80s (again)

80s music

I was going to do a whole post on this, but I’m going to cut it short. Suffice to say, there was a lot of good stuff going on in Germany in the 80s. A lot of “80s music” with its heavy use of the synthesizer spawns out of music of the 70s and sort of an underground disco club culture. I’m just highlighting some of the artists I’ve come across but feel free to comment with others you think SHOULD make the list.

UPDATE: Hmmmm, I made the post longer than I expected, but I would say that this post involves a side of the 80s most people in America might not know about, German (mostly) 80s super synthesized club(?) dance(?) music.

 

Mike Mareen

Disco Legend - Mike Mareen mp3 buy, full tracklist

Love Spy – 1986

Italo-Disco-King

“Hi, this is Mike Mareen” – best opening line to a song ever

I actually don’t know other songs by this guy, but this one is good enough to name him the Italo-Disco-King, I mean, he’s freaking nuts looking (and that’s coming from a guy that usually looks unkempt/odd).

 

 

Modern Talking
Cheri, Cheri Lady – 1985

Atlantis Is Calling, S.O.S For Love – 1986

Brother Louie – 1986

Geronimo’s Cadillac – 1986

These song are all very similar to me. I almost want to go on a rant like, “it’s all the same song!”

They're all the same look! Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel ...

 

 

However, that said, detailed analysis (for about 20 minutes) of the lyrics of these songs reveals a deeper meaning and I think if I had to put things into a chronological order it goes something like this:

 

  1. Atlantis Is Calling – “Little baby, I’m your fool, come on, teach me the rules, I will an S.O.S. for love” (basically, he’s new to the game, needs to learn the rules)

2. Geronimo’s Cadillac – ”

Oh we are daytime friends and nightime fools
Want to play this game
And break the rules
Tears of love are frozen tears
Geronimo’s Cadillac
Is making all girls turn mad
Geronimo has a heart – Oh it’s a drag
Geronimo’s Cadillac
Is making all girls turn sad
Geronimo has a heart – Oh it’s a drag”
(basically at this point he’s learned the rules of love, he’s such a player that he breaks rules knowingly, very risky, but also he doesn’t give a fuck about these women, his true love is his car and he’s basically just using the women, leaving them out in the cold with frozen tears of love)
3. Cheri Cheri Lady – “
Oh, I cannot explain
Every time it’s the same
Oh, I feel that it’s real
Take my heart
I’ve been lonely too long”
(so in this one he’s messed up, he tried to play the game but failed and has been lonely for a long time, but then he meets this great Cheri Cheri lady not baby, not girl, she’s older, even though it’s “always like the first time” it’s not his first time, he even hints later on “easy come, but I think easy go” like he knows this relationship isn’t going to last “pain in his heart” “who is right who is wrong” also imply he’s had relationships that didn’t work in the past)
4. Brother Louie – “
Oh, she’s only looking to me
Oh, let it Louie
She is undercover”
and later on
“Stay, ’cause this boy wants to gamble
Stay, love is more than he can handle, girl”
(So in this final installment of our quartet he’s been down on his luck so long, presumably Cheri Cheri didn’t work out, and now he’s starting to get SUPER desperate, to the point where he’s begun to scam on his BROTHER’S GIRL! The 2nd quote is even worse, revealing that he’s at the point where he wants to confront his brother and be like “yeah, so what I’m fucking your woman” like, he wants her to just stay with him because he wants to gamble and thinks his brother is a cuck. A real dick move on this one, and so ends our saga).

Also, I think the undisputed KING of videos for these songs has got to be Geronimo’s Cadillac. I mean, the production quality is just difficult to describe in words.

 

 

Fancy

Slice Me Nice – 1985

Bolero – 1985

Lady Of Ice – 1984

The opening of this video is just so good. I don’t really like the song that much after the first bit, but the video is pretty epic.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lady+of+ice+fancy

Chinese Eyes – 1984

This guy is great, his voice seems a little whiney. It’s not your typical singer’s voice, but I think it really works with the music. It’s sort of tongue and cheek, like, “this guy’s supposed to be a sex symbol?” he’s a chubby older guy, but he has SWAG. I will say though, “Chinese Eyes” is walking the fine line of racism/fetishism, and the fact that they couldn’t just get an Asian woman in the video sort of says it all. Still a great song, and the video is weird as hell which I like.

