we prepare to do battle with the Moon

Apparently this large thing in the sky is called a “Supermoon”. I don’t really understand why it has to be Super. Other than that in today’s culture everything has to be epic. For example, I now generally hear on the news several different ways to describe various weather phenomenon or patterns when we used to simply say, “It’s going to be cold tomorrow.”

But hell, I’ll go along with this. It’s a Supermoon. Got it. It’s harmless, right? Wrong. For you see, the Moon is not to be trusted. It has powers. Super powers. Why else would they call it a Supermoon?

This is the closest the Moon has been to Earth since 1948. The thing about astronomy is it has the power to cause you to briefly consider your own forthcoming bleached skeleton state. The Moon won’t be this close again until 2034. Think of all the things you could endure between now and then. Halley’s Comet won’t be back until 2061. Which means just about every person alive on this planet today has (at most) one more shot with Halley’s before their pending commute to Valhalla.

Last night said Supermoon was in the rise phase as I drove home at dusk. It certainly did look bigger. But according to the BBC, this is mostly an optical illusion:

“To observers, it will appear about 7% larger than normal and about 15% brighter – although the human eye is barely able to discern that difference.”

I tend to give us humans a little more credit than that. The Moon doesn’t just look bigger because folks are calling it a Supermoon. I think our brains and eyes can inherently detect that it’s 7% bigger and 15% brighter. We look at the Moon all the time. When it’s that different, our brains will tell us, even if it’s subtly.

I was thinking, that it looked so close and clear last night you could almost reach out there and touch the darn thing. That from my eyes to the Moon’s surface was one clear line, one straight shot. 221,524 miles is a long way, unless you can imagine that it’s not.

The Moon’s always been up there like that while we humans mess around down here. Some Roman Senator or Chinese Imperial bureaucrat pretty much saw the same thing. Some of us have actually been up there. When you really think about it, it’s quite special that a few of us have actually reached out there and touched it. We’ve made that journey. And it really does say something about how little we dream anymore or how much we’ve lowered optimism in our collective psyche that we haven’t been back in five decades.

Where’s our promised Moon colony or Bond villain Moon Base? I mean, technically I guess the Moon Base could have existed without us knowing it. And Bond already blew it up. But I’m betting that didn’t actually happen.

Anyways, either way, I’ll do battle with this Supermoon tonight. I’ll arm myself with a decent coat, a beer, and my camera. My dogs will wield a knife, handgun, or belly full of kibble, whichever they prefer. And we’ll get a shot (camera) at taking on this Supermoon. Moonrise is shortly after my return from work. So it’ll play out well.

If I survive, I’ll try and remember to post a picture on this degenerate blog. I might get distracted, because I have to do a ton of work for second job after I get home tonight. But I’ll try and make it happen. But if I don’t make it, make sure to take your revenge on the Supermoon for me. For you see, the Moon is not to be trusted. It has powers. Super powers.

Update: The Moon was obscured by clouds and light rain.  We couldn’t get a shot.  What does this Supermoon have to hide?  We’re on it.  We’re on the case to find out.  We’ll get right on it.  [cracks beer]  [sips]  [stares blankly at bare wall]

Proxima Centauri awaits our divine rule

Great news! We’ve likely discovered the closest possible planet near our own star system that could potentially host life, even intelligent life. It’s a long shot due to Proxima being a red dwarf, and thus very different from our own yellow dwarf, but still worth getting excited about. The smart goons at The Economist lay out the details:

Proxima Centauri b, as it is known, probably weighs between 1.3 and three times as much as Earth and orbits its parent star once every 11 days. This puts its distance from Proxima Centauri itself at 7m kilometres, which is less than a twentieth of the distance between Earth and the sun. But because Proxima is a red dwarf, and thus much cooler than the sun, the newly discovered planet will experience a similar temperature to Earth’s. It is not the only Earth-sized extrasolar planet known to orbit in a star’s habitable zone. There are about a dozen others. But it is the closest to Earth—so close, at four light-years, that it is merely outrageous, not utterly absurd, to believe a spaceship (admittedly a tiny one) might actually be sent to visit it. Before this happens, though, it will be subjected to intense scrutiny from Earth itself.

So what’s going to happen over the new few decades is we’ll point various visual, radio, and spectrum telescopes at Proxima b to determine if this rock contains life as dumb as we are. But I say why wait? Why stop with just looking at Proxima b? Now that we have a known target, we can get around to the job of doing what Humanity of Earth does best: Destroying things!

You heard it here first, Proxima Centauri awaits our divine rule. They too need to experience the joys of democracy, freedom, Adele, endless religious wars, Coca-Cola, social media hatred, Netflix, genocide, The Zoo, electric guitars, and whatever else we can shove down their throats. What better way to unite humanity than by establishing the common goal of enslaving another? And we could take all their stuff too. They most assuredly have oil, rare metals, bluefin tuna, or other tasty stuff that we could take. We could strip mine the entire planet and nobody would care.

