Quiz Question

One of a continuing series


Previously the Quiz Question was about the origin of the dollar sign ($). This week’s Quiz Question is about the dollar.

What is the origin of “dollar” for the American unit of currency? To provide the required answer you are going to have to drill down to the absolute root of the origin of the word. You are not allowed to run to Google for the answer, but you are allowed to mine archives of this blog. I provided the answer in a previous post.

Don’t post your answer on Facebook. Post you answer as a comment below.


And Prasad has provided the correct answer. It is possible he read this previous post, which describes the origin of the American dollar:

Richard Rhodes told the story in his 1986 book The Making of the Atomic Bomb. The book tells of the development of modern nuclear physics and of the coming involvement of science in the world of politics and war. The book won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction.

The German word thal (tal) means valley, and Sankt Joachimsthal in the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic was the site of a great mineral wealth. Silver came from the region and later uranium ore. The silver was struck into coins that became known as Joachimsthallers, and the thaller became the English dollar and the unit of currency for a new nation on the North American continent.


Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Be honest, you never expected this to be a top-tier production. It’s Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, starring Charles Laughton as Captain Kidd and the eponymous Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as 18th century flunkies Rocky Stonebridge and  “Puddin’ Head” Feathergill. Of course, it’s all played for laughs as Laughton reprises his role as the notorious pirate from the 1945 production Captain Kidd. This one came out in 1952, distributed by Warner Brothers. Images are screen shots from Turner Classic Movies, and details are from Wikipedia.

It’s all played for laughs, and music, too. Here we see the vicious Captain Kidd snarling as his merry band of cutthroat pirates go about their duties on deck while singing in harmony. Then they spot their destination and go ashore. This is where everything begins to unravel.


Onshore we meet clown princes, Stonebridge and Feathergill, working as scullery drudges and generally goofing off. Here is the classic sight gag as a sweet lady needs to cross the street, but a water puddle blocks her path. Feathergill gallantly takes off his jacket and spreads it across the water so the lady can cross feet-dry. Only, the water is deeper than expected. It’s the top gag of the movie.


Of course, there’s a treasure map, and the two clowns are shanghaied aboard Captain Kidd’s ship to go get the treasure. More gags, as Feathergill tricks Captain Kidd into locking his hands behind his own back. What fascinated me most was seeing Laughton, winner of an Academy Award for The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), plus having picked two other top-tier nominations, playing slap-stick comedy with Abbott and Costello. Of course, he does it with characteristic aplomb and well. See him in Ruggles of Red Gap.


The production is a combination of comedy and musical, with numerous dance and song interludes sprinkled throughout. Here lovers Bruce Martingale (Bill Shirley) and Lady Jane (Fran Warren) entertain the bloodthirsty crew with a sweet duet. This was Warren’s first movie role.


To be sure, the clowns prevail over the double-crossing Captain Kidd, and Feathergill winds up in the arms of notorious lady pirate Captain Bonney (Hillary Brooke). Feathergill may not look like much, but he sure can kiss.


No, I am not going to dissect the plot. The plot exists only to display the zany antics of Abbott and Costello. For more of the same, see my previous review of Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. On stage and even on radio (before TV), the pair were slam dunk hilarious. A movie production requires they intersperse the slapstick with snatches of plot, which absolutely destroys the continuity. And that’s what’s wrong. In this production some classic skits wilt, such as a wave that smacks Feathergill in the face when he opens a port hole to look out, but never does for Stonebridge. This is funny enough, but Laughton brings it to a peak. Feathergill tricks Captain Kidd into looking out and is chagrined when he turns away stone dry. Then the captain opens the door to go on-deck and is drenched by a giant wave. Now that is funny.

I have additional Abbott and Costello flicks to review. Keep reading.

Bat Shit Crazy

Second of a series (unfortunately)

Todd Akin

Todd Akin


What is this thing called love
This funny thing called love
Just who can solve its mystery?
Why should it make a fool of me?
Lyrics by Cole Porter

Of course, it’s not always thus. There are times when love is not involved. But some politicians hold out hope. Sort of. Idaho State Representative Pete Nielsen of Mountain Home was speaking in support of a proposed bill. It would “require women seeking abortions to be given a list of providers of free ultrasounds, and to be told they have a right to such a procedure and to hear a fetal heart monitor.” My guess is that Representative Nielsen is among those who believe abortion should be avoided in all cases. Lacking the legal means to block abortions, bills of this kind are designed to dissuade women who have decided to abort a pregnancy from going through with the procedure.

