Thursday, June 30, 2011

Edgy electronica

Alan Wilder's project Recoil, with "Edge to life" off of Bloodline. The female singer is Toni Halliday of Curve, whose sound Garbage appropriated and made famous.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free markets and Santa Claus

Left: The Free Market Fairy disputes reports of her (his?) non-existence.

Q: What do free markets and Santa Claus share in common? A: They're both myths.

There is no such thing as a free market. The central problem ignored by the Free Market Fairy Dust Believers is the central problem of anarchy theory: The problem of power. Belief in a magical Free Market Fairy who spurts his Free Market Fairy Dust all over and thereby eliminates the problem of violence and coercion is as silly as believing that Santa Claus fits down furnace chimneys with his big bag of toys and visits every child in the world on Christmas Eve. It simply has no relationship to any objective reality which exists or has ever existed.

The simple reality is that there is no such thing as equality of power in economic transactions. Credit cards are virtually unregulated, yet I cannot negotiate the terms of the credit card agreement that I am required to sign in order to obtain a credit card. Instead, they impose their terms on me, take it or leave it. The credit card companies have a disparity of power over me -- they have billions of dollars of bank deposits, I have thousands of dollars of bank deposits, money is power, you do the math. Where there is inequality of power, the party with more power imposes his will upon the party with less power, perhaps not with force, but certainly with coercion -- you can't shop on the Internet without a credit card, and you can't buy a large swathe of goods unless you shop on the Internet. That's coercive power. That is the central problem of power that occupied anarchy theory since its beginnings.

People who ignore the problem of power in regard to economic transactions are ignoring realities of coercion, monopolies, economics, and even simple geography. An example is the monopoly that the Southern Pacific Railway had on intercontinental freight from Los Angeles to the East for many decades. They could impose any terms they wished upon shippers that wanted to ship goods back East -- and did. This was power. This was coercion. They used force to keep freight trains off their rails that weren't their own. Power, coercion, and force -- the triumvirate that the free market fairy believers claim don't exist in free markets. The AT&SF decided to break that monopoly and to head them off, the SP laid its own line to the desert that met the AT&SF at Needles, CA. When the AT&SF road crews arrived at Needles in 1883 and started building a bridge across the river, SP's rails were right there at the end of their bridge, thereby blocking the AT&SF from going any further. Not because AT&SF couldn't continue building westward. Not because there was any government grant of a monopoly to the SP -- the AT&SF could indeed have simply kept building westward, under the laws that existed then, though they'd have to stay a certain distance away from the SP's line to stay out of SP's right-of-way. Rather, there was simply no point in building further westward and paralleling the SP line, because there was only enough traffic to keep one rail line busy, not two parallel ones. Simple economic reality meant that the SP blocked the AT&SF from completing their transcontinental railway and retained their monopoly on shipping out of Los Angeles. Geography and economic reality gave SP power to prevent AT&SF from breaking their monopoly, and they used it.

So if free markets are a theoretical construct that cannot exist in actual empirical reality because of the problem of power, why do so many appear to tout and worship them? Well... there appears to be two issues there. The first is that they seem to recognize only government coercion. The Pinkertons apparently never existed in the alternate universe they live in, because they refuse to acknowledge that the time prior to widespread government involvement in the economy was characterized by as much ruthless use of brutality and force as they attribute to government. Secondly, they appear to believe that even if the reality of an UN-free market is true and removal of government force merely replaces government force with private party force, they will be the ones who will be able to exercise coercive force and rule over other people. Which might be a reasonable belief if you're one of the Koch brothers, but not if you live in a trailer park like a lot of these "Libertarian" free market fairy believers, who seem to delude themselves about their ability to come out on top if not for that mean old government that keeps them from exercising coercive power over others.

So in any event: Any time you see the words "free market" in any economic or political discussion, substitute the words "Santa Claus". Either way, you're talkin' about mythical bullshit, yo.

-- Badtux the Economics Penguin

Music for a spy movie

Kaki King from her new spy movie homage album, Junior. Needless to say, her original fans from when she was making Windham Hill inspired acoustic instrumental albums based on a percussive "tapping" style are somewhat dismayed, while the rest of us are amused that she's decided to go back to her roots and rock out a bit indie-style.

This is "Communist Friends". Who aren't.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Not just a name

Penguins rule.

That is all.

-- Badtux the Regal Penguin

Quick blink

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yes, I'm still alive...

Just ploughing through 3800 pages or so of A Game of Thrones. I adored George R.R. Martin's 70's work like "A Song for Lya" and "Seven Times Never Kill Man", but he got really cynical during the Reagan years. REALLY cynical. As in, hard to read unless you wanted to become really, really depressed, as typified by his "Tuf Voyaging" series. He started on this gigantic potboiler (4 volumes so far, a 5th on the way later this year) in the year Bill Clinton was elected, and it's incredibly dark and cynical too with plenty of dead bodies (he kills off one of his friggin' HEROS within the first few hundred pages!), but also brings a bit of the humanity from his 70's work into the fray. It's a nice mix, just friggin' HUGE.

-- Badtux the Immersed Penguin

Acid sniper

The Black Angels is an Austin band that sounds sort of like if The Doors had merged with the Velvet Underground. This is "Sniper At The Gates of Heaven", off their 2006 album Passover.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, June 27, 2011

That's one solution I guess

Your life is meaningless and joyless? Well, just dye your hair with streaks of green and red, and it will be... well, dyed hair, I guess.

This is a young twenty-year-old French woman who records videos as CallingMarian. This is a very good sounding production, but it was recorded in her flat (apartment) using inexpensive equipment. She is harmonizing with herself using a delay loop pedal, for example, recording a segment of her vocals to repeat over and over then coming in over the top with the main line. I'm not sure what the title of this song is, but it might be "I'm gonna dye my hair".

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grassy fascination

Newgrass band The Greencards, with "Fascination" off their 2009 album by the same name.

Uhm, yeah, moved from Motown to Brit-pop to Americana in the course of one weekend. And your point is?

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Woodies on the Wharf

A parade of classic cars mostly from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Shot yesterday in 1080p on the Santa Cruz Wharf but unfortunately iMovie choked on making a video of this length in 1080p.

