11APR2018 – OCF Update

Welcome to the new readers from Captain Capitalism and other pages.

I put up a pretty random mix of stuff.  I link and comment on some of the opinion sites when I see something interesting or well written.  I review mostly science fiction books and movies but often add in other stuff I like.  Lately I’ve been putting up quotes and short sections of fiction that I think are interesting.  I have a bunch of photos from Zion and the Grand Canyon that I’ll post over the next few weeks in the photo section.  And I like to do satirical Trump fiction (very goofy stuff).  I like to think of the President as a cartoon character.  And it’s actually a friendly gesture.  I honestly think he is the last hope this country has.

I let folks have their say on the comments and the forums.  But try to keep it reasonable.  I’m right of center but I don’t need an echo chamber so feel free to speak your mind.  I am beginning a list of right-wing friendly businesses and organizations.  If you know of one and want to add it and give it a good word, go ahead and add it to the forum page.

 

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23MAR2018 – OCF Update

Well, I’m back in the saddle at work again and catching up here on the site.  I’m halfway through Robert Silverberg’s Lord Valentine’s Castle (hat tip to Tom) and should have the review soon.  And based on the story so far, I think I’ll read the other two books at some point.  I have some movie and tv reviews coming up very soon.  I’ve got over a thousand photos from the Southwest to edit and rate so I should have a few photo posts coming up soon.  The political situation is like some kind of crazy kaleidoscopic nightmare.  It sounds like Ray Bradbury’s formula for his stories, “The trip—exactly one-half exhilaration, exactly one-half terror.”  And now we know just how many women are willing to admit to having sex with Donald Trump.  I guess he was right about them letting him grab them.  But they do seem to have been paid for the experience.  Trump truly believes in capitalism.  Well at least he wasn’t attacking them like Slick Willie.  Either way things seem to be going well.  The Republicans are afraid of losing the House, blah, blah, blah.  Well they are pretty lame so anything is possible.  But they really should embrace populism and try to show some backbone.  It is the smart move.  I still have to read some of the political columns I missed but whether there is something important to share remains to be seen.  From my point of view Trump needs to clean the stables and drain the swamp.  Then he can move onto policy.  And he needs to punish the sanctuary cities and send the illegals home.  And finally, Justice Kennedy, go away, now!

Huzzah! I’m Almost Back Home.

So tomorrow is the flight home and tonight I have wifi access.  It was a remarkable trek (for someone as feeble and lazy as myself) and went from Las Vegas to Zion National Park, to Vermilion Cliff National Monument including a side trip into the White Pocket area and then over to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and finally back to Las Vegas where I took a few shots of Lake Mead and environs.  I almost exclusively used a Voigtlander 10mm f\5.6 lens with the rest being a Sony 55mm f\1.8 for the tighter shots.  Heaven only knows what that’s going to produce but I’m excited to see.  Sorry for this short note but I need to catch up first with what is going on in the big bad world.

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11MAR2018 – Current State of Affairs

Here we are, believe it or not, fast approaching the first quarter mile turn on the metaphorical 2018 One Mile Trump Derby Race and Fashion Show.  Currently, the favorite, God-Emperor (1) is ahead of SJW’s Last Hope (13) and JEB’s Your Daddy (17) by at least 8 lengths and his jockey has now reversed his seat and is making funny faces at the rest of the field as they rapidly shrink into the middle-distance.  Abandoning the horse racing metaphor (‘cause I can’t think of anything more), we have CNN and MSNBC praising President Trump’s initiative with North Korea, the President of the Steelworkers’ Union telling Chuck Todd that Trump will get electoral support from the rank and file over his trade stance and NeverTrumper Senator Dean Heller is slobbering over President Trump in the forlorn hope that this will help him win his primary.  Oh baby, the times they are a changin.

And the only real threat on the horizon, Mueller and his Russian witch-hunt, seems to be turning into a case of the besieger becoming the besieged.  I get the impression that the Trump Administration is building a case against Mueller to be used to put some teeth into a tit for tat agreement to end his investigation.

And let’s look at the political environment.  The Media is hanging around porn shoots trying to scare up interest in impeachment.  Congressional Democrats keep insisting that 2018 is their year to win back the House and Senate.  Congressional Republicans are trying to memorize the phrase tax cuts and jobs.  The NeverTrumpers are becoming increasingly lonely and confused.  The Dissident and Alt-Right are becoming so confident that they are almost giddy.  Some of them are toning down parts of their message to broaden their appeal.  Others are actually hardening their responses to leftists in the Social Media and the broader culture.  In general, there is a sense that the tide is turning against the left.  Whether this change is momentary or something that is gaining momentum is still unclear.  But there is definitely a change going on.  Good.

