Chemical Warfare Tomorrow in Miami Beach

Wish me luck!

Tomorrow morning, aircraft will be spraying my neighborhood with deadly Naled, which is a toxic chemical outlawed in the European Union. Our buildings are too tall for crop dusters, which need to fly low, so they are going to fly offshore and let the sea breeze blow the Naled over the city. They will start early so that there will be time for the Naled to dissipate, and children won’t have to walk through chemical clouds on the way to school.

The city is not happy with aerial spraying, but the state and the country are calling the shots. The ground attack on Zika has failed, and mosquito populations are rising, so we have to escalate.

We knew that Zika was coming, but of course no restrictions could be put on travel to the Third World or immigration. Our borders are open, and any losses from Zika are considered acceptable collateral damage. Just like the 94 children who were infected with deadly tuberculosis here back in 1999 by an unscreened immigrant woman (see what I wrote here).

Zika, drug-resistant TB, Ebola, jihadis, indentured servants (H-1B workers). Is there anything we wouldn’t welcome with open arms? Seriously, I can’t think of anything.

Gay Passages from Moby Dick

“There’s hogsheads of sperm ahead, Mr. Stubb, and that’s what ye came for. (Pull my boys!) Sperm, sperm’s the play!” -Moby Dick

In high school and college, I was never assigned to read Moby Dick. I’ve always wondered about that. How could it be that I was never forced to read such a famous book? Well, I have a theory now: it’s possible that the book was deemed to be “too gay” for us suburban students. I just finished reading it, and here are some quotes.

At the beginning of the book, before the Pequod sets sail, the main character, Ishmael, is looking for a hotel. But all the hotels are full, and his only option is to share a room with Queequeg, the savage harpooner. The room has one large bed and no heat, so they have to snuggle together for warmth. There is no explicit sex, but there is a lot narrative like this:

“We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we…” (Kindle 1082)

And this:

“As we were going along the people stared; not at Queequeg so much – for they were used to seeing cannibals like him in their streets, – but at seeing him and me upon such confidential terms. But we heeded them not…” (Kindle 1148)

And this:

“How it is I know not; but there is no place like a bed for confidential disclosures between friends. Man and wife, they say, there open the very bottom of their souls to each other; and some old couples often lie and chat over old times till nearly morning. Thus, then, in our hearts’ honeymoon, lay I and Queequeg – a cosy, loving pair.” (Kindle 1079)

After the Pequod leaves port, the love affair seems to come to an end, and the narrative turns to whaling, as you can imagine.

For some reason, sperm whales have about 100 barrels of oil inside of their heads. At first, people thought it was sperm, but that turned out to be wrong. It’s just some kind of mysterious oil. So, the word “sperm” in the context of whaling means the same thing as “whale oil.” Hence the quote at the top of the page (Kindle 3519); the sailors are excited by sperm because it is a valuable commodity, and they are rowing, pulling hard, to catch up with the whale.

Melville also uses the word “erect” quite a lot:

“The savage stood erect there” (Kindle 3540)

“erecting himself” (Kindle 3548)

“an erect posture” (Kindle 3554)

“erect attitude” (Kindle 3565)

“erected crests of enraged serpents” (Kindle 3609)

“the body was erect” (Kindle 3763)

“Of erections, how few are domed like St. Peter’s!” (Kindle 4854)

“horses only show their erected ears” (Kindle 7502)

“her three firm-seated graceful masts erectly poised” (Kindle 7626)

“he stood erect” (Kindle 7700)

“the erect spar” (Kindle 8665)

Here’s a few more phrases:

“Flask mounted upon gigantic Daggoo” (Kindle 3556)

“Tashtego has to ram his long pole harder and harder, and deeper and deeper” (Kindle 5336)

“Don’t ye love sperm?” (Kindle 5509)

“Jerk him off” (Kindle 7896)

“for bettor or for worse, we two, for the time, were wedded” (Kindle 8822)

After catching a whale, the sailors would have to butcher it and process the oil so that it could be stored in barrels until the end of the voyage. The oil often had waxy lumps, and the sailors had to squeeze them down into oil. Ishmael loved that particular task:

“Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers’ hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say, – Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever!” (Kindle 6450)

Turns out, Melville wrote love letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne, not that there’s anything wrong with that… He also worked on a whaler, jumped ship, and spent a month living with the natives on the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia. Getting is savage-freak on, no doubt.

I’m not sure why Moby Dick is so famous. It seemed terribly long-winded to me. And Melville’s characters didn’t strike me as real. In fact, they reminded me of Ayn Rand’s cardboard characters. I did enjoy learning about whaling, which is a fascinating subject, and the book is packed with many clever turns of phrase.

