Sunday, December 04, 2022

Philadelphia Deathworld

From CBS News in Philadelphia:

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia's summertime curfew could soon become permanent. City council passed a bill Thursday afternoon that would make the summer curfew permanent.

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson proposed the legislation and is a mother herself.

Gilmore Richardson says her goal is to protect Philadelphia's young people who all too often fall victim to the city's violence.

"There are too many young people who have been involved in crime or criminal incidents simply because they have been out late at night," she said.

Philadelphia City Council on Thursday passed a bill requiring anyone 17 years old and younger to be home by 10 p.m.

From Harry Harrison's science fiction novel, Deathworld, in which colonists are battling a coordinated effort by a planet's ecosystem to wipe them out:

"This is not a real war, but a disastrous treating of symptoms. Like cutting off cancerous fingers one by one. The only result can be ultimate death. None of you seem to realize that. All you see are the trees. It has never occurred to you that you could treat the causes of this war and end it forever."

...

"You're talking nonsense," Kerk said. "This is just an alien world that must be battled. The causes are self-obvious facts of existence."

"No, they're not," Jason insisted. "Consider for a second. When you are away for any length of time from this planet, you must take a refresher course. To see how things have changed for the worse while you were gone. Well, that's a linear progression. If things get worse when you extend into the future, then they have to get better if you extend into the past. It is also good theory—though I don't know if the facts will bear me out—to say that if you extend it far enough into the past you will reach a time when mankind and Pyrrus were not at war with each other."

They're the same thing.

The curfew didn't exist until this last summer. It was enacted because things got worse to the point where the sociopaths had to be kept in their homes to terrorize their buildings instead of getting out to terrorize the neighborhood. The curfew didn't change the sociopaths, it merely concealed them. You still can't let them loose, so now the curfew is permanent.

If crime is getting worse to the point that you've got to enact authoritarian enforcement mechanisms, then what's really happening is that the citizens are getting more and more dangerous to each other. Like the creatures in Deathworld, they are evolving in a more predatory direction. The curfew isn't going to change things any more than shipments of more advanced weapons changed things in the novel.

Going back farther in time, the late Walter E. Williams, who grew up in Philadelphia, talked about how he had no fear of crime growing up there. Later in his life, he noticed how dangerous it had become. Thomas Sowell says the same thing about New York City. Within living memory, there was a time when curfews to pit a lid on crime would have been unthinkable.

In another echo of the book, it's the core concepts of the leadership class which are creating the conditions that led to the anti-crime lockdowns. With religious fervor, they cling to the belief that all families are equal and all sexual acts are to be celebrated. Sex makes babies and babies need parents. Sex acts that don't occur within traditional marriage are what has led to the curfews.

Further, Philadelphia's leadership and news media stubbornly insist that systemic racism is real and can only be addressed by implementing Critical Race Theory solutions. Hence, the emphasis on race and the unwillingness to use descriptive terms about the criminals other than "youth" or "teens." In Deathworld, characters close their eyes to the results of their actions, in Philadelphia, they close their eyes to the fact that the same race they're professing to love is suffering under their philosophy.

Philadelphia isn't doing anything about the causes, they're simply treating the symptoms and denying reality.

Here, a Philadelphia cop confronts a "youth."

Friday, December 02, 2022

I Think I've Cracked The Code

 Those creepy, saccharine, nauseating LGBTQ+ groomers we see on @LibsOfTikTok are ...

... the modern-day version of Up With People.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

God Is Not Love

Instead, God is love on a framework of objective reality and logic.

I have to admit, I absolutely hate those homilies whose message is "God is love." It's just all so much squishiness and maudlin sentimentality. Life is inherently tragic. You can see that in the hospice process. I find myself missing my parents lately. I looked back on the photos I had of them from their last days. Ghastly, every one of them. Ghastly and real. Death happens. Tragedy happens. It's the nature of life.

"I can't believe in a God who would allow (pain, evil, sending people to hell, that ridiculous no-call on the clear pass interference penalty against the Saints in the playoffs, fill-in-the-blank-with-something-bad)." Why not? If He exists, then He made a world where some insects lay eggs inside of other animals and their larvae eat their way out when they hatch. Lions don't dispatch their prey humanely. Life has strongly tragic elements.

That's one reason why the "God is love" rubbish drives me bonkers. A marshmallow world is a fantasy and telling people it exists doesn't prepare them for reality. Additionally, in the absence of tragedy, how do you measure love? Is it love if your spouse is always attentive, kind and warm to you? Or is it love when you serve them even when they're beastly? Sign me up for the latter definition of love.

To my mind, the "God is love" trash is an act of submission to the secular world. These days, any amount of judgmentalism is too much. God is love is what you say as you lay down, presenting your tummy to the secular world, writhing around on the ground, showing them you're harmless. See? We don't judge! We're all about love and acceptance!

It's an effort to appeal to the popular culture. Who wants to be the stone drag at the party? If we're super-inclusive, people will like us! 

Good luck with that.

The "God is love" sentiment is self-negating. If God is love, then there can be no hell. How can you reconcile hell and unconditional acceptance? You can't. If there is no hell, then what's the point of Jesus? He died on the cross for our ... err ... sins. And if He hadn't? No difference. You weren't going to pay for your sins, even if such things existed. After all, God is love.

It doesn't work. If He exists, if He made a world with nasty bugs and uncaring predators and hospice care for dying parents, then He has some hard edges. He has some expectations. He told you what you needed to do to stay safe. If you choose to slam your hand in a car door, don't blame Him when it hurts. Don't say, "I can't believe in a God that would make it hurt when I closed the car door on a body part!"

That's just stupid.

When my kids were young, we made up a goofy hymn:
Our God is an angry God!
And He'll smite! Smite! Smite!
'Til the sun goes down!
Oh yes, He'll smite! Smite! Smite!
'Til the sun goes down!

No, we don't actually believe that. We do believe in a tragic reality, however.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Catholic Bishops Can't Play Basketball

 ... and only an idiot would be disappointed that they can't.

I am that kind of idiot.

On this blog, I've ranted on and on* about the bishop here in San Diego, Robert W. McElroy. I've accused him of all manners of calumny and I've been pretty much on target with my criticisms. So what?

The guy's job in the Church is to keep the sacraments flowing to the laity and herd the parish cats, maintaining some sort of order in a diocese that goes from the Spanish-speaking, blue-collar barrio to the Rancho Santa Fe and La Jolla plutocrats. If he's lousy at certain things or he's got a severe lean to the political left, well, he can't play in the NBA, either. That's not his job.

Everything outside of his main tasks - sacraments and cat-herding - are our jobs. If the number of people in church keeps dwindling, that's our job. What did I think, was our parish priest going to put on a blue leotard with a red S on his chest and red cape and then fly around San Diego, using his x-ray vision to convert people to the faith?

