Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Dad Joke CCVII

Did you hear about the perfume thief?  She was convicted of fragrancy. 

Condolences to Glen Filthie

Man, that looks like one heck of an accident

Sunday, May 29, 2022

On Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day for reflection on those who gave everything they had and everything they would ever be for something larger than them.  That something is us, and the world is filled with the graves of the fallen, and will likely see new ones until the World is remade.

A lot of people seem to think that Memorial Day is "thank a veteran" Day.  I guess that could work, but only if you were at a cemetery.  The roots of Memorial Day go deep, all the way back to the American War of Southern Independence*, where "Decoration Day" was reserved to take flowers to the graves of the Fallen.  Late May was chosen because flowers would be in bloom in every corner of the Republic.

Nowadays it's the long weekend that starts the summer season.  Trips to the lake, grilling out, and cold beer push the original meaning aside.  Few take flowers to the graves anymore, which is a damn shame.  The Fallen deserve a day of remembrance.

This weekend, we are called to reflect on these fallen.  Art at its best is there to help lead the way.  Classical music used to offer many selections for solemn days like this before it was degraded like all modern art.  Fortunately, Classical music has found a niche where it yet thrives, with talented composers writing new music for the cinema.  Perhaps the greatest of these in our age is John Williams.  He wrote this for the film Saving Private Ryan, where it played during the final credits.  This is a tour of those graves.  Sadly, many Americans have not been to any of these places.

The Fallen remain forever 20 years old.  Remember them tomorrow as you fire up your grill.  I don't think they - or the boys from Gettysburg or Fredericksburg or Cold Harbor or Pearl Harbor or Normandy or a thousand other hallowed grounds -  would begrudge you your family enjoyment.  But remember them.

That's what Memorial Day is about.

* It is vulgarly called the "Civil War".  It wasn't.  The South didn't want to take over the North, it wanted to leave it.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Justin Moore - The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home

The doors to America's Temple of Janus remain open, and will continue to be open as long as war is good for business.  That's a quite cynical reading of the current situation, but the old expression "Rich man's war, poor man's fight" remains as fresh today as it was back in the middle of the 19th Century.  The meditation for this weekend is that while sometimes this Republic needs to fight, we should be sober about which fights need fighting.  Because some don't come back from that fight.

That's what this weekend is for.  It's not barbecues, it's not "Thank a Veteran" Day.  This weekend is for the ones who answered the call and who laid the most costly sacrifice upon the Altar of our Freedom.  Remember them, and the families they left behind.  Justin Moore did with this song, which currently has over 20 Million views on Youtube so I guess that he's not the only one.

Suggested by The Queen Of The World, who knows a thing or two about the sacrifices of those in Service, and their families.

The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home (Songwriters Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Justin Moore, Jeremy Stover)

Tour was up, middle of June
She was planning a welcome home barbeque
Green bean casserole, Grandma's recipe
There was a knock on the door 'round two o'clock
Two uniforms and her heart stopped
Yellow ribbon 'round an oak tree
Blowin' in the breeze

Here's to the ones that didn't make it back home
The ones we ain't seen in so long
The hold up a beer ones, the wish they were here ones
The not forgotten but gone
They're in a better place up there
But they sure left a hole down here
We just go on livin' and go on missin' the ones
The ones that didn't make it back home

The whole town shut down, the whole town showed up
Sang Amazing Grace, watched a slideshow of
His 22 years
There was laughs and there was tears
And that preacher talked about sacrifice
And traffic stopped for them Cadillac lights
Johnny sold beer half price that night
And everybody raised 'em high, singin'

Here's to the ones that didn't make it back home
The ones we ain't seen in so long
The hold up a beer ones, the wish they were here ones
The not forgotten but gone
They're in a better place up there
But they sure left a hole down here
We just go on livin' and go on missin' the ones
The ones that didn't make it back home

Back to that front porch
Back through that front door
To the life they were fightin' for

Here's to the ones that didn't make it back home
The ones we ain't seen in so long
The hold up a beer ones, the wish they were here ones
The not forgotten but gone
They're in a better place up there
But they sure left a hole down here
We just go on livin' and go on missin' the ones
The ones that didn't make it back home

The ones that didn't make it back home

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Democratic Party loses the signal

Electronic communications rely on the concept of a Carrier Wave.  Basically, this is a well-defined electronic signal that all devices can "tune" into, and upon which the actual message is transmitted.  If you lose the carrier, you lose your connection and you can't communicate with anybody.

You Old Farts will remember the old dial-up modem days.  You see, most houses back in the paleolithic age (say, the 1990s) only had one phone line.  Hen Junior wanted to jump on Compuserve (or, Lord forbid, America Online), his biggest worry was often that Mom would pick up the phone to call a friend.  When the phone went off-hook, the carrier signal went all skew-wumpus* and the modem connection dropped.  There was even a long running BBS joke Hey! Wait! Don't pick up the ph{#`%${%&`+'${`%&NO CARRIER

Good times, good times.