Whaling in a nutshell: Scientists don’t know why whales have oil in their heads, but they have some theories. You might think that a whale could just dive down and evade the whalers, but whales are mammals and have to come up for air. So, the whalers would just wait them out. A whaling ship didn’t chase whales itself, but put smaller boats in the water that had oars, as well as sails. That way they were not dependent on the wind. Sometimes they could row as fast as the whale could swim; sometimes not. While they had muskets, they didn’t shoot whales because they might just sink to the bottom. You wanted to harpoon them, with a rope attached to the harpoon so that you cold reel them in. And for that, you had to get up close and personal, which as you can imagine, was quite dangerous, especially considering that the whales didn’t appreciate being harpooned. You might think that a harpooned whale could just pull a boat under, or drag it around for weeks. But apparently, they bleed out from even the small wounds made by harpoons, so they are more vulnerable than they look.

Note: I loaded the Project Gutenberg version of Moby Dick onto my Kindle and read it there. So, that’s what the Kindle locations refer to. That text didn’t show the original page numbers.

Rachel Maddow is an Uncle Tom

Rachel Maddow sat right next to Bill Maher, and didn’t say a word, as he gay-bashed figure skater Johnny Weir. Said Maher:

“New rule: someone must tell Johnny Weir more ice and less capades. If I want to see something that gay on ice, I’ll order a daiquiri.”

Bill Maher

Has Maher ever lampooned anybody for being “too straight?” I doubt it.

I couldn’t find the video online of this incident, but it may be up somewhere now if you want to search for it. The incident took place at the 49:05 mark of the February 21, 2014 episode of the “Real Time with Bill Maher” show on HBO.

Was it a coincidence that Maher did that joke with Maddow right next to him? Maybe, but I suspect that he did it on purpose to emasculate her. Maher did the same thing to Neil DeGrasse Tyson back in November. Maher told Tyson that he sounded like Amos & Andy, and Tyson didn’t make a peep.

It looks like Maher gets a kick out of demonstrating how spineless his guests are, and how they value being on TV more than their own dignity. As a distinguished scientist, perhaps Tyson doesn’t associate much with the type of people who would make racist remarks to his face, but what’s Maddow’s excuse? What kind of gay-rights activist takes such a thing lying down?

Tyson and Maddow both missed an opportunity to make themselves more famous. They could have made headlines by walking off the set.

On a lighter note, I haven’t been watching Maher’s show for very long, but years ago he had Artie Lange on and said to him: “Thank you for the dumb opinion.” Now Lange does a hilarious imitation of Maher:

Aspirational AIDS

You know times are tough when people are contracting deadly diseases on purpose just to qualify for some help with the rent. Story here: The Men Who Want AIDS—and How It Improved Their Lives.

Actually, times aren’t really tough. Rather, the powers that be have deliberately cultivated this state of affairs to create a huge pool of cheap labor for themselves. If we stopped offshoring millions of jobs, and stopped importing a million un-needed workers every year, our unemployment problem would be solved in short order. And AIDS would no longer be seen as a viable career path.

Readers in Space

My food-stamps page is getting a surge of traffic from Google+ this afternoon, and some of my readers are in space! Take a look at this screenshot from Google Analytics Real-Time:

Space Station

I don’t think there are 41 people on the Space Station, so perhaps it has been capture by aliens whose first order of business is to read my blog. Seems plausible.

More likely, it’s a bug in Google Analytics Real-Time, which at a minimum has a gigantic memory leak. Leave it running, and look at your memory usage and you will see what I mean. Or just wait a couple of hours for it to crash.

Well, it is April 1st, so I suppose it’s just Google having a little fun.

Update: right around the time I posted this, Google fixed the memory leak, so now you can leave Google Analytics Real-Time running without having to reboot it every couple of hours.

NYPD Outnumbers Taliban

Rudy Giuliani was just on CNBC, and mentioned that New York City employs 35,000 police officers. And that is 10,000 more than the number of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, as estimated by NATO back in January 2011.

I wonder if we have whittled down those 25,000 Taliban troops at all since then. And how much does it cost to kill one Taliban? Given all the money we have spent, it’s got to be something absurd, like a million dollars a head, right? Of course, if you did wipe them out, then *poof* go the war profits…

What is Colob?

I heard people talking about what sounded like “colob.” But when I googled it, a bunch of weird stuff came up. Turns out that the proper spelling is “Kolob” and Kolob is a Mormon star or planet; they don’t seem to be agreed upon which.

Since there is a Mormon running for president, Mitt Romney, I’m guessing that there will be quite a few people typing “What is Colob?” into Google. And if you just did that, try it again with a “K” or just go straight to the Wikipedia Kolob page.

