RWCG


I Made A Cartoon On The Computer, And It Shows A Catastrophe Happening To The Earth (In The Future). So Gimme.
November 30, 2009, 11:02 am
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I made a cartoon on the computer, and it shows a catastrophe happening to the earth (in the future)**. Here, just look at the graphs yourself. (The ones I made.)

Heard enough? Good: give me a cushy lifetime position and autocratic power over how everyone else lives, please. Otherwise you are anti-Science.

No, I’m not going to describe to you how I made this cartoon or what sort of raw data it was based on. That is proprietary! I put a lot of work into it!***

So, again: position, and power, please. (And money, it goes without saying.) Otherwise you’re anti-Science.

That’s the basic scam argument.

**Don’t tell anyone, but the actual model/cartoon in question was a video game, I think maybe it was ‘Civilization III’ or maybe IV…

***37 hours of gameplay so far.



My Accidental Priesthood
November 30, 2009, 10:51 am
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One of the odder, random-seeming facts of my biography is that – unlike 99.999% of the internet people who like to spout off about climate change – I have actually performed climate research and worked on climate models. It’s something I often forget, but it does seem relevant and comes in handy to bring up to The Believers. After all, it’s just amazing to me the number of people who have strong, strong, STRONG opinions on ‘climate change’ yet don’t have the first freaking clue what they’re talking about. In fact, by my observation, the less a person actually knows about climate modelling, the more of a Believer they are. This applies to everyone from Judy Collegegirl Blogger on up to Al “Nobel” Gore. (Yes, I do think Al Gore knows some stuff that he has gleaned from reading and from conversations with his advisors/sciency friends and whatnot, but if he actually knows what are the Rossby Number or the Reynolds Number, the Lax-Wendroff Theorem or the Biot-Savart law, etc etc, I’d be shocked.)

So here’s my spiel on ‘climate change’ then (adapted from a private email to a friend). For the record:

I think most variability we observe and are going to observe in the climate is likely to be due to exogenous forcing from the sun’s natural variability, with other stuff (like CO2) as minor/residual effects not worth bothering about.

The basic physical argument is to say “CO2 is a greenhouse gas” and wave your hands a lot. Saying that because CO2 is a greenhouse gas we’re going to have global warming is like saying that because my bank account earns interest I’m going to be a trillionaire. You can’t just focus on one effect, tell a simplistic one-dimensional story, forget about feedback and other effects and time, and think you’re done.

So really AGW is just based on computer models. The computer models don’t impress me and never did. They are the exact same sorts of models that create ocean waves in Pixar cartoons – they look nice and plausible and often very pretty, but I wouldn’t base serious decisions on the result.

These guys are trying to model a giant chaotic system with hopelessly simplified dynamics (e.g. using 2 1/2 dimensions for the ocean and ‘shallow water’ equations..) and hopelessly large grid sizes (think approximating the ocean/air as giant Lego bricks 5km on a side). They all have to therefore include ‘effective’ coefficients (read: fudge factors) to try to take into account things they know they are missing (like turbulence) due to this pixellation. Sometimes they have only very sloppy explanations for this or that factor. I saw one talk where the guy was asked ‘why did you chose that factor = +1 instead of -1′ (or whatever) and he said “Because my choice leads to warming rather than cooling, and we know there’s warming”. In other words the models can be cooked, and are cooked, to produce any desired outcome. (Guess what the desired/’correct’ outcome always seems to be?)

Meanwhile, the physics/chemistry are still incomplete. They don’t know how to model the atmosphere-space interface. They don’t know how to model freaking clouds. Clouds seem pretty important right? Last I tuned in, there wasn’t even a consensus as to whether more clouds meant more heating or less. There was dispute about this. They couldn’t model cloud formation and they didn’t know what the effect would be if they could…

So these models end up being hopelessly complicated, often a Voltron-style splicing together of several different models created by different groups, and no observer (or peer reviewer) really audits or knows what goes on in all of them, probably no single person has the entire model in his head. And finally the models have to be driven by “data” which are sporadic (we just don’t have thermometers covering the globe and going back thousands of years – there’s really FAR LESS temperature data than people realize…in many parts/times of the oceans we only have data from ships going along shipping routes), inaccurate, have to be “corrected” for this or that, and may simply be fudged. All of these things are illustrated by the recent email scandal. Nothing in the emails has surprised me (i.e. the fudge factors) because I already knew stuff like that must be going on.

