Monday, September 30, 2019

Tobacco Growth Concerns

My tobacco plants are growing like weeds, of which I'm relatively certain that tobacco is one. I've been concerned that the cooling temperatures here in San Diego will impede their growth as their metabolism slows. Looking up optimum temperatures for the little brutes, I discovered that it likes it between 68 and 86.

From that temperature range, I'm guessing numerology plays a large role in tobacco metaphysics.

In any case, I've decided to reprise my rainfall experiment and will now be tracking hourly temperatures here, with the help of Weather Underground. WU gives you access to past data, which will make things all the easier as I don't have a data collection setup for temperatures and I'm too lazy to make one.

WU provides you with a lovely table. Written in javascript. So you can't easily scrape it with Simple HTML DOM Parser.


Instead, I'll have to render each day's table page, save it as HTML to a file and then go through those files to get the data. It's a lot of right-click-save-as drudgery. The mods to my code to scrape the data once it's saved as individual files are minimal, but I don't have the time to grind through two months of web pages right now. Tomorrow morning, for sure. In the meantime, here are the stars of the show, shot on location recently and then the dreaded table of data. Enjoy.

Tobacco plants grow to 4-6 feet tall, so while they may seem crowded by the neighboring flowers, that shouldn't last long unless their growth is stunted by San Diego's severe cold weather.

The data table. So close and yet so far away!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Who Whom?

I think I'm coming to the end of this blog's efforts to explain what I see around me in culture and politics. I had a huge epiphany recently when I read the magnificent essay, Leninthink, by Gary Saul Morson. Here's the section that clarified some of my last, remaining cloudy spots.
Lenin regarded all interactions as zero-sum. To use the phrase he made famous, the fundamental question is always “Who Whom?”—who dominates whom, who does what to whom, ultimately who annihilates whom. To the extent that we gain, you lose. Contrast this view with the one taught in basic microeconomics: whenever there is a non-forced transaction, both sides benefit, or they would not make the exchange. For the seller, the money is worth more than the goods he sells, and for the buyer the goods are worth more than the money. Lenin’s hatred of the market, and his attempts to abolish it entirely during War Communism, derived from the opposite idea, that all buying and selling is necessarily exploitative.
This summarizes the SJW and progressive worldview almost perfectly for me. In all things, there are the oppressors and the oppressed. This simple method of classification can be applied everywhere, from race to sex to gender to Global Warming Climate Change to economics and to any and all topics not yet weaponized by politics.

Sarah Hoyt clued me into the cosplay aspects of the SJW crowd first. All of the screeching and marches and accusations are simply a chance to pretend to be superheroes fighting the forces of Hate. When you get on Twitter or Facebook or go to school or work, you put on your costume and join the battle. Leninthink makes everything into a war zone where you can get your jollies smashing evil.

Leninthink and cosplay give people something we all need - a higher purpose. The Catholic Church deems man's need for a higher purpose so important that it is the first section of the Catechism and for good reason. Without it, we devolve into lizards and all we want to do is eat, mate and survive. Fighting Hate is glorious! You are doing something noble and good and BIG.

To pick my favorite dimension of SJW action, Leninthink also lays out just why racism is found everywhere. "Lenin regarded all interactions as zero-sum...To the extent that we gain, you lose." That includes all interactions between members of different races. It's simple and we all need simple explanations for what we see around us. That's why we think in terms of geometry when we see shapes and not algebraic topology even if algebraic topology provides a more complete description.

While out sick this week, I devoured The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray's outstanding analysis of the social justice ragefest that dominates the media, academia, entertainment and politics these days. It's so good that I laid around for hours at a time, listening on my headphones, playing a mindless gem game on my phone. It got right up to the point of solving the SJW Rubik's Cube, but came up short in the end. Gary Saul Morson provided the last twist necessary to complete the task that Sarah Hoyt had started way back when.

I'm going to continue to read and learn and blog, but I feel like this provides me with that same thing - a simple model that explains the world. Why all the rage? Why are people of all stripes being attacked and having their lives destroyed? What is driving the SJW madness?
  1. Leninthink shows how oppression, "Hate", if you will, is everywhere.
  2. By joining in the cosplay, you give your life greater meaning because you're fighting Hate.
  3. Since you are fighting Hate and Hate is irredeemably evil, showing mercy only invites future attacks on oppressed peoples from surviving practitioners of Hate.
  4. You cannot listen to Hate because it is full of twisted "facts" and distorted lies. Listening to Hate puts you at risk of agreeing with Hate. Remember, the First Amendment does not protect Hate.
And there you have it. It seems to work as far as I can see.

Meanwhile, I had to redo my tobacco plant labels. Wife kitteh told me this would happen, but I had to see it for myself. The permanent marker writing on the signs faded quickly in the San Diego sun. Yesterday, I went to Hobby Lobby and got an acrylic pen and redid the signs. Acrylic pens are so crude that all I could manage was a two-letter code on each sign.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Julius Caesar And Evolutionary Morality

"Can an atheist be a good person?" is a common question in ethical debates. I think that a more important question as atheism / secularism is growing to dominate Western culture is, "Where would you expect this to lead?"

