Thursday, 28 January 2016

Gym idiots: Exterminatus edition

January is, of course, the least favourite month of every gym rat on the planet.

This is when all of the noob lifters come in after making their New Year's Resolutions to "lose weight" and "be healthy" and "look good", etc. They flood the gym with their gloves and their girlfriends. They do nonsensical exercises involving Bosu balls and yoga mats and those gay-as-hell pink dumbbells. They leave devastation, un-racked weights, and the awful stench of failure in their wake.

But, here is the great thing about most of these people: by March, they leave, and they never come back. For gym owners, this is fantastic; it's literally free money.

A rational gym owner actually has every reason to hate people like me- the guys who come in so regularly that you can tell exactly what day of the week it is, and often what time it is, based on when and how we walk into the hallowed grounds of the lifter's paradise.

The purpose of this post is not to laugh at the noobs- I did that already, just like I do every yearThose people, I can forgive- after they go away and stop bothering me. The few of them that do stick around, grind it out, pay their dues, and actually make the effort to learn good form and proper depth and solid technique and all that, are upstanding human beings and I welcome their presence in the gym. (Just NOT in MY squat rack. Sod off and go get your own.)

No, the purpose of this post is to examine something far, far worse than that: the spectre of the gym idiot who comes to the altar of the iron god, and stays there, and NEVER EVER GETS BETTER.

Here are three examples of human beings so horrible, so devoid of worth or merit, that the God-Emperor Himself would doubtless order Exterminatus to be carried out upon them, yea, even as He does sit in stasis upon His Golden Throne.

1. The Three-Wheels Quarter-Squatter

We've all seen and hated on this asshat. He'll walk up to the squat rack while you're grinding out hard reps, and start throwing on plates. He walks around on legs like toothpicks while carrying a spare (tractor) tire. Often this particularly odious specimen of humanity is seen with a shaved head due to roid-induced baldness, and a douchestache-goatee to compensate for it, while wearing a deadlifting starter-kit belt. (I'm sorry to admit that I used to use one of these, before I learned from my mistake.)

You'll observe him out of the corner of your eye tossing on the plates acting like he's actually going to do squats, and you cynically wait for the inevitable to happen.

Sure enough, he gets under the bar... starts to unrack it... walks it back... the descent into the hole beg- wait, was that IT?

Yep. Mr. Beer-Gut there went down maybe three inches, then went back up again and re-racked the bar.

As if that were not bad enough, these clowns come in at least two different variants that I have seen.

The first is the "EVERYONE needs to know it's Leg Day!" guy. This is the dipshit who first does that ridiculous quarter-squat workout described above, and then walks over to the leg press machine and proceeds to load it up with EVERY SINGLE 45LB PLATE IN THE GYM- because he wants you to know that he can totally press as much weight as Mariusz Pudzianowski could back in the day. The difference, of course, is that Mariusz would observe full range of motion- whereas this guy bends his legs at most thirty degrees.

So if you happen to be doing deadlifts on the same day as that numbnuts is in the gym... well, unfortunately, my friend, you are SOL.

The second variant is every squatter's least favourite non-lifter: the guy who takes 15 minutes between sets, and NEVER GOES TO DEPTH. I had the misfortune of encountering an example of each of these phenotypes in action the other night. I had to watch as my favourite squat rack was taken up first by a guy who wore knee wraps and a belt to squat 225lbs to at most a ninety-degree bend, and then saw another skinny Chinese dude take up the same rack and take a goddamn ETERNITY between sets. I was done with my entire workout by the time the second assclown was barely done with his so-called "squats".

Doing this didn't help matters much:

2. The "Date Night at the Gym" Guy

Look, I'm all for getting girls to lift. Especially cute ones. Women who go to the gym to get fit and toned are all right in my book. But, ladies, if you do this, LEAVE YOUR DAMN BOYFRIEND AT HOME.

The same applies for guys. The gym is NOT a place to take your girl on a date. Don't annoy the serious gym rats by smooching on your girl between sets unless you actually want us to use you as a punching bag at some point. You've been going to the gym a while, so presumably you know the basics of gym etiquette. One of those basics involves leaving women out of your lifts.

If you must bring your girl along to the gym, at least have the courtesy to stick to that obscure corner of the gym with bad lighting while you're making out. That way, the rest of us can keep our lunches down and get on with our deadlifts and bench press sets.

There is precisely one legitimate exception to the golden rule of leaving your woman at home when going to the gym. And that is if you are coming in to practice your muay thai on some pads.

Of course, if you actually have the first clue how to kick and punch, and you also happen to lift properly, you should have no problem kicking her, and your pads, straight through the nearest wall. Bringing her along may not actually prove to be quite as convenient or useful as you might have thought- because after she takes a kick like that, it's somewhat unlikely that she'll be happy (or conscious enough) to be your latest squeeze.

And last but not least, we have...

3. The Criminally Incompetent Spotter

Skip ahead to about the 5:24 mark in that video and you will see a prime example of a truly clueless spotter who very nearly caused a terrible accident.

Now, to be clear, I am NOT making fun of Chris Duffin. I NEVER mock true powerlifters- I don't care whether they're on the juice or not, I respect them immensely because they are far stronger and more dedicated to the steel than I am. And make no mistake, Chris Duffin is a badass.

I am making fun of that dumbass in the red shirt who very nearly lived up to the reputation of redshirts everywhere, and damn near got himself killed under an avalanche of steel.

