Word from the Dark Side – Classic quitter, Caucasians croaking, a clown cashes in and Covid restrictions for 15 more years

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, Philadelphia Orchestra. Composed 1935-36. The bloke led an interesting life.

When Simole Biles freaked and quit, her brother was on trial for a triple murder. He got off. In the comments we learn her sister is also in jail for not-capable-of-living-in-the-modern-world offenses.

While we’re on the topic of female athletes of colour quitting, how could I have so easily forgotten the precursor to them all from Sydney 2000? Reading that 20-year-old article is like a glimpse into our dystopian present, but we didn’t know it at the time because we were too busy cheering on Cathy.

I found this blast from the past but it will probably mean little to foreigners:

White people have the lowest life expectancy of any ethnic group in England and Wales. Commenters cry discrimination and that may be part of it, but on the other hand I’ve seen what Poms eat. Anyway, we should leave wingeing for others and focus on fixing our own problems.

A local’s take on Covid in India. Western MSM painted a disaster while alt sources suggested The Drug That Must Not Be Named was turning things around. This account, however, paints a picture of corruption and incompetence on all levels. Sounds like nothing’s changed since I was there. I can’t summarize; best to read the whole thing.

Pretty girl:

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Friday Finance: is it essential to invest internationally?

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/World_map_showing_nominal_GDP_of_countries_for_the_year_2017_according_to_the_IMF.png
World map coloured by total GDP, Wikipedia

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

International Diversification

As you saw in the box, there are a vast array of funds offered by Vanguard in some places.  However, you’ll only need one or two of these funds to achieve all the share market diversification you need, plus perhaps a bond index fund as discussed earlier.  Ignore all the weird and wonderful specialty funds. 

Should you diversify your shares by investing in overseas stock markets, or stick with those in your own country?  For example, take Steve, an Australian investor.  Should he invest entirely in the Australian Shares Fund (which tracks the ASX 300), or should he also have some exposure to the International Shares Fund (which tracks several major indexes for overseas stock markets)?

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The best games ever

a person with collar shirt

This article examines the antics of five athletes to synthesize a grand unified theory of why the Olympics are cactus.

I’m old enough to remember the Sydney 2000 Olympics. It was a special time – just about all Australians were proud to have it and hoped to put on a really good show for the world.

Do you remember Eric the Eel? He had no Olympic-sized pool back in Equatorial Guinea to train in so he almost drowned. The crowd cheered him on wildly and he just made the distance. Unkind people thought we were being racist and/or condescending but far from it – we genuinely admired his spirit. The balls of the guy, to even make the attempt! That is the Olympic spirit.

I have nothing against the concept of the Olympics. The world’s greatest sportsmen gathering every four years to compete in peace and friendship. Going back the Greeks, it was a triumph of human creativity and abstract reasoning to put aside conflict for a couple of weeks, enjoy the show and perhaps imagine a better world.

What killed the Olympics? Various things. Cheating, politics (i.e. banning Russia), IOC corruption, professionalism, corporate sponsorship, cost overruns, white elephant stadiums. No doubt there are more. The Olympic spirit has been dying for decades. Why cheer drugged-up pros who are playing for millions of dollars? Give us the good old days of mustachioed, pot-bellied accountants stopping for a fag and a dram of whisky as they run the 1896 marathon wearing hats and bow ties.

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Minimalism lite

Which way, Western Man?

I live on less than USD $30 per day.

Planning to travel light while in Philippines, I gave away my mocha pot to an appreciative Eritrean and decided to make do with instant coffee until I settled down.

Anywhere in the Philippines, a sachet of Nescafe is cheap and available from any corner sari sari store.

Little known fact:

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Gulag Lite

Book review of To Build a Castle by Vladimir Bukovsky

There’s an unofficial trilogy about Russia’s prison camps.

The first, The House of the Dead, is Dostoevsky’s fictionalized memoir of his years in a Siberian labour camp during the days of the Tsar.

The second, Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, documents through secretly collected personal accounts the massive expansion of this system for supposed political prisoners during the dark years of the early Soviet state. I’m partway through and it’s clear that at this stage the camps are far worse, and far less logical, than in Dostoevsky’s time.

Today I’ll review the third: Bukovsky’s testimony about the Soviet imprisonment of dissidents during the post-Stalin era.

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Word from the Dark Side – The Cult, our Cultural Revolution is over, cute Columbian Cupid and Yanks out-kill the Ruskies

She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult, 1985

US drug overdose deaths increased by 30% in 2020.

Did the overall life expectancy suddenly drop in 2020 for Americans? Nope:

To get the full year drop in life expectancy, the CDC applied an assumption that the increased death rates of 2020 from Covid would continue to apply throughout the lifetimes of everyone born during 2020, as opposed to the increased death rates going away after the pandemic passed or a vaccine became available.

The US homicide rate was 60% higher than Russia’s in 2020.

But don’t visit Russia – the US State Dept. says it’s too dangerous:

The official reason is that American tourists could be victims of terrorist attacks or “harassment by Russian government security officials.” That’s hard to swallow. This warning is the latest blow in a campaign to discourage Americans from learning about life in other countries.

