Brand New Ice Skating Post

I saw these empty beer cans, with others scattered about, at a rink. Drunk ice skating: This strikes me as a bad idea.

Instead of my usual start-of-skating-season post for n00bs I’m posting this all-new one, written de novo, ab ovo, ab initio, and ex vacuo. Alright, I won’t do any more Latin. Here’s the most recent version of the usual post if you want to read that one too.

I’ll start with some quick bullet points for total n00bs:

• Wear layers so you can adjust your temperature to suit. Every rink is different and every person is different.

Female figure skaters love to wear all black when they’re practicing, for some reason. Sometimes the rink looks like some sort of Ice Ninja training facility. This is not required; you’re allowed to wear actual colors.

• Bring tissues. Every rink is a different temperature, but they’re all cold, natch, and this is likely to make your nose run.

• When you start, make at least one slow circuit of the rink in which you look for any imperfections in the ice. Ice can have gashes and chips from previous skating, even after resurfacing, and there can even be mounds of ice if there’s a drip from the ceiling. I’ve seen one half as big as my fist.

Let’s get deeper into it:

“It’s just like walking on ice, dude.” NO IT ISN’T!

Why does ice skating seem weird and difficult when you first try it?

Well, for one thing, you can’t plant your feet, as you’ve been doing on terra firma (I lied about the no more Latin thing) ever since you could walk. This seems weird and unsettling and makes you fall down at first.

Yet you see hockey players hurtling around at high speed, figure skaters jumping into the air and twirling around three times before landing on their feet, etc. (Twirling, always twirling toward freedom!) More casually, the rink where I mostly skate these days is predominantly populated by regulars: Come there and you’ll see us standing around on the ice chatting when we’re not working out. Everyone’s at ease; falling is not a thing for this crowd in that situation.

How? “Practice,” you say. Yes, of course.

But it’s also a change in mindset, in the whole basic approach to how you’re interacting with the medium under your feet.

On ice there is no stillness. There’s no “plant your feet and just stand there.” It is inherently dynamic. This is what makes ice skating so exhilarating.

Watch the feet of those practiced skaters standing around chatting. Unless they’re leaning against the boards, their feet are almost always in motion, at least a little. Ice is slippery (news flash!) and when you’re standing on ice, perched atop blades an eighth of an inch thick, you are by default in motion. It’s play, constant glorious play.

Another thing you must re-learn: On ground, both moving and stopping involve pushing with your feet against the ground in the same manner, whatever the direction in which you’re applying the force. Want to move forward? Push either foot backward. Want to move to the left? Push a foot to the right. Etc.

But your skates’ blades point from the front to the back of your foot, so your ability to push against the ice depends on which way your feet are pointed. I suppose that to noobs this seems like a mad universe with mad laws of physics.

Want to move forward? Pushing a foot straight backward doesn’t work. You’re sliding a narrow blade straight back on ice. All that will happen is that your foot will go back. To go forward you must turn the pushing foot to the side so the blade’s inside edge digs into the ice when you push back.

(Skate blades have an inside edge, toward the side of your foot that faces the other foot, and an outside edge, that’s on the side of the blade that faces away from the other foot.)

What about stopping? Trying to plant your feet doesn’t work if your feet are facing forward; you’ll just continue gliding. Again, you have to turn your feet sideways so the blade’s edge can scrape against the ice and friction you to a stop. (Yeah, I just verbed the word “friction.”) But it violates your instincts at first that your ability to push against the ice depends on which way your feet are pointed. No wonder n00bs fall sometimes. Really, it’s impressive that they fall as little as they do.

To turn on ice you have a couple of options. As with firm ground, you can turn by stepping in the desired direction. But when you’re in motion you can also turn by simply shifting your body weight in the desired direction. The way your edges interact with the ice will naturally induce a curve in your direction of motion.

So most of your instincts are wrong when you’re first starting. I always cringe when I overhear noobs with false confidence telling their friends as they’re lacing up, “It’s just walking on ice, dude.” No!

Random picture of an ice babe.

Recap:

(1) By default there is no stillness on ice. To be on ice is to be in a world of wonderful, unceasing free movement.

(2) Simplified summary of the basics for noobs: The effects of applying force against the ice with your feet are not the same in every direction. The front-to-back direction of your feet is very low-friction. The side-to-side direction of your feet is very high-friction. You use these two facts together to control your movement. Gliding is effortless on ice, and you use your edges to push yourself into motion, to stop yourself, or to turn.

We’re not meant to walk; walking is a second-best activity we have to settle for when we can’t be on the ice.

Confession: I love watching noobs trying to skate. They act like the ice is their enemy! Silly noobs! Ice is not your enemy! Ice loves you and wants to be skated on (as long as you respect it). Let me re-purpose a statement Ben Franklin made about wine:

Ice is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Miscellany 30: Miscellany Beats Four Aces

(1) Summer 2022: I just found out that General Butt Naked is an actual person!!!

Until then I thought “General Butt Naked” was just a metaphor that Jim of Jim’s Blog had made up.

Actual quote: “When I’m naked I activate my spiritual powers faster.”

O brave new world, that has such people in’t.

(2) LOL: Boston Pride committee acknowledges its systemic racism and disbands over QTBIPOC criticism

July 2021

Boston Pride, a group advocating for the LGBTQIA+ agenda, acknowledged systemic racism within its own organization and disbanded.

The board of directors released a statement explaining the reasons for their disbanding…

“It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride. We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community and others. We care too much to stand in the way,” the statement continued.

“Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving,” they added. “There will be no further events or programming planned, and the board is taking steps to close down the organization.”

Related: Another leftist group commits suicide over self-confessed “racism”: Auckland chapter of New Zealand’s School Strike 4 Climate group admits racism and disbands

(3) Vox Day quotes an article that says,

The Dalai Lama has sparked controversy after he once again defended White nationalism. [Eye roll.] The elderly monk agreed with the statement that, “white people have a right to exist in their own countries.” Explaining himself, he stated, “I do not think a world without white people would be complete. We should celebrate the whole world’s diversity and that of course means nations being their own. I do not think a France without the French would be a good thing, but completely the opposite. I love all people.”

