Who Paid Dave Stewart to Shill for Spotify?




Someone got to Dave Stewart.

He used to be against things like Spotify. He correctly identified the problem--they pay shit royalties and you have to be a multi-platinum artist with lawyers and a brain trust to even begin to see anything resembling an honest payout. Now, he's for them.

Someone upped his royalty rate? Or has he been bamboozled by the promises and not the results?

Wait Til the Money Comes Rolling In




The Gallagher Brothers get a lot of bad press. What people don't realize is that they were in a band together for about 18 years. There are whole entire bands without siblings in them that don't last a third of that long and that break up for trivial reasons that cannot be explained. The sisters in Haim should hope for the chance to end up where the Gallagher brothers ended up. They were at the top of their game and they were making a lot of money when it all ended. Many believe this is the temporary period that will lead to a massive resurrection of the band. Who knows?

I don't know anything about Haim, but I do know this: when there's serious money flowing in, and when it is time to go do something else, they probably won't survive the shock that will run through a band that can't function anymore. It could be a tight, seamless three piece or it could be a rambling 7 member collective. It could be anyone, and when it's over, it will certainly be over, no matter what.

Who Hired Lane Kiffin in the First Place?




My guess is that Lane Kiffin will now coach at either Notre Dame or for the Dallas Cowboys; each and the trend says that every time he quits or gets fired, he gets a higher profile job. At some point, he'll be running the New England Patriots or Alabama. I'm guessing he will join his father in Dallas and make Jerry Jones happy for about five minutes.

One of the last gifts that Mike Garrett gave to USC was Lane Kiffin. Now, that era is finally over.

No One Cared About Dexter




The cable series Dexter just ended and you would think people would have noticed. My impression is that no one gives a crap.

Breaking Bad is sucking up all of the TV oxygen right now. The next couple of days are going to be unbearable. The motif, the themes, the tie-ins, and all of that are overwhelming. There is nothing else happening in entertainment right now, literally.

Before Breaking Bad even started, Dexter was a hot show. It was dangerous, it made you think, and it took a startling look at ethics and ethical situations. It was groundbreaking.

Unfortunately, it also ran out of gas. If it had ended sooner, would that have mattered? And whose idea was it to end it right when Breaking Bad was happening the way that it is?

Someone did this show wrong, and Dexter will go down as a great also-ran in the history of television.

No One Cared About Dexter


The cable series Dexter just ended and you would think people would have noticed. My impression is that no one gives a crap.

Breaking Bad is sucking up all of the TV oxygen right now. The next couple of days are going to be unbearable. The motif, the themes, the tie-ins, and all of that are overwhelming. There is nothing else happening in entertainment right now, literally.

Before Breaking Bad even started, Dexter was a hot show. It was dangerous, it made you think, and it took a startling look at ethics and ethical situations. It was groundbreaking.

Unfortunately, it also ran out of gas. If it had ended sooner, would that have mattered? And whose idea was it to end it right when Breaking Bad was happening the way that it is?

Someone did this show wrong, and Dexter will go down as a great also-ran in the history of television.

Let the Appeasement Begin


America has decided to stop being a dick to Iran. This will last about as long as it takes for the United States Senate to assert an inherent dickishness put there by God and the Constitution and bring back the dickery.

The detail on the piece is nice, but isn't the Griffin proof that the pagans who lived in Iran would hate the existing fundamentalist Shiite government? That the godlessness of this blasphemy would have no value in a world made holier by the destruction of all that is unworthy?

Just curious.

The Road




A rather imperfect shot of the road and the sky, but worth trying to enhance.

The Road


A rather imperfect shot of the road and the sky, but worth trying to enhance.

A Home




This house has been around for many years. It is located in a small Midwestern town, and I remember seeing it when I was much younger. For someone, this modest place has been a home.

A Home


This house has been around for many years. It is located in a small Midwestern town, and I remember seeing it when I was much younger. For someone, this modest place has been a home.

Kristin Hersh Your Ghost Cover








This is another one of those masterfully done 4AD singles that people just covet and love, not for just the artist or the music but also for how it looks but by the special something found in the thinking that went into making the package. Kristin Hersh put this out and it thunders and moans like a great EP should. The packaging and the presentation is fantastic. This is the beginning of her solo career which will go on forever or for as long as she wants it to go on.

Your Ghost was a killer single, an announcement of things to come. It was Kristin's debut single and featured Michael Stipe in the background. No matter who you are, when you sing with Hersh, you are the background and the window dressing while she occupies the space around. This EP is worth it alone for her cover of When the Levee Breaks.

The Fall Hit the North Cover




The Fall are one of the enduring treasures of British recorded music. When you stop to consider their legacy, there are endless phases, endless cycles, and all of it sounds like The Fall.

Hit the North is just one more aspect of their sound and their ability to deliver social commentary through the fog of burping noises and New Order percussion. This has a chorus that will have you shouting into the wind while you drive along.

No One Can Play Freddie Mercury




I did not think this would happen, and I don't know how they can even do this film. Where do you find a person who can convincingly play Freddie Mercury? You'd almost have to find an unknown actor to do this project.

The Useless Drunks of Mother Russia


America has a lot of drunks, too. The difference is, our drunks get better welfare benefits. I would not know. I do not imbibe.

All of this fear of a resurgence of Russian hegemony is misplaced. We should fear a Russia teeming with stumblebums who set themselves on fire because they don't know how to work the stove when they are blind drunk.

Time to Dangle


If Robert Benmosche is that stupid, then perhaps he really is a symptom of what really ails the world economy and our elites as a whole. They are ignorant of history, incompetent at what they do, and they don't know anything about how the world really works.