Well, the Democratic Party has had control of the carrier wave to the American people for a long, long time.  The first post I tagged Biased Media was way back in 2008, and it was obvious even back then.  They've been used to jamming the Republicans access to the Carrier for a long time.  This has given the Democrat's a big advantage for a long, long time.

That's been going away for a long, long time.  Reagan beat Carter, and then whats-his-name from Minnesota.  The Republicans swept control of Congress in the 1990s.  The whole "Bush lied" (about Iraq) dates back to Hillary Clinton who needed Media air cover for her vote to authorize the Iraq invasion in 2003.  Sure, Obama won in 2008 but the 2010 elections decimated the Democratic Party, as the country reacted in revulsion to the far left-wing policies of his administration.

In my counting, that's 40 years of increasing rejection of the Democratic Party's narrative pushed by an increasingly weak and irrelevant media.

And so here we are at today.  We've had two mass shootings in as many weeks, and three or four in the last couple of months.  It's so perfectly set up to support the Democratic narrative that people are wondering if this is yet more FBI instigation**.  And yet, it's not moving the needle in the Democrat's favor.  Consider:

  • Senate Majority Leader (Democrat) Chuck Schumer has refused to move forward with a gun control bill.  This is despite all the recent mass shootings.  Schumer may be a jerk but he knows how to count votes, and he knows how to look at what the polls say about issues.  The American people are entirely uninterested in more gun control, and forcing his party to put their necks on that chopping block is something that he (wisely) will not do.
  • Covid is over, and every time a (Democrat) politician or bureaucrat suggests further lock downs or restrictions this "news" disappears from the media in a day.  It's political suicide, any why the Democrats would love to ride that crisis further, they know they'd just ride it into the ditch.
  • Russia! Russia! Russia! is over.  Polls are starting to show that people want sanctions to end so we can import oil from them to drop gas prices.  The joke is I can't believe that it's MonkeyPox season!  I still have my Ukraine decorations up!
  • Oh, yeah - I forgot all about the riots.  And MonkeyPox?  Bitch, please.
Each of these has had a shelf life measured between 2 months and 2 days, but the lifetime is shortening.  And as this has played out, Joe Biden's approval ratings have continued sinking.  He's now the least popular "President" since Harry Truman.  That's 70 years.  If you actually remember Harry Truman, you're really, really old.  Polls repeatedly show that people would prefer Republican candidates over Democrat ones by 5, or 8, or 10 points.

My point is that the media and the Democrat Party (but I repeat myself) is that crisis after crisis after crisis, all blamed on the Republicans, or Vladimir Putin, or White People have had precisely zero effect.  Nada. Nichto.  ничто.  无.

So to my point - The Democrats are very unpopular, and are getting increasingly unpopular.  The Media has lost all ability to change this trajectory.  We will leave for another day the question of whether the Republicans will be any better, but in all honesty - could they possibly be worse?***

We will also leave for another day the question of how legitimacy is established in a "Western Democracy" when elections are repeatedly stolen.  There's no question that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are up to this, and since "free and fair elections" are the bedrock of the American sense of political legitimacy, what happens when this is under minded needs to be explored in more detail.****

I shall endeavor to address these open items this weekend.  But I maintain what I said ten years ago after another notorious mass shooting: no new gun control laws are on offer.  And if Republican s are smart, after the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade they should counter all gun control proposals with "Common Sense" abortion control proposals.  You'd have to pop popcorn to enjoy the meltdown that would induce.

* Technical term in computer networking, I was told.

** Remember the jury that refused to convict the people who were "plotting to kidnap" the Michigan Governor because almost all of the folks who were involved were FBI? 

*** Spoiler alert: maybe.

**** Spoiler alert: nothing good.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

The word for the day: "Cacor"

This is Latin basically for "Poopyhead".  Tacitus was there when it was excavated which is pretty cool.  It's also cool to know that around 200 AD or so, someone thought that Secundus was a big ole poopyhead, and went to the trouble to carve this into a stone.

I don't think that Glen Filthie was around back then, but maybe his great Grandad? 

The moral?  People weren't so very different 2000 years ago.  

So gun control is back on the menu

Color me skeptical that the Democrats can do much in the current political situation - their margins in Congress are razor thin and rely on a fair number of Democrats from gun friendly states like West Virginia.  But we're hearing the usual banging of the gun control drum, so it's time to dust this 4 year old post off.  I mean, it's on the right hand side bar for your convenience, but some things need to be said again, and again.

(originally posted March 2, 2018)

I confess. I'm not opposed to gun control.

Confession, they say, is good for the soul, so I confess.  Man, I feel better all ready.

I don't object to gun control.  What I object to is stupid and useless gun control.

Unfortunately, all we seem to hear are stupid and useless gun control proposals.  As a public service, here are two simple rules you can use to figure out whether a gun control proposal is stupid and useless:

Rule #1.  Can the person proposing the law state what they think the law will accomplish?  Most of the time it seems that they can't.  For example, what good would banning bump stocks do?  They were (maybe) used in one crime in the Republic's history.  Is the goal really to prevent something that has only happened once?  Really?

