Civil War: Will There Be A Sudden Signal?

1. Maybe Not

There might not be one big event that suddenly sets off a civil war by making patriots go apeshit a la the George Floyd riots. Note the media hardly reports it when a black person kills a white person, let alone makes a big deal out of it the way they make a big deal out of the opposite case. So we must think about other scenarios. If we sit around waiting for the One Big Signal, we might still be sitting around waiting when we’re finally completely genocided.

I am sorry to have to say that in Cuba the bad guys seem to have handled this competently regarding Fidel Castro’s death. In retrospect it seems obvious that the Cuban media didn’t report Castro’s death when it actually happened. If the headlines had been FIDEL CASTRO DIES that would have been the signal for all decent Cubans to go on an orgy of violence against the totalitarians who had been tormenting them all those years. (It’s a clear Schelling Point.) Unfortunately the Communists learned some lessons from some of the things that happened in the Soviet Bloc circa 1990, like what happened to Nikolae Ceaucescu and his wife. So instead the Cuban media gave out a slow dribble, over years, to the effect that Castro’s health was declining, declining… he may or may not be in a coma… Eventually, after it no longer mattered because everyone had figured out that he was already dead, and his brother had secured the transition of power, they admitted he was dead. No sudden explosion of pent-up anger after years of (actual, real) oppression.

Similarly, here in the US we cannot assume there will be an initiating explosion of rage and violence. We must plan to start the serious fighting back on an individual basis if necessary, with small strikes that build up over time. If you must have an orgasm of rage and violence, have it at the small scale when you– here I have to be careful how I word this– take out, in self-defense, people who are attacking you and yours.

We cannot sit around waiting for the One Big Blowout. Our enemy could be aware of that danger and their total control of the media might stifle any signal that would lead to such. We have to think about getting things going in other ways.

As has often been noted, we need to organize, and this must be done at a local level first, because that’s the relevant level when things get sporty. Furthermore, you can organize with people in your area face to face, without using the Net or other kinds of communications technology. For obvious reasons, that is crucial.

Here’s one idea: You make a local contact– could be a guy at a bar near you, e.g.– and you feel out his political views. You can do this gradually. If you overstep, from his point of view, because he turns out to be a normie, no problem, you just back off: “Just kidding.” Being so Machiavellian may feel weird at first, since we are the People of Truth, while our enemy is the People of the Lie. But we are at war. We are all likely to do a lot of stuff we wouldn’t do in peacetime before this is over.

And we’ve got to mentally prepare to defend our country without waiting for everyone else to go first or a One Big Signal that gets it all going. Adrenaline-y, if you have to begin operating alone, but the enemy was too crafty in taking control of the media and the Net. That’s a fait accompli now, so we’ve got to find other ways.

2. Maybe Yes

There actually are some events that would qualify as a signal, and which the media couldn’t hide: removing the President from office on false pretenses, killing the President are examples.

If our bad guys are as smart as the ones in Cuba their goal will be to kill him but announce that he is being held incommunicado. This means that any “arrest” of President Trump must be our initiating signal for counterstrikes.

Also, possibly the same– arrests, killings– for members of the President’s family and/or other prominent Republicans. If the attempt to kill all Republican members of the House had succeeded, that would have done it, at least as far as I’m concerned.

And the media probably could not hide something like a bunch of BLM members killing an apartment building full of white people, etc.

As the left’s resolve to never concede this election becomes more widespread and firm, it seems more likely that there will be a sudden signal: The left’s theft of the election, which will come to a head on January 20 when Trump points out the fraud and refuses to concede. Even though the left understands the desirability of hiding what they’re doing until it’s too late, that strategy can’t work with the “invade the White House and set DC on fire” plan.

Miscellany: Probably the last non-civil-war post for a while

MarketWatch October 1, 2020 runs an article on saving stategy:

The accompanying photo is very, extremely, CURRENT YEAR.

  1. Supreme Court will review Trump plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from calculations for congressional seats.

