Monday, June 25, 2018

A view of Atlanta Georgian from the Olympic Park

My memory is that I haven't been here since the late 70's, other than an occasional transit through the Atlanta airport.  Can't believe the city is so modern looking.  "Modern" means that there are plenty of homeless, but it still can't compete with California.



Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Naval War of 1812 by Theodore Roosevelt

This is a detailed account of the naval part of the war of 1812, with an idea of identifying the key reasons for success or failure of the various actions.  The 19th century saw America grow into a first rate maritime power, which we still maintain today, but Roosevelt was a key contributor to our national vision.  The areas which he highlights are leadership, training, ability and commitment of the sailors, and equipment.  The US had most of these, but the equipment we had was produced in 1799, while Jefferson and Madison entirely neglected the military, even as the turmoil in Europe grew and knowing that it would inevitably spread onto our shores, just as it did in earlier times.

My main pondering on all this is the intrusion of the extreme rules of engagement imposed on the US military in the last few wars beginning with the Korean War.  More recently it has been political correctness that has intruded, so that a great deal of the training time must now be dedicated to things which have nothing to do with winning wars.  We still put a lot into our military, but we are also making a strategic investment into deadbeatism and other forms of social dysfunction.  Wondering how this will work out moving forward.

Monday, May 07, 2018

2020 Vision

This is based on my belief that the two most popular figures of the Democratic party will go on to become the next presidential candidates.  Thus, I am going to predict that Stormy Daniels will be the Democrat's presidential candidate and Robert Mueller will be the vice-presidential candidate.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

On Teaching Young Men To Be Men

"General Washington, while President of the United States sent an agent to the Chypewyan Tribe, whose friendship it was requisite we should cultivate, to preserve the lucrative fur trade that we held with them.  Washington, by his agent offered, 'the United States would take two or three of the sons of their chiefs and educate them in our Universities.'  When the agent had executed the command, the Indians, who never have an immediate answer on things that they think of importance, told him, 'that they would think of it,' and after a short time returned for answer, 'that they had consulted on the subject; and that they were of an opinion, that it would render them too effeminate to be educated in our colleges, as it would totally disqualify them to hunt or pursue the war, but in return for the civility of their brother Chief, Washington, that if he would send the sons of any of his chiefs among them, they would educate them to pursue the chase for several days without eating, and to go without clothes in extreme cold weather, and in frosty nights to lie on the ground without covering, and every other thing requisite, to make them Indians, and men.'" - Journal of Lewis and Clark, Appendix

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Frienemies

I have been pondering this note from the Journals of Lewis and Clark in the years 1805-1806:

"To travel among the Indians, is but to often thought the road that inevitably leads the unfortunate adventurer to an untimely death.  The barbarity of the Indians in war is proverbial; but in time of peace, hospitality and humanity are traits justly due to their character.  It is a judicious saying of an eminent traveller among them, that, 'in time of peace no greater friends, in time of war no greater enemies.'"

Wondering how my character will be counted when all is done.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Another season is ending

The water temperature in the lake is back up to 10C (50F).  That means that the winter lake temperatures are gone now and the more exhilarating swims are over until next December.  I have about one more month to swim before the various ravenous parasites become active again in their search for human blood. 

This season was a little more difficult than usual due to the various travels which would have me bouncing between 80F water temperature and something in the 40's (F).  It is much easier when things are consistent.  Thankfully I have only had the flu for a short period this season.  And I am thankful to God for granting me the health to keep doing 1+ mile swims regularly throughout the winter season.  There is nothing quite like being in the middle of a large lake engulfed in fog with cormorants, coots, geese and pelicans all around before heading off to work in the morning.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

No Rest For The Wicked continued

I should post this before I forget what I had intended to do nearly a month ago.  The thought was to read (actually listen to)  "A Captivity of Nearly Three Years Among the Savages of Nootka Sound", by John Jewitt (1783-1821) and try to come up with advice for parents who are hopping to send their children away some day.  It so happened that I also listened to "The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki", by the Army Corps of Engineers, which finished with an account by a German Jesuit priest, Father John Siemes, who was two kilometers from Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. 

I suppose the first bit of advice to the parents is to give up all hope:  Whether they do good or bad, in the end something terrible might happen and sweep everyone away with no regard to character or the love and investment of parents.  In the case of John Jewitt, he and another man were the only ones of the crew who weren't slaughtered.  The Indians had been given a minor insult from the captain, and the Indians then took revenge for all the past injuries that they had remembered from the white man.  For the Jesuits, several of them died while going about their charitable activities in Hiroshima.  A different in the character is John Jewitt's longing to go home, as opposed to the Jesuit's focus on the job that had been suddenly thrust upon them.

