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 #Cartit🛒 ♬ 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.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Do Sparrows Have Drag Shows?

Here's a video of sparrows mating.

Everyone seems to be having a good time. Courtship and mating for sparrows doesn't take a whole lot of time. A day, perhaps? After that, the mom will gestate the eggs inside of her and when they're ready, she'll lay the eggs in the nest that she and the dad have built. They will then incubate the eggs and feed each other. 

Irony Alert: The video below showing sparrow chicks being fed by mom was preceded by an advertisement for Catherine Blakespear, a Democrat running for state senate whose entire platform is centered on killing babies. Perfect. Just perfect.

Once the sparrow children hatch, the parents will feed them, keep them warm and protect them. It will look like this.

If the daddy sparrow couldn't get off unless he dressed like a female sparrow and then mated with other males or maybe inanimate objects while watching videos of sparrow sex, you wouldn't say to yourself, "Well, that's perfectly normal behavior for a sparrow." Instead, you'd say something like, "There's something wrong with that boy."

If the mommy sparrow shaved half of her head, dyed her feathers a shade of blue associated with the effluent from a Chinese chemical factory and then tried to mate with other female sparrows or perhaps mechanical devices, you'd have a similar reaction.

When people do it, we hold parades in their honor, give them tenured faculty positions, make them diversity trainers, pick them as spokescreatures for cosmetic companies and invite them to the White House to meet with the president.

When the sparrows are done with what they're doing, there will be more sparrows flying around and chirping. When the people are done, dry cleaners will have more business.

This is Dylan Mulvaney, a flaming pervert who can't get off unless he pretends to be a grotesque exaggeration of an adolescent girl. He met with President Biden recently because Joe is intrigued by the act of masturbating while play-acting a scene from a Barbie doll fantasy.

This is Lindsay Briggs, a tenured professor at Chico State who is a big proponent of using mechanical devices to get off. She looks like an extra from a Mad Max film. 

Here's how Chico State describes her.

Dr. Lindsay Briggs is a tenured faculty member in the Department of Public Health & Health Services Administration (PHHA). During Lindsay's time here she has become involved in a wide variety of campus programs including as a participant in the 2nd cohort of Diversity Academy, as a Diversity Certificate trainer, as one of the two Safe Zone trainers on campus, has been the faculty advisor for the Student Health Advisory Committee, has served on several Health Center hiring committees, and participated in three Faculty Learning Communities through CELT. In addition, she has won the Conversations on Diversity “Walk the Line” award and the AS Gender and Sexuality Equity Center’s Harvey Milk Award for her activism on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

My favorite part is that she is a Safe Zone trainer. I'm sure that comes in handy when you're at a dangerous place like Chico State. One can only imagine the threats students face there.

This Isn't Hard

Look, sex is fun. However, it's not meant to be an obsession. It's telos, it's purpose, is to make babies. They are supposed to be your focus, not the orgasm. It's so easy to get all wrapped up in the diversity and acceptance stuff and lose track of what's most important in life. That would be life itself, in case you were wondering.

But here we are, with our president bringing a sexually dysfunctional pervert into the White House for a consult and a Cal State school celebrating a woman who has completely lost the plot.

If we had any comedians left, we'd be laughing hysterically at all of this.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Nested Tomatoes

 Well, this was novel.

That's a tomato where its seeds have sprouted inside of it. I've never seen that before.

I suppose I could have eaten it anyway and picked up some Vitamin A from the greens. Instead, I might just plant it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Homeless Tobacco

 I saw this on Twitter the other day and it gives you a video of exactly what I see when I drive through much of LA. I lived there in the 1970s and it was nothing like this.

The conversation, as usual, devolved into political finger pointing. Reds justly called out blues for having utterly wrecked the city, which they did. My favorite reply was, "Well, what's the Republican plan for dealing with the homeless?" That's where the reds fall apart.

