This is your President speaking.

Number 8 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!

There is not much I can add to that. Sleep well.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

All those others pissing you off? No need to put up with that. The law allows you a way out:

Man dead, woman hurt after shooting in Avondale

VONDALE, AZ – A police investigation is underway after a shooting in Avondale left a man dead and a woman hurt Sunday morning.

Around 2:30 a.m., Avondale police responded to reports of a shooting in a parking lot near Indian School and El Mirage roads.

According to police, an altercation between two groups led to multiple shots being fired.

Police say they believe only one of the groups fired shots.

Going out for some down time. Don’t forget to bring along some protection.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I have been  waiting for this to pop up on Amazon Prime Video, or else on Hulu. And here it is, on Hulu this month. It’s Ruthless People, featuring Danny DeVito in one of his headliner performances. There is also Bette Midler, for which performance I have nothing to compare. Screen shots are from Hulu, and details are from Wikipedia. This was produced in 1986 by Touchstone Films.

DeVito is ruthless Sam Stone, shown here in the opening frames with his sleazy mistress Carol Dodsworth (Anita Morris) having a little tete a tete in a swanky restaurant. Sam is detailing to the ever more breathless Carol how he plans to kill Mrs. Stone (Midler) to get access to her millions.

This heartwarming meeting breaks up, and Sam drives to his spacious home in Bellaire. But his wife Barbara is not there. Only her noisy little dog. Not having the opportunity to do in Mrs. Stone at the moment, he takes a rest. Then he receives a phone call. It’s from a kidnapper. They will kill Mrs. Stone unless Sam coughs up $500,000. If Sam calls the police or the press, they will kill her. It would appear Sam’s problem has solved itself.

The Stone mansion is  immediately flooded with cops and reporters.

Meanwhile, Carol makes plans to blackmail Sam. She sends her real boyfriend, Earl Mott (Bill Pullman), out to video-tape the murder. But Earl has never seen Sam and does not know what he looks like. Instead of getting a video of Sam killing Barbara, he gets a very clear shot of police chief Henry Benton (William G. Schilling) coupling with a prostitute in a parked car. It’s some raucous sex, which comes off as gruesome murder to Earl, and he cannot bear to watch the video. He advises Carol to skip it, as well.

Meanwhile the kidnappers, Ken and Sandy Kessler (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) are at wits end as Sam refuses to pay the ransom.

Oops, Carol finally gets to see the video and realizes it’s not Sam.

Meanwhile, Barbara is in the Kessler basement working out, shedding 20 pounds and starting to look really good.

Sandy has been designing some slinky outfits, and Barbara tries them on. She likes them, and the two decide to go into business together. She leaves to get some supplies, and Ken returns home. Their hostage has flown the coop, and Ken and Sandy need to get out of town before the police arrive. The police do arrive, but it’s an officer asking them to be on the lookout for the Bedroom Killer (J. E. Freeman).

Then the Bedroom Killer arrives. Then Barbara returns. They confront the Bedroom Killer, who is killed falling down the basement stairs.

That gives Ken an idea. They convince the police that Sam did kill Barbara, and Sam is charged, having to bail himself out Now he needs to pay the ransom and get Barbara back, else he’s in big trouble. He brings the $2.2 million to a designated place, and Ken shows up to make the exchange.

But the police are waiting. Ken threatens to have Barbara killed if the police try to stop him. The police force Sam to turn over the valise full of cash. Then Earl shows up, sent by Carol to steal the money. The police demonstrate their presence and arrest Earl. Ken sets off in the getaway car with the money, followed by half the police force in Los Angeles.

But Ken has had a plan all along. He drives off the end of what appears to be the Santa Monica Pier, and some money floats to the surface. When the police retrieve the car, it’s the Bedroom Killer inside. And no money.

The police figure all but a few thousand dollars went out with the tide. Barbara returns unharmed to Sam’s loving arms, now much attracted to the new Barbara. She pushes him off the pier and joins Sandy down the beach, where Ken wades ashore wearing SCUBA gear and carrying the valise full of money. The three of them engage in a celebratory dance, and the credits roll.

Classic DeVito, one of his best, maybe after The Jewel of the Nile. Performances by Reinhold and Slater are not up to snuff, especially with DeVito and Midler on the ticket.

