Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Styx's Dem Debate 2A postmortem

why you hyphenate phrasal adjectives

I just left a comment over at John McCrarey's blog, which says in part:

Trump and Sharpton ought to settle their current differences by having some sort of weird-hair contest.
Why hyphenate "weird hair"? Because it's a phrasal (or compound) adjective, and the hyphen indicates that the two words together form a single concept. Were I to leave the phrase unhyphenated, you wouldn't know whether it's the hair that's weird or the contest that's weird: is it a (weird hair) contest or a weird (hair contest)?

Rule of thumb: hyphenate all phrasal adjectives that precede the nouns they modify.
     a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
     the now-former Miss Michigan
     a dead-on impersonation
     some history-making events
     his once-loyal centipede
     my dog's Jesus-shaped asshole

Is there an exception to this rule? Arguably, yes: if the phrasal adjective, as is, is completely unambiguous, then a hyphen isn't needed.

The classic example given as an exception is the phrase "high school," as in "a high school band." Hyphenating "high school" might come off as stilted and pretentious, although in all honesty, I'd hyphenate the phrase, anyway, out of an old-school sense of obligation. But many grammar references allow for the "unambiguity" exception, so I'll grudgingly admit that "high school band" is kosher as is, although I personally still read the phrase and hear echoes of a marching band of teen potheads. To me, then, there's at least a whiff of ambiguity.

One famous example of when you must hyphenate is:

The meteorologists attended a violent-weather seminar.

Imagine what happens when the hyphen drops off.

So there you have it: as a rule of thumb, hyphenate phrasal adjectives that precede the nouns they modify, unless you determine the phrasal adjective to be utterly unambiguous.

Oh, yes—one more caveat: if the first word of your phrasal adjective is an adverb ending in -ly, do NOT hyphenate:
     a quickly wilting erection
     her slowly dawning horror
     a seriously ugly scrotal wart
     some strangely alluring lepers

And while we're at it, keep in mind that many words ending in -ly might look like adverbs, but they're actually adjectives, to wit: friendly, kindly, kingly, cowardly, beastly, treacly, bodily, ghostly, godly, squiggly, heavenly, otherworldly, ugly, etc.

Trivia: friendly can legitimately be made into the adverb friendlily.

the great Thomas Sowell on voter fraud

Pretty much every essay that Thomas Sowell writes is an important one, but that said, this is, I think, an important essay. An excerpt from the middle of the piece:

Since blacks and whites both have to show photo I.D. for everything from cashing checks to getting on a plane, why has requiring a photo I.D. for voting caused such shrill outcries?

Unfortunately, this is part of the cynical politics of promoting as much racial polarization and paranoia as possible, in hopes of getting more black voters to turn out to vote for the Democrats.

Nothing is too gross when promoting racial hysteria in an election year. Veteran Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel from Harlem declared that Republicans "don't disagree — they hate!" According to Rangel, "Some of them believe that slavery isn't over and that they won the Civil War!"

Republicans did win the Civil War. That's why there is no more slavery. It was a Republican president who issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a Republican-controlled Congress that voted for the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery.

In the 1960s, a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If we are going to talk about history, let's at least get the facts right.

aesthetic improvement

I had enough dough to make a second pie, so here's today's lunch:

I think the crust looks a bit less retarded now. And don't worry: I wiggled a knife in the (off-center!) vents to make sure they wouldn't be clogged by the egg wash during baking.

apparently, there's a debate going on

I'm not watching it, of course, but it seems the first of two second-round Democrat-candidate debates is going on right now. Luckily, Stephen Green is drunkblogging the proceedings. One post that caught my eye:

Klobuchar just lied bigly about the 2017 tax law. Rich New Yorkers pay MORE due to SALT deduction limits, which is why low-tax Florida is seeing an influx of rich New Yorkers.

She lies. Easily, readily, without remorse.
So watch out for ol' Uncle Amy, I guess. Also this:
Mayor Pete: As mayor, gun violence has gotten worse in my city. Please elect me president.
Funny, despite the dangling modifier.

Liz Warren is mad that lawbreakers get arrested at the border.

A/C deez nuts

I was right: the A/C repairman did not come at the scheduled date and time. But in this case, that's because he decided, for whatever reason, to come a day early, interrupting my sleep.

Normally, around 8 a.m., I'm still sound asleep, but today, my eyes popped open around 8, right as my phone vibrated. On my Kakao app was a text message—an automatic reminder sent by LG Appliance Services to confirm that a repairman was scheduled to arrive on August 1st (Thursday, i.e., tomorrow) at 9 a.m. Immediately after that message appeared, my phone began to ring, and I saw it was an "010" number (i.e., a cell phone). I normally don't answer calls from numbers I don't know, but guessing that this was the LG guy, I picked up.

Sure enough, it was the repairman, and he asked me whether he could come by in fifteen minutes. I said, "Sure, come on over," hung up, got dressed, and waited for the dude to appear. Twenty-five minutes later, there was a knock on my door. I let the repairman in; he asked me where the "outside unit" was, and I gestured across the hallway.* He then shuttled back and forth between the outside A/C unit and my in-room, wall-mounted unit before settling in my studio to unclog the drain line.

The unclogging took only a few minutes. The guy told me to watch over the next day or two for whether the in-room A/C unit still leaks. If it does, I need to call LG again and schedule a unit replacement because, as it turns out, my A/C's model dates back to 1997. I knew the thing was old, but I had no idea it was that old. This gave me a new respect for LG's air-conditioner technology. Who knew it was that tough?

The guy left, and I'm now monitoring the A/C for any further leaks. I'm not hearing the tap-tap-tapping sounds of water droplets hitting floor or furniture, so for the moment, it's So Far, So Good. Check back in 48 hours for an update if any drippage does occur.

*I've never understood the relationship between the giant outside unit and my in-room air conditioner. I had always thought you could buy a small, wall-mounted A/C and simply set it up inside your place without having to attach it to a larger, preexisting unit. But in our apartment building, no in-room A/C operates independently: each unit is hooked up to a much larger one that sits across the hallway, hidden under a large metal casing. If you in your erudition, Dear Reader, know why my in-room unit is not allowed to fly on its own and be free, the comments section is yours. Otherwise, I'll research the question myself.

more fake news

Kyle Griffin, a reporter from MSNBC, tweeted (apparently quoting something from CBS) that Trump has claimed "without evidence" to have gone to Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. Turns out that NBC's own archive has footage of a much younger Donald Trump there at Ground Zero just after the incident occurred. Read about this further example of fake news from the left here at Instapundit.

Glenn Reynolds writes:

“Without evidence” now translates as “I hate Trump and I don’t want it to be true, but I’m not actually going to check because I’m too lazy and hate-filled to do actual journalism.”
Is it any wonder why no one trusts journalists anymore, and why anyone who's sane is flocking to the alt-media for truthful reporting of the facts?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A/C redux

So yesterday (Monday), I navigated, with some difficulty, the phone tree ("press 1 for option A, 2 for option B") to get hold of an LG appliance-service representative. This was a real test of my listening-comprehension abilities in Korean, and I have to admit I guessed a couple times. Eventually, I ended up speaking to an actual human being. She was very polite, but we kept talking over each other because she insisted on talking in a way that included plenty of unnecessary, scripted phrases (all to keep "on brand," I suppose). She asked me about the exact model of air conditioner I had, whether it was new (it wasn't; I told her it looked old and had already been hanging around in my apartment when I moved in last year), whether the A/C was physically mounted on the wall or a free-standing device (you'd think she'd know, based on the model number), whether the A/C leaked when the device was on, etc. She said they could send out a repairman at 3 p.m. the next day (i.e., today), but I told her to send someone in the morning. She replied that the earliest available slot would be Thursday morning at 9 a.m., so I said okay to that. She then told me that there'd be a fee of just under W19,000, which I'd been primed to expect by bosses and colleagues who had gone through similar experiences. No sweat.

