Thursday, December 29, 2022

No Pants At Dinner Parties

 ... should be the rule, right?

I was thinking about some online conversations I've had recently with atheists and mulling over the "This moral rule is stupid!" kind of responses. The logical model there is that He makes the Universe, but you make the rules. Hmm.

If God created all of this, doesn't He also get to make the moral code?

Imagine going to a dinner party at someone else's house. You know they put on a great spread and the company is always sparkling. You, however, don't want to wear pants. Why should you? They're just markers of imperialism and colonialism and white supremacy. Plus, they're uncomfortable, particularly since you've put on a lot of weight recently.

"Why should I have to wear pants?" you ask in a fit of pique. "It's irrational. Indigenous people who lived in harmony with nature and peace with each other, who practiced organic, sustainable farming, they didn't wear pants. Pants are a symbol of patriarchal, Eurocentric oppression!"

In reality, you just don't want to have to do something that is even vaguely uncomfortable or difficult. Never mind the sumptuous food and excellent wine being offered or the stellar guest list, you're being asked to do something relatively minor. No way, Jose! Also, no way, Renee! 

Hey, fight the patriarchy in all things, man.

In this case, the party is not enough. In the broader sense, to borrow from Ian Fleming, the world is not enough.

God may have created the Tarantula Nebula, but there's no way He's going to tell you what to do!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Galileo Was Right - Women's Mental Health Edition

Galileo said that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. His sponsor, Pope Urban VIII, thought this was marvelous, but asked him to keep it under wraps until other astronomers, in this case, Jesuits, could confirm it. Galileo, an Italian hothead, ran out of patience waiting for the confirmation and that's how the whole thing exploded.

That twigging aside, there's a lesson in Galileo's discovery for all of us. We are not the center of the Universe. Our experiences do not define the whole of the human condition.

I have a young friend who is currently going through the same experience that I did when my previous wife went mad. I've met other men who have dealt with the same thing at various stages in the process and we all have been hit with the same attacks from some poor woman who is losing her marbles. Here's the relevant excerpt from the blog post linked above about my ex-wife, who I called "Wendy."

Wendy had grown up in an emotionally abusive home. I had never seen anything like it. Everything looked fine on the outside, but the relationships came straight out of an Edgar Allen Poe story. If the walls of her parents' house could have wept blood, they'd have done it...

Wendy could never win her father's love, no matter what she did...

I was Wendy's rock. I adored her and supported her no matter what she did...

We got married. Then the testing began and she went mad. I don't mean we argued, I mean she went insane.

In retrospect, what happened was that she feared a repeat of her childhood. Her father had betrayed her trust over and over again and she needed to make sure I wouldn't do the same so she tested me. With the passing of each test, she was reassured until the demons in her head convinced her it wasn't real and I was bound to betray her. Another test would be devised. They became incrementally harder to pass...

She turned into a full-blown borderline psychotic. About three times a week, she would wake up around 1 AM and begin screaming at me. If I tried to quiet her with kind talk and love, the screaming lasted two hours. If I kept quiet and just let her scream, it lasted 90 minutes. 

The issues were never rational, it was just the demons in her head, howling.

The wife of my young friend is on a similar trajectory with a similar backstory. Watching this play out all over again at a good distance is giving me an opportunity to reflect on the mechanics of the thing. When you get right down to it, his wife, who we'll call Helen, thinks she is the center of the Universe.

Helen, like all of us, instinctively believes that her experiences in life are the ultimate reference models for reality. That is, she interprets all of life through her lived experiences. It's only natural. Like a dog that's been beaten by black men and learns to hate all black men no matter how nice they are, Helen and Wendy learned to associate men with betrayal and torment.

Helen is still a woman and being a woman, craves the company, stability, adoration and attentions of a man. She can't help it. She also naturally interprets all of her experiences through the lens of her past.

Her past is betraying her. It isn't a template for all life, it's a template for her past life, with those people in those situations.

Our past betrays us. It isn't a template for all life, it's a template for our past lives, with those people in those situations.

