Sunday, February 25, 2024

it is to laugh

How can you not laugh at this unflattering photo of Trump victorious, orange mop aglow in garish light as he adopts his usual smugly twerpy pose?

I wish he learned how to keep his head vertical instead of always flopping to the diagonal.

And who is that horrifically corpulent creature, second from the right? They say Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, and this Jabba wannabe proves it.

Well, mini-Jabbas or not, Trump gets another victory, and it's all downhill from here for Nikki Haley. South Carolina, her home state, is where she ought to have performed the strongest, but as we all knew even months ago, it was not to be. She should run much later when Trump is dead, and she is older and perhaps wiser.

Congrats to The Donald. Unsavory as a person, but like it or not, he's the one with the saner policies, the correct priorities, and the mental marbles to run a country.

"woke kindergarten"

Where does this shit end?

the cow-methane problem is BS

Pretty sure this guy's Irish, but his YouTube "About" page says he's in the United Kingdom, so maybe he's Northern Irish since the Republic of Ireland is no longer part of the UK.

BREAKING: as predicted, Trump wins the South Carolina primary

By almost exactly 60-40, Donald Trump easily wins the South Carolina primary against Nikki Haley, former governor of that state. This would be an embarrassing loss for Haley were she sane, but she is certifiably not sane, and she has vowed to plow on until Super Tuesday. The level of hubris is astounding and unfathomable, but we're stuck with this barnacle for at least another week and a half (until March 5). Why Haley thinks 90s-era neoconservatism makes for a winning message is beyond my comprehension. But she's flush with cash from Democrat coffers, so she'll muck on. What a stupid waste.

the false narrative about racism in police shootings

Remember Professor Roland Fryer? Claudine Gay did her best to ruin him. He's the economics guy behind the question of racial bias in police shootings: after two surveys—the second was done with a different team to confirm the results of the first—Fryer concluded there was no racial bias in police shootings, a conclusion that sent lefties inside and outside of academia through the roof. Here's more on how all of that is panning out:

To think used used to respect Harvard. It's a trash heap now.

fashioning Death

I'm reminded of the hugely hunched Death from the seventh Harry Potter film.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Christopher Hitchens: a warning from beyond the grave

Hitchens on Islam:

And since Hitchens's death, have we listened?

a twist on an awesome recipe

The recipe for "peanut-butter noodles" isn't supposed to be anything authentic, and there are versions of this concept all over YouTube. Some involve ramen; others use udon or other pasta, even Western pasta. The recipe I (mostly) followed comes from Andy of Andy Cooks, a popular YouTube channel whose host is well known for trying to respect every culture's cooking instead of "putting his own twist" on the food (the thing that Uncle Roger is constantly blaming Jamie Oliver for). That said, I put my own twist on Andy's peanut-butter noodles recipe, adding proteins in the form of shrimp and chicken, plus a sprig of cilantro purchased from my building's B1-level grocery. And it was great! Andy had been aiming to make a snack; I decided to make a full meal, with the cilantro pulling the meal more explicitly in a SE Asian direction. I used chunky peanut butter, too.

The peanut sauce was a little bit thick and salty; next time, I'll add some milk to smooth and thin it out a bit. Maybe some lime juice as well. Otherwise, it had great depth of flavor, and everything else was spot-on. This kind of recipe is easy enough to make on your own. In fact, since I've made my own peanut sauce before, I might try this again sometime, but without a recipe. The nice thing about the frozen udong (udon) I'd used is that, once you get the water boiling, it cooks up in 2-3 minutes. So even with the added proteins (which are easy enough to prep), the whole thing doesn't take too long to come together.

ADDENDUM: I did have to prep by buying some esoteric ingredients, though: so-called "chili crisp" and something called "black vinegar." Both were available as next-day deliveries via Coupang, so I didn't have to resort to weird substitutes.

in case you missed it

President Brandon's recent visit to East Palestine, Ohio, did not go well:

What kind of idiot waits over a year to visit a disaster-ravaged American town? The kind who prefers to gallivant, half-consciously, to other countries as part of his America-last agenda. How's that working out for everyone?

Tucker, Putin, and China

I knew Chris Chappell was going to harp on the Tucker-Putin interview for what Putin said about China—including things that upset China:

South Cackalacky

The South Carolina GOP primary is happening today, and we're about to see how badly Nikki Haley loses in her home state. While Haley, in some polls, seems to be performing well against Joe Biden, she has to get past Trump first to become the GOP nominee for president, and thus far, she has lost in every primary/caucus. "But this time, she'll make it" is the battle cry of the doomed and the detached-from-reality, but I guess hope springs eternal for the irrational. Haley wouldn't be my choice: she's in China's pocket, has flip-flopped on a large number of issues, and is practically a Democrat when it comes to hot-button topics like abortion. Her hawkish neocon stance makes her a good foreign-policy candidate for two decades ago before Trump rolled in with his MAGA agenda, which harks back to an early-90s Democrat policy (Clintonian) agenda: pro-worker, America first, pro-security, anti-war. I don't know what the margin will be, but I'm pretty confident Nikki Haley will lose. And given what we know about her irrationality, she will fight on despite the nose-bloodying she's about to get.

not black first

Not a popular message these days, but it should be heard. Again and again.

1/2 a staircase today, but a 10K-stat day

I'll be doing a long walk later today (most convenient and shortest route = to Jamshil Bridge and back), but I noticed my site counter was almost at the 10K-visits mark. February's been as good a month as January was a bad month. I have over 80K visits for the month, with the past couple of weeks being over-4K days. I suspect the visits will build to a crescendo, then March will start off with barely anything before building up again. This change from my usual 600-plus/day average is going to leave me pampered. I doubt there was a sudden shift in blogging quality; maybe I simply got noticed, a bit, such that I'm no longer laboring in obscurity.

Or maybe it's all bots.

Tim Pool jeers as Bud Light goes insane

No mercy.

