22. May 2024 · Comments Off on Norms · Categories: Eat, Drink and be Merry, European Disunion, Media Matters Not

Walking through my own neighborhood this week, I was reflecting on norms – not this Norm, but the established, accepted and socially-enforced norms make a neighborhood like mine a rather pleasant, secure and safe place to live, as well as being mildly attractive. We really don’t have to worry, even now, about plants and ornaments routinely being stolen, vandalism or random violence. Such incidents do happen, as noted on Next Door – but are not routine and are cause for much comment when they occur.
The accepted norms and standards for housekeeping and public behavior make for a pleasant and livable community, especially in a high-trust society. When violation of the established norms becomes routine – that becomes grounds for unhappiness and worse, especially in the minds of those who remember and valued the old, high-trust norms. There aren’t many ways to fight back effectively against a collapse of high-trust norms and the rule of law, other than moving away, or socially shunning the offenders. The English Daily Mail offered up an example of a community fighting back, this week.

The Daily Mail is one of my long-time guilty pleasures, although I skip over any stories about various Euro royal families, the Kardashians and Taylor Swift. I’ve long been aware of a subculture on the English scene – Irish Travelers. The Travelers used to make the local scene in horse-drawn wagons; quaint and picturesque little conveyances. The traditionally minded still do. Probably the best known to Americans is the one which Mr. Toad took such a fancy for in The Wind in the Willows. In the past, the peripatetic owners of these mobile little homes earned a living doing small repairs, dealing in horses, fortunetelling, and specialty retail. They were usually considered not entirely trustworthy. They were rovers and wanderers, hadn’t been settled in a village or as shire for so many generations that everyone knew who their great-great-grandparents were. Outsiders naturally were suspected of dodgy dealings – but as long as they moved on without making much of a fuss or boosting too many unconsidered trifles, this was fine. The social norms and the law were upheld, and seen to be upheld; just as important as actually being upheld.

The Travelers used to be called gypsies, or tinkers, before such nomenclature was branded as rude and racist or something. I have no idea why. To judge from pictures of members of the Traveling community posted in the Daily Mail and others, they don’t look all that much different from your average working-class Anglo-Saxon. The most visible Travelers now prefer trailers and RVs, camping here and there, moving on as the mood and calendar takes them, and staging weddings for their young which (to judge from TV and the Mail) explore the farthest boundaries in flashy bad taste. It also seems that a good portion of the present-day Traveling community view that Britian through which they move only as a source of plunder and easily cheated non-Travelers. It’s been reported again and again: groups of Travelers take up camping on empty public and sometimes private land, often over the objections of local residents and landowners, dining and dashing on an industrial-level scale, trashing pubs and party venues … and then to move on, leaving mountains of trash behind, to the outrage of local citizens and authorities. (Representatives of the Traveler community sometimes vary this program by complaining vociferously about prejudice against Travelers … gee, it’s hard to imagine why!)

An important event in the Traveler calendar is the yearly Appleby Horse Fair, in northern England. Apparently, the fair is enormously popular; billed as the biggest Gypsy/Traveler event in Europe, drawing participants and spectators by the thousands every late spring. But this one story caught my eye – a town close enough to Appleby that serves as staging and prep area is planning to basically close up for the duration. All but a single pub and just about every business is planning on locking their doors. Talk about pulling out the ‘welcome’ mat, rolling up the sidewalks and turning out the lights. It seems that the influx of Travelers violated so many community norms in previous years, that their equivalent of the chamber of commerce decided there would be no future in staying open for business. The losses in vandalism, property damage, crime, shoplifting, abuse by juveniles throwing bottles of urine … yuck … the various business owners didn’t make enough from the temporary influx to make it worth the candle. Enduring yet another round of violations of their norms, violations against property and persons … just wasn’t worth the hassle. And so the exasperated citizens of a town, who rather obviously reverence the norms of civil conduct in their community did what they could with regard to a temporary challenge to them. They cannot be forced to do business with those who abuse and presume on their hospitality.

Comment as you wish.

18. April 2024 · Comments Off on To the Surprise of Many… · Categories: Media Matters Not

… It turned out that there was one genuine, for real, professional old-line journalist still working at National Public Radio. Was being the operative word, as business reporter Uri Berliner quit, after spectacularly blowing up any lingering pretense of the publicly financed institution being an impartial and unbiased news-gathering organization, reporting on news without fear, favor or partisanship. Frankly, anyone claiming to be the teeniest bit rightish of center and believes that load of codswallop is likely too innocent to be let out in public without a dedicated keeper. They probably believe every word in the NY Times, as well – although as Agent K of Men in Black observed – that publication stumbles into the truth on rare occasions.

Uri Berliner’s final report may yet blow apart NPR federal funding, both that which is direct, and that which is paid to them by local affiliates for the rights to air their various news, information and entertainment features. The new CEO for NPR, one Katherine Maher, appears to be a singularly unappealing progressive apparatchik, a neurotic child of ruling-class privilege without a single shred of a background or experience in journalism … but all the right progressive opinions. (I swear, I’d be a better fit for that job based on a DINFOS shake-n-bake course for print and broadcast journalism, followed by twenty years as a military public affairs specialist!) I’d also swear that Katherine Maher was another generated parody like Titania McGrath, but alas – she’s all too horribly real.

I do wonder if this might be the final straw that breaks NPR. For all their many awards, organizational self-regard, and incestuously close connections to the Washington power structure, they have also been hemorrhaging ordinary listeners in Flyoverlandia for years now. I’m one of those once-listeners myself. Heck, I even worked for years at the local affiliate here in San Antonio on a part-time – on the classical music side, though. Every time I mentioned how I came to quit listening to NPR – a fair number of commenters chimed in with similar tales of disenchantment and outright disgust. NPR used to make at least a pretense at being even-handed, the presence of that lugubrious old talking prune, Daniel Schorr notwithstanding – or Cokie Roberts, the daughter of two (count ’em!) longtime career Democrat Party politicians, Lindy and Hale Boggs. NPR did more than the immediate sensational bleeding and leading coverage of news, and extended features … and then … and then, they seemed to have less and less to say to anyone who wasn’t a bicoastal progressive. For me, the point came sometime between 9-11 then the election of Obama; definitely by the time of the rise of the Tea Party. NPR looked at the Tea Party with the horrified interest of someone discovering a dead worm in their expensive mushroom vol-au-vent appetizer, before thumbing through their golden Rolodex of experts and demanding an explanation … instead of, you know – calling up any of the local Tea Party organizations and asking them.

Ah, well – sic transit all things considered. Will this spell the end of NPR being financed out of the public purse? Or is the organization too close to the hearts of the soi-disant ruling class, as well as employing too many of their otherwise unemployable spouses and spawn? Discuss as you have insight into the matter.

