Saturday, October 31, 2020

Vincent Price

 A few of you are old enough to remember Vincent Price.  He starred in some of campiest films of the 1950s and 1960s, often Edgar Allan Poe stories done by Roger Corman before the remake of Little Shop of Horrors made Corman respectable among the filmerati.  I always enjoyed how well Price did these absurd parts with the right mix of serious acting and just the faintest hint of "I'm not taking this too seriously, neither should you."  The decision to have his distinctive narration at the start of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video was an inspired opening to an inspired video by an inspired creep.

SteynOnline tells a heartwarming tale of Vincent Price's very classy behavior at the low point of his career:

New makeup, new costume, same perfect delivery, hour after hour.

Finally, it was time for a break. The weary yet exhilarated crew turned off the cameras and lights.

Then they looked around and realized that Vincent Price had disappeared.

Oh well, they said to each other, what do you expect? He's a big star and all. Plus he's, like, 60 years old, so he probably went for a nap...

The studio door opened a few minutes later.

It was Vincent Price and a cab driver, hauling "two-fours" of beer from the nearby Brewer's Retail.

He handed cold stubbies out to the cast and crew and regaled them with tales of old Hollywood, his days working with Karloff and Peter Lorre and Gene Tierney and Cecil B. DeMille and all the other greats he'd known.

Then he posed for photos with everybody individually.

On an overnight rush, these were blown up into 8 x 10s, which Price personally autographed for everyone at the station.

Over the course of four days, taping over 400 of these interstitials, Price never complained, blew a line or missed a mark.

In an era when standards of conduct were collapsing, Vincent Price insisted on behaving like the well-bred gentleman he so often portrayed on screen.

It was a role that came easily to him. After all, he'd been born into considerable wealth, graduated from Yale, and owned a multimillion-dollar art collection.

Yet unlike many people who come from privileged backgrounds, Price didn't treat the guys at the local station like disposable underlings and hired help.

Over those four days in Hicksville, Vincent Price earned every cent of that $12,000 — a measly sum for him, even with his career on the wane, but he knew it was a fortune for CHCH.

In those days, that was probably the annual salary of some of the fellows behind the cameras. Maybe.

Price had probably pictured himself, early in his career, performing Shakespeare and other classics, maybe winning Tonys and Oscars — not flying up to God-knows-where at sixty years of age, wearing stupid hats and taping silly poems for a show everyone figured only a bunch of little kids would ever see, that would soon be forgotten.

"You Don't Need More Than 10 Shots for Self-Defense"

 The gun controllers defend magazine size limits like this.  Dr. Lott has been making a list:

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but here are ten cases where law-abiding citizens, some of them concealed handgun permit holders fired at least 10 shots in self-defense.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Why My Wife and I Did Early Voting Today

 We consider it very possible that voter intimidation might happen on Election Day.  I would like to think police would not be issued stand down orders on this, but Idaho is run by a lot of RINOs.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Oh Wow

I just ate at a Grant's Neighborhood Grill in Meridian. A little spendy for lunch, but the Tri-Tip Sandwich was awesome!  Just the right amount of horseradish sauce,  onions,  cheese,  and mushrooms,  served with fries and au jus.  It had been a while since I ate at a restaurant that left me so awed.  (Or is it odd?)

I Think It is Time to Self-Identify as Black

 10/29/20 Inside Higher Education:

Another week, another unmasking of a white professor allegedly posing as a person of color: this time it’s Kelly Kean Sharp, a scholar of African American history who resigned abruptly Tuesday from her assistant professorship at Furman University.

Like other apparent racial fraudsters before her, Sharp was outed by an anonymous post on Medium. The writer of the post identifies him or herself as having “distantly” known Sharp when she was graduate student at the University of California, Davis. Sharp had never publicly identified as Latinx back then, the writer said, so they were recently puzzled to learn that Sharp had since started referring to herself as Chicana, including on her now-private Twitter profile. According to screenshots included in the post, Sharp has tweeted about her abuela, or grandmother, from Mexico, and posted elsewhere about her “abuela who came to the U.S. during WWII who worked hard so I could become a teacher.”

The writer said they started talking to others who knew Sharp, and these colleagues were similarly “confused.” Some then allegedly asked Sharp about the “newfound identity,” and Sharp allegedly said her grandmother was originally from Mexico. Yet when the scholars looked into that explanation, “we found that Kelly had no grandparents who were born outside of the U.S. or had Hispanic names.”

