Twice a year the Uruguayos come together to celebrate their Agricultural Supremacy at the "Expo Prado" held on hallowed grounds called the "Rural de Prado" in the barrio of Prado. During its week and a half long run just about everyone in Uruguay who does anything passed through. Even the politicans all stopped by. But this post isn't about them. Let us today focus the stars: (more...)
Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category
Earlier today running some errands I happened to pass through Ciudad Vieja. Approaching Plaza Independencia I noticed something afoot. (more...)
With #trilema dark, its time to feed the blog. Let's do some tourism. (more...)
The outlook is looking a lot like it did the last time I visited the issue. Lacalle Pou still leads the Blancos despite Sartori taking LarraÃ±aga voters, the irrelevant Colorado primary is still a coin flip, and Martinez still has a commanding lead within the Fat Foreheads coalition. The minor parties are still irrelevant.
One peculiarity about how the party internals work here versus the party primaries back home is that here, they vote off of lists. The voters are expected to arrive to the polls with their chosen list which includes their candidate and anywhere from 50 to 500+ names of delegates supporting their candidate. They are also expected to bring a small light source because voting happens in the "dark room" which is apparently their solution to privacy. Thusly everywhere in the city with appreciable foot traffic has collections of "militants" handing out lists for "their" candidates. In nearly all cases the "militants" appear to be hired help.
There is a certain peculiar ethic as to how they hand out the lists. The folks are far too honest to dump them into the trash and declare mission accomplished. Instead they will hand out 3, 5, 9, or 10 lists so long as you appear receptive to receiving the lists. Because the culture war is a war, I have been declining offered lists of the Colorado and Frente candidates with a simple "Gracias, pero soy Blanco." I doubt this will have a profound impact in any particular situation, but over enough interactions it may "humanize" the Blanco cause in the same way my response to the Trump question "Of course I voted for Trump" grits the femstate's gears.
The list givers seem to follow certain trends. Luis and LarraÃ±aga have a lot of Uruguayas and old men. Sartori has a lot of young Dominican and Venezuelan men. Both Colorados have a lot of far Venezuelan and Dominican girls along with
dorks "average guys" wearing their candidates flags like capes. Meanwhile the Frente and minor leftist parties are presenting fat old women, metro-gendered cocksuckers, and the actual unwashed poor of the streets as their public image.
The pichi above is "militating" for the minor leftist party UP. Ten feet into the future he will navigate around the dumpster into the street to avoid a dog barking in reaction to his proximity. He went into the street for several passing persons as well before our paths diverged. I have no doubts he earnestly supports the candidate and party whose flag he is carrying or he wouldn't be taking on the great personal risk of being this far outside his comfort zone. By this I don't mean there aren't pichis in my barrio, but that he is not a pichi of this barrio. Few things are more dangerous for the unwashed than being somewhere that one is both unwashed and unknown. Even bearing the message of "more gibs for the unwashed" modern democracy can't change the hard reality where more mouths pleading for "una moneda para comer algo" means less monedas to go around.
Making something involves taking something else. This in itself is morally neutral. A cow can be taken and made into delicious beef. A wild field can be made into a farm field. A tree can be taken and depending on the tree it can be made into a wide variety of things. The old causes and purposes, whether the action is motivated by a case or conducted towards fulfilling a purpose reigns in the moral realm.
This leads to where we left off last time. Whether the purpose is "a chicken in every pot", "ending world hunger", or any other ends based activity, evil finds a way. The how of this is a well documented dance of debasement frequently papered over as substitution.
In portions of civilized world that cultivate wheat, there exists bread, a product whose methods of production have been passed down through tradition. The best breads are prepared by specialist bakers. Bread has a short window of time where it may be consumed at its peak quality. As bread degrades over the course of the day, wheat cultures have all developed means of coping with the bread's decline until all of the bread has been eaten. The introduction of train travel and the short life of bread lead to the development of the "Pullman Loaf" to allow an activity resembling baking to occur in a train kitchen and yield something resembling bread. Further "optimizations" and the introduction of chemistry has lead to bread's displacement in the market by still further debased simulacra. These bread-like carbohydrate sponges feature uniform textures with shelf lives that can be measured in weeks. In the type-exemplar "Pan Bimbo" visible mold blooms frequently develop before any signs of staleness appear in a complete reversal from how actual bread degrades over time.
