Monday, October 31, 2022

Charles on the Itaewon disaster

Charles offers his thoughts on this past weekend's inadvertent carnage.

At one point in his essay, Charles writes about his experience inside a crushing crowd on a subway. I've had similar experiences in the Seoul subway system; one time, nearly thirty years ago, when I was trying to get to work at my hagweon in Gangnam, I was jammed in a subway car with a ton of other people, and there was no way for me to get to the door when my stop came up. Unable to do anything, I had no choice but to stand there, pressed in on all sides by the other commuters. I ended up missing my stop, but when we reached the next stop, where apparently everybody needed to get off, the cramped humanity inside the subway issued forth like an unstoppable lava flow, and I was carried along with everyone else. It was both a frightening and exhilarating feeling, this utter lack of control. I'm a big guy, so it takes a lot to carry the likes of me out of a subway, yet there I was, floating out like a water molecule in a stream. I eventually got on the subway going in the opposite direction; it wasn't anywhere near as crowded, and I made it to work a few minutes late. But, yeah—I know what it's like to be, as Charles puts it, "nothing more than a domino." These days, despite the expense and the potential for traffic jams, I prefer cabs.

disgustingly good

This is a YouTube Short, so I can't embed it: click here.

Looks awesome. Absolutely not good for you, but it looks awesome.

ROKDrop with the Itaewon update

See here for an update on the Itaewon situation via ROKDrop. My French buddy Dominique wrote to say he'd heard the "dramatic" news coming out of Korea. I don't know... fundamentally, I think this whole thing comes down to human stupidity. People in crowds are pretty dumb, and stupid behaviors that start at one end of a crowd can easily propagate all the way to the other end, as apparently happened in this case: the crowd was on a slope; people at the top of the slope started shoving; people lower down began shoving and falling, and that's how things ended up in a crush. The whole thing could have been avoided had people been just a tad less bovine. (Hell, even bovines know better!) Normally, I try my best to avoid crowds; it's an introverted reflex. But sometimes, crowds are unavoidable, and you just have to hope you're not with the wrong crowd.

Wanna live longer and more happily? Eat right, exercise your body and brain, don't engage in stupid vices, and stay away from most of humanity.

next mission for the walk blog

Although the huge postmortem post has been written at Kevin's Walk 6, I'm not done with the walk blog quite yet: I still need to go back, fill in a bunch of captions, and enlarge all the pictures. I might start with the Andong portion of the trip since that was only four or five days' walking. Psychologically speaking, when you divide a task up into small, manageable chunks, it's easier to do the whole task. So check back at Kevin's Walk 6 periodically to see what changes have been made! I'll make it worth your while.

free tattoos for you

the wrap-up post at Kevin's Walk 6 is done!

I've finally had a chance to look over my long, long postmortem post—the yearly capstone to my walking adventure, and the last thing I post on a walk blog. There may still be some typos (which I'll catch and correct later), but the entry is now up over at Kevin's Walk 6 if you want to check it out. A sincere thanks to all the people who stuck with the blog during my walk; there can't be many of you because that's a hell of a lot of text and images to get through, and who really likes looking at someone else's slide show, right? Anyway, my thanks to the dedicated ones among you. You are the true badasses.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

keto bread, veggie burgers

Another culinary adventure! This weekend, I worked with two new recipes: (1) a new recipe for veggie burgers, and (2) a new bread recipe. I'll save you the suspense: the bread recipe may be a winner. It's got one major flaw, but it succeeded where previous keto-bread recipes (like that of the "Keto King") have failed.

The bread's ingredients were water, yeast, maple syrup (to help activate the yeast), flaxseed meal, vital-wheat gluten, oat fiber, and salt. If you're already saying to yourself that that's a recipe for bitter-tasting bread, well, you're right. The bread ended up with a somewhat bitter aftertaste, but I think the cure, in subsequent batches, will be a nice dose of erythritol to sweeten things up.

The original recipe calls for making each bread roll into a tapered baguette shape, but I wanted hamburger buns, so I did this:

Next time, for larger buns, I should make only six, not eight.

The recipe also said I'd see such a huge rise that the proofed bread would be three times bigger than the raw dough after 90 minutes. Not so!

Despite the disappointing rise, the bread turned out okay-looking:

Here's one roll cut open, with mayo and cracked black pepper on it:

Here, below, is the veggie-burger mixture after refrigeration. I've also added raw coconut oil, a.k.a. coconut purée, which is solid at room temperature. Coconut oil is a keto favorite, along with olive oil, avocado oil, and clarified butter (which has a far higher smoke point than regular butter). The idea is to mix the solidified coconut in with the "meat" to create random speckles of fat that simulate what might be found in a real beef burger.

