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Thursday, August 17, 2017

It's not enough to just disavow slaveowners

There's been a lot of discussion recently about how the statues of Confederate war heroes must be torn down, and about how all slaveowners, even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, should be discredited.

This isn't going far enough!

We need to bring all the racists into disrepute.

And we should start with Abraham Lincoln, who said, during his famous debates with Stephen Douglas:

“I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

We should not only destroy the Lincoln Monument, we should take every available opportunity to burn that white supremacist in effigy!

In fact, every president who abided by Jim Crow laws should be discredited. These were malignant men, who didn't believe that black and white should mix: segregationists like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That bigot should henceforth live in infamy!

We also need to vilify all the Presidents who didn't believe in giving women the right to vote. So we should rename anything ever named after chauvinist pigs like John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt. Not one of them believed in women's suffrage!

And how about all the Presidents who were against gay marriage? You know, terrible homophobes like John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. None of them ever made a single move to allow gays to have the same basic right to marriage that cisgender heterosexuals have!

When those hate-filled homophobes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigned for President in 2008, both came out staunchly against gay marriage! They, too, should be appropriately villainized.

Speaking of JFK and LBJ, both men supported a version of civil rights that called for race blind admissions policies for colleges. How dare they oppose affirmative action?! They should be discredited as the racists they were.

In fact, we have entire national history full of people who were far more evil than is generally acknowledged. Nathan Hale never once suggested slavery be abolished. Alexander Hamilton never once suggested women be given the right to vote. Mark Twain called one of his characters by the n-word. And Albert Einstein never once agitated for gay marriage.

The history books obviously need to be rewritten to cast all of these reprobates in a far more disparaging light.

Ironically, it's the same personality types who are now castigating historical figures who didn't conform to 2018 sensibilities who would have been the biggest conformists in previous eras as well.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

If MS-13 hired a PR firm

MS-13 is in the news again because Trump has said that he wants to crack down on them. But maybe what MS13 really has is an image problem. What would happen if they hired the type of PR firm that corporations regularly use to make themselves sound like charities?

We are MS-13 

We are the youth, and the future, of America

Henceforth, we don't want to be known as a "gang," since that word has so many negative connotations, and gives people the wrong idea about us. We want to be known as a "public service club."

The "MS" stands for "My Savior." And the "13" alludes to our spirituality: we see ourselves as Jesus's thirteenth disciple.

We are MS-13, the public service club with a heart.

Our mission is to help youngsters from broken homes, or who came to North America by themselves, who are all alone in this great big world. We give them a group to identify with, and a sense of belonging.

We help those who are bullied. We really help them, and have an excellent track record in that regard. Once someone is under our protection, no one bullies them anymore.

We care about our Mother Earth, and we are doing our best, bit by bit, to alleviate the overpopulation problem.

You may have noticed our extensive tattoos. We wear these to show our lighthearted, artistic side.

Unfortunately, in the past, a few of our members have gotten carried away when it comes to promoting club interests and doing good. But please don't listen to that deplorable racist Trump who wants to persecute and deport us just because we're Latino.

We are Barack Obama's Dreamers -- young people who dream of a better future. And we proudly represent American values. Like discipline. And honor. And loyalty. Many of our members are lifelong loyalists. They understand that a lifetime association is healthy.

As a nondiscriminatory club, we accept women, too. We even have a special induction ceremony for them in which, as a group, we pay humble homage to the very practice which brings us all to life. Young men are anxious to participate in their induction ceremony, too, since it gives them an opportunity to prove their manhood. You know how young men are!

We are MS13. All we ask for is a chance at a better life. Please help us help you.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Diagnosed vs. undiagnosed Aspies

On August 6th "Alicia W." made the following comment on the Asperger Syndrome post:

Even though I have Asperger's, I did still find myself agreeing with a lot of this. I've noticed I tend to do some of this stuff over the years, either by analyzing my own behavior from when I was younger or by having it pointed out to me. My symptoms have seemingly improved, or become more manageable over the years, I think in large part because I had a pretty good level of support in school. Either way, it's actually rather embarrassing to look back on. None of it was really my fault, as I couldn't help it, but I definitely [get] why people found me a massive pain while I was growing up. I also definitely understand why people would still find me annoying. I've improved a lot over the years, but I [make] no effort to pretend I'm anything close to normal. I'm just slightly less insufferable.

Alicia W. actually doesn't sound insufferable at all. It's always the people -- with Asperger Syndrome or otherwise -- who have no clue that they're insufferable who are in fact that way. And we all have embarrassing behavior to look back on over the years.

Alicia brought up an interesting point, though, about the difference between people who've been officially diagnosed with ASD -- and therefore are at least somewhat self-aware -- and those who haven't. Undiagnosed Aspies are far less likely to be aware of their own idiosyncrasies, and hypocrisies.

And older people who grew up before Aspergers was generally recognized are far less likely to have been diagnosed.

The two Aspies I know best were never officially diagnosed, and therefore make no attempt to rein in their own behavior. Both frequently think they're right even when they're obviously not, and neither seems to feel the least embarrassment about the incredibly lame excuses they make when they're proven wrong.

I suspect that if they had been diagnosed when young, each would make some effort to be less Aspergery.

An initial diagnosis of Aspergers must come as a body blow to those who receive it. But going through life with a little self-awareness does make things easier on those around you.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A physical resemblance

It was hard not to be struck by the physical similarities between Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, and James Damore, the man he recently fired:

You can't quite call it a family resemblance, since Pichai is South Asian, and Damore Caucasian. But both men have the same prominent nose, full lips, thin neck, and gentle mien. And both give off the same air of general geekiness.

Not quite sure what to make of this. I'd guess they're similar types. Both were probably thought of as brainiacs by their high school friends, both probably have fairly wide-ranging interests, and it seems unlikely that either was ever a serious jock or womanizer.

