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2018-01-07 20:56 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 202 references
[Comments enabled]  

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room

Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day's useless energy spent

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one;
Lonely man cries for love and has none

New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colours from our sight
Red is grey is yellow white
But we decide which is right

And which is an illusion

Rest in peace Ray Thomas.

One by one the men and women who made music I listened to in my youth fade away.....

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2018-01-05 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 175 references
[Comments enabled]  

So now Trump's laaaawwwwyerrrrr has sent demand letters to both Bannon and the publisher of the upcoming book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", which is due out next week, insisting that the publisher not distribute the work, apologize and retract anything already distributed and more.

To that I say: Good luck Mr. Trump and Mr. Harder (the lawyer.)

Non-disparagement clauses are pretty common among private business dealings and while somewhat controversial many people sign 'em without much complaint.  They're quite dangerous for the signing party if you ever want to speak about the other party for any reason at all, because "disparagement" isn't a legally-defined term that has bright boundaries; for this reason the only way to remain completely clear of a problem is to keep your mouth shut entirely.

But in a political context there's an entirely-different problem, because while you can certainly waive your constitutional rights in a private business context whether you can do so in a political context when working for a political campaign, candidate or elected official is another matter entirely.  This is likely a matter of first impression for the courts and I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel that the argument holds up in that context.  Further, as I'm sure Trump's attorney is aware, winning a libel lawsuit in this context is going to be nearly impossible because Trump is now the most-public of public figures and it's nearly impossible to libel one -- you must have actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth to lose one of those suits (a belief you're right, no matter how well-founded, is almost-always fatal to someone coming after you on those grounds.)

My 30-second "not a lawyer but I've bought plenty of legal advice over the years" view is that Trump's counsel is blowing smoke and while he can sue (anyone can sue for literally anything) I suspect that such a suit is the last thing Trump really wants to file for several reasons, not the least of which is discovery -- and the very high probability that he loses on a motion to dismiss.

One thing is certain though -- all the threats will dramatically boost sales of the book and the publisher has now said it's coming -- today -- instead of as expected next Tuesday.

Time to grab some of this along with a nice adult beverage.....

smiley

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2017-12-28 13:36 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 1093 references
[Comments enabled]  

I saw The Last Jedi on opening night.

I enjoyed the film.  But with that said, let me offer the following: Disney has ruined the franchise.

Oh, don't get me wrong -- the cinematography was excellent.  The use of CGI unobtrusive and convincing.  Lighting, sound, right up the line where you expect it to be.

But then the troubles started, and they're all related to the story.

Disney has infused this with just too much bull**** -- and layered plenty of SJW crap on top.

If you haven't seen it yet don't read any further, as there are a lot of spoilers in here.  Then again, there's not really much to spoil when it comes to the story, so I'm not sorry -- not one bit.

Let me preface most of this by saying that when I go see a science fiction film these days I expect rank violations of the Laws of Physics.  Artificial gravity within ships, for example, so we don't all need magnetic boots or a vessel that rotates to produce centrifugal force.  Force fields (not the least of which are necessary for navigational deflectors, lest a grain of sand in space puncture your nice ship and let all the air out!)  Drive systems we can't really explain, but which have plausible explanations that are at least consistent within the story (hyperdrives, for example.)

In short I suspend disbelief when I walk into the theater -- unless it's a movie like Gravity, where the setting of the film in the present day (with our limitations) means that I get assaulted within the first 20 minutes by physical impossibilities being presented as major plotlines, recognize them, and it pisses me off for the next two hours straight.  That's what I get for having a decent understanding of orbital mechanics.

But let's just go after a few in The Last Jedi that are simple gratuitous lines of crap -- and which if Disney had paid any attention to anything were easily overcome without being so damned stupid as to puncture the suspension of disbelief bubble not in the theater, but upon later reflection.

First, Leia gets blown out into space when her ship's bridge is hit by missiles.  So do a lot of other people, and they all die as you'd expect someone to when a ship gets hit by a missile, it blows up, their ship now has a big hole in it and the contents of that compartment, including the atmosphere and occupants, are ejected into space.  Leia doesn't die -- she's not crisped by the very large explosion of said missile (really?), not hit by any of the debris from said explosion (REALLY?), and doesn't freeze to death in the zero-atmosphere and near-zero-temperature of deep space.  Instead, although unconscious, enough of her mental acuity survives to use The Force -- despite never being trained in its use whatsoever in any previous film -- to move her physical body (which, I remind you, was ejected at a high rate of velocity out of said ship) back to the ship, back through the hole in the destroyed bridge and to the door.

