Senior educated white male.

Senior educated white male.

Barrelstrength dot ca is live

Barrelstrength dot com has shifted to Barrelstrength dot ca. So if you have us saved in your favourites, please ensure that the dot ca version is also saved. We will move our productions over to the dot ca site.

Go to the Barrelstrength.ca site this way.

Owing to the untimely death of our webmaster Paul Canniff in February, we were left with no access to our underlying webspace provider. To gain access you have to provide the webhost with a death certificate, which is beyond our means. We therefore had no way to pay our bills for webhosting or for the domain name. Thanks to Mark Jeftovic of EasyDNS, we have been able to reestablish ourselves at Barrelstrength dot ca.

We will continue to opine as we like there. Please move with us. Only a fool writes for no money, said Dr. Johnson. We differ from the learned Dr. Johnson, with respect of course. We were paid enough in our working lives to afford the comfortable retirements we now enjoy, and you, dear taxpayer, are owed some benefit from our experiences.

Thank you for you continuing support.

Dalwhinnie

See you one trade deal, raise you one plague

This is self-explanatory.

Our California correspondent writes from his bunker in ultra-liberal Berkeley:

“Whether it’s gene editing human babies, irresponsible AI research, creating space junk on purpose, or their ruinous virus research; China has way too little ethical/moral awareness for how much access they have to global catastrophe- causing technology.

“They either need a cultural realignment (ie elevation from their “insectoid” attitude), or the world (ie the western world) has to take their toys away (which they won’t allow – meaning global conflict).”

My ambivalence towards Trump

It is confession time. I was watching the interview between Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution and Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal yesterday. There came the moment at minute 41:00 of the interview when Peter Robinson expressed perfectly how I feel about Trump, as Peter described Trump’s leadership style. Peter holds his forehead and gropes for the right closing question to ask Kimberly Strassel, and he says, “…a lot of people who like Trump (small pause) can’t stand him up to this point” and then he notes how people may have shifted to a more positive view over the past few weeks as the Donald has handled the coronavirus epidemic.

I think I will adopt that phrase as exactly capturing my ambivalent feelings: “Even people who like him can’t stand him“.

I would still vote for him in a heartbeat.

Robinson’s comment was the preface to a more comprehensive question to Strassel about whether in the past few weeks Trump has become “the country’s President”, the guy we need to succeed. To that I say, yes, we need him to succeed.

To the Trumpophobes my reaction may be seen as tragically inadequate, and to the Trumpophiles it may be seen as insufficiently zealous, perhaps. Insufficient zeal is not yet a thought crime. As a position on the Donald I am sticking to it. I like him but I can’t stand him. But he has my vote.

Which is about as relevant as approving of Caesar Augustus if you had lived during his reign, I suppose.

Two narratives, utterly different

One is by Charles Eisenstein, which will beguile you in its loveliness and wisdom. He may be right. It is a long read but worth the effort. (Even if by the end you suspect it to be hippie shit). There are many insights along the way that resonate with me, about “safety culture”, the dreadful epidemic of “staying safe” at all costs. Eisenstein concludes:

“The virus we face here is fear, whether it is fear of Covid-19, or fear of the totalitarian response to it, and this virus too has its terrain. Fear, along with addiction, depression, and a host of physical ills, flourishes in a terrain of separation and trauma: inherited trauma, childhood trauma, violence, war, abuse, neglect, shame, punishment, poverty, and the muted, normalized trauma that affects nearly everyone who lives in a monetized economy, undergoes modern schooling, or lives without community or connection to place. This terrain can be changed, by trauma healing on a personal level, by systemic change toward a more compassionate society, and by transforming the basic narrative of separation: the separate self in a world of other, me separate from you, humanity separate from nature. To be alone is a primal fear, and modern society has rendered us more and more alone. But the time of Reunion is here. Every act of compassion, kindness, courage, or generosity heals us from the story of separation, because it assures both actor and witness that we are in this together.”

There are days I can believe this.

Then there is the old-fashioned realist, Fred Reed, talking about men and their favourite activity, war.

“Nobody (except feminists) says the obvious, that all of these evils are committed by….

“Men.

“It is always men–some other men, of course, men of another race or country, or religion or tribe or social class. We ourselves–men–are pure. But however you cut it, it is men.

“The crucial problem for humanity is, probably always has been, how to control men, how to to harness their vigor and inventiveness for the common good while restraining their penchant for destruction, mass homicide, individual murder, rape, pillage, depravity, and foolishness.

“Wars are the vilest masculine behavior. They never end. Wars are not about anything. They are just wars. Men always find something for them to be about, but really they are just what men–men–do.

