Miracles

I haven’t posted anything here for quite a while! At first, I was still in mourning after the passing of my dear wife, and then three months later things started happening in my life that I hadn’t expected. I found new love and a renewed desire to live! I got quite busy making it real!

Waltraut had told me that she expected me to re-marry after she was gone, that she was worried about me remaining single. I had kind of thought I would just stay single for the rest of my life — and I really hoped that the rest of my life would be a rather short time. For those first few months, every little twinge my body gave me made me momentarily hopeful that maybe I was going to get my “call home”, as it were. But no such luck!

Rather hesitantly I had signed up on a dating website that I felt comfortable with, one specifically for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons), and did a little desultory looking around at the possibilities. Of course there were some interesting women to be found, but I didn’t really want anything more than friendship or penpalship! I did initiate a few correspondances with some nice ladies, but I made sure that they lived a longish way away so that there would be little chance of actually getting to meet them in person. Smart plan, right?

Well, it didn’t work out like I thought it would. Around Christmas time I got a “Smile” from a nice lady who lives in England, and since I had lived there once myself many many years ago, I jumped at the chance to email someone from a country that I had grown to love.

To make a long story short, we fell in love with each other over the Internet, and when she came to visit me in March we got married! Quick work, but I believe I made the biggest score of my life in convincing her to marry me! I consider it a miracle to have found such a woman.

Love is grand, especially after living through such sadness.

Oh, yes, and her name is Wendy, and she has a great package: beauty and brains!

WendyTheFascinator

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Royals (Lorde): an a capella cover by Alaa Wardi

Alaa Wardi is an excellent musician, especially when he uses his body as the musical instruments!  Check out his channel.

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Hayao Miyazaki is a Genius

“Who’s that?” you say?  Well, let’s see.  He’s a Japanese animator whose most popular (in Japan) film is called in English, Spirited Away, and it won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2003.  Here is an interesting video about Mr. Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

 

Miyazaki’s animated features are my favorites!  I like Spirited Away even more than I like The Incredibles, and that’s saying a lot.  You MUST see this film.  It is fantastic!

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Medical Student “Let it Go” Parody

Dropping Politics for the Moment

I got things to say about Donald Trump.  Seriously.  But not now.  Although apparently he came in second in the Iowa state caucuses yesterday.  Excellent.  Nevermind.

The brilliant medical students of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine have produced a funny parody of the song “Let it Go” from the animated film “Frozen”.  They call it “I Don’t Know”, as in, “I don’t know what disease you got!”

I Don’t Know

 

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Let’s Blame the NRA for San Bernardino

Yesterday, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, shot up his workplace’s holiday party, killing 14 and wounding 21.  They did it in the name of Allah.

And of course this is the fault of the National Rifle Association.

But why?  Because the NRA opposes “common sense gun control”?  Okay, then, since the NRA opposes “common sense gun control”, the NRA must be evil, and in the pay of the firearms manufacturers.  And it goes from there: politicians whom the NRA approves of must be in the pay of the NRA.  Never mind the fact that Federal election financing forbids the NRA from contributing to political candidates’ campaigns.  Facts are of no importance when there is political hay to be harvested.  Just read Saul Alinksky’s “Rules for Radicals”.  He explains it all very clearly.

The fact of the matter is this: “common sense gun control” is a moveable feast.  If the NRA were to cave in to this year’s “common sense gun control”, in the next year it would suddenly be discovered that “common sense” had moved a couple of Sigmas to the left.  And the next year the same.  The NRA is right to halt things right where they are.

So, instead of “common sense”, let’s use logic, and experimentation!  Wouldn’t that be a sight?

Consider that California has very strict gun control.  And reflect upon the fact that California’s gun control is the strictest in the nation!  And as we have seen, it didn’t make a bit of difference.  It turns out that all of the firearms used by these terrorists were purchased legally. in accordance with California’s strict gun control laws.  So, you want to make them even more strict?  These people were squeaky clean — a traffic ticket or two at most — and no matter how tight California’s gun laws got screwed down, Farook would still have qualified to buy the guns he wanted to buy!

This clearly show us the results of the experiment.  And the results are that California’s strict gun control laws don’t stop people who really want to kill people, from killing people.  What use are they, then?

Syed Farook went to a good deal of trouble and made extensive preparation to perform the acts of murder he and his wife committed.  Farook, at least, was apparently in communication with terrorist recruiters and instigators.  He was going to kill people for Allah, that’s the bottom line.  California’s strict gun laws couldn’t stop him from doing so, and didn’t.  California also has strict laws against the construction of pipe bombs, too, but Farook and Malik had apparently dozens of them.  So what is there to do about this?