If the Church prelates are cowards who want to go with the cultural zeitgeist and hoist rainbow flags, talk about Global Warming Climate Change and push for Rassengerechtigkeit**, so what? It's not like we've got a particularly effeminate crop of priests and bishops, they were almost certainly always like that. It's that, here in America, we're facing a cultural zombie apocalypse. No one is ever prepared for such a thing and to have expected McElroy to go full Arnold Schwarzenegger was abandoning my duties in the face of evil.

In short, the laity is the Church, too. If we're getting thrashed, it's on us to fix it, each according to his or her talents. In fact, one could make a good argument that the bishop and the priests have more than held up their end of the bargain. I can go to Mass, the churches are well-lit, I can get all of the sacraments, there are buildings for meetings and talks and so forth. I'm the one who has failed the faith, not them.

If the churches are emptying and the RCIA classes are tiny, it was my job to evangelize. That Jesus dude even said so.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

That sounds like marching orders to me.

My blogging here, howling about the stupidity, the incompetence and the utter poltroonery of our leaders has just been a smoke screen deployed against myself, keeping me from seeing my own failures.

None of us were prepared for this. It's no wonder we've all been caught napping. As the left, acting according to its totalitarian nature, has completely taken over the culture, we've been, I've been, sitting around, flapping my gums and pointing at everyone else but me. The clip below from the excellent movie, Zulu, shows the proper way to deal with the situation, each of us filling a spot in the line. We didn't ask for this and we weren't prepared for it, but it is upon us.

I left it a bit long and the payoff is all the way at the end.

* - and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on...

** - Racial justice stuff always sounds so much better in the original German, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tobacco After Action Report

Well, I've had a few pipes full of my homegrown tobacco and all three of our sons have tried it as well. This year's crop can be considered a success. Here are the things I learned along the way.

The Plants

I raised Virginians and Tennesseans. The Virginians grew tall and slender. Their leaves were stately and well-behaved, as you would expect from plants grown in Robert E. Lee's home state. In a very gentlemanly manner, the leaves ripened from the bottom up and, had I not been pressed for time because of our remodel, it would have been easy to harvest them in the proper order as they yellowed. I ended up picking most of them when they were green, but they cooperated and browned nicely in the garage.

The Tennesseans were a squat, unruly lot. They were also impossible to kill, as you would expect from tobacco grown in Nathan Bedford Forrest's native land. Their broad, plentiful leaves never ripened and I ended up hacking off the stalks at the ground when I couldn't wait any longer for them to yellow.

Tennessee tobacco refusing to brown.

While the harvested leaves hung in the garage, the tobacco plants began growing again from the roots and soon there were hearty, new plants coming up in the back yard. Rebels, every one of them! They didn't know when to quit.

Fermentation

I tried a couple of methods of fermentation and finally found the trick. I put the leaves in Mason jars. The jars went into a plastic bin wrapped in insulation. A 60W bulb, controlled by a simple, bimetal spring thermostat, provided the heat. From time to time, I'd crank the thermostat high and let the bin get to 145, but for the most part, it averaged 120.

Some of the jars got spritzes or splashes of water to maintain the humidity inside of them. The splashes were a mistake. In fact, anything more than a spritz or two was a mistake. The more water I added, the more boiled collard greens I made. Two big jars of the Tennessee were effectively ruined in this way. Cranking up the humidity is highly overrated. My bet is that the leaves brought plenty with them.

Smoking

Our oldest son and I tried the first pipes up in Seattle. It turned out that the fermented tobacco was too moist and wouldn't stay lit. He had a real brain wave and put the leaves into his toaster over to dehydrate them. He also crushed the dried leaves and removed all the stems and veins. Properly prepared, the tobacco was jammed into our pipes and lit.

Smoking a pipe takes some experience. I finally learned to light it and then puff a few times on it to get the bowl going. Once it was, you could take drags at your leisure. Each bowl required two to three lightings to get all the way through.

Oldest and middle sons said they got a tobacco rush from it, but not know what that felt like, I'm not sure if I did or not. I do know it was a lot of fun to sit in the back yard, sipping Alabama whiskey and smoking home grown tobacco with the boys.

Worth A Repeat?

I'd say yes. Now that I know how to ferment the stuff, I won't have to grow 25 plants, I can grow nine or ten. I ruined almost all of the Virginia with my initial fermentation failures.

As for which variety, well, that's a tough one. In Seattle, it seemed like the Virginia was clearly better. Here in San Diego, a different selection suggested that the Tennessee was better. I think that to have a fair comparison, I'd need to do it again next year and be much more careful with the harvesting and fermentation in order to get a good reading.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Fight For Racial Justice

Make no mistake, I'm a fan of Rod Dreher and Carl Trueman. On his blog at the American Conservative, Rod pointed out this post by Carl. Here's some relevant snippets.

It is now clear that orthodox Protestants, specifically evangelicals, do not own the country. Whether they ever did is a matter for debate; that they thought they did is indisputable...

As Protestants wake up to this fact that they do not own the country, two things will happen.

First, as the terms of membership in society’s officer class change, those who value their social status will likely change too. I anticipate that the standard “personally opposed but publicly supportive” argument that has served Catholic elites so well for so many years will become a standard part of the elite Protestant playbook, replacing the current penchant for specious “third ways.” It will, of course, only be selectively applied when necessary to slough off the practical implications of embarrassing points of orthodoxy—such as those connected to sexuality—which might interfere with club membership...

(I)t is now obvious the Christian position on the key issues of membership in society today—those of sexual identity, gender, abortion—cannot but implicate one in public debates and will merit the title of bigot. Being literate and urbane, being able to mix a good martini Vesper—such things simply will not compensate for the rejection of whatever identity, act, or right progressive society next decides is non-negotiable. And we now need church leaders and thinkers who understand this and are prepared for the social consequences. If the leaders will not lead with the truth, why should the people take a stand on the truth? 

That last question, "If the leaders will not lead with the truth, why should the people take a stand on the truth?" is a home run. The rest of it is just a lot of useless hand-wringing.

We need to stop whining and start forcing them to live by their own standards.

The progressive positions on racial justice and sexuality don't work on their own terms. They are utterly incompatible. As a scoreboard, let's take the favorite cause of the progressives, black lives. As I understand it, they matter. Let's compare them to Asian lives.

Cause - Illegitimacy

Asians win this one, 7-1. Births out of wedlock are "seven out of ten for African Americans, to one out of ten for Asian Americans." 

Effect - Education

Asians win the SAT score contest 1239-934.

Effect - Murders

In Chicago, Asians win this one 78-4. Here, I'm lumping in whites, just to make the populations more or less equal.

Effect - Income

Asians actually lap blacks, more than doubling their income level, 100-48.

