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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

REAL MEN COOK 27: Rice Pancakes

Some time ago I posted a recipe on making Potato Pancakes.  They are  a lot simpler than most recipes, and cook up quite nicely.  But we ran out of potatoes and I needed something to eat for breakfast.  A quick side trip here: being unable to eat many sweets makes breakfast a challenge.
So I tried something different and it worked out pretty well.  Its more or less the same recipe, but instead of grated potatoes, you start out with rice.  All you need is:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • half small onion
  • salt
  • pepper
Chop up the small onion into small pieces, at most a half inch, but preferably smaller.  Combine everything in a bowl and mix. Take a non-stick pan, put in enough margarine or oil to cover the bottom well.  Spoon about half the mix into the pan and shape it into a nice pancake sort of round shape.
It will take a while to cook each side, but be careful.  This cooks faster than the potato pancakes, and if you get the rice too dark it turns into rocks.  You want it golden brown.  once one side is done it will turn over very easily as a single unit.  Cook both sides, then do the other half of the batch.
You can top this with sour cream (or if lactose intolerant, plain yogurt), butter/margarine, salsa, gravy, or cheese.  A few chopped up green onions would go nice too.  If you really want to, you can add syrup or jelly too but I think its actually better not sweet.  If you go the syrup route, probably leave out the pepper and onions for best results.
Inside the mix, you can vary it a bit.  Adding green peppers, hot peppers, cheese, etc all works, and its pretty darn filling.
Here's the thing: this is cheap and fast to make.  The only real hold up is cooking the rice, and that doesn't really take too terribly long.  There's no wheat in it, no flour.  The rice and eggs hold together really well without needing any.
*This is part of the Real Men Cook series.

Friday, January 23, 2015

WHY I'M CONSERVATIVE, NOT LIBERTARIAN

A quick little post on conservatism makes the case for conservatism and family very well:
No free society has ever existed that was constituted primarily of individuals pursuing their own interests as isolated individuals. It is stable, successful families, and communities of families, that make a free society possible.  The only real world alternative to a society built upon the state, is a society built upon the family.
I recommend the whole piece.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A SIMPLE QUESTION

"This will only lead to trouble."

I have a simple question I'd like to ask.  I don't mean to be offensive, and I'm asking with genuine curiosity, not mockery or to start a fight.  I honestly, really want to know.
The question is this: my African American/black/etc fellow Americans, why don't you speak like the rest of us?
I know you can, because every black person I know of has an official American voice they speak with, even if they shift to a race-based dialect at other times.  There's nothing stopping you.
See, I ask this because every other country on earth, everywhere, black people speak like everyone else around them.  If you find a black Frenchman, he sounds like every other Frenchman around him.  Ditto in Germany, Japan, Finland, England, Canada, Mexico.   Everywhere, except America.
You can't blame slavery, because all of these nations had slavery in their past.  England had slavery up until less than a generation before the US ended it as an institution.  And slavery in America ended more than 3 generations ago.
Not everyone in a given country talks exactly the same.  Someone from Texas tends to sound different than, say, Idaho.  And its true everywhere - in London you'll hear 10 different accents depending on what part of the city you're in.
But here's the thing.  A black guy from Seven Dials sounds just like the white people, and the Indian people, and everyone else from Seven Dials.  I know why my friend Sarah has a Mexican accent, because she's from Mexico.  You're not from another country.  I didn't mind when my friend Martin from Sierra Leone had an accent, he was from Africa.  You were born here.  Your parents were born here.  Their parents were born here.
So what's up?  Why is it more "authentic" to bust out this "ebonics?"  Why can't you talk like everyone else, all the time?
I know you're aware this hurts you in official and important situations, because it goes away when you interview for a job or talk to an authority figure.  What's up?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SECURITY SYSTEMS

"On to my next quest"

You may have seen these ads, particularly if you watch anything on Comcast On Demand.  Comcast is trying to sell their home security system by comparing their app-based cable connected security with an old clanky knight.  Here's a sample:

