Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Jesus Is Just About The Worst Boss In The World

 ... that's what I'm learning from recent homilies, almost all of which were preached by our deacons. Our priest is notably better, but now that I see what I'm about to describe, I don't think I'll miss it when anyone does it.

First, Jesus takes credit for all your successes. In a recent Sunday homily, we were informed that the Parable of the Talents is not about striving for success and God being pleased with your efforts.

Jesus told his disciples this parable: "A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents...Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five"...

"After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. 

He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.'

His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'"

No, it's all about giving the credit to God. Also, it's not about working hard or earning a profit. What Jesus is really saying is that we should give what we have to others because that's the way we will earn our reward.

A reward which, if the sermons I've heard for a decade or more are to be believed, Jesus will immediately take away from you because all credit must go to God.

Meanwhile, your sins are your own. You need to repent and change. If you do and good things result, don't expect any praise or congratulations. All credit goes to God.

That's the very definition of a horrible boss. When you succeed, they take the credit and when you fail, you get the blame.

Just where they get this idea is beyond me. They certainly aren't getting it from the Bible.

His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'

No, the version of God I hear in the sermons and when I go to other Catholic meetings looks something like this. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

The End Of Culinary Disco

 First off, my cooking lately has been dreadful. The kittens weren't around for Thanksgiving, but sister kitteh was in town and we had a Tanzanian nun over as well. Instead of turkey, we made those frozen lobster tails from Costco. Horrible. Simply horrible. No matter what you do, they're tough and they don't have the sweet, lobster flavor. Never again.

On Friday, youngest son kitten and the unicorn, his girlfriend, came over. We smoked a turkey this time, going with Champion Smoker Myron Mixon's recipe. It was horrible. Simply horrible. The bird got to the requisite 165 about 90 minutes too early, so I made a command decision and left in the smoker, but turned down the heat. The end result tasted bad because Myron's brine solution was awful. It was also tough from smoking or perhaps from the quality of the bird. Finally, some parts were overdone and some were underdone. How is that possible?

Speaking of overdone, but underdone, we made a tomahawk steak recently, the ones you get from Costco. This time I ever used a meat thermometer and I still got purple spots and parts that were the color of shoe leather. We used to swear by those tomahawks, but these days we just swear at them.

And the beat goes on. I can't remember that last meal I made that I really liked.

The End of Disco

... is what the racial justice thing feels like these days. It feels ... exhausted. Dig these.

Whiteness? Again? Aren't we done with that?

The girl was kidnapped by the Hamas savages on 10/7. Since Muslims are considered an "oppressed " group, you can't say they ever do anything wrong.

Dude was an immigrant. WaPo couldn't bring itself to say anything bad about a "migrant."

Honestly, it's all boring. It's all played out.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Dear Ireland, I Hate You

 ... signed, your Prime Minister.

The Irish government is too white? Just what color are they supposed to be? It's Ireland.

Honestly, this stuff is starting to have a Last Days of Disco feel to it. It's all so end-stage ludicrous.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Equity Fails At Every Level

Yesterday's post was semi-incoherent, so I wanted to take another run at the idea so I could make my position on the matter completely incoherent.

The situation is this. At Charlottesville High School, they place a lot of value on the idea of equity. That is, when grouped by race, student cohorts should achieve roughly the same results. That's been an abject failure.

Above the students, at the teacher level, the teachers walked off the job because of student violence and disobedience.

Above the teachers, the principal has resigned.

UPDATE Monday, Nov. 20: City Schools Superintendent Royal Gurley has selected an interim principal to lead Charlottesville High School while the district conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Kenneth Leatherwood will begin “immediately following the Thanksgiving Break,” Gurley said in a letter to the school district community Monday. Leatherwood replaces outgoing principal Rashaad Pitt, who announced he was resigning earlier this month.

To bring order, they've summoned a group completely outside of the control of the education industry. The cops.

Nearly 30 Charlottesville High School teachers reportedly called out sick Friday. The calls, a coordinated effort to draw attention to the violence, came one day after police were called to the school to address two back-to-back fights.

Some of the kids are eager to escape the violence.

Shamia Hopkins, a mother of a Charlottesville sophomore, finds the situation "disheartening and a little irritating." She told Crisis in the Classroom (CITC) her daughter wants to transfer schools to escape the ongoing violence.

"She just feels like no one hears, no one listens, there's not really any real consequences going on," Hopkins told CITC. "I don't want her to feel like she has to change her life because of things that are going on."

