Friday, September 30, 2016

The Trump Two Step

Congress is a Pack of Jackasses Who Are Mad Obama's Veto Was Overturned by Congress

So, Congress passed a law that would "allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia". This on the assumption (as yet unproven) that the Saudi Government supported the terrorists who flew the buildings into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not just people in Saudi Arabia- but the government.  And yes, we had an inquiry into that under Bush the Younger and nothing was found to implicate the government.

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page - Obama Haters! - makes fun of Congress for the stupid act.
But there is a current law that foreign governments cannot be sued unless that country is listed as "State sponsor of Terrorism". So the law congress wrote a new law - and the Obama administration fought against the law - which says that if a country supported terrorism in any way even if it wasn't a terrorist act when it started or they didn't know terrorist would use the funds, they could be sued in US Court.
Yes, Congress blames Obama for their own actions.

The President (like Bush the Younger before him) said there were two problems with this.

First, there is no proof the Saudi Government sponsored the terrorists - despite investigations and assumptions that the government might have known.

Second, this law would open the United States and our troops to being sued for acts we do.

So he veto'ed the legislation. (link) Joining the President in condemning this legislation this were military leaders of both parties and major companies operating in foreign countries (link)

Japan notes the idiocy of it all.
The only thing Congress enjoys more than screwing over the President is grandstanding with 9/11 families before an election - so they overrode the Veto and passed the law anyway. In the US, a Presidential Veto can be overridden by a 2/3s majority - and it passed almost unanimously in the Senate (97 - 1) and strongly in the House of Representatives (348-77). So plenty of dumb Democrats (lead by Israel's Senator Chuck Schumer) voted for this.

Well... it turns out President Obama was right. Suddenly the leaders of both the House and Senate have been informed that drone attacks fall under their standard as written and the pilots can be sued.

AND anywhere we have military or espionage activities and Congress hasn't declared War (which is everywhere we have activities except Afghanistan) our military can be sured. (link)

Now, Congress is - seriously they are saying this - bitching because Obama didn't participate in writing the legislation. This is after the SAME CONGRESSMEN bitched that Obama WAS attempting to put his spin on the pending legislation. (link)

As I said, Jackasses.
Bloomberg Editorial.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Some Things Are Just For Me... And Some Are Just For My Little Badger Eddie

(from the WSJ)

The Michigan Wolverines Are Back. Ugh.

A victory by Wisconsin would thankfully put an end to the insufferable swagger that Mr. Khakipants has restored in Ann Arbor.

ead coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines leads his team onto th
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines leads his team onto the field before a game on September 10. PHOTO: DAVE REGINEK/GETTY IMAGES
Sept. 28, 2016 7:01 p.m. ET
There are a lot of reasons I want—no, I need—my Wisconsin Badgers to defeat the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines in football Saturday. The most obvious reason is that I graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, unequivocally regarded as the planet’s finest institution of higher learning and bratwurst (sorry, you Harvard/Stanford losers). A victory in Ann Arbor would make Wisconsin a perfect 5-0, and two weeks later, in Madison, when they crush Ohio State and its tetchy coach, Urban Meyer, the Badgers will have a clear track to a spot in college football’s daffy new playoff system.
But the main reason I need Wisconsin to beat Michigan is simple:
I can’t stand Michigan. I’m sorry.
I want to be clear: I mean the college, not the state. I love the state of Michigan. And Michigan State. Sparty, you guys are cool. And nice hat.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Well, if you happen to be in Reykjavik Tonight....

If you're in Reykjavik tonight between 10PM and 11PM, the street lights, businesses lights and many homes will be dark.

The city is turning off the street lights to better view the Northern Lights, which are supposed to be fantastic tonight.

Just saying.

(Icelandic Northern Lights)

This is right downtown on the waterfront - a Viking Ship Sculpture

From a Hill above town at the Perlen
Someday I'll go to see them.  But I hate the cold and I tend to like long ass Icelandic days to hike during.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Thought I Couldn't Do It, Didn't You?