But “in all cases” includes rape and incest, two instances in which women are very likely to need an abortion. Fortunately for these women, Representative Nielsen has some good news:

During the hearing Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”

Except for the “little bit” part, this means victims of these crimes may not have to worry about becoming pregnant, meaning the proposed legislation would not apply to them. Representative Nielsen knows of what he speaks, due to his extensive background in gynecology and human reproduction.

Actually, that last part is not quite true. Other than attending Brigham Young University and Utah State University, Representative Nielsen seems to have no medical background at all:

This leaves us wondering at the source of Representative Nielsen’s deep knowledge. Apparently some questions are never meant to be answered.

This is not the first time a feckless politician has offered up sage advice on the mysterious workings of human reproduction. During the election cycle four years ago the world swooned at candidate Todd Akin’s amazing grasp of detail:

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) – Todd Akin, the Republican candidate in the closely watched U.S. Senate race in Missouri, released a new advertisement on Thursday featuring a woman who says she was raped and had an abortion but supports Akin’s anti-abortion stand.

The TV commercial comes in the closing days of a campaign that has drawn national attention because of Akin’s remark in August that women’s bodies could ward off pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

As it turned out, voters did not appreciate candidate Akin’s insight. Some, I am sure, thought he was bat shit crazy. He lost the election to Senator Claire McCaskill.

The election years is just rolling into gear. There will be, I am sure, much more to come. Keep reading.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Not yet

A cabbie picks up a nun. She gets into the cab, and notices that the very handsome cab driver won’t stop staring at her. She asks him why he is staring.

He replies: “I have a question to ask, but I don’t want to offend you.”

She answers, “My son, you cannot offend me. When you’re as old as I am and have been a nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I’m sure that there’s nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive.”

“Well, I’ve always had a fantasy to have a nun kiss me.”

She responds, “Well, let’s see what we can do about that…
1) You have to be single and
2) You must be Catholic.”

The cab driver is very excited and says, “Yes, I’m single and Catholic!”

“OK” the nun says. “Pull into the next alley.”

The nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying.

“My dear child,” said the nun, “why are you crying?”

“Forgive me, but I’ve sinned. I lied and I must confess, I’m married and I’m Jewish.”

The nun says, “That’s OK. My name is Kevin and I’m going to a Halloween party!”

The Age Of Embarrassment

Fourth of a series


I’ve been posting on this topic for several weeks, and it appears this will go on for a while. That’s another way of saying there will be no end of discussion on this topic. The matter is anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and its implications.

What motivates this post is an item that came across my Facebook feed as a “Suggested Post.” I’m not completely sure what drives these suggested posts, but an item from Marketing Land suggests what lies beneath:

Facebook’s popular Sponsored Stories ad type shows posts from pages but must come from one of the user’s connection. This new “Suggested Post” ad type would allow brands to advertise a specific post to users who have no interactions or connections with a brand.

This explanation suggests that somebody paid to cause this item to appear on my feed. Who paid for it is not immediately clear, and I will much appreciate it if a reader will clear this up for me.

Anyhow, the ad is a link to an item from the Truth And Action site. That item deals at length with Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his dispute regarding the scientific consensus for AGW. Here is the item:


The liberal narrative about climate change is starting to fall apart thanks to conscientious scientists who have spoken out in face of pressure to toe the alarmist party line.

Dissenting from the supposed consensus of scientists who believe mankind is primarily responsible for climate change, Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology cast doubt on the very existence of said consensus. Indeed, the climatologist argues that the amount of scientists who believe climate change is man-made is much lower than the left and their allies in the media make it out to be.

Speaking to talk show host Bill Frezza on RealClear Radio Hour, Dr. Lindzen claimed that the idea that researchers overwhelmingly agree on climate change has been “propaganda” from the beginning. He said that the media helps push the narrative by saying scientists agree, but never bother telling people what exactly it is that they agree upon.

Since most Americans are unfamiliar with climate science, they feel pressured to accept the claims of personalities purporting to speak on behalf of scientists, allowing the climate change consensus myth to strengthen it’s hold in the minds of citizens.