In a cautionary twist against trying to dupe historians in particular, the scholars allegedly searched genealogical records and found that the grandmother Sharp said was from Mexico was actually born in Los Angeles “to white parents and was residing in the U.S. during all the census records of her upbringing.” A servant was even employed and living at the home, according to census records, the post says. “This grandmother eventually married a wealthy, white lawyer from Iowa.”

The Medium piece also fact-checks Sharp’s now-deleted Furman faculty biography, which said her research on the antebellum South was inspired in part by her hometown, Encinitas, Calif., and its “majority-minority population.” Encinitas has long been overwhelmingly white, “known to anyone from California for being a wealthy beach community,” the post says.

The rest of the article provides evidence implying that her path to professor included this false heritage.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Spatial Thinking

Scribner the publisher is having me read a manuscript (really a first draft,  not even at the galleys stage) of a new biography of John Browning.  I am really enjoying it.   It mentions that JMB had unusual spatial thinking.   He almost never drew what he wasd going to make.   The one time he sent Winchester drawings instead of a model gun,  it did not work.

I really wish that I had that gift.   I spent a bit of time making this low profile focuser for Baby.  When I tried to replace the existing crummy focuser,  I realized that I had this assembly rotated 90 degrees from where the saddle channel goes. 

The only good learning today was that because I sold my bandsaw when we moved off the hill (no room in the new house), I have a very hard cutting very small pieces of acetal.  You really don't want to cut small stuff on a chop saw without some secure way to hold it.  The limitations of my mill make it hard to cut stuff that is wider than another 3", burr while struggling with this earlier,  I realized that I can just rotate the piece in another axis, and cut from the top.

How Stupid Do You Have to Be...

To promote racial hatred of the majority race, which is heavily armed?  City Journal 
has a profoundly upsetting piece about a now withdrawn Ohio Dept. Education social studies program that linked to articles about how whites have no culture,  just what they stole from others, how feminism is just white supremacy in high heels, in praise of looting, and the of the garbage that helps privileged whites feel that they are not as evil as they have imagined themselves. "Daddy's money made me bad!  I cannot handle the shame!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Limitations of Memory

 I was sure that I had read of a case where the University of Virginia had sued to return freed slaves back to slavery to settle a debt, and the courts had done so.  My memory scrambled all of it.  While Letitia Brown's Free Negroes in the District of Columbia (1972) assets that this could be done, the case whose memory had scrambled was like this:

 William & Mary College was suing Ithe executor of William Lee's estate for a promised 500 bushels of corn annually, promised in Lee's will.  The estate could not supply this, so the college appears to have wanted charges against the whole estate, including it appears, the manumitted slaves of William Lee.  William and Mary College v. Hodgson, 6 Munford 163 (1818) in Catterall's Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery, 1:129-30.

I See Coverage of These Trump Parades

How do you find out about them?  If you hear of one planned for the Boise area, tell me.  The Jaguar will look a bit out of place surrounded by trucks and SUVs, but I still will be there.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Biden Victory -> Civil War

 From Instapundit, quoting Epoch Times:

I volunteer to be the first guinea pig for Robert Reich’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission during the period after the election in which he assumes a Biden victory.

I assume Mr. Reich would concur some degree of testing and experimentation must be done to make his plan effective and, while taking nowhere near the bravery of being, say, a first COVID vaccine tester, someone has to do it.

I have several reasons I think I would be ideal for this task that I will get to in a minute, but first, for those who don’t know or those whose memory is sketchy—it’s already more than a week since Reich made his proposal—the former Clinton Labor Secretary wrote the following on Twitter, Oct. 17:

When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.”

Reich uses post-apartheid South Africa as a model for his proposal—a country that continues to have more than its share of civic disruption, poverty, and violence—but no matter. There are others.

I rather doubt it will be as non-violent as South Africa's Commission.  And four years of Trump were equivalent to half a century of apartheid?  I hope you have plenty of ammo.  The TDS rage is incomprehensible.

Always a Sucker for Time Travel Movies

 And this one opens and closes with some deep thoughts.  Live life like it really matters.  Set in Australia, but so much of it looks like America including an American-style diner, that I was briefly confused.  This is apparently suddenly trendy because of the show Diners, Drive ins, and Dives.

Rube Goldberg Lives!


