Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My First Email to my "Representative"

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This was my first “email to my elected representative”, Duncan Hunter, a Republican who represents the CA-50 Congressional District. I am making it my goal to make them hate me by 2018.





Sunday, May 21, 2017

Esoteric Wisdom and Our Government

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This blog will take a detour for a while to discuss the Trump disaster and the minimum the corrupt US Government will have to do to restore trust.

Personally I dont think there is a chance in hell that “they” will do it. I think that the corrupt slaves of the rich control the government and everything else is just hand-waving.

I have diagrammed below a thought on how our government should really be run.















Friday, May 19, 2017

What Goes Around Comes Around or It Should

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Interested in annoying your friends on Facebook? Its not too hard and I have one technique that works pretty darn well. You just take some controversial political issue and insist that whatever is being advocated for one group also be applied to them. This not only annoys the advocates of whatever it is we are talking about, it seems to annoy everyone. Its easy.

For example, although I have very few friends who admit to being a supporter of Trump, my friends have friends who are. It might seem impossible that this could be true even 120 or so days into the Trump disaster, but it is a fact of our times that most of Trump's base is standing by their man.

So a friend of a friend, a woman whom I dont know, made it very clear that not only does she support Trump as president, she thinks that he has been *wonderful*.

So I simply suggested that I hoped that she would experience what she is advocating for other people. That she be the victim of sexual abuse, that she lose her health care, that her children (if she has any) are forced to drink polluted water, that someone she knows is shot by a mentally ill maniac with an assault weapon, and most of all, that she be impoverished and get to know what it is to be poor in America.

I was accused of being “as bad as a right winger” and so I gleefully blocked those people.

When you try to harm other people, how could you possibly be upset if you are subjected to the same treatment?

I, of course, will work as hard as I can to see that no one is treated that way, but in the case of those who are working to destroy America it would only be just, it seems to me, for them to experience their own policies.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jewish Control of the White House?

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A friend of mine who like all true lefties hates Jews has pointed out that with Trump we have our highest ranking Jew in the history of the American Republic. (For those of you who are blissfully unaware, those on the far left who know all think that Jews invented racism and that all Israelis are murderers, and therefore all Jews are murderers. I have written about this elsewhere, see for example here.)

I just wish to point out that the “son in law”, Jared Kushner, was not elected. Now in the past, Presidents have used members of their family in diplomacy and government, perhaps the most famous being JFK who appointed RFK as his Attorney General. Admittedly, RFK had to be approved by Congress, for what that is worth.

I know very little about Jared Kushner. I know he is a conservative Jew, and I know that Ivanka converted when she married him. I am perhaps unfairly judging Mr. Kushner by association. I consider his father-in-law, Donald J., to be a bully, a malignant narcissist, and a danger to the republic. I have no reason to think that Mr. Kushner has any more knowledge about foreign affairs than his father-in-law, but at least I also have no reason to think he is particularly insane or malignant, either.

Its a little ironic, though. The far-right is always on the verge of calling for the death of all Jews. How odd that it is a right-wing wet dream, Trump, that should non-appoint-appoint his Jewish son-in-law to a position of incredible responsibility in this dysfunctional White House.

And on top of that, that Kushner should be in some sense responsible for negotiating peace in the Middle East is enough to make one's head spin.

I dont know where this is going, but it cant be good.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Russian Apt 28 Behind Attack on French Elections


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So it was APT 28 that hacked the French, eh? The same group that attacked Hillary and the DNC. Of course the FBI does nothing to protect us, but perhaps French counterintelligence is more, shall we say, effective and less politically motivated to aid the right wing than our FBI.

See this article in DefenseOne here.




Saturday, April 29, 2017

Expecting Trump Supporters to Renounce Trump Is a Bad Idea

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I challenge all my FB friends (and those who are not on FB but read my blog) to cite me one example of someone they personally know who was a Trump supporter but now have doubts. Disapproval is not necessary, mere doubts will do.

Do you know any such person? I do not. Therefore I submit to you that expecting Trump supporters to come to their senses and renounce their stupidity is not a realistic expectation.

You may say, but wait, we have not waited long enough. I disagree, there is plenty of reason to think that Trump is an incompetent, ignorant and dangerous maniac. They get it by now or, IMHO, they will never get it.



Cuyahoga Stupid and the Trump Supporters


Many of my so-called friends tell me that it is counterproductive to make fun of Trump supporters. You want to give people wiggle room, the argument goes, you dont want to back them into a corner and force them to admit that they were not merely wrong, but completely, unforgivably and stupidly wrong. Instead you want to give them the courtesy that they had reason to think that the Orange Turnip, the Moron King, might have been a good President, but gee, I guess that didnt work out.

I think that this argument is completely wrong. Trump supporters knew exactly what they were doing and they are getting exactly what they wanted. They wanted a moron who would attack liberals and they got it. They are happy with him destroying the American republic. No argument from reason is going to change their mind. That is my opinion. You may have a different opinion. Good for you. Lets see who is right.

The Guardian in the UK has done a very good job of covering the Trump disaster, and a recent article, whose link is below, surveys two communities in Ohio that are physically quite close to each other, but politically could not be further apart. They did this article on the occasion of the 100 days of the Trump accession.

The Trump supporters interviewed came from Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and they were very vocal about how happy they were with Trump cracking down on those nasty immigrants. They also expressed glee that he was eviscerating (they didnt use that word) the EPA and getting rid of all those unnecessary regulations.