The plot is complicated to satisfaction, what with intertwined scams and comical misunderstandings. In a bid to get Sam Arrested, Carol sends the police chief the incriminating tape, then phones him, demanding he arrest Sam, based on the evidence on the tape. The police chief, seeing himself hump a prostitute on the tape thinks he’s being blackmailed. And so on. It get complicated but not so much to make it impossible to follow.

Poetic ending, however.

I mention Wikipedia in almost all my reviews, as I pull heavily from this free Internet resource. In return, every year I log on and make a sizable contribution. You should, as well. Nothing like Wikipedia has come our way before, and everybody interested in the straight skinny, enlightened, and crowd-sourced should work to ensure it stays on-line and current. Here is the (shortened) link to contribute. You have to click on the link to get the contribute page:

People Unclear

This is number 29

It’s no secret that Judge Roy Moore is a conservative’s definition of right wing. It is also no secret that Republicans (conservatives) desperately need to elect him to the United States Senate to fill the position left vacant when former Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed as United States Attorney General. Unless you have spent the past month on Survivor’s Island, then you also know Judge Moore is in hot water for his past propensity for underage girls, especially long after he attained majority age. Do I need to tell you that opponents of Judge Moore’s election are working the most leverage of this unhappy convergence? Of course not. To the joy of Democrats and to legions of liberals, a gaggle of women are coming forward to unload tales of Moore’s past indiscretions. To the joy of conservatives most everywhere, Judge Moore is pushing back against charges brought by these women. Others are stepping in to help out. But that is not what involves people unclear. I’m getting to that.

Less well known (comparatively) is an organization somehow misnamed Veritas. What makes the name so curious is the juxtaposition of the meaning of the word (truth) and the actions of the group. Some history from Wikipedia:

On January 9, 2017, Project Veritas operative Allison Maass was filmed attempting to bribe members of Americans Take Action into inciting a riot at Trump’s inauguration. On January 16, 2017, Project Veritas uploaded a video showing DC Antifascist Coalition members of Disrupt J20 plotting to use “stink bombs” at the DeploraBall. After the video’s release, Disrupt J20 denied the statements, saying that the members deliberately gave false information to Veritas. The video led to the arrest of one man allegedly involved in the plan, as well as two associates. All three individuals pleaded guilty.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. So, what does this have to do with Roy Moore? This, for example:

A woman approached The Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore. She appears to be part of undercover sting operation.

 November 27 at 11:35 PM

A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.

In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.

The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.

But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.

And that is the story. People, if you want to demonstrate that the mainstream media are putting out fake news, it’s best to not approach the project by putting out your own fake news. The Young Turks (TYT) streams on YouTube, and I captured some memorable screen shots from their take on the go-down. When The Washington Post came to the awful conclusion that Jaime T. Phillips was lying to them and was attempting to perpetrate a scam, they revoked the confidentiality agreement they had brokered with her.

Subsequently, Post investigators dug a little deeper and found this Go Fund Me entry by Phillips.

It essentially says:

I’m moving to New York!” the May 29 post stated, according to the newspaper. “I’ve accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt of the liberal MSM. I’ll be using my skills as a researcher and fact-checker to help our movement. I was laid off from my mortgage job a few months ago and came across the opportunity to change my career path.

On second thought, change that from essentially says to actually says, because that’s verbatim from the Go Fund Me site.

Asked to explain, Phillips failed to mention Veritas. Instead, she mentioned another organization.

Yeah, it wasn’t the Daily Caller. People at the Post contacted the Daily Caller, and they knew nothing of anybody named Kathy Johnson. Nor had anybody named Jaime Phillips applied there.

Definitely there some people still unclear on a few basics. One of the basics is, if you set out to demonstrate other people are lying, it’s best if you don’t go, “Here, let me show what a lie looks like so you will be able to tell when somebody is lying to you. I can do that, because I’m very good at lying.”

And, Veritas, how about you change your name to Falsitās.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 81

There are many who cannot wait for Jesus to come and  take their children. They elect for the fast track:

A Florida health resort licensed as a “massage establishment” is treating a young Ontario First Nations girl with leukemia using cold laser therapy, Vitamin C injections and a strict raw food diet, among other therapies.

The mother of the 11-year-old girl, who can not be identified because of a publication ban, says the resort’s director, Brian Clement, who goes by the title “Dr.,” told her leukemia is “not difficult to treat.”

Another First Nations girl, Makayla Sault, was also treated at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach and is now critically ill after a relapse of her leukemia.

When there is a profit to be made, what need have we for Jesus?

