Tuesday, August 31, 2021

off to Ajumma's in 45 minutes

I've been starving myself all day in preparation for a homemade dinner—and, very likely, some birthday cake—tonight at my #3 Ajumma's place. I'll see whether I can make the meal as keto as possible, but I doubt it. And I'll have to eat at least some cake tonight, so fuck it: this is the second cheat day that I didn't want to have. Maybe I'll walk some extra kilometers tomorrow morning in addition to my usual 140-minute evening walk.

I'll say more tonight. Maybe there'll be photos. I'm definitely curious as to Ajumma's reaction when she sees me. She's always on my ass about my weight. Murphy's Law says she won't be that impressed, and at some point, she's going to say, "Lose more!" Which I do need to do. Ajumma's a Korean Christian, which means she might also react by suddenly dropping into thankful prayer upon seeing the new me. You never know.

set the weight-gain cutoff at 103 kg

Until I get my diet under better control (I'm still taking in too many carbs), I expect I'll be gaining some weight back before my big walk. I also expect to lose some weight during the walk, but maybe only 5 or 6 kg, not my usual 10 or 12. This is because I lost so much weight already since May. So for the moment, I'm telling myself that if I get back up to about 103 kg before the east-coast walk, that's not a horrible thing: I'll be re-losing that weight, then losing even more, over the course of that month.

I now have sixteen days until my hospital appointment—a bit more than two weeks. At this point, having moved to keto and having done a couple months' worth of dieting, I think my blood sugar ought to be fairly low, my A1c ought to be 7 or under (in the 6es would be nice), and my blood pressure, while still high, ought to be lower than it was at my previous checkup in June. If all my numbers are still high, despite months of effort, I'm going to be very frustrated. We'll just have to see how the appointment goes.

Once I'm back from the walk, I'm probably going to have to find ways to keep the weight off. Caloric restriction seems like the best bet, but I still haven't figured out, in my mind, what the best strategy might be (see this post for a discussion). I just watched a video of a guy who trained hard, ate well, and went from about 95 kg to around 72 kg, and that's factoring in the fact that he was losing fat while also gaining muscle. It was a pretty impressive transformation that took him the better part of a year. And he trained hard

If I'm going to get into anything like that shape, I'm going to have to train just as hard, and psychologically speaking, that's a tough row to hoe for me. I'm naturally lazy, and I like certain kinds of exercise but not others. For the moment, I've got resistance bands, dumbbells, a pullup bar (still unused because of my shoulder), and the prospect of diving deeper into bodyweight calisthenics. All of this will have to coalesce into a better, more detailed training plan than the one I'm on now if I'm to see any real improvement. Stick around and see how it goes for me. And as I keep saying, check my progress this time next year.

cool animations

Enjoy. You're welcome.

random stuff from the Instapundit comments

Enjoy the memes, but don't mind me as I comment on the language faux pas I see.

Okay, the above tweet looks perfect.

Biden checking the time while the bereaved mourn. Some are calling this his George HW Bush moment, in remembrance of when the elder Bush caught hell for checking his watch during a town-hall debate, seemingly out of touch with the concerns of the hoi polloi.

Nothing to complain about above, either. Wow. I'd normally be knee-deep in textual problems by now. This is remarkable.

Lack of a period could equal sloppiness or denote a "trailing off" of the narrative voice, as is normally done with ellipses....



And above is what the "real Indians" found out when they were disarmed.

All caps, and more like a marquee than a caption. I'll allow the lack of punctuation.

Same deal with the above.

With the above meme, the change in font size is bothersome. I like the meme, though.

The above meme points out the irrational hypocrisies in COVID policy. It also contains some language problems. First sentence: a comma splice after "6'" (the comma should be a semicolon because what follows is an independent clause). In that same sentence is a list whose items are separated by commas ("Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, or any grocery store."). That also means the preceding commas ought to be semicolons acting as "supercommas" when list items contain commas. Oxford comma before "or." Second sentence: an Oxford comma after "riots" would be nice. The final sentence should probably be split into two sentences: "It is only deadly in bars, restaurants, small businesses, and hair salons. It cannot live on your food as long as you get it to go." Note that "cannot" should be one word. A lot of illiterates mess that up. What's so hard about writing "cannot"?

