Thursday, October 31, 2019

Busy Day

Too busy to blog, but after today, I'll have more time on my hands.

Bonus thought - If cultural appropriation is to be avoided, what do we do with New Orleans? 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Come To Gormok State Where Everyone Gets A Diploma!

Dig this.
For students who fear they can’t get into college with mediocre SAT or ACT scores, the tide is turning at a record number of schools that have decided to accept all or most of their freshmen without requiring test results.

Meanwhile, two Ivy League schools have decided that many of their graduate school programs do not need a test score for admissions, fresh evidence of growing disenchantment among educational institutions with using high-stakes tests as a factor in accepting and rejecting students.
Next up: Easier and easier grading until these universities look like Camden High School.
Camden High has horrific stats. 
  • Only 4% of the students can read anywhere near grade level 
  • None can do geometry 
  • 2% can handle algebra 
The kids aren't even bothering to show up. 91% are chronically absent, which means they've missed at least 15 days of school during the year. 32% of them have been suspended.

On the plus side, 54% of them graduate.
What other result would you expect? If they didn't do well on the standardized tests and that's considered oppressive and racist, what happens when Gormok State flunks them? That could only mean that State is now oppressive and racist and we can't have that.

On the other hand, we could address the root cause: family breakdown.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Slavery Ruined It For Everyone

I'm currently reading Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington. It ought to be mandatory reading for freshmen or sophomores in high school. It's that good.

One of the things he discusses early in the book is how slavery ruined everyone it touched, whether they were slaves or slave-owners. The slaves had no ability to manage their own lives, raised as chattel with their existence planned out for them. The wealthy whites had no useful skills as they were taught to look down on manual labor.

Consequently, when the Civil War ended and slavery with it, after a day or two of celebrating, the former slaves looked on the future with dread. What were they supposed to do now? Many of the wealthy whites lost their fortunes as they had no way of earning a living nor the drive to cultivate the necessary skills to do so.

I'm always amazed when people say that America was built on slavery. They must never have studied the institution and what it did to the cultures who practiced it. If slavery was the key to wealth, then Mauritania, which only outlawed slavery in 1981, would be a global superpower. In fact, according to the Guardian, slavery is still practiced today there. Their per capita income is $4,500. Unsurprisingly, slavery hasn't helped them.

The Big Dude. Get his book. Read it.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Loving Your Enemies

At the Men's Cursillo Retreat a few weekends back, during one of the talks, a story was related that really hit me. It went something like this.

The speaker, we'll call him Joe to keep him anonymous, worked for a large firm. His boss, we'll call her Mary, was a major jerk. No one liked Mary. She made life miserable for everyone. Joe had the habit of praying in the car on the way to work. One day, he blurted out, "God, I know I'm supposed to love everyone, but I absolutely hate Mary!"

God relied to him, "I love Mary as much as I love you."

Whoa, dude. That's some pretty heavy stuff right there. Joe thought about this and realized it was true. If God loved Mary, who was he to hate her?

Joe tried to change his attitude towards her. It didn't make her any nicer, she was still a world-class jerk. Over time, however, Joe found his feelings towards Mary changing and his kindness became authentic. Eventually, Mary was fired for breaking the jerk-o-meter. As she packed up her desk, devastated, Joe went over to her and offered her condolences and regret. Mary told him she knew she had been difficult and apologized.

Mary may or may not have changed after that, but Joe did. It finally hit him just what it means that The Big Dude loves us all the same.

Me, I need to work on that.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Putting Lipstick On A Flower

... is about as useful as putting lipstick on a pig.

My Photoshop skills are minimal, but I keep trying to make my photos bounce. Clearly it's going to take more work than I've put in so far. I took a couple of photos of the flowers that are hanging out with my tobacco plants* yesterday and played with them in Photoshop this morning.

Nature beats KT again. Like that's a surprise.

My doctored photo, with emphasis on the reds.

The original in all its floweriffic glory.
It's not nice to fool Mother Nature and it's not nice to mess with photos of her creations, either.

* - Several of the tobacco plants are now near or over 3' tall. They're growing very fast.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Gender Isn't Portable

I was having a conversation on sex vs. gender recently when the person asserting there are all kinds of genders out there said that sex was biology and gender was societal. It occurred to me, then, that gender is not portable over time or location.

Here is a (partial?) list of genders available on Facebook. They include:

  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Bigender
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Pangender

While you might be able to claim to be Genderqueer in San Francisco in 2017 and Neutrois in Portland in 2019, I don't think you'd get very far telling the people of Nanking in 1928 that you were Pangender. Further, I doubt that any of the above would be recognized as legitimate in Nairobi in any year.

A characteristic that dissolves as soon as you step off an airplane is no characteristic at all.

A characteristic that can vanish next year because society changed its mind is no characteristic at all.

And remember as you watch the hilarious video below, all cultures are equally valid.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Losing Touch With The Past

... also means losing touch with reality. 2019 America is wealthy to the point that our schools dive deep into twaddle. In 1881 America, they did not.