Of course, that's where the resemblance stops.

As we all now know, one of them is on the side of truth, justice, and goodness, and the other one is a horrible repressive Nazi.

You can make up your own mind about which one is which.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Google CEO Sundar Pichai's stated reason for that firing

You've undoubtedly heard by now of how that Google engineer James Damore was fired for having written a carefully worded, thoughtful, and balanced criticism of Google's internal hiring and promotion policies.

Damore was fired the day after his identity was uncovered. Google CEO Sundar Pichai then issued a statement explaining the firing:

To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects “each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination."

Let's pause and think about that a moment. As far as the "harassment" goes, Damore is obviously not the kind of leering guy who makes a practice of harassing women and commenting on their body parts. Take a look at this video of him being interviewed. He's a mild-mannered, nerdy brainiac.

To equate a thoughtful, nuanced essay with sexual harassment is a big stretch.

Pichai also claims to want a workplace culture free of intimidation. But when you fire someone for speaking out, isn't that pretty much the ultimate in workplace intimidation?

Pichai also says he doesn't want unlawful discrimination. But that was actually exactly what Damore was describing: programs designed to help women and certain minorities, from which white and Asian men are excluded. Granted, women and blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented at the company. But is that really because of "bias," as Pichai would have it?

Google, like most American companies, undoubtedly falls all over itself trying to hire women and blacks and Hispanics who are qualified engineers. But if there simply aren't proportional numbers of them who are qualified, does that really constitute "unlawful discrimination" and "bias?"

Imagine if the NBA were under pressure to hire more white and Asian players until each team's roster proportionally reflected the racial percentages of the population. Then imagine that the coaches pointed out that blacks are simply more likely to be top level players. Then imagine that everybody screamed, that's racist! So then the coaches and GMs, afraid of lawsuits, had to institute programs to groom whites and Asians in an effort to make their teams "look more like America."

Then imagine that a black NBA player wrote a calmly worded, reasonable essay to the effect that the players ought to be chosen on the basis of merit, and that special programs designed to help only whites and Asians were unfair. Then, his NBA team fired him for having had the temerity to write such a letter.

What would the reaction be?

That analogy seems ridiculous because physical talent -- unlike mental talent -- is so clearly visible. But that doesn't make intelligence and inclination any less real.

Or, imagine if someone decreed that the NBA had to be 50% female. (No more of this "separate but equal" sexism that consigns women to the lesser-paid ghetto of the WNBA! Equal pay for equal work!)

Naturally, those on the Left who have objected to Damore's essay have characterized his message as saying that no women is capable of working at Google as an engineer. Damore was in fact careful to point out that that was not what he was saying:

Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

But the Left always has to mischaracterize the statements of the Right as absolutes, in order to make them sound unreasonable. To them, "bell" and "curve" are dirty words. They prefer to willfully misinterpret, because that's the only way they sound reasonable.

If you want to "create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination," you ought not to fire an employee for speaking out. And if someone analyzes bias and discrimination, you ought not to call that bias and discrimination.

All this said, Pichai is in a tough spot. He knows it's worth his job not to toe the line himself on this types of issue, particularly with the US government currently investigating Google for paying women less, on average, than men. He also knows that the Left is a lot more vicious about promoting their agenda than the Right is, as I explained here.

But the hypocrisy in mouthing those platitudes while doing exactly the things he claims to abjure is hard not to notice. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Elizabeth Bathory

I've mentioned several times on this blog that one of the best ways to study sociopathy is to learn how serial killers behave when they're not committing murder. What were their relationships like? What was their non-murderous sex life like? What sort of reputation did they have in their community? Were they generally liked, or disliked? Were they charming? Manipulative? Did they commit other crimes? What else did they lie about? How did they use words? What quirks did they have? How surprised were people to find out that they were killers?

Inevitably, a sociopath's character informs every aspect of his life. Sometimes, to the people who know them, that character becomes clear only in retrospect. But no sociopath can hide his true nature forever.

Elizabeth Bathory, 1560-1614, is at the top of virtually every list of prolific serial killers. She is generally said to have killed roughly 600 young girls. Many of us have heard the story about how she believed bathing in the blood of virgins would keep her skin young.

It had never occurred to me to doubt the story -- it was always just a bit of ancient history I had unthinkingly accepted at face value. But when I read about Bathory on Wikipedia before writing the previous post, I was struck by the fact that there was nothing about her, other than the horrific crimes she was accused of, which indicated sociopathy.

Bathory didn't show any of the usual signs of deceit and subterfuge and manipulation, nor did she have a trail of broken relationships. She gave birth to a child at age 13 (to a local peasant boy), which must not have pleased her parents. But after that she was married to the same man for 29 years, until his death, and bore four more children, all of whom seemed to go on to live relatively normal lives. She was well educated, and fluent in four languages. While her husband was away at war, Elizabeth was responsible for managing the business affairs and running the estate.

None of this proves Bathory's innocence, of course, but it's a little surprising that she appears so stable and responsible.

More to the point, the methods of torture of young girls are both extremely sexual and extremely varied: some had needles poked into them, some were stripped naked and covered with honey and left outside so the ants and flies and bees would get to them. Some were frozen to death, and some were burned to death. A few supposed had red hot skewers put into their vaginas. Some were starved, some had limbs chopped off, some were forced to eat their own body parts, and some were supposedly cannibalized by Bathory herself.

All of this sounds much, much more like the work of a male serial killer. The fact is, female serial killers are extremely rare, and those who kill for sexual reasons are almost nonexistent. The few female serial killers there have been have either been in thrall to their male serial killer partner, or they do it for money, like Aileen Wuornos.

Also, bear in mind that serial killers who kill for sexual reasons always kill the objects of their desire. There has never been a male homosexual serial killer who went around killing women, or a heterosexual who went around killing men. Bathory bore a child to a local peasant boy when she was 13, was married to the same man for 29 years, and reportedly took male lovers during his long absences. There is no record of Bathory having been a lesbian. So it makes no sense that she would take a sexual pleasure in torturing young girls to death.