 

 

Giorgio Moroder (he’s Italian, but in Germany in the 70s he got his start, shined in the 80s)

 

Scarface Soundtrack

I was late to the Scarface party. I had worked in a VHS/DVD store back in high school and a lot of people were stealing the DVD (“Yo, cop the album!”) from the store (it didn’t help that our security system didn’t actually work and the higher-ups never actually paid the money to fix it, just were unhappy with the employees). Anyway, people were stealing this movie and I had heard it was a gangster movie. The movie had been out of print meaning you couldn’t get it, you couldn’t buy the DVD anywhere. In our age of “I want a movie I download a movie” this isn’t an issue, but I remind the reader of a time when you used to have to “binge” a season of something by purchasing a barrel full of VHS tapes where 1 tape had maybe 2-3 episodes of a show on it.

 

10 VHS Tapes That Are Worth Money (No, Really) | Mental Floss

Anyway, I finally ended up finding out what the appeal was about when my friend Chris Cerro showed me the movie in college one night in our dorm. It was AMAZING, from the start of the movie. My friend Chris was Cuban American, so maybe it hit closer to home for him, I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve met a lot of Cubans that HATE Castro and the whole revolution. Still I think the opening of Scarface, with the amazing sound and the spliced in Castro clips is probably the best example of world building or exposition EVER in a movie. You know where Tony is coming from and partially his motivation.

So from the beginning of the movie we open with Castro rejecting people from Cuba (probably seen as subversives or counter-revolutionaries and let’s face it, the wealthy who COULD leave Cuba did leave Cuba). But in addition to this rejection of people, the mass migration to Florida, there’s this EVEN MORE AMAZING sound. I loved it. I didn’t know it at the time, but that intro was from none other than THE MAN Giorgio Moroder.

The whole soundtrack is good, the movie is a modern-day tragedy and tell the timeless tale of someone willing to risk it all for a little more. I actually think it’s really interesting that the thing that takes Tony down in the end is the fact that while he’s ruthless and a complete dick to most people, there’s a scrap of humanity in him that he’s not willing to kill children in cold blood. So, at least he has SOME limit, but he definitely took morality and pushed it to the limit.

 

Never Ending Story Soundtrack

So I think most of us will know this soundtrack for the song by Limahl, “Turn around, look at what you SEEEEEE,” but in addition to this great song (produced by Giorgio), there are a ton of good tracks from the man, the legend, Giorgio Moroder. Here’s an extended version of one of those, Ivory Tower.

In addition to great synth-heavy tracks, you also have just pure whimsically fun songs in the soundtrack. Overall, just a great.

Falcor & Bastian : Tattoos :

 

These 3 are just great songs that I originally had attributed to other artists but it turns out Moroder was the one responsible for that great sound. Sure he didn’t do the lyrics, but isn’t the human voice just one of the many parts to a great song (and not always the most important part?).

“Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” – Donna Summer (but Moroder)

“Call Me” – Blondie (but Moroder)

“Cat People” – David Bowie (but Moroder)

 

And finally, while not amazing in my opinion, a solid track by Daft Punk that paid homage to this great man was “Giorgio by Moroder.” It’s really great because you get to hear him actually describe his early life which I think is great, I do really like that part as well as the slow build-up to the “click” that he knew was needed.

 

Hearthstone simulation

I’m actively in the process of simulating Hearthstone in order to create an AI I can play against when I have time (which is almost never). So far I can play a game against a PC, create decks, and hopefully soon add new cards. Stay tuned.

 

 

Memento Explained

So I happened across a great video on YouTube explaining the movie the way I’ve always seen it.

On the topic of NOT removing tattoos (I had originally written this to go after the 2nd paragraph but I reversed it, sort of like the movie Memento! Actually it just makes that opening “topic” weird, sorry) I think it’s interesting that the “Remember Sammy Jankis” tattoo is Leonard trying to “come clean” with himself. Basically saying “I’m a con man” like the REAL Sammy Jankis (according to Teddy, I know not the most reliable source but why would he lie about that he has nothing to gain from that). The fact that even Leonard trying to come clean is subverted (by Leonard himself) is interesting. Like, he does remember Sammy Jankis, he remembers that he’s a con/fraud/liar but instead he just “forgets” (again, just himself lying to himself). I’d like to comment more but watch the video if you’re interested.

