Friday, July 31, 2015

This Always Works

Puerto Rico's government has borrowed and spent and borrowed and spent and borrowed and spent and borrowed and spent. Math has now taken over and the place is hosed. In New York, people are wearing matching shirts, carrying signs, marching and chanting.

On the plus side, they're getting some fresh air and decent exercise as they walk and wave their signs.

Hey, hey, ho, ho, mathematics has to go!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wars Over Religious Differences

... don't seem much different from wars over anything else.

Continuing on with Churchill's A History of the English Speaking Peoples, I'm into the reign of Queen Elizabeth where the wars between England, France and Spain were indeed Protestant vs. Catholic. However, the level of violence doesn't seem any different from that seen during the Hundred Years War where everyone was Catholic. Dittos for the wars between the Romans and the Britons or the invasions of the Vikings. The intrigue and plotting and scheming is the same regardless of the putative reason for war.

Maybe humans are just aggressive, selfish creatures by nature.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Microbes Discover The New World!

I'm currently listening to Volume 2 of Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples, The New World. In it, there's a phrase in his description of Magellan's voyage that jumped out at me.
(A) Portgugese captain, in Spanish pay, Magellan, set out on the voyage to South America and across the Pacific that was to take his ship round the globe. Magellan was killed in the Philippines, but his chief officer brought his ship home round the Cape of Good Hope. The scattered civilisations of the world were being drawn together, and the new discoveries were to give the little kingdom in the northern sea fresh importance.
I love the imagery of that phrase, as if there are invisible arms drawing the people of the world together. That proximity allowed deadly microbes to cross over into new continents. Smallpox in particular, laid waste to the American Indians.

In a way, it was an explorer we generally hold as innocent who wiped out the native populations of the New World. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it was just bound to happen. The microbes lived in Europe and at some point in time, someone was going to cross the Atlantic, whether they were Indians going east or Europeans heading west. When that contact occurred, the fate of the Indians was sealed.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Asking The Greek Question Here

A while back, I posed the question that I think Europe should be asking re:Greece as well as themselves: How can you earn enough money to repay your debts?

This is a pretty simple question, one even an academic might be able to understand. I blogged about the Walmart crowd yesterday - many of them obese, covered in tattoos and speaking pidgin English. I couldn't figure out just what these people are supposed to do with their lives once academics raised the minimum wage to the point where machines were cheaper than hiring them. Meaningful work, at almost any wage, adds crucial value to life. An alternative of watching daytime TV (or worse) while collecting welfare is a living death.

These people are God's children, too, worth in His eyes as much as any of us.

In any case, that wasn't my primary thought while wandering the aisles of Walmart. Each one of those folks owes about $60K in government debt and that's just at the Federal level and doesn't include unfunded liabilities like Social Security.

What kind of idiot thinks these people are going to be able to pay that back or service our ever-growing debt? Who could be so unfeelingly cruel as to load them up with so much debt, without them really knowing or understanding? These are the people who will end up losing their jobs, having their bank accounts frozen and watching the elderly in their communities begging in the streets. Meanwhile, the academics running our government, both Republican and Democrat, will be smart enough to diversify their investments and escape the worst of it.

Really, what I thought as I watched a tough-looking hombre who was covered in skull and gun tattoos (who was shopping with his mommy) was, "Why shouldn't he get all those tats? If the women in front of him want to skip out of school in 8th grade and eat until they swell up like beach balls, why shouldn't they? If they want to live that kind of life, who has the right to raise wages until they can't find jobs and pile debt on them until we all go bankrupt and they take the worst of it?"

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, graduate of Harvard, explaining how if we renooberate the fenombulator of aggregate demand, taking into account marginal tax rates on unearned interest income credit due to subsidized marmot exports to key trading partners, you can see that the growth of our debt is sustainable for the near future.

After that, we're all hopelessly screwed, but that's OK, because he's got plenty of good investment options.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Walmart Defeats Yale

Yesterday afternoon, we went shopping at Walmart. There were plenty of obese, tatted-up folks, many speaking somewhat intelligible dialects.

