Open Thread October

A few of my friends were outraged – OUTRAGED! I tell you – a few weeks ago when Urban Outfitters was under fire for selling bloodied Kent State sweatshirts. Boring.

Sears Under Fire For Swastika Ring



Swastika Ring





The War Nerd: The long, twisted history of beheadings as propaganda
[thank you, Dave]

For the American/Western audience, you’re hoping to provoke disgust and horror intense enough to weaken support for any more intervention in Iraq. Finally, you’re hoping that some Kurdish and Shia Iraqi fighters will see or hear about the video, because you want them terrified of you. It was that terror that led many Iraqi Army units to bug out before they ever even saw the black flag of IS up close. As Brando intoned while the sweat dripped from his fat face in Apocalypse Now, “Terror is your friend…” When you’re a relatively small conventional fighting force like IS, terror is your best weapon

No Pain, No Game

But Almond is dead serious: Supporting a spectacle that causes brain damage is immoral. He calls out individual commentators, including President Obama. They acknowledge the severity of football’s downside, right? So how can they fail even to consider its abolition? Elsewhere, in a passage representative of the book as a whole, he writes: “I’m going to get hammered for asking these questions. Fine. Hammer away. But don’t pretend that’s the same as answering.”

Real Life is Not Spin Art

The ebola melodrama has all the mojo to set the global economy’s hair on fire. And it comes along at a very strange time: just as central bank hoodoo approaches the brink of its own epic fail – as in, accounting fraud, check-kiting, and public relations can only work as a place-holder for authentic economic relations for so long before the ominous shadow of reality sweeps in on black swan wings. The markets were already well into the puking stage of their own hemorrhagic contagion last week. Maybe the S & P starts bleeding from its eyes and ears this week.

There’s certainly blood all over the overburdened back roads of the Bakken play all of a sudden, where $88-a-barrel shale oil doesn’t even allow you to pretend that you’ve got a profitable venture going. The shale oil fairy tale has been at the center of a matrix of lies America has been telling itself about its economic meth buzz. Saudi America and all that malarkey, all in the service of America’s master wish of all wishes: please Lord, let us keep driving to Wal Mart forever.


Total American crude-oil product consumption dropped during the recession from a peak of about 20.9 million barrels per day in the summer of 2005 to 18.5 mbpd in the spring of 2013 – 11%. It has risen since then to 19.0 mbpd.

The liquid transportation component dropped from 14.7 mbpd in the summer of 2007 to 13.4 mbpd in the spring of 2013 – 9%. It has since rebounded during this “recovery” to 13.8 mbpd.

Happy motoring, y’all!


137 Replies to “Open Thread October”

  1. When visiting Florence back in 2005, there were shops there selling “Hitler wine” and “El Duche wine”. Vintage chianti bottles with nice color photographs of Hitler and Mussolini on the labels. I was tempted, but wondered how the TSA and Customs inspectors might react to them in my duty-free.

  2. corny joke:

    The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time.

    The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband’s occupation.. “He’s a funeral director,” she answered. “Interesting,” the newsman thought… He then asked her if she wouldn’t mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.

    She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20’s, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40’s, and a preacher when in her 60’s, and now – in her 80’s – a funeral director. The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.

    (Wait for it)

    She smiled and explained, “I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”

  3. Miss you guys! Busy as a beaver collecting acorns for my squirrels (the few that are left after the Saudi landscapers poisoned most of them in September). It was a bountiful year after our wet spring.

  4. dave, you missed your true calling in life. i don’t know, maybe this is the son you always wanted but never had?

    bonus question: what beach is it?

  5. i can hear jhk tittering and chortling as he contemplates mortar rounds raining in on the green zone, on christmas eve.

  6. in the “good old daz”, the journey to hawaii and then onward to the big island and finally kilauea’s summit was much moron an ordeal than now. now, it’s a 5-hour plane ride from san fran, followed by an hour ride from honolulu to hilo, and about 40 minutes by car to the summit.

    i guess the ordeal made the final destination moron worthwhile? anyway, we can expect lots of worthwhile quests in the future, like getting to the market and back.

