Author Archives: mepresser

Cultural Appropriation Implications

There’s been a bit in the blogosphere about Cultural Appropriation recently.  First, a definition for those of you who are not sure what it is.   Basically, it’s the use of one culture’s artifacts by members of another culture.  Yes, this has been going on since time immemorial.   Nobody seemed to care about this much until recently and most of us thought it a good thing.   But, times change so we’re going to give some guidance on the issue.

  • No white people playing jazz, blues, R&B, rap, ska, reggae, etc.
  • No African-Americans playing basketball.  It was invented at all white Springfield College .  Dr. James Naismith was Canadian, so it’s unclear whether it should be played in the United States without the approval of some august body of Canadians. Perhaps written approval by anyone on this list will suffice.
  • But here’s the kicker.  No one of European, African, South East Asian, or East Asian descent  may use Arabic numerals.   You know them.  0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.  For those of European descent, you can use Roman numerals if your place of origin was conquered by the Romans.  Those of you of other ethnic origins can consult this list to determine what to use.

Just for giggles, let’s do some arithmetic in Roman numerals.  No fair cheating by converting the operands to Arabic, doing the computation in the usual fashion and then converting back to Roman numerals.

Let’s start with an easy one.  Let’s add forty-four to sixty-seven.   Forty-four is XLIV.  Sixty-seven is LXVII.  You know the answer is one hundred eleven because you cheated by converting to Arabic, didn’t you?

Let’s do the smaller digits first.  Take the IV from forty-four and the VII from sixty-seven.  IV + VII = (IV +VI) +I because addition is commutative and associative no matter the number system.  You remember that, don’t you?  IV+VI = X, so (IV+VI)+I = XI.  Now take the X from XI and add it to the larger digits left over.  That’s X+XL+LX, the last two terms from the forty-four and sixty-seven respectively.  X+XL+LX = (X+XL)+LX = L+LX = CX.  Of course you remember that L+L=C.  So what do we have now.  CX+I from the digits phase or CLI, which is one hundred eleven.  You’ll notice that I did not use any Arabic numerals in this description.

Easy, right?  Now please divide seven hundred three by nineteen.  The answer is XXXVII, but you can work that out easily.    Please provide your work on a clean sheet of paper with your name.

Then develop the method for doing long division when the operands are not integers, whole numbers.  Ain’t easy, is it?

By the way, I do hope you’re of Anglo Saxon stock if you’re reading this.  We’ve had so many case of cultures adopting English without our permission.  Oh, those colonies of ours.  Hmm, need to think about that.

 

 

 

Giving Confederates the Respect They Deserve

Recently there has been some heated discussion about Confederate monuments.  Some wish to have them removed as they glorify slaveholders and their defenders.   Others cherish them as monuments to their ancestors and their bravery in battle.  And the costs are higher than you would think.

Here’s an alternative.  Let’s keep the statues and replace the wording.

Here are suggestions for  Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee

Jefferson Davis 1808-1889

President of the Confederate States of America 1861-1865, a man devoted who his life to racism and slavery, cleverly disguising it as State’s Rights.   He promoted a war in which at least 650,000 of his countrymen needlessly died.  He was an inept leader during the Civil War and spent the rest of his life defending his actions, never accepting criticism or rejecting racism.

Robert Edward Lee 1807-1870

Commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia 1862-1865, a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and considered the best military mind of his generation.  He chose to betray his country, committing treason by giving aid and comfort to its enemies.  In any other place, he would have been executed, but the United States granted him amnesty.  So much for “Northern Aggression.”

We welcome suggestions for inscriptions on  monuments honoring  other champions of liberty from the CSA.

 

 

 

Why Stop at Transgender Bathroom Restrictions?

The Texas Legislature has passed a bill restricting the use of bathroom in schools to  those of the student’s “biological sex”, presumably the one that appears on the student’s birth certificate.    If this bill become law, the Legislature, in its infinite wisdom might consider some generalization of this law.

