Sunday, 26 July 2015

Bring on the Guardians

An in-depth look at what, as far as I am personally concerned, is the ONLY game of 2015 that we should really, REALLY care about for the Xbox One:

If that evidence is anything to go by, HALO 5: Guardians will indeed be amazing.

343 Industries has a huge amount riding on this game. This, as far as they are concerned, is it. HALO 4 got a lot of stick from fans and the industry- mostly for the wrong reasons, in my opinion; I thought then and still think today that it was one of the best games I've ever played, and was a worthy and emotionally powerful follow-up to HALO 3.

Given that I consider H3 to be the greatest game ever released, of any genre, that's high praise.

But not all HALO fans think like me. Nor should they. And quite a lot of them disliked H4 because of its focus on more personal relationships rather than the epic scale and scope of previous games. They also didn't much care for the new villain. And I will readily admit that H4's gameplay was not quite as engrossing as that of its predecessors, for a variety of reasons.

With this game, 343i has a chance to prove to everyone that the HALO franchise is theirs to own, develop, and expand. They must succeed with this one. Anything less than a blockbuster will be a failure for them.

October 27th should, therefore, be a very interesting day...

Great band, lousy audience

That's what I think EVERY TIME I see the legendary DEEP PURPLE play live in America:

DEEP PURPLE holds a very special place in my metalhead heart. The very first rock gig that yours truly ever went to was DEEP PURPLE's gig at Fort Canning Park, Singapore, in 2002. I still have the T-shirt from that gig. I still consider Machine Head and Purpendicular to be hard-rock staples.

I subsequently saw them play live something like three times in London- once at the Astoria in 2005, which still ranks right up there in the top 10 concerts I've ever seen that didn't involve IRON MAIDEN or AMON AMARTH. And I've seen them play at least twice in the US.

And I can tell you this from personal and quite frustrating experience: audiences in Europe and Asia love this band's new(er) material. They don't just want to hear every single track off Machine Head.

Audiences in the US? Totally different story.

I remember them playing what was at the time one of their very best tracks off their then-new album, a rather intriguing number called "Rapture of the Deep" at Radio City Music Hall. The entire audience was practically goddamn asleep. They'd played the same song live at the Astoria in London in 2005, and the crowd- composed largely of teenagers and twenty-somethings, not geriatric old fogeys- went bonkers.

Of course, the Americans all started showing signs of life when the older material was played. So when "Lazy" and "Smoke on the Water" were played, of course, people got on their feet.

Watching that was... depressing, to put it mildly.

I have seen a similar story repeat for many "old-school" bands that come through the US.

Every single RUSH concert I've ever been to- and I've seen RUSH live at least 6 times in the last 8 years- has had the same problem: audiences sitting on their butts for two and a half hours, and only showing signs of life when "Tom Sawyer" or "Spirit of Radio" are played.

URIAH HEEP? Same story.

AC/DC? Don't even get me started.

MOTORHEAD? The best gig of theirs that I have ever seen was at Brixton Academy for their 30th anniversary tour in 2006. The audience went so crazy that night, I was amazed the place was still standing afterwards. Their gigs in the US just don't compare in terms of intensity or power.

Fans like that are what give "classic rock" a bad name. Give me Japanese or European fans over that any day.
... Yeah, pretty much, actually...

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Careening face-first down the side of the pyramid

This picture will be immediately familiar to you if you have ever purchased a box of cereal. It is, as I surely need not tell you, the ubiquitous US Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid. It summarises in a handy-dandy family-friendly graphic what our Benevolent Government Overlords believe we should be eating, and in what quantities.

Of course, if you're a paranoid reactionary right-wing lunatic tin-foil-hat-wearing gun nut like me, the very fact that the US government is telling you what to eat should be sending you running screaming for the hills with an awful case of the twitching heebie-jeebies.

(Off-topic: does anyone know where that phrase comes from???)

And, of course, if you've successfully unplugged from the government propaganda that constitutes government-sponsored and ratified "education" in our modern world, you will know that the entire pyramid is built out of the scientific equivalent of sand and air bubbles.

If the actual evidence of the last 40 years is anything to go by, that food pyramid is designed specifically to make us fat, sick, and stupid.

Indeed, a rather good case could be made that the US government treats us like livestock being fattened up for slaughter.

After all, a grain-based diet is precisely what most mass-production livestock farmers feed the neutered bulls that end up on your dinner table as steaks, ribs, and chops. The reason for this is that grain-fed meat has more fat, and therefore more marbling and taste, than grass-fed meat, which tastes "gamey".

(Personally, I love the taste of grass-fed meat. But that's me. I don't recall ever claiming that I have a complete set of screws in place, after all.)

The problem with doing this is that grains are NOT something that cows, goats, and sheep are naturally good at processing. Eating large amounts of soy- and grain-based feed makes them very susceptible to disease. Which is why the livestock industry spends quite a chunk of change on antibiotics to stop their herds from dying out in droves.

Sound familiar?

So what happens when you ignore the conventional wisdom about eating and dieting, and start eating the way Mankind was meant to? In other words, if you take that stupid food pyramid and turn it upside down, making fats, oils, and meat your primary sources of energy?

Well, for more than four years, that is precisely what I've been doing. And now that I'm getting a bit long in the tooth, I've started going for regular checkups. Those checkups naturally involve blood tests for liver enzymes, white blood cell counts, thyroid hormones- and cholesterol.

