Monday, April 29, 2013

Anti-Platonic Counterrevolutionaries and the Significance of George Pal's Lost Movie About Atlantis

For decades an important film, George Pal's Atlantis: The Lost Continent was completely unavailable in any form.  You could look throughout the world and not find it.   Not even the parlors of obscure films from the mysterious east as found on 8th Avenue near 42nd street in NY carried it.  A civilization that can make many seasons of Baywatch available should be able to distribute a film by George Pal, one might think.   Some people believe that this suppression was an indication of a conspiracy at the highest levels, a conspiracy to deny the existence of Atlantis and thus of Atlantean Crystal Wisdom.

This essay argues the opposite:  that the suppression of this film is evidence of a conspiracy of a different type.   We believe that this film is a fraud and not made by George Pal at all,  but by anti-Platonic counterrevolutionaries who intended to destroy our society by attacking the underpinnings of Western Civilization philosophical thought by slandering the history and purpose of this important and misunderstood civilization and its advanced crystal-based technology.   The suppression of the film was a way to suppress lies created by a previously unsuspected secret society of Plato Haters.

Robert Graves, in his work The Greek Myths (1), reminds us that many myths contain within them the record of political events of the past.   A classic example, from his point of view is the birth of Athene/Minerva from the head of Zeus.   The backstory here is that Zeus had previously swallowed Metis, a previous goddess of wisdom.  According to Graves, this story is really about the Hellenic invaders controlling an indigenous religion by making the goddess of wisdom clearly subservient to and descended from the patriarchal and intrusive religion of the invaders as represented by their chief phallus wielder, Zeus (2).   The point that Graves makes time and again is that myth is not random, or some reflection of a collective Jungian unconsciousness, but contains elements of genuine political and religious struggle from the past.

With that in mind, let us consider the case of Atlantis and this mysteriously missing film Atlantis The Lost Continent from 1961.

This movie was seen by every young boy in the Los Angeles area many times on television where they were amazed by the evil crystal death rays, the exotic and dangerous women, and the horrible priests of an evil religion who used crystals to turn prisoners into beasts as slaves.    It was obvious even to a 10 year old that this was a bad movie, even a very bad movie, but it was entertaining.    Then, like a dream, it disappeared.

As time went by it became clear that this film must have some sort of history around it.   It was both produced and directed by George Pal, and yet the film was nowhere near the quality of his other films, which included War of the Worlds, the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Time Machine, When Worlds Collide and other classics of the genre.  Some people suspected that it was being suppressed by Disney, who had their own Atlantis film to promote.   Others, that the rights were tied up in some way that made it awkward to release on DVD.   But others suspected that something else was going on, something behind the scenes, something that did not want to be exposed.

Then after all these years, I discovered that Atlantis: The Lost Continent had just been released on DVD and that the trailer, with a narration/appreciation by John Landis, was on Youtube.    Landis recounts how he saw the movie in the theatre when it came out, talks about how as an 11 year old he really loved the movie and relates trivia about the film including such things as the submarine model was a feature of Forrest Ackerman's landscape for many years, that all the crowd scenes are lifted from Quo Vadis, also an MGM movie.   He ends the piece by wondering how George Pal could have made such a terrible film, and what a shame it is that it could not be as good as the memories of an 11 year old.

Here is the trailer with John Landis narration. (3) I think you should watch it first, and then I will disclose my theory about why this film was unavailable for so long.

It is probably unnecessary to remind the reader that Atlantis holds a very special place in the hearts of all scholars of the field of ancient history and religion.   All one has to do is to bring up the topic and ask an innocent question, such as what light archaeology can shed on the well-known fact that the Egyptians used Atlantean Crystal Wisdom to build the Pyramids, and one is placed irrevocably in a "certain category" in the eyes of most scholars. One never has to worry about being taken seriously again.

And yet, the first attestation of Atlantis in the received literature is from none other than Plato.   Yes, that Plato, one of the philosophers whose work lies at the very foundation of Western Civilization and thought.   The one who was a student and devoted follower of Socrates, the guy who wrote The Republic.  He is the one who first mentions Atlantis with an apparent straight face, claiming that he got his information from the Egyptians.

Clearly this is the face of an honest man.  How could we not believe something that came from Plato?

Almost immediately, Plato's followers started spreading the story that of course the great man wasn't serious, he was just using this story to make a point about political economy.  It was a metaphor, for goodness' sake, they would say, don't be so literal about everything.  This seems like a very dangerous course to take.  Once you start chipping away at this and that, where do you stop?   Today its Atlantis, tomorrow perhaps its the tripartite theory of the soul, and then where are you?  No, I think you have to accept pretty much all of Plato or none of it.  This is somewhat of a strict-constructionist approach, but let us go with that and see what light it sheds on the issue at hand: why you could not get this important film on DVD for decades.

From the very beginning, enemies of Plato and Platonic Thought attacked Plato and his followers over the issue of Atlantis as a way of discrediting the whole of Plato's work.   And this movie shows Atlantis not as a triumph of government and technology, but a society that has fallen into evil and decay, and which is destroyed because of that.

But why would George Pal make a movie that attacked Plato and Science? Clearly Pal was a friend of science, not an enemy!  My theory is that George Pal was duped and used to create this slam on Plato's as part of a behind-the-scenes effort to discredit this great man.

Take for example this frame from the trailer, referring to "The Weird Cult of Science Worship."  That is not something George Pal would say.   Never.   This is the man who brought HG Wells War of the Worlds to the screen in which the science of evolutionary biology and of our immune system brings down the haughty Martians.  Pal was devoted to science.   This could not be his work.  No, it must be the work of people who hate science.  QED.

