Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Crapping on CrossFit (again)

The CrossFit Craze continues to provide LOTS of material for the rest of us to laugh at:

Honestly the only part of that video that wasn't hilariously funny was the bit where the weightlifter failed to put up that Atlas stone. That wasn't funny at all- I sincerely hope he wasn't hurt.

I want to make it clear that I will never mock a true lifter- and that bloke was unquestionably one such. I have the highest possible respect for real lifters and strongmen, especially the natural ones; these are men to be admired and applauded for their immense strength, their discipline, and their willingness to literally do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

As to why people like me mock CrossFit- true lifters dislike CrossFit because it takes everything that is good and great about the iron and reduces it to some sort of absurd fitness craze, while stripping out all of the critically important stuff about safety, good form, and sensible rep ranges.

The point of CrossFit is not to get stronger. It isn't a training program, it's just exercise; in fact, the top CrossFit athletes don't actually do CrossFit workouts of the day (WODs) to compete for the CrossFit games, they actually follow structured training programs to get themselves ready for the grueling nature of the competition.

CrossFit, if done right, is a great way to get fit. But it's not a great way to get strong. The strongest CrossFit athletes are in fact weak compared with real strongmen or powerlifters.

Take a look at what Johnny Candito can do at 187lbs bodyweight:

Johnny weighs about as much as me, and is considerably younger than me- I think he's about 23 right now- and yet he can squat 500+lbs for a giggle without problems. I'm struggling to squat 365lbs. I respect the hell out of him for his ability to do what he does.

Here's the thing, though- how many CrossFitters do you know who can squat even 275lbs properly?

Candito got to where he is today by sticking to the basics and grinding out the reps in the gym, day in, day out. No stupid nonsense like handstand-walking or Kipping "pull-ups" or sandbag slams or tire-hammering- just him, the iron, and sheer cussed willpower.

These are things that CrossFit won't teach you. The best CrossFit boxes will teach you how much fun it can be to train with other people (though I personally don't agree- after all, I think that "most people are only tolerable well boiled and with lots of salt"), how far you can push yourself (before you puke or get rhabdo), and how to maximise your rep count within a certain time limit.

All well and good- but not useful for real strength. True strength is not a timed sprint, it is a difficult, often painful marathon.

And if you've ever seen their idea of "deadlifts", well... just close your eyes and look away, because it's horrific:

On a related note- I was walking back to the place where I'm staying from work yesterday and saw an ambulance racing along to get to someone who needed help, which is a pretty normal sight in any big city. However, this ambulance ended up doing a U-turn at the next intersection and, for a few moments, looked like it was going to pull up outside of a CrossFit gym over on Houndsditch. For a minute there, I thought that the CrossFit fad had claimed yet another victim on his way to becoming Mayor of Snap City.

#HuntTheTruth? How about #RedeemTheFranchise instead?!

Just release the damn game already!!!

I will admit that, by the looks of things, HALO 5: Guardians is going to be BADASS. But, as I've pointed out elsewhere, I am definitely worried that Bonnie "My job is to promote women in gaming" Ross went and did a hatchet job on the script because there weren't enough STRONG INDEPENDENT WIMMENZ in it. That, after all, is exactly what she did with HALO 4; it's a testament to just how good the creative teams are at 343 Industries that the game was as good as it was, if not quite up to the same standards as its truly monumental predecessor, HALO 3.

Now to be as fair as possible, a lot of this is just fanboy bitching about what is sure to be THE first-person-shooter game of 2015. But it is worth remembering that there is a reason why the HALO franchise is the blockbuster money-printing machine that it is. It got there because Bungie stuck to the Holy Trinity of great gaming: gameplay, plot, and character. Full goddamn stop.

Too bad it's SUPPOSED to be on the back of your hand.
Also known as the Triforce of Gaming.
(Can I just say- I don't normally approve of tattoos on women, at all. But I would at least consider an exception in this one case. Depends on what she looks like from the front.)

Far too many game studios forget this and squander their initial successes by trying to be flashier or more "progressive" than their rivals, by adding in gimmicks and tricks to cover up for failures in gameplay or plot, and by concentrating on the grievance du jour of the SJW set instead of focusing on timeless stories about the apocalyptic, all-consuming struggle between good and evil.

And for a while, it looked like 343i was going down that precise route. They screwed up royally with the botched release of The Master Chief Collection- what should have been a definitive, authoritative mark of 343i's confident, assured handling of the greatest game franchise of all time, instead turned into a complete catastrophe due to bugs, glitches, and utterly unplayable multiplayer features that alienated even the most hardcore members of the HALO nation.

