Free men are not equal, equal men are not free.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Girl Friday - Movie Edition

Since I just watched Baby Driver.

Baby Driver

I took the plunge, World's End notwithstanding, and went to see Baby Driver.

Short version - if you sat through the trailers and said "hell, yeah" - the movie is exactly what they sold you. Go, watch it. 

That said, I'm torn. Where once in the past I was more amenable to "stylish" and directly artistic movies, I have much less patience with, say, Tarantino flicks, than I used to be. It's very overtly and deliberately stylistic, often enough in ways that call themselves to your attention. Yet, I've been thinking about aspects of it, its themes, its story, for the last couple days.

A few notes on what to expect.

Music runs throughout the entire thing. Baby, the main character, has tinnitus from a childhood accident that killed his parents, and nearly constantly keeps headphones in his ears, music playing. In the opening credits, Baby walks past graffiti and other markers that coincide with the music he's listening to. He remixes the conversations and planning meetings with his crime boss he owes - Kevin Spacey's "Doc". The music, and his sunglasses, are a barrier between him and his life of crime that he desperately seeks a path out of, while the music is also a reminder of his mother. 

Mr Wright dialed back the forced humor, to good effect. This is a tight and efficient story with little or no wasted time. Everything is important, and a number of "checkov's gun" moments are well disguised as character revelations and moments, only later being revealed for exactly how important they are, often in ways not obvious when they first come up. Most of the twists - it's a heist movie after all - follow the rule of "surprising yet inevitable" to good effect. The humor, when it comes, works.

The driving. The trailers didn't lie - it's absolutely nuts.

The characters are a bit pretentious, again, deliberately. Like the driving and action (though god save me from two-fisted rifle firing by some wee slip of a girl) it's one of a piece with how over the top everything is. Stepping back, neary every one of them is exaggerated, putting a face on to the world, with Lilly James' "Deborah" being the only character who is largely what she presents herself to be. Baby is, in many ways, also what we see, trying to present a different face to the world, and the criminals he works with.

It's not much of a spoiler since it's a critical blurb in the first trailer, but the song "nowhere to run to" is absolutely emblamatic of the main theme of the movie - Baby trying to get out of this life of crime, and getting dragged back in. Unlike, in some ways, Shaun and Fuzz, and to a much greater extent World's End, everyone in this film gets what they deserve.
For those who, with some justification, hate the Hero's Journey and reluctant hero tropes that seem to infect Hollywood movies these days, the movie starts off firing on all cylinders getting away from a bank robbery. Baby's backstory - an all too typical "daddy was abusive" bit - is sketched out in a bare minimum through the movie, and you discover each character through their actions. He's already a gifted driver, he's already looking to get out, and thinks he's near that goal. It's the complications of falling in love (please spare me from the line "I don't think I'm good enough for you...), being dragged back in against his will, and finally, dealing with a chaotic and murderous member of the team, that unravels everything.

It is, in the end, a movie about the consequences of evil and nihilism, and of taking responsibility for one's actions and choices.

Spoilers. I warned you.

No. I'm not kidding.


In the end, Baby finds his ....

Look. I don't really think this will ruin the movie if you're inclined to like it, but it is a spoiler, if a bit vague.

In the end, Baby finds his salvation in stopping running, facing the consequences of his actions. He, and Deborah, are the only ones who live - she the innocent and he, while not so much, being saved in large part by his actions to save others, so that they stick their necks out for him. 

Given my recent kick of listening to Jordan Peterson's lectures on how facing the good and evil in ourselves, and facing what we fear is the only way to find meaning, that is very appropriate.

Borders, Borderlines, and SJW's. A Quick Thought,

A thought I had listening to Jordan Peterson on immigration, of all topics. He mentioned that the left, and post-modernists, and many of the damaged people who comprise those groups don't believe in borders at all. Not just between countries and cultures but between people.


It's been observed that leftists, especially die hard feminists and SJW's, tend to act not only like rabbits (r/k theory), but more strongly than average exhibit traits associated with cluster-B disorders such as Borderline Personality disorder, narcissism, etc.

One trait of borderlines is, ironically, a lack of borders, more frequently, boundaries, between people. Dr Tara at refers to this as plugging emotional hoses into other people, especially their kids, which is how you end up with a bunch of people-pleasing codependents.

So borderlines and leftists share a reduced sense of boundaries. Part of this is also enshrined on the left in the concept that the personal is political - that there is no inner self not subject to scrutiny and judgement by those outside.

Suddenly, it isn't surprising that they rarely accept borders between cultures either. Even with splitting, the tendency to suddenly decide someone is all good/all bad - it's not a matter of borders between people than "exists" and would prefer doesn't exist. It's a lot harder to tolerate someone that you do not view as actually existing outside of yourself, doing its/his/her own thing, separate from you, not reflecting on you.

Also, an aside. If you want to see a thoroughly chilling movie go watch Gone Girl, it's not as farfetched as you'd think given examples I've seen posted of meltdowns, including a mother-in-law shooting her daughters ex and getting caught on tape (they didn't know the guy was recording) preparing a story about how it was self defense.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Introverts are not Always Quiet

The Didact discusses a bit on when and how introverts he knows get chatty.
And because our brains are wired so differently, we find the act of transmitting specific bodies of deep knowledge to be actually quite enjoyable.

What annoys us, beyond all capacity of extroverts to understand, is having to talk about meaningless fluff. To our minds there is no value in such nonsense, so we simply don't bother to do it. The most introverted of us can find the task of engaging in small talk to be almost physically painful. We do it because we have to, not because we want to.

But when we are asked to relay or interpret information upon which we place a high value, it can be difficult to get us to shut up- because now we are being asked to engage in what we consider to be a highly useful activity.

In my own case, because I maintain strong interests in a large number of different areas, and because I am blessed (and cursed) with an exceptionally good long-term memory, it is easy for me to put together cogent analyses that are as generic or as specific as I need them to be for a particular situation.

I have seen something similar at work with other deep introverts that I know.
Also, and this is more personal experience than objective but I've observed it in others, we can be called arrogant because we know what we know. That comes with a degree of... certitude in the delivery. Yet, if you observe long enough, you'll see one of two things when they run into someone who actually has knowledge the introvert does not, that catches their interest.

