Barefoot Bandit boy, I’ve always felt kind of fond of you. As criminals go, you’ve got style and brains. You reimbursed your victims and you gave $100 to my favorite vet to help animals. But this is just dumbass stupid. Your mother smoked and drank herself to death on government money. Who, other than you, would want to bring her back to life? (H/T CB)
And it’s the same-old-same-old in the world of U.S. cops, too. So it’s okay to train a dog to potentially “rip the face off” any innocent person — infant, sleeping woman, hapless bystander — as long as it’s for “officer safety”?
Getting away from all that evil … Years ago, webmaster Oliver sent me a the catalog of the Museum of Bad Art. Smiling my way through it the other day, I wondered if the place still existed. Yes! And it’s growing. Here’s a portion of its fabulous collection, each piece worth as much as $6.50. And for those who simply must have these works prominently displayed on their coffee tables, the original catalog has now been supplemented by a collection of their masterworks.
Today it’s been exactly two months since I had home Internet. Four months to go and I confess that when Comcast comes back on August 20, I plan to binge my little heart out streaming Amazon shows, forum browsing, and even indulging in a whole bunch of disgusting news reading. I’ll surf until my brain turns soggy. When November comes, I’ll follow 16 live blogs of every dismal, depressing election result and love every second of it.
That said, I generally haven’t missed connectedness that much and am looking forward to a summer of getting lots of small things done on the house (no big projects this year) because I’m not chained to my computer.
There’ve been some inconvenient moments and a few minor aggravations, but mostly it’s simply been no big deal. And those house debts I need to pay down are getting paid just that much faster without that extra $40 going to Comcast every month.
The few PITAs have been unexpected ones. Last week when I was sick, I blogged less because I didn’t have the oomph to drag myself to the library and didn’t want to pollute the other patrons. If I’d had home ‘Net, I’d likely have blogged much more than usual because I’d be drowning my sorrows in cyberspace.
The library itself has sometimes been … interesting. On one of the four days its open, it hosts thundering herds of children. Not exactly an aid to concentration. And there are a few grownups whose company I could do without. There’s one man — he just left a moment ago as I write this, so the memory of him is vivid — who must pour a full bottle of cheap cologne over himself every morning. Now, I am not somebody who has scent allergies or even a particularly sensitive sense of smell. I rarely even notice people’s perfumes. But when this man is 20 feet away from me, as he was just now browsing a shelf, I’m not only assaulted by the reek of him, but can literally taste his chemicals with every breath I take. Worse, he likes to use the library computer terminal that sits just over the wall of my carrel. The one-and-only carrel for plugging in a laptop.
I swear, whatever he’s putting on himself must be outlawed by treaties against chemical warfare. Thank heaven I only encounter him about once a week.
Still, it’s mostly pleasant here in my little corner of the library. The librarians are nice when they talk with me and even nicer for leaving me alone. This is a good time.
But it’ll be nice as summer fades and fall darkness closes in, to warm myself with home Internet again. And enjoy the quiet and the aroma of wet dog and hot tea.
But shy hermit that he is, Joel neglects to mention one more personally important event that took place on April 19 some undeclared number of years ago. But within Joel’s own lifetime (which you can consider a hint).
Fess up, Joel. Or don’t, as the case may be. But I will say I personally consider it one of the few unqualified good things that happened on that date.
You recall DiFi’s insane and impossible encryption bill? Well, the second draft is out and it’s gotten even worse. These loons actually believe if you simply order someone to do the impossible, it must be done.
Being so right and so wrong at the same time. Yes, it’s getting scary out there. Yes, it’s amazing how fast it’s happening. But no, it’s not caused by the mysterious collapse of Francis Fukuyama-style “liberalism” nor is it because the ordinary processes of civilization are too commonplace and boring.
And speaking of the “just say no” crowd, here’s a flash story that would have them climbing the walls. Sent to me by a friend who’d never touch the stuff but defends the right of others to their choices.