And at only four light years away, they’re well within conceivable range of starships we could build. Sure, this technological feat is a bit much seeing as how we haven’t been to the Moon in five decades, and we still have billions here in poverty, but we can still make it happen. Think of all the fun scenarios we could experience:

– We enter Proxima’s orbit bringing peace and love and yet somehow end up burning the planet using 438 fusion bombs within the first three years

– We show up bringing death and destruction and yet somehow end up getting our asses kicked by Proxima because they aren’t distracted by who said what on social media

– We land, and atop Proxima’s tallest mountain we find Jesus, King Arthur, and Dracula sitting around a campfire; and Jesus pulls on a cigarette and wryly states, “What took you so long?”

– We find a benevolent, wise race horrified by our planet’s thousands-of-years of death and mayhem, but who agree to at least “Give you stupid barbarian assholes a shot,” after we offer to teach them the art of brewing; and in an unrelated matter, they end up burning their planet using 438 fusion bombs within the first three years

– Having spent 37% of Earth’s GDP for two decades to get there, we find Proxima b is just a barren vacant rock

– The mission fails because 2/3 of our troop transports break halfway there because Lockheed Martin skimped on engine quality to increase quarterly profits in FY34 by 0.07%; and in an unrelated matter, Lockheed Martin’s CEO just bought his fifth boat

– Proxima actually holds a vicious Klingon like race that raids our ship’s computers to determine Earth’s location; but they abandon the conquest of Earth after three decades of grinding counterinsurgency, Earth being the quagmire that started the long decline of their Empire, and remarking, “What the fuck were we thinking?” as they meekly retreat to Proxima b

proxima centauri

Eh, maybe we stay on our side of the room, and they on theirs?

I might not watch one frame of these Olympics

I actually gave this some relatively serious thought this weekend. It was essentially my first full weekend home in two months, so I had the time. But my television is not typically hooked up to receive the necessary signal (don’t ask). Connecting the television so I could watch the Games would have required about two minutes of hardware work, plus about ten minutes of boot time. I had so little zest about watching that I decided twelve minutes wasn’t worth it. So my box remains unconnected, and I haven’t watched one second of these Olympics. We’re a few days in and I’m wondering if I’ll watch any of it.

1) NBC: I see from the online reactions that NBC is up to their usual tone deaf arrogance with this year’s go. Sadly, the usual shallow outrage trolls seem to be having the same issues with NBC (or anybody) over fake ‘…ism’ or ‘…ist’ type stuff. Whatever. Eh, my beef with NBC is more along the lines of poor pacing, incessant commercials, lack of live content, hack fraud interviews, and Bob Costas. I can’t begin to describe to you how badly I think they broadcast this event. This is what lack of competition does to quality. NBC owns the product in America, they paid handsomely for it, but without CBS or ABC/ESPN to challenge them, why should they bother to deliver a decent broadcast when they can simply count their money?

2) Supermen / Superwomen: There is something vaguely and disturbingly fascist about the basic intent that, “our Superman will beat your Superman by 0.86 seconds on this event”. These people train for four years to win some race by less than a second. Can you mentally comprehend that margin of error against the number of pushups these dudes have to crank out in four years? I can’t. It’s just weird. Unless your last name is Phelps or Ledecky, it seems it’s actually a competition not between athletes, but between National Olympic programs. As in, which National Olympic committee can machine engineer their athlete better than the other one. It’s creepy. Do you doubt this? Name me one gold medal swimmer or track & field winner from a non-rich and/or non-former Communist country.

3) Retread / Weird Sports: Some parts of the Olympics are appealing in that I don’t typically get to watch fencing or wrestling or whatever. But when golf or soccer or basketball is already everywhere, why should I care? I’ve heard the point made in the last month or two and I wholeheartedly agree that basketball already has their pinnacle of competition in the NBA. Soccer has the World Cup. So why is this stuff there? It takes broadcast time away from the more obscure but no less difficult sports that I couldn’t typically see. Then on the other end of the spectrum you’ve got questionable sports like badminton or table tennis. Games I would typically only play while drunk are not exciting to me.

4) Brazil: Normally I don’t want to go down this road of social guilt / whining. As in, well, we can’t enjoy anything because the world is total shit. But in Brazil, I somewhat make an exception as I did for Sochi with Russia. Brazil is essentially in an economic depression, the president’s under impeachment proceedings, half of Rio is a dystopian wasteland, the country while essentially bankrupt has had to hand over billions it doesn’t have, mosquitos are going around giving people the plague, half completed Olympic venues are populated by aggressive zombies, etc, etc, etc. I have a hard enough time watching a football game hosted by Chicago (ps Bears suck). Rio is just too much. Just as Sochi was too much.

