Sunday, February 24, 2013

Massive Virus Attack Wipes Out Blogger!

Actual Electron-Microscope
Photo of Cold Virus
Yesterday I was felled by a massive virus attack and couldn't work or blog.  The virus, of course, was that of the common cold.  I was flat on my back and spent the day in bed.  The virus, millions of tiny microbes wearing Guy Fawkes masks, has moved into my chest and I now sound like Barry White.  I am hoping for a very short-term recording contract.

Today is band practice day.  Though still recovering, I will attend.  There are some things you just can't miss, i.e., your own funeral, the collapse of the economy, and band practice, the latter being much more fun than the former two.

The microbes are now staging a wild party in my chest. Well it started out as a party and has now evolved into "spring break" for germs. I can put up with the litter, the graffiti, the traffic and even the pot smoke, but couldn't they at least turn down the loud music? Sheesh!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Listen to Rush for Cheap! And Other iPad Wonders.

I am really enjoying my iPad.  My wife and I gave each other iPads for Christmas.

What I like especially like about my iPad is the availability of cheap applications, or "apps," that are quickly downloadable.  I am listening to Rush Limbaugh on a radio station broadcasting in New Mexico, and it is loud and clear.  The app is called "Conservative Talk Radio," and it cost $3.  In addition to Rush I can listen to a long list of other conservative pundits, assuming they are currently broadcasting.

I am a Rush 24/7 user, having paid around $25 for the privilege.  However, listening to that on my regular PC laptop isn't nearly as good.  There are often delays due to cache and other issues.  Listening on my iPad is much better -- no delays, no hiccups, it just works.  Apple's technology is just superior.

Other apps I use are for watching live television from Europe and other areas of the world.  I like to watch French television to improve my French, and the broadcasts are clear, the audio perfect, and the audio and video perfectly in sync (there is no time gap between them, as you sometimes see on a PC).

I can also watch the BBC broadcasts as well as television stations in Russia, China and South America.

Another app (free) allows me to watch NASA television, live.  The other night I watched astronauts frolicking within a space station, plus the control room in Houston, as well as various presentations.

Most apps that I add to my iPad are automatically uploaded to my iPhone as well, over the "cloud."  Photos are interchanged between iPad and iPhone automatically as well.

Other apps that I use on my iPad are these:

Skype -- Free phone calls to anyone in the world, with video as well as audio.  I talked to my cousin in Dallas, and a friend in South Carolina, and it worked perfectly.

YouTube -- Has a free app that works far better than accessing YouTube from a browser.  I like to watch "French in Action" videos in bed at night, just before sleep.

eBooks -- Read books on your iPad, many of them free.  I am reading "Les Miserables" on it.

Kindle -- I buy almost all of my books in Kindle format, and they are accessible from my pc, my iPad and my iPhone.

iTunes -- Music!  I rarely use this app, as I prefer using my pc to burn purchased songs to a CD.  However, it allows one to use his iPad as a kind of skinny boom box.  I like to sometimes listen to Beatles music while shaving in the morning.

Blogger -- With this free app I can post to my blogs using my iPad.

Netflix -- I can and do watch movies on my iPad and they are clear and the audio perfect.

Foreign Language Dictionaries -- I have free apps for French and Spanish, useful tools for a student of languages (as I am).

Texting -- This is not an app, it is built in to iPads.  I can and do text friends and relatives who have either iPads or iPhones.  Unfortunately, you can't text people who have non-Apple phones....but maybe there's an app for that!  I'll check.  (Update:  there are several.)

Should you get an iPad?  Heck yes.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Abraham Lincoln's War Crimes

The current issue of Confederate Veteran magazine has an article "Lincoln's War on Southern Civilians," by Walter Brian Cisco.  Intrigued, I opted to buy the longer version in his book "War Crimes Against Southern Civilians."  It is really an eye-opener.