Rule #2.  Can the person proposing the law state how likely the law is to accomplish the goal from Rule #1?  Considering that you can make a bump stock from a string and a key ring, is it rational to ban bump stocks?

That's it - two simple rules to identify non-stupid and non-useless gun control laws.  So let's use these rules to look at some gun control laws and see if they're stupid or not:

1994 Assault Weapons Ban.  Stupid.  The law was supposed to stop people from buying military style semi-automatic rifles.  It didn't.  The AR platform is likely the most popular rifle in America, and was so during the "ban".  The Department of Justice said that the ban had precisely zero effect on gun crime.

Gun Free School Zones.  Stupid.  It was supposed to stop people from taking guns into schools.  That sure worked great, didn't it?

I could go on with this, but you can add your own.  My point, though, is that the gun control proposals (magazine size restrictions, one gun a month purchase limits, etc.) are stupid and useless.  I'm willing to leave open the possibility that some gun control proposals could be non-stupid, at least in theory.  But I sure haven't seen any yet.

UPDATE 2 March 2018 12:45: This line of reasoning continues in a second post.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


 Stolen from Chris Lynch, who you should follow regularly.  If you did, you would know that Starlink Internet for RVs is now available.

Dad Joke CCVI

How do billboards communicate? 

Sign language.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

100 years of Gummi Bears

Haribo introduced Gummi Bears 100 years ago:

The first production plant was a copper kettle in his kitchen and his first employee was his wife Gertrud. He’d make hard candies and she’d deliver them on her bicycle. In 1922, Riegel invented a new confection: the Tanzbären, or Dancing Bear. It was a soft fruit-flavored candy shaped like a bear sitting on its hind legs, inspired by the sad performing bears that were so popular at the time.

 Interesting article which includes a bit on where the name "Haribo" came from.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Dad Joke CCV

 I know you are wondering how we keep up with all these jokes. It's easy, really. There's only one place to keep dad jokes.

We store them in the dad-a-base.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Rest in Peace, Murphy

Last month, Murphy's Law lost his German Shepherd Memphis Belle.  He just lost his other shepherd, Murphy.  Wolfgang is sad about this, as am I.  Blogger is still messed up for me so I can't leave a comment over at his place, and so I'll put up a post here.

Murphy's Law rescued the dog, way Back In The Day.  Murphy became his constant companion, as they will  do to you.  But Nature is cruel - they become part of your heart but then Nature takes them away too soon.  It's quite a void that gets left behind, at least if we're any good at all.

I've often said that we see ourselves reflected in our dog's eyes, not as we are but as we would wish to be.  

There are songs that say that better, if you know where to look.  To save you the trouble, here's one that fits:

Just A Dog (Songwriter: Mo Pitney)

Ten years ago I was on my way home, saw her walking on the side of the highway alone.
It was raining like hell and I kept telling myself
"not my problem, keep on driving, just like everybody else."
Why should I be the one pulling over on the shoulder at night?

It's just a dog, right?

From the cab of my truck, to the foot of my bed, to a new pair of boots that she chewed in shreds.
Digging holes in the yard, chasing cars down the street
to one gutter and when I found her, I thought it hit me.
Took half of my savings to save her, and I didn't think twice.

It's just a dog, right?

Just an old mutt riding shotgun, getting my seats all muddy.
Just the one who I come home to, just my best fishin' buddy.
We were walking that spring in the sand on the beach.
You know she was the reason, Amy walked up to me.
She lost her place on the couch, but she kept her cool.
She was crazy about Amy and she knew I was too.
And the night that girl left me, she kept me from losing my mind.

But it's just a dog, right?

It's 83° today and man I can hardly wait to get this truck down to the lake, I bet the bass' are hittin'.
Boats in my rear view mirror, got my... tackle box and all my gear,
the wind is right, the sky is clear, there's only one thing missin'.
Just an old mutt riding shotgun in my seats on my knees.
It just hit me she's not with me like she was this past Sunday.
Why am I pulling over on the shoulder with tears in my eyes?

It's just a dog, right?
She was just a dog, right?

Rest in peace, Murphy. 

Quote of the Day, American Civil War 2 edition

I think this from Divemedic makes a lot of sense:

Let the court decide that Americans actually have gun rights, let them actually decide that women don’t have a Constitutional right to kill their children, then follow that with their inability to pack SCOTUS to change it, and you will see a left that becomes insanely violent. Remember how they scream like petulant children when Trump defeated HRC? Remember that it was then that the left began systematically trying to destroy Trump by using the power of the swamp?

I used to think that CW2 would be triggered when the left pushed the right too far. I feel that I may have been wrong. It will be the left that kicks off CW2, and SCOTUS just might be the catalyst.

It will be interesting to see how the Democratic Party handles the Lefty Rage this summer.  It will no doubt poll very badly for them, and add to the many issues polling badly for them.  How they act will tell us much about how they view the November elections.  A "we don't care about the polls" attitude will strongly suggest a "we don't care how you vote because we're going to cheat like nobody's business" attitude.

And honorable mention to Toastrider in the comments over at that post:

My sole response to the left’s rhetoric:

“Say when.”



