Monday, November 19, 2018

Debt And Immigration

If you want to know why so many people are fine with the illegal immigrant invasion force entering the country, take a look at this.


We can have whatever we want, simply by printing money and/or issuing bonds. Taxes don't go up when spending goes up, so policy issues are decoupled from fiscal reality. In the short term, that is.

I saw one of those quote-photo memes this morning saying something about how we should send judges and lawyers to the border instead of soldiers so we could process the immigrants instead of turning them away. The chick who posted it was going to feel no ill effects from letting them in and felt guilt about closing the door on them. Why not be compassionate if it's free? Fight the HATE!

However, if letting them in socked her with a higher tax bill, she might see things a different way. At least there would be another side to the debate, a side not filled with HATE.

In case you're one of those people who wants to make everything about Trump, I'll let you know I'm no fan of him in this regard. A one trillion dollar deficit in the middle of one of the greatest economic times in our history is unconscionable. Unfortunately, there is no meaningful fiscal conservative political movement any more. We're all drunken sailors now.

Until that changes, and I hope it does when we see Japan or Europe go over the edge, these immigration debates will be all emotion and no substance.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Catholic Church Needs To Change With The Times

... said some activists priests in France, 1787, Germany, 1937 and America and Europe today. "It's high time we made changes! The Jacobins Nazis Social Justice Warriors have the right idea!"

If we go that route, we'll need to stay fluid. Dig what happened to Meghan Murphy.
On Thursday, an ardent Canadian feminist who has supported the #MeToo movement but has opposed a bill that would encode gender identity and gender expression into Canadian law furiously revealed that Twitter wouldn't let her say that men are not women.

Meghan Murphy, who founded the feminist blog and podcast Feminist Current in 2012, had tweeted in October, “Men aren’t women tho,” and “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between men and transwomen?”

On Thursday, Murphy revealed on Twitter that she had been notified by Twitter that her language in the tweet had violated their rules against hateful conduct.
That's kind of the problem with chasing the modern zeitgeist, isn't it? It's a moving target. Compared with the solid architecture of 2000 years of accumulated genius codified in the Catholic Catechism, it's a bit of a lightweight.

Say we want to properly embrace the LGBT crowd. Just how do we do it? Do we embrace the Obama '08 version? Gays are cool, but marriage is only between a man and a woman. Do we go for the Obama '12 version? Gay marriage is cool, but only women are women. Or do we go with Obama '18? Men can become full women and vice versa.

Embracing the latter two will mean substantial rewrites of the Bible, starting with Genesis. "Be fruitful and multiply" was ... what, a suggestion? A bit of poetry? Apocryphal?

How about the Catechism itself where we acknowledge the supremacy of science over theology? I guess we need to dump that as evolutionary biology, heck, biology itself needs to be jettisoned.

Lately, I've heard plenty of progressive Catholics, including several within the Pope's inner circle, make noises about changing with the times. In essence, they're choosing Kamala Harris and Corey 'Spartacus' Booker over St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine.

Yeah, I don't think I'm pulling the trigger on that trade.


Aquinas and Augustine for Harris and Booker? Even the Browns wouldn't make that deal.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Mature Women Should Read Children's Stories

Tired of politics and non-fiction brainiac books, I've gone back to listening to children's books from around 1900. This time, I found the complete set of Oz books, read by Sean Murphy, for less than a dollar on Audible. That was a no-brainer, so I bought it and listened to The Wizard of Oz on the flight from San Diego to Providence on Tuesday. I tried to get into The Marvelous Land Of Oz on the return flight, but I gave up very early in the book.

I can't tell if it was the writing or the reader, but I was distinctly underwhelmed. It could not hold a candle to the Edith Nesbitt books I listened to a while back. First off, Sean just doesn't work as a storyteller for children. He tries hard, perhaps too hard, but he just doesn't have the warmth and ... love, is it? ... you need for the job. Sean's got a bit of the gay voice lilt* which doesn't help. Instead of being immersed in the story, you wonder about Sean. It was like having a flute play the saxophone line in a jazz piece. The voice artist worked hard, but it wasn't right.

