Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Toilet Wars

This is historical essay is inspired by some of the recent changes towards all gender toilets that are happening in Silicon Valley and will most likely become legal mandates.

My reminisces are that back in the earliest days, all toilets were gender neutral.  The animals just did it wherever, with the bulls and the cows generally taking no interest in regulating where the opposite sex did their thing.  Then along came the birds, who preferred windshields as their target, with the males and females both competing to see who could hit the spot from the highest altitude.  Other variations to the rule were out there, such as the felines, who used urinating as a means of marking territory, which they did proudly for all to see.

Humans likewise paid no attention to regulations of any sort until pope Urban Organization II decided that there must be both male and female chamber pots.  What was concerning him was never stated clearly, but we may wonder how it is that a prelate who only interacted with males should take note of such things.  Anyway, this practice spread from chamber pots to public latrines.  Then it continued to propagate throughout the world so that geographically and culturally far away places like Japan and Indonesia have also picked up the practice.  There are, however, some peculiarities in these far away implementations.  For example, the original Catholic practice separated the genders to the point that nothing was visible, whereas in Japan the cleaning ladies make their rounds in the mens toilets without any change to the rhythm of activity.  In Indonesia, I remember some of the country side toilets being segregated, but otherwise things were more or less visible externally.

Modern intellectualoids have seen the practice for what it clearly is:  Gender based toilets are a barbaric violation of the laws of nature, inspired by religious fanatics who had nothing but evil intentions and desired to impose these on others.  Were it not for the brutality of the Inquisition, gender based toilets would never have taken hold.  Thus, the need to compel people to return to the proper biological practices.  To this end, the all-gender toilet was invented.  Now I should note that there is a distinction between the simple multi-use toilet which has a toilet and a washing area both behind a single lockable door.  The all-gender latrine has a relatively private toilet, but the washing areas are shared and public.  My first encounter with this was at a restaurant nearby where I went, um, once.  The result was that I found myself washing my hands and straightening up my clothes next to the young waitress who was doing the same.  Admittedly it gave me a rather squeamish feeling, which clearly indicates the moral deficiency of my upbringing.  More recently I have learned that major companies Silicon Valley companies like Semantec have implemented this in their facilities, which greatly improves the symmetry of social bonding and eliminates the suspicion generated by gender segregation.

I won't try to draw any conclusion to this, since we are still early in the change process.  San Francisco, being always the most progressive, has taken the further step of encouraging public defecation and urination everywhere, which clearly brings us back to the original biological plan for such activities.  No doubt the US Supreme Court will need to rule on this, followed by the World Court and the United Nations Human Rights Council.  As for me, I am looking forward to a more fragrant future.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Freedom!!!

After being stuck at my house for several months due to the studies, I finally have the chance to get out for a day without thinking about anything.  But now we must ponder the options.  The pictures are from Wheeler Peak in Northern New Mexico where I went with my daughter and her friends a few years ago.  Unfortunately that is a little too far for a day trip.  San Francisco is nearby, but we save this for when visitors come.  Marin County might be good since there is lots of hiking there.  Tiburon and Angel Island?  Or maybe up to Sonoma?  The redwoods are nearby and easy to mix with a visit to Santa Cruz, without too much driving.  We can say "hi!" to Clint Eastwood and head on down to Monterey and Carmel.  Or maybe just go to Big Sur.  Since I never drink wine, we don't usually go to Napa Valley unless we have guests.  The weather this weekend shouldn't be too hot, so perhaps we could consider Pinnacles National Park.  Lot's of choices and two more days to make up my mind.




Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dotting the t's and crossing the i's.

Just finished the last of the semester's coursework.  Wondering what is in store next.  Maybe I will just spend more time in the lake swimming with the cormorants.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Trump vs Other Republicans

After careful and scientific consideration, I can now make the final observations:

Trump vs Bush I/II

What makes Trump outstanding is that he is able to express and defend an opinion.  Yes, it is true that he might be expressing a contrary opinion the next day, and his defense might be incoherent and cause even more troubles for his point of view, but one has to start somewhere.  Bush I/II never made it that far.

Trump vs McCain

A consistent behavior of Trump is the picking of fights with various people, even if it is a pointless one.  In this, however, Trump shows himself to be principled by first making the recipient of his attack into an enemy, then attacking.  Later he might de-enemy the person and all is well.  With McCain, it is his friends who need to worry the most.