They'll shut up. And listen. Me, personally, once I begin to assemble a model of what I think is an understanding, I start asking questions to clarify. "Does this have anything to do with....", etc.

Both aspects - the "here's what I know" and the attempt to link new information into my understanding of the world tend to be called "showing off" - something I ignore these days because people telling me I'm only using my vocabulary or questions to show off what I know are saying more about themselves, their personalities, and their level of knowledge, than they are about me.

Incidentally, as to learning, it can be anything. A new book series (it's how I started reading the Sharpe's Rifles books), bricklaying, getting the right angle on a stair support cut, commercial airline pilot scheduling, procedures, and technology, better ways to light charcoal for a grill, damn near anything.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On Bullying and Puppies

Oh, the Humanity!

Wayyyyyy back in the dark and early days of January of this year....


Earlier than that.

This was not a post I expected to be making as recently as a year ago, and no, I'm not happy about it, but I hope that I'm right in it being necessary, and that some good or insight will come of it.

There were a couple sites I used to hang out at. One was "According to Hoyt", and another was the Mad Genius Club. For whatever reason, I'd started spending more and more time over at Peter Grants site proper, as well as Vox Populi, but had been a crossover member of both Sad, and when it popped up, Rabid puppies as of Opera Vitae Aeterna pissing off the SJW crowd.

One factor in my spending less time there was that where Larry didn't care for Vox, he wouldn't crap all over him either. Opinions may differ between them on some things, they may agree on others, but they were both shooting left and Larry left it at that. Sarah, and some of the MGC crowd though... not so much. It was still fairly civilized, but "persona non grata" about covers it.

There was also a degree of bad blood over the rabids - the feeling that if it were not for Vox Day, then maybe the Sad crowd would not be called sexist/racist/whatever. To a large degree Brad Torgerson, the cuddly teddy bear with the flamethrower, learned better, looking at some comments he's recently made to Jon Del Arroz, but SP-IV went to a whole new "reccomendation, we're taking all of your suggestions, no-we-are-not-a-slate" version, and promptly had almost no impact on the next round of hugo kerfluffles, or on getting people to read books they might otherwise not have considered.

The primary insight missing, given how many people were butthurt about repeating over and over "we are not vox day", was that anyone to the right of Stalin or Mao was going to get torn apart anyway, even if you showed them "see, I'm not really a racist because of this one thing you're pissed about today".

Unlike the MGC crowd, most of us more Alt-right/light leaning types who signed on with the rabids were completely unsurprised, for example, that a die-hard Bernie voter was called names and had his livelihood threatened for not bowing to the SJW cause du jour, because we believed an expression that also came up at MGC often enough - you didn't have to be conservative to be called a nazi right-winger.

The sads were never going to get more respect.

The other factor was the realization, after a few weeks of posting, that Sarah was posting again, and again, how posts were delayed, work was held up, etc. due to health issues.

First, I hope she gets better, and finds a good resolution for them.

Second, the consistency with which they showed up as an excuse was sending little flags into the air for me. Commit to a schedule one can meet, and have at it. Howard Tayler's been posting daily comics at Schlock Mercenary for ten years and more, in part because he works several weeks ahead to give him some breathing room.

So Sad Puppies IV was left with "people make suggestions" and Sarah taking over for round 5.

So, with a couple weeks to go before the hugos, and no list up, a man named Declan Finn did, in January of this year.

Now, in all fairness, one could read "Sad Puppies 5 suggestions" as either just that, or see how it could be mistaken for an official SP5 outlet. Also, since Declan had apparently contacted them, and decided that someone needed to get a ball rolling, it was taken as an insult and attempt to usurp things. File 770 having a huge laugh about it certainly didn't help tempers.

That said, I've never been around a group of men where simply stating "hey, that can be confusing, can you make it clear you're not heading up SP5?" would not have done the trick. And Declan did so.

The reaction to his posting though... Russell Newquist, Declan's publisher, referred to it as "mean girls" passive aggressive behavior, and he had it utterly right. The dead giveaway was the fact that neither MGC post on the 10th and 11th of January of this year bothered to name him or link to the page.

Oh, and they were "literally shaking". No, I'm not kidding. It's one reason I italicized "apparently" above.

Nope, they couldn't just say "Hey, we're running SP5 this year, and in case there's any confusion, we've asked Declan to clarify that on his page and point a link back to us."

Yet, of course, everyone, "coincidentally" knew who it was, as it wasn't that hard to use, among other tools, Google.

All in all, both posts, together, were a passive-aggressive attack. I hate passive-aggressiveness as it is a form of bullshit, and I absolutely loathe bullshit. How do I know it was an attack?

First of all, the lack of simply calling him out by name, or linking to it.

For those defending that bullshit as "trying to put it to rest" - right. Be honest, be forthright. Several of the people going "rah rah" were those who hated it when Mary Robinette Kowal did exactly that over the chainmail bikini bit and the "twelve rabid weasels of SF" who, budge, nudge, wink, wink, may include Jerry Pournelle, etc. and wouldn't it be grand if they'd all just up and leave already?

Put another way, don't defend a Scalzi post, replete with "I won't name the offender but he's done bad, bad things."

This behavior provides a fig leaf of deniability, or behavior that can be called virtuous if you squint at it right. It's what, with my kids, I referred to as the "but I was only just" excuse. It tries to obscure the fact that the person talking to you knew damn well what choices they made, had a fair idea of the consequences at the time they made the excuse, and are trying to handwave away stuff.

Let me give a personally observed case of passive-aggressive behavior. I was out with friends, and a woman who was also there who's daughter has had some issues in the past started getting texts about "what time are you coming home so I can leave" from said girl who was doing some babysitting duties. She was livid. She could have shrugged it off, or anything. She asked if she should do anything, and stated that she actually felt like stretching things out just to make a point. I pointed out that if it was me, the event was over when it was over, and I would neither go home any earlier for a petulant child, nor deliberately stretch things out to return any later. Was she out to have a good evening or "get back" at her daughter. Then I disengaged myself from the drama.

If you haven't guessed which path she took, no she didn't leave early, and no, she didn't finish the night out having fun and head back as planned. Instead, as she was leaving, she was making plans to check out a different venue, maybe pick up groceries, because all those things that hadn't needed doing before were suddenly necessary. Nothing to do at all with the texts from her child.

