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Reverse Gear

June 29th, 2016

The Pun Mine is Deep Indeed

I watched a little bit of Top Gear with breakfast today. What a horror.

Chris Evans showed up, wearing the same seemingly smelly outfit he has worn on every episode, topped off with a plaid hunter’s cap that would make Elmer Fudd turn up his nose. He screamed his way through a review of a British lightweight roadster, and after two or three minutes, I had to fast forward. Up side: if he threw up, I didn’t have to see it.

Matt LeBlanc followed up, reviewing a gorgeous blue Rolls-Royce convertible. What a contrast. He was relaxed, as though buzzed on warm bitter. He was witty. His comic delivery was magnificent.

It made me realize there are two things wrong with Top Gear. First, they hired Matt LeBlanc. Second, the talent is the talent.

Hiring Matt LeBlanc was a bad idea, because he’s so good, he throws the badness of the rest of the crew into very sharp relief. They stink on ice. They are unredeemable. But for the presence of LeBlanc, their lack of ability might cause me less suffering.

The young guys are a big danger to the show, because neither one does a good job, yet they look better than Evans, so the suits are pretty likely to bump Evans off and promote one or both of them. It would be a classic tone-deaf corporate move.

Chris Harris, the angry-looking bald guy, has almost no personality. He hollers a fair amount, although less than Chris Evans, but he never says anything funny or interesting. Top Gear is a comedy show; an unfunny host can’t be made to function within that frame. He needs to go.

Rory Reid, the nonthreatening black guy, has the soft, reassuring presence of a chubby maiden aunt with whiskers. He is just as not funny as Harris, and his personality has no edges. Watching him is like being a girl in a movie theater sitting next to a guy who will always, always be in the friend zone. It’s like a sympathy date.

As for the show’s second problem, I guess I need to clarify. When I say, “The talent is the talent,” I mean all the talent that matters is on screen. The writers and producers didn’t make the show work. Clarkson, Hammond, and May did. That’s why they succeed on other shows, even when they’re apart.

Many shows are not like that. Take Breaking Bad, for example. When the show ended, people scrambled to hire Bryan Cranston, thinking he would pack theaters the same way he packed living rooms. It didn’t happen. Why? Because he wasn’t the engine pulling the train. Vince Gilligan (the creator) and the writers did that. Vince Gilligan could create a great show using crash test dummies. It really doesn’t matter who the actors are. They’re just sock puppets.

Joss Whedon is like Vince Gilligan. He created some shows that were very good, and when you watch them, you think the actors are fantastic. They’re not. Joss Whedon and his writers are fantastic. Usually (ahem Ultron). Firefly is my favorite show of all time, but I don’t flip channels looking for Jewel Staite and Nathan Fillion, because they didn’t create the magic.

The Beeb needs to fire everyone except LeBlanc and Eddie Jordan and start over. But they won’t. They’ll fire Evans eventually, probably after another awful year, and they’ll promote the boring kids, who will fail worse than he did. LeBlanc will disappear unless–maybe even if–they open the British treasury to him. Although with Britain’s welfare system, it’s probably full of old biscuit tins and IOU’s.

Like ours.

Except not biscuit tins. Maybe Cheetos bags and Air Jordan boxes.

Does this mean the Clarkson triumvirate won? I don’t think so. Not exactly.

The triplets moved on to Amazon Prime, which nobody watches. Okay, yes, they’ll get paid a lot, and they’ll have a huge budget, but what difference does it make if no one sees it?

Jeff Bezos thinks he can make people watch Amazon the way they watch cable. He’s probably right. In 2025. He’s like Elon Musk; he has a great idea that doesn’t work yet. I think Clarkson, Hammond and Mays will sacrifice two years out of the primes of their careers in the name of electronic progress.

Will Bezos syndicate the show so people can actually see it? I think so, although he’s nuts, so he might not. He may have the Apple psychosis. He may want to keep everything in the family, to the point where he makes his company a marginal player perpetually on life support. If he does syndicate, it will be at least spring of 2017 before we get our fix. By the time a sizeable demographic gets to see fresh shows with the troika again, the boys may be doing their mobility scooter episode all over, for totally different reasons.

The US version of the show has been canceled again (thank you, inept History Channel execs and Rutledge Wood), so at least we don’t have to worry about being plagued with that. I hope this time they pounded a stake into it and buried it under garlic. Last time, the execution didn’t take.

Fairly credible news stories now say LeBlanc (and everyone else in the organization) can’t bear Chris Evans, and that LeBlanc will leave if Evans stays. I guess there is hope, but there are a lot of ways for the Beeb to make things worse, and there aren’t many ways to make it right. When you rely on blind luck instead of competence, you are chance’s plaything, and the odds in this game are not good.

I still say they should hire Jason Statham and pay him anything he wants, plus all the rain and bad British food he can handle.

That’s today’s gripe. Now I must go and do something useful. Briefly.

2 Comments »

Pipe Dreams

June 26th, 2016

My Joint Ventures are Faring Poorly

Unbelievably, I had to re-re-redo the PVC pipes on my pool pump. I’m starting to think PVC is cursed.

I fixed it last month, and then I waited for the pump shed to dry out. I figured I could continue cleaning and improving once the water was gone. I went out there a couple of days ago to check on things, and the floor was still wet.

Worse, the accumulation of dirt and leaves covering the floor was still wet.

Here in South Florida, all pool guys are English-deaf. You can’t tell them anything. And if you do, it doesn’t matter, because they won’t do it, or they will be replaced in three weeks by new people who didn’t get el memo. I figured the persistent water problem was caused by the pool guy’s continuing failure to tighten the pump lid down, and by my continuing failure to check it whenever he left the property.

Yesterday I took a closer look, and water was dripping from my new pipe system. Incredible.

The crud on the floor was there because all landscape guys in this area are English-deaf. They are also unable to use rakes. They use leaf blowers for everything. You can’t tell them not to use leaf blowers, and the blowers blow dirt and leaves into every opening available. Over the years, it adds up.

I got a shovel, a hoe, and a shop-vac, and I removed a tremendous amount of dirt and plant matter. I actually saw the concrete floor; it’s not just a myth. It’s really there.

Before I got into this mess, I hated slip joints. A slip joint is a place where a pipe slides into a fitting. It has no threads. You have to cement it together, and after that, you can’t take it apart. I hated them because I thought they were a copout, and because they turn repairable systems into replaceable systems. If you have one bad fitting in a big conglomeration of parts that are cemented together, there is a good chance you’ll have to throw everything out and start over. I liked threaded joints, which can be taken apart.

I now think slip joints rock, and I hate threaded joints.

When I examined my pipes, I found that the cemented joints were fine, and at least two threaded joints were leaking, giving me a threaded-joint failure rate of about 67%.

I had to get out the sawzall (which I don’t capitalize because it’s not a Milwaukee) and cut the pipes off the pump.

I got on the web and looked around, trying to find out what I should do. Are threaded joints just plain bad? Were my joints too tight? Were they too loose? Should I have used tape instead of dope?

Here is what I found out: dope is better than tape (yay), and doped joints have to be tightened as hard as humanly possible.

My leaking joints were very tight, but they leaked anyway. I didn’t tighten them as much as I could have, because I was afraid the fittings would split. Now my feeling is, tighten away, and if the fittings split, get new fittings. Buy extra fittings before you build your joints just in case.

This time, I took the offending structure out of the pump shed and put it in my bench vise. I tightened the joints way, way, way down, and I reinstalled everything. I had to replace one threaded joint, so I used a 24″ pipe wrench to tighten it. I used a ton of dope. I was not going to tolerate a too-dry fit that prevented the male end from bottoming, and I was not going to put up with water leaks caused by gaps in the dope.

Is this the correct way to do it? I do not know. I know that the common sense way didn’t work, so now I’m using the brute-force moron approach, and so far, I have no leaks.

I used a huge amount of cement on the new slip joints. Cement melts PVC, so presumably, if you use a lot, you end up with lots of fused plastic to prevent leaks. That is my hope.

I guarantee you, there is no one within 30 miles who would have come here and done this job correctly in exchange for money. This county is the doofus capital of the universe. Even though I’ve done it wrong twice, I still feel like I’m way ahead of the game. I only spent like a hundred bucks, and I didn’t have to yell at anyone or threaten to sue.

It’s a shame I can’t fix roofs. Don’t even get me started on that nightmare.

Here is my advice: if you have to do PVC plumbing, only use threaded fittings when you have a compelling reason. Tighten the crap out of everything, use dope instead of tape, and use lots of cement on slip joints. Buy a sawzall, too. It will cut any PVC joint ever made in under ten seconds.

Make sure you tighten your threaded joints as early as possible in the process to get them into their final form. See to it that you leave slip joints for last, because they can be wiggled and adjusted before you add the glue, helping you to get things aligned. If you move a threaded joint, you risk creating a leak.

Now watch the pipes start leaking, proving everything I just wrote is wrong.

I hate swimming pools. Biggest con since time shares.

7 Comments »

Leave a Message at the Tone

June 25th, 2016

I am Too Busy Doing Nothing to Deal With You

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday. I’m middle-aged, and it’s still my favorite day of the week. On Saturdays, I REFUSE to do anything productive. The rest of the week, I merely FAIL.

It’s not the same.

Yesterday I blogged so I could put off working on bills and taxes. Today I’m blogging so I can put off reading Aeschylus. You have to be a sick, sad individual to procrastinate with regard to recreation. You can’t stoop much lower than that.

I have been trying to get my dad’s finances up to date. I have come to accept the fact that it’s not going to happen overnight. I could work at it for twelve hours a day and lose my mind. Instead I put in three or four hours and remain partially sane. If he has to pay a couple of late fees, he will live.

When your affairs get screwed up, you can’t turn them around instantly. It’s like turning an oil tanker. After you turn the wheel, you keep going in the same direction for a while. Some things will actually get worse while you’re improving the big picture. It’s better to accept it than to ruin your sleep and digestion.

The process of untangling the mess is improving me, personally.

Because I merely occurred instead of being raised responsibly, I have bad habits a well-reared six-year-old would not have, and I lack good habits. For one thing, I never know when to start things or when I’m done. I come from a family of disorganized people. They just do things when they have to. Very little planning. And the dumbest one probably has an IQ of 120. There is no excuse.

It came as a big shock to me that it was possible to break tasks into chunks and quit before I was finished. This is the kind of thing Jewish and Asian parents teach their kids in the womb, so they go on to blow the curves on tests and own really nice houses. My ancestors–at least the immediate ones–didn’t pass this information on, probably because they didn’t know it.

I wonder if one of the purposes of the Sabbath was to teach the Jews time management. Imagine what it was like to live before the Sabbath, in a world where every day was exactly like the one before. There were no weekends. There were no days off, unless you died. It must have been hard to organize time.

Once Saturday is cordoned off for God, you must inevitably start thinking in terms of a weekly cycle. You have to prepare for the Sabbath, which takes time. Some parts of the preparation will surely take more than one day. Tasks will have to be broken up. Meanwhile, your Dagon-worshiping neighbors will be wandering aimlessly in an unstructured existence, on a time line that stretches out before them like the unreachable horizon.