Friday, February 23, 2024

falsely accused and fighting back

Forgive the AI voice. It seems to be the new normal.

the very, very silly idea

At some point, I'm going to migrate from this old Blogger/Blogspot platform to Squarespace, which has all sorts of tools for subscriptions, product-hawking (books, mugs, tee shirts, etc.), and other forms of monetization. Maybe I could make myself, at least in a low-grade manner, into a business, right?

Anyway, I was thinking along those lines when a really awful marketing idea hit me this morning—an idea so awful that I thought I'd share it with you. It has to do with blog (or website-section) titles.

Kevin's Walk = a blog about my distance walking

Kevin's Work = a blog about my current fitness endeavors

Kevin's Wok = a blog about cooking: successes, failures, recipes

And while we're at it, what about Kevin's Hawk as the place where I hawk my wares? Hawk sort of rhymes with Walk, but it violates the implicit "W—k" rule that the other words follow. Or maybe it's all just too terrible to contemplate. Your thoughts?

le mystère de la cuvette sale

I went into the men's room yesterday to sit upon the porcelain throne and think great thoughts, but as occasionally happens, I was faced with the sight of a crime: a big turd splatter sat inside the toilet bowl, looking for all the world like the aftermath of a grenade explosion, and the water level was negligible. This could only mean one thing: the turd had originally been big enough to clog the toilet when it was time to flush. Someone had flushed; the turd had blocked the drainage; the person had freaked as the water level rose; after the person skedaddled, the water had slowly drained down, but because of the blockage, the bowl hadn't been able to fill back up. So: just an exploded turd and a dry toilet bowl.

Admittedly, I've been the cause of this sort of turd-blockage moment myself. Toilets clog all the time in Seoul. And if there's no plunger in the cubicle, there's nothing to do but leave the cubicle and pray that (1) no one sees you leave that cubicle and (2) the next person to enter the stall has the common sense to look down at the toilet before settling his ass cheeks into a startlingly high pool of shitty water. But in yesterday's case, there was a plunger, and this thought sparked the question, Why didn't the person before me use it?

Several theories immediately came to mind. First, if the previous person were an adult, he may simply have freaked and left right away to preserve his dignity. Koreans find all sorts of ways to escape responsibility, which I suppose only makes them human. (But in this culture, it really kills a person to have to accept blame for something, even a little thing, so avoiding blame while saving face has become an art form.) Second, if the previous person were a student (and we have a cram school on our floor, so plenty of kids use the restroom), the kid almost definitely freaked and, not knowing how to use a plunger, simply ran away.

The whole question of being unable to use a plunger (which could be an adult-male problem as well) takes us even deeper down the cultural rabbit hole. Korean sons are, stereotypically, pampered like royalty (lots of "Don't worry, Mom'll do it for you/걱정마, 엄마 해 줄게" during childhood), so it's not until they go through their required military service that they actually start to learn how to do basic things for themselves.* When you think about it, it's quite likely that any Korean guy, student or adult, would have no clue how to use a plunger. Another reason just to leave the scene of the crime.

So since there was a plunger in my stall, I hit the flush lever to refill the bowl with water (it didn't overflow, thank Satan), then proceeded to pump away with the plunger. Ten reps, and I'd done a set of plunger pushes. The water level sank steadily, indicating that I'd broken through the blockage at least partially if not completely. A second flush to confirm victory, and I was finally able to sit down and think my great thoughts.

The more I reflect on it, the more I believe the culprit was a kid. In cases where you work in a building that also has a math or language academy in it, it's almost always the kids who bring these sorts of disasters.


*To be fair, I recall being a college freshman and discovering that a lot of my dorm's fellow occupants—especially the guys—had no common sense about anything, e.g., how to cook, how to iron clothes, how to clean up puke. Many American guys, or so it seemed to me, were also pretty lost without their mothers there to help them. Independence takes work.

focus on Letitia James

Attorney General Letitia James is yet another corrupt individual leading a crusade against Donald Trump. She just won a temporary victory with Judge Engoron's $355 million ruling against Trump in a civil-fraud trial. Doug has more:

Alas, the "beatdown" in question didn't happen in time to save Trump from this nonsense ruling. But he's a billionaire, so he'll live to fight another day.

Portuguese ructions

Portugal is in the news after a corruption probe unearthed dirt, and several members of the Portuguese Cabinet were arrested, leading to a snap election this coming March to replace them. Michael Heaver has more on this and the rise of the anti-EU Chega Party:

1.25 staircases

I finally broke the 1-staircase barrier today and did 1.25 staircases, i.e., I did an entire staircase from B1 to 26, then went back to B1 and did the stairs up to the 6th floor. This particular run is the hardest because the distance between floors isn't uniform.

B1 to 1 = 4 flights, 9 steps each = 36 steps (shops/restaurants; lobby)
1 to 2 = 3 flights, 9 steps each = 27 steps (lobby; more shops + salons; admin offices)
2 to 3 = 3 flights, 9 steps each = 27 steps (admin; gym space)
3 to 4 = 4 flights, 8 steps each = 32 steps (gym space)
4 to 5 = 4 flights, 10 steps each = 40 steps (gym; 5th = residential)
5 to 6 = 2 flights, 9 steps each = 18 steps (residential the rest of the way)

From 5 to 26, the residential floors are all the same height and stair length: 18 steps between floors. It's like that the rest of the way up. Going from B1 to 6 is as much a psychological hurdle as it is a physical one: there's more distance between floors.

So when calculating where I am during any staircase-training session, there are two ways to do it: (1) raw number of steps or (2) by floor number. As you see, though, when I say B1 to 6 constitutes a "quarter staircase," it's technically more than a quarter because many of the floors are 1.5 or 2 times the height of "normal" floors (from 5 to 26). But it's hard to mentally calculate the raw number of steps while I'm huffing and puffing, so I've arbitrarily reckoned my progress this way:

B1 to 6 = 0.25 staircase
B1 to 14 = 0.5 staircase
B1 to 22 = 0.75 staircase
B1 to 26 = 1.0 staircase

In terms of raw steps, the total is 558 from B1 to 26. Divide that by 2, and technically, the halfway point is at Step 279, which is the landing between the 10th and 11th floors. Halfway to that is the technical 0.25-staircase mark.

