Friday, December 09, 2016

Friday Night Is Music Night: It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing!

A JD compilation to brighten these dark evenings:

This week's musical offering features some 'new style' swing music -

- plus a last-minute bonus:

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Do you remember when...?


From Science Daily we have another story about implanted memories.

Many people are prone to 'remembering' events that never happened, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

In a study on false memories, Dr Kimberley Wade in the Department of Psychology demonstrates that if we are told about a completely fictitious event from our lives, and repeatedly imagine that event occurring, almost half of us would accept that it did.

Hmm - wait until virtual reality takes hold and millions think they were educated at Hogwarts. We ain't seen nothing yet.

Monday, December 05, 2016

If the 2016 EU referendum was not binding, nor was that of 1975

"The referendum result was not legally binding due to the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty. However, it was widely accepted that the vote would be the final say on the matter. In a 1975 pamphlet, then Prime Minister Harold Wilson said: "[. . .] I ask you to use your vote. For it is your vote that will now decide. The Government will accept your verdict."[2] The pamphlet also said: "Now the time has come for you to decide. The Government will accept your decision - whichever way it goes." ",_1975

If the 2016 vote to leave is worthless, then so was the 1975 vote to remain. The real constitutional crisis was inherent in making the abdication of national sovereignty merely a (heavily downplayed) plank in party politics.

Three other countries had a referendum on the issue beforehand, in 1972 - and Norway said no. The UK waited for 3 years and held a referendum only because the Labour Party opposed EEC membership while in opposition.

Either we are headed out, or we were never in.

Dumpster Journalism

Jim in San Marcos writes:

50 years ago, when you picked up a newspaper, you got a report of tragedies, deaths, assassinations, wars and weather reports along with the sports and business pages.

In today’s world, we have people writing the news before it happens. The US Presidential election comes to mind. The problem is, it didn’t happen as written.

What is not appreciated here, is that the manipulation did not go as planned. Journalism failed the common reader by interpreting too many facts and arriving at a conclusion that the reader was expected to reach after reading the article.

The Great Depression of 2006 is now being referred to as the Great Recession of 2006. My point that I made in the past, was that the people of the 1929 Great Depression had no idea that they were in great depression. Something was drastically wrong and they had no idea what it was. It was only when you picked up a history book in the 1950’s that you discovered the Great Depression. It was only when things started to get very noticeably better did people look back and see what they had been in.

I used the newspaper example of how Hillary had the election won to show how the truth about the economy has been stretched a tad. We are being told the economy is just great. 95 million people no longer looking for work and 45 million on food stamps. The fact you can earn more money from an interest perspective, spending money, rather than saving money turns every rule about financing upside down.

The stock market hits new highs. Most all stocks are divorced from the company they represent, the only thing that connects the buyer to the stock value is the dividend. Every stock has an owner and it is not the company (from a technical aspect). The price is determined by what another person is willing to pay for it. So a drop in the price of IBM of say $100 would revalue the net worth of shares issued, but not reflect in one bit the real assets of the actual company.

Right now, the world of journalism says everything is just great. Kind of reminds me of the many newspapers that flat out stated that “Donald Trump could never be elected President.” A reality check seems to indicate that whatever opinions are available to us right now don’t know any more than we do, absolutely nothing.

Admitting that we know nothing gives us the ability to discard common sense if we feel it necessary. We all want to be comforted thinking we made the right decision by looking for company that shares our views, and that leads to problems. The herd is often wrong when it really matters.

The problems that we are about to face have been around 6 to 8 years. My only advice, if you have a job, keep it for the next two years and see how things progress in the immediate future. I get my first Social Security paycheck in two weeks at the age of 70 and I am still working.

We do have to realize that whatever solutions are proposed to fix the current problems will be solved by people who have saved money in the system (you can't tax people that are broke). The most visible taxable assets are wages, real estate and bank savings. What we need to understand is, the whole population is the target for any solution to the problem, not some sort of spend until we drop, financial boondoggle by Congress. We could end up with a Value Added Tax for manufacturing and production. In the future, for Congress, it should be, "Real money in, Real money out."

Remember when you buy a newspaper, they give you what you want to hear, otherwise you select another news source. So, in today’s world you get to pick your own perceived reality. The trouble is, there is no feedback until it is too late, if you are wrong.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Friday Night Is Music Night: Happy Feet!

JD says...

"Dance like nobody is watching!"

