Are the Ruby Rose Accusations Delusional?

Ruby Rose

Model turned actress Ruby Rose performed as the lead for the first season of Warner Bros. Television version of Batwoman. She left the show after that season and recently made serious accusations against other actors, the production staff, and the crew.

Ruby Rose claims both her serious injuries and another’s occurred on set because of negligence and corner cutting. In addition, Ruby Rose claims there was pressure to return to work while still injured and that several fellow actors were abusive to women on set.

Batwoman

Batwoman, now in its third season, continues to receive reasonably good reviews and moderately decent ratings for the network it is on. There is a lot of ill-feeling toward Batwoman because it is generally considered to promote a “Woke” agenda. Ruby Rose herself is an outspoken proponent of the LBGTQia+ (yes, I had to look that up) community.

Needless to say, there are quite a few outspoken people happy to believe both the worst and best about Ruby Rose and her accusations. That being the case, I’m seeing plenty of hot opinions on these accusations.

The Response

The actors accused of behaving in a toxic fashion deny it completely. The company claims it was Ruby Rose who behaved badly on set. Warner Bros. claims they fired her because of her own bad behavior, showing up late, treating crew badly, not knowing her lines, storming off set in a rage on multiple occasions.

What Really Happened

It’s likely we’ll never really know what happened but my suspicion, without any kind of conclusive proof, is that Ruby Rose is exaggerating minor events and possibly even fabricating much of what happened. If that’s true, then why is she doing it when it’s pretty clear those she accused will dispute her claims?

One of the strange things in human nature is the ability to become completely delusional about reality. It’s my opinion that is in play here with Ruby Rose. She’s surrounded herself with Yes People who fuel this delusion. Online she gets endless support from those who tie their own belief system to that of Rose and they will support anything she says.

Conclusion

Here is where I think I’ll lose everyone reading along, nodding their heads in complete agreement, the Ruby Rose haters. I honestly think former President Trump, and many of his allies, engage in this practice almost constantly. They are surrounded by True Believers who tolerate the most abhorrent behavior and fuel it to levels of delusional insanity.

We must disagree with people we like and support when they do things with which we disagree. If we don’t, we create evil monsters, capable of damage beyond comprehension. If we continue down that road this country is in serious trouble.

I say to you, stand up for what is right, no matter who says it. Fight against what is wrong, no matter the source. The world will be a better place.

Tom Liberman

Somehow I have Friends who Care

Friends who Care

Overview

I asked my Facebook friends a question the other day and discovered that somehow, against all odds, I actually have friends who care. That’s normal, you might say, but then again you don’t know me.

If you’re reading this, then you know I write blogs fairly frequently. In my quest for blog material, I read a lot of news stories from the internet. If you’ve been on the internet then you might have some idea of the mental anguish I suffer while trying to find stories to blog about.

I saw a clickbait headline that triggered a number of my many triggers. I considered reading it in the hopes it might provide blog material. On the other hand, it was likely to enhance my general despair at the condition of human intelligence. I posted an image of the headline, as seen on this article, and asked my friends if I should read the article or go and have a nice sandwich instead.

Much to my surprise and delight, my friends unanimously suggested the sandwich. They apparently care about me and my mental health. This comes as a bit of a surprise. You see, I’m not a likeable fellow. No, no, don’t all raise your hands and dispute the theory, we all know it’s true.

I’m Not a Likeable Fellow

My general unlikability is not really my fault, at least that’s what I like to think. I was born this way. I’m not good at social interactions, I’m not seeing anyone shaking their heads at that one. I’m do not tolerate fools well and this combined with complete lack of expression control allows people to grasp almost instantaneously that I’m thinking how incredibly stupid is the thing they just said.

My expression in these circumstances is a sort of sneer of incredulity with a pained internal dialog on whether or not I should tell you how incredibly, unbelievably, astonishingly, moronic is the thing you just said. Then, after a few moments of hesitation, I either tell you, bad, or don’t tell, worse because you know what I’m thinking anyway, but now can’t even get angry at me for calling you the equivalent of a mentally retarded sea slug.

Unfortunately, I’m self-aware enough to realize I’m a complete ass but not self-aware enough to stop being so. A dilemma to be sure. I will say it’s a step up from my younger days when I wasn’t even aware of my Level 20 Douche skill.

In any case, if you don’t believe my assessment of my likeability, or lack thereof, please, ask any of my friends. Better yet ask the people who don’t like me.

That’s why it came as a surprise that I have friends who care, who actually consider my mental well-being and suggested the sandwich over the article that surely would have triggered the earlier mentioned facial expressions.

Conclusion

I wish I knew what I’ve done to deserve friends who care, it’s certainly beyond my powers to comprehend but, that being said, I am grateful for those who put up with me.

Tom Liberman

Jon Gruden would have a Job if he was not an Average Coach

Jon Gruden

Overview

The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden, resigned after the release of a number of emails in which he makes distasteful comments. There’s a lot of bleating about Cancel Culture but the reality comes down to the fact that Jon Gruden hasn’t been anything better than an average coach throughout his career.

If Jon Gruden had a coaching record significantly better than 122 wins against 116 losses we’d hear all sorts of excuses from his bosses, talk about sensitivity training, how he is a good man who made a mistake, and he’d still have a job.

What Jon Gruden Wrote

I confess that I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Jon Gruden particularly when I hear him lying in order to excuse his behavior. He insulted his ultimate boss, Roger Goodell, calling him a “clueless anti-football pussy”. He and Bruce Allen exchanged pictures of topless Washington Football Team cheerleaders, a scandal we’re not here to talk about today.

Jon Gruden described DeMaurice Smith as having lips the size of Michelin tires and then lies and claims he just meant Smith had rubber lips, which apparently, Gruden wants us to believe is a euphemism for someone who lies. It’s clearly a reference to the large lipped stereotype of black men. You know it, I know it, and Gruden knows it.