The above pic is just too cool.

I guess the above meme is saying that the abolition of the TSA and the Patriot Act will never happen. At least, I assume that's what it's saying. Or is it saying that we made a hash of leaving Afghanistan, and we'd make a similar hash of trying to abolish the TSA and the Patriot Act? Now I'm confused. Your interpretation is welcome.

Above: comma after "fingertips" because what follows is an independent clause. And there's absolutely no reason to hyphenate "gun crime" unless it's a phrasal adjective, as in "gun-crime legislation." Oxford comma after "global pandemics."

Above: comma after "fat people." This is a simple rule, guys, yet you constantly fail to follow it. Refer to my Commas, Part 1 post. Master just that post, and you'll fix 90% of your comma errors. Stop making me wanna tear my hair out.

Above: vocative comma before "please." I'm also not a fan of writing it as "Covid." It should be "COVID," from the designation "COVID-19." The "CO" apparently stands for "corona"; the "VI" stands for "virus," and the "D" stands for "disease." (reference)

Above: comma before "or if you hated him." Same rules as talked about earlier. The second "sentence" is actually a fragment.

Above: comma splice after "first time." That comma should be a semicolon separating two independent clauses. Same problem with the sentence containing "butt"; the comma should be a semicolon. How apropos, given that the subject of the meme is colons.

Scarily, there are no problems with the above tweet, except for a missing period.

Sean Davis, whoever he is, gets a pass!

Above: my major beef is with the word "trainings," which sounds like Konglish.

Above: lack of punctuation acceptable on a marquee.

The writer means "goods or services."

As I've written before, memes often pain me: while their intended content is often clever, their execution is sloppy because the person writing the meme is a linguistic idiot who trips over his own dick on the way to trying to tell a clever joke. I know some people are annoyed by my attitude: Just laugh and move on, they say. But let me ask you: if you were listening to a stuttering fool who was trying to tell a joke, and who kept stumbling and backtracking to the point where you no longer know what the original story was, would you find the eventual punchline of his joke funny? Execution matters. You can be as witty as you want, but if you fumble with the language, then you just make yourself look stupid. Don't be that guy (or gal).

Trump weighs in

Donald Trump in his own(?) words:

Never in history has a withdrawal from war been handled so badly or incompetently as the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. In addition to the obvious, ALL EQUIPMENT should be demanded to be immediately returned to the United States, and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars in cost. If it is not handed back, we should either go in with unequivocal Military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it. Nobody ever thought such stupidity, as this feeble-brained withdrawal, was possible!

the Taliban will never learn to fly helicopters

Guess again:

one thing I'm now dealing with

Sad but true:

Saggy ass. It comes with rapid weight loss. I begin my fifty-third year on this planet with a dilemma caused by the Newcastle Diet: how to deal with a saggy ass.

I'm going to look into how to give my ass a bit more lift and life, although I know I'll never attain the heights of Jean-Claude Van Damme in his prime:

It would nevertheless be nice if, by this time next year, I've figured out some way to get things—as they say in the military—high and tight:

But I don't want to overdo it and end up with Kardashian ass:

Something that's just a little more filled out than what I've got would do nicely, I think. The big question, though, is whether I should scare my readership with before/after pics. Yeah... try to un-think that thought. You're welcome.

the New 52

52 today. Glad I made it. This year, I'm just thankful to be alive for my birthday. The past few months have been a rough road and have taught some harsh lessons, but it's been an education, and I have a new lust for life. Onward!

Monday, August 30, 2021

but will the left listen?

I've set the following video to play from 48:49 so you can hear the conclusion of the following long interview, but I encourage you, if you have time, to watch the whole thing:

It's saddening when seemingly smart people advocate for socialism despite massive evidence that that toxic ideology leads only to ruin, turning everything it touches to shit.


