Friday, June 26, 2015

no original content for a couple of weeks

Make no mistake. I'm busy. I have thoughts on everything, and may well expand on some mentioned, and minimize others. But I have work to do and unless you want to offer a fresh check for exclusive writing (and believe me, I'm open) then I have work to do elsewhere.  No original content for a couple of weeks.

I'm not apologizing for that.

In the meantime I beg of you, visit a couple of times a week anyway.  I'd like someone to be here when I get back.  I think I have like 3 or may 60 regular readers and I want to keep at least two of them.

No I don't need an excuse to post a photo of Macho Man Randy Savage.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Religion and Public Life in America" (IMPRIMIS April 2013 • Volume 42, Number 4)

R. R. Reno is the editor of First Things, a journal of religion in public life. He received his B.A. from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University, and taught theology and ethics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, for 20 years. He is the author of Fighting the Noonday Devil,Sanctified Vision, and a commentary on the Book of Genesis, as well as a number of other books and essays.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on February 20, 2013, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Bonita Springs, Florida.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Donald Trump and Getting Worse

I'm supposed to issue an opinion on Donald Trump's run for the President, or at least my impression on the impression that he deliberately impressed upon the public, for whatever goal or gain possibly manifested in his combed over mind.

(By supposed to, I mean someone posted the question on my personal page on the Facebook, and a young lady "Liked" the question, so I'm obligated to answer).  It is my duty, as both a patriotic American and a gentleman.

But then there was a racially-tuned terrorist attack in Charleston, South Carolina.  I'm unclear on whether the evil bastard was motivated by racial hatred or whether racial hatred was simply a means to fulfill his narcissistic demand for attention.  People will tell through endless punditry that you have to declare a belief in one or the other and then they will mock you for dogmatically attaching yourself to the wrong theory, that is to say what they dogmatically think is wrong.  This is nonsense. We don't read minds.  And evil murderous traitorous monsters are traditionally very hard to read and sympathize with.  What are his motivations?  Political, ideological, or sick, twisted form of personal gain through fame? Naturally in response to his demand for attention, the media cast a spotlight on him like a bunch of chumps.

Because they're chumps.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"The Dangers of Price Controls" (IMPRIMIS Vol. l No. l May, 1972)


by Henry Hazlitt

The first thing to be said about wage and price fixing is that it is harmful at any time and under any conditions. It is a giant step toward a dictated, regimented, and authoritarian economy. It makes impossible arrangements that both sides are willing to agree to. It sets aside contracts that have already been made in good faith. If an employer wishes to give a man a raise in pay, and the man deserves it, he is nonetheless forbidden to do it under the new regulations. This is a grave abridgment of individual liberty.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Billy Talent - Red Flag

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Well I've never seen us act like this
Our only hope is the minds of kids
And they'll show us a thing or two

Our only weapons are the guns of youth
It's only time before they tighten the noose
And then the hunt will be on for you

The Red Flag waving never meant the same... no
The Red Flag waving never meant the same

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Like the smallest bee packs a sting
Like a pawn checkmates a King
We'll attack at the crack of dawn

Build a ladder if there's a wall
Don't be afraid to slip and fall
Speak for yourself or they'll speak for you

The Red Flag waving never meant the same... no
The Red Flag waving never meant the same... no!

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Like a fire
Don't need water
Like a jury
Needs a liar
Like a riot
Don't need order
Like a madman
Needs a matter

We don't need them
We all need them
We don't need them
We all need them
We don't need them
We all need them
We don't need them
We all need them

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain
The Red Flag waving never meant the same
The kids of tomorrow don't need today
When they live in the sins of yesterday

Cast off the crutch that kills the pain (We don't need them, we don't need them)
The Red Flag waving never meant the same (We don't need them, we don't need them)
The kids of tomorrow don't need today (We don't need them, we don't need them)
When they live in the sins of yesterday (We don't need them, we don't need them)

We don't need them!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day and the day the United States Army was born.

I love the Flag.
The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.
Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.
Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.
Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."
Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designatingJune 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
I'm not a fan of Flag Day, but I love the Flag. A day where everyone else is reminded to love the flag as well as I is a welcome day indeed.

mice versus elephant

I didn't know the Mythbusters tested this idea until last year. i was surprised. The cartoons were right.

