How To Draw A Cat (Recycled from old Tumblr account)

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I thought I’d put this one up here at the same time I posted it on the old Tumblr account but I can’t seem to find it here. So here you go, how to draw your very own cat.

I have no idea what was going through my head when I drew this. Sometimes weird stuff just pops up in my brain.

The World Is Coming To An End. Again.

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 7.55.12 AMI normally ignore stories like this because, well, they’re just silly, all right? It seems that every other week some self proclaimed “prophet” steps forward to predict the end of the world. But I have to admit that this guy is at least persistent. I mentioned him in a previous posting, so I might as well take another look at this. Besides, it’s like 38 degrees outside, it’s still dark as the inside of a cow at 7 AM and I’m bored, so why not?

David Meade is a, well, to be honest I’m not sure exactly what he is. Nor do I understand why anyone is paying any attention at all to him. He is apparently some kind of Christian numerologist, which is something of an oxymoron because the Bible specifically forbids fortune telling. And, of course, Jesus himself said it is impossible to predict when the end will come. “…the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” But none of that has ever stopped any of these people from trying to predict the end of the world, of course.

Meade originally claimed that he “deciphered” the Book of Revelation, and decided that the world was coming to an end on Sept. 23 when we were going to get smacked head on by a giant planet called Nibiru. He knew this because he studied astronomy. At an actual school. In Kansas. But won’t tell anyone what that school is for “security reasons”, I read in one article.

When Sept. 23 rolled around and we didn’t get hit head on by Nibiru, he hardly even blinked. Oops, he said, or something to that effect. I meant it was Oct. 15! Sorry.

Well, it’s now Oct 31 and we’re still here, and he hasn’t given up yet. Now it’s Nov. 19 when it’s going to happen. Only we aren’t going to get hit by a planet this time because, well, there is no planet Nibiru. If there was a planet that was going to hit us we’d have seen it decades ago because apparently Meade’s classes in astronomy failed to mention that we have these things called “telescopes” and there are literally thousands of them pointed at the sky every night by both professionals and amateur astronomers who would have spotted something the size of a planet heading for us twenty years ago.

Now he claims that the sun, Earth and a “black star” are going to line up, which will trigger a “backside-alignment quake event”. Well, there is no such thing as a “backside-alignment quake event”, just as there is no rogue planet. And his claim that there has been increased earthquake activity to prove he’s right? Well, there isn’t any increased earthquake activity. In fact, there has actually been slightly less earthquake activity this year than last year.

The real story here isn’t this fellow and his strange ideas. The real story why people keep believing this stuff. Phony “prophets” have been predicting the end of the world for as long as there has been a human race. They don’t exactly have a good track record, now do they? So why in the world does anyone pay any attention at all to people like this? Especially when the claims being made are this utterly ridiculous?

The End Is Coming! Yes, Again! Non-famous Blogger Eaten By Shark! Exclamation Points Made Illegal by Obama in Secret UN Deal!

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 6.43.18 AMThe world is coming to an end again. This time it’s going to end on Sept. 23 when a great whopping planet called Nibiru is going to smack us.

What? You didn’t know? Oh, dear. Well, if you have plans for anything after Sept 22 you might want to reconsider.

We know this because a “christian numerologist”, whatever the heck that is, has figured it out from a Bible verse that says– well, it says absolutely nothing about planets hitting us or anything else, really. That, along with lots and lots of made up numbers, tells him that we’re going to get smacked by a giant planet called Nibiru on the 23rd. And for whatever reason some tabloid media outlets have picked up on it and have plastered it all over the place.

There is no planet “Nibiru”, of course. Nor is a planet going to hit us any time soon. If there was we’d have seen it coming by now. In fact, we’d have seen it coming years ago. And there’s no point in claiming there is some kind of conspiracy by NASA and astronomers to keep the info secret because there are tens of thousands of amateur astronomers like me out here, and we’d have spotted it ages ago and would have gleefully been plastering our images of it all over the place. We love things like planets getting hammered by really big rocks and comets, stars blowing up. solar systems being eaten by black holes, galaxies colliding and stuff like that. So if there was a planet about to smack the Earth, we’d have been all over that.

This is about the fifth or sixth “end of the world” that we’ve had in the last couple of decades that I can remember. There was the Y2K nonsense, of course. Then we were going to get hit by a comet. Then the LHC was going to generate a black hole that would swallow the Earth… Oh, brother…

Why do we human beings have this fascination with the world coming to an end? You’d think we’d have enough other problems to worry about rather than let yet another scam artist or person who needs professional help who spouts this nonsense to influence our lives. Yet we do it over and over again.

