Monday, October 31, 2016

San Diego Has A New Bishop!

Here, Bishop McElroy names his successor. Who says there isn't a strong youth movement in the Catholic Church?
This weekend I was blessed to participate in the San Diego Diocesan Synod on the Family. It was a beautiful thing and we came up with many recommendations on how the Church in San Diego can better serve the needs of families in whatever state they might be.

Now the Diocese will take our recommendations and form them into workable plans to be implemented both at the Diocese and within the parishes. I feel really good about what's happening here and can see how this Synod will lead to happier, healthier and more loving families and communities.

In all seriousness about Bishop McElroy, he was a pleasure to meet. Smart, cheerful and very kind, he's a terrific leader for the Diocese. Dittos for the many priests who participated in the event.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hypocrisy Would Have Saved Us From Election 2016

You remember hypocrisy, right? That building block of pre-moral-relativist culture? Where housewives drank gin, husbands had affairs with office girls and everyone went to church*?

Brother, we could have used a little hypocrisy in this campaign.

The root of hypocrisy is that you can't behave in public in a way contrary to your stated beliefs. You can sin in private with an unknown amount of guilt and moral struggle, but you can't lie, grope and steal out in the open.

Like, you know, a couple of major party candidates I could mention.

Election 2016 is what we get for "keeping it real."

Hey, man, they are who they are and it's all out there in the open.
* - Raw data doesn't show this, but we all know that data is a social construct of the Patriarchy. Besides, who are you going to believe, the noble elites who make our movies and infest academia or patriarchal data?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Campaign 2016 Calls For A New Word: Weinersextion

What a perfect end to the campaign. Hillary Clinton demanding the truth from a corrupt FBI hack, appointed by Obama, after her emails are found on the computer of Anthony Weiner who is under investigation for sexting underage girls, all quite possibly helping to elect an utterly unqualified, crazed narcissist with no redeeming traits, skills or knowledge, himself a sexual predator.

That, my friends, is what I would call a "weinersextion." It's the intersection of amoral sexual practices with an epidemic of political corruption.

It's perfect. Simply perfect.

There are so many ways this is delicious that many of them will no doubt require a decade or more to rise to the surface, our brains being saturated with the most obvious ones to the point of being clogged with mind-scum. Here are just a few.
  • The sight of Hillary Clinton finally calling a (5-minute, 2-question) press conference to demand complete honesty from FBI director Comey who had previously incinerated his reputation on the altar of Clintonian worship.
  • Donald Trump, still face-down in the gutter of sexual assault revelations, being dragged back into contention by sex addict Anthony Weiner who was texting photos of his junk to little girls while his son was by his side in bed.
  • The news media, blinded by the white flash of a thermonuclear Hillary scandal detonation, stunned that they still have yet more work to do dragging the dessicated hag's body across the finish line.
  • The next ten or eleven days will numb and nauseate us with political-sex talk as the raging ObamaCare wildfire burns completely out of control, the Philippines desert us in favor of China, Syria is finally pacified by Russia, NATO troops are deployed to Russian borders, drug overdose deaths hit new, recent highs, the national debt breezes past the $20T mark and virulent, racial discord spikes over utter nonsense.
Academia, the media, politicians and our popular culture icons have sown the wind. What a perfect whirlwind to reap.


Get ready! The next two weeks are going to be awesome.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Women And The Draft

So I guess we are now registering women for the draft and Hillary is in favor of it and Putin is making war-noises and Syria is just about pacified while the Philippines has given us the bird and turned to China as its ally.

The world has gone mad or at least the US has. In the meantime, Newcastle United is tearing up the Championship League and looks like a lock to get back into the EPL next year, so there's that.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nietzsche Was A Mess