Discussing the widely-touted 97% of scientists who believe in man-made climate change, Dr. Lindzen pinpoints the source of this claim as a 2013 report put out by one John Cook. Although the study has been cited by innumerable figures, Lindzen finds it’s methodology to not only be wanting, but highly dishonest to boot.

“Cook’s paper found of the scientific study ‘abstracts expressing a position on [manmade global warming], 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.’ But Cook’s assertion has been heavily criticized by researchers carefully examining his methodology.

A paper by five leading climatologists published in the journal Science and Education found only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate studies examined in Cook’s study explicitly stated mankind has caused most of the warming since 1950 — meaning the actual consensus is 0.3 percent.

‘It is astonishing that any journal could have published a paper claiming a 97% climate consensus when on the authors’ own analysis the true consensus was well below 1%,’ said Dr. David Legates, a geology professor at the University of Delaware and the study’s lead author.

A 2013 study by Andrew Montford of the Global Warming Policy Foundation found that Cook had to cast a widenet to cram scientists into his so-called consensus. To be part of Cook’s consensus, a scientific study only needed to agree carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that human activities have warmed the planet ‘to some unspecified extent’ — both of which are uncontroversial points.

‘Almost everybody involved in the climate debate, including the majority of sceptics, accepts these propositions, so little can be learned from the Cook et al. paper,’ wrote Montford. ‘The extent to which the warming in the last two decades of the twentieth century was man-made and the likely extent of any future warming remain highly contentious scientific issues.’

Despite the dubious nature of the consensus, liberal politicians used the figure to bolster their calls for policiesto fight global warming. President Barack Obama even cited the Cook paper while announcing sweeping climate regulations.”

Source: Daily Caller

The first thing that caught my attention in the foregoing was the the first three words, “The liberal narrative.” Oops, this is going to be about politics, or at least there is going to be an argument that political motives are involved. If you are like me then you are also wondering how scientific issues come to be a matter of politics. Before reading on, you might want to go through the Daily Caller article. I saved off a copy in case it’s not available in the future.

To be specific, here is the critical language from Truth And Action: “Indeed, the climatologist argues that the amount of scientists who believe climate change is man-made is much lower than the left and their allies in the media make it out to be.” Lindzen states that the much touted consensus is less than 97%. But he doesn’t attempt to peg the actual level of consent, though he makes numerous arguments as to why it should be less. What is significant in the Truth And Action piece is there are no claims against the facts of AGW.

That takes us to another matter. If anybody is in a position to refute the science behind AGW, it is Richard Lindzen. He is well qualified with respect to the related science, and he has actually challenged critical related points. For example:

Lindzen hypothesized that the Earth may act like an infrared iris. A sea surface temperature increase in the tropics would result in reduced cirrus clouds and thus more infrared radiation leakage from Earth’s atmosphere. This hypothesis suggests a negative feedback which would counter the effects of CO2 warming by lowering the climate sensitivity. Satellite data from CERES has led researchers investigating Lindzen’s theory to conclude that the Iris effect would instead warm the atmosphere. Lindzen disputed this, claiming that the negative feedback from high-level clouds was still larger than the weak positive feedback estimated by Lin et al.

Lindzen has expressed his concern over the validity of computer models used to predict future climate change. Lindzen said that predicted warming may be overestimated because of inadequate handling of the climate system’s water vapor feedback. The feedback due to water vapor is a major factor in determining how much warming would be expected to occur with increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. Lindzen said that the water vapor feedback could act to nullify future warming. This claim was criticised by Gavin Schmidt.

There is more, and readers should go to the Wikipedia entry for a complete discussion. At the bottom of the foregoing Lindzen addresses the matter of water vapor feedback. It’s something that came up in a previous presentation I made on AGW. In particular:

Water vapor accounts for the largest percentage of the greenhouse effect, between 36% and 66% for clear sky conditions and between 66% and 85% when including clouds. Water vapor concentrations fluctuate regionally, but human activity does not significantly affect water vapor concentrations except at local scales, such as near irrigated fields. The atmospheric concentration of vapor is highly variable and depends largely on temperature, from less than 0.01% in extremely cold regions up to 3% by mass at in saturated air at about 32 °C. (See Relative humidity#other important facts.)