At Any Level, We Win

Up to now, I've resisted calling for "racial justice" because I was engaging in a knee-jerk reaction against the jerks who were giving me the political knee with the term. No more of that for me. If "racial justice" means working for more equal outcomes, then count me in on that team. 

I would like to see everyone have the same opportunities to succeed and thrive as anyone else. To do that, we need to stop kneecapping children by running around claiming that all families are equal. If they were, then Asians and Blacks, both of which are people of color and subject to whatever white supremacist attacks and structural racism are out there, would have similar scores. They clearly don't. It's not even close.

Pursuing racial justice the Ibram X. Kendi way is like owning the Detroit Lions and never firing the coaching staff and front office when the team stinks. Ibram and the rest are losers. Yelling and marching and protesting and voting are useless. There's only one way out.

Instead of fighting the progressives' definitions, we can simply use them ourselves.

BOOM.
"I'll just leave this little pamphlet here. You may read it at your leisure ..."

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Three Noble Virtues

In a group text thread, the San Diego Loyal Order of Bloggers (SLOBs), were recently discussing this reaction to my viral Twitter thread. Here's an excerpt.

The truth on sex was an early casualty in the American left's long waged war on the truth.  For those who have foolishly decided to rule their own world — the age-old problem of humanity — going one's own way in the sexual realm is a popular, and typically very early, decision.  In America, around the middle of the twentieth century, "liberation" and "sexual freedom" were typical battle cries for those who wanted to pursue a life of sexual promiscuity and other hedonistic activities.

As much as I appreciate the author taking the time to discuss my thread, I'm going to push back on the essay. It's not a war on the truth or anything so grand. It's the result of a substitution of moral values. When we got rid of God, we also got rid of the atomic virtues.

  • Thou shalt not lie,
  • Thou shalt not steal,
  • Thou shalt not covet,

... and so on. Those virtues were independent of your aims. Lying is a sin, even when you lie for a good cause. That's been the source of conflict in many lives - was it wrong to lie to my sister about the infidelity of her late husband?

Well, we did away with those in favor of larger-scale virtues. I propose the list below as the current top three. They change over time, but the concept of purpose trumping atomic virtues remains.

  • Climate Change,
  • Racial Justice and
  • Gender Affirmation.

Conservatives get their knickers in a twist over the lies the left uses to advance these goals. I blogged about it two days ago, discussing how NBC News implicitly slandered South Carolina parents as racist. Thinking more about that post and more about the SLOBs conversation, it dawned on me that, as a part of the secularization of America, we're experiencing transfer of moral power. Gone are the virtues from the Bible and taking their place are the progressive virtues listed above.

It's no sin to lie if the lie advances the cause of Racial Justice.

One more example. The left loves to call us fascists. This drives me bonkers as fascism is well-defined and clearly does not apply to the right. Fascism is the dominance and cooperation of government and big business in pursuit of a larger, national goal. Mussolin wrote the foundational document on it, called, appropriately, The Doctrine of Fascism. The thing is short. You can read it in 90 minutes or so. 

When I've seen people call us fascists on Twitter, I reply with an angry, Pavlovian spasm, "Do you even know what fascism is?"

Of course they don't. They don't care. They're not going to waste their time reading some blather from the 1930s and they don't need to do so, not in their moral universe. They're pursuing Racial Justice or Gender Affirmation which excuses any and all lies and distortions.

What's more, they don't see it as a moral problem. That's why the NBC News team had no problem slandering the South Carolinians. 

We're talking past each other. It's one of the sources of our national divide.

"This is all lies!"

"You hate black people!"

Those are discussion points at completely different levels of abstraction. Lies are at the atomic level and racism is at the structural level.

We're talking atoms, they're talking biospehere.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Post-Christian Is Post-Truth

 South Carolina is racist. This we know. Here's clear proof from NBC News.

They fired a black man! See? We told you they were racist.

Here's the new superintendent.

Umm, he's also black. That didn't make it into the NBC News tweet. The tweet was written to make it sound like the firing was the act of a bunch of racists. Unless those rednecks are playing racist 4D chess of some kind, it sure looks like race had nothing to do with it.

So why did NBC News, an organization whose reputation ought to live and die with their adherence to honesty, lie to us?

Well, why not? Objective morals don't exist in the secular world of NBC News. Honesty is less important than their racial justice goals. There is no God, so Exodus 20:16 has less weight than Ibram X. Kendi's latest racial ravings.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The point here is not that Christian America didn't lie, it's that we accepted an objective moral code that was above us. We might still lie, but we knew that lying, in and of itself, was a sin. Without that moral code which transcends our lives and desires, there's no reason at all why NBC News shouldn't peddle lies if it serves their goals.

Bonus Take: Banning Books

I love how culling the library stacks to make room for other volumes is equivalent to banning books. If not carrying a book is the same as banning it, then every library short of the Library of Congress bans more than 99% of all books.

It's those narrow-minded librarians, I tells ya! They're what's wrong with this country!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

We took the Catican Guards out for a fun romp near Mount Laguna today. A good time was had by all.

Parenting Pro Tip: We don't have our kids with us today. We let them do their own things with other parents without any guilt. Middle Son and his wife are doing something with his mother-in-law. Youngest son is spending the day with his girlfriend's family. We'll do our Thanksgiving with them on Saturday. Everyone will be able to make it and there won't be any hard feelings about having to choose between one family or another. We do this on Christmas as well.

#Winning #FamilyLove

Apache Chihuahuas in the wild. You only see them when they want you to see them.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you're having a great day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

There's Nothing Wrong With After School Satan Clubs

 ... if your value system is atheistic. Here's the story.

A California elementary school is facing backlash from parents after promoting an After School Satan Club aimed at kids as young as 5.

The controversial club is slated to hold monthly meetings starting in December at Golden Hills Elementary School in Tehachapi, Bakersfield Now reported. It was created by the nontheistic religious organization the Satanic Temple — not to be confused with the Church of Satan — as an antidote to the evangelical Christian groups cropping up in public schools.

Thank goodness it's the Satanic Temple and not the Church of Satan. That could be real trouble. I think.

The backlash from the parents amounts to nothing more than gasping and gesticulating. It's completely empty because the parents lack a framework to criticize it. The Satanists characterize their club this way:

However, the After School Satan Club organizers feel that the criticism is misplaced as the group does not actually promote Satanism, but rather encourages critical thinking and rationalism, per the site...

Paul Hicks, a critical-thinking professor who will be running the club, seconded the sentiment. “I’m not teaching these kids to be Satanic, I’m not teaching these kids that they need to hail Satan or identify as Satanists,” he declared. “What we’re doing is we’re thinking critical thinking, we’re teaching science, we’re teaching empathy and benevolence.”

If that's all it is - critical thinking, science, empathy and benevolence - who can complain? What difference would it make if they were teaching different ways to use occult accessories? None, as far as I can see.

