Saturday, January 11, 2003

The new improved C-Log

Town Hall's Conservative Weblog (C-Log) has more posters now and has many more items. Check them out.


From Victor Lams.

The upholstery one reminded me of the guy who fell in the lens grinding machine and made a spectacle of himself, and the butcher who backed into the meatgrinder and got a little behind in his work.

The dozens

A few years ago there was a popular series of humor books starting with "Snaps". It had a whole bunch of "yo' mama" type insults in it ("your mama is so fat she uses a satellite dish for a diaphragm"), and then went on to describe playing "the dozens". Read more about it here.

Here's a taste:
Yo' mama is so fat:
she uses a satellite dish for a diaphragm.
when she dances the band skips.
her blood type is Ragu.
when she wears heels she strikes oil

Your sister is so fat:
they had to baptize her at Sea World.
they took her baby pictures by satellite

Sex for fun and procreation

Several contracts ago I worked with a man who had 3 daughters. They'd all be about high school age now, and if they're anything like their baby pictures they're all dolls.

But being the bastard I am, I couldn't leave him alone about this. At the time I had read of various ways to affect the sex of your baby, and...well, follow along for a minute.

Number one, for a vast oversimplification, boy and girl sperm are different - the boys are sprinters and the girls are long distance runners. So if they don't have to go too far, the boys win. This invites speculation that the better hung among us are more likely to have boys, which does seem appropriate in some cosmic way. Strike one for Tommy.

Number two, the boy and girl sperm react differently to the pH (acidity) of the vagina. This pH changes at orgasm in such a way as to favor the boy sperm. Again, there's some cosmic justice here. So guess what, pal? - you're a lousy lay too. Strike two.

I'd never cut Tommy any slack (and don't go thinking I didn't get ragged right back), but in fact as noted this is a gross oversimplification. The woman's own anatomy certainly plays a role in both situations - vaginas are not all of the same length, and the sperm still has a way to go yet (although I suppose it's possible in principle to fertilize an egg that has managed to get to the vagina, I've never heard of a case of one that implanted. For more info on strange pregnancies, check out this on Beth's site here). Of course where Mama is in her menstrual cycle matters and lots more besides.

On the man's side, it certainly depends on the velocity of the sperm, which isn't exactly consistent. The relative positions when sperm are released matters too - doing it mostly on the downstroke would give Junior a head start over Sis.

No, I'm not a medical professional - I'm just following up on the implications of what I recall from back when I could devil Tommy locally. Heaven knows how much more we've learned since then, and I would not recommend attempting to learn science from bull sessions. Maybe Medpundit, MedRants or the Bloviator will chime in with the latest poop.

For those of you seeking to choose the sex of your baby, you might find some useful info here. Or you can just check out old wives' tales here.

As for the orgasm part, well, I'm here in St. Louis. Here in the Show Me State, we don't just do it, we study it - this is the home of Masters and Johnson. (For the kinkier stuff, head a couple hundred miles east to Bloomington, IN, the home of the Hoosier Review and the Kinsey Institute. We'll bring a feather to bed: they take the whole chicken).

Oh, what I could share! There's the Venus Butterfly, and Altoids...

But other than that, I'm not telling.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Workplace safety

Eve Tushnet posts on a workplace safety abomination.

I'll just comment about the numbers of safety violations that were found. They were very large. However, safety violations come in various degrees, and raw numbers aren't sufficient to measure the hazard.

Race and me

Although I'd like better, if you looked at my voting patterns you'd find that I vote Republican about 99.9% of the time. That of course makes me a "racist" to the kind of people who think there ought to be "hate crimes". So let's study this little pathology - where did my parents, my village, the govt, the human race and the very cosmos itself go wrong in creating such a monster?

Let's start at the beginning - when did I first become aware of race?

I'm from a lily-white town up north where most of the blacks we saw were either in prison or working prison-related jobs. Then as now blacks were more prevalent in prisons than in the general population. I can't say I was aware of that when I was a kid, but it dawned on me later on.

