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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. 

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.

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 encourages people to lose weight and be healthier.)

But we have even less control over our intelligence than we do 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.

But, it's generally open season on anyone who says 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, every action we take, 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 willfully improve your cerebellum 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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Redefining beauty

"Fled the Undertow" had a trenchant comment after the previous post:

In order to see feminism in casting, you have to watch America's Next Top Model. Not only was Tyra Banks pushing the heavyset girls, in later seasons she openly declared that she "wanted to re-define the concept of beauty" (as though it needed a new definition).

To that end, she cast every manly, tattooed, weird-looking, or misshapen girl she could find, especially brown and black ones. She had at least two trannies (I guess they got lost on the way to the RuPaul auditions), one girl with vitiligo, one burn victim, and several who could have passed as boys. When audiences got tired of her liberal agenda and quit watching, Tyra doubled down on her odd choices, then hectored her audiences about being closed-minded. (Unfortunately, the UK and Canadian versions of the show do the same thing, but luckily Australia's franchise still cast beautiful girls on its show thanks to its head judge and sponsor, designer Alex Perry, who won't be cowed by PC casting trends.)

I have no idea whether these choices are being made at Tyra Banks' initiative, or whether it's something she's been instructed to do by her network bosses. Either way, it's a little ironic that Banks would pursue that agenda given that her own success is due at least partly to a nose job which made her more "conventionally" beautiful:

The idea that the Left can somehow succeed in reprogramming what people find attractive is really no different in spirit than those gay conversion camps that the Left decries so bitterly. I happen to agree with them about conversion therapy: the idea that you can simply "pray the gay away" is silly.

But, neither can you get heterosexual guys to be attracted to a type they never found attractive to begin with. We're attracted to whatever we're attracted to, and no amount of heterosexual conversion therapy in the guise of a media campaign will change that.

The hypocrisy is glaring.

Political correctness can force us to watch our words in public, but it can't change our natures. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Those fat-shamers at NBC

Fat-shaming is a concept which has gained a lot of currency recently. For better or worse, it's now a thing. And the campaign against fat-shaming has been led by the feminists.

NBC -- and its affiliates MSNBC and (to a lesser extent) CNBC -- are known for their liberal slant. All three nominally support feminist causes. If anybody were to ever suggest to the brass at NBC Universal that women should be judged by their looks, they would, publicly at least, act extremely offended.

But it's one thing to pay lip service to feminism, and another to actually practice what you preach. Let's take a quick look at some of the women whom NBC Universal has hired as their newscasters, and ask ourselves precisely what qualities these women were hired for.

Was it because of their keen journalistic instincts?

Their original insights and penetrating analysis?

Their mellifluous voices?

Or might it have been because of their looks?

Here's Amanda Drury of CNBC:

NBC's Alex Wagner:

CNBC's Courtney Reagan:

Maria Menounos, a former reporter for NBC Nightly News:

Tamron Hall, who's worked for both NBC and MSNBC:

Natalie Morales of NBC's soft news show Today:

Melissa Stark, a former reporter for both NBC and MSNBC:

Michelle Kosinski, former foreign correspondent for NBC News:

Norah O'Donnell, back around the time she was MSNBC's chief Washington correspondent:

And Lindsay Czarniak, who covered the 2008 Olympics for NBC:

Where are the fatties?

NBC may pay lip service to feminism, disapprove of fat-shaming, and claim to be against judging women by their looks. But whom do they choose to represent them? Slim, trim beauties.

Does anyone honestly think any of these women would have been hired if they'd weighed 40 pounds more? Of course not: you could even have thrown in 20 extra IQ points along with the 40 extra pounds, and they'd never even have been considered.

It's true that hiring a good-looking woman is not the same thing as mocking a fat woman. But when almost all of your news reporters are slim and attractive, does that not essentially send the same message?

(If you're fat, we don't want you.)

And when overweight women sitting at home watch the beauty parade on NBC, do you think that message doesn't sink in?

Fat-shamers are merely saying what the brass at NBC communicate only a bit more subtly: that nobody wants to look at a fat woman.

NBC's dramas, soap operas, and comedies also feature mostly slim, beautiful women, at least in the lead roles. (Comedic sidekicks are allowed to be unattractive.)

The movies they run almost all feature beautiful women.

And the commercials NBC runs are even more skewed toward beauties.

All of these actions speak louder than any words a perky news reporter can utter.

NBC may be the proud voice of liberalism. But it's certainly not the body. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

"Sentence held for deranged rapist who 'enjoyed the hunt'"

I saw the above headline this morning which ran with this accompanying photograph in the NY Post:

I was all set to put up a snarky post along the lines of how this guy actually looked the part, but then I read the article:

An appeals court upheld the maximum prison sentence for a deranged Pennsylvania man obsessed with raping real estate agents, according to reports.

Frank Yeager compiled a list of some 200 potential victims he hoped to violate, and claimed in his diary to “truly enjoy the hunt,” NBC 10 reported.

After spending months compiling his sick list, he tried to rape a real estate agent in 2012, according to prosecutors.

Yeager, 33, went to a real estate agent’s office in November 2012, and asked her to show him a secluded model home. She refused because he was acting strangely.

He returned minutes later, claiming there was a water leak in the home he wanted to see, and begged her to go with him. When a male colleague entered the room, Yeager panicked and fled.

Later, the Realtors went to the house to see whether in fact there was a leak. They found all the house’s lights out and curtains drawn — but no water leaking anywhere, so they called cops.

Yeager, who was born with facial deformities, confessed to the plot, which he attributed to a lifetime of bullying and being shunned by women.

Yeager said knew he would never get the wife and home he wanted, so he planned to kill himself after carrying out his violent sexual fantasies.

“I know it is wrong but I cannot fight the urges…I truly enjoy the hunt and cannot wait for my prize,” he wrote in the diary, prosecutors said.

His parents said in court that Yeager was forced to undergo several facial surgeries as a child and was mentally ill.

The article about this case in The Sun said that Yeager had "endured a lifetime of cruel taunts by strangers."

I don't doubt that Yeager in fact did go through a lifetime of bullying, and he obviously would have been shunned by women. All he wanted was a normal life, and that was clearly not going to happen. 

I'm not suggesting Yeager's not being punished appropriately -- he attempted the crime, so he should pay. 

But I couldn't help feeling sorry for him. 

He evidently has two parents who love him, and who basically tried to plead for leniency from the court. That means there must be some decency in him somewhere. 

The fact that he "panicked and ran" when the male realtor entered that room indicates that he's probably not even a sociopath, since sociopaths rarely panic.

Yeager himself was honest about the attempted rape, and his motivation. And he probably did plan to kill himself afterwards. 

It was his monstrous face, which he was stuck with through no fault of his own, which turned him into a monster.

How many of us can say that if we had spent our entire lives looking like that, and being bullied for it, and even being taunted by passing strangers, that we wouldn't be bitter and want revenge on mankind?

I couldn't. 

I certainly don't blame any of the women who turned him down. But the real monsters in this story are the passing strangers who would see a deformed kid and mock him for it.