Saturday, January 18, 2020

Lighthouses Don't Fly

The above is an answer to people who say the Rendlesham ufo incident was just people seeing a lighthouse. This is per someone involved.

New York City is considering its own digital currency.
Unfortunately your purchases will be limited to $16 because $32 is too much to spend and the local government wants to protect you from it.

Speaking of Rendlesham, I just heard (KGRA) a show called Phenomenon Radio. John Burroughs was one of the military people who went outside the base and saw the UFO, 2 nights in a row, in December 1980.

Right after the sighting, he was diagnosed with health problems (atrial fibrillation, mitral valve prolapse, cataract). He got sick and was fixed to some degree. Years later, he got sick again, with congestive heart failure. The doctor was confused about what was happening and said it would be helpful to see his medical records from the Air Force.

When they tried to get the records from the VA, they were told no - the records were classified. They could have the records from before and after Rendlesham, but not during.

Burroughs went to his senator, John Kyle, to help get the records. He was told that Burroughs was not in the Air Force during those years. The VA lied to a senator. Burrows has paperwork and pay records for the time he 'wasn't in the Air Force.' (DD214 form, which the Air Force tried to alter).

Burrows went to long time senator John McCain, whose office did a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the records. It went unanswered. They could not get any information to show he was in the Air Force at that time.

Some information was released; enough to allow John to get surgery.
Burrows called the VA and was told he was being lied to - there was plenty of paperwork on him being in the Air Force during those years.

Burroughs' lawyer said he wasn't going to take the case because it looked like the VA was going to settle with him. Cheryl Bennett, of McCain's office, continued to fight, providing all sorts of documentation that he was injured at Rendlesham, during a ufo sighting. The records were finally sent to McCain's office, admitting that he was in the Air Force at that time.

Eventually the VA admitted he was at Rendlesham, and that the health issues were caused by exposure to a UFO.  Burroughs was given full medical disability.

DISCLOSURE! The government just acknowledged the presence of UFOs.

  • I don't know what to do, but I need to not get it done in a hurry.

All this nonsense about the Royal Family has produced some openings.
I was offered a spot and I get to choose my title.
I'm going with what everybody calls me anyway: Royal Asshole

  • I think the president unilaterally deciding to surgically bomb Iran was a good thing. By doing this, he drastically reduced the number of assholes involved in the decision.

Charmin has a 'pooptime robot' that will bring you a new toilet paper roll.
The next version will make a reservation for a seat, set your phone to Do Not Disturb, and warm the seat for you.

No way the cops are using SiriusXM to find criminals.
They're using SiriusXM Guardian.
This On-Star-like service tracks you and can give your info to police.
Rip this shit out of your car, along with any other connected feature.

Apple's scanning iCloud photos for child abuse images.
Yay - fighting child abuse is great!
Uh-oh.. Apple is looking at your pictures. Child abuse now. What's next?
Get yer frickin pictures out of iCloud. Look for a non-cloud solution, or something encrypted that the host can't see.

Google voice assistant acquires an 'undo' command.
Because you're upset that everything you say is listened to by Google, Google gives you an unrelated command to erase something you just said. So considerate and responsive.

Ring employees have been fired for 'improperly accessing Ring users' video data.'  Translated, this means they watched your videos. Note that this is not ONE employee.

[TOLD YOU SO graphic] 
Hey, I can see who's at my door!  
Wait - the police are endorsing these and want my video? 
Ring employees watch my video?

Alex Trebek has his farewell speech planned. There is no word on when he will give it. He's been fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer since March 2019 and has shared the news with his fans.

Stop for a second and think about what it must be like, choosing to work under a death sentence.

“People all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I'm alive, about the impact that I've been having on their existence," he said. 

This is your several-times-a-year reminder to appreciate and cherish the important people in your life. Resolve your differences, because you never know when you won't see them again. Tell people you appreciate them and what they do.

Cosmologists have no idea why the universe seems to be expanding more rapidly than expected.

They should've ask me: it's because the universe is in a hurry to get away from Earth.

A Pentagon official told Newsweek, off the record, than an Iranian anti-aircraft missile shot down the Ukranian 737-800 over Iran by mistake.

They thought it was a 737 MAX and didn't want it crashing into a school.

Speaking of which, the BBC quotes a worker as saying the plane was 'designed by clowns'

Internal emails from Boeing were released.
"Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn't."

Remember this next time you send email at work. Everything you type can be seen and can be released to the public.

I’m sick of hearing how we celebrities are in some kind of bubble and we don’t understand real life. When I’m out in public and people approach me, I’m always interested in what they have to say to my security detail.        - Pat Sajak

  • I'm just not ready for this. "Ordinary Man" from Ozzy, featuring Elton John.
  • Yes, anything is better than Cardi B, but still....

If you're still using Win 7 for some reason, this is what happens when support ends (1/14). Hint: there are other operating systems. Avoid Win 10 like the plague.

Dear lefty

  • How is 2020 for you so far?
  • Well, 18 days into it and nobody died, so I've got that going for me.

Today I identify as  an illegal incandescent bulb. I'm a outlaw.

Heroes of the Stupid

A state senator from Vermont introduced a new bill that would ban cellphone use by anyone under 21.  "Young people are too immature to use cellphones."
Don't stop at 21.

Army veteran has prosthetic legs repossessed after VA refuses to pay for them.
Who thought there would be negative press about this?

Not all queer people believe in astrology — and those who don't often feel alienated from the LGBTQ+ community at large. Read the author's name.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Battleships Confide in Me and Tell Me Where You Are

Don't blame me... it's a Yes lyric, from Yours is no Disgrace.

  • Airbnb claims its AI can predict whether guests are psychopaths.
  • I can't speak for the technology, but it would explain why there's never an available reservation for me.
  • Among other things, it mines your social media posts. Think abut that for a moment.

5 steps to protect your privacy in 2020, courtesy of and

  • I hate like hell to do this, but I try to be helpful... you can still downgrade to Win 10. Here's the method. No idea how long this will last.
  • If you've decided to join the stampede to a different operating system, ANY operating system, there's always MAC and linux. Neither has a huge learning curve, they're both more stable, they're not advertising platforms, and no one spies on you (that's an assumption with MAC). You can try linux out without altering your system in any way, using a USB stick. You can also dual-boot Win and lin. Ask if you have questions or need tips.

Since I'm ranting anyway, and since I'm a glutton for punishment, we went out for breakfast the other day. Things have been much better since the days when my order would be forgotten or messed up. No one asks me to sit at a different table so their order will come out. We went to Ihop. There's an Ihop right around the corner, so we drive to the one 20 minutes away. The local one has incompetent waitresses and clientele better suited for a schoolyard, except for the guns (I hope).

I figured 2pm was good for breakfast, plus it wouldn't be crowded.
I was wrong.
Apparently church lets out and most of the parishioners go to Ihop after. That's ok, at least they're well-behaved (and color-coordinated).
SURPRISE! We got seated next to a child who was being LOUD.
When I say seated next to, I mean 3' away. The only way I could've been closer to him was to be seated at his table. He continued to explode into fits of Loud, at odd intervals, causing the other rug rats at the table to sound off too. He looked old enough to know better. I did hear his mom explain this was not acceptable (her words), but the child apparently thought it was perfectly acceptable. I would never hurt a child, so I suggested slapping the parents. We had made the cardinal mistake of eating out: eating out. We had also forgotten to ask for the No Screaming Children Section. The waitress heartily agreed. And you know, for a fact, that this little noisemaker was at the table for the entirety of our meal, until 5 minutes before we left.

I don't want to be That Guy<tm>, or sound like some cantankerous Old Dude<tm>, who eats dinner at 4pm and complains about everything. We don't eat out a lot, so it would be nice not to be disturbed when we do. The last time it was a screaming infant all the way across the restaurant (aspiring opera diva), plus 4 extremely chatty, very annoying early teens, who all talked at the same time, even when their table threatened to disintegrate from the noise and vibration produced by their flapping lips. Mrs lefty is trying to calm me down, so I didn't make an even larger spectacle, like last time, when I got hold of the soda hoses and sprayed down the entire noisemaking table, then swing around the room like Tarzan, reveling in the applause from the rest of the diners. I have no idea what Mrs lefty's problem is, but some of the church ladies said they'd pray for her.

I told Mrs lefty that this level of noise was unacceptable, unless there was a small nuclear event. When I pointed out that when we were kids, we were well-behaved, she said times have changed. This is true, but not screeching and disturbing the entire restaurant has never gone out of style.

Dear Abbie Ann:
We need help (desperately). Whenever we go out, there are children screaming and many restaurants don't have screaming children-free seating. What is the polite thing to do in this circumstance?
Puzzled in Pittsburgh.

