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Tony Stark is an Amateur

August 5th, 2016

Behold my Creation

Yesterday was a big day, tool-wise. I used CAD to design a part, and I managed to make my CNC lathe cut something using the design.

Notice I did not say I got a proper part; just that I got the lathe to use the design I made.

Here is the design; I’m not sure why I used a cell phone instead of a screen grab, but anyway:

08 05 16 first CNC design attempted on lathe in Delrin - fusion 360 screen web

That’s a tool handle. I don’t need a tool handle, but I figured it was the sort of thing I might want to make in the future, so I designed one.

Here is the part I actually cut:

08 05 16 first CNC design attempted on lathe in Delrin - actual part web

As you can see, it’s a wee bit off.

Here is how CNC works, at least in my mind. You draw a part in a CAD program. You open the file in a CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) program, and it tells the computer how to write a Gcode file that goes to your controller. The controller–in my case a board–tells the machine motors what to do.

Essentially, the CAM program turns a picture into a path a tool follows as it cuts.

Last night, I learned that it gets even more annoying. I use Fusion 360, Autodesk’s free CAD/CAM program. In Fusion 360, you have to create something called a “setup” before you make your Gcode, and you also have to come up with a file called a “post processor.” I found this definition online: “The software that converts CL-file CAD/CAM data to specific machine tool commands is called a Post Processor.>

I don’t know what “CL” means, but I’ll let that pass.

The post processor communicates with the machine control program, which is the software that tells the control hardware what to do.

I guess this is not easy to follow. I’ll make a list.

1. CAD file
2. Setup
3. Post processor
4. CAM program ==> Gcode file
5. Control program
6. Controller
7. Motor amplifier
8. Machine motors

I think that’s about right.

Numbers 6 and 7 are pieces of hardware. My controller is a KFlop board, and my amplifier is a KStep board. The amplifier takes control signals from the controller and turns them into current that drives the motors.

LinuxCNC and Mach3 are control programs.

It’s a mess, isn’t it?

Fusion 360, like just about everything else in the CNC world, does not like lathes. At least it doesn’t like hobby lathes put together in garages. As a result, the creators made no effort–none–to make it work with Mach3’s turning software. That means it lacks a Mach3 lathe post processor file. I had to go dig one up. Other people had the same problem, predictably, so they came up with files that seemed to work. “Seemed.”

Installing a new post processor file in Fusion 360 is not fun. The program hides the location of its processor files. The trick is to open an existing file in Fusion 360’s editor, and it will display the path to all of the post processor files. Then you can move your file to that folder manually. Which I did.

There were problems.

First of all, the setup utility in Fusion 360 is not easy to work with. You have to set it for turning, and then you have to describe the uncut stock to it. You have to program a coordinate system into it, so it doesn’t run backward. You have to describe the tool you’re using. All the while, Fusion 360 will try to reset things after you’ve set them yourself. I have to get some help with that.

It uses language I don’t understand. I know about things like clearance and depth of cut, but Fusion 360 gets into “overlap” and “smoothing” and so on. It defines terms for you…sometimes. The way you bring up the definitions is to hover over stuff you don’t understand. If you’re lucky, an explanatory popup appears. But sometimes you’re not lucky.

I did the best I could, and I sent the Gcode to Mach3. I had three major issues.

First, the x-coordinates don’t work. I kept telling the machinery where the tip of the lathe was supposed to start, but it kept deciding the +x side of the work was an inch closer to me than it really was. This meant that if I ran the program on a 3/4″ piece of Delrin, it missed the work entirely.

I wanted to see something happen, even if it was wrong, so I lied to the machine about the x location, and my lying wild guess was about 0.100″ off. As a result, the part is a lot skinnier than it should be. Not a catastrophe. I’m happy it exists at all.

Second, the cuts are way too deep. In Delrin, which is plastic, a mini-lathe can do a 0.100″ cut without crashing. Try that in steel. No way.

Third, the Gcode crashed my controller. I think it died when it hit a G0 command. I looked G0 up, and all I found was “rapid positioning.” Whatever it means, the lathe stopped moving, and the control board locked up and had to be restarted. The part was not finished.

Now I have to know: did the code kill the controller, and if so, is it a controller problem or a Mach3 problem? If it’s a controller problem, then the post processor I found is no good, and I have to find out how to fix it. I already know Mach3 and the controller get along. So basically, I need to go to MIT for three or four years and then come back and solve the problem.

I’m happy, regardless. I designed something. I turned it into a part. That’s progress.

Life is not all peaches and honey, however. I got some news about my sister. She left a homeless shelter at some point this year, and no one knows where she is. Yesterday a letter arrived, at an address she left long ago. Someone showed it to me. I can’t say what it was about, but it was bad news for her financially and in other ways. It will catch up with her eventually.

I used to be concerned because she had been disinherited. I used to pray for her inheritance to be restored. Now I know that was not a good idea, and I understand why God didn’t agree with my prayers.

It made me think, and it helped me understand some general truths about wealth.

I’m not sure people think clearly when they make their wills. They work hard all their lives, and they store up wealth that can be a tremendous help to their descendants. What happens when you leave that kind of gift to a person who has immense debt, or who spends profusely? It’s as if you put it in a pile and set fire to it. It vanishes.

Think about it. What if you have two kids; one has zero debt, and the other owes someone $500,000? Say you leave $250,000 to each kid; what happens? Immediately, half of your wealth is gone. It’s as if you never had it. The creditor takes it, and then the broke kid goes to the other kid and tries to get the rest of it, bit by bit.

If you have more than one child, and you cut off the children who have debt, their creditors can’t do a thing. You never owed them, and neither did the other children. The wealth is insulated from attack. It’s common sense, but people don’t seem to think about it. They leave money to children who are essentially bags with no bottoms. It goes right through them and into the hands of other people.

People sometimes favor their irresponsible children, saying they “need” the money. That’s like saying Charlie Sheen needs more coke. If you want to be Santa Claus, give money to people who have nothing. If you want to conserve wealth and bless your kids, give it to people who look after what they have.

Children who have debts feel they’re more entitled to inherit. That’s just denial.

The conviction that you have to give handouts to people indiscriminately is also denial. It can make their problems worse and add to yours, especially if the people you give money to are abusers you used to pray to be freed from. It’s like inviting a vampire into your house.

It’s a bad idea to grab a tar baby once you’ve gotten loose. You’re asking for whatever misery ensues. Who will you blame? Will you go to God and ask him to free you again?

Some people have to keep repeating mistakes, and often, helping them is so costly, it doesn’t make sense. It’s not even help. It’s even worse when the people you try to help are folks who spend their time insulting you, lying to others about you, and scheming to take things from you. Generosity and compassion are extremely important, but you have to be very careful. You wouldn’t want to lend the bum on the corner money for bolt-cutters to rob your house.

I remember a time when I considered marrying someone who had debt. I didn’t know about the debt; I didn’t ask. Love conquers all! Thinking about money is tasteless and coarse!

That was stupid. Man, I was an idiot. I should have asked. If you marry someone who is debt-free, the cost of the wedding and honeymoon is your only immediate expense. If you marry someone who owes $100,000, you are immediately on the hook for the marriage, the honeymoon, and…$100,000. No one with any sense would spend a hundred grand on a wedding, but people do it every day without knowing it.

Instant cost of marrying debt-free spouse: $5000, if you’re sane. Okay, I didn’t include the ring.

Instant cost of marrying big spender: $105,000.

No.

Also, the debt a wastrel has at the time of marriage is just the beginning. It’s a tiny tumor that hasn’t blossomed yet. It will get much bigger eventually. No irresponsible woman ever decided that marriage was her cue to stop spending.

Marriage isn’t about money, but debt is slavery. It’s hell. Marry a slave; become a slave.

Jesus said those who had a lot would receive more, while those who had little would lose what they had. It’s true. People build or destroy, in every area of their lives.

I’m grateful for the people I can help. The rest just make me shake my head. I certainly hope I can be helped.

Blessings only go to people who can be blessed.

The Bible talks a lot about the fatherless. That’s me. You can have a father and be fatherless. If no one passes wisdom on to you when you’re young, you are fatherless. It’s disgraceful to be my age and to be surprised by wisdom other people accept at the age of ten.

God is a good father. He doesn’t just give you stuff you crave; that’s what pimps do to hookers. He teaches you. He improves you. He changes you so you have productive habits and thoughts. I wish I had known him decades ago, but, of course, fatherless people don’t have the wisdom to understand that they’re fatherless. I wasn’t interested.

I hope I still have enough time left to benefit from the things God shows me. If not, at least I get to relate them to younger people.

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Jump

August 4th, 2016

All is not Well

I feel like I should stop reading the news. The world is disintegrating around me.

The GOP rejected several excellent candidates and nominated Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton, whose husband was impeached and deprived of his law license, is ten points ahead in the polls. A Muslim immigration lawyer named Khan–a person who takes money in exchange for helping dangerous people remain in our country–has a Presidential candidate on the defensive less than a month after 84 people were killed by an Islamist truck driver.

All over the news I see the pronoun “she” being used to describe men who want to use women’s bathrooms. Journalists are bending the knee to self-deluding people from a violence-prone movement that supports criminals like Michael Brown against the police. News stories feature foul language in their headlines. “Serious” websites are full of picture links to stories about “wardrobe malfunctions.”

Is this reality?

I feel like I woke up in the world of Idiocracy, a film by Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-head. In that world, everyone is stupid and vile. It’s as if everyone on earth had been sterilized except for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and their foul offspring had multiplied to fill the earth.

I don’t know why Mike Judge felt qualified to comment negatively on the debasement of American culture, since he got rich pouring gasoline on the fire.

Here’s a bit of the movie. Expect bad language.

How filthy are we going to get? I don’t think there’s a limit. The human race has produced people who killed others and then saved their dead bodies for posthumous rape. It has produced pedophiles who tortured children to death and recorded their agony to enjoy later while pleasuring themselves. It appears that the bottom is pretty far down.

Any slimy, vicious thing a chimpanzee can do, a human being can surpass. Without the Holy Spirit, we are just frail chimpanzees with higher IQ’s.

I feel bad for the world, because I know what’s happening. God’s patience is coming to an end. We are almost at the point where he will withdraw the mercy that has kept this planet functioning since the fall of Adam. He will look down and decide the return on investment just isn’t there any more. Destruction will come, and we will react not with repentance, but by hating God even more.

I wish there were a bus terminal I could go to, for a ticket to some place else.

The earth is much more like hell than heaven. Hell is literally on earth, under the surface. Heaven is far away. We should be pushing the stink of Satan farther down below the earth’s crust. Instead, we’re doing all we can to bring it to the surface.

Is Kim Kardashian really getting rich, appearing on reality TV and exposing her tiresome body on the Internet? Is that actually happening? Are millions of Americans really sitting down every week to watch this imbecile? I can’t make my mind swallow that.

Are we really putting Satanic displays up on government property? Did I dream that?

I’m imperfect like everyone else. From God’s standpoint, I’m a nasty item. I have done all sorts of immoral things. I have caused a lot of suffering. I don’t want to hold myself out as a morally superior person, but I know that I’m entitled–obligated–to observe and criticize what’s happening around me.

God puts us through things to show us what his job is like. I made the inside of myself filthy, and for decades, I didn’t listen to God. It makes sense that after turning back to him, I would get to experience the sensation of being surrounded by filthy people who don’t listen and can’t be fixed.

This place is a mess. I know God leaves us here so we can reach others, but whenever he decides my job is done, I am ready to go. Keep my stuff; you can have the rattle and the soiled onesies. Just let me out.

It’s a bizarre situation. The more God corrects you and makes you useful and ordered, the more the world hates you. This place makes no sense at all.

Well, that’s wrong. It makes sense, and it’s predictable. But people behave extremely irrationally.

I’m thinking about the people who jumped from the World Trade Center. They hung on as long as they could, and when the flames got close enough, they decided death from a fall was better than death by burning, so they let go.

