03. May 2024 · Comments Off on Finishing School · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Fun With Islam, Local

So, the recent fiery yet “mostly peaceful” pro-Hamas demonstrations of support on various university campuses making the fiery and “mostly peaceful” headlines over the last couple of weeks may yet have unfortunate results for the affected schools. This would be a consummation devoutly desired by those of us on the sort-of-conservative side of the political spectrum, who have viewed the increasing academic lunacy and dysfunction with concern and mistrust. Honestly, it’s long been obvious that there is a massive stench emanating from those ivy-hung quadrangles of higher learning. The tuition to attend them has been increasing at a breakneck rate for two or three decades, even above the rate of inflation, while the graduates of those institutions appear dumber and dumber and the ratio of administrative staff to student body approaches 1:1. Of late, even those graduates boasting diplomas from formerly respected colleges appear barely scathed by literacy, or any kind of practical, useful to-the-working-world knowledge and skills at all. No wonder that an increasing number of 18 year olds are coldly, rationally considering the cost-to-benefit ratio and opting for a trade school or an apprenticeship.

Adding insult to this injury, just about every malignantly bad idea infecting our society and body politic today originated in academia; diversity-equity-inclusion or ‘white people bad!’/POC can do no evil, the viability of gender-swapping and forcing women to share intimate spaces and sports teams with men LARPing as Audrey Hepburn, and those designated as disadvantaged minorities are entitled to whatever retaliation they want to take against those they hold responsible for their condition. I’m certain that dozens of other bad ideas can be laid at the feet of the ivory-tower academics. They’ve long been enamored of communism and that slightly less poisonous junior partner, socialism, because it sounds so logical and sensible in theory. Never mind that extolling Marxism in practice means glossing over mass murder, famine, gulag slave labor, political corruption, and a stagnated manufacturing sector. If academia can overlook all that … well, what’s the murder, kidnapping, mass rape and torture of 1200 Israelis in comparison? Going all I-Heart-Hamas is sooooo daring, rebellious, romantic, and the logical extension of those other bad ideas, in addition to wholly unwarranted ‘60s protest nostalgia. Why not turn out and protest for the Cause, whatever the cause is, this week?

However, I am not entirely certain that fondness for Hamas and the Poor Pitiful Pathetic Palestinians runs all that deep at American universities, even the ivy-shrouded bastions of privilege favored by the otherwise useless spawn of the elite class. Oh, sure – a lot of the proggie professorate are keen, with visions of ’68 dancing in their relatively vacant heads, or administrations keen on all that full-fare tuition from foreign students of a Middle Eastern origin and naturally anti-Semitic leanings. News stories like this one, about the high proportion of professional activists among the detained, the pre-positioned buckets of concrete chunks, the uniformly expensive pop-up tents all of a color and make, professionally pre-printed protest signs … all scream ‘astroturf’.

It’s an ‘astroturf’ protest movement enabled by spaghetti-spined administration and chancellors, at the expense of students there who actually – get this – still expect an education out of it all, while enjoying something of traditional fun and non-activist college experience. I also suspect that in the long run, indulging the I-Heart-Hamas student activists and the professional protest organizing cadre will not work out well for places where the most destructive, disruptive protests have taken place, and which retain the most anti-Semitic faculty. When the brightest and most focused students decide they can be better served by taking their interests and their tuition dollars elsewhere, formerly respected academic establishments will just become an expensive finishing school for privileged foreigners, and the offspring of our own elite class who can’t hack more demanding school programs.
Comment as you wish.

A fever, so the doctors and medical experts tell us, is a symptom of a deeper issue; an illness which most often is a mild and fleeting thing. And then, there is the serious and life-threatening fever – in either case, a fever is a way of telling us that something is wrong, and we’d best pay attention.
Just such an indication in the body politic is the occurrence of vigilante groups – a kind of civic fever, an indication that civic adjudication – the administration of justice in the case of offenses against law and order to the satisfaction of those offended by crime – has become seriously out of whack. It is a purely human drive; if one has been harmed by the unlawful actions of another, one would prefer to be assured that justice has been served – and if not made whole again, at the very least satisfied that the offender has been properly chastised for their offense.

Bad things happen in a nation or a city when ordinary citizens become convinced (rightfully or not) that justice is not being done, as in the case of local bully and thug, Ken McElroy, a couple of decades ago. Eventually, citizens realize that the civic authorities are not living up to their end of the bargain, as did the residents of Skidmore in the McElroy case. If not actually indulging in crime themselves, police, district attorneys and courts are turning a blind eye to criminal offenses. Citizens are even more quietly offended when they note that criminals are being treated by the ruling class as a kind of protected pet. Eventually the end of patience is reached. Americans historically run out of civic patience sooner than most other nations and ordinary citizens tend to take administration of justice into their own hands. Not as an undisciplined mob, although that has happened a frequently in American history as anywhere else – but as a vigilante organization. As I wrote some years ago about the San Francisco vigilance committee“The image of a ‘vigilante’ most usually implies a disorganized mob; lawless, mindlessly violent, easily steered but ultimately uncontrollable. The Vigilance Committee was something much, much worse than that. They were organized, they were in earnest, they would not compromise … and they would not back down.”

In the last couple of years, I have seen murmurings about a kind of pre-vigilante actions – most of it along the lines of a kind of informal local neighborhood watch; neighbors banding together informally to secure their own areas. It’s not gone as far – yet – as banding together, taking oaths, fortifying a stronghold, electing leaders, and going after the most notorious miscreants, as the San Francisco Vigilance Committee did, back in the day, but the impulse appears to me, when I read various news sites, that the vigilante impulse is solidifying around a most unexpected offense against the laws of man. And that would be the current wave of squatters moving into vacant or temporarily unoccupied homes and defying all efforts by the legitimate owners to get them out. This is substantially different from deadbeat tenants overstaying their lease and milking the tenant-protection laws for all that they are worth. Landlords and property managers have long had to deal with this kind of tenant.

What is a new twist is squatters breaking into and setting up housekeeping in a temporarily-vacant home and defying the owner of the home, brandishing a fraudulent lease or a claim to have purchased the place – and the police shrug and tell the legal owner to take it through the court as a civil matter. This is happening to people who aren’t landlords, who perhaps have inherited a house from a deceased next of kin, gone away on vacation for a couple of weeks, a stint of active duty in the military, or to care for a sick relative. Such people likely don’t have a lot of money to pursue a long, painful journey through the courts to get back their property … property which may have been thoroughly trashed and scavenged to the bones by the time the squatters are thrown out.

Thinking a little more on this situation, I am not surprised at the level of smoldering anger that property-owners might feel about this. A house is a very personal thing; for most people, a residential property would be the single most expensive thing they own. Having a total stranger invade their property, their home, or the home that their parents lived in – and brazenly steal it – and with only a long, expensive court battle can they get their property returned. How galling this must be, how insulting! Then of course, there is this fool, telling his social media followers that the laws will let them just ‘occupy’ empty houses; which will almost certainly end badly for those other fools to take his word for it. People have already been killed in at least one case, and a handy-man entrepreneur is achieving a mild degree of fame by offering anti-squat services and advice to home owners who have had their properties targeted in this way. Having a home taken over in this way is a deeply personal insult to a property-owner; and this is rich soil for a new vigilante movement to grow in. Comment as you wish and have insight into this matter.

