Monday, January 31, 2011

presenting Prof Wm Donaher

...my professor for Business Associations (a/k/a corporations, though we spent parsecs on LLPs, LLCs, and partnerships generally).

We are reviewing a case by the CA Supreme Court, Justice Roger Traynor is the author.  Minton v Caveney is the case.  Here's Donaher --
Two things you should know about Traynor. One, he likes to quote Traynor. Two, he never misses an opportunity to craft new law, especially in situations where the existing law served just fine.
Now here are a few things to know about Donaher.

He used to do his entire 1-hour lecture from memory, walking back and forth.

He always wore crisp 3-piece suits, always looked like he was prepared to handle any legal/business wrongdoing at an IBM board meeting.

He believed that corporations are man's highest achievement, and have freed us from manual labor, and put food on our tables, roofs over our heads, clothes on our bodies.

He thought that nobody should be allowed to meddle in the corporation's affairs except the corporation's employees, officers and directors. He didn't like shareholder lawsuits one bit. He saw shareholders as economic stakeholders, not democratic participants.

And, as indicated from the quote above, he despised Roger Traynor's jurisprudence.

At the time I was taking the class, I was impressed by Donaher's memorization skills, but hardly ever agreed with his perspective.  He wasn't ever wrong about the status of the law -- the whats, wheres and whens were solid ground.  But the whys and hows, that's where Donaher frustrated me.

When it came time to discuss piercing the corporate veil (PCV)FN, Donaher was emphatic about how good
it is that it's nearly impossible to succeed in a PCV action.  He never came out directly and said that corporations deserve tyrannical power over the people their business operations affect, but that's how he saw things.

To be fair, Donaher's perspective wasn't in the minority, and actually was representative of the majority of professors and legal theorists about the operation and value of the corporate form.

These are the values conveyed to the mushminded sponge-like brain of a law student who wants to do well and get ahead. 

Is it any wonder that corporations dominate American society in so many ways?

__________________________

FN -- Not to be confused with positive crankcase ventilation.

Mike Flugennock on Barrio Bamafukka's 2011 State of the Union

Marxism -- better equipped to criticize & describe things, than to change them?

Thanks to BDR I discovered Benjamin Kunkel's review of a couple of David Harvey's books, in which Kunkel seeks to assess Marxism and capitalism's interplay.  His closing remark:
At the moment Marxism seems better prepared to interpret the world than to change it. But the first achievement is at least due wider recognition, which with the next crisis, or subsequent spasm of the present one, it may begin to receive.
Now I ask you, regardless of whether it's Marxism we're talking about, what the fuck does "at the moment" have to do with anything, especially given Kunkel's recognition that capitalism creates constant crises:
..., which with the next crisis, or subsequent spasm of the present one,...
Kunkel's admitting Capitalism is a crisis-factory, which means he admits it's inherently unstable. Why would it matter when we seek to change capitalism, then?  Why would the present status of  "at the moment" incapacitate any criticism of capitalism or any ability to change capitalism?

Of course perhaps Kunkel's limiting himself to how David Harvey does things, and is saying that maybe someone could criticize and graph changes for capitalism, but it's not David Harvey.

I would agree that Marxism isn't what's going to change capitalism, because Marxists --as I have encountered them, at least-- are like Jesus's beloved Pharisees, more interested in doing whatever they like as long as they can craft some Process of Permission from their arcane framework of laws & rules.  The Marxists I have encountered are so busy admiring that shitbird purple prose of Glossy Karl, and so busy making sure that you have the Secret Decoder Ring and the ultra-furtive Club Handshake routine, that you know the Passwords for the Clubhouse, that they can't be bothered to bring Marxism to anyone but The Chosen.

One "Marxist" told me that when I criticized him and his gang thusly, I was trying to be Antonio Gramsci and argue for Organic Intellectualism.  Of course I didn't know who the fuck Gramsci was, and I told him I couldn't possibly ape someone I didn't know of, hadn't read, never heard anything about.

