If you live in Europe, go away.

Unless you're Hungarian.  Hungarians and some of the Poles at least seem to want to defend their homeland against barbarian invasion.  So say Hungarian or Polish, we're kind of on the same page, you guys can stay.

Today I see this message from blogger.com:
"European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used and data collected on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.
"As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies, and other data collected by Google.
"You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. If you include functionality from other providers there may be extra information collected from your users."
You know what, European Union?  Take a hike.  Get lost.  Get out of my face. 

Google says they have added a notice on my blog.  I hope that means only if you are not going to the crowndot.com domain.  In any case, if you see a notice like that, disregard and know that it is none of my doing.  Useless bunch of playground rule makers and rent collectors in Den Haag.  Holländische sitzpinklern.  Fascist scum. 


Maximum Randomness Meets Its Match

Years ago when Ernő Rubik's Cube was a hot gift idea, the brother-in-law introduced me to the mathematical concept of maximum randomness.  Apparently there is a position of the colored pieces of Rubik's Cube from which ANY move takes you closer, not farther away from, the solution: the maximum order of a single color on each face of the cube.

Maximum chaos, or maximum randomness.

Like the sign in the hands of the panhandler says: "Anything would help."

An interesting math concept.  When brother-in-law handed me his mixed-up Rubik's Cube and announced that, for once, anything I did would help, I of course had to take it on faith.  He's a bright guy and takes his mathematics quite seriously, after all.

"Maximum chaos" has bounced around in my mind [I know: "Is he talking about the concept or the usual background noise in his brain now?" And how could I tell?] since the early 1980s.  But I'm not sure I ever really believed in the idea until last week.

I have met maximum randomness in the real world!  It's not pretty.

Opening a new box of blue nitrile gloves from my usual supplier, I beheld not 100 blue nitrile powdered gloves, size medium, lying flat and docile in a stack like Kleenex; I beheld a box packed with the shriveled carcasses of withered blue cocoons, a mass grave of blue nitrile prunes preserved clutching each other in their final agony, an expended and dessicated worm-orgy of rubber gloves packed, pressed, sealed at the factory in Thailand so I could save my delicate digits from the ravages of the industrial workplace.

The picture is a handful of gloves.  Six? Eight? Hard to tell.

How do you even put these on your hand?  There's no opening.

Somebody once said, "You must find the way."  Maybe it was Lao Tzu.  Maybe it was somebody who merely looked like Lao Tzu (which come to think of it is probably most of everybody, ever, on on the planet).

At this point maximum randomness is your friend.  Reach out and pinch a little piece of blue glove anywhere.  It doesn't matter where.  with your other hand pull the wad of wrinkly glove away from the pinch.  There.  You have introduced ORDER to the system.  You will now be able to see the glove shape, to find the opening, and to introduce your hand to the inner sanctum of industrial safety.

Why did I write this?  I figured, "Anything would help!"


Bücherverbrennung 10 May 1933

It might start with burning books, but it ends with piles of corpses.  It starts with "purification" of thought and speech, and ends up with secret police enforcing the will of the State.  It starts with the self-appointed cultural elite having the "correct" ideas, and becomes a death cult. 

On this day 85 years ago, 10 May 1933, the Deutsche Studentenschaft student group staged a massive book burning at the Opera Plaza in Berlin. 

[photo credit Liz Sheld's PJ Media Morning Briefing]

German Wikipedia pompously explains:

"On May 10, 1933, in National Socialist Germany, book burnings took place as part of an action against the non-German spirit of the German student body. Tens of thousands of books by Jewish, Marxist and pacifist writers were publicly confiscated and burned in 22 university towns, beginning with the Berlin Opera Square. In June 1933, and in the months thereafter, numerous other actions followed. The staging and the cult ritual, the systematics of performance have given this auto-da-fé the rank of uniqueness in the continuity of the historical series from antiquity to the most recent present." [thanks, google translate!]