Also, the sheer number of methods of torture make one wonder. The reason FBI profilers are usually successful is precisely because these killers have a profile. And their killings almost always have a specific signature. Some serial killers prefer strangulation, others prefer to slowly knife their victims to death. Each has a specific technique he prefers. If Elizabeth Bathory was in fact guilty of all that she was accused of, she would have employed far, far more variety than any other known serial killer.

It's actually the enormity of the crimes, and the infinite variety of despicable acts she was accused of, which in a roundabout way point to her possible innocence.

Back then, people didn't know about serial killers. In Bathory's day, they believed in werewolves and that some women consorted with the Devil. When people misbehaved, it was often seen as the work of the Devil.

There is also the question of how many victims there were. Some accounts said as few as 30, though over the years that has grown to 650. (The only "proof" of this latter number is a servant girl who claimed she had seen a diary listing that many, though the diary was never found.) How can there be such a huge discrepancy?

There were evidently some dead and mutilated bodies, however, so the question remains, if Elizabeth was innocent, who was guilty?

Bathory's husband died in 1604, when she was 44, and he entrusted her well-being to Gyorgy Thurzo. Thurzo also happened to be the man who prosecuted her for her supposed crimes.

I found this article, on a site called "," whose author has actually read many of Bathory's letters. He, too, is convinced of her innocence. (He includes far more detail about the gory nature of the crimes she was accused of.) He also says that Thurzo was "a known schemer who’d made a career out of backstabbing people."

The article also makes the case, which some historians have made, that there were a number of people with both political and financial motivations to do away with Bathory. (Among these were the King Matthias I, who owed her estate a lot of money.)

Thurzo evidently tortured many of the 300 witnesses -- not just suspects, but witnesses -- who testified against Bathory. Among the more lurid accounts, several witnesses claimed that they had seen her having sex with the Devil.

There was never an official trial. And Bathory herself was never allowed to testify. It's all enough to make you doubt her guilt.

Knowing what we know about Thurzo, it seems possible that he was the serial killer. He obviously liked to torture people, and the fact that he was a "known schemer who'd made a career out of backstabbing people" makes him sound sociopathic. And, he would have had two strong motives to convict Bathory: to please his king, and, possibly, to cover up his own crimes. And we now know that some serial killers get a big kick out of pretending to help "solve" their own crimes.

Some historians have cast doubt on Bathory's guilt before, citing the many reasons various interested parties had in seeing her downfall. To their theories we can add what we've learned about sexual serial killers in the past century: they are almost exclusively male, they generally have one preferred method of killing, and they act like sociopaths all the time, not just when plying their deadly trade.

It's obviously far too late to uncover any further forensic evidence regarding Bathory, so we'll never know for sure. But it's my guess she was innocent.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

If history were recorded by fashion writers, Part II: the women.

In December of 2015, this blog speculated as to how fashion writers would have covered some of the more prominent figures in history. How would they have covered some of the more prominent women? What would they have emphasized?

A girl's simply gotta have her extensions, and if her boyfriend has matching hair, why not go for it? Our gal Delilah doesn't believe that men should have all the power! And she expresses her own power the way every woman wants to -- with a heavy gold armband and bracelet to match her sumptuous necklace and earrings. And those eleven hundred pieces of silver she'll be paid by the Philistines for Samson's hair will pay for a lot more bling! You go girl!

Mary I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, looks absolutely stunning in her royal regalia! Mary's ornate pendant in 14 karat gold, the matching belt, the tiara set back on her head, and the embroidery of her dress, all speak to the kind of sumptuousness we want to associate with royalty. Small wonder she wanted to cleanse England of that dowdy, "plain and simple" Protestant way of dress -- which is far more pretentious in its own way. Our beloved Queen was so assiduous in this task there's even a stylish drink named after her that's popular to this day: the Bloody Mary!

Does Lucrezia look stunning in this diaphanous dress? Is the pope Catholic?!! Her viper pendant, and the dagger/cross must both be Borgia family symbols. (Whose blood is that dripping from the dagger?) Yet the flowery motif on her headdress somehow evokes both a nun and a wood nymph. Or is that nightshade depicted? It's no surprise that even while giving birth to ten children she caught the eye of so many men during all three of her marriages! Lucrezia is rumored to have a hollow ring from which she slips poison into drinks -- but there is no evidence of that here! How do those ugly rumors get started?

Countess Elizabeth comes from a very noble family: one uncle is Andrew Bonaventura Bathory, Voivode of Transylvania; another is Stephen Bathory, Prince of Transylvania! Elizabeth's blood red dress is set off beautifully by white sleeves, which symbolize the purity of her heart. It all accentuates her tiny waist and preternaturally youthful skin! Local girls wanted desperately to emulate the countess, and many have flocked to their heroine. Their transformation must have been complete, because many have never even been recognized again!

Our Empress Catherine is a great lover of all things equine! And she looks tres chic in that riding coat, her tricorne perched at a jaunty angle, and stylishly baggy pantaloons! No wonder they call her The Great! There's simply no other word for how our favorite equestrienne looks sitting side saddle, astride a horse -- or in any position with a horse!

Marie has caused a revolution in French fashion with her hair done up in pouf style, decorated with a panache (spray of feather plumes)! And check out that daring d├ęcolletage, which accentuates her slender, delicate neck. You can't put that kind of style on the chopping block! Some wags may call her Madame Deficit, but why worry about a silly little thing like that? Marie spends lavishly on herself because she deserves it -- she's worth it! And the French people agree! Our darling Marie proves, once and for all, that you can have your cake and eat it too!