It still looks a little like that now.

I put my faith and hopes in the fact that the development team at that studio is composed of hardcore industry veterans, who have all worked on some of the greatest and most successful FPS/stealth franchises in history- Metroid, Metal Gear, and of course the original Bungie-created games in the canon. These guys know what they're doing- and they ARE mostly guys.

I think HALO 5 will be amazing. I hope I am right. Based on what I've seen so far, I think I will be. But there is still room for doubt.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Economics in nine panels

Wally's Hobby Is Economic Babble Talk - Dilbert by Scott Adams

Wally Won't Oversupply Wisdom - Dilbert by Scott Adams

Ceo Understands Wally - Dilbert by Scott Adams

The funniest jokes are always the ones that poke sharp sticks into the vulnerable points of real things, and this is no exception.

If you've ever had to listen to an economist from a central bank speaking on television- and here I'm referring to "real" economists with "real" degrees from "real" universities like Harvard and Yale and Princeton and Cambridge and Oxford (and LSE)- you'll know that they all end up sounding almost exactly like Wally up there.

Here's a little secret that they never teach you in undergraduate economics courses:
No senior central bank economist in his right mind would EVER want to make sense.
The reason for this is very simple.

Central banks thrive on anonymity and secrecy. They do like to "keep the markets guessing"- I recall that Alan Greenspan was a big proponent of this, the idea being that markets will trip over themselves to figure out what interest rates will be and thereby become more competitive, more transparent, and more willing to take risks. His eventual successor, Ben Bernanke, was by contrast a big fan of "inflation targeting", which would lead to predictable and straightforward inflation and thereby lead to "more optimal allocations of resources", as economists like to say.

All of this, though, masks the real reason why central bankers hate being understood by the rest of us.

By the very nature of their jobs, based on every last tenet of their educations, they are literally central planners. It is their job to plan the course of the economy. They are, in the most literal possible sense of the word, Marxists.

Don't believe me? Look up the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto and take a look at Plank 5. And then compare it with the way that the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, or the European Central Bank actually go about their business. If they are not Marxist organisations, then our dictionaries need a thorough rewriting.

Like all central planners, though, the Federal Reserve, and all central banks worldwide, simply cannot manage an economy properly. It is the absolute height of lunacy to think that mortal men can possibly comprehend all of the billions upon billions of simple economic interactions that millions of people conduct on a daily basis without even thinking about it. No amount of computing power, no amount of statistical analysis, can ever model the true complexities of human behaviour in all of its glorious randomness. Central planners everywhere keep forgetting this, and keep failing to understand the point of price signals, which is why they end up creating one spectacular disaster after another in the form of hyperinflated asset bubbles followed by gigantic crashes in asset values.

And if the rest of us ever understood what they have done to our money, well, the pitchforks would be sharpened, the tar buckets would be readied, and the pillows would be ransacked to yield up their feathers to a worthy cause.

Indeed, when you compare what the Fed and central banks around the world have done to the value of a unit of national currency in any given nation that has adopted fiat money in the last hundred years, even defenestration becomes a perfectly reasonable penalty for such wanton destruction of monetary value.

Ouuuuuuuuch, dude
Simply put, if more people really understood what it is that central banks actually do, central bankers would be an endangered species.

Now, in spite of the weight of the evidence before us, some folks, even highly intelligent ones, have a tough time understanding this.

Last Saturday night was really quite pleasant for a number of reasons, all of which had to do with the company of a certain rather attractive woman of my acquaintance who, among her many other manifest charms, happens to have a good-sized brain in her skull. (She's female, which means that she's every bit as susceptible to a good bit of hamstering as any other woman, but she's also a very smart female.) We started out with drinks at a lounge nearby, and during the conversation we ended up discussing a lecture she'd attended recently where a bigwig from the Bank of England was giving a speech.

She was rather annoyed by the fact that, in the entire speech, this VVIP didn't say one damned thing of any consequence. And she was quite perplexed when I started laughing and pointed out that central bankers are paid to be as opaque and as boring as possible. She figured that, if you're going to be paid good money to come to a prestigious college within the University of London system to give a lecture, you might as well give people their money's worth.

She was forced to reluctantly agree when I pointed out that he probably gave the lecture in order to get a good free breakfast.

And, from a central banker's point of view, if you've been paid decent money to spend part of your morning confusing the hell out of the voting public while not saying very much of anything, and you get a free breakfast out of it, well, where's the bad?

