Hedonics - Pleasure from Products and Services

Posted On: Saturday - May 25th 2019 5:37PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  Economics  US Feral Government  Inflation

(pretty much continued from here and, earlier, here.)

The 2nd major component of the part-inadvertent/part-intentional correcting of the official "basket of goods and services" used as an attempt at reaching apples-to-apples comparisons of costs in a changing economy is the simple concept with the fancy name - "Hedonics". The Greek root of this is the same as that for "hedonism" (oooh-la-la! Are we going to learn about the economics of orgies today?!) [Negatory! This is a family site.- Ed] The root is has the meaning of "pleasure". The point of hedonics is to make calculations that correct our purchases based on an equal amount of pleasure derived from them.

What's your pleasure? Air travel in the '70's vs. '10s:

Which cabin service gives the customer more pleasure?

The pleasure could be literal, like with that juicy steak vs. that obtained from a can of Spam. It could be just economic pleasure, as it, you were able to travel farther on a gallon of gas in this new car versus the old model. Hedonics is a method of correcting the value of the items in that CPI basket after attempting to measure pleasure obtained from newer versions of the same good or service.

Let's go back to that old IBM (or what were called IBM-clone) computer seen in the previous post versus what would be in the basket now, a $300 Samsung tablet, perhaps. In this case, first of all, prices really are way down, in nominal dollars. In addition, the BLS would reckon, you are getting much more pleasure out of that tablet. (Sure, but that's because porn just wasn't the same on that old 640 x 480 pixel screen.) Seriously, you can do a lot with the tablet. I would agree it has more value, and there would be no one item or even combination thereof, 30 years ago, to compare it to. Computer/electronic technology, or Artificial Stupidity, as we like to call it at Peak Stupidity, is a pretty special case of items that legitimately lower the inflation rate.

The BLS has this page with more interesting links on it, that list the categories of items for which they do "quality adjustments", or hedonics. They even get hard into the math, using formulae to assign weighting to the different qualities of these items. There are even base-10 log functions in there and Greek letters! Cool!

The Mises Libertarians have their criticisms of the whole process. I'd like to point out some problems. I don't see autos on the list, but appliances are there, and I'd like to use automobiles, as also pieces of machinery, to illustrate one problem. There are features on newer products that WE DON'T HAVE A CHOICE ON. Let's say, the BMW has that feature in which the windshield wipers turn on automatically. If we paid for that, OK, then that should add to the pleasure obtained and the car price should be adjusted for that, before apples-to-apples calculations. However, most of us don't mind turning a knob when we see rain coming down. Are features like extra usb-ports, "green-mode" shifting, rear wipers, extra trim, that we don't have a choice in buying, part of the adjustments. This goes for appliances just the same.

Then there are the intangibles, such as the airline service depicted above. Air travel has gone WAY DOWN in real dollars over the last 3 decades (i.e. almost steady in nominal dollars), a subject for another post. Part of the way that was done, however, was to eliminate much of the personalized service. Now, sexy flight attendants are one thing - I don't think they cost any more - it's a PC thing, maybe never to come back ;-{. Having only one agent board a flight with no time for questions, or doing every step of reserving/checking-in on-line, may give equal or MORE pleasure to a younger customer, say of Generation Z, who really doesn't want to talk to anyone besides his barista to begin with. For some of us, it IS a loss of the pleasure or utility of this service. This type of thing can't be measured easily though.

Just as some services, are other items for which there really isn't anything that they can substitute FOR, in the basket, such as internet service. We didn't need it back then, and we didn't pay anything. Now, we almost need it to live (I don't even mean this sarcastically as a disparagement of Facebook and Twitter, but there are things your employer or school may only expect, or allow, you to do on-line), and, well, you're gonna pay 50 bucks or more if you don't bundle it. I imagine, the CPI basket must get some new items in it, just as some are deleted, to keep up with the times. This is neither substitution nor hedonics (even though the BLS site lists it as such). It can be fudged too, keep in mind, but I have no examples at the ready.

When I mentioned in a previous post that substitution and hedonics were two forms of correction of the CPI that could be abused, likely under pressure, by the green-eyeshade boys (AND gals) at the BLS, I left out another factor that could be a third from. That is, the Inflation by Deflation phenomena explicated by Peak Stupidity. We've probably mentioned it in some of the other posts with the Inflation topic key in addition. Does the BLS really measure food prices by the fluid or weight ounce? I would hope, but how about thickness of lumber that is still called 1 x 2? I seriously doubt that.

In summary, though I would trust them on a gasoline price graph, or other commodity, no, I don't think you can trust the general inflation numbers out of the US Gov't Bureau of Labor Statistics, along with a lot of other important numbers. That's why, for us noticers, there's Shadow-Stats.

No matter how you measure it, the real effect of inflation is to diminish the quality and size of the products we are used to paying a certain amount of money for, and, for the same price, to turn what used to give us pleasure into a new miserable experience. Since that's the name of an album by a band that Peak Stupidity has woefully neglected to feature, here are The Gin Blossoms, out of Tempe, Arizona. From that excellent 1992 album New Miserable Experience, this is Allison Road, not a hit, but to me the best song on it.

What a simple, bright guitar sound there!

Ahhh! Speaking of electronic hedonics, wouldn't it have been easier to make that video today, with flat screen TVs?! I'm glad the guy didn't try to lift up that big console model at the end (probably should have just shown a scantily-dressed girl instead of the TVs anyway - this is rock music, right?)

Bill Leen – bass guitar
Jesse Valenzuela – rhythm and lead guitar, backing and lead vocals
Robin Wilson – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, harmonica
Scott "Scotty" Johnson – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Phillip "Phil" Rhodes – drums, percussion, backing vocals

(There were 3 Scotts in the band over the different years, 2 of them "Scotties" and 2 of them on drums.)

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Ann Coulter and VDare strike out about The Pot

Posted On: Saturday - May 25th 2019 9:55AM MST
In Topics: 
  Immigration Stupidity  US Police State  Pundits

From Ann Coulter's latest column - still batting a .990.

Miss Coulter's point was that at least the Romans DID build a wall.
Hadrian's Wall in England - keeping the barbarians out
for MUCH LESS than the cost of an interstate highway
(had they had 'em)

I'll give Peak Stupidity's numero uno pundit a break - it's pretty hard to bat one thousand. Actually, it's literally pretty hard to bat in the .400s, if you play serious baseball, but we're figuratively talking about punditry here. It's not at all like hitting a 90 mph fastball, contrary to what most of us pundits would have you believe! I've pointed out before that Ann Coulter still hangs on to a nutty belief that Affirmative Action is a good thing, for certain people. Bullshit. She is a real Libertarian, so this belief is a complete failing, as there is no way AA is Constitutional, along with Statist in other ways too. This kind of shit tends to bring one's average down.

Now, in her 2-columns ago at-bat, warning on the evils of "the weed" Miss Coulter whiffs another one. I don't argue with her anecdotes. She is a lawyer, so ... However, we've been through this stuff for almost a century in America. I'd though by now it was pretty clear that marijuana is one of the milder drugs, the Drug War causes nothing but more violence and crime than it prevents, and we (the nice proper lady voters) tried the outlawing of a potentially much more harmful drug alcohol, 100 years back, and that was a real shitshow. I always give the Americans and the Feral Gov't of that time lots of credit for at least handling prohibition via amendments to the Constitution rather than this "stroke-of-the-pen, law-of-the-land, kinda' cool!" shit* (as proudly advertised by the Bill Clinton administration) of the "current era".