Well, none, so long as you have a strictly secular, atheistic worldview. From the atheist point of view, there's no difference between the Christian Club, the Satanist Club and the Knitting Club. Each is just a way to while away the hours between now and when you finally lose consciousness for the last time and succumb to eternal darkness. It hardly matters what you do between now and then. One thing is as good as another.

In fact, "good" doesn't have any meaning at all. Dust you are and to dust you shall return. Please return your library books before you go.

The only real argument against the Satan Club is a supernatural one. God created the world out of love for us. Each of us has a soul. God sent his Son to redeem us. Satan is there to tempt us to sin. If you die in sin, you've got real problems. Don't screw around with this Satan stuff, it's the worst thing you could possibly do for your soul.

There, that's the argument against the Satan club. Without that one, you're left with gasping, pointing and soundlessly moving your mouth in confusion. Welcome to the fully secular world.

I know an after-school Satan Club is wrong, but I can't explain why.

Incidentally, the lack of a secular argument against the Satan Club is the exact same lack of an argument by the Satanists against the Christian Club. Since neither have any meaning, it doesn't matter if a kid is evangelized into Christianity or not. For what disease is the Satan Club an antidote? In a purely material world, your theology is nothing more than an innocent hobby.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Machine Falls

This is Machine Falls in Tennessee on the way up from Dalton, Georgia to Murfreesboro. It was my favorite waterfall of the trip. I didn't bring my artillery piece on the hike, so this was shot with my Pixel 6. For whatever reason, the camera didn't capture the dazzling emerald green of the moss on the rock behind the cascading water.

I'm just about to leave for the airport to head back home to San Diego from Seattle and my quick and dirty tries in Photoshop only ruined the image, so I'm leaving it as is. We'll have to make a date to go see these falls together.

I left it kind of large, so I think it's worth a click. I used the slow shutter speed to get the flow effect in the picture. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis Explains The Post-Christian World

Yesterday, I read this essay by Jeff Goldstein, the social media author who used to go by the moniker Protein Wisdom. It changed the way I see things, but not because I agree with him. Instead, he illustrated the self-assured certainty that has characterized so much of my own writing. I have observed this and it means that.

(T)he World Economic Forum, one of a constellation of global NGOs whose vision for the future is dressed in the rhetorical finery of “sustainability,” “renewables,” and “transhumanism” — all marketed as upgrades to the human condition — but whose roots are tied inextricably to what I’ve called neo-feudalism, which conjoins a central global currency, a punitive surveillance state, and the rebranding of eugenics to make it more palatable to those in an increasingly stratified global class system who (the plan is) will be pushed by a love of convenience into accepting a form of paternalistic feudalism, while also being subjected to a reworking of their consciousnesses and the deliberate reduction of their numbers.

Emphasis in the original.

I now argue that, in reality, predictions about the future are impossible, not because the rules have changed, but because there are no longer any rules at all. It's something that has been eating at me for a long time. The evidence, and from here on out, I will pontificate with half-closed eyes, positively oozing superior self-confidence as I make predictions, has kept me wondering what the undercurrents are beneath the things we're observing.

KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis: People with power, whether that is economic, political or (para-)military, lost their Christian moral foundations a while back. They're only now realizing that a majority of the population has lost them as well. That means that all bets are off. There are absolutely no boundaries to behavior any more. Money, sex, power, it's all up for grabs and you'd be a fool not to take what you want.

Not KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis: There is no cabal of the powerful guiding anything in any direction in particular. It looks like that from time to time because the interests of some subset of the powerful align temporarily and they all pull in the same direction. Instead, it's all Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX everywhere.

More KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis: There's no moral grounding to what is happening. In fact, it's the lack of a moral grounding that is at the heart of my hypothesis. Dig this ad for FTX and nauseating tongue bath for Bankman-Fried. It was all nonsense, but it spoke to the rubes in the vibes of the moment.

Not KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis: There is no overarching plan. Each actor has a plan, but they're all independent. They sometimes cooperate and they sometimes conflict, but there is no plan. 

This is illustrated by the left destroying our cities. Bereft of objective moral guidelines, they have discovered they can do anything they want. What they want is racial vengeance. That's not what others want, it's what they want. When ostensibly blue businesses leave Portland because the progressive policies have made it completely dysfunctional, it only seems contradictory. It's not contradictory because the two groups don't possess the same values. Each are operating under independent values. Some of those values are shared, but others are not.

Evidence for KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis

Piles of money for Ukraine

We've sent, what, $79B to Ukraine to assist in its bum fight with Russia? $79B is just about equal to the Russian defense budget for a year. When I see the numbers bandied about, they're stunning. With no inspector general and no way to track how the funds are spent, it's simply a firehose of dollars sprayed across Ukraine. Where is it going? What is it doing? To me, it's obvious that there must be dozens and dozens of pigs at the trough. No one has any idea at all where it's going. 

Who cares? It's all printed anyway! Either our children will pay for it in the form of a larger debt or the blue-collar deplorables will pay for it in the form of inflation. Absent an objective moral structure to guide decisions, there's absolutely no reason to care about either the children or the working class.

A Key Feature Of KT's Moral Chaos Hypothesis: Stop thinking that any of the actors across the globe have any concern for others. You need to completely recalibrate your analysis tools. At least I did. I was taking them at their word and trying to see how their actions tracked with their stated goals. It didn't make sense because their statements were meaningless. They are utterly amoral.

Racial Justice

Baltimore, Chicago, Jackson, Oakland and almost every other city with a significant black population has been run by the Democrats for decades. The lives of black people have gotten worse, but the lives of the race hustlers have gotten better. If these people had even the tiniest scrap of objective morality, they'd be trying something different than they were 30 years ago. They aren't. Stop listening to their words. Their words are white noise. Each player in that farce is looking to climb the ladders of financial gain and political power. That's all it is. In a post-Christian society, we lack the tools necessary to call them out on it.

LGBTQ+RYA$^71

Matt Walsh's excellent movie, What is a Woman?, has had no effect at all on the trans movement activists themselves. None of them have changed their minds. This is because he used logic and objective fact and they don't. His arguments were completely orthogonal to theirs.

That's one aspect of the LGBT insanity, but there's another that really illustrates my hypothesis. Lesbians are incompatible with trans. Those two groups only seem to be on the same side. They aren't. One says that a girl who is mannish and attracted to other girls is a lesbian. The other side says she's a boy. 

There is no plan. There are no sides. In a post-Christian world, there are only independent actors, grabbing for what they want.

Open Borders And Fentanyl

We're losing about 100,000 people a year to fentanyl overdoses, all of which is pouring across our open southern border. The Democrats know this, but they don't care. In a post-Christian world, those lives, just like the lives of the girls destroyed by the trans madness, like the blacks killed in their cities have no value. A post-Christian world is not based on Genesis 1:27.

