Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Source Of Game Of Thrones

 ... must have been the story of the Romanov Dynasty in Russia.

I'm currently devouring The Romanovs, 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Monetfiore and it's spectacular. It has everything you'd expect from Game of Thrones including wars, assassinations, bride shows, dwarves, drunkenness, treachery, debauchery, violence, torture and more dwarves.

What an absolutely horrible nation! The thing that strikes me the most is how difficult it is to rule as an autocrat. You can't trust anyone. You're always a poisoned goblet away from death with any number of courtiers aiming to profit by a shift in power.

I'm currently at the reign of Peter the Great. During one of his campaigns, a portion of his army starved to death as it marched off to attack the Ottomans or the Poles or someone like that. How in the world do you begin a campaign without adequate logistics? They were so organizationally primitive and their communications so poor that they didn't realize they were going to lose thousands to starvation along the way.

Not that it bothered them. Ordinary people were worthless to them. What a mess.

The Battle of Narva, 1700 - "The Swedes attacked the next day, at two o’clock in the afternoon in a blinding snowstorm. There were 40,000 Russians and only 10,000 Swedes, but Charles’s army charged full tilt at the Russian lines and in half an hour drove them in a panic-stricken rout. Many of the Russians were captured, some were drowned trying to get away across the Narva river and some took the opportunity to murder their officers. The Swedes took the entire Russian artillery train and inflicted more than 8,000 casualties, losing only 700 men of their own."

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Tea Is For Sissies

Well, it's about time to refresh our raised beds here in the Catican Compound. Now usually, that means we've pulled out all the plants so the beds are totally barren. Come January or February, I nuke the soil with a mix of organic and chemical fertilizer and composted worm and chicken manure. All combined, I aim for triple the recommended dose of soil amendments. I then let the beds lay fallow for two months before planting. February and March are San Diego's rainy season, such as it is. The rain steeps the fertilizer into the soil and probably mellows it as well. 

I've been doing this for the last couple of years with great success. This year, however, we've got two beds with firmly-established plants we don't want to pull. We've got an eggplant and herbs in one and cayenne in another. The third has flowers which wife kitteh says she will repot so I can have a go at that one as usual.

For the two planted beds, I looked up how to make tea out of fertilizer, thinking I could replenish them that way and not risk the roots of our plants by turning over the soil. I swear, I ought to wear a dress to do what they recommended.

You take a pillowcase full of organic fertilizer and steep it in a 5-gallon bucket for two days. You take out the pillowcase and discard the solids. The tea is then cut with water and used to water the raised beds. After that, you drink a Fresca and call your friends to gossip about the neighbors and discuss the latest episode of This Is Us.

No, no and no. Today, I bought the manures and some compost. I've already got the granular fertilizers from my good friends at Dow Chemicals. This year, I'm just going to sprinkle the granular stuff, pour on the fertilizer and cover it with the compost. It will be done as crudely as possible, on the leaves, on the soil, in the air, on the ground. I might even fling some at the neighbor's dog, the little swine. I'll then water the living daylights out the beds to wash off the plants and get the steeping going.

After that, I'll drink a beer and listen to some country music. No tea.

Right now, my cayenne are all producing the largest, meatiest peppers yet. I fertilized the bed with chemicals 6 weeks ago and the plants are responding nicely. They got shaded out by the cotton, but they've recovered well. This new program ought to be just the thing to give the troops.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Running Freight Traffic Over An Unstable Bridge

It feels like every time you turn around, there's another story suggesting that the country is becoming more unstable. I can't tell if it's confirmation bias on my part or clickbait rubbish from the sources I read, but it seems obvious to me.

Looking around Adobe Stock for a good photo for this post, I found one of a rickety, old bridge.

Every time an institution is revealed to be corrupt, a support cracks or a slat falls into the water. When the press chose to hide the Hunter Biden story, that was a support falling down. Confident that the bridge would hold future traffic, the press never went back to replace it by addressing the fears and frustrations of the public.

Using mail-in ballots when a big portion of the electorate told you in advance they wouldn't trust the result was a big support falling into the water. As far as the Elites that jammed the mail-in ballots on us are concerned, that bridge will last forever.

This week, when a couple of relatively minor hedge funds were rescued at the expense of tiny, retail investors, another couple of slats fell. Asked to weigh in on it, the Biden Administration crowed that Janet Yellin was the first female Treasury Secretary, which only mattered to those obsessed with identity politics. What blind hubris to think that was reassuring!

Every time the voices of individuals are silenced or someone gets canceled, that removes support, too. Think of it in terms of the mechanical engineering calculations on that bridge - fewer connectors have to carry more stress as communications channels for the deplorables get cut away.

As more power is handed over to the Elites in the form of government spending, more regulations and giants like Amazon gobbling up small businesses, it's as if we're expecting that bridge to carry heavier and heavier loads. The more you centralize power, the more important institutional trust becomes.

By the way, did you know that Bill Gates owns more American farmland than anyone else? Creak.

I dunno, man. Maybe I need to go back and reread my vows on this blog to fast from the news. This can't be right, can it?

(Makes one last stop to see what some centrist Twitter accounts are saying these days. Hair stands up on end.)

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Romanovs Shorted Gamestop

I'll admit I don't know much about the end of the Romanovs, but the mental imagery appealed to me, so here we are. My hypothesis is that the Romanovs never really understood the threats to their rule because they didn't grasp what was happening in the broader population. Think of them as John Kerry, Janet Yellin, the faculty at Brown and the AP. They talk to each other almost exclusively, so they have a model for the world whose failures are invisible to them. They take steps to preserve their power which are self-defeating because they don't understand how things work.

Yesterday, a new communications channel was opened. Retail investors, equipped with information about highly-shorted stocks, whacked big, institutional investors to the tune of 10-20 billion dollars by buying up GameStop stock. As far as I can tell, the message was not received. Instead, that comms channel was shut down through changes in the ways you can buy heavily-shorted stocks.

To recapitulate a previous post, communications won't stop just because you shut down one avenue.

If you've got a real beef with how things are going, if you've got something to say, Twitter, Parler and Facebook are only mediums for comms, they aren't the comms themselves. There are lots of other ways to make a point.

