Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The California DMV and Insurance Industry


I expect that various services that are required by law to be provided at a certain level of competence to the citizen.

I am required to have my vehicle insured and registered which seems reasonable, doesn't it? So I gave the state and a private company $1,500 and my car is registered until March and insured until May.

I will almost certainly be in Europe during February - May of next year, so I asked if I could register my car for next year. I was told no. I would have to do that no sooner than 30 days before. Same thing for the insurance.

Obviously, the State of California and the insurance industry which makes so much money from us does not care to do one thing to make it possible for citizens to live their lives and obey the law. You must bend over, give them money, or be punished.

I have yet to see the State of California be other than totally corrupt and difficult to work with. From the DMV, to the Franchise Tax Board, to long term asset seizure of bank accounts, they are either extremely inflexible and difficult to work with, or just corrupt.

Friday, December 22, 2017

The "Nice Guy" Recommendation to Graduate School

draft / being rewritten as we speak

This post is intended to be background information for those of you who may end up writing a letter of recommendation for my attempt to get into graduate school.  

I have agonized over this requirement (letters of recommendation)  for years without having a really satisfying solution, as you will see.   What could be so hard? 

Well, it turns out that there is a subtext here beyond merely having someone who knows you write a letter saying what a fine person you are.  I am informed by professionals in the field that these committees are looking for letters from (a) direct peers who have (b) worked with the candidate in the recent pasts, (c) who know the candidate well and (d) are willing to write a detailed letter demonstrating this. 

There are many good reasons why this is not a 

I have many friends who are tenured professors, but only one of them has worked with me in the recent past.  I have many friends who have worked with me in the recent past

The problem is, this is rather hard to arrange if you have not been in school (e.g. academia) for a while. 

But if you have been asked to contribute then probably you have written more recommendations than I will ever see or could imagine.  Almost all of you are tenured professors at a major research university and the few who are not have other research credentials.  Nevertheless I want to go over some basic principles here because (a) the situation is atypical and (b) because if I misunderstand something I am hoping you will correct me.

So what is the graduate school admissions committee looking for in these recommendations?

As I understand it, they are looking for (a) a letter from a direct peer (e.g. if this is computer science, then a professor of computer science) who will (b) demonstrate that they know the candidate in detail and has worked with them recently, and (c) will reassure the committee that the candidate is an exceptional student who will (d) be both capable of and certain to get their degree in a reasonable period of time.

And in my case, we also have (e) since the applicant has been out of school for so long, that it makes sense for him (me) to be accepted even though there are many other qualified candidates. 

Unfortunately, only one of you, Ken Perlin, fits all these criteria. He is the only one who has worked with me at all recently and is also a professor of computer science at a major university. The rest of you are either tenured faculty but havent worked with me much at all, or certainly not recently. And in one other case, you know me fairly well but are not a tenured faculty member, although you are a recognized member of the research community.

I have tried to figure out how to get around this problem now for several years and I really havent come up with much. My plan is to do fall-back applications to MSc or MFA programs in the hope that it will lead to more current academic experience and more current recommendations for the next wave of applications. Of course this only matters if I am not accepted to a PhD program. 

And so, dear friends, I hope that you can see your way to writing what I call a “friendship” or “nice guy” recommendation. This is a recommendation that says what you can of what they are looking for: that I am interesting, smart, determined, clean, trustworthy and so forth.

And that they should accept me anyway, goddamnit.

I dont expect you to agonize over this, the way I have.

Do what you can and we will see what we see.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Last Jedi and Nihilism (SPOILERS)


This post is definitely a spoiler for a movie I have not seen, The Last Jedi (2017).

I normally dont mind spoilers for a variety of reasons but I tried to avoid them for this movie at the request of Mark Hamill. He suggested that everyone go see this movie knowing as little as possible. I respected that until I started to hear some of the controversy and being a curious person I looked further. And what I found out annoyed me so much that I wrote some nasty emails and this post.

It goes something like this. Rian Johnson comes into something that has been going on for 30 years and decides to shake things up. Show a new point of view. Maybe be a little bit of a hipster. A new direction! Something like that.

A little controversy can be good. It can refresh and empower a franchise that has been around for a while. If you just keep doing the same old thing, blowing up that damn Death Star again, for example, that would be boring.

Its spoiler time, kids.

So this guy Rian Johnson comes in and here is what we get. Rey hands Luke his lightsaber and Luke throws it away. Who are Rey's parents? No one. Trash. What about Snoke, who is he, where does he come from? It doesnt matter, we just killed him. How about that secret mission that so many risk their lives on? It goes south and many people die who might not have died otherwise. It would have been better if they had just followed orders and done nothing at all. As for Luke, well he is dead for no particular reason it seems, too bad.

