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Out And About In “The Numbers”


Night Calls from tipsters, nighthawk limo drivers and Our Usual Confidantes kept us out and about late into the night Wednesday – so late we almost missed the redundant, season-ending showing of “Mr. Robot” which gets our vote for: “Only Thing Worth Watching On TV Lately.”

Elliot Alderson’s mind-bending tour of the world’s greatest hack and his Zero Day bring-down of the global economy was a cranial tweaker and fun. And it looks like the show is going to be around for another season so we’ll have to stick around and see where it goes.

As we were watching, we couldn’t help but think of the broad, real-time changes brought to global economies and the business world in recent months – by hackers in some cases and by the fickle shift in public tastes and preferences in others. Trying to grasp the direction of our topsy turvy stock market we couldn’t help but ask: “Were we really so tied to China that it’s woes would become our own?”

With all due respect to the fabled history of that country its current economy was openly built on shadow investments and ghost town developments with gazillion yuan housing complexes built by developers, eating up agrarian landscapes, and housing no one. For a nation known for its prowess in copying and counterfeiting, we had a hard time understanding why U.S. economic advisors were pushing for investment there and their heralding of that country as a global economic superpower.

We mean, how many bogus Coach handbags can you buy through AliBaba before the lesson sinks in: “I’ve just paid $1,000 for a shabbily designed and constructed valise with a Coach label so crappy it fell apart when I opened the bag.”

And then there’s Deflategate. Really? That’s what this nation is concerning itself with? Whether or not a professional athlete maneuvered to have his football under-inflated so he’d have an advantage when throwing the ball during a high-stakes game? Well, said athlete beat the rap and will be playing again, soon, which is apparently the important thing here.

Meanwhile, in Europe, countries there are attempting to deal with what is shaping up to be the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, with war-weary Syrians scrambling to reach safety in Germany and Austria – of all places – after their own country continues on a hell-ride to its own self-destruction.

Their plight was very dramatically – shockingly – illustrated Wednesday by the photograph of a young refugee who drowned with others while attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos. Turkish media identified the boy as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi and reported that his five-year-old brother had also perished. Both were believed to be from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, the dusty arena for brutal fighting between Islamic state insurgents and Kurdish forces earlier this year.

The picture of the child has become a photographic milestone for what has become of Syria and is now happening across Europe – sealed in our memory as surely as Col. Loan’s execution of a suspected Viet Cong prisoner or of another child, her skin peeling from napalm burns, fleeing the remnants of her village in that same “conflict.”

Speaking of Turkey, and media, that country has decided to release two British journalists working for Vice News, another of those “not traditional” and “invalid” news organizations who send people into dodgy areas to do journalism – and who actually have their helicopters shot at from time to time. In another global public relations disaster for Ankara, Turkish police arrested the pair on some very strange charges that essentially came down to asking questions about things Turkey didn’t want asked. That’s happening more and more often now as traditional journalism continues to lose ground and influence and the “marginal” services still trying to gather the news put themselves at increasing risk.

There we have it, there are big things happening in the World right now – as well as here in the 24/680. It’s time to start paying attention.


  1. Germany is still compensating for its role as the ignition switch for two global wars. They are actually looking pretty good in their handling of this crisis. Hungary not so much.

  2. Not to mention the arrest of that pathetic town clerk in Kentucky who dared to hold others to a standard she had abandoned long ago. Having principles is great. Being a hypocrite is not.

  3. Allah is not smiling on Syria or its people. What a mess and what a tangled and growing humanitarian crisis.

  4. … and a minor victory for everyone who has ever had to deal with a self righteous self important small town clerk. The fact that she was a multiple divorcee and sinner in the eyes of her god was just icing on the cake.

  5. I never understood deflategate. I played football (as line) in high school and spent hours throwing footballs back and forth. Why is it anyone’s business what the air pressure is as long as it still looks and acts like a football? I am for any pressure available if it helps them throw and catch it and score more for an interesting game. Both teams should be equal that way, and so there should be no grounds for complaint or even oversight. I don’t get it.

  6. Apropos the dear KY county clerk, HuffPo had a pretty funny take on it with a caricature of a Kathy Bates-esqe “My Misery”, with a visage more of self-righteous fury than of suffering. I thought that the catch phrase of “mental silliness” that went with it was the most memorable. It has reached epidemic proportions in certain unimmunized communities. Only God can save them from themselves. Is it too late?

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