities, he is a warrior who has proved his courage by seeking service on battlefields he could have easily avoided. Royalty is a bizarre concept, but he does work for a living. 

By contributing to society, Prince William repudiates the basic premise of liberalism. If you vote for liberals they will redistribute free stuff to you from the people who contribute to society. This will allow you to wallow in the cesspit of social pathologies that led you to expect handouts in the first place, and thereby guarantee another generation of liberal constituents. 

Liberalism depends on people continuing to do the things that ensure they will be poor. The most obvious among these bad decisions is to have kids out of wedlock. Yeah, we all know the single mom who is prospering or the gay couple with a great kid. That’s awesome, but it’s an anecdotal irrelevancy. The simple, unarguable fact is that the epidemic of broken families means a broken society, and liberalism feeds off the wreckage.

You gotta love it when a conservative praises the British Royal Family's work ethic, which consists of making public appearances and sucking up vast amounts of taxpayer dollars. If ever there was a welfare queen, it would be Elizabeth II.

Our Townhall friends think that the royals are paragons of virtue. How many royal divorces are we going to have to bring up? Charles and Andrew are just two examples of infidelity, scandal, and failure.

Oh, and then there's this. The only reason why this group of "royals" is running things can be traced back to a specific moment in history. That was the moment that Edward VIII abdicated his throne and handed everything over to the namesake of the latest royal birth, Prince George. The father of Queen Elizabeth II was George VI, who would never have been king were it not for the fact that his elder brother preferred the company of an American divorcee. How's that for family values?

Here's another thing to remember, by the way:

A Census Bureau analysis published yesterday has picked up some attention on among a certain (read: liberal) segment of the Internet. According to the latest figures from 2009, married couples in conservative states tend to divorce at higher rates than more liberal ones. To make a hard figure out of it: of the 20 states with the highest divorce rates, 14 voted for John McCain in 2008. The states where people call it quits the most frequently are Arkansas, Maine, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, and Alaska. 

The Associated Press picked up on the red states' tendencies for higher divorce rates, quoting a sociology professor as saying, "Surprisingly, the South and West, which we think of as more socially conservative, have higher rates of divorce than does the supposedly liberal East ... The reason is that young adults in the South and West tend to have less education and marry earlier, both of which lead to a higher risk of divorce." Left-leaning AlterNet notes the irony that the social conservatism touted by politicians there don't make marriages last: "in many states where politicians claim that their constituents are the most family values oriented 'real Americans' who are afraid of the sanctity of marriage being trampled by the gays, the divorce rates are actually higher." Jezebel plays off of that theme by offering an alternation explanation to the red-blue divorce divide: gay marriage. It writes: "of the four states with the lowest divorce rates, three allow gay marriage. So maybe the gays aren't destroying the traditional family after all?" (Really, it's of the four states or districts--namely, New Jersey, D.C., New York, and Connecticut--with the lowest divorce rates.)

Townhall is dedicated to the spreading of hate and lies about liberals. This is how far they are willing to go--they'll ignore history, cite the royal family of England, and conveniently forget the fact that family values are much stronger in "liberal" households. And Mr. Schlichter knows this.

Chapterhouse Whirlpool Cover

The cover for the Whirlpool album by Chapterhouse is somewhat iconic; it is the symbol of early shoegazing. It is easily recognizable and looks good on a T-shirt or on a poster. What I like about this is that it makes perfect use of white and blue and the band felt comfortable enough to leave the album's title off the front; I like that sort of confidence.

Finally a Decent News Organization

I'm pretty sure that I would have more readers if I had cat pictures and gamed the word "test" on Google searches.

The Internet is nothing but lol and cat pictures and bullshit now.

Bradley Manning Wanted Our Enemies to Win

Bradley Manning almost got away with it.

I find this to be a rather hilarious photo. I had no idea Manning was so small. He is a poster child for the "let everyone in" mentality of the mid-2000s when standards were dropped for military entry. This young man is barely five feet tall. Wow.

By finding him not guilty of aiding our enemies, the judge in this case has handed everyone wearing the uniform a slap in the face. Manning passed classified information to an organization called Wikileaks, which, most emphatically, is a definite enemy of the United States of America. I didn't buy the example given by the government--that this same information showed up on a computer in the UBL compound is a stretch of the imagination. I think the case could be made that Wikileaks, and Manning in particular, believe the United States to be the source of all of the evil in the world. This is the watered-down Chomsky view which Edward Snowden believes in as well.

Wikileaks is an organization without any moral compass or affiliation to anything resembling an idea of how society works.. It is an irrational non-state player that thrives on chaos and destruction, which is carried out by asking people to betray governments. It hides behind "the good that it does" when it gets information that exposes the abusive or illegal behavior of a country; this allows it to publish anything and everything without regard to who it damages. If every nation/state in the world is violent, corrupt, and should be brought down, we are living next door to anarchy. Who wants that?

It has basically asked anyone and everyone to help to do serious damage to the United States. This is where I am always on the wrong side of the issue--I am a shameless believer in the right of the United States to protect itself from other nation/states and from irrational non-state entities. Wikileaks was formed in order to set the world on fire. It is not a "truth" or a public advocacy group, such as Greenpeace or Amnesty International. It is a for-profit attempt to make Julian Assange a celebrity by attacking nation-states around the world, especially the United States. Manning handed Assange enough information to attain a great deal of credibility.

Manning's place as a "hero" to the left and as a patriot is cemented now, and there's nothing I can say to change anyone's mind about that fact. He's a celebrity now. He's the continuation of the "be someone" rather than "do something" attitude espoused by Edward Snowden, et al. He faces a lengthy jail term but he got away with aiding enemies of the United States. I guess we have no more enemies.