Star Wars was never about "no meaning".  It was all about "meaning", it was all about "our lives have meaning", there is a purpose to all this, you can make a difference.  This was your father's light saber.  He wanted you to have it when you were old enough.

Darth Vader was never just a bad guy in black with asthma.  He had a history, he had betrayal and murder in his past.  We did not know it at first, but the emperor was not just any old emperor, he was a Sith. 

A light saber was not just a weapon.  It was personally created by each Jedi as part of what made them a Jedi.  It had meaning.  It had purpose.

It was never about "stay home and die, you might fuck things up".  It was about "go out there and fight for what you believe in and you can make a difference".

It was never about "evil has no meaning", it was about "evil has a purpose and you can stand up and thwart their plans and help people".

Well not to Rian Johnson.  His message is that you dont matter, nothing matters, its all random, dont give a fuck.  Just sit there and die.

And they wonder why people are pissed off.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Republicans, Holocaust Denial and the Epistemological Crisis in America


Today, #45 will sign one of the most insane and egregious so-called tax reform bills in American history.

Although we have not had enough time to analyze and understand all the ways that this bill violates any norm of rational human behavior we know enough to draw some conclusions.

1. We have an epistemological crisis in this country. It does not matter what is true or not true, the Republicans will believe it is true.

2. They are very similar to Holocaust Deniers who do not understand that the existance of the Holocaust is not at all debatable. They will never be convinced.

3. And just like the deniers of the Holocaust, this makes them dangerous to all of us.

4. But whatever the answer is, if there is an answer, discussion and the dialectic process is inoperative. There is no point in discussing anything with them. They are outside reason.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

FCC and a Letter to My Congressman


What I like about the FCC ignoring the will of the people regard Net Neutrality is that it shows exactly what the Republicans and Trump thinks about the American people. The People can go f*ck themselves as far as they are concerned.

Here is my recent note to my congressman, Duncan Hunter.

Have you emailed your congressman today?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pocohontas and the Lesson of History


Tom Sito on Facebook posted the following on the history of the Pocohontas story (which became of course a very nice Disney movie).

I made the following reply, which I sincerely believe:

If the Native Americans had killed every European as soon as they came off the boat (from a distance, preferably) and burned the bodies but studied the weapons and other technology, then maybe, just maybe, they would not have been the victims of the genocide that they were. Maybe not, also. Hard to say. But it couldn't have been worse, it seems to me.

Well, live and learn.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mercury is Retrograde December 2017


I know most of you dont believe in this, and even make fun of the people who do.

For those of you who, like me, have every reason to think that for some unknown reason this is a real phenomenon/a, please be aware that Mercury is indeed retrograde through the end of the year.

The rest of you, laugh while you can.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Yelping at Yelp and the Schedule


My Facebook friends tell me that Yelp is much worse than I knew, that in fact Yelp discards my first posting because it assumes I am a troll who wants to say something negative about an enemy. Thanks Yelp, boy you sure are a worthless piece of bubble gum.

Attending the Lance Memorial set me back about two weeks on a schedule that can not accomodate being set back even a few days. Who is at fault? Well me of course, because you should never have a schedule that tight, but of course we all do.

A schedule must contain slack for real human events, and one that does not is one that is designed for the lower classes, you know, the worker scum, not the real people, the ones who matter.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Blog Notes, Valkyrie, Cate Blanchette and Heterosexual Sex


First, let me apologize again. This blog is going to shit for a while, if not forever because I just cant put as much attention into it while I am being kicked into the gutter. Damn!

But what that means to you the reader, is not necessarily that bad. What it means is that this blog will actually be a more honest, a more direct, a more concise window into my state of mind. My soul, as it were. So when I spit little spears of venom at those who annoy the fish out of me, you will actually know what it is I am thinking, God Help You.

Second, that live action Thor Ragnarok made clear to me is that Tessa Thompson, whatever her unavailability and whatever her gender preference, would actually be fun in ... well, I mean you know, in bed. Obviously it doesnt much matter.

And ditto for Cate Blanchette, although I never had even the slightest doubt thereof.

So that is your heterosexual sex report, you are very fucking welcome.

Its also great the Blogspot's comment facility is dead, dead, dead so I can post things like this without getting my head ripped off.

Ha ha!

The Yelp User Experience Sucks


So I want to give a review of my local water company, Rincon del Diablo Metropolitan Water District, which also sucks, so I want to use Yelp. So I write my review and then of course have to create an account on Yelp or use my Facebook account. Aint no way Jose I am going to give fucking Yelp my Facebook account so I attempt to create an account.