In all seriousness, a fiat money system is based on nothing more than thin air and make-believe. And like all such systems, every fiat money system will eventually collapse. It's merely a matter of time. The problem is that this horrible resolution takes a very long time to come about. And during that time, there is literally no limit to the misery that a runaway central bank can inflict upon a populace that is too stupid, too uneducated, too passive, or too feeble to do anything about it.

This is why we must audit the Federal Reserve. This is why we must restore a hard-money standard- if not with physical gold, then at least with a constant-purchase index made up of a basket of other currencies. This is why the next great crash is not only coming, but will be far worse and more painful than the last one was.

Become a part of the Klok!

A certain English metal band called IRON MAIDEN begs to differ
I finally managed to listen to The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera all the way through, and I have to admit, I was totally wrong about it. The first time I listened to it, I couldn't get past the first song. I've listened to a lot of concept albums in my time, some great, and some terrible, but I thought that this was the worst album I'd heard in a long time.

A good long while later, I relented and decided to give it a fair shake. And I'm damned glad I did, because it proved once and for all that Brendon Smalls is a goddamn musical GENIUS.

Why? Well, have a listen to a few tracks from the first three DETHKLOK albums, and you'll quickly understand:

And now try listening to the entire concept album that Brendon Smalls wrote- with none other than GENE HOGLAN on the drums:

Slightly retarded lyrics aside... this is great heavy metal.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Animal douchebaggery

This sort of hilarious stupidity isn't just reserved to humans, the animals do it too:

Watch it with the sound off, it's much funnier that way.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The consequences of homogamy

If you don't like gay marriage...
Well... he DOES have a point...
I certainly don't mind admitting that I enjoy seeing stupid ideas destroyed when they run head-first into the unyielding wall of reality, formed as it is from the bricks of logic and the mortar of evidence. It is worth noting, however, that sometimes the resulting car-wrecks are really rather ugly.

Such unmitigated disasters are especially difficult to look at when they involve children:
Gay community, I am your daughter. My mom raised me with her same-sex partner back in the ’80s and ’90s. She and my dad were married for a little while. She knew she was gay before they got married, but things were different back then. That’s how I got here. It was complicated as you can imagine. She left him when I was two or three because she wanted a chance to be happy with someone she really loved: a woman. 
My dad wasn’t a great guy, and after she left him he didn’t bother coming around anymore. 
Do you remember that book, “Heather Has Two Mommies”? That was my life. My mom, her partner, and I lived in a cozy little house in the ‘burbs of a very liberal and open-minded area. Her partner treated me as if I was her own daughter. Along with my mom’s partner, I also inherited her tight-knit community of gay and lesbian friends. Or maybe they inherited me? 
Either way, I still feel like gay people are my people. I’ve learned so much from you. You taught me how to be brave, especially when it is hard. You taught me empathy. You taught me how to listen. And how to dance. You taught me not be afraid of things that are different. And you taught me how to stand up for myself, even if that means I stand alone. 
I’m writing to you because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage. But it might not be for the reasons that you think. 
It’s not because you’re gay. I love you, so much. It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself. 
Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting. 
Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost. 
I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary. There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a father to begin with. There are parts of me that still grieve over that loss today. 
I’m not saying that you can’t be good parents. You can. I had one of the best. I’m also not saying that being raised by straight parents means everything will turn out okay. We know there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, abuse, death, etc. But by and large, the best and most successful family structure is one in which kids are being raised by both their mother and father.
Ms. Barwick writes at considerable length about her experiences growing up as a child of two homosexual mothers- a concept that I find bizarre in the extreme. Looking at her experiences dispassionately as an intellectual exercise, her article is worthwhile if only to make a child of a happy, long-term heterosexual union understand what children of gay parents go through.

More importantly, Ms. Barwick's words are an important reminder of the realities of biology and human development. The fact is that a strong, grounded father is every bit as necessary in a child's life and development as a loving and nurturing mother. And no matter how hard she tries, a woman will NEVER be able to fulfill the role that a father must.

It is simply not possible for women to assume masculine identities without suffering a near-complete breakdown of their sense of self and identity. There is an outstanding documentary on this very subject from about 10 years back in which a rather butch-looking lesbian effectively became a man for a few months in order to try to understand what men are really like:

She found the experience so difficult and so jarring that she very nearly lost control of her sanity towards the end. She finally understood exactly what it is that drives men, and found herself incapable of handling the pressure that, for men, is routine and normal.

