May 202015
 

So I decided to check in on the Amazon Kindle versions of the US Bomber Projects (available HERE) to see how they’re doing, after I recently uploaded a bunch of new ones. As it turns out: wow. Bad. So, that’s that, I guess.

I also decided to check on the reviews, of which there are very few. Now, checking reviews of stuff you’ve worked hard on is always asking for trouble; *maybe* someone will say something complementary; *maybe* someone will give a negative feedback that provides useful information. But as this is the internet, you’re like as not going to get a response like this:

review

Huh. Not a fan, I guess.

Interestingly, the same reviewer posted an equally negative (though grammatically confounding) review of another issue of the Kindle USBP back in February. One wonders why he would buy a second issue if the first was so bad, but he has posted 140 separate reviews of items, indicating he likes to review stuff, I guess.

Just in case, here’s the recent issue in question:

 Posted by at 10:10 pm
May 172015
 

If you can skip over ISIS news because it’s just too far away and/or just too big, here’s a closer story on a smaller scale that’ll make you question the validity of the notion that all human life is precious:

Masked intruders attack disabled woman in Deerfield Beach, kill kittens

Woman, 61, cut with shards of broken glass, has body sprayed with paint, BSO says

 Posted by at 11:51 pm
May 162015
 

Pretty much this whole last week I’ve been sick. Fortunately it seems to have been merely the common cold; it doesn’t seem to be progressing towards a bout of bronchitis. Still, a common cold can take it out of you. Thursday I started improving; Friday I was well enough that I decided to go see “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

My simple review: if you liked “Mad Max” or “The Road Warrior”… get on over to the theater and see “Fury Road.” This movie is *bonkers.* It’s very clearly the product of a gloriously twisted mind and a whole lot of skill, talent and effort. It was, in a word, damned entertaining.

When I got home I decided to look up the reviews. On the whole people seem to agree. But I also noticed a degree of politicization that I didn’t actually get from the movie. People on both the left and the right are yammering on about how this is a “feminist” movie. And… I don’t get it.

The short form is this (it’s a Mad Max movie… the short form is all it takes to describe the plot): Max gets caught at the beginning of the flick, and taken to “The Citadel,” which is a lone outpost with a bunch of cancer and mutation-riddled folk, living in some sort of mucked-up new and rather unfortunate civilization. While there, the gloriously named Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a driver of a “war rig” (basically a tanker truck with a lot of mods) takes off on a run to outlying outposts. With her are four or five other women that she has liberated; they were being used as baby factories by the tyrant of the Citadel, the incredibly creepy Immortan Joe. For reasons difficult to explain, Max gets dragged along as Joe and his band of freaks give chase to get the women back. And… there ya go. An hour and a half of chasing around the Namibian desert follows, with many spectacular car crashes.

Max is… Max. The actor may have changed, but the character is much the same; he’s not wussified in any way. Imperator Furiosa is a badass, and in their travels they encounter a band of impressively badass little old ladies. This, I gather, is the source of the “feminist” yammerings. But it seems to me that if you accept the premise of the world of Mad Max, that civilization has collapsed and the environment has gone to hell due to radioactive fallout, all of these sorts of roles seem likely. When TSHTF, it’ll be the strong preying on the weak. And thus an Immortan Joe-type will rise to power in his little corner, and the idea of using the rare healthy breeding age woman for breeding purposes will likely seem to make a whole lot of sense. It won’t be a pleasant world for womenfolk. And for those women who are outside of these little clusters of “civilization,” they will either learn how to be badass, or they’ll soon find themselves victims. This, of course, will be true for men as well.

Still… here we have an opportunity for people to politicize something that’s probably not political. And so you get stuff like THIS, where people who haven’t seen the movie pronounce it liberal propaganda, and other people who haven’t seen it decide to not see it based on those pronouncements.

And so they’ll miss out on one hell of an entertaining flick, with one terribly wacko villain.

mad-max-fury-road

One issue I did have with the movie: the timeframe. This movie is, I gather, a reboot rather than a sequel. But Max still mentions that he once was a cop. He’s not that old, so his time as a cop could not have been much more than a decade or so earlier, which means there was still a functional civilization a decade or so earlier. But there seem to be people middle aged and older who were born into this new and rather awful world. The evidence suggests that the fall of civilization was something that happened *generations* ago (Furiosa was kidnapped as a child, and at the time was a member of some “clan” or other; Joe has a son, Rictus Erectus, who is genetically flawed… and played by a guy who’s older than I am). So what we’re seeing aren’t people struggling to survive the Apocalypse… the Apocalypse is *over.* What we’re seeing are the civilizations arising from the ashes of the old one. And wow, these are some bugnuts civilizations. As I would pretty much expect under the circumstances.

