Sunday, August 13, 2017

Scenario 1 for Post December (On the Road before School)

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version 1.0

I have to leave where I am living by the end of December.

The standard "tourist visa" for a European country is 3 months (needs to be verified). Moving always destroys my ability to work, and causes panic attacks. The latter can be managed, the former not so much.  If I can make the numbers work, I might look at spending three months in 4 countries, 3 months each, a total of one year.  I am a neo-luddite so I dont use craigs list very much, although it is a very useful resource, generally speaking.

This is all financed by $1450 $US / month early social security and some small savings which if used with care is intended for this purpose. For example, maybe $3,000 per country (e.g. for a 3 month period) to pick up air travel and other extraordinary expenses on top of room, board, internet, etc, which would come off Social Security

There is some hope that after that I might settle in a beautiful but abandoned part of the world like Western Mass.

I am applying for a masters degree in CS between now and December. I would apply for a PhD directly, but I dont think I have the recommendations which in my estimation are required. It would also be productive to pick up an MFA, or a Dr. of Theology, or a law degree, or even that PhD in computer science. This is all paid for by govt loans.  Which means that they would deduct from my social security, damn them, to pay the loans back.  I dont know if the US education loans would cover a European university, but if it did, that would be a possibility.

While on the road, I would continue to write my blog and try to make progress on one or both books.

As of now, the only thing that is certain is that I am staying here through the first of the year and that I am applying to graduate school.  

Thank you for listening.

Comments are welcome.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Problem(s) With Assassinating Kim

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There is lots of discussion in the media and on the Internet about assassinating the leader of N. Korea, Kim Jong-Un.

Lets review some of the reasons why this is probably a bad idea.

First, in our modern world, assassination can be hard to do. Kim, like all good modern leaders and revolutionaries under threat, has many hardened hiding places. If he is following standard protocol, he is never sleeping in the same place for two nights running. He also never chooses where he will sleep that night until the last possible moment, and as few people as possible know. If you do decide to attack *all* his hiding places at once in an effort to kill him, you have to attack them simultaneously, because if he gets a hint of what is up, he will be on the move at once and go deep.

Second, as they say, if you attack a King, you had better kill him. If you just wound him or miss him, you are just going to piss him or her off and you are likely to be sorry. In the case of Korea, if Kim goes to war, Seoul is within conventional artillery range of some of N. Korea's artillery. He doesnt even need nuclear weapons to kill a lot of people (millions, by most guesses).  Much of this artillery is hardened against air attack, and dispersed.

Third, historically, assassination is rife with unanticipated results, so you had better have a good plan up front and plans of this type are likely to go bad. I am under the impression that the CIA coup in Iran was not necessarily intended to put the Shah into power despite what you read on the Internet. The plan was to put a military Junta into power, with maybe the Shah as a figurehead, but I could be wrong about this. For a more certain example in history, note that the assassination of Julius Caesar did not really work out for either the conspirators or the Roman Republic.

Although I certainly think that “decapitation” is a strategy that does have merit, it is not always a good idea and one has to be very good at it.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Email to Larry Schnur about my Bicycle Progress

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I find it useful to report to you (and sometimes to my blog) my progress.

About 5 days a week I go about 2 - 3 miles.

Almost but not quite street legal.

Only ride at night, on mostly deserted roads.

Wear helmet, knee pads, gloves.

Getting better at getting on my bike.

Still very unstable in terms of steering when a variety of things happen such
that I get off my bike when cars are around.

Bought a cheap scale to measure my weight.

My general impression is that I am getting better, things are improving, and this is
valuable. I am way out of breathe when I finish for the night.

At this rate it will be a year to six months before I get close to Palomar, but I am
ok with this.

Thanks for listening! (Yes its a little weird but I am totally isolated here and so it
nice to have someone to talk to).

Thanks,

MW

Notes to New Readers of Global Wahrman

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For those who are new to reading this blog a few notes are in order. Those who are regular readers already know this stuff.

First, not all posts are of equal quality, I tend to like about one in three. The others are probably worth reading, at least I certainly hope so, but probably would not be collected into a “best of globalwahrman ....”.

