Friday, July 31, 2020

Styx on COVID and the economy

We're teetering on the brink of a depression:

As Styx notes, the fault lies not with Trump but with the Democrats who have so fearfully locked down their states instead of reopening for business—despite what we now know about SARS-CoV-2, which isn't nearly the bugbear we initially thought it was. Trump rightly played the federalist card and left it up to state governors to handle the pandemic in their own ways. They did so, and now, they're paying the price, but instead of offering mea culpas, they're lying through their teeth and blaming Trump for having given them the choice of how to act.

masking up: redux

Over at Justin Yoshida's blog, this humorous-yet-sad video was embedded:

Meanwhile, after the first video about masks by the It's OK to Be Smart team (highlighted here) proved to be a hit, a second video has been made:

My problem with American craziness is how quickly Americans regressed to this:

Barely a month or so ago, the above behavior would have been labeled "Karening," but the term "Karen" has now been cleverly appropriated by non-righties to describe folks who refuse to wear masks (mask-refusal is generally considered a rightie trait). Example: the "Karen" who just got thrown off a flight for refusing to wear a mask because she claimed to have "an unspecified medical condition." (How does that work? Does one simply say, "I have an unspecified medical condition, and I'd really rather not get into it"?) The stubborn lady was booted off the plane to a wave of clapping and cheering. She took her sweet time gathering up her things before exiting the aircraft with deliberate slowness, and at one point, she snapped, "You can clap all you want," to the people cheering her departure. What a bitch.

The lady was definitely an example of people fucking things up for the rest of us. We've seen that here in Korea, where certain people have insisted on gathering at church, a place at which spikes of infection are almost guaranteed to happen, especially among the elderly faithful. Overall, South Korea has "flattened the curve," so such spikes are rare these days, but some people insist on tempting fate, usually to their detriment. And they anger the rest of us.

But what of the temperamental assholes shown in the first video embedded above? Are these the same blindly stubborn sourpusses that my buddy Dr. Steve wrote about in his recent blog entry? Maybe. Those grumpy folks are shown in a bad light, but I'm willing to agree that they're overreacting to the presence of two jokey guys who are simply trying to give away masks. If the guys' point was that giving away masks is a hard sell, then I'd say they succeeded. Based on how their video is put together, it seems as if more people reject masks than accept them—but this may be a function of how the video has been edited, so be on the lookout for spin. The angry guys who rejected the masks in an embarrassingly inarticulate manner (almost all of them old, fat, and white) didn't make a very good case for why one doesn't need to mask up while out in open spaces. They spouted random slogans and talking points.

And that's part of the problem with the video. The guys seem to be trying to make certain people look bad for rejecting masks, but they're undermining their own point by offering masks while out in the open air. Now hear the good news: there's almost zero chance of catching SARS-CoV-2 if you're outdoors where the air is freely moving. Likelihood of infection goes up significantly when you're in an enclosed space—a car, a bus, a subway, or a building in which you have people in crowded, dense conditions, all breathing the same recirculating air. I'd say that the only thing the comic pair has proven is that certain people are way too oversensitive about supposed restrictions on their freedoms. ("The mask is a muzzle!" gripes one dude, without articulately explaining his position.) So while this video has comedic value in that it shows you how many touchy, easily provoked assholes are out there, it doesn't really drive home any substantive points about mask-wearing.

Had I been one of the people approached by the pair, I'd have gladly accepted a mask, but I would have articulately explained that I wouldn't be putting it on until I found myself in a confined space with plenty of other breathers. I would have asked the guys whether their intent was to make a point about masks or simply to make certain people look bad because making people look bad conforms to their unspoken agenda. I would have told them that they could have made their point more clearly had they run the same comedic experiment in a shopping mall, a bus, or some other indoor space. I would not have been angry or offended by what the guys were doing because (drawing myself up haughtily) I'm secure enough in my own views that I wouldn't be bothered by others' pandemic-related criticisms, veiled or otherwise.

That's one thing I'd note about the angry assholes in the first video. Deep down, one reason why these folks get angry is that they're insecure about their own viewpoint, and they're insecure because they haven't bothered to (1) do any research about the actual situation, and (2) do any deep thinking about the implications of their actions, or about what value system is motivating them, etc. To view the mask as a muzzle, or as a deadly blow against liberty, makes sense only in certain situations. I would be absolutely sympathetic to these folks if they were among the unmasked people being arrested for going alone (or in tiny groups) to an unconstitutionally closed-down beach or to a large park.

On the other side of the pandemic aisle, the Karens who point and yell, "I'm telliiiing!" like scandalized kindergartners are the mirror image of the insecure, easily angered assholes I just wrote about. Hiding behind the security blanket of authorities who act in arguably illegal and repressive ways, these screechers have no qualms about ratting out their fellow citizens, which is what gives rise to all the bitter remarks about how these Karens would have loved living in Hitler's Germany, selling out their countrymen just for the hell of it. To the Karens I would say: relax. Pull the massive stick out of your ass. Calm the fuck down. COVID-19 has an over 98% survival rate, and the chances of infection while outside are nearly zero ("the problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably being overestimated"—source).

So both sides could use some Quaaludes and a heavy dose of laxative. Use a mask to protect others, and do it mainly when you're in confined spaces. There's no harm in wearing a mask while outside, but there's also no real need to do so unless you're in a crowd. Even then, your mask isn't going to be of much help unless everyone else in the crowd is masked up. If two cheerful, jokey guys come up to you offering free masks, take them with a smile and don't flare up as if the future of the nation were at stake. It's not. As certain pundits have noted, America's been through a hell of a lot worse. We'll survive this.

ADDENDUM: here's a rather embarrassing display of "anti-mask Karens" doing their inarticulate best to express their not-very-well-thought-out points of view (oh, and Kevins come in for some abuse, too!):

ADDENDUM 2: comedian Ryan Long notes the hypocrisies emanating from the unscientific left as well:

1105 page views per day

I have an exaggerated page-view average this month thanks to a day on which I had 4368 visitors. According to the Blogger site-traffic monitor, I've had 33604 page views over the past month. An average month is 30.4 days (365.25/12 = 30.4375), so 33604/30.4 = 1105.39474, or about 1105 page views per day. Once the 4300-visit day slips far enough into the past, it will no longer be counted in the "page views over this past month" count.

SiteMeter—back when I used it—had strict standards for what counted as "unique visits" and "page views," so by SiteMeter's standard, I'd say my real daily tally is closer to about 500 unique visits per day, which isn't much of a change from the old days. Ah, well. If I were striving for popularity, I'd whore myself out in some way, either by sticking to a single topic or by doing gimmicky shit involving me jamming my genitals into a blender to generate click revenue (top-tier Patreon supporters get exclusive access to Kevin doing a trick he calls "The Goddamn Gonad Grind"!).

Maybe I should start a Patreon page, anyway. I could fund some walk projects for sure.

see what I mean?