Fifty years from now, we won't see a parade of classic cars from the 2010's. I'll discuss why, later.

-- Badtux the Car Penguin

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More kitty porn

The Mighty Fang makes sure that his fur is properly clean and shiny.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Back from Santa Cruz

When I went out to the Wharf to eat lunch, I ended up in the middle of a classic car show -- the North American Woodies Club doing their annual Woodies on the Wharf event! I shot video of the parade as the classic cars left the wharf, iMovie is currently generating thumbnails and will let me patch it all together shortly, then I'll upload it to YouTube. Given that I'm using American Internet rather than, say, South Korean Internet, expect it to actually make it to YouTube sometime next week. (Well, actually, maybe later tonight, it all depends on how long it takes to patch the video together, it was shot in three pieces due to the way they staged things).

UPDATE @ 9:38PM: Movie is stitched together. iMovie is saying it's going to take an hour to export it to a mpeg, then it'll probably take another hour to upload it to YouTube. So try back tomorrow for the Woodies on the Warf parade.

-- Badtux the Beached Penguin

Not going anywhere

Rose Elinor Dougal is "Just Hanging Around". This one doesn't appear to be on her first album, Without Why. But she has a new album coming out shortly...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 24, 2011

Have a nice weekend

I've not been posting as often as usual because I've been totally swamped at work. But I'm up for air now. I'm heading to the beach this weekend. Keeping your sanity in insane times sometimes means taking a break.

-- Badtux the Tired Penguin

Magnificent Shame

Jill Scott channels Motown.... This is "Shame". Oh yeah, it's got a couple of horns for JzB too :).

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Oops, forgot this in draft status! Should be fixed now!

Tired kittehs

Teh kittehs getting some of their required 22 hours sleep per day... Mencken doesn't *always* sleep on his throne. He sometimes uses TMF as a furry nosewarmer instead.

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poor kids shouldn't go to college

At least, that appears to be the opinion of the editorial writers at Reason. Like most Libertarians, they're of the opinion that if kids are poor, it's because they chose the wrong parents. The poor kids should have just been smart enough to choose comfortably off parents like their own. Duh.

That said, the problem involved here is real: by basically handing out government-subsidized student loans to everybody, not just to poor kids, the Feds basically caused massive tuition inflation as colleges competed to buy the most gilded equipment for their labs and the biggest research names for their faculty. The colleges could not have done these massive tuition hikes if not for the fact that students could now not only be allowed to take out student loans to pay for them, but basically could be *forced* to take out student loans to pay for them, since a year of college is now beyond the financial means of any family that is not independently wealthy.

Furthermore, by shifting aid for poor kids from grants and scholarships to non-dischargable student loans, poor kids are being punished disproportionately when they default on the loans. Poor kids will have a harder time finding a job out of college for reasons out of their control -- poor kids' parents don't have the connections that rich kids' parents have (e.g., my parents were on a first name basis with the owner of a local gas station, not with the CEO of a major computer company like Bill Gates's parents), and because they grew up poor, they don't "dress right" or "talk right"(i.e., like a rich preppie) because that's not how people dress and talk in the 'hood so they have no experience doing it and when they try, they suck at it. The end result is that a poor kid has to be twice as smart as a rich kid to get a job out of college. For the rest, they're condemned to a life on the edges, because with that non-dischargable and too-big-to-ever-pay loan on their record, they can't get a real job (because their wages would get garnished), they can't get a credit card (thus meaning they can't ever use the Internet to purchase things, and given the shift from brick-and-mortar to Internet sales, that basically means they're cut off from a huge swathe of the consumer culture), they can't ever retire and get Social Security (because of a. no work record due to having to take off-the-books jobs, and b. even if they did put in enough on-the-books time, so much of their pitiable $14K/year Social Security allowance would get garnished as to make it impossible to live on).

And finally, the rise of virtually-unregulated private schools funded by all this student loan money and targeting poor kids has had a devastating effect upon poor kids. Poor kids don't have the ability by and large to get into elite colleges, due to lack of decent schools in their neighborhood and lack of exposure to the middle class culture needed to score well on standardized tests (which are basically tests of, well, how middle class you are, there is no -- ZERO -- evidence that standardized tests have any correlation to any fundamental intelligence, just that they accurately predict how middle-class you are and thus how well you will perform at a college that expects a middle-class background). State colleges are overcrowded and often require you to show up year after year to stand in line in hopes of getting one of the few precious slots allocated to in-state students (because they can charge middle-class out-of-state students full price, thus state governments have been cutting in-state slots at state colleges all over the nation to plug their higher education budget holes). What's a somewhat bright but naive poor kid supposed to do?

Well, we know what they do -- they get scammed. In other words, Reason is right that the current system sucks donkey dicks. But you know what Reason's solution the problem is going to be. They're going to say that the Free Market Fairy waving her magic wand all over the higher education field will fix everything -- even though that never happened before the GI Bill educated a generation of Americans who otherwise would have never had access to higher education. In short, Reason's lack of, well, simple acquaintance with actual objective reality makes the Free Market Fairy smile:

Yes, that's one smiling fairy all right...

Oh yeah, solutions?