In fact, I am quite shocked that he didn't feature in the six-o-clock news the next day. You can just see the announcement: "Bearded man with suspiciously large beer-gut in red shirt found impaled on a chromed-steel barbell outside of Chris Duffin's gym in a red shirt. Police have ruled the death an accident, based on eyewitness testimony from bystanders who swore on a stack of Bibles that they saw the victim ram a barbell up his own arse after a spectacularly failed heavy squat attempt by his employer. Sports and weather, next."

BONUS! More CrossFit Jackassery!

What would a gym idiots post be without mocking CrossFit?

The BroScience guide to deadlifts

Just sit back and let your mind absorb the explosion of bro-ness:

About the highest compliment that any comedian can be paid is that his material is almost as funny as the brilliant heavy metal mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. That film is, hands down, the funniest film ever made- and the gags in it simply get funnier the more you know about rock and metal.

Based on what I just saw, "Dom Mazzetti" is a direct descendant of "Derek Albion Smalls".

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Or maybe they're keeping quiet for a reason

Bill Whittle asks the question that is at the forefront of every space nerd's mind:

I don't argue at all with Mr. Whittle's excellent summary of all of the many, many reasons why we are so fortunate to be here on Earth. Whether you believe in God or not, the reality is that the probability of our existence, let alone our ascension to intelligence and dominance over all of Earth, is femtoscopically small. We appear to be living in a Universe literally designed for our existence- again, I don't care whether you believe in a Creator or not, the facts are what they are. Our Universe, our galaxy, our Solar system, and our planet all appear to have just the right conditions to create, support, and sustain life- including hapless meatsacks like you and me.

No, what interests me about Mr. Whittle's presentation is that there is an alternative, and darker, explanation as to why our immediate cosmic neighbourhood is so damn quiet.

The question, "just where the Hell is everybody?!", is summarised rather well in a concept called Fermi's Paradox. The legendary physicist was essentially asking why, if civilisations of intelligent beings are driven to explore and expand and understand the Universe, has no one yet stumbled across anything like another intelligent race?

Several different attempts to answer this paradox have been proposed over the years. Mr. Whittle references a rather interesting bit of pseudoscience known as the Drake Equation. It is probably the most famous attempt to answer that paradox, but it leaves quite a lot to be desired.

The basic idea of said equation is to calculate the total number of planets in any given area of space that are capable of sustaining intelligent life. He goes over the equation rather quickly, so here is a breakdown of the equation for those with limited attention spans (like me).

To quote directly from a reputable source:
The Drake equation states that: 
N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which we might hope to be able to communicate and:
R* is the average rate of star formation in our galaxy
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
fl is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.
If this equation looks completely arbitrary to you... that's because it is.

While it is actually a fairly intelligent first-pass attempt to figure out how many planets exist that are capable of bearing and sustaining intelligent life, it simply isn't an actual, scientific equation in any way.

Consider the last four variables. How, exactly, is one supposed to estimate how many planets actually do develop life over time, if good old Earth is the ONLY one that we know of that has done so? Moreover, how the hell is one even supposed to approximate or estimate that value?

Similarly, how is one supposed to figure out the fraction of planets that eventually develop intelligent life? WE are the only intelligent lifeforms that we know of hereabouts- and calling ourselves "intelligent" is something of a stretch in a great many cases. (Like, say, the People of Wal-Mart. Or progressives, of any era.)

You could go on in this vein for some time. The reality is that the Drake Equation requires far too much handwavium ever to be taken seriously.

As always, the simplest, most elegant answers are the best. One such answer was given by a sci-fi author named Greg Bear, in a pair of books called The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars. These two books argue that, if there are any sufficiently intelligent civilisations out there, they have evolved into one of two possible groups: preservers, and destroyers. The destroyers seek out other intelligent races and civilisations with the explicit goal of conquest and/or annihilation. The preservers, on the other hand, attempt to keep the destroyers in check.

Caught in the middle between these two forces are immature civilisations that either are destroyed, or learn very damn fast to keep their traps shut in order to avoid discovery and destruction.

Now, I know that those two books are just science fiction. (They are very good science fiction, make no mistake- probably the best books that Mr. Bear has written.) But they describe a scenario that is far more plausible than anything that you can get to via the Drake Equation and all of its mummery.

Make no mistake, our existence is probably a trillion-to-one chance occurrence. You could call us merely the lucky ones in a Universe so vast and so complex that we can only very dimly begin to comprehend its working. You could also argue, as many would, that our existence is the will of a loving and just Creator. I don't argue with either interpretation- indeed I think that the two overlap much more closely than either atheists or creationists would like to admit.

But the answer to the question, "where is everybody?" may well be answered by the statement, "they all learned very fast to STFU- because Bad Things Happen to those who won't keep quiet".

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

To juice or not to juice...

Chris Bell, middle sibling among three brothers, created a documentary film called Bigger, Stronger, Faster* back in 2008 on the subject of anabolic steroids and their effects in sports. I thoroughly recommend the film; people with access to Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming video should be able to find it quite easily. It explores not only the nature of steroid usage, but also the ways in which modern sports, of all kinds, are affected by the relentless drive for better, tougher, higher-performing athletes at every level.

Chris Bell is uniquely positioned to comment upon such things. His younger brother, Mark Bell, is a champion powerlifter. His older brother, Mike "Mad Dog" Bell, always wanted to be a professional wrestler, but never quite made the big leagues. All three of them were or are serious powerlifters. All three were or are exceptionally strong by most people's standards.

And all three of them have used, or are using, performance-enhancing drugs to make themselves as big and as strong as possible.