Tim Pool agrees with me that the US should shed its "world police" role:

Why are we based in countries that don't pay the defense bill (cough-cough South Korea cough-cough)? Time to bring our troops home. We have the ability to project force quickly to anywhere in the world in under 24 hours—all while squatting at home in the mainland US. The countries we leave (like NATO countries in western Europe) won't instantly destabilize. If anything, they'll suddenly realize that the US umbrella is gone, so they'll need to get off their fat, lazy, complacent asses and start pouring money into national defense. Economically speaking, withdrawing from bases around the world is a big win for the US, not to mention a harsh lesson to those countries pretending their vaunted nationalized health care isn't a direct result of not having to defend themselves. And as I wrote earlier, none of this means we have to abandon our military alliances. We'll be there for our allies, but we'll be based at home.

ol' Uncle Joe doesn't know where he is

Have you seen the cringe-inducing clip of Joe Biden shambling up to a podium, greeting his tiny audience by welcoming them to a location that exists only in his mind and/or the mists of prehistory, then smiling and trying to pass his gaffe off as an "I meant to do that" joke? If you haven't, then click here. As inclined as I am to mock creepy ol' Joe, I have to admit that, like when Hillary Clinton's legs buckled beneath her, I actually feel a twinge of pity for the man. I still can't fathom why Joe Biden said yes to campaigning for president, but he's an adult who has made his choices, so he's going to be judged by them. I think his campaign was a crucial mistake, and I think the Democrats are collectively beginning to realize the same thing but, like when you watch a shit-filled toilet that's about to overflow, you can't do anything but stand there, transfixed, as a mounting sense of disaster fills your soul.

Here's Styx on Biden's latest sign of Alzheimer's and what the implications are:

Thursday, July 30, 2020

we're not done exploring the Joker

I thought this was a nifty bit of film analysis:

on shithole cities and why they're shitholes

Great quote about shithole cities (found here and edited for style):

We are fortunate indeed to have real-world results that we can look at for how well or how poorly governing philosophies and agendas work. America’s major cities have been dominated by the Democratic Party for decades, and the results are in.

All but 3 of America’s largest cities are run by Democratic mayors. The 3 largest cities—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—are losing population every year.

Several of the most violent cities in America, including Albuquerque, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, and Washington, DC are run by Democrats.

States that are bleeding population every year due to high taxation, over-regulation, decaying cities, and failing public services—including New York, Connecticut, California, and others—are all run by Democrats.

States that have low to no income taxes, are right-to-work, and favor energy development do better economically than high-tax, forced-union, and energy-unfriendly states. According to the annual economic outlook rankings published by the American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform, in 2019 the bottom ten states were all run by Democrats and the top 10 states, except two, were run by Republicans.

Will this convince anyone on the left that there's a problem? No. Of course it won't. Because such is the nature of willful stupidity. Pathetic.

my thoughts exactly

As much as I rag on the left and on liberals, I don't think society should just jettison half the country. As much as I may be tilting rightward as I get older, I recognize that a healthy society needs dynamic tension to survive and thrive. The following video, from Generation Films, a channel devoted to nerdy commentary on sci-fi and fantasy films, states and develops my thoughts quite well. The video uses the TV series "The Expanse" as a sort of teaching tool to present its ideas, and the presentation is well done. There's a bit of a rightward bias visible in the video's anti-utopianism, but for me, that's a welcome bias. Utopia is for fools.

Give the video a whirl if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

has Joe Biden already chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate on August 1st?

Read more about the time-traveling Joe Biden here at Instapundit. The old man has reached into the future and plucked a ripe Kamala off the tree. Amazing!

Ave, Andrew Schulz!

I think I've slapped up some Andrew Schulz videos before (correction: I haven't). This one, "lauding" Joe Biden, will make you chuckle:

And here's Schulz lampooning hypocritical, sanctimonious Hollywood stars:

heartwarming video + hilariously snarky comments

Donald Trump gives a veteran a job on the spot:

Some of the comments below the video were hilarious (edited for style):

Trump: You're hired.
Biden: You ain't black.

Trump hires black woman.
Media: LOL

Wow. Classy woman.
Press: She's a Russian agent.

Trump hires black woman.
CNN: Wait—that's illegal!

Meanwhile, at CNN: Make sure you don't broadcast that.

CNN: Trump hires black lady because of her "looks," clearly objectifying her.

The joke goes that, if Donald Trump found a cure for cancer, the media would report that he had just put thousands of doctors out of work.

when in doubt, blame Donald Trump

Are voters smart enough to see through the media's lies?

Perhaps there is indeed a "silent majority" that knows better and will vote heavily for Trump:

It's disturbing that this majority is silent and afraid to express its opinions in public, and that this majority is crouched, waiting to express itself at the polls in November. I'd recommend not merely relying on the power of the ballot box, especially with the enormous potential for election fraud. Speak out now, guys. Take the stage, grab the mike away from the screaming leftists, and start to dominate the discourse. Pusillanimity does not become you.

Ryan Long redux: a welcome dose of very un-PC humor

Thank God someone out there still has a sense of humor!

up is down, right is left, and would-be murderers are leftist heroes

If you charge a car while pointing a rifle at the driver, and the driver puts three holes into you, then you're a dumb piece of shit, not a goddamn hero. Garrett Foster got what he deserved, and a $100,000 GoFundMe campaign in his honor is a joke.

Sunday tacos

I made some lovely, fresh salsa on Sunday, and I used some of it on my final pair of tacos. As you see below, I sprinkled on some homemade salsa, some sour cream (mixed with a bit of milk because it had become too thick), and the oil from a long-ago batch of chimichurri. While the 'churri is technically no longer viable, the oil still packs an amazing amount of flavor, so I sprinkled that on. Lastly, I added some sliced olives, et voilà.

This was not bad at all: a worthy way to finish off the last of my tacos.

Tomorrow, I'm bringing chicken quesadillas to the office. Yum.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

shotgun blast in the men's room

My coworker M has seen some shit in his day. No, literally: as in shit on the floor, shit smeared on a toilet-bowl rim, etc. Today, M came into the office and warned us that, if we were planning to use the second-floor men's room, we'd need to "watch [our] step." As it turned out, the problem was worse than implied: not only did we need to watch our step to avoid the unpleasant redecoration of the restroom's floor tiles, but we also needed to avoid the only sit-down toilet cubicle in that restroom, for it turned out to be covered in haphazardly smeared shit.

Much later in the day, as M was leaving, he told me he'd actually seen the culprit. "I felt sorry for the guy," M said, and he described a desperate old man who had probably already started shitting his pants even as he was trying to make it to the restroom. Once he was there, I can only imagine him frantically fumbling at his belt, trying to get at least some shit into the toilet as it poured out of him with no mercy and no sign of stopping. End result: I'm pretty sure he blasted out his load everywhere but the toilet. Poor bastard.

Continence lessens with age. John McCrarey is only 64 (yes?), but he's written some funny/horrifying shit-the-bed stories over at Long Time Gone. The angel of intestinal relaxation comes for us all, and we're never ready for the resultant flushing-away of our dignity. I hope nanotechnology eventually creates "continence bands" that can be wrapped around the end of the anus and controlled via brain-driven signals so that, even in our senescence, we can take shits on our own terms. For now, all we've got are those goddamn diapers. I'm reminded of the old joke: "Senator Dole! Boxers or briefs?" "Depends."

Anyway, yeah: the second-floor men's room sit-toilet cubicle was unusable today—all day. The Mido building is very old, and the cleaning crew is also very old: people don't swing by several times a day to clean up messes, so the old man's shit just sat there, splattered everywhere and slowly drying in the partly humid summer air. Lovely. I, too, feel sorry for the poor guy, but at the same time, you have to know your own bodily rhythms so as to avoid, well, shit like this. Try not to fuck things up for the general public, eh? Wear two diapers if necessary! And plastic pants that have tight elastic ankles to stop any diarrhetic drippage.