Now, if there's one thing I know about scheduled repairs—and this seems to be as true in the States as it is in Korea—it's that the repairman never shows up at the appointed hour. For that reason, I'm glad we scheduled the visit for 9 in the morning because, even if the guy doesn't show up until noon, I'll still be in my place. (I normally leave for work sometime after noon.)

Thursday will be the first of August. Hard to believe that July is already done, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to the end of summer and the advent of fall. In Korea, August is arguably harsher than July (all heat and humidity, with no monsoon to cool you), and September is basically a summer month as well, for most of its length. Things begin to cool down at the very end of September, and mid-October is when the switch flips and the real coolness settles in, along with the glorious change in color of all the leaves. I still haven't gotten the okay from our HR department yet, but in theory, I'll be walking across South Korea again starting at the tail end of September. Hiking mostly through October is going to be absolutely awesome, although I do kind of dread any cold rain that might head my way. This time around, though, I'll have a waterproof poncho with me, plus a rain shield that can cover my entire Gregory backpack.

But hiking the Four Rivers trail again is still a ways off. I have weeks and weeks to plan and prepare. Let's concentrate, for the moment, on getting the A/C fixed.

Jon Miller piles on about Baltimore

meme via Bill

We do indeed have a plastics problem. I think it's a far, far larger concern than "global warming" or "climate change" or whatever the current en vogue label is. Of course, the point of the meme below isn't to highlight the plastics problem so much as to show how lame, half-assed, and hypocritical our supposed "solutions" to environmental problems are:

interview with Thae Yong-ho

China Uncensored scored a big interview with Thae Yong-ho, former North Korean deputy ambassador to the UK. Thae was a big-fish defector who has since become a major critic of the North Korean regime. I'm torn between saying this is a must-watch interview because of Thae's status, and saying that you're not going to learn much new information from listening to Thae speak (because, in truth, you aren't). For what it's worth, though, here's a rare interview with a defector from high up in the ranks of North Korean society:

Baltimore: shithole

I hate Baltimore with a passion. Some of my worst-ever experiences have been in Baltimore, which certainly deserves its shithole reputation. Like many Democrat-run major cities, Baltimore has little to no law and order. It is rife with poverty, crime, violence, and yes—pests. The place is disgusting. I was there, back when I was an APIC employee in the very late 1990s, for a company convention that took place at the Baltimore Convention Center. I got ripped off by a scammer begging people for twenty bucks to help him with a supposed parking problem. When I invited my brother David to come by and watch a movie with me (the second Austin Powers film, I think it was), we ended up in a skanky theater that seemed to be run by sullen teens, and sitting in the front row of the theater was some demented person in a wheelchair who kept shouting "Da da da DA DA DA da da da!" at the screen. The fact that David and I didn't walk out was a testament to... what? Our stubbornness? Our completist sense of duty toward the film? Our cowardice about walking out? I'd like to think that, in the intervening years, I've grown the balls to walk out of such situations now.

Anyway, via Bill Keezer, a piece about Baltimore from diehard Trumpista Don Surber:

Feed: Don Surber
Posted on: Sunday, July 28, 2019 2:00 PM
Author: Unknown
Subject: Trump makes Baltimore the symbol of Democrats

Democrat Elijah Cummings enjoys a safe seat in Congress, so safe that the congressman thought he could front the clan that wants to impeach President Donald John Trump. In response, President Trump showed the nation how third world parts of Cummings' district in Baltimore is.

Baltimore's last Republican mayor was Theodore McKeldin, whose term ended 52 years ago. His successor was Nancy Pelosi's dad, Thomas D'Alesandro III.

The population was 939,024 and mainly white back then.

Now the population is 602,495 and mainly black.

In 2018, USA Today dubbed Baltimore the most dangerous city in America.

WJZ reported at the time, "The paper analyzed police crime data in the nation’s 50 biggest cities, which revealed Baltimore had the highest per capita murder rate in the nation with nearly 56 murders per 100,000 people—a record for the city. The rate outpaced New Orleans and Detroit, with a rate of 40 and 39 killings per 100,000 people, respectively.

"Baltimore’s 342 murders in 2017 was an increase from 318 in 2016."

On March 12, 2019, the New York Times published a piece by Alec MacGillis, "The Tragedy of Baltimore."

It noted that in the four years since the anti-police Freddie Gray "protests," crime ran out of control in Baltimore.

Of course, they were not protests. Even Obama admitted this, saying in 2015, "There's no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive.

"When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they're not protesting. They're not making a statement. They're stealing. When they burn down a building, they're committing arson. And they're destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area."

But Obama and his administration nevertheless sided with the rioters.

As MacGillis wrote for the Times, "In 2016, the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division concurred, releasing a report accusing the city’s Police Department of racial discrimination and excessive force. The city agreed to a 'consent decree' with the federal government, a set of policing reforms that would be enforced by a federal judge. When an independent monitoring team was selected to oversee the decree, Guy was hired as its community liaison. This was where she wanted to be: at the forefront of the effort to make her city a better place.

"But in the years that followed, Baltimore, by most standards, became a worse place. In 2017, it recorded 342 murders — its highest per-capita rate ever, more than double Chicago’s, far higher than any other city of 500,000 or more residents and, astonishingly, a larger absolute number of killings than in New York, a city 14 times as populous. Other elected officials, from the governor to the mayor to the state’s attorney, struggled to respond to the rise in disorder, leaving residents with the unsettling feeling that there was no one in charge. With every passing year, it was getting harder to see what gains, exactly, were delivered by the uprising."

Democrats took the death of one man and turned it into the deaths of hundreds. Police officer retirements went up. Recruitment went down. The poorest neighborhoods became war zones and dumps.

Now President Trump has shined the spotlight on Baltimore. Instead of ignoring his tweets, the liberal crowd pounced, which only underscored his message.

Baltimore Sun quickly exuded an editorial, "Better to have a few rats than to be one." A couple of its white columnists came in on a sunny Saturday to denounce as racist the president telling the truth.

I doubt anyone on the editorial board lives in West Baltimore, which is the center of this tragedy. They belong to the Protected Class, as Peggy Noonan put it. They are protected from the adverse effects of the policies they embrace.

I wonder what they would think if their children went to sleep in a rat-infested house each night.

[Americans know] Donald John Trump is right. Cummings has represented Baltimore for 36 years in Congress. On his watch, parts of Baltimore slid into being rat-infested war zones with [third-world] homicide rates.

President Trump pushed Democrats to rally behind Cummings. Baltimore is now the capital of this Confederacy of Dunces, as Jonathan Swift or John Kennedy Toole might put it.

