Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Call

It was inevitable, but we don't like to think about it.  Either we get The Call about someone else or they get The Call about us.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Yoga Pants Controversy

In case anyone hasn't heard about this, you can get the details here.  My first observation is that what are termed "Yoga Pants" were formally known as "tights", and don't have anything to do with Yoga.  I can't really be sure why call their tights Yoga Pants, but perhaps it makes them feel more sophisticated.

Other than this I must express my sympathy for those women who must choose between wearing Yoga Pants and wearing a Burka.  It is a terrible thing to be forced to choose between these extremes because modesty and decency are now public outrages.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Resistance is Futile

It makes a catchy campaign theme/slogan.  However, I am not sure after Brexit and the Columbian peace treaty with FARC that this is really the sensible way to proceed.  But then there is Venezuela.

Seasons are changing

The lake temperature is slowly cooling with some leaves now along the edges.  Most of the trees along the banks don't show too many signs of changing their color yet, but their leaves should all be in the water after another month.  A lingering cough is the only problem with swimming.  Part of me dreads the cold that is coming, but another part is confident that I will be able to handle it.

Now I am trying to decide if I will sign up for the Alcatraz New Year swim again.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"God will give us the president that we deserve."

That was my answer to an inquiry at a party about whether it should be Trump or Hillary.  Clearly we have been bad as a nation and some punishment is needed.  Or maybe I should say that the punishment needs to be raised to another level.

A related item is a memory of growing up on the edge of Appalachia.  We had a derogatory term for poor whites who were especially believed to be morally loose: "White Trash".  A difference of today is that revelations or accusations of such behavior from the nominees no longer result in any surprise.  What was formerly an exception is now mainstream, having been fully embraced by academia and modernist theologians, with Hollywood a little behind.   The damaging thing to the prospects of a potential candidate is a revelation of a clean past.  Clearly that would point to some sort of extra-terrestrial disguised as a human.  This would be much more scary.  The final irony isg that those who are loudest about condemning Trump from the left for his behavior are the same ones who are desperately mainstreaming Trump's behavior into America's culture, government and legal system.

"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
as if a man fled from a lion, 
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?" - Amos 5:18-20

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Happiness: Brits :( vs Americans :)

This post is inspired by an article by a Brit who was suffering from culture shock here in Silicon Valley.  (Note: I am actually in Tucson, Arizona, but most of the time I hang out in Silicon Valley.)

I am in general agreement with the author on a few points, including the general theme:  That the pursuit of happiness is a self-defeating goal.  Happiness shouldn't be an end in itself.  But then again, I am not quite convinced that the Brits' laser-like focus on cynicism really makes them happier either.
My real belief is that happiness should be a side effect of a sensible pursuit of other more plausible goals.  Or maybe it is just something you experience when you finally doze off to sleep knowing that you have a few hours before the storms of life become apparent to you again.

The real Christian pursuit, however, is of suffering:  "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'" (Matthew 16:24).  Or perhaps "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), which means volunteering for some Indiana Jones style treatment by the barbarians, but of a life-time duration. And Jesus enticed the apostle Paul to convert with this promise: "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." (Acts 9:16)   The joy is something we are supposed to look forward to in another life.  Or maybe it is something that the pain just brings out.  For the time being, pain is cool and happiness isn't.

Those who are worried about whether they are happy or not clearly have too much idle time.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Debate Result

My wife and I had a nice evening doing grocery shopping and ignored the debate.  My conclusion is that the winners are the ones who had something better to do and the losers are the ones who watched the debate.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Grand Canal of Fremont Update

"Dear Residents,

Subject: Mission Creek Restoration Project Construction Updates

The purpose of this letter is to update you on the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Mission Creek Restoration Project ... to inform you of changes to construction work hours and days.

Delays have been encountered during the course of construction that have affected the construction schedule.  From early May until late July, there were active bird nests within the project site.  Federal regulations require that active bird nests be protected from disturbance by construction activity, so some construction work was delayed. ....  "

The main takeaway is that the union contractors are now on 60 hour work weeks, which means they will be collecting double wages on their last few hours of work.  Good thing the existence of birds in the swamp areas by the creek wasn't known during the planning stages.

I wonder how long the Panama Canal would have taken to build if they stopped work for every bird nest.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Chinese Moon Cake Festival

My wife and I enjoyed our evening walk to the sight of a full moon.  Today is the Chinese Moon Cake Festival (中秋節).  This festival was to commemorate a Chinese uprising.  According to the legend, the Moon Cakes had a message concealed in them giving the time in which the Chinese were to all rise up and kill all the foreigners in order to overthrow the Mongolians.  Since the Mongolians employed other non-Chinese, that meant long noses and those who could grow beards would not survive the night.  Something for this foreigner to ponder as I get ready to head off to bed with a Chinese on 中秋節.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Age Discrimination. In Silicon Valley?