You may find this article here.

I could not help but note two funny things about this. First, “Cuyahoga” is a Native American word, so who, exactly is the immigrant here? Second, Cuyahoga is a very distinctive word and it happens to be associated with a river, the Cuyahoga river. This river is notable for two things: first, Randy Newman wrote a song about it, and second, the Cuyahoga river is famous for being the location of one of the biggest environmental disasters in history, when it actually caught fire because of all the pollutants dumped into it.

For more information on the Cuyahoga River fire, please click here.

In other words, the stupid Trump supporters who live in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, are not aware that *they* are the immigrants and that they live in one of the most compelling arguments for environmental controls in this country.

Now that is what I call stupid.


Cuyahoga River Fire 1952

___________________________________________


This song by Randy Newman is one of my favorites, and you can hear it on Youtube here.

“Burn On”

Theres a red moon arising on the Cuyahoga River
Roling into Cleveland to the lake
Theres a red moon arising on the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

Theres an oil barge awinding down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake
Theres an oil barge awinding down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

Cleveland city of light, city of magic
Cleveland city of light, you call to me
Cleveland, even now I can remember
The Cuyahoga River goes smoking through my dreams

Burn on, Big River, Burn on!
Burn on, Big River, Burn on

Now the Lord can make you tumble,
The Lord can make you turn
The Lord can make you overflow
But the Lord can't make you burn.

Burn on, Big River, Burn on!
Burn on, Big River, Burn on


Written by Randy Newman • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Friday, April 28, 2017

FB Game of Musical Acts

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On Facebook, one of the viral themes that is going around is to name 10 musical acts you saw live, but only nine of them are real. The tenth is fake. Your friends have to pick the fake one. Yes, its stupid. But I did it anyway. Here is the list.


Randy Newman
Frank Sinatra
Jean Luc Ponty
Miles Davis
Neil Young / CSN / CSN&Y
Jefferson Airplane
Hot Tuna
Alicia de Larrocha
Red Bone
Leaves of Grass
Rolling Stones
Grateful Dead


The answer is Alicia de Larrocha who was playing at Carnegie Hall the week that I was moving from NYC to Los Angeles in 2001. The Leaves of Grass was my brother's garage band in High School in Richmond, Virginia.

By far the most entertaining of these acts (or the two most entertaining) was Randy Newman and Neil Young. 






Friday, April 21, 2017

Scott Pilgrim and the Perils of Judging a Film from its VFX Reel


The Academy Award (tm) for visual effects is not given for the film that has the splashiest visual effects, or the most innovative, or the most expensive, or even the one with the most visual effects in some quantitative sense. According to the rules of the game, the film that wins this prestigious award and confers on its recipients a competitive lustre, is the film where the visual effects best serves the film.

Sadly it is not the film with the most computer generated robots beating the heck out of other computer generated robots, but rather that film where the robots who are beating the heck out of each other appear to be doing so in a way that contributes to the film's higher purpose.

Of course no award process is perfect and compromises need to be made. One of those compromises is that only films that make use of visual effects are considered for the award in visual effects. Who knew? This is a logical limitation that can have the most unfortunate effect, so to speak, depending on how dreadful the year's visual effects films are. Another issue that must be faced is that the side-by-screening of the different films in competition must necessarily restrict that screening to an edited compilation of the visual effects for each film. Whether that “effects reel” is 10 minutes long, or 12 minutes, or 15 it is by definition an abbreviated version of the larger creative project.

Trust me, when seeing these effects reels back to back, even 10 minutes per film can seem like forever.





It happens though that an effects reel for a creative project may not actually communicate the real value of those effects in context. This is why it is often the case that the selected films (those films that go past the bakeoff and are actually nominated for an award) may seem to go to those films with the largest budget, or the greatest number of giant robots exploding, or even, heaven forbid, the films that generated the most money at the box office.

So, years ago I attended the bakeoff and one of the films in competition was Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010). Although it was nice to see a film that did not depend on explosions or giant robots per se to communicate its higher vision, I was bored with it. Many of my friends thought it was very original, but I didnt. To me it seemed nothing more than a rip off of the classic genre of the 1 or 2 person fighter games from the world of coinop video games.

What the VFX reel did not communicate, and which I only discovered later, was that this film was actually a pretty good low budget film with visual effects. It wasnt totally successful, it fell apart near the end but the first 2/3rds or so of the film is actually very, very funny. The premise is that a very young man, maybe 23 or so, falls in love with a woman who has moved to Toronto from NYC to escape her previous life. But if our hero wants to date her, he must first defeat in battle her evil former lovers.






It is also a good example of regional filmmaking, being based in Toronto as Toronto, not as Toronto as a film location trying to be some other city.

So if you get a chance to see this film, or the first 2/3rds or so, and if you appreciate regional, low-budget filmmaking, this is a pretty entertaining example.

And I never would have guessed this from just seeing its VFX reel out of context.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Central Dilemma Theorem

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I am so upset by the recent events in America (Trump, Gorsuch, Russian intelligence operations, the Republican congress that betrays us every day) that I cant even write my blog. Because what I want to write about I am not particularly qualified to write about excepting of course that I am an American citizen. Nevertheless, it is all I want to write about today.

 Never before has my powerlessness in life, my inability to influence my environment,  my complete non-existence to those in power ever been a problem.  But in this current situation here seems to be nothing anyone can do, and the system has clearly failed.

