Monday, June 10, 2013

Thoughts of the day

The good and bad of Bill Clinton was on show at his appearance with John McCain from which leaked his disagreement with Obama on Syria. Clinton understood foreign policy needs but his decisions were made with a finger measuring the political breeze and therefore cautious to the point of insufficiency as far as actually achieving long-term goals. His political calculation on the Rwandan genocide was Clinton's low point, but my chief criticism is that he set up policies and precedents for the terrorism and Saddam problems but neglected to move decisively (and controversially) to resolve the problems on his watch, rather leaving the controversies for his successor to deal with when the problems reached a head. In contrast to Clinton, his successor, Bush, made rational choices to match means with ends in order to deal with the controversies that Clinton avoided.

Given the prominent role of Sunni terrorists among the Syrian rebels, the destruction the terrorists caused in neighboring Iraq, and current day terrorist attacks in Iraq likely bleeding over from Syria, I wonder how Obama's decision to give military aid to the Syrian rebels plays in Iraq? It may be the death of any lingering alliance between the US and post-Saddam Iraq. Obama's feckless Middle East policy increasingly vindicates Bush's Middle East policy. More from QandO about the decline in international respect for America under Obama: Ouch.

I responded to Professor Nacos about Libya and Iraq here.

John Yoo's take on the Snowden leaks about the NSA surveillance. In short, the program is Constitutional, legal, and fulfills a compelling state interest. Flashback: 2005 post about the NSA controversy.

At Neo's blog, I debate with an OIF opponent from the Right.

Depressing but effective real-world activist tactic: Trojan horse, bait and switch. But even that unscrupulous tactic is increasingly giving way to the blunt tactic of introducing a radical 'reform' with a flimsy justifying pretext and then heedlessly pushing it through even after the pretext is debunked.

Obama is a textbook example of a Max Weberian charismatic authority. I was a charismatic leader as an activist, which likely is a feature of activism. As an activist, I intuitively knew I had to deliver concrete results and it turns out that delivering results is necessary for charismatic leaders. It also turns out my vexation with succession following my leadership, which I attributed to my failure at grooming successors, is actually a normal shortcoming of charismatic authority.

Damn, Nature, you scary! The Cordyceps parasitic fungus take over the mind and body of zombie ants. The ants' cuticle (hardened skin) offers no protection. Not only ants are affected. Different species of Cordyceps attack different insects. There is a variety of parasitic mind control in nature. The complexity of behavior under mind control is striking, such as parasitoid voodoo wasp larvae that control their caterpillar hosts. Who's to say that human beings aren't changed in mind and body by parasites? More. Add: Monomorium santschii. Note that parasites don't kill their hosts, while more predator-like parasitoids kill their hosts.

Interesting take on the social-political implosive collapse of American society. The life-cycles of parasites that exploit and eventually kill their hosts seems analogous.

Yoselyn Ortega, Lucia and Leo Krim's nanny, apparently had a history of mental illness that was hidden from the Krims. What is the reporting obligation of family and friends of child caregivers who appear mentally unstable? It's notable that a mentally broken person can be otherwise functional and appear normal to the public until a line is crossed.

Confessions of a Sociopath. Yikes. It seems scary to be around one yet liberating to be one, but also alienating. Hm. Is Amanda Bynes a sociopath?

A great NBA on TNT commercial from Christmas Day 2011. I missed it when it aired. The song is "Live Forever" by Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors. The theme of the commercial is the NBA heritage binds generations of NBA players as a fraternity of men who played the same sport on the same courts wearing the same uniforms in their prime. They're like soldiers in that regard.

All-time lyric: "You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals, so let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel." Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch. My kind of band. Hat tip to collective cadenza.

Adam Sandler's classic, The Goat.

More sour cream's "I put that beep on everything." Mozzarella cheese, at least the factory version sold in supermarket dairy sections, is more about texture and has subtle flavor to begin with. It loses its flavor in storage. Adding sour cream to bannock pizza made with flavorless mozzarella adds flavor and a creamy texture. I've also used sour cream as a cheese replacement but cooking with the sour cream diminishes its effect. I may substitute a different, more flavorful cheese on my bannock pizza. Sour cream + hot sauce make a creamy, tasty dipping sauce for meat, especially chicken, which needs the flavor boost.

Egg and scallion fried rice and broiled pork with sour cream + hot sauce dipping sauce on the side is decadent.

Approximate broiling guide: 15 total minutes for beef, 25 total minutes for pork, 35 total minutes for chicken. Beef, as I've noted before, has the least room for error in cooking time. Too undercooked or overcooked, and beef's flavor and texture changes for the worse. Pork and chicken become drier but more flavorful when overcooked.

Once again, wet heat (steam) does not cook the same way as dry heat (bake).

I made popcorn using oil in a pan. Ate it. I then popped the leftover unpopped kernels in the microwave using one of my Vitromaster stoneware soup bowls. They're labeled "microwave safe" and I've used them to heat stew, pasta, and rice without a problem. As usual, I covered the bowl with a plastic takeout container lid. I ran the microwave for a minute. Ate the popcorn. There were a few remaining unpopped kernels so I heated them for about 1.5 minutes, stopping the microwave when the popping stopped. When I opened the microwave door, a surprise: the bowl split in half. I don't know whether the bowl split from the heating of the bowl, heating the bowl dry, or steam from the popcorn exploded. It may be significant that the bowl split as soon as I opened the microwave door, which may be related to cooler air touching the heated bowl. I don't believe the plastic lid formed an airtight seal to contain the steam for an explosion, so my guess is the heating of the bowl (dry) caused it to break. Or maybe enough pressure built up. It sucks to lose a bowl which, with its matching set, was one of my first purchases for my apartment. Update: I glued the halves of the bowl together using Elmers glue, the kind that kids use in school. I wonder what uses and degree of handling it can withstand without splitting apart again. Update: The bowl held intact for a wash and holding rice for a meal, then split apart again as I pressed it while washing it after the meal.