  • Legislators could only register and caucus with the equivalent of their biological origin.  That is, if their parents were registered Democrats, the legislators could only caucus with Democrats.  There would be none of this “party with which I identify” nonsense.
  • No one could legally purchase sports gear with logos of the various Texas professional and university teams if they grew up supporting teams from other states.  This is especially true for those who previously supported the University of Oklahoma football team.
  • No one could legally vote in Texas elections if they had previously voted in other states, particularly the state of their origin as appears on the birth certificate.   No doubt, this is the source of the Yuge Voter Fraud that many members of the GOP claim.   We hope politicians making this claim have not switched to a party not of their origin.

On a related note, I got a call recently asking for the “man of the house”.  I asked the caller if he meant “man”  as appeared on our birth certificates or as we self identified.  He was taken aback, so I repeated the question.  He volunteered to take our number from the call list.

Urban Transit, Race, and Class in D.C.

This morning I took a bus from my mostly white upper middle class suburb of Washington DC to the Metro station.   The bus originates in a working class suburb to the north of my town.  When I got on around 7am, the bus was fairly crowded, a standing room only affair.  What might come as a surprise is that I was the only white, non-Hispanic male on the bus.  There were a few African-American males, more Hispanic males, a few more African-American women, but mostly Hispanic women.  Given the origin of the bus, this is not surprising.  A few white women got on the bus on our trip to the Metro station,  but when the bus reached its destination, I was still the only white male on the bus.  The bus passes through a wealthy almost purely white suburb between my house and the Metro station.  A few people got off, but almost no one got on.

When I got on the Metro, it was if I had landed on another planet.  The riders were almost exclusively white males.  Many were wearing suits and ties.  No one on the bus was.   The ethnic makeup of the ridership on the Metro did not change on my trip to downtown DC.

The people on the bus, like those on the Metro all seemed to be going to work.  But the bus riders were dressed for more manual work than the Metro riders.  Again, this is not a shocker.

When they tell you that we need to deport the illegals and “all those people are on welfare”,  please know that it’s a load of crap.   Those people are the ones who work for low wages in the hospitality industry, clean our homes and offices, harvest and process the food on our tables, and take the bus to work.

 

The Auction Approach to Airline Overbooking

Why do the airlines overbook?  Because people don’t show up!  Why don’t they show up?  Frequently, they have traffic or similar problems and get to the gate after the plane doors are closed.     Don’t the airlines make money from empty seats?  Not if they accommodate the passengers who were stuck in traffic on a later flight.

A few years ago I was in Amsterdam and went on a tour of the wholesale flower market near Schiphol airport.  Flowers are purchased by the Dutch auction mechanism.  Each lot of flowers is initially offered at a relatively high price and the auctioneer lowers the price until a buyer bids for it.   The first person to bid purchases the lot.

Could the airlines do a similar auction when overbooked?    They could start with a low price and keep raising it until someone agreed to leave their seat for the offered reward. In the flower auction, the goal of the buyer is get the lot for the lowest price.  But buyers who wait too long for the price to drop wind up with no flowers.    In the airline version, the passenger’s goal is to get the highest price for giving up the seat.   Like the Dutch auction, those who wait too long will find the seat is already sold before they act.

In the flower auction, there is one seller and many buyers.  In the seat auction there is one buyer and many sellers.   But in each case, the many must decide what value they put on the object on sale.

If any readers know the executive leadership at major airlines, please feel free to pass this along.

Vocabulary for the New Regime

As we begin to move into the New Regime, the Bozosphere want to acquaint you with terms you’ll need to know.   We’ll add more along the line.

Kleptocracy — a government run by thieves.Consider a leader of a country with large, undocumented assets in another country, a person obsessed with his own personal wealth and how he increased it by avoiding tax payments.   Do we really expect that person to be impartial in dealing with any country in which he has large personal business interests?

Bozocracy — government run by clowns.  And not clowns in the good sense of those at rodeos who prevent horses and bulls from trampling on cowboys.  Clowns in the sense of people appointed to cabinet positions with no knowledge or understanding of the departments they are to administer.