The Mythbusters have mice and they traveled to elephants. And of course Hyneman invoked the Discovery Channel.
One thing that Hyneman has learnt from working on the show is that even the least scientific-sounding experiments can be astounding.
During a test they casually conducted to see if elephants are indeed afraid of mice, as people commonly believe, the Mythbusters team was completely “shocked” about the results.
Hyneman recalls: “We were at a game reserve where we knew elephants would cross a certain path. So we hollowed out a ball of elephant dung, which is quite large, and put one very unhappy mouse in there, tied a piece of monofilament to the dung and put it on the path.
“When the elephant came by, we yanked the string, and the mouse was exposed, and we thought the elephant wouldn’t even notice it and were just hoping that it wouldn’t step on the poor mouse. But what happened was practically like a cartoon, where the elephant came screeching to a stop and seemed almost to tiptoe around the mouse. Our jaws dropped.”
The team then tried again with another ball of dung without a mouse “in case the elephant was just started by animated dung”, but the animal ignored it.
“It’s not science if its not repeatable, so we did the same thing with the dung with another mouse and another elephant, and the exact same thing happened. So even a small story like that without any explosives or chemicals or anything, turned out to be one of our favourite, most surprising kind of things we’ve ever done.”

I love science, actual science, with the repetition. Although I can talk about cosmological stuff with great affection as well.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ronald Reagan Brandenburg Gate Speech 28th Anniversary

28 years today President Ronald Reagan gave his speech at the Brandenburg Gate, addressing the whole of western civilization, especially the Germans in the audience, but with a special line directed at his Soviet counterpart and his evil empire.

The speech commemorated the 750th anniversary of Berlin, which is difficult to imagine for us dirty Americans, since our nation is relatively young compared to the rest of the western world.  The various nation-states that were once the mother countries of various empires spawned from Europe are all ancient, many centuries older than our shining city.  That explains their many wars over the centuries as well as the longstanding rivalries.  Truth be told the only reason why the European Union exists now is because the cultures that used to own such ambitious globe-spanning empires are now comparatively pathetic and effectively puny; in order to compete or even measure up to the mighty United States they pooled their own interests , just to compete or be relevant on the global scale.  Which of course does not blunt the fact that the greatest world power ends up being the world police, influencing interests and keeping peace for a number of reasons.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Calvin Coolidge and the Moral Case for Economy" (IMPRIMIS February 2013 • Volume 42, Number 2)

Amity Shlaes is a syndicated columnist for Bloomberg, a director of the
Four Percent Growth Project at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and a member of the board of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. She has served as a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and as a columnist for the Financial Times, and is a recipient of the Hayek Prize and the Frederic Bastiat Prize for free-market journalism. She is the author of four books, Germany: The Empire WithinThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It, and Coolidge.

The following is adapted from a talk given at Hillsdale College on January 27, 2013, during a conference on “The Federal Income Tax: A Centenary Consideration,” co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Proper Goat Anatomy

Naturally Proper Goat Anatomy is best described using a baby goat.

Why on earth is there a baby goat on this blog?

I was informed that goats are cute. Baby goats are cuter. Attractive young women like baby goats. I'm attempting to drive traffic. So we have Goat Tuesday. Every Tuesday, if I can plan far enough ahead, is Goat Tuesday.

Given that I did not have my shite together for Memorial Day or D-Day, the odds that I can keep a weekly Cat Monday or Goat Tuesday seem slim.

Still, I admit that it is worth a try. At some point though I might attempt to reconcile while Kelly Ripa is in a bikini on this blog but goats are also on this blog. Likely no attempt will be made. One is for one sort of audience and the other of the other.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Jenner invited to judge Miss USA pageant

I haven't yet decided on a consistent appellation for the newly re-famous ex-athlete yet, although I am leaning towards the name that his mother gave him, if only because of my confidence that the history books will still regard him with the nomenclature under which he established his place in distant athletic history.

In the end "Caitlyn Jenner" will be the name recognized as what he used after he ceased doing relevant stuff,

This is ESPECIALLY true if/when transgender modifications become more commonplace.

As he has newly re-entered the realm of fame the Miss USA organization invited Bruce Jenner to judge this year’s beauty pageant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Obviously they are using his new name. If one were to ask what her qualifications are to judge the contestants the answer is fairly obvious. Jenner is definitely an expert on fake boobs.

