Thursday, January 31, 2019

Going Home

Col. Thomas E. Parsons, USA Ret., was interred at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday.



Good-bye, my old friend. If there's anything waiting for us, pick out a trail and we'll go hiking when I get there.

How to make a Journalist cry


Record temperatures

It's being reported that Mount Carroll, IL saw a -38° cold temperature today.  That would be the coldest ever recorded in Illinois.




What's interesting about the temperature databases is that the data are systematically modified.  What are NOT modified are the record temperatures.  I post about this regularly, and since we're looking at a record, it's time to pick at that scab once again:
In fact, with all of this year after year of the HOTTEST YEAR EVER, no state has set a highest temperature record is more than 20 years. In fact, most (39 out of 50) state highest temperature records were set quite long ago - over 50 years ago, sometimes as long ago as 1888 (!). 
Stop and think about that - if the science were as settled as people say, wouldn't there be at least one state that set an all time high record recently? What a strange warming that raises average temperatures but not record high temperatures.
But this crazy Global Warming doesn't seem to prevent record cold temperatures.  What a very, very strange warming.  So once again, let's talk about the adjustments to the climate data:
How much do the adjustments change the results? 
We don't know, but people are starting to look. They're starting to find that adjustments change the data a lot. They change the data so much that they show that the earth is warming when the raw data may show that it's cooling. 
Let me say that again: Thermometers may be showing that the Earth is cooling, but adjustments to this data show a rapid temperature rise.
Man, this climate science sure is complicated.  Good thing that we have all these climate scientists to tell us to pay no attention to those temperature records behind the curtain.  Top Men have spoken.


Top.  Men.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hash

Some days you just want say something about all sorts of things. This doesn't lend itself to a coherent post. It ends up looking like hash. So that's the new tag I made to go with this. I usually end up deleting posts like this, but I think this one is going to make it.
________________________
It's cold. So cold that the news can't ignore it. Cold enough to kill people. Cold enough that the kind of precautions you normally take in the arctic have to be taken in Chicago. USAToday can't help it, though. They had to front page an article that says that global warming is a real thing.  Because true believers gotta proselytize.
________________________
GM got 49.5 billion dollars in bailout money. It was supposed to be a loan. It remains in arrears. GM has paid back 6.7 billion in actual cash and 8.1 billion have realized by sales of GM stock. If and when the Treasury manages to sell off the rest of the GM stock they hold, there will be a 10 billion dollar shortfall. Makes the 5 billion dollar investment in border security look cheap.
________________________
Had Enough Therapy? made me laugh with this offering on the outcome of a new homeless shelter in New York City.
________________________
Group FaceTime had a major flaw. A 14 year old found it. His mother reported it to Apple and got the runaround. If you invited a person to join the call and then had another person join, the phone of first invitee could be listened to even if they never answered the call. Here's a quote:
On Monday, Apple said it was aware of the issue and had “identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week.”
But the company has not addressed how the flaw passed through quality assurance, why it was so slow to respond to Ms. Thompson’s urgent warnings, or whether it intends to reward the teenager whose mother raced to alert the company to the bug in the first place.
A bug this easy to exploit is every company’s worst security nightmare and every spy agency, cybercriminal and stalker’s dream. In emails to Apple’s product security team, Ms. Thompson noted that she and her son were just everyday citizens who believed they had uncovered a flaw that could undermine national security.
________________________ 
Venezuela committed economic suicide, going from one of the richest countries in South America to being a failed state. They did it by using Atlas Shrugged as a planning guide. There's been lots of hand wringing, but the only answer is going to be a major reboot with a capitalist economy. Not the suggestion made when you read about it. Meanwhile they starve while the current government doubles down on the fail. But it started in 2001 and it was boringly predictable:
A 2001 presidential decree on land reform, which Chávez handed down with no consultation or debate, was a taste of things to come. It broke up large commercial farms and turned them over to peasant cooperatives that lacked the technical know-how, management skills, or access to capital to produce at scale. Food production collapsed. And in sector after sector, the Chávez government enacted similarly self-defeating policies. It expropriated foreign-owned oil ventures without compensation and gave them to political appointees who lacked the technical expertise to run them. It nationalized utilities and the main telecommunications operator, leaving Venezuela with chronic water and electricity shortages and some of the slowest Internet connection speeds in the world. It seized steel companies, causing production to fall from 480,000 metric tons per month before nationalization, in 2008, to effectively nothing today. Similar results followed the seizure of aluminum companies, mining firms, hotels, and airlines.
________________________
And, as always, all of this is just a distraction while we enjoy the decline.

Damn, that's cold

Alligators freeze in North Carolina swamp:


Apparently they're adapted to this sort of thing and thaw out when it warms up.  The only thing that would make this cooler is if the gators had frickin' lasers on their heads.

Hat tip: Brock Townsend.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Moment of Solidarity

Just this one time, I agree with USAToday. Civil forfeiture is a terrible idea. It's completely unconstitutional. It used to confiscate money and property from people who have committed no crimes. It's used in ways that leave people with little recourse, often resulting in them simply abandoning the assets.