  1. If student loans default because the graduating students can't find jobs within the unemployment deferral period, require the private colleges to pay the loans back, rather than the students. We've told our kids that college is how you get a good job. If we are lying, why should the kids pay the price? (Oh, why do public colleges get a pass here? Because a. they're cheaper than private colleges, and b. it'd just be moving taxpayer money from point a to point b anyhow, so what's the point?)
  2. Eliminate federally guaranteed student loans for middle class students. I'm not joking. They're poison. They're financial crack. Middle class parents can do without a new BMW and delay buying that McMansion for a few years to pay their kids' tuition, which, BTW, would be far less because otherwise colleges would have to shutter their doors because nobody could afford to pay out-of-pocket at current tuition rates.
  3. BRING BACK FULL TUITION / BOOK GRANTS FOR POOR KIDS. When I was a poor kid going to college, 100% of my tuition and textbook costs were covered by federal grants, and 100% of my room and board for the first year was covered by a state scholarship for gifted and talented students. After that the only thing that I took out loans for was incidental expenses, working multiple part-time jobs was sufficient to handle room and board. The end result was that my final student loan tally was quite modest -- I think I ended up owing something like $5,000 at the end of my college career, not peanuts by the standard of a poor community but hardly something that was going to hang over me for my entire life. But now we're expecting poor kids to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans JUST FOR TUITION AND BOOKS! Which is utterly nuts, given the extremely high chance that they'll never be able to pay it back.
  4. Make student loans dischargable via bankruptcy court(and non-reportable for credit purposes) after five years of non-payment. This imposes much the same penalty as bankruptcy for non-payment of student loans -- you won't be able to get a credit card, you won't be able to buy a new car, and so on and so forth -- but there is at least the knowledge that at the end of the period, you can get out from under a debt that's unpayable because Weerip Youoff College didn't provide the education and training that you paid them for. Otherwise we're condemning a huge number of kids to life on the margins, with dire consequences for the future of this nation. And by having that delay, we get rid of the problem of the freshly-minted lawyer or doctor immediately declaring bankruptcy to have his debt discharged, when it's clear that within a few years his income is likely to be sufficient to pay the debt...
So anyhow, that's my solution, as vs. the magic fairy dust wishful thinking of the loonie Libertarian right, whose ideas have never worked in the real world but, like the ardent Marxists, they claim that this is because their ideas have never been properly implemented. Marxists, Libertarians... both loons whose ideas have never worked in the real world, but they still insist, "but they will work this time, for real! We promise!". Uhm, yeah. Forgive me if I roll my eyes and chuckle...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


Chan Marshall was 22 years old when she recorded this song, which was released in 1996 on the album Myra Lee. This is "Great Expectations". And you get the feeling that the narrator of the song doesn't have any.

Early Cat Power was not technically adept and the lyrics seemed so much gibberish if you read them closely. What Chan managed to do, however, was drag the darkness of the things that happened to her as a child out into the light and turn them over and over in front of us. Here you get the sense of a small child buffeted by forces too large for her to understand, in a song that is sad and alienated and intense and filled with angst...

Yes, I know I've featured this song before. It came up on my iPod and got replayed over and over again. What can I say.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ain't gettin' none of dat dere chow

This is an Americana band by the name of The Trishas, singing a bluesy tune called "Chicken and Dumplings". Somehow I get the notion they ain't talkin' just about food, yo.

Note that every time I lack inspiration for music, I just head over to someone else's music blog and sure enough, there we go. This one was encountered on Music Fog...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vote for the crook, it's important.

The above was basically the unofficial campaign slogan when Edwin Edwards (D-Crowley) was running against David Duke (R-KKK) for Governor of Louisiana. Edwards, a notoriously crooked former governor, won his 5th term of office as governor in a blowout. Edwards was only recently released from Club Fed, in case you're wondering.

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes the ideal is the enemy of the good. What brings this to mind is this editorial cartoon:

In case you're wondering, that's Crazy White Lady and the Seven Dwarves -- Dopey, Dopey, Dopey, Crazy-Eyes, Dopey, Gold Standard, and Dopey. Otherwise known as the Republican candidates for President of the United States.

I may think the President coddles criminals too much. But he is at least an intelligent adult. The same cannot be said about the Republicans (though I must admit neither Romney nor Huntsman is crazy -- but they do not have a snowball's chance in hell of being the Republican nominee either).

Come November 2012, vote for the crook. It's important.

-- Badtux the Pragmatist Penguin

First day

Sarah Dougher was in several bands in the 1990's, none of which really went anywhere. Part of the problem is that Dougher is a professor at Portland State University, and thus has never really had the single-minded focus needed to actually succeed in the music business. Besides, she's a chunky feminist professor who looks like one, not a blond bombshell. I suppose she could have done a Lady Gaga and bleached her hair and dressed in kooky costumes that hid her body, but I suspect she would have given you a lecture on female empowerment if you dared make such a suggestion to her.

So anyhow, she loves music, she loves playing music, so she's been solo since 1999 even though she really doesn't go anywhere outside of her immediate vicinity. This one is "Day One" from her 1999 album by the same name.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grampa Simpson sez illegals caused his corns

John McCain blames illegal immigrants for forest fire in northeastern Arizona. Because, y'know, that part of the country -- which is northeast of Phoenix (as in, on the opposite end of the state from the Mexican border) and is mostly empty forests and wilderness areas -- is just *so* full of illegal immigrants.

Next up: John McInsane blames illegal immigrants for his skin cancer, the common cold, and the fact that Ke$ha has a recording deal...

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

We already have socialized medicine in America

It's called "Federal Prison". And one man was in such pain that he robbed a bank just to be sent to prison, because that was the only way he could get health care.

America. Where prison, shower-room rapes and all, looks good compared to the alternative. U S A! U S A! U S A! Fuck yeah!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


The Crabs were a Portland alternative band with John Lunsford, Lisa Jackson and Sarah Dougher. I'm not sure what happened to Lunsford and Jackson after the band broke up in 1999, but Dougher (the keyboardist in this video) is still around..

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Because brown / Muslim people drive taxies

Now, there's some folks who wonder why Idaho State Sen. John McGee (R)didn't just call a taxi when he was four sheets to the wind. I mean, calling a taxi is a lot easier than walking out into the parking lot, peering around into cars looking for one that has keys in it, finding a Ford Excursion with a 20 foot travel trailer hooked to it, and taking it for a joyride and crashing it, followed by subsequent arrest for DUI and grand theft auto (and trailer!).

But look, you're thinking like a liberal Democrat. Everybody knows that taxi drivers are mostly immigrants. BROWN immigrants. Often MUSLIM immigrants. The horror, oh the horror! And you would subject Mr. McGee to that horror?! For shame, shame!

Oh yeah, remember the chant: IOKIYR. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The price of learned helplessness

Learned helplessness was one of the things we had to fight against as special education teachers. Most of our students were well capable of doing most of the tasks of daily living for themselves. But why should they, if we professionals did everything for them? They swiftly learned how to "work" the special ed teachers to do things for them that they could do for themselves, but didn't feel like doing, and we special ed teachers had to make sure we put a stop to that ASAP when we spotted that it was happening. After all, learned helplessness swiftly becomes real helplessness -- the client forgets how to do stuff that he used to be able to do, because, well, he just hasn't done it in so long because other people have been doing it for him.