Friday, October 23, 2020

Another Great Story

"Cronus of the D F C"

DFC is Department of Future Crime.  Great time travel/crime story, which readers of my short stories will know is a favorite genre of mine.  Lots of surprises.   The happy ending is no surprise,  but getting there has some unexpected twists. 

Only Surprised it Took This Long

 Some years ago, I bought $30K of Medina Co., Ohio Port Authority bonds with an 8% coupon.  (Yes, this was a long time ago.)  The bond was callable, as is typical with absurdly high yielding bonds.  They finally called the bond, so I will be losing $2,400 a year in income exempt from federal income tax.  I now need a new place to put that $30K.

The Games the Left Plays

The Atlantic has an article citing Dave Hardy explaining how the Third Amendment guarantees a right to be free of infection.  "Recognition of a fundamental right to be free from forced close contact with disease vectors might shift discretion on important public-health issues from the hands of lawmakers and administrators to judges, who may be less democratically accountable or qualified to make these decisions."

"This story is part of the project “The Battle for the Constitution,” in partnership with the National Constitution Center."

I am waiting for their explanation of how the Second Amendment guarantees a right to be safe from a society with guns.  My letter to the editor.

I am always amazed at how advocates of governmental power use the Bill of Rights (originally intended to protect the privacy rights of individuals from governmental abuse) into a justification for more governmental power to order individuals about.

What next?  Let's play Mr. Zhang's game with the First Amendment.  The purpose of the First Amendment's freedom of the press was to guarantee that the government could not suppress ideas that conflicted with governmental power; speaking truth to power.  Clearly, if someone is subject to extraordinary attacks by the news media, the freedom of speech guarantee can be read as an obligation for Twitter, Facebook, and the Atlantic, to publish links to the New York Post articles exposing Hunter Biden's corrupt dealings with foreign businesses and governments.  It is all about maximizing publication of dissenting views, isn't it?

The Next Time Someone Says, "I believe in Science!"

 Remember this article at Mad Genius Club:

You can blame Sarah for this, since a bit of Skype chat got the pair of us bitching about the neuron-deprived morons who proudly proclaim “I believe in science”. Precisely how one believes in a process that’s based on observation, experiment, repetition, and deduction is another matter – except that the declaration labels the speaker as the kind of fool who regards “science” as just another religion.

One might as well say “I believe in logic”, or “I believe in mathematics”. You don’t actually have to believe in any of these things because they aren’t things. They’re observable processes that can be demonstrated to produce the same results from the same inputs every bloody time.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Interesting (Perhaps From A Recent Update?) Windows 10 Quirk

 The native WiFi on this now several year old ThinkPad was a/b/g/n, so it could not take advantage of the ac router that came from Rise Broadband.  I bought a TP-Link AC1200 USB WiFi adapter.  It worked beautifully, often giving me the promise speed of 50 Mbps.  A couple weeks ago, it started dropping connection after a few minutes, but it would reconnect just fine.  Bad hardware?  It turns out the properties tab on the WiFi devices under network devices has a checkbox for turning it off, apparently as part of power saving mode.  I disabled that and everything is working fine again.

To me, this is just blindingly stupid.  

UPDATE: Not that simple.  This is a known problem.  I cannot figure out which of the hundreds of sites I visited, but it told me what settings to change (some being power settings).  Windows was dropping not just the TP-Link WiFi connection but the native WiFi as well.  Problem solved.  I remain convinced that a recent Windows 10 update is the cause.

A Changed World

 My wife had a doctor's appointment this morning at 9:10.  I only noticed it on the calendar at 8:40.  Since even she does not drive that fast, she called up to rearrange the appointment for a later time.  Instead, it was done byte lehealth.  For a lot of purposes, physical contact means less and less.

More Bad News About COVID-19

At least bad for the fearmongers.  10/20/20 NPR:

Two new peer-reviewed studies are showing a sharp drop in mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The drop is seen in all groups, including older patients and those with underlying conditions, suggesting that physicians are getting better at helping patients survive their illness.

"We find that the death rate has gone down substantially," says Leora Horwitz, a doctor who studies population health at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine and an author on one of the studies, which looked at thousands of patients from March to August.

The study, which was of a single health system, finds that mortality has dropped among hospitalized patients by 18 percentage points since the pandemic began. Patients in the study had a 25.6% chance of dying at the start of the pandemic; they now have a 7.6% chance.

