Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Deep Embarrassment For Wolves

Thousands of years ago, wild wolves, roaming the forests of what is now Yorkshire, knew this would be one of their descendants and were humiliated.

On the plus side, she's a real sweetie who likes to cuddle and get treats.
No, she's not our dog.

Monday, February 27, 2017

As Long As She Doesn't Celebrate With A Coors Light, It's OK

A mentally ill girl in Texas, juiced to her eyeballs with drugs by her abusive parents*, just won the girls' state wrestling championships after an undefeated season. She thinks she's a boy and they're dosing her heavily with testosterone. I guess that if she thought she was Napoleon, they'd be suing France to give her control of that country.

Unsurprisingly, testosterone made her stronger, faster and more aggressive. Much like the results you see when boys' soccer teams obliterate women's Olympic teams, she threw her opponents around like rag dolls while breezing to victory.
Beggs pinned Kailyn Clay earlier Saturday to reach the final. That was after he (sic) beat Taylor Latham and Mya Engert handily on Friday to reach the semifinals.

In the semifinals, the match was halted for a couple of minutes because Beggs had a bloody nose. Trainers finally managed to stop the bleeding and the fight resumed. Not long after, Beggs slammed Clay on the mat and pinned her.
Fortunately, this is all quite legal. There's nothing in the rules or the law to prevent parents from loading their daughter up with mind- and body- altering drugs, the treatment presumably begun before she reached the age of consent.

If all of this bothers you, don't let it. Our culture isn't completely insane. She may be getting life-changing drugs which will doom her future before her cognitive abilities have fully developed, but we're not going to let her have a beer for another 4 years.

Giving children beer is wrong.
* - The drugging of their daughter is a predecessor, you understand, to the time when they have a doctor hack off her breasts. Lovely people, these.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Mental Power Of Prayer

You can reshape the pathways of your brain through deliberate thought. It can be for good or ill. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) seeks to change you for the better.
CBT aims to help people become aware of when they make negative interpretations, and of behavioral patterns which reinforce the distorted thinking. Cognitive therapy helps people to develop alternative ways of thinking and behaving which aims to reduce their psychological distress.
Porn seeks to change you for the worse.
Once the reward centre is altered, a person will compulsively seek out the activity or place that triggered the dopamine discharge. (Like addicts who get excited passing the alley where they first tried cocaine, the patients got excited thinking about their computers.) They crave despite negative consequences. (This is why those patients could crave porn without liking it.) Worse, over time, a damaged dopamine system makes one more "tolerant" to the activity and needing more stimulation, to get the rush and quiet the craving. "Tolerance" drives a search for ramped-up stimulation, and this can drive the change in sexual tastes towards the extreme.
How about prayer? I've been praying for my friend over the last couple of days as well as abstaining from my favorite vices. My prayer has been the Rosary, said while thinking of good times together. I can't help breaking down from time to time as I pray. It can get pretty intense.

Question: Won't repeated acts like this rewire my brain to be more sympathetic and loving towards others?


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sometimes You Need A Fighter

... and nothing else will do.

I'm a huge Jonah Goldberg fan. I read all of his books and almost all of his columns. I usually listen to whatever podcasts he's on. I find him informed, witty, well-considered as well as consistent, both intellectually and morally. He didn't support Trump, pointing out his many flaws and currently points out the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of Trump supporters. If lying was bad for Hillary, then it's bad for Trump. If executive power grabs were wrong for Obama, they're wrong for Trump. And so on.

Having said that, I differ with him about the value of the pugnacious-cons like Milo, Steve Bannon and others. Like a promising football team that has slow wide receivers, there's only so far you can go without adding talent at those positions. Fans get tired of watching the team lose because they lack deep threats.

I'm an even bigger Andrew Klavan fan. His podcast is the only one I don't miss and his Klavan on the Culture videos are still treats to me, no matter how many times I watch them. He frequently talks about how conservatives need to get involved in the culture wars beyond simply tut-tutting about political speeches at the Oscars, degenerate lyrics in music and lockstep groupthink in the universities. I differ with him as well about the importance of Milo and other outrageous performers.

