Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017?

Not sure I am ready for it.  A big chunk of America is still hysterical over the election.  They will not rest until Trump's head is brought to them on a platter.  Then there are all those poor souls who have no way to get to heaven unless they go out with a bang and bring some infidels with them.  2016 saw the War on Cops being inaugurated as a distraction from the total failure of the Christian Social Justice movement.  In parallel is the effort to disarm everyone except the criminals, and especially the gangs who deal freely in contraband and are the primary reason for the gun deaths.

On the other hand, I don't need to worry about the Black Death or some Viking raid.  No new alien spaceships have been reported from our solar system scans.  All is calm.

My final thought is from Jesus:

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." - Matthew 6:34

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Cost of Discipleship - Bonhoeffer

This is a classic now of a German Christian theologian who organized resistance against the National Socialists.  He was arrested in 1943, and eventually executed a few days before his camp was liberated in 1945.  Many of his works were smuggled out of prison.  Before the war he had spent some time at a neo-pagan seminary in New York, Union Seminary.  There is a brief biography by someone else at the beginning of this work which includes this gem:

"Both modern liberal theology and secular totalitarianism hold pretty much in common that the message of the Bible has to be adapted, more or less, to the requirements of a secular world.  No wonder, therefore, that the process of debasing Christianity as inaugurated by liberal theology led, in the long run, to a complete perversion and falsification of the essence of Christian teaching by National Socialism."

Today, this same liberal theology is America's and Europe's established religion, more or less.  The irony being that the theologians of this state religion are constantly finding National Socialists behind every challenge to their authority.  Those who currently call themselves National Socialists are just as confused since they still embrace the state religion, but are somehow opposed to its consequences.  This should be a good read.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Burnings. California Style.

The story is here.  This reminds me of a collection of the writings of the early church fathers that was at my local government library.  I made good use of it for some time, but then it disappeared from the shelf.  All 30 some volumes.   But not to gripe too much, time moves on and what was formerly deemed useful is no longer the case, with usage statistics to back this choice.  Or at least my optimistic imagination will cause me to think so.  The sinister side might consider that the University of California was simply anti- science and engineer, while my local library was anti-Christianity.  Nah.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Stanford Dish

Enjoying a stroll in the hills on a cool, sunny day.




Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

There is nothing more to this post.  Just waiting to see if it gets flagged as "fake news".

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Mug Him Again!"

A link to this quote is here.  It was of a judge who had allegedly been mugged, and bravely announced "this mugging will not influence any of my decisions from the bench", which caused a heckler to shout, "Mug him again!".  Clearly one mugging was insufficient for the judge to imbibe the serious of crime, or else he had not really been seriously mugged.

But then what happened on a small scale in New York is now happening on a much larger scale in Europe.  The victim is no longer the stubbornly clueless intellectualoid whose ideology blinds him to all data, but instead it is the random Europeans who find themselves the target of terrorism.  What I won't do is shout "Terrorize them again!", even though the intellectualoids remain adamant that they will not let any of these events influence their opinion on religion.  May God save Europe from its intellectuals and leaders.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Adjusting Schedules

This morning there was frost on my car that cost me another 5 minutes getting started on the drive to the lake to meet my swimming partner.  There is nothing worse than a partner showing up a few seconds late for an open water swim, but thankfully I had already left that much leeway for problems.  Another 5 minutes will now need to be allocated.




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Indonesia Politics

This is a sad saga in Jakarta.  It could certainly use a lot more coverage in the West where people remain totally clueless about "Islam".

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Awkward Situations

Pushing the envelope and boldly going where you have never gone before are some of my ideals.  A bit like The North Face's motto of "never stop exploring".  So today I was pushed to do something new that I had never done before.  Usually there is an adrenaline rush in such situations, but not so this time.  Maybe old age is causing me to take these things in stride.  Others might insist that I had been too cowardly and delayed for far too long.  Things that we fear that are far off, however, somehow creep up on us and we must deal with them whether we like it or not.  Procrastination reaches a final limit.  So I finally took the plunge.  I went shopping for some clothes for my grandson with my wife.  We now have a few new things to give him at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

50F = 10C

The water temperature in the lake is just now getting good.  For the last two years I did the mid-week swims alone in December, but this year I have three other partners who sometimes show up besides the cormorants and coots.  This morning was a thick fog so we had to swim within 25 meters of the shore to keep from getting disoriented.  The air temperature was 38F, so things are still fairly warm.  Happiness is a swim in a winter lake!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

California votes to Regulate Cow, um, Emissions.