Now, putting aside the silly concept of anyone, anywhere hiring a knight in armor, let alone an aged one, to guard their home, let us consider this a bit more closely.
Comcast is trying to act like using any other security system is old fashioned; its actually a tag line in some of their ads "don't be old fashioned."  They're using the old knight in armor to stand in for any other security system which, not being "in the cloud" and accessible "anywhere" from your smart phone is thus dated and old.
But consider; which would be preferable?
  • An internet based system which, by its own advertising notes that you can turn it off "from anywhere" using only a phone, and look at cameras anywhere in your home, just by using the phone.
  • An armored knight with a broadsword.
Now, perhaps you're new to the internet and aren't aware of this, but it gets hacked pretty much every minute of the day. Passwords are stolen and sold on Chinese and Russian websites.  Your smart phone is not secure.
I once found a website (now gone) that had live feeds of people's homes from around the world by clicking on various names.  All they did was use commonly used passwords and logged into the security systems.  It was like this weird voyeuristic show, but really boring because it was all empty rooms and darkness - people turn on their security when they leave, not when they do fun stuff to watch.
What I'm saying is what should be abundantly obvious to everyone who has a television to watch Comcast ads: this is a really stupid, bad idea.  You're making it easier for burglars to turn off your security system and watch for when you aren't home.  You're making it easier for evil sexual predators and monsters to know your patterns and when you're home or alone.  Get it?
This is like publishing your daily activities and living in a glass building all day long.  It seems cool and high tech and new and fancy, but its just really stupid.
But an armored knight?  Unless he goes to sleep, he's a physical, combat-ready soldier that acts as a physical deterrent to intruders.
And its not even old fashioned.  Its so old an image, it doesn't even feel old fashioned, it feels beyond vintage to a fantasy era.  Which is cooler to you, being guarded by a knight in shining armor with a sword, or your smart phone?
These ads have a viral feel to them, like some hip college dude with a fancy business card came up with it for Comcast, but they don't make sense.  I doubt they even get people to want to buy the product.
In other words, it gets people to be aware of and talk about comcast's security system... but not in a positive way that makes them want to purchase the security system.  You can get a viral video of you being hurled over a bull's head by his horns in your furry beanbags, but that doesn't make people think you're cool.  You will get millions of hits, but who thinks anything positive of you from watching it?
The purpose of advertising is to make people think positively of your product and even want to purchase it.  Not to just make you familiar.  Being known but known in a negative light doesn't help your company.  But they've sunk millions into these ads, and for what?
Maybe its just me.  Maybe they do work.  Maybe people see it and go "yeah dude, he's old, get a phone app!"  I don't know.  All I know is everyone I ask about this chooses the knight over the hackable phone.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

COLONIZING

"Are we really all Charlie? No, no and shamefully no."

The terrorist murders in Paris of the staff of a satirical magazine has shocked the continent, even if it had less impact on the president of the US.  A huge "unity" rally was held, although what exactly it represented, meant, or the unity was about is not exactly clear.  It seems probable to me that most of the people involved thought it was some kind of big multiculturalism celebration.
One of the slogans that popped up is "Je Suis Charlie" - I am Charlie -  in a sort of solidarity with the people of that magazine and the slain journalists.  The idea is that the French people (and others around the world) are stating that these people don't stand alone and we're all opposed to brutal murder by radical Muslims.
Except, as Andrew Bolt points out, we're not all Charlie:
Unlike most politicians, journalists, lawyers and other members of our ruling classes, this fearless magazine dared to mock Islam in the way the Left routinely mocks Christianity. Unlike much of our ruling class, it refused to sell out our freedom to speak.

Its greatest sin — to the Islamists — was to republish the infamous cartoons of Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten which mocked Mohammed, and then to publish even more of its own, including one showing the Muslim prophet naked.

Are we really all Charlie? No, no and shamefully no.

No Australian newspaper dared published those pictures, too, bar one which did so in error.

The Obama administration three years ago even attacked Charlie Hebdo for publishing the naked Mohammed cartoon, saying it was “deeply offensive”.