Here's what they're both missing. I'm tired of sitting quietly while progressive institutions like the press, academia and the entertainment industry label me. I'm tired of the racism, sexism, homophobia and islamophobia accusations. I'm absolutely over the goon tactics, the thuggery, the sneering and the moral posing on the left. It's all well and good to write essays proving the accusations are scurrilous, but sometimes you need to, as Obama said, punch back twice as hard. Like a football team that's down by 17, you've got to have those deep threats who can take post patterns to the house. I want someone who's going to flip them the bird, loudly and in public. I want a George Carlin or a Lenny Bruce.

Milo has been unique in this. On the left, there's Colbert, Stewart, the View and on and on. Vapid, ignorant, one-sided bigots, all of them. Until Breitbart and then Milo, we had nothing. Sure, we've got Ben Shapiro who is a once-in-a-generation talent at shredding people in debates with cold, cruel logic, but he's not charming. Andrew and Jonah are funny, but they're not brutal, they're not going to make you pump your fist. Milo is that missing piece.

People make purchasing decisions based on emotions, not logic. If you can't engage their hearts, you're not going to be a good salesman. Yes, you have to have a good product with clear benefits, but if that's all you've got, your sales will remain modest. Combine a great product with an engaging sales campaign and you're in business. Brilliant essays in the National Review are great product, but they don't capture the heart.

Andrew is right, you've got to engage in the culture war. National Review and Ben Shapiro in debates aren't part of the culture the way Jon Stewart was. Milo took that spot. Yes, he's a provocateur and a nut, yes he's damaged goods and has serious issues, yes to all of that and more. So what? He finally punched back in a way that made you laugh. He was absolutely brutal on stage in a way that was flamboyant, stylish and crazy. He was entertaining. You wanted to see more. You dialed in to his YouTube videos because you wanted to see what nutty things he was going to say today.

Now that Milo's on the injured reserve, so to speak, who's going to play that role?

Milo, taking it to the house.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Prayer And Abstinence Are Easy

... with the right motivation.

Life is a series of linked stories with you as the hero. Some episodes are plodding and some are filled with action and adventure. No adventure story takes place in the middle of a patch of mundane life. "Harry ate his corn flakes and read the newspaper before leaving for work that day," followed by seven chapters of similar prose isn't found in any Tom Clancy novels.

Of all the demands of Christian life, I've always found prayer and abstinence the hardest. I hate the repetitive and daily prayer is just that. If one beer is good, two must be better is my life's motto. There's more beside that, but you can see where it's going. I've vowed to change and struggled with these things, but never successfully for long, despite research and plans and many, many different approaches. My motivations have always been too inchoate to drive the plot very far.

I blogged a while back about a recovered alcoholic friend of mine who told me that you give up addictions (or, in this case, sloth and vice), when faced with a choice between the vice and something you love more. That's where the adventure story really gets going.

A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer. Yesterday on the phone, his wife, speaking to mine, broke down and begged us to pray for him. I didn't know it was all that serious until then. Life was going on as normal and John just needed some surgery and maybe a bit of radiation. I was back from Paso with a case of excellent micro-brews, looking forward to more sloth and self-indulgence. So much for that.

I don't see prayer and abstinence as a negotiating tool, a lever to be used with God to force Him to do something for me. Instead, it's an acknowledgement of need. He knows what kinds of creatures we are; He formed us. I don't know where prayer and sacrifice for my friend going to lead, only that it must be done. Perhaps it ends with a cure, perhaps with growing closer to Christ. It's the turn in the adventure story where the hero has to make a choice and take action to achieve some kind of a good ending out of a bad situation.

Sometimes, we sneer at people who take up religious activities only when crises hit, but isn't that the nature of an adventure story? Would we criticize Han Solo for reading a book in bed instead of prowling around the Millenium Falcon with his gun drawn when there's absolutely nothing happening? We'd think it was silly and way over-wrought. Well, this isn't over-wrought, it's serious. It's a call to action in a way my vague desires to pray and abstain weren't.

Doctors, nurses and Big Pharma will take corporeal action to help my friend. Their adventure stories will be filled with deeds. Mine will be the spiritual quest of purification for John's sake. Life has taken a turn and an adventure story has begun.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Some Travel Advice

We just got back from a fun, long weekend in Paso Robles / Cambria. We drank wine in Paso, but stayed at a house in Cambria. Here are two recommendations.

