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September 27, 2011 The Return of Wazmo Nariz

Wazmo Nariz

I adopted the nom-de-web "Wazmo Nariz" way back in 1998 in honor of the seminal new wave singer songwriter Wazmo Nariz, a.k.a. Larry Grennan a.k.a. the guy with two ties.

Well, I've been contacted by Wazmo through YouTube and have been politely requested to stop using the name. Wazmo is back and is about to release a new album! His first new release, Chemosabe Cigarettes is now posted on YouTube. He hopes to minimize any confusion.

Please support the community of musicians. Attend live shows. Buy CDs from the artist websites when possible. Turn your friends on to new music.

Look for the new Wazmo Nariz album!


September 23, 2011 They Might Be Tubthumping

The Onion's entertainment newspaper "A.V. Club" has a feature where they invite artists to cover a song from a list of 25. As part of "Undercover2011", They Might Be Giants recorded a smashing cover of Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping".

Mrs. Waz and I caught a TMBG show on Friday that included an even better version.

The set also included a two-chord version of Horse With No Name accompanied by 30 acoustic guitars manned by the A.V. Club.



I am very much an advocate of personal privacy, and very surprised at how willing most people are to give it up.

Take a look at a typical data aggregator, Spokeo. Type in your name and city, and see how much information they've collected on you. Hey! Is that your house? Scroll down and look closer -- see how much FALSE information they have about you. And they're willing to sell this real and false information to anyone with $3.95.

(I'm particularly pissed that this particular site has me listed as a Republican.)

Now go to your gmail account and open a personal note -- do the ads in the right-hand column seem to align with the subject matter? Is Google "reading" your mail?

Note that AT&T, Verizon and others turned over your phone records to the federal government, in violation of the 4th Amendment, then lied about it. And Google turned over e-mail records of suspected dissidents to the Chinese government.

Here's a few things you might do to increase your privacy:

1. Use an on-line alias. Wazmo may or may not be my real name. Not sayin'.

2. Turn off cookies in your browser. Or at least set them to be erased every time you close the browser. MS Internet Explorer is the worst for retaining cookies.

3. Use Ad-Aware, a free application that prevents most tracking. Periodically scan your entire system.

4. Don't post personal information on Facebook or other similar sites. I'm surprised at the number of people that post real-time information that they're out of the country.

5. Install the Ad Blocker Plus add-in to your browser. This has the added benefit of speeding up page loads.

6. Always opt-out of data sharing with companies you do business with. By default, they are allowed to share or sell your personal information to others. But they're also required to allow you to opt-out and keep your information private. Look for a "Personal Privacy Statement" from your bank and others with whom you do business.

7. Don't use "Safeway Club Cards" and other frequent buyer cards. Your purchases are being tracked and correlated.

8. Don't shop at Wal-Mart. Nearly all Wal-Mart suppliers are required to place RF (radio frequency) tags in their merchandise, for "inventory purposes." But don't be surprised when your two-year-old Nikes generate a projected "Need New Shoes?" message on the floor in front of the "greeter".

9. Be wary that surveillance cameras are everywhere. You're likely to be scanned and indexed if you're anywhere near a government building, or in crowded areas like airports or sporting events. Can you find Wazmo?

10. Don't answer surveys. Or better yet, screw with them a bit.

11. Turn off the location tracking feature of your cell phone, or set it to "911 only". Some smart phones (notoriously the iPhone) constantly monitor and compile your position throughout the day. They claim they keep this secure and private (see the ATT/Verizon item above).

12. Use TOR (the onion router) if you don't want your internet protocol (IP) address tracked and recorded.

13. Try not to be seen.


I just listened to a couple very disturbing interviews from WHYY's Radio Times show. I encourage you to listen if you can. Here are some links ...

Dana Priest on 'Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State', which is about the massive expansion of American intellegence community after 9/11. Much of their activities are carried out without Congressional oversight. All they have to do is classify something as "top secret" and they can basically get away with anything … scary stuff.