5) Sacks w/ $ On It: Oh, 84% of Russia’s athletes were doping? What planet must somebody have lived on to not understand that was already happening for decades? And in any case, it’s been well documented that the International Olympic Committee has been taking sacks with a $ on it for years. And now these corrupt goons are going to judge some poor Russian automaton on what they put into their body? The IOC isn’t exactly as corrupt as FIFA, but it’s certainly not the totem of athletic morality. I think if we all lived in 584 BC, that the religious handlers would put all the IOC ruling body members to death for pollution of Zeus’ divine pure will. Then when you add in all the ongoing Brazilian corruption investigations to include Lula himself, it’s pretty clear that Brazil probably bought these games. Just like Vlad bought Sochi. It gives the Games a very mafia-like feeling, like you’re watching the proceedings of an ongoing criminal enterprise. It’s the last in a long list of straws, and I just don’t have the motivation to tune in. Maybe I will, but at least not for today.

rio

Not feeling that good ole spirit.

get more pegs

My very first boss, who is probably still the best even after all these years, had one of these maps on his office wall.  I’ve never forgotten about it.  But for whatever reason it’s taken me forever to bother with this.  And even then it was no deliberate plan.  It’s like I just woke up one day recently and decided it was going to happen.  So I did.

DSC00544.JPG

The pegs are hard to see in this shot, but they’re multicolored to define length of stay, purpose of trip, etc, etc.   For those of you who unfortunately read this degenerate blog on a regular basis, you might recognize some of the pegs from previous travel themed posts.

I just added another peg last week, from a recent work trip.  I might get around to posting about it shortly.  I also probably need to get around to planning another trip, just for fun, without the insanity of work telling me where to go.

Either way.

Get more pegs.

the essentials of freedom

I truly wonder whether I’m an internal alarmist who then occasionally flies off the handle in an external fashion aboard this degenerate blog.  Until I read a line like:

“The share of the world’s populace living in countries with a free press fell from 38% in 2005 to 31% in 2015;”

In other words, less than one third of our planet has the ability to live in a free society enabled by free speech.  I would have hoped for at least half, but I guess I was wrong.  Read the article.

Then read the other three articles The Economist put into their latest issue.  OneTwoThree.

My feelings on all this are pretty clear, but I’ll shut up now, and hope you take the time to read it all.

Seville Cathedral – building upon history while not detonating the human race

This Francis guy seems like a big deal right now, so we thought we’d venture back into a past journey that carried a bit of a Catholic flavor. Seville was a day trip, in the sense that me and my fellow drones woke up late, and had to work in the evening. But we had a day to kill.

Our first idea was to see a bullfight somewhere. But it was not the season locally. So we got the idea (with the zero research that made the pre-smartphone era more entertaining) that if we went to Seville, surely they’d have a bullfight, right?

Well, no, of course not. The bullfight season is the season. So instead, we ate lunch and decided to tour the cathedral. Then we had to rush back to work via the train. The sidewalk cafe lunch remains the best paella I’ve ever had. And of course the cathedral was quite the wonderful memory.

Depending on how you count, it took about a thousand years of building, destruction, re-building, and on and on until the cathedral took it’s current completed form. It started as a mosque in 1184 under the Moors. It was not to last, for in 1248 the city surrendered to Ferdinand III of Castile.

Parts of the mosque were left intact, and this became the basis of the cathedral’s design. But construction was slow. It didn’t help that the dome kept collapsing, or that eventually all that Spanish gold and effort would go into conquering half the planet instead of building at home.

One of the old mosque’s structures, the minaret, was built upon rather than destroyed. It became the cathedral’s tower. Thus, one of the most beautiful structures of human history in La Giralda was created on the wisdom, beauty, and humanity of two religions.

 

La Giralda

La Giralda

 

We’d never see this happen today. The political, religious, and social media goons wouldn’t allow it. There’d be too many people offended by such an action. Too many folks trying to blow it up. And yet somehow the Castilians and the Moors are supposedly the barbarians? Eh, whatever. I’d rather drink with those dudes. They were more tolerant than us.

Everybody’s so self-righteous today, like they walk on water. So Francis will make Junipero Serra into a saint but there are people using this as a reason to purge history of him. They literally want to bring down statues of the guy. Well, if you ask me, there is no benefit to humanity from destroying, ignoring, or otherwise purging history.

Junipero Serra was a good guy and a bad guy. Unless your name is Lincoln, Jesus, or that Buddha dude, guess what, you’re going to be the same. So calm down, and put down that stone.

Instead, we need to be like La Giralda, and build upon our history rather than detonating the human race along with it. All the good and bad, embrace it, breathe it in, and admire the beauty so we can appreciate it and learn from it.