If you feel like the election was stolen, online silencing isn't going to change your mind. If you're terrified of what the progressives mean when they say they will "fundamentally transform America," shutting down Parler isn't going to make you feel any less threatened, it will make you feel more threatened.

To go back to my theme of the last year, the left, including Big Tech, has no idea how anything works. They can't predict the next moves by their opponents. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that they don't see other people as people, they see them as static objects. There won't be any next moves by their opponents because their opponents do not possess free will or rational thought. It's the straw man principle taken to a whole new level.

Every time a deplorable tries to tell you how they feel, they get slammed. They're silenced on campus, they have social justice jammed in their faces at work, their online accounts get demonetized and on and on. When they get slammed, they get a little more radical.

This is unstable. $10,000,000,000 is one heck of a message. Instead of listening and thinking about what was being said, which was trivially easy because the mob told you how they felt on social media, the Elites shut down comms again. I thought this was an excellent summary of the message.

Now I think I need to go find an audiobook about the Romanovs.

Bonus Thought: Everything the GameStop raiders did yesterday was legal. All of it. If you now change the rules in the middle of the game and that cause them to lose tons of money, do you think they will become more or less radicalized?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

America Was Built On Slavery

 ... at least our modern wealth has been.

Borrowing is the spending of future income to pay for current expenses. Debt, then, is the indentured servitude of the future. Government debt, particularly of the size of ours, fits Abraham Lincoln's definition of slavery, which went something like*: You work and I spend. 

Yesterday, I tried to listen to a discussion between Jordan Peterson and Douglas Murray and one between Andrew Klavan and Ross Douthat. Both covered the same ground - we've lost our way, in part, because we're so wealthy. We don't have societal meaning to our lives because all the big things are done.


All the big things only look like they're done because we've enslaved our grade schoolers with $28T of debt, not counting all of the state-level unfunded pension liabilities, college loans and so forth. If you simply balanced the budget, which would require spending at least a trillion less than we do now, you'd live in a very different country. You'd see a whole new set of needs.

You'd get purpose back in a hurry.

We're not as wealthy as we think we are. It's all an illusion.

It's not real.

* - I don't have time to look it up this morning as I need to go make biscuits and gravy to bring in as a treat for my coworkers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Rain Clouds

 ... make me under the weather, so to speak.

I've got a cold today, so while there are buckets of wisdom in my head, not only to I not have the energy to pour them onto the digital page, I'm not even sure where I left them. That's been evident for years, I'm sure.

In any case, I managed to film 20 minutes of sky yesterday and condense it into 60 seconds of film. Enjoy.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Cayenne Flowers

 ... are difficult to photograph.

Cayenne are shortish plants whose flowers hang down towards the soil. The flowers are very small, so getting your camera to focus on the tiny flower and not the leaves around it or the background takes contortions that my body opposes vigorously.

I still managed to get one good shot yesterday. Enjoy.

I had intended to use my small point-and-shoot to film the dramatic skies we had yesterday and produce a time-lapse video to share, but I couldn't find the charger for the camera, so that project had to be canceled. My study is a mess these days, but less of one each week as I slowly work through both my parents' things and cull my own stash of memories.

Life Lesson: Many of the things that matter to you from your life will be inscrutable and worth little to your children. After cleaning out my folks' house, I'm going through my own with a more critical eye.

Hopefully, I'll find that dratted charger soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

I Wish Pope Francis Was More Like Jeff Bezos

... because Jeff believes in something and won't let anything get in his way of acting on his beliefs. No, there's no mealy-mouth wussing-out when it comes to Jeffrey.

Yesterday, Outkick posted an article describing how Amazon/WaPo/Bezos is arguing that mail-in ballots are untrustworthy.

Jeff Bezos — a strong Democratic supporter — and Amazon are aiming to postpone a unionization vote at one of its warehouses in Alabama, the Wall Street Journal reports. Interestingly, Amazon has requested that the National Labor Relations Board reconsider allowing mail-in voting, claiming that the mail-in voting process has “serious and systemic flaws.”

Got that? Bezos and Amazon are doing all they can to prevent any shady activity when workers cast their ballots for unionization, and they are particularly concerned about the integrity of mail-in ballots.

You are likely trying to figure out how that adds up, right? The Washington Post, owned by Bezos, called any claims of mail-in voter fraud by Donald Trump and his supporters dangerous and inexcusable. Amazon even banned Parler from its servers, in part to ensure no one could claim voter fraud occurred from mail-in ballots back in November.

What more needs to be said? If Pope Francis had this kind of single-minded devotion to whatever it is he believes, the Church would be a force in the world. 

Back in the day, I don't recall Daleks playing a major role in the birth of Christ. This year's Vatican creche seems to indicate otherwise. Well, that's Pope Francis for you. Always coming up with something new.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

How Tall Is The Arctangent?

This is a follow on to yesterday's humiliating face-plant wherein I tried to calculate the height of a plant with my face.

Or something like that.

I claimed that similar triangles would allow me figure out the height of a distant tree, using my phone's camera and knowing my distance from the tree. Tim let me know I didn't know my right foot from my left when pacing off the distance and Ohioan proved once again that he is the superior mathematician.

I deeply resent them both and vow to get even with acts of vengeance that would make a Klingon nauseous with horror.

Wait, I was only supposed to think that, not type it. Oh well.

So here's the new calculation, as yet unmanifested in a Google Sheets calculation.

  • h is the height of the tree in feet
  • d is my distance to the tree. I'm going to stick with 3' per step and accept any inaccuracies.
  • 5.5 is the height of the camera off the ground, in feet. And yes, I'm taking into account the fact that I'm not looking at it with the top of my head.
  • alpha is the viewing angle of the camera, which for my Pixel 3 is 76 degrees
  • theta is the angle of the camera lens to a spot on the tree 5.5' up from the ground. This gives me a right angle for the resulting triangle
  • beta is the external angle of the right triangle I make with the tree

I can calculate beta as soon as I know my distance to the tree.

Theta is just 76 minus beta.

The height is then my distance to the tree times the tangent of beta plus the 5.5' accounting for the height of my eyes, assuming my eyestalks aren't fully extended.