I went back and took another run at Beyond Good and Evil on audio. Last time, I made it through 4 hours of it before giving up because philosophy is hard to follow by listening. I gave up after about 30 minutes this time because Nietzsche is an aggressive loudmouth who makes almost no sense at all. From Chapter 1:
"HOW COULD anything originate out of its opposite? For example, truth out of error? or the Will to Truth out of the will to deception? or the generous deed out of selfishness? or the pure sun-bright vision of the wise man out of covetousness? Such genesis is impossible; whoever dreams of it is a fool, nay, worse than a fool; things of the highest value must have a different origin, an origin of THEIR own—in this transitory, seductive, illusory, paltry world, in this turmoil of delusion and cupidity, they cannot have their source. But rather in the lap of Being, in the intransitory, in the concealed God, in the 'Thing-in-itself—THERE must be their source, and nowhere else!"—This mode of reasoning discloses the typical prejudice by which metaphysicians of all times can be recognized, this mode of valuation is at the back of all their logical procedure; through this "belief" of theirs, they exert themselves for their "knowledge," for something that is in the end solemnly christened "the Truth." The fundamental belief of metaphysicians is THE BELIEF IN ANTITHESES OF VALUES. It never occurred even to the wariest of them to doubt here on the very threshold (where doubt, however, was most necessary); though they had made a solemn vow, "DE OMNIBUS DUBITANDUM." For it may be doubted, firstly, whether antitheses exist at all; and secondly, whether the popular valuations and antitheses of value upon which metaphysicians have set their seal, are not perhaps merely superficial estimates, merely provisional perspectives, besides being probably made from some corner, perhaps from below—"frog perspectives," as it were, to borrow an expression current among painters.
First off, he's yelling at everyone who disagrees with him. Second, his disrespect hides his lack of comprehension. Having just finished St. Augustine's Confessions, which might be presumed to be the, err, "antithesis" of BG&E, Nietzsche fails to see that Augustine reasons from not just Scripture, but experience, logic and science as well. This bit: "...in the intransitory, in the concealed God...THERE must be their source, and nowhere else!" is errant nonsense. In fact, no one I've read claims that.

Third, he uses this to launch into a general questioning of the antithesis of good and evil to claim there is only a world of perhaps and maybes. Or something like that. I got tired of being yelled at, so I didn't go much farther. He doesn't even make an effort to address counter-examples that you can come up with pretty quickly. By this, I refer to the Hitler vs. Mother Theresa sort of thing.

Nietzsche was a tormented soul, both physically and psychologically, so he deserves a certain amount of sympathy. I certainly wouldn't want to have been him. Having said that, I'm not quite sure from whence his reputation arises.

Then again, some people think Marx was a genius and keep wanting to put his ideas into practice despite endless streams of failure, so maybe the problem is with us and not with them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stairway To Barking

I love photos like this. They make me think of on album cover.

It's the Catican Trio's new hit recording!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Trunk Monkey Chaperone

This came up at work yesterday and I never get tired of it. I figured I should inflict it on you. Enjoy.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Of Fruit Flies And Elephants

In comments on this post, Tim and Ohioan both noted that the massive numbers of fruit flies breeding were enough to lead to macro-evolutionary changes over time. Even if the odds were billions-to-one against advantageous structural changes in genetic material, the fact that there are so many fruit flies producing so many offspring makes it conceivable.

Hooray for fruit flies!

How about elephants?

There aren't many of them and elephant cows produce a single calf every 5 years or so. Wouldn't evolution grind to a halt as the higher-order species produced so few offspring? If you need a billion hatchlings / calves / lambs to get a single new species with a new genetic structure instead of modification to existing genes, wouldn't it take practically forever to make those changes?

I've got a counter-argument to this line of thought, but I'm interested in what others have to say.

Aside: The original posts weren't really designed to question evolution, but were about Darwinian dogma being essentially religious. Still, it's a fun discussion and everyone's been quite pleasant, so let's see where else it goes.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Criminal Activity In San Diego

I'm saddened to report that last night, a gang of criminals broke into my house while I slept and cooked an elaborate meal for what looks like a dozen people. They then left without cleaning up. I came downstairs to the wreckage this morning.


Words fail me. I'm disgusted that the authorities would allow a band of rogue chefs to wander unchecked, breaking into homes, cooking and leaving behind ruins like this.

What's this world coming to when an innocent householder is afraid for the cleanliness of his kitchen?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Donald Trump Is Undermining Democracy In America!

... but only after it's been nearly killed off by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

So I missed all of the debates, but for some reason I heard a replay of Trump's fateful refusal to say he would definitely endorse the results of the election. He said the election was rigged and used as one piece of evidence the fact that Hillary wasn't in jail.

For the first time in recent memory, I agree completely with Donald Trump. Hillary is a criminal who escaped prosecution so that she could win the presidency. That seems like a rigged election to me. Consider these tidbits.