If you believe that, I have a few bridges to sell.

So, more recently, after SPV basically failed to do anything (health, etc., other reasons cited), Russell wrote an article on how it was a textbook example of a complete lack of leadership and vision.

Fun comments ensued. One Jared A. keeps tying things back to chauvanism, including the belief that men and women aren't the same, and that men are better at some things, and vice versa.

Uh, call me when a woman can make the cutoff to try out for the US Men's swim team.

As far as Russell declaring "for a woman that she is too sick to do something," if someone keeps posting how their health is bad, over and over, then, even if they did not believe so at the time, one might objectively step back and make the determination that perhaps they should have given someone else the job. It's not chauvinism, or mind-reading, or anything else, but simply asking the question "how did that work out?".

Was a recommendation site put up in a timely manner? Yes or no?

Did the effort meet the stated goals set out at the very beginning? Yes or no?

And yeah, she is passing the buck. And doing the mean-girl routine. I find that less than I expected of her after hanging out there for years.

For the comments by  J. C. Salomon - believe it or not, a lot of us were puppy crossovers and have been hanging out at VP and ATH/MGC for years. Many of us have been responsible for explaining the whole issue to gamergate and other types.

As to the stated history:
SP4: Okay, that didn’t go as planned. We were trying to participate, not take over; and besides, anything that looks too much like slate voting is going to be rejected—let’s try again and this time be even clearer than before that this is for recommendations and discussions. But really, the Hugos seem to be too broken to bother with.
 (Huh, that other fellow is still doing his shtick, with his own, more obviously different goals—and are they still conflating us with him?)
We were trying to participate, and ended up taking over because the voter pool wasn't anywhere near as large as the people protecting it liked to imagine - and even factoring for exaggeration, we overdid it.
SP5: Do we even need to bother? Well, not for the Hugos, but there are other awards, and good SF/F has a discoverability problem (AKA Sturgeon’s Law), so let’s set up a discussion-and-recommendation board. But there’s no real rush—
Which renders it different from a book review site how? It's no longer a campaign at this point as it has no strategic goal, though "SP" could be used as an ongoing brand for, say, ongoing book reviews. This certainly doesn't refute the validity of saying SP5 wasn't achieving any goal/had a purpose to exist as a campaign.
Why, thank you, Mr Finn, for your kind offer to take this off our hands, but you obviously are trying something very different from us: go ahead and run your own campaign like others have done—and with its own name, if you’d be so kind.
Remember my earlier mention of "but I was only just?"

Yeah. This. right here. This is, sadly, if not Scalzi grade snark, then minimization and passive-aggressive as hell.

If that was what was actually said, and just that, we wouldn't have had the entire blowup.
Come to think of it, this also covers 
Failure #2: Failure to understand other people’s schedules 
Failure #3: Failure to respect boundaries 
(This is not to say, “Stay in your lane,” but rather “Hands off my steering wheel; go drive your own car.”)
Part of "stay in your lane" is recognizing when someone is actually driving into your lane. I get that it was annoying as hell to have the 770 crowd having a field day with the apparent hijacking from someone who, insofar as I can tell, was trying to provide some input as it wasn't available elsewhere (that I was aware of even at the time), but a disclaimer was put up in short order, and it could have been left at that.

It wasn't.

Which leads, finally, to Russell's recent post on cliques and outgrouping.

It's an excellent breakdown of bullying behavior and mean-girl passive aggressiveness.

As an aside, despite several blatant pot-shots at homeschooling, and other conservative strawmen, and a few too-good-to-be-true PC-approved "outcast" types the movie "Mean Girls" is actually an excellent evisceration of a lot of leftist dogma and a particularly thorough example of how bullying can kill and destroy lives without a single act of physical violence.

Look for the deniable fake sweetness, the compliments that actually draw attention to flaws, etc.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Virtue From the Barrel of a Gun

I've almost certainly been guilty of overly, exhuberantly, promoting Eric S Raymond's "Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun." As a discussion of how daily carrying creates an awareness of consequences and ingrained awareness and caution/responsibility, it's core three tenets are broadly applicable, and available, to a lesser or greater degree, in any environment where awareness of life - or - death decisions are the norm.
The first and most important of these lessons is this: it all comes down to you
No one's finger is on the trigger but your own. All the talk-talk in your head, all the emotions in your heart, all the experiences of your past — these things may inform your choice, but they can't move your finger. All the socialization and rationalization and justification in the world, all the approval or disapproval of your neighbors — none of these things can pull the trigger either. They can change how you feel about the choice, but only you can actually make the choice. Only you. Only here. Only now. Fire, or not? 
A second is this: never count on being able to undo your choices
If you shoot someone through the heart, dead is dead. You can't take it back. There are no do-overs. Real choice is like that; you make it, you live with it — or die with it. 
A third lesson is this: the universe doesn't care about motives
If your gun has an accidental discharge while pointed an unsafe direction, the bullet will kill just as dead as if you had been aiming the shot. I didn't mean to may persuade others that you are less likely to repeat a behavior, but it won't bring a corpse back to life. 
These are hard lessons, but necessary ones. Stated, in print, they may seem trivial or obvious. But ethical maturity consists, in significant part, of knowing these things — not merely at the level of intellect but at the level of emotion, experience and reflex. And nothing teaches these things like repeated confrontation with life-or-death choices in grave knowledge of the consequences of failure.
So I was getting caught up on Jordan Peterson podcasts - having started with Maps of Meaning and some of the later ones I was going back to the beginning - and in the third podcast, the Necessity of Virtue, around 21 minutes, he dropped this little gem, while discussing whether people are inherently nice, or could be Nazi prison guards.
You have no idea what you're like before you know how terrible you can be, and not only that, you won't take yourself sufficiently serious... seriously.

If you know you're a loaded weapon, and an unstable loaded weapon, then you're much more likely to pay attention to what you do.
 I've said elsewhere on this blog you know you're approaching the truth when people are coming to the same or very similar conclusions from different perspectives, filters, and methodologies.

Give it a listen.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Music: Sabaton: The Last Stand: Hill 3234

One of the things I love about Sabaton is digging into history I was only marginally aware of, or completely ignorant of.