  7. lanai, the pineapple isle. looked like you could grow anything there. why, look at all those big, healthy pineapples! now that it’s over, the soil there barely supports scrub brush. in many places, it’s baren and wind and occasional flood erosion has set in, like the surface of mars, only with bits of black plastic cover and drip irrigation remains.

    morons are in the news camping out on mauna kea, learning how to live in lifeless, harsh places like mars. nasa supports this endeavor. moron mind candy for the american proles. maybe we can send the homeless people up there? spend moron cash we don’t have “helping” those folks make a fresh start on a new planet.

  8. here’s the challenge: knowing that the human population will need to pare down moron than 90% real fast after civilization collapse, how do you best position yourself to not be among that large number? also, is it worth it to even try?

    i think a well provisoned sail-motor boat that you live on (to constantly protect it) with sailing practice and post-collapse places already scoped out, ala orlov, is the best strategy.

  9. sailboats leak…it’s all just luck. the fact that you’re (generic you) here at all, is due completely to luck. bad or good, i’m not sure.

  10. maybe it’s a curse, dunno. i think that practice makes for better outcomes, to be prepared. sailboats at sea without the accoutiments of modern civilization, like weather reports from satellites, GPS locations, doppler current meters, depth sounders, radar to track other boats, radios, etc., will place one back a few centuries. getting caught out in a storm could turn out poorly; too close to shore and you might run aground. like you say, boats leak, especially with bashed in hulls..

  11. but, really, if you like sailing, you should get a sailboat. if you like gardening, plant a garden. if you like sitting in an office cube, do that. ..etc. really. i like drinking, dancing, lifting weights and sex, so that’s what i try to stick with…

  12. we used to visit a couple that lived on a sailboat. they were using it mostly to avoid high rents. we used to call the boat the “doomsday getaway craft”. i think the guy was moron afraid of the sea than he was of meeting his end on land. he never took it out of sight of land the whole time we knew them. i think his fear was understandable. a lot of sailors meet their end “out there”.

  13. I hear a whole lot of preachin’ to the choir here. Choir, get some sleep for tomorrow and church. – rev. gb

  14. i’m preaching? i didn’t know that. i thought that i was just part of the world’s longest running stream of free association, something like that.

  15. mostly, by -and-large, between 2 kinda grumpy middle aged, both on the cusp of old age, guys, one in ct and the other in hi, something like that. every once in a while, like now, some other player will chime in.

  16. I think we should be allowed to vote for something really important every year or so…like state bird. I like our NY state bird: bluebird, but other worthy candidates like eastern screech owl are never even considered.

  17. i really like our state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapuaha. by the time you say it, the fish has escaped. not too sure about the state bird here.

  18. “i thought that i was just part of the world’s longest running stream of free association, something like that.”

    that statement, and the others sound accurate to me. i write “sound” but the sound i hear is the voice in my own head as i read the words, as if i can reproduce your voice in my mind. none of that matters, i guess.

  19. BTW, that’s a hell of a banana split that soda jerk made for louie’s baby. i’ll bet she didn’t eat too much of it, or that nice figure would blow up pronto. seriously, those fountain treats are for kids in their early teens that can eat mountains of just about anything and not gain any weight. prolly a few kcals.

  20. regarding the california drying, i showed a time series of the GRAPE gravity maps of the central valley to a class, showing the dramatic groundwater loss over the past decade there. i noted a lot of long faces in the room. earlier, i had shown a similar, but even moron dramatic GRAPE map of northern India’s groundwater loss, but did not get the same reaction. i guess the effects of global warming are hitting closer to home.

  21. we used to buy CA cantalopes and honeydew mellons out here. now, they’re like, “wot? you expect me to pay that?” we buy lots of papayas. now, the local mellons are cheaper.

