Open Thread May

Dr. Doom confuses me
Nouriel Roubini is not making any sense

The Almighty Renminbi?
By Nouriel Roubini
May 13, 2009

The resulting downfall of the dollar may be only a matter of time.

But what could replace it? The British pound, the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc remain minor reserve currencies, as those countries are not major powers. Gold is still a barbaric relic whose value rises only when inflation is high. The euro is hobbled by concerns about the long-term viability of the European Monetary Union. That leaves the renminbi.

Gold: The Worst Precious Metal Of The Year

The New Nuke Porn
Our nuclear fantasies have gotten more hard-core.
By Ron Rosenbaum
May 8, 2009

In case you missed it, The Road takes place in an unspecified future several years into what seems like a final fatal nuclear winter that will extinguish the survivors of the human race, left stumbling through ash-choked roads looking for canned goods in gutted supermarkets to stave off starvation because nothing will ever grow again. (Or will it? I’ll get to the mystery, or deliberate ambiguity of the ending later.) As far as I recall, the word nuclear is never used in the novel; there is just one memory, a quiet horror, of some dim flashes and thumps in the far-off night to indicate that this hellish wasteland is the product of nuclear war.

No causes or triggering incidents are discussed. No Islamic or Serbian villains. It is a charred On the Beach for our time with that film’s romanticizing of doom stripped away. It focuses on a man and his son wearily pushing a shopping basket along a road south, hoping to escape the pursuing winter and the hungry rivals for the last remaining edibles.

One of the things they come upon—and you know it’s coming and dread its coming; there’s almost a kind of pornographic buildup to this unbearable money shot—is an act of cannibalism so horrific I refuse to describe it further. (I wonder if the movie will depict it.)

Take my word for it: You’ll never be the same after reading this scene. I’ve been trying for two years to erase it from my memory without success. It may be the ultimate anti-nuke statement; the demonic version of the insipid “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” (Once you read it you’ll see the precise inversion of this slogan it represents.)

nazizombie

Zombies Are the New Vampires
By Lev Grossman
Thursday, Apr. 09, 2009

But the lowly zombie is making its move. For the past few years, vampires have been the It monster, what with Twilight and all, but that’s changing. Diablo Cody, of Juno fame, is producing a movie called Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament, based on a new novel about life (if that’s the word) as one of the walking dead. Later this year, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin will star in the zom-com Zombieland. Max Brooks’ best-selling zombie novel World War Z is being filmed by Marc Forster, the guy who directed Quantum of Solace. In comic books, the Marvel Zombies series features rotting, brain-eating versions of Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk. The zombie video game Resident Evil 5 shipped 4 million copies during its first two weeks on the market. Michael Jackson’s zombie video Thriller is coming to Broadway. (See the top 25 horror movies of all time.)

This article apparently incensed the entertainment writer at Exiled Online and she had this to say… Zombies Under Attack.  I find this all rather funny, for years I tried to convince people that zombies were important, not I have to bite my lip to keep from reminding them that they are not real.  I guess besides vampire robots there aren’t many new ideas the “arts.”

Forget Zombie Banks, The Real Problem Is Actual Zombies

Zombie Everything: How About Zombie Stock Exchanges?

One part of the trading floor is referred to by some as “Jurassic Park” because it’s where the older traders sit and rest. Another area called “Rodeo Drive,” the corridor of elite trading posts of now defunct firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers leading up to the famed NYSE bell, is now fodder for jokes from traders about tumbleweeds.

As cameras and reporters from Fox Business News and CNBC canvass the gallery, traders openly engage in lengthy discussions over how the Rangers or the Yankees are doing. Some traders plug in headphones and watch YouTube clips online. Others browse goods on shopping Web site Amazon.com. Or they play computer solitaire.

And I guess the other news is that maybe swine flu was maybe spread to pigs from humans.

pigandkid

79 Replies to “Open Thread May”

  1. Ugly Nazi. Cute kid.

    Zombies (of all types) are an impotant issue.

    Who here has done scholarly work re the zombie radius of major cities? or was that at CFN? Maybe it was Nudge. I’ve often wished I had saved that for my apocalypse survival handbook that I hope to complete after I retire. In the mean time I am stashing cases of 12-gauge sabot slugs, the standard zombie splattering cartridge.

  2. I’m actually on page 55 of “World War Z” right now. I had only got to 19 before and was not that impressed, but this is usually the case with me. I really like it now. Very topical. Unbelieveable how he has made it somewhat of a whaadyacallit -allegory? parable? about all our wars.