Typically, patriots stand up to their government or to tyranny and expose wrongdoing. They don't deliver protected materials to our enemies so they can attack us; if anything they give that stuff to, you know, other Americans so that the government can be held accountable. Manning exposed low-level diplomatic traffic that slightly hindered our ability to deal with other nation/states with a certain level of diplomatic credibility. He did minimal damage; the result of his damage caused the Department of Defense to have to close numerous holes in who it allows to have access to secrets. This gap was not closed in time to prevent an Edward Snowden. Both individuals have severely damaged America because of the changes that have had to be made to safeguard classified information from serious disclosure. Both handed their materials over to anti-American entities operating outside of the United States. If they had handed their stuff directly to the New York Times or NBC News, we would be having a vastly different conversation.

Untold amounts of money and vast quantities of effort--tens of thousands of man hours--will have to be dedicated to reorganizing and restructuring our defenses against unauthorized disclosures and exploitation. All of this effort would be better directed at actually protecting the United States. That's what gets lost on a day like today--the extra money and effort that will be have to spent repairing what a Manning or a Snowden have done in order to make Julian Assange or Vladimir Putin richer is not much noticed by anyone.

If Manning had had simply once NCO who was worth a damn in his chain of command, he would have been eased out of military service before he could do any damage. I say, let Manning go and find the NCOs who failed to do their jobs and put them out of the Army.

Having worn the uniform, let me tell you one thing--Manning is no hero. Never has been, never will be. He should get about 12 years in prison. He won't learn anything from his detention and the United States has no reason to give him anything harsher than that if he is not guilty of aiding our enemies.

Architecture in Calw

Architecture in Calw

The Moon

The Moon

The New Way Things Are Done in the Music Business

It sounds like someone forgot to promote Johnny Borrell's new album. Given the fact that he used to front Razorlight, there should have been a built-in audience for his latest album. Apparently, Razorlight fans couldn't be bothered.

The article makes a stunning comparison, however. Buried down in the piece is this fact:

Meanwhile in this week's album charts, the latest 'Now That’s What I Call Music!' compilation has become the fastest selling album of 2013. ''Now That’s What I Call Music! 85' shifted 317,000 copies during its first week...

That has to make Borrell very happy. A compilation album (remember the K-Tel records from the 1970s?) that people could reasonably steal from the Internet on their own sells over 300,000 copies while an album of original songs by an artist sells in the hundreds. Johnny Borrell fronted a fairly popular band--he is not a nobody. If an artist could sell 300,000 copies of their album, or thereabouts, on a reasonable basis, the music industry would be fairly thriving right now.

What's the royalty on something from That's What I Call Music? Are people getting paid or are they getting ripped off?

Maureen Dowd Phones It In

Another outrage of the week? And it is only Monday?

If you're going to tell me that Maureen Dowd is upset because a politician did something sexy for which she didn't grant prior approval or inspire, then I would say, hold on a minute because we haven't gotten to her mid-week attempt at remaining relevant.

It would take effort for Dowd to ignore the sexism and assess the political future of Anthony Weiner. He has broken no laws (except for, perhaps, campaign finance laws) and there is a complete and utter absence of celebrity and star power in the race to be the next Scold of America, otherwise known as Mayor of New York City. He's not quitting and neither is his wife. So, what does she do? She puts on her scolding pants and shakes her bony finger at Weiner and that's what passes for punditry nowadays.

Is Weiner finished? Absolutely. But Dowd is the one who should have been sent packing.

Welcome Back to the Catholic Faith

Buried somewhere in the job description of the Pope is the requirement that morals and ethical matters will be judged and that guidance will be provided to the faithful. Well, today the faithful were handed a shrug and a healthy dose of reality.

Gay Catholics have essentially been asked to come back into the fold. Will they?

Had to Put a Rug Underneath Her

The collapse of Noel Gallagher's little brother's personal life is going to fill up a lot of space between now and whenever things "cool down." Liam Gallagher recently launched the promotional tour for Beady Eye's new album BE and it couldn't have gotten off on stranger footing if he and his bandmates had tried.

This is tabloid stuff--the kind of thing the British consume very easily--and it is going to bring a lot of attention to Gallagher and his band. Will it lead to sales? Will people show up for the gigs? Will it be a good thing for Gallagher to be splashed all over the press having this kind of a meltdown?

It couldn't hurt, I would think. But if I was Andy Bell, I'd be thinking about whether or not getting Ride back together would be a way to get through next summer.

Go Ahead and Yell At the Twitter

Who is this stupid?

When you deal with computers, you are not necessarily dealing with a human being on the other end of the interaction. You could very well be dealing with--and I know this is shocking for some people--an automated response.

The lack of common sense out there is breathtaking. And you can expect more of this because actually paying people wages to do this kind of work is vanishing faster than what we used to call a music industry.

Twitter does not care about you, your tweets, who is tweeting back to you, or anyone or anything. Twitter is an Internet business that is worth a great deal of money. It transmits millions of messages that are, essentially, meaningless. When I "tweet" this post, it will go out over Twitter and nothing will happen.

And you're using it why?

Yes, You Did

Americans could learn from this man:
Moments after being dragged from the wreckage, the driver of the train that derailed in northwest Spain on Wednesday, killing 78,told his rescuers "I have fucked it up. I want to die." 
Francisco José Garzón Amo, pictured above, was taken into custody at the hospital yesterday and will be questioned by a judge today. He and the train's other driver could potentially be charged in the 78 deaths.
That is what we call a moment of clarity and a breath of refreshing honesty. Someone needs to hand this man a revolver with one round and walk away.