First thing you know, you have a desk calendar and a to-do list, and you own all the real estate for a mile in every direction. And your neighbors are sharecropping and waiting for a chance to behead you.

My guess, anyway.

Good habits are like slaves that work 24 hours a day, without being prompted. A good habit is like a passive investment. It works even when you’re resting.

I really need some of those.

I was diagnosed with ADD a long time ago, and they put me on powerful drugs that made me considerably crazier than I had been when I was untreated. ADD is real; no question about it. But I always felt that a good upbringing would have canceled most of the ill effects.

Oh, well. You have to think about what you have left and what you can still gather, not what you have wasted.

A lot of what the Holy Spirit does for people falls into the realm of habit. Spirits drive habits. Any Christian who has been a heroin addict could tell you that. God will take bad habits out, and he will put good habits in. Only if you give yourself to him. Otherwise, you limit his help.

I have finally figured out that you need to prioritize tasks. Then you need to create a list. After that, you need to go down the list and deal with tasks in order. And you need to break each task up into bits, so you don’t work on one thing for ten days straight while letting everything else slide.

You have to have finish lines. You can’t have a goal like, “Get condo fee mess straightened out.” You have to come up with something that has a definite end, like, “Call condo association and leave a message, threatening to sue.” When you do this, you know what you’re supposed to do, and you know when you’re finished for the day.

When I was a kid (and when I was in college the first time around), I did my long-term projects the nights before they were due. My parents knew I was in the living room at 5 a.m., time and time again, cobbling things together and getting B’s or worse, but somehow they didn’t see it as a huge problem they should fix. They were able to criticize, but they did not provide solutions, and neither did I.

Even as late as law school, I didn’t know how to structure time. I told my girlfriend, “You can work all semester and get a B+, or you can work hard for three days and get a B.” That was actually true, but it wasn’t a brilliant strategy. I graduated cum laude, and the people with good habits got summa. They’re generally unhappy people, but they handled responsibility well.

When I became a lawyer, all that changed, at least with respect to work. When you work on a case, the court sets deadlines, and your first big job is to pore over the rules and write a schedule for yourself. Once that’s done, you’re on rails. I almost never had a problem. I was the person who kept other people on track. Somehow this didn’t bleed over into my personal life. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because my personal life didn’t include a bar association and a judge, waiting to take my license and put me in jail.

The more I help my dad organize, the more organized I become. I like it.

My dad had a partner who could not organize anything. He was very, very smart. He was a wonderful resource when you needed help on a case. But he didn’t record his hours. He didn’t answer the phone or return calls. He was hard to locate. When the partners complained, he said his value as a resource justified his pay. Then they reminded him that if he didn’t record his hours, the clients could not be billed.

He was always a nervous wreck. He had high blood pressure. He always had some kind of unnecessary crisis going on. Once, he left his car in the airport’s short-term lot, and the cost of redeeming it got so high, he decided to abandon it. And they wouldn’t take it.

The managing partner, who was ambitious in a not-nice way, got rid of him eventually. No one could mount a convincing defense.

When you’re a kid, they don’t tell you this: peace comes from order. If your life is disorderly, you will never have peace. When I was a kid, they taught us that peace came from being a rebel, doing drugs, and following your heart, which is about as smart as following a goose. That stuff is the road to ulcers and strokes, not to mention poverty.

When you start to get organized, things clear up as though by magic. You find yourself noticing that old, familiar problems aren’t there any more. Maybe excess fat disappears. Maybe your digestion improves. Suddenly, you can walk across your living room without tripping. You’re not afraid when the phone rings, because you know your bills are paid. You decide to drive to the store, and you actually know where the keys are.

I am definitely procrastinating right now, but because my life is more organized than it used to be, I don’t have to work as much, so procrastination is less damaging. Strange, how that works.

I guess now I need to work on organizing my free time. That sounds perverse, but it’s not. Even elective activities require a steady, consistent approach. You can’t even get good at playing Frisbee if you don’t practice. Here’s something weird: the time you determine to spend NOT doing anything is almost as sacred as the time you spend doing. It has to be nearly as important.

I wish I could go back in time to when I was a kid and track myself down and kick myself in the butt every day. “Hi. It’s me. Did you brush your teeth this morning? No?” KICK. “Have you prayed in tongues? No?” KICK. “Do you have a list of things to do? No?” KICK. The British say the boy is the father of the man. I kind of wish the man could be the father of the boy.

I can’t fix the years that are behind me, but some people who read this blog are younger than I am, so I know someone out there will, or at least can, benefit from my experience. The rest get to repeat it, as Santayana more or less said. Come over and join me on the Group W bench.

I better get Aeschylus out and put in 30 minutes. After Aeschylus, Thucydides will be like a day at the spa.

6 Comments »

Summer Reading Progress

June 24th, 2016

The Maze of the Minotaur was Child’s Play Compared to Aeschylus

I feel like climbing a big mountain and shouting from the top. I am so happy about my homemade shower spray. My bathroom practically cleans itself. Now if I could just do something about the 9,000 hairs my body ejects onto the floor each day. Where do they come from? How is it that I still have hair left?

I literally see hairs on the floor as I’m putting the vacuum cleaner away.

It must be pretty obvious that I’m blogging in order to procrastinate, although I really am happy about the shower. The tub and shower take up 80% of bathroom cleaning time. The toilet takes five minutes, and four of those minutes are just waiting for the chemicals to work. The floor takes three minutes. The sink is quick. If you can defeat the tub and shower, the rest is cake.

It’s good that I published the above information for all the world. Blogs are so important.

In other news, The Oresteia is killing me.

I believe the book (the parts Aeschylus wrote) ends at somewhere around the 170-page mark. I am at about 120, I think. I can get through 20 pages per day without spontaneously dying. According to the Columbia College Lit. Hum. syllabus, college students get two days to read the whole mess.

It makes me wonder: was I right to refuse to do my assigned reading when I was in college? Is it reasonable to expect a human being to do this much work for one course (especially a course about something that isn’t important)?

I have done what writers are supposed to do. I have started my essay by starting conflict and provoking thought, so I can go on to resolve things. All good writers are basically trolls.

Actually, it is fair to make people read this in two days. First of all, no college student reads it the way I’m reading it. I read one page, and then I turn to Professor Logan’s incredibly badly written, turgid, pedantic commentary. Then I go back to Aeschylus. I look stuff up on the web. I check pronunciations, which I forget by the next day. I don’t have a lecturer to explain things to me, so I refer to poor old Logan. This adds time, but I’m also avoiding spending time in class.

Of course, I also avoided spending time in class when I was in college, by choosing not to go, so I leave it to you to add things up and decide what’s right.

If I were still in college, I would read the book in two sittings (assuming I read it at all), and then I would get drunk. I would not look anything up. I would only learn what the instructor wanted me to repeat on the exam. Things would go much faster.

Logan’s commentary is really disconcerting. It reinforces all my negative feelings about liberal arts courses and intellectuals.

The man apparently knows Aeschylus-era Greek really well. Points for that. And he knows a lot about Greek literature. That’s where my admiration ends.

His writing is so stuffy and pretentious, I have a hard time understanding it, even though it’s in English. And I’m not stupid. I got a perfect score on the verbal portion of the GRE, which is probably more than Professor Logan can say.

Here’s something most people don’t understand about intellectuals: they are not particularly smart. The word “intellectual” doesn’t really mean “intelligent person,” although we have twisted it to mean that. It really means “member of a relatively small group of highly insecure academics and artists who read the same books and use the same jargon.” It describes accomplishment, interest, and affiliation, not aptitude.

Dick Cavett is an intellectual. Albert Einstein probably was not. You can have an IQ of 110 and be a perfectly sound intellectual. Universities are full of tenured people who are not smart.

Professor Logan is definitely an intellectual, because he winds his convoluted words tighter than the wire on a motor armature, and to understand one of his sentences, you have to unwind it slowly. That’s not good writing. It’s clever, but it’s not good. The purpose of explanatory prose is to make things easier to understand, not harder.

When you go to college, they beat you over the head with simplicity and concision. “Keep it brief. Use small words.” But they can’t seem to take that advice, themselves.

The commentary itself demonstrates one of my many quibbles with intellectuals. They think way too highly of what they do. It’s full of comments that are completely unnecessary. Logan skips over things that are utterly incomprehensible to a modern reader, and then he puts in fluff, like, “It is the hour also means ‘it is the crucial (or opportune) moment.’”

Okay, great. Thanks. I would never have figured that out.

If he took out the junk that adds nothing, shortened and straightened the knotted-up language, and made a better effort to explain things that actually need explaining, his book would be a whole lot better.

It does have one great virtue, however. It’s free. Or at least it’s included in my Scrib’d subscription.

As for the plays themselves…not good. I understand their historical importance, but you would have to be insane to read them for pleasure or attend a performance.

One of the things I don’t like about the plays is their thick coating of excessive emotion. To describe them accurately, we would need to coin new words for the territory beyond “melodramatic” and “maudlin.” The prose isn’t purple; it’s ultraviolet. I guess it’s not prose, since the plays are musicals. Anyway, you get the point. It’s like something a 21st-century stalker would write. Way over the top.

Here’s another problem: there is no action. Agamemnon comes home. He takes a bath. Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus stab him to death. Orestes comes home (apparently years later, with no indication that there was a gap), and he yaps for a while and then kills Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra. No car chases. No sub-plots. No Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. No Touchstone. Just whining and stabbing.

Couple these issues with the fact that all the female roles are played by men, and you have a recipe for a bad evening.

I did learn a few things; had I not, I would feel pretty bummed about what I am putting myself through.

Christians have a concept called “generational curses.” The idea is that demons and fallen angels keep track of families, and they find ways to stick to us and cause us to repeat negative behaviors. This is what the trilogy is all about. Agamemnon’s ancestors committed disgusting murders. Agamemnon sacrifices his own daughter just so he can get a good wind to go on a completely unnecessary raid. Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus kill Agamemnon and mutilate his body. Orestes kills Clytaemnestra (his mother) and Aegisthus, fully expecting supernatural consequences to fall on him and his seed.

Throughout the plays, the characters refer to spirits that drive violent revenge. Words translated “curse” or “fate” can actually refer to these spirits. At one point, the word “daimon” (our English “demon”) is translated “fate.”

The New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek word used for “demon” was “daimonion,” which is a form of “daimon.”

It’s all very interesting, because I know that evil spirits control people who aren’t led by the Holy Spirit. A Christian who is submitted to the Holy Spirit is “Spirit-led”; he is influenced greatly, but he isn’t a slave. A person who isn’t submitted to the Holy Spirit is enslaved by spirits that destroy his free will. He can’t change much, even if he wants to.

When I was in school, they taught me that “tragedy” doesn’t mean “misfortune” or “sad story.” They taught me that it described a tale of self-destruction. A tragic character knows, or should know, that his own behavior is ruining him, but he persists. He can’t stop. The story of the House of Atreus (The Oresteia) is a tragedy, and the characters know their plight is spirit-driven.

Life still works this way. We don’t like to admit it. Nonbelievers scoff at the idea that spirits exist, and Christians think they’re too good to be infested. But if you don’t get clear of the beings that control you, you will never really serve God or walk in victory.

In the law, there is a concept called “adverse possession.” The brief version is this: if someone who hates you camps out on your property for seven years, they own it. You have a responsibility to oust them. If you don’t do it, the next time you show up, they can have you arrested for trespassing.

That’s what life is like for most of us. We are inhabited by spirits, and we don’t throw them out. We love them and serve them. We love the things they give us: lust, greed, violence, pride…whatever. We decide our demonic drives are good, so we let the demons stay. Then we lose the ability to get rid of them, and they can do whatever they want inside of us. This includes things like disease and mental illness. We want the things we think are good, but we don’t realize there is a price.

The ancient Greeks were ignorant. They didn’t know God. They worshiped demons and fallen angels. But they knew spirits were real. They had a basic understanding of how spirits shape lives. The fact that they would equate “fate” and “demon” says it all. If you have demons, they determine your fate.

Pretty wild.

I can just imagine what would have happened had I raised my hand in Lit. Hum. class and brought this up. The same academic who loved teaching about Manichaeans and Zorastrians probably would have turned purple and exploded. I may be wrong; maybe he would have found the beliefs of modern charismatic Christians interesting, from an academic standpoint. But I very much doubt it.

The characters in Greek literature are shallow, violent jerks of limited intelligence. Academics don’t seem to have problems with that, just as most don’t seem to have a problem with murderous, cruel Islam. They do get upset with Jesus, though. When they’re not claiming he was a gay vegetarian socialist who loved gun control.

I think Thucydides is next on the list, and after Aeschylus, I can’t wait. Anything is better than what I’m dealing with now.

You can’t understand Aeschylus. You can’t really understand the Greek, even if you become fluent. You can’t understand pre-technological people. You can’t understand the people who lived during the same decades as Aeschylus, because one century is not like another, even in the ancient world. You can’t understand topical references. You can’t reconstruct the music.

It must be frustrating to be a classics scholar and realize you will never get any closer to your subject than you were the day you got your Bachelor of Arts. It must be a bummer to be in a field that is impervious to progress.

Reading Logan’s book is like reading the Talmud. The Jews who wrote the Talmud didn’t know God personally, so they guessed a lot, and they contradicted each other. The scholars who study Aeschylus can never have a deep understanding of his work, so they do what the Jewish scholars did. In the end, there is no substitute for intimate firsthand knowledge.

Interesting.

At least I’ll be able to say I read this stuff. That counts for something.

8 Comments »

Landmines

June 23rd, 2016

Humans Bury Them; Satan Cremates Them

First, some housekeeping. Or at least some trivia to warm up.

Do you have a Windows 10 computer? Do you have an SSD (solid state hard drive)? Is your system still taking a long time to boot up? If so, kill Cortana. You may have killed this wretched, intrusive, domineering fishwife before, but she has a tendency to come back to life, like a tumor driven into remission.

You will want a program called Unlocker. Go get it. Install it. Then navigate to Cortana’s filthy hidden burrow, position her carefully, and give her a curb stomp. I’ll paste directions I found elsewhere:

Navigate to the following folder: “C:/Windows/SystemApps/Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy”
Right click “SearchUI.exe” and select “Unlocker”
Under the action menu, select “Rename”
Give it a new name such as “Disabled.SearchUI.exe”
Click OK.

Recently, I’ve been tormenting myself with the Oresteia of Aeschylus. I recommend renaming Cortana “Clytaemnestra.exe.”

Cortana will come back one day, and when she does, just stomp her again.

I guess I’m out of touch, but I do not want a computerized nanny. I don’t want to be able to talk to my PC, because that means it listens to me. I don’t want to be able to communicate with hand signals, because that means it watches me. I don’t want it to hear my questions and give me totally inappropriate and useless answers. I have Google and ten fingers (the table saw has been treating me well).

I don’t want my computer to take forty minutes to boot so it can bring me the latest sports scores every time I turn it on. I hate professional sports. I don’t want to see headlines. I don’t want to see great new stuff that just popped up on Amazon or Ebay. LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE AND SERVE ME. That’s what I want.

I think the nerds who run the world are involved in a race nobody wanted them to run in the first place. They’re trying to recreate Tony Stark’s Jarvis on everyone’s desk or in the pocket of their fashionable but not stylish Banana Republic hipster shirts.

I guess if you were accepted by Cal Tech at the age of five and you’ve never had a date, you may think having a computer take care of you is cool. Just like having our wonderful government take care of you is cool, because hey, no government has ever gone overboard and done things like genocide or thought control.

The fact that you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should; just because you can write a presumptuous, paternalistic program doesn’t mean you should. I’m a big boy; I can pull up my own pants and wipe my own nose. I don’t need a computer to do absolutely everything for me.

I have a bloatware Siri copy on my Android phone. I never use it. I need to root the phone and get rid of it, along with Google- (did I mistype that?) and Google Hangouts.

I rejected Google+, so now I can’t get comment feedback on Youtube. Probably for the best, considering my tendency to get on people’s nerves.

Some of our modern electronic minder programs are useful, for certain people. I got my dad an Android phone because I needed to be able to find him at any time, using his GPS signal. That’s nice. The phone has a program that will help emergency responders if something happens to him. Wonderful. But as far as I know, I’m not suffering from dementia yet, so I would like to dodder along unassisted until the shapes on the wallpaper start talking to me.

Naturally, my dad’s phone only works with Android Device Manager about a third of the time, and every time he puts it in the holster, the flashlight comes on and kills the battery. But I give the nerds credit for trying. I’m sure it will be 100% successful at gathering information that could potentially be used against him.

I still can’t believe Google tracks our movements by default. If you haven’t checked out your giant Google GPS map yet, you really need to. I looked at mine. It showed trips I had made years before. I’m sure Obama would never use that to put me in prison or anything.

What else was I going to write about? Oh, yeah.

Yesterday I continued working my way through a book called Death Dealer. The author (or at least the person who wrote most of it) is Rudolf Hoess (not Rudolf Hess), a man who served as Kommandant of Auschwitz. He describes himself as the greatest mass murderer in history.

I find reading about the Holocaust instructive, because God uses it to show me Satan’s patterns of behavior. Hoess’s book has shown me a lot. For one thing, it has shown me the great similarities between Nazi genocide and the child-sacrifice (better known as “abortion”) movement.

I’ve always compared abortion to peeing in the pool. If you stand on the side of the pool and pee into it from above, people are outraged. If you jump in, you can pee all you want, and no one cares, even if they know it’s happening.

Everyone who uses a public pool knows it’s full of pee. People jump in at noon and get out at two, and they never go to the toilet. People don’t mind, because we are used to shutting down disturbing thoughts about things we can’t, or don’t want, to change.

Abortion works the same way. If unwanted babies had to be torn apart publicly, we would be lynching abortionists, the way we used to. No question about it. Satan got around this issue by arranging for executions inside the uterus, inside medical exam rooms, where the carnage goes unseen. We rip babies’ bellies open and twist their limbs off without even the courtesy of an anaesthetic, and we tell the mothers they’re losing “clumps of cells.” They decide to believe it, and instead of going home with immediate, crushing guilt, they go home with hidden guilt that grows inside them and reemerges later.

The Germans and Austrians (and many other anti-Semites around the world) treated genocide the way we treat abortion.

The Nazis committed a lot of murders publicly, but they eventually adopted a practice of hiding the killing. They started out with rifles, but they later opted for cyanide gas. Why?

In his book, Hoess reveals that violent, open killings were very hard on the SS!

Hoess says that when SS members were required to line people up and shoot them, they became depressed. They hated the Jews, but they were not completely blind. They had to get large groups of strangers to dig pits, strip naked, and stand beside the pits while they were shot and shoved inside. Among these groups, there were many children, women, and old people. For some reason, murdering the weak bothers people more than murdering the strong. Anyway, SS men became drunks, and a number committed suicide.

Zyklon B, a cyanide preparation originally created to kill bugs and rats, changed all that.

When the gas chambers were built, the whole process became relatively free of stress. The Jews were ushered into the stripping rooms and told they were going to be showered and then relocated. Other Jews, the Sonderkommandos, were forced to do most of the work of herding them, lying to them, carrying off their possessions, and burning the bodies.

It was very much like abortion.

Today, if you want to kill your unborn baby, you drive to the abattoir in the privacy of your own car. You go into a privately owned building (or a public hospital with security), where employees work to suppress your guilt and fear, just as the Sonderkommandos lied to the Jews. You and your family never see the baby you kill. Some of the employees see, because they have to count the parts and make sure every finger and toe has been removed from you, but you don’t have to deal with it.

You’re just like Adolf Eichmann, who issued extermination orders and then sat in his office and let people like Hoess carry the water.

Here’s a remarkable parallel: Hitler burned dead Jews, in a Satanic effort to violate Jewish law and remove not just the Jews, but all evidence of their existence, from the earth. We burn aborted babies.

After the war, we found out that almost no Germans or Austrians knew about the slaughter. Neither did the Poles who collaborated. Almost no one knew! But that’s not surprising, because there were no former Nazis. After the way\r, we learned that everyone who had been in Germany and Austria had hated Hitler and his ideas. I wonder where the Nazis went. Maybe they’re still there, hiding in basements.

Obviously, people knew, and most Germans and Austrians adored Hitler and supported him with all their hearts. They were thrilled to see the Jews go, and they helped Hitler get rid of them. They smelled the burning flesh and rotting meat. They saw the ashes. They saw the full train cars going one way and the empty cars coming back. They heard from witnesses who worked in the camps. But they didn’t have to see the killing, and they got all the stuff the dead Jews left behind, so they were okay with it.

Hoess’s book is remarkable. From the tone, you would think he was describing his stint as a Wal-Mart manager. Eichmann and his other superiors didn’t understand his problems. His underlings didn’t obey orders. Bad things happened, and he couldn’t stop them. He couldn’t get enough food or water. There weren’t enough guards. The pastries in the conference room were never fresh. It’s all very cold and matter-of-fact, and he’s talking about a place where babies were fried alive in the hot fat of burning Jews.

Kermit Gosnell could not be any less empathetic.

Hoess never repented of anti-Semitism. In his book, he complains about anti-Semitic propaganda that pandered to the lowest instincts of the Germans…because it undermined “scientific” anti-Semitism. He continued to call the Jews Germany’s greatest enemies. He firmly believed that if even a stump of the tree were left, it would grow back and annihilate the Germans and Austrians.

He remained faithful to National Socialism. He thought it was the answer to his people’s problems.

He sounded a lot like people who defend abortion. They talk about the unborn as though they were landmines that need to be dug up; as though they were plague-carrying lice. You don’t get emotional about landmines. You say, “There are lots of old landmines in this region of the map, and here is the most efficient way to get rid of them.”

Abortion-lovers say, “They will grow up to be unwanted (i.e. black). They will grow up to be criminals (i.e. black). They will grow up to be poor (i.e. black) and have to go on welfare. They will be unhappy. They will cost us a lot of money. The most efficient way to prevent them from causing problems is to ‘terminate’ them before they fully arrive.”

Abortion is all about getting rid of black people. Don’t fool yourself.

If you want to get people to participate in something horrible, first you hide the horror from them. You make it look clean and peaceful. Later, you convince them that it’s holy. You make them think anyone who opposes it is filthy and evil.

