Thursday, September 30, 2010

Statuesque Salad

The 90's indie group Salad with their song "Granite Statue". The 90's were a such a great decade for music...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holy cr*p!

The tallest tower I ever climbed when I was in the electrician biz was about 30 feet tall -- a mere tad of a tower, *only* three stories tall. There was a light on top of it that wasn't working, and it was my job to fix it. Even that teeny tower scared me shitless and was one reason I decided to go to college and get my Computer Science degree.

These guys, however, climb thousand-foot towers *daily*. Talk about some dudes who clang when they walk. And whatever they're being paid, you can guarantee that it ain't enough. Not in a world where rich fuckup can pull in millions of dollars for being CEO's who run companies into the ground based solely upon being winners of the lucky sperm club. I probably make more money than these guys, and all I do is sit in a cubicle slinging bytes around, where the most dangerous part of the job is combatting middle-age penguin rotundity...

-- Badtux the Impressed Penguin

Can Social Security go bankrupt?

That's a question often asked by right-wing liars. The answer is a single word: No.

Social Security is a dollar-denominated sovereign fund. Because it is denominated in dollars, which can be raised by taxing the general public and/or by printing dollars (that invention the printing press again!), it can go "bankrupt" only if the general public refuses to pay taxes or print dollars to pay the Social Security debt. But this isn't "bankruptcy" in any traditional sense of the word. Bankruptcy implies something involuntary -- the person involved wants to pay his debts but just doesn't have the money. But voluntary refusal to pay your debts (which is what refusing to raise taxes or print money to pay the Social Security debt would be) isn't bankruptcy -- it's just plain being a deadbeat, no different from the millionaire who refuses to pay the carpenter who fixed his porch because "paying debts are for the little people."

In short, Social Security can't "go bankrupt" because "bankrupt" implies involuntary. The only way Social Security goes "bankrupt" is if the general public decides to be a bunch of deadbeats and willfully refuses to pay their debt to the Social Security fund-- a willful refusal, given the fact that the U.S. government possesses that wonderful new invention the PRINTING PRESS (invented *only* 650 years ago!) and thus has no inherent incapacity to pay dollar-denominated debts.

-- Badtux the Non-deadbeat Penguin

Salvation 99

Australian indie band ninetynine plays their song "Polar Angle" in a record store window. I don't know who this drummer is, but she fucking rocks.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Reminder from World Nut Daily reminds us in their latest email blast that the world was created Oct. 23, 4004 B.C., meaning that the world will be exactly 4013 years old next month. Oh, all those fossils? Radioactive isotopes? And so forth? Don't mind them, God placed them here just to baffle and confuse us, because God is a liar as well as a mass murderer (Noah's flood, remember?) and general vicious son of a bitch (the entire Book of Job). Not to mention a child abuser -- allowing his very own son to die messily and in horrific pain rather than do a mass smiting and plucking his son off that stick and sucking him up to Heaven (which, I guess, is a giant spaceship orbiting exactly opposite the Sun from the Earth, given that we've never seen anything up in the sky which looks anything like "Heaven").

World Nut Daily. They're batshit crazy because, well, because God told them to be. Nothing to do with bad chemicals in their brains causing neurons to misfire in batshit crazy ways, nosirree, they got faith, faith I say, that their hallucinations and delusions are sent to them by some invisible sky demon rather than being a sign of mental illness! Alrighty, then.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Southern love

The Drive-by Truckers with "God Damn Lonely Love". Southern-fried country-rock, y'all.

Yeah, Patterson Hood ain't as purty as the singers for the last week's worth of tunes, but he can damn well write some fine songs.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, September 27, 2010


Working crazy hours recently due to upcoming product launches. Hopefully will get back to normal soon, for some definition of "normal". I don't lack for things to blog about, just time and energy to do it. Siiiigh!

BTW, when I got home about an hour ago it was still 85F outside. Ugh.

- Badtux the Overheated and Tired Penguin


The Walkabouts, "Lift your Burdens Up" off of their 1997 album Nighttown. For a band that was around for over 20 years, The Walkabouts sure do a great job of being unknown...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dealing with this crazy heat

It got into the high 90's here yesterday, but I wouldn't know it. I finally figured out a strategy for using the thermal mass of the tile with its mortar underlay and the massive stone fireplace, which turned out to be ridiculously simple: Shut off the bedrooms during the day. They're on the south side of the house, separated from the rest of the house by closets that themselves have doors, and when I do that it never gets above the low 80's in the living room. So when I pull cool air through the house all evening long with the box fan in the window, it cools down the tile and fireplace, and during the daytime with the house shut up, the tile and fireplace keep things at least reasonable indoors.

