Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the sports world's next great rivalry

So Calipari is headed to Kentucky. I never liked the Wildcats much anyway, as they were the Hogs' chief adversaries for SEC dominance back in the day, but that gives me a little more reason to cheer against them. But, this is a grand move in the eyes of any fan who likes a little extracurricular drama and off-season action mixed in with his sports. The Calipari vs. Pitino saga should very shortly be rekindled.

Recall that Calipari coached at UMass for a number of years. During his tenure he had a longstanding rivalry with what is now his new team, and then-coach Rick Pitino, who now coaches at in-state arch-rival Louisville. Seriously, could that plot line get any better? Two guys with such a colorful history and who clearly share little love for one another* being right next to each other in the same freakin' state, fighting for the same recruits, facing each other annually in what could become the basketball version of Michigan vs. Ohio State, with the opportunity to ruin the other's season in a single game? I'll go as far as to say that was a factor in UK bringing in Calipari, right there with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really piss off a former coach who shunned your program and landed at the in-state rival.

Let's just say I can't wait for that rivalry to heat up. I will be sorely disappointed if that one doesn't produce some awesome fireworks in coming years.


* Observe this quote from the article: "when the Kentucky job came open last week and the Calipari rumors began to sizzle, Pitino publicly promoted two other candidates, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford and Arkansas coach John Pelphrey." Okay, they're both former Kentucky guys, but...memo to Rick Pitino: Pelphrey just went 2-14 in SEC play this year. He's not a bad coach but he's probably not a scorching hot or even a lukewarm candidate for any big job right now either, much less the biggest stage in NCAA basketball. I mean, he didn't even bother trying to make his efforts appear genuine and not based on dislike for his rival.


anderson to stay at mizzou

I'm a little surprised Anderson didn't jump at the chance to get back into the SEC, especially since his nemesis Calipari jumped to Kentucky, but it seems that Mizzou is a good fit. I can kinda remember Mizzou being okay back in the 90s under Norm Stewart, but calling them a "once-storied program" as the article does might be giving a little too much credit. I don't know about decades way back there, but in recent history they have never been a national powerhouse. But under Anderson they just might be on their way.

Also, he left a lot of money out there in turning down the Georgia job, and there certainly would have been other offers too--and there will likely be more in the future. But good for him for showing some loyalty in an era when there's not much to be found in the college coaching ranks. Gotta love a guy for that.

Finally, here's a quote that brought a smile to my face:

In the tournament's third round, Missouri defeated favored Memphis 102-91. The triple-digit scoring total marked a record for points allowed by a college team coached by John Calipari, whom Anderson previously competed against in Conference USA while at Alabama-Birmingham.

And Calipari has been around for a while. Before racking up a few too many losses in the NBA and returning to the college ranks at Memphis, he coached at UMass for almost a decade. More on that in a bit...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

how fembots ought to be treated

...and everyone else we know, for that matter. But for me it's particularly applicable to those lovely feminazis, my favorite group to despise. Given some of my recent disappointment with the MRM (or MRA or whatever) and how so many are inclined to respond to hate with more hate, this seems appropriate--as much for my own benefit as anyone else's. My pastor referenced this passage in last week's sermon and it recently came up again this week in my reading plan, so I'll take that as a much-needed hint that I ought to pay more attention to it.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Romans 12:14-21

Emphasis added by me, of course. That ought to dictate how we treat even those who spew hate at us. There's more to be said here from my own perspective perhaps, but for now I won't take the emphasis away from Paul. His words ARE more important, after all.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

stat of the game

Nova 22/23
Pitt 21/29

Nova 78
Pitt 76

Any questions?

It's amazing how often this scenario repeats itself. (For example, see: Memphis, championship game, 2008.) Were I a coach, every guy on my team would spend at least an hour a day at the free throw line.


Friday, March 27, 2009

some agonizing ncaa trivia

...for Hogs fans at least. And it just got a little worse when Mike Anderson's Mizzou Tigers routed higher-seeded Memphis in the regional semis, putting up triple digits in the process. Hey Memphis, didn't you used to be touted for your good defense? So much for that. At least there's a silver lining to this in seeing John Calipari lose. In my book that's right up there with seeing Duke get upset again. That's saying a lot.

Anyway, recall that Mike Anderson was Nolan Richardson's protege back in the glory days of Arkansas basketball and even played under Richardson at Tulsa. Recall also that he was the Hogs' interim coach for a few games after Nolan was canned in 2002 and interviewed for the job after the season. Well, in the aftermath of that not-so-pretty parting of ways, Anderson was apparently thought of as "too close" to the whole saga and was passed over,* despite being the assistant head coach, knowing the "40 Minutes of Hell" style of basketball the Hogs had become famous for, and having been groomed to be a head coach by one who was, for a long time, one of the better coaches in college basketball.

