Monthly Archives: February 2015

Stop! Grammar Time!

Grammar Time!

I thought that I would punctuate my normally weighty pronouncements with something a little more light-hearted than the usual. Here are some pictures I have taken over the years that made my eyes roll.

Where you at?

At least they didn’t say “Where *is* you at?””

MO Fighterfighter's Museum

Apparently they only have one firefighter in Missouri

Big Savings at Kroger's

Not sure if this is correct, but it somehow seems… odd.

Only one kid gets to brush their teeth!

Only one kid gets to brush their teeth!

Translated from Taiwanese to Ebonics, perhaps?

Translated from Taiwanese to Ebonics, perhaps?

Grammatically correct, but deliciously ironic.

Grammatically correct, but deliciously ironic.

Rape Fantasy

Starring Ms. Reporting, Ms. Representation, Ms. Characterization and Ms. Communication

I just stumbled across this piece:

Upon an initial read, my first thought was “What an appallingly poor piece of reporting“. But from the Daily Mail I expect nothing less. What was intriguing was how many rules of journalism were broken in this piece. I can only assume that Jennifer Smith is not a real reporter.

  1. No references, attribution or source material: The beautiful thing about the world-wide web is that it features these things called hyperlinks that allow users to click on them to examine the source material. Ms. Smith forgot to insert such a link to the actual story under discussion, so that readers can examine the material for themselves. Here is a link to the story so you can check it out for yourself.:
  2. It’s old news: “News” is, by definition,”new”. The original piece that mas made Ms. Smith’s head explode was published more than three months ago, but they waited until today to go hysterical over it. One can only assume that it was a slow news day in the offices of the Daily Mail.
  3. Poor or non-existent research: The site that caused such an uproar is called “Return of Kings“, not “Return of the kings”, as Ms. Smith ms.-reported. Her inability to get the name of the website right does her no favors. One can only assume that her love for all things Tolkein rendered her temporarily blind to reason. This is a trivial point, but if she cannot even get the title of the blog correct, then how can she expect to be taken seriously?
  4. Misrepresentation/mischaracterization of the source material: The article purports to give advice to men considering marriage – a dangerous proposition at best. It posits several areas that should be deal-breakers, of which sex is one. Men have a fear that once women have a men “locked down”, the great sex he married her for will dry up and she will no longer “feel like it”. That is a reasonable and valid fear. And it is not unreasonable for a man to feel this way – after all, sex is the only part of marriage that cannot be outsourced.
  5. Suppression of discussion: The original piece has hundreds of comments, the Daily Mail piece has three, none of which call out the alleged journalist on her foolishness. The fact that they disabled commentary is telling; it shows that they do not want any discussion or disagreement with what they have decided must be the truth.

I could easily dissect this miserable little screed paragraph by paragraph, but it is simply not worth the effort; my fingers have better things to do. Suffice it to say that this is not about rape, it is about setting solid boundaries before entering into a life-long marriage. To disagree with the author’s point of view is to flout the “to have and to hold” part of marriage vows.

Marriage is, at its core, a negotiation between two parties, both of whom have their wants, needs, and non-negotiables. If a man even *thinks* that his prospective wife will use sex as a bargaining chip or to control the relationship, he is entitled – and, I daresay, encouraged – to walk away. And that is the exact opposite of rape.

Bottom line: Beware of opinions masquerading as news.


A friend sent me this piece: Obama: Everybody’s Got to Learn How to Code

My first reaction was “I don’t agree”. After reading it in more detail and watching the relevant piece of video, I still don’t agree. Sort of. Let me explain…

Yes, we need more engineers and scientists, less emphasis on marketing and sports. But that’s not going to happen while the jocks get all the respect and popularity and engineers are treated with disdain and disrespect. It’s a societal/cultural problem.

“The president has encouraged his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, to learn to code, although they apparently haven’t taken to it the way he’d like.”

I don’t believe that everyone has to learn to code, though I believe that everyone should grasp the basics of how computers work, we are not all cut out to be programmers.

I also don’t believe that we need to push more women into STEM; girls go where they want to go. Most pharmacy classes are 60%-70% female. Women outnumber men in America’s colleges and in the workforce.


