Friday, September 30, 2016

The Problem Of Good

I just finished Andrew Klavan's excellent conversion memoir, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes To Faith In Christ. In it, he discusses how the Holocaust was an impediment to his conversion. How could such evil exist?

As I listened to his discussion of wrestling with that issue, I thought of the converse. How can good exist? The Holocaust is only unique in that it was perpetrated by industrial Germany. Only the Germans could do it with railroads, chemical factories and paperwork. Everyone else who has engaged in mass slaughter has done so much more crudely. From the Romans taking revenge on Carthage to Mao's Communists starving their own people to death in China by the tens of millions, mass murder has been a part of our collective history.

And why not? Ants do it. When ant colonies fight it out, there's no peace treaty and rebuilding program at the end. The wining ants slaughter their enemies. When dolphins go after balls of bait fish, they don't do it in a sustainable way. When a new male baboon becomes alpha, he doesn't send the loser's babies to boarding school in Switzerland to get them out of the bedroom, he kills them.

If we're just animals, why don't we act like animals with animal logic and animal disregard for a vanquished foe? Why is it that when we do, historians point at it with remorse and talk about the guilt of the winners? If we're just animals, why are we expected to be different from animals?

It's not evil that's the conundrum for believers. It's good that's the conundrum for the doubters.

If the Marquis de Sade had it right, we're on the wrong side of History.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What's A Decent Arrest Ratio?

That is, how many cops do you need on hand to arrest one person? How many do you need when the neighborhood is up in arms against you?

After watching the video I posted yesterday and others just like it, you notice that no one is getting arrested. It's immediately obvious that given the anger of the crowds and the relative size of the two forces, the cops couldn't arrest anyone even if they wanted to without provoking a full-scale melee which they would lose.

Something else you see when you watch raw video from these riots is the hatred directed at the police. You get the feeling that the crowd is itching for a fight. They've been whipped up into a frenzy by years and years of propaganda. The narrative they've been fed was originally designed to keep them voting for Democrats*, but it's metastasized into something truly dangerous.

Do you suppose the mobs know when they become too big to control?

* - 4 years ago, when Vice President Biden told a group of blacks the Mitt Romney (!) wanted to put them all back in chains, it seemed funny. I know I had a laugh at Crazy Uncle Joe. Looking back on that, it wasn't funny at all. It was hideous.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It's Not The Cops' City, It's Yours

I had another post in mind and then I came across this video and several more like it from the riots in Charlotte.

When you watch these, you see people not involved in the rioting taking videos with their phones as if they are completely neutral on the whole affair. Meanwhile, their jobs are leaving, their property values are going down, businesses are closing and insurance rates are going up. There's a surreal, childish aspect to it like when you were little and something bad happened, but it didn't occur to you that life was going to change.

Meanwhile, you see the cops trying to stop it, totally outnumbered. It's as if the cops are mommy and daddy, dealing with the crisis and the bystanders are thumb-sucking toddlers.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rules, Judgment And Understanding

I've prattled repeatedly on this blog about the need for some amount of judgmentalism in our lives and how objective morality is a good thing. This weekend, I spent time with representatives across the San Diego Diocese discussing how the Church can better minister to divorced people. It was enlightening to me in many ways. As usual, I'm pressed for time, so this will be necessarily terse.

Rules, judgment and objective morality are crucial. Without them, there is no ideal for which to strive. All of us fall short of our ideals every day, no matter how hard we try. Just because people fall short, it doesn't mean we need to beat them up or ditch our ideals. That was the message of the meetings this weekend. You can have love and judgment at the same time. That's the underlying proposition behind "love the sinner, hate the sin."

Since we all fail, we can all have some understanding of our fellow, fallen humans when they fail, even if they fail in a way different from our own. At the same time, we can still affirm the ideal to which we all should strive, that of a Christ-like life. Throughout the whole discussion, which lasted 6-7 hours, we discussed how to love and support those experiencing divorce, both adults and children. While we talked about how devastating it was, we did not talk about blame or guilt. Instead, we focused on how to make their lives easier and show them that they were still loved and valued as they tried to pick up the pieces of their lives.

