Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thoughts of the day

A side-by-side comparison of the George W. Bush presidency and the tragically truncated John F. Kennedy presidency is eye-opening. The evidence shows that, on balance, either Bush was a liberal or Kennedy was a neoconservative.

Progressive liberals are primarily idealists. While progressive liberalism is strong in morality, its critical flaw is weak economic grounding. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, a model American progressive liberal, was frustrated after he switched his activism from civil rights to economic rights. That weakness is exploited by Marxists, who are primarily pragmatists (or materialists, in philosophical terms) with an economic focus. Marxists and progressive liberals appear similar in their methods and goals, and Marxists are expert at disguising themselves with liberal language and co-opting liberal initiatives. But where liberals practice tolerant cooperation and seek moderation with equitable balance for the greater good, Marxists employ no such self-regulating check. Marxists instead practice adversarial, zero-sum competition and advocate for maximal benefit for their clients even to the detriment of the greater good. The Marxists have no restraint in their client advocacy – think George Orwell's Animal Farm or present-day affirmative action. Progressive liberals do have a restraining check: they value principle and a balanced greater good before client. Through the mid-20th century, progressive liberals appreciated the camouflaged threat that Marxism posed to progressive liberalism. Liberal leaders such as John Kennedy and Daniel Moynihan (the father of neo-conservatism) vigorously opposed Marxist-derived Communism. As liberal activism has produced liberal policies, however, liberals have tended to outsource decision-making for those policies to Marxists. Today, Marxists have infiltrated liberal ranks to the degree that the traditional definition for Marxists is applied to progressive liberals.

At bigWowo's, Byron invited me to add my 2 cents on Army deserter Ehren Watada, which I do beginning here. The discussion ranges to other topics of interest, such as neoconservative vs liberal vs Marxist and affirmative action.

Glenn Greenwald agrees with Ralph Nader's take on President Obama and unloads on unprincipled, hypocritical, tribal Democrats and "progressives" who shrug at Obama policies that are less restrained versions of Bush administration policies they histrionically protested. He complains about symptoms of the Marxist infection but stops short of identifying the cause, while the Marxists barely make a pretense of pretending anymore. His unexamined kneejerk assumptions about Bush prevent Greenwald from making a nuanced contextual critique, and I would recommend my Perspective on Operation Iraqi Freedom to him, but at least he tries to take a principled stance. I notice, however, that unlike Nader, Greenwald declined to publicize his criticism of Obama before the election. Richard Fernandez follows up. Salon.com applies a racial lens to the troubling trend.

Recall Peter Beinart's call for a new American liberalism.

My 2016-oriented activist advice to the Right. Will they follow it? No.

The great John Yoo on the problem with Obama's policy on drones. In sum, Obama traded Bush's bright line that protected constitutional rights for a vague balancing test that jeopardizes everyone's constitutional rights.

The decision by Maker's Mark (owned by Beam, Inc.) to reduce the alcohol content to meet market demand makes me wonder tangentially how much foodstuffs are wasted in the mass market in order to meet consumer expectations for delivery on demand.

TED is famous for inspiring talks. Just today, while preparing a meal and my latest bachelor stew, I listened to stirring TED talks by Dan Pink on motivation, Steve Jobs on living by your instincts, and Simon Sinek on leadership. (Pink says he was in the bottom decile of his class in law school and never practiced law. Hm.) Recently, I was moved by Eddie Calasanz on purpose and Mark Turrell on activist networking. There's more than 1 TED channel on youtube. TEDTalks appears to be the official TED channel and TEDxTalks is an independent TED organizer.

For Valentine's Day, TEDTalks posted an 8-talk playlist, Great talks about love. So far, I've listened to the 1st 2 speakers. Their information is red pill. The 1st speaker, Esther Perel, emphasized the distinction between "love" and "desire", which match the 'beta' and 'alpha' classifications of the red pill community. Using the speaker's taxonomy, my mistake has been wanting first the secure nurturing companionate love of androgynous Eros while backseating passionate desire as a follow-on lesser included element of love. However, love and desire are different in kind, and while the two may complement, they can't be conflated. Love is selfless and desire is selfish. Her desire and my desire come first. Not enough desire for one or both of us means not enough spark. Not enough spark means no fire. No fire means no cooking. No cooking means no meal. Love is cooking the meal. The 2nd speaker, Helen Fisher, is a biological anthropologist and proponent of evolutionary psychology. I learned from her that my feelings and lingering deepseated reaction to unrequited love have been normal. Without spelling it out, both speakers supported game tenets.

One of the most hurtful things Traci told me was she didn't want to be with me because I made her think too much and she just wanted carefree "drink and dance". It was a crippling blow to my hope for our love. It meant I was actually losing Traci while I felt we were growing close. It meant my openness and the best of myself I had given her had driven her away. It meant the best thing about us - that we made each other better - bothered her and what I thought made us click together repelled her. It meant she rejected a deeper rapport with me. It meant I couldn't be myself with her. And, I needed to think deeply and honestly about my life (and still do), and Traci didn't want any part of it. I had believed we were compatible; instead, Traci conformed to Judy. I was totally wrong about the most important thing in my life.