I've loosely packed the "meat" and fat to make small, thin patties:

In the frying pan:

Perhaps a bit more burned than is ideal, but not overly so (one patty is broken):

Below: a look at the keto bread's crumb. The bread came out way lighter than anticipated; as I said before, its one flaw is how bitter-tasting it is. I think erythritol, as a keto sweetener, might solve that problem. I can only hope that the addition of a sugar alcohol won't affect baking:

The two keto burgers get mayo; the vegan burger gets ketchup and mustard:

Lettuce on the bottom, patties next, then seasoned maters on top:


Keto burgers in focus:

Final shot: the lone vegan burger:

My tentative conclusion is that methyl cellulose, which I'd been very interested in, isn't all it's cracked up to be. Either that, or I'm not using it correctly. End result: the burger patties were tolerable but mushy; there was no resistance or real chew to them. It was more like a veggie meat loaf than like the Burger King Plant Whopper. I almost felt I could have done without the methyl cellulose completely. Still, my veggie burgers were far better than the nasty cat food that was the Beyond Burger, even if my burgers looked, in their raw state, a lot like Beyond. Meanwhile, I consider the bread to be a 90% success. If I can figure out how to deal with the bread's bitter aftertaste, I may have a winner—something I can use to make regular-beef keto burgers with (although this means I need to stay well-supplied with esoteric ingredients like flaxseed, vital-wheat gluten, and oat fiber).

Next step: try to make the bread again, but with something to take off the bitter edge—maybe via a sweetener like erythritol, maybe by adding "distractors" like poppy and sesame seeds to the dough (and perhaps a tad more salt), maybe both. Eating the bread with butter also definitely helps. I wonder what might happen if I added butter to the dough; my understanding is that butter actually impairs gluten's ability to form the necessary gluten chains that give good bread its soft, bubbly crumb. I don't want to end up with a dense, collapsed mess that looks as if it's trying to become a deflated pancake. It was really just this one problem, the bitter taste: the crust was at least passable if not excellent; the crumb was light and airy, and unlike the disaster that was the Keto King's recipe, this bread, after it cooled down, acted like normal bread when I bit into it: it didn't become impossibly rubbery and chewy. As for the veggie-burger patties: I think I'm going to try again using only TVP, no lentils. If that doesn't work, I'll start looking at nice, fibrous mushrooms.

I could use a little humor

I don't watch enough of these Robot Chicken animations:

today's cooking project

I'm making veggie burgers and keto buns today to see if I can make a halfway-edible meatless meal. I've got lettuce and tomatoes at the ready, and since this is supposed to be a vegan meal, no cheese. I wouldn't even know where to buy vegan cheese in Korea (via Coupang, maybe?). I tried one of my veggie burgers already, and while it's nothing like meat, it passed the "doesn't taste like cat food" test, so that's a win in my book. It means I'm one up on that nasty, nasty Beyond Meat nonsense (recall my adventures with Beyond Meat here). I just wish the consistency were more ground-beef-like, but we can't have everything.

The burgers are being made with a base of TVP (textured vegetable protein, i.e. dry soy crumbles that you rehydrate with water or vegan stock), lentils (which you kind of have to cook like rice, i.e., bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-ish minutes), and methyl cellulose (which can apparently also be spelled methylcellulose, one word). Plenty of other ingredients are in there to provide depth of flavor—a little more oomph if not actual meatiness. There's nutritional yeast, which lends a vaguely cheese-like dimension to the "meat"; there's also vegan Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, dried onion, garlic powder, cumin, herbs like oregano, and other ingredients as well, including a bit of red food coloring since I didn't have any beet juice on hand. Methyl cellulose adds no flavor, but it's a binder that's supposed to give veggie burgers a firmer, springier texture. This is a function of what happens to methyl cellulose when heat is applied to it: it firms up and becomes a rubbery gel.

In terms of looks, the patty I cooked up looked suspiciously like a Beyond Meat burger. It did brown up: the Maillard reaction is similar to caramelization, but it's the browning of both sugars and proteins. With all the TVP in my burger, a little Maillard was inevitable.

My understanding is that you can get really close to the texture of actual meat if you use mushroom-based products. Mushrooms have much the same meaty chew and resistance as regular meat does. Something to think about as I continue these experiments in the future.