Ave, Charles!

Go visit Charles's Liminality and be treated to a disquisition (with pictures!) on budae-jjigae—a Korean comfort-food classic—as well as on Korean terms for "soup" and "stew." This stew was one of Anthony Bourdain's all-time favorite dishes.

Here's footage of Bourdain making his version of budae with Anderson Cooper:

And here's a version by Maangchi, who has been called "the Korean Julia Child":

Charles's version sounds intriguing, what with the inclusion of basil and cheese rinds in his recipe. The first photo of his budae looks deceptively tofu-forward, but subsequent images show that everything is, in reality, perfectly proportioned.

Maangchi's version does the thing Charles dislikes: she adds ddeok (rice cakes) alongside two kinds of pasta: sweet-potato cellophane noodles and ramen. Quel cauchemar! Maangchi also does a thing I disagree with: she adds chunks of pork belly. No. Just... no. I get that the rendered fat makes for more savoriness, but chunks of fatty pork are not what I want to see (or eat) in my soup.

here's one for the drunken bastards

The First Guy to Ever Get Drunk:

Pretty much every reason why I don't drink gets covered.

I used to have no sense of humor at all about drunkenness. Back when I was in high school, I was a self-righteous prude of the worst order, and while I never foisted my teetotaling attitude on others, I did get angry, every once in a while, when I saw someone I knew in a drunken state. Maybe it was a control thing.

There was one night when a group of us friends had gathered at a local McDonald's, and who should show up but a very drunk and bloodshot-looking Bill N—a friendly-enough football player who tolerated us nerds—who slurred that he had three fuckin' girls in his car (so, yes: drunk driving was on the menu), and he didn't know what to do with 'em. In anger and disgust, I stood up and moved to leave the restaurant. Bill blurrily called after me, "Wuh-where ya' goin'?" "Anywhere but here!" I grated, feeling as scandalized and haughty as Charles Heston's Moses after coming back down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments.

I look back on that night now with a smirk at my own foolishness. Drunkenness is by far not the worst sin, and it's certainly not worthy of righteous anger. If anything, it's worthy of humor, pity, and sympathy because it really is a control thing: people get drunk because they like losing control, but they also tend to lose awareness of the eroding dignity that accompanies such a loss of control. It's much healthier—for me, anyway—to have a laugh instead of blowing my top. Besides, as I've come to realize over the years, what's so virtuous about looking down on a drunkard when I myself labor under any number of my own compulsions? I have no room to talk, and I might as well laugh at myself while I'm at it.

But seriously, guys: this is what you look like:

stupidity is everywhere

Listening to this chica screech like a five-year-old (in East Asia, juvenile = sexy, for some sick reason*) is enough to give one a headache, but it may be worth it for the Schadenfreudige value alone. As many commenters observed, the bitch deserved what she got. Fame comes at a price, even for obscure YouTubers, and this lady deserved far worse. She's lucky.

*I like my women to be women, thanks. Whenever young Asian chicks start up with what Koreans call aegyo, i.e., vomitous cutesiness, I get nauseous. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean guys all think this shit is sexy, though. Sure, we juvenilize sexuality in the West, too: think of any number of porn scenarios involving "Catholic schoolgirls" in short, pleated skirts, or "cheerleaders" wearing much the same thing, or "teens" (who often aren't really teens) getting defiled for the "first" time. But however much we juvenilize in the West, the phenomenon is way, way worse in East Asia. Twenty-something girlfriends here will employ artificially high, screechy, cartoonish voices not unlike what you hear in the above video. They'll pout like children when they're not getting their way. They'll employ a sickening species of baby-talk that I find utterly off-putting, but which Korean guys seem to drink up. Gack. Blech. This may be one reason why I'm still single (along with my introversion, I guess). I want nothing to do with women who act girly. Even worse is the fact that we've got women in their forties who still try to act as if they're under ten years old. One of my supervisors, a forty-something mom who has pumped out a few children, still does the aegyo act: high-pitched cartoon voice, eyelash-batting, the works. I find it rather pathetic and desperate, but I can't help thinking that she'd be smoking hot if she simply dropped the aegyo—talked in a normal voice and acted her age instead of trying to seem decades younger. Ick.

I think I've found my new baking project

My boss is obsessed with meatballs, and hoagie rolls are hard to find in Seoul, ergo...

Monday, July 27, 2020

random ad confuses me

Is this supposed to be an ad for shoes? If yes, then where are the SHOES?

seen on Instapundit


Saturday night's 17.5K walk

This past Saturday, my buddy JW and I did our evening/nighttime 17.5-kilometer walk from Jeongja Station in Bundang (just outside of Seoul in Seongnam City) back to my apartment building in the Gangnam district of Seoul. JW told me his wife has sort-of caught the walking bug, too; she's now doing her own super-short walks of 1-2 kilometers—basically up the street and back. It's a start; we'll hook her eventually.

JW and I were supposed to meet at 7 p.m., but JW ended up being late, having underestimated the amount of time he'd need to arrive at Jeongja Station. We got under way at about 7:20 p.m., and we ended up arriving in my neighborhood around 11:20 p.m. In other words, we were both slower than usual: our average speed was 4.375 kph, which is well under my usual speed of 5 kph. My only excuse is that it's been a while since I'd walked any significant distance; in fact, the last time was with JW and his kids when we walked a portion of the North Han River bike path. JW, for his part, is capable of walking much faster than I can; he normally slows himself down deliberately so as not to leave me in the dust. But Saturday night, he was walking slowly for reasons of his own: about halfway through our trek, he mentioned that he was wearing his work shoes. I don't normally look at people's footwear, but I glanced down at JW's feet when he said that, and sure enough, he was in some tight-looking loafers. I called JW crazy for doing that; I know he has some bona fide walking shoes (which he'd worn during our previous jaunt), so it boggled my mind that he'd choose to wear shoes that were so obviously not made for distance walking. At the very end of our walk, I jokingly scolded JW, saying something like, "Well, I hope you learned a lesson tonight about the importance of footwear." JW didn't do much more than nod wearily. He had borne his agony stoically, showing weakness only when we were about two kilometers from our destination: at that point, he insisted that we sit down on a bench and take a load off for a few minutes before finishing our journey. Just before we parted ways, I mentioned footwear again, enjoining JW to engage in a thought experiment often used by people discussing the importance of good shoes: imagine that you're wearing a shoe that, when you take a step, produces a barely noticeable irritation. Now multiply that irritation 25,000 times, and you can see that a small pain can easily become agony in the space of a 25K-step walk, which is what we'd just done. JW listened to my thought experiment, and then he went, "Wow! What a way to think about that!" A light-bulb moment, for sure.

I had planned to make and serve dinner to JW (Tex-Mex options: tacos, quesadillas, nachos), given that our walk had started right at dinnertime. But along the way, we discussed our respective conditions and both concluded that we weren't so much hungry as thirsty. During those final two kilometers, we stopped at a convenience store so JW could pick up the thing he craved: beer. He grabbed maybe eight or nine tall cans of beer for him and his wife; they apparently like sipping at brews over the weekend, especially now that they no longer go to church thanks to the pandemic. I paid for everything since I knew JW would be paying for the cab ride back to his place from my apartment. I grabbed a Chilsung Cider plus some smallish bottles of "Blue Hawaii" fruit punch. Now loaded down with drinks, JW and I walked out of the convenience store, across the street, and into the park next to my building. We sat down heavily on another bench and soaked in the quiet night, quaffing our respective libations. After resting a bit, we heaved ourselves up, walked back to the main drag, and JW caught a cab back to his place. Terse goodbyes were exchanged; things're always terse with JW.