Going on, he stated that, “I can understand the sadness and despair of Europeans and Americans who worry about losing their countries. Immigrants should return to their own countries, especially those who are from safe places. When I travel to Berlin, I wonder, where are the Germans? I weep for what they have lost.”

(4) Commenter Fireball at https://blog.reaction.la/faith/the-trans-cult/, on J. K. Rowling getting daily death threats because of her opposition to the trans thing:

“The old leftists always forget that the revolution doesn’t stop where they are comfortable with it.”

Speaking of which: Police remove lesbians from LBGT parade in Cardiff because they confronted transvestites.

What you did to us is now being done to you. You normalized the politics of “Shut up, you bigot!” And now the politics you created are coming for you.

And again: Women’s rights activists are ‘silenced’ by trans-rights mob clad in black as Bristol anarchists tell feminists they are ‘next’…

And again: The Revolution does not stop where you are comfortable with it.

(5) Oh my God: In Iowa, a man gets sentenced to 1 year in prison for stealing a rainbow gay flag… and another 15 years in prison for burning it, as a “hate crime.”

(6) The three suspected shooters in this mass shooting are all black. Three people were murdered and 14 more were injured. For some reason, there is no front-page coverage of this in the national media. Huh.

For those who will yawn and say, “More leftist hypocrisy, so what?” the response is, Yeah, you may already know that, but somewhere out there are a fuck-ton of 18-year-olds whose political beliefs are just starting to form, and who don’t know it yet. The more we mention this sort of thing, the more those youngsters will happen upon it. One doesn’t call out leftist hypocrisy to shame leftists into stopping the hypocrisy. (As if.) One calls out leftist hypocrisy to draw it to the attention of those whose political beliefs haven’t jelled yet.

(7) “Isolated.” A ton of leftist rhetoric involves this as some sort of “threat.” That reveals what they fear. The latest example as of this writing in 2022 is Vladimir Putin, but there are tons of examples, e.g. Britain during the Brexit debates, etc.

Here’s an example regarding Putin: https://voxday.net/2022/05/15/why-women-shouldnt-lead/. It has a screen grab of a tweet in which one Teri Schultz writes,

Estonian Premier @kajakallas is exasperated that Vladimir Putin’s phone line is so busy:

“If you really want him to get the message that he’s isolated,” she says, boiling it down. “Don’t. Call. Him.”

(8) https://www.yahoo.com/news/worst-idea-world-jennifer-lopez-062810204.html

“In candid interviews and fly-on-the-wall footage captured by director Amanda Micheli in the summer of 2019, [Jennifer] Lopez tries to keep mum about speculation she’s the “front-runner” to headline the [Superbowl] halftime show. So when the announcement comes that September she’ll be joined by Shakira, Lopez’s team calls it a slight against both women, suggesting that the NFL doesn’t believe Latinas can command the world’s biggest stage solo.”

You cannot appease the woke. Putting not one but two Latinas onstage didn’t quell the accusations of being anti-Latina. And putting three, or three hundred, wouldn’t have done so either. The Left cannot be appeased. It can only be defeated.

Hockey, bitchez!

(For those seeking ultrabrilliant thoughts on political matters, that regular content will resume with the next post.)

This post is all about HOCKEY because I recently played my first game – well, scrimmage – and I’m too amped to not post about it.

Been skating for more than half a decade. Over the years at least two people I don’t know have tried to recruit me for their local game-night league teams based on seeing me skate at various rinks. I always liked the idea but it was never “a good time to start.” WRONG! It’s ALWAYS a good time to start! If you’ve thought about this you can see that I’m telling you exactly what everyone else tells you after they first start. Do it! Do it NOW, bitch!

Just get to the point, in terms if skating, where you can actually get from point A to point B on the ice – though by the way, there are total novice programs for people who have never even put on a pair of skates before too; hunt around.

Q: “What if I live in Ecuador and there are no rinks in my country?”
A: I am truly sorry. It means it will be difficult for you to play the best game in the world. But not impossible. The solution is to move to a different country. I hear that in Canada they have a rink like every half mile (or as they put it, every 0.8 kilometers, eh?).

So anyway this is how it went the first time. At first I could not even get to the rink. Some huge fire or accident or whatever. Bunch of fire trucks, ambulances. They’ve closed off the road. Not just, it’s down to one lane, but they’re turning people back. I’ve only been to this rink like three times before, for open skate, and this is the only route I know to get there. Aargh!

So I’m driving around at night, clouds, no moon, can’t see anything. Have to ask my phone for an alternate route. Forced to back way the hell up and start over. Get lost, already really late. The street signs in this area are lettered in like 12-point font. Can’t figure out where I am, have to get out of the car a couple of times and stand directly under the freakin street sign just to see what intersection I’m at. Then the classic movie thing happens: I say “God damn it, everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.” A couple of minutes later it starts to rain. I swear I am not making this up. Oh yeah, and the couple of times I stop at gas stations to ask directions, they either have no clue or are a bunch of surly assholes. Finally one woman at a drug store helps me out. Thank you kindly drug store woman.

FUCK, I’m already 40 minutes late! I am in a FOUL mood. But I finally get there and get into my gear. We’re supposed to start at 9:00. I step onto the ice at 9:50. Not loving it and I feel like a total tool.

And then…

The night starts getting a lot better. The coach, a cool guy I know from other local rinks, explains the drill that we’re doing. I’m terrified I’m going to look like an ass. But I watch a few guys go through the drill and realize that a good chunk of them have no more stick/puck skills than I do – which is to say, none to speak of – and in terms of skating ability I’m right in the middle of the pack, or maybe a little above average. Actually there wasn’t a lot of variance in terms of skating ability. So I just step into the line and do it, and Ah, okay. I got this. I’m no Wayne Gretzky, but basically no one else there is either. (There are a couple of guys who are noticeably better than the rest of us, but they’re the exception.) OK!