The other article is Eli Pariser confirms our online confirmation bias, which describes how Google, Facebook and others track your every action on line and contrive to present information to you that, they consider, fits your profile. Let's say 2 individuals at different ends of the political spectrum enter the same search string into Google. They are likely to get different results, based on their past behavior on the Internet. … scarier stuff.


September 9, 2011 Hard Times For Gumby

< I'm deeply saddened that television and movie star Gumby has fallen on hard times.  He's desperate and down to his last 27 cents.  Which he lost.

He is now being sought by police after a failed robbery of a 7-11 in San Diego.

Numero uno:  Gumby was accompanied by an accomplice, but it was NOT Pokey.  Pokey would have talked him down ("Let's rob a 7-11!"  "I dooon't knooow, Gumby.")

Numero two-oh:  The 7-11 clerk thought it was a joke, and the attempted robbery didn't get reported until his manager viewed the surveillance tapes several hours later.

Numero three-oh:  To convince the clerk he was serious, Gumby reached for a weapon in his pocket, but instead spilled 27 cents on the floor, and tried but couldn't pick it up with his slab-like hands.

Numero four-oh:  Saddest of all is the young clerk didn't even recognize him, describing Gumby to police as a "green Sponge Bob SquarePants."

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Gumby and his accomplice.

Update from DWW: Fame up! Take a closer look at the attached enhanced photo!

August 28, 2011 Alien John McCain Alleged Fake

Here's a panel from today's comics on critical thinking. They make slanderous accusations about "bonkers stuff" despite ample proof to the contrary.


August 10, 2011 Annual Bubble Baba Race

It's that time of year!  The annual Bubble Baba sex doll race.

"Don't riot! Be happy! Cavort with inflatable sluts!," or something to that effect, might be the unofficial motto of the Ninth Annual Bubble Baba Challenge — in which 800 brave participants ride inflatable sex dolls down the Vuoksa river rapids, about 50 miles from St. Petersburg. The entire event lasts about three minutes, and was conceived by organizer Dmitry Bulawinov "as a joke at a party where the men got drunk and the women didn't show up."

Please now you enjoy these images of the great things humans can accomplish when they simply put aside their petty differences and blow.

New Yosemite race this year!


Yosemite Bubble Baba Sex Doll Race start near Half Dome
2011 Yosemite Bubble Baba Race

July 19, 2011 Crossing a Tiger with an Iguana

You could be driving a Liger. But noooo.

I quote from Wikipedia:

Naming process

As part of a marketing strategy by Volkswagen the name was chosen by the public through the Auto Bild group with over 350,000 voters through Auto Bild's magazines and Web sites. The other possible names were Namib, Rockton, Liger, Samun and Nanuk. Tiguan is a combination of the German words Tiger (“tiger”) and Leguan (“iguana”).

Democracy simply doesn't work.


January 18, 2010 Your OlymPic Photo of the Day -- Prologue: Vancouver Under Siege

As OlymPics (Your OlymPic Photo of the Day®) gears up for our biennial sportsfest coverage, the citizens of Vancouver are hunkering down and awaiting a prolonged and painful reaming. A combination of corrupt IOC officials, a massive security apparatus, and poor economic and snow conditions have landed on the fair city like an ice dancer's butt on a poorly considered triple Lutz combination.

These Games rival, and may exceed, the level of corruption with the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Tickets and posh hotel rooms have been sold cheap to IOC officials and corporate sponsors, while the people of Vancouver are frozen out by high ticket prices and monopoly control by a few large ticketing agencies.

Olympic spirit? There is none. Almost to a person people in Vancouver are disgusted with the Olympics. The city and provincial governments have pledged financial backing to all aspects of the Games. It looks like the city could be on the hook for a half a billion dollars just from one speculative condo development built for the Games.

Even NBC is reporting it expects to lose $200 million coving the Winter Games (or, as we call it in the U.S., "America's Got Ice Dancers".)

They are spending one billion dollars on security for the Games. The average citizen won't be able to get anywhere near an Olympic function. There are massive fences going up now, road closures, bridge closures, and other restrictions. Our correspondent reports:

"There are massive security fences and concrete blocks closing off huge areas around anything to do with the Olympics, security cameras everywhere. We've been told to stay off the roads, stay out of the area. People that work downtown have been told to stay home.