The most fascinating aspect of Saturday night's walk was a debate JW and I had over the fate of South Korea. It all started when JW disagreed with my notion that the US needs to get the hell out of Korea, and probably the rest of the world. I can't remember the exchange in detail, but what our disagreement boiled down to was how much faith we could afford to put into the South Korean people. JW is a modern Korean conservative (although that doesn't make him a Trump-lover by any means; the term "conservative" has very different resonances in South Korea than in the States), and he has little faith that South Koreans have the smarts and/or the fortitude to stay strong under the shadow of the North Korean threat. Too many young people are pro-North leftists, and the country is currently being run by a very pro-North president, Moon Jae-in (see Joshua Stanton's recent blog posts for more).

From JW's point of view, the US presence provides the spine that South Korea, as a country, currently lacks. I told JW I rejected the notion of a Pax Americana in East Asia for the same reasons that I reject the claim that the current United States is anything remotely like an empire. If you want to see imperialism, look no further than China. On that score, JW agreed that China has, for all intents and purposes, already eaten North Korea. Any mythical notions of North and South Korea being bound together as one single race or people (the concept of danil-minjok) are just that: mythical. From JW's perspective, it's too late for the North because the North is basically Chinese now. The only thing stopping China from sweeping farther south is the United States. JW therefore thinks I'm naive to want to pull the troops out (and I told JW that President Trump seems to be leaning more and more in that direction as a matter of economic necessity). If the US goes, nothing will stop South Korea from "zombifying" and becoming just like the North, which would put it under Chinese control. This would be as much about South Korea rotting from within as it would be about China's overtly taking over the South. Whereas I was arguing that the US and South Korea would still be military allies even if the US did pull its troops out, JW was arguing that South Korea would mutate into something monstrous, so in what sense would we be allies anymore?

We both agreed, at least, that South Korea ought to think about arming itself with nuclear weapons given that (1) the North already has them, and (2) Japan is seriously considering tossing out its largely US-made constitution and remilitarizing in the face of the North Korean threat. This would go against the US notion of a "denuclearized peninsula," but most of the smart experts agree that US policy has already failed in that regard. The North has nukes, like it or not. So that's where JW and I stood, with JW—the pure Korean in this discussion—having no faith that his own people could hold the line against North Korean and Chinese encroachment, and yours truly—the half-Korean American—having more faith that the South could hold the line should the US withdraw. So who's more correct—the Korean cynic or the American optimist? My main problem is that, to agree with JW, I'd have to accept that America is imperialistic, a notion I don't accept. Most people who accuse America of imperialism have no clue what real imperialism looks like.

Suffice it to say that Saturday night's walk was interesting and philosophically meaty. I was also pleased that my feet endured the walk just fine, despite being somewhat out of condition. No blisters, irritations, or weird pains to report. Sorry I don't have any photos of the walk, but it got dark by 8 p.m., about forty minutes into our trek.

your dose of pandemic-era humor

Always look on the bright side of life.

This skit by Kevin James is a hilarious subversion and parody of how filmmakers use the language of film to make a heavy-handed, moralistic point:

The more I watch Ryan Long mocking the left, the more I laugh:

I may have slapped this video up years ago, but it never gets old. Bird laughs like supervillain:

the left's reality-inversion lens

Two videos about how the left is spinning current events: (1) "It's peaceful protesting, not rioting!" and (2) "We don't need federal help, thanks"—this last from the same people who are always clamoring for more and bigger government. Starting to see the light, now, eh?

There's a funny comment beneath this video:

Donald Trump: "I oppose the eating of babies."
Nancy Pelosi: "Fry those suckers up!"


We just had a mini-spate of celebrity deaths.

John Saxon, an icon of the 1970s, just passed away on July 25th at 83.

TV icon Regis Philbin, America's go-to show host for morning news/talk and evening game shows, passed away on July 24 at 88.

I know Saxon best for two roles, both of them corny and campy: he played Mr. Roper in "Enter the Dragon" alongside Bruce Lee, and he played the hilariously evil Sador in the sci-fi cringefest "Battle Beyond the Stars," which tried to take advantage of the wave of Star Wars mania sweeping the nation in the early 80s.

Olivia de Havilland, billed as the "last surviving star of 'Gone with the Wind,'" has also just passed away on July 25 at the ripe old age of 104.

ADDENDUM: on July 13, "Mythbusters" star and former ILM genius-employee Grant Imahara suffered a brain aneurysm and died. Imahara was only 49. Good Lord. That hits me harder than any of the deaths listed above. Some of you may know that Grant was the roboticist who created the iconic robot sidekick Geoff Peterson for "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." The hit Discovery Channel show "Mythbusters" is a long catalogue of many of Grant's amazing inventions. This might not be appropriate, but the thing I'll remember most about Grant is the "Mythbusters" episode in which he found himself in the ocean, surrounded by sharks and freaking out. Hilarious and scary. I'll miss him.

Tim Pool on the media as "the enemy of the people"

There are times when I wish I had Thanos's power to vanish an entire sector of the population. People on my kill list would be: (1) every single media liar, (2) every single dirty politician (which would be all of them, I think), (3) every single idiot actor who fancies him- or herself a political talking head, and (4) all unscrupulous lawyers. That's a start. I'd probably add certain CEOs to my list, not to mention a bunch of other people.

But let's watch Tim Pool take down yet more media prevarications:

Sunday, July 26, 2020

an old joke, retold

I believe my buddy Mike once told me this joke:

A man comes to a farm looking to buy a rooster for breeding purposes. The farmer he speaks with grimaces and says, “Yeah, we got ourselves a rooster, but we cain’t sell ‘im. Wouldn’t be proper.”

“What’s the problem with him?” the man asks.

“You don’t wanna know,” says the farmer. “But I’ll give you a look at ‘im if you want.” The man assents, and they move into the farm to see the rooster.

The man is treated to the sight of a powerful-looking, amazingly healthy rooster that would be perfect for breeding. It stands, proud and alone, in its own sequestered part of the farm, like a deadly weapon that gets taken out only in times of emergency.

“Good God!” the man exclaims. “You have to sell him to me!”

“Ain’t fer sale,” says the farmer. “Wouldn’t be proper. All’s I can say is, that thang is dangerous.”

The man grates, “I’ll offer you—” and he names an utterly exorbitant amount of money. The farmer considers.

“Okay, then,” says the farmer. “He’s yers. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya’, though.”

Giddy with delight, the man trucks the rooster back to his own property and, impatient to get things moving, tosses the rooster into his henhouse. Humming to himself, the man retires for the day.

The next morning, the man walks over to the henhouse and opens the door. He screams in horror. Every single one of his prized hens is dead, and the rooster is standing among the carcasses, breathing hard and staring at the man with crazed, bloodshot eyes. The man moans, “Good Lord, he... he fucked them to death! Jesus, I’m gonna have to figure this out...” And with that, the man takes the rooster out and places him in a barn with a bunch of other farm animals—cows, pigs, horses. “Lemme think about this,” the man mutters to himself, and he goes back into his domicile.