There weren't any black kids in my neighborhood, so my earliest impressions had to have come from the family and the media. It just never came up around the house - other than athletes, blacks just weren't part of our everyday experience. Guys like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks just happened to be black, that's all. They were heroes, and it never occurred to me that their color would make any difference (many of my relatives were darker than most, and I could be as much as 1/16 American Indian myself). It was a big deal to call someone a nigger, but there weren't any blacks handy, so the recipient was always white. Probably Irish...

And there was media coverage of Dr. Martin Luther King. We generally had the TV on in the background listening to Huntley and Brinkley around suppertime. I don't recall hearing anything negative about Dr. King on the news, and I knew it was a big deal when he was shot.

So what of blacks in general? Again, I never saw any live ones until I was about 8 or so. But the earliest impression that I recall was of a sainted people putting up with no end of BS without deserving it. Beatings, dogs, firehoses, the whole works. I didn't know the details about the Freedom Riders, but you can read about them here.

Then later things changed. Near as I can tell it was after Dr. King was shot. It seemed that from that point onward everything I saw about blacks showed riots, crime, violence, rudeness, and alienation. Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Cassius Clay avoiding the draft, then renaming himself Muhammad Ali. Lew Alcindor becoming Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Huey Newton, H. Rap Brown, etc. The one constant was that they were always differentiated from whites and usually made a point of it - in the presence of such distinctions it's natural to expect differences and even to look for them.

Then there was school. I knew of 6 black kids in the entire school system - Greg, Patty and Bobby from the same family in the normal classes, and Steve and two girls were in special ed. Greg was a few years ahead of me and had played in the little leagues, Patty was my age, and Bobby was a few years younger. Once in a while I heard some mumbling about "niggers" or "coons" or maybe a "jigaboo", but nothing specific about the ones I knew. It seemed that the more strongly ethnic the speaker was, the more likely he was to talk that way.

So nominally we were integrated from day 1, but not in spirit. The best example was some dance lessons that were offered after school, and the two special ed black girls were enrolled. I saw a number of the white boys refuse to dance with them - maybe they turned down some white girls too, but I never caught them at it. Anyway, the girls soon figured out that I didn't worry about it. Next thing I know I was dancing with one or the other almost exclusively, and it wasn't because I was Fred Astaire. I wasn't too thrilled with this because I wanted to mix more, but I wasn't rude enough to send them away. (In retrospect, it's also easy to see why nobody wanted to be the first to integrate - unless others did too, the resulting clientele would have become almost exclusively black, which usually meant less affluent and thus less money to spend).

Also, the lack of segregation might also have reflected the fact that it would have been very expensive. Certainly they wouldn't build an entire parallel school system for half a dozen black kids, and there were too few of them to be seen as any sort of threat. Segregation simply wasn't as cost-effective as it was where there were more blacks, such as in the South. So let's not ascribe virtue to what was at heart a financial decision - there were real racists around, and I'll get to that.

In jr. high school we moved South to a town of about the same size. The local jr. high had been the old black high school. I don't know how much renovation had occurred before it was reassigned, but it didn't seem to be a whole lot worse than the town's white high school. The white high school was fancier on the outside, but inside it wasn't significantly better if at all, and all of the once-segregated middle and grade schools all looked the same to me. Separate but equal? There didn't seem to be enough difference to fuss over.

I rode the bus to school. It passed through several black neighborhoods before it got to my stop, so I'd get on to a bus full of rowdy jr high black kids who I didn't know. (I don't know if it would have been much better if it had been a bus full of strange white kids though - if nothing else I didn't expect the black kids to "accept" me). They could tell I was uncomfortable and hazed me a little, and one girl in particular wouldn't keep her hands off me (gimme a break, I was in jr. high). But I never had any real trouble, and I never saw anyone have trouble who wasn't looking for it. So I'd have to say that but for some very goosy beginnings integration did me some good.

In high school there were plenty of black kids, but outside PE class I recall very few classes with them. I generally took the most advanced classes available, and I honestly can't remember any blacks in any of them. Then again, why would I? - I wasn't looking for them, or trying to prove any points. Even my sport was white - there were only two black wrestlers that I recall, and we could have used the help. Other teams had a few, because I remember the first guy I pinned in a dual meet was black.

