Sunday, January 31, 2016

Looking Backward: 2000–1887

In the wikipedia article covering the novel, Looking Backward: 2000–1887 ,by journalist Edward Bellamy, is described as a "Utopian science fiction novel". Utopian is an accurate description, but calling the novel science fiction is stretching the term a bit much.

Published in 1888, the novel tells the story of a young man who falls into a deep hypnotic trance and awakens in the year 2000 to find the United States has been transformed into a socialist utopia where war, poverty, crime, prostitution, corruption, money, or taxes no longer exist. Ownership of private property is a thing of the past and the national government owns and operates all businesses.

Bellamy's vision of the year 2000 AD bears no resemblance to the way things have actually turned out. Although many have wished socialism upon us, the Federal government, as it exists, does not have the control Bellamy's fictional government has.

Of course, Bellamy has no way of knowing of the two world wars that happened between his 1887 and the real 2000. His future has no airplanes, or radio, or automobile, not to mention cell phones, computers or television. He was not even able to imagine musical recordings. In his novel, households do have access to music 24 hours a day, but the music comes from live performances transmitted over the telephone - the only piece of "modern technology" already invented in Bellamy's time.

Unfortunately, there is very little action in the novel; it's mostly conversations between the hero, Julian West, and two people he meets - Doctor Leete and his daughter, Edith.

Edward Bellamy may have had good intentions - as did the hundreds, if not thousands of members of the various Bellamy Clubs that popped up in the U.S. following the publication of the novel. Unfortunately, Bellamy's hope for the future was based on wishful thinking regarding human nature. We are not as self sacrificing and altruistic as the folks in Bellamy's year 2000.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Benito Mussolini With Trump Hair.

I included in yesterday's post [Trump - Benito Mussolini with (Bad) Hair] a photo featuring Donald Trump as Mussolini. I had used GIMP to paste Trump's face onto an image of the Fascist dictator in uniform.

After I had published that post, I came across a photo where someone had pasted Trump hair onto Mussolini. I liked that photo so much, I had to fetch it and post it here.

I wish I could say it was my work, but it's not. On one of Il Duce's lapel, we find the words "The Pixel Factor". I did an Internet search, hoping to find other great images. Sadly, nothing else lives up to Mussolini with Trump hair.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trump - Benito Mussolini with (Bad) Hair.

Saturday, when I praised National Review for pointing out the obvious, - that Donald Trump is not a Conservative - I remarked that "If there's any politician who reminds me of Benito Mussolini, it's Donald Trump".

Now that Mr. Trump has made it clear that he will not be a part of the latest Republican debate should Fox News' Megyn Kelly remain a debate moderator, I need to revise my statement.

Donald Trump is, most definitely, Benito Mussolini with bad hair.

Trump's appeal is short on substance and long on personality. Like Mussolini, a lavish cult of personality has centered on Trump.
Obama's critics have correctly pointed out that the President's speeches revolve more on himself than the issue he is supposedly discussing. With apologies to Bachman–Turner Overdrive, should Trump replace Obama as POTUS, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Sadly, it would be exactly like the American public to exchange one narcissistic sociopath for another.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Arthritis



I have arthritis.

Years ago, when I first sought treatment, a doctor told me, after medical tests were done, that my back, neck and spine were overrun with arthritic joints. Strangely enough, over the years, my neck, back and spine have not presented a problem. Instead of the areas listed by the doctor, most of my arthritic symptoms come from my right wrist.

Not having a proper computer desk has not helped. Using either the keyboard or mouse has aggravated the soreness in the wrist and carpal tunnel.

Now, I have something else causing havoc with my right hand; dumbbell, free weight exercises.

The, so-called, "pushing" exercises for chest, shoulder and triceps don't appear to be as big a problem as the "pull" exercises for back and biceps. It's usually the day following the "pull" that gives me the most pain. The grip required when doing these can be pretty intense.