Yeah, we are Libertarian here, not particularly pot-smokers, per se, but really, are there not much more important issues than this? Slowly chipping away at the unConstitutional "War on Substances" is a good thing and at least one piece of good news among all the Police State stupidity going on.

I will agree, though, that the liberalization of laws regarding pot due fall well into speculated plans by the globalist elites to "soma" (Brave New World) the people and keep them too mellow to fight back against the doom coming down on them. I just don't usually believe these elites are that brilliant and that they have 100-year plans, but perhaps it's just in the back of their minds, "yeah, let them have their pot. It can only be a good thing."

The only point I can see having in support of the Drug War is that at least it gave Conservative Inc, a reason to care about the southern border of the country. "Oops, those people are bringing drugs over - we don't care if they stay here among the proles, but we can't have that pot coming. Better send a few guys down there." Maybe that's the point at which the Reason magazine Libertards got the idea that it's OK for ANYTHING to come across the border. Is Ann Coulter's column a back-handed way of saying we need to control the border? Nah, I think she's more principled than that, just wrong here.

I don't know if it was due to their admiration for Ann Coulter (w/ present company included), but VDare seems to have briefly joined the anti-pot bandwagon too, as this within a day of Miss Coulter's column half of the meat & potatoes of VDare, James Fulford had two columns here and here along the same lines. There are dozens of different writers who write for VDare, but, come on, they've railed before against the Trump administration's concentrating on tax policy, etc., over immigration (agreed!), but let's get off the marijuana thing, huh? That's not a #winning** issue!

Back to Ann Coulter, well she has already redeemed herself a week later with Ann Coulter: U.S. Isn't Becoming Europe. We're Becoming Rome. In her latest column, she states that America is in a worse state with it's immigration stupidity than Europe. To me, that's arguable, but let's not argue too long - let's get another President and a large crowd of American people together who will do more than argue.

* From World Net Daily on executive orders back in '12:
It was a presidential aide to Clinton, Paul Begala, who put the controversy into perspective, back in July 1998.

“Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool,” he said, boasting how the Clinton machine was able to simply dictate what it wanted to have happen.

It came as Clinton glibly announced he would issue a barrage of executive orders to push his agenda forward without input from Congress.

** It's not like I believe you need to support the "winning issue" on anything, of course. After all, Immigration was not a winning issue until candidate Donald Trump, but that never meant it wasn't THE existential issue. Pot is just not any kind of existential issue. Leave them kids alone.

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Congresscritter Ilhan Omar and the concept of Unmitigated Gall

Posted On: Friday - May 24th 2019 9:26AM MST
In Topics: 
  Immigration Stupidity  Lefty MegaStupidity  US Feral Government  Race/Genetics  ctrl-left

Firstly, in case the reader may (probably not!) be put off by the use of the term "Congresscritter" with respect to the raghead out of Minnegadishu, keep in mind that Peak Stupidity often uses that term for 95% of the creatures that infest the nation's Capitol (only the bad ones, that is). "Raghead" is another story.

The excellent writer that goes by the handle "Washington Watcher" has a very good editorial up on VDare, Roll Over, Jay Nordlinger! Ilhan Omar Is NOT “Classically American.” And She Never Will Be. Jay Nordlinger is just a member of Conservatism, Inc, and the words about him and his ilk are included just to demonstrate that these goings-on make them all look utterly foolish. He's not the main point of the article, one in which I implore the reader to go to now and read through - take your blood-pressure medication first, or as prescribed by your primary care physician ... No, Tucker Carlson is out there, one of the very few somehow not yet having been booted off the Lyin' Press Video Department yet, saying what almost all real, patriotic Americans know, but don't even say themselves unless they've looked over both shoulders first.

If you like viewing over reading, here is Tucker Carlson, with only from ~4:00 (you could start at 04:15 in) being about this ungrateful bitch of an elected official. If you are going to view this, Peak Stupidity will put our disclaimer in first - we are IN NO WAY in favor of this merit-based immigration plan to begin with* - it will just give greater priority to the H-1B software-guy/engineer replacement scam over the illegal-alien roofer/cook replacement scam.

More from Tucker on Omar from another piece by him:
So how does she repay her adopted country, the one that may literally have saved her life? She attacks it as hateful and racist, and for that she is applauded by the Democratic Party because they view this country as hateful and racist too. Maybe our immigration system should prioritize people who actually like this country and are grateful to be here.
It's like this with the Omar broad: Does anyone remember the John Birch Society? They were staunchly anti-Communist, regarding both foreign and domestic policy, because THAT'S WHO THE ENEMY WAS. Well, nowadays we are letting the enemies right on into our country, and the statements out of actual members of Congress would make the members of the John Birch Society lose all their business, as these people are proving their point daily out in the open. They don't work in secret anymore, to where there's a reason to form an organization to weed them out. The enemy is right in front of us!

You make it from poor 9 y/o refugee in 1993, dragging ass from Kenya through Dulles Airport, to a nice existence in the great white north in Minnesota, even getting to marry your brother along the way, to one of 454 members of the legislative branch of the US Feral Government. All that, and you HATE HATE HATE your countrymen and want to take if from the white people who built it. No, not take it back, as your country is the shithole called Somalia. You want to fuck up this land out of what, homesickness? Couldn't we send you on a 30-year fact-finding tour at taxpayer's expense. (Yeah, I balk at some of this stuff, but I'm down for something like this.)

Let me ask this ungrateful bitch this: Would Somalians** take in a poor white girl and treat her like one of her own, and then elect her to high office? To ask the question is to choke on one's lunch in hilarity, so be careful. I wrote this before, but the gall of this lady is not the kind of gall you can get at the Family Dollar. This stuff is UNMITIGATED, here ya go:
un·mit·i·gat·ed  (ŭn-mĭt′ĭ-gā′tĭd) adj.
1. Not diminished or moderated in intensity or severity; unrelieved.
2. Without qualification or exception; absolute.
Yep, it's some mighty INTENSE gall here, just exceptional. See, it's not really that I want to see these refugee immigrants kiss the ground in happiness, thank us profusely every time we get on an airplane - "thank you for your service the invite", or write nice editorials about the Americans who treated them nicely, if not with some trepidation, but at least with respect. I just don't want them to come here, period.

Notice I never called this raghead Omar stupid. She is here, in Congress some days, working very hard on behalf of the people of Somalia. What else would you expect? No, I've got words for the nice, calm and collected, people of Minnesota instead: You STUPID, STUPID, STUPID PEOPLE! Why did you invite 100's of thousands of the most un-assimilable most-foreign people on God's green Earth into your state?! Are you people just nuts!?

Yeah, I know, we have our idiot Senators where I live too, and we (not me personally, mind you) have let in loads of Mexicans and Guatemalans. Yes, they will change the whole nature of society, due to the large numbers. Yes, they are a drain on the economy when welfare externalities are taken into account. Yes, they vote (see this very article) for more Socialism and gun control in big numbers. However, other than the La Raza types out in the West who say they want a part of their country back (guess what? You got it already!), they are not political in the way of these Somalians. They tend to want white people to keep running things, as that's pretty much what they wre used to back home. They are not particularly ungrateful, from my experience.

Yet, you Minnesotans have INVITED these people? Now that's some UNMITIGATED stupidity there.

