Sanger News: Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020

While perhaps not the most momentous news of the day, possibly the most shocking is the news that a retired French pharmacy professor, Jean-Bernard Fourtillan, was removed from his home to a psychiatric hospital—for questioning the official Covid-19 narrative. This LifeSite News article aptly points out, "The systematic use of psychiatric hospitals in order to silence or punish political opponents became widespread under communism, having started shortly after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917. The method developed under Stalin and then expanded as opposition to the 'socialist paradise' came to be considered a sign of mental illness." Of course, the 42-year-old French president, Emmanuel Macron, is a massive globalist and an EU proponent, and he was a socialist until 2009.

Screenshot of Townhall Media video, Washington, D.C., December 12

The chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee opined that the Georgia Senate races are "very positive" at the moment.

There was a massive "Jericho" (as in, the city whose walls the Israelites knocked down with God's help) rally in D.C. It got a lot of play in conservative media. The President flew over it in the Marine One helicopter. Meanwhile, here is a massive thread of the inevitable clashes between some of the president's supporters, "Proud Boys," and Antifa. Police have been trying to keep the groups separate, using pepper spray a lot; there may have been a stabbing:

https://twitter.com/Julio_Rosas11/status/1337792357488619520

Last night, Sidney Powell made emergency filings in the Supreme Court for Georgia, Michigan, and Arizona; she claims her plaintiffs have standing, "raise constitutional issues and prove massive fraud." Fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath:

https://twitter.com/SidneyPowell1/status/1337597433283571712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1337653024349687808%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es2_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.citizenfreepress.com%2Fbreaking%2Fsidney-powell-we-made-emergency-filings-tonight-to-scotus%2F

Still, the evidence for fraud seems to be overwhelming—so much that I make no effort at all to try to characterize it. Here's Powell giving a rundown from two days ago:

https://twitter.com/LouDobbs/status/1337168084541575171

Bear in mind that this is just one legal team, operating independently of the President's team, with a view into some of the election problems.

Silicon Valley giant Oracle are the latest to announce a relocation of its headquarters to Texas. They are only the latest of many. I personally know two "high net worth individuals" who have moved from California to Texas within the last seven years. Of course, matters are getting desperate indeed in California, with the homelessness, trash in the streets, brutal lockdowns, and crusading leftism, all in a state with outrageously high property values.

One of the deepest travesties of justice happened when the mainstream media tanked the story of Hunter Biden's possibly criminal China connections. Only now is the story beginning to be acknowledged—just in time for Kamala Harris to replace Joe Biden. Hunter Biden sent an email to the manager of his Washington, D.C. office building in September 2017 asking her to make keys for his “office mates” Joe Biden and Gongwen Dong, who he said was the “emissary” for the chairman of the Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC. Of course, the elder Biden didn't know anything about Hunter's business dealings. In other news, Hunter Biden was hit with a subpoena for foreign business records related to Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where the younger Biden was paid absurd amounts of money for, as near as anyone can tell, being closely related to the then-Vice President and "point man" on Ukraine. Well, isn't that special.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) urged Nancy Pelosi not to seat any of the Republicans who signed the amicus brief supporting a lawsuit in objection to the asserted election results. Not clear whether Pelosi can do this, or whether there is much chance of it happening.

One person was arrested for shooting another person when two "heavily armed groups" of protesters in Olympia confronted each other. Pray for peace. We do not need any more of this; we certainly do not need to encourage it. But there are several frightening signs that the country is inching ever closer to secession or civil war or both.

Apparently (if the tweet text is correct; not sure), a priest at a St. Anthony's Church in New Jersey said the 6 p.m. mass was disrupted by large crowds. Here you can hear the priest cursed by protesters on a smoke-filled street:

https://twitter.com/shanermurph/status/1337920622207307778

Pornhub is blocked by Visa and Mastercard, but you can still pay using cryptocurrencies. Pornhub is coming under severe and much-deserved fire for hosting rape videos, including videos of underage victims. But you can pay for such videos using Bitcoin, so...yay, Bitcoin...?

Mother, father, and two-year-old child were kicked off a United flight when the parents were unable to put a mask on the child. This is shocking by any standards. Why should this two-year-old have to wear a mask at all? I thought small children were generally exempt from having to wear masks. Apparently not.

https://twitter.com/elizfulop/status/1337608659187032066

Some psychiatrists have proposed giving the people we would call "social justice warriors" and "special snowflakes" a clinical diagnosis: the new personality disorder of "Tendency for Interpersonal Victimhood" (TIV). Among those people would doubtless be those mortally wounded by the news that J.K. Rowling has received "heartbreaking letters" from people who regret trans surgeries. Apparently, the once reliably liberal Rowling has decided she needs to take a stand in favor of biologically-defined womanhood. For this she has, of course, become an apostate to the social justice left. Another apostate of the same liberal sort would be Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: she introduced a bill to ban biological males from women's sports. Good luck with that one, Rep. Gabbard.