God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

A post-Christian world is based on nothing.

Conclusion: No Enemies

We don't have enemies in the traditional sense. The post-Christian moral chaos itself is the enemy. The powerful people who have tumbled to the realization that there are no longer any rules and are behaving  accordingly are committing evil acts, but they don't form a unified enemy to fight. They're just a swirling collection of independent actors whose avarice and depravity may or may not align at any particular moment in time.

More on this in later posts. I don't see how any of this conflicts with KT's Theory of Everything, either.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Hemlock And Sociopathy

On my way up to Nashville to fly to Seattle, I snuck into the northwestern corner of Georgia to see some waterfalls and so I could claim to have visited over half of the states in the Confederacy in one trip. I managed to hit Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The photo below is allegedly Hemlock Falls, but photos from Google Maps suggest that I could have the name wrong.

Whatever. It was lovely. I left the photo large, so it might be worth a click. Enjoy!

An Excellent Thread On Medical Professionals And Trans

I've been reading and pondering other topics lately, but I'm not in an environment conducive to long posts, so I'll just leave this link and a summary.

As best as I can make out, a post-Christian medical industry is essentially sociopathic. Dig this thread discussing a presentation by Dutch researchers on their longitudinal study of transgender patients. Key excerpts:

The Dutch clinicians were at WPATH in September, presenting the results of their longitudinal study. And they had the most remarkable incuriosity about what they were doing that I've ever observed up close.

This reinforces my view that moral good is found in the moment the needle penetrates the flesh of the thigh and the plunger is pushed home, injecting testosterone into the girl. Whatever happens after that is of no consequence. You have affirmed her feelings. Yay.

And now, years later, surrounded by evidence of regret and harm, they joke that they're "not really interested in prediction." One researcher said "I can predict how I’ll feel in one minute—still nervous!—but I cannot predict how I will feel tomorrow.” The audience laughed. 

But it's not funny. This is an adult in a conference room joking that she has no idea how she'll feel tomorrow—after all, anything could happen between now and then!—to gloss over evidence that children and teens can't consent to sign away the rest of their lives.

I don't know how to categorize doing permanent damage to a girl because she expressed emotions that you knew to be ephemeral as anything other than sociopathic. It's a broad brush, but the whole of the medical industry deserves the epithet because they are embracing it at the organizational level with almost no pushback from individual doctors.

Pulling back to the societal level, affirming feelings is profoundly un-Christian. Christianity claims there are moral absolutes that transcend our feelings. To place feelings at the top of the priority list is to reject Christianity.

So here we are. Without universal, moral absolutes, all bets are off. How this is different from Julius Caesar, Geronimo, the Dahomey or the Aztecs, I'm sure I don't know.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Shrooms

I drove from Cullman, Alabama to Nashville by way of more waterfalls two days ago. While hiking and shooting in southern Tennessee, I very nearly walked right by these cuties without noticing them. I left the photo large and I think it's worth a click. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Evolution Of A Moral Scold

It seems to me that the most reasonable hypothesis about the nature and purpose of the world is that God created it for the express purpose of our existence. I offered some proof in this post.

(D)o you have any idea at all how hard it was to create a Universe that could sustain life? Adjust any one of a bunch of cosmic constants by just a tiny bit and you get Vast Wastelands of Death. Here's a few examples of these constants:

Fine Tuning Parameters for the Universe

strong nuclear force constant

if larger: no hydrogen would form; atomic nuclei for most life-essential elements would be unstable; thus, no life chemistry

if smaller: no elements heavier than hydrogen would form: again, no life chemistry

weak nuclear force constant

if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible

if smaller: too little helium would be produced from big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible

gravitational force constant

if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry

if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form

electromagnetic force constant

if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission

if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry

The existence of DNA is similarly preposterous. As far as I know, we've never been able to create it in the lab with all its building blocks present. It's not like the stuff spontaneously forms without significant intervention.

Then there is consciousness and imagination, particularly that expressed through art. It serves no purpose at all, but here we are.

To me, that indicates that the Universe has a purpose and that purpose is to give us a place to exist and thrive. Our intellect and imagination has a purpose and that is to understand the world around us. It was all created by a Higher Power to that end. Given the extent of the fine-tuning, the biochemical anomalies and evolutionary paths necessary to get us here, the purpose is infused throughout everything. It all points in one direction.

If everything around us has purpose, then we must have a purpose as well. I've blogged about the Greek origins of purpose and morality before.

Greek philosophy arose from some of their geniuses determining that the world was ordered and that humans were capable of rational thought. That meant that people could figure out how the world worked and what its components were. They went farther and posited that the world's components had been made with their own purposes and those purposes could be deduced. They called that telos.

Ethics could then be constructed from each object's telos. A hammer was a good hammer if it was used for its telos, pounding nails into wood. A hammer was a bad hammer if it was used for a contrary purpose such as giving your wife a scalp massage.

As our science has become more sophisticated, it has become obvious, as listed above, that the Universe was designed for a purpose and it has, as the Greeks would say, and I would agree, fulfilled its purpose. It is good. Kind of like the words of Genesis.

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters.

Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good...

God then sees that other things are good, too, such as the firmament, the heavens and those fabulous honey, cheese biscuits from Jim N' Nick's Bar-B-Q in Cullman, Alabama. Those are unbelievably good.

So all of creation is good because it is fulfilling its purpose. Where does that stop?

Sex. Sex is where that stops. You'd like to think that, wouldn't you?

I watched the video below, which discusses the biochemistry of porn and how it wrecks a man's ability to function with women. The whole of it is worth watching, but I've set the scrub head to a particular point in the video to go along with the topic of this post.

Here's the relevant quote for me.

The idea here is that, you know, I'm not saying pornography as a stimulus is bad or good. What I'm saying is in its availability and its extreme forms, it's a very potent stimulus and very potent stimuli of any kind, extremely palatable food, extreme pornography, extreme experiences like bungee cord jumping, those set a threshold for dopamine release.

Emphasis mine.

Now I don't know if he's saying this to bound the discussion to biochemistry or if he really thinks we can divorce the act from its moral qualities, so I don't mean to disparage him, but if the Universe was created with a purpose, if every element, every creature, every aspect, every experience is a component of it and therefore part of its overall purpose and, further, if purpose defines moral good, then you can't dismiss the act that creates all human life, the life that is the very purpose of creation, from its telos, its purpose and, thus, its morality.

Here, I understand what I've done is derive the Catholic understanding of the purpose of sex, procreation, but please believe me when I say I am only now seeing that's what I've done. I didn't set out to do this. I've been pulling a thread and this is where it led.