Yet still there is a case for encouraging good character and self discipline, as John Jewitt's father admonished his son when he was about to leave England.  The German John Siemes also worked with the survivors to exhaustion saving those that they could.  One little anecdote that I liked was when an irate Japanese officer was about to cut down father Siemes with his sword alleging that the catholic priest was an American paratrooper.  The German Jesuit managed to convince the Japanese officer otherwise, in spite of his garb, which in many ways reminds me of the several narrow escapes from death that John Jewitt experienced in his captivity.  In the end, God preserves who He preserves and takes us all away according to His plan.  May He grant us the strength and opportunity to do a little good along the way.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

On Meddling

When did it begin?  Perhaps it was the snake in the Garden of Eden that kicked things off.  Then there were the Akkadians and Babylonians who enslaved populations and set up vassal kings over them.  The Athenians were the belligerents in the Peloponnesian Wars as they tried to forcibly convert surrounding kingdoms into servile democracies.   But meddling in the name of democracy is honorable, so I didn't type that.  Rome meddled scientifically as it expanded its empire.  But then the Mohammedans came along with a religion calling for meddling, sending out wave after wave of fanatics to overthrow governments. 

Not to be outdone, the Pope tried to surpass all others with his meddling, and then there were the Mongols.  As Ghengis Khan said, "Man's highest joy is in victory: to conquer one's enemies; to pursue them; to deprive them of their possessions; to make their beloved weep; to ride on their horses; and to embrace their wives and daughter".  What greater meddling could there be than that? 

But then along came Napoleon, making the French some of the greatest meddlers in history.  The British were not to be second to the French, so mercantilism became their vehicle of meddling, culminating in the Opium Wars and the irony that these wars gave birth to Libertarianism, which was a hyper-meddling ideology to justify the scorched earth mercantilism.  Fascism meddled with a zeal that rivaled the others, while the Spanish Civil War attracted meddlers from all sides.

The name of the communist anthem is The International, which should give a sense of its attitude towards meddling.  Atheists have been arguably greater meddlers than the Pope and the followers of Mohammad, since external submission is never enough for them.  So that brings us to the near present where communists have meddled in the West for decades, along with much of the rest of the world and will never apologize for any of it until the final judgment.

Next we must look at American meddling, which is famous throughout the world.  We meddled in Canada and tried to overthrow the government of Israel when Obama was our leader.  Syria, Egypt and Libya were famously meddled in, and no doubt many other places.  We shouldn't mention other forms of meddling, like US politicians seeking campaign funds in exchange for favors.  So why the sudden freakout over Russia meddling in the US at election time as if this were the first time in history that something like this had ever happened?

My current speculation is that the Russians' crime was that some of their meddling didn't benefit Hillary, whereas if it had all benefitted Hillary and she had won, then Putin would have gotten another reset along with a hug and a kiss.  Hillary's charity fund would have gotten a generous plus-up and we would never have seen the word "meddling" in the news.


Thursday, February 01, 2018

No rest for the wicked.

The picture below is from a hotel next to the Honolulu Airport.  The quote in the title is roughly from Isaiah 57:20-21. Gotta keep traveling.  Last year I made United Premier Gold status, which means flying more than 50,000 miles in one year, but I didn't only fly United.  It is all romantic until you have to do it.  I am reminded that etymologically "travel" and "travail" are connected. 

To help pass the time, I downloaded an audio copy of "A Captivity of Nearly Three Years Among the Savages of Nootka Sound", by John Jewitt (1783-1821).  My travels seem to be going better than his and I have lived considerably longer than his 38 years, so I have much to be thankful to God.  Hopefully I will be able to get out of Hawaii in better condition than Captain Cook did.  The first thing I learned about John Jewitt was that his parents wanted him to be an educated type, but instead his inclinations led him to become a skilled laborer and they grudgingly approved of his journey abroad from England to seek out a more profitable life in America.  I am looking for parenting lessons to apply here in Silicon Valley as I advise parents about whether or not to push their kids into college, regardless of their aptitude and interest in such things

.


