Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest
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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

We Have Met The Enemy and He is Us

Pimps of war: Neocons who fueled 20 years of carnage in the Middle East are back for more by Chris Hedges is unhappy with the US government. He names those at the top who are most responsible for our idiotic foreign policy:

The Biden administration is filled with these ignoramuses, including Joe Biden. Victoria Nuland, the wife of Robert Kagan, serves as Biden's undersecretary of state for political affairs. Antony Blinken is secretary of state. Jake Sullivan is national security adviser. They come from this cabal of moral and intellectual trolls that includes Kimberly Kagan, the wife of Fred Kagan, who founded the Institute for the Study of War, William Kristol, Max Boot, John Podhoretz, Gary Schmitt, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Frum and others. Many were once staunch Republicans or, like Nuland, served in Republican and Democratic administrations. Nuland was the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. 

That's a bunch of names. Let's break it down. First we have the top dogs: 

  • Joe Biden
  • Antony Blinken, Secretary of State
  • Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser
Then we have the Kagans, a whole bunch of Kagans:
Now we have some writers:
  • William Kristol is an American neoconservative writer. A frequent commentator on several networks including CNN, he was the founder of  The Weekly Standard. Kristol is now editor-at-large of the center-right publication The Bulwark.
  • Max Boot is a Washington Post columnist
  • John Podhoretz is the editor of Commentary magazine
Lastly we have advisors to former Presidents:
  • Richard Perle served as Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan.
  • Douglas Feith served as Under Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush
  • David Frum is a political commentator and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and is currently a senior editor at The Atlantic.

I got started with another article by Chris Hedges: Ukraine: The War That Went Wrong. I didn't finish reading that one, I need to go eat breakfast.

Monday, January 30, 2023

New Albany Ohio

Site of Intel's new fab in New Albany, Ohio

Intel is building a new microchip fabrication factory in New Albany, Ohio. They announced their plan a year ago. Amazon has purchased 400 acres there as well. New Albany has come a long way from when I used to pass through there.

Google Maps


Doorway at the mission in Santa Barbara

California Bob sends us this picture of a doorway with a lintel constructed of tapered stones. Could there be a better way to construct it? Uniberp responds with links to two sites that explore the world of lintels.

Just in case you are building with masonry.

P.S. If you are building a lintel like this, or an arched lintel, the walls on either side need to have high lateral strength because these lintels will be pushing outward with a force proportional to the weight they are supporting. If you have a solid lintel, you don't need as much lateral strength. You still need some to keep the walls from collapsing, but on a frame wall a 1 x 4 strip of wood nailed diagonally is enough. But now I'm wondering how strong that mortar is. An arch needs no mortar to stand as long as there is enough lateral support, but this lintel has mortar, and mortar has great adhesion and it's pretty strong as well, so once it has dried, you might not need any lateral support at all. I'll have to try that out in my next life.

Interstate Bridge

The aging Interstate Bridge between Oregon and Washington.
Courtesy photo: Oregon Department of Transportation

The Interstate Bridge is a pair of nearly identical steel vertical-lift bridges that carry Interstate 5 traffic over the Columbia River between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon in the United States.

The bridge opened to traffic in 1917 as a single bridge carrying two-way traffic. A second, twin bridge opened in 1958 with each bridge carrying one-way traffic. As of 2006, the bridge pair handles around 130,000 vehicles daily. The 3,500 foot long bridge carries traffic over three northbound lanes and three southbound lanes. - excerpt from Wikipedia

24 hours times 60 minutes per hour times 6 lanes equals 8,640 lane-minutes per day. 130,000 vehicles divided by 8,640 comes to 4 cars per minute, or one every 15 seconds. That would imply smooth sailing, but that is only if the traffic was evenly distributed over the course of the day, but of course it isn't. During rush hour morning and evening it is freaking jammed up and backed for miles. Pity the poor sods who spend hours of their life creeping and crawling over this aging erector set.

The Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge, opened in 1982, is another big bridge about six miles upstream (east) of the Interstate Bridge.

Business Tribune is talking about a plan to replace the Interstate Bridge. The Feds have allocated a boat load of money to this project, but Washington and Oregon have to get their act together and get a plan in motion if they want to make use of this money. You might think this would be a straight-forward engineering project, but this is Portland, land of the morons, so we have this little bit of crap right in the middle of the discussion:

We learned last month that the program anticipates it will require approximately $6 billion to achieve equitable and climate-conscious multimodal infrastructure through the program corridor.

This kind of bullshit practically guarantees that the time to completion will double and the cost will balloon by a factor of ten, but hey, that's okay because the Feds are picking up the bulk of it, right?

