Forums on Orion’s Cold Fire

I’ve been meaning to set up forums but the technical aspects seemed problematic to a cyberphobe such as myself. But problems with trying to embed photos in the comments gave me the push to start up the forums. Currently the biggest problem is that the edit button for the posts doesn’t work right. So take your time and check twice before publishing posts because otherwise the work around is deleting the post and starting over. I’ve posted some instructions I found on a bbpress site on embedding photos. Hopefully they’re helpful but think of this right now as a work in progress. Your patience is appreciated by management during this difficult transition.

Thucydides, Again!

When someone is looking for an example he usually goes to his favorite source. So, a religious man goes to the Bible. A patriot might consult the Founding Fathers. I suppose a Hip-Hopper would quote Jay-Z. Me, I’m a classics nerd, so I go back to Athens and Rome.

Thucydides’ history is mostly very dry but there are a few passages that resonate even down to our time. Corcyra was the name of an island now known as Corfu in the Ionian Sea. When the Athenians and the Spartans were dueling for the supremacy of Fifth Century Hellas, Corcyra became a proxy in the battle between democracy and aristocracy. The two parties alternated in escalating the violence and ruthlessness when either had the upper hand. The description of the revolution in Corcyra concludes with a discussion of how partisanship became completely radicalized.

“Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal supporter; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question incapacity to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries. In short, to forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea of a crime where it was lacking was equally commended, until even blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve; for such associations sought not the blessings derivable from established institutions but were formed by ambition to overthrow them; and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any religious sanction than upon complicity in crime.”

When I first read this many years ago I immediately thought, he’s talking about propaganda. A party line to rouse the true believers. But recently I started thinking about how this relates to our world. These people were living through bloody revolution. The recent version (well, relatively) would be the French Revolution. Here two factions of countrymen devolve into fratricidal foes. By the end, all humanity is stripped away and any atrocity can be rationalized into a necessary and in fact patriotic act.

The point is once you have decided that the genie is out of the bottle it becomes a matter of existential necessity to neutralize your enemy without possibility of recovery. Because after each side gets the upper hand the level of violence is increased by an order of magnitude. At some point it is decided, by one side or both, that it’s reached the point of no return and the only recourse is annihilation. That is the nature of civil wars. Rwanda and Yugoslavia are multicultural versions and therefore even worse.

The terms Thucydides used above are surprisingly familiar. They sound a great deal like the pundits on both sides. Hell, sometimes I sound like that. The good news is we are nowhere near Corcyra’s state of affairs. But we are already working our way down the path. The first salvos have been fired. First came Occupy Wall Street, then BLM. Now we are seeing the Antifa grow into a threat. Some on the right are attempting to answer this challenge. Clashes have already cost lives. If this is allowed to escalate it will. When the government’s control of violence weakens partisans will appear to fill the vacuum. This is extraordinarily dangerous. And it is where I see the slippery slope to serious unrest. An America, where ordinary citizens feel threatened by partisan mobs, will no longer enjoy the inherent stability it has for the last hundred years.

Now some say that open strife is inevitable. I currently don’t believe that. I fear it but I am not convinced of its inevitability. I think our current problems stem from an anti-American bias adopted by large swaths of the population that displays itself in anti-white policies. I include in this category affirmative action laws, attacks on traditional cultural institutions like religion, tolerance and even encouragement of illegal immigration and the promulgation of outrageous practices such as recognizing aberrant behaviors as normal and the encouragement by schools and media of speech codes targeting traditional cultural mores and beliefs.

I believe if these practices were ended it would go a long way toward stabilizing and improving the situation in this country. That is my belief and my hope. I would far prefer to believe that, than to think we are fated to follow Corcyra’s fate. Just to finish the story, when the Corcyran democratic faction finally achieved total control, they massacred their enemies to the last man and sold the women as slaves. The only ones who survived were the ones who had fled the island and never looked back. Not such a happy ending. Let’s see if we can sidestep that.

Las Vegas

Not much can be said.  Starting to look like a left leaning man who was in serious debt decided to kill a lot of people that on average didn’t agree with his politics.  So he was escaping from a crappy life and taking a bunch of innocent (and mostly younger) people down with him.  And I guess trying to force gun control laws on us.  Reminds me of that guy who shot up the Republican Congressional Softball league.  I wonder how many more of these losers there are.  Maybe Trump can get the FBI to look into any links.

Chris Buskirk Has Another Good Article, This One About the Alabama Election

Hate to parrot someone too much.  But this one is on something that should be of interest to anyone wondering if the “do-nothing Congress” has got Trump permanently stymied.  Of course, only time will tell whether the message gets through loud and clear to McConnell and Ryan but it’s still very interesting stuff.

