Doubling Our Flock

A couple weeks ago we went and picked up ten chickens plus a coop from a lady here in town that couldn’t take care of them anymore.   Actually, they were very well cared for, but she and her husband were having to do a lot of traveling due to an aging mother in Alabama.    It’s usually pretty easy to find someone to take care of a dog – pretty much everyone has the experience necessary to let a dog out and fill up some dishes a few times a day.   Even though chickens aren’t too hard to take care of, it’s definitely more of a tall order to get someone to come over and check on them while you’re gone.

We got a really, really good deal.   $150 for the coop and chickens, which are less than a year old.   Originally we asked about just the chickens and they wanted $50 for all ten.   To be honest, we could’ve bought the chickens and then later that afternoon probably sold them all for at least $150.   And probably $150 or $200 for the coop, because it actually is pretty well built….but we wanted the chickens.

They’re all a red hybrids, which tend to be very good layers and docile.   We planned on getting some more interesting breeds this spring, but I was happy to get in on this deal.   It also saves us the hassle of raising chicks this spring, which is kind of a pain in the ass.

Sometimes introducing two flocks can be tense, but honestly it was about as seamless as you could ask for.   There were a few little dust-ups, but at this point both flocks coexist fairly well.   There’s one “new” chicken that joined the old flock right away, so I have one group of 9 and then one group of 11 – although this group of 11 can divide into 5, 5 and 1 between my oldest chickens, the ones from last year that often hang together and then this oddball that joined up.

My older chickens have really slowed down egg laying over the winter, but these new ones are almost at an egg per chicken a day….so I’m getting anywhere from 10-14 or so eggs a day.

This is nice because for a while we’ve pretty much only had enough for our own consumption and had to buy regular eggs from the store for the dogs (they get one a day). Now we can feed the dogs and give some to the neighbors.    I think this is an important thing to do because it keeps the neighbors happier about the fact my backyard is full of chickens and in a way makes them kind of involved in the process.   The guy behind me often throws his spilled birdseed over the fence for them, they always come running whenever he opens his back door and comes out.

In addition to all the eggs we can get and a few for the neighbors, we’ll probably have enough to sell a dozen or two a week.  While not a huge source of income or anything, it’ll help offset some of the cost to feed them, which isn’t too much in the grand scheme of things.   A bag of food that will last the chickens about a week costs around $10 so selling the excess will cover about half of that.   Then once spring breaks, they’ll be foraging bugs and plants most of the day and eating less commercial feed.

When I first wanted chickens, I wanted about four or five.  That turned to ten.  That turned to fifteen (then back to ten, thanks to predators) and now I’m up to twenty.   Funny how those things work.

Microbusiness Chronicles: Slumming It In The Off Season

Today I spent virtually my whole day in an elementary school gymnasium at a craft sale that was a fundraiser for the PTA or some shit like that. The sale went from 10-3pm, I got there around 845 to setup and left around 3:30.   The event cost $50 for a table.

How much did I make?    $46.   I couldn’t get that final sale to push me over the bar to at least recoup the table fees.    So basically after accounting the $46, I’m out $4 and then probably about $25-30 in product and most important, about seven hours of my time.

Although there was about as much traffic as you’d expect at something like this (on the low side), no one was really interested in our tea.  This was easily the worst show we’ve done so far.    I think the next closest might have been close to $100 and an honorable mention to one where we paid $100 to do $200 in sales.  I think the people next to us selling string art sold nothing.  I don’t think my story today was really unique, as it looked like most vendors spent most of the time on their phones.

I don’t know what to make of it. On one hand, it’s easy to look at these kinds of events and say my time is better spent doing absolutely nothing at home due to the real chance of not making enough money to justify the time/resources spent.  On the other, just like the lottery you can’t win if you don’t play.   You never know who will come across you, maybe someone might buy a few bags of tea and then become a regular customer who buys a few more over the course of the year and tells one of their friends to buy a few.  You never know.

At any rate, I guess it’s not money that I was really banking on, like if we don’t make anything at this show we starve the rest of the week or anything like that.  Losing from time to time is a part of doing business and if you take the rewards, you have to take the risks too.  I guess today was just one of those days…

We’re doing another show at a better location with the same people next month.  Hopefully that goes a little bit better.

