Hasn’t Anyone Here Seen Kuffs?

Why Is a Tech Executive Installing Security Cameras Around San Francisco?

It sounds sinister. A soft-spoken cryptocurrency mogul is paying for a private network of high-definition security cameras around the city. Zoom in and you can see the finest details: the sticker on a cellphone, the make of a backpack, the color of someone’s eyes.

But in San Francisco, a city with a decades-long anti-authority streak, from hippies and pioneering gay rights activists to the techno-utopian libertarians and ultra-progressives of today, the crypto mogul has found a surprisingly receptive audience.

Here’s why: While violent crime is not high in the city, property crime is a constant headache. Anyone who lives here knows you shouldn’t leave anything — not a pile of change, not a scarf — in a parked car. Tourists visiting the city’s vistas like Twin Peaks or the famously windy Lombard Street are easy marks. The city government has struggled to solve the problem.

Come on, anyone who has seen the 1992 film Kuffs over and over (which might only be me) knows there’s already a thing that San Francisco can use that’s not exactly police: San Francisco Patrol Special Police.

San Francisco Patrol Special Police is a neighborhood police force authorized in San Francisco’s City Charter but not part of the San Francisco Police Department. They are non-sworn private patrol persons, appointed and regulated by the San Francisco Police Commission after an initial background review by the San Francisco Police Department. They are assigned to, or purchase, a specific area, or beat and charge private clients hourly rates for a variety of services.

The force has been in operation since 1847 during the California Gold Rush. By current City Code the force provides patrols on the streets of San Francisco as well as at fixed locations, and also provides a range of other safety services as requested by private clients.

The San Francisco Patrol Special Police is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States and credited for the first modern U.S. adaption of the Community policing concept.

Probably too much like actual police for right thinking people. Best to just install hackable cameras whose watchers are unknown and unknowable instead.

(Link via Althouse.)

My Other Little Friend

So in addition to working on the The Elements of Style, I have had my boys working on outlining/summarizing various things as “bonus” assignments through which they can earn a little afternoon video game time. I’ve had them outline the forward and introduction to The Elements of Style and the introduction to Vintage Reading by Robert Kanigel. However, I didn’t want to have to come up with a new short essay for them to outline every day, so I have started them summarizing the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

You might remember that I read Meditation myself in 2009. What? Eleven years ago? Eesh.

More recently, Adaptive Curmudgeon came across some of quotes from Marcus Aurelius for contemporary consideration.

Also, note that The Elements of Style intersects with Meditations in that the first rule, which describes using the apostrophe and s in possessives, says to use ‘s when the name ends in s except in ancient names, in which case you probably want to change it to the possession of owner. Like the temple of Zeus. Or the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

So I got to apply both to this post. Ain’t I smart?

I Noticed

LinkedIn users ditch polite networking for real talk on U.S. race and inequity

Yeah, I saw that the professional social network suddenly resembled every other social network with everyone suddenly reposting and giving up twinkies to approved thoughts.

Kinda like my Facebook feed but with fewer ads for t-shirts and otters.

Link via my LinkedIn feed, where someone uptwinkied someone else saying he was inspired by politics overrunning his feed.

\m/ \m/

20 Great Heavy Metal Quotes.

My favorite of the bunch?

“A French magazine printed my obituary. How did I die? I dunno, it was in French.”
– Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister

Although this matches my feelings on nu metal for the most part:

“Adding rap to rock music is a bit like taking the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen to a plastic surgeon, then asking him to give her a penis.”
– Manowar’s Karl Logan.

To be honest, I only recognize some of the names because I read Louder than Hell. I AM A POSER.

I Ain’t That Eld

I’m used to seeing ads for the “I am from Wisconsin, but I live in Missouri” t-shirts that indicate that I’m a Packers fan or a Milwaukee fan or something.

But I got this one:

The Milwaukee Braves are juuuuuust a bit outside my lifetime.

My oldest baseball card, though, is a Del Crandall Milwaukee Braves card from about 1952 that I probably found when I was living in the projects; its corners are rounded and I think it’s taped together. But that doesn’t make me an Atlanta Braves fan. And I’m not sure when Facebook tossed my closet to review my baseball card collection.

Reading Recommendation

Fillyjonk mentions an author:

I also have a few of the one-off Rosemary Sutcliff novels (after reading her Roman Britain ones, which I enjoyed).

I have a 1964-ish paperback of Sword at Sunset around here somewhere which I believe I started sometime in the distant past (I think I acquired the paperback when I was in middle school or high school, perhaps at the flea market up the hill from the trailer park where I lived at the time).