If the Nazis had won, we would now be arresting and killing anyone who tried to keep a Jew alive. Such people would be enemies of the state. They would be reviled. Similarly, we now treat abortion opponents, who are simply objecting to the murder of babies, the way baby-murderers used to be treated.

Evil is good, and good is evil. That’s how the depraved think; this kind of thinking defines depravity. It’s the reason God destroyed the world, and it’s the reason he’s going to destroy it again. Depravity is worse than mere sin, because it makes you incapable of being corrected. It’s the reason hell exists. Our loving God, who is always right, throws depraved people into it every day, because he can’t fix them, and they are a danger to the rest of us.

American Christians are strange. Many think abortion is wonderful. Many of those same people read about the ancient Jews sacrificing their children to Moloch, and they feel superior. We’ve murdered dozens of millions of babies in the name of convenience. The ancient Jews never began to approach that kind of body count. Who will be judged more harshly?

At least the Jews had the courage and honesty to deliver their babies and kill them openly.

The story of God versus Satan is the story of a race war. No one seems to understand it. Genocide is an integral part of it. God’s people are one race, and Satan’s people are the other.

Christians will be wiped out eventually, and very few Jews will be left on earth. The devil will win the earth, and then God will come and take it back. It’s like the Nazi notion of liebensraum (“room to live”), which was used to justify conquest and genocide. One big difference is that in the war between Christians and the lost, the victors will be the ones who die. Strange.

Christians who believe in organizing and taking over are crazy. It will never work. God’s kingdom is not of this world. He will not help you. Your enemies will have his permission to defeat you. If you want to own guns for self-defense, great, but you will never be able to conquer America for God with them. You will just give the lost ammunition for propaganda.

It’s good to know what you have permission to do and what is forbidden. It helps you avoid wasting time and working toward defeat.

Try to get in touch with the Holy Spirit and get his guidance. Without it, you will just have to learn from hard knocks, and some of those knocks are very, very hard.

3 Comments »

Apollo 13.2

June 21st, 2016

Mars Attacks…my Last Nerve

Yesterday I decided to watch The Martian to kill time while the birds were out. Now I am annoyed.

Spoilers ahead. Duck and cover.

This movie is about an astronaut (Matt Damon) who gets left behind on Mars. The rest of the crew thinks he’s dead, so they go back to earth. Then they find out he’s alive, so NASA goes nuts trying to bring him back. Because life on earth without Matt Damon is unthinkable. Without him, his duty to preach sanctimoniously to the public would fall on Leo DiCaprio, making it necessary for him to charter twice as many carbon-belching jets.

The rescue job is not easy, because Mars is not very close to the earth. At best, in the story, it takes over a year just to get him new couture underpants from Dolce & Gabbana, let alone bring him back.

I don’t care about the nerd issues. Some people, I’m sure, are flipping out because of minor technical errors and deceptions. They’re probably upset because the sand storm that drives the crew off Mars couldn’t possibly be as damaging as it is in the movie. Stuff like that. Hey, this isn’t science class. News flash: there is no such thing as warp drive, either, and during your lifetime, there never will be. Get over it.

The plot issues are what bug me.

First, the deus ex machina problem. More accurately, let’s cut off two letters and call it what it is: deus ex China.

Ancient Greek dramatists often ran out of bad ideas, just as dramatists do today, and one of their fixes was the god machine. They would rig up a contraption that lowered a totally new character onto the stage. This was the machina, or machine. The character was the deus, or god. The god would wave his magic wand, click his heels together three times, and make the gorgon disappear or afflict the Spartans with the pox. Or whatever.

These days we don’t see Greeks being lowered with pulleys all that much, except in German nightclubs, but we do see similarly unsatisfying copouts in movies and shows. It’s a crappy trick to play on an audience. You spend an hour or more developing a terrible problem for your protagonist, and the audience tries to guess how he will fix it, and then you slap them in the face with Proteus or Poseidon or Steve Jobs, swinging in on a rope.

I mean, obviously, it wouldn’t be Proteus today. It would be Bruce Willis or maybe Sylvester Stallone, whose machina would probably be a walker or mobility scooter. “Stop, or my Certified Nursing Assistant Will Shoot!”

I love obscure references.

Screenwriters should take the time to come up with clever solutions, instead of sandbagging people with unsatisfying cavalry charges from left field.

I also love mixing metaphors. And to joyfully split infinitives.

In The Martian, NASA tries to send a supply ship to Mars, and it blows up. Matt Damon is a dead man, right? And he can forget about that crate of Clinique moisturizer. Or maybe they’ll come up with some clever plan! But no, nothing like that happens. Instead, they cut to a mysterious office in China, where two Chinese people start talking about giving their secret Chinese rocket to NASA for another shot.

Come on. Where was this rocket six months earlier, when the whole world was clamoring over the potential earth-shattering loss of Matt Damon? Nowhere. The writer hadn’t thought of it yet.

Cheap.

Maybe it was still on the truck to Harbor Freight.

By the way, the rocket doesn’t have a fuse or a colorful wrapper with something like “Dancing Fire Dragon Cluster” printed on it, and it’s not launched from a bottle. Chinese technology has improved a lot.

I think it’s safe to assume the owner’s manual is incomprehensible. “For make mission Mars, to apply pressure dial A in direction of Mongolia.”

Here’s another thing: one of Damon’s main torments is the presence of disco music. The mission’s commander is a woman, and woman have hellish taste in music, so she only brings disco, ignoring the desires of the rest of the crew. When the crew leaves the planet, the only music Damon can find in the Mars shelter’s computers is garbage like “Ring my Bell” and “Push Push in the Bush.”

The cruelty is appalling.

Here’s the question: how does anyone get to Mars in the smartphone/micro SD card age without a ton of MP3’s? It can’t happen. Totally impossible. I think my phone has 80 gigs of storage. Not sure; whatever it is, it’s full of demotivational posters and pictures of Grumpy Cat. Anyway, there is no way NASA would let a crazy woman strand people in outer space with Leo Sayer, in an age when you can store 400 albums in a card smaller than a Chiclet. And if she did, he would kill himself after a week. He would boogie-oogie-oogie out of the airlock and do the hustle with his helmet off until he died.

Pretty lame, right?

When Damon sets up a communications link to earth, he is able to send email. If he can send email, he can receive music files, right? Apparently not. We can put a man on Mars, but we can’t send him The White Album.

Here’s another problem. NASA decides to send the crew transport ship back to Mars with stuff for Matt. He has to launch a rocket NASA left on Mars and rendezvous with the crew ship to get food. Being Matt Damon, he’s probably hoping for Evian and organic free-trade seaweed paleo yogurt.

Okay…if he can rendezvous with the ship and pick up food…WHY CAN’T HE GET ON THE SHIP AND LEAVE?

Final problem: Apollo 13. Hello? We’ve been here before. Unforeseen technical problems on a space mission, followed by frantic cooperation between astronauts and brilliant people on the ground, garnished with numerous astonishing McGyverisms that keep people alive. And Apollo 13 was a real mission, and the movie was better. So what’s the point of The Martian? It’s not even the first survival movie sited on Mars. Does anyone remember Robinson Crusoe on Mars? Maybe not. But it happened.

I haven’t seen the end of the movie yet. I assume Matt will live, although the person who wrote this thing may have the unfortunate idea that it would be original to let him die. Unhappy endings are not new to cinema, so I feel like he might as well live. If the movie ends with him sitting on a rock, watching the sun set on Mars, feeling peaceful about becoming a piece of frozen jerky, I will probably have another rant to throw.

They say there are no original plots. Maybe that’s true, but we can do better than this. The movie is entertaining; it shows what NASA disasters would be like in the lolcats era. But it’s not The Third Man. More like The Thirdteenth Reheating of the Corpse of Apollo 13.

I guess I’ll fire up the DVR and see if Matt Damon dies. I’m not optimistic. I own a lot of Chinese tools.

More

Well, now I’m even more upset. It looks like the plan was to bring Will Hunting back, not to drop off Chinese food. I totally misunderstood. But I still feel vindicated, because I remembered another plot hole.

To take off to get to the mother ship, Damon has to get to another rocket. His crew left on one rocket, and NASA had another one miles away, waiting for a new crew.

So…he’s sitting around for months, starving, scrounging for tools and food…and he knows he can get in his rover and go to the other rocket, where he can find useful goodies.

Why doesn’t he go? Why? Why?

I much prefer space entertainment that doesn’t even try to involve reality. Give me Captain Kirk with a flip phone and a phaser, engaging openly in intergalactic racism and genocide without a care in the world. Hipsters in space? You can have them.

10 Comments »

Flop Gear

June 20th, 2016

More Bomb Than Bombshell

I have something important to write about today. The new Top Gear is really bad.

I got in the habit of recording TV shows because it gave me something to do when I took the birds out of their cages. Sometimes they interact with me a lot, but Maynard really likes standing on my ankle and staring into space, so his out time is not always exciting. Top Gear became a favorite. I don’t care all that much about cars, but I love good comedy, especially when it’s politically conservative.

Jeremy Clarkson was the soul of the show. He turned it into the biggest TV franchise on the planet, and on his watch, they brought in James May and Richard Hammond, two of the funniest TV hosts in existence.

If the BBC suits had had their way (I am guessing without proof), the show probably would have been about hideous practical cars actual people could afford, and it would have been full of boring information about mileage and reliability. Instead, it’s about ridiculous supercars that cost seven figures, and they spend a lot of time crushing stuff and blowing things up.

Clarkson had a lot of problems. Sometimes he offended hippies in ways no one cares about, but he had a few incidents that appeared to reveal racist tendencies. For example, he and Richard Hammond looked at a wobbly bridge in the Burma, just as an Asian man walked onto it, and Clarkson said there was “a slope on it.”

I don’t know why Hammond didn’t get in trouble, since he was part of the joke.

Clarkson kept offending, and he was put on double-secret probation. Then he flipped out and punched a Top Gear employee. Something about not being able to get a steak.

The Beeb finally had to give principle more weight than greed, and Clarkson was “sacked,” as the British like to say. It conjures images of limp bodies of former employees being carried out of their workplaces in burlap bags.

I agree with their decision. You can’t let employees hit each other. It was cute when he punched Piers Morgan, but that was on his own time, and it was a public service for which he should have received a knighthood. Punching a subordinate is not acceptable.

Fans lost their minds, as though a frivolous TV show were essential to the survival of the universe. They cluttered the show’s cringing, defensive, groveling Facebook posts with comments reading, “Bring back Clarkson, Hammond, and May!”

Hammond and May joined in, refusing to work on the show without Clarkson. Maybe they’re loyal, or maybe they understand what a huge talent he is, and they want the money to keep pouring in. The merry trio departed the BBC and signed up for a show on Amazon Prime, which is apparently a network. If you’ve never heard of it, join the club. To me, “Amazon Prime” means a sucker deal where Amazon charges you a hundred bucks a year to bring your packages on time. Maybe people in England watch Amazon TV, but I have never felt like tuning in.

In the meantime, the BBC has made a lot of horrible errors.

1. They started 2016 with a whole bunch of reruns featuring the old cast, reminding people how great they were and that they would be impossible to replace. They’re still doing this, even though the new hosts are in place.