And I descend into hell. Yelp hell. As if the people who run Yelp dont have a clue how to write their way out of a pay toilet, software wise.

So having reset my password a few times and log in I get my little post posted! Hallelujah.

Now does anyone know how to leave a bad review for Yelp on Yelp?

Rincon Water is the Devil's Water


The first in a series of reviews of the utilities and services of Escondido, CA.

The good news about Rincon Water is that it is actually named for the real name of Escondido, the hidden name, Rincon del Diablo ... place of the devil.

That is the last good thing I will say about this service.

At this point in American history, how anyone could think a private corporation could manage a monopoly like this is beyond me.

The price is never less than $40/month. It may be more but it is never less. There are no programs for the poor, as far as they are concerned, you pay or you die. If you are one month late, they cut you off, no notice, just fuck you asshole, and put an $80 fee for restoral. No negotations, fuck you.

If there was ever a reason for nationalizing the water monopoly, other than maybe Flint, MI, this is it.

It will be a pleasure not to have to give money to these fuck heads ever again.]

Now I have to find Yelp or something like that to make this more public.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Placeholders for Blog Posts on this Dreary and Horrible Day


This is a reminder to myself to write four posts for this blog. I am so discouraged and overwhelmed by the events of my life and I have such a short attention span, that it is better, even necessary, for me to write down short notes and hope that I get to them later.

The lance memorial.
The offensive way the anti-male inquisition is being handled
What it means when you watch john wick and john reacher movies
One other at least
Maybe another too
That is what my memory is like today on this wretched day after thanks giving.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Travel Plans for the Next Year


I am leaving where I am living and presumably leaving S. California on or about the first of the year. Its a little complicated to explain what is going on, where I am going, why this is all so vague, etc. But none of it is secret, and it isnt really that complicated.

I really do not like ambiguity about where I live. If it were up to me, I would own a modest 2 story, 12 room house in Providence, RI or a classic 6 overlooking the river in Manhattan, put my library and computers there, and then travel the world. The point is, I really like to know where I am living and know that there is a place to go to where I can rest my head. When I dont know that, I am at sea.

For a variety of reasons, I have come into a very modest amount of money and for the first time since I went into computer animation, which obviously was a mistake on my part, have a small but steady income. This is not enough to buy a house and pay a mortgage, but it is enough to pay rent outside of a major metropolitan area, or travel if I do not pay rent.

In an effort to get up to date on technology, and maybe do new work, and maybe get some respect, I am trying to go back to graduate school. If nothing else, it is always fun to be around a university and learn new things, so why not. The applications go in now for a possible start next fall. I do not expect to get into a PhD program so I am also applying to masters programs as a fallback.

This means that between now and next September, I can do whatever I want as long as I am very frugal and modest. If I had a driver's license, another long story which I am trying to fix now that I have modest funds, I would spend more time at the national parks. Since I dont, or probably won't in this time frame, I will probably, if I can figure it out, spend 6 or months in Europe on various tourist visas.

For example, in one scenario I would spend 3 months in Italy, an hour or two outside Rome where I could possibly afford a room, and then 3 months in the United Kingdom an hour or two outside London. But the way short term rentals work, you can not rent them until you are ready to move in (or a week or two in advance). And I am not ready to do that yet.

Some time in this 9 month period, I will know which school or program I got into, if any, and will know which city I am living in for a while.

So it is all up in the air. If you have a cabin in the woods, or a room in the city, or wherever, that you want to rent out, let me know.

I will probably stay in touch via my blog and Facebook in this period.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Mid-November Packing Report


These are my notes from mid November about the process of packing the house and the other things that need to happen, more or less right now.

I could imagine someone doing a short film about the drama and emotional complications of packing up a house, to leave forever, and to move anything important to storage. The end of the film would be the protagonist closing the door on the storage area, closing the door to the house and driving away in his car packed with a few belongings and driving away forever.

I have no idea how close I am to packing up the house and to get ready to leave.

Although we have processed a tremendous amount of paper and processed most that I know about. But its not done, and what is left has mostly been processed once already and that means that they are the papers that have emotional content or need to be filed in an intelligent way so they can be found again.

I know I have to spend a week or two now on various applications due the middle of December or so. I know I have to engage a lawyer to try and get my driver's license back. I know that I have to get my car smog checked, find the car title and try to get the damn thing registered and then insured. I know I have to finish the math review, which is unexpectedly entertaining, and take my GRE.