Dear Putzled:
From the list of things you tried, I would highly recommend avoiding the ones involving hoses, bananas, body parts that aren't typically exposed, and service elephants with pet anvils.  Instead, I would have the waitress use hoses, bananas, body parts that aren't typically exposed, and service elephants with pet anvils. One must always do the right thing in the right way.
-Abbie Ann

  • Samsung is coming out with a 43" display that automatically rotates for vertical content. If you think that's neat, you should see what it does for dance videos.

AT&T et al are fighting against higher upload speeds.
Other countries continue laughing at us.

  • Our good friends at Faceyspaces are introducing a privacy tool at the 2020 CES show. 
  • Because they were hauled in front of Congress, this tool completely ignores the items Congress addressed.
  • A privacy tool. From Faceyspaces. This is like a tax-saving tool from the government.

New drinking game: set out your beverage of choice. Turn on the tv. Take a shot every time you hear "game changer."  Warning: You could be dead within an hour.

  • New York is proposing a statewide virtual currency.
  • You will only be able to spend 16 virtual dollars at once, because spending 32 is unhealthy and the state will protect them from it.

I have an idea.  [uh-oh]
No, it's barely even weird.
I think we should all have a Live Funeral.
A funeral is held for you, but you're there to watch it. You hear what people really think of you. I think we'd be pleasantly surprised.

Nobody was surprised to find me missing at important family gatherings. They all say, "That lefty - he's his own man."  That's some of what I think I'll hear at my live funeral. I want everyone to tell their best lefty story - the funniest thing they saw me do or the most awkward thing they saw me do. My funeral will have people rolling in the aisles.

Speaking of saying nice things, my old boss accepted a job in another state and we held a going away party for him. My responsibility was always a roast of whoever was leaving. He came up to me later and said it was the most uncomfortable few minutes of his life. I had done my job.

I'm sorry.
No, I'm not.
What you see is what you get. I'm like this on paper and in person.
Sometimes *I* can't believe some of the stuff I say... it just kinda comes out (did I really say that? oof!). They say I have no filters. I bought one last year, so at least I don't say FUCK too much in public. Well, I don't say FUCK near as much as I used to in public. I've cut it out almost totally at work. Almost.

Mahdokht Shaibani at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, developed a lithium-sulphur battery with a capacity 5x higher than lithium-ion. It could keep a phone charged for 5 days. By the end of the day, she will have the test results on flame resistance.

  • Gay Grindr date murders man, forgets to disclose he's a cannibal.

The city of Oakland, California, is creating the Department of Violence Prevention to help crack down on violence.

Well, let's see. There are laws. Then there's the Department of Violence Punishment, aka The Police. What is violence prevention - pre crime? Going to schools and telling the children not to steal? Just say no to shooting?

  • Some people aren't people people.

Linksys routers, already able to sense movement, will soon be able to monitor your breathing.  I feel queasy.  Naturally this means they will sell millions to well-meaning idiots, who will then complain when their health info gets into the hands of the insurance industry and hackers.

  • Faceyspaces has banned deepfake videos. 
  • If they can identify them.

The FBI can't unlock the Pensacola gunman's 2 iPhones, so they want Apple to.
Damn you, America.... if there were a backdoor, like the govt wants, this wouldn't be an issue. Stupid privacy people.

Today I identify as   pork.

  • You cannot have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.
  • Uh-oh.

Heroes of the Stupid

Florida woman threatened to rob McDonalds if she didn't get enough dipping sauce.

SJW Stuff

This summer, you'll be able to buy Trans salmon.
Ok, transgenic salmon, with spliced genes to make it grow faster indoors.
The trans salmon must be at least 25% of your total salmon purchase and demands you use its preferred pronouns: it, that, and wtf.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Too Many RIP

We're absolutely stunned by the loss of Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist of Rush.

It's rare to find a drummer who is also a lyricist, as most of them can't write their name, no less songs.

Neil was, as the rest of the band, Canadian. Fortunately, none of them had any of the comical Canadian accents(eh?).

To be completely honest, I wasn't a Rush fan... just an occasional listener. However I grew up with them as a background, as my brother played them all the time, forming what some would call a religion. Since my brother was a drummer, it all made sense: all drummers kneeled at the altar of Neil.

The man sure was talented, both in his inventive drumming, and his lyrics, influenced by Ayn Rand.

Rush called it quits in 2018, due to Neil's health.
Neil died of glioblastoma, which is essentially brain cancer, which he had been fighting for a few years. He was also fighting arthritis, which was just cruel.

Watch any documentary on Rush and see what a nice person he seemed to be. He liked to tour on his motorcycle, both personally and professionally. None of the band seemed to deal with fame all that well, least of all Neil.

Neil actually took lessons, learning what he could. Randy Rhodes (Ozzy) used to do this too. Neil was a huge fan of Master Drummer Buddy Rich, famous jazz drummer and bandleader.

My brother was inconsolable when he heard the news.

Didn't we like it better when rock icons died of drug overdoses instead of cancer?

RIP Neil.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Playing Hopscotch on the Telephone Pole

There is an issue with Chrome-based browsers (Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave and most that aren't Firefox). If you're especially concerned about your privacy and rely on blocker add-ons like uBlock, Chrome screws the way they work and your info could get past them and/or you'll get ads. This does not happen in Firefox, so I'll continue to recommend it as a safer browser, even though it needs some de-googling.

OnePlus' smartphone has a 'disappearing' camera.
Let's take it one step further and have a disappearing phone, for when people talk too loudly in public.

MIT scientists made a shape-shifting material that morphs into a human face.
  • ALIEN TECHNOLOGY! Aliens! Maybe Reptilians. Or maybe MIT scientists. They're a pretty smart bunch, those aliens scientists. But I kid.

A father took his son to Mongolia just to get him off his phone.
Child went through detox so bad, he had to be airlifted out of the country.

  • Mariah Carey's Twitter account was hacked.
  • Nobody noticed until she started making sense.

60 Minutes is investigating the death of Jeffrey Epstein. That's funny.
Since you're a ThermionicEmissions reader (even if by force), you know that he was murdered. You knew this before any photos came out. Having seen a photo, it's obvious he didn't hang himself with bedsheets, at the same time the security camera failed and the guards forgot to look in on him.

I believe Epstein was sacrificed to send a warning: this is what will happen if you tell. Dat's a nize neck you got theyah. It would be a shame for anyting t' happen to it, capeesh?

  • Remember the Cambridge Analytics disaster, where it misappropriated 87 million Faceyspaces profiles? It's worse than you thought. The manipulation was obscene.

Troubleshooting follows a logical path: check one element at a time until you locate the bad one. The other day, my laptop went POOF and powered off: this is not normal. Laptop batteries can fail and prevent the machine from powering up. So I pulled the battery and ran off the power supply. And the machine failed to power up. Soooo, the battery AND power are bad?  After a bit more testing, the battery WAS bad, plus Penny had turned off a power strip that controlled the laptop. Troubleshooting should not include the results of dog.

Sooooo.... I needed a laptop battery - off to Ebay.
For obvious reasons, sellers of laptop batteries and memory are plentiful and really easy to find. You don't even have to know what battery or memory your machine takes: just search for "[machine brand and model] battery" and you have 400 listings. 

Unfortunately, to purchase a battery on Ebay, you have to log into Ebay. This, naturally, was an issue. As you've read, online purchases are one of my most reliable triggers. Simply buying a battery, which anyone can do almost instantly and without a fuss, is like negotiating world peace for me; only I get much angrier.  Typically the process involves discovering that the site doesn't like locked-down browsers or linux browsers. This time it was more insidious...

It wanted my phone number.
It already has my phone number.
But it wanted it again.
I tried clicking, making up phone numbers, and hitting escape - no luck.
If I don't want to give you my phone number, why are you bothering me?
Finally I found a set of numbers that worked.
Joyous at my login, the next screen wanted me to get through a CAPTCHA. 
I hate CAPTCHAs. My browsers hate CAPTCHAs. The industry hates CAPTCHAs. This one was particularly evil, involving putting a puzzle piece in place. Normally this would've been easy, but I couldn't see the puzzle piece.
Ok, now I can see the puzzle piece and move it to the slot. Such joy in accomplishment.
But Wait!!!!  Now it wants me to pick security questions!

Wife knew I was making an online purchase because the house was shaking, there was high level screaming, and the dog was in panic mode.

Listen, Pig Fuckers.... I've been on Ebay for lots of years. Never hacked, never a fraud. LEAVE ME ALONE. Plus you already have my security questions - I document this stuff.

Total time: 20 minutes to log in, 2 minutes to purchase.
If Ebay gave a care in the world about their customers, I'd drop them a line to tell them about my feelings

  • Blinded by the Light was a huge cover hit for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Don't let that be your only impression of them - they have some pretty cool music. Check them out.

If you're looking for some interesting online radio, I found 2:

Radio Rock is a British station that plays what can be described as 70s progressive, with bands like Yes, Camel, Cream, and the occasional Jeff Beck or Peter Frampton. It's pretty interesting listening, even for background music. I can guarantee you've never heard radio like this, for better or worse.
KGRA is a really interesting conspiracy-ish station. It features shows all day and night dealing with all the typical topics: ufo, paranormal, news, etc. It's a good place to pick up some knowledge, handed down by good people in their fields. Use your discretion as to whether it's good information or not.