Asou Inoue of Ball State, 2019:
“We are all implicated in white supremacy,” Inoue said during his presentation, co-hosted by Ball State’s English department, university writing program, and Office of Inclusive Excellence.

“This is because white supremacist systems like all systems reproduce themselves as a matter of course,” he said. “This includes reproduction of dominant, white, middle-class, monolingual standards for literacy and communication.”

White language supremacy, according to Inoue, is “the condition in classrooms, schools, and society where rewards are given in determined ways to people who can most easily reach them, because those people have more access to the preferred and embodied white language practices, and part of that access is a structural assumption that what is reachable at a given moment for the normative, white, monolingual English user is reachable for all.”
Booker T. Washington, describing the founding of the Tuskegee Institute in 1881.
In the midst of all the difficulties which I encountered in getting the little school started, and since then through a period of nineteen years, there are two men among all the many friends of the school in Tuskegee upon whom I have depended constantly for advice and guidance; and the success of the undertaking is largely due to these men, from whom I have never sought anything in vain. I mention them simply as types. One is a white man and an ex-slaveholder, Mr. George W. Campbell; the other is a black man and an ex-slave, Mr. Lewis Adams. These were the men who wrote to General Armstrong for a teacher.

Mr. Campbell is a merchant and banker, and had had little experience in dealing with matters pertaining to education. Mr. Adams was a mechanic, and had learned the trades of shoemaking, harness-making, and tinsmithing during the days of slavery. He had never been to school a day in his life, but in some way he had learned to read and write while a slave. From the first, these two men saw clearly what my plan of education was, sympathized with me, and supported me in every effort. In the days which were darkest financially for the school, Mr. Campbell was never appealed to when he was not willing to extend all the aid in his power. I do not know two men, one an ex-slaveholder, one an ex-slave, whose advice and judgment I would feel more like following in everything which concerns the life and development of the school at Tuskegee than those of these two men.

I have always felt that Mr. Adams, in a large degree, derived his unusual power of mind from the training given his hands in the process of mastering well three trades during the days of slavery. If one goes to-day into any Southern town, and asks for the leading and most reliable coloured man in the community, I believe that in five cases out of ten he will be directed to a Negro who learned a trade during the days of slavery.
At a comfy college in 2019, Asou seeks to eliminate consistency of language because he's obsessed with race. 16 years removed from the Civil War, in the middle of Alabama, Booker T. sought to teach useful skills and was not obsessed with race.

Just look at him. He even dressed like a white supremacist!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Life's Pricing Structure Is Broken

Dig this from NPR.
When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rolled out her "Green New Deal," calling for clean energy, universal health care and guaranteed jobs, one of the first questions she got was: How do you plan to pay for it?

The New York Democrat argued that ambitious programs can easily be financed through deficit spending.

"I think the first thing that we need to do is kind of break the mistaken idea that taxes pay for 100% of government expenditure," Ocasio-Cortez told NPR's Morning Edition in February.

In doing so, she shined a spotlight on a once-obscure brand of economics known as "modern monetary theory," or MMT.
And this.
"If Congress authorizes a few billion dollars of additional spending, or a few hundred billion dollars, then the Fed's job is to make sure that those checks don't bounce," Kelton (an ignoramus hired by a prestigious university to spout twaddle at even more ignorant children) told NPR.
What could go wrong?
"Too often, people get a whiff of MMT, they don't read the literature, and they somehow arrive at the takeaway that MMT is about printing prosperity," Kelton said. "And of course when people hear printing money, they go straight to Zimbabwe or Weimar Germany."

Those are notorious cases of hyperinflation. But Kelton argues that runaway prices are only a danger when demand outstrips the real resources in an economy — the people, machines and raw materials. If there's idle capacity, MMT maintains that additional government spending does not trigger inflation.
It does not trigger inflation so long as clones of Kelton are the only ones making decisions. Once we run out of Keltonoids, however, all bets are off.

This graph stops in 2016. Fortunately for us, when the fiscally conservative Republicans took charge in 2017, the graph leveled off because they were prudent with our money.

What does it do to an individual when they discover that they can print money to spend, year after year?

What kind of car would you buy if you could print money? Me, I'd buy a Lotus. You might buy a Ferrari. Why don't you do it now? I don't have a Lotus because it would take me a year to earn it. The Lotus would represent a year of my life. If I could print money in the Catican, the Lotus would represent ... nothing.

Our pricing structure is broken. We no longer connect sacrifice with possessions. This is what I meant when I blogged yesterday, "It looks to me like American society has turned out the lights of reason and turned on the black lights of subjectivism. We're all kind of stumbling around, learning as we go just what this means."

How is it that the following are simultaneously true?
  1. Unemployment is at historic lows.
  2. Wages are rising.
  3. The government is borrowing and spending more than ever.
Government social spending allegedly exists to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. With a 3.5% unemployment rate, how many of those people really exist? In spite of that, the chart above is going vertical.

The pricing structure is broken and our politicians are each, individually, gradually discovering just what this means. AOC points the way. 

"Americans aren't willing to work and pay taxes for the Green New Deal. There simply isn't a big enough payoff to sacrifice other things for it. However, if we can just print money to pay for it ..."