The Icicle Works Birds Fly Single

I love covers like this. Rarely do you find abstract works that are so effective at conveying what a single is about. Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly) is a great song, and this single works on a lot of levels. It's not overtly commercial and so you can't claim that the band has "sold out" in any way.

On this version of the vinyl label, you can clearly see that there is a "European" version of the single. In 1984, U2 would release a longer version of Pride for the International market as well. Apparently, you had to take a razor blade to singles back in the day if you wanted to release them in America.

The Contempt of the Young

The end of the love affair that tweens are having with Justin Bieber is not coming to an end. It is probably going to intensify and solidify. This young man has a permanent audience that will never abandon him. He has what amounts to a lifetime of success ahead of him.

Spitting on people is just good fun. When you have no regard for other human beings, a group of like-minded idiots that validate your every move, and an endless supply of cash, you can do anything you want. Bieber is the new Prince of America. He is insulated from accountability like royalty.

When a performer has nothing but contempt for his audience, there's no where else to go. The people he spits on are going to keep throwing money into a vast machine that will enrich Bieber and his cronies and they won't have the first clue about why all of this would ever come to an end. I have a suspicion that a forty year-old Bieber is going to act pretty much the same way the 19 year-old acts.

Not So Badass Anymore

(Francisco José Garzón AmoGarzon Amo is the new and latest face of incompetence. When all is said and done, they will look at what happened and come to a startling conclusion--automating the various functions of trains makes the drivers lazy and foolish. Amo became a kind of speed demon when driving his trains throughout the Spanish transportation system. Bragging about possibly incurring fines is the same as saying that the system doesn't matter anymore. Amo probably--probably--did his speeding on tracks or on routes that weren't properly monitored. And he probably did his thing in areas where the automation wasn't preset.

In Europe, the trains are subjected to a great deal of safety and speed limitations. Amo was operating on a track that was outside of that system.

All over Europe, train drivers are deleting their social media accounts, trying to scrub their own history of being stupid on the job.

Primal Scream Burning Wheel Cover

Primal Scream's Burning Wheel single has an amazing cover, which perfectly mashes up video stills, graphics and details and presents a retro military feel.

Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria

Hohenschwangau Castle

This was taken at the wrong time of the year; if you're going to take photographs of the area around a castle, you need to do it in the spring or the summer.

Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria

Hohenschwangau Castle

This was taken at the wrong time of the year; if you're going to take photographs of the area around a castle, you need to do it in the spring or the summer.

Steal What You Can't Sell

What is a moon rock worth?

Well, if you can't sell it, I would imagine that a moon rock is worth about nothing. Leave it to the yahoos of America to walk off with something that is practically impossible to pawn or sell.

Google Glass Is Now Uncool Forever

Contractual Obligations of the Heart

Modern American ethics and values are on display in this particular instance. For starters, I refuse to call the woman named here trash. I think that the first inclination would be to go after the groupie and not the NBA player in question, the former Duke Basketball star, J. J. Redick. American society is addicted to slut shaming. The slut in question is the young man who needs to use the law to solve his problems.

Here, you have a wealthy professional athlete cleaning up something that went wrong. You have a legal instrument that he can use to protect himself from having to spend the next 18 years paying child support; in the NBA, fathering children and then being stuck with the bill has been commonplace for years. Abandoning them is hardly even news anymore. Redick is simply taking steps to solve the problem before it starts.

And while all of this seems practical, let's get to what drives things like this--Redick is making a legal move to protect his status, his money, and his marketability. All of those things are more important than the situation he created with the woman in question. The only thing that matters is what Redick's people are telling him. The influence that his legal team has in his affairs has dwarfed decency and common sense.

Signing a contract with a woman so that you can ensure that she has an abortion hands the anti-abortion crazies yet another thing to use against women who should be entitled to safe, secure family planning options. It removes the morality of the choice from the equation, giving the factions that want to ban abortions another weapon. The legal contract removes the choice from the woman; that's what we should be uncomfortable with in this case.

Doing right by a child has nothing to do with anything anymore. Chivalry couldn't find purchase here. But, good for Redick. He has finally given people a reason to think of him as a professional basketball player.

Welcome to Tripsdrill

One of the first things you see when you enter the German amusement park known as Tripsdrill is this thing. It is an animatronic German who sits in an outhouse and yells at people. Occasionally, the door flies open and he spits water at you.

Yes, this is a real thing. People love it.

Welcome to Tripsdrill

One of the first things you see when you enter the German amusement park known as Tripsdrill is this thing. It is an animatronic German who sits in an outhouse and yells at people. Occasionally, the door flies open and he spits water at you.

Yes, this is a real thing. People love it.

Wire A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck

Easily one of the most memorable album covers ever, and one that did not suffer from being shrunken down for the compact disc era. When I bought this back in the day it came in a cardboard box that is, sadly, lost to the ages.

Throw the Book At Him

Image by Andrew Dye  @ Winston-Salem Journal
A protester struggles to walk with his cane after being detained during the Moral Monday protest on Monday, July 22, 2013, at the North Carolina Legislature in Raleigh. (Andrew Dye)

If you think that the Republican Party in North Carolina has merely gone insane, think again. They have decided to go batshit crazy in public, and this image should haunt them all of their born days.

What you have is a photo of a Veteran being arrested for protesting the Republicans who run the North Carolina legislature. Republicans hate Veterans because Veterans draw milk from the public teat, you see, and they tend to vote intelligently. Veterans who vote Republican are simply voting against their interests. And what you have is an outrage in the making. Governance is not something that the Republican Party does anymore.