I am especially fascinated with all of these so-called Christians claiming they can predict the end of the world when Jesus himself said that we can’t predict it. He came right out and said that when the end happens, we’ll never see it coming.

So ignore that little voice in the back of your head that’s saying but what if he’s really right? maybe I should cash in my 401K and have one last party. The 23rd will come. No planet is going to hit us.

And you jackasses in the media? Just stop it, all right? Just stop giving free publicity to the loonies, nut cases, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxers and the people who think you get ebola from wind turbines. When you run across that kind of stuff, just chuckle and go on past.

Oh, and while I got you media scam artists here, stop with the shark crap already? We’re sick of sharks, all right? More people are killed by cows than sharks. Seriously. More people are killed by their own cuddly dogs than sharks. And did you hear about that woman who was eaten by her own cats? Why wasn’t that plastered all over your stupid tabloids? Of course not, because it wasn’t a shark. If a shark had been involved you’d have been all over that one. But no, a few bucks slipped to you in the middle of a parking lot by the cat lobby and poof, you make it all go away, don’t you? Sharks are cuddly, lovely animals who respond positively to affection. Like my shark Leroy. See? Aww, isn’t that cute? He wants his nose robbed. Here Leroy… No. No, Leroy, my arm is not a chew toy, Leroy. Now stop that right now, Leroy… No. Let go… EEAAGGEEHHHHAAAA!!!!!

 

Zenn and the art of electric cars

No, I didn’t misspell “zenn” up there. This has nothing to do with buddhism, but instead the Zenn is actually an electric car. This thing, to be specific…

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“Zenn” stands for “zero emissions no noise” and it was an attempt by a French company to produce an all electric car. And Eldest Son (ES) has one of these — these things.

It’s not really a car, it seems. Technically it’s an LSV, “Low Speed Vehicle”, a classification of vehicle that was created by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration because they were bored or had too much to drink at lunch or something, because while LSV’s are allowed on the street, they are exempt from most of the safety standards real automobiles and trucks have to follow and these things are about as safe on the street as, oh, a tin foil and tar paper shack is in a tornado.

LSVs are restricted to a top speed of 25 mph, and can only legally travel on streets where the speed limit is 30 mph or slower. (I’m told there is a way to hack the computer on this thing to boost it’s speed up to a mind numbing 32 mph! Ooo!)

Now electric cars are getting a lot of press these days, things like the hybrids, all electrics like the sporty, high tech Tesla, the Leaf, etc. And they are fine vehicles, some of them are even outstanding vehicles.

The Zenn is not an outstanding vehicle. The body and chassis was made in France, shipped to Canada where, with the help of trained beavers, they shoveled a 30 hp electric motor into the thing. Well, okay, so they probably didn’t use trained beavers. But I do suspect moose were involved because Canadians enjoy messing with us down here.

The Zenn had a whopping 30 hp engine, it’s top speed was limited to 25 mph. You could squeeze 2 adults into it with some groceries. It ran on sealed lead acid batteries that gave a range of about 30 miles or so, less if you had a passenger or did something silly like, oh, turning on the lights or radio. Much much less if you did something even more silly like turn on the heater or air conditioning. (Note: the owner’s manual states that the car’s heater is not intended to actually, well, heat anything. It’s there only to defrost the windows.)

Still, for it’s intended purpose, which was basically driving five or eight miles to your job or running to the local grocery store to get your organic free range humanely harvested almond milk for your morning bowl of kelp flakes, it would work.

But there were a lot of problems with the Zenn. The biggest of which is that it was, well, pretty much crap.

I drove this thing yesterday, and after I stopped laughing because I couldn’t believe they actually allowed this thing on the road, I realized that it is a bloody horrible car, and the only thing that surprised me about it was that it took nine years for the company to go out of business.

The ride is — well, awful. Every expansion joint, every dip, every stone, every defect in the pavement, every pile of squirrel poo, is transmitted directly from the rock hard tires and even harder suspension directly to the base of your spine. It handles just like a golf cart, with uncertain steering, odd twitches and peculiar vibrations adding to the excitement of the experience.

And that whole “no noise” thing they talk about? Uh, well, no. Okay, standing on the sidewalk watching it go by you don’t hear anything. That’s because they’ve funneled all of the noise into the interior of the car. My Corvette with the racing exhaust and headers and the stereo cranked up is quieter inside than this thing.