If we all agree on this, let's put a stop to it. Congress? Anyone?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Hard Truth


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Image von der Wik
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart needs no introduction, being one of the two most famous classical composers of all time (the other, of course, being Beethoven).  Like Beethoven, his life is filled with drama (and melodrama).  He was a child prodigy taught by a strict father.  He developed a reputation very young, writing his first compositions by the time he was five years old.  He composed for the Austrian Emperor.

But his personal life was often unhappy - for example, only one of his six children outlived him.  Money was very tight in his last few years as the wars that Austria was caught up in squeezed the nobles who were his patrons.  One of the surprises about his life is that this unhappiness did not really spill over into his musical compositions.

He was buried in a common grave, although that seems to mean an individual grave for commoners (as opposed to nobility), so the legend that he was buried in a mass grave seems to be false.

Today's composition is often translated as "a little night music" but is more properly "a little serenade".  Mozart wrote it in 1787, at the height of his compositional powers.  Strangely for a work as popular as this it wasn't published until 1827, almost 30 years after his death.

Mozart was born this day in 1756.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Funny of the Day

The Gillette ad redux.

How to tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys in the coming Civil War


Terry Allen - Amarillo Highway

Real Country music isn't dead in this day and age of Nashville crossover pop-rock.  You just have to look around for it.  "Texas Country Music" is a genre of Country music from (duh) Texas that is still true to its red dirt roots.  Terry Allen is from Lubbock, son of a Texas League coach.  He began writing songs in High School and had an album by 1975 - one that Rolling Stone called an "outlaw classic".

This is maybe his most famous song, and Robert Earl Keen's rendition may be the most well known.  But lots of big names have covered his songs, including Willie Nelson, Little Feat, and David Byrne.  But the roots go deep in west Texas.  Country Music is alive and well, and if you look around you can still find it.



Amarillo Highway (Songwriter: Terry Allen)
I'm a high straight in Plainview
A side bet in Idalou
An' a fresh deck in New Deal
Yeah some call me high hand
And some call me low hand
But I'm holding what I am the wheel
'Cause I'm panhandlin' manhanlin'
Post holin' high rollin' dust bowlin' Daddy
I ain't got no blood in my veins
I just got them four lanes
Of hard Amarillo Highway 
I don't wear no Stetson
But I'm willin' to bet son
That I'm big a Texan as you are
There's a girl in her bare feet
Asleep on the back seat
And that trunk's full of Pear beer and Lone Star 
'Cause I'm panhandlin' manhanlin'
Post holin' high rollin' dust bowlin' Daddy
I ain't got no blood in my veins
I just got them four lanes
Of hard Amarillo Highway 
Gonna hop outta bed
Pop a pill in my head
Bust the hub for the Golden Spread
Under Blue Skies
Gonna stuff my hide
Behind some Power Glide
Get some southern friend
Back in my hide 
'Cause I'm panhandlin' manhanlin'
Post holin' high rollin' dust bowlin' Daddy
I ain't got no blood in my veins
I just got them four lanes
Of hard Amarillo Highway 
As close as I'll ever get to Heaven
Is makin' speed up old eighty-seven
Of that hard Amarillo Highway

Friday, January 25, 2019

We turned into the Soviet Union so slowly that I hardly noticed

I'm so old that I remember that we thought it was the Soviets who had nighttime police raids on political dissenters' houses.


This post is tagged "fascists" because, well, you know.


But "fascist" is not too strong a word.  All fascist governments have paramilitary street thugs to intimidate its opponents.  The lynch mob after the Covington Catholic High School boys is still baying for blood, even when it's the blood of those who weren't even there:
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A Douglas County School District teacher has resigned from her role on the teachers union’s board after being placed on paid leave following online comments calling a Covington Catholic school student “Hitler Youth.”

Images of Twitter posts from a now-deleted account, attributed to Mountain Ridge Middle School teacher Michelle Grissom, appeared to be an attempt to doxx, or publicly identify, the high school student from Kentucky seen standing face-to-face with a Native American activist in Washington, D.C. last Friday.

...

The student identified in the posts attributed to Grissom was not in Washington, D.C. at the time, according to his family, but rather playing a basketball game in Kentucky. Dr. John Jackson told 9NEWS on Tuesday that he is the father of 17-year-old Jay Jackson, who was wrongly identified in the posts.
Ready, fire, aim.  I did not read Pasternak but I condemn him.

Never mind that the Covington kids were set up by not one but two leftie groups.  Never mind that the Covington kids have the right peaceably to assemble.  The mob got their High School shut down because of death threats.



That's the nature of Anarcho-tyranny: it's not stable.  The combination of oppression from the Organs of Government combined with the encouragement of (approved) street thugs is a Devil's brew.  This is not the time to have an Attorney General antagonistic to gun ownership.

I don't see how this doesn't spin out of control.  The Democratic Party has no interest at all in reining in the street muscle, and the Deep State - especially the FBI/NSA/FISA Secret Police - has no interest in backing off the official oppression.  I wish I were more optimistic, but now I'm wondering if maybe this will be the year that people start shooting back.