President Barack Obama even told the United Nations “the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam” and damned a YouTube clip “Innocence of Muslims” which did just that. The filmmaker was thrown in jail.
The New York Times refused to publish the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo out of fear that it might offend and be hurtful to Muslims.  NPR made the same call.  Determined to be a leader in craven capitulation, the New York Times referred to Muhammad as "The prophet" Muhammad - a trend echoed in several major news sources such as CNN recently, offering Muhammad an honorific denied other prophets and religious leaders they mention, such as Joseph Smith, Moses, Buddha, and Jesus of Nazareth.
The Associated Press ran the cover picture, but cropped it so much its essentially censored and not recognizable.  President Obama in January through his press secretary announced that "the White House has a moral responsibility to push back on the nation’s journalism community when it is planning to publish anti-jihadi articles that might cause a jihadi attack against the nation's defenses forces."  Former President Jimmy Carter blamed Jews for the attack because they are refusing to roll over and die for the palestinians.  On and on it goes.
Some seem to be coming to the realization that those on the right have long understood - that radical Muslims are a deadly blight determined to destroy our civilization and liberties - such as Bill Maher, who said "This happens way too frequently. It's like Groundhog Day, except if the Groundhog kept getting his head cut off... we have to stop saying when something like this that happened in Paris today, we have to stop saying, well, we should not insult a great religion."  The mayor of Rotterdam Holland - a Moroccan immigrant - was very angry:
'It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom,' Mayor Aboutaleb told Dutch current affairs program Nieuwsuur (Newshour).

'But if you don't like freedom, for heaven's sake pack your bags and leave.  'If you do not like it here because some humorists you don't like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*** off.

'This is stupid, this so incomprehensible. Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here.'
He went on to note that their evil acts are making people suspicious of law abiding Muslims who are fitting into Dutch culture.   France's Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls recently said:
"Yes, France is at war against terrorism, jihadism, and radical Islam... but not against a religion." "France is not at war against Islam or the Muslims.... France will protect all of its citizens, those who believe and and those who don't"
The problem is, they're catching on quite late, are few in number, and one questions their sincerity.  Yes, they're upset now, but what will they do?  And how long will this ire last, given their previous behavior toward Islam?  Its all fine and good to rail against radical Muslims after an event like this - the world did against them after 9/11 - but then mere weeks later the song started to change when it became apparent someone was actually going to do something about it rather than talk. 
Because ultimately, "Je Suis Charlie" is not about free speech. It's about French people not wanting to be executed at gunpoint for saying what Islamists don't like.  They aren't taking a strong stance on speech and expression but on fear and shock at the killings. So the core idea of multiculturalism and social justice held by the left is unchallenged and unchanged, just this particular specific aspect of it.
Yet there's an aspect to this that someone at Ace of Spades HQ brought up I think is worth repeating and considering.  Posting under the name "Wheatie" she noted:
Let's call those 'No-Go Zones' what they are...they're Colonies.

It's not immigration if you are ceding them territory. It's Colonization.
And that's a key point here.  See, in parts of Paris, as well as parts of different cities in England (Primarily London) and its getting that way in places such as Dearborn Michigan in the USA as well as elsewhere, Muslims are creating colonies.
They are "no go" zones that cops only enter in force and following careful Muslim-approved guidelines established at their headquarters.  Areas that speak Arabic (or other native languages) and are Muslim-only.  Areas that non-Muslims are attacked for entering, and women are treated as if they are in the depths of the most radical Muslim pockets of Syria and Pakistan.  Areas where the liberties and structures of the surrounding society are denied.
These aren't areas like Chinatown or Little Italy, where the culture dominates the area with food and speech.  You could always walk into these ethnic regions of cities such as New York City and Chicago, buy things, eat, do business, and leave.  Not so these Muslim colonies.
And the host nations are going out of their way to assist these colonies in their establishment.  New laws or exceptions to existing laws are passed.  Courts and police look the other way, even going to colonial leaders to ask permission to act.
In the old days, a superior force would colonize a less-advanced area, establishing their existence through strength and technological superiority.  Native Americans outnumbered white colonists but were kept back through superior weaponry and fortifications.  These new colonies are only able to exist and thrive through the assistance of multiculturalism and self-destructive policies of their host countries.
In other words, its like someone deliberately introducing cancer into their system, then eating and behaving in such a way that helps the cancer thrive.  Eventually it will overwhelm and destroy the host body, but until then maybe it can help them politically.
Because make no mistake that's exactly what the motivation is.  The Labor Party in England made that specifically and literally clear in a memo that was leaked, saying they wanted to make more immigration possible and coddle the immigrants so that they would gain political power by the new votes.  They knew they were going to have a hard time winning over English voters, so they figured they'd just add new ones.
Except these new ones don't want to be English.  They want to be al'Albionians, or whatever the Arabic conquerers would call the British Isles.  They want England to go away, they want to destroy democracy, throw away basic human rights and liberties, obliterate common law, jettison the government and establish an Islamic government in its place.  All the culture, all the history, all the laws, all the government, language, and existing structure, they want gone.
And that's the danger of how multiculturalism is presented.  And its evils are becoming apparent to even the dullest, most glassy-eyed supporter.  The problem is, that dullness is blinding them to the clear problem and they instead are looking at individual, isolated cases as if they are unrelated or not part of a blatant pattern.

