Saturday, June 27, 2020

Hank Williams, Jr. - Red, White & Pink Slip Blues

The Media tells us that the Wuhan Coronavirus is back.  Here in Sunny Florida, the bars are all shut, restaurants are down to 25% capacity, and you have to wear a facemask when you're indoors at a business.  It seems a surprising overreaction by the up-until-now sensible Governor.  I say "overreaction" because official figures from CDC show that it is a stunning overreaction.  While all you hear from the media is that cases are way up, here's what you have likely never seen reported - deaths across the USA are way, way down:

This isn't me saying that the latest lockdown is an overreaction, it's CDCThe nation's top medical experts.  Look at the far right hand side of that graph - and then think on the fact that better testing shows that the virus is way less lethal than we've been told:
Nearly all the studies find between 10 and 100 times the number of total infections as reported infections, with the average somewhere around 20 to 25 times.

In other words, while the CDC reports 2.34 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, the actual number of infected and recovered people may be closer to 50 million. (CDC Director Robert Redfield told journalists Thursday that the number of cases may be 10 times higher than the earlier 2.34 million.)

Thus, the death rate, which would be 5.2 percent based on that 2.34 million figure, is actually more like one-20th as high — or 0.26 percent.
And the bulk of the cases are in nursing homes and prisons.  It's been made way, way worse by grotesquely incompetent government reaction (New York Governor Cuomo is personally responsible for tens of thousands of deaths because he ordered nursing homes to take in infected patients; he's not the only governor with blood on his hands for this).  It's a truism that there's no problem that government can't make worse.  

In other words, it's a bad flu season, made worse by wretched governance and a hysterical media that is intentionally trying to scare people to whip up ratings.  The Queen Of The World says that they're also trying to hurt Trump and help the Democrats by scaring people and tanking the economy.

What's not shown by the media is the cost of the lockdown.  Waiters and waitresses who had started to go back to work are now getting pink slips.  Tens of millions are still unemployed.  And for what?  A bad flu season.  These are our neighbors.  Their lives, hopes, and dreams have value, just like ours.

At this point if you don't have steam coming out of your ears, you have no heart.  Hank, Jr. has a heart, and sings about what the unemployed are going through.

Red, White, and Pink Slip Blues (Songwriters: Mark Stephen Jones, Bud Tower)
I used to love this town,
and this neighborhood,
the streets were safe,
the schools were good,
the mill was humming 24/7,
I was foreman on the line 3 to 11
but 18 months and 2 days ago
the mill closed down
and moved to Mexico

I paid my bills, I paid my dues
and I paid my share of taxes too
now I can't buy my baby shoes
I got these red, white, & pink slip blues

I hide the pickup truck in Ricky Brown's garage
(over on the next block)
cause there's a repo man to dodge
I slip out the back door
Lord I never thought I'd live to see this day
we're gonna need that truck
when they come to take the house away

I paid my bills, I paid my dues
I paid my share of taxes too
now I can't even buy my little baby shoes
I got these red, white, & damn pink slip blues

You know I love my country
and I'm not wandering away
but there's a lot of us
that feel like we've been stranded here out in the rain

I paid my bills, I paid my dues
I paid my share of taxes too
now I can't buy my kids no shoes
I got these red, white, pink slip blues

Is anybody listening
Hey politicians we're talking to you
(Is anybody listening)
Are you gonna help us pull on through
Yeah, I'm pretty steamed about all this.  Hey politicians, we're talking to you.

Hat tip to reader Richard in a comment to another song on the same subject.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Raising a City

Chicago was originally built along the banks of Lake Michigan. It was a low marshy area and as the size of the city grew the lack of drainage created a sewer problem that resulted in a series of cholera outbreaks. By the 1850s the issue became severe enough that a sewer system was proposed. The problem was that everything had been built right at the water table and there was no drainage below the buildings.

The solution was to raise the city. Wooden homes were often relocated, sold and moved out of the new city center so that new masonry buildings could be built on new foundations at the new grade. But the larger buildings were raised. Teams of hundreds of men with thousands of jacks dug out under the stone and iron buildings and jacked them up to a new level. The streets were then filled in to the new grade.

By 1860, confidence was sufficiently high that a consortium of no fewer than six engineers; including James Brown, James Hollingsworth and George Pullman took on one of the most impressive locations in the city and hoisted it up complete and in one go. They lifted half a city block on Lake Street, between Clark Street and LaSalle Street; a solid masonry row of shops, offices, printer shops, etc., 320 feet long, comprising brick and stone buildings, some four stories high, some five, having a footprint taking up almost one acre of space, and an estimated all in weight including hanging sidewalks of thirty five thousand tons.

Businesses operating out of these premises were not closed down for the lifting; as the buildings were being raised, people came, went, shopped and worked in them as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening. In five days the entire assembly was elevated 4 feet 8 inches clear in the air by a team consisting of six hundred men using six thousand jackscrews, ready for new foundation walls to be built underneath. The spectacle drew crowds of thousands, who were on the final day permitted to walk at the old ground level, among the jacks.
It wasn't impossible because they believed they could.