I’d have more sympathy for Gruden if he admitted that he used a stereotype. Gruden is also lying when he claims he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. That’s a lie born of Cognitive Dissonance. Of course, he has racist thoughts, misogynistic thoughts, homophobic thoughts, murderous thoughts. We all have such thoughts from time to time. It doesn’t make us racist or murderers, it makes us human.

This constant bleating that no one is more whatever than me, I don’t have a bad bone in my body is utter nonsense. You can still be a good person even if you have bad thoughts, if you make mistakes, if you do bad things, if you say wrong things. If Gruden stood up and owned up, I’d be more sympathetic to his arguments.

That being said, the bottom line is he isn’t a consistently winning football coach and that is why he was forced to resign.

Conclusion

There’s a lot of hand-wringing and complaining about Cancel Culture from one side and condemnation as racist and homophobic from the other. As usual, it’s somewhere in between but that doesn’t play well with those who only see the world as a one-way street.

Jon Gruden doesn’t have a job this morning because he’s an average coach who made some mistakes. When you’re really good at your job you’re allowed a lot of mistakes, that isn’t Jon Gruden.

Anti-vaxxers are as Monolithic as Big Pharma

Monolithic

Conclusion

I’ll get to the conclusion right away. Both anti-vaxxers and Big Pharma are equally monolithic, that is to say, neither one is monolithic at all.

Does everyone who won’t take a vaccine have the same motivation for not doing so? Does every employee of a pharmaceutical company have the same motivation? Is there any group of people, anywhere, anytime, who share perfectly in their ideology and motivation? Simply put, no. Categorically no. From the top of the mountain I say, no! No, no, no. We are individuals.

What’s most disturbing for me is those who cry out when portrayed as monolithic, eagerly and enthusiastically shout out that everyone and everything else is monolithic.

The Easy Way Out of Monolithic Blame

The large pharmaceutical companies do want to make a profit. So do you. So do I. Does that mean I’d willingly murder people in order to get them to purchase my novels and stories? Does that mean you’d eagerly murder people, put them in danger, risk their future health, to make some money?

When you suggest your reason for not taking is a vaccine is because you don’t trust pharmaceutical companies to put out a safe product, you are saying the people who helped in the creation of that vaccine are willing to murder for profit.

You’re saying there is a monolithic group of scientists, biologists, chemist, software developers, nurses, doctors, and many others who took part in this massive deception. The scientist knew the vaccine was dangerous and created it anyway. The doctors and nurses who performed the double-blind studies knew it. The software developers who coded the applications to tally the information knew it. All of those people are complicit in the deception, they are monolithic in their desire for money, so much so that murdering and maiming millions of people doesn’t bother them.

The same can be said for anything. A seatbelt design, a cancer cure, a heating and cooling unit. Whatever it is that you do.

It’s simple to look at Big Pharma as a villain and it’s simple to look at anti-vaxxers as a villain. When you categorize either as such, you are the villain.

Political

Now I’m going to get political and piss off most of you. Are all Democrats something or another? Are all Republicans something or another? If you’ve said anything to that affect in the last year, you are a fool. You bought into the sales pitch of someone else, someone who isn’t interested in what’s best for you, but what is best for them.

When we create monolithic categories for those we dislike, we destroy ourselves. It is only when we see others as individuals that we can hope to unite as a nation, as a world. When we categorize and dehumanize people, we become evil ourselves. Stop doing it.

Tom Liberman

Government Murdered Rail at your Expense

Rail Baron

Overview

Your federal government is in the process of agreeing to spend at least $715 billion and as much as $3.5 trillion on infrastructure expenses. Why? Our roads, bridges, and airports are decaying. Government built a great majority of these, largely in order to promote car and airplane travel.

This enormous expense falls on taxpayers and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is not just federal money but also an enormous portion of state and local expenditures. Roads and airports will never pay for themselves.

Would you like to know a form of transportation that, up until government got involved, did pay for itself? Rail.

Let’s find my Time Travel Hat and get this rant rolling!

Early Rail in the United States

Where is that thing? It’s never where I left it. Freezer? Nope. Under the bed? Nope. Ah, there it is, my Yadier Molina bobblehead put it on for some reason. All right, plop it on, spin three times, whoosh, bang and where do I find myself?

Why, it’s the nineteenth century, 1815 to be exact, as I note on a local broadsheet. A fellow named John Stevens just got a charter for the New Jersey Railroad, the first of its kind in the United States.

Spinning again, hat taking control on its own. Dizzy, fuzzy, looking around, where am I now? Trains, trains, everywhere! There are 17,800 freight locomotives carrying 23,600 tons of freight, and 22,200 passenger and it’s 1880 a mere sixty-five years since the first rail lines emerged.

How did all this expansion happen? Largely with capitalistic investment which exploded after the Civil War where the North’s superior rail network proved integral to victory. It also must be noted much of this expansion came with the racial exploitation of Chinese laborers brought to the United States expressly for this purpose.

Light Rail and Trolleys

It’s not just trains carrying passengers from one part of the country to the other but the major metropolises are building light rail systems. My hometown of St. Louis sported a fantastic trolley system that moved willing passengers for years.

Such light rail and trolley systems still exist today but greatly reduced from their prime. In New York, it is possible, and frankly preferable, to travel almost exclusively using the subway system which is the largest remaining in the United States.

The End of Passenger Rail

Gasp. Third trip and I’m about wiped out but where am I now? It’s the Turn of the Century, the Twentieth that is. It’s been a bit of a Boom-and-Bust business cycle for the rail industry but we now have 254,037 miles of track and it’s all downhill from here.

What happened? Trains work extremely well but the passenger rail system began dying for some reason. The government got overly involved is what happened.

The Federal Air Road Act of 1916 funneled $75 million tax-dollars into building roads and airports, the first of many such expenditures that continue to this day. The United States Railroad Administration nationalized the entire rail system in December of 1917.

