How cons work (with video)

It’s all about manipulating your in-built reciprocity of trust.

Wish I’d known about this years ago… I can look back and see several examples of how I’ve been royally taken (not for cash, thank goodness) via the same mechanism.  The video is worth viewing, too.

Presidents… use the hand lotion.

From now on, man, if you’re running for office, I’m cool if you BATHE in the stuff.


My teacher Sucks.

Actually, no, he doesn’t.  Not even close.  In addition to being a good guy, he’s also a great instructor.


Like all instructors who know exactly what they’re talking about, he’s fond of saying things that are self-evidently true, and then waiting for the rest of us to feel our brains exploding until the day we blink twice and say “well, duh…..

“Baguazhang is nothing but Earth.”

It’s been three and a half years since the first day I heard this.  And now, working very carefully on my elements trying not to screw up my jacked-up knee… I’ve blinked twice.  Well, duh.  Of course it is.


*bangs forehead against wall*


Got my first actual student stalker.  Thank GOD it’s been (hopefully) taken care of, without me even finding out who it was.


Operation BeeBop

No, not Cowboy BeeBop.

Rather, this.  The cat you are seeing in this creature is a wild/stray who we’ve fed over the ages, and who I’ve gradually… befriended isn’t the right word, but we get along… and she does like her skritches…. in spite of herself.  Meet BeeBop.


Yes, this IS a stray cat… and no, she’s not trying to escape in the picture, but rather she’s pillowing furiously.

She’s got the potential to be an Official Mitchell Cat.  In this spectacularly unflattering picture, the hyper-relaxed look on my face is only partially for kitty’s sake…. she’s got the “put you to sleep” vibe pretty down.  (Requirement #3 for Official Mitchell Cat-dom).

Our Science Fiction Future: MMI Inbound!

The Mind-Machine Interface Cometh!

AS the puppy-blender is fond of saying… “faster, please.”  Weird controls that come from mechanical engineering problems are the stuff of legend.  For instance, why is it that airplanes steer backwards, compared to the way the human body moves, thus making it much more difficult to learn to handle an airplane?

Because the Wright brothers didn’t want to mess with the more complex cross-fuselage that would have allowed a more natural, shorten-the-left-to-turn-left machine interface.  MMI gets rid of all that, while hopefully allowing people with limited mobility much greater potential to get around.

Go go humanity, go.

The Oregon Trail…

I’m teaching Manifest Destiny this week… and a student prompted me to this, which may send some of you strolling down amnesia lane for a bit.  For those of you who never played this in grade school, it’s just what it says: try to get to Oregon in a wagon train.

Screw the Auto Bailout

I’ve been moved from the neutral camp, directly into “fuck ’em” territory(tm), after having watched this scare video put out by GM.

So, the upshot is, we can spend $25 billion saving these turkeys… or we can watch the unemployment figures jump an average of 1% across the nation.  Okay, that in and of itself is a straight-up question… but the extent to which the video goes into truly crappy logic and argumentation… suggesting that, as the current financial mess is b/c of a .3 GDP drop, a 4% drop due to an auto crash would then be 8x worse… utterly ignoring the nature of the industry said mess occurred in, etcetera…. is simply a public attempt to use Youtube to blackmail the public.

Screw ’em.

Cloverfield: A Highlander in the Making?

Cloverfield got a lot of “meh” reviews, but, as I was stitching a vest (using the finest stitching pony known to man… Kevin’s Dad really knew his tools), we watched movies, including Hellboy II, and Cloverfield…

which was amazingly rewatchable, seen as “Monster Comedy.”  Mostly because of TJ Miller’s brilliant performance as Hud.

“What’s that?” — “Something terrible.”

“What was that?”  — “Uh… something else….. also terrible.”

Brilliant. I’m seriously guessing that this one’s going to wind up a cult flick.

Took an embossing class last night.

Cheap for what you get — the materials were spendy, but the gal teaching it, who clearly knows her stuff, taught us for two hours, at something ridiculous like 8 bucks an hour…. practically a free class.