They can be listened to in your browser, your audio player, and your cell phone, via browser, player, or one of the net radio players, like Online Radio Box (android, not sure about iDevices). There are bunches of free net radio players available on all platforms. All of them go to Faceyspaces and other ad networks first.

  • A startup called Byton is producing a small electric SUV. They got tongues wagging because the 'infotainment system' will feature a 48" screen. From pictures, it doesn't look like it could transport a 48" screen home from the electronics store. When phones and displays started making it into cars, the worry was that drivers would get distracted. How could anyone possibly be distracted by an infotainment system that is literally the dashboard, stretching across the windshield...  We won't even discuss the voice recognition and privacy implications.

22 young women were tricked into doing porn by GirlsDoPorn, and were awarded $13 million by a judge. In legalese, this means the girls will get to split $3 million, and the lawyers the rest. I am not a lawyer, but I have seen commercials for lawyers, so I feel qualified to comment. The girls answered ads for clothed modeling. When they showed up, it was porn. But they were assured it wouldn't wind up on the net; only recorded to DVD, for collectors in Australia and New Zealand.

So naturally it wound up on the net, and lawyers are claiming "severe harassment, emotional and psychological trauma, and reputational harm." I am not unsympathetic to their plight, and believe GirlsDoPorn is on the hook for damages, but I think this went too far. Yes, this clear misrepresentation, but at no point were the ladies held against their will and prevented from leaving the building. In fact, they were lured with the promise of making $5,000 per day shooting. At that point, the women agreed to the shooting. The naked shooting. Their own greed assisted the shooter (a con man). Since the trial, the con man disappeared from the country and shifted assets overseas. This doesn't sound shady at all, does it? Good luck collecting the award.

The defense used my argument, which was rejected due to the coercion tactics of the con man and company. I think seeing lawyers in commercials really helped me in this instance. Unfortunately I won't be entitled to any of the proceeds.

  • A man's cleverly-hidden 5.5" horn delayed his cancer diagnosis for years. Yeah, that huge horn growing out of his back must've hidden from him and his doctors.

Whoever you are, whatever your values, recognize the historic importance of this: it is second time the US government's retaliation against *the same whistleblower* has been found equivalent to torture. Telling the truth has become the greatest of crimes.  - Edward Snowden

  • the sex toy banned from CES last year is unlike anything ever seen....
  • it won an award from CES, then they banned it. Good group, those folks.

More sad news: RIP Neil Innes. Neil did the music for a lot of Monty Python bits and starred in Holy Grail as one of the minstrels. He was also in the aforementioned Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. He died of natural causes at 75.

The man was just plain FUNNY. He wrote funny songs, very well, so he was dear to me. If you haven't seen The Rutles - All You Need is Cash, you should get your posterior to wherever you can find it and see it now. The whole thing is a sendup of the Beatles, including the band members, Barry, Stig, Nasty, and Ron. Aside from being funny, the creation was pure genius. Listen to the songs and if you ignore the words, they could damn well be Beatles songs. That takes some doing (I know).

Today I identify as  the slightly worn "A" key from my keyboard.

Friday, January 10, 2020

lefty reviews pedals [Guitar Content Only]

I see these reviews online and on YouTube, so I decided to bring my reviewing 'style' to the ThermionicEmissions. I can't do videos because I'm too ugly to be on camera, so you're stuck here. This is going to be a real internet hit, once it gets out. I'll have to split the blog again. Yes, I've been drinking again, why do you ask?

A major musical instrument vendor is having a sale and I haven't shopped for anything in 8 years, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Each pedal had a video so you could hear the pedal in action, allowing me to keep current on what's out there.

I hate to have to say this, but the reviews are my opinion. Your mileage will vary. It's more of a review parody of snotty people than anything. And I hate everything anyway.

MXR M78 Custom Badass 78 Distortion  $69

One of my first pedals was the MXR Distortion +. I hated it. Naturally it's 'vintage' and commands a hefty price now. That's nice - a hefty price for a pedal that still sucks.

The Custom Badass does sound different than my Distortion +. It's a little more subtle. And it, too, sucks.

Ibanez NU Tubescreamer  $250

I got the jump on this a year ago, when the Nu Tube itself came out. It's a $50 tube on a chip. It powers the little Vox cubes. Ibanez put it in a pedal.

The Tube Screamer is one of the most famous pedals there is, and has been around since about the time of George Washington. I had one early on. It was green, which also described the color of my face when I heard it. Dammit, this doesn't sound like a tube amp, I said to myself.

The original TS came in a ton of varieties, which sometimes could be distinguished by the shape of the switch, random model numbers, and the shade of green. More recently, it gained fame because of DRSS (Dead Rock Star Syndrome) after Stevie Ray Vaughan had that unfortunate incident with the mountain. SRV used one, so everybody and their parents needed one. What the ads and hype failed to reveal was that SRV also used Marshall, Fender, and Dumble amps at the same time, so unless you hooked your TS to about $6,000 to $15,000 worth of amps, you weren't going to sound like Stevie. Further, you wouldn't play like Stevie either. This is the trap women fall for in makeup commercials: buy this makeup and you'll look like the beautiful movie star who's wearing it now.

We also learned the proper way to run a Tube Screamer was not the way I ran it. You set your amp semi-dirty and run the TS into it for boost, not necessarily gain. So then it became which TS you had, because the one with the square switch sounded better than the stomp switch, causing it to fetch $300 per. Meanwhile, Ibanez is pissing their pants, because the only difference between the square switch model and the stomp switch model is that one has a square switch and one has a stomp switch - there are no circuit differences. Ibanez was less happy when they found out they were going for $300 used. So they did the right thing and reissued the square switch pedal. For $300.

So I watched the video. And it didn't sound any better than my old Tube Screamer. I'll tell you, folks... if you can't make it sound good in the demo, how can you sell them? Like Burger King's commercials.

Shit - are we having fun yet?
I sure the hell am.
Unfortunately my non-guitar readers, who missed the line up top (Guitar Content) are pulling out their hair and wondering when it will end (when they're out of hair).
Let's continue; shall we?

Pigtronix Disnortion   $50

Pigtronix makes some really interesting, off the path boxes, many with silly names. This is one of them.

The uniqueness of the pedal is in the name. It sounds like a decent fuzz (and I don't like fuzz). NEXT.

TC Helicon Harmony Singer 2   $200

TC makes some sweet stuff. I have the Flashback II, their multi delay box. Most of their pedals have Tone Print, where you can store your settings or input new settings with your phone. So if you ever see anyone with their phone pointed at their pickups, they're uploading a preset.  Or they're so stoned, they think they're making a call.

The Harmony Singer looked interesting, because it was... well.. a harmonizer. I have a weakness for harmonizers but I'm not sure why. Maybe it's a blinky light thing. There's something to be said for playing Allman Brothers harmonized leads all by yourself.

When the video started, I realized I was hoodwinked: the pedal was for singers. Screw singers - it was in the guitar pedal category, meaning somebody was either going to have to pay tribute or die.

Since I'm a sucker, I let it continue. It's 10% of a guitar pedal, in that the pedal analyzes your guitar to make the singer's harmonies accurate. The demo, like all demos, was over the top, but it was damn fine. The guy had an acoustic and the lady sang. When she sang, a chorus of invisible angels sang along with her. Ok, that's pretty cool.  You can set the harmonies, level of harmonies, and flip the switch for Penis or Lack of Penis, so the pedal knows what range to use (ok, I might have made that up a little).

Since I'm not in a band now and it's rude for me to sing where people can hear me, I went to the next pedal.

Way Huge Conquistador Fuzzstortion Pedal   $80

Way Huge has the best model names in the industry. Crunchy Frog, Camel Toe, and Green Pickle come to mind.

I'm not sure what fuzzstortion is, but it sounded like a heavy fuzz and I still don't like fuzz. NEXT.

TC Electronic June 60 Vintage Analog Chorus   $49

This box is modeled after the chorus found on a old Juno synthesizer.
I don't know why.

It sounded halfway decent.
But... if you're going to put out an effect pedal, you should probably include more than two buttons and a footswitch. There were literally two pushbuttons for settings. No knobs. For sounds, you had SWITCH 1 ON, SWITCH 2 ON, BOTH SWITCHES ON. While this is most likely what was on the Juno synthesizer, guitar players like knobs that you can turn, making it a box with more than three settings.

Boss MT-2W Waza Metal Zone

Are you fricking kidding me?
I couldn't bear to watch the video.

TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini Reverb   $100

Since I like the Flashback II, I figured I'd give it a go... I need a reverb anyway.
I thought it was a one trick pony with one knob, but it turns out they hid the switch that selects between four types of reverb. Pretty tricky.

