End-of-year spider report

Quick update, nothing exciting. The colony has been cleaned up and fed, I’ve got an egg case made on 27 December that I am not touching at all, other than to move it to chamber that I’m maintaining at a constant temperature and moderate humidity. With any luck, I’ll have spiderlings by the end of the week.

I’m still hanging on tenterhooks, though. I’m down to ONE (1) male, who gets rotated around to each of the vials (except to Vera’s — she’s a male-eater). I’m hoping a) he doesn’t get eaten, and b) I get a viable egg sac, otherwise I’m not going to have any embryos until the weather warms up and I can find new spiders around town. To get a sustainable colony, I’m thinking I have to get up to around 50ish adults, which is easily doable.

Cannibalism: the thought experiment

This guy was in a terrible motorcycle accident that mangled his foot so terribly that it had to be amputated. So he took it home and made tacos from the meat, and served it (with their knowledge and consent) to ten of his friends.

Huh. Interesting.

I wondered what I would do if a friend offered to serve me a meal made with bits of himself. I think I’d be willing, and most of my reservation would be from the practice of ethical vegetarianism. But then I’d think that much of my reason for cutting back on meat is to reduce the load humans place on the environment, and what could be more environmentally-minded than eating people? So I’d probably go along with it for the novelty.

If it was my own limb…no, I wouldn’t go this route. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t taste good, especially since I expect some exquisite marbling of my flesh, and I think I’d be tender. I don’t need one more thing to be held in judgment over me, though.

No, I know exactly what I’d do in this situation that I would hope I never experience. Dermestid beetles would get a good meal. Then degreasing and bleaching. Then I’d rearticulate it and mount it on a tasteful frame and hang it on my office wall.

What else would you do with a piece of you? Bury it and let it rot? Burn it?

What do you think of Elizabeth Warren announcing her candidacy?

I think it’s good. I don’t know if I want her as president yet, but declaring an intent to run means we can discuss what a Democratic presidency should mean, and that other candidates will be jockeying for policy positions relative to hers, and maybe a compelling vision will gel by the time of the primaries. A battle over what our government should do should sharpen the field…as long as it doesn’t descend into a contest over who hates Trump more.

Because I think I’d be a contender in that contest, and I’d be a terrible president.

Louis CK is attempting a comeback

And he’s getting worse, taking a big fat dump on his former fans. He’s gone full on Dennis Miller, throwing out bullying conservative crap.

He bemoans how younger people will tell him, in relation to gender identification, that he has to use specific pronouns preferred by the person. They’re like royalty! he said. They tell you what to call them. ‘You should address me as they/them, because I identify as gender-neutral.’ Oh, OK. You should address me as ‘there’ because I identify as a location. And the location is your mother’s cunt.

I listened to a chunk of it, and seeing it written down does not communicate the full awfulness of it. He affects a stereotypical ‘effeminate’ gay voice when he’s stating what those terrible young people are saying. It’s cheesy, low humor that isn’t even creative — people have been making these same stupid pronoun jokes for decades.

The closest he comes to topicality is to complain about the Parkland shooting survivors. How dare they complain about getting shot at? They’re supposed to be in a basement fingering each other and doing jello shots like he did as a teenager.

They testify in front of Congress, these kids? What are they doing?, he said. You’re young, you should be crazy, you should be unhinged, not in a suit… you’re not interesting. Because you went to a high school where kids got shot? Why does that mean I have to listen to you?… You didn’t got shot, you pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I’ve gotta listen to you talking?

Fortunately, I don’t have to listen to Louis CK talking — he’s dead to me. Even if he were to reverse course on this ugly trajectory he’s taking, this trash won’t be forgotten. He’s a conniving opportunist looking for an ever uglier audience to give him money. If you do track down the recording of this set, be prepared to be appalled at the audience — they’re shrieking like happy hyenas at the cheap shots and bigotry.

He might actually succeed, in other words.

It’s sad, too. He had the choice of the hard, slow, slog towards earning redemption, or the fast, cheap, easy path of pandering to deplorables. It’s clear what he has chosen to do.

The truth is, and we’re self-aware enough to admit it, that in the conversation about the paths to a comeback we’re talking about with so many male celebrities, Louis C.K. may have had the easiest one. The work he has created, be it Louie or his stand-up, is so celebrated by liberal, progressive critics that there would likely have been an eager leap to forgiveness had he handled the aftermath with any sort of contrition, education, campaigning or awareness.

Instead, we’ve been greeted by smugness, pettiness, offensiveness, and frustration, the kind that signals nothing learned—when the base level for some of our forgiveness is anything learned—and a pandering to the kind of community that will cheer his ignorance and amplify his message.

He’s had the opportunity to champion a lesson that leads us forward in this conversation. It may not be an opportunity he volunteered for, but he’s now obligated to perform the community service. And he’s not just ditching it. He’s rejecting it completely.

Another harm he has done is that at least some comedians have worked hard to do the respectable work of afflicting the comfortable — of satire as a tool to put authoritarians in their place. He has joined the well-populated ranks of comedians who blame “PC culture” for killing their acts, rather than that punching down is cowardly. We live in an ugly oligarchy/kleptocracy where inequities are everywhere, where there’s no shortage of targets for good satire, where the wealthy are investing in anti-science demagoguery and race-baiting, and if you choose to avoid the obvious and take nothing but cheap shots against oppressed minorities and helpless kids, then you are bringing all of comedy into disrepute.