Ok, we're already into theater of the absurd so I hope you don't mind the next bit of idiocy when the crew of said ship opens that very door which is visibly open to deep space behind her as the entire front of the bridge has been blown to bits by the missile strike and not only do the control systems on said door not have any safeties on them to prevent that abjectly suicidal act somehow committing this act does not immediately depressurize the rest of the ship and suck everyone inside who are in street clothes, starting with the fool who hit the controls at the door, out into space to die.  There is no airlock door behind her, in short, that is closed before that door to the corridor is opened.  What the actual ****?  Why do we need doors, windows and similar structure on said ship at all?

Next, we have the bombers.  Bombers that are very large ships (since they're full of bombs) but are both very slow and without any apparent shielding or material defensive capability -- and thus are easily blown up by little Tie Fighters that are a hundredth of their size and displacement.  Against exactly what were those bombers designed to be used -- Ewok colonies?  Ok, we'll leave that alone for a minute; one bomber survives, sort of, albeit severely damaged with the entire crew apparently dead save one Asian chick inside in the bomb bay with a manual pickle switch that is rattling around on a catwalk above her.  Said bomb bay door is open to deep space over the target with said Asian chick inside, minus any exposure protection.  No spacesuit, no helmet, nothing.  Despite this she does not immediately die (although in zero atmosphere since the bay doors are open to deep space) and there is no apparent force field either, never mind the ship being grievously crippled.

That would be bad enough but then in a miraculous last-ditch act the bomb pickle switch falls off the catwalk into her hand, she pickles the bombs and gravity drops them out of their racks exhibiting the expected V^2 gravity acceleration curve toward the target.  In deep space.  Said bombs hit the dreadnought and blow it up, along with the bomber and Asian chick.  Yes, I buy artificial gravity inside a spaceship for the convenience of the crew but not in deep space beyond said ship's walls, which means that such "bombs", had the writers had a single ****ing lick of sense, would have had to include some means of imparting acceleration to the projectiles (like a small rocket on the back of each, etc.)  Nope -- these are clearly iron bombs and fall from their racks unaided all the way to their target.  Fall.  In space.  Yeah.  Pardon my giggles at the abject stupidity of Disney's screenwriters.

If you watched the earlier Star Wars movies (you know, the ones where someone actually had a ****ing clue when they wrote the scripts) you'll notice that when ships come into a landing bay in space there is an obvious force field encircling the entrance containing the atmosphere in said bay and preventing all the people (and things) inside from being instantly sucked into space and dying of exposure.

If that's not bad enough the rebel fleet, being chased by the First Order and now having lost its bombers and pretty much all of its fighters as well has multiple ships running away in formation but low on fuel.  Oh, we actually have fuel that can run out?  I'm impressed that someone within Disney remembered that ships need fuel!  But as they run out of fuel they magically stop and come into range of the First Order's weapons -- and are destroyed.  Yes, they just stop -- in deep space.  I see Disney's writers have never considered that a spaceship is not a car -- or a Disney bus -- and upon running out of fuel will continue on its present course and speed effectively forever, or at least until it gets caught in something's gravity well or hits another object, likely long after everyone inside has run out of oxygen and frozen to death.

The idiocy doesn't stop there as we must consider the command ship (which has the most fuel.)  It exactly matches the First Order's Star Destroyer velocity -- to the literal meter/second -- and thus can neither escape or be overtaken until its fuel runs out, which thus forms a convenient "you're going to all die" deadline.  In other words the writers inserted an utterly idiotic plot device that has no reasonable explanation in any universe (Star Wars or otherwise) but is used merely to find a way to add a day or so to the plotline for other mindless diversions -- while killing nearly all of the rebels much like a raccoon slaughters your chickens in the middle of the night.

There are dozens of ways to get where they were going in this regard but instead of actually deploying an IQ greater than my shoe size the writers chose a story line that was stupid enough to make one throw up in their seat.

Then we have an ersatz-commander, next in line if you will after the previous commander got blown up, who happens to be a hippy-haired woman.  Said "commanding officer" has no actual plan at all and no apparent combat experience of any sort; what she originally intends to do is effectively abandon ship, putting the people on unarmed, defenseless small craft and thus get everyone on board killed.  She dismisses the guy who actually led blowing up the dreadnought (albeit with horrific losses) when he points this out -- although he doesn't appear to have a plan either, so what's his excuse?  He says "nuts" to that crap and leads a mutiny but the hippy-haired chick ultimately wins -- not on superior decision making (fighter-jockey, in an act of utter witless stupidity doesn't even bother tossing hippy-hair in the brig!) but, well, just 'cause Leia wasn't quite done yet.

