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October 09, 2015

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On a more upbeat note, Season 6 of TWD starts Sunday! Such an uplifting, happy show....

I've been watching since the pilot aired. Sometimes I think there are too many terrible, awful, nasty people on the show. It's not that I don't think there would be people like that in a zombie apocalypse - just not so many of them, percentage-wise. I can see acts of cowardice and thievery and such, but the vicious cruelty seems overblown. (Or is it that the main group just has really bad luck in who they run into? Or is it a Georgia thing?)

It's not like I have a ton of faith in humanity, but I do think most people are at least reasonably good, even in bad times. The problem I have with humanity as a whole is that I don't think it takes all that many bad people to make things bad for everybody else around them (within some amount of time and space, depending).

On a totally unrelated note, I recently got into a discussion on the Martin-Zimmerman case. The "white Hispanic" thing came up again. Why is that such a thing? Why do people think CNN made up that category all by themselves? Don't people fill out forms with that stuff on them? Maybe CNN misapplied it, but they didn't make it up.

Sometimes I think there are too many terrible, awful, nasty people on the show.

That seems to be a constant of apocalypse stories (zombie or otherwise). If there aren't a huge majority of good people, who spend their time doing constructive things, the result is obvious: There is no next generation, and everybody dies off as soon as the canned goods are exhausted.

Does anybody remember an apocalypse story which includes people (successfully) raising families? Or even just raising crops? I sure don't -- but perhaps I have just failed to explore the genre adequately.

If the GOP keeps up with their leadership antics in the House, they should just rename themselves "The Donner Party".

If they keep it up, this Congress may go down in history as the Discharge Petition Congress. Too many critical matters coming up which responsible members will force to come to a vote if they must. And, if the leadership antics don't end, they must.

GOP: we can't even find a way to lead 247 Republicans, but Obama's a loser because he can't lead 7,000,000,000 people.

vote for us!

No, no, no Cleek.

GOP: We can't find one of our own party's Congressmen who can lead us. But Obama's an utter incompetent, because he can't lead us either. So we are the right way forward for America!

Does anybody remember an apocalypse story which includes people (successfully) raising families?

They certainly exist - the first examples that popped into mind for me were The Postman (disclosure: never watched it, never wanted to) or the tangled mess that was Cloud Atlas Diaries (disclosure: watched it on a plane, in retrospect want the two hours of lousy sleep I forewent back) - but they're generally a bit less common because it takes more effort and may force you to forego certain sorts of interpersonal conflicts depending on your apocalyptic cause. Plus, American audiences love their anti-establishment rebels and strong-armed alpha males, both of which are easier to produce when you're portraying "the masses" as sheeplike, helpless, and/or self-destructively malicious.

NV, do you mean Cloud Atlas? Assuming so, since Google isn't presenting me with anything called Cloud Atlas Diaries: It took me several tries to get into the book, but now I've read it three times. It's kind of a grindy book, and yet there's something about it that I can't let go of. (Same goes for a lot of David Mitchell, really.)

Speaking as someone who loves the book, I could never imagine how they could have made a successful movie of it, and even though the cast was star-studded and included several actors I like, I didn't bother to go see it.

Bottom line: try the book.

And if books are allowed on this list, I would suggest Lucifer's Hammer, which I read so long ago I barely remember it, except that by the end there were people trying to put things back together after an asteroid strike or something, to the point where there was a guy walking around delivering mail. (Hmmmm. Is the mailman a symbol of ordinary life or something?)

Also Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing, which if you don't like that sort of thing will read like a sermon, but I thought it was a pretty good story even so.

'Threads', Britain's (not so uplifting) answer to 'The Day After' has a bit of farmwork at the end. Family rising is a bit troubled though.
Reagan is said to have been very angry about this movie because it undermined his campaign of persuading people that a nuclear war could be 'winnable', and the British public found it a wee bit hard to stomach too (which I can fully understand. Imo it's a must-see but only once).

NV, do you mean Cloud Atlas?

