Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ride 'em Cowboy!

Words to Excise from the English Language

Lifestyle. That's one.

The 20 “Top Paid Apps” at the Apple iPhone Lifestyle section contained:

1. Bikini Blast
2. Bible Shaker
4. sexybytes
9. Sexy Spin
18. Bikini Girls 2
19. Sexy Bikini

Tough to NOT root for them pigs and their damn flu.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Slyvia Plath's Son Commits Suicide

If I had the guts to do it, I'd do it, too.

Ayn Rand and Conventional Wisdom

... are always wrong wrong wrong.

It’s not “liberal at 20 or no heart, conservative at 30 or no brain.”

To the folks about to "go Gant" -- go ahead, make my day!

LOL!

The government wants to raise your (well, actually, most of the Galters out there would not see a tax increase anyhow...but those little intrusions of reality into the creaky mechanisms of gray matter are too complex anyhow--poor dears!) taxes by...what?...3%, and your response is to do something unspeakable with teabags?

That should be fun to watch!

Even more hilarious when the wingnuts don't spend a couple of minutes with http://www.urbandictionary.com/ to figure out their chosen term isn't...uh...quite suitable. And when they actually did find out, well, then they blamed the mean ole liberal media (and Harry Reid) for being so mean to their widdle, innocent selves.

*snort*

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Going Long Pitchforks, or, welcome to my teabagparty

So, apparently, the rabble at Fox Noose wants to stir up some shit.

Make it sound like people are all going Galt out there.

What a Rand-y mess.

The "financial" system turned out to be a systemic scam; the bailout is just the second leg in the scam's execution. As long as there are sheep to be fleeced, the fleecing will commence.

Of course, it will all happen because action will have to be taken.

It's an emergency.

Run for the hills!

And don't look at the books!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Christmas in Germany

Purifying the Body

Sunshine

InStyle

Buddha Love

Lesson

As Orwell’s Party Member tells Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four: “But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.’

How

Master Sekiso said, "You are at the top of the 100 foot high pole. How will you make a step further?" Another Zen Master of Ancient Times said, "One who sits on top of the 100 foot pole has not quite attained true enlightenment. Make another step forward from the top of the pole and throw one's own body into the 100,000 universes."

Mumon's Comments:
Should there be any who is able to step forward from the top of the 100 foot pole and hurl one's whole body into the entire universe, this person may call oneself a Buddha. Nevertheless, how can one step forward from the top of the 100 foot pole? Know thyself!

Should one be content and settle on top of the 100,000 foot pole,
One will harm the third eye,
And will even misread the marks on the scale.
Should one throw oneself and be able to renounce one's life,
Like one blind person leading all other blind persons,
One will be in absolute freedom (unattached from the eyes).

Progress

There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. It shows an angel who seems about to move away from something he stares at. His eyes are wide, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how the angel of history must look. His face is turned toward the past. Where a chain of events appears before us, he sees on single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it at his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise and has got caught in his wings; it is so strong that the angel can no longer close them. This storm drives him irresistibly into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows toward the sky. What we call progress is this storm.

Buddha Love, Too

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Training the Cat

Training the Cat


Part I


I will promise and am resolved to tell nothing but the truth of events as they occurred to me to have happened in the early parts of the empire. We had the cat as a pet mostly, furry reminder of what is best in our humanity even when challenged. In the union cat contract I saw nothing prohibiting my furball his requisite ganjaweed rations should it come to that. At the heart of darkness it always comes to that. My little one, my pretty one. My orange tiger-striped, tiger-hearted cat: here is the line in the sand: no little fur prints anywhere in the perimeter of the kitchen. And around the perimeter, another one, for more protection, because it will always come to that—more protection, more lucre acquired during nights when my pretty conscience sleep the sleep of poppies. Don’t ever let it wake up. My pretty my pretty cat. So fully integrated. So fully engaged. So filled with the theater and the ballet and the very pretty calligraphic signs. This is the cat I ordered and this is the cat that was delivered.


Part II


In Flanders Fields the poppies do bloom … we hold firm to that hope.


Part III


which means some kind of Zukunft was at work here. The Zu bothered noone none because at current governmental statistical anal suss the Zu would never get here—the long tail having got in the way. Part of the Kunft was still out there, still being shilled at prewar records. Not that anyone was keeping score, when the layoffs and downsizing and outsourcing and downtrending trendspotters saw evidence of the semantic web growing in heretofore dust farming conditions—some, so they said—saw the light. Moments later the Zu projected as predicted hail on the fifth. It was good theatre it was. Popcorn was needed and Momcorn too, for balance—the maternal instinct having appeared on the scene just before the virgin being tied to the tracks. The audience went wilder. For my own protection and in order to serve you better, we will close down this performance now.