Excellent long article: The West’s Cultural Revolution is Over:

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Friday Finance: index funds are Boss

https://i2.wp.com/i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/t_original/1485148930622369706.jpg

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Why Index Funds are Good

An index fund, sometimes called a ‘passively managed fund’, is another type of mutual fund like an actively managed fund except that instead of a hopefully clever human, an algorithm does the investing for you.  It blindly invests in the whole market, attempting to track a stock market index . . .

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The corruption of power

We all know the cliche about absolute power corrupting absolutely but we think about it too little.

That’s the thing about cliches. In general they are true but overused so we tend to ignore them.

I’m currently re-listening to The History of Rome Podcast. I’m up to the Crisis of the Third Century when emperors are barely lasting a year on average. Each time a new fellow makes a treacherous grab for the purple we wonder, ‘Why?’ Few of them had a bold plan for rescuing the Empire. Most just wanted power for its own sake, despite the danger of holding the throne being greater than that for 1960s cosmonauts.

Today, it’s hard for us to understand the allure of power because in our society there are no comparable positions. For example, the few times I’ve had a position of responsibility thrust upon me it’s been the rock-and-hard-place situation perhaps familiar to my readers: I cop all the accountability of getting a project finished by the deadline without any of the authority to force people to do things they don’t want to do, like complete their part of the project.

That’s as close as we get to power in modern times. As Eisenhower said, in the military you pick up the phone and issue orders confident they’ll be carried out instantly and to the letter; as president you bark orders down the phone and nothing happens.

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On propaganda

This blog has often noted that there’s a lot of race-baiting propaganda around at the moment.

Any police shooting of a black person is all over the news and hate crimes are so popular in the media there are not enough real ones to meet demand.

Anyone who says something that might be construed as being in some way RACIST is permanently cancelled, no matter how great the stretch.

It’s working. Many non-whites really do feel hard done by in Western countries. You only need to look at social media to see what people are saying.

Note blue checkmark

Circa 2015 it worked just as well with feminism – privileged white girls genuinely believing they risked gang rape on broken glass every time they dared scamper across campus.

I had a thought: what would happen if this propaganda was different?

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Delta will kill us all!

Just when you thought it was safe to leave the house, it seems the Delta variant is coming to take out any scattered survivors left after the initial waves of destruction:

(CNN) — Covid-19 vaccination rates are down and cases are on the rise, exacerbated by the more transmissible Delta variant — and an expert says the key to winning the race against the spread is getting more Americans vaccinated.

“We’re losing time here. The Delta variant is spreading, people are dying, we can’t actually just wait for things to get more rational,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health told CNN Wednesday.

Let’s check:

“people are dying”

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Four weeks ago, Israel was celebrating a return to normal life in its battle with COVID-19.

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Word from the Dark Side – sea shanty, Saffo strife, Zulu supremacism and sleep safely

David Coffin and participants, Roll the Old Chariot, shot at the 2010 Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival by Stephan Smith of Piscataqua Productions

I’ve been following South African developments on social media as the MSM is mostly ignoring it. Tl;dr: Former President Zuma imprisoned, his Zulu tribesmen orchestrate looting and destruction to pressure for his release. Plus opportunistic hangers-on, no doubt.

Zuma supported traditional leaders, dispossession of minorities and he stole a lot of money. New President Cyril is sidelining traditional leaders, centralizing power in a more Communist government, dispossessing minorities and stealing even more money.

This power struggle is further fueled by lockdown-invoked poverty.

It’s mostly an internal black squabble but Indians seem to be the main victims at this time, mostly due to proximity as there are plenty of them in Zulu areas.

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Friday Finance: ethical investing?

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Ethical investments

There are some managed funds that endeavor to match your values.  These are generally known as ‘ethical investment funds’. 

Some avoid investing in things you don’t like such as weapons, tobacco, abortion services, alcohol, gambling, carbon-emitting industries, genetically engineering crops, or whatever.  This is called ‘negative screening’.  Others actively seek out companies doing things you approve of like developing clean energy or being socially responsible.  This is called ‘positive screening.’ [i]  There are some funds that do both.

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A vote for the apocalypse

into the vortex e-book

Book review of Into the Vortex by Brian Eckert.

Alt-lit is like a rock band’s first album. Brimming with raw energy, uninhibited, ready to take on the world. The band’s second record gets professionally produced and is much more polished – critics usually proclaim the second or third album the best – and yet many fans will declare the initial, rough recording their favourite.

Alt novel Into the Vortex is more like a second album, written in effortless, self-assured prose with nary an awkward simile or clumsy wording as we expect when venturing away from Penguin.

I assumed this was not Brian’s first rodeo but was surprised to see that according to his website, this is his maiden book. Either he has precocious talent or a brilliant editor. Perhaps both.

[Edit: the website seems to have been suspended. Alt cred recognized.]

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The time of your life

In high school we had a half-mad English teacher of middle years who was forever rabbiting on about her university days. She’d recite uni anecdotes she found amusing, use weird slang that she explained was popular when she was in uni (‘Slaps to you!’), and compared the 90s unfavourably with those exciting and profound years of the early 70s.