I got the results back yesterday. They reveal precisely what I thought they would: I am, in fact, disgustingly healthy.

Here is my latest lipid panel:

Cholesterol = 160
Triglycerides = 54
HDL = 54
LDL = 95

By standard medical definitions, you'll want your cholesterol to be under 200, your triglycerides to be under 150, your HDL to be over 40, and your LDL to be under 160.

A cholesterol ratio- (Triglycerides + LDL) / HDL- of under 5 is, according to conventional wisdom, good. (That the conventional understanding of "dietary cholesterol" is mostly flat-out wrong is beside the point.)

Mine is 2.96. That is, to use the official medical jargon, pretty f***ing good.

Now, obviously, what I think of the "lipid hypothesis" can politely be summed up as "use as toilet paper substitute, if there aren't any leaves or tree bark handy". But for a variety of reasons, people with fancy medical degrees take those numbers seriously. It is what it is.

Other numbers, though, actually are useful. And again, my specific numbers are very, very good.

My blood pressure readings are normal; if anything, they're maybe a little on the low side. My immune system is highly robust. My vitamin-D and thyroid levels are all squeaky clean.

And I got to this level of rude health (and I do mean rude) by basically doing things that America's Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health, and so on, would like me to believe will put me in an early grave.

Now, one could argue that this is because I have great genetics. Except, it is not true. I have no idea what my parents' cholesterol numbers are, but I have good reason to believe that, in my father's case at least, they are pretty high. Both of my parents have high blood pressure problems. My mother's side of the family has a history of heart disease. Both parents have family histories of problems with obesity. I have a diabetic uncle. Every single member of my extended family, except my niece, has weight problems.

You could also argue that my numbers are good because, my body's groaning and creaking about the stresses I put on it notwithstanding, I'm still fairly young (and stupid). Again, not the whole story. My sister is quite a bit younger than me. She has had health problems related to her weight all of her life. She is significantly shorter than me and weighs more than I do- and I stand a fairly robust 177cm with a mass of roughly 83Kg.

Out of my entire family, both close and extended, I'm the only one of the bunch that has gone off "conventional" eating. I'm one of just a few who didn't try some newfangled HerbaLife soy-based diet. And I'm the only one, out of something like twelve or thirteen of us, who is fitter, leaner, stronger, and healthier today than he or she was ten years ago.

And this is despite the fact that, when it comes to eating Paleo or anything like it, I'm not terribly strict about it.

I have a very high tolerance for dairy products, and consume them daily. I drink at least one glass of wine with dinner every night- and I'm quite partial to fine single-malt Scotch (and more than a few very good double-malts, too), brandy, and gin, all of which I consume weekly. I'll drink a Coke Zero or Diet Root Beer maybe once a week- even though I find the taste as queer as a three-dollar bill. I'm highly partial to very dark chocolate- 85% or higher in cacao.

I'm really not fanatical about the way I eat- at least, by the standards of the Paleo Diet; compared to the rest of my family, I'm very fussy about what I eat. But I do stick to the basic principles quite closely- very little or no starch, lots of meat, plenty of crunchy greens, plenty of coconut oil and butter and bacon fat, and a good heaping helping of fruit for taste. And I keep my Omega balances in line using lots of high-quality fish oil.

Exactly none of this is what they teach you in school about what constitutes good eating. Yet this is the way that humans ate for tens of thousands of years. It worked well to keep us strong, healthy, and fit. And since we've abandoned those eating patterns, we have gotten smaller, weaker, and sicker as a species.

Er... well... maybe not necessarily smaller
The food pyramid is, quite simply, a lie. I'm living proof of that. There is little point in wasting your time, money, and future on a set of "guidelines" apparently designed specifically to make you fat, weak, and sick.

Outward to convert, then inward to destroy

You keep telling yourself that, bucko
The whole LGBTIQWTFISTHISBS movement appears to be having a severe identity crisis (pun intended):
A Pride event in Scotland has banned drag queens because they might offend trans-gender people. Organisers of the show, established to celebrate diversity and tolerance, say the presence of drag queens could make the trans-gendered feel “uncomfortable.” 
Drag performances have historically been a feature of almost all Pride events, however Free Pride Scotland, which was set up as an “anti-commercialist” rival of Glasgow’s main Pride event, appears to be the first to take the decision to exclude them. 
The organization claims to create “a safe space for all people within the LGBTQIA+ community,” and not to “discriminate.” However, they say, “the needs of the most marginalised groups within our community come first. After much discussion, the trans and non-binary caucus decided not to have drag acts perform at the event,” wrote Free Pride Scotland on their blog.
Er... so let me see if I can figure this out. (And note that, despite having two degrees in mathematics, an IQ about three standard deviations to the right of average, and a general knack for solving knotty issues quickly, I almost certainly won't.)

Drag queens, aka transvestites, are not permitted at events celebrating gay "pride", because men dress up as women for a "hobby". But men who think of themselves as women, aka transsexuals, and who actually do claim to be women, like Bruce Jenner, are to be welcomed with open arms.

In other words, the only distinction between being a drag queen, a fairy, and a man with severe mental issues is FEELZ.

Hey, if you're annoyed by the spazzing and twitching above, be nice to me, I just had to try to decipher not just Leftist "logic", but gay Leftist "logic". On a Saturday morning, when the Sun is shining outside. That's a level of mindf***ery that no sane, straight, self-confident man should ever have to deal with.