First, bring a big, cast-iron skillet with you. I brought my largest, a 15" monster. You can never trust the homeowners who rent through VRBO to have decent cookware and since food is so critical to a good time, it pays to bring your own. A single one will do, no need to bring a bunch of them. We ended up using mine for every breakfast and dinner. Since we drove, packing it was no big deal.

Sadly, the house had an electric stove instead of gas and even the big cast iron couldn't distribute the heat just right. Still, it did the job better than just about anything else could. One of those dreadful, thin, metal skillets would have just burned everything.

Sauteeing shrooms in the big, cast-iron brute. Note the horrid electric stove.
Second, on your first morning, make a bunch of bacon and store the grease in a small bowl in the fridge for later use. There's nothing like cooking with bacon grease, but it's silly to bring it with you or buy it. We did this and then I used it to make a wonderful sausage, shrimp and crab gumbo the last night. Spectacular!

There. That's it for now. A pair of tips for your next trip. Bon apetit!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Little Bit About Milo

So Milo Yiannopoulis, the gay, conservative, comic troll, was invited to speak at CPAC. When it was revealed he seemed to have endorsed pedophilia, the invitation was rescinded. His meteoric career flamed out in a matter of 48 hours.

I've always liked Milo because he poked fun at stuck-up prigs, something comics used to do. Now many of the comics are the stuck-up prigs. I've always been leery of Milo because you felt he was walking on the edge of a volcano. He would dramatically hint at the details of his personal life, but it didn't make you want to see more, it made you wince and wonder if this was the time the volcano was going to erupt.

Well, this time it did.

Milo is such a well-known figure in political circles by now that his last name is almost superfluous, like Cher's. His antics have drawn out violent, stuck-up prigs at universities across the country, revealing them for the humorless, sour, ugly, dull-witted thugs that they are. He drew them out into the open and we all opened fire with gales of derisive laughter. It was glorious.

Despite my affection for him, I think it's a mistake to rush to draw parallels and accuse the left of hypocrisy for the piling on they're doing over this self-destruction. Milo deserves it and that fact stands alone. Instead, I'd suggest there's another lesson that not many people are learning.

By fetishizing "disadvantaged" groups, we seem to be whitewashing their sins away at the same time. Black lives matter until the black lives are ones wrecked by other blacks, as they are in ghastly numbers. See also: black family, destruction of. It's a pathology that dare not speak its name.

Similarly, we've turned our eyes from the troubles of the gay community. Promiscuity, violence and more, we don't just deny that they exist, to even raise them as issues is to put a target on your chest for cries of "Homophobia!" (Just what is fearful about concern for others is beyond me.) Wasn't Milo destroyed by one of the things we fear is going on behind the scenes in the gay community? In the interview that wrecked his career, he suggested that it's somewhat common. Is it real? Is it not? Who knows, we're not allowed to even discuss it.

Yes, the left has been totally hypocritical about this. The right is, too, when the shoe's on the other foot. That's what political groups do. Milo, however, isn't just a political weapon. He's a person.

The whole thing reminds me of the times when an NFL player turns out to have been beating his wife or sleeping around and leaving bastard children in his wake. We always deal with the individual as if he's asymptomatic when he might not be.

Oh well. At least we can get back to the real conversation that we all want to have. Pointing political fingers and yelling.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Donald Trump Caused The Swedish Riots

... that much is certain. But how? That's the question on my mind. What was the mechanism for it?

You wake up in the morning with a bunch of things to do for the day. You need to clean out the rain gutters and Aysha has asked you to go to the store and pick up a new hijab, size 52. Since the woman's body is completely covered, there's no real point in her watching her diet and not putting on the tonnage. Mohammed, why didn't you think of that, you wonder, semi-blasphemously.

After school, little Achmed has soccer practice and Fatima has a piano recital next week and she's been struggling with the bridge part of the composition. If you don't sit with her while she plays, she has a tendency to daydream and nothing gets done. And then, of course, is the meeting of the Library Guild. Since translating books into Arabic is pointless (those infidels know nothing of value), it's more of an honorary post than a practical one, but still, the meeting must be attended.

Sitting with your morning coffee, you read that Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, said there was some kind of disturbance in Sweden, thanks to Muslim immigrants like yourself.