Not quite sure what to make of this article.  Silicon Valley is supposed to have the number one merit based ethic in the world, but somehow falls short.  I am thankful to have a seemingly stable job at the moment.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Another Old Friend

Feeling like I am where I belong again.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Toilet Wars

This is historical essay is inspired by some of the recent changes towards all gender toilets that are happening in Silicon Valley and will most likely become legal mandates.

My reminisces are that back in the earliest days, all toilets were gender neutral.  The animals just did it wherever, with the bulls and the cows generally taking no interest in regulating where the opposite sex did their thing.  Then along came the birds, who preferred windshields as their target, with the males and females both competing to see who could hit the spot from the highest altitude.  Other variations to the rule were out there, such as the felines, who used urinating as a means of marking territory, which they did proudly for all to see.

Humans likewise paid no attention to regulations of any sort until pope Urban Organization II decided that there must be both male and female chamber pots.  What was concerning him was never stated clearly, but we may wonder how it is that a prelate who only interacted with males should take note of such things.  Anyway, this practice spread from chamber pots to public latrines.  Then it continued to propagate throughout the world so that geographically and culturally far away places like Japan and Indonesia have also picked up the practice.  There are, however, some peculiarities in these far away implementations.  For example, the original Catholic practice separated the genders to the point that nothing was visible, whereas in Japan the cleaning ladies make their rounds in the mens toilets without any change to the rhythm of activity.  In Indonesia, I remember some of the country side toilets being segregated, but otherwise things were more or less visible externally.

Modern intellectualoids have seen the practice for what it clearly is:  Gender based toilets are a barbaric violation of the laws of nature, inspired by religious fanatics who had nothing but evil intentions and desired to impose these on others.  Were it not for the brutality of the Inquisition, gender based toilets would never have taken hold.  Thus, the need to compel people to return to the proper biological practices.  To this end, the all-gender toilet was invented.  Now I should note that there is a distinction between the simple multi-use toilet which has a toilet and a washing area both behind a single lockable door.  The all-gender latrine has a relatively private toilet, but the washing areas are shared and public.  My first encounter with this was at a restaurant nearby where I went, um, once.  The result was that I found myself washing my hands and straightening up my clothes next to the young waitress who was doing the same.  Admittedly it gave me a rather squeamish feeling, which clearly indicates the moral deficiency of my upbringing.  More recently I have learned that major companies Silicon Valley companies like Semantec have implemented this in their facilities, which greatly improves the symmetry of social bonding and eliminates the suspicion generated by gender segregation.

I won't try to draw any conclusion to this, since we are still early in the change process.  San Francisco, being always the most progressive, has taken the further step of encouraging public defecation and urination everywhere, which clearly brings us back to the original biological plan for such activities.  No doubt the US Supreme Court will need to rule on this, followed by the World Court and the United Nations Human Rights Council.  As for me, I am looking forward to a more fragrant future.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


After being stuck at my house for several months due to the studies, I finally have the chance to get out for a day without thinking about anything.  But now we must ponder the options.  The pictures are from Wheeler Peak in Northern New Mexico where I went with my daughter and her friends a few years ago.  Unfortunately that is a little too far for a day trip.  San Francisco is nearby, but we save this for when visitors come.  Marin County might be good since there is lots of hiking there.  Tiburon and Angel Island?  Or maybe up to Sonoma?  The redwoods are nearby and easy to mix with a visit to Santa Cruz, without too much driving.  We can say "hi!" to Clint Eastwood and head on down to Monterey and Carmel.  Or maybe just go to Big Sur.  Since I never drink wine, we don't usually go to Napa Valley unless we have guests.  The weather this weekend shouldn't be too hot, so perhaps we could consider Pinnacles National Park.  Lot's of choices and two more days to make up my mind.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dotting the t's and crossing the i's.

Just finished the last of the semester's coursework.  Wondering what is in store next.  Maybe I will just spend more time in the lake swimming with the cormorants.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Trump vs Other Republicans

After careful and scientific consideration, I can now make the final observations:

Trump vs Bush I/II

What makes Trump outstanding is that he is able to express and defend an opinion.  Yes, it is true that he might be expressing a contrary opinion the next day, and his defense might be incoherent and cause even more troubles for his point of view, but one has to start somewhere.  Bush I/II never made it that far.

Trump vs McCain

A consistent behavior of Trump is the picking of fights with various people, even if it is a pointless one.  In this, however, Trump shows himself to be principled by first making the recipient of his attack into an enemy, then attacking.  Later he might de-enemy the person and all is well.  With McCain, it is his friends who need to worry the most.