So Alabama-Birmingham didn't waste much time in nabbing Anderson, and the decision paid off quickly. At UAB he made the tournament three times in his four years and eliminated then-#1 Kentucky from the tourney in '04. Inevitably a major-conference school was going to come calling, which Missouri did in '06 when they needed someone to clean up the scraps from the Quinn Snyder experiment. (Serves 'em right for hiring a Duke guy.) Three years later, Anderson is steamrolling his way into the Elite Eight and maybe beyond, and using that fast-tempo game to get there. And Arkansas is coming off of a 2-14 year in the SEC and has been dormant on the national scene for about a decade.

Had Anderson been hired at Arkansas, he could be in his seventh year now. Just imagine what the program could be. Tack on another "OOPS!!" to the long and colorful list of personnel blunders by the Razorbacks' athletic department. Keep up the great work, you frackin' idiots.


* In fairness, Stan Heath seemed like a solid pick at the time. But Anderson no doubt suffered a bit because of his close ties to the coach who had fallen out of favor.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

morley on success

That "Quote of the Day" thing over there on the left had a pretty good one today:
There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way.
- Christopher Morley
Regardless of how we choose to spend our life, the important thing is that we have (and continue to have) the freedom to invest our talents and efforts as we choose, whether that be for God, self, nature, or what have you. Of course, with freedom comes responsibility - we must invest wisely.

This parallels with another quote I posted a few days ago about pursuing empty dreams. Methinks it's important to make decisions with that long-term goal in mind of not enslaving oneself to foolish desires. How much would it suck to sit in the rocking chair of old age and look back on life with regret, realizing we were enslaved to something beyond our control because we put ourselves in that position, or were able yet unwilling to get ourselves out of it?

I'll part on a lighter note, with another Morley quote that the MGTOW crowd should find favor with:
A man who has never made a woman angry is a failure in life.
Wow. That's, um, putting it bluntly. But I like its implication that one should never let feelings and emotion get in the way of standing on principle. I mean, if we are too careful not to anger people (and, in this day and age, especially women), then where might we expect to find ourselves? Well, look around at our society. There's your answer.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

"we're from the government and we're here to help"

That Ronald Reagan might not have been all of the savior a lot of folks make him out to be, but he sure had some much-needed common sense and a good wit to go with it. And he was right when he said those are the nine scariest words in the English language. And on that note, let's take an uplifting and encouraging look at some of the feds' latest actions, as noted in the article from the previous post.

First off, check out this naive quote:
White House Council of Economic Advisers chairwoman Christina Romer defended the stimulus package and financial rescue plan. "I have every expectation, as do private forecasters, that we will bottom out this year and actually be growing again by the end of the year," she said.
Okay, let's all remember that quote a year from now. Of course, my prediction is that she'll be proved dead wrong. There were plenty of forecasters saying we'd be out of this rut in the first quarter of this year, then it was this summer, and now the green light has been pushed back to the end of this year. See a trend?

And this one comes to mind:
...the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported on Friday the president's budget would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade — more than four times the deficits of Republican George W. Bush's presidency.
But wait, haven't folks of many political stripes generally agreed that the ballooning of deficits by Dubya and the Repub-controlled Congress was a bad thing? Then why are we doing the same thing again and hailing it as a "path to recovery"? I mean, either deficit spending is a good idea or it isn't. If it's part of what got us here, continuing the problem isn't gonna get us out. If it's not part of what got us here, then quit haranguing Dubya for running up the debt. Oh, it's okay to spend it domestically but not on foreign wars? Then the complaint is not with the deficts themselves but on how the money was spent. Come on, people, before we point fingers let's at least figure out what to get mad and indignant about.

And now on to one of the usual suspects:
Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the powerful banking committee, supported the legislation but said Washington should consider more steps, including suing AIG to recoup the money. The government has an 80 percent equity stake in the financial giant, a position Frank said should be used "to assert our rights."
Figures. Typical Barney Frank--use the hammer of the government to impose his will upon whatever group he happens to be at odds with that day. Is there any better litmus test in D.C.? I can't think of one. The "if Barney supports it then I oppose it" rule is quite a reliable one when it comes to any House bill.