  • The Hildebeast is guilty of all manner of crimes as are her minions. For one, mishandling classified material is illegal. Not only did she do it, but her goons did as well.
  • Obama knew she had an illegal server and lied to everyone about it. He was sending her emails to that address under a pseudonym.
  • There was no search of Hillary's homes as there would be under a normal investigation of these kinds of things.
  • Hillary was sending classified material to people outside of the government who did not possess any clearances at all.
  • By conducting her business on the private server, she made all of the content on that server government property whether they were yoga emails or not. Deleting 30,000+ government emails is a crime.
  • Then there are all the bribery laws she broke with Bill being paid for speeches to groups negotiating with Hillary.
I could go on and on (and do a better job organizing my list), but who cares? They wanted her to be president, so they faked the investigation(s) and lied to everyone. That's not a democracy as I understand it.

Is Trump undermining voting with his petulance? Yes, he is. But Hillary and Obama are far, far worse.

An OGE-450 form for reporting outside income as an employee of the Executive Branch. Imagine filling it out as Hillary and marking down all of the money Bill was taking for his speeches, plus the Clinton Foundation, plus, plus, plus. No one I know would have been allowed any of those sources of income. However, since they wanted Hillary to be president, she got away with it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Darwinian Dogma

In my discussion yesterday with the atheist on Twitter, something that struck me was his strident defense of Darwin's model of macro-evolution. By macro, I mean creatures changing from one to another through gradual evolution. I'm listening to a book right now, which I will blog about later, that's made me question this for the first time in my life. How do you get from the genetic structure of a fruit fly to that of a sheep through random processes?

I get the whole micro-evolution stuff where creatures breed to improve the species, but we've been breeding fruit flies for a long time and ended up with more fruit flies and not some kind of mutant superfly whose genetic structure is different than the others. (Aside: With whom would such a freak breed to produce viable offspring when its genetic structure wouldn't match its mate's?)

In any case, what hit me was how tied the guy was to Darwinian evolution. He couldn't allow even a single disagreement or objection. It had to be true, nay, it was true and anyone who didn't dogmatically agree was an infidel. As a Catholic, I don't really care one way or another. Recall that we believe that God doesn't make contradictions and that if established science conflicts with theology then theology must change. Science doesn't bother me at all, but miracles or intelligent design don't bother me, either.

So in all innocence, I brought up those objections - how do structural genetic changes occur resulting in fruit flies eventually producing sheep? He went bonkers and threw all manner of snarky, you're-an-ignorant-moron meme images at me.

I hope he had fun doing it. Me, I idly wandered off and had a Firestone Union Jack and watched the Cubs game.

Follow Up: Here's a UC Berkeley bit on the evolution of flight, but it begs the question at hand. I can see how flying is better than not-flying, but I don't see the process at the molecular level. Where did all those atoms come from in the modified genetic codes? Why did the reactions happen instead of producing death and deformity?

Lots of people dream about flying like a bird. Do lots of birds dream about driving Buicks like a person?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

God And The Holocaust

So somehow, I managed to get teased into a conversation with an atheist today on Twitter. It was the usual stuff, snarky and devoid of intellectual content. I was supposed to be scandalized and perplexed and God knows what else by his rapier-like wit. Whatever. One of the hilarious jabs he threw at me was this image which was promptly retweeted and liked by all kinds of his fellow travelers.


I'd never thought much about it before, but when I saw it a bunch of things went through my head which I will attempt to synthesize here. I'm a fan of Third Reich military history and I've recently been slogging my way through the ghastly Mein Kampf. Given that foundation, when I was confronted by this brilliant repartee, I mildly wondered, "Why was the Holocaust God's to stop?"

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf long before he came to power. Anyone who read it knew he was trouble from the get-go for Jews in particular and Europe in general. Never one for subtleties, while he doesn't lay out the blueprints for the gas chambers, it's hard to see how it all ends well for the Jews. When he finally did seize power in Germany, the sequence of events, including Kristallnacht, made it clear to everyone where this was headed.

Germany wasn't a military super power in the mid-30s. Had the British or French decided enough of this Nazi nonsense was enough, they could easily have whacked Hitler and replaced him with someone less offensive. Sure, it would have been messy, but in retrospect, it's impossible to see how Londoners hiding in the subways during the Blitz wouldn't have wished that Her Majesty's government had snuffed out the little creep years earlier.

Instead, England and France clung to their "right side of history" rubbish and America slept through the whole thing. And after everyone finally managed to rouse their lazy butts after wake up calls in the form of HE-111s bombing the living daylights out of European cities across the Continent, we eventually took out the twit and his goons. Meanwhile, in the Holocaust referenced in that genius image, millions of Jews were gassed because earlier we couldn't be bothered to read and understand Hitler's book and see where the whole thing was going.

