Another way of entering function notation in Maple

A while ago, I wrote about writing functions in Maple, which made it possible to use function notation inside of the software. There is a simpler way to do it, taking only one step:

f:=x-> x2 - 3*x + 2
f(5)
                                                   12

And I can place this f(x) in a plot() command, and it will behave the same way as before.

Thank God for the secret Canadian AAEVPC Party!

The political party with the instantly forgettable name of “Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada” and the equally forgettable acronym “AAEVP” have a lot of flaky positions on many issues and thank God they remain a secret party that no one has ever heard of outside of small gatherings here and there.

There are a lot of things to be said in advocacy for the environment, and I am as angry as anyone should be at politicians who turn a deaf ear to things like global warming. The other issue, one of animal rights, is fine, but animal rights seem to trump more immediate human rights concerns in too many communities. We see things like more animal shelters and such (ok I suppose), and in the same communities, PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) and human rights associations closing their doors for lack of funding (definitely NOT ok!). I have seen social activism being reduced to rescuing puppies while the real dirty work of social activism — advocating for the rights of the human species — being sidelined and taken for granted.

“Tough on crime” agendas seem focused more on populating prisons with people guilty or not than of actually lessening crime. “Lessening crime” is a bit of a nonexistent social issue, an illusory one, since crime statistics are the lowest they have been in decades. It is often an empty-headed vote-grabbing issue done by politicians with no real platform to offer their voters. Yet activists and politicians to the left appear to be going to sleep on this issue, or not offering real solutions.

While the environment is something governments must act on, it has additional baggage of being something that will call upon us as citizens to change our personal habits in a profound way and usually in a disruptive way. A vote killer if there ever was one. The painful contradiction of this is that on this score, the AAEVP is right. Somehow, everyone must get it into their heads that the environment is what supports us, and it is the environment that can destroy us. And the environment does not care if you voted in favour of it or not. On the face of it then, there is nothing you can do in support of the environment that will ever be democratic, and that is because the environment imposes its own totality (read: totalitarian dictatorship), and there is no human that you can get angry at for this.

It would be a failure of the human species for the AAEVP to become popular, since your rights would be (quite properly) ignored in favour of the environment, but ignored again in favour of animal rights.

It is true, the Earth can do without humans, and if we wiped ourselves off the Earth (in some other way than through nuclear arms), the Earth can proceed onward, and probably in much better condition over time, creating a paradise that no human will ever know.

If our picture of our world in the future includes our survival, then the only way we can do it is to become stewards of the Earth. Every utterance of the AAEVP concerns protecting the environment and its animal species, so it looks to me that they view themselves as stewards of the environment. But to support animal rights while saying nothing about the more pressing human rights issues that affect us at our very doorstep could give the impression that the AAEVP doesn’t care whether we exist after voting day either.

A reading of their polical platform gives one the impression that they are not that serious. They seem to feel themselves more as persuaders of the other parties than in actually getting themselves elected. I guess I can go back to sleep. Nothing to fear here.

The bad optics of playing the “bully” card for Margaret Trudeau

Yes, I know the context. Margaret said what she said in the grander context of negative politics, using her son as an example.

The CBC article online today grabbed my attention: “Attacks on Justin Trudeau ‘straight out bullying,’ says mom Margaret“. That, and the illustration just conveyed the worst possible image of a mother doting on her grown son, who needs to stand on his own as an independent politician.

It plays into the Conservative image of trying to dissuade voters from Trudeau because of his young age. The truth is that Harper was 43 when he took over the Reform-Alliance Party, and he was almost that age when he first became Prime Minister. That is the same age as Justin Trudeau is now. At any rate the interview was to promote her new book, The Time of Your Life, about growing old as  a woman in Canada. But the last two minutes or so made the headline story.

Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let’s not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With much less Canadian culture left to protect, and with Canadian voices now playing a smaller role in Canadian media, the CRTC really has less of a job to do these days.

To be more level here, one needs to be reminded that the CRTC kept the Cancon requirements for prime time. In addition, the CRTC cites the fact that television must now compete alongside streaming video, and the world-wide web for quite possibly the same viewers who listen and view “content” from just about anywhere and everywhere.

If I watch a video on YouTube, I am usually not aware whether or not the video is Canadian content or not. Sometimes there are clues, and sometimes the video is so famous that its country of origin is unmistakeable (Gangam Style, anyone?). There is a certain amount of reality to the CRTC’s concerns. My viewing habits have made much of what the CRTC is doing to make me more part of Canadian culture, irrelevant. But then, I don’t really know for sure, because to be honest, I don’t really check whether the video is CanCon before I see it. Same for websites.

We feared the encroachment of American culture when we set up the CRTC. Back then, radio and TV were the only games in town. Now we have the Internet, and the prospect of entertainment and information being viewed on all household and personal devices. Not all of that is American. I would say most of it is. After all, the USA is the heart of Google, YouTube, Yahoo, NetFlix, and AOL. The other players are not quite so big. Also, the USA accounts for an outsized proportion of the Internet traffic in the world. While 43% of a country’s citizens on average use the Internet, in the US, it is more like 87%.

I would like to think that I get “world” culture when I go online, but I watch British, American and Canadian documentaries, and usually British or American-produced videos on YouTube regarding phenomena in science or math. My online mailing lists consist of Candians and Americans mostly. I wonder now if having a “Canadian voice” can be said to mean anything these days? It used to mean a way to air “my” concerns with “my” voice. Others living in my country would do the same thing. And in sum, it would turn out that our concerns would be distinctively different from concerns across the border. It is healthy to know our common concerns as a culture.

The CRTC needs to be reminded that we must hear ourselves or be lost in the cacophony of other voices that are not our own. That is the only way we can have more confidence sharing our dialogue with the rest of the world, taking pride in our identity.

The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his former employer, the University of Missouri. He is now a computer systems analyst, and in his spare time, is a writer for the Thought Crime Radio blog.

misc.activism.progressive (MAP) was a moderated newsgroup which accepted submissions from authors of left-leaning articles. Opinions ranged from the mainstream NY Transfer News Collective (who often sent articles from, or based on news from Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the UK Independent and other feeds from the popular press) to the conspiracy theorists at InfoWars.

