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  • C’mon… let’s go!

    Max, 2015/01/15 

    Good to see my old friend Bob Zubrin telling it like it is.

    “Based on NASA’s current behavior, we’re not going to be on Mars by 2030… or 3030.”

    More of this

    Max, 2015/01/14 

    Nancy Grace is doing a tremendous service to the cause of cannabis legalization with an interview like this. It’s clear to all who is the responsible adult and who is the unhinged maniac. I couldn’t believe it when she went back to yet another pop-smoking tot in her flailing attempts to control the debate. Mr. TwoChains was superb throughout.

    Getting there


    I’ve mythologized this company for a long time, going back to the early nineties. Overlapping with the dissolution of a powerful dream… the glory of a beautiful blast of creative wonder gradually slipping beneath the ocean of life… I discovered a seed of joy. The Mac. First encounters were in how magically it enabled the creation and output of quality graphics. I found a whole shop of them and made things. Album covers, lyric sheets, posters, CD and cassette covers. I was an instant enthusiast, but I was broke and the band brought only ephemeral glory, no bread.

    Saw an ad in the SF Newspaper. “Mac enhusiast wanted… we do blah, blah, blah. Interested? Apply in person.” Made the two hour trek and proved my enthusiasm. Got the job with a tiny startup living in an ordinary house off Golden Gate Park. Answered calls from customers buying a flaky product that ran on the most beautiful technology I had ever known. The internet was forming, connections were forming, an exciting time. For a year I drove twice a week to rehearsals in Sacramento as the band fought for our lives. It was a last grasp of futility. I’d started a limited diaspora that became an explosion to distant locations and we couldn’t be sustained. The band was dead and gone. My love for the Mac had only begun.

    Held a tech support career through the rest of the decade, but took a fancy to web development in its infancy. Switched to coding as soon as I could get somebody to pay me for it. Got through the dot bomb crash alive but bleeding profusely. Struggled through and emerged whole and with the passion strong. Grabbing what jobs I could, but in the back of the brain a dream whispered… “work at Apple.” Interviewed for a position well over my head in the halls of the Gods of Cupertino and walked away. Don’t know if I failed to make the cut or if I didn’t want to make it and sully those eternal halls with mediocrity. Moved on. DigitalThink, Opt4, Wells Fargo, Adobe, eBay, Macys.com, Mediaplex, Sentilla. Learned a lot of ways to fail.

    Then the call came to work contract at Apple. A foot in the door as they say. Horrible commute, a lot of frustration coming up to speed, a confusing culture… but Apple. If I could convert to full time it just might be worth it, but full time reqs are hard to come by. Found one and the project got axed, found another and a higher up snatched it for his group. It looked like it would not happen at all, ever. Then it did.

    Tonight I opened my favorite Apple product ever, a shiny white three-fold envelope. Paperwork pocket on the left, benefits on the right, and in the center a letter with two beautiful words. The Offer. Fair terms. I’m in.

    Starting a week from Monday. Going to change the world.

    Great flick

    Max, 2015/01/13 

    I know Sky has been a fan of this one for a long time, but I finally got around to watching it over the last two nights. Solaris is pretty long, but well worth the time investment. Tarkovsky is known for his long, deeply poetic takes, and many don’t appreciate the deliberate pace. After getting used to Wagner nothing seems slow any more to me though.

    Great concept too. I was often reminded of 2001 due to the subject matter, but Tarkovsky has a unique way of presenting a story and it hits you in an entirely different way. I won’t give away any surprises, just want to strongly recommend it. Found myself repeatedly saying to myself afterwards “that was a great movie.” That’s what a great movie should do to you.

    I can so relate

    Max, 2015/01/12 

    Our pale blue dot…

    SkyHarbor, 2015/01/11 

    Prof. Neil deGrasse Tyson, as host of ‘Cosmos II’ did homage to his predecessor (and hero), Dr. Carl Sagan. In the final episode of season one. Neil chose to use Carl’s own ‘Cosmos I’ excerpt to make this pithy point (again). To wit:

    The Pale Blue Dot… from Sky Harbor on Vimeo.

    Passing the pen



    I was looking for Robert Crumb’s drawing of the ass of Muhammed that he drew for Liberation in France, but all I could find was a gallery from which I chose the one above. A lot of brave cartoonists, but possibly none as brave as Robert Crumb.

    Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris

    Update: found it!


    Sharpening the contradictions

    Max, 2015/01/10 

    Excellent article by Juan Cole on the true intent of al Quaeda in France. Describes how this horrific strategy is not unique to Muslims but was also used by Stalinists.

    This tactic is similar to the one used by Stalinists in the early 20th century. Decades ago I read an account by the philosopher Karl Popper of how he flirted with Marxism for about 6 months in 1919 when he was auditing classes at the University of Vienna. He left the group in disgust when he discovered that they were attempting to use false flag operations to provoke militant confrontations. In one of them police killed 8 socialist youth at Hörlgasse on 15 June 1919. For the unscrupulous among Bolsheviks–who would later be Stalinists– the fact that most students and workers don’t want to overthrow the business class is inconvenient, and so it seemed desirable to some of them to “sharpen the contradictions” between labor and capital.

    Max Needs This.

    byronius, 2015/01/09 

    Claridryl. Good for you.

    So glad to be godless

    Max, 2015/01/08 

    It would be horribly discomforting to be a Muslim right now, in the wake of the Paris atrocity that follows on so many others, but I’d hardly be comforted by being an adherent about any of those oh so tolerant alternative faiths, particularly Catholicism:

    Bill Donohue is the Muslim of Catholicism. What I mean by that is that he thrives on offense, and though he doesn’t kill anybody when he’s offended, he’s made a career out of raging at those who insult the Pope, the Church, preachers and nuns, or anything associated with the Vatican Mafia. So far Catholics have been loath to criticize him, but his latest piece at the Catholic League site, “Muslims are right to be angry“, may change that. For in it, Donohue pins a fair amount of blame on the murders on the Charlie Hebo journalist and cartoonists themselves. The only way I can account for this lapse in judgement is from Donohue’s own personal history. For he’s spent so much time defending his own religion against perceived smears that he’s now taken it on himself to defend Islam, too, and so sees the satirical cartoonists as just as offensive as those who criticize Mother Teresa.

    The Paris murders: Catholic League’s Bill Donoghue gets it wrong; New Yorker’s George Packer gets it right

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