Monday, July 31, 2017

So Will I

Hillsong United is like the Enya of Christian music. Their stuff all sounds pretty much the same and it's decent background music. Well, maybe that's not fair. They have two speeds - rock and Enya. I love their rock songs and can deal with the drifty stuff. The Babylon Bee captured their music perfectly in a satirical piece, Hillsong United Introduces Controversial New Fifth Chord.

Having said that, their latest album, Wonder, has a few great songs. One of them, So Will I absolutely rocked my world. Below is the lyric video. Like most Hillsong tunes, it's a bit long, around 6 1/2 minutes. While I love it, your mileage may vary. In any case, the two bits that really hit me were these.
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I
When you realize that the stars and galaxies are like a song to His glory, it kind of puts you in your place, doesn't it? Who am I to disagree with, well, everything?

The other one was this.
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
This weekend, one of our sons left his keys at the Padres game. When he texted me and asked if I had his spare set, which I did not, I was actually hurt for his loss. A set of keys. Which he later recovered at the stadium lost and found. As parents, we feel for every up and down in the lives of our children.

When God formed the hill that became Golgotha, he knew His Son would be crucified there.

Those lyrics bring tears to my eyes every time.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy the song.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Something On Which We Can All Agree

Well, not we as in you and me, but we-they as in British Muslims. Gatestone Institute, apparently taken over by crazed, far-right racists, conducted a poll of British Muslims. You can find the summary and results here. Here's just a tidbit that has bothered me until I saw the video I shared yesterday.
The 615-page survey found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts. Moreover, only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists.
What's the deal here? I thought this was the Religion of Peace™. Here's my hypothesis.

As a Muslim, your aim is to spread your religion far and wide. All must submit to the will of Allah. All must become part of the community of believers, the Ummah. Yes, Christians are called to do this as well, but post-Enlightenment, we're supposed to convince rather than force. For Muslims, it's a very open question. Let's posit a continuum of believers, ranked as follows:
  • Sedate. Go through the motions and believe, but too busy with life to really get down to proselytizing.
  • Arguers. These will debate you and attempt to convince.
  • Activists. These will use political means to further the goal of bringing all into the Ummah.
  • Radicals. These will use any means up to, but not including violence.
  • Violent radicals. Hop in the car, Mohammed, we're gonna go shoot up some infidels!
So think about it. Why would an arguer hide a radical from the European or American cops?

Because they all have the same goal.

It's not that the radicals want something different from you, the sedate dude. They want the same thing. The radicals are just excitable lads whose hearts are in the right place. If you hand them over to the cops, then a pious Muslim will be put in a Western prison. You don't want that, do you? Maybe we can talk them out of their radicalism. Maybe their radicalism turns us on a bit, but we don't have the courage to get involved. Go for it, Achmed, we're all behind you 100%.

It's one team and the different groups are playing different positions. Maybe you, the fat, 45-year-old father of 5 can no longer lug around mortar shells, but, by Allah, you can sure block for the boys and tell the cops you didn't see anything suspicious in Mohammed's apartment. What, all those ammo cases littering the floor? I thought they were packing boxes for his auto parts business.

When you watch dimwitted western reporters get roughed up by thugs when they visit no-go zones, the reason the residents aren't intervening or calling the cops is that the locals think the thugs are doing the right thing, if a bit too zealously.

What struck me about the Malmo videos was that once you saw that they all were on the same team and had the same goals while the Swedes were atomized individualists, things started to make a lot more sense. It's also why Sven and the boys are facing a huge uphill climb to bring Swedish values back to these neighborhoods. The Swedes can't agree what Swedish values are while the Muslims are all, to one extent or another, trying to accomplish the same thing.

And, with that, I think I'm done with this topic for a while.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Light Infantry Backed Up By Artillery

While surfing around YouTube, looking for videos dealing with the workers' paradise of Malmo, Sweden, I came across one that blew my mind. The title of the video below is Muslim demonstration in Malmö Sweden. Danke Frau Merkel!, but it didn't look to me like a demonstration or even a riot. It looked ... well, I'm not sure what it looked like. Maybe fireworks as a part of a celebration where the fireworks were handled by the mob. Whatever the genesis, the results are wild. Take a look. In particular, check it out at around 2:50 where Swedish cop vehicles are driving around in dazed, aimless circles.