It is my thesis that in reaction to this travesty, supporters of Pal and Plato worked after the fact to suppress this disingenuous propaganda piece and thus defend the good name of both Pal and Plato. One day we will learn the truth.

Look into the crystal and become a beast slave !

Exotic women ! 

revised 5-9-2013]

1. The Greek Myths by Robert Graves is considered the classic reference work in English on the topic of Greek mythology because of its thorough research by Graves of the literary sources and his meticulous citations to those sources.    Grave's interpretations of the myths themselves are more controversial, however.  See

2. In the world of historical linguistics, Zeus is believed to be cognate with the Latin word deus, as in deus ex machina.

3. Students of voice over will recognize and appreciate the voice of Paul Frees on the trailer.

Atlantis the Lost Continent (1961) on IMDB

George Pal on Wikipedia

Friday, April 26, 2013

Editorial: A Rush to Judgement about G. W. Bush?

Warning: I am holding back my real feelings in this essay.  You may wish to read between the lines to imagine what I really think.

Various Republicans have taken the opportunity of the new Bush Library to claim that George W. Bush is being judged harshly, and that we should not "rush to judgment" about his presidency, the implication being that he will be vindicated with time.  Well, it is true that time does change some judgments. For example, Richard Nixon seems like a fucking genius relative to Bush, do you suppose that is the kind of vindication that these people mean?

Two such editorials can be found here and here.

I have reread these things and I have gone from merely annoyed to actually quite annoyed, even outraged at their no doubt sincere, corrupt beliefs.   Their views lower my opinion of this country which was already low enough, believe me, and makes me wonder if one should even care.  The Republicans through their insanity either have or will destroy the country.  Depends, I suppose, on your point of view.

Lets go over the facts of the so-called Bush Presidency, shall we?

1. George Bush was not legally elected.

Everyone in the world knows that Bush was not elected. If the votes had been counted in Florida, Gore would have won the state and the election. Everyone in the world knows this ... except the Republicans. They don't know it. I personally believe that the USA lives in a world of denial about the dark side of their own history in many ways. I think that they/we fail to realize their involvement in the genocide of Native Americans, in their responsiblity to the policy of slavery in this country, and the absence of due process when the South was forcibly rejoined to the so-called republic. You may not agree with all this, I understand. But even though the election process has been notably flawed throughout American history, we had not, to the best of my knowledge elected the chief executive in a way that was obviously fraudulent. Now I realize as I type this, that I might be wrong about this because I am also woefully ignorant of certain periods of early American history. Certainly there has been fraud in important presidential elections, but in my lifetime as an adult I watched Bush being put into office illegally and I know, from personal experience, and most Americans know from personal experience, that elections dont matter and voting doesn't matter because the rich are going to put their friends in power whatever the vote says. And they proved this by refusing, flat out refusing, to count the votes in Florida. Good job guys.

2. The Supreme Court dishonored themselves permanently.

When the Supreme Court unilaterally decided that Bush was president using an argument that no one believes, they ceased to be the Supreme Court. To be the Supreme Court you have to have moral integrity. The court has none. You can pretend there is a supreme court if you want to, but I don't. And quite a few Americans do not either. Every decision made since the one that put the Bush Administration into power needs to be examined by a real supreme court if one ever exists. Sorry to have to tell you this. I dont think it will ever happen. The Supreme Court proved in my lifetime by this event that they are just a tool of the right wing and will compromise any principle at the call of their masters. Thus Bush destroyed the justice system in this country.

3. The USA is now permanently associated with a policy of torture.

In all the wars and conflicts of this nation's history, we never resorted to torture as an official policy. Now, I can tell you that I am quite sure that there were individual exceptions to this rule. I am sure that there were prisoner interrogations during WWII that used excessive force, but these were not policy, in fact, they were against policy. I am also quite sure that during various periods of the Cold War that we would regularly turn prisoners over to countries that did use torture. But we did not use those kind of methods ourselves, directly, as a matter of policy. Perhaps this is a subtle distinction, we were certainly compromised by the use of torture of our allies. But I think that there was some value to be had in the principle that we did not use torture ourselves.

But now and for all time, the American moral position has been stained and demeaned by the policy of torture of the Bush Administration.

4. The war in Iraq

Whether or not the war in Afghanistan was justified by the events of 911  (1), there is no justification for the war in Iraq that I can see. The Bush administration deliberately lied about why we should be there but even more important, they were wrong that we should be there.  In other words, Iraq was not strategic for us. Saddam Hussein may have been an asshole who killed people, but what else is new? This war did nothing to protect America, it cost a fortune in all the ways that one can measure costs of a war, and it diverted attention and resources from other problems that needed that attention and money.

And now we are associated historically with the sewer that is Iraq.  Before our intervention we had plausible deniability for that train wreck.   Now we don't.     And I am not even going to the issue of the Sunni/Shiite power struggle with Shiite Iran right next door.  Jesus, didn't these people read even one book about the history of the region before they started this little intervention?

5. The Deficit

When Clinton left office we had a surplus. When Bush left office we were in a major depression with a huge deficit.

6. Tax Breaks for the Rich

Increase taxes on the middle class to destroy them, give tax breaks to the rich to increase inequality in this country. 

7. The Economic Breakdown and the Bailout

The financial system committed gross financial malfeasance. The Bush administration failed to regulate them properly and then bailed them out when they failed to the tune of ... how much money did we spend? Does anyone really know? Not less than a trillion dollars. Some people think that is a lot of money.  Where is my bailout?  I am waiting.