The passenger rail system just could not compete with this enormous influx of federal, state, and local dollars designed to encourage air and car travel. It’s not really important as to why the government felt such transportation superior. There were reasons, some of them even good reason.

The Result

The passenger rail system largely died. Cars with their necessary roads and planes with their required airports took over. All built and maintained largely by tax dollars. That’s why we must spend trillions of dollars to support the crumbling infrastructure that would largely not exist if government hadn’t gotten involved.

It’s impossible to determine with any assurance what would have happened. Passenger rail was killed, that is where we find ourselves. I think it’s not farfetched to imagine a greatly expanded rail network covering much of the country by now, but that’s speculation.

The Solution

How do we fix this mess? It took us over a hundred years to get here so there is no easy solution. People are used to cars and planes. We have an enormous infrastructure of roads and airports that cannot, and should not, be dismantled. Cars will always have a place, as will planes; they are useful but capitalistic economics should drive their future.

We need to phase out tax-support for roads and planes in slow and cautious steps. Let entrepreneurs start new rail transport systems, small at first surely. Money is to be made and people want to make it.

Maybe it will take another hundred years to establish a proper equilibrium between trains, cars, and planes. One that is driven by need and profit, not by government interference. Let’s start that journey today.

Tom Liberman

LED Streetlights Killing Insects Misleading Headline

The Misleading Headline

The Misleading Headline reads: LED streetlights kill off insect populations by half, study finds. Oh no! LED Streetlights are killing off half the population of insects in the world! This is important information. Get rid of LED streetlights immediately! Put back in the old bulbs. We must save the insects.

Why it is Misleading

You have to read past a plethora of advertisements and down to the seventeenth and eighteenth paragraph to determine why the headline is basically lying. The study was done on three locations, areas with LED streetlights, areas with old style streetlights, and areas with no streetlights at all.

I think you see where this going. The fifty percent drop-off in insect life is between the area with no lighting at all and LED streetlights. The drop-off comparison for old style lighting and no lights is forty-one percent.

The reason suspected for the much smaller drop-off between LED and old streetlights is also easy to figure out, the LEDs are brighter. The solution seems simple enough, tone down the brightness slightly and all is good.

The reality is that LED streetlights are not the problem at all. The problem is heavily lit areas tend to cut down on insect populations because they like dark areas to breed, just like most of the rest of us.

The Possible Harm

The particular problem with this misleading headline is that it suggests older streetlights are better for the environment than LED streetlights. Those who oppose the environmentally friendly agenda which includes LED streetlights, will pounce on this article as a way to discredit the movement.

Conclusion

Be skeptical. When I saw the headline, it immediately aroused my suspicions. I almost instantly thought the comparison might be between unlit streets and LED streetlights. The fifty percent sounded way too high to me. My skepticism proved correct.

Tom Liberman

White Lotus Ultimately Disappointing

White Lotus

What is White Lotus?

White Lotus is a recently released mini-series which received acclaim from both critics and audience. It tells the tale of a group of travelers at a luxury resort and expands on their personal problems while hinting at a murder mystery.

Really Good for While

The thing about White Lotus is that it’s really quite good in almost every respect. It’s not a situation like The Nevers or Miss Scarlet. Those shows, while many people certainly enjoy them greatly, I found to be almost without redeeming qualities.

In White Lotus the writing is well-paced and interesting. The characters slowly reveal themselves to us through dialog and events rather than obtrusive exposition. In particular the Quinn character story arc spoke to me in a number of ways.

Steve Zahn as Quinn’s father annoyed me to no end but slowly grew into an interesting and fully three-dimensional character. The acting is largely excellent. I thought Jake Lacy as the annoying husband to the confused and unhappy Alexandra Daddario particularly effective. Connie Britton peeled away the crazy layers of her character with wild-eyed abandon.

The sets were lovely, the cinematography well done. Quinn going outside to sleep on the beach as the sun set and whales breeched is an image I won’t soon forget.

Why it Doesn’t Succeed Fully

You might be wondering at this point as to why I found White Lotus disappointing if all I can manage to do is heap praise upon it.

It’s the ending. Perhaps I should say some of the endings. I don’t mind a story that doesn’t tie everything up in a nice little bow, in fact I general prefer a little ambiguity. I also don’t mind an ending that isn’t happy. That’s real life and it happens.

The fate of Rachel in a golden prison with Shane is not my problem. Nor is the conclusion of the Nicole story with her joyously sprinkling the ashes of her dead mother. Those two I liked, it’s everyone else’s ending that disappointed.

I really don’t know what to make of the Paula and Olivia ending. What happened? Are they still friends? Did they learn anything. What about poor Kai? Manipulated by Paula to salvage her own conscious at being of color but living in luxury.

I worry that Quinn won’t even be able to make it back from the airport to the resort with no phone and no money. How will he survive? His parents certainly won’t let the plane leave without Quinn on board.

What about Belinda? What will she do with the wad of cash? Will Nicole run the business opportunity by her team and change her mind?

Armand’s story seemed to simply justify the premise of the opening scene where we know someone died. It didn’t seem organic to me.

In the End

Too many of the endings just weren’t endings at all. I found myself unsatisfied. I’m certainly not saying White Lotus is bad, it’s quite good really and I very much enjoyed watching it. I’m looking forward to a second season reportedly in the works with new guests.

I guess my point here is that endings are really important. If you can’t find a good ending then every wonderful thing leading to that point is forgotten. White Lotus was close to wonderful and I’d recommend it even though the ending left me disappointed.

Tom Liberman

Critical Race Theory and Teacher Resignations

Critical Race Theory

The Resignations

Critical Race Theory is in the news these days and an interesting situation regarding teachers resigning because of this issue piqued my interest. It’s not the resigning itself that I find interesting but those who support or denounce those doing so.