14. March 2024 · Comments Off on Separate · Categories: Ain't That America?, Home Front, Media Matters Not

So this is a story which first percolated up to my attention at the Powerline blog last week – a perfectly vicious attack on a teenager by a bigger and apparently stronger teenager, which has put the first teenager in hospital with likely permanent brain damage – if she even recovers consciousness at all. There’s something about having your skull repeatedly slammed on a concrete sidewalk which will do that. The attacker has been detained, which is a nice gesture on the part of local law enforcement, and a Go-Fund-Me appeal has already raised a considerable sum for the medical care of Kaylee Gains. The name of her attacker, hereinafter referred to as Little Miss Thugette, however, seems to be under a veil of secrecy in those few stories which have appeared in the news media. The comments appended on sites where the story does appear tend towards the cynical: if the colors of the two girls were reversed, most commenters acknowledge that there would be screaming headlines for weeks in all the print media, TV pundits rushing to make their two cents clear by taking a knee (literally or metaphorically), the inner cities in blue states would already be in flames and Al Sharpton would be ubiquitous in demanding justice. (Of the mob and rioting sort, naturally.)

But Kaylee Gains is white, and Little Miss Thugette is black. We have all become accustomed to how the news-making machinery addresses matters racial in this age of DIE. News media-wise this beatdown is a non-story in the mainstream media; of apparent interest only to Miss Gains’ family and friends. This is not this first instance of a Little Miss Thugette, or her male kinfolk, Mr. Inner-City Gangbanger going all fight-club and clubbing the stuffing out of some hapless teenager of white, Jewish or Asian background and posting video of the beatdown to their social media account. Such black-on-white beatdowns make a brief splash on the local news … and then the media and our intellectual class goes right on bleating about white privilege, microaggressions and the desirability of reparations for people of color … because living in the United States in this century is just so soul-searingly damaging for such persons of color, having to associate with whites…

Which brings to my mind an interesting speculation – what if parents of white, Asian or Jewish students at public schools – especially the schools in sink neighborhoods are reconsidering the whole school desegregation thing and reassessing the so-called benefits thereof? The DIEists insist that it is so soul-searingly damaging for black kids to be around white privilege and white culture every single day, and the only way to minimize the harm done is to maintain black-only spaces. And the parents of white, Asian and Jewish students might very well believe that their kids might be safer in such a segregated school – although they probably don’t come out and say so, save among close friends and trusted associates.
Discuss as you wish.

01. March 2024 · Comments Off on Visual Disaster · Categories: Ain't That America?, Geekery, Media Matters Not

I admit to being alternately horrified and amused at Google’s Gemini AI visual disaster. Usually, a pratfall of this magnitude involves a bakery-worth of thrown cream pies. Frankly, I am relishing the spectacle of a publicity disaster this epic; a fail so huge as to be practically visible from outer space. We mere mortals are not often given the privilege of watching our so-called betters sequentially step on a yard full of cosmic rakes. Just desserts, just main course, a whole hors d’oeuvres of crow!

Everyone to the right of the harridans of The View pretty much had gathered over the last few years that Google as a search engine had bias in favor of the progressive flavor o’the month and against anything with the slightest tinge of conservative, traditionalist, skeptical leanings. But what a gift it was to have it demonstrated so openly and undeniably. I don’t know which was more risible and ridiculous – the Vikings as black, the oriental woman trooper in a Nazi Army uniform, or the American founding fathers as black or indigenous – or whatever the current correct term du jour is. How nice to have it proved, once and for all.

Tt couldn’t be more clear, if painted in three-foot tall letters across highway billboards – Google Gemini was absolutely determined to give users not what they wanted and asked for, but what the tweaked and massaged algorithm dictated that clients/requestors ought to get. Shouldn’t really have come as a surprise, after all, because that is that the cultural gatekeepers having been doing for the last decade or more – in traditional publishing, in the news media generally, and in Hollywood producing movies and television shows for public consumption, and other fields. They have been serving up great heaping helpings of what they think we should have; movie franchises with acres of unpleasant and unappealing Mary Sue girl-bosses, and all the rest of the progressive pantheon of race and sex-swapping progressive nominated heroes and designated hapless villains … not what we really want. (Interesting discussion here on that topic of the cultural leaders giving us what they think we should have, rather than what we want.)
Discuss as you wish.

16. February 2024 · Comments Off on Too Many, Not Enough · Categories: Geekery, Local, Media Matters Not

I have to confess to feeling a positively unholy degree of amusement, watching the Establishment Mainstream Media publicly coming to grips with Joe Biden’s senility … this after pretty much papering over his decaying mental condition over the past three years. That President Biden’s remaining brain cells have been melting into a slightly greenish and glowing puddle of goo has been screamingly obvious to everyone on the center-to-right quadrant of the blogosphere with any sense and worldly knowledge since his installation in the Oval Office. That the major national media minions are now having to wrap their tiny minds around that realization, and not just acknowledge but explain how it is now urgent that he be replaced on the Dem party ticket this year, as well as how they managed to escape noticing the freaking obvious for the past two or three years … well, all sorts of fun for those of us with a freakish sense of humor. It’s like watching a hapless stage magician try and gingerly handle a turd by the clean end.

The National Establishment Media – the public affairs branch of the Democrat Party – just spent the last three years trying to cover up his mental incapacity, not to mention his corruption, mendacity, and nasty tendency to perve on any attractive female of any age within reach, even on public occasions. The jig is up. The party’s over. Credibility is shot … not just shot but bleeding messily out in the center of the dusty street, while the large crowd of onlookers who perhaps held Tea Party sympathies, willingly served in our nations’ armed forces in the past, believed that our votes – and our protests counted for something – point and jeer. Yes, indeed – learn to code. Or wait tables, dig ditches, sling packages at Amazon or drive for Uber. If it’s good enough for former millworkers, coal heavers and truck drivers in the industrial heartland … it’s good enough for those who have called themselves news reporters for years, people who have lied to us by commission and omission. There are too many Taylor Lorenzes, and not enough Salena Zitos, it seems to be all too important for the top-ranked national news outlets to have a seat in the farcical White House press conference room, and thus, the national news industry is a fading one. It’s fading for a number of reasons, but one of the major ones is that a large proportion of consumers of news are tired of the lies and are fleeing to other sources than the mainstream purveyors of the government party line.

As an aside, there once were two daily newspapers in my home town of San Antonio – the Express News and the San Antonio Light. The Light was bought out years ago by their rival, but the Express News has shrunk from a once-substantial newspaper which everyone read, to something the size of a small tabloid and mostly running content gleaned from AP, UPI and other syndicated materiel. The editorial columns were usually by nationally syndicated personalities – and why bother? Eventually I dropped subscribing, and evidently, so did most everyone else. I used to see the paper in the driveway of practically every home in the neighborhood in the early mornings when I used to run before dawn. Now, I don’t think it’s delivered to more than a handful of houses.
Comment as you wish.

