Culturalism · Uncategorized

The Ward

I pass through your doors, and smell forever death. Not the rotting corpse, but its vivid anticipation. Fear.  Those bashful eyes, peeping above a mask blue to white, sensing weighted antimony. How long? Who is imbued with knowledge? A few beings hope, swaddled in great white jackets, speaking as if sure, while we wait clueless.  

Sudden. The denizen catches this  glance, dazzling more terror. Myself the cause I disbelieve. Something else must speak. Could empathy well within? Aye, yet never still the twin fashion. That poor soul 72, frail to the saunter. I cannot know his fear, walking as I do on water. When the invisible beings sneer I laugh, he alone quavers. He alone prays.

Ring, answer, answering.  How many cry after chance, for guarantee? Too late, none remain. Try with new sun. Alas, but can they afford to? I fall back to tempt myself. Give the slot, let them enjoy. Swift it perishes. How more will I earn depleted units? There are others who fear, others with currency. They craft mint paper bonds, strongest of manacles. Dismiss the moral shriek.

Finally, she beckons. Sit, clothespin finger, wrap your arm, feel it close to burst. Enough. Spears in the nostril. The vision floods. Wait now, a printed vein of trees. Sainted in truth. The white robe says be well. Past three masking shields, almost genuine. He says sorry for waiting, but I feel sorry for him.

Clear. An open passage shines. Depart high feeling, thoughts to know freedom. Two steps more. Disaster. I see his stare anew. Older, worn, tragic. Burdens for that soul to live, I carry the pain-thing forever. Brushes never rest.    

Economic History · Federal Government · investing · Uncategorized

Break Their Fall

The older I get, the less enjoyable or exciting any “black pill” realization becomes. It might speak to the sad state of affairs currently showcased, but in reality a cosmic manifestation of elitist gall is the culprit. Rather than hiding their malevolence, the dominant players of our time have settled into an open, unapologetic method of communicating intent. Thus we as observers are left to endorse rather blasé attitudes in the face of searing rain, at once feeling the discomfort but taking solace in the fact that its arrival could be predicted from a long ways off.

A perfect example of this lies in the wondrous implications of the Dodd-Frank legislation signed by President Obama in 2013. The landmark legislation was celebrated for supposedly raining in the excesses of Wall Street (a highly dubious claim), and is regularly cited by leftists to show the successes of 44. At the same time, the mammoth bill put forward some rather interesting features that drop hints about what is to come.

In reaction to the controversy over government-funded bailouts of banks, the legislation permits such institutions to maintain solvency by pursuing a strategy of “bail-ins,” an option which involves seizure of a large percentage of customer assets to keep the firm afloat. Due to protections bolstering derivatives on the totem pole of importance, users with regular checking and savings accounts might well be subjected to the experience of people in Cyprus, who lost tremendously after a financial crisis on the island.

What’s really lamentable about the whole matter concerns how little attention it has received. The stock market continues to return stimulus-induced profits, Congress is just barely approaching a COVID deal after months of haggling, and an incompetent geriatric is poised to become president in January. But this bit of legal scribbling, which stands to produce disastrous effects in the very real future, is remanded to the likes of The Epoch Times, an alleged “fake news” paper.

I suppose the natural response is to dive deeper into Bitcoin, yet even on that front the waters are becoming murkier. Mnuchin the Moocher has taken first blood, and I would not expect Yellen to be much different. The steady swill of power and corporate greed seems to overtake everyone, no matter the designs of their sacred oaths and professed beliefs.

Perhaps we should buy land.

Culturalism · Personal Finance · Uncategorized

Monuments To Nothing

As a teenager I rode the local commuter bus to college in the days before I could afford a car. It was an interesting experience, particularly due to all the interesting characters I would come across, from government-paid drivers ranting about the dangers of socialism, to the historically butthurt claiming fares were racist. On an especially rainy day, when the bus was emptier than usual, a guy about my age struck up conversation about philosophy and life. “Mark,” as he called himself, was concerned over the decay of society, a matter being expressed in various forms, but especially so with the bland nature of architecture, which he saw as communicating nothingness and unoriginality. We ended the discourse at my stop with a handshake, and ventured off into that somber world.