So, the next song in my ongoing review is one of the latter - about a battled in Afghanistan during the soviet occupation attempt.


From infogalactic:
The Battle for Hill 3234 was a successful defensive battle fought by the 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment, Soviet Airborne Troops, in Afghanistan against a force of 200 to 250 Mujahideen rebels. Two of the soldiers killed, Vyacheslav Alexandrovich Alexandrov and Andrey Alexandrovich Melnikov, were posthumously awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. All of the paratroopers in this battle were given the Order of the Red Banner and Order of the Red Star.[3]

 The Song

This one is one of the last to grow on me, and still not really my favorite. That said, it's hardly one I skip either. It shifts pace from the anthemic feel of the Last Stand to an almost mechanical headlong rush.  

Landed on the hilltop, soviet forces are in place
Awaiting orders!

They were only 39
They were told to hold the line
In control

Sent into battle, came from the sky
Trapped on a mountain, and into the fire

Hold your ground
When you're fighting those who fight
Death is waiting on the hill
No surrender, shoot to kill
You have to
Hold your ground
Kill the warrior in your sight
Death is waiting on the hill
No surrender, shoot to kill

January 7th, hold the hilltop at all costs
Follow orders!

Holding their ground
To the final round
One by one

Fight through the sundown, into the night
Enduring the darkness, awaiting the light

Hold your ground
When you're fighting those who fight
Death is waiting on the hill
No surrender, shoot to kill
You have to
Hold your ground
Kill the warrior in your sight
Death is waiting on the hill
No surrender, shoot to kill

Stand, hold your ground
Come around
Hostile land
Your last stand

Under fire, low on munitions
Make your bullets count
Push their warriors back down the mountain
Rule the battlefront

Sent into battle, came from the sky
Trapped on a mountain, and into the fire

Hold your ground
When you're fighting those who fight
Death is waiting on the hill
No surrender, shoot to kill
You have to
Hold your ground
Kill the warrior in your sight
Death is waiting on the hill
No surrender, shoot to kill

Of note is that a movie called The 9th Company was made about this battle, and is the source of the film used in the video here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Girl Friday

A bit of time on instagram for these...

A post shared by Sara Underwood (@saraunderwood) on

Brexit, Condescension, TED, and Rotherham.

I was thinking back and realized I hadn't written about this, but recently referring to a TED talk brought this to mind.

Not too long after Brexit passed, someone I knew was opining on a TED talk they'd seen. This is entirely hearsay on its contents as I haven't bothered to dig it up - the talk is not the point, what was understood from it was.

The upshot of it was that some urban Londoner was going on about how they were utterly shocked by the results of the vote, and decided to look at the stats. They quickly figured out that support for Brexit was greater in the countries than the cities. So, of course, the problem was that people from the cities, "educated" people, hadn't been talking to people from the country.

At this point, anyone familiar with the urban/rural divide is going "duh", but he, as I understand it second hand, wasn't going down that path.

Nope. You see, if people like him had a chance to talk to these rural folk, many of whom never really left the areas they lived in, they'd be able to demonstrate how wonderful and awesome the rest of the world was, and how much it could bring them.

Yeah, even second hand, the condescension was sweating off of that like an ice-filled pitcher on a muggy day.

So I asked if maybe he'd overlooked anything? Oh, but what did I mean? Well, polling shocked everyone, as a win for brexit wasn't expected, but the variance wasn't evenly distributed. One particular area that had a much larger spike of pro-brexit votes was an area around a town called Rotherham. Was he arguing that the people there weren't familiar with what bringing in the outside world brought with it?

I got an empty look. What?

Rotherham, where over 1400 girls were repeatedly raped over the last decade and the police allowed it to happen because htey were afraid of being called "racist."

All of a sudden I was an ignorant fool and the person giving the TED talk had all the stats and did I? And did I think I was smarter than a person delivering a TED talk?

I looked them in the eyes and said "I don't need all the stats, all I need to know is that his explanation is blown apart by a verifiable facts that don't fit his model to know it's bullshit. And generally, yes. Most are smarter than average but nowhere near as smart as they think they are, and don't unpack their assumptions."

Apparently I'm an arrogant asshole. Oh well. The rest of the dinner was quiet from that quarter.

On Responsibility

I follow, but haven't often referred to Styxenhammer's channel.

For the record, based on the information in the video, I concur.

I strongly believe that a rapist, or a mugger, is responsible for their decision to take advantage of someone they've decided to a prey on.

I also believe that someone walking down the street in the bad part of town, having parted from their friends, while stumbling drunk, and waving money around, is putting themselves in a position where they will, with almost total certainty, be mugged. They are indeed the victim, but they stupidly put themselves in a situation of being easy prey, and any sympathy I would feel would be tempered somewhat.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Slate Star Codex isn't a site I usually follow, but when people I do follow point to it, once can be sure that the discussion is interesting.

No, he's not of the right, but his posts - often long - display a degree of intellectual integrity I'm finding rarer and rarer on the left, as even some of the previously rational members of the "liberal" types in my family go off to wach a different movie and yell at people who say otherwise.

The recent one is on "murderism," and starts off with a series of uncomfortable questions on what, exactly, is racism.
As usual, the answer is that “racism” is a confusing word that serves as a mishmash of unlike concepts. Here are some of the definitions people use for racism:

1. Definition By Motives: An irrational feeling of hatred toward some race that causes someone to want to hurt or discriminate against them.

2. Definition By Belief: A belief that some race has negative qualities or is inferior, especially if this is innate/genetic.

3. Definition By Consequences: Anything whose consequence is harm to minorities or promotion of white supremacy, regardless of whether or not this is intentional.
In the essay, he brings up a lot of things that are often called racism, and are not, even mentioning that so called racist southerners waving confederate flags strongly back Nikki Haley and Ben Carson (he forgot Tim Scott).

He also brings up an interesting point, the one I actually explore further, that the left and the right are speaking different languages, often while they use the same words. The old gag about the different ways various services "secure a building" comes to mind.

I think the results of Haidt's experiments, that he brings up and is hardly ignoring, are nonetheless more important than he is giving credit to. I also think it's worthwhile to understand that there is a driving force behind the changes of so many of the changes in meaning between the sides.