The average residence time of a water molecule in the atmosphere is only about nine days, compared to years or centuries for other greenhouse gases such as CH4 and CO2. Thus, water vapor responds to and amplifies effects of the other greenhouse gases. The Clausius–Clapeyron relation establishes that more water vapor will be present per unit volume at elevated temperatures. This and other basic principles indicate that warming associated with increased concentrations of the other greenhouse gases also will increase the concentration of water vapor (assuming that the relative humidity remains approximately constant; modeling and observational studies find that this is indeed so). Because water vapor is a greenhouse gas, this results in further warming and so is a “positive feedback” that amplifies the original warming. Eventually other earth processes offset these positive feedbacks, stabilizing the global temperature at a new equilibrium and preventing the loss of Earth’s water through a Venus-like runaway greenhouse effect.

To clarify and to summarize: Adding CO2 to the atmosphere results in a rise in temperature. The rise in temperature allows the atmosphere to hold more water vapor. The additional water vapor causes the atmosphere to absorb more infra red radiation, raising its temperature further. Fortunately other factors keep this process from running away.

I particularly note this from the proceeding: “Lindzen said that the water vapor feedback could act to nullify future warming.” I find this statement difficult to reconcile with any known facts. Perhaps somebody has made a typographical error that will explain the anomalous language.

Anyhow, Lindzen has and does weigh in on the science related to AGW, unlike political critics the likes of United States Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and current presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Donald Trump:

Donald Trump (real estate developer) doesn’t believe in climate change and asserts that the changes we see are actually just weather, unaffected by human actions. He puts climate change low on the list of problems we need to address. In 2012, Trump said global warming was a hoax created by China to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive. He supports regulating air pollution.

Sorting through the various issues surrounding Richard Lindzen and AGW, it becomes apparent that if there is a consensus, the consensus is that Lindzen and his scientific colleagues are in disagreement. The report from the IPCC highlights this disagreement:

Contrary to the IPCC’s assessment, Lindzen said that climate models are inadequate. Despite accepted errors in their models, e.g., treatment of clouds, modelers still thought their climate predictions were valid. Lindzen has stated that due to the non-linear effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, CO2 levels are now around 30% higher than pre-industrial levels but temperatures have responded by about 75% 0.6 °C (1.08 °F) of the expected value for a doubling of CO2. The IPCC (2007) estimates that the expected rise in temperature due to a doubling of CO2 to be about 3 °C (5.4 °F), ± 1.5°. Lindzen has given estimates of the Earth’s climate sensitivity to be 0.5 °C based on ERBE data. These estimates were criticized by Kevin E. Trenberth and others, and Lindzen accepted that his paper included “some stupid mistakes”. When interviewed, he said “It was just embarrassing”, and added that “The technical details of satellite measurements are really sort of grotesque.” Lindzen and Choi revised their paper and submitted it to PNAS. The four reviewers of the paper, two of whom had been selected by Lindzen, strongly criticized the paper and PNAS rejected it for publication. Lindzen and Choi then succeeded in getting a little known Korean journal to publish it as a 2011 paper. Andrew Dessler published a paper which found errors in Lindzen and Choi 2011, and concluded that the observations it had presented “are not in fundamental disagreement with mainstream climate models, nor do they provide evidence that clouds are causing climate change. Suggestions that significant revisions to mainstream climate science are required are therefore not supported.”

This is not to say Lindzen is the only ranking scientist to dispute AGW. A list if available on Wikipedia, and it contains names most will recognize. I will mention a few:

The list is separated into categories:

  • Scientists questioning the accuracy of IPCC climate projections
  • Scientists arguing that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes
  • Scientists arguing that the cause of global warming is unknown
  • Scientists arguing that global warming will have few negative consequences

It will be noted that none of these include scientists who believe global warming is not happening or that CO2 does not contribute.

Perhaps missing in all of this is why the matter of scientific consensus even comes up. Of course, consensus matters, because an idea that is completely fractious at this stage in the game is rightfully suspect. There are two approaches for those who want to deny the validity of AGW:

  • Refute the science directly.
  • Point to a long list of scientists who do not agree with the validity of AGW.