I wasn't Wendy's father. I knew the man and we couldn't have been more different. For one thing, he didn't watch sports or like Robert E. Lee. My young friend isn't Helen's father. I don't think he's ever even met the man. My young friend is a devoted, stable and responsible husband and father, not an abusive jerk.

Our life experiences yell at us from time to time, warning us that some current situation is just like one from our past. The yelling can be nearly impossible to ignore. The emotional grooves dug in our brains from abuse or passion are so much more compelling than words spoken or written by others.

The only cure for problems like these is for the Helens and Wendys of the world to realize deep inside themselves that everyone else has experiences which are just as deep and just as valid as theirs. Others' templates count just as much as our own when analyzing our lives. It's the aggregate of all such templates that make up the reality of the human condition. When your templates are a couple of standard deviations off the norm, you can get real problems.

We are not the center of the Universe and not realizing that can bite us hard.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Begging For A Backdrop

My plan was to drink a cup of coffee and write for 3 hours after I got back from the gym and had enjoyed the Newcastle United game. Fate had other plans and instead, I went on several hours of errands. It was all good fun and useful, but I ended up with nothing written and more ideas than I have time to scribble into prose.

So instead of essays about the obvious plan by the hornbills to take over the world by using the mind-control space lasers they bought from the Jews, I'll have to share another bird photo with you.

Tell me that this isn't crying out to have its blue turned into a transparent channel in Photoshop and a wild, science fiction space-battle background dropped in behind it.

It's late and I don't have the energy to do it. Sigh.

I did leave the photo large and the bird is striking a dramatic pose, so I think it's worth a click. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

House Finch

I had a day mostly off work yesterday, so I took the Nikon D3500 artillery piece with it's 200mm telephoto lens out into the backyard to shoot birds. We've got a pair of bird feeders right next to each other, each stocked with with the same food, but one is much more popular than the other. I suspect the perch on the unpopular one is a bit uncomfortable for little birdy feet.

In any case, I was rewarded by the photo below, which I found charming. It's a male house finch, Haemorhous mexicanus. He's quite the noble fellow.

During courtship, the male will touch bills with the female. He may then present the female with choice bits of food, and if she mimics the behavior of a hungry chick, he may actually feed her. The male also feeds the female during breeding and incubation of the eggs, and raising of the young, and the male is the primary feeder of the fledglings.

A tip of the Catican cap to this fine, upstanding example to males of all species. Well done, sir.

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

I can't tell you why, but I loved the expression on his face.

Friday, December 23, 2022

On Answering Prayers

For years, Father Nyoka of St. Monica's parish in Malawi, Africa, has prayed for his flock. One of the things he prayed for was roofs on his buildings. When I asked him about it, he told me recently:

I pray for my parish community. I ask them to join me always in praying for safe prayer houses. As the rainy season draws near, we get more worried about those who pray under trees or in buildings that are not roofed or poorly done.

I started following him on Twitter many moons ago. I follow every priest I find. My pinned tweet is this one:


Priest: What are your sins?

Me: There's a priest on Twitter I don't follow.

Priest: (sighs heavily) That's a mortal sin, son.

Following priests is something I do as a lark. It's fun. 

I don't always read Twitter from my stream. Instead, I'm a heavy user of lists. They curate my content and I put accounts I don't want to miss into those lists. For whatever reason, something Father Nyoka posted caught my eye and I added him to my Christian list

When the Russians invaded Ukraine and the West, led by America, chose to send weapons instead of negotiate a peace, the situation in Malawi went from chronically bad to dramatically worse. They needed fertilizer imports from the war zone, imports interrupted by the conflict. Father Nyoka posted about it several times.

I contacted him and asked if I could help. We talked about the food situation and his dilapidated buildings. When my 60th birthday rolled around, we threw a huge party. I didn't ask for gifts, I asked for donations to St. Monica's. Between our friends and us, we sent a tidy sum. Food was procured and roofs installed.



Like a dummy, it took me months to realize what had happened. God used me to answer the prayers from the chaps and chapettes at St. Monica's. Duh. When I finally realized it, I asked him in a DM and got the reply above.

I asked Tim's question on Twitter a few days ago.

"I'm praying, but there's no voice in my head, and no sense that anyone but me is even listening. So what does it matter whether I do it or not?"