Trump vs Romney

My main recollection was that Romney was a conservative Christian before being nominated and a born again RINO afterwards.  Who knows what he would have become had he been elected?  There is only one Trump so you always know who it is you are voting for.  OK, so we have to deal with this in a statistical sense with a very large standard deviation, but we are confident that the alternation between positions and their complex conjugates is a stochastic process which is temporally invariant, rather than being subject to discrete jumps and singularities.




Sunday, July 31, 2016

Whitewashing the Whitewashing ... and Matt Damon

A series of anti-Matt Damon articles featuring Constance Wu have hit the press, such as this one from the Daily Mail.  So basically Matt Damon having escaped from Mars with the help of the Chinese National Space Agency returns the favor by helping to save China from monsters as an archer on the Great Wall a few centuries back.  What did they expect would happen?

But Constance Wu is is offended with this white guy.  I was sympathetic for a nano-second, but then I read her rant:  "Out heroes don't look like Matt Damon.  They look like Malala.  Ghandi.  Mandela.  Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time."

Is she really not familiar with China's one child policy?  Malala is too busy doing her studies to save China, but let's consider what this movie would look like with a Ghandi look alike having a sit down on the Great Wall and confronting the demons with non-violence.  Maybe that is the right thing to do, but it wouldn't be quite the action packed thriller.

But my real objection here is that Malala, Ghandi and Mandela, although being people of colour, are not the heroes of the people of colour.  They are the heroes of White Leftwing Intellectualoid Professors who are the tenured faculty at major universities which were established by white dudes and represent The Establishment and The Hegemony.  They are the heroes of white Hollywood.  They are the heroes of Matt Damon.  Does Constance even know any Chinese?  Why not at least suggest Sun Wu Kong?  Constance, do you know anything about China?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A tunnel at the end of the light

The final Greek class is now about 90% done.  Just trying to finish the last assignments.  Oh, how good it will be to be free to go exercise again!  Oh to be free from purgatory!

Friday, July 29, 2016

France: Foreign Funding of Mosques

This post is some random pondering related to France's effort to ban foreign funding of Mosques.  What I am wondering about is the precedent that will be set in this.  When I was working in France, I attended a little Southern Baptist church that was almost certainly receiving foreign subsidies.  Theologically the Southern Baptists aren't that much different from the earlier French Huguenots who were brutally exterminated by the Papists.  But enough of history.

It seems that the French government's idea was to put a government institution in between the foreign donors and the Mohammedan institutions that receive the funds.  Would they do that to Buddhists?  It does seem a little like what mainland China does.  One quote I like from the article is attributed to a Senate committee:

"On the one hand there is the intent to organise Islam in France in order to have greater control; on the other hand it [Islam] cannot be touched because of the 1905 law.  The equation is unsolvable."

Thus, the challenge of how the government is to engineer a Peaceful Islam (note: Islam derives from the word for peace), while simultaneously staying out of religion.  The religiously tolerant Romans had a similar issue with the Druids and their human sacrifices, but since the Romans had no concept of the separation of religion and state, their solution did not involve much hand wringing.

I expect things to get much more messy, since political correctness precludes any sensible policies, and then the world will come to an end.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Driving Under the Influence. Of Pokemon Go

I just heard about this a few days ago, and it didn't register to me what it was about until talking with my son a little later.  Today I was walking at the park with my dear wife in an area with a very wide walkway.   A young girl ahead of us was wandering here and there looking at her iPhone.  Or whatever it was.  But then she stopped in the middle of the walkway.  Two high school boys were riding up behind me looking at their iPhones, and one of them was so totally absorbed that he ran into the young girl without reacting at all until after the impact.  Both the young man and the young girl ended up on the ground.  The girl got up and insisted she was OK, while an irate mother scolded the young man.  Thankfully this wasn't like other parts of the Bay Area where only a foolish mother would behave this way.  The young man was raised well enough to immediately issue his mea culpa, while the young girl tried pointlessly to take the fault onto herself for stopping in the middle of the walking area with her phone.  This all leaves me wondering what the future holds as this will undoubtedly not be the last fad of this sort.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Naughtyhamshire demands women be treated nicer

Misogyny has been elevated to a hate crime.  I am wondering if forgetting my wife's birthday qualifies as misogyny.  Hopefully there are some clear definitions written up somewhere.  I am also wondering about ideologies that treat women as chattel and only recognize two categories: chattel and those that are to be treated worse than chattel.  Nah, that can't be misogyny.  The other things which would seem necessary to deal with are reverse misogyny, meaning the hatred of males, which is rampant in some species of feminism.  OK, my apologies for changing the subject.  No doubt pimps trafficking in sex-slaves and pornographers and pedophiles will not fall under any suspicion of misogynist tendencies.