In Los Angeles, they've decided to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. They did this because Very Smart People who are Academics with tenure at Ivy League Universities have produced graphs and charts and equations that say this is a good idea.

My own daughter, recently graduated from high school and possessing an abundance of ambition, is not worth $15. The store where she works right now would look into replacing here with machinery should they be forced to pay her $15. She's getting crucial experience, skills and confidence that will help her someday produce $15 and more per hour of value. Judging from appearances and speech, many of the Walmart shoppers had dimmer prospects.

What's the plan for people who can't or won't do what it takes to gain skills making them worth $15 an hour? Are they expected to just sit at home watching daytime TV all their lives?

I'd suggest that the Ivy League geniuses, after completing their elaborate journal articles, spend several days at Walmart and the DMV and ask themselves if their conclusions really make sense.

Because they don't to me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Why Trump Wants To Be President

Pondering the circus that is our current presidential race, two thoughts struck be about The Donald's motives.
  1. He loves to be on camera.
  2. He saw how much money the Clintons made selling out the country to foreign interests and figured if a pair of dingbats like them could make 9 figures, he could make 10, easy.

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Case You Were Wondering

... 0350 is not a good time to get up.

The new Catican Guard recruits sleep in a crate downstairs. Once they're thoroughly house trained, they'll sleep with us. Early this morning, we awoke to what sounded like a puppy choking on something. Huge coughs from a very small dog scared us into going downstairs to check on them.

The thing to know is that going downstairs, even if it's at 4AM, starts a morning routine that cannot be undone. Doors are opened, little dogs are taken outside, food is served and a general good time is had by all. The fear that one of them had swallowed something dreadful overwhelmed our need for sleep, so down I went and up I stayed. It was all a false alarm, so I let my wife go back to sleep while I hung out with the little creatures.


Whatever they do, it's impossible to stay mad at them.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trial By Jury

... owes a great deal of its existence to Henry II of England, circa 1160. Here's a good summary from the BBC.

I'm thoroughly enjoying Churchill's A History of the English Speaking People. As I read (listen to) it, I'm amazed at how narrow our understanding of history has become, at least as it was taught to my daughter in public high school. I know I've banged on this drum before, but I would bet that the only thing she knows about the subject was that white Europeans were racists. She would have no idea where our legal system arose.

Looking at the Wikipedia article on the Ashanti, the pre-European colonization African empire centered around modern-day Ghana, as far as I can tell, trials were an appeal to the chief and his buddies. Whatever complaints we may have about the American court system, I'd much rather face it than the king's counselors or the chief's shamans.

How does that legal system play into the white privilege that we're warned against by academia? It's all such a sad and narrow view of history. It seems to me that a much healthier way to learn history would be to appreciate the people that gave us what we use today, be that the internal combustion engine or jazz music. Maybe their faults can be forgiven with a little effort.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No Drought In San Diego

... as far as the local flora and fauna are concerned. A freak storm last weekend pushed us over 100% for the year. Since we average practically no rain at all from here to the end of the meteorological year, we're good for 2014-2015.

Click on the image for a more legible version.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What If Hillary Clinton Had Been A Kumeyaay?

The problem with oral histories is that they can be untrustworthy, particularly when there are few sources.

Listening to an ad on TV about our local Indian tribes and their casinos, I heard a bit about their long traditions and noble behavior and how they loved the land and lived in harmony with nature or something like that. It was all traditional Native American hagiographic claptrap. Triggered by my reading of Churchill's A History of the English Speaking People, which is blunt and straightforward, I began to wonder just how much of what we take for granted about American Indians is true.

Without writing, how much of what they "know" about themselves is accurate? How far back can reliable memory go when it's all handed down by story?

Imagine what the stories would have been like had Hillary Clinton been a Kumeyaay Chieftaness around 1200, prior to the arrival of the Conquistadores. She'd have run the tribe out of a server in her own teepee, sold out their interests for heap big wampum from neighboring tribes and then unleashed her own storyteller flacks to create utter nonsense about how she was noble and good and aligned with the planet and everyone who disagreed with her was part of the Vast Apache Conspiracy (VAC).