Some time between 2007 and 2008, one of the biggest contributors to MAP, NY Transfer News Collective, stopped posting articles, and its parent company, Blythe Systems seems to have folded, leaving no Internet trace of itself. The daily output of MAP was cut in half as a result.

Postings gradually died out until March 2011 when they died out completely. As far as I had been able to search out, there appeared to be no warning of this in previous years. Mind you, one would have to search through tens of thousands of posts going back to 2007 just before things started to peter out. By about 2010, name searches for “Rich Winkel” began to come up empty, but his email address was still around.

This newsgroup was always a great source of thought and news regarding labour, politics, and “alternative voices” (as long as you stay away from Infowars). It was always weak on health and science coverage. Medicare was well-covered (because that was more about government, and they were always better at that), but articles along the lines of “chemical xyz can kill you” were usually flaky and withered once you did your own research.

Measles epidemiology and junk science

To take a very recent example, Rich Winkel attached his name to this article, written a few days ago, which claims zero deaths from measles since 2003, but 108 deaths due to vaccines during the same period. The first quote he offers for the zero figure was by CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat, filtered though Associated Press, filtered through Fox News, filtered though the blog Vaccine Impact. The VAERS database he refers to says in its disclaimer that any statistics mentioned should not be taken as cause-and-effect. Anyone with high school math can tell you that correlation does not imply causation. VAERS says that they take in all reported data such as mortality after the injection of a vaccine whether or not the death was associated with a vaccine. The deaths, in other words were recorded in the database even if there were pre-existing conditions, accidents, or whatnot.

But of course, zero is a powerful number. I mean, zero. Zero! How can you argue with zero? Well, in fact you can. Going back to the CDC’s epidemiological data, there are deaths on any year between 2003 and now caused by Measles in the United States. It’s just that the number of measles outbreaks themselves is so low in the United States that it would not surprise me that the numbers would be extremely low (during 2003-2012 between 1 and 4). If I were the CDC chairman, I would round those number to zero, too.

And that would be one death for every dozen or so cases – some years, that a dozen cases would be all of the measles cases in a country of nearly 300 million inhabitants. On the other hand, the 108 figure is quoted without saying how many Americans were vaccinated during the past 12 years. Once I do the research from the source (rather than from quotes of quotes), I seem to get a picture of a successful immunization program, and the 108 deaths (out of the hundreds of millions of vaccinated Americans) could have been due to anything. One death out of a dozen for measles is a larger number than 100 deaths out of 300 million for vaccinations, by several orders of magnitude.

Death is one of the end products of measles, by the way. The CDC reports that, worldwide, 168,000 people died as a result of measles in 2008 alone. That number is pretty sobering.  This is a significant decrease from over 700,000 deaths in 2000. The CDC says that all of these numbers are low, since measles tends to be under-reported. But the 78% decrease, no doubt happened due to a successful immunization program. The CDC says the worldwide numbers cannot go down to zero, since there are counrties such as India, which are slow to apply the recommendations of the WHO, or cannot afford to.

The Florida cases reported by the CDC back in September, 2014 consisted of four child siblings, all between the ages of 7 and 13, none of whom were vaccinated. Measles is transmitted through the air by affected people coughing or sneezing. Did it spread? No, it didn’t. Why? The children in the school they attended, as well as the staff, were immunized, according to the same article. The children attended an amusement park where it was likely someone with measles was there from another country (this is usually the main disease vector in the United States for catching measles in any given year).

The family of those children claimed a religious exemption from vaccinations, and for some time the children recieved a free ride from needing to be immunized thanks to being around their immunized classmates (this is called herd immunity), but that was no protection once they came close to anyone with the actual disease.

Questioning whether the vaccine “works” is a distracting issue (actually, a non-issue since whether the measles vaccine works is beyond debate by any informed person including the CDC and the WHO), and a confusing, obfuscatory barrage of decontextualized factoids from this-and-that source does not advance any useful discussion.

The Philosophical issue of vaccinations

The issue here isn’t about a non-working vaccine or about big bad pharma making money off immunizations (which they are, but in at least this one case, it is well-earned IMO), but Rich Winkel misses a greater philosophical question that can indeed cause much genuine and badly-needed debate:

The parents of these children deny their children the vaccination, making a claim to associated with their freedom of religion. Should the need to protect the population from disease override the indiviual’s freedom of religion for the good of the general population?

I would weigh in that surely, not immunizing your children places them in harm’s way, and you ought to be seen as a negligent parent if you chose this path, regardless of your beliefs; but at the same time, you are exposing others to disease by their lack of protection. The viruses don’t care about your rights, that’s for sure.

But hey, that’s just me. This is more of a topic which would play to Rich Winkel’s strengths, and it truly is a debate suppressed by the major media organs of our culture. I would leave the non-debate as to whether the Vaccine “works” to Fox News.

In Memoriam – Part 2

lauren+bacall1
Lauren Bacall.

Here is a link to the start of this series if you haven’t read it yet.

  • Lauren Bacall (12 Aug). She appeared in several movies alongside Humphrey Bogart. She was 89.
  • Oscar de la Renta (20 Oct). Fashion designer, dead at 82.
  • Dr. Ronald Colapinto (3 Jan). Toronto surgeon best known for developing an intervention which spared many patients from major surgery. He was 79.
  • Pat Quinn (23 Nov). Former Toronto Maple Leafs player, hockey coach, and manager, died at age 71.
  • Merle Bourwis (22 Nov). The oldest living Canadian as of Nov 22. Sum Ying Fung thereafter became the oldest living Canadian (see part 1). Bourwis died at 113.
  • Arturo Licata (24 Apr). It is surprising how rare it is for a supercentenarian to be male. But males living to age 111 such as Arturo Licata are rare in comparison. This would be the world’s oldest male whose age can be verified. He lived in Enna, Italy for all of his life. Sakari Momoi of Japan is 111, and is now the oldest male still living.
  • Jack Bruce (25 Oct). Former Cream lead singer and bassist, dead at 71.
  • Charles Keating (9 Aug). Actor in movies, the TV soap opera Another World and audiobook narrator, passed away at 72 of lung cancer.
  • Bobby Womack (27 Jun). The Soul/R&B singer passed away at age 70.
  • Bob Suter (9 Sep). Former 1980 Winter olympic hockey player (Miracle on Ice), passed away at age 57 suffering from a heart attack.
  • Theodore “Dutch” van Kirk (28 Jul). The pilot who flew The Enola Gay in World War II died at age 93.
  • Sid Caesar
    Sid Caesar

    Sid Caesar (12 Feb). 1950s comedian and television personality. Dead at 91.

