Tag: Photographs

I’ll Never Know What Normal Families Do in the Morning

Monsieur Mustache is the One on the Left

I am giving Nat a ride to school today, and Nat is bringing a sock puppet to school for an audition today.

It’s a mustachioed existentialist French sock puppet. (It’s probably also an absurdist playwright and a chain smoker, but I forgot to ask)

I wonder what a normal families morning is like, because having a chat with an irascible French existentialist sock puppet is probably at least 2 sigma from the mean.

I am not sure if this is a parenting success, or a parenting failure..

Posted via mobile

Nope, No Corruption Here

Charitable Organization, My Ass!

Click through for my pithy architectural critiques

Papers have revealed that the National Rifle Association was considering purchasing a 10,000 square foot mansion for its executive VP Wayne LaPierre.

I do not agree with the NRA’s current mission, but this is not about their lobbying for the firearms industry, it’s about the proper management of a not-for-profit organization.

I incorporated a not-for-profit, and shepherded its application for tax exempt status with the IRS about 30 years ago, so I have more than a passing familiarity with these issues, and this crosses a pretty bright red line.

What’s more, it appears that tey attempted to use kickbacks from a vendor to conceal this.

Here is hoping that the New York Attorney General with be on the organization like white on rice:

The chief executive of the National Rifle Association sought to have the nonprofit organization buy him a luxury mansion last year after a mass shooting at a Florida high school, selecting a French country-style estate in a gated Dallas-area golf club, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.

Wayne LaPierre, the longtime head of the NRA, told associates he was worried about being targeted and needed a more secure place to live after 17 people were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the people said.

LaPierre and his wife, Susan, were intensely involved in the selection of the property, rejecting an upscale high rise in Dallas with numerous security features in favor of a 10,000-square-foot estate with lakefront and golf course views in Westlake, Tex., on the market for about $6 million, according to emails and text messages described to The Washington Post.

Yea, right, “Security considerations.”


The discussions about the estate, which was not ultimately purchased, are under scrutiny by New York investigators. The transaction was slated to be made through a corporate entity that received a $70,000 wire from the NRA in 2018, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The entity was created at ­Wayne LaPierre’s request by a law firm working for Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s longtime ad agency, according to the people.

The origins of the idea to buy the mansion, its proposed purpose and the reason the deal never went through are now being fiercely disputed by the NRA and Ackerman McQueen, which are locked in a bitter legal fight.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Ackerman McQueen said LaPierre had sought the ad firm’s assistance with the real estate transaction, a proposal it said alarmed company officials. “Actions in this regard led to Ackerman McQueen’s loss of faith in Mr. LaPierre’s decision-making,” the firm said.

It appears that this was a bridge too far for Ackerman McQueen, but the basic execution was for the NRA to overpay their ad agency, and then that the agency would kick back personal benefits to LaPierre.

This is thoroughly corrupt an completely illegal.


The New York attorney general’s office is now examining the plan for an NRA-financed mansion as part of its ongoing investigation into the gun lobby’s tax-exempt status, in which it has subpoenaed the group’s financial records, the people said.

Yeah, pretty much.


Angus McQueen, the now-deceased chief executive of the ad firm, had learned about the location of the property and was furious about LaPierre’s claim that he needed the property for security reasons, the people said.

“He said ‘The scales fell from my eyes,’ ” said one person familiar with the discussions. “They were buying a Taj Mahal on a golf course with a social membership.”

In a statement last month, Ackerman McQueen said it decided to stop paying a series of expenses for NRA executives, including LaPierre, in 2018 out of concern they were “suspicious” and their true nature was concealed from the NRA board and members.

No sympathy for Angus McQueen, or Ackerman McQueen. To quote Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Ackerman McQueen was complicit in looting the NRA, because it made them money.

Hopefully, there is a way for both of them to lose.

Tweet of the Day

The article is horrifying but I saw this pic of zuck and wondered why he looked so good, so alive. Figured it was an old photo. Turns out that is the wax effigy of him in Madame Tussaud’s. He is the only person whose wax figure looks less creepy & uncanny than the original person https://t.co/Q4bxPbYjK1

— Mar Hicks (@histoftech) April 11, 2019

It really is remarkable that Madame Tussaud’s is the only organization on the face of the earth that can imbue Mark Zuckerberg with a sense of humanity.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

Scientists have reconstructed an antediluvian creature from fossil, and it looks a lot like something from the mind of HP Lovecraft:

A creature with more than a passing resemblance to HP Lovecraft’s terrifying Chthulu once actually existed, palaeontologists have revealed – although at just three centimetres wide, it was hardly a danger to shipping or buildings.

Not, of course, that there were any human-made structures around when Sollasina cthulhu prowled across the ocean floor some 430 million years ago.

The creature, a very distant ancestor of sea cucumbers and sea slugs, is revealed in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

It was found in fossilised form in the UK county of Hereford. A team of researchers led by Imran Rahman from the University of Oxford then spent months painstakingly grinding it away, taking photographs at every stage, resulting in an accurate 3D computer reconstruction.

It has a face only a mother could love:

The Eye of Sauron?

Separated at Birth

High rez version

Using a sh%$ load of radio telescopes and image processing software, astronomers have released the first images ever of a black hole:

Astronomers announced on Wednesday that at last they had captured an image of the unobservable: a black hole, a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape it.

For years, and for all the mounting scientific evidence, black holes have remained marooned in the imaginations of artists and the algorithms of splashy computer models of the kind used in Christopher Nolan’s outer-space epic “Interstellar.” Now they are more real than ever.