The video explained the knob/switch combo and demoed one of the sounds for damn near 15 seconds.  Here I am, ready to drop $100 on a pedal and the demo doesn't show me what the other 3 reverb types sound like (they DO sound different). Nasty surprise - and this was a manufacturer video.

Digitech Mosaic Polyphonic 12 String   $145

I've heard a few pedals claiming to make your 6 string sound like a 12 string. Spoiler: they fail. They sound like shit, with nasty, buzzy highs that make it sound closer to a 12 string, like maybe an 8 string.

Two strums into the video and I was hooked.
I was hooked on reaching for the STOP knob. It sounded every bit as nasty high buzzy as every other 12 string emulator pedal.  This is probably because it has to shift the high strings up in pitch and it doesn't do this very well or realistically. Get a 12 string.

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver Overdrive   $199

This is a first: Boss teamed with JHS pedals for the JB-2, which combines a Blues Driver with the JHS Angry Charlie. They had a video with the head of Boss (couldn't speak English) and the JHS Dude (spoke English), respecting each other, listening to pedals, breadboarding pedals, and continuing to respect each other. There was a scene where they held hands while walking through the park.

The only logical fallacy was that they couldn't design a pedal because they couldn't communicate. One guy says, "I think we need more high end." The other one replies, "[Japanese]." And so went the design phase.

The Blues Driver is Boss' answer to the Tube Screamer, and sounds every bit as bad good. The shade of blue is a bit nicer than the Tube Screamer's green, so it has that going for it.  The Angry Charlie is red and has a lot of knobs. It's sort of a kind of Marshall Full Blown JCM800 style pedal, with a hair more subtlety. It sounds a lot like Andy Timmons, who sounds pretty good. Andy used and/or collaborated on this pedal until he went somewhere else recently. Andy also uses Mesa Boogies, which makes the balls to the wall Marshall box sound kinda strange. Further, JHS has managed a bad reputation with some pedal buyers for using existing designs, putting his name on them, and selling them for inflated prices. This is hearsay - I have not played the pedals or looked at the circuitry.

After the guys were done strolling through the park, it was time to hear the JB-2. Unfortunately they didn't include it. I know the Angry Charlie is a decent sounding box. The JB-2 has the 2 boxes, which you can run in either order.

Leslie G Pedal Leslie in a Box   $ 330

Companies have been trying to put a Leslie in a box since the beginning of time, because a real Leslie weighs as much as a house, and requires its own staff to move and maintain. It's worth it, though... the thing was attached to every Hammond Organ that ever got recorded, as well as Peter Frampton's rig. It can be heard on Beatles, Joe Walsh, and tons of other albums, with a guitar or keyboard through it. It is distinguished by being the size of a medium size fridge, usually in a nice wood finish, with a thingie that rotates inside the top part of it. It rotates slowly or quickly, which is switchable.

I wanted a Leslie, but my back wouldn't hear of it. Mrs lefty gave me permission to put it in the living room, next to the tube tester, but it wouldn't fit in the moving truck. I spent a year auditioning pedals that claimed to sound like a Leslie. Spolier: they didn't.

Go to YouTube and listen for yourself. Some sound good. Some not so good. You can spend $60 to $350 on them. They all have one thing in common: they sound pretty good on the fast speed, and almost imperceptible on the slow speed.

This pedal is a smaller version of the original, with more knobs or something.
The video was very clean and had no background noise. Unfortunately it had no frontground noise either. In fact, there was no video. I listened to the original box when I was doing comparisons and I'll say it didn't rank in the top 2. It's a sad irony that the company that makes the fridge-size box original can't quite put the sound in a tiny little box for guitar players.

Other spoiler: I bought the Hughes and Kettner Tube Rotosphere 2. It's got an honest to goodness 12AX7 tube, and sounded the best of any I heard. It even has a distortion control. Jeff Beck used one, so I figured I'm in good company. The only downside is that it's relatively huge. This isn't a problem for me because I never leave the house, but people with crowded pedalboards should probably get a lesser unit. It's not made anymore but you can find them on Ebay. I emailed H&K about getting more depth in the slow speed - answer pending.

TC Electronics Viscous Vibe Modulation Effects  $130

Everybody and their mother wants that Univibe tone, made famous by Jimi Hendrix (DRSS) and Robin Trower. Unfortunately the vintage Univibes haven't been made since Richard Nixon was in office and they're not for sale often. When they are for sale, you have to mortgage your house for one. I'm kidding - you have to mortgage your car. Manufacturers have been putting out Univibe clones for years, mostly sounding not too great and not like a Univibe. But at least they get a lot of money for them.

One of the biggies was the Microvibe. I tried it in a store, in a small room, where no one could disturb me. For fun, I had a Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe next to it. Roger Mayer started out making pedals for Jimi Hendrix and has had his own line of pedals for years. There weren't a lot of controls on the Univibe or the Microvibe. The Mayer had more knobs than a home improvement store and is way beyond the understanding of most guitar players (and me). That said, the Mayer blew the Micro out of the water handily. Fortunately for me, it was used, so the price was merely ridiculous, and I still use it to this day.

The video was a combo of 2 boxes, the Viscous Vibe and their Phaser offering. The phaser sounded exactly like a phaser. It was astounding. They even loaded a TonePrint patch, which also sounded like a phaser. If you want a phaser, that box is definitely one. The Viscous Vibe is also a phaser, because Univibes and clones are special phasers (the knobs are loose but you better not make fun of them). It has 3 modes: chorus (Univibe), TonePrint, and Vibrato (nauseating pitch warbling, like you hear right before you have to throw up). As things go, the VV sounded decent. I'd want to compare it to several others, but it's a good sounding pedal, leaving no doubt as to what it's supposed to be doing. Decent price too.

Way Huge Conspiracy Theory   $135

Another great named pedal from Way Huge. I had to look at it, based upon the name alone. When I saw it, I knew what it was: a direct ripoff of the famous Klon pedal. Some nice fella made the Klon, which is a medium transparent overdrive, and started to go for absolutely obscene prices on the used market. I think he had stopped making them right before this. The Gear Nerds had a blast, claiming differences between the gold case and the silver case. Eventually, many pedal companies put out their own version. This is sad, because the original guy saw everybody making a ton of money on his design.  He eventually put out another version which was much less expensive, smaller, and in a red box. Naturally the Gear Nerds had a fit comparing the red one to the gold one. If you don't believe me, go to YouTube, where they compare every version ever made to the original. Electro Harmonix has their direct copy, the Soul Food, which goes for about $70. There are many others. Since they can't call themselves Klon, they have names like Klone, Archer (Klon has an archer logo), and others have a similar box with 3 knobs, like the Klon.

Yes, but what does it do?
It's actually a pretty nifty pedal. It's referred to as a medium transparent overdrive, but that's a small part of what it does, with a lot of syllables. Transparent refers to the pedal passing your original tone without messing it up, like most pedals do, especially fuzz and distortion. It's a medium because it doesn't have a ton of gain, but has enough. The pedal sounds pretty fine in front of most amps. You can use it to goose an already distorted amp, for a little grit, or for a cleanish boost. It is transparent - it gives you more of what you have, adding some fine-sounding dirt. You should probably pick one up at some point, because you need 12 overdrive/distortion/fuzzes on your board. And because it's pretty sweet, even at low settings.

Keeley Dark Side Workstation Multi Effects   $275

I knew this one already. It's Pink Floyd in a box - I'm not kidding.
It's got fuzz, delay, and modulation, and with a few knob changes, you can sound close to David Gilmour. Reminder: you will never play like David Gilmour. The price is damn fine for what you get - it would cost you a lot more to buy the 3 effects separately. Note: these are vintage-style 70s effects. You will want to listen to this pedal. I really like it, and I have no desire to be David Gilmour. The modulation gives you Flanger, Rotary Speaker (Leslie), U-Vibe (Univibe), and phaser effects.

Electro Harmonix Synth 9   $190

This is the 5th pedal in this series. You plug your guitar in and it sounds like a keyboard. Each pedal has a number of keyboards, and this one sounds like about 9 different popular synthesizers. You go from Moog (Lucky Man), to Oberheim (JUMP!), to Prophet 5 (tons of stuff) and others. To watch the demo is to be amazed. One of the reasons is that Bill Ruppert is very talented.

These pedals are light years ahead of the first guitar synths (I had an early converter). You don't need a converter, a special pickup, an additional box and pickup on the guitar, or to lug keyboards around. I wouldn't go so far as to say you can fire your keyboardist now, but you can get some interesting and popular tones out of these boxes. I'd probably go for one of the more generic boxes first, but they sound like what they're named after.

They come up used a lot, at better prices. I have a feeling that it's because of the rumor I heard about this series not tracking well. This was a huge problem with early guitar synths. So before you buy one, spend some time playing with it to make sure it does everything you want it to, and accurately.