Sorry for the YouTube link, but...this is a seriously great video introduction to how today's "capitalist" globalists can be regarded as "neoliberal Leninists" or as old-fashioned fascists...ultimately, as a kind of communist. I've thought so for a long time. Our globalist masters, as I said, are of the far left. So what does that mean? Good primer on the basic political concepts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98rnSbRRwlo&feature=emb_title


The Sanger Daily: Friday, Dec. 11, 2020

Oh, boy. The Supreme Court simply rejected the Texas lawsuit to throw out voting results in four states. Since there were no dissents, one has to assume that the case was correctly decided. The reason, apparently, was that Texas had no legal standing to file the claim. Very well. We have to assume it's true. Well, that's that.

Here is the order. The relevant language: "Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections." Two of the most conservative justices—Alito and Thomas—do make a statement there, which I reproduce in full:

In my view, we do not have discretion to deny the filing of a bill of complaint in a case that falls within our original jurisdiction. See Arizona v. California, 589 U. S. _ (Feb. 24, 2020) (Thomas, J., dissenting). I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue.

But what's this? Another Supreme Court case? Yes, a suit by Lin Wood against the Secretary of State of Georgia is actually on the Supreme Court docket. Not enough to change the outcome of the election, but this might provide essential support for extraordinary actions among the electors and in Congress. Here's the petition.

Also, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge Saturday. It's still not over. It ain't over till it's over.

So I'll agree with Tracy Beanz' pep talk. Good job, Ms. Beanz.

Meanwhile back in Texas, the Texas Republican Party chairman all but called for the state to secede from the Union immediately. Sadly, I am not joking. Picture this. The scene is Davos, 2019. "So the radicalization of the youth and the commanding heights of the society is complete. So what we do is, first we release a disease in China. We hype it to the skies and shut down society. Meanwhile, we create massive riots in the summer. We reveal that Biden is a horrible criminal, but plot twist...the evidence is hidden systematically by the media. This sends the right over the edge. Then we steal the election from Trump per long-standing practice and ramped-up plans. The evidence is overwhelming but the media denies it all and the useful idiots will, as per usual, buy it all! It's so great that generations of miseducation made them into morons! Then, with forced vaccination and more long-term civilization-killing lockdowns hanging over people's heads, with Democrats convinced that Trump is worse than Hitler and Republicans convinced that the country is falling apart (which, ha ha, it sure is), how could the Americans not break up their union? And you know what they themselves say: 'United we stand, divided we fall.' So then...they fall."

Nah, that's just crazy talk. I don't really think that. I'm not a crazy conspiracy theorist.

Calvary Church of San Jose, Calif., and its pastor were found in contempt after ignoring a court order to stop holding indoor worship services, and were fined $55,000, or $2,500 for every day the church held indoor services. "I respect the judge and I respect what the law says," McClure said. "But there's a bigger law. I have to get told, you follow God or you follow man. I have to follow what God's word says."

YouTube removed 8,000 channels for discussing the possibility of voter fraud, according to Alan Dershowitz, whom I don't trust as far as I can kick him (and that's not very far). The friend of Jeffrey Epstein proves slightly useful by being yet another person to dare YouTube to censor "The Dershow."

So, the Trump administration bought 100 million more doses of the Moderna (pharma company) vaccine, for a total of 200 million doses. Gee, that sure is good for Moderna and its shareholders, isn't it? Is it good for the American people? Well, let's just say that remains to be seen. "The Moderna vaccine was developed using mRNA technology," which apparently doesn't bother the Trump administration decisionmakers. The name of the vaccine is mRNA-1273. The FDA has not decided whether to recommend the vaccine yet.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein may have to step down soon due to senility. People are complaining that she's forgetting conversations. At least she may be booted from the Judiciary Committee. What is it with the Establishment and their superannuated politicians?

Confirming once again that, like the Nobel Peace Prize committee, Time is an irrelevant, ideological has-been, Biden and Harris are Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year." Who cares? The only reason to mention it is that people will be talking about it. But then, that's probably the main reason to apprise yourself of most of what passes for "news."

The media colluded, to borrow a word, to tank a story that, if properly disclosed, would have tanked Biden's chances. Therefore the story, rather than Biden, was tanked. "Their excuse? Pure speculation—now proven utterly baseless—that the story was the work of Russian propagandists." Yup. These people are shameless and without honor. We must sadly develop and support new media resources, as if they did not exist. Maybe the New York Post can stick around.

Like an idiotic undergraduate uneducated about matters of the First Amendment, this fool, the goddamned dean of Columbia Journalism School, Steve Coll is saying the First Amendment has been "weaponized" to disseminate "disinformation." God help us. This sort of thing really means we, the whole country, probably the whole world, are in for some serious pain.

Coca-Cola was tested positive for Covid-19. We wish the cola well and a speedy recovery. Coke can rest easy knowing that there is a 99+% recovery rate. Of course, it's the <1% death rate that warrants shutting down society for months at a time and instituting what amounts to a global totalitarian regime. Totally worth it.

In other news, Wikipedia has completed its transformation into its stupider, more radically left-wing little brother, the (Ir)RationalWiki.

