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Sunday, November 4, 2018

A tale of two blondes

Megyn Kelly has had an interesting career trajectory. First she was a star-in-the-making at Fox. Unlike most of the perky blondes who populated that network, she seemed to actually think for herself. The execs there were impressed, and after Bill O'Reilly was #MeToo-ed out of his career, she was given the prime 8PM slot.

Then came that fateful Republican debate in which she pointedly asked Donald Trump about how he had treated women in the past. This seemed a legitimate enough question, given his history. And if she hadn't asked it, there were certainly plenty of other people who would have -- and did -- during the course of the campaign.

But, that was the beginning of the end for her at Fox.

The brass at NBC, however, seemed to take her question as proof that she was on their side, so they hired her, with great fanfare, to be a soft news host on their 9AM slot. But to their dismay, she continued to demonstrate independence and outspokenness, and not just at Trump's expense.

Jane Fonda had talked publicly of her plastic surgery earlier; but when Kelly asked her about it, it was considered a gaffe. When Kelly cut off Tom Brokaw because they were up against a commercial break -- a reality that has to be dealt with on every talk show -- that too was considered another gaffe. On other occasions, Kelly was criticized for her awkward dancing.

The last straw for NBC, as has been widely reported, was when she said that kids dressing up in blackface was not necessarily that bad. Her exact words:

"But what is racist? Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character....There was a controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist. And I don’t know, I felt like who doesn’t love Diana Ross?"

But the news outlets which reported her comment for the most part didn't analyze exactly what she said, but simply implied that she had condoned Al Jolson-style blackface done for the sake of racial mockery rather than refer to a specific instance of what was essentially a tribute.

So, she's out of a job. 

Meanwhile, it turned out that NBC's own Jimmy Fallon actually dressed up in blackface as Chris Rock. Jimmy Kimmel donned blackface to portray Karl Malone. And NBC's Al Roker donned a wig of straight white hair to portray fictional character Doc Brown. (Roker later said his version was okay because he didn't wear facial makeup; decide for yourself how fine the line being drawn there was.)

None of them, of course, suffered any ill consequences.

Once again, "racism" is defined as however you can hurt your political opponents, hypocrisy be damned.

Elizabeth Warren's claims of Indian ancestry have been well-publicized; you're undoubtedly familiar with that saga. It's certainly harmless enough to mention that one's family lore includes rumors of an Indian ancestor a few generations back. But listing oneself as Native American on the Harvard University faculty when that is obviously untrue is another matter.

Warren is, for all practical purposes, Rachel Dolezaal, Jr.

But instead of being given the Dolezaal treatment -- shameful ignominy -- she is still being touted by the Left as a possible Presidential candidate. (Admittedly, that talk has died down a bit since the latest iteration of her tale.)

Likewise, for Harvard Law School to have proudly proclaimed that Warren was their first "woman of color" on the faculty was simply dishonest.

Given all of which, it was a little surprising to see this early picture of Warren as a brunette:

(She must have dyed her hair blonde later on to emphasize her Indian ancestry.)

You can say that as a media personality, Megyn Kelly should have anticipated that her comment would be taken out of context and willfully misconstrued. You can say that no one should feel sorry for someone as wealthy as her. And you can say that her rumored behind-the-scenes diva-like behavior alienated coworkers. All of those things are probably true. But it's also true that her biggest crime, as far as her detractors are concerned, is to show a common sense and honesty which have gone out of style. (Bear in mind, her independence offended those on the Right as well as Left.)

Elizabeth Warren went a step further than blackface, and actually claimed to be what she is not.

Which is worse?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sexual politics

The nation's attention has been riveted by the Brett Kavanaugh nomination saga, which we'll probably never know the truth about with absolute certainty. Most people's opinions on the matter seem to fall along political lines. Yet politics ought not to bear on the veracity of what may or may not have happened in a suburban bedroom over 30 years ago.

It's certainly possible Ford is telling the truth and Kavanaugh did lay on top of her and try to remove her bathing suit while in high school. The soft-faced Kavanaugh does not appear the sort of overbearing, high testosterone, aggressive guy you'd normally associate with such behavior. But, looks can be deceiving.

In any case, the Kavanaugh situation is not the point of this post. The point is that sex, by its very nature, is an awkward, messy business rife with the potential for blunders, embarrassment, hurt feelings, misinterpretation, insecurity, frustration, and regret.

And, the circumstances surrounding such first time encounters are often sodden with alcohol.

So the politicization of sex is fraught with the potential for misleading tropes and willful misinterpretation.

Consider the idea of an "unwanted sexual advance." That could just be a shy guy who at the end of a date timidly leans forward for a goodnight kiss, and the girl pulls back. Voila, an "unwanted sexual advance." If you want to view it in that light.

You may have heard of "regret rape," when a woman who willingly has intercourse later regrets it, often because the man never phoned her again, so decides to file rape charges.

In a sane world, it would be the filing of those charges, not the sex, which would be regarded as a possible crime.

One of the current battlecries is, "No always means no." You're not supposed to say this, but in reality, it doesn't always mean that. Sometimes it just means "I want to preserve my self-image as a good girl, but if you keep trying, I'll probably give in."

Or, it can mean, "I want you to think me more chaste than I actually am, since you make good money and seem like a good prospect for marriage."

Or, "I love the way you keep coming at me, it validates my attractiveness!"

If these interpretations didn't have a basis in reality, the word "coy" wouldn't be in the dictionary. To deny that some women play these games is simply to be blind to human nature -- in all its wondrous diversity.

Of course, there are times when "no" does mean no. No man is justified in using physical force to overpower a woman. But persistence, or an advance, are not the same as assault, and some of the accusations -- and effectively, convictions -- of the #MeToo era have conflated the two.

There's another basic contradiction which is a little hard to reconcile: who, for the past decade, has been the number one fictional sex object for women? The hero of Fifty Shades of Grey. Would Christian Grey have passed a Senate confirmation hearing? Seems doubtful.

Especially if he'd been nominated by Donald Trump.

It's telling that the men who most vociferously condemn aggressively heterosexual men fall into two main categories.

Some are homosexuals, like Ronan Farrow, who's made his name by exposing the predatory nature of certain men. Or Barack Obama, who did his best to institute kangaroo courts to combat the "campus rape epidemic."

It's hard not to think that the reason they are so vociferously condemnative of heterosexuals is because they have no sense of the types of games some -- not all, but some -- women play. There may be a little resentment against heterosexual men in general at work there as well.

And some are heroic defenders of feminism like Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General from 2011 to 2018, who in February 2018 brought a civil rights lawsuit against the Weinstein Company for failing to protect its employees from sexual harassment. Turned out his righteousness rang a little hollow.

In fact Harvey Weinstein himself, before his downfall, had long presented himself as a strong supporter of women in the film industry.

As Asia Argento found out, posing as Joan of Arc comes with its own set of risks.

This is not to say there aren't men, like Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby or Bill Clinton, who belong in jail.

Certainly, trying to force yourself on a girl the way Christine Blasey Ford claimed Brett Kavanaugh did would be shameful. But in the world most of us grew up in, not going for sex can result in social shaming as well. How many high school boys have you known who boasted of their virginity? (Though Brett Kavanaugh seems to have been reduced to that.)

To ignore the intrinsic awkwardness of sex, especially among the young and inexperienced, is to set an impossible standard for most men to follow.