8. Denial of Global Warming and Science in General

By denying Global Warming and failing to act, millions and probably hundreds of millions of people will be impoverished or killed. Probably. Global Warming is real, it is not clear where it will all go, nor is it clear what we should do about it, but denying it for 8 years did not help. The Republicans in general and Bush in particular should be held accountable for this as time goes on. We were the most powerful country in the world at the time when the world needed to act, and we denied its existence.

9. Criminal Judges, Environmental Disasters, the List Goes On

From right wing judges who perjured themselves to get approved, to animals taken off the endangered species list by right wing scum appointed by Bush to the EPA, the list of crimes of the Bush Administration goes on and on.

A rush to judgement?

There are very serious issues with the Republican failure to see what a disaster Bush was.  It may mean the destruction of the Republican party (which would be a good thing) or it may mean that we are so polarized as a nation that we can not govern ourselves, which is the current state of affairs.   


1. Afghanistan was and is a nightmare, and one that, contrary to popular belief, we did not have that much to do with creating.   After 911, and the Taliban's refusal to act on Bin Laden and his organization, no administration could have survived that did not act.    On that point at least the Bush administration did not fuck up.  Thereafter, in their management of the conflict, things are less clear.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Articles on Long Term Unemployment and Ageism: You Are Completely Fucked

[rewritten 4/24/2013]

Lets continue our little discussion of unemployment in America with two articles in the online media.

The first article discusses the discrimination against those who have been unemployed for a while and to that I would add to those who have chosen a non-traditional career track in any way.  Woe unto them because they are doomed. 

The second discusses ageism in the technical fields. I do not agree with everything that the author says about why companies do this, but I do agree with the general thrust of his article. I do not agree that there is nothing to be done about it, however. That I completely reject.  But I do agree with the fundamental premise, that being over 35 or so means you are a bad person and should be rejected and or destroyed.  Certainly all our employment law supports that principle.  

Discrimination of any form is very hard to relate to unless you have experienced it.   And of course paranoia can play its role.  Did you not get the job because of your skin color, or because they just hate your face and want you to die?    This is even more true when dealing with very stupid people, such as people in the entertainment industry, where you often run into people who are anti-semitic but are not actually educated enough to realize that is what is going on.

One thing you do not have to worry about in most circumstances involving technology or the motion picture industry is the fear that you might intimidate them by using big words.  This is not as much of a problem as it used to be because in the current manifestation and economic climate they are not going to talk to you anyway, or take you seriously, or consider you for the position.  If they did consider you seriously then they might talk to you and then they might hate you because you used big words, but realistically that is not going to happen.

In fact, the whole job application process is not designed for experienced or intelligent people.  If you are one of those two categories, dont bother.  You are just wasting your time, and everyone knows it.  That is why when you tell people you are looking for work, and they tell you to look at the web site, what they are really saying is that you should go fuck yourself and die.

Long Term Unemployed:


We will discuss both of these in later posts.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Taste of Oil is in the Drinking

This is a comment to a news article from a Nigerian newspaper.   It is a wonderful, sarcastic, well written short story about oil corruption in Nigeria.    

The story may be written by someone named Darlington Ehondor.  It says it is.  I have no idea if this is a known person in Nigeria, a known writer, or an anonymous critic, or what.   He does not name names below when he accuses everyone of corruption, so maybe this is not so dangerous to do.

I particularly like the idiom of the "Nigerian Cake", that Nigeria is seen by its people as a big cake that everyone can and should take a slice of.  

The original is a comment at the bottom of this article:

10 months ago

A lot of people wonder why the oil sector is so pathologically notorious for sweet-toothed scams and mouth-watering scandals. I used to wonder myself, and my wife wouldn’t stop gawking at the TV each time a new kettle of rotten oil bubbled over and covered our television screen in blinding mist. But when the Nollywoodesque Lawan-Otedola circus show exploded into a national pastime, I decided to find out exactly what made oil tick. What I discovered will make you drool and dry with desire.

“Can I taste some oil?” I asked Jack Rider, managing director of Rivers Of Oil In Nigeria (or ROOIN), a foreign oil prospecting company, which specializes in drilling and draining crude somewhere in Bayelsa State.

He said, “I should be glad to give you a glass or two of Bonny Light. It’s the best blend there is – better than anything the Saudis and the Venezuelans have on the market. Senators and their SUVs drink that a lot.”

I was excited at the prospect.

So he flew me on his company’s helicopter to its off-shore oil rig off the Atlantic Ocean. As soon as we touched down on the helipad, I was instantly overwhelmed by the strong, enveloping smell of raw oil, which made me feel groggy, a near feeling of drunkenness. In my mind, I reasoned that, if the smell of oil could muster such an inebriating high, then the taste of it must be in the drinking, awesomely over-powering.

Amid the deafening hums and hollering of machines and clock-working engines and sea breeze, I yelled out to Rider, “I am feeling like I just stepped out of a beer parlour! Why is that?!!”

“It’s the smell of oil! No one comes here without tipping over with the kind of psychoactive reaction you are experiencing at the moment, as a result of stepping on this rig. But wait until you taste the taste of oil.”

Before I knew it, Rider was handing me a huge transparent mug, and I stared with amazement at its thick black content. The strong aroma hit me so hard my legs wobbled a few seconds.

“Drink,” Rider said.

I took a sip and waited for it to take effect on my taste buds. Its smoothness on my tongue felt like velvet. When Rider looked away at a particularly noisy machine, I pretended to swallow.