I've uttered gripes about the "Marxists" many times before.  I don't like their Dictatorial urges, even if the Dictator is "the Proletariat."  Dictators aren't benevolent, no matter how bare their cupboard.  And besides, in America, the "Proletariat" don't have bare cupboards and are usually well-heeled -- they just have bigger credit card debts.  They aren't noble, and they aren't anyone I want running my life's social framework.

What's that you said?  That there are truly poor people with bare cupboards, no TV, no health care, and no credit card debt-financed middle class "lifestyle"?

Yes, there are.  I agree with you.

And I've never seen a "Marxist" reach out to those people.  Most of the "Marxists" I have encountered seem to fancy themselves akin to high clerics of the Roman Catholic Church, the type who live their lives contained within The Vatican, but who profess to be concerned with the Church's mission in expanding and caring for its parishioners.  Their chief mission is to protect The Vatican and The Church, though they'd pretend that they're interested in the little people.

You can't communicate with the little people when you talk like Karl Marx wrote.  And so here we have the flaw of Marxism:  that it's about worshiping Karl Marx, and not about cracking the foundations of capitalism.

Do I agree with Kunkel?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

it really is the Reagan/Thatcher era all over again

Up in Alberta, Sunshine Village is one of the ski areas at Banff.  Recently, the Ski Patrol walked out in strike fashion to protest the firing of Patrol personnel.

Essentially the story runs like this:  Sunshine Village (SV) is owned by the Scurfield family, apparently.  And recently, Scurfield family scion Taylor Scurfield was found with friends ducking the CLOSED ropes and the patroller who caught the crew escorted them to the base area.

Then, the Scurfield family had the patroller fired.

Then Taylor Scurfield sent some form of electronic message -- email or text -- to the patroller who caught and escorted him:
"I hope you cant find a job, and rot in the lowest depths of hell. Your dismissal was a blessing for the company, and your inevitable failure at life and subsequent death will be a godsend to the world, for you will never, have never, and are incapable of ever accomplishing anything worth note in this life or the next."
and some quotes from those who heard Taylor Scurfield commenting on the patroller's quasi-arrest etc.
“I don't believe skiing into down then when yelled at hiking back up closed terrain is at all wrong.”

“I have a responsibility to not be intimidated and bullied by low life losers who abuse what little power is granted to them as ski patrollers.”

“dont arrest the owners son and threaten him”

“I dont think i can endanger others, the only people i was endangering was myself and my friends.”
There's more in an interesting thread at TGR.com.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

if I could get out of this beanbag chair, I'd...

...be the only American to succeed in breaking the invisible wall of apathy-fear-alienation-frustration, and I'd be a little more like the folks in Egypt:



how ideas are shaped

When asked how they know what they know, people wouldn't likely confess to the scope of their knowledge that is unfounded... assuming they're aware of that scope, or its relative proportion, within their overall store-room of knowledge.

Just the other day I heard someone say, in full honesty, that once kids hit puberty they have to watch themselves closely in the public restrooms at school, or in other public settings. The reason? "Girls can get pregnant sitting on toilet seats."

I shit you not.

I won't besmirch this person further by saying anything more about him/her, other than that I know her/him well enough to know when he/she is being serious. And this was one of those cases.

Of course the origin of that folk fable regarding such pregancies is a girl who couldn't bear to tell the truth to whatever parental or other teachers or authorities she had in her life. She couldn't admit to fucking a boy, or man, or whatever she may have said -- chappy, bloke, dude, old man. So she said "well I guess I sat on a toilet seat after someone came all over it." And somehow, somewhere, someone believed it enough to repeat it in sincerity, lending credence to the idea. Was it her gynecologist? Doubtful. Parent? Likely. Younger sibling? Even likelier.

The same shit happens with newspapers, news magazines, opinion journals, blogs, and other outlets of news, ideas, or opinion. Check this out from the front page of the Telegraph UK's website:
Obama fights back from half-time slump

Re-election prospects brighten as voters sense President's learnt from errors,
writes Alex Spillius.
Prospects brighten?

By how much?

From whose perspective?