It made me proud to be a Catholic.

And then, of course, we discussed how to oppress gays and women, but that goes without saying.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Drinking Game For The Debate

... and it's for the debaters, not for me. I'm going to be watching the Saints - Falcons game.

Here's the game:
  • Hillary takes a shot every time she lies.
  • Trump takes a shot every time he says something ignorant.
They'd both be blacked out within half an hour. The best part would be to see what happens when Hillary hits about #7 or so as the alcohol interacts with her anti-seizure medication. Before long, she'd be reciting Das Kapital in Urdu. After that, she'd be flopping around on the ground like a fish on a dock. Meanwhile, Trump would be slumping over his podium repeating "Trusht me, we're gonna be winning. So mush winning."

That's still not worth watching. Even if the Saints get trounced.

Bonus Tidbit

Here's a proposed question for Hillary: Is Harambe part of the rape culture?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Chihuahua

I'm guessing our Maximum Leader was crouching somewhere. Since she loves to hunt birds in our garden, it's a good bet she was crouching. As for the smallest Catican Guard, well, she was doing what Chihuahuas love to do. Sleep under the covers where its warm.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Love For The Divorced

I attended the Diocesan Synod on Marriage and the Family today. I'm tired and brain-drained, but joyful. It's wonderful to be part of a team that's working to help those going through divorce find healing, love and acceptance.

Regular blogging resumes tomorrow, some of it with things I learned today. Right now, I need a beer.

Friday, September 23, 2016

How The Iranian Negotiations Went Down

So we sent Iran planeloads of cash and gold. Literally, cash and gold, like some kind of drug deal payoff. I've started wondering what the negotiations looked like from the Iranian point of view. After decades of being told to pound sand by American diplomats, they finally got to sit across the table from a set obsessed with making a deal. Any deal. I'm guessing it went something like this.

John Kerry: And now, we'd like to negotiate the repayment of your frozen assets.

Iranian negotiator Mohammed: You'd what?!?

Kerry: We'd like to negotiate the repayment of your frozen assets.

Iranian negotiator Achmed: Yes, yes, of course! (Silently kicking himself for seeming so eager.)

Kerry: How much would you like?

Mohammed to Achmed quietly: Quick, Achmed, what's the biggest number you can think of?

Achmed (blurting out): Err, one point seven billion dollars!

Kerry: That sounds fine.

Kerry wanders out of the room, smugly proud at what a great negotiator he is.

Mohammed and Achmed as they do a double face palm, realizing they could have gotten anything they wanted: Argh! We asked for too little!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Living In A World Of Mousetraps And Ping Pong Balls

Imagine that the Black Lives Matters protesters are ping pong balls perched on cocked mousetraps in an enclosed space. Imagine that a cop shooting a black man, armed or not, justified or not, is a ping pong ball dropped into that enclosed space. Imagine that you're in that enclosed space, neither a ping pong ball nor perched on a cocked mousetrap. You're just some tiny dude, maybe 1/10 the size of a ping pong ball, trying to survive.

The riots that are now commonplace following any police shooting would look like this to you.

Living in a world of cocked mousetraps is frightening. Now that it's starting to happen reliably (Milwaukee, Charlotte, whatever), it's pretty apparent that the progressives have gotten everyone primed through racial grievance-mongering. Who knows where it's going to happen next. Not many Confederate flags in Milwaukee, so don't think being north of the Mason-Dixon line is going to save you.

The analogy works further as the original ping pong ball, the cop, isn't trying to set off a destructive chain reaction. It's just doing what ping pong balls normally do. In fact, in the absence of the cocked mousetraps, i.e. the racial grievance culture, a falling ping pong ball would only disturb a few of the other ones.