One person's persecution complex is another person's day to day existence. If this poor man had to live like a person who is truly in danger or being hung for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, imagine how he would feel about being culpable for the misery of millions. He'd probably hang himself if he understood how many lives he and his fellow elitists chose to ruin so they could grab more of the economic pie for themselves. He would not need to be hung by anyone for that to be driven home. What sustains this world is that the knowledge and compassion and creativity of the people far below him on the economic ladder creates a world worth living in where the act of lynching would not be considered justice for such a thief. He belongs in prison with all the rest of this criminal cohorts, but treated humanely, of course.

Our media and our government allow people like this to exist and thrive without conscience.

An Olive Branch in One Hand, a Knife in the Other




Why is the "moderate" man wearing holy garments? Why are people surprised to see the Iranian government mounting a fully developed diplomatic effort to ease the crippling sanctions against it?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that his country poses "absolutely no threat to the world," and sanctions that have crippled its economy are "violent — pure and simple." 


In his first address to the world body, hours after President Barack Obama spoke, Rouhani also said he is prepared to engage in "time-bound" talks to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program. 


Rouhani’s closely watched visit to the United Nations followed a series of diplomatic overtures the centrist-leaning cleric has made to the West since he was elected to replace hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and he stressed his moderate credentials.

You can say whatever you want about Admadinejad, but he never went anywhere cloaked in anything other than a cheap suit and a lingering patina of anti-Semitism. This new version of Iranian diplomacy looks as harmless as all the other efforts. The modern media are much easier to fool, however, so this man and his Twitter account are getting more attention than necessary. The "president" of Iran has no real power or influence. He is a figurehead.

Haigerloch




I have given this a deliberate "post-card" feel. The photo was taken in April, 2012.

Take a Cultural Treasure Away From the British




Kelly Clarkson has been gracious, but there's no reason why she has had to be. Her decision to accept the sale of Jane Austen's ring back to the English speaking people of what they call Great Britain now is admirable. I come down on the side of history. Let the highest bidder walk away with items that are privately owned.

The British government has appropriated untold numbers of treasures from other countries. Sending back the cultural artifacts of Greece alone would involve removing massive numbers of items and sending them back to the Greece. And we're having a conniption about one ring?

The conqueror and the thief have reigned for thousands of years and now we're going to deny the purchasing power of the pop princess who wants to take something she's willing to pay for home with her? Something is a little out of whack here.

Take a Cultural Treasure Away From the British


Kelly Clarkson has been gracious, but there's no reason why she has had to be. Her decision to accept the sale of Jane Austen's ring back to the English speaking people of what they call Great Britain now is admirable. I come down on the side of history. Let the highest bidder walk away with items that are privately owned.

The British government has appropriated untold numbers of treasures from other countries. Sending back the cultural artifacts of Greece alone would involve removing massive numbers of items and sending them back to the Greece. And we're having a conniption about one ring?

The conqueror and the thief have reigned for thousands of years and now we're going to deny the purchasing power of the pop princess who wants to take something she's willing to pay for home with her? Something is a little out of whack here.

President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz Are Equals?




To the everlasting chagrin of every Republican not named Ted Cruz, we're seeing two great rivals go head to head:

Thousands of workers and the American economy stand to lose if the government shuts down next week, but some political leaders might see their hands improved by such a crisis. 


Nearly every economist warns of negative repercussions for the U.S. economy should Congress fail to forge an agreement to fund the government’s day-to-day operations past Sept. 30. But a handful of Republicans – and even President Barack Obama – are among the select few Americans who have something to gain should negotiations fail and a shutdown come to pass. 


The fact that it’s in the political best interests of some people (or groups) to force a government shutdown has actually contributed to the fiscal impasse, which shows no sign of resolution with little more than a week to go until all but the most essential government functions cease.


Cruz is now the de facto head of the Republican Party. Senators and governors and politicians all over this country with far more experience and capability have to follow their new leader straight off of the cliff in the weeks ahead.

They elected this man. He has a constituency that commands respect. He's out of his mind, but that's a feature, not a bug.

How a Compact Disc Used to Ruin Classic Album Covers







I had forgotten how "truncated" and condensed the cover of Animals looked when it was released on compact disc. If you compare the above to the image below, you can see the difference.





The original was much better, even if it did appear a little more faded.

Idris Elba is Accidentally Speaking For Everyone Else







From a pop culture standpoint, you do not want to be an Englishman on the wrong side of Idris Elba at this stage of the game:


Elba, who has starred in Pacific Rim and Prometheus already this year, played 'Wonderwall' during a DJ set prior to the GQ interview. Asked by the magazine if he was taking a shot at [Liam] Gallagher by playing the song, Elba responds: "No! Fuck that idiot. No. I don’t even know what his songs are about now or what band he’s in now. No-one gives a fuck, yeah? He was popular when he was in Oasis."


And that's pretty much everyone else's opinion. Liam Gallagher hardly counts as a rock star anymore and the Beady Eye wagon has lost two or three wheels.

The Endless Debate


You can count on one hand the number of people who have made a reasonable defense of maintaining Native American names for sports teams. Rick Reilly is not one of them.

