Hydrogen Cars for the Wealthy

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Phlogiston, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 5:47 pm by George Smith

Good news, lads! Good news! We can make hydrogen cars for the super rich.

More in from our culture of sucking up, plus wishful thinking added for just the right seasoning.

“Imagine a world where all it took to power a car was sunshine and tap water,” wrote Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times a week or so ago.

But first you have to know the history of the journalist.

Carpenter was infamous for being a Times swell. Her old gig was writing for a discontinued automotive section, reviewing high end superbikes, riding with Peter Fonda, writing about breaking the speed limit and getting her picture into the newspaper.

And I used to bag on her regularly.

Here she’s lampooned for touting a $3,000 electric bicycle, the iZip, made for miscellaneous upper class nuisances, gadget freaks and conspicuous consumers.

And here, she’s dealt with in her leather gear, after pumping her high-end superbike tour of the Old Silk Route in China:

[The] Silk Route highway is empty for Carpenter and her tourmates because most of the locals are too busy scrabbling out a subsistence living to afford driving on it.

And gas is cheaper in China than southern California! Imagine that!

The main hazards on the Silk Route highway, we are informed, are “packs of animals and stacks of rocks. In rural areas, you never knew when you would round a corner and need to slow for yaks or goats.”

“[There’s] never a line at the pump because so few people drive in the remote and impoverished outskirts of Xinjiang province.”

So she’s just right to tell readers — “Welcome to the future” — and that a hydrogen generating station the size of a refrigerator is just around the corner, for her wealthy and highly regarded pals, maybe.

Was she perhaps thrilled by Brad Paisley’s latest record, too?

Carpenter’s article centers around the Honda Clarity and it never deals with the details of cracking water for automotive use. All on house current without causing fainting from billing shock.

The latter is dealt with by simply saying it can all be had with solar-power panels and an accompanying electrolysis system.

One of the only figures delivered (there are two pertaining to power generation, neither particularly enlightening or convincing) is that the new “hydrogen fueling system” is “25 percent more efficient than the electrolysis system Honda devised in 2001 and it no longer requires a mechanical compressor or storage tanks.”

While it sounds too good to be true, Carpenter swallows it without comment.

If you were interested in chemistry as a kid you may have cracked water with wall current and a transformer. If you did, it was an unexciting experiment, slow and not much of a hydrogen generator, although you could collect some gas in a test tube, enough to make a pop when lit.

The energy required to decompose the covalent bonds holding water together is not trivial. This is well-explained, in chemical and physical terms, here.

In life, that it’s not trivial is good. If water fell apart easily, life just wouldn’t be possible. It just wouldn’t do to have to worry about unexpectedly and explosively popping from hydrogen build-up.

Carpenter’s article for the Times does not explain any of this. And it is
one of the central problems facing any attempt to bring on a hydrogen-based energy rich economy, one in which the hydrogen is generated from water — with the power not furnished by fossil fuel.

Use wall power generated by fossil fuels to generate hydrogen from water doesn’t automagically do away with the problem of greenhouse gases. It just lengthens the vehicle’s tail pipe away from the house and roads where it operates.

Generating it from solar — well, let’s say no one has even come remotely close to adequately explaining how the entire country, not just sunny soCal, could get enough power from the sun to satisfy current American driving habits on a daily basis.

Like in the middle of winter in eastern Pennsylvania.

And no editor at the LA Times required Carpenter to even take a stab at it.

Instead, most of her article’s testimony is turned over, of all people, to Jon Landau. A member of the mansion set who presumably called in some favor to get his Honda Clarity lease and fueling station permissions.

Landau was the film producer of Titanic and Avatar, so he’d be the guy to go to for an explanation of how the hydrogen economy and automobiles might work.

“There’s no trip I can’t make and get back here [to the fueling station], Landau tells Carpenter.

“Now he drives it more often than his Mercedes S550,” writes Carpenter brightly.

The Mercedes S550 is a $91,000 car, about twenty thousand cheaper than Elon Musk’s electric car for the rich. The cost of the Honda Clarity is ridiculous — $1 million. And this explains the expensive cocked-up leasing program for test vehicles and attached fueling station described by Carpenter, a program which furnished Landau with his auto.

If only we could all have such gigs and opportunities. Welcome to the future. Where the class war’s been waged and you’ve all lost.

Culture of Lickspittle: Praising Elon Musk

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Phlogiston, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 2:57 pm by George Smith

One thing Paul Fussell didn’t envision when he wrote BAD in 1991: The universal adoption of mindless sucking up to wealth and celebrity as a regular trait of American character.