Larry Summers is a Bad Choice to Run Anything

My favorite headline this week has to be the one listed above, from Salon.

Sexist Larry Summers Will Destroy the Economy

How? How can someone who is a sexist destroy an economic model or system? Being sexist is awful enough but how does that translate into being bad at economics? I suppose you could defend this opinion by talking about choices and prejudices, and that might support the idea that a sexist could tank the economy. What if Summers turns out to be exactly the right choice in spite of a history of being sexist?

I don't think that's likely, but it would make for a great navel-gazing post somewhere.

In the case of Larry Summers, being bad at deciding what is right for America is enough to disqualify him from being Chairman of the Federal Reserve. On the issue of deregulation alone, Summers should quietly withdraw his name and go back to slapping himself.

It's not like the Republicans in the Senate would confirm him anyway. 

Herman Hesse Statue, Calw, Germany

This is the statue of Herman Hesse that sits on a bridge over the Nagold River in Calw, Germany. He is facing towards the Black Forest.

Herman Hesse Statue, Calw, Germany

This is the statue of Herman Hesse that sits on a bridge over the Nagold River in Calw, Germany. He is facing towards the Black Forest.

I Am Not Going to See New Order

Is it New Order without Hooky?


So, I don't want to make a post where I crap on New Order. I wish them great success. I'm sure it will be a great show this weekend. I will step outside and hear it, probably plain as day. But I made the decision in the spring not to go and I have not been tempted to go.

Does that make me an asshole? Well, that's why I have blogs. Assholes have blogs.

And it is not New Order without Hooky. They're still great. Props to everyone there. But no Hooky, no New Order.

Yep. Barney in trainers. Not going to go see that, either.


Given the technology, I would think that it would be possible to permanently affix chips or RFID tags to masterpieces and works of art in a way that would allow the authorities to track stolen art. The thieves could always remove them; however if you were clever about it, you could make it more difficult.


Given the technology, I would think that it would be possible to permanently affix chips or RFID tags to masterpieces and works of art in a way that would allow the authorities to track stolen art. The thieves could always remove them; however if you were clever about it, you could make it more difficult.

Jeffrey Krusinski is the New Face of Sexual Assault in the Military

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski dodged a bullet. Because of this, he becomes the face of a severe problem--sexual assault in the military.

It makes me wonder if this isn't a deliberate effort to create a separation in military law between military-related offenses and offenses that are civil/criminal in nature. In such a case, the military could discharge the service member so that they could be charged under civilian laws and wash their hands of these people.

I would support such a thing. It would quickly deny these people benefits (unless they are found innocent in civilian court, they cannot return to the military) and it would alleviate a lot of stress on the UCMJ system, which is severely burdened right now with criminal cases.
This man has no business continuing to be paid while serving in the military. He should be discharged and handed over to the civilian court system. The military cannot be trusted to handle these cases anymore. The act of grabbing a woman in a violent matter is sexual assault, plain and simple, and by not charging him properly, he will walk away without being registered as a sex offender.

It does look like she kicked his ass, though. I hope she did. I hope she finds justice in all of this and finds some peace of mind. This man is not fit to wear any uniform.

Another Half-Assed Parenting Theory

Someone is trying to sell a T-shirt:

I know many people want to stay current with the latest parenting trends -- attachment parenting, minimalist parenting, Tiger Mother parenting, et al. Well, I've stumbled upon a new technique that will guarantee your child grows up to be an exemplary student and citizen. It's called CTFD, which stands for "Calm The F*ck Down." And that's not a message to give your kids. It's for you. 

Using CTFD assures you that -- whichever way you choose to parent -- your child will be fine (as long as you don't abuse them, of course). To see it in action, here are some sample parenting scenarios and how CTFD can be employed:  

  • Worried your friend's child has mastered the alphabet quicker than your child?Calm the f*ck down.

  • Scared you're not imparting the wisdom your child will need to survive in school and beyond? Calm the f*ck down.

  • Concerned that you're not the type of parent you thought you'd be? Calm the f*ck down.

  • Upset that your child doesn't show interest in certain areas of learning? Calm the f*ck down.

  • Stressed that your child exhibits behavior in public you find embarrassing? Calm the f*ck down.

Yes, using the CTFD method, you'll find the pressure lifted and realize your child loves you no matter what, even if they've yet to master the alphabet. You'll also learn that whether or not you're the best parent in the world, as long as you love your child, they'll think you are and that's what matters. Plus, CTFD makes you immune to those that prey upon the fears of new parents, like pseudoscientists and parenting authors.

This is cute and all, but useless and irrelevant as an actual philosophy or child rearing strategy. This is what passes for modern humor--you can't remember why it is funny unless you remember how funny George Carlin and the freaks were in the 1970s. These were the 'who gives a fuck, ya jerk' people who hated all of the structures of society that used to produce people who were moderately worth a damn. Now we produce people who can't read, can't write, can't think, can't analyze but they damn sure can pursue their own self interest at the expense of others. No wonder the idea of community is a joke.

You can trace this mentality back to the Baby Boom generation, and the diffident, neglectful manner in which it raised its children. The Baby Boomers focused on themselves, to the detriment of their children, and abandoned their offspring to their own fate. These same Baby Boomers started multiple families; children born in the late 1960s often found themselves step-children of new marriages wrought in the 1980s and 1990s that produced under-parented siblings that are now underpaid and overwrought about virtually everything.

Calm the Fuck Down is another way of saying "you are on your own." This abandons children to a fate called mediocrity, and it allows the parent to escape accountability, abandon the effort of raising children, and do nothing.