Reilly is an inherently dumb analyst who doesn't do nuance or reasonable. He spouts off things like this in the middle of and endless stream of self-serving bullshit:
[...] even though an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the Redskins name, and even though linguists say the "redskins" word was first used by Native Americans themselves, and even though nobody on the Blackfeet side of my wife's family has ever had someone insult them with the word "redskin," it doesn't matter. There's no stopping a wave of PC-ness when it gets rolling.
Polls can be skewed to demonstrate whatever the people paying for that poll want it to say. Reilly's attempt to personalize the debate is ridiculous because Native Americans are distributed throughout different regions. What might be acceptable for a tribe in Montana is vastly different from something know to a tribe that originated in a different part of the country. Cultural differences and linguistic differences are vast when it comes to Native Americans so the etymology of the term doesn't apply. It is not politically correct to object to the use of Native American terms for sports teams. It is, in point of fact, a demeaning act of cultural insensitivity. This is precisely because the Native Americans were not celebrated, elevated or triumphant, ever. They were removed, subjugated, and allowed to die off in massive numbers. When you adopt their names and images and use them to celebrate sports teams, all you are doing is relegating them to the status of mascot.

In the case of the Redskins, they use a racial term, not a tribal name or term, as their mascot. That's why the Seminoles in Florida have no problem with Florida State's use of the name and why the debate is far more nuanced than people realize.

I'm not able to add anything new here but I will say this--it's about money. Culture and other considerations need not apply. Money talks. The Redskins are too valuable for the franchise to survive a name change. There is too much wrapped up in merchandising and marketing to even consider a change. The Redskins franchise is worth over a billion dollars, depending on who you believe, and that is why you won't see a change until if affects the bottom line. No one cares about right or wrong when you're talking about a billionaire's plaything.

No amount of arguing or logic will change the monetary considerations that are driving this debate. Rick Reilly has made an attempt to subvert the racism in this case and he has failed to make a dent in the logic of changing the name. If it wasn't for the money, the name would have changed long ago.

Waterfall Scene, Triberg




This was shot in Triberg, Germany. It is not one waterfall; it is a series of waterfalls that you can hike over and around.

Waterfall Scene, Triberg


This was shot in Triberg, Germany. It is not one waterfall; it is a series of waterfalls that you can hike over and around.

The Jeremiah Program


Someone needs to pay attention to the success that The Jeremiah Program is having when it comes to lifting people out of intergenerational poverty:
The Jeremiah Program opened its doors near the Basilica of Saint Mary’s in 1998, when 18 families moved into its apartments. Over the years, it developed a model for combating intergenerational poverty that has won national recognition. The nonprofit has received calls for years from leaders in other cities, wanting to learn the magic formula. 
That formula includes safe, affordable housing for the family; quality early education for the kids; “life skills” training and a career track college education for mom — all linked to businesses, volunteers and the broader community to support the families along the way. 
A Wilder Foundation analysis of the model released this year showed that for every dollar invested in the program, there was a $4 return. Those savings took the form of less reliance on public assistance, increased taxes paid by the parents, and lower spending on special education and other services for their children.

They're adopting this program in Austin, Texas. Look for Governor Rick Perry to try to destroy it before it gets off the ground. If there's one thing a Republican hates, it is proof that the problem of poverty can be solved by using common sense and government money.

The formula of this project uses common sense and, to be honest with you, it flies in the fact of practically everything we are told about poverty. This strategy does not abandon people or relegate them to criminal status simply by being poor. It uses dignity and instruction to move people from one place to another.

How long before Nick Gillespie's outfit derides this as another boondoggle? How long before we see the Breitbart Kidz with hidden video of a pimp trying to get into an apartment?

Success breeds the kind of hate that has to be reckoned with. If you're going to successfully move people out of poverty, you have to be ready for the blowback.

Pacman and Peso Will Do Anything For a Buck




This has to be the dumbest stunt anyone ever pulled in order to gain virtually no fame whatsoever. Who's going to watch these two idiots in a video shot in North Korea?

I mean, duh:

ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea without proper documentation have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention (see Travel Warning ). You must have a valid passport and a valid DPRK visa to enter North Korea. The U.S. government does not issue letters to private U.S. citizens who wish to apply for DPRK visas. If you plan to enter and depart North Korea through China, you must obtain a multiple-entry visa for China, because a valid Chinese visa is required to enter China after leaving North Korea at the conclusion of your visit. Routine travel from South Korea to North Korea is prohibited. Travel across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) is allowed only infrequently for official and government-authorized cultural and economic exchanges or aid shipments. Commercial airlines do not operate regular flights between South and North Korea. 


If you arrive in North Korea without a valid passport and a valid DPRK visa, you may be denied entry, fined, detained, arrested, or imprisoned. North Korea has imposed heavy fines and long prison sentences with hard labor on persons who entered the country without the proper documentation. Even with the proper documentation, visitors may be subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and may not receive appropriate legal protection against inhumane treatment. 


Internet access is limited to non-existent, and many hotels do not offer international telephone calls. If you use a cell phone in the DPRK, please keep in mind that mobile telephone networks are operated as a joint venture with the North Korean government. You have no right to privacy in North Korea and should assume your communications are monitored. If you bring electronic media, including USB drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, or laptops, into North Korea, you must assume that North Korean authorities will review the information on those devices. Please be sure that the information contained on those devices does not violate North Korea’s laws or regulations. If you violate North Korea’s laws, knowingly or unknowingly, you can be harshly punished, even for offenses that would not be illegal in the United States.

How delusional are these two? They are backed by some serious idiocy:

“This trip will be a fantastic opportunity for Pacman and Peso to meet young, dynamic people and significantly broaden their horizons,” read the proposal, which was posted Aug. 30, “in addition to jump starting their musical careers.” The title was straightforward and surreal: “Pacman & Peso Make a Music Video in North Korea.”