12 years of blogging

12 years ago today I put up my first post.  It wasn't very good, but you have to start somewhere.

13,615 posts later, here we are.  I couldn't have made it this far without you, Gentle Reader, or your over 50,000 (!) comments.  It's quite a community we have.

I'd also like to thank co-blogger and Brother-From-Another-Mother ASM826 for keeping the lights on around here.  I almost gave up, back 5 or 6 years ago, and he pretty much single handedly saved this blog.

I'd also like to thank co-blogger and Sister-From-Another-Mister Brigid.  She doesn't post here a lot, but she sure classes the place up when she does.

Twelve years ago I wasn't sure what to expect at the start of the trail that brought us here.  I am very grateful to all y'all who have walked it with me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Quote of the Day: Explaining the Virus edition

I've written a number of times about Mencious Moldbug, most notably here.  He was instrumental in laying the philosophical foundations for the Dark Enlightenment, the most significant ideological framework that I've seen in my lifetime.  But he really blew it on the Kung Flu.  This I think sums up the political response to the virus:
Moldbug would have seen clearly that the N-COVID-19 narrative, lockdowns and restrictions, and subsequent Antifa/BLM riots that broke open the lockdowns, were all a manifestation of a High & Low versus Middle dynamic, where the elites use the underclass against middle Americans who represent the only real threat to their rule. It is not an accident that the public closure directives fell entirely on small businesses, churches and volunteer civic society. In contrast, the Washington Post owning Jeff Bezos’s Amazon is bigger than ever.
I think that this is spot on, and is actually an indictment of Republican Governors who bought into the hype.  A few didn't, but most let themselves be stampeded into harming their base.  The Democrat Governors who are still keeping up the lockdowns are doing so knowing that they are hurting a Republican constituency, so there's no expectation that they will want to ease up.  But the GOP crowd should have known better.  This is why I call them the "Stupid Party".

Go read the whole thing.  Some of us were skeptical about the panic from the start.  Others should have been.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Camp Bullowa 1960

Film from visiting day at Bullowa Scout Camp in New York, 1960. It could be my camp, my Troop, me.

I still remember the entire Boy Scout oath. I don't remember the serial number of my gun in the army. I don't remember the number of my locker in school. But I remember that oath. --Tommy Lasorda

They called the Communist takeover, 70 years ago

Looking at the upheaval and rioting in the streets - and the pulling down the statues of Washington,  Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt (so much for Mt. Rushmore), it's amazing just how prescient this comic book from the 1950s was about how Marxists would take over the country.

Is This Tomorrow was a full length (50 page) comic book from the 1950s, describing how a Communist takeover of America might happen.  It's quite interesting reading, as a time capsule of the intellectual wars of the day.  Sure, the details are very 1950s (the current race/class war is pretty different but hard to ignore) but the grand sweep of the strategy was all laid out way back then.

Sadly, the line Wolverines!!!1!! is not to be found in its pages.

Blogroll update

Man, it's been a long time since I've done this.

D.C. Traitors discusses politics from a, well, D.C. Traitor point of view.  You don't need to wonder where they're coming from.

Chuck Pergiel has been blogging for almost 20 years (!!!).  He's commented here before, and is always thought provoking.  You'll learn a lot over there - I have.

Locomotive Breath 1901 has a bunch of fun stuff.

Long time commenter LindaG has a blog.  Her house got heavily damaged by a tornado a while back and there's a GoFundMe for her.  It's within around $500 of the goal, so if you can stop by and donate I'd be very grateful indeed.

Welcome to the blogroll, folks!  And to our readers, check out some of the folks listed there.  It's quite a community.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Dad's last Father's Day

I put this post up ten years ago on Father's Day.  It was Dad's last, and while we still had hope we knew that there wasn't much hope left.  He sure liked this post, though, maybe because of that.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I sure miss you.  And happy Father's Day to my Father-In-Law Bob.  I'm sorry we won't be coming to see you in Arlington as often now.

Originally posted June 20, 2010.

Acadia Mountain

Maine's Acadia National Park contains all sorts of natural wonders, not least of which is the only fjord on the east coast of this land. It's a proper fjord, carved by the ice sheets and partially flooded by the rising seas at the end of the last glaciation. Called Some's Sound, it's deep, and surrounded by steep mountains on each side. Acadia Mountain is perhaps the steepest of these.

Father's Day 1975 saw Dad, me, and my older brother climbing that mountain. It's only about 900 feet tall, but the climb is pretty vigorous. You go up the landward side, and there's not a lot to see other than trees, and the occasional glimpse of trees on neighboring mountains. Other than the exercise, there's not a lot of reason to make the ascent.

Until you get to the summit, when suddenly you see the Sound laid out before you, in all its glory.
It looks like that the other direction, too. If you have a camera that can take panorama pictures, this is the place to take one. The contrast from deep forest to best-view-in-the-world happens in about five minutes, and makes this a memorable hike.

Father's Day made it a memorable hike, too. The three of us went on that hike at least three Father's Days. The panorama of the memory is something to see, too, but you'll have to take my word on that.

We couldn't recreate this today; Older Brother and I are scattered to the four winds, Mom and Dad are in New Mexico, and he's not well. But in a sense it doesn't matter, because these memories of times together are still fresh.

Happy Father's Day to all dads, especially Dad and Older Brother. You're good men, and good fathers, and I'm glad to have these memories.

Dimitri Tiomkin - Suite for The Old Man And The Sea

I have an odd view of Hemingway - sort of a hope for the best but prepare for the worst sort of thing.  His prose is brilliant, his characterization is memorable, but his stories sometime are infuriating*.

But Old Man And The Sea is Papa at his best, and a great story for Father's Day.  An old man and a boy, fishing - but more than fishing: striving and failing and striving again; victory and defeat, teaching and learning what is is to be a man.

The 1958 film was interesting.  Hemingway loved it, perhaps because the script followed his novel so closely.  He even liked Spenser Tracy in the lead role (for which he was nominated for Best Actor); given how much Hemingway disliked Tracy personally, this was quite an accomplishment.  The filming budged kept ballooning, because they kept trying (and failing) to catch a marlin.  They never did, and so the film had to cut between Tracy and pictures of a fish.  But it was not just any fish, it was the world record marlin caught off Peru. 

The music by Dimitri Tiomkin won the Oscar for best score, one of four he received in his career (out of a total of 22 nominations).  He was a prolific composer, writing scores for 57 films in the decade before this one.  This made him the highest paid composer in Hollywood.

* It's said that the unexpected, tragic ending of Farewell To Arms was intentional, because he was still angry at the World War I nurse who broke his heart.  That's not much to ruin a book for.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Trace Adkins - Just Fishin'

Tomorrow is Father's Day.  One of my clearest memories of Dad is him telling me that there was much about him that I would never understand until I had kids of my own.  That's some deep truth, right there.

Country music still has a lot of songs about family, and the old saying applies: all you need is three chords and the truth.  This song brings the truth about fathers - at least as we would like to be.  I watch this and think about all the times I had with my kids when they thought we were just doing whatever.  They may not remember the birthday party with a bunch of six year olds doing the Y-M-C-A dance at the Cosmic Bowl, but I do.

And I realize that I look back through the glass darkly at the times that I spent with my Dad, thinking that we were just doing whatever.  I don't remember the ones that I should, the way I should, and he's been gone these ten years so I can't ask him.  No matter.  I understand Dad now and know what he felt at the time.  You see, I've been there too.

Happy Father's Day to all Dads.  If you are fortunate enough to be a Dad with young kids, seize the day.  Even if they think you're just fishing.

Just Fishin' (Songwriters: Casey Beathard, Monty Criswell, and Ed Hill)
I’m lost in her there holdin’ that pink rod and reel
She’s doin’ almost everything but sittin’ still
Talkin’ ‘bout her ballet shoes and training wheels
And her kittens
And she thinks we’re just fishin’

I say, “Daddy loves you, baby” one more time
She says, “I know. I think I got a bite.” 
And all this laughin’, cryin, smilin’ dyin’ here inside’s
What I call, livin’

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’

She’s already pretty, like her mama is
Gonna drive the boys all crazy
Give her daddy fits
And I better do this every chance I get
‘Cause time is tickin’
(Yeah it is)

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’

She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’
Yeah, aww, she thinks we’re just fishin’
We ain’t only fishin’
(This ain’t about fishin’)
The young lady in the video is Adkins' youngest daughter, Trinity.

Friday, June 19, 2020

And They've Come for George Washington, too

They wrapped the statue's head in an American flag and burned it, then pulled the statue down. Then the protesters scattered.

The money quote is right in the middle of the article, "Portland police arrived a few minutes later."


The Pen is mightier than the Internet

It may be that the first blogger was Robert Southey, Britain's tenth Poet Laureate.  You know some of his many works.  One is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; another is this:
What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails
That's what little boys are made of

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice
That's what little girls are made of
The complete version of that has stanzas for young women, young men, old women, and old men.  It's pretty clever.

Bust of Southy in London's National Gallery  
But Southey was a man of wide interests, who wrote about all of them.  That sounds like a blogger to me.  He wrote the first (and still published) history of Brazil, in which the word "zombie" made its first appearance in the English language.  He wrote epic poems, mostly forgotten today.  He wrote criticism of other's epic poetry, most notoriously a scathing review of his friend's Samuel Coleridge's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner* which he said was like "a Dutchman's attempt at German profundity."

Lord Byron accused him of being a sell-out, giving up his youthful republicanism for a well paid social conservatism.  But Southey was instrumental in getting rid of Dr. Johnson's ponderous and self-satisfied prose style and introducing a clear, direct style in its place.   He wrote many biographies, most famous of which was about Lord Nelson and which was turned into a film.

Oh yeah - he and Coleridge were buddies with scientist Humphry Davies and participated in Nitrous Oxide experiments.  Groovy, baby.

I had never heard of him until this morning.  I remarked that The Queen Of The World truly was made of sugar and spice, and wondered when that line had been written.  She consulted the Oracle of Wikipedia, and then said This would make a good post for you.  Sure did.

* You've heard this as well - Water, water everywhere with not a drop to drink.