Since the performance moved slowly and words were simple, I was able to imagine reading the prose as he went along to separate the performance from the story. What I really wondered was how it would sound if a woman read it.

My mom was (and still is) a great mom. She read me lots and lots of stories when I was a child. As I was sick a great deal of the time, she had lots and lots of chances to do so. She would even do a very nice, British accent when she read things like Peter Rabbit. There was so much love and warmth in her reading! That's certainly why I associate children's books with happiness.

It's got to be a woman reading the book. My Air Force pilot dad, who was away much of time, would tell me stories that he made up, but he didn't read to me and that was probably a good thing. His masculine voice and firm diction worked for his farm-based stories, but it would have been completely out of place elsewhere. Children's books need a woman reader or the spell is broken.

Just now, I'm walking through the Audible versions of Oz, trying the sample excerpts to find a good one. Meh. There are lots and lots read by young women, but they don't seem to work, either. You need that rich, mature, woman's voice. You need a mom's voice.

A first edition.

* - I despise identity politics with a passion, but I would argue that there are vocal characteristics to certain groups. Men and women have different voices, blacks and whites have different voices and, sometimes, gays and straights have different voices. It's not that it carries with it a personal judgment, it's that some voices don't work for some things. For example, a black simply must be the voice artist for a reading of Uncle Remus or the whole thing can be dismissed out of hand.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Not San Diego

No, it's Rhode Island during the first snowstorm of the season. It was very pretty.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Worrying About Nuclear Global And Warming War

... or something like that.

The Pope, who I as a rabid papist am inclined to support, said in a recent interview that he's worried about global warming climate change* and nuclear war. Whatever. I guess he's opposed to Mr. Mobutu wanting reliable electricity in his African hospital when his wife needs a c-section. Global Warming, you see, is caused by third-world people wanting to do away with filth, starvation and disease, the elimination of which will require the use of energy which spews CO2 into the air.

Oh well. Where Papa Frankie came up with nuclear war, I'm sure I don't know. I think his talking points from the progressives are a bit out of date.

Meanwhile, birthrates in Japan, Europe and America are below replacement, which means Muslims are an ever-increasing percentage of global population. Traditional families, the source of civilization, have been decimated in Europe and America as we pursue pleasure. Porn is completely destabilizing sexual relationships all over the world. I guess those aren't a big deal as they don't involve "global" issues, only the problems of normal people.

I have a dream. Someday, our elite will have something in common with regular, everyday Joes and Janes.

Ha! What a hopeless romantic.

I'd also like a unicorn.
* - Poor Pope Francis is behind the times. He doesn't realize that we've moved on to Climate Change.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It's Over When You Surrender

... like the Brits have done to the Muslims.
A Pakistani Christian woman’s appeal to Britain for asylum has been denied because her arrival in the country may stir civil unrest, HuffPost UK has been told.

Asia Bibi, a Christian farm labourer, was released from prison in Pakistan on Wednesday after being acquitted of blasphemy. She had spent eight years on death row after an argument with a group of Muslim women in June 2009.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned Bibi’s 2010 conviction for “insulting the prophet Mohammed” last week, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence.

But her acquittal sparked violent protests led by Islamic religious hardliners, and the government has now agreed to try to stop her leaving the country.
That sounds a lot like the numerous American universities that have surrendered to the mob veto of ANTIFA and social justice warriors in all manner of things.

How hard is it to grow a new spine once yours has eroded away?

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Malibu Fire

... is dropping ash in San Diego, ~150 miles away. Check out the film on the top of our birdbath.


Meanwhile, wife kitteh was absolutely murdered by her allergies yesterday. We suspected smoke from the fires and this confirmed it.

If it's throwing ash down here, it's huge up there. God bless the firefighters and the victims of the blaze. Here in San Diego, we managed to escape 2018 without a major fire, but that will come in time. They always do.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Manual Doesn't Lie

Usually.