19. January 2024 · Comments Off on Misplaced Sarcasm · Categories: Ain't That America?, General, History, Media Matters Not

One of my occasional internet stops is a group blog featuring analysis of costuming, hair and makeup in a wide range of movies, TV shows and miniseries set in all periods and countries, up to the late 1950s or so. The various contributors have, between them, considerable expertise in aspects of historic costuming, apparently unlimited time, access to the material under consideration, sharp eyes for detail, and a reservoir of snark the size of Lake Michigan. Now and again some of them have gone all out for diversity, inclusion and equity, but not to an absolutely insufferable degree; mildly annoying, but not enough to put me off returning. I have a mild interest in historic costuming, since I do like to dress in period Victorian or Edwardian attire for book events. And the sarcasm is occasional diverting, especially when aimed at badly done costuming, or at a variety of commonly-committed goofs in the genre – things like corsets without any shift underneath, metal grommets in lacing-up garments much before the late 19th century, a tragic lack of hairpins and hats in settings when they would have been required absolutely, zippers up the back of costumes … I’ve occasionally waxed sarcastic about some of these aspects myself.

The other limit to the range of movies considered, besides pre-1950s, is that they don’t ‘do’ war movies, ancient and modern, not having any interest or expertise in uniforms and generally no interest in war movies anyway. Which is a perfectly OK principle to maintain … but just this week, one contributor yielded under protest into watching Band of Brothers because her boyfriend wanted to watch it. Apparently she was so resentful about having to watch that she posted about the experience; just stills of the various actors with a bitter and brief tagline about what their other acting roles had been and a request for judgement on whether she was an a-hole for not relishing the series, as all those white boys looked alike when covered in dirt. Oh, my – the comments on that post were pretty fiery. I’m still working out in my own mind why I was so offended by the flippant dismissal. Likely it’s on the principle of keeping silent if you can’t find anything nice to say. You know – if you and your weblog doesn’t do war movies and don’t know anything about military uniforms, then you just might be better off giving a miss to posting about it all, rather than being spiteful and sarcastic.

But there is a bit more than that; Band of Brothers is an excellent series; the producers took every care to make it as accurate as possible (which at least she gave credit for), and to cast actors who looked as much like their real-life counterparts had appeared at the time. As a dramatic representation of what it was like for the guys of Easy Company in the European Theater 1944-45, Band of Brothers is as good as it ever gets. It just seemed like the blogger/contributor was just dumping on a generation of men because she had to watch a series about them.

I don’t know if I will go back to checking out their posts, after this. I can get my fix of costume design and historical critique at Bernadette Banner and Prior Attire, I think.

12. December 2023 · Comments Off on Depth of Disgust · Categories: Fun With Islam, General, History, Media Matters Not, My Head Hurts, Rant

You know, I would be completely, totally, utterly disgusted and disillusioned with the non-reaction of international , professional and academic ‘capital F’ Feminism, in the wake of Hamas’ rape, pillage and kidnapping spree of last October … except that I sussed several decades ago that the same international, ‘capital F’ professional and academic feminists didn’t really give a waffle-fried damn about the lives, ambitions, challenges and condition of ordinary women. I had no illusions to lose about the big-name capital F feminists, not after I came to a certain realization sometime around 1985 or so.

Until then, I had thought of myself as a mild sort of feminist – really wanting nothing more than equal access to education, employment, and consideration by society in general, given meeting the same standards/qualifications. While the situation for women in the early latter half of the 20th century weren’t quite as limited as they had been a hundred or two hundred years earlier – there were restrictions, a few of them legal (such as military women not permitted to marry or have children and continue to serve) but most were societal expectations affecting middle and upper-class women. (Working class women, married and unmarried, almost always had to have jobs. Even in the 19th century.) Feminism in the 1970s meant to me personally that there were choices that individual women could make about choosing and balancing a career, a family and the domestic obligations involved, rather than having them made for us. (That many women have since been free to make unwise choices is a separate issue.)

What I came to realize after about a decade of subscription to MS Magazine (Yes, I had a subscription – to that and about half a dozen other progressive/liberal publications, in the pre-internet days) was that there was a definite bias therein when it came to defining a feminist. The message that I got from the MSlings and the rest was that it might all very nice to be a woman employed in a fairly non-traditional profession, but you really weren’t a ‘real’ feminist and down with the cause unless you worked at some academic establishment or in the creative or publishing fiends, earning an upper-middle-class salary, were a single parent, man-hating vegetarian, lesbian or at least bi, who celebrated ones’ abortion/s and reliably voted progressive. There was, briefly, a ‘feminists for life’ action group, which, predictably, got read out of meeting when the Mainstream Capital F feminists decided to go all in on abortion access.

Increasingly, it was obvious that mainstream professional feminism had practically nothing to say to me – I was only one of those things (single parent through an unfortunate choice of potential life partner). I gathered that being working class was beneath consideration, and military was just too infra dig for the MSlings and the professional feminists: Kate Millett, Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, and other influential voices. They were all notable professional capital ‘F’ feminists of the ‘Second Wave’ as writers, theoreticians, campaigners. They weren’t quite as far out on the man-hating whack-job fringe as Valerie Solanas, who tried to murder Andy Warhol in 1968. But over time it eventually became clear that they were desperately unhappy women; they hated men, despised family life, had no affection at all for children – and eventually didn’t have much to say to me. I liked men as friends and romantic partners, treasured a family life and held children to be precious. I did rather agree with Naomi Wolf, who briefly wandered off the mainline feminist plantation with publication of her 1993 book, Fire with Fire. She argued that mainstream feminism had to basically grow up, make common cause with women across the political spectrum, stop glorying in victimhood, and stop wasting time and energy in man-hating and abortion; work to benefit all women, not just the doctrinaire hard-core Feminists. I rather think she was chased back onto the plantation after that – she only totally rebelled recently.

My second disillusion regarding the Feminist Establishment came about two decades after the first, watching an able politician like Sarah Palin monstered and denigrated by the mainstream establishment Feminist voices in the media, mostly, but also in academia and among the surviving intellectual Feminists. It was an absolutely disgusting display of snobbery. Here was an able, attractive, and intelligent state-level politician, happily married with mostly well-adjusted children until the glare of the establishment media put them under the unbearably white-hot spotlight. She was neither spawn or spouse of an established male politician, who made a career in politics entirely on her own merits, previously well-respected as a state governor … and she got treated like something nasty, tracked in on someone’s shoe after the 2008 election. There was an awful kind of bitchiness about the aftermath of that campaign – as if a hundred thousand doctrinaire Feminist mean girl snobs piled on to the chosen victim.

These observations all left me less than impressed with the current crop of ostentatious feminists, out there protesting, cosplaying the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale or wearing pink knitted hats and bleating about microaggressions and the patriarchy or the male gaze, or because their feelings were hurt because someone somewhere wore a shirt they didn’t like or said something they found offensive. Meanwhile women in certain African cultures are mutilated genitally, South American women are sex-trafficked … and Israeli women were gang-raped, mutilated, murdered or kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. The professional capital F feminists are mostly silent, especially about this last. I’d like to think it’s an embarrassed silence, but I know better. The professional feminists are first and foremost progressives – and they really don’t care for the lives and fortunes of women not in their own little circle.
Comment as you wish.

(PS – the latest historical novel is released into the wild, and is now available in print and as a Kindle version, here on Amazon!)

