Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: Planes, **Trains-II**, and Automobiles

Posted On: Monday - September 11th 2023 8:21PM MST
In Topics: 
  China  Peak Stupidity Roadshow

(Continued from **Planes**, **Planes-II**, and **Trains** of our Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles series.)

This was a slow time. The stations could get pretty packed.

This Trains-II post is about the Chinese subway systems. I've ridden the subways in 4 Chinese cities now, but the pictures and map shown here are from Peking, so I'll give information on this impressive infrastructure (with a little bit about the one in Shanghai). It's a pretty impressive deal. Things are clean, people are polite (with that one exceptionalism), and things work.

The Chinese are late to this game. The London Underground - not the band, but The Tube, started up in 1863. That's a stretch though, as the barely-underground lines used wooden carriages pulled by coal-burning steam engines. (Talk about your carbon footprint! I imagine there were more than footprints, probably carbon arms, legs, faces and whole bodies disembarking in Paddington Station.) A serious deep-level line with electric trains opened up in London the same year as the New York City system did, in 1904.

Americans, after less than a century of the industrial revolution and only a couple of centuries of civilization, built this amazing transportation infrastructure 67 years before China, with its 3,500 y/o civilization! That's a stretch in favor of China anyway, as the Peking subway consisted of but one measly line from 1971 through '84, and even then, only 2 lines until 20 years back. (Here is a graphic showing the slow growth and then big expansion.) The Soviet Union helped the Chinese design the first part of it, but then they got the hang of it themselves after Communism was long gone and things could get done properly. It was really almost a century after New York's subway opened that Peking could claim a serious subway, but now, in 2023, it's something else.

It's not the case in all stations, but these lines are set up with glass walls in the stations with doors that open only when the train is there and lines up. Are there many Chinese people who'd push people onto the tracks? Well, no, it's not New York, but then it's still a good safety feature. It's just that Americans didn't think of it first... because the nation in 1904 and a long time afterwards was one with a high-trust population. The riders in China were pretty polite while on board, even when it was really packed. Still, when the doors opened, people would push their way on, before letting those who wanted off, get off. I'm telling you, I don't get this!

It's all shiny and new. One thing Peak Stupidity has written about before is that, once things become really old - take the New York City subway (don't mind the maggots!), please - repair mode becomes costlier than build-from-scratch mode. Also, as commenters discussed under these posts before, that shine could change quickly, especially in a place like China. "The commons" are not taken care of well compared to private property in a low-trust society. However, in their favor, they don't have the MTA full of nepotist-AA hires. China is a country of competent people, though the labor force is quickly getting older, a subject for another post.

Just as with the high speed trains in China, it's not the individual shiny trains that I saw and rode on that I'm impressed with the most. It's the big networks that have been built over just a few decades, not just the one in Peking. Most of the big cities have subways now. Based on yearly ridership*, Peking is the 4th biggest subway system in the world, after Shanghai, Tokyo**, and Canton (Guangzhou). It had 2.29 billion riders - they could be the same people, of course, just fare-payers - even in '20. The routes total to 488 miles.

Here's a clearer map. The one above was one taken at one of the stations.

9 of the top 10 subways based on "system length" (meaning the total length of all the routes, without regard to how many sets of tracks lie within each) are in Chinese cities: Shanghai, Peking, Canton, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, and Wuhan. (Moscow is number 9 in the top 10 based on this metric.)

The New York City system is still #1 in number of stations with 424. The Peking system has 370 stations. However, I'm guessing when it comes to amount of urine accumulated within stations, New York is WAY WAY ahead. We saw no bums in the Peking or Shanghai subway stations, just lots of busy reasonably well-dressed Chinese people.

The question of whether these subways are paying for themselves came up in my mind when I paid the very low ticket prices, a buck to a buck and a half. (They are based on distance, something many systems have now due to the abilities of electronics. This makes it much harder to figure out WTF to do at the ticket machines the first time around, no matter what the language!) As with the HS rail, I don't have enough info to figure out whether this mode of transport is subsidized. I will say that you don't need so many employees with the self-serve electronics, etc. Oh, and the Chinese save on DIEversity departments and the like.

