Category Archives: Culture

Culture for the cultured and uncultured alike.

Animal’s Daily 1984 News

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson has put together a piece on the upcoming 2020 election.  Go read it all.  Excerpt:

When Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and a number of Democratic presidential candidates sympathize with the New York subway jumpers who openly threaten the police, then what or who exactly is the alternative to such chaos?

When the media proves 90 percent partisan according to its own liberal watchdog institutions, or reports things as true that cannot be true but “should” be true, what are the forces behind that?

When the violence of Antifa is quietly—or sometimes loudly—condoned, who are those who empower it and excuse it?

If a late-term abortion results in a live baby exiting the birth canal only to be liquidated, who exactly would say that is amoral?

If the leading Democratic presidential candidates openly embrace the Green New Deal, reparations, abolishing the Electoral College, welfare for illegal aliens, open borders, amnesties, wealth taxes, a 70-90 percent income tax code, Medicare for all, and legal infanticide—what is the alternative vision and who stands between all that and a targeted traditional America?

In California, the nation’s largest utility preemptively shuts off power to multibillion-dollar industries and two-million customers, given its ossified grid and over-regulated operations, and the deliberate policy of the state not to clean up drought-stricken dead forests and underbrush that are ignited by wind and antiquated transmission cables. So, who or what then in 2020 would oppose all that?

Well, for 2020, I think we already know the answer.  My official prediction is that President Trump will easily survive the attempt to remove him from office, and barring any major economic or political calamity, he’ll be re-elected next year.  And no, nothing the Dems have come up with yet comprises a major political calamity.

But for 2024 and after?

I know I harp on this theme a lot, but the big-government ratchet only turns one way.  We can’t regain freedoms lost or liberties infringed, except – maybe – by violence.  And violence, nine hundred and ninety-nine times out of a thousand, won’t result in a glorious restoration of the Republic.  It will just result in the end of our Republic.

Dr. Hanson concludes:  One side advocates a complete transformation not just of the American present but of the past as well. The Left is quite eager to change our very vocabulary and monitor our private behavior to ensure we are not just guilty of incorrect behavior but thought as well.

The other side believes America is far better than the alternative, that it never had to be perfect to be good, and that, all and all, its flawed past is a story of a moral nation’s constant struggle for moral improvement.

One side will say, “Just give us more power and we will create heaven on earth.” The other says “Why would anyone wish to take their road to an Orwellian nightmare?” The 2020 election is that simple.

And so will the 2024 election be that simple.  And the 2028 election.

Animal’s Daily Hate Speech News

Spooky!

This seems appropriate for Halloween:  Why American Needs a Hate Speech Law.  Let me preface this by saying to the author, “Fuck off,” in advance.  Excerpts, with my comments:

When I was a journalist, I loved Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s assertion that the Constitution and the First Amendment are not just about protecting “free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

But as a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier. Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?

Because, you ignorant savage, that’s what liberty means.  It means you have to let the Ku Klux Klan have parades.  It means you have to let Louis Farrakhan spout off about Jews.  It means you have to let people place crucifixes in jars of urine, and yes, it means you have to let people burn Korans.  Free speech applies to all speech (not actions) or it applies to no speech.

My reply to this “sophisticated Arab diplomat” would be to ask how he deals with gay people or Christians in his country.  “How many gays were tossed off rooftops in your country in the last year?”  Seriously, why would you take anyone from that part of the world seriously when discussing fundamental freedoms?

All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting “thought that we hate,” but not speech that incites hate. It undermines the very values of a fair marketplace of ideas that the First Amendment is designed to protect.

I see – we have to destroy the village in order to save it.

Well, to that I can only say “Fuck off, slaver.”

Forget the term “hate speech.”  It’s a canard.  What this asshole and others like him are seeking to prohibit isn’t speech; it’s thought.  Wrongthink is the crime proposed, and the crime itself will involve no more than offending someone’s sensibilities; this will leave you at the mercy of the most hypersensitive, most prickly, most easily offended group extant.

Yes, I’m looking at you, “sophisticated Arab diplomat.”  Fuck you and the horse you rode in on; I’ll speak as I please, and if I want to burn a Koran – or a Bible, or a flag, or the Book of Mormon, or the New York Times – then I damn well will.

Animal’s Daily Dark Ages News

The other day national treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson brought us this gem:  Is America Entering a Dark Age?  Excerpt:

Does anyone believe that contemporary Americans could build another transcontinental railroad in six years?

Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up. The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.

Who were those giants of the 1960s responsible for building our interstate highway system?

California’s roads now are mostly the same as we inherited them, although the state population has tripled. We have added little to our freeway network, either because we forgot how to build good roads or would prefer to spend the money on redistributive entitlements.

When California had to replace a quarter section of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco Bay Bridge, it turned into a near-disaster, with 11 years of acrimony, fighting, cost overruns — and a commentary on our decline into Dark Ages primitivism. Yet 82 years ago, our ancestors built four times the length of our singe replacement span in less than four years. It took them just two years to design the entire Bay Bridge and award the contracts.

Our generation required five years just to plan to replace a single section. In inflation-adjusted dollars, we spent six times the money on one quarter of the length of the bridge and required 13 agencies to grant approval. In 1936, just one agency oversaw the entire bridge project.

Dr. Hanson writes about his own California, but the rot has taken hold almost everywhere.  National power grids and generation capacity are below par.  In our own Colorado, the roads are in worse shape every year.  In New York the Empire State Building was put up in the middle of the Great Depression in a matter of months, but replacing the destroyed World Trade Center took over a decade.

It’s not a pretty picture.  We used to a nation, a society, a people that built things.  In a span of two hundred years we went from a couple of million people huddled along the east coast, having just broken away from the most powerful empire in (then) world history at great cost, to a great shining city on a hill, the arsenal of democracy in World War 2, the rebuilder of the global economy after that war.

Now, to get a few miles of track for an ill-advised “high speed” rail line laid, it takes decades of agonizing by sixteen layers of bureaucrats before a single shovel can move.

My Dad (born 1923) always said that he an my Mom (born 1928) saw America’s best years.  He was likely right.  I’m just hoping I won’t live to see America come apart.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

Corey Booker is an idiot.

Chuck Todd is an idiot.

Alexandria Occasional Cortex is an idiot.  (Yes, I know, low-hanging fruit.)

Can you count past infinity?  Common sense says no.  Mathematicians say “it depends.”

The United States is now officially free of measles.  How long it will remain that way is anyone’s guess, between unchecked Third World immigration and the stupidity of anti-vaxxers.

Want to keep flies off  your cows?  Paint them up like zebras.  No shit!  Excerpt, because I found this pretty interesting:

…the researchers painted six Japanese Black cows with black-and-white stripes, which took just five minutes per cow. They then observed the cows for three days, taking high-resolution images of them at regular intervals to count the insects on the animals and also recording any fly-repelling behaviors like leg stamping, tail flicking, and skin twitching. The same cows were also observed for three days with painted-on black stripes (to see if it was the paint chemicals, not the coloring, that repelled flies) and and with no stripes at all.

The apparent effects of the stripes were remarkable. The number of biting flies observed on zebra-striped cows was less than half the number seen on unpainted cows and far less than cows painted with black stripes. Moreover, zebra-striping reduced fly-repelling behaviors by about 20%, indicating that the cows were less bothered by the insects.

Remind me to buy some zebra-stripe shirts before the next time I go fishing in Canada.  Hope it works on mosquitoes.

Have aliens bugged space rocks?  I doubt it, but if we found one – then what?

Impeachment seems to be helping President Trump, not Democrats.  Newt Gingrich was unavailable for comment.

Who doesn’t love a cold one?

Colorado breweries were big winners at the 2019 Great American Beer Fest.  One of the things I like about Colorado, although I confess that the things I dislike about Colorado are catching up with the things I like.

Joe Biden tries to sell us a bill of goods.

Princess Spreading Bull lied about having been fired for being pregnant.  Add that lie to the list, folks.

On that lie-detecting note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

On to the links!

Denver’s proposed minimum-wage law will hurt the people it’s supposed to help.  No shit, Sherlock; just like every minimum-wage law ever instituted, anytime, anywhere.

Colorado’s own Mike Rosen on the Swedish doomcryer Pippi Longshpieling.

In 2001, I had the distinct honor of spending two hours in the studio of Denver’s 850 KOA on the Mike Rosen show, discussing my recently-released work Misplaced Compassion.  Mike is a brilliant guy.

National treasure Dr. Victor Davis Hanson weighs in again on the possible impeachment proceedings.  If you read one thing today, read this.  Here’s the money line:

Why Impeachment Now?

The Democrats have exhausted every other mechanism for destroying Trump—and they are running out of time before November 2020 election.