First, my own digression. While I quiblle with the exact nature of the various axes Haidt presents, and not being a binary thinker, understand it's more of a continum with two axes being weighted much more heavily (rather than exclusively) by liberals, I do find it interesting that "definition by consequences" so often used to prove that racism/sexism/whatever exists maps to the strong bias towards the fairness axis

And it's nonsense.

Individual choices matter. Hand identical sets of lego bricks to a room full of kids of the same age and demograhic background and they will all do something different with them. Even two building houses or bridges will build them differently. One may knock something off and be done, another may tear things down and keep trying different variations on a structure.

Individual choices and interests matter, and even small changes at the source will result in wide variations in the results. The only way to get the same results out of that room of kids is to force them.

So it doesn't matter if it's genetics affecting IQ and personality traits, culture, or a blend of the two, if demographic groups tend to make certain decisions differently from other groups, tend to develop, or not, certain "skill stacks" as Scott Adams would say, or certain habits to set aside resources for future opportunities or troubles, or not, value learning and tinkering, or not, value the golden rule and reciprocal fair play, or not, then of course there will be a different distribution of poor, rich, criminal, and law abiding, other than the degree to which it is culture we can maybe demonstrate a different way of doing things.

And if those cultures look at that behavior as too "white" or whatever, and decide not to do it, are we going to force them at the point of a gun?

Back to the main topic. Why the difference in meaning?

Back to those legos, or actually, the lego movie. Sure, the individual creators could go and do amazing things, but for them to work together, they had to establish a common language, a common understanding, and a common plan. This was reflected, in part, by actually having to build something to match a blueprint, if for no other reason than to present a fascade that the guards they were trying to sneak past would understand as "one of their own." In the language that Jordan Peterson uses, it displayed both the need for chaos and order.

So we do not share a common language with the left anymore, to the extent that things that were simply accepted as virtues are now "microaggressions", and while it is easy to dismiss these as lone wackos, there is a qualitative difference there. A guy buying explosives, or coordinating with other supposed "lone wolf" jihadis is operating off of common cultural assumtions and touchstones, and often in touch, no matter how indirectly, with others he's coordinating with, obtaining explosives from, etc. A teacher suspending a student for the shape he chews a pop tart into has to go through a school bureaucracy that doesn't look at her and tell her she's nuts, with fellow faculty that doesn't warn her of the same. Kathy Griffin had to get an entire camera crew on board with her. Colleges publishing microagression guides need a large portion of the faculty and administration to find nothing eye-raising in the contents within.

The common strain, one Jordan Peterson points out, is postmodernism, and the related death cults of leftism. I've argued before that socialism, even if believed by well the intentioned, was inherently evil as an ideology of governance. The hundreds of millions of bodies in the name of controlling their own subjects (even when named citizens, what's that old line about calling a tail a leg?), of controlling acceptable thought, leads to a death of mind, body, and soul on an industrial scale.

Postmodernism doesn't care about language, or meaning. There is little or no objective truth (but the objective truth of power) and words don't just mean, Humpty Dumpty style, whatever they wish them to mean, but whatever they wish them to mean at that moment, and something else they wish at another.

Peterson points out they don't even want to discuss with us, or allow us to speak, but when there "is" a conversation, that is why it is so full of apparent contradiction and hypocrisy.

And that is the part that many conservatives fail to understand. Sure, they can predict the leftist SJW response, but many traditional conservatives don't have a visceral udnerstanding that to the SJW, they're not irrational, it is all about power, of them having power over you.

Your Entertainment is Your Responsibility

Over at Walker's Retreat:
A few years ago I sat on a panel about running tabletop RPGs. I got asked what I do I do to ensure that players at my table are entertained. I said "I am Crom. I don't care." This got everyone's attention. "I don't care because that's not my problem. Players are solely responsible for their entertainment. All I do is run the game."
Yeah. It's not the job of the GM to dance around as the cloun to arbitrarily "entertain" the subjective whims of the players.

Certainly, we all must give something to the game to get stuff back out of it, and the GM has a lot of power to determine the state of the "world" and how it reacts to the players, but ultimately, as a GM, I cannot ensure the player is entertained any more than I can force him to be happy when sad, or vice versa.

It also reminded me of one thing from one of the few TED talks worth a damn - Mike Rowe on dirty jobs - where he is talking about crab boats in stormy weather. He talks to the Captain, concerned about safety, and gets back the reply that the safety of the crew is ultimately their responsibility. Sure, he can train them, etc., but in the end they have to ensure their own safety, and his job was to get the boat home safely with a good catch, to make them a living.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kratman's Advice

Recently posted by the good Col on facebook. I've posted it in full so you don't have to go there.

(Copyright ©, 2017, Thomas P. Kratman)

Go cautiously and armed amidst the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and riots and remember, whitey, that although their lives matter, yours does not.

There are people with whom you cannot get along without surrendering your soul. Insofar as possible, bury them where the bodies will never be found.

In these days, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act; shout it from the rooftops. If it sends SJWs into apoplexy or cardiac arrest, or makes their heads explode, so much the better, since that will stop their continuous and inevitable lies, and nothing else will.

Avoid large conglomerations of people carrying banners and shouting slogans. Do not take to heart their exhortations and entreaties, for they are fucking lunatics.

Never apologize for anything.

Do not bother keeping a close eye on the stock market, the unemployment reports, NASDAQ, or crime figures. These are lies and frauds, start to finish. Keep careful watch, however, of your neighbors, marking down all those you believe you can trust when the fecal matter hits the rotary impeller.

Aim with care.

Do not fire warning shots, for this shortens the time between “fire” and “reload.” The dead cannot testify in court; the wounded may only be feigning death. Hence, double tap always and be careful to finish off the wounded.

Old age and treachery will always beat youth and ignorance. Never surrender without a fight. Do not go too easily on yourself, either, for the world is waiting in ambush.

You have nearly no natural rights. Anyone who tells you that you do is peddling vacuum. One right you do have is the right to try to use violence and hard work in your own behalf. Nothing guarantees you success.

If you have turned your back on God, don’t expect him not to turn His back on you. He’s loving, generous, patient, and kind, but modern man and woman has pretty much worn those qualities to a frazzle.