Part IV


A scientific paper reports that

Collective behavior based on self-organization has been shown in group-living animals from insects to vertebrates. In this experimental study, we show collective decision-making by mixed groups of cockroaches and socially integrated autonomous robots. Even when in the minority, robots can modulate the collective decision-making process and produce a global pattern not observed in their absence. These results demonstrate the possibility of using intelligent autonomous devices to study and control self-organized behavioral patterns in group-living animals.


Part V


After a week with the Roomba, the cat is nowhere.


Part VI


Training the cat to like the Roomba has not been a success. Even simple tasks like lighting a fire have been inordinarily difficult. I can manage, after a while, to light a lampe in case the lights go out, but it sends black pollution into my room. I’m sure KatKat does not approve. The fresh, plump raisins assuage my guilty conscience.


Part VII


KatKat winks at me across the room. I wink back. We’re the pussy sisters. We hang out in damp dark heavily hooded hoods. We read the signs. We’re down to four or five now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

All Your Couches Are Belong to Us!

Apparently, nail maintenance does not require much caloric output.
KatKat can do it all day long...

Photobucket

And then there's Friday the 13th. Not that I'm superstitious or anything...


Photobucket

Do the thing and you will have the power

Some lessons take a while to learn, and some have to be learned again and again. Take these lessons, for example: lack of judgment and restraint are not virtues after all. Ever- increasing consumption as a means of growth is a flawed model. The concept of “growth” itself needs to be revisited and understood in terms of cancer.

Nearly ten years into the 21st century, the major industrialized countries of the world find themselves bankrupt or near bankrupt, and pouring more money than imaginable into massive sinkholes formerly known as banking, automotive, and real estate sectors. One necessary outflow from this bankruptcy is that the standard model of (higher) education will produce fewer and fewer good results as it fails to map the profound demographic, energy, cultural, technological and financial cycles which will dominate life in the United States for many years to come. As educators we need to be prepared to transmit radically different values to our students, or we will fail them in ways too dangerous, immoral, and irresponsible to contemplate.

...

to be continued...

Smoke and Mirrors

Question: how do you manage an economy that needs consumers, but that does not need workers?

The situation is grim. The U.S. is, in the best case scenario, entering an economic depression that will be far worse than both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Panic of 1873. At worst, the U.S. will collapse altogether.

Just as global oil production peaked, our economy evolved into a morbid hypertrophy, and the chief manifestation of it id the suburban sprawl-building fiesta now climaxing in the real estate bust. By the early 21st century, when so much American manufacturing had been swapped out to Asia, there id no business left except sprawl-building, a manifold tragedy which wrecked the banks that financed it, and left the ordinary people mortgaged to it with ruinous liabilities. That economy is now in its death throes. The "normality" it represents to so many Americans is gone and can not be brought back, no matter how wistfully we watch it recede.

We have arrived at a moment when a lot of people have a hard time imagining the future. This includes especially the mainstream media, which has reached a state of zombification parallel to that of the banks. But even in the blogosphere, with its thousands of voices unconstrained by risk-adverse advertisers or meddling managing editors, the view forward dims as a dark and ominous fog rolls over the landscape of possibilities. A mood of ominous watching and waiting pervades the land, its cities and towns, and everyone waits for the next numbers to come out, the next shoe to drop, all the while many of the movers-and-shakers pin their hopes on the chance that Mr. Obama's stimulus bill will allow them to commence building a new freeway from sea to shining sea

The primary question that haunts the republic as we wait for new TARP (the son of TARP, TARP II), "bad banks," economic stimulus packages, infrastructure renewal roll-outs, and other policy life-lines thrown out in near-desperate hopefulness to pull brand America out of a ditch is will any of this work, or are we just throwing money we do not have at money we did not have.

Many believe housing prices will continue to crash and have way to go. Housing inventory is continuing to climb as housing starts continue to bubble away to nothing. There is no denying we are most definitely in deflationary times at this moment.

Rents are falling all across America. Chrysler's desperate plan to keep factory workers working is to ask strapped dealers who have no business to buy more cars for their lot inventory. Retailers are still showing "60 to 80% Off" on signs posted in their windows with many of these retailers, i.e. Zales, Gap, Macy’s, to name just a few, closing hundreds of unprofitable stores and turning the countryside way stations of commerce into "Ghost Malls.” The banks themselves, and banking in general as we have known it for most of our lives, is now burnt crumbs at the bottom of our toasters: bread, gone one step deader.

How this all shakes out will be interesting to see. But one thing is for sure: this is not a time to be making large purchases of cars, homes, boats or any other consumer durables when you do not know if you will have a job, or whether there will be enough gas at cheap enough prices to continue the escape ever outward from the decaying core of cities.