Pretty sure I do, yeah. I'm willing to assume "diaries" came from me thinking "ends with some kind of book", and it's called Cloud Atlas, so that must mean it's three words long!" The workings of a tired and somewhat scatterbrained mind...

The movie was dreary, longwinded, confused, had trouble maintaining a consistent tone, preachy in a vague and incoherent way, and had Tom Hanks in it, among other sins. I fully support giving it a skip. I might possibly look at the book; I'm currently not reading a lot and have Ancillary Sword as my next-in-line (I'm not entirely looking forward to it, because while I like Leckie's writing on a technical level - it rolls around quite smoothly on the mind's tongue - I found the plot of the first one irritating for reasons I had trouble pinpointing). But I'll try to remember that the next time I'm at the library.

just wanted to second Janie m's recommendation of fifth sacred thing.

the author is a feminist pagan who runs courses in non violent civil disobedience.

if that puts you off, you might not enjoy the book. if it doesnt, you might.

it's worth a read in either case. it never hurts to stretch your boundaries a bit.

Does anybody remember an apocalypse story which includes people (successfully) raising families? Or even just raising crops?

There are plenty of post apocalypse stories which do so; those which deal in the apocalypse itself tend, understandably, to concentrate on the bad stuff. Notably, the new TWD spinoff is a prequel, not a sequel.

But it's true, TWD is beginning to pall. After five seasons, ought the survivors not be starting to get to grips with stuff ?

http://www.redstate.com/2015/10/09/paul-ryan-is-a-dangerous-pick-for-conservatives/

Nice how they hyperlink his name (full with title, party and state) almost every time throughout the text to his scorecard with Redstate with the 55% in a highlighted box.

Michael Savage is up for Head of The National Institutes of Health:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/10/donald-trump-has-big-plans-reform-nih

Meanwhile, my name is being mentioned for the role of Lee Harvey Booth in the next Presidential Assassination documentary, now in the early planning stages.

Pol Pot is being mentioned among Ben Carson's inner circle as just the guy to take over over the Rural Electrocution Corporation.

And these two hopeless romantics (see next comment for the link, since the internet is going haywire this morning) are in the running for taking over the Food Stamp and CHIP programs with an eye toward radical reform of the policies:


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/dec/04/germany.lukeharding

The hope is that rules would be changed for the program to allow the rich to recieve unlimited vouchers allowing them eat the poor at will, but the poor would be fined and harassed by local government if they dared eat each other.

Having read Ancillary Sword last night, I must say that I'm not impressed with the direction Leckie is taking as an author, although her writing remains strong. I also did manage to pin down what annoys me about her style: she's a bit preachy (to (ew) use a Puppy talking point, I think "message lit" actually would quite justly apply to Sword, as I could pinpoint moments where I was fairly plainly supposed to be nodding my head in agreement with her author's mouthpiece's pronouncement on e.g. cultural appropriation), everything is a little too just-so, and her main character is a little too good at everything, and too loved by all good people.

To make a very unflattering comparison, she reminds me of Jacqueline Carey, albeit in a comparatively subdued manner.

But it's true, TWD is beginning to pall. After five seasons, ought the survivors not be starting to get to grips with stuff ?

I lost interest after the first season, so I don't have much of anything to say about this, but I'll say something anyway. They tried way too hard to make their zombies "sciencey" at the end of the first season, but all they ended up doing was underscoring just how silly and fantastical they actually are.

It occurs to me that, in all the discussions of whether Paul Ryan will yield to the blandishments to take on the horror that is the Speakership of the House, one implication of that choice is being ignored.

As chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Ryan has been in a position to have an enormous influence of policy -- because virtually all policies of the Federal government involve spending money. But if he becomes Speaker . . . who takes over the Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee? And what sorts of things might he push from there?

My guess is that Rep Sam Johnson of Texas might be next in line. But does anybody have better information? And does anybody know where he (or whomever) would take things?

http://www.barrons.com/articles/donald-trumps-1990-campaign-against-a-securities-analyst-1444451156??mod=BOL_hp_highlight_1

What do Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and company see in the Republican electorate that makes the former think the latter is with them.