On a slightly more serious note, it is worth pointing out that this sort of lunacy is actually neither surprising nor unprecedented. It's idiotic, to be sure, but there is ample reason for it.

The first thing you have to understand about progressivism is that it is an ideology. And ideology, as anyone who reads the Supreme Dark Overlord's works on a daily basis, is not about rigourously defined, soundly derived, empirically tested, and timeless principles or values. Ideology is always and everywhere a set of ideas that contradict nature and the laws of nature's Creator. An ideology is by definition incapable of existing on its own merits, and therefore requires constant external validation, support, and reinforcement.

And of course, because there is no real supporting structure behind an ideology, it is very easy for anyone of sufficient skill, ambition, and ruthlessness to take that ideology and turn it on its own followers.

The chocolatiering movement is fracturing along ideological fault lines. This is not surprising. We have seen this happen before, time and again, with pretty much every single Communist revolution, ever.

Back when the Communists first came to power in Russia in 1917, an internal power struggle between the radical Mensheviks and the even more radical Bolsheviks split the revolution wide open. We all know who won that argument. But that wasn't the end of the internal dissent.

Leon Trotsky, a highly intelligent but ultimately self-hating Jew, wanted worldwide revolution because of his ideological "purity"; his main rival, one Josef Dzhugashvili, was a far more ruthless and pragmatic character whose only objective was power for its own sake. Again, we know who won that power struggle. And at least sixty million Russians died because of it.

When radical Communist Maurice Bishop came to power in Grenada, he essentially ruled by decree, until an even more radical character came along to overthrow and execute him. That time, happily, the USA under President Raptor-Riding-Badass Reagan actually had the balls to go in, kill people, break stuff, and reveal Communism for the utterly inept and useless nonsense that it really is.

The pattern remains the same, each and every time an ideology rears its ugly, senseless head. First the ideologues reach outward to convert. Once they have converted enough people to achieve their ostensibly peaceful and benign aims, they always turn inward to destroy those of insufficient faith and zeal. This pattern has repeated faithfully throughout history, right back to the French Revolution, that unholy agglomeration of evil and stupidity that spawned our present predicament.

The gay "pride" movement is doing the exact same thing. Having achieved its supposedly benign aim of enforcing gay "marriage" (at gunpoint, no less), the ideologues are overreaching. They are now attempting to stamp out those of insufficient purity and dedication to The Cause... whatever that might be.

All they are really doing, of course, is ensuring that the coming backlash against them will be all the more horrific in its consequences.

I would love to see them attempt to defend their debauchery when- not if, but when- the breakup of the United States of America occurs. That rupture will almost certainly result in polities that have neither the time nor the patience for liberal stupidities such as the gay rights movement, which means that it is very likely that homosexuality, especially male homosexuality, will once again be punishable by imprisonment or death.

I do not claim to want such an outcome. I violently detest gay culture. I find it degenerate, disgusting, immoral, and twisted. But I wish no harm upon gays. If homosexuals wish to indulge in their own peculiar... acts behind closed doors, that is between them and the good Lord; let them do so in peace.

And it behooves those of us of a conservative nature to recognise that there are, in fact, gays who are on our side.

But by their very extremism, their own intolerance for dissent, their own refusal to listen to reason, the gay "rights" movement is now revealing its true face. I would not be surprised to see a ruthless purging of "moderate" types from that movement in the near future. As the story above shows, that process has already begun.

And I very much fear that those of us who, like me, subscribe to a "live-and-let-live" philosophy when it comes to gays, will actually be considered limp-wristed moderates when the Reclamation gathers steam.

When people like me, who are willing to tolerate gays, but would sooner approve of an act involving a tub of jello, a three-breasted Martian whore, and Shamu the killer whale, are the moderates, those who pushed the homogamy agenda to such an extreme are going to find very good reason to get on their knees and pray to the very God that they have spent so long vilifying for mercy.

And as that very same God as shown in the past, even His mercy has its limits.

On a closing note, what, I wonder, would a civil war within the gay "rights" movement look like? I suspect we're going to find out. And it will likely involve a LOT of brightly coloured shiny sequins.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

God what an awful racket...

A reader (and fellow Vile Faceless Minion) emailed me recently to express appreciation for my taste in music (!!!). He also mentioned in passing that his tastes tend more towards symphonic metal. Since I am nothing if not obliging toward my readers (yeah, OK, even I had a tough time keeping a straight face at that one), all 3 of them, I figured I might as well promote some of the better symphonic metal that I've been listening to of late.

DELAIN are a Dutch metal band with a female singer. I first saw them live when they opened for... er... um... I think it might have been KAMELOT? Anyway, I thought the lead act was actually pretty boring- I'm not a fan of KAMELOT- but DELAIN absolutely killed it live.

It doesn't hurt that Charlotte Wessels looks like, well, this:

Admittedly, there is a LOT of makeup involved. She's a natural redhead, with serious freckles.
Looks notwithstanding- and the night I saw them play live, she was smokin' hot- this girl can also SING. And DELAIN's latest album is outstanding. There isn't a single bad song on the entire thing, not even the otherwise rather cheesy "Stardust". Well worth your hard-earned cash if that's your kind of music.

They also opened for NIGHTWISH, along with SABATON, back in April. Whoever it was that had the stroke of genius to put those three bands together on the same tour is being criminally underpaid. That was a very memorable night.