PS: In general the signage is pretty good, with pin yin along with the real Chinese language written for stops. On the trains, there are schematics - straight lines - for the route one is on, with LEDs to show the current stop. On the map above, the reader can see 2 full loops, the inner dark blue one and the outer light blue one. Let me tell you from a previous trip, if you lose your sense of direction going deep down into the station due to turns, then the question of which direction on the loop, CW or CCW, the train one is about to board is going is not an easy one to answer! I got lucky...

* ... using this wiki page. Unfortunately, the numbers are not all for the same year. Interestingly, Shanghai numbers are show for '20, and it's still #1.

** Tokyo, as a CITY, would be well ahead as number 1. However, this page lists subway "systems", of which Tokyo has 2, the Tokyo Subway and the Toei Subway. Together, they had 3.93 Billion riders in '19. (Again, comparing different years around the PanicFest time is prone to problems.)

Comments (4)

3 more for the Parrotheads

Posted On: Saturday - September 9th 2023 7:08PM MST
In Topics: 

These are 3 more of the many favorite Jimmy Buffett songs of mine. I'm out of time to post any writing tonight.

Mañana is from the album Son of a Son of a Sailor. Many of the lyric lines are really dates, so the song is like an inside joke from mid-late 1970s America. A stand-out on that score is the bit about Steve Martin. Anyone know what "getting small" is?* Let's reggae, Reefers!! That'd be the Coral Reefer Band.

Speaking of the 70's, the somewhatt obscure movie FM (1978) was great for those into music and broadcasting. It had concert appearances from a number of great musicians of the era - one I remember the most was Linda Ronstadt with her version of the Rolling Stones' Tumbling Dice. Here's Jimmy Buffett in the movie doing Livingston Saturday Night, also from Son of a Son of a Sailor. He seems pretty wired here and nothing like laid back sailor of the islands. Different drugs? (Well, it was the '70's.)

Finally, from his prior and probably best album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Jimmy Buffett sings In the Shelter. It's more mellow.

Peak Stupidity has got posts backed up like mad around here. We'll have more info from the China trip - not all is bright and shiny - a continuation of that fisking of the words of the idiotic Lenin (the Russian one), more on the problems, or lack thereof, of the "fertility crisis". and then back to the stupidity of the here and now in America. Thanks for reading, writing, and listening too! Happy Sunday, all.

* I do but just asking.

Comments (4)

Peak Stupidity is FOR the alleged Depopulocalypse - Part 1: Substack essay

Posted On: Friday - September 8th 2023 8:43AM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Pundits  The Future

Heh! I just realized how humorous that cute coinage is after trying to pronounce it. It's 6 syllables long, if that helps you. A Depopulocalypse, a large decline in fertility and therefore medium-future populations of the world's nations, is what seems to be a big worry for many. That includes one substack (named Postcards From Barsoom) pundit named John Carter, whose 3rd post* in a series got me motivated to write this post.**

Upon going back to his Part 1, I almost gave up very early on, upon reading:
The collective carbon footprint of that eight hundred million US tons of human biomass is giving the planet a fever, destroying ecosystems, depleting resources, stripping the topsoil, poisoning the air, killing the oceans, filling the fields with trash, and causing traffic jams. A less crowded Terra would be in everyone’s best interests, right?
This is his intro., after which he explains why, "no, not right." It was just that "carbon footprint" and "giving the planet a fever" thing I didn't like, and with way too much material on the internet for me to peruse every morning, I do tend to quickly dismiss and quit reading anything that starts off way on the wrong foot. However, it turns out, from my perusing more of this series and then a few other substack posts, this guy is a Conservative, sometimes even Libertarian, albeit with a R.C. Christian-style penchant (at least, on Part 3 of this series) for then suggesting WE need to do this or that a little to heavy on the "WE" rather than leave people alone and let it get figured out. Finally, as this post was not supposed to be a criticism of this John Carter or his essays, I do note that in his criticism of D.I.E., he included the following:
The rot is everywhere, touching everything, a miasma of mandatory make-believe that has choked off the oxygen of rational inquiry. Whether the subject is race, or sex, or "gender", or climate, or COVID, or most recently Ukraine, there is a "narrative" from which deviation is not to be tolerated. Naturally the narrative is always false; it is precisely because it is false that it forbids even the discussion of alternatives, a taboo that expresses itself in the deplatforming or cancellation of deviants who dare "deny" the sacred narrative, or even to raise the most timid of questions about some minor aspect of it.