There is no plan. There can't be a plan. The homeless are almost all addicts. There's no "plan" to deal with addiction, if by "plan" you mean you can vote red or blue and then go back to your normal life, problem solved. 

Once someone is addicted to the point where they've lost everything and fallen into the situation shown above, pulling them out of it is nearly impossible. In my own family, my parents brought both of my addict brothers home to live with them, dry out and get on their feet multiple times. It never worked. If you think that voting blue and spending eleventy zillion dollars on social workers, treatment centers and methadone is going to make a dent in that population, then you're probably on drugs, too.

By the way, that's one of my favorite press release nuggets for these things. "Today, Congress passed a thirty billion dollar spending bill to deal with (homelessness, the border, education, stork leg measurement) ..." as if the number meant something to us and there was some kind of exchange market where you could turn dollars into rescued addicts. There isn't.

My Plan

Wanna know my plan? Here it is.

  1. Warehouse the homeless. Get them off the streets and into cheap, severe, mass incarceration. No screwing around, either. No visits, no packages, nothing. Some will dry out and recover enough to get back to a normal life, but most will live the rest of their lives like that.
  2. Close the border. Period. Whatever it takes. Walls, tunnel detection, shoot on sight, do anything necessary to stop the flow of drugs into the country. No more amnesty or sanctuary for "refugees."
  3. Prosecute drug crimes ruthlessly. Reduce the number of appeals, reduce restrictions on cops, build more courts, build more jails, whatever it takes to clear the backlog of cases quickly. Put huge cash bail requirements on the drug dealers, too. No more catch and release.
  4. Make drugs illegal again in all quantities. A tiny bit of heroin is all you need to get you through the day or the hour when you're an addict. You're not helping anyone by making that legal.

Yeah, I know, unintended consequences and civil rights and all that jazz. Before you criticize that plan too harshly, spend a month or so sitting across the dinner table from an addict whom you love. We can talk after that. In the meantime, I don't want to hear a peep about "compassion."

Another Tobacco Fail

Well, some of the Virginians in the fermenter box molded. I had to cull about a quarter of them yesterday. Another fourth of them had crisped as well.

The inside of the bin. Left to right, we've got the thermostat, a 40W bulb, the temperature and humidity sensor and a glass of water. The leaves are resting on a wood lattice to give them air on their undersides.

My next try will be to ferment some of my Tennessee tobacco in jars as described here. It requires a kiln, but I already have a kiln. That's what my fermentation chamber is. Fermenting in jars will simplify all kinds of things. For one, I won't need water or the wood lattice. The jars will be sealed and simply sit in the kiln. I can also ferment the leaves as they ripen in my garage instead of waiting to have enough of them to form into a pile. The early-ripers always dry out as they wait for their compadres.

As for the mold, that thread informs me that mold doesn't grow at temperatures over 122. If I swap out my 40W for a 60W bulb, I won't have any problem keeping my kiln at 122+. As for burping the jars from time to time, exposing the fermenting tobacco to air to get the ammonia out, here's what one guy said.

I think the airing thing is unnecessary. Most oxidation in tobacco afaik is via hydrolysis, which is why you need moisture. Otherwise we could just stick tobacco in low case in a hyperbaric chamber. Perique* on the other hand matters because of organisms and stuff. But then again, I don't know how some <insert some physical gas law> plays into it, but, it's not like there isn't tons of air anyway. Buildup of ammonia, CO2? Air it out after.

So that's the next phase of the experimentation. Mason jars of tobacco in the kiln at 122+, filled as the leaves ripen and labeled by date. As I put the leaves in the jars, I'll also play around with a spray of water or two as I seal them. Some will get none, some one, some two spritzes.

I have to say that for the first time in my fermentation career, I'm optimistic. I had figured this batch would mold and dry, so I wasn't surprised or disappointed when it did.

* - Perique: In St. James Parish, between the levee and the cane fields, a special tobacco with a rich history grows deep. The tobacco, known as perique, can only be found in St. James Parish, and is one of the rarest commercially grown tobaccos in the world.