I spent a little time today trying to figure out why I hadn't been able to set the shutter speed when I took my night sky photos a few days ago. The manual said to turn the front dial to adjust the speed. I didn't see a front dial, so I kept turning the back one and nothing happened.

It turns out there's a small front dial on the, err, well, front of the camera. Duhhh. I spun the dial and the shutter speed changed.

No worries, I discovered the other morning that the night sky where I live is not too bad and I might even start with some moon photos just to get the hang of it.

That is, now that I know the front dial is in the front.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

You Don't Know What It's Like To Be ... (Blank)

I can't stand that argument. It drives me crazy. It's illogical and marks deep ingratitude. It's ugly and divisive. Until this morning, I couldn't think of the logical fallacy in it. It seemed impervious to debate as whatever you said could be countered with yet more characteristics the left associates with oppression.

I know a blind fellow at work. He's a scientist. I've worked with him on making our web applications more accessible to screen readers. If you've never used a screen reader, it's amazing what it does and what it requires on the part of the consumer. The thing starts at the topmost element in the Document Object Model (DOM) of the web page and reads it to you. Hitting the tab key moves you to the next element. I think ctrl-tab takes you back to the previous one.

Pictures and input elements like forms must have alt text associated with them so the screen reader can tell the blind person what it is. Without it, they can't fill out forms and don't know what the picture is showing to the rest of us.

To use a screen reader, you have to keep a mental map of the web page in your head. Imagine memorizing the map of the DC subway system. And the NY subway system. And the Chicago El and the LA bus system and on and on and on. Each website has a different map and the blind person is picturing the DOM in their heads as they walk through it with the tab key.

Meanwhile, the rest of us just zip around with the mouse and click on funny lolcat memes.

Whenever I hear arguments like, "You don't know what it's like to be black!" or "You don't know what it's like to be a woman!" I want to reply, "You don't know what it's like to be blind!" The obvious reply would be, "Yeah, well, you don't know what it's like to be a blind, black woman!"

That's not the way the thing works, though, is it? The blind dude doesn't live in a world of blind people where he might have some advantages because of his skin color or sex. He lives in the whole world and has to compete with all of us for jobs, respect, social status and mates. It doesn't matter to the blind guy that he doesn't know what it's like to be a black, blind guy because his disadvantage is orders of magnitude worse than skin color or sex, if those even carry with them disadvantages at all, which is debatable.

In fact, if he met a black, blind woman, they'd immediately have a close kinship born of having to learn how to live in the world of the sighted. They'd be able to have deep conversations about screen readers, crosswalk voices and how to set up a bedroom so you don't fall over everything. Heck, they might even fall in love because they finally met someone who understood them.

Meanwhile, in the world of the grievance culture, most of us are sighted, healthy, reasonably attractive and enjoy the fruits of our ancestors' hard work and ingenuity. Life's pretty easy, all things considered. Certainly too easy to walk around telling each other that we don't know what it's like to be an Eskimo lesbian.

Oh yeah? Well, you don't know what it's like to be a short, one-eyed, one-handed, transgendered, lactose-intolerant, vegan pirate!

Friday, November 09, 2018

A First Try At Night Sky Photography

Was both rewarding and frustrating at the same time.

Wife kitteh, who was being a good sport, and I went out to dinner last night and then drove out to Sunrise Highway in the Laguna Mountains so I could play with my Fujifilm X-T10 camera and try to get some night sky photos. The night was moonless and clear and the place has very little light pollution, so everything was set for some good photos.

I spent some time in the afternoon trying to set up the camera properly. I put it in manual mode, set the ISO at 4000 and tried to learn how to manually set the shutter speed. I was able to figure out everything but that last part. No matter what I did, the thing stayed at 1.5 seconds instead of the recommended 15-30 seconds.

Lesson: Don't try reading the manual in the car at night. If you're doing that, you're doing things wrong. However, wife kitteh came home very hungry, so setup time with the camera was cut a bit short as noms were required sooner than expected.

