Sunday, February 28, 2010

If You're a Crawfish, Stay Away

In case you wonder about this flurry of posts… To paraphrase Boss Hogg, who was "in a crawfish-boiling mood," I'm in a blog-writing mood.

John Carter, Bob Parker, and Altruism Are Dumb

People who ignored Sunday's tsunami warnings and headed to the beach for a look are being described as dumb by the Civil Defense Minister.

John Carter says while New Zealand were lucky this time, that will not always be the case and people need to realize their stupidity is putting others at risk.

He says the message is simple, do not be stupid.

Carter says the fact is a tsunami is a serious event and people could die.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker agrees with Carter.

He says council staff watched some of the city's surveillance and traffic cameras in beachside areas when Sunday's alert was in place.

Parker says a number of people were clearly ignoring warnings.

He says as well as putting themselves at risk, they are placing our emergency services in danger also.

"I can't believe that kiwi loon stole my good name."

Nick Parker

It is only the evil anti-concept of altruism that puts rescuers at risk. Every individual has the unalienable right to risk his life and/or to commit suicide any which way he chooses. No one else has any duty to rescue him. No one else has any right to rescue him against his will. His life is his and his alone to keep or destroy.

Now the subhuman morons will go, "But surely, if you see some fellow human [insert some way how he could hurt himself], you'll jump him to rescue him."

No. I won't. If he's only harming himself, no one has any right to jump him in any way whatsoever.

Altruist rescuers, you are destroying the world by giving any mediocrity of a creep an excuse to initiate the use of force against anybody else. "It's for his own good. To save him from himself."

If someone wants to risk his life or commit suicide watching a tsunami, that's his problem, and only his problem.

If jackbooted rescuers are dumb enough to believe it's their duty to help others, even if those others put their own lives, and only their own lives, at risk, it's John Carter, Bob Parker, and the other jackbooted rescue thugs that are dumb.

If they believe they have the right to initiate the use of force against those who risk their own lives, "to save them from themselves," John Carter, Bob Parker, and the other jackbooted rescue thugs are criminal.

"The only real wisdom is knowing you know nothing." — Socrates.

What is the "stupidity" of someone who risks his life to watch a tsunami against the stupidity of a coward so ignorant that he it doesn't understand that someone else might value watching a tsunami highly enough to risk his life?

"Stop! If you try to commit suicide, I shoot you dead!"

Real great reasoning, piggy. The amount of stupidity it takes to become a pig is unimaginable.

What is the crime of watching a tsunami compared with the crime of being a pig? What is the danger of a fire compared with the danger of a government-run firehouse?

As for me, all I have to say to pigs and other "rescue" thugs is: Leave. Me. Alone.

If I decide to risk my life, I do not care to be rescued by the likes of you.

As for you, gentle reader: First they came for the tsunami watchers, and you did not fight back — because you were not a tsunami watcher.

Then they came for the BASE jumpers, and you did not fight back — because you were not a BASE jumper.

Then they came for the carnivores, and you did not fight back — because you were a vegetarian.

Then they came for you — and there was only Alex left to fight back, and he did not care to fight for you.

No government is your friend, ever.

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Will the Real Hotaling Please Stand Up?

The skyscrapers of Santiago at least still are. Standing up, that is. Other structures, however, don't share that virtue.

So, speaking of whatever gods there may be:

The company says code changes made in 1996 in particular have led to a "majority of Chile's insured risks" being well designed, and far more likely to survive than "older counterparts."

Indeed, churches and other buildings that were constructed without reinforced concrete were prominent among those that have collapsed, early reports indicted.

"They just crumbled to rubble," said one expert.

Reminds me:

If, as some say, god spanked the town
For being over frisky,
Why did he burn his churches down
And save Hotaling's whiskey?

All good questions.

Two Jolts for Capitalism

It's like by sending these two earthquakes the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or whatever gods there may be wanted to demonstrate to an ignorant humanity the benefits of capitalism.

Chile is Latin America's most capitalist and consequently most developed country. Haiti is Latin America's most backward. But to call it socialist or fascist wouldn't be accurate. Even socialism and fascism imply some sort of order, however brutish. It's more like it's generally corrupt and uncivilized.

With the wealth generated by capitalism, Chileans can afford stronger buildings, heavy equipment, and disaster management infrastructure.

Now let's have a look at how the cold, hard facts stack up.

Magnitude:

Haiti — 7.0 Mw

Chile — 8.8 Mw, the world's strongest earthquake in more than five years, about five hundred times stronger than the Haiti quake (scale is logarithmic).