    One of my favorite parts in Martin Amis’ Money is when this women gives him Animal Farm as a gift and then has to explain to him what it means. This was me in the 7th grade. Apparently I wasn’t as smart as my classmates (Actually, I don’t think any of us had a clue). We had only started some rather serious British history (I could never figure out the order of the history they taught us). I wouldn’t be til two years later when we read Massies? Alexander whatever about the romanovs. So how the fuck were we supposed to know about communism?

    Anyway, it’s very cute how Zombiism (Zombism?) is framed, with the CIA and Generals and Israelis and Palestinians and Brazilians all saying “How the fuck should we have known?”

    Duh! They were making movies about zombies for years.

    If that kid is a boy, he’s gonna make quite a husband one day, sorry, I didn’t mean that, totally uncalled for.

  3. I’m actually kinda pissed at somebody, but I can’t remember who. I think it is Tipping, or maybe MOU. Somebody that’s read ‘World War Z.”

    pages 56-63 are probably some of the most relevant, funny, original, brilliant fiction I’ve read this year and have everything to do with politics, Iraq, and swine-flu. Why didn’t somebody tell me this?

    I really hope they don’t fuck this movie up (they will) – this could be really good.

  4. Bif, it was Nudge doing the quants on zombie migration fronts from the cities in response to my critical remarks about the safety of the Green Brigade (Her, greenbeans and our blacksmith colleague whose handle I’m forgetting, plus a few others of old CFN fame).

    I have to admit I stumbled upon Animal Farm as a kid because it was a thin book, like Steinbeck’s The Pearl. I was a busy kid with little time for reading long-winded books. I read War and Peace because it was macho to do so.

  5. “If you feel yourself passing away, then notice your strength and vigor returning at an alarming rate, please attempt to restrain yourself to prevent infection and harm to others.”

    –from the BBC article linked above by AU

  6. JR I’ve been telling you to read wwz for a year and a half, the only person you should be pissed at is yourself. How the hell are ya? I checked out for a while….

  7. You guys paged me? I believe the participants were Doom, Greenbeans, Gulland, MOU, Thal, JR and me. If anyone wasn’t included, I’m just being forgetful, sorry.

    The saving grace (err, the reason to be thankful the radius is so small ~ around maybe 60 miles tops) would have to rest on:

    – UPLers being so out of shape generally (ever try walking 20 miles a day? ouch);

    – few people having even proper footwear, clothing, and terrain knowledge to hike cross-country without using roads;

    – few people having foraging skills .. even if all you take is the clothing on your back and utensils and a blanket, you’ve got to find water, fuel, food, and shelter everywhere you go;

    – few people can carry enough food/water for several days in a row of straight walking;

    – few people these days know how to take care of their own personal security when traveling like that .. and wherever you go, the locals have all the advantage when it comes to knowledge of the terrain and resources;

    – every locality will be a buffer for every other locality around it .. the fact is, when everyone’s starving and broke, any strangers passing through town trying to pull a 5-finger discount on food/supplies will probably be dealt with summarily;

    That was the gist of it. I only remembered it because it was necessary to refer to it later.

  8. “ever try walking 20 miles a day?”

    Ever try crystal meth? Just sayin’

    Opium, too, in small doses, maybe chewing on poppy stems or something. How do you think those Arab armies crossed the desert. I mean, water is necessary, but water won’t keep you marching after awhile. At least that’s what I read.

  9. I would think coca derivatives would be moron better for combating exhaustion. Recall the jungle chase scene in “Papion”, native offers coca to Steve McQueen.

    Good for awhile, but it draws down your natural battery and you will need to recharge it later.

    Nudge, I recall starting that exchange with the Green Brigade. Trouble maker, moi.

  10. Fine. I await the zombie hoards emanating out of Boston like so many demented rats seeking a way off the sinking ship.

    We’ve already declared open season on any zombies that get past 495.

  11. Recall the jungle chase scene in “Papion”, native offers coca to Steve McQueen

    I don’t. But I do remember it was spelled Papillon :)

    Besides coca isn’t about its energy-enhancing qualities. It’s about lazy South Americans hanging around all day stoned.

    Just kidding. How could I forget coca? probably all that airplane glue I went through in kindergarten.

  12. Armies have marched great distances, and even lived off the land, but the locals generally acquiesce, close doors and draw the shades. Refugees are another matter, and meet resistance along the way. These fleeing movements play out in Africa all the time.

    This makes me think of New Orleans (Katrina) refugees being blocked from crossing the Mississippi River bridge into suburbs:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/racist-police-blocked-bridge-and-forced-evacuees-back-at-gunpoint-506371.html

  13. “We’ve already declared open season on any zombies that get past 495.”