Here's Styx on Baltimore:

The lesson the leftist media keeps not learning is: look not at what Trump says, but at what he does. But the media—and by extension, the Democrats—are too stupid to internalize this. Trump singles out a Democrat for abuse as a way to distract the gullible media from the substantive things he's doing, such as securing funding for the border wall and sealing an asylum deal with Guatemala.

And here's Paul Joseph Watson on the Baltimore flap:

Monday, July 29, 2019

RIP, Kent Allen Davy, d. July 29, 2019

I'll keep this brief.

Near as I can figure, my friend Kent Davy, known online in the expat community as Sperwer, was 69. Kent just passed away after a nasty fight with a rare cancer called "wild melanoma," which attacks the internal organs instead of the skin. He is survived by his wife Young and his daughter Annabelle, both pictured above.

I think the last time I'd communicated with Kent was in 2014—five years ago, back when he was in his bodybuilding phase. (This silence wasn't due to a falling-out or anything; we were simply doing our own respective things. But after being incommunicado for that long, I can't say I'd been a very good friend to him.) Then, in mid-April, I found out about the cancer thanks to an email from mutual friend Jeff Hodges. I offer my condolences to Young and to Annabelle, and to the good friends of Kent who doubtless feel his loss keenly.

The Latin motto that was Kent's email signature was: Qui audet adipiscitur.

Who dares wins.

RIP, Sperwer. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Bill Keezer's take on the Mueller hearing, Russiagate, etc.

I received the following shotgun email from Bill Keezer. It provides his take not only on the chronology of the Russia-collusion mess, but also on the recent Mueller hearing. There has been some slight editing for style and privacy.

After listening to some of the hearings directly and hours of commentary while [indisposed], I decided to write my own summary of the Mueller investigation and testimony.

While President Trump was a candidate, the DNC created an attempt to discredit him with a false dossier. I won’t go into the details, partly because they are still coming to light. Allied with the DNC was FBI Director James Comey, who then used the dossier to obtain a FISA warrant. Apparently, the warrant was not properly vetted before issue, implying partisanship on the part of the FISA judge. Once the warrant was issued, the FBI began doing a counterintelligence type of investigation of Trump and his family prior to his election and continuing after.

When President Trump put Jeff Sessions in as AG, Sessions immediately recused himself from running the now-public investigation (which, by the way, made Pres. Trump furious). This then allowed Rosenberg to take over and appoint a special prosecutor. My own take is that Rosenberg was a deep-state actor from the get-go. The staffing of the investigation was probably already planned, and all that was needed was the appearance of propriety.

Enter Robert Mueller, a highly respected war hero and former director of the FBI. Those choosing Mueller were already aware that he was in failing health and would not be an active part in the investigation, but would be presented as if he were. (My own assessment of Mueller’s condition during the hearings is that he was indeed showing symptoms of senile decay. It was not an act. There are subtle things that cannot be faked, e.g., the slackness of the mouth and face.) The staffing and actual conduct of the investigation was run by Andrew Weissman, a notorious former prosecutor and friend of the Clintons.

Despite stacking the deck as completely as they could, the Democrats still could not find impeachable behavior on the part of Pres. Trump. To leave some political firewood, the section on obstruction was written. Normally, once a special prosecutor files his report, it is done. But the Dems had not reached their goal, so they had Mueller do a verbal summary, and when that didn’t help, they forced a hearing and had Mr. Mueller testify for hours. Once again, the Dems had egg on their face from the hearing. Despite trying to find anything they could expand into a talking point and then into a further investigation, there was, in fact, nothing.

However, politics being what it is, the Democrats will continue to pursue their dreams of impeachment by continuing to investigate the President’s family and associates—hoping to find something, anything, with which to create guilt by association. I listened to some of what the Dems said afterwards, and both Nadler and Lieu were making up accusations out of whole cloth. They deliberately misread and misinterpreted the testimony to sound as if they still were game on.

So far, it would appear that the Republicans’ hand is strengthened. Despite the glee that [this situation] may give better chances in 2020, I am less joyful about that part. More important will be the economy and the border wall. As my friend Mike says, “In politics, two weeks is an eternity.” However, if the Dems continue to pursue the impeachment path, as they seem they will, they will turn off all the moderates that thought they would keep their campaign promises, and we could see another election where the Dems take a blood bath and lose even more House seats, Senate seats, and state-lawmaker seats.

That is my take. I welcome comment, disagreement, and criticism.

pot pie: the dry run

Some time ago, I had promised pot pie to a group of hungry folks, but we've had trouble coordinating a meet-up. Since I had already bought all the necessary ingredients, I decided I'd go ahead and practice making a pot pie or two—mainly to master the pie crust. I normally think of the pot-pie filling as a thick version of a chowder, so I was pretty sure I knew how to handle that part of the pie. I decided to amp up the filling by using double cream (gently simmer heavy cream for 60-90 minutes, stirring constantly until you're at about half the original volume; double the density = double cream); otherwise, the pot-pie filling's ingredients were all pretty conventional: diced carrots, diced potatoes, onion, minced celery, frozen peas, bacon, chicken breast, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Making the filling took some time because I was making a huge batch of it. I used a gentle poaching method to have tender chicken breasts; everything else went by the numbers. What really worried me was the pie crust: I've never made pie crust before. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources to teach a person how to make a "no fail" pie-crust dough, and I followed a recipe for food-processor dough that I'd seen on YouTube.

One big mistake I made was to try adding frozen butter to the dough. The recipe calls for the butter to be cold, but not frozen, and I found out why: when you start pulsing the ingredients in the food processor, the butter is supposed to break up and help form pea-sized clumps of dough; this can't happen when the butter is too hard. When the butter is frozen and you start pulsing the blade, you end up with giant chunks of butter that refuse to break down into anything smaller. So I left off and let the flour/butter mix stand for a full hour before I resumed my work. Next time, I'll know simply to use refrigerated butter.

I erred on the side of butteriness and used a bit more ice water than the recipe called for. Luckily, that all worked out fine. My next mistake, though, was in presentation: I had zero finesse when it came to layering the top part of the pot-pie crust over the filling. You'll see what I mean below: the mess makes it look as if I have a learning disability.

But overall, the crust came out perfectly. It was magnificently flaky and tasty—arguably better and more attention-grabbing than the rather conventional filling which, despite the double cream, didn't taste like anything other than regular old pot-pie filling.

Here are my results below. You'll just have to trust me when I say the crust came out perfectly. I kind of wish I'd taken video of when I dug a spoon into the pie.

Wide shot:

Food-porn closeup:

With some pie dug out:

On the plate:

This was a great learning experience. Despite the mistakes, I was successful where and when it mattered. I now know the dough is relatively easy to make, and I like the proportions of the recipe I'm using (slightly altered to my personal taste). Perhaps for the get-together, I'll try making individual-sized pot pies in muffin tins. Two little pies per person sounds about right.

keto bread

Gluten is a stretchy, sticky, proteinaceous substance that provides body to bread. Being protein, gluten can be used as a meat substitute by people who have no gluten intolerance or celiac disease, but in bread, it provides the necessary stretchiness for cooked loaves, mainly by allowing bubbles to form and expand without bursting and causing a soufflé-style collapse.