29. November 2023 · Comments Off on Close to the Edge · Categories: Ain't That America?, Fun With Islam, Media Matters Not, Politics, Tea Time, World

I’ve felt over the last couple of years, that there is a steep precipice in our path, up to which our current Ruling Class is staggering blindly. Not just our American path, but in the developed world generally, and in that of western Europe. Things just can’t continue as they are. There is a breaking point coming. Really, no one might accurately predict exactly what small spark will kick off the explosion or the fall from a great height, or exactly where it might occur. The precipitating powers move in the shadows, veiled by a news media which deliberately veils them anyway. Too many national and international elites are pursuing policies which benefit them, rather than the countries they are supposed to govern. Too many of the transnational ruling class, indeed, seem to be in competition to pour contempt and derision on their less-fortunate, relatively powerless fellow citizens … and that’s a situation which can’t continue indefinitely. People are too stressed, made angry by things which they can’t control. Road rage incidents, riots that flame up like a prairie fire, unprovoked beatings, mass brawls in fast food restaurants and on commercial airliners; people are snapping over the slightest provocation, a misheard word, a momentary inconvenience…

There are just too many small indicia of trouble – small things, taken individually which wouldn’t mean much. But all the big things pile up like firewood, only wanting the tinder – which I fear that the small things will provide, to our cost. Big things like the Covidiocy, locking people into their houses and out of a social life, and then the vax mandate which cost them jobs, BLM/Antifa riots and protests which wrecked downtowns across red states, and inspired city governments to turn a blind eye towards property crime and the organized looting of retail outlets. The erasure of national borders is another one of those big things, stressing on a local level, when mobs of strangers suddenly show up and are favored with shelter, food and considerations not given to local citizens, deserving or not.

A recent incident which caught my attention and hinted to me that we are very close to the disastrous edge was the unprovoked knife attack at a school in Dublin – an attack which severely injured a woman and three children. (Link goes to Neo Neocon, and an interesting and informative discussion in the comment thread.)Initially, the local police were coy about describing the assailant, although he was captured almost at once. In the US, we have learned what to assume – with a high degree of accuracy – when a Person of No Description is apprehended after committing violence. Apparently, the Irish have learned that lesson as well. Having been fed to the back teeth with assorted petty and major crimes committed by an alien element – third-world migrants forced upon their communities by a governing class who appeared to be much more interested in currying favor with their international ruling class elsewhere in Europe, the locals chose to make their unhappiness in a language which the ruling class can’t ignore.
“… Some in Ireland believe too many people have arrived, too quickly, and that we need a ‘mature debate’ about it. But whenever they say something, they’re branded bigots and scum.”
Firey riots appear to be an acceptable means of protesting when it comes to an urban underclass, but only of the aggrieved are the right sort, dontchaknow. In any case, the national stereotype is of the Irish generally being truculent and ready to fight on any ground; after all, they fought being colonized by the British for a good few centuries; who would have expected them to lie down and be colonized by anyone else.

The observation in the above-linked article does ring very true to me; the ruling class willfully closing their ears to the voices of the ruled class by branding them bigots and scum. And deplorable, racists, stupid … Our own ruling elite did the same with the Tea Party. As courteous, reasonable, responsible and thoughtful a body of citizens as ever was in the United States political life, and for all that, called names and abused by the media, entertainment and political class.
Discuss as you will, while we still can.

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic… From the Oath of Enlistment

It honestly kind of slipped my mind at first, that Monday morning was the anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attack on the United States. It’s been 22 years since that horrible day. I had other stuff – purely personal concerns on my mind.
For one, every single thing that I had to say about 9-11, I said, wrote and posted ages ago … and why re-run, one more time? There’s just nothing more to say, any more than there would be anything more to say about the shock of Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 – one more tedious rerun of a recollection of where I was, what I was doing. It’s been a lifetime, in a way – and for high-school and college graduates this year, it’s been all their lifetimes.
The other thing – a more recent tragic anniversary which looms closer in time is the disastrous and humiliating withdrawal from Kabul, Afghanistan, and the Abbey Gate suicide bombing there which killed more than a hundred civilians and thirteen American service personnel. Those deaths meant so little to President Biden that he kept looking at his watch during the ceremony at Andrews AFB when their coffins were unloaded. Those thirteen were the merely last American military lives frittered away in almost two decades of seemingly endless and pointless deployments to Afghanistan, culminated in a departure so botched that I’m still shocked that only a single commissioned officer resigned in protest. Sec Def Austin and General “Thoroughly Modern Milley apparently feel no shame over bungling their responsibility to the nation so horribly.

And this – a demoralized, gutted military – isn’t something that happened at the hands of foreign enemies. Our so-called leadership of the so-called elite gives every indication of hating at least half the American citizenry; it’s as if there is a secret contest on for who can come up with a notion to make our lives even more miserable, by banning gas stoves, gas-powered gardening tools and automobiles, limit air conditioning, efficient toilets, appliances and heaters, and living in detached suburban houses with a generous garden attached. Those same political and social elites appear to cheer on a new race war, all this with the full and enthusiastic cooperation of academia and the national news and entertainment media … those who have taken some time away from cheering on the sexualization of elementary-school-aged children.

Those of us paying attention suspect, with considerable reason for it, that our political leadership (mostly on the Donk side, but a few of the Heffalump persuasion when campaigning for reelection) have been bought and paid for by international and/or corporate interests – to the detriment of the interests of voters and American industries alike. Our national borders seem to have been erased in the interests of importing a more compliant population … and political opposition to all of this and the above has been criminalized. We even have our own gulag and collection of political prisoners. In the meantime, the national news-reporting media have degenerated into a partisan collection of bootlickers, toeing the party line and exclaiming rapturously over how much the love-love-love the luscious taste of authoritarian boot-polish.

The horror of 9-11, and what enemies foreign did to us, more than two decades ago? That was bad enough … but not nearly as damaging as what our ruling elite have done to us since.
Discuss as you wish, and while we still can.

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.

02. August 2023 · Comments Off on I Hate Barbie · Categories: Eat, Drink and be Merry, Media Matters Not, Rant, That's Entertainment!

Always have, no doubt always will. The wretched simulacrum of a fashionable woman was launched, or inflicted on the world about the same time that I started kindergarten, so you would have thought that I would have been one of the first generation of girls to have played with the grotesque thing – but I never felt the appeal, and it probably just wasn’t because Dad was a grad student living on a GI Bill stipend and supporting a wife and two small children at the time. But I had indulgent grandparents – and if I had truly wanted a Barbie doll, I am certain that one would have appeared at Christmas, or among birthday presents. But I never really wanted one, even though many of my friends had Barbies, their endless accoutrements and accessories, the Ken doll and all of Barbie’s friends. The one doll that I envied helplessly and wished that I did have was possessed by the girl my age who lived next door.