Going back to yesterday's tree, if I thought it was 52', that means I was 13' from the tree, so d is 13.

  • beta is then 22 degrees
  • theta is 54 degrees
  • The tree is then 23' tall
Using the car in the picture, I could go along with the tree being about 4 SUVs high which would make it about 23'.

Good enough?

Friday, January 22, 2021

How Tall Is That Tree?

I've been pondering how I might be able to measure the height of tall trees. Taking a walk yesterday, I was thinking about the geometry and trigonometry of the problem. I wondered if there was an app for my smartphone that calculated dimensions of an object using the camera on the phone. It would be simple enough, all you'd need would be the distance from the camera to the object and you could use the properties of triangles to figure out the height.

Then it dawned on me that all I needed to do was fit an object of known height into the camera viewer in portrait orientation and then pace off my distance to it. I would then have the ratio of distance to the tree to its height. The Law of Similar Triangles tells us that the ratio won't change no matter how large or how distant the object might be.

I found a topped Mexican Fan Palm that was about 8' tall. Pacing off the distance and knowing the length of my stride, I figured out that if I multiplied my strides by 4, I would get the height of the object in feet.

You're welcome.

This palm tree is 52' tall.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Homeostasis Of Victimology

I just finished Gad Saad's book, The Parasitic Mind. I've consumed the Gadfather's content on Twitter and YouTube off and on for more than a year now, so much of the book was a clarifying expansion of that. There was one idea in particular that I really loved, one that meshes with Thomas Sowell's take on racial grifters. That is the concept of the Homeostasis of Victimology.

Homeostasis is where a system reacts to the environment to maintain a certain level of something. For example, your body works to make sure your internal temperature stays around 98.6. It sweats when it's too hot and burns calories when it's too cold. Your circulatory system reacts by expanding and contracting itself.

The Homeostasis of Victimology (HoV), works to serve the interests of three groups. Each needs there to be a certain level of "hate" in the culture in order to reap desired rewards.

  1. Race grifters. Robin D'Angelo is out of a job if we suddenly declare that racial hate is no longer a big deal. Dittos for the bug-eyed practitioners of Modern Nazi Race Theory currently haranguing San Diego School District employees.
  2. Democrat politicians. For decades now, the Democratic Party has lived off of massive support from minority groups. If the prevailing view of the country was that income and education were markers of behavior and not racial spoils, they'd be toast.
  3. Social Justice Warriors. There's excitement in putting on your Power Ranger jammies and running outside to cosplay a battle wherein you defend a poor, beleaguered minority from the Forces of Hate™. If we came to the conclusion that the absence of fathers was orders of magnitude more important than hate, these people would have to face real German Shepherds and fire hoses as they strove to drag the culture back towards traditional morality.

This is why the whole injustice industry gets weirder and weirder. Real hate is more difficult to find every day. Just as your body goes into overdrive to maintain its temperature in a snowstorm, our culture has gone into overdrive and discovered microaggressions, systemic racism, implicit bias and more. It's working to maintain a constant level of perceived hate.

This also explains why they must crush freedom of speech. Allowing others to talk would make it so much harder to maintain their required levels of faux injustice. Imagine what would happen in the average person was exposed to Dennis Prager and Ben Shapiro. If it was discovered that the most popular pundits on the Right were the philosophical heirs of MLK, the game would be over. Crushing communication channels is like putting on a parka in a blizzard. It's a defense mechanism by an organism threatened by the environment.

I've moved on now to The Great Courses' An Economic History of the World since 1400. It's beautifully done and I've learned a ton already, even though I'm only 10% of the way through it.

I explained all of this to Lily, but she was less than interested.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Insufficient Stimuli

... and no, I don't mean the latest round of trillions of dollars looted from grade schoolers and handed out with a pharisaical display of faux-compassion. I mean smartphones and TV.

Last night, one of our sons came over to do his laundry and eat fried chicken and biscuits in celebration of Robert E. Lee's birthday. After we had munched, we watched bad TV - Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! While we watched, we all played games or surfed social media sites on our phones. We commented on this to each other. The shows weren't enough to amuse us, we needed stimulation from our phones as well.

It is a credit to our devotion to asceticism that we did not hire nubile, Asian girls* to come to our house and massage us at the same time. Truly, it was like unto the trials of Job.

The Chicken

It was legs and thighs, bathed in plain buttermilk for a few hours. I read later that I should have seasoned the buttermilk first. The dredge was regular flour with a variety of seasonings - paprika, Slap Ya Mama, garlic powder, poultry seasoning and pepper. I fried them for 10-12 minutes at 315 and they were delicious. Mary says to keep the oil at such a low temperature to allow the chicken to cook while not burning the crust. She, of course, was right.

Without an egg wash and another layer of breading, the crust was light and delicate.


Like social media and politically-bent news, they're more addiction than tool. I try to put mine down as much as possible, but I'd be lying to say that I was even remotely successful at keeping it away from my face. We were recently watching a Tom Selleck Jesse Stone movie and I was playing my brick-breaker game. I could just imagine big Tom towering over me in my living room, asking why I was bothering to play his movie if I wasn't going to watch it. Those camera angles all had purposes and I wasn't appreciating the team's artistry.

Guilty as charged, Mr. Selleck.

Fooling Ourselves

My conclusion from all of this is that giving in to constant stimulation isn't as much of a generational thing as we'd like to pretend. Yes, our kids are more addicted, but we're well down that path as well. And no, we can't quit any time we want.

Fishes To The Rescue

I've been teleworking a lot lately. I'll confess that while I keep one monitor devoted to work, I would sometimes keep the other on Twitter. It was horrible. I've since switched over to's Underwater Manatee-Cam at Blue Spring State Park. That's much better and I would argue it improves, if not my productivity, certainly my mood and calmness. The fish are slow and soothing and the blue-green water provides a serene backdrop. Much better than the endless klaxons of social media.

Super Special Bonus: From time to time, a Hypostomus plecostomus ambles by the camera. I used to be a big tropical fish enthusiast and I always loved those armored creatures. You can see one in the center, left. He's the very dark fellow. It's wonderful to see them in their natural habitat. In fact, seeing one of those gives me a greater thrill than my brick-breaker game. Hmm.