At this point, things become a bit hazy. All you know is that you come back to your senses a few hours later and find yourself standing near a Volvo that's engulfed in flames, you've got dirt and scratches on your hands, a mask over your face and your eyes are watering from tear gas.

It's a mystery alright. Something for science to solve.

Maybe the same folks who are studying Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change can take a break from their work and look into it. It sounds like it would be right up their alley.

Paso Robles Vineyard

This might be my favorite shot from our trip. I tried cropping out the road, but didn't like the results nearly as much. I feel like the asphalt gives a foundation for the scene. In any case, I left it really large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Easiest Way To Put An End To The Crazy Student Loan Problem

... would be to teach kids about debt in school.

I learned to avoid debt from my father. We taught it to our kids. None of them have a cent of student loan debt. Meanwhile, the rest of the country has gone debt-mad for degrees, many of which will never pay off. Why weren't these kids taught to weigh costs and benefits in high school?

Possibly because the student loan racket is a ginormous gravy train for the education industry.

Here's an excellent, related essay.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Simple Key To Success: Get And Stay Married

Once big discoveries are made in a particular field, scientists fall to tackling smaller and smaller ones until they're dealing with relatively trivial issues. Being scientists, they still want to trumpet their findings and, needing to sell newspapers, reporters still want to make a big deal out of them. The reader, however, is probably not affected much by these progressively smaller discoveries and could tune out without much risk.

Marriage, as studied by sociologists, is one such field. It was discovered long, long ago that marriage gives you an advantage in life. For one thing, jokes about your wife are a lot funnier than ones about "my co-habitating, semi-committed partner." Without marriage, the prose is unruly and the punchline gets lost. Here's another example from one of my favorite writers, Megan McArdle.
However, that doesn’t necessarily tell us whether selection effects are at work. A society’s values about marriage aren’t the only thing that affect the stability of its unions; economic forces also undoubtedly play a role, for example, and those vary widely by country. A simple international comparison cannot tell us whether anything we discover is selection effect or causation.
This bit of obfuscating drivel is from an essay pondering the alleged chicken-and-egg problem of the superiority of marriage over shacking up. It's obvious one exists. That's the big discovery from long ago. Now sociologists are debating whether this is a cause or an effect. Studies are done, correlations are found and the press rushes about with each new one telling us whatever fits their preferred narrative. Today, it would be anything supporting homosexuals.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, these discoveries have the same impact on our lives as French avant-garde art. None at all. It doesn't matter if the correlations point one way or another. Get and stay married. There, that's it. Now we can all go cook delicious food and watch the game with friends while the eggheads sit in the study alone, arguing about t-tests and cross-correlations.

For the love of Pete, how many times can we hit the woodwork in one game and not score? Newcastle should have won this one 4-2 at least.

Say, has anyone seen Megan? Dinner is almost ready. Could someone go see if she's still in the study?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Schadenfreude For The Elites

I can't watch an awards show anymore without being lectured and told I'm a jerk.

I can barely pick out a movie without finding one that calls me a jerk and makes me the villain.

There's almost no news coming out of the universities that doesn't let me know that academia thinks I'm a jerk and would refuse to let me speak if I was invited.

I can't watch the news without seeing stark evidence that stories painting me as a jerk have been emphasized to fit the narrative that I am a jerk.

These people hate me. They've hated me for years. This has been going on as long as I can remember and it's only gotten worse as time goes by.

So when Trump holds a press conference and lets some of these "elites" have it with both barrels, I love it. LOVE IT. Ooh, he's lying! Ooh, he misspoke! Ha! Like I care. I'm beyond words with joy at seeing them get it good and hard. I know it goes against the theologian in me, but I don't give a hoot any more. The pleasure button in my limbic system is being pressed and pressed and pressed and pressed. God, does this feel good.

The following tweet sums it up for me, save for the part that somehow Trump has done this to the press and the rest of the "elites." They did this to themselves by hating me.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Have No Idea What's Going On

The news media has become so totally polarized that it sounds more like yelling and shouting than news these days. The only source I trust any more is the Wall Street Journal. Everything else is howling mad.

It's not just the Trump hysteria. (Chaos! It's all chaos!) It's the Trump hysteria after 8 years of licking the sweat off Obama's body. Every time I'm told I need to be buying shotgun shells and bottled water because Trump did something that seems pretty innocuous, I remember, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" and the total lack of hysteria over that.

