The Masks We Wear And Remove

Happy Hallowe’en to you all.  Or as we sing it,

“It’s the most won-der-ful time of the year. . .”

For children, Hallowe’en is innocent fun, a chance to dress up, wear a mask and pretend to be something we’re not.  But we don’t stay children forever.  When we become teenagers, we experience social pressures from family, from school, from society, from the media, etc.  As children we wore a mask one day a year, but as teens and into adulthood, we start wearing the mask every day.  Many people fear dressing, looking or speaking differently out of fear (rejection, violence, embarrassment, shame, being cast out, etc.).

Hallowe’en is and may be the one day of the year where we can take off our imposed societal masks, be their true selves without fear or repercussions.   But it’s not just Hallowe’en.  Many countries and cultures have festivals where “normal rules don’t apply” for a day or a week, whether it’s Mexico’s Día De Muertos, Carnival, Mardi Gras, or one of many others.  As mentioned the other day, it even applies to music, fandoms, RPGs, cosplay or other forms of entertainment.

Everywhere around the world, cultures societies have at least one a day to blow off steam, whether we admit that’s why or not.  It’s good and necessary for mental health.  Because every day that you can’t, you die a little inside.  I think this explains incels, TERFs, and fanatical religious types who rape children.  They’re so repressed and unhealthy mentally that they end up lashing out instead of finding a healthy outlet.

I’m never putting that mask back on again.  Let your Freak Flag fly.



There’s more below the fold.

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My Eyes Light Up: The Electric Company turns 50

The first episode of The Electric Company was broadcast on October 25, 1971, and ran for six years until 1977.  Billed as “for graduates of Sesame Street”, EC employed sketch comedy and more advanced language and humour than Sesame.

Wow, I feel old again.  I’ll bet certain other bloggers do too, with a smile on their faces.  So much more below the fold.


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Cagers Should Yield Or Stop: Do your research first

In response to yesterday’s post about traffic terrorism, this word salad diatribe appeared in the comments:

Would be nice if you show videos of bikers running red lights and stop signs. Or maybe the ones who ignore bike lanes made just for them and ride in the traffic lanes instead. It gets very tiresome to hear about all the poor bikers who get treated so shabbily by drivers. While the evidence is in and I do not disagree with the conclusions here, give the whole story maybe. There are just as many rude and shitty bike riders who put themselves at risk as there are car drivers putting them at risk. In portland oregon (my city) they are spending millions for bike paths and trying to make the roads safer for pedestrians. In fact they are doing so to the detriment of drivers. And yet bike riders still are causing problems just like the car drivers yet that part is ignored.

Tell you what, charlie: When cyclists kill more pedestrians than HGV trucks alone, never mind all other deaths caused by motorized traffic, you might have an argument.

But that’s not what you’re arguing, is it?  You’re saying bicycles are a danger by making cagers wait two seconds longer, all because cyclists and pedestrians want to commute and cross the road safely.  Oh, the injustice and inconvenience of it for the metal box road ragers.

Any claim of “scofflaw cyclists” being worse than scofflaw cagers is farcical.  I and my bike weigh barely over 100kg and go 30kmh when up to speed.  Meanwhile a tiny hatchback weighs at least 900kg and goes 50-100kmh, while the majority of vehicles are heavier and faster.  Pretending these pose the same danger to others is so wilfully blind that I recommend you see an optometrist and not drive until your vision is corrected.

I can point to dozens of videos where cagers run stop signs, like this one where a white cop causes a crash and falsely arrests the Black driver.

I can point to videos of cagers will illegally try to pass school buses and nearly killing children.

I can point to videos of cagers running through pedestrian crosswalks.  I’ll bet he doesn’t know all unmarked intersections are legal crosswalks, and ALL cagers have to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross.

I doubt he can point to a single video or news report of a cyclist caused the death of a cager where the car was going 50kmh.  (If a cager was speeding, swerved, and then crashed causing the driver’s death, that’s not the cyclist’s fault.) According to the US’s Governors Highway Safety Association (“Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2019 Preliminary Data“), the US has averaged over 5000 pedestrian deaths from motorized vehicles EVERY YEAR since 1989. I doubt that cyclists have killed 1000 pedestrians in those same 30 years.

