4/19/2018

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.


3/16/2018

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

Malcoordinated.

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. 




3/08/2018

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).

2/26/2018

Sociopaths in public life

What if there was a way to identify the bad apples before they go postal?  

If only we had a test!

Then we might be able to identify psychopathic, sociopathic,  histrionicnarcissisticborderlineparanoid  personalities before they do their damage. 

A land of liberty must always balance the extremely high value of individual self-determination against the extremely low possibility that the average sociopath might go full pissed off postal jihadi.  Err on the side of freedom and accept some collateral damage is wisest.

Still... 

A note in the file might help law enforcement triage their welfare-check stops when they have complaint after complaint about some individual

Every time I receive a voter information pamphlet I think how much more informative than personal statements would be to have in addition each aspiring public servant's score on the PCL-R.  It might serve to weed out some of the worst before they are able to do their worst, anyway.

Public policy kills more people (1788 per day in USA in 2014) than guns or knives or any other thing. That killing goes on every day on a massive scale.  And that's just one kind of murderous public policy.  (Consult your average Venezuelan for other examples.)

Test all candidates for public office. Publish the results. Let's start there.  It's time we enacted common sense measures to help stop the violence.  Once we get the politicians sorted out, we can talk about testing some of the discipline-problem kids in schools; by then we should have more reasonable policy makers to carry the torch of liberty as well as "safety."

2/21/2018

Designed for War

Next time someone declares that your modern modular rifle system is a "weapon of war" that has no place in civilian hands, remind them of this:  the internet as we know it is the evolutionary offspring of the "web" that connected national computer centers to improve survivability in the event of a nuclear event taking out some of the nodes.  "The US Department of Defense awarded contracts as early as the 1960s, including for the development of the ARPANET project." (cite)

The web itself -- the INTERNET! -- was designed for war. What possible use could it serve in uncontrolled civilian hands? 

Besides, the old dead white guys that wrote the U. S.  Constitution never foresaw telegraphs and ARPANETs and internets and computers and tablets and iPhones... any more than they foresaw lever action carbines and turnbolt rifles and AR-15s.

(Yeah, but those guys were rich racists or whatever.  Or something.  Good night.)

12/30/2017

Limericking

There is a reference in Dorothy Sayers' Gaudy Night to the man from Thermopylae who never did anything properly.  [Please remember this is Oxford, in order to be able to pronounce it proppalee!]

The original is attributed to Edward Lear; it was documented by one of his cartoons in 1872:

"There was an old man of Thermopylae,
Who never did anything properly;
But they said, "If you choose to boil eggs in your shoes,
You shall never remain in Thermopylae."

But I object to the repetition of Thermopylae.  Not a kosher Limerick.  Needs to be corrected:

There was an old man of Thermopylae,
Who never did anything properly;
But he said, "If I choose to boil eggs in my shoes,
For the method I'll have a monopoly.

There.  Much better.