Which may, of course, be the entire point of weaponizing #MeToo. To the Left, the beauty of this movement may be that there will always be something to hang someone with.

If there isn't, you can always just make something up. After all, as the feminists say, "I believe women."

But the idea that possession of a vagina confers credibility is as ridiculous as thinking that possession of a penis does the same. (Imagine the silliness of a t-shirt which stated, "I believe men." And, imagine the outrage with which such would be greeted.)

What's most wrong with the politicization of sex is that it ignores the very nature of sex: the physical attraction, the flirtation, the double meanings, the conversational subtexts, the messiness of it all. And most importantly it ignores the hesitancy and awkwardness, or conversely, the pushiness sometimes required for it to happen. And it ignores the forbidden fruit appeal sex can sometimes have, as well as the nature of arousal.

Most men, while having -- or attempting to have -- sex, have thoughts like the following going through their brains: "Look at those beautiful, perky little nipples....that ass is so cute...Yes, she's really juicy!.....Mmm, that feels good."

Apologies for the graphic content. But for sex to occur, these have to be the types of thoughts going through a male mind.

Here, by contrast, are some thoughts that don't go through men's minds at such times:

"Hmm, I wonder what Gloria Allred will make of this situation in a few months."

"Do third wave feminists approve of spanking?"

"Was I perhaps a touch too aggressive in my initial approach?"

"Is there any chance if I don't phone this woman back there might be repercussions?"

Were these the thoughts consuming men every time such situations arose, arousal would not occur, and the human race would come grinding to a halt.

To make someone's history of awkward teenage groping the crucible upon which suitability for higher office is to be determined is to open up a Pandora's Box of recriminations, petty revenge, half-truths, and outright lies. And it means willfully ignoring human nature.

That no public figure is willing to point this out because they are afraid of becoming the mob's next target shows just how out of control the mob has gotten.

A few decades ago, school administrators used to warn their students that whatever they did in high school would go on their "permanent record." This warning subsequently turned into a sort of joke, and the excessive seriousness with which it was taken was looked back upon with a sort of mirthful regret.

Funny thing, those warnings turned out to be true.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Deleted comments

My apologies, I just deleted the last 200 or so comments that were made on this blog, including all the nice comments people made after the post announcing that this blog was more or less coming to a close. It was an accident. I thought I was just deleting them from an internal control section, but it turned out I deleted them entirely, and I can't figure out how to restore them.

For any of you who made those comments, if you happen to look at this blog again, take my word, it was nothing personal, just a function of stupidity on my part.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Senatorial President

Traditionally, a United States Senator's job has been to do the best he can for his home state's constituency -- if need be, at the expense of other states. Senators lobby to land government contracts for companies located in their states, and to get laws passed which will be favor for their states' industries. An effective Senator will bring home as much federal largesse as possible. 

Donald Trump seems to see himself as the Senator from the United States. Right now he's trying to get fairer trade deals for our country, especially with China. He's looking out for the interests of his constituency, which is basically America's middle class, and is trying to bring companies and jobs back home. 

It's a job which previous Presidents seem to have considered beneath their dignity. Most of them preferred to see themselves as statesmen, or grand visionaries, or, perhaps, leaders of the free world. And they all had a sense of the ruffled feathers and potential chaos that trying to level the economic playing field would bring. So none could be bothered to disrupt the status quo. 

Certainly all of the implicit threats of trade wars emanating from the Trump administration have been creating havoc in the financial markets. And Trump's own shoot-from-the-hip, freewheeling, keep-the-opponent-off-balance negotiating style has not been reassuring. 

But we have long been regarded as a pitiful, helpless giant by other countries which have wanted to protect their own industries while being allowed more or less free access to our markets. And Trump wants to end that imbalance. 

He's also annoyed by the fact that other countries don't pay their fair share for NATO, and is trying to rectify that. He's trying to get a better deal for the US. Which, as our President, is what he should be doing. 

Trump's ego is as obtrusive as a second head on his shoulders, and Presidential decorum ranks low on his list of priorities. But, again unlike previous Presidents, he seems to have meant everything he said while running, and is doing his best to make good on his campaign promises. 

Trump is our Senatorial President. 

Obama seemed to view his job as President as if he were the head of the world's largest foundation, with the power to dole out lots of goodies to his favored constituencies, both here and abroad. He seemed to have little sense of how the money which funded the foundation was originally made. And for that reason, he never seemed to quite get why capitalism is more effective than communism. 

This country is better off with a Senator than a foundation head in the Oval Office. 

A true feminist

A lot of feminists pay lip service to the idea that "whatever a man can do, a woman can do better." But the women who are most inclined to chant that slogan often seem to be those least inclined to live up to it. They are not the ones who join the military, start corporations, or act as the breadwinners for their families.

Instead, they prefer to participate in protests, hold placards, complain about how they are oppressed by the patriarchy, lecture others, and regard themselves as morally superior.

So it's reassuring to see that one woman, Samantha Ray Mears, has actually taken that maxim to heart, and has made an honest effort to outdo men at their own game.

Actions speak louder than words.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The time has come....

I probably won't bring this blog to a complete halt, but I plan to slow it way, way down. The posts, if they come at all, will be much less frequent.

I started it ten years ago as a way to let off steam, and I've done that. But for the last couple years I've found myself saying the same thing over and over, in only slightly different ways.

Maybe more to the point, blogging has recently felt like a chore.

Check back in a month, or a year, I'll probably have written something. And who knows, I may feel the need to vent more than I expect. (Signing up for the email alert will save you the time you'd waste coming here to see if there's anything new.)

To those of you who are newcomers, you should still find plenty of entertaining stuff in the archives.

A big thank you to those of you who've been regular readers, and an even bigger thank you to those of you who've been regular commenters. One of the most gratifying things about writing it has been the high number of smart people -- many smarter than me -- who've read it.

Update: To those of you who wrote in after this post, I apologize for having accidentally deleted all the comments. (I'm particularly sorry for myself; those comments would have warmed me in my old age.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The solution to our Muslim immigration problems

A young man recently suggested to me that the way to solve all the problems that seem to arrive with immigrants from Muslim countries is to accept only their gay men and their hot young women. 

It would be justifiable because gay men are certainly discriminated against in those countries -- to the point of being thrown off rooftops. And women are obviously second class citizens in any Islamic society. So both of these groups can more creditably lay claim to be fleeing persecution than all of those aggressive young men we seem to get stuck with. 

From our point of view, gay men would probably be less prone to violence, and they certainly wouldn't go around raping Western women. Instead of having a repeat of that infamous mass molestation in Cologne, they could have mass fashion critiques instead. ("Plaids and stripes in the same outfit? May Allah be with you!")

As far as the hot young women, well, that's self-explanatory. 

The young man knows, of course, that there's no chance such a policy will be instituted. 

But that's not to say the West wouldn't be far better off if it were.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Was Orwell right?

The NY Post ran an article this morning about Sean Miller, the basketball coach at the University of Arizona, who was caught on tape by the FBI offering $100,000 to a sports agent to insure that 7'1" DeAndre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.

One of the more striking things about the article was the picture of the 49-year-old Miller:

His face seems to reflect a combination of dishonesty and greed. He's clapping for someone or something here, and he seems to realize he's supposed to be smiling, but it's a half-hearted smile that barely informs his mouth, and certainly doesn't reach his eyes. The eyes, in fact, look concerned, judging from the knitted brow.

(He looks like a Wall Street banker applauding the right values while wondering how, by paying lip service to those values, he can manipulate others to his own advantage.)