I only saw Mark once after that day, this time in passing, but his message has struck me as immeasurably profound with each passing year. Even a cursory look at new developments tells the undoubting tale: the objective is functionality, not art or community. Take a glance over here, for instance:

Pretentious vinyl siding rushes about the landscape’s face, displacing any alternatives, such as wood, stone, or brick. The colors are drab stains of white or gray, cut through only by the random placement of windows giving no evidence of skilled impression apart from the tablet-fed blueprints of Toll Brothers and their associated clan. The double back doors are imprisoned by cheap-looking baby gates drilled into the siding – a final insult for those unwilling to pay for the full wooden deck model. Those so fortunate to spend the additional $20,000 can relish their descent into a yard of astro-turf grass, green and cordoned as expected.

What prevails in these models is a stark sense of disinterest in creating the classical vignette of a close-knit neighborhood. The homes (or townhomes) stand there to serve as miserable and costly testaments to the need for proximity to a commuter route, and thus Wonder Bread on the table. Anything else is beneath slight importance. After all, with “smart” devices and the surveillance witch machine, why should anyone care about their fellow residents?

The basic necessities approach pales utterly in contrast to traditional German-American visions in the Midwest, which were driven by a sense that neighborhoods and buildings ought to forge ties between those within, and reflect the dynamism of community. While house models might have been similar to start with, the final touches insisted on showcasing the unit as representative of that family. The neighborhood as a whole was meant to inspire common pride and unity, as opposed to mainline consumerist isolationism.

In many respects, modern architecture highlights our civic and cultural slouching towards mediocrity. To have something unique, one must become a collector, or maybe restore the ancient structures yet remaining. Trying to select a custom model in new residential areas is next to impossible, because everyone is expected to be the same, and observe rules issued by the tyranny of a HOA. Conformity now holds paramount importance, with the vestiges of uniqueness best expressed by a new set of wheels—themselves paid for by overextended credit and bitter squalor. Defiance only comes on the heels of financial turmoil.  So we distance ourselves, obey post-liberal rules, and settle behind the big screen for the brain-melting ganache of Netflix.

Perhaps Mark was righter than he knew. I’d like to tell him so, but that would require a world build upon  community.

Uncategorized

The Eternal Disease

Some years back I made a video entitled “The Eternal War Problem.” As a visual message, it was designed to outline how national governments had stumbled upon the perfect trump card to ensure more centralized power and increased spending: the “War on Terror.” Obviously such a conflict can never truly be won, because somewhere a terrorist will always exist, no matter if the militant organization itself agrees to make peace. Even if baddies were to entirely disappear in one area, the feds could always claim the threat of an attack is too high, and thus justify continued surveillance.

As I walked through the mall today, it dawned on me that the government has a new, endearing option at its bureaucratic fingertips: the VIRUS. Prior to the period beginning around March of 2020, diseases and viruses existed as a fact of life. People took ill, some recovered, and others died. We hoped for cures as technology improved, but death was accepted as the undesirable dynamic down the road. The world did not stand still, notwithstanding how much pain can be felt inside human emotions.

Not anymore. It began with the lockdowns, shifted to mask mandates, morphed into face shields, and now glowers at “walking pods.” What’s bizarre about it all is that these ludicrous measures now seem normal, if not noble. Failing to abide by the strictures, even in open areas where coverings are not mandated, results in the snarling expressions of short-haired white females like those I experienced at the mall. “Shame on you for not being as scared as me,” their eyes seem to spit.

dats rite

Unsurprisingly, the government is smiling. Because corona will mutate, if not get replaced by another disease, there will never be a moment when restrictions can be relaxed. You might catch something, they will shriek, before dutifully reporting violations to Officer Murphy and his bourgeoisie defense patrol. A high-risk person might be in your home, on your toilet, or two miles away at Wendy’s; that doesn’t matter, but the wanton disregard for human life means harsh penalties and consequences.