At first glance it might look as if our Lizzie has taken a whack at fashion with that plain shirt, but if you look closely, you'll see that the ruffles on the front of her blouse are artfully arranged. And those dark colors are only fitting given that she is probably still mourning her parents, whose tragic murders remain unsolved. Poor Lizzie! Note that her dress is quite modest, covering everything right up to the top of her neck, as befits a well brought up young lady of the Victorian era. (No man will get a peek at that body!) We certainly have no axe to grind with her clothing choices!

Ilse isn't held prisoner to passing trends, but prefers the timeless simplicity of a summer dress. It takes concentration to look that good without becoming camp! Ms. Koch knows that looking like just another frumpy hausfrau would be a crime against humanity. Frau Koch's husband Karl Otto looks resplendent as well in his sharply tailored uniform and well polished jackboots. Her neatly appointed houses is undoubtedly perfectly decorated, right down to the lampshades! And look at that dog -- what a humongous bitch!

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela wears a tradiitonal African headdress, a traditional African necklace, along with traditional African sunglasses. As befits the wife of Nelson Mandela, she has great concern for the populace as well, generously providing for many of them to be necklaced as well. As the great lady said, "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country!" Winnie, don't forget your beautiful headdresses and designer sunglasses too!

From the time she married Baby Doc (top), Michele Duvalier has looked every inch the stylish voodoo queen! Who couldn't she cast a spell over with that headdress? Below, Michele wears one of her many fur coats she needed to stay warm through those cold Haiti winters! You can be sure they're custom made -- there's no pret-a-porter for the lady from Port au Prince! Whether she's encouraging her husband to resurrect the Tontons Macoutes, or abscond with the national treasury, our stylish Santeria knows how to dress for success!

Nobody can rock a unicolor pantsuit like our gal Hillary! Whether you're hiding a pay to play "donation" from a dictator or just a pair of thunder thighs, pantsuits are the way to go! Note the cut of her pants, which allow for the ease of movement you need while bravely dodging sniper fire in Bosnia! Like the LGBT warrior she is, Hillary looks stunning in all the colors of the rainbow: Blood of Gaddafi Red, Prison Jumpsuit Orange, Goldman Sachs Gold, Color of Money Green, Benghazi Blue, Personal Server Purple, and Nothing to Hide Navy. No wonder she screams so much at her Secret Service detail: those dreary bores always dress in the same old dark suits! I am woman, hear me roar -- or shriek!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Anthony Scaramucci

Amazing that he's out already, though I'm not sad to see the last of him. 

He was sort of like Trump's id, and that's saying a lot, since Trump is sort of already the Republican electorate's id. Trump tries to feed the voters raw meat all the time, hence his comments like, "We treat the criminals too nice." 

A lot of Trump's comments aren't quite ready for prime time, but he does know how to play to his audience. 

You got the sense Scaramucci was doing the same to Trump, like some high school kid who's trying to prove he's badass. (He also reminded me a little of a 12-year-old who uses x-rated language in an attempt to shock his parents.) 

But we don't need someone who's trying to out-Trump Trump. We need a grownup to tone Trump down. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

No longer a libertarian

For a long time, libertarianism seemed to me the political outlook which most closely matched a live-and-let-live view of the world.

I've never liked having others tell me how to behave. So why give that power to a government? Reasonable people ought to be allowed to do what they want, as long as they don't hurt others.

If you want to smoke marijuana, and you're not hurting anyone else, why not?

Why should the government tell you whom you have to hire? You may not be helping all races and genders equally, but you're not hurting anyone, either. (Anyone who doesn't like it is free to start their own company.)

If you want to have consensual sex with another adult, that ought not to be a concern of the government. (It's hard to imagine now, but there were sodomy laws on the books fairly recently.)

If you want to live in a neighborhood with your own kind, how does that hurt people who don't live there? It shouldn't be the government's job to enforce either segregation or integration. People naturally gravitate to those they are comfortable with, which is why there are such entities as Little Italy. Or Chinatown. Or East St. Louis.

And why should the government be involved in head counting at all? Different ethnicities and genders have different abilities at different things, and to assume that any disparate impact is the same as willful discrimination is simply silly.

Among the more extreme libertarian positions is the legalization of prostitution. Neither conservative bluenoses nor feminists even consider the possibility, but the issue does at least merit debate.

So, if anyone asked, I called myself a libertarian. The philosophy encompassed both liberty, and libertinism, with minimal government interference. Which sounded good to me.

In an ideal society, I could still be a libertarian.

But the official Libertarian Party in this country now advocates, among other things, open borders, and anyone with the foggiest sense of human biodiversity can see how that harms the country.

More importantly, libertarianism only works well when everyone else is libertarian as well. When various groups advocate vociferously on their own behalf, the remaining group will end up being a punching bag and scapegoat. And that group can't just sit back and say, well, we're above that sort of thing.

When a country lacks the will to defend its own borders, and when the elites can't wait to replace the existing population, remaining above the fray doesn't seem the right answer.

When academia no longer teaches students to think rigorously and present factually-based arguments, but instead brainwashes and "sensitizes" them, you can't just say, well, they'll learn eventually.

When the mainstream media present only stories they think will buttress their preferred narrative, you have to counteract their fictions with facts, however harsh those may be.

When so many highly-mobilized interest groups claim to be fighting racism or sexism or religious discrimination, while practicing exactly those things themselves, it's time to point out their hypocrisy.

And when the government itself -- in many cases the deep state -- is itself often the instrument of these changes, it's not enough to sit back and subscribe to the somewhat passive philosophy of libertarianism.

Not sure what all that makes me now, but it's not a libertarian.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Competing angry

The World Swimming Championships are taking place in Budapest right now. There seem to be two basic frames of mind people have when competing: angry or worried. (This obviously applies to other sports, and activities, as well.)

The two best examples of those modes in swimming may be Clark Smith (worried) and Michael Phelps (angry).