Good examples abound in daily newspapers. Entire sections seem to often still be turned over to lickspittle praise of business tycoons or whoever has the predicted number one movie for this week.

But Tesla’s Elon Musk surely rates a mention today for the omnipresence in recent weeks of comparisons to comic book character Tony Stark.

Originally based on the producer of Iron Man 2’s claim that his version of the Marvel Comics character was modelled on Musk. And the latter’s subsequent Stan Lee-esque cameo in the movie.

Here’s a parrot’s collection, repeated ad nauseam, in current ISOO-approved national practice for sucking up:

The [Tesla] IPO is also the first for the eccentric and charismatic Musk, who is the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark character in “Iron Man” and also — ABC News

The funny thing about Elon Musk is that he does sort of remind you of Tony Stark. Minus the Iron Man suit … — the New York Times

Musk helped inspire the film version of Tony Stark, the billionaire in the “Iron Man??? movies, director Jon Favreau wrote in Time magazine in April — Businessweek

The script is good for a Hollywood movie, compete with a messy divorce; while Musk himself is the blueprint for the Robert Downey’s character Tony Stark in … — Times LIVE

If Elon Musk and his credentials, his lifestyle, his love for women and sportscars reminds you of the Marvel comic book hero Iron Man’s common man avatar … — Entertainment and Showbiz

With skepticism mounting about the cost and adoption of pure electric cars over the next five years, investors will have to decide whether Tesla represents a high-risk, high-return bet on an emerging technology or a Silicon Valley version of “Government Motors” … Musk, the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark character in “Iron Man” who makes a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in this summer’s sequel, sees it very differently. — Reuters

But Tesla has its strengths, including some high-profile backers. Chief among them is CEO Elon Musk, the 38-year-old entrepreneur who was an inspiration for the playboy business mogul of the Iron Man films, Tony Stark … Investors will decide for themselves whether it takes Iron Man to lift Tesla off the ground. — AP

Jon Favreau, director of “Iron Man,” calls Musk a modern-day “Renaissance man” … In an article for Time, Favreau said that he and actor Robert Downey Jr. modeled the main character in the movie — “genius billionaire Tony Stark” — after the Silicon Valley star … Musk told Time that his goal was to be “involved in things that are going to make a significant difference to the future of humanity. — Agence France Presse

Now I mentioned “Iron Man” because Robert Downey Jr. based the movie version of Tony Stark in “Iron Man” in part on this guy. Now if that’s not cool enough, keep listening, I’ve got more … We’ll be right back with the real life “Iron Man,” right after this. — CNN

The CNN interview was spectacular for its fawning treatment of Musk, who’s current business ventures wouldn’t really exist without the serious underwriting provided by the US government.

In any case, for CNN Musk said he wanted to be involved in “sustainable energy and … space exploration and particularly the expansion of life to multiple planets.”

This was immediately followed by:

But on that second point, sustainable energy, I think we really see a clear example here with the Gulf oil spill that, you know, the oil is bad in so many ways. Apart from being unsustainable, it also is a huge pollutant of the oceans, of the atmosphere and we need to get off it.


But the real bell-ringer is “expansion of life to multiple planets,” quite an ambition from a guy who’s actual material contribution to making stuff, right now, is a premium sports car for really rich people and a proposed slightly less premium car for … the wealthy.

And a booster rocket to potentially cart supplies and baggage, and maybe more really wealthy people, to the great outhouse in the sky, the international space station. On the taxpayer’s dime, most — if not all — the time.

For CNN, Musk was emphasizing sustainable energy. And it’s a common trope of the sales pitch for his electric car manufacturing business.

But the electricity has to come from somewhere for a rechargeable car.

And if it comes from a wall plug at home, or any hook-up at an electric car charging station, the current infrastructure in the US still generates it through the burning of fossil fuels. Which means only that the electric car has a really long exhaust pipe — to where the power is being generated.

If it’s going to run solely off elemental hydrogen — which DD may get into later — it inherits a different set of problems. Namely, the relativey high energy needs for cracking water, if you’re not going to use hydrogen derived from fossil fuels.

The technical dimensions are described somewhat briefly here..

Manufacturing a $109,000 (after US government tax rewards) automobile for celebrities doesn’t go far in arguments for solving global warming or eyewash about sustainable energy.