Portland and Vancouver are at opposite ends of the bridge. Portland is in Oregon and Vancouver is in Washington and these two states have radically different tax structures. Oregon has income tax but no sales tax. Washington has sales tax but no income tax. So we have a bunch of people who live in Vancouver but work and shop in Portland. A change in tax laws might eventually result in a change in traffic patterns, but I doubt that will ever happen. Both states are too entrenched in their ways.

Snitches Get Riches

Whistle Blower Tips

From new-to-me newsletter Chartr:
Last week, the SEC announced its biggest whistleblower reward so far this year, compensating four joint informants $28m after they “significantly contributed to the success of the action” against the wrongdoers.

Surprisingly, a multi-million dollar payout isn't uncommon in the world of financial whistleblowing. Just last month, one source was awarded $37m for their efforts in a healthcare bribery case, becoming one of the top ten highest-paid individual informants in the history of the SEC's whistleblowing scheme.

I wonder how long before somebody starts blowing the whistle on those critters sitting in Congress.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Kaleidoscope - Netflix Series

Kaleidoscope Season 1 Trailer
Rotten Tomatoes TV

This series is being promoted as one where the episodes can be viewed in any order. We tried the 'first' one just to see if we could watch it. It was okay, so we started on the second. Then we got into a disagreement about the timeline. The first episode was seven weeks ago, wasn't it? Couldn't be, that wouldn't make any sense, so we go back and check and it turns out that its place in the timeline was seven years ago, so now we look over all the episodes, and we find one from 24 years ago and decide that that's where we want to start.

Jumping around in time is something we have seen in several series. In some cases the shifts in the timeline are clear and well defined and those in shows the time shifts are tolerable. In others the shifts are not obvious and it gets to be a lot of work to keep things sorted out. I am not sure there is any benefit to these jumbled timelines. If the characters and the story are interesting, I don't think jumbling the timeline adds anything. It just makes it harder to figure out what's going on. I think we can blame this all on Momento where the whole movie was a set of scenes shown in reverse order.

Back to our show. What we have is a pair of thieves. One is a handsome white man who dresses in suits and ties (Rufus Sewell as Roger Salas / Graham Davies), walks in the front door and charms the pants off the mark, so to speak. The other is technically competent black man (Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap / Ray Vernon) who sneaks in the back door while his partner is oozing charm and makes off with goodies. Naturally, when you have both operations (front door and back door) going on at the same time the whole operation is fraught with tension, and then there are the cock-ups when they come with a hairsbreadth of getting caught. Exciting stuff!

Exciting stuff! That's kind of important, because these guys are now middle aged and doing well enough that they really don't need to be putting it all on the line, but . . . it's in their blood and they just can't give up their thieving ways.

The technical details are a little sketchy in some places, and there is some slop, but I suspect this show is mostly about motivation. 

Technically it's not bad, and the ideas are pretty good, but the details aren't perfect. For example, our black man sneaks out of prison by hiding in the trunk of the doctor's giant Cadillac. He's tucked into the space behind the rear seat, above the rear axle, with a fake panel covering him. The doctor is a regular visitor to the prison and the guards check the trunk every time he leaves. An observant guard would have noticed something different in the layout of the trunk. This guard didn't, this time and that was all our man needed. Of course I noticed, but I'm a car guy. Most people aren't, so maybe I'm just picking nits.

IMDB has this little blurb:
Spanning 24 years, Kaleidoscope centers around the largest heist ever attempted, and the vengeance, scheming, loyalties, and betrayals that surround it. It's loosely inspired by the real-life story where seventy billion dollars in bonds went missing in downtown Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy.

New York Post has the original story that doesn't seem to involve any thieves, but that doesn't really exclude them does it?

P.S. In this show, seven (not seventy) billion dollars of bearer bonds have been deposited in an underground vault in Manhattan. They have been deposited by The Triplets, a righteous trio of big wheels. They make their appearance at the 10 minute mark in the Yellow episode. Since they went to all this trouble to invent these three characters, I got to wondering if there was any basis in fact. Short answer is no, but me being me, I had to poke around and this is what I found:

In 1982 the US Government made a rule that all bonds must be registered.

Thursday, January 26, 2023


I am at a big box store of some kind, carrying one of those rigid plastic shopping baskets. It's kind of an off-white with oblong holes in the sides. I have four of my own things in the basket. I set it down and leave. I walk a block or so to meet my friends, but instead of going back to the big box store as I intended, we leave. It's expedient that we leave, but now my things are left behind. I go back to the big box store the next day and I'm looking around for that basket. Yes, I know it's a long shot, but you never know. There is an area with a series of prefab booths like you might find in a restaurant. They are made of plywood or particle board covered with red vinyl. I go down a row of these booths until I get to the end, but no luck finding my basket. I want to go around the end to go down the other side of this double row of booths, but the booths run right into the wall. I start to head back and then I realize the last booth goes all the way through and instead of having tables, it is just full of random stuff. I start to go through and I run into a guy who wants to know if he can help me. Evidently he is some kind of factotum and this not-a-booth booth, full of stuff, is his domain. I tell him about leaving some stuff in a basket but I get no recognition, so I start telling him about the items in the basket. The first item I describe is a pair of  pliers with round tips for removing snap rings. That elicits a spark or recognition and he says "oh yeah, I've got it all right here". He starts showing me some scratch papers that he has written a bunch of information on, it looks likes names and phone numbers of some of my family. He tells me it came from the white plastic phone, which was one of the things I left. There was also a three way USB hub, but for the life of me I cannot remember what the fourth item was. There definitely was a fourth item and I knew what it was until I woke up.