Remember, the shooting has already started.  So far, it's just been one side.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Otis Rush - Hold That Train

Damn, how did I miss it that Otis Rush died in September?



Thanks for all the awesome music, Otis.  Rest in peace.

Trump needs to withdraw William Barr's nomination for Attorney General

Tewshootz leaves a comment to yesterday's post about William Barr, pointing to a very informative article at Gun Owners of America:
Barr’s history as an enemy of the Second Amendment goes back a long way.
Consider that in 1991 — in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee — he endorsed semi-auto bans, magazine bans, and background checks. Said Barr:
On the assault weapon front, the proposal before us is the DeConcini amendment. And I think … I would support both the Brady Bill waiting period and the DeConcini amendment [semi-auto ban], provided that they were parts of a broader and more comprehensive crime bill that included … very tough provisions on the use of firearms in crimes and illegal purchase and trading in firearms…
Barr went on to endorse a comprehensive magazine ban as well.
Amazingly, when speaking before the Senate on Tuesday, Barr may have perjured himself by denying he ever supported a semi-auto ban.
I am not a lawyer, but I do think that perjury is grounds to deny a person appointment to the highest Law Enforcement post in the land.

Donald Trump needs to walk this back.  Gun Owners are a core constituency of his, and this guy's history with the Brady Bill and Ruby Ridge is a huge F-You to gun owners.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Puppy saved from fire becomes firedog

It's been pretty ranty around this blog lately, and so here's a story to put a smile on your face:
Tiny Jake was only 3 weeks old when he found himself trapped in a burning shed. Saved by a local firefighter Bill Lindler, the pup suffered burns to 75% of his body, including his paw pads. Soon his owners abandoned him at the vet as they couldn’t afford to pay for his care. Luckily for the pooch, the same firefighter who saved him decided to adopt him too, when he heard the news.
Surrounded by loving people at the Hanahan Fire Department, Jake recovered quickly. He has become the official mascot of the Fire Department and now goes to schools to help kids learn about fire safety and what to do on emergencies. He even has his own badge! “I had plans on using Jake as a therapy dog, but have changed gears and we are focusing on training him to be an Arson Detection Dog,” Lindler told Bored Panda.
Be sure to click through to see the pictures.  I liked this one:


Wolfgang approves of this story.

Why everyone hates the Government, vol. CXIII

Deer falls through ice into frozen lake.  Man tries to save deer.  Game Warden threatens to fine Man:
John Stoll Jr. was leaving his house near a lake at Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County on Saturday when a friend told him that several deer had fallen through the ice. They were stuck in frigid water. 
By the time Stoll got there, a few of the deer had made it across the lake, near a bridge. 
The 54-year-old helped lead at least three deer back onto the bank. 
The deer were reportedly stuck in the water for hours, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Stoll said there was another deer on the other side of the lake. 
The buck was being pulled onto the bank by rescuers and the fire department when Stoll arrived. It was trembling and cold. Stoll said he couldn't stand to see the deer suffering and offered to take the buck home. 
"Nobody said I couldn't take it," Stoll said. 
He got help loading the buck into his work truck and hightailed it back to the garage at his home to try and keep the buck warm. 
In a thread of Facebook videos, Stoll and his stepson are seen aiding the buck by trying to keep it warm with blankets and gently petting it to calm its nerves. 
Many people on Facebook were rooting for the buck's recovery and asked to be updated on its status. 
The buck seemed to be getting better, but it took a turn for the worse and died in the early hours of Sunday morning. Stoll buried it. 
"We were so devastated that he didn't make it," Stoll said. 
That wasn't all of the bad news Stoll would have to face, though. On Monday afternoon, a Game Commission warden told him that he would be fined for taking and keeping the deer in his garage. 
Because Respect My Authoritah!
Stoll plans to fight the fine, which he expects to get in the mail.
Mr. Stoll should ask for a Jury trial, as it's likely you won't be able to find a jury that will convict him.  If this doesn't work, he should invite the news media.  Normally they're entirely untrustworthy, but this sort of thing is catnip to them.  He should tell them to bring the cameras, as the Game Warden and the District Attorney will be available to answer questions.

I've used the post tag Statist Pricks because, well, you know.

Donald Trump blows an appointment

Trump has appointed William Barr to be Attorney General, the nation's top Law Enforcement officer and the head of the Department of Justice.  On the face of it, Barr is well qualified having served as AG under President George HW Bush.

But Bill emails to point out something that nobody is talking about, and which nobody is likely to talk about.  It's something that to me entirely disqualifies Barr and even makes him look like part of the swamp that Trump so famously promised to drain.