Pulling the thread on slavery, I recently read a book on the history of Africa which revealed that African nations regularly conquered and captured members of neighboring tribes and sold them when they got a good offer. For hundreds of years, the export market was the Arabs. With the arrival of the Portuguese, the export market expanded to the Europeans taking the slaves to the New World.

It's worth noting that the American Indians were far more primitive than the Africans and therefore in many cases would simply kill their captives as they lacked the infrastructure to manage large numbers of slaves.

Moving onto the Europeans, I decided to read Julius Caesar's Commentaries. I was hoping to discover his attitudes towards the Germanic tribes. I did not. Instead, I found an expertly written military analysis of his campaigns in what are now France, Germany and England. While he doesn't bother with sophisticated descriptions of the locals, his analysis is telling.

Unburdened by Judeo-Christian notions that all men are created equal in the image of God, Caesar is the ultimate, secular Utilitarian. He has a job to do and he gets it done with minimal fuss. If you submit to Roman rule, even after battle, he takes hostages from your royal families and demands a tribute to pay for garrison legions. Your nation is allowed to survive, albeit as a vassal state to the Romans. If you betray that agreement or oppose him through any kind treachery, he defeats you in battle, burns your villages to the ground, slaughters your leaders and sells the population into slavery.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

There isn't a hint of remorse, regret or second thoughts and why should there be? There is no God, there is no objective morality, there are only the needs of the Roman people. It's a simple worldview and it works. It works really well.

Caesar has military superiority in organization, weapons, tactics and training. He uses it ruthlessly to expand the borders of the Republic to provide both a buffer zone for the safety of the Roman citizens and a stream of cash coming in from conquered nations. He makes his nation safer and wealthier. It's his job and he works constantly to improve his skills. His book is a lesson plan for future generations to study so they can conquer and enslave even more people.

What did he do wrong? Absolutely nothing as far as I can see.

Derive for me, from first principles, a moral argument against conquest and slavery in a world without God. If you can't come up with anything more efficient and effective than Caesar's solution, then it's hard to see how you don't end up there eventually.

Sort of like how the Chinese are dealing with their Muslim minority, no? The Chinese leaders are atheists whose culture has evolved over a long, long time and they've ended up with concentration camps. Why not? It seems to be working for them. Isn't that the measure of success in evolution?

Friday, September 27, 2019

Were Angels Ever Dancing On The Heads Of Pins?

... is a good response to the question, "Was America ever great?"

Like the debate over the proper ranking of the Star Wars movies, such questions are fit to be bandied about while drinking. They are purely subjective and depend on an individual's personal standards. For example, if your measure of greatness is the amount of frozen tundra a nation possesses, then Canada is great while the US is not so great. If freedom and wealth matter, then America wins the contest going away.


This thought hit me while watching a viral video of Candace Owens getting attacked at Revolt Summit by an angry, young black man who wanted to talk about slavery and Jim Crow. Here's The Amazing Lucas with the clip and a good discussion of it.

I'm a big Lucas fan, so maybe watching this will get you hooked, too.

Anyway, Lucas talks about why Candace's roundabout answer didn't work. The audience wanted a quick response and lost interest in what she had to say pretty quickly. Thinking about this, my response would have been the following.
Who cares? What difference does it make whether it was great or not? The real issue is whether or not you can make something of yourself right now. Can you learn skills and find a good job? If you've got a smartphone, you've got access to all the knowledge in the world and we all have those. Are you going to do something with that or are you going to whine and play the victim while the world passes you by?

Feel free to go on and on about this, but no one really cares. The ones encouraging you want something - your attention and your votes. In exchange, life is going on and you're wasting time complaining.
This can also be aimed directly at this blog. It's an attempt to work through what are effectively pointless, theological issues. It doesn't matter in the long run if I can explain things to my own satisfaction. It's a hobby. What really matters is how I serve my family and community. I can only do a good job of that if I keep learning and improving real life skills. All this dorm room balloon juice is recreational at best and a waste of time at the worst.

Or something like that.

Update: I don't completely agree with this conclusion any more. I was sick as a dog yesterday and this was a stream-of-consciousness post written in 5 minutes. I think there is great value in working through your worldview. That said, it really rankles me to see people with so many opportunities wasting them yelling at the past.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Pulling Colors From An Image

If you like to decorate things or if you want to get some hands-on experience with colors, I can't recommend Adobe Color highly enough. It allows you to create color swatches in various ways. My favorite is to use a vacation photo.

Years ago, an artistic friend of mine told me that she used photos when she did website design. Take a favorite and then pick 3-5 colors from it for your website theme. Adobe Color makes this easy. With their derive-colors-from-image feature, I used this photo of a river in Alabama to automatically create the following swatch.

Way cool, no? I've got Creative Cloud and am logged in, so I don't know how much functionality you'll have when you do it, but Adobe Color will save it to my library of swatches if I want. From there, I can create themes for blogs and websites.


Also: Try the color wheel on the front page of Adobe Color. My father was an artist in his later years and would go on and on about color. I never have had the time to study it, but playing with the color wheel makes me more aware of how the thing works.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Dots Are Too Far Apart

I'm down with a cold today, so this is late and short.