  • Richard Attenborough (24 Aug). Famous actor and director, who directed films such as Gandhi, which won eight Academy Awards. He was 90.
  • Keith Davey (17 Jan). The Canadian politician, Senator, and campaign organizer and member of The Order of Canada died at age 84 after a battle with Alzheimers.
  • Jim Flaherty (10 Apr). Canada’s Conservative finanace minister until this year, died suddenly of a heart attack at age 63.
  • James Garner (19 Jul). The TV and movie actor known for playing Jim Rockford in the show The Rockford  Files, passed away in Los Angeles after a period of having heart problems. He was 86.
  • Johnny Winter (16 Jul). The albino blues guitarist for The Edgar Winter Group died after a concert in Zurich, Switzerland at age 70.
  • Ann B. Davis (1 June). Known for her role as housekeeper Alice Nelson on The Brady Bunch. She was 88.
  • Harold Ramis (Feb 24). Former Second City troupe member, contemporary of Dan Akroyd, John Belushi and Bill Murray, he directed blockbuster comedies such as Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Analyze This, and Ghostbusters. He was 69, after succumbing to a rare disease.
  • Tommy Ramone (11 Jul). Former drummer of the 70s punk rock band The Ramones, and the last surviving original member of the band, died at age 62 after a battle with cancer.
  • garbiel_g_marquez
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez (17 Apr). Columbian author and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, died at age 87 in Mexico City after a battle with complications leading to pneumonia.

  • Casey Kasem (15 Jun). Radio personality best known for his hosting the radio program American Top 40 for over 20 years. He was 82.
  • Mickey Rooney (16 Apr). Actor in several films stemming from his childhood years, dead at 93.
  • Simone Battle (9 Sep). X-Factor performer and member of rock group GRL, committed suicide at age 25.
  • Jimi Jamison (31 Aug). Lending his heavy metal guitar stylings to the rock band Survivor after their success seemed to be on the wane, he helped generate at least two top-selling albums and several more singles. He died at age 63 of a stroke.
  • Ralph Waite (13 Feb). Played father John Walton in the TV serial The Waltons, died peacefully at age 85 in Palm Desert, California.
  • willardboyle
    A digital photograph of Dr. Willard Boyle. You knew this was coming.

    Willard Boyle (7 May). Canadian physicist, Order of Canada companion and Nobel Prize winner, did research which paved the way for digital photography for which all web designers and bloggers remain in debt. He was 86.

  • Knowlton Nash (24 May). Longtime anchor of CBC’s The National died at age 86.
  • And last but not least, British singer and guitarist Joe Cocker, dead after rumors of them were not shown to be exaggerated, died of lung cancer in Crawford, Colorado on 22 December.

In Memoriam 2014 – Part 1

Miss_Beazely_and_her_human
Miss Beazely (2004-2014) once spent quality time with her owner.

Well, this post may well need to be broken up into a few parts due to the number of people I had heard about who had passed away this year. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

  • Phil Everly (Jan 3), one half of the influential vocal duo The Everly Brothers. He was 74.
  • George Hamilton IV (Sep 17), one of many country singers. He was 77.
  • Jesse Winchester (Apr 11). Another country music singer who produced 12 studio albums passed away at age 69.
  • Peter Seeger (Jan 27), politically active folk singer, involved in music almost to the end of his 94 years of life.
  • Edward Greenspan (Dec 24). Canadian defense lawyer and author of legal books. Died in Arizona of cancer at age 70.
  • Shirley Temple (Feb 10). The first child actor on film who later became politically active died at age 75.
  • Miss Beazely (17 May). The presidential Scottish Terrier of George W. Bush died at age 10 after a battle with cancer. It was named after a character in Oliver Butterworth’s 1956 Children’s story The Enourmous Egg.
  • Wallace McCain (13 May). Founder of the McCain food empire, this Nova Scotia native was 81.
  • Maria von Trapp (18 Feb). The real-life Maria Franziska von Trapp, the last of the Trapp family singers to survive, has died at age 99. The Trapp Family had inspired movies such as The Sound of Music. She is not to be confused with stepmother Maria Augusta von Trapp who was also part of the same family and was studying to be a nun.
  • Clifford Olson (30 Sep). Serial killer from B. C. who died in jail of cancer at age 71.
  • Alicia Rhett (3 Jan). Former actress best known for her role as Wilkes in the 1939 film Gone With The Wind, died at age 98.
  • lwren
    The 6′ 3″ fashion designer L’Wren Scott, next to her love interest Mick Jagger.

    L’Wren Scott (17 March) aka Laura “Luann” Bamborough, a haute couture fashion designer to many Hollywood actors and actresses and long-time girlfriend of Mick Jagger, committed suicide at age 49. She was found dead in their Manhattan apartment by an assistant.