The political divide on the issue of Critical Race Theory is relatively easy to follow and it is this gulf that warps the sensibilities of people commenting on the issue. Some teachers resign because the school board includes Critical Race Theory while others resign because the state excludes such curriculum.

This is not about Critical Race Theory

Just to get it out of the way immediately; this post is not a critique of Critical Race Theory. It’s not about what is involved in the teaching of this subject. That is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. I want to talk about those who support or deride the resignations and why they do so.

Who is Resigning?

Teachers resigning seem to largely cite one of two things. Either they refuse to teach the curriculum or they insist on doing so despite the school board or state refusing to allow it. All of the teachers resigning are doing so because of strongly held personal thoughts on the subject of Critical Race Theory. Either for it or against it.

This is where the emotional passions of political divide seem to sever critical thinking skills. The people who support one group of resigning teachers absolutely denounce the other. If you applaud a teacher resigning because they refuse to teach the theory then it is almost certain you denounce the teacher resigning because they insist on teaching it.

What does a Libertarian Say?

I support both groups. It’s perfectly reasonable for teachers to follow their conscious and assert their individual rights. If a teacher thinks a lesson is vitally important or horribly destructive, she or he should resign rather than compromise principles.

This is not an easy decision. While I’ve spoken before about bad teachers, I think most teachers love their jobs and do their best to educate students. It’s a decision that affects the teacher financially. It’s a decision with life-changing consequences.

I do think there is a great deal of passion and misinformation on the subject and it’s difficult to reach rational conclusions. I’d encourage everyone to learn more about Critical Race Theory before making such an important life decision.

Conclusion

The political divide in this country and the world as a whole is discouraging. People base their opinions not on evidence but on perceived affiliations. What is good today is bad tomorrow. What is right today is wrong tomorrow. Who is a good teacher today is a terrible one tomorrow. Not because facts changed but because of political expediency.

Shame.

Tom Liberman

Magnus Carlsen Leads by Example

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen Shows Up for Consolation Match

Magnus Carlsen, the World Chess Champion, was defeated by Jan-Krzysztof Duda in a hotly contested semi-final match in the Chess World Cup that came down to tie-breaks. Because of this Carlsen found himself in the position of playing a third-place consolation match against Vladimir Fedoseev.

Not only did Carlsen show up for this match but he opened it with what some are already calling one of the most brilliant games of Carlsen’s career. I think this sort of thing speaks highly of Carlsen but also sets an important example for champions to come.

Magnus Carlsen is following the example set by the previous champion, Vishy Anand. That’s a testament to both of them.

The Contrast

For some champions this sort of loss can lead to petulant behavior. Novak Djokovic, considered the best tennis player in the world at the moment, recently lost in his bid to win an Olympic gold medal and behaved with less elan.

Djokovic threw his tennis racquet into the stands in a fit of rage. He refused to play in a scheduled doubles match with his partner, thus depriving them both of an opportunity for a gold medal. This sort of behavior is something that young players see and emulate.

Poor Behavior is Contagious

When top level golfers like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau feud publicly, hurling nasty insults at one another, they somehow convince themselves it’s good for ratings, that people love watching such spats and unprofessional behavior.

It’s true videos of Djokovic and the two golfers make headlines and people are interested in such things. It’s also true that poor behavior of this nature is contagious. Future top-level golfers, tennis players, and others will emulate these champions. That’s not good for sports and it’s really not great for society.

What I find interesting is that while most people rightly criticize the tantrum thrown by Djokovic, and others like him, people clearly want to see more of it. That’s a shame.

It’s more than just a championship match, it’s about how to behave in your own life. We are all going to lose at something in life and it’s always going to be painful. If we fight against our despair and go back out, even for a consolation match, it makes our society a better place.

Imagine if, in a rage, Carlsen decided not to play. The chess world never gets to see today’s brilliancy.

Conclusion

The ability to handle defeat with grace is an admirable character trait. I far prefer the example Magnus Carlsen sets than that of Djokovic.

The old adage that people enjoy watching a train wreck remains. As for me, I prefer a true champion, both on the playing field and in life.

Tom Liberman

Norway Beach Handball Team Insane Fine

Norway Beach Handball

Mandatory Bikini Uniform

As difficult to believe as you might find it, the Norway beach handball team paid a fine of almost $1,800 for wearing shorts to their match instead of bikini bottoms. I mean, seriously? The European Handball Federation (EHF) stipulates women beach handball players must wear a uniform including bikini bottoms and sports bras.

Do we even need to ask the reason for this rule? It’s not to ensure the safety of the competitors or the integrity of the game in case you thought as much. It’s because men made the rules, creepy men if you want my thought on the subject.

Years long Dispute

The Norway beach handball team, along with other teams, protested through the proper channel for years. All to no avail. I’m sure they got the normal mealy-mouthed answers about a fact-finding efforts by top people but nothing changed.

Finally, fed up one imagines, the Norway beach handball team showed up at the European Beach Handball Championship bronze medal game against Spain wearing shorts. The horror. I mean, gosh, shorts instead of bikini bottoms for an athletic competition?

The Patriarchy

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m hardly easily triggered or a member of the Social Justice Warrior crowd. That being said, I do consider myself Woke and enlightened, I’m just not militant about it. This rule is so vile, so useless, so clearly sexist, that when I read the headline, I thought it must be some sort of a joke. Some crazy Woke story about an imagined injustice.

Nope. Wrong again, Tommy Boy. When do, what I assume are the men who make the rules at EHF, think they are living? How can they receive a protest about having to wear bikini bottoms instead of shorts and ignore it?

I have this image in my head of a bunch of sixty plus year old men leering at pictures of the young athletes and giving each other uncoordinated high-fives while tossing the formal protests into the trash bin, then sexually harassing the women in their office, before going home to their trophy wives.

I just barfed in my mouth a little and I hope you did also.