This sentiment comes from, in part, a manager who should probably give up on his dreams and get a real job:


Ramsey Aburdene has a slight build, a post-college beard and an earnest way of communicating that makes him seem both younger and older than his age, which is 24. By day he works in commercial lending. But Ramsey grew up attending District public schools and always dreamed, after college at the University of Connecticut, of returning to his home and forming a small production studio for rap music.


North Korea? Really? Good luck, chumps.

Function Over Inspiration




This article details the liftoff of a supply capsule that has been sent to the International Space Station.

Sorry, but, *yawn.*

Our modern space program has abandoned sending people into space unless they're going to stay in the International Space Station. No one is going to Mars and no one is going to the moon anytime soon.

Where's the adventure? Has it been replaced with boring functionality and budget realities?

No wonder no one pays attention anymore.

No Gwar For the No Fun League




You can be rest assured that Gwar will never play the Superbowl. It has nothing to do with their popularity. If the NFL could make money from having Gwar play, they will put them out there and milk it for all it is worth.

No, Gwar won't play the Superbowl Halftime Show because that would scare the ever-loving crap out of millions of old people who are there to see the booby commercials and eat themselves into a coma. Bruno Mars is pleasant and has no edge to him. That's why he is their perfect musical act.

The Art of Frank Netter




This is a fascinating article on the timeless work of Frank Netter:

Netter did practice medicine briefly but, as Francine writes, “the demand for Frank’s sable brush grew faster than the demand for his scalpel.” His portraits, drawings of body parts and, at the behest of pharmaceutical companies, images of new drugs and how they worked were simply too vivid and unique to ignore. In 1934, Netter saw his last patient. 


It would be Netter’s relationship with drug manufacturers that propelled forth his career as a medical artist. In 1937, the Ciba Company asked him to prepare an illustrated flyer for its version of digitalis, a heart drug. A remarkably long marriage was born. Over the next five decades, Netter worked with the company, later known as Ciba-Geigy, to produce the Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations and the Clinical Symposia, beautifully illustrated books that depicted both normal anatomy as well as the pathology associated with specific diseases. The over 4,000 illustrations made by Netter during his career also depicted patients (drawn from models) suffering from conditions like bronchial asthma, angina and major depression. One picture showed a patient with end-stage liver disease on water restriction desperately drinking from a toilet. When Netter required surgery for an aortic aneurysm near the end of his life, he used the occasion to make diagrams of the operation he needed. Netter’s work was voluminous, covering a vast array of topics and diseases. Ciba distributed his illustrations far and wide to medical students and physicians—usually for free—as a marketing tool.


Netter's work was of such a stunning high quality that it slipped under the radar of the art world and became an ever-present part of the culture. Virtually everyone has seen the work of Frank Netter without actually understanding the value of it or the artistic quality of it because we lived in a period where the printed and mass-distributed illustration was in mass distribution and use.

Today, we meticulously photograph and manipulate images. Netter used models and drew illustrations by hand, which is vanishing as a practice all around us.

The Art of Frank Netter


This is a fascinating article on the timeless work of Frank Netter:
Netter did practice medicine briefly but, as Francine writes, “the demand for Frank’s sable brush grew faster than the demand for his scalpel.” His portraits, drawings of body parts and, at the behest of pharmaceutical companies, images of new drugs and how they worked were simply too vivid and unique to ignore. In 1934, Netter saw his last patient. 
It would be Netter’s relationship with drug manufacturers that propelled forth his career as a medical artist. In 1937, the Ciba Company asked him to prepare an illustrated flyer for its version of digitalis, a heart drug. A remarkably long marriage was born. Over the next five decades, Netter worked with the company, later known as Ciba-Geigy, to produce the Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations and the Clinical Symposia, beautifully illustrated books that depicted both normal anatomy as well as the pathology associated with specific diseases. The over 4,000 illustrations made by Netter during his career also depicted patients (drawn from models) suffering from conditions like bronchial asthma, angina and major depression. One picture showed a patient with end-stage liver disease on water restriction desperately drinking from a toilet. When Netter required surgery for an aortic aneurysm near the end of his life, he used the occasion to make diagrams of the operation he needed. Netter’s work was voluminous, covering a vast array of topics and diseases. Ciba distributed his illustrations far and wide to medical students and physicians—usually for free—as a marketing tool.

Netter's work was of such a stunning high quality that it slipped under the radar of the art world and became an ever-present part of the culture. Virtually everyone has seen the work of Frank Netter without actually understanding the value of it or the artistic quality of it because we lived in a period where the printed and mass-distributed illustration was in mass distribution and use.

Today, we meticulously photograph and manipulate images. Netter used models and drew illustrations by hand, which is vanishing as a practice all around us.

The End of the Casanova




The economic realities of Europe are filtering down into the moral practices of men. This article from the BBC Magazine details how Italian males are being forced to drop the practice of maintaining a mistress in conjunction with the wife and family that is supposed to balance their "Casanova" lifestyle.

I get what this means for businessmen, but what about artists? What about that sliver of the population that engages in artistic pursuits and lives a broader and less moral lifestyle? What of the painters and musicians and writers who are not going to be maintaining a kept woman in a manner in which they are more accustomed?

The spread of austerity has meant that Italian men are not going to keep their mistresses in separate and lucrative lives. The Casanova industry will likely collapse, driving people to desperation and shame. We may well see family values take hold. Or we might see a more creative version of douchebaggery that will inspire men the world over to be more clever about keeping their secret lives going and hidden away.