The Left of course is counter-attacking furiously wherever it can.  Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have basically expelled the Right from their sites.  California has declared war on ICE and the Federal Government.  And the activists federal judges are doing everything up to and including criminal malfeasance to block the Trump Administration wherever they can.  But I think they know they are getting their butts kicked.  Basically, these are delaying actions, scorching the earth behind their retreat.  Good.

So, what about me?  How do I feel about all this?  I am generally optimistic.  I think President Trump has shown that he can handle random catastrophes like the school shooting and deflect a lot of the media noise away from himself and his agenda.  And with the extremely strong economic news and the positive foreign policy news he’s positioned to help the hapless Republicans weather the 2018 midterms.

As a sanity check I understand that bad things are going to happen intermittently throughout the Trump Administration.  And some of them may be so dire that they destroy the progress currently being made.  But that’s the nature of life.  What Trump has done is demonstrate that we need a leader as President not a bureaucrat.  We must demand that whoever is the next President gets results.  He must work for us and not the global cartel.  I just hope Mike Pence is taking good notes and Donald Trump will give us his honest opinion of who his successor should be.

So, there we are.  Things are good and look to get even better.  Maybe Justice Kennedy will do the right thing.  He can vote constitutionally for freedom of religion on the Wedding Baker case and then retire to his beach house on Fire Island and allow a deciding vote Right Wing Justice to ascend to the bench.  We can hope to see the Justice Department prosecuting California for obstructing the immigration laws.  And we can hope to see Mueller ride off into the sunset with his tail between his legs.  Stay tuned.  Better days seem to be upon us.

 

Spring. Rejuvenation. Rebirth. Everything’s Blooming. All That Crap.

I quote this deathless sentiment that George Constanza spoke when thinking of a way to postpone his upcoming nuptials.  As evidenced in my recent post of the mallard photo, life is returning to Southern New England.  This exhibits itself in a random walk up and down the thermometer and barometer.  We’ll have 70 degrees F followed by a foot of snow and back again in dizzying alternation.  It’s very much as if a spiteful nature deity is heaping abuse on the home of the staunchest believers in global warming.  Of course, we innocent bystanders also suffer but shoveling wet heavy snow is good for the soul.  Anyway, without a doubt, spring is in the air.  Plants and animals are stirring and even I, your ancient but faithful chronicler of all things interesting to the deplorable, is feeling 17% spryer.

So, in the interest of full disclosure I’ll be taking a little trip between the Sixteenth and Twenty First of March.  During this interval, I will be both frequently outside of wi-fi range and too occupied with death-defying heroics to post.  I will do my best to provide some content but I fear it will be sub-par in both quantity and quality.  I apologize in advance and beg your patience.  I am hopeful that the trip will provide a goodly stock of interesting photos and narrative.  Until then I will endeavor to provide the usual mixture of irascible political opinion, sophomoric parody, self-important book, music and film reviews and general harping on the foibles of human behavior.

And right on queue a foot of snow was dumped on us last night.  Apparently snow holds no terrors for the mallards but the weather gods are certainly making it difficult for me to get to work.  Guess I’ll just work from home today.

 

Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

Mallards on the Puddle in the Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

Mallards on the Puddle in the Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

Mallards on the Puddle in the Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

Mallards on the Puddle in the Aftermath of 07MAR2018 Snow Storm

 

 

Have My Say

A few years ago, I was reading the forum posts of one of the bigger photography websites.  It was one of the forums that was supposed to deal with non-photographic discussions.  So here was where people could talk about the world at large.  Anyway, the discussion turned to gun control.  I read about ten pages of comments and what I noticed was that anti-gun folks outnumbered the pro-gun contingent by about fifty to one.  And this numerical advantage was used to good effect by preventing any of the anti-gun folks from having to complete any rational discussion of even their most outlandish statements.  Whenever it looked like a pro-gun point was about to be made the anti-gun crowd dog-piled their opponent and shifted the argument to some new attack point and the whole process began again.  Finally, when in exasperation the victim lost his temper and barked back at his attackers he was labeled as rabid and hateful and his comments were deleted and he was banned from the site.

 

It bothered me.  Now, I didn’t know any of the participants from Adam.  I had read their comments before and of course I had my own preferences on their opinions based on where I agreed or disagreed with them.  But this was different.  This was basically censorship.  You were not allowed to have certain opinions.  But that wasn’t a policy of the website.  At least not a published one.  It was an unwritten one.  Basically, it was a private club.  But only the members knew it.  Every one else was there at the tolerance of the club members.  And this club was very regimented.  There was an orthodoxy about politics, religion, sexual orientation, environmental policies, climate change, gun control, race relations and especially culture.  Any variance from these orthodoxies were handled in exactly the same way.  The offender was mobbed and silenced and if necessary banned.