Girls go where they want to go

If a girl wants to go into engineering, by all means encourage her, but the simple fact is that most girls don’t want to enter the STEM fields for the same reason that they don’t pursue careers as plumbers or Auto Mechanics – they just don’t want to.

“I think they got started a little bit late… Part of what you want to do is introduce this with the ABCs and the colors,”

Again, Mister President, I respectfully disagree. Aptitude for programming is not a function of age, it is a function of passion, curiosity and time. I didn’t start programming until I was 19; I’m still doing it more than thirty years later. It’s either in your blood, or it isn’t. You don’t become a programmer because a politician thinks you should, you become a programmer because it’s what you were born to do. We need to learn programming like we need to learn plumbing. Or electronics. Or carpentry. Or Auto maintenance. Some are born for it; most aren’t.

To take the Automobile analogy one step further, we all know how to drive a car, yet most of us don’t know how to change the oil or replace the brake pads. CEOs and managers don’t need to know how to program; they hire specialists who do.

I have found that the more the Federal Government insinuates itself into our education system (for which they have NO constitutional mandate), the more politically-correct it becomes – and the less effective.

  • We no longer teach the Classics or Liberal Arts (Logic/Rhetoric/History), and place little emphasis on Critical Thinking.
  • We give out A’s far too easily (I was a B/C student in school – NOBODY got straight A’s), and do not allow kids to learn how to fail.
  • We learn History, but never learn how to apply the lessons of History to the modern world.
  • Our schools have turned into glorified childcare facilities.

The teachers no longer have the ability to remove troublesome and disruptive students (and schools no longer have the ability to remove ineffective teachers), and thanks to standardized testing, they are discouraged if not prohibited from failing those students who clearly do not meet the standard. Instead we have an “everybody-gets-a-prize” mentality which encourages all students to believe that they can take on the world and win, without preparing them for the hardship and failure that is almost inevitable.

Maths, reading and science

“Could do better”.

As things stand, America spends more per child on education than any other country in the world. And we’re 38th in the rankings.

If that’s the best we can do, we should be demanding our money back.

My opinion is that the over-socialization of the school system is the nub of the problem. It is a source of amazement to me that a State-provided education is so costly, and the fact that private schools can do it better and cheaper. I think we should give parents the choice to send their kids to private schools, and give them some of the money that would have been spent on State-funded schools.

Naturally, leftoids and Socialists will foam at the mouth and flop on the floor on hearing this. Partly, I suspect, because the School system is the primary vehicle for leftist indoctrination – or maybe I am just being overly cynical. Either way, the Teachers’ Unions will also throw a hissy-fit; anything that gives parents a real choice about their children’s education would meet with their ire and opposition, since it is in direct opposition to their financial interest. But the fact remains that Private Schools can do it better and cheaper.

The little school house gave us the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Frankin and Theodore Roosevelt. The schools we have today look more like prisons.

Anthem Sings the Blues

I got this message from the good folks at Anthem yesterday:

Anthem Sings the BluesThat’s right, folks, Anthem got hacked.

 Let’s take that apart, shall we?

“Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack.”

I love the wording here – has anyone ever admitted to being the target of a simple external cyber attack?

“These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data.”

Translation: “We just released the identity thief’s treasure chest. Everything you need to open bank accounts, take out loans and generally pretend to be someone else, just ad a fake ID.”

“Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised.”

It is obvious to me that they were struggling to find some comforting news to tell us, but the fact is that most of Anthem’s customers have Health Insurance through their employers. Since they do not pay Anthem directly, Anthem does not have their credit card details.

As for medical information, most people don’t really care about others knowing what ailments they are suffering from. Indeed, most will happily tell you if you stand still long enough. It is my understanding that HIPAA, the medical confidentiality law of the land, was originally created to prevent Celebrities’ medical secrets from falling into the hands of the press. It obviously works; I didn’t find out that Michael Jackson was bald until after his death.

So… the identity thieves’ wildest dreams have come true, but stuff you don’t really care about is totally secure. It really gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn’t it?

So… what are Anthem going to do?