Chris Bell quit juicing because he felt extreme guilt about what he felt was cheating. But Mark Bell is quite unrepentant about his usage of steroids, of various kinds, to make himself the best powerlifter he can be. Mike Bell, who died of what appears to have been a drug overdose in late 2008, used PEDs to pump himself up, constantly chasing after his elusive goal of becoming a WWE pro-wrestler.

As the documentary itself points out, this situation is not rare. On the contrary, it is very, very common. Athletes from almost every sport routinely use drugs to make themselves push through normal human boundaries and achieve things that were once considered impossible.

And as the documentary went on, it got me wondering: are we perhaps making much ado about nothing when it comes to PEDs in sports?

Position Papers

At this point, I have to state unequivocally that I do NOT advocate in favour of anyone breaking the law. Certain anabolic steroids are legal to possess in the USA, but they are not legal to sell. The Controlled Substances Act of 1990 plainly states that any coach or trainer who encourages his athletes and trainees to take controlled substances, such as testosterone and its derivatives, will be imprisoned for effectively trafficking drugs. There are plenty of good arguments to be made about whether such a law even makes the slightest bit of sense, but the law is what it is.

So as far as I am concerned, I do not think that you should go out and buy steroids- and not just because that's what the law says.

The reality is that PEDs such as steroids, human growth hormone, cortisone, EPO, and similar anabolic and catabolic drugs, are chemical substances that you will introduce into your body at your own risk. If you do not know what you are doing, if you spend a lot of your time running around on bodybuilding forums trying to figure out what stack is right for you, then you almost certainly will massively overestimate the right quantities and proportions for these things, and you will screw yourself up.

The Natty Argument

On the subject of taking drugs to enhance athletic performance, I speak from the perspective of someone who long ago actively rejected the idea of taking gear. I don't believe in it, and I don't agree with it, for personal and philosophical reasons.

Quite simply, I look at those who use it as cheaters. And with good reason. I see the Captain Upper Body types walking into the gym every week with their severe cases of Invisible Lat Syndrome, putting in absolutely BS workouts that involve zero squats, no deadlifts, and "bench presses" with three wheels on either side where their arms barely go to 90 degrees before re-racking the bar. These guys walk around on legs like toothpicks while their upper bodies fill out massively, pretending as though their bicep curls and lat pulldowns are doing all the work for them.

That sort of thing really sticks in my craw, as it does for anyone who goes into the gym and lifts hard. Guys like me, who gain muscle only very slowly and quite painstakingly, have precisely one avenue open to us: lift hard and lift heavy using big compound exercises. It is the only way that we can become strong. What drugs do is give you a shortcut, a way to get around all of that work and the attendant fatigue and risks of injury and severe curtailment of free time that comes with it.

Added to this is the fact that natties simply last longer than enhanced lifters do. Once you're on gear, you will definitely see gains- no question about that. You will experience significant and rapid progress in very short order. But if you don't have a solid foundation of real experience beneath you, then the moment you go off the juice, you will go all the way back to where you were. It is possible, even likely, that you will regress further than that, depending on how old you are when you get off gear.

The Advocate's Devil

And yet... there is something about the natty position that can, and should, strike you as more than a little holier-than-thou.

Think about what it even means to be a "natural" athlete. Does this mean that any and all synthetic substances, of any kind, are absolutely off-limits? That powerlifters and tennis players and MMA fighters and football players should restrict themselves only to all-natural foods? Are whey protein and creatine and fish oil capsules therefore ruled out because they are not "natural"?

Such an argument is absurd. Yet, if we're going to raise objections to steroids and PEDs on the grounds that they are not "natural", then we have to ask how far the obsession with all-natural performance has to go.

From my perspective, and from the perspective of almost anyone who lives a very active lifestyle that involves heavy weights and a lot of cardio, protein shakes and bars are not "supplements". Whey protein shakes are not "optional extras". To people like me, whey protein is food.

Supplements are not magic pills. They cannot do anything for you other than to plug gaps in your existing diet.

Protein shakes will not magically add pounds of lean muscle to your frame if you do not lift heavy things; the most that they can do is reduce the pain and soreness associated with hard workouts, since the amino acids hit your bloodstream quickly and easily. But if you already eat a lot of lean protein by way of chicken, grass-fed beef, fish, pork, and so on, then protein shakes won't be of significant benefit for you beyond maybe reducing soreness.

Fish oil capsules will have little effect if your diet already includes large amounts of grass-fed beef and deep-sea fish. The major benefit of creatine is that it simply allows you to work out just a little bit longer, by allowing your muscles to keep working just a little harder. But that increase in work capacity is not particularly large; indeed, there are natty lifters out there who argue that creatine monohydrate simply does nothing for them.

You could waste huge amounts of your hard-earned money on supplements. Some 90% of them will have precisely no effect upon you. The supplements that do, will only give you a small, though valuable, benefit.

Given these facts, does that mean that anyone who pops a fish-oil capsule, protein shake, multivitamin pill, or serving of creatine, is suddenly an enhanced athlete, in the same category as steroid users?

All PEDs Are Not Created Equal

Consider the following. The drug dehydroepiandrosterone, better known as DHEA, is an endogenous steroid hormone, produced naturally by the human body. It is the single most abundant steroid hormone produced by humans, and helps you synthesise other androgens. Taken in doses of up to 50mg a day, it appears to have some benefits as an anti-aging substance. It can be used safely at dosages of up to 200mg a day. It is perfectly legal to own and buy in the USA, and is- or at least, was- available in various nutrition stores for dirt-cheap prices.

It also happens to be on the WADA list of banned substances.

