Saturday, January 31, 2015

Digital Projectors and Small Cinemas

Jill Stein Replies to the State of the Union Address

On the Green Party's Prospects in 2016

Not recent, but still worth watching.

Kelis, "Jerk Ribs"

Why Bookstores Are Vital

2015 National Magazine Awards Nominations

2015 National Magazine Awards Nominations.

Magazine A-List

Ad Age's 2014 Magazine A-List.

Free the Little Free Library

I'll be following this:

MPC Orders Little Free Library to Cease Operation.

"What Will 2015 Do for Peak Oil?"

With low oil prices and record production, oil cornucopians are smugly proclaiming peak oil has been disproved forever. But Ron Patterson writes in
"What Will 2015 Do for Peak Oil?" that "[A]n oil glut is exactly what we would expect at the very peak. After all, that is what peak oil is, that is the point in time when the world produces more oil than ever in history… and the most it ever will produce."

Arabic Comic Books

Mr. Magazine, "From Lebanon With Love: Preserving a Cultural History, Capturing the Joys of Arabic Childhood Through Comic Books: The Mr. Magazine Interview With Henry Matthews, Collector."

Michael Fredo, "Free"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Water Rationing in Sao Paulo

On water rationing in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Raw Power"

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kunstler: The Broken Template

Kunstler: The Broken Template.

T he more detached from reality American culture becomes the more strictly ceremonial leadership gets, as illustrated by the raft of bromides Barack Obama floated past the assembled vassalage of government last week in another grand effort to avoid the necessities of the moment.

Those necessities include freeing a hostage public from the tyrannical clutches of corporate despotism — the evil empire of big boxes, big burgers, big pharma, Big Brother — and the atrocious rackets fostered by them that masquerade as an economy. The template of the life we have known is broken and the pieces within are flying apart, and no amount of wishing or promising can keep them going. If this society is even going to survive, the people have to smash their way out of this template prison, probably against the efforts of the people and organizations now running it merely for their own benefit.

The future is telling us very clearly: get smaller, get finer, get more local, get less complex, get less grandiose, do it now. Do you want to eat food in the years ahead? Better make sure you live in a part of the country where small-scale farming and backyard gardening is possible because the General Mills Agri-Biz GMO Cheerios model will be folding its big tent along with its financing agents in the debt Ponzi banking system.

Do you want to have a personal economic future? Think about what you can do to make yourself useful in a local economy made up of your neighbors. And if you live in one of the thousands of soulless, neighborless suburban wastelands that amount to nothing but big box and big burger plantations, you better get out and find a real town in some other part of the country.

Do you believe that computers and robot factories will define the years to come? Maybe you have failed to notice that the US electric grid is decrepit and in need of at least a $1 trillion upgrade-and-rebuild, which, by the way, is not going to happen. What is all that crap going to run on? America’s disappointment with the broken promises of technology will be so epic that we’ll be lucky not to slide back into a world ruled by superstition and ghosts.

Do you think that $50 oil is going to make the world safe for WalMart, Walt Disney World, and Happy Motoring? In fact, $50 oil is going to crush what is left of the US Oil industry, especially fracking for shale oil and deep water drilling. And guess what — everything else is depleting at about 5 percent a year. The frackers will never again get access to the sort of junk bond financing that allowed them to ramp up their Ponzi demonstration projects in the Bakken and Eagle Ford. And they will never again regain their current level of production — which is the net result of past Ponzi financing, now ending in tears. So, forget “Saudi America” and “energy independence,” unless you mean living in a walkable community near a navigable waterway.

Do you want to be an educated person, that is, someone capable of comprehending reality and functioning within its demands? In the USA, that means you must learn how to speak and write English correctly, especially if you are in a “low performing” ethnic minority group. If you can’t conjugate verbs, you will have a hard time distinguishing the past, the present, and the future in your daily activities. Among other things, you’ll be incapable of showing up on time. And that, of course, is only the beginning. It’s that simple. These abilities used to be the result of an eighth-grade education in the United States. We would be lucky to get back to that high standard, and our knucklehead fantasies about universal access to community college be damned. It’s only a new layer in the current racket that pretends to be education.

That is the current state of the union and a glimpse of the trajectory it’s on, which the inept leaders of our country do not comprehend and cannot communicate.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Growing Food From Scraps

I'm growing plants from scraps too.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blumenthal & White At the Movies

If Max Blumenthal and Armond White ever have a debate about American Sniper, I'd watch it. Then I hope they'd make like Siskel and Ebert and get a show.


The box office forecast for this weekend:

Forecast (Jan. 23-25)
1. American Sniper - $56 million (-37%)
2. The Boy Next Door - $18 million
3. Paddington - $13.1 million (-31%)
4. The Wedding Ringer - $10.7 million (-48%)
5. Mortdecai - $7.5 million
6. Strange Magic - $6 million

Monday, January 19, 2015

We Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

The King Institute at Stanford University.

