Wednesday, February 08, 2023

dumping the surplus milk

Apparently, if you're a Canadian dairy farmer, and you enjoy a 30% surplus of milk thanks to robust production, the Canadian government will order you to dump your milk. No, you may not make money off it, and no, we don't care if the pooling milk stinks up your facilities or somehow harms the environment. Dump it. In the video below, one pissed-off dairy farmer goes on a rant (a politely Canadian rant, of course) in which he shows the milk as it's being dumped while he explains the situation. It's sad to see, frankly, and I can understand his anger. Even if he's not worried about lost profits thanks to an anticapitalistic government, he still has a right to be angry about the sheer waste that the government is ordering him to create. What sort of retarded system would allow this to go on? The guy's got balls, too: he makes sure to put his name out there so people know who he is and what he's mad about. You'd think that the government could buy up the extra milk from all those farms and ship it somewhere that might need it. But, no. That would make too much sense.

So! Do you still stupidly trust your fucking government?

the "Russian bots" lie revealed thanks to Twitter Files

The problem, though, is that people are no longer paying attention to these file dumps (if they ever were). Certainly, the people who most need to hear this information are turning a deaf ear to it out of fear, spite, or stupidity.

Brits taking the piss out of ignorant Americans

Al Sharpton is not among our best and brightest, of course.

maybe of interest to Charles

Dude makes his own pepperoni, then makes his own pizza. Not a bad-looking crust, either.

But that pepperoni sure looks like a lot of work.

SOTU, first impressions

With his legendary love of alcohol, Stephen Green is the resident lush at Instapundit, and he has a tradition of "drunkblogging" State of the Union addresses. When the drunkblog is active, it's constantly updated, with the most recent entries on top. If you want to read the thing from the beginning, then, you have to scroll to the "end" and work your way backwards. Just follow the time stamps. Here's a link to the drunkblog, and below, I've included a few choice words from Green. Over the next few days, you can expect Biden's speech to be fact-checked to hell. I predict at least 70% lies. Meanwhile, here are some quotable quotes:

9:04 p.m.

Here he comes, doing the Old Man Shuffle.

To be fair though, he does look well and properly medicated. He ought to do a decent job delivering the speech.


9:12 p.m.

Oh, wow. This is going off the rails quickly as Biden is trying to praise Chuck Schumer. STICK TO THE SCRIPT, JOE is what they're yelling at TVs in the West Wing.


9:14 p.m.

"Our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken."

It's a shame about our Republic, though, broke and ruled by the cabal behind this overmedicated mediocrity.


9:21 p.m.

Don't you just love the sight of congresscritters applauding themselves for spending your money?

Yeah, me neither.


9:24 p.m.

Tomorrow's big meme should be "Old Man Yells at Infrastructure."

Make it so, people.

Biden says, "We're just getting started" on the spending and that's what scares me.


9:31 p.m.

Here's where Biden takes credit -- again! -- for re-doing the Trump insulin order that he undid during his first days in office.

I'd marvel at the gall, but this is the Biden we've known for decades.


9:54 p.m. (quoting Mollie Hemingway on Twitter)

"I know the lies are coming so fast and so furiously and so incoherently that it's hard to keep track, but did he just claim his wife is a full-time teacher?"


10:08 p.m.

His good hour ended a few minutes ago and his ability to speak is falling fast.


10:18 p.m. (quoting Ben Shapiro on Twitter)

"This speech is an unlistenable, endless litany of odd demands combined with fantastical falsehoods."

ADDENDUM: the tweet that's getting a lot of play right now is this:

We'll have to forgive the confusion of everyday and every day. But in case you're wondering, everyday is an adjective meaning "ordinary," but every day is an adverb of frequency. The Gay Patriot meant to say "every day."

  • A talking penis isn't something you see every day.
  • For half the country, seeing a president with a 40 IQ is an everyday thing.

the tuber speaks

I hear there's a State of the Union Address going on. Little point in watching a slew of lies; I'll wait for the after-speech commentary.


