Friday, August 18, 2017

A Photographic Assistant

... or is that a photogenic assistant?

One of our sons and his fiancee just got a corgi puppy. His name is Watson and he's 8 weeks old. Plus, he's adorable.

I'm helping with the camera!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

All Wrongthink All The Time

... is what progressives pursue these days. There's nothing of substance, it's all feelings and words and symbols.

If you step back and look at the progression, you find:
  • Christian bakers who believe in traditional marriage
  • Little Sisters of the Poor who believe in chastity
  • Southerners who flew the Dixie flag out of regional pride (not including the bona-fide racists)
  • Speakers like Charles Murray who perform legitimate research, but hold inappropriate views
  • PhD biologists (the chap who got fired from Google) who point out sexual dimorphism in humans
  • Statues
I woke up today, made my coffee and worked on some PHP code. None of the aforementioned had any effect on my life. Even a statue of Karl Marx in a nearby park, if it existed, wouldn't have made a difference. It all exists in theory, it's all conceptual.

This is why Trump, God help us, won the election.

Out in the real world, where most of us spend our time, we face drug epidemics, states going bankrupt, rising health insurance costs and children who can't find full-time employment because of ObamaCare regulations. You're not helping me or even living in my world when you chase Little Sisters of the Poor all the way to the Supreme Court to force them to pay for birth control insurance.

Others have opined that the left and right now speak completely different languages. I'd go farther and say we live on completely different planes of existence. The left has become ethereal, conceptual, theological. Worse still for them, and staying with the point I made yesterday, their theology doesn't jive with reality. I've had a day to think about it and I'm more convinced today than yesterday that we're watching the death of a religion. When confronted with contradictions or refutations, they simply scream, "SINNER!"  all the louder.

Since our sins are in our heads, you have to accept that they are clairvoyants and can read minds. It's entirely possible that Charles Murray is well-intentioned and simply goes where the data takes him. To me, it's even highly likely. However, when faced with a Charles Murray speech, the response is hysteria. They are convinced they know what he's thinking. They know he's a racist. He must be destroyed.

We're not being punished for what's in our heads, we're being punished for what's in theirs.

So no wrongthink, boys and girls. Keep your thoughts pure and your statements scrubbed free of aggressions, even the micro ones which are too small to be visible to the naked eye. That's the way we should all live. ALL OF US.

Here, Iranian morality police issue a warning or maybe a ticket or maybe a jail sentence against a woman who is improperly dressed.
In the US, we call these police, "ANTIFA."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Death Of A Religion

.. is what we're seeing played out all around us.

I was so disgusted by the recent political violence, almost all of it from the left, that I had seriously thought of ditching any serious blogging and just going to photography alone. This morning, it finally dawned on me that none of this is about racism or white supremacy or Confederate statues. What we're watching is the slow-motion death of the dominant religion. As it goes down, it does everything it can to change the subject, attack it's detractors and attack the concepts of truth and logic.

The functionally illiterate black kids in Baltimore kept nagging at me. I've blogged relentlessly about the state of our children and the pathologies we inflict upon them from broken families. Why are we talking about Robert E. Lee when these kids are getting hosed?

Because we don't care about them. Instead, we're invested to the eyeballs in postmodern progressive theology. As that goes down in flames all around us, the black kids in Baltimore can go shoot each other by the hundreds for all we care. First and foremost, we must defend the faith. That means not talking about them.

Or about how blue Illinois is bankrupt and insolvent.

As is blue Connecticut.

Their cities are being starved for basic funding. Their schools are being ravaged with budget cuts. Essential services are starting to fall apart. No credit is available. Heck, even the lottery won't play in Illinois any more because it won't get paid.

And then there's the epidemic of black violence in blue cities. Chicago and Baltimore are war zones of black-on-black slaughter. Those are just the high-profile cases. There are plenty more.

Want another example? How about Obamacare? None of its promises were kept, not one. The thing has collapsed financially as insurers have fled the exchanges. The central mission of any insurance provider is to stay solvent and it has failed even that.