    Are Lowell and Lawrence past 495? If they are, you haven’t been doing a very good job. We still have TV here inside the 128 belt. Four places always figure prominently on the nightly news. Dorchester, Roxbury, Lowell, and Lawrence :)

  14. But I do remember it was spelled Papillon :)

    OK smartiepants. Here’s a faded copy of the movie trailer with the jungle chase scene at the end. They don’t show him snorting or chewing the coca leaves, or what happened to the native shortly thereafter (hint: recall what happened to wild pig and bad Maya dude in Apocalypto. I swear, everyone steals from everyone else.)

  15. Bif, I’m reading John Keegan’s History of Warfare now (actually, listening to it). Anyway, it’s pretty fascinating the way he jumps back and forth between major societies, countries, tribes, civilizations in a non-linear way following topics rather than a timeline.

    One of the things that I had never really thought about was how militaries/police are integrated or not with the community and how the warrior is integrated with the community. We are very much a hybrid historically (or in comparison).

    Think of the term “citizen-soldier.” What the hell does that mean?

  16. Important movie. One of the best. An obvious example of solitary confinement as torture. Yet all us “civilized nations” still practice it.

    You hear a lot about waterboarding, but not solitary confinement.

    Honestly, I’d rather be waterboarded 83 times in a month for twelve months than be kept in solitary for 12 years.

    But that’s just how I roll.

  17. Nudge, to pull another movie classic analogy, you should get set up to “entertain” any zombies from Boston like the aunties did in “Arsenic and Old Lace”. Great acting in the dark comedy, I recall Cary Grant, who was a great comedic actor, but the guy that played the crazy uncle that thought he was Teddy Roosevelt and the actresses who played his aunts were outstanding.

    Besides, your garden roses will love them!

  18. “hey, how do you put video in the comments, again? I still haven’t figured that out.”

    Sorry, it’s a secret. dave won’t let me tell.

  19. Actually, there was just a murder in Weston, the first in like 30 years. And the Craigslist Killer. But Lawrence always seems to be Asian girl gets shot in the head while hanging with her gangbanger Hispanic boyfriend from Lowell. And Lowell is visa versa(sp?). About three years ago the cops started partitioning the drug zones with concrete barriers like they do between the Sunnis and Shiites in Baghdad.

  20. OK, I’ll stop now. Honestly, I don’t know how it’s done. I just copy and paste the clip URL from YouTube and hit return. It works on a Mac :)

  21. I will keep an eye out for this Keegan book.

    And ‘Embedding Youtubes in Comments for Dummies’.

  22. Bif, sometimes I think it’s maybe not such a bad thing to be hundreds if not thousands of miles distant for one another.

  23. Doom is right. Energy-enhancing qualities is part of it. The other reason coca is chewed by the native campesinos of Bolivia, Peru, etc. is to relieve the tedium while they weave, chop, pound, grind or whatever manual labor they are doing, as a group. Definitely not to get stoned, as the potency of the leaves is too weak. Also, the work wouldn’t get done.

  24. @GB – I was just kidding. I said so. I totally understand.

    @Bif – It’s old. Keegan is still alive, but he doesn’t write anymore I don’t think. History of Warfare must be 1990 or so.

    Like I say, I’m “listening” to it. His First World War is probably the best book on the subject and that was recent (maybe 10 years ago). “Faces of Battle” is the other title I can remember.

    For what it is worth, If you are interested in anything war related, I can recommend the best stuff available to read, with one glaring exception. The United States from the beginning thru the Civil War. I still don’t understand how every West Point grad seems to be fascinated with everything Sherman. I’ve never found anything interesting on the war. Except for the fact the Prussians studied it before they fucked up France in 1871.

  25. GB, I used to snort cocaine to get high and have wonderful sex with the wife (or whomever). I’m not sure the sex was wonderful, but it sure seemed that way. It can be addictive and thus expensive, and if you do enough snorting you will ruin your nasal passages.

    I took chances transporting that stuff that I’m lucky to have survived, even pre-9-11. Glad it’s all behind me now, except for visits to Peru and Bolivia, of course. When in the Andes,…

  26. OMG! They killed Kenny! Southpark?

    Note to self: When you get big, hire Doom to deal with these people.

  27. Lookie at all those stars in them video clips! Doom knows the classy stuff, if I do say so myself.

    JR, just make me your campaign manager. I’ll take care of the rest. You concentrate on foreign and domestic, and sign all the invoices without question.