These colonies are a serious problem that the left does not want to address because they were counting on them to win power.  But what they thought would help them gain power is becoming the power in their lands.  And now, belatedly, and confusedly, the left is becoming horrified at their demonic stepchild.

For more thoughts on the cultural suicide of the left, check out this piece by Colin Liddell.

Friday, January 09, 2015

DYSFUNCTIONALITY AS A WAY OF LIFE

"Protecting vulnerable minorities from hate speech is one of the most basic and fundamental of human rights obligations, and all human rights organizations worldwide have emphasized this."

There is an article recently at a site called Thought Catalog which puts into plain terms something that a large minority of people in the west seem to promote or believe.  It is a response to the slaughter of a "Mad" type newsletter staff in France (Charlie Hebdo) by radical Muslims and it calls for freedom of speech to be limited:
...under international human rights law, anything which offends or insults ethnic minorities is illegal, even if it is not intended to be. What this means it that the KKK display at the University of Iowa constitutes illegal racial discrimination under international human rights law which the United States has ratified. The United Nations has repeatedly stressed that none of these laws restrict, limit, or infringe upon freedom of speech - as a matter of fact, they protect freedom of speech. The US has laws against racial discrimination, but these laws only target discrimination in service and employment. In all other countries, anti-discrimination laws ban the IDEA of racial discrimination, which means that ALL forms of racial discrimination - including hate speech - are outlawed.
She goes on to claim a love of free speech, but then calls on restrictions of that freedom:
Like any sensible person, I am a strong believer in the unalienable right to freedom of speech and I understand that defending freedom of speech is the most important when it's speech that many people do not want to hear (like, for example, pro-LGBT speech in Russia). Freedom of speech is the core of any democratic society, and it's important that freedom of speech be strongly respected and upheld. Censorship in all of its forms is something that must always be fiercely opposed. But we must never confuse hate speech with freedom of speech. Speech that offends, insults, demeans, threatens, disrespects, incites hatred or violence, and/or violates basic human rights and freedoms has absolutely no place in even the freest society.
Now, as Maeteloch wonders at Ace of Spades HQ, did the same person write that first sentence and last one?  This kind of attitude is based on the idea that people need to be free from feeling bad, or hearing things they don't like to fear.  The 'right' to avoid offense - for some protected groups, not all - is a common theme on the left, and it grows in noise every year.  They've pretty well abandoned the term "political correctness" for "social justice" but the song remains the same.  And behind it all is a basically infantile understanding of life.
Generally speaking, I hold psychiatry in contempt.  The jargon, the nonsense promoted as deep and meaningful (Freud's repulsive theories on sexual desire toward parents in infants, for example) as well as the overall attempt to replace morality and sin with feelings and psychiatric forces is at best obnoxious and at worst destructive and repellant.
Its not that psychiatrists and psychologists have nothing useful to say.  They are often good at diagnosis and examination of problems.  Its that their solutions are almost always useless and the entire profession seems to be an endless con: nobody ever seems to get better, and always has to come back for more sessions.  Its as if they can't quite put their finger on the real problem or its root causes.
However, that's not to say that some haven't been helped by this kind of thing.  Some people can be forced to recognize what they are doing or ignoring, and some useful basic common sense tips can be handed down.  The "12 step" style self-help groups have been amazingly successful in helping people understand their wrong and turn their lives around.  And what's more, it helps people who have to deal with addicts and messed up folks in their life understand and change as well.
There's a pattern that often develops between an addict and their loved ones that is so predictable and common that it has become established and given names.  Essentially the person who is the addict is feeding their desire so much that they ignore or attack everything that gets in the way, and subsume all of life into that desire.
This pattern becomes quite horrible, with everyone essentially living their lives to not anger or upset the increasingly irrational and unpredictable addict, trying to hold their family together and being almost constantly emotionally manipulated by the addict.
This system "called co-dependency" is only broken by recognizing the patterns and the people who suffer from it facing up to some basic realities of existence.  The 12-step program (and really, common sense and experience in life) forces the people there to recognize a few basic truths of life.
  1. You cannot make someone change, they have to do it themselves
  2. No one is to blame for how you react or feel about something, only yourself