Trump's tweets don't seem to be costing me much of anything. In fact, my 401K is waxing fat and prosperous. ObamaCare was a real kick in the head as my premiums went through the roof.

So now we have hysteria, but nothing concrete. Then we had bliss and happiness, but big costs.
How is anyone supposed to know what's real and what's not?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Evernote Or Something Else?

Being cheap, when Evernote went to its paid model, charging $35 a year for full access, I punted on it and since then, I've not had a good way to share things I find on the web across all my devices.

I'm currently working on multiple projects where I need to do this. The MGB schematics, a Cursillo website, this blog, good recipes and more, all would benefit from being able to store tips, tricks and details.

What do you use? I've been emailing myself links, but that's pretty horrible. Evernote does what I want, but I'm not sure if there's something better. Any suggestions?

Writing this, I'm quickly talking myself into springing for the $35 a year plan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

If You Give A Man A Fish

... he will eat for a day.

If you give a woman a fish, she'll say, "A fish?!? On Valentine's Day? You got me a fish?!? What kind of idiot gives his girlfriend a fish? Of all the stupid gifts, this has to be the worst! Mother was right about you! I should have kept dating Jack."

Don't lose your girl to Jack. Don't give her a fish today.

Monday, February 13, 2017

You Know You Married Well When

... your wife suggests you sell one of your cars and buy either a pickup truck or an old El Camino and she's perfectly fine if the thing was built in the 1960s.

Praise Jesus!

We've been without a pickup for a year now, my old 1984 Nissan having been practically given to a young, Hispanic dude who was doing some roofing work for us. Furthermore, ever since I got rid of the FredMobile, I have vowed to never buy another car made after 1970. I like to work on cars and I want one that's easy to maintain. My BMW-loving wife gets a say in this as well, but as all three of our running cars right now are BMWs bought for her, she's more than happy to sell one and let me pick out an old brute to haul things.

Awesome Day

On a related note, I had one of my best days in a long time yesterday. My MGB electrical restoration project has gotten to the point where the ignition system is completely wired and the right voltages are getting to the right places when you turn the key, except ... nothing happens. There are three problems to diagnose.
  1. There's a ground in the distributor.
  2. The starter is just sitting there, doing nothing.
  3. The fuel pump isn't pumping anything,
Other than that, everything's fine. 

I was unhappy with this at first when I realized I needed to start pulling things apart, but I realized that was just an emotional reaction due to thinking I was so close to finishing this. Once I started yanking stuff off the car, I remembered how much I love mechanical work. I cranked up the TobyMac on the garage Sonos and in no time at all, I had the radiator and distributor off. There's a single bolt on the starter that's a real swine, hidden away like a pirate's buried treasure, so I'll need to put the MG up on jacks to get at it. In any case, yesterday was fun.

Returning to the topic of the post, I'm looking forward to getting another car with which it's so easy to play. Maybe something like this.

I have to admit, I'm not completely sold on an El Camino. While stylish, the bed isn't all that big and hauling 8' or 10' pieces of lumber will still be problematic.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

If Self-awareness Could Come In An Injection

... we might all be better off. Assuming we'd be willing to get the shot.

I've been unfollowing, but not unfriending, people on Facebook quite a bit lately. There's lots of them who feel the need to post anti-Trump rants, stories and videos. I don't go to Facebook to be yelled at, I go to see pictures of your pets, kids and vacations. Whatever it is that you've found on the Internet that has you all wound up isn't going to convince me of anything. Please stop.

What gets me the most about the rants is how clueless they are. These are the progressives, the liberals, the champions of the little guy. Well, the little guy just gave them the big, fat finger and there's not even a hint of reflection about the event. All the Smart People voted for the shrill criminal. It was the WalMart customers who voted for the narcissist. It doesn't seem to occur to the liberals that if the working poor hated their candidate and hated her platform and hated the policies of their beloved Lightworker president, they might be doing something wrong.

The implicit reply: "Nope, nothing is wrong at all with my viewpoint. Take a look at this Robert Reich video or this litany of lies from the Trumpkins or this story of a illegal immigrant who was kicked out of the country. Aren't you as filled with hate and rage as I am?"