Lesson: Set up all your gear ahead of time and take some shots, even if it's in the middle of the day. I had planned to look through the manual during my lunch break and work through the settings, but, as usual, the workday had other plans and I never got to it. Hence, I was working out the settings at the last minute before we left.

Lesson: If you're in the mindset that the first two or three times you try something new you're going to make a total hash of it, it's all good. I had no expectations other than figuring out what I had done wrong the next day, which is today. When you learn new things, you asymptotically approach competence as you keep trying.

In the end, I was actually happy with a couple of the shots, however they managed to sneak their way into my camera in spite of my best efforts at ignorance. In the end, it was very cold up there and I was a bit unhappy with my inability to set the shutter speed, so I took some shots in random directions to use as teaching aids today. I came away with some nice full sky shots and one or two horizon ones. They're not professional grade, but they look like I meant to do them.

I left these quite large, so I think they're worth a click. In fact, you'll need to click on them to see them properly. In thumbnail mode on the blog, they look like black rectangles. Enlarged, they look like black rectangles with tiny, white dots, which, I'm sure you'll agree, is much better. Enjoy.


Thursday, November 08, 2018

On Assignment

Tonight, I'm heading up to the Mount Laguna area to try to take some Milky Way photos. More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Least Important Election Of Our Lifetimes

... was yesterday.

Important stuff


The only thing of significance that was at stake was the restoration of democracy through the continued remaking of the Federal court system. President Trump has done an outstanding job nominating judges who will interpret the law rather than make it. The high profile cases of gay marriage and abortion took the issue out of the hands of the people and handed it to 5 Ivy League creeps in black robes which is the opposite of democracy. We won yesterday. Hooray for us!

Not on the table


The big issues of marriage, debt and sovereignty weren't going to be determined by yesterday's elections because neither side cares about them at all.

The Democrats have become Nazis without ambition. They're fixated on identity groups, particularly racial. For all that, blacks remain an idea to them, not real people with real problems. And the real problem there remains what it has been for decades - the destruction of marriage. No one, black or white, red or blue, was talking about it. We talked a lot about race, but we didn't talk about reality.

We have full employment and peace and we're still blowing through over a trillion dollars of borrowing a year. That's not just unsustainable, that's insane. Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter. There are no adults in the room when it comes to money so it hardly mattered which way things went.

The Republicans had the legislature for two years and couldn't bring themselves to build the wall. Instead, we got children being separated from their parents, caravans of light infantry heading for the border and a whole lot of hoo-hah about ICE and sanctuary cities. No one really cares to allow Americans to define what it means to be an American, that's a job the legislature wants foreigners to do by migrating at will.

End result


So in terms of significant changes for the nation, the only big deal was the courts and we won that one, handily. We'll have another two years of good Federal judges being confirmed. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg goes to that Big Abortion Mill in the Ground Sky, the two squishy (R) chicks - Murkowski and Collins - can do whatever it is they do instead of standing up for normal Americans during the resultant Supreme Court nomination cage match and it won't matter. I'll take that, considering it's all that was offered.

For now, fiscal responsibility at the Federal level is as dead as this yellowjacket.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

How To Make Voting More Rewarding

I voted today and while waiting in the long line of Handmaid's Tale cosplay characters, crossdressers and furries (this is California, you know), I came up with some ideas to improve things.

NEVER


Add a selection to the ballot, up at the top, called NEVER. If you pick that, you don't need to show up any more, it will vote NO on all ballot measures on your behalf from there on out.

Wife kitteh is voting no on everything because she wants the idiots in the legislature to do their jobs. I'm voting no as a kind of parlor game, like hiding Easter eggs from 3-year-olds. How long will it take them to find the obvious solutions? Whee! What fun!

Clickbait Polls


We need to have questions on the ballot like, "Who's your favorite Monkee?" or "Are the Doors the most overrated band of all time?" That would be cool.

