Sowell’s wisdom

Sowell

(Today, we hand The Moon over to a guest columnist, one of the world’s most intelligent men, Thomas Sowell. Since Sowell is black, if you take issue with anything that follows, you are a racist and not fit for civilized company.)

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Random thoughts on the passing scene:

One of the problems with being a pessimist is that you can never celebrate when you are proven right.

If what you want from politicians are quick and easy answers, someone is sure to supply them, regardless of which party you follow. History can tell you where quick and easy answers lead. But, if you don’t want to bother reading history, you can just wait and relive its catastrophes.

What is “economic power”? What can Bill Gates stop you from doing?

I don’t understand how people who cannot predict the weather five days in advance can predict the climate decades from now.

One of history’s painful ironies is how often people on the brink of disaster have been preoccupied with trivialities. With a nuclear Iran with intercontinental missiles looming on the horizon, our intelligentsia are preoccupied with calling achievements “privilege” and playing other word games.

Of life’s many surprises, encountering an old flame, years later, is in a class by itself.

Some people seem to think that Donald Trump has great abilities because he is a billionaire. But being born rich and getter richer is not exactly a Horatio Alger miracle.

Of all the disheartening signs of the utter ignorance of so many American college students, nothing so completely disheartened me as seeing on television a black college student who did not know what the Civil War was about. Fifty years ago, it would have been virtually impossible to find a black adult, with even an elementary school education, who did not know what the Civil War was about.

Global warming, due to greenhouse gasses, is the latest in a long series of one-factor theories about a multi-factor world. Such theories have often enjoyed great popularity, despite how often they have turned out to be wrong.

One of the most richly rewarded skills in politics is the ability to make self-interest sound like idealism. Nowhere is this tactic more successful than in so-called “campaign finance reform” laws — spending restrictions that prevent challenger candidates from buying enough publicity to offset the free publicity that incumbents get from the media.

At one time, it seemed as if the free world had defeated the world of totalitarian dictatorships twice — first the Nazis and then the Communists. But, with the slow but steady expansion of government control over our lives and the spread of the idea that people who deny “climate change” (are) criminals, it seems as if totalitarianism may be winning, after all.

People who want to redistribute wealth often misunderstand the nature and causes of wealth. Tangible wealth can be confiscated, but you cannot confiscate the knowledge which produced that wealth. Countries that confiscated the wealth of some groups and expelled them, destitute, have often seen the economy collapse, while the expelled people became prosperous again elsewhere.

Some people think that Ted Cruz would not have as good a chance against Hillary Clinton as would Donald Trump. They say that Cruz does not have a sparkling style of speaking. But, after months of hearing childish insults from Trump, the public may be ready for some serious adult talk by someone with substance, who can cut right through Hillary’s shallow evasions.

To me, beautiful music is whatever music makes you glad to be a human being, whether it is “Musetta’s Waltz” from “La Boheme” or “Muskrat Ramble” from New Orleans. Much of what passes for music today makes me wish that, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I can come back as a dolphin.

Republican leaders seem to be worried that Donald Trump will get the nomination and lose the election. Those of us who are not Republicans should worry that Trump will get the nomination and win the election. After all, the fate of the country is a lot more important than the fate of a political party — and in far greater danger.

As this country continues to degenerate, we hope that it never reaches the desperate stage where only a military coup can rescue it from catastrophes created by feckless politicians. But, if that day ever arrives, we can only hope that the military will do their duty and step in. It is one of the few institutions dedicated to something besides individual self-interest.

Nation sans compass

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THINGS GO FROM bad to badder in the Nation That’s Eating Itself, which is America, of course.

The photo is from a protest in California that was inspired by the state Republican convention and Donald Trump.

The violent (no surprise — multiculturalists!) protest was attended in large part by Latinos, many — perhaps most — of whom you can be assured were illegal aliens.

Were they all tossed in Paddy Wagons and hauled off to jail as good sense would suggest? Of course not. Not in today’s America and certainly not in left-wing California.

In Mexico, it is against the law for foreigners to get involved in politics. I don’t know what would happen to foreigners who do that because foreigners here are not that stupid.

I imagine deportation would take place even if the foreigner were in Mexico legally as, I wager, most are. Well, those from up north. Those from down south, likely not. They’re just passing through anyway, headed to where the easy cash is.

Make America Mexico Again. Don’t that beat all? And in many zones of the United States, it’s already taking place.

With the blessing of the Democrat Party.

Anarchy lovers

dennis_pragerI FIRST ENCOUNTERED Dennis Prager on his television show in the early 1990s when I lived in Houston. Now, however, I keep in touch via his online columns.

Prager is sober and perceptive with a laser-like consistency.

An April 26 column headlined Why the Left Loathes Western Civilization is particularly excellent. You are aware, I hope, that the left does indeed loathe Western Civilization.

As Prager mentions, Stanford University students recently voted down, 1,992 to 347, a proposal to require — as it did until the 1980s — a survey course on Western Civilization.

This is lamentable. It is today’s Democrat Party.

Prager says the left loathes Western Civilization because the left hates standards, rules to play by, which is the very essence of any civilization, the opposite being anarchy.

Leftists dislike standards because with standards comes judgment, and leftists don’t want to be judged. Rules of right and wrong cramp their styles.

They prefer anarchy. In theory, at least. It’s one of those things that has a libertine appeal until it punches you in the face.

Those who believe in nothing are very, very jealous and angry with those who believe in something. — Dennis Prager.

The fifth horseman

A FIFTH HORSEMAN of the Apocalypse now rides through Western Europe, the United States and Canada, the historically white man’s civilized world of liberal democracy.

And freedom.