Darwin’s Doubt

Number 2

Chipmunk confronts a diet soda can near Mirror Lake, Utah

It was two years ago I obtained a copy of creationist Stephen C. Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt and promised to review it. I was recently reminded of that by a post on the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News site:

In his book Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Meyer considers the nature of animals and what is required to build an animal. He finds that only intelligent design can explain the abrupt origin of animal life in the fossil record, as well as the new information required to build the integrated nature of parts and systems that comprise animal body plans. Here’s how Meyer makes the case that intelligent design is the best explanation for many aspects of the origin of animals as witnessed in the Cambrian explosion:

The posting is not signed, a departure from my previous experience. The site lists a number of contributors, here listed in no particular order:

The author goes on to state:

Intelligent agents can generate new form rapidly as we see in the abrupt appearance of animals in the Cambrian fossil record:

That is followed by an excerpt from the book:

Intelligent agents have foresight. Such agents can determine or select functional goals before they are physically instantiated. They can devise or select material means to accomplish those ends from among an array of possibilities. They can then actualize those goals in accord with a preconceived design plan or set of functional requirements. Rational agents can constrain combinatorial space with distant information-rich outcomes in mind.

Meyer, Stephen C.. Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (pp. 362-363). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Yes! Stephen C. Meyer is 100% correct. If you have an agent, a person, with intelligence and foresight, you can make much more rapid progress than can be accomplished by random processes alone. Here is what an intelligent agent can do:

  • Send nerve impulses from a brain to muscles and cause objects to move, directing bits of matter to come into contact and preventing certain things from happening, which things would not ordinarily have happened were it not for said intervention.
  • Use eyes or other sensory methods to determine what is going on, allowing the brain to make decisions and to change the course of actions being taken.

If the Intelligent Agent only had a brain. Or hands. Or eyes.

What Meyer is saying, perhaps without realizing it, is that somewhere in the distant past something caused matter to move in ways contrary to the natural flow of events. And nowhere in any of his writings I have found has Meyer explained such happenings, neither has he mentioned them. It is an explanation the proponents of Intelligent Design must not touch. It is the figurative third rail of Intelligent Design. Touch it, and Intelligent Design dies.

But stop right there. I know what Meyer and the other creationists are going to say. Allow me to propose a quote:

Our research has not yet uncovered a method. However, our observations and our reasoning have convinced us, and will convince any thinking person, that there must have been an  Intelligent Agent at work. Else we would not have gotten to where we are today.

Explainer of Intelligent Design

I scoff. Really? Let me get this straight. An Intelligent Agent, the Entity who created the Universe, the Earth, the planets, the sun, and all we see around us—this Entity, took over 13 billion years to get us to where we are today after first creating the Universe. Actually, over 13 billion years to get us to the point where there was a Universe and a planet Earth, and there were any number of species of plants and animals, but none resembling people. Allow me to repeat: Really? If that is Stephen C. Meyer’s concept of intelligence, then Heaven help the human species, because intelligence is all that’s keeping us going.

I will dig deeper into Stephen C. Meyer’s book in the coming days. In the meantime, the Evolution News posting has a link to a neat video, which you should watch. I know I will watch it, and I will have a go at summarizing it in a future post. Here’s the link:

And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

This is your President speaking.

Number 6 in a long series

Last week the President of the United States dropped by a Coast Guard station in Florida and met with the troops. BuzzFeed has posted a transcript of his remarks:

It is an honor to be here. I have to tell you, you know. The Coast Guard always respected, but if you’re looking at it as a brand, there’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard with what happened in Texas, and I would say in particular, Texas has been incredible. You saved 16,000 lives. Nobody knows that. 16,000 lives. In fact when I first heard the number, I said, you mean like 600? 500? 16,000 lives in Texas.

So as bad as that hurricane was, and that was bad one. That was a big water job, right? It kept coming in and going back, they couldn’t get rid of it. They’d never seen it. I guess it was the biggest water dump they’ve ever seen. But when you’ve got 16,000…

[inaudible, Trump turns around to face the crowd] …big groups of people…

[inaudible, Trump turns back around] but when you’ve got 16,000, that’s really something. And then Florida hit. And you know that went very well, you know that went pretty well, right? The job you did in Florida. And then Puerto Rico. I really mean that, I think that there’s no brand of any kind, I’m not just talking about a military brand, that’s gone up more than the Coast Guard. Incredible people. You’ve done an incredible job. I love coming in here and doing this with you today. I think it’s — we have to keep you very well fed. This is good stuff. It’s an honor. This is the first lady, you know.

