July 21, 2024

Para-Anti-Social Self Help

Tonight is a huge opportunity! Are you feeling down? Current events got you depressed? Well, cheer up! This evening you can deal with those frustrations in a way that would not be acceptable in the 3-D world! Because tonight you can bully a virtual streamer as he tries to break free from the shackles of his .png in a scuffed test stream...while derping in Genshin Impact. Come for the scuff, then stay for the cringe, all of which begins at 7:30pm EST / 11:30pm UTC at https://www.twitch.tv/brickmuppet




An actual sneak preview of what the new model does not look like!

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July 13, 2024

Trump Was Just Shot

I just received a call from my Dad. Trump has been shot. I won't go over my misgivings about the guy, they are here if you care, but those misgivings are irrelevant right now.


A leading candidate for the presidency has been shot. 


Given the immense polarization in the country right now his is how you get a Civil War. 

Don't do that. 

It appears that Trump is OK with only a graze and the loss of a bit of his right ear, though one of the rally-goers behind him was reportedly shot in the head and killed. 

Everything is in a state of flux at this time and the story changes moment to moment. Trump appears to be OK, but I'm old enough to remember Reagan being shot. They thought he was OK until he coughed up blood. 

I'm still dubious about Trump's ability to win the election given the intense institutional and self-imposed headwinds he faces, but, given the optics, I do suspect this incident is unlikely to add measurably to those headwinds. 


 The photo was taken by Evan Vucci

...this despite CNN's headline, still desperately trying for a "Biden vs the stairs" moment.

The combination of this manner of media coverage, with the reality that a candidate that many in the desperate, hurting half of the country see as some sort of savior was shot (and one of his supporters murdered) is not likely to calm the tensions this nation is under. 

My fear is that someone will seek retribution. Be assured, THAT will not get diffident coverage. Once a nation goes tit-for-tat assassinations it goes into a dark place.  

This happened less than an hour ago. We still don't know what we don't know.

So everybody stay safe.
And above all stay calm. 

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July 07, 2024

Oh God...Is it Over? PLEASE LET IT BE OVER!1!!

***THIS IS IT!*** We're finally  going to finish this sidequest in Sumeru...The "sidequest" that has taken us over 25 hours of stream time over the course of six streams! The "sidequest" that has the most unpronounceable names in all of Teyvat. Hell, we might even get to do something with regards to the main story quest. Join us for the fun, the accomplishment, the satisfaction, the absolute EXTACY of finally finishing this thing at 7:30pm EST/ 11:30pm UTC over at https://www.twitch.tv/brickmuppet 




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July 04, 2024

Today More Than Usual

248 years ago a group of men gathered together in Philadelphia to declare their independence from the largest, most powerful empire the world had ever known, as well as set forth their reasons for doing so. 


Despite their diverse backgrounds, (some were German descended, some Swedish, at least one of African ancestry, and some French and Spanish), they were, in effect, fighting for the rights of Englishmen, against what they saw as a despotic German king. (The fact that George the 3rd, whose grandfather had been brought in from Germany due to an unlikely series of events following the despotism of the Commonwealth was actually just suffering from dementia was unknown to them, but that does have a certain bitterly amusing relevance today.)

After nearly a decade of struggle, against impossible odds, with help from foreign powers and their own unbridled determination they achieved an imperfect, but ultimately impressive and somewhat happy conclusion. This is not the norm for such affairs as they often  tend to turn the lands they transpire in into abattoirs. 

This latter is a lesson we should heed for our current circumstances bear less in common with the demands of those products of The Enlightenment, who were affronted by the trampling of their natural rights, than another similar struggle that happened a few years later. 

In that instance an arrogant and spiteful aristocracy, imbued with a sense of their moral superiority and right to rule, tormented their social inferiors , rendering them destitute and keeping them down through a combination of aristocratic contempt, provincial ignorance, indifference and, occasionally, pure sadism. Such an environment breeds not magnanimity and justice, but bitterness and resentment. Movements based upon the latter tend to go to very dark places indeed, as the French revolution so effortlessly morphed into The Terror, much like the Russian upheaval of 128 years later that crushed, raped and strangled the soul of that benighted land. 