I've received some great answers which I will catalog at a later date, but my favorite was one that said sometimes God sends people instead of messages. I thought of this in relation to my online relationship with Tim.

When I write, I always write for a specific audience, almost always for a specific person. For the last 10+ years, more than half of my blog posts have been written for Tim. This blog has been the product of reflection and prayer in addition to healthy doses of snark, nastiness, outrage and general silliness.

I won't presume to suggest that God put me in Tim's life for a purpose, but I know for a fact that He put Tim in mine for one. With my usual rapier-quick mind, it took me until last night to realize it.

For Tim, Lord, I am truly, truly grateful.


This is not to say that I don't write for the rest of you as well. My son is named after Mostly Nothing. Ohoian has been a mentor for me for twenty years. The SLOBs - Deano, BDaddy, WC Varones, Mut, et al, welcomed me into their crew when I needed it most. Ilion is always welcome, as charmingly irascible as he may be. Foxie doesn't comment as often as she used to, but she's still in my heart. I'm leaving people out here, so don't take it personally if I didn't mention you. You all inspire me.

That being said, Tim has been my muse more often than not. I needed one and God sent me a champ.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

What If Prayer Is Nothing More Than Me Talking To Myself

 I had an interesting conversation with an atheist yesterday which revolved around the question of prayer and whether or not God talks to us. How is prayer not just my own voice in my head? That's a totally legit question.

Well, what if it is? There are three hypotheses from which to select:

  1. There is no God. I'm just listening to voices in my head.
  2. There is a God and He's talking to me.
  3. There is a God and I'm still just listening to voices in my head.

If there is no God and the material world is all there is, then, like atheist Sam Harris, I can't see a way to get to free will. In that case, I was doomed to sit there and hear voices in my head because that's where my molecules were always going to go. I didn't make any choices. I'm not hearing anything other than random synapses firing because the chemical reactions in my body led me there.

If that's the case, then it doesn't matter what I do or conclude from the event.

The only actionable choices are #2 and #3. At some point, in order to make any decisions at all, I have to trust my thoughts and feelings. That's true whether I'm praying or changing lanes on the freeway. The reason I study my faith and write on this blog is to work out my religion which, as I've blogged before, is nothing more or less than my model of the world as it is. 

Everyone has a model like this. It's how we all make decisions, whether those are what to eat or whether or not we should jump into freezing cold water at Lake Tahoe*.

Anywho, the more I study, think and reason out how the world works, the more certain I am that what I'm hearing isn't just me talking to myself. It may be. Faith is still required to select between options 2 and 3, but then again, faith is required whenever you make a decision. You're having faith that your model of the world is right and cheese pizza isn't bad for you**. Yes, thinking you're hearing the word of God caries with it larger risks than consuming massive amounts of carbs and fat, but the principle is the same.

My advice is study and pray. What's the downside?

I am reliably informed that this is a fortune-telling shiba inu reading your fate in a giant hamburger.

I typed "fate" into the search bar on Adobe Stock and this was one of the images it gave me. It's proof positive that modern weed has THC dosage levels that produce psychotic breaks.

* - PRO TIP: Jumping into freezing cold water at Lake Tahoe is a bad idea.

** - Your model of the world is deeply flawed. Cheese pizza is horrible.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

A Man Needs A Woman Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle

Many moons ago, Gloria Steinem came up with the bon mot, "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Hormonally, this is completely backwards. Actually, thanks to Internet porn, a man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle.

I can't remember where I heard it, most likely on a Jordan Peterson podcast, but it turns out that a woman's complex sex hormones are associated with emotional bonding whereas testosterone, for all intents a purposes a man's only sex hormone, is associated with lust and mating.

This matches what I've heard in the closing sessions at Catholic retreats for men and women where the newbies get up and talk about what they got out of the weekend. The men talk about becoming more loving and gentle and the women talk about having their emotional needs met. And, boy howdy, are there a lot of emotional needs there!

Going back to this post, we saw a wife jilted by porn talk about her devastating loss.