Monday, January 08, 2018

Official Brain Analysis

A careful study was done and the doctor put in the official document that my brain is "unremarkable".  This was based on an MRI scan of my brain as part of the comprehensive health check which I had in Taiwan.  I am surprised that nothing peculiar was found, but I can be thankful I am not a 'genius'.  The full statement in the medical report was given in English and Chinese:

"Essentially unremarkable finding in this study."
"無明顯異常發現"

Or as Google translate says, "No obvious abnormalities found".




Sunday, January 07, 2018

Old and New

On our travels through the Taiwan countryside we were given a break at what was supposedly a famous temple.  The traditional architecture was expected, but what was really unexpected was to see a 7-11 as part of the temple facility.  Is there a link between Buddhism and 7-11?  I don't want to think too far, especially since there are crazy things that call themselves "churches", never mind that the origin of the word for church is uniquely Christian. 

One explanation offered up was that the statues now have taken a liking to the food available at 7-11, rather than, say, Whole Foods.  The other being that this reflected changing appetites of the faithful, rather than the statues.  The moving electronic signs stood in nice contrast to the traditional calligraphy.  Mainly I am interested to observe, so won't draw too many conclusions from this.




Monday, January 01, 2018

2018: Welcome To The Narco-Republic of California

My main thought is that I probably want to limit my driving and stay away from roads as the legalized marijuana multiplies addicts.  We shall see.  With the current marijuana strains being much more potent due to careful breeding, the end result will be somewhat different than the '60's era arguments anticipate.

The libertarians like to argue that the government should not legislate on such things.  In this case, however, the marijuana is coming in as an act of legislation with the intent of setting up a regulatory and taxation structure around it.  My suspicion is that drug head culture will simply ignore the regulatory infrastructure.  A problem being that drug heads need to earn money to support their addiction, and drug dealing is both a way to do this and to expand the narcotics market. 

But back to the libertarians:  They seem to think that the government shouldn't be in the business of regulating good and evil, vice and virtue.  This ignore the fact that evil is hostile to good and vice is all about overthrowing virtue, while the entire point of human society is to build something greater through the relationships of the individuals.  At some point you can't be neutral about such things, while the leftist gestapo is increasingly interfering in the lives of the citizenry to enforce its pseudo-morality ...  the idea the evil has more public utility than good, and vice is to be encouraged over virtue since the state can earn a greater profit and dependency from vice and evil.

Then there are the war analogies.  "The war on drugs can't be won, therefore it shouldn't be fought."  So what about the war on unsanitary conditions?  We could save a lot by doing away with garbage pickup and eliminate the landfills, just as the homeless have proven.  Some wars have to be fought, even though they can never be one.  But the real war analogy here is the Opium Wars, where the Europeans raped China to earn profits off of their opium business.  As the Bible says, "there is nothing new under the sun", so we see that the California government thinks it can obtain a profit from all this.  The army of government employees is already in place to handle things and make sure people pay up. 

It will all be great fun!  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Country Roads

Rural Taiwan is usually drive-through country, but we made a pilgrimage to my wife's ancestral home town in the middle of nowhere to hang out for a few days.  The winter is the only time that I care to do this.  The town where we went is losing population, so there is some considerable small town blight.  The local elementary school used to have 300 children, but now is down to only 24.  Jobs are better and easier elsewhere for the young, while the new generation neither marries nor has children.  



Something surprising is that all the country field access roads are paved, whereas they would be gravel or dirt farm tracks in the US or Europe.  Irrigation is all flowing through concrete systems, the countryside is electrified, wi-fi and mobile telephone are everywhere, the toilets are all western style sit-down ones and the water from the faucets is potable.  Country living at its finest. 


Only California would worry about snakes being endangered.

You must first stop, pick up the snake, and ask it whether or not it is endangered.  


Sunday, December 03, 2017

Picking up the Trash

My church I go to is an ethnic Chinese one with about 750 people attending on a typical Sunday.  There are many ways to help, and I have chosen to show up early on Sunday mornings and go around picking up trash from the parking lots, which includes the area around two adjacent businesses in this light industrial area.  Some would say that this is more honorable than helping in other ways, but I feel it is more cowardly to simply pick up trash and arrange things rather than attempt to engage in activities that might involve church politics.  No one disputes with me or challenges my right to pick up trash, even though I was not assigned this task.  I get a little criticism for not doing my duty when I am gone on travel.  No one is perfect.  Otherwise, I walk away unscathed, except for the occasional scratch, which is certainly not the case when some emotional church issues pops up for a church leader.