A working link is hopefully here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nottinghamshire-police-to-record-misogyny-and-harassment-against-women-as-hate-crimes-a7134306.html

I will wish them good luck in this endeavor.  They will need it.  Lots of it.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Half Way Point

One is always at half way.  It is just a matter of arranging the start and finish so that they are equidistant from where you are, with you in the middle somewhere.

In this case the half way point is third semester Greek Exegesis class.  This is for those who enjoy inflicting pain on themselves.  Greek sentences can consist of about as many clauses as there are letters in an English sentence.  One of our tasks is to diagram the sentence structure, putting notes on every word as to its semantic category and function.  Is the participle adverbial, adjectival or substantival?  If adverbial, then what kind of adverbial?  You can get an idea of what this looks like by clicking here, although this leaves out half of the information.

Insha'Allah, I will be able to complete this class, although I am told that my Christian usage of Insha'Allah (if God will's it) is nearly the exact opposite of the usage by Muslims, a fact which likely deserves a thousand pages of linguistic technical commentary.  The Christian usage implies that we are working towards a goal that we hope to achieve, but recognize that it is through God's strength and permission that we might obtain that goal.  The Muslim usage is that we have no intention of doing something, but God might step in and compel us towards our undesired outcome anyway.  Insha'Allah.  Both interpretations are true theologically, but not the same linguistically.  The original reference to this comes from the Bible, James 4:13-15 - "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."  But now we sadly have to argue over whether James copied from Mohammed or vice versa.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Globalization vs "Globalization"

Seeing the headlines about Brexit being a defeat for Globalists caused me to take a trip back through memory lane.  In the 1980's, there was a lot of howling about globalization from the left, because this clearly posed a threat to the Earth's proper rotation around the Sun, not to mention unions.  We have come a long way for the UK to be cursed by the same far left for opting out.  What happened?

The original concept of globalization goes back to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776).  The idea was that global trade would make everyone wealthier with different countries playing to their strengths as they had been endowed with resources and labor.  Traders will necessarily move about, while certain prosperous zones will attract labor from elsewhere resulting in certain cultural melting pots.  This is the globalization that I am familiar with and attracted to.

This has me thinking back to Bill Clinton's North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for which the left cursed him.  Immediately after this agreement went into effect, I went on a business trip to Canada and was pulled aside by the customs officer to find out which of the myriad NAFTA labor categories my work fell under.  We then got hit with a newly introduced free trade tariff.  What had happened was that Clinton brought the unions and hyper-bureaucrats to the table for negotiating "free trade", thus, making a mockery of the entire thing.  This seems to be the point where the left realized that international "free trade" agreements could be used to impose their leftist agenda onto other nations in return for trade concessions.

This has now been taken to its extreme limit with out current government imposing things all over the planet, so that trade is undoubtedly freer the less free trade agreements we have in place.  Europe has its own brand of this globalization as a pretext for government gone wild as they try to impose one culture of production across the EU.  Meanwhile, their tariffs with Africa remain completely out of control, hurting the entire continent and giving Africans more incentive to move.  One example is here.  True globalization does result in natural flows of labor, but "globalization" is something completely different:  Both the EU and the US are experiencing floods of foreigners that often seem more like the invasions of the Huns, Magyars, or Vikings, with the difference that our governments are encouraging the invasion and doing their best to insure that the new invaders don't settle down and assimilate like the Goths and Celts did.

So my overall perspective is that the left hated the earlier globalization, but eventually realized that it could not be stopped.  Then they switched course, joined the globalization band wagon, insisted that they were the ones best to lead, grabbed the reins, and proceeded to drive it off a cliff.  It won't take long before the leftist in the UK realize that they are by far the most qualified to lead the Brexit movement.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

ECB RIP?

ECB, as we all should know by now, stands for European Cancerous Bureaucracy, of which the European Central Bank is a small component.  For those who are now trying to dump the Pound, I would suggest a bit of caution.  The most resilient species in the universe is the government bureaucrat, so I fully expect them to already be scheming how to subvert the decision of the voters.  For example, to disentangle any existing bureaucratical construct will undoubtedly require several explicit laws, numerous court orders, and replacing those in the chain of command with someone who is accepting of the will of the people.  A leprechaun is undoubtedly easier to find.