Second, I think I know how to write but not all of you will agree with that. Grammar Nazis especially are warned. I grew up in Virginia and at the RAND Corporation and I have a developed style. If you think I am offending the English language through my misuse of hung vs hanged feel free to tell me, but dont hold your breathe for satisfaction.

Third, I tend to be more negative than most people care for. Some of these negative posts are deleted later if I think they are too negative. But not all.

Fourth, I love comments, even if I am slow to process them. Please comment away.

Fifth, the primary goal of this blog is to be entertaining. Beyond that it is also my autobiography, my forum about the history of computer animation, my cenotaph and my forum for complaining.  I also review Esoteric Knowledge.

Sixth, I am occasionally obscene or use obscene language.

Seventh, I hope to be honest, or as honest as I can be, about my difficult life, about our difficult world, even if that doesnt always make me look good.  It is my hope that by discussing these issues that it may be of some help to others.

I hope you will read this blog, now, in the future, in the past, whenever.

I love my readers, whoever you are.

It may also be useful to read The Standard Disclaimer.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Esoteric Truth About Stuff, Revealed

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Who is to know when the truth is revealed? The slaves have been told lies so many times, that the truth seems to them to be just another lie.

On a train from Oceanside to Los Angeles, there are the four of us. The doctor, the car dealer turned volunteer drug rehabilitation assistant, the very quiet Black man. Behind us, the electrician, the young woman who wants to be heard, the friend of the Bentley owner who wants his hat, and myself.

But really it is the three of us, the doctor, the car dealer, and me. The car dealer runs Bentley dealerships in Del Mar and Los Gatos, he owns houses in three cities. He volunteers 3 days a week at a drub rehab hospital. At one point he reveals to me the eternal truth that explains all.

"There is not enough stuff to go around", he says, sadly. "That is the problem".

The esoteric truth that lies behind our corrupt politics has been revealed to us, here, in plain English. Now you know.  Some must be rich and many poor because there is not enough stuff.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

After Siggraph, Dream with Female Rescue Divers

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I had a long complicated dream that I was on a boat with female rescue divers. They practiced diving from the high board on the main deck of the ship and dived very, very deep. There was more of a practice board about half way down the hull for people like me to dive from. And of course there was very little danger because you were surrounded by rescue personnel. 

The images below are not really illustrative, but they are what I can find with Google without too much trouble.  In my dream, we were all on a ship, and I do not remember much in the way of scuba gear. Therefore you should see these images as placeholders until I can get more appropriate images, if ever.









This was the day after Siggraph.

I slept all day, it is hot here.

I tried to send a few thank you notes from my phone, while lying in bed.

I was of course very sad when the dream was over.



Friday, August 4, 2017

Negative No More Not Ever

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God only knows I would not want to be negative or come off as bitter.  So to that end, I am going to revisit the last few months of posts and attempt to recreate them into happy and pleasant.  If you read anything negative then that is before the rewrite and you should ignore it.

I mean we are all doomed anyway, why not be positive and cheerful?  What are they going to do, not hire us?


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Notes Before Siggraph 2017

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It is a tradition of Global Wahrman to write a post as I am running and late for Siggraph.

The disadvantage of course is that it is going to be pretty rough until I can get back and edit it. The advantage is that it usually expresses something that is important to me that I only realize (or feel like talking about) when under stress.

So here is (are) some of the problems in a nutshell.

On the one hand I want to show new work. It is important for that new work to be of sufficient interest and currency to catch people's attention, and yet also fit. When I am able to show new work of sufficient quality or promise then I will feel much better and it is likely that things will be better in a number of ways.

So what is the problem? The problem is not coming up with an idea. I have plenty of good ideas, I think many people do. The problem is picking one idea, picking the right idea, and somehow come up with an idea that fits the time and resources available.

Every year I go to Siggraph and find confirmation that some of my ideas are good enough to be published. But would I have had the resources to execute that idea? Would I have the ability to focus given the incredibly unstructured environment I find myself in?

The answer so far has been no, unfortunately.



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Trump Demands Warm UK Welcome

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I find it impossible to work with Trump as president. I can not keep myself from glancing at the world news and everytime I do, I am humiliated and offended. It is beyond my capability to function, to solve the problems of my life while my country goes down the gutter into the sewage of this moron's brain and, let us not forget, his Republican and Democratic enablers.

