Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Kudos to grammarians at Pep Boys

"We go further to help you go farther" seems to be their new slogan. The distinction between those two adjectives is often missed, but those purveyors of after-market automotive equipment did not miss it. Well played!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Serious questions for WRAL

Hello, news producers! I'd like to believe your station's "facts, not fear" tagline with respect to the story of the year so far. I really would. But how come I haven't heard a single anchor or reporter talking about covid-19 statistics in our state ever question Governor Cooper's medical honcho, Dr. Mandy Cohen, about methodology, or mention what I now know that doctors call "co-morbidities"? 

How many covid-19 deaths are really covid-19 deaths? Is there anyone around the property who remembers enough philosophy to ask  about the difference between "necessary" and "sufficient"? Would (or do) any of you consider the possibility that even science might be (or has been) politicized?

Not just a fine band name

"Pandemic Overreaction" has given us a multitude of reasons to believe in the law of  unintended consequences, especially in this strangest of presidential election years. Five months into panicked municipal response to the Wuhan coronavirus, and we've already seen the demise or crippling of all of the following things:
  • Public houses (aka Pubs)
  • Printed church bulletins
  • Smorgasbords
  • Self-serve soda fountains
  • Honest journalism
  • Children's theatre
  • Concert venues
  • Gymnasiums
  • Spectator sports
  • Team sports
  • Historical memory
  • Public education
  • Freedom of speech, press, and peaceable assembly
  • Free exercise of (congregational) religion
  • Bar tending
  • Martial arts studios
  • Music festivals
  • Campaign rallies
  • Air shows
  • Home and garden tours 
  • Law and order
  • Summer camps
  • Reflexive allegiance to expert opinion

Monday, July 6, 2020

Art smarts

School Teacher / Jon Havickszoon Steen (circa 1668).
Favorite comments:
"So THIS is the 1619 Project" / 
"Cupcake Mommy is late today" /
"He's about to pop that kid in the head with the Great Spoon of Knowledge" / 
"We don't need no education; we don't need no thought control." /
"No one is writing with their left hand. Where are all the sinister children?" /
"No, no! It's I before E except after C." /
"You can write a story about every character there." /

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Unexpected music

True stories that brightened my day:
  • Most of the signs in my local Korean grocery store are, naturally enough, in Korean. But on my most recent visit there, Loggins & Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll" was playing over store speakers while I shopped. Good times!
  • The higher-end fuel stations around here that serve both prepared and pre-packaged food still have their dining areas closed for the sake of pandemic precaution while North Carolina grapples with the Wuhan coronavirus. But there's something absurdly entertaining about eating tacos in a parking lot to the soundtrack of Blue Oyster Cult's "Burning for You."

Saturday, June 20, 2020

A fine film for Juneteenth

My queen and I enjoyed Miss Virginia last night. Virginia Walden Ford is not well known outside the ambit of education reform in the District of Columbia, but she's a woman worth celebrating, and the 2019 movie about her crusade for children does a good job of that.

Thursday, June 18, 2020


These are, as Gerard Vanderleun notes, strange days. Erick Hoffer's great book "The True Believer" deserves re-reading, and not simply because it explains why Confederate statues aren't the only ones being ripped down

I find that a little recourse to first principles as articulated by sober-minded pundits who can also entertain helps -- along with prayer! -- to get through the times we're in. Here are memes, and here (below) are excerpts from some of the more thought-provoking essays I've read lately:

The long-term strategic objective of the leftists is to turn the United States into Venezuela, and they want to be Maduro. The major strategic objective that will put them in position to do so is victory in the November elections. Everything happening right now is part of their overall strategy to achieve that objective. But what kind of operation are they using to achieve that objective? There are two types of operations relevant here – kinetic and information. A kinetic operation is actual warfare. It’s violence designed to defeat the enemy and cause his surrender by either physically destroying him or occupying his territory and compelling surrender. An information operation is designed to affect the perceptions, and thereby the actions, of the target. Kinetic ops tend to do something to the enemy; and info op tends to get the target to do something to himself.

Elections are usually information operations.
-- Kurt Schlichter: This Leftist Tantrum is an Information Operation and Trump is Winning It

Christian conservatives have not triumphed. Rather, cultural defeat and the near-total exclusion of social conservatives from power in the Democratic Party have left us with no options except the GOP and a defensive crouch in the court system. Thus, we end up supporting anyone who will work with and protect us, whether he is a boorish real estate developer and TV personality or a Mormon technocrat with a pro-choice record.
-- Nathanael Blake: Christians Have Very Good Reasons to Fear an Increasingly Hostile American Regime

For too long we have tolerated — some of us out of good manners, some thinking it unimportant, some effectively co-opted by the Left, and some just plain cowards — lies about American history. In the process, we have forfeited our past. The argument that America is morally indefensible has pretty much won the day. Even those who can’t possibly believe it are too cowed to resist it.
-- H.W. Crocker: The Price of Lies

Would it be impolite to mention that every damn one of the Confederate commanders whom Petraeus wants to toss in the dustbin of history was a Democrat? And is it also out of line to note that a memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment (an all-black unit that fought bravely for the Union in the Civil War) was recently vandalized by rioters claiming solidarity with Black Lives Matter? Neither public education nor progressive ideology recognizes irony.
-- Patrick O'Hannigan (yup, that 'graph is mine): Rename Fort Bragg? Don't Do It

There will be no end to these demands to remove statues, because they are not made in good faith. The people making them are not attempting to make a more just and harmonious world; they’re aiming to tear America down beyond its foundations.

But if [Doug] Bandow insists on serving the communist revolutionaries at his rope store, may I suggest he at least charge full retail prices? Before we accede to demands that statues of Lee, or Washington, or Columbus, or Lincoln, or any of America’s other founding figures, be obliterated from public view, can we at least get something for them beyond empty promises of peace in our time? Can we at least force the bowdlerizers to offer up a consideration or two?
-- Scott McKay: Disagreeing with Doug Bandow on Robert E. Lee

...most of what you read online today is pointless. It’s not important to your life. It’s not going to help you make better decisions. It’s not going to help you understand the world. It’s not going to help you develop deep and meaningful connections with the people around you. The only thing it’s really doing is altering your mood and perhaps your behavior.
-- Winifred Gallagher: Why You Should Stop Reading News