That's a big improvement, but 7.6% is still a high risk compared with other diseases, and Horwitz and other researchers caution that COVID-19 remains dangerous.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Why Your Vote Matters -- Even in A Red or Blue State

 It is commonly believed that voting third party or even for a Democrat does not matter in Idaho.  The state is going to go for Trump, so if you think you are sending a message of disapproval by voting Libertarian or Democrat, it really does not matter.  

The spoil sports in 2016 made a big deal about Trump receiving a minority of the popular vote (just like Lincoln in 1860).  The same thing may happen again.  A majority popular vote (not just a majority electoral vote) will take away that talking whining point.

Just Like Last Time: Why I Knew Clinton Was Going to Lose

 The enthusiasm gap:

That's Senator Harris ascending the platform.  Purportedly from Fox Business but I cannot find it elsewhere.  Here at CSPAN. The applause wouldn't deafen an amoeba.

A Long Read With Something Bizarre

Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation

This Executive Summary excerpt isn't bizarre.

From the Executive Summary: 

Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are "scrupulously accurate." We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed. We found that the problems we identified were primarily caused by the Crossfire Hurricane team failing to share all relevant information with OI and, consequently, the information was not considered by the Department decision makers who ultimately decided to support the applications.

As more fully described in Chapter Five, based upon the information known to the FBI in October 2016, the first application contained the following seven significant inaccuracies and omissions:  

1.Omitted information the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that Page had been approved as an "operational contact" for the other agency from 2008 to 2013, and that Page had provided information to the other agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers, one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application; 

2.Included a source characterization statement asserting that Steele's prior reporting had been"corroborated and used in criminal proceedings," which overstated the significance of Steele's past reporting and was not approved by Steele's handling agent, as required by the Woods Procedures; 

3. Omitted information relevant to the reliability of Person 1, a key Steele sub-source (who was attributed with providing the information in Report 95 and some of the information in Reports 80 and 102 relied upon in the application), namely tha

 ( 1) Steele himself told members of the Crossfire Hurricane team that Person 1 was a "boaster" and an "egoist" and "may engage in some embellishment" and 

 (2) the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation on Person 1 a few days before the FISA application was filed;  

4. Asserted that the FBI had assessed that Steele did not directly provide to the press information in the September 23 Yahoo News article based on the premise that Steele had told the FBI that he only shared his election-related research with the FBI and Fusion GPS, his client; this premise was incorrect and contradicted by documentation in the Woods File-Steele had told the FBI that he also gave his information to the State Department; 

 5. Omitted Papadopoulos's consensually monitored statements to an FBI CHS in September 2016 denying that anyone associated wit h the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like Wikileaks in the release of emails;  

6. Omitted Page's consensually monitored statements to an FBI CHS in August 2016 that Page had "literally never met" or "said one word to" Paul Manafort and that Manafort had not responded to any of Page's emails; if true, those statements were in tension with claims in Report 95 that Page was participating in a conspiracy with Russia by acting as an intermediary for Manafort on behalf of the Trump campaign; and  

7. Included Page's consensually monitored statements to an FBI CHS in October 2016 that the FBI believed supported its theory that Page was an agent of Russia but omitted other statements Page made that were inconsistent with its theory, including denying having met with Sechin and Divyekin, or even knowing who Divyekin was; if true, those statements contradicted the claims in Report 94 that Page had met secretly with Sechin and Divyekin about future cooperation with Russia and shared derogatory information about candidate Clinton. None of these inaccuracies and omissions were brought to the attention of OI before the last FISA application was filed in June 2017. Consequently, these failures were repeated in all three renewal applications. Further, as we discuss later, we identified 10 additional significant errors in the renewal applications.

 I have not read all 434 pages.  But I bring this to your attention because a friend noticed something odd and disturbing.  He found when examining a previous issue that searching for "Comey" failed to find many occurrences of Comey's name.  In this revision, I found 12 places where searching for "Corn" matched Comey's name but more than 50 places where "Comey" matches.  It appears that the "Corney" matches were the result of kerning the r and n into something that looks like "Comey", but cannot be found by searching.  Kerning is a feature of Microsoft Word  (look under Format Font Advanced) but this would have to be done individually for each such occurrence.  It makes it hard to find all uses of Comey's name.  My informant says the previous issue had even more such cases.  Can anyone explain this weirdness?