Speaking of which, I can't help but remark on the crew of leaders who will supposedly guide us through this morass into better times not too far ahead. I mean, look at the champions we have: Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Geithner. Maybe they have some great intellect and foresight hidden somewhere in there that we haven't seen yet, but so far, has any one of them done anything since this all started that has inspired confidence in their leadership? They've been in reactionary mode from the outset and that's not a mark of a sound, planned approach. Seems to me that they don't have a grasp on what forces are at work and don't know what to expect, and so they feel obligated to come up with another fix every time they're caught off-guard. Granted, they can't be expected to be in complete command of such chaos given that too many things are out of their control, but if they can't figure out what's happening before it happens then they need to just chart a course to keep us taxpayers out of harm's way as much as possible and stick with it, and accept that some things simply can't be controlled and will only be made worse by poorly targeted intervention.

And yet this is the team that perhaps holds great sway over the future of the country. We are so screwed.


latest scapegoat: aig

Once again it seems folks have found a convenient target to blame in the latest round of the financial mess. This time it's AIG and its bonus recipients. And once again, the government is jumping in to impose its will (i.e. the will of the pitchfork mob that it's catering to nowadays). The plan: alter existing contracts and agreements by decreeing that AIG employees cannot receive bonuses, regardless of what pre-existing structures are guiding the distributions and despite having failed to insert a check against this sort of thing back when the taxpayer money was thrown to AIG in the first place. Typical politics at work, fellas. Washington wants to fix its own screw-up by screwing things up more.

Thankfully, there seem to be some lawmakers that haven't yet lost all sense, as not everyone is on board with the (latest) downright scary plan to ratchet up tax rates on a targeted group of individuals. Even some Democrats are coming out against such lunacy. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? If there are a lot of Dems opposing a tax hike, that alone speaks volumes.

Look at it this way. Suppose you're an AIG employee, maybe even an exec, who did your best all year long. Part of your overall compensation package includes bonuses depending on how your division, group, sales unit, or whatever in the company did. In fact, chances are that a significant part of your overall compensation is tied to this, such that your base salary is well below the norm and only "catches up" after bonuses are handed out--much the same as a waitress adds her tips to her wages at the end of the day. You performed your job well and your group met expectations. So according to company policy, not to mention the terms by which you have been employed for the past year, you're due a bonus for your efforts.

Now suppose that several idiots at the top didn't do such a great job and exposed your company to far too much risk, and inevitably that got your company in a lot of trouble as soon as the breakneck pace of the economy finally slowed down. Were you responsible for the problem? Probably not. Did you do your job well despite the failings of others? Yes. But, according to the government's logic, their failings should cost you part of your compensation, regardless of what the terms of your employment were before the government got involved. Dunno about you, but to me that sounds like one heck of a raw deal.

I'll throw in a personal example too. My former employer relied heavily on this method. Salaries for engineers were considerably below market value but (in theory anyway) were made up for by end-of-year bonuses* contingent on division performance and company earnings. And these bonuses were significant, usually double-digit percentages of one's salary. Needless to say, that's a lot of money just kinda "hanging out there" all year long; in the end it made salaries at least comparable for the position and region, and without them salaries would have been laughable relative to other employers and the brass would have had a tough time attracting new employees. (The bonus was a big sales pitch the company liked to use in recruiting.) Of that bonus, a large chunk was tied to goals and targets defined at the beginning of the year. Under such conditions, the company could do very poorly but the division and site could still do well and get a solid reward as a result.

So, again using the government's logic, if the fools calling the shots had made some bad moves and put the company in a bad way such that it received a bailout of some sort, we should have given up what was effectively a double-digit percentage of our salaries because it happened to come in the form of a one-time bonus instead of regular pay? No freakin' way. It shouldn't be hard to see how that would unfairly punish many who had no responsibility for the calamity and were simply working within the terms of the company's compensation structure.

Once again, as I alluded to a few posts ago, a big issue in play here is the government's willingness to arbitrarily rework the terms of existing contracts to suit its own whims and placate the masses who need someone to blame. This is an incredibly stupid method of governing in any situation, and most especially one for which a turnaround will require stability and consistency in the oversight of financial markets. (On a side note, for all the talk we hear of needing more and better regulation of the economy, I'm sure not seeing much of it. Taxpayer money is being thrown about haphazardly and laws are being changed to suit whatever happens to be the favored approach of the hour.) I don't see how the action of altering employment agreements without the consent of those involved contributes anything but more chaos to an already chaotic situation. If the powers that be wanted to do more short-term and long-term good, they'd leave that AIG bonus money alone and either put more stringent conditions on corporate welfare gimmies in the future, or, preferably, they'd just resign from the bailout game altogether.


