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What Are You Doing with Your Precious Temporal Fluids?

 

You have limited time in your present incarnation. Even, or especially, for those people who believe that we only live once in the flesh, the thought should always be there in the back of the mind, “How am I using my time?” Every second is a precious and unique gemstone that needs to be cut and polished so it sparkles in the sunlight. What are you doing with your time? Are you arguing with strangers or near strangers on the Internet? Is it about really important things? Or is it about minutiae of politics or movies or TV shows? Are your obsessions with a certain movie, movie franchise, or TV show causing you to spend more time on the subject than the people who wrote the script(s) put into it?

Many years ago when the Internet was still young, a story was circulating about some guy spending his time with amateur radio. One day, he tuned into a man telling a story about having realized that he was on the downhill slope of life. The man figured he had about a thousand weekends left in life by the actuarial tables, so he went and bought up a thousand marbles and put them in a jar. Every Saturday, he would take a marble out of the jar. And that day, he was taking the last marble out of the jar. He had used the marbles as a tool to focus on how precious his Saturdays were. Now, marbles might not be the best tool for you to use, but find a way to constantly remind yourself that time is fleeting, that there might be a better use of your time.

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Responding to Islamist Terrorism: Are We Too Late?

 
Dearborn, MI Ordinance Officer Amal Chammout.

As I assess the US attitude toward Islamism and terror, I’m concerned that we are deluding ourselves about the dangers of terror in this country, and how soon we may find ourselves in deep trouble. John Kluge wrote an excellent post on how the US assesses Islamism. I believe this post takes his ideas even further, providing evidence that the danger is even more immediate than we realize. My biggest issue, however, is that I’ve had to rely on the mainstream media, whose overall credibility has been challenged to some degree, to counter-balance the information I’ve discovered. For that reason, in two out of three of my major points of evidence, I leave it to you, the reader, to decide where the truth lies.

First, in assessing our terrorism risk, many people claim that once we defeat ISIS, we will be much safer. I’d like to suggest that defeating ISIS is probably a pipe dream. ISIS may eventually be defeated in Syria, but the organization is already preparing to expand its territory. Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reported that as they lose territory, ISIS will return to Europe and their home countries, while other ISIS operatives are sent to join Syrian populations in Germany where they will blend in. Another European counter-terrorism expert is investigating whether they will be able to re-locate to countries where they currently have no presence. ISIS also is adept at using the internet for recruitment, and although authorities continually take down their websites, new sites continue to crop up.

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Walking Through Paris on a Summer Evening

 

I rarely post photographs of Paris on social media. This is the most photographed city in the world, and it’s been photographed by the greatest photographers in the world, so there’s not much I could add to your sense of what the city looks like.

I also loathe the practice of taking endless photos of one’s life for consumption on Facebook. It puts everyone who does it at a remove from their own lives. Instead of seeing, hearing, smelling and experiencing what’s in front of them, they’re imagining how it would look through someone else’s eyes — usually, their ex-boyfriend’s. So I don’t do it. Susan Sontag wrote an essay, On Photographydecades before the advent of the cell phone and Instagram, but it seems even more pertinent now: 

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Guy Buys Movie Ticket, Internet Outraged

 

A Brooklyn movie theater recently scheduled a special screening of Wonder Woman open only to women. Cinema/dining chain Alamo Drafthouse said on their website, “Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying ‘No Guys Allowed’ for several special shows at the Alamo Downtown Brooklyn. And when we say ‘Women (and people who identify as women) only,’ we mean it.”

Movie fan (and my Conservatarians podcast partner-in-crime) Stephen Miller decided he wanted to see a new superhero flick, so he bought a ticket online. Upon sharing this rather mundane act, the Internet exploded, as is its wont.

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American Cinema Foundation Podcast #2

 

Here, folks, another week, another podcast. This week we’re discussing Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott wants to make the lowbrow genre of the blockbuster into a middlebrow work by adding a lot of highbrow art. I’m all for it! So my friend and I are discussing the two important conversations in the movie, in the beginning and in the center, in relation to the works of art on display and their role in revealing character and discerning intentions.

At the same time, we’re talking about the meaning of horror as a genre and the moral logic it obeys. Listen to the end for some shocking remarks about 19th-century British horror stories and the book of Genesis! At the same time, we’re continuing our elaboration of the conflict between life and science — this is Ridley Scott working in his Lovecraft-ian mode. And there’s more! Take a listen, and please share!

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Gregg Allman, RIP

 

This Memorial Day weekend sees the passing of Gregg Allman, co-found of The Allman Brothers Band. The specific causes have not yet been announced. The articles I am seeing so far note that he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 1999 and had a liver transplant in 2010.

In lieu of a more thorough discussion of his career, I will direct you to my post from February on the 45th anniversary of The Allman Brothers Band’s Eat a Peach. I may add more in the comments as time allows.