Even worse, because this stupid moron has “owned” some basic issues, such as anti-globallization that means that not even competent and compasionate politicians who wanted to deal with this issue can not. Of course I am not sure that there are any competent and compassionate politicians but if there were they would not be able to.

But OK, so now what do we have today. Why we have the report that Trump has demanded that Teresa May “fix” any UK visit so that Trump gets a big old hearty we love you welcome or we wont show up. Well, golly, Trump baby, maybe that means you need to stop being such a stupid asshole, what do you think?






Watchmen Porn

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For years I avoided seeing the Watchmen superhero movie, because I hated the graphic novel in the 1980s. A friend made me see it as part of our remedial superhero study group and guess what, I really hated the movie. But I was surprised that she would appreciate the rape scenes so much and the sexist representation of women if that is indeed what it is.

For me, it is the latex garter belt that really sells this outfit.  

Maybe there is hope after all.





Friday, July 14, 2017

Decisions, Decisions

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Which topic should I write about? "Russia has been 100 percent successful at exposing the hyporicisy at the heart of American democracy" or "What could be more important than making another Spiderman movie"?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stealing Money on the Internet

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What is sad about this is that one day I really will have a friend in need but I wont believe him or her because of these criminals.

I blame #45 for this.





And yes, Karen Fox has contacted me and confirmed that she is OK and that this is a spam.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Verizon Data Leakage, Should Congress Act?

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Should Congress be forced to make it illegal for corporations to grossly fail to protect their customer's privacy? That of course should not be necessary, because by 2017 we have had so many gross violations of privacy due to corporate incompetence and since we are all aware of foreign intelligence services as well as international crime organizations working to collect such data (and other forms of IP) to use against Americans, that even a stupid moron, yes, even an American Corporation should know that they have a responsibility to work with diligence and skill to protect their customers' data, in particular their customer's passwords.

So what are we to make of the latest Verizon failure to (a) protect this data and (b) when notified by an outside firm of this exposure of customer data, failing to take the steps necesssary to protect the data in a timely fashion?

The facts in the case are that Verizon did not discover the breach, an outside firm did. The problem was that a Verizon subcontractor had maintained a complete database of Verizon's wireless customers, their user ids, personal information and, crucially, their PINs / passwords, in a cloud file that was open for reading by anyone. How the subcontractor could have made such a mistake is unknown, but the responsibility does not lie with them, it lies with Verizon to see that their customer's data is secure.

But even worse, is that when notified of the problem, it took two weeks, from June 8 to June 22, to correct the problem. And furthermore, correcting the problem was, in this case, relatively easy. You just protect the file on the cloud (in terms of who has read access to it) or you remove the file from the cloud. Now in the long run you may have to do something more sophisticated to achieve some larger corporate goal, but in the short run, just remove the file.

Since Corporate America has failed to take the steps necessary to protect Americans, it is up to Congress to improve the incentives to perform. A simple and probably effective way to do this is to put the senior executives of the corporation in prison for a period of correction, so that they can learn new and better skills to help them fit into society. I would think that a top executive, the CEO or COO, would require a healthy 10 or 20 years in prison, except in extreme cases.

In this case, though, a lesser penalty will probably be applied. The senior executives will probably be forced to accept a pay raise and a 7 figure bonus. This is America after all.

Here is a report on the Verizon data leakage


Friday, July 7, 2017

Trump, Civilization and the Second Coming of the Christ

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I am sure I speak for all Americans when I say how proud I am to have a vulgar sexist and bully represent us to the world.  And how beautiful that this moron would call for a vigorous defense of civilization when it is this piece of garbage and his venal friends who are themselves destroying civilization, at least here in America..

How wonderful it is to be demeaned and disgraced in front of the world. Any foolish pride we may have had reduced to the banal by this moron and his supporters, the Republicans, the soldiers who fight for God. But I wonder, what is left for #45 to achieve, having ascended to the very pinnacle of history as leader of western civilization? What is next? Perhaps he would consider becoming the Bishop of Rome, yes to ascend to the throne of St. Peter, or perhaps even reveal himself as the second coming of the Christ, the Murdered God who opens a Door back to God.

Who else could forgive us for our sins?