Keto bread is gluten-free, which means you can't rely on natural glutens for your bread's stretchiness. What's the solution for making keto bread, then? Well, based on my recent studies, there are at least two: (1) xanthan gum, a bacteria-based thickener that is a go-to gluten substitute, and (2) an eyebrow-raising combination of mozzarella, cream cheese, and egg. Watch the video below to see how keto bread can be used in a regular recipe (you can kill the audio if the repetitive music annoys you; there's no voice track):

Keto bread is fascinating to ponder, although I do have to wonder how good it actually is. The main components of the bread, aside from the gluten substitutes mentioned above, are almond flour (the least carby of the alt-flours) and baking soda (which acts as a rising/raising agent along with eggs, if eggs are in the recipe). Some recipes will also have cream of tartar. Despite the weird ingredients, though, I'm curious to try making some keto bread. I just saw an impressive recipe for keto lemon pound cake; after I do a regular loaf, I'll try making that as well. I'm normally a chocoholic, but among the non-chocolatey confections I adore, a good lemon pound cake ranks in the top five.

and now, I have something new to look for

The video below, aside from being very educational about Russian cuisine in general, mentions a drink called kvass (квас in Cyrillic), a beer-like drink made from old, fermented rye bread. I don't normally drink alcohol, but I'm curious enough to want to hunt this down. While I do that, you can entertain yourself by watching the video below, which shows how to make a Russian dish called okroshka (окрошка), which the presenter describes as somewhere between a soup, a salad, and a cereal. Bizarre and disgusting-looking, like most food in the axis extending from Eastern Europe to Russia, okroshka is something I might also want to try at least once. I know next to nothing about Russian cuisine, so I've got to start somewhere, da?

Dongdaemun contains a little Russia-town, and I know of several shops, not far from the Uzbek restaurant Samarkand, that are likely to sell kvass.

Curiously, the video presenter's moniker is "My Name is Andong," which makes me wonder whether he either has ties to Korea or is based here (think: Andong soju from Andong, reputedly Korea's most conservative city). Or maybe "Andong" is a word also found in other cultures...? Maybe that really is his name?

memes found via Instapundit

my weeping A/C

In my building, there are people who can help with electrical problems, plumbing problems, and even pest problems. What we don't have here is someone who can deal with air-conditioner problems. Instead, because each A/C was manufactured by a particular company (Carrier, etc.), we have to phone a repair request in to that company's service-center number.

For the past several days, my LG air conditioner has been dripping water out of parts where water isn't supposed to be. When I finally went down to the concierge to talk about the problem, he advised me to call the building repairmen first even though I knew that would be useless. We called the in-building staff, anyway, and the repairman I spoke with told me I needed to call whichever company manufactured my air conditioner. I said my A/C was an LG model, so he gave me the number for LG's appliance service center.

Bizarrely, the repairman asked me if I'd be okay talking to the service center in Korean. Since he and I were speaking rather smoothly in Korean at that very moment (there were no "huh?"s from his end to indicate I hadn't spoken clearly), I had to wonder where that question came from. I told him I'd be as fine talking to the LG guy as I was talking to him right at that moment. I thanked the repairman, hung up, thanked the concierge for the use of his front-desk phone, and went back to my place.

Once back in my apartment, I tried calling the LG service center. A computerized voice told me that these were not the company's hours of operation; I was referred to an online site to put in a request, as well as an emergency number to contact if this was a true emergency. It wasn't a true emergency (I had set up cups and cling-wrap drip catches), and I didn't want to bother navigating another badly designed Korean website, so, assuming that 8:30 p.m. was the wrong time to call, I resolved to call again today, i.e., Sunday.

So I called again. Same message. Obviously, this is a Monday-through-Friday operation. I guess I'll be calling the LG office tomorrow, then. Am I living in France?

Saturday, July 27, 2019

poor comma usage

Very soon, I'm going to do a post about how to use commas, but for the moment, let's look at the following sentence, which I found over at Instapundit:

The standing ovation Ansari gets at the beginning of his show, and the hearty reaction to his anti-woke new material, are heartening.

The verb "are" in the predicate "are heartening" is ungrammatical. I can see why the writer wanted to use "are," though: the writer was thinking his sentence contained a compound subject. Compound subjects, taken as a whole, are grammatically plural. Some examples:

• Bill and Ted have an adventure inside an elephant's colon. (not has)
• Fuchsia and Mauve are what I named my testicles. (not is)
• Karate and eating pussy are essential skills for survival in the woods. (not is)

Basically, with a compound subject, two subjects joined with the coordinating conjunction "and" together form a plural subject, and this must be reflected in the verb.

But what happens when you take the second part of a compound subject and wall it off with commas? What you've created, at that point, is a parenthetical expression (which can also be walled off by em dashes [ — ]). A parenthetical expression is NOT part of a compound subject, so the verb needs to reflect the singular:

• "Silence—and obedience, too—is golden," said the child molester. (not are)
• His fart, and the horrified silence that followed it, was pleasing to Gerald. (not were)

See how that works? It's tempting to treat a subject + parenthetical like a compound subject, but it isn't one. To remedy that, either remove the commas or change the form of your verb. You might risk creating a run-on if you take out the commas, but that's preferable to being outright ungrammatical.* So: two solutions to the first sentence quoted above:

1. The standing ovation Ansari gets at the beginning of his show and the hearty reaction to his anti-woke new material are heartening. [remove commas]

2. The standing ovation Ansari gets at the beginning of his show, and the hearty reaction to his anti-woke new material, is heartening. [change "are" to "is"]

One "exception" that's not really an exception is when your compound subject involves a list of three or more nouns and/or noun phrases. In that case, commas are permissible.

• Sleepy, Bashful, and Grumpy have all had their way with Snow White.
• Sloth, Greed, and Lust are what she named her three boobs.
• Six cats with leprosy, two one-eyed horses, and a syphilitic gecko all walk into a bar.

[That last sentence shows common nouns embedded in noun phrases.]

Hope this helps.

*I don't think run-on sentences are perforce ungrammatical. Mostly, they're just overlong.


It's not completely official yet (I'm awaiting final confirmation from our HR department*), but it's looking as if I will indeed have a chance to hike from Seoul to Busan along the Four Rivers Trail again this year—in the fall, this time, instead of in the spring like in 2017. My "vacation" will be starting on September 28 and will end on Friday, October 25, which means I won't actually be at work again until Monday, October 28. That ought to be plenty of time to do what was, last time, a 26-day walk.

The shoes I bought last year have already been worn down, so I had to purchase a new pair. Risking Amazon again, I managed to find the exact same make and model of New Balance walking shoe that I'm currently using. Because I'm still experiencing occasionally painful toe-bumping up front, though, I upped the size from 11.5 inches to a full 12.

My new shoes arrived a few days ago, and I wore them all day on Friday. I'm happy to report there were no problems: they fit perfectly on the first try, and they didn't bother me the entire day. That's fantastic news. I'm going to put these shoes aside, for now, and keep using my regular shoes until early September. Then, in the weeks before my walk, I'll switch to the new shoes and do some significant distance-walking with them as a way to train.

Next up: finding the proper belt for my hip-belt assembly. (This may simply be a matter of replacing the buckle of my leather belt with a better buckle.)