The shams, drudgeries, frauds, and stolen dreams have worn the world out as much as they have God’s patience. Civilization is collapsing. You can give up or you can fight. You will be happier if you fight.
I'm amazed there's not more crucifiction in there.

He's also the author of a number of excellent books including the Carerra series started with A Desert Called Peace.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I blame Jeffro

I just bought a game expansion I cannot play, and it's Jeffro's fault.

OK, to be entirely fair, Eric Raymond was my gateway drug for piquing my interest in Commands & Colors: Ancients, but it was Jeffro who made post after post showing gameplay of Talon, and more recently, Space Empires 4x.

Of course, both are out of print. So now I'm on the sign-up pre-order list for P500, so that when they get to 500 orders they'll publish and ship copies.

But no, that's sortof like Kickstarter, but better because they don't get your money until they cross the finish line. 

The real kicker was the gameplay examples from the expansion set, Close Encounters.

You see - what I didn't want to do was finally, finally receive a copy of SE4x and then turn around to buy the expansion, and discover I'm back in P500 limbo.

So yes, I paid perfectly good money for a game expansion for which the core game I've only looked at the rules and twiddled a bit on Vassal, and won't receive a physical copy for months, at best.

Having looked at the rules, and given how much I've loved other GMT games I've played, I'm sure it will turn out to be a wise decision.

In the meantime, joking aside, thank you Jeffro for showing me how awesome the game is, for your enthusiasm for not only the games you play, but the hobby as a whole. Finally, thank you for the wonderful job you've done at the Castalia House blog.

Update: In the latest email from GMT, we have the following tentative shipping schedule. Despite still being marked "Not there yet" at 397 and 276 pre-orders respectively on the site, Space Empires 4x and Talon are off to the printers, payments will be taken in early July, and shipping is tentatively set for July 15-25th of this year.

Monday, June 19, 2017

(Not Quite) Metal Monday

In addition to my love of prog-rock bands like Rush and ELP, back in the 80's I also loved the explosion of "solo" players like Yngwie, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, etc. Perhaps my favorite though was not a guitarris, but a bassist by teh name of Stuart Hamm.

His albums had a strong science fiction theme. The first was titled Radio Free Albemuth, and the - IMO far better - album that succeeded it and was my first introduction to him, Kings of Sleep, had song titles like "Count Zero" and "Black Ice" explicitly referencing William Gibson cyberpunk stories.

Strap in, and enjoy.

and finally, the title track, "Kings of Sleep"

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I Told You This Story So I Could Tell You The Next One

First of all, thanks to Brian Niemeier at Kairos for some useful follow up on this Castalia House article.

Jeffro, writing on misdirection and how that doesn't just apply to mysteries, brought up this:
If you ever notice something along the lines of a “Chekov’s Gun”, then you know the spell has not been successfully cast. In David Brin’s first book Sundiver, there is sort of a brain dump at some point. I get to it and I think, “why is he even talking about this stuff?!” And then I get to the end and I realize that he had to tell me that stuff so that I would understand what was happening at the ending.
I get that same feeling frequently when I watch movies. It’s like Bill Cosby’s classic set up for (I think) his Fat Albert story: “Now… I told you that one so I could tell you this one.” That got a laugh in his stand-up routine. If people notice you doing that when you’re telling a story, then you are failing to successfully misdirect your audience. You’re like a magician doing a trick and instead of wowing the twelve-year-old on the front row, you instead draw attention to the dime store gimmick that makes what you’re doing possible. 
It’s bad form.
For what it's worth, if you can sense a shift in the story, as if an entirely new story is being told for which this was the setup, maybe you have two stories.

That said, I've seen this pulled off, masterfully, once.

Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. Roughly halfway through the book I wondered why so much time was spent on Erasmas and life in the concent. Sure, it had some interesting discussions on philosophy, bud dammit, not much was moving along!

I actually thought of that Cosby joke.

By the time the book wrapped up, I realized that without the beginning, even if the initial revelations that triggered the events of teh second half were pushed back, the book would not made sense. The characters needed that room to grow, developments needed to work in sequence, and room needed to be made to slip one piece of background thought in at a time to understand the how and why of the end without huge infodumps. Or even bigger ones.

For a story that halfway through started feeling like two, it ended up starting no later than it possibly could have.

As to that Cosby joke:

Also, one commenter asked if Jeffro's take on Sherlock was referring to the Christmas special. While I cannot speak for Jeffro, my personal answer is no.

I mostly enjoyed the first season, somewhere around two it started to bore me. The final? I knew it would be a total train wreck from the first episode, even leaving aside the horrible posturing of the Christmas special and it's oh-so-obvious politically correct mystery.

For those who are gluttons for punishment, and want a red-letter-media level of detail in why it sucked (without the psychopath serial killer jokes):

Keep in mind that, from several comments, the reviewer actually approves of progressive "checkbox" grandstanding.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

They Have No Intention of Letting us Be or Allowing us a Living

...or even a conversation (several of Dr Jordan Petersons podcasts go into why the feral spawn of post-modernism - he's nicer about it - cannot allow an actual conversation).

So if anyone asks why I am not bothered by people asking for Kathy Gifford to be gone from CNN, or corporations withdrawing from backing liberal projects, one has to look no further than Ms Gifford's own pronouncements, or a certain actor known for playing the Hulk.

And under petty bureaucrats abusing kids and their authority - as well as "sending your kids to public school is tantamount to child abuse" :
The same was done to 17-year-old Grant Berardo. His was even more obvious - the large white Trump slogan printed across his chest was entirely wiped from the image before the yearbooks went to print.  
Dobrovich-Fago's younger sister submitted a quote by the president to be included beneath her profile [as class president] but it wasn't printed either. 
It was: 'I like thinking big, if you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.' 
Amazingly, the teacher was suspended. Usually when something like this happens or a student is suspended for chewing pop-tarts into the shape of a gun, it may be a "lone teacher," but they certainly aren't hiding their actions from fellow faculty that see little wrong with their behavior or choices.

They are establishing the rules of the game, and what they consider acceptable behavior to the "other.". Erase us, deny us, kick us out of society, and make sure we can't make a living, that they never have to see us.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Patience of a Saint

Dr Jordan Peterson at Harvard.