Her grandparents had brought it for her from England; a nicely sized twenty- or twenty-four-inch doll, with realistic if modest proportions who had a lavishly complete trousseau; not just a trunk full of pretty clothes, including the wedding dress and tiara with veil, but even a wee engagement ring with a tiny rhinestone diamond … and a fur jacket, of grey chinchilla fur as soft as feathers. Compared to that lovely imported and realistically womanly doll, Barbie looked cheap, low-rent and vaguely sleazy. This was before Barbie became a career woman, of many, many careers. Starting out, she was just a fashionable clotheshorse of no stated profession, living a leisurely Sexless-in-the-City doll life with a bulging closet of fashionably flashy clothes and accessories.

I did have a fashion doll, though, later on – about the size of Barbie, but with much more normal female proportions, and an eighteen or twenty-inch version which was much easier to construct elaborate period costumes for. This brings up the other reason for hating Barbie; she was of a size which was a pain in the ass for making clothes for, either by hand or god help us, on a sewing machine. No, it was frustratingly difficult to make clothes and costumes for Barbie. When in the fullness of time I had a daughter, who did want a Barbie, I made a few clothes for the wretched thing, but had no fun doing so – and having fun making doll clothes or building miniatures or toys, or any other kind of crafting is the whole purpose of the thing.

No, I never liked Barbie. And I never thought I Love Lucy was funny, either. Talk about apostacy … Anyway, I hear that there is some kind of movie in theaters now (or at least for the near future) about Barbie and Ken and all their friends in Barbie-land. The marketing for it must really have been impressive, for Barbie pink and Barbie mentions are everywhere, even (I swear I am not making this up) even on the highway warning signs that give notice about missing children, wandering elders, traffic accidents and road work up ahead. It had something to do with putting down the phone when you are driving, I think. There hasn’t been marketing this determined and comprehensive since Star Wars – The Phantom Menace, and that movie was everywhere, except possibly in animal husbandry publications. Anyway, they made it out to be a fun, fluffy pink cotton-candy summer escape movie, (The sets and concept looked amazing and fun in stills and the trailer, though) but according to sources like The Critical Drinker, at the core it’s a sour and tedious uber-woke feminist lecture on how awful men are, so I’m going to skip it, even when it goes to streaming. It looks as if Hollywood is committing seppuku anyway, and there is so much good old and foreign stuff out there on streaming services anyway.. Discuss as you feel moved.

This snippet of a story popped up in a mild way on several different news sites and feeds, including that of the Great Grey Whore, the New York Times, which I presume was anguished over the prospect of a member of the reporting fraternity, one Sophie Alexander of Sky News being driven out of a popular Miami restaurant where Trump had stopped by, presumably to spend a few minutes with supportive fans. The reporter/producer apparently carried on the tradition of shouting rude questions at political figures they don’t like on occasions that are not press conferences and formal interviews, in the usually vain hope of getting some kind or answer, and if not, noting snottily that ‘So-and-so declined to reply.’ Ms Alexander was heckled, verbally abused, and all but physically thrown out of the restaurant by Trump fans. Frankly, the only likely surprise about this matter is that Ms. Alexander appears to be indignant and a bit surprised at her treatment.

When I searched for links on this particular story, a whole raft of other incidents came up, going back some years but most of them in the last half-decade – of various news reporters and TV personalities increasingly being heckled, harassed and personally insulted by members of the public in various public places. And no, I can’t really say I’m surprised at all, regarding this particular occurrence, or all the others. I’m pretty certain that most media people do exist in a kind of protective bubble, isolated by the peculiar demands of their jobs. Do many of them even associate regularly with someone who works at a physical job for a living, has dirt under their fingernails, drives a pickup truck, swings a hammer, a wrench or a shovel, lives and works in flyover country? Such media luminaries might have to talk briefly with such, as part of their work requirements – but increasingly I have the feeling that such interchanges are brief. Only one national print reporter that I can think of appears to have any real feeling, or knowledge of ordinary lives – Salena Zito, who accurately predicted the successful election of Donald Trump.

Too many of the rest are the inheritors of privilege, educated at expensive universities, baldly contemptuous of everyone outside their sphere and too lazy to even try to break out of it. To me, the epitome of that kind of media personality is Anderson Cooper, the first to scornfully refer to Tea Partiers as ‘tea-baggers’ – this on national television. Practically every other national outlet, print and broadcast alike followed that lead in sneering … and the scorn and distain has only gotten more intense since then. The overwhelming majority of national news and entertainment media despise ordinary, conservative-leaning Americans. They used to hide it better, though, even before the national media became the American equivalent of Pravda, the public relations arm of the Democrat Party, the attentive stenographers of the ruling class.

Normally polite and courteous citizens can only be pushed so far, before returning insult for insult. The recent exchange in the Miami restaurant with Sophie Alexander indicates that ordinary American have begun despising the media nobility right back, and just as passionately.
Discuss as you wish.

It’s an acronym; what it means is “Deny-Accuse-Reverse-Victim-Offender” – and describes a common response of the accused party to charges of domestic abuse, along the lines of “I never laid a hand on her/him-But she/he is crazy/violent! – It’s her/his fault for making me so darned angry – I’m the innocent person here!”
This is indeed what we are seeing now with regard to the Nashville Covenant school murders, murders committed by a deranged and angry transgender, although one might be forgiven for thinking ‘deranged’ and ‘transgender’ to be a duplication of terms. Alas, that was just the worst of recent violent or near-violent incidents involving transgenders and transgender activists, who seem to be exploring new horizons in a quest to be the most deranged, unreasonable, demanding and generally bat-crap crazy in what might seem to be a contest among activists lately. (Is there a substantial cash prize on offer, for whoever can generate the most outrageous headlines? Inquiring minds really want to know.) Shrieking at and terrorizing collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines for objecting to biological males competing against females in athletic contests, threatening a school in Colorado with the same treatment as the Covenant School – fortunately, that threat was neutralized, at least with that school and that potential mass-murderer.

The white hot-fury of transgender anger on display of late is extremely disconcerting. I will concede that there were and are transgender citizens who went into the process after careful consideration, appeared to live or have lived relatively contented lives, who wanted nothing more than to vanish into an ordinary existence, and to have called no great attention to themselves since transitioning. But they were always a minute number, and up until the last couple of years, seemed to relish the obscurity that their new physical form brought them. They didn’t call attention to it, howling like banshees every couple of hours and over every conceivable issue. Or invading a state legislature, with bullhorns and shouted threats. Or ganging up either physically or online on everyone perceived as breathing mild dissentions or criticism of the whole Tranzi crusade.

The curious thing is once one is alerted to the DARVO concept, one begins seeing it everywhere in the headlines of late; in the matter of crime committed by urban youths of color, everything from attacks on passing strangers, gang shootouts with a certain careless attitude regarding the fate of innocent bystanders, and mass lootings of commercial enterprises. No, no – the fault is that of that amorphous concept; structural racism, institutional whiteness or whatever they want to call it in the public release to the press, after the blood has finished soaking into the ground. We didn’t do anything but respond to the viciousness of white/MAGA/conservative/Red State animus – it’s their fault for pushing us, we’re the innocent victims here!

Comment as you wish. And add further examples of DARVO in action, especially in the establishment news media.