If Trump Is So Evil, Why Bring In Refugees?

I really don’t get it.  The same people who are convinced we’re only a couple armbands away from the Third Reich where basically everyone who isn’t an able-bodied conservative white Christian male is about to be thrown in the camps are the same people crying about “refugees” and other immigrants not being allowed to come in.   A lot of people are convinced “we’re all going to die in a thermonuclear war” as well.

At what point is it these people’s duty as a moral human being to STOP these people from wanting to come in?   I mean, if things are heading anywhere near half as bad as these people make it out to be, shouldn’t they be working around the clock to convince these people to go somewhere else?   It just seems kind of sadistic to subjugate people from the Islamic world “looking for a better life” to the allegedly high possibility of extreme discrimination in a country where approximately half the people must be racist sociopaths due to their voting decisions.

As Obama’s Reign Comes to an End, A Few Thoughts…

Friday marks Barry O’s last day of his two four year terms as president and earlier in the evening I took a few minutes to think over the past eight years with him in office.   So I figure I’ll share a few fragmented, disjointed pieces of my train of thought on Obama…

 

When he won in 2008 against a “moderate” “Republican” “war hero” with as much credibility as John McCain, I’ll admit I was a little blown away on how that could happen.    I didn’t vote for McCain (or Obama), but I didn’t get how a guy like Obama could beat a guy like McCain at that point in our history.   It makes a little more sense to me now and I should’ve found the answer in the fact that I wouldn’t vote for McCain.    When he won against Mitt Romney, the most unelectable electable guy in America, I was considerably less surprised.

I guess I was surprised he beat Hillary too, although in retrospect the demographics of the Democratic party was shifting in a way that made that possible.  Looking back, I get why they chose Obama over Hillary, even though she didn’t quite have the same evil aura over her as she does these days.

I always had a hard time viewing Obama as being black and the idea of the “first black president”.   While certainly true, he wasn’t of the black community as we know it in the US.  His dad was from Kenya and his mother was from Kansas.   He was raised by his white mother & family and probably had little interaction with African-Americans in his formative years.   His ancestors weren’t slaves (at least not in the South) and he never had the common experiences of the African-American community.

I remember a conversation I had with a black guy at work about Obama’s race.   I told him that I think Obama would be much more at home doing brunch in Portland with white people than he would at a barbecue in Detroit.    Now that I think about it, Obama probably had more in common with me, a middle class white guy, than this black guy I was talking to who had a background in inner city Detroit and Cleveland.

Obama seems likable on a personal level, but with strong undertones of condescension and self-aggrandizement.

The guy never really impressed me, either.  I once saw someone describe him as someone who’s true calling in life was to be a professor at a community college and that sounds about right.   Certainly not a complete fuck-up, but not the first choice for someone to run the country.   He just wasn’t a very awe-inspiring guy.

I don’t think he really had any areas where he was particularly bright, like foreign policy, military, economics, etc.  No real strong points.   Just kinda all around mediocre.

I don’t think he was ready for the job.   There’s something to be said for executive experience in some capacity and he just didn’t have it or any real inclination towards it.  I don’t think Hillary had a lot of executive experience either, but no one doubted her ability to take the reigns.

Everyone thought that GW Bush was an idiot – except for the people that actually matter in the world.   He held his own with world leaders and the movers and shakers of the world.  Obama had the opposite – the people who didn’t matter thought he was the messiah and the people that did matter thought he was an idiot.   Fortunately for him/us, Obama was likable and I think he received a lot of goodwill from the world in his early years.

He did get to be a better speaker as the years went on.

Did Obama heal America’s “racial divide”?   No.   Things aren’t much different than they were in 2008 as far as that goes.   Overall I don’t think he made things that much worse, but there were definitely points in his presidency where he fanned flames he shouldn’t have or made comments that could be seen as an affront to white America.  I’m thinking about that asshole black professor with the trike and the cop, weighing in on Trayvon (although admittedly it is hilarious every time I see “If Barack Obama had a son, he’d look like <black criminal of the day>” in the comments section) and courting Black Lives Matter.

Is Barry O racist towards white people, as many conservatives say?   I don’t really think so.

Does he have the same reverence for western culture, traditional America, etc, as we would expect from our president?   I don’t think so.   I think that he did hold the belief that America should be deconstructed/reconstructed into something more closely resembling a neoliberal wonderland.