In addition to the bewildered cops in their cars, I particularly liked the rockets being fired almost horizontally by the, err, "youths." That would make a nice artillery barrage to soften up defenses when things get nasty, no? I'm sure it's unlike anything the native Swedes have experienced in their lifetimes. For the way-back locals, it must feel like they've been transported to an alien planet.

Meanwhile, the elites - the politicians, media, entertainment figures and academia - are telling them that if they oppose multiculturalism, they're bigots. If you're Edvin Six Pack, it's probably best to pack up Ingvor and your one child and move quietly somewhere else. The thought that you and the other Swedish lads in your neighborhood are going to stand up to that is nonsense.

Imagine what the Swedish police are saying when they come back to the station house. Just what are you supposed to do if things turn from what looks like a night of fun into something serious? After 20-30 rounds of even the most harmless fireworks, are you going to be in any frame of mind to make rational decisions or coordinate actions? The bangs and flashes must be incredibly disorienting. Do you pull out your little ticket pad and start writing people up?

Finally, dig the trash all over the place. It doesn't look like an Ikea store, does it? Watching it, I was wondering what it looked like the next day when non-revellers came out of hiding in the morning and walked down the streets. The place must look like Beirut.

Oh. Wait.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Invading Blargistan

It's late in the day and I've had things to do here in the Catican Compound instead of blogging, so this will be relatively short.

Listening to The Ottoman Empire, something struck me. Big chunks of any nation's history, going back to the dawn of time, sound like this.
Prince Dingledork, concerned about a threat to his northern borders, raised an army and marched on the city of Schwartzville in Blargistan. Schwartzville stood at an important crossroads and controlled the all-important canary caravan routes which brought desperately needed songbirds into Dingledork's capital. After a siege of 3 months, the garrison was overcome and Prince Dingledork entered the city to the sound of triumphant chirping.
They all sound like this after a while because they are all like that. When we single out the Europeans for hate and criticism, it's only because we're so incredibly ignorant of history. Everyone was attacking and invading or defending and being invaded. Everyone.

For the want of a canary, a kingdom was lost. Or something like that.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hating Success

I've moved on from The Strange Death of Europe to The Ottoman Empire. It's a series of lectures from a long-time Tulane University professor. He's a total Turkophile, but it's not hard to filter out his bias as he tries hard to be factual. I recommend it. It's the first of the Great Courses series I've tried and now I can't wait to tackle the other two I've got waiting for me on my phone.

We're all supposed to hate the imperialist Europeans. Whatever the white patriarchy can possibly suffer, it should because it's so imperialy and patriarchy-y. Also, they're really, super slavery-y. So let's hate them and move on, OK?

Not so fast. One of the questions raised in Strange Death was, why are the Europeans uniquely guilty when everyone else did the same thing? The Ottoman Empire is a good example. I don't see Erdogan making an apology tour for the conquest and enslavement of Europeans perpetrated by the Ottomans. Dittos for the descendants of the Mongols.

For example, in 1243, the Mongols asked the Turks why they weren't paying tribute to the Khan. The Turks replied that they didn't feel like it. At the Battle of Köse Dağ, they held a peaceful, open-minded dialog and resolved that the Turks did indeed have to pay tribute.

Köse Dağ provides an excellent example of how the Turks and Mongols were different from the icky, warlike, imperialist Europeans.
I'd suggest that instead of hating slavery, racism and imperialism, we hate success. To borrow this tidbit again from Hilaire Belloc,
Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not.
It's hard to imagine that the Turks, the Mongols or even the peaceful, living-in-harmony-with-nature Apache would have eschewed the use of the Maxim Gun if they'd had access to them.

Instead of getting wound up about one warlike empire among many, we might want to ask ourselves why the Europeans developed the technologies they did. And no, "Because slavery!" isn't the answer. Everyone had slaves, but only the Christian, white, Europeans developed almost all of the technologies we use today.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Living On The Ocean Floor

or, rather, live on the ocean floor.