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Tobacco Fermenter Is Online

 ... but it took a little effort to get it there.

The story so far: This is the second year I've grown my own tobacco. I don't smoke or chew, I just like to try various redneck projects. See this music video for more details. I'm a decent gardener, so growing it hasn't been a problem. Curing it hasn't been an issue, either. The rafters in my garage are a perfect place to dry the stuff after harvest. It's the fermentation, the process that removes ammonia from the leaves, that is such a problem. I've tried a couple of methods, all of which failed.

After many tries, I think I've got a fermenter that works. It's a plastic tote bin, appropriately in LSU purple, with a thermostat which controls a 40W bulb which, in turn, is suspended from the lid. The bin is wrapped in R13 insulation. A SensorPush hygrometer/thermometer supplies the data for me to check the status of the thing.

As an added bonus, the fermenter makes an excellent Halloween decoration, giving off an eerie, orange glow at night when the light bulb is on inside. 3 weeks later, instead of having a rotting pumpkin on your porch, you'll have delicious, properly fermented tobacco! The end product also makes an excellent Christmas gift for friends and family.

The wiring is simple. I've got a mechanical thermostat which closes the circuit whenever the temperature falls below a set level. I bought a cheap heat lamp from Home Depot and tore it apart to get to the 2-wire light bulb fixture. I didn't bother checking which wire was which, I just spliced my thermostat switch into one of them. Hey, man, it's AC, it's all good.

And that, as they say, was that. The SensorPush things gave me some trouble as their antenna patterns must be highly directional and plastic attenuates Bluetooth signals, but when I put their gateway close enough to the bin, it worked fine.

1 day of fermentation down, 20 or so more to go. The humidity needs some work, but I'm experimenting with that as well. This time, I won't spray water on the leaves directly as that led to mold in the past. Instead, I'll vary the surface area of a water reservoir in the bin to see if I can get to the desired 60%.

Sensor 2 is in the bin, Sensor 3 is out in the open, nearby. The overnight temperature fell to 60, but the fermenter stayed in the 110-120 range. I'm wondering if I should swap out my 40W bulb for a 60W one, but for now, it seems to be working.

A Better Way To Get The Right Humidity

Instead of experimenting with the surface area of the container to get to the right humidity level, I'm just going to pour an ounce of water into the bottom of the fermenter until I get to the right level. The thought is that when the water spreads across the bottom, it should evaporate almost immediately, increasing the humidity level. 

I found some calculations to figure out water weight vs volume by temperature to hit a specific humidity level, but they didn't make much sense given that my glass of water hasn't provided what should have been more than enough. Instead, I'll do this empirically. An ounce at a time ought to be sufficiently granular to find just the right amount.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Crime And Elections

The Daily Wire is reporting that the NY governor's race is now a toss-up for predictable reasons.

New York’s move to “toss-up” comes a week after a Trafalgar Group poll indicated that the race is neck-and-neck. One of the biggest reasons Hochul appears to be lagging among her own party and Zeldin is surging is the growing problem of crime in the state. Trafalgar Group chief pollster Robert Cahaly told The Daily Wire last week that crime is overwhelmingly the top issue for New York voters. “It’s the only state we’ve seen crime exceed the economy,” he said.

So what's the plan, man? If you're red, it's hire more cops and build more jails. Hooray! Get the criminals off the streets and into lockup. That means sweeping the streets clean of young, black men.

Gunshot victims by race from a Chicago crime site. It's a stone-cold lock that NY stats aren't substantially different.

Is that really what we want as a society?

Meanwhile, outside of fomenting racial hate, the blues don't have any solution at all. The NY governor's race has tightened because everyone is tired of being told to pity young, black men who we're informed are the target of so much racism. It's becoming more and more difficult to swallow that line. I've had a couple of blue Chicago natives tell me they won't go downtown any more because of the presence of young, feral, black men. 

This video from Glenn Loury captures it very well.

