It ain't the first of May

Labor day in the US is an odd thing.  Everywhere else in the world, May first is the sop thrown to the workers in the rest of the world.   Here in the US, we go with the first Monday in September so that folks won't remember the Haymarket Massacre.

More and more, I think that it important to read history, just to get an idea of the recurrent themes that we have papered over in the past and that keep coming back to haunt us.

The US has a long history of undemocratic abuse of the lower classes.  Of course, we don't refer to them in that manner.



I find it amazing sometimes that bloggers and other such oddballs can spend so much time writing and so little time thinking.

Dipshits out there have stumbled across the idea that the "crisis" in the Ukraine is largely our own damn fault.

Now, I won't argue this too strongly, if at all.  It is a pretty good explanation for the things that are happening.

What I can't believe are the clowns that are trying to paint Putin and Russia as the "Good Guys".  WTF?

Look, Russia is a major player with their own dog in the fight.  If you think they aren't in there stirring the pot, you are nothing but a fucking idiot.

Just because we were bastards in this play doesn't mean that the other players are saints.

Look to me like everyone involved is a bit of a bastard


Living in the Past

I think that the most annoying habit that anyone can develop is the simple of act of throwing a couple of number pairs down onto a Cartesian coordinate and then drawing a line using the two points to define the slope.  Lately, there has been little useful work done in the greater bulk of the world of man when this pernicious habit is trotted around.

Now, don’t get me wrong, line segments are fine thank you, what irritates me if the full on line, you know, the ones with arrows on the ends, pointing out toward infinity in either direction.  Those fuckers really bug me.  I am even offended by a ray. 

Now, don’t think that I am angered for a minute by the mathematical concepts.  No way.  What I am annoyed is that every thing that happens in the world is sampled for something that a pair of numbers can be attached to to place the now-polluted concept on the holy grid of Saint Ren√© of  Neuburg an der Donau.

These linear heresies are everywhere.  In economics, that bit of masturbatory haruspicy that infects the blogosphere, the line is the mark of the shill.  The price of something (that something usually being a heavily manipulated stock or commodity) is located on the grid by date.  The fell line (or ray) is then drawn and whether the path leads to heaven or hell is defined by m.

Descartes and Newton, Leibnitz and Spinoza.  Gotta love those knuckleheads.  They came up with a system of the world that really stroked our cupidity.  We could control the world and understand it.  The trouble is that the unwashed got hold of the faith and twisted it.  Tried to apply it to arenas where it didn’t really fit.  But it was just too beautiful, and it allowed us a false feeling of control and understanding that we have cherished now for centuries.

I think that the day to day world that we live in is defined by a much different model, there a astonishingly non-linear systems.  Arbitrariness is a daily event and luck defines much.  There are some cases where linearity can be achieved in a range, but there is little in the worlds of politics, economics, and faith where Mssr. Decartes little party trick can be said to be useful.


Just a bit stale


To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy.

Robert Heinlein                        

In a way, Phil over at Onery Bastard has the right of it.  Maybe trying to comment on all the silliness and insincerity of the world is just too much.  Maybe one should just keep one’s head down, work hard, and admire the pretty boobies.  Good on you Phil for the anniversary.  Maybe as a reward you should attempt to drop back to six days a week.  Old men like you and I can’t and shouldn’t keep up that kind of pace.

I have every respect for people who can keep up the indignation day to day.  I sure can’t.  I go in fits and starts.  I was rolling there for a while but the situation just kept it’s steady an inexorable decline going.  Nothing to see here, move along.

Who knows what the hell is going on.  Right now the only thing that I find worthy of comment is the current uproar about the state of President Obama’s golf game.  Hell, I can’t blame the guy.  If I were him I would start dialing it in as well. 

The world that we live in is not in a single man’s control.  The world is in that inconvenient and unwelcome time where all the things that we knew would be happening are beginning to happen.  No amount of Presidential bluster and pro-active, hypercompetitive American can-do spirit will change much the trajectory of the not too distant future.

So, I wish the President the best in his ongoing efforts to lower his handicap.  He deserves the time to relax.  He will be the fall guy for a couple of generations worth of over-ambitious and intellectually challenged American politicians and behind the scenes puppetmasters.  He will be blamed for the sum total of the bad decisions made starting around AD 1960, all of which started coming home to roost in his ill fated and poorly timed sojourn in the White House.

Barack, we hardly knew you.  I think that your ambition led you to a place where your ability to control events was perceived by the world as being much larger than your actual power to effect change. 


Tainted Love

Now, you may all wonder why, in light of all the "News" flying thick and fast, I haven't been out there commenting on the vagaries of foreign policy, police states, and economic meltdowns.