Finally, anyone miniature wandering around in the enclosure has nothing to do with any of it. They're just caught up in the maelstrom that wasn't there yesterday, but today is sweeping through the city.

Just a silly metaphor that popped into my head. Enjoy?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chris Hayes Gives Us The Strangest Tweet Of The Week

 Dig this bit from MSNBC genius Chris Hayes on reluctance to bring Muslim immigrants and illegal aliens into the country. It may be the strangest thing I've seen in a month.
There's so much to unpack here. I don't have the time to work it into a cohesive essay, so let's just go with a numbered list. This is so fundamentally flawed that I'm sure I'm missing plenty, so feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments.

  1. First off, he's comparing Trump to Hitler. A big government, strong man racist, Trump's got a lot going for him. However, Hillary has all that as well as does the entire Democratic Party, so I'm not sure where calling someone a Nazi is going to lead other than all of us donning our brown shirts and marching around. On the other hand, Hitler was more race-positive than race-negative and none of our current political figures are that. That is, Hitler was obsessed with the German race. His hatred was for those who obstructed der volk, not the sort of pandering racism of Trump and the Democrats. The analogy doesn't work at its most basic level.
  2. Violence all around the world is driven almost entirely by Muslims and almost not at all by Jews. I can't remember the last time there was internecine Jewish conflict like what's going on in Syria. The thought of it is ludicrous. Comparing Jews and Muslims is just silly.
  3. Did Chris think to ask any real Muslims what they thought of being compared to Jews, the sons of pigs and apes? It's in the Suras, for crying out loud.
  4. Did Chris think to ask any real Jews what they thought of being compared to Muslims? Maybe he could have interviewed some refugees from Islamic anti-Semitism as they fled parts of Europe.
The last two are the strangest for me and they illustrate the utter vacuum at the heart of open-minded, tolerant multiculturalism. Chris sees everyone as blobs of clay which just happen to be different colors. Sure, they are different colors, but they're still clay. Pieces of clay can be mashed together with ease. You might change the color of the blob, but it's still clay. To Chris, there is nothing distinct about any of them. They're just tokens in his political game, like pieces on a Risk board.

Equating Jews and Muslims has to be the ultimate in cultural ignorance. It's inconceivable that anyone with any kind of appreciation for the two cultures would do this. When you stop and think about it, multiculturalism isn't multi-cultural at all, it's unicultural. There are no meaningful differences between philosophies, religions, ethnicities or nationalities, there is only humanity, governed by whatever it is Chris and his buddies come up with today*. The rest of us are just blobs of clay.

Ironically, he's practicing what my faith, Catholicism, teaches. We are all made in the image of God and God loves us all equally so we should love each other. The difference is that I am required to respect you and how you're different. I am supposed to work to understand your point of view and appreciate it. He doesn't even know that you have a point of view.

* - Today, it's cisgenderism.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Air Turbulence: Am I Going To Die?

I've flown a lot for work. I'm pretty relaxed in the air, although I never like going over the ocean. If something happens in the middle of the Pacific, you're just screwed. Many times, I've sat there and tried to map out how long it would take rescue ships to reach you if there was a water landing an hour outside of Hawaii or San Diego. The answer: too long.

Turbulence bothers me, too. I prefer the window seat, so when we hit air pockets, I've got a perfect view of the wings flexing. I know the engineering is sound, but the primitive part of my brain is running in circles, screaming in panic. "Are they supposed to bend like that? How much does it take to snap them off?" The answer: quite a bit. In fact, a lot more than you'll ever experience.

Here's a good article on aircraft testing. Below is a video showing wing stress tests where the wing finally snaps at 154% of its design rating. The real bending starts around 1:40.

So fly in relaxed comfort, my friends. Thanks to the math, physics and engineering discoveries of Christian Europeans*, the elements aren't going to bring you down.