Conclusion

I stand with the Norway Beach Handball team. It’s as simple as that.

Should the team have worn shorts or waited for the rule to change?

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Tom Liberman

Facebook Advertisements are the Opposite of Socialism

Facebook Advertisement

The Rage

I recently placed several Facebook advertisements for my new serial stories on Amazon and was surprised by the backlash from some who saw the ads. The general thoughts indicated to me that these folks hated that my Facebook advertisements were on their wall.

I’m quite interested in what I found when tracking back to the people expressing their rage, usually in the form of, shall we say, colorful images posted on the wall of The Adventures of Stultafor Milbegrew. Almost all of them seemed to be opponents of Socialism with a large majority supporting one particular political party.

Facebook is Capitalism

The problem, for the ragers, is that Facebook Advertisements are the embodiment of capitalism. If you want to remove all the ads then you remove all revenue. Without revenue Facebook either must go to a pay model or become a government run business that relies on tax dollars to provide you with an ad free experience.

The very people railing with those aforementioned colorful images are actually espousing against capitalism, if not outright supporting of socialism.

Why My Ads

Another area of great confusion seemed to be in the placement of Facebook advertisements on the wall of those expressing outrage. The general sentiment indicated the person complaining imagined my advertisement took up space on their wall.

The problem with this line of thought is the spot on the wall is a placeholder for an advertisement, if not mine then someone else’s. There will always be Facebook Advertisements taking up those position on your wall, on my wall, on all walls. Having said that, none of your friends see ads on your wall. Which is another common point of confusion among those who express themselves so forcefully to me.

The only way to get rid of those ads is to convince Facebook to change to a pay portal model. Or simply ask the government to take it over and run it with tax dollars.

Why Such Rage?

I find the confusion about the issue of Facebook Advertisements to be quite interesting. I suspect the complainers are not bothered by television advertisements. That thirty second spot on your favorite show will always be an advertisement, it will never contain content. It’s simply a placeholder for whichever advertiser spends funds on it.

There is something personal about my wall on Facebook. It is mine, even though at some level I think even the most vociferous complainer understands it really isn’t mine at all, but Facebook’s. That they allow me to use that space in order to sell advertising revenue.

Conclusion

It’s a choice you have, my friends. Either the advertisement of a little guy, that’s me, simply trying to get people to read three free serial stories and hopefully purchase more or a big company with something larger to sell.

And, seriously, the stories are short, easy to read, and funny. Try the first three for free and if you think I’m wrong, I can take criticism!

Tom Liberman

Your Mind is Altered by Bad Fighting in Movies

Bad Fighting

The Most Dangerous Game

While watching The Most Dangerous Game, 1932 version, I found myself laughing at the bad fighting. Then I realized something interesting. What I considered poorly choreographed brawling actually fairly accurately depicted a fight between combatant with few martial skills.

The bad fighting took place between the main character, the villain, and several hired thugs in the climactic scene. The fighters ran at one another, flailed wildly, scored a few glancing blows, and ended up in largely wrestling matches.

Here’s the thing though, the bad fighting was actually more realistic than what we see in heavily choreographed fight scenes today.

The Thing about Bad Fighting

I can’t fight and I’m betting most of you can’t either. Sure, there are some people out there trained in boxing or martial arts skills but when it comes to a brawl with no rules and simple instincts, I think even some of them might end up in a mess of a fight like in The Most Dangerous Game.

While watching the climactic fight and giggling at the bad fighting, I suddenly realized the heavily scripted, well-acted, and brutal fights of today’s movies are actually the real bad fighting. My brain expects people to duck blows. My brain expects people to throw speedy and accurate punches whilst someone is trying to do the same to me. That’s the nonsense. That’s the bad fighting.

Why Bad Fighting is Good Fighting

You see, bad fighting is actually good fighting because it’s realistic. This 1932 movie got it better than almost every movie made today, although my brain failed to realize it, at least at first.

This got me thinking as well. I know for a fact I can’t fight, but in my imagination, when I confront that bully, I can suddenly fight like the badass women and men in the movies. I’m a lightning fisted, deliverer of thunderous blows. My brain actually thinks I can fight like that because the movies make it seem like everyone can do so.

I don’t think I’m alone in this fantasy and I wonder if all the brawling at sporting events, political rallies, bars, and everywhere else is to some degree a product of the bad fighting in movies, by that I mean the too good fighting in movies.

Conclusion

Maybe we’d all be better off if entertainment showed us how silly fighting looks when attempted by amateurs.

Asides

The Most Dangerous game starred Fay Wray, yes please, who filmed it during evening hours at the same time as King Kong and on the same location. That’s a long day.

I also found the final scene as Bob and Eve, Joel McCrea and Wray, are escaping via boat form the island interesting. Wray unties the boat from the post as Bob prepares to flee the island. She isn’t told to do so but simply does it without comment. She is largely portrayed as a capable woman throughout the movie despite being the damsel in distress. Something I’ve noticed in a number of pre-code movies. Was it the Code, designed supposedly to protect women, that turned them into helpless fools?

Tom Liberman

In Upset Evil Empire Defeats JEDI

JEDI

What is JEDI

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, was a contract between the Department of Defense and Microsoft to modernize Information Technology. Ten billion dollars in taxpayer funds were to pay for this update which the DoD considers an absolute necessity.

It came into effect back in 2019 when Microsoft won the contract over rival Amazon. The contract is now null and void as the DoD initiated contract termination procedures and Microsoft supports the decision.

Why was JEDI Cancelled

Back when the contract was awarded, the President of the United States publicly stated his preference that it be awarded to Microsoft instead of Amazon because the executive considered the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, a political enemy.

An investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general provided no clarity. A number of high-ranking White House officials refused to cooperate. Now, twenty months later, the contract is dead and the process must begin again.

Twenty Months Lost

There are a number of factors to consider in this entire mess. Libertarian ideology underlies almost every one of them.