Likely he can skillfully detect them from the judge's table.

Obviously I've decided that it's not "too soon" to make these jokes.  Removing the more politically charged elements from this affair, which mostly involves stripping off tropes, cliches, and bumper stickers about "bravery", "courage", "acceptance" and "tolerance" and then avoiding the "it's none of your business" banality we have a public figure that surgically changed his body (we make Pamela Anderson jokes) and changes his name (we make John Cougar jokes and Prince jokes and Ron Artest jokes).  A man does both at once he'll get both of those genre of jokes at once.

Now while it appears that I've typed an extra paragraph after my punchline as a preemptive defense from critics that is definitely not the case.  For one thing I do not have enough of an audience to get criticized by anyone significant, let alone someone significant enough to have a significant enough sized audience to affect my attempt to grow an audience.  The genuine reason for these extra paragraphs is not to indulge in more philosophy about identity or identity and humor. This is a blog, after all, and I can use another post for that purpose and it would be more appropriate.  The reason why I'm including this extra wall of text is not merely so you can spend more time reading this, and therefore getting more bang for your free, but so it looks more elegant when we show  another photo of Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez in a bikini.

Baltimore is Not Too Damned High

After Freddie Gray died from injuries sustained in his custody by Baltimore law enforcement  apparently some level of violence arose in the city.  In the course of this violence prescription drugs were looted from 27 pharmacies and two methadone clinics.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts on Wednesday said police were working with federal partners such as the Drug Enforcement Administration to seize more than 175,000 "units," or doses, of prescription drugs... "There's enough narcotics on the streets of Baltimore to keep it intoxicated for a year," Batts said. "That amount of drugs has thrown off the balance on the streets of Baltimore." Batts' comments came the same day that Rite Aid said looting at its locations included prescription drugs, as well as the theft of personal medical information. DEA Special Agent Gary Tuggle said even more drugs have been stolen than reported. About 40 percent of the looted pharmacies have not finished counting losses, he said.
This is hilarious. In lieu of a joke I could compose myself, I invoke Doug Mataconis.
Apparently there were enough drugs stolen during the Baltimore riot to keep the entire city high for a year.
To be fair, Baltimore "high" could potentially be a better place than actual Baltimore.
I've been to Baltimore. I have stayed in Baltimore. Doug is not wrong.

Although I suppose "Baltimore is not too damned high" is my joke. I stand by that.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

DOCTOR WHO is on Disney XD

This strikes me as extremely wrong but I cannot place my finger on exactly why.

Just based on the clips this appears to start in the second season of the Welsh series with David Tennant. Perhaps they are just promoting it that way.

Understandably I reckon Tennant may be the most popular of the incarnations of the contemporary series.  The series is also purportedly for kids. I'm just surprised that Disney has a license for it.  Last I knew BBC America broadcast the program the same year as BBC, and SyFy had the license to broadcast reruns of the program a year later.  I think various PBS stations ran the program in the "UHF"/"VHF" broadcast non-pay frequencies.

Where would I look to discover the syndication and licensing arrangements for the episodes?

American Pharoah

Now that American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown, I can tell you what has changed for this horse and therefore all of the United States.

When American Pharoah dies he will be buried instead of being turned to glue.

American Pharoah.jpg
"American Pharoah" by Maryland GovPics - 2015 Preakness Stakes. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, June 05, 2015

the Corrupt Organized Religion of World Football

Football, or as we in the enlightened Shining City on the Hill call it, soccer, represents one of the planet's most widespread religions, reaching almost as far as Christianity, and likely displacing much of the Church as it goes.

Attributed to American exceptionalism, we treat this sport as a diversion for children and a quasi-disorganized pickup game for young adults, with the virtues that it involves a lot of footwork, awareness, movement and actual teamwork.  This is good developmentally for anyone whose joints still work, and for those joints are a little squeaky, yet still possess high resistance to pain, they can play goalie.  Naturally attempts to monetize soccer in our country have yet to match the commercial wonders achieved by accepted national pastimes such as baseball and football.  Our televised organized soccer still falls short of the Russo-Canadian phenomenon called hockey.
The National Football League will continuously dominate broadcast television with a solid foothold in the sports cable markets; Major League Baseball rules the radio and is an everpresence in the afternoon on Fox Sports affiliates with a few weekend games on the broadcast stations.  National Hockey League is difficult to find,  Foreign organized soccer, in the devil's lands called football, is easier to find on television every weeked than the American version.  This amuses me.