The good news is that it makes it much easier to relate to periods of history that I study (I mean why not, what else do I have to do) and how people must have felt when their nations (and the predecessors to nations) seemed to be coming apart before their eyes.

Like someone in Britain in WW 1, like a Jew in Nazi Germany, or a Russian in 1917, don't people understand what is going on? Why dont they see the terrible cost that their inaction is imposing on us. Some of them are idiots, some of them are selfish, some are self-deluded. They think they can do whatever they want and do not realize that some mistakes can not be recovered from.

Do they think we are just not going to insist on the tax returns being released?  Do they think they can stall us from making them appoint a special prosecutor?  Do they think we will not be able to impeach Gorsuch the way they destroyed the system to "approve" him?  Do they think we will not get to the bottom of the Russian Information Operation?  

Who are these people who call themselves Americans?  




Friday, April 7, 2017

A Story About the Civilian Use of Force in International Conflict

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On the occasion of Donald Trump, the moron king, attacking Syria and blaming Obama for Syria using chemical weapons, I have an anecdote from my days at the RAND Corporation.

There is a story from RAND that would have happened years before my time if it happened at all.

For many years, RAND managed for the US Government a lot of the original strategic simulations, what are popularly called wargames but which are more properly described as simulations of international conflict. They may not be primarily about war. Basically you had teams (red team, blue team, etc) and you had referees who managed the game, but what made the games interesting (and classified) was that the teams were made up of real people from the Dept of Defense, the US Military, the NSC, possibly members of Congress and so forth.

The goal would be to evaluate some different scenarios where nations might come into conflict and evaluate different policies, approaches, and so forth in advance. Anyone who has ever been through any of these types of simulations, even on a more informal basis, will tell you how involving and compelling they can be.

So you had civilians and military personnel mixed together in tension filled situations and you might expect, if you watched stupid Hollywood movies that it would be the military personnel who would first call for war and that it would be the civilians who would beg for peace. Give peace a chance, they might say. But the story I was told was pretty much the reverse of that. That it was the military personnel who knew damn well what war involved who were for diplomatic solutions but it was the civilians, the politicians, who were freaked out and "pushed the button" so to speak. 

Take that for what you will.


Moron Trump pushing the button


Friday, March 31, 2017

Has Trump Conspired Against Blogs?

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The so-called POTUS has been accused today of conspiring against such world-leading blogs as Global Wahrman by providing so much material that the poor non-professional blog writer can not keep up.

“Its just no damn fair” said blog artiste Michael Wahrman. “The son-of-a-bitch just keeps throwing outrage after outrage at the American people, all the while exposing the gross hypocrisy of the Republican Party that I can't keep up. I barely start writing one essay and some new disaster occurs!”

Things have gotten so bad that Mr. Wahrman has even threatened to get a Twitter account.




Friday, March 24, 2017

Sicario, Films about the Intelligence Community, Sergio Leone

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Spoilers for the movie Sicario (2015) follows.

Most, but not all, of the movies which purport to be about the intelligence community (IC) of this or other countries are clearly fantasies with little basis in reality.  But there are some exceptions which show that the filmmakers cared enough to incorporate elements of the reality of this arcane and overly glamourized world into their creative work.  This is not to say that the more fantastic and unrealistic of these films, say for example the Bond or Bourne films, are not entertaining, they may be more entertaining in fact. But they are not based at all on the realities.

If we were to have an "Intelligence Film Festival" I would nominate Sicario (2015) by Denis Villeneuve to be on the list.  It seems as though the writer and director did know something about this world and used their knowledge to inform the script, at least some of the time.  I am not saying the film is totally realistic but it does have some excellent things going for it.

So what criteria might we use to denote a film that is more realistic than the pure entertainment product in this genre?

1. The different agencies of the US Government have different corporate cultures. We do not know much about the Josh Brolin character, but we do know that he is not FBI by his choice of clothes. It is the first thing that the Emily Blunt character notices about him.

2. When Kate is selected, we discover that the Brolin character does not want someone who is from FBI Narcotics, nor who is a lawyer, nor who has worked cases. We are told that Kate is selected for her "tactical skills" but this is revealed later to be not true. See next point where the real reason becomes clear.

3. The Brolin character never actually admits to being CIA, presumably because if you are covert in the CIA (and only a small number of CIA people are), it is not something you readily admit. But we are left near the end believing that he is CIA because he admits that the real reason he wants Kate around is that the CIA (and presumably Delta Force) are not permitted to operate in the continental United States unless there is someone from a domestic agency attached.

4. Ultimately Kate (and the audience) are told that the reason that the team led by Brolin is doing what it is doing is because they have been authorized by much higher authority. By elected representatives in fact, which presumably means either the POTUS or various parties in Congress or both. This is a key point for those of you who have been fed a diet of intelligence movie conspiracy theories. Generally speaking, the intelligence community is not breaking our law (even if they break some other country's law all the time) and they are acting under orders from a legitimate authority. Generally people blame the CIA when they should be blaming their elected representatives, and/or the National Security Council, and/or the POTUS. Generally speaking.

5. At one point Kate pretty much loses her mind and attacks both Alejandro and Matt but we are never really told why.  My speculation is because these two are killing a lot of foreign nationals without due process and this would be anathema to a law enforcement official.  