No idea why, but my site meter recorded a wave of 7,915 visitors yesterday. As I've said before, this sort of wave happens maybe once or twice per month, and it's what pushes me over the 20K-visits mark, my "minimum of honor." None of those visitors ever stops to tell me what made him/her visit, so I remain in the dark as to why this blog unwontedly acquires an aura of animal magnetism for a while. Today is also looking to be bigger than usual: my stats already show nearly 500 visits (an average day for me is about 600-ish visits). While I don't expect another 8,000 for today, I can see there being 1,000-2,000 visits. Remember: about 50% of that is bot activity, so my real-human stats are about half of what I'm reporting.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

random food pics

Snapshots from when I was plowing through my leftovers. Below is the last of my ravioli, plumped up with some shrimp plus some creamy white sauce and cheese:

And here's a carby meal of ddeokbokgi and kalguksu.

I think the kalguksu guy isn't doing so well. I could tell that he's switched from the more expensive brisket cut (양지/yangji) to the far less expensive eye-round cut (홍두깨살/hongduggae-sal). This cut needs to be cooked a very long time to become tender, and that's not happening here, resulting in very chewy beef. It's not bad, but it's sad to see this happening. The guy's losing money. When I first wrote up this restaurant, I casually noted that being generous with beef is not the way to be profitable. As I wrote at the time:

I can't say that I've ever had brisket kalguksu before, ever. It feels new. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe it's been around all this time, and I just never noticed until now. But I was happy to have the brisket, and the guy who served me didn't stint on it the way some Viet places do: some of those places give you only three or four thin, grudging strips of meat. Meanwhile, my soup bowl was full of brisket, by contrast, which makes me wonder how long this guy's business is going to last. Generosity in the restaurant biz doesn't usually lead to prosperity. Restaurant cooking is often the art of seeming generous. I'm not saying my kalguksu was like a bowl of nothing-but-brisket, but there was more than enough beef in the bowl for this not to be the usual "use the beef merely to punctuate the flavor" situation. Meat is generally used sparingly in Korean cuisine for the practical reason that it's pretty expensive, especially compared to US prices, and especially when it comes to beef in particular.

The above feels prophetic now. I don't want to see this guy's business go under, but if he's already cutting corners, then that's a sign things aren't so good.

Disney's losin' it

Star Wars with help from AI

This was pretty nifty. I really liked the Vader images that respected that respected the integrity of Vader's mask. I was also strangely charmed by the Darth Maul images.

your moment of sniper humor

The first sketch is a sniper joke. I laughed my ass off.

the story of my bookshelves

I finally got around to transporting my bookshelves to the office. This was a Monday night thing that bled over into Tuesday night. This past Sunday, I had intended to take my shelves, but I waited too long: I started lashing the shelves to my hand truck a bit after 11 p.m., and by the time I finished, it was 11:25 p.m.: there was a chance I wouldn't make the last train out toward Daechi Station. So I waited until Monday night and started out a bit after 11 p.m. I had to wait for the 11:35 p.m. train, as it turned out. I also noticed, this time, that the handicap elevators all have yellow signs on them warning not to use these these facilities as freight elevators. Whoops. Well, I guess that's another reason to transport stuff very late in the evening. No one said anything to me.

I'd learned a lot about transporting things on a hand truck from my previous trip. I didn't have proper bungee cords, but I had nylon twine and some cargo straps that I'd gotten from John McCrarey a lifetime ago. This was enough (along with the short bungee cord from my small hand truck) to bolt everything down good and tight. While the shelves did shift a bit as I passed over the rough tiles and sidewalks, there was no danger of anything falling this time. I was able to get on and off the subway with no problem (now that I know where to position myself), and while I still made an infernal racket, like last time, I didn't have to deal with any spilled contents, so I was a lot less winded by the time I reached the Mido building.

Daecheong Station subway platform, waiting for the train. Strapped down enough for ya'?

I made it to the bottom of the back-entrance stairwell and was readying myself to untie everything and take the shelves up one by one when an ajeossi came by and said I couldn't go that way: it was after midnight. He let me into the main part of the building, though, so I could ferry my wares to a different stairwell. It took a million years to untie everything, but I used that time to catch my breath. Even after midnight, there were still students moving up and down the stairs. What kind of classes go until midnight?

At the back-entrance stairwell.

Below is the "after" picture: notice the lack of ropes and straps. I had to untie everything and ferry the shelves and cart up the stairs, one by one, after which I had to stack everything back on the hand truck. So here's the cart, ready to make that final push:

At the top of a different stairwell.

In the last shot below, I'm about to move my shelves into our little corner office. Mission accomplished. It took me a while to remember how to set the shelves up. I think they're how they're supposed to be now. I had my cell phone with me this time; I put it into my pants pocket to make sure it didn't fall out. (Luckily, I never had to bend over to pick up spillage.) Pretty much everything that went wrong last time went right this time. That's my superpower: always getting things right the second time. That's certainly true of my cooking.

final destination

So when I come into the office Tuesday morning (a mere few hours from now), I'll likely spend a couple hours just putting all my shit back on the shelves. I couldn't do that until the shelves got brought in, which means I probably should have brought the shelves in first, followed by the rest of my stuff. Ah, well. Live and learn.

Monday, February 06, 2023

"climate of hate"

As the video below notes, when a white person is the victim of a crime, no one covers it except locally. Also noted is that a lot of supposed hate crimes were attributed to Donald Trump's rhetoric creating a "climate of hate" (and this tactic is still being used years later), but most of those crimes—as with Jussie Smollett—turned out to be fake while actual hate crimes—most often against whites and Asians—have been ignored. (Even Asians were blaming Trump for a perceived spike in anti-Asian hate crimes—usually not perpetrated by whites.)

Alec Baldwin might finally go to jail

I wonder whether Baldwin will even get the minimum five-year penalty; more likely, he'll be in jail for only a few months at most, but it'll be nice to have him behind bars even for a short spell. He's an insufferable twat. The video below spells out why Baldwin will likely do time for accidentally shooting two people and killing one:


"Let's take a crack at it," she said.

I have a good deal of sympathy for the LGBTQ crowd, but yeah, this is a problem sometimes.

Martha's Vineyard

Whoopi... what happened to you?

Sunday, February 05, 2023

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish": review

L to R: Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), Perrito (Harvey Guillén), and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek Pinault)

[WARNING: spoilers.]

More emotionally compelling and way deeper than its predecessor on both a psychological and a metaphysical level, "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" is the 2022 story of Puss in Boots, a swashbuckling cat at the very end of his nine lives. This sequel to the 2011 film is co-directed by Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado; it is another Dreamworks production set in the Shrekiverse—a pluralistic universe in which all fairytale characters exist together on an Earth that is both ours and not ours (you're not supposed to think too hard about that). The film stars the voice talents of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek Pinault (surname-wise, things have changed since 2011), Harvey Guillén, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo, John Mulaney, Wagner Moura, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, and Anthony Mendez.

Puss meets a seeming bounty hunter.
The story begins with Puss (Banderas) taking over the governor's compound and throwing a party in honor of himself. The governor (Bernardo de Paula) comes back from a trip and discovers the party. A fight ensues as the governor's guards try to capture Puss; the combat makes such a racket that it wakes the Sleeping Giant of Del Mar, whom Puss defeats. But as Puss is about to sing a victory song, he is crushed to death by the very church bell he'd used to defeat the giant. Puss wakes up in a doctor's office, and the doctor (Mendez) tells our hero that he is on his final life—the ninth of his nine lives. There will be no coming back should he get killed this time. The doctor suggests that Puss should spend his final life in peace as someone's "lap cat"; to that end, he suggests that Puss go to the residence of Mama Luna (Randolph), the local cat lady. This advice doesn't sit well with Puss and, disconsolate, he goes to a local bar to drown his sorrows in milk. An enormous, red-eyed wolf (Moura) sits next to him and reveals he knows a lot about Puss. Puss takes the wolf for a bounty hunter, and the two fight. Puss has often proclaimed that he has never been touched by a blade, but the wolf, fighting viciously with two sickles, manages the feat of opening a cut on the top of Puss's head. Puss loses his sword in the fight, and the wolf, pointing to the sword, orders Puss to pick the weapon up so they may finish the fight. Puss feels real fear as he realizes he cannot defeat his opponent and, abandoning his sword, he runs away, finding himself at Mama Luna's.