Anyway, expect photos of my efforts tonight.

the implications of Elon's takeover

An interestingly thoughtful take:

hot D

I'm bingeing my way through "House of the Dragon" now. Will probably have a review up by next week. Matt Smith and Paddy Considine are definite show-stealers.

good news out of Italy

in less tragic news

another reason to hate Itaewon

I've never been a fan of Itaewon, the foreigner-heavy district in Seoul that sits at the foot of Namsan, the little mountain that pokes up in the middle of the city like a stiff nipple. I go to Itaewon when I have to, e.g., when I need to buy foreign ingredients that are otherwise hard to track down. Occasionally, I'll go there to satisfy a Western-food jones when I can't cook something for myself (like proper New York pizza). Otherwise, I find Itaewon to be a place for expats who have no interest in learning about or exploring their country of residence—people who spend their time in bars speaking English, downing beers, and leading sad lives devoid of any desire to get to know the real Korea.

There was a deadly stampede in Itaewon last night. With Halloween just a day away, Itaewon is party central, and it seems that a huge weekend crowd got pushy, causing a bunch of people to fall over and get crushed. This pileup turned into an even more massive, sclerotic people-jam, resulting in, as of this writing, 146 deaths, with that number expected to rise. That's a huge death toll, and there obviously has to be much more to this story.

Selfishly, I'm thinking to myself that my introversion and Itaewon-aversion saved my life last night. And now that Itaewon has basically turned into a giant tomb, I have even less reason to visit the place. 

I imagine there'll be updates as this sad and stupid story develops. I doubt I'm the only one thinking such a disaster was preventable. 

Will we get improved safety measures from all this, or just another memorial plaque? Korea periodically suffers huge losses of human life from totally preventable tragedies. It's all quite random and discomfiting. Safety standards here are not what they should be. At the same time, people will automatically blame the government for things like a stampede, which was caused by local human behavior, not government policy. The people want freedom on the one hand and government guidance of behavior on the other. So one side of my brain sees the tragedy as part of the inevitable price for freedom while another side focuses on the preventability of it all, although for me, "preventability" has more to do with how people in Itaewon could have conducted themselves versus how the government could have put rules and procedures in place. Given Koreans' tendency to ignore rules and procedures, anyway, I don't see how new measures would have helped in this case.

(Credit to my buddy Mike for breaking this news to me last night as I was about to hit the sack. Otherwise, I would've found out only after waking up.)

UPDATE: ROKDrop posts on the tragedy and has a bunch of Twitter videos up showing the chaos on the streets. 

UPDATE 2: your Korean word for the day is apsa/압사, i.e., death by crushing. The Sino-Korean word ap/압 means "pressure." Sa/사 means "death." Google Translate renders 압사 as "stampede." Make of that what you will, but if you type "stampede" into Translate, you get 우르르 도망치게 하다 or just 우르르 도망치다 for the verbal forms.

UPDATE 3: we are receiving texts from the government about how to handle the disaster, such as "stay away from party sites in Itaewon" and "watch out for traffic restrictions in place since the disaster happened," etc.

UPDATE 4: death toll is at least 151 now. 19 were foreign nationals.


This should've happened years ago:

postmortem update

I've finished writing my walk-postmortem post, but I need to read it over and make final corrections. It'll be published sometime Sunday, my time. Have faith, good gentles.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

a hard look at America's shitholes

Sad, disgusting, depressing, bleak:

I was in Portland in 2008 as part of my attempted walk across America. At the time, there was already a huge, huge homeless problem—far more visible than the problem in DC and the Route 1 corridor. I walked past several parks that were filled with tents—homeless camps, I guess. The riverside along the Willamette was also lined with scattered homeless camps. While I never felt in any danger, I did get something of a grimy feeling from the city. I stayed for two weeks at a huge home housing several families in need and even met some homeless people while I was there. Apparently, since then, things have gotten a whole lot worse, culminating in all that CHAZ/CHOP nonsense in 2020. It's a shame, really: Portland has its own rough charm, and I've watched enough food videos to know it's something of a food mecca for people who appreciate good eating. But as is talked about in the video above, the leftist policies in place are killing the city, and residents there are simply hunkering down, accepting the new reality, and hoping they don't get picked off by the wolves. What a damn shame.

Matt Walsh talks with Tulsi Gabbard

Good interview here between Matt Walsh and Tulsi Gabbard. He does ask the crucial question that's on everyone's mind: is Tulsi now a Republican?

something weird going on with Paul Pelosi & attacker?

An article asks uncomfortable questions:

How “Close” Are Paul Pelosi and “Friend” David DePape?

This is a story I didn’t want to have to write, but since nobody else so far is asking the question, I will. How close were Paul Pelosi and his attacker, David DePape? Police dispatch audio appears to indicate a contradiction from Pelosi. First, he said he didn’t know the guy. Then, he said the guy’s name was “David” and he’s a “friend.”