27. September 2023 · Comments Off on Fahrenheit 451 · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Geekery, History

This report, of a school district eliminating all books published before 2008 from the shelves of school libraries struck me as more-than-usually horrifying, when it comes to stupidities enacted by a public school system. Of course, there is some comfort – not much – to be had in the fact that the school district in question is in Canada, but bad ideas in pedagogy have the unfortunate tendency to go international. I am a hundred percent certain that many American school districts have wokified administrators just chomping at the bit in their eagerness to perform the same purge on their own school libraries. Part of the great purge plan allows for an intensive review of pre-2008 books and restoring certain of them to school library circulation upon being judged appropriate – most likely after extensive editing or bowdlerization to remove every scrap of bad-thought.

Well, heavens to Betsy, we can’t have students learning that other people in other times had ideas, interests, and speech incongruent to modern sensitivities. Their interest and curiosity might be engaged and horrors – the kiddos might learn something, and the schools simply can’t have that, not outside of a very narrow field, approximately the width of a gnat’s eyelash.

For myself, I think of all the books that I read as a student that would fall into the condemned range. No Kipling – that goes without saying. No Saki. No Emil and the Detectives, none of the Little House books, certainly no Mark Twain. Nothing of Mary Norton’s Borrowers. No adventure novels by Thomas Costain, no Sherlock Holmes, no All-of-a-Kind Family, no Edna Ferber, no Georgette Heyer, no Bess Streeter Aldrich, no Sanuel Shellabarger, no Rafael Sabatini, no Gwen Bristow and her Plantation Trilogy, nothing by whoever wrote that Boy’s Own Paperish series about the crew of a tramp steamer in the 1930s, or the various adventure of aircrew in the Pacific in World War II. All this and more, even recent popular adventures like the Harry Potter series must be deleted or edited out of all recognition.
Nothing that might spark an interest in history, recent or long-past, other countries, and other, often alien experiences. It’s all to be banished or censored out of any juice, burned in the fires that Ray Bradbury warned about in Fahrenheit 451, lest delicate feelings be hurt. And meanwhile, a gaggle of entertainment personalities have signed the usual manifesto condemning the banning of books – certain other books, most of which have been objected to by parents for containing inappropriate sexual content. The irony of this is of sufficient density to drop through the core of the earth and come out the other side, Hollywood as an establishment being the very epitome of upright morality and ethical conduct.

Comment as you wish, and shall I open a pool on how soon American school districts begin purging school libraries of books published before 2008 ? That is, if it hasn’t been happening already.

07. September 2023 · Comments Off on The Tottering Colossus · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Geekery, General, Media Matters Not

We beat feet from cable for our nightly television viewing about ten years ago – my, how the time flies when you are having fun. We went to various subscription services at a quarter the cost of the monthly cable bill. This came about when we realized that there were only a couple of channels or services provided by cable that we watched regularly; this last weekend, we racked our memories, trying to recall the last American broadcast TV program that we looked forward to and made a point of watching. (Castle, BTW, mostly because of Nathan Fillion … which had it’s last season in 2016.) We have lavished our screen-watching time ever since then on old, or foreign movies and series, of which there is a rich and entertaining selection – everything from Blackadder, to the original Upstairs, Downstairs (Great Britain), to things like A Place to Call Home800 Words and Brokenwood Mysteries (Australia/New Zealand). Currently, the evening watching for us is The Durrells (BBC, and only minimal traces of wokery), while Wee Jamie seems to be fascinated by Alien TV, (Australian) Grimmy and the Lemings (Canadian/French) and Masha and the Bear (Russian.)

Neither of us have felt the urge to go to a movie theater to see a first-run movie in ages. The last one that I went to a theater to see was Dunkirk. I do know that the one-two punch of Barbie and Oppenheimer did boffo business at the box office, sort of reviving interest in seeing first-run movies at an actual theater, as did The Sound of Freedom … but neither of us felt a jolt of interest in venturing to a theater. Those other movies on tap at the multiplexes just seem … meh. Over-loud, over-larded with special editing effects, inept writing and stupid plots, remakes of animated features or comic books, uninteresting concepts, and the unending lectures on matters political, racial, and sexual, pounded in with all the subtlety of a fifty-pound sledgehammer. Added to that; the movie-going experience now costing a small fortune as well as being physically unpleasant, compared to staying at home and watching it on your own wide-screen TV, sitting on your own comfortable couch, breaking for a snack, meal or a potty break.
From what I have read in various middle to conservative websites and blogs (including this one) with an interest in contemporary culture, entertainment and media in general and the comment thread attached to those posts, I am not alone in a prolonged disengagement with our American entertainment industry. Dropping viewer numbers for award shows, collapsing box office receipts, major houses like Disney circling the drain, audiences fragmenting into smaller and smaller niche markets, to include games, Youtube videos and the like … the American entertainment colossus, which once bestrode the world appears near collapse. The SAG-AFTRA strike hardly seems to have made a ripple, outside of those in the industry most concerned. The rest of us are watching … well, practically anything else.
What are you watching, and diverting yourself with, when it comes to television and movies? Comment as you wish.

29. August 2023 · Comments Off on The Return of the Commie Crud · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Health and Wellness, sarcasm

I see that the media handmaidens of the Democrat Party are gearing up, preparing to scare the ever-loving snot out of the general public again with a new covid variant. I swear, I can almost hear them in the newsrooms, dancing about, shaking rattles and wailing “Oooga-booga! Run for your lives, it’s a new covid variant! It’s gonna kill granny, an’ everyone! Strap on the masks, get the vax, universal mandate! Social distancing! close down all the things! Mass insanity! Cats and dogs living together!”
Or something like it. I suppose the readily boggled will fall … again … for that old panic magic, but will the rest of us?

I can’t think that those who paid attention will buy into the panic again. Too many of us on the ground have concluded that those disposable paper or cloth masks were essentially useless, and possibly even harmful for trapping crud against your face, that covid was hardly any worse for most healthy and young people than the yearly flu, that lockdowns across the board of social activities and businesses did real harm to the economy as well as mental health, that small children had their social development stunted and the slightly older lost educationally, that there was a concerted effort to quash treatment with readily available OTC remedies, and that the much-vaunted vax-and-boosters generally did more harm than good. We know that Sweden refused any concessions to the panic – and weathered the covidiocy just fine.
We know also that there were no mass graves across cities and towns as there had been in the 1918 Flu epidemic, that the emergency hospital wards set up to accommodate a flood of patients eventually were dismantled and put back into storage – that the whole contrived panic did nothing more than to sell page views, cover the theft of a national election, give nosy neighborhood Karens another reason to complain, and for local political office holders to get in touch with their inner authoritarian. So, are we all going to rush back into the same hell of masks, lockdowns and fearmongering that we finally got shed of, barely a year and a half ago?

I’m not. I’m not going to wear that stupid mask. And if local places of business start mandating masks again, they will have lost my business. (Governor Abbott is a fairly astute politician, so I don’t think he will be easily bulldozed into authorizing masks and lockdowns across Texas – he lifted the mask requirement early on, comparatively.) I will also refuse any Covid or flu vaccination, although I expect that the vax bullies will try their best … again.
Discuss – what are the chances that the powers that be will succeed in bulldozing the public again, over Covid and it’s infinite variations, or is epidemic panic a spent force?