PACTS is the UK’s Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transportation Safety. In their December 2020 report which many call “Who killed whom”:

Figure 6: What kills pedestrians
In every 100 crashes where a pedestrian is killed, 
the other vehicle involved was a:
Cars: 65
HGV: 11
Van: 7
Bus: 6
Motorcycle or scooter: 4
Cyclist: 1

Figure 7: What kills cyclists
In every 100 crashes where a cyclist is killed, 
the other vehicle involved was a
Car: 48
HGV: 12
Van: 7
Other cyclist: 1

Given that nearly all motorized vehicles have only the driver, there’s a near 1:1 correspondence between cagers and cyclists to their modes of transportation.  According to the UK government, there are 3.7 million car trips per day in London, and Cyclist UK says there are 740,000 bicycle trips per day in London.  That means there are only 4.5 times as many cagers as cyclists, and yet the number of pedestrian deaths each cause is a 90:1 ratio.  And we’re supposed to believe “cyclists are the danger”?

He should be glad that Stop A Douche Bag is a Russian-only protest group, and that fed up pedestrians aren’t resorting to other measures when cagers break the law.

I’m sure he views Cycling Mikey as the “problem” in this video, calls CM the “scofflaw” for standing in front of the car and not the jerk in a merc driving on the wrong side of the road:



Contrary to the lies, myths, and propaganda cagers repeat from ignorance, the overwhelming majority of cyclists obey the law.  Also contrary to the lies, myths, and propaganda, “Idaho stops” are more efficient for traffic, and are NOT an impediment.  This claim that “cyclists don’t stop at stop signs!” isn’t about lawbreaking, it’s about jealousy that cagers can’t do the same.

What is an “Idaho stop” and where did it come from?  An Idaho stop is when cyclists treat stop signs as a yield sign.  The cyclist slows while approaching the intersection, and if the road is clear, can proceed without stopping.  If a vehicle is coming from another direction, then the cyclist must come to a full stop.  It came about because a judge in Idaho was overwhelmed and fed up with nuisance charges filed against cyclists not stopping on empty roads where there were no cars.  And even when there were cars, the lack of anything to obstruct people’s view rendered stop signs moot.

Here’s the actual Idaho law, from the state legislature:





49-720. Stopping — Turn and stop signals. (1) A person operating a bicycle, human-powered vehicle, or an electric-assisted bicycle approaching a stop sign shall slow down and, if required for safety, stop before entering the intersection. After slowing to a reasonable speed or stopping, the person shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the person is moving across or within the intersection or junction of highways, except that a person, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, if required, may cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping.

(2) A person operating a bicycle or human-powered vehicle approaching a steady red traffic control light shall stop before entering the intersection and shall yield to all other traffic. Once the person has yielded, he may proceed through the steady red light with caution. Provided however, that a person, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, if required, may cautiously make a right-hand turn. A left-hand turn onto a one-way highway may be made on a red light after stopping and yielding to other traffic.

(3) A person riding a bicycle shall comply with the provisions of section 49-644, Idaho Code.

(4) A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given during not less than the last one hundred (100) feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, provided that a signal by hand and arm need not be given if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.

Why is it beneficial to legalize Idaho stops?  If cyclists stop, they lose all momentum and it takes them longer to start again. That means they take longer to go through and thus spend more time within the intersection.  This both endangers the cyclist and impedes the flow of traffic. But if the road is clear and a cyclist enters the intersection at 5km, it takes less time to speed up and clear the intersection.  And at 5kmh, it will take cyclists less than a metre to come to a full stop if other traffic approaches.  Motorized vehicles can move themselves, so there’s no argument for legalizing this for cagers.

In an increasing number of jurisdictions, it is now legal for cyclists to do an “Idaho stop”: Oregon, where he claims to be a victim of injustice.  CaliforniaWashington state.   AlbertaOntario.





Driver attitudes towards cyclists are almost exactly the same as toxic male drivers towards women drivers. They see only the exceptions and not the majority while blithely ignoring their own ilk’s behaviours. For every ten minute “women drivers” video you find on youtube, you’ll find ten hours of male drivers, and yet men ignore the disparity in the amount. Or the fact that most of women’s crashes are under 60kmh and/or due to inattentiveness, while male drivers are speeding and road raging.

Here’s an item from that communist, vegan, and anti-big business media Forbes, reporting that drivers are the danger, not cyclists.  And in The Guardian video below, the UK cops are admitting that the difference is the danger posed comparing cyclists and cars, who can and does cause more harm if they break the law.  Emphasis in the text is mine.