An issue that emerges in sophisticated industry is that the complexity of waste products left after an activity tends to increase with the sophistication of the activity. This in itself is morally neutral. Some things just can't be had at all without producing a bunch of dioxins. Activity proceeding to purpose rather than from cause tends to bury the costs necessary to address waste products in the darkness of the future.
The USG's EPA maintains a "national priority list" of "Superfund" sites contaiminated in a wide variety of ways and presenting a numerous hazards. Back in the 1990s when environmental discussions covered several topics instead of a singular focus on carbon, several example sites on the list dominated the coverage, which was spun as a problem of emergent from private activity. On the contrary, the bulk of superfund sites are listed for consequences of USG activity. Let us consider four of the loudest examples:
- Love Canal - the City of Niagra Falls New York took control of a failed reseidential development that included a canal and proceeded to use the canal as a dump site. Eventually Hooker Chemical company receives authorization to landfill their waste in the canal in 1942. They buy properties buffering the waste disposal site and eventually become the sole user of the site in 1948. In 1952 Hooker capped the landfill with a clay seal. The local school district approached Hooker seeking to buy the site. Hooker turned the site over for a single dollar in 1953 with a recommendation the site only be used for purposes not requiring underground facilities and the following text in the sale agreement:
Prior to the delivery of this instrument of conveyance, the grantee herein has been advised by the grantor that the premises above described have been filled, in whole or in part, to the present grade level thereof with waste products resulting from the manufacturing of chemicals by the grantor at its plant in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, and the grantee assumes all risk and liability incident to the use thereof. It is therefore understood and agreed that, as a part of the consideration for this conveyance and as a condition thereof, no claim, suit, action or demand of any nature whatsoever shall ever be made by the grantee, its successors or assigns, against the grantor, its successors or assigns, for injury to a person or persons, including death resulting therefrom, or loss of or damage to property caused by, in connection with or by reason of the presence of said industrial wastes. It is further agreed as a condition hereof that each subsequent conveyance of the aforesaid lands shall be made subject to the foregoing provisions and conditions.
What happened? After taking posession of the dump site the derps began excavating. The first documented violation of the clay seal came in January 1954 with derps digging the basement for an intended school making it down to waste storage drums. The school's final chosen location was a mere 25 meters away. In 1957 the school district sold more land from the disposal site to the local housing authority. An representative from Hooker showed up and once again repeated this the site was not suitable for anything requiring underground facilities. The seal would be repeatedly be breached to run sewer and water lines as well as to steal clay from the seal to use as fill dirt elsewhere. No one could have predicted the ensuing disaster. Occidental Petroleum which acquired Hooker in 1968 was found negligent but not reckless at trial for having sold the property to retards. The retards were indemnified per USG tradition.
- Times Beach - NEPACCO found itself producing substantial amounts of thick oily dioxin residues in a facility that produced military herbicides for the USG's failed attempt at regime selection in Vietnam. For some time NEPACCO had been responsibly, but very expensively sending the dioxin wastes to an incinerator for destruction. Looking for less expensive ways to dispose of the dioxins NEPACCO through a, possibly fictitious, intermediary found waste oil dealer and retard Russell Martin Bliss willing to dispose of the waste for a mere 125 USD per load. Bliss proceeded to mix the dioxin containing wastes with used crankcase oil he sold to refiners throughout the Midwest.
What got attention however was Bliss's "one weird trick" to make your dirt less dusty. He sprayed waste oil on his own farm and horse arena's dirt to keep the dust down. Some folks noticing what he did to his property proceeded to hire him to oil their dirt roads and enclosed horse arenas. When spraying other people's properties Bliss used oil expaned through the addition of the dioxin containing wastes. In May 1971 he did this the first time leading to the deaths of 62 horses over the next several months until a substantial depth of containated soil was removed from the area. His customers and their two young daughters suffered profound illness as well. A month later he sprayed arenas at two more stables killing still more horses while children visiting these sites suffered chloracne. Unfortunately this was a hundred years to late for the aggieved Missourians to get their rope and hang Bliss from a tree until dead. Instead everyone wanked around with a USG CDC investigation.