The crew of NOAA's Okeanos Explorer is posting videos of what they're finding on the ocean floor. This wasn't my original post for the day, but the videos are so cool, I had to share. That link will take you to the project home page. Here's a sample video. For best results, make it full screen and pull the scrub head back a bit. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

With Folded Hands

I loves me some Richard Fernandez, aka Wretchard The Cat on Twitter. His essay today on AI and robots displacing people and possibly not turning out with a cost-benefit ratio we want is typically excellent. Here's just a single tidbit that caught my eye. Read, as the man says, the whole thing.
(Chuck Schumer's newly unveiled Democrat agenda) "Better Deal" is in fact FDR's big state "New Deal" only 80 years older. "Our better deal is ... about reorienting government to work on behalf of people and families." But who needs government if robots are working for everyone? Any AI which can replace doctors can displace bureaucrats whose repetitive, rule driven jobs are prime candidates for automation. A guaranteed basic income would require minimal bureaucracy most since the amount remitted to everyone is the same.
The Democrats have one play in their playbook and keep running it over and over and over and over and over...

But the thing that really caught my eye was the effect of automation and AI on the bureaucracy. All those people checking forms and filing documents and creating spreadsheets and writing reports and giving status briefs, all gone, all put out of a job by AI. Hmm.

If you've never read it, I highly recommend Jack Williamson's With Folded Hands. It is directly applicable here.

Monday, July 24, 2017


During the peak of the refugee crisis in Europe, which is still going on, by the way, I referred to the refugees as Muslim light infantry. After all, the "refugees" are nearly all young men of military age. Near the end of the excellent book, The Strange Death of Europe, the author notes that Saudi Arabia did not bring in a single Syrian refugee to convert them into a Saudi citizen as the Europeans were doing. They did, however, build over 100 mosques in Germany.

Hey, if the infantry is going to be there, they might as well be on your team. Go Wahhabis!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

Does anyone really care?

A follow-up to yesterday's screed. This video is worth watching. I start it at the point some nameless, orthodox digit drones on and on about the real risk posed by terrorist attacks. That is, it might increase support for the "far-right," whatever that is. If you watch a little farther, Douglas Murray, author of the excellent The Strange Death of Europe, argues in incredulity that keeping facts from the populace isn't a good thing.

Think about what the digit is saying. If the general populace knew just how bad the situation was, they'd never give their support to my political party. We cannot trust the people to make informed decisions so let us not inform them. They are, after all, swine. It's all about keeping his political enemies in check.

But the situation probably isn't all that bad for the digit and his family. He probably lives in a posh neighborhood, goes to the nicest cafes and socializes only with the educated and elite. He's at no risk of having his daughter raped by an immigrant. Oh sure, the rest of the native Britons are, but they deserve it for all the racism and imperialism and islamophobia. The good people are doing just fine, thank you. And they're keeping their consciences clear by welcoming anyone and everyone. Just look at how compassionate and generous they are!

Well, they're not generous themselves, it's not their neighborhoods being occupied or their money going to feed and house the immigrants. No, it's the working-class neighborhoods and money from the Central Banks, printed so the elites can hand it out with a flourish and a gentrified wave.

But what if the population has a better grasp of the situation than the elites?  The elites don't think there's any problem at all, as far as I can tell from videos like this and statements from Angela Merkel. As long as the "far-right" is soundly defeated in elections, it's all good and we've got plenty of time to deal with whatever minor misunderstandings arise from bringing in tens of thousands of people from a dramatically different culture.

But do they really know what time it is? Do they care?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Apologies For Cultural Sins

... are uniquely Western.

I'm about 2/3 of the way through the outstanding The Strange Death Of Europe. The most recent chapters have dealt with the collective guilt of the European elites. It's the usual crew of the media, academia and politicians, each writhing in masochistic, orgiastic pleasure every time they find a reason to blame themselves for anything.

Well, they're not really blaming themselves, are they? They're blaming their ancestors and their culture. None of them are taking personal responsibility for anything. Instead, they get all of the pleasure of confession and atonement without any real risk to themselves. In fact, you ordinary slobs in flyover country are the ones who need personal confession and atonement if you don't agree you're guilty for our collective pasts.

Also, the formulation: the media, academia and politicians doesn't really describe the mechanisms properly. The academy is the source of the self-loathing. It educates the media, which is made up of journalists too stupid and slavishly fashionable to think for themselves and object to any of it. From there, the media flogs the politicians according to the catechism of the academy. Politicians are weak creatures by nature as they must follow the whims of the voters, so the flogging is particularly effective.

And so here we are, reaping the harvest sown by the warped post-moderns in the academy. Handicapped by our guilt for having succeeded where everyone else, at best, only partially achieved their goals.