[Melania Trump: Happy Thanksgiving.]

We went together to Texas and we saw what you were doing. You just followed that storm, right next to that storm. You saved so many people. I still haven’t figured out how people take their boats out into a hurricane. Someday you’ll explain it. Jean was just telling me they actually do it to save their boat in many cases. They’re not thinking about their life. They’re thinking about their boats. They go out in a boat and think I guess they’ve got a wonderful boat. They’ve had it for years. It can weather anything and then they have 25-foot waves crashing down. And that would be the end of that. You saved a lot of people. I want to thank you. On behalf of the whole country and on behalf of us, what a job you’ve done. Thank you all very much.

I’ll also take questions. Should we leave the media here to do the questions or should we tell the media? It’s Thanksgiving. Let’s let the media stay. Anybody have any questions about the country, how we’re doing or any of those things? Wow. I love it when you don’t. That means you’re doing great. I love that. That’s the greatest. The press I know doesn’t have any questions. If you do, we won’t take them but that’s alright. The press has plenty of questions.

The country’s doing really well. Stock market, all-time high. This is all good stuff. I just spoke to a lot of your friends in Afghanistan and Iraq. We spoke to the USS Monterey. Great ship, great missile ship. We spoke to a lot of different folks, from the Air Force, the Army, just now, a little while ago at Mar-a-Lago. The telecommunication systems [inaudible] “We go live to Iraq, live to Afghanistan,” and it’s really incredible. I told them, our country is doing great. You folks are fighting so hard and working so hard. It’s nice that you’re working for something that’s really starting to work. We’ve cut back so much on regulation and all the waste and the all of the abuse.

The stock market on Friday hit the all-time high. The highest it’s ever been, ever. In your whole long life, the stock market is higher than it’s ever been. And that means your 401(k)s and all of the things you have. You know whether it’s, even if you’re in the military. You have a country that’s starting to turn. We want to have a strong country.

We want have a country where I can buy new Coast Guard cutters and not have to worry about it, alright. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re building up wealth so we can take care of our protection. And we’re ordering tremendous amounts of new equipment, we’re at $700 billion for the military. And you know they were cutting back for years, they just kept cutting, cutting, cutting the military. And you got lean, to put it nicely — depleted was the word — and now it’s changing.

The Navy, I can tell you, we’re ordering ships, with the Air Force I can tell you we’re ordering a lot of planes, in particular the F-35 fighter jet, which is like almost like an invisible fighter. I was asking the Air Force guys, I said, “How good is this plane?” They said, “Well, sir, you can’t see it.” I said, “But in a fight. You know, in a fight, like I watch on the movies. The fight, they’re fighting. How good is this?” They say, “Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it. Even if it’s right next to them, it can’t see it.” I said, “That helps. That’s a good thing.”

But I mean we have equipment that — nobody has the equipment that we have. And it’s sad when we’re selling our equipment to other countries but we’re not buying it ourselves. But now that’s all changed. And I said, the stuff that we have is always a little bit better too. When we sell to other countries, even if they’re allies you never know about an ally. An ally can turn. You’re going to find that out. But I always say make ours a little bit better. Give it that extra speed, a little bit — keep a little bit — keep about 10% in the bag. We have — nobody has what with we have. That’s what we’re doing. We’re really proud of the Coast Guard and I’m very proud — I walked in today and Jean said, the day I got elected, the following morning, they were putting up the statement that I made right on your front door, right on your glass, and I came in and the first thing I noticed, of course, I said wow, look at that. I said, did you put that up just for me because I happen to be coming here today? And you did that the first day. So that tells me something. That tells me something.

Let’s go, fellas. Come on. Let’s get up here. Let’s get up here. Yeah. This is good stuff.

It is reported the President of the United States then served sandwiches. Makes you proud, doesn’t it.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Keeping with a run of math questions… This problem is on the Internet. You have to provide an answer without going to the Internet.

The large arc is centered at O, The small arc is centered at D. Prove the two shaded areas are equal.

Post  your answer as a comment below.

Update and solution

Mike and Steve have provided correct solutions. See the comments. Steve worked out the math, and Mike stated the path to resolution rather cryptically. Both invoked π, which is not necessary. Try this approach.