Also, even if the entire theory turns out to be true in its basics, I think there’s no way in hell trying to ‘stop’ global warming by consciously/forcefully limiting CO2 through top-down regulation would survive a cost-benefit analysis. It would almost certainly be cheaper to just adapt to the effects (if they are bad – and not all effects would be bad!) as/when they appear. A big problem in this debate is that climate scientists are not economists (they think that if they identify a Problem it automatically follows that the Problem should be Fixed, regardless of cost). The other problem is that Economists are not climate scientists (they take whatever the most alarmist climate scientists say at face value, and are attracted to alarmist pronouncements because that makes technocrats more important..)

That’s a larger problem I have with this issue, people speak about ‘the scientific consensus’ and don’t realize that different ‘scientists’ study different things, and they don’t necessarily know jack about other fields. ‘The scientific consensus’ is really a small # of climate scientists and a large # of other guys going ‘ok, sure, sounds good I guess’. As we now know, those other guys don’t and usually can’t actually check the work down to the raw data.

To be impressed by such a ‘consensus’ is to reveal that you don’t actually know very much about how actual science works. Oddly, almost accidentally, I do. I was once in that priesthood, for a brief shining moment. But just so we’re clear, the climatology priesthood does contain numerous actual, genuine, honorable scientists. I worked with them. And they behaved nothing like these CRU creeps, who in my opinion, by their behavior, have demonstrated that whatever they are, they are not scientists.



Movie Quiz
November 28, 2009, 3:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My answers to the latest movie quiz at Sergio Leone(&c):


1) Second-favorite Coen Brothers movie.

Favorite=Big Lebowski so this ends up being a referendum on Fargo (which is traditionally considered their best). But if I had to watch a non-Lebowski C.B. movie again it would probably be O Brother, Where Art Thou?


2) Movie seen only on home format that you would pay to see on the biggest movie screen possible? (Question submitted by Peter Nellhaus)

I do not like movie theaters anymore (all those other people – irritating). This question seems mostly about movies with great visual effects. Recent ones coming to mind are animations like Coraline, Wall-E and The Incredibles. Maybe Star Trek. You could also take this in a different direction and go for movies whose directors use the whole frame in a unique/stylized way (i.e. Wes Anderson). But I have seen Rushmore and Tenenbaums in theaters.

UPDATE: Okay here’s an obvious answer – Lawrence of Arabia.


3) Japan or France? (Question submitted by Bob Westal)

France.


4) Favorite moment/line from a western.

Moment: the duel between Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda at the end of Once Upon A Time In The West. Line: Fonda, to the younger Bronson character in flashback as he shoves a harmonica in his mouth: “Keep your lovin’ brother happy.” Chills down my spine just thinking about it.


5) Of all the arts the movies draw upon to become what they are, which is the most important, or the one you value most?

Maybe the music, actually. I can forgive lack of story and a lot of other stuff if the music works well.


6) Most misunderstood movie of the 2000s (The Naughties?).

Easy answer: Mulholland Drive (because nobody could possibly understand it). I’m going to take a different tack however and cite the Ocean’s movies (all three).


7) Name a filmmaker/actor/actress/film you once unashamedly loved who has fallen furthest in your esteem.

Filmmaker – M. Night Shyamalan (much as I hate to admit it, even though I don’t hate him as much as most, he has still fallen very very far in my esteem). Actor – I’m going to go with Vince Vaughn. Remember when he was cool? He’s just in all these dumb movies now.


8 ) Herbert Lom or Patrick Magee?

pass


9) Which is your least favorite David Lynch film (Submitted by Tony Dayoub)

I pretty much hated Blue Velvet.


10) Gordon Willis or Conrad Hall? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

pass


11) Second favorite Don Siegel movie.

Escape From Alcatraz (#1 is Dirty Harry obviously)


12) Last movie you saw on DVD/Blu-ray? In theaters?

DVD: Star Trek gets a second mention

Theaters: Inglorious Basterds


13) Which DVD in your private collection screams hardest to be replaced by a Blu-ray? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

I don’t give a rat’s ass about Blu-ray whatever that is.


14) Eddie Deezen or Christopher Mintz-Plasse?

McLovin!


15) Actor/actress who you feel automatically elevates whatever project they are in, or whom you would watch in virtually anything.

Jeff Bridges.


16) Fight Club — yes or no?

Heck yes.


17) Teresa Wright or Olivia De Havilland?

Teresa Wright


18) Favorite moment/line from a film noir.

Don’t remember


19) Best (or worst) death scene involving an obvious dummy substituting for a human or any other unsuccessful special effect(s)—see the wonderful blog Destructible Man for inspiration.

Face-melting Nazis in Indiana Jones.


20) What’s the least you’ve spent on a film and still regretted it? (Submitted by Lucas McNelly)

Whatever Blockbuster was charging in the mid-90s. I think I rented Hollow Man then never watched it.


21) Van Johnson or Van Heflin?

Van Halen.


22) Favorite Alan Rudolph film.

No.


23) Name a documentary that you believe more people should see.