There were so many resonances with my own failed marriage. The women’s dismay at how that beautiful sensitive man they fell in love with had morphed into a selfish narcissist who neither noticed nor cared about the impact of his behaviour on his wife and children. All that mattered was that he got his own way – the once sublime sex now reduced to something more akin to masturbation with a blow-up doll...

She needed him to be her rock, her foundation in life. She needed him to be strong, stable, competent and adoring so, with her emotional needs met, she could be the wife and mother she wanted to be. Once he got involved with porn, she was no longer necessary for his primary need. She was the bicycle, he was the fish.

So here we are. Men with their basic needs met, doing very little and women with emotional problems.

Whoops. Looks like the feminists got it wrong.

In time, this will get fixed. Major mistakes like this are self-limiting. Over time, women will realize this was all nonsense. Right now, we seem to be at the blame-men-stage where the Great Thinkers of our say think they can harangue men into being better. Good luck with that.

Super genius James Cameron thinks men need to purge testosterone from their systems or something like that. Thanks for your input, James.

This reminds me of the Churchill quote, "Americans always do the right thing, but only after they've tried everything else."

Monday, December 19, 2022

Secular Humanism Has No Moral Bottom

 ... so says one of my heroes, Charles Murray.

I've come to think over the last 20 years that secular humanism has no moral bottom. Absent a core of absolutes of right and wrong, anything can be rationalized. Absent some divine origin for those absolutes, they cannot be absolutes.

Twenty years ago, I saw the potential for such rationalizations. Since then, I have watched the most secular elements of societies in the West rationalize ever-widening departures from what used to moral principles that secular humanism claimed it could sustain. 

I admire many secular humanist thinkers. But consider how few Steven Pinkers remain and how many who are now advocating forms of totalitarianism. Secular humanism rests on sand. 

As for the falsehoods of religion, I've also become convinced over the last 20 years that they are unimportant compared to the core insights shared by the great religious traditions. So IMO the answer to your question is no. Religion is indispensable to a moral civilization.

Following my faith tradition which requires me to be humble, meek and mild, I've gotten into a few arguments on Twitter lately, mostly with atheists. They all stumble on this requirement:

"A is not true" has the same requirements for proof that "A is true" has.

I've come to the conclusion that their air of superiority rests on the idea that they don't have to prove anything. When confronted with a request for proof that God does not exist and its corollary that the empirical constants of the Universe have their values by random chance, they splutter and fuss, but in the end, they've got nothing. It's never occurred to them that they need to prove anything.

Why should I take their claims that God does not exist on faith?

These atheists, not all atheists, mind you, are the kinds of people who show up at meetings at work and sneer at everyone else's ideas, but never have any of their own. Where I work, we call them, "jerks."

Of course, they can sometimes summon friends who like their tweets.

This person agreed with my opponent today. Definitely a force with which I must reckon.

Getting back to Charles Murray's point, it's something that I've been noodling on this blog for years. Whether it was the Aztecs or Julius Caesar, the Comanche or the Ashanti, without a foundation for your morals, you can end up justifying nearly anything.

See also: little girls, double mastectomies of.

I haven't gotten to this part of the conversation with my atheist interlocutors yet. They all become apoplectic when I suggest they are taking their own assertions on faith. I did meet one honest fellow who agreed that life has no meaning and when he died, it would be as if he had never lived at all. It led him, predictably, to suggest that life was all about experiencing as much pleasure as possible. Fair enough. I could respect that, even if I saw darkness in his future.

Oh well.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

In A Post-Christian World, Truths Are No Longer Self Evident

From the Declaration of Independence comes the intellectual basis for the Constitution:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

From the most recent installment of the Twitter Files comes this.

Substack writer Matt Taibbi dropped his latest installment of the "Twitter Files" on Friday that detailed the FBI's ties with the tech giant.

"The #TwitterFiles are revealing more every day about how the government collects, analyzes, and flags your social media content. Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary," Taibbi began the thread on Friday. "Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth… a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts."

In a Christian nation, freedom of speech comes from God. If you get in the way of that, you've got a problem with the Man Upstairs. In a secular world, well, in this time of a national emergency caused by Russian disinformation, racial injustice, Global Warming Climate Change, the murder of men who dress like women, a global pandemic or what's behind Door Number Two, we need to suspend those rights. Temporarily, you understand.