 

Also on the same video, someone commented this (see below). And I think this comment adds to my views on the movie in that I always thought that Leonard with the “I have done it” tattoo was made in his pursuit of revenge and that’s actually what made his wife leave him (in addition to the insulin incident). But actually the comment makes more sense in that I THINK he has the other tattoos in that image meaning that he’s already being doing this revenge thing for a while (also it’s a lot harder to remove a tattoo). If you look into this comment it actually could mean that Leonard finally admits the truth to himself (happy ending!).

 

Wait, this is my( theory)of ,the real ending,maybe right maybe wrong in my opinion after he killed teddy he immediately went to the tattoo place and tattooed on his left chest that read “i have done it” and made a memory that (his mission was complete)and it signified that his wife managed to live from a coma, why ? This is the explanation when the scene of Lenny and Natalia together facing the mirror, which means that (at that time) Lenny’s wife is considered dead, Natalia said what tattoo will you fill on your left chest? Lenny said : later when I was with him, moved to the (ending scene) where Lenny driving the car to the tattoo place to tattoo the teddy car plate, there is a faint scene where Lenny and his wife fall asleep together and on his left chest is written “i have done it” which means the tattoo was made after the search for his wife’s killer and that means his wife still alive. if you have any questions, we can disscused.

Patrick Ruff

Patrick Ruff is a man, he used to be a boy. That man is me. This post is me. It’s all about me, or rather, it’s a vainglorious attempt to optimize searches (search engine optimization) such that if someone types “Patrick Ruff” on Google it doesn’t get buried under a bunch of other random pictures of OTHER white guys but instead it places my page where it should be, at the TOP. I mean, this site is www.patrickruff.com, so WHY shouldn’t it be the top page? Nobody else pays for this domain! 🙂

I’m just going to try something:

Hey web crawler, spider bot, thing, I just want to say Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick Ruff Patrick 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Let’s see how this goes…(current rank as of 2020_6_28 is 33, found on page 4 of Google, it’s so dumb).

Thermonuclear War

We’ll all most likely die due to nuclear weapons. Here’s a list of close calls where we would have died if protocol was followed or we weren’t lucky.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_close_calls#1950s_and_1960s

Andrew Yang’s Book Report

The War On Normal People

Andrew Yang book report

 

First off, I want to say thank you to my wife Jenny. She’s a corporate lawyer and she’s Chinese and she really seems to care about the American people. Other than that I don’t know that she has much in common with Andrew Yang, but she did meet him in 2018 which is why I have a copy of his book, SIGNED no less 🙂 (as a rule I generally don’t buy books based on politicians, although I did buy The Art Of The Deal once for a friend).

DEC191764 - YANG GANG #1 CVR C MATHTRIX - Previews World

Overall impression:

I liked the book, I think his style of speaking casually, following almost every point up with hard numbers (#math y’all), and oftentimes relating what the numbers mean. For example, he’ll talk about the rising cost of education. He won’t just say it’s going up he’ll give a year with a number (like, college in 1975 cost $5,000 on average adjusted for inflation, in 2014 it cost $25,000) or he will just give a raw percentage (like, 20% of the jobs in our country are in retail and 85% of these will be automated in 10 years), and relating a lot of his points to his own life so that you know where he’s coming from.

Things I didn’t know about Andrew Yang before reading this book:

  • He supports medicare for all as the way we help fix our broken healthcare system (and he acknowledges things like doctors will be paid less)
  • In addition to his Universal Basic Income (UBI) policy, he spent almost as much time talking about a digital social credit (DSC) system based on people helping each other out not for money but for time/favors from other people, essentially bringing communities together to help each other
  • He seems very anti-corporation, or rather, very pro small business VERY anti-big business, essentially talking about how big businesses should be regulated much more than they are, taxed more than they are, JAIL corporate executives in proportion to court fines (Sackler family, because Purdue pharma was fined $675 million (out of profits of $34 billion I should add), the CEO and members of the board must spend 6.75 months in prison
  • He likes competition
  • His UBI proposal didn’t have much actual evidence that it will help to create jobs or businesses, but there is strong evidence that it will make people less stressed, happier, and have more time to spend with family (although a lot of people end up working more)
  • As I was reading I went along and looked up the UBI examples given and there is not ONE that gives an actual livable wage, they are all well below the poverty line, it’s more like supplemental income, and so I think most of the studies are flawed. Like, if someone gives me an extra $400 a month, that’s great, but I’m not going to quit my job to start a business or pursue a passion.
  • His UBI proposal of $1,000 a month per person 18+ years old will cost about $4 trillion, or roughly 20% of our GDP
  • He used to play video games (the way he spoke it sounds like he liked to get together with friends and 4 v 4 random people, essentially he enjoyed pub stomping noobs but it’s not like he himself (as far as was written) ever got too high up the ranking ladder)

