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Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 31,622

About Me

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

Journal Archives

Catholics gone bad...

... it's the best thing about this religion.

I've got neighbors living in a house owned by a Chinese extended family.

My great grandfather's house in San Francisco, the one my grandma and her sister were born in, is also owned now by foreign investors.

My grandma's childhood bedroom is now a full apartment. I talked to someone living there a few years ago and he couldn't believe the entire house once belonged to a single family, or that the luxury apartment of the house was once the home of a much abused Irish housekeeper/cook/maid, spinster queen of the big kitchen, and child of St. Ignatius Parish.

My great grandma sold the house in the Great Depression. Don't cry, she had others. My great grandfather was a dreamer who knew the future belonged to Hollywood motion pictures and the aircraft industry, but he bet everything he had on the wrong players and then he died.

I've no inherited wealth, and just a little white privilege, and I won't be happy if my parent's don't spend it all on things that make them happy.

If I don't inherit a big flaming pile of shit with debt collectors calling me so I can mock them, I will not be happy.

Was it a Russian bomb, or a Chinese bomb?

Or maybe it was no bomb at all. Maybe they were pumping nuclear waste into the deep earth like your friendly neighborhood Oklahoma frackers.

The last thing Russia, China, and South Korea want is a destabilized North Korea. Millions of starving and severely disoriented refugees flooding across the border is a bad day in international relations. You can't shoot them.

Years ago I was joking here that maybe someone should give North Korea a bomb just to shut them up, make them wear the big boy pants.

Now I'm a little worried someone else with an actual bomb agreed.

Possibly we are witnessing great brilliance in foreign policy. If a big boy hydrogen bomb destroyed all of North Korea's bomb testing tunnels and a larger portion of their testing technology, then maybe it was worth it.

The theory of evolution goes both ways.

Most parasites evolved from more complex species. They gradually lose the ability to produce for themselves what they are taking from their hosts.

Case in point: Dodder


Dodder has lost the ability to photosynthesize it's own food. It sucks its food out of others.

The similarity to Trump and his uber-wealthy supporters is pretty clear, don't you think?

As workers become more productive, the uber-wealthy take all the profits and then some, hording the money in ways that do not improve the lives of those who actually created the wealth.

Some of the dogs I've wept for the most were dumb ass worthless creatures in every way.

But they've left me with many fine stories to tell and a much broader and generous appreciation of this world than I might not otherwise have enjoyed.

When my own grandma had fallen entirely over the cliffs at the borders of sanity, declared by the courts a danger to herself and others, no assisted living place would keep her, and many of her words were either pure madness or vile observations about her neighbors, friends, and family better left unspoken, she could still tell a good story and laugh about the crazy dogs and horses she'd known.

Dogs and horses are sentient beings, as are humans.

My favorite childhood dog used to jump into the cars of strangers, undiscovered until they got home. That's why her collar had a tag with our phone number and address on it. Hey, I found your stupid ass dog in my truck... This worthless dog, really, she was good for nothing and not even especially affectionate of humans as most dogs are, once ran away on a camping trip, and we stayed an extra night at that campground waiting for her to return, and she did about five o'clock the next day, so we stayed another night in that campground and missed Yellowstone. I was looking forward to Yellowstone.

But hey, hey, don't be mean, 'cuz no matter where you go, there you are. And everything is awesome.

My kids were Cub and Boy Scouts.

It was always a very uneasy truce between the Mormon and Catholic Scouts.

Then Proposition Hate happened, and the right intolerant wing of both religious parties decided they were allies.

Totally radicalized my kids, nephews, and nieces. They had wonderful queer adult family in their lives. They refused that shit.

My youngest would pluck Prop H8 signs off people's lawns and bang on their doors to tell them their signs were offensive. Those sad people would close the door on him and he'd take their signs, throwing them in back of my little pickup truck. I did recycle the wire and plastic of the signs landing in my truck, and confess it was near hundred. (I'd taken a few signs myself, including a big 4X8 plywood sign, but not so in-your-face aggressively. Maybe I was as bad, but not anywhere so courageous.)

Worst I did was write a harsh letter to the Bishop. He wrote a mushy letter back claiming he was trying to "control" the dialogue.

Better than my mom who once got into a scratching slapping girl fight with a Bishop... scars of my own childhood... My biggest fear on my own Big Catholic Wedding night was that my mom or her mom would go Berserker. They did not. Worst that happened was my sister-in-law, before the wedding, asked if she could play the church organ and she played Queen as my gay brother in law and mom were decorating the church with flowers. The sister in charge asked "That's pretty, what is it?"