Lastly, when you play keyboards, you sometimes have to think like a keyboardist. This can get hairy, because you can play adjacent notes on keyboards, which you can't on guitars (unless you have a 1 foot handspan, like Allan Holdsworth). So you have to pick your notes and inversions carefully. But it still sounds good generically.

MXR M77 Custom Badass Modified Overdrive   $100

I'm sorry - I refuse to review this on the basis that I can't tell the difference between the M78 Custom Badass 78 Distortion and the M77 Custom Badass Modified Overdrive. There are too many syllables and too many words, even though both have Badass in their names.

Ok, I watched the video.
It sounds like an MXR distortion/overdrive, which isn't a good thing.
It's got a 100Hz boost/cut knob and a Bump switch, which bumps up the mids, making it sound even worse. You Tube Screamer people might like the Bump.
It doesn't sound hideous, but that's not exactly a good marketing point.

J Rockett Audio Designs Majestic Overdrive   $200

The J Rockett people say this pedal captures Jimmy Page's tone on the How the West Was Won album. The video says it's designed to sound like a 1958 Les Paul into a cranked Marshall.

Quite frankly, it sounds like neither.

It's not a bad pedal at all. It just doesn't sound like its press would have you believe. I don't think it's worth $200. If it did sound like it was supposed to, it would be worth it. It's a nice, medium overdrive.

I'll have another go when I see something interesting.
Or the next time I've had too much to.....

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Bringing in the New Year with a Carburetor

You've probably heard about the 'tic tac' UFOs (UAP - Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) and seen the Navy footage of the ship tracking them. You've heard the government's admission that there was a 5 year, $22 million project to study them.

My response was immediate: "Bullshit"
The footage you saw was most likely real - I'm no expert. Interviews back it up.
The 'admission' of the 5 year study is ridiculous for anybody taking a glance at the topic. I can tell you without doubt that the government (most likely a compartmentalized group) has been studying UFOs since at least 1947 (Roswell) - probably earlier (there were three official explanations of Roswell). It's apparent that the topic has been studied by the accounts of the events:

  • serious-looking men in suits, coming to the debriefings, confiscating all documents and footage, and saying 'this never happened and you are all sworn to secrecy'. [the famous Men in Black]
  • Military officials telling residents of Roswell that if they ever talk about the event, their bones will be buried so far out, they will never be found.
  • a plane leaving Roswell the evening of the discovery, going to Ft Worth and Ohio (Wright base, now Wright Patterson). This is documented.
  • a saucer crashed in Roswell, per the army base commander. The next day, it was a weather balloon, per the commander's boss(es).
  • Reports forwarded to branches of the military or government, in spite of the official statement that they are no longer studying UFOs.
  • Congresspersons and presidents have asked to be briefed on UFOs. They have been refused and told they don't have a sufficient security clearance to know.
  • The government has repeatedly lied to us on the topic, as well as deliberately misdirected (swamp gas?)
  • The US is called in to help other countries with UFO incidents.
Does it really look like we aren't studying UFOs? 

In addition to the above, I smelled additional shenanigans. Watch what's coming.... whether we're getting 'slow disclosure' or being prepped, something is going to happen. Whatever happens might be manufactured to look like something it isn't, to benefit a powerful group. Hypothetical scenario: we now have a Space Force. We have been studying UFOs for 5 years. 'Something' anomalous appears in the skies. Oh no, it's UFOs! We're obviously going to have to heavily invest in our Space Force, to defend the planet. Who benefits? The only group that benefits from all wars: the Military Industrial Complex.

The hypothetical scenario wasn't mine... it belonged to the father of rocketry, Werner von Braun, as told to Carol Rosin. So far, all of his predictions on reasons for wars have come true. The final one is space.

As for 'disclosure', I remained incredulous.
What I didn't put together, til watching this video, was the effect this particular bit of 'disclosure' was having on the larger debate. The topic has made it into the mainstream. Even the talking heads are talking about it, and not saying conspiracy theorylittle green men, or whackos. Mainline publications are discussing it. So the topic is now out there, with the complete absence of slurs. Something is getting out there. I remain doubtful that it's the full story, or even the right reason, but we'll see..... I encourage you to think before you react to whatever surfaces.

Absent my above objections, this is a good thing.

Unrelated (I hope): reports of large, multiple drones over Nebraska and Colorado. No one is stepping up to claim them. They're large, so probably not hobby use.  Let's do the science: shoot one down and see who comes knocking.

Dear lefty
  • Have you heard any good New Years' resolutions?
  • Yes.

PRO TIP: when setting up Bluetooth devices, make sure there are no other Bluetooth devices in the area. Attempting to pair headphones with both a laptop and cell phone was enough to drive the Dalai Lama into a homicidal frenzy. In the end, I successfully connected the phone to the laptop, but only when the headphones are on.

Absolutely infuriating to me is the sugary beverage taxes, as applied in Philadelphia and other cities. While the studies may or may not be sound, we can all agree that it's probably not the greatest idea to consume mass quantities of soda, in America, we (allegedly) have the freedom to make that decision for ourselves. Until Nanny State stepped in. Label the crap out of it, like ciggies and booze, if it makes you happy. Don't make my decisions for me. It was also pointed out that the tax has a disproportionate effect on lower income African Americans in the city, who drink the stuff because it's cheaper and have less ability to go to suburbs to buy it without the tax (I'm just repeating it).  With this logic, we'll need to tax red meat (more), fried foods, candy, cheese, and anything that tastes good. Do I agree on ciggie and booze taxes? No. Any time more money is needed, they pile it on cigs, because less people will complain. I think smoking is disgusting, but we're all free to make our own decisions on it. How many people are killed in drunk driving incidents, yet we turn away and keep buying drinks, as if that can't happen to us (mixed drinks are also taxed in Philly).

Here's another sweet tidbit: the World Health Organization concluded that taxes of 20 to 50 percent(!) are most likely to be effective. No. Absolutely not. Let the rest of the world do what it wants, but we're a sovereign nation. We should not be dictated to by the UN or the WHO, in addition to being able to make our own decisions on food.  Did the Founding Fathers fight, die, and bring forth this country so its government could try to dictate what you can eat via taxes?

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."   Isaac Asimov

Iran's Supreme Leader, Great and Powerful Beardo 'Muff' Mohammed, says to president Trump:
"1st: You can’t do anything. 
2nd: If you were logical —which you’re not— you’d see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan… have made nations hate you."

I can't decide whether to go with 'even a broken clock is right twice a day' or 'he makes a point.'

  • One quarter of world's pigs died in a year due to swine fever in China
  • the rest took office

The US, Europe, Russia, and China are launching rovers to Mars next year, to look for signs of life. This explains our taxes. To the best of my faulty memory, we already sent one. It didn't find any signs of life. Will the next one(s) not find life differently?  Hey, I've got an idea: why not combine efforts; it will cut costs and provide some cooperation/collaboration. Maybe we already did... the rovers' AI will join them all together and become sentient.

Today I identify as   Crunchy Frog

New Years' Resolutions
it was inevitable...

  1. avoid becoming a social media 'influencer'  [I've got a head start on this]
  2. remove memes from the internet, then the planet
  3. a Special Place for everyone who takes an IQ test and flunks
  4. Not to kill anymore coworkers  [don't ask what my resolutions are at a work meeting, ok?] 
  5. to remember that if there are no pills on the table, I already took them. I think.

I'm still wondering about the Coast Guard getting malwared.
Do you feel protected yet? Do ya?

It's a new year and you're probably asking yourself how the KGB bugged typewriters during the Cold War... in the American embassy.

In yet another shocking event, a 'smart camera' owner is getting pics from other random peoples' homes. I need a little graphic that says TOLD YOU SO. And if I had any talent at all, I'd make one.

Didja ever notice the sameness in the names of pr0n stars?
If there were only a way to export them and run some stats.
Oh shit - did I say that out loud again?

For normal people, without my kind of intellectual curiosity, you can check out what your pr0n name would be. This tool proved invaluable at my last job, where I had to explain cunnilingus to my female coworkers. No, it wasn't a fireable offense.

SJW Shit

A company called American Girl just released the first doll with hearing loss.
Other dolls coming later this year:
  • Irritable Bowel Barbie
  • Quad Amputee Carl
  • Deaf Dumb and Blind Kid
  • Dyslexic Debbie
  • Depressed Dora
  • Total Paralysis Pete
  • Trans Toni/Tony

The president of Marvel Studios says a trans character is coming 'very soon' in a film.

Hey Bob, watch what happens when I hit the afterburners!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Iran, Iraq, Whatever

It took a while for me to get the warmongers straight.... Iraq, Iran... we reverse them every few years, so they're difficult to remember.

Around 7pm Eastern, yesterday, Iran bombed a military base in Iraq, where Americans are stationed.

The news was all over it, as they should be.
Unlike normal, they were pretty factual, without too much bias.
There was no information on casualties, some with no mention at all - just that there was a bombing. That smells of something.