  28. JR, one word: Brockton.

    Doom, don’t worry, the unwelcome visitors are bound to be recycled as fertilizer anyway. Or maybe they’re healthy and someone’s hungry. No point in letting the meat go to waste, is there?

    Hi GB! The weather is finally getting warmer :)

  29. “…not such a bad thing to be hundreds if not thousands of miles distant for one another.”

    Huh? Do you mean if you were closer you would beat me up!!??

  30. JR, I’m always interested in hearing some book recommendations. In this genre recently I have read “Partners in Command” by Mark Perry, and ‘A Soldier’s Story’ by Omar Bradley. The Perry book is about the relationship of Eisenhower and Marshall. Books devoted to the role of generals are not usually high on my list but I did enjoy both of those. Also these are interesting as contrast to ‘The German Generals Talk’ by Liddell Hart (which I read a while ago).

  31. Another recent read I’ve been wanting to mention to you: I wouldn’t say a “good” book, but an interesting book is ‘All Hands Down’ by Priessler and Sewell. Regarding evidence that the Soviets sank the USS Scorpion in 1968.

  32. “…not such a bad thing to be hundreds if not thousands of miles distant for one another.”

    Huh? Do you mean if you were closer you would beat me up!!??–Bif

    No, I was actually thinking about JR wanting to beat you up for that ‘Embedding Youtubes in Comments for Dummies’ clip. I of course thought it was grand!

  33. Nudge,

    Thanks for posting the Jeffrey Sachs talk. Glad to have spent an hour listening to that. I also wonder if and when justice will be served. Obama better get this right, and soon. Clock’s ticking like a time bomb, louder and louder.

  34. Doom, that stuff’s enough to give a person the shivers. Interesting times indeed are approaching.

    Wonder how much longer Dale (CFN) is going to keep telling people to get into the pits and buy stocks like it’s 2006?

  35. Hi Nudge. Maybe buy oil stocks. That’s what this blog’s editors do. I’d do it myself, but I took a vow of poverty when I became an academic.

    Dale is an asshole, pure and simple. Moron like pure simple.

    I liked the not so subtle warning that Sachs gave to Obama and his admin. appointees about the Wall St. injustice (mainly bonuses) needing to be rectified soon, or else…

    He also indicts everyone from Reagan up to Obama, including the Clinton terms, as contributing to the present crisis, and he basically called Bush Jr. a moron (so true).

    Sachs’ message is the same basic message as JHK, but who listens to Jim? Just us, I’m afraid.

  36. Vow of poverty!?! Nonsense. If you have money for Viagra, you can gamble on hydrocarbons too.

    As to figuring out the price of oil, I’m working on a tutorial for you. I really am. Actually, Holmes needs it more than anyone here. So “it’s for everyone” is what I’m trying to say. Jeffrey Sachs wouldn’t do this for you. Am I not right?

  37. Don’t have time to look at the full Jeffrey Sachs interview/lecture right now. Just one thought–I think Ms. Fitts has (and has had for quite some time) a bee in her bonnet regarding Jeffrey Sachs. Can’t remember what it was about. Probably something to do with Harvard and its endowment.

    Her mentor at Dillon Read back in the 1980s was Nick Brady (who was Treasury Sec’y. under Bush I), a real WASP. Fitts has never mentioned this in any of her writings but I stumbled across some indication recently that Brady had a falling out with the financial services industry, particularly the Jewish investment bankers. I’ll keep digging.

    In the meantime, Bif, I haven’t made much progress, but have found some gasmasks — http://www.gasmasks.net/ check out the Russian (group I) and Poland photos; the Belgians don’t have any matches.

  38. bunnbunn,

    I worship you as a God. You are omnipotent. Thank you for not squishing me like the lowly vermin that I am, oh mighty and far seeing one.

    Yours in faith,
    Doom

  39. Its amazing what people collect isn’t it?

    As EE mentioned previously, the Russian and Polish models seem to most resemble those in the old photo.

  40. I’m going with the Civil GP5 or possibly (although less likely from the context of the picture) Military SchM41M, both Russian, as shown in the gas mask collection.

  41. Location? Almost certainly somewhere in the eastern bloc. For various reasons, I’ll go with Poland.

  42. Time for a bit of lunch.

    With the Laker game coming up in another hour or so, I might need to finish off the tasty feast with a handful of pain killers. Boston has their own pesky Game 7 to deal with. Adieu.

  43. There was no pain in that. You can disconnect the bong from the SchM41M. Now let’s see if the Celtics show up.

  44. So, which gas mask type is more perverse?
    WMD or Frank’s?

    (at 2 mins, 20 seconds)

  45. David Lynch is one crazy fucked up genius. Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, etc. Perverse, yet erotic. The girls are kinda cute, too.