24. March 2023 · Comments Off on Running Slap Up Against Reality · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Media Matters Not, Politics

This week, I noted several different blogs and bloggers commenting on Jazz Jennings, the reality TV star and poster-child for juvenile transition to the sex they (or their parents) think they want to be, rather than what their genitalia dictates. That the kid doesn’t appear to be the least bit happy in female skin is something that was predicted by anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. It doesn’t need Ray Charles to have seen that coming. A number of other, less-well-known transitioners have come out into the open, publicly regretting how they were hustled into making decisions as teens wrestling with various issues which have permanently damaged their bodies, their reproductive functions and their general mental well-being. Well, the young, unwary and easily duped (or their parents) falling for a fad does have that result, although usually fads aren’t quite so permanently damaging as the trans mania has proved to be. I would cautiously hope that this one is on the deflationary spiral, although I am afraid that whatever appears to replace it in shallow public awareness might prove to be even worse.

On another strain of public madness, I see that a major purveyor of Whiteness Madness, Robin “White Fragility” Diangelo is advising black people to stay away from whites for their own safety, just as Scott Adams has suggested that white people do the same with regards to blacks on similar grounds of safety. (It’s perfectly plain to me that high-status white race warriors like Ms Diangelo are compensating for their own upper-class privilege by dumping on lower status whites.) Ms Diangelo’s suggestion strikes me as being particularly rich, since I suspect that a fair number of white working-class people who have figured in the news lately would prefer such distancing for their own safety and well-being. (Links to particular recent stories herehereherehere and to a book detailing even more incidents, here.)

As an aside, it’s axiomatic these days whenever one sees a story on mainstream media or on blogs and aggregation sites that there has been a mass looting of a retail establishment, an organized smash and grab robbery of a higher-end retail outlet, a mass brawl in a fast-food outlet or in an entertainment venue/amusement park/pop music concert – as I wrote last year in this post if there are no pictures of the perpetrators initially … everyone knows. And when there are pictures almost immediately, everyone thinks, ‘About what I figured…’ The points that I raised, and that came out in the discussion thread which followed, made for an interesting exchange. Several of us made the point that in the end, the problems of the inner-city black demographic can really only be fixed by themselves. The best that the rest of us can do is to quietly avoid the inner city black demographic – a softer kind of self-segregation, which people like Diangelo would have helped bring about. Where will race relations be in another six months of this? Discuss as you wish.

17. March 2023 · Comments Off on Harrison Bergeroning · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Geekery, My Head Hurts, Rant, Working In A Salt Mine...

I have noted stories of high schools dropping honors and AP classes in the name of so-called ‘equity’ like this lately, with a great deal of sadness and sympathy for those kids who would have benefited most from more challenging classes. The intelligent, motivated and intellectually-gifted students are bored beyond all reason by the standard classes – I know that I certainly was, and my high school days were from 1969-1972 in a largely white blue-collar working-class to no-class suburb of Los Angeles. This was when California public schools were still pretty good, and students were ‘tracked’ by abilities as well as interest in higher learning. I’d estimate that only thirty or forty out of a graduating class of 600 or so were tracked towards the Honors/AE classes; Sunland-Tujunga was, as I said before, a blue-collar, working-class community, with a small sprinkling of middle-class. My own mother was about as pushy a tiger-mom as there was, and her collegiate ambitions for us didn’t go much beyond the state university system, never mind any of the west coast Ivies. An east-coast Ivy wasn’t even in the same universe.

When, for some reason, I wasn’t assigned to one of the AE (academically-enriched) classes for the eventually-college bound, and wound up in a regular class, I was frustrated, impatient and as noted – bored beyond belief at writing down the answers at the end of the rote chapter and turning it in to an equally bored teacher. A fair percentage of my classmates in regular classes were not all that invested in school, or wanted to be there at all – they were there because they were under the age of 18 and the law said that they had to be. Once the regular run of students had learned to read at something close to grade level, to do basic math, and picked up shop skills and maybe a little science – I’ve always believed most other students at Verdugo Hills HS would have been happier going out and getting a job, or at worst, hang out on streetcorners with fellow underachievers. Left to themselves, I suspect most teenagers still feel that way.
With an Honors or AE class, one didn’t have to prove to the teacher beyond all doubt that you weren’t stupid; we had lively class discussions, special projects and independent research papers, and the handful of teachers taking those classes were good teachers themselves, and generally well-liked. We were being challenged with more difficult materiel, asked to think, research, write, tackle advanced material, stretch the boundaries … and at no time was it ever suggested to anyone that such classes were somehow unfair to regular students because they weren’t inclined towards them. Or that … horrors, they just weren’t bright enough.

So now, in pursuit of equal outcomes, every student must be bored out of their respective skulls; the bright, intellectually-engaged kids must have every shred of intellectual achievement and interest crushed ruthlessly, lest the disinterested underachievers somehow feel bad about themselves. This is a horrific waste of potential; talent at anything is not evenly distributed, genius is a rare fish indeed. Squashing it in the name of so-called equity is as wasteful and brutal of human potential as those weights, masks and thought-disrupting radio earpieces enforced by the Handicapper General Diana Moon Glampers in Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian short tale.
Discuss as you wish.

17. March 2023 · Comments Off on Jane, Jane, Jane… · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Media Matters Not, Rant

Just whenever everybody, save military veterans of the last half-century and the family members who love them, have just about forgotten you and how you larked about on a North Vietnamese AA Gun, grinning and mugging like a fool– you pop up again like a recurring case of herpes. There you are, displaying for us all once again, that you are a morally vacuous has-been celeb, displaying your unhinged maunderings on the major broadcast talk show for the Karen set known as “The View.” Which I always think of as “The Spew.”

Well, it’s only what some of us have come to expect of you, actually – as a pretty child of Hollywood privilege, somewhat talented in the ‘pretending to be someone else and mouthing the lines that far more intelligent people wrote for you’ – but this appearance on “The Spew” was, if I can suggest – not a good career move, basically. Everyone in the general population, especially those who are not in favor of aborting the inconvenient unborn, are now reminded of your existence and your enthusiasm for murder. I suppose that if you have no compunctions about murdering the unborn, then you have none about doing so to the post-born.

Somewhat surprisingly, this penchant for murder seemed to come as a shock to the viragos of “The Spew”. Perhaps Joy and Whoopie and the rest of the crew are aware of the dangers of inciting violence, especially if such incitement is reciprocated.

The sudden recent fatwa declared by the great and good in the Biden Administration against the less-expensive gas ranges was … really rather curious – and for what purpose? Cooking (and heating) with gas is (or was) relatively cheap, energy-efficient, beloved of cooks for generations. It has the advantage that if you have an older stove, you can still cook with gas in a power outage. I lived for six years in Spain, where both the stove and the flash hot water heater were powered by propane bottles, and a power outage (which occurred regularly) was only a relatively mild inconvenience. I could cook a hot meal, and we could take hot showers. An all-electric home, such as the one I live in now is miserable, to the point of being unlivable, without consistent electric power, as my neighbors and I were swiftly reminded during the Great Texas Snowmagedden, two years ago. And from this story, linked on Instapundit, one can’t help wondering if the geniuses in Biden’s government are demonstrating trying again, with the so-called safety benefits of locking hot-water heater thermostats at 110-120. The ostensible reason given for these two quasi-campaigns is a tender concern for the ‘health and safety’ of the general public and the best of intentions, but the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

I have become convinced in the last few months that the real intent isn’t ‘health and safety’ at all – but the systematic immiseration of everyone but the comfortably ruling class elite. Oh, they didn’t really care much at all and haven’t for the last couple of decades, about the convenience and conditions for the ordinary citizens, except save when they were rolled out by their handlers to make a few remarks to housebroken establishment press representatives, especially at election time when they had to be seen to throw a bone or two in the direction of the electorate, or make the correct sympathetic noises after a natural disaster. It was necessary that they be seen to care … care deeply, just make a shallow pretense of deeply caring. They don’t care, and perhaps have never really cared, beyond making the proper noises in the established media – the credentialed elite in their glass-walled corner offices in the bicoastal ruling class enclaves, and their lushly-paneled and carpeted Congressional office.