So what do I find in a church parking lot?  For one thing there are a large number of cats, and I get to pick up the food containers that the cat woman leaves.  Wondering when we are going to have a "Catman" movie.  Then there is the squatter.  This is a young Indian man who has decided that life is better living out of his broken down truck which he pushed onto our parking lot rather than getting a job.  He won't come to church or communicate with us much, but otherwise seems to enjoy our presence.  I get to pick up a lot of trash around his area, which does leave me wondering what is trash and what might be a personal possession.  Some distance is kept to avoid making an error.  It might seem a bit cold that we don't donate to him from our Agape Fund.  The pretext given is that the word of any monetary help would immediately spread and we would have a few hundred homeless squatters on our property.

The trash on the adjacent properties is a little confusing at times.  Was it done by our church attendees or their daily visitors?  If it is a Chinese church bulletin, then I don't have much trouble distinguishing.  A few empty oil cans from someone who decided that their car's oil needed replacement is a little harder for me to judge.  For the most part, I just pick up everything with the thought of being a good neighbor.  The trash picker I use makes it fairly easy to grab lots of small items, so better to do more than necessary.  There was a large stereo system in the bushes this morning which I passed over since it wouldn't fit in my waste basket and the picker wasn't strong enough to move it anyway.

The more curious part of this is the things that I find on the church property.  There are a lot of cups, plates, napkins and plastic forks from our weekly meals, but then there are lots of alcoholic drink bottles and cans which I am fairly certain were not provided by the church.  We don't tell members not to drink, but we never have alcohol as part of our events, even for communion.  Twice I have come across used condoms.  Presumably someone came here at a strange hour. 




Friday, November 17, 2017

Moore's Law

I need to clarify that this is about Judge Roy Moore, and not Gordon Moore.  Not that I know much about the situation, other than he offended the Sodomites and is now running for Senate in Alabama.  From what I can tell, he is alleged to be unfit to be a senator because he chased younger women prior to being married, which was 40 some years ago.  My interest here is trying to figure out how the dots are connected between his behavior towards the opposite sex long ago and his fitness for the senate. 

So far, my theory is that the deduction of his unfitness is based on the long time that has passed and that he didn't show any interest outside of marriage.  This is clearly a sign of insufficient initiative, such as was shown by Ted Kennedy, Al Franken, and Bill Clinton, along with many others.  The other reason for this deduction is that the Democrats, who have led the criticism, regard sexual immorality as a religious imperative, so it is inconceivable that they would have criticized Judge Moore for being too promiscuous.  We have standards for our senators here in the US and expect them to comply as well as be role models for the rest of the citizenry.  Clearly Roy Moore isn't up to the task.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A Catalog of Secession Movements.

The recent events in Catalonia inspired me to do some careful research on the causes of secession movements and produce a more extensive list of the reasons behind the various efforts. 

Catalonia from Spain:  They are upset that the world thinks of Catalan as a dialect of Spanish, rather than the other way around.

Basques from Spain:  They never accepted the Roman/Latin conquest.

Pakistan from India:  To enjoy an Islamic paradise.

Scotland (~100AD):  Romans and their baths were offensive to them, per the historian Tacitus.

Scotland (recently):  When caught molesting a sheep, they want to be known as proud Scots rather than ashamed Englishmen.

Irish Republican Army:  Making bombs and blowing things up is cool.  What more reason would one need than this?

England from the EU (Brexit):  Because foreign rulers have always had the decency to move across the Channel and govern from territory within the UK.

India from the UK:  My Indian consultant on this says he is almost done assimilating the UK, and will get back to me with an answer to my inquiry when he is done.  I could hear him shouting "resistance is futile" as he was hanging up the phone.

US (from England):  The taxes were too low.

Southern US from Northern US:  This topic has been sufficiently explored elsewhere.

Canada from America:  This is a face saving thing.

Quebec from Canada:  Although Canadians have the world's most mild and unoffensive sense of humor, this is still too much for the Quebecois to handle.

Mexico from Spain: Spain wasn't providing governors who were sufficiently corrupt.

Texas from the US:  The same reason that they seceded from Mexico - they were opposed to a government imposed religion.  Catholicism was the previous religion imposed by Mexico and Political Correctness is the new religion that has been established by Washington.

California from the US:  They are offended that Texas wants to secede and must prove that their  moral outrage is greater and more sincere.

Tibet from China:  Too many Chinese are moving to Tibet in order to get away from Beijing.

