Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pic of the Day: Grand Theft Election

Crediting Betty Cracker at Ballon Juice.

Good ol' Governor Scumbag is purging Florida's voter rolls of inconvenient brown people and others who are likely to vote the wrong way (you know, Democrats). One batch of names have already been scraped (and given 30 days to contest being removed from the rolls) and another is on the way.

One of those shifty vote-stealers who so concerned the Scumbag Administration was a vicious 91-year-old man who fraudulently got himself born in Brooklyn before it became a state, then killed a mess of German citizens in the 1940s. More recently, his crimes have included voting in Florida for the past 14 years.

Governor Scumbag--ever on the lookout for shifty business--sent him a letter telling him he's not a citizen.

Wait, what? Brooklyn was already part of the US? Those Germans were WW2 soldiers who had it coming? This man's a decorated veteran whose pissbucket Scumbag isn't worthy to carry? All true--but because of the Scumbag, Mr. Internicola is saddled with having to PROVE his citizenship.

There are hundreds more already.

Thanks go out to the teabagger morons for bringing this criminal scourge to Tallahassee. We'll dedicate a bonus Pic of the Day just for them:


Monday, May 21, 2012

George Tierney, meet the Internet...

...Internet, meet George Tierney of Greenville South Carolina..

He's your basic wingnut bully and apparently not very bright--which makes him the Most Interesting Man To The Internet right now.

He started off a few days ago yapping at Sandra Fluke on the Twitter, telling her to "shut that god damn dick sucker," then calling her the C-word. Smooth operator, there. The ladies love that stuff.

Shortly after that, TBogg over at FireDog Lake (linked above) noticed him and made fun of him. Georgie wigged out and threatened to sue him (HORRORS!!) if he didn't take it back and get it off of Google (muahahahahaha!!). I don't want to spoil it--go read the post, then the comments.

Apparently, Georgie hasn't heard of the Streisand Effect: trying to suppress information will only make it more public. Babs Streisand learned that the hard way.

Now he's done it. Georgie's an Internet star for being such a massive purple-veined douchebag: Balloon Juice and the Great Orange Satan have noticed him. Even Glen Danzig has noticed him. The Google likes him.

All worth reading just for the comments. Man, I love the Internet. Got to remember not to piss it off.

UPDATE (5/22/12): Well, that didn't take long. George Tierney of Greenville SC has pulled a Sir Robin and bravely ran away from the Internet. Well, the Twitter part of it. The Google has title to him.

Georgie...don't tote a weapon you don't like the taste of. Just sayin'.

Update to the Update (later that same hour): Oh, look out, y'all, George Tierney of Greenville South Carolina is back and he's ready to hammer asses. I don't think he knows what that means, but don't let's tell him.

Apparently he didn't learn from the first dose.

 Update to the Updated Update (5/23/12): Annnd he's still talking "legal action" against TBogg (or, as he calls him, "Jennifer" something--he thinks FireDog Lake's Jane Hamsher is TBogg the blogger, hosted at FDL). He even got hisself on the TeeVee back home. And that Twitter account's down for the 5th time. Annnd it's back up. He's discovered Glen Danzig!

Adding a few tags to reflect his ongoing stupidity...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Year Ago Today, I Cured Cancer!

Well, okay, I had help, and my part involved lying on a table while a surgeon poked around in my giblets and pulled out a kidney.

Yeah, okay, so I was unconscious and don't remember a damn thing for the 5 hours I was out, but all those medical people were depending on me to be there. Go Team!

In the past year, the Evil Evicted Kidney has made no attempt at contact, which is fine with me, since the little farker tried to kill me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Google Earth: Hidden History

Snooping around in Google Earth the other night, I started trying to solve a little mystery. In the northern reaches of Eglin Air Force Base southeast of Crestview, there's a field of small circular sites lined by roads. When I first saw it in 2006, I called it the Mystery Flower.

Google Earth didn't allow much zooming at the time, let alone Street View, so I just put a placemark pin there and went on to more interesting sights.

Now I can zoom in close enough to see the buildings in each site and travel the nearby roads to look at signs. My "Mystery Flower" is Test Area C-72, but I still don't know much about its purpose.

The really interesting item here, though, is the triangular airfield across Bob Sikes Road from here. If you get down into Street View at the side road leading to the field, you find a plaque (photo credit: Mark Sublette):

This is Wagner Field, where Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders practiced for their 1942 mission to kick the Japanese in the tail. It was more of a morale-booster than an effective campaign, but it showed the Japanese that the US could reach across the Pacific.

After WW2, a V-2 rocket launch ramp was built just southeast of the field. The rusty ruins are still there.

Wagner was also used to test an oddball C-130 Hercules project called Credible Sport. In September and October of 1980, a heavily modified Herc fitted with 30 rockets was put through several test landings and takeoffs. The idea was that as the plane's on its final approach to the runway, some of the rockets would fire and slow it down significantly, allowing it to land in a short space--say, a soccer field in downtown Tehran, Iran, right next to the US Embassy.

This was during the Hostage Crisis, in the aftermath of a failed rescue attempt.

The other half of this plan would involve firing more rockets on the Herc to help it into the air with a load of rescued hostages. From there, it and its sister planes would head to the Persian Gulf and land on the carrier USS Nimitz. The test plane crashed at Wagner Field October 29, 1980 and was buried somewhere nearby.

More recently, Wagner was used in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle test flights.