But the brutal fact is … they don’t. They don’t give a couple of satisfactory bowel movements about the ordinary electorate, the regular, law-abiding middle and working class out in Flyover Country, the class that pays their modest taxes, runs the business that keep all afloat, volunteer for the military and everything else – and I believe the goal for the elite ruling class now has gone beyond indifference into active malice. They wish to see us impoverished, dirty, miserable, cold and starving, because that makes such obedient servants, of course. A powerless peasant class doesn’t make so many demands on their rulers – and that’s the point at which we may have arrived – not when election results can be called up and organized to give the satisfactory (to the ruling class) result. What need have they of voters then, when the results can be automatically jiggered to give the correct result?

They hate us, mostly because we don’t obediently fall in line, like medieval serfs, tugging our forelocks and saying, “Yes, Sir, Yes, My Lady, whatever you wish, My Lord.” It’s really kind of sad, that the ruling class of a nation should hate the ordinary population so. The Victorians were brutal in their class snobbery – but they didn’t at least hate the ordinary citizens and cheer for their continued immiseration and disenfranchisement.

Comment as you wish, and while we still can.

28. February 2023 · Comments Off on The Hard “Nope” · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General, History, Stupidity, World

It was a post at Bookroom Room that led me to jump aboard this particular train of thought – that most of us have certain concepts embedded in us so firmly that absolutely nothing will ever get us to violate them. As Bookworm put it, “Because as I’ve contended for years, every person has one absolute truth. It’s the one thing they know to their bones is true and the world must align with that truth … For my mother, who would have been a fashionista if she’d had the money, style and beauty were her truths. She sucked up all the lies about Barack and Michelle Obama until the media talking heads said that Michelle was the most beautiful, stylish first lady ever, above and beyond even Jackie Kennedy. That ran headlong into Mom’s truth and, after that, she never again believed what the media had to say about the Obamas.”
It’s a concept worth considering – our own truths, which we will stubbornly hold on to, refusing any threats or blandishments. It varies from person to person, of course. Some have only small and irrelevant truths, which are never seriously threatened, and there are those who have no real truths at all, save perhaps self-aggrandizement – but even so, for some keeping to their truth is a hard struggle, deciding to hold to that truth against everything – especially if they have status or a living to make, in denying that truth.

Sam Houston, as governor of Texas on the eve of the Civil War, refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, required by a newly-passed law upon secession from the United States. Twice elected president of an independent Texas, and the general who had secured freedom from the Centralist dictator, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna nearly fifteen years before, Houston had labored mightily to secure annexation of Texas to the US. Secession from the Union must have nearly broken the old man’s heart. Most accounts have it that he paced the floor of his office for an entire night, considering whether he would take the oath … or not. He did not; he resigned all office and retired to his home in Huntsville, where he died several years later. When all was said and done, Houston was a believer in the Union, and devoted to Texas. When it came to secession and swearing an oath of fealty to the Confederates – a hard “nope” for the hero of San Jacinto.

My own personal biggest hard “nope” has to do with so-called anthropogenic global warming/global cooling/climate change concept alleged to be caused by human activity and industry. I don’t care how much the autistic Swedish teenager scowls at us all, or Al Gore flies from his many lavish mansions, to one important conference after another, to lecture us all about our carbon footprint. Earth’s temperatures and conditions have swung wildly over millennia, without any help from human beings at all. Canada and the north-central US were once covered by a mile of ice. The Sahara desert was once a grassland interspersed with marshes, rivers and lakes. In Roman times, it was temperate enough in England to grow wine grapes, while around 1000 AD it was warm enough for subsistence farming in Greenland … and then the climate turned colder all across Europe, until the River Thames froze solid enough between the 14th and 18th centuries to host so-called Frost Fairs on the solid ice. Avenues of shops opened on the ice, racing events, puppet shows and all manner of entertainments took place. The massive explosion of an Indonesian volcano in early 1815, on the other hand, led to a so-called year without summer in the northern hemisphere in 1816. The climate of earth has changed drastically, without any human input over conditions – even before humans existed, so what the heck have gas stoves or gasoline engines – or even coal-fired power plants have to do with it?

25. January 2023 · Comments Off on Terf War · Categories: Fun and Games, Good God, Media Matters Not, Politics

It’s truly become amazing to me, how very vicious the trans war is getting to be; so far, it’s only words, but only words is how unspeakable atrocities begin. And all this is over what is a vanishingly small minority, but which happens to be “the fashionable hot new thing to shock the normies with” among overexposed celebrities, activist academics, and the desperate-seeking-relevancy activists battening onto a cause to give purpose to otherwise empty lives. It’s a trend amplified a hundred times by such advocacy, and then another hundred by the leviathan of social medial; a leviathan before which established corporations and businesses tremble. Candidly, one might have expected titans of commerce (like Target and the Disney company) possessing sufficient market knowledge to stay away from advocating causes which might – just might – piss off a large portion of their customer base. And one might be wrong. Never underestimate the mad urge to be a dedicated follower of fashion, I guess.

But it does seem that old-line feminists are rebelling against the activist goad, or at least, some of them are, when it comes to allowing so-called trans-women (who still have all their essential male parts, including beards and DNA) into what formerly were biological-women-only spaces. Spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, clothing-optional spas, hospital wards, battered woman shelters, and prisons. And of course there is resistance from biological women, since it seems that a fair number of trans-women aren’t anything of the sort; they’re just perverts and predators looking for a well-stocked hunting ground. To the surprise of practically no one, the Wii spa tranny eventually turned out to be a registered sex offender, getting his jollies by flapping his wang-wang at women and girls. The Canadian Yaniv character – allegedly an overweight lesbian – turned out to be an abusive freak addicted to lawfare against women beauticians offering depilation services of truly female private parts. The high school-boy-in-a-dress, sheltered by the local woke-as-heck Virginia school board as some kind of sacred cause, turned out to be a rapist. And the Brits have come to the appalled realization that yes, so-called trans-women transferred to women’s prisons are rapists and abusers relishing their happy hunting ground. Another aspect of so-called patriarchy which the old-line feminists didn’t anticipate – that those in authority would value the supposed mental comfort of a male LARPing as a woman, rather than the actual physical safety and peace of mind of real women.

Time was, when male to female transexuals (and probably the reverse as well) seemed to wish for nothing more than to quietly blend into the background, to live as the sex that they were convinced they were, without fuss and fanfare. The current trans activists trend vastly more confrontational – to the point of ugliness. Why has the matter of transsexuals suddenly blown up to such an extent lately? A matter of fashion? A huge desire to shock the normies? Or bored activists looking for new frontiers? Discuss as you wish.

11. January 2023 · Comments Off on The Royal Ruckus · Categories: Fun and Games, Geekery, General, Media Matters Not, That's Entertainment!

Although ruckus is perhaps too mild a term for the flaming dumpster fire, train wreck or thirty-car pile-up on the interstate, for the public relations disaster that has been called down upon the Windsor family by the present king’s younger son. One isn’t so much drawn to look, in horror – just that one can’t look away from the international spectacle of a man napalming relationships with his own family, all egged on by his wife and the news/entertainment media.