Business must not be tied up in politics. I admit that bridge is so far behind us we’d need the Hubble Space Telescope to find a time when politicians weren’t meddling. This fact doesn’t stop me from tilting against that particular windmill. Why on earth is the President of the United States, a United States Senator, a United States Congressman, or any of their political appointees making any statements or decision in regards to a project like JEDI?

I understand the Department of Defense comes under the purview of said politicians but business done by that entity does not, at least in my opinion. Because President Trump made clear conflict of interest statements in regard to the contract, it doesn’t even really matter if his staff interfered or not. Amazon has a case.

Imagine you are running a business with a large bid at stake with a government agency. Your local politician states she or he wants your competitor to get the contract. It’s clear you’d kick up a fuss and plunk down more money for the next election cycle. Yet another product of the folly that is the current course of the United States.

The fingerprint of politicians litters every decision made these days and our military is suffering because of it. We’ve got a trio of Zumwalt Class destroyers that cost over $22 billion and doesn’t have a main gun. The United Army told Congress they didn’t need any more Abrams tanks but got them anyway. I won’t even talk about the F35.

Meanwhile, soldiers can’t get clean water through their home plumbing right here in the United States. Veterans wait in line at the Veterans Administration to get medical care.

Many, if not all, of these problems come back to politicians with no expertise or even basic knowledge interfering in decisions.

Conclusion

I don’t care if you’re a Trump fan or you hate him. Your security is at risk because Trump couldn’t keep his big mouth shut. We should be twenty months into the upgrade by now, whether by Amazon or Microsoft. That’s the problem with politicians interfering in business decisions.

There was a time when Republicans and Libertarians aligned on this issue, no more. We few stand alone against a juggernaut of politicians and their supporters who seem to be rushing, arms wide open, with smiles on their faces, toward despotism.

The people of the United States, much as it pains me to say, seem to want one person, with no understanding of the issue at hand, to make all the decisions regarding said issue.

Texas Gun Law if there is no Crime why do Time?

Texas Gun Law

Crimes that No Longer Exist

A new Texas gun law overrides previous illegal activities, particularly in regards to rules for carrying a firearm. Yet there are many people in prison for violating those laws in the past. Should we release those prisoners immediately?

The same goes for prisoners serving time for drug behaviors no longer considered criminal. I find it an intriguing question worth exploring and that is my aim today.

It was a Crime Then

Some will say the prisoners committed crimes at that time. Or at least a jury found them guilty of doing so. Just because carrying a weapon without a permit or training is now legal thanks to the new Texas gun law doesn’t mean people doing so didn’t break the law in the past.

I understand the argument although I disagree with it. Now, if you argue someone who drove fifty miles per hour down a thoroughfare with a speed limit of thirty but where the limit is now sixty should be released, I don’t agree. Driving over the speed limit is still a crime. Just because the limit changed on that particular street doesn’t absolve someone of breaking the existing rule.

I think a crime like carrying a weapon without a permit is different than running a red light at an intersection that no longer exists. If the state decides it’s perfectly legal to carry a firearm without a permit or training, then immediately release anyone incarcerated for doing so in the past.

What is a Crime?

To a large degree my argument comes down to defining a crime. It is my opinion, if we decide a certain activity is not criminal any more, then it behooves us, in the name of justice, to release anyone who committed that supposed crime during the period it was considered against the law.

What is the point in declaring something a crime in the first place? It’s largely designed to protect the people of region from some negative outcome. One of the biggest problems we have in the United States, in my opinion, is that we use the legal system to punish people we don’t like.

If the state legislators of Texas declare people can carry a gun without a permit, then no one should be in jail for doing so. Who exactly are we serving when we keep such offenders in prison? They did something now considered perfectly legal.

If you want to keep people in jail for committing that particular crime, then you should be against changing the law now. Freedom is not something to take away lightly.

Tom Liberman

Out-of-Control Fans are Everywhere

Out-of-Control Fans

Tour de France Out-of-control Fans

Today was the first day of the Tour de France and, once again, out-of-control fans are causing enormous problems at sporting events. A fan with a large sign basically stepped in front of the entire peloton while looking in completely another direction and caused an enormous crash.

The crash took out almost every rider in the event except a few in front. It caused Jasha Sütterlin to withdraw from the Tour de France because of injuries sustained in the incident. This sort of thing is becoming almost common-place.

It’s Everywhere

Bad behavior among out-of-control fans is something I started to notice not too many years ago while attending St. Louis Rams and St. Louis Cardinals home games. A fan, like everyone else in the world these days, thinks she or he can do anything he or she wants want. I paid for the ticket so I can yell abuse, disrupt the game, attempt to cause a player to make mistakes, or just about any other rude behavior.

I wrote about an incident in golf where fans attempted to heckle Sergio Garcia into making a mistake and the behavior at tournaments is just getting worse, egged on by competitors like Brooks Koepka who seem to think anything that generates interest is good for the game. Wrong.

We saw a woman openly arguing with Rafael Nadal, even going so far as to curse directly at him during the most recent Australian Open tennis tournament.

Out-of-control fans are not the exception anymore, they are the rule. For a long time, I loved going to sporting events. I used to find cheering on my team, reveling in victory, and accepting defeat to be among the best things in life. No more.

The constant whooing at baseball games makes it impossible to enjoy, even on television. It’s a horror show and there seems to be no way to rein it in.

Solutions

My solution to the problem of out-of-control fans? I don’t go to games anymore. I play board and role-playing games with my buddies at home instead. If you’ve got a better solution, let me know.

Tom Liberman

The Great Quartz Rush in KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu

Diamonds and Quartz Look Similar

The harm a lack of education and poverty can cause was on display in South Africa when a cattle herder found a mineral that looked like it might be a diamond. This set off a diamond rush to the KwaZulu-Natal region of that country.

