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But this one’s for reals

a tale of two hockey sticks

Click the graph for explanation. Not a deep thought — it hurts too much when I laugh — I was just farting around online, saw this and thought, “hey…that looks familiar!”

September 24, 2008 — 12:26 pm
Comments: 46

Blaming Wall Street operators for the current financial crisis is like discovering a fly-blown corpse and arresting the maggots for murder

Pithy obthervation from a sthmall brown muthtelid. More later.

September 23, 2008 — 9:25 am
Comments: 36

There ain’t no God but Allah, y’all

shelbyville tennessee

Workers at the Tyson chicken plant in Shelbyville, Tennessee get eight paid holidays a year. Under the new contract they just signed, Labor Day is no longer one of them. Instead, they traded it for Eid al-Fitr — the last day of Ramadan, when Muslims break fast.

That’s because more than half the workforce (700 out of 1,200) is Muslim. Mostly Somali.

Shelbyville. That’s like Bugtussle, folks. Possum Holler. East Dawgtesticle. Shelbyville makes Mayberry look like Gotham City. Or did.

Somalis. Aren’t they the guys that dragged our dead soldiers through the streets? Why are we importing them? In quantity? To little bitty towns in Tennessee? Seriously, WTF?

August 4, 2008 — 8:23 am
Comments: 69

Crassest of the 48

friday with weasel

This week’s Weekend Weasel is late on parade. Uncle B kept me up past my drunktime last night trying to extract my opinion on the layout of the garden, now that the season is upon us. And I’m, like, “the garden. That’s where the plants go, right?”

I was scheduled for an all-day Division meeting Friday. So I was delighted when my dentist’s office called the day before to remind me of an appointment. A cleaning, but I’d take a filling over a division meeting. First thing…after which I could indulge a slow mosey into my meeting.

How slow does a weasel mosey when a weasel moseys slow? I stopped for breakfast afterwards. In the booth next to me were two young, affluent wives. And by “affluent” I mean “blessed with an enormous amount of money hindered in no way by taste.” There’s lots of very crass money ’round these parts.

So one of them takes a cellphone call from (apparently) her electrician. The Rhode Island accent is sort of like Brooklyn, only loud and vulgar, so this is more barked than spoken.

“Yah…put the switch on that far wall. Yah. Next to the other switch. Yah. I want a dimmer on the chandeleeeer. So, you put the switch right next to that other switch. Uh huh. It turns on the jets on the jacoooozzi.”

What kind of room has a jacuzzi and a chandelier? I don’t know, but I would’ve guessed it was in Rhode Island.

So I get to the meeting just in time for the free lunch. I only have to sit through a couple of dozy afternoon speeches. They don’t call me ‘weasel’ in tones of hushed admiration for nothin’.

The highlight? The Human Resources lady (Human Resources! I hate it when Personnel changed their name…it makes us sound like lumber or something).

She says we’ve hooked up with the American Women Engineers’ Society. Or the Society of Women Engineers. Or Vaginas with Sliderules or whatever. I thought we only had one female engineer, but apparently we’ve picked up a few more. Anyhow, we’ve assembled a team of five female engineers to “travel around the country exposing themselves to the engineering community.”

Judging from the reaction at the meeting, the engineering community will appreciate that very much.

February 2, 2008 — 10:20 am
Comments: 10

Loot. Swag. Plunder. Booty. STUFF!

weasel's christmas tree

Do you know why Christmas is so all-consuming crazy-making to your typical seven year old? Because a seven year old might — just might — find the thing he wants most in all the world tucked under the tree on Christmas morning.

Imagine for a moment you could have come down stairs this morning to find Santa Claus had paid off your mortgage, or left you a villa in the South of France, or fixed your teeth or made you a rock star or…you know, brought about world peace or some junk. Yeah, you bet you’d’ve been up at the crack of dawn today, pissing yourself with excitement.

You didn’t outgrow the magic; your wish-list simply got unreasonable.

This holiday time of year, when our society is battered from the right and the left (respectively) for its irreligion and shallow commercialism, please join me in remembering what Christmas is really all about: it’s about the STUFF, man! It’s about the swag, the booty, the sweet treats under the tree. It’s about giving each other useless toys and silly gadgets and some very nice things we can’t really afford, too. It’s about eating things that are costly and bad for us and having a dram or five of the good stuff from the back of the liquor cabinet. It’s about self-indulgence.

You know I’m right.

We’re in a happy, astonishing time and place, the first of our kind to be free of the constant grubby preoccupation with mere survival. We are scouts, explorers in this new world of post-evolutionary luxury, and this is the one day a year we give ourselves over to it utterly. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t — on this day of all days — feel guilt.