"They have passed laws banning any anti-Olympic signs, even if hung in your own home window. There are going to be "free speech" zones set up, far away from the [Olympic venues]..

"They have passed laws to sweep the streets of homeless. They have infiltrated and monitored any potentially organized opposition to it. It's a vast police state apparatus that's coming down on our heads here and I'm not overstating the facts in the least."

"This event is not for the people of Vancouver or Canada or anyone else not directly connected to it. We just foot the bill in terms of lost liberty, massive inconvenience and tax increases, as well as major cuts in services to pay for it all."

This is the modern Olympics. A party for the elite and the few ticket holders that aren't government and IOC officials, all sopping up the gravy and the good times at the expense of the host city.

Here's a photo of the Pacific Coliseum, the downtown figure skating venue. Our correspondent reports:

"I walked by it today to discover it's been turned into an armed camp. There are massive security fences around the entire thing and well beyond. I couldn't get anywhere near it, and felt like I was going to be picked up just for taking pictures of the security preparations, which were the most extensive I've ever seen. I most certainly was being monitored given the cameras set up everywhere.

"I realized that I wouldn't even be able to get a shot of anybody coming or going from this building. If you don't have a ticket you can't even get near the place."

But not to worry, I'm sure they'll remove the security cameras when the Olympics are over....

Personally, I love the Olympic spectacle. But I hate the jingoism. And for sure, it's a nationalistic, corporate enterprise. But, hey -- Montreal successfully paid off its 1976 Olympic debt* .

Betcha seven Olympic quarters (C$1.75) the opening ceremony features thousands of smiling Canadian youngsters....



(*in 2007)

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January 8, 2010 Art Clokey 1921-2010

Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, passed away on January 8th at his home in Los Osos, California at age 88.

Clokey also created Gumby's pony pal, Pokey, their friends Prickle and Goo, the nemesis Blockheads, as well as the Sunday-morning morality drama Davey and Goliath.

He was apparently into eastern mysticism. (I suspect hallucinogens also). My brief encounter with Mr. Clokey was in the mid-1980s when he appeared at a showing of Gumby shorts at Berkeley's U.C. Theatre. He gave a rambling history of his creative enterprise, describing the Claymation process with expressive molding hands and a mystic explanation of the *feeling* he was trying to express through his art. He ended his talk by throwing Gumbys and Gumby Bumps into the audience.

Gumby Bumps, foam rubber head pieces, were popularized a few years later by Eddie Murphy ("I'm Gumby, dammit!"). Gumby's characterisic bump was inspired by the prominent cowlick sported by Clokey's dad.

Here's the first episode of the Gumby Show. I especially like the perspective when Gumby's dad arrives at the moon.

Here's my tribute to the Gumby Theme.

Art Clokey, an original, a true pioneer. If you have a heart, then Gumby's a part of you.

Thanks, Art.



September 12, 2009 Last know recording of the Bindlestiffs
Bindlestiffs live at Scalliwags 8/6/96


every time that you
the brooding song
my generation constellation (for julie mckinley)
things broken
you dance
steinbeck's country
tuesdays at 9 band intro
i don't know why
sea of me
band business
fate's struck me down (for grace)
where are you

September 8, 2008 Google Earth
When heading north along the Strada Statale, an alien spacecraft was spotted.

Google Earth finds alien spacecraft

Native Canadian with iPod

Car stuck to side of building

Giant Bunny

Loch Ness Monster

Here's the lips of the Mother of the Earth in West Darfur.

Caution: do not turn your monitor sideways -- it reveals the lips of the Mother of the Earth.)

Lips of the Mother of the Earth, West Darfur

September 3, 2008 What I Am

August 30, 2009 It's What's for Donner


On a visit to Truckee California this spring, our family visited nearby Donner Memorial State Park. There's a small museum documenting the travails of the Donner Party's ill-fated crossing of the High Sierra through the record snowfall of the winter of 1946-7.

Here's the family posing at the the Donner Memorial, which includes the quote at the top of this note. The 22-foot-high base of the memorial represents the depth of the snowfall in that long winter.