  • Jean Beliveau (2 Dec). The former star player for the Montreal Canadiens died at age 82.
  • Wayne Robson (4 Apr). The actor who played Mike Hamar on The Red Green Show, died at age 64.
  • Alan Blakeney (16 Apr). Saskatchewan NDP premier for over two decades Alan Blakeney had died at age 85.
  • Sum Ying Fung (6 Dec). Up until this month the oldest living Canadian, she died peacefully at age 113 in her home in Burnaby, B. C.
  • Paul Revere (15 Sep). Former front man for the 60s rock group Paul Revere and the Raiders, died at age 75.
  • H. R. Giger (12 May). Swiss surrealist whose work became the centre of controversy when one of his paintings was used on the inner sleeve for a record album called Frankenchrist by the punk rock band The Dead Kennedys. He was 74.
  • Robin Williams (11 Aug). Famous comedian, committed suicide at age 63 after battling with addiction. Article.
  • Joan Rivers (4 Sep). American comedienne, born Joan Alexandra Molinsky and known for her controversial humor and wit. Died at age 81.
  • Maximillian Schell (1 Feb). Oscar -winning actor of Swiss-Austrian heritage, died at age 83.
  • Seymour Hoffman (Feb 2). Former actor, director and producer found dead in his Manhattan apartment from a drug overdose. Suicide appeared to be ruled out. He was 46.
  • marionbarry
    Fomer DC mayor Marion Barry

    Marion Barry (23 Nov). Former mayor of Washington DC known for his civil rights activism and for his fight for racial equality. He was 78.

  • Bob Casale (17 Feb). Former member of the early New Wave band Devo died at age 61.
  • Rehtaeh Parsons (7 Apr). This 17 year-old Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia girl committed suicide. This act was notable due to its association with cyber-bullying following a sexual assault. She is also notable for being by far the youngest person on this list.
  • Ariel Sharon (11 Jan). Former Israeli president died at age 85.
  • Maya Angelou (28 May). American author and civil rights activist died at home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at age 86.
  • Anna Henderson (1 July). The world’s oldest living person, and the world’s 6th oldest living person whose age at death is beyond dispute has died at age 114 in Philadelphia.

SJ: New, improved and updated

This blog has been flaky since an incident happened which caused this blog to be relocated to another server. However, After about two solid days of work trying to fix much of its brokenness (especially the audio/video), things are pretty much all fixed. There are still problems whenever a link to a video for streaming best place to buy tramadol doesn’t work, and I need to fix those. But most of the A/V files seem to display and be heard. Other blog plugins are also being fixed and improved upon, to enhance your reading experience.

Here is a video to test the “Add Media” functions in the editor:

All-time top-10

This top 10 music list is inspired by a YouTube video. The problem with the video was that it didn’t seem to be going for what was really all-time status; it seemed to be aimed at people whose memories go back no more than 20 years. That is, so long as we trust The Beatles, The Stones and Elvis as so iconic that no one will ever forget them (since, yes, they were mentioned).

Madonna was “popular”, sold a whole lot of recordings and videos, but no one back in the day ever accused her of being talented. However, she challenged social norms through her videos — at least, that’s what the video tries to tell itself, since most of the “challenges” were aimed at a more prurient level. She did not elevate the discussion on feminism; she debased it. I am sure, however, that Madonna does not give a whit about what I think. I could go on with how reviewers have said that she was a woman “totally in control of her career”, but exposing that fallacy would take us off topic and could fill a whole other article.

The top 10 of all-time is a hard list to make, since that would mean that I have to think for everyone. Rolling Stone Magazine seem to be the most serious about the idea; Watchmojo.com, maybe not so serious.

The bottom 5 were difficult because there were a lot of musicians I could have placed there. I didn’t consider any

  • rap and hip-hop: sometimes great for novelty tunes, and sometimes for actual music; but no staying power musically IMO. Much of it is too negative and self-hating. If the KKK owned the same record labels that churned out the Hip-hop and Rap tunes, I don’t think either the music or concerts would change one bit. Many musicians in this genre are doing to people of color what Madonna did for feminism: debase the discussion. Except that they do it much more efficiently: calling women “Bitches” and “Hoes” for example, are well-known.
  • Punk rock. White man’s hip hop. Also too negative IMO.
  • heavy metal: Mojo mentioned AC-DC and Metallica, for example. Both popular in the 80s, but these bands have faded. Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are still remembered, and are more than a decade older. I was more selective.

The bottom 5 for me were:

  1. Michael Jackson. Mojo placed him at #3. I think that is over-rating him, although having lived through the 80s, and having found myself to be the owner of a Thriller album (while not being enamoured of his persona or music generally), I think he should be placed somewhere. The Thriller album alone could have made any musician’s career. Of the 9 tracks on the album, 7 were top-10 hits according to Billboard, and the album is the #1 all-time best selling record album.
  2. Pink Floyd. Their 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon  was another all-time bestseller (second only to Thriller), having remained on Billboard for a staggering 741 weeks (14 years, three months, and one week). The Wall did not enjoy such longevity, but it too was a monster seller, and has long since enjoyed an iconic status of its own. But Pink Floyd’s output was small over the 35 years or so of its existence. Dark Side of the Moon finally left the Billboard Hot 100 Album Chart in 1987.
  3. U2. They heavily influenced youth culture in the late 80s to the mid-90s, and had a consistent output. They also elevated discussion about human conflict, religion, and social inequality through their music.
  4. Bruce Springsteen. It’s quite something when my aging English prof (recently deceased) started comparing the lyrics of the songs of Bruce Springsteen to the poetry of William Wordsworth. Both chronicled social change from the point of view of the underdog. Springsteen has influenced many musicians, and comes from a musical pedigree of amazing musicians from the East Coast of United States. He has also had a prolific musical output and a strong following.
  5. Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin took heavy metal to a level beyond what anyone would have thought. Most of Led Zeppelin is an acquired taste, but some of it gets you in the solar plexus right away. If if you check out any “greatest song of all time” list you can find on the Internet, 1971’s  Stairway to Heaven would either be #1 or at least in the top 5 for most of them, even today.