No, I'm not and I don't know how to say it without touching off a firestorm of nasty comments. Please. Stop.

Finally, these are the same people who know with mathematical certainty that they're open-minded, tolerant and compassionate. Then they scream at me on Facebook, never suspecting that I don't think they're any of those three things. In fact, it's clear to me that they're angry, closed-minded bigots. You don't dare say that on Facebook as those are your friends.

On Twitter and this blog, I feel differently, I learn by writing and speaking, so this blog is a tutorial for me. It's semi-anonymous, so I don't have any problem posting polemics, screeds and rants. I can be just as intolerant as the next guy and this is my forum for yelling. Dittos for Twitter. There, I try to be less abrasive, but I still do it sometimes.

The choice in 2016 was between a crazy man and a bloodsucking, criminal harpy. I can easily take the crazy man because I'm pro-life and the harpy is fully satisfied with the abortion death camps running at a top speed that would have been the envy of the Nazis. That's just one reason. I'm also no longer afraid that taking Little Sisters of the Poor to the Supreme Court to force them to buy contraceptives was just another step on the road to religious suppression.

Yep the crazy man is crazy and he crazily does crazy things like it's crazy time in crazy town. Oh well. Here's a cat picture. Look at it and take a chill pill, dudes and dudettes. Your howling isn't changing my mind.

Her Serene Furiness, Maddi the Cat.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

On Blogging And Arthritis

Today is the Post's 11th Blogiversary. I've often considered quitting this thing, but I can't. I find it a struggle to just miss a day. Hooray for OCD!

As years go by, things change and not just one's typing speed*. Things break down.

Years and years ago, I practiced kung fu. I got good enough to where if I fought an octogenarian nun, there was a 50-50 chance that it would end with me pulling a muscle and falling down while she laughed at me. In any case, for one of my sash tests, I had to break boards with a variety of strikes and both hands. I remember that when I was practicing my leopard's fist strike with my left hand, I used improper form and drove the knuckles of my middle finger right through the back of my elbow.

Well, that's the way it felt, at least.

Anyway, earlier this week, I started having pain in one of those knuckles it was difficult to bend. I thought nothing of it, but it persisted until I realized what it was. Arthritis. It took a couple of days to recall the old kung fu injury and put two and two together.

Something I've noticed as I age is that things start to break and you realize that they're never going to get better. It's still at the wry amusement stage for me as I can look at the damaged body part and say, "Hmm. Well that's not gonna heal" and smile.

So there you have it. 11 years of typing like a madman on a keyboard and arthritis. I've got the flu today**, too, but that will get better. I hope your day is a good one. Me, I'm going to lay around and watch soccer.

* - I've unintentionally become pretty fast touch typist.

** - I'm blogging with the flu. See what I go through for you people? ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Farewell To Class

So Fauxcahontas tried to stop the confirmation of that crazy bigot, Jeff Sessions, by reading from a letter by Coretta Scott King. When I heard about that, I thought, "Wow. Is there anyone less relevant today than Coretta? Maybe Reagan. Or Nat King Cole. Or anyone with any class at all."

MLK is rolled out with regularity to defend a group whose popular music lyrics can't be quoted on this blog because I refuse to swear in prose. Ridiculous. Understated beauty on the order of Nancy Reagan at Ronnie's side is somehow analogous to the guttersnipe Trumps as The Donald is compared to the Gipper. Right.

Look, I love 80s heavy metal, but I also get that Ratt isn't Hoagie Carmichael. Maybe it's time we stopped getting wound up about Lady Gaga's horrific fashion and Trump's crude insults and just accept that the old days aren't here any more.

Pure class.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Best Toaster Oven In The Galaxy

... is the Cuisinart TOB-135.

A toaster oven that proves the existence of God.
We tried a bargain one from Target or WalMart or somewhere like that and it was horrid. It had an analog timer marked in 10-minute increments. Thanks, geniuses. Toast takes about 6 minutes. At 10 minutes, it's a charred wreck. The Cuisinart has a digital timer so it's just as easy to pick 5 minutes, 12 seconds as it is 30 minutes.

