Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Rise of Gothic Fantasy

I am surprised by the fairly recent massive rise of vampire, angel, magician, shapeshifting fiction in books, TV and movies.
Or was.
I think about it and I remember a quote from Arthur C. Clarke that said (paraphrased of course) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
I am reminded of that because in many ways our world has progressed into sufficiently advanced to
Wolfman, Ghost and  Vampire from SyFy
seem magical.
For instance, you could speak into a phone to make dinner reservations for tomorrow in Vienna and, depending if you phrased it correctly, it could do it.
Now, I can explain how the internet message travels to a name server, how it parses and finds the server in Vienna.  How it is traded at a transport hub for the trip from New York to Vienna (assuming the restaurant's server is in Vienna) and gets to the server.
But I have no idea how a voice command is parsed into code.  I have no idea how the reservation ap works in Vienna.  And I could take a healthy stab at how the Viennese Server is set up and loaded, but the smart phone construction might as well be Sumerian hieroglyphics.
Through this prism of impossible things happening every moment, the possibility of Vampires and Werewolves seems less out there.
I don't believe in them, but I get it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Go Pro Ad - You Could NOT Plan This Better

This is a Go Pro Camera ad that shows amazing footage of a giraffe waling from just in front and then underneath.
So Cool!

Dr. Kathrine Hayhoe; Climate Scientist, Evangelical Christian & My Hero

So we watched the first episode of "Years of Living Dangerously" last night (tivo'ed from Sunday).  It was, at first, a little squirm inducing, but then great.
Here is the thing.  It follows what is happening to the planet with Climate Change.  And it followed 3 very interesting story lines, cut and merged so as to keep everyone's attention.  In the first, Harrison Ford is looking at Indonesia's Deforestation tragedy (and I did not realize how much of an carbon sink peat was).  Second Thomas Friedman was investigating the impact of a severe drought on the origins of the Syrian Civil War. Finally Don Cheadle was visiting a West Texas town, devastated by drought, and  denying climate warning and saying it was the work of God.
The third story was - I was sure - going to be cringe-worthy, even though everyone was treated with respect.  The town's folk were portrayed as anti-scientist religious zealots and Don Cheadle was the black, LA atheist who knew better.  No one was going to come out of this well, I figured.

I was so wrong.  The leading expert in climate change in North West Texas (Lubbock at Texas Tech) is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a Climate Scientist and Evangelical Christian.  She explained, in simple terms, why climate change is man made.  And explained to Don Cheadle how easy that is to marry with her Christianity.
I paraphrase but, in essence, it was that God gave man this fabulous mind and the ability to understand, to impact and to decide right from wrong.  And it is her mind, a gift from God, that allows her to see that much of what we have been doing to the environment lately is wrong.
Don Cheadle's hope, expressed at the beginning of the show, was to find a way to get these two very different groups of people (LA Agnostics who believe in Climate Change, and West Texas Christians that don't) to talk.  Dr. Hayhoe defined a bridge of discussion.  She gave a speech to the city and spoke honestly and simply about what was happening, her background and how this affect the community.
After a church talk, Cheadle was discussing climate change with a big white rancher (Monte Best) and the conversation went something like this:
Monte Best - "It makes a lot more sense when someone who shares your background and your beliefs explains in a way that you understand.  It means that I can believe in Climate Change and want to do something about it and that doesn't mean ... (searching for words..)"
Don Cheadle - "... doesn't mean you have to vote for Barack Obama."
Monte Best - "Exactly."
Exactly.  Who we vote for doesn't stop us all from being in this together.  The episode is online (not sure if it by the story or the entire episode) - but if you have a good connection and an hour - it is a great show.
Don Chealde, Dr. Hayhoe and her husband, a Minister

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bringith to Me the Articles of Incorporation and Devotion (trademark pending)

(In which our hero mocks the Supreme Court, not Religion)
So, the Supreme Court has already found that Corporations have the Right of Free Speech.  And there is a law before the court to grant them Right of Worship – which would allow corporate entities to deny insurance access to female employees for any contraception as it violates their Right of Freedom of Religion.  Oddly enough, the contraception doesn’t have to actually cause abortions, just the “truly held belief that it does”.  Well kids, if that bad boy clears the court, Daddy wants a cut.
Hallelujah - Corporate Religion is the future.
And so I have devised been blessed with God’s plan in the form of the divine Miracle of the True Church of the Articles of Incorporation and Devotion (trademark pending).
The Christians defined their truth in the Second Book of the Bible as the New Testament.
The Latter Day Saints have defined their truth in the Third Book (or so) of the Bible as the Book of Mormon.
The True Church of the Articles of Incorporation and Devotion (hereafter referred to as TCAID (trademark pending)) has defined the Truth via a set of marks up and appendixes re: King James Bible (content use – public domain).  
Note: All references to gender are based on the Open Source King James Version and do not imply an endorsement of this obvious sexism.
TCAID Appendix ONE.

Insert into Genesis Chapter 9:17 (hereafter known as article of the Rainbow Covenant) item 9:17:a – 9:17:f

9:17:a And Noah took the covenant in good faith back to his household.  And yet his wife said untoith Noah, “A Rainbow?  We are in mud up to our asses, both literally and figuratively, and you get a postcard in the sky every now and then.  I have two monkeys that could negotiate a better deal than that.
9:17:a:1 And Donald Rumsfeld smiled and said, “I’m using that later.”
9:17:b For Noah’s wife was not a nice woman, and litigious.
9:17:c And the Lord God looked upon the mankind he had just blessed and saw the signs of remorse at a deal done badly.
9:17:d And the Lord God said, “Let me ensure the covenant, to which Noah so warmly received shall stand us in good stead the long years ahead.  And so I will incorporate into an LLC”
9:17:e And the LLC, the Limited Liability Corporation was created.  And the Lord God looked upon it an all was good.
9:18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.

Update Exodus 20 as noted (hereafter known as Yearly Goals and Metrics)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God, which haue brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage:
20:2:a And this shall be the contract for those of which I have saved.  This shall be considered as binding and self-renewing until canceled in writing 30 days before the annual renewal date – which shall be the date of birth or the nearest day of feast in the birth month (Note: This has been interrupted by later scholars as the first month of any New Year given the appalling state of record keeping in the Sinai at the time.  New Year being further defined as January 1 of common calendar.  Jewish, Chinese, Lunar and Zoorastiag Calendars are valued, but not used in this, purely record-keeping, context.)
3 Thou shalt haue no other Gods before me.
20:3:a And upon termination of services, any and all previous tithings, intellectual property and work product shall remain the property of Our Lord (LLC) covered under this covenant.**
4 Thou shalt not make vnto thee any grauen Image, or any likenesse of any thing that is in heauen aboue, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water vnder the earth.  (ie. Don’t screw off on company time)
5 Thou shalt not bow downe thy selfe to them, nor serue them: For I the Lord thy God am a iealous God, visiting the iniquitie of the fathers vpon the children, vnto the thirde and fourth generation of them that hate me: (ie. intellectual theft will be prosecuted)
6 And shewing mercy vnto thousands of them that loue mee, and keepe my Commandements.
20:6:a Except as noted in line 20:2:a above, and therein with 30-day’s notice
7 Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vaine: for the Lord will not holde him guiltlesse, that taketh his Name in vaine.
20:7:a Except when thy teamith lose in a bowl game.  Then Our Lord (LLC) gives you two free ones.
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keepe it holy.
9 Sixe dayes shalt thou labour, and doe all thy worke:
10 But the seuenth day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not doe any worke, thou, nor thy sonne, nor thy daughter, thy man seruant, nor thy mayd seruant, nor thy cattell, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in sixe dayes the Lord made heauen and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seuenth day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and halowed it ***
12  Honour thy father and thy mother [ADD] and thy managerial team at all levels [END ADD]: that thy dayes may bee long vpon the land, which the Lord thy God giueth thee.
20:12:a But expectith not a pension for Our Lord (LLC) is not madeith of money.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steale.
16 Thou shalt not beare false witnes against thy neighbour.
20:16:a Exceptith within the courts of man, which are not the vessels of truth.  Therein, a little white false witness mayest be forgiven if it advances thy good of the LLC, increased thy bonus or getest thy board of directors off the hot poker.
17 Thou shalt not couet thy neighbours house, thou shalt not couet thy neighbours wife, nor his man seruant, nor his maid seruant, nor his oxe, nor his asse, nor any thing that is thy neighbours.
20:17:a And thou shalt not point out the Board of Directors’ couet of thy things.  Thy trumpetting of same shall be known as “whistleblowing” and subject to immediate termination of thy covenants.
18 And all the people saw the thundrings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountaine smoking: and when the people saw it, they remooued, and stood a farre off.
19 And they saide vnto Moses, Speake thou with vs, and wee will heare: But let not God speake with vs, lest we die.
20 And Moses said vnto the people, Feare not: for God is come to prooue you, and that his feare may bee before your faces, that ye sinne not.
20:20:a And Moses said vnto the people, “And thy covenant will be bound for the period of a year and renewed annually.  But they works shall anyforth be subject to laws hereafter known as AT WILL.”
20:20:b And all was good.  And in thy period of ONE YEAR, Our Lord God LLC renewed thy covenant.  And the LLC covenant givith, consistent with the rate of CORE inflation minus housing, a great increase of 1.275% (1.35% for high potential candidates).
20:20:c And thus the children of Israel were hired.

**Sometimes referred to as “The Joseph Smith” codicil

*** Our Lord God LLC gives a day off, how many of your previous employers did that.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Last Year's Album
One of the cool things about the new world is that goofing around can be shared.  I love Spencer Day - I have his albums and a new one drops soon.  Btu here is covering Bruno Mars just for fun.  And he shares on YouTube.
Very fun.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Because My Readers Are Open Minded

So a lot of people read the blog.  I mean it seems like a lot to me.
I keep it up because it let's my friends and family  now what's going on with Ed and I (including family like the Nichols, Posey, Amiot, Neppl, and Deyoung's).  That group of people includes staunch liberals and staunch Republicans from the Left Cost, to the wrong coast and from the frozen Nort' to the burning sands of the desert.  And I love them all.
And that doesn't even include my friends (most of which are rather left-leaning as you would expect from a married gay guy from LA now review Off-Broadway in NYC).  But a few are conservative.  After all, Ed and I are in finance in New York.
Ok - enough inflating your egos.  I was reading about a new show we all have to see.  Now, I started reading the article (from NY Times) because it made fun of CNN (golden line: Now that CNN is on a cable news Rumspringa, running wild with the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, viewers interested in other news have a place to go.)
Anyway, it is a bizarre reality show as news or news as reality show.  It engages viewers by selecting 6 people from the reality show molds (the blond Republican girl from Texas, the showboating Republican Talk-Show host from the mid-west, the skateboarding hippy from Brooklyn, the lefty farmer from Washington and so forth) pairs them up and asks them to follow the path of illegal immigrants who died.
Apparently it arrives, unexpectedly but unsurprisingly, at the end with no solution.  The Open Borders guy doesn't want dead bodies that he sees in El Salvador on the streets of Brooklyn, the blond Republican Senate Aid doesn't know the solution now that deporting might end in death.
It starts Sunday night at 9PM on Al Jezera America - which is famous in our house as being the only 24 hour news show that actually shows news, rather than talking head espousing the latest stupid left or right theory on why the other is evil.
Seriously, check out this background of the cast and see if it doesn't make sense.

Friday, April 11, 2014

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Kurt Vonnegut died seven years ago today (probably a few days ago as you read this).  The world lost a twisted and brilliant man.  I have told you before my favorite Kurt Vonnegut tidbit.  But I happened upon this pearl of wisdom on a web site dedicated to Mr. Vonnegut tonight.
A character in Happy Birthday, Wanda June, named Looseleaf Harper wonders what happened while he was lost in the jungle in the 1960s for a few years:  "You know what gets me? How everybody says 'fuck' and 'shit' all the time. I used to be scared shitless if I'd say 'fuck' or 'shit' in public, by accident. Now everybody says 'fuck' and 'shit', 'fuck' and 'shit' all the time. Something very big must have happened while we were out of the country." 
I share it because we have lost the ability to argue or disagree intelligently without resorting to calling each other curse words.  And curse words are so limited now - the corse and vulgar has overtaken the pithy, much to society's detriment.  Apparently it is too much to be witty, when screaming out a car window at the driver in front of you.  But the obnoxious and ubiquitous use of "fuck" and "asshole" reduces us as a society.
Epithets today, at least in New York, are neither witty nor surprising.  The same 3 or 4 words roll off the tongue and ultimate function more as a comment on the sad state of life here that everything else.  New Yorkers are so always on the edge of anger that the least thing causes them to scream "fuck you" at the top of their lungs.  A raindrop, a dropped news paper, someone stepping in front of you in the doorway.  I have been here so long I am no longer surprised to hear 75+ year old women scream "fuck you" in the grocery store anymore.
It is exhaustingly banal.