Kunstler: A Solemn Pause

January 19, 2015

A Solemn Pause

Events are moving faster than brains now. Isn’t it marvelous that gasoline at the pump is a buck cheaper than it was a year ago? A lot of short-sighted idiots are celebrating, unaware that the low oil price is destroying the capacity to deliver future oil at any price. The shale oil wells in North Dakota and Texas, the Tar Sand operations of Alberta, and the deep-water rigs here and abroad just don’t pencil-out economically at $45-a-barrel. So the shale oil wells that are up-and-running will produce for a year and there will be no new ones drilled when they peter out — which is at least 50 percent the first year and all gone after four years.

Anyway, the financial structure of the shale play was suicidal from the get-go. You finance the drilling and fracking with high-yield “junk bonds,” that is, money borrowed from “investors.” You drill like mad and you produce a lot of oil, but even at $105-a-barrel you can’t make profit, meaning you can’t really pay back the investors who loaned you all that money, a lot of it obtained via Too Big To Fail bank carry-trades, levered-up on ”margin,” which allowed said investors to pretend they were risking more money than they had. And then all those levered-up investments — i.e. bets — get hedged in a ghostly underworld of unregulated derivatives contracts that pretend to act as insurance against bad bets with funny money, but in reality can never pay out because the money is not there (and never was.) And then come the margin calls. Uh Oh….

In short, enjoy the $2.50-a-gallon fill-ups while you can, grasshoppers, because when the current crop of fast-depleting shale oil wells dries up, that will be all she wrote. When all those bonds held up on their skyhook derivative hedges go south, there will be no more financing available for the entire shale oil project. No more high-yield bonds will be issued because the previous issues defaulted. Very few new wells (if any) will be drilled. American oil production will not return to its secondary highs (after the 1970 all-time high) of 2014-15. The wish of American energy independence will be steaming over the horizon on the garbage barge of broken promises. And all, that, of course, is only one part of the story, because there is the social and political fallout to follow.

The table is set for the banquet of consequences. The next chapter in the oil story is more likely to be scarcity rather than just a boomerang back to higher prices. The tipping point for that will come with the inevitable destabilizing of Saudi Arabia, which I believe will happen this year when King Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz, 91, son of Ibn Saud, departs his intensive care throne for the glorious Jannah of virgins and feasts. Speaking of feasts, just imagine how the Islamic State (or ISIS) must be licking its chops at the prospect of sweeping over an Arabia no longer defined as Saudi! The Saudis are so spooked that they announced plans last week for a kind of super Berlin-type wall to be constructed along the northern border with Iraq. But that brings to mind a laughable Maginot Line scenario in which the masked invaders just make an end run around the darn thing. In any case, Saudi Arabia will already be disintegrating internally as competing clans and princes vie for control. And then, what will the US do? Rush in there shock-and-awe style? Bust up the joint? That’ll make things better, won’t it? (See American Sniper.) [Or don't. Paddington or The Wedding Ringer are better worth your time.--P.Z.]

Meanwhile, there will be plenty to contend with state-side. The next time there is a pratfall in the stock and bond markets and the TBTF banks — and there is sure to be — the rescue tricks are liable to be a whole lot more severe than the TARP, ZIRP, and QE hijinks of 2008-2015. Next time around, the federals are going to have to confiscate stuff, break promises, take away things, and rough some people up. The question is how much of this abuse will the public take? I take a certain comfort knowing how heavily armed America is. And not just the lunatic fringe. The thought of Hillary and Jeb out there beating the bushes for big money makes me laugh. They are so not going to happen. Just wait. For now, take this MLK holiday break to reflect on the fragility of our own country, and gird your loins for the week to come.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

He's never seen Lincoln Park.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Nous Sommes Hypocrites!"

For what it's worth, read British GQ's editorial, "We Should Not Blame the Cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo For This Attack". Then read how it scrubbed mentions of Russell Brand from its website when Brand dared to point out that fashion label Hugo Boss (a major advertiser) once supplied uniforms to the SS.

Kunstler: The Clash of Civilizations

Kunstler: The Clash of Civilizations.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How to Make a Charpoy

I just found this blog, How to Make a Charpoy. It looks very informative.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Blog Maintenance in the New Year

Hattie, of Hattie's Web, plans to clean up her sidebar, removing links to inactive blogs. I might go through my own List of Links and see which blogs are inactive. As I commented at Hattie's Web, 2014 was for me a very busy, even hectic year, particularly the latter half. I haven't posted as much as I wanted to. This year I plan to devote more time to my writing, both on-line and off-, and that means more posts here, including accounts of my trips to Sacramento and Honolulu. Many anniversaries are coming up this year, and I want to feature more local history (e.g., this summer is the twentieth anniversary of the collapse and demolition of the Mamo Theater).

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The New Year

Four-ten p.m. as I write this. Very quiet. Not many firecrackers today here.

2 January update: IFC had a Portlandia marathon yesterday. I've heard of but never saw the show before. It has a Kids in the Hall quality to it.