Of course, the question "why is it so friggin' hot in late September in the SF Bay area?" still needs an answer... it can't be global warming, because global warming is just a theory, just like gravity.

-- Badtux the Somewhat-overheated Penguin

Warm heart

Talking about noise, the insane Scout Niblett plays with a monkey for a few seconds, then screams another one of her crazy songs while thrashing her guitar and her dummer smashes his drumsticks into the drums over and over again. This song is "Let Thine Heart Be Warmed"...

-- Badtux the Appreciative Penguin

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Coincidental, I'm sure

According to my email blasts from right-wing news sites, yet another Republican front group funded by insanely wealthy oligarchs, Americans For Restoration, has been formed to deal with "voter fraud" where "voter rolls need to be purged to prevent people from voting twice.". Voter roll purges via sending registered mail to every voter and removing those voters who don't sign for their mail is the only way, they say, to have fair and free elections.

And the fact that the voters purged generally are voters who move often -- young people, poor people, minorities? Well, that's just unfortunate, they say, but the only way to keep people from voting multiple times. Never mind that they can never, ever, provide a single example of a criminal conviction where someone has voted twice. Never mind that there are other ways to keep people from voting twice -- such as the purple finger thing they did in Iraq -- that are just as effective and don't have the side-effect of kicking people off the voter rolls who have a legal Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote. It's just *coincidence* that of all the methods they choose to make sure people don't vote twice, they choose the *only one* that primarily disenfranchises people (the young, the poor, minorities) who vote for Democrats. Just coincidence, yessiree!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wishful noise

Cadallaca was a group in the late 90's that was a side project of members of two bands -- Sleator-Kinney (Corin Tucker) and The Lookers (sts and Sarah Dougher). What they specialized in was harmonies accompanies by noise. Mission accomplished :).

Song is named "Your One Wish", off their first album Introducing Cadallaca.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crazy weather still crazy

Weather forecast for this weekend in Santa Clara -- mid to high 90's.

I'm going to the beach, y'all. Have fun.

-- Badtux the Overheated Penguin

Down, boy!

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs apparently thinks guys are dogs, or something. This is "Down Boy".

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Republicans come up with a plan, finally

After months of being attacked for having no plan other than repeating "No!" over and over again like a tantruming toddler, the Republican Party finally released their plan for America yesterday. Here is the summary:

  1. Steal underwear
  2. ???
  3. PROFIT!
Oh wait, that was the underpants gnomes. Well, close enough. It was more like:
  1. Vague hand-waving accompanied by exuberant harumphing
  2. ???
  3. Electoral victory!
Sad thing is, given how pathetically wimpy the Democrats have been recently, that may be good enough. SIGGGHHH!!!!! WASF.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small town

Neko Case, "The Needle Has Landed".

Small towns can be vicious places...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Agh my aching back

Hurt it somehow on Monday, Tuesday I could barely get around, today isn't much better. I don't know what the fuck happened Monday, I don't remember doing shit then, but Tuesday I woke up and practically couldn't get out of bed. Since then, by grace of Advil go I.

So anyhow, today's trash day. I'm supposed to be sweeping and vacuuming and mopping and shit today as well as cleaning the cat box and taking out the trash. Fuck it, I'll do the cat box and take out the trash because otherwise I have two weeks worth of trash next week and that much trash won't fit in the teensy trash can the city gave me (and if I don't do the cat box, the cats *will* rebel on my bed), but the rest of that shit? My back says "fuck that shit" at least for now...

-- Badtux the Gimpy Penguin

World Nut Daily wants to use YOUR taxpayer money

Yes, that's right, if you're a taxpayer whose tax money supports a state university, World Nut Daily's Joseph Farah wants to use *YOUR* money to solicit funds for political purposes. In today's outrage, World Nut Daily criticizes Grambling University (Ruston, LA) for reminding people that both state and federal law prohibits using taxpayer-funded state facilities (their email system, in particular) for campaign fundraising purposes. My tax money bought that computer (note -- I am a taxpayer in Louisiana), but Joseph Farah wants to use *my* taxpayer-funded computer system for his partisan purposes soliciting funds for various Teabagger and birther-related political solicitations.

This isn't an issue of free speech -- Grambling students and employees are free to send campaign solicitations on their own time from their own Internet mail provider, you can get a Gmail account for free for cryin' out loud. This is an issue of Mr. Farah wanting a free ride on public facilities. In short, this is a case of Mr. Joseph Farah being a WELFARE WHORE, wanting government money (or an email system bought with government money) for free for his own purposes.