I hate that this is making writing with the keyboard so difficult. I don't want to abandon my free weight exercises. Aspirin and acetaminophen have helped relieve some of the pain, but it looks like I'll need to find for ways to modify the exercises.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mary Noailles Murfree's, "His Unquiet Ghost".

As I first mentioned in a post from August 2014, I managed to destroy my Kindle on the flight from the United States to Philippines. Before downloading a couple of apps for my Android, I had to borrow my son's Kindle to read e books. I rarely use his Kindle now, as I'm able to use either the Kindle app or, more likely, the FBReader.

Unfortunately, the battery life on my Android isn't nearly as long as I'd like it to be. Because of the differences in voltage levels between electrical devices made for Philippines versus outside Philippines, I don't charge my Android directly into a wall socket here. My wife does that with her phone - it's probably OK - but I continue to charge mine with a voltage adapter. The point of that, I may not have anything to read while my phone is charging.  It's not within easy reach. That's when I may borrow my son's Kindle.

Yesterday, while on the Kindle, I came across an e book which I don't remember downloading - His Unquiet Ghost  by Mary Noailles Murfree - aka Charles Egbert Craddock.

The e book was downloaded from Project Gutenberg, although I don't remember when I did that or why I thought Ms Murfree might be an interesting read. I've read half the e book - it's not a complete waste of time, but I doubt I'll download any more of her books; I'm not a big fan of "moonshiners vs. revenuers" literature.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Overcoat.

The latest novel to make my 2016 reading list is Dostoyevsky's Poor Folk.

At one point in the novel, Dostoyevsky makes reference to Nikolai Gogol's short story, Shinel. The Russian title is sometimes translated as either The Cloak, or The Overcoat, or The Mantle.

The translation by John Cournos, (The Cloak) can be found at Project Gutenberg in a collection of short stories, Best Russian Short Stories and Taras Bulba, and Other Tales by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol. The translation by Claud Field (The Mantle) is also on Project Gutenberg, The Mantle, and Other Stories by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol.

A translation can be found (by an unknown translator) as The Overcoat at eastoftheweb.com.

Not having read the short story prior to this, I immediately read both the Cournos and the Field translations.

Oddly enough, in the notes for the wikipedia article for The Overcoat, the short story is said to have heavily influenced the Japanese writer, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa' in his writing of Yam Gruel. Yam Gruel was among the short stories I read in 2015 in Rashomon and Other Stories. After reading the two translations of the Gogol short story, I reread Yam Gruel .......because I did not recall the story being at all like Gogol's Shinel. My memory was faulty. Although the ending is in no way similar, I saw the influence in the very beginning as I reread the story.

As an aside, included in The Mantle, and Other Stories by Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol. is The Nose. I had read that particular short story ages ago. I remember making a joke about the story while standing in line to see the very first Star Wars movie with my friends, Dave and Lew. Unfortunately, the joke is too complicated to explain here.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bloomberg Considers Run for POTUS.

It's being widely reported that former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering entering the race for POTUS as an independent.

All I can say to that is run, Bloomberg, run.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

".....the unlikely rise and continued strength of Donald Trump, along with polls suggesting Hillary Clinton’s campaign may be flagging, have driven the billionaire businessman closer than ever before to entering the race....."

If he does run and manages to get on the various ballots, Bloomberg is most likely to draw votes away from Democrats who might not be 100% comfortable with either Bernie Sanders' "socialism to the max" or Clinton's governing the country from inside a Federal prison.

Bloomberg's views on gun control and his push for a nanny state is unlikely to persuade many Republican to cross over and vote for the 73 year old billionaire.

Third Party presidential runs are notoriously unsuccessful. The candidate mostly takes votes from one Party, giving  the victory to the other establishment Party .

Many credit Ross Perot's run as the number one factor in giving Bill Clinton the win over George H.W. Bush in 1992. Bloomberg's unsolicited aide in putting a Republican in the White House might be a fair Karmic turn-around for Perot's misadventure.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Three Cheers For National Review.