Hopkins also has a child in middle school who is afraid to one day attend Charlottesville. The mother of two says she shares her older daughter's stress, telling CITC she frequently wonders if she is "going to get a phone call today" while at work.

The violence includes large-scale brawls

The fighting in particular has been a cause for concern this entire calendar year, with multiple moments of violence caught on camera and circulated online. One large brawl that broke out on Thursday afternoon resulted in multiple smaller skirmishes and general chaos across school grounds. That chaos included an 18-year-old intruder who does not attend CHS gaining access to the building for the sole purpose of joining the fights; a CHS student let the 18-year-old in. Charlottesville police had to be called to help staff restore order; it took hours.

I found a deliberately blurred video of one of the brawls on the Interweb Tubes, but it wasn't worth sharing. Imagine 30+ kids going at it in the school library.

So Team Equity has failed the students, failed the teachers, had the principal resign and terrorized the families. Will anyone on Team Faculty Lounge in our universities adjust their way of thinking? Maybe. Maybe not.

For all of their faults, Davis, Cleaver, and black revolutionaries at least grappled with and appealed to the black lumpenproletariat. The critical race theorists, on the other hand, treat them like lepers—the lumpen class is nowhere to be found in their work, except as symbolic justification for their abstractions.

This is where the critical race theorists reach the final impasse. Their program has become a form of empty professional-class aestheticism, designed for manipulating social status within elite institutions, not for alleviating real miseries or governing a nation.

The disconnect was never with the black lumpenproletariat or any proles at all. The disconnect is with reality itself. Life is not the way the CRT folks describe it. It's not made up of the oppressors and the oppressed, neatly grouped by easily-identifiable markers. It's made of individuals who make their own choices, influence by the culture. That culture includes political leaders, teachers and the entertainment industry.

The basis for our culture, currently dominated by the progressives, is failing at all levels.

Bonus Data Point From California

Here's a good article on what's going on in Fresno, CA.

“You've got something like a reading rate of, a grade level reading rate of 17%,” Teresi pointed out, and that drops to just 9% in students performing at grade level in math, according to the same state diagnostic test.

Bullard High School Head football coach Don Arax says it’s much worse than that.

“I think the public would be shocked if there was a running video of the things going on on these campuses and even more shocked if they saw the way these problems were dealt with.”

From academics, to fights on school campuses, to teachers afraid even for their own safety. After four years on the FUSD school board former trustee Terry Slatic says, there's one thing at the heart of all of this.

“The culture of retribution and the hostile work environment at Fresno Unified School District is awe-inspiringly bad.”

Team Faculty Lounge is clinging to their CRT with an iron fist. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Equity Goes Boom

 The teachers at Charlottesville High School have walked off the job.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Schools says it is working to address several issues at Charlottesville High School that ultimately led to it being closed Friday, November 17.

CCS announced earlier in the day that the high school would be closed due to an “unusual number of staff absences” and a “limited number of substitutes.”

However, Superintendent Royal Gurley later acknowledged recent fights at CHS were a factor in Friday’s closing. He says the fights are between a small group of students who have received both supportive and strong disciplinary actions with no luck.

Dr. Gurley says the school system will be stepping up efforts to make sure CHS is physically and emotionally safe: There’ll be additional supports in place Monday and Tuesday, including have police officers doing patrols on campus. There will also be changes to how employees offer coverage at the front door and throughout the building.

“We’ve had a situation where someone has come into the building,” Gurley said. “Having a police presence outside the building deters that.”

The Charlottesville Education Association claims , “unsafe conditions, the lack of substitute teachers and coverage, and the lack of response from administration led staff to take action today.” The association also says its staff will wear black and orange in support of CHS on Monday and Tuesday.

Monday and Tuesday didn't come.

The School Board and Dr. Gurley met this morning during a closed session to discuss student matters as related to school safety at CHS. As part of our discussions, we agreed to cancel classes at Charlottesville High School on Monday and Tuesday, November 20-21 to allow administrators and staff to continue planning for a “reset” of school policies, procedures, and culture so that we can return to our core purpose – offering a safe learning environment in which our students will grow and thrive. This will be especially important in light of this Monday’s announcement of the interim leadership for CHS. On Monday and Tuesday, all CHS teachers and staff will be present at the school during bell schedule hours (no zero period). All other Charlottesville schools will maintain their regular schedule on Monday and Tuesday.

What's this all about? Why, equity, of course!

Why does that say equity? Well, dig these stats from Great Schools for Charlottesville High.