I said, “It tastes like Wall’s ice cream. Now I know why they call it ‘sweet crude’.”

“It’s the same reason politicians and business people are losing their minds and pointing accusing fingers at each other over it. I tell you something, my friend, oil is an addictive drug. Once you taste it, you never want to leave it. People go into public service in your country because it is about the only place you can taste oil to your heart’s content. For them, it’s a contagious disease with serial infestations. You won’t believe how much they thirst for oil.”

I asked Rider, “How many politicians have come here to taste your brand of oil?”

“They don’t just taste, they cart it off in barrels and ship-loads and give some to their friends.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“If you don’t believe me, then who will you believe – the guys at the NNPC, who are the chief poisoners in the oil-drinking business?”

I interjected with disgust, “The guys at the NNPC are supposed to protect Nigerian oil from those plundering and pillaging it.”

“Well, they are up to their eyes in the plundering and pillaging business themselves. Of course, they work hand and foot with the political fat cats. ”

I said, “I don’t expect you to name names, but would that include legislators and people in the executive arm of government?”

“The people in the hallowed dome and those on the Rock. They troop in here regularly like termites and we have to fill their orders, which they write off by sneaking them into the national budget.”

Rider suddenly and instinctively motioned me over to a corner of the rig and I was sub-consciously amazed to find a stack of barrels with my name written on them in Bodoni bold. I asked him, “Whose are those?”

“As you can see, they are yours, Sir – my personal gift to you. Those barrels are your share of the proverbial national cake, your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strike it rich. Or don’t you want them? You might not get another chance. There is a room-full of legislators lining up to load them off.”

“Are you bribing me?”

“Hell, no! I am giving you oil to whet your soil so you don’t write any of what you’ve seen and heard here, or the politicians are going to confiscate our license and turn it over to our rivals over there in Prominent Petroleum, who have been working hard to match us bribe-barrel-for-bribe-barrel in the competition for the hearts and minds of politicians in hallowed places.”

“I can’t take that home! My wife has petro-phobia, a convulsive fear of petroleum. She can only stand the smell of cooking oil. Thanks, but no, thanks.”

He said, “Politicians don’t take their oil home – only the spoils of oil, the cold hard cash. For their wives, it is life’s elixir. Or why else do you think Patience Jonathan goes to Dubai every day?”

But I wanted to know something else, so I asked the managing director, “What if a politician doesn’t know where to sell the bribe oil you give him and he threatens to fry your butt in a deep fat fryer?”

“We convert his oil to cash, and we’re talking tons and oodles and gazillions of dollars, pounds, yens, and even yuans, as the Chinese have begun to swim in these oily waters increasingly. It’s our way of thanking the politicians for their magnanimity.”

“How do the politicians thank you for thanking them?”

“They double the price of petroleum products and blame it all on the global economic recession. That way, we are shielded behind a formidable wall of officialdom.”

“You mean you are helping to ruin the Nigerian economy?”

Rider was furious. He blared ferociously, “Just because my company’s acronym is ROOIN doesn’t mean that we are the ones tumbling your economy into the gutters.”

I said, “You are not worried about the environmental damage then. Look at these waters, no one can fish or swim in them anymore. The oil in the soil eats up our toil, and everywhere is the reek of sleek. What do you say about that?”

The oil company owner put in a defence. He said, “Never mind the cliché, but who ever made an omelette without cracking a few eggs? Environmental costs come with the crude business. Without it, we wouldn’t be in business. We would roll over and evaporate.”

“You are being insensitive to those whose livelihoods depend on these waters.”

“Who says we aren’t sensitive to their plight? The politicians just won’t let us do something about it because the money will come out of their bribes, and nobody wants to go home with chicken change. And, by the way, it’s not like we are the only ones damaging the environment.”

“Who else is?”

Rider said, “The pipeline raiders, who puncture holes in oil pipes in the bushes of the Niger-Delta and cart off crude in buckets and wheelbarrows. They are the ones you should be honey-punching with your jibes, not us who do honest work by drilling legally and legitimately.”

I said, “The pipeline raiders work for the politicians.”

“How did you know that?”

“I heard it from Zainab, who is a girlfriend to Senator Homeward Bound, who she says let it slip out during a particularly talkative orgasmic frenzy in a seedy motel the other night.”

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Crime and Punishment: Nigerian Oil Theft

We are proud to initiate a new topic here on Global Wahrman: Criminal Activities. We hope to be a vital stop on your internet review of crime opportunities and showcase both new opportunities for crime, as well as older approaches revitalized by new technologies, and many other related topics associated with the fast moving worlds of crime.

In today's modern world, with so many people disenfranchised and impoverished by our Government's policies, designed as they are to enrich the few at the expense of the many, we believe that crime is a growth industry and that it embodies the spirit of entrepreneurial activity that America stands for.   Many of our most famous Americans have been criminals, from Carnegie to Morgan, from Astor to Mellon.  Its as American as apple pie.   The trick is to be successful enough to buy your way out of whatever trouble your entrepreneurial activities have gotten you into.

Art fraud, oil theft, poker games, money laundering, cybercrime and government bailouts, all these crimes and more will be covered in future posts.

Today we begin our series with an article on Phys.Org about Nigerian Oil Theft. Nigeria has the unusual advantage of both vast mineral wealth, in this case oil, with an incredibly poor population, combined with a government which is considered one of the most corrupt and incompetent in the world. The government and the military of Nigeria have enriched themselves at the people's expense, which is what all government's do, but Nigeria's has been extraordinarily good at it. This particular problem started when vast oil reserves were proven to exist in Nigerian territory. Could this opportunity be used to both destroy the environment, further corruption, and yet completely fail to improve the life of the people of Nigeria? The Government of Nigeria stepped up to the challenge, and worked with Shell Oil to see to it that the oil was exploited in a way that helped only a few.