Ruby Ridge occurred on his watch as AG.  Not only did FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shoot down a mother holding her baby, but Barr led a full court press to keep the State of Idaho (or the Federal Courts) from trying him:
Barr received a routine questionnaire from the Judiciary Committee asking him to disclose his past work including pro bono activities “serving the disadvantaged.” The “disadvantaged” that Barr spent the most time helping was an FBI agent who slayed an Idaho mother holding her baby in 1992. Barr spent two weeks organizing former Attorneys General and others to support “an FBI sniper in defending against criminal charges in connection with the Ruby Ridge incident.” Barr also “assisted in framing legal arguments advanced… in the district court and the subsequent appeal to the Ninth Circuit,” he told the committee. 
...
After an Idaho jury found Weaver not guilty on almost all charges, federal judge Edward Lodge slammed the Justice Department and FBI for concealing evidence and showing “a callous disregard for the rights of the defendants and the interests of justice.” A Justice Department internal investigation compiled a 542-page report detailing federal misconduct and coverups in the case and suggested criminal charges against FBI officials involved in Ruby Ridge. 
Barr told the New York Times in 1993 that he was not directly involved in the Ruby Ridge operation. Two years later, the Washington Post revealed that “top officials of the Bush Justice Department had at least 20 [phone] contacts concerning Ruby Ridge in the 24 hours before Vicki Weaver was shot,” including two calls involving Barr.
While Waco was Bill Clinton's baby, this was done by a Republican administration.  Another Republican administration is putting the head honcho back in the saddle again.  Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss.  And the New Boss presumably has a bad judgement in the competence and honesty of his subordinates as the Old Boss:
In January 1995, FBI director Louis Freeh announced wrist slaps for the FBI officials involved, including his friend Larry Potts, who supervised the operation from headquarters and who approved the shoot-without-provocation orders that “contravened the constitution of the United States,” according to the Justice Department internal report. When Attorney General Janet Reno later nominated Potts for deputy director of the FBI, top newspapers and members of Congress protested but Barr told the New York Times that his friend Potts “was deliberate and careful, and I developed a great deal of confidence in his judgment… I can’t think of enough good things to say about him.” A few months later, the FBI suspended Potts after suspected perjury regarding Ruby Ridge. (Potts was not charged and retired two years later.)
Nobody is going to talk about this.  The Republicans won't bring it up because it would embarass the President.  The Democrats won't bring it up because it would undermine their vision of an ever stronger and more ascendent fascist government.  We're pretty much on our own here.

President Trump, it's time to drain the swamp.  Barr has to go.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Can't Stop The Signal

Improvised weapons from around the world. Some are pretty good. Others look like they need a buff and polish before being thrown off the stern.

Be warned, the site will draw you in. Human ingenuity will find a way to accomplish a task. You can try to outlaw a thing, but it's impossible to outlaw the knowing of things.

I picked one to show you. It's one of the better looking examples, collected in Australia in October of 2017. A homemade pistol with a homemade silencer.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

What is Chivalry - A Brigid Guest Post

This was a post I did 5 years ago, but in light of the whole Gillette "Toxic Masculinity Ad" I felt the need to repost and thank Borepatch for the platform.

If life is a battle, then my inner scars are medals for valor,
for swiftness, for courage, for passion.
Evil is the dark-haired brother of Good;
they walk hand in hand–always.Calanthe - Wraeththu

Honor, Chivalry, words that seem old fashioned to today's generation, but words that previous generations literally died for.

What is Chivalry? A knight was expected to have not only the strength and skills to face combat in the violent Middle Ages but was also expected to temper this aggressive side of a fighter with a chivalrous side to his nature. There was not an authentic Knights Code of Chivalry as a prescribed document - it was a moral system which went beyond rules of combat and introduced the concept of Chivalrous conduct - qualities such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women. Documented in 'The Song of Roland' in the Middle Ages Knights period of William the Conqueror who ruled England from 1066, it consisted of these tenents -
To fear God and maintain His Church
To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
To protect the weak and defenceless
To give succor to widows and orphans
To refrain from the wanton giving of offense
To live by honour and for glory
To despise pecuniary reward
To fight for the welfare of all
To obey those placed in authority
To guard the honour of fellow knights
To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
To keep faith
At all times to speak the truth
To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
To respect the honour of women
Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
Never to turn the back upon a foe
The "code" is written in slightly different form in different pieces of literature,  but it all has these things in common - courage, loyalty, respect, honor, finishing everything you start and never refusing a necessary battle regardless of the odds.

Widows and orphans were cared for. In days of old, the helpless were looked after, but you worked or you did not eat. There were three orders in society: oratores (those who pray), bellatores (those who fight), and laborares (those who work). Those that prayed, lived beyond simply, not riding around in limos in $1500 suits while telling their followers on national TV to "send more money". The welfare class, that's rapidly becoming a huge chunk of our "modern" society, didn't exist. If you were physically capable, you pulled your weight. Or you died. The knight did not fight for the lazy, but for those who by station, age, or gender were not able to fight for themselves.  There was faith in a higher power, but not so heavenly driven, that a man was useless on earth.
A sword was a tool, to defend and protect. Lesser weapons were considered dishonorable. The dagger was considered a weapon of a sneaky assassin and an arbalest (fired from a distance) was a brutal weapon used by the untrained. A knight's code of chivalry demanded that he face his enemy openly, honestly and with skill - it was a "let the best man win" situation. Battle was more than the desire to pursue and kill, but endurance, the conviction and longing to endure beyond all imaginable limits of the flesh to protect and preserve.