6. Why all the mystery about Alejandro? Because Alejandro works for the "competition", e.g. the Columbian drug cartel.  Yes the CIA is well-known for dining with sinners.





Now onto some stylistic issues involving the Benicio del Toro character and this film.  I wondered just why I found this character so appealing when, after all, without going into any detail here, he does some mighty nasty things. In thinking about this, it occurred to me that he fit a model that was not entirely expected and which may not have been intentional on the part of the filmmakers.

These characteristics include having a mysterious and tragic past, of being very good in a gunfight, of speaking very seldom and then cryptically.  He is very secretive about his motivations and his intents. He manages to convince us that while he is cruel, that he may have some worthwhile reasons for his cruelty. Although I am not an expert in such things, he seems very handsome. And of course this all takes place on the border between the US and Mexico and arguably during a time of war.

And while he is successful in some sense of the word, when the film is over he is walking away alone.




Of course the way I have described this, the answer is obvious.  He resembles, at least superficially, the Clint Eastwood character in Sergio Leone films.  Even if this analogy works for you, and it may not, as I have said before, it is not clear that this was the filmmaker's intent.




“Listen. Nothing will make sense to your American ears. And you will doubt everything that we do. But in the end, you will understand.”


Sicario (2015) on IMDB

Military Rules of Engagement on Wikipedia

Friday, March 17, 2017

Feminism and the Wonder Woman Armpit Issue

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A great moment in cinematic history and criticism is taking place. This moment demonstrates the stupidity and the shallowness of the American civilization in all its glory.

In the middle of our little consitutional crisis, when the lives of millions, possibly hundreds of millions, of people in the world is at stake, with the end of the American republic all but certain, the failure of our elected representatives and governmental insitutions there for all to see, what do these shallow children worry about? What is at the very top of their list of things to complain about? What could motivate them to outrage?

Is it the destruction of the National Endowment for the Arts? No. Is it that the head of the Environmental Protection Agency has disavowed science? No. Is it the defunding of Planned Parenthood that is likely to result in the death of or the destruction of the life of thousands of poor women? No.

What then?




It is the burning question about whether or not Wonder Woman shaves her armpits in the third trailer for the Wonder Woman movie coming out in a few months. Were her armpits shaved in Photoshop, they wonder.

Perhaps the right is correct and we are raising a generation of stupid and shallow snowflakes after all. No one who lived through the 70s Feminist movement could help but shudder at this throwback to an earlier period of American radicalism.

I only hope that Wonder Woman's girdle squeezes these children until their heads pop with shame.

You may see this trailer here.

For a previous discussion of the Feminist issue of shaving, please see here.



Friday, March 10, 2017

Behold.... This is Trump's America

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From someone named Egriff commenting on an article in the Guardian about a discovery in Egypt.

I met a traveller from a Western land,
Who said—“A vast and broken wall of stone
Stands in the desert. . . . Near it, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
Behold – this is Trump’s America;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


Trump being hauled out of the desert


You can find the article in The Guardian at the link below and Egriff in the comments.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump Dives Off Deep End with Obama Wiretap Accusations

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[Updated 3/4/2017 Nothing is really understood about this matter at this point in time.  But I can correct one mistake in the following post.  It would be legal for Trump to talk about a classified investigation because the POTUS has the power to declassify such an investigation at any time. Therefore, in and of itself, these tweets are unlikely to be an impeachable offense for that reason.]

Trump has accused Obama of being a Richard Nixon and tapping his office. See the article at the Guardian here.

I think I know what this might be about, but it comes down to Trump either being a nut case or that he does not understand national security issues at all, or that he does not understand the difference between the Watergate Plumbers and the FBI acting with a warrant. You pick. Either of the three though means that he should be impeached and I am tired of waiting.

I suspect, and here I am speculating again, that when the FBI/CIA came to realize that Russia was working to destroy free elections in America through disinformation and fake news, and when the issue of contacts between Trump and Russia became a matter of national security, that it would be logical to listen in. After all, the Russians certainly were listening to everything Trump said on his cell phone or any other phone, you can be quite sure. So my guess is that the FBI got a warrant to listen in and see what they picked up. Does Trump not know the difference between the Nixon Plumbers and a national security investigation with a warrant? Probably not, he isnt too smart, he has no aptitude for these things, and he has no experience. He may also be a clinical narcissist and sociopath, at least that is what the available evidence suggests.

This also suggests that he has just leaked/disclosed information about an ongoing investigation which is, I think, a felony.

As posted on Facebook.



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Facebook Discussion About Whether ADD/ADHD is a Fraud

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This is a transcript of a Facebook conversation I had with Robit Hairman about ADD/ADHD in response to an article he posted about how ADD/ADHD is a fraud. My response was treated with contempt by Robit, so I let loose with a full dose in response. I have retained some of the FB formatting to try and keep some of the flavor of my response. I believe that ADHD denial is another form of science denial on the part of Americans. At the same time I have no doubt that the disorder may be over-diagnosed.

But it is not a fraud.