Note: I continue my policy of not linking to . If you want to see the nuttiness in Mr. Farah's own batshit-crazy words, you'll need to manually type in the URL and go to it, sorry.

-- Badtux the Tax-paying Penguin

Chilling horse

Suzanne Vega with "Wooden Horse" off her biggest-selling album, Solitude Standing, which, alas, is quite out of print. Suzanne has the most chilling lyrics with the coolest delivery I have ever seen, a delivery that makes their impact even higher. Sadly her stuff is entirely too challenging for today's world, which is why she now plays solo sets in New York folk bars rather than for stadiums full of screaming fans, and her albums are mostly out of print and her last record label dropped her after 2007's Beauty and Crime despite it being a brilliant album...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We must protect submariners from gays!

Granpa Walnuts successfully has protected submariners from the menace of hairdressers of mass destruction via filibustering the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which might be better called the "Our Closets Are Deep And Full of Dresses Law". I mean, c'mon. Granpa Walnuts reproduced, Soylent Blond is proof of that, but it wouldn't be the first closeted gay dude to reproduce with his beard, yo.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Bar music

The Avett Brothers doing a live version of their song "Will You Return" in the back of a bus. This is the sort of song that sounds like it's intended for an audience that's half-shitfaced in an East Texas honky-tonk. The Avett Brothers seem to have been getting a little more attention lately, they're no longer completely unknown, just mostly unknown...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, September 20, 2010

They hate America

Only America-haters like Osama bin Laden want American troops to leave Afghanistan. Which leaves only one question: Why do 54% of Americans hate America?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Heartbreak blues

Two legends, Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson, sing "Overtime" off her album World Without Tears.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bad mechanic

Mary Timony of the band Helium is the world's worst -- or best? -- mechanic in this video for their song "Leon's Space Song". This was off their second album, 1997's The Magic City, which didn't sound anything like the band that Matador had signed in 1994 and Matador dropped them like a hot potato. The band disbanded shortly thereafter.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An encounter

I first notice her vaguely on the bread aisle as I steer my grocery cart around her where she is standing looking at bread -- a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, healthy and beautiful in the way of 60's folk-singer girls with straight light-brown hair down to just below her shoulder blades and a clear complexion. She is standing slightly splay-footed in the flat multi-colored sneakers that are the current fad, and wearing clearly second-hand tight jeans and t-shirt. I move on to the frozen foods aisle. Then after I pick up my frozen pizza I round the corner and she is looking at the display of birthday cakes with an expression on her face that I have a hard time placing. It is not a happy expression, but it is not an expression of yearning either. Then I place it from my own childhood, it is an expression of unhappy acceptance that fancy expensive store-bought birthday cakes are not in her present or in the foreseeable future as see-able by a young child. It is the expression of a child standing outside the front window of an expensive store that she knows she never, ever, will be able to walk into and buy something.

Someone calls her and I notice a young man who looks more like her big brother than her father. He has the scruffy look of a handy-man, a resident of a world that most people who live in the Silicon Valley know nothing about. She follows him, with an expression of her face that is as joyless as the most forbidding desert, and I think to myself, "This is a girl who has not known much joy in her life." Which seemed a shame, because she was so young and healthy and beautiful in a wholesome sort of way. They walk towards the express lane as I push my cart to a regular lane.

As I push my cart out the front door of the store towards my Jeep, I notice them getting into a rusty old pickup truck that looks like it's being held together by rattle-can spray paint that has painted it in a vaguely camouflage pattern of various colors of primer. The truck starts up with a cloud of blue smoke and heads for the exit from the shopping center. I put my groceries in my Jeep, take my cart back to the front of the store, and head back to my Jeep and go out a different exit. My exit has a green light. I look to my left and see that their exit had a red light. I suspect that their exit always has a red light, regardless of which exit they pick. I turn right onto El Camino Real and head east. Their light turns green and they head east too, in the left lane whereas I am in the right lane. Their truck turns left into a place I know, a cheap hotel where a local homeless agency occasionally rents by-the-week hotel rooms for homeless families. I go straight, now knowing why the young girl had such a joyless air about her.

Just another day in the Silicon Valley -- the richest area of the richest nation on the planet Earth. Just another day.