One year later the settlement of Times Beach, too poor to have paved roads, hired Bliss to do his one weird trick on their 23 linear miles of dirt roads. Not being enclosed as the horse arenas were, nobody in Times Beach was aware what happened until the EPA published a report in 1982 on Bliss's business in their town a full decade later. In the media panic which followed the Feds did a forced buyout of Times Beach, built an incinerator, and made a lot of noise on this low hanging fruit of the superfund list. The place is a park now. Mission accomplished in 1997 at a cost of 200 million USD.
- Valley Of The Drums - Some fellow, likely the property owner A.L. Taylor with a tract of valley land in Kentucky got into the hazardous waste disposal business. He kept sealed drums above ground and exposed to the weather. There were leaks with runoff and a fire in 1966. In spite of awareness of the dump after the 1966 and numerous nuissance complaints neither Kentucky government investigated the site until 1978. A.L. Taylor died in 1977. As recently as 2008 more barrels were found near the "remedied" site. Mostly notable for the open air collection of barrels being very photogenic.
- The Hanford Site - Located along the scenic Colombia river the US Military and US Department of Energy have used the site to do a variety of nuclear things, sloppily. Reactor cooling released several terabecquerels of radioisotopes into the river daily. Per the USG's own 2014 estimates they were spending 3 to 4 billion USD annually on site cleanup and suspected total cleanup of the site would end up costing ~120 billion USD for 2014 values of USD. The figure doesn't include incident specific costs incurred addressing leaks, tunnel collapses, and other ongoing issues complicating the site.
Many USG Department of Energy sites have Hanford like problems on a smaller scale. Many US military installations have listed or listable yet undisclosed dumping ground. Nevada, home to the Groom Lake/Area 51 site notably only has three listed superfund sites. All three of Nevada's listed sites are mining related. The lack of listed USG sites in Nevada draws suspicion when large swatches of Nevada are used for munitions testing including 928 nuclear payloads.
Chinese owned Legendary Media recently put out a new Godzilla flick with a big Hollywood budget and assembled under Toho supervision. The film is being, like many other films these past few years, suffering a divide between negative reviews from Anglophone critics and glowing reviews from lay viewers. Of course we live in a time where through mass market rent seeking, Disney has built a change sucking vaccum that manages to bathe in favorable "professional" reviews while putting out finished products with declining visual quality1 including computer generated animations sequences that bear little resemblance to "live action" as the term could be understood.
I took the Peruana to see the first 3D showing in the country yesterday. There were ~9 heads total in the auditorium though in fairness a 17:00 Thursday afternoon showing isn't going to draw a crowd here. To get to the verdict on the film, there's some context to wade through first.
Godzilla Final Wars - 2004
The last of the actor in suit films, this is the product of decades of very typically Japanese making the product more extreme than its predecessors in every dimension at the same time. The humans are in an indeterminate future where Japan is very incredibly important, dominating the world government and fielding airship/submarine/drill captained by a token Gringo Captain Coolie. The world government ends up being a reptillian plot which the Japanese and their Gringo Captain Coolie must save the world from through submission to Godzilla.
While the majority of the spoken language is Japanese, there are substantial stretches of conversation in English. None of the English is subtitled, either the Japanese viewer has languages, plural or shame.
The humans, human looking reptillians and their subplot with human/reptilian hybrid slaves and Keisers serve to frame the giant monster fights, of which there are many. Creature effects are done the honest, old fashioned way with 120 pound actors putting on 200 pound foam suits of armor and taking their lives into the rest of the crew's hands.
One endearing thread in the films is the very overt, Patriotic influence which pervades the film. The shortest kaiju clash in the film is 90's American Godzilla being summarily executed by honest Japanese Godzilla via the Sydney Opera House. Every Gringo other than Don Frye's Captain Coolie is an idiot.
Despite the ridiculousness of the Human element the film can be enjoyed as the pinnacle of an art that involves putting actors in costumes several times their own weight. Had it come out in 1984 rather than 2004 it could have been an international blockbuster.