Waco: The Rules Of Engagement


24) In deference to this quiz’s professor, name a favorite film which revolves around someone becoming stranded.

Cast Away (underrated)


25) Is there a moment when your knowledge of film, or lack thereof, caused you an unusual degree of embarrassment and/or humiliation? If so, please share.

Probably happened (both) when I was younger, but can’t remember now. Nowadays I’d never be embarrassed to know about a movie (even a cheesy or ‘shameful’ one in some way), nor to be ignorant of one I didn’t see (even one that ‘everyone’ sees)


26) Ann Sheridan or Geraldine Fitzgerald? (Submitted by Larry Aydlette)

Teresa Wright dammit!


27) Do you or any of your family members physically resemble movie actors or other notable figures in the film world? If so, who?

Someone once told my dad he talks like Sean Connery (which isn’t true).


28) Is there a movie you have purposely avoided seeing? If so, why?

Bruno, because I just feel like I’d be too grossed out.

An Inconvenient Truth, for obvious reasons.

Anything further, ever, by Lars von Trier, because I already tortured myself sitting through Dogville.


29) Movie with the most palpable or otherwise effective wintry atmosphere or ambience.

I was going to give Fargo a mention but I think I’ll raise that with A Simple Plan.

A more classical answer would probably be Doctor Zhivago.


30) Gerrit Graham or Jeffrey Jones?

Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Bueller’s principal).

Looking up these two guys, this question kinda makes sense.


31) The best cinematic antidote to a cultural stereotype (sexual, political, regional, whatever).

I don’t understand the question.


32) Second favorite John Wayne movie.

Hard to choose #1 between The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Thus, hard to choose #2 as well.


33) Favorite movie car chase.

Blues Brothers


34) In the spirit of His Girl Friday, propose a gender-switched remake of a classic or not-so-classic film. (Submitted by Patrick Robbins)

This question bores me. Next


35) Barbara Rhoades or Barbara Feldon?

Agent 99, duh


36) Favorite Andre De Toth movie.

N/A


37) If you could take one filmmaker’s entire body of work and erase it from all time and memory, as if it had never happened, whose oeuvre would it be? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)

I knew it would pay off to bring up Lars von Trier earlier


38) Name a film you actively hated when you first encountered it, only to see it again later in life and fall in love with it.

Not sure this has ever happened unless you soften up that ‘actively hated’ and ‘fall in love’ stuff.


39) Max Ophuls or Marcel Ophuls? (Submitted by Tom Sutpen)

Not worth the Google time


40) In which club would you most want an active membership, the Delta Tau Chi fraternity, the Cutters or the Warriors? And which member would you most resemble, either physically or in personality?

Cutters.

In personality, Dennis Christopher’s main character (generally, though not in the specifics of loving opera/Italy/etc). Maybe physically too.


41) Your favorite movie cliché.

The bad guy says to the good guy: “You and I, we are not so different, you know.” Happens again and again, makes me smile every time. (h/t to story fanatic (I think) for helping make me aware of this cliche…)


42) Vincente Minnelli or Stanley Donen? (Submitted by Bob Westal)

Donen, if for this alone


43) Favorite Christmas-themed horror movie or sequence.

Not my cup of tea


44) Favorite moment of self- or selfless sacrifice in a movie.

Something about the Dustin Hoffman character’s rescue scene at the beginning of Hero (crappy movie) always stuck with me.


45) If you were the cinematic Spanish Inquisition, which movie cult (or cult movie) would you decimate? (Submitted by Bob Westal)

Comic-book movies/similar and their fanboys. (Not saying I hate them all, but there are certainly way too many. And ‘decimate’ only means one in ten, which would be a start…)


46) Caroline Munro or Veronica Carlson?

Gonna go with Munro


47) Favorite eye-patch wearing director. (Submitted by Patty Cozzalio)

Too much trouble


48) Favorite ambiguous movie ending. (Original somewhat ambiguous submission—“Something about ambiguous movie endings!”– by Jim Emerson, who may have some inspiration of his own to offer you.)

The Graduate


49) In giving thanks for the movies this year, what are you most thankful for?

‘Thankful’ is kind of overkill (generally it was not a great year for movies), but I guess it’s nice that Star Trek lived up to, even surpassed my expectations. Wow, 3 mentions. I am a dork.


50) George Kennedy or Alan North? (Submitted by Peet Gelderblom)

George Kennedy.

No real reason, I guess.