My sorrowful realization since Traci is my cherished notion of laying the foundation for love with an equal partnership with my best friend has been a mistake. I've yearned for the romantic ideal of a kindred-spirit soulmate, and androgynous love has been my organizing principle. A key step in adopting the red pill is letting go of self-destructive habits and taking a fundamentally different view of romance and sex. That doesn't necessarily mean seducing the girl into sex as quickly as possible becomes the goal, but it does mean desire - mine and hers - must be the chief organizing principle and inform the whole rule-set. Traci told me there was no spark for her and she didn't realize I was attempting a "court". Because I was attracted to her, had tried so hard to earn Traci's love, and had read the indicators favorably, I was angry at her (I thought) callous dismissal of my investment in love. It was me, though, not her. If Traci was attracted to me initially, and I think she was, I killed her desire by seeking her love. Clinical red-pill hindsight says I should have seduced her (not that I knew how) because love is a second-order effect, but I can't regret not making a choice that wasn't an option. I wanted her love. Even now, I haven't elevated desire above love.

JRR Tolkien unpacks the phenomena of physical vs friendly vs lover in a letter (listed at 43) to his son, Michael. It's straight red pill. Every boy entering puberty but growing up without a father should read the letter.

I wrote my lugubrious Valentine's Day column about Traci over 11 years ago. 11 years. Jesus. It's not even good. The writing was fine; the substance was just a pointless confession with a pretense of wisdom tacked on. I don't regret any of my Spec columns, but that was probably my worst one. The Eros fixation in it is obvious. Writing about Traci wasn't cathartic then and hasn't helped every other time I've glued new words onto the grooved loop taking me to the same dead end. It's a ghost story that rewinds and repeats; it doesn't change: "I had a dream my life would be; So different from this hell I'm living; So different now from what it seemed: Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."

Speaking of Fantine, the excellent Les Miserables 10th anniversary special fielded a Hall-of-Fame dream team compared to the pedestrian 25th anniversary show with Nick Jonas out of his depth as Marius. Here's a fun and talented Les Miz parody by Korean airmen. Hat tip to Mad Minerva for the find.

Ray Mears's Wild Food series is surprisingly entertaining. Mears incorporates the skills he uses in his bushcraft-oriented shows with educated speculation about Britain's Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. In the series, Mears is accompanied by telegenic paleoethnobotanist UCL Professor Gordon Hillman.

A NY Times article on Jeremy Lin after his game at the Nets incorporates many of the elements of my comments on Lin at jeremylin.net and here. Another Lin article at ESPN.

While Lin is being held back from displaying his total game due to deferring to Harden, the Knicks' shortcomings right now form a gaping Jeremy Lin-shaped hole. The Knicks need the full measure of every part of Lin's game, youth, and energy to solve their current struggle, which makes for a situation in which Lin could have cemented his star status this season as the Knicks' savior. Oh well - what should have been. It's not Lin's fault the Knicks screwed up his restricted free agency, and the Knicks have been harmed far more than Lin by not matching the Rockets' offer. Lin's development as a star guard would have been accelerated by his tailored fit with the Knicks' needs, but he's still on a solid Nashian Mavs-period developmental curve with the Rockets. The Knicks on the other hand have a small window to contend for the championship and sabotaged it by punching out a Lin-shaped hole in their chances.

An ahistorical but cutting satire on multicultural activism. I guess the video makers would exclude me from my country. Still funny, though.

160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes is funny.

This game guide for Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe is no-frills and straightforward, which I like.

Decent meal: Egg-with-onion fried rice, broiled fatty pork country sparerib, microwaved chicken hot dog on white bread with ketchup, hot sauce, and sour cream, stew broth (see below), 2% milk, cranberry grape juice, orange, and too much (Duncan Hines mix) fudge brownie. These days, I find it cheaper and more satisfying to cook for myself, but it takes a lot longer than take-out.

Latest bachelor stew: In the 3-quart (12 cup, 96 oz) mixing bowl, I combined a 10-3/4 oz can Campbell's ready to serve chicken with noodles low sodium soup (expired Sep 23 2010), 14.75 oz can Icy Point pink salmon, 15 oz can Dunbars cut yams (sweet potatoes packed in syrup, expired Jan 2011), 10 oz box frozen Best Yet whole leaf spinach, 32 oz fatty chicken stock (where I boiled skin and fat with the bones), water, and salt. Cooked in the Nesco. I may have lost some flavor when I scooped out a bowl's worth of liquid to make sure I had room for the spinach, which I added late. I debated saving the broth to add back to the stew later, but it provided a tasty bowl of soup with the above meal - no regrets. I can add cooked rice to max out the stew. I think I'll go with a side of bannock first, then consider adding rice. Update: The fresher eaten the better; after a day, the initial savory fish flavor changes into a less appealing fishy taste and odor. Not bad, just less appealing.

