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Sunday, December 07, 2003

Speaking of Genji

I may have to check out The Tale of Murasaki. It could be a complete disaster, but the author's website indicates that she's at least done her homework and that she does have at least a modicum of the aesthetic sensitivity required to even begin thinking of writing such a book.

I briefly considered writing something similar about ten years ago, but I quickly realized that I fell significantly short in the aesthetics department. Sure, I enjoy a beautiful sunset over a mountain lake as much as the next person, but it's just not going to send me into tearful raptures without some significant chemical alteration of the brain chemistry.

He thought that he thought

"Dean has provided no reason to expect from him especially elevated reasoning.... He seems to be an Everett Wharton. "The Prime Minister," one of Anthony Trollope's parliamentary novels, introduces Wharton, who was, Trollope wrote, "no fool": "[He] had read much, and although he generally forgot what he read, there were left with him from his reading certain nebulous lights, begotten by other men's thinking, which enabled him to talk on most subjects. It cannot be said of him that he did much thinking for himself -- but he thought that he thought."

Dean seems like that, which is not surprising or disqualifying: Most political leaders are not people of reflection, but of ambition-dictated action, living off borrowed intellectual capital. Given the accumulating evidence, the professors' pin-up should dismount his intellectual high horse.


"He thought that he thought." What a fantastic summary. It should serve as the epitaph of the entire Left.

So, Howard Dean says that Lao Tzu is his favorite philosopher. I happened to pick up a major in what used to be called Oriental Studies, and I'm willing to bet that if you gave him a list of 100 quotes from Confucius, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Han Fei and Lao Tzu, he couldn't identify more than five of them without guessing. Granted, I'm not sure I could get more than 20 correct myself - it's been a while - but then, I'm not claiming that Lao Tzu is my favorite philosopher.

If you've seriously studied any aspect of Asian culture, then you know that the vast, vast majority of Westerners who claim to like one form of it or another actually know next to nothing about it, and understand even less. This goes triply for an American talking about anything relating to the Tao. One thing that I love about The Tale of Genji is that it always serves as an excellent reminder of how I know so very little about what is truly a very alien mindset.

As for my favorite philosopher, it's a toss-up. Douglas Adams or Friedrich Nietzsche. And yes, I could nail those quotes, for I am so hip that I have difficulty seeing over my own pelvis.

When reality and assumptions collide

Minnesota's football team was segregated then, as were those in the South when Warmath arrived [from Mississippi]. By 1958, he had started recruiting black athletes from Pennsylvania, North Carolina and elsewhere. Warmath was hung in effigy on campus during the 2-7 season of 1959. He survived the attempt to buy out his contract, then took the Gophers to back-to-back Rose Bowls. Murray remained through 1971 -- an 18-year run that took him from Southern outsider to a Minnesota legend.

"Someone very high in the administration came to me in those early years and said, 'Coach, how many black players do you have now?' " Warmath said. "I said, 'I never counted, but if I had two or three more like these young men, we would be really good.'

"He was trying to tell me I had enough black players, and I was saying, 'Take a hike.' "


It's quite common in the liberal North to assume that all Southerners are racist, because all good Northerners know that race is what the Civil War was about, and why would the South have fought it if they weren't all racists. I know what I'm talking about - I'm a Minnesotan after all, and when I have a serious conversation with another man I stand shoulder to shoulder with them and look 90 degrees away from the direction of the other guy the way you're supposed to in civil Minnesota society. As this account of Murray Warmath, one of the U of M's two great football coaches, shows, sometimes it's actually the left-liberal PC college administration people that are the racists. These days, that's usually the case. Now they just think that their schools have too many Asians and Whites.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

He's so fucking tuff!

''I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything'? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did."
- Senator John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate

I'm really starting to enjoy this election cycle. The Democratic candidates are imploding like frogs with firecrackers inserted inappropriately. It's like Nine Little Indians, except that it's funny instead of frightening. What with Lieberman and the jelly doughnut threat, Kucinich's dating reality show, Dean being Dean and now this, we may get that dream ticket of Dean-Sharpton for which everyone with a sense of humor is hoping. I thought Kerry had hit the height of his absurdity when he went on Leno wearing that stupid leather jacket, but this is even better. We're reaching Perot-Stockton levels of unintended humor here. I just wish that he'd posed for a matching photo sticking his tongue out and making devils horns.

Dude, that would have been too radical! You totally would have gotten the "rock" vote! Of course, the only zeros who a) think it's cool to talk like that, and b) vote, are on the UT Issues Committee - or were on the committee until recently - and are probably Deanie weenies anyhow.

Rock,
Vox

A dissent

The Sports Guy: "it's like comparing Jessica Biel to Jessica Alba. Hey, you're fine with Jessica Biel. She may even appear in a few All-Star Games. But Jessica Alba ... good Lord."

I'm so disappointed in Mr. Simmons. He has it exactly backwards. Clearly, he's still recovering from the Grady Little affair. But this next bit doesn't surprise me at all, since I happen to be on a mailing list of more than a little interest to Mr. Curt Schilling.