Maybe it's unfair, but it's easier to see greed in the face of a fat person, and Miller has the jowls and round face of a man who doesn't like to limit himself at the dinner table. And he has the well cut, expensive suit of a vain guy who indulges himself sartorially, too.

(There's always something a little questionable about a coach who harangues his athletes about staying in shape while allowing himself to get pudgy.)

As far as the dishonesty goes, here is the statement he released after he fired his assistant for corruption last fall:

“As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past eight years and will continue to do so as we move forward.”

(Dishonesty often seems to make its presence known through overemphasis.)

George Orwell once famously said, “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”

This isn't always true; but it often is. 

Miller, who was born on November 17, 1968, is a year ahead of schedule.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Feminist contradictions

Last week Aly Raisman and Paige Spiranac let nude photos of themselves be released last week, and both stated that doing so was "empowering." That both young women felt obliged to attach this feminist trope to their exhibitionism was a telling sign of the age we live in.

Showing off one's body is perfectly natural, if not quite laudable. And there's always a receptive audience for young women who want to pose that way. But why did they feel the necessity to try to frame their nude photos as an expression of feminism? Had they said it was "exhilarating," or maybe "excitingly exposing," it would probably have been closer to the truth.

Another feminist movement which seems founded at least partly in exhibitionism is the "free the nipple" movement. Some feminists are now saying that if men get to walk around bare-chested, women should have the same right. You see, it's all a matter of equal rights.

But at the same time, feminists say that if women are stared at, and thus made to feel uncomfortable, this is unacceptable. One can't help but be reminded of the woman who wears deep d├ęcolletage and then complains that men gawk at her breasts.

Feminists now say that if a woman is desired, she is being "objectified," a verb intended to convey the vague sense that men think of women as being nothing more than inanimate toys. But why else would a woman pose naked, unless she wanted to be "objectified?"

Most women of course, don't subscribe to that kind of silliness, though a large fraction of those who don't still feel obliged to at least pay lip service to feminism. But given the way some feminists complain about being objectified, one would think there might be an "ugly industry" to protect women against the horror of being viewed as an object. Yet there's no such thing. There's only an immense beauty industry.

The very idea of an "ugly industry" is, of course, silly. But, when you think about it, it's no sillier than complaining about being "objectified," i.e., desired.

We hear feminists talk a lot about how strong and smart and capable women are. But they also say that if a woman has so much as two drinks, she's unable to make a rational decision about whether to have sex, and therefore if she acquiesces, it means she's been raped. How does that show intelligence and strength?

Feminists tell us that women can be Army Rangers, yet they also say that women must be protected from dirty jokes, which are now termed "verbal assault." What will happen when the bullets are flying and some male Ranger, in the heat of battle, makes an obscene comment about the enemy? Will the female Rangers just throw down their weapons and fall apart at that point?

Slut shaming is now a concept: feminists tell us that women should not be criticized for their promiscuity. Yet if a man tries to kiss a woman but is rebuffed, he is now considered to have made "an unwanted sexual advance." Ergo, making passes is cause for shame, but accepting them is not. Does this dichotomy not require men to be mind readers so as not to run afoul of feminist doctrine?

The Left constantly berates conservatives for viewing homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice," as if the gays have any control over whom they're attracted to. Yet if a man is attracted only to slender women, feminists lambaste him for his "patriarchal sense of beauty" -- as if he has any choice about whom he's attracted to. (And doesn't this sound an awful lot as if some feminists are bitter that they're not objectified?)

The idea of gay conversion therapy is anathema to the Left. Yet the Left is constantly trying to get men to think of different types of women -- who are not their type -- as being desirable. Is this not simply gay conversion therapy for heterosexuals?

And it's not as if women don't have their own set of physical standards for men. As the #Metoo movement has made clear, ugly men are far more likely to be accused of unwanted sexual advance than handsome men are. Ought the Harvey Weinsteins of the world have the right to complain about a "matriarchal sense of handsomeness?"

Does a movement with so many inherent contradictions have any chance of standing the test of time?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

What if they did try to keep the "mentally ill" from having guns?

Everybody seems to agree in principle that keeping guns away from someone like Nikolas Cruz is a good idea. The problem is, spotting people like him ahead of time.

It seems increasingly likely that some form of autism, probably Aspergers, was part of the lethal mix that added up to Nikolas Cruz's bloodthirsty personality. We've also heard that he was depressed, and that he was suffering from the sting of romantic rejection. He may have been on medication. And it seems fairly apparent he had a generalized resentment against Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School, which had expelled him.

But the common thread between Cruz and a lot of the other recent mass killers -- like Christopher Harper-Mercer, Elliot Rodger, Adam Lanza, and Seung-Hui Cho -- has been that they have been on the autistic spectrum.

So, the most commonsensical way for Congress to approach keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill would be to make it illegal for people with Aspergers, or more severe forms of autism, to have firearms.

Let's pause to consider, just for a moment, what would happen if Congress attempted this.

Aspergers support groups would let forth a primal scream which would be heard coast to coast. They would say that the vast majority of Aspies are law abiding, peaceful citizens -- and they would be right about that.

They would say that Aspies are far more likely to be picked on than they are to pick on other people. They'd be right about that.

The support groups would point out the futility of trying to keep Aspies from having guns, when the vast majority of people who have Aspergers are never even diagnosed. They'd be right about that.

And then, the AMA would point out that such a law might violate the doctor patient confidentiality principle. And the psychiatric industry would claim that such a law would discourage people who suffer from autism from seeking treatment. And they'd both be right.

We would be bombarded with lists of all the famous and successful people with Aspergers who had contributed to the development of civilization. Such lists are widespread; and Aspies seem to like to claim kinship with many great men who may or may not have been members of their club. (As long as you're great, if you have any quirks at all, you must be an Aspie, as far as they're concerned.)

Support groups would run ads featuring productive, good-looking, seemingly well-adjusted Aspies and say, see, this is the face of Aspergers.

They would scream discrimination. And they would be right: preventing any group, no matter how much more statistically violent, from having guns does constitute discrimination of a sort.

I almost wish Congress would try to appease the Left by "discriminating" against the one group which is in fact far more likely to commit mass shootings than any other.

The Left is constantly calling for more gun control, and for guns to be kept out of the hands of the "mentally ill." They are also constantly decrying any form of "discrimination" they can think of.

It would be fun to see them try to reconcile those conflicting goals.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Our short attention spans

The extent to which the media determines what we think about is pretty amazing, when you think about it. We're constantly assaulted by headlines screaming about whatever the latest cause for outrage is, and while we're reading about that, we tend to forget about whatever was deemed important the previous year. Or month.

Marshall McLuhan famous phrase, "The medium is the message," is far truer now than it was in 1964 when he coined it.

Up until the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke this past October, the big cause was tearing down Confederate statues, and maybe even expunging those slaveholders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson from the honor roll of our nation's history.

But when was the last time you thought about Confederate statues? October? Didn't the media portray that as a matter of utmost urgency back then? How did they slip so suddenly, and completely, from the radar? Are our attentions spans really that short?


When was the last time you thought about the unresolved questions about Stephen Paddock and the Las Vegas massacre? Or the London Bridge and Manchester terrorist attacks in Britain? When was the last time you thought about Hurricanes Harvey (which hit Houston) or Maria (Puerto Rico)?