You can only surrender so much territory to crime for so long before you've had enough and you decide to do something radical like voting for Republicans.

And then what?

More cops, more jails.

Hey, here's some news that's a little different. Megan Thee Stallion was on SNL this week!

Here, we see a fat prostitute exposing her crotch on national TV. Outstanding!

Megan Thee Stallion turned the Saturday Night Live stage into the perfect platform for political discourse during the show's 46th season premiere hosted by Chris Rock.

In her SNL debut, Megan performed her March release "Savage" alongside four dancers in a room enveloped by the words "Protect Black Women." The words disappear from sight into darkness midway through the song as gunshots take over the chorus, the black screen replaced by bullet holes.

Err, protect black women from what, precisely? If she's concerned about the same thing my Windy City friends are, then that would suggest we need more cops and more jails.

Finally, we have some unity in this country.

Note: It's a wee bit ironic that a famous slut is whining about civilizational decline when she's made a good living pushing the behaviors that make it sexually profitable for young, black men to eschew self-discipline and commitment.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Racial Groups Interact

 ... and if the only interactions you ever thought would happen were People of Color (PoC) and whites, you were being hopelessly naïve. From Powerline comes this.

Appalling ignorance, racism, corruption and political greed came to light when someone recorded a conversation among three members of the Los Angeles City Council and the city’s most powerful labor leader. The Los Angeles Times covers a story that must be painful for the paper, since everyone involved is a Democrat:

Three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council and a top county labor official held a conversation last fall that included racist remarks, derisive statements about their colleagues and council President Nury Martinez saying a white councilman handled his young Black son as though he were an “accessory,” according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The Times.

Martinez, while discussing Councilman Mike Bonin’s child, said, “Parece changuito,” or “He’s like a monkey,” soon afterward.

A few minutes after Martinez discussed Bonin’s son, the topic of conversation moved to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, who was facing growing political opposition.

“F— that guy,” Martinez said, followed by something inaudible. “He’s with the Blacks.”

Formatting in the original.

How can this be a surprise to anyone? When you insist that everyone be classified by race because you think you can keep them all in their little, Marxist boxes labeled "Victims" and "Oppressors," this is bound to happen.

For me, this wasn't the really disturbing part. That came on Twitter. In prolonged comment threads on tweets by news outlets or influencers, people began to argue about the races. One fight in particular was about whether or not Hispanics considered themselves to be white. Are they really brown after all or is that just a convenient moniker for them?

I know that Twitter isn't real life, but it does capture mindsets and the dynamics of particular arguments. In this case, there were plenty of accusations back and forth about which race was the oppressor and which was the oppressed. Or maybe it was who deserved to be oppressed. Whatever it was, no one was an individual, everyone was in their tribes whether they liked it or not.

It was the Bodega guy vs. the robber all over again.

In a multi-ethnic country like our own, this is where racialism simply must lead. The everyone-against-straight-white-men thing only works until "people of color" come into conflict. At that point, no matter which way you go, the judgment will come out as evidence of racial ranking.

Sigh.

Tobacco Mold

My aquarium heater tobacco fermenter was a major failure, as I suspected it would be.

It only took a week or so for the mold to arrive and ruin these Virginians.

As you can see from the sides of the bin, water was condensing everywhere inside of it. Plenty condensed on the lid and then dripped down onto the tobacco. With the internal temperature of the chamber at about 92 degrees, it was like sending engraved invitations to the mold.

My conclusion is that the moisture is there only to keep the leaves supple as they ferment. That means you don't need massive amounts of water, you just want enough to prevent the leaves from crisping. For my next experiment, I'll use a 40W bulb with a thermostat in the bin to keep the temperature around 115-120. I'll wrap the leaves in cheesecloth and spray them with a mister bottle daily. I might put an open glass jar with water in the container to see if I can get the humidity to stay in the 60% range.