I will note for the record that I spent all of last weekend participating in a <a href=”http://”>local folk-life celebration in a medium-sized city in Hill Country Texas – an event blissfully free of anything resembling contemporary wokeism. Small children, tame animals both farm-domestic and pet, patriotic flags, ethnic German folkways, and country music, a lot of demonstrations of ancient black-powder weaponry, and complete law-abidingness among the participants and guests. It was all so very reassuringly normal. Life goes on in the Shire, as it always has done, day to day.

… but fools will learn in no other, as the old saying has it – and ‘dear’ in this sense means ‘expensive’. From all reports concerning the marketing debacle over Bud Light beer, the marketing executive responsible, one Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid is about to learn one of those very dear lessons. When someone sits down to write a history of bad marketing decisions in modern times, this is going to be one of the more spectacular chapters. Amazing that someone so expensively educated in the marketing trade could fall so spectacularly flat-footed. Somewhere back in the mists of time, someone must have imparted the wisdom that alienating the old core market for your product before appealing to the new core market was a bad move. A very bad move.

Look, as far as I could tell, Bud Light isn’t a particularly awful beer – it is and was just barely OK,  cheap and readily available. The old core market, which seems to be working-class males, drank it out of habit, more than anything else. I do give Ms Heinerscheid props for looking ahead and realizing that the appeal for Bud Light had to be widened, in the face of competition in the marketplace for better-tasting, local-artisan brands, that were just about as inexpensive. But nuking the brand in the eyes of the established core market by recruiting Dylan Mulvaney, famed for LARPing as a twelve-year old Audrey Hepburn wanna-be … look, social media influencers like Dylan Mulvaney undeniably attract the eyeballs and likes, and I suppose that eventually the dollars do follow … but Dylan Mulvaney and the beer favored by blue-collar males? Does she even know any blue-collar, working-class men?

Sigh. Probably not, which is why this endorsement dropped with the clangor of a man-hole cover hitting the pavement from two or three stories up.

You know what I would have done, were it my job as brand manager to have widened the market for Bud Light to appeal to women, and women of all ages? I’d have focused an ad campaign on authentic women, women with organic, original-issue grown-from-scratch lady-parts, emphasizing the outdoors, summertime, camping, or glamping with the girlfriends, sitting around the glowing campfire in the evenings. Having fun in beautiful, scenic, and wild spaces, all in the company of their best friends. Any spectacular national park would do. Attractive, happy women of all ages; fishing, hiking, mountain-biking, canoeing, making camp, watching cute wildlife and listening to happy birdsong … and enjoying a Bud Light. A good few years ago, I remember reading in a travel magazine, about a group of women in IIRC, the South-west, all friends who owned tiny vintage trailers and caravans. Most of the ladies featured had rehabbed, refitted, and adorned their trailers, which were all the last word in cute. And they met every year at a campground, for a good time with their friends.

I’d start building an ad with a group like that, in my national ad campaign. It’s probably too late to rescue Bud Light, but I’ll throw it out for free to any brand manager who wants to build market appeal for beer among women; genuine, all-natural original lady-parts women.

28. March 2023 · Comments Off on Days of Rage · Categories: Good God, Media Matters Not

So, what are the militant trans activists telling us now, after the school killings in Nashville – “Approve of our mental dysfunction or we will slaughter your children?” I am to the point of being horrified but not the least surprised, not after reading a stream of news stories about the insane fury unleased on old-line pro-feminists like J. K. Rowling and Kellie-Jay Keen/Posie Parker, who dare to speak out in support of the interests and the safety of biological females, and not cater to the wants of those males who insist on live-action-role-playing as women. The frustrated anger of the Tranzies, and their fellow-travelers in the pro-abortion, antifa and BLM communities has risen to a pitch that guarantees a spill-over into calculated violence against those who have been designated as the enemy.

The academic, entertainment, media and political fellow-travelers have all but given permission to target enemies of the Woke with legal and physical harassment, threats, vandalism of property, doxing and outright murder. It would seem now that school children are not exempt, especially if they are attending a Christian school. Since believing Christians and other similarly devout have been painted as the primary enemies (after conservatives and Red Staters generally) of all that is good and desirable in the Wokist realm, violence against them is only to be expected.

The Tranzi activists are now planning a so-called “day of rage” for this weekend; who knows how that will come off now, in the wake of the Covenant school killings, or in the wake of lawsuits brought by now-twentysomethings who were encouraged to undergo hormone therapy and surgery – and who now regret the heck out of what they feel were rushed into doing.

Of course, the usual ‘ban the eeeeeevil guns!’ activists are hot to trot on this latest school massacre, let by the parental unit of the perpetrator (who perhaps might have worked a little harder at keeping guns out of the hands of her own child rather than everyone elses’) , but I rather doubt that the establishment news media will get very far with it, being that the perp was a transsexual, and thus, one of the protected classes when it comes to committing crimes. Discuss as you wish – is this the moment where toleration for Tranzis comes to a screeching halt, or will it be more of a slow braking?

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 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.

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.

20. January 2023 · Comments Off on Public Art and Freedom of Speech… · Categories: Ain't That America?, General Nonsense, Media Matters Not, My Head Hurts, sarcasm

… such as they are, in these distressing days. It’s come to be a standout exception in the last half-century when a piece of public art is actually attractive, engaging, relatable to the place and the audience, and exhibits moderate to advanced skills and aesthetic sense on the part of the artist. Noted in Tom Wolfe’s book-long evisceration of modern architecture, altogether too many post-WWII public buildings got finished off with a installing barren plaza in front, a plaza featuring a water feature with an enormous concrete turd dropped into it. There are exceptions to this bleak and ugly trend, of course – but the monumental MLK/Coretta Scott King statue unveiled last weekend in Boston is, alas, not one of them.

It’s just passably OK from the front aspect, but looking at it from the other side … oh, gosh – some bodiless arms holding up an engorged colon, a huge male member, or an enormous turd? Or something even ruder, as was suggested by Leslie Jones. Perhaps the main purpose, after all, was to burn $10 million dollars. And, no – I don’t think the people of Boston will come to love “The Embrace”, as the French eventually embraced the Eiffel Tower, or Christ the Redeemer came to be reverenced by Brazilians. A further note to Ms. Jones – I certainly will criticize that expensive bronze atrocity. You suppose that for another 10 million, the artist could have included the heads?

In the meantime, it seems that Sheila Jackson Lee, the wicked witch of Houston, the most abusive boss on Capitol Hill, and the long-time bane of airline staff on Washington to Houston flights has put forward a bill which basically enables criminal charges against anyone who posts anything on the internet which can be connected to the commission of an actual hate crime. Leaving aside the concept of a ‘hate crime’ being somehow worse than an ordinary, non-hate crime, this bill – in the event that everyone in the House and Senate looses what is left of their damned minds and decides that the First Amendment is merely a polite suggestion – could in theory mean that if someone vandalized the above-noted MLK monument, that I could be charged with contributing to or encouraging a hate crime. In past times, I would have expected that Queen Sheila’s flight of legislative fancy would be laughed out of consideration in about two minutes … but these mad days, I really can’t be sure … Discuss as you wish, and while we still can.