Is he a Muslim?   No.  Is he a Christian?   I doubt that, I think that’s something he just uses for political expediency and then downplays it for political expediency as well.   We could’ve had our first openly atheist president.

A lot of bad things happened on his watch – with his thumb prints on it.  I’m thinking the rise of the surveillance state and the continuation and expansion of the wars, even though he was elected to not do this.

Even though these things would be “evil”, I doubt Barry is an evil guy.   I always got the impression that he was an order taker and that’s about it.   Sure, all presidents probably were order takers to some extent but at least you can see the other presidents being “in” on it and scheming alongside everyone, not just being told what to do.   I doubt he was really 100% on board with everything he went along with.   That’s not an excuse for him because yes, the buck does stop with him.

If he were a little less narcissistic, maybe he would have an interesting story to tell about the “deep state”.   Admitting he wasn’t in charge would be a blemish on his legacy.

I thought the love affair with him and liberals ended a few years ago when he was “just like Bush” but I’m seeing a lot of nostalgia for him lately from people who have a little more anti-establishment bent. Kind of funny.  I think it’s just because Trump is coming in.

It always irked me that when he talked to black crowds he would change his speech to sound more like a black preacher and then when he would talk to white people he would sound like Kermit the Frog.  But that’s none of my business (ha).

He did become a better speaker as the years went on and became a little quicker on his feet I thought.

Holy shit, did the job age him!

I don’t really know anything about his daughters and honestly that’s probably a good thing that they were largely kept out of the limelight.

A lot of people think Michelle Obama will run in 2020 and it almost seems like there’s been a PR campaign to improve her image lately.    No fucking way that’s happening.

That’s all I have for now on Obama’s eight years…

 

 

Keeping A Food Journal

I’ve made attempts before at keeping track of what I eat and although it seems like a simple task, it always goes by the wayside a few meals later.   I’ve been fairly successful ballpark guessing my daily protein intake, but never *everything* I eat.    I’m about a week into doing it on an app that does all the adding and computing for you and I think I’ve learned a few things.

First, my ballpark figures on how much protein I tend to consume in a day is pretty accurate, usually a shade north of 200 grams a day (at about 180lbs).    This is good and I’ll try to keep it around there, if not even a little higher.

Like most people, my eating habits are pretty predictable and on the days I work very highly structured.  I pack the same snacks every day and my main meal of the day is usually pretty consistent, most often chicken with sweet potato and vegetables.    When I stick to the “regular” foods, my diet looks pretty good.

I think I fall into a trap that a lot of other people do – the “I usually eat healthy/exercise so it’s ok to slip up every now and then…” trap.    And it’s easy to tell yourself that about as many times as you want.   I do believe it is true if you *usually* keep clean, it’s ok to splurge here and there, but it got a little too frequent for me.

I’m not trying to say that I’m morbidly obese or anything – I’ve probably put on 10-20lbs that I could do without over the past year or so.   Not a huge deal.  I’ve just decided I’d like to get back down to the high 160’s while keeping as much of my muscle mass as possible.   For what it’s worth, I did put on a noticeable increase of muscle with the weight gain, which was the goal.

Keeping track of what comes in so far has been pretty valuable…and it confirms that the “extras” can be a killer.   I know there were plenty of days in the past few months where maybe I added a breakfast sausage or bacon to my normal breakfast, then maybe Mary baked banana bread or something that I had before work, then maybe when I got home from work I grabbed a handful of m&m’s from that fucking candy jar that always gets me and maybe had a beer.   So if I get just about all of my calories from the things I should be eating, I just added another 700-1000 to it.   There’s 3500 calories per pound of fat, so it doesn’t take too long to see how that adds up

I also confirmed that on the weekends when my eating isn’t as structured as it is during the weekdays, I’m high on sugar and fat and low on protein.   I made a point yesterday to try to eat more like I would on a Tuesday and kept the sugar low – I think I had two peanut butter cookies over the course of the day and several servings of fruit.

I’ve also been slacking off on vegetables lately, which usually I’m pretty good about eating a wide range of vegetables.   I started bringing some various raw veggies with me to work, whereas I was just bringing carrots to fill this void before.    I will probably try going forward to prepare a bag of mixed raw veggies on Sunday for the upcoming week.