2. They hired Chris Evans, a squeaky-voiced Celt (perhaps I repeat myself) who collects supercars, to replace the boys. I don’t even know what to say about this. Evans is the opposite of funny. He is incapable of ad-libbing, he has no delivery, he is lacking even the rudiments of car-aficionado masculinity, and he throws up during fast laps. The man THROWS UP.

He seems like a nice guy, but he’s so boring I fast-forward through his segments. That’s how bad it is. He makes me feel sorry for him. I never felt bad for the others. Not even when they were driving through India in the summer and Hammond and May fixed Clarkson’s car so the heat couldn’t be turned off.

3. After they hired Chris Evans and made him look like a big deal, they faltered and hired Matt LeBlanc, the American comic actor and holder of the fastest Top Gear celebrity lap time. There are a number of problems with this.

First, LeBlanc is a riot. He is highly, highly talented. He knows cars. He has magnificent comic timing, and he is likeable. He even looks good and appears to produce testosterone. You can picture him with a wrench in his hand. He is everything Chris Evans is not. The contrast makes things awkward.

Second, they didn’t hire the hosts at the same time. When the BBC brought LeBlanc in, it looked like they realized how bad Chris Evans was and decided to undermine him, and this is probably exactly what happened. It makes Evans look threatened, which he clearly is. More awkwardness.

Third, they never came up with a third host. England is packed with funny performers, and they couldn’t find one. So now instead of a versatile three-man dynamic, they have two guys who look like they’re trying to cut each other’s throats. More accurately, it looks like Chris Evans has already had his throat cut, and they’re just waiting for him to admit it.

4. They hired two lesser hosts who don’t appear during the main show. I forget their names. They have zero stage presence. They are not funny. They are not entertaining in any way. They have no chemistry with the audience or each other. And their presence makes it look like the BBC is waiting for Evans to get fed up and leave so one of them can move into his place. This is probably true.

5. They made the show an hour longer. LeBlanc and Evans host the first hour, and the two young guys drag us through the second. When you’re struggling for ideas and content, why would you increase production demand by a factor of two?

They need to can Evans (cans are sturdier than sacks) and find someone else. It’s a shame Jason Statham is too big for the job. He’d be perfect.

I would love to watch the new Clarkson show, which is called The Grand Tour, but how do you get it without sitting in front of the computer and paying for it? I get Top Gear with basic cable, so it feels like it’s free. I’m not going to shell out for a computer service and watch it on a 24″ monitor. Forget that.

If there’s one good thing about the 2016 season it is this: Maynard can’t tell the difference. He is happy to sit on my leg and watch anything I watch.

I hope Amazon finds some way to get the new show inserted into a cable channel real human beings will actually watch. Warts and all, Clarkson is giant surrounded by midgets.

5 Comments »

Onward and Upward

June 18th, 2016

If You’re not Climbing, You’re Descending

God keeps helping me by showing me how messed up I am.

Hooray. Hooray.

No, seriously; it’s wonderful. You can’t look at God’s correction as a source of discouragement. He wouldn’t bother to criticize if he didn’t provide a way out. The way out is the thing to focus on. When God criticizes you, he is helping you fix a problem.

I suppose this is not always true. I know God sometimes rules against people and puts his seal on the decisions, so there is nothing they can do. But if you’re a believer, and you’re striving to align yourself with God, that probably doesn’t apply to you.

This morning I realized the connection between receiving correction well and giving in the right spirit. Here is something Paul said about giving material wealth:

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

From the context, it’s obvious that he’s talking about donations of earthly wealth, but the same principle applies to correction. When God criticizes you, he is asking you to give more of yourself. The usual response, if you’re me, is to feel bummed out and think, “Now I have to give something ELSE up.” In order to apply the correction you receive, you have to give something up to God; you have to cede more territory. If you feel resentful or discouraged, you’re a grudging giver.

The really sad thing is that you give God more of yourself, you’re not giving at all; you’re just returning something God already owns. And you’re not doing it for him. We can’t do anything for God. Everything we think we do for him is actually an imposition. He didn’t cause our problems. He doesn’t have to be here helping us. It’s all for us.

Sometimes when I pray, I ask God if the thing I’m asking for is available on the shelf of the homeless shelter. By that I mean to acknowledge that I’m receiving charity, not a paycheck I’ve earned.

Your attitude toward God matters. How do you like doing things for young people, when they whine and act entitled? Not a whole lot. It’s not rewarding for you, and it tends to reinforce their destructive mindset. Surely God has as much sense as you do.

So I am trying to be less of a jerk when God criticizes me. I’ve been begging for criticism for a long time, so it makes no sense to be discouraged when I get it. It’s the single best thing God gives us, apart from salvation. It is a path to power, peace, and authority.

If you’re having problems, and you can’t find peace, ask God what you’re doing wrong. I guarantee you this: whatever your external circumstances are, you can’t live in despair or gloom if you’re doing things right.

I wish I knew of a church that teaches this stuff and also adds teaching about prayer in tongues and the power of the Holy Spirit. Spirit-filled churches accept the baptism with the Spirit and prayer in tongues, but they teach us to be greedy hypocrites who do as we please and never grow up. Churches that deny the Holy Spirit teach us to grow and be corrected, but they teach us to do it all by ourselves, which is pride.

At my last church, it was just about impossible to get people to pray for God to correct anyone. They thought God never punished people. They thought all of our problems were caused by the devil and lack of faith. Their idea of sound prayer was to beg God to drive the devil out while they maintained a tight grip on the devil’s tail, to keep him from leaving. As a result, they saw very few healings, and there were deaths that were probably unnecessary.

It’s funny, but I got a number of healings there. Kidney stones, gallstones, and knee problems. It was frustrating to see other people who could not get help.

That church is still messed up. It’s still in a tiny rented room in a dirty, neglected building, and they still have a high turnover rate, because people don’t like the way things are done and the way they’re treated. The pastor’s brother and uncle left!

Things are not going great at Trinity Church, which I attended until 2012. Richie Wilkerson, the pastor’s son, presided over the marriage of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian and thought it was a good thing. I don’t even know what to say about that. Rule of thumb: if you’re a pastor, don’t tie yourself to benefactors who are currently displaying their genitals online and have no plans to stop.

Then he got a reality show. Not doing well. He opened a new church, which rents a school auditorium for $1200 a month. No building. I am also told he had difficulty selling tickets to his yearly conference this time. If true, this is a new problem. It did well in the past. It may be that kids associated the conference with Trinity, not him.

The new church was recently sued for using copyrighted artwork in its advertising. Copyright suits can be incredibly costly; even the attorneys’ fees are astronomical. I assume the Wilkersons are shielded personally by the corporate veil, but the lawsuit is still very bad news.

It’s actually a little weird. Kim Kardashian strains the wiring of the Internet every time she posts on Instagram, and her show, which is surely boring, evil, and stupid, has made her very, very rich. Richie Wilkerson is doing more or less the same things, and his church can’t afford a warehouse to renovate and preach in. But then Satan is very familiar with the old expression: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. You can’t align with his people and expect to be treated well.

Anyway, where are people supposed to go to church these days? Church doorways are like choke points where Satan’s troops pick people off as they enter. If the pastors can’t get blessed, what hope do you have if you listen to them?

Keep asking God to criticize and correct you. He will listen. If you can’t find a man to lead you, the Holy Spirit is always available. That’s the best news I have.

And stay away from crazy preachers. It’s better to be covered in leeches.

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Magical Filth

June 17th, 2016

Faithful as the Dew

I am cogitating on the tenacity of household filth.

Today after I showered, I took a wet sponge and wiped the floor in the general area of the trash can. This floor was mopped with bleach this week. It should be as clean as a clean room at Intel. The sponge came up with a grey line of crud on it.

Where does this stuff come from? How can this happen in four days?

I think the underwear gnomes from South Park are shredding their stolen drawers, turning them into dust, and spreading them on my floors.

1. Spread underwear dust on floors.
2. . . .
3. Steve loses mind.

Is that reference too obscure? I don’t care. When did that ever bother me?

The hairs are even worse. They reappear on the floor within two hours of vacuuming and mopping. I actually find hairs on the floor while I’m putting the vacuum away.

Maybe I have some sort of condition. Maybe I’m the Reverse Bubble Boy. Instead of protecting me from the world with a bubble, I should protect the world from me.

MOOPS! MOOPS!

I can never resist a good obscure reference. Never.

I would ask for suggestions, but I don’t think the problems can be fixed. I should put grey tile on the floor so nothing shows.

I need to do what elderly women all over the world do: have one filthy bathroom for actual use, and one spotless, cordoned-off display bathroom which no one is allowed to approach.

MOOPS!

3 Comments »

Calm Seas

June 16th, 2016

They do Exist

I’m in my dad’s office, waiting for the coffee to take effect before starting on some bookkeeping chores, so I will write.

I am very excited about the way my homemade shower spray worked out. I’m still using it, and the shower is cleaner than it was back when I scrubbed it once a week.

Back when I was SUPPOSED to scrub it once a week.

Every other day, before I get out of the shower, I spray the parts of it that are hardest to get at from outside, and then I get out and spray the rest of it. Takes one minute. I spray the glass and the metal, not just the tile. If you look at the directions from storebought spray, you will see they recommend scrubbing once in a while, in addition to spraying. I guess they can say whatever they want, to prevent angry people from calling up and complaining that their showers aren’t clean, but in my case, no scrubbing is needed. It would be a total waste of time. My spray even wears away the accumulated calcium scale on the plumbing.

The single biggest non-water ingredient in the spray is no-scrub shower cleaner. Home Depot sells Zep brand cleaner in gallon jugs, cheap. They probably also sell their own Chinese brand, but I’m not sure I trust it. Once ever ten days or so I refill my spray bottle with Zep, water, Dawn, and dishwasher rinse agent, and I’m ready to go.

The Zep costs around 40 cents per dose, and the dishwashing rinse runs about 12 cents, give or take. The dishwashing liquid costs three cents. So I’m paying less than $20 per year for a clean shower. And it also works on the sink. The prepared spray Home Depot sells (one brand) would run $200 per year. You would have to be out of your mind.

When your shower and tub are off your back, cleaning a bathroom is a joke.

Sooner or later I will get real and add the Dawn and the rinse stuff to the big jug of shower cleaner, and then mixing the spray will be a lot faster than it is now. It will just be a matter of adding water.

Are you as thrilled about this as I am? I hope so. You are. I can tell. Try to contain yourselves.

I’m sorry to admit that I’m drinking coffee. It’s a problem. The good Lord showed me that coffee destroys peace, and it’s true. If you drink coffee off and on, and you react the way I do, you will find that you have more peace on the days you go without it. But I am dealing with my dad’s business affairs these days, and I find that a little jolt of caffeine helps me get moving.

I used to drink huge quantities of coffee when I was in law school and then practicing. Law school was a little dull, so I needed something to keep me alert. Actual legal work is much less dull than law school, but I still felt like I needed a boost once in a while. Now I find that very small amounts of coffee work very well. It’s like my normal state is just below the state where I need to be in order to do boring things, and a tiny amount of caffeine pushes me over the hump.

