Oct 23

Hall Yeah

Lena Hall, ya’ll (and did you really have to rub it in our faces how much you work out — ok, I am both impressed and a bit envious).



Oct 22


Today’s first 10 on the playlist. This is the most male first 10 I’ve probably ever listened to, considering I listen to 90% women:

Oct 22


The good old days weren’t so good. I don’t think people realize what it was like.

I got my first modem a few years later, and modems at the time were flaky hardware only BARELY supported by single-tasking systems that had never been designed to handle any signal arriving anywhere at a time they did not choose. If your computer didn’t respond fast enough to interrupts, a modem could crash it. If you were running anything that didn’t suspend and resume its business correctly (and most things didn’t because they’d never had to before) or anything that was coded to use the same interrupt, the modem would crash it. If the software on your end ever started taking too long to execute per input character, the modem would fill up the short hardware buffer faster than your software could empty it, and crash it. If you transmitted characters faster than the software running on the remote system could handle them, you’d crash the remote system. There were no error correcting protocols because none of us had the compute power to run them fast enough to avoid a crash at the speeds the modems ran.

That’s why I always laugh when I hear people say things like “Security should’ve been built in from the beginning! That was the mistake!”

Motherfucker, no. Just no. The computers we had back then were so very slow. So slow that you can’t even imagine. I could type significantly faster than my first modem could echo back the characters. I could barely run the one application that I wanted to at the time. There was no CPU or memory for security or for even the application working half the time. If we’d built security in from the beginning, there never would’ve been home computers, BBSes or the internet.

Some games and programs I loaded from cassette tapes (SYSTEM [press enter] – ATOM [press enter] – then press “play” on the cassette deck, wait, then press / then enter) loaded so slowly that I’d start it up, go outside to play for a while, and then 30 minutes later come back — and it still wouldn’t be done.

I think most people under 35ish have no idea just how stupendously slow, balky and resource-limited early home computers were. Then, they seemed like miracles

Now, I can’t believe we ever used them.

Oct 22

World Remade

It should be a requirement that reviewers at least understand the work they are reviewing. That’s a repeated problem that I run into — not one out of 100 reviewers understood Ex Machina, for instance, and the problem was not with the movie.

Here is another example, this time with the Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House.

Also, is the reviewer aware that the book is unchanged, just as it was? No books were “mangled” in the process of making the show; it can be read just as it was prior to the series. Also, there were absolutely no jump scares at all in the show. I believe the reviewer might have been watching a completely different series than I observed. (Which is very apropos given the themes of the series itself.)

Here’s the big secret I think the reviewer missed: no one ever left the Red Room of Hill House. The entire Crain family is still there, alive in memories, alive in the house, dead in the world — that’s why the father’s demise is never mentioned, never nodded to, never discussed.

The only way to get a completely happy ending in this life is to never engage the world — and in the context of the show, how does one never engage the world?


The way is to be digested by Hill House. The Crains all died there, and are together, perhaps even happy, in their memories, in their fantasies, in the ever-present timeless phantasmagorium of Hill House.

Oct 22

Laws, Real and Imagined

“Adam Smith, it was true, treated material wealth as a separate field of study; to have done so with a great sense of realism made him the founder of a new science, economics. For all that, wealth was to him merely an aspect of the life of the community, to the purposes of which it remained subordinate; it was an appurtenance of the nations struggling for survival in history and could not be dissociated from them. […] There is no intimation in his work that the economic interests of the capitalists laid down the law to society; no intimation that they were the secular spokesmen of the divine providence which governed the economic world as a separate entity. The economic sphere, with him, is not yet subject to laws of its own that provide us with a standard of good and evil.”

–Karl Polanyi in “The Great Transformation

In other words, Smith did not see economics and markets as something separate from human affairs and human purposes; unlike modern economists he did not equate economic “law” with natural laws and likely would’ve thought it absurd to hold a demand curve equivalent with the law of gravity.

One must understand, then, that the supposed commensurate status of economic precepts and suppositions with naturally-occurring laws is an ideology, and an effective one at that.

Oct 22

Three Hits

Scientists Say Ocean Circulation Is Slowing. Here’s Why You Should Care.

Climate change is going to be a lot of “small” disasters happening all at once that add up to something much larger. It’s dispiriting that even many on the left are so clueless about their utter and complete reliance on the biotic and non-biotic processes. The effects will also be multiplicative, not additive as most people imagine.

I single out the left as that is my side, and most of them are almost as ignorant on all of this as the most ardent climate change deniers. The vast majority have no idea at all about and scoff at the mention of how dependent they are on ecosystem services, and believe we can geo-engineer or tech our way into some better state.

I don’t think this is true at all — at least without precipitating other major disasters as bad if not worse than climate change.

Oct 22


That pretty much says all that needs to be said about that whole mess.

Oct 21

Putin on the Ritz

Putin is such an evil genius that he traveled back in time to force the US/UK and their intelligence operatives to subvert Soviet rule by supporting neo-Nazi and neo-fascist movements way back in the 1960s-1980s.

Has any super-villain ever been any more super-villainous? It’s almost unbelievable the lengths Putin will go to for his cause — inventing time machines, forcing Trump to make decisions massively harmful to Russia to throw off the scent that Trump is secretly (somehow) still a Russian stooge, and all with a budget that the NSA and CIA would call “couch findings.” It’s amazing.

Of course, maybe it’s all paranoia and Democracts avoiding the real issues?

Nah, couldn’t be.

Oct 17

Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House is really great.

I know many people won’t watch it because they think it’s horror, but it’s no more horror than The Leftovers is. In many ways — to its great benefit — it resembles The Leftovers as it’s all about the stories we tell each other, why they matter, and how we exist in other people’s minds and memories and understandings. We are, to paraphrase and expand on something Nell said in the story, confetti that’s spread out across the universe, a confetti of discontinuous moments and cognizances and ideas that equal our totality — a totality that is not just held within us but is contained in other people and in our actions radiating into the world.

The show is also about our interiority and our perceptions as they relate to others — how one moment and one experience can be one thing to one one person and something completely different to someone else and that it’s probably worth more of our effort to consider that, to attempt to understand that — that this comprehension might be the key to some deeper reality.

The show is also about something I’ve been thinking about a great deal lately, and that Shirley Jackson (the author of the novel on which the series is based) was also considering in the novel: that the irrational is absolutely critical to exist in this universe as sane beings. Jackson’s “absolute realism” or as the show changes it “absolute reality” is inimical to our continued existence; depressives and the suicidal experience that absolute reality, and react to it rationally. The show, then, expands on this and essentially says that the darkness is inevitable, yes, but we still can string lights in that darkness and even if oblivion is our fate, there is value yet in those lights, those moments — they don’t diminish in worth because they are evanescent, but rather are worth all the more for their transience.

And, finally, Hill House is all about how the past sometimes — oftentimes — is just as actual and as real as the present or the future. That even when you think it’s not, the past is right there with us, standing just behind us, holding our hand in the dark and whispering in our ears. It never goes away and those moments of the past (to paraphrase Nell again) fall all around us all the time like snow.

The ending is gutting and elegant and really just perfect. No spoilers here; just watch. It is very much worth your time to hear all of their stories and why they matter. Then you’ll know more of your story, too.