According to the app, it says I usually fall a little short on a couple vitamins and minerals.   This kind of surprises me considering the things I eat, but I may need a multivitamin.  I’d rather not, so if I can get everything from food I’d prefer that way.   Not that there’s anything wrong with multivitamins.

I get plenty of fiber in my diet.   I start the day off with oatmeal and I usually get enough fruits and veggies.    My protein powder has fiber in it as well, as does my protein bars.   So we’re good there.

After tallying up the normal foods I should eat, there is a little bit of wiggle room where I can reasonably have something like a cookie, slice of banana bread, a few squares of chocolate, etc.   I’d like to make those things a little more sporadic though.

One thing I’m still a little shaky on is what would be my daily caloric expenditure?   I imagine I burn a lot at my job, or at least more than someone who works in a cubicle and I usually spend about an hour at the gym lifting and such.   I’ll usually get a couple walks in a week with the dogs.     Then there’s hockey – I know I burn a SHITLOAD in one game, just based on how hungry I always feel afterwards.   It would be wise to plan “cheat meals” around Sunday and hockey for this reason.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with this.  Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but even just doing it for a week has caused some changes in my diet and more importantly, let me know where I was at and where I could improve.    Now instead of saying “well, I usually eat healthy…” and having that always be a free pass, I know how things actually stack up.    Worthwhile endeavor.

 

The Waning Hours of the “Current Year”

2016 is winding to a close and I’m going to take a few moments to reflect back on the year, personally and the world at large.

It was actually a year with some significant changes.   To start, when I went back to work after the holidays at the beginning of the year I went to an eight hour a day five days a week work schedule like most normal people, although from 2pm – 10pm.    This presented some challenges and honestly I didn’t care for it when the idea was proposed, but turned out to be overall a positive thing.   It means I’m home every morning and then home every night, whereas the schedule I had before had me working nights and basically working a couple of days then getting a couple off.

The change in schedule made my life a little more regimented and also gave me the weekends off.    Unfortunately it made it harder to tackle bigger projects with smaller periods of time and I’m not sure if I sleep less, but it feels like it – going to bed at midnight or one then the baby waking up at 6:30.

Having the weekends off led to the biggest success of the year – our business.  It feels like most Saturdays were spent pushing tea one way or another and now we have a viable part time business going into the new year.   In some ways we underperformed my expectations but in others we succeeded…I would say that at the outset my expectations were kind of arbitrary though.

Then we got married.   Honestly things didn’t feel very different the day after, but it was a big event during the year.   I was more involved this time around than last, so the planning had a bigger impact on my life.   It was a very DIY wedding so Mary spent countless hours on Pinterest and such.   At times I wanted to say “can we please not talk about the wedding anymore tonight?”, but we made it through and the wedding was amazing.   Everything went great.

Then we found out (recently) that we have another baby coming.  It’s a boy.   That’ll be a huge change in 2017.

I always get ideas for different little projects.   A book I should write, a webpage, a podcast, a business, etc.  Usually I get so bogged down with ideas that nothing ever happens.   This year I decided to focus on just one of those things and I did.   www.coldwarcast.com   A podcast about the Cold War’s history, with a strong emphasis on telling it through the pop culture of the time.    It’s been fun and with no significant advertising somehow I have about a 100 listeners that tune in each episode.   I’m hoping to grow it and dedicate myself to putting out more frequent content.   As of now it’s been about a show every two weeks, maybe twice a month.    I’d like to do *at least* once a week, even if I have to shorten episodes.   I’m hoping to take that to the next level this year.

At the beginning of the year I made a list of things I wanted to do this year.   A list of books I wanted to read, a couple activities and a few vague “learn more about…”, “do more…”.   Thinking back, I think I at least made a conscious effort for every one of them, except making a point to hit up the shooting range.    Admittedly I had some help early on by spending the first couple weeks of January at work doing very little but reading.

Fitness goals?  I definitely had them.   Ones that I thought were achievable, too.   Wound up hitting a plateau, doing something else for a while and then ramping back up, even bulking, before hitting another plateau, getting some aches and pains and getting bored.   I can say that I did get stronger in the current year, but I also put on a little bit more fat than I’m comfortable with and feel like my stamina is way down.