What would happen if the Earth’s magnetic field suddenly disappeared?  Nothing good.

Los Angeles-area political leaders are seeking an emergency declaration over homelessness.  Maybe the recent leprosy outbreak has something to do with that?

Global Warming.

More Global Warming.

Things in Hong Kong may soon go from bad to worse.

To the Moon, Alice!  To the Moon!

Debbie Harry, back in the day.

Remember Debbie Harry?  Boy, I do.  She has a new memoir out about her days in rock & roll.  Apparently (I haven’t read it and probably won’t) it’s about what you’d expect:  Sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Whenever I think of Debbie Harry, though, I remember the summer of 1980, when I was working in the Woolco store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the Blondie tune Rapture was playing on the store’s PA system several times a day.

Turns out Canadian Antifa are just as much a bunch of shitheads as American Antifa.

These college students are idiots.

John Brennan is an idiot.

These Yale students are idiots.

On that note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Rule Five Oblivious Friday

Oblivious  (adjective)

  • unmindful; unconscious; unaware (usually followed by of or to): She was oblivious of his admiration.
  • forgetful; without remembrance or memory: oblivious of my former failure.
  • inducing forgetfulness.

There’s a disturbing trend among the everyday Americans you meet in your daily doings, one that you may have noticed.  That is the trend among people to be oblivious as to how their behavior affects those around them.

I’m not talking about those people who are deliberately rude; that’s a topic for another day, and to be honest, those kinds of people have always been around.  We call them “assholes.”  I’m not talking about stupid people; that’s likewise a topic for another day, and besides, a lack of capacity is something we pity, not something we grow angry over – unless the stupid people are in Congress.

And let’s be honest, the list of Congress-critters who aren’t stupid would be shorter than the ones that are.

What I am talking about are people who are so clueless, or maybe self-absorbed, or both, that they simply have no clue how annoying their behavior is to others.

A few examples I’ve observed recently:

Last Sunday Mrs. Animal and I attended the Raritan, NJ annual John Basilone Day parade.  Now a parade honoring a military hero is always punctuated by the various color guards of the organizations marching in the parade, and I was already mildly annoyed by the fact that Mrs. A and I were the only ones who made a point of standing when the color guards went by – Mrs. A leveraging herself up off of her walker to do so – and I was the only man to remove his headgear at that time, even though there were several self-professed veterans in our immediate vicinity.

But that wasn’t what got me.  What got me was the young man who parked himself just to Mrs. A’s right front and stood there, through the whole parade, in the exact middle of the sidewalk, forcing families and groups of onlookers to wedge around him to proceed down the sidewalk.

Now this dumb son of a bitch could have taken one long step to his front or rear where there was plenty of room and left ample space for passerby.  But despite some very pointed looks and remarks, he didn’t bother.  He stood in the middle of the damn way throughout.

Another:  While here in our temporary New Jersey lodgings, Mrs. A and I generally set aside an hour or so on Friday afternoon to hit the grocery store and do our trading for the week.  It’s usually a good time to go; I can set aside time early enough in the day when most folks are still at work, and the store isn’t too crowded.

But on Friday last, one week ago today, we ran into another oblivious person.  This one was in the baking aisle; she was standing to one side, comparing labels on two or three different brands of olive oil.  That would have been fine, except…  that she left her overloaded shopping cart exactly in the middle, blocking the entire aisle.

We waited a few moments.  She ignored us.  I finally said, “excuse me, but we need to get by,” and moved her cart myself, at which point she gave me a mildly annoyed look (who dare I presume the aisle should be left clear for others to navigate!) but said nothing.

For what may be the best one I have to take you back to about 1978.  This example is a case study in obliviousness and stupidity, which makes it even more befuddling.

It was a Friday night; I had just gotten off work and was on the prowl for a bit of adventure.  As I needed gas and had just gotten paid, I want to the nearest Quick-Trip, which had two gas pumps, to fuel up for the weekend.

Just ahead of me was an old Chevrolet, who had pulled up to the pump just ahead of me.  The driver got out of his car, took the nozzle off the holder, flipped the lever to turn the pump on – and then tucked the nozzle under his arm to light a cigarette.

I hit Reverse, punched it, shot into the street, did a reverse bootlegger spin that would not have been out of place in a Hal Needham/Burt Reynolds movie, and got the hell out of there.