However, this hasn’t stopped top journalists from lavishing praise upon the man who’s giving them celebrity privileges to drive it. Infamously, like Lesley Stahl.

Musk is almost perfect for America in 2010. Someone who delivers little, spends an awful lot, isn’t above ludicrously pleading poverty but — above all — is someone showy and adept at cultivating the right image in the culture of sucking up.

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark was also a narcissist and a drunk.

In the comic book, as well as in the best parts of Favreau’s two movies, Stark defeated bad guys at no charge. And the people in the street, not just George Clooney or Lesley Stahl — got to enjoy it.

Twelve cents, later a quarter, originally — right here.

More on Musk’s IPO, skeptically, at the LA Times.

Biodefense Industry: Little Scorpions in a Jar

Posted in Bioterrorism at 9:04 am by George Smith

This blog has commented previously on how biodefense industry companies in the US are good at two things: (1) Not bringing products to market; and (2) fighting with each other over government contracts.

The latter of which prop them up.

The latest small chapter is the continued battle between Emergent Biosolutions and PharmAthene (PIP), two Alliance for Biosecurity companies in an acrimonious scrap — one which virtually defines their existence — over anthrax vaccines.

Emergent makes the only anthrax vaccine now used, called BioThrax. It is the company’s only product and its single source of revenue.

It was the vaccine formulation which had its future guaranteed by Bruce E. Ivins anthrax mailings. Ivins’ research was connected with it. And his name, as primary investigator, dominates the scientific literature on it.

The US, under the administration of the Dept. of Health & Human Services and the BARDA granting agency has — since the anthrax mailings — aimed to develop and adopt a follow-on vaccine to BioThrax.

It has issued and withdrawn funds linked to bids.

The most obvious move in this regard had been to award a large contract — $600 million — to PharmAthene for the development of its anthrax vaccine, called SparVax. SparVax was engineered by British scientists for a company called Avecia, bought by Pharmathene on the cheap.

However, the US government withdrew the contract at the end of last year in an apparent vote of no-confidence for PharmAthene’s actual ability to manufacture and deliver it on schedule — within eight years.

However, PharmAthene was awarded another smaller contract — $78 million — apparently to keep development of SparVax open at the end of 2009. Emergent Biosolutions promptly filed a protest which held up PharmAthene’s work and hiring plans for months. The smaller contract has been written of in the press and on blogs as the result of inside business dealing between PharmAthene’s lobby, dead Congressman Jack Murtha and the US government.

And now HH&S will solicit a a third round of proposals for a new anthrax vaccine.

All things considered, the history of anthrax vaccine making post-9/11, seen within the context of the large biodefense industry boom, has been a sorry one. With no sign of change any time soon.

It can be summarized thusly: No products, no vaccines, plus lots of warning of dire consequences if taxpayer funding isn’t always accelerated or expanded.

The latest round of fighting between PharmAthene and Emergent Biosolutions spilled into the open in the pages of the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

A lobbyist for Emergent called PharmAthene “a virtual company run by a bunch of political hacks” operated “out of a warehouse.”

PharmAthene also has an unsuccessful antidote to nerve gas poisoning called Protexia.

Reads a PharmAthene press release from 2005:

“The acquisition of Protexia(TM) further strengthens our biological and chemical defense product portfolio. This will allow PharmAthene to play a major role in preparing the United States for a potential biological or chemical terrorist attack,” said David P. Wright, President & CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of PharmAthene. “With the completion of preclinical development, human clinical safety trials and manufacturing scale-up of Protexia(TM), the U.S. Government will have the option to procure for the Strategic National Stockpile an effective antidote for chemical nerve agents.

Protexia is allegedly ‘made’ by isolation from milk of transgenic goats and PharmAthene had issued press releases on its efficacy in vivo — or on lab tests on animals.

Emergent’s lobbyist also took a shot — a funny one — at Protexia development, saying “Ask them about the dead goats.” For the Journal, a PharmAthene official conceded goats had bought the farm, although it was alleged to be a business decision that they should die.

Most recently, PharmAthene hired an official from Health & Human Services to be its chief scientific officer. The official had been involved in acquisition of anthrax and smallpox vaccines, a position of oversight.

The hiring immediately reinforced the perception of cozy dealing and conflicts-of-interest for the benefit of the biodefense industry.

The Washington Times reported on the matter, thusly:

When the publicly traded biodefense company PharmAthene Inc. hired Thomas R. Fuerst as its chief scientific officer in April, executives publicized his work as a senior official in the federal government leading the development and acquisition of vaccines and other products against pandemic flu, smallpox and anthrax.