An oil thief caught in the very act of committing a crime! 

The problem comes from those plucky little people, trying to find a way to make a living, who, by stealing tiny amounts of this oil, also cause environmental problems. "Its all the poor people's fault," said Shell Oil executive Rancid "Randy" Smerlow. "We have worked very hard to steal the oil and make a lot of money which we use to destroy the environment globally and corrupt local officials, but its these damn poor people who are stealing oil, they cause all the environmental damage! Blame them!"

Of course this brings up the much larger issues of "big crime" vs "little crime". In America, there is no issue. We always favor big crime. But this is less clear in other parts of the world and we will explore this cultural diversity in depth in future articles on Global Wahrman.

Read the article on "Nigeria Oil Theft Soars to Feed Underground Industry" below and be sure to click on the links at the bottom of the article.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Advertising and the Rights of Paranoid People on the Internet

[This essay is slowly being rewritten ... the topic is the relationship between targeted internet ads and big data machine learning of customer preferences and being slightly paranoid as you review the ads it selects for you ... which are so weird.   Several countermeasures are proposed ... ]

You know and I know that the ads we see on Google are targeted for and at us. Billions and billions of cookies and multiply/add instructions have been dedicated to determining, through expert systems and big data, what to sell to the biped, typing mammal at the other end of the line.

How many times have you waited for a web page to come up only to notice that the browser is waiting on a response from "" ? This all is part of an elaborate plot by left-wing health care supporters to gather data on our buying habits or is it?  How do we know what the data is really used for?   What if Proctor and Gamble is part of larger plot to enact gun control?   

Whenever you look at a web site today, it is trying to sell you something based on the conclusions its advanced machine-learning algorithms have selected from your interests on the internet.   But it seems there are still a few bugs in the algorithm because they are not always quite on target. 

Consider the following ads I recently recently experienced while trying to use Google Mail:


I mean, pardon me, but what the fuck ? (1) Do they know something that I don't know? Am I about to be arrested, do I need a lawyer?  Am I about to join a softball team?   Are they lying to me about joining a softball team?  What do they really mean by asking me if I want to be a personal trainer?  Why am I always the last to know?

The biggest puzzle of all is why advertisers believe that by interfering with our ability to get work done on the Internet, that we are going to be predisposed to buying from them. Watching their stupid advertisement for the latest online dating service ("Liz!  Meet Brad !!!  6 feet of handsome !") while I am trying to download the latest horror movie trailer does not make me more likely to buy their product.

Here are two ideas to throw a wrench into their sales campaign:

The first suggestion uses good old American capitalism and micro economics.  The Googles of the world are making money selling ads, the ad agencies are making money designing the ads, the companies themselves must be making money selling product, right ? So why not just put a 10th of a penny in my Paypal account for every discreet little ad, up to maybe a nickle in my Paypal account for an obnoxious full flash multimedia ad? Then, as the mafia supposedly says, I get to dip my beak in the well and everyone is happy because although worried about what the ads really mean, our advertising victim is at least getting paid for his trouble and can buy himself an antidepressant or a stiff drink with the profits.

The second idea is a little more passive aggressive.  It would not be hard to generate internet marketing countermeasures that used their weapons against them.   A program could be written that accessed the Internet and left cookies around that implied a profile that you wanted them to see.  You could be an intellectual, or very interested in beach volleyball, or even an intellectual with a very serious interest in beach volleyball, or any of a number of other interests.  Or we could be even more devious and do big data analysis of the latest marketing trends and make you either fit in, or deliberately hide your real interests by overwhelming them with fake accesses designed to hide your real marketing preferences in a mountain of carefully selected spurious data.

I hope that all Americans will unite against this conspiracy to waste our time with stupid ads that are supposedly based on our interests.

Thank you.


1. Probably stolen from Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Message From Our Sponsors

I have been trying to maintain a steady stream of posts to this blog, about 20 - 25 a month, but I have slacked off recently.

There are about a half dozen or so typically sarcastic posts that have been written and which are ready to be posted, and I may get around to them eventually.  But the reality is that I thought it was time for me to get a little more serious here and get around to discussing some of the themes that this Blog was started to discuss.   There is enough material here already that it makes sense to refocus and get back on theme.

We have good and bad news on the career front.  The good news is that I have a small, but amusing, project that will take about 1/2 my time for about 6 months.   It is enough so that I can pay my bills without going further in debt and that is terrific.  And it is fun and will no doubt result in my learning a lot.  If nothing else I am already relearning Java which I haven't used in many years, not seriously.  (1)

But at the same time, the bigger issues are all left unresolved and as time passes, these issues become more and more critical.  Not that they were not critical to begin with.

Thanks again to all who have kept in touch with me and to those of you who read this blog.  I appreciate it and I hope you find it entertaining and occasionally informative.

A final special note to my recent sponsors: Dave Coons, Josh Pines, Mike Deering, Nick Palevsky and Ken Perlin.  Without you guys, things would be much, much worse.   I appreciate your help.


1. As an aside, I find that reading a programming language like Java or Python is much easier than writing in it.   I always find that surprising, but I don't know why, its pretty obvious why this should be so.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Espionage, Reality, Smiley's People and Constitutional Law

If Hollywood holds one principle above all others, that principle would probably be "There is nothing in the world more important than making a fast buck and if in order to do that we compromise reality, history, truth, or ethics, even egregiously, then that is what we will do."