It was difficult to get the order right on the top 5. But I think this comes somewhat close. The top 5 of the top 10 were:

  1. Elton John. Elton Hercules John (aka Reginald Kenneth Dwight) is a hard act to pin down. In some ways, he was overexposed, but he did pen enough monster hits with the aid of Bernie Taupin over the past 40 years to fill three greatest hits albums and three more compilations. For the first few years we saw him diving for his piano at concerts (in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis before him), except he dressed more flamboyantly, to put it mildly. I don’t think he ever needed to be that flamboyant, but I suppose he needed to stand out among all those other great 70s musicans.
  2. Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones dominated for five decades, and by the 1980s finally outsold and out-charted their old rivals, The Beatles in pretty much all categories. But it took them a while. If you add to their 29 studio albums their compilations and live albums, their career output (so far) is 66 albums. And that’s not to even mention bootleg albums.
  3. Jimi Hendrix. You may have your favourite metal guitarist, but without Hendrix, there would be no blues metal, no heavy metal, and none of the metal varieties including punk that came later. He is number 3 mostly due to his sheer influence on the dozens of genres that were made possible due to him. But his popularity mostly spans to those who know something about music, and to those who know that playing lead, rhythm and bass on the same guitar at the same time is a feat that few musicians can accomplish.
  4. Elvis Presley. The much-impersonated Elvis Presley, for the sheer number of hits over two decades spanning genres which include blues, country and gospel (all without ever losing what modern marketers call his “fan base”), has been a huge influence on muscians and performers over the decades. People still idolize him, even young people.
  5. The Beatles. They only lasted less than 10 years, but their legacy will be remembered for decades to come. In 1967 they had to stop performing because the din from screaming fans was so loud that the band members and other audience members had trouble hearing them play. And while their album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band did not have any singles (that was the group’s desire), it still sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide and reached #1 on nearly every rock album chart in the world.

In a world where all noise are created equal VI: “Christmas” music

Only 5 days to Christmas, and you need some music. Let me help out …

It’s that time of year again, and here are some musical genres listed at Every Noise at Once that have “Christmas” in the names:

celtic christmas This is a good, Irish-influenced way to hear Xmas music: Clannad, The Chieftans, Enya, …
christian christmas  As opposed to …?
christmas  The standard fare
christmas product  More standard fare
classical christmas Another nice addition to the holiday spirit. Why do you need to hear Burl Ives or Bing Crosby for the bazillionth time anyway?
country christmas Just about any country musician will do. Too many to list: ranging from Tennessee Ernie Ford to Dwight Yoakam.
folk christmas Folk? I am unsure how they justify listing Elton John, Natalie Marchant, and Bruce Springsteen as Folk. I can see Peter Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan, but Death Cab for Cutie? Really? My favourite Christmas song, “Calling on Mary” by Aimee Mann is listed here. More bluesy than folky, though. Most of the names listed under “Folk” are notable for pop music.
heavy christmas If you want your Christmas tunes sung by bands like Warrant, Dokken, Faster Pussycat, or Ted Nugent, you’ve come to the right place.
indie christmas For those who wish to drink their egg nog to the musical styings of Fountains of Wayne, The Dandy Warhols, Ben Folds, Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, Weezer, Liz Phair, among many others.
jazz christmas There are all the standard Jazz names there: Chick Corea, David Brubeck, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, and while Miles Davis is listed, there is no musical sample available of him. Boo!
latin christmas Latino Christmas music, not Christmas in Latin. Both exist. Could confuse people.
pop christmas A near-copy of the Folk genre. In addition, you have Cher, Bowie, Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Carly Simon, and too many more to list.
punk christmas If you would rather kiss under the mistletoe to Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, or NOFX, then this is the genre for you.
soul christmas Now, wouldn’t it be a good idea to listen to your favourite carols to the vocal stylings of Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, or Gladys Night and the Pips?
world christmas From what I can tell, what is listed here is mostly South American influenced.

In a world where all noise are created equal V: “Black” music …?

Music genres with “Black” in the names …

atmospheric black metal
black death
black metal
black sludge
black thrash
blackgaze
chaotic black metal
dark black metal
depressive black metal
more symphonic black metal
pagan black metal
raw black metal
symphonic black metal
unblack metal

In a world where all noise are created equal IV: names that sound like something else …

If you thought long enough about these names, they would have other (non-musical) connotations. Just sayin’. And yes, there are people who claim these genres really exist.

big room
bouncy house
catstep
charred death
corrosion
deathgrind
deep chill
deep house
deep liquid
experimental psych
fake
fallen angel
full on
funeral doom  If it was my funeral, I wouldn’t care
future garage
goregrind
gothic doom
guidance
hands up
hard alternative  Then, is it worth my while?
hauntology
jerk
lowercase
microhouse
minimal wave
nordic house
power violence
psychobilly
relaxative
rock steady
soda pop According to the samplings, this seems to be torch songs from the late 50s and early 60s.
space rock
steampunk
trapstep
vaporwave

In a world where all noise are created equal III: Absurdly obtuse genre names

Whether due to the fusion of too many genres or names which relegate the band to certain obscurity, these are ones I chose which I cannot even imagine what the sound must be like. To know, the website Every Noise at Once gives sound samples of most bands and genres they list.

alternative new age
ambient psychill  Most of these could just be labelled “techno”
ambient trance
anti-folk
antiviral pop  Pop that will never be viral … ?
crust punk
deep alternative r&b  More “deep” genres
deep happy hardcore
deep filthstep
deep space rock
e6fi From now on, genres will be given serial numbers
fidget house
ghettotech
gothic americana
grim death metal
happy hardcore
hatecore
heavy christmas
martial industrial
mathcore
melodic death metal  For your melodic death
melodic metalcore
necrogrind  Who gets to decide what the difference is between “melodic death metal” and “necrogrind”?
post-post-hardcore
progressive psytrance
progressive uplifting trance
rock noise
technical brutal death metal  For your technical brutality
turntablism  For all those turntablists out there
underground latin hip hop
vocaloid

If operating systems were airlines (a compilation)

If Operating Systems Were Airlines is a popular article that predates the web, and was first seen in Usenet in the 1980s. Over time, it has undergone several revisions all over the internet. Here is a compilation as far as I can do. Most of this is sourced from webaugur.com. But there has been other OSes added from elsewhere. Illustrations and logos are from random places about the web.

DOS Airlines

Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again, then they push again jump on again, and so on.

OS/2 Airlines

The terminal is almost empty, with only a few prospective passengers milling about. The announcer says that their flight has just departed, wishes them a good flight, though there are no planes on the runway. Airline personnel walk around, apologising profusely to customers in hushed voices, pointing from time to time to the sleek, powerful jets outside the terminal on the field. They tell each passenger how good the real flight will be on these new jets and how much safer it will be than Windows Airlines, but that they will have to wait a little longer for the technicians to finish the flight systems.