The numbers thus far bear their observations out.

They are shrewd judges of collective character is what they are.

Yesterday's radical Republican scum can't seem to stop f*cking each other in the workplace, according to the ascendant, super-radical, murderous pig vermin in the Republican base, who if not stopped soon by the declaration of martial law on a national scale (not likely, therefore much worse is in store for them from liberal, patriot vigilantes), are going to destroy the United States of America:

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/renee-ellmers-affair-rumor-kevin-mccarthy-thanks-gop-lawmakers-for-support-214607

Regarding the latter filth (I know it's difficult to keep the new filth straight from yesterday's, and then the 1990's Delay/Gingrich varieties, who by comparison seem like Betsy Ross in boxer shorts):

"Baer is a controversial figure who has regularly emailed Republican lawmakers. According to a profile in National Review, Baer sent an email to Republicans after the 2013 government shutdown that said, "Now let us dine on RINO flesh," referring to the phrase "Republicans in name only."

and .....

... this pigsh*t:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/09/kay-daly-renee-ellmers-rino-hunter

Point that gun at me, Kay, and see what the f*ck happens to you and your family.

Inevitably, Ben Carson goes after the Jews for committing political correctness:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/10/09/ben-carson-jewish-group-talking-foolishness-on-holocaust/

Jews and other decent Americans would do well to heed Carson's words and take his and his follower's guns from them before they start killing liberals.

In a few days, Carson will point out that the possession of specially-designed gas ovens and crematoria by Christians and Republicans are permitted by the Second Amendment and anyone who says differently is following a politically correct lifestyle not deserving of equal protection, but cheap train tickets might be available for them come 2017.

the GOP outreach this year is pretty awesome.

by the time they're done, they'll be down to that handful of white guys who are just too stupid to realize that the GOP has insulted them, too.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/10/1428978/-Another-top-state-Republican-with-ties-to-a-hate-group-Go-figure

I deeply regret that I didn't author this paragraph .... first:

'On April 11, 2015, the LOS hosted an event celebrating the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Organized by the vice chairman of the Maryland-Virginia chapter of the League, Shane Long, the event “commemorate[d] the actions of Mr. John Wilkes Booth of Maryland who, motivated by the tyranny his Southern people faced, answered his calling with courage and fortitude.” The LOS’s main Facebook page put it even more bluntly: “Join us in April to celebrate the great accomplishment of John Wilkes Booth. He knew a man who needed killing when he saw him!”'

I try and keep one step ahead of the Republican confederate zeitgeist, but I have only two hands, one slightly off-kilter brain, and a single keyboard.

an apocalypse story which includes people (successfully) raising families?

Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart an old favorite

Farnham's Freehold, RAH Heinlein in full libertarian avatar

Davy (and sequels), Edgar Pangborn another old favorite

Chuckle:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34507760

VW at least had the good taste to engage in subterfuge:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-vw-diesel-polluters-rolling-coal-20151013-story.html

I like this:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/badger-guns-milwaukee-ruled-negligent

What I'd like to do is find where the rolling coal dudes live, and then go take a great big sh*t in wherever it is their water comes from.

Ideally, I could figure out a way to do this that would only affect them. That's not their M.O., but I'm a kinder gentler asshole.

russell: Dubya loosened the EPA arsenic limit on drinking water, so rather than "shit" (as appropriate as it is), instead just put in arsenic JUST BARELY BELOW Dubya's EPA limit.

Water systems are designed to filter out "shit". Arsenic? Not so much.

Fraking waste would be appropriate also, too.

Drat. I apologize for bringing down the tone of the blog by not going with 'sh*t' in my sh*tty comment. It's the kind of word that an assterisk is especially suited for, both phonetically and visually.

I saw a truck advertised on Craigslist; one of the selling points was its ability to roll coal.

In order for the average to be where it is, the Feynmans and Dysons must be countered by coal-rollers and such.