That said, despite my agreement with Hank Hill on the virtues of soccer, by which I mean there are barely any, it's good for kids.  It was good for me as an adult.  My beloved country, however, turns its attention to this cursed psuedosport (what kind of sport has ties so often and the clock counts up?) when we qualify for the FIFA World Cup.  As soccer is a religion, it is an organized religion, and church is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.  Now comparing oneself to the corruption that is FIFA is hardly a defense for your sports league.  The National Football League and its counterparts for other games should not even try.  Still, I love it when shots are taken at a vile secular institution.  Yet since I lack any passion for soccer, let alone knowledge to explain how FIFA is an assault on the game, I turn to foreign devil John Oliver.

Naturally when the story progressed, Mr Oliver returned to it a year later.

I lack his knowledge and passion but I love how FIFA's corruption is so well known to John Oliver that it is his base standard for what corruption is, and therefore is the go-to allegory for how corrupt something is.

The wonderful thing is that the United States has the power to oppose these people, take them to task, and hold them accountable.  If this enhances our global influence among the savages and Eurotrash, then we should pursue it to the greatest jurisdictional limit.  Certainly it's a less expensive method than two long and very bloody wars.

If I was a more extremist right-winger I would ask how this is any of our business. There are two answers to that. The first is that as a game, the rules must be enforced because games have rules.  More importantly, as to a question of jurisdiction, we shouldn't enforce the rules of the game necessarily, or whether the competition is fair, as we should not have Congressional hearings about steroid use in Major League Baseball.  Yet this is commerce on a global level and unfortunately we are involved in it.  We're involved in international commerce.

Certainly taking FIFA accountable is similar to addressing bribery in Major League Baseball.  A player being paid to throw a game affects commerce.  Mind you, I'm not going to engage or explore the myriad amounts of crony capitalism and corruption in American professional sports today.  The reason is I am not going being paid for this and this is my hobby.  Suffice to say though that the reasons why bookies don't bribe a professional baseball player in modern times, at least in the Major Leagues, is because no bookie can afford to try, and no baseball player would risk losing his five or six digits a year for a small amount.  The corruption and damage done by international soccer is best compared to that done by hosting the Olympic games, so that could be a lot more fun to explore.

Even without corruption, hosting an international sport can destroy your city or your community, simply because the infrastructure is so damned expensive and the resultant income is not reciprocal. While it resembles an honor your city may never recover.

Our Dying Language (01) - Gentleman

In our wonderful language we tend to misuse and abuse words and this misuse unfortunately falls into a trend. At that point people misuse the word more than they use it and the definition changes. That is usually a shame because the word becomes a mere synonym for words we already have, and the unique term with its distinctive meaning is destroyed more thoroughly than a unlucky gambler shoved through a wood chipper by a bookie. In the end suddenly the word is useless qnd broken for its original purpose. Furthermore, in its place, we now have long explanations and paragraphs instead of just the word, the one term, with the commonly recognized meaning. We have lost something. This happens to multiple words. This is worse than disuse. It's misuse and we can never resurrect these words. The people that did this, and I was born later, should be brought back to earth and then backhanded repeatedly. Although that might be a harsh consequence.  I have others in mind beyond this example, hence the number in the title, but once I run out I am going to have to perform research.  We have a long history in our language, how hard can it be?  But here a dead word that we resurrected as a misshapen zombie.
The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone "a gentleman" you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not "a gentleman" you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then there came people who said - so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully - "Ah but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?" They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man "a gentleman" in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is "a gentleman" becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker's attitude to that object. (A 'nice' meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualised and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes. As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose.
Today's example is brought to you by Clive Staples Lewis (and me) but mostly C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest intellectual giants of western civilization of the last century or so.  The excerpt is from Mere Christianity.  He illustrates his point well and concisely, noting how our ideas of what ought to be actually hurt how things are.

Which is why we should never let Social Justice Warriors have a say in anything.  Transforming our ideas of what the Gentlemen should be, and how they should act, into an expectation of how they act has transformed a factual statement and an objective notation into a moral quantifier and an opinion. Genuine objectivity is rare enough but we actually pulled some of it out of our own language and killed it  dead, while we forced its family and friends to watch helplessly as we slowly stripped the flesh from its bones.

