"war on cash" name'n'shame

WoodSpring Suites, owned by Choice Hotels International, Inc., does not accept cash for a room.

Evidently someone in the management suite was inspired by all the "cashless society" hype (part of the Great Reset designed to limit plebeian freedom).

Many customers, however, prefer to use cash, for privacy, convenience, and the simple belief that cash is money.

about those -- emdashes

Some authors -- for example, Robert E. Howard -- use quite a few emdashes in their writing. This blog uses two hyphens surrounded by single spaces -- like this -- making it harder for bad browsers to turn the emdash into an endash -- or worse, a single hyphen.

Of course, an ebook reader is a browser and it's essentially reading -- or misreading -- html.

Many publishers think you can just scan a print book and let algorithms fix all the little nuances. The result is text that looks like this:

Some authors-for example, Robert E. Howard-use quite a few emdashes in their writing. This blog uses two hyphens surrounded by single spaces-like this-making it harder for bad browsers to turn the emdash into an endash-or worse, a single hyphen.

Of course, an ebook reader is a browser and it's essentially reading-or misreading-html.

Random House Publishing Group (Del Rey) is one of those publishers, and its epub version of The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard is frighteningly -- difficult to read.

20 years of afghanistan war skepticism

I searched "afghanistan" in my last 20 years' blog posts and found:

October 26, 2001:

Instead of confronting our real problem [Saudi Arabia], we're bombing and starving one of the weakest countries on the planet, to satisfy a desire for instant revenge. Our war against Afghanistan, commenced with only four weeks' planning and against a country not one of whose citizens was alleged to have been a hijacker, is just plain stupid, and has all the signs of a Vietnam-style quagmire.

January 6, 2002:

"Given a choice between protecting American civilians and protecting the client regimes that sponsor and coddle those who murder them, the Bush Administration has taken the second option every time. This seems to me impeachable in the profoundest sense of the term." So says Christopher Hitchens in this week's issue of The Nation, criticizing the catering to the Saudi princes that occurred before and after the massive intelligence failure that was 9/11. I'm glad that Hitchens is finally waking up to how the Bushites put the interests of their business buddies ahead of the lives of Americans -- he actually uses the "I"-word! -- after he wasted energy the last couple of months bashing Chomsky, Sontag, et al. Now, if he could just extend his own logic to the War Against Afghanistan (which he supported) and see that it was also a case of Bush "taking the second option..." [Obviously written before Hitchens turned to the dark side and supported Bush II's Iraq invasion.]

March 28, 2003:

Noam Chomsky is one of the few people who bucked the conventional wisdom that bombing Afghanistan was good -- before and after we "won."

April 8, 2003:

The "hands off the Saudis" edict to intelligence agencies obviously contributed to the 9/11 tragedy, and so far no one's been fired. The military takeover of Afghanistan, and now Iraq (and soon Syria, Iran, etc.) are the worst things to happen to this country since Vietnam. Suddenly after 9 years of (relatively) low-level conflicts, we're in total, pumped-up, IOU-funded war mode, with most of the world hating our guts. And our economy, which depends largely on selling products and rendering services around the globe, is sucking hard. (The war's been great for war profiteers, though.)

April 9, 2003:

With the news media announcing victory over the hapless Iraqis, the right wingers and '"liberal hawks" are dancing in the aisles. Finally, we can start imposing liberal democracy over there at gunpoint! Yippee! (Just like we did in Afghanistan!) Evidently a war is considered successful, or a "cakewalk," if American casualties remain low.

August 27, 2003:

This WaPo editorial articulates a number of [Howard Dean's] positions: it's really disappointing that he wants to be Nixon to Bush's Johnson and keep the good fight going in Iraq and Afghanistan "now that we're there." Screw that. You'll never convince me that policing countries half a world away keeps us safer than competently monitoring known terrorists here at home.

May 25, 2004:

[Susan Sontag] talks about our "quite justified" invasion of Afghanistan, something lefties love to throw as a sop to the right to make complaints about Iraq seem reasonable. Justifed how? By not catching Bin Laden? By jumpstarting the heroin trade over there again? Killing and bombing for women's rights? That war wasn't the right response to 9/11 any more than Iraq was. It was just to make the majority of Americans feel better after the government failed them on 9/11, by bombing some Muslims.

July 5, 2005:

One of the things [Karl Rove supporters] do to discredit certain liberals is say "They opposed Afghanistan!" "Afghanistan was good" is supposed to be the conventional wisdom but not everyone thinks invading that sovereign albeit crappily-run nation and destabilizing it further was any better of a response to 9/11 than "doing" Iraq. When the attacker is a shadowy group as opposed to a nation the only (still) relevant question was whether the severity of 9/11 justified the use of (internationally) extrajudicial means such as commando raids, or whether there were other ways to bag terrorists and pressure countries "harboring" them. Invading meant precisely this: Osama got away, and we now have troops permanently stationed in yet another damn country. Why is this good exactly? ...For the cost of dropping daisy cutters on Afghanistan we could have increased vigilance at home -- say, by actually reading airport passenger manifests -- and been a lot safer. And perhaps it wasn't such a hot idea to let the incompetents who allowed 9/11 to happen be the ones to "go hunt down the terrorists."