But enough about everyone else. I just got back from the Boston area. Buried my grandfather, who lived to be a very sharp 102 years old. I think he singlehandedly put the US Postal Service pension fund in the red. Imagine: you design for people to live 10, maybe 15 years after retirement, and somebody makes a serious go at 40.

I learned things about him that I had not previously known, which is unsurprising as he was not a guy to toot his own horn. He had about 50 years of service in the St. Vincent De Paul Society, bringing food and other necessaries to the poor. He enjoyed it very much.

The US Navy showed up to provide flag service and blow Taps, bless them. You can be in the Navy for just a few years and not see combat, and the Navy will still show up at your burial to do you honors.

This was all more of a celebration of life than a mourning. He was ready to go. His body was failing him, at the end, but he was still sharper than I will ever be. It was nice to hang out with the uncles and cousins and their kids and remember.

Other than that: my wife had a partial knee replacement; her medial meniscus was completely gone. The pain is the worst part of the recovery. She's fairly independent at this point but she cannot yet do stairs. It's worth it; her ability to just walk a couple of blocks (never mind more) was severely degraded, and she likes her gardening. By spring she'll be digging and taking walks like old times.

Not much else happening, other than I have been working my ass off (when I'm not at work) filling up the woodshed. Fortunately we have enough deadfall and scrub walnut trees in addition to the truly enormous (but severely leaning) maple to keep us heated for the winter. And next year we start all over again. Now that the leaves are starting to drop, we'll be gathering them and, somehow, encouraging them to lay on top of the garden (maybe newspapers, with wood chips on top?) all winter long.

The garden was...not as good as we hoped, this year, but nothing to complain about. We have a lot of tomatoes put away, and a lot of mustard, but the broccoli and kale didn't do so well. Bugs ate 'em. Hopefully next year we can keep the weeds down, more, and the bugs away. We did find out that our favorite variety of cowpea (Zipper Cream) does in fact grow well in the hot months of the summer in middle Indiana, and so we got a lot of enjoyment out of that crop.

And now we're getting some green beans and squash at the end of the season. When I do finally retire the garden, I'm going to dig and see if we got any sweet potatoes from that one I planted (it vined; just not as much as it would in Florida). It was an experiment.

Once the cooler weather sets in, I get to go cut down the dead apple trees (goats skinned the bark off them, and they eventually died) and cut down the brush, and clear the fenceline of the 4-inch-thick walnut and cherry treelings, which will all contribute to the woodpile. The remains we'll chip up and throw on the garden. And, at some point, I'll have to make a serious go at clearing brush. Someone, at some point, thought that Russian Olive (could be Imperial Olive; both are considered invasive) would make for nice bird cover. So, it's everywhere. And there are piles of brush everywhere; also the occasional & puzzling bits of old fence and the like. All needs to be cleaned up.

Our 3 hogs are getting to be nearly big enough to eat. The male we'll slaughter, because he's not fertile. The females (these are American Guinea Hogs, or AGH; a smallish heirloom breed) are about ready to breed. So, for eating and selling, we'll cross them with a fertile Mulefoot male that we bought a few weeks back. Mulefoots are roughly the same meat quality as AGH, but mature more quickly and larger. We'll have to work out some better and sturdier confinement, because they tend to be a bit more rambunctious than the very friendly AGHs. Ours like to have their ears and bellies scratched.

Other than all that, I got nothin'. I have, rarely enough, not much in the way of hopes or preferences for the upcoming Presidential election other than a list of people I'd prefer not to see in office, in no particular order.

Oh, also: went to a local book sale to benefit some charity or other, and scored:

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (2 copies; one for the friend who lent me his extremely dilapidated copy a while back)
Churchill's 6-volume history of WWII
Some stories by Walker Percy, based on globally admiring comments by (IIRC) The Count and russell.

And I forget what else. I'm not going to be adding any more books to my to-read pile for a long time.

Two large paper shopping bags full of books, nearly all hardback: less than $35.

"Other than all that, I got nothin'."

Why would you need anything else?