I also have to spend not less than two days attending the memorial service for Lance Williams. One of the artifacts of being poor is that it is not at all clear that I have what I need to attend a formal service of this type.

I guess that has to happen around the beginning of December.

Ideally I would have this done by mid December and be out of here by December 31. Right now that doesnt look very plausible.

We are definitely making progress however and if at some point I need to cut and run, then hiring a moving company to put the boxes downstairs and a little scrambing and at least the house would be packed.

Note on Thor Ragnarok


I went to the local premiere of Thor Ragnarok. The screening that was most convenient was IMAX so I saw the film in that format, which I regret.

There are spoilers here for the movie.

I watched all available trailers before seeing the film but the filmmakers had reserved enough plot points from the trailers that I did not really know what was going to happen.

As expected, the movie was very funny and good humored. But it turns out that there are some reasonable character development points and even some very dark themes, but you do have to pay attention.

First, Loki's actions to usurp Odin's throne not only was an act of tremendous disloyalty to his step-father, it results in the return of Hela, the banished daughter and step-sister to Loki, and ultimately the destruction of Asgard and most of its citizens.

Second, the remaining citizens of Asgard are now homeless refugees. Take note you haughty, this might be you in the future.

But the final dark theme is also the most important. Hela reveals that Asgard, and Odin, as positive and noble people are living a fraud. They have covered up the conquest of the 9 realms by Odin, and the violence and wars that this entailed. As part of the cover up, Hela, Odin's first born, is banished and forgotten. But she returns and knows where the bodies are buried, literally.

By far the best moment of the movie is when all this is revealed and Hela, in the throne room, asks Thor “where he thinks all this gold came from?”

Technically, it is very good, well-art directed and the art and science of computer generated green rage monsters continues to advance.

The whole time I was watching this IMAX presentation, I thought I was watching some sort of cheap uprez with a sharpening filter. For a while there, the audio was too loud to tolerate but it got better, thank Odin!

And yes, for those who really want to know, our remaining Valkyrie is either gay or bisexual, it is not entirely clear.

The cast of Thor did a live spoof at an early screening of the movie in Los Angeles at the Grove theatres. It is a little goofy but good spirited and fun,.  You can see it on youtube here.

For more information about green people in our society and how they are marginalized, please see here.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

What is this New IMAX?


[Apparently many of the digital IMAX if not all project at 4K.  That is good news!]

Once upon a time, IMAX (tm) used to stand for something. It stood for a presentation format that had extraordinary resolution, clarity and presence. The format was only available at a few theatres, usually associated with Science Theatres, such as planetariums or aquariums.

The experience that came from seeing an IMAX film came from a very specific technical quality, which was its film and sound format, as well as the size of the screen in relation to the audience. The most important of these was the film format as IMAX was originated on 15-perf 65 mm negative and presented on 15-perf 70 mm print stock (the other 5 mm being the audio track).

As is so often the case in this world, IMAX the company wanted more. They did not want to be relegated to the fabulous ghetto of science theatres and wanted to be fully within the glamourous and rewarding motion picture industry.

So when the digital era came, and film was gone, they created some sort of Digital IMAX and achieved their goal, now major motion pictures would be released in IMAX as a premium format and at a premium price.

And I saw this new exciting format in the context of the premiere of Thor: Ragnarok and I can tell you that it is not only a complete yawn, but that I would not want to repeat the experience again. The whole time I was watching I felt like I was seeing some sort of cheesy uprez with a sharpening filter thrown on top. Combined with an overloud sound system and some very amateurish self-promotion videos.

It made me want to go back and see Thor: Ragnarok in normal old digital to see what it was really like.

The new IMAX is a classic example where digital is far inferior to the film original.

<insert images of 15 perf 65 vs 4 perf 35>
<insert link to a more complete discussion of the original IMAX format>

Thor: Ragnarok on IMDB

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Inventory for Living on the Road 10/31/2017


The plan is to live on the road for the next year, either out of my car in the case of the CONUS and out of suitcases when overseas or away from the car. Planning and organization are the keys to doing this successfully as we all know who have done this before. Whether one uses shopping and garbage bags with everything jumbled together or assemble things in kits is personal preference. I prefer the latter.

As mentioned above, we have two use cases. The first is living out of my car (essentially car camping even if I rent an Airbnb to have a bed and a shower). The second case is much more difficult and presumes that there is air travel and other transit in a foreign country and must be greatly reduced.