This Is No Surprise

Just like Mayor Eric Adams of NYC discovering what any Army infantry staff sergeant could have told him would happen if he operated a sanctuary city after the southern border dissolved, the teachers are discovering that racial justice and DEI is just hooey. No expectations on a child for performance or behavior leads to poor performance and bad behavior.

It's not about the race of the child, it's about what the culture has told the children about their race. The black kids have absorbed their lessons about white supremacy and structural racism quite well and have made perfectly reasonable conclusions: studying and behaving are for chumps.

Here's what the CHS website has on its front page.

Equity for the win!

So now you've got a dysfunctional school where the kids at the very center of their "equity" focus can't read, right or do their figgerin'.

Reasons For Optimism

This is why I'm optimistic for the long run. Even the far-left teachers are throwing in the towel on the equity nonsense. DEI is not, at is were, sustainable.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Thomas Sowell's Secret

 ... is that he does straightforward research and follows the truth wherever it leads him. It struck me that Sowell is simply an honest intellectual. That he is unusual is an indication of where we are.

Friday, November 17, 2023

If Denial Was A River In Egypt

 ... the Egyptians would not allow the Palestinians anywhere near it.

Dig this.

Here's the chart in larger form.

I think you'll need to click on it to get a good view. 

The upshot of it is that a majority of Palestinians are down with killing Jews by the truckload. Also, they like raping, torturing and kidnapping Jews.

A couple of thoughts come to mind. The first is that this torpedoes DEI like nothing else. The whole concept of Diversity is that it makes us stronger by bringing in people with different cultures and ideas. This is part of Tolerance, you see. Bringing in a pack of genocidal sociopaths would seem to be counter to the concept of Tolerance.

My bet is that this data will be suppressed so the DEI march can continue.

Another thought that comes to mind is that the Israelis need to de-Nazify Gaza. You can't let these people stay this way and live next to you. Since the Egyptians aren't about to let these maniacs into Egypt, the Israelis are going to have to do some serious re-education.

Finally, this is what the cease-fire crowd supports. Nazis.

If your worldview leads you to support Nazis, it might be time to re-assess your worldview.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

How To Identify A Nazi

... is a course that apparently needs to be taught at our schools because as far as I can tell, the students can't seem to do it. Dig this encounter of Jewish students at ASU having to deal with Nazi-sympathizers among their classmates.

Look, if you're supporting a group that is led by authoritarians and wants to conquer a neighboring country so it can kill all the Jews, it's hard to see how they aren't Nazis. I mean, the uniforms are different, but really, that's about it.

I would doubt that if you asked the far-left radical nutcase students who threatened the Jews whether or not they supported the Nazis that any would say, "Yes!" Still, that's exactly what they are doing.

An alternate explanation is that they're Nazis.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

ChatGPT Explains Why It's Such A Lousy Artist

I gave ChatGPT the following prompt.

Why does AI work so much better for writing fiction than it does for creating images? When you and I write our stories, poor results are easy to correct. When my prompts give me poor image results - too many people, improper facial expressions, people in the wrong locations, etc. - it can be nearly impossible to edit the prompts to get what I want.

Here's its reply.

The difference in performance between AI-generated fiction and AI-generated images largely stems from the inherent nature of text and visual content, as well as the complexity and flexibility of the respective AI models.

  1. Complexity and Specificity: Writing fiction involves creating narratives, which can be guided and adjusted with relative ease. Text-based AI can follow a narrative flow and maintain consistency in themes, character development, and story arcs. In contrast, image generation requires translating abstract concepts into precise visual details. While text can be ambiguous or suggestive, an image needs to be specific in its depiction. This specificity makes it challenging to accurately capture nuanced details, like facial expressions or exact placements, in response to a prompt.
  2. Editing and Revision: When writing fiction, it's often easier to make incremental edits and revisions. If a part of the story doesn't fit, it can be rephrased or rewritten. However, with images, even minor adjustments require a complete regeneration of the image, which can unpredictably alter other aspects of the image. The generative process for images doesn't easily allow for 'editing' specific parts while keeping others intact.
  3. Interpretation and Ambiguity: Text allows for a certain level of interpretation and ambiguity, which can be a strength in storytelling. However, images are more literal and concrete. The AI has to make specific choices about colors, shapes, and spatial relationships, which can sometimes lead to unexpected or undesired results.
  4. Training and Model Limitations: AI models for text and image generation are trained differently. Text-based models like GPT are trained on vast amounts of diverse textual data, enabling them to understand and generate a wide range of writing styles and content. Image generation models, while also trained on large datasets, may encounter more limitations due to the diversity and complexity of visual data. Also, accurately interpreting and executing complex visual prompts is a significant challenge.
  5. User Expectations and Perceptions: When reading text, readers often use their imagination to fill in gaps or interpret descriptions. In contrast, images are immediately visually processed, and any discrepancies or errors are more directly apparent. Users might have a very specific visual outcome in mind, which can be hard to meet precisely through a text prompt.

