mytopleft

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bulgaria, come on down!

Eastern Europe continues to check in, and now we have a first-time visitor from Bulgaria:
officially the Republic of Bulgaria . . . is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria is Europe's 14th-largest country.
Bulgaria used to be a part of the Warsaw Pact as a client state of the Soviet Union. I can't find a link for this -- I am too lazy to look very hard -- but my understanding is that the Bulgarian versian of the Soviet KGB was more than happy to do the really nasty stuff for them, keeping the KGB's hands sort of clean.

The capital is Sofia, and most of the population of 7.4 million is urban. But Bulgaria has a nice Black Sea coast, though, and you should go:


 See? Purdy. So let's give Bulgaria a big Eff You welcome.


And I sigh

It is interesting to me that today, the most popular blog post is this one, which directs readers to this site, which is one of my favorites and no longer is active. I love this guy, and I actually am still in contact with him. We kind of struck up an I-don't-know-you-but-I-like-you friendship after I stumbled upon his blog. He quit doing it because he felt he no longer had anything to say. As all of you know, that has not stopped me, and I think he was wrong, but that is his decision. As it is, I miss the photos and commentary he used to post. I have high hopes that he might someday contribute to Eff You in some way, but that remains to be seen. He is busy living his life. Makes me wonder what the hell I am doing, other than using the word "fuck" more than any non-porn site on the internet. At least I hope I am.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day food porn?

Trying to decide whether I should make something food-porn-worthy for Labor Day. Usually just go with dogs, burgers, brats, that kind of thing. Doing ribs this year, as well, but that's been covered. I'll have to give it some thought. Suggestions welcome.

Bad sign for the swordfish

Lots of new bodies were added today. We were told yesterday, in response to questions about when we could expect to be fired, that the original timeline was late fall (December? late November? who knows?), but that the people were being added because the timeline was now much shorter. The law firm is still keeping the agency in the dark, so it could be a week, two weeks or sometime in October. Someone knows, but they aren't telling us. Obviously, this is not good news for the swordfish.

On a related note, a bunch of people got added to the project today and promptly tried to fuck things up. Some of the new folks were seated in our room, and some were seated elsewhere. Two guys came in with one of the agency's project managers to scout out seats, looked around and asked if there was another room they could look at.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. As they were walking out, I said, "They won't have mints on the pillow, either."

And I'm pretty sure they could still hear me when I said, "We're not auditioning. Don't come back."

They didn't come back, and some folks in the room who knew them thanked me. Being anti-social, at least among temps, can have its advantages.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Readers send in the strangest stuff

I get stuff from readers sometimes that they think would be funny. They're usually right, but sometimes it takes me a while to get to it. In this case, a reader sent me a story from Wales that appeared on the website LockerDome.com in which a Welsh chicken joint apparently took its advertising to a whole new level. The site linked to WalesOnline for the story but, alas, did not provide a specific link for that particular article, leaving us with just the LockerDome summary:
Food Company defends its controversial new logo after customers complain about its phallic and unusual design reports Walesonline.co.uk
The owner of the Dirty Bird Brand has stated that the logo was just a unique way to change the "B" and the "D" look like a small rooster. We have a "hard" time believing that.
Photo
The food company has also started using posters that state " Touch My Thigh" and "Touch My Breasts". Great wordplay if you ask me. Although, Dirty Bird owner Neil Young has backed his statements that these were not meant to be obscene.
OK, I'm with LockerDome. Maybe Dirty Bird isn't trying to be obscene, but that is just semantics -- those guys sure as hell know what they're doing and are trying to be as close to the edge of obscene as they can get. Doubt it? Check out another one of their advertisements:


Yeah, just another fried chicken place, trying to make it in a competitive market. Fucking hilarious.

This looks more like "cute" than "apocalyptic" to me

Dogs and cats famously don't get along. Except, of course, when they do. The kit-tays, who have no problem with climbing up human legs, walking all over us and sinking their claws deep into our flesh when they jump up on us, have been very respectful of Jeb the Wonderdog. They don't walk on him, climb on him or sink their claws on him. It's like they're friends.

They are perfectly willing to lie in the sun with him, for instance, not a customary activity for traditional mortal enemies:


But here is Mayhem, happily sharing a sunny space with Jeb, who seems totally unconcerned with the kit-tay sharing his sunshine:


I'm still waiting for the "mass hysteria," because apparently this is a disaster of biblical proportions:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A little summertime baking food porn

Got no idea what's going on at work, whether we have five days or five weeks left in this project -- or some other number. I only know I'm working a lot of hours, so make hay while the sun shines. Guess that mean's the sun is shining.

And it's a summer sun, so I should probably put up some summery food porn, right? Right. So here it is - zucchini bread, with zucchini from The Farm. We had an OK crop -- not stellar, for a lot of reasons, but not awful. Unlike the cucumbers. But we won't speak of that. Ever.

There's a real good chance I've put this recipe up before, but I didn't feel like checking, so pretend this recipe is like "Die Hard" and you watch it every damn time you happen to see it on, no matter how many times you've seen it before. It's summer. You expect reruns, don't you?