While on the subject of symphonic metal- if you're into that sort of thing, there's a Japanese power metal band called GALNERYUS that has done some rather good stuff in the past in the genre:

And then, of course, there's AVANTASIA:

If only Tobias Sammet would bring that same songwriting skill and passion to his main band, EDGUY... Those guys went from being one of the finest power metal bands around to just another boring generic hard-rock band.

And finally, completely off-topic but still utterly awesome, check out the almighty BRUCE DICKINSON's work from his last solo album:

Hard to believe it's been more than 10 years since the Son of God Bruce released his last solo album. I'd say he's overdue to give us another one, but I really want him fully recovered from his recent fight with cancer. He's a living legend- and I cannot wait to see him bouncing around the stage like a man possessed the next time IRON MAIDEN are on tour.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A most splendid idea

The Great Lie that is multiculturalism is founded upon the utterly absurd belief that no one culture is inherently superior to any other. While the idea sounds wonderful in theory, in practice it has always and everywhere been used to demean and destroy Western cultures- which, along with specific Asian counterparts in China and Japan, have proven to be the highest-achieving and most robust cultures around.

Western culture, founded as it is upon the quite unique combination of Judeo-Christian morality, Greco-Roman philosophy, and post-Enlightenment science (and one can and should argue that the third is derived from the first two), has proven to be vastly superior to any of the alternatives, with the possible exception of post-Meiji Japan. But instead of praising the achievements and values that have built the great civilisations of Europe and America, cultural Marxists have always sought to attack the foundations and ideals that drive Western culture.

They have done so very successfully, for far too long. Today we routinely see Christianity mocked and derided as being "obsolete" or out of touch with reality; in its place, we see them attempt to elevate pagan barbarism and Mohammedan blasphemy by glossing over the absurd, indefensible, and backward foundations of their alternatives.

And what happens when multiculturalists are asked to defend their beliefs, leading as they inevitably do to barbarism and destruction? They dodge; they shout and scream; they disqualify; they lie; and they attempt to stifle any and all free debate by calling "racists" those of us who recognise multiculturalism for the poison that it is.

So it is with considerable approval that I greet the idea put forth by Nick Hallett over at a few days ago:
British society has become increasingly fragmented, to the extent where whole neighbourhoods are transformed into mono-cultural communities with little regard for the outside world. 
Within these communities – especially, it has to be said, the Muslim ones – radical beliefs flourish unchallenged as youths lack any contact with outside ideas – the exact thing diversity campaigners wanted to avoid. 
Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to hold everything together, Britain’s governing elite has tried to force a suffocating political correctness onto the rest of the population – telling them to “celebrate diversity” and take extra care not to offend anyone, while stamping out the horrors of “prejudice”, “bigotry” and “Islamophobia”. 
Freedom of speech and civil liberty suffers while society drifts further apart. 
So what is to be done? Perhaps it’s time for a radical new solution, one that may lead certain people of a hypersensitive liberal-left disposition to spit out their fair trade organic lattes in shock – let’s have a proper debate between all the different faiths about which one is right. 
Let’s stop pussyfooting around and have Christians, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and all the rest setting out their stall and telling the country why they are the one true faith. 
Let’s have televised debates between priests and imams over whether Christ really rose from the dead or Mohammed was divinely inspired. 
Let’s have Jewish leaders defend the Tanach and Hindus try to persuade a sceptical audience about the truth of the Vedas. 
Some may think this may only lead to trouble, but there is no reason why people with deep religious conviction should be put off – as the Archbishop of Canterbury says, if you are so sure that what you believe is the absolute universal truth then you will surely be proved right in a free and open debate. 
After all, religion is nothing if it does not claim to be absolutely true – to explain why we are here, what we should do and what the whole meaning of life is. 
Of course, this also means that if one explanation right, it naturally follows that all the rest must be wrong. Faiths have traditionally used violence and legal suppression as a means to assert their superiority – their truth – so maybe it’s time to find a new, more civilised way for them to confront one another. 
After all, debate is a great civilising force. When conducted in a robust but courteous manner, it can lead to people with radically different views to understand and engage with one another, as well as challenge their own assumptions. 
Multiculturalism has failed so badly because it tries to run from this – at its most idealistic it believes that there are different truths and all of them are just as valid. The trouble is this is nonsense even on its own terms – if there’s no absolute truth, then the idea that there’s no absolute truth cannot be absolutely true.
This is a quite excellent idea, and upon brief reflection, its implementation would open up a number of rather interesting avenues of discussion.

First, it should be readily apparent that Mohammedanism, otherwise known as the political ideology of Islam, rapidly falls apart under any really rigourous cross-examination.

The "prophet" of Islam claimed to be the final and ultimate messenger of God. But he had enormous trouble converting followers to his cause initially, when he started his prophetic career in Medina- and that, by the way, is assuming that he even existed as he is depicted in canonical Islamic texts, which is by no means certain at all. He had these problems because Jews and Christians, having seen true prophets such as Moses and Elijah and Hosea and, of course, the Lord Christ, quite reasonably demanded proof by way of miracles performed by Mohammed.

That he did not perform any is well known- it says so, right there in the Koranic text, that whenever Jews and Christians demanded that he perform them in order to prove his credentials, so to speak, he simply dodged them by reaffirming his supposed status as God's messenger. He still claimed to be delivering the word of God in the form of the text of a book that supposedly has coexisted with God since the beginning of time- which, in reality, changes its contents to suit the needs of the prophet when he feels it to be convenient.