In conclusion, the differences in the capabilities and outcomes of AI in fiction writing and image generation are rooted in the fundamental differences between text and visuals, as well as the current state and limitations of AI technology in interpreting and generating these different forms of content.

That's quite good.

Meanwhile, I've been working on the characters from my Hardy Boys ripoff mystery-comedy. I rather like the Aussies, Malcolm, 17, and Angus, 15. Malcolm is too ripped for my tastes, but he has the menacing air I was hoping to get.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Tolerance Is Delusional

 ... because it is based on ignorance about other cultures. In fact, it's based on an arrogant, culturally imperialist idea - you have the ability to convert other people to your "tolerant" positions because they lack the cultural strength to resist your eloquence and genius.

In NYC, Jews are being told to shelter in place. In NYC. Jews.

Douglas Murray, who's seen a bit of the Middle East and combat zones, makes the point that Hamas are actually worse than the Nazis.

We were told by the DEI crew that all cultures were equal and we had to dismantle the unjust, white-supremacist power structures of our culture. It's now blindingly obvious to all but the most intractable of them that they were wrong. They were wrong because they were ignorant and overweening. They never bothered to understand other cultures. Instead, they used the other cultures as badges of virtue. The members of the other cultures weren't people to them, they were symbols.

Now, in NYC, Jews are being asked to shelter in place.

Friday, November 10, 2023

It's Not The Antisemitism

 ... it's the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

First, some data points. At UCLA, students happily attacked a symbol of Judaism, a paper with a Jewish leader on one side and a Jewish symbol on the other. Note the delight on their faces as they act out, "Juden raus!"

It's a pity no one handed out copies of the Nazis' board game to them. Since there are still quite a few shopping days until Christmas, perhaps we can get them some as a gift.

Elsewhere, the NYT was attacked because it's ... it's ... well, I'm not sure what it is that drove the DEI fascists mad with hate.

The KKK references from the fascists is not tangential, it's the key to the mystery. As Velma from Scooby Doo might exclaim if she was majoring in a social justice degree at an Ivy League university, "Jinkies! The Jews are white-adjacent and we all hate straight, white, conservative, Christian men the most of all! The Jews are practically the same group!"

Being naturally lazy, I won't do the analysis myself. Instead, I'll just link to this absolutely outstanding essay by Bari Weiss. Here's a tidbit.

What I saw (as a student on campus 20 years ago) was a worldview that replaced basic ideas of good and evil with a new rubric: the powerless (good) and the powerful (bad). It replaced lots of things. Colorblindness with race-obsession. Ideas with identity. Debate with denunciation. Persuasion with public shaming. The rule of law with the fury of the mob.

People were to be given authority in this new order not in recognition of their gifts, hard work, accomplishments, or contributions to society, but in inverse proportion to the disadvantages their group had suffered, as defined by radical ideologues. According to them, as Jamie Kirchick concisely put it in these pages: “Muslim > gay, Black > female, and everybody > the Jews.”

She's Jewish-centric, so the essay is mostly about the threat to the Jews from DEI and she's got the equation somewhat wrong, but the rest of it is excellent. To my mind, blacks trump everyone else in the DEI universe.

The riots and protests and vandalism are part of the ongoing cultural war. The battle lines are drawn over the concept of the individual. Do your actions, thoughts, beliefs, accomplishments and failures define you or do your group memberships define you?

For me, that whole inequality sequence makes no sense at all. Blacks are better than Jews? Which blacks? Which Jews? Why? What are the metrics being used? As far as I can tell, the DEI crew uses utterly infantile, Marxist metrics. I don't. I couldn't care less about your group memberships.

As long as you enjoy SEC football, tales of chivalry and Southern cuisine, you're alright in my book. 😊

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Writing And Learning

 I've spent a good deal of my free time away from this blog writing fiction and learning how to use ChatGPT. It's taught me a lot about character development, story arcs, what to keep in, what to leave out and what I like in a story. It's all been Arthurian fanfic, more along the lines of 1950s costumers than the modern mud and blood stuff. I can't stand that kind of thing. If I wanted realism, I'd page through my memories.