Mr. Fuerst was appointed shortly after his departure from the Department of Health and Human Services at a time when the Annapolis, Md.-based company was trying hard to sell a new anthrax vaccine to the government, highlighting the so-called “revolving door” in which former senior federal officials land jobs in industries with which they interacted while serving in the government.

Though President Obama enacted new revolving-door ethics rules soon after taking office requiring a two-year “cooling off” period for appointees leaving the government, those regulations apply only to incoming appointees – not to career federal employees such as Mr. Fuerst. He holds a doctoral degree in molecular genetics.

“It looks like Dr. Fuerst walked the ethics tightrope,” said Scott Amey, general counsel for the nonpartisan watchdog group Project On Government Oversight.

Previously — on the biodefense industry and anthrax vaccine making.


Seventy Six Cent Nugent Album Trampled, Hurdled

Posted in Extremism, Rock 'n' Roll, Ted Nugent at 12:36 pm by George Smith

About an hour after Ted Nugent announced he was going to sell a new double-CDs worth of tunes, Happy Defiance Day Everyday for 76 cents on-line on July 4th, Amazon’s order page for it was inexplicably removed. (Now restored.)

And the link from tednugent.com also went dead.

Perhaps the Nuge’s record company — Eagle — wasn’t that thrilled about giving it all away for basically free on-line. Or maybe the Nuge himself wasn’t totally happy with the promotion. Given his well-known antipathy toward the idea of stuff on-line for zip.

Or maybe it’s just likely your standard momentary on-line screw-up. Or maybe, as my grandpap used to say, “He’s got things all balled up.” And he’s desperate.

However, Ted is nothing if not an interestingly amusing hypocrite.

Here he is, just a month or so ago:”

PopMatters.com: How much are you bothered by the fact that many people are getting Free-For-All or Double Live Gonzo! without paying for them via illegal downloading and file sharing? Do you have any thoughts on what the music industry will look like as CD sales continue to dwindle?

Nugent: “All thievery is wrong and upsetting to anyone connected to logic and decency. Fortunately, I have such an incredibly diverse and exciting lifestyle that I am able to escape the violations of my fellow man. My professional management team will always optimize my commercial entities.

And nothing says “I’m a mixed-up loser” quite as emphatically than vague doublespeak like “optimizing commercial entities.”

However for the Wall Street Journal, back in 2001, Ted was much more direct:

Hey Napster, get your greasy paws off my intellectual property.


To think a third party should be allowed to give away our product
for zero compensation is brain-dead and un-American.

But perhaps Ted Nugent really has changed. And he really does like the Internet, wanting to give a digital copy of his new anthology away for about free for one whole day.

Whatever the circumstances, Nugent has his job cut out for him. Happyl Defiance Day Everyday (Ted’s lame attempt to get Independence Day renamed) is a grab bag of stuff from his days of fail, stuff that his fans — to steal a phrase — trampled and hurdled.

It contains the greatest hits from albums like “If You Can’t Lick ‘Em … Lick ‘Em,” “Little Miss Dangerous” (from when Ted was into Miami Vice), “Penetrator,” “Spirit of the Wild,” “Love Grenade” and the last couple of live albums, which were a move to consolidate some of Nugent’s classic tunes from the arena-busting days as new live versions on platters the man could actually collect royalties on. If you think you’re getting the originals, you’re not.

Of these records, Little Miss Dangerous is the most interesting. It charted a radical departure in Nugent’s sound. A a little more than half, perhaps almost all, of the record has the Scholz Rockman guitar tone that was on the Eighties hits of Def Leppard and ZZ Top. Nugent never went back to it.

The title cut itself, besides being the theme for an episode of Miami Vice, was inspired by Pele Massa, a girl Nugent met when she was underage. Massa spent ten years raising Nugent’s children, leaving when he started screwing others while out on the road.

In Nugent’s Behind the Music episode, Massa infamously described the Nugent credo: “Bag it, tag it, call a cab for it.”