-- Badtux the Observant Penguin

Real riot grrl

Just in case you thought yesterday's video was an example of the genre "riot grrl", here's the biggest "hit" by the band that almost defined the genre, Bikini Kill, which should dissuade you from that opinion. This is of course "Rebel Girl" from their album Pussy Whipped. Needless to say said album wasn't sold in Wally World :).

Kathleen Hanna, the driving force behind Bikini Kill, appears to be working as a music and art teacher nowadays. Just goes to show that being a pioneer of a new genre of music is good for nothing other than getting scalped.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, September 17, 2010

Censorship in the USA

One of the somewhat interesting subgenres in the early 90's was a feminist punk rock typically labeled "riot grrl" in the music press. Slant 6 was sometimes put into that group simply because of the gender of the three women who comprised the group, even though what they generally played was fairly straight-forward punk-pop without the full-on feminist trappings of "riot grrl". This one is called "Don't Censor Me", on their album Soda Pop-Rip Off.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's an example

of why I sold my motorcycles... in this video, the motorcyclist was riding responsibly, was on his own side of the road close to the side of the road, and did everything right. Then an idiot trucker came around the curve too fast and fell over on him.

Ugh. I had a couple of close calls like that where people pulled out of side streets in front of me and things like that, but there was always some place for me to go. But in this case, there wasn't even half a second to react. It was literally the truck comes around the corner too fast, and falls over on him, just in the blink of an eye.

-- Badtux the Former Motorcyclist Penguin

The racism of the Christian right

We already know that the Christian Right are professional victims, whining about imaginary "discrimination" against Christians every time they aren't allowed special privileges that nobody else gets. A zoning ordinance prohibits erecting a 50 foot cross on a residential lawn or some shit like that, and they turn water into whine big-time, just like their Holy Savior. Nevermind that I can't erect a 50 foot tall statue of the Great Penguin on my lawn either, because the law prohibits all structures taller than 40 feet in our neighborhood. Do you hear me whining about discrimination against Tuxologists? No? If Christians don't get special privileges and special treatment compared to all other groups, the Christian Right whines about how victimized they are by being expected to obey the same laws as everybody else. Oh wah! If whine were wine, these self-entitled fatheads would have drowned in a whole fuckin' *sea* of wine by this time.

So anyhow, there's another thing about the Christian Right that nobody seems to want to touch with a ten foot pole: Most of'em are racist fucks. They really do believe that shit about black people bearing the "Mark of Cain" and thus being inherently evil. They're quick to point out that they allow black members in their churches and no longer shoot niggers on sight but instead co-exist peacefully with them and shit like that, but have you attended one of their churches recently? It's like you poured a few grains of pepper into a sea of salt, and the few blacks you see there are largely there for business reasons -- i.e., they work for the church, sell stuff to the church, whatever, but they're just there showing the flag. I mean, c'mon, who wants to voluntarily go to a church where everybody, like, thinks your color is a sign you're inherently evil and thus spend all their time babbling prayers at ya trying to drive the evil out and make you white like them? That's some sick shit, yo!

So anyhow, that's the background for that sick Christian Taliban bitch Bethany Storro, who burnt herself with acid to make herself even more of a victim in order to better proclaim her faith in Christ, and then blamed a big fat nigger woman for the acid attack because, like, all niggers are inherently evil so of course it was a nigger that done it, wot? Thus pulling together two threads of the contemporary Christian Right in America -- their professional victimhood, and their utter and total racism -- into one unholy and evil package. Kinda like Susan Smith, but at least Storro only hurt herself, not her kids -- thankfully.

And to quote some other Christian who is pissed: "Why is it that crazy people always want to step up and spread the word about Jesus? It’s hard enough being a Christian without the acid tossers, Koran burners, Sarah Palins, and the kill-a-grown-azz-person-to-protest-abortion types trying to be representatives." Well, I think it goes with that whole believing-in-imaginary-friends bit. What's charming in children is just fuggin' nuts in adults...

-- Badtux the Christian Taliban observin' Penguin


The Kills with "Wait", off their first album, Keep On Your Mean Side.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mission Accomplished

So combat operations are over in Iraq, Obama said in his "Mission Accomplished" speech? Err, not so fast. Apparently combat missions are happening, just labeled "training missions". Huh, who could have predicted?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Crazy Joe's unicorn shot

Yeppers, Crazy Joe Farrah, the loonie tunes behind World Nut Daily ("we're batshit crazy like Orly Taitz and our readers are too!"), sent out an email blast proclaiming "I rule Obama is ineligible." Erm, okay. And I rule that Joe Farrah is a unicorn. So let's all wait for him to trot out at his next press conference on four hooves with a horn sticking out of the middle of his forehead, right?