* - It's a sign of the times that I fought with this phrase even though it immediately came to mind and provided exactly the imagery I wanted. Should I say "Asian?" How about "nubile?" When you read it, you know exactly what I mean - the kind of indulgence you might choose if you were one of our Tech Overlords or a highly-placed minion thereof.

It's a similar sign of the times that I tweeted a photo of the chicken and mentioned that we were celebrating Lee's birthday, but took it down a few hours later, fearing possible repercussions.

This isn't a Brave, New World, it's a Fearful, New World. I hate it already.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

We Need Large-Print Format Arduino Boards!

... and we need them now!

I practiced a little more with my Arduino starter kit and I think I know enough to be able to make a time-lapse camera. I bought a camera module yesterday and it should arrive today. I won't have time to build it until next weekend.

The first version will simply take a picture on command and hand the resulting jpg to the attached computer. Getting the Arduino to talk to the network or store the information on a memory card is a bridge too far right now. All in good time, my pretty, all in good time.

Meanwhile, I discovered that the worst thing about playing with the Arduino is that I can barely see the connections on the thing, even wearing my cheaters. If I wear the cheaters long enough and look back and forth at different focal lengths, I get nauseous. Blargh! It's a spur to drive me to finish this sickening project faster.

Me, a few years from now when I've managed to successfully grow and process tobacco. Note that by this time, I can no more read the book in my hand than I can fly to the moon.

Elsewhere in the realm of nausea, it turns out that there's such a thing as multiracial whiteness. That's going to be a boon for the grievance industry as it substantially expands the number of potential oppressors. It ought to be good for lifetime employment for those grifters, or at least until people rediscover that bad grades, jail time and low income are behavioral markers.

Kipling's works are evergreen. That's a sign of true, classical genius.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Even Teens Need Moms And Dads

Rolling Stone writer, Shawn McCreesh, penned a particularly poignant tale of his adolescence and early adulthood wherein he and his pals engaged in Caligulan levels of self-indulgence until many were dead, addicted or brain damaged.

It starts out predictably.

I was raised, along with a younger brother and sister, by a single mom who worked as a hairdresser and a waitress. I spent every other weekend with my father, who lived in the next town over and founded a tree and landscaping company and later worked in real estate. We qualified for the free lunch program at school, and some years were tougher than others, but we were not poor and always had everything we needed.

Sufficient resources? Check. Stable family? Not checked. From the looks of things and given his apparent age, it's a good bet his wasn't the only such family in his hood. The parties the kids threw were legendary, or would have been, had they been aware of their surroundings.

Sharon was a year older than me and lived in the neighbor-hood. The year her mother was sent to jail, Sharon’s house became our free-for-all party pad and experimentation fort. Sharon’s scratchy baritone made for the perfect imitation mom-voice, so she could supply an alibi to any anxious parent inquiring about their child’s whereabouts. It always worked, including on my own mother.  One night at Sharon’s we couldn’t get our paws on any preferred substances, and so Collin, our friend with the stickiest fingers, had a brainstorm: He would go to the home of a girl he was seeing and raid her parent’s medicine cabinet. After he came back with a bottle of what we thought was pharmaceutical-grade sleeping medication, we decided to divvy up the bottle, pop all the pills at once, wash them down with fortys, and have a contest to see who could stay awake the longest.

It goes on and on like this. Friends die, friends get pregnant outside of marriage, friends get addicted. On Twitter, I suggested to him that this was what happened when you didn't have a stable community of traditional families to provide guardrails for the kids. He disagreed.

Good for him. After his preemptory reply, I reconsidered his essay. He had just told us that he and his friends had only a passing acquaintance with self-denial, an ailment common to teenagers. I wasn't much different, I just didn't have the opportunities to get loaded like this. There was weed and booze, but there were plenty of married moms and dads committed to sniffing out impending doom before it impended.

His essay taught me one thing - the value of parents at home for teens. When the kids are tiny, you provide love. When they're youngsters, you provide guidance and rules. When they're nigh unto adulthood, you keep them from killing themselves as they experiment.

In Shawn's neighborhood, those safety nets were less common than in the ones where I grew up. Thus, children got into the narcotics and some died. Not to worry, mom was busy doing accounting work for Megacorp and their widget production was 0.0023% higher, thanks to her diligence. Dad was off boinking barflies or whatever amused him more than mom had.

And yet Shawn clings to his Rolling Stone outlook. That works until it doesn't and it hasn't stopped working for him. If it costs a dozen or so lives in his circles, well, tough luck for them. Compassionate asceticism was one drug he didn't take. Blame the drug companies, blame advertisements, blame something, just don't suggest self-discipline.

It also made me think of the recent elections where the airwaves were saturated with famous people exhorting us to vote. "Vote! It's the most important thing you can do!" If it's that important, maybe we should vote more often and perhaps that would save youngsters like Shawn's pals. Maybe we could try voting every 90 days and see if that helps.

It's worth a try. God knows traditional morality isn't.

"Now do you understand why we have to move to the Yukon and get away from your druggie friends?"

Sunday, January 17, 2021


In a brilliant essay over at Tablet, Alana Newhouse prepares a massive bowl of dystopian catnip for pessimistic conservatives called, Everything Is Broken. For my money, it's one of the most profound things I've read in years. In it, she describes the "flatness" that now dominates our society.

Flatness is the reason the three jobs with the most projected growth in your country all earn less than $27,000 a year, and it is also the reason that all the secondary institutions that once gave structure and meaning to hundreds of millions of American lives—jobs and unions but also local newspapers, churches, Rotary Clubs, main streets—have been decimated. And flatness is the mechanism by which, over the past decade and with increasing velocity over the last three years, a single ideologically driven cohort captured the entire interlocking infrastructure of American cultural and intellectual life. It is how the Long March went from a punchline to reality, as one institution after another fell and then entire sectors, like journalism, succumbed to control by narrow bands of sneering elitists who arrogated to themselves the license to judge and control the lives of their perceived inferiors.

She goes on to describe the sameness of American cities, particularly the wealthy areas, dominated by tech workers. Coffee shops and craft brewpubs with WiFi, boutique eateries and so forth. Think San Diego's Gaslamp District.