Earlier today I had another dream. I only remember part of it. For some reason I am left in charge of a couple of miniature horses. They are on the top floor of a big, barn-life house. The guy who was in charge of these animals has had to take off for a few days to take care of some business, and since I am the only guy available, I get to take care of these animals. It's not an onerous job, the horses just need someone to pay attention to them. I take a rope and play with one. For the other I stand facing him from a few feet away, take a hockey stick and slide the business end at his feet, prompting him to stamp his feet. It's kind of a game and he seems to enjoy it. The horses got some attention and some exercise but now I need to find some reliable to deal with them.


The refractory properties of rhenium make it indispensible for aeronautical tech

Whipped Cream Difficulties has a post up about battleship steel. pigpen51 comments:

I made steel for a living, for over 35 years. And have to wonder if the steel that we made, especially from virgin material, was low background. Since all of the materials would have been mined from underground, it should have been shielded from radioactive fallout.

We actually had to check the radiation level of some virgin materials coming in from certain parts of the world. Mostly things like Tellurium, Hafnium, and other rare elements that we used in making super alloys for jet engines. We used a Geiger Counter to check the metal before letting it come into the plant. And we also kept some of them locked in a safe, like Rhenium, due to both the possibility of contamination but also the extreme cost.

I melted heats of 8,000 lbs. that were worth 10 million dollars, due to the amount of both Rhenium and the expertise to melt the heat in the correct way, under high vacuum conditions. This alloy in particular was used in the hot section of jet engines. It kept it’s strength very close to it’s melting point, and the hotter the engine could run, the more efficient it would be.

He mentions my old friend Rhenium. Huh.

Fireplace Fan Lubrication

Gas Fireplace Fan extracted from its hiding place

The fan in the main floor gas fireplace fan started screaming, so I pulled it out but now that it's cooled off the bearings seem fine. It's as old as the house, so like 25 years. This winter we have been running the fireplace almost constantly instead of the furnace. 

I've run into this problem before with the fireplace in the basement. The bearings in that fan have failed a couple of times. I cleaned and oiled them and that worked for awhile, but then I got the idea to use high temperature grease. That didn't work so well, it ate the bearings. Those bearings were bronze bushings supporting a quarter inch polished steel shaft. Eventually the price for a replacement fan dropped from $160 to $60, which made it an easy decision to replace it.

The bearings in this fan are almost non-existent. The motor has nylon bushings on an eighth inch shaft. The far end of the blower is supported by a minuscule pin riding in another nylon bearing. I could have ordered a replacement blower from Amazon for about $60, but would it fit exactly? I'm sure it would have fit in the space available, but would the holes for the mounting screws line up exactly? Sure I could drill a couple of holes, but what other problems would I run into?

I took this one apart and cleaned it up and then I put a drop of motor oil (because that's what I had on hand in the garage and I didn't want to go all the way downstairs to get the 3-In-1) on the nylon bushings. Put it back together and wiggled into position. It was a little awkward lying on the floor and trying to reach into the cavity under the firebox to reconnect the wires and gas line (had to remove the gas line to get the fan out). Finally got a couple of cushions to support my chest and that made it much easier.

Monday, January 23, 2023

The Banshees of Inisherin - HBO Movie

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN | Official Trailer | Searchlight Pictures

Colin Farrell & Brendan Gleeson have made another movie. They made In Bruges back in 2008. In Bruges, as I recall, was about a couple of bumbling hitmen who stumble their way through a hit. The 'hit' was just a frame to hang the interaction between these two characters. It was okay if you like watching a couple of people bumbling along. The Banshees of Inisherin is much the same, though there is even less of a plot, and instead of bumbling, we have active crazy/stupid. Some people liked this movie. I didn't. I will remember it, but only for being stupid.