* - Yes, I had to get that in. ;-)

Monday, September 19, 2016

On Open-mindedness And Gay Marriage

These days, I'm listening to a terrific book called, I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist. I highly recommend it. It's as much a philosophy discussion as it is an argument. Although I've read many books like this, it's managed to teach me some new things.

The first is the ability to look for self-defeating flaws in arguments, particularly in regards to the exclusionary nature of truth. That is, if I hold that something is true and you believe in something contradictory, I must believe your concept is false. There is no such thing as, "This is the truth for me." After all, if there is no such thing as universal truth, then "this is the truth for me, but not for you" cannot be universally true. Relativism dies from self-inflicted wounds. I'd seen this trick before, but never described so succinctly and clearly.

Another good example is the assertion that support for gay marriage is open-minded. It is not. Muslims, for example, do not support gay marriage. If you hold that gay marriage should be legal, then you must assert that Islam's teachings on homosexuality are wrong. There are no two ways about it. You aren't being open-minded at all. You are affirming a very distinct position and denying all contradictory ones. "Love wins and the rest of you morons lose" ought to be the gay marriage slogan.

Bonus tidbit: David Hume's foundational statement for skepticism is taken out behind the barn and shot quite nicely. Here's what that sounded like as Normal Geisler shot it in front of his college professor.
"The principle of empirical verifiability states that there are only two kinds of meaningful propositions: 1) those that are true by definition and 2) those that are empirically verifiable. Since the principle of empirical verifiability itself is neither true by definition nor empirically verifiable, it cannot be meaningful."
Ouch. That had to hurt.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Solution Is To Get Rid Of Your Own Citizens And Keep The Immigrants

After all, your citizens are repulsive, knuckle-dragging xenophobes.
Germany is blowing up again over migration. The Saxon town of Bautzen has, like dozens of similar places across Germany, a barracks for some of the million or two Middle Eastern migrants who have been streaming across the Mediterranean for the past year-and-a-half. People in Bautzen aren't used to foreigners, and now groups of young men have taken to congregating in city's central square, the Kornmarkt. The migrants say they come there for the free internet. This upsets the locals, 80 of whom waged a pitched battle against 20 teenage migrants on Wednesday evening. Alcohol was involved on both sides.
I know whose side the President would take if this was the US. I can't imagine Angela Merkel is any different.

I wonder if right now, she's trying to figure our how to kick out undesirable, possibly baskets of deplorable, Germans.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Grass In The Sun

I was sitting, drinking my coffee yesterday morning, when I saw this through the window. I ran upstairs, grabbed my camera and took a few shots. This one captured what had captured me - reddish grass seeds glimmering in the sun. I hope you like it, too. I left it really large, so I think it's worth a click.


Friday, September 16, 2016

I Could Do A Lot With $65,914

With every dawn, a new day of racial jabbering begins. I challenge you to pick a political or societal essay at random and find one without race, specifically blacks, being discussed at least somewhere in it. Meanwhile, dig this.

I dunno, man. If I had a wife and an income of $65,914, I could do alright. My kids wouldn't go to Stanford, but they'd certainly be able to get a career-building education at a state university or a trade school.

The American promise is the right to pursue happiness, not have it delivered to you while you lounge poolside with a mint julep in your hand. $66K gives you a chance for a lot of pursuing. Dittos for "equality." Just what is "equality," anyway? None of us are physically, mentally or emotionally equal, no matter what we do. How much "equality" do you need before you just get on with living your life?

I can't figure out what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Edgar Allen Poe: The Perfect Author For Our Times

... particularly his masterpiece, The Masque of the Red Death where a collection of wealthy revelers party like it's 1899 while outside their mansion a horrible plague sweeps the countryside.

I know I've used this metaphor before, many times, but it just keeps coming back to me in so many ways. Dig this interchange about who's got the right skin color.

Then there's this rant about how baseball is racist. Or something like that. I didn't have the energy to watch or read the thing. I skimmed it and then needed to lie down for a while.