A mention like this is just the sort of thing that would trigger me to pick up a book next.

If I could find it.

Although I have a vague notion it is on one of the two rightmost bookshelves in my office. However, that’s still a lot of books to search through, and I’ll probably forget the mention before I look to pick out another book.

Won’t Work

REPORT: Washington Redskins Will Likely Change To The Washington Warriors.

Come on, son: “Warriors” has been racist for over 25 years. Anyone remember these guys?

Yeah, me either.

Gosh, after 26 years, I guess I have to explain. The Marquette University mascot had been the Warriors for fifty years when a couple of activists of some stripe or another decided that the word “warrior” was demeaning to native Americans (the depiction was of a native American warrior, one iteration of which wore a historically appropriate outfit that native tribes helped design), so they held a poll amongst students to rename them. Strangely enough, my votes for Jumpin’ Jesuits and Fighting Octopi were wasted, as the first round yielded not the result that the university wanted, so they had a run-off to get the result they wanted. You can read my contemporaneous column for the Marquette Tribune here and a more recent history of Marquette mascots here.

And the clock is ticking for them to discover that the “golden” part of Golden Eagles is racist. And “Eagles” might be jingoisticly patriotic or something.

Meanwhile, Marquette University is in the news again in an unflattering way, again:

Marquette University is a ridiculously left-wing institution, but this, from the College Fix, is appalling. An incoming freshman may have her acceptance revoked because she is a Trump supporter….

So, Brian J., you’re a profligate supporter of education, giving money to various schools and churches across the country, but how much do you give to Marquette every year? None, gentle reader: I already paid for what I got from them. I chose Marquette when I was twelve years old, and when I went there it was starting to be an environment where a conservative was an outlier. Now, I’m sure, it’s a place that’s unsafe for conservatives because the other students feel unsafe. And, I remind you, it has its first lay president instead of a Jesuit, so it’s on the clock for its Catholic affiliation ending entirely. So, yeah, let it do its thing there.

(Link via Instapundit.)

A More Manly Outfit

Perhaps Facebook listened when I wasn’t talking to it, as I’ve started getting more masculine outfit frames for t-shirt ads compared to the shoes and jeans layout:

To be honest, I wore a layered look a lot in my youth with generally a collared shirt over a t-shirt (and a classic fedora to top it off).

But I’m a man now, and unless I’m going to a sporting event or athletic event, I wear a button-up collared shirt. Although I’ve been wearing jeans and sneakers as I rehab a perpetual sports injury these days, so the full Grant is mostly off and the fedora gathers dust.

But, yeah, t-shirts are not a part of my official wardrobe, really.

But I bought a couple from Facebook ads, so I get ads for t-shirts all day long.

Homeschoolingish Update: Say Hello To My Little Friend

The boys and I have taken a couple weeks (a month) off of continuing education, but I’ve added some schoolish work back into their day by introducing them to one of the greatest books in the history of writingkind:

When I was in high school, I took a college composition class (which offered three hours of college credit for taking it). The class used this as a text book, probably the third edition, and I probably still have the copy I used in that class.

As I have mentioned previously (here, here, and here), if I see it in a book sale, I’ll pick it up and give the copy to someone. I once bought copies for everyone in the company back when I was an Executive in a small interactive marketing agency. So I’m a fan.

The boys, on the other hand, are more, erm, reluctant devotees as our short lessons on this short book interrupt the time they’d rather spend playing video games, fighting, or complaining about being bored. Which, as I remember, was what I did on summer vacations when I lived down the gravel road and had nowhere to go.

It Happens, But How Often?

When I stayed in room 311 at the top of the stairs this weekend, I noticed a little sign that I don’t remember from my trip in the fall (where I did not stay in the same room, admittedly):

The sign says, “Do Not Hang Items from Sprinkler Head/This Will Cause Flooding.”

The sign lead me to speculate:

  • Did that happen a lot or if it only once but was on the top floor and caused catastrophic damage all the way down?
  • Did it happen at this Hampton Inn or somewhere else, which led to the sign’s posting nation wide?

Clearly, I’m still speculating.

Book Report: Ain’t No Such Animal by Larry Dablemont (1999)

Book coverI bought this book at ABC Books last month before our trip to Branson, and I started reading it whilst on vacation, but I finished it up after we got home.