These are lessons that should be noted and learned from, especially as  people who are indeed hurting and even have just grievances make desperate pronouncements and L.A.R.P. intensely online. They seem to think that the outcome of such an affair will ultimately end as happily as our secession from England did. 

That unusually benign result was a bizarre historical anomaly, depending on a literate and ethical cadre of revolutionaries and no small amount of fortuitous providence. It is an extreme rarity in the grand tapestry of human history. Remember that well as times become dark. 

Remember all that especially today and appreciate the wisdom, fortitude and good fortune of those who, 248 years ago, signed the document that resides below this post's 'fold'. 

Also: Have a happy fourth.  
more...

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July 03, 2024

Well. Happy July 3rd

This is a bit sobering. 

Rudyard occasionally has some very hot takes, but his ideas are always interesting. Nick Freitas serves in the Virginia House of Delegates and also hosts a very thoughtful & literate channel on You Tube. Today they talk about...suboptimal political scenarios. 

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June 20, 2024

This Time Fer Sure!

Tonight, join us at 10:00pm EST/02:00am UTC as we join several other cool streamers in what promises to be an action packed Zomboid stream as we.... RETURN TO KINGSMOUTH....we were not able to clear or loot this location last week as we encountered one of the most challenging scenarios the group has ever encountered in the zombpocalypse.  This place is absolutely PACKED with the living dead and we're going back tonight so grab a drink and a snack sit down, point, laugh, and get ready for mayhem, because this promises to be a lot of fun....or very tragic....or both. https://www.twitch.tv/brickmuppet



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June 19, 2024

Frieren : Beyond Journey's End


Anime, especially Fantasy Anime, has seemingly devolved into a morass of formulaic, trope-ridden cliche' buffets, and isekai stories that are little more than horny-N.E.E.T. affirmation fantasies.  Frieren is one of those shows that really brings this unpleasant fact home as it demonstrates quite convincingly that the vast majority of shows are utter garbage...by comparison. 

This show is thoughtful, exceedingly human, and quite genre-savvy, touching on concepts often talked about in the fantasy genre but seldom explored. 

Frieren is an elven mage, over 1,000 years old, who joined a party of misfit adventurers  on their way to travel to the dark lands and defeat the demon lord....basically the plot of every fantasy anime ever....except that this story begins as they are being welcomed home from their journey and honored for their success in ridding the world of the threat. As the night wears on a meteor shower that only happens about every 50 years occurs and the Emperor of the land they saved takes it as a sign, proclaiming the beginning of a new golden age. Frieren is unimpressed with the view, noting that she knows of a far more spectacular place to view the heavenly spectacle, one that is only a weeks travel away. Himmel, the leader of the victorious party of heroes notes that the meteor shower is a one night affair. Frieren, confused, explains that she was offering to take them all to the far better location when the meteor shower arrives again in 50 years, and seems perplexed at her companions reaction.

50 years later, Frieren the Elf  keeps her promise, setting in motion a journey of understanding  and discovery both for her, her companions and others whose lives she touches over the next few years...

This is a wonderful series that explores the meaning of heroism, virtue as well as both the pain and importance of loss. Elves great lifespans give them a vastly different outlook from the other races, and Frieren's is more different than most as she seems to actually be slightly autistic. She is definitely suffering from PTSD. She has to overcome, or at least account for her neurodivergence, inner demons, and her completely different perspective as she pulls together and mentors a new band of adventurers on a journey of discovery, whimsy, as well as peril, for while the lord of darkness may be gone, the world is not without danger. 

This story is brilliantly paced and has some of the best character development and exposition I've seen in years. It brings laughter, heartbreak, and thrills in equal measure and is one of the most satisfying shows I've seen hands down. In any other show this elf girl would be a Mary Sue as the sheer depth and breadth of the experience mean that she is amazingly OP. Yet Frieren also has much to overcome and the story is as much about those who she mentors and those who mentored her. (This has a surprisingly ensemble cast). There was one point in the show that I dropped it for a bit. In this case it APPEARED that it had gone full Shonen and devolved into a tournament arc. In fact it kind of does. But it does so very well, in a way that both provides exposition and subverts expectations...but not in a Ryan Johnson way, in a very good way. 