We're talking about Robert E. Lee because to talk of anything substantial would strike at the core of the religious faith of the media, the entertainment industry, academia, all of the Democratic Party and much of the Republican Party. We're watching heretics be burned at the stake at Google. Heretical icons are being torn down. Anyone whispering about violence on the left is shouted down with cries of "White supremacy!"

The free speech battle on the campuses isn't an attack on Ben Shapiro or Milo, it's a desperate defense of a dying faith. They don't hate Ben, they hate the truth because the truth will kill their religion and force them out of what is comfortable, force them to recant. That's simply unacceptable and so instead, we talk about a nonsensical Russian collusion story and statues of Confederates, even statues of Teddy Roosevelt.

What happens when we tear down the last Confederate statue? We look for something else to destroy, something else to distract us from the collapse of our faith. Don't get in the way of the religious left or they will destroy you with all the venom and hate of a stricken cult. I think we'll just have to let this play out.

It's not about Lee at all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Preening While Rome Burns

The bit below from Brendan O'Neill is the perfect summary of what I thought yesterday after posting my bit about utter ignorance of Robert E. Lee permeating both sides of the current ragefest. It's not about Lee or even the Confederate history of the South. It's all about the demonstrators themselves and their bottomless need for attention.

I'm creeped out to the point of literal nausea by what's happening. I'm just now getting to the point where I can articulate the underlying rational thoughts behind my emotions. Here's a subset.
  • Once we start allowing violent mobs to "cleanse" our cities of things that offend them, where do we stop?
  • As far as I can tell, I don't dare disagree with the mob publicly regardless of what the law says. The law won't protect me from the mob. All I can do is watch.
  • Once we've removed all things Confederate and the world is still the way it was before, what do we remove / burn / re-educate then?
  • Since the rage is detached from reality, how can it stop? 
  • If the Left is driven by intersectionality where we classify ourselves into smaller and smaller groups, each oppressed by other groups, aren't we just seeing the first shots fired in a war that can only end in Somali-style clan fighting?
  • The children of Baltimore cannot read, write or do basic math. There's no question that they're not alone. None of the rioters on either side address that. The media doesn't address it. The politicians don't address it. All we're talking about is Russia and the Confederacy. Meanwhile, a chunk of the young generation are coming out of school unable to function in the 2017 labor market.
  • It all seems to be vapid, moral preening while Rome burns.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Unworthy Of Lee

The more I think about it, the more I think Robert E. Lee, were he alive today, would have taken the white supremacists and thrown them in jail. They are utterly unworthy of him and have no more idea of who he was than the ANTIFA morons. If it was up to me, I'd force the white supremacists to remove the statue with their bare hands while someone reads from Lee's letters over a loudspeaker. I'd have the ANTIFA idiots forced to relocate it to another park while they were similarly instructed.

Lee was all about doing his duty without complaint or blame of others. If you read his writing, you'll know he was not in favor of slavery or secession, but when his nation called him, whether that was the USA or the CSA after his state seceded, he did what he felt he was supposed to do to the best of his abilities. Neither of these groups of cretinous swine can claim that.

Finally, to think that Robert E. Lee would ever, ever condone Nazis in any form is simply insane. All of this conflict is nothing but ignorant disrespect of a great man. Nauseating.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Statue Must Go

After yesterday's fun and games in Charlottesville where white supremacists rioted over a Robert E. Lee statue, the statue has to go. I'm a huge fan of Lee and I find this recent desecration of his statues to be a thoroughly depressing statement of ignorance, but you can't allow violence to succeed or you'll get more of it. (See also: Baltimore.) The crazies have to be humiliated and demoralized as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

The conversation. A few years back, Attorney General Eric Holder called for a "national conversation on race." Well, we're having one now, aren't we? Isn't it loads of fun? Personally, I'm not terribly enlightened by the witty repartee between the Black Lives Matter / ANTIFA side and whatever it is these white swine call themselves.

Professor Jordan Peterson had a great characterization of race recently. He called it "the crudest possible way to classify people." That's probably obvious to the rest of you, but to me it succinctly summed up what I had felt: race is valueless in my life, giving no actionable information. For example, I'm writing this as I watch the Newcastle United game. If you came over now, I'd prefer you to be a sports fan so we could enjoy it together. Your race would mean nothing.