I can’t help knowing what I do know about the British royal family, and the Kardashians, too, as I am a regular reader of the Daily Mail. Curiously, both the British royals and the Kardashians are an obsession of that publication, and it’s a slow week where there aren’t half a dozen stories concerning either. To be fair, I would guess that most of the royals are a bit better grounded, more obedient to duty, and all-around pleasanter people than the Kardashian clan. I really don’t know any of them, in the accepted sense – all I do know, like Will Rogers, is what I read in the papers. But the royals figured a lot in the news, over the last twenty or forty years – what with Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, the assorted family weddings, divorces, scandals, nostalgic looks backward at the abdication of Edward, the wartime conduct of Queen Elizabeth’s parents, her own coronation, and her recent passing … well, one picks up a lot of trivial knowledge by osmosis.

One of those things is the realization that it’s a burden enough to be born into a family such as the Windsors, and as for the individuals who willingly and for love marry into it? It’s not a fairy tale; it’s more like an indeterminant sentence of glittering privilege and hard labor, into which those volunteers must go with open eyes and a willingness to fit into that life and give up just about every shred of privacy as the rest of us know it. The late Queen Mother did so, apparently assuming at the onset that her husband as the second son would be allowed a relatively obscure and private life on the edge of the royal circle. (I have read in several different accounts that her resentment of Edward VIII was unrelenting, as she was convinced that the responsibility of the office her husband was thrown into, willy-nilly, contributed to shortening his life.) As queen consort and later dowager, she never put a foot wrong. Catherine Middleton did the same; it would seem that Prince William let her have a good long time to consider and consent to what she was letting herself in for. Camilla, the present queen consort was in two minds about the degree of commitment necessary to join the royal family firm; apparently, so did Prince Harry’s previous serious girlfriends, and who could blame them in the least?

Another of those realizations is the knowledge that their lives are terribly peculiar; privileged for certain – but always in the pitiless and unsparing eye of the public – always “on”, whenever in public, the cynosure of all attention. The lifelong burden of attention and responsibility must be a terrible weight; only the strongest and most dedicated are likely able to hold up under the strain without cracking. That the late Queen and her husband held up under it for decades argues for the strength of their own characters, and the steadfast support and affection of a close family circle and those long-time members of their private circle – those few with whom they can relax, let their hair down, metaphorically, and trust to share confidences with – confidences and feelings which will not immediately be blared to the public at large. A close-knit and close-mouth family circle must be a large part of that support system. And Prince Harry has just blown all of that to heck. Not just breaking family confidence, as if that weren’t enough, but publicly venting a reservoir of spleen and resentment with just about every member of his family. It’s horrifying to watch as a disinterested spectator. Those once closest to him must be in agony. One must wonder if he was always an immature and resentful dumpster fire of a human being, and the royal public affairs office and a sympathetic British media just managed to keep that under wraps … or was Ms Markle every bit as awful.

If anything, the divorce coming along in five to seven years, is going to be an even more disastrous spectacle.

I am thinking that Professor Emily “Litella” Oster (hat tip to NeoNeocon) did not expect so furious a reaction as she has gotten, by writing this particular article in The Atlantic Magazine. After having done her stalwart best for the Covid Crusade for more than two years – demonizing those who refused to get the vaccination or wear masks everywhere, or see our children locked out of school, or who suggested that ivermectin or chloroquine might alleviate the symptoms – Professor Oster now is suggesting that … really, it was all just a silly misunderstanding, she and her pals just got carried away but they meant well and didn’t know anything for certain, and why can’t we all just all forgive and forget?

To which the instantaneous and outraged reply is – not just no, but hell no. Hell no, with a napalm-degree flaming side order of very personal reasons why not. The comments on various blogs which have discussed the original article are so lit that they might as well be one of those tornadoes of fire which sometimes happen when a forest fire gets so large that it creates its’ own weather. Professor Oster, apparently living secure in her pleasant little academic and media bubble, appears to have had no notion of the damage to so many ordinary people outside of it – and damage felt on a painfully personal level. Commenters related stories of friends, spouses, neighbors suffering and dying from conditions that they couldn’t get a diagnosis of and/or treatment for – because they couldn’t get the time of day or an appointment with a doctor or clinic. Elderly parents and kin died alone, baffled and frightened, sequestered in nursing homes or hospitals, they died when their lungs were blown out on respirators, their subsequent funerals being lonely affairs. Vacations, family celebrations, weddings, high school and college graduations, celebrations and community events of every size and degree were put on hold, cancelled, reduced, and isolated. School-aged children lost two years of their schooling and social lives, a situation only alleviated by those active and determined parents who took the situation in hand and began home schooling. The deaf and hard of hearing lost a means of communication, since they couldn’t read the lips of people talking to them – and that was not even the cruelest of what Professor Oster and her friends in the establishment media did.

That was to deliberately and willfully collude in scaring the bejesus out of that large portion of the public who believed what they saw on TV, over a virus that essentially was no more a danger to a healthy young person than the ordinary seasonal flu bug. Scared people do not react rationally – a concept proved to us over and over during the last two years. Politicians, employers, public administrators, neighbors and relatives reacted, many of them badly and hysterically. Lockdowns, vaccine mandates, required masking, a wrecked economy, social isolation … a whole farrago of fail, over a virus which wouldn’t have been a hiccup in any other flu season. Ordinary people lost friends, parents, relatives, unborn and barely-born children, jobs and participation in their communities. Small business owners lost their little enterprise as well as their dreams. Employees and members of the military were forced, as a condition of continued employment, to accept vaccination and boosters against Covid with an experimental vaccine which down the line, may prove to have been more dangerous to health than Covid. Many people also lost whatever residual trust they had for so-called experts, the mass media, and the medical establishment.

And you helped and cheered on all that, Professor Oster, with every evidence of keen enjoyment – must have been the most exciting time of your life; such a feeling of purpose with a slight frisson of danger. But people were hurt, Professor Oster – hurt in inconceivable ways, and suggesting now that, gee – it was all just a misunderstanding and now we all just need to put it behind us … well, that’s just adding insult to the years-long injury.

The local public radio station here – in concert with all the other public radio stations across this blessed land of ours – is having their fall pledge drive this week. And I am defiantly not pledging to support. I am willfully and maliciously denying my dollars, in spite of their blandishments and incessant unrelenting guilt trips. This, in spite of the fact that I worked part-time for the classical music side of that enterprise some decades past, before all the part-time announcers were let go. I thought for weeks that it was only me, that my announcing work was unsat. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the reason, as I had gone very rote and mechanical over announcing the name of the piece of music up next, the composer and performing orchestra or soloist, and throwing in a bit of relevant information about the piece. No, it wasn’t me, as I later found out; they left all the other part-time shift announcers go – the girl who worked during the week at an animal shelter, the woman who was a mainstay of the local little theater group, the guy who was a full-time writer for various little local publications. All of us were served notice; a kind of Friday Night employment massacre.

It was a positive relief not to have to drive across San Antonio in a wonky car, in time to make it to the Saturday afternoon shift, although I did miss sometimes … well, no, I don’t miss anything. Except for the paycheck for shift of work that I could have done in my sleep, a tour of duty in a high-rise building with a magnificent view – that bit was nice. As it eventually turned out, though, I could get along very well without it. The station came into a bomb of money, and wanted to go into covering local news, rather than paying live bodies to play classical recordings at night and over the weekends. They preferred to take the classical feed from Minnesota Public Radio. I guess that it worked out cheaper in the long run.