This looks to be Larry Dablemont’s first collection of his outdoor writing; as I mentioned, I encountered him in the Current Local newspaper with his weekly column where he bills himself as the Outdoor Columnist of the Ozarks. The introduction to this book details his history as a writer: The child and grandchild of outdoorsmen who made their livings trapping, fishing, hunting, and acting as guides, he, too, lived that lifestyle, but when he was in college, he started writing pieces that he pretty immediately started to place in outlets like Outdoor Life. So, yeah, he has been at the game a while.

This book collects a number of articles, essays, and short storied dealing with hunting and fishing in the Ozarks from the last twenty-five years of the last century.

Some themes repeat. Mostly the stories where the young hunter throws a competition or bet so that the wizened old hunter who has a longstanding reputation for prowess continues to hold that lofty position. Also, the old guys on the front bench of the old pool hall appeared once in the book and returned in one of his columns in the Current Local a week or so ago.

As I might have mentioned, I really like the books from the local columnists, and it hit me why I might: These are the kinds of stories my dad might have told. Alas, Babylon.

A Note In The File

Yesterday, I drove across the state to celebrate Independence Day with my brother and his family (ha, ha, the old man is a grandparent, whereas I am still young and have school-aged children). We stayed at a Hampton Inn off the business loop, and they gave me 311.

Last September, I noted when I stayed in a Tru by Hilton, 311 is my favorite room number because of a song by the band Hiroshima.

So I got this room again, so I must ask you, Did someone see that post and put a note on my Hilton Honors file?

I mean, in years past, one could easily dismiss that as not being likely as the technology was not robust enough. In this world of AI and big data, where servers somewhere suck up every digital smudge you make, who knows? The fairies and devils of the middle ages have nothing on The Cloud.

Also in years past, you could maybe accept Japanese-American jazz fusion. But now we’re in a world of traditional Japanese music-metal fusion. So anything is possible.

And so much of the anything that is possible originates in Japan.

Happy Independence Day

But remember, regardless of Sean Hannity using it as bumper music back in the day, this is not a song celebrating Independence Day.

I am sure I’ve told this story before, but when my sainted mother got the dog that would outlive her, a black lab mix (eventually I would say “mixed with a lot of table scraps”), she was looking for a name for her (the dog). As my beautiful wife and I tend to give our pets literary names, I was excited when my mother proposed Snowball because that’s a character in Animal Farm (my mother just thought it would be an ironic name for a black dog). However, my aunt proposed “Freedom” based on the song, and that’s what my mother went with. “You know that’s a song about a woman killing her husband?” She had not. Some country fan she was.

On the other hand, Independence Day is about this:

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

An aspirational document to be sure. I’d like to think we’re getting closer to its lofty ideals, but lately I am not so sure.

But let us celebrate what we have and the ideals this document and this country espoused.

Flashcard Engagement

So someone on Facebook shared a series of images called HELPFUL REBUTTALS FOR RACIST TALKING POINTS.

Yeah. you can tell how HELPFUL they are by the fact that they are flashcard right answers you can give to RACISTS who are just people who apparently don’t agree with the sentiments and CORRECT POLITICAL BELIEFS of the people who made the graphics. Not differences of opinion based on different experiences, interpretations, or statistics. THE WRONG OPINION BECAUSE THEY’RE EVIL!

This sort of thing is not designed to foster communication or to try to reach a shared understanding or even to convince. These flashcards are designed for the mis-educated who are used to getting the proper result (good grades, up twinkies on the Internet) for OWNING the bad thinkers.

Not to inform, but to rebutt. Which means to be an ass again, I suppose.

In the world in which we live, you can find models, studies, and statistics to pretty much provide whatever you already think is true. It would be best to filter what you’re told or what you read through your own life experiences to try to get closer to reality. And, maybe. listen to other people. Unfortunately, we’ve raised up a generation or two whose only life experiences are indoctrination and slap-fighting on the Internet. So we get flashcard answers that are probably wrong, but are awful damn pat.

Given Facebook’s Idea That I Like Otters

I would be remiss to pass along all the latest Man hospitalized with ‘significant injuries’ after encounter with mother otter at Northern California national park:

After an encounter with a river otter sent a man to a hospital, officials at Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California are warning people to stay out of the water at a popular lake.

The man was swimming in Manzanita Lake on June 25 when he was bitten by a female river otter, park spokesman Kevin Sweeney told The Times on Tuesday. The man was hospitalized with “significant injuries,” including scratches and puncture wounds that caused bleeding, but they did not appear to be life threatening, Sweeney said.

(Link via Knuckledraggin.)