I plead guilty to that! Starting at school, as we all did surely, with Scottish country dancing. And then in the Church's youth club trying to master the waltz- stomp two three, stomp two three! And then into adolescence and the local palais de danse followed by local jazz and beat clubs where it was the jive and twisting the night away. Further down the road, I met an ex- Bluebell Girl who tried to teach me the tango among other things and one night, after the cabaret show she was in, she and I along with the other dancers moved on to a bar somewhere in the old part of Madrid where 'the show' continued - dancing and singing and a glass or two - the joy of life arises in such moments. And now I find that my local working men's club has dancing most nights of the week and it is very popular. That is good to know and it shows how these things go in cycles, in and out of fashion; as long as there is music, there will be the urge to get up and dance.

Now that I am ancient and with limbs that creak, dancing is a fond memory but I reckon I could still dance as they do in this first video! -

""Jesus says that God’s grace is dancing, and that they ought to join up with it. “If you don’t dance,” he says, “you will never understand who God is, or the joy that could be yours.” (“Ye who dance not know not what we are knowing".) It’s like the people at parties who, for either lack of interest or self-professed lack of skill, just sit on the sidelines of the dance floor, observing the fun from afar; they don’t understand what’s so great about dancing, because they’ve never experienced it for themselves. If we would only let go of our fears and insecurities of looking stupid or not being good enough, we would find that “dancing” (worshipping God, and following his lead) is a very fun and fulfilling and natural activity—it’s what we were created for.""
Sackerson adds:

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Nudge Unit

Nick Chater is co-founder of the research consultancy Decision Technology; and is on the advisory board of what was the Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insight Team (BIT), popularly known as the 'Nudge Unit'.

Whatever one thinks of the Nudge Unit, he is an interesting guy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mince Pies

As most of us must know, mince pies are the point of Christmas. Admittedly Christmas has become tangled up with manic shopping and sentimental twaddle about a guy in a red suit, but that is merely fluff and nonsense. Mince pies are what Christmas is all about. Years ago there was some religious stuff too, but that seems to have given way to the powerful rationality of the mince pie.

Unfortunately our finest mince pie experience came via my late mother-in-law so now we have to make do with second best, but that does not invalidate the pie's primary role at this time of year. So far we have sampled the produce of Sainsbury, Tesco, Granddaughter's play centre and a Matlock cafe.

Obviously it is early in the mince pie season and we intend many more samplings but at this stage it is worth mentioning that Tesco Finest were not particularly fine. Too sweet and not enough spiciness.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference were not bad. Good texture, not too sweet and moderately spicy. They were still supermarket pies though. 

Granddaughter's play centre pies were probably Mr Kipling with all that this implies. At least the coffee rinsed the gunk off my teeth.

The Matlock cafe pies looked as if they came from a local bakery and were pretty good. Good texture, not too sweet and quite spicy. They didn't look as perfect as machine-made pies which ought to be a good sign. 

So all in all not a bad early kick-off for the mince pie season, but it's a pity neither of us is an expert baker. Maybe we'll try Lidl next.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Blair & Co. - A Modest Proposal 

I don't know who is more out of touch with reality: we who hope that the leaders of our various nations actually know what's going on and how to make the best of it, or those among them who think they do.

But some of them come back after their fantasy performance and want to do more. Mr Blair was the Saviour of Britain, then the Conquering Sword in the Middle East, then tried to be made President of Europania, then appointed himself Peacemaker in the Middle East, and now the Elder Statesman of the Labour Party and Last Hope of the Remainers.

He needs help.

Perhaps, instead of impeaching him or trying him at the Hague (together with George W Bush and a raft of other warmongers and war profiteers), we need to make him - and other deluded Great Leaders - a little faux-world fit for their view of it and themselves.

Private enterprise, bless it, shows us the way:

"For those who have forgotten who they are. For those who no longer count time. For those to whom love and care is all that matters. Dementia Village Advisors creates custom living environments for elderly people with dementia. No big anonymous buildings, but instead manageable and pleasant residential areas. Where it is comfortable for everyone to live. Where residents feel safe at home. Where they enjoy living out their final days, connected with family, caregivers and healthcare providers. Where they can enjoy the precious life they were used to and still want to lead."

Patients gather in the Day Room

No more the grandiose Presidential palaces of Romania, Iraq, Turkey and so on - so often torn apart by foreign military bombardment and domestic insurgents. Instead, securely walled simulacra of Downing Street, EU buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg, the UN, Bohemian Grove etc. Safer, more luxurious, more soothing than the East German elite's compound at Waldsiedlung. And even with the best furnishings, food, wines and chauffeured limousines to nowhere, far less costly than the harm they would do to the world if allowed to wander about it.

I'm thinking crowdfunding - any better suggestions?