Huh?

Minnie Driver and Basic Problem Solving

2.465 million gets you a three bedroom rancher next to a crazy dude in the Hollywood Hills...

2.465 million gets you a three bedroom rancher next to a crazy dude in the Hollywood Hills...

Does any of this sound like rational behavior?

Actress Minnie Driver is not happy with her neighbor's construction and she's trying to stop it from happening with an arsenal of baby food jars filled with black paint.

A new lawsuit obtained by TMZ claims that Driver, 46, is throwing the paint-filled jars at her neighbor Daniel Perelmutter's walls.

Perelmutter — who recently had a heart transplant — is asking the court to remove an electronic gate the two share as Driver has cut off his access.

He also states in the suit that the "Good Will Hunting" actress will block construction workers for up to 8 hours at a time.

This isn't the first time the two have sparred in the Hollywood Hills.

Just last week, Driver and Perelmutter, 74, were screaming so loudly at each other that cops had to intervene.

In 2015, the English-born actress claimed that her neighbor told her to "f--k off and die" on several occasions in her driveway. She even got a restraining order against Perelmutter at the time.

However, Perelmutter claimed that Driver was trying to run him down with her car as the two have been involved in an ongoing land dispute.

Anybody can snap and anybody can get involved in a desperately destructive confrontation with their neighbor. What I don't understand is, how can something like this get so far out of control without involving mediation or negotiations of some kind? Construction projects in a residential area are two things--inconvenient at times but temporary if handled properly. Do you know what you can do to solve this problem? Develop the ability to visualize your property when it looks normal again and ignore what's happening. That's basic problem solving 101. And if you can't do that, lose your mind, I guess.

Ever lived in a house where vinyl siding is being installed in the dead of winter? Check. Ever lived in a house while a brand new home is being built next door and it takes nine months instead of three? Yep. And have you ever lived in a place where the little neighbor kids don't speak any English but decide to throw rocks at your house because you're an American? We have a winner. I've been through all three in the last five years and, yeah, I wanted to snap and start throwing baby jars full of black paint. That was my go-to option right from the start. But, somehow, I got through it. And by that I mean, I resorted to whipping hot pennies and spraying bleach out of a power washer.

I don't know what Miss Driver is going through, but it sounds cray-cray and she should have temporary high fences or golf course safety screens installed until her neighbor is done screwing everything up.

Hello, World!

The Economist Reviews The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.


How slaves built American capitalism


Patsey was certainly a valuable property
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism.
By Edward Baptist.
“FOR sale: a coloured girl, of very superior qualifications…a bright mulatto, fine figure, straight, black hair, and very black eyes; very neat and cleanly in her dress and person.” Such accounts of people being marketed like livestock punctuate Edward Baptist’s grim history of the business of slavery.
Although the import of African slaves into the United States was stopped in 1807, the country’s internal slave trade continued to prosper and expand for a long time afterwards. Right up until the outbreak of the civil war in 1861, the American-born children and grandchildren of enslaved Africans were bought cheap in Virginia and Maryland to be sold dear in private deals and public auctions to cotton planters in the deep South.
Tall men commanded higher prices than short ones. Women went for less than men. The best bids were for men aged 18 to 25 and for women aged 15 to 22. One slave recalled buyers passing up and down the lines at a Virginia slave auction, asking, “What can you do? Are you a good cook? Seamstress? Dairy maid?” and to the men, “Can you plough? Are you a blacksmith?” Slaves who gave surly answers risked a whipping from their masters.
Raw cotton was America’s most valuable export. It was grown and picked by black slaves. So Mr Baptist, an historian at Cornell University, is not being especially contentious when he says that America owed much of its early growth to the foreign exchange, cheaper raw materials and expanding markets provided by a slave-produced commodity. But he overstates his case when he dismisses “the traditional explanations” for America’s success: its individualistic culture, Puritanism, the lure of open land and high wages, Yankee ingenuity and government policies.
Take, for example, the astonishing increases he cites in both cotton productivity and cotton production. In 1860 a typical slave picked at least three times as much cotton a day as in 1800. In the 1850s cotton production in the southern states doubled to 4m bales and satisfied two-thirds of world consumption. By 1860 the four wealthiest states in the United States, ranked in terms of wealth per white person, were all southern: South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia.
Mr Baptist cites the testimony of a few slaves to support his view that these rises in productivity were achieved by pickers being driven to work ever harder by a system of “calibrated pain”. The complication here was noted by Hugh Thomas in 1997 in his definitive history, “The Slave Trade”; an historian cannot know whether these few spokesmen adequately speak for all.
Another unexamined factor may also have contributed to rises in productivity. Slaves were valuable property, and much harder and, thanks to the decline in supply from Africa, costlier to replace than, say, the Irish peasants that the iron-masters imported into south Wales in the 19th century. Slave owners surely had a vested interest in keeping their “hands” ever fitter and stronger to pick more cotton. Some of the rise in productivity could have come from better treatment. Unlike Mr Thomas, Mr Baptist has not written an objective history of slavery. Almost all the blacks in his book are victims, almost all the whites villains. This is not history; it is advocacy.

Bombs Away


Somehow, M. Night Shyamalan has, once again, convinced other human beings to give him large amounts of money with which to make a film that few people will ever see.

I mean, if you think about some of the biggest bombs that have gone off in recent years, Shyamalan's name has to be associated with a few of them. After Earth, The Happening, and The Last Airbender should have ended his career, right? Those three films would have destroyed the career of a lesser person.

Abstract Number Three, June 2012


Well, this is what abstract art is about, at least for me.

Number three for the month of June arrived with more texture and depth than I was prepared to deal with. I stepped back and slapped my cheeks. It actually looks abstract and deep, never mind the egregious use of nature's worst color, orange.

In a more pretentious mode, I might have called this Native American Warrior on Horse, Rounding the Canyon Walls of Regret.

Titles, they do come easy.

This is a cropped and altered version of what you see above, and the strawberry red really appeals to my album cover sensibilities. This would appear on the cover of a failed experiment linking jazz and the seminal sounds of ducks quacking in time with a jackhammer run by a punk tripping on acid house.


Abstract Number Two, June 2012


Abstract Number Two for the month of June is a turgid mess, and that's what I love about it. The effect of the center, which is a bit more washed out than I normally tolerate, gives it a lakeside feeling. If you stand back far enough, perhaps three hundred yards away, you can kind of tell that it looks like the view from the cliffs above a Greek island harbor empty of sensible ships.

Here is a section that has been cropped out and delivered in a bit more of a landscape view.

Replacing the Word Kindle With Nook

I don't know if I would go so far as to say that a great work of art has been vandalized, but it stands to reason that, from now until the end of E-book, there will be copies of this floating through the Internet and a future generation will be puzzled, and someone will have to write a lengthy blog post about how this came to be.

I'm not going to be that person. I'm a Kindle person myself.