Just a little more on this Congresscritter Omar: As Steve Sailer has written of, this very lady HERSELF entered the US as a refugee due to her grandfather's status as a warlord, back in "the old country". Now she is a big gun-control proponent in the US Congress. Is that just due to guilt over how many 10's of thousands of people her Grandaddy had killed? Of course, she has, or pretends to have, no clue on the reason for the 2nd Amendment, that she swore on the Koran to uphold. Nope, the reason for the lies on this, is that, as she tweeted, she would like to replace the white people of America, and that can't be done so easily if they are still armed.

Does Somalia need Gun Control? Ask Representative Ilhan Omar.

Ilhan Omar would do much more good with these policies in her old country? Do they still have exchange programs for legislators? Perhaps Ilhan Omar could go to Somalia and run a gun control program there, in exchange for a goat in her seat, who would probably vote in the manner of Dr. Ron Paul. "All opposed?" "Baaaa!"

* This very same writer, Washington Watcher, has a good summary of the pros and cons of the Kushner plan, also on VDare, of course, in Kushner’s Immigration Plan: Not A Gang Of Eight Catastrophe—But Still An Assault On Middle Class, Historic American Nation

** Yeah, I do know the term is "Somali", but I don't like that term, and just like Burma and Peking, that's the way I write it.

Comments (2)

The Solution for Dilution is Substitution

Posted On: Thursday - May 23rd 2019 7:28PM MST
In Topics: 
  Economics  US Feral Government  Inflation

"Dilution" of the value of a dollar, is what we mean here, in the inflation calculations of our creative government accountants. I'd like to expound a bit more on one of the 2 components (at least that I know about) mentioned on Peak Stupidity in the post Hooked on Hedonics last week. Let's talk "substitution" in this post, and the problems with it, and get to hedonics tomorrow ... and the problems with it ...

Whether it's buggy whips (always one of the favorite subjects of economists and their mistresses around the world), abacuses (abaci?), or LED watches, or, in terms of services instead of products, chimney sweeping, blood-leeching, or hi-fi stereo repair, there are definitely items that should no longer be in the imaginary "basket" of goods and services in inflation calculations. People don't pay for these items anymore, for various reasons, and therefore their prices are not a good measure of anything regarding the value of our dollar, if one can even find out prices for them anymore. It's not just a one-time deal to keep up with these changes, of course, and any competent inflation-measuring organization ought to indeed keep up with the changes regularly.

Hi-Fi device - that's High Fidelity - for enjoying music.
Not ordinarily seen in current-era (CE) people's baskets of goods.

Wi-Fi device for enjoying music.
Yeah, a tablet should be in a current-era basket of goods.

Decent set of speakers (200 W/channel?).
Won't even fit in a basket of goods!

Lame ass way to listen to music.
Sure, turn it up to 11 ... lotta good it'll do ya'.

OK, that was pretty much an aside to rag on modern music-listening practices, and for some nostalgia for those huge stereos that rocked the house. Man, it's just not the same on a headset, much less earbuds! And no, contrary to what my parents warned me, I can still hear very well, thank you.

Yeah, now, this substitution process has got to be done, sure. It does lend itself to abuse, however. I wouldn't say it's all intentional, as some things can be chalked up to AA and normal government incompetence. However, there are a lot of BIG people in and behind the US Feral Gov't that would like the inflation numbers to stay low, low low. Peak Stupidity hasn't really been on the Global Financial Stupidity topic very much lately, but if the reader will recall, or go back and read about, the CPI number is used for indexed distribution payments, whether Social Security (more here), government-employee cost-of-living increases, and even more importantly, in my opinion, calculations to demonstrate how well the American people are doing financially, which the FED can use to show they should keep interest rates low, etc... I'm gonna guess there's lots of pressure on these good accounting folk.

Therefore, if one were to get into detail, and read what the BLS does with this ever-changing basket of goods and services, one may see more chicken in the basket rather than sirloin or rib-eye steak. Now, I will admit that "tastes" do change, maybe not actual taste-bud tastes in this case, but the understanding of saturated fat's effect on the arteries, etc. However, could it not be the case that the reason people are putting more chicken in their proverbial basket is because steak is GETTING TOO EXPENSIVE? It's a game then, in that case. Prices go up, Americans can only afford to get something of lower quality or desirability, and that becomes a bigger component of the basket of goods and services used in CPI calculation.

Eat Mor Spam.
BLS inflation substitution, or just more tasty?

Come on guys! It's all saturated fat nowadays!

One other example that I've noticed is the switch, by mostly young people, from motorcycles to scooters for in-town driving (sometimes even out of town, a really dangerous thing). This happened when gasoline prices (more here) went through the roof just over a decade back. OK, I do get that those Vespa-looking scooters are a hit nowadays with the soy-boys, and then maybe the DUIs are pushing other young men into the scooter world. However, it was the very-expensive gas that made people switch, and who wouldn't want a real motorcycle, with some power (for fun AND safety) over a scooter? What goes in the basket now is not so much weight on the motorcycles, which themselves are getting pricier and more weight on the scooters. Your average scooter is cheaper than a bike, so that component helps bring the CPI down.

Tomorrow Peak Stupidity will discuss that other component, the "hedonics", that can be used to fudge the inflation numbers to the low side. Beware the BLS.

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Political Correctness smudges the history books.

Posted On: Wednesday - May 22nd 2019 8:09PM MST
In Topics: 
  Political Correctness  Curmudgeonry  Books

The Sphinx is said to have been built ~ 2,500 BC.

(Now, he's said to have been built ~ 2,500 BCE, by People's of Color?)

I am amazed that I have not made a post on this particular bit of political correctness (or historical revisionism*) as of yet in 2 1/2 years! At the same time, as I will point out tomorrow, I'd forgotten that I had already wrote a post on one subject that I promised was upcoming, so ... it's a wash, right?

Today's bit of curmudgeonry involves the politically-correct use of "BCE" for "BC" and "CE" for "AD". The point is obviously to get religious references out of history as much as possible. The dating system we've been using for quite some time, I'd guess, what? 2,019 years or so**, is based on the birth of Jesus Christ. The "BC" stood for, from what I was told "Before Christ", and though the colloquial meaning of "AD" was said to be "After Death" (of Christ, but then what about that 30-odd years of his lifetime, right?), in the correct Latin was "Anno Domini" with a meaning that we used to read all the time on legal documents and such: "In the Year of Our Lord". Doesn't that bring back memories?

Now the deal for labeling years in history is the use of "BCE" (for Before Current Era) instead of "BC" and "CE" (for Current Era.) instead of "AD". What exactly is this "Current Era" about, anyway? This is some not just some anti-religious, but some really stupid, terminology here. Why the change was made is not some crackpot theory by Peak Stupidity, as even Wikipedia, not known to be let too far off the reservation, says:
Terminology that is viewed by some as being more neutral and inclusive of non-Christian people is to call this the Current or Common Era (abbreviated as CE), with the preceding years referred to as Before the Common or Current Era (BCE). Astronomical year numbering and ISO 8601 avoid words or abbreviations related to Christianity, but use the same numbers for AD years.
Hey, Christian people made this calendar, so we really ought to respect them, and not offend their memory so much perhaps, by sticking to the terms they devised.

Anyway, it's been at least 10 years, just going by the age of a few library books that I've already marked up with an ink pen, but the two new and unimproved terms that are benchmarks for dates in the millennia-range have been really pissing me off. I'm kind of glad that not everyone has already gotten with the program of using "BCE" and "CE" instead of "BC" and "AD", as far as I've read. However, for the folks that do though, well, on the web, I can just BACK the browser up, getting the hell off the site, but for books I really have to do something about it. That is, if I have a reason to think that this is possibly the only PC stupidity in them, or else, yeah, back to the library unread.