Cyclists Break Far Fewer Road Rules Than Motorists, Finds New Video Study

May 10, 2019

A new study from the Danish Road Directorate shows that less than 5% of cyclists break traffic laws while riding yet 66% of motorists do so when driving. The Danish Cycling Embassy, a privately-funded NGO, puts this down to visibility: law breaking by cyclists is “easy to notice for everyone” but transgressions by motorists, such as speeding, are harder to spot.

The study was carried out for the Danish government by consulting firm Rambøll using video cameras sited at major junctions in Danish cities, including Copenhagen. It was found that just 4.9% of cyclists broke road rules when they were riding on cycleways. This rose to 14% of cyclists when there was no cycling infrastructure present.

The video cameras counted 28,579 cyclists crossing at intersections. The most frequently recorded transgression was bicycling on the sidewalk. Rule breaking by cyclists was twice as numerous in smaller cities which, in Denmark, have fewer cycleways. The new study had almost identical results to an earlier one carried out by the consulting firm Copenhagenize. This was also a video study and analyzed the behaviour of 80,000 cyclists: it found that 5% broke traffic laws.

Separate studies by the Danish Road Directorate found that two-thirds of motorists routinely flout the law, with breaking local speed limits being the most common offense.

Drivers don’t want cyclists on the road.  They don’t want cyclists on the sidewalk.  And they don’t want cycling infrastructure to be built because that means less space for cars.  And yet they still pretend they’re not trying to ban bicycles.

As the saying goes:

You’re not “stuck in traffic”.  You ARE the traffic.

Drivers don’t and can’t grasp that their car is part of the problem, why they can’t get anywhere fast.

I Guess Petitions Work: John Oliver did a piece on Taiwan

This, I was not expecting.

One of my friends organized a petition asking John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight to do a piece on Taiwan. A lot of people (friends and foes alike, Taiwanese and foreigners) signed on.  I didn’t because I didn’t expect it to work. Now I regret not signing it.  6_6



The item mentions Chthonic’s singer Freddy Lim.  He’s not just a member of the New Power Party (NPP), he was previously the head of Amnesty International in Taiwan from 2010 to 2014.  Here are two of the band’s songs, “Millennia’s Faith Undone” and “Supreme Pain for the Tyrant”.  They play Power Metal and Black Metal.  Bass player Doris Yeh and Lim are married.  She started the Taiwan Rock Alliance, a business to organize festivals, also with a political message.

One of the things China desperately wants to get its hands on (not mentioned in the video) is the National Palace Museum.  Here’s the official government website.  When the “cultural revolution” happened (1966 to 1976) the communists “purged” and destroyed the country’s history and identity, burning documents and artefacts.  They also destroyed their own language, mutilating Mandarin with “simplified” characters, while Taiwan still writes with Traditional Mandarin.  (The difference in language makes it easy to identify propaganda trolls operating out of the PRC.)

Cultural demolition was more like it.  Items in the museum range from hundreds to thousands of years old, and the CCP wants them to lend themselves legitimacy.  But unlike Egyptian history sitting in European museums, these items weren’t stolen, they were protected.

Traffic Terrorism Continues: Why drivers intentionally endanger cyclists

As mentioned recently, cities around the world are finally accepting the reality that fewer cars and more bicycles is a workable solution.  But encouraging bicycle use and providing ride sharing bikes is not enough.  There has to be somewhere to ride them, and most cities were poorly planned, built only for 4+ wheeled vehicles when they should have been built for everyone.

Dr. Ian Gerrard of Bath University did a study in 2018 on driver behaviour.  He found that no matter what cyclists wore, from beginning to advanced riders, including a vest that told drivers the cyclist was recording video, drivers would endanger cyclists by driving illegally, less than the 1.5 metres required by law in the UK.  Many passed as close as 10 cm (if you don’t know how many inches that is, learn metric).

So when someone tells a cyclist “You should wear / should have worn _______”, they’re shifting blame away from toxic car drivers (from now on called cagers) and onto cyclists.  How odd, this sounds reminiscent of how society blames women for what they wear after being assaulted.

Cyclists cannot stop drivers overtaking dangerously, research study suggests

A new study from the University of Bath and Brunel University suggests that no matter what a cyclist wears, 1-2% of drivers pass dangerously close to overtake.