Take a look up there at the left. That is a widget called a cheese slicer. You use it by placing the roller on a block of cheese, tilting it upwards until the wire is at the depth you want your slice to be, then dragging it across the block of cheese. Voila, a slice of cheese for your sandwich!

What brings this all to mind is standing in the supermarket and looking at two packages of cheese. Both packages were the same kind of cheese and the same brand name. Both packages were the same weight, 8 ounces. One package was $1.99. The other package was $2.99. The $2.99 package was, of course, the pre-sliced one. The one that, apparently, can sell for more because people have forgotten how to use those things called "cheese slicers".

So now we know the price of learned helplessness: It is $1 per 8 ounces of cheese. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Big Guy checks out

I moved today's music video to a later date because Clarence Clemons, long-time sax sideman for Bruce Springsteen, has checked out of this mortal coil. This is "Jungleland", off the Born to Run album, and I suspect Bruce is retiring it from his playlist because nobody else would be right for that huge sax solo in the middle of the song...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Overheated penguin

It was 86F outside at noon. Don't even want to know what it is right now. I cold-soaked the house last night so it's still fairly comfortable right now, but it's heat-soaking right now from the outside in. Time to figure out how to install the air conditioner I bought Friday afternoon, methinks...

-- Badtux the Not-heat-lovin' Penguin

Update: The air conditioner is installed and the thermostat set at 78F. Ah, blessed cooleth!

No duh

I've long held that most homophobes are closet gays. I mean, there's only one kind of person who obsesses about gay sex, and that person is, uhm, gayer than the gay mayor of gaytown, duh!

Now we have scientific proof. Homophobes are aroused by viewing videos of gay sex and non-homophobes aren't. Huh. Who coulda guessed? Well, except me and anybody else who's seen the long stream of Ted Haggards and George Rekers anti-gay activists who end up having to go to "gay rehab" 'cause they were caught in bed with a live boy. Heh.

-- Badtux the Unsurprised Penguin

Busy penguin

My apologies for not posting yesterday, I was busy installing new springs in the back end of my Jeep, then I was just too frackin' *tired* to do anything except play an hour of a video game, then go to bed.

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

Saturday, June 18, 2011

After the exit

What happened to Corin Tucker after Sleator-Kinney "went on hiatus"? Well, she has a band. And it kicks butt pretty well, albeit it doesn't sound a whole lot like Sleator-Kinney.

This is the Corin Tucker Band, "1,000 Years", off the album of the same title released back in October. It's a more mellow album than I expected given Corin's grrl-punk background, but it's pretty darn good.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sad Blue

Sonic Youth, "I Love You Golden Blue", off of their 2006 album Sonic Nurse.

Kim Gordon can't sing. She never has been able to sing. But her croaking whisper fits this melancholy song well enough.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Relaxing on the throne

Yes, I *still* haven't given Mencken the bath he so sorely needs... what can I say, I'm not a masochist.

-- Badtux the Dirty-cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The war on education

Public education is basically disintegrating around the country. Budgets have been cut to the point where there will be 60+ students per classroom next school year -- classrooms which can barely hold 35 students -- and teachers with 12+ years of experience are being laid off. The latest is TexBetty over at Mock Paper Scissors.

One of the big reasons I left teaching was because it became clear that neither American parents nor American students cared about education and learning. The question I incessantly heard was, “how will knowing X make me money when I graduate?” If there were not dollar signs involved, neither parents nor students were interested in it.

We’ve substituted the almighty dollar for everything that was once great about this culture. Fifty or a hundred years ago, kids could be rowdy but they had a basic respect for learning. Today, it’s all about dollars. Fifty or a hundred years ago, even the right wing wanted to help the poor and downtrodden, they just had a difference of opinion as to the right way to do it. Today, it’s all about “I got mine and eff you.” This country is in a death spiral caused by the discarding of all values other than worship of the almighty dollar, and if you can, get out now, before it becomes impossible.

- Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin

Coming thing

Sarah Jarosz is 18 years old in this video, where she proudly plays one of the songs she just wrote that she intends to have on her next album, even though her first album (recorded at age 17) had just been released. And indeed, "Come Around" is on the new album, Follow Me Down, which was released last month.

I won't say that Follow Me Down is the must-have album of the year -- it's good, but not one of those albums that will forever be considered a "classic" -- but it is interesting to see the growth in Sarah's songwriting since her first album, Song Up In Her Head. It's been a crazy two years for Sarah, between starting college, getting a Grammy nomination, and songwriting, recording, and touring, with plenty of opportunity for growth in all that. But what is most appealing to me about this album is the sense of sheer joy that you get from it. Sarah is having the time of her life and her joy and enthusiasm shines through.

BTW, the album version has Sarah's octave mandolin as the center piece, but also puts full instrumentation around it. This particular song is almost the same as the album version, which adds banjo and fiddle, but most of the other songs, when I hear them live, I hear the spaces where the other instruments like drums, pedal steel, and electric guitar go (yes, electric guitar). Sarah doesn't play the full band version live because she's a college student. She can't afford a full band. She's got a couple of friends who play fiddle and cello/bass with her, and occasional special guest stars (like when Shawn Colvin showed up at one of her Austin gigs), and neither Sarah nor the audience seems to care that the song would sound even better with a full band, it's all good. Still, that's probably the biggest difference in underlying musicology between this album and the first album. Sarah is no longer writing solo singer-songwriter material. She's writing for an ensemble -- she's writing for a band. She doesn't have a band, yet. But she will.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And neocons in their basements jizz...

L7 from 1993 with "Wargasm", live. Yet more punk-pop from the early 90's. Note Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain sitting on the stage...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Remember when?


What value does the stock market add to the economy?

Indeed, that's the core question that baffled me when I first studied the Great Depression in grade school. Why would a stock market crash cause a depression? After all, buying and selling already-existing stocks generates no capital for companies, generates no new inventions for companies, in essence is just moving pieces of paper around without creating any real wealth. Remember, real wealth is actual goods and services, not pieces of fancy toilet paper. And IPO's and other new issues of stock account for a fairly trivial portion of the stock market, so for the most part purchasing stock doesn't help produce any real economic output.