This show is excellent, my only complaint is that it ended. The ending is quite open ended and given the existence of vast story material in the manga as well as it's excellent ratings in Japan I'm huffing the hopium that this will not be the end of this wonderful show. 

In the meantime, I would strongly advise anyone who has not seen it to do so. It was fantastic. 

5 bricks out of 5. 

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Truly Ominous Portents

Two You-Tubers have a rational, well reasoned, and polite discussion of current gender issues.


This is surely a sign of the end times. 

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June 14, 2024

It's Movie Night!

Tonight at 7:30pm EST / 11:30pn UTC we'll be doing a collaboration with Hyasynth Live as we show the 1919 film The Lost Battalion. This silent classic covers the true story of the "Lost Batallion" of World War One  and thE amazing tale of their survival and victory. As well as the story of the carrier pigeon credited with the unit's salvation. The film stars actual survivors of the battle playing themselves and is a very unique cinematic achievement. 

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June 07, 2024

We're Back!

Well. We're out of the hospital and streaming again! Last night's Zomboid stream was....scuff....So join us at 7:30pm EST/ 11:30 UTC as we do a test stream to ensure that everything is working now. We will also  resume playing Genshin and do some dailys and search for the plot. Come by for the scuff, stay for the cringe at https://kick.com/brickmuppet and https://www.twitch.tv/brickmuppet



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June 03, 2024

Knee-Deep in the Rubicon

Well, this is one of those posts that I've tried to type several times but it just gets me depressed and afraid. 

I've noted before my misgivings about Trump. However, if one wants to beat him, one needs to make the case, to the American people. 

Given Trumps manifest flaws, that ought not to be hard. 
Simply ask"Are you better off now than you were....."
Oh. 
I guess it IS hard. Golly!

Well, one still needs to make the case.
That's not what the Democrats are doing.

They are trying to take out the front-runner in the current election by lawfare in the manner of a Banana Republic. 

This is particularly galling as, despite the chants of "Lock her UP!" Hillary was shown considerable magnanimity, despite claiming for 4 years that her election was stolen by Russia and in spite of the fact that the charges against her credible, easy to understand, already proven, and were quite clearly done with malice aforethought. 

Trumps charges on the other hand seem to be pretty much Bullshit. 

Yet he is going to be sentenced Next Month, quite possibly to prison.  greatly handicapping his ability to run for office. I noted this in my Myriad Misgivings About Trump post noted above, but I had assumed that they'd find something legitimate, not have a Judge instruct a jury that they need not agree on a crime, and scream at a witness who brought exculpatory evidence. 


The full horror of this verdict and the bizarre, Frankinsinian nature of the case is pointed out eloquently in this post by a PHD in Statistical Genetics who is not a Trump fan but is horrified by the potential death of the Republic.

"Such drama!" 

"Death of the republic" sounds absurd to people who have lived in the firstiest of first world countries all their lives, and never seen what happens when a nation's politics becomes a blood sport. Surly it would have seemed absurd to the citizens of Rome, who had been franchised members of a republic in its 482nd year that the splashes in a small estuary on the west coat if Italy could bring that Institution to an end. 

Caesars crossing of the Rubicon came about in part because politics in Rome had devolved into lawfare. Caesar (and Sulla before him) were caught in legal traps by their political opponents that had the potential to invoke financial ruin or death. Both men decided to take control rather than turn themselves in. These two fiascoes destroyed the institutions that held the Republic together. It could only be run by force after that. 

What we have seen with Trump in New York has the potential to become precedent and that precedent plays out every day in many of the less fortunate countries around the world, where the loss of power is likely to come with legal troubles, imprisonment and/or death. Such an arrangement is not conducive to anything other than dystopia.

So:
What do we do?

I have no idea. 
I have a degree in history. Countries that go down this path go to dark places. Those that have done so and been consequential enough to have major international rivals tend to exist only in history books. 


There's more on the specifics of the situation as it stands now from  a former Hillary voter who has been both Red and Black Pilled. He doesn't offer any solutions other than "Give money to Trump and pray" But, it's a very good overview from someone far to the left of me politically. 