The next morning, the man wakes up and has an idea of what to do. He strides purposefully over to the barn and opens the door... and screams in horror once again. The rooster is standing in the midst of a pile of animal carcasses, looking insanely triumphant. All the cows, pigs, and horses are dead, blood trickling out of their nether regions. “No!” shouts the man, searching around the barn for what he needs. He finds a chain with a spike on one end and a metal collar on the other. Grabbing the chain, the rooster, and a hammer, the man angrily marches out into his pasture, far away from any other beasts. He claps the metal collar around the rooster’s neck, hammers the spike deep into the ground, and stomps away, growling, “That’ll teach you to fuck my animals to death!”

The next day, the man tromps back out to where the rooster is... and as he nears the rooster, he sees that it’s still on its chain, but it’s dead. Its eyes are closed, and its tongue is hanging out of its open beak.

“What in God’s name happened here?” the man blurts out. He approaches the rooster carefully, having seen his share of horror movies. The rooster doesn’t move; it really seems dead. The man gets right up to it. He stares down at the carcass.

One of the rooster’s eyes pops open.

“Sshh,” says the rooster, pointing at the sky with a sly wingtip. “Buzzards.”

Pepple on the "systemic racism" hypocrisy

Dr. John Pepple writes a post about an issue that Instapundit has talked about for years, and which is finally gaining traction on the national scene: left-liberal Democrats seem to want to blame "systemic racism" for the problems afflicting blacks and other intersectionally oppressed minorities, but in truth, the liberals, leftists, and Democrats have been in control of the system for a long, long time... which would seem to imply that any "systemic racism" must be emanating from the left!

Systemic Racism? But You Are the Ones in CONTROL of the System!

Here's an excerpt from Pepple's post:

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been quite baffled by the claim that there is something called systemic racism. I thought whatever racism still existed manifested itself in sporadic, random, non-repeatable incidents done either unintentionally and thoughtlessly by decent people – these are the famed microaggressions – or else deliberately, but by people with virtually no power whatsoever. To learn that our elites think there is systemic racism is completely baffling because they control the system. Are they saying they screwed up? Obviously not. To take the case of Minneapolis, the city is run by Democrats, yet they acted as though they were not at fault for George Floyd’s death, but that Trump was. This is why some liberal friends were totally astonished when we said that Amy Klobuchar was partly to blame. Why, we might just as well have said that Martians were to blame, but our reasoning was perfectly sound. She had had a chance to fire the officer in question a few years ago when a complaint against him was raised, and she didn’t do so.
You can't expect idiots to take the time to think through their positions. That would be asking too much. I'm glad, all the same, that this issue is now front and center in current public discourse. Dunk the liberals' heads in their own garbage, then help them to eat it. Shithole cities have been run by Democrats for years; Dem-run cities with the strictest gun-control laws are the places with the largest amount of gun violence. Anyone else noticing this sick irony? Certainly not liberals, who are experts at blaming others for problems of their own making.

the sweetest cat story you'll ever see

As likes to sing: the internet is made of cats, and cat-vlogging has been a huge part of what initially made YouTube grow. But below is a video of a man named Dean who, while trying to cycle around the world, picked up a wee little travel companion named Nala. The two became best friends, and Nala has proved to be a cat that's thrilled to discover the world right alongside her human companion.

Here are some favorite clips of Dean and Nala:

a Craig Ferguson retrospective

I miss the Craig Ferguson Show. Below are two compilation videos put out by a YouTuber: one shows all of Mila Kunis's visits, and one shows all of Robin Williams's visits. Mila Kunis is listed as a "best friend" of the show, and it's obvious she came to feel very comfortable sitting with Craig after a while—to the point where Mila and Craig did cute skits far, far outside the confines of the regular talk-show studio. As for Robin Williams, well... the man was a force of nature, so he was immediately comfortable with Craig and basically dominated the proceedings, as Williams was wont to do everywhere he went.

I'd forgotten Williams's joke that went something like, "Do you think Thanksgiving is the Rapture for turkeys?" Heh.

CNN beclowns itself yet again

Imagine mocking Donald Trump for taking a supposedly easy cognitive test, then failing parts of that same test on live TV. Just how idiotic are these fucking jokers at CNN?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

"The Boys," Season 2 is gonna be whacky

Charlie from Emergency Awesome takes us on a tour through the upcoming season of "The Boys," a black-comedy superhero parody series that mostly makes fun of the Justice League:

I'm very much looking forward to this. Season 1 was awesome. (I'm surprised I haven't reviewed it yet. Will have to get right on that.)

Tim Pool's deep analysis of the state of the nation

The following video struck me as deeper than the usual material put out by Tim Pool:

"Keep the violence downtown, and the suburbs will celebrate."

"People would much rather have strong law enforcement, protecting their neighborhoods from the violence and destruction, than the violence and destruction."

Could this be Trump's strategy? Keep the violence in the Democrat-run cities and out of the suburbs, thus forcing the public to vote Republican, ostensibly for the sake of law and order?

the pro-police conundrum

Conservatives are ostensibly anti-big-government. They believe government has a place in society, but that its role ought to be minimal, impinging on citizens' lives as rarely as possible. This belief comes from a certain trust that people, left to their own devices, have brains and common sense, and they can figure things out on their own without the need for a Big Daddy, Big Nanny, or Big Brother. On the economics front, belief in the "invisible hand" posited by Adam Smith is an example of conservative confidence that (1) the masses ultimately know what they are doing, and (2) they can do it better than any centralized authority can.

However, there's a bit of static when we factor in the idea that political conservatives, who are also often religious conservatives, believe that Man is a fallen creature prone to sin and not redeemable through his own actions, but rather via some form of "salvation by grace through faith" that comes from outside of himself.

Let's leave that mini-paradox aside, though, to focus on a paradox that I think is more urgent these days: conservatives' support for the police despite conservatives' hatred of big government. The police are, inarguably, an arm of the government (the same can be said of the military, which conservatives also unquestioningly support), and conservatives often support the police in far greater numbers than liberals do. Is this a tacit concession by conservatives that people are sheep and therefore need sheepdogs? Is this an example of the Judeo-Christian belief in human fallenness and frailty peeking through the conservative psyche? If so, how is this belief in the need for a ubiquitous, ever-patrolling authority any different from the current liberal belief that people cannot be left to their own devices and must rely on ever-pervasive big government for solutions to many (if not most) of their daily problems? For that matter, why are liberals ensnared in the mirror image of this paradox—despising the police (who are an arm of the government) while crying out for more and bigger government? Does neither side see the conundrum, or am I missing something such that this isn't a conundrum or a paradox at all?

From where I stand, both sides look profoundly hypocritical.

The paradox in a nutshell (from the liberal side):

Friday, July 24, 2020

if you capitalize "Black," then you'd better capitalize "White"

I'm currently reading through A Declaration of Independence by a Princeton Professor, a screed by Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz, who seems to have had enough of all the political correctness, the wokeness, the leftie-liberal self-righteousness, and the concomitant stifling of free speech and free thought. At one point early in his essay, Katz writes:

In 1776[,] there were “united States[,]” but there was not yet the “United States”; in these past two months, by contrast, at a time when we are increasingly un-united, “black” has become “Black” while “white” remains “white.”