It is equally ridiculous, by the way, to think that men can automatically assume the roles taken by women. We don't have the temperament or psyche for it. I don't care how much of a fairy a gay man might be- he will never be a substitute for a woman and a mother. He isn't wired for it chemically, genetically, or neurologically, and it is downright insane to think that the sexes are somehow interchangeable when we have literally millennia worth of evidence telling us otherwise.

It is usually at this point that someone would attempt to counteract Ms. Barwick's arguments, based entirely on anecdotal evidence, by attempting to drown out such horrendous badthink by shouting about how THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!! about gay parents having no more negative effects on the cognitive and social development of children than straight ones. They resort to this line of argument because, well, it's the only one that they have. (Well, that, and the movie The Kids Are Alright, which I have not watched and almost certainly never will.)

They do this because it is the only way in which they can ensure that their FEELZ will remain unhurt by such chaotic badthink- how dare we cretinous knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing homophobic right-wing nutjobs question the idea that gay parents are just as good as straight ones?!!

Except... it turns out that the science is not settled. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

Homosexual couples, depending on the specific type involved (male-male or female-female), essentially act like extreme examples of the phenotypes upon which they are based. In simple terms, this means that male homosexuals generally act like extremely oversexed men, and female homosexuals act like extremely undersexed women. (I'm generalising significantly, obviously.) This observation has been borne out in several studies and was documented extensively in Robin Baker's groundbreaking classic Sperm Wars.

Neither extreme is healthy for young children. A household in which sexual promiscuity is normal is unlikely to result in normal children. A household in which there is no strong father figure present is unlikely to generate masculine sons or feminine daughters- as we have seen, repeatedly, in normal households the world over. A household with lesbian parents in which it is highly likely that one of the two partners involved is abusive toward the other, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or all three, is NOT going to be a healthy environment for a child.

Yet these things are normal in the abnormal and deviant world of same-sex unions.

And that is the reality that advocates of same-sex "marriage" simply refuse to face. They try to turn gay "marriage" into an issue of equality- oblivious to the plainly undeniable fact that, other than equality before the Lord, that fanciful notion has never existed in any meaningful form that is consistent with human freedom. But they always seem to paper over the catastrophic social and developmental consequences of their follies.

It is easy to blather on about the virtues of gay "marriage" when you don't have to think about the consequences. But when you realise that the consequences involve potentially destroying the lives of young children, it is rather a lot more difficult to simply ignore the train-wreck that is the logical end-result of your ideas.

(Not quite) walking on water

This seems rather germane given that Easter is coming up. I have to say that I can't quite see the connection between walking on water and retail-banking services- I seem to recall something in the Good Book to the effect that the Lord Christ had a few rather stern words for money-lenders in His temple- but that doesn't change the fact that this is pretty damn cool:

Well... It's gross. And then it's cool.

In case you're wondering about the chemistry and physics and nerd stuff involved in creating a non-Newtonian fluid, here's a basic primer- not as interesting, since it doesn't involve nubile dancing Chinese girls, but still useful nonetheless:

If you got bored with that, here's an example of someone shooting a non-Newtonian fluid with a bullet. (Yeah, I bet that got your attention!)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

That's not gone well...

RIP Top Gear Jeremy Clarkson sacked

Jeremy Clarkson faces arrest today after the BBC sacked him for punching a Top Gear producer in the face with such force he had to go to A&E. 
The corporation's internal investigation concluded the star, 54, launched an 'unprovoked' 30-second physical attack on Oisin Tymon because he was offered a plate of cold cuts instead of steak and chips.  
North Yorkshire Police today said it had asked the BBC for its report into the 'fracas' in a luxury hotel in the county and said action will be taken against Clarkson 'where necessary'. 
Revealing the sacking, Lord Hall, the Director General of the BBC, said: 'It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. For me a line has been crossed'. 
It emerged tonight that Clarkson will still be paid and employed by the BBC until his contract expires at the end of the month.
Based on reports of his estimated £1million annual salary, it means the BBC will have paid him nearly £74,000 from the point he was suspended until the end of March. 
The star this afternoon changed his Twitter biography to say he 'used to be a presenter on Top Gear'. 
Co-star James May called the decision a 'tragedy' and said he, Clarkson and Richard Hammond 'come as a package', suggesting that all three are now likely to leave the BBC. 
May, who was spotted outside his London home in a variety of outfits today, also hinted that his future with Top Gear may be over, after changing his Twitter biography to describe himself as a 'former TV presenter.' 
Hammond tweeted shortly afterwards: 'Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We're all three of us idiots in our different ways but it's been an incredible ride together'. 
The Director General, who has spoken to both Clarkson and Mr Tymon since the fracas and is said to have met with the Top Gear host face-to-face last night, said the producer was subjected to 'sustained verbal abuse that no-one should have to endure'. 
The sacking is likely to spark a bidding war for Clarkson's services, with ITV, Sky and Netflix all said to be willing to pay Clarkson millions to present a motoring show for them.
As I pointed out in my earlier comments on this whole situation back when it first broke, the BBC's management is composed of a bunch of complete tofu-eating deep-leftist hardcore ideologues, who have always hated the utter disdain with which Messrs. Clarkson, May, and Hammond have treated their politically correct agenda. They have been itching to get rid of Jeremy Clarkson for literally years. They have always envied his incredible success- due in no small part to his willingness to say exactly what is on his mind, with virtually zero filter between his brain and his mouth.

