Perspective on Bitcoin

Eric Guinthier put this on Wikipedia.

was thinking about this as I tried to remember some login or another: there’s no way in Hell all these numbnutses are gonna remember all their blockchain passwords and cryptokeys and what have you.  The panicked runs on cryptocurrencies are gonna be crazy.

Maybe I should start a dump or an ewaste junkyard, eight bucks to throw away your old hard drive, and wait around for some panicked nerd to come screaming that he threw away seventeen million dollars in unharvested Ripple or whatnot.

that picture above is of Yap stone money.  When someone tries to explain the history of money, sooner or later they’ll mention the stone money of Yap, usually avoiding an opinion on whether or not using enormous stone wheels as money is completely ridiculous.

Because these stones are too large to move, buying an item with one simply involves agreeing that the ownership has changed. As long as the transaction is recorded in the oral history, it will now be owned by the person it is passed on to and no physical movement of the stone is required.[citation needed]

(lol at citation needed.  God bless Wikipedia.  You try and write up Yap money in your spare time and someone comes along demanding footnotes).

Beades on Wikipedia took this picture of a rai stone at the Bank of Canada Currency Museum in Ottawa. How much do you think they paid for it?


Wild interview of Christian Lorentzen and Seymour Hersh in NY Mag.

Henry IV

source: Variety

Agree with Rivers:

Saw Malis at the show, here was his review:

I thought Hamish Linklater was really good.  A very easy, relaxed, natural way of delivering Shakespeare.
Hanks was Hanksing it up, but fun.
It’s interesting how jokes written in the 1500s can still make people laugh.
Thought this performance was absolutely fantastic.
Brilliant, beautiful staging.
Great choice to stick with natural American accents.
Good edits to the plays.
Was pre-cringing to hear phony knowing laughter from the audience, but there were real, genuine laughs in this play.
Hanks brought real, human richness to Falstaff.  Sadness as well as joy.  The tragedy of the character as well as the fun.  (Keep an eye on this actor.)
BTW the VA West LA campus is gorgeous if decaying:
Trump fix this for our great VETS!
How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object!
For this the foolish overcareful fathers,
Have broke their sleep with thoughts,
Their brains with care, their bones with industry
For this they have engrossed and piled up
The cank’red heaps of strange-achieved gold;
For this they have been thoughtful to invest,
Their sons with arts and martial exercises.
When, like the bee, culling from every flower
The virtuous sweets, our thighs packed with wax,
Our mouths with honey, we bring it to the hive,
And, like the bees, are murdered for our pains.
Not easy to get so good that you can say that and make feel real but pretty magic when someone nails it.
Interesting how Henry IV Part 2 is truly a redo of Henry IV Part 1, a sequel in the real Hollywood sense of hitting the same exact beats: Henry IV (Bolingbroke) moans about his frat dude son.  Hal and Falstaff clown around.  In the end Hal steps up and kings it up while Falstaff falls behind.
I know thee not, old man.  Fall to they prayers.
How ill white hairs becomes a fool a jester!
I have long dreamt of such a kind of man,
So surfeit-swelled, so old, and so profane,
But, being awakened, I do despise my dream.
But, being awaked, I do despise my dream.
Make less they body hence, and more thy grace.
Leave gormandizing.  Know the grave doth gape
For thee thrice wider than for other men.
Doll Tearsheet, Mistress Quickly, Pistol, Bottom, Falstaff, Hal, Hotspur, Westmoreland.
You don’t want to see that gang clowning it up in a brothel?
Give it up to Shakespeare, man.

China Racing Club

Was wondering why Justify / Mike Smith’s silks looked like the Chinese flag.  Turns out the horse is part owned by China Horse Club.

The China Horse Club has about 200 members, according to its vice president, Eden Harrington. Membership costs a minimum of $1 million, according to some reports, but Mr. Harrington said the club offered different tiers of investment and that the fee was a credit that went toward the purchase of horses. He declined to give a range, and the club does not disclose the identities of members, who include wealthy citizens from China’s mainland and beyond.

Hmmm.  From this NYT article by Melissa Hoppert and Alexandra Stevenson.

Mr. Harrington said the club kept its membership private to shield members from potential public scrutiny amid a Chinese government led anti-corruption campaign which has “created a culture of fear where people didn’t want to be seen to be spending money in a way that may be seen as excessive.”


Rob Delaney / Christopher Logue

(The topic here is depression and suicide, if you’re in no mood, but I found these brief stories valuable.)  


Rob Delaney is such a joyful presence.  I’ve thought many times about something he says in this Tumblr post about depression

What a good preserver to hang on to.

If no one else wants to do this to me, why would I do it to me?

Not sure it can help you if you’re at wit’s end but seemed to me a thought worth filing away for an emergency.

I’m really glad Rob Delaney’s alive!


Saw this story linked on someone’s Twitter.  It comes from

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali talks to David Edgar

on the LRB.  I don’t know who those people are really but I know Christopher Logue is some kind of master.