 Posted by at 12:40 am
May 062015
 

Past week or more has looked like rain, every day. But when  the opportunity actually presents itself, all that has actually happened is some wind and a slight spattering or rain, not the gullywashers that the sky promises.

The panoramas below are mostly scaled down to 10% full size.

WP_20150504_014 20pc WP_20150505_029 20pc WP_20150505_031 20pc2015-05-05 pano 1 20pc

2015-05-02 pano 8 2015-05-02 pano 6 2015-05-02 pano 5 2015-05-02 pano 3 2015-05-02 pano 2

 Posted by at 7:44 am
May 032015
 

The War on Poverty After 50 Years

Boils down to this graph:

BG-war-on-poverty-50-years-chart-2-825.gif

In short… the poverty rate had been plummeting since just after WWII. The plummet stopped and leveled off once the Great Society wealth transfer “War on Poverty” programs kicked in, and the poverty rate has remained constant ever since. However, spending on these programs has skyrocketed. Since 1964, the US has spent (in 2012 dollars) more than 22 TRILLION dollars on anti poverty programs… NOT counting Social Security and Medicare.

How many comets could we have dropped on Mars to terraform the joint into a second Earth for even *half* that amount?

 Posted by at 12:12 am
Apr 262015
 

Surely this will lead to the greatest fighting force in history.

Army ROTC program allegedly pressured cadets to walk in high heels for ASU event

Note: there seems to be some confusion… the article describes Arizona State U, but links to images from the Facebook page of the Temple University ROTC program… which is in Philadelphia.

Temple_ROTC_s878x675

The cadets were reportedly threatened with some substantial repercussions unless they spent their own money to buy high-heeled shoes, spray paint them bright red and then wander about for some “Walk a Mile In her Shoes” political activism thing. Several issues spring to mind:

1a) The Army pressuring troops to engage in political activism? Really?

1b) If the cadets weren’t threatened, and volunteered willingly… political activism while in uniform? Really?

2) Ummm… in the Army, wouldn’t “Her Shoes” be the same combat boots the men wear?

3). Dude. Dude! Really??

4) I’m not an expert in such things, but are civilian high heeled shoes appropriate attire while wearing active duty military uniforms? Here’s a 304-page US Army Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I bet it has something to say on the subject.

The “walk” is in support of sexual abuse awareness, which is a valid enough issue on college campii these days. But wouldn’t a far better approach for an ROTC department be to offer the women on campus training in hand-to-hand combat and firearms use? Along with training the men on campus how to have some damned discipline? Rather than making the cadets feel like fools, doing something actually *useful* seems a better approach. But maybe it’s just me.

And whether this was mandated or entirely voluntary… the image of the future officers of the US Army in high heels seems unlikely to inspire fear in our enemies.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
Apr 212015
 

So, first we have this:

Toni Morrison: ‘I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman’

Ms. Morrison is apparently an author of some kind (not science fiction, so who cares). According to the article, she thinks that America remains a terribly racist place, and that our racial problems won’t be over until two things happen:

1) “I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.”

And…

2) “And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.”

As for #1, the tale of Dillon Taylor comes close to fitting.

I figured #2 would be easy enough to counter. Surely white rapists of black women get convicted on a regular basis. But as it turns out, finding such a conviction is kinda difficult. According to the US FedGuvs Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Table 42. Personal crimes of violence, 2008:
Percent distribution of single-offender victimizations, by type of crime,
race of victim, and perceived race of offender

In short, whites were the victims of rape/sexual assault 117,640 times in 2008, while blacks were the victims 46,580 times. Whites were raped by other whites 74.9% of the time, and by blacks 16.4% of the time, and by other/unknown 8.7% of the time. These percentages kinda-sorta match up with the racial breakdown of US society as a whole. But where it gets interesting… blacks were raped by other blacks 74.8% of the time, by other/unknown 25.2% of the time and by whites 0.0% of the time. Once again: zero reported rapes of black people by white people. Granted, in the 25.2% of the time that’s “unknown” there could well be white rapists, but you’d generally expect that the breakdown of the “unknowns” to be more or less similar to the breakdown of the “knowns.”

What’s the lesson here? It’s pretty simple. For Toni Morrison to finally start feeling good about America… black people would need to start getting raped by white people at vastly higher levels than what’s currently happening.

This might not be what Toni Morrison actually wants. But then again, she’s  a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and if the Peace Prize is anything to go off of, the non-science Nobels are markers of incompetent dumbassery more than anything else.

 Posted by at 10:03 am