The Aztecs did a bang-up job conquering, enslaving and murdering, but as they were too dim to invent some crucial technologies, they weren't able to expand beyond the reach of their foot soldiers. Likewise, the Ashanti (and others) were delighted to round up and sell off millions of their fellow Africans at a handsome profit, but they could never extend their reach, either. Helpful hint: next time, look into inventing the wheel. You'll be able to enslave and sell more.

When it comes to imperialism, the Ottoman Empire did a decent job of it before getting trounced by the Poles at the Battle of Vienna. The Mongol Empire weren't slackers, either. I'm sure the countries around China might have something to say about their past as well.

So where are the apology tours for these guys? To take one in particular, when was the last time a Nigerian leader came over to the US and made a grand tour of black neighborhoods and begged them for forgiveness, dramatically, publicly and accurately describing their very plentiful and hideous sins?

We don't have to go that far back, do we? How about as far back as, oh I don't know, yesterday. Any Islamic leaders apologizing for female genital mutilation, which goes on every day in the West at the behest of their religion? No?

No. It's just us crawling across the floor, pleading to be forgiven. It's pretty sick when you think about it. And when they think about it, they're sickened as well. Sickened into utter disrespect for a culture so corrupt and decadent that it hates itself. That link is a long and worthy essay about Afghanis raping Europeans that explores why this is happening. Here's what the author, no one's idea of a crazed, "far-right" racist, finds the most likely one.
This brings us to a third, more compelling and quite disturbing theory—the one that my Afghan friend, the court translator, puts forward. On the basis of his hundreds of interactions with these young men in his professional capacity over the past several years, he believes to have discovered that they are motivated by a deep and abiding contempt for Western civilization. To them, Europeans are the enemy, and their women are legitimate spoils, as are all the other things one can take from them: housing, money, passports. Their laws don’t matter, their culture is uninteresting and, ultimately, their civilization is going to fall anyway to the horde of which one is the spearhead. No need to assimilate, or work hard, or try to build a decent life here for yourself—these Europeans are too soft to seriously punish you for a transgression, and their days are numbered.

And it’s not just the sex crimes, my friend notes. Those may agitate public sentiment the most, but the deliberate, insidious abuse of the welfare system is just as consequential. Afghan refugees, he says, have a particular proclivity to play the system: to lie about their age, to lie about their circumstances, to pretend to be younger, to be handicapped, to belong to an ethnic minority when even the tired eye of an Austrian judge can distinguish the delicate features of a Hazara from those of a Pashtun.
We've hated ourselves into being raped and pillaged. Dig the underlying statement in that excerpt: There's no point in assimilating because the West won't be around long enough to make it worthwhile. Good luck with that whole millions-of-refugees thing, you idiots.

Way to go, elites. Great job, academics. Of course, there's a way to put a quick end to all this.

What do you say we take 10,000 Afghani refugees, all young men, and house them at Harvard? Harvard's got a huge endowment, over the $34B mark. They can afford to build housing and take care of them. At the same time it will be a boon to the, err, diversity of the place. I recommend integrating them into student housing so everyone gets a good, close look. Who knows, the geniuses who run Harvard might actually learn something.

Friday, July 21, 2017

When Did Algebra Become Such A Hurdle?

I know others have commented on this and I'm kind of beating a dead horse, but here's a short take on this.
Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads.

It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you're not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?

That's the argument Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, made today in an interview with NPR's Robert Siegel.
Our daughter had to take it in high school. No one's idea of a good student, she was able to pass it. What's up here? It reminds me of the stats from Baltimore where 4 high schools didn't have a single person competent at reading or math.

I guess the solution is to stop expecting literacy and basic math skills.

Maybe we could replace algebra with fire-starting.
Nah. Too hard.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fear That Leads To Delusion

So right now, I'm listening to The Strange Death of Europe. It's written by a gay, British journalist who spent time trying to understand why he's welcome in less and less of Europe, specifically the Muslim parts. He travelled the Continent and did extensive research on the political evolution of multiculturalism with tons of direct quotes and data. It's really an excellent work of journalism.

I heard one particular sentence last night that blew me away. It went something like this: The European elites believe that Muslims can and will be integrated into European society because they need it to be true. Emphasis mine.