Republican deficit hawks are all in on this one. "You know, that little town with lots of voters in my district, Splorksville, needs a new library. If we can just print money to pay for it ..."

Obama was the king of this. "Solyndra is a trash company, but their owners are my spiritual kin. The taxpayers would never go for it if I told them they needed to pour money into it, but since we can just print the stuff ...."

With the pricing structure broken, we're stumbling to the inevitable conclusion that we can have not just a Lotus or a Ferrari, but a Lotus and a Ferrari and lots, lots more. We've become spoiled children who have gotten used to mommy and daddy buying them everything they want.

In a world of spoiled children, anyone who asks, "How are we going to pay for that?" is just mean.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

When The Cat's Away And Not Coming Back

... the mice can party down.

It looks to me like American society has turned out the lights of reason and turned on the black lights of subjectivism. We're all kind of stumbling around, learning as we go just what this means.

For example, genders are social constructs. Also, a woman can declare that she's a man because she feels that way. Both of those statements are accepted as true by our social science academics, or at least as true as anything can be in a subjective world. However, if gender is socially constructed and can be reconstructed, then declaring yourself a man or a woman has no meaning at all. There is no such thing as a man or a woman, save as an individual defines it for themselves at a particular moment in time.

Gender fluid is the fluid that dissolves gender.

This has clearly not been completely worked out. It's part of the stumbling around we're doing as our eyes adjust to the new lights of unreason.

The general problem really hit me today when I read about Modern Monetary Theory, MMT. MMT holds that any government that can print its own money and whose debt is denominated in that same currency, need not worry about debt. Print all you want until inflation hits. Inflation, not debt, is the critical measure of whether or not you can keep printing.

This is obvious nonsense. If you have mountains of debt, inflation, which leads to higher interest rates, immediately starts a chain reaction of printing and inflation that quickly spirals out of control and wipes out the economy. MMT can't possibly work. See also: Republic, Weimar.

But nonsense is OK, right? Sense is patriarchal or racist or mathematical, which itself is patriarchal and racist.

None of this has been pondered. We have no idea where the end points are or if there are endpoints at all. It doesn't matter whether things make logical sense or if plans work. All that matters is how we feel about ourselves. We haven't quite figured out where that leads, either.

Our currency isn't money, it's emotions.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

NYC Schools Focus On Egyptian History

I mean, they must. After all, they spend so much time studying denial.

Denial. De Nile. The Nile.

Get it? Denial? The Nile?


Sorry about that.

Here's the link. Here's the tidbit about rampant fraud in NYC schools.
Going to class is not required to receive a city diploma.

It’s not widely advertised, but under Department of Education rules, students cannot be denied credit or  graduation “based on lack of seat time alone.” ...

“They could skip class most of the year and not deserve a grade, but as a result of attending one week and doing work sheets, they could get credit for an entire year’s class,” a Forest Hills teacher said.

The teacher sent students to (one week of academic) boot camp, but did not provide any work for them — and did not grade their work — so doesn’t know whether the students learned anything.
Of course this happened. It had to happen. If they didn't do that, they'd have to take a socially unpopular position and come out in favor of traditional sexual morality. It works like this.
  1. Lots of sex with no moral boundaries.
  2. Kids are born to single moms.
  3. Lacking the added labor and resources that come from a married family, the kids grow up ill-prepared and ill-disciplined.
  4. In neighborhoods where illegitimacy is common, the community can't help out struggling single moms.
  5. The kids go to school and fail. Many of the kids also go to school and disrupt things for the kids who are working hard to overcome their disadvantages.
  6. The actual graduation rate is very low which would reflect badly on the teachers because we blame the teachers for failing kids even though it was the parents who created the mess in the first place.
  7. The education industry fudges the numbers by coming up with fraudulent ways to claim the kids graduated.
  8. Once the kids graduate, the teachers are safe from the predations of ill-disciplined, illiterate young people, so long as their union contracts see that they're paid enough to live outside of the bad neighborhoods.
  9. Profit!
It's all done so #1 never has to be discussed. We would do anything, even trash generation after generation of kids so that we didn't have to mention anything at all about #1.

And that, my friends, is a river in Egypt.

Monday, October 21, 2019

I Recommend 12 Lashes On Your Own Back

Really, that's the best answer for what's going on at Camden High School. After all, it's the fault of society and we're all part of society.

You can buy this for $24 at Historical Clothing Realm.
Camden High has horrific stats.
  • Only 4% of the students can read anywhere near grade level
  • None can do geometry
  • 2% can handle algebra 
The kids aren't even bothering to show up. 91% are chronically absent, which means they've missed at least 15 days of school during the year. 32% of them have been suspended.

On the plus side, 54% of them graduate*.

The ultra-progressive education industry tells us that the problems with schools like this are societal. They should know, they work with these kids all day long. Well, all the days they show up, that is. As we are "society," it's time we atoned for our sins.