Back in September of 2015, [Obama/Trump. Two Sides of the Same Coin.] I opined that the American people seem to have once again fallen under the sway of a cult of personality by their new found love for Donald Trump.

It's been suggested that Obama may see a Hillary Clinton victory as an endorsement of his policies; a third Obama term, if you will. But, the same can almost be said of a Trump victory. While we can't be sure at this point, what actual policies Trump would support, a Trump victory would be the third term for the narcissistic empty suit agenda.

National Review, the self described "most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion" has taken the controversial step of going full throttle against Trump. Following in the footsteps of it's founder, the brillant Conservative, William F. Buckley Jr., the magazine could not have done otherwise.

Donald Trump is not a Conservative by any stretch of the imagination. How could any reasonable person argue with that position?

Sarah Palin's endorsement of Trump does not change that fact.

Kathleen Parker may be right when she wrote:

"William F. Buckley’s conservatism seems headed for the door......"

but, her putting the blame on National Review seems to me to be an attempt to get back at the magazine for having dropped her column in 2008.

In my heart of hearts, I'd love to see Hillary Clinton indicted over her email scandal before she gets the Democrat nomination. Donald Trump might be the only candidate the Republicans could nominate that would not trounce Clinton. Trump might have a chance against Bernie Sanders.......I'd like to think Americans are too smart to elect someone who is to the Left of Obama. Honestly, I'm not encouraged.

I try not to make comparisons between any politician and Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. That always seems to be a bit over the top for me. In this case, however, I might make a slight exception. If there's any politician who reminds me of Benito Mussolini, it's Donald Trump.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Some Things I Miss....and Some I Don't

Sometimes, I'm asked what I miss most about not being in the U.S.. Generally speaking, I'd have to say that the things I miss most here are certain foods which are not readily available.....homemade biscuits whenever I like - sweet potato and or pecan pies.
It would be nice to get a decent hamburger every so often. Dumaguete does have two McDonald's, but the optimum word is decent. It goes without saying that Filipino pizzas are no match for American pizzas.

On the other hand, what do I miss least being here?

I can say, no two ways about it; I do not miss SNOWMAGGEDON.

Drudge Report Presidential Poll

Upon going to Drudge Report this morning in search of news stories to blog about, I saw a Presidential preference poll there, listing both Democrat and Republican candidates. Naturally, I couldn't resist putting in my 2 pesos worth.

It's probably a safe bet to conclude this is not anything close to being a scientific poll.

I was not at all surprised to see Trump and Cruz as the top two in the Drudge poll......those results fit with everyone's idea of the sort of folks that go to the web site. I was absolutely taken aback, however, seeing Bernie Sanders taking the number 3 spot. I would never have suspected that many hard-core Socialist types would be checking out Drudge.

What is not surprising is Hillary Clinton's position on the poll results. You'd expect her to poll pretty close to the bottom amoung Drudge fans. Here, she loses to Jeb, but does manage to beat Santorum and O'Malley.

Who did I vote for, you ask?

In this poll, I voted for Rubio. As I mentioned before [ Trump vs Clinton - Heaven Help Us. ] I'd prefer to see Rubio and Fiorina teamed together. It wouldn't make a difference to me which was chosen as POTUS and which was VPOTUS. Unfortunately, we all know  that's not going to happen.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is Islamaphobia a Form of Racism?



I have to say, right off the bat, that I agree somewhat, with Hamid Dabashi in his opinion piece at aljazeera.com - Donald Trump did "hit a new low by calling for a 'total and complete' ban on Muslims entering the United States". While the U.S. should be very careful who is allowed to enter the country, banning all Muslims isn't the way to go.

I would, however, ask Dabashi to pay closer attention to his language.