What prospects? Overall re-election prospects? Particular states or regions?

And voters sense President's learnt from errors?

Which voters?

What errors?

How do these unidentified voters "sense" that Obama has "learnt" from the unidentified "errors"?

Of course, Alex Spillius doesn't tell us.  He's implying a whole lot, but not supporting any of it.  Witness:
Even his critics, who accused him of clinging to a liberal agenda while ignoring the nation's anxiety about jobs and spending, admit that he seems to be appreciating the mistakes of his first two years, learning the art of compromise and acting as a president, not the head of a party.
Notice there is no attribution other than to "his critics" and no particulars in the criticisms.

Mr Spillius is telling his reader(s) that Americans have changed their minds on Obama and are now behind him completely -- even his "critics."

Bet that sort of bullshit buys one a lot of takeaway curry and fish & chips.

Or, given Mr Spillius's location in Manitowoc WI, probably a whole lot of deep-fried Sputnik-shaped cheese chunks.

as long as they don't ape Chinatown...

...this should be a good game. The reviewer's writing skills aren't as impressive as the game description, however.
The woman I’m speaking to is lying. I don’t need to listen to what she’s saying; I can tell from her body language that she is unnerved by my questions. Her body is slightly turned away from me, her arms are folded and she is nervously chewing her bottom lip. Most telling, however, is the look in her eyes and the way that she refuses to make eye contact.
Dear Mr Cowen, despite your time spent watching televised fiction depicting miraculous bullshit-detection and body-posture-reading by Dr Cal Lightman, the only thing you can tell from her "body language" is that she prefers the posture she's using, at the time she's using it. She could be bored by you. She could be completely apathetic about whatever you want to discuss. She could prefer that you leave her alone. None of these things would have to be about you, as you. They would be reflections of wanting to not be bothered.

So please don't pretend you're a master of human psychology thanks to a few TV shows. Those shows are fiction, as are the constructs suggesting people like Dr Cal Lightman are anything but clever and well-paid frauds.

Nonetheless, your description of the gameplay and setting is very workmanlike.
The woman I’m referring to, however, isn’t real. She’s a computer generated representation of an actress playing a character in an upcoming video game called L A Noire. The technology being used to display her face captures every detail; every line and every facial tick. Not only is it an incredible piece of work, it has an immersive effect on the player. In no time at all, I’ve begun to think of this collection of pixels as a living, breathing person.

According to the game’s developers that’s exactly how I’m meant to feel. Developed by Rockstar – the creators of the Grand Theft Auto series – in collaboration with Team Bondi, L A Noire is a crime thriller set in 1940s Los Angeles. According to its head of development, Brendan McNamara, getting players to connect emotionally with the game’s characters will be key to its success.
I'm just hoping that the game doesn't require you to think you're a "profiler" or "reader", because that stuff is bullshit, and video games are real, dammit!

where's Arte Johnson?

If you're old enough to remember Rowan & Martin, you probably remember this character in his repeating skits:


What did he frequently say as his tagline, do you remember?  I do.  I was reminded of it just 5 minutes ago while looking up something on the decidedly non-scholarly Wikipedia.

Modern times require one to amass a lot of information, process that information, sort that information, and use that information in connection with other information, all in order to make sense of the world. 

I believe a lot of people don't even bother, yield completely to the complexity, and turn on Dancing with the Stars... or Hell's Kitchen... or The Apprentice.

Or ESPN.

Not me.  Instead, I go looking for new synchronicities!

Witness (from Wikipedia):
Mubarak (Arabic: مبارك‎, Mubārak) is an Arabic given name, which has the meaning "blessed one". A variant form is Barak or Barack (Arabic: بارك‎, Bārak), not to be confused with the unrelated Hebrew name Baraq; also anglicized as "Barak" or "Barack"). Mubarak and Barack are thus the Arabic equivalent in meaning of the Latinate "Benedict" (from Latin Benedictus "blessed").
Etymologically, the name is from the root brk, meaning "knee", and verbally "to prostrate oneself", and hence "to receive blessing". The feminine noun barakah (بركة) means "blessing". In Islam, and specifically within the Sufi tradition, it has a meaning similar to "charisma". The Hebrew cognate is berakhah.
The Biblical name Baruch is the Hebrew cognate; see Book of Baruch for an instance of the name.
Now that's a regular treasure-trove of links, connections and hidden meanings!