Damage:

Haiti — 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed or severely damaged. The earthquake caused major damage to Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and other settlements in the region. Many notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail.

Chile — According to an Associated Press Television News cameraman, some buildings have collapsed in Santiago and there are power outages in parts of the city.

Dead:

Haiti — 217,000+

Chile — 708+

QED.

(All figures from everybody's favorite collectivist joke of a would-be encyclopedia.)

The Truth about the Red Chinese Economy

For all those morons that marvel how the Red Chinese economy is doing so well without human rights: It's leeching off capitalist American corporations like Google.

When Google finally pulls the plug on Red China (long overdue), Red Chinese science will tank, and without innovation, their economy.

Warmest Cheers for The Donald

Donald Trump recently stated with a laugh at a speech to his membership at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester "with the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels from Virginia all the way up and down the coast, the Nobel Committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore."

As Mr. Trump explained, "Gore wants us to clean up our factories and plants in order to protect us from global warming when China and other countries couldn't care less. It would make us totally non-competitive in the manufacturing world and China, Japan, and India are laughing at America's stupidity while they go along with the good act of pretending they're all for spending dollars on global warming." The entire room of 500 people stood up and cheered.

Quote of the Day

"The most essential elements of success in life are a purpose, increasing industry, temperate habits, scrupulous regard for one's word ... courteous manners, a generous regard for the rights of others, and, above all, integrity which admits of no qualification or variation."

William A. Clark

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Going to Sic My Snowperson on You!

8:30 Alex completes snowman.

8:35 Alex tells neighbors' kids that they have to say snowperson instead of snowman, as snowman is sexist.

9:00 All the boys on the block now consistently say snowman to aggravate the girls.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Little Good/Gun News Today

"Starting Monday, a new federal law will allow guns to be carried into national parks and wildlife refuges across the country,"

Yay!

Bill Wade, a chairman for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, calls the new law a "sad chapter" in the storied history of the park system.

"On the heels of the Ken Burns documentary about the importance of national parks to America and after a year of increased visitation to parks despite a poor economy, this law will have a chilling effect on how visitors behave in national parks," said Wade, the former superintendent of Shenandoah National Park. "A feeling of safety and security will be replaced by wariness and suspicion."

In other words: If I'm disarmed and at the mercy of every psycho, I feel safe and secure. When I am able to defend myself, I feel wary and suspicious.

Good that you're retired, moron. You got Alzheimer's.

Angel Kruzen, with the Sierra Club's Missouri water sentinel program, said she didn't foresee the new gun law causing major problems at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

She did question, however, how the law might make it more difficult for law enforcement officers to catch people illegally shooting wildlife from their vehicles.

"I think it may be more difficult to enforce," said Kruzen, who lives in Mountain View, Mo. "In the past, if they saw someone sitting in their car with a loaded gun, it was pretty clear what they were up to. Now, I suspect that's going to be a little more difficult."

I hope that isn't meant to suggest that people should allow themselves to get disarmed and then murdered just to make it easier to catch poachers.



"Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town"

Because the storeowner had a gun to defend himself with.

"Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down"

Because the homeowner had a gun to defend his home with.

"Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain"

Because everybody had a gun to defend themselves with.

"We sure could use a little good news today"

Like the above.

"Somebody takes a hostage, somebody steals a plane"

Because guns are still banned on planes. Whenever guns are outlawed, only skyjackers have guns.

How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair
And how we cleaned up the air, how everybody learned to care
Whoa, tell me

Nobody was assassinated in the whole Third World today
And in the streets of Ireland, all the children had to do was play
And everybody loves everybody in the good old USA
We sure could use a little good news today

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."

— Robert A. Heinlein

"We need a change in policy"

Here's one. One down, one bazillion more gun laws to go.

Of course, as "terrorists" use small planes instead of guns nowadays, we all know what gets banned next.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top Ten Things Chicks Always Wanted to Know about Men

But Were Afraid to Ask

(10) Women wonder: Do men like it if we wear heels?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but mostly because it's funny to see you falling down the stairs. Besides, once you're pushing forty, the bones in your feet will be so worn out you can't catch us when we date younger chicks.

(9) Women wonder: Do men like it if we wear hose?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but those who do like it likely like to wrap your whole body in plastic. So the next time you date a nylon fetishist, be sure he leaves a hole for you to breathe through when he Saran-Wraps your head.

(8) Women wonder: Do men like it if we bare our bellies?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but mostly because we like to crack jokes behind your backs how much you look like shorn poodles. On a more serious note, it's a good way to make sure you're not wearing waist cinchers.

