All posts by Payam

Chemist, philosopher, vagrant.

Ending a Legendary Career with Greasy Eggs

About 17 years ago, I ate at two Wolfgang Puck restaurants: Chinois on Main and Granita in Malibu. Both were culinary delights, but not worth the hassle. (Lucques was the only restaurant that was worth the hassle.) It is a mystery as to why he lent his name to so many mediocre enterprises like TV dinners and fast food stands at malls and airports. After all, he was already damn wealthy by virtue of his books, restaurants and TV appearances. Alice Waters, his mentor, never felt any such compulsion, and her brand remained undiluted. Based on the picture below, Puck’s brand is now so diluted and debased that he has his picture next to greasy eggs. It is a denouement that can only elicit schadenfreude, not any sympathy. Here is a man who abandoned a promising career in the culinary arts for a couple bucks shilling greasy eggs. 

What a slut. 

I had a bagel and cream cheese at Starbucks. That is a far better choice for the captive passenger. 

Statins for Los Angeles Traffic

The same way cholesterol clogs arteries, bad drivers clog freeways. People with persistently high cholesterol take statins to lower them. A good public transit system is the statin that will take some of the lousy drivers off the LA freeways and keep the traffic flowing. When that happens, I won’t resent my family for inviting me to endure LA traffic for an overpriced restaurant dinner, and I won’t have to end a very exciting freeway race with a Ferrari in the hands of a very capable driver just because the DAMN FREEWAY IS CLOGGED AT 2 PM ON A SATURDAY!!!!

405 Traffic at 2 PM on a Saturday
405 Traffic at 2 PM on a Saturday
405 N Slowdown at 10:30 PM on a Saturday

Ferrari Bucks the Trend After Brexit

It’s been a grim day in the stock markets after the United Kingdom narrowly elected to exit the European Union. This vote triggered a bloodbath in the global markets. All stocks are red in my stocks app, but Ferrari manages to eke a gain on this grim economic day. WTF?

Political Parties and Political Jokes

David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists were masterpieces of comedy. If he had a top ten list titled “Top Ten Signs Your Political Party is a Joke”, then the number one reason would almost certainly be “Your most popular candidate is Write-In”.  The results are still fresh, but that outcome is not likely to change for the American Independent “Party” in Ventura County. The screen grabs below show that candidate Write-In is the top vote getter for this political “party”.

As of this writing, the total votes cast in Ventura County were 81,991. This means the American Independent Party received 1.3% of the total votes cast, The Green Party 0.2%, and the Libertarian Party 0.5%. These statistics and the popularity of the respective write-in candidates overwhelmingly support the notion that the majority of the people in the AIP are the ones who erroneously confused its name with the unaffiliated voter designation. They likely wrote in Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as a result. The math then means that the AIP chosen candidates garnered a mere 0.4% of the vote.

Does this make the Green Party a joke? After all, a hoax played on the public is attracting more votes than a party that has been active for over 20 years.

The strangest thing is that the Libertarians–people who are so obsessed with their own point of view–miraculously found enough consensus to support one candidate.

Of course, since none of these parties seems to have attracted more than 1% of the vote even statewide (results are all the way on the bottom, with 22% of precincts reporting), every single one is, frankly, a joke. We Americans like power and powerful parties. We seem to like it that way because we enjoy complaining about them. The fact that we distance ourselves from idealists who will undoubtedly irreparably disrupt the scantly orderly society we have  speaks volumes the wisdom of the American masses.

Unless there is a President Trump.

On second thought, maybe the greatest joke is a party that traces its roots to the abolition of slavery has managed to select a bigot as its leader.

Write-In is the most popular American Independent Party Candidate. The members are so independent that they can't reach consensus.
Write-In is the most popular American Independent Party Candidate. The members are so independent that they can’t reach consensus.
The Green Party is faring slightly better than AIP. Write-In candidate still registers, but it's the runner up.
The Green Party is faring slightly better than AIP. Write-In candidate still registers, but it’s the runner up.
Libertarians are almost looking like a bona fide party. The Write-In candidate is also the runner up but by a much larger margin than the Green Write-In candidate.
Libertarians are almost looking like a bona fide party. The Write-In candidate is also the runner up but by a much larger margin than the Green Write-In candidate.