Subjectively I might have noticed it because I hang on the philosopher's words and I despise having one word transformed into a paragraph, unnecessary words borne solely out of stupidity and some warm and fuzzy nonsense.  Personally I love the word in its original meaning because I embody the word in its original meaning, despite that we do not, strictly speaking, embrace nobility in the United States,  I now hear and read weak-willed ninnies accuse other people of not being a gentleman, which is just a hoity-toity mangled throwback saying outright that they don't like someone.

If you don't like someone, say it in as few words as possible, yet be precise.  (Especially since there are plenty of people that I didn't like at one point or another and have great affection for now.  Not liking someone is no reason to burn bridges and close doors.  Do not miss out on good people just because you do not like someone; tastes change.  Also do not hold it against someone if they do not like you; their tastes change).  It is probably a better idea to not tell someone that you do not like them.  Doing so is mere self-indulgence.   If you do not approve of someone's behavior and that behavior affects you, then that is the point that should be made concisely and precisely. Telling someone that he is not a gentleman is only about your taste and your reaction and it is about your indulgence.

My friend Scott has attempted to replace the word in his phraseology.  "Landed Gentry" is a fine term.  May it pass far and wide in use.  It sounds dignified to the ear and easy to the tongue.  It is still inferior because it is more letters, takes up more space, contains more syllables, takes longer to say, and compared to the original word that it modifies, is redundant in its construction.  Gentleman used to mean an individual whom was landed by inheritance and possessed a coat of arms by that same inheritance,  If the meaning was not murdered so long ago, this modification to the original term would be redundant on the face of it, without the explanation of the history.

Yet the deed is done. We killed a good word.It has been spoiled for its original purpose.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

videophones and telegrams

Warren Ellis on predicting the future:
 Videophones.  We were told again and again that videophones were not only imminent, but that they made so much sense that they might as well already be here, they fit so well into our lives.  Only nobody wanted to have to get dressed to answer the house phone.  Or put make-up on, or shave.  Videophones hit the social fabric and bounced off, and when video calls finally arrived, they were mostly relegated to business usage and long-distance relationship maintenance by appointment.  The basic unit of communication has become, not video calls or even voice calls, but text messages.

Who saw that coming?  The return of the telegram?  Pretty much nobody.  The industry of futurism is bad at the future.
Admittedly this shocked me too. We have Skype and this does exist, but it's not a regular method of exchange by many people on a regular basis... compared to the wonderful idea and better execution of SMS text messaging.
Warren Ellis by Gage Skidmore.jpg

"Warren Ellis by Gage Skidmore" by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Lindos gatitos :3
Posted by Cerebro Digital on Saturday, 1 March 2014
I normally only engage in cat videos or pictures on Mondays, theoretically.

Because Caturday is overused. So Wednesday it is.

Cat poster 1.jpg
"Cat poster 1" by Alvesgaspar - Top left:File:Cat August 2010-4.jpg by Alvesgaspar Top middle:File:Gustav chocolate.jpg by Martin Bahmann Top right:File:Orange tabby cat sitting on fallen leaves-Hisashi-01A.jpg by Hisashi Bottom left:File:Siam lilacpoint.jpg by Martin Bahmann Bottom middle:File:Felis catus-cat on snow.jpg by Von.grzanka Bottom rigth:File:Sheba1.JPG by Dovenetel. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Noah Galloway is no Runner-Up

There is a rumor that cyborg athlete Noah Galloway was passed up for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award by ESPN.  That description is literally true. The rumor is phrased in such a way to give the impression that Noah Galloway is the runner-up for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award while the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is awarded to Caitlyn Jenner. That description is a lie.

Caitlyn Jenner is the recipient of this award.  Noah Galloway deserves this award.  Neither statement is in dispute.

When I finally read the rumor it had taken the form of a meme.  The meme is an outright lie.

ESPN has never given any hint as to who else was considered to recieve the Arthur Ashe Courage Award this year.  Noah Galloway was not mentioned by ESPN.  All of this fake outrage was fueled by a lie.  Naturally many ideologues that consider themselves to be conservatives and tell other people that they are conservatives, fauxservatives, fell for the lie and wrapped themselves in it so they can feel good about throwing silly tantrums at the world while telling lies to their friends.  In part, of course, this lie feeds into their need to worship soldiers and war.

