Category Archives: Culture

Culture for the cultured and uncultured alike.

Animal’s Daily Country News

Make sure to check the latest in the Allamakee County Chronicles over at Glibertarians!

Let’s lighten things up a little today.  We haven’t had a culture post in a while, after all.

Mrs. Animal and I appreciate us some country music, as do lots of folks.  So, without further ado, here’s my pick for the top five country performers (individuals as opposed to groups; I’ll do that another day) that are alive and performing today.  Note:  These are not based on any charts, album sales, concert figures or anything but my own preference.  Discussion encouraged.

#5:  Aaron Lewis.  Particularly his song Northern Redneck, which speaks a lot to my own upbringing in the wooded hills of Allamakee County.

#4:  Sara Evans.  Sara combines an amazing voice, a knack for performing, stunning looks and a sunburst smile.  She’s easily one of the best women performers in country not only today, but ever.

#3:  Hank Williams, Jr.  Bocephus has it in the blood, of course, but his freewheeling roughneck style is his own; he’s not just cashing in on his father’s fame.  His famous A Country Boy Can Survive is speaking to a lot of folks right now.

#2:   Reba McEntire.  Listen to Reba sing, and you just really can’t add anything more.  There are plenty of women in country with great voices, including my entry here at #4, but Reba is in a class by herself.  The lady has some serious pipes.

#1:  George Strait.  George is the King of Country.  He’s America’s troubadour.  There isn’t anyone else who combines the voice, the delivery, and the choice of ballads.  Strait is a balladeer without peer, and the song Run is one of his best.

Chime in, True Believers!

Rule Five 1776 Friday II

For the past few weeks RealClearPublicAffairs has been running what they are calling the 1776 series.  I recommend reading them all.  Here’s the description:

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

This week’s discussion centers on the second essay:  Lincoln, the American Founding, and the Moral Foundations of a Free Society, by Lucas Morel.  Selected excerpts, with my comments:

Abraham Lincoln believed that the success of American self-government required the right ideas and the right institutions. He thought that the right ideas were found in the Declaration of Independence—specifically, human equality, individual rights, government by consent of the governed, and the right of revolution. A corollary to these bedrock principles was “the right to rise,” which Lincoln described as the duty “to improve one’s condition.” These ideas of the Declaration were so fundamental that Lincoln referred to “the principles of Jefferson” as “the definitions and axioms of free society” and “the father of all moral principle” in the American people.

Note that Lincoln, according to Morel, saw America’s promise was that every citizen have “the right to rise.”  But to whom, in Lincoln’s day, did that right apply?  Among some of Lincoln’s contemporaries, the answer was clearly not everyone:

Lincoln’s chief rival, Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of the state of Illinois, also claimed the mantle of the Founders for his policies. Douglas championed what he called “popular sovereignty,” a policy of congressional non-interference with slavery in the territories and states. “I go for maintaining the confederation of the sovereign States under the Constitution, as our fathers made it,” Douglas pronounced, “leaving each State at liberty to manage its own affairs and own internal institutions.” Illinois had decided not to enslave blacks but did not permit them to vote. Douglas was proud of his state’s decision but equally supportive of other states in their exclusive right to regulate the actions of what he called “inferior races,” whether it meant allowing black people to vote up North or enslaving them down South.

And on the other side:

The abolitionist editor of The Liberator, (William Lloyd) Garrison called for immediate, mass emancipation with inflammatory rhetoric that targeted the apathy of white northerners. “I have need to be all on fire,” he explained, “for I have mountains of ice about me to melt.” In addition to condemning southern slaveholders, he harangued northern citizens, whom he claimed were enabling southern slaveholding by upholding a constitution that compromised with slavery. He put the point plainly on the masthead of his newspaper, which declared, “No Union with Slaveholders.” He deplored the Constitution, with its requirement that fugitive slaves be returned to their legal masters. “The crime of oppression is national,” he intoned, “the south is only the agent in this guilty traffic.” One Fourth of July, he even burned a copy of the Constitution, punctuating the moment with the cry, “So perish all compromises with tyranny.”

Garrison sounds like he could be an AntiProfa protestor today; unlike the Profa morons, he was on the right side of the argument, but like them, his presentation of his cause did the abolitionist movement inestimable harm.  But back to Lincoln, here’s the onion:

Lincoln understood more deeply than any American since the Founding that America’s political development centered on the belief that might does not dictate right.

Did he, though?

Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus by Presidential dictate.  He jailed journalists.  Granted he held the Union together almost by force of personal will during the most critical time in the history of our republic, but he did things that would have a President today run out of the Imperial city on a rail.