I don't know how or why it happened, but the Xanax spam is now gone from my comment queue. From your point of view, Dear Reader, nothing changed because the spam comments never appeared on the blog. From my point of view, the spam is gone from the queue... it just kind of deleted itself. I guess I don't need to contact Google after all.

my birthday and the other alternative

Tomorrow, August 31, is my 52nd birthday. According to my schedule, Tuesday is supposed to be a fasting day, but my #3 Ajumma has summoned me to her place for a celebratory meal (and probably cake). So I'm switching things up: I had breakfast, but I'll be fasting the rest of today and most of tomorrow, until tomorrow evening. I'll eat whatever Ajumma provides, and as for the cake... well, Ajumma has never seen me this thin—not for a long time, anyway—so I'm hoping she'll understand if I tell her I'm dieting and should have only the smallest of slices of cake (I don't think I can get away with avoiding the cake entirely). Frankly, I don't want to spike my blood sugar, so the best I can do is eat at Ajumma's place and then go for a long walk to start reducing my blood sugar right away.

I also had a thought about rearranging my meal schedule. What if I kept the 24-hour fasting days and made my eating days into all-day affairs such that I could snack late at night? That might be the way to go. I'm not saying I'd eat all day long, just that I'd have two or three meals plus a snack, spread throughout the day, then the following day would be a pure 24-hour water-fasting day. Over the next two weeks, I'll try things one way, then try them another, and we'll see which way is better. That will put me right up against the date I begin my long walk, at which point I'll switch to a more liberal way of eating. Just for the walk.

Fifty-two. It's been a long road, and we're not done yet.

the tally

Seen on Instapundit:

a wasted Sunday

I took the subway out to Bundang, then walked 2.6 km out from Jeongja Station to the camping store I'd learned about. The final 100 or so meters of the walk were up a very steep hill, and I ended up smelling the camping store before I saw it. (New camping gear has a distinct smell.) Despite the wide selection I saw in one part of the store, there were apparently no backpacks or belt pouches on sale. What a shame. You'd think a camping store would carry such gear (and, in fact, I did see a backpack on a table on a lower floor... maybe it wasn't really for sale). The guys I talked to about the equipment seemed lazy and unwilling to help me, so I shrugged and left. That was a wasted pilgrimage.

A good percentage of the taxis in Bundang were actually Seoul-bound taxis, so I grabbed one and asked to be taken to Jamshil Station; I knew there was a HomePlus nearby, and I thought I might have a better chance of grabbing a small, simple backpack with a hip belt there. I reached HomePlus... and once again, nada. Another wasted trip.

Depressed, I took a final cab back to my place to buy some pancetta from my downstairs grocery so I could grind it up and add it to some ground pork to make Italian sausage... only to discover my grocery, despite selling pancetta for months, suddenly no longer sells it. Struck out again! What the fuck was going on?

Anyway, Monday afternoon, I'll check the grocery in the building where I work to see if it has pancetta. As for the belt pouches and/or little backpacks... I'll go visit Itaewon, where they have bag stores out the wazoo. I should've done that in the first place.

all about cheese

A very educational video by a professional cheesemonger:

Sunday, August 29, 2021

doing Biden's fucking job for him

I'm paying special attention to the private efforts that have sprung up to rescue various people trapped in Afghanistan, and whom Biden and Justin Trudeau have apparently given up on. Here's a short collection of stories I've seen thus far, but I expect this list to grow:

Team of Radical Feminists Rescues Thirty Afghan Feminists

5100 Christian and Other At-risk Afghans Evacuated in Private Rescue Mission

US Special Operations Vets Carry Out Daring Mission to Save Afghan Lives

When your government is run by a drooling, do-nothing idiot who won't help his own people, then you're the one who's got to step up to the plate. My hat is off to all these folks for having the bravery to do what Biden should be doing.