A man in his underwear is able to get into the Speaker of the House’s home at 2 a.m. Pelosi seems to know the guy. Pelosi may or may not have been in his underwear as well, which isn’t so odd at 2 a.m. in one’s own home. But the fact that his assailant was in his underwear is odd enough for Raheem Kassam from The National Pulse to make an observation:

Kassam: They’re still pretending it wasn’t Paul Pelosi’s gay lover.

If this is in any way true (and for now, let's treat it as mere rumor/conjecture), what does this mean for Nancy Pelosi's marriage? Will she do the Hillary thing and forgive her husband's possible indiscretions for reasons of political pragmatism? Because power is more important than honor and integrity? I bet Pelosi's huge fridge full of ice cream doesn't taste so sweet now, whatever the reality is. At the very least, Paul Pelosi is slowly becoming a liability. Heh. Let's see whether bad luck truly does come in threes. What will happen to Paul Pelosi next?

ADDENDUM: here's Styx on the Pelosi assault:

"House of the Dragon" vs. "The Rings of Power"

One thing lefties can never do is admit when they're wrong. That's a clue as to which side is more likely to be fair and objective. The Critical Drinker leans right, and in the video below, he fully admits he got it wrong about "House of the Dragon" which, he contends, is a far, far better show than "The Rings of Power." The Drinker goes on to enumerate what HOTD (pronounced "hot D") got right, with special praise for actor Paddy Considine.

"House of the Dragon" is on the streaming service HBO Max, which I don't have. (I see the complete first season is only now available via Amazon Prime, but I can no longer use Amazon Prime because of a hitch involving having a credit card with a Korean billing address, which is stupid. I'll check to see whether "Dragon" is available on iTunes. [edit] It is! Purchased!)

Being able to give credit where credit is due is a sign of maturity. Unsurprising, then, that the infantile, temperamental left is incapable of doing such a thing.

The Drinker isn't alone in admitting he was wrong about HOTD. A lot of his fellow rightie commentators have also publicly posted their mea culpas.

Wake me when lefties do the same.

Elon memes

The Elon Musk memes are pouring forth:

Loads of butthurt from the Twitterati. Fabulous.


Paul gets a visit from karma

Remember Paul Pelosi, husband of Nancy Pelosi, who got a slap on the wrist after driving drunk and crashing his car only a few months ago? Well, he's back in the news after being assaulted in his own home.

Pelosi’s husband severely beaten in San Francisco home

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Paul Pelosi, husband of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, was severely beaten inside the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday, according to the Speaker’s office and reporting from the Associated Press.

“Early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr. Pelosi,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for the Speaker’s office, stated in a press release. “The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation. Mr. Pelosi was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery. The Speaker was not in San Francisco at the time.”

The Associated Press reported that according to two people with knowledge of the attack, Mr. Pelosi was severely beaten and is being treated by doctors for injuries. The sources stated he suffered blunt force injuries.

Might've been nice to have a gun, I'm sure.

Anyway, this feels like karma coming home to roost since hubby Paul got away with little punishment after crashing his car and flashing his privilege. Privilege no more, baby!

The Speaker was not in San Francisco at the time.

Sounds almost as if they're dismissing Nancy as a suspect!

no desire to go back to America just yet

A reminder of why I'm in no hurry to go back to the States:

But I guess I can be thankful I learned the term butthole sovereignty.

"Gifted": review

Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace star in 2017's "Gifted," directed by Marc Webb ("The Amazing Spider-Man") and co-starring Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, and Lindsay Duncan. The story is about an intellectually gifted little girl named Mary Adler (Grace) who, after her equally gifted mother commits suicide, is cared for by her uncle Frank (Evans). Frank is convinced that Mary, despite being gifted, should lead something like a normal life. He is supported in his view by compassionate neighbor Roberta (Spencer). But larger forces are at work: Mary's British grandmother Evelyn (Duncan) is determined to obtain custody of Mary in order to send the girl to advanced schools where her gifts can be cultivated. Much of the movie is a tug of war between Frank and Evelyn as they each vie to determine Mary's future.

The movie starts with Frank being at least somewhat aware of Mary's talents. Frank used to be a college professor of philosophy, but he now repairs boats in Florida as a freelancer, living modestly but without health insurance. He whisked Mary away right after his sister committed suicide, and while Frank has been homeschooling Mary, he now thinks it's important for her to learn social skills and to interact with kids her own age. To that end, Frank has Mary dress properly for her first day at public school. Mary's teacher, Bonnie Stevenson (Slate), quickly notices Mary's mathematical ability (and the rudeness that accompanies Einstein-level intelligence), and she talks with Frank, who remains firm on the idea that Mary ought to be in public school. Frank's mother Evelyn eventually makes an appearance, and thus do we get the tug of war. So the movie presents us with two major-but-interconnected sources of drama: the battle between Frank and Evelyn to determine Mary's future, and the question of whether a girl with a genius-level intellect can or should live as normal a life as possible, even if that means not sending her to the schools that could best cultivate her mind.