Now, what am I going to do about it this year?  I can’t say my diet was the best it’s ever been last year, at times intentionally.   I’m going to have to clean that up.    I just started a new program that has me doing more volume rather than low reps/high intensity.   I’m also adding back in a meaningful go at assistance work and planning on doing at least 5 minutes of cardio before working out in order to warm up.   I’d also like to add a few minutes of medicine ball slams or hitting the heavy bag a few times a week.
Off the top of my head I’d guess that I could stand to lose around 15lbs of fat, give or take a few and be about where I would want to be aesthetically.   I just have to realize that it’s completely on me.   Sometimes I get pissy when Mary fills the candy jar full of m&m’s or randomly decides to bake a cake.  It makes it difficult, but that’s where willpower comes in.

It was another terrible year for gardening due to the chickens tearing things up.   If I want to have a garden, I’m going to have to do something really drastic, like put up a deer fence around the whole thing in order to keep them out.  Doing that will help with the diet problem too, as I’ll have more vegetables in my diet than I did the previous years.

Financially it was kind of a rough year too.   The wedding took a toll, a cut in pay over the past couple years and then going to a one income household made it hard to stay ahead of things.  Oh, and Mary’s student loans kicked in. We sunk a lot of money into the business, which took a while to recoup (and I’m ok with that).   I’ve been doing pretty well for myself over the past several years, having a job that pays a fairly high wage and living low.   I’ve been used to doing just about whatever I want within reason, but this year was the first time in a very long time where I’ve had to say that I couldn’t afford it about something fairly reasonable.

Things are aligned for 2017 to be better financially though and be able to start putting some money aside again.

Oh, I also wanted to have all the loose ends in my house tied up, like fixing trim, painting this or that, just little things.   How’d I do on that?   HA!  Better luck next year.

 

I’ll leave the personal stuff there.    Let’s go on to the larger world.

Holy fucking shit!   If I could sit down with Ryan circa January 1, 2016 and have a conversation about what’s all happened in the past year, I wouldn’t believe it.

Right wing populism was the big winner of the year.   I can’t believe how far various aspects of that worldview have come in the past year.   Our cousins across the pond ran away with it in the Brexit vote, causing all kinds of heads to spin.   Merkel’s political power/approval is waning in Germany.   Viktor Orban in Hungary became a national hero.   Vladimir Putin is probably the most respected politician in the world.  Le Pen and FN is looking good in France.   Wilders in The Netherlands is sitting pretty good and Duterte in the Philippines rounds it out in the East.

Then on the homefront, there was the election of Donald Trump, which I followed closely throughout the year.   At the very least his election was a rejection of our political class, immigration, globalism, political correctness and the idea of undue civility.   What I mean by the last one is that the American people are ok with pushing back on some of the social forces that have been shaping our society for the past few years.   A celebrity, pundit or politician makes a comment on social media?   Fuck ’em, let them have it right back.   Half of the country acted shocked and appalled over this, half of the country cheered it loudly.

I think it’s safe to say that the gloves came off a little bit against the zeitgeist in 2016.   Social media is definitely no longer a “safe space” for left wing ideas as there’s been all kinds of pushback on these kinds of things to the point where there’s a strong internet subculture against these kinds of things that uses the language of the alt-right.

On that note, I can’t believe the alt-right became something of a household name, even if it is a little off target.   A year ago these guys were making podcasts and blog posts that maybe a thousand people heard/read, now Richard Spencer’s name is plastered all over everything.    Guys like Mike Cernovich, Paul Joseph Watson and Milo Yiannopolous have built careers in the past year around being “alt-light”.   I just wouldn’t believe that there would be a meteoric rise in the alt-right and many alt-right viewpoints.
Now let’s talk celebrity deaths….

I think there were a few “big” ones in the final days of 2016 that brought the idea of dead celebrities of the year into the forefront of people’s minds.   It’s hard to say it was really worse than any other year, if you like celebrities.

I can’t say I really care about these kinds of deaths.   I can acknowledge, in many cases, the entertainment value or even “impact” some of them have had on me, but in reality almost each and every one of them have functionally stopped existing for me.    What do I mean by that?   I mean that if Prince put out an album today, I probably wouldn’t have listened to it.   If Carrie Fisher starred in a movie today, I probably wouldn’t see that either. Most of these people are, as far as I’m concerned, carved into stone in a sense.   What I appreciate about these people almost always is something in the past, not the present.   If a favorite actor/musician/author/etc in their prime died, maybe the prospect of missing out on them fulfilling their potential would affect me (i.e. Kurt Colbain dying while Nirvana was still going strong seems more tragic than someone living off fumes from the past).