I’m not sure why this is becoming a more noticeable trend.  Airports are one of the worst places to see oblivious people.  On almost any given flight you can see some jackass parked in the Handicapped seating nearest the gate, with his ass on one seat, his suitcase on another and his backpack on a third.  And driving – don’t get me started!  Coloradans, I will say, are a little better than New Jersey or California folks about remembering that their vehicles have turn signals, but only just.

It’s not necessarily stupidity.  I’ve known, personally, people who were frequently oblivious but not necessarily stupid.  It’s not necessarily meanness.  I’ve known, personally, people who were good-natured and even fun, but still were frequently unaware of how their behavior affected people.

The problem is, oblivious people may be even more dangerous than morons or assholes.  Stupid people and assholes are a different beast.  We know them, we can predict their assholery/stupidity and deal with it.

Oblivious people?  There’s no telling what they may screw up next.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Red flag laws are generally a bad idea.  They are a symptom of a malady pols on both sides of the aisle are all too likely to indulge in nowadays – the pathological need to be seen as “doing something.”  In fact, these laws violate a number of Consitutionally-guaranteed rights.  Excerpt:

Under pressure to “do something” about mass killings, some Republican politicians have followed their Democrat counterparts by endorsing red flag laws. These laws authorize confiscation of firearms if a judge finds the owner poses a risk to himself or others.

But the history of red flag laws should make those politicians reconsider.

Modern red flag laws deny gun owners prior notice or a chance to defend themselves against an initial confiscation order. A judge may issue the order after an uncontested hearing. In some states, the person seeking the order is held to a relatively low burden of proof.

This disregard for due process would be wrong even if red flag laws were proven effective. But the few studies on the subject suggest they are not. One study even concludes that these measures may increase rape.

In politics, if we know a proposal doesn’t serve its advertised purpose, then the advertised purpose usually is not the real one. In this case, the dominant motive seems to be to take guns away from people, despite the undeniable role of firearms in self-defense and crime prevention.

Ironically, by adopting the term “red flag law,” promoters inadvertently admitted their real motive is not safety.  This is because the phrase “red flag law” has been proverbial for an enactment masquerading as a safety measure but really passed for more sinister reasons.

These laws violate our Bill of Rights guarantees in several ways:

  • 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • 5th Amendment guarantees of due process
  • 6th Amendment right to confront an accuser.

But, at least, politicians can claim to have “done something.”

As we’ll examine in more depth on Friday, there is little or no impetus at any level of government to actually identify the underlying causes of things like mass shootings – and nobody in politics or media seems to give an ounce of crap about the death tolls in places like Baltimore or Chicago, which experience the equivalent of a highly-publicized mass shooting on any given weekend.

Instead, the media’s concern is ratings, and the pol’s concern is grandstanding.  Facts be damned.

It’s a fine damn pass we’ve come to.

Animal’s Daily Bad Advice News

Check out my latest article on Glibertarians, Guns For The Country Home. 

Moving right along:  These days, you can count on the New York Times to dispense horseshit, and that’s too bad, coming from a publication that used to be known as the “paper of record.”  Here’s a piece from their “advice” column.  Excerpt:

My 12-year-old daughter had a sticker on her water bottle with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” A classmate told her the sticker was racist because many people can’t choose what they want to do because of structural racism. My daughter peeled off the sticker and threw it away. When she told me about it, I was at a loss. I believe structural racism is real and pernicious, but I also think we should teach children that they have agency. And my daughter and I like the sticker’s message. Help!

Here’s the first paragraph of the Times’ response:

Twelve-year-olds are not famous for nuance. (Their greater claim may be making classmates feel bad about their water bottles.) But you are an adult. Start a conversation with your daughter that goes beyond slogans and stickers to a more thoughtful consideration of race.

What utter horseshit.

In the first place, I consider this a prime example of “I’ll take Shit That Never Happened for $500, Alex.”  I don’t believe this event ever actually took place.  Most of these “My X-year-old came to me the other day and asked why the United Nations aren’t doing more to reduce the developed world’s carbon emissions!” are fake.  Again, this is horseshit; kids just aren’t concerned with these things.