WHAT THE FUCK? Why is this even being “reviewed”? The US government doesn’t represent people who aren’t citizens of the US, let alone those who snuck into our country illegally! What the fucking fuck!?

The Washington Post says, “The justices put the case on a fast track and said they will hold a hearing Nov. 30. By then, it probably will be a nine-member court again, if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, giving the court a 6-to-3 conservative majority.”

(No, there will be no 6-3 “conservative majority,” since Roberts always votes with the left when (a) it’s important, and (b) his vote makes a difference to the outcome. We will see if we have an occasional 5-4 sanity majority.)

How can this even be a question that is being asked?!

  1. Why is there no substitute for experience? Can this fact of life be explained in a terse way? Yes, actually. Here’s Ted Chiang in “The Lifecycle of Software Objects,” an otherwise pedestrian story about an attempt to create AI:

Experience isn’t merely the best teacher; it’s the only teacher. If she’s learned anything raising Jax, it’s that there are no shortcuts; if you want to create the common sense that comes from twenty years of being in the world, you need to devote twenty years to the task. You can’t assemble an equivalent collection of heuristics in less time; experience is algorithmically incompressible.

Experience is algorithmically incompressible. That nails it.

Real-world experience is somewhat compressible, of course; to use a thematic example from this blog, that’s why we preach “Chicks like guys who aren’t that into them” to young men. But the application of that idea in the real world is, in technical terms, nuanced as fuck. Memorizing the dictum orients the learner to focus on certain aspects of female behavior, and so accelerates the learning… but just memorizing the dictum doesn’t even get you halfway to using it effectively. That can only be done by the algorithmically incompressible process of going out and interacting with real-world chicks.

In the language of information theory, women are high-information, thus not (completely) compressible.

This is why Claude Shannon was such an unstoppable bad-ass at pickup. (I kid.)

Obviously chicks are merely an illustrative example. It’s much more broad and deep and profound than that; it’s about life in general.

  1. Zamboni on fire.

At least that rink’s ice is open!

Via Ace:

  1. Study: 56% of Liberal Women Under Age 30 Have Been Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

Scandal erupts in the psychiatric community as they try to figure out how they missed the other 44%.

  1. This AI meme generator has some funny stuff, e.g.

Via Ace:

  1. Eddie Van Halen died earlier this month, as I lamented in a recent post. It occurred to me later that most artists don’t attain their peak reputation until after their deaths. Therefore, his reputation is probably going to go up from its already Guitar Mount Everest level to… What’s above Guitar God?

(Update: I’d originally meant Mount Rushmore, but now that I think of it, Mount Everest works too.)

How to Ice Skate Repost

I’d planned on reposting this every year on October first, but I forgot because the goddamn virus bullshit involves closing all the rinks down! Fuck, I’m going crazy! Anyway, if you’re a noob and you can skate in your area (outside or whatever), you might get some benefit from this.

Aright, bitches, ’tis the season, so listen up.

Ice skating is awesome. When you’re going fast it is the closest a human being can get to flying. The American Psychiatric Association defines “not liking ice skating” as a mental disorder. It’s in their diagnostic manual.

I always see a lot of n00bs ice skating, which is great! Here are some tips.

(1) You will fall. Get used to it.

(2) Ice skating is not walking on ice. The physics is different.

When you walk, you push backward with one foot. (See Figure 1.) If your foot has good traction on the ground, it can’t slip back, though, so instead you are pushed forward. (Newton’s third law of motion, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”)

Figure 1

You cannot do this on ice skates, padawan, because you are on a blade that’s like a sixth of an inch thick. If you push your foot straight back, there is not enough area of the blade making contact with the ice to produce good traction. (See Figure 2.) Instead of being planted on the ice and thus propelling you forward, your foot will simply slide back. Then, because you’re a n00b, you’ll fall down. (Newton’s lesser-known fourth law of motion, “N00bs fall down.”)

Figure 2. The thin black line is your blade’s contact with the ice.

How do you deal with this? Well, plainly you need more area of the blade making contact with the ice. Simply turning your foot somewhat sideways does it. (See Figure 3.) This gives your foot enough traction, so when you push it back, the only thing that can happen is that the rest of you goes forward.