It is wrong to think therefore that when Hollywood distorts something that this indicates a lack of integrity or a failure in character or even a criminal misrepresentation of the facts. In fact, it is evidence of the most sincere devotion to the highest principles on which Hollywood was founded.

When it comes to the subgenre of espionage and the Cold War, Hollywood is pathetically out of its league. Off the top of my head, I can not think of a single American film that comes close to describing or portraying American intelligence in anything close to reality, (1) but they always revert to the lowest level of stereotype and vulgar misrepresentation. The latest in this proud tradition of stupidity is Zero Dark Thirty, but we will not dwell on it beyond making the following observation. The filmmakers claim that what they present is real, e.g. the facts. It isn't. Even Argo misrepresents important details of the situation in Iran and that portrayal had diplomatic blowback in the real world.

But thats OK.

One must set realistic expectations in life and expecting Hollywood to act responsibly or knowlegably in this area is clearly not realistic.

But hard as it may be to believe, there are other countries that make films, and one of them is the UK. They are also famously not realistic by the way, but they are perhaps more amusing while they are not realistic. After all, James Bond is a British creation with almost no basis in reality. Another author whose work is apparently a bit closer to reality is the work of David Cornwell, aka John LeCarre, and it is in reference to one of his novels, Smiley's People (1992), that this post is written. The BBC made a six episode teleplay out of it, and someone has put it on Youttube.

You can find the first episode here:

Is it totally realistic? Probably not. But it does go over in some colorful detail the role of emigres in the Cold War, the time scale of the work (e.g. years and decades), how individuals in the emigre community were used by both sides, the role of blackmail in turning agents, and how certain kinds of operations are done, or perhaps are done. The turning of the Soviet diplomat, Grigoriev is particularly interesting, as is the interview of the psychiatric patient, Tatiana, who may or may not be the daughter of the head of a special directorate of Moscow Center.

The former and current heads of foreign intelligence review a confession of a Soviet Spy

A Russian emigre meets a representative of the Riga Group and General Vladimir

I was surprised at how well this was done.  I have watched it several times since finding it on Youtube.

The story is the third in a series, but pretty much all you need to know of the backstory is (a) that Smiley used to be head of the British Foreign Intelligence, (b) that Karla is the bad guy, and (c) that Smiley's wife, Ann, famously cheated on him. A lot.

For those of you who think, as many American's probably do, that espionage agencies act outside the law and are guilty of the most heinous crimes, I refer you to the following paper I found on the Internet by a Georgetown Professor of Law who wrote a 56 page paper on the legality of certain espionage "deals" as found in Smiley's People in American constitutional law.

Second Guessing the Spymasters with a Judicial Role in Espionage Deals by John Radsan, Wm. Mitchell School of Law, Georgetown University.

Radsan makes several points in his paper, including first and foremost that the ending of Smiley's People may be the most unrealistic part.   George makes an offer to Karla in writing without any help from the Circus's legal staff.   I thought that was a very funny thing of Radsan to say, in reality, in the CIA at least, there would have been lawyers everywhere.

The bulk of the paper is taken up with the various rulings by our legal system of whether the courts can be used to enforce an agreement between an agency like the CIA and an agent.  The short answer seems to be no, they can not.  The agent either has to trust the agency or they have to get their cash up front as it were.

Among other anecdotes we learn that Pres. Abraham Lincoln personally hired a spy and then failed to pay him.

I am not the least bit surprised.

David Cornwell, aka John LeCarre on Wikipedia

Smiley's People on Youtube

Smiley's People on IMDB


1. Now that I think of it, there is one sequence in Patriot Games (1992) that seems pretty accurate, up to a point, and that is sequence in the basement where they watch a special operation by live satellite.  Accurate?  Maybe not.  But definitely amusing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Modern Design for the Homeless

In the face of poverty and homelessness caused by our Government's economic and trade policies, (1), an important new market has opened up and designers are scrambling to be a part of it. This is the market created by the new class of homeless: the well-educated and professional members of society who have been disenfranchised by the "new economy". These new homeless may not have a $100 to call their own, but they have a tremendous desire for good design in their otherwise pointless, impoverished and worthless lives.

Although it is not clear who exactly would pay for these, that is a detail that everyone agrees can be worked out later. In the meantime, it is necessary and appropriate to create the designs and show the world that it can be done. That people can be poor and without hope, and still have a measure of elegance in their lives.

Presented here are some concepts in the critical areas of shelter, transportation, shopping, personal hygiene, the work environment, and self-defense in a credit economy.

1. The Portable Hotel Room

The prospective customer of this concept is someone who is taking advantage of available space, whether an abandoned or unused warehouse, factory or other covered area but wishes to feel as though he were living in a hotel. It is a reminiscence of his or her days as a successful executive when he or she flew around the country and stayed at expensive hotel rooms. Thus a tiny amount of personal dignity is preserved.

Portable Hotel Room

2. The Personal Travel and Shoppng Cart

Many have noticed that the homeless seem quite fond of shopping carts for hauling their pathetic valuables, usually rags and trash and rotting food, around. What you may not realize without having tried it, as I have, that the shopping cart is actually quite well suited for this. It is a well-balanced, sturdy, highly mobile device with many separate compartments to hold items big and small, that is easily transportable, and yet can be reduced in size and readily available in the urban and suburban environment. The design of the classic shopping cart is superb with minimalist lines and a retro feel.