This world is not worth hanging onto. It will not help you; it has no mercy. If you belong to God, you’re like a splinter it’s trying to expel from an infected wound. It doesn’t want peace. It doesn’t want coexistence. It wants you gone, the way Muslims want Israel gone. The way the Germans and Austrians wanted the Jews gone.

I feel like I’m walking on a vast plain of pure, deep dog excrement, wearing snowshoes. I have to be here a while longer, so I want to avoid sinking any farther than I have to.

What must it be like, to live in a world that works? I can’t imagine it, any more than I can imagine being part of a healthy family.

Judges are stupid and dishonest. Presidents are incompetent. As much as I detest Black Lives Matter, the police are so crazy we had to craft the Bill of Rights to keep them from destroying us. The world is completely insane; our authorities are as unreliable as thin ice. What will it be like when Jesus returns to rule? I wish I could see it.

Imagine having a one-world government with a king who has unlimited power and never makes a mistake. That’s the future, after the purge. I would give anything just to spend a week there and look around.

Turn away from this disaster. Don’t hold on too long. Your side lost; you can’t make it work. God’s people will be driven off the earth temporarily, but after that, we receive the eternal victory which is already assured. Don’t sell your future for a bowl of soup.

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Proof that All Socialists are Evil

August 3rd, 2016

My Mind has Been Violated by a Pedantic Bolshevik

I feel like I owe Virgil an apology.

I got my copies of The Aeneid from Amazon. I was looking for a translation by Allen Mandelbaum. That’s the translation Columbia University uses.

I did my homework. I searched by ISBN and everything. Unfortunately, Amazon has a problem with Mr. Mandelbaum. When you try to buy his translations, they sell you books translated by a person named Mackail. It doesn’t say “WARNING! MACKAIL!” in big red letters on the front, either. I never found it on my paperback version, and the Kindle version I bought concealed it pretty well.

I was reading, and criticizing, the Mackail translation. I thought I was looking at Mandelbaum.

The paperback I bought is so cheap it’s not worth it to return it. I’m throwing it out. I did get Amazon to refund the 99 cents I spent on the Kindle version. I ordered the Kindle version of Mandelbaum’s translation, but I was afraid to order a new paperback because of the confusion at Amazon, so I went to Barnes & Noble.

I read a little bit of Mandelbaum’s work today. What a relief. It’s much less opaque than Mackail’s constipated wall of compressed and convoluted verbiage. Mandelbaum seems considerably less likely to throw out words that are obscure even to a national spelling bee alumnus such as myself. Mackail used “guerdon” and “foison,” like, yeah, people just KNOW those words.

“Inly.” Who says inly? Even inly?

It reminds me of William F. Buckley, who used to memorize obscure words and repeat them just to make himself look smarter. My feeling is this: if you have never seen it in the Sunday New York Times puzzle, it’s probably a word you will never find useful, and you shouldn’t go out of your way to use it. Unless it’s math or science. “Holonomic” is useful to some people, but it doesn’t pop up in puzzles.

Check this out; you won’t believe it:

‘Am I then to abandon my baffled purpose, powerless to keep the Teucrian king from Italy? and because fate forbids me? Could Pallas lay the Argive fleet in ashes, and sink the Argives in the sea, for one man’s guilt, mad Oilean Ajax? Her hand darted Jove’s flying fire from the clouds, scattered their ships, upturned the seas in tempest; him, his pierced breast yet breathing forth the flame, she caught in a whirlwind and impaled on a spike of rock. But I, who move queen among immortals, I sister and wife of Jove, wage warfare all these years with a single people; and is there any who still adores Juno’s divinity, or will kneel to lay sacrifice on her altars?’

Oops; I accidentally cut the line that says, “Foison foison guerdon inly.”

According to Wikipedia, Mackail was a socialist, so I guess there was nothing good about him at all.

Here is Mandelbaum’s version of the above text:

‘Am I, defeated, simply to stop trying,
unable to turn back the Trojan king
from Italy? No doubt, the Fates won’t have it.
But Pallas–was she powerful enough
to set the Argive fleet on fire, to drown
the crewmen in the deep, for an outrage done
by only one infuriated man,
Ajax, Oileus’ son? And she herself
could fling Jove’s racing lightning from the clouds
and smash their galleys, sweep the sea with tempests.
Then Ajax’ breath was flame from his pierced chest;
she caught him up within a whirlwind; she
impaled him on a pointed rock. But I,
the queen of gods, who stride along as both
the sister and the wife of Jove, have warred
so many years against a single nation.
For after this, will anyone adore
the majesty of Juno, or, before
her altars, pay her honor, pray to her?
Foison, inly, inly, guerdon?

I added a bit at the end to give it flavor.

Anyway, it’s considerably more readable. I don’t know what Mackail was smoking when he wrote his version, but I can see why it’s available free on the Internet (as a socialist’s goods should always be), while Mandelbaum gets paid.

I feel better now, but then I’m not focusing on the time I’ve spent suffering with Mackail. If I thought about that a lot, I would be pretty miserable.

Best not to dwell on misfortune. Cervantes is on the way, and I don’t want to be depressed when I collide with him.

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The Foul Wind That Blows From Ausonia

August 3rd, 2016

Ex Libris Ant Man

People must think I’ve stopped blogging again.

I am still buried in my dad’s business affairs. It’s as if I’m treating a sick calf that keeps vomiting up garbage it ate before I showed up. A lot of things got screwed up over the last year and a half. I am untying the Gordian Knot with tweezers, one strand at a time.

Prioritizing is not easy. I set time aside for this or that, and then I get sandbagged by something equally urgent. The people I deal with must think I’m just lying on the couch, eating fun size Snickers bars all day. Good guess. No, I’m chiseling away at the job. It may look different to the people I deal with. Each one of them only sees his little corner of the maelstrom.

I have a few major tasks to finish this month. Once that’s done, my life will probably seem as featureless as limbo.

I haven’t looked at C programming in several days. By the time I get done fooling with Quickbooks, creditors, flaky contractors, and ordinary bills, all I want to do is space out and watch Misfit Garage.

I’m keeping up with The Aeneid, sort of. I let it go for a couple of days. The paperback I ordered arrived. It’s really something. It’s supposed to be a long book, but the version I got is about 3/8″ thick. I opened it up, hoping I had made an impossible error in judging the poem’s length. No, sorry. It turned out I bought the microprint version. You have to read it with a proton microscope.

The print is slightly bigger than phone book print, and there are no gaps to speak of. I’m not sure why anyone buys this version. I tried to read it for a while, and then I gave up and went back to my phone.

It’s boring. It’s so incredibly boring. I don’t care if saying that proves I’m a clod. It’s terrible.

Aeneas is in Sicily. He sailed there from Carthage, where ***SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER*** he jilted Queen Dido, who proceeded to kill herself (because anorexia and self-cutting hadn’t been invented). In Sicily, he ran into other Trojans, and he decided to hang out a while. As usual, the top priority for these Hellenists was naked sports.

I don’t actually know that they were naked, but I’m willing to assume it out of laziness.

Aeneas had a bunch of ships full of really tired people who want to found a nation and relax, so of course, he decided to hold games.

It’s the usual stuff. Tedious narrations of unentertaining events in which the self-pitying, diaper-worthy losers cry like fat girls who didn’t make the cheerleading squad. Really off-putting.

Here is my position on men crying: if you cry because your mom got run over, fine. If you cry tears of joy because your son was just born, great. If you cry because you lost a stupid foot race, you are a pansy, and someone should slap you.

Once again, I find myself filled with contempt for the values of the Greeks (yes, they were Trojans, but same culture). The shallowness is profound (I love a good oxymoron). All they care about is winning and being admired. It’s like reading about a bunch of neurotic, narcissistic, superficial Olympic athletes. This is what hanging out with Lance Armstrong must be like.

I have no respect for people like that. Zero. I have no desire to be around them. Egotistical people ruin the world. They are idiots.

Virgil is very long-winded. I keep wondering…is this because ancient people had no entertainment and long attention spans, or is it just that he was a bad writer with no understanding of pace?

I lean toward the latter explanation. You’re not allowed to criticize the classics, but I do anyway, so I will say it: Virgil needs an editor. Bad.

I don’t really need to know everything that happened in the boat race between Mnestheus and Sergestus. Wrap it up. Keep it punchy. Five hundred or a thousand words will do it to death. You don’t need five thousand.

To prove my point, let me remind you that Shakespeare lived before TV, and he wasn’t a bore. Lots of respected pre-technological writers weren’t bores. Virgil is a bore. He is an epic bore, in more ways than one.

Today I saw an interesting article on the web. Some guy thinks he has found the 40 smartest people who ever lived. I checked the list out. I saw something astounding. The guy whose IQ may have been 400? No. The guy who could recite The Aeneid WORD FOR WORD.

What on earth was wrong with him? How could he stand it? How could he bear reading this miserable work over and over until it was committed to memory? What possible reason could he have for wasting that much time? Who sat beside him for four days holding the text as he recited, checking his accuracy?

Here’s a secret: it’s a lie. No one can memorize 400 pages without a mistake, and no one would sit still to check his memory. I can’t prove any of this, but then there are a lot of crazy stories I can’t disprove.

People tend to lie about geniuses and people they simply want to pretend are geniuses. John Kennedy told a reporter to say he read 2,000 words per minute, and now we accept it as gospel. There are some crazy-smart people out there, but no one memorized The Aeneid. I won’t believe it without proof.

Some of the genius stories are credible. If a kid goes to a reputable university and gets a doctorate at 13, I believe it’s legitimate. Things like that have happened. I think. It’s not all that shocking. People tend to underestimate the capabilities of smart kids, so they don’t teach them as much as they could. It happened to me. A super-brilliant kid (or even a kid who is merely really smart) with attentive parents should have no problem graduating from college before puberty. But I do not buy the memorization story.

Maybe I’m wrong; maybe it’s easier in Latin. Maybe it rhymes. But what a thing to do to yourself. What use is it? It’s not like your friends are going to beg you to come over and recite a boring poem for 19 hours. No one will pay you for it. “Come over and remind me how bored I was in college.” No.

It’s kind of a bummer, reading about all these smart people. It’s obvious that many of them had parents who made a responsible effort to cultivate them. No kid walks into a university admissions office alone at the age of 9. I love my parents and all that, but they did a very bad job. I can’t memorize The Aeneid, and I don’t think I was ever in any danger of revolutionizing physics, but I had a certain amount of potential, and my parents let about 90% of it go down the toilet. On the up side, I saw every episode of Star Trek at least five times, I didn’t have to play organized football, and I got to eat a lot of ice cream.

Here’s something else that’s interesting: a lot of the smart people in the article didn’t achieve much. Some did great things. Others hid away from society. One works at Home Depot.

The guy Will Hunting was based on took a civil service exam and got a low grade. Seems like no one is safe from underachievement. I don’t know how you get a low grade on that type of exam. I assume he forgot to breathe. Maybe they put the thermometer in the wrong end.

I can relate to these people, from my own relatively amoeba-like level. I may well be the least ambitious person on earth who is not in a coma. Ambitious people give me the willies. I wouldn’t want to be in a room with Reince Priebus or Hillary Clinton for more than a few seconds.

Leonardo da Vinci was known for underachieving, if you can believe it. He had a reputation for starting things he didn’t finish. I suppose the ideas were more interesting than the implementation. You have an exciting idea, you do enough work to prove it’s good, you say, “Yeah, I can do that,” and then you wander off and play Grand Theft Auto…feeling successful.

Leonardo did not understand Latin. He was spared the Virgil experience. Lucky guy.

I guess it’s time to call more flakes and do more bookkeeping. I hope to be done with Virgil soon. When things settle down, I may just climb into the refrigerator and stay there until September.

More

Here’s horrible news. Amazon’s listings for The Aeneid are screwed up. They claimed they were selling me a translation by Allen Mandelbaum, but they actually sold me one by a guy named Mackail. So now I’m 39% of the way through the book…with a translation I wouldn’t wish on Hitler.

Arrggh. It’s hard out here for a classics scholar.

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More Reasons to go Back in Time and Beat my Younger Self

July 31st, 2016

The Golden Screw

I am still working on my CNC mini-lathe.