Interestingly, the next batch of leaves I'm going to ferment already smell like my mom's cigarettes from back in the day. Before the disco era, she smoked True and I can still recall the smell of her tobacco. I thought this was a good sign as the tobacco leaves don't smell that way at all when they're green.

I'm also going to take one of the leaves, shred it and smoke it in a pipe without fermentation to get a sense of how they start so I have a reference point down the road. I'll be pulling another leaf out and smoking it every week to note the progress.

After this set of Virginians, I still have a substantial amount of Tennessee in case this fermentation method fails.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tim's Bugs

 OK, if you don't know Tim, then you need to meet him here. He's one of my all-time favorite Internet friends. One thing I've learned about him is that while I may disagree with him from time to time, his takes are always well-considered.

Sometimes they're dead right.

A while back, I posted a photo of my tobacco leaves hanging in my garage. He commented that he saw some signs of nomming and wondered if I had caterpillars in the bunch. "Bah!" I said. "There might have been a few bugs on them in the garden, but not many."

To no one's surprise, he was right. Two of my Virginians got devoured as they cured. Here's the proof.

All in all, I think I found 20 munchers yesterday as I went through my leaves. Darn it, Tim was right again!

When I'm old and senile, I'll claim I was the one who first detected them. Sorry, Tim, that's the way senility goes.

In any case, only a few of the Virginians were ruined and my second fermentation chamber is ready to go. In this one, I've got a 40W bulb dangling inside it and a thermostat to turn it on and off, triggered by a temperature of 115.

The current fermentation chamber, which is a plastic tote bin with 5" of water and an aquarium heater keeping it at 95, is starting to give off that new-mown grass smell that tells you the tobacco is fermenting. I might try smoking some in my Mississippi corncob pipe pretty soon.

Assuming I can find the pipe, that is.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Putin Is The Devil

 ... and that's why we keep allowing the bum fight between UKR and RUS to escalate.

A few days ago, the Ukrainians blew up a bridge between Crimea and Russia. As far as Russia is concerned, Crimea is part of Russia. Last night, Russia retaliated by bombing a bunch of Ukrainian cities. Absent international pressure on both sides to come to a negotiated settlement, this is an ever-worsening, Slavic death match.

It's a Slavic death match with nukes.

Nukes in action.

I keep wondering this: just what in the world are we doing? What is our national interest over there and how is it so great that we're willing to risk nuclear war to get it?

Our national interest is that we must get rid of the devil, the devil who defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. I sincerely believe this. Our establishment was driven insane when Hillary lost. I'm including plenty of reds in this as well. All you need do is read Jonah Goldberg and David French these days to see that Trump drove them mad.

Tucker put it really well.

Putin is a horrible person, but he's not powerful. His army couldn't make it 40 miles past their own borders without breaking down and falling apart. This is plainly evident to us all. If he couldn't conquer Ukraine, pathetic and degenerate as they are, then he certainly couldn't have affected our elections, either.

If Putin didn't throw the 2016 election, then Trump won because all the Ivy League swells in NY, LA and DC were rejected by the voters because they're failures.

No! No! No! Putin is the devil! Putin is powerful! Putin must be destroyed! He's the one who did it. He defeated Hillary. Hillary was a fine candidate and people would have loved her, and us by extension, if Putin hadn't poisoned their minds with a couple hundred thousand dollars of Facebook ads in a campaign where well over a billion dollars were spent.

We are walking towards the nuclear precipice because our politicians, the academy, our entertainment industry, the educational machine and our news media can't admit that they're failures. They have to cling to the insane idea that Putin is a threat to the world because the alternative is just too terrible for them to contemplate.

Our incompetent and degenerate military brass, after telling us that diversity is a force multiplier and then getting dusted by goat herders whose entire raison d'être is the elimination of all diversity everywhere, is only too happy to agree that Putin's enervated Russia is a threat to NATO.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Jesus Was A Pest

 Wife kitteh and I have begun helping out with Confirmation classes at our church. Confirmation is the Catholic initiation into an adult relationship with the faith where you, typically a high schooler, confirm that you will live as a Catholic. Or something like that.