  3. You have to take responsibility for your feelings and behavior, not blame others
  4. You are responsible for how you live your life, not someone else
Now again, these seem sort of common sense, but its easy for us as human beings to fall into self destructive patterns when in stress or great pain.  As we age out of childhood, we generally learn these lessons and stop blaming others for how we behave or react.  We learn to control our emotions and behavior with varying degrees of success in an increasingly successful manner as we mature.
Children do not understand this and have not learned that level of emotional maturity.  They blame others for how they feel, they react to others without thinking, and they insist others (and the world) change to match their desires and lives.  They react by selfish emotion rather than reasoned understanding of others and thought.
And while some grow out of this, apparently some - more each year it seems, sometimes - never do.  In fact, one might postulate that the bubble wrap culture of overprotecting young people from consequence, failure, and challenge is necessarily creating generations of people who are never forced to grow up and deal with life as it is, rather than as they wish it to be.
Every feminist that whines she's 'raped' by some man spreading his legs more than she wants, or every black person that claims 'racism' when a stadium is torn down, or a homosexual claims 'oppression' when someone won't bake them a cake is someone demanding that other people are to blame for how they feel and that they must change to make them feel better.
This is a classic pattern of the codependent, of someone who insists, insists that others are to blame for all their problems and feelings, and what's more that everyone else must change so that they stop feeling bad.  Its a basic psychological disfunction, it is a pathology of mental behavior which, objectively, any qualified psychologist would immediately diagnose as obsession or neurosis, at the very least.
Instead, they're taken seriously, governments react to coddle them, and major organizations such as the United Nations are passing rules insisting that people must change to make others not feel bad.  The truth of the matter is, this is stunted emotional maturity.  It is a bad thing which people - for their own good - need to move past and grow beyond.
Failing to do so for them is actually damaging to them as a person and to their growth.  It is destructive to allow or assist someone in this behavior, its bad for them, and wrong to do so.  You're hurting people by assisting their lack of growth.  Its the same kind of false idea of love that would prevent punishing a naughty child because it makes them feel bad.  Real love prompts you to help people to do what is right and good for them even - perhaps especially - when they don't like it.  If you love your kids, you make them eat their vegetables, too.
When Canada set up "human rights tribunals" to check on people abusing others' rights, they quickly became leftist kangaroo courts designed to protect some favored groups and attack disfavored ones, based on this calculus of "hate speech" and feeling offense.  It is inevitable that this take place in any society where speech is limited not by its likelihood of destruction or damaging other rights, but by the offense some might take.
And its all based on this childish concept of avoiding personal responsibility, growing up, and blaming others for how you feel.  Whether you take offense or not at something is not anyone elses' problem but yours.  Offense is entirely, 100% without exception subjective and internal.  If you feel bad, that's your problem, not mine or anyone else's.
That's not to say that in a civilized society we ought not be polite and generous, and to be certain in modern cultures we must be tolerant of things we don't like - but that's a two way street and requires no laws.  If you think others should tolerate you and be polite to you or you will get upset and offended, then  you must be polite to them and try not to offend them, either.  And jailing or fining someone is offensive as all get out.
In fact, laws are useless in this regard, except as a way of imposing a tyrannical control on people that aren't liked.  You cannot prevent someone from feeling or taking offense by law.  You cannot fix someone's feelings with a statute and punishment.  They'll still feel offense, and take offense, whether the law is there or not - and what's more will find new ways and times to feel offense which the current laws do not cover.
Using law to fix behavior is always, without exception a failure.  Laws cannot and do not change people within.  They only modify public expression of someone's nature, when they think they'll get caught.
In essence this whole movement is a desire to make life comfortable, happy, easy, and nice feeling for everyone.  Its the ultimate judicial expression of hedonism and selfishness given form.  If people think that the only thing that matters in life is the here and now, their personal satisfaction and pleasure, and what they can touch and feel, then this is inevitable.  Its also inevitably going to fail and lead to crushing tyranny as the ever-expanding series of laws restricts everyone more and more in an Animal Farm pattern of expansion.
Grow up.  How you feel is not my or anyone else's problem, its what you're doing to yourself.  No laws can fix that, only a change of the heart in those around you.