There is an Inisheer island off the west coast of Ireland, but there is no Inisherin.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Grim Long Term Outlook

JMSmith put up a post the other day, and Richard Cocks comments:

We know from evolutionary psychology that the mentally and physically healthy are religious and conservative (i.e., far-right extremist in modern lingo). Specifically, they believe in a moral God (not Cthulhu), worship Him, are low in neuroticism, high in agreeableness and conscientiousness, and are ethnocentric – caring far more about the in-group than the out-group. They are not individualists, multi-culti (now, “diversity”), narcissistic, virtue signaling, out-group identifying with, Machiavellian schemers and traitors, with almost no concern for sanctity, loyalty, and obedience to authority. We know that even in chimpanzees, those who reach the top and become leaders must make alliances with other chimpanzees and act in a reasonable and acceptable manner, otherwise the disgruntled junior chimps will gang up on them and take them out – pulling them limb from limb and biting off their genitals. If only colleges were run on such a basis, unjust and unreasonable administrators, i.e., diversity officers and human resources staff for starters, would be eliminated from the gene pool.

It is precisely the sane and healthy who are the misfits in degenerate society. (A banal observation, admittedly). The spiteful mutants are running the show, or at least emulating the mutants. This situation cannot last. So, it may seem adaptive in the short-term to give up morality, normalcy, and ethnocentrism in order to avoid being deemed “far-right,” but we know that anti-ethnocentrism means death to the group pretty much by definition. Plus, dysgenic breeding means we will be shortly too stupid to maintain the basics of civilization which requires high trust societies. Stupid people are low trust because they can’t tell who to trust and who not to trust, so they end up distrusting practically everyone and you get rampant corruption as seen in all but the few relatively civilized countries with higher IQs.

So, though people like us are for the chopping block, if civilization were to ever rise again from this death spiral it is people with our proclivities for the normal and traditional who would have to populate it.

I don't know if his opening statement is actually true, but it seems like it could be.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Tesla vs Ford - 100 Years Apart

Tesla vs Ford - 100 Years Apart

I'm not a big fan of either of these cars, but I do have to give Henry and Elon credit for getting them built. Both cars have made a big impact on the world. I didn't know about the window winder on the model T. It's just nuts.

Friday, January 20, 2023

The King's Affection - Netflix Series

The King's Affection | Official Trailer | Netflix [ENG SUB]
The Swoon

Korean historical drama set back in the day of the Joseon kingdom, whenever that was. This is kind of a weird show. It goes back and forth between idyllic scenes of children / young adults to the bloody slaughter of innocents and then back again. Of course, this all involves royalty and their entourages. If the king says you die, you die and nobody says squat. Kind of reminds me of this line:
Politics is and always has been a blood sport. If you're not prepared to take it on at that level you have no business getting involved in it. - Karl Denninger
All the murder and mayhem starts because the queen delivers twins, a boy and a girl. This evidently an outrage against all that is right and holy in Joseon, so the king orders the girl killed along with all the people who were attending the queen, all except for the queen. Because this is highest level of the empire there are like two dozen people there and the royal guards kill them all within a few seconds.

The queen, devious conniver that she is, has the baby girl spirited away to a monastery / temple up in the mountains. That's great until the head monk dies and now the girl is homeless. Now, of course, she finds her way back to the capital and becomes an apprentice court maid. Now things get really squirrely.

Marc Story

A few years ago when Marc was sailing around the Caribbean with his family, they were offshore from Venezuela and the water pump on the engine broke and sea water started coming in. He turned off the engine and the inflow of water stopped, but now he's kind of stuck because their isn't any wind. They go to bed thinking maybe there will be a breeze in the morning. There is, but it dies away before they can get organized. So now they are adrift with a broken water pump and only a couple of days provisions. He roots around in their stores and comes up with a water pump repair kit. The kit came with the boat but now we find that it's the wrong kit. So he's telling his wife about this horrible fix they're in and she tells him "don't be such a drama queen".

So he goes down below and roots around in stores and comes up with bits of pipe and hose and what-not. The plastic pipe is too small to fit the pump outlet so he heats it up until it gets soft and then stretches it out to fit. He has to shrink the other end to fit the inlet on an electric sump pump. He finally gets the whole thing cobbled together and she says "see?".

Inside Man - Netflix Series

INSIDE MAN Official Trailer (2022)
Movie Trailers Source

Odd little story with cast of interesting characters. We have David Tennant (of Jessica Jones and Dr. Who fame) playing a Vicar in the UK, dealing with a woman who is willing to stand up for what's right. Across the pond we have Stanley Tucci (known to me because he's been in a zillion films) playing a convicted murderer locked up in an Arizona prison. And then there is the investigative reporter who shows up in both places, so we get to bounce back and forth across like six or seven times zones. 

A seemingly innocuous favor is poorly handled which results in a gross misunderstanding. From there the whole thing spirals out of control into a cascading series of disasters. 

Stanley is locked up with a very large, quick witted black man. Their sparse repartee is one of the highlights of the show. The Vicar manages to stumble off of moral cliff. He justifies his extreme actions by fear of gossip, which I admit, could be devastating. It's all fairly contrived and fairly clever and makes you wonder a bit what should be done with cases like this.