(7) Women wonder: Do men like it if we wear push-up bras?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but mostly because we love to make fun of you once you have to take them off. Conversely, it's not at all funny if you make fun of us once you find out we weren't glad to see you, but are carrying in Thunderwear.

(6) Women wonder: Do men love hooters?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but mostly because it's good to have something to hold on to so you can't run before we fuck you. Plus, for American males, hooters are forbidden fruit. If a bared ear on TV were to outrage the moral majority as much as a bared nipple, we'd love ears just as much.

(5) Women wonder: Do men like it if we wear makeup?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but only if it keeps us from getting grossed out when we meet an ug on the street. If you don't look presentable without a paintjob, we won't date you anyway. Some of us will lay you anyway, if you bring a bag (or two).

(4) Women wonder: Do men like a home run on the first date?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but we wouldn't have to hurry it so much if you weren't all the time trying to force us into a relationship, or worse, a marriage.

(3) Women wonder: Do men like cuddling?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but in practice we're afraid to stick around lest we end up in a committed relationship, which is, frankly, only for those who ought to be committed.

(2) Women wonder: Do men like it if we're intelligent, or do they care about looks only?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but… What did you say?

(1) Women wonder: Do blondes have more fun?

Radio Yerevan answers: In principle, yes, but in practice that's definitely an absolute.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Facts in the Case of M. Polanski: Authoritarian Dignity

Or dignified authority, if your worldview is warped enough to permit such an anti-concept.

Film director Roman Polanski lost his bid Friday to be sentenced without returning to the U.S. when a judge ruled the director must be present in court if he wants to resolve his 32-year-old sex case.

Reiterating Polanski was a fugitive from justice, Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza said he was acting to protect "the dignity of the court."

Bart Dalton, a lawyer for Polanski, said the ruling would be appealed.



Lawyers Chad Hummel, who represents Polanski, and Lawrence Silver, who represents victim Samantha Geimer, tried to convince Espinoza to change his mind.

But Espinoza cited a law that says someone who flees is not entitled to the processes of the court unless they return. The judge also cited the length of time Polanski had been a fugitive and the deterrent factor for others who might consider fleeing to escape justice.



Prosecutors insist Polanski must appear in a Los Angeles courtroom and not be permitted to manipulate the justice system.

The dignity of the court? My ass. The authority of the court.

A court that does not have to negotiate with a sovereign anarch, but has submissive subjects surrender and groveling for a scrap of collectivized justice.

As for dignity, the dignity of the courts went down the drain the day the first plea bargain was struck. If courts wanted dignity, they wouldn't negotiate with criminals. They are, however, happy to negotiate with any criminal that surrenders and submits to their authority.

If the court were interested in dignity and justice, it would make negotiations dependent on the severity of the alleged crime, not on whether the suspect surrenders. "We don't negotiate with rapists" would be moral; "we don't negotiate with fugitives" is not. To expect any fugitive to surrender and submit to the authority of the court that claims a coercive monopoly on truth and justice in any given "jurisdiction," irrespective of whether he can expect a fair trial, is as fascist as expecting a Jew to voluntarily board a cattle car to Auschwitz.

By the way…

"The Anarch is to the anarchist, what the monarch is to the monarchist."

— Ernst J√ľnger

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Ayn Rand Code

A guide to Howard Roark's Manhattan as built in steel and dreams.

Read The Fountainhead, been to New York, bought the centennial edition? But did you ever wonder which real buildings may have inspired the steel and concrete stars of The Fountainhead?

As for that hideous Frink National Bank Building, I know of no building in New York City "on the top of which, twenty-five floors above the pavements, there burned in a miniature replica of the Hadrian Mausoleum a wind-blown torch made of glass and the best General Electric bulbs." (Lucky me.)

Yet, there is a bank building topped by a copy of what put the "Mausol" in mausoleum, the original Mausoleum of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, twenty-nine floors above the pavements. Like the Frink National Bank Building, which was apparently among the tallest buildings Downtown, the Bankers Trust Building at 14 Wall Street was among the three tallest buildings in the city when it opened in 1912. What's more, it's as eclectically Greek as the Frink National Bank Building is Roman:

"Sources for the design included the Ionic order on the Erechtheum at the Acropolis, ancient Macedonian prototypes, and reconstruction drawings of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the model for the stepped-pyramid temple which crowns the building, giving it its distinctive profile against the skyline." (Opens PDF)

That would make 14 Wall Street's architects, Trowbridge & Livingston, Francon & Heyer, right? Well, Samuel Beck Parkman Trowbridge studied at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. The Stanton Institute of Technology? Like Guy Francon, he later studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Finally, while the tip of 14 Wall Street functions as nothing but a lowly smokestack, Trowbridge & Livingston's Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, another replica of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (like one copy wasn't bad enough), is topped by a locally famous beacon.