Goldilocks isn't convinced this cat is Puss.
Life at Mama Luna's turns out to be degrading for Puss. Mama Luna is a cat lady who gets targeted by the local health inspectors because she has so many cats. The cats are the regular kind, unable to talk. One animal among them, however, proves not to be a cat at all but is instead a small, goofy, cheerful dog dressed in the costume of a cat (Guillén). All the animals at Mama Luna's eat their cat food from a trough and use litter boxes that are open to the public—only a few of the many indignities that Puss must suffer. The dog wants to be friends with Puss, but Puss is having none of it. Meanwhile, the crime gang of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Pugh, Winstone, Colman, Kayo) comes hunting for Puss, unaware that Puss has buried his boots and other regalia and is in hiding at Mama Luna's. The gang finds the "grave" where Puss buried his clothing, and they tromp over to Mama Luna's, where they find Puss but fail to recognize him thanks to his scruffiness and new beard. The gang leaves, but Puss follows them and discovers they had wanted to hire Puss to help them steal a magical map that shows the path to the legendary Wishing Star—a star fallen from the heavens that grants the finder a single wish. The map, Puss learns, is stored at the fortified residence-cum-pie factory of Big Jack Horner (Mulaney), a huge and malefic collector of magical items who also wants to find the Wishing Star so he can acquire all of the world's magic for himself. Puss manages to break in and steal the map, but Kitty Softpaws (Hayek) is on the same mission, and the bear gang loudly breaks in at the same time.

The rest of the movie is essentially a race among three groups: (1) Puss, Kitty, and the dog (whom the cats call Perrito, or "little dog"); (2) Goldilocks and the Three Bears; and (3) Big Jack Horner plus his own crew, called The Baker's Dozen. The first group has the map, and it turns out that part of the map's magic is to show the user a path that reflects that person's personal anxieties. When Puss and Kitty take turns looking at the map, it shows paths full of danger; when goofy, cheerful Perrito looks at the map, however, the path shown seems pleasant and absurdly easy, so everyone agrees to follow Perrito's path. The path turns out to be more difficult than it seems at first, though: when giant flowers stand in the way of our heroes, for example, the only way through them is to follow Perrito's happy example and smell them. As the chase continues, Puss is haunted by the specter of the invulnerable wolf he'd encountered at the bar. The path itself presents temptations meant to divert the star-seekers from their goal: the bear crime family is tempted by a vision of their old residence, and Puss is tempted by visions of his past eight lives—visions that beckon him to return to his vain and arrogant ways back when he was considered a living legend.

The setup for the final showdown tempts the viewer to put on his game-theory hat in order to try to predict the outcome. Only one wish is available, according to the legend. Several people want a shot at that wish. Can the wish be shared? Kitty Softpaws declares herself ready to share her wish with Puss as they work out a major difficulty between them: Puss and Kitty were supposed to get married, but both got cold feet and failed to show up at the altar. Puss expresses regret to Kitty for his cowardice; Kitty does the same. Puss and Kitty settle their differences by the time it's time to make a wish, but Big Jack Horner wants his wish, Goldilocks wants hers, and Goldilocks's ursine family wants its wish as well. Only Perrito seems most content with not getting a wish: as far as he's concerned, being friends with Puss and Kitty is enough even if they have trouble calling him a friend.

I'm not sure the movie started that well for me. Something about the beginning felt a bit hackneyed and cliched, but with the introduction of the wolf, who turns out to be no less than the specter of death (which is why Puss is unable to defeat him), the plot kicks into a higher gear, and the stakes become much more interesting. In terms of pacing, the story moves along briskly enough, although some story beats were easy to anticipate.