And that's God's fault?!? I think not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Rigged Elections

... don't they seem like a self-limiting process?

I have to admit, that outside of an intellectual curiosity about what this election says about American culture, I've kind of checked out. Still, the accusations that this election is "rigged" are interesting.

Of course they're rigged. Just to take one dimension, the news media, outside of the execrable Fox News, is positively manic in their hatred of Donald Trump. Well, good for them. After Trump goes down to a well-deserved, landslide defeat, the news media will have ... what? Well, as far as I can see, their frothing howls against Trump will have turned off 35% or so of their potential viewers. Further, Sanders supporters will be incensed that the news media didn't see fit to report on Hillary and the DNC using Bernie like a honeypot for the kids.

So the news media wins in 2016 and gets what they want, but in 2017 and beyond, they lose influence because the people they sneeringly dismissed will go somewhere else for their news. That was happening anyway, but this is going to accelerate the process. Personally, I had no illusions about the media's objectivity, but this has been breathtaking to me.

When it all fails - ObamaCare, student loans, the Middle East, etc - and Hillary's administration is left in smoldering ruins, will it all have been worth it to the news media flunkies?

How will they "rig" things in 2018 and 2020 now that they've ticked off so many people?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lizard Of The Day

I had a different post in mind, but this little fellow let me get close enough to take some decent photos with my phone, so here he is, reared up and posing for the camera. Enjoy!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Voting For Lower Prices

Driving home from the retreat yesterday, we passed a billboard advocating Prop 61, claiming it would lower drug prices. We can vote for lower prices? Who knew it was that easy?

I think bananas cost too much. Let's vote to lower their price by 10 cents a pound.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I Think Larry Elder Went To My Daughter's Public High School

... because this tweet was spot on.

Friday, October 14, 2016

We're All Fascists Now

There's an easy answer for everything. Vote the right way and the nation will be fine. You won't have to make any real sacrifices, the government will make sure they make all the sacrifices, "they" being whomever your chosen political savior happens to despise.

So here we are, selecting between Mussolini A and Mussolini B - Trump and Clinton. One is a personal messiah, the other is a policy messiah. Thoughts of personal freedom, personal accountability and governing as much of your own life as possible are being washed away in our hunger for a strong leader to make the bad things go away.

This didn't happen to us, we did it to ourselves. If we had wanted freedom, the Democrats wouldn't have become completely fascist and the Republicans would have chosen someone, anyone other than Trump. Nope, this is who we are, as Obama might say. I guess fascism was on the Right Side of History after all.

My thinking isn't political these days, even though I'm frequently giving in to the siren song of political blogging. Instead, it's cultural. How do you turn this thing around? Truth be told, I'm kind of at a loss. For one thing, while our political leaders are all strong-men-in-waiting, it just doesn't seem like the culture is. But it must be, right? Or is this just the natural consequence of living the Marquis de Sade life where all that matters is pleasure? Are we looking for a strong man so we can leave all that icky constructive stuff to someone else so we can focus on weed, porn and video games?

That last seems like the best explanation to me. I guess if you don't have any real ambitions in life, having someone tell you what to do isn't such a big deal. If you're not trying to go somewhere significant, who cares what regulations you have to follow?

Directionless fascism?
They're serving free ice cream after the rally, so it's all good.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Going Cold Turkey

I'm about to go work a men's retreat weekend. I've decided to turn my phone off while I'm away, only checking it at night and in the morning to see if there are any emergencies. Under normal circumstances, I'm a total Twitter and Internet addict. I check my phone all the time. According to Nicholas Carr, this is a bad thing.

3 1/2 days isn't enough to rewire your brain, but I suspect that by Sunday, I'll either be much calmer or a total, raving maniac. In the meantime, I'll queue up blog posts here because I'm OCD about daily blogging. I apologize in advance for not replying to any comments that come in. Those will have to wait until Monday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Of Lathes And Sleeves

... wherein I wonder why I didn't think of this before.

I'm making one final push to finish rewiring my MGB. I've taken the cockpit wiring apart again and am using my new BB-60 workbench to do a 1-1 scale assembly of the wiring harness. In the process, I've discovered I seem to be missing some of the sleeves that keep the light bulbs for the dash instruments lit at night from falling out the back.

The tachometer. Note the bulb nearby. That goes into the back of the tach to light it up at night.