Jeremy Clarkson is a massive idiot, as anyone who has ever watched the show can readily attest. Yet he is also one of the only people on this Earth willing to say what needs to be said, consequences be damned. By sacking him, the BBC has simply hastened its already rapid slide into irrelevance and obsolescence. Its hard-left journalism and editorial stance has just lost one of the very few balances that the corporation had.

On top of which, by sacking Clarkson, the Beeb basically also ensured that the madcap creative geniuses behind the show- producer Andy Wilman, Clarkson's friend since their school days, and co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond, both formidably talented in their own right- will leave as well.

It doesn't matter whether the BBC tries to resurrect Top Gear now. The show has always revolved around the larger-than-life personalities of these three middle-aged pillocks who all drive supercars at ridiculous speeds while pulling absurdly blokey pranks on each other, all with giant explosions going off in the background. Without them, the show is basically... well, Fifth Gear, which no one outside of England has ever heard of.

Now, something does need to be said about how Clarkson got sacked.  

In my earlier post, I did not go into details about what Jeremy Clarkson did to the producer that he got into an altercation with, mostly because details at that time were not fully known and I wasn't terribly interested in speculating. I did think that the whole row was probably being blown out of all proportion by the BBC's senior management, who- as I've said- hate Clarkson with a passion that is next to impossible for anyone who isn't an idiot-liberal to understand.

I was wrong about this. It would appear that Clarkson did, in fact, punch one of the show's staff in the face and verbally abused him.

That sort of behaviour is well beyond the pale of what is acceptable in civilised society. If that is what Clarkson did, then he deserves to pay for it. He should have publicly apologised for his behaviour, been harshly penalised financially, and in all probability would not have escaped losing his job even then. Clarkson knows at some level that he is a celebrity and that hundreds of millions of fans around the world- including yours truly- idolise him as the irreverent voice of sanity in a world gone mad with political correctness; it is on him to provide some sort of example to us without crossing the line into violence and physical abuse of those who help him be what he is.

And if that were how the BBC had handled this situation, there would have been no problem. A man who had publicly lost control of his temper would have been shamed into recanting and paying for his sins, the rest of the world would have forgiven him if he were treated harshly but fairly, and we could all have moved on.

Instead, the Beeb chose to do the stupidest thing possible, and made this all about demonising a man who has, on balance, done great good for the world of broadcasting, and who has brought in uncounted millions for the coffers of his employers. As a result, much of the goodwill that the BBC's viewers hold toward the network has been severely damaged, perhaps irreparably. I know I will likely never go anywhere near the BBC's other offerings now that I've seen how utterly inept, vindictive, and small-minded it is toward its greatest living talents.

Angry as I am with Clarkson's firing and the sudden destruction of the show that I have loved since I was a boy, I find some comfort in the thought that this probably won't be the last we'll see of these crazy geniuses. Other networks all over the world will undoubtedly pay very good money to have Clarkson, May, Hammond, and the Stig helming a true-blue car show full of manly things like tire-squealing drag races, loud explosions, utterly barmy stunts involving crazy trips to the back-end of beyond, and epic stunts like crashing a Volvo into a convoy of caravans. (Yes, they actually did this.)

With that in mind, pray silence for a moment, my friends, as we remember the greatest show ever aired on TV:

Sunday, 22 March 2015

How's about a bet?