[My bolding.]
So, was that one line from the intro. sarcasm? The rest wasn't. The guy almost lost me with that one sentence! A good warning to myself and others is that an unrecognizable piece of sarcasm can turn people on a dime.***

OK, well, seeing as I'll never get to my point in this post, and I want to read Mr. Carter's 3 essays more thoroughly first, let me just link you to them now and note here that he is not so against this Depopulocalypse as I'd first thought (after reading nothing but some excerpt and a title). Read them if you are interested. This may help me better pare down and elucidate the point I wanted to get to, and you all may have some comments on his series. The subtitle of the series is Suggestions for solving the fertility crisis. See, I don't think the fertility crisis need solving. It would solve itself, barring some big problems that I see, and I think Mr. Carter does too, from first glance. His essays are:

Depopulocalypse II – Solutions That Don’t or Won’t Work
Depopulocalypse III – From SINK to FLOAT

It might be a little confusing, but the pundit has 3 Roman-numeraled "installments". Those are the 3 links above. He mentions "chapters", but there are more than one of those per installment.

Next time, I'll get to it: Fertility is going down nearly everywhere, with that "nearly" a very important and terrible factor. That factor aside for some of this thought process, why is declining fertility a bad thing?

* ... from which I took the image above. He must have coined Depopulocalpyse too. Mr. Carter seems to like sci-fi fantasy, with allusions to material therefrom that I am not too familiar with.

** There was also an excerpt in a recent Steve Sailer post, which I'll mention at some point. It got me re-motivated.

*** People write in tags for fun or to be informative (/s), but maybe it could go farther than that. There could be a true HTML tag that changes the font to silly fonts or something. Underlining, italics, and bold are getting old.

Comments (10)

Bai Dien v the Dry Tortuga: Who's gone further?

Posted On: Thursday - September 7th 2023 4:57PM MST
In Topics: 
  China  US Feral Government  Dead/Ex- Presidents  Muh Generation

Perhaps that title is more understandable with the words rearranged: "Who's further gone?"

I saw this Yahoo headline and graphic today:

I had to shrink this, but the initial article text reads:
Mitch McConnell's recent freezing spells and other health concerns have created a campaign conundrum for Republicans...

"Probably a double standard."

Errr, yeah, I suppose it is, if you're nothing but a "rah-rah, Red Team" GOPer. Does the yahoo writer really believe that all those who are against the traitorous Bai Dien necessarily support Mitch McConnell, (T-KY)? "T" is for Tortoise this time, and neither for for Texas nor Tennessee. OK, Turtle, Tortuga, Tortoise - I can't tell the difference!

Note that the graphic is not exactly a fair comparison. Perhaps Mitch McConnell rides a bike too. Well no, but why not show one of Zhou Bai Dien's senior moments, many of which are available on youtube or places on the internet the Regime has not yet reached.

This type of article is very good at reinforcing the narrative that there's a big divide between the ctrl-left Blue Squad and the Establishment Red Squad there in Washington, FS. It's not like that.