I don't know that such things are all that new, but the enforced cultural homogeneity certainly is. Back in the day, UCSD was utterly dominated by progressives, but ideological enforcement was limited to the odd gasps in the social science classrooms when you said you were thinking of voting for a Republican. Now, asserting that women can't become men would get you hauled up in irons before a committee. At least it would where I work, which is substantially less crazed than UCSD. Such extrapolation is defensible, methinks.

It's the description of this mandated intellectual flatness that opened my eyes to Alana's genius. Flatness. What a great word! For odd-shaped fellows like, me, it's the demand that I conform that presses my rebel buttons. Wife kitteh has asked me several times why I don't put up pictures of great Union generals instead of Lee and Jackson and I think this is the reason. I feel like a rebel in this culture. I identify more naturally to "All we ask is to be let alone."

I also identify with being hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, but continuing to fight anyway.

There's not much room for people like me any more. At least not in polite society. Alana's essay describes and codifies the feelings I have in my subconscious when I have to suppress myself at work and in public. I can recall the cheerful eccentrics and oddballs I knew when I was a pup, but I don't see too many of them any more, unless we first exchange a few cryptic, identifying sentences to indicate we're rebels.

There's a lot more to the essay. It's rather long and there are parts that describe expected consequences of a global economy instead of intentional suppressions of freedom, but in the main, it's genius.


Last night's rack of pork. It was not flat.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mt. Laguna

I have at least two long blog posts all written in my head, but I just don't feel like typing them out today, so instead, I'll share a photo from yesterday's hike with the Catican Guards near Mt. Laguna.

I don't know why, but I really liked that view. It's very representative of the area. There are rolling hills, odd swaths of grass and lots of desert scrub. In places, there were patches of snow.

It's been a crazy dry year for us after a reasonably wet one last year. San Diego typically gets about 10" of rain all year and this year, we're down by 3" so far, running 25% of normal. We still have the wettest time of the year ahead of us, so there's a chance to catch up. If we don't, look out for a terrible year for fires.

Blue California still hasn't figured out the whole environmental husbandry thing, so if it's going to be a bad year for fires, we'll lose plenty of homes, have lots of deliberate blackouts and end up with a massive amount of scorched terrain.

Oh well. That's what comes from loving wild spaces so much - fire-blasted wilderness.

You only hurt the ones you love?

Friday, January 15, 2021

Wealth And Income Are Markers Of Behavior

... as are grades and test scores.

The Story

Suzy and Taniqua are in the 4th grade together at Lumumba-ANTIFA-Zapata-Intifada* Elementary School (LAZIES) in San Diego.

Suzy's mommy makes her read for 20 minutes every day, above and beyond her normal schoolwork. Suzy's mommy or daddy go to every back-to-school night, orientation night and never miss a parent-teacher conference. Her parents check her homework most nights and demand to see every test she gets back from the teacher. If she does poorly, there are consequences. Suzy's no braniac, but she does pretty well. Her average grade is a B+.

Taniqua's parents, true to the pattern observed by Dr. Ogbu in the Shaker Heights school system, do not make her read. They rarely go to meetings at school, and they don't check her homework or her tests. Taniqua's no dummy, but she does poorly. Her average grade is a C-.

The school board that oversees LAZIES observes these same results almost everywhere across the district. Their conclusion? Racism. Lots and lots of racism. Systemic racism which comes from a culture of white supremacy and patriarchalism**.

Wasting no time, the school board and administration teams from across the district swing into action! From now on, Taniqua won't have to turn in her homework or behave in class.

Academic grades will now focus on mastery of the material, not a yearly average, which board members say penalizes students who get a slow start, or who struggle at points throughout the year.

Another big change, teachers can no longer consider non-material factors when grading. Things like turning work in on time and classroom behavior will now instead count towards a student's citizenship grade, not their academic grade.

The students will also be given anti-racism training***. Suzy will be told that the reason Taniqua isn't doing well is that Suzy is full of hate. 

And Then What?

Kids are highly sensitive to unfairness directed at them. Yesterday, Suzy may have cheated her little brother, Billy, out of the last homosexual Oreo in the bag, but if she gets jobbed by mommy today when splitting the McDonald's fries with that little rat, Billy, she's going to let everyone know.

Just how long is Suzy going to take the blame for Taniqua's poor performance before she's seething with resentment?

Our daughter went to Catholic school until 8th grade and then transferred to a public high school. There, she met her first illiterate children and first encountered wildly inappropriate behavior in the classroom. It blew her little mind. She had the causes dialed in within a month, if not earlier.

Going back to our hypothetical Suzy, what will she think of the education industry after they scream at her for a year or two? 

To all the conservatives filled with rage over our public schools going full Julius Streicher, I say chill out. These things will take care of themselves.

Spend some time with the fishes over at ManateeCam. It's, like, totally Zen, man.

* - At my alma mater, UCSD, Third College was originally supposed to be called Lumumba-Zapata College. Yes, my college experience was like that.

** - Good Lord, "patriarchalism" is a word. I typed it in as a comical, pretend word and the darned thing is in the browser's dictionary! What a country!

*** - San Diego is insane, but Seattle is completely, frothing-at-the-mouth, howling-at-the-moon mad. Dig this list of racial resources on the Seattle Public Schools website. It is a stone-cold lock that their physics and biology resources lists are shorter.

Learn: Antiracism Resources

Seattle Public Schools' teacher librarians share titles for students in support of Black Lives Matter

  • Look, Listen and Learn TV: An early learning educational public access program showcasing Black and Indigenous people and people of color learning, teaching, and exploring.
  • Anti-Racist Resources from the Greater Good 
  • Dismantling Anti-Black Bias in Democratic Workplaces: A Toolkit 
  • Teaching Tolerance: Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence 
  • Anti-Racism Resources for White People 
  • Black Lives Matter at School Resources 
  • Teaching Tolerance: Let’s Talk Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students 
  • Seattle Public Libraries Race and Social Justice books for kids K-5 
  • New York Times An Antiracist Reading List 
  • Pretty Good: Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup 
  • Anti-Defamation League: lessons, table talks, and books:
  • Anti-Defamation League: Table Talk George Floyd, Racism, and Law Enforcement 
  • Anti-Defamation League: Middle School Level lessons 
  • Race Conscious: 100 Race Conscious Things You Can Say to Your Child – Conversation Starters 
  • NPR: How White Parents Can Talk About Race 
  • Seattle Times: How to Teach Your Children About Racism in America: A resource for understanding the George Floyd protests 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Superpowers Without Armies

Twitter and Facebook are global giants. They have proven that they can shut off huge, written communication channels as they please. If they don't like what you're saying, you don't get to say it on their massive platforms.

Good for them.

What happens to a nation that doesn't like that sort of thing and outlaws them?

Well, nothing, really. Facebook and Twitter don't contribute one red pfennig to anyone's economy. I think there's a good argument to be made that they actually reduce economic output by wasting their users' time. Since the tech giants don't have a military arm, a country can destroy them without fear of retaliation. There would be a political price to be paid, but if you created substitute platforms like Gab or Parler and let people know they needed to move, I don't think there'd be a lot of fussing. Personally, I have no loyalty to Twitter or Facebook although I use them both.

I think I'll stop here. I still need to back up this blog and look into another method of hosting it. I'm not sure I'll be shut down, but it's certainly a possibility. If this is where we are in January of 2021, I'm not optimistic about the state of the First Amendment come July.

In other news, ANTIFA has come to San Diego. Freedom leaves when they arrive. With UCSD and SDSU as feeders, I can't imagine their influence will decrease over time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Many Data Sources

I work with a lot of people who are young enough to be my kids. Some are blue collar, some are white collar. It's a very racially mixed group as well. The topic of the election came up today and what was more interesting than their takes was how they arrived at them.

Each one pulls information from a wide array of sources. None of them go to CNN or Fox or anywhere else exclusively. They're all on top of the latest tidbits of information and they share what they've found freely. That means their opinions are widely sourced, more widely than any one individual might achieve unless they were on the Internet all day.

When journalists launch some biased essay, these guys know it right away. For example, it's no secret that the news media who fawned over the BLM riots was now gasping in mock horror at the DC riots. If the newsies think they're fooling anyone, it's only themselves.

It was fascinating to watch the conversation evolve and realize what a generational difference there was.

So what did they think of the election? They all thought it was untrustworthy. They had the flaws of the vote-by-mail idiocy pegged immediately. None of them believe their votes were counted honestly. They also thought Trump was a loon. Some liked him as president, but they all thought he was nuts.

Kids these days! Sheesh!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021

Censorship And Home Inventory

Just a couple of odds and ends today. I had planned on doing some bird photography this morning, but the birds didn't cooperate.

Censorship - What's The Big?

Seriously, who cares whether corporate giants crush free speech? I mean, that's only bad if you ever plan to say anything that causes problems for the corporate giants. 

It's been bothering me for some time that the AP, for instance, hasn't show any interest in Big Tech's suppression of news and views. Being a bit slow, it's taken me a while to figure out that it doesn't bother them because they can't envision a day when they will say anything sufficiently bad about MegaCorp or Chinese slavery.

This guy is long gone. He's been replaced by Pajama Boy.

Houses For Sale

We've decided we're going to sell our rental house here in San Diego soon. We also drove around a different part of San Diego, looking at places with a single story house and a large lot. We're getting older and I still want to do some experimental farming. Wife kitteh is a real estate professional, so she was on the horn with one of the realtors representing a house we thought about buying. That didn't work out, but they started talking about the number of people leaving California.

The realtor said that inventory is really tight right now, but talk about escaping Goober Newsom's Worker's Paradise is growing every day. She expected to see significantly increased inventory of homes for sale throughout the year.

ANTIFA Comes For Thee, Err, Me

While the press reported that Trump supporters were involved in a riot-like altercation in Pacific Beach over the weekend, the videos show something a bit different. ANTIFA goons marched down the boardwalk and ended up attacking the Trumpers.

No worries. I'm sure this won't grow into anything else. As I understand it, ANTIFA is an idea that is mostly peaceful. Also, it's getting easier and easier to translate journalist-speak into what really happened. As soon as I heard the news, I figured the videos would look like they did. Enjoy?

That's all I got for today. Tomorrow, I hope to have some birds.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Communications Won't Stop

Alternate Title: You're not paranoid if they really are out to get you.

Well, that went downhill pretty fast. It took Big Tech all of 9 days into 2021 to get going on crushing online dissent. Yesterday, Amazon moved to dehost Parler while Apple and Google took it out of their app stores. Parler is a free speech alternative to Twitter that has grown like topsy. 

I've got a Parler account, but I barely use it. Parler is mostly political ranting, but no more dangerous that what you see from progressive accounts on Twitter. The real problem for Big Tech was not the platform or the tone, but the opinions. They're trying to silence their enemies. It's naïve madness.

I saw these two tweets today and I got cold chills. These two are normally moderate in their opinions and approaches.

I did screen captures because you don't know if their accounts will be terminated. This is indeed madness.

If you've got a real beef with how things are going, if you've got something to say, Twitter, Parler and Facebook are only mediums for comms, they aren't the comms themselves. There are lots of other ways to make a point.

If you feel like the election was stolen, online silencing isn't going to change your mind. If you're terrified of what the progressives mean when they say they will "fundamentally transform America," shutting down Parler isn't going to make you feel any less threatened, it will make you feel more threatened.

To go back to my theme of the last year, the left, including Big Tech, has no idea how anything works. They can't predict the next moves by their opponents. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that they don't see other people as people, they see them as static objects. There won't be any next moves by their opponents because their opponents do not possess free will or rational thought. It's the straw man principle taken to a whole new level.

For example, they howled "RACISM!" at the cops and expected the cops to behave like robots and go right back to work. They didn't and now we've got about 1,000 more murdered blacks because the cops bailed. And still the left is honking BLM. It's been objectively proven a total failure and we're still supporting BLM at the corporate level, in sports, on the news, everywhere.

They don't understand how things work even when they see it working. This is religious madness.

Meanwhile, those people who want to communicate dissent will find other, perhaps kinetic ways. All you're doing when you crush online dissent is pushing the dissent somewhere else.