Number of times Ted Nugent called the Obama administration some variation on the “Mao Tse-Tung fan club” in the last week:

The criminality of the Mao Tse-Tung fan club in the White House will go down as … — Broward/Palm Beach New Times

[But] in these here United States of America with a Mao Tse Tung fan club in the White House, our passion for real America drives our musical celebration to new highs knowing that our “we the people” demand for a return to a real America is catching fire all across this great country and it brings us much energy. — The Monitor

To establish a Mao Tse Tung fanclub in the White House is beyond the pale. — Boston Herald

Americans have had enough of political shysters, lawyer lingo, doublespeak, crooks, liars and frauds in Washington. The Mao Zedong fan club will be looking for new digs by deer season … I would much rather put our country’s future in the hands of Wall Street than in the bumbling hands of Fedzilla. — Washington Times, I

After watching Gen. McChrystal in a “60 Minutes” interview a year or so ago, I had no doubt that he believed then that the Afghanistan war was a total klusterphunk in progress because of the community-organizer-in-chief, Mr. Obama, and the Mao Zedong fan club with whom he had surrounded himself. — Washington Times, II

They are nothing but economic parasites who live off the sweat and hard work of the producers. Mao Zedong would be proud. — Washington Times, III

Something Epic is About to Happen

Posted in Extremism, Imminent Catastrophe, Stumble and Fail at 9:47 am by George Smith

And it’s to your mind.

Watch Fox News without radiation shielding for too long and your intellect is shriveled.

Disappointingly, the rest of the mainstream media isn’t much better.

Readers recall a post on the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy about ten days ago. One linking to a KPCC story on the marketing of a survival bunker complex in the Mojave.

That story was noticed by others. And it was exploited, in the process, losing all the sanity the original reporter at KPCC put into it.

Instead, it became a marketing vehicle for the guy selling doomsday bunkers, Robert Vicino and his Vivos firm, abetted by the news agencies.

Most notable is a Fox News segment.

“Something epic is about to happen,” explains the Vivos developer. This in an exchange on why people believe the worst and are lining up to buy time shares in his business.

Savor the hypocrisy of the Fox News host who tries to pin the developer with questions like this one:

“[Aren’t you] trying to profit off people’s fears?”

The Fox News host wants to consider “the ethics of that.”

It is the rankest stuff coming from a news network that makes the idea that the US is facing imminent collapse a part of its regular daily menu of programming.

While not as out there as Coast to Coast radio, which — after all — has done that beat for years, Fox News has probably done more to mainstream US extremism than any news outlet, ever

And with it has come the constant peddling of doomsday, from the disease that’s Glenn Beck, to sunspot causing “the end of life as we know it” to recent humoring of laughingstock Arthur Laffer, who’s shtick is predicting the total collapse of the US economy in January of next year.

“Is the World Broke?” reads a caption on the Fox News screen. It’s one the news organization seems to stick on a lot of its current material.

And it is the application of pure cynicism — existing only to titillate viewers while strengthening the impression the country is going down soon, with the Obama administration at the helm.

Paradoxically, one can make a rational argument that the US is heading into failure. But that the failure won’t be as envisioned by the catastrophists. It may instead be the continued descent into existence as the world’s most powerful banana republic, a hardscrabble place of very little charm, no middle class and no observable social generosity or commitment to quality in civil life.

But that’s not the story the news organizations which use catastrophists like to tell.

They prefer segments puffing investment in a multi-story survival condo envisioned for placement in an old missile silo in Kansas. Like here at ABC News.

Observe again, the standard grinning host. So funny and amusing it is to see more clips from “The Road” and another benighted white guy, tossing his money away while he shows off a pathetic tackle box he has in a closet. Because, ya know, the man and his kid are going to have to be able to catch fish — out in the Mojave Desert — after the end has arrived.


Take advice from the ninny Nugent

Posted in Extremism, Rock 'n' Roll, Ted Nugent at 3:34 pm by George Smith

The WaTimes continues to furnish Ted Nugent with real estate for self-promotion.

Again this week, Nugent pumps his “Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead” tour to places like a rib shack in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the Donna Corn Maze, or a “surf” ballroom in Iowa. Practically speaking, it’s harmless enough. No one who reads the WaTimes buys Nugent CDs.

His musical career is dead in the water. It has been for decades. But more on this after a couple of the usual Ted-isms, like his repeated working of the word “bloodsucker” into every column.

In the world of Ted, “bloodsuckers” are those who don’t share his politics, anyone he doesn’t like:

Only bloodsuckers, dopers and socialist stooges believe higher taxes are good.

They are nothing but economic parasites who live off the sweat and hard work of the producers. Mao Zedong would be proud.

If you believe we are in rough, choppy economic seas now, just wait a few more months. Things are going to get worse, possibly much worse under this rookie regime in the coming months.