Good points:

I think the book made me appreciate Andrew Yang more and recognize that he understands a lot of the problems in the United States. He spent I would say 70% of the book talking about problems where I agreed with his assessment almost every time and 30% of the book talking about solutions where I agreed with him maybe 70% of the time, but there were reservations I had.

Problems with the book:

Again I think he does a good job of outlining the problems that America faces and puts particular emphasis on technology displacing workers (something MANY overlook he focuses on like a laser). He understands that the country is broken, mainly in the way that “normal people” haven’t gotten a wage increase since the 70s, because businesses didn’t need labor in America (i.e. outsourcing) and shipping things got cheaper (air transport, globalization, opening of China, etc.). Actually those 2 reasons aren’t mentioned in the book (Richard D. Wolf often cites them and I think they are good reasons) but Yang nails the problem and recognizes it as a bad thing.

Mostly the book can be summarized as below:

Technology good, people good, policy bad, fix policy or technology (while good) will DESTROY PEOPLE, I have some ideas (social credits, UBI, Medicare for all)

And this is part of the problem, or rather the solutions are the problems (for me) with the book. Like, UBI as an answer, especially a UBI of $1,000 a month, is OKAY but not really. For one, it’s good for a lot of people, I agree. I think it doesn’t go far enough in that his idea is if you have a family of 2, you’ll make $22k a year, or just enough to be at the poverty line. I get that could be a start but the major problems are…

 

OH SNAP! GIF by Reactions | Gfycat

  1. UBI Replaces ALL ELSE – He says UBI will be there TO REPLACE any existing social program. While this makes sense for say disability where you get a check and may/may not actually have a disability and the idea here is that if you go back to work you can’t collect disability (whereas with UBI you get it while working or not working), what about all of the social programs that poor people rely on? Like, you’re punishing a poor single mom who gets food stamps (SNAP) for her kids to eat because now let’s say she gets $100 from SNAP and then she says, okay, I guess I’ll take UBI, she only really gets $900, whereas somebody making $100k a year gets MORE than her?! That makes no sense.
  2. UBI Will Be Paid For By A Regressive Tax – He says UBI will be paid for by a 10% Value Added Tax (translation into American: a sales tax) whereby everything bought gets a tax put on it. You buy a pair of pants, 10% VAT tax, you buy an expensive jet, 10% VAT tax. Now, I get that it’s nice to have something simple, and in theory it’s fair because everyone is treated the same. But that’s putting the SIMPLE in SIMPLETON, in that, you’re an idiot if you believe it’s fair. Hypothetical situation, pants. Rich guy buys himself a pair of pants, okay, cool. Poor guy also buys a pair of pants. Now, let’s say the rich guy is 100x more rich than the poor guy (the poor guy makes the median wage of $33k a year while the rich guy makes $3300k, otherwise known as $3.3M). The rich guy isn’t going to buy 100 pairs of pants for every pair of pants that the poor guy buys, consumption just doesn’t work that way. Does the rich guy get less of a “Freedom Dividend” AKA UBI? Nope, assuming they both just buy the pair of pants they both pay the same VAT tax and get the same UBI. What about toothbrushes? Is the rich guy going to buy 100 toothbrushes for every toothbrush the poor guy buys? ETC. ETC. ETC. The poor guy is pay a lot more AS A SHARE OF HIS INCOME. If he made more, he would pay less as a percentage of his income, thus the less you make the more you are taxed by this VAT tax (if it was PROGRESSIVE, it would work the other way such that the rich guy would pay more).