I recommend self-scourging. I'm going to try it. I'll let you know how it goes. I would bet that if just 32% of us did this, matching the suspension rate at Camden High, their test scores would rise dramatically.

Side Note: Back when I was in high school, while dodging pteranodons, I read Booker T. Washington's autobiography, Up From Slavery. The dude was a beast. It left an imprint on me, although, like all imprints, it faded with time. I just picked it up from Audible and am going to start it this morning on the way to work. From what I recall, I'm guessing that old Booker T wouldn't have been among the 91% chronically absent.

* - Wait, what? They don't show up, they can't read and they can't do math, but they graduate? No, that's not a transparent marker of the education industry kicking the can down the road, not at all.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Easy Virtue

Everyone wants to feel like they're doing something important. Everyone wants to feel like they're making a difference. No one wants to put in a lot of effort. No one wants to be criticized or take social risks.

This is the key to Social Justice, the Global Warming Climate Change movement included.

When it comes to plastics in the ocean and CO2 in the air, China is the main source and their emission graphs are nearly vertical. Here in California, we've made plastic straws illegal and have divested ourselves of "dirty" sources of electricity. Neither action means anything in any real sense. We could be burning plastic straws to generate electricity and it wouldn't make any global difference because China's contributions dwarf ours.

Straws and electricity do provide us invaluable benefits, however. They make us feel good. We can pretend we're doing something. They also give us what we crave - someone to hate. A great movement can exist without a belief in God, but never without a belief in the devil. You need someone to blame and despise, someone who you can use as a comparison to prove your moral superiority.

Like this. You can post things like this all day long on Facebook and you'll get nothing but praise.
The ubiquitous howls of "Racism!" are the same thing. It's easy, there's no risk and it accomplishes nothing except to make us feel good. This morning, I used the Dot Map and Great Schools website to looks at standardized test scores. I defy anyone to try that and tell me that culture isn't the dominant factor by at least an order of magnitude.

Like China polluting the globe while we whip ourselves like flagellants, culture and behavior determine outcomes while we check under our beds for White Supremacists.

What if we were honest? What then? Well, we'd have to confront China. We'd have to stand firm for traditional marriage and sexual morality. Those would be difficult and risky. Yuck!

Not only that, confronting China and popular culture would be to admit that we're not the center of the world. We're not really that important. Until China changes their behavior, until the culture stops equating all families, nothing is going to change no matter how many straws you use and how many social justice posts you like on Facebook.

Until then, we can all feel good about ourselves. We might as well. It's not like we're doing anything real.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

They're So Cute When They're Sleeping

Wife kitteh is off leading a women's retreat this weekend*. Normally, I throw a party for some of the men on such weekends, but this time, I've decided to have a quiet time by myself.

I watched a movie, nommed on some catfish and hushpuppies and went to bed early last night, around 9 PM. I fell asleep almost immediately. It was wonderful.

Around 10, I woke to hear a dog going, "BLORRRRRG" followed by a splashing sound. I immediately knew it was Bodie, barfing off the side of the bed onto the carpet. He's got a sensitive stomach and pukes from time to time. This is the first time he'd done it in bed.

It got worse. Much worse.

Bodie came over to me, looking for some sympathy. He then puked onto the bed itself. I was able to leap out of bed and roll up the sheets before it soaked through to the mattress. I took it downstairs and threw it in the washing machine. I cleaned up some of the barf on the carpet, but left most of it for the next day, today.

We all then went downstairs to sleep in a different bed. The dogs are always confused and distressed when one of us is gone. Moving to a different bedroom really spooked them. They weren't sure where to go, so for the next twenty minutes, you could hear them wandering around upstairs before they came down and joined me.

I was able to get some sleep, but without the CPAP, which I was too tired to move, I had spasms all night. Argh.

Around 2 AM, Pepito decided to start barking, letting everyone know he was lonely or having a nightmare or just making a power play for attention. He sleeps in the family room on the couch and likes to be covered as he's old and gets cold easily. I went out and laid with him, covering him up again. He was really frightened by something and was shivering. It took a long time to get him settled.

By now it was 3 AM. I tried to get back to sleep. Going back to bed, all three of the other dogs, completely disoriented by the night's festivities, decided to pace around on the bed, looking for somewhere to lay down. The downstairs bed is much smaller than ours upstairs, so I got stepped on, pushed, cuddled, licked, prodded and pestered for petting.

I gave up on sleep and went to make coffee around 3:30 AM. The dogs got their morning treats and promptly went right to sleep in complete peace and comfort.


I'm nervous! Give me love and petting!

I don't feel so good. I think I'm going to ... BLARRRGGHHHHH

I love you so much, daddy! I'm going to lick you and lick you and lick you and lick you and lick you and lick you!

I'm scared! Come comfort me!

* - This is a big deal and I couldn't be prouder of her. She has prepared prayerfully and has shown so much love to all of the women involved. I know they're going to have a lovely weekend and will come out inspired.

Friday, October 18, 2019

I Am So Over It

For the love of God, is it asking too much to have an efficient and quiet class of Elites? Dig this from Peggy Noonan and General Mattis, inspired by The Donald.