Simply put, under any kind of rigourous scrutiny, Islam just falls apart. And rightly so. As I have said many times and will continue to say, Islam is NOT a religion. It is an ideology- and as such, must be treated with every bit as much suspicion and hostility as socialism and fascism, with which it shares much in common.

Second, Hinduism, when subjected to the same kind of rigourous tests as proposed above, will face some serious problems. And the same is true of most Eastern religions, despite their many individual merits.

Hinduism's appeal lies primarily in the fact that it is a highly syncretic religion. Essentially it posits that there are many gods but only one God- and has absolutely no problem reconciling this statement internally. Each of the Lord-only-knows how many millions of deities within Hinduism- I remember one estimate coming in at something like thirty-three million Vedic gods- are all different aspects of Divine Power.

A natural consequence of this highly heterogeneous religion is that any number of truths are accepted as true. It is entirely possible to be a Hindu and believe in perpetual reincarnation. It is also possible to believe that there is a final destination after death. It is possible to believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God, while still worshipping Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva- despite everything that Christ very clearly stated about false gods.

Of course, as the Breitbart article says above, if everything is true, then nothing is true.

You simply cannot logically argue that black can be white if it so chooses to be. You cannot argue that the intersection of an empty set with a non-empty set is anything other than an empty set.

Third, a rigourous examination of Christian faith and doctrine is not only warranted, but should be welcomed.

Real Christians are very, very good at defending their faith. They have had nearly two thousand years' worth of practice. And that is because, as any reasonably unbiased outsider will be able to see and understand, the Christian faith is derived from what, as far as I can tell, appears to be an axiomatic structure of rules that are tested by both time and practice.

I do not pretend to be expert enough to understand Christianity in its fullness. I am but an ignorant heathen with a very poor knowledge of Scripture. Yet what little I have seen, combined with simple observations of the behaviour of real Christians on a daily basis, tells me that the deep and abiding faith that Christians have in Christ and the Lord God is founded upon something real- something amazing.

By all means, let us put the various religions of the world to the test. Let us see what faiths ennoble and uplift us, and which ones seek merely to subvert and corrupt us. Let us settle these age-old debates the way that free-thinking men should: through reason and open dialogue.

Of course, such disinfecting sunlight is exactly what the multiculturalists loathe with every fibre of their being. All the more reason, then, to shine the light of God upon them, and watch their tortured and absurd ideology shrivel up and burst into flames.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Crazy, but never stupid

Antidem wrote up a truly great post recently about the wisdom that he has gleaned from a rather unusual friend of his. It is a long write-up, but worth every last word. His friend, "Psycho Dish", has some excellent pearls to cast before us poor swine:
“I’ll tell you, this is what happens when you get married for all the wrong reasons,” Psycho Dish told me, as he stared down into his glass, “and it’s easy to do when you’re blinded by the other person being different or exotic. Relationships between people of different races or cultures are tough that way. I’m not saying that nobody should ever do it, but you gotta be extra careful – way more than you’d be otherwise. You have to make damn sure that what you’re marrying is the girl: not her culture, not her country, not a mystique, not your dreams of what Asian girls – or whoever it is that you’re involved with – are like. Marry the girl, or don’t, because in the end, it’s her – not any of that other stuff – that you have to wake up next to every morning.”
They sure don't teach you that stuff in college anymore, what with all of the lessons on "safe sex" and "tolerance" and "diversity" and the horrors of "fat shaming".

And then there are Psycho Dish's views on modern women:
“Here’s the honest truth – women got two things: pussy, and bullshit. It’s all a matter of how much of one you’re willing to put up with for how much of the other.” 
That one made me smile a little. “So the problem with The Empress is that she’s got a bad P over B ratio?” 
Right now, dude, all of ‘em do. Bad enough for me to stay away, at least. I did the husband and father thing, and I tried my best at it. I like to think I’m still a good father to the boy. But where I’m at in life right now, I’ve got my little place to myself where it’s nice and quiet, I’ve got my books to read, I’ve got an old laptop with Netflix on it, I’ve got a fifth of not-half-bad whiskey sitting on my shelf, and no offense to womankind, but I can’t think of anything much I need to add to that to be content.” 
“Nothing?” I asked, with a little smile. 
Psycho Dish smirked. “Yeah, okay, so maybe Netflix isn’t the only kind of videos I watch on that laptop. But getting the real thing just isn’t worth disturbing my peace over.” 
I took a little sip from the drink I’d been nursing, and thought. Finally I asked: “Does that mean you’re done with women for good?” 
Hey, if the right one came along, who knows? But I’m not putting myself out on the meat market just for the sake of doing it, and I’m not going to chase after women I don’t really like just to not be alone.” 
“So what you’re saying is that no company is better than bad company?”
Every extreme introvert, ever, can relate to this. Once you "unplug", as it were, and start understanding reality for what it is, you will find the conversations of people around you to be well-nigh unbearable. It can get so bad, in fact, that you will find yourself wishing that you had a giant "OFF" switch that could simply turn off everybody, and thereby tune out their inanity.

And you will find this to be a particularly severe problem with young, modern women.

If you work in an office environment- as I do- you'll often find yourself hemmed in by cubicles under harsh, sterile artificial lighting. That situation does nothing for a free man- we were never meant to spend 8-12 hours of our day sitting around staring at artificial light under more artificial lights. But as bad as that is, things get infinitely worse when you are surrounded by young, college-educated women.

Depending on your disposition and personality, you might find this to be what fighter jocks call a "target-rich environment". Or, you could find it to be so full of stupid gossip, inane banter, and absurd bitchy nonsense that your only solace is to retreat into the blessed isolation of music piped through headphones.