It seems that one of my big problems was misunderstanding the purpose of CNC. I thought of CNC as something intended to allow machinists to cut shapes which are difficult or impossible in manual machining. There is some truth to that, but CNC is also intended to save time.

Back when I was working on a kibbutz in 1984, I stupidly chose to be a grapefruit picker. The kibbutz had a CNC factory, and I could have learned a lot there. One of the volunteers said there was a machine they called “the golden screw.” You put a piece of brass in, and shortly thereafter, you pulled out a finished part with threads on it. A hungover teenager from Germany could do it. Machinists were not required.

I suppose it illustrates the deep purpose of CNC: to avoid paying any more for labor (or anything else) than absolutely necessary. Paying a skilled machinist a high wage for performing lots of operations on a brass part could raise the retail price to a hundred dollars or more. Paying a kid virtually nothing to shove parts into a machine and take them out is cheaper. And the faster the machine works, the cheaper it will be.

Earlier this year, when I started trying to get my lathe to work, I was confused because it seemed my references had a strange obsession with speed. There was a lot of information about making the lathe zip around like the Flash looking for an outhouse after a pie-eating contest. I thought it was bizarre that a person who made parts in his garage would care that much about speed. Of course, I failed to consider the fact that most CNC users are not in garages. They’re trying to make money.

If you have a $100,000 CNC lathe, I’m sure speed is no problem. It should be made to take it. But if you convert a manual machine, things are different. The machine has a limited tolerance for jerking and accelerating.

I had problems with the lathe skipping steps, sua sponte, in Gcode programs. I learned that it somehow decided to omit steps it couldn’t handle. Also, the couplers that turn the screws rely on friction, so if you make the motion too snappy, they can spin without turning the screws.

Last night I was working on getting my x-axis steps-per-inch and backlash figures right. I tried to cut a rounded end on a piece of Delrin. The lathe wandered off and crashed into the work. It skipped the steps that pulled it back from the work, so it kept moving forward.

The reason for this was that I had raised the motor’s velocity. The lathe decided to skip certain steps. When I lowered the velocity, everything worked.

Now it appears that I can machine things to within a few thousandths of spec, which is an improvement. The lathe works well enough to make parts, and that means it works well enough to be used as a teaching tool. So I have to have new goals.

First of all, I have to get on top of CAD and CAM. Mach3, the program that runs the lathe, offers prefab wizards for simple operations, but you can’t type in “door knob” and get a part. If you want to make anything more unusual than a screw, you have to draw it in CAD and send it to the lathe.

I am capable of drawing parts in Fusion360, Autodesk’s incredible free program. Now I have to find out how to get those parts to my contoller.

I also need to learn about tool placement. When you turn on a CNC lathe, the tool has to know exactly where it is, and that’s not as simple as it may sound to a person who isn’t a machinist. Locating something to within a thousandth of an inch is a job. If you have to use more than one tool on a part, you have to locate more than one tool.

Some people make revolving tool holders. You can put a right-hand tool in one mount and a threading tool in another, and you can program the controller to rotate the appropriate tool into place at the correct time. It won’t work unless you know where the tips of the tools are.

I don’t need a rotating tool holder; I should be able to get by with a turret or quick change tool post. But even then, I’ll need to be able to index everything accurately and tell the lathe where the tips will be.

By “index,” I mean there will have to be something on the lathe that forces the tool holder to fit perfectly into a preset position. Whatever this reference object is, the tool holder will “index” against it.

I don’t think a motorized tool holder makes sense for me. It will cost much more time than it will save. I’m not in a hurry, so I don’t mind programming pauses into my programs that will allow me to change tools manually.

I’m closer to getting the threading problem fixed. If I had known that my KFlop controller required two inputs for threading, I would have bought something else, because Mach3 likes one input. I have the KFlop, so I have to make it work.

I’ve had problems trying to find optical switches for it. I will need to mount a disk on the spindle with a slot in it, and I’ll need two slotted switches mounted at 90 degrees to each other. I kept trying to find a switch that would provide the KFlop with the required 3.3-5V input. I looked at datasheets, and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t list output voltage.

Of course, I was looking for a figure that doesn’t exist. I was looking at switches, and switches put out whatever voltage you feed into them. If you buy a rocker switch, the literature will list a maximum voltage, but beyond that, V-in equals V-out, so the datasheet won’t give you an output voltage.

I figured this out after asking some questions on a forum. It should have been obvious. The problem is that I had preconceived notions about transistors. Optical switches use transistors to provide output, and I am used to thinking of transistors as voltage amplifiers with a gain higher than 1, so I just assumed the switches made their own decisions about output voltage.

After all this is done, I’m going to want ball screws. The screws I have now are just too aggravating to work with. I keep trying to pin down the correct figure for steps per inch, but it’s elusive, and I think the screws are the reason. A setting that works fine in one trial will be slightly off the next time.

You would think you could rely on simple math, starting with the pitch of the screws, but I got bad results that way.

I am told I need fat screws, because they work better than skinny ones. I keep checking Ebay. It looks like it’s going to be a minimum of $150, all told. But it beats chasing numbers I will never catch with ordinary screws.

The lathe is not going to be the answer to my turning prayers. It will be wonderful for threading and for turning shapes that aren’t plain old combinations of cylinders, but it won’t be a milling machine. It seems like a milling machine would have been way more useful.

I suspect that even threading would be easy on a mill. You could make a threading cutter and make it go around a vertical workpiece, or you could put the workpiece in the spindle and run it past a stationary cutter. Maybe. I know they make CNC rotary tables for mills, so you should be able to mount workpieces in them and rotate the work that way. Anyway, the lathe is not looking like the optimal choice.

Oh boy. I was right. I just found a video.

Who wants to buy a lathe?

I exaggerate, but you can see what I’m saying.

Regardless of whether it makes sense, I will get this thing working. Maybe some day I’ll be able to make a little CNC milling attachment to go on the carriage, allowing me to mill things as big as 2″ by 2″. Hooray.

The C programming is going fine, although I had a strange problem. I wrote a program and got it working. Then I modified it, and it refused to change. It compiled fine, but it continued to do what it did before I modified it. Deleting the executable file didn’t help. I can’t figure that out.

I changed the source file name and compiled it, and it works. I can modify it.

It’s like the executable for the program that won’t change is stuck in my computer somewhere, refusing to leave.

If I produce anything useful, you can bet you will hear about it here.

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You’re It!

July 28th, 2016

I May Open an Account at the Liquor Store

I am close to finishing the job of preparing my dad’s tax documents for his accountant. I thought it would never end. Even when it’s done, the job of arranging his affairs will continue for at least a month or two.

I feel like I was ambushed. When a person suddenly loses the ability to handle his business without help, having the job thrust on you is like having someone throw you a bale of wet hay without warning. At first, you’re going to reel a little.

As the job has progressed, my dad’s value as a resource has dropped fast. I used to be able to ask questions about his practices or about the locations of things I needed, and he could help. Now a question that should take five minutes to answer can result in over an hour of talking in circles. It’s better to let him rest and figure things out on my own.

If you have an older relative whose finances are complicated, you need to keep an eye on them. They may be saving every single computer document in one folder, with titles like “1.” They may be throwing all their paper documents into one accordion folder. They may have piles of new checkbooks and deposit slips for accounts that were cancelled years ago. They may have accounts for which they haven’t saved statements, and you will have to unearth the accounts and get the required papers. You will probably discover late fees and open balances. You may find out there are safe deposit boxes you never heard of.

My natural tendency in life is to live and let live…because people do not listen to me. If I see you doing something really ill-advised, and I’m confident you’re informed, I will probably leave you alone unless you ask for my opinion. I stayed out of my dad’s affairs because I didn’t know whether I was going to inherit anything and I didn’t want to spend my life arguing with him, knowing he would almost never accept my advice.

That’s how this mess happened, but I don’t think there was much I could have done differently. It would have been nice if I had been able to have some input, because he made mistakes I knew were going to bite him in the future. I am definitely having input now, after the mess has been made. This is nearly a solo act now.

Maybe your older relatives won’t listen to you. That’s not your fault. I advise you to keep sounding them, because they may become more open to advice as they start to sink, and you may not know it if you don’t test the waters on occasion.

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Upgrade to First Class

July 28th, 2016

Coach is no Place for a Prince

More info is coming in.

Last night I was in prayer, and I kept hearing the word “churl.” In dictionaries, this word’s primary definition equates it with terms like “peasant” and “hick.” That may be the definition they list first, but in reality, most people use it to refer to a lower-class person who is insolent, uncultured, stupid, and arrogant. Think of Kanye West.

In Shakespeare’s works, people who get above themselves are churls. A child who has no respect for a parent, or a servant who talks back to the king…that’s a churl. An ignorant young person who participates in a flash mob and robs a store is a churl.

King Lear should be called Revenge of the Churls. It’s full of low people suddenly thrust into high places. Of course, that means it’s also full of upper-class people thrust into low places of abuse and fear.

Lear starts the ball rolling by giving up his kingdom without thinking clearly or asking for advice. He allows his daughters to determine their shares by participating in a praise contest. Whoever spews the most ridiculous lies about her admiration for him gets the most stuff. As a result, predictably, the slimiest daughters get everything, and the honest daughter is banished.

He puts low people in charge, and they turn his world upside down. They take away his knights. They talk to him as if he’s a little boy who misbehaves. They let their snotty, lower-class servants abuse him. They tear the eyes out of one of his nobles, and they promote the noble’s illegitimate son, who already had a sweet deal that was nothing to complain about.

His friend Kent, obviously a noble, is banished and put under threat of execution.

In the Lear world, up is down and down is up. It’s like a preview of this week’s Democratic convention.

In the supernatural realm, Satan, the fallen angels, and the demons are churls. And as churls will, they have assumed temporary power over their betters. People who serve Satan tend to be churls.

A long time ago, God told me this: “Satan is a loser.” Sounds like a harsh thing to say, but then this is the same God who says he derides Satan and laughs at his defeat. God isn’t a wheedling punching bag full of marshmallows; his patience deceives people. He drowned the human race and burned children alive in Sodom. He built hell and the lake of fire.

Satan really is a loser. He’s like a ghetto punk who can’t get what he wants honestly and ends up pimping and selling drugs. He wants God’s power, along with worship, without his righteousness.

Satan is like a moron who lives in the guest bedroom of his mom’s trailer and makes meth in soda bottles. He’s like a food stamp recipient who wears Air Jordans and plays video games all day. He can’t cut it. He’s a malodorous failure who can only get the things he desires temporarily, through lies and fakery.

The demons, which are the offspring of angels and women, are losers, tool. They’re illegitimate. They have no inheritance and no future. They can’t do anything good; it isn’t in them. Their time is taken up with malice and cruelty directed at human beings. They see us as pampered younger children, which is what we are. It tears them up to see us receive God’s help, when they’re all headed for eternal pain and humiliation. The fact that God took our punishment must drive them out of their minds. I’m sure they talk about how unfair it is.

Churls think they’re victims. That’s why they’re so ready to do evil to better people. It’s why they key nice cars and steal things from people’s yards. If you have something, it was supposed to be theirs, so stealing isn’t wrong; it’s reparations. If your country is nicer than theirs, it’s not because they make their country a miserable place where no one can succeed; it’s because you stole their land.

Of course, if they got what you have, they would destroy it fast. That’s their nature. They don’t build; they destroy. Look what happens to lottery winners who have no class. Look at Rodney King, an instant millionaire who died broke.

There is a famous canard among minority philosophers: “It’s impossible for minorities to be racist, because you can’t be racist if you have no power.” Okay, so if you hate other people because of their color, and you do your best to kill them, but you’re not part of the majority…what are you? If not a racist, then what? A saint?

No, obviously, you’re a racist. Your canard is just a shield that protects the filth in your heart. You just want an excuse to hurt other people.

Christians live in defeat because we think churl spirits can’t live in us. Backward preachers tell us demons don’t exist, or that they’re just bad parts of our own personalities. They tell us demons do exist, but we’re too good to have them; people who have demons always foam at the mouth and roll on the ground. We think there are no churls ruling us, so we leave them in power, and we die of disease and other causes. We live in misery, ruled by supernatural enemies and the vile people they bring against us.