I'm not kidding - I've been using and ink pen to fix these errors in books that I still end up interested in reading, after I see this crap. I'd rather not have to keep the pen in my hand, so I try to get ahead by a chapter or so, just to make it more pleasant after that. See, "BCE" is EASY. It turns into BCE without any trouble. Turning "CE" into "AD" is a little messier, but that's the price the library's gonna have to pay - it's ain't like they don't have the money, actually MY money.

I could understand if there were a system that would take out the craziness inherent in our historical calendar, with the BC or BCE part, either way. One has to think backwards with those dates. "So and so lived from 414 BC to 368 BC, so he died when he was ... wait... it's history. I was led to believe there would be no math ....". Yeah, of course they had their own calendars, such as they were, back then, that went forward. We are stuck with this, I suppose, as, come to think about it, increasing knowledge of history does move backwards.

* In this case, it's not a revision of dates of event, but a revision of the meaning of just the 2 terms in the dating system itself.

** No, you'd think, but "you'd" be wrong. Wikipedia says " ...was devised in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus" (more details there for those interested).

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Bleecker Street - Simon & Garfunkel

Posted On: Tuesday - May 21st 2019 7:11PM MST
In Topics: 

Been writing comments on unz threads and having a fairly busy day. Even with lots of posts on deck and ever-accelerating stupidity in this world, I've not been in the mood ... [Well YOU GET IN THE MOOD! - Ed].

I've got more on economics coming, a month-old story (but an on-going problem) on the feminism of regret, and lots more. Just to get back onto the site, here is some obscure, but classic Simon & Garfunkel music. Peak Stupidity hasn't featured any of their music from their greatest hits (the most famous album) and other compilations. It seems that they are so familiar, that the songs aren't quite as good as fresh ones.

What I've learned on that is to give some songs a rest for a number of years. The trick is to not anticipate the tune in your head. Each next line or lick ought to feel new and not-completely expected, or the listening experience is not nearly as good.

Bleeker Street is from "Wednesday Morning. 3 AM"* in a New York City of the past ($30 a month rent? In Manhattan? Even in 1963, who had to die first?). Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel loved that city**, but it's not what is there today.

* That was Simon & Garfunkel's debut album, after their time as Tom and Jerry.

** See the bottom of that post for The Only Living Boy in New York, another obscure but great song by this duo. See also At the Zoo (not quite so obscure - on the 1999 Best of Simon & Garfunkel album - but that's not the much more ubiquitous Greatest Hits compilation from way back in 1972 with only the classics.)

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1984 - NOT an instruction manual, people!

Posted On: Saturday - May 18th 2019 7:51PM MST
In Topics: 
  Orwellian Stupidity  Books

Unidentified Perp - Condition Red!
Reveal yourself, Citizen!

This is the kind of depressing flavor of stupidity that I've not written as much about as I should. It's just that there seems no way out of it. The genderbender nonsense, feminism, sky-is-falling-Global Climate Disruption(TM), all that can fall by the wayside once the financial stupidity reaches its peak, and things MUST naturally "get real" again. I don't know if we'll get out of the Orwellian stupidity though. The more it clamps down, the smaller the chance of fighting it becomes.

A ZeroHedge article from a couple of days back, UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Cameras tells us of a story in what was England (no, there's no England now), in which the authoritah have out-Orwelled Orwell himself. In his book 1984*, the protagonist Winston Smith was careful how to act in front of the cameras at home (part of his TV set, how quaint... too easy!), but I don't recall he had to worry about being filmed outside. It's not only that, but the British, as read on ZeroHedge, don't want people hiding their faces from the cameras designed to keep track of them. (Facial recognition done by software was not imaginable to George Orwell in 1949, when any computers around could barely calculate some prime numbers. He imagined real-time observation of people-of-interest. "Hey, if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide, right?"**)

This guy pulled up his sweater toward his nose, had his ball-cap kinda low, and looked away, in a pretty natural move for anyone knowing what this camera was there for, and just sick of this shit. That's apparently not acceptable in what used to be England. Then:
After being fined, the man told a reporter: 'The chap told me down the road - he said they've got facial recognition. So I walked past like that (covering my face).
'It's a cold day as well. As soon as I've done that, the police officer's asked me to come to him. So I've got me back up. I said to him 'f*** off', basically.  
'I said 'I don't want me face shown on anything. If I want to cover me face, I'll cover me face, it's not for them to tell me not to cover me face. 
'I've got a now £90 fine, here you go, look at that. Thanks lads, £90. Well done.'
 -Daily Mail
I don't know whose asterisks those are, BTW - they are probably from the Daily Mail, but ZeroHedge used to be a site on which one could read "fuck off", like a normal human being.

ZH has very good comments this time. I'd been disappointed as of late with not seeing the old commenters of 5 years back, and 1/3 to 1/2 of the comments being not worth reading. I gotta say, these ones were almost all on point, and there is no divide, as in most political issues. People HATE this stuff. So far, they won't act, though.

Some good ideas come out these comment sections everywhere, while they are still left mostly alone - under this article, a few commenters mentioned the idea of more non-Moslems wearing the Burkhas, face-masks, or whatever that part is. It's a great idea: put the authorities between the rock of wanting to spy on all "citizens" and the hard-place of loving the Moslem dieversity. YES! There are ways of screwing with the system if people wouldn't just lie down and take this out of what, laziness or not caring enough if their children will grow up to be Winston Smiths or Julias?***

I write about this not with any glee or disparagement of the British people in particular, as I don't trust regular Americans to care enough to stop the same thing here. It's not but 25 years ago that I still would have argued that, yes, just as Americans will put buckshot dents in road signs for the hell of it, they would just shoot out or trash these cameras. Nope, the slow boil seems to have been working pretty well on Americans.

The Orwellian stuff is getting bad so quickly. Not many fight back. Keep your guns, and keep stocking up on ammo. What a thought to finish out the blog-week with. I can only cheer myself up with hedonics! More on Monday or Tuesday. Good night, readers!

* Available on Mini-tru's Amazon's website for now. BTW, I had to wipe out > 1/2 of the URL for that link, as it was Orwellian tracking shit on exactly how I searched for the book. Just Big-Biz marketing, I suppose, for the database and all, but ...

** That needs to be engraved on their gravestones with a big well-used template, if those responsible for the miserable police-state world ever get held accountable.

*** I would hope most of Peak Stupidity's erudite crowd of readers has read this book, but I won't spoil the ending too much, besides, no, the life of Winston Smith and girlfriend Julia is no way for a human being to live.

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Measuring Inflation: Hooked on Hedonics

Posted On: Saturday - May 18th 2019 6:12PM MST
In Topics: 
  Economics  US Feral Government  Inflation

Modern-Day "Substitution"
"LET DEM EAT SNAILS!" - Marqueshia D'Antoinette":

In the process of composing a different upcoming post on the truly low inflation years of the mid-1990's for about a decade thereafter (can't explain now, cause that's an upcoming post), I felt I needed to post some background info. on some of the complication of the measurement of inflation.