This suggests there is little a rider can do, by altering their outfit or donning a high-visibility jacket, to prevent the most dangerous overtakes from happening. Instead, the researchers suggest, if we want to make cyclists safer, it is our roads, or driver behaviour, that need to change.

The study set out to ask whether drivers passing a cyclist responded to how experienced the cyclist looked. It was expected that drivers would give more space to a rider who seemed inexperienced and less space to a rider who looked highly skilled.

[. . .]

The researchers found that, while the vest that mentioned video-recording showed a small increase in the average amount of space drivers left, there was no difference between the outfits in the most dangerous overtakes, where motorists passed within 50 cm of the rider. Whatever was worn, around 1-2% of motorists overtook within this extremely close zone.

Cycle Outfits During the study, the Dr Ian Garrard wore different outfits at random to see what effect it would have on driving habits.

Dr Ian Walker from our Department of Psychology, who led the project and analysed the data, said: “Many people have theories to say that cyclists can make themselves safer if they wear this or that. Our study suggests that, no matter what you wear, it will do nothing to prevent a small minority of people from getting dangerously close when they overtake you.

“This means the solution to stopping cyclists being hurt by overtaking vehicles has to lie outside the cyclist. We can’t make cycling safer by telling cyclists what they should wear. Rather, we should be creating safer spaces for cycling – perhaps by building high-quality separate cycle paths, by encouraging gentler roads with less stop-start traffic, or by making drivers more aware of how it feels to cycle on our roads and the consequences of impatient overtaking.”

This proves one thing I’ve always known: cagers know you’re there, whether cyclist or motorcyclist.  They don’t value your life nor care about your safety.  Their attitude is that anyone not in a 4+ wheel vehicle has no right to be on or cross the road.

If cagers don’t want cyclists on the road, then why aren’t they agreeing to taxes that will build and improve cycling infrastructure? Why aren’t they against closure of lanes and replacement with protected cycling paths?  Instead, they are demanding – and getting more wasteful road space.

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Walls Fall Down: Another day, another earthquake

On Sunday, Taiwan (Yilan, specifically) was hit by three earthquakes moments apart, the first was 6.5, the second was 5.4, and the third was 4.2There was some minor damage and road closures were reported, but thus far only one injury to a hiker no deaths.  That’s what happens when you build to withstand earthquakes.

Reuters posted a report on youtubeSomeone posted video from their home, which looked the same as I felt it.  USGS says it’s only 6.2, but that’s from 10,000km away.  I’m actually a little surprised the effects weren’t worse.  It has been raining incessantly for a week, and waterlogged soil could have easily turned to mudslides.  There was no earthquake when Typhoon Morakot caused massive landslides in 2009.

What surprised people was the sharpness of it (for lack of a better word).  Many quakes here are slow, rolling quakes, and they feel like a plate sliding across a table that’s being pulled left and right.  This one felt like the table was jerked once, and the plate fell to the floor and shattered.  A month ago, I had to replace my refrigerator.  The old one was 150cm tall, the new one is about 90cm.   And the new one almost tipped over.  Good thing I was home.

This was almost the anniversary of the last big quake I felt directly, a 6.4 on Hallowe’en 2013.


Violation Preferred: Why we sometimes need heroes and role models

Lux Interior was born Erick Lee Purkhiser on October 21, 1946, seventy five years ago, and died of aortic dissection (ruptured) on February 4, 2009.  He was a Punk Rock singer and along with guitarist Poison Ivy Rorschach (Kristy Marlana Wallace) were the co-founder of The Cramps.  There weren’t just bandmates, they were married for more than thirty years until his death.

The Cramps described their music as “Psychobilly”.  It was a mix of 1950s Rockabilly with Blues, Punk and a Goth aesthetic.  Both Interior and Rorschach were fans of trash culture.  Their music never change in nearly forty years of recording, and yet they managed to never repeat themselves or become tedious, which is a feat unto itself.  From youtube:

The Cramps’ Greatest Hits

“Let’s Get ****** Up”

“Creature From The Black Leather Lagoon”

“Elvis ******* Christ”

“Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs”

But it’s not just the music that appealed to me.  These are/were people who were unrepentant, unafraid, and unashamed of being openly outrageous, of not caring about social norms, of wearing and doing what they wanted every single day.  They lived their lives the way we all should.  They made Freddie Mercury (another of my heroes) look bashful by comparison.