In engineering school there were very few blacks. The only ones I knew were all men, about 6 of them, from the dorms, and that was over my entire time there. I don't recall a single black woman there, but then there were plenty of locals. Although I don't recall any racial incidents, there wasn't much mixing either. We'd have the occasional bull session, but usually when something sociable was happening the groups just wound up self-segregating. Again, it wasn't anything I ever thought of, and I don't recall ever thinking of them as being different in ways other than the obvious.

Should there have been more blacks in my engineering school? Beats me. The Bakke decision came out when I was in college, and I thought the quota Bakke fought was wrong then as I do now. If there was any discrimination going on, it was awfully sneaky, and the blacks I knew weren't top performers, so it's entirely possible that they were there because allowances had been made for them.

What to make of this? Nothing really - I don't recall ever questioning how things were, or having reason to. And I was in what was probably perceived as a white guy's major in a white guy's school which had no liberal arts college. One oddball data point does not lend itself to sound conclusions.

After college I worked to construct and test nuclear power plants in the South for a while. I'd hear comments or jokes that would be called "racist", like this: "How do you get rid of crabs? Paint one of them black, and the rest won't eat with him". That in particular strikes me as showing just how ridiculous color distinctions are, but get caught telling it at work and you'd probably lose your job nowadays.

The Southern town I lived in had some interesting history and was still largely segregated. Whether that just hadn't changed organically yet or was being kept alive by real estate types I don't know. I never had any business in the black part of town north of the railroad tracks, so I can't say much about it.

After a few years I came back up North again because that's where most of the family was. I started noticing a few things, and hearing more history. For instance, one yellow-dog Democrat from the area would deny it now, but contemporaries say he swore that if any blacks tried to join their local construction union they'd have 'accidents'. And I never saw it, but a relative told me that another town about 40 miles away used to have a sign at the city limits that said "Nigger - don't let the sun set on you". This, a century after the Civil War - suuuure, they fought to free slaves all right.

So how have things turned out? Well, it so happens that nobody I would call a real friend is black. Of course that's also true of Germans, and I'm heavily Kraut myself - it means nothing other than that the right situations haven't arisen. I've been around enough to have a realistic view - there's no point in forcing anything. I'll admit to one prejudice - I expect many blacks to look for grievances, because if people who purportedly spoke for "my" race spoke as today's nominal black leaders do, I'd be looking for grievances myself.

But personally I'd rather just forget about it, and I'm tired of this succession of politically fabricated non-issues you have to sign off on to avoid being tagged a "racist". Sorry, but whatever Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did wasn't on par with George Washington's accomplishments, but who has his own Federal holiday? How about hate crimes? - I guess it would have been better if James Byrd would have been white or his attackers had been black? Or affirmative action - sorry pal, but I wasn't overprivileged either, and shouldn't be subject to arbitrary quota-driven screwings because of something someone else might have done to you. "Reparations" aren't even worthy of a serious discussion. And don't get me started on this !#$! stupidity about the Confederate battle flag - surely if this is an issue then we must not have any real problems left. What's next, a ban on white sheets?

And let's not forget the latest in stupidity - this contrived McCarthyist charge of "racial insensitivity". It's the latest Democrat effort to make sure race is a political issue. Even if it does prime people who had been favorably disposed to ending racial injustice to respond to the latest charges with a reflexive visceral "Bullshit!".

I had been primed from an early age to do right about race. Then politicians and race hustlers took me from there to where I am now. Let them keep it up long enough, and you'll run this completely into the ground like with feminism and anti-Communism. Anybody who doesn't see that coming truly is inferior.

At least I didn't email it to you. Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline.

If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.

If you are codependent, please ask someone to press 2.

If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5 and 6.

If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press. If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer.

If you are delusional and occasionally hallucinate, please be aware that the thing you are holding on the side of your head is alive and about to bite off your ear.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Hypocrite of the year award?

Gary Aldrich was a whistleblower when it wasn't cool. So it must be galling to look at the three women on the cover of Time magazine. Here he comments on them.

Maybe if more of us had heeded Aldrich, we could have elected an adult to the White House in time to stop Osama Bin Laden and Kim Jong Il.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Extra! First picture of the Raelian baby clone!

Right here.