The End of the Casanova


The economic realities of Europe are filtering down into the moral practices of men. This article from the BBC Magazine details how Italian males are being forced to drop the practice of maintaining a mistress in conjunction with the wife and family that is supposed to balance their "Casanova" lifestyle.

I get what this means for businessmen, but what about artists? What about that sliver of the population that engages in artistic pursuits and lives a broader and less moral lifestyle? What of the painters and musicians and writers who are not going to be maintaining a kept woman in a manner in which they are more accustomed?

The spread of austerity has meant that Italian men are not going to keep their mistresses in separate and lucrative lives. The Casanova industry will likely collapse, driving people to desperation and shame. We may well see family values take hold. Or we might see a more creative version of douchebaggery that will inspire men the world over to be more clever about keeping their secret lives going and hidden away.

Moderator Delete This Perverted Article


Fort Bragg is a military installation where damned near anything still goes:
A Fort Bragg soldier and his wife are accused of engaging in sex acts with dogs, filming them and posting the videos on the Internet, police said. 
Ruben Chance James Fox and his wife, Amber Nicole Fox, both 23, of the 900 block of East Prospect Avenue, were arrested Monday morning, according to the Raeford Police Department. 
They are charged with multiple counts of crimes against nature involving bestiality, disseminating obscene materials and conspiracy, police said. 
Amber Fox also is charged with soliciting a crime against nature, police said. 
The cybercrimes unit of the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia contacted Raeford authorities about two weeks ago after videos appeared online showing sex acts with dogs, said Raeford police Maj. Marc Godwin.
This is more of a commentary on what young military couples have to do to make ends meet than it is about the sexual preferences of the Internet generation. In the old days, these videos would have been made on VHS tapes and then circulated through the Fort Bragg community by selling them at a stand outside of the PX or by trading them through the mail. Usually, this is done by the S-3 or the S-4 in the artillery battalion, or it's traded off by the battalion commander's girlfriend and her husband in the Corps logistics battalion.

Nothing should surprise you about what goes on there. Nothing.

But the whole thing is classic for this one comment from the website:
Stefanik 
Moderator: Delete this perverted article!
Lord, please grant this person their wishes.
  • Off the Reservation

    Does a man like Archbishop John Niendstedt have a future in the modern Catholic Church? Will this new Pope Francis completely transform the church in time to relegate men like this to the fringes?

    Never bet on goodness when it comes to the transformation of a major religion. It all skews evil, always, and it usually comes with a marketing plan that adapts to the times in which we live. You can almost hear the Opus Dei collapsing around you, whips and chains optional.

    This is Actually Something Someone Does?



    This is a thing? Really? And there are people still buying these things?

    I would imagine that these are fake pieces of nostalgia being passed off as collector's items. I find it hard to believe that this man was simply selling pirated copies that weren't being passed on with some bogus "added value" to them, like signatures or whatnot.

    The methods of purchasing and acquiring music have all but vanished. There are no music shops anymore, really, and the Internet is the only way to get music. If you want to be specific about it, getting an iTunes account and dealing with all of that bullshit has to be a pain in the ass for those who have been left behind. Can you imagine dealing with iTunes and several downloads over a dial-up connection?

    Enlisted




    This is the actual premise of a show on Fox:

    Enlisted is a military-set family comedy centering on three brothers who, when the best of the best are sent overseas, stay behind to keep the post in order. Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young star alongside Keith David and Angelique Cabral.


    Sounds like a hoot. The problem is, this sort of a situation wouldn't actually happen and that means that the premise of the show, which is critical in any comedy, falls apart right away.

    You would never see three brothers anywhere near each other unless they were on leave in the Army and you have what would appear to be three men in their thirties with what amounts to almost no rank whatsoever. The dude in the middle has a combat patch, is Airborne qualified with the Pathfinder badge, and he's a mere private? A buck sergeant, if that? Really? And the other two have too much hair and not enough rank as well.

    The people who stay behind are usually non-deployable. These three able-bodied men are all brothers, serving on the same Army post, and they didn't deploy with their units? How are you going to mine that for laughs? Good luck.

    These things matter even if it is just a comedy.

    Is It Really Just a Piece of Wood?


    One of the great joys of my life is watching Baby Boomers bankrupt themselves trying to acquire obscure scraps of the legacy of the Beatles. This is yet another example of how virtually any object can be transformed into something worth a fantastic amount of money that will only matter to a dying generation of people who have overvalued the music of their youth to an extent not really ever seen before.

    There must be a piece of wood out there with Noel Gallagher's lyrics carved onto it. Who is paying too much for that?

    When the last of these fools dies off, their talismans and objects and souvenirs are going to be worth what, exactly?

    Almost nothing.

    Maryland vs Texas




    Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to live his life as a troll. Good for him. I hope he gets the help he needs before they try to run him for President again.

    It is unseemly for a governor to decry other states for business reasons. Virtually all of America's corporations are incorporated in Delaware. Does Perry have an answer for that? Why not go after that low-hanging fruit and make it so that companies would actually want to incorporate in Texas. I remember that Austin, Texas used to be a hub for tech companies. How's Dell doing now?

    I happen to be a person who moved directly from Texas to Maryland by way of a short stay in the country of South Korea. What a magical time that was. We went from no trees, blasting heat, and few, if any, government services to the place where we still live today. It's not as hot, the trees are way better, and we have a host of services available to us that we didn't have in Texas. Maryland has its problems, but at least--at least--it is not Texas.

    Here in Maryland, nobody seems interested in letting a fertilizer plant next to a residential area blow sky high and kill people because, well, Freedom!