Friday, January 28, 2011

powerful men made of dust shaped by divine hands?

Over at Justin's I left the following remark as a comment to his excellent post:
We build golems that turn on us, so that we may then be forced to attack those golems for national or global security reasons.
This reference to golems was triggered, I think, by my recent review of the Wikipedia entry on golems. I read that entry maybe 2 years ago after playing Dragon Age: Origins to the point where I had unlocked the golem character in The Stone Prisoner.

When I read Justin's post I began thinking of the ideas contained here:
Etymology

The word golem is used in the Bible to refer to an embryonic or incomplete substance. Psalm 139:16 uses the word גלמי, meaning my unshaped form, which then passed into Yiddish as goylem.[2] The Mishnah uses the term for an uncultivated person: "Seven characteristics are in an uncultivated person, and seven in a learned one", Pirkei Avos 5:9 in the Hebrew text (English translations vary). Similarly, golems are often used today as a metaphor for brainless lunks or entities who serve man under controlled conditions, but are hostile to him in others. Similarly, it is a Yiddish slang insult for someone who is clumsy or slow.
as well as what's contained here:
Hubris theme

The existence of a golem is sometimes a mixed blessing. Golems are not intelligent, and if commanded to perform a task, they will perform the instructions literally. In many depictions golems are inherently perfectly obedient. In its earliest known modern form, one story has Rabbi Eliyahu of Chełm creating a golem that became enormous and uncooperative. In one version of this story, the rabbi had to resort to trickery to deactivate it, whereupon it crumbled upon its creator and crushed him.
It seems to me the golem is a good shorthand for the role played by people such as Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, Pervez Musharraf on the global scale... but also people such as Sarah Palin on the domestic national scale.

And in a grand irony, we might say Israel is the USA's and UK's golem.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Star of David, thrown by assassins in Mubarak's defense

Over at Reality Zone is a new post regarding Israel's view on what's happening in Egypt after Hosni moves on toward communion with Anubis.

What caught my eye is RZ's title:
Wishful Thinking? Israel Predicts Egypt Regime Will Survive
...which my mind automatically ran through a spin-removal filter, yielding:
Israel Predicts Promises Egypt Regime Will Survive
I say that not as a jab at RZ -- not in the least. I mean it more as a reflection of what Israel's public posture really is communicating.

Meanwhile, Hosni moves on:

I'll step up to that plate. I'm briefed for this one.

Dr Strauss's site contained a recent update with the below video:



What I wonder about is this: why are they saying the only interpretation of Palin's statement is that Sputnik was the only cause of the USSR's collapse?  Why are they saying this "gaffe" closes the door on Palin's 2012 POTUS run?

Palin's correct in suggesting that a space race helped topple the USSR. The USSR toppled because of extravagant spending on a grandiose militaristic totalitarian state. A big part of the USSR's external signaling to the world -- meaning, the USA primarily-- of the Soviet Union's military prowess was to engage in a space race.

For those of you who tend to miss the obvious in life, the "space race" of the post WW2 era was all about continuing to project military prowess even after the final WW2 shots were fired. A space program includes development of very powerful rocket boosters, which can be used not only to send humans, but also explosive payloads.

You know, the type dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

You can spend a bunch of time reading "historians" on the USSR's collapse, or you can read a much more useful assessment that will help you understand the USA's ongoing collapse by reading Dmitry Orlov's writings. 

The Reagan Revolution gang said that our post-Vietnam defense spending caused the USSR to topple.  I think they're confusing correlation with causation.  There's no evidence that the USSR's internal corruptions were caused by the USA's spending. 

Of course, you can't tell that to a Reaganite, nor to a CIA spook, nor to a State Department Foreign Service employee.  As far as they're concerned, it was Reagan's noble pursuit of Global Domination that caused the collapse of the USSR.