The triangle is a right, equilateral triangle. The hypotenuse is √2 times the base and is also the diameter of the small semicircle. You will have no problem from that point concluding the small semicircle’s area is ½ the area of the large semicircle. The area A of the small semicircle is equal to the area of the triangle + the circle segment subtended by the triangle’s hypotenuse. The area of the triangle is A – the area of the segment. The area of the lune outside the large semicircle is A – the area of the segment. Therefore the two areas are the same.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

I’m running low on bad movies, so it’s back to Amazon Prime Video to refresh the pipeline. The Bad Movie of the Week today is The House Across the Bay, and it’s as old as I am. One would think that would have been a very good year. This one stars George Raft as Steve Larwitt and Joan Bennett as Brenda Bentley, later Brenda Larwitt. Images are screen shots from the Amazon video stream, and details are from Wikipedia. The production company was United Artists.

You get an idea of the standards of production in those days, about the time the Germans were preparing to invade Norway and Denmark. The opening scene shows two high-rollers in an upscale night club, and they are heading to the back room to park their money at the roulette wheel. So, director Archie Mayo lines up two dudes and has them march up to the door and demand to be allowed to  come in and deposit their money. The only cinematic invention comes when they are refused, and they need to march back to the club owner, Mr. Larwitt, and demand action. This bit is an invention to show us what a tough guy Larwitt is, as we see him come back, dress down  the gatekeeper, and then proceed to enter, as well, and promptly drop $50 on a single spin. Now we know Larwitt is tough, impulsive, and free with his money. This is called character development.

How assertive and impulsive is Steve Larwitt? This is how assertive and impulsive. He meets one of the cabaret singers at his club, Brenda, and suffers her rebuff. Later he watches her deliver a dynamite performance and promptly fires her. As she exits the club after changing into her civvies he accosts her in the parking lot and announces they are going to get married. Then he turns on the charm, and eventually she comes around.

Surprise, surprise! It’s a marriage made in heaven. There is real love and devotion. What a happy couple! And Steve is rolling in dough. His tough business methods soon elevate him to the upper tiers in the business world. However, his high-handed hostile takeover approach makes enemies of the worst kind, and we see him escaping a drive-by shooting.

Brenda knows Steve is on the shady side of the law, and she decides to ice him down before he gets himself killed. She drips a dime on him, sending the IRS an anonymous letter containing what she has been told will send him up for about 12 months.

But Steve’s friend and lawyer, Slant Kolma (Lloyd Nolan) can’t seem to do anything to prevent a cascade of charges followed by a conviction followed by a 10-year sentence. It’s to Alcatraz for Steve, and Brenda takes an apartment on Telegraph hill, where she can watch and wait until her true love gets off the rock and comes back to her.

She is the epitome of the faithful “rock widow,” taking the monthly ferry trip over to visit Steve.

But then… Then she’s trying to get to a phone to call a cab for her friend Mary Bogel (Gladys George). There she meets Tim Nolan (Walter Pidgeon), a wealthy aircraft industrialist.

Tim doesn’t know Brenda is a convict’s moll, and he pursues her relentlessly. He wins her affections but not her commitment. She stays true to Steve.

Shyster lawyer Slant Kolma has the hots for Brenda, always has had, and it becomes apparent he muffed Steve’s defense, even helped pile on phony evidence, to get Steve out of the way. Brenda rebuffs Slant, and Slant, in turn, is furious that Brenda is cozying up to Tim. He horns in on Brenda’s visit with Steve and later comes back to plant false stories about Brenda and Tim. Meanwhile, Slant has siphoned off the money Steve left to take care of Brenda, and she has secretly taken a job as a cabaret singer at a night club.

Steve is infuriated, and he crashes the rock and makes his way to where Brenda is now working. He waits for her in her dressing room. As she tries to tell him the truth, Steve prepares to strangle the only woman he has ever loved.

Just then, Tim bursts in, and he has a gun. He forces Steve to listen to reason. He tells Steve Brenda has always remained true to  him and that Slant has been working against him.

And that’s it. Steve tracks down Slant and murders him. Then he puts back on his prison uniform and makes to swim back out to the Rock. Of course, the police boats are still sweeping the bay for him, and they spot him in the water. A cop raises a rifle and shoots Steve in the head.

Finally we see Brenda on a flight back to Indiana, and Tim pops up, sitting right behind her. He changes seats with a passenger and takes the seat beside her. This is going to end well.

Except this is a worrisome plot. There is a lot of rigmarole that fails to contribute much. For example, in the beginning we see Steve being sweet on another chorus girl, and we see tension between Brenda and her. That leads to Brenda meeting Steve for the first time, which meeting could have been more artful.