The best place to watch Paul Joseph Watson's latest, "Modernity 4," may be Bitchute:

https://www.bitchute.com/video/w_ewUvSNT3w/


Evening News, Dec. 10, 2020

#CivilWar was trending on Twitter this morning. Apparently, Rush Limbaugh was talking about the unfortunate possibility of a civil war, while Tim Pool explained why this was not entirely crazy talk.

Look at it this way. Suppose the Supremes take the case and rule in favor of Trump and the Republicans. You know the mainstream media will, barring some (to me) unforeseen circumstance, color it as an enormous miscarriage of justice. It will go far beyond riots. Last summer the MSM and Democratic politicians merely winked at, and subtly encouraged, the riots. But they refuse to let Trump win. They know that, if he does, he's coming after the Bidens, all the people in bed with China, and more. While they still hold power in about half the states and and half the Congress, as well as the "commanding heights" of Establishment culture, they refuse to let this happen. But they'll be desperate. And they know their rank and file really and truly believe that Trump is the Devil, worse than Hitler, who will just usher in a new fascist state (because, you know, he's already started, or something); they've been told that so often, anyway. So secession happens, and President Trump gets the military out to stop it. War.

Suppose to the contrary that the Supremes don't take the case, or rule in favor of Biden and the Democrats. Well, what do you think will happen then? The Republican leadership and rank and file have seen more than enough evidence that (1) Covid-19 was hyped and started in China, (2) China was allowed to spy on and influence U.S. policy for decades, (3) the Bidens were in bed with China (and Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs, and more), not to mention (4) there is some very heavy unfinished business regarding Anthony Wiener's hard drive and the Clinton Foundation. On top of all that, we have stunning amounts of evidence that (5) the Democrats systematically stole the election. The Republicans cannot allow this group of criminals to ruin the country. One way or another, Trump and his loyalists deny Democrats the right to take over. The Democrats fight back. War.

Not being a political scientist or historian, I have no idea of how plausible all this is. But it sure is worrisome to me. If it happens, I suspect we will all be looking back at now-current events and wondering if the war was not carefully orchestrated—so many previously unlikely (or unknown) events have come together in 2020 to make it possible.

If you want to find products to buy that do not come from China, try ProductFrom.com or ChinaNever.com. If you're looking for computer stuff, NewEgg.com includes "shipping from" information and links to manufacturer sites, so it's easier to find out which brands are Chinese.

Pennsylvania House leaders have filed a brief to support Texas...in its lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania (among others).

A third Muslim country, Morocco, has agreed to normalize relationship with Israel. Not news you can easily learn from the MSM, I imagine. The notion that Jared Kushner, of all people, might have brought this about must be galling. Good. Of course, if Biden takes power, one can easily imagine his people destroying the agreement immediately, somehow, just for spite.

This morning, Trump tweeted that "a coup is taking place in front of our eyes":

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1337042714924380166

I'm afraid that is how it looks to me, too, considering the shocking breadth and depth of evidence that the election was stolen by dishonest Democrats as well as anti-Trump Establishment Republicans. And that is to say nothing of the profoundly unfair—incredibly undemocratic—way this election was conducted by virtually all involved elements of society. The fact that the American people who are still glued to MSM sources know fairly little about this situation is just incredible and dystopian.

In a dramatic statement that has gotten a lot of play, a Dr. Pierre Kory testified that an established and fairly cheap drug, Invermectin, "basically obliterates transmission of this virus." In other news of inconvenient doctors, Dr. Kary Mullis, the Nobel prize winning inventor of PCR tests, said "Fauci doesn't understand medicine, he's an administrator" and "he has an agenda." Note, Dr. Mullis is now dead. He said this some years ago, long before Covid-19.

Liberal talking heads want you "held accountable" as "the enemy" for voting for Trump. Chris Cuomo wants Trump voters to lose "way more than this election." Court jester Olbermann calls for Trump supporters to go to prison.

https://twitter.com/newsbusters/status/1337102027910836226

But civil war? That's crazy talk.

Well, I am sure there was other news. I have to limit myself. Other things to do!

CORRECTION of this morning's news: Rep. Eric Swalwell has not been removed yet from the House Intelligence Committee. As of the evening of December 10, he and Nancy Pelosi were being strongly pressured by Republicans to exclude him from the committee, however. How he might remain on the committee when the Republicans on the same committee, at least, have no faith whatsoever in his loyalty, and when the Republicans are in the minority, should be interesting to watch.


December 10, 2020

I am thinking of making a news and commentary blog rather than spending any significant time commenting on Twitter. To explore that idea, which I would execute over the holidays rather than take much work time, I thought I would make a brief sample post. So here goes. (Let me know what you think in the comments below.)

Boy, have I ever picked a doozy of a day to report about. I mean, there is a lot of huge news.

Surely one of the biggest stories is that Eric Swalwell was supposedly removed from the House Intel Committee. CORRECTION: He has not been removed yet. As of the evening of December 10, he and Nancy Pelosi were being strongly pressured by Republicans to exclude him from the committee. That is, of course (the story broke big three days ago), because he was "involved in an effort by a reported spy"—the colorfully named, now infamous, Fang Fang—"to gather info for China." So says Kevin McCarthy, anyway. This is significant because the House is Democrat-run, meaning even the current radical and deeply compromised batch of Democrats cannot defend this person, who increasingly looks to be a traitor. And no doubt there are many more, considering that Prof. Di Dongsheng admitted that the Chinese Communists have been influencing American politicians through Wall Street for decades.

In news closer to home, the Chinese fangs were sunk deep into the mayor of an unnamed "obscure city"—in Ohio. Boy, this girl gets around.

Wait, so...ol' Fang Fang was actually drawing salary and travel expenses from the Democratic Party?

What have we here?

Apparently, it's news that some guy named Larry Sanger announced a boycott of YouTube. (Direct link to the Revolver front page, which is surprisingly difficult to find if you don't know it's called "Revolver News".)

A deeply disturbing sign of the times is that family doctor Jereth Kok was investigated and suspended from medical practice for sharing Christian beliefs. Yes, really. What sort of beliefs? Just "about abortion, about sexuality and so-called 'LGBT' issues, and that whole issue of doctors performing so-called 'gender transitions'." Got that? In Australia—hence, in many places in the West—you may not speak publicly about such issues if you have the wrong views. Much more, highly interesting background in an interview. I wish Dr. Kok all the best and I strongly suspect that the Lord will reward him. We should all seek to emulate Dr. Kok and not self-censor at all. Continue to speak out, if anything, more loudly and persistently, because they will definitely win if we allow ourselves to be silenced by the New Censors.

If you can believe this, the FBI has finally changed its story about Seth Rich. The FBI now admits that it has thousands of pages of documents of Seth Rich, and it also has custody of his laptop. Gee, OK. It's "just another story" today.

It seems Pres. Trump has tapped Sen. Ted Cruz to argue the Texas lawsuit before the Supreme Court. Not sure the president is in a position to hire people for that particular job, but maybe.

Eighteen states that have joined Texas in its lawsuit against the four swing states that ran their elections unconstitutionally. "On Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court ordered the defendant states to reply by 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10." Cautiously optimistic that, with this amount of support and considering both the importance and the strength of the case against the violators, the Supremes will actually take up the case.

It was announced, through the "Biden Harris Transition" team, that Hunter Biden's taxes are being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's office in Delaware.

Have I missed any big stories du jour that I should have included above? Please share them below.


Bold Predictions for the 2020s

Yeah, who knows what will really happen? But here are my predictions (i.e., wild guesses).

  • The Jeffrey Epstein estate and Ghislaine Maxwell cases, as well as the Biden Ukraine case, and some as-yet-lesser-known cases, will rock the entire Western world for several years. Donald Trump will not be among those indicted, but he will continue to be smack dab in the middle of it all. The Clintons and the Bidens will be among those indicted. We will discover that the world has largely been run by literal, not figurative, criminal cartels of one kind or another.
  • Several of the people ultimately punished in these cases will be Democratic politicians and celebrities, as well as once-respected Establishment Republicans. This will cause a crisis in American politics as we find that "Americanism" was maligned as "populism" and that we actually like Americanism. But exactly how that will play out remains to be seen. The country will not break up. Democracy and what has been called the "American civil religion" will be renewed, as we will look back on 1992-2020 (at least) with horror and as a near-miss at a second civil war.
  • As more and more people learn about the utter decadence of certain of our "elites," and that our mass media has been systematically manipulated by cultural architects (so to speak) for decades, there will be a massive exodus away from traditional media and a massive resurgence of traditional Christianity in the West.
  • Donald Trump will be re-elected in 2020. Sorry. Hard to see past 2020, because the political situation in the country will probably look very different by 2024.
  • The massive recent revelations about Facebook, Google, and others are a slow-moving avalanche threatening to bury these companies. A few will not survive the decade. Even bigger revelations (not least of which are the associations with Epstein and Epstein-style networks) and massive new movements will overwhelm their economic power base.
  • New Internet companies, more committed to privacy and free speech, will offer open source solutions integrated tightly with old-fashioned decentralized networks and open data standards. We will see, just for example, a massive new decentralized encyclopedia network that connects all existing encyclopedias in a centerless, leaderless way, and makes it easy for people to go head-to-head with existing offerings via their own blogs.
  • The popularity of personal servers (like my Synology NAS) will grow steadily, until even grandma knows about them as a better alternative to Dropbox. The software these servers run will become every bit as good as cloud-based apps offered by, e.g., Google (such as Docs, Sheets, and Drive). "Rolling your own" will happen a lot more by the decade's end, because the software for doing so will be much more powerful.
  • We will probably not see general AI this decade, unless this has been developed secretly—i.e., unless giant corporations and, more likely, military programs have made much more progress than we knew about. We will likely see some massive new technological breakthrough on the order of the invention of the personal compute. Possibly a medical breakthrough. Of course, some technologies that are already well-developed but not in mass use will come into mass use, such as commercial space travel and ever-more integrated "smart" devices (that will be run via your own NAS rather than via a cloud server).
  • We will all get ten years older. Both of my boys will become adults. I will start enjoying more free time. I might actually publish a book sometime this decade, but don't hold your breath.


Things I don't understand even after they are explained to me

  1. Why public art is so ugly.
  2. Why the public are not up in arms about the ugliness of public art.
  3. Why I continue to drink and even occasionally desire beer even though it isn't actually that tasty to me.
  4. Why people are evil. (Some people really are. No, some people are really, really evil, if you didn't know. If you claim not to know, then either you haven't seen enough of the world to know, or you're lying. Or you have a stupid philosophical theory.)
  5. Why philosophers put so much work into some pretty transparently stupid philosophical theories.
  6. How people who have been taught the tools of critical thinking and independent reasoning end up following each other in what are more or less intellectual mobs.
  7. Why rich people pay massive amounts for truly ugly buildings that they proceed to work or live in. They can't possibly like being there.
  8. Why parents and teachers continue to tolerate the entire appalling textbook system, generation after generation. (Most textbooks suck surprisingly badly upon a little examination.)
  9. Why there are so many people in the orbit of the Clintons who were murdered, committed suicide, or died in a plane crash.
  10. Why gazillionaires, who could buy whatever the hell they wanted, choose to buy some of the most godawful dreck on the market for millions of dollars.
  11. Why so many serious people seem to take such artistic taste seriously. (It can't just be because a lot of money is spent.)
  12. Why public opinion about gay marriage apparently changed on a dime. (I have a theory, but I don't find it that convincing.)
  13. Why some psychologists and journalists write things that for all the world look like pedophilia apology—as if the mental health of pedophiles were somehow more important than protecting children from predators.
  14. Why there aren't more journalists that seem to care very sincerely about neutrality.
  15. Why, despite rough attempts, no one has made a real, credible effort to start a really neutral news service. (You'd have to think through what this really requires. Why hasn't anyone done so? I don't get it.)
  16. Why more quite intelligent people become such idiots when they talk or write about politics. Most people lose about 20 IQ points when they write about politics.
  17. Why people allowed child abuse to go on in the Catholic Church, and other institutions, for so long; why management seems to tolerate it and not keep a sharp lookout for it.
  18. Why educational psychologists have not systematically examined the very real (and quite easy-to-prove) phenomenon of teaching babies and toddlers to read. Makes no sense to me at all.
  19. Why Republican politicians keep voting for higher spending and, often, higher taxes.
  20. Why there are next to no schools that get rid of grades in preference to ability grouping.
  21. Why we seem so chummy with Saudi Arabia in particular, and not necessarily with other oil-producers.
  22. Why so many politicians believe in astrology. How do you get to such a position of responsibility and still believe in fairy tales?

Yes, I know I have a lot to learn still.

More coming.


The meeting of the Larrys

Today I was on Larry King Now (his Hulu/YouTube/RT program, similar to the old CNN "Larry King Live"). I was on a half-hour panel about blockchain with XYO's Markus Levin and Eric Tippetts of NASGO. It's due out March 1.

Here are some pictures:

Larry and the panelists

The two Larrys (Larries?)

Everipedia (Sam Kazemian and moi) meets the master of interviewing

Striking a Larry King-esque pose


Further, alarming evidence of Larry's creeping geekhood

Isn't she beautiful

Yes, I'm another one who has plunked down unnecessary amounts of money just to get a keyboard with keys that bump, click, and have precise activation points, and with switches that people care a lot about, changeable keys, etc. So far, I don't regret the purchase one bit and I'm rather happy with it. And proud, since here I am bragging about it.

Not only did I get one of these contraptions, called a mechanical keyboard, I totally geeked out and got a 61-key (so called "60%") keyboard. This cut out the function keys, the arrow keys, the number pad, etc. How do I type all that stuff? What about when I want to do a screen capture? Well, for that there is the function layer. In fact, there is the default function layer, which has things like the arrow keys (on my keyboard, they're the green keys, I, J, K, L), as well as three more programming function layers. I don't have to use the Fn key to activate the function layer, either; I can use the Caps Lock key, which I reassigned to Fn with a simple dip switch. So if I want to print the screen, I simply type Fn (or Caps Lock) + p.

I bought the above keyboard from WASD Keyboards. They allow you to choose your keys and choose what is printed on your keys (see what I have on my space bar?). Mine is fitted with the both-bumpy-and-clicky Cherry MX Blue switches, and I can confirm that the bumpyclickiness is "satisfying," whatever that means, in this context, exactly. I do feel approximately 5% geekier, which puts my geekiness ratio might higher than it was not that long ago, what with having installed Linux and starting to really pay attention to privacy. (Speaking of privacy, as some have observed, I need to make larrysanger.org https: . I will soonish, honest.)

So why spend this money (OK, it was $160) on a keyboard? The usual reasons are mine, too: the keys are rather more pleasurable to type on (it's true! The sense of precision is great!). The colors on the self-designed keys make me happy. The high quality also makes me happy. And as for the reasons for a 60% keyboard: I think it will make me a faster writer and coder, as I don't have to leave the center of the keyboard (I'm already seeing this to be the case). It also means I don't have to reach over the extra keys to get to the mouse, so my fingers can be directly in front of me, with the keyboard centered in front of my monitors. I couldn't do this with my old keyboard, which hogged the desk. My workspace is simpler now and that's actually a bigger deal than I thought it would be.