What’s the deal with the Facebook fascination for otters? I have no idea, but Facebook keeps putting ads for otter-loving t-shirts and home decor in my feed. So I might as well go with it.

Maybe I’m Just Uncoordinated

Facebook shows t-shirt ads in the feed in the following formats:

  • Just the shirt.
  • A celebrity holding up the shirt, wherein the celebrity probably held up a green shirt and t-shirt vendors paste anything they want on it.
  • A shirt lying on a surface with a pair of shoes and maybe pants, like this:

What is that all about? Are they expecting people to coordinate their cheap t-shirts with shoes and whatnot? Come on, what kind of person does that?

Just take whats at the front of the drawer and go about your business like a man. Perhaps I have answered my own question.

My Kind Of Congressional Candidate

Kendall Qualls is running for Congress in Minnesota, but he’s got a bio I can understand:

I am also going to tell you that in spite of spending part of my childhood in a crime and drug-infested housing project in Harlem, in spite of spending the other part in a trailer park in rural Oklahoma, and in spite of having to work nights and weekends to put myself through school, I made it.

The projects and the trailer park? I know where he’s coming from.

The rest of the piece argues against his opponent’s Statement on Racism/White Privilege/Etc.

(Link via Powerline.)

Buck Rogers Books I’ve Read

Over at the Other McCain, Wombat-socho posts about books with Oriental antagonists and talks about the original Buck Rogers books:

The most famous of these is, of course, Philip Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419, which introduces us to Anthony “Buck” Rogers, veteran of the Great War and hero of the Second American Revolution. Rogers wakes from a 500-year-long sleep induced by a radioactive gas pocket to find that the United States he knew is long dead, but scattered gangs of Americans carry on the war against the decadent Han, having developed new technologies to aid them in the fight. Rogers brings to the table forgotten tactics that prove lethally useful, and provides a leader the mutually suspicious gangs can follow. Nowlan’s original novel and its sequel (The Airlords Of Han) are both available for free on amazon and through Project Gutenberg, but the Ace paperback edition combines them into one novel.

* * * *

I really wanted to like Buck Rogers: A Life In The Future, by Martin Caidin. I really did. Unfortunately, Caidin plays fast and loose with the original plot, and instead of Anthony Rogers leading the gangs of America to victory against the Han, instead he gets dragged along on a number of pointless adventures and meaningless contests, and zzzzz…oh, sorry. The worst part of all this is that Caidin is a decent writer who’s written a bunch of exciting books, and this just feels like he phoned it in to TSR. Not recommended.

Hey, I read Armageddon 2419 in 2007 and Buck Rogers: A Life In The Future in 2004.

He fails to note the latter was to drum up support for the TSR roleplaying game. TSR game-promoting fiction was a mixed bag. You got the Forgotten Realms works and Dragonlance, but you also got this as well as the Greyhawk books (which I overpaid for when I bought four for a dollar.)

At any rate, I just wanted a book quizzish post that I scored better on.

Brian J. On The Best and Worst Books of the 20th Century

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has produced a list of the 50 Worst Books of the 20th Century and the 50 Best Books of the 20th Century.

As is my wont, I took these to be a quiz and looked to see how many of each I’ve read.

On the worst books, it’s 1.something; I read John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage in middle school, and I started Paul Tillich’s The Courage To Be in 2016 but did not finish it (and have since put it back in the stacks instead of leaving it lying around).

Of the best books, I’ve only read one: Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (which, as you know, gentle reader, is one of my favorite books to give away as well–whenever I find it at a book sale, I pick it up and give it to someone).

I would double my scores on both if I I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X as it appears on both the best and the worst list.

I don’t see many on my to-read shelves from the worst list except the aforementioned books (I picked up a copy of Profiles in Courage since I borrowed Mrs. Pickering’s copy in middle school). As to the best, I have Churchill’s history of World War II and Copleston’s History of Philosophy, but these are both series of books and not single volumes. I probably have the C.S. Lewis book The Abolition of Man around in one of the omnibuses and might have the Niebuhr’s The Nature and Destiny of Man.

I don’t know what that says about me as a reader, but it does track more and more with the more modern lists.

(Link via the world-famous Ace of Spades Book Thread.)

The Second Most Viewed Book Report on MfBJN

I might have mentioned, gentle reader, that amongst the 1500-odd book reports on this humble blog, for some reason my book report from 2013 on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Sire de Maletroit’s Door is very popular. Probably because it’s on the first page of Google search results.

Would you care to guess what is the second most popular book report here?

Continue reading “The Second Most Viewed Book Report on MfBJN”