PS – I see in the news that Jacinda Ardern has resigned as Prime Minister of New Zealand. Jumped before she was pushed? Is there some kind of scandal brewing down under, or just the potential humiliation of losing reelection in a landslide. Locking down all of the country for fear of Covid AKA the Commie Crud can’t have done all that much for her popularity, as the very model of a modern Major AWFL. Anyone have insight into local politics in New Zealand?

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.

28. November 2022 · Comments Off on The Tipping Point Cometh? Maybe? · Categories: Ain't That America?, Domestic, Health and Wellness, Media Matters Not, Stupidity

I speak of the tipping point, when toleration of what is euphemistically termed ‘gender-affirming medical care’ for minor children and teens (otherwise known as chemical and surgical mutilation) flips hard over from the trendy, laudable and even fashionable into the “Oh, Hell NO!” side, after so many years of being put out there as trendy, laudable, etc. by all super-tolerant, oh-so-progressive activists in the media, politics and the oh-so-superior intellectuals.

It all rather reminds me of the great satanic day-care ritual abuse panic of the mid-1980s, where a combination of guilt-stricken parents, manipulative “experts”, amoral prosecutors, buffaloed law enforcement and a news media panting for sensational headlines all combined in a great storm of panic … a panic which everyone eventually realized, with a sense of mild shame was wholly without grounds. But not before a lot of innocent people were railroaded, tried, found guilty and had their lives and livelihoods thoroughly wrecked. Only a very few news reporters stood against the panic. One of those few was a woman reporter for, of all things, New York’s uber-lefty tabloid, the Village Voice, who was following a local case, and basically saying, “Hello! How is this even remotely possible, the baroque and improbably ornate stories of abuse that these kids are reporting? Seriously – are you all out of your minds?!” (Yes, I read the Village Voice – the Stars and Stripes bookstore carried it, along with all the other periodicals. I liked Nat Hentoff’s column.)

It seems like the first wave is now breaking on the shore of reality: those twenty and thirty-somethings who feel they were rushed higgledy-piggledy into taking a cocktail of puberty-cancelling drugs and submitting to irreversible surgical procedures and have now lived to regret it – and have the courage now (born of desperation and disillusion) to speak up about their unhappiness over what they felt they were rushed into, against vicious social media abuse from the pro-trans crowd. Those human Guinea pigs are coming to the realization of the full irreversible horror of what was done to them, in the service of a warped gender ideology. Yes, they were kids, and yes, they were stupid and impulsive, in battening onto what they were told by authority-figures, to include teachers, the fashionable elite in the media (many brandishing their trans-kids like some kind of warped status symbol) and reaffirmed by their peers. Their peers were likewise stupid, impulsive, and gullible beyond belief, but that’s what teenagers are, and social media only makes peer pressure more intense. Their parents were bowled over by authority figures, perhaps even kept out of the loop entirely … or maybe even in the worse cases, were heart and soul for the trans process, which can be seen as a kind of venomous Munchausen-by-proxy.

And now those who regretted what they were enabled to do, are bringing legal suit, and speaking out. This would have been predicted by practically anyone with a pulse who paid appalled attention. Seriously, anyone who considered this for longer than two minutes knew that this would happen – and that the hapless victims of peer pressure, adolescent angst and a degree of body dysmorphia would come to regret it. It’s even a minor plot point in Kurt Schlichter’s latest dystopian adventure – a militia formed of vengeful adults, who were hustled into trans-surgery. They call themselves “The Mutilated” and as outlined in the novel … they are angry – savagely and murderously angry.
So – is the tipping point with regard to minor children and teens about to happen? Discuss.

21. November 2022 · Comments Off on A Grand Puzzlement · Categories: Ain't That America?, Geekery, General, Media Matters Not, My Head Hurts, Technology

There are certain things that I just don’t “get”. No matter how hard I try and wrap my mind around the topic, it just stubbornly refuses to engage, sitting in a little sullen lump in the corner and obstinately saying “No.” Because of this, the higher mathematic fields have always been closed to me, either through natural disinclination or having been traumatized in getting blind-sided by the New Math in the third grade. Wisely, I stuck to the simpler, practical methods to do with numbers, and left esoteric maths to those who had a bent for them. I have other talents.
That being admitted and perhaps in relation to such an inability, I could never quite grasp the method and appeal of bitcoin.

Why was it a ‘thing’, other than a lot of people seemed to believe that bitcoinage was a ‘thing’? Bitcoin always seemed to me to be like the medium of exchange used in on-line role-playing games; a thing of value because everyone involved insisted on and agreed that it was. As for the concept of ‘mining bitcoin’, other than it involved a lot of time on the computer, and something to do with solving long and complicated formulae … Nope, just could not “get” how that all worked, and what if anything, bitcoin was based on, other than being trendy. It was all vaporous, it meant whatever anyone said that it meant, and no two people seemed to agree on how bitcoins were generated. So my daughter and I were never particularly drawn towards anything to do with bitcoin, or bitcoin wallets, investments or exchanges … especially since so many of the communications that we (my daughter more than me) received about bitcoinage appeared to be scammers. Something so thoroughly fenced around by a poisonous reek of scam made us both wary and we declined involvement, in any way, shape or form. Sensible in hindsight, considering the near-apocalyptic collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s Futures Exchange.

A truism to live by – like high-explosives, if you don’t understand it, don’t play around with it.

Well, it could have been worse – might have been tulip bulbs. (Oh, that Charles Mackay is not alive in this century – how many more chapters could he have added to his magnum opus!) It was curious and ironic that Bankman-Fried and his merry band of wonderkind were so elevated by the finance press … as if he had discovered some great hitherto unknown secret to grubbing wealth unfathomable, secrets unknown to the rest of us mere mortals. The subsequent crash and burn, as well as the fury of those rooked out of their very real investments is a mater of academic interest to those of us who had the native intelligence not to go messing about in something we really didn’t understand.

Bankman-Fried and his friends appear to be the children of privilege – just like Elizabeth Holmes, of Theranos ill-fame, who by striking coincidence, was sentenced this week. Like Bankman-Fried, Holmes was taken up by the press and by the great, good, and the well-connected, few of whom appeared to have actual specific knowledge of the field that she claimed expertise in. She conned a great many people who ought to have been warier or known better into backing her blood-testing enterprise – an undertaking that I am certain was as mysterious as is the generation of bitcoinage to laymen… or laywoman. But she fooled the well-connected and media outlets for years, just like Bankman-Fried did, and now everyone who ever bought into the hype has egg, metaphorically-speaking, on their faces. One wonders how much of it was due to the intensely favorable press … and how much the assumption from those who enthusiastically backed Theranos, that ‘she’s one of us, one of the elite, well-connected, gradate of a prestigious university, the daughter of so-and-so; she couldn’t possibly intend to pull a scam on us!’ I assume that it was the same with Bankman-Fried; ‘oh, he couldn’t possibly scam us! He’s one of us!”
Comment and discuss as you wish.