You might ask yourself: why did you set the 14th floor as the "0.5" mark and not the 13th? Easy. That's because I live on the 14th floor, so if I'm doing 0.5 staircase (or 1.5, or 2.5 staircases), I can end there and just go back to my apartment without using the elevator.

While it was a small victory to reach 1.25 staircases today, I now know that that's my new minimum. So next week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I'll have to do at least 1.25 staircases. Sometime in March, I'll bump it up to 1.5 staircases (1 full staircase + B1 to 14), then maybe in April, I'll be doing 2 full staircases. The weather will be substantially warmer by then, so doing this exercise before the sun comes out is paramount. Heat is going to kill me otherwise. I'm going to be a sopping, sweaty mess. And if heat becomes a big issue, I might have to scale my progress back, reaching 3 staircases only in the fall once summer is done.

Normally, when I reach a new milestone, there's this feeling of grim victory, but today, I was just ready to get in the elevator and go to the 14th floor when I finished. I was tired, hanging my head, and everything felt dim and hollow. We'll see how all of this goes next week. Tomorrow and Sunday, it'll just be half-staircases as I rest. MWF are my "on" days. This Saturday, I hope to do a longish walk.

NB: for comparison, the staircase walk up the flank of Namsan is about 1100 steps. So two apartment staircases is about the same as (or maybe a little more than) one trip up Namsan. Of course, Namsan is relentless; there's only one flat stretch where a person can pause to catch his breath, and that's fairly close to the top. My secret to conquering my building's staircase is to pause for an extra breath or two at every flight. For my money, the stairs are the hardest way up Namsan; I prefer the bus roads, which are easier: the bus-road slopes are longer, but not as steep and twisty as the stairs. There are other trail-like paths up the mountain; I know only a couple of them, but John McCrarey used to explore many of those trails when he lived close to the mountain. He could take you on a hike that'd get you breathing. He likes to slap up a photo of a hike he and I did some years back. I had backslid and was out of shape when we did the hike, and he took a pic of me winded and bent nearly double with fatigue. Despite being small for a mountain, Namsan gets you in good cardiovascular shape for sure. Back when nearby Yongsan Garrison was still a thing, there used to be US Army guys who'd run up the steps several times to stay in shape. Running up Namsan is unimaginable to me.

NB2: another benefit of increasing my staircase load is the greater amount of time it takes. Up to now, a single staircase has taken me, at most, about 15 minutes to do. Now, at 1.25 staircases, my heart is beating and my lungs are working for closer to 20 minutes—more like a real, legitimate workout. And all of this strengthens my heart, which is something the docs at the hospital told me I had to worry about three years ago when I had my stroke.

Styx on the Five Eyes scandal

Countries are looking for better ways to be able to spy on their own citizens:

the death of the mainstream media

You did it to yourselves, guys. You lost the pubic trust with all of your lying.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

dafuq?? the govt might outlaw church security

What the hell is this nonsense? And in the wake of a church shooting! The government might outlaw church-security teams? What are these morons smoking?

spying on Trump = "conspiracy theory"—really?

the Drinker's thoughts on "Deadpool 3"

Personally, I don't mind the idea that Hollywood/Marvel might finally be dying as entertainment becomes more individualized. People want brain-numbing entertainment because they can't stand the hollow echo inside their own heads; it makes them anxious. If you have the ability to entertain yourself, though, then you won't miss Hollywood at all—and I say that as someone who generally loves movies. The Drinker asks, in the video below, whether "Deadpool 3" can save Hollywood, and my answer is that I don't care. Let it rot.

Dave Cullen also has thoughts:

Nikki is insane

A long litany of why Nikki Haley is toxic:

"sanctuary cities" mishandle self-made crisis

winter wonderland

Just February reminding us that it's still February:

shot from the 14th floor

When I do the stairs in the early morning, I no longer bother to put on my contact lenses because, on days like today, I'm more likely to just crawl back into bed after exercising. This return-to-the-bed is a habit I'm trying to break, though, but it involves getting to sleep early enough. My goal time is 10:30 p.m. so I can arise refreshed at 5:30 a.m., with seven hours' sleep under my belt, but I usually get to bed a bit after midnight, get up a bit after 6, do my staircase, then go back to bed to make up for lost sleep. Not good. My exercise (and other activities) schedule will eventually expand, over the coming months, to include the rest of my chosen syllabus—heavy clubs, dumbbells, kettlebells, elastic bands, calisthenics, and animal/primal flow.* But all of that is contingent on my getting to bed on time at night.

Today should have been a walking day, but you see how it is outside. This afternoon, we'll be up to 5ºC, so I hope a lot of the accumulation will melt, and it'll be a clear weekend. I want to walk either to the Jamshil Bridge and back (14K) or down to Bundang (18K). We'll see what Mother Nature has in store for us, Precious.


*I'll be adding other activities to the schedule as well, like working on my book project and learning Spanish for my trip to Spain to do the Camino de Santiago in about five years.

two from Corridor Crew

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

a dose of Chappell

Here're some Chris Chappell vids for your delectation:

Tulsi and Vivek make Trump's short list

This article has an embedded tweet announcing at least part of Donald Trump's short list for vice president. On that list: Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, Byron Donalds, Kristi Noem, and Tulsi Gabbard. So: the raging Indians are on board (Tulsi and Vivek). Awesome. And I'm fine with DeSantis, Donalds, Noem, and Scott. I don't think this is the complete list, but if I were to rank them my own way, from my top choice to my bottom choice, I'd order them this way:

1. Vivek Ramaswamy (intellect, agenda, articulateness, energy)
2. Ron DeSantis (agenda, experience, articulateness)
3. Tulsi Gabbard (rightward-evolving agenda, experience, articulateness)
4. Byron Donalds (raw aggression, experience, priorities, articulateness, energy)
5. Kristi Noem (extreme loyalty, priorities, articulateness)
6. Tim Scott (extreme loyalty, priorities)

Tim Scott is a good man who deserves better than last place in this ranking. It's just that I like the people above Scott a lot more. Vivek would be the most vociferous, articulate defender of Trump; DeSantis has governing experience and a track record of mostly the same priorities as Trump; Tulsi isn't a Republican, but she'd be an awesome left-field pick who is also smart and articulate, as well as an attractor of the female vote (I'd also love to see a veep rematch between her and Kamala Harris for a second thrashing); Byron Donalds has been a forceful congressman, and watching him grill Democrats during hearings has been an evil pleasure; Kristi Noem doesn't register at the national level as much as #1-#4 do, but she's been a consistent pit bull for Trump almost on the order of Kari Lake; Tim Scott got compliments from Trump for being such a staunch defender, but he's a bit low-key otherwise.