I have bad news for those of you suffering from the “Do Something Disease”.  PASSING LAWS DOESN’T FIX A THING!  Especially if the laws don’t address reality.  Making yourself feel good by “doing something” is worse than useless.

If two nutjob terrorists shoot up a crowd of peaceful celebrants, what could the NRA have to do with it!  But notice the knee-jerk reactions of brainless liberals.  They are champing at the bit to disarm law-abiding citizens because a few nutcases or terrorists did horrible things.  If you were to propose the abolition of private automobiles because of the 30,000+ traffic deaths every year — taking away the travel rights of 300 million people — this would be just as logical.  There are more privately owned firearms in this country than there are people.  Millions of those firearms are of the same type that Farook and his wife used in their crime.  The fact is simply this: almost all gun owners in the country are peaceful, responsible, and safe.  Guns don’t turn peaceful people into monsters.

The problem isn’t guns, it’s people.

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That Wicked National Rifle Association

Not three seconds elapsed after the initial reports of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, before the hearse chasers of the Left leapt into the fray, via Twitter of course, to condemn the NRA.

So, let’s see if I got this straight:

  • California has the strictest gun-control laws on the books
  • Assault-weapon-style rifles are illegal to bring into the state
  • Assault-weapon-style rifles are illegal to be owned in the state
  • Murder and assault with a deadly weapon is illegal in California

So, when a Muslim man and his wife arrive at an event in full body armor, bearing illegally-obtained and -possessed assault-weapon-style rifles, and shoot 31 people, 14 of whom die, and none of them armed themselves, this is the fault of the National Rifle Association?  How?  If California’s strict gun control laws couldn’t prevent this from happen, what can the NRA be expected to do about it?

One very important question is where did Syed Farook get his weapons?  Farook and his wife were both carrying legally-purchased semi-auto pistols, but the two semi-auto rifles could not have been bought legally in California, nor bought out-of-state and brought legally into California.  The Los Angeles Times identified them as a “DPMS Model A15 and a Smith & Wesson M&P15”.

Why did this apparently soft-spoken, well-liked, and diligent worker, who was recently married and a new father, shoot up a couple dozen of his co-workers?

And why didn’t California’s strict gun control laws stop him?

Perhaps he just wanted to kill people.

In the name of Allah, of course.

Obama, the hearse-chaser-in-chief, had this to say about this incident:

“Obviously, our hearts go out to the victims and the families,” he said. “The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”

Oh, except for maybe France, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel and so on.  Anywhere there are Muslim extremists.  The President clearly cannot count, and he also clearly cannot see what is obvious, that France’s extremely strict gun control didn’t stop the Charlie Hebdo shooters, and didn’t stop the Paris shooters and bombers even more recently.  And what about those 10,000 Syrian refugees you want to allow to come to the United States, Mr. President?  With no verifiable way of determining which are terrorists now, or which will become terrorists later?

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Driving Licenses vs Firearms Ownership

I had a brief, but interesting, Twitter exchange with one of my favorite Sci Fi authors, Jennifer Foehner Wells (@Jenthulhu), involving guns and gun control.  I responded to a tweet of hers putting down the National Rifle Association, to which she responded in turn.

Of course, the spark for this exchange was the horrible event in San Bernardino, California, today, when two or three people shot up a conference at the Inland Regional Center, killing 14 and wounding about 17.  Jen issued several tweets in response to this event, but the one that I responded to was this:

  • @Jenthulhu: What is it going to take for us to rise up as a country and say NO MORE to the NRA? — 1:40 PM – 2 Dec 2015
  • @Cyberherbalist: @Jenthulhu you really feel the NRA is to blame for this shooting? Calif has STRONG gun control. Knees jerk, but brains should think 1st. — 3:51 PM – 2 Dec 2015
  • @Jenthulhu: @Cyberherbalist It doesn’t make sense to me that it’s easier to get a gun than a driver’s license. You will NEVER convince me otherwise. — 3:51 PM – 2 Dec 2015

Now, full disclosure, I am a member of the NRA.  I know that to some people (who like to repeat mindless mantras), that admitting membership in the NRA is tantamount to admitting membership in Al Qaeda.  Even though nobody in the NRA have any ties with any terrorist organization.  It’s just because the NRA stands against useless and even counterproductive gun control laws.  If you want to ban all guns, and the NRA opposes you, then obviously the NRA is in a favor of school shootings.  That’s the usual cracked logic.  I suppose that if the country were to rise up and say NO MORE to the NRA, would it be too much to wonder “no more what?”