In the late 1930s, anyone who read Hitler's blueprint for Nazism, Mein Kampf, listened to his speeches and saw Germany take over Austria and Czechoslovakia had to engage in active self-delusion to see anything other than what was coming - a massive European war. And yet, they still did it. Neville Chamberlain waved his piece of paper and said he had "peace in our time" because he needed it to be true.

Europe had just experienced slaughter on an industrial scale in World War I. It was simply unthinkable that they'd have to go to war with Germany again and lose another million or so. French and British cities had plenty of cripples, widows and orphans already. Maybe there was another interpretation of events and quotes than taking them at face value, one that would show that peace was possible.

Maybe there's another way to interpret "Death to America!"

Maybe there's another way to interpret the polls showing European Muslims' homophobia.

Maybe there's another way to interpret burkas, FGM, honor killings and rape.

Maybe this isn't all that widespread:
Because the alternative is simply to terrifying to contemplate.

The face of fear.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Wizard Needs Food Badly

How can you write a serious blog post when there's something as hilarious as this to be shared? From Five Iron Frenzy, a Christian ska-punk band comes ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How To Defeat Intersectional Feminism

In a word, kindness.

From this piece by Elizabeth Corey over at First Things on the Q&A session at Notre Dame's ghastly conference on Intersectional Feminism:
They detailed their feelings of inadequacy in American universities, confessing that they feel they have no legitimate place, or that they are expected constantly to serve, because this is what has always been expected of black women. A young Hispanic assistant professor explained that United States immigration policy was a systematic attempt “to deny intimacy and family” to immigrants from Mexico. A self-identified “Chicano gender non-conforming queer Latinx” detailed the exclusion she had felt until she discovered a support group of other transgender people in Los Angeles. And the stories continued.

Expressions of hurt and exclusion were inevitably followed by anger at the system—at the patriarchy, racism, unjust institutions, and structural prejudice—and then by exhortations to do something about it. In Voegelin’s terms, they were rebelling against the poor organization of the world, and maintained the hope of salvation through human effort.
If you get a bunch of people together and invite everyone to tell bad stories about group X, in no time at all, the gang will develop a grudge against group X, even if they're something as innocuous as Kansas City Royals fans.

However, if attendees at your ragefest have memories of Kansas City Royals fans being kind towards them, it undermines the whole basis of the rage. "Oh sure," they'll say to themselves, "the dude with the Royals cap did cut in line that one time, but then one of my best buds gave me a Royals souvenir beer cup, so maybe they're not all so bad."

Consistent, sincere kindness won't stop the utterly committed SJWs, but it will significantly limit their ability to evangelize.

If memory serves, there was Someone Else who suggested kindness.
Hmm. It's just crazy enough to work!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Where Do We Go From Here?

My bet would be robots singing, err, love songs. Or songs about love robots. Or songs by girls promising a boy that they will service and program the boy's love robot better than anyone else. Or maybe we just cut to the chase and devolve back into animals. I think bonobos would be best, considering their reputations as players. This whole higher order thought thing was kind of a bust, no?

Dig this blog post wherein a mom decides to listen to Ariana Grande lyrics only to find how utterly degrading they are.

Cute, innocent and made for 10-year-olds! Well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad.
My favorite part is how she's verbally twerking without wrecking her image with the whole dog-in-heat look that the other female pop stars have.

Intersectional feminists were too busy plotting the extermination of white cis-males to have time to comment on this.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Notre Dame Abandons Catholic Grace

An appalling article from Elizabeth Corey at First Things.
I recently attended an academic conference at the University of Notre Dame called “Intersectional Inquiries and Collaborative Action: Gender and Race...”

Intersectionality is a wholly academic invention that plays a large role in this movement. Indeed, it stands in the vanguard of the progressive academy, allied with critical race studies, queer studies, women’s studies, and ethnic studies. Intersectional scholars proudly proclaim their goal: to smash the neoliberal, corporate, heteropatriarchal academy and then to reinvent it in a way that rejects traditional notions about what universities are meant to do. These scholars also want to redefine the family and to abolish the “binary” of man and woman...