As for poor Mitch, I sure hope there's a good Kentucky Conservative that the Commonwealth could send to Washington to work with the great Rand Paul. Mr. McConnell could relax and try to recuperate at home. However, I'm guessing Mitch will stay until he freezes into rigor mortis, as the Chinese have not gotten all they're due yet for supporting he and his wife Mrs. Chao in their business dealings. I'll tell you what - the Chinese sure like to hedge their bets. That's no conundrum, strickly bidness!

This video is wicked shocking:

I'd have to say that Senator McConnell has the lead in the 1st round of this Dementia Face-off, sponsored by Geritol, if either of these guys can remember where to pick up the prize and what it is exactly.

From hard-working commenter Adam Smith:

Comments (11)

Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: Planes, **Trains**, and Automobiles

Posted On: Thursday - September 7th 2023 8:54AM MST
In Topics: 
  China  Peak Stupidity Roadshow

(Continued from **Planes** and **Planes-II** of our Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles series.)

That's 215 mph.*

Due to my having a window seat on both of our Chinese high-speed rail (I'll just use HSR from here on) trips, I didn't get up much. That means that I don't think I would have missed any speed higher than that shown on the display at the front of the rail car. Generally, we went at and no more than 300 km/hr = 185 mph, at least on one of the runs, and I believe that was the limit for that line.

Besides Maglev trains (more on them, actually "it" below), this is at the top of the speed range that HS trains in Japan, France or elsewhere get to. It's not AMAZING in today's day and age - one can go faster on a maglev train. However, the construction of these lines calls for lots of elevated track and tunnels (to avoid steep slopes and high derivatives of slope, sharp curves), no grade crossings, seamless track, and I'm sure other higher quality railroad features than one needs for 80 mph freight trains. What's amazing is that within a decade or so, China has built this complete network of HSR lines, that they are highly used, that they likely can pay for themselves, and just that the whole thing WORKS.

That's a shorter time period than it took for Americans to build the bulk of the Interstate Highway system, very advanced for its time, with cruder technology (I'm thinking of the many long tunnels in China here, requiring lots of impressive machines). It's an apples-to-oranges comparison, but still, I am greatly impressed by the sheer amount of concrete in the millions of high columns and track support beam alone. Then, there are those tunnels - with mountainous terrain almost covering the Middle Kingdom. This is no white elephant.

To explain that, let me note that on the shorter run, 4 hours from Peking to Shanghai**, I attempted to estimate how many opposite direction trains we passed. A few times, I got 8 minute intervals, but some were closer to 4 or 5 minutes. If we take 8 per hour we get 32 trains, meaning they are separated by ~ 25 miles. (This made me wonder if there is a "siding" of some sort within that interval, or some way to get a broken train out of the way, if need be.*** Push it over and into the ravine below and bury it? Hmmmm...)

I might be slightly off on my basic numbers - cars in the train, and seats per car (2 abreast) - but believe it was 10 cars with 80 seats per, so there's an 800 passenger capacity. Therefore with 8 per hour on the line, they can move, let's say 100,000 to 150,000 people in a 24 period if they needed to. (If they needed to, they'd probably tighten up the spacing too.) That's pretty amazing. Airlines don't and CAN'T carry nearly as many.

Since I'm comparing these trains to airline service, let me state that the rides were extremely smooth and quiet, with none of that clickety clack and almost imperceptible accelerations other than during the approach and exit to/from the stations. The trains were roughly 80-90% full. In fact, for one of the trips, we were lucky to get tickets at all due to capacity. The seats were like coach airline seats with another foot of pitch - a big deal, of course! One could get up to go to the snack bar, bathroom, or walk the length of the train.

That is the station in the big city where we left for Peking. (I think. If not, this was Peking south.) It was packed. The security set-up has close to the airport level of annoyance. National ID cards, passports for foreigners, facial recognition, all that are part of it. One lines up, best Chinese people can give it a go, by the track number, and the boarding is done in 10-15 minutes. They need to, as each track waiting line, well it must be for a pair of 2 tracks, has a list of trains going out very frequently.