I have to admit, I don't get the whole impeachment thing. It looks like VP Biden used his position to get a big, Ukrainian payday for baby Biden. That's corruption, plain and simple.

The DoJ investigates corruption. President Trump, being president, is the head of the DoJ. If I'm supposed to be all up in arms about Trump asking the main dude in the Ukraine for some info on Biden's possible corruption, you're going to need to put the dots a little closer together for me. It sure looks like he's just doing his job.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Censoring Costumes For The Sake Of Our Children

... makes sense when you think about it. Or maybe not.

If you haven't heard, and why should you as the story goes against the fictional narratives being pushed on us, Maspeth High School in New York has been revealed as a massive fraud.
At highly rated Maspeth High School in Queens, students know they can play hooky, skip course work, flunk tests — and still pass.

They call it the “Maspeth Minimum,” meaning everyone gets at least the minimum grade or score needed to pass or graduate, no matter what.

Whistleblowers call it fraud. The secret to the school’s 98% graduation and 90% Regents pass rate, they say, is simple: “Cheat!”
Teachers there give the students a 65 on everything no matter what. The thing has blown up now, but since it's not as important as blackface costumes, we don't hear about it.

That article in the New York Post led me to a blog called Chaz's School Daze which details the corruption rampant in New York City schools and, unquestionably, in school districts across the country. Dig this.

There is no way you can have a 100% passing rate for classroom grades and a 7% standardized test passing rate without massive fraud.

Why the fraud? Why the need for the fraud? This is why.

It's not the teachers or the system or the Department of Education or even our political enemies. The problem is us. The fraud covers up the cultural rot all around us. Dig this comment from Chaz's blog.
I work in a school in which approximately 10% (100) of the students have serious emotional, psychological, family, and/or drug problems. It feels more like 50% because they require so much attention and cause so much havoc.

Not only is no one admitting or addressing their needs, these troubled students are also interrupting, curbing, pilfering the education of the others. It is only when the students who attend school for academics go to college they have to work twice as hard to catch up with the rest.
When my daughter was younger and attending a public high school in suburban San Diego, she had similar stories. She wasn't in a rough neighborhood, she was in an upper-middle-class neighborhood.

Chaz's blog is an excellent source for stats and anecdotes, but it's got a big blind spot. There is no way for the schools to succeed if the families at home are in ruins. In the end, you are responsible for your own success and for the success of your children. Not the teachers, not the government, not society, you. Nuke the traditional family as we have done and you destroy the foundation necessary for success.

Well, that and costumes, of course. I mean, seriously. If it weren't for costumes worn 25 years ago by people we've never met, attending a party 1500 miles away with people we don't know, then a 50-75% illegitimacy rate wouldn't be an issue.

Way to go, Trudeau. Thanks for ruining it for everyone.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Tadpole Physicians, Heal Thyselves

#ClimateStrike kids organized their march with smartphones. Electronic smartphones. Electronic smartphones that had to be charged. With electricity. From non-renewable resources because renewables can't satisfy the demand of our tech-heavy culture.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

An Ear Worm For You

I've had this one for a while now. The video is really cute, too. I figured sharing was caring. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

This Halloween, I'm Going As A Smokescreen

... when you think about it, it's the perfect costume for 2019. It's a great metaphor for the whole blackface costume hysteria.

Americans are pretty cool about race.

Americans might not have always agreed with their first black president, who they voluntarily elected twice, but they generally thought he was a decent guy.

The costume crisis is a smokescreen so we don't have to address the issue of behavior dictating results. It's all designed to reinforce tribal group identities for people who don't want to take responsibility for their lives. It's an effort to hide how Americans generally like people of other races. It works equally well for the progressives as the white supremacists since they're two sides of the same coin.

Meanwhile, real, live children are living real, lousy lives because we've decided that traditional morality is ... what, patriarchal? Oppressive? Heteronormative? I didn't get today's memo, so I'm probably behind the times. Dig this.

Does anyone want to take any bets on whether or not the young lady who punched the teacher had a father in her house? How about her classmates?

Is she going to have a happy, fulfilling life? Probably not.

Me, I blame costumes. At least when I do that, nothing else is expected of me and I come out looking like I care deeply.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Conservatives Being Stupid

So everyone is piling on Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister who dressed in a blackface costume a couple of times. "Racist!" they all scream. Delighted at the chance to turn the tables, conservatives are howling the loudest. "Racist hypocrite!" they scream.


Going full Alinsky on someone, making them live by their own rules, is only worthwhile if you like the rules in the first place. It's a freaking costume. A costume. Trudeau isn't a racist any more than Ralph Northam, governor of Virginia and blackface-wearer from back in the day, is. In fact, almost no one in America is truly racist.

We're good people and that should be the default assessment of our fellow citizens. So the guy wore a costume you wouldn't wear yourself. So what? On Halloween, almost everyone is wearing a costume you wouldn't wear yourself. It doesn't mean that they're in league with the devil. It's a costume.

Back in the Carboniferous Era, I was at a college Halloween party. A girl who was a friend of mine was wearing a saloon girl costume. She looked hot and ended up with a boyfriend by the end of the night. She told me, "Halloween is great because a girl can dress slutty that night and not get judged for it!" We had a laugh because Halloween is fun because we get to play Let's Pretend like we're 5-year-olds and being a 5-year-old for one night is fun.