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Jeffrey Katzenberg Memo Part 1 (Do Good Work and You Will Be Rewarded)

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Once upon a time, Jeffrey Katzenberg wrote a 28 page memo describing how he thought the industry was changing and by implication his mistakes of the recent past (or so it was reported at the time). I am not Jeffrey Katzenberg and this will not be a 28 page memo. It will however be a series of posts from time to time in which I describe some mistakes made that have gotten me where I am today. Many of these mistakes are intertwined, and have assumptions that may seem odd based on what we know today.  Some of these posts will also describe decisions I made later that I believe accurately describe reality (e.g. where the industry is going) but which may or may not be a mistake given that there are no alternatives.

The people who were involved with computer animation early felt (or some of us felt) that we had something to prove. People who mattered did not believe that computer animation would work or be worth anything. We are talking about the early 1980s here. If you do not understand that, then stop reading, because you will not be able to understand anything else I say.

So a bunch of us decided that we would prove that it did work and would do great things. There were a variety of nests of such people, several of them in LA, some in N. California, some in NY, some in Europe, etc. All of these people made sacrifices to be in this field, or at least most of them did.

I felt that I had a chance to have an impact early on and I decided to take that chance. I knew that unlike what later became Pixar, that we did not have the cash or the management to do this really well, but I figured that people would give us slack because of our good will and the situation. I figured that people would say, well if they could do this with $1.50, just think what they could do if they had real resources. It was also the case that none of this would have been possible if people (companies) had not supported us. In my case, this meant little consulting projects and genuine access to expensive hardware and other resources. At the time I knew that we could not rely on this for the future, but the hope was that we would do good work, deliver marketing value for our benefactors, and then hopefully things would become self financing.

To repeat, the fundamental assumption was that people would recognize our work, give us credit for it, and allow us to move to the next level when real projects and real capital became available. Well, it turns out that this is not what happened. We proved that things worked, but moving forward people did not give us credit for out work, many of us were not hired, we were no longer given the access to equipment or consulting (e.g. cash flow) that we had before.

So now, when people say, why not just do new work, my response is that when you are completely impoverished that is not a possibility. When you have no access to resources, you have to buy everything, and when you have no money that is not going to happen. Furthermore, every door slammed in my face 20 years ago.  Why that is, or was, is a long story and it is not very pleasant but it comes down to money. Some famous Greek once said, there is no person so brilliant that extreme poverty will not silence them. You were supposed to hire us, but you didnt.

Too bad, my mistake, I guess.

But this is not the entire story.  Some of us were not hired for reasons that are, in my opinion, problematic, but reasons nevertheless.  We will go over what some of these reasons are in a later post. Its not all "bad people failing to recognize our genius", there are other factors at work.

Neverthless, now when someone says “you must do a demo to prove that you can do this work” I laugh, bitterly. Been there, did that, didn't work. I would rather make a new mistake, rather than repeat an old one.

____________________________________________


It turns out that this memo from Jeffrey was not a reflection on past mistakes, although that is how it was presented in the industry press that I read.  It was instead something else, as is completely obvious from reading it, which you may do here:

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/11/some-thoughts-on-our-business.html

Non Reply Reply from Representative Hunter (CA-50)


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After my fourth electronic message (and one voice mail) I got a response from my representative. It seems oddly to start out as if they actually read my messages (which I doubt). Could it be that they have an assistant do a topic sentence and then supply the boilerplate body of the letter? Or is it all boilerplate? Or am I being too cynical?

Here is the letter.



This letter really alerted me to how much I dislike this man's politics. It reads like a nightmare from hell republican bullshit agenda. How about the environment? How about helping the poor? None of that for our good Republican.

And here is my response, for what little this is worth. What is next I wonder. How do I ramp this up a bit?






Saturday, July 1, 2017

Who Shall Pass or Fail the Test?

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In another post, see here, I described a test I was playing on various friends and acquaintances.