BTW, under the Constitution the House of Representatives decides whether someone is eligible to be President or not, and lays out that the House decides this prior to January 20 of the year the President is supposed to take office. The House decided to seat President Obama back in January 2009, and under the Constitution there are no redos on that decision. But oh wait, I forget, according to Crazy Joe that doesn't count because the House was comprised of Democrats in January 2009, and nothing done by Democrats counts because, well, because. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Behind the curtain

Nick Drake saw things on the other side of the curtain of reality, checked himself into a mental hospital, and upon discharge promptly killed himself with an overdose of psychiatric medications. Now it's your turn for a glimpse of "Things behind the sun", off his last album, his "fuck you" album to his label, Pink Moon.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Busier than a one-legged penguin at a dance contest

Sorry about the light posting. Starting at a new job is like that, you're spending so much time getting up to speed and trying to impress the boss so he won't think he made a mistake hiring you that there just isn't any time to comment on things like, say, sixty year old gas lines exploding and taking out a buncha homes in the third-world nation that the United States is becoming, Glenn Beck's new book "I'm an idiot and you can be, too", or any of that. In the meantime, there's the music. Enjoy.

-- Badtux the Busily Hopping Penguin

Crazy noise drink

Scout Niblett once again making a lot of noise and sneering deranged lyrics into a microphone. This one is "Drink to Me". And it should be terrible, but for some reason I like.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, September 13, 2010

Goddess of the quacker

Ovation guitars are known for their "quacky" (as vs. "rich") sound. That doesn't stop guitar goddess Kaki King from pulling some mighty fine music out of the quacker. This is her song "Gobi". And I wish I could play even half as well as Kaki...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Anniversary

Nine years ago today, a diabolical plot to destroy America was hatched. The goal was terrorism against America in order to scare America into invading Afghanistan, the "Graveyard of Empires", with the goal of bankrupting America, which was the greatest threat to their dreams of power. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, managing to get the United States involved in not one, but two land wars in Asia, overthrowing the only secular dictator in the Middle East in favor of a religious ideologue just like them (okay, he's a Shia Muslim but close enough), and resulting in the death or permanent disability of over 100,000 Americans.

And oh yeah, the previous day some amateur named Osama bin Laden had managed a minor act of terrorism that killed a couple thousand Americans, but his lack of importance in all these events is exemplified by the fact that he's Osama bin Forgotten, still at large somewhere issuing statements that are utterly ignored by everybody. No, the real terrorists struck the day after, when they convinced Americans that America was a nation of cowards whose proper role was to be subjects cowering in fear to be protected by the kind hands of Big Brother, rather than citizens of a free nation with all the risks that freedom involves -- and who then used this act of terrorism against America to get things like the Patriot Act, warrantless spying, Gitmo, etc. passed, making a mockery of the values that America once proclaimed to uphold, as well as running up trillions in debts to pay for these wars in hopes of bankrupting the nation before it could reign in the oligarchs who want to impose oligarchical rule, hopes that almost came true. Not to mention the million-plus Iraqis and Afghans who have been killed since the U.S. went to war in their respective nations, a bloodbath that Osama bin Laden could not have imagined when he managed to kill a few thousand Americans.

Compared to George W. Bush and his gang of neocons and the Christian Taliban supporters they hauled along in their wake, Osama bin Forgotten was an amateur, whose minor act of terrorism was trivial. On this day let us remember the day nine years ago when the neocon terrorist gang struck at America and nearly destroyed our nation, and never forget. Although, sadly, most Americans seem to have already forgotten. Siiiiiiiigh!

-- Badtux the History Penguin

Raising Cain

BIll Callahan does his song "Jim Cain" in an in-store concert, just him and his guitar and his voice. Bill's looking a bit shaggy these days, he used to be really clean-cut and short-haired, which made him just that much more creepy once he opened his mouth...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dominance games over

I have no idea who won, but the boys aren't doing the howling catfights anymore. Ah, peace and quiet!

-- Badtux the Peaceful Penguin

Bad dress

As mentioned a while back, Henry's Dress was a short-lived band band from the early 90's that mixed punk-ish music with shoegazer-ish vocals sung by Amy Linton. This one is "You Killed A Boy For Me". Talk about your bad girlfriends...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, September 10, 2010

How's that Hopey Changey stuff workin' fer ya?