These days, it's always a time of national emergency. Once the powerful saw that they could silence us just by saying it was an emergency, they realized they could manufacture one emergency after another with no end in sight.

Without a cultural agreement that these rights come not from government, but a Creator, a "Sky Fairy" if you like, the Elites are answerable to no one. Well, almost no one.

In a nation where there are more guns than people, this is a highly unstable situation. Christianity is a stabilizing force. What will America look like without it?

Shootings at two electric substations in North Carolina last weekend are among the numerous threats posed to U.S. electric infrastructure since mid-October, raising questions about whether such incidents are on the rise.

Concerns grew further after Duke Energy Corp. reported gunfire near its Wateree Hydro station in Ridgeway, S.C., on Wednesday — several days after gunshots severely damaged two substations the company operates in Moore County, N.C. (Energywire, Dec. 7).

The incidents in the Carolinas followed attacks at six substations in Oregon and Washington in October and November. Local news outlets reported on those events this week. Grid security experts said it’s too early to tell whether the incidents were related or unusual in number, but said they showcase a need for the energy industry to be vigilant and prepared.

There are more ways to communicate than just posting on social media and voting.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Inclusion Leads To Concussion

 ... when it's the NHL trying to be inclusive.

Dig this.

The draft led to two teams being formed, one of dudes who think they're chicks and another of chicks who think they're dudes. A game was played with hilarious results.

Team Pink’s victory over Black in the finals—which I was able to watch on video, along with all the other games—was an embarrassing 7–1 rout. According to one rink-side source who attended the tournament, Team Pink players even called a meeting during the second period in order to discuss whether it would be best to end the game prematurely. (Some of their deliberations are audible on the video I viewed.) Two players floated the idea of simply announcing that the tournament was over and that “everyone” had won.

Further, one of the smallish chicks who thinks she's a dude came onto the ice and a few seconds later, she got brushed by a huge dude who thinks he's a chick. She fell and went sliding into the boards, headfirst, and ending up with a concussion. Hilarious!

I know I'm not supposed to laugh at others' misfortunes, but you'd have to have a heart of stone not to find that funny. It's a perfect summary of the stupidity of the obnoxious morons who are shoving gender affirmation down our throats.

You just know that the concussed chick has spent the last couple of years sneering at the troglodytes who rejected the idea that she was a man and who wouldn't use her "proper pronouns" or "deadnamed" her. Maybe getting her head rammed into some 3/4" plywood knocked some sense into her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Converting To Renewable Virtues

Continuing with my blog series about how the transition from a Christian nation to a secular one has also been a transition from atomic virtues such as honesty, temperance and chastity to a moral system where the basic virtues are allegiance to causes such as Global Warming Climate Change, racial justice and gender affirmation, today we get to the engineering aspects of batteries.

If you won't use nuclear power, then the only way to fight CO2 emissions is by using wind, solar and hydro power. Since hydro power is off the table - we won't dam rivers any more - we're left with the intermittent power sources of wind and solar. That means we will need tons and tons of batteries. Those batteries require lithium.

There isn't enough lithium on planet Earth to make it work. Dig this and this.

As we switch over to electric cars and more solar and wind, the demand for lithium will go through the roof.

Yesterday, I had this to say about the racial justice part of our new value system.

(The racial justice author's) virtue comes from the act of writing about racial justice, from professing her undying loyalty to fighting for racial justice. This is why I see it as their low-level virtue. Just as honesty was a virtue, independent of anything else, so pledging yourself to the cause of racial justice is a virtue, independent of anything else.

There's no need for your actions to make sense and there's no need for them to produce any tangible results. The pledge itself is the virtue.

The same model holds for the Global Warming Climate Change crowd. There are any number of engineering reasons why wind and solar aren't going to do the trick, but that's not the point. All that matters is that you pledge allegiance to saving the planet. It doesn't need an objective definition or realizable goals. Once you have taken the loyalty oath, you can go back to whatever it was you were doing before.