Ingrid Jenson wrote an item for called “LUX INTERIOR: WHERE ON EARTH DID YOU COME FROM?”  In it she talks about her reactions and feeling to learning of Lux Interior’s life, someone who died years before she was aware of him.  She includes the quote below which I have to admit sums up not just Lux Interior’s life or my other heroes, but my own, my closest friends, and the people I know of who are the most genuine.

“Each one of us, in his timidity, has a limit beyond which he is outraged. It is inevitable that he who by concentrated application has extended this limit for himself, should arouse the resentment of those who have accepted conventions which, since accepted by all, require no initiative of application. And this resentment generally takes the form of meaningless laughter or of criticism, if not persecution. But this apparent violation is preferable to the monstrous habits condoned by etiquette and estheticism.”

–Man Ray, Paris 1934

Better to rule in the heaven you make than serve in hell.  We need heroes to tell us that there are other people just like ourselves, and to encourage us to be who we truly are.

When we’re pre-teen kids, our whole world is home, school, and probably religion.  We’re not “taught societal norms”, they’re inflicted on us.  We’re told, “These are the only options, the only ways to live.  If you don’t fit in, you’re either weird, crazy, immoral, or criminal.  And we’ll do something to you to make you fit.”  Because we have no other experience, we accept it, even when we know it’s wrong.  It becomes a prison and is mentally damaging to those who can’t and don’t.

In our teens, we start experiencing and learning about a larger world, start finding our own likes and dislikes, our preferences in music, literature, culture.  And if you’re different from everyone else, you might get lucky and learn about things that speak to you, hear about people who are just like yourself.  You realize for the first in your life, “I’m not the only one.”  You realize you’re not “crazy”, “immoral”, or “weird”.  What you are is isolated, that there are many more people like yourself, you just don’t happen to live in the same place.

I call this the “one in a thousand” rule.  If your world is only a thousand people and you’re different, you feel isolated and afraid.  But when you realize you’re eight million out of eight billion, it changes your world.  It tells you that you’re normal, and those who say you’re not are the ones who are wrong.  You’re still one in a thousand, but you realize the problem is not you.  The problem is finding others like yourself.

For kids today with the internet, it’s a lot easier to find communities and support, to find others like themselves.  For anyone over 40, the door to the world was pop culture (I was born in 1967).  But both doors can be closed and blocked by your captors and abusers (vis-a-vis, the death of Leelah Alcorn).

Finding others like yourself is vital to your mental health, social ability, and even your survival.  I might not be alive without some of my heroes telling me there were others just like me out there somewhere.  Music, literature, films, athletes, and comics (and Hallowe’en) literally saved my life, and probably the lives of many others.  Listen to Henry Rollins talk about his admiration for The Cramps.

There are a few pics below the fold.

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Do My Eyes Deceive: Or does JD Vance look like Justin Harris?

And given the behaviour of each after an innocent person’s death, it’s not just because of their similar appearances.

For those who don’t remember, Justin Harris is the scumbag who in 2014 intentionally left his son Cooper Harris to die in a car.  As fire and ambulance services fought to save the boy’s life, Harris was seen making social phone calls to women and sending nude photos.

Meanwhile this week, after the accidental shooting death of Halyna Hutchens (a cinematographer for a movie), JD Vance had the gall to say this:

“Dear @jack let Trump back on.  We need Alec Baldwin tweets.”

JD Vance has no problem with Matt Gaetz’s involvement with child rape and sex trafficking, but has time to laugh at the death of someone he doesn’t even know.  That sounds a lot like Justin Harris.

And that is what the republiclowns call “moral superiority”?

Five Year Plan To Fail: Is this Xi’s ever grand scheme?

Xi “Limping” Jinping isn’t just a mass murdering dictator, he’s a control freak.  (Limping, because China is limping from crisis to crisis under his “leadership”. More below the fold.)  He has ambitions of empire, using “soft power” to expand the CCP’s control of other countries.  But more and more he’s turning to hard power.

In August 2020, Xi enacted his “three red lines” policy to reign in the Chinese real estate market’s Ponzi scheme:

  1. Liability to asset ratio of less than 70%
  2. Net gearing ratio (debt v equity) less than 100%
  3. Cash to short term debt ratio of at least 1:1

More projects required greater debt financing, so prices went higher to cover those debts.  But the disparity between loans and revenues kept growing, and the sources of revenue and suckers home buyers was starting to shrink.  A collapse was inevitable.  If the bubble wasn’t slowly deflated, it could collapse the country’s entire economy.