The ticket prices were cheap. We paid in the neighborhood of $60 for the Peking-Shanghai run and something like double that for the much longer run. Can these trains make money? I don't know if they are right now or not, but there's plenty of room to bump up ticket prices, IMO, as they are nowhere near airline prices. These trains really do compete pretty well with the airlines, at least on a run like the 4 hour one. Something from our old post Trains in the Orient vs. America comes in here. These huge train stations are not necessarily right downtown. Many can't be, I suppose - no way to get that much track and land in now. However, one can take subways to and from, so it's not like driving to the big hub airport with that parking and hassle.

That leads right into the part about the one MagLev train. This one goes from the big Shanghai train station - which is IN the city of Shanghai, the Pudong District (not what you're thinking!), but not what you might call downtown - to the airport. I rode this myself a couple of times years ago. What I remembered right is "8". Well, 8 is the lucky number, but was that the price or the duration of the ride? It was both. 50 RMB is ~ 8 bucks right now, and the ride took 8 minutes. We did only the same speed the other trains did 300 km/hr. I thought I'd remembered wrong, but, upon looking this up just now, on some of the runs, it gets up to 431 km/hr = 265 mph. With the low ridership we saw this time and others, and from the numbers I looked up, this one IS a white elephant. It's a fun white elephant though!

Back to the subject of the regular HSR in China, what I need to do is put up more pictures. (I've got plenty of video too.) I think I'll make another post with some. It'll not be so much about the trains, but about what one can see of China.

Your Peak Stupidity blogger may sound like pundit Fred Reed or some 10 y/o kid here. I am not impressed so much with the speed, the comfort, and the efficiency. What I'm impressed with is what you can see below. This is not some one-off. This is life there now:

I had to blow up that legend for readability after shrinking the image. I am sorry the city names are hard to see. Here is a bigger, clearer version of this map.

* Yes, I know, 213.75 mph, but Peak Stupidity has a thing for round numbers.

** The straight line distance is 665 miles, but, for terrain and possibly land-use reasons, the web says it's an 820 mile trip. With a time enroute of 4:20 or so, that works out to 305 km/hr, AVERAGE!

This was an express train, so we may have stopped only once or twice, if at all. (This whole trip is blurring together. We rode another train on a different route, which did have a couple of dozen stops.)

*** That brings up merging and forking on these HS tracks. How much of that do they have? It's got to be a bit more sophisticated than that on ordinary track.

Comments (9)

The Defects of Dunkirk

Posted On: Wednesday - September 6th 2023 7:10PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  History  Movies

It seems like I just read about this movie a year or two ago, but it is 6 years old. Time does fly. The event itself was going on 83 1/4 years ago, which IS a long time.

Dunkirk is a WWII history movie. This town on the coast of France was the site of an amazing evacuation of 338,000 mostly British and some French soldiers who'd retreated there from the big German advance at the start of the real war (after the Sitzkrieg, or "Phoney War") in Europe. When I was a boy, I read a captivating semi-fictional book about this event, as narrated by a boy who sailed on one of the many hundreds of small vessels as requested* by the British Navy to cross the channel and help in the massive evacuation.

As a defensive battle against the Wehrmacht (German Army) was being fought in the towns of Dunkirk and Lille, men on the beaches and at the harbor were evacuated over a 9 day period, the 27th of May through the 4th of June of 1940. The movie in question here focused, so to speak, on the beaches, but the numbers evacuated were over 98,000 off the beaches and over 239,000 from the harbor. The biggest numbers were on the last 3 days of May and June 1st.

It was the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) that was the biggest threat to these men trying to get back to England. The movie showed the dive bombing and strafing. It also showed correctly that men were angry at the lack of visible support from the RAF (until the end, an example of which I'll mention), but much of the action in the air was out of sight of the men at Dunkirk. The RAF lost 145 planes, and the Luftwaffe lost 156. Over 200 British/Allied ships were destroyed, 9 of them (6 British and 3 French) being destroyers.