Anyway, to get started, you will need 3 cups of flour, 2-1/4 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon each of salt, baking soda and baking powder, 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 3 eggs, 1 cup of vegetable oil, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2 cups of grated zucchini, 1 cup of chopped walnuts (optional) and soem raisins (also optional, as is the amount you choose to include, if any):


Having assembled your ingredaments, you should mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl:


In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, add the oil, then add the sugar and vanilla:


Mix it up right. Now, add the raisins and walnuts to the egg-mixture bowl (or don't -- see if I care):


Again, mix it up right. Because we are all about mixing stuff together, now you pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture:


I'm sure you know what to do at this point, but I say again, mix it up right:


Once it is mixed up right, it the batter is probably pretty stiff. No worries, because here is your secret weapon to add moisture and make the batter more batter-like:


Dump that grated zucchini into the batter and, you guess it, mix it up right:


With a little luck, you have pre-heated your oven to 325 degrees. If not, please do so now. I'll wait. Once your oven is preheated, pour the batter into two greased and floured 8 x 4 pans. Or whatever size you have. I don't give a damn what your bread looks like, shapewise.


In said 8 x 4 pans, however, my recipe says it should take 40-60 minutes for the bread to be done (you ought to know how to test, but if you insert a knife into the bread, it will come out clean when  the bread is done). In my experience, the bread is fucking never done at 40 minutes. I don't even bother testing until 60 minutes. When the bread is finally done, though, it looks like this:


More or less, anyway. The recipe says cool the bread in the pan, on a rack, for 20 minutes, then pop it out and cool some more. I usually de-pan after 5 minutes or so, but you do what you want. And enjoy, y'all.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Yeah, I've been remiss about posting

Lotta work, not a lot of time to do much else, unfortunately. The project that was dead that I got called back to seems to be adding more people and is offering us nearly 90 hours a week, so it looks healthy enough from here. It's not often you see a swordfish that is not only on the deck but hanging by its tail from the trophy scale escape back into the water and resume a health run, but that's what this looks like so far. Should be here a few weeks anyway, which means not enough sleep because I'll be trying harder to post. Took today off, settled for a 70-hour week. Probably go longer next week. Guess I'll be posting from behind enemy lines. Anyway, later today I should have a food porn post, maybe a farm post, a kit-tay post, and we'll see what else we get.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I suppose it is worth something to have my guesses confirmed

When I was on this project before -- before I got laid off, then called back to work on a different aspect with a different firm -- the firm I am now working for (same agency, different review facility a few blocks from where we were before) was at this different facility and would occasionally ask the firm I was working for to send over more people to work on this firm's piece of the project. It was clear that the firm handling the piece of the project I was working on was sending over the people they no longer wanted. Hence, the facility I am now at became known -- back when I was at the other facility -- as "The Island of Misfit Toys."

Some of you might be to young to remember the annual Christmas special on TV. Some of you might be too young to have watched actual TV instead of Hulu and shit like that. Some of you might just be fucking heathens who paid no attention to Christmas. This is what I'm talking about:


So anyway, now I am working over at The Island of Misfit Toys, and boy was I right. Normally, when you get added to an existing project, there are no good seats -- somebody already took all of them. In this case, we got lucky and got seated in a previously unoccupied room, which means I was able to get a good seat -- against the wall, far from the associates, they can't get behind me to sneak up. All in all, not bad.

Best part? I don't have to sit anywhere near the folks who were rejected from the original project and landed here. I don't want to sound like a snob, but I don't really mind if I do, because I see among these folks a significant proportion of people who are well-known as serious oxygen thieves. Offhand, I would say the other firm was fairly successful is sending its losers over here.

On the other had, these folks were working during the week I was laid off, and the odds are they will still be on this project after I am laid off again. Funny how that works out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Started a new project today. Naturally, we were supposed to wear "business attire" -- a suit -- and I was one of the five or six out of 40 or so who did. It's a stupid hoop, but if I were hiring temps, I would use it as an employment screen -- if you can't follow that simple of a direction, I don't want you working for me. But that's just a sideshow here.

This is essentially the same project that just ended, but a different aspect. One of the firms we were dealing with before is handling this aspect. As you might recall, I mentioned that there are several law firms involved in this project, mostly handling different aspects but forced to work together by the client. What I have been brought back to work on is a different aspect of the same merger -- different federal agency involved, but essentially the same crap. The really funny part is this project was staffed largely with bottom-of-the-barrel temps hired a few weeks into the original project, when every temp worth a damn in town already had a job, because the market was hot, and the rejects from the main review site that the other firm handling the other aspect of the case didn't want. For example, the canary is here. I felt certain he would have been canned long ago, but there he is. Also, the group I was called back with was not the best-of-the-best who got let go at the end of the first part of the case: about one-fourth are known slugs of dubious intellect and undoubted laziness. The unifying factor seems to be they are people who suck up to the firms' staff attorneys. Whatevs, we're working.

The "training" for the new stuff we're doing probably could have been done in 10 minutes but took an hour and gave us no more real information than was contained in the presentation that was the basis of the training and took 5 minutes to read. The worst part, as usual, was the 30 minutes of horrible questions, basically postulating every "what if I see this kind of document" ad nauseum. The answer, always, is "it depends on the document." And it's a good thing we weren't playing a drinking game. Had we taken a shot every time the firm associate answering many of the questions said "to the extent that" when most people would have said "if," no one would have been conscious, let alone sober enough to work.

No one will tell us how long it will last -- not a guess, not even a lie. But like I said. Whatevs. We're working.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nice to know who's in charge around here

So I walk out of the kitchen this morning and see this:


That is Mrs. Wolves, working at her computer while sitting next to her chair on the ottoman/footrest/whateverthefuckyoucallthatthing rather than in her chair. Why would this be, I asked myself. I walked over, looked at her chair, and saw this:


She was unwilling to disturb the kit-tays. Subjugated by lower-order predators. I can't believe I married this woman.