The accepting nature of coronacels makes it far easier to compile a database on “non-compliant” souls. Whosoever pulls the mask from their stone face shall not become King of England, but rather the newest entry into Madam Mim’s Patriot Act cookbook. I can already see the smug faces of self-assured citizen security monitors, pleasantly noting “Serves you right,” as innocents are drawn up in manacles for public quarter. The same creatures who go home and watch The Man In The High Castle with dumbfound reactions of, “Nah, that could never happen here.”

Even easier for authorities will be the expansion of testing. If corona is a threat, than what else should be included? Are folks bound to lose all rights to their physical person because they could possibly pose a risk? Perhaps the swabs will enter other unique regions by federal order, with refusal netting high fines, if not a freezing of financial accounts altogether. Anything it takes to feel safe.

Do my words frighten you? Then grab a mask.

Uncategorized

OBEY

Long before the rise of Donaldo, the Plural Left decided to use appeals to dictatorship and oppression as a means of destroying their opponents. Their favorite method is comparisons between modern America and Nazi Germany, except that the GOP somehow replaces those spooky German steppers atop a cruel big business regime bent on crushing the rights of minorities through force and propaganda.  The last word has an interesting ring because it causes us to invoke the old newsreels of the 1930s, plus elaborate posters meant to sway public minds. Get in line and obey appears to be the thumping order, given by some totalitarian leader or leading general.

I agree wholeheartedly with their conclusions, albeit in the realm of caveats. There certainly does exist an empowered propaganda arm driving social opinions, but it hardly can be seen as conservative or even Republican in nature. Rather, organizations have closed ranks to promote their interests in a manner at this junction indistinguishable from the brush-washed images of times past.

Let’s start with access to information. The other day I happened to be visiting a relative’s house when I noticed the following messages on their Windows 10 login screen:

Indeed, people merely attempting to use a workstation now have live updates telling them what to read, always from approved sources. To the dumb and youthful, this will strike as a great way to get involved and fight the power, even if they are simply being indoctrinated. One might make a compelling argument that cultural Marxists have finally succeeded in extending pas the flailing universities to enter homes across America, despite supposed right-wing “resistance.”

From the springboard of social brainwashing, obedience-makers can begin to recruit delusional organisms into their political army. Check out the following email from Coursera, describes the Far-Left Rock the Vote group as “non-partisan,” and encourages students to cast their ballots:

Assuming voting is not enough, lemmings also enjoy the possibility of reporting small businesses for real or imaginary racism to the Yelp secret police:

Perhaps companies who fall prey to any negative claims can beg Yelp for forgiveness and provide the financial sacrifice necessary to clear their public name. Alternatively, they might get burned down by the aggressive proponents of social change. Either way, loyalty to the burgeoning mainstream prevails.

The attainment of love is set to require State or corporate approval as well. In no less than two dating apps I have found propagandistic messages promoting domestic terrorist groups and, in the case of Bumble, requiring users to agree. Yes, that’s right. There is no mere acknowledgement; every person using the app is mandated to concur with the owners, or otherwise lose functionality:

Looking at this deluge of brain construction, Upton Sinclair’s quote about Fascism coming to America under the guise of cultural norms deserves some adjustment. Forget about the Cross, as churches can simply be shut down due to a pandemic, and the American Flag is merely a hygienic item for BLM leaders. Whatever arrives upon our shores will be bearing a rainbow pennant with social justice PPV streamed on Netflix.

Culturalism · Federal Government · Uncategorized

The Wrath of Undecideds

MSNBC recently interviewed an Ohio voter to gauge his opinion of the Trump-Biden debate. The chap, who is undecided, gave a prototypical spiel about both candidates being negative, and asked them to provide more specifics. I had to stifle a laugh, because his line is so grimly predictable for an “independent moderate.” Such folks are trotted out every election, almost as if to maintain the fantastic faith people place in democracy, and the notion that votes somehow matter. The race becomes all about those swing ballots, with politicians desperately courting the enlightened few in hopes of seizing that magical 50.1 percent ticket so their legacy is protected. Democracy lives another glorious day.