It is impossible to read of the widespread tyranny, barbarism and mass murder of civilians that the glorious North perpetrated on the South in the War for Southern Independence.  To read the record of Northern atrocities, is to be filled with hatred and disgust for the culprits, the chief of whom was Abraham Lincoln, an odious, evil man.

Here are some extracts from Cisco's book:

To those readers who still think Lincoln a great man, I would only say this: if you knew what we know about the North's barbarous invasion of the Southern states in 1861 to 1865, you too would be Confederates.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Anti-Knox Blogger Peter Quennell Sends Strange E-Mail

Peter Quennell, who is obsessed with the Amanda Knox - Raffael Sollecito case is now obsessed with me. I have written several articles about the case, and heavily criticized the ruthless, delusional and dishonest prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini. Mignini has filed a large number of civil lawsuits against those who criticize him, or expose his nefarious assaults on justice in Italy.

In America, Mignini would be declared a "vexatious litigant" and forbidden to file any lawsuits without prior approval of a judge. However, he has sued, and will continue to sue, Americans and others under the dubious laws of Italy, even though America has its own laws about "defamation," and criticism of a public figure like Mignini is allowable and protected. However, Mignini wants to force his victims to pay enormous travel and attorneys fees to defend themselves in a foreign country, or lose the suits by default. I will probably opt for the latter if this evil bastard ever sues me, and then never set foot in Italy, which is becoming a legal backwater like any third world despotism. What I will never do, is stop criticizing Giuliano Mignini or the team of tyrants he used to frame Knox and Sollecito. I will never be intimidated or silenced by evil.

Quennell writes:
Whats your real name? I use mine of course. "Bruce Fisher" desperately tried to hide his so he could defame with impunity, but my lawyers with help from police identified him and I outed him here: He is a serial loser for sure, and will lose more.

You should ignore what was made up about me on the web. One dancer (of dozens I have helped) walked with $15,000 and she and Fischer then made stuff up. Their turns will come.
You are a good jewish boy, right? You like conspiracies? The campaign to try to isolate Mignini (and Giuttari) is essentially the work of masons, trying to look after their own kind.
The Knox appeal judges who let her go on first appeal were both masons. Hellmann is gone, in effect fired by the Council of Magistrates, and Zanetti is demoted to a small court in Terni.
Read about it here (second half):

I can see you have been a true believer but its not cool. Think again. They have used you as they have used others, many even paid them big bucks.

One can see that Quennell's comments are all generalities.  He has no specific set of facts or proof that reverse the findings of the Italian appeals court that freed Knox and Sollecito.  Instead, he relies on conspiracy theories about Masons.  Nothing he says about the judges above should be taken seriously, as Quennell has been known to make up "facts" on the fly, and appears to be as delusional as the evil little prosecutor he defends.  As for his "lawyers" and his great plans for litigation against anyone and everyone pro-Knox, they too are mere fantasies and not to be taken seriously.  Talk is cheap, Quennell is a crank, and has about as much credibility as 911 Truthers or Flat-Earthers.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Favorite Spanish Language Blog, El Opinador Compulsivo, Closes

Crap.  My favorite Spanish language blog, El Opinador Compulsivo, has closed.  They were in business for nine years, but I just learned of them in the past six months.

Apparently, the managers of the site were tired and frustrated with the political situation in Argentina and elsewhere, and felt they were knocking their heads against the proverbial brick wall.

The writers are classy guys and they will be missed.

The Amanda Knox Saga Continues: Discredited Prosecutor Sues One of His Victims, Raffael Sollecito

Today I was contacted by a pro-Mignini, anti-Knox blogger named Peter Quennell.  Quennell is passionate about defending Perugia's corrupt, delusional and ruthless prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, who prosecuted Amanda Knox and Raffael Sollecitto for the murder of Meredith Kercher, based on no evidence whatsoever.  Mignini merely imagined a "sex game gone wrong" theory and railroaded two innocent kids, stealing four years of their lives in an Italian prison, before they were finally exonerated on appeal.