Obviously, some events have more political ramifications, others fewer. And, of course, it's the job of news organizations to report current events, not past ones. Nonetheless, there are issues they prefer to bury, and issues they don't.

If they don't want us to think about something in the first place, they simply drop the subject after barely covering it, if they cover it at all. And it goes right down the memory hole. This is why stonewalling is such a successful tactic. This is what happened to Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and Benghazi. The Obama administration simply refused to come clean, or release documents, and eventually, with no outrage from the media, we just forgot about them.

As the Russia investigation seems to be gradually morphing from a potential Republican scandal into a Democratic one, the same will undoubtedly happen here. The media will distract us from the matter of Christopher Steele and Fusion with more timely scandals, manufactured or not. And Fusion will slip down the memory hole too.

We all have a certain amount of ADD built into our brains, and the media knows how to take advantage of that to keep us focused on whatever they want us focused on.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Winter Olympics

About six or seven people have asked me this week if I'd been watching the Winter Olympics. After I told them I hadn't been, two of them said something to the effect of, "But what they do is really amazing. The skill those snowboarders show......And the speed skaters, they're really impressive."

They both said this as if somehow I might not have realized that. But I'm well aware that to get to the Olympics, you have to be an incredible athlete in almost any sport. I can neither dance nor skate, so dancing on skates is beyond my comprehension. I'd never have the courage to even attempt the kinds of flips and twists the snowboarders execute. (Mostly because I know I'd never make them, but also because I've simply never been comfortable in midair.)

But, that's not really the issue. The issue is that those sports simply don't grab me.

That said, I'll probably waste a little time Thursday and Friday evenings watching the women's ACC swimming championships on the internet.

Now, you may ask, perfectly reasonably, why would I waste my time watching the third best college conference championship of a boring sport, and the women, at that? (No self-respecting male basketball fan follows the WNBA.) Especially when the best winter sports athletes in the world are on display on hi-definition TV.

It's because for some reason, early on, I just got fixated on swimming. (And, to a lesser extent, track and the martial arts.)

I'm not trying to justify that in any way, or rationalize it. All I can say is, that's who I am.

I'm not using that phrase the way some people say, "That's not who we are," trying to frame people who don't share their particular political motivations as having a lesser morality.

I'm using the phrase in the sense of, that's what turns me on.

Given that swimming was my sport, this may show a lack of imagination, or a lack of flexibility, or an overall lack of adventurousness of spirit.

Honestly, it probably shows all three of those things.

But there's a limit to what we can spend our time appreciating. You could spend your entire life focused on the ballet, on those incredible leaps and balancing acts the dancers are capable of. You could spend an infinite amount of time appreciating the power and range and timing of the voices one can hear at the opera. You could spend endless weekends at museums, marveling over the incredible skill and painstaking workmanship that went into creating the masterpieces on display.

But most of us simply choose to remain within our small circle of interests, and do what we're used to.

Well, some of us more than others, I guess.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Would we be better off with a sociopath as President?

Gethin recently commented that he was starting to wonder whether it really matters whether a political leader is a sociopath or narcissist, since narcissism is ubiquitous amongst bullies, and that most wars could probably have been averted had world leaders been less narcissistic.

The answer is probably yes and no.

You can make the case that at a certain level -- mostly the PR level -- we'd be better off with a sociopath than just a narcissist at the helm. A sociopath of similar intelligence wouldn't make all the faux pas that Trump does. He'd be more skilled at hiding his ego behind a cloak of false nobility. And he wouldn't be in the habit of blurting out his real thoughts in such an impolitic manner.

The downside of having a sociopath is that he wouldn't really care about helping America, or Americans. He'd be focused instead on doing what made him look good, especially in the short run. (Think about how some sociopaths will bask in the glory of falsely claimed accomplishments even as they realize they will be exposed eventually; this is just their nature.) 

A narcissist would be more concerned about how he'll look in the long run. 

And, going back to Gethin's original point about war: sociopaths are, by nature, less concerned about loss of life, more aggressive, and sometimes even more bloodthirsty than narcissists.

We're better off with a narcissist. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Being able to criticize one's own candidate

One difference that becomes apparent to anyone who follows these things, and it was never clearer than it was last year, is that there is a fundamental difference between Right and Left in their ability to acknowledge their own candidates' shortcomings.

Practically everyone I knew who voted for Trump would say something like, "Yeah, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for the guy."

In fact, I know very few people who support Trump politically but are unwilling to admit that he's a narcissistic personality. Most Trump voters will admit that he's vulgar, thin-skinned, boastful, and easily distracted.

Many will also say that they wish he'd put away his Twitter button, or be more diplomatic, or just hold his tongue more and not get in spats with the likes of Rosie O'Donnell.

This presents a striking contrast to Democrats, who rarely if ever admitted that there was anything wrong with Hillary, or Obama, even as both of them exhibited obvious personality syndromes.

If I get into a political discussion with a liberal, I am inevitably lectured on what a horrible man Trump is.

I'll usually say something to the effect of, "Yes, he's a 'hole, but I agree with him on the issues." I might even volunteer that he's a narcissistic personality with ADHD." But then I'll add, "But Hillary is an outright sociopath. You do know she's totally corrupt, don't you?"

At this juncture I'm usually given a look of disbelief and a quick, dismissive shake of the head.

If I ever say, "Are you aware that she sold 20% of all the North American uranium rights to Russia in exchange for a contribution to the Clinton Foundation," I'm greeted by a blank stare and then a dismissive wave of the hand, as if what I was suggesting was too preposterous to be true.

Or, they might respond, "If that's true, then why have I never heard about that?"

When I explain that it's because they only read the mainstream media, which prefers to gloss over her sins, they will shake their heads contemptuously, as if the very thought of Hillary doing anything like that was too ridiculous to be true.

I might say, "What do you make of the fact that Hillary now says that all women who claim to be rape victims deserve to be heard, but that she was in charge of the so called 'bimbo eruptions' caused by her husband Bill? And she did her best to insult and even intimidate the women. Not only that, but earlier in her career she defended a 44-year-old man against charges that he had raped a 12-year-old girl, got him off on an apparently erroneous lie detector test result, and then joked about it afterwards."

At that point I will be given a disbelieving look, as if I'm full of crazy ideas that aren't even worth discussing, and the liberal might say, in an incredulous tone of voice, "Uh, what's your source on that?" Then they might add, sarcastically, "Faux News?"

If I ever say, "You know, Hillary's the type of person who yells and screams at her personal security details and in general treats them like personal servants. The Arkansas State Troopers hated her, Secret Service personnel considered working for her hardship duty, and her State Department security detail actually celebrated when she broke her arm," I'm usually given a look indicating that I'm hopelessly naive to believe such obviously untrue rumors.

If I say something like, "You do realize that Hillary's basically a functional alcoholic, right?" I might be told, "Oh please, everybody drinks. It doesn't mean they're all alcoholics" -- as if I can't tell the difference between little social drinking and full blown alcoholism.

And in all these cases, nobody wants to hear any of the evidence. I always wanted to say, "Hey, here, read this!" But of course I can't just pull out a blog post in the course of conversation and force someone to read it. And even if I were somehow able to, they wouldn't believe any of it anyway, or would dismiss it with a pish-posh gesture.

This isn't true of every last liberal; and certainly every last conservative isn't willing to be critical of Trump. But as a rule, it's true. Many on the Left seem to lack whatever element it is in the personality that allows for sheepishness.