Back during the Democratic primaries I was pretty much an "Anybody but Barack" guy because looking at his actual policy proposals, rather than at the color of his skin or the excesses of his rhetoric, it was pretty much clear that he was just another conservative politician and we needed some real change, some real hope, not just more of the same conservative policies that have driven this country into the ground over the past 30 years. The sole thing he had going for him over the nominal Republicans in the 2008 race is that he wasn't batshit crazy or delusional. The results so far haven't contradicted my opinion then... the "stimulus" was the minimum needed to keep the entire world economy from collapsing, but not enough to bring the economy back from the edge -- i.e., a conservative stimulus. The health care reform was basically the right-wing Heritage Foundation's healthcare reform proposals from 1994, brought up to date with world events since then. The catfood commission is still out there threatening to gut Social Security and Medicare. And so on and so forth. Not a single one of these are liberal policies, which would have created a new WPA, poured stimulus money into temporary bumps in SSI and unemployment compensation amounts and food stamps, single-payer health care, and so forth.

But one of the few things Obama did appear to promise, as a constitutional law professor, was to bring back rule of law rather than rule by imperial fiat as the modus operandi of the administration. Alas, it is not to be. The Obama Administration, in their successful squashing of a lawsuit over the extraordinary rendition program that makes a mockery of the Constitution's prohibition against torture in the 8th Amendment, successfully argued that only the Emperor of the United States of America is qualified to judge whether a lawsuit by a private citizen (Binyam Mohammed) against a private corporation (Boeing) should be allowed to continue.

The most hilarious thing is that the United Kingdom is nominally an imperial state under Queen Elizabeth II, and has no Constitution or bill of rights... yet even their courts disagreed with the notion that these lawsuits should not be heard in the courts. As is proper -- rule of law requires that courts, not the Emperor, make these kinds of judgements. And rule of law is the only alternative to rule of gun. Without rule of law, nations inevitably become either ungovernable as people withdraw their support from a government that they feel does not represent them, or become tyrannies as governments compel their support. Your guess as to which route I believe the United States is slowly sliding down right now...

-- Badtux the Law Penguin

Making you feel curvy good

1990's electro-pop rockers Curve with their song "Fait Accompli". Garbage took this sound and became rich and famous. Curve merely became ignored.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dominance games

I guess it had to happen. After seven years of second fiddle to Mencken in the cat hierarchy, The Mighty Fang has decided to take his place on top of the heap. The basic effect is that both of them try to stare each other down while doing that slow sideways spiral looking for an opening with their fur puffed to make them look the size of friggin' St. Bernards, while making the most ear-shattering screeches, yowls, and howls. Cat yowls and howls disturbed my evening to the point last night where I stuffed TMF into my bedroom and closed the door so the rest of us could get some peace and quiet, and then this morning I'm trying to get some friggin' sleep and the two of'em get it on under my bed. Have *you* ever tried to sleep with a catfight going on under your pillow?!

Hopefully they get this sorted out today while I'm at work, because frankly, I'm tired of it. Cats. Siiiiiigh.....

-- Badtux the Sleep-deprived Penguin

Stringy rock

Pillow Army performing their song "Happy" for a house party. Available via iTunes or from select Seattle-area record stores...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Ten billion reasons why Obamacare sucks

I suppose you saw the $10 *BILLION* fine that United Healthcare has been appealing because they illegally refused to pay claims they were legally obligated to pay? Does anybody think the other health insurance companies are any more honest? If by law I'm going to have to pay a healthcare "tax" anyhow in order to not be a deadbeat, why should I be mandated to pay it to crooks like United Healthcare who want to kill me if I get too expensive? Shoulda just gone Medicare For All and be done with it. If Medicare's good 'nuff for the prunes and the disabled, why not the rest of us?


  1. Don't say we can't afford Medicare For All because "the country is bankrupt". The country isn't bankrupt. The wealth of a country is its assets, the "stuff" it has and makes, the resources it extracts, and so forth, and we have more of that than we had ten years ago, we just have fewer dollars in circulation (because so much money is sitting under mattresses rather than circulating) and thus fewer being collected as taxes (since by and large we tax money only when it changes hands and becomes "income" or "sales", not when it sits under a mattress). There's an easy way to handle that. It's called the PRINTING PRESS, and it's been around for over 600 years but for some reason people ignore it. All that the U.S. Treasury needs to do is exchange T-bills for freshly printed dollar bills at the Federal Reserve's window until sufficient dollars are in circulation, and voila, problem solved. No possibility of the Federal government not being able to pay its bills as long as it can pay them with freshly printed dollars. Actually, it's even easier than that, because it's all done *electronically* nowadays -- no paper required.
  2. The health plan had been worked on by Congressional staffers for over ten years, so it's not a case of nobody knowing what was in it (well, other than Congressmen, who by and large are idiots whose staffers run things for them). The problem with the health plan is that it was modeled on the Swiss health plan, and unfortunately American healthcare companies aren't as honest as the Swiss.
So anyhow, that's just ten billion reasons why Obamacare sucks. Paying a healthcare tax to these assholes is like being told at gunpoint that I gotta subsidize the Mafia... it ain't something that anybody should have to do, yo.

-- Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

Architectural integrity

Local band Stripmall Architecture with their song "Her Words"...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


The Telescopes with their circa-1989 song "Sadness Pale". I've already mentioned The Telescopes and how they got fucked over by the music industry, so not much more to say...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, September 06, 2010


This guy was chasing a black squirrel down the street, then ran across my yard and clambered up onto my fence, at which point he noticed me and I pulled out my new iPhone 4 and snapped a couple of snapshots. The squirrels do that to run along the fence to the back yard, at which point they grab apples from the apple tree that sprawls across three different yards (it's in my next door neighbor's yard but sprawls into my yard and into the yard behind us) and run back home high in the pine trees across the street.

-- Badtux the Squirrel-feeding Penguin
Well, involuntarily, but my apples are still feeding the furry bastards!

What marks the graves of rebels

Dead Can Dance - "The Wind That Shakes The Barley." A song of Irish rebellion.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

On the importance of coffee

It gives me a reason to get out of bed on these lazy holiday mornings.

Where I've been the past two days: On Saturday, I decided it was time that I purchased a television, I haven't had a television since the analog to digital transition at which point I threw out (a.k.a. took to the recycler) the little 13" television that had been collecting dust in my bedroom for ages (I'd only turned it on a few times over the past five years, so saw no reason to keep it). I saw that Samsung had a 26 inch television that could also serve as a computer monitor, and my beady little penguin eyes like big monitors, so I got one of those and spent most of the evening setting it up and configuring it with a set of the modern digital "rabbit ears" to collect the local over-the-air broadcasting. Which it successfully does -- I pick up close to 40 channels of programming over the air, no cable required. And it also serves as a computer monitor, albeit a somewhat bulky one that I have to shoehorn into my desk.

On Sunday, I decided to get a Blu-ray player to go with the TV. Upon browsing the available choices at Fry's, I came home with an LG BD570 WIFI-enabled Blu-ray player, which promised to be able to stream NetFlix as well as play Blu-Ray disks. But to do that, I had to re-activate my NetFlix account, which I had deactivated before I moved so that disks wouldn't get lost in the transition, and never bothered to reactivate. Then I had to figure out how to a) get Blu-Ray disks (where available), and b) get the LG activated on my NetFlix account. Which also required pairing the LG with my WiFi network of course, and navigating LG's confusing menu system (turns out that the activation code for the Netflix pairing was *not* in the configuration menu, but in another menu altogether). But it all works now, so that's good, right?

Then there was setting up my old Macbook as a low-power-usage home server, using Insomniax to keep it from going to sleep when you close the cover. I cleared off the old files and set it up to share USB hard drives to my network. So in effect it is currently serving as a very expensive Time Capsule module. What I want to do is instead get a low-power-usage server like a Mac Mini to do these duties, and replace the hard drive in the old Macbook with a SSD so I can use it as my travel computer when Jeeping. It would be much more functional than the netbook that I'm using for that purpose at the moment. But I'll need to accumulate some cash before doing that, this pretty much has me tapped out for a while...

Of course, after doing all this, there was no time to do anything else. Thus why you woke up to no music yesterday morning or this morning. Bummer, eh?

-- Badtux the Geeky Penguin

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Ideological fail crashes State of Virginia computer networks

The State of Virginia experienced a massive multi-day outage of almost all state computer systems due to contractor incompetence. Northrop-Grumman, the contractor, not only overcharged the State by approximately $2 billion for the IT infrastructure that failed, but did not even include system backups in the system design.

The reality is that the State of Virginia could have saved approximately $2 billion by simply hiring their own IT workers to design and implement the new network. Despite the ideological nonsense about how the free market can always do everything better than government, government employees are cheaper than contractors approximately 99.999999999% of the time -- they're willing to work for less than people with their experience and education would get in private business due to the better job security and benefits of government employment, and because they're eating their own dog food (i.e., their own paycheck is paid by the same IT system that they're designing), they have every incentive to get it right. It's the same reason why, when I was a government employee for a school district, my own curriculum materials that I designed myself for my own classroom were better than the materials developed by government contractors -- I had every incentive to get it right, because I was going to actually be using these materials. I wasn't doing it for a paycheck, I was doing it because I needed these materials and I needed them to be right.