As for my new responsibilities, it’s very strange, dealing with someone who is slipping. It’s not a predictable or consistent thing. They stay strong in some areas while failing in others, and they have days that are better than others. My dad can still do math and crossword puzzles, but sometimes he will have a real problem with something that shouldn’t be challenging at all. Usually it’s memory related.

At some point a few months back, he reached a state where he couldn’t do a good job looking after bills and financial matters, and he simply stopped without saying anything. He didn’t stop completely, but a number of things got backed up, so here I am fixing them. He wasn’t aware there was a problem, or he just didn’t admit it. It wasn’t until this month that he told me I needed to take everything over.

I used to look at his office and say, “Can we throw this out? Can we clean this? Can we do this differently?” Now I just do it. Like the old joke says, it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.

The difference in his work area is beyond belief. I threw out so much paper, the garbage men refused to take some of the bags. I added longer cords to electrical devices that were in the wrong places, so they could be moved. I replaced his primary hard drive with a solid state job so I could search and boot the PC quickly. I got a good desk lamp. I must have removed him from fifty email lists.

I’ve dusted things. I’ve disinfected things. I’ve removed mysterious work-related films from things.

I have never been good at organization, because I have spoiled myself, and because it wasn’t my nature. I have never organized my own affairs well, except for keeping track of legal deadlines. I’m surprised to see myself doing a good job organizing someone else’s mess. It will help me with my own problems. Realistically, it’s helping me with my problems now, since my dad has nothing that won’t be mine eventually.

It’s easier to fix other people’s problems than your own, because you’re more objective. But when you fix other people’s problems, the problem-solving skills you develop may start to apply to your own life. I say “may,” because it hinges on whether or not you’re in denial. Some people can help others yet are unable to help themselves.

Actually, that’s pretty common.

Life is getting more peaceful and orderly as I get closer to God. It’s funny; the supernatural world has a binary quality to it. There is no “okay.” There are only “horrible” and “sublime.” God provided hell and heaven. He didn’t provide a middle ground. This life is no different. It can go very, very well, with God’s help, or it can go very, very badly (even if you don’t realize it) without him.

When I work in my dad’s office, I play Julie True in the background. She sings about the Holy Spirit. Peace fills the place. I could never have done that while he was strong enough to control things. It was always an area of atheism, disorder, and contention when he was in charge. We should honor God throughout our homes and throw out the stuff the devil likes. It makes things work.

I put Julie True on his hard drive. Don’t tell him.

As always, I hope my experiences are helpful to you. In my studies of Greek literature, I keep coming across a curse worth noting: only a fool has to learn from experience. The Bible agrees, saying, “Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.” I can’t undo the beatings I’ve received, but I can help you avoid receiving them.

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Homer Don’t Play Dat

June 15th, 2016

Actually He Does

I have an exciting event to report. I finished Herodotus a couple of days ago. This must be how a woman feels when she passes a 15-pound baby after two days in labor. Now I’m enjoying a thrilling ride through the world of Greek tragedy, courtesy of Aeschylus. The next reading on the Columbia University Lit. Hum. list is The Oresteia.

When the Greeks put “eia” on the end of something, it means they’re talking about something which is deeply involved with whatever comes before the vowels. For example, in The Iliad, Diomedes has a long stretch where he kills all sorts of people and inspires the other Danaans, and this bit of the epic is called the Diomedeia.

I haven’t finished The Oresteia, but I feel confident Orestes will pop up shortly.

The Oresteia is a trilogy, so of course it contains four plays. Yes, that’s right. Four. The first three are real bummers, and the fourth is what’s known as a “satyr play.” I think that means Charlie Sheen will be involved. I don’t know much about satyr plays, and I doubt I read the one from The Oresteia back when I was 19. This week I read that satyr plays are humorous plays, perhaps intended to offset the dreariness of tragedy and wake up the audience.

I found a neat book on Scrib’d, explaining Aeschylus line by line. The author is a guy named Logan (no adamantium). He supplies all the benefits of a college lecture, without the aggravation of dragging yourself to class in three-degree weather with a hangover. Also, it looks like the entire Cliff’s Notes volume on the trilogy is available online, free, at the Cliffsnotes site.

I am very, very glad to be done with Herodotus. The digressions were killing me. I feel like rewriting it with the crap removed and selling the result to college students, but if they won’t read the original, they won’t read my version, either, and besides, their profs probably like the crap.

Now that I’m way into the Lit. Hum. syllabus, I’m starting to see how it makes sense. Sort of.

Homer helps you understand Greek thought and culture, as well as Greek history (or at least what they thought was their history). The Old Testament…okay, I’m not sure how that fits in. Sappho…let’s face it. She was included to make feminists happy. I read the whole thing, and I got virtually nothing out of it. Feminists like to pretend women played a big role in shaping Western thought, but guess what? They didn’t. Sorry about that. Anyway, you can’t understand Herodotus if you don’t know Homer.

I just realized why the Old Testament was included. Two reasons. First, it allows the far-left nuts at Columbia to pretend they respect the Bible and our predominantly Christian culture, although this is not true. Second, it gives them an excuse to call the stories in the Bible “myths” over and over, as if the creation story were just as inane as the story about Atlas convincing Hercules to hold the world for a minute and then running off. It also gives them an excuse to talk about actual myths that are similar to the Bible, as though they prove the Bible is also a myth. Okay. Whatever. I guess all nickels are made of wood.

Herodotus has some importance because it gives you some notion of the history of the Western world, excluding Egypt, up until the third century BC. It also shows how the Greco-Persian Wars may have been important to the development of modern democracies. The Persians wanted to take over Greece, and they sometimes installed tyrants, which were what we would call dictators. Democracy was developing in Greece at the time of the Greco-Persian Wars, so–I am guessing–academics probably think that if the Persians had won, democracy would have been lost, and we would now live in a mean old right-wing world with kings and emperors, a constitutional right to concealed carry, leaded gas, DDT, and no government-funded sex changes.

If that’s what they’re hoping to teach us, I think they are wrong, because my vast studies tell me the Persians were actually pretty cool. They expected their possessions to send troops whenever the Persians wanted to conquer someone, and they imposed fairly low taxes as tribute. They generally let their possessions govern themselves. That is what I have been told. If it’s true, then wouldn’t the Persians have allowed the Athenians to continue voting on internal stuff?

I suspect that resisting the Persians was a big mistake, and I doubt the imperialist, rapist, thieving, lying, slave-owning Greeks were high-minded sponsors of individual liberty. Like most wars, the wars between the Persians and Greeks surely had a lot to do with preserving the status of the people in charge and very little to do with freedom.

I could be wrong.

Herodotus leads into Aeschylus because Aeschylus was a veteran of the Greco-Persian Wars. He fought at Salamis, where the Greeks beat the daylights out of the Persian navy. Okay, maybe that’s not the strongest connection ever, but it’s a connection. If the Greeks had lost, or if they had won but Aeschylus had fared poorly, we would have no Oresteia. Also, the trilogy is about the things Agamemnon went through after Troy, so it’s linked to Homer.

It’s linked to Sappho because women are just as good as men, and testosterone is bad.

I’ll go ahead and say it. Aeschylus is a drag. I can’t believe the Greeks enjoyed watching this stuff.

The Greeks always used the same set: a big shed. There was space in front of it where the actors stood. Pretty exciting. Sometimes they stood on top of the shed, and sometimes they swung down on blocks and tackles, pretending to be deuses ex machinae. I made that phrase up. They would pretend to be gods who were lowered in, in a creaky and highly convincing imitation of flight, to save Thebes or whatever.

Right away, it sounds bad.

The plays had only three actors, not counting chorus members. And the actors were all male. So let’s say you have a play with eight characters, including three babes. The babes would be played by the same fat, hairy guys who played the men. Hubba hubba. Move over, Sofia Vergara.

Instead of doing the intelligent thing and using more actors, they had the actors use masks. So in one scene, the actor wears his Tevye mask, and in the next, he wears a different mask and pretends to be Tzeitel. His daughter. Totally convincing. No problems suspending disbelief there.

Sounds like something Rupaul probably did when he was a kid.

The chorus is a bunch of people who sing and play instruments. The tragedies of Aeschylus were musicals, and we don’t know the score. I don’t even know what to say about that. Imagine trying to understand “Springtime for Hitler” if you don’t know the tune.

I’m not far into the first play, Agamemnon. So far, it’s a whole lot of whining. Everyone is moaning about how hard life has been since Agamemnon left. Here’s a thought: how about not sacrificing your daughter and sailing off to spend ten years trying to win back your brother’s slutty wife?

Don’t get mad at me for calling Helen a slut. She said the same thing about herself.

Everyone in the beginning of the play talks about how they miss Agamemnon, the guy who murdered Iphigeneia, abandoned Argos (Aeschylus changed it from Mycenae for political reasons), caused all sorts of poverty and disruption, and got a whole bunch of people killed.

Why would you miss this person? He was an idiot and a psychopath. Greek law doesn’t actually require you to wreck your life trying to drag a skeeze back from Troy. He could have stayed home and prospered.

In addition to the chorus and characters, these plays need another component: Homey the Clown. He could confront these people while they’re whining and use his loaded sock to beat some manliness into them.

Doesn’t the word “stoic” come from Greece? I guess the Argives weren’t familiar with it.

The Greeks are really disappointing. They’re brave…when they’re sure their enemies can’t fight back. They’re honest…until you turn your backs on them. They’re merciful…except when they’re raping, murdering, mutilating, torturing, and pillaging. And they’re incorruptible…except when they’re taking every bribe in sight.

Reminds me of the politicians and judges here in Miami.

I’m looking forward to moving on to books that are thinner and which are written in a manner that doesn’t require a decoder ring and a Ouija board. So far, reading the Greeks has been like wading through chest-deep snow. Except for Sappho, which was like playing Wheel of Fortune with two letters and then not getting a prize.

I am hoping to put Aeschylus behind me by the weekend. I am feeling better and better about skipping the reading when I was in college. Some of these books are impacting my life positively; the rest suffer by comparison to Cliff’s Notes. God bless the people who see fit to devote their lives to studying this petrifying material. I hope it was worth it to get out of serving in Vietnam. I am content to hear about the more boring parts of it second hand. Actually, an English translation is second hand by definition, so…

I better shut up before Homey hears me.

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Stuff to Think About When Choosing a Husband

June 15th, 2016

Must Love Cats; no Jihadis

Today I read something interesting. The wife of gay Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen–according to a news headline–may be arrested for failing to report him to the FBI as a terrorist threat.

I was surprised when I read that, because I sat through three years of law school, and I had no recollection of anyone telling me I had a legal duty to inform. You can’t conspire to commit crimes, and you can’t help people commit crimes, but as far as I know, you have no duty to warn people that crimes will be committed.

I have done about five minutes’ worth of sloppy Internet research, so I could be wrong, but I found no sites suggesting anyone has an obligation to inform the FBI of threats of terrorism. I found a site about lawyers which said the closest thing we have to such a law involves “misprision of felony,” which makes it illegal (under federal law, not state) to fail to report a felony to authorities.

This law was used to convict one of Timothy McVeigh’s pals.

The article says:

However, misprision of felony requires more than just a failure to warn. Keeping quiet about criminal plans isn’t enough. To be convicted of misprision, there must also be proof of a positive act to cover up the crime, like lying to the FBI, hiding evidence, or harboring the criminal.