When informed of the lie that they soaked themselves in, guzzled, imbibed, and drank to their very souls, these fauxservatives will, and I have seen this, justify their anger and their nonsense with a sentence that starts with the phrase "true or not".  That just says "my rage is valid even if the facts only exist in my own head"or "well it might as well be true." It is either true or it is not. If it is not these people should pull their asses back to reality.

The truth always matters.

Many raging wankers reserve the right to hold a lie to their hearts in order to justify their own feelings.

There are a couple of facts. The first is that there are plenty of people more deserving of this award, or any award, than a guy whose award was granted for his attitude in the face of his own body modification.  The second is that if ESPN were considering Noah Galloway at any time for this award, he would be a runner-up; the second fact is true but only hypothetical as we have no way to know that ESPN considered the army veteran for the award at all this year.

Interestingly, Caitlyn Jenner is the name used to identify a 65-year-old woman while the award given out in the name of Arthur Ashe is granted to athletes; Bruce Jenner was a professional athlete.
Jenner’s unyielding resolve and hard work enabled him to win a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics and break world records. He then parlayed that success into a variety of roles across different areas including television, film, auto racing and business. Although Jenner first captured the attention of the nation for his athletic prowess and determination, the same strength of character shone through this past April when he sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer to come out as a transgender woman.
“In the past few months, the overwhelming outpouring of support from all over the world for my journey has been incredible,” said Jenner. “However, being honored with this award, which is named after one of my heroes, is truly special. For the first time this July, I will be able to stand as my true self in front of my peers.”
The premise is that Caitlyn is the true self and that Bruce Jenner was the lie.  The professional athelet, whose athleticism won those contests was the lie and the present state, a result of modification through surgery and drugs, is the truth?  Considering that many athletes win these contests and competitions through unnatural modifications of the body this is not ironic.

We should be clear that the transition from Bruce to Caitlyn hardly qualifies or disqualifies someone for an Arthur Ashe Courage Award but it is clear now that this was given for a more political reason, a fashion reason, than anything to reflect actual courage or heroism.  A sex change is an indulgence; a public release of this by a former celebrity is certainly an indulgence.  An indulgence is not now nor has it ever been an act of courage.

I should never have to type that sentence.  How is anyone embracing the idea that what is effectively a press release is courageous when real people risk their lives for higher causes every day?

Some people need their knees smashed with a clue stick.  They include the people that call Bruce Jenner courageous and they especially include people that deny whether the truth matters.

Obviously the clue stick is not a literal stick and I do not endorse attacking literal knees.  But I do endorse feeling every ounce of contrition and misery.

In either case the origin for this stupid lie stems from some guy on the Twitter telling a joke.
Whether Callahan intended to bear false witness or was being facetious is unknown. I speculate the latter.  As it is though, he also posted something mocking Bruce Jenner's chosen name.
I do not join in the spirit of the mockery but I agree that Caitlin or Caitlyn sounds like the name of someone named less than 25 years ago, not 65 years ago. Mr Jenner certainly did not embrace dignity with this change, but that's likely why he got the award.

Frankly this nontroversy has brought Bruce Jenner back to light for the first time in ages; outside the reality show viewer community his star has long faded.  Beyond that I'm unfortunately not a good enough sports fan to know who Arthur Ashe is, that he died of AIDS, or have heard of his award until today; I never watch the Espys.  It's also especially true that heroes, veterans like Mr Galloway do not require awards.  He does what he does regardless of our gratitude and appreciation.  As it is, unless ESPN wants to make a specific announcement, it cannot truthfully be said that Noah Galloway is a runner-up for the 2015 Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