The movie stands or falls on the performance of little Mckenna Grace (she does not capitalize the "k" in her first name), a precocious child actress who played young Tonya Harding in "I, Tonya" (reviewed here). There's always a risk when it comes to child actors, who can end up being annoying when they're supposed to be cute. Some child actors are naturals: young Ricky Schroeder in "The Champ," Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore in "E.T.," Edward Furlong in "Terminator 2," Ke Huy Quan in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," and Jena Malone in "Contact" all come immediately to mind. I always thought Macaulay Culkin was a horrible child actor; quite a few kids are utter duds on screen. Happily, Mckenna Grace is not one of them, and she gives a naturalistic performance that will almost convince you that the actress is as intellectually gifted as the character she's playing. Grace makes Mary seem plausible: Mary is funny, annoying (in the way kids can be annoying), and touching. She's also quite lovable, and I ended up thinking Grace had been well cast.

The adult actors all do yeoman's work as well. Chris Evans's Frank is warm but a bit stoic; Octavia Spencer, as Roberta, brings a soulful compassion to her role: Roberta dotes on Mary and only ever wants to see her happy. Jenny Slate's Bonnie is no dumb bunny, and she smoothly insinuates herself into the life of Frank, Mary, and Roberta. Lindsay Duncan is formidable as Frank's cold mother Evelyn, herself a mathematical prodigy who is laser-focused on little Mary's future. Part of Evelyn's motivation may be about the question of legacy: Mary's mother Diane was, before she killed herself, trying to solve one of the so-called Millennium Prize Problems in math: in her case, she had focused her life on the Navier-Stokes Problem, which has to do with fluid dynamics. The movie's conclusion involves a revelation about Diane and her work that affects Evelyn's desire to guide little Mary's future.

Overall, "Gifted" isn't a revolutionary film; stories about geniuses are a dime a dozen (and my favorite remains "Good Will Hunting"), as are stories about the risk of wasted potential, and stories about receiving a high calling but wanting to live a normal life (cf. "The Last Temptation of Christ," where the final temptation is domesticity, a shirking of the savior role). But "Gifted" benefits from a solid cast of actors and actresses who give the story of little Mary life and feeling. You may discover there are some moments that bring a tear to the eye or a tightness to the throat. This is a good film, and I think it conveys a good message about parenting. Frank is Mary's uncle, not her father, but Frank and Roberta, like biological parents, both care deeply about Mary's future, and more importantly, about her happiness. That's not a bad thing to take away from this charming story.

joke via Bill

Slightly edited for form and style:

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote, mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man named Cliff in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, who is obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Apple iPhone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location, which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image-processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Apple iPad that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC-connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Galaxy S21 and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a congressman for the U.S. government," says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required," answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know sh*t about how working people make a living—or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep. Now, give me back my dog.”


Friday, October 28, 2022

Matt Walsh scoffs at Twitter employees' demands

We might not see a Trumpian cleansing of the Temple at the level of the Swamp, but Elon Musk is already cleaning house at Twitter, where he is now the CEO, Big Cheese, God-Emperor, what have you. Matt Walsh looks at Twitter employees' desperate demands as they face being fired by Musk (who plans to get rid of 75% of the current staff), and he scoffs because these losers have no leverage and have not demonstrated what sort of value they bring to the company. Musk wants to streamline Twitter into a money-maker that promotes free speech and doesn't bend the knee to woke advertisers, and these bitter, censorious, idiotic employees are simply in the way:

And I saw this tweet reproduced over at Instapundit:

(You old folks might not have caught on to the fact that rapper Kanye West goes by Ye now, and Ye just bought the social-media platform Parler because he, too, is interested in free speech and the free exchange of ideas.)

Black Conservative Perspective re: Musk's buyout of Twitter

toe self-surgery

Because you're hungry for something gross:

some darkened skin (not gangrene)

debriding begins

somewhat debrided

chunks of callus

mostly debrided

more still to go

yet more chunky goodness

looking a lot better (following day)

To anticipate a question: no, you're not looking at bone. The bone's a lot deeper. And there's still plenty of callus on the left side that needs to be clipped off. 