We do the drill (two on one) for 5 or 10 minutes, then divide into teams for a scrimmage. Woooo! Wow that’s fun! It really is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

My God, the cardiovascular workout! Go onto YouTube hockey channels and everyone’s talking stick work/puck handling, skating skills, how to deke defenders, etc. No one talks conditioning! WHEN YOU’RE OUT THERE YOU’RE ESSENTIALLY DOING WIND SPRINTS THE ENTIRE TIME! I have literally never been this spent before in my entire life. When I’m subbing out I’m not so much saying “Left!” (wing) as rasping it. I’m not even sure anyone could hear me, but the coach knows what position I’m playing, obvs, so when I come to the boards he tells the next guy up. When I sub out I get a leg over the boards and I don’t sit, I collapse onto the bench.

So if you’re going to do this, make sure you’re in shape. Don’t worry about having big pecs. Focus on shaping up your heart and lungs.

So what about skating skills, by the way? I love skating and have been doing it for years. Skating is infinite; no matter how much you know or how large your set of skills, you can always add more. I could spend a lifetime just happily adding more skating skills.

BUT: Don’t obsess about this from a hockey point of view, because at least at the beginner level, based on my experience, you are not going to be using any skills other than:
accelerating
striding
turning
stopping.
That’s it. Don’t worry about being able to do a mohawk/eagle or doing a teardrop cut backwards on your outside edge. You’re never going to use that in gameplay, from what I experienced. I’m not saying more skating skill isn’t better. But focus on the stuff you’ll actually be using the most, like sharp, brutal changes of direction.

Get off the ice, we’re all changing, chatting. Good group.

Can’t wait for next time.

PS: Here’s Mikayla Demaiter:

It’s all about the hockey.

Not Red Pill in Fiction: The Dirty Girls Social Club

The Dirty Girls Social Club, by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, published in 2003. Fair warning: This is mostly just me venting at the identity politics bait-and-switch that is this “novel.”

Aw, man, I had such high hopes for this one based on the first few pages. Classic female chunks of cheese all over the place (details to follow). Then the estrogen-infused cheese disappears. Worse, it becomes a politically correct race-sex-LBGTQ tract. With no plot, not even a pretend plot. Not even a gesture in the direction of faking an interest in thinking about the possibility of coming up with a plot. Sigh. Well, at least I got this for just 50 cents at a local library book sale. If I’d paid full price for this I’d be pissed. I mean, the title, “The Dirty Girls Social Club,” come on! That’s purposefully designed to trick 25-year-old chicks into buying it, expecting a lot of graphic sex, just so they can be conned into reading the author’s political complaints.

And it started so promisingly! Here’s what I’d written when I was a few pages in:

A “novel” about six “Latina” chicks living in Boston. They call themselves “sucias,” which we’re told means “dirty girls.” Each chapter is narrated by a different chick. At least judging by the first chapter there’s a lot of PC whining about being Hispanic in the US, which I am mostly going to try to ignore. But some of it is bound up with the author’s standard-mold female drama queenery, attention-whoring, and humble-bragging, so it’s impossible to avoid all of it. I hope that later chapters, narrated by other characters, will dial this the fuck down or it’s going to get really old really fast.

(Boy, was that hope dashed.)

But judging from the first 3 pages, this is going to be great as far as the female psychology stuff goes. The narrator of the first chapter is one Lauren Fernandez. In a horribly violent act of cultural genocide, I am omitting the accent mark over that last letter a. (I’m tempted to include an umlaut over one of the consonants, like Spinal Tap.) She bemoans her excessively dramatic life in classic female drama queen fashion – in particular the fact that her boyfriend is cheating on her – does a humblebrag about a guy at the bar checking her out even though she describes herself as “gross,” and obsesses about her fingernails and her variable clothing sizes, thus confirming that if men portrayed women as being half as obsessed with clothing and personal grooming as they actually are, feminists would go into tachycardia. She then returns to the fact that the men in her life all cheat on her. Complete with the standard excuse-making and denial of responsibility: “I don’t pick them, exactly. They find me, with that whacked radar…” All this within the first two pages! You can see why I had high hopes for this one.

She’s a reporter, because of course she is. It had to be either that or lawyer. Assuming that another one of the “dirty girls” is a lawyer, what do the other four do? Can’t wait to find out! My guess as of page 5: One of them does something in education, one works for a charity, and one has some sort of “high-pressure” corporate job. That leaves one for government, maybe “social work” of some kind. LATER: Not one but two “journalists”! And one professional musician: how could I have forgotten “rock star”?

P.6: More PC whining about how hard it is being a non-white chick. Complains that when she doesn’t do her job, a white man dares to note that fact:

“I’m always early. It’s the reporter training—come late, lose the story. Lose the story, risk having some envious and mediocre white guy in the newsroom accuse you of not deserving your job.” Can you believe that? Some white guy might say I don’t deserve my job just because I didn’t do my job! The nerve! I’m a non-white woman! I deserve to keep my job even if I don’t do it! Grr. Talk about entitlement mentality! I’m noting this because it’s relevant on the very next page, so put it in your short term memory.

P. 7: In case you didn’t get the drama queenery a couple of pages ago: “Men like Ed [her boyfriend] find me, because they smell the hidden truth of Lauren on the wind: I hate myself because no one else has ever bothered to love me.” Leaping cats! How do people who are so un-serious take themselves so seriously? You can practically see her striking a pose. The back of one hand presses against her forehead as she slumps to the ground in a faint. From all the drama! Of being forced to date jerks!

Still p. 7: More self-obsessed PC whining: “First week on the job an editor strolled past my desk and said in the deliberate, too-loud English they would all come to use on me, ‘I’m so glad you’re here representing your people.’” No whiteys talk like this to Hispanics, at least not that I’ve ever heard. The other two options are to say “I’m not glad you’re here,” in which case she’d complain about the hostility, or to say nothing, in which case she’d complain about being “culturally erased” or something.

Still p. 7: Check this out: Our Narratrix wants another beer, and is peeved that the waitress is distracted by the bar’s TV: “Como? she asks, looking confused. She was watching a Mexican soap opera on a small TV behind the counter and looks annoyed to be bothered with, you know, work.” Jesus, bitch, it was just at the top of the previous page that you complained about being expected to do your job!