Once they finally finished you’re offered a flight at reduced cost.  To board the plane, you have your ticket stamped ten different times by standing in ten different lines. Then you fill our a form showing where you want to sit and whether the plane should look and feel like an ocean liner, a passenger train or a bus. If you succeed in getting on the plane and the plane succeeds in taking off the ground, you have a wonderful trip…except for the time when the rudder and flaps get frozen in position, in which case you will just have time to say your prayers and get in crash position.

Wings of Windows

The terminal is pretty and colorful, with friendly stewards, easy baggage check and boarding, and a smooth take-off.  After about 10 minutes in the air, the plane explodes with no warning whatsoever.

Windows NT Air

Just like Windows Air, but costs more, uses much bigger planes, and takes out all the other aircraft within a 40-mile radius when it explodes.

Mac Air Air

All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are told you don’t need to know, don’t want to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.

Unix Airlines

Each passenger brings a piece of the airplane and a box of tools to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, they build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations. All passengers believe they got there.

OSX Air:

You enter a white terminal, and all you can see is a woman sitting in the corner behind a white desk, you walk up to get your ticket. She smiles and says “Welcome to OS X Air, please allow us to take your picture”, at which point a camera in the wall you didn’t notice before takes your picture. “Thank you, here is your ticket” You are handed a minimalistic ticket with your picture at the top, it already has all of your information. A door opens to your right and you walk through. You enter a wide open space with one seat in the middle, you sit, listen to music and watch movies until the end of the flight. You never see any of the other passengers. You land, get off, and you say to yourself “wow, that was really nice, but I feel like something was missing”

Wings of OS/400

The airline has bought ancient DC-3s, arguably the best and safest planes that ever flew, and painted “747” on their tails to make them look as if they are fast. The flight attendants, of course, attend to your every need, though the drinks cost $15 a pop. Stupid questions cost $230 per hour, unless you have SupportLine, which requires a first class ticket and membership in the frequent flyer club. Then they cost $500, but your accounting department can call it overhead.

Mach Airlines

There is no airplane. The passengers gather and shout for an airplane, then wait and wait and wait and wait. A bunch of people come, each carrying one piece of the plane with them. These people all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they’re building. The plane finally takes off, leaving the passengers on the ground waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. After the plane lands, the pilot telephones the passengers at the departing airport to inform them that they have arrived.

Newton Airlines

After buying your ticket 18 months in advance, you finally get to board the plane. Upon boarding the plane you are asked your name. After 6 times, the crew member recognizes your name and then you are allowed to take your seat. As you are getting ready to take your seat, the steward announces that you have to repeat the boarding process because they are out of room and need to recount to make sure they can take more passengers.

VMS Airlines (Also applies to MVS Airways)

The passengers all gather in the hanger, watching hundreds of technicians check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers. All the passengers scramble aboard, as do the necessary complement of 200 technicians. The pilot takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.

UNIX Airways

Everyone brings one piece of the plane along when they come to the airport. They all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing non-stop about what kind of plane they are supposed to be building.

BeOS Air

You have to pay for the tickets, but they’re half the price of Windows Air, and if you are an aircraft mechanic you can probably ride for free. It only takes 15 minutes to get to the airport and you are cheuferred there in a limozine. BeOS Air only has limited types of planes that only only hold new luggage. All planes are single seaters and the model names all start with an “F” (F-14, F-15, F-16, F-18, etc.). The plane will fly you to your destination on autopilot in half the time of other Airways or you can fly the plane yourself. There are limited destinations, but they are only places you’d want to go to anyway. You tell all your friends how great BeOS Air is and all they say is “What do you mean I can’t bring all my old baggage with me?”

Windows XP Air

You turn up at the airport,which is under contract to only allow XP Air planes. All the aircraft are identical, brightly coloured and three times as big as they need to be. The signs are huge and all point the same way. Whichever way you go, someone pops up dressed in a cloak and pointed hat insisting you follow him. Your luggage and clothes are taken off you and replaced with an XP Air suit and suitcase identical to everyone around you as this is included in the exorbitant ticket cost. The aircraft will not take off until you have signed a contract. The inflight entertainment promised turns out to be the same Mickey Mouse cartoon repeated over and over again. You have to phone your travel agent before you can have a meal or drink. You are searched regularly throughout the flight. If you go to the toilet twice or more you get charged for a new ticket. No matter what destination you booked you will always end up crash landing at Whistler in B. C.

Windows Vista Airlines:

You enter a good looking terminal with the largest planes you have ever seen. Every 10 feet a security officer appears and asks you if you are “sure” you want to continue walking to your plane and if you would like to cancel. Not sure what cancel would do, you continue walking and ask the agent at the desk why the planes are so big. After the security officer making sure you want to ask the question and you want to hear the answer, the agent replies that they are bigger because it makes customers feel better, but the planes are designed to fly twice as slow. Adding the size helped achieve the slow fly goal.

Once on the plane, every passenger has to be asked individually by the flight attendants if they are sure they want to take this flight. Then it is company policy that the captain asks the passengers collectively the same thing. After answering yes to so many questions, you are punched in the face by some stranger who when he asked “Are you sure you want me to punch you in the face? Cancel or Allow?” you instinctively say “Allow”.

After takeoff, the pilots realize that the landing gear driver wasn’t updated to work with the new plane. Therefore it is always stuck in the down position. This forces the plane to fly even slower, but the pilots are used to it and continue to fly the planes, hoping that soon the landing gear manufacturer will give out a landing gear driver update.

You arrive at your destination wishing you had used your reward miles with XP airlines rather than trying out this new carrier. A close friend, after hearing your story, mentions that Linux Air is a much better alternative and helps.

GNU/Linux Airlines

Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, “You had to do what with the seat?”