Friday, May 20, 2022

Dad Joke CCIV

What do you call a fake noodle? 

An impasta.

School shootings are for pikers

95 years ago 38 children and 6 adults died in the Bath School Disaster. Andrew Kehoe hid hundreds of pounds of dynamite in the basement of the schoo0l in Bath Township, Michigan.  He rigged two timers, one for each wing of the school.  Only one detonated, and it's likely that the body count would have been higher if the other had also detonated.

All the while he sat in his truck outside the school.  When first responders appeared, he detonated the bomb in his truck, killing himself and wounding several of them.  In all, 58 were injured but survived.  Yeah, he had a gun.

Oh yeah, before he left in the morning he killed his wife.  Quite a guy.

I'd be more impressed with the gun control crowd if they would (a) also talk about other mass murders that didn't involve guns, and (b) knew about other mass murders that didn't involve guns.  They don't, and they don't.

This blog belches carbon

Somewhere along the road, something disappeared from my side bar:

This is from way back in 2010, when Blogs were "the thing" and so the Green Nutcases were Very Concerned:

Oh, now this is rich. German greenies calculate that a blog which gets 15,000 hits or more a month (yay! we qualify!) pumps out 8 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

 Hmmm ... rough math time: 15,000 "hits" corresponds to roughly 20,000 page views (in the old SiteMeter days).  I've been running about 4 times that for 12 years now so - let's see ... carry the one - this blog has belched 350 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere.

Sigh.  Those are rookie numbers.  Must up my game.

Or we can all just think it's a bunch of Eco-fascist nonsense by some very unsavory totalitarian would-be overlords who deserve all the mockery we can give them.  And so this will go proudly back into the side bar to make a permanent focus of mockery for the oh-so-mockable.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

How to save public education

Kevin Baker - whose blog just celebrated its nineteenth blogoversary - has an uberpost about the dire state of education in this country.  You should go read the whole thing which lays out in detail (it's an uberpost, remember?) just how FUBAR'ed public education is on these shores.

It's an uberpost so it's impossible to excerpt, but Kevin's conclusion is what made me think:

The public school system cannot be reformed. I must be destroyed and the people in it must never have power over children again. 

Alas, destruction would be very difficult as there are too many vested interests at play here.  What we need to do it minimize the enemies our plan will make, and maximize the allies it will get.  I posted about this several years back, and still think that this plan has at least a fighting chance of getting through:

A modest proposal to prevent the fall of civilization

Every person has two educations, one which he receives from others, and one, more important, which he gives to himself.
― Edward Gibbon
The Silicon Graybeard muses on the fall of civilization:
Over the years, I've said (and more often hinted) that what I see in the future is not just the chance of an economic collapse due to the world's unsustainable debt levels. I see a real chance for another Dark Ages. The main driving force there is the Postmodernists in academia pushing the idea of "my truth and your truth"; the idea that there isn't anything other than our perceptions of things. That works fine for simple questions like, "what's your favorite color?" but is completely wrong for "what's the speed of light?", "will this virus survive in air?" or any interactions with the real world. VDH follows those trends to the conclusion a Dark Age may already be starting.
When civilization falls, it falls hard.  We hear mostly dry statistics about the collapse of civilization, things like the population of Rome in 100 AD was around a million people.  That's impossible to visualize.  Instead, we should look at this:

Immagine gentilmente concessa da Wikipedia
This is Monte Testaccio in Rome.  It is a hill made entirely of broken pottery, and it dates to the first and second centuries AD.  It's over 100 feet high, around a kilometer around, and historians think that it used to be much larger but has eroded over the last two millennia.  The Roman "bread and circuses" was a huge welfare project that fed much of the city's population, and which required huge imports of not just grain but also olive oil - over a million gallons of oil each year, every year, for hundreds of years.  The oil was shipped in big clay pots, but what do you do with the pots when you've distributed the oil?  The Romans were the best engineers until at least the eighteenth century, and so they came up with an engineering solution: they made a mountain out of broken up pots.

And then it all fell, and fell so far and hard that it was forgotten.  The Roman Forum itself - the political center of the Ancient World for centuries - became a cow field, the Campo Vaccino:

Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino by J.M.W. Turner, painted in 1839
It's been said that any system can survive only three generations before facing crisis. The first generation is the generation that created the system. They knew it intimately. The second generation saw the system being created, and so at least understood its main functions and how they worked. The third generation inherited the system. They may or may not know anything at all about how it works.

If this is a system created by the government - and remember that government is politics - then politics will be the main thing that we can expect the third generation to understand.  NASA is an excellent example of this dynamic: the generation that won World War II created it.  They landed a man on the Moon and returned him safely to the Earth, all in that decade.  The generation that followed watched that.  They were able to make a Space Shuttle and a Mars Rover.  Now NASA is in the third generation and the Space Launch System is pushing a decade late and $20B over budget, all while offering less capability than SpaceX at ten times the price.  But hey, a Senator is happy so it's all good, amirite?