Figure 3. (The extent to which the foot is turned here is exaggerated for clarity.)

Meanwhile you are pointing the other foot in roughly the direction you want to go, so you glide forward on that foot. (As per Newton’s fifth law, “Ice is slippery.”)

Then the feet switch roles, with the gliding foot becoming the foot you’re pushing back with, and the pushing foot becoming the gliding foot. Repeat.

Once you learn this, it really is easy and natural.

(3) On falling: One of the problems is that your instincts about righting yourself when you’re off balance are all wrong. Moves that help you regain your balance when you’re on terra firma don’t necessarily help you, to put it mildly, when you’re skating on blades on ice. You have to learn new reflexes (if learned reflexes isn’t an oxymoron). I can’t re-wire your neural wiring that handles these reflexes, so I don’t know what to tell you here, except that you have to practice.

(4) “Crossover,” logically enough, is the term for when you cross one foot over the other. You’ve seen this: It’s that thing a skater does where it seems like his feet are moving independently of the direction his body is traveling in, so it looks like he’s moonwalking or something.

Crossovers function best when you’re turning at high speed and really leaning into the turn. You do this naturally when you turn while running on ground, but when you do that your foot is planted. When you’re skating, in contrast, you continue to glide on that foot as you shift your weight into the turn, so that for a moment the foot is actually moving in a different direction from your body’s center of mass.

Crossovers are a great way to add speed with relatively little effort, because gravity is doing some of the work for you. When you change direction you lean in the direction you want to go in. So you start to fall in that direction. Before you fall very far, though, you put a foot out under yourself so you glide in that direction instead of falling.

By the way, when you take a turn with a fast series of crossovers, it actually is as fun as it looks. Hell, it’s much more fun. There’s a power and smoothness that is like nothing else. Cf. comment above, in re: “flying.”

(5) Control: As long as you’re not going too fast, turning is so easy that it’s practically subliminal. (No crossovers for the moment; I’m not talking about that level of speed.) What is actually going on, of course, is that you’re shifting your weight ever so slightly in the direction you want to go in. But it feels like you’re just thinking yourself into changing direction. Telekinesis!

(6) Efficiency: Another way you can tell n00bs, even after they’ve learned to not fall much, is by how much energy they waste. In extreme cases it looks like they’re expending half again as much energy as they need to per foot-pound of work accomplished.

If this is you, don’t worry; this takes care of itself over time. Your body’s natural reluctance to waste energy will quickly make you adjust so that your motion is economical.

(7) Stopping. Several n00bs at rinks have asked me for advice, particularly about how to stop.

The correct answer is: Stopping is for the weak and timid! Are you a wuss!? Are you!? Huh!? Good, I didn’t think so. Let’s have no more nonsense about stopping.

If you insist, though, you can just point yourself at a wall. That usually works.

All kidding aside: There are basically two ways to slow yourself down, and if you keep slowing long enough you’ll stop.

The first I call the two-feet method: Just point your skates toward each other, while keeping your legs stiff so your feet don’t actually come together. If your feet bump into each other you’ll fall, obviously. But if you hold your feet apart at that angle, the blades will scrape against the ice, slowing you. And if you keep doing it, stopping you.

You can feel and hear the scraping, at least if you’re not at a rink where they constantly blast fucking country music over the sound system at full volume, what the actual fuck, not that I’m complaining or anything, but what the fuck? Don’t they know that playing that shit voids the warranty on your speaker system? Anyway…

The second method of stopping is the much-admired “hockey stop.” That’s the one you think of when I say “how to stop,” where they turn sideways and kick up ice shavings.

Just turn sideways and dig the blade of your leading foot into the ice. You’re also using your trailing foot, of course, but more for balance than friction, at least the way I do it (YMMV). Also, you’re doing some rapid adjustment of your balance, naturally.

When you first try this you’re going to think, “I shall now attempt a hockey stop.” That’s well and good, but you learn faster if you just think, “Shit! I need to stop!” and imagine what you’d do if you really needed to stop suddenly. This makes it more instinctive and less cerebral.