Random cuteness

Nothing much going on, except for the whole kit-tay with auxiliary back-up dog cuteness:


They share a blanket fairly often.

Do I have late-summer food porn? Yes, I do

Yeah, tonight's delight is smothered pork chops. You will enjoy these tremendously, guaranteed. Real comfort food. Anyway, start with some flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, 4-6 pork chops (I went boneless thick-cut), olive oil, chicken broth, and buttermilk:

 

 So, put a cup of flower in a shallow dish, add 2 tbsp each of onion powder and garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and mix it all up right. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture:


Meanwhile, heat up a large saute pan or cast iron skillet -- I went cast iron -- heat it up and coat it with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once it's hot, chop up the onion the recipe didn't call for and sautee that stuff:


Once the onions are properly browned, put those floured pork chops in and let 'er rip for about 3 minutes per side:



Once you flip those bad boys, should look like this:


Plate those suckers, and sprinkle some flour in the drippings in that pan. Mix that in, and add a cup of chicken broth. Stir that until it starts to thicken, then add a 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Mix it up right, stir until it thickens:


Once your sauce is properly thickened, put those pork chops back in:


Simmer those bad boys for 10 minutes or so, until you are sure the pork is cooked through. Then serve it with the sides of your choice:


 That's some good eatin' there. Bon apetit.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Seriously, I got nothin'

I got food porn coming, but you'll have to be patient. I have to go to my fantasy draft tonight, so I've been baking zucchini bread all afternoon while making a casserole for the Wolves family to eat for dinner. Just about to walk out the door, so I leave you with this:


A nice summer day, some animal buddies lying in the sun.


Maybe not so happy about being disturbed. Mayhem and Jeb the Wonder Dog seem pretty happy together.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Unemployment Haiku No. 2

Best read in order, or this makes less sense:

Rob a liquor store?
Presents a real dilemma:
Take money or beer?

Unemployment haiku

Can't really call it a document review haiku, on account of I ain't reviewing any documents right now, at least not for money. So Unemployment Haiku it is:

On my butt at home
Destitution not far off
Rob a liquor store?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Just be glad you don't have to be this committed to your faith





Apparently the radical Islamists in ISIS are trying to avoid committing crimes against humanity by only killing certain portions of humanity. They are marking Christian homes in the territories they invade with the Arabic letter "N,", which stands for "Nazarene" in this case and marks a home for special treatment:


Sounds great to me:
Apparently ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) have been painting it on the houses of Christians in the city of Mosul in Iraq. Basically these Christians are being asked to either a) convert to Islam, b) pay a ridiculously high tax or c) be killed. Pretty crazy stuff. Thankfully many Christians have come up with a fourth option and d) fled.
I have heard at least three versions of the translation of ISIS. There is the above, which is new to me, the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," which appears to be the government-favored version, and, of course, ISIL, which stands for "Islamic State in Iraq and Levant." This strikes me as most accurate. The Levant is not just Syria, but includes part of Turkey, pretty much all of Syria, part of Iraq, most of Israel and Lebanon, part of Jordan and part of Egypt. It clearly is more than just "Iraq and Syria:"
The Levant (/ləˈvænt/), also known as the Eastern Mediterranean, is a geographic and cultural region consisting of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatoliaand Egypt".[2] The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey (the former Aleppo Vilayet).
Precise definitions have varied over time, and the term originally had a broader and less well-defined usage.[3] The Levant has been described as the "crossroads ofwestern Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northeast Africa",[4] and the "northwest of the Arabian plate".
So, these guys are claiming pretty much all of what we know as the Middle East. What could go wrong?

Colin Cowherd tries to blame "Southern culture" for something done by Yankees in New York? Fuck him

I got this via Ace, who got it from The Federalist. I plan to link a whole lot more because, a couple days ago when this happened, I really didn't feel moved to comment. Now, I do. OK, from Saturday, these are the basics:
Tony Stewart hit and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr., who walked toward Stewart's sprint car Saturday night after the two had an altercation at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, according to authorities, witnesses and video of the tragedy.
Canandaigua is a dirt track. For those of you who don't know, Tony Stewart is a NASCAR star who likes to race on the local tracks the night before a NASCAR race. It is considered a big deal by the local tracks, who get record gates when Steward does this. Not all of them are dirt tracks, like Canandaigua, but they are short tracks. Stewart likes running on them. I don't know why.

Apparently, (I'm not going to link these details, because I am pretty sure every other story I link here contains them) Stewart and Ward, who was a local dirt-track racer (read: amateur, doing this for fun and sometimes a couple bucks) bumped while jockeying for position. This is called trading paint. It happens in every single auto race ever. Period. In this case, it sent Ward spinning into the wall, out of the race. Stewart drove on.

Ward, unhappy with the turn of events, got out of his car and walked out on the track -- violating, by the way, every rule of racing, which all tell you, never get out of a wrecked car unless it is on fire, and even then, stay off the track. Those cars are hauling ass and can't avoid you. Nonetheless, when Stewart's car came back around, Ward walked toward it, pointing his finger at Stewart and maybe yelling at him, who knows. He got hit. He died. There is video. I decline to link to it, because it is horrific and adds nothing.

Tony Stewart quit the race and withdrew from the next day's NASCAR race. He is cooperating with authorities, and there is no indication it was anything but an accident. A guy wearing black walking across the track, actually moving toward an oncoming car, at night, gets hit. No shit. I feel for his family, but this was practically suicide.