It is the Horseman of Lunacy, a new boy on the block.

And the other four horsemen are just behind him.

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Embrace the misery

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Sitting still.

BEEN A LOUSY week because I’ve had a cold. I loathe colds. When my child bride gets one, which she rarely does, she pretends it’s not there, ignoring it.

She even works out at the gym, which is nuts.

I don’t ignore it. I embrace the misery, and misery there is in spades. I sit still until the cold goes away.

It’s been a full week so far.

Mexicans, at least the ones I know — mostly relatives — ignore contagion. Not even the most horrific affliction — leprosy, you name it — will prevent the social smootching.

It’s appalling.

But they’ve learned not to come my way with their hugging and kissing if they’ve got a cold. I bolt like lightning.

The photo is not recent. Actually, it’s seven or eight years old, but it captures my mood this lamentable week.

If the Goddess smiles upon me, perhaps I’ll be back to normal mañana. Jeez, I sure do hope so.

The haircut

AS A YOUNG boy, I spent summers with my grandparents in southwest Georgia, and I got haircuts in town in a spot that could have served as a Norman Rockwell poster.

Zipping forward to the 1970s, I lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on two almost abutting occasions. One lasted 11 months, and the other lasted five. During the fiver, I didn’t get a haircut. It was the ’70s, so nobody noticed my shagginess.

But during the 11-month stay, I did get one haircut. I didn’t speak Spanish at the time, so I was hesitant to use a Puerto Rican joint. So I caught a plane to the Virgins.

GrumanGooseBWTitleIt was an old Grumman Goose seaplane that skimmed the seas between San Juan and St. Thomas. I knew I’d find an English-speaking barber shop in Charlotte Amalie.

I have no memory of where I got my haircut in the Virgins nor how much it cost. Those were my drinking days.

Before and after I lived in San Juan, I lived in New Orleans where I got haircuts on Magazine Street at an old-timey place that could have been a Norman Rockwell poster too, though you rarely spotted kids in there.

Rockwell was fond of children.

It was next door to Casamento’s Restaurant (Oysters). Some Italian guy cut my black locks, and he always finished with a head massage using one of those vibrating hand things.

That was nice.

That barber shop doesn’t exist anymore. I know this because Google Street View shows “Uptown Costume and Dancewear” in the same location. I guess the Italian died.

In Houston, a middle-aged divorcée who ran a one-woman shop in the basement of an office building on Richmond Avenue cut my hair, but in emergencies I’d use Supercuts.

poleWhen I moved over the Rio Bravo 16 years back I first lived 40 minutes down the mountainside in the state capital. I got my first Mexican haircut near the language school I attended. It was more of a ladies’ place.

But I didn’t care.

I got a haircut yesterday, which is what brought haircuts to mind. In recent years my hair’s been cut in an all-woman collective on Calle La Paz. If you exit and walk uphill about a block, you run into a church. If you walk downhill about two blocks you also run into a church.

Plenty of places to pray in Mexico.

Liliana gives me the best haircuts of my life, and she charges me the peso equivalent of about two bucks, but I tip her an extra quarter because I’m a giving sort of guy.

There’s a barber pole outside the door.

My hair has done an amazing thing. It started completely black, and now it’s totally white. Incredible!

Gray hair is God’s graffiti.

— Bill Cosby.

Havana revisited

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View from the top of Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel.

WEEPY BARRY recently visited Cuba, posing in front of the murderer Ché Guevara, glad-handing with Raúl Castro, and getting dissed by the dictatorship after he’d gone home.

He’s ever the embarrassment.

This foolishness inspired me to flip through our Havana photo album from our anniversary trip in 2012. And I’m going to share a few photos from the visit, some of which some of you have seen already. But some of you have not.

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Felipe poses in front of the tank Fidel manned at the Bay of Pigs.
View over the tail fins of a 1059 Buick Invicta.
View over the tail fins of a 1959 Buick Invicta cruising Havana’s Malecón.
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From our bedroom in the Mansion la Orquidea, a B&B in Vedado.
Felipe in "Old Havana."
Felipe in “Old Havana.”

It was a memorable trip, my second visit to a dictatorship, the first being Baby Doc Duvalier’s Haiti in the 1970s. Baby Doc’s despotism was far preferable to the Castros’.

As ever, a full report of that trip can be found here, and more photos can be found here.

Dishwasher moon

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I’M THE CHIEF dishwasher at home. My wife can wash dishes, of course, but her method lasts 10 times longer.

I imagine it’s something she learned as a child, living with hundreds of siblings* where dishes were allowed to dry in the sink a spell before getting washed.

Tossing dishes into the sink after a meal to be washed later creates a far greater task than simply washing them on the spot. Once food dries, it’s way more work.

Procrastinators are their own worst enemies.

Don’t even mention automatic dishwashers, a dreadful invention that is not Earth-friendly, takes up space, reduces your exercise, and is just plain silly anyway.

Decent people wash their own dishes and the best of them do it immediately. I am one of those decent people.

I was washing dishes yesterday evening when I looked out the window over the sink and spotted the moon. That’s what I saw in the photo above. It wasn’t even dark yet.

Since good things tend to come in twos, I decided to take another photo, so I stepped out to the veranda — the dishes were done — and snapped the photo below.

The hat on the left used to be mine. The one on the right belonged to the Rachmaninoff Cowboy, and on the hook between them are Hare Krishna beads. For about two seconds of my life, I considered joining the Hare Krishnas.

But I didn’t.

I decided to wash dishes under Mexican moonlight.

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*Mexicans are hearty breeders, and the Vatican encourages them not to stop.

Fact, Fiction and Opinion Stirred in an Odd Pot

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