"I'm a longtime member of SOSH, a den for diehards that weeds out weaker members and has 250-post threads on subjects like "Does Casey Fossum's delivery point seem different to you?" and "One Man's Thoughts on Nomar's Last 500 At-Bats, In Order."... An admitted internet junkie hoping to get a handle on Sox fans, Schilling couldn't have picked a better place. He stumbled into a SOSH chat room at 2:30 in the morning and found about 20 fans in there, which is my favorite part of the story -- only the guys from SOSH would be chatting about the Sox at 2:30 A.M. on Thanksgiving night. After he introduced himself, they verified his identity with a barrage of questions, then spent the rest of their time pleading for him to come to Boston. He ended up staying in the chat room past 4 o'clock, talking about anything and everything. I'm not making this up."

Hope Curt gets his Cy Young in Boston. The World Series? Well, let's face it. For the rest of the world, the failure to win a World Series is a lot more amusing.

Baptist quota

In reference to increasing discrimination against Christians, David Limbaugh writes: "I continue to encounter liberals who pooh-pooh the idea that it is even possible to discriminate against a majority group."

I imagine the Shiite majority in Iraq would be able to explain the concept to these benighted, unimaginative folk. If they couldn't do it, then I'm sure the Islamic majority in Algeria would be happy to. Perhaps I should put it in terms the Left can understand. Why are there no openly Baptist character on prime time television, despite the fact that there are more Baptists (12%) than blacks (11%) in the United States, much less homosexuals. By every left-liberal standard, this is horrendous discrimination and must be immediately addressed with a proper quota.

How to get your teen out of public school

Just slip an Advil in their bookbag every day. Eventually, someone will find it, and then the school will get the blame, not you.

Delicate Little Flower

"How big is she going to get," I asked Space Bunny. "Oh, around 70 pounds." Okay, a little bigger than her much-loved Rottweiler cross who we lost to a car two years ago, but not too much. I can deal with it. She took her Delicate Little Flower to the vet yesterday - 83 pounds of very athletic muscle.

Fortunately, she's very sweet, though her bark sounds as if it begins somewhere down around the 6th circle of Hell. It's always amusing to answer the doorbell and see the deliverymen standing 15-20 feet from the door. She's pretty, too, for a linebacker of a dog that looks as if it could eat a Doberman for breakfast.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Sounds like they need a new advisor

After the University of Tennessee administration called the cops on the UT College Republicans, check out what their advisor had to say:

"That evening, Michael Combs, the faculty advisor for the College Republicans and a member of the UT Board of Trustees sent an email to their chairman, saying, "I ask that you rescind this call for parents, family, etc., to contact their state representatives. Such action would do far more harm than any good to the university or to your cause. I also sincerely request that you not make direct contact to media outside the campus since this seems to be an internal campus issue at this point. While the media will love to use a good story to sell their papers, going to them with this concern will resolve nothing.


It's kind of hard to win when your coach is playing for the other team. That's right, CRs, if someone in authority mistreats you, suck it up and hold your tongue. Because that's worked so well for so many people in the past. Funny, but it seems that things only started happening AFTER the CRs went to the media. How on Earth could that possibly be?

VDH gets it, of course

We are not in a war with a crook in Haiti. This is no Grenada or Panama - or even a Kosovo or Bosnia. No, we are in a worldwide struggle the likes of which we have not seen since World War II. The quicker we understand that awful truth, and take measures to defeat rather than ignore or appease our enemies, the quicker we will win. In a war such as this, the alternative to victory is not a brokered peace, but abject Western suicide and all that it entails - a revelation of which we saw on September 11.

And here we all thought that World War III would be fought against the Soviets.

I wouldn't be surprised

I don't have an opinion on the matter, not having enough information, but there sure are far too many unanswered questions about 9/11. I have no doubt that the official histories of TWA 800 and the Oklahoma City bombing are completely false, and I won't be shocked if the same thing turns out to be true here. I will never, ever understand politicians.

I think I'm glad about that.

Owner-equivalent rent

Want to know how the Consumer Price Index is kept so ridiculously low? It's pretty simple, thanks to Mogambo. Housing accounts for 22 percent of the CPI. Home prices are not included in the CPI, although housing rents - which have been declining thanks to historically low mortgage rates and an unusually high percentage of home ownership - are. Furthermore, the CPI assumes that everyone rents, even though 65 percent of households own their own home.

So, you see, if you simply don't count the prices that are increasing rapidly, and you also multiply by three things which are declining in price, you can make it look as if there is only moderate price inflation of around 3 percent, even as $80 billion per month is created, borrowed and pumped into the economy. On an annual basis, that would require 9.23 percent growth of a $10.4 trillion economy just to stay even, but not even the fabulists who concocted the 8.2 percent growth claim were willing to go that far and claim that a mature economy was growing at a rate rivalling the New Asian Tigers during their explosive heyday.

I have said it before. I will say it again. GOVERNMENT STATISTICS ARE FICTION! Ideally, they would be published in the dark fantasy genre.