When did my serious disenchantment begin to flower? Probably sometime after 9-11, and that was with the Morning Edition – All Things Considered side of the NPR house. I just didn’t feel it anymore. Prairie Home Companion, as hosted by Garrison Keillor, just got more and more out of tune with genuine fly-over-country Americans as it went on. Garrison Keillor became more vicious, hateful, and obnoxious, which was really a pity, as he had put on a good act there, for decades – of affection for small-town America. All that went by the board – I bailed from Prairie Home Companion and never went back. I think that I stopped listening to public news radio a couple of months into Barack Obama’s turn in the White House. The slobbering full-frontal worship of the Wonder Black Prince of Chicago was just too much to bear. The final nail in the coffin of my affection for NPR came with the rise and subsequent deliberate media murder of the Tea Party. Our local chapter was formed of as earnest, well-educated, engaged and publicly responsible as a group of citizens as could be found anywhere – and yet the national media, to include NPR routinely sneered at and slandered Tea Party organizations as gatherings of stupid, uneducated, bigoted hicks.

My affection for the classical music side of our local public radio has also thinned out considerably over the last year, as those who programmed the daily feed of classical selections went all out for gay pride, women’s history and black history months with effusive commentary and frequent selections of certain composers. It seems now that black history month has lasted for a whole year, and with announcers pounding incessantly on the merits of composers like Florence Price, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, the Chevalier St. George, and William Grant Still. Since Florence Price was black and also a woman, I swear we got a double ration of Dances in the Canebrakes. Look, all the above were perfectly acceptable as composers of listenable classical music, but constantly replaying their compositions at the expense of the whole realm of other classical composers and musicians? Persistent wokery reaches it’s slimy tentacles into every single refuge that there is over the last few years. Comment as you wish.

14. September 2022 · Comments Off on A Blast From the Past · Categories: Fun and Games

Americans – both those born on this soil and those who weren’t but who got here as fast as they could – are natural rebels, stiff-necked, stubborn, and not inclined to bow the knee and truckle to those who think they are our betters. Oh, it might not seem so in these dolorous times; too many of our fellows seem just too ready to be passive, landless serfs with an appetite for crumbs and approving notice from the wanna-be-nobility’s table, and too damned many outright want to be the nobles, or their willing henchmen/women/whatever. But a preponderance of us are not that ready to be pushed into servitude to the State – witness the drubbing at the pools that the voters of Wyoming gave to the presumed princess-heir of the landed house of Cheney yesterday. Losing an election by a 40% margin is not just the voters saying ‘no, thanks’, it’s the voters escorting the candidate to the city limits, brandishing buckets of tar and bales of feathers while snarling, ‘…and don’t come back!’
Ah well – I have long disapproved of political dynasties – the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Murkowskis, the Gores and their similar and lesser-known political ilk. The only political dynasty that was ever any good for America as republic and in the long term was that of John Adams, and that was back in the day when we all were pretty adamant that there would be no patents of nobility issued, tither formally or otherwise in this blessed experiment in citizen governance. For myself, I hated the choice I had between two scions of political dynasties in the 2000 election. What – a choice between two sons of political privilege? I think I held my nose and voted blindly, and can’t remember who for, not that it made much of a difference then or now. Although one of the two has retreated to a relatively quiet life in Texas, and the other has chosen to humiliate himself on the international stage as one of those campaigners for radical actions to oppose climate change, traveling hither and yon at great expense on energy-spewing jets.

It’s nice that the voters in Wyoming can emphatically kick to the curb a notorious carpet-bagger pol (whose speaking resemblance to Miss Piggy ought to be noted.) and whose personal portfolio has increased to an incredible degree during her tenure. Alas, cut short due to the obstinacy and stupidity of the voters – but never mind, she will no doubt flit off to some other profitable perch among the minor nobility. They do tend to take care of their own, after all.
In the meantime, we can make fun of them. It can be vicious, enjoyable fun – passing around disrespectful memes, satires, jokes and cartoons about our ruling class, pointing out their many hypocrisies, their double standards and public pratfalls. Laughter and derision are potent weapons, as Saul Alinsky pointed out in his Rule #5; “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.” Think of Sabo’s painting of Joe Biden in a mask and nothing else, and a hotpants and garter-clad Kamala Harris. Consider that picture of Sec Def Austin, double-masked and outdoors, inspecting the troops – all he needs is a flowing cloak and Darth Vader’s music. We can laugh and poke fun, while the media handmaids of our Ruling Class fume and stomp their feet while insisting that it’s not funny …
Well, it is. And we are a rebellious people. Ridicule is our weapon. Along with ruthless efficiency, determination and fanatical devotion to … oh, blast. I’ll come in again. Comment as you wish.

12. June 2022 · Comments Off on A Weekend Marketplace · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Local, Texas, Veteran's Affairs, Working In A Salt Mine...

So, my daughter was roped into representing the brokerage she is with, for a day-long outdoor market event earlier this month. I will not say anything more specific about the event, the location of it, or the purpose of the event itself, save that it was absolutely the most horrifically mismanaged and disastrous event which she has ever been a part of, and oh, gosh, have we done a lot of them. Not as many as professional vendors following the weekend markets will attest, but yes, we’ve participated in enough of them to be able to distinguish a well-organized and well-run event from a dumpster-fire, floating down a flooded riverbed.

Yes, efficiently well-run community or event market has certain commonalties, upon which vendors and exhibitors have come to depend. Like, the event organizer will let us know exactly what we need to bring, or if such items will be supplied (usually as part of the required table fee.) The organizer will also let us know through providing a map, exactly where to set up our pitch, what time to set up and break down, where we can park, and are available by phone call, email or just by simple physical presence, when it comes to dealing with problems which naturally arise. Trash cans, portapotties/bathrooms also abound, in readily locatable areas. The very best markets which we have participated in also featured representatives from the managing organization or committee who also took a tender care of the vendors – circulating among the vender booths, ensuring that we had water, lunch, someone to spell us if we were alone and needed a bathroom break. Oh, and … sufficient publicity for the event itself which drew enough participants and generated enough in sales to be totally worth participating? Oh, yeah. All this, and some of the very best even included a free lunch for vendors, and raffle tickets … but never mind.

The event earlier this month incorporated practically nothing of the above. The organizer was not much in evidence for much of the day and couldn’t be raised by cellphone or message to deal with those problems which arose. This persistent unavailability gave rise to much annoyance. The place, so says my daughter, looked half-derelict and deserted, the landscaping neglected, and mildly litter strewn. Not an inviting prospect on the whole, although if kept maintained, the grounds and building could have been amazing.

A food truck depending upon electricity from the venue had no luck at all, and had to send at the last minute for a gas generator, as the feeble trickle of electric power proved insufficient for their needs in providing for customers … customers who didn’t show up anyway. My daughter did report that she and the other vendors could make use of the bathrooms within the permanent venue building, but that the plumbing of the place didn’t allow for TP to be flushed down the toilets. An archaic thing that I haven’t seen since we were living in rental property in Spain, where the plumbing system proved to be unable to digest toilet paper. We got used to this, of course – but it seems a strange quirk of a system in an American venue in this present day, no matter how old the house. Finally, by late afternoon, my poor daughter and her co-agent were basically sitting in a place without shade – which would have been endurable if there had been any kind of crowd at all for the venue event.

Which there wasn’t. And that was the final insult – hardly any crowd at all, as publicity for the event seemed to have been minimal.