*I've discussed this before, but the plan this year is to do two weeks of paid vacation and two weeks of unpaid vacation. With a new boss at the helm, I can't do what I did last time and rely on a shit-pile of comp hours to allow me to have an entirely paid vacation. The immediate implication, unfortunately, is that I'm not going to be able to pay off my scholastic debt this calendar year: it'll have to be paid off by the spring of 2020. That has long been my fallback plan, so now we definitely know that the fallback plan has become Plan A. Et voilà.

so that's what it is

I was at my brother David's house in Virginia last year, watching "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" via David's Netflix account. I griped to David that the images on the screen looked way uncannily crisp and hyper-real, so real as to be unreal, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was that disturbed me.

This article, thankfully, gives words to my gut feelings: the process is called image interpolation or motion-smoothing, and it was originally intended to reduce motion-blur effects on TV broadcasts of, say, sports games. The effect can be switched on or or off on most modern HDTVs, but switching the effect off is hard, involving wading through menu after menu. Several Hollywood actors and directors have come out against motion-smoothing; in the article I linked to above, you'll see Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie (director of the most recent Mission: Impossible films) making a public-service announcement urging people to switch off the motion-smoothing setting so as to be able to watch the film the way the filmmakers originally intended it to be watched.

The HDTV that I bought from a coworker doesn't seem to have that setting; I think it's from an older generation of TVs for which motion-smoothing was not a standard feature. It's not a problem I have to worry about, but if I ever upgrade to a new TV, I'll have to be cautious.

Keywords: motion, blur, motion-smoothing, smoothing, image, interpolation, image interpolation, uncanny, uncanny valley, hyper-real, hyperreal, hyper-realistic, hyperrealistic, Tom Cruise, Chris McQuarrie, movie, movies, film, films, cinema, cinematic

Alan Watts leaves a note for SJWs and other do-gooders

I can tell that this video, which contains an audio clip from one of Alan Watts's lectures, ruffled some feathers because of the negative comments it has received from people who are obviously liberal and emotionally invested in "improving" the world. Watts notes the simple truth that, even with the best of intentions, our attempts to improve things often end up making things worse. I don't think Watts is saying that one should never strive to improve anything at all, but his words really ought to act as a caution to, for example, gung-ho environmental alarmists who think the world will be dying in a few months to a few years. Here's the randy old man* himself:

And on the environmentalism note—

From Instapundit:

MIGHT AS WELL START SMOKING AGAIN AND HAVE LOTS OF UNPROTECTED SEX: We don’t have 12 years to save the climate. We have 14 months.


Where’s the press after a century of bad climate predictions?

Al Gore’s 10 Global Warming Predictions, 13 Years Later — None Happened!
[This link leads to an explicitly Christian website. —ed.]

Climate Alarmists Have Been Wrong About Virtually Everything.

Yeah, but this time...

*I used to have a deep admiration for Watts because I knew him initially through his writing, not his biography. Then I read Zen Effects, by Monica Furlong, and found out just what a pussy-loving, drug-taking dickhead Watts was in real life. He'd drop acid while on temple grounds, and he had no problem running around behind the backs of the women in his life. For all his wisdom—and I don't want to dismiss his profound utterances for fear of committing the genetic fallacy—the man himself was a moral cripple, an asshole in all sooth.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Mueller fallout

Jon Miller:

Tim Pool:


So apparently, Robert Mueller looked old and confused during his testimony. Jon Miller, in the above video, shows unflattering footage of Mueller stammering his way through his answers. Mueller was unsure which president had appointed him to be the US Attorney for Massachusetts; he was also unfamiliar with the name "Fusion GPS," the shady organization that helped produce the so-called "Steele dossier," a fake document that prompted the entire Russian-collusion witch hunt against Trump.

Tim Pool points out that the footage of Mueller's hearing isn't a 100% win for Trump, but Pool concedes that, on the whole, the hearing is a massive disaster for the Democrats, some of whom may have been hoping for Mueller to finally deliver a knockout punch to the Trump administration—anything to get Trump impeached. This has been a vain hope from the beginning, but the Democrats have committed themselves to a particular path, and they have no intention of altering their own trajectory. Like a pit bull, they can't let go.


Rutger Hauer is dead at 75 of "an unspecified illness" (per Wikipedia).

I've seen a few of the man's movies:

Nighthawks (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Ladyhawke (1985)
The Hitcher (1986)
Blind Fury (1989)
Sin City (2005)
Batman Begins (2005)

With a slinky, tawny acting style, and a vocal delivery that always felt slightly off-kilter, mainly thanks to that hard-to-place accent of his, Rutger Hauer had the type of screen presence that grabbed you and held you. His flinty stare could be haunting; a seemingly tender smile paired with that stare could freeze your very soul. Hauer struck me as the type who was in Hollywood but not of Hollywood, to borrow and twist the Christian idiom.

A pacifist and environmentalist, Hauer had training as a combat medic. His early life involved bouncing back and forth between the performing arts and the military—between freewheeling creativity and rigid discipline. The movies I listed above are only the tip of the iceberg: Hauer was a huge figure in arthouse films along the Hollywood/Netherlands axis, having collaborated on many projects with director Paul Verhoeven, who is known in the States mainly for his gory, Brian De Palma-style science-fiction movies. At some point, I may look up The Legend of the Holy Drinker and the reputedly naughty Turkish Delight just to get a taste of the more esoteric side of Hauer. He was a good enough sport to engage in schlock, which is why I'll also be looking up his Hobo With a Shotgun, which came out in 2011.

Hauer's acting range was wide enough that he could play both noble and sleazy characters, most of whom radiated a strange profundity, as if they lived between and among scintillating layers of meaning. For my money, he will always best be known for his role as the replicant Roy Batty in 1982's Blade Runner, where he played opposite Harrison Ford and delivered a speech that, according to the movie trivia, he partially rewrote and/or improvised.

I've seen things
you people
wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire
off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter
                in the dark
near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost
                in time,
        like tears in rain.

Time to die.

I have to confess that I had always heard the line as "sea beams," not "C-beams": beautiful, shimmering shafts of light seen under water, not far from a sunken Tannhäuser Gate. I imagine the "C" stands for the speed of light, so "C-beams" are probably some sort of laser weapon if they're in keeping with the beautifully bellicose theme evoked by "attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion."

Well, Mr. Hauer, for each of us, there is indeed a time to die. We're all moving forward on the conveyor belt of life, none of us quite sure when the ride will end, but all of us perfectly sure that it will end. Thank you for decades of entertainment. I'll be sure to explore your arthouse works in the years to come. Rest in peace.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

PJW on the evergreen topic of Sweden's deterioration

The video is under 5 minutes. Watch it at 1.5X speed if you're really that rushed.

Upshot: Sweden is the epicenter of skyrocketing rapes, grenade attacks, car fires, new diseases, robberies, murders, and other sorts of violence and mayhem—to the point where Volvo, a symbol of Swedish technological pride, is thinking of moving its headquarters out of Sweden because of rising crime. UPS now refuses to deliver to "no-go" zones in places like Malmö because the deliverymen keep getting attacked. And talking about any of this, as a native Swede, is cause for being arrested, detained, and interrogated. Just wow.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

welcome to the family!