These are all good choices. I'd be happy with any of them, especially #1 to #4.

Now, I'm morbidly curious to see whether Biden still plans to run with Kamala, or if he's got a Newsom up his sleeve. No one on the left strikes me as an intellectual powerhouse. Biden seems ready to run like a coward from any debate; he'll stick to scripts. So it'll be up to the VP candidates to bring the interest and the fireworks while the old lions prowl about.

upside down energy policy

Stupid is as stupid does.

desperate to shut you up

You will be hungry and like it. Great opportunity to lose weight, fellow fatties!

dark implications for ethical vegetarians

Vegetal intelligence/sentience. I keep saying it's happening, that scientists will eventually confirm plant consciousness, and the confirmation seems, slowly, to be happening.

ADDENDUM: terms like intelligence, sentience, and consciousness have a lot of overlap, but they are not necessarily the same thing. A very (overly?) simple, pragmatic definition of intelligence might be problem-solving ability.* This is a definition that I can imagine a lot of engineers, themselves hardcore pragmatists, might like. (There will be persnickety exceptions, of course.) By this reckoning, something like a 1980s-era Texas Instruments calculator could be said to possess a limited amount of intelligence. The same could be said of the chess app on your phone. The larger implication of this admittedly simplistic definition is that intelligence might not imply consciousness. It could, in fact, be a faculty divorced from consciousness. So if we do end up developing true AI that possesses something like the human g (general intelligence), there's no "zombie problem": we know the AI won't be conscious. 

And since I've mentioned the words conscious and consciousness several times, let's deal with that term next. First, we note that there's no universally agreed-upon definition of consciousness (as is true with intelligence). Most people, however, will likely agree that the terms consciousness and mind overlap almost entirely. Whether consciousness/mind appears epiphenomenally from matter or is its own special substance is a centuries-long debate with no resolution currently in sight, but this is the issue that separates the materialists from the substance dualists (or just dualists). Consciousness is multidimensional in that it includes both logical faculties like deduction, reasoned anticipation and emotive faculties like fear, happiness, and anger. Consciousness is polymorphic and multilayered—a sophisticated phenomenon poetically encapsulated in old ideas like a divine spark or, for the dualists, a "ghost in the machine." What is consciousness? It's the whole field of emotion plus cognition: it's reasoning, understanding, learning, anticipating, remembering, deducing, associating, analyzing, synthesizing, applying, awareness, and all the rest, including feelings like anger, sadness, joy, happiness, boredom, etc. Bernard Lonergan is a good source for people wanting a more philosophical and non-scientific look at consciousness.

Lastly, there's sentience. I see at least three ways to look at sentience; there are undoubtedly more. (1) Going back to the word's Latin roots sensus/sentire, we can say that sentience has to do with feeling. A being that can feel or emote is sentient. (2) But others will say that sentience is more than emotion: it's a kind of intelligent awareness of one's surroundings, as well as the ability to do conscious things like reason, etc. We can thus see how this second definition of sentience is related to consciousness. (3) A third way of looking at sentience is as self-awareness (that implies consciousness): the feeling of "I" or ego. When a person is injured, there's an immediate, instinctual feeling of "I am in pain." And while we can't confirm this, the ego-feeling might also obtain for cats, dogs, and other members of the animal kingdom. For centuries, Buddhists have certainly been willing to ascribe sentience to living creatures, using the collective label sentient beings (중생/joongsaeng in Korean).

For this reason, ethical vegetarians eat plants because, up to now, they've reasoned that plants aren't conscious, aren't sentient, or aren't intelligent. But more and more, scientists are building a case for plant consciousness or sentience. And what will vegetarians and vegans do then? When I first posted about this subject on the blog, I did it in a whimsical, joking way, but these days, the question has taken on greater seriousness, and I genuinely wonder what sort of pretzel-logic ethical vegetarians will have to use to justify their diet.


*See a broader definition of intelligence here.

against all logic, Haley is staying in the race "indefinitely"

The woman is insane, utterly divorced from reality. Why? Because the human ego has no limits. Former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley's warmongering neocon brand has already been rejected by the Republican base, but when confronted with this hard fact, Haley deflects with some lame form of "That's not how I see it." Good Christ.


Ahead of another primary blowout in her home state, Haley vows to continue "a campaign in futility"

Quick Hit:

Nikki Haley held a rally in South Carolina today, where she vowed to stay in the race indefinitely. However, her announcement comes as her own campaign has failed to articulate a path to victory in a single primary state, all of which she is trailing by double digits. Many political observers and GOP operatives are beginning to criticize her persisting campaign efforts, which they see as directing resources away from the general election efforts of Republicans.

Key Details:

- Diminishing Returns: Haley's campaign, trailing significantly in every primary state, faces increasing scrutiny for its perceived impracticality and the diminishing likelihood of disrupting Trump's lead.

- Resource Drain: Critics argue Haley's ongoing campaign diverts crucial funding and attention from consolidating Republican efforts against the Democrats, potentially jeopardizing the party's strategic positioning for the general election.

- Strategic Misstep: Haley's refusal to acknowledge the practical limits of her candidacy is seen by some as a miscalculation, prioritizing personal ambition over party success and electoral strategy.