One day she went fully mad, gradually working herself into a lather about nothing in particular, accused a fat girl in the back row of not taking care of her appearance (without obvious provocation), then fled from the room in tears. It was odd: we did give her plenty of grief but on that day I can’t remember anything happening prior to her breakdown. Once previously, when she was grumpy in another class, a boy said, ‘Someone didn’t get their Sunday root’ and she got upset, but there’d been nothing like that.

I don’t think we saw much of her after that.

To come to the point: many people have a ‘time of their life’. A time which they consider the biggest, the best, the most foundational aside from infancy. It’s usually a good time but in other cases it’s a difficult time which they treasure for the memory of overcoming its challenges. The Blitz, that sort of thing.

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In mala fide public service announcements

Adam P. brings our attention to a recent ad spruiking Covidianism in New South Wales, Australia. Enjoy:

On YouTube, comments and downvotes are based. This is not due to any growing rationality in Australia, it’s because the link was doing the rounds on /pol/.

We’re in such a pandemic that you need to hire actors to remind people that it exists.

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A troubling conversation

An almost inescapable facet of modern existence is that much of our lives is online. Problems and divisions can seem exaggerated and we don’t meet enough people outside our bubble to challenge our thinking.

This issue has quintupled since lockdown. They’re still rolling here; hopefully your area is better.

I finally managed to escape the bamboo hut for a trip to a cafe on the beach that was allowed to open because it’s slightly south of this quarantine zone. No, the rules don’t make sense. Never did. Let’s leave that and get on with the story.

I rarely speak to Westerners because there are few around here, they are mostly older and busy with kids, and I don’t have a scooter. Plus lockdowns. But on this day I met up with an American acquaintance in his late 60s and had a chat. I’ve mentioned him before.

I knew he was a leftie so, as always in such cases, I strenuously avoided argument and tried to talk about something – anything – non-political. It’s hard. Half the West seems utterly obsessed with nonsense we used to ignore. Mention how the economy is going in Australia and he’s carrying on about socialism. Talk about the weather, the traditional Safe Subject, and we’re on to climate change. Dare refer to any recent event in the US and it’s Trump, Trump Trump for the rest of the day.

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Word from the Dark Side – frightening Philippines, ferocious frau, Fed-led insurrection and a fine lass

Unmarked Helicopters by Soul Coughing, 1996, from the album Songs in the Key of X (music used in or inspired by The X-Files). Make conspiracy theories fun again.

The Philippines is the most dangerous country on Earth? Doubt. You have to be careful but I’m certain Ethiopia is much riskier for the average person, especially at the moment. In fact, there are dozens of countries in the full report that look more dangerous to me: Nigeria, Yemen, South Africa, Pakistan, Haiti, etc. etc. Even India. I think they went overboard on the Covidian nonsense.

Thoughts?

South Korea is unsafe if you venture within striking distance of the wife of the Belgian Ambassador:

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Friday Finance: Young Gun vs Self-Starter vs Worry Wart

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/three-men-different-professions-handsome-doing-shoot-gun-gesture-white-background-85339820.jpg
I don’t pay for pictures

This is an extract from The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Small to Medium Budget.

Edit: Book-exclusive content discusses what percentage of your money might go towards cash, bonds and shares depending on your personality and risk profile. What follows are concrete examples to show how that can work.

Some Sample Asset Allocation Strategies

This is for someone who has recently started working, is not risk averse and who is saving for retirement in the distant future:

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Mysterious disappearances

Introduction

I’m into mysteries.

The Bermuda Triangle, lost colonies, that sort of thing. My interest is scientific. Click-hungry YouTube channels assume that every strange occurrence is the result of extra-terrestrial CIA skinwalkers but I’m far more curious about the actual explanation.

My particular obsession is missing person cases, especially where people disappear in baffling circumstances. Many occur in national parks while others occur during people’s everyday activities.

People love finding stupid patterns to these cases: they often go missing near boulders, which must be Bigfoot hunting grounds! The people who go missing are often highly educated, which obviously means that aliens are kidnapping the elite of our species in order to . . . something.

You can see why sensible people roll their eyes at mysteries in general and focus on weightier matters.

But having read so much about these cases, and listened to so many podcasts, I’ve begun noticing some patterns myself. Together with cases in which people were found safe, it is possible to piece together what often happens when people go missing.

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Getting away with it

Donald Rumsfeld died. Condolences to his family and may God have mercy on his soul.

His passing made me realize I had not thought of the man for many years. Why would I have? He was not in the news being dragged in front of the Hague or anything like that.

Looking him up on Wikipedia, the reasonably non-pozzed page states that after his resignation in disgrace he signed a sweet book deal but supposedly all proceeds were going to veterans.

In 2007, Rumsfeld established The Rumsfeld Foundation, which focuses on encouraging public service in the United States and supporting the growth of free political and free economic systems abroad.

A wiser man might have reflected he’d done too much of that already.

Rumsfeld was awarded the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on February 10, 2011.

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