With a sufficiently effective terror apparatus, Chieftaness Hillary would have been able to make sure that only her versions of "history" survived.

Here, Chieftaness Hillary's spokes-shaman, Viper Who Lives In Filth, explains how accusations that she sold the tribe out for some goat skins and a bunch of sea shells is old news that no one wants to hear any more. The tribe really needs to talk about policies to move the Kumeyaay forward and stop wasting time on personal attacks.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I Could Post These All Day

Something to make you smile.

Leah taking instruction on door protocol from Head Catican Guard Bodie.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Meet The New Catican Guards!

After the tragic death of our Smaller Catican Guard, Ellie*, a few weeks ago, we decided to get another one as the Larger Catican Guard, Bodie, was very depressed. We auditioned two separate dogs and neither of them fit the bill. Yesterday, we drove up to Riverside to look at a Chihuahua mix puppy, which is what Ellie had been.

There were three in the litter and all of them were beautiful. When we arrived, a couple was adopting one of the three. We fell in love with the others immediately and ended up coming home with two, Leah and Lilly. Bodie is happy to have new recruits in the Catican and has already begun training them (primarily not to take his toys while he is playing with them).

We've got a few other things going on right now, so we have scheduled a gathering of the College of Cardinals a few weeks hence to select a new Maximum Leader. When we begin the Conclave, you will see black smoke arise on the sidebar of this blog until we have chosen one, which will be heralded by white smoke. In the meantime, the Catican Guards will continue their training and will maintain a respectful and preparatory posture in the Catican Compound.

Which means a lot of playing with toys, eating crunchy food and running about in joy.

Leah is the one looking at the camera. She has very long legs. Lilly, looking away from the camera, has more Chihuahua-like features.
* - I've not been a dog person since I was a child and hadn't owned one in about 40 years when we got Bodie. I was certainly never a fan of little dogs. Originally, I hadn't wanted to get Ellie when we first met her, but my wife talked me into it. My attitude towards little dogs changed almost instantly. Ellie, as far as I was concerned, hung the moon. I have loved pets in my time, but Ellie was beyond loved. I've never been so sad for so long at the loss of a pet. These two are beautiful and I love them already, but I there's only one Ellie in anyone's life and that's OK with me. I was blessed enough to share 5 years of my life with her. Thank you, God.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A War On Objective Reality

I missed the ESPYs when they were on TV, but my son, a sports freak, told me the whole thing was incredibly weird. ESPN has lost one of its viewers in him, save for when they broadcast actual sporting events. I finally saw a snippet of Bruce Jenner's speech and was shocked by the surreal incongruity of it all.

Bruce still has a man's face and a man's voice. He's got implants that look like breasts and he was dressed in an evening gown. As he spoke, you saw the audience listening in rapt attention to a man who had mutilated his body and drenched it in female hormones. They applauded like it was the politburo after one of Stalin's speeches - long and thunderous, no one wanting to be the first one to stop. My buddy Dean Riehm noted that Brett Favre looked puzzled at the whole thing.
The snippet I watched felt like tuning in to a speech at a lunatics' convention. I expected the next speaker to come out dressed like Napoleon and have a severe body tic. Maybe Tourette's Syndrome to go along with it. The other thought that jumped out at me was that if Bruce had thought he was a chicken and stapled feathers to his body, he wouldn't have won the ESPY. Message: It's OK to be insane, so long as it's about your crotch.

Elsewhere, Ben Shapiro, appearing on some TV freak show ESPY discussion as a panel guest, dared to call a transgendered guy, "Sir." Everyone went bananas and the transgendered dude threatened him. Ben was still able to make the ultimate point, as you can see here.

It's not just that we're embracing mental illness and delusion as a society, it's that most of us are fleeing from the enforcers of the mob that is fighting objective reality. The black guy on the panel who wasn't fond of Bruce Jenner's award made sure to let everyone know, in pathetic, abject surrender, that he thought Bruce was a woman, just like he should.