The link is here.  I mainly wonder what the position of the Libertarians is on this.  Should human flatulence be regulated by law?  And how about cows?  Presumably the legalizing of marijuana has freed up regulators so that they can make sure cows behave.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mission Peak in the Rain

Saturday was a rainy mud stomp up Mission Peak.  This photo was from the 1900 foot elevation level looking at the 2500 foot summit.  The wind was blowing hard so that the rain was stinging my face, which left me doubtful about reaching the top.  The winds get stronger as you get higher and sometime it is impossible to stand on the summit.  Much of the rest of the climb was on the down-wind side of the peak, so I continued on while a cloud blew in and made it all foggy.  Reaching the top, the wind died down, but there wasn't much of a view while standing in the fog with the rain.  Beautiful.  There was one minor fall on the way down going through the mud, but I was expecting it so no problem.


It cleared a bit on the way down, so here is a view of the hangars at Moffett Field and NASA Ames Research Center which are across the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay from where I live.  The levies are part of a system of salt evaporator ponds that have been constructed around the bay. The rain picked up again towards the end, which help get the mud off of me and made for a perfect ending.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

How to park a boat?

This is the other side of the little strip of land that protects Bodega Bay from the waves.








Thursday, November 24, 2016

Remembering The Birds

It happened in Bodega Bay back in 1962, so we had to drop in and see the place.  It was 1963 when the documentary was released to the public by Alfred Hitchcock.  The challenge for those of us who have lived a long time in the San Francisco Bay Area is to find new areas of exploration.  The solution this time was to show my wife the movie and then follow the countless others on a pilgrimage to Bodega Bay.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Point Reyes National Seashore

Trying to find a quiet place to hang out for Thanksgiving.  Usually I head up to Tahoe, but the snow has started and the hotels are short on rooms, thus, my wife and I have headed north up the coast instead.  Point Reyes National Seashore has a lot of little places to explore, but we usually just rush through and hit the highlights.  This time I want to spend some more time to hike different kinds of trails.  Today we did the climb up Mount Wittenberg, although somehow the name, Mount Wittenberg, seems redundant.








Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Something in the Water

It is good to be back in my lake.  One of my swim partners announced that her next goal is swimming the 22.5 miles of Loch Ness, which is a challenge since the max water temperature is about 54 degrees.  I don't mind 54 degrees for an hour or so, but 10 hours is a different matter.  Wondering how Nessie will react to a swimmer.  Meanwhile, the winter die back of plant life is going in the nearby lake which causes the remains to float to the surface for a time.  I have an allergic skin reaction when this rubs against me, so I have been using sunblock to minimize this, even though there is no sun.  This time I switched to Desitin, which is just a thicker version of Zinc-Oxide than the sunblock has.  The other side of the equation is that the temperature in the water will drop to winter levels in about a month and a half, so I must swim regularly to acclimate.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Election Ramblings

Schadenfreude.  'nuff said.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Food Poisoning

This feels like some sort of Ursula moment.  The poisoning probably happened near the end of my Singapore stay and kicked in just before and during my 14.5 hour flight home.  Writing this two days later, I have been dizzy, dealing with diarrhea, and alternating between chills and sweating.  It is good to be home.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Polar Bears and Habitats

The boarding passes for the return trip have been set, and I am looking forward to getting back into the Northern California lake as the winter temperature sets in.  The second memorial is now done.  Less than 24-hours and we will say good-bye to Singapore and a beloved brother.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

The Forbidden Fruit

Some people think it was an apple.  Those who have been to Singapore, however, know the truth:


The forbidden fruit is actually a durian.  As can be seen from the photo, the punishment for bringing such a fruit onto the public transport is incalculable.  The other important observation is that among those who have eaten the fruit, some know that it is good, while others know that it is evil.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