On the other hand, there is the argument that the bureaucrats will sabotage the economy in order to deliberately discredit the Brexit movement, as if they hadn't already been sabotaging everything, including the economy.  But they can always make things worse.

So my final prophecy is that I don't know how this is going to fall out in the end.  The news media was undoubtedly behind all this since it has compelled me to look at news sites that I wouldn't have done if things proceeded in a more orderly manner.  Time to stock up on popcorn, kickback, and enjoy the show.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Inspecting the Voting ballot for Tuesday's California primary

Each year is worse than the year before.  Perhaps I will die as an illegal alien in the country that I was born in?

But the Bible says this of those who it considers the heroes:

"These all died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them from afar, and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." - Hebrew 11:13

The only candidate I will vote for of the many on the ballot is one who has withdrawn from the election.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

WW2 Internment Camp Survivor?

I have been seeing a number of these recently.  Were the experiences of the Japanese Internment Camp Survivors in the US really comparable to the Holocaust Survivors during WW2?  Or perhaps the Korean Comfort women?  And what exactly was the survival rate for these sufferers?  How did it compare with something like Batu Lintang camp?  Before I go further, I should note that my children went to Japanese public schools when I lived in Japan, so I have a particular attraction to Japan and the Japanese.

Certainly I don't think that gathering up the Japanese immigrants to the US during WW2 was particularly useful, nor was it a particularly nice thing to do.  But on the other hand, most of the world was inconvenienced during those years and millions of civilians were slaughtered.  These internees were certainly not given comfortable accommodations, yet on the other hand, what they got exceeded what they would have had as peasants in most of the world at this time:  food, housing, medicine and education. There is nothing that would compare with what my in-laws experienced in Taiwan at that time.

But what bothers me is that the first link was a race baiting polemic against Trump.  No, I don't like Trump, but it is because he is crude, rather erratic and often doesn't seem particularly well informed on what he comments on.  At the same time, the Trump movement is agitated about illegal immigrants coming to the US to feast on welfare benefits, trample the laws, trash the culture, raise deadbeat children, ignore all health related controls, rage against everything and make a mess of things.  In spite of this, I am still happy to give charity as long as they stay at home, because I can fund an entire village for the same cost as one illegal immigrant that makes it into this country.  Hopefully any Japanese reader of this will not be insulted when I say that I respect Japanese immigrants infinitely more because they came here to work and contribute lawfully, to raise respectable, well-educated families, and to become model citizens, while still remembering their culture.  These are pretty much identical values to what I hold.  Yet everything their parents - and my parents - stood for is exactly negated in the mad rush to bring in illegal immigrants.  By cursing those who are upset about illegal immigration, they - whether Caucasian or Japanese - simply curse their heritage.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

SF to SFPD: Change or else

A black girl is shot by the police, so the white police chief is replaced with a black one.  The pretext is to bring about healing of wounds, although it is my understanding that political correctness has never done anything except create more chaos and more wounds.

Friday, May 13, 2016

How do you say "racism" in French?

To turn "racism" into a swear word, you clearly must shout this in French, regardless of what your native language is.


The reason is that by doing this in French you prove that you are more morally sophisticated, like the French.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Monday, May 09, 2016

Enlightenment about The Englightenment

Since The Enlightenment has come up on several tours on my current trip, I though it would be helpful to define this era.  My starting observation is that it is a universal characteristic of men that they consider themselves to be enlightened in proportion to their conceit.  Thus, Socrates considered himself to have known nothing, and was thus deemed to be the most wise of all.  Or to put it another way, a person deems himself to be Enlightened in proportion to the degree to which he is a Fool.  Thus, the choice of the naming of an era as the Enlightenment should be obvious:  The Fools took over academia.

That this era is honored and praised by our current era simply informs us about who is in charge of the intellectual climate of our current age.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Friday, May 06, 2016

Are we there yet?

I suppose we are always "there", but not necessarily sure "where" the "there" is.




Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Rage will continue until the Hate stops.