But of course the deal is that the stock market serves as a store of value as well as a worthless gambling emporium, and when a major store of value declines in value, it has the same real consequences associated with monetary deflation in general -- the interaction with debt being the most important one, and the real cause of the Great Depression. So I suppose the answer to the question of, "why buy Apple stock?" is, "you help maintain the stock market as a store of value." Whether having a large portion of the effective money supply tied up basically in circulating around under a mattress rather than creating or purchasing actual goods and services is a good thing is an exercise left for a future post...

- Badtux the Monetary Penguin

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why does President Obama hate democracy?

President Obama said that Rep. Weiner should resign. Err... forgive me for thinking this, but I thought we no longer had kings or rulers deciding such things in America? I thought that the folks who decide whether a politician should stay or go are the voters, not unelected pundits of the media or the President? The voters in Rep. Weiner's district, not GOP pundits or the President, are in charge. If they want Weiner gone, it will happen -- maybe not today, or tomorrow, but by the end of the primary season next year Weiner will either be gone or will be the Democratic nominee for his house seat. It's called DEMOCRACY, and it's not only a good idea, it's the law.

I swear, between the GOP's hatred of democracy (true democracy -- rule of the majority, for the benefit of the majority -- scares them shitless, thus why they do so much voter caging to prevent people from voting) and the Democrats's hatred of democracy, it's a wonder we're not living in Stalinist Russia.

-- Badtux the Unsurprised (but still disappointed) Penguin

An anniversary

On June 17, 1971 President Richard Nixon declared the War On (Some) Drugs. Now, I've repeatedly pointed out some of the side effects -- the militarization of our police forces, the enrichment of drug gangs in other countries, the disenfranchisement of large swathes of minority America either through placing them in jail or through removing their right to vote after they get out of jail, and so forth. I've also pointed out that the War on (Some) Drugs has not ended drug abuse, indeed, there's as much drug abuse as ever. But let's get to the bottom line: Is the War on Drugs a success?

Now, you might wonder why I'm asking that question. Well, that's probably because you're one of the suckers who believes that the War on Drugs is -- or ever has been -- about drugs. But of course it isn't. It's never been about drugs. When Nixon declared the War on Drugs, he wasn't actually declaring war on drugs. He didn't give a shit how much pot people smoked or how much acid they dropped. He was a lizard person, remember. Lizard people don't view humans as people. They view humans as prey. Nixon could no more have cared about the horrors of drug abuse than a newt could care about the feelings of the fly he just snagged with his tongue and is in the process of eating. As a sociopath, he simply was biologically incapable of feeling anything for human beings.

So if the War on Drugs was never about the horrors of drug abuse... why, then? Okay, let me count the ways...

  1. A strike against the counterculture. The counterculture had our lizard overlords scared shitless. You had all these young people who'd tuned in, turned on, dropped out, who were going out onto the land and growing their own food and shit, not buying, not consuming... how were the lizard people going to continue their project of farming humans for profit if the humans left the plantation and went off on their own? But see, the "back to nature" counterculture had a fatal flaw: even early 20th century subsistence farmers needed a "cash crop" to buy those things that could not be grown or made on the farm, things like farm implements, cloth, jars for canning food, and so forth. And given their origins, pharmaceuticals were a primo cash crop for the counterculture. So basically, the War on Drugs allowed the lizard people to destroy the counterculture, which was a direct threat to their plantation economy where humans are farmed for profit.
  2. Put those uppity Negros in their place. It's not an accident that drugs that are most popular with minorities are also the drugs whose use or possession or sale results in the largest penalties. By giving the most onerous punishments to drugs primarily used by minorities, the War on (Some) Drugs accomplishes two things simultaneously -- it gets some scary darkies off the street (and, sister, *all* darkies are scary to tighty whitey bigot-Americans), and it disenfranchises these darkies so they won't be voting (they won't be votin' for sure while in jail, and mostly will be disqualified from voting after they get out of jail too). Can't let the darkies vote, why, they might vote for someone who, like, isn't a bigot! The horror, the horror! So by putting 25% of all black men into the criminal justice system, you give a wink and nod to poor white trash upset that now black people are as good as them under the law. And by removing the ability of these minorities to vote, you do more to preserve white power than all KKK covens combined.
  3. Expand the paramilitary forces available to the lizard people. The lizard people don't understand why, but they do understand that their programs that result in large numbers of "surplus" humans dying of starvation, exposure, or lack of medical care are unpopular with the majority of human beings and can only be imposed by force. By providing huge sums of money and motivation for militarizing the police forces, the lizard people now no longer need to hire Pinkertons to deal with uppity humans who dare resist their program of human farming with methods other than whining and wringing of hands. Instead, they have a huge number of paramilitary policemen trained to believe that all "civilians" are The Enemy and whose notion of "serve and protect" is to serve and protect their lizard overlords, not the human beings who pay their salaries.

So is the War on (Some) Drugs a success? Why... yes! It's a *SMASHING* success! Why do you ask?

-- Badtux the Cynical Penguin

Drugged out

P.J. Harvey, "When Under Ether", off of her 2007 album White Chalk. In her later career Polly Jean has moved away from the angry guitar-driven rock she first made her mark with in the early 90's into something that might be called "art rock". The results are uneven but always striking, just like Polly Jean.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer is ready

The Breeders, in 1993, with "Saints" off their album Last Splash. Just some standard punk-pop from the early 90's. Compare/contrast Kim Deal's sneer with Miley Cyrus's simper... err... uhm.... no. Just don't.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The iron law of reality

Here is the most important thing to remember about economics theory: Any time economics theory contradicts reality, reality wins.

For example: It is an iron law of reality that human beings have certain fundamental needs: Food, shelter, clothing, and fucking. These needs are imposed by biology, and are not amenable to discussion any more than the fact that 1+1=2 is amenable to discussion. If an activity does not provide one of these fundamentals, human beings may do it out of a desire for intellectual or physical stimulation (see: hobby), but they won't do it otherwise.

So let's look at Austrian "economics". As I've previously pointed out, the Austrians view the Great Depression as more of a Great Vacation, and view today's unemployed the same way -- as slackers who simply aren't interested in working. This is because they have a supply-demand curve that looks like this: If the supply of something (say, labor) exceeds the demand (jobs to be filled by labor), all you have to do is lower the price of the commodity until demand is created for it, and voila.