Diving Deeper:

Nikki Haley's steadfast determination to remain in the Republican presidential race has sparked a growing chorus of criticism within the party, with many viewing her continued candidacy as a futile endeavor that could inadvertently harm the GOP's prospects in the upcoming general election. Her decision comes at a time when unity and strategic focus are paramount for Republicans aiming to unseat the current administration, yet Haley's campaign, far from rallying support, seems increasingly quixotic.

Haley's refusal to drop out led Alex Pfeiffer, spokesman for Make America Great Again Inc. to ask in a statement, "Is Nikki trying to replace Kamala on Biden's ticket? As unbelievable as it may be, it’s the only logical explanation for what has become a campaign in futility. Every dollar spent by Nikki Haley is a dollar spent in support of Joe Biden and the Democrats."

The criticism hinges on the argument that Haley's efforts, while perhaps well-intentioned, lack a realistic path to victory. With every primary state showing her trailing by significant margins, the question arises: what tangible outcome does Haley aim to achieve? This persistence in the face of overwhelming odds is perceived not as resilience but as a potentially damaging distraction, pulling resources, both financial and strategic, away from where they are most needed.

Maybe Haley wants to be praised for her "grit." Well, there's grit, and there's stupidity. It takes wisdom to tell the difference, and Haley is sorely lacking in the wisdom department.

three questions for the left from Thomas Sowell

arrrr, matey!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Machete Man!

As you can see by the orientation of the machete's handle, the guy is holding the blunt end of the blade to the woman's neck. Well, if you're gonna die stupid, go all in!

ADDENDUM: this post was fine until YouTube suddenly clamped down with an age restriction. So yeah, click over to YouTube to watch the video. YouTube seems to have figured out a way to simultaneously throttle a video and bring more views to itself. Weird.

Bragg vs. Trump

civil-fraud injustice: some details

Liberal Hivemind has some specifics regarding the NYC civil-fraud ruling against Trump:

can most women knock out most men?


this won't change the stereotypes, but...

A Brit reacts to "25 common misconceptions about America" that non-Americans believe:

the acorn freakout—hilarious

A cop thinks he hears a gunshot, which turns out to be an acorn dropping onto a car (maybe). He screams in terror and unloads his pistol. No one is hurt; the cop at first thought he'd been shot, but the whole thing turned out to be one huge overreaction to nothing.

More from Donut Operator:

Monday, February 19, 2024

Jordan Peterson-related videos


Hollywood is a woke pile of shit, Harvard and the rest of academe can no longer be respected, and now, it's New York City's turn to lose half the country's respect. What a shame. NYC is a cultural, historical, and culinary mecca—a place we associate with fame, glitz, and economic might. The city's been through good times and bad—at its best under a 90s-era Rudy Giuliani, and at its worst under ineffectual nincompoops like David Dinkins and that pizza-with-a-fork De Blasio fellow. Now, thanks to Judge Arthur Engoron and NY District Attorney Letitia James, the stupid and bogus civil-fraud case against Donald Trump has resulted in a ruling saying that Trump must pay $350-some million. Ridiculous. And what's the result?

The nation's hard-working truckers, most of whom are Trumpistas who now have some practice at being activists, are mad, and they're boycotting NYC.

As supplies dry up,* New Yorkers will soon have to learn to fend for themselves, or so I hope. They aren't ready for that. I'm sure they'll find crooked, underhanded ways to get by, but it'll be at the cost of what little dignity they have, and it won't be by the sweat of their brow or through their own native know-how. They'll scramble and scrabble desperately like rats in the rat-torture bucket, becoming more frenzied as the bucket heats up, digging ever deeper into the flesh of the tortured, which in this image would be New York City itself.

Related: "New York is now dead to me."

(The blog title is a "John Wick: Chapter 4" movie reference.)


*I'm obviously assuming this becomes a movement on the order of the Bud Light boycott. It might not. Ideally, the movement should spread beyond truckers. Anyone who normally ferries any supplies to NYC should stop now. Stop the visits—and stop the tourism, too. This will seem as though the movement is somehow punishing innocent New Yorkers, and to some extent, collateral damage is inevitable. But if it motivates New Yorkers to rise up and shout at Engoron until he finally retrieves his sanity, then it'll have been worth it. Meanwhile, I'm not too worried about NYC's residents. So many of them are too-far-gone wokies for me to care what happens to them at this point. I feel sorry for the NYCers who, during man-on-the-street interviews, have claimed they'll be voting for Trump. But that's about the only demographic to rate as an exception. I don't wish death on anyone (vice versa is not true), but it's up to these people to figure out how much of a boa-constrictor squeeze they're willing to tolerate.

Aussies see rabbits as rats

Something I never pondered because I didn't know it was a thing: why don't Australians eat rabbits despite the enormous number of them?

yet another reminder to my commenters

Dear commenters,

Remember that I have a comments policy, which is found just above the comment window. Note that it says I do not allow anonymous comments. Even if your comment is substantive and polite, it'll get deleted if I don't see a "signature" of some kind. 

Please, for the love of Jeebus, read the policy before you comment! I hate deleting perfectly good comments just because someone didn't pay attention.


the wisdom of Konstantin

Konstantin Kisin with some thoughts:

beginning this week

This week, I'm starting my revised regime: walking up the staircase every single day, but doing a full workout only on MWF. This morning, I did the full staircase without stopping. Tomorrow, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, I'll do a half-staircase (from B1 to the 14th floor). By this coming Friday, though, I ought to be up to 1.25 staircases (B1 to 26, then B1 to 6). Meantime, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I'll be distance walking.

While I don't want to schedule my progress that rigidly, I think I could be up to 2 full staircases by early April. The goal is to be doing 3 full staircases by the summer—and by summer, I mean by July 1. It's going to be harsh, doing the stairs in hot weather. But my lungs ought to be ready for the burden by then. Fingers and tentacles crossed.

a few from PJW

How is Iceland so safe?

About that Clapham, UK, attacker (illegal immigrant, of course):

De-tatting and reclothing women to give them back some dignity?

The sad state of UK health care (nothing to do with immigration!):

Is Poland prepping for war with Russia?

PJW on Biden's mental competence:

Inviting illegals into your home as something like indentured servants...?