I have stated in the past that I took DHEA, which I did from about 2012 to early 2014. Did it have any effect upon me? Honestly, it's hard to tell, because I achieved my best powerlifting numbers months after I stopped taking it. And I only stopped taking it because I couldn't find it at my local supplement store.

Does the fact that I have taken DHEA in the past- which, again, is quite legal in the USA to own, buy, and sell- suddenly make me an "enhanced" lifter? Even though I actually got some of my best results after not taking it, mainly by fixing a few things with my form and putting in a lot of hard work in the gym?

Consider also the case of men who go onto testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The sad fact for men is that as we age, our testosterone production declines also. Testosterone is, of course, the hormone that literally defines maleness. Without testosterone, our health, our strength, our mental sharpness, our sex drive, and our very identity declines and fades.

With modern biochemistry, though, it is possible to take small and quite conservative amounts of injected or oral testosterone to boost our own levels of the hormone.

The results in men who have done this tend to be startling. Men who had more or less given up on life in their 40s and 50s suddenly find themselves strong and virile again. Their lives are fuller and happier. They are able to live the lives that they want, and that many of us- and all of their ancestors- could only dream of having.

It is all very well and good for young men like me to sit here and sneer at the idea of taking artificial substances to improve our lives. But for men in their late thirties and early forties, such enhancement is the difference between a mediocre lifestyle and an exceptional one.

If you are not a professional athlete, and you are interested in maximising your strength and happiness, who is to argue that it makes no sense for you to take substances- and this can be done perfectly legally, with a doctor's prescription and everything- that will greatly improve your quality of life?

Ultimately, it's your choice. When it comes to older men taking quite small and conservative doses of testosterone to boost their own health and welfare, I really don't have a strong opinion either way on the subject. If you want to do it, hey, go for it, it's your life and your choice.

Hell, the same applies even for younger men. What most people don't realise about steroids is that they are only as dangerous to you as you are to yourself. If you are careful, if you know what you are doing, and if you do not succumb to the temptation to use as much gear as you think you can handle and instead stick to a very carefully regulated approach that is transparent, legally administered, and overseen by a trained medical professional, I really cannot find fault with such a decision. It is not a decision I can take, at least not at this point in my life, but if that is what you want to do, then that is up to you.

Drugs in Sports

So that's the average man dealt with. If you want to use gear, fine. If you don't, also fine. Just be honest with yourself and others about it. But if you use gear of any kind, be honest and open about it. Don't dodge the questions about what you're on, don't try to evade the issue. Own up to it.

And that, ultimately, is where my annoyance with the professional sporting community's rampant, but hidden, use of PEDs comes from. Drug usage in modern sports is rampant- we all know this. We just pretend to believe otherwise because the lie is comforting. Yet we feed the monster every day by buying merchandise that goes to support leagues that push their athletes to ever-greater extremes of professional accomplishment with ever more outlandish prizes and awards.

If you honestly, well and truly, do not want to see sports tainted with PEDs, you know what the fastest way to go about that would be? DON'T WATCH SPORTS! DON'T BUY THE MERCHANDISE!

Of course, that will never happen.

The average American man will no more refuse to go out and support his favourite football team than I will refuse to watch the next big UFC PPV event. But unlike the average American man, I find it much harder to condemn athletes like Vitor Belfort, Anderson Silva, and Yoel Romero who get caught out for usage of banned substances.

Extreme cases, such as Lance Armstrong's epic lies that saw him claim that he won his 7 Tour de France titles completely clean, anger me not because of what men like Lance took to maintain and enhance their performance. They anger me because these men then LIE about it.

And in Mr. Armstrong's case, of course, he lied about it an then secured Federal funding to the tune of something like $15 million, last time I checked, for the US Postal team. That wasn't just lying- that was defrauding of the public.

They are forced to lie about it, as well, because they know that if they are caught, they face fines, censure, and jail time. Yet there is something deeply hypocritical about such a system.

Consider the fact that Tiger Woods got laser eye surgery done in order to correct a vision imbalance. Golf, for those who can be bothered to watch such an utterly pointless "sport", is won or lost based on how well a player can see and gauge distances and correct for environmental factors. At the peak of his powers, Tiger Woods apparently had 20:15 eyesight- better than perfect, by some distance.

Doesn't that count as performance enhancement too?

Tennis players, particularly those struggling with the burdens of age or injury, are given shots of cortisone in order to help them heal faster. This is perfectly legal if prescribed by a doctor. Yet corticosteroids are still steroids. They boost your body's tolerance for pain and suffering far beyond its normal limits, and allow you to push through barriers that would normally destroy you.

Isn't that a performance enhancer?

Maybe, just maybe, it's about damn time that we all stopped being so hypocritical.

A Way Forward

Anyone who is paying attention to such things knows that drug testing doesn't really work. There are ways to game the system, ways to time the tests or circumvent them entirely. We know that testing methodologies vary in consistency and quality from lab to lab. We know that it is possible to explain away discrepancies in things like blood-serum testosterone levels and androgen levels based on external factors or medical prescriptions or whatever.

So instead of lying to ourselves and each other, why not simply let drugs into sports? And why not establish separate but equal leagues- one based on an honours system verified and enforced by rigourous drug testing, the other a complete free-for-all where anyone can use whatever he wants, whenever he wants?

In the drug-tested leagues, if you get caught, you are banned. For life. No ifs, ands, or buts. No excuses will be tolerated. In the open leagues, take whatever the hell you want. If you kill yourself, that's your problem.

What I suspect will happen is that money will rapidly move from the drug-free leagues, to the open ones, in very short order- because the open leagues will be the most interesting and exciting. But that's largely speculation on my part.

