Category Archives: Culture

Culture for the cultured and uncultured alike.

Rule Five Friday

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (3)Let’s talk about the War on Women.  No, not the infamous, often-abused Democrat claim about Republican policies (or vice versa, as has happened a time or two.)  Instead, let’s talk about the War on Women being conducted by gun-ban advocates.

“Wait, what?” you ask.  Well, have a read of these two articles, both from the Bullets First blog:

Gun Girls of CPAC – Killing the Stereotype

The Brady Campaign’s War on Women

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (1)Money quote from the second article:

The gun is the equalizer that can protect the 100lb girl from the monsters in the night.  From those who would rob innocence and shatter dreams.  The gun levels a playing field for the small and the weak so that we are not a society run by thugs and roving gangs of strong arms.

The Brady Campaign would deny the right of the small to defend themselves against the large.  They would promote reasoning with rabid animals and the moral authority of being raped over killing your rapist.

I would say to use every method possible that would stop one of the most heinous acts from being perpetrated against you.  If you think that the Yale study and the ISP advice is sound I won’t advise against it, it might work.  But I KNOW that 3 shots to the chest with a .45 will work.  If I were a woman I would prefer to have to deal with the fact that I put down 2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (2)a rabid animal than I would dealing with the fact that that animal raped me.

And that, True Believers, is the whole point.

As a CCW permit holder who carries regularly as I go about my daily business, I am on occasion drawn into the conversation about the merits of carrying a concealed handgun, and the likelihood of it one day saving my or someone else’s life.   Two common comments arise:

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (4)Comment: “You know, that gun won’t protect you in every situation.”

Reply:  “That’s true – but it will protect me in many situations, and if I don’t have one, it won’t protect me in any situation.”

Comment:  “I’d be afraid someone would get my gun away from me and kill me with it.”

Reply:  “If I’m ever killed with my own gun, they’ll have to beat me to death with it, because it will sure as hell be empty.”

My own dear Mrs Animal – a small, middle-aged, visibly disabled woman who always has a firearm and usually a blade of some kind concealed about her person – is even more adamant about it, agreeing strongly with the statement above that “3 shots to the chest with a .45,” or in her case, a .380 or a .40 S&W, will sure as hell stop an attacker.

2014_03_14_Rule Five Friday (5)It’s baffling why anyone could make the case for a policy that denies women the choice to defend themselves with the only completely effective tool for the job – the only one that will enable a small, disabled, middle-aged woman to defend herself against a six-foot, twenty year old, male attacker.

Do they truly, as BulletsFirst observes, believe a woman that attempts to foil a rapist with urine, defecation or vomit – or a woman who just submits – is morally superior than a woman who effectively and decisively defends herself with deadly force?

It’s hard to draw any other conclusion.  Fortunately, every year more and more women are calling “bullshit!”

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Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Another Monday after another plane ride; another week ahead in the Arctic environs of the upper Midwest.  We could really use a little of that global warming right now.

This appeared yesterday from the inestimable Dave Barry:  Dave Barry’s Manliness Manifesto.  Excerpt:

But the point is, these pioneering men did not do “crunches.” These men crunched the damn continent—blazing trails, fording rivers, crossing mountain ranges, building log cabins, forging things with forges, etc. We modern men can’t do any of those things. We don’t have the vaguest idea how to ford a river. We’d check our phones to see if we had a fording app and, if not, we’d give up, go back home and work on our cores.

We American men have lost our national manhood, and I say it’s time we got it back. We need to learn to do the kinds of manly things our forefathers knew how to do. To get us started, I’ve created a list of some basic skills that every man should have, along with instructions. You may rest assured that these instructions are correct. I got them from the Internet.

This is a matter that has perplexed yr. obdt. for some time, in spite of personally having maintained a tight connection with the Manly Arts, and not just on the one week a year when loyal sidekick Rat and I head to the mountains to do battle with antlered ungulates.  A man should know how to do certain things:  Catch fish, operate heavy equipment, use a rifle, shotgun and handgun, start a fire without matches or lighter.  A man should be able to change a tire.  He should be able to jump start a car.  He should be able to drive a manual transmission vehicle.  He should now how to find his way in the woods without a GPS device.