Ghost Posts

If you subscribe to this blog via Google Reader, you may see three “ghost posts” in the list: “Ghost Bank”, “Don’t Mess with the US”, and “40 Acres of Sand and a Camel”. Those are all drafts, which were accidentally published and then unpublished. WordPress has an “interface bug” where your draft posts look just like published posts, and the “Publish” button is retitled to “Update” after a post is published. So, it is very easy to accidentally click “Publish” instead of “Save” on a draft after making an edit. So, that’s what happened.

In addition to that, the Googlebot monitors this site very closely. It pounces seconds after I hit the “Publish” button and adds the post to your RSS feed. And finally, Google Reader freezes posts in carbonite, Han Solo style. So, once it is in your feed, you will never see any edits made to it, and it will still be there even if it is taken down.

Where Did the Crazy Go?

When I was boy, people were totally crazy. They were going to EST seminars, taking orders from Charles Manson, joining cults, drinking the Kool-Aid, and committing mass suicide. Howard Stern lived in a TM monastery, Robin Quivers was a disciple of Paul Larsen and his “Summit” cult, and bombs were dropped on the MOVE cult in Philadelphia.

I remember when I first went on the internet in 1995; you couldn’t click ten feet without hitting a Scientology flame-war. And today? Crickets. Nobody is talking about Scientology, cults, deprogramming, or anything crazy.

So, where did the crazy go? Is everybody cured now?

Ha, ha! That will be the day!

Actually, people are crazier than ever; it’s just not as visible. Today, young people are drugged with Ritalin, and jacked into the Matrix, alternating between playing “first person shooters” or watching an infinite stream of porn.

Have we made progress? On one hand, a video game can’t make you drink poison Kool-Aid. So, that’s a good thing. On the other hand, cults made their thralls work hard, often giving them valuable work skills that could be used later in life, after deprogramming.

It’s a tough call. I suppose that parents would consider it progress. At least their kids are still at home, and don’t require kidnapping out of a cult.

Tyler Durden, Financial Terrorist Psychopath, Part 2

Tyler Durden’s vision for America:

Fight Club was released in 1999, two years before September 11th. The movie certainly would have had a different ending if it had come out after 9/11. Tyler Durden didn’t blow up the buildings of credit-card companies in the novel. So, the scriptwriters crazied him up quite a bit for the film.

But make no mistake, even in the milder novel, Tyler Durden is a full-blown terrorist psychopath. And in some ways, the novel is more gruesome. For example, in the movie, we see Durden urinating in the soup. But in the novel, we learn that Durden puts his penis into the soup (Kindle 1160):

“The tomato soup must still be hot because the crooked thing Tyler tucks back in his pants is boiled pink as a jumbo prawn.”

Nice, huh? And he’s not above using biological weapons either (Kindle 1152):

“Then I hear one of the doctors, lawyers, whatever, say how a hepatitis bug can live on stainless steel for six months…I asked the doctor where we could get our hands on some of these hepatitis bugs…”

And he’s very creative when it comes to inventing new types of bombs, like his “lightbulb bomb.” (Kindle 2733). And at Kindle 2746, there is a recipe for homemade napalm.

In the novel and the movie, Tyler Durden invents bare-knuckle fighting. But in reality, Fight Club is a rip-off of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Fight Club the novel was published in 1996, a couple of years after UFC #1, which took place in 1993.

In my original post, published on April 1st (ha, ha), I said that I would provide links for the quotes. Well, you can just copy and paste them into Google to see that they are real. Here is the list, going from top-to-bottom:

  1. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 3098
  2. Fight Club the movie – 2:10:05
  3. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 1785
  4. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 1769
  5. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 1043
  6. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 2045

Note: If you liked the movie, you will like the novel. Author Chuck Palahniuk packs it with all kinds of seriously crazy stuff.

Note: In the novel, Tyler Durden doesn’t preach “economic equilibrium”. Like I said, they crazied him up for the movie!

This concludes my literary critique of “Fight Club”. Hope you enjoyed it.

Tyler Durden is Financial Terrorist Psychopath

Below are some Tyler Durden quotes that I have collected. Durden is a proponent of “returning to economic equilibrium” which means that civilization can only be saved by first causing its collapse via financial terrorism.

“We’re going to break up civilization so we can make something better out of the world.”

“It’s getting exciting now…we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to economic equilibrium.”

“This was the goal…The complete and right-away destruction of civilization.”

“Picture yourself planting radishes and seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You’ll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center.”

The resulting mayhem, suffering, and slaughter is a necessary sacrifice in the name of “equilibrium” – even a religious sacrament:

“It was right to kill all those people. Open your eyes…Think about the animals used in product testing. Think about the monkeys shot into space. Without their death, their pain, without their sacrifice, we would have nothing.”