An article about Peter Quennell can be read here:  Disturbing emails expose Anti-Amanda Knox blogger Peter Quennell.  Quennell doesn't appear to be nice people.  In his emails to me, he speaks only in generalities, no specifics, no examples, the common traits of a man with no facts.

Raffael Sollecito recently released a book detailing his and Amanda's ordeal after being prosecuted and falsely convicted of murder.  His book is called "Honor Bound."  I purchased the Kindle version of it today and am reading it now.

Of course, Perugia's unhinged prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, has filed suit against Sollecito and his writer for "defamation," which is translated as "telling the unflattering truth" about the weird little man.

Do buy a copy of the book, if for no other reason, than to spite Monster Mignini.  Here's the link.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two Black Men: One an Inspiration, the Other a Monster

Dr. Benjamin Carson, Saves Human Lives
This past week we have been introduced to two black men:  one is an inspiration and role model, the other an evil bastard who murdered innocents.

The inspiration was Dr. Benjamin Carson, a brilliant and highly skilled neurosurgeon, who criticized Obama's policies at a national prayer breakfast.  His criticism was gentle but accurate, resulting in praise from conservatives and criticism from the left.

Dr. Carson's life and career are truly amazing, and he is an inspiration not only to young blacks, but to any and all Americans desiring to maximize their human potential.  He has provided great value to the human race with his surgical innovations and his ability to teach medical students.  This is in addition to the many lives he has saved.  Because he has lived, the world is a better place.  Because he has lived, many who would be dead are alive.  You can read more about Dr. Carson at the Blaze, and see his speech at the national prayer breakfast and answer his critics on Hannity at this link.

The monster was Christopher Dorner, an ex-Los Angeles policeman inspired by leftist ideology and resentments, who murdered four people, two civilians in cold blood, one police officer in an ambush, and a sheriff deputy during a shoot-out in Big Bear Lake, California.

Dorner was motivated by revenge against the Los Angeles Police, who fired him five years ago for filing a false report.  Once he launched his killing spree, many lowlife blacks and leftist whites openly supported him on Twitter, urging him on and celebrating his survival and his killing of police officers.

Christopher Dorner, Murdering Scumbag
Christopher Dorner was a loser, a low-life, a murderer.  The world would be a better place had he never been born.  It is a better place now that he is dead.  Had he never lived, four worthy, valuable people who would now be alive are dead.

Dorner and his supporters on Twitter underscore the fact that prejudice against the black race is largely deserved.  (A high rate of violence, racist hostility to whites, all accompanied by a really bad attitude -- what's not to like?) However, everyone is an individual, and there is an enlightened remnant of the black race who are truly exceptional human beings.  Ben Carson is one of those, while Dorner is merely another segment in the continuing saga of black criminals = dead cops.

Lawrence Auster Losing His Fight With Cancer

Lawrence Auster, who has been battling pancreatic cancer, experienced a devastating setback this week.  Cancerous lesions were found in his brain.  Larry is in the hospital where his doctors are planning radiation to slow the brain cancer, possibly giving Larry a few more months of productive life.  However, the end is in sight and Larry seems at peace with it.  He writes:
The treatment they’re looking at is radiation therapy for four weeks, which would stop the physical and mental deterioration that would otherwise immediately occur and that might give me several more months of functional life before decline and death. Tomorrow the doctors are doing a lumbar puncture to see if cancer cells have gotten into the spine and we will discussing treatment further.