Shin Godzilla - 2016
After Final Wars flopped at the box office, it took Toho 14 years to get the balls to put out another live action Godzilla film. Except Godzilla himself is no longer live action, instead being replaced by photorealistic2 computer animation. With Godzilla doing the kaiju bit solo, this film is all human drama. Godzilla's plot is limited to making landfall as a sort of larval Godzilla with gills, learning to breath air, and sprouting arms.
Shin Godzilla is a study in bureaucracy and its ineptness. Japan, that most super of world superpowers in Final Wars has been demoted to a sort of Asian Uruguay and given an ultimatum by the evil Yankees and still more evil UN to do something about Godzilla or get nuked. The Japanese Self Defense Force and US Military using hardware that exists in the real world manage to embarrass themselves being defeated in the field. Japan is saved from nuclear attack when Godzilla gets tired and takes a nap out in the open where the Japanese manage to freeze him in situ. The film ends with Japan facing an ultimatum to make sure Godzilla stays frozen or the nukes will fly.
The obsessive look at bureaucracy makes this film a slog but it remains far more watchable than any of the recent Marvel Presents Disney Space War Princess flicks.
Godzilla King of Monsters
The film most recently viewed, and the only one viewed on the big screen. Once again the human drama is back to framing and provoking the kaiju fights. The villain is an obnoxious old woman who became estranged from the father of her children after their son was collateral damage in an earlier Kaiju incident.3 She copes with her loss by working on a MacGuffin that can engage in a sort of rough communication with Kaiju. In Spanish the equivalent would be a sound board offering three inflections of "todo bien" along with "concha de la lora", "chupa mi culo", "Ã±eri", and "una moneda para comer algo".4 The MacGuffin this flick is less magic device and more generic device that happens to be the only one that holds a recording that reassuringly says "todo bien" in Kaiju.
The old hag field tests the boom box on a larval Mothra, and as soon as she achieves success her ecoterrorist buddies storm in and kill everyone but her and her surviving biogoop. That she was one of the eco terrorists is left less than credibly ambiguous to the camera until she broadcast a speech laying out the ecoterrorist agenda around the flick's midpoint. Nevermind that she woke up King Ghidora before the reveal while she was stuck between her buddies and her ex-husband in a mundane firearms standoff. All but the most broken risk/reward evaluators in that situation would favor letting the bullets fly and any number of gunfight deaths are favorable to waking up King Ghidora.
The sad anti-social truth the "professional" critics won't take is that old woman logic demands waking up King Ghidora. No, the unbelievable part of the film involving humans is the unjustified leap in technology. The film establishes itself as a sequel to a 2014 film that didn't feature any pronounced vehicles without IRL counterparts and only takes place five years in the future. In those five years the film's producers suppose not only will the V-22 tiltrotor aircraft become the preferred method for shuttling VIPs, they can have their own flying submarine/aircraft carrier without conceding to an indefinite leap into the future as Final Wars did. When the US struggles to bring a new aircraft of a familiar type into functional condition after two decades, bringing an unfamiliar and more complex type up in five boggles the running evaluator.
Every scene with Kaiju in this film is strictly excellent cinematgraphy. There is lots of excellent photorealistic giant monster on giant monster violence. Unlike recent Disney productions5 nothing that made it to the big screen was half baked. Godzilla is terrifyingly brutal and ancient. The three headed alien yet Asian dragon King Ghidora is an awe inspiring fount of terror. Mothra is the most nighmarishly benevolent giant insect that won't plague your children's nightmares because King Ghidora and a wonderful flying lava dinosaur Rodan will be happy to take that job.