You are four hogs up on me, and I'm envious.


What are the Percy titles?

If you happen to find more of his stuff, start with his first novel, "The Moviegoer", and his first collection of philosophical musings, "The Message In The Bottle", which were first published in obscure (to me) academic philosophy and linguistic journals long before he became known as a novelist.

They are all of a piece, the essays and the novels, but there is a linear progression over time in the development of his thinking.

Slarti,
I predict that you will NEVER get broccoli without at least one caterpillar hiding in it.

BTW, IMO, the best way to deal with leaves+garden is to chop the leaves and till them into the soil in the fall. Worms work on them, and when you step into the garden in the spring, you'll sink in up to your knee, because what's left is light and fluffy.

If you let the leaves sit over the winter, they break down some, but mostly keep the soil from warming up come spring. Perhaps pile some up, to the side, to be used as mulch in the spring, because weeds just love that light, fluffy worm-eaten-leaf soil as much as your veggies do.

All of my "advice" should be taken with caution, because if I even *look* at a plant, it withers and dies.

sorry to hear about your grandfather, slarti.

102 is a good long run (!) but we never like to see them go.

sorry to hear about your grandfather, slarti.

102 is a good long run (!) but we never like to see them go.

if someone would like to come and shit in my (soon-to-be-former) home builder's water supply, i'd be much obliged.

also, hey look, another explicitly racist local GOP chairman!

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/randy-pullen-democratic-debate-blacks-guns

keep up that outreach, GOP!

Maybe get Pullen and Carson to debate the merits of taking guns away? From anybody?

Wouldn't that be fun....

I think what I got is "The Moviegoer", "The Last Gentleman" and "The Second Coming", all in one book.

I'll try that, and see how it sits. Then I may go searching for more.

Thanks for the advice, Snarki. The worms will I think demand a relative constant dusting/spraying of dipel, which is one of my favorite pesticides. But we had other fish to fry this year, so we didn't do that.

Not sure if we'll shred the leaves any, but seeing as we have a chipper/shredder, it's probably worth a try. Time-consuming, though. I may want to invest in a shredder vac, so I can just vacuum it off the ground, shred it, and have it compacted in a bag for transport to the garden. But that's expensive, kind of.

Read the post at your site about your builder, cleek.

That's terrible stuff. I hope things get resolved.

There is a case to made for refusing gun permits for anyone, especially men and boys below the age of 30 (also cleek, ;( for a few weeks anyway), just as there is a case to be made for raising the legal driving age to 18 or higher, given the disproportionate slaughter by both instruments and the costs to society.

If we want fewer dead f*ckers.

One of freedom's perks, apparently, is Death. Another is maiming. But, the numbers of dead and maimed seem to be in our comfort zones.

As in the link above regarding cops suing gun shops, it seems to me gun owners, manufacturers, and sellers should be required to purchase expensive injury/death liability insurance for each of their weapons.

And then sic the tort attorneys on the lot of them.

Regarding Pullen, is he going to first plant guns on the unarmed black citizens gunned down by police over the past few years and then remove them after they are dead, as part of his program.

Regarding Carson, Weimar Germany should have completely disarmed the Nazi Party and all its sympathizers early on in the 1930s, or even earlier, under threat of fines, imprisonment, and execution to prevent World War II and the murder of millions of Jews, gays, and gypsies.

But I guess folks thought Hitler was merely mad as a hatter and politically incorrect to boot, and therefore harmless, as some think of Carson.

Slart, remember, the Second Coming is a sequel to the Last Gentleman, so read it last.

Both oddly beautiful, enchanting books, IMHO.

Binx Bolling and Will Barrett .. pilgrims.

Regarding guns, I wouldn't require liability insurance for weapons used only for hunting and kept under lock and key, preferably in a secure armory.

I would, however, permit animal rights and environmentalists to purchase life insurance policies on all individual animals, including domestic livestock and game animals to fund their operations.

What the heck, trees, too. How about vegetables?

I'm not sure what effect this would have on incentives for vegetarianism and/or meat eating.