(8) Sharpness matters so your blades dig in. You need this (a) for acceleration, so your pushing foot can bite into the ice, (b) to slow yourself and stop, and (c) to execute a crossover. (Probably for six other reasons that I’m not thinking of at the moment too.) When you’re doing a crossover, the gliding foot has to bite into the ice to a certain extent or the foot will just slide out from under you. This happened to me once when I was trying to take too steep an angle with my gliding foot. Foot shot backward, rest of body went, “Hello, ice!”

The blade has some thickness; it’s not a knife blade. It’s the blade’s edges that are sharp. Once I actually drew blood from my hand accidentally with the edge. But that was probably right after they’d been sharpened; normally blades aren’t that sharp.

(9) Miscellany:

(A) Little kids on the ice are cute, but DANGER DANGER DANGER!!! Partly this is because they can’t control themselves yet, and partly because even the ones who can control themselves have no social awareness whatsoever. If they see Mom over there, they will simply turn with no warning in that direction, and if you’re behind them you’re going to be doing some fancy dancing to not hit them. This leads to hilarity and occasional bruises, because of course you’re going to steer yourself into a wall or shift so that you fall, instead of plowing into a little kid.

I recently cracked my elbow into the wall of a rink because I had to dodge a little one who seemed to execute a right-angle turn right in front of me with no warning. I had to do something to avoid smashing into him and ended up saying Hi to the plexi-glass. He didn’t even realize it had happened, but I did get a sympathetic look from someone on the other side of the glass.

They can also turn quite suddenly because their centers of gravity are so low. It’s like they’re equipped with little inertialess drives.

Just remember this:

Little kids on ice = Brownian motion + inertialess drives.

(B) Use your ears as well as your eyes to help maintain awareness of other skaters in your vicinity. Thus you can avoid pulling a “little kid” and turning suddenly just when someone’s coming up behind you.

Caveat: In the corners of the rink, noise bounces around weirdly. Sometimes it sounds like someone is coming up behind you and just about to smash into you. You’re like “Gah!” but when you look around there’s no one within ten yards.

(C) Downhill skating. Sweet! But why didn’t they have this when I was 19? You kids today don’t know how good you have it, let me tell you, when I was your age I had to skate 40 miles to school, and it was uphill both ways! By God!

(D) This is a politically incorrect blog, so an observation about the sexes. Normal people, continue to read; shrieking feminist shrikes, go somewhere else (permanently).

Still with me? OK, a fun observation:

All good skaters have both power and grace, strength and fluidity. But there is a difference between good female skaters and good male skaters. Good female skaters have power – you can’t be a good skater without it – but they have more grace compared to male skaters. And good male skaters have grace – you can’t be a good skater without that, either(*) – but they have more power compared to female skaters. Just a nice little “the world is gendered” observation to affirm normality and freak out the screaming SJWs.

If you’re like most people, i.e. psychologically normal, you understand (there was a time when no one denied this!) that the sexes are different and that the differences, in so many ways, can be a source of delight to everyone. This is just a small example of that.

* Even the most brutal hockey player, 190 pounds of muscle and missing three front teeth, who starts throwing jabs at the slightest provocation, has grace on the ice. If you don’t believe me, Youtube is your friend.

(10) Have fun!


Eddie Van Halen Has Died. Fuck.

Speed runs that would make your eyeballs bleed. Insane harmonics. Outrageous end-of-the-world divebombs.

But that was just the start. All this and an awe-inspiring sense of melody, and absolute JOY in playing: The lively, joyful spontaneity of his solos, that I’m-doing-something-crazy grin on his face, the sheer LOVE he had for playing guitar.

Eddie always WAS the band. They changed lead singers like a teenage girl trying on outfits at the mall, but the heart of it was always the guitar. Someone once said that even in the songs that weren’t their best, who cares, because “You always knew there was a solo coming up.” The lyrics, in the early days, probably took about as long to write as they did to sing, and Lord knows you weren’t listening for Alex Van Halen’s just-behind-the-beat drumming (so annoying, stop playing like you have bricks attached to the ends of your drumsticks). No, it was always Eddie’s guitar playing.