Trump vs Romney

My main recollection was that Romney was a conservative Christian before being nominated and a born again RINO afterwards.  Who knows what he would have become had he been elected?  There is only one Trump so you always know who it is you are voting for.  OK, so we have to deal with this in a statistical sense with a very large standard deviation, but we are confident that the alternation between positions and their complex conjugates is a stochastic process which is temporally invariant, rather than being subject to discrete jumps and singularities.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Whitewashing the Whitewashing ... and Matt Damon

A series of anti-Matt Damon articles featuring Constance Wu have hit the press, such as this one from the Daily Mail.  So basically Matt Damon having escaped from Mars with the help of the Chinese National Space Agency returns the favor by helping to save China from monsters as an archer on the Great Wall a few centuries back.  What did they expect would happen?

But Constance Wu is is offended with this white guy.  I was sympathetic for a nano-second, but then I read her rant:  "Out heroes don't look like Matt Damon.  They look like Malala.  Ghandi.  Mandela.  Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time."

Is she really not familiar with China's one child policy?  Malala is too busy doing her studies to save China, but let's consider what this movie would look like with a Ghandi look alike having a sit down on the Great Wall and confronting the demons with non-violence.  Maybe that is the right thing to do, but it wouldn't be quite the action packed thriller.

But my real objection here is that Malala, Ghandi and Mandela, although being people of colour, are not the heroes of the people of colour.  They are the heroes of White Leftwing Intellectualoid Professors who are the tenured faculty at major universities which were established by white dudes and represent The Establishment and The Hegemony.  They are the heroes of white Hollywood.  They are the heroes of Matt Damon.  Does Constance even know any Chinese?  Why not at least suggest Sun Wu Kong?  Constance, do you know anything about China?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A tunnel at the end of the light

The final Greek class is now about 90% done.  Just trying to finish the last assignments.  Oh, how good it will be to be free to go exercise again!  Oh to be free from purgatory!

Friday, July 29, 2016

France: Foreign Funding of Mosques

This post is some random pondering related to France's effort to ban foreign funding of Mosques.  What I am wondering about is the precedent that will be set in this.  When I was working in France, I attended a little Southern Baptist church that was almost certainly receiving foreign subsidies.  Theologically the Southern Baptists aren't that much different from the earlier French Huguenots who were brutally exterminated by the Papists.  But enough of history.

It seems that the French government's idea was to put a government institution in between the foreign donors and the Mohammedan institutions that receive the funds.  Would they do that to Buddhists?  It does seem a little like what mainland China does.  One quote I like from the article is attributed to a Senate committee:

"On the one hand there is the intent to organise Islam in France in order to have greater control; on the other hand it [Islam] cannot be touched because of the 1905 law.  The equation is unsolvable."

Thus, the challenge of how the government is to engineer a Peaceful Islam (note: Islam derives from the word for peace), while simultaneously staying out of religion.  The religiously tolerant Romans had a similar issue with the Druids and their human sacrifices, but since the Romans had no concept of the separation of religion and state, their solution did not involve much hand wringing.

I expect things to get much more messy, since political correctness precludes any sensible policies, and then the world will come to an end.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Driving Under the Influence. Of Pokemon Go

I just heard about this a few days ago, and it didn't register to me what it was about until talking with my son a little later.  Today I was walking at the park with my dear wife in an area with a very wide walkway.   A young girl ahead of us was wandering here and there looking at her iPhone.  Or whatever it was.  But then she stopped in the middle of the walkway.  Two high school boys were riding up behind me looking at their iPhones, and one of them was so totally absorbed that he ran into the young girl without reacting at all until after the impact.  Both the young man and the young girl ended up on the ground.  The girl got up and insisted she was OK, while an irate mother scolded the young man.  Thankfully this wasn't like other parts of the Bay Area where only a foolish mother would behave this way.  The young man was raised well enough to immediately issue his mea culpa, while the young girl tried pointlessly to take the fault onto herself for stopping in the middle of the walking area with her phone.  This all leaves me wondering what the future holds as this will undoubtedly not be the last fad of this sort.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Naughtyhamshire demands women be treated nicer

Misogyny has been elevated to a hate crime.  I am wondering if forgetting my wife's birthday qualifies as misogyny.  Hopefully there are some clear definitions written up somewhere.  I am also wondering about ideologies that treat women as chattel and only recognize two categories: chattel and those that are to be treated worse than chattel.  Nah, that can't be misogyny.  The other things which would seem necessary to deal with are reverse misogyny, meaning the hatred of males, which is rampant in some species of feminism.  OK, my apologies for changing the subject.  No doubt pimps trafficking in sex-slaves and pornographers and pedophiles will not fall under any suspicion of misogynist tendencies.

