Leany on Life -- July 2011

On This Day in History

Meanwhile, over in an Alternate Universe

All improvement involves change, but . . .
If you're a programmer and you write an amazing program you just worked yourself out of a job.

So what do you do? Sure, there are always other applications to be written, but here's the deal: You have 382 programs on your computer. 90% of the time you use five of them.

So anyone on the team that made a word processor, spreadsheet, graphics program, browser, or presentation software, is unemployed the second the software launches. Wait, there is one thing to do.


If you didn't just shudder at that word I am deeply honored that your very first day using a computer you chose to read my blog.

To anyone who's used a computer more than 17 seconds, updates is a foul word that will get you shot in any civilized society. That's because update is the industry term for an operation that takes a perfectly functional program and makes it unusable. In the entire history of computers there have only been three updates that weren't worse than the previous version. In a completely unrelated story, all three of the programmers that did those have disappeared.

I thought I got it. It's just programmers justifying their existence. So when I saw this cartoon:

I thought "Eh . . " and deleted it.

But this morning I spent two hours putting together a document using Windows 7 and Office Suite 2010. This is a document that would have taken 10 minutes with Windows XP and Office 2003. Not only did I lose 1 hour and 50 minutes of productivity, I was ready to kill something when I got through. So that wrecked my attitude for the entire day. Now I've wasted more time whining to you about it.

Plus, the document was total crap when I was done. I would have been hours ahead printing every single picture and using flour paste to arrange them on a page. The program has been rendered completely useless. Just impossible to use.

Multiply that stifling of productivity by the number of people using those awful programs right now. Seriously, do you think that kind of sabotage comes about by accident?

You're using a program, it's working fine, everything is in a logical place and does what you expect, then it's time for an update. The new version is harder to use, some things you could do you simply cannot do any more, and everything takes more clicks or is hidden in someplace that makes no sense. But you get used to it.

Then it's time for an update. Repeat the above. It's worse than the last version, but not that much worse (unless you went from Office 2003 to Office 2007, WTH?!). You get used to it; it becomes the new standard. You get caught in an twisted condition where you long for the last rev, which you hated because it sucked so much worse than the one before that. The accumulation of all those "little bit worse" things result in you now spending twice as much time to accomplish half as much.

Maybe it is an accident rather than a conspiracy, but if you wanted to grind America to a halt, you couldn't do it more effectively than software updates have done.

Continued below
(Best viewed with a mind not clouded by the Kool-Aid)

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What to do until the Blog arrives

The Litter-ature novel is here. I update it regularly--every time Rosario Dawson tackles me and sticks her tongue in my ear.

Amazing Grace Choral Arrangement New!

Jordan's Eagle Project.

LoL Cartoons

Logic Primer

Duke Boys Car Chase

Pipe Intersections

Gymkhana Practice

Programmable Calendar

Compass Course Spreadsheet

Complete Orienteering Course Files Updated!

Things you may not know about Sarah Palin

Handy Units Conversion Utility

Amazing Grace on the Sax

Obama's Magic 8 Ball


The John Galt Society

It can be discouraging to look around at who's running the show these days and wonder "Where have all the grown-ups gone?"

Take heart. There are still some people who are not drinking the Kool-aid. Here's where to find them. I would suggest going gown this list every day and printing off the most recent articles you haven't read to read over lunch.

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin is a feisty conservative bastion. You loved her book "Unhinged" and you can read her columns here.
Ann Coulter

Ann posts her new column every Thursday, or you can browse her past columns.
George Will
What can you say? It's George Will. Read it.
Charles Krauthammer posts every Friday. Just a good, smart conservative columnist.
If you want someone who gets it just as right, but is easier to read, try Thomas Sowell, who just posts at random times.
Jonah Goldbert seldom disappoints.
David Limbaugh carries on the family tradition.

Jewish World Review has all these guys plus lots more good stuff.

Or you can go to radio show sites like
 Laura Ingraham's or Glenn Beck's or Rush Limbaugh's..

If you'd like you can study The Constitution while you wait.

Then there's always TownHall.com, NewsMax.com, The Drudge Report, FreeRepublic.com, World Net Daily, (which Medved calls World Nut Daily), News Busters, or National Review Online.