While not a contender for the best film in history,6 this is a solid contender for the best application of computer generated animation in history, and it is unlikely to be beaten anytime soon. There is one particularly spectacular sequence which zooms out on the spectacularly awful Ghidora which lit a portion of the brain invoking feelings of reverance. The actual points to nitpick the movie with went unmentioned by the "professional" critics while everything else beats its contemporaries despite the objections of the "pros" to their shame. With a ticket to see the 3D print going for the same price as a kilogram of entrecot, it was worth the price of admission for the spectacle.7 The hardware in Huawei's flagship humilates Apple's flagship and so it seems Legendary's flagship has humiliated the last several Disney flagships for merely having been edited.8
- By this I do not mean the effects age poorly. I mean the effects in newer films stand out as more jarringly sloppy than in earlier films. [↩]
- In this area Toho succeeded where Disney increasingly fails. [↩]
- Godzilla did some pest control killing some nuclear dung beetles before they could nest [↩]
- In English the limited options could be represented as "we cool?" (inquisitive), "we cool" (reassuring), "fuck this", "suck my ass", "my friend" (as said to a stranger), and a generic provocation along the lines of "you got the time". [↩]
- Including critically lauded Black Panther where the apex fight scene could have been lifted from a Playstation 2 fighting game. [↩]
- Or even of the past year [↩]
- Walking back the Peruana asked if the mom died. It seemed ambiguous so the natural answer was "Espero que sÃ" and this met with joyful laughter. [↩]
- note: Japan went from superpower in their own minds to being this mere footnote in the review. Sure there were Japanese actors in the film, but Japan? WHy would Godzilla need Japan. All Godzilla wants is your submission. [↩]
It has been a while since I wrote up the local political situation in any depth. Since the parties are electing their presidential candidates from the pre-candidate batch next month, I might as well offer an overview of Uruguay's offerings sorted by party with many omitted for irrelevance. Polls were consulted, but weighed trivially into this ordering:
The Frente Amplio
- Daniel Martinez - Martinez was the Intendant (Mayor) of Montevideo until he recently quit the job to officially join the Presidential race. He appears to be the party's front runner largely due to his humble office preventing him from making singular expensive blunders in the manner of his major primary competitors. The Frente Amplio has been in power for 15 years presenting plenty of opportunities for just about everyone in a higher office to find their name a punchline.
- Carolina Cosse - Polls a distant second to Martinez. Was the President of state telecom company ANTEL under the Mujica regime and was minister of industries, energy, etc under Vasquez until resigning the position when campaign season legally opened.1 Hanging around her campaign is the recently opened ANTEL Arena. Basketball is Uruguay's second sport2 and 100+ million dollars were sunk into building the 15,000 seat arena.3 Because Uruguay, unlike Argentina identifies as a poor country Cosse's basketball baby is an unpopular boondogle, but an especially unpopular one with the Front's voter base.
- Uncountable others - As a coalition the Frente Amplio consists of many member parties. The field is very crowded.
The Partido Nacional (Formerly Los Blancos)
Historically the rural and nationalist party and now the Rural, conservative, nationalist, and centerist party, the National Party is the electorally relevant opposition party. They are also the largest single party, much larger than any single member party of the Frente Amplio.
- Louis Lacalle Pou - Runner up in the last presidential election. Grandson of Louis Alberto Herrera. His father was president (1990 - 1995), though less notable for having had that office than grandpa is notable for having not. Had a fistfight on tv in the Chamber of Deputies in 2007 against several Frente Amplio deputies. CIA killed his uncle and tried to kill his daddy when the National Party was trying to negotiate an end to the dictatorship in the 1970's.4
A lawyer by training and criticized by the Frente for not having been in the divine state of "trabajo laboral" Lacalle Pou still manages to appear to be the most muscular of the candidates. His ruggedly handsome jeans and pickup trucks aesthetic could make him the frontrunner in any US western (not coastal) state's gubanatorial race. His biggest handicap is that he's called for an austerity shock without any tax relief.
- Juan Sartori - He of Russian oligarch wife and legal cannabis fortune. He's been running an awareness campaign asking Uruguayos who he is before began running the legal Presidential campaign. Uses the popular US red party "less taxes, smarter spending line" which makes the locals a bit nervous.5 Consistently flips between second and third place in the very small sample size local polls. Has an advantage in a dismissive reception by other candidates. Other candidates have been trying to cut into each other and he's just campaigning on and staying in the news.
- LarraÃ±aga - Old, fat, blew his load getting his "vivir sin miedo" ballot initiative on the ballot. Engaged in a losing back and forth with Lacalle Pou. Votes drawn may influence the selection of legislative candidates for the general election.
