The CNN Reddit Affair continued…

The latest from Kapitalist Kitty

Kapitalist Kitty

THIS is a lot of hullabaloo about absolutely nothing. But both CNN and the defending the Reddit troll have turned it into something by their insistence as another episode in the proxy war between the left and the right. The statement that proved the news line heard around the world was this:

CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
Critics of CNN have taken in large part to calling the statement “blackmail” and holds this…

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Before conservatives attack Hillary’s PAC-dependence

Another politics post on the Roland Baines blog.

Kapitalist Kitty

Look inside yourselves.

No,  I don’t mean that in some fake mystical sense. I mean that the answer lies in the actions and stances of U.S. conservatives. I’ll explain:

You see, as a feline economist, I have to do an awful lot of sifting through what policies have real economist consequence and what are steeped in myth. It’s my job and it’s not at all different from sifting through the litter box. But an inconvenient and incontrovertible fact about Election 2016 is that Hillary’s hardcore support from big PAC’s is connected to none other than SCOTUS’ Citizens United v. FEC. Conservatives, for the most part, supported this ruling. They saw private, investor like meddling in elections all over the country as a good thing because they perceived that it would bring more republicans into Congress.

They were right, to a large extent. The GOP comeback commenced in 2010 at…

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Fatherhood, Charlie Baines’ life as a feline journalist

If you like, take a look at my post on Kapitalist Kitty, a parody blog about an economist cat.

Kapitalist Kitty

“Charles Baines, journalist, and father of Roland, reflects on his at times frustrating experiences with world leaders, 1968.”

Happy father’s day to all! I just wanted to take some time to say that on this festive holiday. I, myself, am the father of two litters and while I can’t keep track of all their names, I’m sure their feline instincts tell them I love them all.

The strapping cat in the photo above is my father, Charlie Baines. He’s long since passed on for kitty heaven, but his legacy lingers in the political world. Pops Baines is the reason I had the privilege of discovering economics and politics for myself, and ultimately, how I was admitted to Harvard.

You see, in his time, going to college was not exactly deemed appropriate if you had whiskers and paws. You were relegated as a perpetual pet as were 99% of felines in…

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The Streets and Alleys of Baltic (12)

I had to reblog retireediary’s posts on pictures of the Baltic travels because they are awesome and I would love to see a lot more of them.


I will be doing a series on streets and alleys of the Baltic countries.

I have been to all the Baltic capitals which includes visiting of some of the UNESCO Heritage sites like Vilnius, Riga, Tallin etc.

What I found most interesting are the alleys and the streets which all have their own characteristics.DSC_0054

I am not able to tell you exactly where those alleys and streets are; in my simple mind, they are my memorable parts of the Baltic.

I like the cobblestones, the quaint street, the colored walls on both sides of the alleys, the cafes along or encroached onto the roads, the crude masonry wall facing and last, but not the least, the friendly people.

They leave an undeletable part in my memory!

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Shoutout: 6 May 2016 – MakeItUltra

I decided to give today’s shoutout to him, in part because his photo was the only black and white picture among the pics I saw, but especially because he happens to be a PhD candidate in Psychology. That definitely commands some respect. Now, I have not read much of his material on his blog yet, I will admit, but to the author, if you’re reading this, I intend to read your material extensively in the next few days!

As always, guys, comment or share this if you would like to be considered for tomorrow’s shoutout. Especially if it results in gaining new followers. Have a great day everyone!

Shout out to The Itinerary blog: for his post on Manitoba, Canada

I really enjoyed this post, it’s brief, but informative and has a good amount of photos. And the bison burger was an interesting touch. You get my daily shout out, great work!

Frozen lake and a bison buger

^Please visit his article.

Remember, as per my rules of this, if you would like me to give you one, comment on this post and or share it! $5 to my PayPal gets you a piano version of any song you choose. Thank you!

The Most Unpleasant City in the World?

So while doing some research to satisfy my usual fascination with Arctic or otherwise Northerly places, I had to ask myself, “What’s the Northernmost large city in the world?”. To my surprise, it was not Murmansk or Archangelsk, Russia, which lay pretty close. It was a city of about 175,000 people in the Siberian end known as Norilsk.

I would not suppose that a city which expanded for the purpose of supplementing Soviet Gulags would resemble a Siberian Paris, but this place really does seem to take the whole Pyongyang kind of flavour to good, utilitarian heights. The buildings are built, I have read, with narrow alleys in between in order to protect city dwellers from the intense winds that often befall the entire place. Aww, how sweet, you put your citizens in a Soviet Gulag but are concerned the winds may be unsafe for them. And they said the USSR was a heartless behemoth of a totalitarian state.

Apart from the fact that even the architects themselves were forced to design the city against their will (so much for the good graces of the Politburo on that whole wind thing), the city has got to be one of the most treeless places I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if this is because it’s difficult to grow lots of trees in an Arctic tundra biome, or because, again, utilitarian minimalism is the motif Stalin’s people were going for.