I think that many people want to avoid assigning a telos to things this because they don't want to deal with the implications. No one wants to be the moral scold, as Deano likes to call me. But denying reality doesn't make it go away. The first question we have to face is about the nature of reality. The way in which we define that nature will then drive all kinds of things in our thinking and our lives.

Yuck. If this is leading where I think it's leading, I'll have to take some things seriously that, up to now, I'd been dismissing as no big deal.

I think I'll open another beer*.

* - I wrote this last night after visiting a brewery in Birmingham. I'm not in the habit of daytime drinking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Alabama Waterfall

 This one is the Mardis Mills Falls.

I'm on a solo vacation in Dixie right now. I flew into Dallas, drove to Shreveport to see Confederate Railroad in concert and then drove to Oxford to see the Ole Miss - Alabama game. From there, I hopped over to Cullman, Alabama where I'm hanging out for a few days, getting the feel of northern Alabama.

Yesterday, I did the waterfall tour of the area. Mardis Mills Falls was lovely. While shooting, I played with the shutter speed, trying to get the liquid flow feel in a photograph. I like the way it turned out. The shots below are large and I think they're worth a click.

Enjoy!

Auto settings, shutter speed 1/200 second.

Shutter speed 1/8 second.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Injecting Sausage

I'm in Dixie on a solo vacation. I should be making dinner, but I'm pounding on my laptop keyboard like a crazed chimpanzee because I've got something to say right now. The sermon at the church here in Cullman, Alabama today included an offhand remark about the transgender insanity. Me coming to deep red Alabama from a progressive diocese in deep blue SoCal, it's the first time I've heard any official from the Church, whether that be deacon, priest or bishop, acknowledge the suffering of what I'm experiencing with my daughter and that it is insane and evil.

It affected me profoundly. In the 3+ years I've been watching my little girl slowly die from hormone poisoning, it was the first time that I had allowed my emotions release. I realized this morning just how alone and betrayed by the Church I had felt. The mention in the sermon was almost a throwaway line and I realized it was something these Alabamians had heard and discussed before. They understood it in ways that Californians didn't.

Thank God for Dixie.

Anywho, I spent the day talking to the windshield about it as I drove. Among many epiphanies I had today, here's one that stands out.

Why is affirming a girl's gender fears a good thing? What are we doing, what is the "good" we are purchasing with our actions?

In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer discusses the Nazi experiments on Jewish prisoners. In one of them, Nazi doctors wanted to find out what happened to Luftwaffe fliers shot down over cold water. How long could they survive and what was the best way to help them recover from hypothermia?

To determine this, they took Jews and threw them into the snow. They let them lay there for different lengths of time and then brought them indoors and monitored their internal temperatures as they tried to revive them. The suffering of the Jews had a larger purpose - to assist German pilots downed over the English Channel.

In this case, the "good" was improved survival rates for the pilots.

This is not the case for modern girls being given testosterone. There is no good beyond the injection itself. That is, the moment at which the needle enters the thigh and when the plunger is pressed down is the "good." That is the moment at which we achieve the moral payoff. We have affirmed the girl's self-identification.

After the plunger is driven home, we can turn to our fellow social justice warriors and exchange high-fives. We did it! We showed love! Hurray for us!

What happens after that, just like what happened to the poor Jews used in those experiments, is irrelevant. We have harvested our moral good and we can go off to live our lives, taking comfort in the knowledge that we have acted for the best. Anyone who didn't want to throw the Jews into the snow or inject girls in the thigh with testosterone stands in the way of the greater good.

And now, I need to cook some green beans with Conecuh sausage to go with smothered pork chops and rice.

Something tells me I'm into something good.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

What Was Lost?

 Nothing, as far as I can tell. I posted this thread on Twitter about the election.

For the last forty years, both the Republicans and the Catholic Church have soft peddled their beliefs. It was best not to rock the boat and make a fuss.

Here we are. Seventeen year old girls aren't enjoying the boys' attention, shopping for a husband, they're getting mutilated.

The truth of the matter is that neither the party nor the Church gave a rat's rear end about the girls. They just wanted things to be easy. They avoided conflict.

Here we are.

Everyone wanted to put on their Kente cloths and kneel about George Floyd. No one wanted to talk about half the black population being massacred through abortion. That was icky!

Here we are. Those beautiful children aren't.

Republicans didn't want to talk about marriage. The Church didn't want to talk about sin.

Here we are. Check out the English language test scores in Jackson, Mississippi.

No one cared about those black children.

So the red wave didn't materialize.

So the churches are empty except for the elderly.

So what? What did we lose?

Nothing that the party and the Church hadn't already surrendered.

Here in San Diego, the Republican candidates were pounded endlessly over abortion. They didn't reply. They didn't own their positions nor did they defend babies. It would have been simplicity itself to show a picture of a baby and say, "I don't want this child killed," but they didn't. 

They didn't defend any red positions at all. It was all attack ads, all the time. I have no idea at all what was at stake in that election for conservatives.

This is exactly what drives me crazy about our Catholic bishop. He refuses to profess the faith in public. He wants to wear the robes and get the respect, but he stands for nothing that might conflict with the culture.

As for the Democrats, they were constantly on message. I know exactly what I'm getting with them.

  1. Racial segregation
  2. Hedonism
  3. Envy

I got no problem with that. I don't support any of it, but I know who they are because they tell me and defend their beliefs.

So what was at stake on Tuesday? What did the reds lose? Beats me.

The Republicans didn't even try to defend babies.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

My Hope For The Election

 ... is that the red wave is big enough to make corporate marketing teams rethink their woke biases and begin to sell to Normals again.

I'm a big believer in advertising as both a marker of the culture and a driver of the culture. When I watch sports, which is almost all I watch, there are no cultural biases in the event itself. It's the ads which contain all the evangelization. These days, it's common to see ads that push a political or cultural agenda instead of pushing their product. I'd love it if those ads went away. I don't want Proctor and Gamble selling me on LGBT weddings.

There are plenty of red flags out there for the marketing teams to observe. Ron DeSantis won his battle with Disney. Netflix did very poorly with their slate of woke shows. Elon Musk's Twitter hasn't been harmed by his takeover and, in fact, is registering all-time traffic highs. 

The progressive zealots selling trandgenderism and racial obsessions are a thin veneer on society. A massive red tsunami would make that crystal clear to the dudes and dudettes what sign the checks at the big firms.

I don't harbor any illusions about particularly good governance. I just want a cultural shift.

Image source.

Monday, November 07, 2022

I'm Not Your Evil Momma Bird

 ... to mash two ideas together into a rather ungainly title.

On Twitter, someone posed Epicurus' God Conundrum to me. It goes something like this.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” – Epicurus

My reply was to ask my interlocutor if anyone had responded to Epicurus and what did they say? They became indignant and demanded I respond myself.

