Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Long, Long Ago...

Reminisces of youth, and other disjointed crap.

I just turned 68 and of course got a lot of congrats and remarks on my facebook page.
To all those peeps, thanks. I understand. I also got asked why I missed our fiftieth reunion which most celebrated this year.

FIRST, I happened to have been called to Canton in August and September, to assist my youngest on a major renovation on his twenties vintage Sears house. This consisted of lopping off everything above the 2nd story ceiling joists and building all new from there up. The crew consisted of me, him, his two teenage boys and their friends. In other words, he did the work and I helped. And they mostly watched, humped some lumber, and swept up now and then.

- I did make it to Homecoming though. There's that.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No Comment needed...


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dumb Soccer Apology of the Week

Every World Cup Brings out the grouches who don't understand the game, think it's boring and just as soon as their baseball game is over or while they wait for the latest Pro Rasslin' PPV, sit down and dash off a letter to their local paper telling us exactly how boring it is.

Sadly some papers let someone who ALSO doesn't really get it handle the response. That's case this week with an editor of the Columbus Dispatch:
Soccer takes a few kicks from guilt-ridden uncle

Mr. Stein: It’s nice to see that there are others (Mailbox, last Sunday) who find soccer a bit yawn-inspiring.

I think the last sentence in your reply best made the point: “Soccer is an equalizer; anybody can play it.” It does even the playing field, I suppose. But in this case, it seems to flatten it.

Bravissimo? For most, I’m sure this is true. “Boringissimo” is what guiltily comes to mind for me, even as I dutifully watch my nieces play it.

— Ron _____ by e-mail

Ron: Soccer is not for everyone, obviously, but it sure seems to me that the World Cup is strong enough that even the staunchest blue-blooded American sports fan would find reason to tune in. Do your nieces know you’re a closet hater? Bad Uncle Ron.

Since I can't get to the original letter, we have to refer to that. The 'Soccer is an equalizer' statement obviously means that all you need is a ball or something that looks something like a ball, some open space and you can play soccer.

Sadly some take it to mean that anyone can play the game and equate that to the excitement factor. As I said, some of these guys are baseball fans.. Do you know what the average Brit or European soccer fan says about baseball? That it's 'a game for English schoolgirls (Rounders) and boring as hell.'

Here's some more ideas:
- Golf is a great equalizer, anyone can play it.
- Chess is a great equalizer. Anyone can {try to} play it.

And how about 'Basketball is the Great Equalizer'....

Well, I'm sure you get the idea. Come ON!!! It's NOT like soccer is sucking up hours and hours of sportcenter every week. And someone please ask me what I think of Ultimate Fighting as a sport.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Whither Neanderthal?

The advancement of human civilization is owed to TRADE. Period.
- With a hat tip to Bishophill blog

It's been proposed for some time that the Neanderthal died out because the Human understood, and perhaps invented, the concept of barter.
Free trade may have finished off Neanderthals

Shogren tested his theory with simulations of population growth. He even gave the Neanderthals, who were larger than Homo sapiens, a head start by assuming they were better hunters and individually brought home more meat - which may or may not be true.

But because humans were allowed to trade, in two of three similar simulations, they overcame this initial handicap and ousted the Neanderthals within 7000 years. In the third simulation, the two ended up co-existing.

Now, Matt Ridley has come out with a book: The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
in which he proposes that progress is based on expansion of the concept of free trade.

Over 10,000 years ago there were fewer than 10 million people on the planet. Today there are more than 6 billion, 99 per cent of whom are better fed, better sheltered, better entertained and better protected against disease than their Stone Age ancestors.

The availability of almost everything a person could want or need has been going erratically upwards for 10,000 years and has rapidly accelerated over the last 200 years: calories; vitamins; clean water; machines; privacy; the means to travel faster than we can run, and the ability to communicate over longer distances than we can shout. Yet, bizarrely, however much things improve from the way they were before, people still cling to the belief that the future will be nothing but disastrous.

In this original, optimistic book, Matt Ridley puts forward his surprisingly simple answer to how humans progress, arguing that we progress when we trade and we only really trade productively when we trust each other.