This is the era of being someone rather than doing something. So, "calm the fuck down" is a generational rallying cry. It also means this generation is well near fucked in terms of accomplishing anything significant.

David Vienna is simply trying to sell the art of not giving a shit. Plenty of others have already raided that well and have made their fortunes. I wish him great success at being flippant and useless.

The Free Scooter Scam

Everybody hates the government but everybody loves it when the government gives them a free scooter so they can tool around in a store with their guts hanging off the sides.

There's nothing wrong with this scam, other than the fact that it makes a lot of hypocrites confused about what is, and what is not, a great way to waste the money our country actually has because, you know, the deficit and all that is coming down.

This Will Not Work and It Will Not Last

Seriously? Really?

ESPN is expected to announce on Wednesday that the former network mainstay Keith Olbermann, who contentiously departed in 1997, will return to host a one-hour, nightly show for ESPN2 later this year, according to three executives with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to speak about it publicly. 

Olbermann, 54, became renowned for co-anchoring ESPN’s “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick — arguably the most auspicious pairing in the history of the show or the network. He left the show briefly to help launch ESPN2 in October 1993. 

The move to bring Olbermann back after a 16-year absence was the result of 14 months of intense discussion within ESPN and its parent, the Walt Disney Company. 

Within ESPN, there was concern about asking Olbermann back because he left the network under emotionally charged circumstances and because it was feared by some that Olbermann had become too politicized as the host of his interim MSNBC program “Countdown,” which aired from 2003 through January 2011. 

On his new show, Olbermann will be free to discuss matters other than sports, including pop culture and current events, but not politics, the two-year pact specifies. [emphasis, mine]

Talk about burying the lede. This story fails to highlight the one thing that matters when it comes to Olbermann's return to ESPN--he will not be allowed to talk about politics. The problem is, sports and politics intersect in a lot of natural places. When it comes to the major sports figures, there are politics involved when it comes to their reactions to current events. I don't think ESPN really understands what it is getting.

On the date of the announcement of the Trayvon Martin verdict, there were sports figures who weighed in with their opinions. How could a Keith Olbermann program, broadcast on that day, not cover the impact of the verdict and discuss the politics around it? How could he deal with the racial undertones and not look at how they affect athletes who express an opinion that is directly at odds with a number of prominent political figures?

How would his program deal with a recalcitrant wingnut hockey player who refuses to visit the White House and not talk about the politics behind that?

Olbermann is a great broadcaster but I have always believed that he should be on CNN, offering some real commentary and perspective. I think he should have a primetime hour on CNN and he should be left alone to talk about the news. Going back to ESPN is a mistake.

Hiking Sign

Anyone who has hiked through Germany will know this sign. You can walk anywhere, and these signs are essential.

Hiking Sign

Anyone who has hiked through Germany will know this sign. You can walk anywhere, and these signs are essential.

Did Spring Breakers Hurt the Image of Riff Raff?

Riff Raff has a legal burden in this case that is going to be difficult to carry. I hope he wins, and I hope he wins big. Jet skis cost a lot of cash, bro. Then, they need an oil change or something.

When your name is Riff Raff, you are already on the outs with the system. When you can't get people to respect you, they will turn you into a clown and steal the image you've been cultivating--the very same image that got you out of your previous situation and made you famous. The problem is, the character that James Franco portrayed in the film Spring Breakers is a generic white rapper who may look and sound like Riff Raff but, in reality, who has Riff Raff been ripping off? He's a combination of Vanilla Ice and Eminem with a little Kid Rock thrown in. There's nothing original about him and he has to prove that the movie hurt his image. If anything, the only reason why lame bloggers know who he is would stem from the fact that those girls had big boobs in that dang movie or something. Was anybody even looking at him when all those boobies walked by? I mean, holy hell. What was that film about? Who is James Franco anyway? Is he a thing? Was there a jet ski chase in that movie with a girl on the back yelling stuff? Dayum!

When your name is Riff Raff and your stated preference and/or game is white rap, there aren't many good things that are going to come your way in this life. You might become a target of the ire of law enforcement. You might end up with a Corvette but I would be willing to bet you that it will have transmission problems almost immediately because not everyone who is running errands for you is going to know how to drive a stick. You might get a record deal, except there aren't really any record companies anymore. There are people who pretend to sell music after you pay to get it made, though. Some of those idiots might part with some of their money. The world runs on money and people need to get paid. How do you get paid when rapping is finished? I have no idea. A guy like Riff Raff has to figure that shit out while sitting in the middle of a churning lake on a jet ski that doesn't have any gas in it, I would imagine.

When your name is Riff Raff and the world is not enough, what do you do? You might get rich, briefly, and your boys may not bring the police into your crib with their personal habits right away. You might find yourself some women who aren't stereotypical hip hop women, but how long will they last? How many jet skis are you going to crash when your name is Riff Raff? How many cheap pickup trucks (that Corvette don't run no more, dawg!) are you going to have to make payments on when your boys need to run and get you groceries because they won't let you into Piggly Wiggly anymore? County tax assessors are the bane of rural rappers. When the tax man comes looking for his pound of flesh, how much money is a guy like Riff Raff going to have sitting in an escrow account? All of a sudden, you gotta sell three of your best jet skis and then, well, what are you going to do when your boys want to go riding? It's what they call a conundrum.

When your name is Riff Raff, holy Mother of God, this is a hard life. Let's all hop Riff Raff wins one so he can relax on a jet ski and not have to deal with the reality imposed on him by an unforgiving land of serious people.

The Cure A Forest Cover

This is my favorite single from The Cure. The single itself is about as goth as they ever got and it is a wonderful example of stark imagery used to explain what the song is about. When you think of the record inside of the sleeve, you have a firm grasp on what it means just by looking at this sleeve.