Not corruption, cronyist spending, or a failure to provide meaningful self-supporting opportunities (i.e. "jobs") that were durable for the foreseeable future.

Not the urge to continue feudalism.

Not the marriage of business and state.

Huh?

milord, I second the gentleman's assertion

Merely replace the "UK" with "USA" and you have a good summary of the status quo:
The anti-capitalist ‘struggle’ in the UK has, in the last ten years, largely produced nothing worthwhile aside from myriad activist quangoes and some nice careers. If we need to fill any holes in our political identities, let’s fill them with curiosity. No sooner does authentic fury explode in the streets, then activist initiatives spring up seeking to manage it, to democratise it, to control it: the beauty of the unknown is at once crushed into the machinery of the leftist bureaucrats. Rolling out the decades failing interminable script, – action medics, people’s kitchens, workshops, email lists, ad nauseam – and calling upon the controllables – climate camp, social activist groups, federations, reformist single-issue campaigns; all the tranquilising themes – so that the social managers can attempt to make it palatable and compliant to their careerist manipulations, as frightened of the uncontrollable as the state.

In the last five years, very few of the ‘conscious political’ class – the activists – have succeeded in getting out of a kettle nor finding their projects developing into one of attack. Because – as the young people and the angry know – to get out of a kettle requires a project of chaos and attack. And that is precisely what the activist cannot and will not engage in, beyond the symbolic.

Why? Because the activist project is not about rebellion nor about chaos. It is primarily a project of reigning in, of taming the unruly desire to break out of all constraints, to specialise it, professionalise it and rationalise it.

The activist project is the maintenance of a self-aggrandising, elitist and fictitious movement. It is a policed theatre of diversion and deference organised by social managers and leftist incompetents. It is an easily infiltrated and repressed illusion full of substitute activities for the well-meaning to waste their time with. How useful for the State to have open umbrella organisations of activism which can pressure people into certain types of conforming and exploitable democratic behaviour, all under the double-speak banner of ‘inclusivity’, ‘consensus’ and ‘diversity of tactics’. Activism is ‘political’ thought and ‘political’ engagement as an impediment to real struggle.
source:  325, For Riotous Assemblies not Reasonable Dissent (UK)

In other words: "activism" is now a career niche devoid of connection to any of the original impetus motivating one to take action. It is another thing made superficial, to render another sector of process, in order to judge the pace and practice of those who undertake to join in the process, and thereby cramp and fetter any impulse to activate one's self to improve one's living situation or one's role in relation to government.

It is the realm of the gatekeeper, the home of then limited hangout, the safe harbor for spin doctors.

________________________________


related:  Amber Milgram of Progressive Reports Now interviews Tanglefoot Wickham IV of The Two-Fingered Roger.

impatience

In every thing I've ever done moderately well (or, by chance, even better), I have done so after steady work focused on the activity or thing in question, building from fundamentals.

Spelling is a thing for which I have some genetic gift, but even that subject required me to sometimes pay attention to the jigsaw of rules surrounding spelling certain words.  I frequently used to insert an extra "s" in the word license, like this ---> liscense.  Somehow it just made more sense to me than the one-s version.  But I got it wrong perhaps twice in school work, and that made me pay attention.  I stopped adding the extra "s" and accepted my wrongness in assuming it belonged there.

When I was in law school I had classmates who were always trying to find shortcuts to the workload.  They would skip reading cases and would instead read synopses.  They would skip synopses and just ask other students what a case meant/held/contained.  They would ask the professor for bright-line rules in a land of chiaroscuro.

Some 5-7 years after graduation I'd encounter such lawyers, stumbling over their papers and words while arguing in front of a judge.  They'd be on a completely different rhetorical path from the judge, and generally unaware of it.  They were, simply put, winging it.

And crashing.

The empathetic side of me would watch these episodes and cringe.  The prideful side of me would watch these events and feel satisfied.