No fun for you! No fun any more! No fun! None! Racism!

Conservatives think they're so clever imitating Saul Alinsky, who was a tedious bore himself.
I'm wading through the sludge that is Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. It's horrible. In fact, it's recursively horrible or maybe mutli-dimensionally horrible or perhaps it's over-horribled as it's crammed with examples of every kind of horribility that a book might ever have.
Instead, conservatives might , oh, I don't know, act like conservatives and embrace conservative ideas. You know, all that personal freedom and personal responsibility rot we talk when we're not trying to rack up cheap points like a QB padding his stats with garbage time passing in the 4th quarter and his team down by 20. Yep, you scored a TD on Trudeau. Yay! Now you're going to lose by 13 instead of 20. Good for you.

Jumping up and down on that cringing milksop Trudeau is only helping to reinforce 3 things we should hate.
  1. Victimhood
  2. Fragility
  3. Outrage
So cut it out. Stand for freedom. Stand for granting the assumption of decency to your fellow man. Stand for being able to tell the difference between seeing someone wearing a costume and storming the beaches at Normandy.

Here, a soldier who was severely wounded when he saw a German in an offensive costume, receives a blood transfusion.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Politicians In Blackface

... are a serious problem and we should devote a lot of time to discovering who has done it, gathering the photographic evidence and gasping about how dreadful it is. It is absolutely not a stupid topic of conversation.
Reference: If you have a lick of sense and haven't been following along, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore blackface in the past. The distant past.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The New York Clickbait Times

So, as I understand it, Justice Brett Kavanaugh allegedly crushed a California Condor with his boots while giving the Nazi salute to the Queen of England.

Do I have that right? It sounds familiar, anyway. According to the New York Times, the story was given to them by a fentanyl addict who heard it from a social worker who knew about a guy who used to do plumbing repair at Cornell which is in the Ivy League along with Yale where Brett went to college. Close enough.

I've read a couple of essays wherein the authors wring their hands and wonder just what happened to the prestigious NYT to make them run tabloid trash stories. Why is this so complicated? There are two factors at play as far as I can see.
  1. They've decided their clientele are woke progressives who crave stories of conservative villainy. Anything will do. They're no pickier than conservatives craving stories of progs acting like lunatics.
  2. Plenty of the staff members at the NYT are True Believers and come to work every day itching to put on their superhero costumes and cosplay a grand battle against the Forces of Hate™. Stories like the Justice Kavanaugh one are simply daydreams wherein the NYT crew plays Let's Pretend and they defend a transgender Hispanic from the Klan who has been released into the wild through the actions of the evil Brett Kavanaugh.
And that's pretty much it. If you were expecting a newspaper to have a shred of journalistic integrity in an era when J-schools are specifically designed to turn out Hitler Youth Social Justice Warriors and media outlets desperately need clicks to survive, you're fooling yourself.

Here, reporters for the NYT fight off Klan-Putties who serve the Evil Lord Kavanaugh.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Planting Tobacco

My tobacco seedlings have grown wildly over the last two weeks. Dig this evolution.

Two weeks ago, right before I did the final culling, they looked like this. When I pulled the small ones, they had single main roots with a few, spindly branch roots coming off the tap.
By this weekend, when I planted them in a raised bed, they had grown substantially.
The branch roots had grown even more than the leaves, making it all the way to the bottom of their cups and then looping back up the sides. The root structure was so complete that when I pulled the seedlings from their cups, not a single bit of dirt fell off.
The tobacco in the raised bed. A couple of the seedlings withered a bit. Both of them were Cuban varieties. I blame this on socialism and atheism. My Southern redneck seedlings were far more rugged and self-reliant.
Now comes the real test. Am I so late in the year that the seedlings will only grow to about 30% of their natural size and then quit because there isn't enough sun or heat? We'll see.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Dogs Can Have Nightmares

Little Pepito, our ancient chihuahua-mix, who we adopted after his previous family abandoned him, woke me up at 3:30 AM this morning, barking downstairs.

Pepito's barks are unusual. He doesn't really bark so much as he shouts, "HEY!" When he has a barking spasm, he stands and yells, "HEY!" at a rate of once every 5-10 seconds.

He almost always sleeps through the night, but this morning, we was clearly upset about something. I went downstairs and as soon as he saw me, he started crying. I sat next to him and he pressed himself into me as hard as he could and cried for a while. He finally calmed down and faded into his contented moans as I petted him.

Poor thing. I wonder if he had dreamed that he had been deserted again.

Pepito in a happier moment with a new friend of his at the park.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

In Support Of Progressives

Taking a break from my highly unpopular racial ramblings, here's a case where I agree with the progressives. Dig this.
On Wednesday, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 5, which poses an existential threat to the very gig economy that Democrats tout as the heart and soul of California’s economy. It’s a union-crafted disaster that codifies the state Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision from last year. In that bout of judicial activism, justices imposed an “ABC Test” for companies that want to use contractors or freelancers as their workforce.