Then, after watching most of those who hippy-hair orders into unarmed and defenseless ships die one laser-blast at a time our mealy-brained "newfound hippy-hair general" has the brilliant idea of using the warp drive (which she can only use once due to lack of fuel) as a weapon and points the ship at the Star Destroyer, engaging the drive and cutting through it, blowing herself (and it) to bits.  Nice suicide, lady.

The cinematics of this little special effect are awesome -- it's arguably the best special effect sequence in the entire film.

But the wanton and outrageous destruction of the entire previous seven movies plotlines, never mind the permanent destruction of all future Star Wars movie plotlines, was lost on the writers who spent all of 15 seconds straining their collective 30 IQ points before committing this piece of crap to the silver screen.

There is no shortage of people willing to die on either side of this conflict (whether ordered to do so or not) and there is also no shortage of hyperdrive-capable ships.  Therefore it makes utterly no sense, if the physics allow you to use a hyperdrive as a kamakazi weapon, to not have done so in Episodes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII, never mind Rogue One.  Oh, you need no actual pilots either although there are plenty of them willing to die since you can program a droid (or autopilot) to drive said ship in this fashion.  Indeed it is strongly hinted at (but not stated) in Episode IV (yes, the original Star Wars) that you can't use a hyperdrive like this; attempting a hyperspace jump without having a clean solution from the computer first means you die -- for nothing.

Alderaan, for example, had a perfectly-good defense (despite being a peaceful planet with no weapons) against the original Death Star -- all they had to do was hyperdrive a cargo vessel into the damn thing before it got within range to blast them!

Finally, as if there hasn't been enough damage done to the previous movies and both their plots and characters there's Chewbacca.  He kills, guts, skins and cooks a Porg (we don't actually see him do those four things, but one must assume it when a nicely-cooked Porg appears in his hand) and then balks at actually eating it when another live Porg looks at him forlornly. Really?  Where the **** did Chewie from Episode IV go -- you know, the Wookie that is reputed to rip the arms off his opponents in a board game when he loses?

I won't get into the entire Luke and Rey thing, or how Snope buys the farm.  Arrogance is nothing new in the Star Wars universe and it has killed plenty of bad guys (and more than a few good guys) but here again the opportunities for real plot and character development were squandered.  Yes, the CGI was good, yes, the "gotcha" minutes were nice, but there was plenty of character line to be run, plot to be maintained and more all flushed down the toilet of convenience and Disney's Hanna-Montana style script editing.

Or none in the name of expedience, as the case may be (and I suspect was), at least not among anyone who actually watched and remembered more than 30 seconds of any of the previous films!

Finally we got treated to the SJW appearance of "anti-war" crap among the rebels just as we're about to see an actual hero do an actual heroic and selfless thing -- and save a bunch of lives.  The only such act, I might add, in the entire ****ing film.  Oh, and that act of vagina-laden sabotage against her own side didn't merit a much-deserved and immediate summary execution by the rest of the rebels when she has the temerity to return to the decimated base immediately after she intentionally let the First Order blow it up!

I could keep going... but really?  What's the point.

Force Awakens was an obviously-overdone reboot of Episode IV.  Last Jedi managed to keep most of that sort of flashback-cringe stuff from appearing in my mind from Episode V this time around (there were a couple of moments) but the irreconcilable backward damage they did to the Star Wars universe story of science fiction and plot grossly overshadowed that, albeit with enough delay that I managed to get out of the theater before it really started to sink in.

Disney will keep this crap up as long as people keep buying tickets, and if the box office is any indication on this one it'll be lapped up like Obamacare health insurance premium price hikes.

I'm not sorry I saw it for the cinematography and CGI, but that which I grew up with is gone, forever buried in the world of Disney SJW horse**** and script writers who I'd pour beer upon were I to ever get the opportunity.

George Lucas should commit seppuku on national television for allowing this to happen to his brainchild as should Mark Hamill for not walking off the set in disgust long before the first screening.  Then again I'm sure the money was good, so there you have it as they've both cemented their places in my mind as feckless, rich **********s unworthy of a decent burial.