The drive-by shooting episode serves to motivate Brenda to shake Steve out of the cycle of crooked dealing he is spiraling into. It seems painfully contrived.

Steve gets pissed at Brenda after Slant unloads on her. So pissed he breaks out of Alcatraz. Wait. There were 300 or more inmates there at any one time, and there was likely not one of  them who was not pissed. But Steve is the only one who got so pissed he broke out of a locked cell and swam all the way to the shore. Not to be believed.

Now Steve is preparing to strangle Brenda. But Tim bursts in, delivers a few words, and turns the whole situation around. Somebody must have been watching the clock about then and decided they had burned enough celluloid, and it was time to draw the whole business to a close. A great opportunity for some real drama was ushered out the door.

The cops see Steve swimming in the bay. The don’t motor over and offer him a lift. They shoot him in the head. People, the police never did that sort of thing, even 77 years ago.

Brenda gets an apartment across the bay from  the Rock. And the title is The House Across the Bay. Am I being a stickler?

George Raft grew famous portraying gangsters in films, and few viewers knew he once was one, having been a “wheel man” for the mob in his youth. In his movies he got killed a lot, particularly as a friend of Paul Muni‘s, who shoots him when he thinks he has defiled his sister. It’s one of film history’s great dying scenes.

This was two years before Pidgeon starred in Mrs. Miniver, one of his most notable roles.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Here’s another parrot joke.

A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to  three identical birds and says, “The parrot on the left goes for $500.”

“Why so much?” the customer asks.

The owner says, “He knows how to use a computer, and he can diagnose system bugs.”

“So, how about the next one?” the customer asks.

The owner says, “He can do everything the first one can do, and in addition he knows how to configure UNIX. He costs $1000.”

“So, how much is the third one?” the customer asks.

“That one costs $2000.”

“Wow!” the customer exclaims. “What can that one do?”

The owner replies, “I don’t know for sure, but the other two call him Boss.”

This is your President speaking.

Number 5 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!

Back then we should have seen this coming. Oops! We did see it coming.

This is your President speaking.

Number 4 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is “toast.”

Recently announced: Twitter will increase message content from 120 characters to 240. Our Twitter-in-Chief will now have twice the bandwidth to display his language skills. What more is there to be thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving, and may your turkey serve out the remainder of his term.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

When life’s troubles get you down, relief is just a Second Amendment away:

UPDATED: Murder suspect dead following manhunt

WEBER CITY, Va. — A Coeburn man wanted in the Sunday morning shooting death of his wife took his own life Sunday night.

Todd Allen Richardson, 44, was found dead inside the cab of his 2015 Toyota Tacoma pickup just before 8 p.m. Sunday night near a Burger King restaurant off U.S. Route 23 in Weber City, according to Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp.

I will be the first to agree there are out there many cases of the “good man with a gun.” The problem is, the good man with a gun keeps getting lost among the multitude of so-so men with guns. Keep your powder dry.

This is your President speaking.

Number 3 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME. Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think..

…LaVar, you could have spent the next 5 to 10 years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember LaVar, shoplifting is NOT a little thing. It’s a really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool!

I don’t know about others, but this brings a little tear to my eye. We have so much to be thankful for.

Stronger Than Dirt

Restating the obvious – 6

Yes, this takes me back to those TV commercials from the 1950s. A white knight comes riding in, “stronger than dirt.” My Navy Reserve boot camp training included sessions on morale and patriotism. They needed to be sure we knew what side we were on. The message of our enemy was portrayed as a white knight proclaiming to be “stronger than dirt.” The uninformed were proposed to fall for this line, but not us. We were well-indoctrinated capitalist.

And that was a lot of fun in those days, but the message is still out there, and to me it is the same. A white knight wants you to know, “it’s stronger than dirt.” We shall see.

A reader proposed I go to two links to see for myself why attacks on biblical inerrancy are foolhardy. Here are the links:

I’m going to the first one put up by the Young Earth Creationist group Answers in Genesis. I have already addressed two of AiG’s points. Here is one from 1 Samuel:

For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them. (1 Samuel 2:8)

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. (Job 26:7)

At first glance, these verses appear to contradict each other: how can the earth rest on pillars and at the same time hang on nothing?