Those companies can only use contractors if the worker a) doesn’t take direction from the company; b) is involved in work that is not related to the company’s core mission; and c) has established some sort of independent operation, such as an LLC. In other words, Uber and Lyft can hire an independent contractor to, say, do some electrical work in their headquarters or repair their vehicles, but not to work as drivers. There’s no way around that test.
The article linked above claims this is just more lefty madness, but I disagree vigorously. I think it's high time we regulated the hipster sweatshops of Uber, Lyft ad the rest. Why do we allow the "gig economy" corporate titans to get rich off of lunkheads who aren't so good at math or financial analysis? Isn't that one of the biggest reasons we have labor laws in the first place?

I'm sympathetic to the libertarian side of things, but in this case, someone needs to look out for the poor slobs trying to make their rent payments by grinding their cars into the asphalt. I cannot imagine that any of them are making anything remotely approaching minimum wage, once you factor in depreciation and maintenance costs on their vehicles. The reason we have minimum wage laws in the first place is to prevent the ultra-rich from taking advantage of workers desperate for a job.

I feel like we give the smarmy creeps from Uber and Lyft a pass on this because you use an app to summon your rickshaw. It can't be injustice if it's on your iPhone! Yeah, get lost, you exploiters of the poor. Time to pay up.

Pull me faster, you worthless peasant! I don't care if you're losing money on this ride.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Elephants Don't Exist

When wife kitteh and I teach our marriage class, we have a section on communication where we talk about "the elephant in the room." That's where a marriage has an obvious problem, but neither person will bring it up. America in particular and the West in general has an elephant in the room problem where a significant portion of the population refuses to even grant the existence of elephants in the first place.

This week, in Minneapolis, a gang of blacks set upon a white guy, stole his cell phone and then beat him senseless when he tried to resist. There is security camera video that shows the complete evolution of the event. It's stomach-churning. It's so horrible that I won't include a link to it here.

One tweet of the video alone has had over 1,000,000 views. There are a couple of local news sites that have covered the story. The national networks haven't touched it.

Elephant Number 1: If the races had been reversed, if it was a gang of whites who beat a black man senseless, the media would be all over it. The local news sites I sampled showed the video, but just described the perps and the victim as "people" even though the video made the situation glaringly obvious.

Elephant Number 2: National crime statistics show how much more common it is to have this happen than the other way around.

Elephant Number 3: National crime statistics show massive racial disparities in crime rates.

Elephant Number 4: Historical crime statistics show that these disparities have grown over the last few decades.

I walked through the responses to the tweet I mentioned above and found what I expected. A couple of respondents discussed the racial disparities. I sampled a few of their profiles and, again, found what I expected: white supremacists.

Elephant Number 5: White supremacists exist, but they are minor players. The biggest account I found had 1200 followers. All of the rest had under 200. Compare that with race-crazed Ta-Nehisi Coates' 1,250,000+ followers as of his exit from Twitter in late 2017.

I'm not going to link to any of the racists' Twitter profiles here or show their graphs because that would distract from the point I'm trying to make.

What The Herd Of Elephants Mean

When there's an elephant in the room in your marriage, things get worse. If you can't talk about a problem, it festers and infects other parts of your relationship. Dittos for crime. Crime gets worse because combating it, either with law enforcement or societal conversations become problematic.

Going backwards in time, you can see that the elephants weren't always there. This isn't a problem bred into the participants, this is a problem that has arisen from the failure to discuss it and try solutions. In terms of this blog post, crime is not racial, but over time it comes to appear racial because we won't talk about it.

From there, it metastasizes into stronger white supremacist movements because you cede the truth to them. They're the only ones talking about the elephant. The fact that no one else is allowed to even admit elephants exist drives people irritated by the elephants into at least considering the white supremacist position.

Worst of all is that life continues to get worse and worse for the communities from which the criminals come. The white dude who got whacked is going to be crippled for life, but there's only one of him. Other whites, of all political stripes, will continue to avoid the worst black neighborhoods and remain relatively safe. Meanwhile, the amoral creatures who did this will return to their homes where they live, work and prey, 24/7.

What's it like to be their neighbors? Their classmates? Their coworkers? What's it like to have them around you and be unable to escape?

What's it like to live there and see that the whole of society makes excuses for them in those rare cases where their crimes are discussed?

What's the point of doing the hard work of self-denial required to live a virtuous life under such circumstances?

What's it like to be trampled by a herd of elephants?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Find The Bee!

Can you find the bee in this photo? I left it quite large, so if you click on it, you'll get large version that will help you discover the little guy. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Saturated Red

A rose from my mom's garden. I left the image fairly large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Auto Loans And Abortion

I had a very pleasant conversation with an abortion supporter on Twitter this morning. The standard argument, "It's a woman's body!" was used. That made me think of something.

Wasn't it the woman's body before she got pregnant?

In the end, the argument in favor of abortion is really one in favor of not taking responsibility for her actions. Imagine if this was a car loan. She signs the loan docs and then doesn't like the results. Why can't she abort the loan? Isn't it her decision? Who is really getting hurt, the massive and faceless bank? Does anyone really feel it if Wells Fargo get stiffed for $8,000?