Anyone want to take a punt as to the ethnicity and race of the perpetrators of a recent shooting at a pub in Sweden?
At least two people were killed and eight injured during a shooting at pub in Sweden last night. 
Automatic weapons are believed to have been used in the attack yesterday during the screening of a football match in Biskopsgarden, a suburb of Gothenburg with a history of gang violence. 
Detectives said it was too early to speculate on the motive behind the shooting - which happened at about 10.20pm local time (9.20pm GMT) - but there were indications that it was gang-related. 
Police spokesman Ulla Brehm said that at least two people were killed at the scene and several others taken to a hospital, adding: ‘There is absolutely nothing that indicates terrorism.’ 
One witness, who did not wish to be named, told Swedish broadcaster SVT that two men entered the pub and started shooting with automatic weapons. 
He said: ‘I didn't have a chance to think about what happened. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the bleeding as well as I could with my hand.’ 
Several people are now being questioned by police. Ms Brehm said the area on Hisingen, an island off Gothenburg, had seen a lot of gang violence and that was a likely explanation for the shooting. 
She added: ‘We have had a targeted police operation in this area because we have gang crime here. There have been shootings in the past.’ 
The attack took place inside a restaurant called ‘Var Krog och Bar’ (Our Tavern and Bar). It opened in 1995 and also has a sports bar and a nightclub open on Fridays and Saturdays. 
Gothenburg (known as 'Goteborg' in Swedish) is located in south-western Sweden and is the country's second biggest city. Police said the death toll from the attack was likely to rise.
The reason this is interesting is not because of the violence, awful and horrific though that is. This might be a surprising statement to some, because Sweden is not exactly the country that comes to mind when one thinks of violent countries with a lot of gang-related violence. Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia? Sure. Sweden? Not really.

In fact, in terms of firearms-related deaths, Sweden ranks a lowly 44th out of 75.

Furthermore, Sweden does not have anything like the gun culture that Switzerland or Israel or the USA do. Relative to most American states, its gun laws are fairly restrictive- not quite as bad, as absurd, and as balls-out insane as the ones in New York, New Jersey, the People's Republic of Massachusetts, or several other deep-blue states, but still pretty restrictive compared to sane and fun states like New Hampshire, Texas, and Arizona.

No, the reason this tidbit of news is interesting is because of what the news reports do not mention. In fact, they refuse to mention it.

The report from the Daily Mail above points out that Gothenburg is Sweden's second-largest city, right after Stockholm. Nothing innocuous about that, and it provides some useful context for the overall story.

What is doesn't mention is that Gothenburg, along with Malmo and the aforementioned Stockholm, contains the highest concentrations of Sweden's estimated 500,000-strong Muslim population.

So here's what I'm betting: this little incident, in which at least two died, was not merely an episode of gang-related violence. It was instead a result of Sweden's insane long-term policy of multiculturalism.

I could very well be wrong. But, given the evidence- or in this case, the lack  of it- there is good reason to think that I'm not.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Don't cut your damn hair- washed-up ex-supermodel edition

Tyra Banks was once a Victoria's Secret Angel- one of the originals, along with the likes of Helena Christensen. She was capable of sharing the stage with Heidi Klum, back in the day, when it came to looks. And that is saying something, considering that this is what Heidi Klum could do at the time:

Heidi Klum - Victoria's Secret 1
Ah, the good old days...
Ms. Banks used to look like this:

Tyra Banks side swept hair feather dress
Show of hands, gents- who'd hit that?
Apparently, being one of the world's most highly admired and beautiful black women (for certain values of the term, I suppose) was getting boring, because recently Ms. Banks unveiled her new hairdo, and... well, see for yourself:
Back in black: She wore an intricate all black number featuring a clinging top with a leather detailing and flared trousers
Not even once, bro
Jesus H. Christ on a bicycle. How hard can this be to understand??? DON'T CUT YOUR DAMN HAIR! It isn't "sexy". It doesn't "ooze confidence". It's not "attractive" or "fun" or "original". It sure as hell isn't "edgy". It is nothing short of a mutilation of one of the most attractive features that any woman can have.

Women who cut their hair, especially to such an extreme, might have been extraordinarily beautiful before they did so. But by destroying their hair, they immediately knock themselves down the 1-10 scale by a minimum of two full points. And against younger, fitter, longer-haired women, that simply isn't going to cut it. A woman who not only voluntarily but enthusiastically cuts off her hair is essentially telling the world that she does not care in the slightest about her looks.

Far from being an assertion of independence or strength, this is simply small-minded, short-sighted girrrrrl-power narcissism at its worst. Women are judged on their looks, first and foremost. Their beauty and femininity are their most important assets. By destroying one of the key indicators of both, they are essentially saying that they value neither.

Such women are to be avoided like the lepers of old.

Ms. Banks was, back in the day, easily a hard 9. Even today, at the age of 41, in the right light and with good makeup she is still easily an 8.