From my reading - the movie didn't have time for all this - there were 3 sea routes that the British Navy worked out, each with it's own perils. The shortest one was 39 nm. It had the peril of ~ half the route - westbound near the coast of France - being in range of German shore batteries. The 55 nm route went though an area with a big number of mines. For that reason, it could not be used at night. The 3rd one was 87 nm, taking double the time of the shortest. It took on the most danger of attacks by German ships, subs, and planes.

The biggest part of the story of Dunkirk, in popular lore anyway, was the participation of the over 300 British small craft. (That's out of the nearly 700 British and mid-800s total Allied boats that took part.) Some of the small craft made the journey back and forth, while other spent time by the beaches ferrying men from the shallow water to the bigger boats. Dunkirk the movie does a decent job of telling the story, except for a bad depiction of the numbers.

Quick summary of the history completed, this posts was not to be a review so much, as if any Peak Stupidity posts are movie reviews in the classic sense, but I'll write a few things and then get to my alleged defects. First off, I'd go see this one, if you like history and/or war movies. I don't recall much Wokeness in the movie at all - that's the most important thing to this viewer and re-viewer. There was a lot of action, of course. Lighting, casting, directing, yeah, it was fine. Even the Key Grip did a nice job, I gotta assume... seeing as I never wanted to even know what that's all about ...

However, when you make a movie about history, especially recent, well-recorded history, you want accuracy too, well, as a viewer you do, at least. In this case, I don't mean accuracy on the facts history so much as on details that otherwise cause disbelief. I noticed a couple more than the 3 (one pretty minor) that I write about here.

1) The most minor involved aviation. I enjoyed the detailed aviation scenes, in the cockpit of the Spitfire, as the flyer figures out fuel margins in his head and writes bingo fuel or time on the panel with chalk. There was this dramatic scene at the end in which this same pilot has shot down one or two German planes that were out there strafing boats and soldiers, knowing he was long out of "go-home" fuel. He glided the plane to a beach landing, after which the German army took him prisoner.

The thing is, he cranked down his landing gear by hand (we must assume that his hydraulic pump is engine driven) only seconds before touching down. MAKES! NO! SENSE! Though a good beach landing was no sure thing - can't be too wet and can't be too dry - he had this long, long stretch of beach to land on. That was waaaay too long of a glide for a plane like that, but that was to make allow the scene to include the proper musical score, I'm no director. However, that's not my beef here. Why not crank the gear down earlier? You'll have more drag and steepen your glide. So what? You're not going for a particular spot here - he was flying parallel to the beach. Just sayin'...

2) More critical was the neglect of the water temperature. There are lots of scenes of men getting pulled out of the water and others of them going in or out one way or another. I saw a few blankets, and I understand that these were men, not crybabies. Still, the water off Dunkirk, per interpolation on a table from this travel climate site, would have been somewhere between the low-mid 50s F and the low 60s. That's COLD! It's not 1/2 hour hypothermia cold, but with the wind and waves, you'd have seen much more shivering, teeth chattering, and worse. The cold water just didn't seem to be much of a factor in the movie story.

3) The number of boats shown to be involved is misleading. There were the large ships, but I don't think the view showed more than 25 small boats out there when the feel-good music came on. Maybe the average one could take on 20 soldiers - total guesswork here, so that's 500, and they could make 3-5 trips tops. (Remember the deal with the 3 routes.) At best this looked like a fleet that could take a couple thousand men in a day. Between the beaches and the harbor, there were over 25,000 men taken across on 7 of the days, and 47-68 thousand on 4 of the days. I don't belittle the civilian participants in the Dunkirk evacuation here one bit - it was heroic, and one man taken across was a guy who may have been captured or killed. Was this only a small part of the whole operation though? I can't get the numbers transported by ship type.