Don’t be silly.  Come on – we’ll sit down and rid of this nonsense that’s in your head.

How cool and compassionate.

Glad they’re all alive.  (Well, were alive, in Logue’s case.)

And I’m glad you’re alive too, Reader!

Will Kempe, Will Shakespeare, and Falstaff

In Shakespeare’s time, there was a comic actor who was more famous than any playwright.  His name was Will Kempe.  His most popular bit was morris dancing from London to Norwich.

In February and March 1600, he undertook what he would later call his “Nine Days Wonder”, in which he morris danced from London to Norwich (a distance of over a hundred miles) in a journey which took him nine days spread over several weeks, often amid cheering crowds. Later that year he published a description of the event to prove to doubters that it was true.

Perhaps Kempe originated the part of Falstaff in Shakespeare’s plays.

Kempe’s whereabouts in the later 1580s are not known, but that his fame as a performer was growing during this period is indicated by Thomas Nashe’s An Almond for a Parrot (1590).

An Almond for a Parrot is a great title.

Perhaps he was the Will Ferrell of his day.

Although he had been a sharer in the plans to construct the Globe Theatre, he appeared in no productions in the new theatre, which was open by mid-1599, and evidence from Shakespeare’s Henry V, in which there is no promised continued role for Falstaff, and Hamlet, containing its famous complaint at improvisational clowning (Act 3, Scene 2), indicates some of the circumstances in which Kempe may have been dropped

The lines in question:


O, reform it altogether! And let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them, for there be of them that will themselves laugh to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too, though in the meantime some necessary question of the play be then to be considered. That’s villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
Enjoyable to imagine Shakespeare so pissed at Will Kempe hamming it up all the time that he has Hamlet slam him.

“Just say the lines dude.”

Also enjoy that Shakespeare’s killing himself writing Hamlet while meanwhile this dude is crushing audiences by morris dancing.
from this Radio Times (UK) article by Ben Dowell:

In real life Will Kempe was the Shakespearean clown who was the superstar of his day.

Audiences would flock for miles around to watch the great man perform his Falstaff or famous jig at the Globe theatre after one of the plays by the great darling of the stage – and the age – Will Shakespeare.

And in Upstart Crow, Ben Elton’s BBC2 comedy reimagining of the life of the great poet and dramatist, Kempe is presented as… a cocky C16th Ricky Gervais.


I’m excited to see Tom Hanks as Falstaff.

California Voter Suggestions


Look, Gavin Newsom and Villaraigosa are both kind of repulsive and uninspiring individuals.  (Savage takedown of Newsom).  Newsom will probably win which sucks.

John Chiang is a nerd who probably won’t win, but far as I can see he’s a man of integrity.  The LA Times main knock on him is that he didn’t suggest easy answers to everything and suggested he might think and reflect before making decisions.

A text from the Newsom campaign cheesed me off:

lol progressive agenda.  Homeboy’s ex wife is a Fox news personality who was almost Trump’s press secretary:

Texting with a friend about why on Earth LA Times endorsed sorry-ass Villaraigosa:

CHIANG for governor.  (There’s like 30 candidates).

I’ll miss Jerry Brown.


source: Nancy Wong on Wiki

At the last second, early voting, I went for Dianne Feinstein.  INSANE that we have an 86 year old Senator, I get primarying Lady D, but Kevin De Leon took money from Cadiz, an evil water company out in the desert that’s trying to drink our national preserve’s milkshake.

Dianne’s career has been at least a little heroic.


Believe Fiona Ma will join our fine tradition of state treasurers.  Well briefed on this one, plus I’ve followed her on Twitter for awhile and I admire how reasonable and boring she is!

Have we forgotten that boring, calm, careful, honest, reasonable, prudent, balanced, patient, informed, these are qualities we want in our elected officials?


very happy with my own congressman Adam Schiff, who believes in holding the executive branch accountable to the people. Seriously, even if you’re into Trump, ask what he’s done for your district.  The answer, spoiler alert, is nothing or worse.  (Have been happy with Schiff since a chipper and bright and positive young man from his office gave me, a constituent with a request, a tour of the Capitol in 2015.  All politics is local.)

For everything else I’m not well informed enough and deferred to LA Times:

though I kind of think it’s a cool move to vote NO on every ballot initiative as a kind of protest.

Hearing some love for Tony Thurmond for the supervisor of instruction.

Ridiculous that we have to vote for judges.  I hope Governor Chiang moves to make this an appointed office.  

Good luck to all the candidates, and I’m open to having my mind changed if you’re knowledgable!

UPDATE: Owen’s take:

A good citizen and a good man.

UPDATE: if I figure out how I will link to Kara Vallow’s thorough guide.  Here she is on the ballot measures:


Before we start with candidates, here’s a quick list on ballot measures.

68:  YES – $4.1 billion in state bonds for a variety of environmental and climate change needs, drought, flood protection, and coastal protection programs/what government is supposed to do.