This is bad medicine.

Saturday, January 09, 2021


I'm always on the lookout for good livecams. I really wish my old favorite from a reef on Grand Cayman was still there. Oh well. There are some decent underwater ones, but this kitten cam caught my eye today. Enjoy.

Friday, January 08, 2021

You Don't Need A Weatherman To See Which Way The Wind Blows

Well, now that we've got the DC riots out of the way, we can get on to the main event - fundamentally transforming America to attack racism and hate. I'll give you 10-1 odds that some time in the next 4 years, I will be expected to attend racial indoctrination training. That assumes I don't quit first or quit at the announcement of the training. I don't need this job, it's just a nice income stream that allows us to build up resources to buy a vacation home in the Confederate States of America* **.

Note to readers: The CSA line of jokes won't become a theme on this blog. I liked it for this post, but that's enough of that. Sorry if they're annoying.

In a sadistic way, I'm kind of hoping they do it sooner rather than later. The sessions will be massacres, just like the Lean Six Sigma training we did for senior employees back in the day. I'm sure Ohioan remembers those. They were glorious.

The LSS training session turned into an absolute turkey shoot of the instructors. It answered the question, "What would happen if you had Soviet-style management without the Soviet security apparatus?"

Without the threat of the NKVD coming in and shooting us, we tore the trainers apart. I will hereby admit to be one of the chief attackers. I've worked at this place a long time and my cerebral cortex is connected to my mouth with only the most rudimentary of filters in between. I can't stand stupidity and I hate lies, both of which filled this training session. The training was supposed to give us a fundamental understanding of how LSS worked. Had they stuck with that, we would have sat there, quietly and endured the day as we have so many other times when we've been subjected to this kind of nonsense. Instead, the trainers tried to sell us on the idea as well and used all kinds of examples of LSS success, none of which applied to us... 

I don't think any of us wanted to beat these guys up. One of us even asked, "Are all of these sessions this hard for you?" The instructor replied, "Each one is worse than the last." 

If that was bad, I can't even imagine what it will be like when they round us up and accuse us of being bigots.

Thinking about this possible event, depending on how much my investments have grown, I might put in my resignation papers before going to the training and then going full Nathan Bedford Forrest*** on them in the classroom. 

"Does the damned fool want to be blown up? Well, blow him up then. Give him hell, Captain Morton- as hot as you've got it, too."

* - I'm with Solzhenitsyn on this one. If I'm going to be punished for a crime, I might as well have the fun of committing it or at least pretending to commit it. What are they going to do, punish me twice?

** - In all seriousness, I've just about had it with pulling threads on the CSA, reading source documents. I think I've got the thing worked out sufficiently and have come to the conclusion that Jeff Davis' great contribution to America was to deliberately kill 700,000 people prosecuting a war that was clearly lost by the middle of 1863. Hmm. Maybe that wasn't a contribution at all.

In any case, every Confederate biography has the exact same arc. It's getting frustrating to read them.

*** - Hey, I told you I was going to have some fun with this.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

It's Time To Accept The Results Of The Election

... and the results are that a ton of people believe the election was rigged. Because it was specifically designed to be untrustworthy, it's impossible to convince them that the election was fair and proper.

So now we have unrest in DC that represents only a slight fragment of the population who think the election was stolen. Fair enough. This was what some of our leaders wanted and now we have it. There's no point in worrying about it or relitigating the thing. It's over and done and we need to get on with our lives.

That leads to this question: How far away from a major metropolitan area do you need to move in order to be safe? Me, I'm going to use the drug addict homeless population as my marker. As long as I don't see them where I work, live or shop, I should be OK. It's not that they're the ones who will riot, it's that they are fellow travelers with the loons.

I'm hoping Tim can give me the word for creatures who don't have a truly symbiotic relationship with one another, yet always appear together.

A car in one of the parking lots at Mission Bay Park. It's been there for a while now. People live in it. I've been going there for 35 years and have always felt safe. I took our kids there when they were little. Last week, wife kitten and I got tacos and came to MB to eat. We got up and left after a couple of druggies staggered by our picnic table. We gave one of them some of our food, but she was so blasted that she didn't recognize it as food.

I felt like I was witnessing the start of San Diego turning into LA.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Orange Flower Good

So I guess we're rioting today in DC. Only this time, it's MAGA idiots running amok, not the left. Yay.

Just to repeat myself, this is exactly what you'd expect if you held an election where you could anticipate razor-thin margins of victory, using a system that a large portion of the populace told you in advance they didn't trust.

This is pure genius.

Of course, the news media, being nothing more than DNC stenographers, seem to be reporting it as a riot of Trump supporters, which it is, save for the broader context. No mention of the fact that DC was boarded up the day before the election, anticipating lefty riots if Trump had won. As usual, they're telling the truth on the small scale, but the overall narrative is a lie.

We used mail-in ballots. Sigh.

I suppose I should castigate Trump for his reckless talk, but why single him out when the left has been trying to get a race war going for almost a year now? It's all insanity by people, Republican and Democrat, who have no idea how anything works. In their offices and faculty lounges and think tanks, ranting about politics and talking violence has no real impact. Out in the real world, where there are more guns than people, it does.

Oh, by the way, after enduring a couple of lootings, Macy's is abandoning it's 170,000 square foot store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. Thanks, Black Lives Matter. That worked out well. Not to worry, I'm sure someone will snatch up that massive structure in no time at all and the Magnificent Mile will be Magnificent again!

Or maybe not.

Here are some orange flowers from our garden. They have no idea that all the chaos is happening. Instead, they're doing their flowery best to make us happy. Thanks, flowers!

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Not How Much, But How

... that's why I encourage my children to read the biographies of those who overcame hardships and excelled in life.

I've struggled getting one of our sons to read biographies. In fact, biography, singular. As I'm a bit slow-witted, it's taken me a long time to figure out just why I feel that such books are important. Trying to see it from his point of view, I could see why reading the biography of a great man might be intimidating. How could he, how could any of us, equal the achievements of unique, historical figures?

Equaling them isn't the point. Finding out how they did it is. Jordan Peterson's 4th rule for life points the way.

"Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today (or was yesteryear)."

When things are bleak, when life has you down, I think it helps to have an inspirational figure or three that make you want to try to do better. For me, Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson are my heroes.

Something happened recently that has given me an opportunity to ask him again to read a biography or three. Here are the ones I'm going to recommend.

  1. Once a Marine by Nick Popaditch
  2. Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  3. Standing Like a Stone Wall by James Robertson
If you've got a favorite, let us know in the comments.

It's hard to complain about your life when you've read about his.

Monday, January 04, 2021

If The Raw Data Is Tainted

... then analyzing the results of the experiment is a waste of time.

My man Ted Cruz is out making big points with the Trumpian base by objecting to the certification of the vote. There's some kind of Guarantee Clause or something.

The Guarantee Clause puts the jurisdiction in the hands of the political bodies, executive branch and legislative branch, to decide the merit of any state vulnerability in their election outcome. 

So what? This is all grifting, angling for the top spot in the next set of presidential primaries. I have no doubt that the ether is loaded with fund-raising emails with the subject line, STOP THE STEAL or, in the case of the progressives, the evergreen FIGHT HATE.

The point is not just that there may have been discrepancies in the counting or there may have been votes manufactured at the last minute when the Ds saw Trump running away with it in places like Pennsylvania, the point is that all of the mail-in ballots are tainted raw data. Like I've raved before on this blog, no one on Earth has any idea who won that election.

Why do we have private voting booths? It's so our votes cannot be seen by others. Why does that matter? Because if others saw who we chose, we might face retaliation. If they saw us about to vote a certain way, we could be threatened and our votes extorted from us.

Every mail-in ballot has this problem. Yes, it's a problem with absentee ballots, but it's a risk we've had to accept. We've minimized it by forcing people to request them. This time, we simply sprayed out ballots, willy-nilly, using voter rolls we knew were suspect. That leads to a very simple question.

Who voted?

Say you sent out four ballots to 1334 N. Beechwood Dr. Say you receive all 4 of them back. Who sent them? There's supposed to be a signature on the back of the envelope, but how accurate is the validation process? More to the point of this post, how do you know 3 of the votes weren't coerced? 

You can't possibly know any of that. That's why the argument over the vote counting and the signature checking is a total waste of time. From a strictly scientific point of view, the raw data is worthless. We don't know who decided which boxes on the ballots got marked. 

That's why I continue to say that no one on Earth has any idea who won, but worse still, the Elites who came up with this didn't care if we trusted the results or not. The election wasn't by and for us, the racist bigots in Deplorableville, it was by and for them.

In a country where there are more guns than people, that is absolutely insane. Watch this video and imagine the stack of gasoline-soaked TNT crates beneath the Elites as they carelessly flick lit matches around.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

On Forbidden Words And Spiteful Little Boys

So, as I understand it, some chick got accepted into a prestigious college, but a wanker from her old high school, who held a secret grudge, released an audio tape of her practicing witchcraft by uttering the Forbidden Word of Power. Once the authorities at the university heard that, they quickly moved to have her banned and, if possible, burned at the stake.

In all seriousness, I've heard a ton of yelling directed at the young man and deservedly so. He's a swine. However, the lion's share of the blame needs to be directed at the university for participating in this act of superstitious nonsense.

This is stupid. She's not a witch, she doesn't know a Forbidden Word of Power, she doesn't have a lock of your hair, she hasn't sold her soul to the devil and she's not going to turn you into a squirrel. She said a word that is in so much popular music that most people her age probably hear it 30 times a day. The way she said it was not the way a Klansman would say, if there still are any Klansmen around. She said it the way it's used on Twitter, thousands of times a day.

Young girls are going to repeat words they hear in songs. Some young men are going to be unspeakable pigs. However, there is no excuse for our education industry acting like it's the 1400s.

She probably listens to Jordan Peterson lectures, too.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

One Does Not Simply Walk The Dog Into Mordor

Our oldest son just left, driving back to Seattle after a visit. It was a visit with his behemoth of a puppy, the same one we drove up to him in September. The dog is a Korean Mastiff and at 18 weeks old, he's nearly 60 pounds.

Needless to say, the Catican Guards did not like him. He's nice enough, but he's bigger than all three of them combined and to the two chihuahuas in particular, he represented a constant, existential threat.

It was horrible. It was a replay of Thanksgiving's Canine World War III, only 24 times as long. Unless one of us took steps to separate the dogs, it sounded like this, constantly.


I was up early every day, giving the Guards breakfast and then taking them on extended maneuvers outside of the house so everyone else could sleep. At night, I went upstairs with them to keep them moderately calm. All of us, dogs and people alike, are completely exhausted.

Wife kitteh is driving up to Seattle with son kitteh to keep him company and provide him with safety breaks, driving. After they left, I told the Catican Guards that mommy was taking the bad dog to Mordor to throw him into Mt. Doom.

They rejoiced. If they had access to vuvuzelas, it would have been something like this.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Living In The Shadows

... makes you big, broad and yellow. Well, at least if you're a cayenne pepper plant.

With the removal of my cotton plants, the cayennes which had shared their bed are now exposed to direct sunlight. While they started out the same size, the cotton grew much faster and much larger than the cayenne and shaded them. The end result were weird pepper plants with big, broad, yellowish leaves.

At first, I wondered if I had a different kind of pepper plant, but something interesting has begun to happen. The cayenne are now sprouting normal cayenne leaves - petite and dark green. Dig this photo that shows both kinds of leaves on the same plant.

There's a different cayenne plant in the background and it never got any of the big leaves, probably because it was totally buried and never grew much at all until the cotton were yanked. Comparing the two, you can see they are the same kind, but the foreground cayenne actually grew a different kind of leaf in an attempt to harvest as much sunlight as possible.

Left to bask in the sunlight, four of my five cayenne are now flourishing and fruiting like mad. The fifth is being regularly eaten by what must be a Cajun grasshopper. It sprouts leaves and looks to be turning the corner for a week or so and then nom nom nom, the leaves all disappear overnight.

Oh well. At least I'll be harvesting a mess of cayenne peppers pretty soon. As a bonus, I got see what a plant does to adapt to its environment. Yay!