What does it say about the Left that it's composed mostly of people who can never, ever admit fault with their own side? 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"A Wrong Turn for Drama"

In July '09 I wrote a post about the smartest guy I'd ever met, Jon Leaf. Among other things, he now writes for the National Review. Here is his trenchant and funny review of Sam Shepard's work, which crystallizes every vague feeling I've ever had about Shepard.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

If feminists covered the crime beat

This blog has previously speculated on what would happen if fashion writers covered crime. What would happen if feminists covered the crime beat?

Aileen Wuornos

Aileen was a martyr for our cause. She devoted her life to teaching men, one at a time, that "No" means no! This was one woman whose pussy you couldn't grab! Unfortunately, she was executed after being unjustly railroaded by a chauvinistic kangaroo court. But she will always be remembered for having covered herself in glory by taking a strong stand against the patriarchy! #Womenwhowon'tbedominated

Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco was a She-E-O who broke the glass ceiling in the highly competitive nonprescription pharmaceutical business. She ran away from home at age 14 to escape the sexual assaults from her mother's boyfriend, and from then on survived by her wits. As tough as any of her male colleagues, she even enjoyed herself as some men do. According to Wiki:

Court records show Blanco... would force men and women to have sex at gunpoint, and had frequent bisexual orgies. Her favorite possessions included an emerald and gold MAC 10 machine pistol, Eva Peron’s pearls and a tea set once used by the Queen of England.... In court, it was revealed that Blanco killed three former husbands as well as strippers, business rivals – and innocent bystanders...

Why should men get all the enjoyment? Blanca's literal take no prisoners style of doing business resulted in her becoming a guest of the United States for ten years beginning in 1985. But Griselda was no pushover, continuing to run her empire even though confined. Anything a man (like the one at top, left) can do, a woman can do better! #Girlsjustwannahavefun

Genene Jones

Genene was an early advocate of birth control -- both regular and retroactive. Only a caring woman would be so concerned about overpopulation, and no one can deny that Genene did her bit. In fact, she was far more effective in her efforts to solve Mother Earth's problems than most men could ever hope to be. In the words of G.D. Anderson, ""Feminism isn't about making women strong. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength."#Strongwomen

Lorena Bobbitt

Lorena was the ultimate feminist. Lorena's husband John battered and abused her, boasted about his infidelities, and stole and spent her earnings. Worst of all, as she told the police on the night she was arrested, "He always have orgasm [sic], and he doesn't wait for me ever to have orgasm. He's selfish!"

So, like any good feminist, she decided to attack the phallocracy at its very root. True female liberation can only be achieved through from separating males from the source of their power! You go girl!! #Ifyoucutoffmyreproductivechoice,canIcutoffyours?

Leona Helmsley

Who's the Queen of the Helmsley Palace? Leona! In her own words, "I've always wanted to be the biggest real estate man to come down the pike." Well, Leona got her wish, running an over $5 billion real estate empire after her husband died. But while she may have had to marry for money, once she got her hands on it, she refused to kowtow to any man. According to Wiki:

Once, at one of the Helmsley hotels, the waiter brought him [her lawyer Alan Dershowitz] a cup of tea with a tiny bit of water spilled on the saucer. She grabbed the cup from him and smashed it on the floor, then demanded that the waiter get down on his hands and knees and beg for his job.

That's showing those men who's boss! Thank you Leona for being on the right side of history! #Taxesareforthelittlepeople

Sandra Avila Beltran

Sandra Avila Beltran ran her medicinal export business so cleverly that when the male oppressors came after her, all they could get her for was money laundering, not unlike the way the Feds were only able to get Al Capone for tax evasion. When initially arrested, Avila described herself as a housewife who earned a little money on the side "selling clothes and renting houses." Talk about modesty! Sandra is a crusader for the downtrodden, too: while in jail in Mexico City, she filed a complaint with the Mexico City Human Rights Commission, saying that the ban on bringing in food from restaurants violated her human rights. #Silenceisnotanoption

Bonnie Parker

Bonnie only lived to the age of 23, but she achieved lasting fame for having broken into the heretofore male-donated business of unauthorized bank withdrawals. As a young girl, she felt frustrated by the provincialism of life in Dallas, but soon went on to bigger and better things with partner Clyde Barrow. Unfortunately, government officials, who hated the idea of a woman being so successful at breaking glass ceilings, killed her. Bonnie, you left us too soon! #Onlyweakmenfearstrongwomen

Phoolan Devi

Phoolan Devi, 1963 - 2001, the legendary Bandit Queen, was born into an impoverished low caste Mallah family in India, but rose to become a member of Parliament before her assassination at age 38. At age 16 she ran away from an arranged marriage with a man three times her age, and fell in with a local band of dacoits. Tensions grew between the Rajput members of the gang and the Mallah members until there was a gunfight, won by the Rajputs, and Phoolan was taken to a Rajput village, where she was raped repeatedly. Phoolan escaped, and later organized a new band of bandits with whom she returned to that village seven months later. Frustrated that she couldn't find the men who had raped her, she and her fellow gang members lined up 22 other Rajput men and shot them all dead. That showed those men what happens to rapists -- or, well, at least their tribesmen! #Metoo

Daniela Poggiali

The joyful Daniela Poggiali helped cut short the pain and suffering of countless elderly people under her care. And all the while, as you can see above, she never lost her sense of humor! As the great Oprah Winfrey said, "There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they just have to die." Don't worry Oprah, we're all impatient for that to happen, especially Daniela! #38andcounting

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme

Not many girls from Redondo Beach, California, could dream of making the cover of both Time and Newsweek, but Squeaky did! And she did because she was so adventurous. First, she left her own family to join another. Then she went solo and tried to gain an audience with President Gerald Ford, almost changing the course of history! She's now a free woman living quietly in upstate New York, but she'll always be remembered for her glory days. #Thisiswhatafeministlookslike!

Hillary Clinton

The greatest feminist ever may have been Hillary Clinton, who has attempted to break down innumerable barriers. She tried to enlist in the Marines in 1975, though they turned her down. She broke into the fast-paced men's world of cattle futures trading, turning a $1000 investment into a $100,000 windfall. She continued those entrepreneurial ways with the Clinton Foundation, using her power as Secretary of State to bring in funds from all over the world. She even approved the sale of 20% of all North American uranium mining rights to Russia after an appropriate contribution was made. Even though she had to abide the presence of a lot of male pigs throughout her career, she let them know what she thought of them in no uncertain terms! She bravely survived a sniper attack in Bosnia. And most importantly, she did this all all by herself! #Ididn'tneedamantosucceed

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Introducing heroes at the SOTU

Not sure how I feel about the recent tradition of Presidents introducing all sorts of heroes at their State of the Union addresses. The people introduced last night were all deserving of either admiration or sympathy, but most were also obviously being trotted out to help make political points.

They had Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashley Leppert, who rescued dozens of people from a helicopter during Hurricane Harvey.

Firefighter David Dahlberg, who rescued 62 children from the recent wildfires in southern California.

Steve Staub, who is growing his manufacturing business by 23 to 37 employees thanks to the recent tax cuts and deregulation, along with one of his welders, Corey Adams.

Twelve-year-old Preston Sharp, who organized the placing of over 40,000 flowers on veterans' graves. (This provided a lead in to Trump's statement about how we should stand for the flag and the national anthem.)

Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddie Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens, the parents of two girls who were murdered by MS-13 members. They provided a stark backdrop to Trump's statement about how we have to clamp down on gangs, in particular that one.

Homeland Security agent Celestino Martinez, who has spent his career fighting violent street gangs like MS-13. (Always better to show a Hispanic fighting other Hispanics, so as to deemphasize the racial component to violent crime.)

Police officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca, who adopted a baby from a homeless woman whom Ryan convinced not to inject heroin while pregnant. (Cops were in the doghouse during Obama's last couple years in office, and stories like this help balance the public view.)

Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck, who risked his life in Raqqa to bravely -- and skillfully -- rescue his infantry squad mate Kenton Stacy.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, parents of Otto Warmer, who was imprisoned and tortured -- and basically, killed -- by North Korea.

Ji Seong-ho, who escaped from North Korea and whose siblings had to eat dirt to assuage their hunger.

(Have there ever been that many people introduced at a SOTU before?)

The Trump administration obviously took great care to make sure that the people introduced represented a broad cross section of the population, and that it was balanced both racially and in terms of gender. (To do otherwise would be politically suicidal.)

It's great that these heroes are getting this publicity. I had never heard of any of them (beside the parents of the victims, who are in a somewhat different category than the heroes), and even if they served primarily as political props, it's great that they got the air time.

Publicizing people like this, rather than actors and various sports "heroes," is what the media should be doing. Real heroism is about self-sacrifice, not being a well-paid star.

Quick -- how many recent Medal of Honor winners can you name? Hmm. But, you can probably name at least three of the Kardashian sisters, can't you? (Don't worry, this isn't you fault -- it's the media's fault.)

It was also edifying to see these people just because they're a reminder that real heroes look like ordinary people (not like Arnold Schwarzenegger or George Clooney).

It was also interesting to think about the contrast between the heroes and members of Congress. Politicians are for the most part slicksters who are good at feigning earnestness, at obfuscation, at double talk, and at self-promotion. The type of people who are good at these things are generally the opposite of the types who put their own lives on the line for someone else. (Not always, but usually.)

In a way, it's sort of a reality show. Some of the people seemed a little overwhelmed by the moment, though most reacted as they were supposed to. The mothers of the MS-13 victims and Otto Warmbier's mother cried, which was appropriate. The Korean fellow defiantly brandished his crutches, which seemed fitting. And most just wore awkward smiles. My guess is that Justin Peck was more nervous about appearing on TV than he was going into the second floor of that hospital to rescue his squad mate.

 I guess, on balance, I'm happy that all these people were introduced. They certainly made the speech go a lot quicker.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Do fake Twitter followers correlate with fake muscles?

Just saw an article in the NY Post, Britt McHenry, Ray Lewis exposed for Twitter-follower desperation buysThe relevant excerpt:

It is unknown whether McHenry, Lewis and several other figures themselves paid to improve their Twitter popularity or if someone else purchased the following for them. Either way, their followings have been enhanced by a shadowy company in Devumi, which creates fake accounts that give the appearance that a person’s following is grander than it seems. Having many Twitter followers can lend credibility and marketability to a person, especially those in media who want to show employers that a significant audience will follow them. McHenry worked for ESPN until being a victim of April’s layoffs, for which she attributed to herself being a conservative. Lewis is currently a Fox Sports analyst.

Also named in the sham buys were former Cowboys wide receiver and current ESPN analyst Joey Galloway, Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, MLB free agent Brandon Phillips, Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson and former rowing champion James Cracknell.

How many followers were purchased, and at what cost, are unknown. The site advertises that “5,000-plus” fake accounts can be had for $49.

Here's Ray Lewis during his playing days: 

You can decide for yourself whether or not he was on the juice. This past May I made the case that breaststroker Adam Peaty --

It's hard not to wonder if there's a correlation here. You'd think that the kind of person willing to buy fake Twitter followers in order to look better would also be the type willing to pretend that his store-bought muscles were merely the result of hard training. 

Well, maybe I shouldn't feel that bad that this blog averages only around a thousand readers per day. 

Or that my muscles are so puny.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Nahanni National Park, Canada

I was talking with a young man recently about how few remote, unpopulated places there are left in the world, and he told me about a place in Canada's Northwest Territories, Deadman's Valley, which was about as remote as anywhere in the world:

He said it was called that because of its macabre history. The local Indians, the Dene, had always avoided it, since they regarded it as very dangerous place. Later on when the white man explored the area, many of them ended up dead as well.

From Mysterious Universe:

The Nahanni Valley has been steeped in folklore and mystery since it was first inhabited around 9 to 10 thousand years ago. Many tribes were afraid to settle within the region as they believed it to be an evil, haunted place inhabited by various spirits, specters, and devils. Those who did come here, such as the native Dene people, told of mysterious creatures lurking in the vast forests, and were plagued by the enigmatic, aggressive, and violent Naha tribe of the mountains. This tribe was said to consist of fierce warriors who wore masks and armor adorned with frightening imagery and were known to brutally decapitate their victims. Warriors of the Naha tribe were said to be larger than normal men and to wield strange and powerful weapons that no one had ever seen before. The fearsome Naha tribe itself has become one of the area’s many mysteries, as the whole tribe is said to have suddenly and inexplicably disappeared from the face of the earth, and it has never been ascertained just what happened to them. They have seemingly just vanished without a trace.

When European fur traders first came to the valley in the 18th century, they were impressed by the legends and beauty of the valley, and word quickly spread about this far flung wilderness...[M]any explorers believed it to possess vast reserves of untapped gold. It was during this era of miners seeking their fortunes among the rugged terrain of Nahanni that the valley’s more insidious and macabre legend began to emerge, particularly in a part of the park called the 200 Mile Gorge. In 1908, brothers Willie and Frank McLeod came prospecting in the valley just as many others had done before them. The two packed up their gear, headed out into the wilderness, and never returned. After a year had passed, it was presumed that the brothers must have succumbed to the elements or any of the countless perils the area had to offer, such as sinkholes, jagged gorges, and wild animals... Then, as suddenly as they had vanished, the two men were found dead along the river. Their bodies had been decapitated and the heads were nowhere to be found.

A spooky story to be sure, but it would not be an isolated case, nor the last victims the valley would claim. In 1917, a Swiss prospector by the name of Martin Jorgenson made his way to Nahanni to try his hand at finding gold. At first, Jorgenson seemed to have settled well in the valley. He built a cabin, ran a small mining operation, and was generally well-known by settlers in the area. When Jorgenson’s cabin mysteriously burned down to the ground, the prospector’s skeleton was found among the ashes without its head, and a search of the charred remains of the cabin found no trace of the skull. In 1945, a miner from Ontario was found dead in his sleeping bag without his head.... 

These mysterious deaths are not the only oddities the valley holds. In addition to the mysterious beheadings, a good many others simply went missing without a trace. It is thought that around 44 people had vanished under mysterious circumstances in the valley by 1969...The area is also known for its cryptids, as it is a hotspot for Bigfoot activity and is believed by some to hold a remnant population of a type of bear-like carnivore called the bear dog, or Amphicyonidae, which was thought to have gone extinct in the Pleistocene epoch. In addition to this strangeness, a bizarre find was made in an ice cave called Grotte Valerie, where the ancient skeletons of over 100 sheep were found, apparently having starved to death in around 2,500 BC. The grim find has earned the cave the nickname of “The Gallery of Lost Sheep.”