Then there’s the brakes. As in what brakes… It has a regenerative braking system, they claim. When you step on the brake, it goes into regenerative mode, supposedly taking the energy of your forward momentum and magically turning it back into electricity that gets dumped into the battery and slowing you down. So you put your foot on the brake and — nothing happens. At all. Rapidly going into panic mode, you push harder, and harder and harder, and still nothing happens. Until finally you put your foot all the way to the floor and the real brakes kick in and the car comes to an abrupt halt and you find out why they put seat belts in it, to keep you from going through the windshield when you stop.

You laugh a lot when you drive this thing. You have to because it keeps you from screaming in terror.

Let’s look at some of the other high points of this car.

It’s plastic. All of it. Plastic body, plastic, well, everything. Even the glass isn’t really glass, it’s plastic. The windshield is glass, but the side windows and rear windows are plastic, and not very good plastic, either.

As noted above, the heater doesn’t actually heat. It’s just there to defrost the windows. And the air conditioner, well, it sort of works? Kinda? Maybe? If you’re willing to put up with your range dropping by at least half.

Charge time isn’t utterly horrible. They claim it will recharge the batteries to 80% in about 4 hours, with a full charge taking 8 hours.

Oh, they would have sold you a fast charger that would give you a full charge in an hour.

For $9,000.

Yeah, $9,000 for a battery charger…

So, you ask, what did they sell this thing for? Five, six grand, maybe?

Uh, no. Try (cough cough) $18,000.

With the optional quick charger, this sucker would set you back $27,000. For a car with a top speed of 25 mph and a range of 30 miles, which is ridiculously uncomfortable to ride in, terrifying to drive, and which would crumple like a piece of paper if it were even bumped by a real road vehicle because it meets virtually zero highway safety standards.

Gee, I wonder why the company shut down…

ES picked this thing up for next to nothing. It needed new batteries, work on the electronics and other things. I figure he’s got about $2,000 invested in this vehicle so it isn’t like he’s stuck a fortune into it, and he’s using it every day. He commutes to work with it every day. And I have to admit that it’s cheap. He’s crunched some numbers and figures that as far as energy usage is concerned, he’d have to have a car that got at least 140 mpg to match the cost of the energy he uses with the Zenn.

And there’s another benefit as well. The sheer terror of driving this thing in traffic is better for waking you up than an espresso I.V.

Hey, Grouchy, Whatcha Watchin’?

Seriously? You want to know? You don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for, do you? Well, you’ll find out. You’ve been warned. Here’s what I’ve been watching of late and brief, sometimes not so brief, reviews/impressions.

Oh, and yes, there will be spoilers. Well, not that there’s much to spoil for most of these since the writers, directors and actors have already pretty much spoiled ’em.

OA – Oh, dear lord… Okay, OA created a lot of buzz when it popped up. People started reading all kinds of things into it’s surreal atmosphere and searching for some kind of hidden meaning.

And failed because there isn’t anything there to find.

Here’s the basic plot: Obviously mentally ill young woman has been missing for 7 years, reappears jumping off a bridge. Over the course of the series she gathers together a group of equally disturbed teens and one very odd adult in a house that’s under construction late at night and spins an even more odd tale about being the daughter of a Russian oligarch, going blind for no apparent reason after her school bus fell into a lake, ending up in the US adopted by a very strange and possibly abusive couple, being kidnapped, repeatedly tortured to death by drowning, and learning how to hallucinate through the magic of interpretive dance. And I wish I was making up that last part, but I’m not. The story says it’s some kind of interdimensional thing, but, well, no. I’m sorry, just no. Lots of people die in the end and by that time I really didn’t care any more. Actually I stopped caring about twenty minutes into the first show and just wished they’d get some therapy for that poor girl.

And for the writers.

Iron Fist – Son of a rich company owner disappears where he learns all kind of weird ninja and martial arts stuff, comes back to find his company taken over by evil people and his city being swept by corruption…

Hey, wait a minute, you say, isn’t that the plot from The Arrow? Yeah, it is. Only without The Arrow’s production values and, judging from the horrible sets and costumes, without its budget, either. Certainly without its acting talent.

It’s called Iron Fist because the hero, if you can call him that, has fists that glow in the dark when he’s really, really mad. You can tell when he’s really really mad because he looks like he has mild indigestion. And his fists glow in the dark.

Glow in the dark fists? Really? Let me guess, Marvel has finally run out of super powers. “Let’s see, we have a guy who turns green, we have a guy who thinks he’s a spider, we have a guy who bursts into flame, a guy who wears a robot suit, a guy who thinks he’s a god with a big hammer. I know, we haven’t done a guy who’s fists glow in the dark yet! Let’s try that!”

