Sunday, August 31, 2014

Killing Herself To Live

Here is a sad story about Maria, a 32 year old woman who was working four jobs to make ends meet and literally died of exhaustion.  It makes me think of the Black Sabbath song Killing Yourself To Live.  "You work your life away and what do they give?  You're only killing yourself to live!   ...Never give your trust away, you'll end up paying 'til your dying day!"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Coral Snakes & Ebola Virus

I read this article from the NY Times saying that government is cracking down on companies selling cures or preventative medicine for ebola.  Sounds reasonable enough, since you don't want people getting ripped off or poisoned, but some radically paranoid bloggers are suggesting that the government is trying to crack down on possible cures.  Those kind of leaps toward hysteria seem to drive more traffic than my blog, so here's my take on the situation.

Personally I'm more concerned about the U.S. government's failure to do something about the absence of coral snake venom from hospitals, which could result in an apocalypse of highly neurotoxic envenomation in an America.  It's hard to call these docile and candy-colored little elapids "terrorists," but they are native American and quite deadly if allowed to chew on exposed skin.  Fortunately, the NFL's New England Patriots' quarterback superstar and supermodel-husband, Tom Brady, took the time to film a bare-chested, public service announcement on YouTube to warn people about the danger of coral snakes amongst us.

Come Halloween Night 2014, all coral snake antivenom will be past its already-extended expiration date from the FDA.  This colorful relative of the taipan, krait, and cobra will have free reign among the living, who will no longer have recourse to antivenom, only a potentially awful death!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

YES!!!... for Scotland's Independence! Freedom!!!

A short shout out to all my distant clansmen and Scots.  Vote yes for your independence and self rule!  I've yet to make it to Scotland, but for the record my grandmother's folks on my father's side came to America from Scotland in the 1800s.  I'm a mixed American mutt, but on my great grandfather's side my family is from the Colquhoun Clan.

I recently visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia where the American Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution of the United States was drafted and executed.  I'll be brief with my argument here--all progress in human civilization has come from the decentralization of power.  The Roman Senate, The Magna Carta, the U.S. Constitution are all examples of where authority and information was distributed.  When power is held in fewer hands, brokerage of that power occurs across a more narrow range of interests and humanity suffers.  This has certainly been the case with the trend toward supra-sovereign organizations and treaties like NAFTA, the G7, and EU.  Though their stated goals are ostensibly humanitarian, there is always an undercurrent of avarice and nepotism that reigns in policy.  The most visible victims (for those who care to look) are nations like Greece, Argentina, and Azerbaijan.

The Founding Fathers of the USA understood something very important about the consolidation of power.  It's bad, okay?  Thus most of the time and furious debate over our fledgling Constitution centered not around what was considered Democratic or Republican (by today's standards).  The debate that raged for years was over the distribution of power between the federal government and states' rights.  Unfortunately, the U.S. has taken a strong turn back toward Federalism, which is the natural consequence of war-time crisis (Civil War, Great War, WWII, War on Korea, War on Poverty, War in Vietnam, War on Drugs, War on Iraq, War on Terror, war, war, war...).  The average middle or working class person is always the loser.

What has the consolidation of power at the UK and EU brought Scotland?  What has hard fought independence throughout history brought Scotland?  The eyes of the world are upon you.  Choose your independence and, like Iceland recently, you will find your own path.  Your friends and distant clansmen the world over will support you.  I personally will visit Scotland at long last and hopefully have a chance to meet some long time Nazareth fans and raise a glass to your independence.


Friday, August 22, 2014

The Top 1% Only Get 1% of Income... Well, Sort Of

Income inequality is a hot topic these days, with the Occupy Wall Street movement of a few years back and so much attention being paid to the disproportionate share of income for the top 1% in the U.S.  However, that's not true for income earned by labor (wages, tips, etc.).  In fact, it's quite the opposite, with the top 1% earning only about 1% of income from labor.  How can this be?  This discrepancy of polar extremes is because the top 1% earns around 75% of income from capital gains.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow - Starring Tom Cruise as Dirk The Daring

So I just today saw Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, quite late I should say, because my strategy for budgeting my limited time to catch the occasional movie is to wait and see if (a) it's sufficiently reviewed, (b) I remain interested months after all the opening week hype, and (c) it comes to one of my favorite pub theaters where I can see the movie and down a pint of microbrew all for a Paper Hamilton.

The movie has been reviewed thousands of times by bloggers and critics already.  Most reviewers pick up on the action-adventure version of Groundhog Day.  Far fewer make the connection of the video game plot--you play and die, play and die, play and die, until you figure it out and win.  You kill the mothership (yeah, I guess there's a little Xevius to the plot).  I couldn't help but think of Dragon's Lair, the first video-anime arcade game where Dirk The Daring dies over and over again (Over the Edge? - shout out to LA Guns classic).  But that point's been made, even if I'm the first to compare Tom Cruise to Dirk The Daring.

I would much rather talk about Emily Blunt, the movie's heroine than Tom Cruise....