But does it really? This sycophantic obsession with undecideds may warm individual hearts, yet in truth it simply masks the great scam which is civic duty in the United States. Headstrong souls march about feeling self-important in front of the reporter’s microphone, when in fact they reveal the bitter shallows of their own brain, and those of the comrade travelers nearby.

Fly back to 2012 for a moment. Obama and Romney were battling it out for the sainted executive office, and CNN began its custom of assembling a car of simpletons identified by their unwillingness to pick red or blue ahead of the election. Easily the most infuriating to hear blabber was our friend Joe:

The picture is everything here. Despite claiming to be the former owner of a flooring company, which probably required him to manage employees and make tough decisions, Stoltz remained dreamy-eyed until the very end, also demanding “more specifics” from Diversity Corporate Guy and Magic Underwear Corporate Guy.  Perhaps I expect too much of people, but how difficult is it to predict what a president will do based on history? Republicans like to spend on the military and cut taxes for the rich, while Democrats increase trans-revenue and expand welfare. Overlap exists, but namely on the Carebearland question.

 For a grown man who has lived through different elections to be still playing footsie with both parties right before the balloting day indicates either a lazy mind or pure ignorance, but not the foundations for brilliance and the sanctity of the vote. Joey would ultimately cast his paper for Obama after the president “was forceful” when responding to Romney, and because Billy Boy Clinton endorsed him. Furthermore, Obama’s mention of education in the debate really sealed the deal:

“That third debate sunk it all the way in for me — since I am in school and Obama was focused on education.”

That’s right, he voted for a politician who dropped the “education” word in a televised debate, because he is also in school. These are the creatures holding out to the end, my friends. Child-like minds agitating over trigger words and the prospect of being given something. Here are a couple more photos for good measure:

Is this the Try Guys convention?
Who’s writing this blog again?
The undecided “Radical for Jesus”

Ahh, is democracy not happiness?          

Book Reviews · Culturalism · Self-Improvement · Uncategorized

Why Publishing Failed

Before her death in 2016, the legendary Ursula Le Guin gave a short acceptance speech at the National Book Awards in which she outlined the problems with modern publishing. At that stage of her career, she could safely issue the criticisms without fear of financial repercussion, but the observations were nevertheless poignant. They rest firmly on the role which capitalism can play in diminishing the value of literary art by commoditizing various genres for mass market efficiency. Some particularly biting lines are as follows:

“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.”

One cannot deny the truth in those words. The more that technology advances, the less substance matters, and this can be witnessed across various mediums. A person with great content on YouTube will swiftly get buried by the excess of “corporate friendly” channels letting our dopamine-hungry brains feast on countless jump edits and sound effects. Movies with independent or unique origins are disregarded, while studio money pours into toxic remakes, and the coarse boredom of social justice slinks into genres where it was always present, albeit with class and subtlety.

Books are no exception to this rule. As others have observed, the idealized vehicle for publishing success has become a pantomime of the same writing style and setting, regardless if it lacks originality. Even the famous fantasy series popularized by an unknown homeschooler relied on heavy borrowing from the Star Wars movies, to a degree that is almost comical. But it still sold, because publishers are more interested in what fits the market than anything resembling genuine art. It’s not a stretch to say that Paolini would have been laughed out of the room had his book done something truly beyond the bounds of “comfortable” prose.