At the end there was a question and answer period. I asked whether and how Collins would suggest that intersectionality engage with its adversaries, the ­hated conservatives. Given the polarization of ­America right now, did she see some way for the two camps to communicate or find common ground? The vehemence of her answer was startling. “No,” she said. “You cannot bring these two worlds together. You must be oppositional. You must fight. For me, it’s a line in the sand.” This was at once jarring and clarifying.
Notre Dame was once a Catholic university. I guess they've decided to ditch that frowsty, confining bit of errant nonsense and embrace, err, diversity.

We're all members of groups, some oppressed, some oppressing. The oppressed must band together and fight the oppressors à outrance. That's Notre Dame for you, always seeking knowledge and truth. Not Truth, mind you, that's an outmoded Catholic concept. No, it's truth. My truth, your truth, his truth, zer truth. With everyone defining their own truth, we could end up anywhere, from gas chambers to burkas for women to bayonets and trenches to John Lennon's Imagine. My money's on the bayonets and trenches. That's the way these things usually go.

And the whole Catechism thing with those silly ideas about Grace, forgiveness, love and individual redemption? Ha! What a joke. Nope, we're on this side or that. OK, that's a generalization. Actually, we're on one of any number of ever pixelating sides, but suffice it to say that there's white cis-males and everyone else*. I hope you weren't attached to that Jesus dude talking about loving each person as an individual. As Patricia Hill Collins, giving the rousing call to unrelenting combat action might say, "Come on everyone, over the top!"

Notre Dame, everyone. Let's give them a big hand.

Sigh. Once upon a time, I thought the Church stood for something like this.

I guess not.

* - Once they've dealt with the white cis-males, they'll be back to settle you, you oppressive hegemonist. You can rest assured that you're nowhere near the bottom, err, top of the oppressed pecking order.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Red Yellow Green

I had an epic rant composed in my head, but we've got house guests and I'm always self-conscious about spending time with the laptop when guests are here. Rather rude, I think. Instead, I found a little time after harvesting tomatoes and peppers to take some photos. I like the mix of colors in these. Enjoy!

I thought the size and color variations along with the pear-shapes was intriguing.

I sense homemade salsa fresca in my future.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Donald Jr.

I know, I keep saying I want to cut down on the political posts, but this is just too much fun to stop.

Re: Donald Jr. meeting with the Russkie chick.

Err, what was the transaction taking place here? As I understand it, Jr was going to come away with evidence that Hillary was a crook and the Russians were going to get kicked in the groin with lower oil prices. One side got a product that was a glut on the market to the point of being valueless and the other side was going to get punished.

That's not exactly high stakes, is it? Watching the press and pundits go ape over this is like seeing ESPN hosts lose their minds over a trade between the class-A Fort Wayne Tin Caps and the Great Lakes Loons involving utility infielders.

"Nate Easley for Cristian Santana is a total steal for Fort Wayne!"
"Are you out of your mind? Easley's upside is crazy high!"
That's entertainment!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Here in Tierrasanta, we live in a coyote danger zone for cats. When our  previous Maximum Leader, Katie, passed away, we wanted to get a fat, old cat who wouldn't roam. Katie was too old to wander by the time we moved here. We thought we had another homebody with Maddi who was chubby and 7 years old. Instead, she turned out to be quite the athlete and could jump to the top of our 6' tall fence in a single leap.

Maddi became the Queen of the Cul-de-Sac. It was her domain and she'd be out there at night to hunt. That was dangerous, but we hadn't seen coyotes on the street, so as time went on, we relaxed about it. My wife told me she was going out the back way as well into the canyon which is High Danger Territory, but I'd never seen that, so I figured it was rare.

In any case, once we had Maddi, it was what it was. If she wanted to run around outside, that was what we let her do. She was quite the hunter and was very, very happy.

We haven't seen her in 3 days and she's not one to miss a meal. I've always said I want my cats to live and die like cats, but when they vanish it really hurts.

Hoping for the best, expecting the worst.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Here's a photo from KT's Dixie Adventure last week. I took it in Mississippi, somewhere south of Collins. It's emblematic of the state. The place is incredibly fertile and everywhere you look, plants are thriving. If you click on the photo and look at the larger version, the color really leaps out at you.

I've got a post about using logic to disprove logic rolling around in my head, but I haven't found the right references yet, so I'm going with this instead. Enjoy!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Racial Pride

... seems silly to me.

Fact: I had nothing at all to do with Shakespeare or his wonderful plays.