The Takeover - Netflix Movie

The Takeover | Official Trailer | Netflix

Not a bad little cyber thriller. It's got all your standard elements - cute girl hacker pursuing environmental bad guys, friendly old dude who knows all the tricks, and evil white men conspiring with giant evil Chinese corporation to steal everyone's personal data.

Our girl has a day job checking the security of corporate software. One day she discovers someone has hacked into the servers that operate a self-driving bus. She disrupts their connection and spikes their computers which pisses them off to no end. The bad guys try to capture her, but she is clever and manages to elude them,  so they use facial recognition software to superimpose our girls face over that of a bad guy in the process of shooting another man and publish the video on the web. It finds its way to the police, so now the kopskis are looking for her.

Some of it is good, some of it, like the self driving bus rampage through downtown Rotterdam, are very silly, but it puts some action on the screen. I suspect anyone who had gotten their automatic bus to the point where there are giving a demonstration would have done a bit more testing and would have some decent safety protocols implemented. Now whenever self driving buses have become a reality for long enough that used ones are finding their way to secondary markets and parts are available on the used market, well then, I could see how safety protocols could be compromised.

Bar Dream

I walk into a bar in a hotel. It looks more like a drugstore soda fountain from the 50's. I sit at a corner of bar, it's closest to the entrance. There are some things sitting there that look abandoned. There are three cup like items there. One is a cup, the other is very short, like a lid to a container, and the size of the third is in between the other two. Some of them have a little coffee with creamer. There is also a small electronic do-dad the size of a book. There are a few other people there. I start talking to the woman on my right. She leans over and gives me a kiss on the cheek. Well, that's nice. Time passes and now there is another woman sitting in between us and they start kissing. Huh.

Woman of the Dead - Netflix Series

Totenfrau | Offizieller Trailer | Netflix
Netflix Deutschland, Österreich und Schweiz

Woman mortician operating in a ski resort town in the Austrian Alps, happily married to a policeman. They have two children and life seems good until the day the husband is run down and killed by a speeding SUV. Now the worms start crawling out of the woodwork. Turns out the town is rotten to the core, greed and perversion run wild. Our grief stricken heroine is pissed and proceeds to exact revenge on all and sundry. We're four episodes in and there are five bodies already, not counting all the every day dead people that show up on her operating table. She talks to them.

Excitement at the Hospital

OHSU Emergency Room

Everyday is chaos at OHSU Hospital up on Pill Hill. It's nothing to be concerned about, it's just the way things are there, and probably at every big city hospital. The other day there was a little more excitement than usual.

Rumor has it that a woman walked into the Emergency Room carrying two bottles of kerosene. She then walked into the bathroom and set fire to the bathroom. Now she walks out of the Emergency Room with her shoes on fire. She goes to the bus stop outside the door and boards the bus with her shoes still on fire and vanishes.

You might think something like that would get the authorities excited, but you would be wrong. I looked on City of Portland Police website but could find nothing. So I sent an email to the chief of police. Here is the reply I got:

Hi and thank you for your email. It’s not possible for me to search all our records for an incident such as this.  It’s is also unclear if we would have been called. OHSU has their own police department and might have just handled it.  There are many many situations like this where police are either not called or it is resolved in a different way.  Best, Terri

Terri is a Public Information Officer (nonsworn)

Of course, all I have is third hand scuttlebutt, so it might have been nothing like I described. It might just have been somebody lighting a match in the bathroom to get rid of the stink, and the shoes might just have been steaming because they were hot-blooded. Who knows?

I like the original version of the story better.




Gustave Le Bon (1841 – 1931)

JMSmith has a few words to say about society's misfits:

Recruits for the Misfit Army: Wise Words from Gustave Le Bon

He starts with a quote from Gustave:

“Among the most important characteristics of our age we must mention the presence, in the midst of society, of a number of individuals who, for one reason or another, have been unable to adapt themselves to the necessities of modern civilization, and are unable to find a place therein.  They form a superfluity which cannot be utilized. They are the unadapted.” - Gustave Le Bon, The Psychology of Socialism (1899)

Great stuff.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Corruption Part 2

Why America will never give up on war by N. S. Lyons paints a picture of how power in this country works, and it's not the story I painted. I think his story is more believable than mine. I found this paragraph in the middle of the story and it struck my funny bone, so I'm quoting it here.

Rumour that some new acquaintance is in fact a Serious Person is greatly reassuring, as it means he is not a “Wingnut”. A Wingnut is an unsociable crank, living outside of The Consensus. Wingnuts demonstrate this by suggesting unserious ideas, such as cutting the defence budget, curtailing the surveillance state, or questioning the demands of the public health bureaucracy. Glenn Greenwald is a Wingnut par excellence. Nobody wants to be associated with a Wingnut, as that can taint your reputation as a Serious Person. And then you’ll never be invited to a swanky conference in Aspen again. Which is probably why for every mile closer to Capitol Hill a foreign policy think tank is, the more measurably it advocates in favour of militant internationalism. These are the Serious Institutions, able to court the serious money necessary to afford prime real estate.