- AntÃa - Polls in the low single digits. Started the active portion of his campaign late. His militants have been painting over somewhat interesting graffiti with large fields of white with small blue AntÃa logos destroying important local navigation landmarks in the process. Intendant of Maldonado department where money trap Punta del Este and the local Trump Tower live.
The Colorado Party (The Old Reds)
The Colorados are the classicly urban left pantsuit party. In the 20th century they enjoyed a slight dominance over the rural National Party, but after being the dominant political party during the dictatorship years, their base left them for the Frente Amplio. The party appears to be terminally capped at no more than 15% of the total intention to vote. Mujica's MPP inside the Frente Amplio is by all appearances bigger than the old Colorado Party. Both candidates appear to be in a dead heat. Both candidates key issue is dumpin more money into education.
- Julio Sanguinetti - Italian octegenarian and two term President (1985 - 1990, 1995 - 2000) his schtick is dismissing everyone else as a youngin' lacking experience. Headed ministeries in the pre dictatorship Colorado government. Campaign seems to be entirely sustained by the nostalgia of old men. Old woman either swoon over Lacalle Pou and Sartori or frump away with the Frente Amplio.
- Ernest Talvi - He identifies as a US trained economist. His voter base is mostly reddit dorks.
Partido de la Gente
A vanity party run by Eduardo Novick. His schtick is running for progressively higher offices after his last election loss. Massive ad spending and single digit polling. Runs on a hard law and order platform. Polls around 1 percent of the intention to vote despite sustaining the highest campaign spending. His pre-campaign "awareness" billboards were out in force when I landed in the country.
The number of minor parties in Uruguay is nearly uncountable with many inside and outside the Frente Amplio coalition existing with a handful of member/supporters in the way a book club or knitting circle might exist anywhere else. Some might be as big as a couple hundred members, but when they host rallies the crowds tend to come from the same student and labor groups that will show up for any sufficiently leftist party.
- This appears to be a thing here. Similarly term limits keep incumbent presidents from running for a second term leading to the 15 years of FA rule being a VÅ›zquez regime, the Mujica regime, and a second run with VÃ¡squez. [↩]
- Uruguay hosted the Basketball World Cup in 1967. [↩]
- The previous, now demolished "Municipal Cylinder" managed to seat 18,000 [↩]
- Despite the National Party having been supressed and suffering casualties during the dictatorship years alongside the leftists, the Latino agreement machine has spent years consensusing them into "the fascists" for being somewhat conservative. [↩]
- The Latino labor movement has influenced a popular conception of economics as strictly zero sum. The idea that more or smarter work can boost overall productivity and wealth is nearly unheard of here. It is all "they have, you have not, fuck it lets take it" sorta thought. [↩]
Following last week's consumption of some serious food for the soul, much of my past week has been immersed reading Trilema, following links, and reading all manner of Pantsuitist produced histories. Some Trilema pieces I might have read recently before the re-reading, but others have been a while. Pantsuitist histories were read to get the cancer's perspective on the its own metastasis. For my own reference, several points about how the world works are collected below. (more...)
From another angle:
In the second photo it appear a second higher insula may be on fire as well. My eyes left the scene unsure if there was one big fire or one big fire and a smaller fire. The smell for a couple blocks leaving was burning plastic. Walking up Luis A. Herrera I saw the first fire truck on its way.
It was moving with sirens and everything:
This was followed a block and a half later by four bomberos on their motocicletas sin sirens. They were too fast and hard to see for photographic capture.
[Firecycles not pictured]
The AfroUruguayan culture parade is going on in another barrio at this same time.
- Not the one facing the River identified as "Edificio Panamericano" in the photos, the nearly identical construction catty corner and facing Luis A. Herrera. The nearest intersection where Luis A. Herrera meets the Rambla as it changes from being "Rambla de la Republica de Peru" to "Rambla Armenia" is about as high traffic as traffic gets away from Tres Cruces. [↩]
Our first publication comes from the "Winter 2019" issue of Dissent Magazine. It is an English language translation of a piece by a "professor of history at the Universidad de la RepÃºblica" who has side gigs as "a researcher at the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores del Uruguay" and "president of the Superior Council of the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales."1 Let us begin with the title block: (more...)