But different aesthetics are certainly possible to achieve this mission of transport and storage, and here is a more modern consumer gadget-oriented approach which combines the shopping cart with portable electric transit for short distance travel. Of course the homeless person would need to find an electric outlet to plug it into, but one can invisage public charging stations for the homeless in community areas. Besides, the homeless are going to have other items they will need to charge besides this.

Travel Shopping Cart

3. Feminine Personal Hygiene

I don't feel qualified to say much about this innovation except to say that it makes good use of previously used soda bottle to provide a clean and european solution to one part of the homeless personal hygiene problem. Male users of this system may be able to use the soda bottle directly without the appliance.

Portable Bidet

4. The Portable Work Environment

As many people have pointed out, the homeless deserve their misery because they do not pick themselves up by their bootstraps and become successful just like Jerry Ford, or George Bush, or Bill Gates. (2). One way to encourage the homeless to be productive and do work is to give them a portable work area, which is one of the things that this creative design is intended for. Now the poor will have even less excuse for their circumstances.

Portable Desk

5. Personal Defense in a Credit Economy

The cashless society is a reality for everyone, both rich and poor, and it is important for everyone to carry their credit cards safely. Since the homeless is going to be out on the street and mingling with people of all sorts, not all the same good people as you and me, one could imagine needing a personal defense solution for awkward situations.   Here we have one proposed solution in a nice knife which you can keep with your credit card. And best of all, this design is available today.

Credit Card with Knife

In conclusion, I hope we have demonstrated that being homeless does not mean that one must give up all aesthetics, but that one can have a degree of good design around you no matter what your station in life. We at Global Wahrman wish to encourage this design movement and hope that it is just the beginning, a new dawn, of good design for the disenfranchised.



1. Consider: legislation to encourage Globalization, destruction of the trade unions, a legal system designed for the rich, taxes on the middle class but tax breaks for the wealthy, all of these are positive actions taken by our elected representatives which have the result of impoverishing most Americans while enriching the wealthy few.

2. The fact that these three icons of the American Dream all came from fabulously wealthy families is irrelevant.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Mexican Suitcase

In 1979, the brother of a famous photographer wrote a note about his late brother's work on the occassion of that work being featured in the Venice Bienalle, arguably the world's most famous art show, held every two years in Venice, Italy.

He said
In 1940, before the advance of the German army, my brother gave to one of his friends a suitcase full of documents and negatives. En route to Marseilles, he entrusted the suitcase to a former Spanish Civil War soldier, who was to hide it in the cellar of a Latin-American consulate. The story ends here. The suitcase has never been found despite the searches undertaken. Of course a miracle is possible. Anyone who has information regarding the suitcase should contact me and will be blessed in advance.

Four years earlier, in 1975, a colleague of the photographer wrote the brother and explained that he had taken the negatives out of Paris in advance of the Germans and had entrusted it to a Chilean he had met in the street in Bordeaux who promised to take it to a Latin American consulate. Nothing more was ever heard. It was assumed that the photographs were lost forever and presumably destroyed.

But it turns out that somehow, no one knows how, the suitcase, unopened, ended up in the possession of a the Mexican ambassador to Vichy France in 1941, General Francisco Aguilar Gonzalez. General Gonzalez returned to Mexico with the suitcase in his possession and passed away 30 years later, in 1971, possibly without having ever opened it. The suitcase was in the possessions of a woman who was the aunt of a Mexican documentary filmmaker. He inherited the suitcase, opened it, and reviewed the negatives. He realized that they were of the Spanish Civil War and contacted a professor at Queens College who studied the history of the conflict. The professor realized whose photographs these were, and contacted the brother of the late photographer.

The brother was Cornell Capa, founder of the International Center for Photography, and these were the rumored missing negatives of his brother, Robert Capa, arguably the most famous photographer of war in the history of photography.

But Capa was unable to contact the filmmaker who had found the negative and they were never received. Finally in 2004 a special effort was made to locate the person who had inherited the negatives and in 2007,  at the age of 89, Cornell Capa finally received the contents of the suitcase his brother had packed in Paris when the Germans attacked in 1940.

The 126 rolls of black and white negative are still being scanned and the ICP will hold an exhibition for them when they are prepared.

The guy in the center is a journalist named Ernest Hemingway

We must all be grateful that Capa and his friends had used film, of course. Had they been digital, no doubt they would not have survived. The storage media would have completely disintegrated over 60 years, it would be like trying to read a 1,000 miles of punched paper tape.

The complete story of the history of the Mexican suitcase can be found at the following link, at the International Center of Photography website:

Magnum Photos, the famous international photography agency, has a discussion of Capa at

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Transmongolian Railroad and the Diorama Illusion

Two people have made a 4 minute "travelogue" of their 7,500 mile train trip from Beijing to Moscow using the video capability of one of the DSLRs.    A large part of this journey is on the Trans Siberian Railroad of course.

Few rail lines can compete historically with the Trans Siberian Railroad. (1) It was built starting in 1891 and started from both ends to meet in the middle. Started by the Czars and completed just before the Bolshevik Revolution, the railroad connects Petrograd (St. Petersburg, Leningrad) and Vladisvostok, the longest railroad in existence.   Of course, St Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia at the time and Vladivostok was their relatively ice free port on the Pacific Ocean.

You can start to see the diorama effect / illusion in this picture

The Trans Siberian Railroad is famous for opening up Siberia, for the role it played in the Russian Revolution and the Civil War, in World War 1 and World War 2.  If you saw the movie Reds (1981) with Warren Beatty, it features prominently in that.     When Moscow nearly fell to the Germans in the winter of 1941, it was the secret transfer of the armies of Siberia to Moscow in a triumph of logistics that stopped the Germans and threw them back in one of the great battles of history.