The world is in the process of learning a painful economic lesson. That lesson is that liberals and their thirst for more government spending and control ultimately lead to economic collapse and despair. If the world – America included – does not make a very hard turn to fiscal responsibility and sanity, America will face the same fate as Greece in the not-too-distant future.

Next week, for example, “bloodsuckers” may be used to describe illegal immigrants, Democrats specifically, minorities on welfare, fat people, the census, the Social Security Administration, or those who approve of the BP escrow fund.

It’s the standard far right GOP scripting. Unlike in rock guitar, Nugent’s not original when it comes to politics. He’s embraced the Tea Party, just like any standard old school GOP pol hoping to vacuum up votes and head off challenge by someone further to the right.

Since his books now sell more than his albums, Nugent has to suck up to any potential audience on a growth curve. And that means the Tea Party. If you follow his name in the Google news tab, you’ll notice Uncle Ted trying to build a business in speaking at their events. Ted, when you get right down to it, can only aspire to being a poor man’s Glenn Beck. He has no venue in which to field a chalkboard and cite the books of Ayn Rand.

Nugent is and was a great rock guitarist. It must certainly sting to know idiots pay more for his words — idiots who would have never liked him in his heyday — than they’d ever pay for his records. That he has to be a toady to the likes of Sean Hannity for scraps from the table.

Which is to say he’s crummy with words. Any examination of the writings of Nugent show his fondness (or an assistant’s) for cut-and-paste and a love of a few odd but always mean slogans of his own invention. Copy editors prop him up big time but can’t massage the artifice out of the work.

What works in ferocious rock and roll — the repetition of angry money shot licks of your invention in subsequent recordings — doesn’t work for print.

However, this hasn’t stopped Nugent from trying to work various Ted-or-isms, like “Fedzilla” and “Trample the weak, hurdle the dead” into the vernacular, as if they’re the riffs from “Cat Scratch Fever.” The only place one sees Ted coinages are on his own borrowed land.

One of Nugent’s regular political riffs is how the US government can’t run an economy. And Ted knows this because he’s always been captain of his own business. Sort of.

The Ted line of thinking goes like this:

[It] does not appear to me that anyone in the Obama administration understands this most basic economic reality. That’s scary, though predictable for central planning liberals like President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Having zero experience at operating a business of any kind, this is all too predictable.

What Nugent doesn’t tell readers is that he captained his business into the ground in the early Eighties.

Nugent went from the being the biggest arena draw in the US to a laughable anachronistic nobody in a loin cloth in a couple years as tastes changed and he didn’t. Even famously over-the-top friends like Sammy Hagar flinch over the memory.

Ponder the guy who regularly rags on overweight “gluttonous” Americans, a man who now conspicuously wears a shirt — thank God — at all his gigs. This same guy who used to shave himself smooth and be in little but a hide g-string and boots for arena gigs. Despite his assertions, Father Time and gravity have worn on Ted as much as they have on everyone else.

During the height of his power, Nugent’s career was handled by one of the biggest management teams in rock — Leber-Krebs, the agency also reponsible for Aerosmith, Mahogany Rush, Parliament/Funkadelic and others.

But about a decade ago Nugent was part of one of VH1’s “Behind the Music” specials, documentaries on stars who’d gone from major success to epic failure, usually with piddling uplifting bits tacked on the end about how said wash-ups were revitalizing their lives, learning to cope with diminished expectations, battling free from substance addictions, or launching minor alternative careers in reality TV — which would inevitably result in nothing.

And Nugent hadn’t yet been discovered by Regnery Press, the publishing company which would make him a professional windbag from the extreme right.

So it must have seemed like something of a Hail Mary pass to cooperate with “Behind the Music” for the story of the collapse of the Nugent empire.

Nugent’s present manager explained the rocker was 30-60 days away from losing “everything” around 1982.

Risky investments had been made in mink farms and the raising of Clydesdale horses.

And, apparently, they went south, taking Nugent’s fortune from arena stardom with them.

“Wiped me out … wiped me out,” he says for the TV, adding he was “flat broke.”

In the doc, Nugent — as usual — puts all the blame for failure on others.

“We had a bunch of inefficient power-addicted, stardom addicted business associates that could give a rat’s ass about the source of the income — [me],” he says.

“I don’t know who gets the gomer award, me being stupid enough to believe them…,” he adds, almost as an afterthought. It’s uncharacteristic self-examination.