Yeah, the title of the vid is melodramatic, and if you've listened to his (highly recommended) podcast little of this is new. Pay attention to the questions being asked. Straw men and weasel words.

For an institution that supposedly concerns itself with "truth", rigor, logic, philosophy, etc. seem sadly lacking. The questions come across as an attempt to pin him down to badthink rather than an attempt to have him elabroate his position.

I expect no different of an institution who's chipper students gush about "all the activities" during campus tours, like going to anti-war protests, while standing in a hall commemmorating the Harvard civil war dead.

Minor Update

Anyone looking at recent tweets or Gab posts by me may notice my avatar/icon has changed.

Hope you guys like it, suggestions for improvement (or taking it and improving it yourself, spreading it far and wide) are welcome.

Still Not Tired - #2A College Professor Edition

I originally hear about this at Legal Insurrection who got it from Red Alert Politics. A college professor will resign in protest of the law going into effect allowing campus carry.
“Clear, open, critical discussion cannot take place in an environment of threat and fear,” Deborah Ballard-Reisch wrote in a letter to University President John Bardo. “Guns on campus will make it that much more difficult for them to feel safe,” she wrote.
“As someone who has experienced gun violence personally, I do not feel safe with guns in the classroom.” Ballard-Reisch was robbed at gunpoint in 2014. 
In 2013, Kansas passed a law permitting people to bring guns into public buildings, with a four-year extension for universities and community colleges to comply. The law on campuses takes effect on July 1. Two years later, Kansas eliminated a requirement for gun owners to obtain a permit by paying a licensing fee and completing an eight-hour training course. 
“I’ve heard several legislators say this isn’t a big deal, that nobody cared and nobody was going to quit over this,” Ballard-Reisch, a tenured communications professor who taught at WSU for a decade, said. “And I thought, ‘No, I really am.’” 
Ballard-Reisch added, “They may not care, but I think other people in this state who hold beliefs similar to mine will take some solace from the reality that somebody stood up and said, ‘No, I’m not working in this environment. …This is not OK.’”
Yup, I am woman, hear me roar! But, but, law abiding citizens with guns make me feel unsafe!

I wonder what kind of bully she is.

Interestingly, another prof also resigned:
“Kansas can have great universities, or it can have concealed carry in classrooms, but it cannot have both. In practical terms, concealed carry has proven to be a failure,” Dorman wrote. “Students need to be able to express themselves respectfully and freely, and they cannot do so about heated topics if they know that fellow students are armed and that an argument could easily be lethal. Guns in the classroom will have a chilling effect on free speech and hinder the university’s mission to facilitate dialogue across lines of division.” 
He added, “That stifling of dialogue will hurt all students, including the ones with guns in their pockets.”
I have some dropping crime rates to show the supposed academic. Even if one argues that crime was dropping anyway, one cannot argue that more guns has increased crime, or prevented it from dropping. "Failure" is a word that both applies to him and that he apparently doesn't understand. Also, given recent antifa shenanigans, I wonder if discussions would stay respectful if a pack of feral leftists knew the person they disagreed with was not armed? Certainly they could get lethal even without guns just due to numbers, wrenches, poles/clubs, and knives - which actually have been used by leftists in "arguments."

Also, "...if they know that fellow students are armed and that an argument could easily be lethal." This is a sentiment I've heard from teachers before - that they don't trust themselves or their fellow teachers to know right from wrong well enough to not shoot someone out of anger or loss of temper.

I strongly suspect that this lack of trust in their fellow man's moral compass is a bit of projection, and knowing all too well how they've poisoned the kids in their care. You can really, really piss them off by pointing out the following: They have college degrees, and 17-year-old kids are trusted to be able to handle military weapons safely and not shoot their buddies. Also, middle and high schoolers often have their hands on lethal implements in various shop classes, AND they and college dropouts/high school grads regularly, safely operate far more complex equipment than a firearm.

That they are effectively declaring themselves too morally and mentally handicapped to teach our kids.

Either way, good riddance.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Unleash The ILoH

In a facebook post noting how Vile770 was treating him and not letting him reply, Mike Glyer accuses Jon Del Arroz of lying. When asked point blank to put up or shut up with an example, he smarmily continues to throw innuendo. Then Larry Correia walks into the conversation.
So the lying character assassin thinks I'm mean and immature because I won't accept his bullshit.

Fuck you. Insults are all you deserve, cur.

Normally when I argue with people online there is some verbal sparring and attempts at humor. Not with Glyer. With him I'll speak plainly. He is scum.

His band of psychos is the reason my kids can't use their real names on the internet. He feeds their asinine jealously and spite through a passive aggressive and highly biased "reporting", all while he plays at being impartial and honest.

He's the lowest form of liar. He follows a pattern, pick a target, "report", usually in the most biased, shitty, sleazy way possible. Knowingly painting people as things they aren't, then riling up the mob to destroy their reputation.

Like in Jon's case, if the author unwittingly tries to set the record straight, Glyer will act all impartial and nice, all honey and sweetness, but he's a viper. And as soon as it helps his shitty pathetic traffic, he starts the process over again.

I'm in author groups. He does this to everyone naive enough to buy into his act.

Even though he knows I think he is lower than whale shit, he routinely links to my blog simply because he knows it will rile up his psychos.

Then when the psychos are attacking your rep and threatening your business, he acts all nice, like oh I'm just a guy with a fanzine that reports the news, as he tosses another bucket of blood in the water.

I just delete all his trackbacks. Honestly, his blog traffic is so pathetic that on any given day he doesn't even make the top 10 in my referrers list.

Glyer is doing his pathetic little dance here now because he can't stand someone having his number. He likes to play at being a journalist, but he's just a petty, sad, little man.

Now he is reduced to arguing like a little kid, trying to get the last word in, with feeble little jabs, because he simply can't handle being exposed for the snake that he is.

And once he gets done poisoning the well against Jon, he will move onto the next author who gets out of line.

Because Glyer isn't even a bully. He's something worse. He's a ring leader. He doesn't even have the balls to be a bully. He's a worm tongue, whispering lies, and stirring up bullies.