The following Biden-logo parody is extremely hard to find via Google, which is obviously carrying water for Biden, but it comes up pretty quickly if you switch to using Bing:

This is your president, America. Are you glad you stole an election for him?

comments redux

I've set my comments to "disallow, but show existing" for the following posts:

So you can no longer comment on those posts. Sorry. You can, however, still see the comments that did get published. I singled those posts out because, in my comments queue, the spam comments I talked about earlier targeted those particular posts. 

It's still strange to me that these spam comments were able to bypass moderation and appear directly in my queue as if they'd already been published, and yet they aren't appearing on the actual posts. I think I need to contact Google about what's happening, especially since I still can't delete the spam from my queue.

If you've tried to comment, and your comment hasn't appeared after many hours, let me know via email, and I'll see what I can do (which may ultimately be nothing).

ADDENDUM: another wrinkle is that I had apparently activated Comment Captcha long ago, and these spam comments somehow got past that, as if they'd been placed in my queue by an actual human brain and not by a bot. Curiouser and curiouser.

spam problems

A Xanax spam snuck into my comments queue sometime last night, several times, and Blogger isn't letting me delete these comments from the queue, or even just to mark them as spam. Every time I try an action, I'm given the message, "Action failed. Try again later." The Xanax spam somehow made it into my regular comments queue, bypassing moderation, but the spam isn't showing up on the blog, so it appears to be stuck in the queue. I'd love to know how the spam got through my moderation precautions, and why I can't simply delete the stuff. Hopefully, the problem will resolve itself over the next 48 hours. If not, I may have to contact Google, which is not a pleasant thought. Am I being hacked?

From your point of view, Dear Reader, nothing has changed. As far as I can tell, you can still leave comments, and I can still continue to blog. Functionally, nothing is different. But the strange presence of such spam bothers me to no end. 

If you notice anything strange, let me know.

stats after one week of keto

It's been a week on the keto diet. I have not touched any added sugar the entire week, although there may have been a couple days where I surpassed my 50-gram carb allowance (pretty much all food has carbs, even leafy greens; carbs can't be avoided). I'll have to get a better grip on that situation. So how'd I do? All in all, not that well, but also not that badly.

Weight: 101.5 kg (a wee bit of gain)
Blood Sugar: 98 (with metformin taken before bed)
Blood Pressure: 142/86 (up for sure)
Pulse: 65

I had water-fasted at least 24 hours the day I got a blood-sugar result of 75 (the end of Newcastle), so a 98 strikes me as a more "normal" or "honest" reading. My belt-hole situation remains about the same: I can still tighten my belt to the second-to-last belt hole, meaning I didn't gain or lose any inches around the waist. While it's disappointing not to lose, it's reassuring that moving to keto plus increased calories on eating days didn't move the needle enough to register as a belt-hole change. Blood pressure remains bothersome, and I know it's going to be higher when I get my reading done at the hospital. I'm happy about my resting heart rate, though; a 65 seems to indicate continued progress (I've been as low as 63 before).

So while I'm not the happiest camper with these numbers, they're not too tragic. I'm continuing to tweak the new lifestyle, and one thing that might go is all the 24-hour fasts in favor of something a bit more reasonable, like having a morning shake, then a handful of nuts plus beef jerky for lunch. (I also finally figured out how to make an awesome chia-blueberry-yogurt pudding with no added sweeteners, just a bit of vanilla and almond butter. That's another lunchtime possibility.) And on the days I eat big, well... I won't be able to eat so big. Calories need to remain reduced, possibly below 1500 per day.

My buddy Charles suggested something I'd been thinking about: moving my eating time to lunch-dinner instead of breakfast-lunch. There are problems with this, though: if I eat during a six-hour window, and I do this too early, then I'll be eating lunch and dinner at the office (noon and 6 p.m.; I'm still at the office at 6 p.m.), which isn't desirable. If I shift dinner to a later hour, then I have to shift lunch to a later hour as well (say, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.), but because I go walking right after work, I can't really eat anything until I'm back home, which is often after 10 p.m. So for the moment, if I'm to continue with the 18:6 intermittent-fasting paradigm, I think I have to stick to breakfast-lunch. Sucks, but that's the reality. (Coach Greg Doucette pooh-poohs all this and says to eat small meals often throughout the day. He's the little devil on my shoulder right now.)