To that, I say: if you capitalize "Black," then you sure as shit had better capitalize "White." Don't respect one race while disrespecting the other just because you think blackness, as a concept (a concept that you, liberal whitey, don't fully understand or appreciate), deserves to be linguistically enshrined and made untouchable—protected from the crude deplorables who make up at least half the country. If you have any sense of fairness, then if you enshrine the one, you must enshrine the other. If, however, you're the type to reject the notion that all lives matter equally, then I imagine my injunction here will fall on deaf ears.

Ears filled with chickenshit, in my opinion.

As for me: I'm going to ignore this current linguistic fad and keep referring to people as "black" and "white." Fuck your pious capitalization.

first long walk in a while

Since my toe infection, I've done several very short walks of about 11,000 steps each—nothing special. Tomorrow (Saturday), however, I plan to do a walk from Bundang back to my place with my buddy JW, who had texted me a few days ago about doing a nighttime walk from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. JW had basically read my mind: with summer now in full swing (and with the monsoon season finally waking up and doing its thing), nighttime walking, rain or not, is the way to go. The forecast seems to be showing a break in the rain tomorrow afternoon, evening, and night: the chance of rain will be low, around 5% (I just now checked to confirm). I'll be bringing along my poncho anyway, but I don't think I'll need it.

It'll be good to get back into walking. God knows I need to get moving again, and I need to learn to stop doing stupid things to my feet, e.g., cutting too deeply into callused skin with nail clippers, thus allowing infections to happen. Many of my problems in life are self-inflicted, so this is a chance to learn something from my experiences.

Thoughts of short walks lead to thoughts of long walks. Still no definite word from my boss on whether I'll be permitted to take a month off to walk in October. I have almost 40 comp hours to my name, so in theory, I could apply those hours to the month-long vacation, thereby reducing the unpaid amount of the vacation from two weeks to one week. October also has a couple national holidays, if I'm not mistaken: there's Hangeul Day on Friday, October 9, and more important, there's Chuseok, which is officially on Thursday, October 1 this year. That means we'll be getting September 30 and October 2 off as well, thus giving us a five-day weekend. What this means for me is that I'll be getting those national holidays off like everyone else, but I won't have to suffer through as many unpaid vacation days: instead of taking five unpaid days, I can take only one. Here's what I mean:

If I'm lucky, I can squeeze in another comp-time day (boss permitting) and not have to take any unpaid days off. If I'm lucky.

Upshot: I'm hopeful that I can do a big trans-Korea walk this year, but in the meantime, I'm looking toward to tomorrow's 17.5-kilometer walk with my good friend.

Timcast IRL takes on China

Some dark, dark stuff happening in China, and it's been going on for a while.

The US left's stance on all this is confusing. Normally, the left roars into action whenever there's even a whiff of oppression against Muslims. The left is silent when it's Muslims doing the oppressing (e.g., regarding women's rights or gay rights), but that's consistent, at least: the left is willing to ignore Islam's anti-woman, anti-gay stance because intersectionalism makes Islam an oppressed entity, and being oppressed is the royal road to sanctification, according to the left's worldview. Why, though, isn't the American left saying a thing about China's depredations against its Uyghur Muslim population? Because the left is more in love with (or in cahoots with) China than it is with the Muslims? Because the left is more worried about Chinese economic vengeance than it is about extremist-Muslim bloodlust?

Taco Turdsday

I brought in a bunch of leftovers on Thursday: components for 1970s-era suburban-style tacos, which are, as you can imagine, nothing like actual tacos. I did buy some fresh avocados five days earlier, but when I tried to make guacamole with them Thursday morning, only one of the avocados had ripened. The rest were as unaffected by time as a mountain made of diamond. So I did without. My beef was some cleverly repurposed meatballs that hadn't turned out the way I'd wanted. I washed the gravy off the meatballs, mashed the meat up in my skillet, re-flavored everything with taco seasoning, and added a can of baked beans to make something that lay somewhere between taco filling and chili on the "ersatz Tex-Mex" spectrum. I took the beef mixture to the office along with some flour tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, lettuce, tomatoes, and sriracha. I felt bad about not having any guac or salsa, but the troops seemed fine with what I'd brought. Below are two pics: one of my lunchtime taco, and one of my nighttime nachos.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Biden: Trump is "the first racist president"

Styx once again takes on the would-be Idiot in Chief, Joe Biden:

Weren't the rioting morons saying that the early presidents were all dirty, racist slave-owners? Biden isn't keeping up with the rhetoric of his oh-so-enlightened constituency.

how to get rid of a "Black Lives Matter" street mural

This is how it's done, folks, so pay attention:

As the Saul Alinsky playbook says: hold your opponent to his own standards.

when "wokes" and racists agree on the basics

I've commented on this very irony right here on this blog:

Funny and sad at the same time.

arrived this past Tuesday

New fookin' pasta roller! Italian, purchased from! More expensive! Can't wait to try this puppy out. Here's the unboxing sequence:

That final photo shows the new roller (with black-handle crank) next to the current and soon-to-be-tossed roller. So sad to throw the current roller away, but it's unacceptable that it might be falling apart so soon after I began using it. Here's hoping the extra bucks dumped into the new roller prove to be worth it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

once more, with feeling: HRC is stupid

Hillary Clinton is one of Styx's favorite whipping boys.

damn, what a dam!

The Three Gorges Dam that spans the Yangtze River in China has developed a slight "deformation," according to this Asia Times article.

In a rare revelation, Beijing has admitted that its 2.4-kilometer Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River in Hubei province “deformed slightly” after record flooding.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the operator of the the world’s largest hydroelectric gravity dam as saying that some nonstructural, peripheral parts of the dam had buckled.

The dam was a pet project of the late Premier Li Peng and a monumental pride of the nation when it blocked and diverted Asia’s largest river in 1997.

The deformation occurred last Saturday when the flood from western provinces[,] including Sichuan and Chongqing along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River[,] peaked at a record-setting 61,000 cubic meters per second, according to China Three Gorges Corporation, a state-owned enterprise that manages the dam and the sprawling power plant underneath it.

The company noted that parts of the dam had “deformed slightly,” displacing some external structures, and seepage into the main outlet walls had also been reported throughout the 18 hours on Saturday and Sunday when water was discharged though its outlets.

Not to worry, though: the Chinese government assures us everything is fine:

Xinhua also stressed in its report that all metrics were still up to standard and all the variables being monitored fell within the design parameters.

Meanwhile, Wang Hao, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and an authority on hydraulics who sits on the Ministry of Water Resources’ Yangtze River Administration Commission, has also assured that the dam is sound enough to withstand the impact from floods twice the mass flow rate recorded on Saturday.

Still, Wang’s remarks stoked a volley of mockery after he said the flooding could be a good thing as the dam would only become more rigid the longer it was steeped up to its top.

I found this interesting:

It is believed that the dam’s operator must protect the central megacity of Wuhan, whose 10 million residents are still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic that erupted there in December.

That would be God's proper punishment if Wuhan got annihilated by the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam: give the world a virus, get your ass flooded. That'd be some Old Testament-style justice—God makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the righteous and the wicked alike! Joking aside, let's hope the dam does its job and doesn't collapse. I just looked to see whether a potential flood might affect Korea in some way, but the dam is way too far southwest to be a threat to the Korean peninsula. Only China would be affected, it seems, although it's interesting to note that the Yangtze first flows southeast from the Three Gorges Dam, then flows northeast up to Wuhan, which has about the population of Seoul.

Ave, Joshua!