Second, the old one had a spring-loaded front door which made noises like it was meant to be in a Vincent Price horror movie. SQUUEEEEAAAKKKKKKKK-CRRRREEEEAAAAKKKKKK-GAAAHHHHHHHHH! The Cuisinart's door is so silent that you half expect it to whisper an apology every time you open it. "Oh my word, I made the slightest whisper. I crave your indulgence, sir. I shall never do it again."

As for toasting and cooking things, well, even the old one could do that, but is that a great accomplishment? I mean, we've been cooking things for millennia. Even a toad of a toaster oven can do that.

No, where it counts, the Cuisinart is fantastic, fabulous, wonderful, amazing, awesome. If you don't have one in your kitchen, I assure you, your friends and neighbors will mock you behind your back. And if they don't, mine will, the rude swine. Why, I could tell you stories of gossip and backbiting that would curl your hair. This one time, we opened a window only to hear ...

Hmm. I seem to have gotten off track.


Anyway, the Cuisinart TOB-135 is pretty cool. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Next Up: Soldering And PCBs

I'm pondering using a printed circuit board (PCB) in the engine compartment of my MGB to make the connections between the wires coming from the cockpit, the rear and the engine and front lights. The PCB would also house relays and fuses. It would eliminate what could end up as a rat's nest of wires, but at the cost of having to learn new skills and technologies.

Below is a video showing how to solder ordinary components to a PCB.I can do that, but I'm kind of worried about doing the same thing with connectors and components that don't use small wires, but instead use 1/4" blade connectors.

Oh well. The only way out is through.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Everything Is Political And Yet Nothing Is Political

... how very zen things have become.

My Facebook timeline has become peppered with liberals and progressives in varying degrees of freakout mode, decrying whatever it is Trump is doing right now. Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, Russia, on and on the list goes. Some of them are sharing phone numbers for congresscritters and urging each other to call and ask for ... what?

Call your representatives all you want, you little swine. I'm going to rule by decree.
Political outrage has so saturated our culture, thanks to the left politicizing everything by getting the government involved in everything, that just yesterday we had a 3-hour political debate and a football game broke out right in the middle of it! I suspect some people got bored with political ads and decided to have some fun with sports instead. Good for them. I don't think I could stand watching another hour of Google and Audi tell me what a creep I am.

Where was I? Oh yes, the irrelevancy of it all.

As the government has grown, the mechanisms for running the government through the passage of laws in Congress have broken down. Obamacare is a perfect example of this. When taking over such a huge portion of the economy, it's simply impossible to write a law, even in 1,000+ pages, that will cover all cases. In order to deal with this issue, the law gives the bureaucracy control. Mark Steyn summarized it quite well.
As Philip Klein pointed out in the American Spectator two years ago, the Obamacare bill contained 700 references to the Secretary "shall," another 200 to the Secretary "may," and 139 to the Secretary "determines." So the Secretary may and shall determine pretty much anything she wants, as the Obamaphile rubes among the Catholic hierarchy are belatedly discovering. His Majesty King Barack "shall have full power and authority to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities whatsoever they be." In my latest book, I cite my personal favorite among the epic sweep of Commissar Sebelius' jurisdictional authority:

"The Secretary shall develop oral healthcare components that shall include tooth-level surveillance."
That power didn't go away with King Barack. It stuck around and now it's in the hands of King Trump.

Executive orders are no big deal. They are what executives hand out in the daily job of executiving. Executive orders become a big deal when you hand the executive's underlings nearly unlimited power. Which we have done.

Charles Murray, in his book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, details just how untouchable the bureaucracy is. If you have a dispute with them over one of their regulations, you can take them to court.

The court, unfortunately, will be within their jurisdiction. You didn't think you were going to get a jury, did you? Ha! No, you have to go through layers regulatory review, performed by the agency you are fighting, before you can escape into the sunny uplands of the American legal system and spend a wad on lawyers trying to fight regulations on the order of tooth-level surveillance.

Circling back around to our main point, there is no purpose being served by calling your representatives when they have no power any more. This was the whole point of the socialist idiocy of the left, but they're mostly too dense to see it. They kept agitating for more and more power for the government, breaking most of the levers of control in Congress and now, gasp!, the Deplorables went out and voted in that unwashed pig, Donald Trump. So now all that power they cheerfully handed to the government is in the hands of sexist, racist, homophobes. Whoops!