Nugent fired his management and financial adviser. These steps did not resurrect his solo career — which has remained stubbornly dead as a door nail. His fortune returned briefly with Damn Yankees, an act assembled from pieces of Night Ranger and Styx.

But back to the WaTimes:

My band is the best in the world. The weak got trampled, the dead hurdled. It’s how we got to yet another amazing rocking tour in 2010.

Keep telling yourself that Ted while you’re onstage at the rib joint in Fort Smith.

In terms of business acumen, another of Ted’s minor failures was his marketing of Gonzo Meat Biltong.

Consider the case of the man always extolling his talent for shooting game and preparing sumptuous feasts off the results of his hunting skills, completely ineffective at selling packs of beef jerky to his core audience of self-sufficient he-man survivalism freaks.


Begging for dollars in front of Satan’s Bank of Pasadena

Posted in Satan's Bank, Stumble and Fail, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 3:34 pm by George Smith

DD does not have a camera phone so for this one you’ll just have to take my word.

Desperation hit a new high in Pasadena today.

At lunch time, on the corner of Lake and Walnut — directly in front of Satan’s Bank of Pasadena, aka OneWest — there was a thirtysomething man in a suit with a signboard. The signboard pleaded: “Hire Me!”

It said he had a B.A. and “experience.” “Help me win for my family,” it added.

Right beside him, a man who looked like Santa Claus, except in a hardware store man’s clothes. He has been begging for the last two weeks. And directly across the superhighway, two people have been regularly camped out for it seems like … at least a year or two.

If you’ve never been to Pasadena, the corner of Lake and Walnut is the place to be if you’d like to be seen with your alms cup. It’s high vehicular traffic for most of the day. And there’s are always a good number of pedestrians, particularly at lunch time, when many come boiling out of Satan’s Bank and head across the street to Ralphs or north thirty yards to Teri & Yaki.

Holding up a sign of desperation on this corner is a good tactical move. If you want someone from the local newspaper, the Pasadena Star-News to notice and get interested in your story, it’s high visibility and impact.

After all, no one ever checks out the guy living out of his van on El Molino. Or the half a dozen or so who regularly scrounge through my apartment building’s dumpster.

Who wrecked America: In economic charts.

“Walkin’ for Bum Wine in Pasadena Blues”

TV Music Interlude

Posted in Phlogiston, Rock 'n' Roll at 2:04 pm by George Smith

This DD tune was done a few years ago on a spur of the moment, the moment being the idea to write TV theme music for “The Amazing Harry Hoo,” an episode of Get Smart.

Bond movie songs, can’t do. Get Smart, yes!

This blog perfectly describes the Claw Craw, one of the most fondly remembered comedy villains:

The Claw … was an evil villain of Asian ancestry — a distant cousin to Bond’s “Dr. No.” The Claw was so called because one of his hands was missing, a la Captain Hook. In its place, as I recall, was a powerful shoehorn-shaped magnet. (There you go — two strikes already, both disability and ethnic stereotyping.) The Claw spoke English with a heavy accent, which was a good part of the joke. Picture Smart holding him off at gunpoint. Smart would turn to his sidekick, the lovely Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon), and say with a squinted brow, something like: “Well, 99, I see it’s our old nemesis, the Craw.”

Before 99 could respond, the villain would break in, growling: “No, not da Craw — da Craw!”

The episode is also described here.

The trick was to work the verbal joke into the instrumental. Dialogue from the show made it easy.

“The Amazing Harry Hoo” — the fictitious theme, not the episode — is here.

Millionaires rule — Socialism, not so much

Posted in Stumble and Fail, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 7:42 am by George Smith

Good news, lads! Good news!

The number of millionaire households in the world has bounced back to boom-time levels, according to a new study.

The 2010 Global Wealth Report by The Boston Consulting Group says there were 11.2 million millionaire households in the world at the end of 2009, a 14% jump from 2008. That puts the millionaire count about where it was in the good old days before the global financial crisis.

The U.S. had especially strong growth, with the number of millionaire households rising to 4.7 million — still the largest number of millionaire households in the world …

The global growth at the top — driven by last summer’s rebound in financial markets — marks a stark contrast with the continued malaise at the middle and bottom. As a result, inequality around the world has widened.

From the WSJ.

Also looted from the WSJ:

New-home sales plunged in May to a record low, as buyers faced a lackluster job market without a longtime government subsidy for purchases. Sales tanked by 32.7% from the previous month.