And that is just at work. Dating in the modern environment is far, far worse.

This is not to say that quality women do not exist- women who have what Antidem here most amusingly would refer to as a "high P-to-B ratio". But, sadly, they are the exceptions now, not the norm. We live in a truly messed up world where young women are taught that they are worth every bit as much as a man and have every right to expect just as much as their male counterparts- right up until the going gets even the slightest bit difficult, at which point the entire edifice of feminism crumbles right back into dust.

But the best insight from Psycho Dish has to be his understanding, gleaned from being right there on the front lines, of the true nature of communism, and why it always turns into tyranny in the end:
Things got worse, especially for Ginnie. She’d do something responsible, checks would be lighter than expected, and the usual suspects would complain louder. And that wasn’t all. A few of the drivers made crude passes at her that were inappropriate even by early 80s standards. Ginnie broke down in tears at a meeting and asked the more responsible members of the collective to back her up, and some wanted to, but there was really nothing they could do about it. Nobody was the boss, so nobody could discipline or fire anybody else, no matter how badly they behaved. Factions developed – roughly, pro-Ginnie (i.e. people who wanted the business to be stable so that they’d still have a job in the future) and anti-Ginnie (i.e. people who wanted to take every cent they could get, right now, and to hell with the future). People denounced each other at meetings instead of making decisions. Getting anything done became impossible. 
“I understand why communism always ends up with a tyrant in charge”, Psycho Dish once told me, “I was just about ready for a Stalin to come in to Taxi Unlimited, kick some ass, and put things back in shape.” 
But no tyrant ever came to save Taxi Unlimited. Ginnie soldiered on for about a year and a half, but when the economy started picking up and she could get something better, she left. Over the next few months, more people followed her out the door until one day Psycho Dish realized there was nobody sober or sane left in the collective. He knew a sinking ship when he saw one, and made for the exits himself. Taxi Unlimited foundered on for a couple of years after that before finally closing down for good. Today all that’s left of it is a Facebook group open to all the ex-employees who didn’t end up eventually overdosing on something or other. Psycho Dish is on it. So is Ginnie, so I guess that not all of her memories of the place were bad ones. 
The lesson that Psycho Dish took away from the whole experience was that communism works fine at the scale of about ten people who all know and trust each other. Get past a dozen people, and problems start to appear; beyond about 25, it gets totally unmanageable, and either collapses or ends up in tyranny. Trying to run a big enterprise or even a whole country like that – well, that’s just a non-starter.
It is often considered blasphemous among neoreactionary types to even flirt with the idea of admitting that there are some circumstances under which communism actually does work. But if we are to be intellectually honest and rigourous, it is necessary to admit this fact. Communism can work. It has worked- just never for very long, and never on a large scale.

The problem with communism, as Psycho Dish discovered and quite rightly points out, is that it can only ever work at the most local possible level.

Communist societies have been tried throughout human history. Every single one has always failed eventually- usually within just a few years, sometimes within a generation or two, always within a century, and always with great human suffering involved at some point. Even ancient Sparta, which was about as close to an "egalitarian" society as we'll probably ever see, was not really about true equality; the ten to twenty-five thousand homoioi, or "peers", were supported by a population of damn near 300,000 slaves. And all such attempts at creating and enforcing equality have failed for the exact same reasons that Psycho Dish points out.

It comes down to trust. The only working example of a "communist" society that we have in modern times, the kibbutzim of Israel, worked only because everyone knew each other, and everyone trusted each other. They were all in it together. They faced the same dangers. They reaped the same rewards. They toiled for the same common goal. And because of this, they were able, for a while at least, to ignore the basic differences that separate men from other men, and men from women.

But even the kibbutzim broke down over time, for reasons that surprised precisely no one other than the Jewish Utopian socialists who tried to engineer their way around the realities of the human condition.

It all goes to show that maybe that crazy drunk sitting at the bar stool next to you isn't really all that crazy after all. He might just have a few words of great wisdom to share.

Just don't tempt fate- ninety-nine times out of a hundred, he really is crazy.

Dear Japan, WTFH?!

First I came across this at John C. Wright's blog:

Yes, that is in fact a bunch of schoolgirls driving tanks for a sporting event.

And then I came across this today at Vox Day's pad:

They're still scraping what's left of my brains off the ceiling of my apartment.

Oh but wait, it gets better- or worse, I suppose, depending on your point of view:

And even weirder still:

Compared to all of that, a GALNERYUS video is downright sane:

At least there isn't a ridiculous amount of fanservice in that vi-

Um... Never mind. And while the brain surgeons are piecing what little is left of my sanity back together, you can enjoy probably the ONLY sane anime that Japan has ever produced.

... That's it. I give up.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Peace through strength

The Gipper's core philosophy continues to make sense:

As much as I respect and admire Bill Whittle, it is worth pointing out one big problem with his analysis.

The reality is that the cancellation of the F-22 is probably one of the very very very few genuinely sound military decisions that President Jackass and his administration has ever made.

The reason for this is simple. The F-22 was designed, originally, in the 1980s, to fight classical 2nd Generation wars between superpowers. It represented then, and still represents today, a qualitative shift in air superiority of the first magnitude. It is a serious contender for the title of most advanced aircraft ever. (The Euroweenies might take umbrage at this, what with their Eurofighter, but then, who gives a toss what the Euzis think.)