In spring 2021 the rumblings had started, and by August 2021, PRC citizens have stopped buying homes, not even tempted when real estate companies started dropping prices.  One of the real estate industry’s primary source of revenue dried up, leaving them only with bonds to generate revenue.

But now, as we’ve seen in the last month, the companies can’t even pay their bond holders’ interest payments, let alone their debts.  Real estate companies have very little cash on hand and now have three choices: finish building homes, pay off foreign creditors, or pay off domestic creditors.  They claimed they would finish the homes, but instead paid off Chinese creditors and screwed over the little guys, just like wall street would.  Evergrande has started trading stock again (dropping 14% value in one day) but said “No guarantees debts will be paid”.  Who would put money into something that doesn’t promise to pay out?

Foreign banks and investors have stopped putting money into China.  No one will buy worthless bonds, and domestic PRC banks aren’t likely to relend more money.  All the real estate companies can do now is try to sell off assets to pay bond holders.  But even those deals are starting to fall through, as DeutscheWelle reports in the video below.  Why pay full price when you can wait for the fire sale auctions and pay pennies on the dollar?

So what will happen if these companies can’t pay their creditors?  The US attitude has been “too big to fail” and used public money to bail out private corporations. The US does not believe in nationalizing anything, not even to pay back the taxpayers who footed the bill of american socialism.

I suspect Xi’s plan is to seize and nationalize these companies, just like Mao and the CCP stole land in 1961.  Mao stole the land, lying that he would “redistribute it to the farmers” but in reality keeping it for the party while farmers remained sharecroppers.  The real estate companies will weaken to the point that government takeover (seizure and nationalization) is the only way to prevent a complete collapse.  It will allow Xi to exert even greater control over the country and the world’s economy, screwing over home buyers just like Mao did the farmers.

The fly in the ointment is that foreign creditors will still expect payment first.  But when you’re a dictator, you can print as much money as you like.  The question is, will foreign investors swallow that bait or cut ties and quarantine the economic mess to the PRC?

Click the link for the full story and the complete chart (the one below is abbreviated from that on the link).  The PRC real estate companies are rated as red, orange, yellow and green in their relation to the “three red lines”.  But the colours don’t mean much.  Fantasia is listed as “green” yet it was one of the first to default and took its shares off the Hong Kong stock exchange to hide its losses.

Chinese Developers’ Bond Spreads Widen as Focus on Three Red Lines Increases

Another important factor that has come into focus is Beijing’s “three red-lines”. The three red-lines are a set of thresholds on three financial ratios, Liabilities (ex advanced proceeds) to Total Assets, Net Debt to Equity and Cash to Short-Term Debt, directed by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the Ministry of Housing that cap developers’ borrowings. The measures were announced in 2020 and if a company’s three ratios are within the thresholds, its allowable annual increase in debt is 15% in the following year. The three red-lines currently focus primarily on large developers, the likes of Evergrande that breached all the metrics as of its last published numbers. To dig deeper into how the most popular developers are faring on the three red lines, we have listed the three financial ratios (based on last published earnings) for each of them in the table below, with issuers that breach all three red lines at the top and those that are within the thresholds of the three ratios at the bottom.

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Lagrange Points: And shows us where we can put satellites

Scott Manley is a youtuber who produces science videos.  This new one succinctly explains the five Lagrange Points around pairs of celestial bodies without requiring knowledge of upper level mathematics or physics.  The 3D computer models really make the point (pun definitely intended) about how three object systems can be stable. As I’ve seen it written elsewhere, Lagrange Points show that “It wasn’t just Euler and Newton, other people figured out stuff, too!”

My only issue with this video is him mentioning the needs-to-be-renamed space telescope by its inappropriate name.

Anger Shows Up: When their incompetence is shown up

Two examples in one week of power tripping after they tripped on their own feet, of emotional insecurity, incompetence, and lashing out instead of admitting they screwed up.

First: Missouri’s miserable governor

A reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was looking at a state government website, and decided to hit Control U (or used the menu) to view the page source.  This takes no skill other than knowing the hot key exists, and it’s certainly not “hacking”.

When the reporter did this, she/he found that the site had left hundreds of people’s social security numbers and other information exposed to public view.  So the reporter responsibly told the state about it, and the problem was fixed.  After it was fixed, the reporter published the story.