May you rest in pieces, Luke and may both Hamill and Lucas choke on their dinner.  It would be a fitting end.

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2017-08-08 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 468 references
[Comments enabled]  

There's been some attention paid to all the "screen time" that our kids get these days -- and that this "screen time" makes us less, rather than more, happy.

Ever think about it folks?

You should.

And then you should remove Facepig, Messenger and all the other social apps from your phone.

Why?

Think about it folks.  Look at Facepig and beyond all the ads, sponsored clickbait garbage (which I've written on repeatedly) and such what's on there?

Someone doing something fantastic, right?  Someone you know on a cruise.  Another person winning a race. A third person having a beer. A fourth on top of a mountain somewhere.  A fifth, sixth and seventh posting 500 pictures of their cute baby or child (who by the way most-certainly could not have consented to their visage being permanently stolen by Zucker****er).

Think about the image this presents to you as what life is supposed to be.

It's all smiles.

Now I want you to contemplate something: Have you ever seen someone take a **** on Star Trek - or any other TV show?  You've got eight Star Wars movies, and yet I don't recall one person having to stop and take a crap.  The only time you do see that is when it's a joke as part of the plotline -- like in Jurassic Park with the lawyer.

Now let's expand that a bit.

You've never seen anyone actually do laundry.  Nor have you seen someone do the dishes, or even unload the dishwasher.  You've never seen them sit in traffic for an hour commuting to or from work.

Why not? Because if you actually put someone's daily life on television you'd never watch it; 95% of it is the normal daily grind -- we get up, we make a coffee, we ****, shower and shave, we get in the car to go to work and listen to music while stuck in traffic, we buy groceries, etc.

What do you see on Facepig, Snapass and similar?  The 1%, all the time, which inexorably leads you believe that your life should be that 1%, all the time.

But it can't be.

Nobody lives like that.

Even a billionaire who has no care in the world for making another nickel, ever, and has a building full of paid servants still has to ****, shower and shave.  The kid in High School has to sit in class and then do his or her homework.  Even the retiree doesn't get to live like that; he's gotta go to the doctor and get poked here and there, cook dinner, etc.

So what are you doing when you are continually looking at Facepig or Snapping away?  You're engaged in someone else's -- and your own -- fantasy.  A fantasy that is guaranteed to make you miserable because nobody can live a life that consists of even five percent of the projected thing you are viewing.

The fact is that nobody takes a crap on Star Trek because nobody would watch the show -- or the movie -- if they did.  Yet if we ever do master faster-than-light space travel the people on board that ship are still going to spend 90% of their time doing things that amount to "****, shower and shave."

They do it now on the ISS, they did it on Apollo, in Gemini and Mercury and they will in the future just like you do now.

Zucker****er likes to talk about bringing people together and other similar tripe. It's crap.  In fact it's worse than crap, it's a knowing lie.  Zuckerpig knows that even if there was no clickbait, fake deals and other garbage on the site that you'd still be made miserable simply by being there because the "face" you see is one you cannot possibly live.  It therefore cannot bring you joy -- it can only bring you tears to some degree.

Don't tell me about how it helps you "keep up" with your 457 "friends".  You don't have 457 friends.  In fact, I'm willing to bet that you can count the number of people who you can legitimately call "friend" on your fingers.

If you assert that's not true then I will make a declaratory statement in reply: None of those people are actually your friends -- they're all acquaintances, every single one of them.

I recently heard that a record number of kids committed suicide last year in our local High School.  I'm willing to wager 100% of them spent a huge amount of time with their faces buried in a hand-held fantasy machine that made them miserable while stealing a record of everything they did to try to make a profit off that same misery.

Those kids are dead; their misery has ended but the profit still went in Zuckerpig's pocket.

Folks, there's no value here for you in any of these "systems."  It's all net negative and it gets even worse when the data is mined off and sold as I've pointed out repeatedly.  We put these little spying machines in our pockets but how many people will stick them on silent or ignore them when they ring say much less toss 'em in "Airplane" mode?