Crye Precision

Handwaving Freakoutery has an entertaining story about his visit to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

The SHOT Show is big commercial event for companies making products for shooting, hunting and general outdoor activities.

We have the picture because Handwavey mentions Crye Precision and I had never heard of them. They make working clothes for soldiers.


Stuff keeps rattling around in my brain, and I keep intending to put together a coherent post on these scattered thoughts, but there is scarcity of round toits, so we have this instead. Whatever it is.

This country is run by a mafia, a family of gangsters. If you are in, you are moderately secure. If you are not, you are on your own. The mafia does not care about you, you are a mark or a sucker, just someone to be squeezed until you are nothing but a husk and then you will be discarded.

Politics is just a show to put on to keep the masses entertained. It doesn't matter which party has the upper hand, they are just factions of the mafia. They are only concerned with their loyal party members, i.e. those who funneling buckets of cash into their pockets and campaign chests. What they say to the public has no bearing on what they are actually doing, it is just part of the show.

Which ever faction produces the better propaganda stream is the one that will win the election. What ever comes out of their mouths is just baloney designed to win the next election.

Only a small percentage of the population pays any attention to politics, and only a small fraction of those actually pay any attention of what is going on. Say 3% for the first group and 1% of that for the second group. 1% of 3% of 240 million eligible voters still comes to 70 thousand people which is still more than enough to overflow Twitter.

Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

People love to complain about politicians. A lot of it is partisan sniping which is to be expected. But if the target of sniper's ire are so bad, why haven't they been voted out? Once again, we come back to who runs the most effective campaign, and it isn't the one who lays out the facts and explains how corrupt the other guy is. This has been bothering me for a while, and I finally got a clue when I saw a clip of Nancy Pelosi baking a coffee cake. Most people don't have any concept of how big a trillion dollars is or where Ukraine is, but they know what a coffee cake is. If she bakes coffee cakes, she must be a nice lady, I'm gonna vote for her. Good lord and savior on a crutch.

Dan Smoot: Republic vs Democracy 04/18/66
Fred Bauer

The first minute of the video gives a summary. I came across it on Twitter. I posted the whole thing here even though I haven't watched it all. The summary is good enough for me. I should watch the rest of it and maybe I will do that later.

The date on this video is only a couple of years after JFK was shot. Now I was always partial to the theory that the shooter was working for the New Orleans mob, but that was back before I realized just how rotten things were in Washington D.C. Now I think this tasteless picture makes more sense.

JFK Change My Mind

People in politics behave like children. They are unprincipled, petty, gossipy, tattletales. Their ability to use their techniques to influence people is what got them to the top of the heap. They may have other abilities, but they are basically useless shitheads. No person with any moral character will have anything to do with them.

Jaime R. Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee

The one problem I have is who is in charge? The mob has a godfather, but who is in charge of the USA? Biden doesn't seem like he is up the challenge, but maybe you don't need to the sharpest tack in the room, maybe you just need loyal supporters. Political clout is what you need. Don Corleone and Stalin were both in charge up until they died. But what if Biden is just the front man, and there is somebody else behind the scenes, pulling the strings? Could it be Jaime R. Harrison?

Now I am wondering if we will be able to stop this slide toward the abyss. It might be possible if we could form a new political party from principled people who could be trusted not to be corrupted. I imagine it would not be hard to get it started, but to grow big enough to be able to stop and reverse the wave of corruption sweeping this country, well, that's another question.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Control-Z - Netflix Series

Control Z | Official Trailer | Netflix

It looks to be a terrible show but it has turned out to be pretty good. It's set in a high school and shows about teenagers inevitably seem to show them as idiots. But this is show is pretty well done, it treats them as actual people. They do some stupid stuff, but the show doesn't dwell on it nor does it eat up screen time with drama queen performances. Our lead character is pretty savvy, so that helps. 

It's set at the National High School in Mexico City, so we're looking at upper class kids who live in their smartphones. I don't understand this compulsive need for constant messaging, but then I'm old. Actually, I don't think I would understand it even if I was young. There just never were that many people I wanted to talk to. But I understand that for many people constant contact with others is apparently the only thing holding them up.

Apparently, everyone at the school has a secret, or a secret fear, and some scoundrel has hacked into the school's network via their wifi portal and found them out and is now compelling people to do all kinds of stuff in order to keep their secrets secret. Naturally, our girl has decided to unmask the villain.

Our girl is a cute, smart, strong willed, petite brunette. Reminds me of Jessica Jones and Wednesday Addams, both characters I liked.