We lack authority because we don’t identify with God in our hearts. We go to church to get forgiveness, or just to feel good, or to find dates. We want to give God just enough of ourselves to make life tolerable. That means we choose the churls over the king, so when we appeal to the king’s authority for help, we usually don’t get much. He’s like a rich aunt we only visit when we want money; why should he help us?

Last night God reminded me: we are not supposed to be part of the universe’s defeated lower class. We are supposed to be nobility. More specifically, we are supposed to be royalty; each one of us should be a prince or princess, very literally. We don’t accept the role, so we don’t get the perks.

It sounds elitist to talk about class as though it were a good thing, but history vindicates me. Who would you rather be stuck in a lifeboat with? Prince Charles and his family, or a mix of Baltimore protesters, Bernie Sanders socialists, white supremacists, and La Raza members?

Aside from that, my real subject is supernatural classes, not earthly classes. I’m not saying only people with money are good. As Paul said, not many people who are wise, mighty, or noble on earth are called.

The word “noble” doesn’t just mean “high born.” It also means full of grace and altruism. A person with a noble heart is better than a person with the heart of a grasping peasant. Whatever your heart is like right now, God is ready to change it and turn it into the heart of a prince. It doesn’t matter whether you rule a country or rake leaves for a living.

If you think you don’t have demons, you are sheltering them and keeping them in control. Jesus said his followers would cast them out, but not many people are doing it, and those that try are usually using one hand to cast them out and the other to hold them in. Without confession and accountability, you’re asking for a prince’s privileges coupled with a stooge’s heart and mind. The filth inside you will hold the spirits that squat in you, the same way poop holds flies.

Jesus is very elitist. He welcomes the poor and people who aren’t bright, but he calls the class of people who reject him “swine.” He calls them “the dead,” “whitewashed tombs,” and “dogs.” When he cast demons out of a man who lived in a cemetery, they ran into pigs. This was a demonstration of his opinion of people who prefer Satan to him. That’s the majority of humanity. The man lived with the dead, and the pigs were like unbelievers.

The spirits that control you are like crackheads who break into your house, beat you in front of your family, and force you to cook and provide for them. They are losers. They spread their filth and darkness in you; that’s why so many people who are heavily controlled by demons keep their homes dark and let filth accumulate until it stinks. Hell is a dark place that stinks. The presence of the wicked makes it that way.

You’re submitted to the Holy Spirit, who wants you to receive a kingdom, or you’re submitted to filthy, stinking churls who want to eat you while you’re still alive and then drag you to their prison to share their punishment. There is no middle alternative.

The universe makes a lot of sense. We think it doesn’t because the people who came before us rejected wisdom and failed to pass it on. We don’t understand the things they understood. You have more control over your suffering than you think.

The more I give myself to God, the better things get. The more I ask for criticism, and the more I agree with it and ask for help, the fewer problems I have with my enemies. This is what God wants. You’re not supposed to live however you want and come to church every week so God can change your diaper. You’re supposed to let him potty-train you.

I have to be what victimhood cultists call “self hating.” I don’t hate myself, of course. But I have to reject the culture I come from. Appalachia is messed up. America as a whole is not quite as backward, but it’s bad enough to be doomed. The counterproductive traits I’ve cultivated in myself, which are not necessarily related to my culture, are messed up. I reject all of it. I want the culture of heaven. I want to be of the race, nation, and family of God.

If you tried to say that at the Democratic Convention, they would burn you alive. Culture is sacred (unless it’s mainstream culture). Speak Spanish on the job! Cover yourself with ghetto tattoos! Be rude and surly. Be a racist. Hate men. Attack white people. Don’t accommodate. Be proud and unwilling to change, because pride is better than gold!

The supernatural realm is perfectly polarized. We think it’s bad here in America, among people, but we’re wishy-washy and moderate compared to spirits. Spirits literally hate God and want to abuse and kill him, or they love him and want to serve him without any thought of backtalk. It’s too bad we can’t see the spirits we side with every day. We would realize how many of our backward cultural ideas are actually demonic and poisonous.

I don’t want to be ruled by supernatural peasants who should be lower than slaves. I want to see them pushed out of my life. I don’t want their filth-loving human servants to be able to lead me around by a hook in my nose. Whatever I have to part with in order to get free is worthless compared to the benefits.

The farther you go into the kingdom, the more you alienate yourself from human beings. Their hatred of you increases; the rejection increases. Be happy about it. People are treacherous, and they carry transmissible problems. Limiting your exposure is a good thing.

I almost never hear from my relatives. Local people who used to call themselves my friends cut me off when I started going to church. Good. If you’re not with the program, you’re not going where I’m going, anyway.

Here’s to class mobility. I plan to take advantage.

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Welcome to the Age of Virgin-Shaming

July 27th, 2016

Your Body; the Left’s Choice

I knew better, but I clicked on a link to The Washington Post. I have only myself to blame. The headline I clicked said, “As a young evangelical, I believed a bestselling book that warned me to stay ‘pure’ until marriage. I still have a stain on my heart.”

Weird way to write a headline.

You really have to see the core “argument,” in order to believe it:

Purity culture taught me that I ought to be passed down from father to husband, more an inheritance than a human. I was taught that men are my cover and my shield, when for the most part they have been the ones causing damage through molestation, rape, and abuse. I was taught that my holy calling was to open my legs for one and only one and bear him children. Barring that, I was to keep them closed and never express desire or lust or fear or longing. So many women in my life cracked under the untenable pressure, often giving up on God all together. Others were forced into marriages with men who hit them and hid their abuse behind another message of the church borne from purity culture, that God hates divorce.

Are you kidding me?

This isn’t a Christian led by the Holy Spirit. She’s probably not a Christian at all. It reminds me of the famous Internet comment lead-in: “As a lifelong Republican,” which means, “As an extreme leftist who posts comments, pretending to be conservative.”

Maybe there is a church out there somewhere that teaches women they are their fathers’ possessions. I have never heard that doctrine. I’m pretty sure it disappeared during the Renaissance.

The line about women “forced” into marriage is classic victimhood spiel. Who “forces” women into marriage in 2016? I mean, not including Muslims? This isn’t the Middle Ages. Christian parents are some of the most passive people on earth. A typical evangelical would rather walk off a pier than “judge” his daughter or tell her whom to marry. The “judge not” crowd has us penned into a dark corner, like Moonies at an airport. The devil talked us into unilateral disarmament.

Is it possible that there are non-Christian women who slept around a lot and still ended up in abusive marriages? Just maybe. Call me crazy, but I believe that. Or maybe Mike Tyson was a virgin when he got hitched.

Suddenly, purity is human trafficking. Fathers and husbands of pure brides are pimps. Insane. We have entered the age of virgin-shaming.

But it’s not surprising, from a woman who clearly feels hostility toward men (not the typical evangelical attitude). She says, “I was taught that men are my cover and my shield, when for the most part they have been the ones causing damage through molestation, rape, and abuse.” Did Rachel Maddow write this?

It’s a remarkable thing. Suddenly promiscuity is wise, and purity is perilous and foolish. If you can believe things like that, there is probably no lie you can’t swallow.

If you aren’t baptized with the Holy Spirit, you can be persuaded to believe things that go against doctrine and your upbringing. You have weak walls. This is why Jesus told the disciples not to do anything until he gave them power.

I looked at the comments, expecting to gag, but even the Post’s readers were not completely on the side of sleaze. That surprised me.

I keep getting these not-at-all subtle reminders: “America’s goose is cooked. Stop thinking about fixing it.” I have stopped. I will not resume. It’s like the feeling you get when you realize God wants you to stop trying to reform someone who has already decided not to listen. Often it’s okay to let people destroy themselves. God does it every day.

You’re not really letting them destroy themselves; you’re just acknowledging that you can’t help them.

I got some interesting comments about The Aeneid, which is now high on my list of least-favorite books. One commenter pointed out that it’s actually a poem, and that prose translations suck the life out of it. Another person said I should consider a different translation.

These comments make sense. Imagine reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in prose form. Not something I would look forward to. It would be a terrible book. You would have to change everything about it to make it digestible.

The translation I quoted in an earlier post keeps rhythm and rhyme in the poem (I am assuming the original rhymed so I don’t have to look up the Latin). It’s considerably more palatable than the version I’m reading. It’s broken up into short lines, which makes it less imposing. My translation is just a wall of letters.

I wanted to use the translations Columbia College used, so that’s what I bought. I’m sure they have a good reason for subjecting students to the version I have. Just like they have a good reason for coed showers.

My new strategy is to use my phone to read the book. The screen is small, so it breaks the prose up into little pieces that cause less pain going down. But maybe a different translation is the way to go. I’m not going to remember this stuff anyway, so it shouldn’t matter much. I just have to convince myself I’m not cheating.

Sooner or later, I have to tackle Don Quixote, which weighs a good pound and a half in paperback. Maybe I should give it a pass. I had to read it for another course at Columbia. There was a strange old guy who was held out to be a great genius, and his Don Quixote course was a Columbia College staple. I failed to perceive any signs of genius–I thought he was boring and barely coherent–but then you don’t have to be Marilyn vos Savant to do well in the Liberal Arts. You just have to memorize well and pretend you agree with your warped leftist teachers.

Maybe he was a different person if you dealt with him one on one, but everyone I knew thought he was an empty suit. Nice guy, I think. Smiled a lot. A LOT. It was a little strange.

He kept calling Don Quixote “the quicksut.” No idea what that was all about.

I may get yammered at for this, but it seems like Spanish-language literature is not on the same level as literature in English, French, German, whatever language the Scandinavians write in, and Russian. There goes my diversity merit badge.

Spain-boosters always cry, “Cervantes!”, when you say this. I don’t think Cervantes was all that good; Rabelais did the same kind of thing with much more skill and erudition. If you skip forward a few centuries, you run into Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I like Borges okay, but I thought Four Hundred Years of Solitude was windy, coarse, and pointless. The world is bad. Babies get eaten by ants. Okay; what are you trying to get at?

It may be that Spanish-speaking authors get an automatic push to the front of the line, like black directors. Okay, I apologize. Spike Lee really is a genius. The only reason his stuff goes straight to DVD is that the general public is too unsophisticated to appreciate Oldboy.

I didn’t know that movie existed until thirty seconds ago. It does exist, right?

If Spanish literature were really good, you would see a wall of translations when you walked into Barnes & Noble in America, just as people surely see walls of translations when they walk into bookstores in Spain. If it’s good, it will be translated. Publishers like money. They like new markets for old merchandise.

Maybe Spanish literature is to French literature as Spanish brandy is to cognac. As everyone knows, the French have accomplished huge things in literature, as well as math and science. I’m sitting here trying, and I can’t think of a theorem, law, or principle named after a Spaniard. France, though…Poisson, Cauchy, Descartes, Pascal, Ampere, d’Alembert, Lagrange…and they invented the bidet. Maybe.

I guess the Spanish had other things on their minds.

Spanish brandy is really bad, by the way. I got fooled into buying it once. It was said to be the equal of French XO, at a fraction of the price. Don’t you believe it. I bought something called Le Panto, and it tasted like it had been made from cooking wine that had been left outdoors in troughs for a month. I did not finish the bottle. I’ve also tried Gran Duque D’Alba, which is like a cheap domestic brandy with sugar in it. I paid forty bucks for a bottle, as a gift. Never again. Now I get Korbel’s top offering, for $19. It’s excellent.

I hope Virgil is behind me soon. When this ordeal is over, I will be able to say I read the whole book, and that will put me in, I would guess, an exclusive group making up perhaps 2% of the people who took Lit. Hum.

The quicksut himself would stand up and applaud.

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I Can Haz Aeneid?

July 26th, 2016

Reading the Classics in the Age of Instant Electronic Gratification

I managed to get free from The Symposium. What a disgusting experience; an entire book dedicated to predatory gay relationships, with a side order of specious, disappointing argument. I’m so glad I’m finished with it.