“We are God’s middle children with no special place in history and no special attention. Unless we get God’s attention, we have no hope of damnation or Redemption. Which is worse? Hell or nothing? Only if we’re caught and punished can we be saved. Burn the Louvre, and wipe your ass with the Mona Lisa. This way at least, God would know your names.”

Funny thing about Tyler Durden and Osama bin Laden – they have/had the same goal: destroying America.

I have links to all of these quotes, and will post them in Part 2 of this story.

Civil War Rages Across Internet Over SOPA

SOPA is a bill in Congress designed to stop online piracy. However, its opponents consider it to be written far too broadly, and companies that support SOPA have been slapped with boycotts. The highest-profile casualty so far is Go Daddy. The registrar initially supported SOPA, but then got hit with a wave of websites (including Wikipedia) transferring their domains to other registrars. Go Daddy caved-in and now opposes SOPA.

Some critics think that the bill will overturn the “safe harbor” clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. And that by itself could wreck the internet as we know it. Joel Spolsky of Stack Overflow discussed this in a recent podcast (starting at 27:55). As an example, he used a case where somebody posted a programming question on Stack Overflow. It turned out that the question was from a commercial product – a test that employers use to interview programmers, and was protected by copyright.

Under current law, Stack Overflow could not be held liable for that copyright violation, as long as they took the question down after being notified by the copyright owner. That’s the “safe harbor”. Under SOPA, they might be liable, and even have their website blocked – without due process.

Will websites that feature “user generated content” (including blogs that allow comments) be able to operate under SOPA? Maybe not. So, SOPA is also considered a threat to free speech, which explains the ferocity of the civil war that erupted last week.

Public companies that support SOPA might be of interest to short sellers since boycotts might result in negative earnings surprises. I’m thinking that companies frequented by techies might be hardest hit.

Read up on SOPA at Wikipedia.

Civilization Ends in Alabama

If you are intending to retire on Social Security, make sure that you are mentally prepared to live without running water and indoor plumbing.

Because that’s what’s happening right now in Jefferson County, Alabama.

Now, if you are Larry Kudlow, you are probably shouting:

“Aha! If Social Security had been privatized those poor people could have put their funds in a program run by reputable, private-sector firms like JP Morgan and making a much higher return right now!”

But according to the BBC story, JP Morgan helped to cause the problem:

“Investment bank JP Morgan Securities and two of its former directors have been fined for offering bribes to Jefferson County workers and politicians to win business financing the sewer upgrade.”

Water-and-sewer bills can be as high as $300 a month in Jefferson County, and some people have resorted to outhouses and bottled water. If your social-security check is only $600 a month, then you don’t really have much of a choice.

Maybe you think that I’m exaggerating about civilization ending. But consider this quote from Niall Ferguson’s book Civilization:

“My idea of civilization is as much about sewage pipes as flying buttresses, if not more so, because without efficient public plumbing cities are death-traps, turning rivers and wells into havens for the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.”

Half the population of Birmingham fled a cholera outbreak in 1873. Will we degrade to that level? Maye not, but having people install port-a-potties in their back yards is clearly a step in the wrong direction.

Serious Journalism

I have been holding this video for several months because I couldn’t think of what to say about it. I was speechless, and still am. But now that Erin Burnett is leaving CNBC for CNN, I guess I need to post it. In any case, direct your attention to the 5:02 mark:

Where are the Back-Up Generators?

The Japanese are constructing an emergency generator at Fukushima.

Note to Japan: Really? You seriously don’t have any already constructed generators that could be brought in? WTF?

Here is a quote from this Wall Street Journal story:

Meanwhile, Tepco itself raced to complete construction of an emergency power supply for the crippled plant in a last-ditch effort to resume pumping of coolant onto dangerously overheated radioactive material throughout the site.

Everybody is carrying on about how well-prepared the Japanese are for disasters. And maybe they are, compared to stupid countries like Russia, but it’s clear now that emergency generators must be held in reserve, off site, so that they can be brought in after a disaster.

Every country that operates nuclear plants should have a warehouse full of diesels generators located in the safest part of the country. And they should be rigged for helicopter transport, ready to go at the drop of hat. If California doesn’t have this, the idjits out there need to get to work in it right now.

It turns out that operating nuclear reactors is serious business. Who knew?

Amazon is Respected, but not in Texas

In 2010, Amazon rocketed up the ranks of most-respected companies to the #2 position – in the opinion of money managers.

But the State of Texas has a quibble – a quarter-of-billion dollar quibble. They think that Amazon should have been collecting sales tax in Texas, and have sent Amazon a $269 million bill.

Amazon’s response? They are bugging out of the state.

In other news, Texas, which has a large budget deficit, has already closed four community colleges. And Borders is going belly-up.

In our Apocalyptic future, Gypsy booksellers like Amazon will travel from state-to-state, staying one step ahead of the revenuers, while searching for customers who are able to read.