Vox Popoli: The Mogambo Guru for President in 2004 HQ

I've heard that too

John Curry writes a letter to WND: I've heard homosexuals say, "A person who speaks out most against homosexuality is a person who would really deep down like to share that experience and would probably enjoy it". No one speaks out against that lifestyle more than I. If what they say is true, then their lifestyle must be a choice since I've chosen not to do it in all of my 54 years.

Every single time - okay, both times - I've written a column even tangentially related to homosexuality, I've been accused of being queer myself. As Mr. Curry points out, were this true, it would simply prove that homosexual behavior is a choice, and an easily controlled one at that. Of course, I've yet to hear from an offended group as utterly devoid of logic as the queer crowd. I can't even get offended by the attacks; it's like being mauled by declawed kitten.

Hissy Queer: "How dare you say that being gay is bad! You're bad! Gay is good! You're gay! Homophobe! You're secretly gay!"
Me: "Do you even listen to yourself?"

One of these days I'll dig up an old email from the gentleman who describes himself as the father of the gay rights movement, apparently unaware of the irony, and post it here. His strategy, if you can even call it that, consists of the assertion that homosexuality is a positive good, in all ways. According to him, it is healthier than being normal, more morally pure than being normal, more ethical, etc. Which naturally makes one wonder what color the sky in his world might be. Lavender, most likely.

The other common homosexual response to criticism - aside from the inevitable butchery of language involved in the assertion of "homophobia" - is to assert that the critic is jealous. Jealous, I ask, of what? Disease, a proclivity for suicide and bad dance music? Sounds like a real party, Penelope.

The IRS is a fraud

Devvy Kidd writes: ...according to a September 15, 2003 letter from GAO (General Accounting Office) to Congressman Elton Gallegly regarding W-4’s and reporting, this little nugget of truth stands out: "Under current law, IRS does not have statutory authority to impose a penalty to enforce employer compliance with the reporting requirement. The reporting requirement was promulgated in Treasury regulations."

And yet Dick Simkanin is still in prison for a crime he did not commit and for which he was not convicted. Yes, Virginia, the Federal courts are corrupt and they are in bed with the con artists at the IRS.

I wonder how the IRS apologists manage to put any serious stock in the fact that the IRS has numerous court decisions on their side. Forget Dred Scott, recently the Massachusetts Supreme Court tried to redefine the Western concept of marriage while the 9th Circuit Court denied that the Bill of Rights applies to individuals. If your reality is defined by the courts, then I suggest that you go right ahead and get your man-slave back, marry him, and file a joint return.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

How homosexuality destroys the church

Homosexuality is more than an Apollonian death cult; I'm increasingly beginning to suspect that it is, sopratutto, a spiritual disease. This chronicle of a dying church is a fractal image of the death of the Episcopalian church in America.

It's intriguing to see how homosexual hatred for Christianity is becoming more overt and intense even as it is increasingly embraced by the secular mainstream. Was it this bitter back in the old days of the closet? I don't know, but I have the impression that it wasn't that way. All sin is sin, of course, but there appears to be something deeper going on here as well. I note that homosexuals don't harbor nearly as much hate for Islam, despite the fact that Islamic society is far harsher on homosexuality than is Christian society, which only asks that homosexuals repent of their sin - as every other sinner is expected to do.

I also find the hysterical denial of the ex-gay movement to be interesting. Let me get this straight. We're to take a man's word for it that he has always been a certain way. But we are not to take his word for it if he says that he has been changed by the power of God in his life. Why, that's logic worthy of Andrew Sullivan whenever he writes on anything having remotely to do with his sexual preference. I often like his writing, but his contortions over the oxymoronic concept of "gay marriage" are almost embarrassing.

By the way, if you don't believe in God or sin, all of this is irrelevant. Regardless of the subject, I'm not interested in hearing anyone's opinion on how something in which they don't believe operates.

Inflation

From Mogambo: I keep looking at a chart of the growth in federal debt, and it is now increasing at the rate of almost $80 billion per month. Per month! Just how valuable IS a currency that is being inflated at that rate?... Mr. van Eeden writes, "The dollar is likely to fall approximately 50% from its current level. That would free the dollar denominated gold price to find its way back towards its true value of $699 an ounce (as of 2002). Given the mounting pressure on the dollar, there is virtually no chance that it will not collapse." Remember those currency crises of those foreign nations, and how Clinton and Robert Rubin and Greenspan and the IMF and all those guys, which is everybody, decided to establish the principle of moral hazard, and so they bailed everybody out by sticking the American taxpayers with the bill? You do? I knew it! I could tell by the way you grind your teeth that you remember perfectly!

Anyway, I know what you are dying to ask me: "Hey! Mogambo! Yo! What did gold do during those trying times?" I am glad you asked that question, because Mr. van Eeden, in a stroke of coincidence, provides the answer to that very question, and thus saves me trouble of getting up off of my lazy butt and actually trying to find out, and maybe end up doing actual work for a change, and then I remember how tiring that is, and I lose all interest. Anyway, he writes "The gold price in Japanese yen however, increased by 34% between 1995 and 1996. The next year the gold price jumped more than 40% in both Philippine pesos and Malaysian ringgit, and 67% in Korean won. Indonesia suffered the most during the South East Asian Crisis and the gold price, accordingly, increased more than 400%."