The plaque on the rear of the Memorial reads:





There was a bit of snow on the ground, but we were able to locate the site of the Breen cabin, the Murphy cabin, the Graves cabin, and after some searching, I'm pretty sure we found the simple memorial marking the Donner encampment.


Donner Party Memorial

August 17, 2009 Some kind of girl codespeak?

Flossing Her Otter

August 27, 2008 Special Talent

July 6, 2009 Space Shuttle Cake

Space shuttle cake honoring "Women in Space: We've Come a Long Way"
From CakeWrecks

August 27, 2008 2008 Poor Sportsmanship Awards
Here’s our leading candidates for the 2008 Poor Sportsmanship Award:

Beijing Environment. Worries about air pollution so bad it will effect the outdoor competitions. Extraordinary restrictions on private vehicles entering the city, and a shut down of city industry for the duration of the Games. Plans to shot sand into the clouds to create a cleansing rain.
Wrestler Ara Abrahamian of Sweden, angered over receiving a bronze medal, leaves the award podium and leaves his medal in the middle of the wrestling mat and vows never to compete again.
Bob Costas and NBC. Televises preliminary volleyball matches in lieu of gold medal finals. Even *American* gold medal finals. Contributing factor: in a contest for the most juvenile pun with features commentator Mary Carrillo. Mitigating factor: interviewed George Bush in front of Mao portrait.
Tae Kwan Do athlete Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba, fighting with a broken toe during the bronze medal match, and is disqualified by Chakir Chelbat of Sweden for taking more than the maximum one minute medical time out. Matos kicks Chelbat in the face (with the broken toe). Banned for life from the Olympics and Tae Kwan Do. None less than Fidel Castro defends Matos’ actions.
Underage Chinese gymnasts. Five of six gold-winning gymnasts apparently identified as under age in an archived government website. This team was so deep they certainly could have found gold medal candidates above the required age of 16. The cover-up appears to involve the Chinese Olympic organization and the central government.
International Olympic Committee Chair Jacques Rogge’s criticism of Usain Bolt for celebrating his amazing 9.3 second 100 m run instead of congratulating his opponents.
The Chinese government for suppressing dissent regarding the occupation of Tibet, pulling the visa of Olympian Darfur peace activist Joey Cheek, and the establishment of phony "protest zones". In spite of assurances of increased openness to public opinion, public dissent was restricted by permit only to "protest zones" away from Olympic venues. No permits were granted, and all who applied were detained, deported, or sent to work camps. Watch for "protest zones" at the US political conventions, G8 summits and the like.
Your write-in nominee.

So who wins the Poor Sportsmanship Award? That’s for you to decide. Cast your vote before midnight Thursday August 28th at WhereTruthLies.com/OlymPics .

Jacques Rogge at track and field.
Athlete arrives at Beijing Airport with pollution filter mask
Beijing air pollution on opening day
George Bush being interviewed by Bob Costas (not pictured)
Beijing shop owner forced to clean up his act
Paramilitary officer photographs journalists
Suspected underage gymnasts
Sweden’s Ara Abrahamian leaves his medal on the mat in protest of placing third
Angel Valodia Matos of Cuba (red) kicks referee Chakir Chelbat of Sweden
Women’s Marathon route
Security guards stop Hong Kong university student Christina Chan from protesting
Tibet protest at Olympic Park

May 20, 2008 Making Business a Battle
Today we join Matt "Boom" Daniel in a long monologue on preparing for an aerial dogfight. Boom Daniel is an ex-Marine fighter pilot who runs a business coaching consulting firm that uses war as a metaphor for business. Everybody gets a whacky nickname before going off to get lost in the woods together.

Today's installment has Boom reading to us from the manual for 9-1/2 minutes before making the connection to business (you may not want to hire him by the hour). Below are excerpt highlights where he refers to the sun as "Mister Happy" and describes the "G-Lock Maneuver" which apparently is a forced loss of consciousness to "warm your body up" and "lock yourself out". WTF?

Check your six.