She probably didn’t lie to the FBI, since she didn’t talk to them at all. She probably didn’t hide evidence. We don’t have any reason to believe evidence was hidden. So what’s the most likely problem? “Harboring the criminal.”

Can a housewife be said to be harboring a criminal because she shares a home with a husband who is a terrorist?

I have doubts about this. Is it harboring to fail to try to throw someone out of his own house? I’ll bet it’s not. And she may not have known he was a terrorist until after the crime. Knowing he wanted to kill people isn’t the same as knowing he was a criminal. If you conspire with other people to commit a crime, you break the law. It looks like Mateen didn’t conspire, so what crime did he commit prior to the murders? I’m not sure, but planning to kill people, all by yourself, probably isn’t a crime. We jail people for attempted murder, but has anyone ever been convicted of planning to murder, without acting, without partners?

If the FBI knows it can’t convict this lady, what’s going on?

One possibility is that they simply want to look good. They don’t apply realistic, useful scrutiny or restrictions to Muslims who are likely to commit crimes, preferring instead to take the ineffective, politically correct approach, putting the entire population under surveillance. Mateen and his crazy dad fell through the net. Now the FBI has a PR problem. Arresting the wife could make them look like they’re really trying, even though we know they are not.

Another possibility is that they’re trying to scare the hell out of this woman so she’ll talk. It would be unethical to file charges you know are bogus, but law enforcement people do things like that. They did it to George Zimmerman.

She should definitely be investigated. She may be a trove of useful information, and she may be an accomplice, like the wife of Syed Farook. I don’t know if slamming her with ineffective charges will help.

Or I could be wrong, and she may be guilty of violating some law I don’t know about. I’m not a criminal lawyer. But the McVeigh case suggests I’m right. If they had had anything else on Michael Fortier (McVeigh’s friend), they would have used it. Presumably, the same set of laws is at work now.

People are jumping on Trump, who said he appreciated people telling him he was right. Trump has been saying we need to restrict immigration from certain Muslim countries. One clever person said Trump’s idea would not have helped, because Mateen was born in the US. That may sound smart at first, but it’s not. Mateen is a great example of a non-assimilated Muslim with loyalties to other countries, even though he was born here. The mass of Muslims who come here necessarily includes a number of people like him. We can’t deport people who were born here, but it certainly makes sense to vet Muslims we don’t have to take in. Mateen makes Trump’s case stronger, not weaker.

It’s depressing to see leftists using this as an excuse to pimp gun control. Passing laws against semiautomatic rifles would be silly. Terrorists will always have guns. Terrorists aren’t legally allowed to have commercial jets full of kerosene and hostages, but they had them on 9/11.

It seems like the public hates gun control, so I don’t think the new push will accomplish much. Mass shootings (which are getting rarer) make people want to buy guns for protection. Leftists haven’t figured that out yet.

The world is getting so crazy. The preppers look smarter and smarter all the time. The more time passes, the more my ambitions lean toward finding a snug burrow in the country where I can hole up and be left alone until I die.

In a world like this, one of the best defenses is to be invisible. So of course I blog. One day I should probably rethink that strategy.

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To Err is Human

June 14th, 2016

To be Gay, Divine

First, I feel like I should say something about comments.

Sometimes I close comments on stuff I’ve written. Once in a while, I’m sure I’ve learned something from God, and on top of that, it’s the kind of thing I know will draw contention and fussing. On those occasions, I don’t want the message to be diluted by squabbling. If you want to get a clearer picture of what I’m trying to avoid, imagine the gospels with black letters, red letters for Jesus, and blue letters for hecklers. Most of the print would be blue, the gospels would be a thousand pages long, and no one would benefit from them.

It would be like reading the comments at PJ Media.

You may think you’re THE person I’m trying to discourage, but you are wrong. Depending on the topic, there are various people and types of people I don’t want to get into it with.

I like the new policy, so I’m going to stick with it. I hope that doesn’t offend people. All that much. You can’t comment at all when you watch TV or read a book or newspaper, so it shouldn’t be that hard to bear. You ought to be used to it.

By the way, the kingdom of heaven is not about opinion and discussion. Our opinions are completely worthless. They don’t count. Jesus didn’t form a consensus and then preach it. He told people how things were, and they were free to accept it or reject it. If I put up a post saying Chevy is better than Ford, your opinion means something, but if God shows me something and I repeat it, not so much.

I try to draw distinctions between things I know and things I merely think are probably true. I’m probably doing a poor job of that.

Second, the main thing I wanted to write about: it looks like I may actually be homophobic now, instead of merely being accused of it by annoying people who demonize their enemies.

I’ve always thought the word “homophobic” was silly, because outside of prison, the YMCA, and certain scouting organizations, very few people are afraid of homosexuals. There are lots of people who hate homosexuals. There are lots of people who disagree with homosexuals. Actual fear is not that big a factor. I don’t know anyone who is scared of them. What are they going to do? Gang up and say mean things about your hair? Refuse to plan your wedding? They are not fearsome people.

That’s changing, though, because these days, they are working proactively to impoverish others. They drive people out of jobs and honorary positions. They get courts to fine them into extinction. They get people’s businesses closed over cakes they don’t really want.

Sooner or later, anyone who thinks homosexuality is a bad thing and says so will be removed from all major social media platforms. You won’t be able to promote your business on Facebook or Youtube, and you won’t be able to post a photograph of every single meal you eat, which is not really that important, but still.

It’s a fascinating thing. Homophobia didn’t really exist in the past. The word was just a disingenuous rhetorical device based on victim-mentality fantasy. Now it’s starting to be a real thing, but it’s not the kind of homophobia gays had in mind when they coined the word. It’s fear of having your livelihood and savings taken away.

Maybe I’m not actually homophobic, because I don’t think I’m in a very vulnerable position. But I am concerned about other people who will receive the blows. I must be homophobic by proxy.

I started thinking about this because I looked at the news and learned that the Orlando murderer, Omar Mateen, was gay. I’m not sure I can recall the dots I had to connect to get from Mateen to the new homophobia, but it happened somehow.

His ex-wife says he was gay. Regulars at the bar he shot up say he visited a number of times. He used a gay “dating” (fornication) app. The man was gay.

Interesting tidbit: the ex-wife says the FBI told her not to reveal this.

What possible reason could the FBI have for doing a thing like that? It should concern us.

One of the weird things about the gay PR machine is that they exclude all truly unpleasant people from the fraternity, regardless of the facts. They say gay priests are “ephebophiles,” even when all their victims are male. They say men who rape other men aren’t gay.

Heterosexuals don’t have similar defenses. A priest who has sex with girls is just a bad old heterosexual. Same thing goes for a man who rapes women or little girls. Only gays pick and choose the people they deign to include among their officially sanctioned ranks.

There is a weird collusion going on, protecting homosexuals from criticism, and it sort of looks like the FBI may be in on it. I wonder.

What difference does it make if the worst mass killer in American history is gay? It doesn’t really reflect on other gays. I don’t sit around fretting over the fact that Hitler and Osama bin Laden were straight. Besides, it’s not like we didn’t know gays were capable of violence. Wayne Williams is gay. Andrew Cunanan and John Wayne Gacy were gay. Jeffrey Dahmer was gay. I understand why gays want to project a good image, but irrational, transparent denial of readily apparent facts is not a good approach.

Journalists are not happy about the news. I guarantee you that. They will work to play down the gay angle. They will somehow turn heterosexuality, Christianity, conservatism, and probably even global warming into the problem. They may even go so far as to play up Mateen’s Islamist extremism. Wouldn’t that be something? Obama and the press love to muffle that sort of thing, but now they have to choose: gays or Muslims? Who goes under the bus?

Here’s a crazy idea: how about telling the truth and not worrying so much about the fallout? Life will go on.

Pretend I didn’t say that. It’s insane to even suggest it.

I think they’ll side with gays and go for the Muslim angle. Angry Muslims can’t hurt a career all that much. Actually, they’ll work the ridiculous gun control angle harder than anything.

I checked CNN’s site a minute ago, just to see if they’re as crazy as I thought. And they are. Knock me over with a feather. In the headlines, there is no mention whatsoever of Mateen’s homosexuality. Zero. Never happened. Fox, on the other hand, is touting it, in a somewhat oblique way: “MULTIPLE MOTIVES? Orlando massacre gunman said to have been regular at gay club where he killed 49.”

It amazes me that people criticize Fox. If you don’t look at Fox, you get about half of the news. They get a little weird sometimes, like when they decided to call suicide bombers “homicide bombers,” but they don’t leave you completely in the dark.

The Daily Mail is also all over it. So is The New York Post.

Spin doctors will probably take this approach: Omar Mateen’s religion did not help him to adjust to his orientation, because God isn’t real, so Mateen became filled with self-hatred and confusion and lashed out at the people who tempted him. So God, though nonexistent, will be the real murderer. As usual.

Actually, I agree with part of that. People are full of compulsions they can’t shake, and religion is very weak in the area of setting people free. If Christians had any real power, we would be able to help people change, but as it is, we do a very feeble job. We can’t even help people stop biting their nails; why should we expect them to come to us for deliverance from much stronger compulsions?

No wonder young people go with their existing inclinations instead of trying to alter them. They have no hope. But God isn’t the problem; we are. We turned away from him, we gave up power, authority, and knowledge, so now we’re the tail and not the head.

If I had had gay urges before I knew God, I probably would have gone with them, too. I had no moral objections about homosexuality when I was young.

We live on one of the lowest levels of existence, very far from God’s world. The only frames below us are hell and the lake of fire. Above us, there are a number of levels of heaven. We expect God to live here and fix everything. We think of the world as his, and we criticize him because life here isn’t perfect. But the god of this world isn’t Yahweh; it’s Satan. Things are going extremely well, considering who we put in charge.

Fascinating stuff.

Christians need to build themselves up in prayer and seek correction, power, and authority. We don’t do those things, because we don’t really want to serve God or be transformed. We want him to come down here and pamper us while we serve the devil. We don’t help people change, so they become our adversaries. It’s not rocket science.

The world has failed irretrievably, and human beings, including Jews and Christians, are the reason. When the end comes, we will have to take part of the responsibility for the behavior of the lost. Unfortunately, we can’t help them bear the punishment. Nobody deserves help, but some of us will get it anyway, and the rest won’t.

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The View From the Lifeboat

June 13th, 2016

Pondering the Orlando Killings

I have been thinking about the Orlando gay bar massacre.

Jesus told us not to cast our pearls before swine. He was addressing the general principle that some people are so irrational, it’s a complete waste of time to try to help them. In order to help people change, you have to be able to communicate with them, and it’s impossible to communicate with people who don’t listen.

There are peoples and segments of societies that are so screwed up, they can’t be reasoned with as groups. Many of the world’s Muslims now fall into this category.

Twenty-first-century Muslims kill journalists. They kill missionaries. They crucify children. Now one of them has murdered 49 homosexuals and friends of homosexuals. Muslims kill people who pose no threat to them, and they kill people who can be useful to them.