Remember, I was recommending buying gold at $300. Now it's at $404. Of course, I also thought the markets would go down this summer. There's one scenario that explains both going up - inflation. Don't believe the CPI. Like all government stats, it's fiction.

Top ten games

J writes: Enough of this talk of the ten best books you recommend. How about your top ten video game recommendations? You seem to be something of an expert on this subject. So let's have it, eh? This would be killer info to post on your blog, amigo. Video games are almost more important than books these days. Video game made more money than every movie studio in the world. It is video game insanity!

Most movies based on books suck. Even classics like The Fountainhead bit the proverbial big one. Lord of the Rings worked surprisingly. Your Rebel Moon book would be great high concept action movie fodder. So like I said before, don't be surprised when Hollywood comes calling. And hey, Ilana Mercer, hot or not?


Ilana hot, in my book. As far as my top ten games go, this will reveal what an Old Skool gamer I am, but there you go. I'm rating them according to how much fun they were at the time they came out, not how they'd rate today. Interesting, to see how Origin and Richard Garriot crop up so often.

1. Wing Commander - I used to take my monster 386/25 to my friend's cabin for the weekend just to play it.
2. Wizardry - still play the DOS conversion of this from time to time
3. Akallabeth - burned on my brain's retina
4. Doom - we spent two days straight learning about Novell networking so we could deathmatch. It was worth it.
5. Maddens - after recovering an onside kick on the first try in 1992, I finally did it again in 2004. 12 frickin' years!
6. Ultima III - the best of a good lot
7. Ms Pac-man - wocka wocka wocka
8. US Ski Team Racing (Intellivision)
9. Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin - best of the current generation
10. Castle Wolfenstein (Muse, not id) - Schweinhund! bang! Aeigh#(*$&kk#*!

Honorable Mention: Autoduel, Joust, Moon Patrol, Lunar Lander, Demon Attack, Roadblasters, Warcraft, Aztec, Warlords II, Descent, Drol, Asteroids, 1942, Pooyan, Tron: Deadly Discs, Star Raiders, Mario 64
Overrated: Mortal Kombat, all post-Warcraft RTS, most current 3D shooters, Galaga
Just didn't get into it: Tetris, Falcon 3.0, Command & Conquer, Civilization
Best Performance: Big Chilly, 1942 on the Atari Lynx, December 1995. Flew the circuit, didn't lose a plane. The man was simply on fire.
Best Performance by a Chick: Space Bunny's Internet high score on Pooyan, 1997. A brief, but shining moment.

Back when we were in the game biz, about ten years ago, my friend and I actually designed a game concept that is eerily similar to Grand Theft Auto as a joke. At the time, the editors of Computer Gaming World thought it was far too outrageous for any publisher to even consider. Now, it's clear that we were simply ahead of our time. I suppose I should give my friend Big Kahuna-san a call with regards to my latest far-too-outrageous game concept, which, at this point, shall remain unarticulated.

By the way, here's why Space Bunny is the perfect woman: she's not only a beautiful, NFL-tolerant blonde, she also gave me a full-size Ms Pac-man machine for my birthday. And, she's the house high score holder, female division.

Fatty foibles

The problem with the rabbi's theory - that husbands are to blame for their wives getting fat - is that it offers no explanation for why so many single women do the same. It also shows a level of ignorance with regards to gym culture and its mentality. Working out, for the most part, requires desire that comes from within. Most of the men and women that I know at the gym have a bit of an obsessive-compulsive element to their nature and don't really care what anyone else thinks of it one way or another. It really bothers them to not work out, in a way that is not entirely rational. I'm informed that I approach full psychotic if I miss three days in a row.

This may have something to do with endorphin release, or the simple familiarity of habit, I don't know. But to ignore it and say that it all stems from insufficient attention strikes me as misguided. Are women such children that they can't even be held responsible for what goes in their mouth? Sure, I know that many women are allergic to responsibility, and I have no doubt that the rabbi's theory will be most welcome to them. The whole thing reminds me of sitting in a stairwell with a friend in college one day and watching a little chunker waddle down the stairs past us, lamenting that she just couldn't lose weight, while alternately taking bites from the doughnuts she was carrying in either hand. Gee, I wonder why?

I mentioned this to Space Bunny - who works out as if she might to be forced to pose for a centerfold at any moment - and she pointed out that women are a lot more concerned about what other women think of their appearance than what their husbands think anyway. Which must be true, because let's face it, otherwise she'd never wear anything but a little black dress or a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders outfit every day of the year. It's all about social expectations. All the women of our extended Bible study are married, with anywhere from one to five children apiece, and every single one of them is slender and attractive. They don't all have the flawless genetics of the Gorgeous Couple Too Nice to Hate (as much as you might wish you could)TM, but they maintain themselves in such a way that more than one friend, invited to a party or a barbecue, has wondered if there was some sort of factory where these lovely Christian women were made. And, could they place an order, please?