A multi-cultural funeral

It certainly wasn't in my mind a week ago that I would be in Indonesia participating in a funeral.  The challenge here was that the deceased is a Christian Chinese, and a Christian ceremony was requested.  This was indicated by a prominent cross next to his picture.  As the husband of the oldest sibling, custom required me to do a short bit of talking, which I would have preferred not to do.  In hind sight it was definitely necessary and right.  The ceremony was led by an Indonesian Christian pastor in Indonesian.  The relatives of the deceased mostly didn't understand Indonesian, but there was a large number of Muslim Indonesians present to listen as the crowd was treated to a short sermon and a few Christian songs with familiar tunes.  The pastor didn't seem to know any other languages and I only know a smattering of Malay/Indonesian words, so we weren't able to communicate.

Some Japanese guests were in attendance which gave me a brief chance to dust off a long unused language.  Black was the usual color, although for some it was black T-shirts and shorts.  Things aren't so formal here, but that is fine with me due to the warm, humid tropical air.  A feature of the ceremony was a professional photography crew along with a video camera.  Groups were arranged around the casket for picture taking in a manner similar to a wedding.  This is much different from the procession of guests past the casket in the US.  With this ceremony done, we proceeded with police escort from one side of Surabaya to the outskirts on the opposite side to a crematorium.  Our Indonesian guests came separately by a different route all on motor scooters.  Another picture taking ceremony was the result, before committing the casket to the flames.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Checking your Urn'ings

Singapore's relentless drive for efficiency has resulted in a standardization of urn sizes for remains that is a bit smaller than what was provided in Indonesia.  Normally this wouldn't matter, but Singapore also has a government high-rise cemetery for storing urns with their memorial plaques in a clever vertical structure.  This is all part of a complex with industrially efficient crematoriums.  I am wondering a bit about the carbon efficiency of all this, but no doubt this will be taken care of the next time I have to return here.

Today's activities were certainly appropriate for Halloween.  It was one of taking urn measurements, discussing plaque layouts, and picking a proper location in the Christian side of the facility.  The plaques that I saw all had Christian verses on them, so I was asked to help pick out one for the plaque.  I recommended Isaiah 41:10 as offered by Max, but they instead chose Philippians 4:7 -

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Since this will be inscribed in Chinese, I will give this version:

"神所賜超過人能了解的平安,必在基督耶穌裡,保守你們的心思意念"

In case anyone else is thinking this might be a good place for a loved one, I will include this list for you (in Singapore dollars):


More details on this are here.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Mourning

Today I had to gaze upon the dead body of a dear brother-in-law who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack.  I was joined by his mother, his wife, his sisters and brother, and his son, along with a number of other relatives.  We tend to be fairly private in our affairs, so I won't say too much.  Now, I mostly have the memories of being with him off and on over the nearly 40 years that I have known him.  Among our family pictures hanging on our wall are some of him as a young boy.  Later he was very successful in his studies and this led to a long running career as a businessman.  With many older parents and other relatives, he was the last person I expected to get The Call about.  But so it happens as God gives life and places special people in our lives for a time, but then takes them away according to His eternal plan.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Call

It was inevitable, but we don't like to think about it.  Either we get The Call about someone else or they get The Call about us.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Yoga Pants Controversy

In case anyone hasn't heard about this, you can get the details here.  My first observation is that what are termed "Yoga Pants" were formally known as "tights", and don't have anything to do with Yoga.  I can't really be sure why call their tights Yoga Pants, but perhaps it makes them feel more sophisticated.

Other than this I must express my sympathy for those women who must choose between wearing Yoga Pants and wearing a Burka.  It is a terrible thing to be forced to choose between these extremes because modesty and decency are now public outrages.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Resistance is Futile

It makes a catchy campaign theme/slogan.  However, I am not sure after Brexit and the Columbian peace treaty with FARC that this is really the sensible way to proceed.  But then there is Venezuela.

Seasons are changing

The lake temperature is slowly cooling with some leaves now along the edges.  Most of the trees along the banks don't show too many signs of changing their color yet, but their leaves should all be in the water after another month.  A lingering cough is the only problem with swimming.  Part of me dreads the cold that is coming, but another part is confident that I will be able to handle it.