You see, William Shakespeare was born before I was. Heck, he even died before I was born. A few hours of hard work will result in iron-clad proofs of my non-involvement*. To my mind, pride ought to result from your accomplishments, not accomplishments completely unrelated to you. Or, for that matter, basic, bodily functions like which sex you prefer. Holding a parade for yourselves because you like this instead of that is like holding a parade because you sneezed without decapitating yourself. But I digress.

I figure I can have pride in myself and my descendants, to the extent that I can show some cause and effect relationship with their achievements. If I take pride in something I didn't do, I'm just a leech. William Shakespeare was a genius, but I don't see why I ought to be proud of him or anyone else of his race who isn't somehow connected to me.

I think Fats Waller was a genius, too and I don't have pride in him, either.

* - These proofs will involve logic, which as we all know, is cis-normative, patriarchal and oppressive. Sadly, I don't think there's much to be done about this.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Which Superhero Do You Want To Be?

When I was little, we lived for a time on an airbase in Oklahoma. There were lots of kids in the neighborhood and this being before video games or even low-priced calculators, we all ran around in a pack outside.

One of our favorite games was to pretend to be superheroes. My best friend was Flash and I was, God help me, Aquaman. In Oklahoma. (Great choice, genius. You can talk to fish in a state with no natural lakes, much less any access to the sea.) I loved the ocean even when I was nowhere near it. I never read comic books, so the subtler aspects of the game, such as they were, were lost on me. Oh well.

The selection of superhero identities is what I thought of when I saw a tweet by Christina Hoff Sommers about an upcoming conference whose registration included the questionnaire below.

You might need to click on the image to read it.

It's not too surprising that they would include this questionnaire, given their self-description.
VIDA is a non-profit feminist organization committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape and to amplifying historically-marginalized voices, including people of color; writers with disabilities; and queer, trans and gender nonconforming individuals.
Really, it's right in their wheelhouse. To an outsider like myself, it comes across as utterly juvenile.  To claim you're a "Coercively assigned female at birth" sounds like the sort of thing a mentally disturbed, angry, precocious, little girl would say. It's a collection of words they heard at one time or another and strung together to invent an oppressed group to which they can claim membership. As children, while the other little girls were discussing shoes, making ever-shifting social alliances and gossiping, the future members of VIDA were reading pop psychology tracts and finding all kinds of pathologies to claim as their own.

Instead of choosing superhero identities, they were selecting gender identities.

I think I got the better end of that deal.

Here, Aquaman has knocked over a fire hydrant and stands bathed in the rushing waters. It was the only way he could activate his mighty powers while living in Oklahoma.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Trump Will Bankrupt Russian Oligarchs

Three charts tell the story.

Trump's pro-oil policies are causing a surge in US exports that will continue for the foreseeable future.

This is causing oil prices to go down. They are down 20% since the start of the year.

Russia gets its money from oil and derivatives. Plenty of Russian fatcats are going to get crushed in the next four years.
Meanwhile, some in the news media and plenty of pundits and celebrities are still shrieking about Trump collaborating with the Russians. It's completely insane. In order to believe that, you'd have to believe that the Russians hate money.

Friday, July 07, 2017

On Dog Whistles

A dog whistle, as I understand it, means an unspoken concept interpreted from words or phrases. As far as I can tell, there is no definitive lexicon for these, but their list is constantly growing.

For example, when Scott Brown was running for the Senate in Massachusetts, Howard Fineman found a dog whistle in Scott's truck.
Howard Fineman, the increasingly loopy editor of the increasingly doomed Newsweek, took it a step further. The truck wasn’t just any old prop but a very particular kind: “In some places, there are codes, there are images,” he told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. “You know, there are pickup trucks, you could say there was a racial aspect to it one way or another.”
With long time Internet and occasionally in person amigo WC Varones, I engaged in a conversation with a progressive on this topic today. I think I finally hit upon a way of discussing it that was disarming. I put myself in the position of the person hearing the dog whistle and the other guy as the one whose speech was being deconstructed beyond recognition.

The crucial questions:

  • Why should you have to live in fear of me assigning intentions, thoughts or attitudes towards you that aren't in what you spoke? 
  • If I am allowed to come up with my own, personal dictionary of dog whistles, how self-important do I have to be to think that you should learn my dictionary and you should care about it?
  • Why are you responsible for my emotional stability?
Maybe that's good enough to make the point without accusing or demeaning the other person.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

President Trump Is Nietzsche's Superman

... and that's an indictment of both Trump and Nietzsche.