All the structural and macro economic change aside, it is the over-arching economics at work: 1) each of us finally waking up and rejecting the consumer label as an insult to our humanity and damaging to the fabric of the Republic , 2) beginning to see everything we spend on as an energy exchange, and 3) taking the blinders off to the entire production/distribution cycle and making decisions based on more criteria than price, convenience and attributes.

We have to, so to speak, get to place mentally where we can face the kinds of change that are now necessary and unavoidable. We are not there yet. It is not clear whether the elected new national leadership knows just how severe the required changes will really be. Surely the public would be shocked to grasp what is in store. Probably the worst thing we can do now would be to mount a campaign to stay where we are, lost in raptures of happy motoring and blue-light-special shopping.

Belief in any system--and in this case this means the concept of belief in the economic system--is like oil to a combustion engine. Without belief in the credibility of the system, the economy seizes up and dies. It is that simple. If a system lacks credibility, if people do not believe in it, then they will not participate in that system. Now in some cases, if things have not gone too far, trust can be reestablished and with that trust a belief in the system might grow--and the engine can be saved. But once trust has eroded beyond the point of repair, there is no chance of resuscitation. Either the system has to be thrown out and a new system has to take its place, or the citizens of the system have to be compelled by force and repression to accept the old way of doing things. This is where we stand.

Belief in the credibility of our economy has been summarily destroyed. It is entirely possible, that credit contraction, derivatives unwind, liquidations, bankruptcies, foreclosures and layoffs are enough to take us down for the count. These factors are now participating in a self-reinforcing and absolutely vicious feedback loop, which can implode the economy and government finances within the next several months. The delicate global infrastructure that is so highly dependent on the smooth functioning of both physical and financial transactions is being thrown into global and local disarray. As an analogy: you could throw sand into a Dutch windmill's gear cogs without too much degradation, but try that with a modern sealed precision reduction drive, and it is destroyed. Our economies have evolved during previously relatively quiescent decades into a fatally sophisticated system that depends on stability in the key economic powerhouses.

That stability is long gone, and the resets of the Alt-A's and the Option ARMS, beginning in 2009, will might likely finish off what the sub-primes kicked off on their own. Let us not forget the looming fiascoes in securitized commercial real estate, student loan, credit card, and auto loan debt. Furthermore, the hundreds of trillions in casino-style derivatives bets riding on all these bad investments can only serve to supercharge the coming mega-implosion.

Of course, the above factors will not be operating in a vacuum. The reactions by various peoples and governments in response to all this will include national debt defaults, hyperinflationary "counterfeiting", trade barriers, predatory devaluations, riots, martial law and, possibly and ultimately, big wars.

The governments of all major countries stem mightily against this incoming tsunami of bad economic reality. Money, all of a sudden no object (as it is “other people’s money” as always), is being thrown into the maws of cash-starved banks and institutions that act like banks (AIG comes to mind). Yet, the wheels of economic engines are not turning.

The bailout money allocated so far has disappeared without so much of a trace or an uptick in market activity or confidence. This alone should give one pause for thought and worry. As banks hoard this bailout money, and excess reserves mount in the financial system, there will be great potential for a rapid expansion of the money supply once banks start lending again. Look out for the cheap money to rush into another asset bubble: this time most likely in green tech.

Blowing up one bubble after the next (internet > real estate > green tech?) is devastating to any constant growth or confidence in markets. The continual boom/bust cycles accelerate toward the ultimate mega-crash from which there is no recovery.

Let us look at the solutions put forth thus far, and let us not fool ourselves: deficit spending on dead end infrastructure like the highways, and related plans for hybrid vehicles are efforts to sustain the unsustainable. So, we need trains running into the cities, where so many of the populace work. Really? What are those workers producing? There are few, if any inner city factories. We have shipped our manufacturing base to other countries. What is left of our manufacturing base survives on life support. Half of Detroit already looks like a post-apocalyptic Mad Max scenario—blight as far as the eye can see.

What was good for GM is bad for America. There is talk about our need for high speed trains. Where would they go, and to what end? Haven’t we yet learned that there is no reason to get anywhere in a hurry? There is not a single person on earth that needs to get anywhere in a hurry, unless they need to get to a hospital for surgery, and then a high speed train is most certainly not the way to go.

Our current financial and economic recession is only a symptom of a more fundamental condition.Unless we address these more fundamental concerns, the symptom will never be altered in a lasting way. Overall there is much gloom, disappointment and fear, yet here and there, in tiny marginal pockets, there is also an odd kind of optimism surrounding an energetic debate about how to build a sustainable, liveable, stable future, or as Homi Bhabha said a long time ago: ”In every emergency, there is also an emergence."