Dabashi, and others like him, continue to call anti-Muslim views and opinions "racist". The last I checked, Islam is not a race. Islam is a religion - an ideology. So called "Islamophobia" may or may not be bigoted but calling it racist gets us nowhere.

Words matter. When you call someone or some idea racist, you immediately shut down all conversation. We're not allowed to discuss Trump's idea on banning Muslims because of the racist call.

The same can be said about a charge by Yassin Musharbash in the guardian. Yassin Musharbash claims "Islamophobia is racism, pure and simple".

Call anti-Muslim comments and actions "bigoted" or "prejudice", if that's your opinion, but I cannot say it often enough - Muslims are not a separate race. There are Muslims of every race and language group.

A web search of "Is Islamaphobia racist?" brought me to debate.org where 63% of those responding to that question agree with me. Reading the arguments of many making up the 38% who believe Islamaphobia is a form of racism, it's obvious that they do not understand the meaning of the word.

In the U.S., quite a few Progressives who might be inclined to call Islamaphobia racist have no qualms about being a rabid anti-Catholic. Shall we likewise call Catholiphobia a form of racism?

Trump, Palin and Cruz



I learned two amazing facts today:

1) Bristol Palin has a blog at patheos.com
2) Bristol Palin did not go to Harvard Law School.

OK, I'm not really amazed that BP did not go to Harvard Law School, but I do find it amazing that she felt it was necessary to tell us......like we might be confused about that otherwise.

I discovered this information via an article at thehill.com, Bristol Palin: I hope my mom endorses Trump.

Ms Palin has her proverbial knickers in a twist - I say "proverbial" as I have no evidence that she actually wears knickers (for any length of time, at any rate) - over a statement from someone in Ted Cruz' camp that it would be a blow to Sarah Palin's credibility should Palin endorse Donal Trump.

Of course, some of you might be surprised that Sarah Palin has any credibility, but that's not the issue.

Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler had said on CNN

"I think it [would] be a blow to Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin has been a champion for the conservative cause, and if she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly, she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion"

At this point, I'm not supporting either Trump or Cruz - I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do agree with Tyler's point that Trump has not been consistently Conservative on the issues. Trump is not an idealogue by any stretch of the imagination.

In her blog, Bristol Palin calls Tyler's comment "a slam" against her mother. News flash - criticism isn't always "a slam".

If one wants to see a real example of a slam, read Bristol Palin's blog post where she slams Ted Cruz.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Trial

I'm nearly at the end of rereading Franz Kafka's The Trial. This particular version is not the translation by Willa and Edwin Muir published in 1937, but a copyrighted Project Gutenberg eBook translated by David Wyllie.

It was the translation by Willa and Edwin Muir that I read (or attempted) to read in high school - having been turned on to Kafka by way of one of his short stories being mentioned on a Frank Zappa LP.

Not having the 1937 translation available, I cannot compare it to the Wyllie translation. I don't know if it is because I am much older now than when I first came across the novel, or if Wyllie's translation is superior, but I find the novel easier for me to get through now.

In the wikipedia article covering the work, it's mentioned that The Trial was heavily influenced by Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. I don't see it. Those particular novels are two of my favorites, and I can understand Kafka's being influenced by them, but he does not reach the level of Dostoyevsky. Of course, I read neither Russian nor German - I've only read translations of these great novels - perhaps if I read German, I could see a closer relationship between the two writers.

On the Project Gutenberg webpage where the book is made available, it gives the option of having a version with or without images. Unfortunately, although it says that there are images available, it is not the case. There are no illustrations for this translation. I remember being very impressed by the illustrations used in the original Willa and Edwin Muir translations. I'm a little disappointed that there aren't any for Wyllie's work, but otherwise, I've no complaint with this new translation.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Samsara Documentary Food Sequence Video Clip



The headline was certainly provocative:

Watching This Video Might Make You Decide To Stop Eating Meat And Become A Vegetarian

Touted as an "eye-opening clip from an incredible documentary film", the SAMSARA food sequence video claims to depict "the life-threatening situations of animals and the serious problem human [sic] faces when confronted with the danger of eating meat".