* In what can only be called an internal P.R. disaster, a few company execs actually went on record boasting about this great business practice in an industry trade journal. Needless to say, news of the admissions spread like wildfire at my workplace and served as an "aha!" that we were being paid low base salaries despite being told otherwise. Let's just say folks weren't exactly overjoyed at hearing it. The company retracted the quote as fast as they could and the link to the article disappeared from the intranet page, but the damage was already done. My point is, I know for a fact that compensation is done this way because I've seen it firsthand and I've seen higher-ups admit it and even proclaim its greatness.


Monday, March 16, 2009

relief vs. transformation in africa

In doing research for my Peru vacation this spring* and stumbling across the blog of a former missionary to Peru, I discovered an excellent article written a couple of years ago about how to really help Africa. Great stuff, and quite an indictment of how we in the West tend to view and try to solve not only poverty in other nations but in our own.

Somehow, despite overwhelming proof to the contrary just in the past few decades here at home, we Americans have subscribed to the theory that if you throw enough money and "aid" at a problem** it will eventually just go away. Not only is this blatantly false, it actually results in a vicious cycle of dependency and, ultimately, more damage being done to the recipients of such gestures. Thankfully, many Africans realize this and are asking foreigners to stop their sending. A quote in the article sums it up well:
"Africa won't be "saved" by aid, but by the ingenuity and determination of its own people."
You know what they say about teaching a man to fish. The same applies to Africa. Continuing to send aid without building the infrastructure and internal wealth that would eventually allow Africans to cease their dependency on outside aid will only compound the problem and discourage the natives from developing their own solutions. And so the cycle is prolonged. Again, a quote from the article:
"Their message of hope is one that seems to deny Africans a role as agents of their own transformation. We can save Darfur. We can save Africans from disease. We can even save Africans from themselves. Africa can be saved if we just try hard enough."
Another subject the article really sheds some light on is how other nations view Africa and the impact their efforts have had. In particular, China is actually doing great work:
"While Americans are pestering their leaders to Save Darfur–an unlikely prospect absent full-scale military intervention–the Chinese are busy building roads and hydroelectric power dams. China believes Africa is a huge economic opportunity and deals with Africa like a business partner. The Chinese see Africans the way many would like to see themselves."
That last sentence captures it well. Instead of simply throwing resources and money from afar, the Chinese are helping Africa build itself up. No wonder we often hear about close relationships between China and African countries that the Western world often seems to think are more in need of a U.N. peacekeeping force than of ground-floor investment in a better future. Where we see victims, the Chinese see potential allies and traders. I think the Chinese, if not totally right on this one, are a heck of a lot closer to the mark than us Westerners are. Who knows what the motives are, but the results are hard to argue with.

What I like most, though, is the idea of relief vs. transformation that the article brings out. I kinda remember this idea--at least enough to borrow from it for the title of this post--from Tim Keller's book Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road, perhaps the best book on missions and mercy ministry I've read (other than THE Book, but you know what I mean). I can't do it justice here, but he expands on this whole idea of when relief is needed and when it actually does more harm than good. Still, I'll throw in some of what I remember and hopefully not stray too far off-course in the process.

In general, relief can only bring a people back to where they were before. So it works great for filling the gap of short-term needs, especially after a disaster. It works well for war-torn areas (post-WWII Germany and Japan), it alleviates suffering due to famines (Ireland, as Bono himself mentioned), it gets people back on their feet after natural disasters (hurricanes, floods), and so on. But what it doesn't do well is create infrastructure where none previously existed. It doesn't transform societies. And because of that, relief in the wrong situations will beget nothing more than continued dependency on relief.

It's in those situations that real investment is needed--time, labor, infrastructure, the sorts of things that are harder to give--to meet deeper needs than just a temporal lack of necessities. Sure, relief may be needed, but it shouldn't be given apart from a thrust at the roots of the problem. If the roots aren't temporal but are instead inherent in the societal system itself, then effort needs to be focused on changing the system. Without that effort, whether from outsiders or from within, the society simply isn't going to move beyond the causes of its own problems. And unless that happens, lasting change and decreasing dependency will remain out of reach.

I'll close with the last bit of the article:
"Here's a radical idea: if we really want to help, why not ask Africans, not their governments, how they perceive the challenges before them, the dreams they have for the future, and the resources they think they need to realize them?

Instead, we let a well-intentioned Irish rock star, a Jewish-American economist, and their Hollywood cohort become the voice and face of Africa.