Clark Smith has two supportive parents (both of whom were world class swimmers), and seems like a nice guy. So he worries about disappointing everyone, from his parents to his coaches to his teammates.

As a result, his nerves sometimes get the better of him, and he chokes. He didn't do well in Budapest, failing to make the finals of both the 400 and 800 freestyles, in both cases going slower than he had at US Trials four weeks before.

Phelps came from a broken home, had a difficult relationship with his father, and appears to have a somewhat domineering mother. He has ADHD, was bullied as a kid, and is apparently a (reformed) alcoholic.

Phelps was known for feeding off of other peoples' disparagement. If anyone said something negative about him, or doubted him in any way, he would tape the newspaper clipping inside his locker.

Phelps swam angry. It was obvious because even after some of his victories, he still looked and acted angry. Watch his behavior from 1:26 to 1:43 of this video, when he beats Michael Cavic to set a world record in the 100 meter fly. His anger is what made him one of the best competitors (on top of being the most talented swimmer) ever.

Anger appears to be a better fuel for competitors than fear. It puts your psyche in the right place.

Marvin Hagler (who legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler when promoters refused to bill him by that name) was known as a fighter who would work himself up into such a state of fury.   (Hagler is shown below defeating Englishman Tony Sibson.)

Before the their fight in 1983, Hagler was asked about Sibson. He said, "I don't like that guy. He's been sayin' bad things about me. He's been running his mouth, and I'm going to shut it for him."

When informed of this, Sibson was mystified. He said, "I don't know where he got that from. All I've said about him publicly is that he's one of the four greatest middleweight champions of all time and that it's an honor to get in the ring with him."

Hagler wasn't a brain truster, but he knew how to get himself psyched up for a fight, and that was partly why he was such a great boxer.

Roberto Duran, another boxing legend, was also famous for hating all of his opponents.

But the point of this post is that even in the non-combat sports, and maybe even in other activities, it's better to compete furious than compete worried.

If I were Clark Smith's coach, I'd advise him, before his races, to think of someone he really hates, and who hates him back. (We all have at least one person like that in our lives.) I'd say, think of how he'd like to see you fail. Think of how much pleasure that would give him. Think of that before your race, and while you're waiting behind the blocks. And think of how unhappy he'll be if he sees you win.

When I was young, I definitely fell into the worrier (as opposed to warrior) camp. And, I sometimes choked. There are a lot of things I wish I could have explained to the young me; this is one of them.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nina van Pallandt

While reading John Heard's obituary yesterday I was reminded of one of his greatest performances, as Cutter in Cutter's Way  in 1981.

I thought it was a cool movie at the time -- and I still do -- but what may have made the biggest impression on me was Nina van Pallandt's brief appearance. She played a rich Santa Barbara socialite who pays co-star Jeff Bridges for his services. Her one line is to tell him, after they've had sex, "Buy some Vitamin E." (Her entire cameo is included at the 1:01 mark of this trailer for the film.)

That one brief glimpse was enough to sear her into my memory banks, even though she was 49 at the time (I was 27). Maybe part of the reason she made such an impression was because it was so ridiculous to think that someone who looked like that would have to pay for sex.

(She had a larger role in American Gigolo, as Richard Gere's "pimp.")

When I read later that she had been involved with Clifford Irving at the time of his fake Howard Hughes "autobiography," somehow that slightly checkered past made her seem even more alluring.

A few pictures:

Her mouth may be a touch too generous, and her nose a little hawkish. But those "flaws" and the fact that her nose actually tilts to the left keep her from being a standard issue blonde beauty. She actually looked a little like Farrah Fawcett, the leading sex symbol of that era. But van Pallandt exuded a playful intelligence that made her far more appealing.

She remained lean and beautiful and elegant-looking for a long time. Here she was in her 20's:

And here she was at 50:

Van Pallandt started her show business career as a singer, and at age 37 sang "The More Things Change" for the Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (A little ironic that she would stay behind the camera, given that she was more attractive than any of of the actresses in that movie.)

She had three children with her second husband, Frederik, Baron van Pallandt. (I Google-imaged her daughters but could find no pictures.) She was married three times, the last marriage being a brief one in the 1970's.

She turned 85 a week ago today; she probably won't make the news again before she dies. In the meantime, she seems to have led a full life, which, for some reason, makes me glad.

There seems to be a long list of actresses who are far more attractive than the ones who went on to become huge movie stars, something I've never fully understood. Here's another one, and here are a few more.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Overcoming insecurity

A young soldier, a veteran of Afghanistan, recently found himself at a party in New York City which was being held to introduce up and coming tech guys to venture capitalists. There was also a prominent film star in attendance, and a host of beautiful young women.

The vet found himself talking to one of those beautiful women, and said to her, "This party is making me feel a little insecure about my financial status. I think I'm going to start poking guys in the chest and saying, 'Hey you, you ever been in a firefight?'"

She laughed, though the exchange didn't lead anywhere.

Still, it was a good line.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The most insulting judgment on women, ever

The current doctrine that women who are drunk are incapable of consent is, when you think about it, a pretty damning indictment of women. A few drinks and they no longer even have the judgment to make a simple yes or no decision?

If you take feminist dogma seriously -- and their lackeys on campus and elsewhere certainly seem to -- its implications for public policy are staggering.

It suggests, just for starters, that no woman should ever become President. And a woman like Hillary, who reportedly likes to toss them down with abandon, should never set foot in the Oval Office.

Imagine a President Hillary. At State dinners, it's customary for various dignitaries to propose toasts, and for those present to drink to them. (To abstain would be rude.) Who knows what Hillary might have done after a few toasts.

At a State dinner with Germany, she might have consented to take all of their Syrians.

After a few toasts at a State dinner with France, she might have reversed the Louisiana Purchase.

At a State dinner with England, she might have consented to rescind the results of the Revolutionary War and pledged allegiance to the Queen.