For the Lighter Appetite

If you have to read the news, I recommend The Nose on Your Face, news so fake you'd swear it came from the Mainstream Media. HT to Sid for the link.
Or there's always The Onion. (For the benefit of you Obama Supporters, it's a spoof.)

Dave Barry's Column
Daryl Cagle's Index of Political Cartoons
About half of these cartoonists are liberal (Latin for wrong) but the art is usually good. (Fantastic, if you're used to the quality of art on this site.)

Or just follow the links above and to the right of this section (you can't have read all my archived articles already). If you have read all my articles (you need to get out more) go to my I'm Not Falling For It section.

Above all, try to stay calm. Eventually I may post something again.

Today's Second Amendment Message

Earlier Blogs

Obama's America

It's a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.

It's Thursday
You know what that means. Read Ann Coulter's column.

Some Like it Hot
I was listening to the news yesterday and they were talking about how hot it is in various places around the country. How hot was it? Uh . . . I can't tell you the actual temperature, because they didn't tell me. My memory may be failing me, but I don't recall ever hearing the weather reported in "heat index."

Remember the good old days when liars were clever?

Metaphor of the day
Lakers fans are funny people. The Lakers spend the entire night playing dirty basketball. Then when Kolbe Bryant flagrantly fouls a Jazz player and starts acting like he's been mortally wounded, the Lakers fans go berserk. "Did you see that?! The Jazz are evil!"

Neither I nor any of the Lakers fans has the least control over the outcome of the game. None. But I can vigorously support the Jazz to make the Lakers fans crazy for my own entertainment.

It's just like sticking firecrackers in a frog's mouth—just getting my jollies by torturing God's inferior creatures that have limited mental capacity.

In a completely unrelated story, a friend of a friend posted an article about the debt ceiling charade with the comment that it's obvious the Republicans have always wanted America to be a third world country. This is somewhat cheaper, but no less effective, than wearing a neon sign that says "I'm a blind, rabid partisan nincompoop with no capacity to think for myself."

So I responded with a jab just to test the waters. Honest to Earnhardt, I swear I thought he was on my side. The only reason a rational human being would say outrageous, ridiculous things like that would be to make fun of the demorats. But he immediately came back with his Lakers fan bon-fides. "Well, blah-blah-blah blobbety-blah Bush blobbety-blah!"

I checked this morning and apparently he spent all night looking up and posting articles that "support" his point of view.

My work is done here.

Guess what?
I had a moment of enlightenment. It occurred to me that the more momentous the topic I cover the more boring my commentary is. I should resolve to only discuss light, entertaining topics.

I should do a lot of things . . .

The Ninety and Nine
"You aren't acting very Christian." This is an accusation that comes in very handy if you're trying to take advantage of someone.

Orson Scott Card and others have done the wording much better than I will, but people who are trying to take advantage of me suddenly become experts in the constraints my Christian faith puts on me.

This is a continuation of my rant about "I'm not going to apologize for being better than scumbags." Here's the deal: Your whole life you've heard about how God loves everyone, how we should turn the other cheek, how we should love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully (sic) use us. That side is pretty well covered, so I'm here to discuss the contrasting viewpoint you don't hear in Sunday School. That's just the kind of service I provide.

The way I understand it, the Gospel teaches that:

  1. You should strive for perfection in all things. You should obey the law, observe certain standards of conduct, fulfill your obligations, abstain from certain things . . .
  2. If you do, you are inferior to the people that aren’t doing that.

My daughter pointed this out years ago when a little girl in her class got all the attention because she was being bad. Whenever Abigayle did the least little thing right she got praised up and down. My daughter felt somewhat less than motivated to be good, since all her efforts to do a lot of great things got less praise than Abigayle's minuscule efforts to do anything that wasn't pure evil.

This double standard is the same sort of concept as the disparity in who the law has the most effect on. Think about it: The law has the least effect on the people that most need to be governed by it. You know the deal: "When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns."

You have to have insurance on your car. That's the law. Then they add another law that says you have to carry insurance to cover the people who are disobeying the law by not having insurance. So by obeying the law you get punished twice because it's no use to go after someone who won't obey the law.