But that’s not the point I want to make.  Instead, here is what my response to this probably non-existent child would be:

“Here, honey, here is another sticker exactly like the one you tore off.  Put it back on your water bottle and leave it there.  Your friend is an idiot.  The message from Dr. Seuss is a great one, and applies to all children and adults of any color.  The truth is, there is no institutional racism in the United States.  We have a black man sitting on the Supreme Court alongside a Latina woman.  We recently had an Indian-American woman as our Ambassador to the UN.  We’ve had a black woman serve as Secretary of State.  We’ve even had a black man elected President of the United States – twice.  The very idea that the melanin content of one’s skin somehow defines their determination or their abilities is not only ridiculous, it is actually racist, by the strict definition of the word.  If your friend complains that she is being somehow held back by “racism,” tell her, “well, then, get out there and prove the racists wrong – millions of people have.”

But then, that message doesn’t fit the New York Time’s editorial agenda, does it?  Of course it doesn’t.  Too hopeful.

Animal’s Daily Stoned Vikings News

A recent find makes one wonder if Vikings in a Newfoundland settlement may have been getting high.  Excerpt:

The discovery of cannabis pollen near a Viking settlement in Newfoundland raises the question of whether the Vikings were smoking or eating pot while exploring North America.

The researchers also found evidence the Vikings occupied this outpost for more than a century, way longer than previously believed.

Located in northern Newfoundland, the site of L’Anse aux Meadows was founded by Vikings around A.D. 1000. Until now, archaeologists believed that the site was occupied for only a brief period. The new research, published today (July 15) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that the Vikings lived there possibly into the 12th or even the 13th century.

In August 2018, an archaeological team excavated a peat bog located nearly 100 feet (30 meters) east of the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows. They found a layer of “ecofacts” — environmental remains that may have been brought to the site by humans — that were radiocarbon dated to the 12th or 13th century.

These ecofacts include remains of two beetles not native to Newfoundland — Simplocaria metallica, from Greenland, and Acidota quadrata, from the Arctic. The layer also held pollen from Juglans (walnuts) and from Humulus (cannabis), two species that don’t naturally grow at L’Anse aux Meadows; rather, the Vikings could have picked up all of these plant and animal species when they sailed south.

Now, color me skeptical.  While this find is amazing – actual, hard evidence of repeated Viking occupation in the New World, predating Columbus – the headline is sensationalist nonsense.  The presence of hemp pollen isn’t any sort of evidence at all that these Norsemen were smoking or eating marijuana.  All plants of the hemp family have a variety of uses, not least of which are rope and clothing, two things that a pioneer settlement needs plenty of.

It’s too bad; LiveScience does this fascinating story a disservice with an unsupported, sensationalist headline.

Still, the story itself, that’s interesting stuff.  Two hundred years before Columbus, men and women in open longboats, with no sextants, no compasses, no clocks, crossed the Atlantic and established a settlement in what is now Canada.  And, they did it more than once.  That’s courage you have to admire.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Here’s a really neat model of Imperial Rome, circa 4th century AD.  Excerpt:

Rome was not built in a day and the ‘most accurate’ model of Ancient Rome is testament to this as it took archaeologist Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.

The Plastico di Roma imperiale (model of imperial Rome) was actually commissioned by Mussolini in 1933 and is so realistic that a few shots of it were used in the film Gladiator.

The model can be viewed today in the Museum of Roman Civilisation in Rome, Italy.The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD

It is so useful because it helps a lot of academics visualise Rome to aid their studies and gives a lot more context to famous structures, like the Colosseum, which we are used to seeing as stand alone buildings.

Roman cities were laid out so efficiently that it can also teach us more and inspire us about infrastructure in modern society.

But here are a few things the article gets wrong:

The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD.

From the 6th century BC until 27 BC, when Julius Caesar’s adopted son Octavian became effectively the first Emperor, is hardly “shortly after.”  And even then, Octavian, later Caesar Augustus, never called himself Emperor, only princeps, or First Citizen.

It evolved from a monarchy to a democratic republic and finally to a military dictatorship.

Rome was never a “democratic” republic.  While it did claim republican principles, in fact, the Roman Senate was selected from the nobility; the common people had very little say in affairs of state.

One of the most well-known Roman emperors is Julius Caesar, famously assassinated in 44BC, who is largely credited for his military mind and laying the foundations for the Roman Empire.

Caesar was never emperor.  He never used the title himself and never was referred to as such by his contemporaries.  He was Dictator, a position spelled out in and legal under Roman law.  While he was largely responsible for the fall of the Republic and the descent of Rome into tyranny, the title should not be applied to Julius Caesar.

But none of that should detract from the wonder that it took Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.  It was an amazing feat, this gifted man’s life’s work, and I’ve added it to my bucket list of items I must see when one day I visit Rome, that wellspring of Western civilization.