But they get to do it! Where do we want to be 5 years from now? Wouldn't it be great to talking about anything other than race-based political violence? That's only going to happen if we stop fighting about it. It doesn't matter if the score is uneven or the other side got to have the last riot. These cretins need to be thrown in jail, wholesale. The authorities didn't do that in Baltimore or Ferguson or Milwaukee and look what we got.

Enough. The Toon are finally back in the Premier League and they're holding up well this morning against a top-flight Tottenham side. The game is way more interesting than blogging about melanin violence so I'm signing off here. Have a nice day!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Different Goal For North Korea

The current government must go. Period. Whatever it takes, up to and including war, those guys have got to go. And now, not later.

Traveling this week, I was assaulted by Airport CNN repeatedly wherein Wise People with Important Degrees and Long Years of Experience lectured viewers that Trump's rhetoric was dangerous and destabilizing. What we needed was dialog and de-escalation.

Until what? Until the Norks have 10 nukes instead of 5? Until they've mounted miniaturized warheads on missiles with 3,000 or 5,000 mile ranges? Until they've sold nukes to Hezbollah? What exactly is the plan 10 years out for the "negotiate" crowd? Dig this Hillary Clinton quote from a CNN piece today.
During former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing in 2009, she said the Obama administration believed that six-party talks were "a vehicle for us to exert pressure on North Korea in a way that is more likely to alter their behavior." "We will embark upon a very aggressive effort to try to determine the best way forward to achieve our objectives with them," she added.
Alter their behavior? Really? I'm sorry, Ms. Clinton, but the rest of us can't hear the voices in your head. You're going to have to convince us using things we all can see. In any case, we tried just that during the Obama Administration and now we've got potential mini-nukes on 5,000-mile missiles. In the non-fantasy world, that was an utterly predictable failure of the highest order. It's time to stop doing what clearly doesn't work.

Yes, right now, the Norks probably have functional nukes that can be delivered by ship or submarine, if nothing else. Yes, a war might end up with a few cities flattened. Yes, Seoul would suffer mightily. Game this out 5 years into the future, using only actual facts and patterns of behavior and no wishful, peacenik thinking and let me know how it gets better and not much, much worse.

The time to knock off the Norks was when Bill Clinton capitulated, enabled by that epic schizophrenic Jimmy Carter. Carter, living in a world that only exists in his mind, played rogue negotiator and betrayed us all, giving that coward Bill Clinton an out from confronting the Norks. Well, that opportunity has passed and we are where we are. Waiting longer is just going to lead to more advancements in Nork missile and nuke technology.

Backing up to a higher level, what we're seeing is the fruits of 40 years of Pax Americana. This generation has grown up thinking that peace and prosperity are the norm. That's why we concentrate on trannies in bathrooms. We think we have the luxury to debate such issues and that they're even vaguely important.

Meanwhile, the world becomes less and less stable at a fundamental level. Huge debts in the West, nukes in the hands of Kim Jong Un and the Ayatollahs, Muslims slowly conquering Europe through demographics, none of these are discussed as existential threats because we've never experienced an existential threat in our lifetime. In our minds, they don't exist and never will. Instead we worry about men in women's restrooms and micro-aggressions.

If you think this is all over-the-top, caffeine-driven ranting, try this little exercise. Go back in time 20 years with the Norks and apply the analysis process below for all of our diplomatic efforts. Your goal is peace and stability in the region and no or reduced threats from the Norks. How'd "engagement" and "diplomacy" do?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Choose Your Front Yard!

Here are photos from two recent trips. Which would you prefer, Inyo-Kern, California or Manassas, Virginia?

Rainfall does make a difference.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Purple Lettuce At The Confederate White House

I sauntered down to Richmond today, expecting ... well, more. The main attraction for me was the Confederate White House and Museum. The White House was uninspired, to be kind.