And in the process, the story of the other Africa, the Africa that is dynamic, creative, and wants to work as a partner and the leader of its own future, is being drowned out by the clarion cry of the anti-poverty glitterati–and our own appetites for gripping, salacious headlines of war, poverty, and grief."
All of it is worth reading, so don't deprive yourself of such great material. Go read the rest! And I've been known to plug Keller's book before and I'll do it again. I suggest adding it to the reading list if you haven't yet read it. It's had quite an impact on how I view the world (but don't hold that against it!), as evidenced by its title and ideas finding their way into blog posts every so often. Trust me, you won't regret it.


* On a side note, said vacation is, unfortunately, on the fritz big-time. For the second time in three years, my travel partner seems to have backed out--and it's getting very late to try to throw together some last-minute arrangements. Who knows, maybe God just doesn't want me down there or something. Or, I may be able to get down to the Cusco area later this summer on a construction trip with Wycliffe, and if so I'd hope to do the Machu Picchu thing afterward. But that remains to be seen, and when it comes to missions I'm actually not a huge fan of short-term construction trips anyway because they run the risk of depriving the natives of opportunities to do the work and invest in their own culture (for a much lower cost I might add). Ah, the joy of cobbling together last-minute excursions. Seems I don't travel any other way.

** I use "problem" here to mean something that offends the sensibilities of a particular group and so, in the eyes of the offended, needs to be fixed--usually by being brought into alignment with the offended group's way of life.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

quote of the day

From the bulletin for this morning's church service, with my emphasis added:
"If someday we sit in the rocking chair of our old age and look back on life with regret, with a sense of having wandered aimlessly over a faceless terrain, it will be because we never stopped long enough to assess or direction or because we chose to give ourselves to empty dreams. -- Stacy Rinehart
Hello? Western world? Anyone home?


Friday, March 13, 2009

how long can this continue?

So here it is after 1 am, and I'm waiting for the UConn-Syracuse game to end so I can finally get some sleep. And the game just...won't...end. It's in the SIXTH overtime now! I've never before heard of a basketball game going more than three extras. This is insane...I mean, these guys have to wear down eventually, right? What, do they just keep pulling fans in from the stands or something? What the bleep?

Syracuse seems to have mercifully decided to put a stop to this chaos and send the Huskies packing. 'Bout time. I should have been asleep an hour ago. But I'm sure I'll be able to read up on it tomorrow. This one will be talked about for a long time.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

where the real men live

According to this report, Cincinnati is one of the elites when it comes to manly U.S. cities, weighing in at #4 out of 50. That's what I'm talkin' about! However, one must question the metrics a little, because arguably the worst offender of freedom and greatest incubator of sissyist socialism, Boston, almost made it out of the bottom quartile (#38). How is this possible? Obviously the authors haven't spent time in Boston or didn't QC their survey work.

And, here's the real shocker--shocker!--of the day: The bottom of the list is dominated by coastal cities, with Chicago being the only one in the bottom 10 that isn't in an ocean state. (Perhaps Chicago got the penalty it deserves for having produced such a terribly unmanly President.) And all of California's five representatives fell in the bottom 10. Wow, who saw that coming?

HT: Dr. Helen


Friday, March 06, 2009

comment of the day

Been a wild several days out there in blog-land. Somehow, somewhere back there, a whole fury of debate erupted over feminism and how to deal with it. And, in typically naive fashion, I attempted to put some of the fire out and instead ended up dumping several gallons of gasoline on the flames I think. Maybe I'll write a post about that sometime. But not now. More pressing matters are at hand, as you're about to see...

Over yonder at this thread, MarkyMark crafted one of the best summations I can remember reading about how men--especially young men--approach feminism, and indirectly, women in general, these days. So for your reading pleasure, I present MarkyMark in top form:
You asked why men need to act under the assumption that women are automatically bad. I'll give you an analogy from riding a motorcycle that I think will clear this up for you...

When I'm out there riding, I act under the assumption that EACH & EVERY CAR DRIVER IS TRYING HIS BEST TO KILL ME! I act under the assumption that, until I know otherwise, that the cager is my enemy, and that this enemy is trying to destroy me, the motorcyclist. After all, all cars look alike from a distance; they don't do anything to distinguish themselves, do they? Intellectually, I know that this is not true; intellectually, I know that not all cagers are trying to kill me. However, until I know differently, I have to operate under that assumption. Having said that, there are a couple of important caveats that must be considered now...

Number one is simple physics; no matter how small a car is, it still has MORE MASS than the biggest bike out there. Even one of those diminutive Smart Cars is bigger than the biggest bike, say a Honda Goldwing. Furthermore, a car has protection in the form of a body, windows, and doors; a bike has none of that, save perhaps a front windshield. To put it another way, the biggest bike will lose in a collision with even the smallest car. So, simple physics dictates that I assume, as a motorcyclist, that every car is out to get me, because being wrong can be deadly.

