Tuesday, October 31, 2017


It's good to know Shock Cinema is still around.


Phir Wahi Raat

Pink Lady - Wanted (Shimei Tehai)

Atop the Oricon Singles Chart this date in 1977.

"Wanted (Shimei Tehai)"

Licence IV - Viens boire un p'tit coup à la maison

Debby Boone, "You Light Up My Life."

Ye Olde Gag and Doodle

I found this by chance, and it's worth checking out.


"How to Cite a Tweet."

"Tainted Treats: Racism and the Rise of Big Candy."

"The Masters of Classic Indian Horror Are Back!"

"Die Katzenpfote" from the Glogauer Liederbuch

I heard this on the radio a couple of years ago. The announcer said the piece was translated as "The Cat's Paw."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Kunstler Essay in The American Conservative: "The Infinite Suburb is an Academic Joke."

One might find Kunstler to be an apologist for Russia or a Hillary-hater. But few are better at laying out the ways industrial civilization is dependent upon cheap energy, especially that derived from fossil fuels. (I should say, however, I know someone who not only installed solar panels on his house a while back but has now bought a slightly used Leaf electric car, which he charges at home--with the solar electricity. And he is thrilled with the car.)


Kunstler: Thar She Blows

Kunstler on the indictment of Manafort, et al.

Remember that Kunstler can't stand either Trump or Clinton, only in different ways.

Kunstler: Thar She Blows.

I’m obliged to file this blog before Robert Mueller’s office releases the name of the first winner in the Russian Election Meddling tribunal indictment lottery. Most of the betting is on Paul Manafort, the Swamp-creature-fixer-lobbyist-grifter who spent his summer vacation of 2016 managing Donald Trump’s election campaign.

Before that unfortunate summer internship, Manafort was just a shadier-than-average influence-peddler. It happened that many of his clients were bigshots in foreign lands — Mobuto Sese Seko (Congo), Jonas Savimbi (Angola), and Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), as well as interests in Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ukraine, and other world beauty spots. Also, most notably, Russia where the wicked Mr. Putin dwells and incessantly plots evil against our shining city of a republic.

Over the years, Manafort took large sums of money to the DC laundry room and then distributed bales of it around town to other lobbyist subcontractors, but he left quite a trail. And he overlooked the requirement to register as an agent for foreign interests. So, indicting him looks like a no-brainer. An entry-level US Attorney could, figuratively speaking, hitch him up to the rear bumper of a Chevy Yukon and drag him over five miles of broken Coke bottles.

If I am right, his indictment will provoke a five-column headline in The New York Times, Don Lemon will have a multiple orgasm on CNN tonight, and by Halloween the whole Manafort matter will be as forgotten as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the Las Vegas Country Music Massacre. That’s how we roll in Attention Deficit Nation. I suppose Mueller’s team next will want to charge fired National Security Advisor General Michael Flynn for failing to register as a foreign agent prior to a having conversation with the Russian ambassador — but mightn’t it be a little absurd to outlaw dialogue between incoming White House officials and foreign ambassadors who, after all, are here to have conversations with our people? That’ll be an interesting precedent. Why would other countries even bother to send an ambassador here if that’s our policy?

There’s an outside chance, of course — outside, say as far away as the planet Mars — that Mr. Mueller will just flop his whole hand on the table and indict President Trump. Wouldn’t that be a jolt? And it would instantly prompt a constitutional crisis, so my money says ain’t gonna happen.

It’s hard to see where it goes from there. The standard plot-line is to net these smaller fish and use them as bait to harpoon the Big White Whale. Give them immunity and let them sing their hearts out to avoid getting sent to ping-pong camp in the Poconos for a five-year stretch. Or else these two schnooks go bankrupt paying hotshot DC lawyers to get them off the hook. Does Mueller go after Donny Junior for having a conversation with a Russian lawyer? Or son-in-law Jared Kushner for flying to Russia and having meetings with Russians? Hey, does anyone remember that A) We’re not at war with Russia, and B) the soviet regime there folded up twenty-five years ago?

The casual observer can’t avoid dragging Hillary into this. It appears that, among other things, the Clinton Foundation received over a $100 million in “charitable donations” from various Russian companies and individuals over the years. Gosh, they’re a big-hearted people! Maybe it’s all the vodka they guzzle. No doubt, the newly-converted Russian capitalists were yearning to support “impact entrepreneurs” who are creating “new enterprises to generate both social impact and financial returns” by addressing market gaps in developing countries, or to “strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence” — as the Clinton Foundation described their activities.

More likely they wanted to grease their access to the sure-thing It’s-My-Turn Madam President. Except then she went and lost the election… all because of Russian meddling.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

VFW Pans Kid Rock's Bowl Show.