In a world where all noise are created equal II: Futile Reinvention

Here is a list of names of genres that appear as futile attempts at reinvention of existing genres:

abstract hip hop
chaotic hardcore
brutal deathcore
deep disco Contradiction in terms
deeper house There are a raft of genres preceded by the adjective “deeper” which seem to exist.
disco polo
folk-prog
folk punk
geek folk
geek rock
grave wave A genre that admits that new wave is dead.
hard stoner rock
math pop There are a number of genres that are listed with “nerd” in front of the name, such as “nerdcore”, but this one is new to me. But “pop” implies popularity. Would you play “math pop” to be popular?
math rock
neo metal
neo soul
nu age One of a raft of genres made newer by the placement of “nu” in front of the genre name
post rock
protopunk
scorecore
screamocore
terrorcore
underground pop rap

Samplings and band names are located at Every Noise at Once.

In a world where all noise are created equal I: Genres I know nothing about

The website everynoise.com deals in some way with plotting the musical classification categories of all music that exists (to which they are aware) on their web page. The next few articles form a small sample of the nearly 1500 genres listed. On that website, if you click on a genre, you are given a sound sample. Click again, you are led to another page consisting of band names in that genre. Now, as a former college DJ, I have heard of a lot of these genres, but here is a list I have not heard of at all:

acousmatic
atmospheric post-metal
australian alternative rock
brazilian indie
brutal death metal This is actually one of many genres that are made new by placing the word “brutal” in the genre name.
christian hardcore
christian punk
classic chinese pop
classic peruvian pop
columbus ohio indie
freakbeat
funky breaks
hurban
hyphy
liquid funk
serialism
stomp and whittle
stomp pop
technical death metal Where music goes to technically die, I suppose.
triangle indie
ye ye
yoik

This is the first of a series of lists of strange music genre names listed at the site. For a complete list along with band names and music samplings, visit the site Every Noise at Once.

What I liked about Robin Williams

Robin Williams, 1951-2014
Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Robin Williams was a great comedian, whose greatest strengths lay in ad-libbing. It is said that the writers for Mork and Mindy left intentional gaps in the script so that Robin could fill it in with his lightning-fast ad-libbing.

He played very funny characters on stage and TV, but he also played very warm, but serious characters on film. One serious character was his role as counselor Sean Maguire in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, a film loosely based on the life of Will Sidis, a real-life savant, rumored to have an IQ of 250 to 300, but his IQ could not have been as high as that. Indeed, the scale does not go above 200.

Whatever he played, there was an undeniably human quality about every character he played, as far as I could tell. Even the zaniest or improbable characters had a human quality you could connect with emotionally.

He was an actor with an amazing amount of energy, and he will surely be missed.

Robin Williams died today at age 63.

In memoriam 2009 (what the heck)

I had something else in mind when I compiled this list of people who passed away back in 2009. For the heck of it, I am posting some “interesting” people who died that year (not in any particular order):

Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar.
Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar.

Les Paul – Guitarist and maker of guitars. Inventor of the electric guitar. Rock wouldn’t have existed without him.

Ed McMahon – Former night show sidekick and infomercial huckster
Farrah Fawcett – It was rather remarkable that lots of celebrities passed on in 2009. When I went through them at the IMDB website, I stopped counting at 600. In my “in memoriam” blogs, it’s not my style to emphasize celebrity deaths, but it can’t be helped here.
Micheal Jackson – Needs no introduction.
Sen. Ted Kennedy – While I don’t follow the Kennedys all that much, would he be the last surviving sibling of the “JFK” generation?
Gidget

The Taco Bell Dog (Gidget) – Rest in peace, little guy.

David Carradine – The Kung Fu star
Dom DeLuise – The comedian only known to play a narrow range of characters, but appeared in plenty of movies
Walter Cronkite – News anchor for CBS, first to announce the death of JFK
Beatrice Arthur – Star of Maude and later, Golden Girls
Susan Atkins
Susan Atkins

Susan Atkins (“Sexy Sadie”) – Neither a celebrity nor politician, nor particularly “sexy”, was one of the murderers of the Charles Manson cult.

Billy Mays (ad huckster, “Tool Guys”) – Even infomercial hucksters are in greater than usual numbers here.
Ricardo Montalban – First, Nescafe, then Fantasy Island, then Star Trek, and now “the Undiscovered Country, from whose bourn no traveller returns” – Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.
Soupy Sales – Comedian most known during the 60s and 70s.
Sydney Chaplin – Famous for being the son of Charlie.
Roy Disney – Famous for being the brother of Walt.
John Travolta – First a sweathog, then a singer, then Saturday Night Fever, then Scientology.
Lux Interior

Lux Interior (The Cramps) – Punk rocker famous for incorporating the tackiest elements of ’50s chic into his music, art, and personal style. His songs appear on several recent movie soundtracks, including The Social Network, and The Matador.

Alex Jones and his nutty ideas

As you may have known, I have a thing for loonies in that I find their stuff so entertaining. Alex Jones is neither a lefty, nor is he right-wing. He’s nothing more than a conspiracy nutjob, pure and undiluted by rational thought, although there is the occasional flash of bright light which gets quickly clouded over again by the next whacky conspiracy theory or statement which is unsupported by any document or fact that exists outside of the world Alex Jones’s imagination. And on it goes. Alex Jones has been head of InfoWars since before 9/11, and he has only gotten crazier with age. And the one thing about nutjobs — they cannot be parodied. Their heads are so far up their ass, they are already enough of a spectacle in that their own words are enough. I already said the same thing earlier about Rob Ford.