“The martial urge is deep in the steroid chemistry. Little boys want to play with guns. If you force dolls upon them, they shoot each other with dolls. When grown up, to the extent they ever are, they fight wars. If there is no reason for war, as for example now, they invent reasons. The Russians are coming. The Chinese are coming. North Korea will nuke us. So will Iran. We must gird our loins and fight, fight, fight.”

By the time you have finished reading Fred Reed, you may be ready for Charles Eisenstein’s more idealistic approach. Maybe.

Mr. Darwin’s Working Day

  • 7-8 am – Walk and a solitary breakfast
  • 8-9:30 – Work in the study
  • 9:30-10:30 – Join family in the drawing room, look over the mail, read family letters and occasionally listen to a novel being read aloud
  • 10:30 – noon – Work in the study
  • noon -inspect plants in the greenhouse and then walk further, but still on the property, for a specified number of turns around the gravel path
  • Lunch
  • Read the newspaper.
  • Write letters
  • 3 pm – rest and nap, smoke cigarette, listen to his wife read a novel
  • 4pm – walk
  • 4:30 pm – back to work
  • 5:30 – read novels
  • 6:30 pm – dinner
  • After dinner – two games of backgammon with Mrs Darwin
  • 10 to 10:30 – retire to bed

“What rescued Darwin from the indolence that might so easily have settled upon a man with a good wife, an ample income, and a chronic illness were the daily discipline and the methodical habits of work – virtues he said had been instilled in him on the Beagle. Darwin must take his place alongside Anthony Trollope and the other great Victorians whose creativity has been impugned by their methodicalness, on the supposition that genuine creation can only be erratic. Unlike Trollope, however, who was methodical in work so as to be prodigal in leisure, Darwin’s methodicalness had no other intention than to extract from the day a few good hours of work.” – Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb

On Good Friday, Sauron has won the Ring

I am for various reasons a more faithful attendee of Good Friday services than Easter ones. No resurrection without death. But it is worse than death. Death comes for all living things and is as natural as falling water. It is eternal death that I worry about. Eternal Spiritual Darkness. I mean that for me Good Friday is the day of triumph of evil, for ever. The boot stomping on a face, forever. God renounces his only Son. “Son, you have to do this for yourself. Otherwise no one will believe you went through everything a man will go through. You have to die, Son. Agony, bloody sweats, pain, humiliation, degradation, and a sneering mob. Only then will mankind pay attention to you, when you come back from the dead, and you have to die to do that. So have a really bad day, Son. It is the only path, and we have foreseen this day since time began. Now be a Man and die”.

Not a cheerful doctrine. But I believe it is a true one. In the meantime we live in the world where Sauron has the One Ring, and all is lost, at least until the Resurrection, when we can begin to hope again that his rule is not complete or final.

The Crucifixion of Jesus | Jesus was crucified on a hill cal… | Flickr
What Could Sauron Have Done Had He Regained the One Ring? | Middle ...

1920 and now

A LETTER FROM  F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, QUARANTINED IN 1920 IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK.

Dearest Rosemary,

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and Lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us.

Besieged

We are in a siege. The enemy has invested us, and then besieged us.

Siege And Destruction Of A City Under Holy Roman Emperor ...

Wikipedia defines besieged in these terms:

“A siege is a militaryblockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latinsederelit. ‘to sit’.[1]Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static, defensive position. Consequently, an opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy. The art of conducting and resisting sieges is called siege warfare, siegecraft, or poliorcetics.”

We are in day 30, say, of the siege. Food is still plentiful and booze and drugs are available. Disease or resistance to disease may wipe out the besiegers (the communicability of the virus) just as well it the virus may kill some of us. At first we thought this was a bit of a lark. Now we are starting to realize that, no, this could be the shape of our lives for months – even years – to come.

Ho ho ho! Is the cat out of the bag?

  1. The virus came from a type of bat, according to a report by Chinese scientists.
  2. The bat is not native to Wuhan but comes from 300 miles away.
  3. Two centres of disease research are near the Wuhan wet market from which the virus was held to have originated.
  4. The two centres for viral research use this particular type of bat in their research.
  5. This information comes from a report by Chinese scientists that has been on the web for the past two months.
  6. The American National Institute of Health and other flak-catchers for the Chinese government have denounced in vigorous terms any suggestion this virus was an escaped bioweapon.
  7. The Chinese government has accused the American government of starting this plague.

In the old language of Mao, we have some running dogs of the Chinese government in the west, and they do not even have to be told what to do, so obedient are they to the requirements of political correctness .