Now I am trying to decide if I will sign up for the Alcatraz New Year swim again.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"God will give us the president that we deserve."

That was my answer to an inquiry at a party about whether it should be Trump or Hillary.  Clearly we have been bad as a nation and some punishment is needed.  Or maybe I should say that the punishment needs to be raised to another level.

A related item is a memory of growing up on the edge of Appalachia.  We had a derogatory term for poor whites who were especially believed to be morally loose: "White Trash".  A difference of today is that revelations or accusations of such behavior from the nominees no longer result in any surprise.  What was formerly an exception is now mainstream, having been fully embraced by academia and modernist theologians, with Hollywood a little behind.   The damaging thing to the prospects of a potential candidate is a revelation of a clean past.  Clearly that would point to some sort of extra-terrestrial disguised as a human.  This would be much more scary.  The final irony isg that those who are loudest about condemning Trump from the left for his behavior are the same ones who are desperately mainstreaming Trump's behavior into America's culture, government and legal system.

"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
as if a man fled from a lion, 
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?" - Amos 5:18-20

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Happiness: Brits :( vs Americans :)

This post is inspired by an article by a Brit who was suffering from culture shock here in Silicon Valley.  (Note: I am actually in Tucson, Arizona, but most of the time I hang out in Silicon Valley.)

I am in general agreement with the author on a few points, including the general theme:  That the pursuit of happiness is a self-defeating goal.  Happiness shouldn't be an end in itself.  But then again, I am not quite convinced that the Brits' laser-like focus on cynicism really makes them happier either.
My real belief is that happiness should be a side effect of a sensible pursuit of other more plausible goals.  Or maybe it is just something you experience when you finally doze off to sleep knowing that you have a few hours before the storms of life become apparent to you again.

The real Christian pursuit, however, is of suffering:  "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'" (Matthew 16:24).  Or perhaps "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), which means volunteering for some Indiana Jones style treatment by the barbarians, but of a life-time duration. And Jesus enticed the apostle Paul to convert with this promise: "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." (Acts 9:16)   The joy is something we are supposed to look forward to in another life.  Or maybe it is something that the pain just brings out.  For the time being, pain is cool and happiness isn't.

Those who are worried about whether they are happy or not clearly have too much idle time.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Debate Result

My wife and I had a nice evening doing grocery shopping and ignored the debate.  My conclusion is that the winners are the ones who had something better to do and the losers are the ones who watched the debate.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Grand Canal of Fremont Update

"Dear Residents,

Subject: Mission Creek Restoration Project Construction Updates

The purpose of this letter is to update you on the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Mission Creek Restoration Project ... to inform you of changes to construction work hours and days.

Delays have been encountered during the course of construction that have affected the construction schedule.  From early May until late July, there were active bird nests within the project site.  Federal regulations require that active bird nests be protected from disturbance by construction activity, so some construction work was delayed. ....  "

The main takeaway is that the union contractors are now on 60 hour work weeks, which means they will be collecting double wages on their last few hours of work.  Good thing the existence of birds in the swamp areas by the creek wasn't known during the planning stages.

I wonder how long the Panama Canal would have taken to build if they stopped work for every bird nest.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Chinese Moon Cake Festival

My wife and I enjoyed our evening walk to the sight of a full moon.  Today is the Chinese Moon Cake Festival (中秋節).  This festival was to commemorate a Chinese uprising.  According to the legend, the Moon Cakes had a message concealed in them giving the time in which the Chinese were to all rise up and kill all the foreigners in order to overthrow the Mongolians.  Since the Mongolians employed other non-Chinese, that meant long noses and those who could grow beards would not survive the night.  Something for this foreigner to ponder as I get ready to head off to bed with a Chinese on 中秋節.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Age Discrimination. In Silicon Valley?

Not quite sure what to make of this article.  Silicon Valley is supposed to have the number one merit based ethic in the world, but somehow falls short.  I am thankful to have a seemingly stable job at the moment.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Another Old Friend

Feeling like I am where I belong again.



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