One office of the cabinet level US Department of Labor in the US Feral Gov't that has the job of measuring, keeping track of, and publishing info about, inflation, unemployment, and other economic indicators is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (I guess it started out just about Labor, but mission creep happens.) Peak Stupidity has, and shows, no LUV for ANY branch of the US Gov't, but I have a soft spot for the people that just want to do their non-political, non-power-struggle-involved work. There ARE some, indeed, and in this agency, I'd expect to find some Negative-Actioned, green-eyeshade (explained here) accounting types that just like to do what they do, in a nice no-pressure, non-fireable environment, with hopefully a minimum of affirmative action types in odd positions that are somewhat ignorable. It's a life. It's not just all bookkeeping, as complications set in pretty quickly when you are tasked to come up with numbers that show how less far American's money goes for given stuff each year. I would think a creative accountant could really get into a BLS job.

The thing is, people don't purchase the same goods and services that they did a decade ago or a century ago. The "basket of goods and services", a term that was in widespread public use back when there was officially lots of inflation (I only recall late 1970's through early 1980's*), not only changes yearly due to fads and people's desires, but even the "same" items are better or worse so can't be compared apples-to-apples. Hell, even the basket for the goods is not made of wicker anymore but probably out of 2 pieces of molded plastic. Additionally, people tote their goods in the back of the crossover rather than a basket these days and their services (don't get me started) are on their phones.

Nobody cares what the price of a buggy whip** is these days. We don't carry them from the country store in our crossovers. Likewise, there were no electronic tablets in the baskets of yesteryear either. OK, so there must be some substitution now and then of modern goods/services that may simply be new, desired things, for stuff and services we never or hardly ever use anymore. The "basket" must reflect what the average consumer uses, or it will mean nothing. However, is it that people don't want things like steak anymore, or have they been substituting chicken, or, yuckkk!, snails, BECAUSE OF inflation in price of the former?

"Hedonics" is the term used for the re-evaluating of goods and services based on their improvements over time. I would not hesitate to add that I really hope these creative accountants (I don't use that particularly pejoratively here) take ruination of products and services, such as with the ubiquitous Cheap China-made Crap into account in the same way. It can be used to justify high prices of cars due to all their wonderful new features, but then, do we have a choice to not have the improvements. Often the answer is "no".

A perfectly fine computer - in 1986.
"Hedonics" says Windows 10 makes an improvement so ...

BTW, the computer above makes a perfectly good example of the use of hedonics, but I had to get that Microsoft crack in anyway, right?

The usefulness and the failings of these two inflation-measurement adjusters will have to be covered in 2 more posts, I think. I find this stuff interesting, but I'm no green-eyeshade guy. There's just a bunch more to say about this, so this will serve as a simple introduction. SAVE THE BLS! (That can be part of the 1% of the Feral Gov't that we leave alone.)

*When Jimmy Carter-appointed FED chairman Paul Volcker put the kibosh on the high inflation by letting or forcing (I'm not sure, so I'll have to read up on that) interest rates to the high teens to clamp down on cheap money creation.

** Buggy whips are the item that economists seem most enamored with - what do economists do behind those closed office doors, anyway?

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"Tell me whatchu wantin' wid de White man's world."

Posted On: Friday - May 17th 2019 7:05PM MST
In Topics: 

Since writing the phrase "white man's world" a while back in the last post, I could not get Island Girl by Elton John out of my head.

It's one line in the lyrics of the song, as Elton John still pretended to be straight (or it was just lyricist Bernie Taupin's lyrics, being that there'd be no reason for him to write as a gay man) still till right about the time the album containing Island Girl, Rock of the Westies came out. (The album name was a play on "west of the Rockies", as the album was made in Nederland, Colorado, which is, of course, NOT west of the rockies but right in the front range, so ... - thanks for the correction, commenter Joe Friday.)

That is a good line for any (as if!) Trump administration new immigration agents underneath our airports-of-entry, though: "Tell me whatchu wantin' wid de White man's world. Sorry, you have to go back."

Well, Peak Stupidity has loads of posts on the back burner at this point, itching to get into pixels. I've just finished up a difficult period in the workplace recently, and want to celebrate it - with a good night's sleep. More stupidity will come in the 'morrow.

PS: More Elton John is featured here, here, here (warning, big boobs), and with great backing vocals for Neil Sedaka here.

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Empire of the Summer Moon - Book Review - Part 3

Posted On: Friday - May 17th 2019 6:49PM MST
In Topics: 
  History  Books

Peak Stupidity left off in Part 2 of this review, a couple of days back, with mention of the Comanche-kidnapped 9-y/o Texan Cynthia Ann Parker and her 1/2-blood, full-sprit Indian son called Quanah.

Cynthia Ann Parker was one of the luckier of those kidnapped by Indian tribes. Rather than being (partly-literally) dragged around the plains with the tribe, as her cousin Rachael Parker was (who died before any white men had caught up with her), or having been just gang-raped, tortured and killed and scalped, Mrs. Parker ended up being married to a Comanche chief. This chief, the father of Quanah by way of Cynthia Ann Parker, was like other Indian chief - it was not some kind of formal, elected, or even appointed position. A Chief was just an Indian brave who was better at hunting, killing and stealing horses than the average brave. That's all there was to it. Now, had Mrs. Parker been taken as a wife by some average Indian man, perhaps she would not have been as happy with her status, even though Indian chiefs would have multiple wives anyway. The end of the story may have been different though.

After the barely-recognizable-as-white Mrs. Parker was found on a horse, as her Indian husband had just been killed in what was later said to be just a small skirmish with the remnants of a band that had headed away from their army/ranger pursuers, she was not at all happy being brought back into the White man's world. In addition to being in a severe state of grief over her dead husband and lost two boys (one of which died later with the Indians) and the other, the future-chief Quanah, she did not want to go back.

Cynthia Ann Parker did have memories of her time as a white girl, including of the terrible traumatic raid in which she was taken to a different life. A quarter of a century later, she was brought back, first to the frontier, and later to some bigger towns to the east. She was never happy being back in civilization, even after the cessation of her escape attempts.

That to me is the real theme of this book. Beyond the great sweeping descriptive history of this violent clash between the two cultures, the question of how one could want to live like a savage comes up as one reads the book. Life in the plains Indian culture is described well, and not at all in disparaging tones. It just was what it was.

The ultimate freedom of life on the high plains, with the buffalo and warfare being the whole point of existence, with customs and protocols, but no real laws, no courts, no fences, no taxes is really something that takes some imagination to see the beauty of. The downsides are many, and those of us in civilizations (> 90% of Peak Stupidity readers, I would hope) can see those right away. Disease of any sort could simply mean death, with no hope other than in superstition. Months with no buffalo (another reason to have hated the white men - the buffalo sport hunters) could mean death for everyone. Bad weather could kill. It leads to this: It may have been such a great feeling at times to live in that world, partly because there were no changes in the meaning and way of life, but that's just the problem too - there was no such thing as PROGRESS. Life was what it was, and nobody was going to change that. Sure, some years might bring many successful raids and killings and stealing of 1,000's of horses. That wouldn't change life though. Nothing would or COULD ever improve.

With that amazing freedom to live only bounded by the whims of nature, one lived as an animal. I don't mean that in the sense of intelligence. It was just the freedom of life as an animal (with better tools, slightly better...) with the savagery that comes with it - no thoughts existed about "oh, is it really RIGHT to kill these people who've done us no harm?" or "How can we improve life for the more miserable among us?"