For those of you who wonder how to pass the test, and need a cheat sheet, here is a short list of some of the answers, any one of which will suffice to pass the test:

Express concern and ask how you can help.
Offer to buy lunch or loan your friend $100
Suggest a friend you know who might need someone of his skills (i.e. to get a job).
Offer to pay for something that might help (e.g. internet access or a phone bill or water bill).
Offer him or her a place to stay for a week or a month.
Offer to drive him or her somewhere.
Offer to introduce him or her to someone who might be able to help (e.g. get into school, get a part time job, whatever).
Make them feel welcome or in some way try to lesson the shame when you do any of the above on behalf of your friend.

Things you can do to automatically fail the test include:

Say you dont have the time to hear this right now.
Offer to have them committed for their own good.
Insult them.
Tell them to fuck off.
Make fun of them either to their face or behind their back (they will always know, trust me).
Fail to offer to help them get a job even though they know you have done that for others.

None of these lists are exhaustive.

[It saddens me to report that this test, which has in fact been in progress for several years has been passed by only a few people.  There are a few themes that I have noticed, in particular that some people who I have been in relationships with are particularly uncaring, but I guess that is not a total surprise even if it is a disappointment.  Others, it turns out, who in some sense truly owe me nothing, if anything one might say that I owe them for their courtesy to me over the years and their contributions to my life however accidental, have turned out to be very generous.  This is hardly an observation that will be new to the careful observer of mammalian biped behavior]






Definition: All But Homeless

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I am sometimes guilty of using my own sub-language, or jargon. I think most writers do at one time or another. Its hard to get a new word or term defined and accepted but the Germans, or those who speak the Germanic languages do not care. They create and use compound words with speed and facility.

Sidewalk, rocketship, doorknob, jailbait, idiot-sh*t-for-brains, etc.

I have needed a term for someone who is essentially but not quite homeless for quite a while.

If “homeless” refers to someone who is chronically unemployed and does not have the money, or for some reason the capability, to have a place to sleep, to take a shower, to keep their stuff, and to cook a meal, we call that person homeless.

I define “all-but-homeless” as someone who would be homeless, except that their friends or family is putting them up somewhere.

This might be “couch surfing”, but couch surfing has a different feeling to it. “Couch surfing” suggests someone who is 20 something and who is able to mooch on a friend for a week or a month while they are looking for work. It has a healthy, youthful feel to it. It does not suggest the helplessness of homelessness.

An “all-but-homeless” person is someone who has tried for years to make a living, who has learned new skills, worked hard, is older than is trendy, but still cant figure out how to pay the rent. He or she is now a burden on their friends or family or both but doesnt want to be and is somewhat ashamed of it.

They are certainly better off than a “homeless” person but they are far from living a healthy, actualized life. They can not travel, can not afford medical care, can not afford new clothes, can not afford to go to conferences or go on vacation. They are in a prison of poverty and can not work their way out. Maybe they are a victim of their own decisions, maybe they have a disability whether acknowledged or unacknowledged, maybe they are a victim of government policies, maybe they are just unlucky, or maybe it is a combination of some of these or something else entirely. They are certainly better off than someone who is homeless, but that is about all you can say about it.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Test

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They say if you spend too much time alone, you go mad. First you start talking to yourself and start displaying various signs of mental distress. Then you start coming up with schemes to get out of whatever circumstances you are currently in. But when they all fail, you start plotting revenge.

But is it revenge, really? Maybe not. Maybe what one is plotting is merely a way of exposing who is really a person of character, willing to do the right thing, and who is not worthy of the label “human”. Perhaps one can construct a test to reveal the poseurs for what they are, scum of the worst type, the hypocrite.

And so, like Diogenes of Sinope whose search for an honest person commended him to be the subject of so many works of art, perhaps I will run a series of informal tests to see who among my friends and colleagues are willing to lift one finger, make one phone call, send one email, in order to end my distress.

Why not? I am stuck here anyway. Why not have some fun?




The Academy and Its Invitations 2017

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If there had not been such a brouhaha about “diversity” and the “motion picture industry”, I might not have discovered which of my friends and acquaintances have been invited to be members of the Academy. But since the Academy is working hard to include more women and people of color into their membership, the list becomes news, and so I reviewed it.

And there is good news and bad news in it. First and foremost, although it is indeed a kind of honor to be a member of the Academy, and it does entail some nice privileges, it does not mean that because you are a member that (a) you have any power or (b) that you will ever work again. It certainly doesnt hurt though, and it is no small thing to be a member of an elite club. Especially if you live in LA.