The most fascinating thing to watch is how they're not learning the lesson, government governs best which governs least, but are actually wasting their time and energy marching and protesting and making phone calls. What a bunch of morons! The system is doing exactly what they wanted it to do. It's completely impervious to assaults, not just by greedy corporations and racist political organizations, but to lefty citizens as well!


As Jonah Goldberg might say, you'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh uproariously at the utter futility of their efforts.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Because Sometimes, You Just Need To See A Chihuahua On A Pillow

Lily, aka Grandma, the smallest of the Catican Guards.
We call her Grandma because she eats, walks and does pretty much everything slowly and deliberately.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Prostitutes, Thugs And Trump Supporters

I have to tell you, I'm getting pretty sick of the violent protests against President Trump* where no one or almost no one is arrested. For some reason, behavior that would land me in jail for multiple years is perfectly OK when it's done by mobs of deranged progressives or even individual, deranged progressives. I've got a suggestion for putting an end to this.

Vice squads typically send out female police officers dressed as prostitutes to known red-light districts with male, plainclothes police officers nearby. When a John propositions the young woman, an arrest is made. Why not do the same thing on college campuses and cities where the protests are out of control?

Put a plainclothes cop in a Make America Great Again hat in a public place, film it from all angles and have plenty of backup readily available. When the lefty goons mace, punch or otherwise molest the cop, make arrests. In short order, the word would get out and it would become a lot safer for conservatives on the streets.

He might be a cop with reinforcements nearby. You never know.
* - It's still really weird to type or read "President Trump." I wonder how long the feeling will last.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

A Wall Of Fog

Coming home the other night, I saw this wall of fog making its way across the coast, going south to north. I was able to photograph it with some success. I wish I'd had a drone to get a high-altitude shot without cars and trees and wires and houses in the way. Oh well. I got what I got. Enjoy!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Maybe If They Taught History At Berkeley, This Sort Of Thing Wouldn't Happen

Looking back into the past, it's not uncommon to find examples of places which were razed to the ground and the people slain or imprisoned after having killed or insulted the king's son or minister. That sort of thing has been traditionally frowned upon by autocratic rulers.

Milo Yiannopoulos is a very popular columnist for Breitbart News. Breitbart News was managed, until recently, by Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon is now one of Trump's key advisors. When Milo was invited by a group of students to speak at Berkeley, this is what happened.

Horrible. No, I don't mean CNN's standard calumny against someone on the right - Milo is not alt-right - I mean the rioting and mayhem. After which no one was arrested. No one.

Donald Trump isn't the fascist dictator the crazies think he is, but he isn't someone you want to insult, even by proxy. Like Tinkers to Evers to Chance, Milo to Steve to Donald is a short distance. Given how Big Education is the primary funding arm of the Democrats, it doesn't take a genius to see how a Republican Congress could be prodded by an angry Trump into legislative action against publicly-funded universities who shut down conservative speakers.

This isn't going to end well for the lefty campuses.

I guess they didn't teach history in their Transgendered Studies classes.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Surf Namibia?

You bet! Dig this video. It's like Australia's Superbank - a long, long, long ride. Gorgeous!

Here's where Skeleton Bay is.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

On Haircuts

These days, I like to get out of the shower with my hair already done. I go to the same Vietnamese barbershop every time and get a #3 on the sides and a #7 on the top, straight across the back. My wife tells me I look like a Navy officer.

I like that part.

Back in the day, I always wanted to have long hair. Best of all would have been a braided, viking look. I was a heavy metal head banger, you know. My hair would never cooperate. With any amount of length at all came curls. People sometimes told me I looked like Art Garfunkel.

This is Art, not me. In any case, it's hideous.
If my hair got really long, gravity would pull it down to some extent, but the ends would still curl with the result that I looked like either Bozo the Clown or Ludwig von Beethoven. Horrible.

Those failures took forever to deter me. I've got a photo or two from the late 70s or early 80s where I had hair down to my shoulders. I can still remember the moment where it became painfully obvious I looked like a dork. In an instant, nothing but a haircut would do even though it was morning and I had places to be.

If I recall, I waited until that evening to be shorn of my hopeless locks. I do know that if you had told my earlier self that someday I'd be happy to get a buzz cut, I'd have laughed in your face.