The Royal Academy of Farting *****

Joseph-Siffrein Duplessis -
 Licensed under Public Domain via 
Wikimedia Commons.
Benjamin Franklin
to The Royal Academy of Brussels
I have perused your late mathematical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy, for the ensuing year, viz. “Une figure quelconque donnee, on demande d’y inscrire le plus grand nombre de fois possible une autre figure plus-petite quelconque, qui est aussi donnee”. I was glad to find by these following Words, “l’Acadeemie a jugee que cette deecouverte, en eetendant les bornes de nos connoissances, ne seroit pas sans UTILITE”, that you esteem Utility an essential Point in your Enquiries, which has not always been the case with all Academies; and I conclude therefore that you have given this Question instead of a philosophical, or as the Learned express it, a physical one, because you could not at the time think of a physical one that promis’d greater Utility.
Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, &c. of this enlightened Age.
It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.
That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.
That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.
That so retain’d contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Diseases, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c. often destructive of  the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.
Were it not for the odiously offensive Smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are in spitting, or in blowing their Noses.
My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreable, to be mix’d with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreable as Perfumes.
That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much Addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick-Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid Air arising from the vast Mass of putrid Matter contain’d in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some other thing equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produc’d in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment. Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind than of our Water?
For the Encouragement of this Enquiry, (from the immortal Honour to be reasonably expected by the Inventor) let it be considered of how small Importance to Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier, for any Knowledge they have pick’d out of Aristotle? What Comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels! The Knowledge of Newton’s mutual Attraction of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is rack’d by their mutual Repulsion, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Life, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one Sense being little inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight he might delight the Smell of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who now endeavours to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments, and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more Importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for. — In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Mens Business and Bosoms. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual UTILITY, the Science of the Philosophers above-mentioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your “Figure quelconque” and the Figures inscrib’d in it, are, all together, scarcely worth a

Monday, June 01, 2015

Liberty and Security by Volokh

From the Eugne Volokh of far off 2002:
LIBERTY VS. SECURITY: People often say that it's "a fallacy" to "sacrifice[]" "civil liberties . . . in the name of heightened security" (I'm quoting a generally quite thoughtful and interesting message I received from a reader).
     This could mean one of two things. First, it could mean that we should never allow restrictions on liberty in order to get security. But this can't be right, because we of course must restrict liberty in some measure in order to protect ourselves against enemies foreign and domestic.
     That's why the Fourth Amendment prohibits only unreasonable searches and seizures, not all such searches and seizures; that's why the government can search your home, albeit with a warrant and probable cause. That's why we have trials and prisons, even though we can be positive that even with the best justice system, some innocent people will be wrongly convicted. We accept these restraints on our liberty, because they're needed in order to get adequate security.
     Ah, but maybe the statement means simply that we shouldn't allow new restrictions on liberty, beyond the ones we already have. "Sacrifice civil liberties" would thus mean "diminish the liberties that we now enjoy," with the baseline being the current rules, rather than some regime of perfect liberty.
     But why should we think that the current regime is the perfect one? Maybe it doesn't restrict the government enough in some areas. Or maybe it restricts the government too much in others. Or maybe when current laws bars "unreasonable searches and seizures," events that increase the threat to our security might make "reasonable" what might not have been reasonable before. There's no particular reason to enshrine the current rules as the ones from which we may never budge, no matter what the reasons.
     Finally, some articulate this via the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." But all the work is being done here by the qualifiers "essential" and "a little temporary." Of course giving up something essential in order to obtain a little temporary benefit is a mistake. But one can equally correctly say "They that can give up essential safety to obtain a little temporary liberty deserve neither safety nor liberty." Unless the statement claims that all liberty is inherently essential, or all safety benefits are inherently little and temporary (in which case it's just mistaken), it's simply a truism that at most calls on us to carefully measure how much we're giving up and how much we're getting in return.
     This having been said, I fully agree that (1) many proposed restrictions on liberty are likely to be unproductive or even counterproductive, (2) the government often has lots of incentive to ask us to give up more liberty than we need to, and (3) we therefore should closely scrutinize all proposals for restricting liberty in order to get safety. And I know that there are good arguments that (4) the current regime already asks us to give up too much liberty in many areas.
     But the analysis has to acknowledge that we must sometimes sacrifice some liberty in order to protect ourselves, and thus has to focus on the specifics of each proposal -- the magnitude of the loss to liberty, the magnitude of the gain to safety, the alternative means that might yield a better trade-off, and so on -- rather than on broad generalities about liberty and safety in the abstract. 
I generally agree.... although we often launch off of the de-contextualized Franklin quote because of the meaning we would use if we spoke the words, while ignoring the actual meaning as intended. In this case that's fine.

Eugene Volokh.jpg
"Eugene Volokh" by UCLA School of Law
Original uploader was Neutrality
at en.wikipedia -
Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred
to Commons by User:Sreejithk2000
using CommonsHelper..
Licensed under Public Domain
 via Wikimedia Commons.