Friday, March 13, 2015
Pripyat Marshes: While the US keeps playing “let's you and him fight” with the Ukraine and Russia, Germany has reacted to Greece's overtures to Russia by looking back at history. They've invaded both before – the last time they were busy uniting Europe - but their adventures in Russia left a bigger impression.
Remember Recovery? Retail sales fell 0.8% in December, another 0.8% decrease in January, and fell 0.6% in February – and it wasn't all the price of gasoline, retail sales ex-gasoline decreased 0.8%. The excuse is, of course, the cold weather – but that doesn't explain December and January. Dollar General has nodded towards reality and cut its full-year profit estimate. Worse news may be the continued deterioration of the Business Inventory-to-sales ratio, which is now at pre-Lehman collapse levels.
Barefoot and Pregnant: In Mexico, a 42-year-old woman running for mayor has been decapitated. In Iran there are new laws that reduce women to “baby-making machines”. In the US Republicans continue their assault on women...
Civilization: South African ranchers are deliberately breeding mutant animals in order to let rich “sportsmen” shoot a freak of nature. (Perhaps that should be “another freak of nature”.)
Upstairs, Downstairs: Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has reviewed the government's mass collection of private British citizens' communications and found it to be “essential” in keeping them in their place and preventing unseemly demonstrations and protests.
Leadership: Two-thirds of Finland's parliamentary candidates favor creating a basic income for all citizens. Not surprising; 70% of the electorate agrees, and leaders tend to follow where they're led.
Love & Mirage: The average wedding now goes for over $31,000, which supposedly reflects an improving economy. I suspect it reflects growing desperation to be somebody, if only for a day. I paid a JP $20 and went to Chuckie Cheeses for the pay-your-own-way reception. 35 years later, I'm still happily married. Go figure.
Training Bra: Mattel's new interactive Barbie doll records children's voices and uploads them to “the cloud”. What could go wrong?
The Scott Walker Miracle: While the US economy is on the upswing and nation-wide unemployment falling, unemployment is up in every Wisconsin county and major city.
Nutshell: The real problem with the iWatch is that it closes the trap and tethers you completely to the internet. It puts you at the constant and insistent beck and call of everyone - friends, coworkers, advertisers. Once upon a time a smartphone was a high status item, now the iWatch/iPhone combination will become a sign of enslavement.
Definitive Answer: “Why spy? Because it’s cheaper than playing fair.”
Porn O'Graph: The half-full glass.
Posted by Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III at 6:40 AM