Think about all ancient civilisations that you've read about. Isn't it true? The Roman Empire - trade. The Chinese: trade (Remember: they were initially just a bunch of feudal tribes.)
One can easily assume that the Neanderthal were 'self-sufficient' hunter gatherers, much like the Australian aborigine, and had no need to trade other than with the next group. They instead migrated to follow the resource.

And let's look at what happens when trade is restrained. Ever wonder why the Pacific is full of 'Polynesians'.. EXCEPT for Australia? Why there were no Abos in New Zealand and no Maoris in Australia? To this day, the Australian native race follows a different path; The path of nomadic self-sufficiency.

And why did Columbus sail west? Because Italy insisted on controlling trade with China. Why did the US break from Great Britain? Restraint of trade.

Why did the German, French and even Spanish colonial systems fail? Restraint of trade.. in order of naming them, there, the trade was all one-way.
Why did the Japanese Empire rise and fall so spectacularly? Restraint of trade and Elitist hubris in the course of it. If the Japanese had even offered the appearance of equal and fair trade for goods and services, the populations in their expansion might have reacted differently. But they all hated the Japanese and some do to this day.

Alternatively the English had a benefit, they moved to the colonies and molded their lifestyles to suit. Same with the Dutch. There's notable exception available there for debate, but you can't deny the home population ended up absorbing the best of the conquering culture.

Now this brings us to the uncomfortable realizations of the above concept, which is:

Trade or be Traded.

If we could take the way-back machine and somehow do away with the African Slave Trade and instead, only admit to Western Expansion, it seems to me that the African Negroid race might be in danger of extinction. I don't mean just the English part of the human trade, I mean going back millennia and stopping Bedouin cultures from dealing in it.

This is 'controversial', to say the least, but this is what maddens me when I hear Reparationist babblings. If there had been no slave trade.. meaning no value in their lives.. the frank alternative would have been to isolate and decimate the population. That's what the Japanese would have done. And the Chinese before them. It's not conjecture, it's empirical fact.

But that didn't happen and there is no possibility of the black race dying out. Society and Culture evolves and with that comes the much ballyhooed 'Diversity'. Never mind it had to do with slavers.

So.. that connects us with the fate of the Neanderthal. That's all good, in the end, right?

Not according to Libtards like Georges Monbiot. Here's what he has to say about Ridley and his book:
The man who wants to Northern Rock the Planet

Brass neck doesn’t begin to describe it. Matt Ridley used to make his living partly by writing state-bashing columns in the Daily Telegraph. The government, he complained, is “a self-seeking flea on the backs of the more productive people of this world … governments do not run countries, they parasitise them.”(1) Taxes, bail-outs, regulations, subsidies, intervention of any kind, he argued, are an unwarranted restraint on market freedom.

Then he became chairman of Northern Rock, where he was able to put his free market principles into practice. Under his chairmanship, the bank pursued what the Treasury select committee later described as a “high-risk, reckless business strategy”(2). It was able to do so because the government agency which oversees the banks “systematically failed in its regulatory duty”(3).

On 16th August 2007, Dr Ridley rang an agent of the detested state to explore the possibility of a bail-out. The self-seeking fleas agreed to his request, and in September the government opened a support facility for the floundering bank. The taxpayer eventually bailed out Northern Rock to the tune of £27bn.

So.. there you have it. Monbiot does what Moonbats ALWAYS do: they excoriate the messenger rather than debate the concept.

NEVER MIND that Northern Rock was put in the same position as financial institutions in the US by the same government meddling in financials.

To wit: creating the bags of soon to be worthless instruments and encouraging trade in them.

I mean to say, this resulted in a de-facto restraint on trade by over-governance. The inevitable result is same as happened centuries ago, the Tea Party.

You see, the educated and informed always believe they are educating and dealing with Neanderthals, that we are unable to grasp nuance and needful of enlightened guidance.

Thank God ancient humans didnt have the time for that. They were busy trying to negotiate with the people over the horizon.