Her bank account, her choice.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Lullaby Gratitude

I spent the night on Saturday at my mom's house. She's in poor health and it looked like she might be passing away. She's blessed to still be in her own house and not in a nursing home or hospital. My wife spent some time at her bedside and, while there, had my mom's Alexa play a Chopin Pandora station.

I don't recall how or why we switched, but after a bit, I sat by my mom's bedside, holding her hand when a lullaby came on the station. I was struck by the sweetness of the moment that I had a chance to comfort my mom as she slept to the tune of a lullaby when, so many years ago, she had done the same for me, night after night, when I was a little boy in various hospitals.

Beautiful. Thanks, God, for the opportunity to love.

In case you were wondering: Mom bounced back on Sunday and was up and about again. She's a tough girl.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Drinking Bees

I shot this one with my phone out at my mom's place yesterday. I'm amazed at the quality of the shot, catching two bees in mid-flight. I left it quite large, so it's worth a click.


Saturday, September 07, 2019

Evolution Is Dangerous

... because it will get you canceled.

In all of the craziness of the social justice mania gripping our universities, press and left-wing politicians these days, I think there is something lost. Consider this: what does it mean to have your thinking evolve as you grow older and wiser? It's not that you get older and wiser, it's that, in the past, you were younger and more foolish.

When the SJW mob goes through someone's old social media streams, emails and private conversations, they are, of necessity, sampling a time when that person was younger and more foolish. If they happen to find a single example of racism, sexism or biologism*, you're screwed. They will get you fired, deplatformed, attacked in public and will do their best to ruin your life.

What it really means is that you need to come out of the womb chanting the catechism of the Social Justice crowd. Anyone who doesn't will have a moment in their past that can be exploited.

This, of course, is impossible. No one can live up to those standards, not even the brownshirts at the Southern Poverty Law Center. At some point in their past, each one of them must have said or done something that their fellow jackals can use to tear them apart.

Way back in the Pleistocene Era, when I was in high school, I was part of the wargaming gang. If you didn't know, the very best wargames involve the European Theater of WW II. There's nothing like it when it comes to tactical contests with cardboard counters on map boards.

When we played the games, whoever was playing the Nazi side would laughingly talk in German accents, put toothbrushes in front of their faces, give the Nazi salute and so forth. We thought it was hilarious. Hardcore gamers researched the subject like mad. We could tell you why the Panzerkampfwagen V, the Panther, was vastly superior to the American Sherman tank. In fact, in Squad Leader, it was mathematically impossible for a Sherman to take out a German King Tiger tank.

The Germans had the coolest uniforms and the best tanks. Oh, sure, the Soviets had the T-34, but their gear was drab and boring.

While we were having a great time, we were depositing in the past a rich vein of Social Justice crimes. Anyone who wanted to destroy me could mine that time of my life and easily come up with hundreds of examples of "hate."

And then there is this blog. Because I use it to flesh out my thoughts and because my thoughts contain errors, I've provided the Social Justice crazies mountains of evidence of my WrongThink. My only path to salvation and security would be to never utter or write down anything that violates their ever-changing standards of purity.

Oh, screw it. The Germans really did have the coolest uniforms and the best tanks. If that gets me boiled in arugula, so be it.

* - I can't stand the term "homophobia." I'm looking for a substitute. Biologism would mean the belief that all people came from the union of one man and one woman. There's no fear or "phobia" there, just an admission of the facts of reproductive biology.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Wrecking Lives With A Smug Smile

Where do we go after this?

If you didn't know, Leif was an ordinary dude who was hired to do some work you'll never see, but needed to be done. Ben sifted through Leif's social media content, took some quotes out of context and used them to get Leif fired. My bet is that Ben had never met Leif and this was just political cosplay. Ben, pretending to be a prog superhero, was proud of his "SCOOP." I'll bet he thought he was fighting "hate."

Where do we go after this? What if Leif needed the job because his mortgage was in arrears? What if he needed the health care for life-saving treatments for one of his kids? What if, melodramatic scenarios aside, Leif got really ticked off and decided to take vengeance?

My prediction: If a future Leif decides to take revenge on a future Ben, the press will erupt into paroxysms of self-pity and victimhood, claiming that Trump or whatever conservative is handy at the time contributed to the atmosphere of hatred against the press.

My second prediction: By the time it happens, it won't matter what the press has to say. They will have obliterated their goodwill with a huge chunk of the population by attacking normal schlubs like Leif Olson. Things will have escalated and control will be even harder.

Meanwhile, the country is at peace and more prosperous than ever.