Bruce isn't a woman. Not in any biological sense of the word. He's playing dress up and American society is bowing down to him and agreeing that he is, indeed a woman.

Elsewhere, a Muslim man, well-connected with objective reality, gunned down 5 infidels. The post-modern progressives see no long-term threat in him, but an enormous one in people like Ben Shapiro. That's what happens when you discard objective reality.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How Can You Earn Enough Money To Repay Your Debts?

That's the question that no one is asking anywhere in the debt-ridden world. As we noted about Greece a while back, their primary industry is tourism. They sell postcards, sunglasses, hotel rooms, entrees and desserts, tour bus rides and so on. If they're going to take on more debt, they're going to have to answer the question, "How will we bring more customers into the country?" Instead, they're asking the question, "How can we borrow more money?"

Jim Jubak, one of my favorite financial commentators and one with a very level head, had this to say about the Greek deal;
The biggest problem with the deal, if there finally is a deal, is that the EuroZone has forced Greece down this road before and there is no reason to think that tax increases and cuts to government spending will stimulate growth in the Greek economy. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then this program is insane. This is a recipe for a contracting economy in Greece that will require more austerity that leads to even more of a decline in the Greek economy.
I love Jim, but this still doesn't ask the right question. What are they going to do earn more money? As  valued commenter Jedi Master Ivyan has noted after returning from a trip to Greece, the place is pretty wrecked and covered in graffiti. That means that the Greeks themselves are sabotaging their only real means of earning more money. If that's the case, then lending them any more money is a complete waste of time no matter what the PhD economists say.

This isn't exactly welcoming. 
"An eldery woman begs by the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

History Books And Modern Greece

Making my way through Churchill's A History of the English Speaking Peoples, I'm currently around the year 1150.

Bonus tidbit: In the 900s, England was semi-conquered by the Danes and assorted Vikings. The Norman conquest in 1066+ put England in the orbit of the much more Continentally important French instead of the peripheral Danes and Norwegians. That was better for the English in the long run.

In any case, in history books like this one, the years sweep by quickly. You can go through 10-20 years of developments in no time at all. It gives you a much larger scope than that which you have in the time you live. Right now, a lot of people are worried about upcoming elections or Planned Parenthood butchering and selling baby parts*. Allow me to suggest that graphs like this one are much more important from a historical perspective.

Greece's population by age.
It's a mathematical fact that 20 years from now, the majority of Greece's population will be over 60. Unless they import a culture-changing number of foreigners, by 2035, Greece will be a 3rd world country regardless of what happens to their loans.

* - Guilty as charged.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sunset Cliffs Sea

Yesterday was a typically beautiful day at Sunset Cliffs and this time, I took the trouble to snap a few photos. Below is my favorite of the bunch, kind of a brooding, yet hopeful sea. I left it large, so I think it's worth a click.

On a side note, I had scraps from a loaf of bread that I was throwing on the ground for the birds. That late in the day, there weren't any birds to pick it up, so it just lay there waiting for them. A woman was walking a really big dog in the area and when he caught sight of the bread scraps, he dragged her around trying to eat them. Whoops!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Will They Make Foie Gras With It?

It turns out that Planned Parenthood has been harvesting organs from freshly aborted babies.
New undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted unborn children and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts...

Nucatola admits that Planned Parenthood charges per-specimen for baby body parts, uses illegal partial-birth abortion procedures in order to get salable parts, and is aware of their own liability for doing so and takes steps to cover it up.

The buyers ask Nucatola, “How much of a difference can that actually make, if you know kind of what’s expected, or what we need?”

“It makes a huge difference,” Nucatola replies. “I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.
This can't come as much of a surprise given that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was as much a eugenicist as any of the Nazis. Harvesting the unfit, err, unwanted for the good of the Volk, err, people, would have been something she supported with her whole liver, err, heart.

Now the only thing Planned Parenthood lacks is a catchy tune. May I be the first to recommend this one?

The subtitles in multiple languages give this tune a real sense of the diversity so crucial to modern progressives! Doesn't it make you feel inclusive?