So that's how it works. It's the same deal as "animal rights" activists that pick on rich ladies wearing fur instead of bikers wearing leather. And you never see the producers of the Broadway play "The Book of Mormon" poking fun at Muslims. That's because they know Mormons aren't going to cut their head off.

To the person who's inclined to obey The Law, the idea that their violation of the societal code will be a stain on their integrity is a motivation to behave. The person who has no integrity doesn't give crap one. That's the kind of person the judge tells "I told you to do something and you didn't do it. If you continue to disobey me I'll have no choice but to tell you again!"

To you or me the threat of prison is a great motivator. To the scumbag, prison is probably a better place than where he's living, the landlord doesn't constantly harass him about paying the rent, plus, all his friends are there.

For Example
It's a funny thing. Let's say, just to pull a random example out of thin air, that someone has a rental property. The Law says that the renter should follow the contract. This includes paying the rent on time, not allowing smoking or drinking, not moving your boyfriend in with you or turning the garage into a commercial body shop.

That's what The Law says, but the renter figures she doesn't have to do that.

So then The Law says that she has three days to get into compliance or move out. Again, the renter figures what's the law but just a bunch of words? It doesn't govern her behavior.

So then the judge issues an order that no, seriously, she has to move out. He tells her that she has five days.

When the Landlord goes over to finalize everything, all of a sudden the renter becomes a big believer in The Law. "The Law says that I can stay here until my five days are up!"

Free Agency
The new Harry Potter movie is coming out. When you put down the seventh book and walk out of the eighth movie, the most valuable thing you take away from the whole experience may be what the sorting hat told Harry:

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

This is a continuation of the topic in a previous last blog where I said that I don't want kids that can do no wrong. I want kids that are capable of doing wrong, but choose not to. I stole the wording from The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. I read it years ago and have never forgotten his observations about dependency.

When a woman can't live without you that's not love—it's parasitism. You want a woman that is perfectly capable of living without you, but chooses not to.

ADD Moment—queue theme music . . .
Do you notice a pattern here? From everything I take away one and only one thing. From all of Harry Potter I remember the line about choices. From the whole durn M. Scott Peck book I remember the line about parasitism.

Maybe not entirely true—I can quote line after line from Fletch, Days of Thunder, and The Great Santini . . .

This concept of choice vs. nature is one that Hugh Nibley addressed. He talked about the reward being related to the challenge. What virtue is there in being good if you have no temptation?1 If you are not capable of doing wrong, what is the merit when you do good?

Even before I heard the Nibley talk, the seeds of this concept were nurtured in my brain when I read this excellent article by the always insightful Marianne Jennings.

Over the years I have referred to President Clinton as President Lite, a hoser, and a yahoo. I offer my apologies to readers everywhere for my mischaracterizations. He is actually a lying weasel with the libido of a bull elk.
(See? After all these years I remembered that one line, too.)

I laughed when I read that, and she makes a good point (as she always does). But as a man I was a little bit offended. To say Bill Clinton has a very active libido is to give him way too much credit. A Millions of men have healthy libidos, but they choose to control it like men instead of letting it control them like animals.

1 Please don't confuse this with placing yourself in temptation's way. That's just stupid.

True story: I had a girlfriend who had a guy and take her out parking on a lonely road late one night. He said—I couldn't make this stuff up—"We have to test ourselves, Melinda. It's just like exercise, we have to take ourselves to the limit to make us strong."

Seriously . . . how farfetched can you . . . ?

Wait . . . come to think of it, although that line didn't entirely work that time, bless his heart, he kept at it and ended up getting what he was after. That may be one reason she's not Mrs. Leany and one reason I have a deep and abiding distrust of all humankind.

Choices Redux
Every person is a unique combination of what he was born with and what he has developed. Take some guy who has won the genetic lottery. He's been brimming with testosterone right from the womb. He's got Adonis-like good looks, lightning reflexes, perfect eyesight, and anything he eats immediately turns into muscle--you know, the guy by the pool at Julia's mom's apartment complex. He's probably pretty proud of himself.

But why? What did he do to get what he's got? If anything he should be proud of God and maybe a little bit grateful.

A CO once told me he'd rather have a Marine that drags himself over the finish line dead last puking his guts out than the one who broke the course record without breaking a sweat.