Now, the second caveat to consider is this: between my time in the saddle and my time as a former, professional driver, I've seen all SORTS of insanity out there on the roads; it's as if cagers' stupidity and foolishness know no limits. For example, a couple of years ago, I was riding my motorcycle down I-287 when some cell phone yapping bitch in her Range Rover cut me off, missing my front wheel by only a few feet! Now, are all drivers like this? No, but considering the immense cost I'll pay for being wrong, I'll assume that all cagers are dopes until I can discern otherwise.

In short, when a cager first enters my field of view, I automatically assume that they're my enemy, and that they're trying to kill me. Upon further observation, if their conduct gives me reason to, I won't necessarily KEEP them in the 'enemy' category, but until I'm sure, I have to assume that they are. IOW, until they distinguish themselves, they remain in the 'enemy' category. Again, the laws of physics put me at a distinct disadvantage, due to smaller mass and no protection. If I'm wrong and some idiot cager hits me, best case scenario has be going off to the hospital with serious injuries; I can't afford to guess wrong, so until I know otherwise, I'll assume that all drivers are out to get me.

Now, what does this have to do with anything? Well, until I know otherwise, I assume that a woman will hate, fear, suspect, and disrespect me for being a man. I'll assume that, because of her hatred & fear, she too will be out to get me. Furthermore, because the laws and government are on her side, just as in the saddle, I'm operating a a distinct disadvantage WRT women. All it takes is one woman to point the finger in my direction, and I am destroyed-end of story. Oh, and it only takes ONE woman to do this...

Ergo, until I know otherwise, I assume that a woman is out to destroy me, because she hates me as a man. If she's college educated, then that is doubly true. After all, she's had at least four more years of feminist indoctrination, time in which her fears and hatred of men have been stoked to an even higher intensity. Add to that the collective SILENCE of women when it comes to man bashing, unjust divorce laws, and so on, what are we to assume, other than the fact that she agrees & supports these things?

Let me give you a great example... Lorena 'Slice & Dice' Bobbitt. When women across America CHEERED this, what, as a man, was I supposed to think?! When we didn't see other women crying out against this, what were we supposed to think? I'll tell you what we thought: that women hate us; they do not care about us as human beings; and that they indeed do not view us as such! From where I sat as a man back in the early 1990s when this happened, I found it, and still find it, hard to view women as anything other than the enemy. Sorry, but that's how it is.

You asked why men feel the need to categorize all women as skanks. Well, the ones who are not skanks do not do enough to DISTINGUISH THEMSELVES from those who are skanks. Just like when I'm in the saddle riding my motorcycle, until I see tangible evidence to the contrary, I'm assuming that a woman is a skank; that she's a feminist; that she hates me as a man; and that she'll try to destroy me because of that. To view women in any other way is to court disaster, because IT ONLY TAKES ONE to point the finger, an wreck my life-only one! It doesn't matter if every other woman out there is good; if I run into the evil one at the wrong time, then I'm toast. The only prudent course of action is to assume that all women are indeed 'like that'.

You want men to judge you as an individual, ma'am? Then ACT like it! Don't go along with every single trend like most other women do; don't be a herd creature like your typical woman! Do something to distinguish yourself in a good way, and guys just might be inclined to cut you some slack; they just might be inclined to judge you as an individual. Until I see that from a woman, I have to assume the worst, simply because being wrong is so costly for me as a man. I hope that THIS answers your question...
Wow. To add anything to that would be to take away from the beauty of it. Perhaps he comes off as a bit jaded or pessimistic about the whole bit. Not ALL women are so bad. Women aren't THE enemy. But as the comment effectively demonstrates, that doesn't make his take incompatible with a well-grounded worldview.

No American guy who regularly interacts with the society he's in needs to be told that's the reality we presently have to work with. The world around us is a very dangerous place in regards to dealings with the opposite sex, and this demands a defensive approach to many areas of interaction with society at large. Like it or not, I'm just calling it as it is. Many men have found this out first-hand at the hands of the "justice" system or false accusations and I don't intend to join their number.