Puss probably undergoes the greatest character arc, moving from a vain and brash hero-figure obsessed with his own legend and cavalier about his many lives to a humbler, less selfish person who finally values his one remaining life. Kitty has spent her years since the botched wedding hoping to find someone she could trust; she tells Puss that she also fled the wedding because she realized she could never compete with Puss's greatest love: himself. Goldilocks, meanwhile, has wanted to be with a real, human family—a fact that, when she voices the wish out loud, hurts her adopted family to the core; meanwhile, her bear family has long wanted to become a big-time crime syndicate. Puss, literally confronted with his own mortality, must learn to face death without fear—something he has never had to do before.

Religiously speaking, there are elements of Zen and Taoism in the movie's attempt to preach the doctrine of appreciating the moment. Most of this wisdom comes in the form of Perrito, this movie's version of the Taoist Uncarved Block. Perrito is a "holy fool," a figure whose seeming simplicity and naiveté mask a great profundity that shines through despite his having lived a hard life. At the same time, the movie relies on Judeo-Christian tropes to drive the plot forward: the wolf represents death, but his manner for most of the film reflects a hungry, slavering evil. European Christianity had a history of melding together the Grim Reaper and Satan. The wolf, with his demonically glowing red eyes, says he loves the smell of fear, and he obviously hungers for the chance to harvest Puss's soul—hence the dual sickles he wields, which represent the great scythe used by the skeletal Reaper we all know from tradition. It's an interesting mix of religious strands to weave together, and it all coalesces at the end in an emotionally satisfying climax whose true depth will be lost on the younger crowd, but which the grown-ups in the audience will likely catch.

The film has its share of problems, though. As I noted above, the movie starts in a cliched manner, but things do snap into place once the wolf arrives. The wolf, though, represents a theological problem: as the specter of death, he claims to be after Puss because the cat has failed to appreciate his previous lives, living his adventures haughtily and selfishly. By this reasoning, Death comes early—prematurely—for people who fail to appreciate life, which makes Death a moral force. That flies in the face of the evidence we see around us: in the real world, the bad live on to a ripe old age, getting away with earlier sins and indiscretions. The world isn't a just place except when it comes to death. And Death, as traditionally depicted, has never been karmic: he comes for us all eventually, good and bad, in an expression of amoral cosmic fairness. The magic of the map also didn't always make sense to me: the path to travel to the Wishing Star is determined by each person's subjective quirks, but once everyone settles on following one person's path (the good guys choose Perrito's path), that path becomes the objective path to follow—even for the pursuing bad guys. And while a lot of critics commented on the movie's switch to an "Into the Spider-verse" style of animation whenever there was a fight scene, I felt that that trope got old fast.

Big Jack Horner and his temporary conscience
Still, the movie is filled with clever references and visual humor. The art design is beautiful, and the voice actors all hit their marks. Antonio Banderas sounds much older now, and we have to give special mention to comedian John Mulaney as Big Jack Horner. As depicted in this story, the former Little Jack Horner of the nursery rhyme has grown up to inherit his family's pie-making empire, and in the process, Little Jack has become a hypertrophic Big Jack and developed a greedy, acquisitive spirit to the point of basically losing his soul. In preparation for his pursuit of the map, Jack takes along an enchanted satchel that can hold a warehouse's worth of magical items, one of which turns out to be a version of Jiminy Cricket that sounds as if he's doing a Jimmy Stewart impression. The cricket does his best to be positive and to suggest ethical courses of action to Jack, but Jack doesn't want to hear it, and the cricket eventually realizes that the man is a lost cause. The animators have chosen to draw Jack as having a pinched, stupid-looking face, and Mulaney provides Jack with a silly, nasal voice that emphasizes his toxically nerdy mannerisms. He's a well-realized villain.

In all, "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" is smarter and deeper than its predecessor. While not without flaws, it will pull on the heartstrings more forcefully than the previous film did. I also have to admire the complexity of the story structure, which provides us with two main antagonists (Jack and Death), but which also makes our main characters (except for Perrito) their own worst enemies. This is good screenwriting, and despite an awkward start, the rest of the story picks up steam and takes us for an entertaining ride. As a student of religious studies, I also appreciated the movie's ending, which somehow bridged the gap between Eastern and Western religious viewpoints in a clever way.