The band Van Halen was often mis-categorized as metal, but this was wrong: They were a hard rock band. You could also call them a party band. David Lee Roth, way back in the early days, said, “We play rhythm and blues, shot from a canon.” To get a sense of “rhythm and blues, shot from a canon,” listen to their take on Ice Cream Man from their first album. Unfuckingbelieveable. Play it loud.

Some highlights:

From their self-titled debut album:

Eruption, of course. When I first heard that in the mid-1980s, after I had been playing guitar for a couple of months, I blurted, “Is that just one guy?” A lot of people thought he had doubled himself up on the tape. Not a chance; he played it live all the time. (And now I’ll never get to see that! Fuck!)

An underappreciated piece on this album is On Fire, where the guitar work is pure aggression. And yet it’s so full of Eddie’s usual joyful energy. If such a thing as joyful aggression is possible, the guitar work on this song embodies it.

But really, the whole album, with the exception of the perhaps regrettable Atomic Punk.

Second album, Van Halen II: Spanish Fly, which is Eruption squared… on an acoustic. One guitar player in the comments: “Inhuman.” (Another comment, from yesterday: “Angels get to listen to this live now.” Reading that kinda fucked me up.) If you know anything at all about the guitar and have never heard this, click through and listen. After you regain the power of speech you’ll thank me.

And the intro to Women in Love is cool. On this one he does double himself up, or rather, he uses a lot of delay to get the notes to pile up on each other in just the right way. Just listen to the first 0:33.

If you just wanna rock, the best songs on this album are the anthems Outta Love Again and Somebody Get Me a Doctor.

Fair Warning: Unchained. The opening riff is pure rock and roll, pulled down from Plato’s World of Forms and laid down on vinyl. Eddie’s guitar sounds like a fucking chainsaw.

1984: The best guitar work is on Girl Gone Bad and House of Pain, though the latter doesn’t really start blazing until the second half. You can also listen to a semi-isolated guitar track on Girl Gone Bad; the highlight is the solo from around 2:20 to 2:50.

5150: Try the title track. The only opening riff in all of rock that equals the one from Unchained.

Best of Both Worlds is also a fun stompy romp, not for blazing guitar work, but just because. Once I heard this on the car radio with my mother. When the lyrics got to “You don’t have to die and go to heaven, and hang around to be born again,” she was like, “That’s so true!” LOL, Van Halen, mother-approved!

For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge: Try the solo on Pleasure Dome. Definitely not one of their better songs, and it runs too long. But damn, that solo! Dear God! It goes from about 4:00 to 5:05.

One moment from I Can’t Stop Loving You. Wait, don’t laugh! Yes, it’s a sappy song, but there’s one moment when Eddie’s (very brief) solo, having just been a very simple melody for about 2 bars, suddenly goes into an amazingly fast run across the fretboard. The whole passage is only 2:36 to 2:44. And it’s absolutely fluid! There are other guitarists who can play that fast, but no one I’ve heard could play something that blazingly fast and make it sound so fluid, so natural, so effortless. It’s like water running over some rocks. And this, by the way, is one of the many reasons that Van Halen imitators always sound like exactly that: Van Halen imitators. No one can really copy the man; it’s simply impossible.

I could go on. I haven’t even mentioned highlights from all the albums. But this isn’t supposed to be comprehensive, just to give you an idea what all the fuss is about. Though in a sense this blog post is pointless: If you don’t understand the guitar (or fretted string instruments in general) it might be impossible to convey to you what a master Eddie Van Halen was. (IS, dammit, and always will be The Master.) And if you do have any acquaintance with the guitar, you’re almost certainly already familiar with his work. But on the off chance that you’re not, wow, what a treat you’re in for!

Heaven just gained an awesome guitarist. God, the rocking that there was in heaven last night!

My favorite comment from the last couple of days: Edward Van Halen, predeceased by many stereo speakers.

R.I.P. King Edward.