Get lost. I'm not your momma bird. Do you think I'm going to scour Augustine, Aquinas, Chesterton and Lewis for their responses, digest them and then regurgitate them back in a tweet for you to consume? I don't think so.

For one thing, the problem of evil has never seemed like a problem for me. I've seen and experienced a bit of it and it's never led me to question the existence of God. I don't understand the connection. Is life supposed to be made up of us sitting on the couch, eating cotton candy and watching TV, but never getting diabetes? That sounds horrible.

Our sons have friends who live a version of that life, playing video games, smoking weed and downloading porn while working as little as possible. I don't envy them, not even when I'm giving a presentation to a bunch of cranky, middle-aged, blue-collar men who feel the need to outdo each other in attacking me. I kind of enjoy those sessions because it makes me grow by bringing my failings into clear relief.

If that Epicurus dude caused you to lose your faith, then you need to be double-checking your work by reading the big boys who disagreed with them. Demanding that some Internet rando who hides behind a cat avatar to solve that riddle in 280 characters or less is ridiculous.

It ain't me, babe.
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe.
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Racism Is Self-Limiting

 Dig this video from Michigan wherein a Muslim father yells at his school board for putting pornographic LGBT propaganda books in his kids' school library.

You can't see it in this video, but in other, similar ones, the facial reactions of the far-left school board members are priceless.

"But...but...but... you're a brown person! Don't you know I love diversity and equity? I eat hummus and falafel!"

People are not defined by their race. It's not even in the top ten of things that shape us. This guy is a dad. He's got the interests of his children in the center of his life. His faith is central to his life, too. He probably wants his kids to grow up believing that the Quran is the word of God, revealed to Mohammed. Brown skin or no, that Quran thingy isn't really big on men having anal sex with each other.

He'd also be really, really, really happy if the white people he knows became his brothers in Islam. White people as brothers in his faith? How's that even possible? We know for a fact that the world is broken down into an unjust hierarchy of political power, defined by race and gender.

The progs on the school board see him as a "person of color." Their model of the world revolves around race and gender. That worldview is not reality and it's now coming in conflict with reality.

Kind of like the way American Hispanics value law and order, just like everyone else who wants to live in a civilized country. That's why they're not cheering on their racial compadres illegally coming across the border by the millions. They weren't supposed to react like that. They're, well, ... brown!

Whether or not the progs get smoked in the upcoming election, this conflict isn't going away.

A inaccurate model of the world is a self-limiting thing. You can only go so far with it before reality slaps you down, hard.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Affirmative Action Is Not About Affirmative Action

 ... it's about incentive structures.

The Catican Guards don't like our new house. There's no fence separating the house from the street, so they can see all the other dogs being walked in the neighborhood. As the Guards are small, the sight of all those dogs worries them, making walks here anxious affairs. Instead, I drive them over to the other house, the one we're remodeling, and walk them in their old neighborhood. They like that.

I listened to Matt Walsh talk about the Harvard affirmative action case at the Supreme Court as I drove the girls to their walk* yesterday. It hit me that the conversation is all wrong. It's not about racial justice or equality, it's about the behaviors we want in our fellow citizens.

In short, we want the people around us to practice discipline, sacrifice and hard work. Debates about crime are similar. We want less crime, so we want more cops and more jails, right? Wrong. We want self-discipline. Thomas Sowell, who grew up in New York City, and Walter E. Williams, who grew up in Philly, talk about living without fear of violence when they were kids in the 1950s. Now, their old neighborhoods are war zones.

Cops, jails and racial rulings are all downstream of childhood wherein discipline and sacrifice are instilled in us. They're downstream of the culture in which we swim. They are reactions to symptoms of a failed culture.

A rapper named Takeoff of the popular group, Migos, was shot and killed recently. I spent a little time on Twitter reading his fans lamenting his death. Much of the conversation was about how good their music was. Here's the lyrics from one of their songs. I won't excerpt any of it because we don't talk that way here at the 'Post. The lyrics are a horror.

Takeoff.

Self-pity and grievance are antithetical to discipline and sacrifice. I know that personally as I have spent years wallowing in both for various reasons throughout my life. Affirmative action is both of those things, manifested in policy. The lyrics of the Migos song come from both of those things plus a healthy dose of sociopathic pride.

Affirmative action is wrong because its source is the opposite of what we want from each other and ourselves as well. We need discipline and sacrifice. We want maximal rewards with minimal work. Rewarding people with mediocre grades and test scores by admitting them to top-tier universities acts to depress sacrifice and discipline. That's why it's wrong.

* - Does that read as stupid as it sounds writing it?

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

When Outrage Isn't A Currency

 ... then you won't be able to buy anything with it.

It looks like the Supreme Court is going to finally strike down affirmative action. Its sights are set on Harvard, but the ruling will ripple through more places than that. If Harvard actually employs colorblind admissions, their demographics will change dramatically. More importantly, societal incentives will change.

This is for the University of Michigan and more than a decade old, but from what I've seen of the test score disparities at Harvard, their results are similar. Blacks and Hispanics are finding it much easier to get admitted than whites and Asians.

Right now, Harvard is 14% Asian, 41% white, 10% Hispanic, 7% black, 24% foreign and 4% mixed. Say that after the ruling, Harvard throws out race as a factor and ends up with, say, 40% Asian, 25% white, 5% Hispanic and 2% black. What happens then?

I can see a couple of scenarios.

  1. Harvard throws out the SAT and goes on GPA and extracurriculars alone. That produces an arms race in the high schools where grades get inflated. At that point, admission to Harvard won't be much different from admission to LSU. Over time, the value of a Harvard degree declines because employers realize they're producing mediocre graduates.
  2. Activists howl about the SAT even more than they do now. The SAT board keeps tinkering with the test and either dilutes it to the point of uselessness, in which case you have number 1, above, or they throw up their hands and discover that they can't find a set of questions that gives them the racial results they want.
  3. Parents see the results and understand that the price of admission to top-flight universities is time spent studying. Outrage loses its leverage with the admissions team at Harvard.

Right now, race-based admissions mask the true cost of learning. Our educational pricing structure is broken. Race is effectively a subsidy just like deficit spending is a subsidy to the economy.

If the demographics of Harvard and the other elite universities change to reflect test scores, questions will have to be asked about the behavior of both the students and the parents.

Hmm.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Tradeoffs Are Real

 Dig this.

I thought it was brilliant. If you follow Brittany, you know that she doesn't want to remove women's choices, she just wants the choices to be well-informed. The idea that there are no tradeoffs and that feminism led to increased happiness isn't true. It led to different happiness and different regrets.

It's young women who pay the price for making uninformed decisions. Those years from 20-40 are where these issues hit the hardest. Before 20, you've got mom and hopefully dad. After 40, there are rarely any more rugrats coming. Between 20 and 40, there are serious tradeoffs to be made.