P.9: attention whore ultra-fantasy. Our Narratrix is a reporter, as I may have mentioned once or twice. The paper she works for, The Gazette, has recently, well, read:

“It’s getting a little harder to take public transit because the Gazette recently put up billboards all over town with my huge red-brown curly hair and grinning freckled face on them, accompanied by the idiotic words ‘Lauren Fernandez: Her Casa Is Your Casa, Boston.’”

This chick—I mean the author, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez— is 200-proof female psychology. You can sense her having some sort of attention-whoregasm as she fantasizes about having her face on billboards all over a major city.

Why the billboard thing targeted to Hispanics? Because…

“Money talks, see. Hispanics are no longer seen as a foreign unwashed menace taking over the public schools with that dirty little language of theirs; we are a domestic market.”

What you mean “we,” hon? On several previous pages you mentioned that you don’t speak Spanish, and acted all aggrieved that whiteys might assume that you did just because you’re, you know… Hispanic. (She actually calls that assumption “illogical.”) Now in the context of the Spanish language you’re suddenly using the word “we.”

Seriously, from page 7:

“Here’s how my job interview went: You’re a Latina? How… neat. You must speak Spanish, then? When you’ve got $15.32 in your bank account… what do you say to a question like that, even when the answer is no? …With a name like Lauren Fernandez, they figured Spanish was part of the package. But that’s the American disease as I see it: rampant, illogical stereotyping.” (If you hate it so much here, you are quite welcome to leave.) And page 8: “But what I thought was: Just hire me. I’ll learn Spanish later.”

Having explicitly stated that she doesn’t speak Spanish, and called anyone who assumes she does a bigot, she then says, “Hispanics are no longer seen as a foreign unwashed menace… with that dirty little language of theirs; we are a domestic market.” We?

Let’s skip ahead 100 pages to page 105: Her boss Chuck, a ridiculous dorky white man – of course – can’t speak Spanish. While she doesn’t actually say “I’m aggrieved by this!” it’s a strong subtext:

“It wasn’t until [blah blah] that Chuck figured out who Ricky Martin was. Now he goes around, years too late, singing “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” only he can’t say vida and he can’t say loca, so he ends up singing ‘Livin’ Evita Loqua.’”

He can’t pronounce words in Spanish – a language which I don’t speak either. But I’m going to act aggrieved anyway. It’s so culturally insennnnnnsitive! How DARE you not speak a language which I also don’t speak?! You fucking American bigot!

I remember when Livin’ la Vida Loca was a hit. I never encountered a whitey who couldn’t say it. “Vida” and “loca” are easy words to say. She couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a word that contains, for example, the letter ñ (say “enye”), which is not pronounced like n, and which a non-Spanish speaker might actually be confused about. For someone who writes so voluminously – you should read the 100 pages of pointless filler I skipped over – she sure is a lazy writer. How hard would it have been to make up such an example?

Enraging though all this is, it’s a great example of the sheer illogicality of leftism and female-think. And when you combine leftism and female-think, WOW. First she whines that she’s expected to do her job (how unfair!). Then whines that the waitress isn’t doing her job. Then she denies speaking Spanish, then acts personally aggrieved that some whiteys might have a low opinion of Spanish. Jeez. The sheer lack of any consistency, or any concern for consistency, really is shocking. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t be shocked. I’ve been studying leftists, and women, for decades. Yet the Satan-level hypocrisy and double standards make steam come out of my ears.

A Net search reveals that the author of this identity-politics Communist Manifesto got a job at the Los Angeles Times after this novel was published. (The double-journalist set of characters was obviously an author-insert fantasy.) Anyway, she ended up quitting her job at the L.A. Times, accusing that paper of… can you guess? I bet you can! … racism and sexism! Surprise!

In what other country in the world would people put up with this crap? If you went to China, got a cushy “job” as a “reporter” and then quit with complaints that the newspaper was full of Chinese people, I’m pretty sure they’d “invite” you to leave the country. Only in the white world do we let people come to our countries and abuse us this way. The situation cannot last.

Back to it. P. 102: a diatribe against a right-wing journalist lying. Unreal. Who lies more, right-wing journalists or left-wing journalists? On the same page, a diatribe against a right-wing political group throwing Molotov cocktails. Bitch, please! Who throws more Molotov cocktails, right-wingers or left-wingers? It really is true that leftists always project.

Also on page 102: She recalls that when she started working at the newspaper, an old hand gave her three pieces of advice, Blah, Blah-blah, and “Three, don’t wear your skirts so short ’cuz you’re makin’ me sweat.” You wish, honey.

P. 103: Back near the start of the book, the Narratrix had recalled a scene in which a college professor was so scared of having several hispanic women in the class that he was literally trembling. (WTF?) on p. 103 we get more surreal fantasizing that white people find her scary because she’s hispanic: “I love my desk. I have draped it in Mexican rugs and Santeria beads just to scare everyone.” Then, in the same paragraph, some whining about her boss sending her out to cover a story and adding, “Bring me back some biscotti, almond.” Ah, yes, I always order people I’m scared of to run errands for me.

P. 103-4: Complaining about how her boss sent her on a job to cover some Mexican laborers. How dare he assume that I’m Mexican, just because I’m hispanic! MAYBE THAT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT YOU DRAPED MEXICAN RUGS ALL OVER YOUR DESK, YOU FUCKING CUNT.

Alright, I’m done. Pretty sure this book doesn’t contain any fun “dirty girl” stuff, now that I’m more than 100 pages into it. Given that nothing prefigured by the title actually appears in the novel, as far as I can tell, I infer that the title was purely chosen to trick people into reading the identity politics screeching.

Miscellany 29: Hook me up with a kilo of Miscellany. Better make it two kilos; I’m having a party this weekend

(1) In the interest of elevating the tone of the discussion around here:

Boooooooooooobs!

Key sciency finding: US women have the biggest tits in the world. USA! USA! USA!

(Pauses to wipe away a tear of patriotic feeling.)