Paul Freeman has an interesting writeup of Wagner at his "Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields" site.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hacker, Sham, Fraud revisited

Still thinking about the "hacker, sham, fraud" post of a couple of weeks ago.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the notion that an accomplished professional musician like Neil Peart with more than 40 years of playing under his belt can think of himself in such terms (if only occasionally), or as a guy guy who just hits things with sticks.

It occurred to me that he's an excellent example of the flipside of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

From the Wikipedia entry:

Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
  1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
  2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
  3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
  4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.
 Think of notable incompetents such as...oh, Republicans. George W. Bush, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich are stellar examples of the Effect; each exhibits arrogance and absolute certainty (what Will Ferrel calls "unearned confidence"). Add in fundies, creationists, Teabaggers...wait, I already said "Republicans." Nevermind.

Anyway, the flipside of the Effect is that someone competent tends to underestimate their own abilities. It could be a cultural thing (the Wikipedia entry notes that studies tend to focus on Americans, and that East Asians tend to exhibit the flipside effect, but doesn't mention Canadians specifically), upbringing, or (as in Peart's case) a nerdy outcast childhood. Peart notes in his book "Roadshow" that he was inept in all the jockish arts and suffered for it at the hands of the jocks. Something else we have in common.

He applied himself to drumming before he was even a teen, an age where I was barely even aware of music, let alone playing it. By 1978, he was 26, had been in Rush for 4 years, and was considered a phenomenal musician (and the band had released its 6th studio album); I was a resentful 11 year old saddled with a 6th-Grade Beginning Trumpet class instead of the drums I'd wanted to sign up for.

That's the branching point. He'd found his niche; I hated mine. My mother forced me to practice: she had her sewing machine set up in an alcove outside my bedroom door and tortured me with that practice crap (she'd been the one who "selected" trumpet for me). Just to stick the knife in a bit deeper, she managed to mention how expensive the goddamn horn had been, and how my grandmother had paid for it.

At some point over Summer break, I managed to slam the case lid on it and render it unplayable. I can't really say it was an accident, but it did finally get her to stop bothering me about that farking trumpet anymore. Hell of a whipping for that.

It was another 10 years before I seriously tried learning a new instrument (forget about the stupid "gonna be a keyboard player" crap from high school)--and this time it was because of Rush. I threw myself headlong into the guitar, sponging up every lesson, struggling to twist my left hand fingers around to form chords, trying to get from one unfamiliar chord to the next, then to get my hands synchronized. Competence came slowly, a finger at a time. It took several months for me to strengthen my fretting hand to the point where I could hold barre chords or bend strings; vibrato eluded me for more than a decade, even with lightweight strings.

I didn't care about the difficulty. All I wanted to do was learn to play Rush songs. I even put up with a pissy guitar teacher for maybe 6 months. He could play, but he didn't have much of a sense of humor and expressed disdain for every guitar player I was interested in ("Alex Lifeson's okay, but he's mostly a major chord player," quoth the pissy Jazz Snob). Shortly after we started working on "Tom Sawyer," I got tired of him and moved on.

He'd given me enough by that point for me to start working out songs on my own, so there's that. I sponged again, listening to the "Moving Pictures" album so much I wore the music off Side One of the tape. I bought every book I could find, (not much out there in 1990) and as my ear and experience improved I needed the books less and less. At one point, I could play (to some extent) maybe half of the Rush songs up through the "Counterparts" album. Hardly a guitar god, but still an accomplishment for anyone who's self-taught.

Twenty-two years later, I'm struggling with the "hacker, sham and fraud" thing and now I think I've figured out why: there's no challenge in it anymore. For the first few years, I soaked up all those new skills. I'd get a thrill from learning a new solo (and playing it well), or for having the stamina to keep up with a demanding song (the second half of "Jacob's Ladder") or one of their long-ass album-side epics (2112, Hemispheres). These days, though, if I'm in the mood to grab a guitar, I end up playing the same dozen or so Rush songs, the same set of Metallica songs, the same Stone Temple Pilots bass lines. I just want to play (Fun! Fun!), don't want to learn (Work! Work!).

My recent medical issues don't help; uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause brain damage--and I've gotten somewhat paranoid about that even after getting it squared away. I get fatigued (physically and mentally) easily, forget words and names, sleep a lot...learning a new song (or relearning stuff I've forgotten) seems more like a Task instead of a pleasure.

Still, when it comes to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, I know I'm closer to Peart's end of the spectrum. Like him I'm aware of all my shortcomings--maybe too aware, or just less driven to get past them. If half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at (seen on a T-shirt), maybe half of being competent is knowing what you suck at, then doing something about it.

Can't condone this preacher's lifestyle.

Brain-dead wingnut preacher preaches that parents should "punch" their "gay-acting" kids and break their limp wrists. When the Internet rises up in wrath and tells him to STFU, the cowardly knee-crawler whines that he was only kidding.


I'd rather have my kid grow up gay (and happy) than grow up a stupid wingnut. I'd really think I'd failed as a parent if one of mine voted *spit* Republican, let alone chose the preacher lifestyle.

Most of the tags are for preacher-boy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pic of the Day: One Year Later...

Yeah, I'm a day late on posting for the anniversary of bin Ladin's getting nailed. He's late, too. *rimshot*

Two of the best Obama-got-Osama pics:

AND...because it's also the anniversary of the Texas Dumbass' "Mission Accomplished" stunt (and Obama's mission was actually accomplished):
NYAH to all the butthurt pearl-clutching goptards.