69:  YES – Ensures certain new transportation revenues – based on a 2017 Jerry Brown law – be dedicated for transportation uses, rather than being diverted elsewhere when other budgetary needs are looking for pots of money.

70:  NO – Republicans dreamed this horrible bullshit up to be able to dictate cap and trade reserve fund uses post 2024.

71:  YES – The most significant measure on the June ballot. This constitutional amendment states that any law enacted by voters through a proposition only takes effect once the final votes are tallied statewide and the election is certified. Some shenanigans – you may remember – have taken place in the past with too-close-to-call races election night.

72:  YES – This is a drought measure that allows you to put a rain capture system on your house without incurring additional taxes when your home is assessed. Duh.

UPDATE: The comments are already lit with takes!

Conan on Hans Gruber

from this Vulture interview

Smerwick harbor


Poke into the history of just about any place in Ireland and sooner or later you’ll find an event of such violence and sorrow as to be almost ridiculous. Take Smerwick harbor.  Here in 1580 six hundred luckless Italian and Spanish soldiers got massacred:

According to Grey de Wilton’s account, contained in a despatch to Elizabeth I of England dated 11 November 1580, he rejected an approach made by the besieged Spanish and Italian forces to agree terms of a conditional surrender in which they would cede the fort and leave. Lord Grey de Wilton claimed that he insisted that they surrender without preconditions and put themselves at his mercy, and that he subsequently rejected a request for a ceasefire. An agreement (according to Grey de Wilton) was finally made for an unconditional surrender the next morning, with hostages being taken by English forces to ensure compliance. The following morning, an English force entered the fort to secure and guard armaments and supplies. Grey de Wilton’s account in his despatch says “Then put I in certain bands, who straight fell to execution. There were six hundred slain.

Shannon Luxton on Wiki took this photo of the massacre site:

According to the folklore of the area, the execution of the captives took two days,

Ask yourself — would you rather be beheaded day one, or day two?

with many of the captives being beheaded in a field known locally in Irish as Gort a Ghearradh(the Field of the Cutting); their bodies later being thrown into the sea. The veracity of these accounts was long disputed, until a local field known as Gort na gCeann (the Field of the Heads) was investigated by 21st-century archaeologists and found to be full of 16th-century skulls.

The Field of the Cutting.  Jeezus, Ireland.  And how about this monument to the heads?

Dáibhí Ó Bruadair on Wiki

Even for the time the Smerwick mass beheading was considered a bit much.  Sir Walter Raleigh was in on it.  Later his involvement was used against him.

Behead and ye shall be beheaded: eventually it was his turn:

Raleigh was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on 29 October 1618. “Let us dispatch”, he said to his executioner. “At this hour my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear.” After he was allowed to see the axe that would be used to behead him, he mused: “This is a sharp Medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries.” According to biographers, Raleigh’s last words (as he lay ready for the axe to fall) were: “Strike, man, strike!”

Some four hundred thirty-eight years post Smerwick, the Spanish, Italians and Irish are on the verge of an England-less European Union.  That my friends is called winning the long game.


the article that set me off was:

which caused my eyes to roll out of my head.  I was just in Portland, and the food was awesome!  It’s a “foodie paradise” because it’s in the Willamette Valley, on the Columbia River, near the North Pacific Ocean, one of the most bountiful regions on planet Earth, plus it’s prosperous and full of creative and interesting and diverse people.

Seemed hysterical to me to claim it had been ruined.

you’re telling me this place is ruined?

When I first heard the headline version of the story of the Portland Taco Cart Willamette Week Interview Fiasco, I thought “well that’s silly, how far are we taking this idea of cultural appropriation?  of course you can make tacos.”  But when I heard the details it was like oh ok that’s not very cool.

There was good discussion of it on “Good Food” with Evan Kleiman.

Following which I drove around for an hour or so doing my errands and thinking about it.  Sometime later it comes up, shot my Twitter mouth off and RIP my mentions.

Twitter user put my response to McArdle better than I could:

Also gave me more to think about.  I myself took advantage of the easygoing legal rules on map copying in my book, and used Google Maps as the basis for my hand-drawn maps.  It felt fine, although I was surprised nobody protects cartographers.

Because there’s no legal protection for Mexican ladies making burritos who are trying to keep their recipe secret, that’s why it made people so mad.  Kinda think Connelly and Wingus crossed the line, but whatever, maybe they just made an unfortunate remark in an interview.  They don’t deserve death threats for heaven’s sake.  Let’s wish them well and hope they make some cool new kind of burrito in the future that everyone can eat joyfully and without compunction.

Like Austin Kleon points out, there’s stealing and stealing.

The Hockney thing at LACMA

is cool.  Eighty-two portraits in one room, creates a neat effect.  Worth a visit if you’re in the area. 

Picture Dostoyevsky

A crazy scene described:

by Gary Saul Morson.  Reminded me of Sophia: