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Livin’ In A World Of Fools. As I prepare to post this diary, on the morning of November 1st, the news is dominated by a terrorist attack in New York City. A crazy Muslim, admitted for settlement in the U.S.A. under the craziest of our crazy immigration laws, murdered eight people using a rented truck.

Reporting in last week’s podcast on the October 22nd election in Japan, I said the following thing:

The great ructions over globalism, nationalism, multiculturalism, and mass immigration that are driving anti-establishment feeling in the West just aren’t in play in Japan. The Japanese electorate can concentrate their attention on other matters: energy policy, national defense, social security, the economy.

It sounds nice, doesn’t it? A real nation, of people who know who they are, trying collectively to cope with unavoidable political issues — not with horrible problems they have blindly, stupidly, unnecessarily brought upon themselves via ethnomasochism and sentimental fantasies about human nature.

I have of course said and written similar things before — many, many times. Have I said that the most astonishing statistic of the 21st century, in my opinion, is that our country admitted more Muslims for settlement in the fifteen years after 2001 than we did in the fifteen years prior? Yes I have; at least three times, according to a quick search of the archives.

Those of us who have eyes to see and voices to sound the alarm with can only repeat things we said or wrote years, sometimes a decade or two, ago. Even a writer as resourceful and ingenious as Mark Steyn is reduced to cutting’n’pasting from stuff he wrote early in the last decade.

That’s the problem with stating the blindingly obvious; having stated it, there’s nothing much to do but state it again, hoping that with enough repetitions it might sink in.

Meanwhile the public sphere lurches from hysteria to hysteria. Last month it was Confederate statues; this month it’s, what? Oh yes: “sexual harassment.”

I am old enough to remember — it was less than thirty years ago — when Sweden’s runaway feminism was a standing joke with other Europeans. You stepped on a woman’s toe in a crowded elevator; you apologized; she waved it away with a smile; someone said, “That’s rape in Sweden!” and everyone laughed.

Nobody’s laughing now. Indeed, I wonder for how much longer laughter will be allowed.

If you deduce from all that that I’m suffering from Bloviator Fatigue, your deduction is valid.

“Against stupidity, the Gods themselves struggle in vain,” said Schiller.

“What is life … but a long dialogue with imbeciles?” asked Pierre Ryckmans rhetorically.

They were both right (a rhetorical question is really an assertion). Fortunately for our sanity we still, for a while longer, have the private sphere to retreat to — the comforts, satisfactions, and occasional joys of home, family and friends. That’s the sphere that my thoughts and feelings have mainly been dwelling in this month.

When Danny comes marching home. Much joy in the Derb household the last week of October: Our son Danny came home having served four years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. (Pictured right heading for for infantry training in 2013, and in mid-air over Alaska.)

I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Army for having turned an ornery teenager into a confident, capable, courteous American gentleman. I don’t know how you did it, but: Thank you!

Looking through Danny’s discharge papers, I was struck by the impressive number of military decorations he acquired, without even — to his chagrin — ever having been deployed to a combat zone. Here’s the list:

Armies everywhere bestow a certain number of decorations just for showing up. In the trenches of WW1 the Tommies used to say this kind of award “came up with the rations.” So far as I can figure, the last five on the list are of that kind. Numbers one and two have to be earned, though. We’re proud of our son for having earned them.

(I was puzzled by that Overseas Service Ribbon. “When were you overseas?” I asked Junior. He: “Alaska counts as overseas.” Really? Seems odd to me, but I’m in no mood to argue with the Army — see above.)

Traces of habitation. I apologize for this month’s diary being somewhat skimpy. As well as the dislocation and excitement of having our son home, I’ve been busy with construction work. The two things are related.

We have been in our suburban house (advertised to us in the original 1991 realtor’s brochure as a “charming Dutch Colonial home”) for twenty-five years, and have raised two kids in it. We love the house, our garden, the neighborhood, our neighbors (well, most of them), and our town, and we have no intention of moving.

The only downside to all this settled contentment is that the house has silted up with junk. Out attic and basement are totally full of things we shall likely never want, but for one reason or another don’t want to throw out.

We have a standalone two-car garage. It has a loft. My big home-maintenance project last year was fixing up the loft, so that we could use it for storage space. That went well; but it’s three-quarters full already with overflow from the house.

Danny tells us that in four years on base, he’s accumulated a mass of stuff. The Army is shipping it over from Alaska to us, estimated travel time “two to six weeks.” More storage space needed!

So I’ve spent this month giving the downstairs of the garage a makeover — its first, I believe, since it was built eighty-something years ago. I have ripped out the crumbling old drywall; re-drywalled; spackled; added woodwork; painted; hung overhead storage; … I’ve been busy.

ORDER IT NOW

Sentiment kicked in. Our house was built in the 1930s by a Swedish carpenter named Albert Pearson (Pearsen? Petersen? I’m relying on my memory of what elderly neighbors told us 25 years ago). He actually built the garage first, then lived there with his wife and kids while he built the house.

In one corner of the garage some evidence of this domestic period has survived. High up on the ancient drywall some scraps of the family’s original wallpaper remain.

I couldn’t bring myself to remove those traces of long-ago family life, so I’ve left that corner intact, as a wee tribute to the man who built my house back in the Hoover administration. Thanks, guy.

Great Progressive Causes Of Yesteryear. A violent storm hit Long Island the last weekend of October. That Sunday we drove half an hour in pelting rain to a wake. It was a neighbor: a young man, only 28 years old, who had died from leukemia. May the poor fellow rest in peace.

Driving through that storm, I couldn’t help thinking of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s memorable line: “We shall die in darkness, and be buried in the rain.”

That line is from a poem protesting against the execution of anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti in August 1927. Millay was a bohemian progressive; the Sacco-Vanzetti case — the case, that is, that they were innocent of the murders they were sentenced for — was a great progressive cause of the 1920s.

I didn’t notice any 90th-anniversary commemorations of the execution in August; possibly Sacco and Vanzetti were too white and male for today’s progressives to go on caring about. (The sculpture at left was unveiled by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in 1997–the 70th Anniversary.)

And please don’t ask me for a clear opinion about whether Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty. The case has been chewed over for decades, every scrap of evidence examined, re-examined, and re-re-examined. Unless you’ve read that mountain of material, you’re a mere amateur.

My temperamental bias is to assume they were guilty, just on the basis that most things progressives get passionate about are bogus. Still, stopped clocks are right twice a day. Who knows?

Art And Politics. I am a strong believer in the idea that really good writers, musicians, artists, athletes, and other performers at the highest levels of skill should be given a pass for having silly opinions about things not connected with their art.

George Orwell said of Evelyn Waugh that: “Waugh is about as good a novelist as one can be … while holding untenable positions.” I’m a bit warmer than that. I doubt Waugh would have been any better a novelist if he had somehow acquired a totally different set of opinions, any more than Yeats would have been a better poet without all the occultist buncombe, or Shelley without his radical enthusiasms.

So with Edna St. Vincent Millay. If your knowledge of her progressivism interferes with your admiring luminously beautiful sonnets like this one, you are taking politics much too seriously:

Even in the moment of our earliest kiss,

When sighed the straitened bud into the flower,

Sat the dry seed of most unwelcome this;

And that I knew, though not the day and hour.

Too season-wise am I, being country-bred,

To tilt at autumn or defy the frost:

Snuffing the chill even as my fathers did,

I say with them, “What’s out tonight is lost.”

I only hoped, with the mild hope of all

Who watch the leaf take shape upon the tree,

A fairer summer and a later fall

Than in these parts a man is apt to see,

And sunny clusters ripened for the wine:

I tell you this across the blackened vine.

Graph of the month. Of last month, actually; but worth noting.

This is from Steve Hsu at Infoproc, a post titled “Accurate Genomic Prediction Of Human Height.” That’s what the picture shows: The actual heights of 2,000 individuals plotted against the height predicted from a scrutiny of each individual’s genome.

It’s not strictly speaking a graph, but a scatter plot. Each little blob is one of those individuals. As you can see, “guessing” a person’s height from his genome, by scrutinizing around 20,000 single-nucleotide (A, G, C, or T) locations, is fairly accurate.

Steve:

The big picture implication is that heritable complex traits controlled by thousands of genetic loci can, with enough data and analysis, be predicted from DNA. I expect that with good genotype | phenotype data from a million individuals we could achieve similar success with cognitive ability.

As Charles Murray says: There’s a locomotive coming down the tracks.

Book Of The Month Not much time for reading this month, but I did take in Jared Taylor’s If We Do Nothing.

It’s an essay collection, reprints of 37 pieces Jared has written at various times over the past twenty-odd years. A couple of things occurred to me while reading.

First, the pieces have aged well — better than mine covering some of the same ground across the same time span. Except where the subject matter is topical — the Hurricane Katrina pieces from 2005, for instance — it’s hard to date these essays from internal evidence.

Second, Jared is a really good writer: thoughtful, literate, witty, punctilious about usage. He actually has a whole chapter on the silly usages foisted on us by feminists:

Every day, the left is hacking away at the language. Fight back. Proudly use such sentences as: “Since man is a mammal, he suckles his young.”

It makes me grind my teeth to think that an illiterate, humorless poseur like Ta-Nehisi Coates can storm the best-seller lists with his blackety-black gibberish while Jared’s clear thinking, good writing, and calm, fair-minded acceptance of racial reality languish in obscurity. Truly it has been said: Gold sinks but poop floats.

I’ll admit I’m a Taylor groupie. Jared is a great man, who will be remembered long after I (surely), you (probably), and the fools and mountebanks who occupy our attention today are all forgotten.

In the spirit of proper objective criticism, though, I should try to find some faults in the book. OK, here’s one, though a slight and debatable one.

ORDER IT NOW

It’s in the 1996 essay “The Ways of our People,” in which Jared tackles the question that, really, is at the heart of his concerns: What the hell is the matter with white people? Why do we, alone of all the world’s people, strive to engineer our own replacement?

The essay begins, though, by sketching some characteristically white patterns of thought and behavior. Among them Jared includes sportsmanship:

The swaggering, “trash talk,” corner cutting, and absence of gentlemanly play common in sports today are largely the importation of non-white behavior into a previously white arena. Sadly, many whites have been affected and act just as loutishly.

I refer Jared to my comments on the inauguration of President Trump back in January, when I pulled in Confucius for a reference:

The Master said: Exemplary people do not compete with one another. The nearest exception is the Archery Ceremony. Greeting and accommodating each other, the archers mount the stairs of the hall. Descending after contesting, they share a drink together. Even when competing they remain exemplary people. [Analects 3.vii.]

Apparently civilized sportsmanship was going strong in old China 2,500 years ago. Not all civilized behaviors are exclusive to whites.

I was glad to see that Jared is a fellow Trollope fan. I’ve read a fair bit of Trollope, though not as much as I want to. One of the items on my bucket list is to have read all 47 of the novels before I go.

My most memorable engagement with Trollope was in China, 1983. I had booked to fly from Changchun, in far northeast China, to Hong Kong for the Lunar New Year. Civilian air travel was a new thing in China back then, though, and the planes didn’t fly unless the weather was perfect. That particular day it wasn’t, so I was stuck the whole day in that cruddy provincial ChiCom airport — really just a shed — waiting for a change of weather.

All I had to read was Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, which I’d borrowed hastily as I was leaving from the random selection of Eng. Lit. classics in the library of the college I taught at. I read the whole thing. If not for Trollope, I might have perpetrated a plane hijacking.

It was an apt choice, too: the Emperor of China has a walk-on part in the novel.

Math Corner. Here is a brainteaser that, I am assured (haven’t tried it myself yet), can be solved using standard high school real functions that appear on every scientific calculator.

I have a circular paper disk. I draw two radii, the lesser angle between them being α (the greater angle is of course 360 degrees minus α).

Then I cut along these radii, giving me two pieces of paper, each of which can be rolled up, radius joining radius, to make a circular cone.

What value of α should I use to maximize the total volume of these two cones?

2010-12-24dl[1]

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com:FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. 1/ The anniversary of the execution of Joe Hill also came and went. The problem with Hill as with Sacco and Vanzeti is there’s a bit too much actual guilt in the cases.

    2/ As to your son, was it the Army or was it the old saying, ‘When I was 15 I figured out that my parents knew nothing, but by the time I was 23 I was amazed at how much they learned.’

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    2/ As to your son, was it the Army or was it the old saying, ‘When I was 15 I figured out that my parents knew nothing, but by the time I was 23 I was amazed at how much they learned.’
     
    That saying has been attributed to Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
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  2. Polymath says:

    That’s my puzzle. It took me a few dozen tries before I could reliably arrive at the correct answer in closed form. I hope Derb enjoys it….

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  3. Gracebear says:

    Derb is such a brilliant, astute, learned, brave thinker and writer (my favorite on Unz, along with Steve Sailer) that I can easily forgive him for asserting that the rather clumsy Millay sonnet is “luminously beautiful.” Just try to read the second and third lines aloud!

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    • Replies: @another fred
    Perhaps you are too young. At 71 it reads beautifully to me.
    , @silviosilver
    I have to confess, as a poetry idiot, I didn't even get it (not fully anyway, and maybe not even close). I'm usually too ashamed to admit I don't get most poetry, for fear that people will assume I don't get any poetry. But there is some poetry that I dearly love - only I have to be able to understand it first. I've had names like Wallace Stevens and Sylvia Plath recommended to me, but I'm afraid I can't make head or toe of it. Even some of Shakespeare's sonnets leave me scratching my head (and they're worlds easier than the aforementioned names).
    , @animalogic
    Forgive Derbyshire ? Casting aspersions on Yeats & Shelley ? Poets of such vision as to leave his whingy, moralistic, self satisfied views lost in the temporal dusts ? Sure, I can forgive him - why not: da nada.
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  4. Bliss says:

    Hey Derbyshire, has anyone told you that your son looks Central Asian? No one in Uzbekistan would think he was American by looks alone. Ditto for your daughter.

    Likewise, Pat Buchanan, and his sister, always looked more Tatar than Irish to me…

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    • Replies: @dearieme
    "would think he was American by looks alone": what, like President Obama or Tiger Woods you mean?
    , @JamesG
    "Likewise, Pat Buchanan, and his sister, always looked more Tatar than Irish to me… "

    PB is not Irish.
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  5. … our country admitted more Muslims for settlement in the fifteen years after 2001 than we did in the fifteen years prior

    It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.

    At times lately I have the same sort of sensation as I did after my brother died tragically and too young many years back. I feel that I should wake from a bad dream … but can not.

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  6. @Gracebear
    Derb is such a brilliant, astute, learned, brave thinker and writer (my favorite on Unz, along with Steve Sailer) that I can easily forgive him for asserting that the rather clumsy Millay sonnet is "luminously beautiful." Just try to read the second and third lines aloud!

    Perhaps you are too young. At 71 it reads beautifully to me.

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    • Replies: @Gracebear
    Dear Fred, I'm touched by your kindly remark but must tell you that I'm older than you: it's not a matter of age. I understand Millay's prose meaning in this poem, but I don't think she's chosen the most accurate words to convey her thoughts and feelings (the transitoriness of love and life over time, as we age) in graceful phrases, rhythms, and rhymes. I myself don't much care for the two basic kinds of sonnet form or enjoy sonnets much, except for a few rare ones (some few of Shakespeare and a very few others). By comparison with Italian, our English language offers relatively few good rhyming possibilities. We as lovers of English probably can best rely on iambic pentameter, known as blank verse (not free verse), the poetic language of Shakespeare's plays, which verse form is wonderfully flexible and capable of poetic expression of immense beauty.
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  7. Diversity gives us Keystone cops in UK.

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    • Replies: @Daniel H
    I don't think that these cops are carrying firearms, but they have something in their extended arms (mace, taser?). Still, it is a pathetic scene, but better than the US where the cops shoot loons when they are 50 feet and pose no imminent danger to the cop.
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  8. @Gracebear
    Derb is such a brilliant, astute, learned, brave thinker and writer (my favorite on Unz, along with Steve Sailer) that I can easily forgive him for asserting that the rather clumsy Millay sonnet is "luminously beautiful." Just try to read the second and third lines aloud!

    I have to confess, as a poetry idiot, I didn’t even get it (not fully anyway, and maybe not even close). I’m usually too ashamed to admit I don’t get most poetry, for fear that people will assume I don’t get any poetry. But there is some poetry that I dearly love – only I have to be able to understand it first. I’ve had names like Wallace Stevens and Sylvia Plath recommended to me, but I’m afraid I can’t make head or toe of it. Even some of Shakespeare’s sonnets leave me scratching my head (and they’re worlds easier than the aforementioned names).

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    • Replies: @Gracebear
    Dear Silvio, I loved your comment and totally agree with it. I think you are so right to want to understand the poem you are reading after careful attention to it. I recommend reading a poem you think you might like three times first. Then, if something about it still grabs at you, you can work at understanding the poem better. Sometimes a poem catches you with elusive sounds, rhythms, or images, and you want to follow through and really understand it. You have the inner conviction or feeling that there is something good or beautiful there, if you could only get to it. I am afraid that I don't think there are any really good modern poets in English after the great works of W.B. Yeats, though some of T.S. Eliot is worth the effort. Yeats is often hard to understand at first: there is so much Irish context (Irish history, myth, politics, landscape, the poet's personal life, etc.) But he is so worth the effort! Unlike Wallace Stevens or Sylvia Plath, in my opinion. (You are so right about them, in spite of their advocates.) I love your honesty and humility about not fully understanding what accounts for good poetry. I am so touched that you have already found and understood some poetry that you truly love.
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  9. Second, Jared is a really good writer: thoughtful, literate, witty, punctilious about usage. He actually has a whole chapter on the silly usages foisted on us by feminists:

    But he overdoes it with needlessly provocative words like “cripples” and “dullards” when writing about disabled and less intelligent people.

    Usages change, so what? I’m fairly sure Taylor doesn’t insist on saying “gay” to mean lighthearted.

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  10. O/T – I finally learned the names and locations of all 33 Chinese provinces today. I’ve always known scattered bits and pieces about China – Tang, Ming, Manchus, Opium, Boxers, Japs, Civil War, Mao – but besides Mao’s rule (for university study), I’ve never sat down to systematically learn anything about the country. So I thought that familiarizing myself with the layout would be a good way to start – just like in grade school.

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like “dung” and Zhou more like “Joe.” Who’s bright idea was that?

    I think critics who accuse the Chinese of not being particularly creative for such an intelligent people may be onto something. Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Hunan. Those are the names of four Chinese provinces.
    That would be like having American states named Texas, Toxas, Virginia and Verginia. To cap it off, they’ve go two adjacent provinces named Shaanxi and Shanxi? New York, New Yorck. Are they really that hard up for syllables in China? Can’t they just drop a few more pots and pans on the ground to help them out?

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like “dung” and Zhou more like “Joe.” Who’s bright idea was that?
     
    I was informed by a Chinawoman that pinyin was not made particularly just for English. It is supposed to help any country with the regular alphabet, I guess, to pronounce Chinese sounds. A 2nd problem is that there are many s and ch and sh sounds that can not be made distinguishable with the letters you'd think pinyin would have, hence the x's in there. I agree with you that it's hard enough to learn PInyin, much less the real language off of characters.

    Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Hunan. Those are the names of four Chinese provinces.
     
    Northriver, Northlake, Southriver, SouthLake, that's all that is. Then there's Hainan (South Sea - it's an island in the S. China Sea), but no Haibei, cause they don't have a North Sea.
    Even some Chinese people that I've talked to haven't figured that simple thing out - I think they are just used to the sounds, like we'd say Hollywood, without thinking of a piece of wood from a Holly bush.
    , @Eagle Eye

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like “dung” and Zhou more like “Joe.” Who’s bright idea was that?
     
    Apparently, originally a Russian creation, somewhat tweaked by the Chicoms. This also explains the strange use of x and q (look like Russian х and ч, respectively).
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  11. dearieme says:
    @Bliss
    Hey Derbyshire, has anyone told you that your son looks Central Asian? No one in Uzbekistan would think he was American by looks alone. Ditto for your daughter.

    Likewise, Pat Buchanan, and his sister, always looked more Tatar than Irish to me...

    “would think he was American by looks alone”: what, like President Obama or Tiger Woods you mean?

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  12. Danny is a great kid, without a doubt, but when the cold war becomes hot between America and China, will he be able to fire at his Chinese brothers. My longing for the historical white America is becoming more and more hopeless and futile.

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  13. “… the last five on the list are of that kind.” [Just for showing up]

    Trust me, Derb, Jump Wings require a bit more than simply showing up. In my day, they were harder to get than commendation and achievement medals.

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  14. is that our country admitted more Muslims for settlement in the fifteen years after 2001 than we did in the fifteen years prior? Yes I have; at least three times, according to a quick search of the archives.

    To invade and mess up the Muslim World, the US has to present itself as the Friend of Islam.

    Invade/Invite.

    Since 2001, have you see what has become of the Muslim World? A few terror attacks in the West is NOTHING. Entire nations have been leveled and destroyed from Iraq across Syria to Libya. And Yemen is a rubble too.

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  15. Forbes says:

    Derb–as the uncle of a soldier who served in the 82nd Airborne, in a Parachute Infantry Regiment, I can inform you that your son’s ‘parachutist badge’ was duly earned by accomplishment–not by merely being a warm body in uniform. As most would remark–who in their right mind would jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Certainly not to affix a badge to the uniform.

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  16. phil says:

    Derb,

    About white sportsmanship, I can see what Jared Taylor is trying to say. There may be some truth to his claims, but really, when you go through the history, some of it is pretty bad. In major league baseball, for example, drunkenness and fighting were rampant. The hazing of rookies could be excruciatingly painful. Ty Cobb was treated horribly at the outset and had to exercise vigilante justice to survive. Lefty Grove after a loss? Sportsmanship? Forget about it. At least he seems to have felt badly about his behavior later in life. (White guilt.)

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  17. @silviosilver
    O/T - I finally learned the names and locations of all 33 Chinese provinces today. I've always known scattered bits and pieces about China - Tang, Ming, Manchus, Opium, Boxers, Japs, Civil War, Mao - but besides Mao's rule (for university study), I've never sat down to systematically learn anything about the country. So I thought that familiarizing myself with the layout would be a good way to start - just like in grade school.

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like "dung" and Zhou more like "Joe." Who's bright idea was that?

    I think critics who accuse the Chinese of not being particularly creative for such an intelligent people may be onto something. Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Hunan. Those are the names of four Chinese provinces.
    That would be like having American states named Texas, Toxas, Virginia and Verginia. To cap it off, they've go two adjacent provinces named Shaanxi and Shanxi? New York, New Yorck. Are they really that hard up for syllables in China? Can't they just drop a few more pots and pans on the ground to help them out?

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like “dung” and Zhou more like “Joe.” Who’s bright idea was that?

    I was informed by a Chinawoman that pinyin was not made particularly just for English. It is supposed to help any country with the regular alphabet, I guess, to pronounce Chinese sounds. A 2nd problem is that there are many s and ch and sh sounds that can not be made distinguishable with the letters you’d think pinyin would have, hence the x’s in there. I agree with you that it’s hard enough to learn PInyin, much less the real language off of characters.

    Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Hunan. Those are the names of four Chinese provinces.

    Northriver, Northlake, Southriver, SouthLake, that’s all that is. Then there’s Hainan (South Sea – it’s an island in the S. China Sea), but no Haibei, cause they don’t have a North Sea.
    Even some Chinese people that I’ve talked to haven’t figured that simple thing out – I think they are just used to the sounds, like we’d say Hollywood, without thinking of a piece of wood from a Holly bush.

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    • Replies: @dearieme
    "a piece of wood from a Holly bush": that would not have occurred to me. A place name Hollywood in Britain would probably mean that there was, or had been, a wood there that contained lots of hollies i.e. holly trees. Or perhaps it would be a variant of Holy Wood.

    The internet yields "The small village of Hollywood south of the city of Birmingham, is located in the county of Worcestershire. Its name is thought to derive from an abundance of Holly bushes and is listed in history books from AD1250."

    WKPD carries a yarn about the naming of the Californian Hollywood.

    P.S. On the meaning of placenames: WKPD - Hollywood is home to the Hollywood Golf Club, formerly known as Gay Hill Golf Club.

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  18. This is like the three-way shoot-out in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

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  19. Gracebear says:
    @another fred
    Perhaps you are too young. At 71 it reads beautifully to me.

    Dear Fred, I’m touched by your kindly remark but must tell you that I’m older than you: it’s not a matter of age. I understand Millay’s prose meaning in this poem, but I don’t think she’s chosen the most accurate words to convey her thoughts and feelings (the transitoriness of love and life over time, as we age) in graceful phrases, rhythms, and rhymes. I myself don’t much care for the two basic kinds of sonnet form or enjoy sonnets much, except for a few rare ones (some few of Shakespeare and a very few others). By comparison with Italian, our English language offers relatively few good rhyming possibilities. We as lovers of English probably can best rely on iambic pentameter, known as blank verse (not free verse), the poetic language of Shakespeare’s plays, which verse form is wonderfully flexible and capable of poetic expression of immense beauty.

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  20. Gracebear says:
    @silviosilver
    I have to confess, as a poetry idiot, I didn't even get it (not fully anyway, and maybe not even close). I'm usually too ashamed to admit I don't get most poetry, for fear that people will assume I don't get any poetry. But there is some poetry that I dearly love - only I have to be able to understand it first. I've had names like Wallace Stevens and Sylvia Plath recommended to me, but I'm afraid I can't make head or toe of it. Even some of Shakespeare's sonnets leave me scratching my head (and they're worlds easier than the aforementioned names).

    Dear Silvio, I loved your comment and totally agree with it. I think you are so right to want to understand the poem you are reading after careful attention to it. I recommend reading a poem you think you might like three times first. Then, if something about it still grabs at you, you can work at understanding the poem better. Sometimes a poem catches you with elusive sounds, rhythms, or images, and you want to follow through and really understand it. You have the inner conviction or feeling that there is something good or beautiful there, if you could only get to it. I am afraid that I don’t think there are any really good modern poets in English after the great works of W.B. Yeats, though some of T.S. Eliot is worth the effort. Yeats is often hard to understand at first: there is so much Irish context (Irish history, myth, politics, landscape, the poet’s personal life, etc.) But he is so worth the effort! Unlike Wallace Stevens or Sylvia Plath, in my opinion. (You are so right about them, in spite of their advocates.) I love your honesty and humility about not fully understanding what accounts for good poetry. I am so touched that you have already found and understood some poetry that you truly love.

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  21. Although I do not wish to pry into personal matters, I cannot help but note that Daniel Derbyshire has been discharged from the U.S. Army. I remember John writing previously that Danny wanted a military career, but he appears to have left the service after one enlistment. Any reasons for that move, that John is willing to make public?

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    • Replies: @Anon
    I can't believe it has been four years already, but was wondering the same thing. Perhaps that institution was too stultifying for a Derb brain.
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  22. Eagle Eye says:
    @silviosilver
    O/T - I finally learned the names and locations of all 33 Chinese provinces today. I've always known scattered bits and pieces about China - Tang, Ming, Manchus, Opium, Boxers, Japs, Civil War, Mao - but besides Mao's rule (for university study), I've never sat down to systematically learn anything about the country. So I thought that familiarizing myself with the layout would be a good way to start - just like in grade school.

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like "dung" and Zhou more like "Joe." Who's bright idea was that?

    I think critics who accuse the Chinese of not being particularly creative for such an intelligent people may be onto something. Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Hunan. Those are the names of four Chinese provinces.
    That would be like having American states named Texas, Toxas, Virginia and Verginia. To cap it off, they've go two adjacent provinces named Shaanxi and Shanxi? New York, New Yorck. Are they really that hard up for syllables in China? Can't they just drop a few more pots and pans on the ground to help them out?

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like “dung” and Zhou more like “Joe.” Who’s bright idea was that?

    Apparently, originally a Russian creation, somewhat tweaked by the Chicoms. This also explains the strange use of x and q (look like Russian х and ч, respectively).

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  23. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Diversity Heretic
    Although I do not wish to pry into personal matters, I cannot help but note that Daniel Derbyshire has been discharged from the U.S. Army. I remember John writing previously that Danny wanted a military career, but he appears to have left the service after one enlistment. Any reasons for that move, that John is willing to make public?

    I can’t believe it has been four years already, but was wondering the same thing. Perhaps that institution was too stultifying for a Derb brain.

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  24. @Gracebear
    Derb is such a brilliant, astute, learned, brave thinker and writer (my favorite on Unz, along with Steve Sailer) that I can easily forgive him for asserting that the rather clumsy Millay sonnet is "luminously beautiful." Just try to read the second and third lines aloud!

    Forgive Derbyshire ? Casting aspersions on Yeats & Shelley ? Poets of such vision as to leave his whingy, moralistic, self satisfied views lost in the temporal dusts ? Sure, I can forgive him – why not: da nada.

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  25. dearieme says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    What the hell is up with Pinyin transliteration? Deng is apparently pronounced more like “dung” and Zhou more like “Joe.” Who’s bright idea was that?
     
    I was informed by a Chinawoman that pinyin was not made particularly just for English. It is supposed to help any country with the regular alphabet, I guess, to pronounce Chinese sounds. A 2nd problem is that there are many s and ch and sh sounds that can not be made distinguishable with the letters you'd think pinyin would have, hence the x's in there. I agree with you that it's hard enough to learn PInyin, much less the real language off of characters.

    Hebei, Hubei, Henan, Hunan. Those are the names of four Chinese provinces.
     
    Northriver, Northlake, Southriver, SouthLake, that's all that is. Then there's Hainan (South Sea - it's an island in the S. China Sea), but no Haibei, cause they don't have a North Sea.
    Even some Chinese people that I've talked to haven't figured that simple thing out - I think they are just used to the sounds, like we'd say Hollywood, without thinking of a piece of wood from a Holly bush.

    “a piece of wood from a Holly bush”: that would not have occurred to me. A place name Hollywood in Britain would probably mean that there was, or had been, a wood there that contained lots of hollies i.e. holly trees. Or perhaps it would be a variant of Holy Wood.

    The internet yields “The small village of Hollywood south of the city of Birmingham, is located in the county of Worcestershire. Its name is thought to derive from an abundance of Holly bushes and is listed in history books from AD1250.”

    WKPD carries a yarn about the naming of the Californian Hollywood.

    P.S. On the meaning of placenames: WKPD – Hollywood is home to the Hollywood Golf Club, formerly known as Gay Hill Golf Club.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    Yeah, you're right on the 1st part. I was trying to write an example quickly and thought about it too literally.

    Hollywood is home to the Hollywood Golf Club, formerly known as Gay Hill Golf Club.
     
    Ewwwww... I'm never gonna dive into the water to collect my slices again, next time I play there... or anywhere else, for that matter, as I don't play care to ever play golf again.

    ... it's too much exercise 18 holes ... getting in and out of that buggy. Plus pot doesn't do a thing for me, and I thought that's all people went out to the fairways to do... I may have the wrong impression from high school.

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  26. @dearieme
    "a piece of wood from a Holly bush": that would not have occurred to me. A place name Hollywood in Britain would probably mean that there was, or had been, a wood there that contained lots of hollies i.e. holly trees. Or perhaps it would be a variant of Holy Wood.

    The internet yields "The small village of Hollywood south of the city of Birmingham, is located in the county of Worcestershire. Its name is thought to derive from an abundance of Holly bushes and is listed in history books from AD1250."

    WKPD carries a yarn about the naming of the Californian Hollywood.

    P.S. On the meaning of placenames: WKPD - Hollywood is home to the Hollywood Golf Club, formerly known as Gay Hill Golf Club.

    Yeah, you’re right on the 1st part. I was trying to write an example quickly and thought about it too literally.

    Hollywood is home to the Hollywood Golf Club, formerly known as Gay Hill Golf Club.

    Ewwwww… I’m never gonna dive into the water to collect my slices again, next time I play there… or anywhere else, for that matter, as I don’t play care to ever play golf again.

    … it’s too much exercise 18 holes … getting in and out of that buggy. Plus pot doesn’t do a thing for me, and I thought that’s all people went out to the fairways to do… I may have the wrong impression from high school.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman

    ... as I don’t play care to ever play golf again.
     
    Ouch, too late to correct that one... reads like I did spend some time on the fairway.

    (Plus, I thought I was replying under an iSteve post. I may not be pissing anyone off with anti-golf comments here, so what's the point?)
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  27. @Achmed E. Newman
    Yeah, you're right on the 1st part. I was trying to write an example quickly and thought about it too literally.

    Hollywood is home to the Hollywood Golf Club, formerly known as Gay Hill Golf Club.
     
    Ewwwww... I'm never gonna dive into the water to collect my slices again, next time I play there... or anywhere else, for that matter, as I don't play care to ever play golf again.

    ... it's too much exercise 18 holes ... getting in and out of that buggy. Plus pot doesn't do a thing for me, and I thought that's all people went out to the fairways to do... I may have the wrong impression from high school.

    … as I don’t play care to ever play golf again.

    Ouch, too late to correct that one… reads like I did spend some time on the fairway.

    (Plus, I thought I was replying under an iSteve post. I may not be pissing anyone off with anti-golf comments here, so what’s the point?)

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  28. I thank you for the book recommendation, Mr. Derbyshire. I could not find that one title on-line at our library. If you have read these, could you recommend which of the following (only titles in book format they’ve got) is the better by this author:

    The last chronicle of Barset,

    The Duke’s children,

    Christmas at Thompson Hall : a mid-Victorian Christmas tale,

    Phineas Finn,

    The Eustace diamonds,

    Dr. Thorne,

    or

    Barchester Towers ?

    Thanks in advance.

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  29. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5245754

    Sacco and Vanzetti were indeed guilty. The ballistic evidence which has been retested over the years proves it as well.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    Sacco and Vanzetti were the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin of their time. My parents commie library was filled with books about Lenin and Krupskaya, Emma Goldman, Alex Bernstein, Vera Figner, Rosa Luxembourg Big Bill Haydon?? head of the Wobblies, Altegeld.

    Now days all the empty vessel liberals probably consider all the above evil racists because:

    1. They were all White.

    2. They wanted to rouse the White working class to overthrow White capitalism.

    Today's liberals use blacks and non White immigrants to roll back worker's rights, decent wages and every advance the working class made in the last 150 years. They work for the worst kind of globalist capitalist and they don't even know it because they are just dullards and morons; empty sinks filled with the latest propaganda.
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  30. Anon says: • Disclaimer
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  31. Long time Derb reader, infrequent commenter.

    “What the hell is the matter with white people?” The same question has been stuck in my craw for a while. I’ve come to the conclusion that, to the extent that western liberalism has left an indelible genetic imprimatur on our kind, we are fatally flawed.

    I prefer the written to the spoken word, but if you haven’t listened to Black Pigeon on this subject I think you and other reads here would enjoy it.

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  32. whoever says: • Website

    The parachutist’s badge is the only one of those you mention that 20 years from now your son may come across in the back of a drawer, pick up, get a faraway look in his eyes and think, yeah, by God, I really did that!
    I know one person with a full fruit salad plate who only really cares about the FMF pin — that’s the one that person really worked for and really wanted, and most of the rest of the bars came from that little doodad. I’m sure your son feels the same way about his parachutist’s badge.
    The Overseas Service Ribbon for Alaska may seem strange, but the world is divided into CONUS and OCONUS (COntinental United States and Outside COntinental United States) as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. I was a service brat born OCONUS but in a somewhat obscure US Territory, which has led some civvy lame-brains in the Right-O-Sphere to attack me as a “foreign immigrant,” lawl.
    Uncle Sam’s armed forces should have updated their definitions many decades ago, but that they haven’t is in line with their unofficial motto: “Centuries of tradition with no visible signs of progress.”

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  33. Daniel H says:

    Congrats on your son’s achievement. I would say, though, that his parachutists badge was duly and well earned too. Not an easy skill to master, and I, myself, would never willingly jump out of a airplane, not even under the threat of court martial. I don’t care if I was at D day, somebody would have had to push me out of that plane. I don’t say that I would have struggled or resisted, I just would have went limp and told the others, “If you want me out, your gonna have to throw me out.”

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  34. JamesG says:
    @Bliss
    Hey Derbyshire, has anyone told you that your son looks Central Asian? No one in Uzbekistan would think he was American by looks alone. Ditto for your daughter.

    Likewise, Pat Buchanan, and his sister, always looked more Tatar than Irish to me...

    “Likewise, Pat Buchanan, and his sister, always looked more Tatar than Irish to me… ”

    PB is not Irish.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    Isn't Buchanan a Scots name?
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  35. Daniel H says:
    @Priss Factor
    Diversity gives us Keystone cops in UK.

    https://twitter.com/MarkACollett/status/926101479982878723

    I don’t think that these cops are carrying firearms, but they have something in their extended arms (mace, taser?). Still, it is a pathetic scene, but better than the US where the cops shoot loons when they are 50 feet and pose no imminent danger to the cop.

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  36. Jivilov says:

    The Army gives parachutist badges just for showing up? Seriously? Silly me. And here I thought all along you gotta jump out of airplanes to get one.

    Either that, or the otherwise crafty, worldly-wise Derb is clueless about the military and its elite units.

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  37. If your Albert Pearson was a Swede, I’d go after Persson (pronounced much the same, or confused with Pearson, to English or Scottish ears, as the irritating Scottish man demonstrates at 0:37. http://ytcropper.com/cropped/iM59fd1d0567d11 . Like the NY Islanders’ NHL star Stefan Persson (not a relative, I guess, born up in Västerbotten in ’54).

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  38. Mr. Anon says:
    @anony-mouse
    1/ The anniversary of the execution of Joe Hill also came and went. The problem with Hill as with Sacco and Vanzeti is there's a bit too much actual guilt in the cases.

    2/ As to your son, was it the Army or was it the old saying, 'When I was 15 I figured out that my parents knew nothing, but by the time I was 23 I was amazed at how much they learned.'

    2/ As to your son, was it the Army or was it the old saying, ‘When I was 15 I figured out that my parents knew nothing, but by the time I was 23 I was amazed at how much they learned.’

    That saying has been attributed to Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

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  39. Mr. Anon says:

    Isn’t the term “paratrooper” now about as anachronistic as “armored calvary”? The only time they ever jump seems to be in training. I believe there were jumps into Panama and Grenada, although only by a few special forces. I think the last large-scale combat jump was during the Vietnam war. Is it by now just a matter of tradition, rather than operational necessity, that there is still a kind of soldier called a “paratrooper”?

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    • Replies: @dearieme
    I suspect that's true. Maybe they should introduce a Corps of Longbowmen. It would be cheaper and would still give a pleasing sense of being a member of an elite.

    Mind you, I suspect that a navy of surface ships is obsolete too. And an air force of manned aircraft must be largely obsolescent.
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  40. Alden says:
    @Anon
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5245754

    Sacco and Vanzetti were indeed guilty. The ballistic evidence which has been retested over the years proves it as well.

    Sacco and Vanzetti were the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin of their time. My parents commie library was filled with books about Lenin and Krupskaya, Emma Goldman, Alex Bernstein, Vera Figner, Rosa Luxembourg Big Bill Haydon?? head of the Wobblies, Altegeld.

    Now days all the empty vessel liberals probably consider all the above evil racists because:

    1. They were all White.

    2. They wanted to rouse the White working class to overthrow White capitalism.

    Today’s liberals use blacks and non White immigrants to roll back worker’s rights, decent wages and every advance the working class made in the last 150 years. They work for the worst kind of globalist capitalist and they don’t even know it because they are just dullards and morons; empty sinks filled with the latest propaganda.

    Read More
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  41. Alden says:
    @JamesG
    "Likewise, Pat Buchanan, and his sister, always looked more Tatar than Irish to me… "

    PB is not Irish.

    Isn’t Buchanan a Scots name?

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    Aye.
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  42. Mr Derbyshire – allow me to correct a dreadful mistake in your comment. Like your son, I received (more than once) a Commendation and an Achievement medal – which you cannot obtain if you do not do well in training, do not get assigned to an actual billet, and do not perform in that billet at a fairly decent level. They are good medals and nobody who does not have one should say that they are not. However, as a seasoned (20 long long years – and when I say long, let me say I didn’t even like the company of most of the people I served with in the military – they were much too soft for me) veteran of the US military, I would not feel bad if I traded my 20 years (accompanied by several each of commendation medals and achievement medals – for the record, not to mention several medals that rank above that) for 4 years in which I received a Commendation and Achievement medal: I got my first achievement medal at year 3 and first commendation medal at year 7. Here is your big mistake, Professor. The Parachutist Medal is the big one. You are welcome for this accurate information (I actually have no idea how many other medals I eventually received – somewhere north of 15, I think – but there was not a single one I cared much about, incrementally. The only thing I cared about was the multiple times I interacted with, or worked with, or, once or twice, fought with, real warriors – well, I will stop there. ) Except to add: Sacco and Vanzetti were, indeed, culpable. The evidence is not complicated. Poor Miss Millay was a good poet every once in a while: but, being very very attractive, she forgot to care. Very few poets have had that option: it is interesting that she took that option. Also, I second the first sentence of what Whoever said at 6:25 PM. The rest of Whoever’s comment is debatable, but the first sentence is, in my humble opinion, accurate.

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  43. dearieme says:
    @Mr. Anon
    Isn't the term "paratrooper" now about as anachronistic as "armored calvary"? The only time they ever jump seems to be in training. I believe there were jumps into Panama and Grenada, although only by a few special forces. I think the last large-scale combat jump was during the Vietnam war. Is it by now just a matter of tradition, rather than operational necessity, that there is still a kind of soldier called a "paratrooper"?

    I suspect that’s true. Maybe they should introduce a Corps of Longbowmen. It would be cheaper and would still give a pleasing sense of being a member of an elite.

    Mind you, I suspect that a navy of surface ships is obsolete too. And an air force of manned aircraft must be largely obsolescent.

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  44. dearieme says:
    @Alden
    Isn't Buchanan a Scots name?

    Aye.

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  45. “The swaggering, “trash talk,” corner cutting, and absence of gentlemanly play common in sports today are largely the importation of non-white behavior into a previously white arena.”

    This is pretty unconvincing.

    CLR James visited the US in the ’30s and was appalled by the conduct of baseball fans and players. The loud-mouthed, uncouth, boastful Yank is a stereotype, and, as you often tell us, stereotypes arise because they reflect reality.

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