Michael Wahrman
Michael Wahrman So every five years or so, some asshole comes out with an article about how ADHD is not real. But it is real. And the medication works. But the medication is nearly impossible to get because of stupid laws put in place by the Nixon administration. You may not like that, but that is just too bad. Oh by the way, thousands of doctors think that ADHD is real. I suppose you deny Climate Change is manmade as well?
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Michael Wahrman
Michael Wahrman Since I have been publicly humiliated for daring to discuss some experiences with ADHD and medication here on this forum, let me go further and share with you a little bit of what I think I have learned after living with this disease all my life and studying it for 20 + years after being diagnosed. I should mention that I am not a Dr. of Medicine, although I hope to be a Dr. of Philosophy in a few years if that matters. First, the track record of psychiatry in diagnosing this and other "mental" disorders (that is, for the most part I am referring to physical disorders that affect cognition) is not great. They have to rely on a lot of patient-reported states of mind in many cases, and there is no definitive blood test for depression or ADHD. Second, various classes of psychiatrists do not talk to each other, or maybe do not respect each other, and in the case of adult ADHD this affected people getting diagnosed and treated for decades. Third, there are excellent tests in child psychiatry for ADHD and if you have a child you suspect may have ADD/ADHD, I hope that these tests are used before a diagnosis is made. I have only been through these tests once, and they were hilarious and very convincing. Ask for more details if you like. Fourth, it was only my first doctor, the highly recommended Dr. Koch of Greenwich Ct who ever used these tests, none of the others have. It is not a coincidence that the others are adult ADD/ADHD doctors but Dr. Koch treats both types of patients. Fifth, I can tell you from personal experience that not all ADHD doctors are drug mad who prescribe at the first sign of anything wrong, on the contrary, the doctors I have used are anti-stimulant and prescribe them as a last resort. As someone who has tried all on-label medications for this disease and most of the off-label ones, I can tell you that for those with my class of the disorder, it is only the stimulants that reliably and significantly work. (The others may indeed be sufficient for those with a minor case of this disease). Sixth, which leads us to the next problem .... (end of part 1)
Like · Reply · 29 mins

Michael Wahrman
Michael Wahrman (beginning of part 2), Sixth, there is no objective way to judge in advance which medication is sufficient or effective or in what dose for the patient, at least not to my knowledge. If you are like me, you will find the hit and miss approach used by doctors to be both annoying and time consuming. In fact, I only found the best medication for my particular version of this problem more or less by accident (in the same way I was diagnosed by a friend not a doctor, originally). Seventh, once you do find the appropriate medication, if you are lucky enough to do so, good luck in getting the Dr to prescribe what you need in a reliable and cost effective manner. I repeat, Drs do not like to prescribe stimulants as it puts them at risk of losing their license. And why on earth would they want to lose their license merely because it helps the patient? Eighth, I have no doubt that this as well as many other "psychiatric" diseases are or may be overdiagnosed, and powerful medications prescribed. Sadly it is up to the parent to figure out if this medication is appropriate or not, as the patient, if a child, may not be able to. Now in the case of adult ADD/ADHD, this is quite straightforward believe it or else. Particularly in the case of ADHD but also with ADD to a lesser extent, the effects of medication in the appropriate dose are not subtle, not in the least. And in the case of the adult, it is extremely likely that the patient has self-medicated all their life to try and get relief in the absence of diagnosis and treatment. (end of part 2)
Like · Reply · 20 mins

Michael Wahrman
Michael Wahrman (beginning of part 3) Ninth, I can tell you, and Robits contemptuous response to my comment above demonstrates, that many people, perhaps most people, do not take this disease seriously. They either do not believe it exists, or that it is serious, or that the medication is required, or some other version of contempt. The fact that millions of Americans will tell them differently has no effect on their preconceptions. But let me tell you, for people like me, and I can not tell you how many there are, the disease is non trivial and the medication is non optional. If you do not believe that, then you are not going to care about the rest of this testimony. It will be dismissed by you with some off hand gesture or ("aww"). And so, tenth, you would not believe how difficult it is to get this medication legally. And we are only talking about legal medication here, not illegal self-medication. I could go on for pages about the hurdles you have to go through and not be exhaustive and you would probably not believe me anyway (most people dont). So if I have any credibility here, let me say that anyone with a serious version of this disease will spend an unknown amount of time per month getting the medication and in many, many cases not get sufficient or reliable medication for years on end. But you probably dont care because you do not believe that this is a real and serious disease, now do you? (end of part 3)
Like · Reply ·

Michael Wahrman
Michael Wahrman (part 4) Tenth, do I believe that this disease is probably overdiagnosed? Yes, I do. Psychiatry is a screwy business, subject to fads and other influences (including a very corrupt Pharma business) and the free market (what a stupid concept to apply to medicine). To all parents, I would tell you to insist on the tests I went through when I first formally diagnosed. Believe me, they are not subtle. And if your child is only ambiguously diagnosed, then dont worry about it. Its not severe. If it is a clear diagnosis, then trying a low dose of stimulant (or if you prefer the more ambiguous non-stimulants) is not going to kill anyone, and if it works or sortof works, then it will be obvious within hours. This is less true for ADD than ADHD, in the former case, one must rely more on personal testimony of the patient, but even then there are informal tests one can apply. In the latter case, the symptoms of ADHD respond very well to low dose stimulants and one can see results within hours (or even minutes in some cases). Eleventh, the good news is that the primary stimulants prescribed for ADD/ADHD are trivial to get off of. They are no where near as addictive as say, coffee or cocaine. There is the problem that people can get dependent on them for psychological reasons as these are human performance drugs, which is why Dextroamphetamine has been used by our armed forces in WW2 and afterwards. (The Germans used methamphatamine btw, a drug I have no experience with). Twelth, I do not write about my personal experiences because it does me any good. It has been used against me whenever I have, or I have been subjected to abuse or contempt. I do it to help my friends and others who may have this disease and do not know what is going on and may not realize that there is a solution. Therefore you should say thank you for the time I have taken to give you the benefit of my experience and research. You are very welcome.
Like · Reply · 5 mins




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Spending a Lot More Time on FB


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I am spending a lot more time on Facebook because at least there I get some response to my outrage about the Trump disaster. My other friends, assuming I have friends, are silent on email. They are silent on the blog. Since I live like a total hermit here in exile, and I do enjoy that human contact now and then, it is more efficient to use FB.