Other good news is that a variety of people I know, some of whom are friends, who probably deserve to be a member of the Academy, are indeed invited. In one notable case, which will not be mentioned by name, there is also one person who is a complete dick. But the others arent dicks, and so with our so small sample size in mind, I think this is a fairly good list.

Leaving out the dick, the people I noticed who I know who are on this list include: Rhonda Gunner (a co-founder of Video Image), Carl Ludwig (a founder of Blue Sky), Raymond Yeung (a good person and one of the annointed keepers of the color spaces), Darwyn Peachey of Pixar (with a name like this you are never forgotten), Jinko Gotoh (a producer associated with CGI since before the beginning) and Brooke Breton (a producer who started with Star Trek and has worked on many projects including the various Avatars).

Congratulations to all of them!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Message Number 4 to Representative Hunter (CA-50)


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I am still pressing Duncan Hunter (CA-50) regarding that secret meeting with Pruitt and the Oil and Gas companies. I wonder what was said. Maybe this is what the FOIA is all about.





Friday, June 23, 2017

Progress on an Open Source Software Transcoding Solution

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I have been looking for a transcoding solution in software that is professional enough to use for my various purposes. Previously I was using Canopus Procoder 2/3, but Canopus was bought by Greenvalley, which was bought by Thompson, which is now called Technicolor and the product is discontinued. When I last looked at Handbrake, which was a few years ago, it only seemed to be available for the Mac and was too consumer oriented for my needs.

But to my amazement, Handbrake is also available in GUI form for Windows and in command line form for Linux. It is open source and available from France where it is apparently legal to have MP3/MP4/MP2 codecs built into your free software.

Using it on Windows, I have done preliminary tests and it seems to be acceptable. I wont know where the feature gaps are until I use it more. But to begin with, I have been able to excerpt one minute of footage from a high resolution 2 hour mp4 and convert it to various formats and resolutions.

Although it clearly does not give access to all the video features that Canopus Procoder 2/3 did, it does allow you access to some and I wont know if this is sufficient or limiting until I use it a lot more.

It does not appear to have any malware or annoying advertisements.

I wish to emphasize how important the “open source” quality of this software matters to me. Those with money do not need to worry about a product disappearing, they can always buy something else. Those without money need to worry about whether a tool they choose for their work will continue to exist and be available. Open source software, although far from being a panacea for professionals and artists at least has the quality that it is unlikely to just disappear.





Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Response to the Georgia Special Election of June 20, 2017

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The districts we have lost in special elections were always going to be long shots. But I think that the Republicans are correct to feel that they have been somewhat vindicated. Yes, they lost 20 points or so in Georgia and yes that district should not have been even close, but they did win.

Five months into the greatest disaster this country has faced since the War Between the States, and our suburban Southern friends have sent a clear message.

And the message is: racism was OK with them, we need to make sure that local police forces can control minority groups (who arent really Americans anyway), environmental concerns hurt jobs, public schools need to be defunded, the Russians are our friends whose attacks against Hillary was no big deal and gross incompetence at the top is what this country needs.

We need to murder poor women, build oil pipelines through wilderness areas (which always leak, but thats OK, I mean who the f*ck cares?), defund solar energy, defund scientists who dont do what we say, impose the harshest penalties on poor people who step out of line, and always give special tax breaks to the rich.

Trump has had significant successes. Who could not but stand up and cheer when the first thing that Gorsuch did on the Supreme Court was to go out of his way and murder a black man? Take out the revolver, put it to that black man's head and say “we don't know if you are guilty or not, but we are going to shoot you here, I am going to shoot you here because you are poor and black and that is what America stands for. “ And then Gorsuch pulled the trigger.

I don't think that they are lying to us. I think that they are sincerely interested in destroying this country. The Republicans can be proud.

The mayor of New Orleans wrote an incredibly stupid piece about the statues of Confederate leaders a month or so ago. He made claims about why destroying history was the right thing to do. It was a very Stalinist claim about who was “on the right side of history”.

