Monday, August 29, 2016

End of the Summer on the Charles River - 2016

I don't know when the gondoliers and guitar players appeared on the Charles River. The Yelp reviews claim to go back a decade but there aren't that many of them and I just hadn't noticed until I bicycled through this Sunday. Maybe it was the sunset, maybe it was the last weekend in August.


The guitar player was not Dar Williams and was not playing this song:

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Final Five on the Blame It on Rio Olympics

In no particular order, here are a few thoughts as the rain falls on the 2016 Rio Olympics closing ceremony on my TV in the background.

1. Brazil's story, a negotiated settlement that may or may not have been at gunpoint, is just as fishy as Ryan Lochte's. I like Ryan's touch of explaining his original over-exaggeration by saying that he was "still intoxicated" from his wild night of partying when he did the first interview that got the snowball rowing. Personally, I think if you ask your cabbie to stop someplace with a bathroom you can use, and he doesn't, it's on the cabbie. And that first interviewer may have some explaining to do.

2. Volleyball is more interesting to watch than basketball, even when played in the sand by mid-aged women in bikinis. Handball is a stupid sport. I was disappointed to miss the equestrian events but not to miss golf and tennis. Balance beam in women's gymnastics requires the most courage.

3. Those GE ads were annoying. I'll bet Rick marries the Asian-American chick and one or both of them ends up running GE, while Sarah becomes an embittered old cat lady after learning she makes less than Earl. If I have to see another ad or trailer for Bridget Jones's Baby. I am going to vote for Trump.

4. Listening to the Brazilian announcers, every time Team U.S.A. won a medal, Estados Unidos da America won one too. We'd better watch out for Tostadas Unix/DOS (if that's the correct translation to American English) or America will be toast.

5. Who won these Olympic Games? Not the U.S. if you adjust for population. In the large country division (100 million or greater), the U.S. got the most gold per capita but was second to Russia in total medals, Japan gets the bronze. In the medium-sized country division (more than 20 million but less 100 million), the gold per capita goes to Great Britain, silver to France, and bronze to Canada. In the small country division (less than 20 million but at least 10 medals), Jamaica got by far the most gold per capita, but was second to New Zealand for total medals, with Denmark getting the bronze. I'd show my math, but that would be boring.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Four Day Methodist Revival Meeting Is Over

By that I mean the Democratic National Convention, which ended Thursday night. Hillary Clinton's speech contained the theme:
My mother, Dorothy, ... made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
Her Vice President candidate Tim Kaine said this shorter version:
Hillary Clinton and I ... share this basic belief, it’s simple. Do all the good you can and serve one another.
Methodist minister William Shilled worked the full version of the old Methodist saying into his benediction:
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
That's enough to make one tired thinking of all the work that may be involved. However, unlike 8 years ago where "Yes we can" was to be as judged by Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, today "all the good you can" will likely be judged by Republicans Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

For Hillary, Death by a Thousand Email Cuts

The Hillary Clinton campaign is facing another email scandal, with emails just released on WikiLeaks showing that the ostensibly-neutral Democratic National Committee was secretly helping Hillary in her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders. Well, it was't really a secret. But now it's been proved beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Of course, you can argue that there is nothing wrong with Democrats in the party apparatus working to prevent their party from being hijacked by the Socialist Bernie Sanders. Indeed, you might even tout how much better a job they did than the RNC apparatus in its efforts to stop Donald Trump. But the Democrats need Bernie's voters in the race against Trump, so that argument won't be made.

WikiLeaks, I've always thought, was the real reason Hillary used her own email server when she was Secretary of State. The small "s" socialists behind that project of getting like-minded hackers and low level IT people to steal emails and other electronic documents would have loved to have gotten all of Hillary's emails. That would have been one hell of a document dump.

Hillary can't make that defense either - that she trusted some small independent contractor more than all the resources of the big federal government. But we aren't reading her emails on WikiLeaks. I'll bet Debbie Wasserman Schulz is wishing the DNC had used a reliable private email server.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

No Joy in Trumpville, Melania Is Caught Out

Say it isn't so! When Melania Trump stepped up to the podium Monday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, her speech appeared to hit it out of the park. But, as she rounded the bases, the ball which had been headed for the center-right field bleachers just seemed to drop. Caught out, for plagiarism.

And not just plagiarizing anyone, but the wife of the putative antichrist, Michelle Obama. It would not have been a worse gaffe if she had cribbed directly from her husband's opponent Hillary Clinton.

Melania (2016):
"From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
Michelle (2008):
"And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and to pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children -- and all children in this nation -- to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
The Trump campaign issued a statement that only compounds the gaffe:
"In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania's immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
Now I agree that it is Team Trump and not Melania that deserves the blame. They gave her a bad bat, and she just swung away. But aren't they, perhaps the same clueless hack writers that botched the speech, offering the excuse that Melania's thinking was in part inspired by and reflects the thinking of Michelle Obama?
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
Michelle Obama's laughing, and all the Clintons shout;
but there is no joy in Trumpville — Melania was caught out.
Yes, I plagiarized that from Ernest Thayer.

Tonight, the convention will be hearing from children of Donald Trump's first and second marriages, Donald Trump, Jr. and Tiffany Trump. I hope for their sake that Donald Junior and Tiffany have fact checkers working overtime on their speeches. Talk about coming up to bat in a pressure situation.

Update: The Trump campaign hacks did get wise and started suggesting that they had in fact cribbed from My Little Pony, which is so much better, politically, than from Michelle Obama.

Update: The Lazy Daily Strumpet Farmer reports that the copying happened because Melania and Michelle shared the same speechwriter, Navin R. Johnson, The Jerk!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Feed the Birds! Trumppence Gets a Comeuppance

Donald Trump has devalued his own currency by picking Indiana Govenor Mike Pence as his running mate and then selecting this as their new campaign logo:



One can imagine the meeting with the graphic designer. Don't use a simple TP because that implies toilet paper, do something artistic. A lot of people on the internet are suggesting that the T is being inserted into the P in a manner that is definitely NSFW (not safe for work). Or, less obscene and more scatalogical, it's a closeup of a man making use of the room where the toilet paper is kept.

To me it seems to vaguely desecrate the U.S. Flag. And what's with the 7 stripes, one for each of the original seven states in the Confederated Sates of America?

If you look closely, might there be a subliminal hammer and sickle message to communists, with a T for the hammer and a P for the sickle:



Looking past the logo, I'm seeing Trumppence and wanting to feed the birds:



This may not end well for Trumppence:



Update: Perhaps noticing a subliminal hammer and sickle was not so crazy: In her speech at the convention, Melania Trump described herself as "born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then communist country in Central Europe." Could it be that at the heart of the Trump campaign is a small, beautiful communist?