I thought I would hit the doc this morning, but I overslept. I might try to hit the podiatry clinic tomorrow morning and make an appointment to see someone on Monday. 

Meanwhile, I've been making good on my promise to stay off my feet: I move only when necessary, and I spend most of my time either seated or lying down. I'll see the doc and stay off my feet for another week, then I'll resume local walks, with longer walks on Saturdays.

Trump congratulates Musk

One of the reasons why I left Twitter (aside from its huge security holes) was the systemic repression of alternative viewpoints, all while Twitter arrogantly crowned itself the arbiter of what counted as disinformation and dodged the platform vs. publisher question. With Musk promising a freer-speech environment, would I now go back? No. I'm done with social media, and my life is so much better without it. So, with apologies to Mr. Musk, fuck Twitter.

UPDATE: courtesy of Instapundit, we now know the above, while plausibly Trumpish, was not from Trump himself. A fake. Not the first time I've been had, and certainly not the last. Apparently, the clue to the fakeness was "Trump's" claim that he was going to be reinstated. Trump has made clear that he would not be going back to Twitter, and with his own platform, Truth Social, booming as it is, why would he go back? Then again, you never know with Trump. If Musk were to say that Trump was always welcome back, Trump might take him up on the offer, despite now knowing that Twitter is swarming with bots.

I love the la-la dogs

Another la-la dog found here. I love it. Here's yet another:

I keep hearing angry, evil John Leguizamo.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

oh, you knew it had to happen

Honest Trailers takes on "The Rings of Power"! I had a good chuckle:

Tim Pool on Nov. 8 projections (etc.)

It's not looking good for Democrats this November 8:

Assuming there's a GOP sweep, though, I'm not confident that much will change. The GOP—unless we're talking about motivated MAGA Republicans—doesn't have the necessary combativeness and testicular fortitude to enact major changes; it's still very much a "just leave us alone" type of organization, and that's precisely how we ended up in the current situation. One side got greedy and grabby; the other side was passive and did nothing. The GOP is complicit in its own misery. Sins of omission.

Here's Pool on the implications of armed groups of men monitoring ballot boxes (something I'm all for, by the way, although as Pool points out, this move will be called voter intimidation and racism... and frankly, I don't give a fuck):

And here's Pool on John Fetterman's unfitness for office:

Jordan Peterson on what a real friend looks like

How many of you think your "friends" are real friends?

spot the errors and fix

Seen online:

When you are in Combat; far from the target; there is rarely a shot fired against you.

I see at least three errors. Can you fix them and tell me why they need fixing?

Genesius Times satire re: media reaction to Orlando DeShawn Harris shooting

CNN: Nation mourns horrible tragedy that mass shooter wasn’t white

(CNN) Thousands across the country are mourning the loss by the mainstream media of another chance to stoke the white-supremacist narrative following another mass shooting yesterday, which turns out was not perpetrated by a cis-gendered white male as originally hoped.

The new information has devastated the media, sending reporters wallowing in an endless stream of tears and disappointment, since their efforts to exploit another mass shooting had failed.

The real story of Orlando Harris is here, although it begins weirdly:

Oct 25 (Reuters) - The teenage gunman who killed a student and a teacher at a St. Louis high school left a note in his car saying his feelings of loneliness were "a perfect storm for a mass shooting," the city's police commissioner said on Tuesday.

Is the "perfect storm" language a direct quote from the student's note, or did the article clumsily segue from "we found the kid's note" to the police chief's saying it was a "perfect storm"? I somehow don't think a distraught teenage killer would be articulate enough to use the phrase "perfect storm" in his murder-note.

Ah—this article makes clear the kid did say "perfect storm."

Wow. Unwontedly eloquent, then.

stats roller coaster

I expected my Hairy Chasms stats to be low while I was away from this blog, and for most of October, the stats were indeed low. Starting around the time of my Andong walk, a period during which I scheduled a bunch of posts as a way to bring the blog back to life, traffic started returning, and it came back with a vengeance. I went from 200-visit days to 1,000-visit days, and then, once I was back from both walks and blogging here again in earnest, my stats leaped into what is, for me, the stratosphere with a slew of 2,000- and 3,500-visit days. Yesterday was over 3,600 visits, and that day pushed my stat counter over 20,000 visits for the month. Unbelievable. I expect everything to calm down as I reestablish a blogging routine over the next couple of weeks; I hope this will mean a return to 600- and 700-visit days, not the 300s. But you never know. People can be fickle, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, we're entering the time when my blog traffic is traditionally pretty low as my readers, who I imagine have lives of their own, get engaged with those lives and step away from the Hairy Chasms. What will be will be, as they say. Meanwhile, my thanks to the combination of people and bots who pushed my stats over 20K this month. I really wasn't expecting that.