Newt Gingrich...(who is not looking well) has some thoughts. Some thoughts are funny, some are terrifying, but he does give a good presentation on what needs to be done, (less on HOW to do it) 


We are on the brink of something REALLY bad.
We've been so comfortable for so long that most cannot conceive of it.
We don't HAVE TO tread down that path. 
But we have to know we're on the path; that we might leave it before we no longer can. 


UPDATE: More thoughts on the larger matter from one of the most impressive women of our age. This piece dovetails more closely with this recent post, but says everything that post did, better. 

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Status

Sorry, still under the weather. 

Banality is below the fold. 
Here is an example of....uh....WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING!?




more...

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June 01, 2024

Ow

Thursday night I was feeling pretty crappy. I'd had dental work done and had been up 27 hrs. However, as the night wore on I developed a high fever and began to feel even worse. I am , at the moment, deathly ill. I was in the hospital Friday morning. It turns out that that the antibiotics they injected me with for a week did not QUITE get at the problem, and when I finished the oral antibiotics this week the infection came right back. I'm on VERY strong antibiotics now that make me sick and give me headaches and nausea. I don't think I'll be streaming any time soon.

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May 27, 2024

No Stream

I mentioned this possibility on stream last night, but I've been informed that I do indeed need to be to work during the scheduled stream.


Furthermore, a doctor's appointment Thursday will preclude the Disgaea stream, though I plan to participate in the Zomboid collaboration stream at 10 pm.

UPDATE: Nope, I had a cracked tooth repaired. I've been up 20 hrs and due to swelling am not able to talk well. Everybody check out one of these streamers, most of whom are doing Zomboid tonight. 

Hyasynth:  
https://www.twitch.tv/hyasynth_live
https://kick.com/hyasynth

Niveksirrah
https://www.twitch.tv/niveksirrah

Imitation Orange
https://www.twitch.tv/imitationorange

Spicy Spykstr
https://www.twitch.tv/spicy_spykstr

Action Points
https://www.twitch.tv/actionpts

Cooks117
https://www.twitch.tv/cooks117

Eccentric BlueByrd
https://www.twitch.tv/eccentricbluebyrd

The Osakan
https://www.twitch.tv/the_osakan






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Remember Them


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May 26, 2024

Mee.nu is BACK!

I think it's been down since about noon UTC. 


To celebrate, WE ARE STREAMING WITH EXTRA SCUFF! We'll be Testing Multi-Stream Software as We Do Our Dailys! Stop by, say "Hi!" then point and laugh as  I Fail About, Trying to Understand My Broadcast Software, Not Die Stupidly in Teyva,t and Return to Kick.com!   Check out the channels at https://kick.com/brickmuppet and https://www.twitch.tv/brickmuppet and let me know if anything's amiss!



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May 24, 2024

Stream Cancelled

Thunderstorms & flickering power mean I'm not going to risk my rig.


Sorry. 

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May 22, 2024

Image Test




UPDTATE: Whelp. In the comments, Rick C. suggested adjusting me Brave privacy settings. I screwed around with them for a minute and this may well have solved the issue. 

Thanks Rick C. 

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May 21, 2024

Grass: UPDATED

Banality is below the fold. As compensation here is a cute draph girl. 


Granblue Fantasy's Narmaya cosplaying as Genshin Impact's Ganyu is by Nemuaki. 


more...

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May 19, 2024

American > Prussian

Tangentially related to the 'kulturkamph' post from this morning is this fascinating piece by Joseph Moore over at Yard Sale of the Mind


He points out something that is often noted among critics of the American Education System in current year:

We used to have a MUCH more literate populace. 

In fact, we have seen a fairly consistent drop in overall literacy as the concern about education has resulted in greater and greater government (and especially federal) involvement in education. 

Libertarians and conservatives often bring up the period from the '50s to now with a strong scrutiny of the stark fall in education metrics that seems to have followed the creation of the Department of Education in the 1970s.

Moore however, takes a LONG view of the matter, noting that when one room schoolhouses were the norm, the U.S. literacy of its rank and file citizenry was remarkably high. 