I’m now working on The Aeneid, Virgil’s book about the founding of Rome. In case you’re interested, Virgil had a last name. His full name is Publius Vergilius Maro. Sounds Italian. Maybe he wore shiny suits without vents.

“Hey! You leanin’ on my chariot?!”

I was hoping for a quick read, but according to Amazon, the book has 400 pages. It makes me wonder if I want to go on living.

I say “according to Amazon” because I don’t have a hardcopy yet. I ordered one, but I got a head start using Kindle. I’m using Kindle for PC, and it doesn’t show page numbers, so I’m not sure what’s going on. I do know this: after one 30-minute session, I’m 1/12 of the way through it.

It makes me wonder how anyone survives Columbia College. According to the syllabus, you get one week to read this book. I read faster than other people, and it will clearly take me six hours to get through it, not including side excursions to look things up. So for a real student of average ability, let’s say ten hours, all told. How are you supposed to cope with that while carrying at least three other courses?

More and more, I understand why people use Cliff’s Notes.

I do not like The Aeneid. It is extremely boring. It is very badly written. I guess that’s heresy, but we always cut the ancients more slack than we do contemporary writers. Homer was a terrible writer; he was verbose, repetitive, and totally unfamiliar with structure and pace. Plato is somewhat better; his big problem is his subject matter. Virgil is a horror.

Shakespeare was magnificent. Voltaire wrote well. Rabelais wrote well. I’m not prejudiced against all dead writers.

Unfortunately, I found a page on Columbia’s website that suggests I may have to read stuff beyond the list I already have. They provide a list of all the works known to have been read for Lit. Hum. since the earth cooled. If the list is correct, my 2015 syllabus doesn’t cover all the junk I chose not to read a thousand years ago, when I was supposed to. I may have to read The Golden Ass (totally serious) and a number of other things I would rather use as doorstops.

What drives a person to become a classics scholar? How can they take the pain? Maybe it’s not so bad, because there aren’t that many classics. It’s not like Virgil is still writing in a converted barn in Vermont. If he were, we could hire someone to bump him off. But that won’t be necessary.

Check this out; it’s some text from Virgil:

Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc’d by fate,
And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate,
Expell’d and exil’d, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin’d town;
His banish’d gods restor’d to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome.
O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok’d, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav’n began

I didn’t bother looking for a good place to end the excerpt. It doesn’t matter; the point is to show you what I’m dealing with. The above bit comes from a translation Columbia doesn’t use. It was handier to access for copying. Can you imagine sweating through 400 pages of that?

Here’s something that will chill your bones even further: many of the paragraphs are over a page long. That’s inhumane. It must be due to translator ineptitude. I doubt Virgil used paragraphs at all.

I don’t care what you’re writing; you can break it up better than that. Long paragraphs are for the lazy and the uneducated.

There must be 500 words to a page. It’s crammed in there as if paper were platinum. To get another turgid word into a page, you would have to grease it and use a hydraulic press.

No one actually enjoys reading this crap. No way. They can pretend all they want. No one wants to read 500 convoluted words that add up to, “Aeneas raised his sail.”

I guess two things have to be considered. First, ancient people had almost no entertainment, so they probably wanted books to be as long as possible. They were probably like people who didn’t want Breaking Bad to end. When your book ended, you went back to your grimy, unpunctuated, hopeless potato-eater existence. Second, they didn’t have a lot of works to compare. Maybe they thought Virgil did a fine job.

You don’t read books like this one in order to enjoy them. You read them to gather information which, it is to be hoped, improves your mind.

That’s not true. In reality, that’s a loftier motivation than most of us have. We really read them (or the Cliff’s Notes) in order to get grades and get dreary classes behind us.

It appears that writing is a lot like blogging. The earlier you started, the more likely you are to receive attention and praise, regardless of the quality of your work. If Virgil wrote The Aeneid today, he’d be held for observation and banned from owning a computer.

I’m forcing myself not to look, but I’m afraid Dostoevsky is in my future. I have tried to read him before. I thought it would kill me. You read a paragraph, and you pause to regain your strength. You read another paragraph. You look out the window. You read another paragraph. You flip to the end of the book to check, and yes, it’s 900 pages long.

Maybe I’m secretly (or not so secretly) a lowbrow. Maybe I need the pop-up Aeneid. Maybe I need a version edited by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, with car chases inserted in random locations. I want the Nicholas Cage Aeneid: Gone to Rome in Sixty Seconds.

Here’s what my review of Citizen Kane would look like:

The best thing is to think of these books as trips to the dentist. It’s impossible to enjoy many of them, so why try? You don’t come home disappointed when you don’t enjoy getting a filling. Fillings are good for you. Spinal taps are good for you. Having a gangrenous leg amputated out in the woods with no anaesthetic is good for you. Don’t feel bad about not enjoying it. Just lie back and think of England.

The problem is that so many people pretend to enjoy boring books. They make the rest of us–the honest ones–feel guilty. I’m not afraid to confess my inadequacy. This book is boring. I do not like it. If that bothers you, shoot me. Pierce me with a dart from Phoebus’ gilded bow.

It could be worse. I could be Kanye West, a self-proclaimed “proud non-reader of books.”

Maybe he’s not crazy after all. Maybe he’s right when he says he’s a genius.

He also said, “I would never want a book’s autograph.”

I’ll just leave that there.

I don’t enjoy Charlie Parker, either. Shoot me some more. I proclaim it from the rooftops. His music sounds like hailstones falling on a cement patio. I don’t care if it’s brilliant. I don’t turn on the stereo to be lectured.

Perhaps I have now purged to the point where I can force myself to read more. I wish Virgil were still alive. I would create a very scathing Internet meme with his picture on it.

Don’t buy this book. Read the Cliff’s Notes. I absolve you.

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Naughty Stewardess Cell Phone Leak Reveals All

July 25th, 2016

Now That You’ve Clicked, Take me Seriously

I generally look at Drudge in the morning, and today I was treated to a link to an article about naked dating shows.

This is really something.

A couple of days ago, I watched a movie filmed in the Forties. A man married a woman, and they had a problem that kept them awake. They discussed it…from separate beds.

That’s a little weird, but it shows how things have changed. Now we have single people on TV kids can watch, stark naked, examining each other like buyers at a slave auction.

Based on things I’ve seen in the past, I am going to guess that the people who make the show blur out the parts everyone wants to see, and that–OOPS–occasionally there’s an “accidental” peek viewers can pause and turn into a video capture.

An exposed rear end isn’t considered nudity any more. Go figure. They probably show those a lot.

The message came home to me: I am not ahead of the curve in announcing America’s defeat. I’m behind it. We are done. If the devil had a pop-out timer in us, it would have popped in about 2004.

Maybe I’m still too generous. How about 1990?

The end isn’t near; it’s here. Dawn has broken. I assume the only reason Satan isn’t moving faster is that he wants us to have time to acclimate. That way he can get us to jump through hoops that are still too disgusting for us in our present state.

I don’t know what to do. I haven’t been given instructions yet.

There’s an old movie called On the Beach. It’s not about naked volleyball. It’s about nuclear war. In the movie, the war is over, but the dying isn’t. The northern hemisphere is immersed in a cloud of lethal fallout, and because of the way the wind works in the movie, it takes a very long time to move below the equator. That means the Australians are sentenced to wait and see if they’ll be killed by radiation poisoning.

At first they have food and drink, and they continue with their lives. Everything is fine, except for the knowledge that death is probably on the way.

When they find out the situation is hopeless, they react in different ways. Many people poison themselves. Fred Astaire kills himself in a race car. It’s hard for them to decide how to deal with doom.

American Christians are on the beach. Our future is brighter than that of worldly Australians, because our future lies in another world. But our earthly prospects are bleak.

Wikipedia relates the term “on the beach” to two sources. One is the British military. They use the phrase to refer to vessels that are retired from service. The other source is T.S. Eliot, who wrote:

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river.

So the Australians in the movie are avoiding talking about death. They are afraid of it. In this respect, their situation differs from that of Christians. We will talk about it a lot, and strong Christians will be more concerned about the destruction of the lost and the end of civilization than about their own deaths.

We’re coming up on our Peter moment. Deny God and get a little space to live, or acknowledge him and move on to something better.

People will be so glad to get rid of us. At least at first. Surely many of them will be upset to learn that they do a fine job of making each other miserable without us. The Germans and Austrians thought Jews screwed up their countries. If they had succeeded in killing them off and holding onto their empire, they would have found that some other group was a problem. People aren’t the issue. Hearts that aren’t influenced by the Holy Spirit are the foundation of strife.

If you’re full of hate, you can always find someone to blame and persecute.

Some people will miss us. Some will join us and invite murder. It will be nice to miss that spectacle.

I have to admit I’m full of morbid curiosity, wondering what 2020 and 2025 will look like. It’s hard to resist staring at a freak show or an accident scene. I suppose that’s a character issue I need help with.

I don’t want to see the Tribulation. Hell’s stink will soak through the earth’s surface and permeate everything. Nothing will go right. People will treat hate the way they should treat love. Cruelty will have no limits. God won’t restrict misery as much as he does now. Humanity will be lucky if it’s only as bad as Sudan and Somalia. I shouldn’t say that. It will be worse.

It’s such a strange thing to watch. People who hate God are going to see the new Satanic ethos as liberation. People who love God see it as what it is: a self-inflicted terminal disease. But then it’s not the first self-inflicted terminal disease.

I wish there was a cruise ship terminal I could drive to before things get completely insane. I could lean on the rail as the ship pulled out and the pierced and modified kooks on land threw rocks and their own excrement. I am ready to go. Curiosity notwithstanding, I have no desire to continue residing here after the decay curve steepens.

What will the signal of the end be? Maybe Naked Interspecies Dating.

I can barely look at the Internet any more. I think I’ll look around for some exhibits that illustrate our decline.

I’m glancing at some clickbait links. Here you go.

From Fox News: “M____’s body-paint look.”

From CNN: nothing. How about that? Liberal CNN is ahead of Fox on a moral issue.

The Daily Mail: “Making waves! D______ shows off her smoking hot body in a thong bikini as she enjoys a spot of paddle boarding with her adorable family in Ibiza.”

Agence France-Press: “Pilots and Flight Attendants Confess Dark Secrets,” with a photo looking up a woman’s skirt.

Time: nothing. Still holding on.

NBC: “Taylor’s Daring Style Leaves Little to the Imagination.”

The New York Post: “his Woman Giving Birth in a Stream Has Been Watched Over 54 Million Times (NSFW),” complete with a nude picture.

I’m surprised to see some sites behaving reasonably well. Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico haven’t lost it yet.

I don’t know what new shocks are around the corner. I suppose I should be content with what I’ve already seen. I look forward to whatever instructions I get. I want to keep improving and pull my feet up out of the cesspool as far as possible.

I don’t think any British news site has retained its dignity.

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Your Creepy Gym Teacher Loves You

July 24th, 2016

Your Parents are Just Breeding Stock

Yesterday I continued slogging my way through Plato’s Symposium. It’s like being forced to eat a chain-store pizza with a cat poo decorating each slice.

As I probably said in an earlier post, the book is about a bunch of gay Greeks sitting around drinking, talking about love. That’s actually wrong; they talk about “eros,” or “passionate love,” which really means sexual desire. It’s not what you and I think of as love.

They refer to love as a god over and over. That makes more sense if you think about Eros with a capital “E.” He’s the little round guy we think of as Cupid, the son of Venus. His name is a building block of the word “pederasty”; the “eras” comes from him.

I didn’t have a professor to explain this to me. I have a feeling they don’t push this angle at Columbia University, the school where I was supposed to be subjected to this book the first time around. I had to figure it out.

The Greeks loved two things we would call gay pedophilia and gay statutory rape. Plato’s book is a long rationalization which tries unsuccessfully to portray gay sex with younger, less powerful, less informed people as a good thing. If you think I’m exaggerating, read it yourself.

I finally got to the part where Socrates talks. To say it’s underwhelming doesn’t begin to express my reaction.

Here’s how Socrates works. He puts his conversational partner on the defensive, forcing him to answer questions but refusing to supply answers or take responsibility for them. He gets them to start out with idiotic premises, and then he forces them to build absurd arguments based on them.