Lacking the first, many fall back on the second. There is a mistake in that. Taking the second approach opens the argument to the same pitfall invoked by Lindzen. Who are these people opposing AGW? An example is available. There is a list of 31,000 (could be more by now) scientists in opposition:

This claim originates from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which has an online petition (petitionproject.org) that states:

We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

To participate in the petition one only needs to mark a check box to show that one has a Ph.D., M.S., or B.S. degree, and then fill in the fields. Unfortunately, that means that anyone can sign the petition, whether they have a degree or not.

The appropriate rejoinder to such attacks is the scientific consensus. Anybody wanting to refute AGW with an opposing consensus will need to address the 97% consensus.

In previous discussions the term “accepted science” has been tossed around derisively. It was pointed out that Galileo went against “settled science” and was proved to be right. When that came up my response was that what Galileo went against was not science, settled or not. It was accepted conjecture with no basis in scientific discovery. In the end it is not settled science that matters but what can be demonstrated. Currently what is being demonstrated is the reality of AGW.

There will be more on this. Keep reading.

The Tainted Well

Joseph Smith Translating Harold Kilbourn, © 1970 “You have a gift to translate the plates” (D& C 5: 4) Displayed on LDS’ Website: www.josephsmith.net

Joseph Smith Translating Harold Kilbourn, © 1970 “You have a gift to translate the plates” (D& C 5: 4) Displayed on LDS’ Website: http://www.josephsmith.net

I worked most of a year in Salt Lake City, and many co-workers were LDS members. To a person, they were exemplary individuals, little representative of the founder. An American Fraud is a book by lawyer Kay Burningham, born into the faith, only to leave the church in mid-life. The book lays out the history of the founding of the LDS and the ethical squaller of its early leaders. Under outside pressure the Church morphed to adapt to modern morality, yet still retains tinges of a 19th century oppressive society. This according to Burningham’s observations.

Not detailed in the book are the workings of LDS offshoots that show much evidence of drinking from the tainted well. When circumstances arise the egg is cracked, and the world gets a fresh appreciation of the Church’s criminal underpinnings:

FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs, 10 others charged with benefits fraud, money laundering

SALT LAKE CITY – Several leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are in jail, facing federal charges. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced indictments against 11 people on charges related to food stamp fraud.

The unsealed court documents allege FLDS leaders directed members to hand over their SNAP benefit cards to the FLDS storehouse, and that certain individuals laundered money to hide the activity.

Up front it should be noted that the FLDS has no relationship with the founding church. This and numerous branches of similar ilk are soundly repudiated by the Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City.

The recent charges relate to blatant criminal activity, but at a lower level these splinter sects have a long history of banking social preferences—supposedly supported by religious doctrine—off the American taxpayer. Polygamy is a Church practice abandoned and condemned by the LDS over a century ago, but it exists in principle, particularly in the Utah hinterlands and other locales out of the main stream. The easing of legal repercussions against casual immorality allows a man, so inclined, to have multiple wives, provided he files only one marriage with the government. The remaining wives are women of convenience, completely tolerated by modern law. Modern society assists this arrangement by providing welfare benefits to these unwed mothers and their children.


Apparently Lyle Jeffs has gone the step too far. What prosecutors are saying is that people eligible for SNAP (benefit) cards were giving the cards to others, under the direction of local leaders. The people eligible for the benefits were not receiving the benefits, but the cards were being used in stores controlled by the FLDS to make phony purchases. Sales were recorded, and the stores received reimbursement from the government, but no actual purchases were involved. The activity amounted to theft of money from the government.

This and other FLDS shenanigans in the towns of Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, (actually one community spread across the state line) are not appreciated by others in these communities:

Former members of the FLDS church say they’re not surprised by the by the allegations. Hildale resident Isacc Wyler said he’s glad the federal government is doing something about it.

“We know there are things going on that shouldn’t be going on,” Wyler said. “We’ve reported it. It just seems like it was going really, really slow, and then all of the sudden today it’s going really, really fast. So that’s good.”

The rot is not localized:

Former Police Chief Testifies He Lied Under Oath Due To FLDS Church Pressure
February 04, 2016

PHOENIX – On Wednesday, Helaman Barlow entered the Phoenix federal courthouse and took an oath to testify truthfully in front of a jury.