“We have seen what we thought was unseeable,” said Shep Doeleman, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and director of the effort to capture the image, during a Wednesday news conference in Washington, D.C.

The image, of a lopsided ring of light surrounding a dark circle deep in the heart of a galaxy known as Messier 87, some 55 million light-years away from Earth, resembled the Eye of Sauron, a reminder yet again of the implacable power of nature. It is a smoke ring framing a one-way portal to eternity.

To capture the image, astronomers reached across intergalactic space to Messier 87, or M87, a giant galaxy in the constellation Virgo. There, a black hole several billion times more massive than the sun is unleashing a violent jet of energy some 5,000 light-years into space.


To see into the shadows, astronomers needed to be able to tune their radio telescope to shorter wavelengths. And they needed a bigger telescope.

Enter the Event Horizon Telescope, the dream child of Dr. Doeleman. By combining data from radio telescopes as far apart as the South Pole, France, Chile and Hawaii, using a technique called very long baseline interferometry, Dr. Doeleman and his colleagues created a telescope as big as Earth itself, with the power to resolve details as small as an orange on the lunar surface.

In April 2017, the network of eight telescopes, including the South Pole Telescope, synchronized by atomic clocks, stared at the two targets off and on for 10 days.

For two years, the Event Horizon team reduced and collated the results. The data were too voluminous to transmit over the internet, so they were placed on hard disks and flown back to M.I.T.’s Haystack Observatory, in Westford, Mass., and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, in Bonn, Germany. 

Get your astronomy geek on.

Well, Performance Issues, It’s Not Uncommon. One out of Five Daleks………

One thing I won’t ever do again is build a snow dalek. I did that when we lived at our old house as the kids were into Dr Who. I learnt that when snowdaleks start to melt they upset the neighbours #snowman #snowdalek #drwho pic.twitter.com/YrK8vJqAJr

— Oeufelia (@oeufelia) February 1, 2019

Someone made a snow Dalek, but they neglected to consider what would happen when it warmed up.

Toyota Brings Back Tail Fins

I have a 2004 Toyota Prius.

It’s my midlife crisis car, because I am the dullest motherf%$#er on the planet.

It’s not beautiful in the way that a Jaguar E-Type convertable is, but I rather like it’s jelly-bean like appearance:

It’s appearance is clear and unadorned and functional, which I like.

The new Priuses (Prii?) sport wonderful specifications, particularly the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime, but the styling is not to my taste.

I find it busy and distracting.

I was looking at the back, and I had this weird sense of deja vu, and then it hit me: Toyota has put tail fins on their cars.

Specifically, it’s a somewhat less ostentatious version of the tail fins from a 1959 Chevy Belair:

Please tell me that I am not the only one who sees this.

Well, Now We Know What it Takes for Alex Jones Banned from Twitter

Because he just got banned from Twitter.

Twitter is not being particularly forthcoming about the proverbial straw that broke the proverbial camel’s proverbial back, but I think that what got Dorsey to stop protecting him was that, he finally had to meat Jones in meat space:

A peanut gallery of three white supremacists and conspiracy theorists are watching Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testify before Congress Wednesday.

All three have been banned from major social media platforms for violating their rules — and they’re using today’s hearings to confront them, and to try to force members of Congress to stand by them.

Alex Jones, a well-known internet conspiracy theorist, sat in the audience at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to “face his accusers,” referring to Sandberg and Dorsey. Also in the front row at the hearing was internet troll Charles Johnson; Twitter banned him from the site permanently after he threatened to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist. Present on the Hill as well was Laura Loomer, an alt-right activist who alleged that the shootings at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, were staged; she has been suspended from Facebook and Twitter in the past.

That’s Jones on the right, and Dorsey on the left, and, rather inexplicably, a glass-hole* wearing a congressional staffer (see the name tag) and a really tall guy in between them.

So the reason that Alex Jones is gone from Twitter, is not for doxxing the families of victims of mass shootings and forcing them to move, and not for calling for violence against people, it is for coming within about 2 meters of Jack Dorsey, and as a very rich man, Dorsey wants to remain apart from such unpleasantness.

Jack Dorsey is an asshole ……… standing next to a glass-hole.

*Someone out there is still wearing Google Glasses, and they are known as glass-holes.

Bad Day at the Office

An F-22 had a forced landing at NAS Fallon in Nevada.

It appears that an engine flamed out on takeoff:

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor from the 3rd Air Force Wing at Elmendorf Air Force has been involved in an incident at NAS Fallon in western Nevada. The aircraft has been shown in photos posted to social media laying on the runway with the landing gear retracted. The aircraft appears largely intact. No injuries have been reported. BTW, Tyler Rogoway at The War Zone has posted an interesting photo of the Raptor on its belly here.

There has not been an official announcement of the cause of the incident, and an incident like this will be subject to an official investigation that will ultimately determine the official cause.

“Hi, honey, how was work today?”

“Don’t ask!”

I Sent My Wife a Dick Pic the Other Day

My daughter, Natalie, is the stage manger of a production of the off Broadway play, I Love You, You’re Perfect, ……… Now Change.

It’s the, “New 2018 Revised and Updated Book & Score,” and so, unlike the early 1990s version, it has a musical number about the unfortunate habit that some men have of sending the object of their affection pictures of portions of their anatomy.

Sharon* turned to me and made a comment about how she would have given me the boot if I had done this to her when we were dating.

Seeing as how I am an unmitigated ass, I saw this as a challenge, so I sent her a picture of Dick, specifically Tricky Dick, aka Richard Milhous Nixon.

Have I mentioned that Sharon* is a saint? If she weren’t should have murdered me many years ago.

*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.