With this pixie-bob thing, she just went all the way back down to a 6.

For an approximate comparison level, here is my idea of what a woman at a 6 level of SMV looks like:

"Take one for the team"? Not when it means jumping on a grenade!
By comparison, this is what a full-blown 10 looks like:

Caterina Murino attending the premiere of the film 'The Monuments Men ...
I don't think I'll EVER get tired of seeing that smile
Yeah, all right, I just used that as an excuse to post yet another picture of Caterina Murino. So what? It's nice to be reminded once in a while that the Almighty does, in fact, still have the power to create people of astonishing beauty from time to time.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Iron and the Soul by Henry Rollins

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This was originally published in Details Magazine, and was re-published over at Oldtime Strongman. It was then posted to TheRedPill on reddit.com by dr_warlock, also known as Michael Augustus, the chap who wrote a rather good post about deadlifting over at Return of Kings.

The article below expresses in a simple yet poetic manner exactly what it is that drives iron addicts like me to become savages in the gym. The iron is our greatest teacher and our most severe taskmaster. Its gifts come at a truly staggering cost- and yet, we pay it, day in and day out, without hesitation. Others look at us wondering what is wrong with such lunatics, trying to understand why we put ourselves through workouts that most people could never endure.

Here, Mr. Rollins tells you exactly why.

Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. 


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me "garbage can" and telling me I'd be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn't run home crying, wondering why. 

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy. 

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn't going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you'll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn't think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the black board. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. 

He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn't even drag them to my mom's car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.'s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn't looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn't want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn't know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away.

You couldn't say shit to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn't want to come off the mat, it's the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn't teach you anything. That's the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. 

That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn't until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can't be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn't ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you're not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn't have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone's shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr.Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn't see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads. 

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you're made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it's some kind of miracle if you're not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it's impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

An intemperate response will follow

If you don t like America get out
Amen, Baldy
There is apparently a black female rapper by the name of Azealia Banks, who posed for Playboy and was extensively interviewed by the same for the March issue. Her comments about her own country were, well, less than complimentary:
Do you want to leave the U.S.? Yes! I hate everything about this country. Like, I hate fat white Americans. All the people who are crunched into the middle of America, the real fat and meat of America, are these racist conservative white people who live on their farms. Those little teenage girls who work at Kmart and have a racist grandma—that’s really America. 
Are your creative impulses closely related to your destructive impulses? Yes. In my adulthood I’m having to destroy all these things society really wants you to think. The history textbooks in the U.S. are the worst if you’re not white. “The white man gave you the vote. He Christianized you and taught you how to speak English. If it weren’t for him, you’d still be living in a hut.” I could write a book about why black people shouldn’t be Christians. Young black kids should have their own special curriculum that doesn’t start from the boat ride over from Africa. All you know as a black kid is we came over here on a boat, we didn’t have anything, and we still don’t have anything. But what was happening in Africa? What culture were we pulled away from? That information is vital to the survival of a young black soul. 
You said black people aren’t supposed to be Christians. What religion do you identify with? I don’t want to say, but I’ll tell you about one form of the religion. It’s called 21 Divisions. When they brought the slaves over to the Caribbean, they syncretized all their African gods with Catholic saints. So in 21 Divisions there are black gods and goddesses, and my mother practiced that when I was little. Whenever problems happened, we turned to 21 Divisions to fix it. It’s funny, because my friends on the block in Harlem, their mothers would be like, “Oh, you fucking with that witchcraft. You working roots.” You can cleanse people with root work or do bad things to them. But 21 Divisions is celestial.     
How charming...

All I can say, as a foreigner who has been gifted the privilege to live and work in the US of A, is: woman, shut the f**k up and get the f**k out.

I'm a brown bloke from another country. I was given the opportunity to come to the USA to study nearly 9 years ago. I never thought I'd end up staying for as long as I did; I figured I'd be there for just a few years, make some money, and head back to Asia.

Things changed. Life is what happens when you're busy making plans, and that's certainly what happened to me. I stayed, far longer than I ever thought I would. Things worked out for me pretty well. I was able to live a very comfortable existence in a country that, for whatever reason, treated me as a welcome guest and productive member of society.

This land of beauty and grace has given the rest of the world a complex and infuriating and bizarre and quirky and strange breed of people known as Americans- easy to misunderstand, easy to dislike (if you can't see beyond their quirks and rough edges to the good and decent people underneath), and all too easy to underestimate.