I could also, in theory, go OMAD—one meal a day, which will likely mean cutting out my beloved smoothies and cramming all my daily calories into a one-hour period: 23:1 intermittent fasting, basically. This could be almost as bad as doing 24-hour fasts, though. Deprive myself of my smoothies? What's life without a little daily chocolate? (Instead of SlimFast, I now use unsweetened coca powder, monkfruit sweetener, almond butter, and some combination of nut milk, real whole milk, and heavy cream for my weekday smoothies.) Still, I might give it a try, at least for a week, to see how it feels and whether it helps any.

As I continue to explore dieting alternatives (what I'm really seeking are plausible lifestyle choices), I'll continue tracking my numbers and reporting back here. I have a feeling that keto is a good path forward for me—not for everybody, but for someone with my sweet tooth, keto's sugar-minimal lifestyle may be the best choice. So I'll probably stick with keto. As I wrote before, I'll also be looking into intuitive eating, although I suspect that that strategy may require more self-control than I possess. Left to my own devices, I eat like a ravenous dog—gobbling food until I'm about to burst. I don't stop at satiety; I stop at absolutely stuffed. I realize that that's a psychological issue, but that's the reality. Why have two slices of pizza when I can have five?

More positively, I'm looking forward to the weight loss that will come with walking across the country. I'm not expecting to drop ten kilos (if I do, I'll be very surprised), but I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up somewhere in the 90s (low 200 pounds).

Thanks for reading along with my ongoing adventure. More later!

Saturday's walk to Bundang

I counted 142 maskless people Saturday evening and night as I walked the 18 kilometers to Bundang's Jeongja Station. This time around, I didn't stop the count when it got too dark; I simply kept counting whenever I had enough electric lighting to do so. Doubtless I missed a few maskless people, so the number 142 is, if anything, a conservative estimate. Sure, there were over ten times as many masked people, but mask-defiance is visible on the trail.

Started the walk at 6:40 p.m. and finished at 10:20 p.m., so that's three hours and forty minutes, I think. Gives me a walking speed of 4.9 or so kph. Not my greatest speed, but better than 4.8 kph, which has been my benchmark for a while.

As for the future: on September 12, as summer finally winds down, I'll be walking 35K with JW from Hanam City to Yangpyeong. This is one of JW's favorite walks, and I wanted to get this in before I left for my big walk on the 18th. JW and I will also do another walk once I'm back. That walk, close to 30K, will be along one of my favorite sections of the Four Rivers trail, going from Yeonpoong-myeon (a village) to the San Gwa Gang Pension. Transportation is going to be a bit awkward, as we start in the middle of nowhere and basically end in the middle of nowhere, but I think a combination of buses/trains and taxis will do the trick. I won't be on my regular early-riser long-walk schedule for that walk, so if we start late and end late, that works for me. I just want JW to do a part of the route that shows off Korea's mountainous beauty as well as the tail end of the harvest season (we'll be doing this in late October). It really is incredible. If you need a reminder of what this section of the walk looks like, click here. If you click on a photo, this brings up all the photos as a slide show.