Et voilà:

I hate my kitchenette's gas range. It has a kind of temperature-sensitive popup safety tab that will cut my gas range's flame down to the lowest possible level if it senses that my pot or pan is too hot and potentially burning my food. Unfortunately, the sensor controlling the gas cutoff started off super-sensitive (as I found out when first making gumbo), but as of a couple weeks ago, it has become infinitely more hypersensitive, making it impossible for me to cook anything on the gas range any longer. I can't even boil water. Something is broken.

Up to now, my solution has been to rely on my portable gas ranges, which use spray-can-sized canisters of butane (pronounced "Bhutan" in Korean). These work okay, but as the gas in the canisters runs out, the range's flame gets weaker and weaker, and you have to wait until the flame gutters out before you can slap in a new, fresh canister. (In theory, you don't have to wait, but if you're constantly slapping in new canisters, you're going to end up with a pile of mostly empty canisters that all produce weak flames, and that all must be used up before you throw them away.) So while the portable ranges are convenient, their convenience is nearly nullified by the annoying need to wait through long periods of weak flame.

This is why I just bought the induction burner. You might be wondering why I don't just call down and have my gas range fixed. The problem with doing that is that fixing the kitchenette's range merely resets my problem to square one: I'll still be dealing with those stupid safety popup tabs (or whatever they're called—I don't actually know the proper term). I'd much rather jack up my electric bill and have reliable heating than waste time repairing something I've never liked from the beginning. My previous apartment, despite being a shithole, at least had a more normal, safety-tab-free gas range in its kitchenette.

I can understand the apartment building management's concern over fire. Fires in old buildings with hundreds of families in them can be massively deadly. That said, I'd still rather cook with burners that are far less annoying and inconvenient.

Murphy's Law says that, now that I'll be using an electric burner (I might buy a standard electric burner, too), the circuits in my circuit breaker are going to fucking fry. One way or another, I'll need to call for repairs. Zee cosmos, eet ees always agaynst me.

Now, if I could make a request to replace my modern gas range with an older model...

a shark in Johansson's bar

An admittedly poor Photoshop job done on one of John Mac's pictures of a recent heavy rain in the Philippines:

Trivia: shark fans will know the above silhouette is of an adult great white shark—radically shrunken for the purposes of the visual joke. The shark, at actual size, would easily fill that room. The Photoshop job took less than five minutes, and it's nowhere near as good as the more impressive shark-hoax pics out there...

congratulations, Prime Minister Boris!

TLDR News:

Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Hunt by a factor of 2 to 1 (approx. 92,000 to 46,000 votes).

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

seen at John Mac's place

Some memes and toons I saw over at Long Time Gone:

The following cartoon surprises me because Ted Rall is a diehard liberal:

The right often jokes that leftists harbor an inner totalitarian—an angry, frenzied despot-homunculus inside the skull that will ban you from a site, stamp out your comments, unfriend you on social media, and do whatever it takes to make sure that your voice doesn't get heard. All in the name of tolerance, of course.

Not that the right doesn't have its own reflexive defense mechanisms: I see this in the comment threads of Instapundit all the time.

Bruce Campbell does a Reddit AMA

This was a fun watch:

Jon Miller has a bone to pick

Jon Miller thinks Erica Thomas, the outraged woman at the Publix about whom I'd blogged earlier, is faking her "go back to where you came from" accusation. It's true she can't prove the claim, and now that I think about it, she could be lying simply because "go back to where you came from" is the new, in-vogue thing to complain about:

I'm not comfortable giving any sympathy to the man in this incident, Eric Sparkes. By all reports, his behavior was obnoxious, and he himself admitted, on camera, to calling Thomas a "bitch" during their confrontation. I can't quite see him as the victimized party, here.

we need to talk about Bernie Sanders

Not that Bernie Sanders has a chance in hell of winning the Democrat nomination for president, but he made the news recently for being proven a hypocrite for not paying his campaign staffers—who unionized and are salaried at $36,000 a year, with platinum-level insurance—the $15 per hour that he's been agitating for.

Here's Styx on Sanders's hypocrisy:

There's a good lesson in economics—and in why socialism doesn't work—to be found here.

Here's Tyler O'Neil:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is quite the hypocrite. The 2016 Democratic presidential runner-up and 2020 contender has long championed increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and chided companies like Disney and McDonald's for not paying their employees that much. Last week, news broke that Sanders' presidential campaign is not paying staffers a salary equivalent to $15 per hour. Field organizers said they make $36,000 per year working 60 hours per week, an average of $13 per hour.

Sanders responded in a way that proves critics of the minimum wage 100 percent correct.

Using government force to increase the minimum wage creates a great deal of economic disruption, making life harder for the workers such a law is intended to help. Forcing companies to pay a higher wage leads employers to seek out less expensive automation, fire increasingly expensive workers, or cut the hours employees can work. Sanders opted for the third choice.

I saw the argument that, because the campaign staffers are on a salary, it's actually more to their benefit to work 40 hours a week for $36,000/year than to work 60 hours/week for the same salary. Very true. But as Styx points out, you're still seeing a sort of stultification, here: the staffers could have been motivated to go above and beyond, in terms of their effort, but there's obviously no desire to do so. Lack of motivation, lack of a work ethic, is a typical side effect of command economies. As O'Neil writes:

The fact that Sanders staffers actually left the campaign over even this pay is quite revealing. Apparently, the socialist's campaign staff don't believe in the cause enough to accept the standard struggles of a campaign employee. Bernie Sanders was a source of hope and belief in 2016. Now he's "the man": a millionaire with power in the Democratic Party whose oppressed workers need to unionize in order to get "fair" wages. This may be a worse knock against his campaign than the hypocrisy of him paying less than $15 per hour.

"Don't believe in the cause enough" = lack of motivation.

It was probably a mistake to allow the staffers to unionize, but Bernie, being a committed socialist, probably couldn't see a way around that problem.

Then again, how committed a socialist is Sanders, really, with his three huge properties?

Monday, July 22, 2019


John McCrarey recently blogged about calling out the left for its hypocrisy in attacking Melania Trump and her (legal!) immigrant status. John wrote on Facebook:

Apparently, no one thought #DeportMelania was racist or deplorable when it was being used by verified Democrats and journalists (is there a difference?) on Twitter just a short time ago.

John then writes that his third ex-wife, a diehard liberal, gave the following response:

She is not a person of color. So not racist. She could be purple[,] and it still would not be racist. It[']s not xenophobic. It[']s lashing out at the hypocrisy of Trump. But then you knew that. You’re a smart guy.

John's sentiment:

The ignorance of that statement is mind boggling. And it is why you can never change minds of people who are so invested in hate they will never see reason. Ah well.

I wrote the following comment in response to the above:

“She is not a person of color. So not racist.”

Silly John! Of course she’s right! The term “white,” after all, denotes neither a color nor a race! You can be racist against whites and still not be racist because that’s the asymmetrical (and hypocritical) dynamic the left has derived from postmodernist thinkers. Jacques Derrida talked about pairs of opposites (white/black, man/woman) in which the first element of the pair was the “privileged” one. This thinking bled out from academe into normal society. Fellow PoMo thinker Michel Foucault, following Nietzsche, claimed that society was a web of power structures that determine both authority and “truth” (always in quotes for postmodernists). So with whites presumably at the top of the social power structure in the West, racism can only flow downward; it’s never symmetrical. That’s the beast you’re dealing with; that’s the mindset you’re up against. Blame Nietzsche for this fucking mess; he had interesting things to say about reality and people, but ultimately, he’s one of the fathers of postmodernism, which lies at the root of PC culture.