Mr. Barry is right to decry the loss of manly skills, but there are still a lot of us out there who maintain them; Brad Paisley said it best:

Rule Five Friday

2014_02_14_Rule Five Friday (1)A couple of tidbits to accompany some warming totty on this frigid Midwestern Friday; first:  Boulder (CO) Considers Banishing People Who “Make Trouble.” Excerpt:

Taking inspiration from Shakespeare, a Boulder city councilman has suggested “banishing” chronic scofflaws creating a nuisance in parks around the city’s municipal buildings.

Councilman Macon Cowles said in an email to his colleagues that the idea came to him while “my mind wandered” and he wondered what The Bard had to say about crime and social misbehavior.

Quoting extensively from Romeo and Juliet, Cowles makes the argument that banishing people from Boulder for the same amount of time they might be incarcerated for minor crimes would not only save taxpayers money, but might be more effective at preventing future crimes.

2014_02_14_Rule Five Friday (2)“It seems a double hit that citizens should have to endure repeated acts of criminal behavior that are peculiarly offenses against the people who live here, and then, adding a financial penalty to the insult that has been afflicted, to pay the high expense of incarceration,” he wrote.

In Colorado, for at least the last 25 years that yr. obdt. has resided in that state, Boulder is commonly referred to as “seven square miles surrounded by reality.”  (Also “the People’s Republik of Boulder,” for 2014_02_14_Rule Five Friday (3)different reasons.)  This is a good example of Boulder’s own particular style of wonderful nuttiness; the city never ceases to amuse.

But there’s a darker side to the Councilman’s thinking.  Consider it; Councilman Cowles isn’t terribly worried about solving the problem of society’s chronic misbehaviors; he’s just concerned with exporting them.  It’s the NIMBY attitude taken to an illogical extreme.

Now, while we’re on the subject of nutbars:  Iran:  We’re Ready for ‘Decisive Battle’ with Israel, U.S.  Excerpt:

In the latest in a series of warnings against the US, Iran’s chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi warned the Islamic republic’s foes that Iran is prepared for a “decisive battle” if attacked.

“We are ready for the decisive battle with America and the Zionist regime (Israel),” Fars news agency quoted Firouzabadi as saying Wednesday.

2014_02_14_Rule Five Friday (4)He also warned neighboring nations not to allow any attack to be launched on Iran from their soil.

“We do not have any hostility toward regional states, but if we are ever attacked from the American bases in the region we will strike that area back,” he said.

Let’s be honest; the only thing decisive about a battle between Iran on the one hand and the United States and Israel on the other would be the decisive speed in which the Iranians get their collective asses handed to them – in thin slices.

2014_02_14_Rule Five Friday (5)Even after two rounds of severe military draw-downs from our Cold War height, the United States still has a unilateral dominance on military power not seen on the planet since the collapse of the Roman Empire.  Iran’s leaders are good at making bombastic pronouncements for the benefit of regime loyalists, but they aren’t complete imbeciles – the last thing they’ll do is to engage the U.S. head-on.  They will continue in their role as the leading national sponsor of Islamic terror; they will continue developing nuclear weapons, and odds are better than even that they’ll use those nukes, somewhere, one way or another, at a time of their own choosing.

That’s the scenario that we should be preparing for.

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Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Happy Hump Day!

This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson:  A Beat-up, Exhausted, and Terrified Republican Establishment.  Excerpt:

On almost every contemporary issue there is a populist, middle-class argument to be made against elite liberalism. Yet the Republican class in charge seems ossified in its inability to make a counter-argument for the middle class. Never has the liberal agenda been so vulnerable, a logical development when bad ideas have had five years to prove themselves as very bad ideas. When Obama is all done he will have taken high presidential popularity ratings, a supermajority in the Senate, and a large margin in the House and lost them all — if only the Republicans can make an adequate case that they represent the middle class, the Democrats only the very wealthy and the very dependent.