Which brings us to the point of this post. People don't think about liberal bias when thinking about the sports media, but they ought to. Face it, why should they be less liberal than their "news" counterparts? Brent Fuckberger -- sorry, Musberger -- and his anti-gun and anti-Redskins rants? The only reason there is any media pressure for the Redskins to change their name is the national sports media. Nobody else, outside a few liberal activists, cares at all.

One of the best-positioned witnesses to the even says Stewart did everything he could to avoid the accident:
“From what I saw, Tony did everything in his power to turn down away from Kevin to avoid him,” sprint car driver Cory Sparks told Rochester.twc.news.com.Sparks was a few cars behind Stewart on the racetrack but had a clear field of vision of what occurred, and said that videos that have been made public do not tell the whole story.
“People say that they heard the engine rev up and he gassed it,” Sparks said of Stewart. “In a sprint car, the only way to steer is you steer with the rear wheels as much as you do the steering wheel. In my opinion, what he did was he (Stewart) gassed it to turn down away from him (Ward).”
Sparks also confirmed the belief of many that Stewart’s vision may have been limited and that Stewart likely did not see Ward until it was too late.
“Kevin was wearing all-black,” Sparks said. “A black fire suit, a black helmet, which in normal situations isn’t a big deal, they are to go with the colors of your car. It was tragic accident and a mistake was made.”
So, naturally, it took ESPN's Colin Cowherd to put this tragic accident into true perspective. From Truth Revolt, via The Federalist:
Cowherd began the segment by citing NASCAR’s embrace of dangerous displays of masculinity and ‘settling the score,’ saying that it, like the NFL, NHL and boxing, deliberately allowed those elements to draw in a larger male audience. …Saying NASCAR had a ‘unique culture’ that was almost exclusively a ‘southern delicacy,’ the ESPN host linked the sport’s emphasis on displays of masculine aggression to what he said was the ‘eye-for-an-eye’ culture of the South, which he suggested encouraged behavior like that exhibited by both Ward and Stewart.
‘It doesn’t get ratings anywhere really outside of the South in the major cities, Atlanta, Charlotte [...] It’s really, really part of the South, and it’s an eye-for-an-eye culture.’
This culture, Cowherd said, encouraged drivers to find ways to ‘settle the score’ by dangerous means, as in the case of Ward and Stewart.
Awful Announcing likewise quotes some Cowherd brilliance:
The sport has a unique culture that I’m not part of. I’m not a gearhead. I’m not from the south, I’m not an eye-for-an-eye guy. There is a certain southern culture, that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, and a lot of NASCAR drivers are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, California, Arizona, it’s a southern delicacy. It doesn’t get ratings anywhere really outside the south…. it’s really, really part of the south and it’s an eye-for-an-eye culture.
The site then lights into Cowterd pretty good:
Of course, this makes no sense for a variety of reasons.
Yes, NASCAR is still very popular in the south, even as it has expanded nationally in the last 20 years. But sprint car racing is decisively not NASCAR. While NASCAR’s heritage lies in the south, sprint cars and open wheel racing has a deep history in the midwest, west, and northeastern parts of the country. It’s like Cowherd just chose to neglect the entire history of open wheel racing in this country. Almost four decades before NASCAR was founded, the first Indy 500 was ran in 1911. That year AAA sponsored races in San Francisco, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica.
. . .
What does southern culture have to do with any of this?
How someone can talk about “the south” as a reason for why a driver from Indiana struck a driver from New York at a dirt track in that state is incomprehensible. A NASCAR driver was at the wheel when the accident took place, but that’s the only connection the series has to this incident at all.
Even Ward's local paper notes that the New York Times (no, I won't link them) did a story about the racing culture in central New York. Syracuse.com reports:
Syracuse, NY -- With the debate going on about Kevin Ward Jr.'s death on a Central New York racetrack this weekend, the New York Timestoday took a look at the racing culture that encourages kids as young as four or five to begin racing go karts.
Ward, who was killed Saturday when he was struck on the track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park by a sprint car driven by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, began his career racing a fun kart in his backyard, moved up to go karts on a track, then micro sprint and sprint cars.
Canadaigua Motorsports Park announced on its Facebook page that racing will resume Saturday.
That's right, they plan ot start racing again at the track this weekend. Why would the track owner do something so irresponsible?
I spoke to Kevin Ward Sr this morning and he encouraged me to "get back to racing at CMP, Kevin would want you to.
Yeah, Damn that southern culture up in New York. Colin Cowterd can suck my balls. He's a blowhard who might or might not know something about sports -- I don't listen to him because of other reasons, so I couldn't say -- but he loves to play sociologist and blame isolated incidents like this one on great societal factors, like "southern culture." Despite the lack of any actual southerners, or even a southern location. Fuck him. Just one more reason we hate Yankees. They think they know everything, even as they prove they know fuck all.

As a southerner, I get really fucking tired of being the last ethnic/cultural group it is OK to slam on. Imagine if Cowterd blamed this on "African-American culture," or "Asian-American culture?" No, it's OK to slam southern culture because we're just a bunch of white male racists, right? Sorry, fuckchops, but there's a whole lot to southern culture besides NASCAR, and this wasn't even a fucking NASCAR race! Tell you what, Cowterd: if the main problem with southern culture is we tend to be masculine, while non-southern culture tends to not be masculine, I'm OK with that. So fuck off.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sorry, kids, but this is just funny, I don't care who you are

Not sure where I stumbled across this, probably Doug Giles or his daughter, but I liked it:


Yeah, yeah, not PC, hate me all you want, but this is what I have to say to you:


You don't like it, refer to the title of the blog.

Azerbaijan in the house!