I was always well-prepared.  It's in my nature to have assessed things from every conceivable angle and to imagine every possible angle.  Given the makeup of my noggin's processors, I actually enjoy that sort of puzzling analysis.

But a big part of the reason why I enjoy it is because I have done it for long enough, and have enough practice at it, to be reasonably skilled at it.

I approached every sport in my youth from the same perspective.  I always practiced independent of whatever team practices may have existed.  I enjoy taking raw skills and refining them, improving them, making movements more efficient, more stable.  Here's why:  when you get to a certain level of skill, you enter the realm where you are truly playing, because all the fundamentals of the activity or thing are under your belt.  You aren't making rookie mistakes, you're not even making the rarer miscues of the enthusiast.


Ingemar Stenmark

Alberto Tomba

Hermann Maier

Lindsey VonnFN

Ski racers are a good example of what I'm describing. If you are a skier and know any adult skiers who have skied their whole lives and spent a youth in a ski racing program, you will know people who developed a very fundamentally disciplined way of skiing, a way that is very balanced, stable and precise. Once you learn how to ski with such precision, you can play in ways well beyond the imagination of the self-taught or mildly schooled Average Skier.

You become an offensive skier, rather than a defensive one. As the great ski instructor/coach Bob Barnes once said to me and about 25 others at a ski camp in 2004, you have a "go there!" mentality -- you aren't fighting against going too fast, you aren't just afraid of things in your path.  You are actively choosing where you go, you aren't defending against anything.  When asked how to achieve this perspective, Bob said "pick a slow line and ski it fast."

When Bob said that to us, I understood what he was talking about, and could ski like that on certain pitches, but there were conditions that would make me ski defensively:  super steep stuff, deep/big mogul fields, and really irregular snow.  I grew up skiing mostly groomed man-made snow, and had developed a way of skiing that focused on two things:  GS turns on the groomers, and still trying to figure out moguls.

************************

When I moved here in summer 1998, I hadn't skied in ten years.  And during the eight previous years, I'd skied only 3 times.  Essentially I hadn't skied in any meaningful way for almost 20 years.  Equipment had changed pretty radically in the meantime.  Tactics and technique had to change to accommodate the newer designs of skis, which used an exaggerated sidecut.  The bigger sidecut meant that the newer ski designs wanted to be skied more like ice skates, from the middle, centered over your feet.  A big revolution in ski instruction was happening, triggered by this new type of ski.  I read three or four books covering the subject and tried to help myself adjust to the new equipment.  I skied about 5 days and decided I needed some external help.  I took a private lesson at Big Mountain and for the hour, the instructor kept telling me to angulate more with my knees.  But as far as I could tell I was at the end of my functional angulation most of the time.

The lesson was a flop.

I got onto the Toobz and started looking for ski discussions.  I found some and started complaining about how frustrated I was with the lesson I'd recently taken.  I also started skiing more regularly at a ski hill 90 miles south of me, as one of my friends from NJ had moved out here a year after me and was working on the ski patrol down there.  As a result, I got introduced to a great ski coach named Jim Weiss, a cattle rancher in SW Montana.

Jim got paired up with me for a chairlift ride while I was out making turns with my friend on the ski patrol.  As soon as our chair got us into the air, Jim said to me "how much did you pay for those skis, if you don't mind me asking?"  I don't mind such Qs so I gave him the response.  He said, "well, you get about 1/3 the value when you ski them the way you do.  Would you like to know how to get more out of those skis?"

"Yep.  Sure would.  What do I need to do?"

"You just have to ski with me and listen to what I have to say, and work on whatever I give you to work on.  When I ski with you next time, I want to see some evidence that you've been working on what I gave you.  That's all."

"That's all?"

"That's all."

I agreed, of course.  I'd never seen anyone ski as smoothly, as fast, or as efficiently as Jim.  He was never out of breath.  We'd get to the bottom of a run and he'd say, "why are you breathing so hard?"

****************************

Later that same day one of the other patrollers was sharing a chair with me and he said, "you know, Jim only works with a small number of skiers.  It's a pretty big privilege to have him ask you if you'd like to work with him."  So I asked what Jim's background was.  "You should ask him yourself, but he's done it all."