Now that doesn't mean we should hate and scorn all women* or even most, or even any for that matter. For Christians, a basic understanding of the faith should get us that far. We are commanded--for our own good--to see others around us as God sees them, not as we might otherwise see them. In other words, all people are deserving of basic love and respect since we're all created in God's image. So should I hate women, men, both's, none's, or otherwise? Of course not.** But do I still view women with some amount of suspicion until proven otherwise and guard my moves accordingly? Absolutely! And I'd even argue that this isn't entirely by choice; men have been taught during their time spent in society to automatically take such an approach, to the extent that caution is practically instinctual for many of us. And this is more or less a prerequisite for not getting burned in some nasty way and even having your life altered for the worse because of it. Hey, you deal with reality as it is, right?

I'll even add that there are surely a considerable number of really good women out there, the types who abhor what society has become and speak out ardently against it, to the point of engaging others in defense of the truth--as opposed to just paying lip service to the opposition sometimes but otherwise going right along with societal trends. Examples are out there; we've all known them and probably know some today. But they aren't exactly common. To borrow from something I recently put in a thread comment, we humans will always stereotype the world into something more easily comprehended and much more easily dealt with and acted upon. In this case, that stereotype protects men while not actually being as far off from reality itself as we'd like.

I had more to say here, but once again my short memory and shorter attention span are haunting me. Oh well, as I said, the Markster's comments stand on their own anyway.

So, is all this good? No. Particularly pleasant for anyone in society? No. The preferred MO? No. Reality? YES. And reality, not perception or blind hope, is what ought to dictate how we act. Don't like it? Then do something to change it!


* If you take me to perhaps be the sort of fellow who returns hate with hate when dealing with folks, go read some of the threads in that chain of links and then wander back. Hopefully you'll think differently...or if not, then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

** It's worth adding here that the vast majority of bloggers I read tend to appreciate femininity and wish it were displayed more in society, so I'm not trying to insinuate that there's some huge groundswell of fem-hate being perpetuated by bloggers themselves that I'm aware of. As for commenters? Well...enough to cause alarm for anyone who hopes our society somehow pulls through and recovers from its current malaise.


the huckster in primetime

Just found out via some Fox News spam that none other than my former governor (who I can claim to have shaken the hand of and had a short face-to-face conversation with at a summer program way back in the day) has his own TV show. Quite curious...but unfortunately, he's got a little too much mainstream Republicrat in him to be a great new media voice I think. I certainly hope not and I actually do like some of his ideas, but my guess he's just another blowhard during his time in the spotlight each week. Perhaps he's also trying to build up some popularity in anticipation of an upcoming retry at the highest office. If so, this can only mean that he's burying any conservative credentials he has and instead tacking hard to the standard neocon position of "big gummint ain't bad as long as we're in control." But I do want to see his show once or twice in hopes that I'm not right yet again about a politician...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

this strikes me as a disaster...

In other words, I'm about to discuss some recent action of some government in the U.S. Buried in this article about housing woes (yeah, that still qualifies as "news" for some outlets), which I read at lunch today and was reminded of over at Recon's Black Ops, is the following frightening prelude to yet further unleashing of the already out-of-control court system:
To give debt-burdened homeowners a little more muscle to negotiate with their lenders, the House on Thursday was expected to pass legislation to give bankruptcy courts the power to reduce mortgage payments.

The legislation would give bankruptcy judges — who now can modify loans for cars and student loans but not for primary residences — new power to cut the interest rate and principle on a home mortgage.
As you might guess, I'm not a fan of that sort of bullbleep in any form. But this new concoction* is an even more terrible idea than most government "reforms." Couldn't they just contain it to only interest rates? I mean, that's where we keep hearing about how people were taken advantage of and all, simply because they didn't bother to first understand the biggest purchase of their life before signing on the line. But now we're implying that they were somehow misled on the sticker price? What!? They somehow deserve to have the house for much less now, even though they knowingly and willingly agreed to the price up front? Heck, why even have people sign mortgages then? They're no better than a handshake agreement when it comes to the eyes of the judge. Scary, kids...very scary.

And that's exactly what's going on here. By giving a judge power to alter the principle on a mortgage, you're giving the judge power to change all terms--including, effectively, the purchase price itself--on the mortgage. If that happens, the idiot who signed on to terms he couldn't keep isn't gonna be the only one losing lots of money. The bank will have already paid off the seller and will be in the position of needing that money to make its balance sheet work. And now those bankers have that much less of a guarantee that they'll ever actually see that money? What effect might we expect this to have on the banks?