At a meeting with the Governor of Alabama, she might have consented to bring back slavery.

And who knows whom she might have given our nuclear codes to.

This is the Hillary Presidency that the feminists envisioned, anyway.

To take the analogy one step further, Hillary could then have taken all those foreign heads of state to the World Court in the Hague for having taken advantage of her while she was inebriated.

Instead of hearing about "regret rape," we'd hear about "regret pacts."

There are plenty of other implications for the new stance on drinking and consent.

If a bride has more than two glasses of champagne at her own wedding, that could now constitute grounds for annulment.

As for the wedding night, well, forget any plans the groom had for that!

And, really, women shouldn't be prosecuted for DUI's anymore. You see, it's not that they're irresponsible and drive drunk - it's that they were too drunk to be able to make a decision about whether or not to drive. They certainly can't be held responsible for that!

It appears that feminists, for all their big talk, really believe, deep down, that men are adults and women are children. Why else would they say that a woman -- but not a man -- is incapable of consent after a few drinks?

Personally, I have a much higher opinion of women than the feminists do. I think they remain lucid and logical -- as much as they were beforehand, anyway -- after a few beverages. I don't believe that a few toasts turn them into helpless quivering blobs of insentient protoplasm.

It is interesting, though, to know that's how feminists see women.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Big, Disordered Tent that is the Left

The Left has been extraordinarily successful at attracting a lot of disparate elements to their side.

One of the hallmarks of sociopathy is a false emotionality. (Lance Armstrong and Frederick Baer are perfect examples.) How better to pose as a great humanitarian -- and gain power -- than to become a Democratic politician, a "savior of the oppressed?" (Never mind that, when in power, the Dems favor their campaign contributors in the 1% as much as the Republicans do.)

So if you're a sociopath who wants to masquerade as a champion of the underprivileged -- and get rich by decrying the wealthy -- become Bill Clinton. Or Jesse Jackson. Or Al Sharpton. Or Wendy Davis. Or Richard Blumenthal. Or Barack Obama. Or Hillary Clinton.

There are certainly Republican sociopaths, such as Joe Arpaio and Newt Gingrich and Carly Fiorina and Christine O'Donnell. But I've always been struck by how there seem to be more prominent Democrats than Republicans who fit the profile.

Speaking of sociopaths, I've also written in the past about how hate crimes hoaxers essentially have Munchausen's Syndrome, which is just a form of sociopathy. And how virtually every recent hoaxer has been from the Left.

People with Aspergers Syndrome are drawn to the Left because it claims to the the champion of outcasts.  

Likewise, people with bipolar syndrome, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenics, agoraphobics, alcoholics, drug addicts, histrionics, obsessive-compulsives, psychotics, and a host of others all feel more comfortable with the side which claims to hate the well-adjusted rich. 

The mentally ill, for obvious reasons, like the idea of a generous safety net. They gravitate toward the general Leftist philosophical thrust that nobody is better in any way than anybody else, everyone is merely differently abled. 

The Left attracts the low IQ-ed because it holds that intelligence is a social construct, i.e, is not real. And if anybody is doing better than you, it's only because they were born into privilege.

The Democrats even go a step further and demonize those who would attach any weight to IQ scores. So not only is nobody really any smarter than you, anybody who thinks he is is in fact your moral inferior.

A certain type of woman likes the Democrats because they tell women that the only reason they may not accomplish as much as men is because men are oppressing them. 

The Democrats attract those who like to virtue signal. Indeed, they've made the price of virtue quite cheap: all you have to do is recite political correct dogma, and, voila -- you're one of the good people. 

People of color prefer the Democrats because they have made a bogeyman out of, and have made it acceptable to hate, white males. 

But then, the Left cleverly carved off even a chunk of those for themselves: the gays. The Left has promoted gay marriage, attacked those whose religion disapproves of homosexuality, and in general celebrated and tried to normalize homosexuality at every turn. 

So now the group to be hated is even smaller: heteronormative white males. More recently, every pervert short of a child molester has been recruited to the Democratic Party. (Caitlyn somehow managed to stay Republican.)

The Left also attracts the criminal element by being anti-police. This instinctively appeals to those who've had run-ins with the law. And, the Left focuses on criminals’ rights rather than victims’ rights. (Exhibit A: Obama's "ban the box" initiative.)

Another category of lawbreaker Democrats attract are illegal immigrants: when one of the parties offers to make you legal, why would you not, if you can register in a state with lax voter ID laws, illegally vote for them? That tacit understanding has probably resulted in more Democratic votes than most realize. 

The Democrats have essentially cobbled together a coalition of gullible women, people of color, sociopaths, crazies, the low-IQed, perverts, and criminals. That's a lot of people.

One of the cleverest ways the Left has done this is by constructing an entire edifice of circular reasoning to explain why the dumb are not really dumb, why perverts are not really perverted, and why any lack of accomplishment on your part is the fault of heteronormative white males. 

Which would you rather believe, that you're crazy, or stupid, or a pervert -- or that you're a victim of prejudice? It's a pretty easy choice for most. (Particularly if you're crazy or stupid enough to swallow the Left's reasoning.)

In all of this the Left has been aided tremendously by their stranglehold on the mainstream media. If you're determined to make heterosexual white males the scapegoat, you must constantly publicize their crimes and downplay everyone else's. Thus, when it appears that some white Duke lacrosse players may have raped a black woman, you pounce. And if that "scandal" backfires, well, you just move on to the next one. 

If a white policeman shoots a black man, you make that front page news for weeks, while ignoring police shootings of whites, and ignoring the extraordinarily high rate of black on black murders. 

Making heterosexual white males the malevolent force behind every social ill is a full time job. 

But the more victim categories you can create, the better your chances at the polls. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

A natural coolant

The area I live in had a heat wave for the past two days, with temperatures near 90 and the high humidity that characterizes unpleasant East Coast summer days.

The first day I just suffered through it (I was too lazy to put my window air conditioning unit in). But the second day I remembered something I'd once read about.

I filled a metal water bottle with ice water, and alternated holding it against each of my carotid arteries, and in the crook of each arm. Within four minutes I was no longer sweating, and this kept me completely cool for as long as the ice lasted, which was about an hour.

Try it, it works.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cosmo and David

Cosmo DiNardo, the leading suspect in the disappearance of those four young men in eastern Pennsylvania, just confessed to their murders. Here's Cosmo:

When I first saw his picture yesterday (when he was still just a "person of interest," I was struck by his resemblance to David Berkowitz, aka "Son of Sam," whose murderous spree terrified New Yorkers back in 1977:

DiNardo seems to have been a mass murderer as opposed to a serial killer, as all four of those boys disappeared at the same time. It'll be interesting to find out what motivated him, and exactly what his syndrome was.

Teachers vs. Wall Streeters

Every now and then you'll hear of a gathering characterized as "high-powered." What does that mean, exactly?

The people at such a gathering undoubtedly see themselves as a group of tough, dynamic, brilliant, worldly, and successful individuals.

I've met some of them, and they were generally aggressive and workaholic and ambitious and tough (in the sense of being ruthless). But while a small handful of them were extraordinarily smart, most weren't.

The fuel that powered them was not extra IQ points, but narcissism -- and sometimes sociopathy. So their personalities were suffused with ego and a sense of entitlement.

If you want a sense of what they're like, think Donald Trump. They weren't necessarily articulate, or creative, or insightful. But their egos were monstrous nonetheless. Their basic attitude was: admire and lavish praise on me, my beautiful wife, my magnificent house, and my riches.

If you didn't, they resented you. And if you crossed them, or even gently teased them, they would come after you three times as hard. (Think of Trump and how he goes after everyone who criticizes him.)

Wall Streeters don't measure their intelligence by IQ tests. They measure it by their bank accounts. So most of them think they're brilliant, even when they aren't.

More recently, I've gotten to know a few school teachers. As far as intelligence goes, I'd put them at least on a par with the average Wall Streeter.

Most teachers remember their own school years fondly, otherwise they wouldn't be attracted to the field. And no one in the bottom half of his class would have found school a positively reinforcing environment.

Teachers generally aren't narcissistic personalities, so lack boundless self-confidence. And because they don't see themselves as world-beaters, they want a steady income and retirement benefits.

From what I've seen, teachers tend to be nice people from nice families, who went through life being relatively nice.

None absolutely love their jobs. Some may have started out teaching because they liked children, or enjoyed working with teenagers, or had a passion for imparting knowledge. But after being on the job for a while -- and especially after seeing that their passion is nontransferable -- most can't wait to get away from the kids.

Most teachers have, in a sense, settled.

I've never met one who didn't love to travel -- they take advantage of those three months off. And most enjoy reading, which requires a certain calm self-sufficiency. (Again, think of Trump, who  reportedly doesn't even have the patience to read the daily briefings that are standard fare for most Presidents.)

Teachers are dependable, if a little boring. (A teacher is not going to be your first choice as wingman at a night club.) 

Nor do they have scintillatingly irreverent senses of humor.

You'll almost never hear about a teacher who's "larger than life." But neither will you hear about one who "sucks all the oxygen out of the room."

You rarely see a high testosterone teacher. It's easy to imagine Jeb Bush teaching high school history. Donald Trump, not so much.

And, most low testosterone environs are bastions of liberalism. Teachers may also lean left because of the teacher's union, and their government paychecks. And most are simply too nice -- and timid -- to step outside the bounds of political correctness into the dangerous environs of truth telling.

Teaching, especially up through junior high school, is primarily a female occupation, and most of those teachers are part of the "nice white lady" contingent who voted for Obama. They are easily brainwashed.

Still though, teachers are, on average, as smart as Wall Streeters. At least as smart: I've never met a teacher I'd call downright dumb, and I did meet several Wall Streeters I'd classify that way.

The teachers just aren't as "high-powered."

Personally, I far prefer the company of those toward the higher end of the IQ scale, and the lower end of the narcissism scale. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


To make fun of anyone who is fat, or even to point out that someone is overweight, is now considered a cardinal sin. (Even though it actually encourage people to lose weight and be healthier.)

But we have even less control over our intelligence than we do over our weight. So why isn't stupidity-shaming a thing?

One would think, given the alacrity with which the Left has pounced on almost every other form of "discrimination" they can think of, that they would find fault with those who judge others by their IQs.

After all, if anybody breathes a word of the IQ gap between the races, it's pretty much curtains for that person's career.

But, it's generally open season on whites who achieve prominence, if they say anything dumb, unless it's in the service of progressivism.

When you think about it, much of what the media is attempting to do in criticizing Trump is to stupidity-shame. Along with all of the attacks on his character, they try to make him appear dumb to boot. (Occasionally, with his help, they succeed.)

But isn't discriminating against those with less gray matter the ultimate form of discrimination? Our brains make us who we are, and what we are. Every word that comes out of our mouths, every witticism we come up with, every thought we have, is a function of our brains.

How well our brains function seems to be a matter of size, how many folds it has, how well the synapses fire off, and how many glial cells we have. And we certainly have less control over those things than we do over our food intake. Or exercise.

You'll sometimes hear people say, "I'm going to run three miles today, then I'm going to hit the gym for some incline press and pull-ups."

But you'll never hear anyone say, "I'm going to give my cerebellum a good workout today, and after that I'm going to work on my occipital and parietal lobes. Oh, and then the frontal lobe -- I'm a bit weak on ethics."

The reason you never hear anyone say that is because it would be absolutely ridiculous. You can't make your cerebellum any better functioning. You've got what you've got, and you're stuck with it.