Normally, I would have put the above paragraphs on Facebook and/or Twitter. Instead, as part of my movement away from social media, I decided to put it on my blog and let people find it their own damn selves, and if not many people do find it, and if it has zero chance of "going viral," ask me if I care.


Eric the Omnipotent

I've been making up a bedtime story for my boys (ages 12 and 8). I decided to start writing it down. What I have below is the first few evenings' worth. I have a fair bit to catch up; there will be adventures at school, making money, and trips here and there. I thought I'd share it on my blog to invite some feedback. Let me know what you think.

Chapter One

Once
upon a time, there was a boy named Eric, age 10, who lay dreaming of
bacon. It was a very vivid dream. He saw it cooked to perfection in a
pan; he smelled that inviting, savory smell; he even heard it
sizzling. Then, in his dream, he saw the gorgeous bacon removed from
the pan, ready to eat on a plate. There was a lot of it, but not too
much. It was the perfect
amount of perfect bacon.

Then Eric jolted
awake and sat up and rubbed his eyes. Next to him, on his nightstand,
was just the plate of bacon that he had dreamed. It was still
sizzling.

“Gee, thanks,
Mom!” he called out.

Eric looked for his
mother to appear in the doorway, but no one did and no one replied.
Eric shrugged and took a piece of bacon. It was, indeed, just as
perfect as in his dream. It didn’t burn his fingers, but it was
crispy hot, and delicious.

“Eric!” his
mother, Martha, called out from his doorway. “Where did that bacon
come from?”

He looked up with a
wrinkled brow. “I don’t know. You mean you didn’t make it?”

“No, I did not,”
she said, sternly. “I didn’t give you permission to—” She
stopped herself, then said,
“Wait.” She shook her head with
her eyes closed and yawned. “I don’t remember buying bacon.”

Eric’s
four-year-old sister, Molly, appeared in the doorway with a frown of
deep confusion on her face. She spotted the bacon and immediately ran
and snatched a piece. “Yum!” she exclaimed.

By this time Eric’s
father, Frank, appeared over Martha’s shoulder and said, “Where’d
the bacon come from?” Then: “Wow, did you make that yourself,
son? Looks good.”

“I didn’t buy
bacon, Frank,” Martha said. “You must have.”

Frank looked at
Martha, nonplussed. “I...don’t buy bacon,” he said, as he
walked over and helped himself to a piece.

“I know you don’t,
but you must have,”
Martha said.

“I
didn’t. Swear to God.”

Martha’s
eyebrows raised and she shrugged her shoulders. “O...kay, guys,
whatever. Enjoy your
bacon.” She got herself a piece and went off.

“Eric,”
Frank said, “I didn’t buy that bacon. And I didn’t make that
bacon. And if I know your mother, and I think I do, I don’t think
she—”Just as Martha had, Frank
stopped himself, then said, “Maybe
your mom forgot it.”

“No,
no,” Eric said, “she’s just pretending that she didn’t make
it. Obviously she made
it.”

Molly
was silently standing in front of the plate and biting into her
second piece. Eric was on his third.

Frank, like everyone
else, was frowning in confusion and thought. “You must be right,
unless you’re the trickster. But it sure doesn’t sound like her.
Or you.”

The
breakfast table conversation was about who made the bacon. Everyone
but Martha maintained that she made it and was puzzlingly pretending
not to have done so, while Martha maintained that it
was Frank who
made it and who was
pretending. Molly wondered grumpily why she didn’t
get any bacon next to her bed,
but Martha said that she had eaten as much as anyone, so it was
perfectly fine.

*
* *

Eric,
an intelligent but otherwise (as far as he knew) perfectly ordinary
fifth-grader, went through his normal school-day routine. Last year,
he had asked to be allowed to come home instead of going to day care,
which Martha agreed to, saying that she wanted to come home early and
work from home anyway. She was a graphic designer. Besides, Frank was
often at home; he was a professor of astronomy at a research
university.

Today,
however, Eric found himself home alone, as he sometimes was for an
hour or two before his mother came home. His instructions were clear:
stay at home, do his homework, have a snack if he needed one.

Eric,
being a nice and diligent boy, usually did as he was told. That is
why, today, he was sitting down at his desk in his bedroom frowning
at his math book. “Ugh,” he said to himself, “I wish I didn’t
have to do this. I wish it were already done.” He opened the
textbook and then opened his binder to take out a clean sheet of
paper, when he noticed that the paper was full of writing. This was a
great surprise to him because, just a moment before, it had been
blank. He was about to put it back, thinking it was yesterday’s
homework, but he had just
turned in yesterday’s homework. Besides, this
had no markings on it. All of
his old homework had markings on it.
He
looked again: it was marked with today’s date.
He examined it carefully: he
couldn’t remember doing it at all, but this was today’s
assignment. Completed.

“Wow,”
he said to himself, remembering the bacon. He had just been
thinking
he wished it were
already done. And here it was, already done.

Eric
held out his hand palm up, and said experimentally—not particularly
expecting anything to happen—“I wish I had a pencil.”

A
pencil popped into his hand.

Now,
for a ten-year-old, Eric was not much of a dreamer. He didn’t
really go in for swords and sorcery or fairy tales. He was, in his
parents’ opinion, a geek who liked computers and machines. So while
you might think that he would shriek with delight, or grow round-eyed
with wonder, or maybe faint, that wasn’t Eric. Instead, he
instantly frowned violently, mouth agape, and whispered:

“What
the—”

Then
he said said: “I wish it were a cupcake.”

The
pencil became a cupcake, a
glorious, fancy, chocolate-frosted confection. Eric bit into the
cupcake, again experimentally, still frowning. Then his eyebrows went
up. It was very good indeed.

I
will not tell you everything that Eric popped into and out of
existence just then, because there were a great many things and Eric
had plenty of time. Whole cakes, a million dollars, a very expensive
telescope, a friendly cat, and a wolf were just a few of the things
that were popping into and out of existence in Eric’s bedroom.
While perhaps not a dreamer, Eric did have an excellent imagination.

Then
Eric had another idea: Could he levitate? That sounded potentially
dangerous, so at first he sat on his bed, then he levitated about a
foot off the bed.

That
was the moment that Eric heard Martha’s scream. She hung onto the
side of the doorway, staring at her floating son and looking quite
faint. Eric floated down and got to his feet and said, “Now don’t
freak out Mom, it’s OK, but—look at this!”

And
he held out his hand and into it popped another cupcake. Martha sat
heavily on the bed with her hand clutched to her head. You
might think that she would suspect Eric to have learned some very
effective magic trick. The problem was that she had seen.
She had seen Eric actually
levitating in the air, for several seconds. And had seen Eric’s
hand absolutely empty and then, in the next moment, absolutely full
of cupcake.

She
was close to panicking, because
she thought it likely she was going insane. Eric popped the cupcake
out of existence, which did not help, and he patted his mother’s
shoulder, saying, “It’s OK, Mom, really, don’t worry! It’s
OK!” and other words of reassurance for about an entire minute.
Martha was silent. Eric kept saying, “Do you want me to show you
again?” and Martha just shook her head.

Eventually,
Martha collected herself and managed a weak smile, and said, “How?”

“I
dunno,” said Eric.

“Am
I going crazy?”

“Absolutely
not, Mom. Unless I’m going crazy too, because I’m seeing the same
things! Look, you tell me what you want, and I’ll make it. Go
ahead!”

“OK,”
Martha said, nodding. “How about...how about a really big...ruby.
You know, the gemstone.”

“Sure!”
chirped Eric. “I know what a ruby is.” And he opened
his hand to reveal a
monstrous ruby,
surely, Martha thought,
the largest ruby that has
ever existed. She
was increasingly impressed
and excited. She took the
ruby.

“OK,
now a diamond.” Eric produced one and handed it to her.

“An
emerald?” Again, Eric handed her one. The three gemstones were
difficult to hold all at once in a single hand.

“But
I’ll tell you, Mom, I can fill a room full of those, so...” Eric
waved a hand, unnecessarily but theatrically, and the giant gemstones
disappeared.

“Aw,”
said Martha. “I liked those.” Then
she fainted.

*
* *

Eric was holding her hand and looking quite worried when Martha came around. He was repeating such things as, “It’s OK, really” and “you’re not crazy, Mom!” This didn’t help Martha very much, but she didn’t faint again. By the time she was fully recovered, she seemed to have accepted the situation and was “all business.”

“All
right, Eric,” she said, “let’s test you out a little more, OK?
Come with me.”

Martha
led her son to the living room. She pointed at a couch that was quite
old and ratty. “Give me a new couch, please,” she said.

First,
Eric waved his hand dramatically and the couch was instantly new
again. Martha wrinkled her nose at this. “No, it needs to be
something different. Not just
new again.”

“Like
what?” Eric said, waving his hand and changing the upholstery from
brown to blue. “This?”

“No...”
Martha looked thoughtful. Then she held out her hands. “Give me a
new tablet.”

One
appeared in her hands.

“Now
open it up to the browser.”

A
web browser opened itself
up.

They
searched the web for pictures of couches. She picked one out, made it
larger so Eric could see it well, and said, “That one.” A
fancy new sofa appeared in
the place of the blue one.
“Hmm, it’s kind of small.” It enlarged. “Yes, that’ll do
for now.”

Next,
they picked out new drapes, a stereo with large speakers, an
82” television, marble
countertops for the kitchen, and
other assorted odds and ends.
Finally, Eric created a
new sink. Martha tried it
out, only to hear a strange sound coming from underneath; water was
spilling onto the floor, because plumbing was missing. After some
yelling and mild cursing, Eric said, “No problem!” and cleaned up
the mess with a flick of his fingers. Martha showed him pictures of
what sink plumbing looks like, and he got it in right.

“How
on earth,” Martha said, “can you create a tablet and a television
and get a sink wrong?”

“Well,
I was only thinking about the sink. I wasn’t thinking about all the
pipes and stuff underneath,” Eric said.

“Yes,”
Martha replied, “but you don’t have to think about or know about
all sorts of things that go into the tablet or television.”