Instead of showing gratitude and admitting to the screwup and taking the blame for it, Parson now wants the reporter charged and prosecuted.  For.  What?  The only thing exposed was the government’s incompetence, not the data of private individuals.

A Missouri newspaper told the state about a security risk. Now it faces prosecution

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is vowing to prosecute the staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the newspaper says it uncovered security vulnerabilities on a state agency website.

The governor is characterizing the paper’s actions as a hacking that the state will investigate. He said it could cost taxpayers $50 million.

“Not only are we going to hold this individual accountable, but we will also be holding accountable all those who aided this individual and the media corporation that employs them,” Parson said at a news conference on Thursday.

“Cost taxpayers $50 million”?  That’s as laughable as the $80 million “estimate” that companies accused Kevin Mitnick of stealing(In reality, Mitnick downloaded a $20 manual without paying.)  The report did not “steal” or expose anything, and didn’t publish the story until after the security hole was fixed.  Ludicrous.  Do I need to remind you that Parson is a republiclown?

Second: New York carkeystone cops

New York’s swinest are regularly in the habit of illegally parking their cars on bicycle lanes.  And unlike private cars which are issued citations for parking illegally, nothing happens when it’s a cop’s car.

A cyclist decided to legally report every illegally parked cop car, over three hundred in total.  Instead of moving the cars and obeying the law, New York’s swinest decided to harass, threaten, intimidate the cyclist into silence.

Because of course violence is the cop response to having their criminal behaviour pointed out, proving once again they believe they are above the law.

BAD COP, BAD COP: NYPD Threatens Tipster for Filing 311 Complaints About Illegal Parking

Members of the NYPD harassed and threatened a cyclist after he reported the cops for illegally parking along several notoriously lawless stretches in Downtown Brooklyn, including on Schermerhorn Street right outside a transit police station house, according to the complainant — and now the matter is under investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The tipster (who asked to remain anonymous for fear of even more retribution) says he started getting calls from members of New York’s Finest after he made dozens of complaints to 311 about officers from the 84th Precinct and Transit Bureau 30 stashing their private cars in the bike lane and on the sidewalk on Schermerhorn Street, and on nearby Smith, Jay, and Hoyt streets — an illegal practice that for years has gone unchecked, endangering cyclists along the vital corridors.

Don’t Make Me Laugh: Bigotry isn’t “comedy”

A thought on Dave Chappelle’s hate speech and propaganda that netflix is fobbing off as “comedy”.  I recently saw this stand up routine by James Acaster, “Too Challenging”.  He may have done this in 2019, but it’s a perfectly apt “up yours” to Dave Chappelle.

I’m no expert on comedy (as can be seen by my attempts to write material for an amateur night stand up performance at a local comedy club).  But if I were to define it, I would say comedy comes in five basic types:

  1. Hit pieces (so-called “edgy comedy”)
  2. Juvenile and puerile
  3. Sketches and skits
  4. Absurdity
  5. The truth, with exaggeration

As you might guess, I’m not a fan of the first two, though I would say there is a difference between them.  “Hit” comedy by Chappelle, Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay and their ilk target people, and the hate they incite gets very tiresome very quickly.  Juvenile and puerile like Sacha Baron Cohen, Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler may or may not be hateful depending on who is doing it or who it is about, but generally speaking it doesn’t appeal to me.

Sketch comedy can vary.  SCTV and the Kids In The Hall ranged from juvenile to absurd, and Saturday Night Live is long past its best.  Those who never saw Almost Live (from Seattle) in the 1980s and 1990s sadly missed out.  On the other hand, anyone who grew up with Wayne and Shuster, Not The Nine O’Clock News, or watched You Can’t Do That On Television knows it can tell a story or make a point.  I liked Monty Python’s absurdity when I was younger, but not so much now especially after some ex-MP members started voicing their opinions on some things.  The Goon Show was the original absurdist series.  Imagine if they were from the TV age and not radio.

To my mind, the comedy that remains funny and lasts is comedy that tells the truth about the human condition, tell universal things that we all experience and do.  It’s shows how ridiculous any of us can be, and laughing at ourselves is rarely mean-spirited or if it is, it’s usually self-depricating.  The joke that is considered the world’s funniest works in every language and every culture, with all ages and groups.

George Carlin had many good moments, though he has a few regrettable pieces.

