White shores. . .

Sometimes I go watch things that I know will make me cry.  I know they will.  And then they do, anyway. 


Misery Index Escalation

Ali Meyer at CNSNews reports today (19 August 2014):
(CNSNews.com) – The average price for all types of ground beef per pound hit its all-time high -- $3.884 per pound -- in the United States in July, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
And yet.  Again this morning the happy pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain voice on the radio news as I drove to work was saying that the Consumer Price Index rose (ZOMG!!!11!) more than previous months -- but still "less than one tenth of one percent."   What?  The way I did the math, if that was constant, that would work out to only about 1.2% price growth per year, and about 7.4% since January 2009.  Does that sound low to you. 

But the CNSNews story goes on:

Five years ago, in July 2009, the average price for a pound of ground beef was $2.147, according to the BLS. In those five years, the average price has climbed by $1.737 per pound--or almost 81 percent.
I realize the Consumer Price Index is not all hamburger.  But look at the number  of things that have risen steeply since January 2009!  Gasoline.  Home energy.  Milk.  Eggs.  Health insurance.  Just about everything.

Month after month.

But don't worry, be happy, because: The Consumer Price Index. 

We're being gamed.

Well I guess it depends on your definition of "Consumer" and "Price" and "Index" -- doesn't it?


V-J Day 14 August 2014

In 1945 the United States and allied forces accepted the unconditional surrender of Japan.

Sic semper tyrranis!


Not ex cathedra...

"War is not to be waged in the name of God!"
-- Pope Francis

... Um, if our cause is just; if we are acting in defense of life and liberty; if we are standing in the way of oppression and tyranny; then it is not only our right but our duty to wage war.  And if we pray to the One True God® before the engagement, then I guess we can be said to be waging war "in the name of God." 

It is also reserved to the laity to make prudential judgments about things like what (political) course to take.

No matter what Bill Donohue thinks.

The Islamic State sharia-or-bust movement is wrong, horrible, evil.  But we oppose them because of what they do -- not because they say they're doing things for Allah. 

I just hope Pope Francis was taken out of context.  (Actually I think that about him a lot.)  Otherwise somebody seriously gots ta 'splain things to that boy.  (You listening, Holy Spirit?)


The Great American Internet Fiction Thing

In high school I had an English teacher (American Literature) who liked to talk about The Great American Novel.  Something about its scope and, like, defining a thing.  Or something. 

I assume he had never really read Huckleberry Finn.

Anyway, whatever else a novel is, it is something like a sandwich. 

A sandwich is something between pieces of bread.  (Regional and cultural definition of "bread" may vary.) 

A novel is something between a front cover and a back cover.  At least.  Well that's a place to start. 

So the Great American Novel would be text between covers that says something about America and is all defining and reconstructs the paradigms and all radiant and glorious and stuff.  Depending on whether you're an English (AmLit) major. 

But --

What if there's no back cover?

Well then, if it's a traditional book you call it an unfinished novel, I guess.  Author deceased. 

Thought experiment:  Think of a trilogy of books.  I'm thinking of C. S. Lewis' space trilogy, but you can pick your own.  Say the first book stands on its own as a story.  Say books one and two likewise.  Is the story complete?  Along comes book three.  Now what?  What if there was a book that was a series of books but that was complete in every book? No real "back cover"? Complete in every chapter?  But what if it kept on going, kept on growing, kept on attaining something -- complete and not-complete at every unit.  Is book two of Lewis' space trilogy an unfinished novel?  In what sense is it unfinished? 

And what if the book has no covers?  No paper at all?  What if it is electronic / digital / internet based? 

I think the English majors might not want to aim so low as to write a Great American Novel.  Maybe it would be greater to aspire to being part of a kind of cohesive Homestuck that just keeps going and going and going.  You may say I'm a dreamer.  Together some day we may be writing the Great American Celebrate the Ongoing Life Thing.  Maybe we already are. 


Not THAT kind of federalism

I am not one of those people who believe the United States Constitution's Bill of Rights limits ONLY the central (Federal) government. 

A Washington Examiner article on 20 July 2014 by Blake Seitz contains the phrase, "the constitutionally-enshrined authority of the 50 states to do wrongheaded things."

Oh geez please, Mr. Orthodox Libertarian!

California, for example, has already gone plenty overboard on the Wrongheaded Things, and the process of judicial Right-heading of these things seems injuriously slow.  What should be unconstitutional restrictions on the first amendment right to free speech are tolerated in California and elsewhere because of some people's unscientific but strongly held belief that the murder of unborn children has overriding benefits.  What should be unconstitutional restrictions on the second amendment right to keep and bear arms are tolerated (method-of-carry bans, ammo bans, handgun roster bans, rifle and shotgun bans by type...) because of some people's unscientific but strongly held belief that, well, guns are scary.  Or something.  I am sure that California would try to figure out a way around the third amendment to quarter troops (or surplus prison population?) in the homes of citizens if Sacramento politicians could find a way to make a buck out of it.  Same with all of the Bill of Rights.  

There are limits to the "constitutionally-enshrined authority of the 50 states to do wrongheaded things."  Limits that are and of right ought to be imposed by the United States upon the several states.  Yes I am in favor of strong central government within the limits of Madisonian (Constitutional) Federalism.  

What kind of conservative are you, anyway!  (I can hear straw Libertarians jeering like a line of stoats and weasels behind the fence.)  

I guess I'm just much closer to being a Theodore Roosevelt conservative than I am to being a Murray Rothbard pro-abort eugenist holocaust-denier anarcho-libertarian. 


Wiki Wander 17 July 2014

It was work related! Honest! 

Started with the label of a purple gasket replacement gel containing the descriptor THIXOTROPIC.

By the time I gave up, I had visited






Special guest appearances by science and math

"Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all."
  -- Dr. Seuss