This is a variant on the earlier saying, "The Beatings will continue until Morale improves", which is some sort of sarcasm or mockery of those who were not actually thinking along those lines.  But yesterdays joke is today's heartfelt moral imperative, so we had plenty of anti-Trump riots nearby yesterday:

http://nypost.com/2016/04/29/hundreds-of-protesters-gather-outside-trump-speech-after-night-of-violence/

Then there is the reverse-NAZIism riots of Germany:

http://www.euronews.com/2016/04/30/hundreds-arrested-as-german-anti-immigrant-afd-party-congress-begins/

In both cases, the rioters seem motivated by a reverse racism in which the indigenous culture is deemed to be vile, and migrants are being paid to move in with the idea that eventually they will be able to make their Lebensraum by violently removing this from those who were here earlier.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Disrupted Plans

The Chinese drill was moving along smoothly with the first 10,000 character and word drills nearly complete.  The lists the words come from have a lot of redundancy, so they represents maybe 2,000 words or characters, covering mostly basics and into the lower intermediate levels.  My routine was smooth, so it looked like I would be well on my way to achieving my goal of getting through all the intermediate drills and into the advanced levels.

But then there is always something to mess up the plans.  In this case it was an email from Western Seminary informing me that the third semester of Biblical Greek was being made available again for the summer.  This was my original plan for the winter/spring term, but the class was removed from the course schedule, which is why I jumped into the Chinese drill in the first place.

So now I need to look at winding down the Chinese drill I have been doing and rearranging my brain to work with classical and Biblical Greek again.  The part I am thankful for is that now I can read much simplified character text (mainland China) about as well as I read the traditional characters (Taiwan).  Hopefully I can come back to the Chinese studies after another semester or two, since I might need one more seminary class to complete the diploma requirements that I was targeting.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Valle Calderas National Preserve

This is the backyard of Cheerful Monk.  I was blasting through for reasons that I can't quite remember, but did manage to take two pictures.  The park description is here.  Wish I had more time and my full camera.



Monday, April 11, 2016

"The New Arab Cold War", by Gregory Gause, Head of International Affairs Department and Professor

It was nice of Professor Gause to drop by and give his talk in person.  The lecture was on the Middle East focussing on the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf, with references to adjoining areas.  I was hoping to get some insight into how the elites think.  Part of me was impressed with his knowledge, and I left pleased that my hopes were largely fulfilled.

The title of the talk is related to an earlier book, The Arab Cold War: Gamal 'Abd al-Nasir and His Rivals, 1958-1970, which is out-of-print and costly to come by.  He cited this as mandatory reading for his students, and also recommended The Struggle for Syria: A study in Post-War Arab Politics, 1945-1958.  I guess the cost is cheap by modern textbook standards, so maybe I will try to buy some used copies.  Unfortunately the library doesn't have them.

The theme centers around strong governments vs weak governments, with the observation that most of the anarchy and civil war is associated with weak governments.  He also emphasizes that the nature of the little civil wars isn't simply the Sunni-Shia split, but in places like the former Libya it is Sunni on Sunni splits with territorialism, tribalism, language and cultural divides being triggers as one travels around the Middle East and adjacent regions.  So far much of this is nicely documented in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, but most people didn't read this, so it is good to reiterate these things.  Another aspect to the conflicts, however, is the monarchist Sunnis (Saudi Arabia, etc.) vs the Democratic-ish Sunnis (Muslim Brotherhood), which adds an additional ideological dimension to the bloodletting.  We can now see that blowing away the government in Iraq and Libya were both foolish moves.  So Professor Gause is critical of both Obama and Bush on this point.

The deduction that weak governments enable chaos which creates problems that overflow borders is not particularly remarkable, but what is more interesting is where we go from here.  If weak government are bad, then strong governments are clearly the answer to the chaos, but the US has no track record in building strong governments.  Some might cite post WWII Japan and Germany, but in these cases most of the governments were actually left intact.  In Iraq, we banned the governing party, and thus eliminated the entire state bureaucracy, along with disbanding the military and restructuring everything.  Not quite sure what we did in Libya.  But it isn't particularly novel to assert that Arabs are only peaceful when disciplined by a powerful and brutal government.

A corollary to this is that since strong governments are good, we must cozy up to the strong government.  Thus, Prof. Gause thinks that the agreement that Obama made with Iran is a positive development.  He notes that Obama has never articulated his doctrine, but thinks it is one to prefer the strongest player while trying to contain the chaos of weaker players like Syria with a minimalist touch.  At this point my eyes are rolling, since this new Obama doctrine would be the exact opposite of the Carter doctrine and an affront to everything that leftists hold dear in their so-called human rights.  Are we really cozying up to Iran because they are powerful, brutal, able to maintain influence via the ruthless, competent to discipline their citizens and efficient in quelling uprisings?  Wasn't it for half those crimes that Carter threw the Shah of Iran and his family to the wolves?  Or is there some other doctrine at play?