So I ask my fellow Democrats, who is on the right side of history today?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

An Argument in Favor of Emailing Your Congressman in Spite of Everything

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Those who read this blog are not naive. Neither you nor I believe that merely emailing our Congressional representative has much chance of making a difference. We know what makes a difference which is to say, money, and lots of it. Not protests, not petitions, not emails, and it is up in the air at this point in time whether there is such a thing as free and fair elections as well.

The Russians have apparently been completely successful, successful beyond their wildest expectations, in convincing many if not most Americans that their elections are rigged in favor of established interests. In the same way that the judicial system and economy are rigged.

What the established powers of this country have failed to understand, is that you can not lie and steal the money over and over again, abuse the constitution, and fail to act responsibly without there being long term damage to the Republic. You can kick the can down the road only so far before you run out of road. You can put your right wing thugs on the Supreme Court to steal elections and kill minorities only so often before people judge that Democracy is an empty fraud and probably always has been.

But I am going to encourage everyone I know to naively look beyond this reality and play a game with me, that has only an infinitesimal chance of making a difference. In my heart, I doubt that anything a citizen without a lot of money can do will matter. That dream is over. And it has been over for a very long time.

But just for fun, why not try to scare them.

The House completely turns over every two years. Although the Republicans have done a very good job at destroying any chance of a fair election, they still only have a slight majority in the House. So lets scare them. The last thing any Congressman, Republican or Democrat, wants is an informed and active electorate. An electorate that knows what bills are in front of Congress and tells their Congressman what is expected of them.

If you email or call your representative once a week, and leave a very nice message asking them to do something honest in order to help this country, you can be quite sure they will ignore you.  They will act responsibly only over their dead body. But they also know that for every citizen who emails or calls them, that this individual will probably vote and that means they have to have at least one and preferably two voters on their side to hold onto power. 

The more who call, the more votes they know they have to get.  Uneasy lies the head, etc. 

So I volunteer to do all the startup work for you.  If you will send me your zip code, I will do the research necessary to find out your district, your representative, how to send email, and where to call. I will make this effortless for you. No, it probably wont make a difference, but since we are fucked anyway, and we are, why not?







For what it is worth, I am up to three emails and left one telephone message for my Representative of the 60th California district. It is possible that his office even tried to call me back once.



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Qatar, Arms Deals, #45 Tweets and Reality

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We can count on our news media to superficially discuss any issue so that the ordinary reader, that is, someone who does not waste their time trying to figure out what is going on, will have no way of understanding a news event.

In this case, there are two events. First #45 tweets that Qatar is a bad country that sponors terrorism, bigly, or something. Second, the SECDEF announces that we are selling US $12 billion of Boeing F15Q air superiority fighters to Qatar.

Of course that doesnt make any sense but here are a few things most articles fail to mention.

First, at 36 F-15s one is no where near the price of $12 B, so I presume that this price includes the total cost of ownership over many years, training, parts, supplies, bribes, and other equipment and services not mentioned (e.g. intelligence related), etc. Second, our largest base in the area is in Qatar and it is out of there that the Central command operates. Third, this is the command that had to be moved out of Saudi Arabia because of course all Americans are infidels and Jews, and so Qatar "taking us in" was something of a favor, depending on how you look at it. Fourth, I would not be surprised to hear that Qatar does sponsor terrorism. Of course, so does Saudi Arabia. The hair's being split here may have something to do with whether it is official govt policy to sponsor "terrorism" or whether it is merely important wealthy individuals from these countries that do. Fifth, there has been for many years a defacto trade going on between us and many middle eastern countries which generally involves us sending them dollars for oil, but they then purchase from us a variety of expensive things, and of course what they mostly want is high tech military equipment. Sixth, I suspect that this issue of terrorism is code for a variety of other things such as the efforts of Iran to dominate the region and to destabilize the Saudi Arabian monarchy. Seventh, I think it is a weak argument to say that if we do not sell them these fighters that other nations will, but it is also true.

It would not surprise me if this deal is the result of promises made years ago. Qatar agrees to let us build an important regional base on their territory and in return they get to buy a variety of things from us. So whether we like it or not, this is likely to be a follow through on deals made in the Bush and Obama administration. Or at least that is my speculation.

Just a reminder that while the F-15 is an incredible airplane which when upgraded is still relevant, it is one thing to buy such a plane, it is another to use it well.