August 12, 2007:

Some of us opposed the Afghanistan war because no clear proof existed that "terrorist training camps" were the cause of the 9/11 attacks (did they teach them to fly jet aircraft there? or how to move freely around the US?), at least enough of a cause to justify attacking a sovereign state, especially a state that fairly recently proven to be the quagmire that hastened the end of the Soviet Union. In the eyes of the world it just looked like hitting back in anger -- any Muslim would do -- and that's just not smart.

March 8, 2009:

The US' rationale for invading and destabilizing [Afghanistan] never made much sense. At the time the propaganda was a strange mix of "if they hide terrorists they must be annihilated" coupled with "and besides, we will really be helping the women of Afghanistan." It seemed pretty obvious that Bush and Cheney were trying to deflect attention away from their own failure to protect US citizens from the 9/11 attacks and took advantage of the nation's riled up mood. Now the Obama administration appears to be compounding the problem by committing more troops with no clear mission goals.

March 29, 2009:

Dear President Obama,
"The task of securing Afghanistan and Pakistan from Al Qaeda influence," as you described it on Face the Nation, is a seriously poorly defined mission.
And invoking "al Qaeda" that way is so George Bush. Is it the same "al Qaeda" that was operating in Iraq all those years?
Afghanistan/Pakistan will be your Vietnam -- correction, ours -- if you keep this up.
Please bring those troops home and use the money to employ people in the homeless camps springing up in the US.
Your friend,

June 6, 2013:

We have the liberal hawks and their precedent of the "good" Balkan bombing to thank for Iraq and Afghanistan. The "kill for peace" pundits provided Democratic cover for the Bush and Cheney invasion plans. Saddam gassed his own people, the Taliban are sexist monsters, so, as caring folk, we needed to invade. It wasn't just about oil or misplaced revenge for 9/11, see.

guest DJ set list (August 19, 2021) - poMo Classical & Jazz Fission (aka the "Orff Mix")

Thanks to ffog for inviting me to guest-DJ again on his weekly internet radio show, Myocyte.
The mix was "simulcast" on anonradio and tilderadio, and has been archived by anonradio (scroll down to "Ffog - Pleasure & Discomfort Myocyte"). An mp3 version of the mix is here: [1 hr mp3] (The show was broadcast at 1 am on August 20 UTC, which is 8 pm Central, August 19, in the US.)

To flesh out the ideas behind the mix, I've posted an essay with details and observations about the tracks and why I put them together.

While the tracks were playing I "announced" via text chat on the #sally and #tilderadio channels on IRC (Internet Relay Chat), as well as anonradio's chat service "com," which runs on a command line terminal. Listeners could comment or ask questions. This is an interesting way to DJ, very different from my old FM radio days and a few steps up aesthetically from having everyone's data and souls leeched out on Spotify, Mixcloud, etc.

00:00 John McLaughlin, Something Spiritual (1971) - My Goal's Beyond

03:26 Penguin Cafe Orchestra, In the Back of a Taxi (1984) - Broadcasting from Home

06:38 Carl Orff & Gunild Keetman, Diminution Schrei (1975) - Gassenhauer

08:15 Eric Satie, Entr'acte excerpts (1924) - YouTube

12:16 Moondog, Sea Horse - The Last Concert, 1999

13:34 Ralph Towner, Suite, 3x12, No. 2 (1973) - Trios/Solos

15:48 Moondog, Bird's Lament - The German Years 77-99 (2004)

17:28 Carl Orff, Dance for Violin & Cello - Orff-Schulwerk, Vol. 1 (1995)

19:11 Maurice Ravel, Le Tombeau de Couperin, I. Prelude - David Korevaar, piano

22:03 Gertrude Orff, Kleiner Klavierstücke, Heft I, No. 2, Orff-Schulwerk, Vol. 3 (1995)

22:33 Philip Glass, Modern Love Waltz (Amy Briggs, piano) - YouTube

26:07 Carl Orff, Tun Ma Gehn, Rösserl Bschlagn - Orff-Schulwerk, Vol. 1 (1995)

26:55 Sandy Bull, Carmina Burana Fantasy (1963) - Fantasies for Guitar & Banjo

31:27 Carl Orff, Dance 1 (Piano Exercise No. 29) for Violin & Cello - Orff-Schulwerk, Vol. 1 (1995)

32:34 Ralph Towner, Suite, 3x12, No. 3 (1973) - Trios/Solos

35:19 John Cale, Days of Steam (1972) - The Academy in Peril

37:05 Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Yodel 1 (1981) - Penguin Cafe Orchestra

41:07 Mothers of Invention, Aybe Sea (1970) - Burnt Weeny Sandwich

43:39 Eberhard Weber Colours, Silent Feet (1978) - Silent Feet

49:45 Weather Report, The Moors (1972) - I Sing the Body Electric

54:21 Tony Williams Lifetime, Something Spiritual (1969) - Emergency!

houellebecq on aging

In 2014 Rahm Emmanuel's brother Ezekiel (described by MIT's Technology Review as "chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s department of medical ethics and health policy, as well as a chief architect of Obamacare"), wrote an Atlantic article arguing that the lives of people 75 and over weren't worth prolonging because, among other reasons, they had their best work years behind them."[T]he fact is," he wrote, "that by 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us."
Anyone related to Rahm Emmanuel is inherently not worth listening to but I remembered the above when I recently read Michel Houllebecq's book The Elementary Particles, which includes this quip:

Some people live to be seventy, sometimes eighty years old believing there is always something new just around the corner, as they say; in the end they practically have to be killed or at least reduced to a state of serious incapacity to get them to see reason.

That's much funnier!