That's right, people, got me some Azerbaijan first-time visitor. Azerbaijan, first mentioned as a neighbor of Armenia when Armenia's first visitor came by, is officially known as the Republic of Azerbaijan. The country is:
situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.[5] It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short border with Turkey in the northwest.
Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage, most notably in the fields of literature, music, architecture and visual arts. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republicproclaimed its independence in 1918 and has the distinction as the first Muslim-majority democratic and secular republic.[6] It was also the first Muslim-majority country to have operas, theaters and modern universities.[7] But the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. . . . Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence in October 1991, before the official dissolution of the USSR
Lot of ethnic strife there following the collapse of the Soviet Union, mostly between ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Whole bunch of people killed in what sounds like ethnic cleansing during a civil war. That sucks, but Azerbaijan is rich in oil and other natural resources, and is a rich agricultural region. Tourism is a big part of the economy, and, if the government has it's way, will be even more important in the future:
Tourism is an important part of the economy of Azerbaijan. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. However, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Nagorno-Karabakh War during the 1990s, damaged the tourist industry and the image of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination.[155]
It was not until the 2000s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of tourist visits and overnight stays.[156] In the recent years, Azerbaijan has also becoming a popular destination for religious, spa, and health care tourism.[157] During winter, the Shahdag Winter Complex offers skiing.
The government of Azerbaijan has set the development of Azerbaijan as an elite tourist destination a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major, if not the single largest, contributor to the Azerbaijani economy.[158] These activities are regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan.
Might work. The place is nice-looking:


 So let's give a big Eff You welcome to Azerbaijan. Y'all come back soon, and bring your friends.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just a reminder, for your viewing pleasure

You can always go to the Murder and Mayhem Channel on Youtube, which is all kit-tays, all the time. The world's cutest kitties battle it out in multiple videos, living up to their names. Of course, those of us in the know realize that not only are Murder and Mayhem appropriately named, they are, conversely, still the sweetest kit-tays around, as these photos prove. Here, we have Mayhem assisting Cpl. Wolves as he plays a computer game -- not sure which one. She eventually managed to erase several hours of game data, as Cpl. Wolves unwisely failed to save for quite some time:


Here, Mayhem climbs Raised By Wolves, chasing the dot left by a laser pointer wielded by Cpl Wolves, who is training a team of attack kit-tays. They will follow the laser-pointer dot anywhere, including, obviously, straight up a person. Yes, those claws hurt:


The last movie star is dead: RIP, Lauren Bacall

There are lots of big names still out there, but the last person truly associated with the glamor, acclaim, classiness and talent of a genuine movie star has left the building:
Lauren Bacall, the smoky-voiced movie legend who taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in "To Have and Have Not," has died at the age of 89, according to her family.
Details of the location and the cause of her death were not immediately available. Her death was confirmed by Robbert de Klerk, the co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate. Her daughter, Leslie Bogart, said no other information was available.
Lauren Bacall was everything a movie star was supposed to be: talented, beautiful, regal, glamorous. Her death is not the tragedy that Robin Williams' death is -- he was too young and still had much to offer -- but it is no less a loss. She was the last link to an era we'll never see again.


We still make icons out of actors, musicians, athletes and the like, but we are neither surprised nor especially disappointed when we are shown evidence that they are human. Hell, we have an entire media enterprise devoted to proving that they are in fact human, painfully so, and then revealing to us every aspect of those stars' lives. Long ago, those movie stars were put on a pedestal and practically worshipped. Probably not a good thing, but probably better than the situation lately, which most strongly resembles a race to the bottom. Lauren Bacall had class, and she never let go of it. She never would have partied with Justin Bieber. He should be so lucky. He might've enjoyed a moment like this, from "To Have and Have Not:"


It was her first movie, and it was where she met Humphrey Bogart, the great love of her life whom she later married. Movies today are loaded with hot women, but none more beautiful -- and all that entails -- than Laren Bacall.

Time to issue a challenge

Way back in the day, I lamented that Canadians were refusing to visit this blog. Eventually, a Canadian came by, and now Canada is No. 4 on the all-time visitor's list. Of course, Denmark is closing in on No. 5, threatening to pass Sweden and within striking distance of Canada, but that is not what we're talking about today. (As an aside, I'm rooting for Denmark on this one. The Swedes hardly ever come by anymore.)

My point is, I ragged on Canada endlessy for not visiting, and then it did, bigtime. I then picked on other countries, but they visited, too. So I need to pick on someone new. I want to know what the hell is wrong with people in the Falklands? Not a peep from them. Tristan da Cunha? Nothing. Myanmar? Squadoosh. And don't get me started on Africa. I'm something like 4-for-55 there.

So OK, people. You're on notice. There are a lot of countries out there that haven't come by. Remedy the problem, or I'll have to take steps.

Another document review haiku

I have a lot of irons in the fire, next-job-wise, but I am hearing crickets. Makes for a document review haiku, I guess.

Here I sit at home
Hoping to find work soon but
Thinking I am fucked.

I am HUGE in the Indian Ocean!