The problem is that this runs smack dab into the iron law of reality. Below a certain point, the wages received from labor fail to provide food, shelter, clothing, and sex. If the wages are not sufficient to provide food, shelter, clothing, and sex, then people simply will not perform the activity. And given that most of the low-wage jobs are dreary drudgery, people clearly aren't going to do those jobs for intellectual or physical stimulation either. Chamber orchestras may be able to pay their players wages insufficient to sustain life because the players find it so intellectually stimulating to play the world's greatest music, but nobody ever felt that way about flipping burgers at Micky Dee's.

In short, there is a fundamental physical constraint of reality that the Austrians ignore while extolling the beauty of their theory. That physical constraint is the biological needs of the workers. If those biological needs aren't met -- if there is insufficient food, shelter, clothing, and sex (well, the sex is optional, sort of, but folks who don't get any tend to be rather unhappy), the worker ceases to exist. Given that human beings evolved to resist that kinda thing (survival of the fittest and all that), they simply won't accept work that fails to provide the essentials of life. They'll find some other way to acquire those essentials -- they'll spend their time foraging the dumpsters behind restaurants, performing petty burglaries and selling the proceeds on eBay, or otherwise doing whatever it takes to provide food, shelter, clothing and sex for themselves and their family.

In short, there is a lower bounds below which wages cannot fall because it doesn't matter how brilliant the Austrian's theory is, it runs smack dab into fundamental biological reality. Thus if you hear somebody whining about how they can't find employees and thus this means all the unemployed are slackers, what they're really saying is that they're such cheapskates that they refuse to pay their workers the minimum needed for fundamental biological survival -- with clear and obvious results. Of course, lizard people don't care about fundamental biological survival of human beings, since to lizard people human beings are just disposable labor items, sorta like the latex gloves that surgeons use, something to use once then throw away once it's finished. But human beings tend to value their personal survival somewhat more than that...

-- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Busy penguin

Not going to be up for air until Wednesday... big deal going down, handholding of customer required, huge amount of last-minute checking out of things and fixing small glitches that aren't show stoppers but would fail to impress the customer, who could give us some very large amount of $$$$ if they're impressed...

I got some new springs and a panhard rod relocation bracket for the back of my Jeep. I need to install them. I don't have time, sigh! I also have some other maintenance that needs doin' to the Jeep, like changing the brake fluid. Just having trouble getting to it, sigh...

-- Badtux the Busy Penguin

That 70's Show

Margo Price needs some bell bottoms and tie-die, yo.

This is Buffalo Clover, "Seek Me Out" off their new album Low Down Time. I've previously mentioned that I was getting a Tom Waits Americana vibe off their earlier work. But they've gone upmarket and upscale here, as well as to a different point in time. I'm getting more of a Stephen Stills / Flying Burrito Brothers 70's vibe out of this outing, i.e., more of a country rock album with late 60's / early 70's pop influences. The songs sound so familiar that at first I tried to look them up on various lyrics sites to see who the Clover were covering. Except none of the lyrics to these songs matched anything. They're apparently originals.

Need to spend more time going back and listening to late 60's / early 70's stuff to think about what this particular song sounds like... hey, look, back in that time I was mostly listening to classical music 'cause, like, it seemed heresy to ruin good music with, like, words. What can I say, I was a strange kid :). So if you can drop me some hints as to WTF this particular song sounds like...

- Badtux the Ancient Penguin

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Spooky torch

Yet another sad and beautiful song from the Devics. This is "Spooky", off their brilliant 2006 album Push the Heart.

The folks who've posted the Devics' songs to YouTube seem to post a lot of whiny emo too. You don't see that whiny emo here because I don't like it. Why do I like Devics and not the whiny emo? I think it's got something to do with steel. Sara Lov observes the affairs of the heart in all its glory and sadness but does not indulge in the "oh woe is me" pity trip that the whiny emo types do. She's got too much steel in her spine for that. She's a survivor, not a victim. Warriors come in all shapes and sizes...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 10, 2011

So how's that War on Drugs workin' out?

Mexican drug gangs are building tanks.

Uhm... dude. Just.... duuuude! That is some serious shit goin' on down there. All funded by the War On Drugs, which is what makes drug dealing so profitable compared to when I was a little kid. When I was a little kid gangs were lucky to be able to afford a knife. So now, they're building fucking tanks?! That's some serious dough, yo!

- Badtux the WASF Penguin

A word of advice for Miley Cyrus

Teen pop tart Miley Cyrus recently butchered Nirvana's classic song "Smells Like Teen Spirit on tour. Now, Miley can't sing worth a lick, is so tone-deaf that her auto-tune starts smoking by the end of a set from the furious work needed to sort of put her back in key, and has the same screechy whiney voice as Emily Litella. She has about as much business covering Kurt Cobain's ode to nihilism and enui as Perry Como has covering the greatest hits of Marilyn Manson. But that did not stop her, she bravely waded into the fray and promptly butchered the song, completely missing the point.

My advice to Miley Cyrus: Do not ever appear at any function that Courtney Love is at. Because Courtney will bitch-slap you until you're singing about your achey-breaky head for mangling her man's song, yo.

-- Badtux the Snarky Music Penguin

You're a mean one, Mrs. Grinch

Left -- a bloated slimey Newt slithers along in his native damp and rancid environment full of corruption and filth, looking for a meal of insects to snatch up with his prehensile tongue and consume live, wiggling and all.

Newt Gingrich's entire campaign staff jumps ship. Apparently the imperious Callista rubbed them the wrong way, imperiously ordering them around and ignoring their professional advice, and dragging her hubby off on a cruise to Greece when they needed him to do rubber chicken dinners and work the talk show circuit to get shit going.

Yes, you're a mean one, Mrs. Grinch. But thank you anyhow for taking your slimeball hubby away from politics again. Our nation is the better for it.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sleepy drunk

Louise Wener of the 1990's Brit-pop band Sleeper seems a bit high and drunk here, but cute as the dickens :). This is "Sleeper", off their 1995 album Smart.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


I interrupted The Mighty Fang's grooming by flashing my camera light at him. He is not amused.