News flash - of course eating meat involves life-threatening situations for animals. Animals have to be killed before they can be eaten. Pork chops are not harvested from a pork chop tree.

This clip, taken from an hour and 42 minute documentary, contains scenes from a Chinese meat processing plant. Some posting this clip on line believe that viewing the video will lead people away from eating meat,which one poster describes as "meatatarian".

Before viewing the clip, I was expecting to see gruesome displays of abusive animal cruelty, but what we see, for the most part, are workers in an exceptionally clean and efficiently managed meat processing facility.

I saw nothing in the video which would convince me to abandon my omnivorous ways.

The person who posted the video clip on viralityvideos.com, wrote of seeing the health consequences of being a meat-lover in this "shocking" video. There are portions of the clip showing obese individuals scarfing down burgers, fries and soda. Having a diet made up exclusively of that dangerous trio is a path to obesity, but these individuals' health problems are more likely due to the grease and fat the fries and ground beef contain - as well as the high sugar content of the soda -  rather than eating meat, per se.

The documentary from which the clip is taken is called, by some, as a "search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives". Granted, there are many visually interesting scenes in the Samsara documentary, but I found the documentary to be, overall, a pointless and meaningless work. If you can find interconnectedness in watching a series of random, unrelated events, then the Samsar Documentary is right up your alley.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Slow News Day



It never fails.

There is a gate at the entrance of our apartment complex which is locked at night. All the tenants have a key to the lock, of course. When I leave for my morning walk, sometimes I am the first to go through the gate - in which case the gate will still be locked - while other times, either the landlord has come through to water plants or another tenant has left before me. The "it" that never fails is this:
If I leave the apartment without my wife's key, the gate will be locked, forcing me to return to the apartment to fetch her key, then turning around and returning the key to her. If I bring the key with me the first time, the gate will be already unlocked and I'll have to turn around and give her back her key.

This is a similar situation to what happens regarding my camera. I like to take my camera with me whenever I go out on the chance that I'll come across something that's crying out for me to photograph. However, there are times when I'll neglect to bring along my 35mm.

Just like the situation with the gate key, whenever I fail to bring along my camera, there will be all sorts of photographically interesting phenomenon that I'll be unable to photograph. When I bring the 35mm, I very rarely seeing anything worth shooting.

So, you see, it never fails.

I'm forced to take photos like the one above.....nice enough, OK, but not something to write home about - or a blog post either.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dracula's Guest

The third Bram Stoker book so far this year is actually a collection of short stories, Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories, first published in 1914, two years after Stoker's death.

As I write this, I've read six of the nine short stories in the collection.

I'm enjoying this book much more than The Jewel of Seven Stars which, in my view, went on far too long. It would have been much better in my estimation had Stoker shortened that novel by half.

I've downloaded seven of Stoker's novels as ebooks from Project Gutenberg. I'm impressed enough with Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories that I'll choose my next book from that list. Whether I'll read all seven before heading off in another literary direction remains to be seen.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

An Early Look at 2016's Book List

I haven't made it a habit of listing, or commenting on the books I've finished reading until I've put them on to the final book list published, on either New Year's eve, or New Year's day. Today, however, I'm going to list the books I've finished reading during these first ten days of 2016.

There are four on that list:

Dracula    Bram Stoker
The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave
 William Brown
The Jewel of Seven Stars     Bram Stoker
Write Away      Elizabeth George

Two of the books (Dracula and Write Away) were begun in December, but only finished after the 1st. Those two are books that I've read before.

George's book deals with the craft of writing a novel. I'm using it for a text book, of sorts.