Out of Car Inventory

1 carry-on bag of clothes, medical and toiletry
1 check-in bag of clothes and misc
1 std. bin of cooking and kitchen related gear including propane, water containers, etc
1 ice chest of food (possibly without ice)
1 tent with ground cloth
1 sleeping bag with pad (*)
1 camping stove with propane
1 std bin of camping accessories (LED lights, extra stakes, radio (*), portable shower)
1 Mac Airbook with travel bag
1 Linux development laptop with travel bag (*)
1 bag misc computer accessories including disk backup, extra batteries for smartphone, etc
1 std. bin of books
1 travel kit of essential papers
1 toolkit
1 box garbage bags for dirty clothes and etc
1 road bike and car rack (*) with bag of accessories (helmet, gloves, etc)

Out of Plane Inventory

1 carry-on bag as above
1 check-in bag as above (but maybe acquire a larger one) (*)
2 laptops as above in their bags (possibly combined into a single larger carry on bag)
1 travel kit of essential papers stuffed into check in bag
1 secure holder for passport, etc (*)
1 kit relevant power adapters (*)
1 box garbage bags for dirty clothes and etc

* Needs to be acquired

Monday, October 30, 2017

What I Have Learned About Stuff


As my readers probably know, I am moving out of here at the end of the year. Almost everything will go into storage downstairs, and by everything I mean my books, my papers, my photographic negative, proof sheets and equipment, various computer parts and some furniture. The way this usually works, I never see this stuff again, but there is some possibility that one day I will have a stable place somewhere and will send a moving truck for it all.

This is not entirely true.  I will keep with me one car's worth of camping gear, books and hopefully my bicycle.  At least one laptop and maybe two.  But everything else needs to be thrown away or put into storage. 

I feel that I have learned my lesson and I hope you will learn and profit from my mistakes. The moral of the story is: “Buy less stuff”. In particular, unless you are in control of your living space, and know where your library will be and/or can afford to pay professionals to move things when that time comes, do yourself a favor and buy less stuff.

Second, when you have stuff that you do not absolutely need, throw it out now before you have to deal with it one future day.

Do yourself a favor and heed my words.

I Always Regret Blocking Friends on Facebook


I always regret when I feel as though I have to block someone on FB that I respect and want to like.

Here is the situation from my point of view, and lets be quite sure going in that my friend would disagree with this, I think.

The timeline goes something like this. I write a FB post about the release of the CIA JFK files by #45. My friend disagrees with me and says that my post is a rant that hurts the agenda of rational people to impeach #45. He basically wants me to agree with him. I do not agree with him. He tries again. Again I do not agree. He keeps trying and at this point I dont see what we are arguing about. Neither of us is going to change our mind, so why does he keep bothering me.

Ultimately, I pull the post down from FB and put it up on my blog.

And I block my friend. He may not like what I have to say, but I do not like to be insulted and harassed, because I disagree with him.

As for the content of the CIA JFK post, I have no idea what #45 was thinking, but if he did not have an ulterior motive then this is the first time he has made a decision I am aware of that did not have one.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Trump's Motivation for Releasing the CIA Files on JFK


One of the interesting things about the newly released CIA files on the JFK assassination is why Trump released them when no other president would.

Does this make Trump the advocate of freedom and transparency in government? No, of course not. His administration will go down in history as one of criminality and lies, the worst this country has ever seen in its entire history.

So what other motivation does Trump have?

He has two motivations and they are both very clear. First, Trump hates America and wants to destroy its institutions. By releasing the papers, he lowers the CIA's credibility as the CIA clearly executed a cover up of their failure to prevent the JFK assassination. Second, Trump hates the CIA because the CIA has said that the Russians spoofed the election and possibly threw the election to the least qualified candidate in an effort to destroy America.

So this is not about honesty and transparency. This is about Trump getting back at the CIA and his work to destroy America, hand in hand, I have to say, with his friends and financiers, the Russians.

[Note: Larry Weinberg on Facebook pointed out that Congress set the deadline for this release. Thats true, but what Congress really did was set a proposed date, the President had the power to postpone the release indefinitely. So it was really Trump's decision to release, and he had complete power to postpone. Any other president could have requested the release at any time]

What the Newly Released CIA Files Reveal


Now the JFK assassination files are being released. I have wondered for years what could possibly be in them that was worth suppressing all these years. Here is one person's guide to what may be in these papers by Phillip Shenoni for Politico.  You can read his guide here.

Shenoni has a theory for what it is that was being protected in those files and why they were not released, and I think his theory is oddly compelling.  Here is the theory in my own words.

There was a CIA cover up but it was not about who killed JFK. It was about how much the CIA knew about Lee Harvey Oswald before he came back to this country from Mexico. It was about his activities in Mexico City that *should* have tipped the CIA off that Oswald was planning to kill JFK. Hindsight is 20 20 of course, but apparently the evidence suggests that the warning signs for Oswald were really high and that the CIA was grossly at fault for not doing anything about this.