Finally late in the afternoon, after suffering from a mild case of sunburn, my daughter and her co-worker decided to pack up and leave an hour before closing time. One of the other vendors had also left before that time. They brought around their cars from where the vendors had been told to park, rolled carefully across the venue grounds, packed up and were about to leave when the venue organizer finally showed up, and cussed them out a blue streak for carelessly driving through the grounds, and leaving early. (Copious amounts of alcohol may have been involved on the organizer’s part, as this person seemed to be oblivious to the lack of crowd, or coherent and completely sober.)

My daughter looked at the all-but-deserted venue, shook her head and left, while the event organizer fulminated. Perhaps as was fortunate, the organizer didn’t know their names, and may indeed have forgotten the name of the brokerage itself. Participation in that goat-rope was on the part of someone else at the brokerage who wanted to get more exposure. We’ve passed on the contact details of organizers of regular markets who are more on the ball, organization-wise.

19. April 2022 · Comments Off on The Birth of Educational Wokeism – A Personal Story · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, Fun and Games, General Nonsense, Literary Good Stuff

I’m almost certain that I witnessed the seeds of teacher-training wokism yea these four decades ago when I was wrapping up the class hours necessary for a degree in English, an age before it became screamingly obvious that a BA in English didn’t guarantee that the recipient of it was conversant with proper grammar, spelling, the literary output of the greats from Chaucer to Wilde, or blessed with the ability (even if only acquired through imitation) to write in a clear and pleasing style.
With my usual efficiency and persistence, I had managed to complete every single required class for that golden degree by three and a half years into the enterprise, leaving me with just a requirement for so many class credits subject unspecified for my final semester toiling in the groves of academy as they presented at Cal State University Northridge. (A state uni with practically no notable characteristics or reputation then, or now. It was your standard state university, providing in a workmanlike fashion, higher education to a mixed bag of students – freshly minted high-school alums, foreign students, working adults and returning senior citizens.)

So, I looked at the catalog offerings for the spring of 1976 and decided that I would indulge myself intellectually and just sign up for any elective that looked interesting in the catalog. This put me in a class in Roman Art & Architecture, and another in Japanese Art &Architecture, both of which proved to be totally fascinating, challenging, and eventually useful – the Japanese one, especially, as it turned out to be a graduate-level one aimed at art majors, and did I have to seriously hit the books in order to pass! The Roman A&A final included a final exam involving drawing an accurate map of classical Rome from memory, naming the seven hills, including the lines of major avenues and aqueducts, and marking the location of about twenty major landmarks. This turned out to be useful when I passed through Rome as a tourist in 1985 …

It was the third ‘what the heck that sounds interesting’ elective which was the class that I found memorable and for not a good reason. I began to hate it, root and branch, topic and professor … a smug and smarmy male who reminds me in memory of the irritating Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf. The subject of the class was “Children’s Literature” and upon reading it in the catalog, I thought – hey, interesting subject, a study of classic kid-lit from the early days, a survey of the bigs in kid-lit; a little Frances Hodgson Burnett, some of this and that … what made writing and reading for the underage set appealing over the decades …
I had been raised on classic kid-lit. Mom was rigorous in that respect. I had all of them, either read to us, or on the shelves to read for ourselves. Everything: Child’s Garden of VersesLittle House on the Prairie and all in the series, Little Women and the sequels, Wind in the Willows, Peter Pan, the Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, the Jungle Books, Winnie the Pooh and dozens more. I thought I would be in a class exploring what made those books and others such enchanting and enduring reads. What made them so special that they were still being read by and to children for decades or even centuries after having been written … and in that I was crushingly disappointed. More than that – outraged, although never sufficiently to rend the lector from limb to limb and encourage my fellow students to piss on the bloody remains. I did want that BA degree, you see. I already had plans, post-graduation.

As it turned out and which I should have noted before enrolling in it, the class was one of those required/elective for those aiming for a teaching credential in the state of California. And it was dire … I figured that out within the first couple of lectures. First, when the lector/professor figuratively urinated all over Child’s Garden of Verses, condemning it for being stupid bad poetry with an ump-de-ump rhyme. Yes, the poetry in Garden is fairly simple – Shakespearean sonnets it isn’t – and yet I (and others) can still recite verse after verse from memory. Then when the lecturer took a number-two dump on Wind in the Willows, picking out one chapter – The Piper At the Gates of Dawn – for an extra specially contemptuous sneering as saccharine, sentimental and trite. For myself, I had always loved Wind in the Willows, and believed that chapter to be charming, lyrical, and beautifully descriptive.

So, the lector/professor was an obnoxious philistine; I am certain there were skid-row bums and burned-out hippies with better literary judgement. Just to put the rancid frosting on this rancid cake of a course, he … umm … exposed the class to a bit of kid-lit that he thought was just the thing for your average middle-school reader. I have mercifully forgotten the title and author, although at this date I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a book that he had written. The hero and narrator was a teen boy whose family went from Nantucket Island in time for the 1893 Oklahoma land rush, set up a homestead there, and then by some misfortune that I don’t recall, the father died, they flaked out of the homestead claim, and the boy and his mother went all the way back to Nantucket – sadder and wiser, or so the narrative had it. A highlight of the book was the boy acquiring a girlfriend who had been a captive of the Indians (tribe unspecified, or at any rate, I don’t remember) and it was implied had been sexually initiated by the experience. She gave him a hand-job, described in a conversation between the two of them. Ugh.

That was the point when I decided that it was a darned good thing that I didn’t want to be a grade schoolteacher, if this kind of materiel was what one had make a show of lauding, while spurning the great body of enduring stories and poetry. I wonder how many other rational people made the same decision – and that’s why our schools are deeply mired in predatory wokeism. Comment as you wish. And no, I never wanted to teach school anyway, but if I had, I am certain this one class would have kicked any such desire out of me. I’ll just write good stories for kids, and read the good stuff to Wee Jamie.

20. February 2022 · Comments Off on The Odessa Steps · Categories: Fun and Games, Media Matters Not, Politics

The early Soviet propaganda movie, The Battleship Potemkin culminates in a prolonged and shocking sequence of local citizens – men, women and children – gunned down by remorseless Czarist soldiers on Odessa’s famed harbor-to-town staircase. The sequence remains a shocker. (And is still studied in film schools, apparently, for being ground-breaking effective and technologically ahead of the time.) Historically, there was never such a massacre on the Steps, but the sequence served as a kind of cinematic shorthand for State brutality aimed at essentially harmless, unarmed, unthreatening civilians in a public place; civilians who were seen to be defying the authority of the State. And so the armed minions of the State acted – because even the mildest defiance of Authority on the part of ordinary workers and their families is a stab at the heart of those Authorities. They cannot brook defiance, and so out come the armed police, just as they have this week in the streets of Ottawa with regard to the truckers protesting vaccine mandates. All the forces of the law, with the cheerful approval of the Canadian established media, the intellectual and ruling class – it’s really rather breathtaking; this concentrated venom and enthusiasm for breaking heads and bones all aimed at the workers participating in a civil and well-organized street protest. (It would seem that as far as the RCMP are concerned, Dudley Do-Right and Constable Benton Fraser both have left the building – so much for Canadian ‘polite.’)
What will happen now that the ordinary working stiffs of Canada have been so casually abused by their native ruling class; threatened with having bank accounts frozen, their means of earning a living confiscated, themselves arrested, while their pets and children given over to the tender care of animal shelters and the child “protection” authorities? How far will this protest go now, bouncing down the Odessa Steps like a runaway baby carriage? It could be that Canadians, with the ethos of being polite, courteous, and truthful, may be truly shocked, shocked to the point of open rebellion over being consistently lied about and bullied by their ruling elite. In America, our own flyover country residents are perfectly accustomed to being abused as stupid, red-necked rubes by our own elite class. It’s what we have come to expect of NPR, the political ruling class, the New York/Hollywood cultural axis and the inside-the-Beltway-Washington DC denizens; what we have come to expect of them anyway. It may be a new and shocking development to ordinary, working-class Canadians, this contempt for the working class, though. Comment as you wish.