If you do listen to that Louis CK set, that’s what you’ll hear: he’s “getting paid to make a bunch of drunk people laugh”, like the guy in the audience who, when Louis CK says he’s going to mock the Parkland survivors, yells “FUCK THEM!”

If stand-up comedy is nothing but bigots shilling for homophobia, transphobia, and racism, well then…fuck them.

Someone actually gets it

I’ve had people describe me as a far-left radical, which makes me blush…I’m honestly not that far our there. And I know a lot of university people, they tend not to be extremists. This comment is accurate.

You have to have drunk deeply of the wackaloon-right kool-aid to think university faculties are hot-beds of radicalism. Our students tend to be more pissed off at the system than we are.

The brave little intern

As President Trump walked through the Capitol building, an intern shouted out the only reasonable response to the man: “Mr President, FUCK YOU!”. The Capitol Police are now looking for her. It’ll probably cost her her job.

If it’s any compensation, I think we should erect a large marble statue of her on the mall, facing the White House.

If she’s caught, that is. I’m hoping all of her friends and colleagues are protecting her identity right now.

So relieved that she’s not wearing a red uniform

Iliana has joined Star Fleet.

In case you’re wondering where Knut is, his father has been reassigned to different base, and they are currently in transit. Last we heard, he was rampaging (he’s walking now, and is full of energy) across Kentucky and Arkansas, and is probably pulling into San Antonio, Texas today. If you live in those states and heard strange rumblings or felt tremors in the last few days, you probably felt him pass by.

Jordan Peterson and friends

Oh, shut up, Jordan Peterson. He was at this ghastly Turning Point USA conference last week, and he gets to meet Charlie Kirk, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Donald Trump Jr, so he takes the opportunity to lecture them about the wicked left. It’s a bizarre one-sided conversation in which he Petersonsplains to them about the nature of the Left, the Left, the Left, laying all blame on them, and never bothers to consider the oppressive nature of the Right. Bonus: continuous weird hand gestures throughout. Double bonus: Charlie, Kimberly, and Junior look excruciatingly bored throughout. What? You want us to have a serious discussion?

His basic point is that the Left is just as uptight about sex as the Right, so maybe that is a productive avenue for a meeting of the minds. But he doesn’t seem to recognize the differences, that the Right wants to control who you have sex with, and how you do it, while the Left doesn’t care about what individuals do in the privacy of their own home, but are very concerned about individual freedom and autonomy, and that consent is paramount.

The radical leftist types, their basic claim is that anything goes. But at the same time they’re putting forward these affirmative consent regulations and laws in many states, and they’re insisting that we live in the middle of a rape culture and they’re acting as if sex is a very volatile and dangerous enterprise, which actually happens to be the case. And so there’s…even though this issue is extraordinarily tense, partly because people on the left, I would say, would like to let a thousand flowers bloom, let’s say, there is an accruing agreement that there is some deep discussion that has to be had about sexual morality.

There isn’t a middle ground there. What is the compromise? Peterson doesn’t have a clue. He just says They’re upset on the left, they’re upset on the right, therefore they’re comparable, without noticing that they’re upset about radically different things: the Right is upset that they can’t control sexual behaviors, and the Left is upset that some people (including some on the left) still want to control sexual behaviors, and especially control women. That’s the key difference. There is no compromise to be made, no discussion to be had.

His explanation is that it’s all about birth control.

We haven’t adapted to the birth control pill yet. You know it was a major technological revolution, the birth control pill. It’s only been fifty years, and we haven’t figured out what it means for women to have control over the reproductive function and what the consequences of that should be socially. The leftist types, especially in the Sixties, thought you could just blow sexual morality up completely, because now people were free to do what they want but that isn’t working. There’s a backlash against that, on the left, as well, so it would be fun and necessary to think…fun, it would be engaging and necessary to think that through, ’cause maybe there’s room for some real discussion about that.

First, about the Sixties — there was a lot of exploitive crap going on, and there still is. There are always people who think freedom from consequences means freedom for them, but not for you, and that blowing up sexual morality was an opportunity to get more sex, rather than an opportunity for their partners to be liberated. I also don’t think there’s much to figure out about the consequences of ‘allowing’ women to control their own bodies — did we ever have that conversation about allowing men to have the freedom to control their own lives?

But again, he only rails against the sinister Left. I think for the most part the Left is on the same wavelength here: consent is essential, both women and men get to decide what sexual behaviors are rewarding, and that Charlie Kirk isn’t the reasonable, tolerant guy we should have a conversation with.

And Jesus, is Peterson so oblivious he doesn’t realize who he’s openly aligning with here?

Journalism as a high-risk profession

It’s not like being a lumberjack or a commercial fisherman, but being an American journalist does involve risk. We’ve just joined the list of the top 5 most dangerous nations for journalists! You can read the full report from Reporters Without Borders. It’s not a distinction to take pride in.

The report doesn’t place specific blame, but I suspect that having a wanna-be dictator who idolizes tyrants and urges his followers to target journalists might be playing an enabling role here.