Author Archives: cleek

The Number Of The Seat

We’ve had this loveseat for several years now. But, I recently noticed something sinister in the upholstery.

There are two things that look a lot like the fanciful Mexican “sugar skulls”. And around them are three sixes.

Now those skulls and the ‘666’ are all I see when I look at the chair.

Loveseat Of The Damned.
Couch! Couch! Couch! Couch Of The Devil!

Mmm. Dry-fried Pasta

According to Italian newspaper La Nazione, three 20-year-olds bought some pasta and took it back to their apartment in Florence, with high hopes for an authentic Italian dinner. But instead of boiling several quarts of water before adding the pasta—you know, step one on every set of back-of-the-box instructions ever—they emptied the dry noodles directly into the pot. (Sigh…)

Reminds me of a guy.

Shilling for the fellow who brings the sheep in

Shilling for the fellow who bilks the herd:

An investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran ‘all’ of President Trump’s digital campaign – and may have broken election law. As the report went on air, the firm announced it has suspended chief executive Alexander Nix, pending a full investigation.

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran key parts of the presidential campaign for Donald Trump.

The British data company was secretly filmed discussing coordination between Trump’s campaign and outside groups – an activity which is potentially illegal.

Executives claimed they “ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy” for President Trump.

In the third part of a Channel 4 News investigation into Cambridge Analytica, bosses also talked about:

  • The full scale of their pivotal work in Trump’s election win
  • How they avoid Congressional investigations into their foreign clients
  • Setting up proxy organisations to feed untraceable messages onto social media
  • Using a secret email system where messages self-destruct and leave no trace
  • Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in the “Defeat Crooked Hilary” brand of attack ads


Why Goldman Sachs alums go into government

Regarding Gary Cohn, who recently quit the Trump administration, someone should constantly point out that one of the main reasons that many of these Goldman Sachs alumni do a brief stint in government after they retire from Goldman is that they are allowed to sell all their very concentrated positions in that company’s stock and do an asset allocation tax-free.
There’s no need to pay capital gains taxes, saving approximately $150 million in Mr. Cohn’s case.

Well isn’t that a neat little loophole!


Yes, fuck Cambridge Analytica, and fuck the Mercers. But what happened was not a hack or a breach or theft. What happened was someone shared data they legally got from Facebook with someone who wasn’t entitled (according to Facebook’s Terms Of Service or whatever) to have it.

That’s it. It was a breach of contract.

Does that seems insufficiently dramatic to account for the fact that CA got detailed personal information about 50,000,000 people without their consent and then used it to target them for political messaging? Yes!

But the problem is that Facebook has that data and sells that data. Of course people are going to use the data. It’s useful, and valuable. That’s why people pay for it. That’s why FB gathers it in the first place! And it happens all the time.

Maybe people should quit FB? Seems unlikely. Maybe they should stop taking “What Kind Of Dog Are You?” quizzes? Tighten their security settings?

And, if you think FB’s data collection is terrible, you should take a look at what the people who connect you to Facebook do with your info.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D90

Here, Pete gives Pepper a bite in her neck. I’m pretty sure he’s just playing, but he’s strong and fast and agile and hasn’t learned to play nicely. Pepper is a big lumbering hulk who really just wants to be loved. So, she’s getting the worst of it.

He’s bolder and more aggressive now, and she’s less and less tolerant of him. Friday night, he attacked her and she got howling mad at him. Someone peed on the floor. Then she chased him under the coffee table and trapped him there, growling at him, for 30 minutes. He spent the night locked in the bathroom.

He learned how to get the lid off the big metal bucket in which we store the dry cat food. We came home and the lid was on the floor and he was fat and bloated and happy. That was the only time we’ve ever seen him fail to eat all the food he could find. He’s almost managed to get it off a couple of times since. Now we keep it kept behind closed doors.

Why Are White Men Stockpiling Guns?

So, who is buying all these guns—and why?

The short, broad-brush answer to the first part of that question is this: men, who on average possess almost twice the number of guns female owners do. But not all men. Some groups of men are much more avid gun consumers than others. The American citizen most likely to own a gun is a white male—but not just any white guy. According to a growing number of scientific studies, the kind of man who stockpiles weapons or applies for a concealed-carry license meets a very specific profile.

These are men who are anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market, and beset by racial fears. They tend to be less educated. For the most part, they don’t appear to be religious—and, suggests one study, faith seems to reduce their attachment to guns. In fact, stockpiling guns seems to be a symptom of a much deeper crisis in meaning and purpose in their lives. Taken together, these studies describe a population that is struggling to find a new story—one in which they are once again the heroes.

A wise man was one attacked for saying this:

“They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Science just proved him right, mothafukkahs.


Love on a Farmboy’s Wages

Let’s listen to XTC!

XTC – Love on a Farmboy's Wages

You’re welcome.

I’ve always been XTC-curious. But except for a brief time in 1989 when I had their big Oranges And Lemons (“Mayor Of Simpleton”, “King For A Day”), I’ve never owned a album. I’ve collected a few hits here and there over the years, but no real coverage. But, I last weekend gave in and bought a ‘singles’ collection (Fossil Fuel – 31 songs!). It’s great, actually. The early stuff sounds like Elvis Costello, and a lot of the early 80’s songs are in the same area as Robyn Hitchcock and The Egyptians – punchy and melodic post-punk-pop with very clever lyrics. They are underrated, in the US anyway.

But it’s this tune, even though I already knew it, which has glued itself to my ears. That guitar picking is awesome. Their drummer quit over this song.

Here’s Fairport Convention’s cover:

Fairport Convention – Love on a Farmboy's Wages

Not as good, IMO.