Word from the Dark Side – Grateful Dead, to the army led, books unread and getting masks off heads

Fire on the Mountain by the Grateful Dead, performed in 1978. Never been stoned in my life but I like them.

From Inspected By Pat:

I can’t describe what it’s like to have your head in your hands, sitting in the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning, crying, praying for death to release you from the pain, knowing full well that when the sun comes up you’ll be strapped into a mask and bombarded with radiation, then walked over to the garden of the skeletons for a few hours for chemo, and you have some dumbshit cat headbutt you and tell you it’s OK. Pet me.

Pets like cats and dogs, we don’t deserve them sometimes.

Why Iran and Saudi Arabia making nice is a very big deal

Saudi Arabia, long a US partner, appears to be shaking off its commitment to a unipolar US world. It says a lot about how Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conducts foreign policy as the kingdom brings China and Iran closer, in pursuit of security outside traditional Western allies. “MBS has a preference for an alternative world order that is dominated by the likes of Xi and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” says Khalid Al-Jabri, a Saudi entrepreneur and physician. “Take away the grievances between the Saudi and the Iranian regimes, and they are actually more alike than they’re different.”

I don’t link Vox here very often.

Former US marine pilot unfairly classified ‘high-risk’ in Australian prison, lawyer says

Mr Duggan was arrested in Orange on October 21, the same week the British government issued a rare warning about China’s recruitment of retired military pilots . . .

The father of six was a “well-regarded” fighter jet pilot, according to a fellow former marine, and had recently worked in China training commercial flight crew . . .

Both the British and Australian governments have recently highlighted fears that Beijing has been poaching retired pilots to train China’s air force.

Nobody Reads

In my experience, the fact that nobody reads has become one of the mainstays of intellectual life. People get angry about an article, try to denigrate or even “cancel” its author, but it turns out they haven’t read past the headline, and sometimes not even that. People talk up some writer (or worse, some “thinker”), say they prove or disprove some thesis, but it turns out they can’t reconstruct the argument, and they just tell you to go read the whole body of work yourself.

When I read reviews written by others of the same books I’ve reviewed, I find wild deviations from the actual text, accounts of claims not even made, and psychological projection that could be fixed with a few minutes of reading. Most reviews seem to be essays about other topics Scotch-taped hastily on to the occasion of the release of some book, as if the book is just there to provide an opportunity for the reviewer to get to their hobbyhorse.

Henry Charles Innes Fripp. HT

How to Review a Book Without Reading It

Critics may read little, but rest assured, readers read less. That people who buy books read books is one of the greatest stories the industry has ever told. In 2009, Sky Arts conducted a poll to find out how many “readers” were in fact “liars.” The results were (to the dewy-eyed) shocking. Of those who went about their day-to-day claiming to have read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, almost half never even opened the book. Dystopia indeed. 

Readers of today flick through the literary section as they would an IKEA catalogue, looking for a nice coffee-table centrepiece, something to make an empty shelf a bookshelf. “From bestselling author [insert double-barrelled name here].” A word of paradoxical popularity, the bestseller is bordering on cliché. But what is a bestseller, exactly? Often, not much. 

According to Barzun, a literary truther, a bestseller is simply a book that many have bought, and few have read. “They may have tried to read it, they may have bought it for show. In either case they bought a brick, not a book.” Author and title, maybe a nice font. That is what separates the phenom from the flop. Style, theme, technique? Dodos. Their symbolic charm has migrated from the middle pages to the outer spine – a shift that has reduced libraries to little more than what Barzun describes as “interchangeable lumps of matter of a certain size and color.”

Books are now symbolic in and of themselves: upmarket wallpaper, literary plastic fruit, planted evidence of virtue and vogue.

Masks stay on in Japan as 3-year request to wear them ends

Japan on Monday dropped its request for people to wear masks after three years, but hardly anything changed in the country that has had an extremely high regard for their effectiveness at anti-virus protection.

Most commuters exiting Tokyo’s main train station in the morning were wearing masks as they headed to work. So were people on the streets. During a televised budget committee meeting at parliament, some lawmakers still wore masks, though Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wasn’t wearing one when he arrived at his office Monday.

Japanese elementary school children train to save the elderly from a looming tsunami. In the 2011 disaster, people had from 0-5 minutes warning to seek higher ground. The tweet author is saying, “Aaaaaah! This . . . This is . . .”

That’s it. There’ll be an article on AI consciousness Wednesday.

Tanager nigroviridis. HT



  1. Pickle Rick · 10 Days Ago

    Clown World isn’t afraid that former pilots are “training” Chinese air forces, because that is retarded. The Chinese are quite capable of training their pilots and crew themselves, just like the Japanese did in the 1930s, and quite well. They operate Russian derived aircraft and organize themselves in their own way. What scares the clowns is that these retired pilots are selling their knowledge of GloboHomo air power to the highest bidder. Every single one of them has a head full of knowledge and possibly a grudge against GloboHomo, or simply are acting like the mercenaries they have become.


    • JohnC911 · 5 Days Ago

      Man the Japanese used Allied and German ex forces to help train and devople their military until WW2. There is reason why many of the Ship designs and plans were base on English, French, American and German.


  2. Vizzini · 10 Days Ago

    At first I thought the Asian girl was just heavily Photoshopped, but then I followed the link, and, oh, AI. The fingers are still horrific. The breasts are a little too “globular fantasy breasts.” Once they get the hang of fingers it is going to be pretty hard to tell. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that the AIs already know how to do fingers, but they keep them screwed up in the “retail” versions so that when they spring the AI images on us for nefarious purposes, we’ll miss the more subtle tells.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. dickycone · 9 Days Ago

    Good links, as always. Somehow I hadn’t thought about Big Food being behind “body positivity” but it makes sense.
    The Grateful Dead performance is really nice and ambient. Seems to me like the kind of thing AI will never be able to pull off. Are they known at all in Australia, or did you learn of them from Americans? I spent many years in Europe when I was young and no one had ever heard of them there.


  4. Kentucky Gent · 9 Days Ago

    This video of Jim Gaffigan seems apropos:


  5. Kentucky Gent · 9 Days Ago

    The bird photo reminded me that there are very few living things that are blue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ray · 7 Days Ago

      Except Heritage Americans.


  6. HazHap · 7 Days Ago

    Saudi Arabia and MBS moving away from the US and towards Xi and Putin? Maybe the current administration virtue signalling back during the election campaign about what a horrible criminal and murderer MBS is for the Kashoggi thing was a really stupid idea, and was not without costs.

    Nah, that’s crazy to think actions have consequences.


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