The Confederate White House was built in the box style. Like a box. 
A. Box.
As its builder said when he was done, "Meh."
The museum was similar. All you could think of as you walked through it was all the Alabama farm boys fed to the Federal cannons so wealthy southern gentlemen didn't have to give up their $30K-a-pop slaves. That was nauseating and I'm a Dixiephile of the first water.

They had a reproduction of South Carolina's secession articles or statement or tantrum or whatever it was. It mentioned slavery by name, so that pretty much takes care of that.

Having said that, the Confederacy is unfair to the South. Just as "Hitler!" is probably the first thing most people unfairly think of when they hear about Germany, the Confederacy lasted only 4 short years and has almost nothing to do with modern-day Dixie. I love the South for the people, the climate, the food and the beauty. So fie on the Confederacy and their horrible White House! I'll take 2017 Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana any day of the week.

The lettuce referred to in the title was a lovely flower on a tree behind the building. It was the best part of the stop. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Google Is Not The Problem

A quick second take on the Google madness.

Google isn't the problem. Mindless zealotry is. Dig this.

You might need to click on it to see the full thing.

Google's own search turns up data that says the heretic was right and the zealots were wrong. Think about that for a second. The Google Nazis only had to Google the question to see he wasn't being a bigot.

This isn't just about a company of intolerant morons, it's about a dominant culture that is saturated by irrational fundamentalism. To me, that's really scary. These people are living in a fantasy world where facts can't penetrate, one where their illusions are real.

We're living in a nation where the schizophrenics have organized to the point that we all have to agree the voices in their heads are real or we lose our jobs, social status, Internet access, friends, bank accounts, etc.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Biologists Should Start To Worry

So the dude who wrote a decent defense of sexual dimorphism got fired from Google for violating the social justice laws of the Reich. I guess that was bound to happen to someone with unclean thoughts and he drew the short straw. Rather than let sleeping Untermensch lie, I think we should start tracing this kind of thinking back to its source so we can root it out once and for all.

I'm looking at you, biologists. Especially evolutionary biologists.

Males and females have different roles and different characteristics? Really? You're going to teach that kind of nonsense to unsere Kinder and you think we're going to let you get away with it? Allow me to suggest a line of questioning for our cultural einsatzgruppen as they track down and exterminate those with hateful thoughts.
  1. Are humans animals?
  2. Do humans have two different sexes?
  3. Has evolution led to sexual differences in other animals with two sexes?
    • Why?
    • What are some examples?
  4. Does evolution apply to humans? 
  5. What are the implications of these differences?
Think carefully before you answer, biologists. Your careers hang in the balance.

We just want to ask you a few questions.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Playing Army Man

... with life-sized toys.

Dig this collection of functioning, refurbished, military vehicles we found at an antique store in Kramer Junction on our way back from one of the many California desert towns. It was crazy. The collection, of which this is only a subset, owned by two brothers who collect and restore this stuff as a hobby. Their collection of restored antiques must run into the $5-6,000,000 range.


Sunday, August 06, 2017

Japanese Beetles Like Pizza

From the Interesting Insects file comes these two photos from my recent trip to the Inyo-Kern area. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 05, 2017

What Went Wrong? Intellectual Arrogance

I just finished, for all intents and purposes*, The Ottoman Empire. I highly recommend it for all kinds of reasons. However, you might need additional information from Bernard Lewis' excellent What Went Wrong. The first book gives you the narrative arc while the second lays out the foundational ideas of Islam that led to the fall of the Empire.

In short, the problem was this: The Muslims didn't see any value in anything the infidels thought or said or did. For example, almost no books were translated from European languages into Arabic. The Europeans translated everything they could. Islamic chauvinism was so bad that when the Ottomans lost one particular war and had to negotiate a treaty with the Europeans, they couldn't find anyone on the Sultan's staff who could speak any European languages, so they dragged some poor Christian dhimmi out of their Balkan provinces and had him act as translator. Since the translation was so cumbersome, he ended up acting as negotiator for the empire!