This Republic has a population that is observably more stupid than when I wore a younger man's shoes. This isn't just get offa my lawn ranting, it's a measurable fact:
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), test scores for 17 year olds have not improved since the early 1970s. That is, the average 17 year old in 2012 got about the same score in reading and math (287 and 306, respectively) as a 17 year old in 1971 or 1973 did (285 and 304, respectively). 
The response from professional educators?
Carr argues that flat scores aren’t terrible. “It’s a good thing that they’re not going down,” she said.
Well okay, then.  This is the same time period when per-pupil spending on K-12 education has skyrocketed:

If anything, this understates the scope of the problem: there is lots of discussion about how incoming college students can't read or do math very well, and so they have to take remedial course (and take on student debt while doing so) before they can start what would otherwise be their studies.

Note that this discussion has been about the portion of the public education system that is arguably working; it doesn't work at all in the inner cities.  None of Baltimore's schools graduate students who can do mathematics, and Atlanta's school system had a huge scandal where test scores were massively manipulated so that administrators could get their incentive bonus.  People went to jail for that, but the system is no better almost a decade later.

In short, the more government has gotten itself into education, the dumber the population has gotten - and at fabulous expense.  The system is broken, and since it's a government system (in which politics is uber alles) it will not reform itself.  Further, the public education system is generally popular throughout the land, so the normal political process will be useless for reform.

And so the Republic slouches towards the Campo Vaccino.  The third generation will lead to a fourth, and as Graybeard fears, a new Dark Age approaches.

Immodestly, I believe that there is a solution.  It's one that will improve performance, reduce costs, and be politically acceptable to large portions of the voters.  The Department of Education can issue a rule saying that if a public school system does not issue vouchers allowing parents to send their children to the school of their choice, that the Department will withhold education grants to that school system equal to the average per-pupil cost in that district.  The Department will then issue an Income Tax credit to the parents for that amount.  The Department will provide a free home schooling curriculum and teaching materials for free with the tax credit.

Simples.  No fuss, no muss.  It may even be that the Education Department can do this without any action of Congress.  I Am Not A Lawyer, but Congress has granted a huge amount of authority to the Regulatory State.

So why do I think that this is politically possible when the Teacher's Unions and Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) will fight this to the death?  Consider:

  • Vouchers are popular among blacks and hispanics and have been for a long time.  This makes sense, as its their kids who are locked into failing school districts.  You don't get much more White Privilege than mandatory public schools.
  • Tax Credits allow stay-at-home Moms to school their kids if they want.  Home schooling three kids at an average tax credit of around $12,000 per kid is the equivalent of a pre-tax job paying around $50,000/year.  Politically, this will play very well with women.
  • We can expect this to be especially popular with black and hispanic women.  No doubt some upper middle class white women will complain that these women of color cannot be trusted to educate their children but we can dismiss this as veiled racism, and the women certainly can't do any worse than the current inner-city schools are doing.  At the very worst, the money wouldn't be going to an impenetrable education bureaucracy but rather directly to voters.
  • Public schools will have to do a better job, at a lower cost.  Competition will focus on results, rather than on a politicized curriculum.

Now what's interesting about this is that politically this would hurt democrats and help republicans.  However, the people who think that politics doesn't enter into the public education system shouldn't concern themselves about, well, politics entering into the public education system.  And anyway, since government is politics, a better  description of "public education" is "government education", leading to "political education".

This is no panacea against the New Dark Age.  However, it puts resources in the hands of parents who presumably care more about their kids than a set of bureaucrats.  Eliminating all the nonsense permeating the schools (hello, Critical Race Theory!) will let teachers and parents focus on reading and math and you know, education.

Don't ever change, WaPo

Pretty much everyone is mocking Taylor Lorenz' WaPo article about how EVIL conservatives scuppered the new Ministry of Truth. You remember Taylor, don't you?  She's the one who doxxed the woman who ran the Libs of TikTok account and then sobbed about how mean everyone was to her.

Anyhow, this is the bit from her article that is the most jaw droppingly stupid:

Jankowicz’s case is a perfect example of this system at work, said Emerson T. Brooking, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “They try to define people by these single, decontextualized moments,” Brooking said. “In Nina’s case it’s a few TikTok videos, or one or two comments out of thousands of public appearances. They fixate on these small instances and they define this villain.”...
Okay, Taylor - now do Roseanne.

The Czar of Muscovy wrote a long, long time ago that you will understand the media perfectly if you just think of them as mean middle school girls.  Jealous. not very smart, but mean.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

About that NATO expansion

So Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership, which would make them the first NATO partners to share a border with Russia.  Well, ignoring Kalingrad aka Konigsburg which is basically occupied and ethnicly cleansed East Prussia and not contiguous with Mother Russia herself. So NATO would be literally on Russia's doorstep.

This strikes me as exceptionally unwise.  It's hard to see how international relations will be more stable after this.  On the contrary.

But politics ain't beanbag, and neither are international politics. Turkey has had a rocky relationship for some time with the USA, NATO, and the EU.  But they are a full member of NATO, and so have veto power over any expansion.  It looks like they're exercising that option.