The problem is that another mineral, quartz, looks an awful lot like a diamond to the naked eye. In fact, it generally takes a laboratory examination to tell the difference between the two minerals.

Diamond Rush Ensues

Many people rushed to the KwaZulu-Natal region in order to start digging for diamonds. These treasure hunters then proceeded to destroy over fifty hectares of land, that’s over a hundred and twenty acres to those of us in the United States.

This happened despite overwhelming geologic evidence the region is extremely unlikely to contain diamonds. It is a region composed dolerite, a predominately volcanic rock. We find Diamonds universally in rocks called kimberlites and lamproites.

Quartz is extremely common in dolerite regions.

Why did this Happen?

I finally get to the point of this blog. The incredible damage that often results from the terrible combination of poverty and lack of education. It is fairly clearly established that greater wealth goes hand-in-hand with higher education. This in itself is useful but I want to look at the dangers uneducated and poor populations present to the rest of society and the world.

People who do not have money have less to lose. I can understand why someone from the poverty-stricken region of KwaZulu-Natal gave into the temptation of this diamond rush. What do they have to lose? Their lives are already miserable and the futures for their children are just as bleak.

Throw into this mix a lack of education. The people in the KwaZulu-Natal region might not even know the mineral composition of the soil and the impossibility of the discovered minerals being diamonds. They just don’t know any better.

The Terrible Results

In this case, the result is the destruction of a large chunk of land, that happily enough was not of great value. The potential damage is far, far greater. It seems to me the negative results of anti-education policies right here in the United States and around the world are manifesting themselves every day.

People who are desperately poor and without a solid educational foundation are significantly more likely to make poor, desperate decisions. Those decisions lead to negative outcomes not only for the people in question but for everyone around them. That’s the problem.

As a Libertarian, I strongly think people should make their own decisions in life. That being said, it’s undeniable poor people, desperate people, and uneducated people tend to make worse decisions than their counterparts.

I know some people will laugh at this situation and think of South Africa as a poor nation. Such people will think to themselves this could never happen here. I beg to differ. I put no stupidity beyond people, even here in the United States.

If a supposed diamond was found in my backyard, I’d immediately fear for my life from the hordes of people immediately descending upon my property with violence in their eyes, greed in their hearts, and nothing at all in their minds.

The United States is not as far removed from South Africa as you might imagine. People are the same everywhere.

Tom Liberman

Vishy Anand Shows a Chess Cheater Real Class

Vishy Anand

What Happened

Chess India hosted a charity event, Checkmate Covid, to help those suffering from the results of Covid-19. In it a variety of celebrities played former World Champion Viswanathan, affectionately called Vishy by his many fans, Anand in a simultaneous exhibition.

One of those pitted against Vishy Anand was billionaire Nikhil Kamath. Kamath played a virtually flawless game after which Vishy Anand told an interviewer: Yesterday was a celebrity simul for people to raise money. It was a fun experience upholding the ethics of the game. I just played the position on the board and expected the same from everyone.

With just a few seconds left on his clock Kamath achieved a winning position and Anand resigned. Anand could have continued playing and flagged his opponent, that is to say, won the game because his foe ran out of time. Vishy Anand chose not to do so and that is the focus of my blog today. Why resign to someone who is clearly cheating, in a charity event of all things?

Who is Vishy Anand

Vishy Anand is the former World Chess Champion having defeated Alexei Shirov in 2000 after having lost two previous championship matches against Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. The two are often considered among the greatest chess players in history.

He then defended the title three times before losing it in 2013 to Magnus Carlsen who is also considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, player in history. During Anand’s championship defeats and victories, he never complained about a loss or bragged about victory. He is universally considered one of the classiest chess players in history, an assessment with which I agree wholeheartedly.

That is why this cheating scandal so angered the world. Not shocked. People cheat, even in charity events, everyone knows that. It’s just that Vishy Anand is such a fantastically kind and generous person, his fans and friends were absolutely outraged at the disrespectful behavior of Kamath. Chessnetwork, also a classy and kind fellow, posted a video about the transgression in which you can sense his rage.

Why did Anand resign when he knew full well Kamath was cheating? Because Anand was true to himself, a mantra of the Libertarian. You want to cheat? That’s on you. I only answer to myself. Anand realized he was in a losing position and resigned because that’s sportsmanship. It all but brings tears to my eyes and I’m not spewing hyperbole.

The Apology

Kamath issued an apology, if you can call it that, after figuratively every chess player in the world called him out. In it he blamed other people for being stupid enough to believe he, Kamath, could beat Anand in a chess match. It is ridiculous that so many are thinking that I really beat Vishy sir in a chess game, that is almost like me waking up and winning a 100m race with Usain Bolt.

Yeah, blame other people for their anger at your cheating. That’s the opposite of Anand. People are enraged and continue to be so, go figure.

Conclusion

Be like Vishy. That’s my conclusion. Be the better person. You’re not helping anyone else; you’re helping yourself.

Tom Liberman

After Match Interview and Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

The Post-Match Interview

Tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open, a major tennis event, because she gets severe anxiety doing post-match interviews. There are a lot people writing about how poorly the event organizers treated her. Or how badly she treated the event organizers but that’s not going to be the focus of my thoughts today.

I want to discuss the importance, or lack thereof, of post-match interviews. How valuable do you think they are in generating interest for the sport in question?

I’ll get my own opinion out of the way early although I certainly recognize not everyone thinks the same way I do. I find them, to use a word, cringe. I actually turn off the event when they start. All right, let’s get into the meat of it.

The Mental Health of an Athlete

I don’t want to delve too deeply into why I empathize with Naomi Osaka in her situation. To put it simply, I am fairly introverted myself. That being said, I think Naomi Osaka is to be believed no matter her position. If she claims she loves doing media after matches or the opposite, we should listen to her.