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Greek Deal Made Personal

... in round, approximate numbers.

The EU is offering the Greeks $90B in new loans. There are 10 million Greeks. That works out to loaning each Greek $9,000. Each Greeks earns $25,000 per year. That makes the loan 36% of their annual income.

Greeks aren't having many babies. They have one of the lowest birth rates in the world and their population is aging and will soon be declining. They're primary source of income is tourism. They have a growth rate around 0% and an unemployment rate around 25%.


The rest of Europe is lending an aging, marginally employed pack of tchotchke salesmen an amount equal to 36% of their annual income. There's no indication their income is going to increase in the near future and the birth rates show you, in no uncertain terms, that their expenses are going to be rising considerably very soon as they have to take care of the elderly.

Not to worry, economists expect boom times in the lucrative postcard and sunglasses industries.

And Here Comes The Shock

Faced with a choice between a total collapse into a 3rd World country and capitulation to their European lenders so they can borrow still more money, Greece's negotiators have opted for the latter.
Greeks greeted news of a deal with creditors on Monday with a measure of relief mixed with much anger, particularly at Germany, after it became clear Greece will have to swallow more austerity that could fracture the government and spark a backlash.

A sleep-deprived Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will fly back to Athens to sell an agreement that ended up being tougher than proposals Greeks overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum on July 5.
So they voted a few days ago to reject the evil banksters' offers of settlement, showed defiance to their creditors, lost most of their foreign credit, suffered runs on banks, stores, gas stations and more, had their banks close down due to capital flight, watched their pensioners weeping in the streets because they lacked money for rent or food and now ...

Prime Minister Tsipras returns in triumph from negotiating holding an agreement harsher than the one they rejected in the election.

Maybe socialists, when confronted with the inevitable starvation and destruction "social justice" brings, can comprehend the basic nature of lending - that if you don't service your loans, you don't get any more money. And if there's one thing socialists always need, it's more money.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, commenters on the story are less sanguine.
  • "By doubling down on Greece the EU is wasting another $90 billion. It is past time to let this ship sink."
  • "I'm betting they'll be back in two years, flat broke and even deeper in debt."
  • "Instead of admitting that the EU was a socialist failure and liquidating the failed experiment, the political elite foist more unpayable and uncollectable debt on the people of Europe. Never has the gulf between the socialist dreams of the European elite and the reality of their poison on the common European citizen been greater."
For me, the amazing thing is how the faithful continue to cling to the religion of social justice fascism in the face of harsh reality. Nowhere in the Greek news or interviews do I see anyone connecting producing with having. No one is saying, "We got into this mess because we don't make anything anyone wants at a price they're willing to pay." Instead, it's all politics all the time.

Crazy, man. Just crazy.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

When It Comes, It Will Be A Shock

... to those who have been raised in the post-modern West. The payoff to this Ekathimerini piece on Greeks dealing with the latest financial crisis comes in the last paragraph (emphasis mine). It still is amazing to me that the Greeks have no idea where their problems came from and continue to blame "bankers" and think that their Disneyland lives will continue on as they have before.
In the affluent Athens district of Kolonaki, Areti Georgilis said her bookstore, with a gallery and coffee shop, is on the brink of collapse: Sales are down 90 percent in 10 days. She had to dismiss two of her employees last week.

“This week I have to make the critical decision of whether to stay open or think of another city in Europe,” she said in front of shelves stocking titles by French philosophers and Russian novelists. “Until now I was a healthy business. Now foreign wholesalers have decreased my discount and credit.”

Efstathiou, a pharmacist in Athens who didn’t want to give her first name, said her immediate concern is supplies.

“There are many medicines we don’t have enough of,” she said, pointing to a piece of paper with about 30 drugs listed. “But I’m not worried. I think we will be OK.”

That optimism is shared by Tsipras’s supporters, according to Iliadou in Thessaloniki.

She voted “yes” to creditor proposals for more austerity in the Sunday referendum to ensure Greece stayed in the euro and banks reopened. Most of her employees, who are under 30, voted “no ” with the majority.