I'd heard of universalism in the Catholic Church, but I'd never seen it in practice and certainly never seen it almost, err, universally accepted. During the Confirmation class, the kids and the adult leaders were asked if only those who followed Jesus would go to heaven. All but myself and one kid agreed with that. This is the universalist view - everyone gets rewarded with heaven.

My brief theological rebuttal comes from John 14:1-7:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.

Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Emphasis mine.

I'll leave that argument alone and go straight to the implications of universalism.

Like, what's the point of the Church, man? As a Catholic, I get all these lectures and demands that I come every Sunday, come on holy days of obligation, tithe, donate to our pinko bishop's annual demand for money, acknowledge my sins and on and on while the rest of the population is down at the High Dive, drinking Bloody Marys and watching football. I must be some kind of a chump.

If you want to know why kids are leaving the Church, this has to be a major reason. It's a rational cost-benefit decision. If everyone ends up in the same place, only a complete idiot would do all that work for nothing. The Church's entire value proposition vanishes.

Our culture is so thoroughly shot through with moral relativism that our Confirmation class leaders have adopted it.

Any attempt to define mortal sin would have to end here.

Bonus Take

If everyone is saved no matter what they do, then Jesus' entire life was a waste of time. Think about it.

Extra Special Bonus Take

So God sends His only Son to Earth where he preaches and ministers and finally dies on the cross, a complete innocent, only for God to say, "Whatever. Everyone gets into heaven. I didn't really have anything to say after all."

Friday, October 07, 2022

Speculating About Insulation

Over the past year, Andrew Klavan has been discussing what he calls the Great Speculation. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be capitalized, but there it is. The idea is relatively simple and it comes from Judeo-Christian theology.

Everyone around you has an inner life as deep and meaningful as your own.

That might sound self-evident, but in practice, it's tough to live up to its implications. For example, that jerk who tailgated you for the last three miles on the freeway has doubts and fears and hopes the same as you. The person who votes the wrong way and lets you know about it in ALL CAPS conversations at work, they are similarly complex.

I was thinking about this during my prayers this morning after my decade of the Rosary. When I pray in the morning, I end by asking God what He wants me to do today. My mind went to Andrew Klavan's podcast and his discussions of the Great Speculation, made real in some recent interactions I've had with strangers.

I have a bit of the gift of Blarney and I like to make conversation with people in line at stores and just about everywhere else for that matter. I know I rage on this blog about being color blind, but I make a particular effort when the person near me is black. I believe that the best way to end racial divisions is to show love to individuals.

Two days ago I was in the exit line at Costco and a black, middle-aged man ahead of me was joking with the receipt-checker that he wanted a smiley face on his receipt like the child ahead of him had received.

I laughed and agreed. "Yeah! How come we don't get those?" He turned and smiled at me and we struck up a conversation.

He had Premier Protein shakes in his cart and I drink those before workouts, too. We chatted about weightlifting, being too fat and how hard it is to stop drinking beer. He told me I looked great for my age and encouraged me to keep working out. I replied with, "God bless you, sir. I hope you have a great week." 

By the time we parted, I could have told you a couple of things that I knew about this man and never mentioned the color of his skin. I also knew that if I'd had the opportunity, having him and his family over for dinner would have been a lot of fun. I'm sure we had sports interests in common, too.

And that's the Great Speculation in action, in a way that hopefully makes a tiny dent in all of our racial animus and suspicion. This is getting too long, so I'll stop here. I need to get to the gym this morning.

Insulation

I wrapped my tobacco fermentation chamber in insulation yesterday and the temperature promptly climbed to within a degree of its asymptote. If you missed that part of the story, click on the link.

This is a good example of my craftsmanship. If you want me to come over to your house and do any finish work, let me know.
With the aquarium heater set to 85 degrees, the air temperature in the chamber now follows it to within half a degree. The jump in the air temperature happened right after I wrapped the container with insulation. I'd call that a success.