Misanthrope: Dissing Children And Other People On Thanksgiving
November 26, 2009, 8:27 pm
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  • Here’s a giveaway that someone is about to make a dumb political argument: the invokation of hypothetical ‘children’ and how much they ‘know’ and ‘understand’ to support one’s point. e.g., “We adults forget what it’s like to see the world through the eyes of a child. Children know that nuclear bombs are BAD.” Use of the phrase ‘it’s elementary’ here is a dead giveaway that you’re about to see this particularly lame form of argumentation.
  • More climate-data fraud surfacing, and I suspect not the last. This scandal has helped me realize one reason I became disenchanted with large-scale-numerical-model-driven scientific research: you can put all the elbow-grease you want into the fancy math but at the end of the day, any ‘model’ has to be fed with input data. Different input data can and does lead to drastically different results. And so you have to get that data from somewhere. But unless it’s going to be you going out and measuring the data by hand, from scratch, the place you’re going to have to get that data from is: other people. And in a very deep sense, I fundamentally do not trust other people, whether they are “scientists” or not. And you see? I am being proven right not to!


Believe In Me
November 22, 2009, 11:54 pm
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by Sloan



Don’t Pick On Me
November 22, 2009, 11:48 pm
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The Muffs do, come to think of it, make a lot more sense as a cartoon.



Waltz #2
November 22, 2009, 7:56 pm
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First the mike, then a half-cigarette, singing “Cathy’s Clown”. That’s the man she’s married to now



Should Strangers I’ve Never Met Get Mammograms And When? My Important Opinion
November 22, 2009, 4:23 pm
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People may not remember this, but during the Reagan-Bush years, and indeed during the arguments for the Clinton health care plan(s), whether/how often women should get mammograms was a big political deal. It was considered a hallmark of the Evil Conservative backwardness that Medi[whatever] wouldn’t pay for such-and-such number of mammograms per (year/month/day?) for such-and-such women. Maximizing the number of mammograms women got was a big civil-rights issue cared deeply about by many ‘progressive’ females I found myself in arguments with over the years.

Time and time again, it always came back to the mammograms. To listen to ‘progressive’ women talk in 1994, or 1988, women should be given free mammograms practically every day, paid for by garnishing white males’ salaries, any hour of a woman over the age of 13’s life elapsing without her being given a mammogram was a Shoah-level crime against humanity, and anyone who didn’t think so was a Neanderthal.

That is why I will be especially interested to see the reaction of ‘progressives’ to this in the coming weeks and months. You can almost hear the gears in ‘progressives’ heads clanking around as they try to do the political calculation and calibrate their response. What reaction helps Obama and the ‘healthcare’ plan? Hmmm…you know, it’s funny, but suddenly maybe mammograms aren’t All That after all.

I don’t have a set position on mammograms, mind you. Frankly I’d be delighted if I never heard the word ‘mammogram’ in a damn political conversation for the rest of my natural life. It’s none of my freaking business.

At least, I don’t want it to be. The problem is, ‘progressives’ want it to be. They want to make everyone’s shit everyone else’s business. That is the problem.



What Star Trek Is About
November 22, 2009, 3:07 pm
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I consider myself a skeptic of all things “J.J. Abrams” but have to say that his Star Trek reboot was near-perfect in my view. It could not have been better: spectacular, fun and exciting. However a blockbuster like this is often most interesting not for its story as such, but for what it says about the mass audience.

One takeaway from Star Trek is that we still like cowboys for our heroes. Kirk and Bones are essentially hicks from Middle America. Of course Bones was always a cowboy, played by DeForest Kelly, a veteran of lots of Western TV. But on the original series, this side of him was somewhat muted; here (although Bones really doesn’t have a lot to do) his hickness is played up and New Zealand actor Karl Urban has to do his best Virginia-miner impression. Meanwhile, Shatner had always played Kirk as speaking with a sonorous TV Accent, an accent unlocatable as being from anywhere other than in TV Land. But Chris Pine, who as far as I can tell was born in LA, instead often has Kirk lapsing into a faux Midwest farm-boy accent, usually when he needs to be his most Kirk-like. There’s also a wise-talking Scot (Scots may as well be proto-cowboys), a sword-wielding Japanese dude, a strong Cuban starfleet captain, another older cowboy captain (Captain Pike), and a quirky Russian whiz kid. You know who there isn’t? An enlightened “progressive” who wrings his hands over everything and advocates nonviolence and nonintervention. (The closest by default would be Uhura, I suppose, the ambitious ‘xenolinguistics’ expert now played by a sort-of-black actress.) Even Spock (who does have moments of being ‘enlightened’ but they merely make him come off like a prig), has been beefed up, liable to fly into rage and start pounding on you if you diss his mama. Much as we might hate to admit it and try to suppress it in the Age Of Obama, our vision of adventure and manliness still inherits a lot from the cowboy, it seems.

The main theme of the Star Trek movie’s story, though, is race and racial guilt. This is where the film is at its most consistent with the spirit of the original series – and also where the film finds and explores the contradictions always present in Star Trek at its best.