‘Bama Blowout Signals the End of the McConnell Era

What if White Men Turned Off Football For One Week?

The President just called out the NFL.  He said any owner who fired an anthem kneeler would get instant approval from the fans.  Is that true?  Well not the minority fans or women.  Most women aren’t particularly patriotic and the minority fans are the ones who agree with the kneelers.  So basically he’s talking about white men.  Well, alright, if that’s the case let’s take this to its logical conclusion.  Suppose 70% of white men decided to boycott the NFL for one week.  Would there be any effect?  Yes.  Would it be consequential?  I think it might.

Currently, corporations like the NFL and ESPN think that they can take the white male demographic for granted because they are overwhelmingly fans of their product.  For this reason they can push an agenda that focuses on attracting and catering to the opinions of women and minorities.  Lately this has become tiresome and unpleasant for white men (and probably others too).  And so far they have gotten away with it with only limited loss of white male patronage.  After all this is the sport we want to see.  And we’ve learned to ignore the banter from the female sidelines color commentator and skip the pre- and post-game shows that cater specifically to minority concerns.

But lately the players have crossed the line into injecting their anti-American opinions into the National Anthem singing.  And it is getting a bit thick.  What it’s coming down to is we’re watching people on tv who don’t like us and aren’t afraid to let us know it.  Well, the NFL has been open about saying that free speech is an American tradition.  Why shouldn’t we give them a demonstration of it in action?

Suppose we turned off the games?  All of them.  Start on Sunday and roll into Monday.  Would be nice to spend a little more time with the wife and kids.  Maybe take them to a movie or a local sports game.  Go to bed early on Monday and get a good night’s sleep.  Doesn’t sound like such a hardship.  Then extend it to the other games they have now Thursday, or Saturday or whatever.  When Sunday rolls around again I’m guessing that the NFL and ESPN and Fox and CBS, NBC, ABC and all the sponsors would be completely freaking out.  Now I’m not a gambler but I did win a bet on Trump’s election last year.  I’d be willing to wager a pretty substantial sum that if the viewership of NFL games went down by the equivalent of 70% of the white male audience, that the owners would tell the kneelers to get on tv and apologize to America or find new jobs on Monday.

Trump is smart.  And he knows the art of the deal.  And this is one deal I’d like to be a part of.  All it needs is a catchy slogan.  How about “Pull the plug on a kneeling thug?”  Or, “Tell the NFL to go to hell.”  Or even, “Don’t like America?  Well, bye!”  Something like that might catch their attention.  But shutting off the game certainly will do more than get their attention.  It’ll scare the hell out of them.  And I’m guessing it’s the best first step in getting the country back we can make.  And along with shutting the tv, send an e-mail to the NFL and ESPN and tell them why you did it.  I’m sure they’d love hearing from you.  Well, maybe love is the wrong word.

Trump vs A Madison Avenue Bus Ride

Scene 1: Outside Trump Tower, Corner of 57th and Madison, around sunset

Narrator – Picture if you can a man who has great wealth, a beautiful wife and family and the most powerful job in the world.  You might think he hadn’t a care in the world.  And you would be wrong.  This is the story of a man who needs good advice and there isn’t a soul in the world he can talk to.  But maybe there’s one in the Twilight Zone (fair parody usage, really!)

President Trump (PT) – Joe, what if I just take a stroll down to the corner and back?  I haven’t been in Manhattan in months.  What would be the harm?

Secret Service Agent (SSA) – I’m sorry Mr. President.  That’s impossible.  You shouldn’t even be standing this close to the street.  The car is still half a block away.  (touching his ear and talking to his lapel)  Hey, Bravo 12 who let that old bus onto Madison.  It’s pulling up to the curb.

PT – Joe, I’ll be right back.  See ya later.  (Runs into the open door of the old city bus).

SSA – All units, blockade bus heading north on Madison.  POTUS has been abducted.  (voice over radio in his ear, “Joe, what bus?  There’s nothing there.)

Scene 2: Inside bus.  PT standing next to the driver in the front of the bus.

Bus Driver (BD) – Okay pal, that’ll be fifteen cents fare.

PT – Do you have change for a hundred.

BD – What are you a weisenheimer?

PT – I wasn’t expecting to need change.  How come the fare is so low?

BD – Oh, it’s too low.  Listen to Rockefeller over here.  Look buddy either pay up or get off.

PT – I got it, I got it.  Calm down.

BD – Good.  Now sit down you’re making me nervous.

PT – Is this bus going past St Patrick’s Cathedral?

BD – Boy you are turned around.  We’re going north.  If you stay on after the turn around at 96th you can get there in another 20 minutes.