Pro-EU globalist Donald Tusk (Poland) takes a hard line against mass immigration and cites the US border crisis:

"Compulsory purchase": turning out native residents in favor of migrants:

Watch out for AI:

was Radagast strong?

I kind of liked Radagast the Brown in the Hobbit movies, and I wouldn't have minded seeing more of him and his Saint Francis-ish, Witch-King-fighting ways. The following LOTR-nerd video delves into the question of Radagast's power.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Joe Rogan, red-pilled

Has Joe Rogan finally left the left?

trucker power


BREAKING REPORT: Truckers Plan to Stop Shipments to NYC in Response to Political Hack Judge Engoron’s $350 Million Ruling Against Trump and His Sons

Truckers to the rescue—again.

Truckers bravely exposed some of the worst COVID shutdowns in the world when they parked their trucks in [Ottawa] to protest the iron-fisted approach used against citizens by the Justin Trudeau regime. Truckers in the US showed solidarity for their Canadian neighbors and helped block shipping between the US and Canada in Detroit, Michigan. Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was being considered for Joe Biden’s VP, quickly threatened arrest for truckers who dared to block the Ambassador Bridge.

American truckers are now reportedly threatening to stop deliveries into New York City over the grotesque $350 million judgment against President Trump and his sons Don Jr. and Eric by partisan hack Judge Engoron on Friday.

Aside from first responders, is there another profession in the United States that proudly wears patriotism on its sleeves like the American trucker?

An American trucker who goes by “Chicago Ray” had this to say in a video he shared on social media, where he explained why truckers across America are planning to stop delivering to NYC.

“I’ve been on the radio talking to drivers for the last hour and fifteen minutes, and I’ve talked to at least ten drivers going the other way. I’m heading down from South Wisconsin. And they’re [other truckers] gonna start refusing loads to New York City, starting on Monday for NYC. I talked to about three guys that I work with who texted the boss and told him they’re not going to New York City.

I don’t know how far across the country this is or how many truckers are gonna start denying loads to go to New York City, but I’ll tell you what—you f**k around and find out!”

Okay? We’re tired of you motherf**kin’ leftists f**king around with Donald Trump.

You know, motherf**kers are starting to get tired of this shit—and our bosses don’t care if we’re denying the loads into New York; we’ll go somewhere else.”

I don’t wish nothin’ on nobody, but what I’m hearing—this is real!

Ya know—we’ll see. Leave Trump the f**k alone with the bullshit! Alright? You know you ain’t got shit on Trump, so cut the bullshit! He’s gonna win this motherf**ker on appeal, but it’s still—you know how bullshit! It’s election interference.

I hate to say it, but Truckers are for Trump. We’re like 95% – 96% out here—-all Trump. Ain’t no motherf**kers for Biden!

Committed motherfuckers.  Good for them. Engoron must pay. Letitia must pay.

ADDENDUM: not sure why he "hate[s] to say it." Say it loud and proud!

Bizarro World: Judge Engoron says Trump must pay $355 million

It won't happen, of course: there are appeals and other measures, but Judge Arthur Engoron has ordered Donald Trump to pay $355 million in Trump's civil fraud file—the one relating to the supposed illegal overvaluing of his own properties—this despite that fact that all parties in those real-estate dealings ended up satisfied: the complaint that had been brought forward had no complainant. Oh, well. We'll see what happens next because this isn't over.

so "time blindness" is a thing

What the hell...?

so close

Why am I even announcing this? Just to write something, I guess.

I finally finished adding the captions from the notes I'd left on my phone during last year's walk. Now, it's time to add in the rest of the captions, and Kevin's Walk 7 will finally be complete. Can I do this by the end of the month? We'll see.

when your brain is leaking out of your ears

Poor Joe Biden. Fear of being called ageist hasn't stopped people from talking openly and harshly about his mental decline (I include myself in that number). We'd normally prefer to show our elders some respect in their sunset years, but when the current occupant of the Oval Office is a serial liar and a criminal desperately clutching the levers of power and so ego-driven that he won't step aside to let smarter, saner, more verbally gifted people run, then the gloves are off, baby. Below are some videos on Biden's mental acuity.

Biden's criminality in focus:

American public life just seems to be one big rehash of The Bonfire of the Vanities.

a whole lot more Fani

Fani Willis, the Georgia-based district attorney who's trying to bring Trump down on racketeering charges, is going down in flames, and people are remarking on her unprofessionalism while on the stand, her arrogant declarations of "I'm not the one on trial," and the mounting evidence of her illegal conduct, both with her funds and her lover, which she's trying mightily to deny through the use of squirrely language. She should have resigned weeks ago, but as one commenter says, her ego won't let her. Whom the gods destroy, first they make proud. Here are some of the most recent videos about her flameout.

Revenge of the Shit

I honestly don't know why this made me laugh so much.

"Dream Scenario": review

Molly (Dylan Gelula) has been having intense sex dreams about Paul (Nicolas Cage).
Imagine that random people in your locality, then all over the world, start dreaming about you. At first, these dreams are fairly benign, with you appearing in people's imaginations as a passive observer. But as time goes on, the nature of the dreams changes, and you become a more proactive dream-character, sometimes engaging in intense sex with the dreamers, sometimes outright torturing and murdering them. Then one day, the dreams about you end. What happens to your life during that time? Celebrity has been forced upon you, bringing crazies and fangirls out of the woodwork. Some want to kill you; some want to fuck you. And as the dreams turn into nightmares, people become uncomfortable around you, as if you were actually raping and murdering them. It gets to the point where, if you're minding your own business in a restaurant, the server asks you to leave because you're making other customers uncomfortable. You have a job as a professor in a midrange college, and your students, who had initially treated you as a celebrity, stop attending your classes when the dreams become violent. You have a family, and they're suffering the effects of your fame and your infamy, too. What happens to your sanity? All of this is seemingly beyond your control.