via Bill

Yup, pretty much:

Gabbard, a Hindu, is on her own journey toward political bodhi. May she attain it.

it's on its way, it's on its way

My postmortem blog post over at Kevin's Walk 6 is in progress. The first of five sections has been written. The rest will happen over the next few days, so please sit tight. Meanwhile, visit the blog and enjoy all the purty pictures.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

damning indictment (and hard to keep track of it all)

Instapundit links to a sarcastically titled article: "Behold the Democrats' Closing Argument for the 2022 Midterm Election." It lays out all (or at least most) of the foibles, gaffes, and outright sins of the bumbling, stumbling Biden administration. And there are still millions of idiots out there too stupid and stubborn to recognize what sort of man they thrust into office ("...and in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn't understand."), and the magnitude of the damage that this creature and his fellows are doing to the country. I hope you fuckers are happy. I really do. Here's a good chunk of the litany that appears in the article:

  • Americans’ net worth has been reduced by $75,000 since Joe Biden took office, according to the Heritage Foundation.
  • Inflation is rampant from overspending and is destroying savings and retirement accounts, which are down by 20% from when Joe Biden took office.
  • Inflation has destroyed 25% of the average 401K plan in 2022 alone.
  • The U.S. has only a 25-day supply of diesel fuel.
  • Gas prices are the highest in American history.
  • Heating oil has shot up by 40%-plus in the last few weeks and is in short supply going into winter.
  • Joe Biden reduced the U.S. fuel supply, ending American dominance, and begs for oil from despots.
  • Democrats turn off reliable sources of energy and pour money into sun and wind power, which depend on the weather.
  • There’s still a baby-formula shortage.
  • The U.S. military is assessed as “weak” for the first time in the history of the Heritage Foundation index of military strength.
  • The Afghanistan bug-out is the biggest and most embarrassing self-inflicted military disaster in U.S. history.
  • Forced shots hollowed out the ranks of the military, police, and medical professionals — so-called first responders who went from heroes during 9/11 and COVID to zeros when they disagreed with the regime.
  • Wokism has decimated the number of new recruits to the military.

Read the rest. If you can bear it.

My one great hope is that my countrymen will, after the double-whammy of the pandemic and Biden, dig down deep and rediscover within themselves the intestinal fortitude that is supposed to be the hallmark of Americans. Judging by the scaredy-cat reactions to the COVID virus and the number of people who blindly accept leftist oppression, I'm not hopeful. But if no one stands up to resist all this nonsense and make some effort to steer the country in a better direction, I honestly don't know what will become of the former land of the free and the home of the brave. As things stand now, the future doesn't look good.

I saw someone at Instapundit make a comment that Trump needs to come back and have his righteous "cleansing of the Temple" moment. The idea appealed to me for about ten seconds as I thought my vengeful thoughts, but then I realized a few things. 

(1) Trump now has a very clear idea of how deep and vast the Swamp really is. There will be no cavalier "draining" of it. Nothing short of a surprise, simultaneous nuking of Washington and other leprous power structures (Hollywood, Silicon Valley) can burn the rot out at this point, and that sort of fiery purge is never going to happen under Trump, who has amply proved he lacks a bloodthirsty character. But even simply undoing the damage of the incompetent Biden administration is going to take most of a hypothetical second Trump term. This means managed expectations. Trump, with his usual bombast, might talk a big game via hyperbolic MAGA imagery—let's remake America, etc.—but in the end, there's only so much the man can do in four years, and at the cliff's edge of 80, no less.

(2) While Trump can obviously direct and nurture a national economy far better than the current idiot can, it's not obvious to me that Trump is the man to reunite the nation in a spirit of healing and reconciliation. I do, in fact, wonder whether such a thing is even possible at this point. Divisions that used to be mere differences of opinion now run so deep that the country has essentially turned into dueling religious cults. Maybe a better option is for America to figure out a way to break up into several loosely affiliated nation-states, each with its own political stress, thus giving people the option to go where they may. Each new nation-state should try to become as self-sufficient as it can so it can negotiate with the other nation-states from a position of pride and strength, not a position of need. Would Trump have it in him to preside over such a transformation? Would he even see it as desirable, or is he too wedded to the current metanarrative that stubbornly sees the US as "one nation under God"? Trump probably doesn't want to be the guy who presides over the dissolution of the current union. 