Note about the title - there are several key combinations that every computer keyboardist might be familiar with:
  • Control-B turns toggles boldface on and off
  • Control-C copies highlighted text to the (invisible) clipboard
  • Control-V pastes the contents of the clipboard into your document
  • Control-Z undoes whatever you just did
Just to be difficult, in a Linux Terminal window, Control-C kills whatever program you are currently running. Copy and Paste are done with a right-click of the mouse. I am sure there are others, but I these are the ones I use. And, oh yes, Control-N opens a new window of the browser. I never use it deliberately, but I sometimes hit it by accident while trying to type Control-B and it always flummoxes me. A new window pops up and I go Whoa! what just happened?

How to Get Away With Murder - Netflix Series

How to Get Away With Murder - Trailer

Terrible. Obnoxious students, professors and lawyers. Stupid college students. Contrived situations. By intermittently showing you bits of the aftermath of a crime, they keep you wondering just what happened. That was enough to get us through two episodes, but that was enough.

Six Layers of Russia

The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil (Official Video) [4K]

My knowledge of Russian history is pretty abysmal. I know that in the 20th century:

  • the commies (or the devil) killed the Tsar and his ministers.
  • there was a civil war between the reds and the whites and maybe a couple of other factions. 
  • Stalin was an s.o.b. who murdered several zillion of his own people.
  • several million people died in WW2.
  • in spite of these setbacks, the USSR became a super power rivaling the USA for world domination.
  • the USSR collapsed as a system of government back around 1990.
  • Vladimir Putin runs the show now.
Before that, not much. There was Peter the Great back around 1700. Everything I know about him I got from Neal Stephenson's The System of the World.

Vikings and fellow travelers depart Novgorod with their boat carried on a sled

A couple of days ago I asked a question about the TV series Vikings: Valhalla, and Boris Ivanov on quora tells me about the Russian Primary Chronicle, ". . . an Old East Slavic chronicle of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110 . . ." (Wikipedia).

The Primary Chronicle

Today Yesterday Bayou Renaissance Man gave us a quote from an article on Richochet by  Martti J. Kari, former intelligence Colonel in the Finnish Defence Forces. Peter's excerpt gives us a broad overview.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


I am reading Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst, a great espionage story set in 1938-39 Europe and everyone is very nervous about what's going on in Germany. Towards the end I come across this passage and it's so great I just have to share.

Tried this with my kids at dinner the other day and it failed completely. Different times.

Anyway, Nicholas Morath goes to Vienna to try and get this guy out. He takes ten large with him in cash in case they are just thieves, but when he gets there he decides on another course of action. He checks into the same hotel our poor violinist is being held in, sneaks down to the kitchen in the middle of the night and sets the place on fire and taking advantage of the ensuing chaos, spirits the hapless Kolovitsky away.

Seems kind of extreme to burn down the whole hotel to rescue just one guy, but you know, fuck around and find out.

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Pale Blue Eye - Netflix Movie

THE PALE BLUE EYE Trailer (2023) Gillian Anderson, Christian Bale
Movie Coverage

A very cool film. We've got Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) as a cadet at the West Point Military Academy and we have an old, retired New York City detective (Christian Bale) called in to investigate the death of one of these cadets. The plot is very clever. It all seems very plausible until we get to the last scene when everything you thought you knew is revealed to be a lie. 

Poe (1809 - 1849) did attend West Point. West Point opened in 1802, so that part of the story is plausible.

It is winter, 1830, so all interior illumination is done with candles or kerosene lamps, and at least some of the time the lighting is realistic, as in very dim. Many period pieces are too brightly illuminated, and I'm grateful, otherwise I would be left in the dark, heh. But this one was more realistic.

But looking at all the snow makes me wonder why did people ever go north in the first place? I suppose more game animals which meant easier hunting, and the harsher climate would discourage most people, so fewer neighbors bothering you might be a plus. I suspect there would be fewer diseases in colder regions. The tropics seem to be riddled all kinds of deadly diseases. So moving north would have some benefits. You just have to be able to chop wood.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

USS Farragut (DD-348)

See the ships at Washington Navy Yard! 1933
128 piece jigsaw puzzle

The Washington Navy Yard is in Washington D.C. It was converted to administrative use in the 1960s. I think this ship is the USS Farragut (DD-348). It was the first of its class and the first class to have only two funnels. Before this destroyers all had four stacks. Only problem is that this Farragut (there have been several US Navy ships with that name) wasn't launched until 1934.

USS Farragut (DD-348)

The ship served in the Pacific during WW2. It survived and was scrapped after the war.

Jeb Stuart

Jeb Stuart

We started watching Vikings: Valhalla on Netflix last night. It's pretty great. I noticed Jeb Stuart was credited as the writer and the producer, so I got to wondering who is this guy? Wikipedia knows all:
Jeb Stuart (born 1956) is an American screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for writing blockbuster action films like Die Hard and The Fugitive and the Netflix television series Vikings: Valhalla.