Side note. The German wiki authors seem to be hedging their bets, striving to place the late National Socialist unpleasantness in a wider historical context. "Continuity of the historical series." See! Even St. Paul condoned burning the books of the pagan sorcerers! Yeah, Acts 19. Hmpf. The big difference, though? The Mages of Ephesus voluntarily converted and brought their own books for destruction.

One thing burning is good for: totalitarians. Kill the beast, cut off its head, burn it, grind the ash and flush it down the sewers.

As Gerard says,

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by bell, book, and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.


Okay so now I'm conflicted

My default reaction to all things Starbucks is negative. Starbucks is not really a place I would choose to spend time or (not very often anyway) money.  Plus, the coffee is not that great.

So when Starbucks upper echelon decided to close stores one afternoon in May to conduct training on racial "issues" etc., my reaction was negative.  For one thing, a manager who throws an employee under the bus is not a good manager; as a military officer who throws his unit in the way of blame or danger is not a good officer. A Starbucks executive who throws a Starbucks manager under the BLM bus is not a good executive.  For another thing, Law/Order. 

But now the Starbucks training decision is being criticized because the anti-bias training session agenda is planned to include information from the (Jewish) Anti Defamation League. Black Lives Matter and the Women's March people are screaming this morning because, in fine,  JOOOOOS!  The cited article quotes Linda Sarsour calling the ADL "an anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles Islamophobia."

That's my conflict point. 

See, I'm all in favor of being against antisemitism (I hate Illinois Nazis!),  so Crowndot must risk being classified as a anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles Islamophobia, and commend Starbucks for including the ADL even if the idea of anti-bias training is repellent to me. 

As I get older and older, life in the starkly divided United States actually seems to become easier in this:  if the enemy of my friend is my enemy -- the enemy is more and more likely to declare his position these days in no uncertain terms. 

But in this conflicted instance, the friend (ADL) of my (usually) enemy (Starbucks) is actually my friend.  Rules were not made to be broken, but rules are often contraindicated.


Thirty-six to Forty-eight Hours Later...


I don't remember who I was talking to about what, but the word I was looking for at the time was definitely "malcoordinated."

Which I realize is a neologist pseudoscientific let's-see-how-many-times-I-can-offend-spell-check kind of word.

But all I could think of at the time was: "Krônick and Klûmsi" -- who were the Bordurian agents (Eastern Bloc counterparts of Thompson and Thomson) in the Tintin book The Calculus Affair.

Oh migraine brain! 

I try to find it humorous.  Habitual cheerfulness may be a survival skill when part-time migraine brain is replaced as I age by full-time brain fade. 


And the rest . . . is history

Having been given a mission by United States President Millard Fillmore in 1852, and having been pecking away at Asian diplomacy in various places, and having made overtures to the Edo powers in 1853, Commodore Matthew C. Perry was given permission to land at Kanagawa near what is now Yokohama, on 8 March 1854.  During the following weeks he and his counterparts in Edo worked out what is called the Treaty of Kanagawa, opening Japan to American trade.

Ostensibly about trade in the general sense, the mission was largely about coal, since this was the dawn of the steamship era.  Be that as it may, trade commenced.

Yeah there were some speed bumps on the road to understanding, but now the people of Japan even beat us in baseball sometimes, which is the definition of  friends.

So we owe it to Commodore Perry and President Fillmore that we now have Daiso, Ghibli movies, manga, Akitas, sushi, red bean buns, and a host of other wonders!    ^_^ 

What's old is new again

The upper image is the cruiser Olympia, launched in 1892 (commissioned in 1895) as U.S.S. Olympia (C-6).  She currently lies in the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia.  The museum site says Olympia is the oldest steel warship still afloat!

The lower picture is the new super-duper stealthy guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Zumwalt (DDG-1000).  Yeah, the one with all the problems, like the ammo-less main gun...

But what struck me is that the hull designed to let naval gunfire bounce off (it didn't work that well...) has been brought back to let radar beams bounce off (well, off and up, not off and back to the source).