Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting Closer to Home

As Debbie already mentioned, we finally got the art on the walls, which is usually what makes where ever we are "home." This apartment has been different than our others; it's taking us a lot longer to settle in. Probably because we were so pissed off at the condition of the apartment when we moved in. The kitchen sink wasn't even hooked up to the sewer line and was dumping water into the cabinet. We were very close to walking away from the place when I came back from New Hampshire. This is how landlords treat low-income people. We don't even deserve a superficial cleaning or properly functioning plumbing. I remember much the same attitude when I worked in apartment maintenance back in the early 1980's: Don't bother to fix or clean anything because Those People will just trash the place anyway. Nice to see nothing has changed.

So the place will probably never completely feel like home; more like an extended-stay hotel room that we're trapped in for the next year or so. Anyway, I need to finish up some cleaning and organizing, then take some photos of the place. I realized this morning that I still haven't sorted and uploaded the pictures from Michigan (the Wiklanski reunion and Debbie's niece's graduation open house), so maybe I'll get to that as well. And the homework for tax class. And figuring out something for dinner. Or maybe just a long nap. We'll see.

Best Star Trek ads ever:

These are from Germany, of course. No American ad agency could ever be this clever. The phrase at the end translates to, "They are among us!" There are several more on YouTube, but these two were my favorites.

In news that I am sure will shock everyone, our government is lying to us:

"The Government is lying about the amount of debt. It is engaging in Enron accounting," said Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist at Boston University and co-author of The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know about America's Economic Future.

Any private company that did accounting the way the government does would be fined and the principles jailed. Meanwhile, it's nice to know that a chunk of that debt the government is lying to us about is going to teach African men how to wash their dicks:

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "stimulus spending."

On the economic front, U.S. household net worth is falling. And those same people watching as their assets continue to shrink in value are supposed to somehow feel sorry for the morons on Wall Street because their 10's of billions in profits have shrunk to mere billions. Big frackin' boohoo.

On the tech front, in yet-another example of Just Not Getting It, Intel is threatening to sue anyone who uses the recently-released HDCP crack. HDCP was supposed to "plug the analog hole" between your Blu-ray DVD player and your TV. Of course, any system that is built into millions of devices will be trivial to hack for someone with the appropriate skills, but even the brains at Intel can't seem to grasp that. So now HDCP goes the way of Digital Audio and DVD encryption. Obviously, none of this addresses the human analog hole in the form of eyes and ears; pointing a consumer-level video camera at my 42" flat screen would likely yield a copy at least as good as a standard DVD. Anyone attempting to plug my "analog hole" is going to have a fight on their hands.

In the medical field, we have a new super-bug that is resistant to all antibiotics, and a brain amoeba that is spreading through organ transplants. In any race between medical science and the little microscopic beasties that feed on "higher" forms of life, always bet on the wee ones. Sure; doctors may win here and there, or for a time. But long-term, we lose.

Peak Oil, when it has been acknowledged at all in the media, is usually relegated to the "doomer porn" category. Sometimes that is with good reason; there is certainly a strong current of the old fashioned "grab the shotgun, the canned beans, and the wife and head for the hills" storyline if you poke around in certain internet neighborhoods. Maybe it's just because I've been spending time on John Michael Greer's blog which is making me more aware, but Peak Oil seems to be working its way up the respectability food chain; for example, a recent article in Forbes that just lays out the bare facts without any of the usual assertions that all will be well because technology will race to our rescue.

So after all that good news, I want to finish with this. Keep in mind this kid is ten years old:

When I was ten, I spent my time mastering Pong and trying to find new and innovative ways to kill myself on my bicycle. (My cousin Greg probably remembers some of the "awesome" ideas we came up with when we got bored over the summer.)

I should probably cut this off and do something constructive.

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