Maybe it's just to work a better deal with the US, NATO, and EU.  Me, I hope they hold out and make it ridiculously painful for Sweden and Finland to join.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Dad Joke CCIII

What do you feed a vegetarian zombie? 


Monday, May 16, 2022

NSA: "No known problems" in Quantum Computing resistant ciphers

Story.  Bruce Schneier (a crypto heavy-hitter) says he believes them. 

I'm not so sure.  Long term readers will remember how the NSA subverted commercial grade encryption.  I wrote about it at some length here and here and here.  Each of these were pretty damning:

  1. These were all independent attempts to undermine commercial crypto.  In other words, NSA has tried at least three times to break crypto so that they can ready whatever they want, whenever they want.
  2. Each of these attempts is very well documented.  NSA's fingers were found in the cookie jar, without question.
  3. NSA's public statements need to be very carefully parsed.  I was at the Black Hat security conference and listened to NSA Director Alexander assure everyone that NSA analysts didn't just go joy riding through the data bases of stuff they collect from you and me; it was only hours later that the disclosure came out that, well, yeah they do.
So is this crypto on the up and up from NSA?  I don't know.  I'm sure not a crypto mathematician but their track record on trustworthiness leaves me wondering if they know something that we don't - a something that is classified so that they're technically truthful when they say there are no "known" (err, and unclassified) weaknesses.

Man, I'm so old that I remember when the NSA crypto nerds were the good guys ...

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Happy Birthday Wolfgang!

The little pup has turned ten years old.

UPDATE 15 May 2022 19:17: Here is is at the Venice, FL dog beach today. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Southwest Florida Spring Blogshoot - CANCELED

Both The Queen Of The World and I have had a continuous set of medical ailments, and that looks to continue.  Unfortunately, these include surgeries for both of us and we just can't organize the spring blogshoot.

Hopefully this is just a temporary phase and we will look for a fall blogshoot in October or early November.

Apologies to everyone about this, but it's just been too much.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

When do The Powers That Be respect International Law, and when do they not?

It seems that one of Trump's Defense Secretaries has a new "tell all" book coming out, and in it he talks about how Trump wanted to bomb the drug cartels in Mexico and how awful that was.

I mean, what a shocking, awful, disgraceful violation of International Law - sending an attack into the territory of a sovereign ally.  Unthinkable!  I mean, he probably wouldn't have even let the government know he was going to attack!

Sort of like this:

That's Barack Obama his own self, saying that he basically knew he was violating International Law, for good reasons.  And what was the reason?  3,000 dead Americans, and the Pakistani government unwilling or unable to do anything about the perpetrators on their soil.

So what was Trump's reason?  Oh, wait:

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2021, more than in any other year on record, according to provisional data released by the National Center for Health Statistics Wednesday.

So Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans and was killed ten years later.  That's 300 a year, or about one a day.  The cartels kill 100,000 each year, or about 275 Americans a day.  But it was awesome that Obama violated International Law and it's The Worst Thing Ever that Trump even thought about it.

It makes you suspect that all this pious bloviating from the "Elites" is a bunch of hooey.  And it makes you wonder if they think that 275 people from Youngstown, Ohio and similar places in the hollowed out "Fly Over" America are less valuable (and less worthy of protection) than one person working high finance in the World Trade Center.

Actually, I don't wonder at all.  It does make me wonder if J.D. Vance is right: "If you wanted to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland, how better than to target them and their kids with this deadly fentanyl?..."

Man, Trump sure hired a bunch of snakes in the grass.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

What happens when tens of millions of Americans become convinced that elections are shams?

I don't know the answer to that, but I dare say that we're likely to find out. 

Peter posts a review of the documentary 2000 Mules that lays out in gory detail how the election of 2020 was stolen.  It's hard to argue with his conclusions.

Adaptive Curmudgeon compares and contrasts the 80:1 long shot that won the Kentucky Derby with the election of 2020.  This is the key bit:

Let me repeat this known and undeniable fact because it’s important; I could watch the Kentucky Derby and see every damn hoofbeat frame by frame if I wish. But during an American election campaign 51 “intelligence experts” all collectively lied. One single event like that would ruin horseracing pari-mutuel betting for decades and yet we watched it happen in a presidential election. This was not one or two bad apples. It’s 51 of the motherfuckers. They all lied. I can’t get 51 people to agree on the best pizza topping but the press got 51 of them to sign their names on the record to an actual verifiable lie.


I could go on. I could link ten times as many images and endless bits of evidence and statistical anomalies. You’ve seen the same information as me. You’ve seen the images. You watched the vote tally change enormously in the middle of the night. You saw the vote counting stop in the middle of the night and then restart with vastly different results. You’ve seen the vote count charts. You’ve seen the mule videos. You’ve seen the Hunter Biden photos. You read the same Time magazine article.

Does any of that sound, look, or smell like the Kentucky Derby race?