First Reunion, now a first-time visitor from Mauritius, bitches. Mauritius 
officially the Republic of Mauritius, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the island of Mauritius, Rodrigues (560 kilometres (350 mi) east), the islands of Agalega and the archipelago of Saint Brandon. The islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, and Réunion 170 km (110 mi) south west, form part of the Mascarene Islands. The area of the country is 2040 km2. The capital and largest city is Port Louis.
. . .
The island of Mauritius was visited during the medieval period by the Arabs and then by the Portuguese, who named it Dina Arobi and Cirne, respectively. The island was uninhabited until the Dutch Republic established a colony in 1638, with the Dutch naming the island after Prince Maurice van Nassau. The Dutch colony was abandoned in 1710, and, five years later, the island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under British rule until it became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1968, following the adoption of a new constitution. The country became a republic in 1992 and remains in the Commonwealth.
Mauritius is a mountainous, tropical island where the main languages are English and French. It is a fairly prosperous nation, with a fairly broad-based economy:
Since independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income, agriculture-based economy to a middle-income diversified economy. The economy is based on tourism, textiles, sugar, and financial services. In recent years, information and communication technology, seafood, hospitality and property development, healthcare, renewable energy, and education and training have emerged as important sectors, attracting substantial investment from both local and foreign investors.[45] Mauritius has no exploitable natural resources and therefore depends on imported petroleum products to meet most of its energy requirements. Local and renewable energy sources are biomass, hydro, solar and wind energy.
 Lots of tourism,  'cuz Mauritius is purdy:


 So is she. Anyway, please extend a big Eff You welcome to Mauritius.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gaffed, on the deck and hanging by its tail for the proud-fishermen photo

Yeah, that swordfish is toast. They made the announcement at 5 pm today: thanks for all your help, don't let the screen door slap you in the ass on the way out. Naturally, I have already switched to looking-for-a-new-gig mode, although nothing is likely before next Monday.


I don't know any of these people, and to my knowledge none of them were on my project, although I suppose it is possible. But they have a swordfish hanging by its tail, so they made the blog.

Document review haiku

There currently is nothing for us to review -- I believe we'll be switching to something else soon, but not yet apparently -- which is leading to speculation that this swordfish might be on the deck by the end of the day. I don't think so, but such talk has inspired me to pen the following Document Review Haiku:

Sitting on my ass
Patiently waiting for work
Or unemployment.

We're here, but the swordfish looks terrible

The swordfish isn't on the deck, but it's been pulled up alongside the boat, gaffed and ready to be hauled aboard. The only question is when. If anyone knows, they aren't saying, but I think the life remaining in this project is now measured in days, if not hours. Of course, I've thought that before.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's hot. How hot? Hot as Bahrain!

Yeah, got my first-time visitor from Bahrain last night. I'm actually doing pretty well in the Middle East. Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine (not a country, but Google thinks it is), Iraq and Iran all have checked in. I'd have to do a search to see about others, but that sounds like too much work, so let's just focus on Bahrain, shall we, hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?

Offiicially the Kingdom of Bahrain, Bahrain is
a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago with Bahrain Island, the largest land mass, at 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway while Iran lies 200 km (124 mi) to the north across the Persian Gulf. The peninsula of Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The population in 2010 stood at 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals.
The archipelago -- everyone should work that word into a conversation today -- looks like this:


 Bahrain is described as "the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf because the Bahraini economy does not rely on oil anymore. Oil was discoverd and exploited in the 1930s, giving the country great wealth, but Bahrain shifted its focus to banking and tourism in the late 20th century. The country was designated by the U.S. as a major non-NATO ally in 2001 and now is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet and serves as the headquarters for the naval commander for Central Command, the U.S. regional command for the Middle East, so the visitor is probably a U.S. sailor looking for pr0n.

Tourism? Sure. It's purdy:


So let's extend a big Eff You welcome to Bahrain. Y'all come back soon, and bring your friends.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

If climate alarmists rely on computer models, and the models suck, where does that leave them?

The short answer is, "wrong:"
Climate models relied upon by scientists and governments may be greatly overstating the warming that has occurred since the late 1950s, argues a paper analyzing the discrepancies between modeled and observed temperatures.
The paper, which was published in the journal Environmetrics, found that observed temperatures differed greatly from modeled temperatures in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere.
“Over the 55-years from 1958 to 2012, climate models not only significantly over-predict observed warming in the tropical troposphere, but they represent it in a fundamentally different way than is observed,” says Ross McKitrick, economist with the University of Guelph in Canada and co-author of the study.
According to McKitrick, all climate models predict that rising carbon dioxide levels will cause rapid warming in the troposphere over the tropics. But that’s not what has happened, as neither satellites nor weather balloons have detected much warming in the tropical troposphere — meaning something is likely wrong with the models.
It’s not only that the models overestimate the amount of warming in the tropical troposphere, it’s that the models misrepresent the warming by making it look like a “smooth upward trend.” But McKitrick says that observations show all the warming occurred in a “single step-change in the late 1970s coinciding with a known event (the Pacific Climate Shift), and identify no significant trend before or after.
All along, the alarmists have been emphasizing the surface temperature record, which they control and can manipulate, when the signature of anthropogenic global warming -- the linchpin of the theory -- is warming in the tropical mid-troposphere, which is not happening. Basically, the warmists' models suck at predicting actual events, which leads to events like this one, where a NASA scientist tries to explain away the fact that none of the computer models based on "settled science" predicted the 15-year pause in warming in the surface temperature record, which the warmists at NASA and other agencies control. Even he had to admit that the disconnect between the models and reality is "really forcing us to look at our models and observations and ask questions.” Settled science? Perhaps not.

In fact, even the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to admit that its models are crap:
Computer models, of course, are only as accurate as their programmed data, formulas, and assumptions. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledges there are many components to climate change for which climate scientists are merely making their best guesses. The IPCC-affiliated scientists have made guesses that the unknown climate components will dramatically accelerate the modest warming caused directly by human carbon dioxide emissions. So-called climate skeptics have argued the UN guesses consistently overestimate the warming propensity of the unknown climate components.
If the agency driving most climate alarmism based on its models predictions admits that its models are crap and are affected by unknown elements, how can anyone claim the science is settled? More importantly, why would anyone accept any prediction based upon those models as reliable? And yet, that is where we are. Who's anti-science?