Stand with Uncle Badger and me and say “fuck it — it’s Christmas!”

And have one more slice of something roasted in lard.

December 25, 2007 — 5:59 pm
Comments: 26

Math with Stoaty!

british free range turkey

petrol station


Hiho, minions! Let’s play the Merry Christmas Exchangemathemohoogical drinking game!

One kilogram = 2.20462262 pounds
One gallon = 3.7853118 liters
Today’s exchange rate is $1.98440 to £1

Calculators ready? That turkey up there weighs 18.2432521805 pounds. It costs $8.09197722blahblahblah per pound. So the price tag on that bad boy is $147.619516.

Merry Christmas! Take a swig!

Okay! Petrol (isn’t that a charming word?) is £1.03 a liter (I’ll give ’em the .9 for free). That’s $2.04932 per liter. Which works out to $7.7371243blahblahjesuschristouchthat hurts per gallon.

Merry Christmas! Take a swig!

People wonder why Britons drink. I haven’t even made it to the parsnips and I’m pissed as a newt.

I wouldn’t dream of living here if I could do math in my head.


December 21, 2007 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 34

A Wiper for Every Need

kimwipes You know, I started this blog to talk about news and politics. I wasn’t prepared for rude poetry and potty humor. Still, I’m on a roll!


Yeah, look what I found in the back of a drawer today. Kimwipes! We used to buy these by the crate; now this sad, mustly little guy is probably the last of his kind in captivity.

I’ll bet you didn’t know there were different wiping needs, let alone that someone prided himself on being the standard for his particular wiping duty.

Kimwipes were a designer’s essential; they’re hard, lint-free wipes primarily used for mopping excess wax off galley using powerful, braincell-eating film cleaning solvents. If you don’t know what the hell activity I just described, don’t bother learning — the old way of preparing publications for print is never, ever coming back.

Not even after the apocalypse, when we’re running around with mullets and shoulder pads popping caps in each other’s asses.

See, the old photographic processes were extraodinarily complex, sophisticated and expensive. Assembling a magazine required several gigantic specialty cameras, many different kinds of film and papers, all sorts of amusingly lethal chemicals and a thousand little specialty items of no use to anyone else ever again under any circumstances. We had burnishers, waxers, rollers, wipers, technical pens, non-repro pens, markers, swatches, specialty knives of all sorts, registration marks, tracing overlay, illustration board, foamcore in an assortment of colors, lead holders, lead pointers and leads. We had rubylith and amberlith (which we called rubylips and amberlips), the Leroy lettering system, and something we called a Blue Thing, which was a burnishing tool that came inside tubes of 3M photo mounting adhesive but was the best darned all-around essential paste-up burnisher ever.

I can remember six different kinds of tape I couldn’t get through the day without.

Man, sitting here thinking about it, more and more stuff is coming back to me. The specialty furniture, the lighting, the drafting tools, the calculators, the stencils, the Letraset thingies and the Pantone dinguses. And we haven’t even touched on the darkroom stuff yet.

Huh. Not all earth’s vanishing languages are in Siberia or New Guinea.

October 2, 2007 — 6:26 pm
Comments: 29

Stupid capitalist tricks



My fridge light blew awhile back. After spending days opening the refrigerator and thinking “<gasp!> The fridge is dead!” I finally got around to buying a new bulb today.

Either the profit margin on these things is very small, or GE is just messing with me. The smallest number of bulbs you can buy is two. They also sold a four pack.

Let’s see. This fridge is about ten years old, and this is my first bulb replacement. Yes, I’m sure a decade from now when the next one goes, I’ll know right where I put that spare. Especially if I put it in a drawer I use a lot and bat it out of my way for ten years.




May 8, 2007 — 4:37 pm
Comments: 17

Damn! Blast! Fie! Piffle!

My boss informed me, casual-like, that a new, strict directive on work-time websurfing is about to be handed down. They sent him the draft a few weeks ago.

Oh dear. I am ever so annoyed.

Does this mean an end to daytime websurfing? Will I actually have to buckle down and do my job?

Pff! Please. If they wanted me to do my job, they’d make my work more interesting. Some days, it’s like they don’t even care if I’m entertained. So, you know, if they’re not even going to try to compete with the internet, what do they expect from me? I’m not made of stone!

Still, I’d better stay off their crummy, poopy, stinky, lousy servers. The building next door has a wide open wifi signal. If my office were twenty feet closer, I could nick a signal on my laptop, no problem. I sometimes wander out into the stairwell and check my personal mail at lunch that way. I could try to get a job in the department on the other side of the building, but that’s Training. Training people have cooties. Big giant ones.