In other words, the concern was that the CIA was going to get itself reamed a new asshole for its failure, and so they conspired to hide the truth from the Warren Commission, not about who killed Kennedy, but how badly the CIA had screwed up. A classic, cover-my-ass, bureaucratic fuckup and protection maneuver of galactic proportions.

No space aliens on the grassy knoll. No mafia paid for, Castro financed, commie-plot to kill Kennedy. No CIA rogue operation gone wrong. No Oliver Stone revealed truth. Just the CIA covering up its gross failure to do its job and protect America.

And lets not forget that LBJ and every president since then has known this truth and decided not to tell the American people. And every single bipartisan heads of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees knew or could have known and did not tell the American people.

Just like today, when the President and Congress fails to tell us that the Russians threw the election to Trump.

Whats my point? My point is, if you lie and you lie and then you lie again, why should we ever believe you?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

What I Do Not Understand About the Harvey Weinstein Story


Harvey Weinstein has been unveiled as a sexual predator and his career is ruined. I am a little cynical that this gets at the level of sexual abuse that I think is prevalent in the motion picture industry, but beyond that, there is something odd about this story that I do not understand.

As I understand it, when one is powerful and wealthy in the entertainment industry (music, film, television), it is not hard to get laid, if that is all you want to do. Attractive men and women make themselves available, so the story goes. This is not true love of course, and there is always a price to pay, I have heard, and one needs to be so careful where one plays these days, but if all you want is sex, then sex is available.

In other words, I dont get it. I dont get why Mr. Weinstein needed to be a sexual predator unless it is the specific people (actresses, etc) that he wanted to bang rather than merely beautiful women in general. Maybe all it means is that Mr. Weinstein is a sick fuck, something we knew already.

Thank you for letting me share my confusion.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Message To My Congress Person 10/12/2017

Dear Congressman Hunter,

Well we certainly are in a pickle, arent we, sir? What a time you have chosen to be in politics!

Although I realize you are a devout Republican, I am in your district, I am a voting citizen, and I am hopping mad about our loonytoon so-called President. In fact, I have never been so mad about anything political in my life, and I have been involved in the process before.

So what to do?

Well, its really not clear. But at the least I can write my congress person and politely but firmly request that you impeach that son-of-a-bitch as soon as possible, if not sooner. And since Pence is definitely compromised, he has to go too.

Remember if you dont do it soon, you may end up with Nancy Pelosi as president.

Yours very sincerely,

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Predicting the Future of Gun Control after Las Vegas


It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.

But some things are easy and this is one of them. The NRA and Congress will use the “bump stock” as a sacrificial scape goat to avoid doing anything real about gun control. They will regulate the bump stock, or possibly even outlaw it, and call it a day.

No real issues will be addressed. No problems will be solved. Cowardice and stupidity will reign. The can will be kicked down the road one more time.

Business as usual.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Minimum Necessary in the Current Situation


The time and emotional issues of getting ready to move by the end of the year, of getting any academic applications in before the end of the year, and other things, has meant that I can not spend as much time on this blog as I would like.

From time to time, however, short notes will be posted, if for no other reason than to remind me to go back and do a better, more reasoned, hopefully more humorous treatment of a topic.

Today's short note is my concise opinion for what has to be done to restore democracy and legitimacy to this country. It is the second issue, legitimacy, that is the most tricky and the most controversial. Every government that has ever existed has at one time or another done something that violates its laws, its ethics and the trust it has with the people. We understand that.

But what the politicians and some people do not understand is that you can not do that indefinitely without severe consequences. And the consequences are that the government loses legitimacy in the eyes of the people.  The people no longer believe you, their representatives, that you are representing them. They no longer trust the government to do the right thing. They believe that their government has been captured by the wealthy, that justice is for the rich, and that the system is corrupt.

The point is, you only have to address these problems if you want a country where people trust their government, pay their taxes, obey the laws and fight the wars.

Briefly, this is the minimum I think that has to happen after 30 years or more of betrayal and kicking the can down the road. Everything below is self explanatory.

1. We need to change the constitution to define when an election is invalid and what to do about it. In this case, we have an election that was thrown by a foreign power and resulted in a person who was not elected and who is the least qualified president in our history. We need a way to declare an election invalid and hold another one.

2. We probably need to eliminate the electoral college. Twice in my life time, for a minimum of three presidential terms of office (two under Bush and one under Trump) a person has been put into the office of the presidency who did not, in the opinion of the people, win that election.