As a strongly-typed ENFJ, this is more my speed. I'm into romance and idealism.

Well, I finally wore myself out on the topic. I finished my last story, a novel almost, and loved the way it ended. It's not worthy of publication and I didn't edit it much as I would if I was going to submit it somewhere. Still, like the MGB that sits in my garage, it did what it was supposed to do - teach me.

Here are the last few paragraphs. Duels and romances have concluded. Happy, young couples are off making babies. The impish Grandmama, in her 70s, is planning new adventures where she will brew/instigate young love, romance and drama once she leaves the castle while Sir Segwarides, the castle's seneschal and the newly-arrived Dame Elizabeth, both in their late 40s, are finding new love after loss and trials.

Enjoy it or not as you see fit. This is unadulterated ChatGPT. The last sentence calls to me, asking me to get started writing the things I really want to write, saying the things I really want to say.

Grandmama's eyes twinkled as she observed the tender tableau before her. The sight of Sir Segwarides, a man whose life had been bound by duty and order, now visibly softened by the affectionate embrace of Dame Elizabeth, was a balm to her wise old heart. It was the magic of human connection, unfettered by any potion or spell, that now wove its enchantment in the room.

Segwarides, whose countenance often carried the stern lines of responsibility, now glowed with a boyish charm. The love that blossomed in his chest was as pure and fervent as that of a youth experiencing the stirrings of first love. Dame Elizabeth, astute in the ways of the heart, delighted in the power she wielded, not as a conqueror but as a nurturer, stoking the flames of a long-neglected fire in the knight's soul.

Their conversation meandered like a lazy river through the topics of their futures. Segwarides spoke of his vision for Kenneleth, of the order he hoped to bring now that the days of duels were behind them. Elizabeth, with the wisdom of her years and the clarity of her purpose, offered insights and support, her words a gentle guide.

Grandmama, ever the matriarch, listened and interjected when moved, her thoughts branching into the realm of possibilities. Perhaps there would be travels, more hearts to influence, more lives to touch with her unique gifts. Her adventurous spirit yearned for the open road, for the next chapter in her book of life.

As the hours waned and the conversation drew to a close, there was a sense of contentment that filled the room. For Segwarides and Elizabeth, the future was a shared journey, their paths now intertwined. For Grandmama, the road called to her with the promise of new adventures, new stories to tell, and new loves to witness.

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Suicidal Electoral Math

 ... is what we're seeing as massive pro-Hamas demonstrations break out across the West. 

It's OK if people in another country are genocidal maniacs so long as they stay in that country and you can keep them out of yours. However, if there are an order of magnitude more of them than there are of you and you open your borders to them, you may find yourself a citizen of a country run by genocidal maniacs in no time at all.

Democracy is a simple counting game. There is practically an endless supply of Jew-hating loons ready, willing and able to take over France, Germany, Italy and England. There is a finite and dwindling supply of Frenchmen, Germans, Italians and Englishmen.

The whole idea of the diversity crowd was that "diversity" only referred to cuisine, music, dances and skin color. Just as in almost everything else, their understanding of the world was shallow to the point of being practically vapor.

So here we are.

Trafalgar Square, London, where Palestinian flags are fine, but British flags are not.

Bonus Suicide Tidbit

Dig this one from Germany.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Great Uncle Tubby's Beard!

 ... won't replace "Great Caesar's ghost" as an exclamation any time soon, but there it is.

I got Dall-E to generate an image of Uncle Tubby and I loved it. The only problem was, I asked over and over again for him to be clean-shaven.

Dall-E also turned it into a very nice logo for future product lines like sausages, tobacco and fruit wines.

To answer a question both Tim and I have had about just what in tarnation that dag-blasted thing is doing when it ignores simple requests, I got this answer from a young AI expert at work.

Under the hood of DALL-E 2/3 is basically a multi-modal extension of GPT. Think of a space where words + image parts reside together. So tokens ("words" and "image parts") that are related in your training data are neighbors. Based on your prompt, it gives you text tokens or  image tokens back. Then, the tokens are put together based on data it has seen before.

It's just grabbing image components it associates with words it sees in your prompt and gluing them together with a very modest amount of thought. The more complex the scene, the more likely it is that Dall-E will get everything confused. It certainly explains why my knights are sometimes wearing the damsel's dress and the damsel is waving a sword around like a loon.