The replies have been telling. The negative ones all claim that women used to be oppressed and life was pretty bad in the old days. They don't answer any of the points in the video.

One Muslim supported Brittany and left this as a reply.

I don't spend time perusing Muslim Twitter feeds, but if this is their argument for traditional sex roles, it's a pretty strong one. Where I work, most people spend their days in inhuman, open cubes. You can hear all of their personal phone conversations. There is plenty of family drama in everyone's life and you can't help but think how much less there would be with a traditional family.

Some of the objections to the video pointed out how widows were screwed in the old days. If their husband bought the farm and they had no employment opportunities, abject poverty would be their fate. That's spot on, but that risk is part of the very real tradeoff that is being made.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Tobacco As An Explosive

Well, it's not actually an explosive, but my fermentation chamber did experience a blast. 

I had the thing outside, plugged into an outdoor outlet. It was wrapped in insulation. I'd replaced the 40W and 60W bulbs with a 250W bathroom heat lamp to see if I could get it to heat faster. It did indeed heat faster. It also exploded when we got some drizzle that seeped through the insulation and onto the hot heat lamp. Fortunately, the blast was contained by the plastic bin and the insulation. The tobacco, protected by its glass jars inside the fermenter, was unharmed.

I've since moved the fermenter inside and went back to a 60W bulb. My insulation layer is more complete and the heating-cooling cycle is now about 2 1/2 hours instead of only 1.

Finally, I managed to kill all of the mold that might have been clinging to the leaves. Mold, including the spores, is killed at temperatures above 140 and my new setup hit 147 a couple of times before I dialed back the thermostat.

Does that make this pasteurized tobacco?

I'm afraid you'll need to click on this one. In any case, I've got 2 weeks down and 1 week to go before I can test it in a pipe.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Pasta Is Too Contentious A Subject For Polite Company

How do you make pasta? Do you add salt to the water? How much salt? Do you add the pasta before the water boils or after? Do you boil it with the lid on or off? Which pasta is the best? Can you use the cheap brand or do you need the imported, Italian stuff?

You've got to carefully choose the time, the mood and the company when you decide to raise the topic of pasta. It's fraught to say the least.

That's nonsense, of course. Everyone can talk about pasta any time they want and no one freaks out. If, as I have been saying lately on this blog, religion is just a holistic description of the world as it is, that topic is no different than the way you cook pasta. After all, your way of cooking pasta is simply your educated selection of one of a set of candidate methods. You've thought about them, you've tried them, you've observed the results, you've weighed the evidence and now you make pasta your way. If you can discuss one, you can discuss the other.

If you can evangelize pasta, as one of our sons and his wife do with their homemade pasta, you can certainly talk about how the Universe was formed and how you derive meaning from life.

Heck, the Pastafarians combine the two.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Gravity Is

It just is.

Gravity is why I don't jump off a 5-story building onto a sidewalk. There would be baleful consequences to such an action.

Because I will break bones in the fall, I can observe the effects of gravity and know that it exists.

As far as I can tell, God just is. Christ is the Son of God. They said some stuff and that's been codified into Catholicism. That's one of many competing hypotheses about the nature of the world, but after quite a bit of study and thought, it's the one that I feel is most likely to be true. If it is true, then it is a fact on the order of the existence of gravity.

The Word of God both defines sin and its consequences. It is why I don't engage in any more sin than I can manage to resist. Spiritually, bad things will happen to me if I do. My observations about the temporal effects of sin in myself and others increase my confidence that my Catholic faith is true. It's not cause or effect, it's both.

Do Morals Change?

Currently, Europe is majority European. Being gay is acceptable. If current demographic trends continue, some parts of Europe will soon be majority Muslim. Some cities already are. There, being gay is not acceptable.

Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris is about 44% Muslim right now. When Aubervilliers turns from being 51-49 secular French to 51-49 Muslim, will being gay turn from good to bad at that moment? If you say no, then that means there is a moral order above Man. Who is the author of that moral order? What is its source?

To use an example where the turnover has recently happened, prior to the Chinese crackdowns in Hong Kong, it was OK to voice anti-CCCP opinions. It is no longer allowed. Did such opinions switch from good to bad? If not, why not? What is the source of your judgment?

Focusing On Results

I think we get hung up on the consequences of religion, perhaps because we don't like them. What guy wants to hear that fornication is a sin? Our lizard brain is screaming at us to mate as often as possible so our genetic code propagates through time. This hangup about moral restrictions changes the way we see religion from a hypothesis about the world as it is to some kind of stultifying human invention.

If Catholicism is true, then it and its consequences were always true and Mankind simply discovered them.

Gravity didn't spring into existence when Newton got brained by the apple. It was there before the planets formed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

What Is Religion?

 I've got to give a talk in about 6 months and I've got 20-25 minutes to do it. I want to make it as tight as possible and suggest some ideas that the audience hasn't considered before. I'm going to work out some of the concepts here.

The dictionary definition of religion is a bit cramped. I have to say I don't agree with it at all.

(T)he belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

I don't see it that way. To me, it's a holistic system of beliefs which describe the world as it is. I'm probably cadging the definition of another phrase, "worldview" perhaps? Oh well. 

Catholicism unites philosophy, science and faith. So does Islam. So does atheism. Agnosticism lays down on the couch, hoping it will all go away.  How about this as a definition of religion:

The selection of one of a set of competing hypotheses about the nature of reality.

After all, since you can't prove the existence or nature of God the way you can work out thermodynamics equations, they all require faith. No one knows which one is true. You can only make an educated guess with more education giving you more accuracy.

The morality of a religion naturally falls out of the belief system. If Jesus was the son of God and He said we should forgive, then we'd better get on with the forgivering. If Mohammed was given the inerrant word of Allah and he says we need to convert the world or slay the infidels, then it's time to sharpen our swords. If there is no God, then the Marquis de Sade and Dylan Mulvaney have it right and we shouldn't waste time on anything but pleasing ourselves.

Party on, girls.

It's something to ponder.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Biden And Mulvaney

 ... really happened. I have to admit, I thought it was a brilliant hoax-troll by Dylan Mulvaney and that there was no way on Earth the president's staff would allow him to sit down with a guy whose claim to fame is that he pretends to be a grotesque exaggeration of an adolescent girly-girl. Dig this.

Here's some more Dylan Mulvaney so you have a reference point.

@dylanmulvaney Who’s ready for a slumber party?! Check out my Sleepover Essentials via @instacart #InstacartPartner #Cartitđź›’ ♬ original sound - Dylan Mulvaney

That's a grown man right there. There isn't a man alive that doesn't know exactly what Dylan is doing. He's simply a massive pervert.

The president's staff arranged an on-camera, one-on-one meeting with the guy.

I've blogged in the past about what I call the Lizard Empire, but it never dawned on me that the Democrats would openly be the Empire. They are now.