The thing is this:  I’m not all that sure that the Republicans really do represent the middle class any more.  I’m not sure anyone does.  The Democrats sure as hell don’t; they represent an odd coalition ranging from radical environmentalists, the Occupy Wall Street nutbars, and the San Francisco latte socialists to labor-union activists and a few last old Truman blue-collar Democrats.  The GOP struggles to gather in what someone a few years back called the “Sam’s Club” Republicans – the small business, entrepreneur folks, the people that drive real economic growth.  But they aren’t doing a very good job of that, either.

Dual-BearsA big part of the GOP’s problem is their failure to adjust to a generational shift in attitudes.  The up-and-coming generation is open to the Republican’s low-tax, small government message, but is resistant to the party’s social wing, which insists on government interference into other aspects of people’s lives.

It’s a pretty problem, and one that neither party seems to be able to wrap their brains around.  Whichever one does first – and the GOP seems to hold an edge on the growing libertarian population – will have a majority advantage for some time to come.

Tuesday Movie Review

Sensei

One of my favorite things about Japan.

First of all, thanks to the Other McCain and The Daley Gator for the Rule Five linkage!  Be sure to check both sites for extensive collections of Rule Five linkery.

So, something a little different today.   Having spent some time in Japan, working, making friends and absorbing the culture, one of the things I’ve noticed is the tendency to animate movies and series that Americans would produce with live actors.  Japanese animated media – “anime,” for those who aren’t familiar with the term – runs the gamut of most media, from truly awful to entertaining to deeply thoughful.  Mamoru Hosada’s feature film Wolf Children is one of the latter.

Wolf Children IThe primary character is a college girl, Hana, who meets and falls in love with a rather strange young man.  Kare slips into college classes, listens and takes notes, but is not enrolled in the school.  He works for a moving company, lifting and carrying boxes, and in so doing amasses a formidable series of observations on human families and human behavior.

Finally, as their relationship deepens, he reveals to Hana that he is in fact a wolf that can take human form.  The Western term would be “werewolf,” but Kare is not a vicious monster, but rather a rather gentle-natured, affectionate man who occasionally has to let his feral nature hold sway, shift to his wolf form and hunt, pheasants seeming to be his preferred prey.

Wolf Children IIThe two have two children, a girl, Yuki, and a boy, Ame.  Shortly after Ame is born, Kare dies, apparently killed in an accident while in wolf form and carted away by a garbage service – after all, to their knowledge he was just a dead dog.  Hana is left to raise two strange children on her own.

Strange children they are indeed – half human, half wolf, with a decided tendency to flip back and forth between the two at inopportune moments.  After a brush with child services and several uncomfortable encounters with other families, Hana leaves Tokyo and takes the children to an old, run-down house in the mountains, far from the city.  There, she hopes, the children can grown into their unusual natures in their own ways.  “If you could only be one thing, would you want to be human,” she asks them at one point, “or wolf?  I want you to have that choice.”

It is the growth of the children, and that inevitable choice, that makes up the balance of the story.  The tale has many facets; the growing acceptance and affection shown to Hana and the children by the local farming families and residents of the small nearby village, the experiences the children have in the small local school, their exploration of both aspects of their unusual heritage.Wolf Children III

It ends up as a beautiful coming-of-age story, showcasing the children’s transitions – somewhat predictably, one goes in each direction, human and wolf.  It is also a compelling illustration of the difficulty parents can have adjusting to their children’s choices, and to their growing maturity.

Wolf Children is probably Mamoru Hosada’s masterpiece.  It is interesting, touching, engaging, and has that best of all movie features, a happy ending.  Check out the trailer, and enjoy the film – it’s well worth the watch.

Rule Five Friday

2014_01_321_Rule Five Friday (1)Let’s talk about marriage.  Not specifically gay marriage, or non-gay marriage, or plural marriage, or interspecies marriage; just…  marriage.