Eric
paused. “Well, but I was only thinking about the sink. I mean, that
is all I was thinking
about.”

“The
point, dear son,” Martha said, “is that you can get things
wrong.”

“Yeah.
Well,” Eric said, “Hey.
I’ll just, you know, wish I
won’t get
things wrong.” He nodded
his head. “There! Done!”

Martha
looked skeptical. “I’ll
bet you still can, though…” She stared into the distance for a
minute. “I know. Give me a new refrigerator.” Eric pointed at the
old refrigerator and a new one appeared. Martha looked inside.

“Uh-huh,
Martha said, “I thought so.”

“What?”

“There’s
no food.”

“Aw,”
Eric said, “here.” Assorted foodstuffs and drinks, roughly what
Eric remembered seeing there, appeared.

“Where’s the
yogurt?” Martha said. “We had yogurt.”

“Oh,”
Eric said.

“Yes.
You didn’t know what was in there. Can you give me back the old
refrigerator?”

“Sure,
I guess.” It was back with a wave of Eric’s hand. Martha opened
it up. The old food was there.

“Interesting,”
she said. Suddenly she looked very tired. She said, “I’m going to
take a nap.” Then she
turned around and looked very seriously at Eric, adding, “Don’t
do anything dangerous, don’t
tell anyone, don’t
go anywhere. Just give me some
time, OK? Do you hear me?”

“Yes,
Mom.”


Positivity and motivation

One thing that almost nobody knows about me is how much time I've spent on self-analysis of one sort or another. I'm deeply impressed by people who are more motivated and self-disciplined than I am, and I frequently try to get to the bottom of the many issues surrounding self-discipline.

Recently I've been toying with the notion that optimism is an important attitudinal key to high motivation. But the more I think about it, the more I think it is not optimism but positivity that matters. These are different. A rough gloss of "optimism" is "the habit of estimating the probability of future events turning out well." By contrast, I'd say "positivity" means "the habit of evaluating one's own achievements and situation, and those of other people, highly." Obviously, this is a vague thing. But if you "look on the bright side," you're positive; if you're depressive and regard your achievements as worthless and your situation as bleak, you're negative.

So, yes, I'm thinking that Norman Vincent Peale's Power of Positive Thinking was right all along. This is also consistent with the fact that cognitive therapy (which is all about replacing negative thoughts with positive ones) is so helpful.

I know people who say they are depressed who nevertheless do work hard. I'm not saying that positivity is perfectly correlated with motivation (or hard work). But as I look back on my own life, at the times that I worked the hardest, I was always at the time quite proud of my work or progress, and more or less satisfied with my circumstances. Was that because I happened to be working harder or producing more at the time? Actually, no. There were other times in my life when I also happened to work hard and get stuff done, but I was dissatisfied with my progress. No--I think I was, at those times, simply focused on the positive. That suggests a hypothesis.

I'll be 50 in a few weeks, and I have thought a great deal about this sort of thing, but I'm not sure I have ever entertained this precise hypothesis: When I am quite positive, i.e., when I dismiss self-criticism and instead take pride in my work (and my circumstances, i.e., "looking on the bright side" of whatever comes my way), then I do happen to be unusually well motivated and hard-working. Positivity causes high motivation. Dwelling on the bright side is a sufficient but not necessary condition for wanting to get stuff done.

It's not optimism about the future that matters most to motivation. It's positivity. Optimism means evaluating the probability of future desired events highly. But if you're in a blue funk, then even if you think it's very likely that you'll achieve x if you set out to do x, you'll be less likely to care about x, or be motivated by the prospect. But if you're quite positive, if you dwell long and hard on how wonderful it will be to achieve x, and you generally look on the bright side regardless, that can be enough to overcome a sober estimate that your chances of success are relatively low.

So I'm going to try this out. There's no great method to follow, however. What I'm describing here is an attitude, not an activity. If you're persuaded by what I've written, and want to try it out with me, then it seems to me what you need to do is reflect on everything in your life--your job, your relationships, your material circumstances, everything--and remind yourself of all of the most positive aspects of it all. Then keep those aspects in mind, and going forward, as you encounter new circumstances and talk with folks, make an effort to dwell on the most positive aspects. If you get a B and you wanted an A, reflect that it's not a C; that the course was difficult; that it is, after all, just one grade; etc. If you finish a piece of work you're proud of and nobody else seems to notice, don't let that stop you from taking pride in your work. And let your attitude come out. If you feel like saying to a coworker, "I really killed it," referring to your job, they'll probably support you if they're decent.

I'm not saying you should be conceited or narcissistic. Don't take other people down a peg just because you start getting more positive about yourself. I also think you should be positive with respect to other people, their qualities and their achievements. If someone says they finished something important, praise them. You might find someone's politics annoying, but don't let that stop you from liking or admiring him or her. Remind yourself that politics are just one not-very-important aspect of a person's life, and that your friend is, after all, very accomplished in this or that way, or funny, or pretty, or whatever their positive traits might be. This will make it easier for you to be more genuinely positive about yourself.

Let me know what you think in the comments.