This is already the case in a number of sports. There are powerlifting federations that are drug-tested, such as the IPF- and others which are not. There are MMA leagues which are drug-tested, such as the UFC- and many others which are not. In tennis, the ATP and WTA are rigourously drug-tested, but there are doubtless other minor leagues which are not.

If people truly want bigger, stronger, faster, better athletes, then that is what they want and that is where the money will go. All I'm saying is, let's take the lies and deceit out of it all.

I do not pretend to have all of the answers here. I do not even pretend to have given full consideration to all of the problems, on both sides, and all of the well-justified complaints that natties like me have about enhanced athletes. But the plain, hard fact is that Pandora's box was opened long ago, and we have been struggling mightily in vain to shut it closed. We have failed, utterly and completely.

Perhaps it is time to recognise that reality, and act in accordance with reality, not with how we desperately want things to be.

Buzzword bingo

You know the name of the game: take out a 5x5 matrix filled with corporate jargon and take a big swig of coffee every time someone utters one of those words. This game is, of course, vastly more fun if said coffee is of the Irish variety.

However, such a game does need to come with a health warning. If you find yourself trapped in a particularly ridiculous meeting, you may well find yourself in serious danger of dying from caffeine and/or alcohol poisoning:

Gott im Himmel.

You want to know the worst part? I actually started my career in an energy risk management consulting firm. I had to live like this for TWO AND A HALF YEARS.

Looking back, it's amazing I'm still as sane as I am. (This is of course a matter of opinion, I know.)

Monday, 25 January 2016

"First Kill"

The Vikings are BACK!

Hel's Teeth, that was positively BRUTAL. By Thor's Hammer, this sounds like it is going to be a positively AWESOME album. I cannot wait to hear it. The last four albums have featured a sound that can only be adequately described as "ear-raping"- but I honestly don't think that they've ever quite topped the sheer barbaric brilliance of With Oden On Our Side.

Twilight of the Thunder God has some truly spectacular moments on it- the standouts have got to be "Free Will Sacrifice", "Varyags of Miklagaard", and "Tattered Banners Bloody Flags"- but it's let down by some rather more drab tracks toward the end.

Surtur Rising was more of a consistent groove-crusher of an album, with a more or less uniform level of excellence throughout, but that level never quite rose to meet that of its predecessors.

And Deceiver of the Gods, while epic and brutal and brilliant, still somehow did not quite get the ingredients exactly right.

With this new album, though, AMON AMARTH has the chance to show that nobody does melodic death metal better than them.

And they'll be proving it LIVE to us too- they're playing all over the East Coast in a few months!!!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The other white meat

At least some people in Denmark still have their heads screwed on correctly, and recognise that not only is bacon good for you- which everyone but Jews and Muslims KNOWS to be true for a FACT- but it is also works very well as orc repellent:
A Danish town has made it mandatory for public institutions such as schools to serve pork, in the latest development of what has become know as the Nordic country’s “meatball war”. 
Denmark is home to 5.6 million people and around 13 million pigs. Sales of pork products and live pigs account for more than 5% of the country’s exports and the product is considered integral to nation’s culture by many citizens. 
However, due to mass-Muslim immigration and multicultural zeal, at least 30 of the country’s 1,719 daycare institutions have completely banned it or switched to halal, Ekstra Bladet found. [Didact: Simple solution to that problem. Tell them: "The border is OVER THERE, NOW TAKE YOUR STUFF AND GTFO".]

This led former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to strongly criticise the nurseries that dropped pork from their menus in 2013, which sparked a national debate.
The town council of Randers in central Denmark has now responded strongly, voting to make the meat “mandatory” for the purposes of upholding Danish culture. 
The said they wanted to ensure municipal institutions such as nurseries provided “Danish food culture as a central part of the offering – including serving pork on an equal footing with other foods”. 
They also insisted that the aim was not to force anybody to eat anything that “goes against one’s belief or religion”. 
“We will ensure that Danish children and youth can have pork in the future,” Randers town councilman Frank Nørgaard told Randers Amtsavis. 
“We just want to ensure pork in our institutions for those who want it. This isn’t about a general distrust of our institutions’ leaders, but more and more places around the country are trying to sneak through [policies that say] there shouldn’t be pork served in the institutions,” Mr. Nørgaard added. 
The move has been welcomed by the anti mass immigration Danish People’s party (DPP), which said it was “unacceptable to ban Danish food culture”.
I have long maintained that providing heaping helpings of bacon is the fastest and most effective way to cure vegetarianism. It would appear that, among its very many other benefits, bacon will also prove to be a highly effective anti-immigrant deterrent.

Honestly, the Danish government should seriously consider encouraging grilled bacon and sausage vendor carts at every airport, border crossing, and seaport in the country. One of two things will happen: either the "poor benighted little brown brothers" will end up eating said pork, or those same little brown brothers will be so repulsed by the fact that Danes love bacon that they'll run screaming in the other direction.

Where's the bad?!?

Joking aside, there is absolutely no good reason why a sovereign nation like Denmark, with its own proud history and culture, should have to put those things away simply because a pack of orcs from a very different culture decided to move in.

If the tables were turned and 100,000 Scandinavians were to suddenly show up in Damascus tomorrow claiming sanctuary and demanding that the Syrians provide them with, among other things, smørrebrød and leverpostej on a daily basis, the most polite response they could possibly hope to get would be a swift boot up their collective arse.

Yet we are somehow supposed to believe that it is right and just for Muslim invaders- and that is the correct term- to demand cultural concessions from their hosts? And on what basis?