One remarkable example he uses is the immense popularity of  James Fenimore Cooper's classic The Last of the Mohicans (1827) which was a runaway hit. He then quotes a paragraph from it....and notes....

I bet your average American college student would think it a slog, or even nigh unreadable. Cooper’s long sentences, nested clauses, adventurous vocabulary are likely to prove difficult. But they were not too difficult for Americans 200 years ago.


30 years earlier, the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers, full of historical and classical references, were published in popular newspapers – and hundreds of thousands of people read them and talked about them. Papers in those days were not written to a 6th grade reading level, yet many, many people read them.

I've noted this myself on far more contemporary matters. Martin Luther King's Letter From a Birmingham Jail was required reading when I was in high school. Around 2018 however, I was told in college that it is not considered wise to assign that to a university student prior to their junior year. Letter From a Birmingham Jail was written in the 1950's on a 6th grade level by a preacher who intended it to be read by African American children. Amongst other things, it contains references to the Bhagavad Gita and yet it was widely comprehended in its day. 

On a more banal level, I've shown people copies of Mad Magazine from the 1980s. Young people often don't get half the jokes, which were quite replete with classical references, in a low brow magazine aimed mostly at kids. These are frightening trend lines in just MY lifetime. 

According to Moore, the huge dropoff in literacy seems to have begun at the end of WW1.  This allows us to blame Woodrow Wilson (which is always satisfying) but Moore gets granular with his analysis and notes the overall push for the adoption of the Prussian model of education about that time. The Prussian model is basically what we have today in our K-12 system. 

Interestingly the Prussian model was adopted in Germany at least in part to neuter federalism. Germany was unified by combining a large number of independent principalities in to what ostensibly was a federation. The Prussian educational model itself was intended to produce a population of competent but unthinkingly loyal soldiers (Prussian culture was a trauma response to the 30 years war). This did in fact,  successfully homogenize German culture, culling what were seen as eccentricities and organized society  along technocratic lines....which led ultimately to.....um.....results

In the U.S. Prussian education was touted by industrialists, particularly J.D. Rockefeller as a way to educate an intelligent but pliable workforce that would not be concerned with troublesome things, like...I don't know....individual rights. 

President Wilson embraced this enthusiastically (the concept absolutely sings to the fascistic nature of a technocrat) and noted....

 "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.”

...because yeah.....Wilson appears to have been a villain that escaped from a young adult novel. 

In Moore's article, he notes that the decline in literacy was documented by U.S. Military literacy tests starting in the early 1900s, and that it coincided with the professionalization of schools along Prussian (and to a much lesser extent Catholic) lines. 

Note that Prussian models CAN produce some useful results, Japan enthusiastically embraced it and by many metrics Japan's educational system is among the best in the world, however, the Prussian, regimented education system tends to produce conformity rather that freedom mindedness and I probably don't need to remind my readers that in Japan, like in then-contemporary Germany there were.....um....results

I urge you to read the article in its entirety. It is a fascinating read that reinforces the call by many to engage in home schooling. 

However, home schooling is very much out of the reach of many people as it requires time, (in short supply today) considerable money, AND a pretty comprehensive education by the parents. 

There might be a middle ground....AND WE'VE SEEN IT. 

Small 1-4 room schoolhouses SEEMED to get the best results on a macro level. So given the suburban nature of much of the U.S. I could easily see Co-ops growing up in residential subdivisions to set up schools like this similarly to the way the old schoolhouses were established in farming communities. The old system with people learning different levels simultaneously and older students mentoring younger students under the direction of a teacher worked very well. There ARE hurdles to this, not only from the education establishment but zoning boards and homeowners associations. However if we don't deal with those malign organizations eventually, we probably aren't going to save the country anyway. 


A more structured Prussian type model almost certainly works better for technical education, so there would still be a need for something like high school in the later teen years, but this model, that was so successful for over a century might be able to spread most of the benefits of home schooling to far more folks than have any hope of attaining it now. 

Anyway...I'm grasping at any lifeline that will stop us from falling into the abyss....What do you think? 

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