With John Reed on the Trans Siberian Railroad 

For those who are considering a trip on the Trans Siberian Railroad, here is a humorous link in something called "Wikitravel":

A friend of mine who has been on this train says that by the end of trip you realize that train travel is not all that romantic if they do not clean out the latrine cars often enough.

At Chita, one can turn south and connect to a train that goes to Beijing.

Its 4 minutes long, its very interesting, and the music is great.

But what I find very interesting is that I keep seeing the so-called diorama illusion when I watch it.  The diorama illusion is the illusion that something that is life size when photographed a certain way looks as though it is a model.   The classic examples of these were Viewmaster photographs of something small.   It has to do with a shallow depth of field.

Here is a Wikipedia page on the topic:

In general the digital cameras have a more shallow depth of field because they are using lenses that have smaller focal lengths.  Why it is we associate the shallow depth of field with the illusion of a model I do not know.

An article about the film (use Google Chrome and it will translate it for you):

Wikipedia on the Trans Siberian Railway



1. Perhaps one of the very few that might compete with the Trans Siberian is the legendary Berlin -Baghdad Railway which played a role in WW1 and is no longer operational.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rudyard Kipling, Language Change and the Case of "Gentlemen-Rankers"

[in progress, I just cant get this right]

This is a post about a particular poem by Rudyard Kipling which is the origin of about 14 very recognizable idioms in the English language, yet is also, on its own, somewhat incomprehensible to a modern reader.

Every once in a while I come across the source of a commonly known idiom or saying in its original form or context, and it is usually an amusing surprise. Maybe I knew it came from that (whatever that is, book, play, short story) and maybe I had just forgotten. But then all of a sudden there it is and it is all the more amusing because it is in situ, in its place.

For example, it turns out that "its Greek to me" is a throw-away line from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar by Wm. Shakespeare in which a fellow conspirator tells Brutus what happened at the Senate that day. Someone was speaking from Greece. What did he say, asked Brutus. I have no idea, said the conspirator, it was Greek to me.

So in a typical Internet binge that covered the usual related topics of philosophy, optics, cosmology and the concept of echelon in military service (e.g. company, regiment, brigade, division, corps, etc), I came across a poem by Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936) where about 26% of the 56 lines are immediately recognizable. Not only are they recognizable, but they are used individually, so its not just one turn of phrase out in the real world, its something like 14 of them, each standing on its own. (Note: "standing on its own" is a good example of an idiom in modern use).

Here is a stanza from the poem in question, called "Gentlemen Rankers"

               We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
                       We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
               And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
                       God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
               Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence,
                       Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
               And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
                      And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.

I had not realized until now that Rudyard Kipling lived in the 20th century.    He died right before the start of World War 2 in 1936. He was born in Mumbai to British parents in the year our Civil War ended (e.g. 1865). 

And yet the language of his poems seem much more archaic, or at least filled with unrecognizable idiom, then your average late 19th century essay or poem.   For example, Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven was first published in 1845, or 20 years before Kipling was even born, and yet The Raven is very readable today with very few archaic uses that are a problem.   Well, as they say, the US and England are separated by a common language, and apparently this is even more so when you use a lot of idiom and slang.

This fabulous off-center photograph of Kipling is throwing off the symmetry of my blog.  Stop that!

Here is a partial list of such phrases: run his own six horses, and faith he went, he held the ready tin, machinely crammed, sweet to, blowzy, regimental hop, out on the spree (1), cock-a-hoop, Tommy, worsted, blacks your boots, Curse of Reuben, knew the worst, and of course Gentlemen-Rankers, the very title of the poem is incomprehensible, at least to me.

A "Gentleman-Ranker" is a soldier in the British Army who is from the upper classes but finds himself an enlisted soldier (e.g. below his station in life).  This would happen because of misfortune, a mistake, or a flaw in his character.  But in any case, he has the education and manners of a member of the ruling class, but he is living the life of a common soldier.  Hence, a "gentleman" who is a "ranker".

Other idiom in this poem which are still in common use include: something less than kind, black sheep, troop, thrash, down the ladder.

Here are six lines in particular that I found very recognizable but had not realized had come from this poem: "To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned", "Its the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep", "We have done with Hope and Honor, we are lost to Love and Truth", "We're poor little lambs who've lost our way", "And we die, and none can tell Them where we died", "Damned from here to eternity".

Notice the eccentric punctuation, its not mere love and honor we are done with, no, its Love and Honor that we are talking about.

When researching this I came across the following image of Mickey, Donald and Pluto as the Three Musketeers, but some Internet wit had them labeled as "Gentlemen-Rankers", fallen from the upper classes to a mere soldier, but still showing here a certain spirit and elan.

Gentlemen-rankers of a different period?

Read the entire poem here:

The poem has been adapted as a famous drinking song, and numerous other topics in popular culture. It is practically the anthem of those who are in despair about their lives and position in life.



Rudyard Kipling on Wikipedia

Military Rank

Marian Reforms of the Roman Army:

The Man Who Would Be King (1975) on IMDB

Gunga Din (1939) on IMDB



1. A spree is an archaic term for cattle raid. Its more common usage is someone who is out on a drinking binge, or spree.

2. For those of you not up on the organization of the Roman Army after the Marian reforms of the 2nd century BC, the cohort was a standard unit of the Roman Legion, each legion had ten cohorts, each cohort was about 500 fighting men.

3. From Here to Eternity (1953) which of course we now realize is short for "Damned from here to eternity".