At some point later, Iran announced they had their revenge and that was the end of their bombing. Also, death to America and death to Israel.  Unless I am mistaken, Israel wasn't involved.

Coincidentally, there were several earthquakes, and a Ukranian Boeing 737 crashed, killing all 176 aboard.

I smell a mouse barking at a dog.
Iran pre-warned Iraq, as well as a neutral country (Finland?), which could warn America. American knew earlier, via satellite and plane surveillance.

Not much news about the crashed plane, other than Iran refusing to send the black box to Boeing or work with them onsite. It will be interesting to watch this progress. They need to procure the passenger list to see if there were any interesting targets. I hope the grieving families get some peace. Looking at the debris could give some info: I know this from watching 12 seasons of Aircraft Crash Investigation.

Completely missing from the news and commentary is the fact that Iran bombed Iraq. I believe this is an act of war. Iraq's statement is pending.

Naturally the Congressional reaction went straight along party lines. Republicans cheered, Democrats jeered. The biggest group of ass clowns on the planet and 'we' voted them in. Pelosi blamed everything on Trump, saying we're instigating.

My initial reaction was "Warmongers. This was pre-planned. We were looking for a reason to flatten them."  In reality, it's a PR show for Iran to save face.

Iran's chief black-hat white-beard said America has no place in the region and that Israel is next, if there is any further action. He's right that America shouldn't be there. Every time something happens, they threaten Israel. From the military aid we give Israel in hardware, one can say this would not be a smart idea.

Joe Biden went off on the administration, which was a strange irony, as he was VP when Obama bombed the area.

Trump's speech seemed quite professional and measured, which was a tiny bit surprising. My only disappointment was the unbelievable trillions spent on upgrading our war machine. To his credit, we're not rendering Iran a sheet of glass. Now his opposition will need to find a way to spin this against him.

(British) Sky News was almost complimentary.


As a libertarian, I believe we have no business there, or anywhere else. That area has been at war long before America was a country; we add nothing. Our policy of non-aggression speaks for itself.  Our presence there only aggravates things.

Now imagine the trillions being seriously whittled down for only a strong defense - not offense. No transport costs, huge military contracts, and lives lost for no good reason. Our troops are brave, but misled into believing they're fighting for our freedoms, when they're fighting for oil, drugs, and the Military Industrial Complex.


Monday, January 6, 2020

UFOs - Under my Bed!!

  • I'm really impressed by people giving back. There are countless stories of people giving back to their college by providing scholarships.
  • Now it's my turn: I'm providing 2 scholarships to No College, which I attended immediately after high school.
  • British schools have lost over a million dollars because the donor wanted his money to go to people of his own background. Interesting article.

Dear lefty:

  • Are you going to pursue schooling this year, like you said?
  • I said schoolgirls.

Speaking of UFOs, NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, just digitized the bullets that killed JFK. It's been 50 years, so there's a tiny sad giggle factor to this. This is actually an interesting, possibly (eventually) helpful idea. They're using the 2 fragments from the actual bullets from the neck and back of the head. They also include the 'stretcher bullet,' which was found lying near Governor Connally's stretcher.

If you step back and take a look, you see an interesting see-saw effect. On the one side, things are being done to research, store, and solve. On the other side.. well... it's less of a see saw effect than half a see saw effect. One side moves up and down, while the other side stays unmoving.

  • Grinch Award, 2019 Closeout: Special Olympics NY hacked, phishing emails sent to donors. 

Dear Wife:
I send you this brief note not in the spirit of apology, but in the spirit of explanation. You prepared your famous Mexican dip, with the beans, cheese, and salsa. I had a small taste this morning.  It was even better than I remember. I will be incommunicado while I finish the last 75% of it. After that, try looking for me in the bathroom.  Love, lefty.

  • A study found apps don't provide reliable help for suicide prevention.
  • Ummm... perhaps we're relying just a hair too much on apps. Yes, absent any care whatsoever, in minimal cases, the apps can help. Don't get your psych advice from an app. In an emergency, wrong numbers for hotlines aren't helpful.
  • I don't get help from plumbing apps, so if I'm having trouble, I'll likely use my phone to actually call for help.

Curious as to how the PinePhone is coming along? The $149 phone with no connections to Google or Apple? Here's what 4 different operating systems look like running on it. You can put whichever you like on it, or others. Just wait til the developers are done and it's ready for prime time.

  • Go surfing. You do it all day long. Those cookie notices that get in your way are a PITA. Today's was my favorite: We care about your privacy.
  • If you cared about my privacy, you'd leave me alone and eat your own cookies.

We're learning about Stealth technology. We're learning about how it was made (tested at Area 51). Some of the Stealth aircraft have been retired. Retired.. yet we're just hearing their stories. This work is many years old. The SR-71 Blackbird was used by the Air Force from 1964 to 1998. So what is in the chute now? The Stealth craft have all sorts of 'futuristic' features. What do current generation testing planes have?  I don't think we've seen any of this. Doesn't it make you wonder? [Note: I understand the need for secrecy in certain military projects]

To possibly answer my own question, there are a ton of triangle craft sightings. Remember: UFOs are unidentified. We don't know what they are and where they came from. We don't know who or what is driving them. There's speculation that the triangles are ours.

One thing we don't know (I think): how to go unbelievably fast and make instant 90 degree turns. In current aircraft, if that were possible, we'd become puddles against a side of the cockpit. Bodies can't take that kind of force. Something inside the craft has to nullify this force.

As far as we know, only helicopters hover.
What flew over Phoenix twice hovered and also flew very slowly. Unless we have an impossibly large craft that can hover, it's not ours.

Compare and contrast this with Skunkworks' Ben Rich (Skunkworks did the super secret stuff and Ben was the head), who said something to the effect of having the technology to take ET home.

  • Reminder: do NOT stick a USB stick into your computer. At all. Especially if you picked it up somewhere, like on the ground. Or stole it from a friend. You have no idea what's on it, but it could be a really nasty virus. Or something that silently takes over your PC and allows access to Bad Guys.

Today's word is gynecomastia. It means male breast growth.
Why do I bring this up?
Because of the claim that plant-based burgers will cause gynecomastia.
Read the whole article before you die snickering (like I almost did).

"We should not speak so that it is possible for the audience to understand us, but so that it is impossible for them to misunderstand us." Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

    • China jails scientists behind first genetically engineered babies.
    • and when they say jailed, they mean "gave them houses and larger salaries"

    Why is it the attractive women are the ones least suitable for relationships?
    On LivePD the cute ones are always the meth chicks (I like em skinny).
    And those famous female killers... Amanda Knox, Rachel Wade, Jodi Arias, Casey Anthony... if you saw them on the street, you'd look twice. It's just that one other thing, keeping you from asking.....  These girls just kill me.

    Today I identify as  a cocker spaniel

    Because I've been relatively good these past few months, I was allowed out of the house. Because I was allowed out of the house, it was gray and rainy. Not because it was gray and rainy, the car's panel sprouted a light that said AUTO. It was a new light. I like new things. Since it said AUTO, it didn't seem threatening. Since Penny wasn't in the car, I couldn't have her sniff it to figure out whether it was friend or foe. I pondered. Then I pondered some more. Then I drifted off to pondering other things, because I have the attention span of a newborn infant, but not quite as much. When I reached down for a drink, I came across a switch. This, too, was a new thing. The switch had a position called AUTO. Hey - that light said AUTO - was it a coincidence? Is anything a coincidence? Are there any coincidences? Not in my car, there ain't.  The switch said 2WD/Auto/blah. I sort of got the gist.. .one position gave the vehicle two wheel drive. The second position was AUTO, and the third shifted us into blah. Aside from blah, I think I had to the situation pretty well in hand. I flipped the switch to 2WD and, as if by magic, the AUTO light went out. Another mystery solved before breakfast. Let us not quibble that it was 3pm.. I still hadn't had breakfast.  Yeah, ok, it's a new to us car. We're still finding stuff in it. Sadly, it's a year older than our existing car, so it has no AUX IN jack either. I am beginning to suspect the brain-radio interface will be standard in cars before I get an AUX IN. To our benefit, the cd player will play data CDs. To my agitation, the humongous library of blank cd's I have contains no blank ones. It was much easier when I worked at places that would give me spindles to take home. So we're stuck in place, with nothing to listen to in two cars but broadcast radio. I know this is a crime somewhere, perhaps according to the Geneva Convention, right after that nazi stuff.

    Because we were going to dinner after the mall, all sorts of interesting food and treat places that weren't there before opened. Each one had something I needed desperately. I remain not-paranoid, and at no time did I feel it was personal, as it usually is when they do this to me.