See now, people within a civilization have lost that freedom. Though, as mentioned before, the women in Indian society did pretty much all the physical drudge work, Cynthia Ann Parker had gotten used to a life closer to being an animal. True, she had a husband she could be proud of (Exactly, animals don't get married, haha), and that made her happy, along with her children, of course, as is the case for even the civilized "animals". She took to that life as close to the animal world as one can get. As I mentioned, perhaps if she hadn't been married to a chief, maybe she would have hated it more and been glad to have been back in civilization. Her attitude, though, was a mystery to all those back "home", as it was unimaginable, just like the look on John Wayne's movie-daughter's face was when she was found, on The Searchers.

It is unimaginable to us that a life of savagery can be desired over a life in a civilization. The millennia-old ideas of rights, property, the golden rule, and laws to uphold them are the only way a culture can progress. There was no way the Indians were going to progress, though in their culture there was nothing wrong with that. Conversely, there was no way the white man (along with other civilizations elsewhere) was going to let nature take its course on mankind at will, forever, and a lack of any progress has been unimaginable to us. Once the White man set foot on the American continents, it was not possible that there would not eventually be a clash that would end one culture or another. In mid-19th-century Texas, it was no sure thing which would prevail.

That was about a wrap-up, but I did forget to mention Cynthia Ann Parker's half-Indian son, Chief Quanah. I put a big "C" there, as he was the 1st chief to truly speak for most of the Comanche tribe. Unfortunately, this was after his capture years after his mother's and near the end of the life of the plains Indians, as they knew it. It's only the last 10% (a guess) of Empire of the Summer Moon, anyway, in which Quanah's story of his life as a wild Indian and later political deal-maker and benefactor of the turn-of-the-20th-century reservation life is told. Please read the book, as it has lots of good words for this amazing man, along with all the rest of this long-lost history.

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Empire of the Summer Moon - Book Review - Part 2

Posted On: Wednesday - May 15th 2019 8:58AM MST
In Topics: 
  History  Books

Part 1 of this book review ended up with a very short discussion on the amazing horse-riding culture of the Comanche Indians of the great plains of Texas and areas to the north and west. Per the very descriptive writing of Sam Gwynne in Empire of the Summer Moon, within a century after their first acquisition by this formerly foot-bound hunter-gatherer tribe of Indians, horses were not just possessions but integral to the whole LIFESTYLE of the Comanche.

The Comanche men didn't just own small collections of different horses, as Jay Leno owns many classic cars. No, one man might have 200 of them, and a successful (at what? .. more on that in a bit.) chief might have 1,500! Boys would learn to ride at 4 or 5 years old and practice shooting from horseback soon after that. This just gives an idea of how good the men were, though even the women would ride. Shooting arrows at a rate 20 times that required per one musket round, from horseback was standard, with a 30 yard kill distance. They learned to hang on to the top of their horses, and use them as shields in battle (hey, they could get more), just as in the movies. It was everything about horses though, in which the 5 tribal bands of Comanche were best at, better than any other Indians and better than the white man. Per the author, they "were geniuses at anything to do with horses: breeding, breaking, selling and riding. They even excelled at stealing horses."

That brings up the next point though. Besides hunting buffalo for just about all their nutritional, clothing, and shelter needs, the entire culture of the tribe was about warfare. As the women did all the drudge work with the hides, cooking, packing and unpacking for moving - they were nomadic, of course - and etc., a man's job was to hunt and wage war. A man was not a warrior like a German flying ace or an American GI in Vietnam. Wars were not fought because this treaty of 1909 was abrogated ... the Commies are coming from the north ... we need more living space ... ANY OF THAT. Wars were fought because that's just what you plain did with your life. You went around looking for other tribes that were weaker and swooped in, killed men, captured some children and younger women, and stole all the horses. That was a living to them. This was the mindset of savagery. Now, no doubt, a reader could compare this to the horrors in WWI/II, and thousands of other wars fought by men of "civilized" countries. However, as horrible as things can get, in civilized society, wars are fought for some kind of reason or maybe just an excuse by some people to get other men to fight. In a savage society, the men wage war as a basic part of living, and the Comanche were about as savage as has been well-recorded.

The white man's encroachment on the Indian hunting lands, and the almost-consistent lying involved in any treaties made with the US Gov't to stop it, were indeed good excuses for war - raiding and pillaging, including torture, the usual kidnapping, and so forth. As would be expected, it had the effect of uniting some of the tribes that would have otherwise made war on each other, though some fought WITH the white man and some AGAINST him. Early on during the encroachment of the white settler into Texas, while in the eastern portion, the notorious 1836 Comanche raid on the Parker ranch/fort is well-described in this book. It's not that there weren't hundreds or even thousands of raids as terrible for the lonesome settlers as this one, but it is just very well-documented and there is the famous story of kidnapped 9-y/o Cynthia Ann Parker.

The caption mentions current-day Grosbeck, but that's not too well known either.
The location is 30-odd miles east of Waco, about 125 miles west of the Louisiana Border.
If you know Texas, that is NOT FAR into Texas!

I won't go into the gory details of this raid, but the book has plenty of that involving the fighting over 4 decades, so, that MAY be another reason to read it. Back to the stories of these amazing individuals living in that time, James Parker, patriarch of the ranch shown above, was the uncle of Cynthia Ann, but his daughter Rachael had also been taken (plenty more of the families there had been slain). The book recounts James Parker's sometimes foolhardy and sometimes lucky, search for his daughter in Indian country. It is likely the basis for the powerful 1956 John Wayne movie The Searchers, the ending of which has the same theme as the end of the search for Cynthia Ann Parker ... nope, read on, or watch the movie, I'm not spoiling it now ... ;-} The storyline of that movie is just too close the documented story of these Texas Comanche raids, that I'm sure the writer had to have learned of this history (a LOT more recent back then, 120 years rather than > 180)

Just as author Sam Gywnne did in his writing of Empire of the Summer Moon, this review is bouncing around a bit, not in time, but just from the story of the Indians themselves, the stories of the birth of Texas, and the stories of the individuals raided, raiding, or fighting what became a real war by mid-19th-century. The book has a great description of the formation (if once could call it that, as they started out as un-paid freelancers) Texas Rangers. Their purpose was to take this war to the Indians. Maybe you enjoyed the TV show, but these Texas Rangers were harder, tougher men that that Johnny Walker. The most famous was Jack Hays:

Well, if you can read Mr. Gywnne's caption, you will notice the mention of the Colt 6-shot revolver. With a nice story there too, the author describes how the tactics of riding TO the battle and then dismounting to fight had been getting the white soldiers slaughtered in a great many battles with the agile horse-bound Comanches. Trying to shoot with long rifles was too cumbersome - there were no ARs or AKs yet. The story of Jack Hay's and the Ranger's acquisition of Connecticut Yankee Sam Colt's "6-Shooter" is well-related, and that gun was as important to the white man's ability to stop the carnage of these Indians, as the horse was important to these Indians in the first place.

Part 3 will discuss the life and mindset of Cynthia Ann Parker, her son Quanah, Indian Chief and 1st actual Chief of the entire tribe throughout the conclusion of the Indian War period and the early part of the Reservation life.

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Peak Stupidity avoids a clever scam - Words to the Wise

Posted On: Tuesday - May 14th 2019 6:30PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Salesmen  Artificial Stupidity

Peak Stupidity hasn't made any headway, due to lack of effort as of late, on finding out more about that very-likely attempted scam-job relating to healthcare billing, as described in "Healthcare Billing via Rectal Extraction", parts 1 and 2. We will report here if there are any interesting developments. While relating this story to a good friend, I recalled an attempted scam involving computer-software, something I consider myself not prone to, but it was one near thing, I tells ya'.