  G-Lock Maneuver

         Mr. Happy         

May 5, 2008 Official Portrait

George W Bush Official Portrait
from Terry Collier

April 16, 2008 Fuzzy Logic

I took a couple of classes on Fuzzy Sets and Fuzzy Logic in college. It's really useful stuff for characterizing probability, uncertainty, and belief.

In classic Set Theory, something is either part of the set, or it is not. Fuzzy Sets allow you to mathematically describe the *degree* to which something is a member of the set.

Simple examples can be found in cooking. Say a cake recipe calls for "a pinch of salt". Does it matter whether your pinch is one gram or three grams -- no. The cake will still rise and taste fine. But "handful" is outside of the "pinch" set, and your cake a failure.

Likewise, it's not terribly important to the Set(cake) whether you use 3-1/4 cups of flour vs. 3 cups, or medium eggs versus large. They all belong to Set(cake) but to different degrees.

A mathematical example can be found in the transmission of your Toyota -- it has a Fuzzy Logic chip controlling the shifting.

Your 1975 Oldsmobile Hydramatic transmission had mechanical and hydraulic linkages that shifted the transmission based on RPM. This sometimes caused it to "hunt" for the proper gear when you climbed a hill -- the engine would bog, downshift to 2nd gear, the car would accelerate raising the RPMs, it would shift into 3rd, bog again, and so on.

Modern transmissions with Fuzzy Logic chips "learn" as you drive up the hill. It recognizes that 3500 RPM is suitable for either 2nd or 3rd gear, but that 2nd gear is more appropriate during the hill climb, and stays there.

George W. Bush permanently scarred the concept in the 2000 Presidential debate with Al Gore. Bush claimed cutting taxes for the wealthy would stimulate the economy, while Gore said it would cause deep deficits. Bush then accused Gore of using "Fuzzy Math", a soundbite phrase he repeated several times.

Here's my personal Fuzzy Set story. I went to a lecture at U.C. Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall given by the Father of Fuzzy Logic, Prof. Lofti Zadeh. I took my not-yet-walking son, so it must have been late 1991.

Professor Zadeh's lecture was brilliant, and accessible, and truly enjoyable. He presented from an overhead projector on a table at the front right of the stage, which projected images onto a large, 15-foot-high portable screen at the back and left of the stage.

Prof. Zadeh was enthusiastic and inspiring -- but something was troubling him.

He kept glancing over his shoulder at the screen, where perhaps 10 percent of the image was missing the screen and falling uselessly on the black backdrop curtain. The lecture didn't stop, didn't even slow down, as Prof. Zadeh walked to the screen and pulled on its lower corner to position it in front of the projected image.

He did this twice. Once as a gross correction, once for a fine adjustment.

The lecture never stopped, no reference, complaint, or joke about the screen.

I think I might have moved the acetate slide, twisted the projector, or nudged the table. But to him, these parts of the Set(projection) were fine. It was the screen that did not conform to the parameters of the Set. To an acceptable degree.

-- Waz

March 11, 2008 Terry Collier, Robot Maker
Terry Collier is an artist, photographer, and robot maker based in Vancouver. This is cool, wonderful stuff. We have one of the robots at home and he always generates effusive comments. Terry is also a generous contributor of art to Where the Truth Lies. Visit his site and see what you like!

March 3, 2008 Don't Forget to Screw the Cat

To my Dear Correspondents,

I offer my sincere apology for dropping an F-bomb on you in my "Appointment Reminder" e-mail. This triggered spam blocks for some, and produced fear of opening the attached image in others. I try to be work-safe in my missives, but perhaps this went over the line.

See, it's just a Garfield comic, unaltered. Jon wonders aloud what he's doing today, and Garfield is shocked that he doesn't recall their hot man on cat love liaison planned for later that afternoon. That's it. A Garfield comic. Tame, innocent stuff.

I will endeavor to be less profane in my feline reaming correspondence in the future.

My life is forfeit.


February 27, 2008 Tax Service

Found a great new tax service in Sacramento near Arco Arena.

They are *amazing* at finding new deductions.

Did you know you can claim poodles as dependents?

Did you know you can claim your *neighbor's* poodles as dependents?

Their name says it all.

IBS Tax Service

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