In the meantime, the debt is over $60,000 per citizen, heroin use has gone crazy, little girls from "alternative" families are being sexually abused at a 20-1 clip over traditional families and cities like Chicago are experiencing huge increases in crime, just to pick a few things at random.

Notice that, like a plague, these pathologies are unaffected by the color of your skin. Nor do they care about your sexual orientation or how you self-identify your gender.

So party on, Prince Prospero. Let's order another round of drinks and toast race, sexual orientation and, perhaps, global warming climate change.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Knew It! I Knew Noah's Ark Wasn't A Fable!

Finally we have proof to convince all you Bible-hating, skeptical elitists! Dig this.

If water didn't cover the entire Earth, how did the sea salt get into the Himalayas? Well, smartie-pants, what's your answer to that? Plus, it's pink. Pink!*
Bonus tidbit: Since salt is NaCl and all Na and Cl atoms are 13.82 billion years old, isn't all salt ancient?

* - I have no idea what the salt being pink means in a theological sense, but you have to admit, that salt is pretty pink. Or maybe it's a light orange. Whatever.

Monday, September 12, 2016

I Want A Copy Of Hillary's Medical Records!

Now that I don't subscribe to the local paper, starter material for the charcoal chimney we use with our Weber grill is hard to find. I figure a nice, thick medical record, full of contradictory half-truths and outright fabrications ought to be enough to get fires going for a whole bunch of steaks, blackened fish, lambsicles and more.

Honestly, why is anyone making a big deal out of this? With this crew, anything they put out will be a lie, the revised version they put out a week later will be a lie, the all-new version a month after that will be a lie and the no-kidding-this-is-what-happened version a month after that will be a lie.

What's the point of asking for information from a person who, along with their entourage, does nothing but lie?

Throw another steak on the barbie, mate! Those medical records got it going right quick!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Code Word Is A Code Word For Deliberately Ignorant Bigot

Martin Castro, chairman of the US Commission on Civil Rights recently penned this lovely bit of bigotry.
"The phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance."
"Code words" simply mean that Marty can put whatever words he wants into your mouth and then the accused has to do the impossible - prove the negative. For example, if you say you like pancakes, I can retort with, "Liking pancakes is just code words for being an Oakland Raiders fan!" You then have to prove that you're not a Raiders fan, despite the fact that you have watched them on TV at some point in your life.

Clearly, you're a Raiders fan, you amoral scumbag. The rest of us may now safely work to get you fired, fined and perhaps even imprisoned*.

Code words is a license for wild accusations, a way of denouncing your political enemies to the mob so the mob can take action. Let's see if we can find some code words in something Martin Bormann Castro has said in the past.

Never mind. I just found his Twitter stream. What a dork. Dig this.

An America that looks like America? Good Lord, Martin. Why not just wear a t-shirt that says, "I am an idiot?"

I suppose that with a code word practitioner like Martin, we could expect nothing less. Moron.

* - Well, that's what ought to happen to Radiers fans. I mean, really. It's the Raiders!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Have We Become A Nation Of Pansies?

I hope not.

Two data points.

We will tell you what you can sing in your car

From a previous post, there's this bit.
WORCESTER, Mass. — A freshman tentatively raises her hand and takes the microphone. “I’m really scared to ask this,” she begins. “When I, as a white female, listen to music that uses the N word, and I’m in the car, or, especially when I’m with all white friends, is it O.K. to sing along?”

The answer, from Sheree Marlowe, the new chief diversity officer at Clark University, is an unequivocal “no.”

We will tell you what you can and cannot wear under your clothes

From a Federalist article on ladies' undergarments, there's this bit.
The New York Times discussed these shifting ideals: “For over 50 years, women in America have largely cast off such constrictive undergarments, which feminists criticized as symbols of repression.