In the original conception of Star Trek, of course, there are humans, and Vulcans, and Romulans, and Klingons – all sorts of different alien races (usually standing in for Russians, Chinese, etc.). And within each alien group, they were pretty much interchangeable. There was a ‘Federation’, and the Prime Directive (don’t interfere with alien development), baked into Star Trek from the start. This was the ‘enlightened’, ‘progressive’ Gene Roddenberry trying his best to paint his naive ’60s vision of a United-Nations type future. Highly ‘multicultural’, and of course completely anti-individual. But nobody would have wanted to watch Star Trek if it had had no interesting characters. The show’s writers (and definitely, the writers of movies #2-6) must have quickly figured out that the actual appeal of the show lay with Kirk, and Spock, and Bones, and the interplay between them. In other words, they wanted and tried to make a show about multiculturalism, but in practice when it came time to come up with appealing adventures, they couldn’t help making the show be about an adventurous gang of individual characters, and their friendship, and their uniqueness, in the process.

So Star Trek, when it’s been good (which is certainly not always or even often), has always been about the contradiction between the ‘progressive’, multicultural vision it tries to paint, and the focus on a small set of individuals, their personalities and decisions (and especially, their rulebreaking). It tries to be a celebration of peaceful multicultural coexistence and morality, but always ends up being a celebration of the bold, brave, swashbuckling, adventurous individual – i.e. Kirk – and the friends who complement and support him. (And when it doesn’t, i.e. many of the Picard adventures, it sucks.)

Abrams’s Star Trek doesn’t suck, and it’s in large part because the writers go back to that original dynamic of the celebration of the cowboy hero set against a progressive/multicultural backdrop.

And that backdrop is certainly there. The driving force of this movie’s story is race and genocide. Nero the Romulan is mad at Spock for failing to save Nero’s home planet (Romulus). Spock is mad at his Vulcan peers for sneering at his half-human bloodline (a definite progressive no-no). Then Nero destroys Spock’s home planet Vulcan, so Spock has to grapple with the emotions of losing his ‘culture’ and being an ‘endangered species’ (an odd thing to say, since we know Vulcans can breed with e.g. humans…). These conflicts are all consistent with a ‘United Nations’ view of the world as well-approximated by the conflicts and relationships between various ‘peoples’ (aliens). ‘Peoples’ are important (not individuals per se), ‘cultures’ are important and their loss tragic (not individuals per se), it is important to respect this or that ‘culture’ and if you don’t you’re a racist. The setup of Star Trek is steeped in these progressive assumptions.

So much so that to some extent they don’t even make sense. Take Nero’s anger at Spock. It makes absolutely no sense. We see in a flashback that Spock tried as hard as he could to save Romulus. There’s no reason to believe he could have done anything more. So why is Nero so mad at him? Why does he want ‘revenge’ against Spock of all people, the one person who tried to save Romulus? This makes no sense on a realistic level. It does make sense, however, from the ‘United Nations’ point of view of a progressive always ready to blame himself and his society for their inability to intervene successfully in other affairs and utopianize everyone else 100% of the time. The central conflict of this Star Trek is set up by the lefty/progressive fear that there are always peacekeeping missions and humanitarian interventions out there that you (i.e. Spock) failed to do, and those peoples can turn into terrorists because of it, and (on some level) they are right/justified in doing so – and if you strike back in anger, that’s letting your emotions get the better of you.

The second half of the film then becomes about how Spock deals with the genocide against his people. Star Trek‘s answer (and even the Older Spock’s answer) seems to be that he should step down as Captain of the Enterprise and let the adventurous/individualistic/instinctive Kirk take over, because the genocide made him ‘emotionally conflicted’, and Spock can accomplish more by becoming the sidekick and friend of a reckless cowboy. This switch is accomplished by expositing to the audience that there is a Starfleet rule requiring a Captain to resign his command anytime he is ‘emotionally conflicted’. I am not a very knowledgeable Trekkie so maybe this rule has always existed, but I can point out that if it had been followed consistently, Kirk and Picard and Janeway and (etc etc) would have had to resign their commands dozens of times over. That it is called upon here as a somewhat contrived trick to slot Kirk into the Captain’s chair where he belongs is quite telling. (In fact Kirk’s entire trajectory to the captain’s chair is fairly ridiculous if considered rationally….)

Because overall we have a story where

  • the Bad Guy was created by the Good Guy’s failure to be 100% successful in his humanitarian efforts
  • the Good Guy is bad/wrong to react in anger to that, and needs to control his emotions
  • but it’s ok if he steps aside and lets a cowboy take over and do what needs to be done. We need the cowboy.