You can always count on a liberal to focus on what's important

I hate to do anything that might give traffic, however little, to a progressive, but some dipstick at Slate is practically crying out for me to illustrate his dipstickiness. The dude devotes a whole bunch of valuable space to analyzing, mathematically, whether John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence is too big. He goes deep into square inches, who signed at the same time, how many people were expected to eventually sign and a  whole bunch of other bullshit analysis of the space available versus what happens if everybody's signature is as big as Hancock's (hint: bigger paper needed).  For some strange reason, the Slate puke considers only two factors in deciding whether Hancock's signature is "too big:"
In trying to determine whether John Hancock’s signature was too big, there are two important questions we need to address. In what order did the men sign the document? And how many men did Hancock think would ultimately sign?
As president of the Continental Congress, Hancock signed first, historians agree. But neither of the Slate puke's questions actually addresses the issue. The space available and how many people might be signing in that space were irrelevant to Hancock. The Slate puke simply misses the mark, and never considers that there might be other reasons for Hancock to go with such a large John Hancock:
Few signatures have left such an indelible mark in American history. But when John Hancock
signed his name on the Declaration of Independence, he did so in such flamboyant style as if to make his signature easily the most recognizable of all. Although stories of Hancock’s action in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall in the summer of 1776 cannot be corroborated, some accounts claim that after he signed the document the delegate from Massachusetts commented that “the British ministry can read that name without spectacles.” Another report indicates that Hancock proudly declared that “There, I guess King George will be able to read that!”
Not clear why the Slate puke didn't hear that story in grade school, or why he ignored it if he heard it, but it seems clear that the Slate puke overlooked the obvious: Hancock was making a statement. Obviously he was successful -- we're still talking about it, even if some of us miss the point.  No wonder Jeff Bezos didn't buy the Washington Post-owned Slate when he bought The Washington Post.

The Slate analysis, though, is typical of a liberal. Was the space allocation fair? Was the calculation of space-per-signature correct? Strictly PC and bureaucratic considerations, with no consideration of the human element. John Hancock didn't give a damn how many people would have to cram in their signatures after his; he wanted it big and bold and unmistakable. After all, Hancock is the only one who signed the actual original of the Declaration. He wasn't worried about who came after, he was making a statement directed at the parties toward whom the Declaration was aimed. Whether he made any bold statements about King George III being able to read it is irrelevant -- his signature and its size say it all: Eff You, King George. So no, it wasn't too big, and it has nothing to do with how much room was available on the paper.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

OK, so now the really rich people are dropping by

That's right, I got all the Brunei you can handle. I don't know if the Sultan of Brunei is the richest guy in the world anymore, but he used to be, and he's still seriously fucking rich, so I assume that if anybody from Brunei is coming by, it is the Sultan and not some peon. Could be wrong, but I can dream.

Whoever came by, Brunei is officially known as the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. I guess for anybody wondering where Peace lives, there's your answer. In addition to being where Peace and his homies hang, Brunei is:
a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia; and it is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island's territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei's population was 408,786 in July 2012.
Brunei used to be a kick-ass power in the region, with an empire and everything:
At the peak of Bruneian Empire, Sultan Bolkiah (reigned 1485–1528) is alleged to have had control over the northern regions of Borneo, including modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the Sulu archipelago off the northeast tip of Borneo, Seludong (modern-day Manila), and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The maritime state was visited by Spain's Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in 1578's Castille War.
The Europeans came, they took shit away, Brunei became a British possession in the 19th century. Comes World War II, the Japanese come, seriously mess everything up. After the war, back to the British. Independence in 1984. Because the nation has really serious oil and natural gas reserves, it is a wealthy nation. It's a good-looking country, as most south Pacific islands are, but not a lot of tourism, at least as a share of GDP.


Purdy, right?

Anyway, a big Eff You welcome to Brunei. Y'all come back now, hear?
 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It is . . . ALIVE!

While I have often compared a project to a swordfish, this project has officially attained Zombie Swordfish status. Way past vibrant and dynamic, this swordfish is past dead, and yet refuses to die. I am grateful for the continued employment. especially since my next project is not firmed up yet (August is a bad time to try and get things done in DC). With a little luck, I can squeeze a few more days out of this, get a couple days off, then start my next gig. That would be perfect, which means it won't happen that way. In the meantime, I give you this:





Monday, August 4, 2014

Kit-tays are cute, but they are still predators



The killer nature of kit-tays can get lost in all that cuteness, but it doesn't take much to remind you that kittens are born to be apex predators -- or, at least, they think they are. Sure, house cats aren't mountain lions, but they are close relatives to those apex predators, and, believe me, they have aspirations. Murder and Mayhem clearly fervently hope to be hunting and killing just as soon as possible. Doubt me?

Doubt not. A friend of Mrs. Wolves has gone on vacation, leaving with us her pet bird. Parakeet or whatever, I don't know. I just see a blue bird. The kit-tays just see food. As soon as Mrs. Wolves set up the cage, she had to move all furniture away from it because the kit-tays were climbing all over the cage, looking for a way in. Isolating the bird cage has not deterred the kit-tays, who still seek a way in:


That bird has to feel severely threatened the way those two watch her:


Someone is always on the lookout, just in case the bird comes out, or opens the door, or something. Hey, they're kit-tays, not rocket scientists. It could happen, right?