The Ottomans were able to last so long because they had military superiority. The elite Janissary infantry combined with horse archers were more than a match for almost everyone for hundreds of years. When the Europeans finally developed technologies and strategies for coping with them, it took the Ottomans completely by surprise as the Ottomans didn't bother to monitor the Europeans at all.

After several defeats at the hands of the Europeans, the Ottomans still didn't fully adopt Western methods. They tried, but Islam and Sharia kept getting in the way. The result was an Ottoman economy and military that was hopelessly behind. For instance, when WW I broke out, the Empire had only a few hundred miles of rail while their opponents had thousands. Rail was the primary way to move troops and keep them supplied so the Ottoman forces were immobile and undersupplied most of the time. The Ottomans had clung to their old ways of doing things and didn't industrialize.

I could go further, but I think that makes the point. Islam brought together racially diverse peoples into a single, cohesive empire, but ended up being the reason the Empire eventually failed.

Ideas matter.

The Ottoman railway system, ca 1914. Note that the largest Ottoman offensives were carried out in the Caucasus against the Russians were there were almost no railways at all.

The German railway system, ca 1910. Enough said.
* - I skipped a couple of chapters and quit after the fall of the Empire after WW I. I have too many other things to read / hear and I wanted to move on to something new.

Friday, August 04, 2017

This Is Cheating

I was sent to a job today where the power had gone out to a house. Like an idiot, I quit after I checked the breaker box and didn't see any visible damage, but saw what I thought was an error code on the meter. SDGE came out a few hours later and found there was nothing wrong with the incoming power.

I had quit before I tested the line going into the main breaker. When I finally tested it myself, I found there was 220 coming in to the breakers. There was no reason to call SDGE at all.

I've changed circuit breakers before. It's actually pretty easy. Once you flip the main, there's no power to the bus and the breakers can't shock you. This was different as I'd never changed a main before so I called an electrician. He's going to change the main, but I came home and looked up how to change a main breaker on YouTube.

The simple answer is you cheat. Dig this.

You remove the meter? That's crazy talk! That belongs to SDGE!

Of course you remove the meter. That's where the incoming power is, well, incoming. Once you shut it off there, replacing the main is trivial, it's just replacing a breaker like any other. Sigh.

I still think removing the meter is cheating.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Yes. Yes It Is.

This is God's country. And He can keep it.
Greetings from the mouth of a furnace. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go outside and desiccate.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Religion Causes Wars

... is just nonsense.

Chaos all over the place for me this morning, so here's a short one.

I'm almost done with The Ottoman Empire and I highly recommend it. It's all war and conquest all the time for hundreds of years. Just like the French / British / Spanish / Germans. And Aztecs. And Apache. And Chinese. And and and.

Religions are collections of ideas, like philosophies. If some religions caused wars, then some religions would prevent them, too. Religions would also cause different kinds of wars, marked by the differences in the idea structures and content. They don't. It's one pack of dudes and dudettes taking on another pack of dudes and dudettes because they think it's easy pickings or they feel threatened.

As I got to the part where Napoleon invaded Egypt*, which at the time was part of the Ottoman Empire, I did a thought experiment. If there was no such thing as religion, if we all lived like ants or wolves or whatever, would there have been peace?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! (Gasp) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!


Yep, religion causes wars. Keep telling yourself that.

I think this is a picture of one of the popes. Or maybe the Dalai Lama.
* - The French, irreligious at the time following the Revolution, invaded Egypt to mess with the British. No religion involved there, just one side trying to get an advantage over the other.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

This Is Where It All Falls Apart

I saw this from CNN yesterday and everything just relaxed for me about the topic.

A pregnant man. Right.

No, the world hasn't lost its mind, CNN has. This is just stupid.

The story as it happened: A woman got pregnant. Either before or during her pregnancy, she was stuffed full of testosterone until she grew a beard and, from the looks of things, had her breasts hacked off. The baby was drenched in a bath of incorrect hormones and won't be able to nurse from its mother.

That's all this is. It's a mentally ill woman having a baby at the same time as the people around her played along with her deranged fantasy.

That makes CNN happy. It's not a sign of compassion or acceptance, it's a sign that CNN and everyone involved are demented.