A working link is hopefully here:

I will wish them good luck in this endeavor.  They will need it.  Lots of it.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Half Way Point

One is always at half way.  It is just a matter of arranging the start and finish so that they are equidistant from where you are, with you in the middle somewhere.

In this case the half way point is third semester Greek Exegesis class.  This is for those who enjoy inflicting pain on themselves.  Greek sentences can consist of about as many clauses as there are letters in an English sentence.  One of our tasks is to diagram the sentence structure, putting notes on every word as to its semantic category and function.  Is the participle adverbial, adjectival or substantival?  If adverbial, then what kind of adverbial?  You can get an idea of what this looks like by clicking here, although this leaves out half of the information.

Insha'Allah, I will be able to complete this class, although I am told that my Christian usage of Insha'Allah (if God will's it) is nearly the exact opposite of the usage by Muslims, a fact which likely deserves a thousand pages of linguistic technical commentary.  The Christian usage implies that we are working towards a goal that we hope to achieve, but recognize that it is through God's strength and permission that we might obtain that goal.  The Muslim usage is that we have no intention of doing something, but God might step in and compel us towards our undesired outcome anyway.  Insha'Allah.  Both interpretations are true theologically, but not the same linguistically.  The original reference to this comes from the Bible, James 4:13-15 - "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."  But now we sadly have to argue over whether James copied from Mohammed or vice versa.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Globalization vs "Globalization"

Seeing the headlines about Brexit being a defeat for Globalists caused me to take a trip back through memory lane.  In the 1980's, there was a lot of howling about globalization from the left, because this clearly posed a threat to the Earth's proper rotation around the Sun, not to mention unions.  We have come a long way for the UK to be cursed by the same far left for opting out.  What happened?

The original concept of globalization goes back to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776).  The idea was that global trade would make everyone wealthier with different countries playing to their strengths as they had been endowed with resources and labor.  Traders will necessarily move about, while certain prosperous zones will attract labor from elsewhere resulting in certain cultural melting pots.  This is the globalization that I am familiar with and attracted to.

This has me thinking back to Bill Clinton's North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for which the left cursed him.  Immediately after this agreement went into effect, I went on a business trip to Canada and was pulled aside by the customs officer to find out which of the myriad NAFTA labor categories my work fell under.  We then got hit with a newly introduced free trade tariff.  What had happened was that Clinton brought the unions and hyper-bureaucrats to the table for negotiating "free trade", thus, making a mockery of the entire thing.  This seems to be the point where the left realized that international "free trade" agreements could be used to impose their leftist agenda onto other nations in return for trade concessions.

This has now been taken to its extreme limit with out current government imposing things all over the planet, so that trade is undoubtedly freer the less free trade agreements we have in place.  Europe has its own brand of this globalization as a pretext for government gone wild as they try to impose one culture of production across the EU.  Meanwhile, their tariffs with Africa remain completely out of control, hurting the entire continent and giving Africans more incentive to move.  One example is here.  True globalization does result in natural flows of labor, but "globalization" is something completely different:  Both the EU and the US are experiencing floods of foreigners that often seem more like the invasions of the Huns, Magyars, or Vikings, with the difference that our governments are encouraging the invasion and doing their best to insure that the new invaders don't settle down and assimilate like the Goths and Celts did.

So my overall perspective is that the left hated the earlier globalization, but eventually realized that it could not be stopped.  Then they switched course, joined the globalization band wagon, insisted that they were the ones best to lead, grabbed the reins, and proceeded to drive it off a cliff.  It won't take long before the leftist in the UK realize that they are by far the most qualified to lead the Brexit movement.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


ECB, as we all should know by now, stands for European Cancerous Bureaucracy, of which the European Central Bank is a small component.  For those who are now trying to dump the Pound, I would suggest a bit of caution.  The most resilient species in the universe is the government bureaucrat, so I fully expect them to already be scheming how to subvert the decision of the voters.  For example, to disentangle any existing bureaucratical construct will undoubtedly require several explicit laws, numerous court orders, and replacing those in the chain of command with someone who is accepting of the will of the people.  A leprechaun is undoubtedly easier to find.

On the other hand, there is the argument that the bureaucrats will sabotage the economy in order to deliberately discredit the Brexit movement, as if they hadn't already been sabotaging everything, including the economy.  But they can always make things worse.

So my final prophecy is that I don't know how this is going to fall out in the end.  The news media was undoubtedly behind all this since it has compelled me to look at news sites that I wouldn't have done if things proceeded in a more orderly manner.  Time to stock up on popcorn, kickback, and enjoy the show.