I’m now in the hospital for the second night. It’s my first time staying in a hospital in my life—except for when I was born. It’s a pleasant, peaceful place from which to embark on one’s last journey. I’ve been reciting Homer to my friend.
 Cancer is a deadly disease, and though medical science has made great progress in its treatment, much remains to be learned.  There comes a time in a person's life when he or she must accept that God is calling them home, and make preparations for that final journey.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Venus de Milo With Arms (Photoshop Reconstruction)

Ancient statues are often incomplete, and that adds greatly to their charm.  There is enough of them remaining to appreciate the artist's talent, but their ruined status underscores their great age, and reminds us that great civilizations both rise and fall in the long sweep of history.  I wouldn't want anyone to reconstruct them with unoriginal limbs and parts, but reconstructing them in Photoshop is another story.  It isn't permanent, it allows me to further develop Photoshop skills, it's fun, and it satisfies my curiosity about these artifacts:  what did they look like originally?

Venus de Milo is a famous Greek statue now in the Louvre.  She's a beautiful young woman whose tunic is about to slip off her hips revealing more than just her already bared breasts.  This marble statue is believed to be from the period 130 - 100 B.C.  It was found on the Isle of Milos in 1820, with its arms in fragments (now lost).  The left hand was holding an apple.

Venus de Milo is believed to be the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.  Archaeological evidence indicates her right arm was held down and across her torso, holding the slipping drapery in place.  Based on this description, I supplied the missing arms (as I imagine them to be) with Photoshop.  You can read more about Venus de Milo here.

I found a photograph of the statue on the web, then removed the people, cleaned up dings and holes, and replaced the arms.  Apparently, the statue was painted when new, as was the practice of the ancient Greeks.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Photoshop Reconstruction of WINGED VICTORY of Samothrace

"Winged Victory" is a Greek statue of the goddess Nike. It was excavated on the island of Samothrace in 1863, and now stands in the Louvre Museum in Paris. I saw it there in 2007. Archaeologists have dated the statue to 190 B.C.  When the statue was found, the head, arms and right wing were missing. A reverse copy of the left wing was made in plaster and attached to the statue. I have wondered how the statue appeared before it was ruined by the passing centuries, and have attempted a Photoshop reconstruction here. I referred to other images and statues of Nike, most of which show the goddess with her right arm raised overhead, clutching a wreath, which symbolizes victory in war. Read more about Nike of Samothrace here.  (By the way, the Greek word "Nike" means "victory" and is pronounced nee-kay.)

Update:  My wife thought the arms I added were too thin, so I used the bloat/liquify tool to thicken them.  I think she's right:  a buxom lady like this would not have skinny arms.

Big Sis Explains Why She is Stockpiling Millions of Rounds! (Photoshop)

The Low Information Voter Loves Hillary

The Quinnipiac Poll shows Hillary Clinton to be enormously popular among American voters, sporting a 61% approval rating.  I have to wonder how accurate that is -- does it include Republicans?  Conservatives?  There would have to be a lot of crossover voters to jack the approval rating that high.

Rush likes to talk about "low information" voters, people who make up their minds about politics based on superficial or shallow reasons.  The Low Information Voter rules today's politics, and making sound arguments in favor of conservatism may not work.  Logic and facts will not convince enough voters to make a difference.  Most Americans, I suspect, think Benghazi is an ointment for muscle ache.

When asked which was better, Regular or Ultra Strength, Hillary replied "What difference does it make?"

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Worrisome Signs From Dept of Homeland Security

I don't trust Alex Jones or his site, due to their 911 trutherism and general hysteria over imaginary plots and pogroms, but this report got my attention and seems to be well supported and referenced:  DHS Purchases 21.6 Million More Rounds of Ammunition.

Why is the Department of Homeland Security buying tens of millions of bullets?  Why are they buying the so-called "assault weapons" that are to be denied to ordinary citizens?