In other words we have a progressive fairy-tale that tries its hardest to buttress progressive virtues but still celebrates the need to call upon a reckless cowboy to save the day. Star Trek is a backhanded tribute made by progressives to the need – a need they could never admit openly – for a solitary “George W. Bush” figure to come in, take over, and kick ass.



The Boring Prisoner

My problems with the new Prisoner series so far (I’m about 2/3rds of the way through).

  • Number Six isn’t a secret agent as in the original, but some sort of middling ‘analyst’ for some Evil Corporation. The show is playing on, I guess, vintage-1998 fears about Echelon, rather than on Cold War fears which were much more weighty. I don’t even care about this Number Six or why he resigned.
  • In the original, it’s (sort of) clear they brought Number Six there to learn why he resigned. They ask him a lot why he resigned, and try to trick him in various ways. In this one, they haven’t asked him yet, and there aren’t really any tricks/mind games. I don’t even care why he resigned, and the show seems to have forgotten.
  • The original used the Big White Ball due to technical limitations. This one is still using a Big White Ball. I was hoping for better.
  • The Village was a cute seaside resort in the original. In this one it seems to be a boring company-town suburb somewhere in New Mexico.
  • No pennyfarthing bicycles!
  • No observation room with a giant seesaw and guys looking in spying-scopes.
  • The original had a campy ’60s vibe and a wacky sense of humor. This one is Serious and it’s not clear why.
  • The whole vibe and theme reminds one of a combination of the ’90s series Nowhere Man and the ’90s movie The Truman Show. In fact, it makes me want to watch Nowhere Man b/c I have a feeling that was better.

I hadn’t realized when I started watching that this is just a six-episode miniseries rather than a full TV series. I was relieved when I found this out. I do like Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellan, but the material they have here is so blah, at least, so far. I’ll finish the thing, and maybe it’ll turn around in the last two hours, but so far, what a disappointment.



Wannabe Dick Graysons
November 17, 2009, 1:12 am
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While we’re on the subject of people whose driving purpose in life is to have my paycheck garnished to pay for their shit:

Redistributionists basically want to be my ward. Right? That’s the position they’re applying for. The position of “ward”. They’re Dick Grayson and I’m Bruce Wayne (gee, I wish).

Because think about it. They want me to take care of them. They want their security guaranteed by my capital. That’s the punch line of virtually every “progressive”/lefty argument: self-infantilization for the sake of not having to take responsibility for their own lives. Instead, they want that responsibility turned over to me (and people like me): they want to be wards. Rather than adults.

That’s how I see such people. And I’m starting to think that’s how I should treat such people.



Pussy-Squared
November 16, 2009, 11:55 am
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(Unearthed from the depths of comments section here)

I think this all may hit upon why ‘healthcare’ as an issue bothers me so much. It’s pussy-SQUARED.

Think about it. Wealth-redistribution is a pussy move. People who can’t support themselves and want to leech off others – pussies.

But more than that, ‘healthcare’ is a pussy concern. It really is. It is not a man’s concern. Men don’t walk around rubbing their hands about ‘healthcare’ all the time. Men don’t even go to doctors that much. To the point of neglecting their health, even. Women go far more often. It’s fairly womanly to have ‘healthcare’ as a top priority in one’s life. I’m not saying this like it’s a good or bad thing, it just is. It’s a womanish concern.

So, people who want wealth-redistribution in the area of ‘healthcare’ are being double-pussies. Or pussies-squared. I’m not sure how the algebra plays out but I am sure that I find the whole issue tremendously self-centered, coddled, inward-looking, insular, and nauseating.

JFK wanted to go to the Moon. This is what interested him. And then he got murdered, and then we did. Whatever else one thinks of JFK, that aspect of him was anti-pussy. That was a large, manly dream. Outward-looking, forward-thinking, bold.

Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi want to write petty buttinsky bureaucratic 9000-page documents specifying when and where people can go put their legs into stirrups/turn their heads and cough. This is genuinely what interests them. That’s how petty and small and sad their dreams are.

Pussies. Squared.



Upon Meeting Autocrat (Fill In The Blank), His Instinct Is To Bow
November 16, 2009, 11:38 am
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I just hope President Obama doesn’t have any sort of meeting or summit scheduled with General Zod.

Because let’s face it, we pretty much know by now what would be the outcome of that:



Progressivism
November 15, 2009, 11:53 pm
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“Progressivism” is the art of using one’s deft vocabulary and the halo of one’s overeducation to passive-aggressively pick other peoples’ pockets and be admired for it. It is the most lucrative, if not the only, form of street-thievery available to physical cowards. The end-goal of every “progressive” is to be set up in a sinecure given to them by Society in exchange for the privilege of hearing their highly loquacious and enlightened views on which other peoples’ pockets should be picked, a sinecure that simultaneously lets them order people around and be the center of attention yet be loved for it.