By the way, the Doors question would have two responses:

  • YES
  • I'm high on weed right now

Asking for Help


Jokingly, I tweeted out that I hadn't been following along and had no idea how to vote. I asked for suggestions. Here was my favorite response.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Living In The Past

While I was at the general's funeral last week, I spoke with one of his grandchildren who worked with a tribal government that shall remain nameless. She was trying to help them find new sources of revenue, including tourism. She told me that simple tasks were difficult because skilled personnel were so thin on the ground within the tribe. For example, she had great difficulty getting them to give her an invoice for some work they had done. It wasn't that they were being stubborn, it's that they weren't used to doing such things.

We discussed our different experiences with American Indians on reservations. She confirmed what I had long suspected, that most of the talented and motivated young people left the reservation and never came back. The reservation just didn't have anything to offer.

What is the point of clinging to the Old Ways? It's pretty clear that the Old Ways aren't paying off any more. Hanging out on the reservations in New Mexico is a pretty depressing experience. The available jobs are not exciting at all. Casino work must be the best they have to offer and even that isn't breeding a new generation of intellectual and artistic leaders. It all seemed so very confining to me. It's as if the reservations were a prison, physically, mentally and psychically.

Then there's the ferocious problems of substance abuse on the reservations. Why not get loaded when there's not much else to do?

What happens when your reason for existence has vanished into the past?

Sunday, November 04, 2018

A Happy Photo

I promise I'll contribute to the acrimony and yelling on the Internet again in the near future. Today, I came across this photo in my gallery and it brought a smile to my face. It's deliciousness in a pre-nom state. I thought it might make you smile, too. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Evictions And The Homeless

Once upon a time, I bought a house so I could scrape the lot and build a custom home on it. The house came with renters, at least one of which was a self-wounding drug addict. It was as sad a story as you can imagine and a sobering reminder of why illegal drugs are illegal. It was a woman who had fled her mother and her husband to run into the arms of drugs. I met both of them, who were desperate to save her. I pray that they eventually did, but having seen that story play out before, I wouldn't bet on it.

In the four months before we bulldozed the place, the renters stayed. We got a total of one month's rent out of them. They knew they didn't have to keep a relationship with us and they were going to have to leave anyway. Their credit ratings and our references for future rentals meant nothing to them, so they simply occupied the house. This being California, there wasn't much we could do. The eviction process is prolonged and expensive for a landlord. In the end, we decided to remain friendly and just let them know when the place was going to be demolished. They left a couple of days in advance of that.

Had they wished, they could have stayed a few more months and thrown a huge wrench in our schedule. If someone lives in your house and claims it as their residence with no other place to go, they are considered tenants in California with all the rights thereof. That means you need to go through the full eviction process to get them out. When you read stories of adults living with their parents and wonder why the parents don't just kick them out of the house, that's part of the reason why.

An eviction process takes months. Just getting to the point where you can file papers is a month. Imagine what it would be like to live under the same roof with someone, particularly one of your children, who knows you dislike them so much that you'd throw them out in the street. If they're desperate and/or addicts, things could get really dicey. If you're elderly, fearing for your safety would be natural and sane.

That's something to consider when you let Junior move back in with you.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Red By A Pixel 3

There are too many things going on right now in Real Life™ to allow for decent blogging, despite lots of topics. Yesterday, we had a bit of a family crisis, so I didn't have the time to knock out anything at all. Today, the best I can offer is a photo from my brand-new Pixel 3.

I really like the phone. It's a ton faster than my Galaxy S7 was, which, after the most recent update, we struggling to navigate using Google Maps. Twitter was a horror of slothfulness. The new Pixel 3 is greased lightning.

The camera, which is supposed to be the biggest selling point of the phone, doesn't disappoint. I took some outstanding family photos yesterday, but I don't want to share those here. This morning, I shot some bougainvillea flowers outside my office. Here's a section of one of those photos. I love the way the veins on the flowers leap out at you. I left it large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!