Jim grew up in eastern OR on a ranch, and was a ski racer as a kid.  As a young adult he got into ski instruction and race coaching.  Along the way between then and when I met him in 2001, he'd been a coach of the men's US Ski Team, an examiner for the PSIA, a D-Team member for the PSIA, the lead examiner for the PSIA.

To put that in more understandable terms for the non-skier, that's like having 5 degrees from Ivies or their equivalent, plus experience running a large business, plus experience leading a state or federal government.  A meritocrat would probably piss himself if he were a skier and got to meet Jim Weiss.

Jim's approach to ski instruction was to tell you a small thing and work with you until you understood its importance to your skiing.  Most valuable of all was his emphasis on feeling the skis with your feet, to have what he called "a conversation with the skis."

When it came to making postural or movement changes, Jim would often relate things to other sports I'd done.  He could relate movement on a motocross bike, or on a mountain bike, or on a road bike, to movement on skis.  And usually he'd do it with some enjoyable story.

I skied fairly regularly with Jim on weekends in 2002 and 2003.  My repayment was to help him brand calves one spring weekend day.


_______________________________

FN - Comparing these 4 photos gives some indication of how equipment and technique changed during the 20 years I didn't really ski.  When I stopped skiing regularly, Stenmark was the best technical skier, skis were long and narrow with very mild sidecut, and the skier used the tails of the skis much more than the shovels.  Skiers tried to keep their shovels engaged, but very few were engaging the ski powerfully high up toward the ski's shovel.  Technique involved unweighting moves to disengage the edges and move the skis onto the new sets of edges.  In order to get maximum energy from the skis decambering in a turn, good skiers and racers would often ski one-footed, putting all their weight onto the downhill ski.  Then look at Tomba, he has much more shovel engaged and the skis are slightly wider.  Of course the Tomba picture is GS and the Stenmark picture is slalom, so that partly explains Stenmark's tail-heavy bias, but I'd suggest that slalom is where the technique changes have been more radical. 

The bottom two pictures are GS and, possibly in Vonn's case, DH photos.  Maier's GS skis look much more like modern skis and he's using almost the entire ski.  Vonn's using all of her ski's running length, and she's using both skis.  Also notice how aggressively forward in attitude, but centered in position, is her posture on the skis.  Lindsey Vonn is a training beast.  I've watched videos of her pulling a weight sled in the gym.  She's a monster.  No wonder she's such an amazing skier.

...to be continued

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

they're like the crew in Fantastic Voyage, minus Raquel Welch

update: added links to bills, but still haven't read the bills yet.


Rep. Ron Paul and his son Sen. Rand Paul have introduced legislation in their respective houses, presumably to audit the Federal Reserve since the news story I read referenced them under the catchphrase "Audit the Fed."

I haven't read the bills yet, so I can't say whether that's what they'd actually achieve if adopted in a substantively similar form.

Here's the bill numbers, according to BusinessWire.

H.R. 459 at THOMAS and at GovTrack

S. 202 at THOMAS and at GovTrack


You can follow Papa Paul's "Daily Paul" on the subject here.

whiter than a Klan rally

...that's what describes this winter.  Click on pics for upsizing.

My favorite part of the mountain, Chutes & Meadows at top center, Angle Face (a/k/a Angel Face) is the logged-out run in the center (the one that doglegs), and the Traverse runs off leftward.  Chicken Chute (a/k/a Chickenshit) is the logged-out space in the middle of the traverse.  Grizzly is the foreground whiteness.

 Looking at the first photo for reference, this is looking straight down the fall line just to the left of the Chutes & Meadows area, about 100 yds downslope from the ridgeline.

 Same place, looking NE.


Same place, looking straight up the fall line.

Those pics above are from New Year's Day, we had a rare bluebird day with good new snow and cold, dry temps.  Most of the time our winter days are grey, even when it's not snowing-sleeting-raining.  Blue skies account for maybe 5 days a winter.