    I'm at one of those in between ages.... young enough to go into Spencer's, old enough not to get some of the references. To be fair, the Led Zeppelin shirt was pretty cool, as was the Hendrix. There were some boffo hats.. one was done in the script of the golf ball company Titleist. It said Titties. I have a relative who would piss himself if he saw it, but wouldn't have the balls to wear it while golfing.  The other had was multi-colored, not particularly attractive, and said TRANS on it. Hmmmm..... what are the implications of wearing a Trans hat in public? Well, I'm not really attractive, so people already think there's something 'different' about me. I guess it depends on what they think of trans people. If Mrs lefty wore it, that would confuse people. She's a woman from birth, no doubt. I might need more time on this. If I wear it to work, maybe I can get a promotion. Guess I better find out if Trans people are a protected group or not. It could backfire spectacularly.

    *note to trans people: I do not hate you anymore than I hate any other person or group. It's none of my business what you do, or what you might want to do. Go in peace.

    There must have been a cell phone giveaway at the mall, because half the people there were talking on them. Keep in mind that I've had cell phones from the Beam Me Up, Scotty style Motorolas, so they're not foreign to me. Welding one to your ear is. I know everyone loves their cell phones, but what kind of conversation absolutely must take place and cannot wait til you're out of the mall?

    Maybe the cynics are right when they say tv, then cell phones have changed our lives, mostly our attention span, forever. One guy was in the mall with his sister, talking very loudly about cell phones. He's probably one of those people who talk LOUDLY on cell phones for reasons nobody knows. Mrs lefty does that too. In fact, when she makes a call, she goes down to the sub-basement, where there's a small, padded, soundproofed room, and makes her calls there. I still hear them sometimes. It's wonderful that she's so considerate, though. I'd be horrified and spend my time figuring out how to be quiet enough to not disturb anybody. She tries to get out of earshot. Same effect, I guess. Unless I need her for something, then I have to run a few floors down, to the sub-basement, where she's on the phone, in the small, sound-proofed room. I bang on the door. Still talking. I scream. Still talking. When she finishes the call, several hours later, my eyes are staring at each other and I'm screaming because she hasn't opened the door. She tells me it's soundproofed - she couldn't hear me knock.

    I'm looking for words to describe shopping with Mrs lefty.
    Ok, start with a short yellow bus, full of 8 year old kids who just had their first coffee and candy bar combo. The bus trip isn't bumpy at all - they're just jumping up and down in their seats. Line them up outside the short bus, in size order, and march them into the store, stopping to tell Jonathan to stop asking the old ladies for cigarettes. Once inside the store, say START SHOPPING and watch them disappear in every possible direction, including up. Up is an interesting choice, as the store has no 2nd floor. Oh well, where there's caffeine, there's a way. Now imagine tracking each one down, across the entire humongous store. Hours later you have them back in line, and head off to shop. Along the way, each one wants to stop at a different display. At the same time. They try this, but never separate, so the loudest tail is wagging the dog, like some extremely large caterpillar with hiccups.

    So shopping with Mrs lefty is like that.

    Meanwhile, back at the mall....

    • The wife keeps disappearing around the corner to shop for new things. I used to chase her, but then I realized I have the shopping cart with her new clothes in it, so she'll find ME.
    • After stopping at every display, on the way to look at one thing, I voiced my impatience. "Ok, we'll go where you want to go."  Thank y... she had already disappeared.
    • Wife found a really nice top in white. She asks me what I think. I say no, white is merely a canvas for spaghetti sauce. Or ketchup.
    • NOTE: it may be 75% off, but 75% off doesn't make it any less ugly.
    • The sale section looked like a small nuclear explosion. Wife may have disappeared beneath some disgustingly green pants. At least I hope so, because they're moving.

    Men, just give it up. You have exactly zero hope of grokking women's clothes or stores. If you try, it will cause a severe headache, brought on by massive brain hemorrhage. 

    It's not enough that women have sizes, they have designations: women's, juniors, seniors, misses, divorced, and On the Hunt. Size 10 can be any actual size except 10. We don't have that problem: our clothes are over there, in the corner, in the Never Mind section. There are 2 pairs of pants, in generic size, plus one pair of shoes, that may or may not fit you. 

    No matter what either of you is looking for, it's ugly. Ugly never goes out of style.

    I try to learn one thing each time we go shopping. I work through the headache because I'm devoted to knowledge. Unfortunately I'm working against the flawed premise that I will eventually understand the topic. I just realized I'm self-deluded and I should have stopped this years ago... perhaps I just like the pain.

    What did I learn?
    Follow along - I can see your lids closing and some of you heading for the medicine cabinet...
    Last time there, Wife saw a rack of her favorite shirts. I brought her back to get some for xmas. I somehow managed to drag her, quickly, through only 12 stops, to the exact rack. When we finally arrived, I waved my arms expressively, to point out the exact rack... with a completely different set of shirts, bearing absolutely no resemblance to the shirts that were there last time. I stammered, flummoxed.

    She looked at me, without pause, and told me they were 'over there'.
    Over there?
    Yeah, they moved them.
    NO, they were HERE.
    Yes, they moved them.
    How do you know?
    They were on sale. Now these are on sale. And they're the wrong size.
    Hang on - they change locations and sizes?
    Yeah, they're over there.
    How do you know?  

    She dragged me halfway across the store, and there they were. In a completely different department, next to the mumus the morbidly obese women wear. Is this some sort of female homing device? If the rack were moved into the back room, would women know and storm the back room? I'm kidding - they'd demand their husbands storm the back room. Or worse, ask somebody.

    We had a very strange dinner. I was looking around, wondering if the police were going to be involved. Or maybe 13 of the top people in Corporate. We walked in and there was no line. The lady seated us immediately, asking where we'd like to sit. They had everything we ordered. It came out quickly. The waitress was great and sweet. The order arrived as-ordered - no mistakes. We paid, were warmly wished a good evening and happy new year. I thought for sure they were being robbed or something. I kept looking around for the flashing lights, or some hooded people with guns. Or the food inspectors. Maybe aliens. I have no idea, but this sort of thing never happens, so we spent the entire dinner waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you think about it, no dinner we eat at a restaurant is ever going to be good because it's either wrong or it's too good and we're waiting to be poisoned or something...

    Heroes of the Stupid

    The couple heard noise downstairs, called the police, the guy got his gun, the police arrived. He was called downstairs because his Roomba had switched itself on and was banging into stuff. On the bright side, Google now has his floor plan.

    Sharon Stone (yes) was blocked from the dating app Bumble because of several reports that her profile was fake.   In unrelated news, Mrs lefty said Bumble had better not be on my phone.

    SJW Meanderings

    Transgender man gives birth to non-binary partner's baby with female sperm donor.  If you can follow this, please avoid leaving a comment to explain it to us.

    Friday, January 3, 2020

    The Elephants are Running the Car Washes!

    In an event that no one saw coming, Elizabeth Hurley, model and part-time goddess, posed semi-topless in a British rag. Jee-bus, this woman is 54...

    • Police surprise 4 yr old boy for xmas after mother's murder.
    • Trying not to post stuff like this, but someone needed a Christmas miracle.

    All of the space missions featured a small army of guys behind consoles. I thought they were all faking usefulness or watching adult entertainment. The Apollo control room has been resurrected, with each console explained. This cements a conspiracy theory: the Moon missions were faked because the controllers were watching pr0n.

    • If you bought a live xmas tree, you paid a state-mandated $0.15 to the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. This is what we elect.

    Be careful of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwaanza and New Years themed malware. The initial version comes via snail mail, with a phrase like Merry Christmas on it. DO NOT OPEN IT. Later versions come in the form of email, with similar phrases on the subject line. Don't open these either. The most virulent, nasty malware is marked by subject lines with emojis on them. Never open these. Jonathan McAfree, from McAfree Antivirus Division (MAD) explains that if you delete them immediately, the authors will get frustrated and not send any more of them. 

    • Speaking of dead musicians, I'm tuning around the bands and come across a guitar solo that jumps out and grabs my ear in the first half second. Sure enough it's UK, with then-guitarist Allan Holdsworth. RIP.

    I don't know how many of you spent any time in mental hospitals, nor do I want to...  One facility, outside of Beijing, has set up a bakery where the patients do the baking.

    Tremendous idea, in my completely uneducated opinion. I have driven by mental hospitals, so I feel qualified to comment.  It keeps the folks doing something productive, in addition to questionable conventional therapy, so you have happier, better adjusted patients.

    There will be problems, of course.

    • The insurance will demand all the proceeds, plus a per-cookie copay.
    • Patients will have to get insurance precertification each time they put something in the oven
    • There is great difficulty getting corporate sponsorship: "Buy Bob's Flour - the official flour of mental patients"

    The workforce will be eager, for the most part, but not without its issues...

    The addicts will eat all the cookies dough.
    The bipolars work the fastest, except when they're crying under the table.
    The depressed don't show up.
    The schizophrenics refuse to work because the oven is talking about them.
    The narcissists spend their time trying to make their face the official logo, and do no productive work. They make great leaders.
    The multiples bake, then the kids come out and eat. COOKIES!!