AiG contributor Erik Lutz goes on to explain:

The supposed contradiction quickly disappears when we examine the context of each passage and recognize it as figurative language. First Samuel 2:8 was spoken during a prayer by Hannah after she dedicated her son Samuel into the Lord’s service. Job spoke the other verse while talking with his friends about man’s weakness in light of God’s majestic power. This sort of poetic imagery (pillars, foundations, etc.) is commonly used in Scripture to describe how God upholds the world. For example, consider what the Lord said to Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone[?] (Job 38:4–6)

We know that the earth does not literally have foundations and a cornerstone like a building; instead, God uses this figurative language to create a mental picture for Job. In the same way, animals do not talk and laugh, yet God also tells Job that the horse “laughs at fear” and “when the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’” (Job 39:22, 25, ESV).

So the explanation is that God uses figurative language. That’s good to know. It’s good to know, because we are now allowed to conclude the teachings in the Bible are figurative and are not to be taken literally. We are free to interpret them as we desire, which is what seems to have been going on all along. We are told the Bible is the source of human morality, and now we know the source of human morality is the person who interprets the Bible for us. That person can be a man standing at a podium, or it can be a white knight astride a magnificent horse, proclaiming to be “stronger than dirt.”

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I was sure I saw this one before on HBO, but when I caught it again this month on Amazon Prime Video I had the feeling I had missed some of it. Anyhow, it’s F/X from 1986, and it had a good run at the time, spawning a franchise. It followed a plot formula, familiar even back then. Here’s an outline.

It’s a dark and stormy night in Manhattan when a car pulls up to a swanky uptown restaurant. A man exits the car and comes in out of the rain. He doesn’t have a reservation. He pulls a machine gun and starts shooting up the place. It’s a mad house.

Bullets are flying, people are cut down at their tables, a bank of large fish tanks dissolves into a shower of glass, and a flood of water and fish wash across the scene. At the very last a blond floozy recoils from the mayhem and begs for her life. She is machine gunned and dies spectacularly.

Because, that’s what it’s all about. It’s a movie set, actually in Manhattan, and the brilliant special effects (hence the title) work of cinema artist Roland “Rollie” Tyler (Bryan Brown). It’s a successful shoot, and it’s a wrap. A crew begins scooping up fish and siphoning off water. “Killed” patrons get up off the floor and head to get out of their costumes and makeup. The blond floozy is actually Roland’s best girl Ellen (Diane Venora).

But in comes a “producer” who wants to hire Roland. He’s Martin Lipton (Cliff De Young).

It turns out Lipton is not really a producer. He’s with the United States Justice Department, and he wants Roland to stage a fake assassination on a mob boss, Nicholas DeFranco (Jerry Orbach). The scheme is being managed by a Col. Edward Mason (Mason Adams), who ultimately convinces Roland to work the scam.

So DeFranco is rigged with special gear and brought to a fancy Manhattan restaurant, almost a replay of the opening scene. Roland plays the part of the hit man, and he empties his weapon into the gangster.

Only, it’s not the gangster. It’s a person hired under false pretenses to impersonate DeFranco, and Lipton has substituted the blank cartridges in the pistol with live ammunition.

Roland makes his exit and gets in the waiting car with Lipton, who immediately pulls a pistol and attempts to shoot Roland. Roland turns the tables, the driver is killed, and Roland escapes into the rain. Remember, once again it’s a dark and stormy night in Manhattan.

From a phone booth (this was 1986) Roland calls Mason to tell him what just happened. You guessed it. Mason is in on it. He orders Roland to stay put. A police car will come to get him.

But somebody else wants to use the phone, and Roland watches from a doorway, out of the rain, as a police car rolls up, and two “cops” riddle the unfortunate in the phone booth.

Now Roland realizes the shit is deeper than imagined, and he takes it on the lam, spending the night with Ellen in her place.

But come the morning, when Ellen goes to open the blinds, a sniper’s bullet comes through the glass and kills her. Her second death in the movie.

Roland waits, and the sniper shows up. Roland kills the sniper and launches a scheme to turn the tables on the crooked federal agents. He has his own arsenal at his disposal—his bag of movie tricks. Thus develops the movie’s (and subsequent offshoots) theme. Special effects to defeat bad guys.

Enter two honest cops, Lt. Leo McCarthy (Brian Dennehy) and his partner (not readily identified). They figure out something is fishy about the whole business, and as they barge close to the truth McCarthy is relieved of duty. Of course he keeps working the case. That’s the formula.