Le Guin went on:

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I believe in this case Le Guin was referring to Amazon, and rightly so. The compounding growth of Bezos’ bright-eyed promotion of publishing hides a more sinister reality: Amazon’s attempt to form an effective sales monopoly and reduce current royalty rates. Part of the approach involves encouraging authors to publish with Kindle Create, a clunky and unhelpful software designed to coral authors into the Bezos marketplace indefinitely:

Ultimately, it is hard to say what the future will hold. Perhaps Le Guin is right, and change will arise. For myself, I know that my hesitation in publishing fiction as opposed to non-fiction (and especially self-help), stems from a recognition that the themes depicted in my stories would be swiftly dismissed, if not entirely deleted, from the Amazon platform. But that is the tragedy of being a writer: you can’t help but write, even if the outcome is a pittance. It is an extension of the soul, and not doing so feels tantamount to betrayal of the spirit.   

Self-Improvement · Uncategorized

Don’t Outsource Your Mind

A sad casualty of the information age has been the general dumbing down of arguments made by people, especially on the internet dot com In days past, those who were motivated could read and craft arguments from such sources, with few SparkNotes, 5-minute histories, or other shortcuts available. Less-informed folks might mouth off in a tavern debate, but they had to conjure up wild claims without the generous assistance of a search engine. Faking it took some effort, despite the imperfections.

Today we sense a different horizon. Every Jermaine, Reese, and Zephyr can simply pop a question into Google, hit the search button, and copy-paste a hyperlink purporting to back their claims – even if it comes from the likes of Quora, Yahoo Answers, or perhaps “Ask Jeeves,” if the latter even exists. There’s no prerogative to read the actual body text or explore citations, because  what supports them MUST be accurate and beyond reproach.

On the surface level this dynamic is not so problematic, yet it renders a larger-than-life proportion of the national population quite confident in their own opinions, no matter how incomplete those thoughts might be. The internet’s affordance of little introspection for their purposes means those fragile links serve to enhance the ego, and assure a diminished likelihood of further investigation of the material. After all, with that argument remanded to the “settled science” cranial bin, what more is needed?

Perhaps a great deal. Unfortunately, the people who bother to distill petty emotions and look at raw information are left victims of fellow internet people and their mindless bloviation. Since the former group tends to be humbler and more patient, discussions typically end with their voice being drowned out by a million smug cries from the effectively illiterate. Ambition to change the norm shatters upon a weathered hill where the shallow brains defecate pure dopamine satisfaction, while always thirsting for more.

In the interest of not becoming one of these said gremlins, it is imperative to be illiberal with the surrender of your mind. Before wading into a debate, pause to consider how thoroughly the concept has been understood. Failing to do so can result in a situation where bluster and invented facts are necessary to remain credible, methods avoidable when adequate preparation is undertaken. Sure, the appeal is significantly less wonderful, but  at least time is not wasted by lowering ethical standards merely to survive.

Just a (measured and researched) thought.

Uncategorized

How To Replace a Flush Valve

Thought I would mix things up a bit with this for those who are DIY-inclined. If you don’t have a stomach for plumbing then I’d advise skipping the pics.

Here it is in original glory.
The model I chose
Shut off the water by turning to the RIGHT, assuming the original plumber knew what he was doing.
Place a bucket underneath the spot where the valve is connected.
FLUSH the toilet to drain water out of the tank.
You’re left with a mostly-empty tank. This will get fully drained on account of the bucket.
Unscrew the grey piece FIRST.
Now the white nut gets unscrewed (Good for him).
(Expect water to drain out into the bucket at this point).
And the old valve comes out easily enough with that step complete.
Next, remove the clip from the lever hole.
The flapper comes off next. You’ll have to unclip it from the hinges on the overflow cylinder.
It’s pretty nasty. This thing was probably over ten years old.
Ahh, the fresh flapper in connected, easily snapping into the hinge piece.
Add the rubber washer to the new flush valve, screwing in so the ring part is pointing down. This will go into the lower tank hole.
One side of the tubing goes into the tower nozzle.
The other end into the clip piece.
Things looking a bit clunky now, but a fix will come.
Quick trim plus gets the tube size down, allowing for smooth install. Also note the clip on the opposite side of the cylinder.
Now put the new nut back in place, screwing till it’s tight, but don’t wrench it on.
Water line goes back in place.
Now you can turn the water back on a take a flush!