Friday, June 30, 2006


“In Miami, Mission Impossible takes on Amos ‘n Andy.”
P. Wilson

When Pud disappears we speculate that he’s in rehab. He always claims he’s been in de-hab. “Re-hab, de-hab,” Pud says, “it’s still the habs versus the hab-nots.”

One of his favorite spiels is how marijuana is proof of some form of benevolence in the universe. Not a God necessarily, not even net-sum hospitableness, but at least not total agony for all. Outer space, so far, doesn’t seem all that hospitable to humans. And the social environment and biological burn here on earth drives many to suicide, or worse—long useless lives. But with all the bleakness, marijuana, with weedlike tenacity, reminds us that all is not bad—there is some good. This according to Pudinhand Wilson.

Now he’s saying that citrus fruits might stand the same witness. (Recently Pud’s been drinking low-acid pulp-free Tropicana from my refrigerator.) How could you say that the universe is malevolent when it includes the wonderful flavors of orange, lime, and pineapple?

Then he disappeared. Two days later he returned with bad news about pineapples—they’re not citrus after all.

“They’re goddamn bromeliads,” Pud whined.

“But they still taste good…” (why was I consoling him?)

“And they got this weird number thing going,” he said. “Ever hear of Fibonacci numbers?”

“Do I want to?” I asked.

“No, but you’re gonna. In a series of integers beginning with zero and one, each succeeding Fibonacci number is the sum of the previous two numbers. So the Fibonacci numbers are, after zero and one,


“So what does this have to do with …?”

“In a pineapple you can count the rows of little fruitlets in three directions: up and down, sideways, and diagonally. The numbers of fruitlets in each direction: 8, 13, and 21, are all Fibonacci numbers.”


“Here,” said Pud, “I’ve gone through my whole fucking life. I’ve learned a few things. I know that Charles Frederick Rogers delivered the head shot from the Grassy Knoll. I know that the Kodiak bear is the largest land mammal in North America. I know that the zoo stopped selling marshmallows because I was tossing them to the Kodiak bears and they were catching them in their mouths.

“But all this time I thought that pineapple was a citrus fruit. And I never knew shit about Fibonacci numbers. Is it a fruit-in-general thing, or a bromeliad-thing? Can I possibly afford to go down that path? Nope, no matter how much I ever learn I’ll always be a stupid asshole!”

“Come on, Pud,” I said, “It’s not about you, it’s about citrus fruit and goodness in the universe, and all.”

Pud was disconsolate. “And citrus fruit isn’t nearly as good as marijuana,” he said, defeated.
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Thursday, June 22, 2006


Leave it to Pud—he saw the word “anonymize” and just went off.

This time it’s campaign finance reform. He’s pushing a “Donor Equality,” law. Pud’s law would create a clearinghouse to receive all political donations and pass them along to the candidate with no donor information attached.

There would be no restriction on the amounts that US citizens and organizations could contribute. The only restriction would be on communication between the donor and the candidate about the gift.

If a political donation is made because the recipient is judged more qualified to do a good job (as defined by the donor) there is nothing wrong with that. In such a case there is no need for the donor to identify him or her self. This is the position of most Americans—we don’t expect to curry any personal favor with our $100 donations here and there.

But when a large corporation wants a particular piece of legislation it will donate to both candidates with the expectation that, whoever wins, the corporation will get what it wants. These donations are obviously not anonymous, and they are obviously corrupt. To give money to an officeholder (or seeker) with the expectation of any reciprocity is a bribe.

For an officeholder to treat a large donor better than an anonymous donor (like you and me) is corrupt. So, we require that all donations be anonymous. (Actually, all real donations ARE anonymous; bribes aren’t.)

Oh gee! It would be so complicated! People would cheat!

Pud says, “Stop sobbing. Get off your fat ass!”

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Friday, June 16, 2006


One of the major American assholes of my lifetime is reportedly being bounced by CBS. The next news I want to hear about him is that he's dead.
This guy was the one newsman allowed to view the Zapruder film in the days and months and years after JFK was murdered. He reported to the world that the fatal shot caused Kennedy's head to move violently forward, consistent with the bullet coming from the depository sniper's nest, and consistent with the Warren Commission version.
We all know now that the fatal shot caused Kennedy's head to move violently back and to his left, consistent with a Stockade Fence shot.
As far as I'm concerned, Dan Rather is an accessory after the fact to JFK's assasination and should be behind bars.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I always feel dumb recommending a new discovery. It usually turns out that everyone already knew about it and I was the last to find out.

There are many radio stations available for free on the internet. They are streaming stereo (and mono) feeds that play in RealPlayer, or iTunes, or Windows Media Player.

I enjoy listening to music while I work as well as when I relax, mostly classical but I’m also enjoying jazz more and more. Call me lazy or cheap or both, but I hate acquiring and playing music (inserting the cds, removing them, putting them back in their cases—we’re talking lazy). Radio is perfect for me. It costs nothing and requires almost no effort.

A great resource for classical internet radio is CLASSICAL LIVE ONLINE RADIO. This site seeks to include all the classical stations available on the internet.

Here I found a Netherlands station that plays nothing but baroque and style galant. (Pudinhand Wilson promises an “expose” on style galant which he says “equals” the western European “ear.”) Obviously you don’t want baroque 24/7, but when you do feel like it, their baroque playlist is much deeper than that of an all-era classical station.

The stations are from all over the world. The other day I was listening to a couple of announcers chatting on an Australian Public Broadcasting station. When the man complained about something his female partner told him to “stop sobbing.”

I finally bought a decent speaker system for my computer, $80 at Radio Shack, and I’m astounded at the sound quality. The technology continues to get cheaper, and smaller.