Mike Glyer is a piece of shit.
Haven't had the chance to read them yet, but Jon's a cool guy, and people who's judgement I trust have said his stuff is worth reading. Check out Rescue Run, and the upcoming For Steam and Country  (awesome title BTW)

Why I Support Maher and Not Griffin

I had recently went into a few differences I'd seen between what Maher was raked over the coals for, and what Kathy Griffin was taken to task for.

I didn't clarify why I'm actually OK with campaigning against Kathy Griffin, or similar outrage against Aslan at CNN.

It comes down to this saying:
When I am weak I am for free speech because that is your principle. When I am strong I am against free speech because it is my principle.
I had discussed the golden rule of late, and the deeper I dig in, the deeper it applies. Maher has consistently been an obnoxious man who pisses people off and occasionally says something insightful or funny. While I haven't regularly watched his show in a while, I don't recall him holding a guest to a standard he hasn't applied to himself. Ms Griffin on the other hand had repeatedly declared what her standard of behavior was, notably with her vitriol directed at Sarah Palin after the Arizon shooting of Giffords, for using "target icons". For her, it's perfectly OK to rail against and smear people she's politically opposed to.

The "right" - especially traditional conservatives, have for a long time treated the left as they claim they themselves wish to be treated, in the simpler version of the golden rule that is treated as "don't be mean beacause you don't want people to do things that hurt you."

As I've pointed out, opening that way corresponds to the opening move of the iterated prisoners dilemma - play "nice" and see if the guy takes advantage of you or not.

The problem is that in the minds of bullies, bowing to their wishes is seen as weakness, as permission to go further. In their minds, you are accepting their dominance over them. And no matter how much you dress it up as taking the moral high road, unless you counter them, you are. So when they screw you over, and over, and over, and you continue to play "nice" - you are declaring to them that you accept that behavior. You are declaring this to the bullies, and by example, to the observers, that you are willing to be a victim. They won't change until something makes taking advantage of you impractical.

So yes, fighting back, using their tactics and standards against them - Alinsky style - is perfectly OK because they have openly declared by their own behavior that they consider it acceptable to treat others that way if they can get away with it. When they scream bloody murder at the right finally punching back, they acknowledge they know they are doing wrong, and are taking advantage of their enemies and the right because they can, because we have let them.

It's time to teach them the consequences of treating people that way.

Metal Monday - Sabaton

Dug up a couple AMV's of Sabaton songs. Mostly Star Wars themed here, though one is the excellent fan-animated short, and hey, the rest are "stuff blowing up" even if it is from Rogue One, etc.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Girl Friday

Enjoy the weekend, guys.

And finally, from Instagram:

Gotta Love SJW's Who Forget How To Use A Browser

During gamergate, we got to some serious idiocy under "don't you know how a browser works?" Among others, we got to see people posting screenshots of "hate messages" sent to them - with the submit button waiting for the message to post still present, unsent.

So enter Kurt. Browsers have tabs. If you're going to screenshot something, yo umay want to make sure that you don't include other tabs, windows, your desktop, etc.
The latest piece of political theatre to grace the tubes has been the amusing non-event of Kurt Eichenwald, editor at Vanity Fair, writer for Newsweek, and virulent anti-Trumper, accidentally tweeting out a picture which revealed his interest in MILF themed hentai comics. 
He was arguing with Tucker Carlson at the time, worrying at the Fox News correspondent over the eternal threat of Antisemitism, unaware that he’d failed to close the tab in his browser which was opened on to the Bi-Chiku hentai.  Rather than admit his faux pas, he doubled down; claiming that he and his kids were trying to prove the existence of tentacle porn to his wife.
Aurini uses this to springboard into exactly how weaksauce the meme that started this whole kerfluffle was, and some R/K theory.

More on this at the Ralph Retort as well. Lots more. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Free Speeches

A couple days back I posted a couple videos, one by Razorfist, the other by the inimitable Stefan, on two different cases of free speech.

One bothers me a lot more than the other. I'll go ahead and let on that the Kathy Griffin one bothers me more, and I'm sure any liberal types who come across here will immediately assume it's because I'm a racist.

Sasse set him up with the comment about working the fields, which, have you seen Nebraska? While my digging is limited, none of the clips I'd found yet give me context but I'm presuming that it wasn't in the context of slavery. Bill Maher then turns him down with the comment "I'm a house nigger."

OK. "Republicans are racist" so make a joke about working fields and turn it around? Either way I'm sure it was something similarly vapid and predictable that went through his head, and the "lawn gnome" certainly made a career of saying controversial stuff and offending people.

That said, it was intended and delivered as a joke, no matter how tasteless. It was even delivered in a self-deprecating manner. Now, I accept the argument that certain words and phrases can be insulting or acceptable depending on who is speaking, how they are speaking, and to whom it's being directed - the in-group can say things to each other that, from an outsider, would be tacky or outright insulting from others. That said, the counterpoint, if the word is that inherently offensive, why is it used so frequently within the black community, also has weight.

Of course, the useless crowd of the perpetually offended are up in arms. Apparently, this is a step way too far over the line of acceptable comedy.

And people have every right to be offended.

The problem?

Many of the people that are up in arms over Bill are - being leftists and hypocrites, but I repeat myself - defending Kathy Gifford's video and pictures as "comedy"

You know, holding the (simulated) bloody head of the US president up with a stone-cold stare. While several comedians have made careers in part on joking about racism, etc., ISIS-style beheadings are rarely the subject of mainstream humor. Something that she and many of her supporters would consider a death threat if posted about them, and that Kathy especially considers far beyond the pale directed at her or third parties given her comments about "target" icons on maps by republicans.

There's a huge difference between a deadpan delivery (think Steven Wright) or the over-the-top satire of "The Real Housewives of ISIS" and that dead, stone cold stare.

So yeah, libs would be screaming if a mainstream "conservative" had the balls to do it about a Dem politician - and I'm not sure I'd voice support for it either even if I didn't think the politician was worth the respect due the office. And of course they're hypocrites.

What stuns me even more though is how much the left is still in a bubble. Listen to an opening monologue by Colbert if you can stomach it, or any of the other night talk show hosts. As Stefan points out - how is it that out of everyone around her nobody said "hey, this might not be cool." This is also why I don't accept arguments of "lone wolf" teachers abusing their students by suspending them over pointing fingers like a gun. Everyone around that teacher and their chain of authority had to be of like mind.