So why didn't the State of Virginia simply hire the employees needed to implement and maintain the new network? Ideology. Simply ideology. Ideology says government is always more expensive than the free market -- despite the fact that in 99%+ of cases, contracting out a government-run function results in spending MORE money. Ideology, rather than pragmatic reality, drove this decision. That, and copious bribes from Northrop-Grumman to various Virginia politicians, of course. Oops, I forgot, they're not called "bribes", they're called "campaign contributions". My bad!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Still goin' down

BettySoo sings "Things are Going to Get Worse". Looking at the economic news, gotta agree...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, September 03, 2010

Mondo superb

For my new job I have now a new Macbook Pro. I got the top of the line Core I7 15" model, and pumped it up with 8 gigabytes of RAM (from my old MBP, now back to its OEM 4GB configuration) and a new 750GB hard drive. All of this is for doing some heavy work with VMware Fusion to develop software for a number of operating systems, but so far I haven't managed to max out the CPU, unlike on my old 2.53ghz Core 2 Duo machine. So compare this photo with the one below. It's bigger, but not that much heavier. I wish I could have gotten the Core I7 in the smaller form factor, but, alas, it makes too much heat -- under the covers are *two* fans, compared to the *one* fan in the smaller model. Oh the price -- you don't want to know the price. But this is how I make my living. Like mechanics buying top of the line Snap-On and Craftsman tools, someone who makes his living with computers is exercising false frugality if he doesn't buy good tools. But you, as an ordinary civilian, will be well served by the lower-end laptops that sell for under $1,000. Still, this is a beautiful piece of hardware, and it's no wonder that half the Dell laptops I see have an Apple logo stuck over the Dell logo on the back as their embarrassed owners try to hide the fact that they're cheap bastards :).

-- Badtux the Geeky Penguin

Full Lap

Real Life (tm) has intervened, I've been busier than a one-legged penguin at a square dance, so my apologies for the lack of snark for yesterday. For what it's worth, The Mighty Fang is upset too. Here he jumped on my lap and interfered with my ability to type, because it's time to pet the damned cat, not friggin' geek out on the technology that I'll be using at work the next day...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Not so bright

Garbage with their hit "Stupid Girl" from their first album. This is a tiny night club in Japan, and Shirley Manson has no room to roam, but does the best she can in the cramped quarters anyhow...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Emmy the Great with her song "Canopies and Drapes".

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What's worse than a Muslim?

Ann Coulter today opened his (her?) gaping maw and ejaculated that Obama was not, in fact, a Muslim. Rather, he was something worse, something so horrifying that ordinary Americans should run screaming in horror at the very sight of the man. Yes, Obama may be... maybe... AN ATHEIST!

The horror! Oh the horror! Why, everybody knows that atheists are so horrible and evil that, like, they burn people at the stake or cut off their heads or other stuff like that! And everybody knows that atheists are such despicable people that they regularly bomb abortion clinics, blow up truck bombs outside of federal buildings, and crash planes into buildings. Surely atheist clergy have been regularly arrested for fucking little kids up every orifice, stealing money from their congregations, and shouting "God damn America!" at the top of their lungs from the pulpit, right? Right?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Catfood Commissioner strikes again

Not content with wanting to cut the benefits of Social Security recipients (who paid into the system for their entire lives) to the point where they have to eat cat food because they can't afford real food, now Obama's favorite cat food commissioner, Alan Simpson, proposes that disabled veterans be the next cat food commission victims. Because, you know, the government had nothing to do with them becoming disabled, so should do nothing for them. After all, Alan Simpson's rich motherfucking oligarchs need that money worse than people that, like, those oligarchs sent overseas to die for oil. I suppose though that this is just par for the course for the Republican plan for America. The Republican health care plan: Just die, already. The Republican Social Security plan: Just die, already. The Republican plan for disabled veterans: Just die, already. Fuck, the Republican Party makes Dr. Kevorkian look like a fuckin' angel of life and joy and happiness, yo. They ought to just rename themselves the Party of Death and quit playin' around with the onesies and twosies.

Republicans: They want you to just die, already.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

French lab

Stereolab with their song "Les Yper Sound" from the album Emperor Tomato Ketchup. Love them or hate them, Stereolab were decidedly unique...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin