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Friday, July 31, 2015

Prehistoric man

When you look for pictures of "caveman" on the internet, you tend to get a lot of pictures of people who vaguely resemble the GEICO "caveman" spokesperson:


He looks vaguely like a Neanderthal, those early Europeans who were more or less wiped out by Cro-Magnons roughly 30,000 years ago (though all non-African races evidently carry traces (usually 1-4%) of Neanderthal genes.

This picture of a "caveman," with his prominent nose, strong brow ridges, and receding chin, is typical:


He looks not too dissimilar to this reconstruction-from-a-Neanderthal skull by John Gurche:


There are also representations of "cavemen" who resemble Cro-Magnons (modern humans):


That makes sense, since many humans did live in caves until the last few millennia. And, in the past few thousand years, we really haven't changed all that much genetically. (Bear in mind, that's a very short time frame in the context of the roughly four million or so years of human evolution.)

When you Google "early hominids," the pictures start to vary more. (This post will ignore the earliest "humans," like Sahelanthropus Tchadensis, which lived roughly 6 to 7 million years ago, and Ardepithecus Ramidus, 4.4 million years ago, both of which looked more like apes than like humans.)

The evolution of mankind is a still-fuzzy picture. The fossil record is incomplete, and it's unclear whether various evolutionary branches died off, or were simply absorbed into other branches.

But the fossil record does show a number of early human branches, and it's always interesting to look at the artists' depictions of what they might have looked like based on their skulls, and in some cases, complete skeletons.

Here is a picture of Australopithecus Afarensis, who lived more than three million years ago:


Homo Habilis, who lived from 2.8 to 1.5 million years ago:


These pictures of Dmanisi hominids, who lived roughly 1.8 million years ago and stood four feet tall, are based on skulls found in the Caucasus:


Here is a 3-D rendering of "Turkana Boy," who lived roughly 1.5 million years ago. His complete skeleton was found near Lake Turkana, Kenya, in 1984:


Homo Rudolfensis is based on an incomplete skull found in Kenya, and is thought to have lived approximately 1.5 million years ago:


Homo Erectus lived from 1.8 million years ago until just 70,000 years ago:


Here's another rendering of Homo Erectus:


Yet another artist's interpretation from a Homo Erectus skull:


This is a reconstruction of Homo Heidelbergensis, who lived from approximately 800,000 years ago to 300,000 years ago:


Homo Rhodesiensis is thought to have lived from 300,000 to 125,000 years ago:


A recent wrinkle introduced into the story of human evolution was the discovery of a finger from a juvenile in the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia in 2008. The finger was dated to roughly 40,000 years ago, and because of the cool climate of the cave, its DNA had been preserved. Testing has shown that the Denisovans were closely related to the Neanderthals, and may have contributed up to 6% of the gene pool of modern day Southeast Asians. Because only the finger was found, there are no renderings of Denisovan faces. But their recent discovery underlines how much has yet to be learned about our ancestry.

In any case, it's fascinating to look at the pictures of our ancient human forbears and speculate as to which branches of the human family survived to contribute to our current gene pool, and which did not.

As one does, strive as one might, it's near impossible to prevent a few politically incorrect thoughts from wandering in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bruce Jenner, sex symbol?

Writing Caitlyn's sister two days ago reminded me of how, after Jenner won his gold medal in 1976, women went crazy over him. I remember hearing a number of them talking about how incredibly sexy Jenner was.

I could never see it. He had an extremely bland and also slightly rat-like face:




To me, he looked like a cross between Pete Rose --


-- and Sandra Bullock.


And I'm not the type who's reluctant to say another guy is good-looking, as I've shown here and here and here and here.

In that last link, I described Sean Connery as the perfect amalgam of male beauty and toughness. Jenner was the opposite: bland to a fault, a him-bo with a Prince(ss) Valiant haircut.

In retrospect, we know why he came across that way.

Of course, now that a he's in full transvestite mode, he's even less appealing.

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Your dad bod is killing you -- here's how to fix it"

The NY Post ran the above article this morning. It's not particularly insightful or original; it merely advocates a standard course of diet exercise. But the one interesting -- in fact, striking -- thing about the article is that it features the very first set of realistic before-and-after pictures I've ever seen.

A multitude of exercise programs promise miraculous results, with before and after pictures to match. But the before picture is always taken with straight on lighting, and the guy often seems to be sticking his stomach out on purpose while wearing a sad sack expression.

The after shot is inevitably with him holding in his stomach, at a flattering angle, with side or overhead lighting, and with a shaved chest. In some cases, the guy has obviously gone on steroids, which accounts for the "miraculous" nature of his transformation.

Anyway, kudos to the Post for running this realistic article, even if -- or rather because -- none of the after pictures are exactly inspirational.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Caitlyn's sister

You may remember Kelly Lebrock, the 80's sex symbol:


The other day I stumbled across a more recent picture of her:


Some of the change is obviously due to age, which LeBrock certainly can't be faulted for. But some of it is due to weight gain, which can have a weirdly masculinizing effect. When you look at the picture above, or this picture --


-- and then look at that famous Vanity Fair cover shot of Jenner --


-- you'll see a disconcerting resemblance. In fact, the only discernible differences are that Jenner has a thinner waist and arms, and perkier breasts.

With LeBrock, we're not even talking about a high testosterone, muscular female athlete -- the type you might see in the ESPN Magazine Body Issue -- who is touted as "beautiful" in order to make some feminist political point. We're talking about a woman who originally gained fame as an ideal of feminine beauty. There was certainly nothing masculine about LeBrock's waist-to-hips ratio or other contours here:


Back then, you'd certainly never have mistaken her for the young Caitlyn:


I've heard that Europeans mock us for the way so many American women look: masculine, with big implants.

Some of that may just be a matter of perception. But Americans do tend to get fat at a higher rate than Europeans. That may be partly because Americans smoke less. But it's also partly our diet, especially after decades of our government-advocated "food pyramid," which emphasizes carbohydrates and low-fat foods. That, plus the high sugar content of many processed American foods, inevitably lead to more obesity.

People seem to finally be waking up to the fact that a more Atkins-like diet is the way to go.

In the meantime, the only upside seems to be that Kelly and Caitlyn will be able to borrow each other's clothes.

A matter of logic

The next time someone accuses you of racism for having recited a statistic, reply:

There is a world of difference between judging a person by his race and judging a race by its people. To do the former is completely unfair. But not to do the latter is simply ostrich-like.

This is simple, straightforward logic, yet in the current hysterical atmosphere that surrounds all talk about race, it seems to escape a lot of people.

To judge someone by his race is essentially to play favorites, which means that someone is being unfairly handicapped.

To judge a race by its people merely means that one has kept one's eyes open. This is something everybody does, though an awful lot of people seem to pretend not to see anything.

To notice that different races have different propensities is intrinsically no more evil than, say, to notice that men tend to be more muscular than women.

How would that make you evil?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Isolated tribes

Reuters recently ran this article, Peru to make contact with isolated tribe for first time:

Peru will try to make contact for the first time with an Amazonian tribe that largely lives isolated in the jungle, part of a bid to ease tensions with nearby villages after a bow-and-arrow attack in May, authorities said on Tuesday.

Government anthropologists will try to talk with a clan of Mashco Piro Indians to understand why they have been emerging from the forest, said deputy culture minister Patricia Balbuena.

In recent years the Mashco Piro have increasingly been spotted seeking machetes and food outside their jungle enclaves in the Manu National Park in southeastern Peru.

Villagers, Christian proselytizers and tourists have all interacted with the tribe, often giving them clothes and food.

“The only ones who haven’t been in contact with them are representatives of the state!” said Balbuena.

Peru prohibits contact with the Mashco Piro and another dozen “uncontacted” tribes, mainly because their immune systems carry little resistance to common illnesses.

Authorities have said they cannot keep people from defying the contact ban because no penalty is attached….

Luis Felipe Torres, the head of the state isolated tribes team, said the government will not forcibly contact the Mashco Piro or try to change their nomadic lifestyle.

“But we can no longer pretend they aren’t trying to make some sort of contact,” Torres said. “They have a right to that, too...”

It's hard to see an article like this and not feel just a little sad that a way of life is likely coming to an end. In a way, it's reassuring to know that such tribes still exist -- because the Mashco Piro represent real multiculturalism.

(People descended from different tribes who've been living in the same country for hundreds of years do not; all they represent are different gene pools.)

A few Mashco Piro:


There are a few other such isolated tribes, mostly in the Amazon basin. The 35,000 Yanomami who live scattered along the border between Brazil and Venezuela, are probably the most well known. But in recent years they have been studied practically to death, and there is little mystery about their way of life.

On North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean there is a tribe which has lived there, more or less undisturbed, for 60,000 years. They are extremely hostile, and if outsiders approach the island, the Sentinelese fire arrows or throw stones at them. The Indian government has declared it illegal to go within three miles of the island.

Here is one of the few known photographs of the Sentinelese, firing arrows at an approaching helicopter:


The Korowai people, who live in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, were reportedly unaware of the existence of any peoples beside themselves until 1970. They are reportedly the last of the Melanesian tribes to still practice cannibalism, though there is some question as to whether this is true.

A Korowai tribesman:


In a way, such tribes present a moral quandary. It seems wrong not to offer them modern medicine, if not modern technology. But many have little resistance to the diseases that they will be exposed to by outsiders. And we will inevitably have a corrupting influence; once they've been exposed to civilization, they may not want to go back to their previous way of life.

It's a little like feeding the bears at Glacier National Park: it can spoil them, and possibly even kill them.

The other question is, will these tribes be happier after having been exposed to modernity?

In a way, this experiment has already been tried -- throughout all of South America. Do the current Latinos of Amerindian extraction seem grateful to the white man for having brought civilization to their land? Of course, whatever gratitude the Amerindians feel is mixed in with the feeling generated by the white man also having taken their land.

Africa has basically been another such experiment. Since the white man introduced his medicine, technology, agricultural methods, and aid, the sub-Saharan African population has exploded. Are the Africans better off?

Perhaps more to the point, are the Africans' feelings toward the white man who brought modernity primarily those of gratitude? (Admittedly, the white man did not originally go down there with charitable intentions in mind.)

These days, of course, outsiders tend to approach Stone Age peoples thinking less of subjugation, and more of anthropology.

Studying these tribes should, of course, be a priority. We should learn how their societies work, who is in charge, and what sorts of customs they have. It's an invaluable view into our own prehistory.

If we can learn their language, we could even ask these people who are living in a more natural state how they feel about our society. We might ask, how would they feel about having the women go off to hunt for meat while the men gather fruit and tend to the babies?

Or, how do they feel about the modern Western idea that everyone has exactly the same abilities as everyone else and that anyone saying otherwise is evil?

And would they ever consider voluntarily prostrating themselves at the feet of another tribe whom they've successfully raided in the past and proclaiming that other tribe morally superior?

If a neighboring tribe raped their women far more frequently than they raped the neighboring tribe's women, would they refrain from mentioning this for fear of appearing rude?

Would they embrace these modern ideas, or scoff at them? Their answers might prove revealing. After all, one civilization is as good as another.

In any case, there's much to be learned. And if we try change them to our ways too quickly, the world will be a poorer place for it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Trump outdoes the original

It just struck me whom Donald Trump, with his blond eyebrows and supercilious expression --


-- reminds me of: 


The resemblance is more than physical. 

Both men revel in their wealth, in fact boast of it. 

Goldfinger hosted guests at his Kentucky horse farm.


But Trump has Mar-a-Lago:


When James Bond asked Goldfinger what the golf club secretary would have to say about Goldfinger's having ordered Oddjob to decapitate a nearby statue, Goldfinger replied, "Oh nothing, Mr. Bond. I own the club."


Trump can say the same, three times over. The Trump Organization owns and operates the Trump Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Scotland, the Trump National Doral in Miami, and the Trump International Golf Links in Ireland.


(Whether Goldfinger was vain enough to name his golf club after himself is not known.)

Goldfinger showed absolutely no respect to Bond, despite Bond's heroic service to his country.


Trump recently disrespected an even higher-ranking American war hero.


When about to be disemboweled by that laser, Bond asked Goldfinger if he expected him to talk. Goldfinger replied, "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"

Trump has been similarly blunt about an entire class of people: illegal immigrants. (If you prefer, you may substitute the word "honest" for "blunt.")

Neither man is exactly a feminist. Goldfinger liked to surround himself with beautiful women, including Jill Masterson (whom he later had painted gold) --


-- and Pussy Galore's Flying Circus:


Trump also seems to view beautiful women purely as decorative objects to surround himself with. He owns not only the Miss Universe pageant --


-- but the Miss USA pageant as well:


(Should Trump get the Republican nod, don't expect any of that "two for the price of one" nonsense about him and Melania.)

But, there are differences as well. Goldfinger was never called "the Auric." He never spoke of himself in the third person. And there is no indication he ever thought he should be Chancellor of Germany.

Goldfinger was actually, by comparison, a humble and self-effacing man.

Drones

Drones seem to be more and more ubiquitous these days. Amazon is supposedly considering delivering packages by drone.

From what height would these drones drop their packages? If it was from six feet or more, that would harm any fragile contents. But if they gently place them on the ground, their rotors have the potential to hurt humans. How would they guard against that? And how much would an injured person be able to sue Amazon for? It's not as if Amazon doesn't have deep enough pockets to attract the attention of a lawyer or two.

There have already been several cases of people injured by drones.

This Australian triathlete was injured when photographer's drone crashed next to her mid-race.

Singer Enrique Iglesias' hand was injured by a drone during a concert in Tijuana.

A number of people were received minor injuries from a low-flying drone at the Virginia Motorsports Park during the Great Bull Run (a local version of Pamplona).

So far none of the injuries have been serious. But take a look at this drone race and ask yourself if these objects couldn't cause serious injuries. They sound like huge mosquitoes, and look like malevolent flying spiders. But with those spinning rotors, they're really just flying knives.

As anybody who's ever had a model airplane can attest, control of a remote flying object is often far from perfect. Here's a compilation of crashes, if any proof of that is needed.

What happens the first time a drone get sucked into a jet engine and causes an airplane crash? A near miss occurred just eight weeks ago above New York City. Passengers are unlikely to take kindly to the idea of their plane dropping out of the sky because some photographer wanted an aerial shot.

And what about terrorists? How convenient would it be for them to deliver a small bomb to, say, Times Square on a Sunday afternoon? Or to a football stadium? Or to an outdoor concert? This wouldn't even require their presence. (And wouldn't the terrorists see this as poetic justice, given the number of deaths we have inflicted upon them via drone?)

These things will probably wreak all sorts of havoc in the near future.

Update: This article on the threat from drones just appeared on 7/25 in the Post. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Donald Trump not a sociopath

On Saturday, the nation let out a collective gasp -- or chortle, depending on political affiliation -- when Donald Trump declared that John McCain is not a war hero. (“He’s not a war hero….He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”)

Virtually everybody was shocked and appalled that Trump would denigrate McCain's service this way. Whatever you think of McCain as a Senator, as a Presidential candidate, or as a human being, the one thing about him that is absolutely undeniable is his heroism in Viet Nam. McCain turned down the opportunity to be released from captivity early because he felt it wouldn't have been right to leave his fellow American captives behind.

This happened while Donald Trump was getting five separate deferments.

In a roundabout way, Trump's repulsive statement is actually proof that he's not a sociopath. If he were a sociopath, he'd be a lot slyer with his smears, a lot better at fooling people, and a lot better at seducing -- rather than repelling -- an electorate.

Yes, Trump is a narcissistic personality. In fact, far more narcissistic than most narcissists. He's just a walking, talking, bloated ego, always full of bombast, always full of hot air, and always full of himself. He is unable to open his mouth without boasting.

Yet there's something naive, almost innocent, about the way he brags. He seems to have no idea how off-putting he is, and what kind of impression he is making. He comes across a little like a five-year-old when he boasts, a five-year-old who has no idea the kind of impression he's making.

And that's why nobody took him seriously as a candidate.

(Honestly, in a weird sort of way, I almost find Trump's boasting cute. Funny, even.)

In any case, sociopaths aren't like that. They're far better at hiding their true natures, at paying lip service to the proper ideals, at putting up a false front of humility, and at reading people and telling them what they want to hear.

Trump is just a big fat kid with a lot of money -- who likes to boast about that money. And evidently his money makes him think he can kick El Chapo's ass, or convincingly criticize McCain's war record. Trump even sees his money as qualification enough to be President.

That's the nature of narcissism.

But not of sociopathy. (A sociopath might think those things, but he'd be too sly to actually say them.)

Different styles of sociopathy

A few days ago I got the following comment (which I've edited slightly) on the Do sociopaths love their children? post: 

A lot of these comments about sociopaths seem to confuse "that jerk that beat my kids, or the jerk who ran off with his girlfriend" with an actual sociopath. In fact, what they are describing sounds closer to borderline personality.

An actual sociopath is a person who cares about things, not people, and is driven to succeed at all costs, pushing aside whoever hinders their desires. They are willing to lie or cheat to get what they want.

I know this because I've studied this (and because I've worried that I might be one). I concluded after research that while I do lack some empathy, I have more in common with a schizoid (inability to feel emotions strongly) than a true sociopath. Don't confuse sociopathy with Asperger's, schizoid, autism, borderline, or any other personality disorder. It is characterized by deceit, indifference to the feelings of others, and malice.

Many sociopaths are in positions of power, where they can control the lives of others: police, politicians, etc. Quite a few are landlords. Think about this the next time you pay rent, and the guy raises it.

From my understanding, sociopaths develop in an atmosphere where love is not actually present, where parents use and abuse, and the child has no reason to believe anyone cares for them.

Given this, it is difficult to see a sociopath give genuine love to a child. If they do, yes, it is a sort of "extension of oneself" deal. Or in some cases the opportunity to control or use the child, or make a baby psycho of their own.


I replied:

Good points. I've noticed that while sociopaths are something like 3 or 4% of the male population, something like 30% of divorced women claim their exes were sociopaths. I guess it sounds more dramatic than "borderline personality" or some of the other diagnoses. I suspect the most common condition they faced was simply narcissistic personality disorder, which is far more common. (All sociopaths are narcissists, but not all narcissists are sociopaths.)

You give a good description of sociopathy, but keep in mind that there are different styles of sociopathy. You mentioned police and landlords, but the deceitful style you describe has a more white collar flavor to it. There are plenty of low level criminals who are sociopaths as well, and they just don't seem to care that much about anything (or anybody), just their next score, or their next fix, or their next rape or kill. They're dishonest and indifferent to the feelings of others, but also irresponsible (they don't care enough to get to a job on time, etc.). Plus there's the pathological liar style of sociopathy, which is characterized less by malice than indifference to others, but a burning desire to be the center of attention and be lionized, often for false reasons. (Think Munchhausen's Syndrome.) 

I want to expand on this a bit. It's always helpful to remember that there are different styles of sociopathy. At one end you have Anthony Lord (described in the previous post) or Richard Matt, described here and here. These guys are the type of sociopath who is always bristling with hostility, and there's never any mistaking their intentions. They were bullies when young, and they remain bullies after they become adults. 

There is also the Munchausen Syndrome-type of sociopaths. These people appear completely different from an Anthony Lord or a Richard Matt. They have pleasant demeanors, don't come across as angry, and generally aren't violent. But underneath there is the same absolute lack of humanity, the complete indifference to others. 

If you had seen Lacey Spears walking down the street, you'd never have felt threatened by her sweet smile and cherubic face in the least. But she ended up killing her young son (by injecting him in the stomach with salt) just so that she could get more sympathy for herself. Who but a monster could have done this? 

Or take Jackie Coakley, the false UVA rape accuser. She was an innocent-looking coed who, at first glance, blended right in on the Charlottesville campus. She, too, would appear to have nothing in common with Lord or Matt. She had no desire to beat people up, or shoot them, or dismember them. All she wanted was the attention she got from being a "victim." Yet at the same time, she couldn't have cared less if some frat boys had been kicked out of the university or even sent to jail because of her lies. Which indicates the same complete lack of conscience. 

Another common variety of sociopath is the con man. He generally lies because he wants something from you: maybe sex, maybe your money, or maybe your vote. 

The type of men who prey on lonely women and pretend to love them in order to take their money are an example of this type of sociopath. They have a number of different scams, but most boil down to (a) building a relationship with a woman by acting as if they love them (and extracting real feelings of love in return), and (b), somehow cadging money from them. No one would argue the utter lack of humanity of these men. 

(And there are plenty of women who pull the same scam on naive men.) 

Another type of con man is the kind who wants your vote. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both lie all the time in order to further their own ends. Neither seems to have the slightest discomfort with lying, especially about themselves, and one of their biggest lies is to frequently attribute the noblest of motives to themselves. Anybody so dishonest by nature essentially has no regard for others. 

In any case, the point here is that there are different styles of sociopathy. And just because someone does not come across like an Anthony Lord or Richard Matt does not mean they're not equally devoid of decency. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

A criminal who looks the part

The Portland Press Herald just ran this article about Anthony Lord, 35, who shot four people last night in northern Maine.

Some excerpts:

Two people died and three were injured, shot by a registered sex offender who led law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase and massive manhunt before being taken into custody Friday afternoon, according to Maine State Police.

Anthony Lord, 35, has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of kidnapping and may face other charges.

A 21-year-old woman who was allegedly abducted by Lord was found safe. Authorities said Brittany Irish was found with Lord in Houlton at the home of Lord’s uncle. The two know each other, but police did not say how.

One of those killed was Kyle Hewitt, 22, Irish’s boyfriend. The other was Kevin Tozier, 58, of Lee, who was shot when Lord allegedly stole a pulp truck from a wood lot in Lee, police said.

Irish’s mother, Kim Irish, 55, was wounded, as was Clayton McCarthy, 55, owner of the pulp truck, and Carlton Eddy, who was shot while driving his pickup near Irish’s home, police said...

Officials first received a report at 8:30 p.m. Thursday of a barn on fire in Benedicta, at a residence where Irish lives with her parents. Lord is a suspect in the fire.

At 4:40 a.m. Friday, authorities received a report that Kary Mayo of Silver Ridge Township had been assaulted in his home and had his guns and pickup truck stolen, allegedly by Lord. Ten minutes later, the windows at Lord’s brother’s residence in Benedicta were shot out...

Eddy, who drove by the burning barn and turned around in the driveway at about the same time, was shot in the shoulder through his passenger’s side window, police said.

Lord left that house with Irish, police said.

At about 5:50 a.m., an East Millinocket officer spotted the pickup and tried to pull it over but it sped off, police said. As the officer chased the stolen pickup, Lord allegedly started shooting out the window at the officer, police said. At some point the officer lost track of the pickup....

Lord was arrested without incident after a relative told police where he was, police said….Lord was described as about 5-foot-9, 263 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes….

Lord’s 6-month-old son, Larry Earl Lord, died May 7 in Bangor. State police continue to investigate the circumstances of the child’s death, spokesman Stephen McCausland said. The State Medical Examiner has not determined a cause of death pending further studies, according to a spokesman for the Maine Attorney General’s Office.


The article goes on to describe Lord's lengthy previous criminal history dating back to 1999.

Suffice it to say, Lord was an extremely bad guy. Usually sociopaths just look like everyone else, which is how they fool people. But occasionally they look the part, as with Richard Matt, one of the two Dannemora escapees, whom I described here as exuding a "glowering malevolence." 

Anthony Lord definitely looks the part as well, and radiates that same glowering malevolence:


That face isn't hard to read. If you see a visage bristling with that much hostility coming at you, you pretty much know immediately to just get out of the way. 

In all three pictures, Lord looks as if there's nothing he'd love more than to kill the photographer. (Or you or me, if we were there.) 

He doesn't look all that fat, which probably means that a fair amount of the 263 pounds distributed over his 5' 9" frame is muscle. (All the scarier.) 

There's an expression: by the age of 50, a man is responsible for his own face. 

In other words, whether handsome or ugly, by the age of 50 a man's character will have emerged on his face. 

It only took Anthony Lord 35 years. 

"Jihad on US Troops Is Not a 'Circumstance'"

Michelle Malkin describes President Obama's reaction to yesterday's ambush of four Marines perfectly.

The contrast between the Left's reaction to the Charleston killings and yesterday's is, as always, illuminating.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Donald Trump vs. El Chapo

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's escape from a Mexican prison came at an opportune time for Donald Trump, who has attracted a lot of attention for his comments about illegal immigrants.

After the escape, Trump tweeted, "Can you envision Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton negotiating with 'El Chapo', the Mexican drug lord who escaped from prison?…"

(In a roundabout way, Trump was actually complimenting El Chapo here, by suggesting that the other American Presidential candidates were not his equal.)

Trump, however, then followed up with, "…Trump, however, would kick his ass."

A Twitter account claiming to be El Chapo's then responded, "Keep screwing (with us) and I'm going to make you eat your fucking words you lousy white faggot."

(This response is more likely to have come from one of El Chapo's sons. Whoever it was who tweeted this evidently has not yet been swayed by the Norte Americano movement for gay liberation.)

All in all, it's made for a pretty entertaining mano a mano confrontation. This calls for a comparison between the two men on the various measures they seem to care about.

Net worth

Trump boasted about his net worth of 8.7 billion when he announced his candidacy last month. But Forbes magazine, a more impartial source, recently listed his net worth as $4 billion. El Chapo is said by Wikipedia to have a net worth of one billion; but that, too, seems inaccurate. Anybody who keeps $207 million in cash lying around one of his houses likely has a net worth far, far higher than that. And El Chapo's power has been said by some to exceed that of Pablo Escobar, who at his peak was supposedly worth $25 billion.

This one goes to El Chapo (with a low degree of certainty).

Real estate

Here, too, it's a little hard to compare. The only picture available of one of El Chapo's houses was this one of the Mazatlan vacation home which was raided:


It featured a manmade cave with hot tub:


And a private zoo with well-cared for exotic animals, including these black panthers:


El Chapo reportedly owns fifteen other houses as well as four farms, but pictures of those are not available.

Trump's most famous house was Mar-a-Lago:


But Trump often buys real estate as an investment rather than a place to live. He bought Mar-a-Lago in 1985, had it renovated, and in 1995 turned it into a club with paying guests.

His main residence is a three story penthouse at the top of Trump Towers...



….decorated, of course, in Louis XIV style.

This one goes to Trump, though also with a low degree of certainty since information on El Chapo's other residences or farms is hard to come by.

Dress

Trump dresses nicely, as befits a successful businessman. But his well-cut suits usually get overlooked because one's eye is inevitably drawn to that swirling monstrosity on top of his head:


It's also hard to get beyond his facial expression, which almost always seems to radiate unbridled egotism.

El Chapo often dresses in such a way that he would be indistinguishable from the mass of day laborers you'll find standing on street corners in many American cities:




Of course, Trump pretty much has to dress the way he does, whereas Guzman has no need to impress his cohorts with his duds.

Trump certainly gets the nod for fashion sense, but El Chapo is the better man for his evident lack of vanity.

(Since we're basically talking machismo here, the latter is probably more important.)

Personal taste

El Chapo's artistic tastes seem to run to gold-plated weaponry:



But if Louis XIV had had an AK-47, he'd probably have had it coated with gold leaf as well. And Trump, after all, did own the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City...


…which even Louis might have found a bit garish.

So this one is a tie.

Their women

Here's is El Chapo's current wife, Emma Coronel:


And Trump's current wife Melania at a similar age:


But here's Melania now, Botoxed beyond recognition:


Mrs. Guzman is certainly more attractive than the current Mrs. Trump (currently). Then again, the second Mrs. Trump, Marla Maples, may have been better-looking than either:


Still, it's now that counts, so by that measure, El Chapo wins.

Firepower

When it comes to who could more easily order a hit on the other, there's no question: this is El Chapo's world.

Of course, if Trump gets elected President, and has the CIA and US military at his disposal, the odds shift drastically. The Donald's election seems doubtful, despite recent polls, but if he ever did find himself in the White House, he would have the capacity to reduce all of Mexico to smoldering ruins. (And, truth be told, he does seem inclined in that direction.)

But, once again, it's now that counts, so El Chapo wins.

Freedom

Here, of course, there is no question: Trump is free to appear in public, and speechify to his heart's content, whereas El Chapo is wanted, and must scurry through various dirt tunnels in order to stay out of -- or escape -- prison.

Evidently one of El Chapo's biggest weaknesses is fine food. Often diners in some of Sinaloa's finer restaurants would occasionally find themselves surrounded by gunmen who would politely ask them for their cellphones. Then El Chapo would come in and order a meal with his henchmen. Once he finished, he would always foot the bill for the entire restaurant as a way to repay the diners for their inconvenience, then return their phones.

Still, Trump, who also has the look of a man who appreciates food, is the winner here.

Respect

The final, and perhaps ultimate measure, is how much respect each man commands in his own country.

In this country, Trump is widely viewed as a buffoonish blowhard, and his candidacy as an exercise in vanity. All sorts of people feel free to mock his hair, and even question whether it's his own. The now defunct Spy magazine regularly referred to him as a "short-fingered vulgarian." And how many headlines will read, "You're fired!" after Trump eventually drops out of the Republican race?

In his country, El Chapo is a folk hero who has had songs written about him.

Niccolo Machiavelli once said, "It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

El Chapo actually seems to have pulled off the trick of being both feared and loved in his own country.

Trump inspires neither emotion.

Winner on this count, and also overall: El Chapo.