Larry Correia posted a former auditor's impression of the election immediately after results were announced in November 2020.  His conclusion was pretty chilling:

I can say without hesitation though, that fuckery is afoot, and if an actual real investigation happens they’ll be able to prove it. Only this is politics, so who knows. The only thing I do know for certain is that this election is so fucked up it is just going to make America’s two halves hate each other even more. [My emphasis - Borepatch]

The United States was never a democracy: it was intentionally set up as a representative Republic.  For much of its history it was a plutocracy (government by the rich).  We managed to survive those times because growth trickled down to the masses.  That hasn't been true this last 50 years, but the rich still use their control of the Organs of the State to keep themselves in the money.

Everyone else?  Well if you live in Youngstown Ohio, or Leominster Mass, or Detroit Michigan at least the fentanyl is cheap.

But look at that bit from Larry Correia that I highlighted.  We're on that trajectory.  It looks something like this:

2008 - John McCain screws up and puts an actual populist on the ticket as his running mate.  Sara Palin's winking and sense of humor and unabashed normalcy almost won him the election before the Powers That Be reined her in.

2010 - the Tea Party rallied in their millions, but were polite and picked up their trash when they were done.

2012 - the IRS illegally abused the Tea Party and other conservative groups.  We know that they think it was illegal because Lois Lerner (head of the office that did this) pled the Fifth.  Of course she has rights, and cannot be compelled to offer incriminating testimony against herself.  The fact that she thought that this might happen is enough to convince me that she knew she committed a crime.  The Powers That Be got her off.  Oh, and the IRS apologized laterAfter the election, of course, but no blood no foul, amirite?

2016 - Donald Trump shocks the world by beating Hillary Clinton.  He was the equivalent of a late entry 80:1 shot at the Kentucky Derby.  Quite frankly, he was the only candidate (other than Bernie Sanders) who spoke to those voters in Youngstown and places like that.  And suddenly they found their paychecks bought them more than they had a year ago - for the first time in 30 years.  

But Trump was brash and said mean stuff, so the Powers That Be did the hoodoo they doo so well in the 2020 election.  And here we are with gasoline costing twice what it used to and stores running out of baby formula.

So what is that hypothetical voter in Youngstown going to think?  Go back and look at that quote from Larry Correia: it is just going to make America’s two halves hate each other even more.

The American Plutocracy is acting like they think they will never face any consequences.  They are acting like they can push anyone around and do anything to anyone at any time.  I do not believe that they have thought about what our hypothetical voter in Youngstown wants.

For our hypothetical Youngstown man, he may think that the problem is that Trump wasn't mean enough.  And he's very unlikely to be alone in that thought.

God save this Honorable Republic.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dad Joke CCII

 I don't carpool. I'm afraid I will be in the car and go into a tunnel and we will get stuck and not be able to get out.

It's not an uncommon fear. It even has a name. It's called carpool tunnel syndrome.

Dad Joke CCI

Why does a flamingo lift up one leg? 

Because if it lifted up bot legs it would fall down.

Congratulations to Old NFO

Blogging 15 years.  I believe that there were still Wooly Mammoths on the Blogosphere steppe back then.

It's hard to keep active and productive after blogging a long time, maybe harder than you might think.  This is quite an accomplishment.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Dad Joke CC

Why is it impossible to explain puns to kleptomaniacs?

Because they always take things literally. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Chet Atkins - Kentucky Derby

Today is the Kentucky Derby, so music is to get you in the mood.  There are no lyrics, just Chet Atkins at his picking best. 

I've previously posted The Queen Of The World's Mint Julep recipe and so there's no need to repeat that.  Instead, I will give you my recipe for a killer smoked Old Fashioned:


  • Luxardo cherries (yes, I know they're crazy expensive; they're also crazy good)
  • Two slices of orange, at least 1/2" thick each
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • Blood Orange bitters
  • 2 oz (or to taste) Kentucky Bourbon (I like Four Roses which is good enough to sip neat but not so expensive that you don't want to mix cocktails with it)
  • Ice

The hardware:

A rocks glass (preferably of the Second Amendment type, just because):

A muddler: 


A cocktail smoker:


1. Remove the rind from one orange slice and put into rocks glass with two Luxardo cherries and the sugar.

2. Muddle the fruit until you have basically a fruit slurry.

3. Add two shakes of bitters.

4. Add the Bourbon.

5. Stir with a spoon.

6. Add ice.

7. Use smoker as directed.  This is the one that I have and how it works:

8. Put a plate over the glass and let the drink rest with the smoke in it for five minutes.  Don't skimp on the time, because the smoke flavor will infuse the drink.

9. Garnish with two Luxardo cherries and the other orange slice.

I said it was a killer drink; I didn't say it was quick to make.

A note on Luxardo cherries: these are something like $20/jar, although Total Wine has a #10 can of them for like $99 which really drops the price per cherry but gives you a lot of cherries. If you are wondering why they are so expensive, let me just say that these are nothing like the Red Dye #2 cherries that you get at the supermarket.  Nothing at all like them.  It defies description, so you will have to take my word that they're worth it.  

Or not, heck it's up to you.

Let me just say that a jar will last you the better part of a year so it would be a shame to go to all the work on this cocktail and not have good ingredients.  