There would seem to be nothing exceptional about Barlow taking that oath, since all witnesses do, and Barlow is the former chief of the joint police department serving the twin cities of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, on the state border.

But on Wednesday, Barlow told the jury he had lied previous times he was questioned under oath about the very matter before them — whether his former police department was controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and whether the city government and police discriminated against church outsiders.

It’s hard to come away from this without concluding evidence of a tainted well. Burningham’s book traces the roots to the following and more:

The Kirkland Bank was typical of the criminal enterprise at the foundation of the LDS.

Soon after his translation of the Egyptian papryi, Smith attempted to create an independent financial institution whereby he would profit from the deposits of his faithful followers. Here is where the Prophet’s outright swindling of the Saints caused the first in a long series of disaffections and apostasies.

Burningham, Kay (2011-03-13). An American Fraud. One Lawyer’s Case against Mormonism (Kindle Locations 3681-3683). Amica Veritatis. Kindle Edition.

FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is currently in a Texas slam after being convicted of less than ecclesiastical transgressions. His incarceration did not serve to pull the plug on his criminal enterprise. I am doubting these recent events will, either.

I Was Wrong!

Could be the first of a very long series


Don’t you just hate it when you’re wrong? You do? I don’t. I love it. I absolutely love it. Maybe it’s because I am wrong so seldom. In this instance there’s another reason I’m so happy I was wrong. Here is what I had to say last year:

This was back on 16 June. Real estate tycoon and billionaire Donald Trump announced he is a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for president. I recall at the time I had some sort of snarky response. It was something like:

Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

That was because I knew, as did anybody fresh out of captivity by the Taliban, that the fun was about to begin. Unfortunately I had mis located my egg timer. The fun was not late coming:

In that misbegotten piece I reminded some Facebook friends that a Donald Trump nomination would the the Democratic Party’s dream come true. “Happy days are here again.” I went on to say:

Getting back to the original issue, is Trump number one? No. He’s number two in the only polls I’ve seen. Do I wish for Trump to win the Republican nomination? Does The Donald wear a piece? I salivate at the prospect of that first debate. It might go something like this:

  • Panelist: Mr. Trump, if you are elected president, who would be First Lady?
  • Trump: Why the answer is obvious. It would be my lovely wife Melania.
  • Panelist: No, Mr. Trump. I mean next year, when you take office.

Trump was headed for a quick exit stage right. I was sure. No, I was wrong! And I am so very happy.


The dude is on a roll. And Tea Party Republicans are roiled. They sowed the wind, and now they are reaping the whirlwind. They wanted anti-establishment. They are getting anti-establishment. And it’s coming soon to a voting booth near you. I’m wondering if these people have figured out what they are going to be doing next January 20th.

Tea Party Republicans may be getting to know how Victor Frankenstein must have felt:


In the meantime Bill and Hillary are picking out new drapes for the White House. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

Sometimes when the house is quiet, and I’m alone with my thoughts, my mind wanders, and I ask myself, “What is your favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie?” That’s a tough one. Of course there is always The Terminator and sequels, which genre I agree salvaged his acting career after the death dive of the Conan couplet. Yeah, I like The Terminator, and I also enjoy Commando, giving it another look every year or so and even a review. And don’t forget True Lies, with Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s one of those curious objects that make us laugh while people are getting killed. Kindergarten Cop is another.

It stars Schwarzenegger as detective John Kimble with the Los Angeles Police Department. This came out 26 years ago (1990) when both of us were much younger, and it shows. Just watch the movie.It also stars  Penelope Ann Mille as school teacher Joyce, former wife of killer and sometime drug dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson). But I’m getting ahead of the story. Imagine Entertainment produced this movie, and it was distributed by Universal Pictures. I used to have the VHS tape, but got rid of my tapes a long time ago. Images are from the DVD. Details are from Wikipedia.

As the movie opens we see Detective Kimble trailing career criminal Cullen Crisp in an indoor shopping mall. Crisp is cruising along the lower level while Kimble keeps an eye on from above. Then Kimble loses sight as Crisp ducks into a back room. He’s there to meet Danny (Tom Kurlander), a drug runner, who wants to sell Crisp some information. The exchange takes place. Crisp gets the information he wants. Danny gets a bullet to the chest. Crisp exits and dumps the murder weapon, silencer and all, in a trash bin. Only, there has been a witness to the exchange. Alix Koromzay is Cindy, Danny’s druggie prostitute girlfriend. Crisp leaves, Cindy screams. Kimble comes running. He handcuffs Cindy to the corpse and chases after Crisp.