This was a few years back, as we went on-line to find information on a driver for our color printer for the new versions of Windows we had no choice in buying with a new computer. (Yeah, ain't Microsoft grand, in bringing us all this new stuff to (re)learn, every damn iteration - Cha-Ching!) Come to think of it, we haven't printed a color page since! Anyway, what I'll say first is that, as evil and annoying as they are, these dot-Indian scammers are clever - I will grant them that. "You're clever, OK? Now you can bloody well piss off!" (They speak British English so they should get this.)

Well, you go to bing or duckduckgo and look up Canon Model ABC driver Windows 10 or whatever it was, and you get plenty of hits, at least one with a phone number, as we already had something installed but ran into an error. That was easy! We called up and got some helpful fellow who may not have been physically in India, but, in his heart of hearts was a "tech-support Indian". "Let me just take control of the computer to make this quick." I didn't like the sound of that, and hadn't let anybody do that before. That wasn't the scam though. As our supposed tech-wizard scanned through a few things on the computer, ostensibly to see what the deal was with our printer driver, he opened up the "task manager" showing our processes running.

"Oh, that's not good. You have this hkcmd.exe (I think that was the one) in there running. It's a virus. I really think you have to take care of this first. Your computer shouldn't be this slow." Who knows, right, with Windows? "I'm not sure about that, uhhh, what about the printer?" "Wait, let me show you" As the guy controlled the computer, he proceeded to go to google, typed in a phrase with that hkcmd file in it, and immediately came up with a blurb like the one above. It was right at the top there, telling us, yeah, we have a virus if this file is running. No need to read the whole article, the guy/cursor was moving pretty quickly around the screen.

"We can fix this virus, if you want to take care of it first." The guy named a price near 150 bucks, damn near 1/2 the price of just getting another computer and starting over. "Man, that's a lot. It is running slow though now that you mention it" (Subliminal suggestions were working their magic, OTOH, everything IS slow the more MS loads up your computer with their crap.) "OK, I never buy something on the spot. Let us think about it. Can we get your name, and can we get you at the same number?" Oh sure, that was fine - he had me suitably worried, but I just never buy things impulsively*, unless there was thought put into it sometime beforehand, at least.

It was only about 2 minutes after I put down the phone, when the urgency had gone away, that I had some more thoughts on what the guy had done. "Let me go on google and take a good look." Ahaaa! The article itself said something about 2 instances of this executable file being an indication of a problem, not just the one. That one was supposed to be running. This clever con-man knew exactly what just the blurb said, well beforehand. As a matter of fact, maybe his crew had gamed google a bit to make sure this one comes up first, or even WROTE THE ARTICLE with the fine print down below any blurb.

I then thought about how we came upon this phone number in the first place, with a scam about fake virae, when, if the reader can still recall, we were trying to figure out why the Canon printer driver wasn't doing the job. It's been 5 years or more now, but I do remember looking back at our original search. That phone number didn't appear just the one time. Just dealing with frustrated Canon-printer customers would probably not yield enough phone calls to keep these guys busy enough to quit work at the Quicky-Mart. What they, or someone higher-up, had done was to rig search results in the search engines to pull up their phone number based on lots of different software problem queries. Did I mention these are some clever scammers? (It's a whole lot different than just pulling a large health-care charge out of one's ass and mailing a letter or two.)

I'm really glad I didn't act impulsively, not just due to the money, but the really bad feeling one gets when conned in some way. I made a call back, after I'd gotten my thoughts together. "Hey, your guy tried to scam me - we don't have any virus on this machine." Hahaa, that was still a bit naive there. "Oh, I'll make sure our manager looks into this ... " Hey, it could have been the EXACT SAME GUY - I wouldn't know!

Not only should you not expect satisfaction with this method, but even with a legitimate business, a good boss will stand with his employees, depending on how wrong or unimportant the customer is. Nah, the customer is NOT always right, and I have been the one to hear that from the boss myself. I had one good boss for whom I could imagine this scenario (the job involved some driving, with a van with the company name right on the side - I had driven like mad a few times, cut some guys off on the on-ramp here and there, etc. ): "Hey, I looked up your number. Your driver in the middle of the night yesterday cut me off, then flipped me off when I honked at him. You've got to do something about that." "Uh, yes sir, we'll probably fire that guy later today when he comes in." he would say on the phone, while winking at me and trying not to crack up, as I sat a few feet away. Or, knowing that this boss had already cost us some business due to road rage of his own, I imagine he'd just cuss the guy out on the phone "Yeah, well stay off the road, asshole!". Good times ... good times ... but at least it was honest work.

* Just giving this guy a credit card over the phone could have been the scam itself, but no, that's not clever enough for these guys. They wouldn't be able to face their families at dinner time after a simple scam like that.

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Empire of the Summer Moon - Book Review - Part 1

Posted On: Tuesday - May 14th 2019 5:46PM MST
In Topics: 
  History  Books

The title of the book is in reference to the great fear the Comanche warriors put into the white settlers due to the extreme savagery of their raids on their lonesome homes and ranches in the woodlands and later great plains of the Republic/State of Texas. They tended to happen more during the full moon in the warm season, a "Comanche Moon".

As has been the case lately, the recommendation of this book came from a commenter on a web site somewhere, most likely unz.com. Empire of the Summer Moon by Mr. Sam Gwynne, is about a number of mostly-forgotten parts of the American history of "manifest destiny". As the eastern portion of the continent had been settled for quite a long time by English settlers (at least what is now the US portion), the ever land-hungry settlers had moved well west of the Mississippi River by the middle of the 19th century (1800's).

This book relates the engrossing story of the push of the white man into eastern, central, and eventually northern Texas, while the horse-riding Comanche tribe of Indians fought for "their" land, along with more specific stories of the kidnapping (one of thousands) of Texan Cynthia Ann Parker at 9 years old by the Comanches, her having gone native, and her Indian Chief son Quanah, who was an adult during the end of these fierce Indian wars and the final settlement of the tribes in Oklahoma. The specific stories are interesting in themselves, but it's the general theme of the book, which, to me, is about the unfathomable divide between those desiring ultimate freedom as savages versus those desiring civilization and progress that is its best feature.

Mr. Gwynne writes well, and he relates the many individuals and organizations, such as the real Texas Rangers, in an entertaining way, often flipping back and forth between the Indian life and the white settler life. He gives a nice compact history of the settlement of the (at one point) Republic of Texas, and a history of the Comanche Nation of Indians along side it. As for Texas, we learn of the amazing bravery and individualism of these settlers, mostly from the East, along with many Germans of course. They wanted their own big pieces of land, no longer an easy/cheap deal back east anymore, along with the freedom that comes along with not having a neighbor anyway in sight. In eastern Texas, still well-wooded and not that much different from Louisiana, Arkansas, etc there were plenty of troubles with Indians already. It was the move onto the high plains, land that was so foreign to white people that it both awed and scared them, that put them squarely in a no-compromise position with the 5 tribes of Comanches. For the Texans, these largely-unmapped, treeless expanses of grassland went on virtually forever, but they had been the home of the nomadic Comanche tribes for a full century.