  22. this one is for the choir:

    Gail Tverberg says:
    November 1, 2014 at 7:12 am
    Somehow, humans have lived through a variety of weather conditions. The growth of farming didn’t occur until the end of the last ice age. In the absence of global warming, we would be about due for another ice age about now. All of our long-term investment is built on the assumption that climate will stay the same. But with or without man-made interference with the climate, that is a poor assumption.

  23. “All of our long-term investment is built on the assumption that climate will stay the same. But with or without man-made interference with the climate, that is a poor assumption.”

    No shit.

  24. “we used to buy CA cantalopes and honeydew mellons out here. now, they’re like, “wot? you expect me to pay that?” we buy lots of papayas. now, the local mellons are cheaper.”

    Yeah, we’re seeing less and less CA produce here in flyover and more from neighboring states. Some differences color and size and probably price too, but I don’t pay that close attention to the latter. It is what it is.

  25. i think JHK is a major dickhead who can kinda write. at least, that’s my opinion. like, he can describe the state of the world? kinda doubtful. he should stick to writing novels, gardening and architecture commentary.

  26. quote of the month:

    “There might be a few around but they’re no longer really part of the ecosystem. We call that functionally extirpated.”

  27. meanwhile, out here in paradise, a democratic party stronghold, the state keeps the construction union folks busy with roadwork repairs, making a new light rail to nowhere, and the university system is getting major campus rennovations (overdue, but disruptive to the ongoing teaching and research efforts), and even the utilities are getting into the act with new underground wiring, wind farms, solar farms, etc.

    the construction litterally (appropirate spelling of the word) starts at the end of the driveway-sidewalk, continues on the streets and boulevards being dug up and repaved, and ends for me at the campus, where building’s new AC is just competed to meet new elevator installations, painted building exteriors, landscaping, sidewalk repairs, etc. when i mention the resemblance to the WPA projects in the 1930s, i’m informed that “this time, it’s different”.

  28. Oil may be crashing, but an owl does what an owl does. I now have a screech owl in one of my nest boxes. This is his life:
    1) wake up around 4:30pm, sit in entrance and stare at the world.
    2) at dark, leave box, prey on rodents and stuff. Look for a mate. Maybe have some hot, owl sex.
    3) Return to box at dawn. Sit in entrance a few minutes. Drop into bottom of box and sleep around 7:15am.
    4) Repeat

  29. what i observe a lot of around here is denial, even in the face of climate change, for which the colleagues chase funding to study. study it, look for quick fixes, but don’t delve too deep into the root causes. IOW, intellectual dishonesty.

  30. From a quick Google search, the taper of US Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Fed (@ $85 billion/month for all of last year) started as early as December, 2013, with a $10 million per month cut for one month. The Fed then suspended its taper until March, 2014, citing poor economic performance during the winter months. From March, there as been a continued taper each month that will end in zero QE by the end of November.

    Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices have been falling steadily since last July. See:
    I’m not an economist (nor would I want to be), but something clearly started happening in late June to early July to trigger this steady dive in prices. Taper with some 3-4 month lag effect?

    From this source:

    “Yellen also reiterated that any future decisions about rate changes would be “data dependent” and not necessarily based on a specific calendar target. That is significant because Yellen rattled the market in March when she said that a “considerable time” could mean a rate increase six months after the end of QE—putting a hike in March.

    “I know ‘considerable time’ sounds like it’s a calendar assessment, but it is highly conditional and linked to the committee’s assessment of the economy,” she said.

    The Fed, however, changed the parameters for how it will make future rate calls and it moved its expectations for interest rates higher than market expectations.

    Ultimately, the statement showed that the fuss over whether the Fed would change a few words was a lot of ado without too much to show for it.

    “It’s kind of a shame that there’s this obsession over what is minutiae further down the road,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “The Fed is moving toward normalization. It will finish tapering next month and at the middle point of next year it will begin raising rates.”