I dunno, man. If I had a 32% trust level, I might not be out there doxxing Normals and wrecking their lives. Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Embracing Deceit

More from Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, echoing yesterday's post.
One had to live in Germany between the wars to realize how widespread was the acceptance of this incredible legend by the German people. The facts which exposed its deceit lay all around. The Germans of the Right* would not face them. The culprits, they never ceased to bellow, were the “November criminals” — an expression which Hitler hammered into the consciousness of the people. It mattered not at all that the German Army, shrewdly and cowardly, had maneuvered the republican government into signing the armistice which the military leaders had insisted upon, and that it thereafter had advised the government to accept the Peace Treaty of Versailles. Nor did it seem to count that the Social Democratic Party had accepted power in 1918 only reluctantly and only to preserve the nation from utter chaos which threatened to lead to Bolshevism. It was not responsible for the German collapse. The blame for that rested on the old order, which had held the power. But millions of Germans refused to concede this. They had to find scapegoats for the defeat and for their humiliation and misery. They easily convinced themselves that they had found them in the “November criminals” who had signed the surrender and established democratic government in the place of the old autocracy. The gullibility of the Germans is a subject which Hitler often harps on in Mein Kampf. He was shortly to take full advantage of it.
 How is this not the 1619 Project from the New York Times?
The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
I've become convinced that 1619 is just the serialization of a modern Mein Kampf. It's patently absurd from top to bottom and yet there is no lack of people who are embracing it. Adapting William Shirer for today, we get this.
Millions of Americans refuse to concede that they have agency in their lives. They seek to find scapegoats for their poor performance, humiliation and misery. They easily convince themselves that they have found them in “White Supremacists.”
It didn't work out well for the Germans and it won't work out well for us.

Camden, New Jersey today or Berlin, 1945?
Image source.
* - European notions of the political right and left don't correspond with America's. Ben Shapiro is about as far-right as you can get in America today and his philosophy of individualism would find no home within the European right of the 1930s. America is different in kind from Europe.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

On Nazis And Self-Pity

I broke down and bought The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich on Audible. I'm currently devouring it. I've gotten up to the point where Hitler is just taking over the German Workers' Party. I'm trying to figure out why the Germans fell for Hitler. I read a good deal of Mein Kampf and it was trash. Illogical, ignorant and badly written, the thing is a giant warning sign to stay away from that Hitler guy.

So what happened? In short, the Germans fell for the guy who blamed their problems on an external them. In particular, the loss to the Allies in the First World War was someone else's fault. Dig this tidbit from Rise and Fall.
(Hitler) could bear even less the disaster which befell his beloved Fatherland in November 1918. To him, as to almost all Germans, it was “monstrous” and undeserved. The German Army had not been defeated in the field. It had been stabbed in the back by the traitors at home.

Thus emerged for Hitler, as for so many Germans, a fanatical belief in the legend of the “stab in the back” which, more than anything else, was to undermine the Weimar Republic and pave the way for Hitler’s ultimate triumph. The legend was fraudulent. General Ludendorf, the actual leader of the High Command, had insisted on September 28, 1918, on an armistice “at once,” and his nominal superior, Field Marshal von Hindenburg, had supported him. At a meeting of the Crown Council in Berlin on October 2 presided over by Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hindenburg had reiterated the High Command’s demand for an immediate truce. “The Army,” he said, “cannot wait forty-eight hours.” In a letter written on the same day Hindenburg flatly stated that the military situation made it imperative “to stop the fighting.” No mention was made of any “stab in the back.”
"The legend was fraudulent," but the people clung to it. It allowed them to wallow in self-pity and didn't require them to do any soul-searching at all.

Absorbing this, I immediately thought, "Who today are the least-Nazi thought leaders in the US?" I came up with three names right off the bat.
  1. Kevin Williamson of National Review. His most infamous essay is a kick in the pants to anyone feeling sorry for themselves.  The payoff:
    The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen (rubbish). Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your (darned) gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
  2. Ben Shapiro. Ben has all the feelings of a calculator. Most recently, he said that if you have to take two jobs to make ends meet, that's a you problem, not a social justice problem. I'd link to his video, but YouTube has blacklisted him and his own content doesn't show up on the first page of a search for him. Instead, you get a whole slew of leftists ripping on him*.

  3. Jordan Peterson. "Don't be a victim!" is a common theme for Dr. Peterson. No self-pity there.

So there you have it. If you want to spot a Nazi, start by find someone who is blaming others for their problems. There's a lot more to it than that, but it's a necessary condition.

* - Don't sweat the tech monopolies controlling what you can and can't find, can and can't say and who you can and can't follow. There is nothing totalitarian and Nazi about that at all. Nothing.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Sleeping With Rats

Well, dead rats, to be precise. A dead rat to be really precise.

Our house borders a canyon wherein the vermin flourish. They come in under the cover of darkness to feed in our garden. The rats are the worst. I don't mind rats, per se, but these are self-indulgent rats. Our tomatoes aren't eaten so much as they're tasted. A cluster of four Romas gets a bite each from the invading rat. Perhaps it's sampling them and reviewing them on Rat Yelp.

Our dogs all think they are great hunters and vigorously chase game when they're in the canyons and off leash, but only the small, fat chihuahua, Lily, is a real hunter. She's not in the same league as a cat when it comes to merciless slaughter, but she does OK for a dog. The other three dogs are hopeless cases when it comes to predating.

The other morning, when I brought my wife her morning coffee to her in bed, I discovered a slobbered, dead rat on the bed next to a pleased, fat, little chihuahua. It was endearing to me, but alarming to wife kitteh.

Lily was given High Praise and the rat was disposed of, but only after the coroner took photos to use as evidence if the case ever goes to ratty trial. Enjoy?

Monday, September 02, 2019

You Don't Know What It's Like To Be (blank)!

... is designed to prevent us from exploring our shared humanity. It's intentional, too.