So—looking forward to a Sunday of rest, shopping, and cooking, with Skyping in the evening. I've got burger buns to bake, burgers to fry up, and sausage to make for keto pizza this coming week (done "flower pepperoni"-style in honor of Randolph Beer). Stay tuned for photos!

from PowerLine

That last one comes via Bill.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

ChocZero chocolate chips

They come in tiny, 7-ounce bags (why seven ounces?), and the chips themselves are minuscule compared to normal chocolate chips, but ChocZero chocolate chips, which I shelled out a lot of money for, are not bad. A 14-gram portion (half an ounce) contains only a single gram of net carbs. I admit I ate a few ounces' worth of chips last night. It was hard not to. Fear not, though: I plan to walk the calories off in an hour.

birthday dilemma

Assuming I stick to my current schedule, August 31—my birthday, and also the Taliban's deadline for American withdrawal from Afghanistan—is going to be a fasting day. But my #3 Ajumma has summoned me to her place because she feels obliged to do something for my birthday. It's a touching sentiment, but it would warm my heart more if Ajumma were a better cook. She's an excellent painter, as I've repeatedly shown whenever I upload her paintings here, but as a cook, well... to put it politely, she's not my mom.

So if the day goes as it has in previous years, I'll eat dinner and have some cake, and the whole thing will be over in an hour or so. My blood sugar will be thrown out of whack, which is not what I want to happen this close to my doctor's appointment, but how do you say no to your Ajumma? I think I'm just going to fast the following day. I really didn't want a second cheat day right before my doctor's appointment, but I'll try to keep the cake and other carbs to a minimum and just hope that I don't do too much damage to myself.

As for actually celebrating my birthday... I won't be having another cheat day until late October, so I guess I'll celebrate right around my brother Sean's birthday (October 15). Aligning cheat days with the social calendar is hard work, it turns out.

O-Cam Mall, here I come

One thing I need to prep for the upcoming walk is the belt pouches I'll be using instead of a backpack. I'm going to try to pack light for this trip, but I still have to carry bulky items like a poncho for rain, a first-aid kit, a toiletry bag (which will also hold a month's worth of meds), and a bag for holding all my tech-related devices such as my phone, a charger, wires, etc.

To that end, I need to buy some belt pouches, and I just found a camping store that might have some. It's located in Bundang, not far from where I normally conclude my 18K walk, but while I plan to walk to Bundang today, I won't hit the store until tomorrow. It's open on Sundays until 8 p.m. The store is called O-Cam Mall (오캠몰), which sounds like the shortened form of some expression having to do with outdoor camping.* We'll see what I can find tomorrow. Otherwise, it's back to Coupang!


*Koreans are big on a sort of scaled-down polysynthesis, where you take syllables from separate words and mash them together to form new expressions, such as namchin/남친 for namja-chingu, i.e., "boyfriend," or in English, where NaNoWriMo means "National Novel-writing Month"; true polysynthesis combines disparate elements to create sentences or sentence-like structures. There's some overlap between this conception of polysynthesis and portmanteaux, but they're not quite the same thing.

how things change

I took another longer-than-usual walk last night, this time along the Yangjae Creek, which is something I hadn't done in years. Walked all the way out of Seoul and into Gwacheon, noting changes along the way. 

Parts of the creekside are now more developed than they'd been. There are new basketball courts under some of the bridges, not to mention new and obnoxious signage with the stupid "MeMeWe" slogan adopted by Gangnam as part of its campaign to market itself. Long swaths of the path have been resurfaced, making walking and biking slightly safer. Overall, the changes were a mix of good and bad. 

The one thing I didn't do, as I went along the old route, was climb the staircases. I might try that at some point, but I've got a good thing going with my current stair-training regimen, so I'm in no hurry to alter my routine. The Yangjae stairs do remain an option, though, should I ever get bored. 

Bike paths, I've noticed, are in a constant state of change. There always something new to develop, new lights or other doodads to put in, new lines and signs to be painted on the ground. When you walk a given path daily, these changes seem slow and gradual, but when you come back to a path you haven't walked in a few years, the changes hit you all at once.

choose... or maybe the answer is "both"

"follow the science"

An email I sent to a friend:


But what if the "science" is actually horseshit?