Regressive tax - Economics Help

General Ranting And Conclusion(?):

Aside from those two BIG issues, I think I generally agree with him. The major point of the book is that we need to fix our policy in terms of people left behind by technology. The sad part is that a lot of people won’t have jobs but…the great part is we won’t HAVE TO HAVE AS MANY JOBS.

This is one thing that most people fail to recognize. When we have less work to do, it’s not that we should fire tons of people so that the few working people can work a lot and earn a lot, we should instead have more people working for a LOWER AMOUNT OF TIME. Like, take 10 million people and tell them, “Congratulations, we will pay you the same wage but you now work 50% fewer hours!” and then we employ another 10 million people and say “Congratulations, you will be paid the same wage as these other 10 million people and work the same (50% fewer) hours!” The idea is that we take the work that needs to get done and reduce the amount of it that needs to be done by certain people so that others can then join the labor force.

Additionally, I think the idea that we should just sort of “write off” a lot of the workforce and assume they can survive on poverty wages is interesting, but not that satisfying. I think we should either raise that wage AND/OR try to organize people into doing jobs that need to be done. Like, clean up our parks, help to keep streets free of crime by organizing sports leagues, have people help to categorize things online or train machine learning models, train those that can learn in trade skills that are needed.

In conclusion I think the book was good, I will still be voting for Bernie over Andrew Yang just because I feel like Bernie is less likely to be corrupted by D.C. (I mean, he’s been there for this long and they haven’t corrupted him yet, aside from his friendship with some people). Andrew Yang gave me the sense that he’s rubbed elbows with a lot of venture capitalists and could be swayed to try something “cool” even if it hadn’t really been tested or might be a terrible idea for poor or working class people.

The Spirit Of Christmas!

So I was just thinking about this (it’s not really Christmas anymore but it’s still cold. Anyway, so almost every year my family and I watch the old “Christmas Carol” with Alastair Sim (an amazing British actor that I think is better known for comedies but just absolutely CRUSHED in this movie as the greatest Scrooge of all time).

Image result for christmas carol alastair sim

You can see him above (actually, now that I think about it, old man, disheveled hair, generous and compassionate, empathetic, cares for the poor, reformed Scrooge is basically Bernie Sanders). Wow, so to get back to my thought, essentially the moral of the story of the Christmas Carol is:

Image result for get rich or die tryin

That’s right, Scrooge got rich and because of that all of the other bits of the movie were possible. In fact, multiple people along the way get screwed over because they are bad with money. The people that seem to have it the best are those that HAVE money and don’t blow a ton of it (like Scrooge’s nephew who uses his inherited money, not to help the poor really, but to throw parties and have fun). The parties aren’t that expensive, as Scrooge himself realizes during the Ghost of Christmas Present revelations.

Image result for alastair sim dancing

So back to the point though. We never would have heard of Scrooge if he was an asshole that was bad with money. Like, the story could have been the same, but then when poor Scrooge “wakes up” and realizes he’s still alive, he can’t start buying a giant goose, promoting Bob Cratchett, saving Tiny Tim (in the poor Scrooge scenario Tiny Tim would still be unable to afford healthcare (libertarianism YAY!) and die), etc.

Therefore, the message of Scrooge is get money (like Scrooge did) or die tryin’ (like Jacob Marley did). If Jacob Marley had taken better care of himself or was luckier, he could have outlived Scrooge, Scrooge could have ghosted HIM, and then we’d tell the tale of happy/generous Jacob Marley (less Jacob Marley, more Bob Marley).

Image result for jacob marley weed

So merry Christmas everyone! Get rich! Then just chill and throw parties!

History of Pokemon Go Part I

The periods of Pokemon Go have been, in my mind, following a hype curve akin to most new technology.

And thus, in the Summer of 2016 Pokemon Go was released. I would say there were many people who had been waiting for a game just like it. If you saw the Pokemon Go trailer it looked freaking awesome.

So I first heard about Pokemon Go from a work friend who has long since stopped playing (like most people), but he told me about it in the very early days, 2 days after the game came out. Augmented reality had been done before, but I hadn’t played any of those games (like Field Trip or Ingress). Anyway, I would say that if we look back to the hype curve, Pokemon Go arrived on the scene somewhere in the middle of its peak expectations.

THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA (A.D. 2016, July)

Pokemon came on the scene and in New York City it quickly took over en masse. People were talking about it, at first just the people who were gamers, but soon this spread to quasi-gamers, and faster than I had ever seen a game move, to casual people. I think I was just a bit too old to LOVE Pokemon growing up, I didn’t have Pokemon cards, and I only really got into the initial release on Gameboy. However, there is an entire generation of people who went absolutely wild over Pokemon the TV show, the card game, and of course the games themselves.

Because of all this merchandising and because Nintendo has tons of loyal followers (and it continues to release the same games over and over but on different, better hardware), people like me and younger (so mid-thirty somethings down to kids) have an appreciation if not a fondness for these artificially created creatures.

So the groundwork was lain by years of merchandising, nostalgia, and subliminal messaging that told us “GOTTA CATCH EM’ ALL.” Into this environment came the first game (to most of us) that relied on real-life locations and on other people that could interact with the same digital places, it was an augmented reality. Stepping into this, many people were amazed that their phone game had to be “played” by going outside, walking around, and randomly “encountering” Pokemon in the wild.

The world was not equal though, as many people found out that the places they lived had very few, if any, places of interest where Pokestops were.

On the other hand, living in New York City, it was Pokemon central.

In fact, on the topic of Pokemon central there was one video from early on in the Pokemon craze went viral. It took place in New York’s Central Park, the southeast corner (5th avenue and 59th street) where a junction of several Pokestops exist. This area was a hotbed for Pokemon Go, with the Pokestops being consistently lured (once I had stopped there at 3 AM on a Thursday and sure enough, all the stops were lured up) at all hours of the day.

So for the topic of the video, it was a somewhat rare Pokemon that appeared. It’s actually fairly easy to evolve from an Evee to a Vaporeon (you just name the Evee accordingly before evolving it, see below).

Anyway, at the time I think the trick was not well known and in most people’s eyes it was “hard” to get a Vaporeon. So in this vein, the formula of TONS OF PEOPLE + RARE POKEMON SIGHTING = HYSTERIA.

This scene was probably the most publicized, but during the 2nd age of Pokemon Go, which I’ll get to in my next post, scenes like the Vaporeon stampede, became all too common.

Video Game Music

So some good music that I find myself going back to over and over again would be the music from old 8-bit Super Nintendo games. The music on its own is great but the nostalgia also plays a big part in how much I like it. Here’s a small sampling of some great tracks. Feel free to post any good chiptune or other music in the comments below.

TPR’s melancholy mixes of old RPGs (here’s Chrono Trigger, but they are all good)

 

Zelda chiptune set by DJ Cutman

 

And lastly, there’s this Zelda Hyrule mix from Masikus that I happened to really like…

Jill Stein

Image result for jill stein

So if you’re like me you’re going to vote Jill Stein this election. Not because you don’t want Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump, but because you’re living in a blue state, you had supported Bernie Sanders, and you don’t want to throw your vote away. What I’ve come to learn this political cycle is that very few Americans actually care about politics, and of those Americans that actually do care about the election, there are very few people who are educated on the policy positions of the major candidates and/or understand how the electoral college system works. For example, Hillary Clinton is polling (on average) 21%+ higher than Donald Trump in New York, meaning that if even if 10% of that sample decides to vote for Jill Stein, it has no effect on the outcome of the election (Clinton still gets the same number of electoral college votes).

 

An example of where the electoral college system fails to align with the popular vote

 

The reason it would matter though is that if Jill Stein gets 5% of the popular vote (not electoral college votes, which follow a winner-take-all system) the Green party would be eligible to receive ~$20M in federal funding. Now that may not seem like a lot when each party spends $1B for a presidential election these days, but used strategically it could educate that large set of people that don’t follow the news, politics, etc. and only perk up during the presidential election season (and they might watch a YouTube ad and say “hey, that seems like a reasonable use of my tax money!”).

So what are Jill Stein’s positions?