The Wright brothers were flying this in 1904:


It's amazing progress that this B-29 was built forty years later.

Despite being a tool of war, it is a lovely plane and I totally understand and applaud the motivations of those volunteers who got it flying again. It's one of the reasons our family cars have salvage titles. So much as I hate automobiles (and war machines...) I get some satisfaction bringing dead machines back to life, feeling in my hands what the original designers and builders were about. Reading history isn't enough. Sometimes you must touch it.

I think this progress in aeronautics is why people thought we'd be crawling all over the solar system by now, having landed men on the moon.

But we have made a whole lot of progress in computers and telecommunications.

In 1977 I thought I was hot stuff writing FORTRAN for a mainframe computer far less powerful than any smart phone today.

It still amazes me that I can find in the e-waste bin what would have been the world's most powerful supercomputer of the 'seventies. Or I can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 computer rated at 460 MFLOPS for $35 in 2017 compared to the Cray I supercomputer rated 160MFLOPS which cost $8.8 million in 1977.

(A couple of people, amused by this comparison have built miniature Cray-1 models with a credit card sized Raspberry Pi inside.)

One thing that surprises me is how all this modern computing power has been put to use. I'm sure a lot of it has been devoted to military uses that are not common knowledge yet, just as some aspects of the B-29's design were not common knowledge when it was built. The most obvious and big money use for all this computer power is movie making.

I get frustrated with myself because I haven't used the computer power I've been blessed with to make any great advances in science. I liked to think of myself as some kind of mad scientist after I quit high school for college. (Truth was, I was mostly mad. We've got meds for that now.) I think some of my better "supercomputer" use is posting words on Democratic Underground, and occasionally I've done more practical things with this immense computing power, but I've not created any AI's or opened any portals into other universes...

Television "news" is worthless, especially in the U.S.A....

... where it's mostly propaganda and a medium for advertising.

I won't pay a dime for it and I won't suffer television advertising.

My television plays movies, commercial free, that's all it does. No cable, no satellite, no broadcast.

One reason I won't pay for any form of cable or satellite television is that a certain portion of my subscription would go to channels that are absolutely loathsome (like Fox News) whether I watch them or not.

It's time for traditional broadcast and television news to die. That business model is obsolete. This is one of the reasons "conservatives" like the Koch brothers are fighting net neutrality and affordable high speed internet, especially in Republican strongholds. They don't want the television propaganda outlets they influence and control losing viewers.

Colbert is our generation's Will Rogers and Mark Twain

He nailed it.

Prideful "isms" and religions are overwhelmingly awful.

In my mind, the most absurd isms are the sports hooliganisms. You riot because "your" sports team won or lost? That's mad.

But mostly sports isms are relatively harmless compared to religion and nationalism. (Patriotism is a flavor of nationalism...) Vast numbers of people die in those tribal disputes.

I was raised Jehovah's Witness and then Quaker, thanks to my mom's rebellion against the various Catholic vs. Protestant vs. every other "Judeo-Christian" religion disputes that plagued my ancestors. (I'm PTSD about Christmas because when I was a child it was a time of religious warfare within my family.)

I didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance in school, I didn't even stand up for it. I was already one of the weird kids and that just cemented it.

Okay, I'm a little proud of my Wild West heritage. My great grandmas were all fierce Wild West matriarchs skilled with knives, guns, and horses; the sort who could kill a bad man and call their friend the county sheriff-coroner to clean up the mess and file the proper paperwork.

My U.S.A. Civil War heritage is interesting. My ancestors were all living in U.S. territory at the time, but none partook of it.

"Bob?" Bob's not here.

One of my grandfathers was a Conscientious Objector in World War II, the other an Army Air Force officer.

My pacifist grandpa was offered a choice of prison or building and repairing ships for the Merchant Marine as a welder. He built and repaired ships. Both my grandpas were metal wizards. My Army Air Force grandpa mysteriously acquired a knack for titanium and other exotic metals during the war and was later an engineer for the Apollo project.

Everyone is searching for the thing that makes them "special." My formal training as an evolutionary biologist convinced me that everything we humans are will be nothing more than a peculiar layer of trash in the geologic record someday. Ball Point Pen Balls.

Does that make me special?
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