Most of the stations I listen to are all music, with very little voice, and no commercials. My new speaker system reminds me of my pet peeve regarding FM radio—the announcers boost the bass gain on their microphones. So you’ve just finished listening to a rousing symphony at a volume that the neighbors can tolerate, and the announcer comes on with a voice that shakes the entire building like pedal notes.

A low voice is highly prized in broadcasting and real life, and I guess for a radio announcer every performance is an audition, so they use technical tricks to make their voices sound low and full, but it’s really annoying and I’ll continue sobbing about it.

BBC-3 continues to be extremely satisfactory.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

P. Wilson: ZERO

My friend, Pud, was all excited about zeroes.

“Where would we be without zeroes?” he said, as if responding to an attack. “Last night I was watching Chinese TV, and—“

“Why the fuck were you watching Chinese TV?”

“Best thing on.” Pud said, annoyed. “So they had all these Asian language subtitles, you know, all that noodle-stuff,” (Pud loves to assert a connection between the written Chinese characters and uncooked Top Ramen), “and I noticed that I could easily read the numbers. They use fucking Arabic numerals!’

“Here we are belittling and bombing the Arabs and all the time we’re using their goddamn numbering system! Can you imagine where Western civilization would be if we were still using Roman numerals? Like, you’re trying to buy some meds on-line and you look at the keyboard and there’s no number keys. Talk about jonesing!

“They say the great Arab contribution was Zero. The idea that you could have something, a zero, that stands for nothing, is kind of a stretch. Like, the ink that forms the character is something, it is certainly not nothing, yet it means absolutely nothing.

“How does one depict the absence of something? Most of the universe is empty space. And molecules are mostly empty space. Drill down and you get quarks and charm and all that shit. And the fucking Arabs recognized this. So good for them.”

“But what does this have to do with anything?” I gently queried.

“Remember, in the fourth grade,” Pud said, “when the kids used to call me ‘zero’?”

“That was when you were trying to get zeroes on multiple choice exams.”

“Yeah, I did it twice,” Pud said proudly, “problem is you sort of have to know the right answers in order to avoid them, and that meant, like, studying.”

“And…,” I prompted.

“So, I was like, eleven, and I was already hip to the whole Arab thing, you know, zeroes and stuff, so give me some fucking credit!”

----- o -----

Friday, June 09, 2006


One of my favorite brags is that a guy I worked for, named Marcus Powell, actually knew the Unibomber when they were both on the math faculty at UC Berkeley.

I believe that the capture happened during a tax season when I was typing taxes for Marcus and his partner Marge. It was Marge who reminded Marcus, “Didn’t you know a guy at Berkeley named Ted Kaczynski?”

Marcus had been a professor at Berkeley. He says he was mostly working on NASA contracts, programming the directional controls of space probes when he came upon a problem that involved “set theory.”

Marcus asked around the department for someone who was up on set theory and was referred to a new faculty member, Ted Kaczynski, who had just arrived from Chicago where he’d done his dissertation on the subject. So, according to Marcus, he had many cordial meetings with Ted.

I asked Marcus the obvious question, “How did you go from being a Math professor at a prestigious university aiming space probes to being a tax preparer?” (To be fair, Marcus was a high-end tax guy.)

“The actual programming was not a very creative activity,” Marcus explained. “There were issues to be resolved but there’s only one correct answer per question. Working on taxes is much more creative, there are more than one correct way to tell any financial story. I’ll wake up at night thinking—I should have done this or that differently on a return. That never happened with the NASA work.”

“So what you’re telling me,” I said, “is that the tax code is more complicated than rocket science.”

“Way more,” Marcus said.

Click HERE for an amusing expose by Alexander Cockburn: Ted Kaczynski had been a CIA/LSD guinea pig.
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Thursday, June 08, 2006

NEW to me POOP on the POPE

I guess that one step in the grieving process is to nominate the deceased for sainthood. So our current pope, a former Hitler Youth, wants to fast track the sainthood bid of his predecessor, John Paul II. This despite growing evidence that the two of them both protected a notorious (accused) pedophile priest, pictured below, who apparently set up his own religious order that specialized in recruiting young boys.

Read one view of this shocking story HERE. For more, google “Marcel Maciel”.

After years of outcry, the Vatican issued orders restricting the tasks Fr Macial could perform as a priest. He's no longer allowed to preach, say mass publicly, and it seems, show his face. However the Vatican has acknowledged no connection between their actions against Maciel and the molestation allegations.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Mr. Lay, if Dan Petrocelli can’t get you off, you’re guilty as hell. P. Wilson

Houston: Motherlode of pollution and corruption. P. Wilson

I’ve been away, taking care of my friend, Pudinhand Wilson. For many people the news of Ken Lay’s and Jeff Skilling’s convictions was cause for joy. Pud's celebration was life threatening.

I’ve heard of the two-day hangover. And I’ve heard of death from acute alcohol poisoning. Pudinhand walked the line, surviving a ten-day hangover. And I'd been appointed by fate to nurse him.

Back in his “wild days,” Pud extracted a solemn promise from me—that I wouldn’t let him drown in his own vomit. It had something to do with a talking-to he’d gotten from his mother.

Given his lifestyle, Pudinhand could turn up dead anytime and it would surprise no one. Pud says he likes it. “So many people have written me off," he says, "I’m practically a ghost.” Still, I’d hate to tell his truly innocent mom that her son had died inhaling his own barf.

When Pud regained consciousness (day six), I expected his usual “Where does a guy get a drink around here?” This time Pud’s first words were, “Skilling and Lay, they were convicted, right?”

When I responded affirmatively Pud got this scary glint in his eye, “Cheney and Bush are next,” he said.

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