1 – 100% clean energy for the US by 2030

2 – Universal Healthcare (everyone gets healthcare regardless of income)

3 – Cancel college debt (currently on average $35k/student)

4 – Firmly anti-war and for cutting off aid to countries engaging in aggression

5 – For reproductive rights more so than any other candidate

6 – Wants to fight wealth inequality (Hillary has said the same but I think has a track record against that), proposed a 0.03% transaction tax to fight high-frequency trading

7 – Legalize weed

8 – Raise taxes on the wealthy substantially

9 – many more progressive ideas around the environment, jobs, etc.

 

Now given that sampling of her policies I’m sure people could say “the devil is in the details” (which is verbatim what someone told me and I thought it was an interesting phrasing until I saw the John Oliver segment). I don’t know why people don’t push candidates that oppose drastic measures to save the planet from sea-level rise don’t look at those same details (which are all over scientific literature, documented evidence that if we don’t eliminate fossil fuel usage we will enter a period of sea-level rise, drastic storms, and trillions of dollars in damage). But anyway, if you haven’t seen the piece yet, John Oliver did a smear job on Jill Stein…

John Oliver on third-party candidates

For the purposes of this post, you can fast-forward (skip over the joke candidates that set the stage for the smear job) to 4:28 when, for about 10 seconds, he actually talks about why Jill Stein might be an appealing candidate. And then the smear…

1 – Jill Stein wants to use quantitative easing to erase student debt

2 – Jill Stein edited a tweet to not come down as hard on the side of vaccines being safe (which they are)

3 – Jill Stein wants a better understanding of 9/11

 

So 2 and 3 are apparently deal-breakers for most people but Stein, who has been a doctor for decades, IS NOT AGAINST VACCINATIONS!! http://www.snopes.com/is-green-party-candidate-jill-stein-anti-vaccine/

As for 3, I don’t know that you can fault someone for saying that the 9/11 commission left A LOT of unanswered questions. When the co-chairs of the commission write a book 2 years after the event and say that they were “setup to fail” given that didn’t have enough funding or time to do their investigation, it seems to suggest we should have or should take a closer look at one of the worst terrorist attacks in our history.

Image result for Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission

Also, it’s interesting that a redacted 28-page portion of the 9/11 commission report we only recently got access to in July 2016 showed that at the time they knew that government officials in Saudi Arabia were supporting terrorism. Likewise, Hillary Clinton also said in an e-mail that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s governments are funding ISIS, so I don’t think it’s that strange that it would have been nice to know more about 9/11 (I’m sure if you asked people on the street they would have NO clue where the hijackers were from, let alone that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens).

 

While I get that 2 and 3 then give ground to crazy people that don’t want to vaccinate their kids and believe 9/11 was an inside job, I don’t think that if you take the comments at face value they are bad.

 

So to get to the “Jill Stein’s #1 issue” even though I’d say her #1 issue is probably clean energy or healthcare, erasing student debt with quantitative easing (QE). I get that a lot of people are quick to say “it’s can’t be done” (which it could), and it’s true that it would be very politically difficult. That said, QE is no magic trick, it’s just printing money. After essentially creating money, the Fed could then use that created money to pay off debt (like they did during the crisis), except this time instead of taking bad mortgage loans they take on the student debt. So it’s 100% possible (hard politically but not impossible) that QE could be used to erase student debt. This has been what Jill Stein has said time and again.

 

The real crux of the argument that makes sense is that “The president doesn’t have the authority to do that.” Well, the president really shouldn’t have the authority to do a lot of the things that they have done over the years, but somehow those things still happen (warrantless surveillance, suspension of habeus corpus, etc.). So yes, the president can’t just print money, I don’t think that’s what was being argued by Stein. I think the argument is that some group of people decided that the US government should bail out the big banks to save the economy, they absorbed trillions of dollars in debt, and in the end the banks remained solvent. The same decision could be made on behalf of students, an investment in our future.

 

So while Jill Stein’s position of absolving debt has a low chance of happening in this political environment, the real issue to me is WHY? Why is it the case that tens of millions of Americans are struggling to pay college debt when 50 years ago this was unheard of (and is still unheard of in most of the world)? I think a president Jill Stein or a president Bernie Sanders would be dealing with these issues and asking who are the roadblocks to legislation that a majority of the American people want. I’d hope that they would use their high office to educate the American people and let us know why too. If we know why the things that the majority of the people want “can’t” happen in a democracy, then we should change the laws so that those things can (that, after all, is the supposed to be the point of a democracy).