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This Is an Interesting Case of Media Bias

 

There is a story that I first heard on my local Seattle radio station, KTTH 770 AM, this afternoon while waiting in the drive-through line at Starbucks. It involves a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia. It seems that the students of color at our most far-left institution of Higher (?) Education, every year have an event called Day of Absence/Day of Presence, where the students of color leave campus for a day and do their own anti-racism workshops (I assume they skip all their classes that day and talk to each other about how oppressed they are by the faculty and students of pallor). This year, they decided to change the format, and instead of absenting themselves from campus, they “invited” all the white students and faculty to stay away for that day, leaving the campus to them.

Biology Professor Bret Weinstein was not too happy about that, and he said so in an email to the person organizing the event.

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Bring Back Charm School

 

It’s time for a weekend break from politics. So today in “A Weekend Break from Politics,” I propose to lobby for the return of Charm School.

I’m not sure when the idea of charm school, or finishing school, went out of fashion. I’m not sure why, either: Perhaps had something to do with the idea that teaching women to be charming was sexist, or that “charm” was an oppressive, patriarchal social construct; or perhaps, as sometimes things do, it just went out of fashion.

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Can We Just Let the Markets Work?

 

Back around 1980 or 1981, I was working as a staff auditor for Touche Ross & Co (now Deloitte) on my favorite client, Epicure, a stereo speaker manufacturer in Newburyport, MA. This was my second year working on this account. At the end of the job the senior accountant on the job confided in me that he was leaving the firm; he was joining an upstart telecommunications firm, MCI, as their controller. MCI, he told me, was going to be huge. The only hurdle was the break-up of Ma Bell (AT&T), an inevitable outcome in his mind.

The idea that Ma Bell could fall was unimaginable to me. My father had worked for the phone company for 20 years. I had two uncles and an aunt who worked for Western Electric. Break up the phone company? Why? This just seemed wrong.

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Reality Confronts Our Childish Media in the Form of Greg Gianforte’s Election

 

Greg Gianforte’s election to Congress has given the American media the opportunity to condemn violence and lecture the rest of the country about their hypocrisy and the evils of violence in politics. What will get lost in all of the lecturing, righteous indignation, and charges of hypocrisy is any meaningful acceptance or examination of the truth. The truth is that in one district in Montana and likely large sections of the country, you can now get elected to Congress after assaulting a reporter. In fact, since Gianforte raised more than $100,000 after the assault came to light, “body-slamming” a reporter might actually help your chances of getting elected. That fact says more about the media than it does about Greg Gianforte or this election.

First, the election shows that you can’t justify or ignore some political violence. You either have to condemn all political violence or understand you will have to live with it. The media has spent months cackling over the video of some masked thug punching Richard Spencer. They have spent the entire last year ignoring and excusing really shocking instances of leftist mob violence in Berkley, NYU, Middlebury College, and other places. Of course, the media will say this is different. This is a Congressional candidate and a reporter. And to some degree they are right. But it doesn’t matter. That is not how people see it and how things actually work. People don’t see the video of Richard Spencer being sucker punched and think “he deserved it, he is a Nazi.” They see it as the media thinks it is okay to punch someone whose political views you don’t like. Well, the media doesn’t like Spencer but most of America doesn’t like the media. It works both ways no matter how many clever or even valid arguments you make saying one is different than the other. The media can’t celebrate or justify political violence they like and then suddenly expect the country to be shocked by such violence when it affects a reporter.

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Despite Denials, There Is Evidence of Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin

 

It is a common talking point among Trump supporters that “there is not one shred of evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.” This statement is far from true. In fact, the evidence is quite extensive.

The Kremlin supported the Trump campaign through a broad spectrum of means, including staff, funds, propaganda, black operations, trolls, and thugs. We address each of these in turn.

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Allah Had a Good Week

 

Depending on where you get your news, you might have missed some of this. On Monday, one of Allah’s soldiers committed jihad in Manchester, England, killing 22, including several children, and maiming many more. ISIS has claimed responsibility.

On Tuesday, ISIS-backed Muslim jihadists began killing people in the Philippines and kidnapping Christians. More than 80 dead have been reported so far, and martial law has been declared as the jihad continues there.

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Snakes on a Plane – Academics vs the TSA, round n+1

 

The airport security line has ground to a standstill. Again. Some bozo packed a giant plastic penis in his carry-on, and of course the bozos working for the TSA couldn’t resist. From the depths of the man’s carry-on, one TSA worker unsheathes “this mouse penis by its base, like it was Excalibur.” Yep. A Gigantic. Plastic. Mouse. Penis. 3-D printed.

If it makes you feel any better, it’s for science. The biologist carrying it is on his way to a two-day conference, and so has no checked luggage. Other times, scientists carry on stuff that can’t go into the cargo hold even when they’re checking luggage. Permits issued to biologists to collect live specimens may stipulate the specimens must be hand-carried onto planes. Other live specimens simply don’t travel well in cargo holds. A duffel bag full of ants. Live frogs in Tupperware containers. Roaches. These things:

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Quote of the Day – The Man in The Arena

 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

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