The article also states:
Such massive quantities of ammo purchases have stoked fears that the agency is preparing for some kind of domestic unrest. In 2011, Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prepare for a mass influx of immigrants into the United States, calling for the plan to deal with the “shelter” and “processing” of large numbers of people.
What immigrants does Big Sis have in mind?  Why hasn't there been a congressional investigation into these actions by the DHS?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Lawrence Auster's Common Sense on Obama "Killing Americans"

There is a lot of screeching and lamentation on the Right about the federal government killing Americans.  However, the Americans being killed are members of Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups who are plotting and exercising terrorism against the United States.  They are doing this from foreign countries where they are out of the reach of the American justice system, and are being killed there.

I have absolutely no problem with killing them.  They are enemies of the United States who want to kill other Americans.  They deserve no more consideration than Bonnie and Clyde did with police officers who ambushed their car in 1934 and riddled it (and them) with bullets.  Bonnie and Clyde were Americans too....just like Machine Gun Kelly, Ma Barker, John Dillinger and many other criminals who were shot dead by police -- horrrors, without a trial! Without a court order! Without being read their Miranda rights!  Without being appointed a defense attorney!

Lawrence Auster writes common sense about the matter:
The hysteria about “killing Americans” -- Both the left and the opportunistic, anti-Obama right are having conniptions about Obama’s claim to have the right to kill “American citizens,” or, more simply, to kill “Americans.” It’s a fraudulent issue, just as the overheated complaints about the killing of the “American” Anwar Awlaki in Yemen a couple of years ago were fraudulent. The individuals whom Obama claims the power to kill by drone are members of al Qaeda, people who are waging terrorist war against the United States...

Americans, particularly conservatives, tend to be fanatically legalistic in their thinking and fail to see substantive reality. Thus they absurdly demanded a legal proceeding stripping Awlaki of his citizenship or finding him guilty of treason before he could be killed by drone in Yemen.
Read it all here.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Obama Fights the Walking Dead! (Photoshop)

They wanted free stuff, and Obama was only too glad to oblige! But then they wanted more and more, and finally, to eat the brains of the living!  Alas, this was one entitlement program that even Barack Obama had to oppose!

Barack Obama Firing AK 47 (Photoshop)

Obama Reaching Across the Aisle
Obama recently released a photo of him firing a rifle.  The White House stipulated that use of the photo should not include manipulation, i.e., Photoshop.  Yeah right.

Many others have Photoshopped the picture, and here's mine.  It doesn't really have a message, I did it to prove my Photoshop skill and for fun.  I took the original picture, increased the height of the photo to show more of Obama's legs, put bullet belts around his waist, and replaced the skeet shooting rifle with a Russian AK 47 automatic rifle with banana clip (talk about assault rifles).  Spent bullet shells can be seen flying into the air while Obama mows down....who?  The Constitution, perhaps.  Fox News?  The Second Amendment?  American prosperity?  Individual liberty?

Or maybe he's just testing the weapon before shipping thousands of them to Egyptian and Syrian armed forces, so they can better oppress their citizens and attack Israel.

The original, unretouched photo can be viewed here.

Update:  See next post where I found a better use for this Photoshop.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

San Francisco Forty-Niners Fall to Baltimore Ravens 34 - 31 in Super Bowl

A disappointing result, but in the great scheme of things, not terribly significant. The gods of sports have been very good to the Bay Area, and I really can't complain. Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens.

My Brush With Magic and the San Francisco Forty-Niners; the Luckiest Day of My Life

Today my favorite football team, the San Francisco Forty-Niners, play the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.  That reminds me of my brush with the 49ers back in 1987, when Joe Montana was quarterback and fellow CPA Ray Wersching was the place kicker.

A client of my accounting practice invited my business partner and me to attend a charity event in San Francisco.  The charity was honoring Bill Ring, a 49er who had a Super Bowl ring on his finger, but who was somewhat short and almost didn't make it in the NFL.  Ring was very determined to make it and did so, in spite of some very real obstacles.  Several forty-niners were there that night, including Ray Wersching, a fellow CPA and the kicker for the 49ers in those days.  Leo the Lion Nomilleni was there that night, and I got to say hello and shake his hand.  He was an early 49er who played with the team from 1950 to 1963.  (He passed away in 2000.)  One thing I noticed about the 49er players:  they were huge, almost like a separate race of humans.  Nomilleni, though old, was still huge too.