Even when the NRA is in favor of a particular piece of gun control legislation, it gets excoriated.  After  the Newtown massacre, Congress acted to make certain provisions in federal gun control law permanent, which were previously only renewed on a year-to-year basis.  The NRA was in favor of this change.  But did the NRA get thanked?  Of course not!  The “progressives” out there were outraged and claimed that the change to permanent status was a weakening of federal firearm law, even though the laws had been in force for TEN YEARS!  Only “progressives” can turn logic on its head like this and not feel embarrassed.

This is why blaming the NRA for gun violence is nonsense: guns do not shoot themselves, and the NRA has historically promoted workable gun control laws which do not detract from Second Amendment rights.  Laws that don’t materially interfere with law-abiding citizens obtaining firearms, while preventing criminals from legally acquiring them.  And it has worked!  Criminals normally get their guns through illegal means, which are by definition hard or impossible to regulate.  This is not appreciated by those who want to ban private ownership of firearms.  For if we were to ban them, only law-abiding citizens would give them up — but law-abiding citizens would be the only ones disarmed!  The crooks would still have them, and then would have a virtual monopoly on deadly force.

I don’t think that even the gun banners would be in favor of that outcome — but it would be the unintended consequence.

And this is where I get to attempt to convince Jennifer Foehner Wells that making it as hard to get a gun as a driving license is not going to help much.  Although I note that if someone says they can NEVER be convinced, this indicates more of an emotional conviction than a rational one.  Which is by its very nature a tough sell, even if it is valid.

Let’s compare Illinois (which has the city of  Chicago) with Washington state (including Seattle).  Illinois requires a Firearms Owner Identification Card to buy a rifle or pistol, and getting one of those can take up to 75 days, and includes background checks.  It is therefore much much easier to get a driving license in Illinois!  But Washington state doesn’t require a special license to buy a rifle or a shotgun.  The firearms-related death rates in both states in 2013 were 8.67 for Illinois and 9.07 for Washington.  Virtually the same, and just under the national firearms death rate of 10.64.

One place that I am aware of which has highly restrictive gun laws preventing citizens from owning firearms without special government permission is Mexico.  All I am saying is that more gun control does not equal less killing!  If more gun control were effective, places like Mexico would be very safe.  But it isn’t.  Just try to take a sightseeing drive though Sinaloa state sometime.

Ultimately though, the reason why we regulate drivers of automobiles through licensing and detailed rules of the road is because most adults drive and they drive every darned day.  And with good reason: there were 35,200 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2013.  But most firearms owners leave their guns at home in their gun safes, and only occasionally take them out to go hunting or target shooting.  Except for those of us who have concealed carry permits and who exercise that privilege regularly.  And of the 30,000+ firearms-related deaths in the US, the vast majority of these involve either criminal acts of will, or suicides, not accidents.  You can’t genuinely compare them.  And you can’t buy a new firearm any longer without going through an instant background check.  But you can buy an automobile without any kind of background check.

Another thing that is important to consider is this: driving is a privilege; firearms ownership is a right.  And it is a right which may not be infringed.  You could just as easily pass a law requiring registration of typewriters (which was done in the old Soviet Union), and require government licensing of journalism.  Free speech is likewise a right, not a privilege.  Just like firearms ownership.

I doubt I have convinced anyone.  But perhaps I have doled out some food for thought.

And may I point out that the shooters were breaking every law on the books?  The weapons they were using, if they were fully-automatic AK-47s, are completely illegal to possess in California, and illegal to possess in the country without a special ATF license.  Obviously, those who intend evil don’t care about laws.  Surprise!

More About the Incident in San Bernardino

At the time I am posting this, there is information that one of the three shooters in the case is named Syed Farook.  It is clear that this act was carefully planned out, and given the name of the one named shooter it is probable that this is a act of Islamic extremist terrorism.  Why these particular people were targeted is mystifying to me — the best I can come up with is that they were reckoned as “soft targets”, unlikely to fight back effectively.  A preferred state of affairs for any level-headed coward.

But doesn’t this remind anyone of what happened in Paris a couple of weeks ago?  And doesn’t France have strong gun control laws?  It does!  Surprise!  Evil people don’t care about laws.  Pass all you want — they will break every one, without compunction.

 

 

 

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Old But Sad News

In an earlier post, I referred to my wife’s cancer and the good news that it appeared at the time of her colon surgery not to have spread unduly.  Unfortunately, this was incorrect, and her cancer, though slowed down by removal of a large tumor, continued to grow.  Last April a brief hospital visit revealed that it had grown and spread past the point where there was any conventional treatment considered effective enough to make much difference in the outcome.  They said she had perhaps six months left, and this turned out to be an accurate prediction.