Mrs. Wolves asked, "What would they do with her if they caught her?" I just looked at her. She knows.

My first first-time visitor from a place I've never heard of

Traffic has been kind of interesting lately. Sure, typical summertime doldrums, although visits have been at acceptable levels. And we've had the usual pr0n-seekers from places like Russia and Turkey who have challenged for the daily visitor-count lead (always failing to pass the U.S., at least so far). But we've also had a number of visitors who made me check to see if anyone from their country had ever come by -- folks from Kenya, Israel, Venezuela, Pakistan, Singapore and other less-commonly represented nations. In fact, I think Kenya might be the only nation in Africa besides South Africa and Madagascar to come by. I'd have to check, and that sounds like a lot of work, so I probably won't.

But today we have a genuine oddity. Sure, I've had visitors from nations that don't exist, like Palestine, and from nations that actually aren't nations, like Reunion -- which is an island in the Indian Ocean that is a French possession, or "overseas department" -- but I have never had a visitor from a country I've never heard of.

Until now. And I didn't get one visitor -- I got 4. So let's extend a big Eff You welcome to Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Yeah, that's what I said. Who, what and where the fuck is Saint Pierre and Miquelon? If I had to guess, I'd say somewhere in the Caribbean.

And I'd be wrong. Saint Pierre and Miquelon is another French possession that Wikipedia describes as:

a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France, situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean near Canada.[3] It is the only remnant of the former colonial empire of New France that remains under French control,[3] with a population of 6,080 at the January 2011 census.[1]
The islands are situated at the entrance of Fortune Bay, which extends into the southern coast of Newfoundland, near the Grand Banks.[4] They are 3,819 kilometres (2,373 mi) from Brest, the nearest point in Metropolitan France,[5] but just 25 kilometres (16 mi) off the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland, Canada.
OK, then. Apparently, the weather is brutal, and the economy, based largely on fishing, is shitty :
The inhabitants have traditionally earned their livelihood by fishing and by servicing fishing fleets operating off the coast of Newfoundland.[3] The climate and the small amount of available land hardly favour activity such as farming and livestock (weather conditions are severe, which confines the growing season to a few weeks, and the soil contains significant peat and clay and is largely infertile).[39] Since 1992, the economy has been in steep decline, following the depletion of fish stocks, the limitation of fishing areas and the ban imposed on all cod fishing by the Canadian Government.[40]

The rise in unemployment has been curtailed by the state financial aid for the retraining of businesses and individuals. The construction of the second airport runway has also helped sustain the activity in the construction industry and public works.[24] Fish farming, crab fishing and agriculture are being developed to diversify the local economy.[3] The future of Saint Pierre and Miquelon rests on tourism, fisheries and aquaculture. Explorations are underway to exploit deposits of oil and gas.[24] Tourism relies on the proximity to Canada, while commerce and crafts make up the bulk of the business sector.
Sounds like a tough place to live. So tough that four if the residents there apparently are considering becoming contract attorneys. Or maybe they're looking for pr0n. Maybe they just like kit-tays. In any event, please welcome St. Pierre and Miquelon to Eff You Nation. Y'all come back soon!



Go figure

I left work yesterday afternoon, certain that the project was over. However, no one with the agency knew, and no one with the law firm was talking -- something that wasn't making the agency very happy, as the law firms on this case have not been very cooperative. So I went home, figuring I would get an email last night letting me know the project was over.

I checked my email before I went to bed -- at about 8 pm, cuz my ass was dragging: nothing. Dogs woke me up about 1 am because the backup auxiliary dog wanted to poo, so I walked the dogs, checked my email: nothing. Set the alarm for a normal weekday wakeup time and went to bed.

The alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, as expected. Rather than jump in the shower, I went down to check my email: nothing. So I went to work, absolutely certain that the project was over, nobody told me, and I would just be turning around for home shortly after arriving.

Nope. Here I am, blogging behind enemy lines and, inexplicably, still employed. I'll take it, as I had nothing firm lined up for today anyway. With a little luck, this will create a little time for one of my other projects to come through. Sounds like as much of a plan as you can make in this business, where the only thing you can really plan on is everything changing unexpectedly. For once, that change is to my benefit. I've had lots of gigs end unexpectedly. This is the first one ever that didn't end unexpectedly.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

You will gaze upon the kit-tays and you will revel in their cuteness. Or else.

I figure it's been a while since I put up some kit-tay photos -- as opposed to video, which is a totally different head. Totally.* Anyway, time to once again turn the spotlight on the unbearable cuteness of being that is Murder and Mayhem. Here, they pose for their portrait:


Not just another pretty pair of faces, they like to participate in everyday activities. Here, Mayhem helps Cpl. Wolves send a text message while Murder looks on from his shoulder:.


They are happy to provide the same service for Marrying Into Wolves, as well:



Naturally, the kit-tays like hanging with their other animal pals, just looking out the door as the world passes by:


And sometimes you just have to get the gang together:


Fear not, I'm sure Mrs. Wolves will be providing me with more photos and video soon enough. In the meantime, you will have to make do with this first-ever post-with-photos from behind enemy lines. Yeah, the project is winding down, so participation is low and the prison guards are otherwise occupied. Dig it.

* I assume nobody gets the "Square Pegs" reference. Yes, that is the guy who played Capt. Kirk's son in "Wrath of Khan" and "The Search for Spock." His signature line was that new wave music was not the same as punk - "Totally different head. Totally." A seriously under-appreciated series from the early '80s.