There was a difference between aggression and self-defense, a difference between being devoted to justice and being a schoolyard bully. It is self-awareness and self-restraint and differs as night and day from apathy, the concept of which Christians might refer to as meekness, a trait often associated with Christ, and clearly as misunderstood.

There was the ability to think before one speaks, to consider the gravity of words and actions; and even to know when inaction or silence is the best avenue. Such things, many, including myself, have failed at. Such things we can still strive for if we can recognize them.  For some are so bound by their ego or the expectation as to what society owes them that they are no more capable of shame, then they are of courage and honor. What they are left then is the emptiness of loss, of something they could almost touch but didn't know how to grasp.


For some they learn this early, taught by their fathers or mentors.  Others learn it simply the hard way.  For the dictates of chivalry are not some formal guide to etiquette. I hope I die before I see a "Chivalry for Dummies" book. It's not a checklist, it's an understanding of things for which a man needs no checklist. It's not bowing before your nation's enemy, it's never turning your backs on them. It's not holding the door open for women because she's weak and lesser than you, but as a sign of courtesy.. It's a way of thinking, not an era or a specific rule.

I've written on this blog more than once about the wimpification of the modern male. But being a strong man does not mean you are completely closed off to emotion, treating love like something that's common and a woman as a somewhat lesser accessory. The strongest man I know can convey in one look, one touch, what I mean to him. But one can understand where the mixed signals come from. The view from the media is one of abject consumerism, relationships that manipulate, duty as control and the worst "if there's a man involved, it's his fault". Our nation has more material comforts than the knights could ever imagine, but for many people, it's prosperity without purpose, it's passion without principles.


People espouse the Middle Ages as being little more than Pestilence, Black Death and no YouTube with the concepts of that day being outdated, or worse, by their own basis, misogynistic. What do we have now to replace it? Materialism without ethics or effort, and baby daddy's, greedy trophy wives, teen moms, and uncouth, plastic infused bimbos who get their own reality TV shows without any bit of skill or talent. This is our alternative to "the Dark Ages", a generation of people who fail to understand the difference between "can" and "should"?

Epictetus said it best "for it is better to die of hunger, exempt from fear and guilt, than to live in affluence with perturbation."

But the spirit of chivalry has not been entirely eradicated from the human heart, even in our pacifist, feminist, age. A chivalrous man today is a warrior with something to live for - and is willing to sacrifice his life either to protect or further it. Being a warrior does not necessarily make him a man of war, but a man prepared to do battle for that which he loves. The battle can be one of ideology, not weapons, his life simply marked by preparation for something worthwhile, and thus is lived pursuing those ideals and interests which for him hold true value.

If this man is willing to die for something he loves, it is because he loves deeply and with great passion. Romantic love may well make the short list, but it's not the sole occupant of his soul, there are other causes and objects of a man's passion, that make him truly rounded.

Chivalry is not dead, it is simply dormant in many, for all things that are excellence can be as difficult as they are rare. In my writing, I've referred to the knight as he, for it was a manly profession. Yet the ideas that define chivalry know no gender; it's a way of thinking expressed in form by both men and women who hold true these concepts of defense and accountability.
Some will call me hopefully old fashioned. Feminist and those more liberal-minded will decry it as a way of life that is simply bloodshed, war, and women seen as a possession. It's not. A chivalrous man, has no desire to control and direct a woman's thoughts, but to allow her to live without constraint, loved unconditionally, free from pesky dragons and telemarketers. He will not only arm himself with the tools he as to protect her, but he will also smile when she takes up her own. He will fight for her. He will fight with her.

Chivalry is NOT dead.

Look at our military personnel, look at those people who responded after the terror attacks. Firemen, EMT's, the police. Nurses, doctors. A post-September 11 nation's no place for milquetoasts. We are living in a fallen world with entire societies that wish us harm, religions of "peace" that dictate to embrace them or die. This is not a time to sit home watching reality television when the dragons aren't just bigger, they're almost nuclear ready.

It's a time for heroes. Big Damn Heroes.

In the Battle of Maldon, a few Englishmen have been attacked by a fierce army of Viking invaders. Although the Vikings are between two branches of the river and thus separated from launching their full strength at the Anglo-Saxon army, Beortnoth nobly allows them free passage to do battle on equal terms. Vastly outnumbered, Beortnoth and his brave men are slain until only a small, unflinching band of warriors remain:

“Byorthwold spoke; he grasped his shield; he was an old companion; he shook his ash spear; full boldly he exhorted the warriors: 'Thought shall be the harder, heart the keener, courage the greater, as our might lessens. Here lies our leader all hewn down, the valiant man in the dust; may he lament forever who thinks now to turn from this war-play. I am old in age; I will not hence, but I purpose to lie by the side of my lord. . ."

In these few words, a better description of heroism, of unwavering dedication and loyalty I've not read in a while. The lines “Thought shall be the harder, heart the keener, courage the greater, as our might lessens" are a thousand years old, a pre-Christian heroic spirit which author J.R. Tolkien, a crafter of worlds where chivalry roared, himself called "Northernness".