If she's correct and the problem is social, then I don't know what the answer is, except to choose your friends carefully. But then, that doesn't seem right either. In any case, no one but the individual herself can actually do anything about her weight, so to try placing the blame elsewhere is unlikely to solve the problem.

Some pigs more equal than others

Go ahead, make fun of the fact that several City Council members introduced a bill Wednesday to have more restrooms set aside for women. Why? Because females take longer, explained Yvette Clarke, who dubbed the legislation the "Restroom Equity Bill." "Every woman and little girl can recall a situation were they waited in a long line to use the bathroom," said Clarke, an East Flatbush Democrat and one of the main sponsors of the bill.

The law would apply to arenas, auditoriums, drinking places, meeting halls, theaters, dance halls and stadiums. Other buildings would be required to adhere to the 2:1 ratio as best as possible, with details yet to be worked out in full. "I think the courts are recognizing that restroom facilities are an essential, important service," he told the Associated Press in an interview. According to Clarke, similar bills have been adopted in at least 12 states and cities like Pittsburgh and St. Paul, Minn.

She said that the potty parity law could easily be accommodated at some facilities by the change of signs on the restroom doors. "We have fought for equal rights in employment, leadership and society," said Brooklyn Councilwoman Leticia James. "The next logical step would be to have parity when it comes to using the restroom. That is such a basic right."


A 2-1 ratio is parity? This is what left-liberal thinking has come to. They're not even embarrased to publicly make moronic statements like this anymore. This is like saying that if the Vikings and Packers finish at 11-5 and 10-6 while the Bears and Lions finish at 6-10 and 5-11, there is parity in the NFC North. Of course, considering the childish thinking of the left, I'm only surprised that the insane and unjust courts haven't proclaimed restroom facilities to be a Constitutional right instead of only an "essential, important service."

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I dub thee, SuperGeek

I love this sort of thing. Because he can, that's why!

Definitely don't buy Dell

I was already down on Dell, since both my Dell laptops are falling apart despite uncommonly gentle treatment - I have an Alphasmart Dana for my portability needs, so my Dells never go anywhere. But this indicates that Dell is likely to be a card-carrying member of the Totalitarian Control Group, about which you'll read more on Monday.

As seen in the latest newsletter from SpyWareInfo, Dell sent an internal memo to its tech support minions which says in part: 'NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.'

Dell isn't putting the spyware on there, as far as we know, but it is actively resisting efforts to remove spyware. Why? Because Microsoft has some technology on the horizon which will make present-day spyware look downright friendly in comparison, and Dell wants to be one of the primary delivery vehicles.

Walter Williams, to the point again

One might be tempted to think that if owners were free to reject customers by race, segregation would be widespread. But that's nonsense because there's a difference between what people can do and what they'll find in their interests to do. Think about it. During the United States' Jim Crow era and South Africa's apartheid era, there was an elaborate legal structure mandating and enforcing racial segregation. Whenever you see a law on the books, your best guess is that the law is on the books because not everyone left to their own devices would behave according to the specifications of the law. After all, why would there be a need for a law saying bars or theaters cannot admit blacks if no white bar or theater owner would admit blacks in the first place?

As usual, the GOVERNMENT is needed in order to enforce something negative. Let people be free to discriminate if they wish. If you don't want to serve blacks, you should be free not to. If you don't want to serve whites, you shouldn't have to do that either. That is freedom of association, yet another Constitutional right that has been legislated away. As Walter Williams points out, most people won't find it in their interest to do so - because if they had, there would have been no need for Jim Crow or apartheid in the first place!

No good comes out of government. None. The more you think about it, the deeper you consider it, the more this becomes obvious in every circumstance. The only thing a national government is really good for is protecting against other national governments - hardly a strong case for the positive good of the concept. Fine, let's limit it to that and nothing else.

It already lost me

William F. Buckley writes: There are of course shoals out there. They are economic realities. They drain the value of the dollar and the vat of human enterprise. But there is something else to look out for, which is the credibility of democratic practice. If everybody preaches A while condoning B, you get not only inflated costs, but deflated confidence in democratic government.

Mine is pretty much at zero anyhow. I don't believe in democracy. Neither, for that matter, do you. I will take a self-professed democrat's claims of belief in democracy seriously when he advocates replacing Congress with e-voting. The technology is already here. Come on, democrats, it's time to practice what you preach.

ADDENDA: NB writes "Replace Congress and Constitutional questions before the federal judiciary with e-voting. No sense circumventing the demagogues only to leave the oligarchs in charge."

Right, good point. Let's get rid of both branches while we're at it. Since the Constitution is meaningless now, what is the point of checks and balances on the perfectly realized will of the people? We'll probably need to keep a President, just for signing treaties and declaring whatever it is we call war now, but the Imperial Judiciary is, with Congress, officially relegated to the dustbin of history.