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, June 09, 2011

President Obama blames the victims

Hey, don't got a job? Want a job? Well, gosh darn it, there's a reason you don't have a job. It's got nothing to do with there being more than four unemployed workers for every job opening. Nope, it's you. You're a moran, see, who simply lacks the brains and skills to get a job. Or at least that's what Preznit Hopey Changey basically sez, saying that training folks for manufacturing jobs that don't exist is going to cure the jobs problem. I mean, that's always worked in the past, right? Never been a boondoggle for politically-connected private school operators who rake in billions in taxpayer money, load students down with oodles of unpayable debt, then the government ruins their life for the rest of their lives all for the benefit of fat cat Wall Street types who run big corporatized trade schools with glossy ads that teach nothing, nosirree, that's *never* happened. Instead, Preznit Hopey Changey's jobs program is gonna get manufacturing jobs to come back here from China because... because... because he's got Magic Negro fairy dust to sprinkle all over it, yo!

And oh yeah, as JzB sez so often: WASF.

-- Badtux the Waddling Penguin

Checking out

Sparklehorse, "A Sad and Beautiful World", from the 1995 album Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. It might as well be a theme song for depression, the illness that took lead singer-songwriter Mark Linkous's life in 2010...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Random thoughts

I like reading mysteries. I tend towards the more hard-boiled edge of the genre, not the cozy side, because that has the most opportunities for exploring the underbelly of society and the mysteries of human nature. That said, I cannot stand most of the series mystery books out there. No series that has a murder in every book should ever be longer than two books, three maximum, unless your protagonist is a special investigator for a big city police department. We have a word for folks who accumulate a pile of dead bodies in their background. We call'em "serial killers" :).

Note that this is why I haven't tried to make a living as a writer, not that it's possible to do so anyhow in today's world, where a typical midlist writer sells 20,000 books total, worldwide, period, and most books don't break the 5,000 mark, and about $1 per book actually gets to the writer. You have to go "series" and accumulate an audience before you can start moving up the sales list in the mystery genre, and the longest "series" I can come up with has three books in it, and in that one the protagonist is a serial killer of sorts, or at least not a very nice person. (Though most of the dead bodies are not directly caused by the protagonist, who does, however, have a touching scene while standing in the middle of a field strewn with dead bodies).

Oh yeah, back to the Weiner "sex scandal": Uhm, wouldn't there have to be, like, actual sex for there to be a "sex scandal"?

  • John Ensign (R-Nevada): actually, like, poked his mistress.
  • John Edwards (D-North Carolina): Actually, like, poked his mistress.
  • Dave Vitter (R-Louisiana): Actually, liked, poked a bunch of prostitutes while wearin’ diapers.
  • Anthony Weiner (D-New York): sent a photo of his poker.
Which of the above is not like the other?

Next up: Some right winger will tell me that a photo is the exact same thing as the actual act. Hmm. So if I deliver to him a photo of a pizza, it’s the exact same thing as actually delivering pizza to his apartment. So he has nobody to blame but himself next time he orders delivery and receives a photo rather than the expected food, because the photo is the exact same thing as the food, right?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Busy penguin

Been *swamped* with work. Hopefully only for another week or two. We'll see.

Meanwhile, my new Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V camera got here today, after three weeks of waiting (yes, it's still backordered, despite having been introduced six months ago!). So I charged the battery and, of course, took a couple of photos using the "super-duperly intelligent auto" setting:

Hmm, The Mighty Fang looks mighty shiny! One thing that peeved me about my old Panasonic Lumix is that it just didn't make TMF look shiny. If you want good processing, you need a real camera company like Minolta doing your design, not some consumer electronics nimrods. (Okay, so the Minolta name no longer exists, but the Minolta genes show).

Menken on his throne says "bah humbug" to this whole photography thing. Hmm, he's looking a bit yellowish. I think he needs a bath. Uhm, hey you, over there, I'll pay you $20 to give Mencken a bath... hey, where you going? Hey? Where'd everybody go?!

-- Badtux the Not-goin'-there Penguin

Some noise

Needed a bit of a pallet cleanser after all the bluegrass and pop. So here's some punk-pop. Sleater-Kinney, "Good Things", from their album Call The Doctor.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Old lover

The Walkabouts, "Jack Candy", from their 1993 New West Motel.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

So it WAS Wiener's weiner

Huh. Who woulda thunkit.

What is it with pols sending photos of their, err, parts, to other women?

- Badtux the Never-tempted-to-do-that Penguin

Technical troubles

Comcast sucks.

Just sayin'. My Internet connection has become mostly unusable between around 6:30PM and 10PM, when everybody gets home and starts streaming their Netflix and Hulu and overwhelms the one single Internet drop that Compost believes is plenty for this entire neighborhood. It's wrecking havoc with my mission of finding good music videos for this blog.

That said, I have no explanation for why yesterday's video didn't pop up on schedule. I think that particular fumble was between the birdbrain and the flippers, yo.

-- Badtux the Bummed Penguin

Monday, June 06, 2011

Red-headed Mary

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, with "Ah Mary" off their 2007 album This Is Somewhere. Just some rock'n'roll by a red-headed chick who can wail, yo.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

A note to old people

If you vote for Paul Ryan to eliminate Medicare for all of us under age 55 because his plan protects your Medicare, we will vote to eliminate Medicare for you too, because "I got mine and fuck you" is an attitude that gets the same back in return. Us younger folks pay into Medicare because we'll get it when we become old farts too. If you vote to ban it for us, hell no we won't pay... you saying "let them eat cake" to all us younger folk is *not* going to go unnoticed or unpunished. Just sayin'.

-- Badtux the Vicious Penguin

Caribou Barbie and Paul Revere

Okay, so Caribou Barbie got the Paul Revere thing as confused as George W. Bush, who once proclaimed to a worker at a cafe, "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." But she had a point to more than her head. That point being that Paul Revere *was* warning that the British were coming to take the guns -- of the Massachusetts militia. A *real* militia, formed by local governments for self defense purposes, and their guns were kept in *arsenals*, not at home. Just like our National Guard today. Dudes don't get to take their military weapons home with them from the Guard arsenals, yo.