With this problem solved, I think I'm going to try a couple of hands of Virginia tobacco in the aquarium heater fermenter. In order to simulate conditions in a fermenting barn where the leaves are in enormous piles and it's the stuff at the bottom of all that mass which ferments, I'll put a cloth over the top of my tobacco leaves and weigh it down with something. I'd prefer to use a thin sandbag, but I'll have to figure out how to do that. Maybe I'll take some gallon-sized Ziploc bags and fill them with dirt. That ought to do the trick.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Fermenting Tobacco In An Aquarium

 ... might just work. Or it might not.

I had what I thought was a real brain wave and bought an aquarium heater to ferment my tobacco. The plan is simple. Take a plastic storage bin, put about 6" of water in the bottom, insert the heater and close the lid. Bingo! Warm, humid weather for the tobacco leaves.

Well, maybe. Here are the results from the last 24 hours. The green line is from the sensor in the chamber. The blue line is the sensor in the ambient air in the garage.

The humidity is pegged at nearly 100% as you'd expect from a sealed container with water in the bottom. The temperature isn't working so well. I've got the heater's thermostat set to 85, but the air above is fluctuating from 75 to 80. The best I've seen it manage is a 6 degree differential from the air in the garage. Next up for this chamber is to wrap it in insulation. No heat loss should lead to an 85 degree container, right?

Still, this doesn't get me where I want to go. The crazy people on the Interweb Tubes who make their own smokes claim that you want your fermentation chamber to stay around 120. There isn't an aquarium heater in the world that is designed to make bouillabaisse out of your fish like that. However, there are these things called bucket heaters that are made to quickly heat containers of water. I bought one of those along with an attic cooling system thermostat that goes to 120. I plan to set the thermostat for 110 and connect it to the power cord to the bucket heater. When the container gets below 110, the heater will heat.

Insulation will be wrapped around the container, of course.

As Tim pointed out in a comment earlier, I've now got enough tobacco to try a couple of different methods. I also have a bunch of unused plastic storage bins. In addition to the water heater idea, I'm going to do something more conventional and set one up with a 40W lightbulb in the middle of it. The tobacco will rest on the bottom with a moist towel over it. A thermostat will turn the light on and off at the appropriate time.

My Virginia tobacco has several leaves ready to go, so this has become a race against time. The last time, I let the tobacco dry until it became crispy. We really want the leaves to remain supple, so they can't dry much more or I've damaged them.

The thermostat and the bucket heater are supposed to arrive today. A trip to Home Depot or Lowe's and I'll have my insulation. I should have this going by Saturday at the latest.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Why I Get My Spiritual Guidance From Andrew Klavan And Jordan Peterson

 ... instead of my parish priest or Cardinal McElroy who leads our Catholic diocese.

After-the-post Preface: In discussing this with wife kitteh, it dawned on me that our bishop's letter, linked and excerpted below, was anodyne because he didn't want to be doing it at all. As my late father used to say, I'm reduced to four-letter words.

And now, on with the show...

New Internet friend Daniel R has an intriguing podcast called Solomon's Corner. The episode in question was this one, with the following teaser.

What is driving Christians to seek spiritual wisdom from political commentators like those at the Daily Wire rather than their clergy? Is the rise of the “Nones” an indication that America is becoming non-religious, or is there a “New Faith” behind this trend?

I hadn't thought of it before, but it's true. My modern religious influence is dominated by Andrew Klavan and Jordan Peterson of the Daily Wire. Most of my religious reading comes from people they've interviewed. Chesterton is still the giant in my life, but he's long gone. When it comes to the year 2022, it's all about the Daily Wire crew.

So why is that?

Well, this weekend, in the diocese of San Diego, our priests read a letter from Cardinal McElroy in lieu of their normal homily. Wife kitteh wasn't a fan of it, but I liked it in concept. It's one of the very few times the Cardinal has chosen to speak directly to the laity. The topic was the upcoming election, specifically Proposition 1, which will enshrine abortion in California's constitution. Here's the nonpartisan voter guide's take on the thing. Here's the key part of the proposed law.