    Food Obsession Reaches a New Level


    McDonald's has a new "product" that is really not any different from the supersized meals offered by Taco Bell or Kentucky Fried Chicken. Those restaurants package large amounts of food in boxes that can be purchased by people and they are designed to disguise how much food they are gathering up and consuming.

    Our society is no longer about ordering a late night pizza; it's about consuming an ever-increasing amount of food that can be boxed and hidden away from prying eyes.

    We're not just getting fatter. We're eliminating the stigma associated with getting fatter.

    In other words, why is this news? Because the news organization in question, Time Magazine, has a vested interest in writing stories about how we are getting fatter and less healthy and so it seeds the discussion with stories about products that help transform America into a land full of weight-obsessed food abusers who have to now buy boxes of the stuff they want.

    Circle jerk? Yes. And on purpose as well.

    Mr. Pierce Says No




    The left has turned on President Obama, but not in a huge way. There are domestic issues that prevent the thinking, rational left from completely disavowing this administration, and the Republican Party is still too crazy to be taken seriously on any issue, big or small.

    I think this has more to do with the President's early status as a completely lame duck. We will see inaction and and neglect for vital issues continue up until the 2014 election. If the Republicans are not thrown out of office, en masse, and if the House does not return to Democratic control, the Republic is well and truly fucked. Permanent unemployment and an economy stuck in first gear are the reality that waits ahead for us.

    A war might have kickstarted the economy in some respects by adding to defense spending. It might have bolstered certain markets and given us an opportunity to increase our trade with prospective allies in the "fight" against Syria. In particular, severing Lebanon from Syria would open up new customers. I think that the goal should always have been the elimination of Syrian dominance in Lebanon and the creation of new clients and customers there, as well as a concerted effort to destroy Hezbollah.

    You can listen to these speeches only for so long until you realize that the real goal should be the isolation and destruction of Hezbollah. Selling that to the American people isn't happening and appealing to the public with stories of a limited chemical weapons attack hasn't budged thinking people at all.

    The bottom line is, we can't go to war again, not for a long time.

    Nothing Ever Changes


    Why even bother to study this sort of thing?

    Will it lead to change? No. Will anyone do anything about this? No. Will there be a badly-needed course correction in time to save our capitalist society from a meltdown?

    I hope so. We do need to see reform and change, and this time in favor of people who don't own everything.

    Heidelberg




    The U.S. military has seen fit to close the facility in Heidelberg, Germany. In reality, this means that there will be fewer Americans living and working in the Mannheim and Heidelberg areas. If you spent any time in Germany during the Cold War, this may come as a bit of a shock. If not, oh well.

    My memories of these places are positive; the PX and the Food Court on Heidelberg were wonderfully retro in that they weren't "modernized" and ruined. They allowed you a glimpse of what was, and not what will be, which is nothing.

    I agree with closing these bases and reducing our footprint overseas. But the closure of Heidelberg cuts to the bone.

    Do You Have a Van Gogh in Your Attic?




    Where was it? The first Van Gogh painting discovered since 1928?

    Languishing in the attic of a Norwegian man who was told it was not a Van Gogh.

    Do You Have a Van Gogh in Your Attic?


    Where was it? The first Van Gogh painting discovered since 1928?

    Languishing in the attic of a Norwegian man who was told it was not a Van Gogh.

    Primal Scream Burning Wheel Cover







    Primal Scream's Burning Wheel single is extremely ambitious and well done. It uses retro imagery, the time stamp motif, and cuts everything up nicely.

    Sunset




    Sunset


    What Did You Say Your Name Was?





    Apparently, there's this fellow named David Petraeus and he once had some jobs or something in the government and he wants people to listen to him...




    At some point, he may have had some influence or some power. Now he sounds like a confused man who wandered in from a golf course somewhere, hoping someone would invite him to lunch or maybe nod politely while he gave his opinion about things that have been going on in the world.

    Anyway, he had a cute girlfriend for a while but now his wife is all mad or something and he can't work anymore. Something like that--I forget.

    Why Aren't We Bombing North Korea?


    What would you do if you had overwhelming evidence that a country was systematically killing its own people?
    The report disclosed that two camps have been closed in the past year but that up to 130,000 individuals are still being held in penal labor colonies. 
    "They are deemed 'wrong-thinkers', 'wrongdoers', or those who have acquired 'wrong knowledge' or have engaged in 'wrong associations,'" it said. 
    "Through this vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the North Korean regime isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime," the report added. 
    Detainees are "relentlessly subjected to malnutrition, forced labor, and to other cruel and unusual punishment", the report said, with thousands more forcibly held in other detention facilities. 
    Some are held under the yeonjwa-je system, a “three generation, collective punishment system,” which can see children held because of the “real, suspected or imagined” political disloyalty of the grandfathers or fathers.

    Activists say that as many as 40 percent of the male, female and child inmates die of malnutrition, while others succumb to disease, sexual violence, torture, abuse by the guards or are worked to death. Some are required to work for up to 16 hours a day in dangerous conditions, often in mines or logging camps.
    If you're wondering why we haven't bombed North Korea lately, you're not alone. Because it has been able to build up a mythological and hardly impressive military posture, the argument tends to run along the lines of "if we attack North Korea, they will set Seoul on fire."

    Well, if you want to be consistent, and prevent hundreds of thousands of people from being worked to death or to starved to death, then you need to go bomb North Korea when you're done bombing Syria.

    I am not in the mood to be lectured about Syria when reports like this one out of North Korea continue to be ignored.

    Encryption is Meaningless


    This is hilarious.

    If you think encryption means anything anymore, continue to live as if no one has ever figured out how to crack these things. Secrets in the digital age? Please.