To raise funds for the charity, a number of things were being auctioned off, including a football autographed by the entire team, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark and Ronnie Lott, and many others.  The football was one of those half white, half brown contraptions that allow for signatures with ball point pens.  Other auction items included two tickets to a 49ers game and a case of champagne.  The Niners players who were present were really hoping to win the champagne.  All I wanted was that football.

I walked past the football kept in a glass case, and my mouth was drooling.  I really wanted to win that football.  I almost willed it, and felt a kind of electricity shooting through me.  I had to have it.

A raft of raffle tickets were $10 each, and I was broke, so I told my business partner to buy my tickets and I would pay him back at work the following Monday.  He bought two rafts and handed one to me.

When the auction started, various items were auctioned off.  The Niners players threw their tickets on the floor in disgust when they didn't win the champagne.  Then the football came up.  Just before they read the number of the winning ticket, I felt that electricity again.  It was kind of an itchy feeling in my head, a knowing.  I can't really explain it, but...I knew that I was going to win.

I did.

As I was going to the auction table to claim my football, the auctioneer began calling the winning number for the tickets to a 49ers game.  No one responded.  I couldn't care less, I had the football!  But on the way back to my seat, someone said, "hey, check your ticket stubs, maybe you won the game tickets!"

I did.

As far as games of chance go, it was the luckiest night of my life.  A construction contractor who was there offered me $1,000 for the football.  I turned him down cold.  I had never won anything before, and haven't won anything since, and I'd be damned if I was going to insult the gods by selling that football.

To this day, I am quite sure my former business partner is gnashing his teeth for giving me the wrong raft of tickets.  (I did indeed pay him back the $10 the following Monday, but somehow he didn't seem very pleased to get it.)  However, maybe it wasn't the tickets so much, as me temporarily acquiring the skill of psychokinesis for that one night.  I felt that I had willed the outcome.

I still have the football, preserved in a square plastic case.  As for the outcome of today's game, the Niners had better not rely on my psychokinetic skills.  I think I used it all up in that one night.

How the Tax Code is Destroying Marriage; Super Bowl Sunday

Work, or How the Tax Code is Destroying Marriage; Gaming the System
The tax preparation business has increased greatly over the prior year, and I have been busy.  I like the increased activity.  I like solving problems.  I can't help but notice how the Internal Revenue Code discourages marriage among the young, and the overwhelming majority of clients who are couples with children, are unmarried.   Both the father and the mother split the children, file as Head of Household and get the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can put $4,000 (or so) each into their pockets.  This is "free" money, not money that has been withheld and is being returned to them.  The EITC is one of the greatest discouragements for marriage that I have seen as an accountant.  People quickly learn to game the system.  The overwhelming majority of the clients who do this are Hispanic -- white people, not so much.

Another gambit the tax gamers use is to "borrow" dependents from relatives who pay no taxes or who just don't need the extra exemptions.  It is common to have some young person making $20,000 or less to be "supporting" his niece or nephew or grandfather or parent.  The truth is that they probably did not support these people, but it is not up to me to make accusations.  The result is head of household status and the EITC.  This is a major rip-off of the American taxpayer, who has to foot the bill.

Last week I had an angry couple walk out after I refused to prepare their tax returns as "Head of Household," after they admitted that they were legally married as of December 31st, and still so.  I told them that as married people their only options were to file married filing joint or married filing separate.

49ers vs Ravens:
I will be spending Super Bowl Sunday at the house of my band leader, where we will practice from 1 to 3 PM, then watch the game.  I hope the Niners win, but won't be terribly crushed if they do not.  After being crushed  by the last presidential election, any subsequent disappointments (especially those of a sporting event) are insignificant by comparison.