In other words, the marketing of the single does not deceive the listener at all. How often can you say that about things that were released in the 1980s?


I'm sure that it is nothing, but, damn. Balloon Juice has been hit hard in the last week and now there is a malware issue. None of the people running that site would ever dream of putting in malware, so this has to be some other kind of thing.

Why Would Anyone Buy a Surface?

Microsoft has slashed the price of the Surface and they are sending out e-mails, trying to get people like me to buy their product.

No thank you.

I have spent the past few weeks helping people get out of their Windows-based problems, ranging from PCs that were loaded with Windows 8 and PCs that were worked on by the Goof Troop at Geek Squad. I have seen machines that are so bogged down and dysfunctional that they had to be discarded. I have seen what Windows has become and the only thing keeping them afloat are businesses that won't switch and users that don't know any better.

If I wanted a laptop, I'd buy a laptop. I wouldn't buy a Surface and then jam a piece of shit keyboard onto it. If I wanted to run Word and Excel, which are my bread and butter, then I would run them on a Thinkpad loaded with Windows XP.

You want me to buy a Surface? Put Windows XP on it. Give Windows XP a reprieve from being taken to the boneyard. Then, and only then, would I consider something like that.

Windows 8? Garbage. A security nightmare like virtually everything else. At least with XP, you know what you're getting. With Windows 8, prepare yourself for years of security updates and installed updates and download after download.

No thank you.

Heartless Bastards

What a heartless thing to do to someone. Stealing, then flipping their pet:

An Indianapolis Star article rehashed the story of one attempted pet flip that occurred not long ago. A few days after Elizabeth Arroyo’s dog Raiden disappeared in June, Arroyo was forwarded a message showing what appeared to be the dog on Craigslist — not reported as found, but for sale. Arroyo and her father met with the seller, realized quickly that indeed it was Raiden, and then settled on a sale price of $900. Instead of going to an ATM for cash, however, they went to the police.

I want to believe that this is more about our perpetually bad economy than anything else but, really, it's about the overwhelming amount of value and money we have projected onto animals. When I was growing up, you had a dog or a cat and there wasn't a massive, multi-billion dollar profit industry that was built around pets and only pets. There were pet stores, and there was an aisle in the grocery store, and that was about it. Now, it's about a whole hell of a lot more.


The Jam Live EP Cover

Nobody does this anymore.

Nobody puts out live EPs and things of that nature. I think these are great and I treasure the ones I have.

This particular live EP, from the Jam, is the beneficiary of a fantastic retro "beat" era cover. The overhead shot of the band playing live is a keeper and the graphics are wonderful.

Richard Cohen Wins the Race to the Bottom

Richard Cohen is desperately trying to be the stupidest man on the Internet. He's got a lot of competition, but he's never going to give up. This is what people from his generation do--they use their cushy media gigs to perpetrate the inner rage they feel about being irrelevant and out of touch with the culture.

Cohen thinks it was about the hoodie. It was not about the hoodie. It was a deeper and more complex issue called racism and Cohen cannot get past the fashion aspect of why George Zimmerman decided to appoint himself the leader of the pack and start following and shooting people who made the mistake of lawfully walking through his neighborhood while armed only with snacks.

Cohen wants to talk about the hoodie because that is something Martin chose to wear. It allows Cohen to reinforce his own racist beliefs because, if it's about the hoodie, then it isn't about the fact that Martin was a black kid who didn't deserve to be gunned down by a wannabe cop. If you're unable to separate the hoodie from the boy, then you're not following along. This was about racism and guns and really, really bad laws in Florida. It was not about sartorial choices.

And he especially wants to talk about the hoodie because that is how he links this crime to the urban crime of Washington D.C. Well, guess what? The population of Sanford, Florida is less than 55,000. There is no comparison--this was not an urban crime, not by a long shot. This was not what Cohen wants it to be, no matter what.

We already know that Trayvon Martin was tried and convicted for his own murder; now we get to hear an aging, pathetic old leftover from the 1960s opine about modern fashion choices. For someone of Cohen's generation to misunderstand the racial aspects of what happened is proof that he lost the plot long ago. It wasn't about what the kid was wearing. It was about the color of his skin.

I just want to hear one person get it--Martin was convicted of being black and thus deserved to die at the hands of a man who had no business making himself the arbiter of who should be where doing what where he lived. They used racially coded aspects of this young man's life to convict him of being where George Zimmerman thought it would be a good idea to skulk around with a gun and a head full of misguided ideas about public safety.

You would think Cohen would know what race, guns, and our society have been about for the last however many years he has been in the public arena as a part of the media. You would think that, but you would be wrong. Cohen is sad and pathetic yet again and completely out of touch.

It wasn't about the hoodie.

Vladimir Putin is a Bond Villain

How many national leaders get into a mini sub and cruise around in the ocean? This man is a Bond villain.

William Saletan is Trying to Be the Stupidest Person Alive

The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, "We don't need you do to that." Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous. De la Rionda also acknowledged, based on witness and forensic evidence that both men “were scraping and rolling and fighting out there.” He pointed out that the wounds, blood evidence, and DNA didn’t match Zimmerman’s story of being thoroughly restrained and pummeled throughout the fight. But the evidence didn’t fit the portrait of Martin as a sweet-tempered child, either. And the notion that Zimmerman hunted down Martin to accost him made no sense. Zimmerman knew the police were on the way. They arrived only a minute or so after the gunshot. The fight happened in a public area surrounded by townhouses at close range. It was hardly the place or time to start shooting.