McCarthysim — a practice of targeting individuals due to their political or social beliefs that differ from those in power.  Consider an incoming regime that denies climate change, calling it a Chinese plot, asking the Energy Department for the names of its employees who have expressed views on the topic of climate change or gone to conferences on the subject.    This bears a similarity to the Enemies List.   Here’s the latest New Regime interest in the State Department terrorism unit.

Political Correctness — a term to describe the views that the New Regime finds offensive.  It’s only “them” that get accused of PC, never “us”.

War on Christmas — the New Regime thinks it’s PC to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” and is an affront given that this is a Christian country who founding fathers were Christians.  Of course, there is some dispute about this.  And while the numbers are not final, it seems that Christmas shopping is up this year.

Fake News — the New Regime often refers to uncomplimentary reports in the media as Fake News.  To the New Regime, this is similar Political Correctness.  In the internet world, creating fake news stories is easy to do.   In the New Regime’s Post Truth world view its fake news is OK.

Get On With Our Lives — This is something the New Regime urges us to do in response to any comments that reflect negatively on the Regime.  Of course, the New Regime was more than happy to forget this principle when applied to Hillary Clinton.  Speaking of which, whatever happened to that parking ticket she got in Little Rock in 1983 and never paid?  Doesn’t that require an investigation?

Overrated — Celebs who disagree with the New Regime or dare to criticize it are often demeaned by this term.  Recently the New Regime used to to describe Meryl Streep, arguably the finest screen actress of our time.

Stupid — People who disagree with the political agenda of the New Regime.  Those include people taking a more thoughtful approach to relations with Russia.

Witch Hunt — Investigative reporting on colleagues, events, policies of the New Regime that it does not find favorable.  The New Regime does not apply this term to its call for investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email, the Benghazi affair, or the Birther Conspiracy.

Alternative Facts — Notions that the New Regime would have us believe.   Some maintain that the phrase is a synonym for lies.   These have nothing to do with facts as normally defined.

Truth — Not a recognizable concept in the New Regime.  If it exists at all, it’s for losers.

Disgusting — applied to anyone the leader of the New Regime does not like, is critical of the leader  or by  whom the leader feels  threatened.  That’s a lot of folks.

Muslims — In the spirit of the “Orange is the new Black” meme.  Muslims are the new

So Political — when the New Regime is criticized, it is “so political”.  For example, the court system and the so called judge, like the media are all haters of the regime.  Of course, when the media agrees with the New Regime, it’s not the least political, but true facts.

Evidence – Evidence? We ain’t got no evidence. We don’t need no evidence. I don’t have to show you any stinking evidence.

Proof — The measure of amount of alcohol in spirits.  What else could it possibly mean?   If you think it has anything to do with evidence for the truth of claims, see above for the definitions of truth and evidence, both fake news made up by our Kenyan ex-President.

 

Time for Mommy and Daddy to Clean Up the Mess or Exit from the Brexit

Today Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) stepped down as chair.  Last week Boris Johnson, the Tory MP known most recently for leading the Leave campaign in Brexit vote also decided not to stand for Tory Party leader after David Cameron’s resignation.   What do these three men, or should we say children, have in common?   All three created a mess in Britain for their own emotional and political needs and have now left the mess for others to clean up.  All three came up with good excuses why they were leaving the mess for others to clean up.  Cameron is resigning because he said he could not in good faith negotiate the exit since he had campaigned hard for a Remain vote.  Boris, the British Donald Trump, said he could not provide the unity or leadership required.  What a moment of self realization!  Would that Donald Trump would come to the same conclusion.  Nigel Farage “wants my life back”.  Well Nigel, now that you have helped screw up things for the UK for years, maybe decades to come, it’s time to go back to milk and cookies and let the adults, such as may exist in UK politics, clean up the mess.    The leading candidate for Tory leader, and thus MP if the current government stands, is Theresa May, surely the most Mommy persona in UK politics at the moment.  If Michael Gove, the other main contender for Tory leader is the Daddy,  he’ll need to tart up his image a bit.

Thankfully, in the US, we have Donald Trump acting as a mature adult.  Did I just write that?