Chivalry exists, and heroism stands. Heroism and chivalry live not in might and size and power, but often in the smallest places and quietest moments.  Look at the people who serve in hard times, hard areas, death a shadow on the wall so the masses can be safe. But you don't have to be a member of the military, a protector of the weak, or a fighter of the worst nature can throw at you to embrace these concepts. Chivalry gives us something to strive for, something to hold up as an ideal and an understanding that throughout history there are those who have risen above the standards of the day to truly be called brave.


The year could be 1066, it could be 2001, it could be today. A hand on a rough shovel, flinging the dirt with an effortless fury, the mound of soil rising of its own volition, not crafted by man but as if flung forth by the earth itself, until the grave is readied. A warrior has fallen, medals scribed on ore or heart, small things insignificant to the view, but mute with profound meaning. The earth waits but a moment. Shadows fall with the moon's curve, no sound but the labored breath of form of one who engaged without arms, this single combat. Laying a warrior to rest.  There is now but a shield to be picked up and carried on. So, man or woman, we never forget.
- Brigid

Ernest Chausson - Poème de l'Amour et de la Mer

Photo de la Wik
Life takes unexpected turns, upending lives without warning.  This is what happened to the French romantic era composer Ernest Chausson.  Just as his career was hitting its peak he was out riding one of those newfangled bicyclettes and lost control, crashing into a brick wall.  He died at the scene.

He was a reluctant lawyer, following rather unwillingly in his father's footsteps.  He didn't like it, and encouraged by his friends in fin de siècle Paris enrolled in Jules Massenet's music composition class at the Paris Conservatoire.  Massenet thought that he had an exceptional talent and Chausson went on to become not only a very well known composer but friend or acquaintance of basically everyone in the Parisian arts community - Claude Debussy, Cesar Frank, Claude Monet, and Gabriel Faure among others.

And then he got up on two wheels, and that was that.  You wonder what else he would have composed had he not died at the age of 44.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Gun control

Explained to a liberal.


It's a lot more peaceful now, amirite?

Short takes, including why does Google no longer love Borepatch?

R. Lee Ermey is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  Rest in peace, Gunny.

Global Temperature measurement is getting a lot better in some ways, although you won't read any of this is the newspaper:
Between 2005 and 2017, the global network of thousands of Argo floats have measured an average temperature increase of the upper half of the ocean of 0.04 deg. C. That’s less than 0.004 C/year, an inconceiveably small number.
I like the Argo system because it's automated and global (and doesn't look like it's been massively adjusted; I guess we'll have to watch that).  But while the measurements look pretty darn good the data look like they're tossed into the maw of the Government-Academia Complex:
Significantly, it represents an imbalance in energy flows in and out of the climate system of only 1 part in 260. That’s less than 0.5%, and climate science does not know any of the NATURAL flows of energy to that level of accuracy.
Plus or minus 0.5% leads us straight back to the Uncertainty Monster.

Lawrence finds that Google is screwing around with search results.  He has the goods, with screenshots, of them hiding inconvenient truths.

He's not the only one.  Youtube is doing it too. (Google owns Youtube)

Of course, we've known for years and years that Google is doing this, and is not a reliable search engine for anything important.  The only thing that's changed for me since this post is that I like DuckDuckGo as my search engine.  Not only do they not play these sorts of SJW reindeer games, they also protect my privacy (in stark contrast to Google).  It's too bad - the end of an era:


By the way, in looking into all this it looks like Google may have noticed this little blog and put in some downranking - I used to reliably be the #1 search result for "How to hack a classified network" but now don't seem to be anywhere to be seen.  Interestingly, DuckDuckGo still has me at the top of the search results.

And because it's Friday, George has some fun.  I like this one about the Clemson football team visit to the White House:


You want to see a strong, empowered woman?

A Virginia state senator utilized the state’s open-carry law in a unique way on Tuesday by carrying her .38 caliber revolver with her right into the state’s capitol building. 
Amanda Chase, a first-term conservative state senator who has made news by being a vocal opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, decided to carry her gun after pro-immigration activists confronted a fellow state senator the day before, forcing Capitol Police to be called, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
There's a photo at the link which is made of so much win that it's in danger of collapsing into a black hole of win.

 Note: I believe that this is the first time I've used both the "Chicks with guns" and "politics" post tags together.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

You can't Voxsplain away Gillette's advertisement

I've spent a lot of my career working with Marketing and PR types, and have generally found it to be fun and rewarding (as one Marketing VP once told me, "Marketing doesn't change the truth, it just makes it better!").  But along the way some basic concepts have sunk in.  The first rule of PR, for example, is "if you have to explain it, you've failed".  This has actually been a really good challenge in making the message you want to send very crisp and sharp.

Gillette failed at this in a big, big way.  They failed so big that their advert needs to be Voxsplained.  It won't do any good, of course - you can't explain to someone who's been offended that they haven't, you know, been offended.  But good luck with that.