This is why Michael Scott of The Office is the quintessential “progressive” archetype. As a parody/extreme version of the type, and by consistently being 100% inept in his efforts at playing the “progressive” part, he lays bare the true “progressive” id in its naked form. Real “progressives” are unlike Michael Scott only in the sense that they are likely to be more adept at hiding their self-centeredness, their self-righteousness, their puerile need to be celebrities, their fundamental loneliness and hollowness.

UPDATE: I’m almost at the point where the only appropriate response to a ‘progressive’ is “fuck you too”. After all, if political debates were being conducted more honestly, the ‘progressive’ side would be saying, about 99.9% of the time, “give me your money and fuck you”. So yeah, fuck you too.



Links
November 14, 2009, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
  • Is that a bedpost in your movie or are you just happy to see me?
  • John McWhorter asks Would it be inherently evil if there were not 6,000 spoken languages but one? The idea that all languages intrinsically must be preserved has always struck me as similarly daft as the idea that all species of critter intrinsically must be preserved. Think about how many people would think it “sad” if this or that species were to “die out”. Similarly, it’s supposedly “sad” if some obscure language only spoken by two Eskimos “dies out”. In both cases I think the death of a line of something is being confused/conflated with the death of an individual. A “language” becomes anthropomorphized as if it, itself, is a living thing. We speak of languages “dying” but people need to understand that this is a metaphor. In reality what happens is that people die and sometimes, the person dying is the last one to speak the language he knows. The death of the individual may be tragic (but it is inevitable – everyone dies); the “death” of the language isn’t, not so much. I think ultimately language/species/etc worship offends me because it is anti-individual; it elevates the importance of the group (or in language’s case a cultural trait carried by the group) above that of the individual. Go ahead and weep at the death of a person but if you weep at the “death” of a language, I question your priorities.
  • Here’s the Wiki page of Sasha the DJ who is supposedly a big thing in New York. Apparently ‘secret raves’ still exist. The appeal for me of ‘raves’, ‘DJs’, ‘house music’, and dancing in packed sweaty drug-addled crowds to music so loud you can’t hear your brain cells dying: zero. Just one of the many ways I can tell I’m not European. (It’s long been a pet theory of mine that when people think of ‘European culture’, to a large extent they’re thinking not of castles and Renaissance paintings but of disco and dancing and, in particular, sluts in clubs.)
  • M. Simon points out that what everyone calls “fossil fuels” may not be.
  • The always-excerptable Arnold Kling:

    I am wary of the term “international community.” It is a nice way of saying coercion exerted by some governments on other governments.

    [...]

    We have a situation, which we are seeing clearly in the case of health care legislation, in which more and more power is grabbed by officials who have an ever-diminishing share of the knowledge base required to make intelligent decisions. Ken Rogoff keeps using the phrase “arrogance and ignorance” to describe actors in financial markets in recent years. That phrase applies to regulators as well as to CEO’s. It applies to policy makers as well as to market participants. And it applies to the “international community.”

    Smart People, of course, are ever-more convinced that their Smartness entitles them to control ever-larger shares of power. And the fact that this only enables them to make ever-larger and more disastrous mistakes doesn’t seem to dissuade them. I’ve always said that it takes moderate intelligence to, say, make a million dollars – but it takes a real genius to lose a billion dollars.

  • Bookworm has a good insight into Obama’s narcissism and how it affects his leadership:

    Obama’s little brain says “Everyone can see I’m a genius. Everyone can see I’m a genius.” [...] The problem with this external measurement, of course, is that if you make a mistake the praise goes away. Narcissists cannot afford mistakes. And the best way to avoid a mistake is not to make a decision.



State The Problem
November 11, 2009, 3:21 pm
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It would be helpful if “healthcare” reform advocates were forced to state the Problem(s) they think they are addressing and solving. This would make it more apparent that “healthcare reform”, as that phrase has come to mean, is not pointed at and has nothing to do with solving the Problems they always bring up. As things stand when I try to address the supposed Problems one by one, it inevitably leads to one or another sort of Dodge on the part of the “healthcare” advocate. Here are some examples, their most obvious/straightforward resolutions, and their dodges:

Problem: people can DIE because they don’t have health insurance or aren’t covered by Medicaid type programs, therefore will not be given health care they need in order not to DIE, because all hospitals/health care deliverers will refuse to treat them. Resolution: this problem doesn’t actually exist, of course. It is against the law (EMTALA) to deny needed treatment on the basis of ability to pay. Dodge: stretch the meaning of what’s “needed” to include virtually everything – routine checkups, whatever. This is a dodge because then we’re no longer talking about people dying (which supposedly was the Problem).