    There is No Reason to Embrace the Russian Bear




    Oh, this is a bunch of nothing:


    President Barack Obama was intent on getting the upper hand as he greeted Russia's Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit on Thursday, according to body language experts who watched the frosty exchange. 


    From a jacket-buttoning pause to a hard-pumping handshake, Obama displayed tell-tale signs of dominance after he alit from a limo in front of St. Petersburg's Konstantin Palace, where Putin waited to meet him, communication experts said. 


    There was no outright hostility, but the chill between the two world leaders — at loggerheads over NSA leaker Edward Snowden and a strike against Syria — was evident in clenched-jaw smiles and lack of eye-contact and touching, the experts said.

    Russia, as a player on the world's stage, becomes more and more irrelevant by the day. In terms of GDP, Russia is only slightly ahead of Italy and is well behind Brazil, Germany, China, and the United States to name just a few. Moments like this are supposed to suggest a return to the Cold War. Russia would very much like to return to those days but, the fact remains, it is a dying country full of alcoholics, brutality, and misery.





    The ability to project power is what matters. China is desperately chasing a blue water navy and influence wherever it can. Without the ability to do so relegates a nation/state to a very limited ability to demonstrate why it matters. Russia simply doesn't matter anymore. It can be counted on to perform the duties of a troll on the world's stage, one that is increasingly easy to ignore.





    The Russian bear is a shadow of itself. In five years, it will be lucky to find itself in the top 20 in terms of GDP and it will still be largely irrelevant.

    Statue




    Statue


    Poster Edges in Photoshop



     

    I love how this looks. Thank you, Photoshop!

    [Original image]




    Poster Edges in Photoshop

     

    I love how this looks. Thank you, Photoshop!

    [Original image]


    Bootleg Donald Duck




    This is an item offered for sale in the marktplatz area of Stuttgart. It's Donald Duck, and it's a bootleg of something that Disney probably wants you to forget.

    Bootleg Donald Duck


    This is an item offered for sale in the marktplatz area of Stuttgart. It's Donald Duck, and it's a bootleg of something that Disney probably wants you to forget.

    Binky Spitter







    Trent Reznor had a fit in public over how he was treated at the Reading Festival, and it prompted a response from Biffy Clyro that I needed to have translated for me.

    Simon Neil said that Reznor 'spat his dummy out' and thereby ended the discussion by giving the best possible spin on what happened. Some American bands do tend to show up at British festivals and react with horror when they're told that they are playing in the early afternoon, well before bands that no one in the U.S. has ever heard of but have massive followings in Europe. Some take it in stride and some fail to comprehend how something called Biffy Clyro could be a bigger draw.




    Anyway, the phrase breaks out like this:

    Spit the Dummy ... is childish, like a baby spitting out its dummy in a tantrum and refusing to be pacified.

    For the Brits and the Australians (and a few others), a dummy is what they call a pacifier; the term I am most familiar with is binky.

    Reznor is a binky spitter, in other words. I think that's the phrase we should adopt. Binky Spitter.

    More Profitable Than Cocaine


    The Associated Press inadvertently gives you all the information you need in order to make phony money:
    First, design: Software such as Corel Draw or Microsoft Office is used. Then comes photolithography, the etching of metal plates, offset printing and finishing.
    Finishing is next: A sheet of bills is lightly coated with varnish. Individual bills, typically 12, are then cut from the sheet. 
    Security strips are inserted with needles and affixed with glue applied with medical syringes. (Hold a $20 bill up to the light and you can see a strip with "USA TWENTY" printed repeatedly across it). 
    The bills now pass through what counterfeiters call an "enmalladora," or netting machine: Two rollers covered with coarse fabric to give them a rough texture.
    The last step: Sand down the bills with fine sandpaper.
     
    "It takes four or five days to make $300,000" in counterfeit notes, the investigator said.
    Clearly, this is more than just doodling on heavy paper or trimming off the corners of a bill and tricking a slackjawed retail clerk into taking a folded over note. It's good to see that all of the effort that has gone into preventing this from happening is working. My understanding was that the new designs currently in circulation were extremely hard to counterfeit. And yet, there are 13 year-olds who have mastered the art of making fake money.

    At some point, money will have to go away and we'll all live with virtual money programmed onto plastic cards that are, of course, the easiest thing in the world to use to steal things. We spend money to create money that is worthless when it is this easy to copy.

    They Will Never Stop Trying to Ruin America




    Richard Epstein

    The Hoover Institution is out with more nonsense. If there's an organization out there that is more dedicated to the economic ruin of America, it would have to be the Republican Party.

    This is what it looks like when they're barely even trying to make the case that anything that improves the lives of poor Americans is a bad idea:

    Richard Epstein:

    A recent New York Times editorial “Labor, Then and Nowunwisely uses the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington to renew its plea for a whole host of restrictions on the labor market, including adopting a $15-per-hour minimum wage, which would be an increase from the so-called “miserly” $7.25-per-hour minimum wage of today—a figure that is lower in real terms than $1.15 minimum wage in effect when the march took place. 


    Similarly, New York Democratic mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio has made enormous headway in his current mayoral bid, clearly eclipsing the stolid Christine Quinn, with his unabashed call for a “progressive agenda” that includes a sharp rise in the minimum wage. De Blasio will try to survive on a minimum wage to show how insufficient it is.  