It's actually worse than this, of course.  You need to be extremely careful with your marketing so that you maintain your credibility.  You can come across as a fast talking snake oil salesman, of course, but you shouldn't expect that to build trust in your brand.  Even if what you say is true, if you come across in a negative manner you destroy brand value:
Successful advertising rarely succeeds through argument or calls to action. Instead, it creates positive memories and feelings that influence our behavior over time to encourage us to buy something at a later date. No one likes to think that they are easily influenced. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we respond negatively to naked attempts at persuasion.
This is why Voxsplaining won't help Gillette, even though the entire media is hard at work trying to do just that.  Not only did Gillette offend a lot of people (both male and female), but they did it in a ludicrously, transparently obvious manner.  You could see the puppeteer behind the curtain pulling all the strings.

As Napoleon is said to have once remarked about one of his more blood-soaked decisions, it was worse than a tragedy.  It was a blunder.

Gillette blundered twice with this ad.  If you follow the link above you will find a set of excellent advertisements from the past.  They avoid Gillette's blunders, and create positive memories that have been associated with the brand over time.  And if you view the advert that co-blogger ASM826 posted, you will find another excellent one that creates positive memories that will stick with them over time.  Whenever I see the Egard Watch logo in the future, I'll think of this ad.

Gillette's problem is that every time I see their logo, I'll remember their advert.  No matter how much Voxsplaining people try to do.


What Is A Man?

I'm not the bully in the Gillette commercial. I'm not the guy that cat-calls. I'm not a racist.

I am male. I have grown into being a man. I had good examples growing up. I joined the Marines when I was 19. I served six years on active duty and received an honorable discharge. I married at 20. Our relationship has lasted 42 years and continues. I raised four sons and survived the death of one of them. I have worked steadily since I was in high school. I have never been stopped for anything more serious than traffic violations. I volunteer in my community in what I consider meaningful ways.

Gillette may not be able to walk this back but they ought to try. It's wrong to insult people because of their gender.

Meanwhile, here's a response from another company.

Stumpy The Snowman

It's a winter storm in Kentucky. There is a good snow. A guy and his fiancee spend the weekend outside, sledding, snowball fights, and building a snowman. She is from Mississippi, so she's excited to play in the snow. The highlight is building a giant snowman in the yard.

Sometime later, someone driving by decided to drive across the yard and smash the snowman with their truck. When something likes this happens you always wish you catch the vandals. This time, I just wish they could have just filmed it.

Because, to save on the amount of snow they had to pile, and to stabilize the giant snowman, they had built it around a very large stump.



"Life is hard, but it’s much harder when you’re stupid."
--Cody Lutz, philosopher and snowman builder 

Captain Obvious, please pick up the white courtesy phone

The local fish wrap offers up this headline in today's edition: Data Shows Shutdown Shortens Morning Commute for Area Workers.

You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, dude.  Oh, and "data" is plural.  It should be "Data Show ...".  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How Do They Pick What To Shutdown?



Since the shutdown is cherrypicking what little pieces they shutdown, how do they decide? My conclusion is they are simply jacking with us. Shutting down whatever creates the most inconvenience to the citizens. Closing parks. Making travel more difficult. **Not sending tax returns while continuing to collect taxes.

Meanwhile,  30 Democrats from the House and Senate are on travel to Puerto Rico. The claim is they are there to see first hand the damage from last year's hurricane. Yeah, maybe. Then again, here's the announcement of their plans. But whatever the truth of this trip, how did they pay for it? There couldn't have been any federal money available because the .gov is closed, amirite?


You want to shutdown? Fine. Shut all the way down. Stop collecting taxes. Send every federal employee home. Call it quits. Let the states declare nation status and move on. Otherwise, stop playing games.

**UPDATE: Unknown in the comments pointed out that the IRS has announced that they will be sending tax refunds.

Hey, anyone remember the last government shutdown?

Remember how Obama denied death benefits to Gold Star families?  The Internet remembers:
Within three days, the government was supposed to have fulfilled its promise to give $100,000 to these grieving families — a “death gratuity” that is supposed to help cover funeral costs, as well as immediate living expenses until survivor benefits kick in. According to USA Today, the money is also supposed to cover family travel expenses so that they’re able to meet their loved ones returning home for burial in flag-draped coffins at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Unfortunately, the government has been unable to fulfill this promise because of the shutdown, leaving the families high and dry during this vulnerable time.

In a media release Tuesday, the Pentagon confirmed that it has suspended death benefits to families of fallen troops.
But Donald Trump is literally Hitler.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Free Speech

Next up, having staked out my position on the right to self defense, is my right to free speech.

Once again, it's a libertarian absolutist position. Free speech is not to be limited. If I spout off with something you disagree with, offends you, insults your <#DEITY> or make your houseplants blush, so what? You can turn away, change the channel, go read some other blog, or start your own blog.

No limits. I'd like to get that guillotine clear. I have every right to let the world know what I think. The world is equally free to consider my ideas to be of no value, which is pretty much is what is happening in this brave new world. I type this as a digital form of hollering down a well, not because I think it will change any minds.