What follows has appeared before on the Perry Logan website. It is mostly reproduced here, stripped of commentary, since I think that Alex Jones needs to be best experienced without comments of any kind, since that would clash with rational thinking. Here goes:

  • Israel microwaved a hundred thousand of its own children.
  • Your cell phones are watching you every moment.
  • The main source of meat in North Korea is executed prisoners.
  • SWAT teams are being taught that Christians are evil.
  • The government can control the weather.
  • The Mafia was started by Julius Ceaser’s grandfather.
  • Vaccines are killing our children.
  • Texas is run by the Masons.
  • Masons can commit murder.  They make a secret sign to the judges and are immediately set free.  This has been solidly confirmed.
  • They sacrifice babies at Bohemian Grove.
  • “Cell phones have been proven in hundreds of major studied to cause brain tumnors.  There’s no debating it.”
  • The NRA are gun grabbers.
  • There are government-run white slavery rings.
  • Columbine was a government op.
  • Wal-Mart is a Defense Department front.
  • Illegal aliens get to go to the front in emergency rooms.
  • They put mercury in your vaccines to brain-damage your children.
  • The Aztecs would take hallucinogenic enemas and cut their penises off.
  • Alex Jones has correctly predicted everything that has happened in the last 10 years.
  • FEMA has a giant private army.
  • Illegal immigrants get free tuition and discounts on their Twinkies.
  • There’s a worldwide takeover going on, perceptible only to dumb white guys… …but everyone is waking up. 
  • The ruling elite of the world worship Moloch.
  • During his inauguration, President Clinton openly gave the sign of Satan for all the world to see.
  • The secret rulers of the world can live forever.
  • The elite have openly announced can you buy tramadol online that they want to kill 80% of us.
  • Jacques Cousteau wanted to kill 80% of us.
  • You can’t succeed in academe unless you agree that 80% of the population has to be killed off.
  • Dick Cheney writes papers saying terrorism isn’t real.
  • The U.S. Government went around Italy blowing up school busses full of children…& admitted it.
  • There are little wires in dollar bills that keep track of what you buy.
  • Vicente Fox can morph into a green devil.
  • The Communist Chinese Army has taken over the Massachusetts Port Authority.
  • Noam Chomsky is a mongoloid idiot.  Also an agent.
  • There are Illuminati symbols on Starbucks coffee cups.
  • Exits on tollroads are 50 miles apart.
  • There are live AIDS viruses in the corn.
  • 91% of Americans are Nazis.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is a known Nazi.
  • All of Clinton’s cabinet were Jewish.
  • Devil-worshipers run the country.
  • The United Nations goes around Africa, sterilizing women at random
  • The Founding Fathers were basically stupid
  • All throughout history, governments have always been Evil.
  • Power outages are government plots.
  • Illegal immigration is a government plot.
  • The counterculture is a government plot.
  • Vaccines are a government plot.
  • Thumb scanning is a government plot.
  • Environmentalism is a government plot.
  • The National Seat Belt Initiative is a government plot.
  • Feminism is a government plot. (and Gloria Steinem is a CIA operative.)
  • Toll roads are a government plot.
  • The drug culture is a government plot.
  • Cell phones are a government plot.
  • Wal Mart is a government plot. 
  • Sports are a government plot.
  • Antidepressants are a government plot.
  • All domestic terror attacks are government plots.
  • The government keeps “giant, honeycombed hives full of toddlers drugged on lithium”
  • The government brings in all the drugs.
  • The government is spraying us with EVIL CHEMICALS contained in the cone trails of planes
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is part of an Austrian plot to take over America.
  • Skull & Bones is part of an English plot to take over America.
  • The United Nations is part of a (very slow) plot to take over America.
  • Children’s cartoons are part of a government plot to brainwash us.
  • Organized religion is brainwashing us.
  • The secret ruling elite of the world are putting up buildings that look like owls.
  • Most major police chiefs are CIA operatives.
  • The voting-machine companies are openly run by the CIA.
  • The Quakers are communists.
  • Lyndon Johnson had John Kennedy killed.
  • The UN has sold thousands of children into slavery & for snuff films.
  • Gays are actively recruiting in our schools.
  • The United Nations goes around Africa, sterilizing women at random
  • Every soldier who died in any war since the Civil War was a chump
  • 9-11 was only the beginning; there are going to be lots of even bigger domestic attacks
  • They only hire people with IQ’s below 100 to become police officers. 

Critique of the “Mindblowing Fact” video on income inequality

The video in question  is quite “mind-blowing” as promised, indeed, at over 13 million hits, it can even be called “viral”, but there are problems in how it presents and handles facts and references. While I don’t have a problem with the facts, and I am quite certain they are based on serious numbers, the presentation was too slick, with style clearly triumphing over detail.

The speaker begins by saying he was disturbed by a Harvard study that said that the actual distribution of wealth, what Americans think that distribution is, and the distribution of wealth idealized by Americans is totally out of whack. Americans are aware of existing inequalities, but have not the slightest idea of the extent of those inequalities. While he cites the Harvard study in his presentation, his only printed citation in his list of references at the end was the Mother Jones website, which, if you scroll down, you will find the “source”. In effect, the speaker, whom I didn’t catch the name of, is in effect citing Mother Jones citing the study by Professor Norton of Harvard Business School. I am aware of “Worstall’s Fallacy”, touted most of all by Forbes commentator Tim Worstall himself (Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, and self-described as a “world expert on Scandium”, a transition metal), that “income” and “wealth” are different ideas that seem similar, and that the speaker in this video was committing “Worstall’s Fallacy” by confusing the two. I am never told quite where the speaker in the video does this. But then I thought that even if you corrected for that in the video, it would not change the overall message, just dull it a little bit.

But an even more worrisome statement in the video was at around 2:24 or so, where he derides socialism. Why does he feel he has to separate himself from socialists? Socialism should not be considered a dirty word. The distribution he labels “socialism” is actually Communism. You can only have absolutely equal wealth distributions (as in Communism) in a command economy where you have “no freedom to choose your major”, as Abbie Hoffman once said about Maoist China in the late ’60s (why else other than in an unfree society would you study medicine if you were only going to make as much as a janitor?). And the “ideal” American distribution cited as supportable by 9/10 Americans (where rich and poor coexist) would only be possible through wealth redistribution. I think the word for that second option begins with “S” and ends with “m” and rhymes with “populism”, and exists to some extent in most advanced capitalist democracies around the world. In fact, capitalist democracies are the only places I think that socialism is possible.

A choice joke I heard making the rounds is the one about a Union worker, a Tea Party supporter, and a millionaire Industrialist in the same room where there is a plate with a dozen cookies. The Industrialist takes 11 of them, and whispers to the Tea Party supporter: “That Union guy is trying to steal your cookie!”