My reply options

People trying to tell me what to do are likely to get a response selected from a very narrow range of alternatives.
  1. Go away. The Crystal Palace game is about to start and I want to watch it in peace.
  2. Do me a favor and shut up. I like this TobyMac song and you're talking over it.
  3. If you're going to keep talking, I'm going to need more beer. Lots more.
Seriously, when did we Americans become such sissies that we allow people we don't even know to tell us what underwear to buy and what songs to sing in our cars?

Is this how America ends? Pajama Boys, all?

Friday, September 09, 2016

It's Hard To See From Inside A Bubble

So Brown University, a member of the prestigious* Ivy League, will now distribute tampons in men's rooms because, according to Viet Nguyen, UCS president, "menstruation is experienced by more than just those who identify as women and that not all people who identify as women menstruate."

I suppose.

I get what they're trying to do, I just don't see the need for it. There's something surreal about an earnest little dweeb bringing tampons to men's rooms, thinking he's doing something important by striking a blow for the mentally ill transgendered women. It's a luxury act, a kind of elitist hobby. It has a whiff of Weimar corruption to it or maybe the last really big investors' party on the night of October 23, 1929 where everyone drank excellent champagne and ate caviar, toasting their wealth in the stock market.

Meanwhile, the traditional family has been killed off by earnest, little dweebs like Viet Nguyen, resulting in both the death of the oppressive patriarchy and mountains of human debris from ruined childhoods. Maybe Viet could visit some of the neighborhoods wracked by violence and drugs and hand out tampons there.

* - Prestigious apparently means full of quack ideas and blinkered idiots.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Shrimp Etouffee With Homemade Seafood Stock

... is absolutely mind-blowing.

Man, it's been a long time since I've blogged here.

I've been busy in the test kitchen.
Shrimp Etouffee is one of my favorite dishes. I use the Crawfish Etouffee recipe from Terry Thompson's Cajun-Creole Cooking and substitute 31-40 count shrimp for the crawfish. In the past, I've used boxed seafood stock, but when I made it a few weeks back, I couldn't find the stock at our local market.

Pro tip: When you can't find an ingredient at the first store you visit, give up, go home and find a substitute! Every store visit costs you at least 30 minutes and you quickly run out of time to cook. If it's an unusual ingredient like boxed seafood stock, your odds of finding it at the next place are slim. You can quickly turn a leisurely, fun afternoon culinary adventure into a desperate race against time.

Instead of running to another store, I did a quick Google and found this recipe for homemade seafood stock. I found the ingredients for that in the store where I was and headed home. The stock was easy to make an simply blew the store-bought stock out of the water. The end result was the best etouffee I've ever made or ever tasted. It got rave reviews from everyone, even those who aren't usually etouffee fans.

Bon apetit!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

You Literally Can't Even

... deal with the tiniest of setbacks.

That's the message of the micro-aggression movement. The latest micro-aggression idiocy news comes from the New York Times. Dig this.
WORCESTER, Mass. — A freshman tentatively raises her hand and takes the microphone. “I’m really scared to ask this,” she begins. “When I, as a white female, listen to music that uses the N word, and I’m in the car, or, especially when I’m with all white friends, is it O.K. to sing along?”

The answer, from Sheree Marlowe, the new chief diversity officer at Clark University, is an unequivocal “no.”
Why any self-respecting person is asking some dimwitted university administration toad if it's OK to sing along with music in their car is beyond me. My musical questions are a bit more theological, but more on that later.

The Bigger Issue

What's happening here is not the speech codes, it's the statement to the offendees that they lack sufficient strength to deal with 19-year-old blondes singing in their cars. The little cutie in the article wasn't being told to keep her crooning to her self for her own sake, it was for the fragile bits of humanity who might hear her and collapse in an emotional heap.

In both Jason Riley's and J. D. Vance's books on growing up and out of poverty, one black, the other white, the key epiphany for each was that they had agency over their lives. When they changed from thinking that the world around them doomed them to poverty, drugs and violence to realizing that their choices were powerful and they could shape their own futures, they went from failure to success.