But what does the Marine have that caused him to drag himself puking over the finish line? Is that character trait inherent quality not a choice?

When something happens to a person you sometimes say "Well, now we get to see what he's made of." You see what's he's made of by the choices that he makes in response to what happened. So he's making choices, but if those choices are based on "what he's made of . . . " Well, you can see where that goes . . . or doesn't go . . . or . . . whatever.

You know how your injured thumb is the one that always gets bumped? So I'm thinking on all this and Sunday night I was reading a book on philosophy. Just an aside (inside an ADD moment wrapped in an enigma): Books on philosophy are not the best things to read when you're depressed. I would recommend something more like "The Midnight Disease." Anyway, this book got into pre-determination and philosophical regressus.

Atlas is holding the world, what is holding Atlas?
He's standing on a turtle.
And what's holding up the turtle?
Another turtle.
And that turtle?
It's turtles, turtles, turtles, all the way down.
In a happenstance, that very Sunday the talks were on the Word of Wisdom. A couple of people talked about how some choices take away other choices. They talked about how drug addiction chemically alters the brain chemistry and changes our very ability to make choices. That's why drug addicts, who really truly honestly love their children with all their heart, will put their children in harm's way to get a fix.

So what is the substance of us and what is our choice? Where is that line? Body chemistry has effects on at least how easy it is to make certain choices; in some cases whether or not we're even capable of those choices. Depression is real. Sometimes a person may not be lazy, they may just be exhausted and the minimal things they do require much more exertion than the fantastic things you accomplish.

But now I'm just rambling . . .

And finally . . .
Choice is what makes America great, you get what you choose. We chatted about this . . . well, I did do most of the talking. But think about this: Sharing is a beautiful thing in America because we choose to share. How much virtue is there in sharing when you have no choice?

Socialism forces you to share – and that's why it doesn't happen. America is probably the most generous country in the world. The socialists would have you think that it's evil to not have the government compel the re-distribution of wealth. That is exactly the opposite of the truth. It's not only evil for the government to compel that, it actually results in less help ending up with those who are in need.

But that doesn't keep that side from braying about it. It just supports Bastiat's observation that the liberal says that when we oppose government doing something we oppose the thing itself.

You know the story about the Pre-existence where the two plans were presented. One third of the hosts of Heaven chose Lucifer's plan of Socialism. One third of the group chose Free Agency.

The final third said "That Lucifer guy makes a lot of sense, but I'll bet we can make a buck off of these free agency morons."

And that's where you get your lawyers and democrats.

All are Equal in God's Sight
Democracy. Equality. What great ideals. What American ideals. No man is above another; no man is below another.

Imagine your basic loser, covered in tattoos and body piercings, walking down the sidewalk prowling for his next score of drugs or some slut stupid enough to bed him down. He's on the sidewalk 'cause he's seven weeks behind on his rent and—you know the rules—if he can just make it to the first of next month without making eye contact with the landlord he doesn't have to pay the rent. Any money he does happen to come across he's saving for another huge tattoo of a skull on his back. What's this? There's a cigarette butt on the sidewalk with another good 1/2" of smoke left on it. It's his lucky day!

You know, God loves him just as much as He loves you.

So what?

Love for the unlovable is a sentiment that flows very easily from the lips of people who have no skin in the game. But what does that phrase mean, functionally? If you're trying to convince me that I should love this guy, why don't you let him live rent free in your house? Why don't you give him the keys to your car and your credit card? Why don't you let him date your daughter?

Functionally those words don't mean jack.

My concern, since I don't have to worry about God loving me, is behaving in a way that pleases people whose good opinion I have to earn.

The losers have God's love going for them, so they don't need me to give a crap about whether they live or die. And I don't. I'd be happy to just ignore them like other insects that don't affect me. Until they do affect me. Or until someone tries to tell me that I have to modify my life to accommodate these people's bad choices.

If you have to circle the thesis sentence of this piece, get your pencil ready. I will never apologize for being superior to certain people.

Every day the news is dominated by moms who allow their boyfriends to abuse their children, gang bangers who terrorize neighborhoods, drug addicts who resort to any means to get money for their habit . . . If you are trying to convince me that these wastes of skin have any value compared to people to love and support their families and make good choices, you are either stupid or evil.