From Encyclopedia Britannica:
This superior man would not be a product of long evolution; rather, he would emerge when any man with superior potential completely masters himself and strikes off conventional Christian “herd morality” to create his own values, which are completely rooted in life on this earth.
Bingo. More on Das Übermensch from the age-of-the-sage blog (which is of unknown quality, but I like this quote and Google led me there):
The context in which the Overman or Superman is to be judged to be such is implied by Neitzsche's previous works. He maintained that all human behavior is motivated by the will to power. In its positive sense, the will to power is not simply power over others, but the power over oneself that is necessary for creativity. Supermen are those who have overcome man - i.e. the individual self - and subliminated the will to power into a momentous creativity.

Supermen are creators of a "master morality" that reflects the strength and independence of one who is liberated from all values, except those that he deems valid. Such power is manifested in independence, creativity, and originality.
It's not a perfect fit, but I feel like it's close enough.

For those who want Trump to be presidential, ha! He has created his own morality because he wills it. Your puny conventional values cannot restrain him. And woe to those who killed God and thought they could determine the form of future morality. Trump picks up where you left off with your avant-garde performance art, spattering menstrual blood on your audiences and dunking crucifixes in urine. He takes your postmodern rejection of objective morality to a whole new level.

Trump has gone beyond good and evil and has created his own cultural norms. Of course, those involve ridiculous gifs of him body-slamming CNN logos and tweets about plastic surgeries gone wrong, but what made you think that Das Übermensch was going to be something admirable or even serious?

Therein lies the fundamental flaw in Nietzsche. His superman was to be a glorious leap forward for Mankind, ruling with an iron will bent to dramatic improvements in the world. Instead, his superman is a nincompoop.

Way to go, genius.

Update: And then he goes and makes a speech like he did in Poland today. Sigh. What to make of this guy?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Don't Blame The Social Workers

... they're doing the best they can.

As a preliminary, among my Cursillo* friends is a married couple who have taken in foster children. Some of them have worked out and some of the children have been so badly damaged that nothing the couple did could bring normalcy to the child. It's a horror show, make no mistake, even for foster-parent couples that are doing everything they can.

Into this come reports from Oregon of abuses in their system. Pressed for time here, I won't quote them, you can read them at the link. The stories are right, but the narrative is wrong.

The problem isn't that the system allows abuses, it's that the system is overwhelmed. You can't have a 40% illegitimacy rate across the population and not expect to see this. Almost all foster children come from non-traditional homes. The more non-traditional homes you have, the more shattered foster children you'll have. At some point, you run out of places to put them and you end up sending wrecked kids into horrible situations because it's all you've got.

When we decided that the traditional, married, biological family was no better than any other and indulged ourselves in whatever we felt like at the moment, we created the conditions for what we're seeing now - a foster care system completely drowning in desperately hurting children.

Did we think we could go down this road without consequences?
* - Cursillo is a movement within the Catholic Church which helps us try to be better Christians.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth Of July!

On this day, when we celebrate the founding of the greatest nation the world has ever known, let us thank those that created it: Christian, white men.


Hope you have a safe and happy holiday.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Rural Mississippi At 175 MPH

Mississippi is green. And by that, I mean GREEN. I swear, if you stood still for a while, the plants would grow right up your legs. It's fertile like Maui is fertile - a positive jungle when left to its own devices. Hot and humid, conditions are perfect for accelerated plant growth.

I took a short backroads tour of Mississippi around Hattiesburg with my GoPro Hero3 in its dashcam mount. Below is the video. I'm unimpressed with the quality and I never got the aiming thing down right. This is a crop of the original which included plenty of dashboard. The GoPro's fisheye lens captures a lot, but the lack of a screen on the back means you're shooting blind, pointing by guesswork. Oh well. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Bayou La Batre

I've fallen in love with Alabama. Bayou La Batre is one reason why. The waterfalls of northeastern Alabama, like the one I posted yesterday, are another.

Shrimp boats on the bayou.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

An Oasis Of Calm Amidst Wild Turmoil

... was this rock with trees growing on it in the middle of the Little River Falls in northeastern Alabama. I left the shot fairly large, so I think it's worth a click. Enjoy!