So, anybody know anything about wifi reception boosting? Obviously, I can’t do much about boosting the signal. And I have a lot of unusual things in my office, but I think a parabolic antenna might get noticed. I don’t have a clear line of sight to the other building, anyway.

C’mon…think. Otherwise, you’re only going to hear from me on my own time. You know: the Not Sober hours. And I’m a sloppy, boring drunk.

April 26, 2007 — 4:42 pm
Comments: 26

Speaking of Global Positioning Systems…

I just read a weird article in the International Herald Tribune about global positioning systems. Russia, among others, intends to throw up its own GPS satellite network to compete with the US system.

MOSCOW: The days of their Cold War may have passed, but Russia and the United States are in the midst of another battle – this one a technological fight over the future of America’s Global Positioning System, or GPS.

Fight over the future? Say what? Russia is putting up more satellites. More satellites means more accuracy and better coverage (if handheld makers choose to add a chip to read Glonass signals). Multiple systems happily coexist.

But what is also behind the battle for control of navigation technology is a fear that the United States could use its monopoly – the system was developed and is controlled by the military, after all – to switch off signals in a time of crisis.

Well, I guess. Before 2000, the US military did alter the signal, making civilian receivers less accurate than military ones. But today — as the article observes — GPS navigation has become vital. It would have to be a gigantic crisis before we did something that impaired the navigation of our own ambulance crews and search-and-rescue operations at home. If we were in a crisis serious enough to fuck with the whole world’s GPS navigation, that’s probably a crisis serious enough for all sorts of scary shit to shake loose. I don’t see it happening short of Armageddon.

When that happens, countries that choose to rely only on GPS, he said, would be falling into “a geopolitical trap” of American dominance of an important Internet-age infrastructure. The United States could theoretically deny navigation signals in countries like Iran or North Korea not just in time of war, but as a high-tech form of economic sanction that could wreak havoc on power grids, banking and other industries, he said.

I know of no way satellite signals can be selectively denied within specific geographic boundaries. We could mess with the whole signal, as was done before 2000, or a whole hemisphere, I guess. But I don’t know how you’d blackout one country. It’s everybody or nobody, and blocking everybody would be huge. [Correction: McGoo says it can be done over selective regions. And he actually seems to know what he’s talking about, which is a little spooky.] But I love the description of our era as the “Internet-age” — yeah, say, where did that Internet thing come from again?

The Russian project, of course, carries wide implications for militaries around the world by providing a navigation system not controlled by the Pentagon, complementing Moscow’s recently more assertive foreign policy stance.

You mean the purpose of the system is to provide signal to countries at war with America. Swell. It’s a good thing the whole article is nonsense. [Except apparently it isn’t nonsense, so this is even sweller. Here’s why the Russians and Chinese have a hair across their collective ass.]

The United States formally opened GPS to civilian users in 1993 by promising to provide it continually and for free around the world.

You’re welcome. Oh, wait…that wasn’t a thank you? Okay, this is like that Internet thing, isn’t it? We build it and pay for it and give it to you for free, and you bitch and whine that you don’t control it. Trust Russia instead. Good plan. You know they’ll do the right thing in a ‘crisis.’

“The network must be impeccable, better than GPS, and cheaper if we want clients to choose Glonass,” Putin said last month at a government meeting on Glonass, according to Interfax.

Cheaper than free? How does that work? It’s worth mentioning here that the Europeans embarked on their own version, Galileo, but abandoned it when the financiers decided they wouldn’t get their money back. Yeah. They were going to charge for it.

Look, I’m flailing around for a way of describing how stupid this article is. GPS satellites don’t “compete” in any meaningful sense. We’d be out nothing if the makers of GPS receivers decided to switch entirely over to the Russian system instead — other than being held hostage to a similar “geopolitical trap,” this one under the control of a sociopathic thug. We don’t make anything off providing the positioning signal. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The people who do make money — the manufacturers of GPS receivers, most of whom are American — benefit from an increased number of satellites in the air, assuming the extra accuracy and coverage is worth incorporating the chips needed to read new signals. It’s certainly a net plus for consumers (remember those blank spots in my breadcrumb trail?) It should be easy enough to build receivers that will read signal from all the navigation satellites, if the owners allow it (the Chinese are working on a system, too). The only possible advantage to do-it-yourself global positioning tech is the military one, and it’s lame.

April 4, 2007 — 10:11 am
Comments: 15