Problem: some cliched number of people (the agreed-upon number nowadays seems to be “46 million”) don’t have “access” to health care. Resolution: this just isn’t true. Go into any hospital, you will be given “access”. You might be asked to pay and/or cite an insurance company or something (then again, you might not, if you’re poor enough, or it’s an emergency), but “access” as such is not an issue. Dodge: equate “access” with “getting stuff for free”, which is ridiculous (the Problem “46 million people are without free health care!” just wouldn’t have the same ring to it, would it?)

Problem: the Important 46 Million don’t have insurance. Resolution: who cares whether they have “insurance”? Insurance is not health care. Dodge: Equate insurance with health care at every opportunity, refuse to see the difference between the two.

Problem: Health care costs are too high for the average person. Resolution: bring costs down via market mechanisms like in all other areas of human life – have people pay for things themselves as much as possible, no more intermediation, remove barriers to entry on the supplier side, remove the distorting tax credit for employer-provided health plans, let people not consume (i.e. not buy insurance or buy only minimal insurance if they want), etc. Get consumption down and bargain-shopping and competition up, make peoples’ costs visible to them, and costs will inevitably come down. Dodge: “That’s crazy talk! I’ve got a much better idea: socialism. Let’s put as many people onto a government plan as possible and make sure everyone’s true health care costs are hidden from them.” Then mumble something vague and inaccurate/ignorant about “risk-spreading”, wave your hands, and voila, spending a trillion dollars and distorting the market even further will magically make costs come down.

Are there any other Problems that “healthcare” reform is meant to solve? Because it would solve none of the above Problems, which either can be addressed in other ways or aren’t real problems in the first place. Indeed, the only real Problem I can see solved by “healthcare” reform is the Problem of Not Enough Socialism.

Needless to say, not everyone sees that as a problem. But obviously, some people do.



Obsessions
November 10, 2009, 11:51 am
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My exchanges with “healthcare” advocates make it clear that their priorities are in fact rather strange.

Let’s say they give sob stories about people who need health care to save their life, but can’t afford it, therefore will be left to die. I point out EMTALA. They say “but that only covers ER care, it doesn’t cover routine things!” Um, huh? I thought this was about life-saving treatment, not acne medication.

Let’s say they start prattling on about how all other ‘developed’ countries have ‘universal’ health care (=government health care that covers everyone), but since we don’t, poor people fall through the cracks. I point out Medicare. They say: “but that only covers poor people, not everyone!” Um, huh? I thought the concern was precisely whether poor people are covered. The rich and middle class already have health care through their jobs, or privately.

It seems the real priority is that there be an All-Encompassing Government Program that Covers Everything. You get it? The concern is not life-saving nor is the concern poor people. The concern is that an All-Encompassing Government Program needs to exist. As long as it doesn’t exist, the left will consider it a tragedy, and agitate for one.

Why? Why is that a priority? Obviously, they don’t know.

So I’m trying to dig deeper. What psychological pathology makes people so in love with the concept of health care being delivered via an All-Encompassing Government Program? What’s so special about getting your health care from the Government that the left instinctively considers it a goal in itself worth striving for endlessly, for everyone (not just poor people)? The more I think about it the more bizarre it is.



Beyond Parody
November 10, 2009, 11:42 am
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It’s been nauseating to catch snippets of lefty/media reaction to the Fort Hood shootings. Dozens of people murdered and the Intelligentsia’s primary concerns are Will this hurt diversity? and Will this hurt Muslims’ feelings?

If I were parodying lefty/PC attitudes I couldn’t possibly come up with a reaction so extremely tasteless, tin-eared, inane, and just plain evil. The reality is now beyond parody.



Smart Vs. Know-Nothing
November 8, 2009, 3:40 pm
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The House just passed a mammoth bill that not a single person voting for it had read.

Half the country is applauding at the “landmark” vote. Not a single one of the people applauding has read the bill.

President Obama hails the great achievement. He has not read the bill and, like the others mentioned above, has only the faintest idea what’s in it.

All of this is emblematic of the Smart point of view. This is what Smart People think and how Smart People behave. Smart People approve of all of this. Thank goodness we’re not living in the Dumb, Know-Nothing time of President George W. Bush, they all say, in their studied ignorance.



Why I’m Not A Smart Person
November 7, 2009, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Unemployment at 10.2%. Good thing we had “stimulus” which automatically creates jobs, according to Smart People. In fact Smart People just think this proves we need more “stimulus”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a recession with high unemployment is a totally awesome time to be proposing that we tax the middle class up the wazoo in order to spend a metric-buttload of money on “healthcare”. This will be brought to you by more Smart People.

I’m not a Smart Person.




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