PT – Okay, thanks.

BD – So why ya heading to church?  It’s Thursday.  Somebody sick.

PT – I need some guidance.

BD – Yeah, don’t we all.  You look like an Episcopalian.  Why St Patrick’s?

PT – I’m friends with the Cardinal.

BD – Who are you supposed to be?  The Mayor?

PT – I’m the President of the United States.

BD – Hey pal.  This bus is going down Madison.  It won’t be passing Bellvue.  You may be going bald but you’re certainly not Ike.

PT – Who says I’m going bald.  This is my own hair.  Ike?

BD – Sure, whatever, we get all kinds of nuts on this line.

PT – So what kind of nostalgia service uses these old buses?  Is it a tourist company?

BD – Old?  This is a brand-new model.  It’s a 1956.  General Motors latest.

PT – 1956? What have you been smoking?

BD – Camels filterless.  Why, you want one?

PT – On a bus?  Oh never mind, keep up the act.  I guess it’s part of the tour.

BD – (under his breath) Some kind of nut.

PT – Street seems really quiet.  No traffic.

BD – It’s after 6 pm.  Rush-hour’s over.  Town’s empty.  Not much going on Thursday night.

PT – (under his breath) Some kind of nut.

BD – So, what’s this trouble you need help with, if you don’t mind me asking?  Bus drivers are like priests and bartenders.  Everyone tells them their troubles.  Maybe I’ve heard it before.

PT – Well I have these big ideas but everyone is against me and even my friends and wife are always giving me grief.

BD – Tell me about it.  Whenever I tell Alice about one of my great money making ideas she gives me that look and starts telling me why it’ll fail.  And talking to Norton, that’s my friend upstairs, is like talking to a wall.  He’s as thick as a brick.

PT – Yeah, it’s just like that.  Melania is always telling me how great it was when we lived in Manhattan and how come we can’t go back.  And Mike Pence is no help at all.  All he ever says is “work with Ryan, work with Ryan.”  Ha.  Might as well be talking to a wall.

BD – Boy, don’t I know that feeling.  It’s, “when are we getting out of Bensonhurst?” and “why can’t we buy a new refrigerator?”  She thinks I’m made of money.  Not that I don’t do okay but how much can you buy on $62 a week?

PT – Boy I really am gonna have to stimulate the economy.  It really is a third world job market out there.

BD – Huh?

PT – You seem pretty sharp.  What would you say is the biggest problem facing the world right now?

BD – The Commie newspaper guys at the Times.

PT – Yeah I agree.  Them and CNN.

BD – C and N?

PT – Yeah, that Acosta guy is brutal.  I’ve blocked him on Twitter.

BD – Huh?

PT – Let’s not go over it again.  I’m tired of that guy all together.  So, what’s the answer?  What should I do?

BD – A very wise man once told me not to listen to the naysayers.  Just don’t give up.  Give it all you’ve got and reach for that high note.

PT – That’s pretty good advice.  Never mind the church.  Look we’re back at Trump Tower.  Drop me off here.

BD – Okay here you go.  Which Tower did you say?

PT – Trump.  And thanks for the advice.  You’re the smartest nut I’ve ever talked to.

BD – Likewise pal.  And give my regards to Mamie.  Har-har-hardy-har-har.  (under his breath) What a nut!  Wait’ll I tell Norton.

PT – Mamie?  Gee what a nut.  Wait’ll I tell Melania.

SSA – Mr. President, are you alright?

PT – Couldn’t be better Joe.

SSA – That old bus is gone again.  Where did it go?

PT – To a different place.  And I hope he gets there alright.

SSA – (under his breath)  I’ve gotta get a new gig.

Narrator- An hallucination or a midtown apparition from a simpler time?  Either way, life’s no Honeymoon here in the Twilight Zone.

21SEP2017 Update

So today is the last full day of summer.  Gahhh!  The horror begins soon so it’s time to have fun while we can.  Saturday I’ll have my two older grandsons over for a Lord of the Rings marathon.  I think the extended version comes to about eleven hours.  Breaking it up with grilled cheese sandwiches for them and corned beef and swiss for me, it will be a full day.  Dinner will be another fan favorite spaghetti and meat balls.  Camera Girl will do the cooking but abstain from the cinema.  She’s a Tolkien agnostic, heaven help her.

As anyone who faithfully reads my reviews knows I consider Justified the most consistently well written and actualized tv drama I’ve ever seen.  I have a theory that it’s because the source material is much better than that of the typical (or even superior) tv-show.  So, I’m putting it to the test.