Excellent sentence from an article that he quotes:

“An unusually large number of inflationary forces are converging on bras…”

Yeah baby!

(2) There recently was some discussion about how powerful Elon Musk is, what constitutes power, and the Riddle of Steel.

In that light: Here’s an (edited) excerpt from Illuminatus! by Shea and Wilson (pages 62-3 in the 1988 omnibus edition). Simon Moon, an Irish kid in the mid-20th century, is the son of two anarchist parents. His mother is more of a hippy type and his father is one of those hard-nosed “Organize, boys!”-type leftist anarchists. His parents frequently have political arguments. Simon:

I got stoned one night and went home to see what it would be like relating to Mom and Dad in that condition… Tolstoy coming out of her mouth, Bakunin out of his. Two dead Russians debating with each other, long after they were dead and buried, out of the mouths of a pair of Chicago Irish radicals.

“You’re both wrong,” I said. “Freedom won’t come through Love, and it won’t come through Force. It will come through the Imagination.” I put in all the capital letters and I was so stoned that they got contact-high and heard them, too. Their mouths dropped open.

Dad was the first to recover. “Imagination,” he said, his big red face crinkling in that grin that always drove the cops crazy when they were arresting him. “That’s what comes of sending good working-class boys to rich people’s colleges. When you were in that jail in Mississippi you imagined yourself through the walls, didn’t you? How many times an hour did you imagine yourself through the walls? I can guess. The first time I was arrested, I walked through those walls a million times. But every time I opened my eyes, the walls and the bars were still there. What got me out finally? What got you out of Biloxi finally? Organization. If you want big words to talk to intellectuals, that’s a fine big word, son, just as many syllables as imagination, and it has a lot more realism in it.”

The scene ends there, but what Simon should have said is, “If you could change how those cops imagine the world in the right way, they wouldn’t have put you in jail in the first place.”

If we want large numbers of men to coordinate the use of violence to enforce certain norms, we must have an ideology that facilitates cooperation. Incentives are helpful and indeed necessary, but incentives with an ideology that has moral/ethical components is even better. One might even call that a religion. And if this ideology is coordinating the reigning use of force in society— or if its adherents aspire that it eventually do so— one might even call it a state religion.

You must bring a gun to a gun fight and a religion to a holy war.

(3) A related point: It’s not enough to have a religion that will help you kick demonic sociopaths out of power. You must also make plans for maintaining your religion’s integrity over the years and centuries. Infiltration, or entryism, is one of our enemy’s most effective methods of subversion.

Thus Aidan at https://blog.reaction.la/economics/money-has-functions-four/#comment-2833743:

“The clockwork regularity with which absolutists farm out government to a cabal of bureaucrats and professors, lose memetic sovereignty a generation later, and lose their heads a generation after that, never ceases to impress me.”

(4) The upcoming civil wars in the western world  should be called the Collective Guilt Wars. That way, in the post war era, no one will ever again be able to try the collective guilt trick; trying it will instantly identify them as that era’s equivalent of a “Nazi.”

(5) Babylon Bee:

Report: More Unborn Babies In New York Identifying As Convicted Criminals So They Can’t Legally Be Executed.

(6) I recently found Wrath of Gnon (in the sidebar at A Mari Usque Ad Mare).

Wrath of Gnon quotes Hayek:

“Tradition is not something constant but the product of a process of selection guided not by reason but by success. It changes but can rarely be deliberately changed. Cultural selection is not a rational process.”

(7) “Wulfgar Thundercock III” at https://blog.reaction.la/economics/bitcoin-time/

“Solopsism and other related Gnostic philosophies ought to be responded to by punching the philosopher in the balls until he accepts that you did not actually punch him in the balls and it is just the illusion of his senses.”

The Best Guy Movies

The best guy movies, in no particular order:

The Godfather

The Hunt for Red October

Die Hard – the movie that taught an entire generation to associate Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with automatic weapons fire.

The Terminator – I love a nice feel-good movie where everybody has a good cry at the end.

The Killer – “One vicious hitman. One relentless cop. Ten thousand bullets.”

The Sound of Music – When a young nun’s Mother Superior is brutally murdered by drug runners, she trains in a Chinese dojo for ten years and re-makes herself into a inexorable weapon of vengeance. But little does she know, the leader of the gang who killed her boss is actually her own long-lost sister. While feminists hated the girl-on-girl sex scene that takes place in a Beijing opium den, audiences in general loved the film. And who can forget the wacky car chase in Vienna, set to snappy banjo music? Filled with breathtaking action scenes, eye-popping effects, and intense family drama, this film set a new standard for action movies.

Desperado – “He came back to take revenge on someone. Anyone. Everyone.” Don’t see this flick with your woman, because there’s no way you’re going to match the deadly rebel bad boy musician cred of Antonio Banderas in this. Unless you’re a guitarist whose former girlfriend was killed by (wait for it) drug runners and you now obsessively pursue revenge, with no thought for consequences to the rest of the world, with the help of a guitar case full of firearms and grenades.

    Criticism: They couldn’t find a hotter brunette than Salma Hayek? Really?

Weekend at Bernie’s – fuck me, this movie is hilarious. Given the ridiculous premise, it really is funnier than it has any right to be. This may actually be the funniest movie I’ve ever seen (narrowly beating out Schindler’s List).

Probably you could make a case for some Bond movie, but of course Bond movies are often campy and over-the-top. In the Roger Moore era, quite deliberately so. What’s the best Bond movie? Starfall? Goldeneye? (I remember the Russian chick in Goldeneye as being pretty hot. Say it with me: Nataaaaaaallllllya.)

To be serious…

Commenter Aidan at https://blog.reaction.la/science/the-spike-protein-is-cytotoxic/:

“You do not have to larp as a dumb thug. Your heritage as a European is smart men who were very good at war. Embracing your masculine love of violence as a high-IQ man feels incredibly good.”