SEC. 1.1. The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion...

That seems to blow away any and all restrictions on abortion from conception to the moment of birth. Right now, there's a speed bump at 24 weeks, but this would seem to remove that.

The letter from McElroy was terrible. It was the normal, flaccid word salad we've come to expect from our leaders. Here's the text and below is a sample.

(W)e must work within our society to build a comprehensive framework that genuinely protects and builds the dignity and sacredness of human life it its fullness, at every stage and for every person.

That is why Catholic teaching points to the identity of human life as a gift from God. It is a grace that we have all received the gift of our lives as the foundational right that is the source of every blessing we know in our world. And it is this same sense of giftedness that frames our understanding that every member of the human family is equal in dignity and must be treated in this manner.

Normal people don't talk like that. Down the street at the Planned Parenthood in Pacific Beach, they will be allowed to jab scissors into the back of a fully formed baby's skull, suck its brains out with a vacuum, crush its skull and dismember it before finally throwing it into a medical waste bag. Babies cry when they're born. They'll be screaming in the womb when this happens. Think about that for a minute.

Imagine that baby screaming and how you would describe it to a friend. Would you say, "It is a grace that we have all received the gift of our lives as the foundational right that is the source of every blessing we know in our world. And it is this same sense of giftedness that frames our understanding that every member of the human family is equal in dignity and must be treated in this manner?"

I doubt it. You'd probably go nonlinear and use words like "&@*(*ing" and "**@#!" and "+_^%#." Your descriptions might include "satanic," "evil" and "barbaric." Your voice would rise until you were yelling.

Cardinal McElroy's letter-homily was pablum when the moment called for a howl of rage. Now I know that cardinals typically don't issue howls of rage, but for the love of God, you've got to do better than "The Church asks us to focus this weekend upon the comprehensive commitment to human life that is a vital part of the Gospel message and Catholic teaching."

This is what we get every single week. Thousands of children, my daughter included, are being poisoned and mutilated by the medical industry in pursuit of a sex change that can never happen and I have to sit in the pews listening to effete, "God is love" homilies. Our priests, bishops and the pope himself, as Daniel R pointed out, simply aren't relevant for the times.

Andrew Klavan and Jordan Peterson don't mince words. They don't howl in rage as I would, but they do speak plainly. That's why I look to them for insight instead of our clergy.

In the clip below, Andrew speaks plainly about Christianity and addiction in a way that our prelates would never do.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

You Gotta Have Faith

 ... no matter which way you go.

Earlier this week, I was listening to an excellent Jordan Peterson podcast, this one with Douglas Murray, who I really admire. Douglas is a gay atheist who has written several excellent books on Europe, immigration and the attack on Western civilization. The topic of the conversation was the link between religion, particularly Christianity, and the West.

Douglas is a huge fan of the West, but he can't bring himself to believe. As they talked about how Christianity is the foundation of our culture, He said he believes all that and can accept 99% of the Catholic or Orthodox faith, but he can't make that last leap dealing with the existence of God and the resurrection of Christ.

As I listened to them talk, I thought, "Why not?" After all, any worldview requires some faith. Materialists believe that soulless forces of nature created the Universe. They don't know it, they believe it. They have faith that it happened.

Any moral point of view requires faith at its foundation. The idea that morality is evolutionary is clearly nonsense. Had the Nazis made a few different decisions during the war, they would have won and then evolution would tell you that gassing all the Jews was a moral good. 

Meaning in your life requires faith. It comes from somewhere and you have to rationalize your decisions about what is and isn't important to you with something other than empiricism.

So why all the consternation about God and Jesus? What's the difference between one faith and another? When you come right down to it, it's just a selection between hypotheses that cannot be proven.

Me, I'm going with GK Chesterton. His side always seems to be having so much more fun.