The phrase "we don't need you to do that" referred to the act of following Martin. The police were pretty clear--when Zimmerman said he wanted to follow Martin, the police said "we don't need you to do that." If that's fucking ambiguous than fuck it all anyway nothing means nothing and we need to go back to the days of Dick and Jane. Stop. Do Not Follow. Don't do that. Stop. Bad. No. Sit down.

What a bunch of bullshit.

I'm going to call this piece out of William Saletan's latest attempt at becoming the stupidest man on the Internet and identify it for what it is:

"The evidence didn't fit the portrait of Martin as a sweet-tempered child, either"

Trayvon Martin wasn't on trial for murder. George Zimmerman was on trial for murdering Trayvon Martin. So, why exactly would a thinking, rational person refer to the victim in this manner?

Oh, that's right. Saletan refers to this piece of information because it fits neatly with the idea that Martin was a rampaging asshole who always gets away and that Zimmerman was duty-bound as a wannabe cop and a half-assed neighborhood watch clown on Adderall to shoot him dead. It fits with the tribal instinct that is ingrained in people like Saletan to always--always--come down on the side of anyone who kills the outsider to protect the tribe. The funny thing is, none of the people defending Zimmerman would ever want to live next door to him, especially if they had dogs or children.

Only in America do we put a dead black teenager on trial for his own murder.

Arctic Monkeys AM Cover

Arctic Monkeys have kept with their minimalistic philosophy and have released the cover for their new album, AM. Using squiggly lines on a dark background is a stylistic improvement over the cover of Suck it and See, obviously, and they continue to put graphic artists out of work.

By the way, look dead center at the squiggle and you'll see the cleverly disguided A and M.

You Have to Fight to Get Paid

This article reveals a universal truth--no one wants to actually have to pay for music. No one wants to let artists have money for what they create. Everyone says they want to "pay" for music but they refuse to pay what it is worth. Spotify are no different than any other failed idea of the 2000s. Music cannot be free because a decade and then some of free has left artists with nothing to show for their efforts.

If there is an exceedingly bad business model out there, someone like Spotify will try to refine it and make it worse. There are still a few more coins to shake out of the music industry before it dies.

Oh, and it should be noted--why do you have to pay $49.99 for a video game? Why aren't video games free? Why doesn't the video game industry go with Spotify and pay video game makers nothing for something?

Flowering Bush

Flowering Bush

Phish Actually Sucks

So, for the second night in a row, we've been treated to the meanderings of Phish, who are playing Merriwether Post Pavillion. This second show seems to be going on well past the usual stop time for shows. I don't think anyone really cares. Who are you going to call? Is Howard County going to send a deputy out there to pull cords out of sockets? Are they making as many drug arrests this year as the last time? Who cares. As in, who cares without the question mark added.

All I can say is, wow. That's a band that knows some scales. There are no words to describe the onslaught of sounds and how aimless and pointless it sounds. The music is a little louder than it normally is for shows here--the heavy metal acts that played earlier this summer were quieter.

Phish represents one of those paths I never took in the early 1990s. A lot of people jumped on that wagon and trailed off into jam band hell. After eleven minutes or so, I think you need to move on or do something else. Jeebus.

I don't care if they can play. I don't care what they play. This is a part of the culture that means nothing to me and I can't wait to move a little farther away from Merriwether.

Zimmerman Gets Away With It

George Zimmerman got away with it today. The rest of his life will be spent doing what, exactly? Being a violent wannabe cop? Breaking the law again and again (because, up until now, Zimmerman has broken numerous laws)? Shooting some more black kids?

The rule of law marches on. In Texas, you can kill a prostitute when she won't have sex with you. In Florida, you can kill someone who decided to walk through your neighborhood carrying snacks. The kind of law they practice down in those two big southern states, where tens of millions of Americans live, is a sham and a fraud. If you choose to live in those states, you should remember one thing--the law means nothing. It is kill or be killed in those places and you might as well buy a third and fourth gun and double down on the terror.

Human life means nothing when everyone is a shooter in a shooting gallery puffed up with fear and madness.

No Idea Where I Was

I have no idea where I was in September, 1979, but I appear to be carrying eggs and displeased about being photographed. I remember the shirt, though. It was a heavy athletic department issued shirt, made of overly-thick material, and very comfortable.

Anyway, it is weird to find things like this and it is even weirder to post them on a blog and have no answer to the question--why were you carrying eggs?

I was probably being useful. Let's leave it at that.

Here on, there are four additional blogs that have been "melded" into this site. You will find content from The Easter Wolf, Hillbilly Thrill, The Chasseurs, and Albert Lea Sucks has been seamlessly added to the already bulging stacks of posts. I am consolidating a lot of things and putting everything here.

Like the idea of posting the picture, I just have to say, why not?

Abstract Number Eight July 2013

This is my favorite of a rather lackluster bunch. I like one and eight and the rest are okay and worth publishing, but still. I hope to do better.

Abstract Number Eight July 2013

This is my favorite of a rather lackluster bunch. I like one and eight and the rest are okay and worth publishing, but still. I hope to do better.

Abstract Number Seven July 2013

Abstract Number Seven July 2013

Abstract Number Six July 2013

Abstract Number Six July 2013

Abstract Number Five July 2013

Abstract Number Five July 2013

Another Miscarriage of Justice

Melissa Nelson

There's dumb and then there's Iowa dumb:

A dentist acted legally when he fired a longtime assistant because he had grown too attracted to her and worried he would try to start an affair, the Iowa Supreme Court reaffirmed Friday in its second crack at the controversial case.  