The oath, the pledge, those are the virtues. Results, logic, impacts on other people, those are irrelevant. That's why the climate warriors can take their private jets to climate meetings and not feel an ounce of guilt. It's not the CO2 coming from their jets that matters, it's the CO2 coming from their vocal chords.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Fighting For Racial Justice Is The Moral Good

 ... not succeeding, at least not by any objective definition. That is, the moral good is the act of talking and writing about it. Your talking doesn't even need to make sense.

Over the weekend, Erika Edwards, an associate professor of history at UTEP and previous Fulbright scholar, wrote this piece for the WaPo. Here's the setup.

As fans keep up with Argentina’s success in this year’s World Cup, a familiar question arises: Why doesn’t Argentina’s team have more Black players? In stark contrast to other South American countries such as Brazil, Argentina’s soccer team pales in comparison in terms of its Black representation.

Argentina, by the author's own admission, is about 1% black. According to FIFA, Argentina has the 3rd best national team in the world. So there are almost no blacks in the population and Argentina is clearly using performance to guide its team selections. Erika's article is gibberish. It got published anyway. Here's more from it.

But more recent studies have instead revealed that some Black women in Argentina made concerted decisions to pass as White or Amerindian to obtain the benefits afforded by whiteness for their children and themselves.

Black and white are colors. They are discernable even to the colorblind. It's not exactly something you can disguise. The rest of the essay goes along those lines. Blacks in Argentina are hiding the fact that they're black.

Most of the slaves in South America came from what is now Angola, captured by the Ngola tribe and sold to Europeans. It stands to reason that they would have looked like Angolans.

This is the president of Angola, João Lourenço. Imagine how hard he would have to work to pass himself off as white.

The premise of the article is idiocy and so are the proposed mechanics.

According to KT's Theory of the Three Modern Virtues, atomic-level virtues such as honesty, forgiveness and conscientiousness have been replaced by large-scale causes which act as lowest-level virtues. Three such causes are Global Warming Climate Change, racial justice and gender affirmation. The essay in the WaPo, written by a credentialed university professor with a good CV, published in one of our most prestigious newspapers, is a perfect example of it.

In addition to being complete nonsense, even if it was true none of it would lead to anything useful. If Argentina's alleged secret black population suddenly dropped their masks and declared that they were actually black, what would happen? Would they be more productive? Would their children do better in school? Would their businesses take off and grow? I can't see any connection between her essay and anything of value.

It's The Act, Not The Results Or The Truth

Her virtue comes from the act of writing about racial justice, from professing her undying loyalty to fighting for racial justice. This is why I see it as their low-level virtue. Just as honesty was a virtue, independent of anything else, so pledging yourself to the cause of racial justice is a virtue, independent of anything else.

There's no need for your actions to make sense and there's no need for them to produce any tangible results. The pledge itself is the virtue.

Arguments That Don't Work, Arguments The Do

For zealots like Erika, I don't think there's a way to reach them. The replies to her tweet about this article were blistering, many of them coming from Argentinians. She's never going to hear them. She couldn't hear them if they were standing right in front of her in a quiet room.

Similarly, yelling at progressive foot soldiers who subscribe to this virtue exchange isn't going to work. They're not evil or stupid, they're just operating under a different set of metrics.

As far as I can figure out, the only argument that might work would be to ask about the desired goals and the mechanisms by which they would be achieved. The racial justice movement is a disastrous failure in this regards and I can't imagine that the ordinary person would be willing to continue failure in the name of a fantasy virtue.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

If You're Against Human Sacrifices, You're Full Of Hate

This is self-evident.

Imagine this conversation between the Aztecs and the Catholic priests.

"You can't kill those people! Murder is wrong!"

"If we don't sacrifice them, the rains won't come. If the rains don't come, the crops won't grow. If the crops don't grow, we'll all starve! Why do you want us to die? Why are you full of hate?"

Cortes and his Spanish bullies swooped in and obliterated the proud, Aztec nation, putting a stop to good-natured family fun as pictured here.

Yes, I know, the conquistadors did a good amount of slaughter and mayhem themselves, but I'm noodling moral first principles these days. Work with me here, people.

The point is that if you replace the atomic first principles of Christianity with larger goals as your first principles, then anything, even human sacrifice, can become acceptable.