Write it Right
Wording is important. Here's one: All accused are innocent until proven guilty. Bullcrap. All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They don't suddenly become guilty once the evidence is revealed. The presumption of innocence is a beautiful and fundamental principle of our system, and mis-stating it screws it all up.

Equality is another of those terms. All men are not equal. The Declaration of Independence never talks about the inalienable right to Happiness. It talks about the Pursuit of Happiness being a God-given right. The beauty of America is equal opportunity. The fact that there are losers and winners is exactly what makes the American system such a marvel.

If the system prevented anyone from losing it would also prevent anyone from winning. People are rewarded based on their choices. That's how the system maintains itself. Were there no advantage to making good choices, why would anyone go to the extra bother?

Wham! Did you see that? I just hit the wall. I never see it coming. I'll be pontificating along and all of a sudden—bored! I hit this giant wall that says "If anybody cared they'd have already taken the trouble to work it out. If they don't, all my bloviating won't change that."

True Confessions
"I've done some bad things in my life." It's a cliché. You always wonder if the person saying it is bragging or complaining.

God's honest truth, I've done less 'bad things' than most people. But I have done things I'm ashamed of. The one thing that keeps me awake at night is this: I didn't spend enough time training my children--passing on to them the skills they need to succeed in life.

The Spartans raised their kids with no lenience and no tolerance for weakness. What they demanded of their children seemed to be cruel. But they did it because the Spartans understood that to be soft on their children early was to condemn them to death in battle later.

Have I adequately prepared my children for the battles they are about to face?

That's what tortures me every moment of my life.

Just rambling now
I heard an analogy on writing once that compared composition to cooking an important meal. (The analogy was talking about "for your husband's boss." The important meals I cook are done on a barbecue grill.) You work hard to get everything just right, but the peas turn out bad. You've worked so hard to prepare them and cook them that you can't stand to throw them out. So you serve them.

And they ruin the whole meal.

When you're writing you become emotionally attached to your phrases. You raise them from the kernel of an idea into actual sentences. So you hate to discard them. But if you don't they ruin the whole piece.

So I don't discard them, I just collect them in the next post so they don't distract from the impact of the earlier one. Here are the discarded scraps from the last post:

I suck at an astonishing variety of things. But the most important thing I suck at is being a parent.

Hold these two thoughts in your mind simultaneously: I suck at being a parent, but I'm not a bad parent. I'm a good dad. I love my kids. Never in the history of kids has a parent loved his kids more than I love my kids.

I have the underlying devotion, but I suck at the practice of being a parent because of execution--or lack of it. I understand on an intellectual level what the Spartans knew, but I seem to be incapable of translating it into practice.

My wife encapsulated the problem once when I was cleaning up after a camping trip. She pointed out that I always involve the kids in the fun part but I always do the work alone.

And on the topic of me not really doing that much bad stuff in my life . . . I'm proud that I haven't fallen into a lot of the traps people typically do. But I hope that I've done it because of foresight and wisdom. I would hate to think that I've done it because I'm timid and not an independent thinker. That would make me easily manipulated. "What? You say God says I'm not supposed to do that? Okay, I won't do that."

I have good kids. I have really good kids. They typically make really good choices. But I would never say "My child would never do that!" A child that doesn't have the creativity or boldness to do bad things doesn't have the wherewithal to do good things, either. I want children who are capable of doing bad things, but choose not to.

Reprieve for my Reader
I have two blogs in the works . . . well, more like a dozen or so, but two that might actually get posted. But they are intensely boring, in spite of—or more likely because of—being heartfelt.

All bad poetry springs from true emotion.

So I figured I'd just post something actually entertaining.

This faux news story about Activists Missing after Declaring "War on Leather" at Motorcycle Rally ties into Ann Coulter's latest column about what pansies (she might have used a different word) liberals are.

Yeah, I don't like her new format as much, either. In a kind of cosmic maneuver, I just got a new computer with Windows 7. I do understand why programmers do it, but I'll always hate that every upgrade you ever get screws up the things you liked the most about the last version of the software (which was a cluster brawl compared to the version previous to that).

I miss being able to print actual color on my expensive color printer . . .

General Obama Bashing on the Economy

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