Monday, April 17, 2023

Greater Than The Summary of Its Parts

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 Just to start your Monday morning off right, here's a super-convenient compressed version of current (and real) news stories. Oh sure, I could post links to the stories themselves but would it really make a difference? I think not.

Friday, April 14, 2023

From The Vault: The Carroll and Shtick Approach

Greetings all! I didn't want the week to wrap up without making a post, but I honestly have very little to talk about owing to my ongoing news embargo and a sedentary lifestyle. Which has been even more sedentary this week because of a pinched nerve in my back that spontaneously erupted in a moment of high frustration when working on my taxes. Which immediately raises two important questions: first, can I deduct a tube of Ben-Gay as a legitimate tax-related expense and second, why the hell hasn't Ben-Gay either changed its potentially offensive name or hired Dylan Mulvaney as a spokesperson?

I asked A.I. to generate a picture of a man with back pain but forgot to specify "not horrifying."

When not cursing the IRS, TurboTax, and whatever dark forces summoned them into being, I've been working on the landscaping around here, continuing to stick random plants in the ground in hopes that they'll grow into something Kathy would approve of. This involves a large element of random chance because I still don't know what I'm doing out there, but I'm assured that spending time outdoors communing with nature is very good for a person's mental health if they're unaware of the risk of skin cancer.

But back to today's post. I feel weird about just showing up and waving at everyone, so I'm also inviting you to join me for a trip down memory lame. Because Trump is currently embroiled in a civil court action in which writer E. Jean Carroll is renewing her accusations that Trump raped her many, many years ago. Which makes it feel appropriate for us to look back a few years to see what I had to say about the situation...


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It's been a remarkably consistent week for President Trump: he was going to obliterate Iran, then it didn't happen. He was going to have ICE raids on illegals all over the country, then it didn't happen. And now he's been accused of rape by a woman selling a book about how awful men are, and we're pretty damn sure it didn't happen either.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll who, in her spare time, conducts twice-weekly walking tours disparaging "The Most Hideous Men of New York City," claims that in "1975 or 1976," Trump was overcome with lust for her while they shared a dressing room in the Bergdorf Goodman department store. Both were fully clothed at the time (she never even dropped her handbag), but Carroll claims that Trump managed to hold her against a wall while simultaneously unzipping his fly and pulling down her tights, after which he "thrust his penis halfway - or completely, I'm not certain - inside me." After which she pushed him aside, ran from the dressing room, and cleverly escaped on a slow-moving escalator without alerting anyone at the store or mentioning it in public for a quarter century.

Ms. Carroll, the author of the coincidentally just-released "What Do We Need Men For?", denies Donald Trump's claim that she's lying to sell more books and states categorically that she's telling the absolute truth and has only come forward to revitalize her career as a fading porn star and stripper. No, wait - that was Stormy Daniels, the only woman on the "gentleman's club" circuit who has to give 75¢ in change to anyone who tucks a dollar bill in her g-string.

Ms. Carroll says that she has no intention of filing charges against President Trump, because she "would find it disrespectful to the women who are down on the border who are being raped around the clock down there without any protection. It would just be disrespectful."

So as a famous and celebrated advice columnist, she would tell women not to report being raped in order to show respect to other women who are getting raped?! We should definitely get into the "advice columnist" racket, as apparently the entry requirements are pretty much nonexistent.

Rape is a very serious matter, but the sad epidemic of rape taking place at our southern border could be greatly reduced by closing the borders as Trump wants to do, rather than having liberals keep them wide open as an enticing lure to women and children...and their rapists.

And we've been told, repeatedly, that every woman who cries rape needs to be believed without question. Sadly, the circus of wild unsubstantiated lies at the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings has made that an exceedingly foolish thing to do. For which actual rape victims who are disbelieved can thank political hatchet-wielders like Gloria Allred, Michael Avenatti, Senate Democrats and, we're betting, E. Jean Carroll.

Monday, April 3, 2023

I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha

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It's been a week or so since I've posted anything, mostly because life has simultaneously been busy and boring. I'm not sure how that works either, but trust me on this. So I thought that I'd simply post whatever the heck I've got bouncing through my head at the moment. I was going to call it "Deep Thoughts with Stilton" but then realized that none of my thoughts are particularly deep.

By the way, the AI self-portrait above is in no way representative of how I really look. I certainly weigh too much but don't think I'm quite as inflated as this guy. I asked the computer for "portly" and was instead given "rotund." 