It was here that I learned that the divine gifts of freedom and liberty are not to be treated as light or transient things. I keep saying that Americans don't understand just how good they have it, and I have had ample opportunity to test this argument here in the UK. Hell, I didn't realise how good I had it in America, until I had to leave last year due to some rather annoying but easily handled visa issues.

I am now nearing the end of my stint here in Blighty, and I cannot even begin to describe how happy I am to be going back to God's country. In less than two weeks, I will finally be back again on American soil, and the first thing I'll look forward to seeing when I get off that plane is the sight of Old Glory flying high in the sunshine and the cold spring breeze.

This country of riches and wonders, this... America, is something worth fighting for. Long before I left last year, I came to love the idea of America, that semi-mythical set of guiding principles that forged the greatest civilisation the world has ever seen upon the anvil of history in a manner never experienced before or since.

I have seen America at its best, and perhaps at something approaching its worst. I have witnessed firsthand the innate decency and compassion of its people. I have come to love a country that is not my own in a way that is nearly impossible to describe to anyone who doesn't feel something similar. I am grateful beyond words for the opportunities I was given there by people that I respect and admire.

There's a new facebook page that I've become aware of, called "Not ...
I'm not a big fan of the taxes, though
Like your greatest modern President, Ronald Reagan, I firmly believe that into the hands of America, God has placed the destinies of an afflicted Mankind.

Let's be clear that I don't view America through beer goggles of any kind. Make no mistake- there is plenty wrong with America. The ideas that forged this greatest of all nation are all but dead in the land of their origin, and the country itself is almost surely headed for civil war, anarchy, and economic collapse.

But, knowing what I do of Americans- real Americans- I do believe that what follows will affirm my faith in both the country and the God whose divine providence give it life and sustenance.

So when I see an ugly black woman bloviating about the supposed injustices that the greatest country on Earth has inflicted upon her, I can't help but get angry.

This "lady" seems to think that the rest of the country owes her, and her kind, something simply because of her skin colour. She seems to think that the entire country is just composed of fat white people and racist grandmothers and gun-totin', beer-swillin' rednecks.

She seems to think that simply because she insists on speaking and acting like an uneducated, foul-mouthed, classless, barely literate whore, the rest of us are obliged to listen to her and take her seriously.

And she seems to hate the country of her birth- the country that made her famous, that gave her the opportunities to put her, uh, "talents" to use, and that enriched her beyond the dreams of avarice- to such a degree that she simply wants to leave it.

To which I reply: so what's stopping you?

America does not need pathetic trash like her. Those oikophobes who hate their own people, their own culture, and their own heritage with such venom and passion do not deserve pity nor mercy from the rest of us.

If Ms. Banks, or whatever her name is, cannot see what a foreigner like me can see with perfect ease- namely, that to be an American is to belong to a nation like no other anywhere on Earth, and that to be given the opportunity to live and work there is basically the same as being handed a golden lottery ticket- then she deserves to be deported forthwith. Her country is better off without her.

Just release the damn album already!

Hey, who's the giant tranny in the middle???
OK, I get it, the next NIGHTWISH album is a really big freakin' deal. I understand that. I'm a huge fan of their music, and I think that Floor Jansen is simply amazing.

But if you're Tuomas Huolopainen, and you think that releasing fourteen (and counting) trailers for your new masterpiece make you look like anything other than a truly epic tool, then you're engaging in some serious wishful thinking.

And it's not like the few bits that we've heard from the new album have been all that amazing, frankly. I mean, the first single, "Elan", was actually a bit of a damp squib- not bad, to be sure, but not quite the amazing display of vocal pyrotechnics from Floor Jansen that I expected.

The second streaming single that I've heard, "Shudder Before the Beautiful", is definitely a step up. But it's still nowhere near as good as this band is capable of being. When Tuomas gets his head out of his arse and puts his hat back on properly, he can be a goddamn genius with music.

And when Floor Jansen really decides to let rip with her incredible voice and stage presence, she is quite simply unsurpassed as a frontwoman.

I'm hoping the new NIGHTWISH album will be awesome. I'm really hoping that the new album will surpass Once. That album was not perfect- too many filler songs, too much boring nonsense- but its high points were the musical equivalent of the Argonath.

The Argonath
Talk to the hand, bitches
But based on current evidence, I suspect that a lot of hardcore NIGHTWISH fans might just be a little disappointed.

Still, FLOOR JANSEN. She might look really weird, but her amazing talents more than make up for it.

Estilo de Floor Jansen
Looks like a tranny. Sings like a siren. And (apparently) one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.