And from a Cinncinnati newspaper:

I don’t support Obama. If I did, I would be a Democrat,” [a socialist political candidate named] La Botz said. “I find it astonishing that people would think he’s a socialist. He’s given trillions of dollars to bankers, billions to General Motors, created a health care system that supports the health insurance companies … his foreign policy is consistent with Bush’s foreign policy.”

Since President Obama was elected, “socialism” is a word on the lips of many conservative politicians, tea party supporters and political pundits. A CBS News/New York Times poll in April showed 92 percent of tea party supporters believe Obama is moving the country toward socialism – while 52 percent of all Americans held the same belief.

Socialists shake their heads – but they don’t really mind the attention.

“If folks like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh make their careers off of using the word socialism as a slur, how bad could it be?” asks 35-year-old Shane Johnson of Corryville, a union electrician who helped revive Cincinnati’s International Socialist Organization chapter this year, which has about a dozen members.

“We should be fighting for full employment. End wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” La Botz said. “We should immediately take over BP. What they own is too valuable and too powerful to be in private hands.”

Xavier University political science professor Mack Mariani believes Americans are frustrated with government leaders and skeptical of big business, but he’s not convinced socialist thought is spreading.

“I haven’t seen anything that would seem the Socialist Party is having a resurgence,” Mariani said. “Even though I think capitalism as a concept has taken a hit in terms of public approval … it wouldn’t translate into support for the Socialist Party.”

Which makes Glenn Beck’s recommendations for a book on socialist serfdom and his own Overton Window substantial proof that some deity has a great but very dry sense of humor. Plus, if you’re a believer, anyone who would bless the country with a Glenn Beck is sending the message that we’ve been rewarded with what we deserve.

Reads a Mediaite blurb:

Glenn Beck Makes Anti-Socialist Book From 1944 A Topseller In 24 Hours

Writes Media Matters by way of the Weekly Standard:

The plot of The Overton Window is one big conspiracy theory in which the United States government, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and the Trilateral Commission are all plotting an antidemocratic coup.

Why would they bother when things are already going so well?


Ted Nugent — big fan of Mr. Woodcock

Posted in Extremism, Phlogiston, Rock 'n' Roll, Ted Nugent at 11:24 am by George Smith

From the WaTimes column by Ted Nugent last week, a physical fitness lecture — perhaps reminiscent of Billy Bob Thornton’s Mr. Woodcock, only not as eloquent as “Set of 10!”:

Schools should augment brisk walks by also replacing goofy games during gym time with rigorous calisthenics, including jogging, sprinting, sit-ups and jumping jacks. Kids need to work up a healthy sweat and get worn out during gym class. Huffing and puffing is a good thing.

Every grade school and middle school in America should implement a brisk-walking club in the morning before school starts. Any school that doesn’t implement a before-school walking club for this coming school year should have all public funding rescinded immediately and the principal fired. I mean it.

The goal is simple. Every young person who graduates high school should be able to pass the U.S. Marines Corps fitness test.


All of this requires effort, commitment, sacrifice and hard work.

Nothing worthwhile is ever easy or cheap. But we must do it. While America faces a number of economic and international challenges, I firmly believe there is no challenge greater than to improve the health of our young people. The blubberization of America must be reversed immediately.


I am just a guitar player, but I worked up another serious sweat last night when I dragged my dead bear out of the Canadian wilderness. I suppose not everybody can perform such perfect hands-on physics …

And this is what happens when you cut your entertainment staff, like Creative Loafing’s Tampa operation, I presume.

In a brief interview with Ted Nugent, the newspaper’s music reporter asks, “If you had not become a musician, what do you think you’d be doing instead?”

Replies Nugent, emphasis mine:

I do so much as it is, musician, writer, speaker, hunting guide, law enforcement officer, off road racer, standup comedian, TV producer, gay rights advocate, Motown dance instructor, professional breeder, etc. etc., that I’m sure my passions would still dominate my American Dream without the music, though the thought of not rocking is rather silly.

The Nuge as a ‘gay rights advocate’ at Human Events, a publication of the far right:

Enter the debate over allowing homosexuals to openly serve in our military. What this issue boils down to is what may or may not happen to the military’s good order, discipline, morale, and unit cohesion if they are allowed to openly serve. Until someone can convince me that by allowing gays to openly serve in our military will improve our ability to wage and win wars, we should continue the 1993 law that does not permit gays to openly serve.

It is possible, I suppose, that a quietly subversive copy editor was having mischievous fun with Nugent re the ‘gay advocate’ thing.

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