I usually find this stuff vaguely amusing and take it with a grain of salt, but for whatever reason, this one broke the camel's back. It's exhausting. Trump has been a pretty good president and I agree with about 85% of what he does, but can we please just have a break from the schoolyard taunting?

Trump's not even the worst. I guess our elected representatives are trying a new angle of impeachment. What is this, the seventh one they've rolled out or something? Each one is more stupid than the last to the point where I can't even name the high crime or misdemeanor Trump is supposed to have committed. It's some kind of phone call to the Ukraine, isn't it? A phone call? Really?

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden was clearly given massive bribes from powerful Ukrainians aimed at his dad who was vice president and eager to take those bribes. Like that's not immediately obvious to everyone.

So we talk about impeaching a president for making a phone call asking for an investigation of blatant corruption while that same president brags that he's a better general than his generals. Which recalls Obama saying he was a better X than his experts at X. Which didn't get wide reportage because Obama.

These days, the national debt is out of control, inner city culture is a dumpster fire, opioid addiction and suicide rates are rising, the homeless in our cities are increasingly made up of hopelessly brain-fried drug addicts and our universities are teaching our children that you can choose your gender. What do we get? Impeachment spasms and 3rd grade tweets.

These people are the worst.

On the plus side, my tobacco plants are now 2' tall.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

We Only Have 12 Years To Save Medicare For All

After reading through some summaries of the latest Democrats' debate, something puzzled me. If we only have N years to save the planet, why are we talking about Medicare for all? If we get the Medicare thing right, but starve the global salvation effort of funds to do it, won't that be a bad thing? It seems to me like destruction on a planetary scale would make hospital wait times longer.

And what will drowning coastal cities do to prescription drug prices? You'd think they go up just because all the drugs would have to be dried off.

If the Earth bakes in a carboniferous furnace, won't emergency rooms be overwhelmed with patients no matter how we pay for their care?

These are things that ought to be asked, but are not. If an asteroid was sliding into a collision orbit with us and astronomers could show how we had 12 years before it hit and obliterated us all, would we be talking about Danish-style socialized medicine? I don't think so.

It's almost like the whole Global Warming Climate Change thing is just another tool to grab more money and power for the State.

Did I hear that right? Around 0:50, she says that the ice could melt in as little as 1,000 years. A thousand years? Like, at that point, who cares? By then, we'll be having group sex with transgendered, robotic donkeys who use the pronouns glarb/florek/her. And what's with the piano? Does that help or hinder Global Warming Climate Change?

Note: I love that I could find this video via Blogger YouTube search, but Gad Saad's hilarious video from yesterday was invisible. YouTube: A platform for sharing videos that conform with Google's corporate point of view.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

How Dare You Disrupt My Game Of Let's Pretend!

The best take yet on Greta Thunberg came from Gad Saad. The punchline at 0:50 never fails to make me laugh.

Greta came across the sea to bring a message of accusation to the West. When I first saw her video, the way she huskily said, "How dare you!" reminded me of a 1950s drama where the leading lady is haughtily giving some cad a dressing down. I wished Greta had been wearing opera gloves and had some guy on stage with her in a tux to slap. It would have been perfect.

While Greta was sailing across the ocean, her boat loaded to the gunwales with scorn, China brought another coal-fired power plant on line. They're building one every two weeks or so, with predictable results.

Note that the time frame for the growth rates is purposefully chosen to make the US look bad. If they had chosen, say, 2008-2013, we'd have shown a decrease. Mathematically, a 5-year period would have made more sense than a 1-year period, but this isn't about honesty or science at all.

This is cosplay. Her speech and the onanistic gasps of pleasure from the eco-masochists in our Elites was completely detached from reality. As Douglas Murray might say, it was deranged and it was deranging. That is, it's simply insane to castigate the West for carbon emissions because it isn't happening. It's also designed to make you insane as you twist your brain, looking for a way to validate a lie.

All of this is done so that the Social Justice crowd can keep playing Let's Pretend. Every day, they put on their superhero costumes and rush out to battle Hate or White Supremacy or Global Warming Climate Change. None of those things exist in America to any significant extent, at least not in a way they can actually fight. It's all fantasy and if you do or say anything to interrupt their game, you will be silenced or shouted down.

The attacks on dissent are there so that they can keep feeling the joy of fighting enemies that don't exist.

Note: I had to grab the embed code manually off of YouTube to share that video with you. Normally in Blogger, you can search for a video by name or by the YouTube ID in the URL, in this case wn4tEP69N6s. Blogger will then auto-embed the video for you. Well, you can search for them unless YouTube has blacklisted them in an effort to hide them from searches. No, our free speech rights are not being infringed by Megacorp. Not at all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I've Changed And It's For The Better

Yesterday, I blogged about the (now removed) framed pictures of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in my garage. As I thought about it, I realized that I had been doing it all wrong all along. I have replaced them with this photo.