Right now, I’m reading Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens novels and short stories.  I read the short story “Fire in the Hole” that was the basis for the first episode of Justified.  The other stories in the collection (of the same name) were all very good too.  Leonard has an enormous reputation as one of the most popular crime writers.  And he has had over twenty of his books made into movies (not counting the tv series Justified).  Based on all that I figure I’ll find out what all the hype is about.  So, I want to see how I like his stuff.  So far, I’m impressed.

The political scene continues to boil like the spaghetti pot I’ll be involved with on Saturday.  Trump continues to engage all important events in his typical iconic and bombastic style.  Of course, you’d have to be made of stone not to be nervous about all the various balls in the air.  But I’ve learned to give Trump some time to get things done in his own way.  After all he is herding particularly annoying cats (and rats).  The right-wing folks are going through some growing pains on the various sites.  Hopefully it’ll sort itself out sooner than later.  I take a sort of neutral position on these things and wait to see how things are settled.

On the photography front I’ve added the ability to embed photos in the comments so go ahead if something in a post inspires a photo of your own.  The plug-in that makes this possible has the following instructions:

This plugin embeds image links in comments with the img tag so the images are visible in your comment timeline.

Image formats supported:

  1. .jpg
  2. .gif
  3. .png

 

I’m not an expert on this computer stuff so I’ll do my best to get things to work but have patience if there are problems.

On the review front, I’m going to write something on my recent toe-dip into anime.  In addition to my recent viewing of Cowboy Bebop I watched Ghost in the Shell 2.0.  I’ll share my thoughts.

Other film ideas, I rented the second John Wick film and I’ll put together my thoughts on both films after watching it, maybe this weekend.

I haven’t decided what sf&f book to read next.  Suggestions are always welcome.

Camera Girl is Buying Goats

I think it is a sign of the coming apocalypse that suburban residents think they need to have farm animals on their property.  And women are entirely impractical about pets.

Now, coming from an individual who in the past has kept four of the six giant snake species in a Brooklyn apartment this might sound slightly self-serving and hypocritical.  In fact, it probably is.  But everybody always says a boy needs his hobbies.  No one ever says a girl needs her hobbies.  QED.

But I maintain that I am a reformed former animal horder.  For this reason, I feel that I have the right to pronounce judgement against this misguided practice.

Going through the various animal keeping proclivities of our marriage, it is obvious that eventually we would branch out from indoor menageries and end up in the barnyard.  And after the fiasco of the Great Quail Fail of 2017 (as it came to be known) it was inevitable that Camera Girl would want revenge.  But my actual problem with the new animal introduction is practical.  The winters in New England can be brutally cold and snow filled.  It occurs to me that during some prodigious snow fall when the goat enclosure is engulfed by some absurd 50” snow fall that I will be called upon at some god-awful hour to go out and clear a space for the goats to allow them to get at their food and water.  And based on my memory of Lovecraft’s description of Shub-Niggurath, (“The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young”), I believe there is a better than even chance that the critters will take advantage of my proximity and vulnerability to stage some kind of satanic attack upon my person.

Alright, I don’t really think it will be satanic.  But goats are jerks and they will probably butt me with their stupid horns and that will probably really hurt.  So, there’s that.  Plus, I’ll have to clean out their pen because let’s face it, men always get stuck with the crappy jobs.  So that’s why I hate the goats.  But Camera Girl does feed me and stuff so I guess it’s still a good deal.  I guess.

But have you ever looked at goats.  They’ve got those weird eyes that are really weird and maybe they are satanic.  And they’re gonna eat everything they can get their teeth into so they’ll turn their pen into the Plain of Gorgorath where nothing can survive.  Plus, I’ll bet the pen will be under constant assault by the local coyote pack and they’ll be howling every night and I’ll probably have to defend the stupid goats as if I actually wanted them to survive.  It’ll be like that scene in Whisperer in the Darkness where the old guy is defending his compound from the giant fungus lobsters with his rifle and german shepherds.  Except that german shepherds are actually useful and goats aren’t.  And I don’t have a rifle.  And coyotes aren’t lobsters.  But it was in New England.

I feel that the only hope is if biological science makes rapid advances in genetic engineering.  If genetically modified goats that only grow to the size of crickets could be commercially available then my problem would be solved.  I could set up a pen for them in the kitchen junk drawer and they would be a very small problem to take care of.  So that’s what I’m banking on at this point.  The goats are supposed to arrive a week from Saturday so there’s still time.  I know it’s a long shot but my luck’s got to change some day.  Maybe this will be it.  So, come on you genetic researchers, stop being so selfish and put aside all this cancer jazz for a minute, and solve a really urgent need, the world’s cricket-sized goat shortage.  What color ribbon is still available for the cause?