I have conflicting memories about my reading of Dracula. Sometime during the 1970's, one of my cousins gave a very nice, illustrated and annotated copy of the novel. I know I began reading his copy. Over the years, I've told myself that I finished reading it at the time. I remember being annoyed by Bram's epistolary format and in all likelihood, I actually book the book down, not finishing it then. There were several scenes in the novel which I was unfamiliar with. I'm sure it's not a matter of having forgotten what I read, but a case of never having read those sections to begin with.

The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave is exactly what it says it is - a narrative of a fugitive slave. The book was interesting, but it does not compare to Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, or any of the books written by Frederick Douglass.

I've begun reading another book by Bram Stoker (Dracula's Guest) in spite of the fact that I was less than pleased with The Jewel of Seven Stars .

I can't say in what direction my reading will take after this latest attempt with Stoker. I can only say that it will be an e-book.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hillary Feels the Bern in New Hampshire



I may have been premature when I discounted my blog category, The Hillary/Bernie Slugfest in a post from January 1st.

According to a recent Fox News poll, "Bernie Sanders is ahead of Hillary Clinton by a 50-37 percent margin among New Hampshire Democratic primary voters".

With the Bernster beating Clinton by 13 points in New Hampshire, this may actually turn into a horse race.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The New Routine

In an earlier post from December, I mentioned that I would be changing up my exercise routine. My plan was to start the new routine this coming Monday, alternating chest, shoulder and triceps with back and biceps for a four day split routine.

Rather than wait until Monday, I decided to do the switch today - working the trapezius muscles, the latissimi dorsi , the lower back, as well as the biceps.

Monday's routine will be the chest, shoulder and triceps muscles.

I've been aware for a long time that this is a common combination of the muscle groups but it never occurred to me that the exercises for the back/bicep workout involved "pulling" exercises while the chest,shoulder, triceps workout were "pushing" exercises. I knew this on some level, but it never entered my consciousness until I read a few articles on line yesterday.

I have to tell the truth. After a 50 minute pulling work out this morning, I felt like I had my ass kicked. I'm home now - I finished the work out around 7:45. I feel great now, but an hour ago, I knew I had pushed (or rather, pulled) myself to the limit.

Tomorrow, will still be a walking day with a rest on Sunday. With Monday, I'll begin the "pull" exercises, saving the "push" for Tuesday, resting of Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be a repeat of Monday and Tuesday.

Not sure how long I'll maintain this routine. I'll eventually go back to the 3 day a week full body workout, but it will probably be in a couple of months.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Obama's Executive Actions Will Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence.

In a piece published at nydailynews.com, Elliot Fineman, head of the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) does make a legitimate point when he opines that Barack Obama’s executive actions on gun control are completely meaningless.

One need only go the whitehouse.gov website and actually read the President's proposals to realize that nothing will be accomplished by these executive actions. The politicians on both sides of this issue are making much ado about nothing. There is nothing in the proposals which will actually please the gun-control supporters and nothing in the Presidents proposals will take guns away from law abiding citizens.

The whole issue is simply the establishment politicians throwing red-meat to their particular supporters.

There is, however, one aspect of Elliot Fineman's opinion piece that is more than a bit scary. According to Elliot, President Obama could do more to "halt the gun violence epidemic and to protect the American people" if the President would really bypass Congress and overstep his authority by using the powers granted to him under the National Emergencies Act.

It is Elliot's wish that we sign an online petition calling on Obama to "declare a national state of emergency over guns". It's Elliot's hope that the President will assume dictatorial powers which will enable him to confiscate guns from the American people.

Elliot is right about one thing - Obama's executive actions will do nothing to fix the nation's gun problem. But he is absolutely wrong about giving the U.S. President the power to tear up the U.S. Constitution.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Typical Motorcycle Driver in Dumaguete.

Here we have an example of a typical motorcycle driver in Dumaguete.

As you can see. he has covered his head with a baby blue piece of some sort of clothing. The reason for this is because he is more concerned about the sun not tanning his skin than he is with driving safely.