Here we see Kimble telling Crisp his days of crime are over. At the same time he has to show his police badge to the mall cops, who are ready to shoot anybody displaying a weapon.


After some shenanigans, Kimble gets Cindy to cough up the information involved in the murderous exchange. Crisp is looking for his ex-wife, and Danny has revealed she is living in Astoria, Oregon, and Crisp’s son is a kindergarten student. Kimble and Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed) head off to beautiful Astoria to track down the ex-wife and the $3 million she has stolen from Crisp. We see them arrive in beautiful Astoria with a magnificent view of the iconic bridge. Watching the movie again yesterday, I took notice. I have the same image, but not as neat. Barbara Jean and I were there on a cloudy day.


Detective O’Hara is supposed to pose as a kindergarten teacher in order to nose around and find out which of the kindergarten monsters is Son of Crisp. She takes a terrible turn of stomach flu, so Kimble takes over the teacher role. Hence the title. The kindergarten kids get their first look at the substitute teacher. It’s awesome.


Kimble also meets pretty Joyce. Sex is in the air. This makes for some interesting tension.


Kimble, with his vast experience in educating small children is an immediate success. No, that’s not right. Joyce has given him some sound advice, “They’re like the ocean. Don’t turn your back on them.”


I’m not going to recapitulate the plot. Cindy gets bumped off. There is no more witness to Danny’s murder. Crisp goes free. He and Ma Barker, AKA the senior Mrs. Crisp (Carroll Baker) head off to Astoria to settle matters with the former Mrs. Crisp and to abscond with the younger Crisp.

The pair arrive. Crisp sets a fire in the school to stir things up, and in the confusion he grabs his son. With the building evacuated there is an episode of stalking, ending in a shootout. Mr. Crisp takes a number to the torso and succumbs in the boys’ restroom.


Enter Ma Barker, putting a couple into Detective Kimble. It’s a great role for Baker, a long way from Baby Doll.


Kimble recovers. He returns to the classroom. There’s a celebration. The movie freezes the frame. It’s right out of An Officer and a Gentleman.


And what’s wrong with this movie? Plenty. Plot absurdities abound. I mention this often. Where to start?

Crisp has the word out on the street that he’s in the market for information about his ex-wife and son. Danny just happened to be in Astoria and saw the wife. The kid must be (given his age) in kindergarten class. Danny proposes to cash in. $1000. But that’s not his final asking price. He will take $750. He gets paid off in lead. Why? Crisp is a mature and street-wise drug kingpin. He throws money around like corn chips. He’s going to stiff (pun intended) Danny and risk a murder rap? And he saved what? He has to ditch the pistol (and silencer). That was not cheap. A wise operator would have paid the $750 and considered it all in a day’s work. Then the police would not have been clued in (from Cindy) about Joyce and the kid. And the movie would have been over a lot sooner.

Two big-city police detectives show up at a public school in beautiful Oregon, and they want to insert an undercover agent into the system, with the potential of bringing in a big time drug gang menace. And the school is willing to go along with this? Don’t believe it.

Kimble and O’Hara need to find one woman with a son in kindergarten in Astoria, and to do that it’s necessary to pose as a kindergarten teacher. Much too complicated and risky. But, the producers had to do it. Else there would have been no Kindergarten Cop.

Cullen and Ma Crisp head to Astoria to snatch the kid. Cullen feels his paternal instincts tugging. Ma Crisp is driven. What is plan B? They are going to take the kid? They are going to expose themselves to additional police attention? There’s going to be unwanted additional court time. Unless they bump off the mother in the process, then the Shinola will really hit the fan.

The police are really after the $3 million Joyce has stolen from Cullen. They feel that it is rightfully theirs. There are problems. First, the $3 million is a ruse. Joyce never did take $3 million. Cullen made the story up to get the attention of the street, as in the case of Danny. And the police don’t know this? If you think $3 million rightly belongs to the government, then you had better know whether the money exists. In order to seize the money you are going to need a case that links it to some sort of government claim. But the money does not exist. This aspect of the plot is exceedingly thin.