Don't worry. That kind of thing can't happen here.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Moral First Principles

Over time, I've come to see the conflict in America not as red v blue, but as a battle between two sets of moral first principles. Part of it came from noticing how my own profession no longer valued the truth, but instead, was willing to lie in the service of a greater cause. Here's one post where I pointed out that major institutions had discarded objective metrics and in favor of larger narratives.

Scientific American isn't any better. It's all political action and race relations with no acknowledgment of what the data clearly shows - family structure is the dominant factor.

Academic institutions and scientific organizations must confront race relations while navigating the difficulties of a pandemic and economic strife. They should also aknowledge (sic) their role in perpetuating systems of racial oppression. It should not have taken this long for them to realize that something had to be said, and it should not take long for something to be done.

To the racial justice crowd, particularly in the sciences, I say: I grant you nothing and I mean nothing. I do not accept any claims of good intentions, compassion, concerns for racial justice, devotion to equity or anything else. I grant you nothing. Those kids in Baltimore are not outliers, they're the norm. If you didn't know that, it's because all of your attention has been focused on you. You don't understand, know or care about those kids.

At the time, I was ticked off by their disregard for the data, but now I've recognize it for what it is - the substitution of new, large-scale causes in place of our old, atomic morals. That is, lying used to be wrong in and of itself. Now, lying is fine if it serves racial justice or some other major goal. Another example might be the decades of Global Warming Climate Change hysteria where one prediction of certain doom is replaced by another as each deadline passes without the doom coming true. It's transparently nonsense, but it doesn't even slow them down.

The failure of their doom models or the poor performance of children from non-traditional families or the crime rates by race never bother them because the old first principles based on Christian foundations no longer hold. That's one of the biggest outcomes of secular victory in the culture war. It's not that SciAm is lying, it's that lying doesn't carry any weight at all with SciAm.

Once you hit that point, all bets are off. There is nothing to stop you from, say, pedophilia, which is where we are with the drag queen story hours. Nothing can stop you from the torture and mutilation of children, either, which is where we are with the trans insanity.

In short, when your moral first principles are racial justice, climate change and gender affirmation, there are no limits on your behavior. Limits can only come when you have first principles from which you can derive an answer to the 5-year-old's question, "Why?" For the secular world, those first principles are Marxist, where the world is divided into easily-characterized oppressors and oppressed.

So here we are.

San Brinton is a high-ranking official in the DoE in charge of nuclear waste disposal. He's also a pervert who likes wearing dresses and having sex with men in leather dog costumes. None of that was a problem with the secular crowd. He only got into trouble when he stole women's luggage from airports.

If you feel this is perverted, please derive why this is wrong from moral first principles.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Now That's A Volcano!

Flying from Nashville to Seattle a few weeks ago, I got this shot of Mount Rainier from the airplane window. I thought it came out nicely. It might be worth a click. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

If It Doesn't Work, Try It Again

 Here's a fascinating reaction to the scourge of porn. First, the setup.

Thoughts on “He Chose Porn Over Me”: Women Harmed by Men Who Use Porn, edited by Melinda Tankard Reist ...

There were so many resonances with my own failed marriage. The women’s dismay at how that beautiful sensitive man they fell in love with had morphed into a selfish narcissist who neither noticed nor cared about the impact of his behaviour on his wife and children. All that mattered was that he got his own way – the once sublime sex now reduced to something more akin to masturbation with a blow-up doll...

Misogynistic patterns are baked deep into our culture. Late in our marriage, desperate at his endless put-downs and occasional violence... I was alone in a profoundly hostile world.

"Misogyny is baked into our culture" is the tell for what's coming next.

It was the feminist underground that saved me then; that made me understand that it wasn’t entirely my fault; that I wasn’t a failure; that these patterns were intrinsic to the patriarchal world we live in; that the capitalist system along with its military industrial complex relied on the nuclear heterosexual family to brutalise us into conformity, to make us accept abuse of power and the hierarchies that dominate all our institutions – from the schoolyard to corporations and governments.

The man who chooses porn over his wife is the archetype for all men. The man who works so his wife can stay at home or simply pursue her dreams isn't mentioned. Fight the power!