So anyhow, the Brits decided these local militias were arming for something other than peaceful purposes and decided to go seize those weapons from the arsenals, and in the famous tale Paul Revere supposedly rode to warn the colonials that the British were coming to seize their guns -- from the arsenal (a.k.a. "National Guard armory"), not their personal weapons from their homes, because if people did own a personal weapon it was likely a fowling piece useless for military purposes. Which means the Brits *were* going out to seize guns. But not people's personal guns. Militia guns stored in the colonial equivalent of National Guard armories.

So in a word, Caribou Barbie's point was mostly on her head, but there is at least a *little* truth to the notion that Paul Revere did ride to protect the right of the National Guard to have guns in their armories. Oh wait, that wasn't what Caribou Barbie was saying at all, was it?

- Badtux the Pointless Penguin

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Rain and humidity

Just some dreary weather here the past couple of days. Hope I didn't miss anything important while I was off vegetating...

-- Badtux the Busy Penguin

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Horny Pink

Yes, time for some MADNESS again, playing "Embarrasment". They first did this song in *1980* for their album Absolutely. Yeah, they've been around for a *long* time, but they still wail...

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 03, 2011

Impossibly catchy

Okay, so this is *way* more popular than what I usually cover on this blog, most of whom are obscure bands whose videos are lucky to have a few thousand hits. So sue me. It came up on my playlist and for some reason stuck in my head. So now it's your turn.

The Kills, "Black Balloon", off their album Midnight Boom.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


No time for blogging about it, but read this. CNN commits an act of journalism. Too bad that's the exception and not the rule.

-- Badtux the Busy Penguin

Thursday, June 02, 2011


50 Foot Wave, "Petal", off their 2005 album Golden Ocean. This is what Kristin Hersh did to satisfy her indie urge after Throwing Muses went moribund.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

The law is for the little people

Power grows from the barrel of a gun. And the wealthy can purchase a whole lot of guns. There is only one power that has ever managed to even halfway prevent the wealthy from simply taking everything at gunpoint, and that is the power of the People as a whole getting together and using the wealth they produce to buy their own guns to offset the wealthy. We call the organization thus produced "democratic government", and the guns are "police", directed by "laws" produced by "legislators" that are interpreted by "courts" that decide the punishment for those brought at gunpoint before them (said punishment, of course, being enforced at gunpoint too). At least, that was the notion during the 20th century. Today, of course, that all seems rather quaint.

But Tom Engelhardt is only half-right when he says we're living in a post-legal society. We're living in a post-legal society for the rich. If you are an ordinary worker, one of the people who produces the wealth that the rich then steal at gunpoint on their own while returning a tiny portion to you (called "wages" -- note that the rich do not themselves make anything or do anything other than "manage" their "worker" serfs, i.e., they're overglorified slave masters enforcing the wage whip upon their workers), you will find that there is indeed "rule of law" -- that is, you will face "laws" produced by the slave masters, you will face "police" owned by the slave masters, you will face "courts" owned by the slave masters, and you will find yourself in "prison" owned by the slave masters if you in any way attempt to take back some of the goods and services you produce for your slave master. Your slave master will call it "theft" and "trespassing" if you and your fellow serfs decide you're tired of giving the output of your factory to your slave master and decide to instead keep that output and sell it yourselves, cutting the slave master out of the loop. Paramilitary police officers will break in and beat you and haul you out bodily, and then if you attempt to return, they will cage you like an animal for the crime of refusing to be a slave.

Of course, none of this would work if the slaves would refuse to work for their slave masters and instead chose to join together and work for themselves, but the slaves are cowed because the slave masters have vowed to deprive them of all sustenance and housing if the slaves refuse to labor for their slave masters, indeed claim that over 50% of all assets of the nation are "theirs" despite the fact that they built none of it, created none of it, but they wrote up pieces of paper (via their "laws") saying it's theirs so it's theirs. So the slaves go to work every day and accept the pitiful table scraps that the slave masters offer, and they call it freedom.

-- Badtux the Free(*) Penguin

(*) Offer void where prohibited. Attempts to exercise rights implied by the word 'Free' may lead to unemployment, starvation, beatings by armed thugs wearing badges, and lead poisoning. But you are free, citizen!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Busy penguin

Just now basically got a chance to sit down at ye olde Blogger dashboard, after a long day at work then necessary chores (tomorrow is trash day, meaning I have to do things like, oh, change the cat box 'cause if I don't it'll be another week before there's another trash day and the cats will probably start using my bed as their toilet instead!).

In various news, various crazy people say they're either running for President as a Republican, or thinking of running for President as a Republican. The actual Eisenhower Republican who is President is appalled, appalled I say, at the crazy Tea Bagger House's decision to not pay the nation's bills and thereby turn the United States into the world's biggest deadbeat. I'm preparing for a Jeep trip, but I won't tell you when and where, you'll just have to guess (and you won't be able to guess just because I'm not blogging, because we have a make-or-break deadline coming up at work and if we don't make it, we might as well not show up for work next month because it's over, done, kaput, meaning typical startup hours for most of June). The cats seem healthy and happy, though I'm a bit alarmed in that Mencken has developed sleep apnea and snores like a fat lady up on his pillow on top of the dresser. But he certainly seems healthy enough otherwise, so I don't know what to think. The flowers are all blooming in the garden, the fuchsias are taking over the side yard having now spread about three feet further on each end than they were last year thanks to branchlets rooting where they sagged onto the soil and coming up as independent new fuchsia bushes. Rosie the Rosemary has grown about an inch since she went into the ground, and seems to enjoy her sunny corner of the garden. I *still* haven't planted anything in the bare spot to the left of Rosie. Siiiiiigh! Just busy busy busy...

-- Badtux the Blogging Penguin

Shimmering following

Throwing Muses was an indie band that was most active in the 1990's.

This is their song "Shimmer", off of their 1995 album "University". This was their first album with Kristin Hersh as the lead singer and principal songwriter, after Tanya Donelly left the band. Reviews were good but sales were disappointing, so the band was dropped by its major label and made two more albums on indie labels and pretty much went moribund. Kristin Hersh is still active today as a solo singer-songwriter artist and as part of a more hardcore band 50 Foot Wave.

- Badtux the Music Penguin