The first Presidential Debate was last night, and I know what you are thinking. You're not going to be able to hold back, are you Scott?

You are incorrect, I will let shit like this pass right by - like water off a duck's ass.

One Thing that Reminds Me of Home Everytime

If you have ever worked in Los Angeles (or much of California), there are those days in summer when someone brings in baskets of fruit for everyone to take home.

The home tree has made too many Oranges, or Apricots, or Grapes, or Grapefruit, or lemons, or - the best of all worlds - too many purple plums.

I love purple plums. I love them right off the tree with the juice dripping down your face while you eat them.

They are hard to get in New York. Not plums - they are available, but the big juicy purple plums that make you feel like a kid.  The kind you have to eat over the sink.

I had one today and ti put a huge ass smile on my face.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wow - this is me....

I am having such anxiety I can hardly think about it.

story link

And though I didn't want them to win, I never felt the way I do now when it was Bush The Younger of McCain or Mittens.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Falling Water in Pennsylvania

So now we get to why we went to Pennsylvania in the first place. A tour of Falling Water.

If you don't know, Falling Water is a super famous Frank Lloyd Wright house. I've seen pictures and read about it. Ed and I both love architecture tours, so we went last week after Ed's marathon work at the US Open.

It is spectacular. I'll describe as you see it. PS - You are only allowed outside pictures, but the insdie was great.

This is the view as you walk up to the tour. It is a series of levels, many cantilevered over the stream and waterfall that the family loved. They came to camp here in the 1910s-30s before commissioning the home. It is designed to blend into nature. (see the bridge to the lower right)

Oddly, Wright was not doing well (as an architect) before this house. It was the depression and hard to make a name for yourself. He was in his 60s when this was built, and the commissions poured in. He worked until he was 93.

This is the view from the bridge of the house floating above the water. There was a deck for indoor / outdoor space off the front room and private decks off all 4 bedrooms.

Note the steps to the water. They enter in the glass enclosed front room (where you see flowers in the center of the picture). There is a glass greenhouse enclosure inside there that can be fully opened to let a cool breeze travel up from the stream.

it was built in 1937 before air-conditioning was a thing.

This is the famous view. The rock and red windows form a trunk for the house and offset the cantilever. You can hear the waterfall even with low water (like it is in the picture).  It was great.

This is the view with the world's best husband in the shot. No further explanation needed.

Nero Fiddles

I thought "Nero Fiddles" was better than "Jesus Wept".

Our congress does nothing and it is infuriating. This pubic whining passes for "action".

 Above we have the story of Congress and the EpiPen. The Epi-Pen is a lifesaving device for people with deadly allergies.

Now the CEO is the daughter of a US Senator. In the five years she has taken over, she raised the price of the life -saving device from $100 to $600. It's out of patent, but Congress (where her father sits) and the FDA will not approve any generics.

Her mother used her position at the National Associate of State Boards of Education to require schools across America to purchase and stock EpiPens - where her daughter was the CEO of the only company that makes the EpiPens AND that raised their prices 6 fold (USA Today LINK).

The company is doing fine, by the by. Five executives have made over $300 Million dollars EACH during this.

During the Congressional "grilling" CEO Heather Bresch didn't even have the good grace to appear contrite.

The company said they only made $50 per per. But then, after pressure, they released a second "generic" for only $300.

So, there isn't even a hand-slap for this outrage. She has to sit and be yelled at for 1 afternoon. For that she makes $5,769.23 an hour (not including her multimillion dollar bonus). Or $96 a minute for smirking at us.

Congress yelled at the CEO of Wells Fargo this week too.  The company signed up consumers for extra products and charged them. Now they were fined (not by Congress but by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Comptroller of the US and the City of Los Angeles) $185 Million for this (link). There profits rose $20,000 Million (or $20 billion).

Congress brought them in and yelled at him. The CEO took "full responsibility" but isn't quitting, reducing his pay nor firing any senior managers.

The Republicans in Congress are taking action here. They have introduced legislation to disband the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. really.

So I get hatred at Congress and the way things are. If Trump promised to waterboard the Wells Fargo CEO, the Mylan CEO and that shit Martin Shkreli - I'd vote for him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Ed and I were in Pittsburgh and this set of pictures is of the city.

First is "The Strip" - part of town where the old train yards were and the wholesale district was.  It is slowly changing to more hipster part of town with bars and lofts.

This is the Phoneix Brewery that was expanded and made into a set of lofts - very cool.

This is the old wholesale Fruit Mart. Check out the front and then see how long the building is.

This is ed's cousin Martha and her husband. We all had a great dinner and a lot of fun.

Finally, we went up an old funicular. There are a couple that go to the tops of hills and you get an amazing view of Pittsburgh.

The fountain is where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River combine to make the Ohio River. The view was stupendous.

I'm Checking Out of The Election Discussion

So, it's time for me to check out of the election discussion. I do not understand how people can vote for Trump. I understand the desire for change. I understand the need to protest. I understand they might hate Hillary.

However I cannot understand how the vote to put Donald Trump (no name calling or anything) in charge of our country, economy and military.

And I have two ways of expressing it.  The good way....

And the way I really feel....

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Harrisburg PA

In our trip back from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we stopped in Harrisburg for a wander about and to stretch our legs.

Harrisburg is the PA State Capital and has an interesting Capital area.
The State Capital with a bright green cupola - designed in Beaux Arts style with lots of art.
We could not go in, because there was a wedding planed - but we peaked in and the interior is beautiful

The statue to the right of the main entrance.

The back of the Capital looking down State Street.  Cool.

These are winged griffons stop the pillars.  Very deco.
The back end - where the long street bridge flanked by Assyrian / Deco Griffons looks like it belongs in a European Capital for a Victory parade, not a 1906 designed capital of the Keystone state, but whatever. It was nifty to look at.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Our Visit to the National Aviary (and Happy)

Happy is a penguin.  We got tickets to the "penguin encounter" at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.  It was totally cool.
Happy gives me a groom, Happy walking around, Ed "petting" /feeling Happy's wings.
Now you know I love penguins - so this was fun. Our guide told us all about the penguin. Happy is a young adult - just past his juvenile molt. He has the braying sound that gives them their name in Africa - the Jackass Penguin, while we call them the African Penguin or the Black Footed Penguin.

Anyway, the are at risk in the wild, so the Aviary is part of the network of zoos that breeds for diversity and Happy is one of the six breed to a pair in Pittsburgh.

We also walked through multiple Aviaries, which is not Ed's thing, but we still have a wonderful time.  It is a quick and fun trip.
The 4 bottom birds were int he tropical Aviary. The bottom left was kind of pushy huge and a little off-putting. Up top,  some great views of an Andean Condor.

Trump and the Ten Commandments and Southern Pennslyvania

So driving through Southern Pennsylvania this week-end, I was astounded by the number of houses wherein the Ten Commandments are displayed.  They mainly have the same look, as though provided by the local church, or an excellent door-to-door 10 Commandment salesmen.

All are self explanatory except the middle rightmost. It seems that Jesus' team was playing against Calvary and he scored a touchdown against them, which might have resulted in a Calvary loss.

Along this same root, often at the same houses, are signs for Trump near and far.

I do not understand.

Here are the 10 Commandments and let's look at the one Trump is ignoring over and over.

Specifically he has broken (and bosted of breaking):

#7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.  He is married three times, which is adultery in and of itself for many. And he had an affair with wife #2 (Marla Maples) while married to wife #1 (Ivana).

#8. Thou shalt not steal. He has stolen people's work via the judicious use of bankruptcy and bragged about it. He also steals partial work by use of the courts to renounce and not pay his bills.

#9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. He has lied about Obama's Birthplace. Now he lies about lying about Obama's birthplace. He has lied about his stance on various issues - including the Iraq War, the Libyan War, minimum wage, tax breaks, and Clinton's policies. He lies about Clinton's stance on the 2nd amendment.

I could make a stretch argument for more, but let's stick with the easy ones.

So, it doesn't make sense to me that these people who claim to hold God's Commandments in such high regard are publicly advocating for a person who ignores them for the highest office. Particularly when facing someone who is, by all accounts, more supportive of these commandments (although she also has trouble with #9: Thou shalt not bear false witness).

Ed and I Are Fine

Nincompoopery has been silent because Ed and I were in Pittsburgh this week-end.  If you heard about the New York blast - we are fine.

We live far from where it happened (although it happened on the block where I teach semi-regularly).

More posting later.  But a picture first.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Congrats to the NCAA

For those not in the US, the NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It is the governing body of our College and University Athletic Departments - which are a MASSIVE part of the US Higher Education system (both in participation, school body cohesion and money making).

This week the NCAA pulled 7 championship events out of North Carolina for the 2016 / 2017 school year system. This is due to HB2. Now, North Carolina Republicans want to pretend this is a bathroom rights bill - but it is vastly more - and the NCAA (pronounced NC2A or NC-doubleA) explains how much more very simply below (points 1 & 3).

If you want to know what was pulled: the list follows.  If you want to know how this effects North Carolina, well Basketball is just a small step below Religion in North Carolina (link link link).

Don't Bash Him For Good Ideas!

Hey - a stopped clock is right twice a day.

When Trump offers up a reasonable idea - agree. If you have the Democratic and Republican Candidates for President agreeing - then maybe MAYBE something can happen....
Trump's proposal to require maternity leave may have issues, but embrace it.  He's the first Official Republican Presidential Candidate to advocate this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why Hating Something is So Powerful - And Why Donald Trump Does Great With It

Donald Trump expresses the frustration - bordering on hatred - of lots and lots of things.

This isn't (necessarily) a horrible thing. He hates a lot of things that I agree with. He hates the war in Iraq. He hates terrorists. He hates the stupidity of our political system.

Any hate can come from a build up of anger and frustration, particularly in a democracy where "we the people" are no longer represented.

So I understand the people that are attracted to Donald Trump, he gives a huge voice to those of us all who miss it.

It doesn't work for me in totality, because his hatred spreads too far against too many. Being the recipient of such hate for being gay; that galloping and expanding list of things and people he encourages hatred of, it frightens me.

And I think that is why he does badly with non-traditional women, gays, "elites", Mexicans, blacks, Muslims and so many others. We have all been on the receiving end of hate - and we know that it can quickly move from frustration to anger to harm. This is so much more true for blacks, Muslims and hispanics, where the "they" can be identified easily and singled out as "others".

Doing the frustrating work of "fixing" things is hard normally, and in our current political environment, impossible. Our asshole representatives can't even pass a simple clean measure to fight Zika for goodness sake! Zika! Who campaigns FOR Zika? But they want to add defunding Planned Parenthood and legislate making sure Confederate Flags can fly at National Cemeteries. Just stop adding shit and pass funding to fight Zika you dumbasses!

See.  See how easy hate is.

I think that frustration, building to hate, will get Donald Trump elected this year.

Met Two Pulitzer Prize Winners - and only Embarrassed Myself Once!

Michael Cristofer - nicest guy in the world!~
At the US Open Men's Finals - I met two Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights, and only embarrassed myself once.

I did fine with Lin Manuel Miranda - author of Hamilton. I wanted to meet him and Eddie introduced me.  He was charming and very pleasant. I didn't say anything too stupid of effusive. You would have all been proud.

On the other hand, I met Michael Cristofer from Mr. Robot (head of Evil Corp). We spoke for quite a while, as he was fascinating.

He indulged me as we discussed the show, his role, how the writer director shot the entire series more in a movie format than episodic (Sam Esmail shot it all at once in each location to save time and allow him to write and direct it all).  I will tell you he was fascinating - and yes, I did ask for a picture like a nerd.

During our talk he said he was writing a new play in Chicago. It is based on an old boxer that actually killed a man (accidently) in the ring. Emile Griffith was gay and went in and out of the closet many times - never found peace. Mr. Cristofer had written the libretto for an Opera based on his life a few years ago, and is writing / directing a play about the story now. ( note: I looked it up.  It is called Man In The Ring and is running in Chicago Sept 15th to Oct 16.)

Suddenly, I remembered the write up of the Opera (Champion) in the New York Times a year or so ago.  And then I realized that Mr. Cristofer was much more a renaissance man than I knew. We left and I immediately looked his work up.

Ah - yes.  He is a like a superstar. Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for writing The Shadow Box! American Theater Award for Best American Play for Amazing Grace. He won a Director's Guild Award for Gia. A Golden Globe for screen writing.

I (and Eddie) went back over and spoke to him again later - how could one not - and he was more humble, polite and charming than such an accomplished man has any right to be.  I am listing his imdb bio because I was so freaking impressed. I loved talking to him and totally fan-boy'ed out after that.  No one else impressed me so much in the box (including Kevin Spacey or Damien Lewis).


Michael Cristofer was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and an Antoinette Perry "Tony" Award for the Broadway production of his play, The Shadow Box. Other plays include Breaking Up (Primary Stages), ICE, (Manhattan Theatre Club); Black Angel, (Circle Repertory Company); The Lady and the Clarinet starring Stockard Channing, and Amazing Grace starring Marsha Mason which received the American Theater Critics Award for best American play. Mr. Cristofer's film work includes the screenplays for The Shadow Box directed by Paul Newman (Golden Globe Award, Emmy nomination), Falling In Love, with Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro, The Witches of Eastwick with Jack Nicholson, The Bonfire of the Vanities directed by Brian DePalma,, Breaking Up starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek, Georgia O'Keeffe (Writers Guild Award) with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons and Casanova starring Heath Ledger. His directing credits include Gia, for HBO Pictures starring Angelina Jolie, Mercedes Ruehl and Faye Dunaway which was nominated for 5 Emmies and for which he won a Director's Guild Award. He next directed Body Shots for New Line Cinema and Original Sin starring Antonio Banderas. For eight years he worked as co-artistic director of River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, N.Y., where he wrote stage adaptations of the films Love Me Or Leave Me and the legendary Casablanca, directed Joanne Woodward in his own adaptation of Ibsen's Ghosts and produced the American premier of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women - a production which later moved to Off-Broadway. His most recent works for the theater are in workshop at the Actor's Studio where he is a member. After a fifteen year hiatus, Mr. Cristofer has returned to his acting career appearing in Romeo and Juliet (NY Shakespeare Festival), Trumpery by Peter Parnell, Three Sisters (Williamstown Theater), Body of Water with Christine Lahti, and the acclaimed Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge with Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson. He appeared as the infamous Truxton Spangler in the AMC series Rubicon and in The Other Woman with Natalie Portman. He created the role of Gus in Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual... at the Public Theater and starred in Stephen Belber's Don't Go Gentle at MCC Theater. He was recently seen in the NBC series, Smash, American Horror Story and Showtime's Ray Donovan.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Republican Love for Putin Update 1

see below

Kykuit's Creek Garden

Jane and I visited Kykuit, the family home of the John D. Rockefeller's (and final home to Nelson and Happy Rockefeller). We took a tour that spent quite a bit of time in different gardens of the home. The original designer went wild and developed a set of outdoor "rooms" as gardens.  These pictures are from my favorite, the "creek" garden.
The hilltop was pretty barren on building the house. All the dirt and plants were brought in.
Today this would be done more traditionally Japanese - since this is what we associate these gardens with, but in 1908 when it was designed and built, the Japanese or Chinese Garden's hadn't been widely known.

(select to enlarge)

Nelson Rockefeller collected modern art - this is a Niogochi which he put here in the 1960s.  It works perfectly.

One of John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s children (Abby) collected Japanese Art and placed this here.  It is a wind chime that I actually like.

This is Jane outside "the grotto", the starting point of the creek. It was very cool (both in beauty and weather).

This is the backside of "the grotto" and you can see how it is hidden from everything else.