She passed away about six weeks ago, in the morning of September 21, 2015, at home, and attended to by me her husband.  She was the center of my life, and now I feel so very centerless.  I will eventually return to some normalcy, but it is as if a great light has gone out in my life.

Life goes on, no matter what.  She said she was worried about me in this, but I will do whatever I can to make her proud of me in how I handle and recover from it.

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The So-called “Gender Pay Gap”

I’m a software developer.  Among software developers we have some superstar programmers, and one of these is Jon Skeet.  Jon has the highest reputation on one of the most influential programming Q & A sites on the net, Stack Overflow, and he has frequently been compared to Chuck Norris in terms of his prowess as a programmer.  Jon’s profile page on StackOverflow: Jon Skeet.

I am happy to say that Jon has finally decided to blog about things other than programming!  He has today posted his second entry on his personal blog, and he picked the title Feminism and Me.  Go check it out: John Skeet’s Blog: Feminism and Me.  I congratulate Jon for his concern for women’s rights, but I don’t think he’s looked at things from all sides.  In a comment, I referred him to an alternative view as expressed by Karen Straughn, a men’s rights advocate: Me, a Feminist?  No way.

I will briefly address one of Jon’s concerns: pay equality.

When it comes to equal pay for equal work, in the USA at least it is illegal to pay women differently just because they are women.  But because women are more likely than a man to stop working in order to raise a family, when they finally return to the workforce they are now working with men (and women!) who never left.  They thus lose out on seniority, and especially in technical occupations (such as computer programming), they have missed out on huge advances and changes in the field.  They thus come back into the workforce having to play enormous amounts of catch-up, and it makes no sense for an employer to pay them the same as if they had never left the field.  This is what actually what causes the so-called “gender pay gap.  Is a woman who stays in her career going to make the same amount of money as a man in the same position in the same company?  Most certainly.

If you know of a situation where a woman is making less than a man who has the same seniority and qualifications, then you know about a situation where the law is being broken.  All you have to do is go find a lawyer who specializes in work-related issues, and sue the company involved.  Or even contact the  government and get them to arrest the nasty perps.

Milo Yiannopolis raises an interesting point when he says that if women were costing their employer’s less money for the same work, why wouldn’t an employer hire ONLY women, just as a cost-cutting measure?  I tried to find the video where he actually says this, but couldn’t locate it.  As a substitute, I thought I would post his very funny video advocating that men be paid more for the same work.  I don’t know if this is supposed to be serious, or he’s being a comedian.  I’m leaning to the latter.  Oh, and by the way, he is gay, and is parodying his own stereotype in the video, not mocking gays:

 

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After the Funeral

I did not post the passing of my sweetheart here on my blog, but I did so on Facebook.  It has since been a very, very busy week and I didn’t have time to post anything, anywhere.  But her funeral was yesterday, and now things have calmed.  In the evening it was time to sleep, but I could not do so immediately.

In the deep of night after my sweetie’s funeral, I needed to express my feelings, and Twitter was the medium. Since not so many follow my Twitter feed, here’s that series of tweets.

  • Today I said a sad au revoir to my sweetheart of 35 years. Her funeral was beautiful and reminds me that the love doesn’t die, but lives on.  (11:39 PM – 26 Sep 2015)
  • Time and disease will no longer touch her! My beloved is free. I follow when my own is time is up, but not soon I hope. So much yet to do… (11:51 PM – 26 Sep 2015)
  • Do you appreciate your beloved? What will you be when he or she is gone? Better love more and complain less! Leave the bickering behind. (12:02 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
  • I’ve lost the light of my life, yet there is no darkness. Her light is now in my heart, where it illuminates my soul! Shine on, my Queen.  (12:19 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
  • Sad to realize that I will miss her more over time, but now she lives in me every day, so I am content.  (12:28 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
  • Poetry? Can’t do it. Song? My throat hurts. Love? I’m swimming in it! My beloved has set sail yet the water is still warm.  (12:43 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
  • 890 Waltraut is an asteroid named for a character in a Wagner opera. I pretend it’s named for my beloved. Contact the IAU!  (12:56 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
  • I thought I watched her breathe her last. I realize now I witnessed the first flight of an angel. Soar high, my love!  (1:03 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
  • I’m tweeting about my beloved. Meet her here: http://www.mikeclark.co/index.php?title=Waltraut_Clark … (1:17 AM – 27 Sep 2015)
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