The point of this overly short post (many more things could be said) is that looking at the Tweet from #45 and then looking at a press release on an arms deal that happens a few days later tells us very little about what is going on beyond the already very apparent reality that we have as president someone who is not qualified for the post and has no idea what he is tweeting or what the implications or context really is. And why should he? He is just an overrated rich kid, real estate developer, and bully. What do you expect?







Thursday, June 8, 2017

Does It Matter That Someone Has Done It Before?

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Generally speaking when I discuss an idea with someone, they invariably say “someone has already done it” with the implication that it would be a mistake for me to spend one second thinking about doing such a product or proving the idea.

Sadly, I have often found the following problems with their advice.

1. It turns out that someone has not already done it.

2. It turns out that even if they have, which they havent, doing it the way I have outlined makes excellent sense.

3. There are many, many examples of people being second or third to market and being *very* successful at it.

4. In all cases I am aware of, had I proceeded with my idea, and all that entailed, at the very worst I would have had an excellent working example of some of the ideas and quality of work and that would have been extremely worthwhile. In other words, at the very least, it would have been good marketing.

So why do I bother asking other people and being discouraged? The reasons are sadly very simple. First, lack of faith in myself. Second, the hope that someone would be willing to work on something with me, which they never want to do. They just want to be negative. They can't help it, they have their own problems.

Can I learn from my mistakes here? It isnt clear, this might actually be a character flaw. And as we all know, how many psychaitrists are needed to change a lightbulb? Only one but the lightbulb has to sincerely want to change.

The other problem is doing anything like a product or startup is hard. Much harder than people who have never done one realize. And without financing it can be nearly impossible unless one is very clever, in the same way someone who makes an excellent low budget movie has to be clever. And it is incredibly hard work.




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Finally Called my Congressional Representative

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When Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement I decided to finally call my representative after months of procrastination.

It was easy.

I typed “duncan hunter CA-50 phone number” to Google, and it came right up. I called the phone number, and a nice young man (probably an unpaid intern) answered the phone. I asked to be able to leave a message for Representative Hunter. He said sure.

So I gave my name and phone number, told him I lived in Escondido (which is in CA-50's area) and left the message “Could he please impeach Trump and Pence as soon as possible. Thank you”.

And the nice young man said that he would give him the message.

So there you go.

Its all handled.




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Poor Little Rich Kid


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There are so many things to hate about the Trump Administration and the corrupt Republicans that enable him, that it is hard to pick any one item to discuss.

But here is one for you.

Melania stayed in NY so that “Jumbo”, their 12 year old son, could stay in his fancy prep school, and Melania could stay away from her sexual abuser husband. Of course this was all very, very expensive because of security reasons and we picked up the tab. How much did it cost, hard to say. At least many millions of dollars.







So two things. First put the kid on a bus and enroll him in one of Washington's finest public schools for inner city (... black) schools. Let him enjoy what poor people enjoy in this country.

Second, let Trump reimburse us for this bullshit.

I dont find the privileges of the rich at all amusing anymore.




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Surfair: The Free Market is Here For the Rich

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For the first time in years, a web page actually gave me an ad that I *intentionally* clicked on, www.surfair.com, and boy am I impressed.

All you can fly in CA from private airports for one monthly fee. Let the poor suffer, the free market is here for the rich to see that they are not inconvenienced. If I had the money I would certainly do this. The poor deserve to suffer, they are scum, that is why they are poor.




Friday, May 26, 2017

CVS Pharmacy and Single Payer Bribery


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A surprise tonight on my medication costs. To make a long story short, I normally spend $20 / month at Vons Pharmacy for a medication I do for "restless leg or whatever". But I let it run out, I am bad, and so I went to my 24 hour CVS pharmacy to discover that *after discount* they were going to charge me $220.00 for the exact same thing.

I wonder, do our politicians get a cut of this every time a sick person is raped for their medication? Or do they just take some agreed upon fee at the end of the year? Hey I dont have to sleep tonight, and I can pick up my medication when Vons opens tomorrow.

I just wonder if it might not be possible to examine how our politicians are paid for their crimes against the people.  Perhaps if we made their bribes more efficient, perhaps a single-payer bribe mechanism, our medical costs could be lower?

Its worth a try, I think.



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