When American frontiersmen and settlers pushed out into the West and took away Red Indian lands from their former owners, they did so based largely on force of arms. They came, they saw, they conquered. Their opponents were strong, virile, and willing to fight, but they were technologically hopelessly outclassed and on many occasions outnumbered as well. You don't have to like these facts to understand that force- raw, naked force- is the reason why the settlers were able to legitimately create and impose their own culture upon those lands.

But in Europe's present case, the conquest is not taking place through force of arms or the expansion of a superior and stronger culture; it is taking place through the willful and self-imposed suicide of an existing culture that has, apparently, lost the will to live.

It is not as if the Europeans have no model of "separate but equal" mixed societies to work with. In India, roughly 20% of the population is Muslim- a far, far higher proportion than anywhere in Europe, even in the current climate. In the large cities, Muslims tend to cluster around specific neighbourhoods. They generally keep to themselves, but they have no problem doing commerce with pagan Hindu idolaters; Muslim butchers are often regarded as some of the best sources of freshly slaughtered meat, even if they kill cows (sacred to Hindus) and refuse to touch pork (which affluent meat-eating Hindus have no problems eating). Muslim restaurant chains that sell modern variants of classical Mughal cuisine do very brisk business throughout northern and eastern India.

The populations do not, however, play happy families. There are deep and well-known sectarian tensions between Hindu and Muslim populations throughout that country. What keeps the Muslims largely in line, and prevents them from overthrowing India's secular Constitution with shariah law, is that they know full well that if they act up, they are surrounded on every side by hostiles who will show them little restraint and less mercy.

That is the part of the equation that Europeans are forgetting- for now. They do not realise that the time for accommodation is long past, if it ever even existed in the first place. Demands from recent arrivals to conform to the requirements of the invading culture must be met resolutely with force, if necessary- which is a step that a brainwashed European populace is still reluctant to take, on the whole.

But the time when "survival cancels out programming", as LTC Kratman likes to say, is rapidly approaching. I, for one, would not want to be in Europe when the restraints finally snap and the Europeans wake up and realise that their entire way of life is being systematically destroyed before their eyes in order to accommodate people who look, speak, act, and eat absolutely nothing like they do.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Snowpocalypse 3: The Emblizzarding

Anthropogenic global warming climate change has barreled into the Eastern Seaboard with a vengeance today:
The East Coast is battling 'life-threatening blizzard conditions' today as one of the most powerful winter storms in living memory continues to dump feet of snow across states from northern Georgia to New Jersey. 
The National Weather Service warned that the worst is still to come for many areas as one in seven Americans could get at least half a foot of snow by Sunday, and Washington could see snowdrifts more than four feet high. 
Ten states have now declared emergencies, more than 8,000 flights have been cancelled across the country, coastal flooding has been reported in New Jersey and motorists in Kentucky have been stranded in a 35-mile jam for 12 hours overnight with National Guard distributing food, water and fuel. 
In New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency and has warned citizens to stay off the streets all day today as winter storm Jonas batters the city with wind gusts of up to 60mph with snow falling at a rate of three inches per hour.
Global warming, my frozen brown arse. This is like the third year in a row that I've seen a massive storm dump Al Gore's idea of "climate change" down upon us. At some point, that tired old narrative gets more than a little ridiculous.

(And if you're from the AGW camp, please spare me the usual line about how weather and climate are two different things. Chances are that I am significantly more educated in climate modeling, statistical analysis, and just plain old fashioned common goddamn sense than you.)

I'm looking out my window right now and watching the gusts blowing snow and ice around into epic swirls. The little kids in the neighbourhood think this is an absolute lark, of course; for them, they get to play in the snow and build snowmen and throw the stuff at each other. It's great for them.

The local liquor merchants, of course, are having a fantastic time. I ventured out yesterday to pick up a few supplies and stopped by my local bottle shop for a stout helping of good old-fashioned Bushmill's Irish whiskey- because there is nothing better in a massive snowstorm than a nice hot mug of Irish coffee in the evening- and found the place doing crazy amounts of business.

I do feel sorry for the guys who are out there with snowblowers and shovels right now, though. We've had roughly 6-8 inches of snow already, and the day is only halfway done; it's a rather Sisyphean exercise.

Look, all joking aside- if you're in the path of the storm, or suffering from its effects right now, stay indoors, stay warm, and stay safe. And have a few stiff drinks- you're going to need them.

And if you're out there on the job today, then you have my full respect and gratitude for it. Like these brave men, guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington:
The snowstorm bearing down on the nation’s capital is not stopping the small group of soldiers who continually stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Much as they did during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Tomb Sentinels will brave the elements to continue guarding the hallowed memorial.

Since April 6, 1948, Tomb Sentinels from the Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment's "The Old Guard" have guarded the Tomb for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather.

“These guys will be out in the snow, no matter what,” said Major Russell Fox, a spokesman for the Army’s Old Guard. “They love what they’re doing and they’re dedicated."

And while the rest of Washington may be dreading the storm, Fox said “a lot of the guys are looking forward to this and kind of excited about it.”
A “relief” typically consists of six Tomb Sentinels who serve a 24-hour shift guarding the Tombs. They turn over watch of the tombs to another relief every morning at 6 a.m.

Arlington National Cemetery closed its doors at noon today and will be closed through the weekend, but plans call for the planned turnover of reliefs to take place Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The Tomb Sentinels are a familiar sight to most tourists who visit Arlington National Cemetery. Dressed in their dress blue uniforms, they “walk the mat” on the plaza in front of the white marble sarcophagus that lies above the remains of an unknown soldier from World War I. Unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War are buried in crypts in front of the sarcophagus.