Criminently, Die Hard and The Fugitive, two of the bestest movies ever? Gee wilikers, he's a real American hero.


Gustavo Bravetti - Mosquito (live)
gustavo bravetti

This isn't much of a tune, some people would probably not even consider it music, but for getting you moving it works pretty well. I've started riding my daughter's Peloton exercise bike and it's making a big difference in how well my legs work. The Peloton has a video screen, exercise programs and music. It's basically overpriced ridiculousness, but it's here and it's available and I needed to do something, so I've started using it.

My back got screwed up a couple of years ago (from climbing stairs with steps that are like four inches extra tall, if you can believe it) and it's been giving me all kinds of grief ever since. Go to the doctor and they recommend a battery of exercises. They would probably help, but I am very bad at doing them. They are boring and they take work, so stupid. I used to ride a bicycle quite a bit, probably up until I ended up in the hospital with heart problems. That's when I found out why riding was such a chore and I wasn't get any of the euphoria normal, healthy people got from vigorous exercise. The root cause seems to be atrial fibrillation. That and an enlarged aorta and then the general hazards of riding a bicycle on the same roads as 18 wheelers convince me that bike riding was stupid and I wasn't going to do it anymore.

I did have a good time when I was riding, at least when I wasn't effing struggling up some stupid 50 foot hill. So the exercise bike suits me well. I've been doing ten minutes a day and now I can go up and down the stairs without having to hold onto the hand rail. Cool.

Modern American Railroads

The One Tiny Law That Keeps Amtrak Terrible
Wendover Productions

This video gives a good overview of the American railroad industry. The business about Amtrak is like icing on the cake, or the derby on the gorilla's head. He might have a point, enforcing the law might improve Amtrak service, but I doubt whether it is ever going to make a significant impact. One percent of Amtrak's $2 billion annual budget is a nit compared to 1% of the trillion dollar defense budget. You just can't buy as much graft with little numbers like that, which means you aren't going to convince Congress to do anything about it.

Just getting the railroads to start maintaining tracks and equipment would be a good thing. If self driving cars (as Tesla is demonstrating) become common, all transportation is liable to suffer. Traffic jams won't matter because you will be able to amuse yourself with work or games or sleep while you are waiting to be delivered to your destination. So what if your commute takes an extra hour? You can play video games while you ride in your pod. Commute in an RV and you will never have to go home, you can just get on the beltway when you get off work and have yourself driven around the beltway a couple of times until it's time to report to your cubicle in the morning.

Since the third world has figured out to make stuff, the only things that make big money in this country now are the defense industry and cutting edge electronics. All the other businesses are scrambling to figure out how to keep making money. A few people are innovating on a small scale, but most are looking to cut costs one way or another. 

Friday, January 13, 2023


Baked Sausage

I like to eat but I am not interested in cooking and I really don't like cleaning up. Today I put two and two together and baked a dozen pork sausage patties in the oven. My wife has been using this technique to cook chicken and vegetables for a while now, but she has an aversion to any kind of real meat. I suspect it's due to years of being exposed to years of fascist propaganda about how fat was bad for you. Turned out great and clean up was minimal. I baked the sausage on a baking tray (cookie sheet?) covered with parchment paper. 20 minutes on one side and 10 minutes on the other at 400 degrees. After the sausages have cooled for a bit, I scooped them up with a spatula and moved them to a plate. Folded up the paper and threw it in the trash. Wiped off the baking tray with a paper towel and put it away.

I used to get big tubes of Jimmy Dean sausage, but cutting those up into a patties was a messy chore. I tried Jimmy Dean frozen, pre-cooked sausage, but they never tasted quite right.  Now we flat packs of fresh sausage patties from Fred Meyer. They are cheap, easy to handle and they taste great.

War On Drugs

Mexican cartel and paramilitary group CJNG showing extent of militarisation of their special forces

Bayou Renaissance Man has a post up about the situation in Mexico and along the border. Prompted me to comment and since it's such a great comment (if I do say so myself), I am reproducing it here for your amusement.

The only solution is to legalize all drugs. However, there are a couple of problems that will prevent this happening. Problem #1 is Congress won't do it because of people who think drugs are bad and prohibition is the answer. Problem #2 is Congress won't do it because that would impact the profits of the American drug cartel (you never hear about these guys, gray men in gray suits working out of gray offices). Problem #3 is even if drugs were legalized, all that would happen is control would pass from the cartels to big-pharma, and we know how much they can be trusted to do the right thing. Money pays for propaganda and propaganda rules. Our government is essentially a mafia. They may say things that sound like they are operating on principle, but they are not. They are lying. All the time. They are so immersed is their culture of crime that they are not even aware that they are lying.