Friday, May 6, 2022


How many seconds are in a year? 

12.  January 2nd, February 2nd, ...

I think I've seen this movie before

Via Insty, new poll shows Biden losing to Trump by double digits in 2024:

“A majority of voters think President Joe Biden shouldn’t seek reelection in 2024, and he would lose a rematch with former President Donald Trump by double-digit margins,” read the early analysis of the Rasmussen Reports poll sponsored by the Heartland Institute.

That's very sweet, but has the Heartland Institute been asleep for the last two years?  Trump could beat Biden by 100% and Biden would get re-elected.  Math is hard, amirite?  Especially when people cheat.

But everybody vote harder next time!

Thursday, May 5, 2022

This is the most important blog I've read since The Archdruid Report

Dominic Cummings has a substack where he posts the most insightful musings that I've read since I ran across The Archdruid Report back in 2016.  His post about how to reboot the Government Agencies is an absolute must-read. 

He is very thoughtful, and probes deeply.  I think his criticism of Donald Trump is mostly fair:

And Trump showed:

1. He does not understand power in Washington.

2. He doesn’t have a CEO mindset or skillset in the Bezos/Gates/Jobs/Musk sense of being able to execute at scale and speed.

3. Like Boris Johnson, his insecurities mean he can’t face his lack of skills and trust/empower anyone to build the team to run the administration for him.

4. He has some showman skills, a good nickname game and a sporadically good twitter game. But like Johnson, he prefers to spend his time babbling about and at the media rather than the (often mind-numbing) problems of institutions and incentives you need to focus on to change big things.

This combination meant Trump made a lot of noise but got very little done.

He could not control the government. He was sometimes right, sometimes wrong, sometimes idiotic, often right in his complaints that the media were lying, but very little he said mattered because his words did not connect to power. He annoyed the swamp but he couldn’t drain the swamp — not the tiniest corner.

This is a very short overview of his thoughts on what would avoid these pitfalls:

So, the most important thing for the next GOP candidate and their team to appreciate is this: if you want to have a serious effect, if you want to have a chance of dealing with serious crises, if you want to bend the arc of culture rather than just have a cool-sounding job, then you should generally not be trying to ‘take over the institutions and run them’, you should not develop a traditional ‘reform’ agenda, instead, like Lincoln and FDR, you need to be the once-every-~70 years sort of a President who actually controls the government.

This means appointing people to many parts of DC not to ‘reform’ the department/agency but to close it while someone else runs the startup to replace it (if it needs replacing) operating on completely different legal and management principles and staffed by completely different sorts of people. This does not of course mean closing everything — there are parts of the regime that can carry on pretty much as before — it means closing and reopening those parts necessary to control the important parts of government, such as the Pentagon.

 Highly, highly recommended, even though it is a very long - dare I say Borepatchian? - post.

Hat tip to Isegoria, who finds the most interesting stuff.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

May the Fourth be with you

But remember, beware the Nerd Side of the Force ...

Dangerous out there it is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


What do you call a bear with no ears?


Monday, May 2, 2022

What I would do if I were Xi Jinping

Here's what I would do if I were Xi.  I'd invade Taiwan.

Consider: America is weaker and more divided that it has been for 50 years.  A weak, divided America is likely what Xi will see as being in China's best interests.

Consider also: NATO will find itself strained in any response, because it has sent so much equipment to Ukraine that it might not have a lot left to send to Taiwan.  NATO seems to want to keep the pressure on Russia, to bleed Putin and get regime change.  NATO will either be distracted from Taiwan, or will have to give up their dreams of different rulers in the Kremlin.  It may take NATO long enough to figure out what to do that the Taiwan invasion becomes a fait accompli. Advantage: China.

Consider also [2]: A June or July invasion will likely wrap up before the elections in November.  Losing Taiwan (after a pretty disastrous  response to Ukraine and a completely disastrous pullout from Afghanistan) will likely contribute to a rout of the Democrats in the election.  Big GOP Congressional majorities will further weaken Biden.  A weakened Biden is likely what Xi will see as being in China's best interests.

Consider also [3]: Even if a strong Republican gets elected to the White House in 2024, that will be 2 years after the fact, allowing China to consolidate/reintegrate Taiwan.  It will be hard to put that toothpaste back in the bottle.

The downside is looking like an aggressor in public.  Perhaps the biggest fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine is the prospect of Finland and Sweden joining NATO out of a sense of needing help against the Russian bear.  You could see something similar with India, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, and Japan joining together in an anti-China bloc.  My take is that Xi doesn't care - China has never been expansionist outside of China (and they absolutely see Taiwan as part of China).  The domination they seek is economic, not military, and since the hypothetical Asian bloc would never be able to invade the homeland, this is likely not much of a consideration.  Also, if America and NATO are weakened then there may not be a credible alternative to China in Asia.

So the downsides are low, the benefits to China are likely high, and both of these could very well change in the next two (or even one) year.  The iron is hot, right now.  Timing will probably never be more in China's favor than now.

This is maybe a good time to short Taiwanese stocks.