We see science hypocrisy all around. For example, liberals accuse conservatives of climate denialism, anti-vaxxism, and believing stupid stuff like that the world is only 6000 years old (and yes, some conservatives do believe those things). "Ha!" says the liberal. "See how unscientific conservatives are?" But if you ask a liberal how any sexes there are (there are only two), he can't give you a straight answer because, in his twisted mind, "sex" is a social construction these days, and the term "sex" has become interchangeable with "gender" (technically, the terms are distinct).

Or ask a liberal to "follow the science" about the distribution of intelligence among different races, and he'll tell you, knee-jerk, that any research in that area is inherently racist and given to Eurocentric bias. But the actual science shows that, when taken as collectives, the races show significant differences in IQ. This says nothing about individuals, of course: a lower-IQ race might produce a super-genius, and a higher-IQ race might produce a retard (oh, no! another un-PC term!). What we've discovered about collectives doesn't apply at the individual level. But liberals don't care—it's all racist. And then there are the folks who say "race isn't real" while also maintaining that racism is real. 

Same for the "sex isn't real" crowd, which will also hypocritically claim that sexism is real. Liberals are just as confused and unscientific as conservatives, and this has applications to the COVID virus. A lot of the supposed "science" isn't science at all. Fauci is a good case in point. His advice to the public has constantly flip-flopped. Wear a mask! Don't wear a mask! Wear two masks! It's just like 1984, where you're supposed to forget history. "Oceania has always been at war with East Asia."

Note how everyone focuses, wild-eyed, on the record number of new infections in Korea (확진자 = confirmed infected person), but no one wants to focus on the actual death rate which, in Korea, is exceedingly small. The virus simply isn't killing that many people. It's irrational to treat it as if it were the second coming of the plague. I think it's reasonable to take certain infection-control precautions: wash your hands frequently, wear a mask indoors when among strangers, watch out for crowds, etc. But treating each other like plague victims, especially when the default assumption should be that people are not infected, is plain dumb. And unscientific. People are terrible at assessing risk, and they become irrational in the face of dangers they can't see. If you're that worried about a virus with a 98%+ survival rate, you might as well not step into a car or leave your home. Everything you do carries some risk of injury and death. And the answer to that is... do nothing at all? Never go out? Cease to live your life? Bullshit.

According to this stats map, South Korea, with a population of 52 million, has 245,158 confirmed cases of COVID. That's 0.47% of the population—not even one percent infected. And how many deaths up to now? 2,265. Out of 52 million people, that's a death rate of around 0.004%. Minuscule. A fraction of a fraction of 1%. And people are freaking out, unscientifically, over that? JW and I have talked about this, and he agrees; the whole thing is overblown, and people are just paranoid. Even if you catch COVID, it's not the end of the world. It's like getting the flu for most people. True, a few young-ish people made the news because the virus killed them, but it's rare things that make the news. If it were commonplace, like gang violence leading to gun deaths, no one would report it (just as no one does any in-depth reporting of gang violence leading to gun deaths).

Upshot: it's obvious that a lot of the hysteria surrounding COVID has nothing to do with science. The "science" is being pushed on us by media sources, politicians, and corporations that, like a Stephen King monster, feed on our fear and want to keep us cowed. I'm not against vaccination, but notice how the "science" surrounding vaccination keeps changing. Get a jab, you're good to go. No: you need a second jab. No: you need a booster after a few months. No: you don't get special privileges just because you've been vaccinated. No: the vaccine doesn't prevent you from catching the virus (cf. Boris Johnson, prime minister of Britain, who was recently quarantined after getting infected, despite being jabbed twice). Hell, Trump got COVID and then got over it. Now, no one talks about Trump's infection (or Tom Hanks's, for that matter... remember when he got infected?). How scared should we be of a virus that only takes out the very old and the very sick, i.e., people who're going to die, anyway? Personally, I wear a mask so as not to scare people when I'm indoors. But when I'm outdoors, I'm maskless, and I don't do the cowardly-pussy thing of keeping my mask on my chin so I can mask up if the police are there. The police can fine my ass if they want.