Monday, January 05, 2015

THE BLACK BAN

"Defensive behavior by whites has become nearly universal"

According to the latest census data, African Americans make up just over 13% of the US population.  That means out of the 317 million people living in the USA, there are about 41 million blacks -- just over the total population of California.
However, looking at the popular culture you'd never know that.  Black music dominates popular music.  Black culture is how most people define "cool."  And most of all, what might offend blacks dominates popular culture, media, education, and entertainment.  Fred Reed writes:
Courses of instruction in the schools, academic rigor, codes of dress, rules regarding unceasing obscenity, all must be set to suit them, as must be examinations for promotion in fire departments, the military, and police forces. Blacks must be admitted to universities for which they are not remotely qualified, where departments of Black Studies must be established to please them. Corporate work forces, federal departments, and elite high-schools must be judged not on whether they perform their functions but on whether they have the right number of blacks.

Do laws requiring identification to vote threaten to end multiple voting? The laws must go. Do blacks not like Confederate flags? Adieu, flags. Does Huckleberry Finn go down the Mississippi with the Nigger Jim, or Conrad write The Nigger of the Narcissus? These must be banned or expurgated to please blacks who haven’t read them or, usually, heard of them. Do we want to prevent people coming from regions infested with Ebola from entering the United States? We cannot. It would offend blacks.
And this is generally true.  I remember when I wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner on nepotism and what has really hurt Detroit.  I started up by noting what some idiots claim (Detroit is a mess 'cause of them black fellers) and pointed out how that's historically and logically false.
The editor shrunk back from the article, fearing how people might respond and told me to edit that out or just skip it.  I skipped it, since the article got its punch and reached my targets with that section and wouldn't work as well without it.
But I learned a lesson there about the power of racism has.  Even in a conservative-leaning news source like the Examiner, with a strongly conservative editor who appreciated my writing, the fear of being accused of racism or having the possibility of someone perceiving them as racist caused them to balk at an article.  Even an article that destroyed the racist argument.
And ultimately, this is where Fred Reed is wrong in his piece.  He claims that blacks in America run the show.  They don't.  They aren't even aware of much of the show, I suspect, since most Americans aren't monitoring the culture wars or politics very closely.
Black people in America aren't calling for the ban of Huckleberry Finn.  White people are.  White people obsessed with race and carefully cherrypicked portions of history.  White people dominating news, entertainment, politics, education, and other key fields of cultural influence.
Putting aside their ultimate goals and agenda as clearly visible through how selective their outrage is (black lives matter only if a white guy kills one, they shrug at and brush under the rug blacks killing other blacks), there's a clear pattern here.
White people in the United States are almost universally terrified of being thought of as racist.  It dominates their thinking so totally that they lie openly and without shame about things.  Ask a comedian why he did not mine the unbelievably rich material to poke fun at President Obama and they lie without the slightest hesitation, straight to your face.  "He's too serious."  "there's nothing to work with." he has too much gravitas."
They know that's ridiculous nonsense you know that's so much horsefeathers, but both nod and agree because to say otherwise could be called raaaaaacist.  And being called racist is like having the inquisition come after you in 17th century Spain.  It could end your career, it could ruin your social life, destroy your status and esteem among your fellow man.  It is the worst sin.
Sure, you can be racist against Asians, they don't count.  They refuse to fit into the narrative, they "act white" by their success in America, the ingrates.  But against blacks and (now) hispanics, well, that simply must not be.
And this terror of being possibly considered racist is so totally dominant, it makes whites react to things that blacks shrug at and laugh.  Sit down with the most radical white-hating activist fro-packing African American in the world and watch Blazing Saddles.  He'll laugh until he passes out, and the white people in the room will fall all over themselves in horror apologizing and pretending outrage.
White people with pursed lips, raised noses, and disapproving glares sit in judgment over all of US culture trying to show which of them is the least racist and most enlightened on the topic.  They find offense and shriek like a cartoon housewife spotting a mouse at things blacks simply don't care about.
Even people who on other topics shrug at the social justice warriors and giggle at the antics of other leftist groups like feminists freak out when it comes to this topic.
I recall vivdly a recent event when a commenter noted that some Africans were acting like savages for killing Christians and eating them, and the right wing blogger went ballistic yelling at him.  A noted black conservative woman from Africa chimed in saying "hey, they are acting like savages, I agree" and he went off on her so badly she left the blog never to return.
Its terror of racism that drives all this - not the fear of the evils of racism but of being perceived as a racist.  And its twisting and distorting culture so badly that its difficult to even bring the topic up any longer.  Just six years ago, things weren't nearly this nuts.  Six years ago race relations were much better, much calmer, and much more harmonious.
I wonder what changed....