Scoring

A few years ago, while trying to convince my coach that we needed to adopt a different attacking philosophy, I broke down the MLS statistics and determined that shots on goal, not total number of shots or ball control, had the highest degree of correlation with winning. This tended to contradict the classic idea that having a strong center midfielder holding onto the ball and directing traffic was the best way to build a successful attack. In my experience, midfielders always want to hold onto the ball far too long, sacrificing the brief window of opportunity to create the quick one-on-one opportunity that is often possible at the beginning of a counterattack.

Also, too many strikers have a tendency to go for the far corners of the goal, putting it wide or putting it over in an attempt to avoid the keeper. The problem is that any miss eliminates the chance for rebound goals, which are a significant percentage of all goals scored. I saw a great example of how to do it properly the other day while watching Paris St. Germain playing Marseilles - at the start of the counterattack, the PSG midfielder immediately passed the ball through to a striker breaking past the defense just past the center of the field. The striker drilled a low hard shot at the center of the net, which the keeper managed to block as he came out to attack the ball. The rebound, however, went right to a second PSG striker trailing the action, who easily passed the ball into an empty net. Two chances are always better than one.

The top strikers seem to understand this. Henry of Arsenal, Inzaghi of Milan and van Nistleroy of Manchester United seldom blast away at the net, but are instead content to take hard, low shots that look more like passes and are usually directly on target. Not only do they tend to score more goals than most, they also create more scoring opportunities for their teammates. Why more players and coaches don't grasp this concept, I don't know.

I couldn't convince my coach, which was no surprise. He thought the best way to attack was to dump the ball in the corner and cross it. Considering that our two starting strikers were both about 5'7", this worked about as well as you would expect, which is to say, not at all. I don't understand system-addicted coaches in any sport. If you have Randy Moss, THROW THE BALL. If you have Jamal Lewis, RUN IT. How is this a difficult concept? And is there anything more hapless than the Chicago Bulls try to run the triangle offense without Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen or a decent three-point shooter? Well, maybe Rick Pitino trying to get a bunch of lazy NBA pros to play a Kentucky-style full-court press late in the season.

Yeah, I'll get right on that

Apparently assuming that I have nothing better to do than to respond to every atheist who writes something about me somewhere, I heard from a gentleman who wondered why I hadn't responded to a short critique that not only had not been sent to me, but concluded I was only claiming to be a libertarian and that my forthright Christian stance indicated I was truly an authoritarian. Which makes sense, as long as you assume that Christian = authoritarian and ignore all Western history as well as every political column I have ever written.

Of all the critiques I have read, I believe that one takes the cake for sheer asininity. It reminds me of those theologians who want to perform an exegesis on one particular verse in the Bible while ignoring the rest of the New Testament.

I have read every email I have received on the matter of godless morality. While I have found none of them to be in the least bit convincing, I have responded at length to the most detailed and thoughtful critiques I have received and in doing so have gone far beyond the norm for any syndicated columnist. If you still believe this equates to some sort of intellectual cowardice and that slinging petty insults suffices to demonstrate your highly and independently developed ethical system, then all I can say is please consider this an invitation to go read someone who won't question your precious assumptions.

If there is an opposite of an Ideal Reader, you are mine. "There is not a God and you're stupid if you think so" is unlikely to convince anyone over the age of ten. If I ever want to embarass atheists and their claims of inherent intellectual superiority, I'll simply write a column quoting from many of the emails I received. Prior to my responses to the detailed critiques, someone complained that I was only responding to the ones that made atheists look bad; I assure you, those examples weren't even in the bottom third.

This round is over. We'll revisit it the next time I write on the subject.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Bloody right he's a hero

Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, sent out an e-mail to some 80,000 abortion-rights advocates across the country to advertise the group's effort to protect the Austin project. The e-mail references Danze by name, calls him an "out-of-control anti-choice fanatic" and accuses him of harassing local builders and threatening to blacklist them.

"As alarming as you and I find his blacklist strategy, anti-choice activists around the country consider Mr. Danze a hero and right now, they're eagerly pursuing ways to bring his harassing tactics to more communities," Feldt wrote in the e-mail. "We've got to let friends and foes alike know that, for every out-of-control anti-choice fanatic that crawls out of the woodwork, there are thousands of us ready, willing and able to defend the essential health services that Planned Parenthood clinics provide for women and families all across this country."


Color me an out-of-control anti-choice fanatic too. Or, as I would put it, someone who is extreme about not killing children in any way for any reason. Got a problem with that, Oberleutnant Feldt? Essential health services - what a crock of propagandistic Newspeak. I have zero tolerance for the executioners of Planned Parenthood. If we were willing to carpet-bomb Dresden in the interest of preventing Germans from collecting taxes from the French, should we not at least be willing to speak out in protest against abortionettes murdering children? We need more men like Chris Danze.

I have said it before. I will say it again. Calling a feminist a feminazi is an insult to National Socialism.

The post-parodic university

From Jason Steorts at National Review: Among the more colorful figures hawking their wares at American universities is self-styled "ecofeminist" Carol J. Adams, known principally for her 1999 book The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. Adams traverses the campus speaking circuit and presents a slideshow that, according to her website, addresses "the animalizing of women in contemporary cultural images and the sexualizing of animals used for food."