It wasn't that long ago that if someone wanted to talk with you they called your house and if you were home you could talk to them.  But only one person at a time could do so in said house because there was only one phone line.  If there were five people in your family and one of them was on the phone, the other four could not make or receive a call.  If you were out getting groceries or even just mowing the lawn there were no voicemails either; the phone just rang and nobody answered it.  There were no text messages, Facepig posts or anything else of the sort.  If you were separated by more than a few tens of miles of distance the long-distance charges made sitting on the phone for an hour at a time punitively expensive and nobody could afford it.  Your only reasonable answer to a desire to say more than a few sentences for a birthday or other major life event was to sit down and write an actual letter and stick a stamp on it, then wait days for delivery and a reply.  You only did it on any sort of regular basis if the person you were corresponding with was an actual true friend or more; acquaintances, even those you call "family", you spoke with for 5 minutes on the phone on a birthday or anniversary, and perhaps you saw them over the holidays for dinner when one or the other of you traveled.  Most people had two or three such correspondents and no more simply because you had to invest a material amount of time to write said letters and there were only a few people who were worth it.

The number of people worth it in your life has not changed folks; instead interaction has been cheapened to the point of worthlessness.

How many posts do you think I've made on my Facepig timeline this year?

Three.

One talking about Facepig's spammy ads and two more being single-sentence replies to someone else's post.

Let me count that again for you folks: THREE.

Yeah, I've made a handful of other comments, but in terms of timeline posts -- it's three and only one of substance.  The other two were the prototypical 2 minute pre-cellular phone call.

I'm not trying to expand my reach on the Internet for monetary gain.  If I was then yes, it would make some sense for me to post things on Internet sites; that's called advertising.  But I'm not.

I have zero interest in posting my "personal triumphs" and gloating about them on social media.  My ego is simply not that large.  If you're interested in knowing what I'm doing and whether I happen to take satisfaction in some accomplishment then you probably know how to get ahold of me personally and we can share that.  It might actually mean something to both of us in that case.

More to the point if you wish to call me friend then you won't expect me to find your events, triumphs or whatever on Facepig.  You'll think enough of me to call, recognizing that if I don't answer immediately it's not because I don't like you but because I might be having dinner, mowing the lawn or in the middle of one of the three Ss of life -- and if you choose to leave a message I'll call you back when I can devote some time to us.  Ditto with a text; I might reply right away, but if not it's as likely to be because I'm under my car changing the oil or cleaning the gutters on the house as anything else.  You know, part of that daily ****, shower and shave routine.

Do I look here and there at Facepig? Yes.  But what I see is what I talk about above.  Is it worth my "engagement" in the general sense?  No; I recognize that not one bit of that will ever translate into changing the necessity of my life which, just like yours no matter how rich or poor you are revolves around ****, shower and shave.

But what said "engagement" will do, if I embrace it, is make me less-happy and more-miserable.

It must, because by its nature it portrays a fantasy that nobody can actually live.  Zucker****er knew this originally and in fact had "girl rating" pages on his Haaaarrrrrvvvaaarrrddd site which were exactly as "nice" as you might expect they'd be.  You don't really think he forgot that, do you, nor their popularity with his "friends" -- right?  (BTW what's his wife think about that?  I bet a few billion dollars makes her not care and that tells me everything I need to know about her.)

No, what Zucker****er did was turn your increased misery and reduced happiness into billions of dollars for him.  The founders of Snap and all the other so-called "social media" have done likewise.  They don't even give a **** if the misery their "engagement" contributes to causes nine teens to kill themselves in one semester at a given local school.  What's even worse is that they've done all of that in concert with people like John Legere, the brash CEO of T-Mobile who, along with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, charge you in both money and slower performance, never mine crappier battery life, to deliver ads for the sole purpose of capitalizing on your decreased happiness.  Any of those carriers could put a stop to a large part of it in an afternoon by putting in place a switch you can turn on in your account that blocks all common advertising domains.

This would not be a "net neutrality" violation since you would choose to turn it on, not them.

But none have, and none will.

They won't because misery is profitable.

People who are truly happy don't need to spend on "aspirational" things.  They certainly don't need $1,000 iFrauds to make them feel good.  Miserable people are another matter; that smiling face with a nice big fat $1,000 iFraudy phone is a "message" they can try to get you to bite on, with the hope that it might make you smile -- at least until you see someone on a cruise, at which point you're back to being unhappy because you need to ****, shower and shave while Jane is on Facepig with a $5,000 vacation smile and a fat Mai Tai in her hand.

None of these apps are on my phone folks.  If I want to look at Facepig I'll do it on a browser, which I can close when done so it can't root around in my device and steal information on whatever else I'm doing.  I don't do "messenger", Snap or any of those others for the same reason.

You shouldn't either, and if you stop doing all of them I predict you will smile more.

Oh, and you'll also pay less -- in both misery and money.

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