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Lionel Mandrake

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: The Left Coast
Home country: USA
Current location: electrical wires
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2007, 06:47 PM
Number of posts: 3,466

About Me

I study, play the piano, play chess and go, and enjoy the company of my wife, children, grandchildren, other relatives, and friends. I am a perennial student at a local university, where they let me take classes and use the library for free (because I'm old). My serious reading includes math, science, history, and biography. I enjoy science fiction and mysteries, which my wife and I refer to as "mind rot". And now on to politics. I hated Nixon and Reagan. I think W is a war criminal and was easily the worst president in US history. Thank Darwin he's gone. I will support any candidate who is a "dove". I support "plan B" without prescription for girls of all ages. I support free abortion on demand, without delay, and without the requirement to notify anyone, for all women and girls who want it. I think it's time to repeal the Bush tax cuts for corporations and the very rich. I think other damage done by conservative Supreme Court Justices rivals that done by the monster they put in the White House.

Journal Archives

Dr. John plays boogie-woogie



Dr. John plays here in the style of Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson. Like most boogie-woogie, the first half of this performance is 12 bar blues.

In the second half, Dr. John is improvising on a Stephen Foster tune (which is not a 12 bar blues). Can anyone identify the tune?
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Tue Jan 27, 2015, 04:09 PM (6 replies)

Is religion good or bad for children?

According to an article in the LA Times, the results are in.


How secular family values stack up

For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule.

By PHIL ZUCKERMAN

More children are “growing up godless” than at any other time in our nation's history. They are the offspring of an expanding secular population that includes a relatively new and burgeoning category of Americans called the “Nones,” so nicknamed because they identified themselves as believing in “nothing in particular” in a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center.

So how does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems.

Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology.

...

He was surprised by what he found: High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.


The article goes on to point out other advantages of secular upbringing, including the fact that relatively few people brought up without "god" end up in prison.

IMHO the results show that religion is harmful to children!

Read more:
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0115-zuckerman-secular-parenting-20150115-story.html
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Jan 15, 2015, 04:13 PM (85 replies)

How do children fare without "god"?

According to an op-ed piece in the LA Times:

How secular family values stack up

For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule.

By PHIL ZUCKERMAN

More children are “growing up godless” than at any other time in our nation's history. They are the offspring of an expanding secular population that includes a relatively new and burgeoning category of Americans called the “Nones,” so nicknamed because they identified themselves as believing in “nothing in particular” in a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center.

So how does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems.

Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology.

...

He was surprised by what he found: High levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation.


The article goes on to point out other advantages of secular upbringing, including the fact that relatively few people brought up without "god" end up in prison.

IMHO the results show that religion is harmful to children!

Read more:
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0115-zuckerman-secular-parenting-20150115-story.html
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Jan 15, 2015, 11:44 AM (8 replies)

Arrgh ... "Enemy of the State"

I just started to watch this movie. The opening credits feature Greek capital letters lambda in place of A, and sigma in place of E. Gee, I always thought sigma was more like S, and lambda more like L.

The movie features Jon Voight as the chief bad guy. I never knew the NSA went around murdering people, with the help of helicopters, satellites, and other high-tech gear. That shows how little I know, unless this entertainment (and it is entertaining) isn't meant to be realistic.

Oh, and I almost forgot: whenever the video shows a satellite in orbit, the audio includes some Morse code, which makes no sense. Nobody uses Morse code any more, least of all a satellite.

Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Sun Jan 4, 2015, 08:09 PM (0 replies)

Creationists shit all over science standards.

What can we expect from assholes? Nothing but shit.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for teaching real science in public schools. The NGSS include evolution and climate change, but exclude "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism disguised as science.

In their effort to dumb down science classes in Kansas, creationist assholes calling themselves "Citizens for Objective Public Education" (COPE) instituted a frivolous lawsuit, claiming that the NGSS promote atheism. A federal judge flushed this particular turd down the toilet, but the COPE assholes have appealed the decision.

Read more:
http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/state/article_eb7fc1e6-45fe-519c-8ed4-546855fe3866.html

In W. Virginia the assholes produced a different turd: they successfully dumbed down the NGSS-based standards adopted by the West Virginia Board of Education.

Read more:
http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20141228/GZ01/141229489/1419
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Fri Jan 2, 2015, 02:04 PM (5 replies)

How fast have you double-clutched into low gear?

This post won't make sense unless you have driven an old stick shift. Low gear, unlike second gear and high gear, was not synchromesh. That meant that unless you wanted to strip your gears, you needed to get the RPMs just right before shifting down to low gear while moving.

The procedure is as follows. You press down on the clutch pedal, put the transmission in neutral, let up on the clutch, rev up the motor, press down again, shift into low, then let up on the clutch again. The higher your speed, the higher the RPMs needed for this maneuver. If you miscalculate, there goes your transmission.

As a smartass high schooler, I used to pride myself on my ability to double-clutch without making that horrible grinding sound. I once did this at 36 MPH, which in a 6 cylinder Ford required very high RPMs indeed. Not having a tachometer, I judged the RPMs by the sound of the motor.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Jan 1, 2015, 05:30 PM (7 replies)

New Year's Day? It doesn't feel different from any other day.