In this era of social media dominance, it is particularly difficult to be a female athlete. I’ve wrote some time ago about tennis player Rebecca Marino who eventually quit the sport because of horrific bullying in social media and beyond. Any woman in sports can attest to the abuse she receives. Not to devalue the level of abuse many men also get.

I can well imagine any athlete’s fear in going before the media; knowing even a simple misspoken word might result in vicious attacks on her or his character. Making a statement for or against anything seems to give rise to an unreasoning hated from at least part of the audience who do not hesitate to lash out. We need look no further than Naomi Osaka who faced brutal and vicious attacks for her unwillingness to perform post-match interviews.

There are a huge number of angry and cruel people out there who do not pause and simply let fly hurtful words at the slightest provocation, or for no reason at all.

Do you Enjoy Post-Match Interviews?

I’ve long cringed during post-match interviews of athletes. I don’t think they are fair for the athlete, coming directly after a difficult loss or a physically and emotionally draining win. I don’t think they are all that interesting as most interviewers ask the same stupid questions. How do you feel? What were you thinking when …?

We largely get Bull Durham-like rehearsed answers. Occasionally the interviewer asks a good question but the athlete is no position to think about or give a coherent answer. I hate those stupid interviews and I completely understand why an athlete feels the same way.

I find such interviews even more idiotic in this modern era where social media is available to every athlete. The athlete can take their time, recover from their arduous efforts, examine the question, think about it, and then answer in their own way in their own time.

Now, I find it pointless to interview Naomi Osaka after a match but, perhaps, you enjoy such interviews. Let me know what you think.

Do you watch Post-Match Interviews?

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Tom Liberman

Geno Auriemma wants Accountability

Geno Auriemma

The Transfer Portal

The NCAA changed their Transfer Portal rule last year and Geno Auriemma, head coach of the perennial women’s college basketball powerhouse University of Connecticut, doesn’t like it.

Prior to this season, if a player wanted to move from one school to another, she or he had to sit out an entire season of play. This is an extraordinary punishment considering the athletic lives of such players are very short and earning potential for even a single season is millions of dollars.

Why Geno is Angry

Geno Auriemma is mad because some of the players he recruited left and their ability to continue to do so is now significantly easier. Geno Auriemma has some telling quotes in the story.

In regards to an athlete leaving a program he says, A lot of these kids are delusional. They have so many voices in their ear.

I suppose you know better what the athlete should do? You should be in charge of the decision instead of them, their parents? Can you get any more condescending?

There’s something wrong with the entitlement that happens to exist today, and there’s something wrong with this idea of student-athlete welfare, that everything should be done to accommodate the student-athlete with no regard whatsoever to the coaches who work their ass off to recruit these kids in the first place, work with them, help them get better, make them the player that they are, and then they up and leave with no consequences whatsoever.

Entitlement? Look in the mirror Geno Auriemma. Look in the mirror. You work hard? So do those kids. How often do coaches up and leave for a new contract at a different school without consequences? Leaving the athletes they recruited behind? What’s good for you isn’t good for anyone else?

Those kids have people whispering in their ears? So do you! The people who pay you millions of dollars to coach, the apparel companies that pay your school to have those kids wear their jerseys. What do those kids get paid for all of this? You are the best one to look out for their interests? No, you are the best one to look out for your own interests and the same goes for them.

If we as coaches just call a kid in and say, ‘Look, I thought you’d be a lot better than this, so I’m taking away your scholarship’, we would get crucified.

That’s exactly the way it was until the NCAA changed the rules thanks to a plethora of lawsuits. In the past Geno Auriemma could simply take away a scholarship for exactly that reason but I didn’t hear him up in arms talking about entitlement back then, about the horrors of such a practice.

Conclusion

Kids sometimes make bad decisions; I don’t deny it. Some will want to transfer when it might well be best to stay at the original school. That being said, I don’t want some sanctimonious adult telling young athletes what to do while, at the same time, taking millions of dollars to further the coach’s career. Talk about conflict of interest.

Geno Auriemma is way out of line.

Tom Liberman

Joe West does Tony LaRussa a Solid

Joe West

The Situation

Umpire Joe West, owner of the Major League record for most games umpired, decided to confiscate St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Giovanny Gallegos’s hat. There is a rule against pitchers using foreign substances and West wants to pretend he simply enforced that rule.

Major League announced at the beginning of the season they planned to crack down on such foreign substances. As of yet, despite record no-hitters, out of control spin rates, and many, many sightings of such material on gloves, hats, forearms, and everywhere else, this is first time we’ve seen a player’s equipment confiscated.

What Really Happened

Joe West and Tony LaRussa go way back. They are long-time associates and LaRussa’s team, the White Sox, were on the verge of sweeping the Cardinals whom LaRussa managed for many years. In the first two games of the series the White Sox pretty much led the entire game. In this third game the Cardinals were a run ahead when Joe West suddenly had his moral epiphany.

Joe West hoped to do his friend a solid by rattling Gallegos before he started pitching. It’s that simple. I’m certainly not suggesting Gallegos didn’t have a foreign substance on his hat. I’m saying every pitcher in the series did exactly the same thing and Joe West chose the most opportune moment to intervene on behalf of his friend.

Joe West now takes the morally repugnant stance that he attempted to do Gallegos a favor by not immediately ejecting the pitcher from the game. Ha. If Joe West had an ounce of moral integrity, a teaspoon of personal responsibility, he’d get up on the podium, announce he made a terrible error in judgment, retire from the game, and not speak again until he publishes his memoirs, which will remain silent on this particular subject.

Conclusion

I want to be clear that I’m of the opinion Gallegos likely had a foreign substance on his hat, probably suntan lotion, rosin, and who knows what else. I’m just saying that he isn’t doing anything different than almost every other pitcher in major league baseball. Joe West along with all the other umpires well know it.

It’s the timing of this incident that galls me. It’s clear to me it was an attempt to influence the game by the umpire and that’s a serious problem.

Tom Liberman