What the first three movies have in common is that, while they certainly have the bang-bang stuff, they are also all significantly cerebral. This is obvious in The Godfather (strategy, bluff, deception) and The Hunt for Red October (strategy, deception, cooperative and non-cooperative game theory), but don’t dismiss Die Hard: it involves a lot of quick thinking by both the hero and the villain. It begins when the shooting starts and McClane has to decide not to go in blazing but to head up several floors and signal for help. In doing this he has to bet that his wife, Takagi, that asshole Ellis, and a couple of other people who know he’s there will all manage to keep their mouths shut. But, a calculated risk.

He finds a fire alarm and pulls it. The bad guys cancel the fire alarm, and then one of them finds McClane and tries to kill him, but McClane kills him and gets his radio and other stuff. (“Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”)

McClane pulls a clever move in the elevator to get some details about the bad guys, then uses the radio to try to get the cops to come. Once he starts radioing the cops, Gruber instantly realizes the best place to transmit is the roof, and sends three guys up to kill McClane. That almost does McClane in right there.

Later, when Gruber is checking the explosives under the roof, McClane happens across him. Gruber and McClane have a game of bluff in which Gruber pretends to be a hostage escaped from a lower floor and McClane pretends to believe him, but he has set things up so that Gruber is tricked into revealing who he is. And of course McClane palms a bullet at a crucial juncture. Finally, there’s the deception McClane uses to dispatch the bad guys at the end.

So yeah, plenty of the fast-twitch muscle stuff, but also lots of lightning-quick thinking by the belligerents.

The Godfather. Ah, so very kick-ass. The pacing is kinda marred by the long intermezzo in Italy, but that’s necessary to set up Michael’s murdered love, which sets up his utterly cold-blooded relationship with his wife later.

The Terminator. Dripping in estrogen, this movie… kidding.

The Hunt for Red October. So very fucking awesome. Is there anything wrong with this movie? At all? Or is it the perfect guy movie? There’s a moment that gives me goose bumps: The Russian sub and the U.S. sub are very near each other, sliding by each other in the water, engines off. Each suspects the other is there, so the captains order their crews to be quiet. It’s a moment filled with tension of course. As this happens we hear, in voice-over, the Russian sub captain, Ramius: “Forty years I’ve been at sea. A war at sea. A war with no battles, no monuments… only casualties.” We hear this as we see the men in the subs, as quiet and still as statues, knowing that an accidental clang of a coffee cup against the hull could spell their deaths. And over this, Ramius summing up the long, unacknowledged submarine standoff that went on for decades during the Cold War. Makes the hair on my arms stand up just thinking about it. Damn, but this is a good movie.

Does God Have Free Will?

Just spit-balling here because I think it’s fun to think about. Consider:

In Larry Niven’s Known Space series of novels and short stories there’s a super-intelligent race of aliens who are related to humans. Earth is a colony of theirs, given up as lost long ago. They’re called the Pak, and their life cycle has three stages: child, breeder, and protector. The child and breeder stages are essentially animals. The protector stage is significantly more intelligent than human.

A protector has only one drive, to protect the child- and breeder-stage individuals related to him/her. (Actually the him/her thing is irrelevant since protectors don’t have sex organs.) The drive is irresistible, consuming. There’s a lot of warfare on the Pak home planet. The life of a protector is adversarial game theory played with other protectors of his family and clan against other protector families and clans. Alliances are temporary; they last only until one camp sees an advantage in defection.

I mentioned that the Pak race is related to humans. Proceeding to the protector stage involves eating a certain plant that grows on the Pak home planet but not Earth…until a protector with some of the plant shows up in the Sol system. When a human, a guy named Brennan, is captured by the protector he eats some of the plant and turns protector. They start talking about various plans, e.g. how to exterminate the Martians (potential threat to humans), etc. Brennan is talking about this later with a couple of humans (page 89 in my paperback copy):

“He [the original protector] was giving me orders just as if I were a voice-box computer. I was about to ask, ‘Don’t I get any choices at all?’ And I didn’t.”

“I don’t follow,” said Garner.

“I didn’t get any choices. I was too intelligent. It’s been that way ever since I woke up. I get answers before I can finish formulating the question. If I always see the best answer, then where’s my choice? Where’s my free will?”

And later, on page 217: There is little of free will for a protector.

Now for a mortal being the idea of the one right answer is fanciful, since the universe is a huge complicated place and there’s way too much uncertainty to reasonably speak of “the one right answer” much of the time. (Example: Should you choose the action that gives a 70% probability of survival for 80 of your descendants, or one that implies a 80% probability of survival for 50 of them?)

But for God, who knows literally everything, and is perfectly good…does He have free will? Does he really have any choice about what He does?

An observable characteristic of p-zombies

In case you’re not familiar with this concept: p-zombies is short for philosophical zombies. This does not mean zombies who are interested in Aristotle. It means biological robots who are human in every respect except that they have no consciousness. They are not self-aware, just very sophisticated robots made out of flesh. The concept is used in philosophy, neuroscience, etc. as a foil for thinking about consciousness.

The standard view of p-zombies is that they’d be observationally indistinguishable from humans as we know them. This is because, if we take a purely materialist view of consciousness, consciousness does not actually do anything; it’s just “along for the ride” as they say. All the neural structures that support cognition can do so without requiring that there be any subjectivity involved. (That’s one theory, anyway.) So p-zombies would talk, laugh, do mathematics, have sex, fight, etc. There just wouldn’t be anybody home inside their skulls.

But I was thinking about this recently because I’ve been reading Jaynes’s Bicameral Mind (due to the fact that Severian at Founding Questions has been talking about it). And it occurred to me…

There is something normal humans do that p-zombies wouldn’t: Talk about consciousness. P-zombies can talk about anything that’s empirically observable in the classic positivist sense of observable, e.g. they can say “red” when electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength hits their eyes. But there is no consciousness in a world of p-zombies. There’s nothing for them to observe, no empirical phenomenon to provoke any kind of response from their nervous systems. No talk about consciousness could occur on a planet inhabited by such beings.

If, by assumption, there is no consciousness, then there is no analogue of “light of a certain wavelength” for p-zombies’ nervous systems to respond to.