But modern warfare has changed, completely and radically. War is no longer a matter of state versus state, in massive pitched battles involving thousands or even millions of men in uniforms and massive engagements across multiple fronts. War has become more local in nature, fought by stateless actors who fight for many different causes, and although warfare has lessened in intensity, it has if anything increased in lethality.

The enemies that the United States faces today are not Russia and China. Indeed, if the boneheads on Capitol Hill and in the White House had even the first clue about the changing rules of geopolitical reality these days, they would understand that William S. Lind and others like him are right, and the Pentaloons and the CIA are wrong. The state is losing its legitimacy, on an almost daily basis. The broad framework of war upon which not only the West but the entire world has operated since roughly 1648, where wars are fought by states, between states, for relatively easily understood reasons, is daily losing value and credibility.

In its place, we see the rise of 4th Generation warfare- a kind of war that the high-tech, magnificently designed, extraordinarily fast F-22 Raptor was never built to fight.

4GW is not about air superiority or supremacy. It is not about "shock and awe". It is not about killing the enemy in massive numbers. Instead, 4GW is about low-intensity, grinding, protracted conflict, in which the counterintuitive action is often the right one.

An expensive, highly fragile, easily broken high-tech toy like the F-22 is utterly unsuited for that reality. And that is why it had to go. Now, if only the United States would retool the rest of its military into a manoeuvre-based, nimble, decentralised, highly responsive 3rd Generation structure, like the British Navy in Horatio Nelson's time, or the Israeli Defence Force prior to about 1980, then perhaps this country might actually have a shot at winning a war against a 4th Generation opponent.

Of course, all of this "strategery" had nothing to do with why Obarmy and his people cancelled the F-22. They did it because, fundamentally, they do not like the idea of a strong America. That they inadvertently ended up making a sensible decision for once is merely a by-product of that hatred of America's strength, and the virtue exhibited by that strength.

For Bill Whittle, and Ronald Reagan, and all other conservative types who truly understand strength, recognise what liberals like Obarmy never can. Quiet strength, when judiciously applied and demonstrated, is a wonderful deterrent against aggression. It is for precisely this reason that Reagan insisted on rebuilding America's military after a decade of severe cuts, and it was his insistence on doing so that broke the back of the Soviet Union's effort to achieve parity and then dominance.

In contests between states, the state which is demonstrably stronger and therefore more easily able to go on the offensive, can often win confrontations without a single shot being fired. It is, quite simply, the power of power.

And that is the one quality of Reagan's philosophy that America appears to have completely forgotten.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Buy their new album. NOW.

Maybe not quite as epic as a Derek Riggs creation, but still not bad
Canadian metal act UNLEASH THE ARCHERS just released their new album, Time Stands Still, last Friday. I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop for the past 3 days, alongside LOST HORIZON's debut album, Awakening the World.

I can tell you without hesitation that this is one of the finest power metal albums that has come along since that latter band came completely unstuck after they released their second, almost equally brilliant, album, A Flame to the Ground Beneath.

These guys absolutely kill it. Their new album simply slays. Whether you start with the epic power-metal anthem "Frozen Steel", the face-ripping "Tonight We Ride", the NWOBHM tribute track "Test Your Metal", the death-thrash fusion of "Crypt", or the epic, impossibly addictive "Dreamcrusher", this album keeps you hooked.

This album defies easy classification into any particular metal sub-genre. It is, quite simply, awesome.

So what are you waiting for? Go get a copy- not least because, if you do, the probability that these crazy-awesome Canadians will do a tour of the East Coast goes way up.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Getting pimp-slapped by reality

If I still used social media, I'd think strongly about making this my profile picture

You know the old saying, "a conservative is a liberal who got mugged by reality"? Well, an ex-CNN anchor discovered just how true that saying is, the hard way:
Former CNN anchor Lynne Russell has spoken out in support of the right to bear arms after her husband's gun saved her from an armed robber. 
Lynne Russell, 68, had stopped for the night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday June 30 when she was reportedly grabbed by an unidentified robber who demanded valuables from her room. 
But she was saved from the attack after her husband former CNN anchor Chuck de Caro- who has served in the special forces - burst out of the shower and gunned the assailant Tomorio Walton down in the nude. 
Russell told FOX411 that having a gun 'absolutely' saved their lives.
De Caro was shot three times and is expected to survive and Russell was not injured. 
'The discussion over the debate to own a gun is just ridiculous. As Americans we have the right to bear arms and as humans the right to protect ourselves. I’m sure that the man who shot my husband did not have a gun permit. Criminals will always have guns. The rest of us legally obtain our gun permits,' Russell said. 
Both Russell and de Caro are long time supporters of the Second Amendment which states that Americans have the right to bear arms. [Didact: While technically correct, this is an incomplete reading of the Second Amendment.]
'If you don’t want to carry please don’t. Then, shut the f--k up about it. Make your own decisions,' she said bluntly. 
Russell told Fox that the government should spend less time arguing about gun control and more time regulating those who can obtain guns.'If you committed a violent crime you can’t get a gun permit. Simple law,' she said.
Can I just say- Mr. de Caro is a badass. A 68-year-old dude jumps out of the shower, buck-ass-naked, guns down an intruder, takes three hits himself, and is still expected to make a full recovery?! That's one of the good Lord's own, right there. The man must have balls the size of church bells- which I'm sure the attacker who made the mistake of his life that day could probably tell us all about, if he weren't so busy being dead.