I've heard the counterargument that we follow all sorts of regulations all the time and never dispute them, so why dispute a vaccine mandate? "Do you treat seat-belt laws the same way?" A seat-belt law is usually backed by actual statistics, and it's reasonable. What's happening with COVID is simply not reasonable, and it's not based on the actual statistics. This is not the same thing at all as seat-belt laws and other, similar laws. So I side firmly with the "open the whole country back up and let herd immunity take care of the rest" crowd. Sure, COVID is highly transmissible, and I think that allowing us all to get infected is probably the best way to get rid of the virus. Herd immunity. You can't clamp down fearfully on the economy forever; that, too, will kill millions of folks, especially in poorer countries.

So I'm not anti-vaxx, but I'm also in no hurry to get jabbed, and I think it's bullshit if people think I'm being selfish: they're irrationally assuming, without evidence, that I'm infected. Why would they automatically assume that? What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? Instead, it's "infected unless shown otherwise." Stupid. Paranoid. Unscientific. They're also irrationally assuming a vaccination makes you proof against the virus, which it obviously doesn't. Even two jabs are not enough in some cases (Boris Johnson again).

Oh, and one final myth to be busted: the media would have you think that white conservatives are the biggest anti-vaxxers. Not true. Minorities are showing a far greater level of distrust in the government (I don't blame them, given how the government fucks everything up; blacks, in particular, remember the Tuskegee Experiment, which is good reason to think the government is your enemy). But if your news diet consists of that bullshit factory CNN, you'll never hear this. That's why you have to expand to watching and reading alt-media—Instapundit, Tim Pool, Michael Malice, etc. Truth comes from seeing both sides of the issue, not just the distorted CNN side (that whole crew can go fuck itself—Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Brian Stelter). And one thing you learn from watching alt-media is the extent to which mainstream media is a lying sack of shit. They want your money, your fear, and your obedience.

Anyway, enough ranting. I hope one day you'll get "red pilled," as they say, and start watching alt-media sources to balance out the crap you get from CNN, etc. Start with Tim Pool on YouTube or on his own site (TimCast). Pool is a card-carrying liberal and independent thinker who hates the left. I'm not saying you need to change your views, but do try expanding them. The world is more than CNN and HuffPost.

In the Instapundit comments section, a response to Glenn Reynolds, the libertarian author of the article first linked to above:

Nice article, Glenn. Let's hope the words are heeded by someone that holds people accountable.

But I will go so far to say that much, if not most, of the way the COVID pandemic has been treated by the government scientific community is bunk. I was willing to excuse the first few weeks, perhaps months, because we were ignorant of the disease, what with the disease being novel.

But since last year, even before the vaccines became prevalent, it became very apparent to me that almost everything was being driven by fear and not by reason. It certainly wasn't immunological science or epidemiology driving the actions.

Schools were being shut when we realized early on that children were not susceptible; masks were being mandated when we knew most had little or no effect concerning contagion; the disease had proved lethal to the immuno-compromised and elderly, but not deadly to the greater community at large. And those dying were generally suffering from another insidious comorbidity or morbid obesity, jeopardizing their entire well-being.

Now that the verdict is in about the vaccine's efficacy, it's obvious we are going to have to live with this disease, and the best defense is the body's innate ability to create natural immunity. COVID, within a few years, will become as common as and no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. The reason the virus has proven so deadly is because it is new—the same reason smallpox wiped much of South and Central America when Europeans began to arrive. Same for the formation of our country and the Indian population.

Bottom line is that the scientific community has only itself to blame for the cynicism. Fear and loathing is no way to earn public trust.

It's not a matter of denying science. It's a matter of following the actual science. And the actual science doesn't demand that you get vaccinated. But you won't hear that message from bullshit news sources.

Friday, August 27, 2021


You know how, sometimes, you don't realize you've long wanted something until you actually see the thing for the first time? Yeah—this is a bit like that. Want.

your entertainment for the day:
criminal caught in a trap


Styx on the Kabul airport attacks

Choice words for our idiot president:

Thursday, August 26, 2021