 

Well needless to say I went out of my way to be evicted.  I waited for a topic that I was sure would trigger the mob and knowing that it was my last hurrah I went for the gusto.  I didn’t attempt logic or even anger.  I went straight for mockery and insult.  It was glorious.  Of course, it was deleted but not until a furor arose.  Surprisingly, I was told I could return if I apologized and recanted.  Hah.

 

Anyway, that’s why I built this website.  I wanted a place where I could talk about photography and science fiction and movies that I liked and if I wanted to talk about politics I didn’t have to worry about being banned.  I could have my say.  But what I also recognized is that I should let other people have their say too.  Now I don’t mean I have to allow trolls to trash a thread or allow them to tell everyone else what they can’t say.  But it does mean that everyone doesn’t have to agree.  Some of my readers hate Donald Trump.  Okay, fine.  If you want to say why, no problem, go ahead.  By the same token, I think the Clintons are criminal grifters who also happen to be Alinskyite radicals.  So we’re probably not gonna agree on politics.  But maybe we both like Sony mirrorless cameras or classic horror movies or hiking in the southwest deserts.  So, if we can agree to disagree then we can still talk about things we both enjoy.

 

So that’s how I see this site working.  Because of my political slant I’m gonna guess that it will mostly attract people of the same general political slant.  But based on some of the poll results I’ve seen there is a significant population of folks from the left side of the aisle.  I have no problem with that.  You can even have your say.  Just don’t be jerk about it.  And that goes for our side too.  No need to be a jerk.  Keep it decent.  No dog piling.  No ad hominems.  Just opinions and no trolling.  Life’s too short.

 

There, I had my say.

Website Slowdown 1-13-2018 – 1-18-2018

The next six days are going to be very busy for me personally.  As a superhero with a secret identity I am sometimes called on to save the world or put together engineering reports (kinda the same thing).  Because of this you will (and probably already have) noticed a slowdown in my output here on OCF.  Never fear.  It’s very rare.  Usually I’m able to slough off the boring minutiae of every day life to pontificate and bloviate to my heart’s content here in the real world.  Persevere and I’ll try to link to good external content to tide you over until I can concentrate the full weight of my philosophical gravitas on the urgent priorities of the day.  Thank you for your patience.

Antepenultimate Christmas Day 2017

The day before the day before Christmas this year is turning out to be climatically challenging but not without its charms.  To start off there is an ongoing freezing rain falling.  What this means is that a deadly coating of ice is accumulating on the roads and driveways of New England generating the dreaded “black ice” that all Yankees fear and also use as an excuse for “working from home.”  Luckily, I have the day off.  As a matter of fact, I’m into the second day of a vacation that lasts until January Second.  So, even though I will have to address the ice problem sooner than I’d like, my current outlook and world view is serene.  The waves of laziness and the glow of indolence are soothing my soul and generating a “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men” vibe that surprises even me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, “Men” is a poetical rendering for “Men of Good Will” which excludes democrats, deviants and malefactors in general.  But it still encompasses a great many people that annoy me most of the time.  So today is the beginning of that great period of the year when I have almost no homicidal rage and I truly feel that most people aren’t irredeemably evil.  Falalalala … lalalala.

And going along with this general benevolence I feel I must mingle, commune and otherwise hob-nob with my fellow wizards here at OCF.  I feel that anyone who can read my rambling nonsense and still come back for more is in some way a kindred spirit and must be encouraged to return and possibly shout back across the ether.  So, here’s a loud and heartfelt Merry Christmas to all of the folks out there and a Happy New Year too.  Feel free to leave a return greeting in the comments.

All indications are for a better year ahead and better days to come.  Even the imbeciles in Congress were able to get out of their own way and pass a reasonably helpful tax bill.  Anyway, I should have time over the course of this week (between family get togethers and other festivities) to publish at least a few posts.  With all the events and activity going on in Washington it should be easy for me to gin up some outrage and elevate my blood pressure sufficiently to produce something apoplectic and apocalyptic enough to match my usual output.  I’ve been perplexed with how the Mueller investigation is interacting with the Trump Administration.  I can’t figure if the President is naïve or cornered or biding his time.  But without a doubt 2018 will be another year of high political drama.  And #metoo will continue to provide incredible comedy value for your money.  So, stay tuned but don’t forget to leave time for pumpkin pie, roast beast and hanging out with family.  Ho, Ho, Ho.