"Barack, I heard that KT is drinking a lot, downloading porn and getting fat because he doesn't work out."
"That's no big deal, Ellen, as long as it's not out of alignment with his values."
"And his values can be whatever he wants, right?"
What a difference a day makes! Now when people go grab an adult beverage from the wine cooler or the fridge in the garage, they'll see President Obama placing the Presidential Medal of Face Chafing around the neck of Ellen DeGeneres for carpet eating above and beyond the call of ... whatever calls for that sort of thing.

I'm going to buy an equals sign bumper sticker for my car, too.

I will now have immediate respect from any and all. They will see that I am not full of Hate and how I'm working to raise awareness of how Love Wins. I am now one of the Good People. All that in exchange for a framed photo and a bumper sticker!

We've got a bunch of Crucifixes in the house that we're going to dump as well. All Catholic thingamabobs have got to go, too, because, as Beto "Pancho Villa" O'Rourke says, "We can't allow anyone to make logical connections between Genesis 1:27 and reproductive biology. The best way to do this is to bankrupt the Catholic Church and obfuscate the connection between sex and babies."

Want to know what's best of all?

I won't have to explain how Jackson and Lee inspire me to be a better man which I knew full well always caused my guests to reflect on just how I was doing practicing self-denial and kindness. I change one thing and I don't have to work to live up to my vows. The vows are G-O-N-E gone! It's all gain and no effort!

Jackson and Lee represented objective standards of behavior. Measuring up to their examples was always really, really hard. Barack and Ellen represent getting your rocks off any old way and preening in public. It's trivially easy.

This Social Justice thing is awesome.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Jackson And Lee

I have framed pictures of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in my garage. I have to explain it from time to time and up to now, I've always been surprised when the question arises and stumble with my response. This is partly because my deep love for the two men has become second nature to me. I'm writing this to codify my thoughts so I can provide a concise answer.

Lee and Jackson make me a better man.

When I ponder some imprudent action or am tempted to give in to vice, I can imagine General Jackson's disappointment in my behaviors. An orphan by age five and a widower early in his adulthood, probably no more than 1% of the population had as rough a life as Thomas Jonathan Jackson. Almost no one in American history accomplished as much. Jackson's prodigious feats of self-denial and self-discipline as well as his deep piety led to his successes.

Inspiration from Stonewall Jackson's life makes me want to be more disciplined and have a deeper faith.

When I am unkind or think ill of someone, particularly anyone in my family, I feel the spirit of Robert E. Lee gently remonstrating me to be more charitable. A kind and loving man, devoted to his wife and children, stories of Lee's humility and magnanimity are numerous. I've read most of his letters, kept and published after his death by one of his sons, and his humanity shines through them all.

Inspiration from Robert E. Lee's life makes me a gentler person.

Since all things are viewed these days through the distorting lens of Social Justice, I'll add this quote from another of my inspirations.
Booker T. Washington, America’s great African-American educator, wrote in 1910, “The first white people in America, certainly the first in the South to exhibit their interest in the reaching of the Negro and saving his soul through the medium of the Sunday school were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.”
I knew that about Jackson, but I did not know that about Lee. In fact, while in the field with the Confederate Army, Jackson made sure that a portion of his pay was sent to maintain the Bible school he and his second wife had established and led for local slaves. Working through his own metanoia on the subject, Jackson figured that while slavery would always be with us, he would do what he could to see that the black slaves would be his equals in paradise.

Yes, I could have chosen other inspirations, but then I'd be a different person. Jackson and Lee work perfectly for me. Maybe someday, I'll take down those "problematic" photos and put up pictures of Barack Obama and Ellen DeGeneres. Everyone will then agree that I am filled with virtue.

And on that day, I'll chuck the whole self-improvement thing. After all, that's the chief benefit of being Socially Conscious - the ability to fantasize about what a great person you are while not actually doing a blasted thing.

"I'm so disappointed in KT, Thomas. He was unkind to his wife."
"Indeed, Robert. He also blew off the gym this morning."

Friday, October 11, 2019

Getting Out Of A Shoebox

... can be more difficult than it sounds.

Over the stress of the last two months, my world has shrunk to about the size of a shoebox. I might be working overtime taking care of others, but my thoughts are mostly about me, how hard it's been, how it's constricting my life and how much longer it's going to last.

On retreat this weekend, at Mass this morning, I listened to our excellent music team. One of the guys plays the mandolin and he's very, very good.

I wondered about his life. What got him here? How did he decide to get started and what were his first guitar lessons like?

In that moment, the shoebox broke. Thinking of someone else's life, really wanting to know about them takes the focus off of yourself and your anxieties.

Before the weekend is over, I'm going to try chat with him.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Taking The Weekend Off

I'm heading off to work a men's retreat weekend this afternoon and won't be back until late on Sunday. When I've done these in the past, I've always managed to schedule a post or two and then blog from my phone while on retreat. I have a bunch of posts queued up in my head, but truth be told, I'm exhausted and a bit depressed from being sick, working extra hours, taking care of my mom who is very ill and getting ready for the weekend. I just don't have it in me to rightly write right now.

I hope you guys have a great weekend and I'll catch you on the flip side. In the meantime, this is what the tobacco crop looked like yesterday. Enjoy!