3. We need a way to ensure that officials of an administration obey the letter and the spirit of the law. We currently have a head of the EPA that is doing everything possible to see to it that the environmental laws and protections in this country are either not obeyed or destroyed. We have an Attorney General and a department of Justice which is defunding enforcing the laws that protect people's civil rights.

4. We need to have a change in the constitution to make clear what the issues are involving conflict of interest, and what needs to be done before someone is allowed to take office. Full financial transparency and such issues as tax returns being public need to be made explicit.

5. We need a way that is less traumatic to remove people in the judiciary who have been appointed by an administration that is later shown to have been invalid. Between the invalid election of Trump and McConnell breaking the law, we have the right wing nutty boy, Gorsuch, on the court and bigots and right wing nuts being appointed to other posts in the judiciary. We need a way to remove these people.

6. We need to regulate our social media and hold them responsible for their role in allowing foreign intelligence agencies to disrupt and destroy our ability to hold public discourse. That means officers of a company need to go to jail when they have failed to protect us.

7. We need to make countries such as Russia and to a lesser extent the PRC know that their espionage and disruption of our civic discourse is a cause for war.

8. We need to end gerrymandering for political purposes.

9. We need to have national standards for how an election is held, and how the results can be verified.

This is the minimum that needs to be done, in my opinion. But only if you care about people believing that they live in a fair and just country. If you dont care, then we can continue on this path and our country will be, or already has been, destroyed.

No government is perfect, but in our case we have let things go too far.  Business as usual clearly has failed us.  I hope that our politicians and political elite understand this and do something about it, but I doubt they will.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Climate Change Denial and Crimes Against Humanity


At what point does global climate change denialism become a crime against humanity?

Furthermore, does a "crime against humanity" actually have any real legal meaning or is it more precious, politically correct bullshit from organizations such as the United Nations and therefore have no merit whatsoever  (see for example the "Zionism == Racism" or the Temple Mount has nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism bullshit)?

At what point is it recognized that the last election was invalid because of the intervention of a foreign intelligence operation? Does failure to acknowledge and address this issue make the so-called democratic process in this country a transparent fraud?

Many Americans, all of whom are wealthy and powerful, I notice, seem to believe that they can accept any corruption, and obvious criminal act, and still expect to have the American people support their corrupt system as if it was democratically elected.  What if that ceases to be the case?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fashion Week 2017 in New York


I was discussing Fashion Week in NYC with Ken Perlin and the recent trends in models to come from Eastern Europe or the Midwest. In both cases it was noted the high percentage of genetic material from Northern Europe which results in very tall, very slender women, at least when they are young.

As I read more about these trends and the issue of moral responsibility as poor, young women from the former Soviet Union literally starve themselves to death, starve themselves to fainting, throw themselves into hooking to make ends meet, resort to surgery to reduce weight, an industry observer, Emma Nussbaum, made the following observation:

A large number of the dominant fashion designers are homosexual men with pederastic interests and they insist that their female models lean toward the looks of boys in their early adolescence, which requires a very thin and lanky appearance, and the tall and masculine girls willing or forced to starve themselves to present such looks are going to disproportionately come from regions comprising of a large number of poor individuals with a Northern European appearance.

So I thought about that for a moment.

 Oh, I said.

You can read the rest of her comments here:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Restoration of Dr. Strangelove and the Triumph of the Free Market


Growing up in America, I have been trained to believe that the “free market” solves all problems. That the invisible hand will inevitably lead to an equilibrium position that will be the optimal use of resources. Like any good cult, we are also taught to disregard any data or example that contradicts the central tenets. Any such example must be shown to be invalid because the free market is always right.

I have an excellent example here where the free market is one more time proven to not only find the optimal solution, it actually finds the only possible solution that could be acceptable to a right thinking American. No disgusting socialism or wooly thinking for us! The free market is always right.

Once upon a time, Stanley Kubrick attempted to put together a new print of his classic Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). The film is a classic of black and white cinematography and Kubrick was tasked to put together the best possible set of prints for a rerelease sometime long after the original release.

But he discovered that what should have been a straightforward task was not because the original negative of the film no longer existed. To explain this, I have to explain something about how distribution prints for film used to be made.

The way this used to work was this: when you have finished editing a film, you cut the various elements of the film together into an original negative. From this original negative, which you hope to touch as little as possible, you then create an interpositive (IP) and from that an internegative (IN). From the IN you strike as many prints as you need for exhibition.