So the voters go to the polls tomorrow – well, those who haven’t done early voting or mailed in their ballot – and possibly by Wednesday, we will know the results from those places which have it together in tallying up the ballots. (It might take days and weeks longer, for results from places that don’t have all their ducks neatly lined up). I see two possible outcomes, both grounds for considerable foreboding.

Number one: Organized, systematic, blatant ballot fraud on the part of Democrat party operatives in precincts and cities most particularly open to it; fraud that is so naked, open and in-your-face that it can’t be hidden, disguised or explained away – fraud which allows the Democrats to claim an overwhelming victory, aided and abetted by a tame national media.

That, of course, will outrage Republicans and moderates, possibly to the point of not accepting the claimed Democrat victory. A victory won through masses of manufactured, fraudulent ballots reduces this country to the condition of a banana republic, and arbitrary rule by a party elite singularly uninterested in anything but perpetuating their own power and control. I do believe that most trending red states who have put steps in place to prevent massive voting fraud will see state and local elections that are honestly and openly won; citizens will be able to accept the results there. It’s the federal government that will most likely lose any credibility with at least half, and maybe more of the citizenry.

Number two: the Republican red wave is so overwhelming as to knock any Democrat attempts to gain by vote fraud. In which case, the existing federal powers-that-be will be … extremely unhappy, to put it mildly. The national media establishment will be screaming bloody murder, of course; even more loudly and insultingly than they are already. Perhaps the Democrat establishment and the Biden administration (or whoever is pulling Biden’s strings) will attempt to declare election invalid, cancel and throw the whole election overboard and/or refused to seat those newly-elected to federal office – or worse. The media and the Democrat establishment are already setting the stage for declaring a Republican victory “problematic.”

Some further predictions:
No matter how the election results shake out, the national news media will go off-the-chart barking at the moon insane.

Elon Musk will be having more fun reorganizing Twitter than most normal human beings are allowed to have.

It will not be strictly necessary for Democrat Party authority figures to order the official organs to inflict violence upon those they perceive as inimical to the Ruling Party – all that they need to is exclaim, in the manner of Henry II, “Will no one rid me of that troublesome priest!?” – and the deranged, unbalanced and violently-inclined will take it as permission.

Jay Manifold has also done a post looking at aspects of this weeks’ election and possible outcomes and aftermath. I am operating at a more intuitive level, but my conclusions align with his. The next few weeks and months will be ugly, and the various parties who take politics and power very seriously will react … and very likely with violence. Mike K’s very cogent comment on my last post, regarding the demonization of conservative opinion and those who hold such, and the “Nazi” slur so freely thrown about, also deserves consideration.
Buckle in – it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

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.

“There are known knowns, things we know that we know;
and there are known unknowns, things that we know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumsfeld

So last week’s post regarding the paucity of lefty anti-war protesters regarding the Ukrainian war is still going strong with comments, reminding me once again of the great sage, Donald Rumsfeld, regarding what we know, and what we know that we don’t know … and what we really don’t know that we don’t know.
What do I know for sure about the war? I know that both sides are … parsimonious with the truth about everything that is happening in the zone of conflict, to the point where a truckload of salt is necessary when reading the headlines, no matter if it’s the established print media, or blogs. What to believe? Practically nothing, save that yes, indeed, there is a war and a pretty hot one, too.
I am pretty certain that Ukraine served basically as the Biden family’s ATM. Corrupt government – yeah, that I do believe. But as corrupt than Russia itself, Nigeria, Pakistan, Belarus, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Venezuela, and other frequent fliers on ‘most corrupt evah!’ list?
I do believe that Putin’s Russia apparently went into the Ukraine believing that it would be a one-two punch and settled to the advantage of Russia within a fortnight. That the war has been going on without a resolution since February of this year argues that Putin and his generals did indeed bite off more than they could chew, seriously overestimating their own capabilities and the Ukrainian will to resist.
The modern Ukrainians are descended from the Cossacks, in culture if not in blood, who had for centuries a tradition of making war … enthusiastically. They also, if I read my history right, still hold a grudge for being subjected to the Holodomor, the mass starvation under Stalin’s harsh rule in the 1930s. And that has to cast a very long shadow, among survivors of that state-instituted horror and their descendants.

I still wonder at the absence of serious peace protestors. Why, one might even hazard a supposition that the Biden administration really and truly wants a nuclear war, as an excuse to crush any of this insurrection talk. Wartime measures, for the good of the nation – that’s always been a fine pretext for crushing domestic opposition. And our current American ruling class certainly wouldn’t shed any tears over the deaths of flyover country, conservative middle- or working-class Americans – their open contempt for ordinary citizens can’t even be hidden any more.
Was the blowing up of the Nordstream pipelines deliberate or accidental? That’s one of those elements which falls into the category of known unknowns. The blogger Lawdog (whose Africa tales of his youth, growing up as the dependent of an oil industry manager are freaking hilarious) postulated an industrial accident. Now if we had a national news media worth anything, reporters would be taking Lawdog’s suggestion to as many oil and gas industry experts as they could get ahold of, asking them for their opinions. Alas, too many reporters for the national media who aren’t Salena Zito, are instead expensively educated twenty-somethings who don’t know anyone who drives a pickup truck … and very likely many of those experienced oil industry experts do drive a pickup truck and live way outside of the Acela Corridor. Just too infra dig to talk to one of those icky people, y’know.
Another known unknown – that retention and recruiting in our own military is collapsing. That last withdrawal from Afghanistan was a debacle, and the current fixation on DEI initiatives, dodgy Covid vaccinations and general incompetence among generals is doing a number on morale and effectiveness among the troops. Exactly how deep morale among our own armed forces has collapsed, right along with retention and recruiting is a deep dark secret. Probably one would have to take pliers to the fingernails of our current Secretary of Defense to get any straight answers at all … but the sense that my daughter and I get through our various veteran networks does not give any cause for reassurance.
And then there are the unknown unknowns… comment as you wish.

In addition to the other corruptions of our major national establishment and institutions, I think that I am most annoyed by the corruption of language. Certain euphemistic terms have come to be kind of newspeak in the Orwellian sense. In themselves such expressions are bland, anodyne and seemingly harmless, but what they mean in reality is horrific. Reproductive health care; that sounds so much better than ‘abortion’. Gender-affirming health care instead of ‘amputating breasts and male genitalia, surgically removing vaginas and massively administering puberty-altering drugs’. ‘Diversity, equity and inclusion’; there’s another harmless-sounding term, which actually means conformity, hamstringing the talented, and exclusion of the designated disfavored categories of people. ‘Disinformation’ is a much more elegant term for information that may discomfit the progressive ruling class or counter the established narrative, and ‘systemic racism’ means that minority criminal offenders are automatically excused, no matter how violent or vicious the crime they are charged with.
So, what other examples of corruption of the language can you suggest? What other newspeak terms have, as the expression has it, gotten your goat in a big way. Add in the comments.

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.