Welcome back Anne Wilson

Local blogger Anne Wilson has been back for a few weeks now and offers us this about a former Red Army officer who is flying for the US Air Force.

The original Joe McCarthy

Liberals like to scare people, and one of their biggest bogeymen is "McCarthyism". Named for Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, it invokes overheated stories about witch hunts, ruined lives and reputations by a campaign of innuendoes and smears. How did this happen?

Senator McCarthy was the most prominent seeker of Communists in the federal govt in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He gained tremendous popular support for a while until he was undone by alcoholism, poor television presence, and his relentless enemies.

He was on to something. Back then, thanks to poor news coverage and lack of practical experience, it was possible for reasonable people to believe Communist propaganda promising a better way. Such beliefs inspire people prone to political activism, and such people are also drawn to govt positions. So it was no surprise to find that there were numerous govt employees who as a minimum had Communist sympathies.

Now why would fighting Communism be a partisan issue? Because Democrats had run the govt lock stock and barrel for well over a decade and had a lot to hide. And then as with Bill Clinton they tried to frame the whole affair as a "witch hunt". It's not that they didn't know there were problems - Roosevelt had already sacked Henry Wallace in 1944 in favor of Harry Truman because of his left-wing sympathies. They just didn't want to be held accountable.

Much of the complaining about McCarthy was about his "methods". Perhaps the worst of these was dredging up past associations with Communists or sympathizers, by which standard even Ronald Reagan could be presented as a Commie. People's philosophies change over time as they gain knowledge and experience. So it is questionable to bring up things that someone 10 or more years before if there is no evidence of continuity in the meantime.

One might also have argued at the time about the degree of threat Communist govt figures posed. That verdict is now in:
After the 1950s the Soviets no longer had as large a cadre of “Soviet patriots”-Western Communists-on hand for espionage. Western counterintelligence operations, the discrediting of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and Khrushchev’s “secret speech” denouncing Stalin combined to dry up the pool of espionage talent that had proliferated during the 1930s and 1940s. In the Cold War period (1946 to 1991) the Soviets were forced to rely on less trustworthy and less dedicated mercenary agents. The loss of most of their ideological agents-one of their most valuable assets-was a blow to the Soviets.
It's fair to argue about how much Senator McCarthy contributed to this, and some might even say he actively discredited anti-Communism. But we can say that there were Communists in the govt, some of them were disloyal to the US, and much was done to get rid of them over the McCarthy era.

His cause may be gone, but his methods live - more later.

Don't lose your lunch

Juan Gato is on a roll, With Cheese™!

Seriously, there are several good posts in a row - I just arbitrarily linked to his post about those PETA suckers.

No offense, JG, but I'm going to KFC.

Monday, January 06, 2003

Sunday, January 05, 2003

The impact of sonograms on abortion

Here. From William Sulik.

From euthanasia to...

A memorandum signed by Adolf Hitler, dated the opening day of the war, empowered physicians "to grant a mercy death to those judged to be incurably ill." In operation for less than two years (during the period from 1939 to 1941), the Aktion T-4 program resulted in the deaths of 70,273 persons.
Via Medpundit.

Adult stem cell progress

Heart experts in Hong Kong on Friday claimed a world-first in treating heart attack patients using transplanted stem cells from bone marrow.

Via Medpundit.


Maybe I don't hang around in the right part of the bookstores, but I don't recall seeing the Foxfire books for some time now. From Amazon's description of the first volume:
In the late 1960s, Eliot Wigginton and his students created the magazine Foxfire in an effort to record and preserve the traditional folk culture of the Southern Appalachians. This is the original book compilation of Foxfire material which introduces Aunt Arie and her contemporaries and includes log cabin building, hog dressing, snake lore, mountain crafts and food, and "other affairs of plain living."
There are at least 11 volumes in the series.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Remember when this came out around 1970 or so? Some found it sacrilegious. It certainly wasn't reverent. Anyway, I always liked the soundtrack.

Kill that meme!

Laziness is a myth. There is only "output failure". This book tells all about it, if I'd only get off my duff and read it.

What really caused the WTC massacre...

...Caryn Solly's misadventures with lava rocks.