Her diagnosis is Marxist and therefore backwards.

(A)s the widespread change that resulted from the women’s liberation movement and the other liberation movements that developed in the 1960s and 70s started to gain ground, and people were no longer so prepared to accept abuse of power and hierarchies, a brutal backlash took hold.

Pornography was fundamental to that backlash and drove the technological revolution – first VHS, then the Internet, broadband and the development of ever smaller and more powerful devices. Even though pornography became increasingly violent, governments practically everywhere turned a blind eye.

Porn isn't a backlash to anything. It's a drug more addictive than heroin. Our modern delivery systems would have grabbed men by the, err, throat no matter what political events had preceded it. Still, when all you have is a Marxist hammer, every problem looks like a political nail.

In any case, her solutions are doomed to failure.

Each woman’s piece ends with advice to other women and about what needs to change. Don’t go out with men who use porn is a key theme, as is listen to – and believe – your instincts.

That's a decent first step, but it only serves to increase the competition for acceptable men to insane levels. Now, instead of looking for a strong, competent, loving man, you need to look for a strong, competent, loving man who doesn't use porn. All of the 7's and 8's can write off finding a husband. The 6's and below can forget about even looking.

Lysistrata, the withholding of sex as leverage, only works if the men want you. If they're already choosing porn over you, then you might as well try withholding cold showers. It's never going to work. The solution is to fight the porn at a more basic level.

The goal should be to increase the pool of potential husbands, not fight over a rapidly dwindling supply.

The author's case is that porn is bad for her. Fair enough. It certainly is that, but that doesn't make it morally wrong. The only basis for claiming porn is morally wrong lies in the telos, the objective purpose, of sex.

Sex is for making babies. Babies belong within a one man - one woman marriage. Sex is not recreational, it's sacramental because it creates the one thing in the world that has the spark of divinity - people.

The author says men shouldn't use porn because she doesn't like the results. That's not going to get her anywhere. If she said men shouldn't use porn because God doesn't like the results, then that's going to get somewhere.

Make no mistake, the whole thing is painful to the core. This woman deserved a loving and devoted man, not a drug addict. I'd like nothing more than to see stories like hers become rare. Turning to Marxism isn't the solution.

This is the life she is mourning. There's only one way to get there.

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Recent Recipes

I use this blog as a storage space for favorite recipes, so I thought I'd unclutter my desk and record a couple of recent winners as well as an ambiguous set of catfish recipes.

Winner: Herb-roasted Pork Loin. We served this for guests and it was universally praised. It's going in our rotation.

The Best Fried Chicken: I had a fried-chicken-off with some guys while wife kitteh was on a vacation with her bestie. I posted a poll on Twitter to see which one people thought would win.

My judges here at Catican Fish Camp West were split between the heavy breading of the panko and the ultra-thin crust of the rice flour. For me, there was no competition, it's rice flour for me. You get the crunch of fried chicken, the juiciness of chicken cooked in oil without the blobs of greasy breading.

Ambiguous Catfish: I did this one solo, while wife kitteh was on the aforementioned vacay. I tried three recipes and now I can't remember which one I liked the best. Argh! I usually tweet my cooking, but this time, I was incomplete in my Twitter records. 

Southern Fried Catfish. I'm pretty sure this one was not the winner. It was good, though, I do remember that. They were all good, so that's a safe thing to say.

Classic Fried Catfish. I want to say that this was the winner. It surprised me because the masa flour made a big difference. 

Deep South Dish's Southern Fried Catfish. Everything Mary does is a winner and this was no exception. I think this one came in second behind the Classic above.

I Need To Try This: AB has a twist on fried chicken I've never attempted - use the buttermilk as a marinade by seasoning it. When you think about it, of course it's a marinade! Duhh. Next time I do fried chicken, I'm definitely going heavy on the seasoning both in the buttermilk and in the flour. The other thing that should have been obvious is that you need to taste the flour once you've added your seasonings and adjust it on that basis. Duhh * 2.

Old School Blogging Reference

Way back when, Jacob the Syrian Hamster was my nom de plume for noms. Good times, man. Good times.

As Chef Jacob always said, it's all about the taste!

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.