  46. I know you aren’t supposed to forward stuff you find on the interwebs, but this is too cool:

    This is weird, but interesting!

    fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

    Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

    i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

    Maybe the government bots spying on everyone will have problems using keyword searches. Cryptology in plain sight.

    “It’s an amazing world”

  47. Why shouldn’t you pass on stuff you find on the internet? ‘Cuz its usually bogus.

  48. AU, I atculaly hvae hte oositppe prbloem. Bcaesue I can raed the wohle wdors, I otefn do not ntoice wehn one or mroe are mipsseleld!

  49. Arch Dudeness o’ Doom,

    Ain’t brains amazing! We are obviously capable of so much more, eh?

  50. Good one AU.

    Isn’t it also interesting that human brains think human brains are incredibly amazing? Only natural I guess.

  51. I’ll tell you what else. I get a lot more depressed about the Celtics losing than I get happy about their winning. I swear. Its just not worth it I tell you.

  52. I extend my sincerest condolences to all ZK Cletics fans. Laker fans experienced this psychic trauma slightly less than a year ago. True NBA fans will suffer for at least two weeks after their team exits from the playoffs. The more ignominious the exit, the greater the pain.

    With a clearer head (after that highly perplexing Houston series), and an advance to the Conference Finals finally accomplished, I reiterate my prior prediction of a championship for the Lakers this season.

  53. That chicken dinner scene is freaking me out.

    MOU, I don’t unnerstand. What are you trying to say to Doom?

    Holmes, you need to stop fucking around and make us some gotdamn money. If you can’t think of your own best interests, at least have the decency and good taste to think of my Christmas list (which I’ve imported into an Excel spreadsheet for your convenience). You concentrate on pulling that oar, and I’ll handle finishing up with the tutorial. (And one more thing: try not to be so insensitive to Celicts fans.) Actually, I really do need you to stop bothering me, so I can get some writing done. I thank you in advance for your cooperation.

  54. I just can’t talk now. I spent this evening talking to a microsoft guy in Mumbai ‘cuz I can’t install service pack 3 for xp. After 1 1/2 hours, he says he’ll call me back. He does. Another hour wizzes by. I realize I’m mortal, I am going to die one day, and I’ve lost this time forever, ‘like tears in the rain’.
    Typical line from MS support specialist:”Thank you for your patience in resolving this issue. I’d like to confirm your telephone number”
    Me:”You called me back successfully already with the number I told you an hour ago.”

  55. AU, breathe deeply and think of domestically-based service industries. It’s going to be okay.

    SP3… thanks for the warning. Maybe JR can help. He knows the score.

  56. Holmes, I congratulate your Lakers on their 4-3 Semi-final win. I wish my Celtoids or Cletics or whatever is teh (“teh”, I love that) new way of referring to them is were so cool.

    BTW, this is the first time in history, the Celts have lost from leading 3-2. At least that’s what TBS told me the other day when I tuned in for game 5.

    Holmes. None of this matters unless the Lakers take it. They don’t win, it’s a burnt year. It’s all or nothing. People only remember the winners.

    Manny Ramirez is a lying, juiced-motherfucking chump. But nobody cares, cuz he’s gonna be living behind your garage soon.

    He will always be known as part of those two Red Sox World Series teams.

    I forgot what I was going to say. I finally got a history on the Civil War and once again find myself in love with words. I still forgot what I was gonna say.

    Oh, yeah, I need to mount an offensive on Ricks. I’m so sick of this douche. And I hope Donovan has a chance to read the Peters piece. I’d love feedback. Don’t write it here (or you can, I don’t care). gtf1969@hotmail.com

  57. Those Indians are likely yucking it up that they put the Hindu mind bend on some Americans long distance courtesy of MicroSquish. BTW, have you tried our curry? Very hot.

    So far, I’ve sunk 2 precious hours on the phone to Mumbai trying to get Adobe to honor it’s “free” upgrade from CS3.3 to CS4.0. Is CS4.0 vaporware? Why don’t they send it to me like I requested back in early January? Do they know the oil is running out or something?

    Hapless in Hawaii.

  58. SP3? These are minor issues. You’re lucky I’m free.

    No, you’ve gained this time. You only lost it if you gave up and bought a Mac. Otherwise it is water under the bridge and experience.

    Trust me. Never trust a computer. Always have 4. So when you are on hold to Mumbai, you can be doing other things.

    This can be leveraged. You will never pay for another movie, TV show, or book again.

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