To this day, it is not known who or what is responsible for the beheadings and disappearances in the Nahanni Valley, but their legacy certainly remains in the menacing place names throughout the valley, such as Deadmen Valley, Headless Creek, Headless Range and the Funeral Range. Theories abound on what could be the culprit behind the killings, encompassing everything from the rational to the outlandish.... The disappearances could be the result of any number of perils to be found in the wilderness here. After all, this is an inhospitable place of extreme cold, filled with unexplored caves, gullies, jagged rocks, and ravenous beasts such as grizzly bears. For all of the ideas offered, in the end no one really knows what decapitated these bodies or why, and it is still unknown as to what happened to the people who disappeared.

It is hard to say what lies behind these mysteries. The area is so forbidding and remote that very few people other than adventurous rafters ever set foot here. Despite its status as a National Park, Nahanni Valley remains for the most part unexplored, and there are very large portions that have never been properly surveyed. The only geological surveys ever done here were done from the air, and the vast majority of the wilderness here remains an enigma. The few efforts to explore the area in any kind of depth have turned up vast, unknown cavern systems, caves, and huge warrens of underground hot springs and vents previously not known to exist. Some believe that a lost world full of new species lies here. What other mysteries and oddities does the Nahanni Valley hold? Is there something malevolent hiding out there in this rugged wilderness that could have something to do with its violent and sinister past? Until more investigation is done, it will continue to remain a perplexing and very creepy mystery.

The area surrounding Deadman's Valley was turned into Nahanni National Park in 1972. More territory was added to the park until it eventually totaled 12,805 square miles of protected land. But to this day there are absolutely no roads leading to the park. It is accessible only by plane or boat, so very few people go there.

Geographically, Nahanni has an amazing variety of different features. It has thermal springs:

It has Rabbitkettle, one of the world's largest tufa mounds (composed of calcium carbonate leeching out of a hot spring):

One group of mountains are called the Cirque of the Unclimbables:

Virginia Falls, at 95 meters high, is twice as tall as Niagara:

I've been to Yosemite in the summertime, and the Yosemite Valley parking lot is as crowded as the one at Disney World. At Yellowstone, I actually experienced a traffic jam.

With no roads leading to Nahanni, it is as desolate as anyone could wish.

That said, it seems to have lost some of its forbidding aspect. The decapitating Naha have disappeared, there have been no recent sightings of the bear dog/dire wolf, and the humanoid creatures have not been seen recently either. You can even take a whitewater rafting trip there.

But, there are still places there which are described as "unexplored," such as the 20 kilometer long Scimitar Canyon, cut by the Ram River:

(Can you imagine? A canyon that dramatic, 20 kilometers long, which no one has explored yet because it's too dangerous?)

And there are mountains there which no one has even bothered to name yet.

While reading about the Northwest Territories, I also stumbled across this picture of the world's largest beaver dam, in Wood Buffalo National Park:

It measures 2800 feet across. It wasn't even discovered until 2007, via a satellite image (it can be seen from outer space). This place, too, is inaccessible by car, in fact no roads go anywhere near it. The first man to visit it had to trek through 200 miles of unforgiving wilderness in 2014 to lay eyes on it.

It's nice to know such remote places still exist.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


I have a friend whose wife has terminal cancer. He recently told me that he could rank people on character based on how aggressive they've been in trying to see her, vs. how close they were before she got sick.

He gave me several examples, with specifics, of people who only knew his wife as a passing acquaintance, and in a couple cases actively avoided her. Yet now that she's dying they act as if they had been great friends. Even when my friend -- and his wife -- demur, they insist on coming to visit her at the hospital.

As he told me about this, I couldn't help but think of Ted Bundy working that suicide hotline so he could savor the pain of the suicidal while simultaneously burnishing his credentials for niceness.

Obviously none of the people my friend described are serial killers. But some of them may, at a certain level, be savoring her pain in a ghoulish way -- whether or not they're even aware that that's what they're doing. 

If anyone suggested this to them, they would probably get quite angry. But sometimes people aren't even fully aware of their own motivations. I'd guess they all tell themselves they're being helpful in someone's time of need. But dig a little deeper and their motivations may be more complex. 

And when you've actively avoided someone, to act as if you were her close friend when she's dying shows, at the very least, a lot of dishonesty. 

It's possible that some of these people genuinely want to help. 

It's possible.  

But when someone hasn't been in touch for, say, six years or more, and then comes barging back into your life and insists on taking center stage, even when it's been made clear that their help is really not wanted, something's amiss.

It was all the more frustrating for my friend to deal with them since he has to remain polite and thankful to them, since they are, after all, ostensibly being helpful.

My friend never used the word "ghoul" while describing these people. (He referred to their behavior as "virtue signaling," which is also a good description of what it is.)

But listening to him, I couldn't help but get the impression that what some of them really wanted was a ringside seat to his wife's gradual death.  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Stormy, Part II

While writing yesterday's post about Stormy Daniels, one thought which kept running through my mind was, "She sure isn't my type." Statuesque and blonde and buxom just isn't my thing.

But while Google-imaging her for photos to use, I stumbled across this one --

-- and to my surprise, found her attractive. Usually, a woman looks better with a little bit of makeup. But the difference here is that for once, she actually looks like Stephanie Clifford (her real name). In almost all her other pictures, she doesn't quite look like a real woman.

I'm not using that phrase the way feminists use it, with "real woman" = fat woman. I'm using it in the sense that she looks like someone who thinks and acts and behaves -- and more importantly, gets turned on -- like an actual female.

That last part seems particularly important given that she's in a profession where faking passion is part of the job.

(I see more real passion reflected in her expression above than in those phony glamour shots in the previous post.)

Unfortunately, she may even be a bit too passionate, as that photo was taken after her arrest for domestic violence. She evidently hit her husband after she was displeased with the way he had done the laundry, and because of an unpaid bill.

Passion inevitably follows a downhill course: it starts its journey sparked by the things discussed in this post, and ends up being ignited by how the household chores get done.

(On a separate note, what kind of man calls the police after his wife punches him?)

But my larger point here is that whenever a woman is all dolled up to look like a sex object, and seems to expect you to react accordingly, I don't. Implants and a big phony smile always seems to be saying, "Aren't I irresistible?" My automatic reaction is, no, you're not.

I also stumbled across this picture:

And once again, I was surprised by the playfulness (I think) I see in her face, and how that makes her attractive, if you can get past the fake hair and boobs. She even looks intelligent, which is actually sort of a turn on for me. (I know, that makes me sort of an oddball/pervert, but there you have it.)

I made the mistake in my previous life of getting together a few times with women I thought I should be attracted to, but simply wasn't. And that inevitably led to some awkwardness and embarrassment and, on a couple occasions, hurt feelings.

(In retrospect, it was just an incredibly stupid thing for me to do. One thing I found out early on: no matter how hard I try, I can't fake a hard on.)

Give me a mousy little brunette with an IQ of 130+ and no makeup any day.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stormy Daniels

Most of the articles covering the Stormy Daniels affair have highlighted the more salacious aspects of her relationship with Donald Trump, but it's worth reading her entire interview with In Touch Weekly, from 2011, five years before she was reportedly paid $130,000 to stay silent about her fling with Trump. (The IT interview was originally squashed.)

The interview left me with a couple of impressions. First, that Trump is pretty much a regular guy. (He's as vain in private as in public, but that's hardly a surprise.)