He keeps pushing them toward the results he wants, pretending to compliment them on their brilliance the whole time. Then he arrives at a conclusion a ten-year-old would instantly know is insane.

I’m not impressed at all. Anyone can badger a less-intelligent or less-assertive person into saying something stupid. Put him on the defensive. Ask questions. Never answer questions. Never let him make a retraction. You will always win. You win for the same reason welshers win at poker; they never risk anything.

When I read Thucydides, I was very impressed with the arguments various orators made. It showed that they knew how to build arguments. It showed that they understood logic and persuasion. They understood structure. If you want to see how a good lawyer works in 2016, you can look at the speeches in Thucydides.

Socrates is not on that level. He is a sophist. By sophist, I don’t mean the Greek defition. I mean a person who builds arguments that are clever but false. Like Supreme Court Justice Brennan, who used an excellent mind to twist logic to suit his socialist bent.

He reminds me of something the character Mr. Dryden said in Lawrence of Arabia: “A man who tells lies, like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half-lies, has forgotten where he’s put it.” People like Socrates and Brennan often don’t realize they’re lying. To abuse the truth is to destroy your ability to perceive it.

The upshot of his beliefs appears to be this: love for a woman is bestial, like a dog’s lust for a bitch in heat. It’s a low thing, to be contemned. The desire to sodomize a young man systematically is refined and godlike, as long as you give him teaching in exchange for allowing you to insert yourself and make him a receptacle for your fluids.

Socrates considered fathering children a lower pastime than teaching young men. Imagine that. It’s disgusting to even think that a person could have things so backward. Your mom and dad are clods, but the funny gym teacher who always had to come into the shower to talk to you…he’s a sophisticate.

I’m not distorting it at all. You can find the same argument in pedophile chat rooms all over the world.

My understanding is that we study Plato in order to understand where other philosophers got their foundation. That’s important to a lot of people. I don’t find secular philosophy useful or interesting. I had to take a course in it. I got an A, and I impressed and annoyed the professor. That’s as far as I care to go. I have never been in a situation where I thanked God for a helpful idea from Kant or Gurdjieff that got me out of a tough spot.

The characters in Plato’s book, who may or may not be accurate depictions of the real people whose names they take, are extremely shallow and carnal. They think like pigs and goats. “Love” means “sex with boys.” You can’t love anything that isn’t beautiful (bad news for parents of kids with birth defects). Everyone is motivated by a desire to be famous and admired. People should strive to make their names “immortal.”

Ridiculous. That’s not how quality people work. Quality people know the difference between lust and love. They are genuinely altruistic. They aren’t motivated by the possibility that society might reward their actions by putting their names on buildings that will be gone in a hundred years.

It’s not surprising that Plato and his pals were shallow. Their “gods” were like monkeys at the height of the mating season. They were rapists, thieves, torturers, liars, drunks, and adulterers. The men of The Symposium repeatedly affirm their admiration for these Olympian baboons. If my “god” was a chimp on Viagra, I guess I’d feel the same way Socrates did.

I’m just reading the book for its historical value, and to be able to say I actually did the reading for Lit. Hum. After that, I plan to leave it on the shelf. I don’t know if I should even have it in the house, because it’s so gross. Most of my books are sources of useful information, and they can be helpful in my person development. The Symposium is more like a slice of a diseased liver, kept by a pathologist as a warning to drunks.

I think I’m on page 517 of the PDF I am reading while I wait for my hardcopy to arrive in the mail. It ends on page 539. Every time I turn a page, I feel like I’m scratching a day off a prison sentence.

It’s strange to see the Greeks talk about excellence of character (arete) all the time. They were slimy, cruel, violent, oppressive people. They wouldn’t know excellence if it came up behind them and beat them with a club.

Augustine is coming up. I was thinking it might be nice to get away from the diseased heathen minds of the Greeks, but I may be even more disturbed by crackpot Catholic doctrine that keeps people in chains. At least I enjoyed King Lear. I read it out of sequence. Good thing I did. It was the lime sherbet that refreshed my palate prior to a serving of garbage.

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Pajamas are for People Who Sleep

July 23rd, 2016

Thiel Ushers in a New Age of Republican Surrender

I did not watch the Republican convention. Not that interested, and I have a lot of things I prefer doing. But I did read some of Peter Thiel’s remarks. He is a homosexual businessman, and he founded Paypal. He is also the man who killed Gawker and bankrupted Nick Denton. He helped Hulk Hogan sue Gawker into the dirt.

Among other things, he said this: “I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform. But fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”

“Fake”?

Here’s another gem of deceit:

“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?”

A lot of people care, and Peter Thiel knows it. Girls and women in locker rooms care. Parents care. Christians care.

This is another example of Republicans trying to own gay and vigorously deny God. And it’s another example of our unfortunate determination to insulate ourselves from God’s protection.

It reminds me of George W. Bush’s naive, self-destructive efforts to convince Democrats he wasn’t divisive. He talked about “crossing the aisle.” He extended his hand across the aisle on many occasions, and he got it bitten off. The Democrats didn’t see him as moderate or inclusive. They saw him as weak, and they treated his overtures the way a boxer treats his opponent’s defense flaws.

RNC leaders don’t have faith in God. They are cynical, secular, realpolitik-oriented materialists. When they have setbacks, they don’t fast and pray. They hold strategy meetings, and they look for secular solutions. A big percentage of Republican voters are believers; people like Priebus and Norquist see us as starry-eyed suckers, to be herded and manipulated. They would love to see us give up God completely so they could make the platform changes they really want to make.

They’re not that interested in policy. They’re interested in getting rich and holding onto power. When you develop the habit of assuming, by default, that people are motivated primarily by the desire to get money and hold onto power, you will find that the world makes a lot more sense. As the Bible says, “The love of money is a root of many evils.”

I went to law school with Reince. I barely knew him, but I knew his crowd well. He was just another ordinary, ambitious guy who ran for silly class offices. No one admired him for his principles. No one I knew looked up to him. When I see him on TV, I don’t see anything new.

If the RNC bigwigs thought they could get more votes by putting support for partial-birth abortion in the platform, they’d do it in five seconds. When it comes to homosexuality, they did a little math, estimated the numbers of votes they might lose or gain, and gave Thiel a call. It’s that simple. Principle was never a consideration.

Christians have some power in the party, but it’s disappearing. Soon the Republicans will lose their status as the unofficial party of Jesus. They’ll be the party of business and law enforcement. They’ll be like the people who say, “I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal,” which is code for, “immoral and stingy.”

No one cares about God. No one really believes he won’t be mocked. We take him about as seriously as Catholics take the Pope.

It’s a sad spectacle. Thank God watching it develop from the sidelines won’t kill us.

I don’t know how we’re supposed to prepare for the sex-centric, perversion-embracing world of the near future. Does God want us to stay home all the time, to avoid the visual pollution? I can’t figure out how he’ll handle it. Sex with younger and younger people will be accepted. Sex with animals will be accepted. Stranger and stranger practices will be commonplace. It will be very hard to turn on a TV or walk down a city street without being smeared with filth.

One of the wonderful things about using sexual corruption to hurt human beings is that it hurts them from without. You don’t have to take part in it to be a casualty. You just have to see it. Even if you see it against your will, you are fouled by it. The devil made a great choice when he chose to use sex against us. It literally makes the world intolerable for us, unless we live in bomb shelters.

A sexually immoral person has the advantage in a corrupted society. He or she can go anywhere and do anything. You don’t have to worry about catching corruption when you already have it. The rest of us will have to find ways to avoid exposure to corrupted people. Not easy.

When perverts take over a beach, they say, “If you don’t like it, don’t go to the beach” (he beach funded by your taxes). If they take over the sidewalk, they say, “Don’t walk on the sidewalk.” Your territory shrinks and shrinks, until it becomes impractical or illegal for you to exist anywhere.

I wonder if other countries are having this problem. Do the British allow naked people to walk the streets, the way New Yorkers and San Franciscans do? Is it legal for two men to marry in France? Are large numbers of Germans piercing and mutilating their genitals?

The press always tells us we’re behind the sin curve. Whenever they want us to do something stupid, they say Europeans are doing it already, and that they make fun of us for not doing it. And Americans are just like kids who can’t resist peer pressure. If France jumped off the Empire State Building, we would be likely to follow.

You can’t find out what’s going on by relying on the press.

Now that we’ve given up on sexual morality, it’s reasonable to expect us to give up on other moral positions. Maybe abortion will be next. People think different types of sin aren’t connected, but they are. The spirits that drive them work together. The spirits of homosexuality serve as anchor-baby spirits in the Republican party. They’ll help the others get in.

Trump would love that analogy, except…he supports homosexuality. Fine; I’ll vote for him. Sometimes you have to eat from a filthy bowl. Sometimes you have to eat at Pharaoh’s table.

It seems like the more clarity I get, the crazier people around me get. It’s like it’s leaving me and going into them.

Here’s what I want from Trump: temporary protection and a little time to improve and do whatever God wants me to do. With any luck, I will have been struck by lightning by the time he leaves office. I don’t want to be elderly in Sodom.

I have no interest in changing humanity. I will be used to help a few individuals, but I accept the fact that America is going to self-destruct. I’m grateful for that. There are a lot of nuts out there who think they have to fight all the time. Islamist terrorists are great examples. So is the guy in Norway who shot all those kids. I don’t have to fight, because the battle to change America has already been lost. I just want a comfy couch and a fridge full of food, as far as possible from the lunacy.

I used to fight via blogging. That was dumb. Blogging is a carnal tool. There is no strength behind it.

I remember being part of the conservative Blogosphere. We linked to each other frantically. We loved our little victories; we thought they were so important. We exposed Dan Rather. Yay. Now we have other people doing the same things he did.

We were angry all the time. We never had peace. We exchanged angry emails. We posted angry Photoshops. A total waste of time. And anyway, Pajamas Media killed it with greed, elitism, and a very poor understanding of the way the Internet works. I predicted it. I thought predicting it was important. It probably wasn’t. It certainly didn’t make a difference.

I wonder if people I know are still immersed in vitriol and squabbling. I know the gutted, hamstrung conservative Blogosphere is nothing like it was, but I don’t monitor things. I looked at a well-known (formerly well-known) blog the other day, and I could almost smell the anger, cruelty, filth, and atheism rising from my monitor. Before that, the last time I looked at a conservative blog was months earlier. I don’t even know what they’re talking about.

A long time ago, I took a psychology course, and the instructor taught us something interesting. If you put rats in a cage and shock them, they attack each other. The lesson was this: frustration causes anger, and it will make you look for a villain to punish. If you can’t find the guilty, you will go after the innocent, or at least the relatively innocent.

That’s what fighting about politics is: a bunch of rats attacking each other because they can’t see the individuals who are shocking them. We blame people. We ignore the spirits who pull the strings. People are certainly responsible, but they aren’t the prime movers.

It’s weird to see Americans give up so completely and quickly. It’s weird to see us move from one viewpoint to its opposite in a short time, with no admission of hypocrisy. It shows how useless and weak people are without the Holy Spirit. No wonder Peter denied Jesus. If the Romans had pressed him, he would have driven the nails. So would I, without God’s help.

My advice to everyone: lower your expectations of America. Expect it to rot and die. Focus on getting yourself fixed. Choose the only battle you have a chance of winning. It’s worth it.

Better to be on an ark surrounded by bloated, drowned bodies than to be outside being eaten by birds and crabs.

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Who Says the Greeks Don’t Want no Freaks?

July 22nd, 2016

History says Otherwise

I’m thinking about technology today.

I read something interesting this morning. Edward Snowden, the fugitive hacker who lifted the rock off of our government’s slimy, Constitution-killing surveillance programs, accepted a visit from journalists. He told them to put their phones in the refrigerator. Why? Because that way, if Barack Obama turned the phones’ microphones and cameras on, he would see nothing but beer bottles and cold pizza.