(3) How would a cleansing of the Temple even work? Trump would need to clean out powerful institutions like the FBI and the CIA. (I'd also prefer that he utterly eliminate Homeland Security, a Dubya-era mistake.) But the FBI and the CIA have all sorts of mechanisms to defend themselves; in a real sense, they don't control the levers of power: they are the levers of power. Should a reelected Trump spend time creating his own military to take these institutions down? Doesn't that seem a bit Stasi-like? So as much as I might fantasize about burning all these power structures to the ground and starting over, I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen, and even if it did, the purification project would take far longer than a single Trump term—years, maybe decades, and there'd be no guarantee of purity by the end of it.*

The upshot to all of this is that I don't know what a second Trump term might bring. I assume Trump will reason that he's got to start somewhere, so maybe, as with Rudy Giuliani's broken-windows policy,** he'll start small, then build up to bigger projects. Or maybe Trump will pull a Biden and sign a slew of executive orders in an attempt to undo Biden's misguided policies. Ideally, we'd get one more term of Trump and two terms of DeSantis to give our economy a chance to pull its head out of its own ass, but a lot also depends on how we deal with Democrat election-rigging and other problems. There's also America's reduced global status to contend with (having an old, senile leader means a steep loss of respect, as when the Saudi prince apparently mocks Biden routinely—denial of mockery here), not to mention all the problems mentioned in the above litany.

Meanwhile, the US is in a nosedive, and as the above-quoted article says at the very end, if you like the policies and consequences discussed above, then vote Democrat.


*There's also no guarantee that a purge would eventually end. More likely, it would spiral out of control and lose any sense of its original purpose, and by that point, everyone and everything would become a target.

**The broken-windows policy is not to be confused with the broken-window fallacy. The policy, a brainchild of Giuliani during his time as mayor of New York City, involved dealing with small, superficial things first as a psychological measure to create a sense of safety and optimism: remove assaultive homeless people from the streets, clean up graffiti, repair broken windows (hence the policy's name), etc. Then, little by little, work on the bigger, deeper issues. The broken-window fallacy, by contrast, is a response to the idea that a broken window is a good thing because it gives people work to do: the glassmaker makes panes; the woodworker creates a new window frame, etc. This thinking is considered fallacious because of the opportunity cost incurred by the window's having been broken in the first place. While the shop waits for its window to be repaired, it has no choice but to chug along at reduced capacity. And time is money. So other people might gain from the shop's damage, but the shop itself can't contribute fully to the larger economy until its window has been repaired.

ADDENDUM: Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke months ago, just came through a disastrous debate with Republican hopeful Dr. Mehmet Oz (a.k.a., the TV personality "Dr. Oz"). Fetterman, who is aphasic and may have some serious cognitive issues, was an absolute mess on stage, revealing his unfitness to serve as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and his unfitness to serve as a US senator in Congress (the position he's running for now against Dr. Oz). Meanwhile, by contrast, we have Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson (I wrote about him back in 2018), who gives an inspiring speech at the Dallas CPAC event. Watch what a lieutenant governor is supposed to look and sound like:


I know this is nothing to be proud of, but...

I love how she seems to be wearing eye makeup while showering. Oh, and there's Jesus.

I successfully changed out my old-and-busted shower hose (which had suddenly developed a serious leak right before I went to Jeju) for one representing the New Hotness. The new hose works like a charm, so I hope I'm now good for another few years.

a not-so-worthwhile Japanese meal

The old chicken-popper place in my building's basement went under a bit before I left for Jeju, and I wondered what was going to replace it. When I got back from Andong, I saw a new Japanese-themed restaurant in its place.

Last night, my curiosity got the best of me, and I ordered a meal of fried shrimp and a 10-piece nigiri combo. The guy prepping the meal told me it'd be ready in 15 minutes, so I did some errands before coming back (garbage, groceries, etc.). The guy still wasn't done prepping my meal when I came back after 15 minutes, and he bade me wait a little longer, which I did, sitting at the counter and futzing with my phone. The prep time ended up being closer to 30 minutes, but I got my meal—expensive at W33,000—and took it back to my apartment.

While the meal wasn't bad, it was—like most of the Japanese food I've eaten in Korea—overpriced and not exactly great. Here, take a look for yourself:

the ensemble

turned out to be whole fried shrimp

the rather boring 10-piece combo

mussel soup and sauces

The fact that the shrimp were fried whole was interesting. Ever since I discovered how tasty shrimp heads can be, I wasn't turned off by the presence of the heads, and since I don't mind eating shrimp shells, either, I simply crunched my way through all the shrimp. Not bad, but distinctly mediocre. Everything else was just as meh as well. All in all, this wasn't worth the hefty price tag, and I doubt I'll be going back to that place. I mean, I wish the resto luck, but I predict the place will go under in a year or two.