This is not like saying that p-zombies couldn’t talk about centaurs because centaurs don’t exist. Sure they could; they could combine the ideas of horse and a person. But a notable feature of consciousness is that it’s not observable (in a classical positivist sense). Consciousness is not like centaurs.

(Consciousness is sui generis; that’s why there’s a philosophical and scientific problem of consciousness but no philosophical and scientific problem of centaurs.)

The situation is fragile, though. A planet inhabited by nothing but p-zombies could never invent the term “consciousness,” but it would only take one normal human to exist and start saying things like “I have a subjective consciousness” to get the p-zombies to start uttering similar sentences by imitation. So the very existence of word-concepts like “consciousness” is proof that somewhere, somewhen, there has been at least one self-aware human. Paraphrasing Heinlein from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: “Are humans self-aware? Well, I don’t know about you, tovarisch, but…”

Miscellany 28: You want Miscellany? You can’t HANDLE the Miscellany!

(1) LOL, Francis “The End of History” Fukuyama is still trying to win the “World’s Wrongest Historian” Award. Fukuyama predicted circa 1990 that history had essentially ended with the collapse of communism. From then on, he argued, it would just be bourgeois liberal democracy as everyone in the world chilled out and watched the balance in their 401K plans rise. Actually there was a historical moment when this looked plausible; I remember it. It lasted from the time Germans knocked down the Berlin Wall with sledgehammers on live TV in late 1989 until some time in the 1990s when it became more obvious that Muslims were getting stabby and shooty again. (Or maybe Muslims didn’t change and we just had more time to pay attention to them once communism was gone.) IIRC, Fukayama did acknowledge that the Muslim thing might be a speedbump on the way to Nietzsche’s Last Man.

Now Fukuyama is at it again, and this time he doesn’t have the excuse of speaking at a once-in-a-generation historical moment. Now he’s saying that the Russian invasion of the Ukraine is a disaster for Russia, that it has already failed, etc. Here he is (Via https://voxday.net/2022/03/12/the-end-of-putin/)

“Russia is heading for an outright defeat in Ukraine.” LOL.

“The collapse of their position could be sudden and catastrophic, rather than happening slowly through a war of attrition.” I don’t know if Fukuyama’s a lefty, but here he’s trying the standard lefty trick of sneaking the idea he wants to install in your brain under the radar by simply assuming it. Note he doesn’t explicitly say that Russia inevitably will be defeated; he simply words his assertion as if it were universally agreed-upon that Russia will suffer a defeat and the only question is the one of its speed. A slimy technique.

“The Biden administration’s decisions not to declare a no-fly zone or help transfer Polish MiGs were both good ones… It is much better to have the Ukrainians defeat the Russians on their own…” That’s the spirit, Francis!

“Putin will not survive the defeat of his army.” Demented. It’s hard to believe anyone could be this honestly delusional; it seems more likely that it’s deliberate agitprop.

But if you think Fukuyama’s foregoing statement is detached from reality, feast your eyes on this:

“Hopefully Taiwan itself will wake up as to the need to prepare to fight as the Ukrainians have done, and restore conscription. Let’s not be prematurely defeatist.” Sheer lunacy. Taiwan is going to defeat mainland China’s military by use of… the draft! Yeah, that’ll do it!

Utterly insulated from reality. Stark barking mad.

(2) “Pregnant Lesbians” update: In an earlier post I wrote about a Leigh Bardugo novel in which more than half the main characters were homo- or bi-sexual. Quoting myself: “The Williams Institute at UCLA is a gay and lesbian think tank. In 2011 they released a study claiming that 3.5% of American adults identify as homosexual or bisexual. (A little over half of those are people, mostly women, who identify as bi.) And since this is a gay think tank, they have an incentive to exaggerate the number.”

Here’s Theodore Dalrymple, March 4, 2022, at Taki’s Magazine:

“According to a Gallup poll, the percentage of the American population that now “identifies” as LGBTQ+ has doubled by comparison with ten years ago, and now stands at 7.1 percent. Among the youngest cohort polled, it was over 20 percent.”

(Via Founding Questions: https://foundingquestions.wordpress.com/2022/03/05/honorary-blackness/)

Gosh, maybe, just maybe, this might have something to do with the fact that being gay or bi now provides one with protection from accusations of bigotry, oppression, etc. “You can’t accuse me of oppression! I’m a member of a marginalized community!”

In a related note, back in 2020-21, when the COVID thing shut down many a school, a bunch of girls who had identified as “trans boys” suddenly de-identified and went back to being girls. There were several stories on this about a year ago; here’s the first one I could find: https://4w.pub/social-media-trends-indicate-rise-in-gender-detransition-during-covid-19-lockdown/

That is, once they were no longer in a social environment in which the trans thing was rewarded, they were like, “Oh, fuck this.”

In one school district, “there were nine girls in year 9, out of a group of about 160 students, who identified as boys. Of this number, seven have already confirmed that they do not require any further ‘gender confirmation measures’ from the school and are now reidentified as girls.” And another is said to be considering detransitioning.

A Reddit snippet via the foregoing link:

“I detransitioned over the lockdown period and think that the loss of constant positive affirmation of my transmale identity by friends/strangers definitely contributed to me realising that my transition was more tied to outside influences than I previously realised. When I was around others I was constantly praised and looked up to for being trans – being alone helped me uncover and look into that feeling of ‘wrongness’ that’d started to nag at me since permanent T changes had began.”

Econo-nerds, file under: The role of incentives.

(3) If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Red Pill in Fiction series don’t worry; I haven’t put it to bed. I just need time and a sufficiently interesting and cheesy piece of chick lit to work with. Meanwhile I just finished Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the 2009 mashup of Pride and Prejudice with zombie horror. It’s actually not bad. It would have been easy to get too repetitive with the central idea— “Pride and Prejudice with…ZOMBIES!!!”— and that would have become dreary in about two pages. But Seth Grahame-Smith, who is Jane Austen’s “co-author” here, mostly manages to dodge that danger. He fleshes out the world with references to training in Oriental dojos, dates to get together over the weekend “to shoot the first zombies of autumn” (LOL), etc.