It's one thing to say you're too weak to overcome growing up with a heroin-addicted mother. It's quite another thing altogether to say that hearing some petite coed laugh as she sings along with her bubblegum-chewing sorority sisters to some hip-hop hit is too much for you.

Micro-aggressions are the ultimate in teaching people that they have no power over their own lives.

My Musical Question

If you invite a bunch of crazed papists over for a party and you start with some hard-rocking Jesus music (think Building 429 and TobyMac) is it OK after a few pitchers of Blue Hawaiians to evolve into this? Asking for a friend.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Photoshop Ups And Downs

So our Maximum Leader likes to sleep on one of our couches. She's a prodigious shedder, so my wife has put out a sheet for her to lie on. It's green. A perfect green to use as a green screen for masking out everything but cat.

Maddi on green.
I know how to use the magic wand tool to select by color, but once I've got my selection, I've forgotten how to do masks. I didn't have time to learn that today, so I'm frustrated because I couldn't work my magic.

I did, however, learn how to use Photoshop to do some higher quality video restoration. Adobe Media Encoder allows you to convert videos to jpg sequences which you can then batch edit in Photoshop. You import one image, make your changes and save them as an action and then run  that action as a batch file on your directory of video frames. It works like a champ.

Ah, the highs and lows of a crazed blogger.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Homemade Pesto Sauce

Every year, we grow a couple of basil plants in our raised beds. Once they get to be enormous and start to flower, we harvest them to make pesto sauce. We get the pine nuts from Costco and use the recipe on the back of the bag. The pine nuts are unquestionably the most expensive ingredient. Last time I looked, they were $20 per pound. The end result, however, is quite worth the money and effort.

Two big basil plants will make a lot of pesto. We put some in a Tupperware container for immediate use and freeze the rest in muffin tins. A single frozen pesto puck from the muffin tins will make one recipe of pesto pasta. Our pucks usually last until the beginning of Spring.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

I Have A New Favorite Author

and it's Tom Wolfe. I'm listening to The Kingdom of Speech right now about the evolution of language and I don't want to turn it off. Witty, incisive and elegantly merciless in his analyses of Noam Chomsky and Charles Darwin. That's a strange combination, but if you give the book a try, I think you'll like it.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Does The Left Have Any Standards At All?

... or is it all about amassing more power to the government all the time?

On the right, this election has started some pretty nasty fights among major media figures. Sean Hannity (pro-Trump) and Jonah Goldberg (anti-Trump) might be the best examples. Both are big names for conservatives and their disputes have been public and vigorous.

Am I simply ignorant or is there no such fighting going on over Hillary Clinton on the left? There was some new outrage involving the FBI this week, but it's not worth repeating the details here. It's painfully obvious that Hillary is a venal liar whose corruption is unparalleled in American presidential history. Does anyone on the left care? Where's the squabbling? Where are the respected pundits who are saying they will never vote for Hillary under any circumstances?

If Hillary doesn't create such disputes, it's hard to think of what personified combination of greed, duplicity and power-seeking might.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Animals Are Atheists

... and they have derived their morality from first principles. In it, theft, rape, cannibalism and adultery are all fine.

Here's a really long essay on morality from the Dawkins Foundation. My eyes glazed over pretty quickly and I wondered just what the author would say or do if a squad of einsatzgruppen smashed down his door and decided he was sufficiently Jewish for forced labor or extermination. Maybe he'd demand that they read his essay first.

Meanwhile, the author can't be bothered to look out his window and watch the birds and the bees, creatures of very limited romance or compassion.

Hens beware.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

San Diego Harbor

Out at Seaport Village with a friend who was visiting from Chicago, I took this shot with my Galaxy S7. I kind of like it. I left it large, so it might be worth a click. Or not.