The rear of the tach with the bulb inserted. The next photo shows how loose it is.

The bulb will fall right out!

Here's the back of the speedometer. Note the metal sleeve that gives the bulb a snug fit. Why didn't MG make the bulb housings the right size? Because they're British, that's why!
I stopped by one of my favorite British auto parts places yesterday and got some sleeves that might do the trick, scavenged from an old MGB wiring harness. I kept thinking there must be a way to build these sleeves from scratch, but my brain wasn't functioning properly until this morning's coffee.

I need to learn how to use a lathe.

Lathes make cylindrical objects which are symmetric down the center line, exactly what I need. There are Maker Places and Fab Labs nearby with lathes and classes. I might have all the sleeves I need now, but it would be grand fun to learn how to use a lathe and keep that trick in my back pocket the next time I need to do something like this.

Hmm. I wonder if I could create a functional sleeve out of plastic using a 3D printer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Leafhopper

I saw this fellow perched on one of our fences the other day and as he seemed relaxed, I went inside and grabbed the Nikon D60 Artillery Piece to get some macro shots. I was disappointed. The camera focused on everything except the bug for all shots save this one. I might have been better off using my phone where sheer megapixel count makes up for a lack of a decent lens.

Oh well. The only real regret I have is that we don't often see leafhoppers, probably because we don't get much water. I think they're cute little bugs and I'd love to take more shots of them. At least I was able to get this one. Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2016

How Do You Turn A Ship Around When Everyone Is Rowing In The Wrong Direction?

Remove chivalry and the police and relations between the sexes become a matter of upper body strength. That's a contest women can never win. Typically, chivalry is an ideal that must be embraced by the elites, both publicly and privately, in order to be adopted by the populace.
Oh well. Maybe we can count on support from the culture to shore things up.
Hmm. That doesn't look so good, either. I'm guessing that checking out rap music lyrics from a randomly selected top 10 hit isn't going to help.

How about the police? Oh, that's right. Never mind. The police are racist. In any case, the police show up long after the deed has been done.

That leaves us.

On Saturday, I hung out with more than 50 Catholic men preparing for an upcoming retreat. None of us would ever speak the way Trump has spoken or act the way Bill Clinton has acted. None of our wives or girlfriends would ever defend a pig like Bill Clinton the way Hillary has. I guess it's up to us.

Whoops! I forgot. We're homophobes and prudes. It's best to close down our businesses and take our nuns to the Supreme Court to force them to buy contraceptives.

Good luck with that whole "respecting women" thing, America.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Reason You Should Vote For Hillary

... is because her patronage will fall upon traditional Democratic Party interest groups. Trump's patronage will fall at random, depending on who is sucking up to him the most at the time. You must vote for Hillary to show your support for the Democratic Party Machine.

Our politics have become a Mobius Strip of evil. The Trump tape of him talking about forcing himself on married women is not as bad as what Bill Clinton actually did to women and what Hillary Clinton defended through savage character assassinations. Still, the attitude is the same - one of aristocratic entitlement. Trump and the Clintons can say and do whatever they want while you have to watch your every utterance for signs of racism / sexism / homophobia / blah blah blah.

Again, Bill Clinton taking sexual advantage of an intern young enough to be his daughter in the White House and Hillary and her minions savaging the girl and Bill's previous victims is worse than anything Trump has ever said.

There is no appreciable policy difference between the two, either. They both stand for a bloated, intrusive, leviathan government and economically illiterate trade wars. Neither has a clue about how to deal with the everlasting global civil war that is Islam.

We're choosing between Mussolini A and Mussolini B. So why is the press so bent on destroying Trump? Because his spigot of government goodies, which will gush forth at the same rate as Hillary's, will point in random directions. The teacher's unions and university faculty can't be sure that they will get their graft. The spigot might spin away from them and pour money into for-profit schools instead. The racial grievance industry won't have a reliable sugar-daddy or sugar-momma in the White House. Instead, they'll have the equivalent of an arcade fortune teller that spits out random pronouncements when activated.

This is important stuff. The power system built around Washington, DC wants no part of an administration that is so capricious. Like a house pet used to being fed at the same time every day, it is completely opposed to any possible changes in its sluice of payoffs and opportunities for corruption.

Make no mistake, Donald Trump, if elected, isn't going to change a thing. He's just going to turn a corrupt system into a tilt-a-whirl instead of a predictable funnel. And we can't have that.