Joshua Stanton reminds us that President Moon Jae-in, despite his surprisingly adept handling of the pandemic with South Korean borders, is nevertheless not a good-faith actor on the world stage. Read Joshua's latest post at One Free Korea here. The first two paragraphs of Joshua's post ought to set the mood:

I really think South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants to bail Kim Jong-un out more than I want my next breath. Even before he was sworn in, he called for the reopening of Kaesong and other joint projects to ease the burden of U.S.-led sanctions. Once in office, he called for major investments in North Korea until a call from the Treasury Department scared his bankers away. He turned a blind eye to purchases of North Korean coal, and probably to the smuggling of luxury goods, into and through South Korean ports, and failed to seize the ships involved (as mandated by U.N. resolutions). He sent fuel and machinery to Kaesong and failed to report the shipments to the U.N. When he was found out, [he] argued that Kaesong doesn’t really count as North Korea (page 151, table 13, paragraph 13).

Meanwhile, Moon lobbied Washington and the U.N. relentlessly for sanctions exemptions, despite Kim Jong-un making neither concessions nor progress toward disarmament. He wanted to build a railroad through North Korea (he won an exemption for a survey only). Most recently, he has tried to use tourism as a sanctions dodge, despite suspicions that the only viable venue for that now, [Geumgang], is under the control of U.N.- and U.S.-sanctioned Bureau 39. Now, Moon’s nominee to become the next Minister of Unification, Lee In-young, has the next big idea for how to bail Kim Jong-un out.

Later in his post, Joshua—who I think is a Never Trumper—goes after Trump for "micromismanaging North Korea policy personally." This has been a long-running theme in Joshua's posts since Trump took office. Joshua was initially willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but it soon became obvious that Trump, whatever his supposed diplomatic coups (such as physically stepping over the DMZ into North Korea for a brief moment), hasn't done anything to move the needle. In terms of North Korea policy, Trump is a failure just like his predecessors, both Democrat and Republican.

And I agree. Trump's actions vis-à-vis North Korea amount to just a tiny bit of style and no real substance. Trump shook Kim Jeong-eun's hand—so what? Did anything come of this? Not a thing. Upshot: the options and scenarios considered by previous US administrations over the years remain viable today. The way I see it, Trump ought to just continue with sanctions pressure, but he should be better about punishing sanctions violations than Obama, Dubya, and Clinton. There's no need to make any further progress than that. Squeeze Kim out and play the long game: that's the best option in a menu of bad options. It's like performing a long, slow rear naked choke on an opponent in the octagon: effects aren't apparent early on, but given enough time, the opponent will eventually wilt with a minimum of violence.

Joshua concludes:

As Donald Trump has proven in his usual fashion—though inadvertence and ineptitude—there is no win-win between the United States and North Korea. In our zero-sum struggle to slow a global metastasis of proliferation, Moon has chosen sides, and we are not the side he has chosen. Do you want to ask why the alliance between the United States and South Korea is falling apart? There’s a lot you could blame Trump for. Just don’t forget to blame Lee In-young, and his boss, too.

I give Trump a lot of credit for turning the US economy around, pre-pandemic. I agree with Trump's federalism in the handling of the COVID-19 crisis: he's left the bulk of the work to state governors, as he should, for that's consistent with the federalist stance. I agree with Tim Pool that most accusations against Trump amount to wild-eyed attempts at fake news because the news media carry water for the Democrats, and the Democrats have been taken over by the loony far left, thus making reasoned dialogue impossible. I think Trump's current move to draw down US forces in Afghanistan is worthy of applause: the US needs to be less interventionist everywhere, and this latest move is consistent with Trump's overall anti-war, pro-economy posture.

All that being said, Trump is a dead fish when it comes to the Korean peninsula. Recently, over at ROK Drop, there was a post about how Trump may be planning to draw down the US troop presence here; I think that's a good idea. I've long contended that the US military needs to get out of Korea: we're not appreciated here, and a "tripwire" force is utterly unnecessary given the US's war technology, which allows for global force-projection in a short amount of time. These days, I think we don't even need military bases.

Of course, pulling back from interventionism won't stop certain idiots from continuing to bray that America is an empire!—even though, compared to the obviously imperialistic behavior of China, we most certainly are not. Not even close. But before I wander too far off-point, let me reiterate that Trump's Korea policy has been one of the biggest nothingburgers of his administration. Doing something decisive, like clamping down hard on North Korea while also pulling all US troops out of South Korea, would be a welcome change in policy. I contend that a Pax Americana doesn't need to exist in East Asia. I doubt I'm alone in thinking this way; let's not treat Asians like big children: let's give them room to breathe and to solve their problems in their own way. If this means a nuclear-armed, remilitarized Japan and a nuclear-armed South Korea, then so be it.

some memes

Two funny memes, and one that's serious:

"worms" in South Korean tap water

My buddy Mike once again brings me Korean news I hadn't heard before: South Korea is currently under attack by worm-like critters in its tap water. The beasties appear to be larvae of some sort. Mike originally linked to a Telegraph article about the problem, but that article is hidden behind a paywall, so here's a Korea Herald article instead. Excerpt (edited):

Worm-like creatures that were first found in tap water in Incheon were detected at seven water-purifying facilities across the country, the government confirmed Tuesday, suggesting that water contamination wasn’t limited to just Incheon.

The Ministry of Environment’s three-day inspection[,] which ended Friday[,] found larvae of nonbiting midge[s] and other organisms at seven out of a total of 49 [water-treatment] centers with an [activated-carbon] filtering system.

[There] are two facilities in Incheon and one each in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province; Ulsan; and Uiryeong, Gimhae[,] and Yangsan in South Gyeongsang Province, the ministry said. Contaminated filters have been replaced at those sites, along with other emergency sanitation measures, officials said. The sites were also told to conduct maintenance improvements and report the results by Thursday.

On top of the [carbon-filtering] facilities, the ministry has also kicked off an emergency inspection on all 435 regular water-purifying centers in the country starting Friday.

So far, there has been no report of a bug problem, the ministry added.

For what it's worth, I never drink straight tap water. At home, I have a Brita pitcher. Elsewhere, I'm likely to drink bottled water, or filtered water from our office's dispenser. Water used for soup is always boiled. That goes for water in my neti pot, although that's because of a brain-amoeba scare a few years back.

Daniel Thrasher's hilarious mini-songs

I hate to deflate the humor of the following hilarious mini-songs by musical humorist Daniel Thrasher, but I do need to note that the idea that sharks must continue moving to keep themselves from dying is largely a myth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

gorgeous, but not particularly deep

While watching hiking videos last night, I stumbled upon this American chica:

She's absolutely gorgeous, but one gets the feeling that she knows how gorgeous she is (how can she not?), hence all the "I'm so beautiful!" camera angles. I did like her positive, youthful outlook as she was traveling through Switzerland, but after a while, I got tired of the repetitive "This is so unreal"s and "This is like a dream"s. One Swiss commenter humorously wrote that he takes his country for granted, so it's weird to witness foreigners' gaga reactions to it.

I actually think the Swiss as a whole do not take what they have for granted, and this jealous attitude toward their own soil is part of what motivates the Swiss to be polite but standoffish, and not particularly receptive to, say, immigrants (I wrote about this years and years ago, back in the halcyon days of 2007). The Swiss know they've got it good, which is why they treasure their political neutrality and aren't exactly thrilled about sharing their lovely landscapes and resources with outsiders. Un peuple renfermé, as I've heard them described by certain French folks: a closed-off people. Terrain at least partially determines culture.