Gay men are overwhelmingly liberal, and liberals are the friends of jihad. I’m not saying liberals hope Islamists take over the world. I’m saying liberals make waging jihad a lot easier. They blame the West. They recommend unprofitable approaches of negotiation and appeasement. They tie the hands of officials and soldiers who would otherwise take effective steps to fight Islamism.

When Omar Mateen shot up the Pulse disco, he was killing, and making enemies of, people who were useful to his cause.

It’s hard to think of a more senseless crime. Gays aren’t rising up against Islamism, even though they are imprisoned and killed in Muslim countries. Gays tend to vote for politicians who tout diversity to absurd extremes. The gayer America gets, the better things will go for jihadists. By murdering gays, Mateen probably opened the eyes of many people who were helpful to his movement and turned them into enemies.

Now I’m wondering: will this crime produce blowback against those who mindlessly advocate blind tolerance for Muslim extremists? Also, will it produce blowback against Christians and religious Jews, who are also opposed to homosexuality?

The current political climate has similarities to the climate in Germany before World War Two. The Germans and Austrians blamed Jews for all sorts of things. No one wanted to listen to reason. These days, Christians receive the kind of criticism and ostracism jihadists should receive. Our own government, with no cause, sets us aside for the same kind of scrutiny they give potential jihadists. My guess is that somehow, we will catch some of the overspray from this massacre. Some people will surely blame us to the exclusion of Muslims.

I don’t approve of homosexuality. When I was young, I thought it was perfectly fine, but I got to know God, and I realized homosexuality interferes with one’s relationship with him. Then I saw that homosexuals were colluding to persecute Christians and dissolve American Christianity. I am not happy about those things, and I plan to speak honestly about it for the rest of my life. But you’re not going to see me or other Christians, in significant numbers, advocating violence against homosexuals.

I have very little interest in fighting the enemies of God with earthly weapons, including political solutions. I will recommend voting for politicians who will help us, but I don’t contribute to campaigns any more, and I no longer take part in the venomous, infantile political tussle of the Blogosphere (if it still exists). I believe in owning guns for self-defense, but there is no way I would use one to advance my religion. Truthfully, I am becoming less attached to this world, and I realize America is already lost. All I want, while I am confined in this world, is to be relatively comfortable in my own little realm, and to accomplish whatever it is God keeps me here to do.

Christian terror is extremely rare in America, militia groups and other nuts notwithstanding. Once in a while, someone shoots an abortionist, but that’s about it. You don’t see us popping up in the audience at Ellen Degeneres’s show with suicide vests. I don’t think we will ever see much Christian violence in America, and Jews don’t seem to have much interest in it either.

Right now, it looks like the most violent factions in the United States are Muslim extremists and Democrats who go to Trump rallies.

To get back to the principle of pearls before swine, it’s the reason hell was created. It’s not for mean people. It’s for people who won’t listen.

Anyone who still has breath can be saved, if he will listen. Jared Fogle can be saved. Charles Manson can be saved. Kim Jong-un can be saved. If they will listen. Everyone has sinned; the fact that one person has sinned more than another doesn’t make him ineligible for salvation, because you don’t earn salvation by being good. After all, Paul made a living murdering Christians.

The problem is that there are many, many people who use their free will to tune God out. Those people have to go to hell, largely because they are unfit to be associated with in the hereafter.

Here on earth, God will let you be a cruel, insolent sexual pervert and pagan with a thousand obscene tattoos, a split tongue, and fake horns under your skin, but heaven is a clean and peaceful place where that kind of irksome being is not permitted to exist. It’s bad enough, putting up with creation’s brats for seventy to a hundred years here on earth. God is not going to subject himself to their presence for all of eternity.

Would you?

One of the best things God has shown me is that it’s okay and even mandatory to reject certain people. I have improved my life much more by rejecting people than by including them. The people who enrich my life don’t bring me pleasure comparable to the misery caused by people who are toxic. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

The other day I was thinking about that, and some part of me felt like I should feel guilt over it. Then I thought about Noah. What happened to his relatives? Not all of the people who drowned were strangers or mere friends.

Only eight people are known to have been saved in the ark. Some say Og the giant clung to the outside, but that’s a legend, not scripture. Noah didn’t appear spontaneously from dust; he was the son of Lamech, and Lamech was the son of Methuselah. These people had family. What happened to them?

Noah had a wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law. They had relatives, too. Surely they must have loved some of them. But when the rains came, none of the relatives were saved.

How awful it must have been, sitting in the ark, knowing that everyone you grew up with was outside dying. But when it was over, the world was cleansed. A lot of horrible, cruel people were gone. Persecution of the righteous was temporarily over. War was gone. Pagan worship was gone. Cannibalism was gone, if we are to believe what we read about the giants.

Sometimes you just have to flush.

I don’t know if Omar Mateen ever had a chance. Maybe he never heard the right words, but on the other hand, he may have been so arrogant and sadistic it was never possible to reach him. If so, he has a lot of company. In any case, he is accountable, and there is no help for him now, nor will there ever be.

Whatever the families of the dead are going through today can’t compare to what is surely happening to Mateen in the hereafter. I suppose many of the victims are in the same situation, though.

It will be nice when the battle for this world is over. It will be wonderful to see an end to disharmony and misery. It’s tragic that so many people won’t get to see it.

More

It’s so easy to get it right these days; disturbing. I feel like a Jew who decided to leave Germany in 1932.

I said people would blame Christians for the Orlando killings, and here is an example that just popped up while I wasn’t looking for it. It’s so crazy, it motivated me to do something out of character. I’m posting a link to Pajamas Media.

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Trapped Near the Inner Circle of Fault

June 12th, 2016

People Who Live in the Real World Wouldn’t Understand

I had to clean bird cages today, so now I’m in the mood for anything other than bird cage cleaning. I will write again.

Yesterday I was reminded of one of the big paradoxes of the Internet: being able to shop for things from the convenience of your home results in giant delays instead of time savings.

That’s kind of a distortion, but here’s what I mean: when you try to buy anything on the Internet–even paper clips–you will learn so much about the choices you have that you will spend more time studying and searching than buying.

Yesterday I had to solder something, and I saw that I was out of good solder. I still had bad solder; the kind that never seems to work right. I needed the good kind.

Two years ago, I would have driven to Radio Shack and bought whatever I saw. I would have been finished in 20 minutes. This time, it took me something like three hours. I learned things about solder while I was shopping, and I fell through the Internet-shopping looking glass, where you find out that the thousand things you believed before breakfast are, sadly, impossible.

There are lots of different kinds of solder. I did not know this. I knew about two types: lead-free, which sounded unwholesome, deluded, and leftist, and leaded, which, I figured, had to be the best, because, hey…lead. Anything that contains ingredients hippies hate will always turn out to be the best kind available.

I am not even a little scared of lead. I used to chew lead split shots because I liked the taste, and while I may be strange, I never got stupid or incontinent or whatever. Based on what I’ve read, I think the government keeps adjusting lead standards to silly levels in order to keep EPA bureaucrats employed. If lead was that big a deal, I’d be in an institution. I’m sure it’s toxic, but lots of stuff is toxic, and most of us manage to survive.

I started rooting around on the web, and I learned that there are lots of solder types. When it comes to electronics, the three main types are plain old rosin-cored, RMA (rosin mildly activated), and RA (rosin activated). Also, there are different leaded alloys. Two of the popular ones are 63% lead/37% tin and 60% lead/40% tin. I think. Maybe the tin goes first. On top of this, cored solder can contain 1.1%, 2.2%, or 3.3% flux. The word “flux” refers to the rosin, which is a substance that eats oxidation when it gets hot. Again: I think. Basically it cleans the joint.

Let’s see. There’s more. Solder comes in lots of diameters. You can get 0.015″, 0.020″, 0.025″, 0.031″, and up. If solder is too big, it tends to go all over the place when you solder little things. If it’s too small, it takes forever to fill a joint.

It gets worse. Chinese solder is not reliable. Big shock there. So you have to look for quality brands.

You have to wonder how bad Chinese solder is, since most of our electronic devices are full of it.

I also found out you’re supposed to clean solder joints. I had never heard of that. When you solder, you may unintentionally (or in my case, intentionally) leave melted flux on your joints. It’s ugly, and if I understand things correctly (doubtful), some types of flux can cause corrosion.

I went nuts researching this stuff. I looked at all sorts of nerd forums. I wanted to spend $20-$30 on a pound roll of solder, and I did not want to get the wrong thing.

By the time my eyes had gone buggy from scrolling, I had determined that what I wanted, probably, was 63/37 0.025″ 2.2% RMA solder, from Kester, AIM, Alpha Metals, or Multicore. And it’s impossible to find.

I’m sitting here thinking about the guitar amps I’ve built. Are they going to explode because I used the wrong solder?

I learned that it’s really hard to find the solder I specified above without paying a ton. I had to compromise and get 3.3% flux, which some people say is better anyway.

Now I have to wonder: was I better off when I simply drove to Radio Shack and bought the wrong thing?

The bad solder I already had came from Home Depot. I took a look at it and saw that it was Bernzomatic brand solder. It’s for electrical connections, but it’s not the right thing for electronics. I threw it out. Then I thought maybe I would need it for something, so I took it out of the trash. Then I thought about throwing it out again. Then I put it on the desk and stared at it.

I should also admit that I solder incorrectly a lot of all the time. When you solder, you are not supposed to heat the new solder directly and melt it onto the tip. You’re supposed to heat the wire and apply the solder to it, so the wire melts the solder.

Yeah, right. Try that some time. Your insulation will drip off or go up in smoke, unless it’s Teflon. In real life, you do whatever you have to. I plan to try to solder better, but I’m not going to melt components and insulation.

As for cleaning the joints, I don’t even know how. I think you use a Q-Tip with alcohol on it. I have never had a joint go bad, but maybe I need to try to do things right.

I read that rosin fumes cause asthma. Geez. What am I supposed to do? Solder in the front yard when the wind is blowing? Wear a sweaty respirator? But then I think about the hundreds of guys I know who’ve developed serious asthma from soldering. The ones who didn’t die first from lead poisoning.

I jest.

As I researched, I learned more stuff. You have to try to set your soldering iron so the heat is right. Different solders melt at different temperatures, and some electronic parts can be damaged by excess heat. I sort of knew that. My iron goes to 5, and I have been known to operate it at 4 because it seemed to be hard on PCB’s. But there are irons that actually display the temperature with digital meters. I’m not going that far. That’s just crazy.

Arrgh. I’ll probably go that far. Some day.

It’s frustrating when you splurge for what you think is the best tool available, and then you find out it’s second-rate. I feel like a guy who bought a Bose stereo and showed it off for his friends before learning the awful, humiliating truth.

I’m not sure what my advice is. I’m tempted to tell people to pretend they never read this.

The solder I finally ended up with is Kester 24-6337-9718. If it’s horrible, I’ll tell you. I fully expect to be unable to tell the difference between this stuff and Radio Shack Random Idiot Solder.

If you’re still going to real stores and buying wrong stuff, you should probably keep it up. You will never know the difference, and you will save lots of time. I love the Internet, but sometimes you just want toothpicks; you don’t need the best OSHA-approved, fair trade, organic, North American hardwood toothpicks.

If you use rosin-cored solder and you get asthma, leave me alone. If I told you to jump off the Empire State Building, would you do that, too?

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