Cleaning up academe by jettisoning most of its leftists is vitally important if we really want to see profound healing in America. But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon; the left dominates over 90% of every academic field except science, and even there, the PC cancer has begun to settle in (cf. scientific research on the correlation between race and intelligence). Really unfortunate.

Our best hope, for now, is to persuade young people to skip college and go to trade schools to pick up some practical (and very lucrative) skills. Practical reality is like garlic to the PC/PoMo vampire.

It was nice to see, in a weird bit of synchronicity, some vindication for my way of thinking when I woke up this morning and saw the following on Instapundit:


Over recent weeks, political turmoil raged in the form of mass demonstrations that saw 1 in 7 Hong Kong residents take to the streets to protest an extradition bill that would have allowed alleged suspects to be deported to stand trial in Mainland China, where the legal system is subject to the arbitrariness and discretion of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The fear that any dissident could be targeted isn’t unfounded as stories about billionaires and booksellers being kidnapped by Beijing operatives, only to be prosecuted in show trials on the Mainland and in some cases even tortured in jail, are well known. The extradition bill left almost no room for doubt about China’s ambitions to further override the civil rights guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong by the Sino-British Joint Declaration and renege on the agreed-upon “One Country, Two Systems” framework.

Elsewhere, Union Jack flags were handed out and flown in the streets. As photographs of these flag-bearing protesters, many of whom cut across demographic lines, began making the rounds on social media, two things became apparent: a) the uneasy reluctance of mainstream Western media to conduct any sort of meaningful analysis of these scenes and b) the ready willingness of some quarters of Twitter to engage in vitriolic attacks of the Hong Kong protesters, accusing them of being complicit in colonialism.

For those who embrace the ideological frameworks of various forms of “Social Justice” Theory including postcolonialism, decolonialism, critical race theory and intersectional feminism, seeing the Asian inhabitants of a former colony raise its colonial flag simply does not compute. Within this ideological conception of the world there is a very simple understanding of power dynamics in which oppression must always come from people seen as having dominant identities – white, male, western, heterosexual, cisgender, ablebodied and thin – and be inflicted upon those seen as having marginalized identities – people of color, colonized or indigenous people, women, LGBT, disabled and fat people. When all of these elements are considered together, we get the framework of ‘intersectionality’ and it is through the language and activism of intersectional scholars and activists that most people encounter these ideas.

Eastern people who complicate the narrative of Western oppressor and Eastern Oppressed are understood to be speaking into and perpetuating oppressive discourses of colonial power which apply much more broadly than their own situation. From this perspective, by aligning themselves symbolically with the flag or philosophically with the ideas wrought by colonial legacy, the protesters were understood to completely invalidate the legitimacy of their liberation movement. Other criticisms reserved for the protesters include rebukes for lacking sensitivity and solidarity toward other countries with victims of colonialism. The journalist Ben Norton went so far as to say that the British flag was a symbol of “genocide, murder, racism, oppression and robbery,” and that the “pro-democracy” activists in Hong Kong were in effect, pro-colonialist groups, funded and backed by the “Western NGO-Industrial Complex.”

This argument perfectly exemplifies how one’s basic reasoning and moral calculus can get muddled when steeped too heavily in this kind of postcolonial theory.

Postcolonial theory has postmodernist roots, so it's only natural that it put forth an anti-Western victim narrative, such as the sort of drivel we see written by "scholars" like Edward Said. Intersectionality, as a concept, also traces itself back to postmodernism, especially of the Foucaultian variety, given that Foucault, following Nietzsche as stated above, saw human interrelationships primarily through the lens of power. It was reassuring to see the article's author picking up on the same dynamic I had named in my comment, and the author is correct to point out that postcolonial theorists can read events in Hong Kong only in a certain way. Their own ideology handicaps them, preventing a more accurate apprehension of reality.

Chandler Crump on who's calling whom racist

Chandler's video is about an incident that occurred in a Publix (grocery) in Georgia between a black woman and an ostensibly white man. The woman was nine months pregnant and needed to rush through the cashier's line because she was unable to stand for long periods, thanks to her pregnancy. An agitated man behind her complained to the manager because the woman had entered the express lane with 20 items instead of the mandated 15. The manager, perhaps sympathetic to the pregnant woman, said the woman was fine being in the express lane, and if the man had a problem with that, he could talk to the woman herself [ed.: this feels like cowardly buck-passing to me]. So the man confronted the woman, and the exchange became heated, to the point where the man told the woman she should "go back" to where she came from. The man and woman ended up being interviewed on the local news, standing side by side and facing the cameras. When the woman had said her piece, only the man was left, and he uttered what has, for conservatives, become the punchline of this story: "I'm a Democrat!" He also noted that he didn't consider himself white: he self-identified as Hispanic.

Well, well, well. Just let all that sink in.

Tim Pool with a strangely compelling argument

You have to slog through a lot of this video before you reach one of Tim Pool's stranger and more compelling arguments about how Big Tech censorship may actually be helping conservatives. This is an angle I hadn't thought of. Pool argues that Big Tech spends its time banning and deplatforming the louder, crazier voices on the right, all while allowing the crazies on the left to have free rein. On the surface, this looks like an extreme injustice against people on the right, but in actuality, this massive repression actually helps the right because it silences the right's more obnoxious voices while leaving the moderate voices alone. The net effect is that Big Tech is helping to make the right look far saner than the left. Here's Pool's video, starting at 22:10 so you don't have to slog through the whole thing:

I'm not sure I completely agree with Pool's assessment because I think plenty of sane rightie voices are also being deplatformed, but it's an interesting point to consider.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

"Alita" and accidental feminism

I reviewed "Alita: Battle Angel" a few months back, and just today, I watched an interesting commentary on the film that argues that the movie's saving grace is emotional manipulation: Alita comes off as such a winsome character that her charm essentially papers over the movie's flaws. In the process of discussing Alita, though, the narrator either purposely or inadvertently makes some points about feminism—not the sort of aggressively anti-male, insecure, Brie Larson-style feminism that makes most of us roll our eyes, but feminism at its best:

belated shirt test

I had intended to test out my tee shirt not long after I'd received it from Teespring, but I never got around to it until today. So here we are, at long last, telling Ignorers of Rules to walk on the goddamn right side of the bike path, the hallway, the sidewalk, or whatever:

yet more on Trump and racism

Styx offers rebuttals to several "Trump is racist!" arguments:

What looks to some like a history of racism is in fact a history offering no concrete evidence of racism. As I wrote earlier, it's all inference, implication, and argument.