Dem total



GOP total









Peace & Freedom






Luxe: The End of the Second Tech Boom

The fatality is terribly sad, but it highlights the fact that tech entrepreneurs are scraping the bottom of the barrel of ideas. Valet parking is little more than a peculiar appeal to the common man’s ego. Why would anyone want to undercut the patchwork of small businesses that use this gimmick to earn a meager living? Uber disrupted the taxi service, but they arguably provided opportunities for many people. Air B ‘n B is finding opportunity at a time when hotel vacancies are very low. Luxe is trying to make poor people poorer, it would seem.

The app economy is very quickly becoming very boring.

The on-demand valet parking service says it’s the first fatality involving one of its drivers since it started in October 2014. The accident comes weeks after the San Francisco company secures $50 million in financing.

Source: Luxe valet driver involved in fatal accident – CNET

Whom to Blame for This Stupidity

I may well miss my flight because the security line in the United terminal is a mile long. As if that weren’t bad enough, a construction worker accidentally tripped a security alarm. Their solution? Put a piece of turquoise duct tape over the alarm. 

LAX is a fucking embarrassment, yet it actually gets worse every time I travel through this joke of an airport. I’m beginning to fear for my life. How can anything task performed in this chaos be completed with any level of confidence?

Whether it’s the fault of United Airlines, TSA or the goddamn shithead Los Angeles politicians who insist in cramming every single flight into LAX instead of distributing them over the numerous airports in the county, little excuse can be made for this fucking embarrassment of an airport. Will LA’s slide into a pathetic third world city ever stop?

In order to silence the deafening chime of the emergency alarmed accudentally tripped by one construction worker, another covered tenalarm with duct tape. it helped, but it’s not quite an authoritative a gesture as turning it off.
Amazingly, I made it to my flight, but only after enduring a security check nightmare lasting nearly 45 minutes.

Microsoft Still Suffers from Persistence of Legacy Systems

About 10 years ago, pictures of crashed ATMs and other public systems that operate on Windows NT and XP were the subject of much ridicule for Microsoft because, well, Wimdows stability was quite inadequate for demanding applications. Now that Windows is quite an excellent operating system–with Windows 10 wrapping one of the fastest and most stable operating systems ever in the worst graphical user interface in the history of GUIs–one wonders if Microsoft is expending any effort in getting legacy systems like the one below at New Orleans airport upgraded or moved out of circulation. 

No, Microsoft no longer sucks, but it’s still fun to mock them as if they do. 


Desert Solar Plant from Above

Above the Spirit Airlines Airbus A319’s engine, the vast area of solar arrays can be seen in the Mojave. I think this is the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.


Not Enough Entertainment, Damn It

American Express released its annual analysis of my spending for the tax year gone by (2015), and in it is an absolutely pathetic amount spent on entertainment. Given that a good portion of the travel expenses noted therein was for business travel, one can see that I was quite deprived of entertainment this past year, my cash expenditures on entertainment notwithstanding.

Never thought I’d become a workaholic, or even confess to it.

I spent way too little on entertainment last year!
I spent way too little on entertainment last year!

Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album

Marin Shkreli is proud of–even smug about–every single act that distinguishes him as a singularly depraved, morally bankrupt and rude human being. The fact that the governing boards of several large corporations have appointed this idiot to run their companies is probably even more shocking. When will the focus of the investigations shift to the incompetent or corrupt corporate boards that betray their shareholders’ interests by giving this imbecile employment?

$2 million for a Wu-Tang Clan album? Are you kidding me? Maybe corporate America should focus on eradicating such stupidity from its ranks before it starts complaining about federal government waste.

Or, maybe the SEC’s sluggish expurgation of such morons from corporate ranks should be the only Federal inefficiency that the corporate world should bemoan.

Martin Shkreli faces a new legal headache, a lawsuit claiming that his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album contains illustrations ripped off from a New York artist, who now wants the former drug executive to pay for them.

Source: Shkreli is sued over his $2 million Wu-Tang Clan album