The Comanches did not just magically originate from some Indian Adam and Eve in the high plains, which is why I put quotes above around "their" land. Nobody particularly owned any of the land per our 2 or 3 millennia-long Western understanding of ownership and property rights. That was kinda a big part of the problem between the white man and the Indians even back east and and as far back to that shady Manhattan Island deal. Back to the book now, the author described how the " Nermernuh", "the people" in Comanche-speak, morphed from a poor hunter-gatherer tribe up in present-day Wyoming around the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the Wind River Range, who hadn't advanced a damn bit in 1,000 years, into fierce, mobile, bands of warrior in 125 years (1625 - 1750). What happened? Horses. The Spanish introduction of horses into the New World resulted in their slow dispersal to first northern Mexico, then what's now New Mexico, where the Apaches started riding, and finally up to present-day Nebraska where the author reckons the Comanches were introduced to horses by the mid-1600's or at least by 1680. That allowed them to become mobile, and it was likely the huge buffalo herds of the southern plains brought them farther south.

There was something about that particular group of Indians, but they took to the horse like no other had and better than the white man ever did. (Keep in mind, with no science, no literature, no construction, and so on, what else WAS there to do over a century's time?) Mr. Gwynne describes the particular best practices that the Comanche used to make use of their many horses and also their extremely agile ridership, ability to hunt with arrows from horseback, and their ability to make war using the horse to great advantage. The latter ability outmatched all other Indians and the white man until the Texas Rangers and their own special advantage they came upon.

I'd like to give even more background here, but the reader can go to that amazon.com link above and read 1000x more information than I could possibly give in some of the > 2,600 reviews. Why this review-post is even here on Peak Stupidity is just to explain some of the fairly negative posts on the Indians of the pre-Columbian Americas that appear (here, here, here, here, and here, for example) and, of course, because I spent the time to read the book, so I may as well put a coupla posts up on it - time is money, or something...

I will recommend the book highly right now, but for more on the stories of the savage Indian attacks on the white man (per the author, much more brutal even than those back in the East), the individual story of Cynthia Ann Parker, her "searchers",and her Indian Chief husband and son Quanah, along with comments on the really basic important theme here, there will have to be 2 more posts, I'm guessing.

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On Schools, Race, and Billboards

Posted On: Monday - May 13th 2019 8:41AM MST
In Topics: 
  Race/Genetics  Educational Stupidity

There is a big intersection a couple of miles from our house that has a certain big billboard, always advertising for one particular expensive K-12th private school.

(Note: This is a file photo - not the school in question.)

Now, I imagine the school and the advertising company that owns the billboard have a nice working arrangement, as the billboard stays covered, literally (see kids, that's when you use "literally"), and the school can keep their nice spot - it should be a good deal for both. The school changes up the image up there once a year or so, I suppose, but it's the latest iteration that has me writing this post.*

The newest ad up on the billboard reads "It's time to start thinking about middle school." That's pretty simple, straightforward, and innocuous, right? There's nothing wrong with it, but I really think Steve Sailer's writing, along with my knowledge of the neighborhood(s), has given me an understanding of the real thoughts behind this simple advertisement.

Firstly, here are some details: One of the nicest neighborhoods in town is about 1 mile from the billboard. In fact, it's too nice a neighborhood to HAVE a billboard of any kind too close by (understandably, Not In My Backyard! - unless you've REALLY got a good deal...) Besides being, by my guess, one of the top 10 busiest intersections in downtown, it's about where you'd want to put it to attract the eyeballs (as those ad people say) of people from that nice neighborhood.

This well-to-do neighborhood has a couple of good elementary schools, though one is slightly better than the other. What do we mean by good? What do most people mean by good? The students are mostly white with a few Oriental kids, and not many black and Hispanic kids (not too many of the latter around this particular area, on the census-tract level). That's just the truth of the matter, and even diligent black parents would have to admit that, if none of their friends were listening. Keep in mind, I'm writing about ELEMENTARY schools here first. Middle school starts from 6th grade. Even if your Kindergarten - 5th grader is NOT at a good school, especially toward the beginning thereof, it's not like the disruption and violence are much to speak of. Sure, your kid may pick up bad habits and ways of talking, and he may have a few more stories than if he were at the good elementary school. He may get picked on, even, but the kids are still little enough to where it usually doesn't amount to much but tears. The disruptions from the bad kids are smaller and less worrisome.

The kids at the middle school are bigger, as it goes through 8th grade. Trouble can be more serious. In the neighborhood in question, there is one middle school, formerly known to be one of the best around. It's changing, as the bad neighborhood, pretty close to a ghetto is not even 3/4 mile away from the heart of the good neighborhood. As I drive by often, during the recess times, I notice that there are loads of black kids. Sometimes, the kids are mixed up, sometimes there are 50 white kids grouped up, and sometimes 50 or more black kids. Any white or Oriental parent driving by there with kids in the district is going to get just a little, uhhh, concerned, if I may. The Moms will just get a bad feeling, while the Dads may start counting and calculating.

Nowadays, of course, the information is all out there, on websites like Great Schools and School Digger. The parents will get these numbers and start musing about how life may be for their kids once they get to middle school, maybe next year. That's where the billboard comes in.

The school in question was built long ago, within a couple of years after school integration, along with a whole bunch of others that still play each other in football, basketball, and baseball. They no longer have any de-facto discrimination against certain crowds that their schools were built to get the kids away from. However, the high tuition does the job pretty nicely. The chances that the few high-tuition-paying black parents have real thugs as children is still fairly small. Since they do have a few Non-Asian-Minorities (the ones they don't want) here and there, until this latest billboard, which is more words than photo, every other billboard up there would have one token black kid to show "hey, see, we're a great school, and it has NOTHING, NOTHING, I TELLS YA, to do with what kids go here... NO, NO, NOTHING AT ALL!" (Of course, they can't fit that on the billboards, hence the smiling kids' faces.)

To put this all together, the ad seems focused toward parents in the nice, richer neighborhood that may have kids for whom middle school is coming up, this year, maybe next. Yeah, the two elementary schools are pretty good, though even your bad ones can be tolerable, but hey, have you looked at the middle school they are slated to attend? You may want to think long and hard, look us up, and get some money together, some real money. "Start thinking about middle school." With my new Sailer-induced thinking, it also has that "dog whistle" at a frequency that good parents can hear: "You'd better WISE UP, JANET WEISS!"**

* This is something right up our favorite unz.com blogger Steve Sailer's alley, involving race, schools, and even marketing (his former profession, though he was not an "ad guy" at all).

** Sorry, obscure Rocky Horror Picture Show reference there. Janet Weiss was actually a reasonably-hot Susan Sarandon, going back, well,yeah, QUITE a ways.

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Monty Python's Commie Quiz Show

Posted On: Saturday - May 11th 2019 1:55PM MST
In Topics: 
  Commies  Humor

I'd wanted to put a longer, more serious, post up that has solidified in my head. However, the historical ones take a lot outta ya', so I'll just present this fun video.

Video of the Monty Python group of 5 or so British comedians is funnier to me now than at the time. I think I missed so much of the humor somehow, probably too young to get it. One could put of 10 or 20 great scenes from each of 2 of their movies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail from 1975 and The Life of Brian from 1979 that are stand-alone humor. Peak Stupidity has already embedded videos from the latter movie here and here, with maybe a coupla others I can't find just now.

This is outta nowhere, with a young Eric Idle, and whoever those other 4, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Che Guevara, and Mao T. Tung(?), really are:

I'll get to some more serious, current, and original posts on Monday. Thanks for reading or laughing.

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