Mr. de Caro, sir, here's hoping for your speedy and safe recovery.
I'm guessing this is Mr. de Caro's Facebook profile picture
Having said that- Mrs. Russell's case demonstrates a very uncomfortable reality for gun control advocates, one which they literally cannot argue against.

Mr. de Caro did what he had to, because help was minutes away- but he and, more importantly, his wife, were seconds away from being seriously injured or even killed by an armed intruder.

This difference between the minutes that it will take for government officials to respond to calls for help- and that too only in relatively densely populated urban areas- and the seconds, or even fractions of a second, that you have to make a life-or-death decision- is one that liberals repeatedly refuse to face. It completely contradicts their basic argument that the only people who should have guns are law enforcement officers, because of course those enforcers are always around, and are always responsible with their firearms.

... Right?

The rest of us know better. We do not believe that gun control works, based on irrational fears of a well-armed and self-disciplined citizenry- we know that it does not, based on simple logic and decades of empirical evidence. And we know full well that the argument for gun control is not an argument against guns; it is in fact the argument for government control over our lives, and our safety:

There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon. There are only dangerous people. Having trained on defences against sticks, knives, and guns, I can tell you this firsthand: none of these weapons is inherently dangerous. They are made dangerous by the actions of people who pick them up and use them against others.

Even nuclear weapons, as terrifying as they are, are not inherently dangerous. Anyone who thinks that an atomic bomb can just go off by itself is clueless and dreaming. The reality of an atomic weapon is that it requires real action to begin the chain reaction that unleashes the awesome power of atomic fission.

It is the same with a stick, a knife, or a gun. These things, by themselves, are nice to look at and are useful tools. In the right hands, trained in their uses and limitations, they are perfectly safe. In the wrong hands, they are lethal.

And the only true defence against those who use these weapons for selfish and dangerous ends is to meet their threat head-on with more than just a threat. The only way to safely confront such people is with a weapon of your own, that you know how to use and handle safely.

Mrs. Russell rediscovered this timeless truth firsthand. She is one of the lucky ones- she and her husband both take the right, and the duty, of self-defence very seriously.

How many other Americans can say the same?

Monday, 6 July 2015

Stupidity, thy name is "football"

Not American football, mind you- though I readily admit, I don't see the point of gridiron myself:

I will certainly concede that I cannot for the life of me understand American sports such as basketball, baseball, or gridiron. I don't mind ice hockey too much, though that has more to do with the fact that the sport essentially comes down to MMA-On-Ice, with sticks and nets and a blunt black puck-shaped object added in for effect more than anything else- presumably to provide a distraction from all of the flying broken teeth, I guess.

But I have to say, I'm with Bill (and most of the USA) when it comes to "soccer".

It's the most pointless sport on the face of the Earth. (Right after golf. Lord Almighty, but I HATE golf.) No one EVER scores- and that's in the GOOD matches.

There is the odd exception, of course- the most notable among these being the utterly hilarious blitzkrieg unleashed upon the hapless and hopeless Brazilians by the Germans in last year's World Cup. Watching the replay of that match in the gym was pure comedy gold; I remember laughing so hard I could barely balance the bar while doing squats.

However, for the most part, football (as it is properly and correctly known) is, basically, useless.

Case in point: on the afternoon of July 4th, I was at my martial arts school watching four guys test to black belt. That was three hours of pure awesomesauce. We got a chance to see our art expressed at the highest possible level by four men with different backgrounds, skill sets, approaches to fighting, and body types. It was epic, and at the end of it all, they were all scored and they were given belts to signify their new status as certified card-carrying badasses.

Then my buddy and I went down to a nearby sports bar for a beer and a bite to eat. On the TV screens that day- blasphemously, in my humble opinion, given that it was the 4th of July- was a football match between Chile and Argentina. They were 70 minutes in and NO ONE HAD SCORED. They kept shuttling the ball back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, for the next 20 minutes. They then went into overtime, and STILL no one scored.

Finally- finally!!!- it came down to penalty kicks. By which point, we'd paid our tab and were on our way out. I have no idea who won, and I couldn't care less.

Think about that, though. For something close to 100 minutes, two teams of 11 men each basically just ran around chasing a spherical object and accomplished 100 percent of ABSOLUTELY DICK-ALL.

And the worst part is, there were Argentinians at that bar watching the screens with utterly rapt attention, groaning and yelling each time their side repeatedly muffed their attempts to score. If it wasn't so annoying to have to listen to such silliness in close proximity while I was trying to hold a conversation with a good friend, it would have been hilarious.

The fact is that football is boring. It just is. By contrast, gridiron- which, again, I don't pretend to understand in the slightest- is actually interesting, not least because it involves strategy, tactics, and the very real prospect of watching the quarterback become a victim of intentional vehicular homicide every time a snap is called. Yes, it involves watching a bunch of big beefy blokes prancing around a pitch like Kevlar-armour-plated nancies and stopping for tea breaks every 2 minutes, but at least there's an actual sport involved, instead of a lot of running back and forth and up and down and side to side.

If I wanted to watch people running, I'd watch the marathon. (I tend to agree with Dr. John Becker when it comes to marathons: they always get my hopes up- it always looks like 20,000 idiots are leaving the city, but then they just make this big loop and come right back in again...)

If I want to watch a real sport, though, I'll watch tennis, or MMA. Or, hell, even ice hockey. At least in ice hockey, when someone falls down clutching something howling in pain, he's actually hurt.