It’s funny to me, because I’m one of those rare people who avoid showing their phones and tablets things they don’t want seen. I do not use the phone on the toilet. When I say things I really don’t want it to hear, I put it in a drawer. I don’t think anyone is interested in what I do–today–but it’s good practice. You never know who will develop an interest in the future. There are a lot of actresses out there who wish they had kept their phones in drawers or their drawers on.

Apparently, Snowden knows the government does, in fact, listen to us and watch us via our phones. Confirmation. If only we could turn the tables. I suppose we would spend a lot of time throwing up, though.

I worry about tech privacy in some regards, and in others, I’ve made a conscious decision to give up. Privacy was one reason I got rid of Facebook and Twitter; I thought it was a bad idea for everyone in the universe to know what I had had for lunch every day for the past three years. On the other hand, I accept the fact that the government tracks all of my driving, because I can’t do anything about it. I also blog, knowing that what I write will surely be used against me in the future. I use email and a cell phone, knowing my communications are stored away somewhere, by people I find disgusting.

In the law, we have a concept we call “ex post facto,” which means something or other in Latin. It looks like “from after the fact,” but then I got a D in Latin. It means you can’t punish someone retroactively, for breaking a law you make today. It doesn’t seem to work very well. Bill Clinton taxed people retroactively. But we do rely on it. We sort of assume the legal things we did in the past won’t be used against us in the future.

One glaring problem with the policy against ex post facto punishment is that it depends on laws that can be changed in the future. If you pass a law saying ex post facto punishment is okay, then it doesn’t really matter what the law said a day earlier. You’re on the hook. You can change the law, but the past is carved in stone.

Another problem is that it doesn’t bind private individuals. If the general public decides to persecute you for past deeds of which they approved when you performed them, there isn’t anything you can do.

In the future, people like me will be persecuted and probably prosecuted for legal self-expression. In 2025, it will probably be possible to take all sorts of legal action against me for things I said legally in 2014. It will definitely be possible to take social action; it already is.

That’s life. Maybe “smart” conservatives will take down their blogs and beg for forgiveness. Maybe they’ll make convenience conversions to liberalism and atheism. It worked for Arianna Huffington. Of course, assimilation didn’t work too well for Jews under Hitler, so maybe we can’t do anything now to save ourselves.

Everything is documented now. We swim in evidence.

File all this under, “That’s tough.”

I’m also thinking about programming. I wrote a little about this a few days ago. I got my CNC lathe to work, sort of, and then I found out the program that came with it, which tells the motors what to do, isn’t very good. I’m sure it’s great for mill users, but lathe users are the red-headed stepchildren of CNC, and hobbyists are also red-headed stepchildren. Maybe that makes me a red-headed step-grandchild.

Anyway, the program depends on a lot of files written in the computer language C. The manufacturer admits that you should know C in order to deal with his invention. That’s not a knock on the manufacturer. Surely getting the electronics and software to the point where they are was a Herculean task. I don’t want to abuse anyone for failing to take it further.

I do not know C. I had a small amount of interest in programming in the Nineties, but it withered and died. While I was getting my physics degree, they made me take a Pascal course, and that’s about all I’ve done, apart from hacking php, css, and html files in order to blog. I did that hacking very clumsily, by trial and error. I didn’t know what I was doing.

I don’t know why my advisor told me to take Pascal. It was a MONUMENTAL mistake. I looked Pascal up, and it’s not very useful. For the most part, it’s a teaching language. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

Initially, Pascal was largely, but not exclusively, intended to teach students structured programming.A generation of students used Pascal as an introductory language in undergraduate courses.

Pascal was used in the development of some Apple products, but, hello, just about everything else in the world is based on C or a related language. Teaching future programmers Pascal is like teaching UN interpreters Esperanto. A complete waste of time. And my experience has proven that. I believe I wrote one or two programs in Pascal back in the deep past, for purposes I no longer recall, but today I am, essentially, a programming cripple. That’s where Pascal got me.

My undergrad advisor at the University of Miami was a great instructor, but he gave me some really bad advice. He told me grad schools didn’t care about the physics GRE, so I shouldn’t waste time studying for it. Yeah…okay. The Pascal suggestion came from him, too.

I love MOOC sites. “MOOC” stands for something I don’t remember, but it basically means online education. I decided to check Udemy, Edx, and Coursera for C courses. I didn’t see anything I liked. There were a lot of C++ and C# offerings, but I read that these languages were not really C or helpful to C users, so I blew that off.

I decided to check Youtube, and I found a couple of good offerings which I will not link to. The best one for barely sentient beginners was run by a user called Thecodingschool or something similar. I started watching and doing exercises, but I soon realized they were crawling. It would take me a year to get anywhere. I looked for a book.

Amazon had a number of offerings. I looked at them and decided the one I wanted was a beginner’s guide by a guy named Kochan. As luck would have it, it’s available at an online lending library, so I am using that. I may buy the book or a Kindle version, though, because the library thing is hard to read.

The thing that surprises me is that I’m doing very well. I am finding C very easy. Pascal was a different experience, even though it’s basically the same thing. When I wrote Pascal programs, my absent-mindedness drove me up the wall. I left characters out or put them in the wrong places, and I would spend ages reading the same code over and over, looking for the booboos. This time I’m making mistakes, but finding and fixing them isn’t nearly as bad. I can’t explain why.

The book has programming exercises in it. I can’t stand them. It’s just too boring; when an activity is too dull, it slides off the brain like a blunt instrument. I had to make it more interesting, so instead of doing the exercises, I do things that are different but related to the exercises.

I can’t resist making the code silly. I think that’s hardwired into me. Here’s a program I wrote yesterday:

#include

main ()
{
//int dancer, prancer; This didn’t work. Apparently you can’t divide two integers and get a float.
float dancer, prancer, vixen;

printf(“Enter a number: “);
scanf(“%f”, &dancer);
printf(“\n”);
printf(“Enter another number, if you can think of one: “);
scanf(“%f”, &prancer);
printf(“\n”);
vixen = dancer / prancer;
printf(“Here is %0.2f divided by %0.2f (to six places after the decimal), and that’s exciting: %0.6f.”, dancer, prancer, vixen);
fflush(stdin);
//If you leave fflush in, the program stays open and waits for you to enter a key before giving you the final
//”enter any key” message. You have to hit 2 keys in order to make the CMD window close.
//The values %d and %i mean “integer.” They are fungible.
getchar();
/*Here is another way of adding comments.*/

}

As you can see, I’m using the programs to do little experiments to answer questions, and I take notes inside the programs, to help me remember. Here, I tried to divide one integer by another and produce a float, which is a number that extends past the decimal point. The computer didn’t like it.

It beats printing “Hello World” over and over. Now that I think about it, my “Hello World” program was actually, “Hello, Fat Jackass.”

Sorry.

You have to do something to keep yourself awake.

My feeling now is that if you have to watch videos in order to learn this, you might as well kill yourself, because it will really hurt.

I’ve learned something new. A lot of our modern machines can be penetrated with programming. C, supposedly, is the king of languages for operating machinery. That includes robots and so on. So if you want to do anything really interesting with motors and whatnot, C is for you. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the impression I get from what others say.

I also found out that you can buy little robots and write code for them so they do stuff. I guess this is how we ended up with self-driving cars invading our privacy. There is a language called Pbasic, which I refuse to capitalize, which works with certain popular microcontrollers. You can get yourself an inexpensive robot and Pbasic it all over the place. I don’t know how much C would help a person who needs Pbasic, but it probably can’t hurt.

I plan to look into that if I ever get the lathe functioning correctly. I feel like it would make me feel less intimidated by the machinery around me. Maybe the computerized toaster and portable phones would tense up and start to sweat when I came into the room. That would be nice.

In other news, I completed Thucydides and started in on Plato’s Symposium. My short take on Thucydides: the Athenians were evil, disgusting people. They whined and moaned about excellence and virtue all the time, but they kept slaves in their homes, they destroyed other cities, they slaughtered untold thousands of people just for getting on their nerves, and they were colossal thieves. They were right up there with the Nazis. I have zero respect for them, even though I acknowledge their mental achievements.

The small amount I’ve read recently tells me I probably did not read The Symposium when I was at Columbia University, because I think I would remember the revulsion it engenders.

When I was at Columbia, I thought gay sex was just fine. I was not much of a Christian. I would not have been offended by the Athenian predilection for sodomy. What would have bothered me is the predilection for boys. The Athenians didn’t prey on their equals. They sodomized small boys and teens who were weaker and less informed. Even in my younger days, I would have been bothered by that.

The Symposium starts out with a long discussion of “love,” and by “love,” it means the phony, self-deluding love between an erastes (older sexual predator) and an eromenos (younger victim). If erastes looks familiar, it’s because it’s related to the word “pederast.”

A man (presumably a real person) stands up and says there are two types of love; a high kind and a low or common kind. The heavenly kind is the love a predator shares with a victim who is old enough to have sprouted the beginnings of a beard, and supposedly, it is largely based on a desire to help the younger victim improve himself. The low kind is the love a predator shares with a younger boy, who is simply a sexual device intended to satisfy lust.

This reasoning reminds me of the bilge spewed by molesters in Internet chat rooms. They say we don’t understand their pure, altruistic love. They say it’s good for the kids. They say kids consent, which is surely true sometimes. We still put the molesters away, and in prison, criminals still rape and kill them.

Somehow we’re supposed to accept this from the ancient Greeks, while we imprison people for it today. That’s crazy. It’s the same. Man’s laws change; that which is evil remains evil.

It’s remarkable that we have studied this work in our universities for so long. I can understand how it would have been popular in my youth, because universities were already pretty gross at that time. But I don’t understand how it could have passed inspection in 1900 or earlier.

My skin crawls when I read the book, but I want to get it over with, so I will continue. I think this is the book that mentions the cave and the ideal forms and so on. I will take whatever profitable information it has to offer and try to forget the rest.

Incidentally, people who get their Greek history from the movie 300 may be surprised to learn that the Spartans weren’t the big military power in ancient Greece, and they weren’t the leading sexual predators. The Athenians topped them (poor choice of words) in both regards. In the movie, Leonidas calls the violent, imperialist Athenians “boy-lovers,” but Plato’s book tells us the Spartans had a reputation for “common” love, or sex with very young boys.

I look forward to getting past the Greeks. I ordered Ovid and Vergil, so I will be reading the Romans before long.

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The Kinks Should Write Our New National Anthem

July 21st, 2016

Ask Your Sons What’s Going on at School

I read something interesting. Apparently a girl is suing to be allowed to use boys’ restrooms in a school somewhere.

Usually, Christians think of men as the restroom and locker room threat. Transsexualism is the new “medical” marijuana. Stoners go to sleazy doctors (or visit them online) and claim they have headaches, and the doctors go, “AWWWWWW,” and they give them prescriptions so they can smoke weed. Perverts say, “I think I’m a woman,” and next thing you know, they’re displaying their penises to girls in locker rooms, and anyone who questions it is treated like a…well, I was going to say “child molester,” but that doesn’t really fly any more. Anyone who questions it is treated like a hunter.

Men have drawn most of our attention, but girls and women also cause problems.

Imagine this. You’re 16. You’re in gym class. You walk to the locker room, you get ready for your shower, and at the locker next to you, a girl at her lifetime attractiveness peak strips off her clothes. She exposes her genitals, buttocks…the works. And then she goes to the shower with you and soaps up. Everything she has, the boys see. Everything they have, she sees, regardless of how they or their parents feel about it.

This is the new America.

One of the weird things about transsexuals is that they’re allowed to retain heterosexual urges. You can be a teen “trans man” and still want to have sex with boys. That will make for some interesting showers. I think it’s fair to assume there will be at least a few lonely, desperate girls who will say whatever it takes to get into locker rooms.

It’s pointless to say it’s insane. America belongs to Satan now. People don’t hear the Holy Spirit, because we rejected him. We hear lies, and we like them better than cotton candy. We hear every spirit that isn’t holy. Talking to us is like talking to tree stumps. Well, except that tree stumps can’t get you fired, burn your house, take everything you own, put you in prison, or execute you.

To Americans, the obvious truth sounds crazy, but we say Bruce Jenner is a woman without even pausing.