Monday, October 23, 2017

On a related note: A few years ago, I read a tweet by a locally prominent man in which he said that he hadn't been to the library in ages, and it didn't matter because we had Borders. And Borders would close in a few months. As much as I liked Borders, I know there is no substitute for the library.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Kunstler: The Future (Not)

Kunstler: The Future (Not)

I took myself to the new movie Blade Runner 2049 to see what kind of future the Hollywood dream-shop is serving up these days. It was an excellent illustration of the over-investments in technology with diminishing returns that are dragging us into collapse and of the attendant techno-narcissism that afflicts the supposedly thinking class in this society, who absolutely don’t get what this collapse is about. The more computer magic Hollywood drags into the picture, the less coherent their story-telling gets. Hollywood is collapsing, and it’s not just because of Harvey Weinstein’s antics.

Movies of this genre are really always more about the current moment than about the future, and Blade Runner 2049 is full of hilarious retro-anachronisms — things around us now which will probably not be in the future. The signature trope in many sci-fi dystopias of recent times is the assumed ever-presence of automobiles.[Emphasis mine.--P.Z.]

The original Mad Max was little more than an extended car chase — though apparently all that people remember about it is the desolate desert landscape and Mel Gibson’s leather jumpsuit. As the series wore on, both the vehicles and the staged chases became more spectacularly grandiose, until, in the latest edition, the movie was solely about Charlize Theron driving a truck. I always wondered where Mel got new air filters and radiator hoses, not to mention where he gassed up. In a world that broken, of course, there would be no supply and manufacturing chains.

So, of course, Blade Runner 2049 opens with a shot of the detective played by Ryan Gosling in his flying car, zooming over a landscape that looks more like a computer motherboard than actual earthly terrain. As the movie goes on, he gets in and out of his flying car more often than a San Fernando soccer mom on her daily rounds. That actually tells us something more significant than all the grim monotone trappings of the production design, namely, that we can’t imagine any kind of future — or any human society for that matter — that is not centered on cars.

But isn’t that exactly why we’ve invested so much hope and expectation (and public subsidies) in the activities of Elon Musk?* After all, the Master Wish in this culture of wishful thinking is the wish to be able to keep driving to Wal Mart forever. It’s the ultimate fantasy of a shallow “consumer” society. The people who deliver that way of life, and profit from it, are every bit as sincerely wishful about it as the underpaid and overfed schnooks moiling in the discount aisles. In the dark corners of so-called postmodern mythology, there really is no human life, or human future, without cars.

This points to the central fallacy of this Sci-fi genre: that technology can defeat nature and still exist. This is where our techno-narcissism comes in fast and furious. The Blade Runner movies take place in and around a Los Angeles filled with mega-structures pulsating with holographic advertisements. Where does the energy come from to construct all this stuff? Supposedly from something Mr. Musk dreams up that we haven’t heard about yet. Frankly, I don’t believe that such a miracle is in the offing.

The denizens of this 2049 Los Angeles are a rabble of ragged scavengers bolting down bowls of ramen in the never-ending drizzle. Apparently they have nothing to do, nothing useful or gainful, that is. So you can’t help wondering how this hypothetical economy supports such a population of no-accounts. I mean, we do know how our current economy supports the millions who are out of the work force, bolting their ramen between visits to the tattoo parlor: by giveaways based on pervasive accounting fraud backed by the now dwindling supply of oil that can be profitably extracted from the ground. But that won’t continue much longer. Know why? Because things that can’t go on, don’t.

One thing Blade Runner 2049 gets right in its retro-anachronistic borrowings from the present is the awesome joylessness of the culture. The artistry in this vision of the future is especially vivid in illuminating the absence of real artistry in contemporary “postmodern” American life. Sleek mechanical surfaces are everything, with no substance beneath the surface.

I walked out after two hours, and there was plenty more to go. It was too dreary, and too intellectually insulting to endure. I don’t blame Ryan Gosling, though. His look of doleful skepticism throughout the proceedings was perfect.

* For example, Futurism.com: "Elon Musk's Rocket Could Get You Anywhere on Earth in 60 Min. Here's What It Would Feel Like." --P.Z.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cut Rate

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The New York Times: Casting Light Upon Darkness.

Via one of coozledad's posts on NancyNall:

Of course, the original story linked to is from The New York Times, a paper coozledad has lately taken to bashing, including in his immediately preceding post [Warning: lot of cussing].

The Times is far from a perfect paper, but its reporting can be vital: "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades" by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, 5 Oct. 2017.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Friday, October 06, 2017

Thursday, October 05, 2017

"Gun Owners: What Gun Restrictions Would You Support?"

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Knelling is extremely respectful.

As for kneeling (presumably while the National Anthem is being played):

› Title 36 › Subtitle I › Part A › Chapter 3 › § 301

R.I.P. Tom Petty

Monday, October 02, 2017

The First of October

We celebrated my sister's birthday yesterday by going to Kona in the afternoon and eating at Outback Steakhouse with my aunt who lives up the hill. It was a long but fun day, and we came home about ten. As I was getting ready for bed, I turned on the TV and saw the news about a shooting in Las Vegas: two dead, several injured. This morning, the count was fifty-eight dead, over 500 injured.