At any rate, I’m ready to move on into 2017.

 

 

Microbusiness Chronicles: Tallying Up The Intangibles

Well, now that Christmas is over and it’s several months until the first Farmers’ Market of the season, we’re at a year-end lull.   We’ve got a few small dates between now and then, but nothing too time consuming.   Honestly, it will be kind of nice to have this time to regroup, rearm and refit and come back next year better than last.

It also means it’s about tax time.   I’ve been going through our expenses to get everything in order when it comes time to file and we’ve spent a lot more than at the outset of this business than I imagined we would spend to get it off the ground.   Almost $1000 in tents, tables, baskets and signage, a couple hundred in design fees, probably $1500 in table fees and then a few thousand dollars in product.    We’ve also got the website, mileage, postage, a couple bucks in advertising.   Then there’s labels and packaging, which isn’t cheap.   It all ads up.

Although we spent a lot, I thought we did pretty well this year.   It *felt* like a successful year, but when I go to finally add everything up I’m going to guess that we didn’t come out very far ahead…especially if we factor in our time.

That’s ok.  I’m fine with that because we’re set up for a very good year next year.     Sure, we have all the “infrastructure” we need as far as equipment (tents, tables, scales, signs).   We also have a website and a pretty decent inventory of finished product and ingredients.   More or less everything we need to pick up where we left off without any significant up front costs, whereas last year we needed *everything*.

The big, important things we have now are intangible.   We made some mistakes early on due to lack of experience/knowledge that we won’t make this year.    I’ve learned more about our craft than I know last year at this time, which is important.   We’ve been able to streamline our processes as well.   What we’ve picked up in knowledge between last year and today is extremely significant.

Probably the biggest asset we have is our relations with people.  We’ve gotten on good with our suppliers (except I think the FedEx people hate Mary).   We’ve made contacts with some show promoters and have a pretty good idea of the ones that are good and the ones we should avoid.   It feels like we’re likely to get welcomed back to some of the shows we were at this year.    We’ve established a good rapport with the farmer’s market people, which is our most important thing and has paid off over the year.

Finally, and probably most important, we have our customers.   We’ve interacted with a lot of people and it seems like we get quite a few that come back.   People have been leaving us good reviews and recommending us to their friends.   I really like it when people tell us that our functional teas help them (digestion, sleep, headache, etc.).   We’re starting to make something of a name for ourselves and people are seeking us out.  It feels good.  We have a small, but growing social media presence that I plan on expanding.

So there we are.   We’ve made a couple of bucks, but we’re sitting really good to grow and be more successful in the upcoming year.

My Thoughts on Mike Cernovich

Mike Cernovich has made a name for himself over the past year, in a good way.   Gorilla Mindset has turned into a popular book within certain circles.   Danger and Play has seen a spike in traffic and his twitter and periscope has blown up, especially due to his work on the election.

He’s also made a name for himself recently in a bad way.   His recent denouncement of Richard Spencer and then this weekend’s feud with “Baked Alaska” coupled with running with earlier on being dubbed the “leader of the alt-right” or some sort of prominent identification with the alt-right have a lot of people throwing accusations of being an opportunist his way.   The comment section of pretty much everything I’ve seen that has something to do with Cernovich has been overwhelmingly negative towards him.   I know that’s not always the best metric, but it’s pretty damn overwhelming.

I think I first got introduced to Cernovich exactly a year ago.   I believe I read Gorilla Mindset last year around New Year’s and subsequently followed him on Twitter and his podcast.     I thought Gorilla Mindset was a good book and one of the first “self-improvement” books I’ve ever read.   There were a few good takeaways.

From the start his podcasts struck me as a little odd.   It seems like a twenty minute podcast is a couple minutes of substance and the rest is made up of repeatedly re-establishing his creditability on the subject (in other words, boasting?).   “I’ve sold more books than this guy”, “Look at the life I live”, “The haters are just jealous of…”.   I’ll admit that in the realm of self-improvement this kind of thing can be a good motivating thing, but its done to the point where it seems like either an insecurity thing or a “fake it until you make it” strategy.