One more reason why Nancy Reagan always reminded us “just say no” to drugs. OTOH, stoned sister does have the right idea about zombie-fighting tools, even if her priorities aren’t straight on the family pets. :-)
It was a good weekend. Saturday I declared war on the Dreaded Knotweed. I did not obey the Geneva convention.
While berserking and crusading against the Vile Vegetable, I hatched a scheme that might take care of my two problems at once: knotweed and hazardous trash — using the trash as part — only part — of an elaborate barrier against the weed.
And speaking of selfies, I assume this study (which concludes — wow, whodathunkit? — that narcissists are more likely to post and crave feedback on selfies) must have been funded by government. Not ours, fortunately.
And speaking of governments: who’s named in the Panama Papers? Named so far, we should add. The silence on U.S.-based clients of Mossack Fonseca is like waiting for that second shoe to drop.
OTOH, the astute Megan McArdle says that what the papers reveal so far is a positive reflection on capitalism.
Ronald T. Richie. He was the 911 caller who got the perfectly innocent John Crawford SWATted and killed. Maybe he’ll finally pay a price. Maybe.
Sheesh. This article on why women should v*te for women makes me not ever want to v*te for a woman again. Well, not that I ever gave a crap about the sex of a candidate. And not that I’d ever v*te for a woman if the woman were Hillary. Or Dianne. Or … well, most of them.
I’ll be doing a little extra blogging this week because I’ve been doing physical labor (drywalling) and need a break from it. Also because … Panama Papers.
I hadn’t heard of the scandal until Monday when jc2k linked to it in comments. By then it was already 24 hours old (ancient in Internet Time) and had been thoroughly clucked over by all the usual suspects.
The collective bottom line seems not only to be, “OMG, gov-o-crats are hiding ill-gotten gains offshore!” (this is a shock to anybody?) but, “Offshore privacy should be done away with!”
Um … yeah. Hasn’t offshore privacy already been curbed a time or three? And don’t gangsters and gov-o-crats and their cronies (but I repeat myself) always find some way to hide ill-gotten gains? And don’t ordinary, innocent people with assets that need to be protected from the above also take advantage of the “loopholes” that are inevitably left for the kleptocrats?
The notion that you can do away with financial hidey-holes — especially financial hidey-holes both controlled and utilized by people who are in charge of the laws and regulations governing said hidey-holes is as tidily moralistic as the notion that you can do away with drugs, guns, liquor, or whatever other bugaboo the moral moment might focus on. And just as untidy in practice.
Most people use offshore corporations for legitimate purposes — like the legitimate need to protect honest gains and assets from thieves in governments.
But that won’t do, will it? So now we’ll see yet another big moral crusade against offshore tax shelters.
Laws, regulations, treaties, and those trendy not-a-treaty-but-just-like-one-only-simpler-to-impose trade agreements will be changed. Everybody will say, “Good job! We’ve foiled the eeeevil plans of kleptocrats and organized crimesters. Decency shall now reign forevermore.” And after a few hiccups, thievery and corruption will go on as usual using some slightly different form of hidey-hole. Preserving wealth will merely become that much harder for those who lack the government connections or the will to break the latest round of laws. (Which reminds me of this study on human sacrifice and social hierarchy that came out this week.)
Bigger questions I haven’t heard anybody asking yet. How to catch and whack the kleptocrats without busting the legitimate privacy of hundreds of thousands of decent human beings (actual, old-fashioned investigation, perhaps — the following of specific suspicions, specific evidence, specific leads)? Why wasn’t Mossack Fonseca, that Panamanian law firm, doing more to protect its clients’ records, since privacy is supposed to be at the core of its business? And how many other ordinary people are at risk of disclosure from similar hacks at similar firms?
But this … once again takes “small-space living” to crazy extremes. Only in San Francisco. Or New York City. Or London. Or other places that have become hellholes for normal people.
Kevin Wilmeth comments on my TZP “constitutional carry” piece and gets it exactly right: “The only downside I can see, honestly, is that celebrating a good thing for what it is, isn’t going to help the sort of prag mindset that still can’t distinguish between long-term strategy and true pre-emptive surrender.”