“People who voted ‘no’ are completely relaxed and not expecting any consequences,” said Iliadou. “The devoted followers of Tsipras absolutely honor him and believe this will end in a few days.”

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Britain And Rome

I picked up Volume 1 of Churchill's A History Of The English Speaking Peoples on Audible and am enjoying it thoroughly. Written in 1956, it is ignorant of those scourges of modern academia, diversity studies and political correctness. The writing is fresh and direct and Churchill doesn't clutch a string of pearls and faint at calling one group superior over another.

It's a good partner to The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire (itself written between 1776 and 1789). Whereas one tells the story of Rome falling apart through decadence and civil war, the other shows the effects of that decadence on Rome's furthest province, Britain. The Romans pacified Britain from 51 AD to about 400 AD. Despite being continually beset by barbarians, Roman military might was able to defend Britain and allow the citizens to live peaceful and prosperous lives.

When troops were removed from Britain to serve in campaigns on the Continent, typically on one side or another in a civil war or to fight off barbarians encouraged by a Roman army weakened by civil wars, the Romanized British were no longer able to defend their borders. Britain itself would have been self-sufficient in defense, but the Roman Empire dragged them back into barbarism as a result of it's own collapse.

Friday, July 10, 2015

ISIS And Our Social Justice Warriors

... are members of fundamentalist religious movements, destroying cultural icons they hate.

There's a Wall Street Journal article today discussing how lots of Confederate war memorials are under attack with plenty of people in favor of pulling them down. Like ISIS smashing cultural monuments they hate, the SJWs are doing this as an homage to their gods. In the case of ISIS, it's Allah. In the case of the SJWs, it's themselves. It's an appeal to a higher power, the sacrifice of a defeated foe after a battle to appease a god.

In neither case can the religious zealots point to actual mechanisms by which this destruction will cause good things to happen. For the SJWs, after they're done wrecking the monuments and go back to binge-watching shows on Netflix, blacks in our inner cities will continue to be shot, robbed and raped in huge numbers. Black lives may matter to them, but it's hard to see how those lives will be any better afterwards. ISIS has a slightly better case in that their destruction is part of a war of extermination and is a message to their routed foes: Get out and don't come back!

On the other hand, what if the Social Justice Warriors are carrying out sort of a war of extermination as well?


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Live And Let Die

In Portland, Oregon (pop: 580,000+), a bakery declined to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage. The owners cited their religious beliefs which defined marriage based on reproductive biology, one man-one woman. They were sued and a judge not only fined them $135,000, a sum sufficient to wipe out their small business, but placed a gag order on them so they could not talk about their beliefs on marriage within their store.

As a flint-hearted conservative, I'm used to the accusations that I am a social Darwinist, happy to watch the less fortunate die living in cardboard boxes under freeway overpasses*. As someone who believes in objective morality, I'm supposed to be closed-minded and judgmental, insisting that everyone live my way.

Progressives are supposed to be different. That's the whole selling point of the thing. They're all live and let live sorts, happy to prance about, handing flowers to everyone, their cars festooned with "Coexist" and "Arms are for hugging" bumper stickers.

I'm beginning to think that was all a lot of nonsense. When they use the legal system as a Gestapo to track down and destroy anyone who thinks differently from them, it seems that live and let live isn't exactly their motto. When the aggrieved gays chose to attack rather than go to any one of a large number of other bakeries in the Portland region, I'd say they're more the live and let die sort.

How very caring of them.

* - or even over freeway underpasses. I'm not picky.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Shanghai Composite - The Very Picture Of Volatility

You're in for one wild ride when you invest in Shanghai!

Lays Potato Chips Have An Evolutionary Advantage

At work, one of my buddies brings in boxes of assorted chips from Costco for all of us to share. By the time we get to the last few bags, all that's left are the Lays potato chips. Clearly, over a long period of evolution, Lays potato chips developed some kind of competitive advantage over the other chips. They must have, because they are able to evade their ecosystem's predators much better than the rest.