It’s so strange, watching the ship sink after I predicted it. God told me (and many others) what was going to happen, and we talked about it. Still shocking to see it materialize.

There is no place for us here. That’s probably the only thing I’ve written today that Satan’s people would agree with. We are being rejected by America’s immune system. We can keep climbing to smaller and smaller bits of high ground as the waters rise, but we can’t take the country back or make ourselves safe. Sooner or later, people who think the world needs to be relieved of our presence will have the government’s permission to get rid of us, and that will be that.

Maybe there will be a bounty on us. The Nazis put bounties on Jews.

I suppose there already is a bounty. The people who get fired for their beliefs lose their jobs to the devil’s slaves.

The best thing is to turn around and get close to God before things become intolerable. The sooner you get with the program, the sooner the benefits start to flow. The world is against you. America hates you. You need someone on your side. If you don’t align yourself with God, you’re just throwing yourself on Satan’s mercy and waiting to see how long it lasts. It’s like leaving your gun at home and relying on a strategy of talking sense to rapists.

Mercy isn’t Satan’s thing. It’s hateful to him. It’s hateful to his people. They’re not interested in it.

I feel alienated and disgusted when I look at my country today. Not just my country; my world. I have no use for this place, but here I am. I would love to get on the bus to heaven this afternoon. I would love to wake up tomorrow in a world where “he” means “he” and “she” means “she.” I would love knowing no one would abuse or mistreat me. I would love knowing my body was perfect and impervious to deterioration. Of course, we are kept here for a reason. We have to do our tours of duty, to help others escape.

My best guess is that the closer you are to God, the sooner he will remove you from this dungheap. That seems to be the pattern. It seems fairly clear that most Christians will be left here after the Rapture, to face the horror of the Tribulation. Jesus said he would take people who were doing his work. He’s probably not going to take people off of stripper poles.

In the past, it was realistic for an American Christian to look forward to raising a family and leaving a legacy. That’s not true any more. How can you be excited about raising kids in a teeming hive of perversion, anger, and persecution? America is becoming so filthy, it will soon be impossible to involve yourself in public life without being polluted beyond your emotional limit. A trip to the grocery will be like scuba-diving in a sea of excrement. What rational person can think about children and grandchildren now?

If I were an atheist or a “progressive” Christian, reading this blog would make my day. They want us gone. Hearing that they’re going to win should make them very happy. It should satisfy their craving for “vengeance.” Of course, they don’t believe in the judgment that comes after the conquest and genocide. The future always seems bright when you’re in a Satanic movement on the uptick. The Nazis called their twelve years of evil “the Thousand-Year Reich.”

I wonder when liberals will finally out themselves and admit that what they really hate about conservatism is its relationship with God. They hate defense of the unborn. They hate all types of sexual restraint. They hate public decency. They hate churches. They hate Israel. It’s obvious what their underlying motivation is.

They don’t like to come out and admit they hate God, although they did vote against him four times, on TV, at one of their conventions. I will never forget the look on Villaraigosa’s face; the way he looked at his bosses after the crowd voted against God, trying to get instructions.

And then he lied to the cameras.

Liberals are still somewhat afraid to curse God in public. Some are not; Dan Savage is an example. But ten years ago, Barack Obama was afraid to endorse gay marriage. Things change quickly. The minds and hearts of most Americans are like cities without walls. There is nothing to keep insane notions or behavior out.

Stephen Colbert and Jon Steward have real problems with God. People don’t seem to talk about it much. In 2010, they appeared at an outdoor “sanity” rally. Instead of sticking to politics, Stewart went after our belief in prophecy. He said, “We live now in hard times, not end times.” Now, during the week of the RNC convention, Colbert has joked, “Jon and I are very happy living off the grid, making jerky and canning our own urine for the end times.”

“End times,” of course, means the end of the current age, prior to the Rapture and Tribulation. They’re making fun of us for believing God’s prophets. Funny; they doesn’t seem to have anything negative to say about the flood of 2016 Ramadan murders. But that would take courage. Muslims shoot people for speaking. Criticizing Christians takes almost no courage at all.

Stewart flat-out contradicted our beliefs. Colbert ridiculed them. They didn’t have the courage to say Christianity is evil. Why come at us sideways, as Firefly’s Shepherd Book would have put it? Why not show some guts and say, “God isn’t real, and Jesus was not his son”? Because the devil doesn’t come in through the front door. He works his way in gradually. One day you find him sitting on your couch ordering your family around, and you can’t recall how he got there.

In the past, no one would have complained about a person who said girls should not be in boys’ locker rooms. Now, if anyone on the other side reads this, they’ll say I pick on children. Whatever is evil and brutal…that will be me. I will be treated the way people who put girls in boys’ locker rooms should be treated. Down is up, and up is down. We shouldn’t elect Trump. We should elect Bizarro.

Why write this stuff, since it does so little good, and since it may harm me? I’m not sure. At least I serve as a witness. People who might otherwise have claimed innocence will be subject to judgment because they read what I wrote. People who agree with me will feel less alone. Maybe people who live after I’m gone, in a world that is completely corrupted, will see what I wrote and use it to guide them to salvation.

Like Mr. Spock said, “In an insane society, the sane man must appear insane.” My view is healthy and normal. It shouldn’t be alarming. What should alarm you is finding that the world agrees with you.

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If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Burn Down the Kitchen

July 20th, 2016

Gagging of Conservatives Continues on Social Media

Today I see that leftists are celebrating censorship again. This time the victim is Milo Ya…I’m not even going to try to spell it. It’s a gay conservative who works for Breitbart.com.

If I’m ignorant about the dispute that led up to the censorship, it’s not completely my fault. Milo was banned from Twitter, and whatever he said that upset people is now deleted. I Googled around, assuming every far-left Internet nut on the planet had screenshotted his offenses, but I can’t find any of it. Makes you wonder if he actually did anything wrong.

I don’t care about Milo’s work. I don’t know anything about it. I tried to read a movie review he wrote (the new Ghostbusters, and in all honestly, it was not very good. It verged on unreadable. There was no organization, and he didn’t produce many facts. It seemed that the article was a series of nearly unrelated paragraphs, in which he restated his dislike of the movie.

I know a tiny–and I do mean tiny–bit about Milo himself. He is gay, and he is provocative. He does things to upset people. Conservatives are giving him a ton of promotion. My educated guess? They want to say, “We’re gay, too. You don’t own gay.”

It won’t work. In America, conservatism is inextricably bound up with Christianity, and God does not have a rainbow sticker on the gates of heaven. It may be helpful to Christians if larger numbers of gays vote for conservative candidates, but if the conservative movement abandons God completely, we lose much of our incentive for supporting it. I would vote for a Christian-friendly Democrat before I would vote for a God-hating Republican. That choice doesn’t seem to come up, though.

Minority Republicans get a certain amount of promotion, too, and surely part of the reason is to remind minorities that you can be non-white and be accepted among our ranks. That’s somewhat more legitimate than promoting gays. Race doesn’t have to be a mental state; you can be black or purple or orange and be 100% on board with the conservative ethos. Non-whites do not change us. Homosexuality is different. When homosexuals enter the group, automatically, we have to change our positions in order to accommodate them.

Here is what people love to call “the narrative” in post-2000 America: Milo got into a Twitter fight with a Ghostbusters actress named Leslie Jones, and she is black. He bullied and tormented her on Twitter, he posted racist tweets (is “tweet” capitalized now?), and he reposted the racist tweets of others. She complained, and Twitter gave him a lifetime ban.

I can’t find his racist tweets. Someone dug up a 2015 racist tweet from Leslie Jones, but that’s all I’ve seen. I have seen some abusive tweets from people who took his side. Welcome to the web. Michelle Malkin gets worse treatment every day of her life, and has for years. I will never forget the comment from the loon who threatened to mutilate her genitals with his or her teeth.

Maybe Milo is a bad guy. On the other hand, there are some truly vile accounts that never get in trouble. Spike Lee sent black racists after the parents of George Zimmerman, and they had to leave their house. It’s my understanding that it’s okay to root for terrorists on Twitter, too.

A lifetime ban is going to be hard on a guy who is billed as a major website’s “tech” editor. It’s like telling a motivational speaker he’s banned from hotel ballrooms. I have a feeling it won’t stick, but maybe it will.

It’s an interesting story.

When the Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment, they did not intend to protect porn merchants, in spite of what you may think, given the way it has been used. They had ONE major goal in mind: to enable people to speak about political matters. When you strike at political speech, you strike at the heart of the First Amendment.

The First Amendment was motivated by the behavior of British kings, who had been known to publicly castrate and disembowel people who said things they didn’t like. If you had tried to blog in England in 1776, they would have castrated and disemboweled you in front of a jeering crowd, and before you died, they would have fried your genitals and internal organs in front of you. Simply for saying the king was wrong.

There was no Twitter when the Constitution was written. You could publish a newspaper, or you could write a book or simply stand up in your local bar and mouth off. It was very much like life in the 1980’s. No one depended on the Internet to make his voice effective. There was no danger that half of the population (the left half) would have a tremendous communication advantage over the other half, because of access to a medium provided by corporations. That has changed.

In 2016, merely being allowed to speak to your neighbor or wear a T-shirt does not put you on an equal footing with others. You need Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs, and whatever else is out there. With social media, Milo was able to make a noise comparable to the noise someone like Lena Dunham can make. Without it, he may as well go home and yell into the toilet.

It’s not easy for leftists to violate the First Amemdment, which protects people from government censorship. It’s very easy for them to violate the spirit of the First Amendment and nullify it through private censorship. It’s a beautiful thing. If you like censorship.

For a long time, I’ve been saying that conservatives would eventually be driven off the web. The liberals who run companies like Facebook and Twitter are immune to First Amendment challenges. Blogspot belongs to a liberal-run company; blogs are not safe, either. Milo’s case shows how easy it is to silence us.

Things were different a few years back. Blogs were big. Remember blogs? I don’t mean corporate websites pretending to be blogs. I don’t mean The Huffington Toast or Wonkette. I mean sites like this one. Most blogs were run by individuals who had no corporate affiliation, and many of the top blogs were operated out of studies and bedrooms. That ended some time back. The big blogs are fake. They’re run by companies that pay for promotion. Many of them pay writers. We were allowed to sit at the big boys’ table for a while, and then they came and kicked us out. Predictable. I know, because I predicted it.

Real blogs are not very important now. We have become addicted to “free” social media sites. Does it really make sense to call any site that tracks you and feeds you ads “free”? Anyway, we loved the convenience and the instant audiences. So we gave up our autonomy.

Now we broadcast our opinions at the pleasure of leftists. They can unplug the machine whenever they like, and there is nothing we can do. If we sue, they can say, “We don’t have to obey the First Amendment. We are not the government.”

Can we complain? I don’t mean, “Are we able to complain?” It looks like we are losing that ability. I mean, “Do we have a right to complain?” I don’t think so. We put our own heads in the noose. Did we really think atheist tech nerds were going to give us a fair shake? Besides, people like me warned everyone.

If you can only speak in private, the First Amendment is useless. That’s the future we face. We will be pushed out of liberal-run forums. Then they’ll find a way to come after blogs, which are, after all, hosted by corporations.

Interesting times.

It reminds me of the problems people have when they lose their driver’s licenses. The courts always remind us, “It’s a privilege; not a right.” You don’t have a Constitutional right to drive. But if you can’t drive, you might as well be crippled. In most parts of the country, pedestrian status will make it impossible for you to compete in the job market. You don’t have a right to Tweet, either, and if you depend on Twitter to make money, you better kiss the ring.

What if the conservative movement can be persuaded to divorce Jesus? In that case, everything changes. Conservatives will persecute Christians right beside liberals, and presumably, Christians and Jews will be the only ones who are ostracized. Any way you slice it, Christians will be pushed aside.

What can you do? Nothing. So I don’t get upset about it. I just blog my observations and wait for them to be proven right. I am thrilled to be disconnected from social media, and I have no plans to fight anyone about social media abuses. I don’t care about things that are doomed to fail. It’s a waste of the space in my heart.

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