Welcome to Washington, DC under a Trump Administration.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Problem With Going Nuclear On Donald Trump

... is that you might drive him out of the race.

Trump is the only person Hillary could beat in this election. If she were facing Marco Rubio or even Jeb Bush, she'd be down by 10 right now with no hope at all of recovery. The Democrats would be staring at a complete wipeout. Instead, she's facing off against someone as morally vacuous as she is.

As the calls for Trump to step down roll in and accelerate from Republican heavyweights across the country after Hillary's release of his utterly predictable audio clip of him being a total swine, her campaign staff is waking up to the idea that they might have to deal with white bread Mike Pence or boyishly charming Marco instead of Trump. In a single instant, the over-the-top attacks on Trump become liabilities. Whatever Mike or Marco have said, it's not within a factor of 100 of what The Donald has.

The Democrats have one playbook and one playbook only. After Trump, how do you call Mike or Marco a racist / misogynist / homophobe / Islamophobe? How do you call either of them crazy or dangerous?

The only way for Hillary to win is to damage Trump enough to beat him, but not enough to drive him out. Methinks this audio tape, which comes as no surprise to us Never Trump folks, might have been overplaying their hand.

The only reason to vote for the angry hag is Donald Trump.

Friday, October 07, 2016

A Controversial Title

... might not be a good idea for this post.

I just finished a book about Mohammed and after reading the Koran and several books on Islam, things made a lot more sense. Here are a few things I picked up from my most recent foray into the Religion of Peace. I'm doing this from memory in a hotel room, so I apologize if I've got a few details backwards.
  • The Koran, a book Moslems claim always existed in the mind of Allah, was revealed to Mohammed in bits and pieces throughout his life by the archangel Gabriel. In this, it reminded me of the Mormons whose scriptures were revealed to a single person in a secret way.
  • Muslims claim that Mohammed's coming was foretold by both Christian and Jewish writings. That blew me away. I'd never heard that before in my life and in fact, the book's author says there are no such references. Not surprising as Mohammed arrives in the year 600, a couple of centuries after the Church Fathers had settled on the Nicene Creed and were moving on to other things. By 600, the Church was pretty solid, theologically. They weren't waiting for another prophet.
  • The claim of Christian and Jewish prophecies anticipating Mohammed reminded me of the North Korean legends about Kim Jung Il and the rest of their dear leaders.
  • Mohammed's first phase of evangelization was to preach to the polytheist Arabs in Mecca. This was modestly successful at best, gathering only a small number of followers.
  • He then moved on to Medina and tried to preach to the Jews there. That didn't work so well, either.
  • Things began to improve for Mohammed and his followers when he turned to caravan raiding and war.
  • Recall that all the while these things are going on, new pieces of the Koran are being revealed to him. As someone pointed out in the comments on an earlier blog post, if two sections of the Koran contradict each other, you take the later one as correct. In concert with what Mohammed was doing at the time, the later ones are the ones that validate violence.
  • As Mohammed and the boys conquered territory in the Arabian peninsula and beyond, he established rules for governing non-believers which carry on today - taxes, conversion and so forth.
  • Taxing non-believers turned out to be quite the money maker.
  • Something that struck me was how imperial Islam was. As they conquered territory, they offered the residents the choice of conversion or punitive taxes. Conversion was relatively straightforward, so only the devout of other religions paid the tax. Everyone else converted. Had the Nazis employed this strategy, we'd probably all be goose-stepping around today.
  • Conversion is a one-way door. If you convert away from Islam, you are to be killed.
  • Mohammed did not perform any miracles. Early in his career, prior to the wars, he claimed to have been taken into the 7 heavens by a winged horse. The locals thought it was all nonsense and demanded he perform miracles. He claimed to have spoken with Allah who said, "If I perform the miracles and they still do not believe, I will destroy them out of wrath." Not wanting the unbelievers to be killed, Mohammed chose not to perform miracles and claimed the Koran was miracle enough.
I think I'll leave it at that without any further commentary.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

One More Preachy Attempt To Drive Readers Away

Yesterday, I posted about incremental self-destruction through small sins, something I knew would be unattractive to all y'all, but I needed to write it as that's the way I learn. While looking for a graphic to add, the clip below occurred to me, but I didn't use it as I wanted to go with something a bit goofy. I went back and watched the clip and was shocked at how close it was to what I was trying to say. I put myself in the role of Dean Cain's greed-soaked businessman and the scene became even more powerful.