The Right Brothers on how Trump has owned the Squad:

As I said earlier, criticize these gentlemen at the risk of being labeled racist according to your own PC/identitarian standards.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

lunar landing documentary

An American triumph—narrated by a Scot, no less:

Saint Johnny Clegg

Some YouTube vids of Johnny Clegg, about whom I recently blogged:

more on Trump and racism (morons, Trump, and racism)

Styx hasn't heard a convincing argument that Trump is racist:

Chandler Crump with his own argument for why Trump isn't racist:

Styx on Trump's antagonism and the deeper strategy behind his trolling:

On Chandler's channel, some thoughts on the "Send her back!" chant:

I can't say I have much sympathy for Omar on that front. She obviously hates her adoptive country, so why not go back to Somalia? And as Styx notes in the video below, country of origin is not a race:

The obvious flaw in the "logic" of the "Racist!" accusation is that phenomenon X can be explained by a competing hypothesis, but that hypothesis is rejected out of hand for no reason. The leftist says Trump singled out the Squad (Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib) because of their dusky skin color. How does the leftist know this? Can he read minds? Of course not; he's merely psychologizing (i.e., thinking he knows others' thoughts), which is often a form of projection. But the competing hypothesis is that Trump singled these women out, not because of their skin color (there are plenty of other "people of color" in Congress, so why were they spared Trump's ire?), but because they have obnoxiously declared—as I wrote earlier—"a degree of shame about, scorn for, and disloyalty to their home country." This alternate hypothesis explains Trump's attack on the Squad just as well as the Trump-is-racist hypothesis does, so why automatically default to racism as the explanation unless one is blinded by one's own political ideology?

The leftist will doubtless respond that Donald Trump has a documented history of racism, and things like the 90s-era video currently making the rounds (Trump says "Indians" a lot while testifying before Congress about competing casinos) prove this claim, and make it probable that Trump's latest tweetstorm is in the same vein. The problem is that every instance of supposed "racism" by Trump, far from being a slam-dunk conclusive example of racism, must be interpreted by the left as such, in a vain effort to establish a pattern. There is no moment, on either audio or video, where Trump ever declares whites to be superior to people of other races or ever explicitly disparages people of other races. There is no moment when Trump, per Chris Cuomo's recent badgering interview with Republican Senate hopeful Kris Kobach, openly declares himself a racist. (Besides: what racist actually goes around among the general public saying, "Ha ha—I'm a racist!"?) There is nothing—nothing—for Trump's accusers to latch onto as direct evidence of racism. It's all spurious implication, inference, and argument. Wake me when Trump actually starts building internment camps for minorities, FDR-style (FDR, that liberal bastion, did this for ethnic Japanese and Italians).

You want to accuse righties of that sort of racism? Then look not at Donald Trump, but at rightie Asian-American pundit Michelle Malkin, who actually is on record as advocating internment camps for illegal immigrants—real internment camps, not the border detention facilities we currently have. Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter are both on record as supporting some rather ghoulish methods for dealing with illegals, which is one reason why I avoid reading or listening to them. When has Trump come out for FDR-style internment camps? Never. Not once.

According to the "logic" of the PC crowd, if a minority declares something, you can't criticize that minority because, when you do, you reveal yourself to be a racist. This is almost certainly what is really motivating current accusations of racism against Trump. But by that logic, when a black man says, "If you don't love this country, fuck off to a better one," the black man can't be rebuked or rebutted because to do so would be racist. (I already blogged about Ken Hamblin in my other post; I actually started reading his book, Pick a Better Country, on Amazon; Hamblin turns out to be a fantastic writer. There's no e-book version of Hamblin's book, but I've put the dead-tree version of his book in my Amazon shopping cart.)

I guess the left has no choice but to either (1) ignore criticism of the left when it comes from blacks and other minorities, or (2) excoriate and revile those minorities by calling them the sorts of racist names that the right supposedly uses all the time. So disparage Chandler Crump, whose videos appear above, at your own risk. If you claim he's arguing in bad faith or being otherwise "uppity," then I call you a racist because you're attacking a young black man. See how this works, PC guys? This is a mess you made for yourselves when you decided to walk the road of identity politics. In all honesty, when I find videos by black folks who explicitly declare Donald Trump not to be racist, I expect you white-knight PC leftists—who likely are white and in the grip of a white-savior complex—to shut up, sit down, know your place, and listen humbly to your betters when those good folks—be they the black #WalkAway crowd or actual black conservatives—are speaking the God's honest truth to leftist power.

Neil Armstrong's big day

July 20, 1969: fifty years ago, human beings landed on the moon. With a surface gravity that's one-sixth of the earth's, the moon would feel only fifty pounds of pressure were I to stand on it. There are times when I'd love to weigh only fifty pounds. But today isn't about me: it's about celebrating an achievement that was repeated only a few more times before manned missions to the moon mysteriously stopped. Since the stoppage, humanity has been intent on stupidly surrounding our planet with millions of large and small pieces of space garbage, all of which now make launching manned missions, even short ones to the moon, extremely hazardous. There's a very real chance that we are walling ourselves in with orbiting detritus, making future human spaceflight impossible.

That said, it's not all gloom and doom. We can still take a moment to commemorate one of humankind's greatest achievements: a successful moon landing.

We'll be back there someday soon, I hope.

Friday, July 19, 2019

changement de plan à cause d'un mal au talon

Heel pain has been dogging me for the past several hours, so we're changing plans again and staying put. Power will be out in 40 minutes. I've got my phone, a portable power supply, and somewhere in a closet, I've got a candle that I can burn if necessary. I might go walking tomorrow—just my usual 30K-step route instead of doing a round trip to Bundang and back. The weekend forecast is for rain, thanks to the wispy tail end of the typhoon, but I've now got a poncho, so no excuses.

I'd open my window to compensate for the impending lack of A/C, but it's 84ºF outside (about 30ºC) and very humid, so ventilation won't help much.

This'll be my final post for the evening. More blogging on Sad Turd Day.

remember thou art mortal

Found while searching for "memento mori":

der merp erv mer werkerng rert

Looks as though tonight's walk to Bundang and back is going to be long, at about 35 kilometers for the round trip. The one-way route, 17.6 km, is shown below:

I'm thinking this will be closer to a nine-hour walk, given things like pain levels, rest breaks, and the inevitable slowing of my pace once I'm beyond the five-hour mark. Might be a good walk, though, what with the nighttime warmth and the prospect of a pleasant summer rain thanks to the arriving typhoon. Not looking forward to walking in wet shoes, though.

more via Bill

Passed along by Bill Keezer:

I guess it's racist to post the above because the above four assholes, all of whom have expressed a degree of shame about, scorn for, and disloyalty to their home country, are "women of color." Rashida Tlaib: she's on record as feeling "calm" when thinking about the Holocaust. Ilhan Omar: regarding 9/11, she dismissively said that "some people did something." Ayanna Pressley: she refused to condemn Antifa when hounded by a reporter to get her on record as deploring Antifa violence (same for Omar, with her favorability rating of 9%). AOC: where even to begin with this moron?

Maybe with this:

And I guess Ken Hamblin, below, is just a coon, an Uncle Tom, and a dumb nigger because he's a conservative, right, leftists? He's just a hypnotized monkey who's been brainwashed into hating his own people. Go ahead—say what you want to say.*

Paul Joseph Watson loves, loves, loves Ilhan Omar:

*Let me reiterate that any animus I'm expressing here isn't directed at the liberals who do me the honor of reading this blog, however much they may disagree with my views. I'm not talking to them. Not a single one of the liberals I know either as real-life friends or as "e-friends" (i.e., people I've known online but have never met in real life) would ever say anything like the filthy rhetoric I derisively quoted above. I do think, though, that just as the right has a bigotry problem (I know this thanks to Gab), so does the left, and both sides really ought to (1) own up to their respective problems and (2) clean house right fucking now.