One way I know I'm out of touch with my own country's culture is that I've missed what is apparently a wave of gym videos by women who complain about being sexualized while they're working out: men glance at them or outright stare at them; some men come over and offer to help with certain equipment, and these women complain they're being harassed.

Now, when the definition of "harassment" becomes so broad that a mere glance is considered harassment, you know things have gone too far. And that sort of attitude, i.e., the always-ready-to-be-offended attitude, only serves to make a woman look weak and fragile, not empowered. How is playing the victim empowering?

Also, as Amala Ekpunobi points out in the video below, most of these women complaining of harassment are dressing in provocative ways—ways designed to elicit interest in them. Ekpunobi is at pains to note that she's not victim-blaming: if a man goes too far in his leering or his encroachment on a woman's personal space, then he's obviously to blame for crossing the line. But if a woman dresses in skin-tight clothing and then strains her way provocatively through her gym routine, she has to know that she's going to get some looks, that she is at least somewhat complicit in arousing "the male gaze."

In a routine from years ago, comedian Rick Ducommun joked about women who wear cleavage-revealing clothing, then complain about men staring. He compared the situation to him wearing pants that revealed his ball cleavage, and every time a woman stared at his crotch, he'd say, "Don't treat me like a piece of meat!"

Styx theorycrafting on why the balloon was shot down over water

Styx thinks the Chinese spy balloon was allowed to cross the entire US and get shot down over the Atlantic so as to keep regular citizens from having close access to it. Had the thing been shot down over land, swarms of camera-toting civvies would have descended upon the thing, allowing analysis and speculation among the hoi polloi to run wild.

Whether Styx's theory holds water, I don't know, but a modern version of Occam's Razor would say that the most cynical interpretation of an event is the most likely one. This is especially true in an age when conspiracy theories routinely turn out to be true.


Saturday, February 04, 2023

Styx on "Balloongate"

You've heard by now that a large balloon was detected over American airspace. Speculation is that this is some sort of Chinese spy balloon, and it's apparently carrying enough equipment beneath it to be about as large as "two or three school buses," per one article. Other balloons have been sighted in Canada and Latin America. Nothing has been done to shoot the balloon down, although there have been reports of an explosion over Montana. Meanwhile, the balloon has been sighted moving into Missouri, and some authorities monitoring the situation say the reports of an explosion are false. This is the low-trust, post-reality world we live in now: you can't know what's real unless you see it for yourself.

The story raises a ton of questions. One Instapundit commenter noted that weather balloons don't have a long range. I Googled that claim and discovered that most weather balloons have a range of around 125 miles—which is nothing like the distance a balloon would have to travel to reach America from China. Other people are questioning whether anything short of a dirigible can carry equipment the size of several school buses. I wrote a comment openly wondering how no one seemed to have noticed the balloon when it crossed the US border. Another commenter—not responding to me—said that of course our defense forces would have noticed the thing as it crossed into US airspace, which raises the question of why nothing was done about the situation. If the balloon did manage to come all the way from China, then explaining why it's in US airspace is paramount. China actually said (see article) that the balloon did belong to it, but that it had no nefarious purpose (wink-wink). If the balloon was inflated and launched inside US borders (something I also noted in my Instapundit comment), then that gives rise to sinister implications that must be investigated.

We are, alas, saddled with an administration that doesn't really care about things like border integrity and national defense. This is why the Montana governor was incensed:

[Gov. Gianforte of Montana] said that in early briefings with the federal government, “they were contemplating taking it out of the sky. For whatever reason, they didn’t do that. Now, clearly, this went to the president’s desk. He was given options. For whatever reason, he chose not to act, and unfortunately, the result of that is that Americans are endangered and our enemies are emboldened.”