But still, why hasn't pretending that all brains deserve equal respect become a cause celebre among the Left?

Might that conflict with the fact that intellectual snobbery is the media's favorite form of preening?

They do like to think of themselves as "enlightened," and conservatives as obtuse.

But imagine if stupidity-shaming were a thing, like fat-shaming.

Colleges would be one of the first targets. Why do they let in some students but not others? Why is it that every spring high school seniors across the nation must undergo such an orgy of stupidity-shaming? (Granted, there are other factors in admission beside IQ, but that is still theoretically the most important factor.)

The Educational Testing Service is an even worse malefactor, since SAT scores are really about nothing but stupidity-shaming. (The correlation between IQ and SAT scores is .9.)

And whenever anyone ever disparages someone's logic or memory or grasp of abstract reasoning, well, he's the one who should be ashamed -- of stupidity-shaming.

If stupidity-shaming actually became a thing, some interesting tactics would develop. Just as, despite the current frowning upon fat-shaming, everybody knows that nobody wants to be fat, so would everyone know that no one wants to be thought stupid. So, people might call to task those who criticized their enemies, pointing out that they were stupidity-shaming.

It'd just be a roundabout way of calling the opposition stupid.

For the same reason, no one would ever accuse others of doing this to their own side.

I'm certain guilty of this theoretical sin, in fact much of this blog is devoted to it.

Just, please, don't accuse anyone else of doing it to me.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How Lefties are like children

Ever since Trump was elected President, the Left has been throwing a collective fit, marching and protesting nonstop. And the media has been having a complete meltdown. (How could the electorate not follow our advice?)

This is exactly what children do when they don't get their way: throw a tantrum.

(The Right didn't throw this kind of tantrum when Obama got elected. Two years into his Presidency, after he showed his true colors, the Tea Party emerged. They held some quiet, orderly rallies, and that was pretty much it.)

The Left uses any excuse to riot. They are currently doing it in Hamburg, at the G-20 summit. They set cars on fire, smash store windows, throw Molotov cocktails, throw things at policemen, and in general just wreak as much havoc as they can.

This is the behavior of juvenile delinquents. (Though JD's aren't vain enough to attribute their destructive impulses to a higher purpose.)

The Left prevents conservatives from speaking on campus.

Children scream over you so you can't be heard, or cover their ears and screech, "I can't hear you!"

Since many on the Left seem incapable of logical argument, they resort to name-calling instead. ("Racist!" "Sexist!" "Homophobe!")

That's exactly how children argue, by name-calling.

Various members of the Left will sporadically threaten to leave the country if the Republican is elected President.

This is what spoiled children do: say they're going to hold their breath until they turn blue if they don't get their way.

The Left expects the government to provide them a decent living in return for doing nothing.

Sorta like a child getting an allowance.

The Left does an awful lot of virtue-signaling. They recite the correct beliefs, so as to communicate how good they are. (And they always seem to beam with pride as they do so.)

This is exactly how a teacher's pet acts.

The Left, more than anything else, conforms. They are terrified at the thought that they might say something politically incorrect and someone might accuse them of being racist or sexist or homophobic.

Children are said to be particularly vulnerable to peer pressure.

Various members of the Show Biz Left have talked about bombing the White House, or shooting Trump, or have symbolically decapitated him. They don't actually mean it; Trump was in no danger from any of these Hollywood loudmouths. But they did love to playact.

This is what children do: play make believe games, like GI Joe, or cops and robbers.

The Left has tried to portray Donald Trump as the second coming of Adolf Hitler.

Children create bogeymen whom they can be afraid of.

The more you think about it, the clearer it becomes that many on the Left simply got stuck in infantile mode.

They need to grow up.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

How to convince people not to take steroids

An article in the NY Post, Cancer eats half of man's face, featured this before and after picture of Tim McGrath, 38, who got synovial sarcoma on his left cheek:

The article also featured this shot of McGrath before he got sick:

McGrath's physique showed a lot of the standard steroid signatures: the well-defined line between his pecs extending all the way to his collarbones, the raised, convex trapezius muscles, and the bulging deltoids. It's possible he's just naturally strong, but I'd guess he was on steroids.

I then Googled "synovial sarcoma steroids" and found this article from listing the following possible causes of soft tissue sarcomas:

Copper exposure
Androgenic-anabolic steroids
Ionizing radiation
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, one course of action the doctors suggested was chemotherapy, which in large part consists of androgen-suppressing drugs. These basically turn you into a eunuch for a while, and it takes a while to recover from their effects. I said no thanks (the prospect of death suddenly seemed less scary at that point).

If androgen suppression is part of regular cancer treatment, anabolic agents must have the opposite effect, allowing a tumor to grow as if it's, well, on steroids.

Nowhere in the article did it say that McGrath had taken steroids, even though the visual indications are fairly compelling.

Obviously, only a tiny percentage of guys who take steroids end up with synovial sarcomas. (And it's always possible McGrath's cancer was caused by exposure to one of those other chemicals.) But there are plenty of other documented risks from steroids, including liver cancer, kidney damage, heart attacks, impotence, and a lowered ability to produce testosterone on your own.

McGrath sounds like an admirable guy from the article (originally published in The Sun). He has an optimistic attitude, and expressed great gratitude to Dr. Chaiyasate for his treatment and to the people who contributed towards the payment of his medical bills. He also said:

“My journey has been long and mostly inconceivable to most, but I have an amazing support group around me and I draw strength from them daily.”

“I have been through something horrific, but if what I’ve gone through can inspire people to live their lives with gratitude for the things they take for granted then it makes what I’ve gone through all worth it."

Inspiring people not to take things for granted is certainly a noble goal. But that's the kind of lesson that people tend to forget in fairly short order. It's hard not to think that McGrath might accomplish more tangible good by warning people about the possible side effects of steroids.

If you want to do that, the picture at the top of this post would certainly be effective.