Cullen cases the school. He sees the ex-wife. He sees her kid. That must be the one he’s looking for (hasn’t seen him since he was a squirming infant). How does he go about snatching the kid? He sets fire to the place, bringing all kinds of attention, also alerting Kimble and O’Hara. People, there just has got to be a better way.

Hey! I didn’t show any shots of Linda Hunt as Miss Schlowski: the school principal (from Wikipedia). A bright light in an already dazzling production.

More Schwarzenegger reviews coming up. Keep reading.

Bat Shit Crazy

First of a series


Wisdom oft comes unbidden. And from the strangest places:

Gentlemen, young men, marry you a woman. Dude—if she’s clean, and you’re clean, and you marry her, and you keep your sex right there, you’re never going to get a debilitating disease and/or death. It’s safe!”

The prospect of never dying has long had my attention. Not so long Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. Stunned was I to hear such wisdom from the same mouth. The same mouth that has in the passed revealed serious lapses of comprehension:

I am guessing Robertson never heard of Emmett Till. I am guessing Robertson never noticed that black people were being denied the right to vote. I am guessing he never saw the governor of a state stand in the door of a school building to prevent a black student from entering. I am guessing Robertson never ventured over into Neshoba County, Mississippi. I’m guessing he never heard of James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. I’m guessing Robertson missed a lot growing up in rural Louisiana.

Could you possibly imagine it’s the very same mouth that is delivering up the path to freedom from sickness and death. At this point I need to second guess the Oracle of West Monroe and conclude he is not actually promising eternal life free of the flu and cancer of the pancreas. What he likely means is that if you don’t bed down with a chick who has gonorrhea, syphilis, the crabs, and even AIDS, then you are going to avoid these modern maladies. Provided, of course, you don’t already have them, yourself.

Actually, the Duck Dynasty patriarch had more to say in his speech endorsing presidential candidate Ted Cruz, United States Senator from Texas. The video show him waving what appears to be a copy of the King James Bible. He proclaims, in part:

Vet what you say to the word of God. If you do, you know what? There won’t be any vile, filthy language coming out of your mouth. God said don’t do it.

Amazing! The answer is simple. The Bible (if I interpret correctly) is the word of God. We should follow the example of the Bible. Such as this one:

Ezekiel 23:1-8 King James Version (KJV)

23 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:

And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity.

And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.

And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours,

Which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses.

Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself.

Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her.

Blessed be the word of the Lord. And blessed be he who brings us the word. Further blessed is he who will promote this wisdom to the highest stations in the land:

“So,” Cruz continued, “I’m seriously thinking about sending Robertson off to the UN, so he could establish some sense of order in Africa. You all heard his speech today. The man knows what he’s talking about, I dare even say he’s got a valid point. So, who better for the job than him? And another thing – because of the hygienic apocalypse that has been going on throughout Africa, we now have AIDS as a consequence. One of the most severe diseases that has plagued the human race in history today exists solely because of how dirty the peoples of Africa are. And the sad part is – they don’t even care about it. The men keep sleeping with infected women and keep spreading the virus as if it was nothing. That’s why we need someone with a firm hand to take control of things, to rule them with an iron fist and to teach them how to pick out the clean females. And I’ve got just the man for it. So, don’t go dismissing him before he’s even started the job.”

I’ve seen bat shit, and I’ve seen crazy, but I have to tell you this is bat shit crazy. Is there more? Does the bear…? Well, you know what the bear does. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series


The dollar sign is the symbol or our currency. For example you can tell a woman you meet at a bar, “I make over $5 million a year.” She’s going to know you are lying, but that illustrates the idea of the dollar sign. And here is the Quiz Question for this week.

Where did we get the dollar sign?

Post your answer in the comments section below.

Update and answer

Prasad has provided the correct answer. He did not say whether he had to go to Google for the solution, but one of the rules of the Quiz Question of the week is to dredge up the answers from your own memory.

And and answer comes from the question: Why do Mexicans use the dollar sign for the Mexican peso? The answer is that Mexico was around before the United States existed, and they already had $ as the symbol for pesos or “pieces of eight.” It was already a popular symbol when the new nation on the eastern shore of the continent needed a symbol for the dollar.