Anyway, Elena's video does provide some beautiful shots of Switzerland, a country I wouldn't mind moving to. Alas, Elena perpetuates the myth that Switzerland is hellishly expensive, but old veterans will tell you that it's possible to get around for cheap if you're willing to make certain sacrifices, e.g., get your food from farmers' markets and groceries instead of at restaurants, and use the ubiquitous Kampingplätze instead of staying at hotels and hostels. I don't know what the best workaround might be for expensive internet access, unless it's to switch your phone to "airplane" mode and siphon off whatever Wi-Fi is available. (I use my own Wi-Fi device, which stood me in good stead while I was in France for two weeks in 2018.)

So Elena comes off as very beautiful and very positive, but not particularly deep. I can see she's a bit of a party animal, which makes my introverted self cringe, and even my long-gone thirty-year-old self wouldn't be attracted to someone like Elena except only superficially. She's young, she's going on many adventures while she can, and I don't begrudge her a thing. I just hope she gains a bit of depth with age so that she can really appreciate what she's seeing, tasting, and otherwise experiencing. She could start by learning some French and German.

ADDENDUM: she has a financial-advice video here in which she sounds more grounded and pragmatic. She's debt-free at age 23, which I applaud. Maybe I should revise my admittedly low estimation of her wisdom. Then again, she did think Switzerland was expensive, which means she's not the financial whiz she makes herself out to be.

French Wikipedia has a sense of humor

Look up "chti" in French Wikipedia, and you'll end up at a Wikipedia entry that's actually—and hilariously—written in chti patois (or patoé, as they say in chti). A few of the listed chti expressions that I may have understood:

1. Inlève tin capiau!
2. Inlève t'capiau, i a un Chti qui passe!
3. V'la un Chti!

Translations (I think) into standard French:

1. Enlève ton chapeau! (Take off your hat!)
2. Enlève ton chapeau: il y a un Chti qui passe! (Take off your hat: that's a Chti passing us!)
3. Voilà un Chti! (Now, there's a Chti!)

The chti dialect and people are in the northern part of France, near Calais, but to my ear, the way the vowels and consonants of the dialect are turned and twisted sounds an awful lot like québecois to me. There are parts of Switzerland, too, where the dialect sounds vaguely chti-ish. Some French-speaking Swiss, for example, pronounce il faut que je voie (I have to see...) as y fauque je vwaé. When I was in Cherbourg in 1986—my first-ever trip to France—my French "brother" Dominique's uncle, a weatherbeaten farmer named Charles, became for me the archetype of all strange French dialects, and the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether Oncle Charles was himself a Chti. Cherbourg isn't that far away from Calais (470-ish kilometers apart by car); both are close to England, just across the Channel. Vive les Chtis!*

*And in case you think I'm wrong to use Vive and not Vivent in front of the plural les Chtis, suck on this, which says it's permissible to use either the singular Vive or the plural Vivent in front of a plural noun phrase.

a tiny moment to celebrate

The news is going around that the company Red Bull, manufacturer of the "energy" drink with dubious benefits, just "purged" its staff of all(?) "woke" employees.

From Revolver News, an excerpt:

Red Bull just reminded their "wokest" employees who calls the shots in a total massacre of "social justice warrior" employees.

Not only were the top two North American executives fired, but so were entire marketing teams and "culture" teams that were dedicated to pushing the lie of systemic racism.

Red Bull has just shown the way forward for all who want to prevent a total Marxist-style takeover of business and government in America. There is no appeasing these people[;] the only way forward is to fire them as quickly as possible, and with no mercy. Err on the side of firing everyone, if need be.

What this country needs, at every level of society, academia, and government, is a total and complete purge of "woke" [revolutionaries before] the blood starts running in the streets.
As the recent saying goes: get woke, go broke.

A caution: I've never read Revolver News before, but it's obviously a rightie outlet, which means the news it reports will be skewed in a right-leaning way, as you see in the wording of the above excerpt. It's important to remember that the above is as much spin as it is news, and for this reason, a measure of caution is advisable. I might personally agree with almost everything in the article, but I also need to remember that there will be other perspectives about this event—other arguments and other details that might not come to light from the rightie perspective. Keeping that sense of balance is what distinguishes the sane among us from the frothing left, which is a cancer.

Let me add that I've long despised the term "woke," which is a disgusting misappropriation of the religious concept of awakening. There is nothing—nothing—enlightened about the "woke" crowd, which is a fulminating mass of rage and stupidity: the exact opposite of enlightenment.

ADDENDUM: here's a thought-experiment for you: what if I were to take out all the spin from the above snatch of text and print only what counts as hard news? The above text would look like this, stripped of all spin:
Red Bull just fired its top two North American executives, along with entire marketing teams and "culture" teams dedicated to pushing the concept of systemic racism.
We've gotten so used to conflating fact and opinion that the above exercise is fairly intellectually refreshing. Now go try this Gedankenexperient out on any random article from The Huffington Post.

the Trump Effect strikes again

Tim Pool on how the left demanded that Trump stop enforcing the law, which means the left now takes full responsibility for the riots.

funky sax with echo-y pipe

Monday, July 20, 2020

black cop calls out racist white rioters

From PJ Media:

"A Black Portland Cop Says Rioters Are Racist. Leftists Immediately Confirm It."

Portland Police Officer Jackhary Jackson calls out the white Antifa rioters. Pious, enlightened leftists on Twitter call him "token" and "coon." Way to show your anti-bigotry, guys.

Ave, Mike!

My buddy Mike writes a fascinating post about possible war between Ethiopia and Egypt. The cause? Water. It's like Dune, but without spice melange and Bene Gesserits. Here's a snippet of Mike's post, edited for style:

Water can also be a terrifying subject to think about. Take, for example, the Nile river. Way back in 1989, [our class] talked about the Nile river—how it is the primary potable-water source for four nations, chief among them Egypt. We spoke about the politics of the Aswan Dam and why the dam was so important in the first place. Well... guess what? There is nothing new under the sun. If Egypt can dam the Nile, surely other nations can, too.

And that is just what Ethiopia has done. If you missed it (and your Maximum Leader did until last year, when he read a news article mentioning the dam), Ethiopia has been building a dam on the Blue Nile since 2011. Guess what else? That dam is finished. And Ethiopia is doing what is done when a dam is built: you fill a reservoir and start using the dam. Here is a piece on that: River Nile Dam: reservoir filling Up, Ethiopia confirms.
The world is tearing itself apart this year. The Cathedral of Nantes suffered an arson attack this past Saturday. I just emailed a message of sympathy to my French family, which is from that area. What more does 2020 have in store for us? The possible tearing-apart of the United States, if Tim Pool is right: he contends that half the country will disbelieve the presidential-election results, so we're in for more than just people screaming at the sky this year.

Ave, Dr. Pepple!

Dr. John Pepple humorously suggests that enviro-nut Greta Thunberg should be canceled:

According to the website of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the emphasis on the scientific method and on “objective, rational, linear thinking” is part of whiteness and that of course is bad. See here. In other words, those who believe in global warming need to check their white privilege and just shut up. Greta, as a white person, is merely participating in white culture and the way that that has been “normalized” for the entire world. Enough already! Let non-scientific ways of knowing flourish!

an auspicious day

Maybe one day, we'll go back instead of sending probes, eh?