That's the basic setup for "Dream Scenario," a 2023 dramedy by Norwegian director Kristoffer Borgli. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Michael Cera, Tim Meadows, Dylan Gelula, Lily Bird, Jessica Clement, Marnie McPhail, Krista Bridges, and Dylan Baker.

Cage is Paul Matthews, a put-upon professor of evolutionary biology, often a doormat for more-ambitious colleagues and associates. Paul is disturbed when he discovers people have been dreaming about him, starting with his younger daughter Sophie (Bird), who says that her dad does nothing in her dreams except passively witness events. At the beginning of the film, Sophie dreams she's being taken up into the sky while her dad merely stands there. Most of Paul's college students also report having dreams, and in every dream, Paul is merely an observer, whether the dream involves a raging earthquake, or a person painfully extracting his own tooth, or a dreamer who's being pursued by what appears to be a blood-soaked crazy person. Paul and his wife Janet (Nicholson) meet Claire (McPhail), an ex-girlfriend of Paul's who now works as a blogger. Paul and Claire later meet for coffee, with Paul being vaguely hopeful that Claire might want to rekindle a romance, but she just wants to ask Paul whether she can write about her dreams-with-Paul. Word of Claire's article gets out, and thousands of people suddenly recognize Paul as the person they've been dreaming about. Thousands more claim to recognize Paul, but this could just be a form of mass hysteria. One unstable man breaks into Paul's home, and when Paul starts working with an agency that wants to promote him as "the world's most interesting man," one of the young ladies at the agency, Molly (Gelula), confesses that her dreams of Paul are intense sexual fantasies. Tipsy after a night at a bar, the two retire to Molly's apartment, and she asks Paul to role-play her fantasy of him. As the scenario heats up, Paul accidentally farts, then comes in his pants and farts again, utterly ruining the moment. Paul, who had already had pangs of conscience about being with Molly, leaves in shame. The situation continues to intensify as people's dreams curdle into nightmares, and Paul suddenly finds himself no longer a celebrity, but an object of hatred and loathing. Vandals spray-paint LOSER on his SUV, and when he attempts to sit quietly at a restaurant, the server tells him he needs to leave. When Paul refuses, a burly man walks up and spits in his plate of food, causing a brawl. Paul's daughters are being teased and bullied at school, and his wife eventually ejects him from her home, where she's lived since childhood. How can a scenario like this end? I won't spoil it for you, but things take a bizarre turn into science fiction, and the movie ends on a sad, poignant note.

As a comedy, "Dream Scenario" has maybe one laugh-out-loud moment: the abortive sex scene with Molly, in which everything goes intestinally and urethrally wrong for Paul. It's the one shining instance of broad comedy in a movie with decidedly Scandinavian sensibilities when it comes to tone and pacing. Director Borgli, who reminds me a lot of Ruben Östlund (here, here, and here), is good at creating awkward tension; I felt exceedingly uncomfortable while watching much of the film, so this wasn't a moviegoing experience that I enjoyed all that much. The actors all hit their marks; I remember Julianne Nicholson best for her role on "Law & Order," and she assumes the role of the pressured and possibly unfaithful wife well. The scriptwriting also does a good job of making you feel the injustice of being Paul: he didn't willfully project himself into people's heads, so in what sense is the dream scenario his fault? At the same time, the consequences of fame and a fickle public rain down not only upon him but also upon his wife and daughters, who all experience ramifications at work and school.

It should be noted that not everyone dreams of Paul including, for much of the movie, Paul himself. Paul eventually does have a nightmare in which he's hunted down by an aggressive version of himself who's armed with a crossbow. Meanwhile, wife Janet never once dreams of Paul (at one point, she asks why that might be), and Paul's elder daughter Hannah (Clement) doesn't seem to dream about him, either. Paul's friend at the university, Brett (Meadows), also doesn't dream of Paul, and it's implied that Paul's colleague Richard (Baker) likewise has no such dreams, but Richard's wife Carlota (Bridges) has been having horrible nightmares. So the nature of the dream-phenomenon remains vague: how much is created and controlled by Paul, and how much is just random? Such questions seem beside the point: "Dream Scenario" feels more like a character study, with the dreams acting as a catalyst for discussion.

In terms of grand themes, the most obvious one is the fickle nature of fame, which the movie explores avidly, depicting how a famous person easily loses control of his life, reputation, and public image, and showing how the people who worshiped him one minute can viciously turn on him and vandalize his car in a heartbeat—even if he hasn't done anything to them. There are also related themes like cancel culture: Paul's incident at the restaurant is a violent version of what happened with Sarah Huckabee Sanders's ejection from a restaurant because of what the owners thought of her, not because of anything specific that she had done to them. Sex fantasies are also toyed with—not just in the awkward scene between Paul and Molly, but also in a scene in which Janet confesses a weird fantasy she has of Paul rescuing her from a dangerous situation while he's wearing that overlarge Talking Heads suit. Another major theme is a direct critique of college students who are overly sensitive and in need of "safe spaces" these days; the movie takes a less-than-sympathetic view of such kids. Finally, the title "Dream Scenario" itself has several layers of meaning, the most literal being the "dream scenario" we see playing out before us, but it's also many people's dream scenario to become famous, and this happens to the unremarkable Paul without any effort on his part.

Having seen three of Ruben Östlund's films, I think I have a bead on the Scandinavian cinematic sensibility: comedies are never purely broad comedies (as you might find in surreal English or zany French films); there's a confusing mix of tones ranging from humorous to serious to somber. Kristoffer Borgli is Norwegian, and Ruben Östlund is Swedish, but they both overlap in terms of wanting to make audiences uncomfortable, using a film's story to hold a mirror up to the viewers in an attempt to make them see the things they hate about themselves. I was frequently shifting around uncomfortably while watching "Dream Scenario." Paul Matthews is an ineffective nebbish: a former associate steals a crucial idea of his and writes a book about it while he passively lets her do it. As Paul fumes with resentment, the dreamers all around him start having nightmares, implying he does have at least some control over what others are experiencing. At the same time, the whole dream-phenomenon starts and ends utterly randomly, implying there are things about this weird psychic connection that are utterly beyond Paul's control. Despite Paul's lack of control, his wife thinks he ought to apologize to everyone for what's happening, which frustrates Paul. Watching Paul's helplessness made me think of moments in my own life—even very recent moments—when I could have been more principled or had more backbone.