We're not sure what it is. They may have some kind of camouflage, a painful sting, a bitter taste, coloring like another kind of chip which is poisonous, it could be any number of things.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Have We Reached Peak Stupidity Yet?

Good Lord, I hope so.

That's the New York Times. Awesome.

Monday, July 06, 2015

I Blame The Confederate Flags

Chicago must be festooned with them.

It was another weekend of mayhem in Chicago with 46 shot and 9 killed. Looking for a news video on YouTube about the carnage, I found the one below from June, 2010. In between now and then, there have been marches and protests and riots and flags and monuments removed and nothing has changed.

Maybe it wasn't about the symbols and the talk after all. Maybe there's something bigger going on, like the obliteration of the traditional family and objective morality.

Nahhh. It's the Confederate flag. Once we get all of those things down and scrub all of the Confederate war memorials off the Earth, we'll be fine.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Fruits Of Political "Compassion"

... can be seen in this letter to the Financial Times. Here's a tidbit.
Sir, Memory. No memory of life before the financial crisis; politics has dominated it ever since. But now I can hardly remember life before Friday night. Fear. I am terrified of tomorrow, all I now see is black. Uncertainty, leading us through our days, every remainder of hope for a brighter future being destroyed by the minute. I look at my three-year-old niece, I envy her ignorance, I envy her age. I am 21 years old and the past few days I feel tired by life. A referendum that supposedly gives me the right to define my future, seems to have taken it away.

There are hundreds of people queueing at the ATMs and petrol stations, there is silence in the streets, people’s faces are frozen. This is the reality since Friday night. There are, and have been for a long time, people literally starving. However, it seems that instead of their situation improving, the rest of us will have no different a fate.
That's what progressive compassion looks like in its final stages.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Family Roles

... vary greatly.

Our recent losses within the Catican Compound have underlined this. Our Maximum Leader lent whatever room she was in an air of grace, dignity and calm. She'd wander in and then lie down and idly watch what was going on. It was all peace and serenity.

Ellie, our 5-year-old Chihuahua-Cocker mix, provided spark and energy to us all. With her passing, everyone is mopey and lethargic. Part of that is our mourning, of course, and will fade with time. While Katie's death at 16 was sad, but expected, this one was a kick in the stomach. Several kicks, actually. You can't escape the feeling that something hugely important is missing everywhere you go. We're lacking the family member who wiggled just for the sake of wiggling*.

So that's where we are in this 4th of July. I hope yours is a lot better than ours.

* - Ellie had a licking fetish. When excited, she would lick whatever was handy - a part of your body, the seat of the couch or even just the air. She was always happy and full of fun.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Lizard In A Pot

I'm a bit shell-shocked today, so I'm posting photos and then going away. This little chappie was seen in our back yard. I left them large, so they might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Ellie, The Smaller Catican Guard, 2010-2015

This has been a pretty brutal week here in the Catican Compound. Her Serene Furriness had to be put down on Monday and her smaller Guard had to be put down today. While Katie The Cat was 16 and her passing was somewhat expected, Ellie was 5 and stricken with sudden, acute kidney failure. We never discovered the cause, it just wiped out her kidneys and that was that.

She was a Chihuahua-Cocker mix and weighed 12 pounds. She should have lasted another 10-12 years.

I'm at a loss for a eulogy right now.

On the way home from the groomers, looking mah-velous, dahling!

Ellie in her natural habitat. Being a nut on the couch.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Greek Collapse

When I worked at Catholic Charities, we used to get lots of elderly customers coming in for food who had too much month and too little money. When I saw the scenes below from Greece on YouTube and lots more like them elsewhere, my heart went out to these people.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. Since they chose not to have many children, there aren't a whole lot of young Greeks to take care of the elderly. Without pension checks, they're going to suffer a great deal.

When I was in Russia about 16 years ago, there were lots of elderly people begging on the street. Looks like that's coming back into fashion in Greece.

I could make snarky comments about the progressives and how they've excoriated "greedy" people like me for voting and arguing against welfare programs and big pensions, but these images are too sad for that. Suffice it to say that this is what happens when you separate earning from receiving, at least at the macro level.