Secondly, and actually more interesting, is that Daniels herself is surprisingly intelligent, witty, and commonsensical. Most people think of porn actresses as substance-abusing bimbos from dysfunctional backgrounds, often for good reason. But Daniels has a good sense of who she is, has no illusions about her place in society, and completely "gets" Trump.

A few quotes from Daniels, in italics, with my comments in between in parentheses.

Stormy: ...I’ve never seen him drink. Maybe he doesn’t. I’m not sure. Which is funny because he has a vodka [brand]. I actually remember saying, “Aren’t you going to drink your vodka?” at a different party. So yeah, I don’t think he drinks. We hung out for a while. We talked. He asked me a lot of questions about my business. You know, the business I work in and how it works and how it functions. All like technical questions. He was very curious. Not necessarily about the sex or anything like that, but business questions. He kept showing me he was on the cover of a magazine that had just come out and it was some sort of money magazine, I wish I could remember which one it was. But he had it in the room and he kept showing it to me and I was like, “Dude, I know who you are.” He was trying to sell me, I guess. The first time I met him, the first couple of hours, he was very full of himself, like he was trying to impress me or something. But I do remember he just kept talking about this magazine that he was on the cover of, like, “Look at this magazine, don’t I look great on the cover?”

(Any doubts I had about whether Daniels was telling the truth about Trump disappeared upon reading that last line; his vanity is unmistakeable. This segment also confirms Trump's account of himself as a teetotaler.)

Stormy: We were talking about all sorts of things. I remember he asked me like, “I gotta ask you a question and I don’t want to get you offended” and I was like, “Trust me, you can’t.” I was expecting some sort of vulgar question and it wasn’t; it was something about how much money I make off the royalties of something. And then I remember saying to him, “Ok well I have a question for you and it IS offensive.” And I asked him about his hair. I was like, “Dude, what’s up with that?” and he laughed and he said, “You know, everybody wants to give me a makeover and I’ve been offered all this money and all these free treatments.” And I was like, “What is the deal? Don’t you want to upgrade that? Come on, man.” He said that he thought that if he cut his hair or changed it, that he would lose his power and his wealth. And I laughed hysterically at him.

IT: What did he say?

Stormy: He took it pretty well.

(Trump sees himself as Samson? That was news to me. At least he seemed to take Daniels' playful jab with more equanimity than he normally does when insulted.)

Stormy: Yup. And then he goes....“You know what? You’re really smart. You’re not dumb.” And I was like, “Thanks, d---. What does that mean?” And he goes, “You should be on [his show, "The Apprentice"]. And I was like, “Really? No, I don’t think so.” And he just kept thinking about it, I could see his little wheels turning. He goes, “No, it would be really, really good for you. People would think you’re just this idiot with blond hair and big boobs. You would be perfect for it because you’re such a smart businesswoman. You write and you direct and you produce and obviously you’re hot and you’re beautiful.” And I was like, “Well, it’s never going to happen. NBC is never going to let a porn star on.” And he was like, “I can make it happen.” And I was like, “You can’t. I dare you.” I was totally egging him on. And that was kind of like the thing, he was like, “No, we have to work on this for you.” And that was sort of what he tried to bait me with for an entire year. He was like, “We have to get together to talk about your appearance on.” But he was serious. I think when it hit him in the moment, he was like, “Yeah, this is going to be really good.” And it could have. Of course, it would have been sensational. He just kept pushing for it, pushing for it. And he was like, “Would you do it?” I was like, “You know what, I’m not going to waste my energy on thinking about it, but if you actually have the power to make it happen, then I’ll do it.”

Good for Daniels for not allowing her hopes to get too high, and to recognize that NBC would balk at allowing a porn star on their show. She's not "educated," you can tell by the way she used the word "like" nine times in the above quote. But education is overrated, and you can sense her intelligence in the way she challenged Trump to try to get her on his show. 
IT: And it was his idea?

Stormy: Oh yeah. 100%. It didn’t even occur to me before. Honestly, I have never watched the show, and I still haven’t watched the show. I travel too much to watch a lot of TV. I had to use the bathroom and I went to the restroom, which was in the bedroom. Like I said, it was a big suite. I could describe the suite perfectly. When I came out, he was sitting on the bed and he was like, “Come here.” And I was like, “Ugh, here we go.” And we started kissing. I actually don’t even know why I did it but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, “Please don’t try to pay me.” And then I remember thinking, “But I bet if he did, it would be a lot.”

IT: This is what you were thinking during sex?

Stormy: Yeah, isn’t that horrible? But I remember thinking, “I hope he doesn’t think I’m a hooker.” Not that I have anything against hookers. I just personally have never done it. Still, I have no idea why I did it. Honestly, I really don’t.

IT: Were you attracted to him?

Stormy: Would you be? I was more like fascinated. I was definitely stimulated. We had a really good banter. Good conversation for a couple hours. I could tell he was nice, intelligent in conversation.

(You've got to love how honest Daniels was when answering whether she was attracted to him; she described the dynamic when women meet a famous man perfectly.)

IT: Did you think the conversation would have led to what happened?

Stormy: Yeah.

IT: Going to the bathroom, did you think you were going to come out and encounter that?

Stormy: That he was going to be in bed? No, I just had to pee. So anyway, the sex was nothing crazy. He wasn’t like, chain me to the bed or anything. It was one position. I can definitely describe his junk perfectly, if I ever have to. He definitely seemed smitten after that. He was like, “I wanna see you again, when can I see you again?”

(Again, Trump as regular guy.)

IT: Was the sex romantic?

Stormy: It was textbook generic. It wasn’t like, “Oh my God, I love you.” He wasn’t like Fabio or anything. He wasn’t trying to have, like, porn sex.

IT: Did he say anything to you during?

Stormy: Nothing freaky. Like, “Oh yeah, that feels good. That’s amazing.” You know. It was one position, what you would expect someone his age to do. It wasn’t bad. Don’t get me wrong.

(This falls somewhat short of Marla Maples' famous quote about Trump, "Best sex I ever had," but it's not damning, either.)

Stormy: ...That’s when he broke the news to me that it almost went through but there’s somebody that had a problem and it got vetoed and blah blah blah. I was like, “I told you, you couldn’t make it happen.” I was pretty annoyed. He kept rubbing my leg and was like, “You know, you’re so beautiful. I love your little nose, it’s like a little beet.” I go, “Did you say a beet? Like, what the f---?” I started giving him a hard time about it. And he goes, “No, no, no, no! It’s majestic. It’s a very smart nose, like an eagle.” I was like, “Just keep digging, dude. Keep digging that hole.” Like I said, we had this banter...

(I've thought of porn stars as a lot of things before, but never witty. But give Daniels credit. At one point she reportedly considered running for the Senate in Louisiana, and had been planning to use the campaign slogan, "Stormy Daniels -- Screwing People Honestly.")

IT: How do you feel about all this — the broken promises? What’s your take?

Stormy: I don’t really know. I don’t have any animosity or whatever.

IT: Do you feel like a fool for believing him?

Stormy: No. I wasn’t like going around telling everybody, “Oh my God, I’m going to be on.” It’s not like I bought into it 100%. I was challenging him to make it happen. I figured my shot was 50-50 even though he swore up and down it was 100. It’s not just him. I never really get my hopes up on big stuff like that.

Again, good for Daniels for staying on an even keel, for not getting visions of sugar plums, for not holding a grudge, and for maintaining her sense of humor throughout. The interview isn't quite enough to change my general opinion of porn stars, but it's easy to be won over by Daniels.