In all, I came away thinking Nicolas Cage and the rest of the cast did a fine job in all of their roles, but I have to wonder whether Scandinavian-style comedies really work for me. They do and they don't. A film is supposed to make you feel things: that's its primary purpose—the evocation of emotion. And I don't mind at all if a film also ends up being thought-provoking. There's nothing wrong with being cerebral. But if the primary emotion is one of discomfort, is the viewing experience worth it? I can't give "Dream Scenario" a hearty recommendation. I respected it, but I'm unsure how much I liked it.

arise and walk

"On your deathbed, when you die, you will receive total consciousness."

Saturday, February 17, 2024

that porous border


Despite continued and growing inflation socking their wallets, more adults now cite the border crisis as the top reason they disapprove of President Joe Biden.

More than his personal traits and flaws, such as his age and befuddlement, a just-released Gallup poll said adults disapprove of Biden over critical topics. And of those, immigration is the standout.

“Specific issue-related concerns account for the largest share of Biden critics’ explanations for disapproving of his job performance. Immigration is the most top of mind, at 19%. The next highest is his handling of the economy (9%), followed by inflation (5%),” Gallup said.

Concerns about Biden’s mishandling of the border crisis have been marching up the ladder of reasons adults dislike the president.

It reached a fever pitch this week when House Republicans orchestrated the impeachment of the president’s border chief, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Some key Republicans have said they would like to impeach Biden for the crisis at the border as well.

The new findings were part of Gallup’s latest survey on Biden and the 2024 race. Gallup found that Biden currently has the lowest approval rating of any president at this stage of their first term, 41%.

Biden has recently turned his attention to the border, even calling it a crisis. But he has blamed Republicans for blocking reforms. When he came into office, he immediately dismantled former President Donald Trump’s hawkish border policies, which also did not have approval from Congress but that he was able to impose with executive orders.

Gallup said that when it comes to why voters disapprove of Biden, 47% cited specific problems. Next, at 23%, were his personal characteristics, with most saying that he is “incompetent,” too old and mentally unfit to run the nation.

You'd think that "inflation" would fall under "handling of the economy." But whatever. As for impeaching Biden... it's too late. His term is almost up, and we've got an election around the corner. The GOP, if it had had any balls, should've done something decisive long before now. But we're still dealing with retarded Never-Trump neocons who all need to be voted out or hunted down and put before a firing squad or something. 

Lookin' at you, Mitt. O'Connell. The rest of you fuckers.

who am I?

If you're intent on altering your body in an effort to conform to your cell-deep conviction of what your body should be, then do so with my blessing. But if you've somehow convinced yourself that you've gone from one biological sex to another, I can't help you there. When I see a trans woman flipping her lid after being misgendered, I ponder the irony of how flipping out that aggressively is such a masculine thing to do.

a Freitas parable

Imagine this.

riddle me this

That's not exactly how it is, but it's a good reflection of the dynamic:

1. Vote for stupid policies.
2. Suffer consequences of stupid policies.
3. Move away to avoid those consequences.
4. Rinse and repeat.

And that's how the cancer spreads.

don't know much about... anything

Imagine being so divorced from reality that you don't know that it's possible to pluck ripe fruit right off the tree and eat it. How stupid are city people? And they think the hillbillies are the dumb ones. It's the same bigoted stereotyping you get from the "educated" liberals who think anyone who joins the army must have shit for brains. Those army folks learn (1) to operate some pretty sophisticated equipment, (2) to survive in the wilderness, and (3) to patch themselves up when they get injured. Can you do any of that, or are you one of those folks who say, "There's people to do that"? Good luck being so dependent on others.

Tim Pool is somewhat cruel in his cold assessment of this chick as fat. His point—so he says—is that she's well fed yet has little notion of where her food comes from.

Pierre Poilievre tussles with the press

Pierre Poilievre doesn't take shit from the Canadian press any more than Americans like Donald Trump, Kari Lake, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis take crap from the American press. It's mightly frustrating, but watch this exchange below:

A deeper look at Poilievre's speech and the interview that followed:

Friday, February 16, 2024

kidults and the "infantilization of society"

a lot of China news

commenting is a pain

I've received many, many complaints about how it's so difficult to comment on this blog. This page brings up the idea that, by changing my settings from "pop-up window" to "full page," commenting might be easier. I've made that change, so we'll see.

Those of you already able to comment ought to experience little to no difference in the commenting process, but others of you might see a change. Here's hoping.

ADDENDUM: I've also set my Chrome browser to "allow third-party cookies." I don't know what that does to my security situation, but if it helps to unclog the commenting process for some of my commenters, it may be worth it.

starting next week

I had a bad day yesterday, maybe because I'd ingested too many carbs (waffles and cookies). My heart was jumpy and murmur-y all night despite a lack of caffeine, and I couldn't sleep. Since that threw my sleep schedule off, I decided to do something, this morning, that I would never have done during my recent thirty-day project: I skipped a stairs day. I'm feeling sufficiently guilty that I'm going to do the stairs tonight, but starting next week, I'll be back to doing the stairs every day: a full staircase MWF, and half-staircases (up to the 14th floor) on TRSaSu. TRS will still be walking days (no walk on Sunday), but I apparently need the prospect of staircases to get my lazy ass up every morning. This isn't how I'd hoped things would work out, but on my current program, the non-staircase days are opportunities for me to find excuses to be lazy, and I have to shut that down now.

I'm also supposed to be meeting a distance-walking couple in their 70s this coming April (they've done some huge walks, and they're using my template to walk the Four Rivers trail this year), and while I have no plans to be skinny by then, I want to be in substantially better shape before I meet them. The weather's warming up, and this weekend's looking good for some walking, so let's start with that.

the Drinker's kinder take on Season 2 of "Reacher"

Javier Milei vs. the fakes

No private jet for this guy.

European farmers