You can use the Petron gas station on the right as a frame of reference for judging his speed and the time involved in the four photos.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Microsoft's How-Old.net - Epic Fail

Thanks to an article at CNN (How old do you really look? This website will tell you in seconds) I learned of a website created by Microsoft called how-old.net.which utilizes some sort of computer algorithm to analyze photos uploaded to the site and "guess" the age of the person in the photo.

It's not always accurate.

Trying out the site, I uploaded 2 different photos of myself to see what age the algorithm came up with for me. The age difference in the two analyses was more than ten years. To top it off, the photo where I thought I looked older was the one that the website said I looked younger.

I had an idea that the absence of hair on my head might be skewing the outcome. I decided to take one particular photo and with the power of GIMP, I added hair and uploaded the results to how-old.net to see what would happen.

The results follow:


                                         
                                                 


Post Number 1500



November of this year will be the 10th anniversary of this blog. I haven't always spent as much time writing as I should have; this post will be number 1500. You'd think that in ten years, I would have written more than that. Sadly, no. Some years I've barely averaged 2 posts a week.

2008 was my most productive year - posting almost one every day that year. With 354 posts that year, I managed more in 2008 than 2013, 2014 and 2015 combined.

The 2008 Presidential election had a good deal to do with the high number for that year. That was also the year that I was stalked by my Internet Nemesis. He hasn't shown up to harass me in quite some time. I guess I'm no longer living rent free inside his head.

There was a time when this blog was a vehicle for me to goof on some Nigerian scammers who had sent various spam emails to one or another of my email accounts. I haven't done anything along that line since I retired "Wanda Tuinphro, Lucy Ricardo, Misty Meaner, Fred and Lamont Sanford" in Oct., 2011 with the Capt. Eddie Shields.......Nigerian Scammer series. Such fond memories.

The best part about writing this blog is that it has given me the opportunity to make a few friends in the blogosphere. Two in particular come to mind. Although we've never met face to face (and probably never will) I'd like to believe I'm friends with LarryD of Acts of the Apostasy. I've followed his blog as it's made it's way from Blogspot.com, to WordPress and now to patheos.com.

Another blogger who I hope to call my friend is Dom Cimafranca of Village Idiot Savant and now, 2016.Village Idiot Savant. My family and I have met with Dom and his wife Emily a number of times with they've traveled to Dumaguete. Unfortunately, it's never often enough. It was Dom and Emily who introduced us to what has now become our favorite place to eat in Dumaguete - Gabby's Bistro.

2016 has only just begun and this is already my 5th blog post of the new year. I hope that there will be many more posts to come.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Generational Wussification

We should have seen this coming.

We've seen universities in the U.S. become complicit in the "self-infantilization" of an entire generation with the institution of safe spaces to protect college students from being "bombarded" by "discomfiting or distressing" viewpoints.

According to one article in the New York Times, some safe spaces are "equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma".

Now, self described "Internet Mathemagician" Rob Spectre has designed a Google Chrome extension which will reportedly identify parts of a web page likely to contain Donald Trump references and erase them from the Internet.

Are you tired of hearing about Mr. Trump? Of course you are....we all are. But, the idea of using a browser extension to hide references to the Donald is one more sign of the wussification of America.

Karaoke - Audio Waterboarding



We all know that not everything posted on Wikipedia can be taken as Gospel, but sometimes useful and trustworthy information can be found there. One bit of information that I assume is accurate is this particular tidbit. According to Wikipedia, a Japanese businessman by the name of Daisuke Inoue developed the basic idea of karaoke in the early 1970's.

Born May 10, 1940, the 75 year old certainly has fewer days ahead than he does behind him. While I do not wish Inoue an early demise, I do hope that when he has finally shuffled off this mortal coil, he will eternally rot in the foulest pit in Hell.

Living in Philippines during the Christmas/New Years holiday season, I feel completely justified in saying such. Being blasted by the extremely loud, off key karaoke performances that permeate the barangay is a greater torture than any sane person can endure.