    "There ought to be limits to freedom." - George W. Bush

    Today I identify as  the button you push to make the traffic light turn green

    • Know what's sad? I'm listening to online radio and hear this really interesting song. It sounds very complex. It's King Crimson. It's called Improvisation. They play better improv than I play Real Songs.

    Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, has stepped down, effective immediately.
    Either that, or he was fired, depending on who you ask.
    It might have something to do with the 737 MAX's refusal to stay in the air and the 14 month Failure Dance around getting it cleared.

    • Amazon had plans for driver safety training. 
    • "We chose not to have onroad practical training because it was a bottleneck" to getting drivers on the road, a senior manager wrote.

    88% of Americans use a second screen while watching tv.
    Ouch. We've normalized A.D.D. have you seen her Instagram page? 

    • London is using new electric buses. Because they have no incredibly loud diesel engine, the buses needed a noise to make people aware of their presence to avoid collisions (because a humongous 2 story vehicle is apparently not enough)
    • I think they're going in the wrong direction. Make the buses more quiet. Think of it as Darwinism's hearing test.

    A New Zealand electrician fired for declining to use a face-scan system was awarded $23,200. This is truly inspiring, but will disappear in smoke when he can't sue the New Zealand government for the same thing.....

    It's the first holiday season without my father.
    He wasn't a particularly tall guy, but his presence was huge.
    I cannot accurately describe the non-presence. Like people sitting on a couch, but there's a large blank spot, with no actual couch there.

    We're not exactly a big holiday family, but we had one day of celebration. He enjoyed being a patriarch, in his own way. He was a merry patriarch.
    I didn't get to the party this year, but I can only imagine the large, unspoken hole in the room.

    Regardless of anything else, we admire my mom's strength. I can't begin to imagine...  perhaps her mental decline is some sad sort of gift

    Somebody said we're mourning two losses.....

    Tuesday, December 31, 2019

    It's Not Polite to say Coccyx in Church

    To my readers:
    A very happy new year to you and yours.
    To us and ours too. 2019 has been total crap and the faster gone, the better.

    You know who you are: we miss you every day.

    seen on twitter:
    Just witnessed an airport proposal. She did not say yes.  [@wleaming]
    Christmas came early for that guy. He really dodged a bullet there. [@JesseKellyDC]

    After Mozilla got word that Avira and AVG Firefox extensions ate all your data, they pulled them. They're now back, after the extensions reduced the amount of tracking data being sent to their servers.    Seriously?

    Dear lefty

    • What is your New Years resolution?
    • To stop answering stupid questions.

    Yeah, I discover things really late..
    Go to your phone's app store and download some sort of online radio listening app. You may be surprised at what you can listen to... I did a search yesterday and came up with a lot of interesting UK radio; comedy and rock. There's sports, xmas stations, 50s music, and sports. It's also a great way to remember which musicians died recently. The foreign stations are very interesting, in that you can't understand what they're saying. This is just like the TOP HITS stations in the US! If you can't find something interesting, you're not hitting PAGE DOWN enough.

    Speaking of dead musicians, "    ,    , and Palmer" won't be touring. Palmer is holed up in a steel room (he thinks) Death can't get into.

    50% of the Beatles won't be touring, as will 50% of the Monkees. I wonder if the ones who died are getting together in the afterlife. John Lennon, George Harrison, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork. They can call themselves John, George, Davy, and Peter, singing songs about the live ones who left them but are eventually joining the group. The dead ones are occasionally joined by the 5th Beatle, producer George Martin, and the 6th Beatle, Billy Preston.

    If Danny Gatton isn't dead, he'll be shocked that all of his guitars are for sale.

    Kurt Cobain remains dead, but he has an excuse. Have you ever seen his wife?

    Only 25% down is Led Zeppelin, however the one causing all the trouble is an alive one.

    Badfinger has not one original member left, sorta. The guitar player joined after the first album came out, so he didn't play on it. He counts as the only one not dead (and is reported to be hiding out with Palmer).

    It's a bad time for Jimi Hendrix, but he is more prolific dead than any time he was alive. His sister is making a ton of money, releasing all sorts of stuff and putting his likeness on barstools.

    Nobody from Deep Purple is dead, but the members change monthly, so it's difficult to tell.

    Zappa remains wherever Zappa went after he left, but his progeny, Dweezil, tours the country, playing his music. Dweezil is probably the only one who can play Frank's music.

    The Allman Brothers are now Brothers of the Grave, with exactly two original member above ground. There's Jaimoe, and sometimes I wonder if he knows he's still alive. I watched him shining his cymbals once, during a song. And there's Dickie Betts, recovering from a near death involving falling off something (or someone). There were a lot of Allman Brothers, hence a lot of different deaths: cycle, tree, shotgun, and cancer. Strangely enough, not from drugs.

    Chicago never recovered from the death of Terry Kath (guitar/vocals). No one else has died, except their career.

    The three Kings of the blues have gone underground: B.B., Freddie, and Albert.

    The entire ELO band disappeared, so it's possible they're dead. They were all replaced by Jeff Lynne, the voice of ELO.

    Joe Cocker is no longer Feelin Alright.

    As for the Winters, remember that Edgar is the living one and Johnny has departed. Sometimes Johnny looked dead long before he died.

    Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) has flown the coop. The only good news is that supplies of JD and meth have returned to their former numbers.

    Slade is still on the road. Nobody died - the members just quit at random times.

    Robert Palmer no longer sneaks Sally through the alley

    Ritchie Hayward and Paul Barerre's departures have gutted Little Feat.

    The Turtles (Happy Together) are alive and touring, as part of retro package tours. I don't think anyone died, or at least Volman and Kaylan haven't. Cancer tried to get Volman, but he won.

    I need a hobby.

    • Why do cats always land on their feet?

    Conversations with the pharmacy

    Hi, it's lefty. I need a refill on #125843.
    Yes, we can fill that in 2 weeks.
    Two weeks?
    Yes, 2 weeks. The birth control, right?
    I can assure you, nobody in the house, including the dog, takes birth control. Do I sound like I take birth control?
    Oh. I musta got that number wrong.
    You musta.

    • Faceyspaces will stop mining contacts with your 2FA number.
    • No they won't.

    I miss the Old Days<tm>.
    On New Years Eve, we'd sit around, complain that the fireworks displays were too crowded, then complain about the idiotic New Years shows, then ask "They call this shit music?" We'd play Flip the Nephew to figure out which show to watch the ball drop, talk about how much we hated last year, and go back to shooting up.

    Come to think of it, just like every year!

    • Just when you thought the NSA spy satellites were new: giant surveillance balloons. 2020 will bring us Giant Flying Octopusses with Telescopes

    Today I identify as  an xmas tree, out on the curb

    • If I played football, my position would obviously be offensive lineman. Or offensive quarterback. Maybe offensive coach.

    No maudlin, semi-serious, sardonic, sarcastic blog would be complete without a list of notable deaths in 2019.

    • Danny Aiello, 86
    • Carol Channing
    • Norman Orentreich, 96, "the father of modern hair transplantation"
    • Peter Tork [Thorkelson], 77, complications of cancer
    • Hal Blaine [Harold Belsky], 90, session drummer (The Wrecking Crew)
    • Doris Day [Doris Kappelhoff], 97, pneumonia
    • Dr. John [Malcolm John Rebennack], 77, no longer in the Right Place, Wrong Time
    • Rip Torn [Elmore Raul Torn, Jr], 88 [not Rip Taylor]
    • Peter Fonda, 79
    • Valeria Harper, 80, cancer
    • Rik Ocasek [Richard Otcasek], 75
    • [Peter] Ginger Baker, 80, killed by life
    • Rip Taylor, 88, [not Rip Torn]
    • Marie Fredriksson, 61
    • Dominick Arena, arrested Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick
    • Rene Auberjonois, famous for nobody being able to spell his name, actor
    • Paul Barrere - Little Feat guitar and vocals
    • Tim Conway - master comic actor
    • Dick Dale - king of surf guitar
    • Daryl Dragon - The Captain, without Tenille
    • Arte Johnson - Laugh In
    • Aleksei Leonov - first person to walk in space
    • Peggy Lipton - Mod Squad
    • Eddie Money [Edward Mahoney], 70, esophageal cancer
    • Art Neville - Neville Brothers keyboardist, vocalist
    • Beverly Owen - Marilyn, The Munsters
    • Leon Redbone - guitarist
    • Charles Sanna - invented Swiss Miss Cocoa
    • Carroll Spinney - Big Bird from Sesame Street
    • Gerry Stickells - road manager for Jimi Hendrix, among others
    • Nathaniel Taylor - Rollo on Sanford and Son
    • Lorraine Warren - paranormal investigator, inspiration for the short ghostbuster in Poltergiest
    • Bob Einstein - was Super Dave
    There's a theme here. Guess what it is.....

    Check out Death List

    I really appreciate my existing readers plus the new ones from other countries.
    If you're late to the party, this blog has no actual purpose, other than to amuse people and document the owner's slow descent into madness.