On the note of “fake it until you make it”, I really think that’s what he’s done with his brand and built it completely around self/brand-aggrandizement.   In a way it’s pretty impressive and something that people can gain from if they read between the lines.

Now, on to the subject of his political leanings – he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy with any significant political worldview at all.  That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but he’s has positioned himself to look like the leader of a political movement, the alt-right.

Here’s how I see his involvement with the alt-right…. Cernovich probably really does have it out for SJW/politically correct culture, for various reasons.   He already had something of a niche carved out for himself in the “manosphere” and from there there’s inroads into the political right.   Maybe there was some reaching out to him from alt-right rank and file, maybe Cernovich did the reaching out.    Either way, he probably believed that he would be able to make his niche within the world of lashing out against SJW’s.

As far as his support for Trump goes, I think he really did have an appreciation for Trump as a businessman/showman from before his presidential run.  Still, I think his support had an aura of latching on to a movement rather than actually being into it.   Admittedly, he did some good digging/analysis during election season and was an overall asset to Trump’s campaign.   I won’t deny that.

I think he embraced the alt-right without actually realizing the totality of what the alt-right was about – I think he just thought internet trolling and MAGA hats, like Milo Yiannapolis recently <incorrectly> described the alt right.     He showed his actual ignorance of the movement by claiming that Richard Spencer, pretty much the guy that coined the term and laid the groundwork in the US, was hurting the alt-right.    No, Mike, he IS the alt-right.

Along with a few other “alt-light” figures, there’s been a bit of a backing down from the actual alt-right once it’s dawned on them that it really isn’t just a quasi-socially acceptable way to lash out against PC culture.   He basically got in a little too deep with people he didn’t want his “brand” associated with.

I really feel like there was tones of jealousy between Cernovich and Spencer.   Cernovich is certainly bigger (at this point), but Spencer has more depth and has been getting a lot of the spotlight lately…for being genuinely him.

As for me, I’m kind of torn on what to do with Cernovich.   I’ll probably revisit Gorilla Mindset at some point and check into his podcast here and there.   Honestly, at 15-20 minutes per episode and being so infrequent I don’t feel like I’m completely wasting my time.   It’s kind of easy listening, really.    I think he’ll wind up alienating many of the people that pay attention to him today and begin to crash and burn.    Until then, I’ll probably take him with a large grain of salt and pick up the occasional tidbit of wisdom here and there.

Let’s Talk ‘Fake News’

The results of the 2016 Presidential election certainly caused some people on the left to seek reflection.   Some of them came back with some good, frank analysis on why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump and many of them didn’t.

Among the most common reasons were the over-abundance of racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, islamophobic, etc. Americans – it just wasn’t possible for a paragon of moral virtue like Hillary to win when the deciders were made up of such deplorable stock.   My personal favorite was that too many dumb rednecks weren’t ready for a woman president – as if Ann Coulter, Carly Fiorina, Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin ran they wouldn’t have gotten votes from the majority of people who voted for Trump.

Next down the line was “Russia” who allegedly tampered with our election – by (allegedly) leaking factual information about the Democrats.    This one was coupled with the phenomena of “fake news”.

So liberals from sea to shining sea were pulling their hair out over the idea that “fake news” influenced the election, and lambasting sites like Breitbart, RT, Alex Jones, Occupy Democrats Logic and probably hundreds of others.

Here’s the thing that bothered me the whole time about pussy-aching about “fake news”.  It’s not the idea that one narrative is considered fake and one isn’t, it’s the idea that if only millions of Americans were just exposed to the truth, the scales would’ve been tipped in favor of Hillary Clinton, the rightful heir to the presidency.

Get the fuck out of here.   And get the fuck over yourselves, too.    There seems to be a widespread inability to accept the idea that a large swath of the country made a conscious and thoughtful decision to not accept the narrative that Hillary, the DNC and her supporters were pushing.   It screams of narcissism.   I don’t think I would ever say that “if only those people would understand that Trump only wants to deport the illegal Mexicans…”  or something like that, hinting that my worldview was one that would line up with everyone if only they had come to their senses.