Eventually the IN wears out, and then you strike another IN from the IP. In this way, you never touch the original negative any more than you absolutely have to. But this costs money you see, not much money, but money. So when the IN would wear out, instead of striking another IN from the IP, the studio (?) would save a few bucks by just cutting out the relevant parts of the neg and adding it to the IN and strike more prints. Which means that the original negative no longer existed, and the best that Kubrick could do was to go back to the IP.

In order to save a few thousand dollars, the original and best version of one of the classics of Western cinema was destroyed. As well it should have been. Nothing is more sacred than the profits issued to the shareholders. To even consider otherwise is sacrilage.

The idea that there are still morons out there who actually think that the profit-motive should have anything to do with cultural legacy or any other value driven topic, such as health care, education and justice, is clearly a person who has been driven mad by ideology and has nothing to contribute to the political process.

Looking to Rent a Monk's Cell

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Facebook Thinks We Are Worthless Scum


I mentioned on Facebook (called FB so that we do not activate the incredibly annoying text recognition feature) how FB did not seem to mind changing the user interface whenever the fuck they wanted no matter how stupid the changes were and how much it inconvenienced their users.

And a friend pointed out that this was a completely valid thing for them to do and I was being wrong to complain because we are not paying for the service.

In fact, he said, this is the way it should be in the future because users are scum and we should choke down on that dick..

I think my friend is right, after all, FB only makes about $500 billion on us useless scum.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Knowing When to Retreat


In the battle for public opinion, controlling the message is everything.

The issue of memorializing the Confederacy, an issue which is fraught with problems, was lost the moment the alt-right, the neo-Nazis and the KKK attached themselves to the process.

Whether or not these memorials are and must be to celebrate racism is no longer relevant. They are seen that way by too many people.

The fact is that racism persists in this country, just about everywhere. Its pernicious, its real, it penetrates our country in subtle and overt ways. Until that issue is dealt with, and I doubt it will be anytime soon, then the Confderacy becomes the great symbol of the struggle against racism unfinished.

The cause of commemorating those who fought and died to defend their home against invasion is not tenable at this time. Lets put these monuments and source materials in archive, underground, or in a warehouse somewhere, with museum-quality care. One day we will pull them out and have an exhibit.

But not for a long time.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Value of a Psychiatrist in our Late Capitalist Society

A friend, who is aware of the stress I am going through, suggested I go see a psychiatrist he knows down here. The good news is that my friend wants to help. The bad news are the details, so lets go through it.

I think my friend knows all this, by the way.

The short version is to skip to item 10.

1. The doctor he recommends is an adult psychopharmacologist, I already have a psychopharmacologist. About six months ago, I was thinking of changing, but now I plan to stick with the one I have until I leave the area at the end of the year. (This particular recommended psychopharmacologist is also semi-retired and expensive).

2. Psychopharmacologists are good for one thing, prescribing drugs, period. My psychopharmacologist already prescribes the maximum of the drugs I intend to take. (Note: I would take more if I could, but I cant, so I have to deal with that).

3. There is a more general kind of shrink called “a therapist”. Some of them can prescribe drugs, some dont. In my experience, they are useful for one thing: the rent-a-pal phenomenon. When you talk to a shrink once a week, you tend to lean less on your friends for moral support. This is valuable! But time consuming and expensive.

4. Doctors cost money. I dont have the money to spare.

5. The money could be spent on many other things, like travelling to Sf to see an ex girl friend. That might cheer me up more than any doctor.

6. The problems I deal with at this time of life comes from trauma experienced in my 30s and afterwards. That trauma results in anxiety attacks today when I am not in control of where I live or how I am going to afford to live.

7. Therefore, if you want to help, and my friends do want to help, you should listen and say something cheerful, or (this is much more difficult....) you should help me find a job, or arrange for a place for me to live, or give me money or introduce me to someone who can. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, especially in today's world.

8. We live in a corrupt, late-capitalist society. Money is necessary to solve problems. Shrinks are a tool which used judiciously, can be helpful. But, like lawyers, they are not a panacea and they run on money. At the end of the day, money may not buy happiness, but money, or a steady job, or both, will buy stability and some satisfaction. This is not the only path but it is a good one and very straightforward.

9. I recognize that most people can not provide this help for their friends, or when they do, only in very limited amounts. I have sampling error here. There was a time when I could give people jobs, two different times in fact, but those times are past for me and may have never existed for my friends. Your good wishes and thoughts are appreciated.

10. But the biggest mistake here is to think that doctors are good for anything and the patient knows nothing, even after a life time of dealing with this.

11. Send money!  Just kidding, sortof.  Thank you!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

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


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


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).



Notes to New Readers of Global Wahrman


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


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


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.