Well, it is because I think that the MSM, the blogosphere, and the ranting of ninnies on twitter have degenerated into a polluted and contradictory sphere of lies, maskirovka, Madison Avenue spin, and inchoate mumblings that do more to confuse than to enlighten.

The news is now beyond my control.  It always has been, but now the situation is so bad that an old news whore such as your truly will finally have to give up and walk away.

It is sad though.  At one time in my life, I had the warm feeling that being informed allowed me to make better choices in my role in democracy.  All things being equal, I am coming to the conclusion that I have no effective role in the formation of government policy.

However, I do have a role in planting a winter garden.  Time to get cracking.


Whither Windows

I try to not be one of those idiots who incessantly flame Microsoft and its products.

I love Microsoft Word.   Yes, people will tell me "Go with OpenOffice and LibreOffice and you too will become a convert".

Ain't happenin' dudes.  While the Microsoft Mothership of OS sucks big bags, their office software is the bomb.  OpenOffice and LibreOffice are stuck back at Office 95 level of capability.  Not at all bad for a free program.  Actually, it is quite an impressive feat, but LibreOffice still isn't as good as Microsoft Office.

Microsoft has the bad luck to have a marriage like the ones we all have experienced in our lives.  One where the wife is great and fun and pleasant to be around but the husband is a complete asshole.

Windows is the asshole.



The Grosse Politik approach has been used up. Besides, it is misleading because it allows us to rest on the easy illusion that it is "they," the naughty statesmen, who are always responsible for war while "we," the innocent people, are merely led. That impression is a mistake. The diplomatic origins, so-called, of the Great War are only the fever chart of the patient; they do not tell us what caused the fever. To probe for underlying causes and deeper forces one must operate within the framework of a whole society and try to discover what moved the people in it

The Proud Tower:
A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914;
Barbara W. Tuchman's Great War Series

The above sentences have been weighing heavily on me lately.

More and more I am beginning to see the fate of the West sealed in its own inherent weaknesses. It is not the rise of militant Islam, or a resurgent Russia that is the cause of our fate. The root cause lies in what we have become during the last century or so. We have restarted the age old heresy of worshiping the golden calf. That has never went well.

In her books on the Great War, Barbara Tuchman offers up a stew of root causes. The Ubermensch of Nietsche, coupled with the frightened aristocracy of Europe, seasoned with the anger and hopelessness of the poor.

We have a differing set of causes leading us to the next war. The Randite/Reaganite worship of money, coupled with an increasingly segregated and defensive uberklass seasoned with a middle class that is in the process of being systematically sheared of the comforts it has come to view as its rights.

I think that many will find this thought unpleasant, but we seems to be following the path taken by Germany prior to 1914. Granted, the parallels are not absolute, but the theme and the emotion are the same. The German Volk and American exceptionalism are the same coin. We toss our weight around rudely. We attempt to rule the world by edict. Militarism and a false worship of the military.

But the actions taken by our government are merely actions required to keep the largess flowing to the masses here in the USA. Right now, 70% of our economy is consumer goods. Our self-worth and our barometers for personal success are wound around the stuff we own and the oversized and overpriced houses that we live in. The government is doing its job in a democratic system and supplying it citizens with what they want.

And we keep demanding. Oh there are folks out there like Raul (Ilargi) and John-Michael Greer and Charles Smith who suggest that we learn to live within a shrinking system. But they are fringe players, preaching, for the most part, to the converted. But the great bulk of the commentators are trying like hell to sell the idea that one can keep what they have.

This is sad. Because the root of the problem is that we have taken too much. The consumer economy needs to be sheared down to a manageable 35-40% of the economy. The rich need to give up a huge amount of their amassed wealth. The poor need to develop rational expectations. The middle class needs to stop aping the ways of the wealthy.

Lots of easy things need to happen. Houses need to shrink and become radically more efficient. Jetting around the world to attend to either a useless conference or ones own cupidity has to stop. More beans need to be eaten, less meat will become the norm. Cars will become lots less common, gardens will become much more common. Retirements will become less everything.

But you see, no one wants to do these simple things. We are living in a society where the voters and the common man see constant and unstoppable growth as the natural state of things. Upward mobility is a watchword, opportunity and physical accunulation the highest God.

When the reversal of fortunes that lies ahead of us starts getting traction, the masses of Americans will move. They will not ask that the government teach them how to live in a world of constraints. They will ask the government to go get them what they want.