AI is a funny thing, which is perhaps why Elon Musk and other high-tech types are currently warning the world to put further development on immediate hold before it destroys us all. Which is a real possibility, albeit probably not in the way that most of us would have expected. Social media and the (ahem) "news" are all guided by algorithms now. Algorithms designed to ramp up our fears and anger against others and addict us to getting more and more upsetting information. Which is why our country is so divided and angry.

But AI puts those algorithms on steroids (currently growing in what has been called a double-exponential curve) and will be able to tell each and every one of us exactly the most convincing arguments to embrace full-fledged paranoia and enmity of others while developing a heroin-level dependence on whatever the computers (or whoever's running the computers) wants to tell us.  Bonus: any information - audio, video, photo, document, or text - that can be transmitted electronically can be faked easily, instantly, and (quite soon) perfectly. 

So slowing things down on AI development is probably a very good idea...and also the definition of the genie already being out of the cybernetic bottle. 


On what can't exactly be called the bright side,  Artificial Intelligence could be brought to its imaginary knees by Nonexistent Intelligence if our national power grid fails owing to a natural solar flare (we just recently missed a huge one that would have done the job) or an EMP attack from anyone who can explode a nuke in the stratosphere above our country. We would instantly be thrown back into 1880's technology - no electricity, no gas for cars, no computers, no water systems, no food delivery, no communication, etc. Our nation would go "Lord of the Flies" in about two weeks.

Happily, our grid can be "hardened" for what amounts to flyspeck money in Washington...only no one is making it happen. As a case in point, here's a cartoon and editorial I did about this very subject some 12 years ago. 

Actor Dennis Quaid has just made a documentary about all of this that you can sign up to watch at the website for "Grid Down, Power Up."  Do it now before the story can only be told around campfires!


In actual good news, I've recently been reading about the poor biologically-female athletes who keep getting crushed in competition against biologically-male "female" athletes and aren't happy about it.  Competing against their hormonally-augmented opponents gives them a tremendous handicap. Which is what inspired me to create a perfect solution for the problem: allow all biological females to compete in the Special Olympics so they can finally start winning medals again.

Granted, this would pretty much be taking a dump on special needs kids, but isn't it still the same reasoning that the Left is already making about biological females? You're welcome, America!


And say, how about that indictment of Donald Trump? How much of a pisser is that? He's accused of commiting a misdemeanor (falsifying a business record) that has already expired under the statute of limitations. Only the rogue District Attorney has bumped up the charge by claiming that Trump's payment of $130k in hush money to Stormy "Slutzilla" Daniels became an illegal campaign donation, and categorizing it as a "legal expense" therefore becomes (egad!) a criminal act and felony.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, who in the same election paid over one million dollars for the creation of the Steele Dossier, which was definitely a contribution to her campaign, and which was reported (in her falsified records) as "legal expenses." 

So however you look at this mess, Hillary is at least eight times more guilty than Trump and she's not being charged with diddly-squat. Probably because DA Alvin Bragg doesn't want to commit Arkancide.


I've been working on my taxes and, as is the case almost every year, I'm gaining new insights into why some people end up in bell towers with sniper rifles. I'm a smart-ish guy, college education, successful businessman, and I have a pricey computer program to help me compute my relatively simple taxes. So why is it still frigging impossible?!

One reason is that the tax forms aren't written by Earthlings, or at least not by any with even a rudimentary understanding of English.  A recent breaking point of mine came when reading this question from the IRS (which I'm paraphrasing):

Are you an American or someone who lived outside of the country for more than half of 2022? 
[   ] Yes
[   ] No

Well, I'm an American so I should answer "yes," right? Because if I answer "no" I'll probably lose my citizenship and be deported. Seriously, how am I supposed to answer this?! Would it have killed them to replace "or" with "and/or" so I didn't have to play guessing games in which the prize for getting the answer wrong is a federal fine?! Bastards.


This past week, a friend of mine posted that he'd stripped the fingerprints from one finger while zesting a lemon on a grater - and it hurt. And because real friends reach out to help in times of trouble, I sent him this inspirational poster. Now we can all feel his pain.


Speaking of pain, he segued deftly, I've been in less of it recently. Something changed on the one-year anniversary of losing Kathy. I'm certainly not missing her any less, but the grief has become more bearable. I'm not entirely sure why, in part because I don't want to burst the bubble with too much introspection. 

I still haven't made much progress in re-engaging with the world, though on Tuesday I'm going to attend a meeting of our local gardening club. This will hopefully provide a bit of social interaction while gathering advice on how to take care of Kathy's landscaping. 

When she was very ill indeed, she still told me that she thought we needed some Bloomstruck Hydrangea and made me write that down. And this week I found a couple of them at Home Depot! So on Tuesday, I'll give someone at garden club a wonderful straight line when I ask where I should stick them.