They haven't started to bloom. The flower you see is from another plant that shares the raised bed with the tobacco.
Aside: I'll probably get an idea and post something short while I'm gone. No points deducted for brief thoughts, OK? :-)

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

From MLK To Julius Caesar In One Ruling

Genesis 1:27 is the foundation of modern, Western civilization. It's what differentiated us from the slave-trading African tribes, the mass-murdering Aztecs and the rapacious Roman Empire. It says:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
That sentence says that we are all equal in the eyes of God, no matter what. A British court has now ruled the following:
“Belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals ... (I)n so far as those beliefs form part of (a) wider faith, (that) wider faith also does not satisfy the requirement of being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.”
Well, OK then. Looks like we can get back to the fun stuff. Imperialism, slavery, mass slaughter, pillaging, looting and anything else we want. After all, that dork next to you is not your equal. He's just some dork who might have something you'd like to take.

If you listen to MLK speeches, removing Genesis 1:27 removes the first principle upon which his Civil Rights movement was based. MLK pointed out the hypocrisy of Christians professing Genesis 1:27 and then practicing racism. That contradiction permeated the debates over slavery in Britain and America throughout the centuries and led to its abolition.

Without that single verse in the Bible, we can, perhaps, fall back on evolution and Charles Darwin.


Darwin penned plenty of material suggesting that natural selection would apply to human races as well as animals. Oh well. I'm sure the Ivy League chappies will find something splendid to replace Christianity. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to find a strong group to join, if only for protection.

Is it too late to reconstitute the Roman legions?

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Where Is The Wehrmacht?

So the Trumpster is bailing out of Syria and the Turks are coming in with unclear purpose. All kinds of howls are arising from our idiot pundits about deserting allies like the Kurds. Fair enough. We are indeed doing just that.

What's the alternative and why is it up to us?

Last I looked, Germany, France and Italy had the most to lose from another major conflict in and around Syria. It hardly matters to us at all in the most selfish sense, but it's a pretty big deal to them. Syria is also a lot closer to them so logistical support for any intervention would be way easier for them. If Turkey goes in with, say, 50,000 or 100,000 troops, you're going to have to send in a comparable number and then supply those units.

If we're dealing with truculent Turks, the whole affair could last a long, long time. After all, Turkish supply lines are quite direct, so supporting their army in the field isn't nearly as complicated. I get that the Kurds helped us and are fine fellows and all, but why is it up to us to defend them?

And then there's Congress. They're all up in arms about Trump's proposed withdrawal of forces, but are they willing to declare war? If so, on whom? Without bipartisan support for a major engagement, who's left holding the bag for taking on several Turkish divisions in Syria?

Finally, Turkey is a member of NATO. Exactly what is the appropriate response when opposing an "ally?" NATO is a big organization with lots of voting members. What do the rest of them have to say about this?

I've seen a lot of gnashing of teeth and finger-pointing on Twitter, but no one is discussing the EU Army, such as there is of it. It seems to me like this is their ballgame, not ours. Besides, aren't the Euros flush with cash because they do such a good job with free college and free healthcare and stuff? This ought to be a slam dunk for them.

Or maybe not.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Maybe I Need A Weather Station After All

Background information can be found here.

Tim suggested I get a weather station for recording hourly temperatures as a part of my tobacco-growing project. Ohioan At Heart suggested using the NOAA data from nearby Montgomery Field. I grabbed a month's worth of NOAA data and got this.

Click on it for a readable version.
It's closer than the Weather Underground data I had picked up, but I still don't trust it. We had a several days in the 90s and this only shows two.

If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Mr. Banks, #EatTheBabies!

A bunch of things are coming together right now, a harmonic convergence of suicidal tendencies wherein it looks as though, all things considered, we should leave the planet to robots with massive bank accounts.

Tucker Carlson and Douglas Murray in speeches and books have pointed out the undeniable and morbid fascination we have with encouraging women to get into and stay in the workforce. There are plenty of proposals for government-subsidized daycare to let Tricia and Taniqua drop off whatever child they have with a caregiver, ASAP, and rush back to improve the bottom line of Megacorp.

When I watch sports on TV, I note the themes in the ads. Almost every one of them features more than one woman devoutly engaged in furthering some commercial enterprise. Almost no women, no more than 1 in 20, I'd say, are home with their children. No, they're all thinking up new products for Megacorp to sell when they're not wading through water to fire an M-16 at America's foes.

Finally, there was this spectacle wherein a lefty loon or a righty troll told AOC that we need to start eating babies if we want to save the Earth. Note how no one in the audience shouts that this madness. Instead, I detect a waves of thought surging through the crowd wherein they wonder if things might come to the point where eating babies will be necessary and others calculating just how much CO2 a toddler or two a month on the dinner table will save.

All of which leads to the song below from Mary Poppins which is simply crying out to be rewritten. In the new version, a young, cockney girl would be arguing that what she really wants is a pretty wedding, a handsome husband and plenty of fat, little, cooing babies. Instead of bankers, she'd be surrounded by politicians, green-haired lesbian activists and technology tycoons telling her the benefits of multiple college degrees and a continually-advancing career.