 

Seville bullring

Seville – from La Giralda looking toward the Seville bullring or Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla

 

Door of Conception

the side of the cathedral at the Door of Conception

 

Door of the Prince

Door of the Prince – inside this door lies the bones of some guy named Columbus; another dude who did much good and much bad

 

orange tree courtyard

Patio de los Naranjos – it is said these trees date back to the Moor mosque; who knows if it’s true; but for certain they add some color and life to what is a truly beautiful but still bland color of the cathedral’s exterior

 

cathedral side

just a random side of the cathedral that undoubtedly took years to carve

 

Archivo General de Indias

looking down at a cathedral chapel; the rectangular building in the background is the Archivo General de Indias; or the archive of much of the Spanish Empire; given my love of history I will likely never allow myself to walk in there; as once I go in, I might never come out

 

cathedral center

looking down from La Giralda to the cathedral’s center dome; note the exquisite work on the multiple contoured roofs; nobody would do this today because it would add 0.45% to the cost of a building on some spreadsheet; which is one of the reasons I find modern architecture so boring and soulless

 

Seville

thank you Seville, for inspiring a young drone with your beauty to travel more

nature doesn’t love us

This morning contained a nice, quiet, blue-gray dawn sky as my dogs did their thing. I enjoyed it. But then on my journey to evil cubicle, I heard on the news we’ve got the birth of our first hurricane of the season. And so nature’s decided to remind everybody just exactly who’s running things.

These planetary death machines generate the energy equivalent of a hydrogen bomb about every six minutes. The planet laughs at our own feeble attempts to destroy ourselves. Wherever a hurricane wants to go, it’ll go, and if it so desires it’ll lay waste to everything in its path. All we can do is run and rebuild.

Nature doesn’t love us. It might be beautiful, give us joy, or show us our purpose in life. But try having a chat with a grizzly bear and you’ll get reminded that the love is not necessarily reciprocated. Or try running from an earthquake. The planet is amused by this as you stumble about, unable to find your footing, as if wasted on tequila.

Why do we put up with this? Maybe we should fight back? Go hit a tree with a bat? Or discharge a firearm in the direction of an oncoming hurricane? To quote everyday-working-man Charles Montgomery Burns:

 

master burns

“Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor. Well, maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she’s losing. Well, I say hard cheese.”

 

I once heard on a documentary that weather, as in hurricanes, is nothing more than the planet’s attempt to equalize conditions throughout the globe. When you stop and think about this, in a dark-cynical way common to my unhinged-freak mind, if nature was really interested in equalizing the planet’s conditions? If it could, it might equalize us out of existence.

But it can’t, so at least we’ve got that going for us. Hey speaking of erasing humans from existence, do any other childhood losers similar to me remember the genocide ending to Final Fantasy VII? Do you remember that? That after spending countless hours of your young life and all along you didn’t know that “victory” entailed liquidating the human race? It was like waking up and realizing you were wearing an SS Stormtrooper uniform.

It has come to my attention while reading of a possible remake of the game that there are actually people who claim the ending of said game did not involve mass extinction of the race. This is lunacy. The game’s message was quite clear. They meant exactly what they said. The Gaia concept is all over the game. It’s also explicitly referred to in the movie which Hironobu Sakaguchi wrote and directed himself.

 

genocide

attention haters; kindly point out to me, the location of the humans in this scene?

 

I’m no doctor or scientist, but when you really think about what the Gaia folks are saying, it essentially devalues the human race (you) to nothing more than an expendable biological organism that is part of the greater whole. So why shouldn’t the planet be able to kill you?

I guarantee you there’s at least one doctor or scientist on this planet who so believes in this concept that they’re, right this very second, trying to find a way to kill us all, 12 Monkeys style. It is for this reason I don’t post my Guests’ contact info anywhere.

This stuff is all rather creepy. The idea that our greatest threat might not be hydrogen bombs, or hurricanes, or climate change, or nature in general; but rather, criminally insane but smart people who subscribe to the concept that the greatest threat to us, to the planet, is us.

Sooner or later they’re going to (hopefully) arrest a person who’s trying to do this before he/she succeeds. And we’ll all be shocked at how close they came. When they catch this dude, we need to be sure to reinstitute medieval style public executions.

Because, seriously, whatever. This is our home. God / Nature / Ham Sandwich put us on this planet to live long and prosper. And so we need to do exactly that.

And when the hurricanes or earthquakes come we have to endure them like we always have. But rather than firing a handgun at a tornado, perhaps we should also try and give some love back to nature. Even though nature doesn’t love us. Call it tough love, I guess? After all, I still got to see that beautiful dawn this morning. So thanks Nature.

 

danny

BRING IT ON!!!