So if this is, in fact, a national-security threat, then Biden's lukewarm reaction could be seen as a presidential failure to perform the basic duty of acting as Commander-in-Chief and defending US sovereignty. It could also be seen as further evidence that Biden truly his, per his nickname, Beijing Biden—in the pocket of the Chinese Communist Party and unwilling to offend China as a result. (Please remind me about all those false claims of Trump's Russian collusion, especially since we now have laptop evidence of Hunter Biden's dealmaking with China.) In the video below, Styx sees Biden's passivity as an impeachable offense:

But the religious-zealot left will still blindly vote for Biden should he run in 2024.

"Puss in Boots": one-paragraph review

A Dreamworks production that takes place in the Shrekiverse, where fairy-tale characters live and breathe and interact with regular humans, "Puss in Boots" is the story of an orphaned Spanish cat who fights for justice and honor but who, through circumstances that were not his fault, becomes an outlaw. The 2011 film was directed by animator Chris Miller. It stars Antonio Banderas as the eponymous Puss, Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws, and Zach Galifianakis as the ovoid Humpty Alexander Dumpty, fellow orphan and childhood friend of Puss. Through a long flashback, we discover that Puss and Humpty became fast friends at the orphanage, but later, when Puss reacted on instinct and saved the Commandante's mother from being trampled by a charging bull, the friends' life-paths began to diverge. Humpty went into a life of crime while Puss, who received boots that were a symbol of honor, went into law enforcement. Humpty tricked Puss into helping him rob a local bank, though, and when the Commandante (Guillermo del Toro) saw Puss with Humpty, he assumed the worst about Puss. Puss is now out to clear his name, and he thinks he can do this by pursuing a legend that Humpty had told him about: using magic beans to ascend to the sky, where a giant, a Great Terror, and a goose resided. Not just any goose, but one that magically lays golden eggs. Bringing back a few eggs to restore what Humpty had robbed from the bank could put Puss back in the town's good graces. The problem is that Humpty himself is still avid for the beans and eggs, and along with Kitty Softpaws (who was declawed in her youth, hence the name), Humpty wants Puss on his team. Puss, still angry at being betrayed by Humpty, initially refuses, but Kitty Softpaws proves too attractive and seductive, so Puss gives in. Hijinks ensue as we discover that Humpty might still be the same criminal he'd become years ago. Overall, this was a good and watchable film, loaded with the standard amount of Dreamworks humor that works for both kids and adults (the "finest Corinthian leather" joke will resonate with the older crowd who remembers Ricardo Montalban). The visual comedy was at times hilarious, and I had a few laugh-out-loud moments. You do have to get used to the idea of Spanish-speaking voice actors speaking mostly in English, but aside from that awkwardness, the story is entertaining, saturated with a flamenco- and tango-tinged score. It was also good to see Banderas and Hayek reunited after being paired together in "Desperado." Not a bad film for people of all ages. It won't change your worldview, but it will divert you for 90 minutes.

from Dr. V on Substack

An excerpt from a recent Substack essay by Dr. V:

Contemporary liberals, whose love of political correctness gets the better of their intellects, typically object to the phrase 'illegal alien.' But why? Are these people not in our country illegally, as the result of breaking laws?  And are they not aliens, people from another country? 

"But you are labeling them!"  Yes, of course.  Label we must if we are not to lose our minds entirely. 'Feral cat' is a label.  Do you propose that we not distinguish between feral and non-feral cats?  Do you distinguish between the positive and the negative terminals on your car battery?  You'd better!  But 'positive terminal' and 'negative terminal' are labels.   


Label we must.  There is no getting around it if we are to think at all.  There is a political outfit that calls itself "No Labels."  But that too is a label.  Those who eschew all labels label themselves 'idiots.' 


Related to this is the injunction, 'Never generalize!' which is itself a generalization. Label we must and generalize we must.  Making distinctions and labeling them, and constructing sound generalizations on their basis are activities essential to, though not exhaustive of, the life of the mind.

Never generalize! (the rejection of totalizing metanarratives) and Don't use labels! (the rejection of essentialization) come straight out of postmodernist academe, emanating from the campuses and polluting the minds of the general populace. For more on the history of this pernicious way of thinking, read my posts here and here.


how do you enjoy bliss when you don't know it's coming your way?