There’s a LOT of really gorgeous metalwork from Hungary I’d love to be able to add onto leather items… scrollwork and the like… and it’s looking like doing so is actually going to be relatively easy.  The basics aren’t hard — they just require a good, steady hand.  Which I don’t have.  Yet.

2000 Degrees in my Weber?

Okay, now THIS is cool.

Using your Weber to make glass?  Awesome.  BUT…. if I can hit 2k in a grill, it means that I can not merely make glass, but also fire my own ceramics.  All you need is to regulate the temperature curve so that you don’t shatter the stuff.

I love ceramics, and haven’t done any for years precisely b/c of lack of kiln access… so, quite cool.

Forbes: Kill off all your debt, NOW.

If the Forbes people are right, and what’s coming is not stagflation…. but, as Jimdesu has suggested, stag-deflation, and a lasting one which will run a minimum of 24 months, then this is a call for an all-hands to the rail, get rid of your consumer debt pronto approach.

Or am I misunderstanding?  This sounds like klaxons going off, to me.  Oh, and is it officially okay now to sneer at Alan Greenspan?

Predictions for an Obama Presidency — Revised


It turns out that one of my presumptions has been incorrect:  the death of “paygo,” we can start to make sense of the writing on the wall:

  1. The Blue Dogs as a faction were either insincere while campaigning, or else do not have the power that I had hoped — this coupled with their existing only in the House, when it looks like the Dems will be able to more-or-less run the Senate.  The “budget straightjacket” (see link, above) comment indicates that the Blue Dogs will be indistinguishable from the rest of their party.
  2. Rahm Emmanuel was not hired in order to aid the President-elect in charting a moderate policy, but rather because he’s tough, knows the ropes, and is loyal.  This means one should expect an extremely aggressive set of moves by Obama in the first six-ten months, and that Democratic Overreach is a very real likelihood, depending on how well the coastal media, which jettisoned even the pretense of objectivity in the past ten months, is able to provide support and cover.
  3. Whether this is an openly Marxist agenda, or merely the sort of Hyde-Park chicago liberal style that Diane Rehm would find to be cautious and moderate, remains to be seen.  However, recent suggestions that Congress’ next fight, in conjunction with executive orders, will be to repeal recent opening in oil production, will guarantee that energy prices return to early-2008 levels.  Unlike the Bush administration, this will also involve beating up on coal.  Meaning that energy spikes will be reflected in electric as well as transportation costs.
  4. This, one must remember, also has a great deal to do with the value of US currency.  Since Congress’ solution to “spend spend spend” will inevitably involve further currency weakening, $4, or even $7 gasoline is a distinct possibility. 
  5. The Republicans will fight this in Congress — whether they go down in flames and use this as a hammer to beat on the Democrats in the hopes of repeating 2004, or whether they’re so snowed under that they become functionally irrelevant, is anybody’s guess. 
  6. Democrat reluctance to grant Colombia a free-trade package (which is longstanding, since the Democrats generally favor the marxist Chavez and Morales regimes, will mean that much of the progress in creating a middle class in South America will be seriously endangered.
  7. The Silver Lining:  Under the circumstances above, inflation will be a threat while growth is in the toilet, and a Japan-style economic situation looks likely.  The Fed will not dare to jack interest rates under those conditions.  Inflation is a good time to get out of debt, so those who can stay employed will find this a very, very good time to tighten their belts and kill off revolving and mortgage debt.


Don’t do this in class.

Me:  “And if you’re curious about why we make you take this course, today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht.”

Student:  “Yes!”  *pumps fist*

Classroom:  Confused Look

Student:  “Oh.  Wait.”

Student #2:  “That’s when they murdered my family!”

Classroom:  *universal facepalm*

Me:  “So, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to Google it, so you don’t make a butt out of yourself in class like this guy.”

So:  Those who don’t know their history, are doomed to make asses out of themselves in public?

Here it comes…

we may have had an election… Russia’s officially doing exactly what we all thought it would.

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