Count, Hitler got a lot of Jewish votes too. they assumed that his antisemitism was mainly a tool to get votes and that he would drop it (or go back to normal levels) once he had to govern. Most of those Jews did not especially like Hitler but thought that he was the only one with the means and strength to clean up the crisis. Hitler's main slogan at the time was 'give me four years' and in one of his most popular speeches (missing in very few documentaries) he declared that after the four years he would step down and ask for no compensation for himself. So a lot of people, including those he ranted against, held their noses and voted for him. His nationalist appeal was also particularly strong with Jews who tended to be hyperpatriotic. Zionism on the other hand was seen by many German Jews with at best suspicion, if not another Bolshevik plot.

Count, thanks.

indeed, no guns for me. i'd prefer to stand at the prosecution's table if i ever have to go to court.

i'd prefer to stand at the prosecution's table if i ever have to go to court.

given their Win/Loss record, it's hard to argue against that sentiment.

1 more thumbs up for walker percy. Lost in the Cosmos: The last self help book is good, though I came to it after reading everything else by Percy, and I suspect that if you started with that, you might not really get his charm.

True, Percy became a bit of a bitter prophet, but still entertaining late in the game.

"Lancelot" and "The Thanatos Syndrome" are pretty rough sailing.

cleek, I'm wondering why, with no reference to you, why guns are not the chosen solution for problems LIKE you have experienced, with private sector scum as you have encountered, given the altogether senseless shootings and this right-wing fetish for threatening gun violence against government.

I mean, what exactly is the difference between shooting an unarmed swarthy citizen and a guy who f*cks you in a real estate transaction?

To put it a different way, how are you any different from Cliven Bundy?

I mean, I know how you are different, but how come the vermin Oath Keepers aren't aware of this?

How come the latter aren't rushing to your side in 4 by 4's armed to the teeth?

Um, because the guys in a real estate transaction are not "them". They are "us" -- and therefore exempt from violent retribution.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/ornstein-gop-meltdown

I don't believe I've ever heard a scholar at a pro-business, very conservative think tank use such language:

“Damn straight I do,” Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview with TPM late last week. “But I would have rather been proven wrong -- honest to God -- because we're talking about the fucking country that is at stake here.”

He sounds frightened to me.

Much more of this please:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/donald-trump-rally-protest-altercation

Maybe there will be an intervention soon:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/15/the-strange-star-that-has-serious-scientists-talking-about-an-alien-megastructure/?tid=pm_national_pop_b

"Maybe there will be an intervention soon:"

It's too far away.

Although Trump's ever-expanding ego might make contact with them soon. I hope those poor aliens have a contingency plan for evacuating the galaxy.

Count, you really should have added this quote from Ornstein:
"One of the things that we have discovered is you can hit rock bottom and then you can dig into the rock," he said. "This is so clearly a debacle for them -- and now being reported everywhere as a debacle for them -- that it might create enough of a sense of urgency that they find a way or two to at least dig out a little bit."

It makes it clear just why he sounds frightened: he doesn't know when they will stop digging. Every time he gets his hopes, up, they find new depths to plumb.

they're digging because they're Pure. and the most important thing for Pure people is to be known as Pure.

Fox News contributor arrested by Feds.

The headline of hairshirt's cite:

Feds Arrest Fox News Commentator, Allege He Lied About CIA Past

Reminds me of this guy.

Kind of also reminds me of this guy.

via Hullabaloo:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34501867

Remind me if this guy is one of three men in a swamped boat not to let him do the bailing.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/10/lets-just-blame-china-everything-and-call-it-day

I think the Chinese have planted ignoramuses throughout the Republican Party.

I wonder if this jagoff filth Republican overseeing Homeland Security checks out my public bone while I'm passing through airport security to assess my essential towel-headed, chinky Democratiness.

Why do I suspect Matt Salmon hits up his illegal immigrant maids for blowjobs?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/salmon-paul-ryan-maid

I have a public bone.

Drop the "l".

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