You’ll probably need to mow tomorrow or the next day

This morning I wondered what the terror alert level was – orange, yellow, blue? It looks like that color-coded “Homeland Security Advisory System” was replaced in 2011 with the National Terrorism Advisory System. There are no current advisories.

I would have expected that someone would have moved the threat level to Blue and then retired, and it would have stayed Blue until the Supreme Court in 2080 ruled 74 to 51 that it had always been Green. So clearly in this case I was too pessimistic.

Happy second of July!

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore, photographed by Pjuskline

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions: Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing: Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations: All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times. Sirach 44:1-7, KJV

“The Elephant in the Room”

A few years ago in a liberal Episcopal church the sermon began, “Today I’m going to talk about the elephant in the room.” I wondered which elephant — Divorce, “vice,” materialism, hedonism? Pride, envy, anger, acedia? There are a lot of elephants, and one might miss the biggest, especially if one were sitting right on top of it, secure in one’s howdah, especially if one were me.

It was none of these. The elephant in the room was racism, the priest said. I thought, “Pretty sure that’s not the elephant,” but having heard that sermon several (dozen) times at several different churches, I tuned out and looked at the statues and stained glass. They date from maybe the late 1800s, and are edifying in their own right. That particular preacher has moved on. As far as I know the statuary and glass is all still there.

Screwtape writes to Wormwood,

“The use of Fashions in thought is to distract the attention of men from their real dangers. We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running around with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under.” — The Screwtape Letters, in The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics, page 258 by C.S. Lewis, seen here

Whatever it is, if every preacher in the land is condemning it from the pulpit, it’s not our besetting sin.

Flatland: a dialogue

A: “How about this one?”

B: “Oh come on! It’s missing a whole side. One, two, three, and what? Where’s the fourth side, Einstein?

A, pointing: “Right there.”

B: “You already counted that one. You need to add another side”

A: “It’s a triangle. If you add another side how’s it gonna be, you know, a triangle?

B: “You don’t really want the people to have a proper four-sided triangle, do you?”

A: “I take second place to nobody in my desire for a four-sided triangle in every, uh…”

B: “Cupboard.”

A: “Sure. I understand our pressing need for a true four-sided triangle better than you! But I recognize that it must be both triangular and four-sided! It’s your crazy insistence on all these extra sides that keeps us from having what we both agree is essential.”

C: “Guys! Guys! By definition a triangle has three sides! There cannot possibly be a four-sided triangle.”

A: “Shut up! You’re a bigot, you Nazi!”

B: “Yeah! This is America, you communist! Anybody can have anything with enough hard work!

C: But see, if it’s a triangle, it necessarily has three sides. If it has four sides, it’s not a triangle.”

B: “Shut up! We voted!

A: “Shut up! The law is settled!”

D: “Hi guys! I am a four-sided triangle.”

B: “Uh, wait…”

D: “You’re not a bigot, are you?”

B: “No! Not at all! You’re totally a four-sided triangle. I see that now!”

D: “How about you? You kind of look like a bigot to me…”

A: “No, not at all! Hmm, well, maybe there’s a conservative case to be made…”

D: “‘Maybe’?”

A: “Got it right here: The Conservative Case for…”

D: “Yeah, fine whatever. Shut up and drink you beer, bigot.”

A: “Hey! No fair…”

B: “Now, next on the agenda: the seed corn. The research says we should eat it today. My reactionary friend wants to burn it next week. ”

C: “Well, …”

B: “Shut up, bigot!”

A: “Let’s hire a consultant.”

B: “This one!”

A: “No, this one!”

B: “He’s a Putin stooge.~

A: “You’re a Putin stooge.”

B: “You’re the stooge!”

A: “Okay, stop. We need to do the work of the people who elected us. Let’s eat some and burn the rest, 80:30.”

B: “No, 70:40”

C: “Uh, guys…”

A: “Quisling!”

B: “Irridentist! ”

A: “Revanchist”

B: “Falangist!”

A: “Scab!”

B: “Blackleg!”

A: “Solidarity forever!”

B: “Union makes us strong!”

A: “Wait, we’ve got on the same side again. Start over.”

B: “You start over, Quisling!”

A: “You’re the quisling!”

D: “I am Vidkun Quisling, hero of the resistance! Vive la France, bigots!”

A, B sigh.

Church on Sunday

“Been to church?”
“What did the preacher talk on?”
“Well, what did he say?”
“He was agin it.”

I have a little list

Boris Johnson says Britain will step up and offer residence to as many as three million eligible people from Hong Kong. Now would be a good time for America to help. To mitigate the loss to China of those three million talented and competent people, we could replace them out of our own diverse population.

Pre-cooked food is sold in the public squares

Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage

It sounds like the people losing money are making more money than the people making money.

UPDATE 19 May 2020: House of Cards: “Used to be that companies built airplanes and sold them to people who ran airlines, but then the business got big and weird. A few years ago Rolls-Royce had a billion dollar backlog of orders for their giant fan-jet engines. A year later they were in trouble because their customers found they could get the required maintenance done elsewhere at a much lower cost. If you thought Rolls-Royce was in the business of making and selling engines, you’d be wrong. That whole business was a just a marketing ploy to sell overpriced maintenance contracts.”