Coming to the same outcome as it did in December, but clarifying its rationale, the court found that bosses can fire employees that they and their spouses see as threats to their marriages. The court said such firings do not count as sex discrimination because they are motivated by feelings, not gender. 

The ruling upholds a judge's dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit filed by Melissa Nelson against James Knight. The Fort Dodge dentist fired the 33-year-old Nelson — two decades his junior — after his wife learned of text messages between the two. The married mother of two had worked for Knight for 10 years, and he considered her his best assistant.

This is what I cannot get over--the man's wife had him fire Nelson.

The firing came at the request of Knight's wife, who was concerned about the relationship between Knight and Nelson. Mansfield said the firing might have been bad treatment — and paying her one month's severance was ungenerous — but that it was not gender discrimination. Nelson was replaced by another woman; Knight had an all-female staff.

Yes, it most certainly was gender discrimination, and all it will take are a few more cases where people of the same sex interact in this way and have these disputes. The involvement of the spouse in the decision to fire Nelson is where the bias is exemplified. Your spouse cannot determine who is hired and fired in a government position, for example, and that should not be the case in the private sector as well. It is a clear case of unprofessional bias and it should be illegal for someone to tell their spouse to fire someone without just cause.

Then there is this example, which shows the douchebaggery of James Knight, which Nelson should have reported as sexual harrassment:

Cady said Nelson once told Knight that she wasn't having much sex and he responded, "That's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and not ever driving it." The dentist had also texted her asking how often she experienced orgasms (she did not respond) and complained that her body distracted him at work, once telling her that if she saw his pants bulging, that was a sign her clothes were too revealing. Knight also gave Nelson more favorable treatment than other workers, and she once texted him that she continued working there "because of you," he noted.

Douchebaggery is not illegal, but it should go a long ways towards informing the law as to what is and what is not acceptable discourse and practice in the workplace. It sounds like this was an immature relationship that was exacerbated by an inability to know where the boundaries were in everyday situations. There's no excuse for not knowing how to act around others. When you run or own a business, you should know these things.

The law has been misused in this case. Do you have to have legal experience to be a Supreme Court Justice in Iowa? How dumb are these people?

The Paparazzi Are Scumbags

Normally, you would never see the words "Suri Cruise" on a blog like this, but I figured it would be appropriate to speak up on behalf of her disgust with the craven, vicious thugs who call themselves modern paparazzi.

You can hear the bottom feeder in the background, sounding off about Cruise after she, rightly, scolds them for being in the way of where they want to go:
It doesn't matter if she seems like a brat at this age--she is being subjected to a feeding frenzy based on celebrity and nonsense. She is trying to live, with her single mother, in a world where there are people who make their living taking pictures and video of other people in order to sell them on what is little more than a sensationalistic, prurient market.

Modern paparazzi are the worst human beings on Earth, bar none, and they should be called out as such when they act up. Despite the fact that you can hear a "father" chastising the man who called Cruise a brat, they are engaged in one of the lowest forms of exploitation still possible.

The Paparazzi Are Scumbags

Normally, you would never see the words "Suri Cruise" on a blog like this, but I figured it would be appropriate to speak up on behalf of her disgust with the craven, vicious thugs who call themselves modern paparazzi.

You can hear the bottom feeder in the background, sounding off about Cruise after she, rightly, scolds them for being in the way of where they want to go:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

It doesn't matter if she seems like a brat at this age--she is being subjected to a feeding frenzy based on celebrity and nonsense. She is trying to live, with her single mother, in a world where there are people who make their living taking pictures and video of other people in order to sell them on what is little more than a sensationalistic, prurient market.

Modern paparazzi are the worst human beings on Earth, bar none, and they should be called out as such when they act up. Despite the fact that you can hear a "father" chastising the man who called Cruise a brat, they are engaged in one of the lowest forms of exploitation still possible.

The Anti-Vaccine Mafia

This article goes on to talk about what a disaster it would be to give Jenny McCarthy a platform to espouse her nutty anti-science beliefs. But, really, we need to go further than that.

Few articles go into enough detail over this issue and this one in particular does not mention the fact that Diedre Imus and her husband, radio host, Don Imus, bullied people--yes, bullied them and taunted them and called them names--for years over this very same anti-vaccination research and put pressure on politicians to enact legislation. As soon as the research was exposed as a fraud, nothing more was said. Diedre Imus reached far more people of influence and power than Jenny McCarthy could ever dream of reaching.

Children are dead because these people used their power and influence in the media to spread ideas that turned out to be fraudulent. No accounting for that has been held thus far.

When Your Whine Doesn't Work Indoors

Really? We're taking cheap shots at artists now?

Now, if we're going to debate Radiohead and Atoms for Peace, and how awful that stuff can sound when you're not in the mood for it, then we're in for a long afternoon of arguing. If we're simply going to acknowledge that the interior of Chipotle is simply not conducive for the reproduction of recorded music, then I think we're in agreement.

Are the artists who help shape, and give value to, this music identity being paid? Are they being paid a token licensing fee or are we actually going to break new artists and compensate people in a meaningful way?

Diving Platform, Freibad Sindelfingen, Germany

Diving Platform, Freibad Sindelfingen, Germany

Speed Camera Althengstett, Germany

I posted about another of these cameras on my Google+ profile. This is the camera that would greet me every night on the way home. I always slowed after passing in order to see if it would flash catch someone speeding behind me. This camera never caught me, others did.

Speed Camera Althengstett, Germany

I posted about another of these cameras on my Google+ profile. This is the camera that would greet me every night on the way home. I always slowed after passing in order to see if it would flash catch someone speeding behind me. This camera never caught me, others did.