Luke Cage – One of the very, very few good shows I’ve seen, and pretty much the only one where the cast is almost entirely black and hispanic, with a lot of genuinely good actors. Yeah, how Cage gets his superpowers is pretty silly, but so is how Wolverine got his stabby things that shoot out of his knuckles and nobody seems to mind that. And yeah, the writing and acting is over the top at times. But still, it can be riveting and touching and genuinely hopeful. I’m looking forward to this one continuing in the future. Luke Cage believes that there is hope, that things can be better no matter how bad they may seem sometimes. And that kind of hope is contagious.

The Flash – I grew up in the 1960s and went through comic books like crazy. I occasionally picked up The Flash, but to be honest I wasn’t that much of a fan. A guy in red long underwear who runs really fast? Yeah, right…

When DC brought Flash to television, I wasn’t even going to bother. The previews I saw were not that good. But I gave it a shot and for some reason I got hooked on the damned thing, despite the fact I hate the character who plays Barry Allen/Flash. I hate him to the point where I won’t even allow myself to find out what his name is. I hate him even more than I hate Tom Hanks. Who cast this guy? He looks like he’s, what, about fourteen years old? I know sixth graders who look more mature (and act more mature) than he does.

But I keep watching the damned thing because some of the supporting characters are genuinely good.

And because of the writing. Not because the writing is any good. It isn’t. I just keep wondering how the hell the writers are going to get out of the corners they write themselves into on a regular basis. The answer to that is that they pretty much don’t. When they get themselves into a mess they can’t get out of, they send Flash back into the past to fiddle with something and do a sort of mini reboot. Only the reboot always seems to make things worse instead of better.

At this point I keep watching not so much because I enjoy the show but because I can’t wait to see how badly the writers mess things up.

Supergirl – Oh dear lord, what have they done to Supergirl??? Let’s, said the writers, take an intelligent, moral, strong, confidant young woman, stick her in a short skirt, crank her IQ down a few points and turn her into a giddy, relationship obsessed adolescent who can’t do anything right without a lot of help from men because, well, she’s a girl and girls can’t do anything right without help from men…

Oh, let’s make her sister a lesbian while we’re at it. And a spy or super cop or something.

And let’s put Jimmy Olson in a robot suit that isn’t at all a rip off of Iron Man.

Oh, let’s throw in some Martians, too.

Hey, let’s make her and Lex Luthor’s sister BFFs while we’re at it.

Oh, brother…

Covert Affairs – A series about a young, female CIA agent that is, well, it’s actually not horrible. It’s totally ridiculous, true, with technology straight out of the pages of a science fiction magazine, they haven’t a clue as to how computers actually work, 90% of what they do is totally illegal, and thanks largely to Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham, who play Annie Walker, the star, and her “handler” at the CIA, Auggie, I didn’t care. I just enjoyed it. Perabo is good, making Annie Walker a character I really cared about. And Gorham as Auggie, a former soldier who was blinded by an IED in Iraq, was just as good, if not better.

The Great Hunt

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View from my balcony on a rare clear day

Someone, we don’t really know who, exactly, decided it was time to finally do something about the monster infesting the sewers, and organized a hunt to track down and eliminate the beastie before it started to eat more than the occasional urchin and perhaps even jeopardize the tourist trade. With the Oiling Festival, a major source of tourist revenue, already in jeopardy because no one seems to know exactly when the festival is this year, together with the rather awkward moment caused by having to return the remains of the sole tourist who came to last year’s festival after he fell down a coal chute and was partly eaten by voles to the family, well, it was decided we needed to be proactive.

Alas, it did not go well.

Just finding the bloody thing was troublesome. It seems the sewer system is more maze-like than we’d thought. We also discovered that over the years various persons have been burrowing away like moles down there, digging passages off the sewers, building chambers for smuggling operations and to hide their less savory addictions from the sight of more normal citizens. Even sending urchins down the tunnels in the hopes of luring the beastie out into the open were unsuccessful.

Finally a large group of us, including myself, were the ones who were ambushed by the beastie. After a fierce and rather confusing battle in which your author was killed at least twice and set on fire once, the creature retreated down the tunnels and we gave chase. In the confusion and chaos the creature escaped, apparently vanishing into a brick wall somehow, leaving us dazed, confused, irritated, and in desperate need of a bath and large quantities of alcoholic beverages.