Those are the ones that I know about.  Would appreciate some info about additional secession movements.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

California's Smoking

Me included.  There has been lots of smoke so that I have skipped my exercises to not irritate my lungs.  The winds bring more or less of the smoke from Napa Valley my way each day.  The attention is finally turning to apportioning blame, and the target in the crosshairs is Pacific Gas & Electric, since it seems that the fires were all started by their downed power lines.  The question is whether or not the trees near the lines had been properly trimmed.  No doubt the lawyers will have plenty to say on this so we will stay tuned.

What caught my attention was a claim that if PG&E were found liable, then we would have a moral duty to disband PG&E and turn it into a public utility.  What amuses me about this is that PG&E is already a public utility, given the level of control.  But leftists can never be satisfied with less than the ideal Marxist control, which must be clear to the public, so we now have a pretext to make the bad situation worse.  Or maybe not.  The other argument is that government control over this kind of phony private entity is greater than it would be over a mere government department, so that the government department would be less subject to destructive regulation, bureaucracy and political interference than PG&E currently experiences.  I am expecting a lot more smoke along with mirrors as these arguments are put forward.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Pondering Las Vegas

Who was Stephen Paddock and what were his motives?  Don't know.  Maybe some more info will turn up after a few days.

Theories I am tentatively considering:  He wasn't a fan of country music, so clearly he wasn't a Tump supporter since all Trump supporters are country music fans.  Given the length of time it took the SWAT Team to find his dead body, I am guessing that he wasn't a donor to the Republican party.  I am a little skeptical of the ISIS link, since he ended his life with a bullet, rather than a suicide vest. that took out the entire Mandalay Bay hotel.

Need more data.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pondering Protests

There wouldn't seem to be much to add to the rants that are out there about America's football player's protesting.  I will start with two observations:

1. The Great Society began half a century ago with high hopes for eliminating poverty and class.  It failed, which should be obvious to everyone, especially those of us in California who get to navigate through the homeless and their droppings.  As a church janitor, I now have the privilege of cleaning up around the homeless squatters on our property.  Good stuff.

2. The Great Society was organized entirely by "Progressives".  (Progressive is a fancy title that means paleo-Marxist and/or anarchist, but many pose as Christians.)  A fortune was spent and continues to be spent, while laws redirect all sectors of America according to the tenets of the Progressives.  Because it was a "secular" enterprise, anything that would not be offensive to Christians was unconstitutional, this being the current understanding of what "Separation of Church and State" means to the intellectuals running the show.  Since the Bible is all about human character and its deficiencies, this meant that the Great Society was necessarily an enterprise that was in denial about how human beings worked in the real world.  In other words, it was doomed to fail from the beginning, which should have been obvious to anyone with any familiarity with human nature.

So yes, I have sympathy for the sentiments that are behind the protests.  There is something rotten in America.  Unfortunately, the protestors will rage against the innocent for a time, and on behalf of the latest doomed-to-make-things-worse concept that the Progressives have just dreamed up.  The role of the Progressives in all this won't be examined until the Final Judgment.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Susquehanna Overlook

My older brother took me for a 7 mile round trip trek to a point overlooking the Susquehanna river.  The let down was that there was a road and a parking lot that went straight to the point, so that we didn't need to put in all that effort just to get the view, but it was worth it to get the heart running away on the climbs, and risking injury going through the canyon on the side ravine was really enjoyable.


Vally Forge

The iPhone says I did 12 miles in two big loops around the park.  According to gmap-peodometer.com, the route was about 13.6 miles.





Saturday, September 09, 2017

Missing The Crocodile Hunter

Wondering how I should behave around these.  I really need to focus more on the specific scale patterns so I can determine which sub-species it is.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Laziness Epidemic

Was starting to research this so I could blog about it, but the first article I ran across with Google was by Paul Krugman, who is one of the world's most notable lazy intellects and produces tirades that are specifically tailored to the tastes of the mentally lazy.  Notably, the article tries to argue that there isn't any rise in the lazy deadbeat culture due to excessive government subsidies.  I have my personal take on this since I must weekly gather the trash from around a local squatter who is young, healthy and lives entirely on government benefits.  But maybe I am wrong about Paul Krugman, since it takes a certain amount of moxie to argue the economic equivalent of the flat earth theory.  This is going to take some more work to prepare the real blog post, but I will just highlight this faltering effort and head off to bed.  Too lazy to stay up and finish it.  Goodnight!