Let’s start with this, an idea I’ve given some thought to myself over the years:  Get The State Out of Marriage.  Relevant excerpt:

In Oklahoma this past Friday, State Representative Mike Turner boldly challenged, “whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all.” He floated a bill that would remove the state’s role of licensing matrimony. This was in response to a recent court order that strikes down Oklahoma’s definition of marriage as traditional one-man-one-woman.

Think about that for a moment.  Take your time, I’ll wait right here.

Ready?  Let’s move on.

Rather than defend the status quo, I’ll take a different tack; what good reasons are there for government to be involved in marriage?  I can think of one; marriage has a legal component to it, in that it is 2014_01_321_Rule Five Friday (2)a contract between competent, capable adults.  (Normally a man and a woman, but that perception is somewhat in flux at the moment.)   Now, contracts are written and agreed to between competent parties all the time without government involvement; government generally only becomes involved when one or more parties violates the term of the agreement in some way or another.

How is government involved in marriage?  In one primary way:  the issue of marriage licenses, usually at the county level.  Why do we need a license – in essence, permission from the county government – to get married?

Many, many years ago, when I was a little tad, we lived on a farm near Fairbank, Iowa.  Our neighbors were an older couple, Grace and Brownie, who formed a treasured extra pair of surrogate grandparents for me.  I have a distinct memory of sitting with my mother in Grace and Brownie’s kitchen listening to Brownie, a stubborn, no-nonsense WW1 veteran and lifelong farmer, talk about 2014_01_321_Rule Five Friday (3)his pursuit of a building permit to extend one of his farm buildings.  Most of all I remember his lament that “these days you have to get a permit from the county to take a shit.”

That was in the late Sixties.  Things have not improved since that time.

One could make an argument for building codes and the concomitant permits to make sure that those codes are adhered to, especially for commercial buildings.  But marriage?

Removing government from the business of marriage makes a great deal of sense.  It would make no inroads on the religious observation of marriage.  Churches of all sorts could go right on conducting marriages exactly as they do now, with a little less paperwork.  It would make no inroad on the secular observation of marriage.  People who are not religious (like me) could conduct any type of ceremony or observation that suits them.  Would some people forgo marriage altogether?  Probably, yes; some people already do.  The numerator may change some, but the denominator remains the same.2014_01_321_Rule Five Friday (4)

Here’s the real rub, though, and this is why advocacy of this could be a winner for the slowly-growing libertarian wing of the GOP:  Removing government from the business of marriage removes the thorny issue of gay marriage from the debate.

“But Animal,” you might ask, “doesn’t that open the door for all sorts of domestic arrangements?  Doesn’t that open the door to polygamy, polyandry, and all sorts of other polys?

My reply:  “Well, sure.  But if government isn’t involved in the licensing of domestic arrangements at all, what changes?  People all over are free to indulge in those kinds of domestic arrangements now, they just can’t get a license from the county to formalize it.  And why should they?”

2014_01_321_Rule Five Friday (5)My take on social issues of this sort is based on one simple principle:  I don’t give a damn what people do, as long as they leave me alone.

Now, I’m about as heterosexual as you can get, in case you hadn’t figured that out from my penchant for Rule Five cheesecake.  I like women, and to my very good fortune women have always liked me.  (Mrs. Animal most of all.)  It’s beyond my capacity to understand why a man would be sexually attracted to another man.  But then, it’s beyond my capacity to understand why people like watching football on television.  And that’s OK; the fact that other people do those things doesn’t affect me.  It doesn’t affect my marriage.  It doesn’t affect my life.  It doesn’t affect me if two men, or two women, or three men and five women, or two men and a rosebush want to live together and call it “marriage.”

I know there are religious objections to gay marriage; I’m not religious and I don’t share them, but I acknowledge the depth of conviction of people who do hold those views.  This proposal can easily address that as well.  Churches that object to gay marriage should be free to refuse to conduct them.

Removing the licensing requirement from the equation removes the controversy.  It’s a good idea.  This Oklahoma proposal should be taken on the road.

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