Friday, October 04, 2019


... are overrated sometimes.

Pepito decided he needed extra attention last night, so this morning was a bit rough for us.

It wasn't a big deal for him, he just went back to bed.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Themes From MLK

I've now consumed 4 or 5 MLK speeches and have reached the Lincoln Memorial "I Have A Dream" speech. One simply must listen to that one, but I might quit afterwards and move on to something else. What King has to say is profound and brilliantly argued, but there are only so many stump speeches one can hear before they start to be a grind.

I would argue that there are four basic principles which drove his efforts to achieve racial equality. I list them below, in no particular order.

Aside: Note that he argues for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. "Judged by the content of their character" implies, and is reinforced in his speeches time and time again, that if the content of your character falls short, there will be consequences.

My Take On MLK's Themes
  1. He depends on Western civilization to provide the mechanisms by which he is trying to change the world. He even says as much in one of his speeches. He talks about visiting Westminster Cathedral and seeing the tombs of British kings and queens. He talks of the British Empire and how imperialism held others down for the enrichment of the British. He then says that the civil rights movement is there to save Western civilization from its own hypocrisies. He comes not to bury the West, but to love, cherish and improve it.

  2. He is motivated by Christianity. This is inescapable in his speeches. Without it, there is no way to drive the civil rights movement. We are made in the image of God and that's independent of skin color. Because of that, the goal is for each of us to see others as children of God. The desired end state, then, is brotherly love. He even mentions agape in a couple of speeches, which is the love that originates from Jesus for all Mankind, a love we are called to share.

  3. He demands nonviolence and insists that upon the success of the civil rights movement, there be no animosity towards the people who had oppressed the blacks. The goal is to free them from their sins of hatred and then live with them in love and charity, not to beat them down and destroy them in a fit of vengeance.

  4. He has great love for the Founding Fathers and what they created. In his speech after the Rosa Parks incident, he says, 
    (T)his is the glory of America, with all of its faults. This is the glory of our democracy. If we were incarcerated behind the iron curtains of a Communistic nation we couldn’t do this. If we were dropped in the dungeon of a totalitarian regime we couldn’t do this. But the great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right.
And there you have it. We are called by God through Jesus Christ to love one another. The Founding Fathers, as products of Western civilization, have given us a mechanism to achieve that through nonviolent means. That's about the long and short of it.

I put off studying MLK for a long time, but now I'm glad I dove into his speeches. I'll be happily celebrating MLK Day from now on.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The Temperature Data Is Inaccurate

Project Description: I'm growing tobacco very late in the season. I'm concerned that it will be too cold for the plants to properly develop. I'm going to chart daily temperatures and see what happens with them.

Today's Update: I managed to fight through a couple of technical problems with my tobacco temperature project and collected Weather Underground temperature data from their nearest station for August and September. The station is less than a mile away, so the temperature readings there should be plenty accurate for me.

They aren't.

This has been a very mild summer*. We haven't broken 100 yet, which, for us, is highly unusual. Our first summer in this house, 10 years ago, had about 3 weeks of 100+ days. Still, we've had plenty of days in the 90s. The hourly temperature data from WU for the 61 days of August and September shows nothing out of the 80s.

Click on it for a better view. The guidelines in the first half show the optimal temperature range for tobacco. They stop halfway through because of an error in my code. I don't have the time to correct it this morning, so we'll just let it go.
For conservative conspiracy theorists, this is going in the wrong direction. We'd expect them to be cheating on the high side, not the low side. This tells me their data collection system is all horked up.

In any case, the dataset is unusable. I checked the live readings from the station yesterday and they were accurate. Somewhere in the process of saving the data, it looks like they're inserting data from a different station. Maybe one in Alberta or something.

Oh well. Back to the drawing board.

Completely Off Topic: My current audio book is a collection of speeches by MLK. I would argue that if you consume a large amount of someone's writing or speeches, you can pick out 3-4 major themes that define their worldview. I've only listened to two of his speeches so far, but I think I'm getting a sense of how he thought. More on that in later blog posts.

* - Lower temperatures mean that we are suffering from Climate Change and not Global Warming. Next year, if we get back to the 3-digit days, we'll know that Global Warming has resumed.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Give Amari Allen A Break

You can hardly blame her. She was a young lady imitating what she saw all the flashy, famous and fatuous grownups doing: cosplaying battles against Hate. Here's the story.

I'm being serious here, not snarky. Maybe she was having a really bad week. Maybe her Instagram selfies hadn't gotten a lot of likes and she wasn't invited to the Cool Girls sleepover the week before. Those kinds of things mean a lot. In concrete terms, her Hate hoax wasn't any different than a thousand CNN panel discussions where they all effectively agreed that if we just did away with this word or that statue, then a 73% illegitimacy rate wouldn't be a big deal.

Having raised a girl and seen what they go through over social standing anxieties, it's no wonder someone like her decided to put on a Monica Rambeau costume and go join the Superfriends at the MSNBC Hall of Social Justice.