Yes, this is the sort of intellectual that university officials like to bring in to speak to students. The woman actually makes her living by talking about the sexual politics of meat. Forget postmodern, this is post-parody. I wonder if she's ever been to the University of Tennessee?

Good books

DB writes: My question to you is would you mind providing a list of your favorite books or whatever book/books you are currently reading? I think it would be a great addition to your blog for all of your fans/readers out here in America. I know that I would thoroughly enjoy it. I saw where you recommended some books to a specific reader on your blog site and was hoping that you could possibly expand it. I actually had another question for you in regards to your opinion of the "The Sopranos." I know you wrote sort of a mini-review of "The Matrix" awhile ago at your blog and was curious to know what you thought of the New Jersey crime family.

I'm currently reading William Gibson's Virtual Light, while Space Bunny is reading George Eliot's Middlemarch. Yes, gentlemen, she's hot, blonde and reads quality literature to boot. My ten favorite authors right now are:

Neal Stephenson - Cryptonomicon is so far the best book of my generation; can't wait to read Quicksilver
Umberto Eco - the dottore, the maestro. His semiotics stuff is always interesting too.
Herman Hesse - It's not as deep as it pretends, but it's still great stuff.
Arturo Perez Reverte - Mystery or thriller? Who cares.
JRR Tolkein - I like most fantasy. This is the original and best.
Douglas Adams - It's all good, but Dirk Gently is tops.
PG Wodehouse - It's always the same book. I always like it. Read for the style, not the plot.
George RR Martin - Fantasy as history. Sandkings is a great short story too.
Tanith Lee - the best pure writer out there.
Sharon K. Penman - good historical literary candy.

I have absolutely no opinion of The Sopranos, since I've never seen it. I'm not as completely TV-illiterate as I once was, but I am still more than a little out of it where the TV scene is concerned. I rather like Dead Like Me and Scrubs, but I really haven't gone out of my way to see a show since Willow got interested in that dreadful what's-her-name on Buffy and Charisma Carpenter cut her hair on Angel. In any case, I tend to find Hollywood's incessant interest in all things Our Thing to be somewhat baffling.


UT Timeline

The College Republicans have laid out a timeline of events. I really do need to have a conversation with Ms Vaughan, as there are some fairly significant dichotomies between what she's reported to have said and what the facts appear to be.

This statement made me laugh: [Maxine Thompson] states that "I have no reason to lie about receiving a call from Ron Laffitte that Friday, and I do not appreciate you suggesting otherwise."

Um, sure you do, Dean Thompson. And I bet you don't. I'm sure Bill Clinton didn't appreciate people suggesting that he had indeed had sex with that woman either. I notice that she doesn't actually repeat her assertion that she did receive a call from Mr. Laffitte that evening.

The leftward tilt

AS asks: I'd like to get your opinion as to why college campuses are such bastions of leftism. The University of Tennessee is just one of countless examples of the political leanings in the academic world. This bias, of course, is nothing new. William F. Buckley showed the world in the 1950s what campus politics were like, and atheism was in vogue for 150 yeas before that. What causes this left political leaning?

I think there's a few factors. First, those who wind up in academia are usually not the sort of people who know in undergrad what sort of career they're going to pursue, nor are they ready to handle the responsibility of a full-time job upon graduation. So, instead of working, they avoid the harsh realities of the real world by attending various stages of graduate school and they continue obtaining degrees until they are pretty much unemployable as anything but a professor. This isn't true of all graduate students, of course, but it fits the profile of the majority.

Second, the sort of people attracted to academia are abstract thinkers. There's nothing wrong with that - I'm an abstract thinker myself - but in the absence of real-world experience or a serious dedication to supporting your theories with hard evidence, it's pretty easy for the abstract thinker to divorce himself from objective reality. This is why you still have many economics professors who are avowed Marxists despite the fact that no one has taken the labor theory of value - which only happens to be the entire base and justification for the Marxist system - seriously for over 25 years. A normal person would conclude that the whole system has to be junked since the base is disproven and the model hasn't worked anywhere in more than 100 years; the left-wing academic will continue to insist that it just hasn't been applied properly, an argument they can cling to for eternity considering that Marx was incredibly vague about things.

"And then, for reasons that I won't bother to explain, the State will magically disappear, poof, and everyone will have 70 virgins!" Right, Karl, whatever, now go take a bath.

Finally, in case you haven't noticed, many professors are still emotional teenagers. They live around 18-23 year olds, they interact with them all the time, and they like to consider themselves much younger than their real age. PJ O'Rourke has a hilarious send up of this in one of his books. As with most emotion-based thinkers, strange arguments based on mythical fairness and what Thomas Sowell calls universal justice tend to appeal to them in the same way it appeals to little kids. The truth is that life isn't fair, and the most cursory reading of history will show that it never has been fair in any society anywhere. When faced with this reality, the adult shrugs his shoulders and deals with it. The child gets very upset and expects Mommy to do something about it. Substitute government for Mommy and you will get a much better handle on how the academic Left thinks. This is why you cannot expect or hope for any degree of consistency from a leftist academic; it just doesn't exist.