It's simple economics. Today it's oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
Joe Turner:
Ask them?
Not now - then! Ask 'em when they're running out. Ask 'em when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask 'em when their engines stop. Ask 'em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask 'em. They'll just want us to get it for 'em!

Three Days of the Condor (1975)


Goes a long way

This is a cheapo recipe for boy-gut-filling burritos.  Now, as the boys will have to be doing this themselves when they move out, I thought that I would write down a detailed recipe for their use.

You will need:
  • Pressure cooker 
  • Big stock pot for frying and mixing
  • Chef's knife
  • Wooden stirring and scraping spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • 2 cups of dried pinto beans ($0.89)
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice ($0.30)
  • 3 bouillon cubes from the grocery outlet ($0.34)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped ($0.59)
  • 1 tablespoon dried chili powder ($0.06)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ($0.04)
  • 1 tube of beef chorizo  ($1.38)
  • 10 ounce package of Kale ($2.99)
  • Package of Ten Burrito Shells ($2.19)
  • 1/2 Pound of Cheese ($1.00)**
Material cost $6.79

Soak the beans overnight.  Drain the water (*).  After they are soaked, you will have a yield of around 6 cups.  Put the beans in a pressure cooker with three (3) cups of water, add the bouillon cubes,  the chopped onion, the cumin and the dried chili's.  Bring the pressure cooker up to pressure and cook for thirty minutes.  After thirty minutes, turn off the burner, leave the pot on the burner, and let the pressure cooker lose pressure naturally

Energy cost = 40 minutes at 1200w (est.) at $0.0816/kwh = $0.07, brings total to $6.86

For research purposes, when the pressure had released, I measured the liquid volume left in the cooked beans, three cups in, three cups out.

Fry up the chorizo and put it into the pot with the rice and cheese and while strring frequently to make sure that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, bring the pan up to a boiil, cover with a plain lid, then reduce the heat to simmer and let it cook for thirty (30) minutes.  Make sure that you stir it frequently to keep the rice from sticking, you will have to stir a lot at first until the heat bleeds off of the stovetop, but less at the end when it is just simmering.

Chop up the kale and put it into the stock pot, then pull the bean/rice mixture off the burner and dump it into the kale,  mix it thoroughly and put it back on the burner used to simmer the rice.  Turn off the burner at this point and allow the residual heat of the mixture to cook the kale for 1/2 hour.

Energy cost = 30 minutes at 1200w (est.) at $0.0816/kwh = $0.05, brings total to $6.91

Yields around 12 cups of burrito filling.  

Nutritional Data

Rice = 615 calories, 135g carbo, 12g protein, Fat 0g, Fiber 3g, Thiamine, Niacin, Folate,
Beans = 1470 calories, 270g carbo, 90g protein, Fat 6g, Fiber 90g, Thiamine, B6, Folate
Kale = 142 calories, 28g carbo, 9g protein, Fat 3g, Fiber 6g, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A
Velveeta = 640 calories, 24g carbo, 40g protein, Fat 48g, Fiber 0g
Chorizo= 1160 calories, 16g carbo, 36g protein, Fat 12g, Fiber 16g

Filling Total = 3841 calories, 473g carbo, 187 g protein, 69g fat, 115g fiber

A cup of this makes a pretty good sized burrito.

1 cup filling total = 320 calories, 40g carbo, 16 g protein, 6g fat, 10g fiber
Burrito Shell= 180 calories, 31g carbo, 4g protein, 5g fat, 1g fiberFilling Total = 3841 calories, 473g carbo, 187 g protein, 69g fat, 115g fiber

Total serving = 500 calories, 71g carbo, 20g protein, 11g fat, 11g fiber.

12 servings @ $0.58 each.  If you are really poor, this is two days food.


(*)   Make certain you soak and drain.  If not, you will fart like you have never farted before.

(**)  When I went to the cheap food store, they had Velveeta on sale. Now, as cheese, Velveeta is less than optimal.  But as an ingredient, Velveeta is the bomb.  It isn't really any different from cheese when you examine the ingredients.  They use some pretty damn tame preservatives, hell, in different products, the stuff that they use as preservatives are touted as electrolytes, stuff you eat all the time.  The only weird ingredient is the sodium alginate, and since that is taken from seaweed and is used everywhere, I think that I will give it a pass here.

Milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate; contains less than 2% of: salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), and cheese culture.


LibreOffice Writer Post

This is a test of the ability of my newly minted Ubuntu setup to write within LibreOffice Writer. I wonder if the hypertext comes through.

I do want to test the ability to use different colors for posting.

I also want to test using different Fonts

I wonder how subscripts like F1 work when you post.

Save the file as HTML

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