Roland regains his van, which the police had impounded, and he leads the police on a chase through the streets and along sidewalks. More special effects.

Roland makes his way to Mason’s Mansion, protected by a mass of armed guards. He defeats the protection detail one at a time, by tricking one into touching an electrified iron gate and another by tricking a fellow guard into shooting him.

But DeFranco is alive and is about to leave the country with Mason. He has the key to a box in a Swiss bank, from which everybody plans to live a life of leisure. But Roland knows DeFranco wears a pacemaker, and when DeFranco touches a charged glass plate his pacemaker comes to a halt. That leaves only Mason, who attempts to bribe Roland with the key.

But Roland is again a step ahead. He places the Uzi he stole from one of the dead security detail on a table, after removing all the bullets and also after dousing it with crazy glue. When Mason picks up the Uzi and discovers it will not shoot and also that he cannot put it down, Roland shoves him outside where the police are waiting with guns drawn.

Roland fakes his own death and later joins McCarthy in Switzerland. Roland is a master of disguise, and he already has a DeFranco’s face in his bag of tricks. With the key, that’s all he needs to get at the box and the loot.

Closing title scenes are a tour through the Swiss Alps.

Jerry Orbach was already a Broadway legend when he played second fiddle in this movie. He later went to greater popularity as Lennie Briscoe for 12 years in the Law & Order TV series. He first came to my attention decades ago when he was one of the special people who drank Dewar’s Scotch.

From Wikipedia:

sequelF/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion, was released in 1991. A spinoff TV series entitled F/X: The Series was produced from 1996 to 1998.

Even watching this for the first time you’re going to know Roland is being set up. You only need to figure out how they are going to do it. It’s not hard, either, to figure Roland is going to use special effects to defeat the conspiracy. Beyond that, there are gaps in logic.

The crooked feds need to spirit DeFranco out of the country along with his magic bank box key, and they need to make everybody think he’s dead. So they concoct an elaborate scheme and pull a phalanx of others in. What were they thinking? What keeps the coroner from taking fingerprints to verify the identity of the corpse? The conspirators got into trouble when they got all these other players involved.

They need to kill Roland. And they engage a sniper, yet another person, to take a shot into a high-rise apartment. And the hired gun shoots Ellen instead? Then he comes to the apartment and lets himself in, only to be killed by a movie special effects man? If he could let himself in, why didn’t he do that to begin with?

It gets mentioned that maybe Roland should squelch the plot right out of the gate by unloading to the New York Times. The Watergate episode is mentioned. People, if a bunch of crooked government officials are out to track you down and kill you, the quickest way to get them off your back is to notify some reporters. The bad guys are going to be spending all their time dodging questions and trying to get out of the country to have any opportunity to mess with you.

Roland is one slick operator. In fact, he is too slick. He drives up to Mason’s house, never having seen it before, and he is able to disable alarms and lights as though he had the schematics burned into his brain. Remember, this is night time.

Yes, the movie is like Roland’s life, all special effects.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same – 80

Who needs Jesus when there exists a host of alternative ways to die from stupidity?

The Daily Star reported that 9 children have died in Tripura Para of Sitakunda during the last week. At least 46 other children in the remote hilly area are suffering from the same unidentified disease which has not yet been identified. The children aged between one and 12 suffer from fever and other symptoms include body rash, breathing problems, vomiting and blood in stool.

None of the fatalities was taken to a hospital, and two of them were treated homeopathically. The three-year-old Rupali had fever and a rash all over her body for three days. “We took her to a man who practices homeopathy. He lives some two kilometres away. He had given Rupali some medicines”, said her uncle. Asked why they did not take the child to a hospital, Pradip said the next health complex was 15 kilometres away from their home. Besides, they did not have money to buy medicines which would have been prescribed by doctors.

Modern homeopathy is a rebirth of the snake oil salesman.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Back to math questions for a change. Full disclosure: I don’t make up all of these. This is from an Internet site. No fair going to the Internet to get the answer.

The triangle is equilateral. Prove the shaded area is equal to the inner circle. Post your answer as a comment below.

Update and solution

Mike is the first and only to provide the correct solution. A reasoning goes like this.

It is easy to demonstrate (exercise left to the reader) that the inner circle is ¼ the area of the outer circle. Then the region between the inner and outer circles is ¾ the area of the outer circle. The blue-shaded regions total 1/3 of this difference or ¼ the area of the outer circle. The inner circle is equal to the blue-shaded area.