In the face of these defective alternatives, Lincoln concluded his private note with the exhortation that Americans should “act, that neither picture, or apple, shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken.” By connecting the principle of human equality to the mechanisms of the Constitution and American union, Lincoln showed the necessity of political might to promote the common good and not just the self-interest of the many. In the end, to enjoy the exercise of what Americans possess in common required a measure of restraint. Lincoln was a consistent defender of acting within limits. He reminded the American people of their fundamental expression of that self-limitation—the Constitution.

Take a close look at that paragraph.  It states that “…Lincoln showed the necessity of political might to promote the common good and not just the self-interest of the many…” and in the next breath, that “In the end, to enjoy the exercise of what Americans possess in common required a measure of restraint. Lincoln was a consistent defender of acting within limits. He reminded the American people of their fundamental expression of that self-limitation—the Constitution.”

I’d argue that the second half of that is incompatible with the first.  If the government is to be restrained – as it should be, strictly – then it can not be allowed to “promote” the common good or the self-interest of many.  It should concern itself with a very few, strictly defined distributed interests – some level of infrastructure, the military, foreign relations and so on – and otherwise keep the hell out of the citizenry’s way.  The vast majority of us, incentivized to do so, can take care of our own damn self-interest.

Lincoln was certainly a man of parts.  Read the entire essay, of course, as I’ve only given a few contentious thumbnails here.  But while, yes, he did managed to see the country through the darkest time in its history, he also oversaw the first steps from the United States becoming a Constitutionally limited republic of states to the Imperial colossus it is today.

Animal’s Daily Lively Longevity News

There’s a lot to like about Japan.

Be sure to check out the latest of my Profiles in Toxic Masculinity series over at Glibertarians!

Speaking as someone with more experience with Japanese culture and customs than most post-WW2 Americans, I have often said we could learn a thing or two from Japan.  How to enjoy the elder years is apparently one of those things.  Excerpt:

We are quick to attribute good eating habits and exercise as keys to ageing gracefully. But what about the question of never losing the competitive spirit? A healthy rivalry, whether against a near-aged competitor or your younger self, combined with the hope of achievement, seem to play an important part.

Certainly that’s the case for Yuichiro Miura.

At 86, alpinist and professional skier Miura, is another senior citizen who has celebrity-like status both in and out of Japan. In his 40s he attempted to ski down Mount Everest with a parachute on his back, a practice known as speed riding, to decelerate his descent. His feat was documented in the film “The man who skied down Everest”, which won an Academy Award for best documentary in 1975.

At 70 years old, he returned to Everest and became the oldest person in the world to summit. That record was broken when Miura again made the climb at 75, and then again at the age of 80. In early 2019, Miura attempted to climb, then ski down Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. At Plaza Colera located around 6,000m above sea level, Miura was ordered to stop by his doctor, who had accompanied him, due to concerns about the risk of heart failure triggered by the high altitude. Once back in Japan, Miura explained during a press conference that he decided to accept the doctor’s orders because he still hopes for another attempt. He is now working towards his goal to summit Everest again at 90.

The whole thing reminds me of the Old Man, who enjoyed vigorous activity and stayed healthy and active until only days before his passing at age 94.  He maintained sixty acres of timber into his eighties.  His last year on that place, at age 85, he cut, split and stacked five cords of firewood, by himself.

I love Japan.

It seems pretty obvious that plenty of activity, and activity you enjoy to boot, is good for a long life.  It’s important to have fun, and I’m trying to live up to that; I’d much rather get my exercise walking in the woods than walking on a treadmill, and sometimes I get in some fishing or bird hunting into the bargain.

The best life is the one you enjoy.  If you enjoy yourself and keep busy, then it stands to reason that would be good for your health – physical and emotional.  That is the pattern the Japanese folks described in this article follow.  That’s what I try to do.  You should too.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Week Two of our own self-isolation is under way.  Down side of this trip home:  The club house and trap stands at the gun club are closed, so no clay birds this trip.

With that said…

On To the Links!

RIP, Kenny Rogers.  I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rogers once, along about 1990.  Nice man – very down to earth, open, friendly, and very, very conscious of the people that made him the star he was.

Apparently some nutbars are claiming the COVID-19 virus came from space.  Those people really belong in This Week’s Idiots, below, but this article is debunking that claim.

Denver’s own Mike Rosen on the coronavirus.

The President on the coronavirus.

Italy may have turned the corner.

On the other hand, the UK has no First Amendment.

The Saudis and the Russians seem to be engaging in an oil price war.  Well, cheap energy is always good, but this will be hard on American oil companies.

The House of Representatives is condemning the actions of China in this pandemic crisis, and for other things.  The Chinese Communist Party gives not even one single shit.