    What is characteristic about these and other similar attempts is how little effort they make to understand anything about the underlying principle. For example, de Blasio’s stunt makes it appear that the test of a good minimum wage law is whether people can live on that salary. In so doing, he ignores all the non-pecuniary benefits that a job can give people: exposure to business, professional skills, networking, and the like. College seniors are eagerly seeking unpaid internships to gain experience in the work force. Why deny that opportunity to those from less privileged backgrounds who must contend with unemployment rates of 41.6 percent in the case of black teenagers aged 16 to 19?




    If Richard Epstein paid attention to anything outside of the libertarian realm, and if he cared about those poor black teenagers, he'd be a firm advocate for raising the minimum wage. Raising it doesn't cause unemployment, and we've known this for years:

    Opponents of the policy [raising the minimum wage] have often raised the potential disemployment effects, but this analysis shows that minimum wage increases do not price low-wage workers out of the labor market. The employment effects, while negative in some models, never reach anywhere near the level where the benefits to low-wage workers would be outweighed by their costs in terms of job losses. These findings, especially when taking into consideration the characteristics and incomes of minimum wage workers and their families, provide convincing evidence that the policy is effective in raising the earnings of low-wage workers, most of whom (though not all) reside in below-average income households. 


    The minimum wage in this country should be about $15 an hour, if not more. That would relieve a great deal of the stress on state and local governments and it would push the costs for social services currently being carried by taxpayers onto companies that are reaping massive profits while paying little, if any, taxes.

    If you are dedicated to the economic destruction of America, keep following the progress of Mr. Epstein and the libertarians and the Republicans among us. They are winning every argument because hating people and ignoring the facts are far too popular right now in our know-nothing, do nothing, learn nothing culture.

    Fox News Channel Has a Store





    I did not know that Fox News had a store. A retail outlet gift shop kind of thing, actually, located in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.





    And, while I did not go in, I was able to zoom in and, of course...







    The Fox News Store sells pornography.

    Which is fine, because these things go together, right?

    Healthy Living and Phony Cures




    This is misleading and is not backed up by any evidence worth mentioning...




    This kind of thing is worth a comment or two:


    "The Sour Sop or the fruit from the graviola tree is a miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than Chemo."

    Another phony cure for cancer. Where is the evidence to back up that claim? Where is the accountability for whoever spreads this garbage and then doesn't have the ability to back it up?

    This is exactly the kind of marketing-driven pseudo-science that gives people false hope and kills them when they make an ill-informed choice.

    Claiming that "...It's because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale." is a clever dodge. Who is doing this and why?

    If you put you health in the hands of an unproven "miracle" plant, all you are doing is lining the pockets of the people who are counting on ignorance to help them sell garbage to desperately ill people. Over 25 years ago, we were told to take a relative off chemotherapy medicine and go on Herbalife. Thank God we ignored that kind of bullshit.

    Do You Really Know How to Search?




    CLICK to enlarge

    This is a very handy piece of information.

    I did not know about the search trick on Google where you put a dash in front of a word that you DO NOT want to appear in your search results. I have to try that one myself.

    Do You Really Know How to Search?

    CLICK to enlarge
    This is a very handy piece of information.

    I did not know about the search trick on Google where you put a dash in front of a word that you DO NOT want to appear in your search results. I have to try that one myself.

    John Kerry is Wrong








    Bashar Assad is a third-rate thug who is quashing elements of al Qaeda because he inherited a secular dictatorship. He is so far removed from being a "Hitler" that anyone who equates him, and Syria, with the Germany of 1938 is out of their element when it comes to history or foreign policy.

    I hope they vote no on intervening in Syria. There is nothing there that is worth one American life. Syria is a meaningless, irrational player in Mideast politics. Helping the "rebels" in Syria is the equivalent of handing al Qaeda a country in which to train. And John Kerry is a stunning failure as a Secretary of State. Assad equals Hitler? This is a "Munich" moment?

    John Kerry and John McCain are incredibly incompetent old fools. Get them off the stage.

    Would You Pay Someone to Drive You Over a Bridge?


    I have driven over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at least three or four times, which is not a lot, but I don't remember being "afraid" of it. I think it was more annoying than anything because I couldn't look and see the sights.

    This surprised me:
    Millions of Americans will be on the road heading back from the beach on the Labor Day holiday, which marks the end of summer in the US. 
    For those in the state of Maryland, that journey may involve driving across the long and notoriously nerve-racking Chesapeake Bay Bridge, ranked as one of the scariest in the world to cross. 
    The trip is too much for some motorists, who pay someone else to drive them and their cars across the water.
    My first reaction to this story was, someone is trolling the BBC. Then, it hit me that there are other legitimate niche markets for this kind of thing, so why the hell not?

    No Bees For Bez




    Even if Bez means well, he's never going to get the benefit of the doubt from the Bromley Beekeepers Association (cue Preservation by the Kinks...)

    This is not going to end normally, let's put it that way.

    Dumb Stunts Fail to Inspire




    This is good for Diana Nyad, but, really, who cares?

    It is 2013. If you are inspired by an old lady to go swim a long way in the ocean without a shark cage, then go for it.

    The sad thing is, no one is inspired by dumb stunts anymore. This is not the Depression--no one is going to give her a hundred dollars for her feat and no one is going to make her a movie star. No one will see this unless it goes viral and, even then, so what?

    We need to get beyond these outdated feats of whatever (Because someone will always wonder if there were there steroids involved. Was it a fraud?) because you simply cannot trust that these things are entirely free of interference.

    I'm impressed by art. I'm impressed by things that take the mind to create them. The human body and sports, in particular, are impressive but they are open to corruption, as is art, when you think of it, because of things like plagiarism and the like. In this case, someone swam a long way in the ocean. Why was this breaking news all day?