The sentinels march in front of the tombs for 21 paces, then face north to stand at attention for 21 seconds before marching 21 paces in the other direction.
They're crazy. God bless them for it.

Friday, 22 January 2016


You know what the acronym means. And it is the only possible response to demands from a "Muslim advocacy group" called MuslimStern that Germans ban alcohol in order to help their little brown brothers from North Africa and the Levant integrate better into German society:
Germans need to ban alcohol if they want to prevent further sexual violence and to help North African migrants integrate into society. 
Commenting on the Cologne sex-attack controversy, MuslimStern, which has 20,000 followers on Facebook, said its mission was to 'highlight the way the media was using the incidents to promote racism against minorities'. 
The group complained that the female victims had brought the unwanted attention to themselves by dressing in a manner that North African men were not accustomed to. 
The group claimed: 'You cannot expect to chuck a naked antelope in front of a lion and not expect it to react. It is mind boggling that with so much time spent teaching children about sex at school, they completely forget to pass on this basic biological fact.' 
As a consequence of the attacks, they urged the German government to introduce a ban across the country on the consumption of alcohol. 
More than 520 women have reported assaults from New Year's Eve with at least three rapes which have been blamed on Muslim migrants who congregated around Cologne's cathedral during the night. 
Cologne's Muslim preacher Imam Sami Abu-Yusuf, who blamed women wearing perfume for the fact they were assaulted over the New Year, went on to justify it by saying that alcohol had taken away the restrictions of 'men from North Africa'.
Here's a tip to North Africans and Syrians who want to pretend that Germany is their new home: you're in Germany, so ACT LIKE GERMANS.

You're not going to win any brownie points among your hosts by acting like savages from countries where a good day is one in which a car bomb or jihadi attack doesn't take place. And you certainly aren't going to win friends among Germans by insisting that one of the very few countries anywhere on Earth that actually knows how to make good beer and good wine- at least, of the Spatlese variety- stop making both.

What angers me the most about these orcs is the fact that they are unable to observe the most basic rule of being a good guest: when your host offers you hospitality under his own roof and on his own terms, you live by his rules. Not by your own. It's just that simple.

I am one of those "little brown brothers" that liberals love to swoon over. The big difference between me and most other "little brown brothers", of course, is that unlike them, I'm not impressed or swayed by liberal stupidity. I live in a Western country with a Western lifestyle. I have precisely zero interest in imposing the standards and norms of my home country upon Americans- if I wanted to feel like I was back in the old country, I'd live in the old country.

So, if Muslims in Germany want to turn Der Vaterland into an approximate copy of Damascus, except with snow, then the only rational response possible from the Germans has got to be:

I wonder how much more provocation it will take before the Germans remember just how nasty they can be, and start dealing with their problems with typically Teutonic efficiency. If telling Germans that they cannot make or drink alcohol in public won't do it, what will?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Fellow Vile Faceless Minion #6306 has raised the battle flag for us as the Hugo Awards approach:
Woe to you, trufen and CHORFs, pedophiles! For you wear a tuxedo one night a year, but inside are full of greed, cruelty and self-indulgence.You blind Toad! First clean out your rotten heart, then put on the penguin suit. 
Woe to you, trufen and CHORFs, pedophiles! For you are like Jeff Dahmer’s freezer, which outwardly appears normal and functional, but within are the tortured corpses of all your victims. So you also outwardly appear to earn a rocket the right way, but within your greed has overtaken you. 
Woe to you, trufen and CHORFs, pedophiles! For you give awards out like candy, and you memorialize your giants, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of Asimov, we would not have taken part with them in the groping of victims.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who raped children. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You monsters, you repugnant worms, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 
By appealing to the mercy of the Vile Faceless Minions? 
We have no mercy to give. 
An eternity in Hell is your best alternative.
From one VFM to another:

Oh, did I forget to mention that you probably shouldn't play that with your speakers cranked up? Whoops.

The Hugo Awards are coming. And we VFMs shall be standing by with napalm, Agent Orange, flamethrowers, and our specially built rapidly collapsible sacrificial altars at the ready.

This should be a gas- and speaking of which: fellow VFMs, please remember to stock up on the same now that it's below $2/gal. Firelighters available at a discount as well.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

13 Hours

The words "A Michael Bay Film" do not generally conjure up images of white-knuckle drama and powerful, deeply emotional storytelling. When Michael Bay releases a new film, it's generally assumed that the new movie will essentially be the result of an idiot-savant goofball film director pointing his camera at whatever is exploding the hardest, along with hot girls displaying ample curvature and cleavage thrown in for eye-candy.

You sort of expect Michael Bay films to be the theatrical equivalent of pantomime opera- grandiose, over-the-top in every way, ridiculously silly, and yet strangely appealing, sort of like a slow-motion clown car crash.

His latest film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, defies every last one of those expectations. (Except the one about massive explosions. There are LOTS of explosions.)

I saw this movie yesterday. I walked out of the theatre practically shaking with rage. No film I have ever seen has had that effect on me- not even the pile of horripilation that was Social Justice Wars: Return of the Mary Sue.

Neither time nor additional reading have diminshed that anger. If you pay even a modicum of attention, this film will make you furious. And rightly so.

It was not that the movie was bad. Just the opposite, in fact. This is one of the best action movies I have ever seen. It is full of superb performances, a plot that would be unbelievable if it were anything other than a true story, and exceptionally strong characterisation.