There are other things happening in life that are both good and bad. On the one hand, I have received a contribution from a long-lost relative that will allow me to apply to grad school and keep the power and water on for six months or so. Ideally I could be on my feet again at the end of this time. I do appreciate this contribution, it has totally turned around my life in the short run.

But in the long run, or in six months, what is the liklihood that things will be better? Ultimately, I have to leave this house, what is the liklihood that I will ever be able to afford rent again? Be employed again? Work on something I love again?

Now that China takes its place as the world leader, and the United States self destructs with a right wing faction in charge of the state apparatus, I think it is foolish and unrealistic to have any hope for the future.

Nevertheless, I will press forward with grad school and with my book project and a few other things. Its better than a stick in the eye. I have enjoyed writing this blog and no doubt will enjoy writing more, from time to time, going forward. I appreciate those of you who read this, whoever you may be.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Feminism and Sex with Mary Tyler Moore and Joan Jett

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Most people of the Boomer generation remember Mary Tyler Moore (MTM) for her TV show which aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. This show supposedly redefined the concept of the American woman on her own, outside of marriage, having a career. That might be true, and if so it is certainly a good thing. I never watched this show.

But for men and some women of my generation, there is an earlier incarnation of Ms. Moore which we remember with great fondness. This show I most certainly watched, particularly as a daytime rerun in syndication after school. This was the very funny Dick Van Dyke Show and on this show, Mary Tyler Moore played the character of the loving and long suffering wife of Mr. van Dyke, Laura Petrie. For those of us discovering that we liked women, Laura Petrie was a revelation no less than Ms. Emma Peel played by Diana Rigg on The Avengers.


Mary Tyler Moore and Dick van Dyke from the earlier period


What we have for you today is a cover of the MTM Show Theme Song by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I think this version captures both the nascent feminism of the MTM Show with Ms. Moore's (no doubt exploited by the patriarchy) sex appeal.






I never doubted that she would “make it”, whatever it is that she was trying to make.

Love is All Around performed by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts


Love is All Around written and performed by Sonny Curtis

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all
How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it
You're gonna make it after all
You're gonna make it after all

____________________________________________________

Notes

The Mary Tyler Moore Show on IMDB

The Dick van Dyke Show on IMDB

The Avengers (TV Series 1961 - 1969) on IMDB




Saturday, February 4, 2017

"The Grinnell Method" by Molly Gloss

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All I know about this story is that Molly Gloss wrote it, that it was published on Strange Horizons, and that Jeff VanderMeer recommends it. It has a feel of The Southern Reach to it.

This is one of those essentially perfect short stories that we all wish that we could or would write.

An excerpt from The Grinnell Method

From the edge of the marsh, she could hear a dog howling, a terrible prolonged wailing of pain or fear, and when she came out on the mud flats a wet black dog was pacing back and forth, lifting its muzzle every little while in a long, loud, doleful cry of anguish. She called to it without coming very near—she knew nothing of dogs, and thought this one might be rabid. The dog went on pacing and crying, looking out across the bay where an oyster boat rolled and heaved on the swell. Several men on the deck of the boat appeared to be casting and retrieving a drag net without recovering anything. The water was too choppy to see what it was they cast for—a man overboard, she feared, and then realized he must already have drowned—that they were casting for a body—or their efforts would have had more urgency. This was not something she could think about for long.
While she stood watching they brought up something heavy and dark, something like a waterlogged stump. The oystermen had seen her watching from the bay shore, and when they had the thing aboard they hoisted it up and displayed it for her, lifting and spreading the arms wide, lifting up the heavy head until the mouth fell open to white teeth, a red tongue. The bear's thick, sodden pelt streamed with salt water. The dog pointed his nose at the sky and suddenly raised a new wail—it seemed to her a sound of terrible bereavement. One of the men on the boat shouted something, but she could not make it out against the chop of waves on the muddy shore.


The "Oyster Catcher" plays a supporting role in this story


The Grinnell Method by Molly Gloss

Part 1
Part 2
Molly Gloss signing a book



Friday, January 27, 2017

How to Start A Nuclear War Without Nuking First

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Many people are concerned that Trump might start a nuclear war by launching missiles. They are afraid of this because they believe that Trump is a nut. But there are many ways to start a nuclear war without launching nuclear missiles.

For example, let us say that Trump decides to get rid of Kim Jung-Un. He orders the CIA to set up a predator base in S. Korea and when they have a clear shot at him, launch a few Hellfire missiles at him. But miss. Trump denies it and Kim loses his mind and nukes Seoul. We nuke him back. See? Nuclear war without us having used nuclear weapons first.

Easy.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Marching in San Marcos, California

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I attended the “Women's March” today at San Marcos, California and it was a blast. As always I do not care for the speakers, they embarrass me a little. But there was a whole lot of people, easily a thousand, of all ages, from 3 or so to 70 at least.