“Anyone who drives slower than me is an idiot.  Anyone who drives faster than me is a maniac.”  – George Carlin

MacLean and MacLean were a Canadian brother comedy duo.  They were foul mouthed and borderline obscene, but many of their themes were universal.  Listen to some of their classic routines, like “$#i+!”, I’ve Seen Pubic Hair, or their show ending song, “F*** ya”.

Fern Brady is priceless, talking about sexual orientation, Irish men, and abortion.

Dexter Madison‘s schtick was a ridulous exaggeration and parody of male behaviour.  His jokes were full of vicious barbs, but the only target of those barbs was himself, his stage persona.  His comedy was never unkind toward others.

I love Cameron Esposito’s description of how she and her partner will have a kid: “We’ll have to get take out.”

Larry Miller’s “Five Stages Of Drinking” is a comedy classic that never gets old.  Anyone who has ever drunk and partied knows this sketch even before hearing it.  He telegraphs every line and every joke, and you still wait in anticipation to hear it because everything he says is universal, a shared experience.

Thankfully, comedy that tells the truth has become the norm and dominant form over the last twenty plus years: Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Larry Wilmore, John Oliver, and many others.  I recently learnt of Jan Böhmermann’s ZDF Magazin Royale which is also brilliant (even if you’re dependant on auto translated subtitles).

Comedic truth has become so common that some MSNBC presenters have adopted comedic lines and barbs into their reporting: Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, Ali Velshi.  It runs the risk of not being taken seriously, but as long as it doesn’t compromise their reporting of the facts, I have no problem with it.

And to close out, here’s a clip of Lenny Bruce from 1959, talking about the false perception that comedians are liars.  He shows instead how the “news” media lies with just a few newspaper headlines.  Fake news is older than sixty years.

Another War Criminal Escapes

Colin Powell, dead of COVID-19 complications.

I don’t care that Powell “secretly opposed” or “spoke out against” the illegal invasions after the fact.  He went before congress to sell a lie.  He knew it was a lie designed to “justify” and invasion.  There is no forgiveness nor absolution for that.

An honourable man would have said no.  An honourable man would have gone public and said the claims of WMD were a lie.  Powell was not an honourable man, he was a participant in war crimes.



Some might call it puerile, but as I heard said about him in 2001:

Colon Bowel went before congress and talked about WMDs. 

He passed a lot of wind, but he didn’t produce ****.

Dave (ch)Appalls: Anti-Trans bigotry, and racism to boot

As others on FtB have mentioned, netflix plan to broadcast a bigoted, transphobic and homophobic “comedy special” in the name of profit and hate.  Concepts like basic decency and two years of Black Lives Matter have clearly taught them nothing.

Several netflix employees spoke up in protest against airing of the “special”, arguing that hate speech should be falsely labelled as “entertainment”.  The CEO disagrees.

Now according to The Root, netflix have fired the only Black Transgender employee involved in the protest against Chappelle’s appalling “special”, a pregnant man.  Because anti-Trans bigotry wasn’t enough, apparrently.

Netflix Fires Organizer of Planned Trans Employee Walkout Over Dave Chappelle’s Recent Special

Days before a planned walkout of trans employees and allies at Netflix in protest of Dave Chappelle’s latest “comedy” special The Closer, the streaming giant confirmed that it has fired one of the staffers leading the charge.

The Verge reports that the employee is Black and pregnant, and was a leader of Netflix’s trans employee resource group. The employee’s firing comes after Netflix suspended and later reinstated a trans employee for trying to attend a director-level meeting about the special that she and others weren’t invited to.

Netflix and Chappelle have been roundly criticized by trans activists and others over The Closer due to content that GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition have said perpetuates transphobia. Netflix has stuck by the special and its decision to keep it on the platform despite calls to remove it, which is what sparked the impending Oct. 20 walkout.

You really have to wonder what it will take for bigots like those to actually learn.  A severe drop in revenues, probably.



Addendum, from Jezebel:

Hannah Gadsby Tells Netflix Exec Who Used Her As an Example For Inclusivity: ‘F**k You’

Comedian Hannah Gadsby went after Netflix, the co-CEO of Netflix Ted Sarandos, and Dave Chappelle in a recent statement after Sarandos name-dropped her in the streaming service’s latest scandal.

On Thursday, Gadsby posted a statement on Instagram in response to Sarandos’ remarks about how “inclusive” Netflix has been.

“Hey Ted Sarandos! Just a quick note to let you know that I would prefer if you didn’t drag my name into your mess. Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view,” she wrote.