  1. Notify all customers whose details were filched. I haven’t been notified, but I have noticed a surge in the number of calls to my cell phone from numbers I don’t recognize. I made the mistake of answering one, and was greeted by a heavy Indian accent. I pretended I couldn’t hear him, and hello-hello-helloed at him until he hung up. Then I added the number to my reject list. Coincidence? Perhaps… but I doubt it.
  2. They are offering “free credit monitoring”. We’ll see what this looks like, but I suspect that this will be the cheapest option on the table. What they should do is offer the customer a paid subscription to an Identity protection service like Lifelock, or offer to pay the fees to lock/block your credit report with the “big three” Credit Reporting agencies. Time will tell.

Moral: If you run a big website, it’s not a matter of if you get hacked, it’s a matter of when.
















In praise of Traditional Marriage – Part 2

Or: How the heck did we get here?

This is part two. For part one, go here.

The story so far: Western culture has reached a turning point. After decades of “progress”, during which women have been given the vote and the right to work and make their way in the world, men are beginning to wake up to the fact that marriage is turning into a sucker’s bet, and are starting to turn away from marriage. Once again, this is not a “strike” so much as a confluence of rational decisions resulting in a wholesale philosophical change.

It can be taken as axiomatic that the majority of unmarried women over the age of 30 want to marry; you only have to eavesdrop on any angst-ridden “where-have-all-the-good-men-gone?” conversation among spinsters. Those of us who can divest our feelings from the reality of the world in which we live know the answer; men are beginning to realize that modern marriage (“Marriage 2.0”) simply isn’t working, and are simply choosing not to play the game. You don’t have to be a rocket scientists to figure out that something’s got to give; over the long term, marriage-minded spinsters will be confronted with a stark choice: either agree to share a man with one or other women, or learn to be content with cats.

There is an alarming rise in the number of men who are opting out of marriage-and-family, choosing instead to engage women on their own terms (girlfriends, hookups, one-night-stands), if at all. In Japan, roughly half of the young unmarried male population consider themselves “herbivores”. According to a different source, numbers ranging from one-third to two-thirds of Japanese Millennials consider themselves herbivore. The implication for Japan’s population suffering from the double-whammy of a surplus of old folks and a lack of babies, is quite horrifying.

But wait! There’s more!

Gay emancipation, of course, may not have been a uniformly good thing for women… Just a few decades ago, many of those men—at the risk of stereotyping, the most sensitive, artistic, attractive and highest-earning men; that is, perfect husband material—would have got married, had a few kids and led a double life to pursue their forbidden urges. They wouldn’t have bothered their wives for sex and they would have made great fathers. But now they’re settling down with men, in many cases not having children at all. In other words, a healthy chunk of the most desirable men—men who no doubt would have cooed along approvingly to feminist exhortations—are now off the market, leaving even fewer eligible men in the dating pool.(Source)

With the traditional rewards of marriage — a lifetime with a sweet, submissive, loyal, caring female who will look after him and raise his children — no longer on the table, it is hardly surprising that men are turning their backs on marriage en masse — and the shrinking pool of marriageable men is leaving women more and more frustrated.

Yay feminism, you made your bed — now you get to lie in it.

Men are also refusing to work like men, choosing instead to earn less money than their married counterparts, often embracing a location-independent lifestyle, traveling or simply making the most of their leisure time — in other words, working like women. This is because men do what works: in bygone days, men would build their careers, character and fortunes out of a motivation to attract a good mate and found their own tribe. These days, however, women are choosing to delay marriage in favor of (mostly useless) education and a (often pointless) job. Marrying young, at the peak of their fertility and youthful allure, is frowned upon. Staying home, looking after your man and bearing him fine children is seen as quaint and provincial. But as politically incorrect as that may sound, it is what many men really want; finding themselves unable to get it, they are making a rational decision to walk away from the “new deal” — and women are beginning to notice.

This has also not gone unnoticed by the Government, which has noticed the lower tax revenues these “lazy men” are generating. The State of Montana actually attempted to levy a “Bachelor Tax”, until it was ruled discriminatory and illegal and was rightly shot down in flames. Indeed, many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka “ObamaCare”) look a lot like a bachelor tax, as women get a raft of “free” employer-provided benefits (birth control, mammograms and other screenings), while men get no similar “freebies”. By definition, that means that the men are effectively subsidizing the women’s benefits.

So much for equality.

More in Part Three.