The way we are headed the person or group that is going to rule over the ruins is the most offended. Offended because someone used a word they found insensitive. Offended because someone created art they found blasphemous. Offended because they were referred to with the wrong pronoun. Because feelings.

In Israel, sometime in the last few days, there were riots because some people were butt hurt about a crucifix where the corpus had been replaced with Ronald McDonald. I had a quote picked out, but in this case, I'm going with a picture is worth a thousand words.


Thoughts on the shutdown

This is from one of the folks in our corner of the 'net:
I’ll tell y’all I’m affected by the shutdown. I’ve been “out-of-work” since Mon, Dec 24 (and who works Christmas Eve if they don’t need to?). Since I’m not a direct Federal employee, it’s doubtful I’ll get “back-pay”. Since the Dems have the House (and purse-strings), it wouldn’t surprise me that even Fed employees don’t get back pay. (“Take that, you meany orange guy!”)
...
I support the purpose of the shutdown. I accept that this issue is bigger than my pay. This was not unexpected nor announced out-of-the-blue; why didn’t people plan for this? It’s been coming since October.
Good luck to Quizikle during this period of extreme governmental FUBAR.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Joachim Raff - Symphony No. 11 in A minor "Der Wintrer"

Image von der Wik
Some decisions change everything.  In 1810, the German state of Württemberg had been conquered by Napoleon.  Forced to provide soldiers for his planned invasion of Russia, the prince implemented conscription.  One young man had no intention of going to Russia, and so fled to Switzerland.  That man ended up being Joachim Raff's father.  Since almost all of Napoleon's army came to an end in Russia, we owe a great deal of German romantic music to his father's quick wits.

Young Joachim got a job as a school teacher in Zurich, and taught himself composition.  He sent a couple of his works to Felix Mendelssohn who recommended them to his publisher.  By 1850 he was an assistant to Franz List and his career was off to the races.  By his death in 1882 he was one of the best known German composers, although few have heard of him these days.  Interestingly, there's an entire web site devoted to him, at which we find an excellent description of this composition:
The Symphony No.11 in a op 214 Der Winter (The Winter) is both the last in a series of symphonies describing the four seasons and the last Symphony undertaken by Raff. Although composition commenced in the spring of 1876, the work remained unfinished at the time of Raff's death six years later. The task of completing the work was assumed by his long time friend and associate, the conductor Max Erdmannsdörfer (1848-1905), who published the score in the year after Raff's death. The symphony was premiered in February 1883 in Wiesbaden under the direction of Louis Lüstner. 
It would not be surprising when listening to this symphony if one would be reminded of the characteristics usually associated with Tchaikovsky, Raff's younger contemporary. Some comparison with the Russian's first symphony (op. 13 in g "Winter Dreams") might be made. Although composed some ten years prior to Raff's Winter Symphony, it was not performed until 1886 and it is quite unlikely that Raff had any knowledge of the work.
There's quite a lot there if you're interested, particularly on why he went from extreme popularity to obscurity.  It snowed here at Camp Borepatch last night and so the first movement of this symphony (Die erste Schnee - The first snow) seem particularly appropriate for today.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

LOLwhut?

Interesting news in the world of motorcycling this week.

A riderless motorcycle:
At CES this week, BMW provided demonstrations of its self-riding motorcycle. First unveiled back in September, the motorcycle can start, slow down, turn, and stop by itself. All of this is accomplished via a suite of proprietary software housed in some hard pack cases mounted on the back of the bike — an otherwise stock-looking R 1200 GS, save for the inclusion of a tall radio antenna on the rear.
Ooooooh kaaaaaaay ....

In other news of the WTF, Harley unveils an electric motorcycle:
Let’s just get it out of the way first. The bike’s MSRP comes to $29,799. That is an expensive bike no matter which way you look at it. Do the specs justify the price? Read on to decide. 
The all-electric LiveWire will apparently hit 60 from a stop in 3.5 seconds. There is no clutch and no gear shifting, which will definitely make riding an extremely different experience. And riders will be able to slow down using the power regeneration mode in addition to the brakes.
So it's fast as hell off the start line, Harley expensive, and doesn't have a transmission.  Here's the kicker:
Then we get to the range. Harley estimates 110 miles of urban roads on a single charge, which... isn’t great. And you can expect that mileage only to drop on the highway, as motorcycles aren’t the most aerodynamic. 
One of the advantages of motorcycle ownership is their superior mileage over cars. You’re supposed to be able to fill up less frequently and go further. This bike is less than a Honda Rebel, which gets an estimated 200 miles between fill-ups.
It takes forever to charge - 13 minutes of range per hour of charging - unless you get a Harley expensive special charging station.  This means that you can ride it 50 miles before turning around to go home.  Not exactly going to replace a Road Glide.

Am I the only one who looks at all this "technology" and asks WTF?

UPDATE: Jalopnik finds some Harley electric concept things that it likes on display.  But even this ends with a pessimistic note:
Knowing Harley, however, they’ll be too expensive, too slow, and not offer enough range to compete with existing electric two-wheeled products.
Yeah, probably.