My mother is almost 90 and going through a lot of physical problems. She's almost blind, she uses a walker, she's got respiratory issues and lost her husband of 60+ years in January of 2018. A few weeks after he died, she fell and broke her neck. She's never really had time to mourn because, since then, life has beaten her black and blue.

I have a good friend at work who is a black woman a little younger than I am. We worked together for many years and after that we stayed in touch because she always has a women's shoes calendar in her office.

No, really. Women's shoes.

It's a wall calendar that features about 15 photos of haute couture shoes every month with a description of who designed them and other details. We go through them and discuss which are cute, which are hideous and which are simply works of art. She has taught me a lot about shoes, fashion and why shoes matter so much to women.

About a year ago, her sister had a severe stroke. We now discuss that as well as my mom. Helping a family member go through things like that can give you a deep, intimate connection with someone else doing the same. It's beautiful. I love our friendship.

What if, as some of our political leaders demand, I had an oppressor-oppressed relationship with her? What if our friendship had to be prefaced by apologies to her for slavery, Jim Crow and all the rest? What if she took the attitude that I don' t know what it's like to be black? Who knows, maybe she feels that way deep inside. If she does, she doesn't mention it. We talk shoes and family.

Personally, if I'd had to start our relationship with an apology, I'd deeply resent her. Shoes? Ha! We wouldn't talk shoes. At best, I'd avoid her completely for fear of offending her. At worst, I'd catalog every mistake she made to add it to a list of faults that show racial inferiority.

Screw that. I want to talk shoes and family. I love her as a friend. We have a lot in common despite very different backgrounds. Why do I want to focus on skin color? It has no value and gives us no basis for affection.

This isn't a mystery. It's not like the politicians who scream about race don't realize that they are building walls between us, walls that prevent heart-to-heart conversations and deep friendships. They know exactly what they're doing.

We don't have to play along. We can talk about our interests and passions and hobbies and families. We can strip the racialists of their power by being human.

She's a devout Baptist so we share faith as well. And kids. And cooking.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Cloning Unicorns

... is what we're going to need to do if we're to deal with the drug addict / homeless / fatherless / illiterate / what-have-you populations. Willie Brown is worried about San Fran. He's afraid private citizens might take steps to protect themselves from violent street people. Worse yet, they might do more than hire girls to hop up and down while trying to push a door open. That would be a tragedy.
Whether it’s someone half out of his mind on meth or a mentally ill person throwing things around in a store or going off in a Starbucks, it’s just a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt — and it could be the one who’s acting out.

The recent North Beach incident in which a truffle store owner’s son came to his defense with a baseball bat after the father scuffled with a man he said was causing a disturbance could easily have ended in tragedy.
Note that for Willie, the fear is that the perp will get hurt. Plenty of law-abiding citizens get hurt every day, whether that's property damage or physical assaults. If they counted, he'd say that "tragedies" have been going on for a long, long time. He doesn't. You don't matter. You're probably full of hate or you blame victims or something like that.

Willie has a solution. Well, a raft of solutions, really.
(The episode with the two chicks getting thumped by the crazy, homeless dude) went viral because it was on video and because another judge, Christine Van Aken, initially put Vincent on supervised release. But the real story is that incidents like this happen all the time — they just aren’t taped and fed to the evening news.

I’ve had conversations in several neighborhoods, and it’s clear there’s a growing desire to do something about the problems on our streets.

It has to be specialized: A poverty-stricken family needs to be handled differently than people with mental issues. People with mental issues need to be handled differently than drug addicts.

For some people, help may mean a locked mental health facility. For the more volatile cases, we may need to keep people in jail while providing mental health services.
It might "have to be" specialized, but it's not going to be specialized because there is neither the money nor the expertise in the quantities necessary. It's no different than magnitude of the problem of the illiterate kids in Baltimore.
If you think there is any chance at all that you will be able to find 6600 people, unrelated to the students, who are going to have the time, energy, know-how and willingness to take on that task, please contact your local mental hospital and schedule a straight-jacket fitting session.

There is a solution, however. Like I said in yesterday's post, those mentors are out there. We just have to be willing to demand they do the job.
I know where we can find the necessary volunteers to act as mentors for the kids. Mom's bed. The men found therein can be given a special title. We'll call them "husbands." We can give them a special token of appreciation. Maybe it could be a ring they could wear. We could also give them a certificate acknowledging their volunteer status. We'll call that a "marriage license."
That is the only solution to the problem. There is no other. All of the screaming about flags and statues and white supremacists and Trump and Tucker Carlson and the far-right and the alt-right is simply irrelevant noise. It's like blaming leprechauns for the suffering of these kids.
Getting back to San Francisco, they have more drug addicts on their streets than they do high school students. The size of the problem overwhelms the ability to "specialize" solutions.

The reason we have jails is that they are a cheap way to get dangerous people out of circulation. Yes, treatment is better, but where are you going to find the trained specialists to work on the problem? How are you going to pay them? The math doesn't work.

Willie's solutions are just so much bong smoke. His prog readers read his essays at Starbucks and nod their heads while sipping their soy lattes and feel like they can fix this problem while maintaining their compassion credentials.

They can't.