This is well illustrated by a comparison of some dialogue from the original with its mutated version in the mashup. In my post on Pride and Prejudice I noted this bit of snowflaking dialogue from when Elizabeth and Darcy get engaged near the novel’s end: She says to him,

“Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?”

“For the liveliness of your mind, I did.”

“You may as well call it impertinence at once… The fact is, you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I aroused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them… You thoroughly despised the persons who so assidiously courted you.”

In the mashup that last paragraph comes out like this:

“You were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I aroused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them. I knew the joy of standing over a vanquished foe; of painting my face and arms with their blood, yet warm, and screaming to the heavens— begging, nay daring, God to send me more enemies to kill. The gentle ladies who so assidiously courted you knew nothing of this joy, and therefore, could never offer you true happiness.”

And earlier we get a katana fight between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine, the outrageously arrogant busybody who presumes to tell other people whom they’re “allowed” to marry. From the first time those two meet we know they’re going to go at each other with blade weapons sooner or later. The only annoying thing is that Elizabeth, having disarmed Lady Catherine, declines to kill her. (Lady Catherine is Darcy’s aunt, and Elizabeth fears that killing her might annoy him.) If the bitch had attacked me I would have capped her off.

Anyway, if you’re in the market for some light reading and your sensibilities aren’t too delicate— you can’t mind seeing ninjas desemboweled and strangled to death with their own intestines, etc.— give this a look.

(4) Speaking of violent conflict: The Saker February 23, 2022:

Remember these famous words by Putin: “Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight’s inevitable, you must strike first.”

Via VD at https://voxday.net/2022/02/24/the-saker-was-right/

(5) Good news file: Jussie Smollett gets 150 days in the clink for his hoax:

Sweet. Not only does he deserve this, and worse, let’s hope this will be shouted far and wide and give other potential hoaxers pause.

Via https://onesubjectnotebook.wordpress.com/2022/03/13/sunday-morning-coffee-03-13-2022/

(6) Very nice: When Wokes = Racists.

Yeah I know, it’s “Leftists R the real racists” rhetoric, but this one is funny. And quite pointed.

Via the Dark Herald at https://arkhavencomics.com/2022/02/04/blogs-and-ends-the-nigel-kneale-edition/

(7) I expect the assholes of the left to make up stupid nonsense words like “whataboutism” to try to avoid being called out on their hypocrisy, but it annoyed me when the normally sensible Malcolm Pollack at Motus Mentis did it in the comments of his blog in the run-up to the 2020 election.

“So while I understand the attraction of this sort of ‘whataboutism’, it really wasn’t the point here. For those who dislike Trump for his style, perhaps to the point of not voting for him, it does no good to point out the (glaringly obvious) character flaws of his predecessors. If you are to win over those wavering hearts, you must acknowledge their objections and show them that the stakes are too high to fuss about such things.”

My goal isn’t to call Pollack out; it’s just that this gives me an opportunity to get on my soap box about a pet peeve of mine: “Whataboutism”— philosophy dweebs call it the tu quoque fallacy— is rarely actually a fallacy. And this is especially true with the context of Pollack’s remark, which was about Presidential elections. If we only have a realistic choice between two candidates— which is always the case in the modern era— then one candidate’s flaws are irrelevant except in the light of the other candidate’s flaws. So if Candidate A has been arrested for shoplifting once, it is perfectly legitimate, relevant, valid, and important to mention that Candidate B has been arrested for shoplifting twice. We only have those two options!

(8) Since we’re heading into civil war:

 Commenter Aidan at https://blog.reaction.la/science/the-spike-protein-is-cytotoxic/:

“You do not have to larp as a dumb thug. Your heritage as a European is smart men who were very good at war. Embracing your masculine love of violence as a high-IQ man feels incredibly good. You are going to have much more success with women within your IQ communications range anyway, so might as well learn to live with it. Go for smartiepants girls, and get yourself a group of male friends.”

Intellectual chicks are also better in bed, in my experience. My hypothesis from college: They spend so much time cooped up in the library that they need a way to cut loose.

On Style and Substance

Don’t worry; this isn’t another Moldbug rant.

Occasionally on the Net you’ll come across a blogger or commenter or whatnot who has an excessively florid style of writing. It’s too try-hard. And it got me thinking about style versus substance.

My view:

While it’s not optimal to always be plain-spoken, being plain-spoken should be one’s default setting. This is especially appropriate if you believe you have important points to make.

For example, in a couple of recent posts I took up the topic of why a world with no bad behavior is impossible. (First post (longer) and second post (shorter).) In the second post the only word outside of the standard 1,000-word English vocabulary that I used, as far as I recall, was “equilibrium,” and I used that because it’s unavoidable given the point being made. And it’s not a particularly fancy word.

When should you depart from this default setting? I can think of three circumstances:

1. When the subject matter demands it. For example, I’m not averse to talking about random walk/martingale theory if it’s a basic part of the point I’m making (First random-walk post and second random-walk post.) Same for fixed-point theorems and the Theorem of the Maximum. But I wouldn’t mention those things for no reason. What purpose would be served?

2. Every now and then at random for stylistic variation.

3. Every now and then to preserve or spread a cool or useful word. Spider Robinson, the SF writer, stated that not only is it not a sin for a writer to employ slang and idiom, at least in dialog; it’s arguably a writer’s duty to use them in order to help preserve them. The same point applies to our wonderful English lexicon.

But if you are constantly using words like “otiose” or “heterodyne” in your writing, you should ask yourself if it’s really optimal for spreading your point. Or do you have a point?

If you feel you have something to prove, intellectually, well I’m sorry you’re laboring under that emotional burden. Do you want to emulate an intelligent person for realz? Don’t say “heterodyne.” Rather, try to express yourself about important matters in a way that will convince the maximum number of (reasonably non-moronic) people.

While I’m on the subject, a final tip for aspiring “smart person” emulators: One of the typical features of the smartest people, I’ve noticed, is a sense of humor. Exceptions are rare. Lo, many an absurd thing shall come to pass on this planet inhabited by talking monkeys, and it’s impossible to have two functioning neurons to rub together and fail to notice the absurdity.