We were created by a loving God and given a world to live in. God gave us rules to live by in the form of universal, objective morality and an example in the form of his Son. Since He is a loving God, following those rules pays off, not just in eternity, but in the here and now. That is, if you lie, you lose the confidence of those around you. If you cheat on your spouse, you may well drop the atomic bomb of divorce on your life. If you embrace porn, you can become addicted, rewiring your brain to dislike normal sex. If you drink to excess, you're physically hosed.

God has given us the path to a better life and through sin we choose to reject it. The prison cell door slamming shut in the video can refer to hell, which is probably the first thing you think of when you watch it, but it can also refer to a lost job, a failed marriage, estranged children or hopeless addiction. The booze or porn or cheating or lying can all be fun and games until the moment when the cumulative damage of your sin hits you like a 2x4 upside the head. When I saw it in this light, I loved the scene even more.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Every Journey Continues With A Single Step

Or is it: If every day is a chance to start life again, then every journey begins anew each day?

That can't be true, Journeys leave marks on your psyche in the form of memories and habits, so each day isn't really a chance to start anew, it's just a chance to change direction.

Habitual sin is a journey. Small, habitual sins are journeys of tiny steps. Each step is, in and of itself, relatively inconsequential, but in the aggregate, quite damaging. Each small sin is a decision that's easy to make because of some combination of the following:
  1. You can (you have the opportunity)
  2. There's some payoff
  3. It's not really hurting anyone
It's the last one that gets you in trouble. Any individual step on a long journey doesn't get you all that much closer to your destination, so each step is unimportant taken by itself. However, the cumulative steps of selling your integrity, having another dink or drinking every day, downloading a little more porn, criticizing your kids or mocking your wife for a mistake can be horrific. Addictions and divorces result from such individual steps.

I've got a good friend who is a recovered alcoholic. The other day he told me that people turn around their lives when they find the one thing they won't give up for their addiction. In his case, it was his family. My point here is that he got to the point of having to make the choice between his drinking and his family by single steps.

I'm sure he'd rather have seen into the future, imagined what that moment of choice was going to feel like and turned his steps around before he hit bottom.

We all have that choice every day, but we almost never make it. Instead, we go for that payoff because one more (drink, lie, criticism, porn viewing session, theft) isn't going to hurt anyone all that much.

Until it does.

This was the most cliched image I could think of for this post.
You didn't think I was going to be completely serious for the whole thing, did you?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Grasshopper

Another insect photo taken with my Galaxy S7. I left it large, so it's worth clicking. The camera on that phone still amazes me. Enjoy!


Monday, October 03, 2016

Maddi The Cat, Seen From Space

OK, well, maybe not space, but a long way up. Like at the top of our stairs looking down on her snoozing in one of her many chairs.

Tranquility Base.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

How Much Is Experience Worth?

... compared to scientific studies?

Following an offhand remark on Twitter, I got a (very pleasant) earful from a guy with a PhD in Neuroscience who questioned whether sexual differences in scholastic choices was nature or nurture. That is, why are the STEM subjects dominated by men? The always unstated version that disrupts the progressive narrative of patriarchal oppression is: Why are they dominated by men when women are getting most of the degrees?

I dunno, man. I'm a father of boys and girls, I've coached boys and girls, I've worked with boys and girls and it sure looks to me from years and years of this stuff like there's some kind of underlying difference. It's also hard to believe that 100,000,000 years (or whatever the number is) of evolution wouldn't result in brain specialization like it has with physical specialization.

Aside: Can we please stop with the action movies where women are beating up men? It just doesn't happen. I'm sorry, but when I see it, the movie is pretty much ruined for me.

Anyway, I don't have any studies to back me up because I'd rather watch the morning EPL games and cook bacon. Besides, why do I need studies if I've got a wealth of experiences that jives with every other coach and parent I've ever met?

I blame the Patriarchy.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Abbott And Costello Go To Wall Street

Looking through my draft blog posts, I started this one in January. I hope it's not a plagiarism of someone else's. If it is, sorry about that. In the meantime, enjoy.

Update: I completely lifted this from a US News and World Report opinion piece. I must have been looking for a place to stash the dialog and blogger was closest at hand. Hilarious!


COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.

ABBOTT: 5.6% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 5.6% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 23%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 23% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 5.6%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%?

ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed. 23% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%. COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a Democrat.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like Hillary.