Surely, waterboarding cannot be any worse. That the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  has not declared karaoke as a form of torture must assuredly be an oversight. Karaoke does, after all, fit the Convention's definition of torture.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Trump vs Clinton - Heaven Help Us.

Other than a hand full of posts - one post mentioning Donald Trump, three posts in the, ummm, aborted Warren/Clinton Slugfest category and a couple of posts in the rather boring Hillary/Bernie Slugfest category - I've not made many comments on the 2016 Presidential election.

What is there to say?

From all appearances, it looks as if Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat Party nominee for POTUS. Things can always change, but I can't see anyone snatching the nomination from her. As Charles Krauthammer rightly points out, "Unless she’s indicted, Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination."

As I write this, Donald Trump is in the lead in the Republican race - although some polls now have Sen. Ted Cruz slightly ahead.

God help the U.S. if this turns into a Trump versus Clinton Slugfest. Neither would be my ideal choice for POTUS, but as much as I dislike Trump, I dislike Hillary even more. The only way I could ever foresee myself supporting Trump would be in a match-up between those two.

It's still early enough in the Republican contest that someone sensible will beat out Donald Trump. If  I had my druthers, the Republican ticket in November 2016 would be Rubio/Fiorina or Fiorina/Rubio - either one as POTUS/VPOTUS would suit me.

For my money, anyone (but Trump) would beat Hillary easily in the general election. I suspect, however that the Republicans will manage to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

The 2015 Book List

Following a tradition first establish on this blog on January 1st, 2012, I am posting a list of books that I've read during the year ending. Below is the list of 37 books I've read in 2015. Every book listed here was read as an e book, with nearly every one downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

As an aside, in Wednesday's post, I mentioned that I had reread Frankenstein not too, too long ago yet I could not find it on any of the book lists in my PC. It turns out, I found the book listed online among the books I read in 2011.

Oh, yeah..the photo used here..of the 37 books on the list, five were written by Wilkie Collins - a close friend of Charles Dickens.

Mystery of the Yellow Room          Gaston Leroux
The Trembling of a Leaf              W. Somerset Maugham
The Scarlet Letter                       Nathaniel Hawthorne
Kidnapped                                  Robert Louis Stevenson
Madame Bovary                         Gustave Flaubert
The Devil's Pool                        George Sand
The Innocents Abroad            Mark Twain
Pride and Prejudice               Jane Austen
My Lady Nicotine / A Study in Smoke           J.M.Barrie
Finding Darwin's God                                  Kenneth R. Miller
The Hound of the Baskervilles                      Arthur Conan Doyle
Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch                Alice Caldwell Hegan
The Virginian                                                Owen Wister
The Right of Way                                           Gilbert Parker
Rashomon and Other Stories                        Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Where No Fear Was                                      Arthur Christopher Benson
Jane Eyre                                                      Charlotte Brontë
Zen in the Art of Archery                               Eugen Herrigel
The Woman in White                                     Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone                                              Wilkie Collins
Lady Audley's Secret                                     Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Laudato si                                                      Pope Francis
No Name                                                        Wilkie Collins
The Dead Alive                                              Wilkie Collins
Botchan (Master Darling)                            Natsume Sōseki
The Brothers Karamazov                              Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Animal Farm                                                 George Orwell
House of the Seven Gables                           Nathaniel Hawthorne
Confessions of an English Opium Eater      Thomas De Quincey
Cabbages and Kings                                     O. Henry
Roads of Destiny                                           O. Henry
The Two Vanrevels                                       Booth Tarkington
Gone With the Wind                                     Margaret Mitchell
Beasts and Super-Beasts                             Saki (H. H. Munro)
The Haunted Hotel                                      Wilkie Collins
The Diary of a Nobody                                George Grossmith, Weedon Grossmith
Carmilla                                                      Sheridan Le Fanu