Based on a book that chronicles the entire attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, the film grabs you from the first frame and holds you in your seat with a brilliant, powerful story of heroic courage against impossible odds. Despite the 144-minute runtime- 2 hours and 24 minutes- the story never, ever slows down. Even the brief quiet spells in between intense combat sequences are used to maximum effect, by humanising the brave men who fought and bled to protect their fellow Americans that terrible day.

The story of the consular attack in Benghazi is fairly well known by now. On 9/11/12, 11 years after Islamic fundamentalists killed over 3,000 people in a single day on American soil in the name of their "god", a mob attacked the American consulate in Benghazi itself in what intelligence agencies quickly realised was a coordinated, planned attack by the forces of Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia. Two men died within the first six hours of that attack- Sean Smith, an information management officer with the consulate; and Christopher Stevens, the charismatic, idealistic ambassador who was both well-known and well-respected in Libya and who apparently believed completely in America as a force for good in the world. Before the ordeal was done, another two Americans would be dead- former Navy SEALs Tyrone "Rone" Woods and Glenn "Bub" Doherty- and two more would be seriously wounded.

But, thanks to the incredible heroism of six former military operators then working as private security for that CIA outpost, thirty Americans were evacuated out of Benghazi by Libyan armed forces.

Two of their brothers, two Navy SEALs, died that day, so that their fellows could live.

Such a story would be tragic enough if that were all there was to it. But what makes this particular story so outrageous, so difficult for any patriot to accept at face value, is the fact- borne out in both documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony- that both the consular staff and the staff of the secret CIA facility just a mile away from the consulate repeatedly sent out calls for help from any friendly forces in the area.

Other than the GRS personnel at the Mission compound, and the reinforcements that arrived with SEAL Doherty, the American government and military DID NOT send help.

And that is what makes people like me, who love this country and what it represents, positively incandescent with fury. One terrible thought kept stabbing into me like an icepick in the brain as I watched this movie:
The government of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on Earth, LEFT THIRTY-SIX OF HER OWN OUT THERE TO DIE.
It wasn't as if the chain of command did not know what was going on. Within minutes of the start of the attack, in which something on the order of 60 assailants attempted (successfully) to storm the consulate, an unarmed unmanned surveillance drone was diverted from other duties to provide real-time intelligence about the attack on the consulate. Subsequent sources and testimony reveal that a second drone was later diverted to provide realtime information to AFRICOM in Germany and to the Pentagon and the White House.

The excuse that America couldn't send rapid-response teams into harm's way because the chain of command didn't know what was going on is pure grade-A unadulterated BULLSHIT. They knew. THEY KNEW, AND THEY DID NOTHING.

No land-based F-16s from Italy, and no carrier-launched F/A-18s, flying overhead to deliver sonic booms to "put the fear of God and America" into the people assaulting either the consulate or the CIA outpost.

No helicopters sent in to rescue the American personnel and security team trapped in the outpost, surrounded on all sides by hostiles.

No help at first, other than six incredibly brave and heroic men who ventured out- against orders- into a confused mess of a situation hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, and through their efforts managed to save the remaining consular staff and then the CIA staff at the Mission compound.

If it was Michael Bay's intention to get his audience angry, I'd say he damned well succeeded.

Mr. Bay is studiously apolitical in this film. He never, ever names or shames anyone in the US government's structure; other than lines like, "POTUS is being briefed" and a few shots of the WHite House, the Pentagon, and AFRICOM headquarters, you never get the impression that anyone in the US government ever got involved.

And yet you get the distinct impression that Mr. Bay positively seethes with rage about what was allowed to happen, and how the story of that horrible night was covered up. As John Nolte said in his review:
Director Michael Bay’s riveting, heartbreaking, and infuriating “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” opens with five simple words: “This Is a True Story.” What it should have read was, “This Is a True Story The Media Has Covered Up For Years.” 
God damn these people to Hell.
Mr. Bay, to his immense credit, never goes into the politics that surrounded the events of Benghazi within minutes of the story breaking- other than to have one of the characters state that the story being trotted out in the media is that a spontaneous "protest" outside the consulate suddenly turned violent due to some stupid "YouTube video". Beyond this, the film concentrates quite simply on what happened that day, and leaves it at that.

It is left to the viewer to draw the only conclusion possible.

It is exactly as Andrew Breitbart once said. The media is the enemy.

They covered up for this President. About the best that can be said about Obama is that he is a conflict-avoiding man who does not want to risk American lives in shows of power. But I draw a different conclusion: he is a coward, morally and temperamentally unsuited for the job of leading what was once the greatest nation on Earth, and absolutely unworthy of being given the monumental responsibility of the role of Commander-in-Chief, to command heroes like SEALs Doherty and Woods.

They covered up for Hillary Clinton. She lied for ten days after the event to the American people, openly and repeatedly, claiming that the attack was started by some obscure Internet video released months earlier, even though the CIA's OWN ANALYSIS said otherwise. And this is now the woman that the mainstream media considers to be Barack Obarmy's heir-apparent?! A woman so devoid of character and morality as to lie to the father of a slain Navy SEAL about the reason why he had to bury his own son?!?

This is a woman who should be in prison for what she has done. And she is THE MEDIA-ANOINTED FRONT-RUNNER FOR PRESIDENT OF THIS COUNTRY.

If ever there was an indictment of the American system of politics, if ever there was something that every red-blooded American should be ashamed of, that is it, right there.

Go and see this movie. Go read the book upon which it was based, as I am doing right now. Honour the men who did what was right, and paid a truly terrible price for it. And recognise, once and for all, that we are at war- and that our enemies will stop at nothing to deny the truth.