Will it do any good? I have no idea, but it was certainly a real morale builder.





Also, for what it is worth, the organizers picked a good day for the march.  The day before was rain and today, the day after, there is so much rain we are having flash flood warnings.  Good job!


The Day After Disaster


As I madly dress for the San Marcos Women's March, I want to review for you another inaugural address, none other than that most hated liberal elitist of them all, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Oh the flames of protest! Not that horrible person. Yes, that very same horrible person. Rich kid, swore like a sailor, abandoned his men on an island to swim for help (some say). Here is what he said on his inauguration:
Now the trumpet summons us again – not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are – but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’ – a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Clearly this is inadequate. What would that master of all that is right and decent, Donald Trump, tell us? Well, of course, he would attack his enemies. And he would play to his base.
For too long a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. While they have celebrated there has been little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

What is funny about this, from my point of view, is that even when I agree with Donald, I disagree with him. I generally think that some of this is correct.  That Washington did pursue a neoliberal economic policy that hurt millions and millions of Americans whose struggle and complaints were ignored. But that is not what I would put in my inauguration speech. There is a way to say this, even (some of) these exact words, and spin it in a new way forward. This is not a campaign speech, you idiot, I want to say, this is your inauguration speech. You won (well, sortof). Its a speech that is supposed to show us the way forward, the way for all of us forward.

And one more time, Donald, you failed. This is just the beginning of your failures, I think.

________

An afterthought. I want to thank all the idiots who disgraced America with this narcissistic swine. Just to let you know how much you are hated. And you are truly hated.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Why I Doubt Trump Will Be Impeached


Many of my friends on Facebook and otherwise are convinced that Trump will be impeached within 18 months or so. Well I hate to pour cold water on my friends hopes, but I am not of that opinion and I want to explain why.

Let me say before I begin that I have been very wrong about many things this election season (I thought Hillary would win easily), so take all this with even extra salt.

The argument goes like this. What people think of as “impeachment” is really a two step process. The first step is that the House of Representatives has to have a majority vote for impeachment, and then the Senate has to vote to convict by a 2/3rds margin.

But what is an impeachable offense? Well, practically it is what the House of Representatives says it is. But the Republicans control the House of Representatives, so why would they vote to impeach Trump? Well, they might if their base insisted that they impeach him, presumably because Trump's behavior was so egregious.

Although the Republican base does not exactly equal Trump's voter base, they are pretty close, and Trump's base seems to be immune to pretty much everything that the Democrats and my friends find so offensive. Even worse, this base seems to even be delighted at anything that annoys (I almost said “pisses off” but I restrained myself) my so-called “liberal” friends.

So one of three things has to happen. Any of the three is sufficient, but how likely are they?

First, the Democrats could win a majority of the House, that would do for impeachment. Then to convict, they would have to have 2/3rds of the Senate or, of course, get a number of Republicans to vote with them in either case. Well, I think it is unlikely that the Democrats will win either house, and if they do, by definition that will not be for at least two years (the next mid-term election).

Second, Trump could do something so egregious that the Republican congressman and/or their base are do disgusted that they *have* to impeach him. What you and I think is egregious does not matter, it is what they think is egregious. I dont know what this would be, maybe a few “bunga bunga” parties?

Third, Trump could do something so dangerous or show such psychotic behavior that they have to remove him from the presidency and commit him. This would probably not use the impeachment process but would probably use the 25 th Amendment:

Section 4 of the XXV Amendment:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

See the Wikipedia Page on the 25th Amendment

Now, while this is possible, it is not something to count on.

In short, while my friends may wish Trump to go away, I don't believe that he will. So, it seems to me that my friends must redouble their efforts to win back Congress if they want to turn this country around. And that is a totally different problem.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Why I Think Obama Was Adequate At Best

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Being POTUS is a nearly impossible job. Those who were great at it in our history have had a number of things going for them that were extraordinary, had accidents of history on their side in some sense, and still made enemies who were bitter thirty years later. Like the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a great Pope or a great President is very hard to predict in advance, and even they make enemies.

I do not think Obama was a great president; I think he was an adequate president. He and his administration was certainly better than any Republican administration since Eisenhower, and possibly better than any Democratic one since LBJ, but that is faint praise. LBJ, as flawed as he was, had elements of greatness in him.

In the following, I admit that there are many issues below that quite possibly could never have gone “our” way, or at least the way I would have liked. But I felt that he could have tried harder, made more of a stink, rallied the troops, and generally raised hell. This is the POTUS after all, it is an impossible job and judged by impossible standards.

The following is in no particular order.

1. He needed to fight harder for our supreme court position. He should have raised bloody hell in the morning, and then complained about it at night. He should have shut the government down, pulled our troops home, and stopped spending money until the Congress did its constitutional duty. The damage to our republic will last for decades and may never be repaired.

2. Someone needed to lead the Democratic party to deal with redistricting in the states. That is only part of the problem that the Democrats need to face to regain control of Congress but it is an important part. He needed to lead the Democrats to at least formulate a plan.

3. He continued the bipartisan neoliberal economic policies that have destroyed manufacturing, destroyed employment for whole sections of our people, and destroyed the unions. He tried to pass the TPP which represented everything bad about the discredited neoliberal policies. The Democrats abandoned the working man and woman. Some say this was inevitable and nothing could be done. Fine, then enjoy your time with Trump because that is what you get.