Okay, so you’re thinking, “What a hellhole”, right? Well, not quite. There’s no evidence the Russian Federation is doing anything to force the city’s residence to continue to live there, and the city maintains tens of thousands of people. It is true that the young, who host a monthly dance party to experience a taste of modernity, generally wish to leave. But that’s not all that different from what you see in many other parochial places. Young people generally don’t do parochial, they want New York City, Moscow, London…you know…hip cities.

No, I’m afraid the factors that make this city unpleasant are its pollution levels. At this time, only Russians and Belarussians are allowed to visit without going through the FSB for a special permit. I suspect it is because of the pollution, rather than political factors, that the Russian government has enacted these limits on outside traffic.

^And this isn’t exactly what tourists envision as their ideal getaway.

But nonetheless, the city holds some interesting traits. Some of the Norilsk buildings, like in many other Russian cities, employ the neoclassical style that can give a redeeming quality to even a Gulag town like this one.

It is, of course, the blatant coldness with which the city was mapped out (as was the case in many Stalinist era infrastructure), that we are reminded was not designed to impress the West as St. Petersberg was.

Not a tree in sight^, or even grass. And that is considering Slavic cities tend to be loaded with trees. The abound in the sidewalks, sides of cafes, they even grow out of sidewalks. I’ve been to Slavic countries, I know.

So with that, why not tell me what you think. Would you visit this place out of curiosity if you had the chance?

Simmonds is an awkward last name

How on Earth does someone have this surname without constantly getting it mistaken for the more common “Simmons”? You can’t pronounce the D in it without the pronunciation almost grinding to a halt, thus, it sounds identical to Simmons if you want to say it practically.

I could relate. My last name has an English version and a German version. The German version is a lot more common in the U.S., and I have the English version. People sometimes assume it’s the German spelling with me.

Analysis of Good Will Hunting: Part III – “Duck Pond Scene”

For our third installment on Good Will Hunting, I’d like to bring your attention to another well known part of the film, commonly called the “Duck Pond Scene”. It’s a short rebuttal to the somewhat douche-y behavior exhibited by Will in their previous meeting, in Sean’s office. Will seems hell bent on angering Sean to the point of violent reaction. It may have been analogous to a simmering pot, rather than a firecracker, but Will was sure to succeed in getting the water to boil over. First, he insults Sean’s amateurish (but aesthetically pleasing nonetheless) painting, describing it among other things, “a Winslow Homer rip-off”. Second, he alleges that he “married the wrong woman” (he didn’t know at the time that his beloved wife had died from cancer some years earlier). This ended with Sean physically attacking Will, followed by Will storming out of the office.

A much more collected Sean, a few days later explains he’s well aware that as far as art goes, Will could probably discuss in great depth, any of the greats, including Michaelangelo. But he also knows he has never experienced his most famed work for himself first hand. He could give him his two cents on love and war, but has never personally experienced their inimitable pain. He follows that given Will would likely not appreciate having his life summed up in a comparison with Oliver Twist (“Please, sir, can I have some more?”), it would not be unreasonable to ask that Will not attempt to simplify Sean’s life with one sophomoric (but again, aesthetically pleasing, I had to mention that twice) painting. Sean finishes that nonetheless, he knows Will is just too young and inexperienced to know better but that his potential is nonetheless unlimited. He tells him “I’m in”; he would love to know everything about who this kid really is, the life version, not the book version.


I think this scene is one great ode to the fact that crystallized knowledge, even the mental library which aggregates within the depths of Will’s cerebrum, is not synonymous with wisdom. Will here is a 20 year old who knows more about the world than your typical 60 year old in the academic sense, yet he’s never been out of Boston! In other words, he’s got access to the world’s achievements in his head without the worldliness to supplement.

“Youth is wasted on the young” they say, and I find it important to note that Will’s behaviour reflects that of a very very young man. A boy genius, mind you, but a whipper-snapper nonetheless. For example, he states that his arrest was unlawful because he was practicing his rights….by punching a cop. Only someone with that unmistakably naive, fresh outlook on life could even think of using something so asinine as a criminal defense. Ahh, but there is something to be said about the beauty of it; it overflows delightfully with the kind of glee unique only those who haven’t lived long enough to extrapolate life as so unforgiving. Yes folks, youth really is wasted on the young.

All things considered, what we really have here is Will acting just as Clark did in the last scene we analyzed. Will may may be a couple orders of magnitude more remarkable than Clark, but he’s no more immune to occasionally acting just as pompous and, frankly, just as ill informed on the game of life (as any new comer is doomed to be anyway) as Clark is intellectually lazy.

The “TL;DR” version of this is that no matter how book smart you are, you will eventually make a fool of yourself if you go without the worldly supplementation of real life. And part of such wisdom lies in knowing that you not only will make a fool of yourself at some point, you simply must.