This Week’s Idiots:

Princess Spreading Bull Warren is an idiot.

Jake Tapper is an idiot.

These people are idiots.

This guy was an idiot.  Paging Dr. Darwin, Dr. Charles Darwin!  Of course, the legacy media covering this are also idiots.

This New York imam is an idiot.

And So…

Our self-imposed national isolation is close to entering Week 3.  My current project has all office personnel, including consultants, working from home.  Mrs. Animal and I are still planning to return to our temporary New Jersey digs on Sunday, mostly because we don’t have another flight to CO scheduled until later April, and I’d prefer to be on hand in case the isolation ends sooner than expected.

But honestly, I don’t see this thing ending before the end of April.  It may well drag on later.  But when it does end, I expect the economy will come back with a roar; pent-up demand is a thing, after all.

So, to cheer us all up with the promise of sunnier things to come, here’s something from the archives:

With that, we return you to your socially distanced Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’ve been slowly working out the format of my Wednesday links posts; as things are developing, I think I will include links from the entire week since the previous links post, to better bring you a comprehensive presentation of stuff I found interesting.  And, the last week has been an eventful one.  And so, it’s…

On To the Links!

Daffy old Uncle Joe Biden inspires sad trombone.  Wah wah.

And again.

There is a plant in Iran that makes American flags.  For burning.  Really.   Seriously, fuck those guys.

Winning.

Winning.

Winning.

Just desserts?

Once again, activists are actively harming people for bullshit reasons.  Seriously, fuck those guys.

Serpent-Head Carville tries to talk some sense into his fellow Democrats.

It gets worse.

Florida gets the first U.S. Space Force base.   Look for even more Florida Man incidents, possibly involving rockets.

This Week’s Idiots:

Turtles, not idiots, all the way down.

This week, we bring you idiots in entertainment!

Joaquin Phoenix is an idiot.

Brad Pitt is an idiot.

It’s idiots all the way down.

This is what happens when people are idiots.

BBC Studios are apparently run by idiots.

And Now:

It’s been a fun week so far, but Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. have an interesting little side jaunt planned for the weekend, so stay tuned!  And on that note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Colorado News

Near Gore Pass.

I’ve lived in Colorado for a little over thirty years.  I moved to Colorado after coming off active Army duty (the first time) in 1989, because I wanted to live in the Mountain West, and the Denver area presented the best opportunity to find a job.  I don’t regret that move; I never have.  There’s a lot I still love about Colorado.  I love the mountains, the plains, the hunting, fishing, the outdoor opportunities; I love the 300+ days of sunshine a year.  There are many things I still love about Colorado.

This isn’t one of those things.  Excerpt:

In the last 20 years, Colorado’s population has increased by a little more than 1.5 million people. As of 2019, the state had 5.7 million residents.

“I think we’re probably going to get to 5.8 million [people] for 2020,” said Elizabeth Garner, Colorado’s state demographer.

Population growth slowed during the 2008 recession.

Since 2010, however, Colorado has welcomed about 700,000 new residents. On average, the state is growing anywhere from 70,000 to 80,000 people each year.

That said, it experienced a bit of a slow-down in 2019, when the population increased by about 67,000 over the prior year.

“Compared to the year before where we increased by about 80,000 — it’s about 13,000 fewer people in terms of total growth we’ve seen over that time period,” said Garner.

Much of the growth has been concentrated along the Interstate 25 corridor.

“Which is also where we’re creating all of the jobs. So it makes sense where we’re seeing the job growth and population growth,” Garner said.

According to state data, in the last two decades, most newcomers moved to the Front Range (about 91%) and nearly 8% decided to call the Western Slope, home.

For the record, I live an eastern suburb of Denver, which sits at the foot of the Front Range.

To be perfectly candid, Colorado has gone frickin’ nuts.  There always was a bean-and-granola set here, mostly in Boulder and some of the nuttier mountain communities like Aspen and Vail.  But the Denver/Boulder Axis is taking over the state, and the results are becoming more and more uncomfortable.

Look back on the Colorado that was.

Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. have long planned to retire elsewhere – and by elsewhere, I mean Alaska – but we may not wait now until we’re ready to retire.  Our kids that live in Colorado are growing restive as well, as they were raised to appreciate the blessings of liberty, which an increasingly left-leaning state government ever seeks to restrict.

Plenty of folks have told me I should stay, that I should fight for my state.  But part of the fight is knowing when you’re licked.  I think we’ve lost Colorado.  Thirty years ago, Colorado was South Wyoming.  Now it’s East California.  And that’s a shame.  But it’s increasingly looking like it’s time to vote with our feet.

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.