Another candidate is 26 Broadway, the old Standard Oil Building. Of course it's not a bank building, but like 14 Wall Street it is topped by a pyramid modeled on the Mausoleum of Mausolus. Plus: "At the time of construction, the pyramid was the tallest tower at the tip of Manhattan and was illuminated as a beacon for ships entering the harbor."

A little more than "[t]hree blocks east of the Frink National Bank" — in fact, more like thirty blocks north of 14 Wall Street — stands the real-life Dana Building, its lines "hard and simple, revealing, emphasizing the harmony of the steel skeleton within." It is more than just some stories lower, though. The thirteen-story Bayard-Condict Building at 65 Bleecker Street is the only building in New York by Louis Sullivan, the inspiration for Henry Cameron. Its "curtain wall of terra cotta that expresses the inner steel skeleton was a radical departure from the heavy masonry of building in this period. … With this building, Sullivan revolutionized the way architects think about tall buildings." In her Ayn Rand biography, Anne Heller concurs and adds that Rand likely named the building in honor of Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana House in Springfield, Illinois (pp. 118).

Just a few blocks away, by the way, is Stanton Street. Coincidence?

The Cosmo-Slotnick Building on Broadway, "a skyscraper to house a motion-picture theater and forty floors of offices," no doubt was Ayn Rand's take on the 1927 Paramount Building on Times Square, a 3,600-seat theater fronted by a thirty-three-floor office building in shape of a giant desk clock. Heller concurs and adds that it too was the result of a public competition (p. 119).

According to her, Roark's low-slung Stoddard Temple is based on Wright's Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois (p. 115).

For a glimpse of a very rudimentary Enright House, you can look at the 1930 Howe & Lescaze design for the Museum of Modern Art. While its individual gallery blocks attached to a service core may have given Ayn Rand the idea of "each a single house held to the other houses like a single crystal to the side of a rock," sans Roark they still look a lot like a "pile of cages." Recently, Santiago Calatrava infused the design with some Roark quality when he adapted it into an apartment tower much like the Enright House. Sadly, this Enright House at 80 South Street remains unbuilt. Another possible inspiration is Wright's equally unbuilt St. Mark's-in-the-Bouwerie Towers (model, rendering).

The Cord Building would appear to be the Chrysler Building. Both share the name of an automobile manufacturer. While in The Fountainhead, Anthony Cord has nothing to do with the Cord Corporation, it is significant that, not unlike Roark, E.L. "Cord had a philosophy to build truly different, innovative cars, believing they would also sell well and turn a profit."

Of course, the Cord Building is more than twenty stories shorter than the Chrysler Building, but Ayn Rand couldn't have Roark build the world's tallest building at that early point in his career. Nevertheless, that "tower of copper and glass" "in the center of Manhattan" sure reflects the tower with the elegant top of stainless steel and glass at Grand Central.

As for "the Aquitania Hotel on Central Park South," that's anyone's guess. If there is a real-life inspiration, and if that inspiration is on Central Park South, it's probably 240 Central Park South, completed in 1941. It's more modern than the other major prewar buildings on that street, like the Essex House or the Hampshire House, and the one that comes closest to a "study of angles and terraces."

The year Ayn Rand came to America, 1926, there was a proposal all over the news for a real Wynand Building in Hell's Kitchen. The Larkin Tower was to rise west of Eighth Avenue, between Forty-first and Forty-second Streets, where the old McGraw-Hill Building was eventually built in 1931. At 108 stories and 1,208 feet, the Larkin Tower would have been the world's tallest building, nearly as tall as the Empire State Building half a decade later.

Yet, the proposed design for the Larkin Tower decidedly lacked Roark quality. The top floors would have had room for little more than an elevator. Unless they were meant to be mere token floors for a height record, like those in the Empire State Building's dirigible mooring mast, the building badly needed to be redesigned. Maybe they should have let Roark give it a try.

Anyways, Happy Ayn Rand Day!

Under Groundhog Day

Today, I went into the woods to ask my trusty groundhog friend for a prediction on how much more climate change we're going to have this winter. Alas, I found his burrow buried by twenty inches of global warming. So no prediction this year. Unless you get Al Gore to help dig him up.