These are from two days ago in my yard, we had some warm days thawing lots of snow, leaving a ton of humidity in the air.  It got below zero overnight and some wild frost crystallizing happened.




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

re-branding


Hay yall ahm Jimmeh Karval, how yoo dooooin?  Thass reeeel naaaaahhhsssssss.  Lemme tell yall bout summin.

See thing is them peeplez owt theyah, theyz stoopid.  Reeeeeeeeeeeel reeel stoopid.

Theyz all pissed off, hootin en holleran ah sweyah, lahk buncha monkeys (giddit?  monkeeeeez, Obama, the Neeee-groes, AHMAFUNNEHMAYUHN).

Enn... all wee neeeda doo is re-brand them Donkeys, see.  So's I bringed us a new ah-jeeyah.


The Transcendent Bipartisan Biracial Post-Bigotry Post-Redneck Transubstantiation of the Willing and Sacred... the Democrats.

Monday, January 24, 2011

still done dirt cheap

After exhausting the main quest line for my Dunmer self in Morrowind I spent some time in Oblivion during my Toobz vacation. The Oblivion character is still a Dunmer but this time is Assassin class, not Spellsword. I prefer using the bow & arrow, stealth and the dagger, and a variety of lighter swords.FN Magic is boring, but I can see how others may like it.

It reminds me of the difference between playing FIFA 2005-2008 and the Winning Eleven franchises of the same era. If you want micromanagement control over the play, Winning Eleven is your game. I'd rather not have to memorize a trillion combinations of button or keyboard strikes. That shit bores me. So I prefer FIFA and I prefer not playing Elder Scrolls as a mage character.

Besides, I can't really respect the mages. The tasks each town guild gave me for earning a recommendation to the mages' College? Strong-arm! Nothing magical required! Then once I earned my entry to the College I quickly shot up to Arch-Mage. How, you ask? Was I a quick study in magic? Did I learn 17-spell winning combos for battles? Did I become a master soul-trapper and weapon enchanter?

No. I killed people. And stole things.

In exchange for which, Arch-Mage Hannibal Traven converted his own life to a soul gem, which I used to slay the King of Worms -- the incalculably evil Mannimarco!  Traven's virtuous (or stupid, considering my considerable wet-work abilities rendered The Worm King worm fodder regardless) soul-conversion suicide made me the Arch-Mage.

Arch-Magister of Death-Dealing, more like it.

I wonder if I can get a job working for Erik Prince.

______________________________

FN - Main weapon is an Ebony bow using Elven arrows.  The bow is enchanted with a Sigil Stone that drains the target's agility.  Secondary weapon is a Daedric shortsword, which has a high weapon damage level (16) that exceeds almost every long sword -- only the Daedric longsword wreaks more damage, but it weighs about 2.5x what the shortsword weighs.  I use either glass armor or the ubertech Dark Brotherhood armor, which weighs almost nothing but damages more easily.  During the quest line ending in Arch-Mage I used some magic staffs but still did most of my damage with the bow, or the Daedric shortsword.  Poison on the arrows is the trick for the toughest adversaries.  As soon as you let the poisoned arrow fly, reload another and send it flying.  The second arrow will prevent a quick reply from your target.  But if your stealth skills are high enough you can walk right around almost anything, if you're smart about when they're looking or smelling or whatever in your direction... which means you can kill them with a sinister up-close death strike, giving you the chance to remind them with a few well-chosen words just who is the hunter and who the prey.  Or whom.  Or whatever.

le carre suggested I come in from the cold

...and so I have done it.

Back on them Toobz again. Impetus: brother suggests I get into computer programming as a way to make filthy lucre in this bizarre vaporware economy.

Yell at me, scream at me, scold me... but don't congratulate me. I have no clue whether I can handle programming. It may be a good idea or it may be torture. We'll see.

Monday, January 3, 2011

ahoy!

Alive, but fiscally dead. Cannot afford internet these days, expecting it to continue to March 2011 at the least. Possible surprise reinvigoration on the horizon, but no promises.

Meanwhile: I ski, and I write.