3 boxes of 11 oz double chocolate Krave cereal and 1 gallon whole milk for 9 dollars is a pretty good deal, but not a healthy one. I finished the gallon of milk and 1.5 boxes of the Krave in 1 day. That stuff puts on pounds and my body feels off, whether from the chemicals or sugar, afterwards.

I failed to kill an exceptionally quick mosquito last night and today I have a bite on my index finger. It's likely resting in my apartment somewhere digesting my blood. Update: I killed it plus 3 more mosquitoes. What hole(s) are they using to enter my apartment?

Nietzsche excites an MGTOW like Marx excites an activist. The temptation is to be belligerent and defiant of everyone else's conventions and repressions. To expurgate the internalized subjugation and throw off in a zealous burst all the chains of society in every personal interaction as a matter of principle and newly appreciated ego. However, when I am weak, needy, and disenfranchised, an adolescent acting out without a rational purpose is an unnecessary risky behavior. To subjectify myself and solve my alienation must be a thoughtful, long-term - even lifetime - mastery learning project. Real life is not literally like the movie The Matrix, with a Zion, or even a Nebuchadnezzar, to which to escape the entirety of reality in one move. I can't physically sever my connections to the world and be reborn as a new, greater self in a fantasy world. I must navigate my way out of the trap in this world. The better compromise with Nietzsche's provocation is to critically diagnose the conditions of my objectification, control the internalized repressions within my mind, and learn to know the world for what it is, like Feuerbach's sensual observation. Be situationally aware and self-aware, and respect the power that the world and other people have over me. Then intelligently apply praxis along Marx's original thesis of sensual activity in order to change the circumstances of my objectification. Weigh the risks and rewards. Interact with the world as a rational self-interested free agent. Renegotiate my Hobbesian social contract. Even if I choose to be altruistic again, I must do so from a reified conscious state.

Richard Swanson was an alienated man who died on his praxis quest to actualize his reified consciousness. I don't know that he was red pill, but he was definitely going his own way. By Swanson's and the author's example, the life metamorphasis must be created with dedicated whole mind-body physical activity.

I had a dream about the Stuy bowling team. It wasn't about my truncated time as a bowler, but more my leadership experience recasting the culture of the team that extended beyond my HS career. It wasn't a replay of the actual experience but rather its pattern with different faces, ie, the more things change, the more they stay the same. All of my leadership experiences have been praxis with the Marxist premise that truth is subjective, creative, and deduced rather than objective and induced. The status quo is just an option. However, I eventually reach a point where my internalized subjugation stops me and fills me with doubt with thoughts that Truth is in fact objective, everyone else is in on it, and I am alone, out of tune with a quixotic fantasy. Yet I have made a difference. I have brought my subjective truth to life, just not completely to life at 1st attempt. But that's only a failure from a performance test perspective, not a mastery learning perspective. Even when change is a smooth run, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that civil reform requires a 30 year commitment. I certainly have not followed through on any 30 year commitments to completion. So perhaps the obstacles I've run up against are not Truth dispelling my quixotic fantasy, but rather simply breaching the comfort zone of the status quo, aka the blue pill Matrix, Nietzsche's bad air of lies, and Freud's internalized repression. At that point, it's the dominant subjective Truth vs my insurgent subjective Truth, and it requires competition to break through. And that means competing with my teammates who are still shackled by the blue pill status quo and winning over the fencesitters, which I can do, but the uncertainty strikes at my anxieties and insecurities. To compete, I need to trust my capability and my vision and have the iron will - the Nietzschean classical will to excellence - to fight against social pressures in order to rise alone. The evidence says I can do it in terms of capability, but I must build up my inner game to match my outer game. I must be in control. I also need to figure out what I want to be and the world to be; bigger than morality, the right thing, or selflessly making the world a better place in a Judeo-Christian sense, but what is my truth I want to define my life and with which to change the world.

This NY Times opinion discusses the compounding impact of moral decay and fraying of the social compact in our society. My aspirations for SU4A seem quaint. As an idealist, where could I begin to patch the tearing holes? It's like sticking fingers in a dike crumbling under a flood.

From the Grantland article on the Spurs' Tracy McGrady: "Most coaches who don't understand young players view 'selfish' as something bad," Carter said. "My thing as a coach is, I can't get a player to be at the level he needs to be at unless he is selfish. He's got to be selfish to invest in himself."

Know the assumptions - the tacit, implied, unspoken rules. My classic example is physical fitness and athleticism at West Point. But there are also assumptions with girls and social norms in school and the workplace. Socialization is an alienating, confusing mystery for an INFP. It's taking hits from the blind side and frustrating.

According to Professor Szelenyi, my Ivy League status dictates my clothing style ought to be J. Press.

Generally, people are more likely to do what they're accountable for than what they're responsible for.

If you don't teach your children who they are, someone or something else will.

Feminine girls are naturally enchanting, charming, captivating, bewitching, dazzling, enthralling, mesmerizing, intoxicating.

Eric

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