Unbleached flour seems better for bannock than bleached flour - easier to work with, more forgiving with water. I'm undecided yet whether unbleached bannock tastes better; it doesn't taste worse anyway. The unbleached pizza bannock tasted the same. I used ricotta cheese instead of sour cream, and the cheese was tasteless. I'll stop trying to be creative and use mozzarella on my next pizza bannock.

Balanced breakfast: 1 egg over medium, 1 strip bacon, 1 whole canned tomato, 2 slices whole-grain toast with sour cream (direct from freezer to toaster), 1 cup cranberry grape juice, 1 banana, 1 orange. If the bacon isn't salty and crispy, then what's the point?

Bachelor culinary observations. Shoprite turkey bacon needs to be crispy and salty and eaten by itself to have taste. Mozzarella needs to be melted on thick to have taste. Now that I know that, I feel bad about eating a big chunk of the mozzarella cheese cold. Don't overcook the pizza bannock; when the cheese is melted, it's done. Duncan Hines milk chocolate brownie mix - lacks flavor. Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownie mix - not bad. Overbaking chicken shrinks the meat, but makes the bones thin, brittle, and easy to snap open for boiling broth. I bought cheap popcorn that popped poorly and tried 'rejuvenating' the kernels with this recommendation. The popcorn didn't improve and the kernels became moldy. 1 hot dog can be cut up and made into 2 credible sandwiches with 4 slices of bread and your choice of condiments, but you'll still be hungry after eating them.

My latest bachelor meat sauce pasta was made with about 3/4-lb combined Ronzoni small shells and Mueller's elbow macaroni, about 8-oz Perdue ground chicken, 1 yellow onion, 28-oz can Hunts crushed tomatoes, 12-oz bag Birds Eye Steamfresh frozen super sweet corn, and 10-oz box Best Yet frozen whole leaf spinach. Total cost of materials was about 5 dollars, but of course, that doesn't include time, labor, and energy costs. The meat sauce was thickened when starch from the corn leached into it. Meat sauce pasta is comfort food, and I've surrendered repeatedly to the temptation to pick up a spoon and eat directly from the pan until I'm stuffed. (It is bachelor chow.) When I take an extra minute to plate the meal, though, the meat sauce pasta tastes better with hot sauce and ricotta cheese.

D'uh. It just dawned on me that Blogger uses HTML (hypertext markup language). Rather, I've known all along Blogger uses HTML because it says HTML on its editors, but I didn't put 2+2 together that I'm not limited to the Blogger editor icons, which merely insert HTML commands, and I can input other functions by typing out HTML commands. Talk about selection bias, passive acceptance, and cargo-cult application. I'm limited right now to a vague memory of the rudimentary HTML programming the Army tried to teach me a long time ago, but I'm confident with a crawl-walk-run approach, cheat sheets, and tutorials I can pick up at least a basic working grasp of HTML. It seems user-friendly and intuitive enough. This site is useful. Here are instructions on how to add a background image and how to add a rollover title to an image.

After I added the "LOVE CHERISH DEFEND IT" plaque as a background image, I had another d'uh epiphany: offer a clean left side to readers. We read English by fixating first on the left end of the line, scan left to right, then transfer our eyes back to the left end, shift down, and fixate on the next line's end. A clean left side without distractions helps the reader's eyes find the left end. Obvious, right? Yet for the life of my blog, my sidebar has floated left. The problem wasn't as obvious before I added a background image because my background was blank and the sidebar pulls up and off the screen when the reader scrolls down. Adding the fixed background image highlighted the issue. So, I've floated the sidebar to the right. I haven't decided yet to limit the background image to the right side ... we'll see.

With my new beginner's awareness and haphazard cherrypicking of HTML formatting, I've tinkered with my blog's template and the sites I caretake. They're still simple and with the same content, but they've been given a facelift with a few frills added. I've barely scratched the surface of HTML; still, I think I've plateaued for now. I'll improve next either with a project that challenges me to learn more or a structured tutorial.

After my computer crashed earlier today, I lifted it and found a singed sliver of tissue on a bottom vent. I removed it, of course. I wonder if the tissue has been the cause of the loud whirring noises my computer has been making and the break-downs. I don't recall seeing the tissue under my computer before, not that I would have left it there if I had seen it. Was the tissue actually inside my computer interfering with moving parts and just fell out the vent today (expelled by the computer)? Or maybe the tissue didn't have any effect. Lesson reminded either way: PMCS yo shit.

Ugh. Now my monitor screen has shifted 2.25 inches to the left, so the left side is off the screen and a 2.25 inch off-limits black border is on the right side. When I switch to a lower resolution, the screen realigns to the full screen but as soon as I switch back to the highest resolution, the screen misaligns the 2.25 inches to the left. The monitor's AutoConfig function didn't fix it and may actually be the cause of the problem. Annoying.

, a.k.a. Columbia blue, a.k.a. Pantone 290, a.k.a. Hex #c4d8e2, a.k.a. RGB (196,216,226). Here is an impressively elaborate technical breakdown of Columbia blue that I don't understand.

The white powder that sometimes accretes on the flat ends of AA alkaline batteries is potassium hydroxide, which is caustic.

Eric

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