On to the "let's make banks lend again!" mantra we hear so often nowadays. With these new rules, you're telling the bank that no matter what terms they agree to up front, they have no assurance those terms will actually reflect the deal they're making. But wait, don't we want to unfreeze credit by making banks more willing to lend? Well, if you're a banker, what is that new blast of cold water going to cause you to do? For one, you'll make damn sure that whoever you actually do take the risk of entering into a mortgage "contract" (and I use the term loosely) with is as sure a bet as possible. The bar must be raised for all would-be borrowers, because if that fool somehow ends up in bankruptcy court then you're even more screwed than you would have been before this ingenious new law.

And that is supposed to make banks more eager to lend money? Wow. Only the dumbest of the dumb could expect or even hope for such an unrealistic outcome. What else would we expect from politicians?

And what kind of effect should we expect this to have on markets in general? Well, a basic axiom of economics is that an economy works best when there are hard and fast rules to work by.** Any system in which the rules can be changed or rewritten too easily is going to stifled for want of brave souls willing to stray too deep into the dark unknown of tomorrow's new rules. On the other hand, a system with reliable rules that engender order and accountability will encourage boldness and the growth and progress that comes with it. After all, who is gonna risk much without knowing what the heck the rules will be down the road or which ones will change? What sense does that make?

So while you certainly don't want to eliminate risk itself, you want to eliminate anything that stands between the risk-taker and the rewards or consequences of his own risk. How exactly is a rule allowing more contracts to be altered de facto by a third party supposed to engender a stable, predictable playing field on which to do business? This is insanity.

Look, folks, the root of this here economic problem is greed, pure and simple. Greed on all sides--nonthinking entitlement cases who bought more house than they could afford, banks who saw an opportunity to capitalize on the stupidity of others, investors who sought to ride the roller coaster just long enough to add to the misery of others, folks like me who contributed our fair share to the consumerism that drove the craze, and on and on. Nobody is really innocent here, and now it's time for us all to get our due for the greater mistakes of a few.*** So if you want to fix the problem, go at the root of the problem, not just the presently visible effect of it. If you go after the effects and not the cause, you'll fail to move toward any solution and will only create more havoc in the process.


* The concoction referred to appears to be the hilariously-named "Helping Families Save Their Homes Act" introduced by John Conyers, a new addition to my list of Washington's Most Dangerous People. Thankfully, at least my guy, Geoff Davis, voted against the atrocity. The man has proven to be a reliable voice of anti-communism in recent months.

** I'm reminded here of the words of a former co-worker who had emigrated from Hungary during its Communist days. According to him, the big draw of the U.S. among him and his contemporaries was a system built on freedom, justice, and immutability, in which one was free to do his own thing and reap what he sowed. He could work and actually earn his own money and be free to do with it what he pleased. If he bought a car or a house, it was his, and as long as he played by the rules then no government or other body could suddenly issue an edict to the contrary. What concepts! And how great they must have been to people who had spent their lives in a country with no semblance of such order or freedom. Alas, the good old days...

*** As in, the economy is worse off and we're all affected by it. I'm not at all talking about some "socialist-lite" plan to "protect" said few by bailing them out with taxpayer money and thus moving the bulk of the burden from the few to the many. Socialism sucks, every time, all the time.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

a different take on fireproof

So I've heard a lot of great stuff about that "Christian movie"* Fireproof. Just hearing so much gushing over it from so many contemporary Christians gives me a little bit of pause. I know it's a story of a marriage that gets rescued from the brink of divorce, or something to that effect. I'm under the impression it's a bit of a family-friendly chick flick. Perhaps that's not all bad (and perhaps it is), but let's just say it's not my cup of tea. In other words, without having seen it I'll speculate that I'd probably rather eat glass for two hours then watch that fluff.

As I said, maybe it's not all bad. I don't know. I don't figure I'll find out firsthand though. But if you have a similar level of enthusiasm about said movie yet want to be able to fit in with the church couples, then fear not! There are plenty of reviews out there so you can keep up with your churchgoing friends and not feel like an outcast for having chosen to instead spend your afternoon hammering nails with your forehead. Plus, as this review lays out in detail, there could very well be a message behind the message.

Now having not seen the movie, I can't vouch for the accuracy of what she says. But I have an inkling that her assessment is closer to the truth than any of us would like. Perhaps Coffee Catholic is a bit more perceptive to the underlying views that make up the movie than a lot of folks out there.

I suspect Fireproof didn't quite escape the clutches of feminism that have ensnared much of evangelicalism. Should that surprise us? Sure, about as much as January snow in Boston.

* Is it me or is it hard not to wince upon seeing/hearing such a label? The track record of churchian products speaks for itself. In fairness, though, recent "Christian" movies haven't been too bad. I thought The Passion of the Christ was quite good and certainly unique, and I've heard reliably good things about The End of the Spear and Facing the Giants.