Long long ago, according to Wikipedia, Romans celebrated New Years day on March 1, not January 1.

The calendar year originally began on 1 March, as is shown by the names of the six months following June (Quintilis = fifth month, Sextilis = sixth month, September = seventh month, etc.). It is not known when the start of the calendar year was changed to 1 January.

Read more:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_calendar#Years

The moral of the story is that New Years Day is completely arbitrary. January 1 is just a convention. You can take it or leave it.
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Thu Jan 1, 2015, 02:11 PM (2 replies)

Comparisons among Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Verizon Fios VOD

These are three different streaming services for movies and TV shows. From my vast experience with all three services, I offer the following list of their advantages and disadvantages.

Netflix HD streaming costs me about $9 per month. This is in addition to Netflix DVD service, which costs a similar amount. Old TV shows are streamed without commercials, which is a huge advantage. My TV remote control has a button labelled "Netflix", which I use frequently.

Amazon Instant Video is generally a high-priced pay per view service, but some of their content is free for those of us with Amazon Prime accounts. An Amazon Prime account costs about $100 per year, which is comparable to the price of Netflix streaming, but it also includes free second-day shipping of books and other merchandise from Amazon.com. My TV remote control has another button labelled "Amazon", which would be convenient if the interface were less cumbersome and not so full of glitches. I use this service to watch stuff that does not stream on Netflix.

Verizon is the local phone company and supplies TV and internet service as well. "Fios" is their acronym for the service with the highest bandwidth, which uses FIber OpticS (get it?) rather than copper wire. "Video on demand" (VOD) is their jargon for streaming. With VOD I can only get replays of TV shows from channels I subscribe to. Old TV shows are streamed complete with the fucking commercials. And what's worse, Verizon won't let me skip the fucking commercials. This "service" really SUCKS.

Have I gotten anything wrong or left anything out?
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Tue Dec 16, 2014, 08:04 PM (13 replies)

Children harvest crops and sacrifice dreams in Mexico's fields

By RICHARD MAROSI
Photography & Video by DON BARTLETTI
DEC. 14, 2014

An estimated 100,000 Mexican children under 14 pick crops for pay. Alejandrina, 12, wanted to be a teacher. Instead, she became a nomadic laborer, following the pepper harvest from farm to farm.

Fourth of four stories

REPORTING FROM TEACAPAN, MEXICO

Alejandrina Castillo swept back her long black hair and reached elbow-deep into the chile pepper plants. She palmed and plucked the fat serranos, dropping handful after tiny handful into a bucket.The container filled rapidly. Alejandrina stopped well before the pepper pile reached the brim.

She was 12, and it was hard for her to lift a full 15-pound load.

One row over was her brother Fidel, 13, who couldn't keep up with her. He was daydreaming as usual. Their 10-year-old cousin, Jesus, was trying harder but falling behind too.

Alejandrina looked in the distance for the food truck. It was almost noon, five hours since she had a tortilla for breakfast. The sky was cloudless. It would be another 90-degree day in the palm-lined coastal farmland of southern Sinaloa.

"I wish I was home with my baby brother," she said.

Read more: http://graphics.latimes.com/product-of-mexico-children/
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Sun Dec 14, 2014, 12:43 PM (12 replies)

The Company Store is alive and well in Mexico.

A story in the LA Times reminded me of a song:



The story is part 3 of a 4 part series. I posted parts 1 and 2 earlier. The story begins as follows:

Company stores trap Mexican farmworkers in a cycle of debt

By RICHARD MAROSI
Photography by DON BARTLETTI
DEC. 12, 2014

The mom-and-pop monopolies sell to a captive clientele, post no prices and track purchases in dog-eared ledgers. At the end of the harvest, many workers head home owing money.

Third of four stories

REPORTING FROM CAMPO ISABELES, MEXICO

The farmworkers lined up right after work, clutching crumpled pesos. The shelves before them were stacked high with staples: corn flour and beans, diapers and Mexican sweet bread.

Most weren't buying, however.

Dionisia Bustamante handed 1,000 pesos, about $70, to Israel Gastelum, owner of the company store at Campo Isabeles. She was short 2,000, but it was the best she could do. “We’re running out of vegetables to pick,” she explained.

A wiry man held out 400 pesos. "You still owe 500," Gastelum said. "How am I going to pay?" the laborer asked. "We're not earning enough."

Other field hands at Campo Isabeles, part of a farm complex near Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa, stayed away from the store so as not to add to their debts. Catarino Martinez said he had gone without eating that day. Esteban Rodriguez said the storekeeper had threatened to call the police if he didn't pay the 2,000 pesos he owed. Pedro Castillo feared something worse. "The owners said they will take my son or my daughter if I don't pay my bill," he said.


Read more:

http://graphics.latimes.com/product-of-mexico-stores/
Posted by Lionel Mandrake | Fri Dec 12, 2014, 12:40 PM (6 replies)
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