12. February 2022 · Comments Off on The Proper Framing of the Narrative · Categories: Fun and Games, Politics, Tea Time

I am watching matters develop with regards to the trucker strike, with appreciative interest, seeing that is really another variant of a grass-roots spontaneous civic spontaneity, much like the Tea Party was, some years ago. The Canadian trucker protest has that in common with the Tea Party protesters – but the difference might be that the independent trucker community is a smaller, a more cohesive and even more media-savvy and self-disciplined party. The various Tea Party protests were more general, cut across class lines (at least the urban-focused one that I was involved in was, no matter what the establishment national media might insist) and focused more upon voting in various political races then upcoming, and protesting the general monetary incompetence of the Obama Administration. More »

03. February 2022 · Comments Off on Wagging the Dog · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Media Matters Not

I actually do recollect seeing the movie of that name and a mildly amusing venture it was, into speculative political fiction; a whole war generated out of thin air by an unholy cabal of scheming bureaucrats, a conniving segment of the entertainment industry and a tame media, eager to be spoon-fed an appealing story if it would goose ratings by a point or so … and all in the cause of burying a political scandal involving a US president by setting up a war, with a hero and a theme song and cheering crowds and all. The movie was based on a book by Larry Beinart – weirdly enough, I also have a copy of it on my shelves. The book is much, much darker than the movie, but the premise is just as improbable; the national news media and the Industrial Entertainment complex going all in to generate and publicize a war with the aim of re-electing a Republican president at the bidding of and through dark money provided by a Republican eminence grise? Talk about the suspension of belief necessary to find that concept credible; not even with a bucket truck and one of those enormous construction cranes used for high-rise projects …<!–more–>

I thought at the time that both novel and movie were a diverting trifle, but really – was the national news media really that transparently credulous? I was an innocent in those days. Not so much the innocent after seeing the Tea Party protests and rallies being viciously calumniated solo and chorus by the entertainment and mainstream media. My cynicism dial was turned up to eleven, following that experience. Yes, they are that transparently credulous and incurious regarding any apparent contradictions between what they are spoon-feed and what is going on before the lying eyes of the rest of us. Now they are doing the same kind of group character assassination on those who refused to get a vaccination or a booster vaccination for the Chinese Commie Crud, or who object to anti-white racism taught to our children in the public schools, or who do rather like earning a living at a small business without being looted and burned into bankruptcy.

Now in this lamentable century, where anything goes in the established media, even if it seems ludicrous at first or second glance in comparison to reality. We are seeing a concerted effort on the part of our national establishment media to vanish the rising cost of practically everything at the grocery store; who are we supposed to believe, the establishment news media and the Brandon administration or the evidence of our lying eyes? We’ve had two years of the Chinese Commie Crud, with masks, lockdowns, mandatory vaccinations, and requirements for vaxx passports – so what if the dreaded Covid plague didn’t quite become the 1918 Influenza epidemic, or the medieval Black Death, either. It still provided an opportunity for bureaucrats and elected officials of an authoritarian bent to let their inner dictator out for a romp, and for the establishment media to do their best to scare the snot out of everyone. It’s becoming plain that the Commie Crud wasn’t a tenth as deadly as it was all made out to be, early on. A lot of us besides Canadian long-haul truck drivers are as tired of it as we can be, and likewise tired of being called racists and fascists for saying so. Can the news media go on wagging the Commie Crud or the inflationary dog for much longer? What other media tails are trying to wag the reality dog? Discuss as you wish.

Well, I see from the linked story, that the educational geniuses in Fairfax County have trodden heavily on their essential nether parts, yet again, in their demented crusade to shove critical race theory, or whatever it is called this week to disguise the whole rotten concept, down the throats of hapless students of all colors on the Pantone scale. This time around, they tried to foist off the concept of military dependents being somehow uniquely privileged. More »

08. December 2021 · Comments Off on Alternative Structure · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Geekery, Politics

I did note this story on Axios, which was discussed scathingly and at length on Ace of Spades; that the Lefty Progs have belatedly realized that, yes indeedy, us social and political conservatives are building our alternate establishments, in media, money-management, retail, and everywhere else. Welcome to the party, pal… It goes without saying that the Lefty Progs disapprove, most indignantly. I noted the split a little more than a year ago, in this post.

We’re already at the split. We read different books, watch different movies and television shows – those of us who still watch movies and television – follow different celebrities, earn a living in different ways, educate our children differently. We honor different things, different heroes and heroines, have wildly different aspirations and hopes for the future. We are already split. More »

The word literally translates from Spanish as “child-buyers” – as defined by Wikipedia in one of their less politically unstained entries: “a concept coined by Victor Hugo in his novel The Man Who Laughs. It refers to various groups in folklore who were said to change the physical appearance of human beings by manipulating growing children, in a similar way to the horticultural method of bonsai – that is, deliberate mutilation … stunting children’s growth by physical restraint, muzzling their faces to deform them, slitting their eyes, dislocating their joints, and malforming their bones.” The mutilated or stunted children were then provided as dwarves to amuse a noble court, or as performers in traveling circus sideshows. A historical truth, folklore repeated to frighten children into good behavior, or just a melodramatic literary creation? Who knows for certain? More »

10. November 2021 · Comments Off on Around the Next Corner · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Politics, Working In A Salt Mine...

What lurks in hiding for us there? Nothing good, and that is the general feeling one gets from the ripples and small currents in the wide ocean of the blogosphere. I’ve been paddling in that ocean since … 2002, when I gave up on Slate as an original aggregator news site shortly after 9-11, because the communities which gathered in the various comments sections just got too angry and irrational for words. Something let me to Instapundit, and through his links to the original incarnation of Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Brief. I became a contributor when the original Stryker appealed for other contributors and have been paddling away at the margins of the digital information ocean ever since. Back in the pre-internet day, I had subscriptions to all kinds of magazines. As a military public relations professional, I reasoned that I should know when and from which direction the next political- military-social sh*t-storm would arrive. Tracking blogs and digital media serves the same purpose for me that print media once did. More »

01. November 2021 · Comments Off on Jiggery Pokery, Whackadoodle Wokery · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Politics

My daughter and I have a local writer friend who teaches at the elementary school level – a local quasi-magnet type school which advertises itself as offering a challenging college prep curriculum, and she is discouraged beyond words over how difficult it is to interest the pupils, especially the boys in her class in reading. Of course, given the run of books generated of late by mainstream establishment publishing, aimed at the YA and young readers and then approved by schoolteachers and librarians … most of them seem to be a grim wallow in social or familial dysfunction, misery, gloom, and despair … plus of late, lashings of sexual confusion as well – of the latter, it seems the more explicit, the better. More »

27. October 2021 · Comments Off on Civility · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun and Games, Media Matters Not, sarcasm

In the aftermath of large crowds chanting “Lets Go, Brandon” or the ruder, cruder variant, certain prog media figures are reacting by ostentatiously clutching their pearls and demanding civility. In response to such demands, many of us who have paid attention over the years are pointing out that the civility ship has long sailed … in fact, circumnavigated the world, crashed into the homeport dock, burned to the waterline, and sank in a gusher of steam. More »