4. He squashed criminal indictments against Wall Street for the economic meltdown. No new laws were passed to see that corporate malfeasance was punished.

5. The decision not to prosecute the Bush administration for their use of torture disgraced this country and set a bad precedent.

6. He did nothing to address inequality in this country.

7. He did nothing to address the way the tax code, exemptions and loopholes favor the rich.

8. He did nothing to address economic inequality in this country.

9. He did nothing to improve support for the poor.

10. He did nothing to improve how we finance education for the poor and middle class.

11. He did nothing to stop the civil asset forfeiture insanity that is being perpetrated by our local police forces. The Justice Dept briefly halted it, but then allowed it to continue.

12. The Affordable Care Act was adequate at best but did not address the issues of greed in the medical and pharmeceutical industries. These industires need to be nationalized or become not-for-profits. Doctors should be paid what teachers are paid.

13. The policies towards Russia were, in my opinion, unrealistic and certain to cause more conflict.

14. His response to China's cyberattack on this country was inadequate.

15. His response to Russia's cyberattack on this country was too little, too late. 

16. Finally, he was behind that UN resolution that is causing so much glee for those who would destroy Israel. He did so against objections in his own party and as a deliberate f*ck you to some of his strongest supporters.

I have a problem with these things.

I liked his style and manner. I thought he was a first class communicator. And compared to what comes after him, I thought he was a bloody genius and a saint. As our first African-American president, I think he is a credit to his nation.

But he was not the advocate of change that I feel we needed then and now.



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Comments on the Visual Effects Bake Off 2017


This post collects a review from Joseph Goldstone of the Bakeoff Screening and my response from Facebook. Neither Joseph nor myself are members of the Academy Visual Effects branch, although Joseph does a lot of work for the Academy and will no doubt be a member one day in my estimation.

Joseph knows Rob Legato from Digital Domain and I know him from Robert Abel and Associates. Thus Rob represents a homeboy and local favorite to us.  Rob is visual effects supervisor on Jungle Book.





Joseph Goldstone writes:

I was unprepared for how good Jungle Book was; the creation of a virtual environment and the interactive lighting was just extraordinary. Rob Legato consistently pushes the state of the art, about once every half-dozen years.

Passengers was another surprise; it's one of the few features I would actually WANT to see in 3D, given the design of that colony ship.

But the big surprise was how convincing the effects were for Deepwater Horizon. I was completely gripped.

If I were looking for another high point I might pick Peter Cushing's synthesized performance in Rogue One, which I found much more impressive than their one-shot of a young Carrie Fisher.

The BFG just left me cold. As for Captain America: Civil War, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange, and Arrival, the execution was superb, but (except perhaps for the astonishing visual weirdness of Dr. Strange, as if Escher was a moviemaker) the content was not novel. Kubo and the Two Strings is beautiful, and might make the final four just because there's something about the level of investment that stop-motion animators make over two solid years of knocking out 3 seconds a week that just shows tremendous heart. It showed last, which is the best place to be when you're asking for a sympathy vote.

Talking and singing animals are really not my thing, but damned if I wouldn't give my top-rank vote to Jungle Book, based on it having pushed the envelope harder than anything else.

As always, the VFX branch acts as a filter for quality and novelty of the work itself, and then the general membership undoes that by voting for cuteness. Sorry, I will never forgive the general membership giving the award to Babe and passing up Apollo 13. Never.


Global Wahrman replies:

Regarding Apollo 13 and Babe, I remember being struck by that award as well. When I saw Apollo 13 I was amazed at how seamless it was and that it might present a problem when the awards came because the general membership might not realize they were seeing visual effects. I was approached for Babe but could not take it at the time (big mistake I suppose, although I think Scott definitely did a better job than I would have).

I think that the issue with Dr. Strange was that neither you nor I are fans of the comic and that if we were we might be more impressed with the imagery. I loved the Cloak of Levitation, best part of the movie for me.

As for Arrival, I could not get beyond the fact that an alien invasion movie *must* contain more gunfights, car chases and Jeff Goldblum. I am joking.

Generally stop motion does not do well at this level because there are so few stop motion people in the visual effects subsection.

I did not understand why Capt America Civil War was even on the list, unless they felt they had to pad it. Yes, there was a lot of it. Yawn.

It is odd how movies show at this screening. The year of Cast Away I was shocked at how good that showed at the screening. And how badly, for example, Gladiator did, even though Gladiator was obviously a really interesting film. If you get the chance, read the NY Times Magazine article on Deepwater Horizon, it is a great, great story. I would not be surprised if the movie was not based on that article.

As for Rob Legato, I know him from Abel's and one night he was working on an Eastern Airlines commercial on camera 2 all by himself in the middle of the night. The man deserves the best just for enduring that. Ive only seen bits and pieces of Jungle Book, but it looked great. It should be the winner.

Cushing vs Leia, in terms of impact, I am told that Leia wins hand down. This is perhaps because that movie is so grim that it needed an upbeat moment. We can not separate the visual effects from the emotion and content of the film, much as some would like.

At the end of the day (or in this case, a very long night), the problem with the visual effects bakeoff is that they only show visual effects films. (sarcasm alert) I was disappointed that Independence Day Resurgence was not there. Was there another movie this year as stupid as that? How about a fight between giant robots? Is visual effects losing its touch with the common filmgoer?