    Amazing! Raising interest rates will likely tank the economy, because the borrowing to produce more debt was enabled by ultra-low (read: near zero) interest rates! Without growing debt, the economy will stall/free fall. QE debt made the so-called recovery we’ve had since 2009 work. It’s going to get interesting.

  31. “It’s going to get interesting.”

    Meh. Call me when folks are ready to decorate Wall Street lamp posts right proper.

  32. so JR, this ZK blog is a little like an electronic aquarium or fish pond. you provide the water and oxygen, add a little fish food now and then, and see what drops in and starts swimming around.

    my father once told me that all you had to do in southeast Texas have fish is make a pond. somehow, the fish just found the place. i can think of only two natural ways, periodic flooding of the nearby Trinity River, and the occasional hurricane that can literally rain fish out of the sky. then, there were also sneaky fellows like my father that would drop some fish in while you weren’t looking, claiming spontaneous generation.

  33. timely, as i just had a dental checkup yesterday. did you know cola is a better carburetor cleaner than the stuff they sell in the auto parts stores? my old gearhead landlord clued me on that one a few decades back.

    did you know that the leading cause of death in ancient egyptians was inflection from absessed teeth? it seems the rock flour that would get into their stone ground meal would slowly wear the enamel down, eventually exposing the tooth’s interior to bacteria. the sillies would have been better off with wooden mills, assuming they could find some wood.

  34. Gail Tverberg says:
    November 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    If we can’t keep the economy together that pumps the oil out, there won’t be oil. It will simply stay in the ground. 100% of it. I don’t care what Hubbert Curves seem to say–they are based on the special case when another energy source comes on before decline and completely replaces oil or fossil fuels in general. Hubbert talked about reversing combustion, in which we would use cheap nuclear to make liquid fuels. We don’t have that situation now.

    It is completely myth that oil will continue indefinitely at higher price. To the extent it continues, it is at lower price, and without credit.

    [i note with glee that Hubbert gets quoted like jesus in the bible. he was the bestest doomer, with solutions, too. just gotta get that fusion going.]

  35. ####

    remove the four #### from the above, and the link, which for some reason will not post here, will take you to an interesting post on energy storage problems and ERoRI.

  36. like i’ve always said: it’s too bad that the earth isn’t a nice sterile rock, like the rest of this shit floating around out here.

  37. That Mars shot up thread could easily be the landscaping of a Sun City, AZ home circa 1970’s/80’s. May still be today, dunno. Rocks then spray colored plastic or similar to coat/color it, keep it in place and reduce the chances of a myocardial infarction should some hapless asshole step or drive their golf cart on the “lawn”.

    Plus the odd assortment of cacti as decoration/deterrent.

  38. But dave but there would be no nubile, female tango dancers at milongas if our planet were a sterile rock. Have you thought about that?

  39. blame what on my (anybody’s) a.d.d? i’ve always (often? for a long time?) thought that a.d.d. was just some kinda made up shit. made up by oofra and her sidekick, dr. fill.

  40. interesting idea about the ocean as a “wild card” for future climate change:

    Gail Tverberg says:
    October 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    “The whole topic seems to have become highly politicized.

    An article someone passed on to me today: Climate change caused by ocean, not just atmosphere

    According to the Science Daily article,

    The study shows that changes in heat distribution between the ocean basins is important for understanding future climate change. However, scientists can’t predict precisely what effect the carbon dioxide currently being pulled into the ocean from the atmosphere will have on climate. Still, they argue that since more carbon dioxide has been released in the past 200 years than any recent period in geological history, interactions between carbon dioxide, temperature changes and precipitation, and ocean circulation will result in profound changes.

    Exactly what, we don’t know.”

  41. meanwhile, out here in the middle of freaking nowhere, 1000s of miles from the nearest continental landmass, TPTB are considering a ban on lying or sitting in public places for more than a certain amount of time, aimed to ticket those bottom 1 percenters who like to hang out and camp in these places. they want those folks stay in the public housing areas. hey you, back to the ghetto!

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