Also, the idea that people weren’t completely bombarded with “the truth” as liberals see it is completely laughable.   I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that at least one in five posts on my Facebook feed during the election was a repost of some article or meme against DJT or any other facet of a right-leaning worldview.   I think it’s fair to say that almost every mainstream media outlet had an anti-Trump bent.   There was no shortage of material floating out there that went contrary to Trump’s narrative.   No shortage at all.

…and of that material, some of it really counted as “fake news”.   Many of Trump’s most “shocking” statements were misquoted, half quoted or misinterpreted by “real news” outlets  and they ran with them for the sake of making a better story and furthering their narrative. For example, there was one time when Trump was speaking with disabled veterans and gave a nice response to one question.   The media cut it off halfway and the story became “Trump thinks veterans are weak and that’s why they commit suicide”.   So even if PatriotEagleNewsNow.com floated some clickbait about how Hillary Clinton was a Soviet operative in college and your racist uncle shared it, I have a hard time feeling sorry for the Democrats on this one.

It also goes without saying there were a lot of less-than-reputable by impartial standard “fake news” sites on the left to the point where it seemed like there was A LOT more anti-Trump/Republican/right-wing bullshit stories than anti-Hillary/Dem/left-wing.

The other angle to this is that the mainstream media really did get their clocks cleaned this election, and possibly will continue to get clobbered throughout the Trump administration.   They lost out on his advertising dollars because he went to Twitter and Facebook instead (when he wasn’t manipulating them for free airtime).   They failed to view the election without the blinders of personal politics on and missed the mark on their analysis.  Regular folks saw their biases and indifference and villanized them more than ever before.

But most importantly, they were on their way out even before all of this due to entry barriers being broken.   Now anyone can give their analysis (exhibit A, me) on these kinds of things and have a platform to share with the world.   Some people really made great strides as media outsiders in this election – namely alt-right and “alt-light” figures like Mike Cernovich, Milo Yiannopolous and Paul Joseph Watson.   Even Alex Jones.   I really think part of the lashout against fake news comes from a position of apprehension of their own impeding doom from the “real” media.

 

 

No, Asshole, Santa Claus Isn’t Turkish

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While Christmas often brings out the best in people, it also brings out the less-than-desirable in others.  You can’t through the season without someone pissing and moaning about a “crass display of commercialism”, stating that Jesus really wasn’t born on December 25 and/or bringing up the pagan roots of Christmas in a manner to discredit the holiday as it pertains to practicing Christians.

While all of these points are certainly valid, they almost always come from a position of the person either really, really having an axe to grind with Western civilization and/or a smug attempt at elevating ones’ self over the proles that buy into the holiday.     People love to downplay the kinds of things that other people cherish.

One great way to downplay aspects of Western civilization held sacred is to make them non-Western or at the very least piss on the things viewed as Western achievements.   This is where we hear about historical figures likely being non-white and/or hearing about someone from outside the Western world doing it better or first or the personal shortcomings of the historical figure in question.   So we hear that Euripides was black, Arabs saved Western civilization by being so advanced and Chris Columbus didn’t change the course of history or anything, but he was extremely brutal to the natives of the American landmass.

One way this happens from time to time around Christmas is the idea that Santa Claus has his origins in Turkey and therefore all of us dumb white people are celebrating a guy that wasn’t white and comes from the Islamic world.     Ugh….

It is true that the non-fictional character St. Nicolas really did come from the part of the world we now know as Turkey.  Absolutely.  However, the thing is what we now know as Turkey wasn’t inhabited by Turks, it was inhabited by Greeks.    I know that the idea that things might not have always been the way they are now is difficult for some people to grasp at times, but it’s true.   St. Nick was a Greek that lived in what ultimately became Turkey.   Doesn’t make him anymore Turkish than I can claim to be a Sioux by virtue of living where they once lived.   The Turks, with all due respect, moved into that piece of real estate almost 1000 years after St. Nick occupied it.

…and for what it’s worth, St. Nick was just a part of the mythos that eventually created the Santa Claus that we know today.   For the record, none of that mythos is remotely close to Turkish.   I know some people would like to believe this kind of bullshit because it fits nicely into a narrative they’ve created.

With that said, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever you prefer to hear.   Always be skeptical of “well, actually….” claims and the motives behind them.

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