Outlaw Whiskey

A local act with national recognition, Outlaw Whiskey held an album release party tonight in Bryson City (a “city” more by custom and tradition than in fact). My son and I went over there to see them. 

Drinking Music for Mr Rollins

He didn't much like Toby Keith's drinking songs, so maybe he can find one he likes here. And if you enjoy cameos, videos 1 & 4 will make you smile. Happy Friday, y'all!

Everyone Hates to Fly

A columnist at the Washington Post raises her complaint, but the force of the article is a discussion she had with a reformer who has some thoughts on how to fix it.

Flying for me is a mixed bag. Because I am what the government is pleased to call 'a trusted traveler,' and because I fly out of a small regional airport rather than a big hub, the experience can be not-so-bad. I object to being disarmed on a philosophical basis, but aside from that it's mostly just a minor set of annoyances punctuated with expensive beers at airport bars if there are long waits. 

If anything goes wrong, though -- and it so often does -- it can quickly become an ordeal even with those advantages. The last trip was bedeviled by honesty horrendous weather, which is nobody's fault (not even the Romans'), but the airline abandoned me in Charlotte and didn't ever try to reschedule the flight. I had to get my son to drive halfway across the state and back to collect me. (At least I didn't have to hitchhike: few are going to pick up a bearded biker!).

So I'm sympathetic to the complaint and the desire to make improvements. Unfortunately most of the suggestions here are either (a) government regulations, or (b) pipe dreams like 'building a high-speed train network.' The author is wise enough to realize the latter isn't going to work out -- "pipe dream" is her choice of words for it -- but it still makes the list. 

Competition usually improves things more than government regulation (which is more likely to break things), but as she also points out there are very high barriers to market-entry with airlines. You can't just open up another airline like you can another bakery or machine shop. It requires a substantial amount of capital just to buy the planes and recruit the skilled labor necessary to operate them. 

So it could be the answer is really just to fly less: use more internet and phone instead of in-person meetings, travel by car instead, take the train if you live in the northeaster corridor (which is basically the only place in America where that option makes sense). The fewer people who fly, the less stress on the system.

A Rose By A Different Name

I’m not sure who told Stephen Green that the CIWS ‘had never been fired in combat’ before. Maybe it is true that the Navy never fired one, as his article says. 

When deployed on land, though, the same weapon system is called the C-RAM, and we fired them all the time against Iranian rockets and mortars in Iraq. Multiple times a day, sometimes, during the hottest months of the fighting. 

RIP Mojo Nixon

Tough week.

The Uselessness of International Institutions

I attended an online talk today by Justice Professor Elyakim Rubinstein, formerly a senior diplomat and Deputy Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, and Abraham D. Sofaer, formerly a federal judge and Legal Adviser to the US State Department and an emeritus senior fellow at Hoover. They were discussing, from the Israeli perspective, the recent preliminary ruling on Israel and genocide by the World Court.

As you may know, the court heard a challenge brought by South Africa's government against Israel, and issued a preliminary finding that genocide was possibly occurring. It then issued a series of orders that Israel is, of course, perfectly free to ignore because all these international institutions are a joke.* 

I was curious to hear the Zionist** perspective on this, so I tuned in to hear what they had to say. They pointed out that this court doesn't operate like a real court, and thus did not actually do a real finding-of-fact. What it did was pile all the allegations together, call it 'evidence,' and the ruling says that given 'all the evidence,' there's a high probability of finding some proof in there somewhere once it's evaluated. 

To put it in layman's terms, then, the ruling isn't actually a ruling that Israel is doing anything wrong; it's a ruling that a lot of accusations have been made, and 'where there's smoke there's fire.' 

A real court wouldn't issue even a preliminary injunction without a sufficient review to determine whether or not a case was likely to succeed on the merits. No such effort was made here. 

That's what the Zionists say. Unlike the clowns at the UN, they do at least mean what they say.

* The head of the UN declared that these sorts of rulings are "legally binding," and he "trusts" that Israel will abide by them. He knows perfectly well that they will not abide by any one of them, let alone all of them, and no one can do anything about it. In other words, the rulings are not in any sense "binding." Thus, there's not really a law; and a court that issues bootless rulings while draping itself in the costume of jurists is not really a court. 

The head of the UN's pantomime to the contrary just shows you how much of a joke these institutions really are. I also have a good laugh when they do things like appointing Saudi Arabia or Iran to the "Organization for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women."

** This term is usually employed as a perjorative and often unfairly, but here I am using it accurately and non-prejudicially: the institution that hosted this talk is explicitly and formally a Zionist organization.

Another from Keith

Toby Keith also did this piece, which I don't hate and kind of like. Note the ways, though, in which the video is much more transgressive than the lyrics -- up to and including the transgender in the men's room of the celebrated bar. Likewise, all the Confederate flags in the video that aren't hinted at in the lyrics. That's also true of the earlier video I posted of his.

Now this is obviously a tribute to an earlier (and better, no disrespect to the dead) song by David Allan Coe.

You have the same basic setup: a bar with bikers, cowboys, and hippies/yuppies coming into clash. The Keith version has this as a suitable resting place, a thing one could love and accept as home; the Coe version is stridently resisting it, striving to escape it and to move beyond to something better. But he can't, because "Country DJs know that I'm an outlaw; they'd never come to see me in this dive." The dive where nobody recognizes him: they tell him he 'sounds like' David Allan Coe. 

This is what I think Rollins was getting at in his letter. Keith often seemed to offer acceptance of the status quo; Coe was clearly fighting against it, and trying to transcend it through bare effort. He still played the gigs in the dives, but he wasn't accepting them as his ultimate fate; and in time, he rose above them, and became something more. 

Ironically Coe is still alive, one of the last of the old Outlaws, though he had to have drunk as much beer as Keith ever did. As younger star Sturgill Simpson says, life ain't fair and the world is mean.

More from Henry Rollins

I want to draw your attention also to these things that Henry Rollins did, which I like espeically among his works.

The first is a meditation on playing against Iggy Pop as a rocker.

The second is about the transformational quality of iron weightlifting on the young.

A Few More from Toby

Toby Keith was from Moore, Oklahoma, so he can make fun of us like this.

The Vesuvius Challenge

A high tech attempt to read scrolls cooked in the Pompeii explosion has succeeded. The first work they can read is Epicurean philosophy, and much more remains. It is hoped that even some of the lost works of Aristotle might be included. 

The Late Toby Keith

Country music superstar Toby Keith died last night, apparently after a long battle with stomach cancer. My wife was shocked, not so much that he died but to realize that a long-time fan of her artwork, who corresponded online with her under the name "Toby Keith," turns out to have been the actual Toby Keith and not just a pseudonym. 

I was never a huge fan of his music, sharing some of the concerns about it that Henry Rollins puts forward in this letter: sharing also, however, Rollins' appreciation for his faith towards our military and veterans. There's nothing wrong with a playful drinking song, of course; but his was a living made on celebrating the weekend bacchanalia of workers whose lives are otherwise empty of joy.

Still, I will put up my favorite of his songs. It shows humility and the ability to laugh at himself, which are good traits. 

Likewise, I trust -- based on his comments about his faith -- that death for him brings about only an end to what must have been significant suffering. It was surely nothing to fear. 

UPDATE: I was reminded of this story of Keith stepping in to save Merle Haggard’s final concert, an act of honor for which he deserves remembrance.