The deeper truth is that, as Dennis Prager points out, "Wisdom begins with fear of God." Few in academia have either.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Curiouser and curiouser

I sent the following questions to Ms Edee Vaughan, the faculty advisor of the UT Issues Committee. Her answers should be very interesting, for reasons I shall divulge soon.

1. How were the emails sent by Mr. Rubinstein, Mr. Comstock and others reported to the Office of Student Conduct on November 14? Who did you contact at the OSC when you reported them?

2. How were the emails "misconstrued"? What is the proper way to construe the comments about shooting ragheads in the face, torturing Mr. Khalsa and the professed liberal bent of the Issues Committee?

3. Which students were "sentenced" to sensitivity training at the ICmeeting on November 17? What was the disciplinary procedure involved in the sentencing, and what, precisely, is sensitivity training?

4. What students were at the IC meeting on November 17? Was Justin Rubinstein at the meeting?

5. Were you at the IC meeting on Monday, November 17?

From the mouth of the horse's ass

Here's one of the actual emails from the now-famous University of Tennessee Issues Committee, not the most infamous one, but the one that I thought was most perfectly illustrative of the mind, such as it is, of the campus left. It was CC'd to the entire committee, which goes to show how smugly assured these jokers happen to be. The literary quality of an email should never be judged as harshly something that is written for public scrutiny, of course, but I nevertheless find some of the word choices to be so bizarre as to suggest semi-literacy. Somewhere, an English teacher is weeping. Rock on, comrade.

Subject: RE: Issues in the Beacon
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 16:49:09 -0500

fortunately someone brought a beacon to work today, so i got to see our GLORIOUS front page coverage of carlson. i was disappointed to see that the issues committee wasn't mentioned anywhere in the article, but nevertheless it was great coverage. apparently the guy who wrote the article is aware of his mistake and he has apologized for not mentioning the small detail of HOW tucker came to the university unfortunately my thirst to see the issues committee's name in print was satisfied on page five.

like most of you, i spent much of my day drafting a letter to the editor in response to the piece. however, i probably spent more time thinking about what a little brat this guy is and what i would do to him given the chance--torture that would put the spanish inquisition to shame, etc--but ultimately i don't think it would do any good. he simply isn't worth any more of our time. i think it goes without saying that we shouldn't be talking to him as much about what goes on within the committee. as he mentioned, he did apply to the committee and he was rejected (largely due to his closed-mindedness and attitude). during the interview he did ask questions about our budget and its source, which we revealed to him because it's public information that he wouldn't have to search hard for. however, it's obvious that he acquired this info (and other info) about us purely for his own interests in bashing us. as witnessed in his past bashings of campus committees, responses to his opines only warranted further insane and unfounded bashings. the WCC found that out the hard way.

i think we can learn from their situation and instead not reply to the absolute bullshit that this guy writes. to paraphrase, i make no allusions as to what this email is. this is not an attempt to change a single rejected applicant/op-ed writer's mind. this is a desperate plea to tell you that i think we're doing a fucking incredible job as a committee.

rock
--[name withheld to protect the asinine]

Caught, can I get a witness

From a College Republican at UT:

Edee Vaughan, the faculty advisor for the IC, [University of Tennessee Issues Committee] has lied to both the news media and administration about corrective actions that she took in the wake of those emails. Vaughan claims that she reported the emails to the Office of Student Conduct as soon as she read them (the day after they were emailed), and that in the next IC meeting (three days later) she took the entire committee to task for its inappropriate responses, and "sentenced" the offenders to sensitivity training.

We have found a student on the committee who is willing to swear that these are ALL lies -- that the sole purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to respond to the negative publicity, and that NO rebuke or reprimand of any kind was given to the authors of those emails. There was NOTHING said about sensitivity training -- just a reminder that they should be careful to avoid expressing those kinds of sentiments via email, because something might be "misconstrued."


Yes, misconstrued. I seem to have heard that somewhere before.... It sounds as if the spin operation was already in effect by the time I spoke with the student head of the IC.

Where credit is due

I seldom watch Fox News, and I certainly don't agree with Neal Gabler very often. But I did agree with something he said with regards to the divide between American liberals and conservatives - namely, that the ideological differences are not to be resolved with a few minutes discussion since they involve radically differing views of human nature, history and diverse other elements. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Mr. Gabler is clearly capable of deeper analysis than the average talking head, for whom "bipartisan" is a virtuous concept.

Still, Mr. Gabler's summary of the conservative mindset was incorrect. He said that conservatives wish to protect business and wealth from the people. This is a significant error, as it reveals how Mr. Gabler believes people = government. This, in 21st century America, is quite obviously no longer the case, assuming it was ever true. This is also why leftists have such trouble admitting that their ideological counterparts quite regularly use the government to kill large numbers of the people. For them, the concept creates terrible cognitive dissonance. How can the people kill themselves? And why would they?

The answer, of course, is that the two are not synonymous.
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