Friday, January 02, 2015

MARKETING IN A NEW ERA

"Your evil is unwanted here!"
-Mentor

Some things I've been working on lately. I've had the GIMP program for years, and my brother Joel bought me a book not long ago with all kinds of information and tips in it on using the program to its best effect. GIMP is essentially freeware Photoshop created by disgruntled UNIX users, annoyed at having to pay 400 bucks for Adobe's program.  So they made GIMP and put it on the internet for free and as far as I can tell its just as powerful.
But its a complex program and it takes time and practice to figure out, so I've been working on that over the Holidays, editing images and enhancing them.  Here are a few results, all Superheroic stuff from Champions:





Mostly I'm working with texture and shading, I'll work on some lighting effects later.  The flying craft there turned out a bit too neon green for me, it should be more like the Viper agent below it, but it was fun to add all the little details and markings.
Most of this I'm also doing as part of a marketing effort.  I've read quite a few places that the best way to use online social media and internet contacts is to build a "platform."  This consists of fans and interested parties who know and appreciate you and your work.  With this, you reach out using giveaways, updates, feedback, and answering questions to create interest in your work.
Following the "long tail" concept of marketing, a few giveaways and a small but dedicated group of fans and followers can reach out each of them to more and this generates sales.  So I'm using rebuilding old Hero characters and images and posting them on the Hero sites around the internet - including the official Hero Games Forums - to keep my  name and work in peoples' minds.  In turn, I'm in theory building a platform and helping my sales.
In theory - so far it seems to be working, and in the process I'm getting better with GIMP, demonstrating familiarity and expertise with the Hero rules, and having fun.  Plus, if I ever run a superheroic game again, I have lots of 6th edition updates and images.  These images I am also putting into "paper minatures" that can be cut out, folded, glued/taped, and used as standups on a map instead of expensive miniatures.  Those are giveaways too.  
And since I'm giving them away on Hero's site using their old materials from previous editions of the game, I'm not out anything other than practice time - I'm not giving my own materials away - and I'm helping the game by updating old products and helping generate interest in the game, which is good for the company.  Everybody wins, I hope.
I'm not very good at business or marketing and its taking a long time to learn basic lessons, but I'm getting there slowly, I hope.