Out of the 311 (recorded**) small boats only a small number were shown together in the movie. This was a 9-day operation though, so perhaps this is not so out-of-whack. It just didn't make for good perspective***, as one could not fathom these boats taking but a small percentage of the 338,000 men evacuated from Dunkirk across the English Channel in late-May/early-June of 1940.

You can call the men and boys involved heroes, as the danger was large. 140 of the 311 recorded small craft were sunk.

* It was not necessarily voluntary on the part of the ships.

** Per Churchill, per Wiki.

*** I think what didn't help for me is that I don't recall anywhere in the movie anything or anyone saying this was more than a day or two operation. I hadn't known until reading more just now.

Comments (5)

Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: **Planes-II**, Trains, and Automobiles

Posted On: Tuesday - September 5th 2023 6:01PM MST
In Topics: 
  China  Peak Stupidity Roadshow

There'll be a whole lot of the "Dispatches" posts, but I'll go ahead and link to previous - only 1 right now - posts on traveling in China. (Continued from Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: **Planes**, Trains, and Automobiles.)

We got all of the (China-made) bells & whistles!

In the last post, Peak Stupidity mentioned we'd write more about the international part of our travel to and from China. I won't get into the details of the flight itself - except to note that we deviated from the Great Circle route enough to miss what would have been many hundreds of miles in Russian airspace. Now that COULD have been due to the ride, some weather, or operational concerns*, but somehow I think it was more than that.

This was an American-based** airline, so the service is what I've been used to: OK or good, depending on where you are sitting. "Native speakers" (2, I believe) can be younger, but the F/A's have lots of seniority and what goes along with that.

The big change I saw as compared to trips 10-15 years back is how Chinese the passengers are. Sure, many may be American citizens, but I'm talking ethnically Chinese here.*** 15 years ago, I'd say the passenger population was 60-75% American - at least White people. Now, it's no more than 25%, and I don't see why this flight wouldn't be representative - There was no big Chinese holiday in progress, moon cakes, or whatever, speaking of which, they eat moon pies in China now too, but not American ones - unfair trade practices are ubiquitous. "They" doesn't just mean our party. ;-}

Yes, China is rising rapidly economically, and America is descending. Whether the passengers were 1/2 American citizens or not, it's China running the show now, or calling the shots, it seems. (This post on a very minor issue, with our only Peak Stupidity prequel post as of date, gets that point across.)

It being China, everyone had to GTFOTP, now, dammit! I understand this to some degree, as there can be lines for customs/immigration. Yeah, but they have machines now. One of these is what's shown in the image above. It didn't work. The guy next to me's machine didn't work. None of them worked, so we just had some guy look at the passports and visas. The reason this was not so intense as it'd been a long time ago - see Chinese Immigration NON-Stupidity - is that finger-printing and more so, facial recognition, are ubiquitous in China now. That's one of the things I have been thinking about and part of the reason I wanted to see for myself how Orwellian the place is getting. Cameras and the software/databases/AI behind them are how China keeps track of people now, most especially foreigners coming in (and going out, but that'll be another post).

That's us.

Maybe it was our being foreigners, but things were not as clear-cut as they are entering the US - this is customs, where Snoopy checks for bananas and they may be interested in any REAL money, and this is immigration control, where we mostly look like foreigners ourselves and generally give the real Americans the most shit. Nah, I couldn't really tell what was going on at some check-points there in Shanghai airport. There were multiple layers, as there were on the way out. This may have been do to my making a connection rather than leaving to the streets of Shanghai.

Then came the funny part. The Chinese version of the TSA was full of hard-working mostly young people. They were mostly slim, including the young lady who had me spin around quickly as she looked for... I don't know in my pockets. They worked much harder than the American TSA (not that I agree with the idea in the first place), but I don't think they worked smarter. I've had some of the same stuff in this one case for years - the guy kept running it back through the machine. "Oh, those are keys!" Run the keys through, along with the bag againg. "Oh, that's a phone charger? Run the charger through, along with the bag.. "Oh, lots and lots of coins!" (That gets the Americans once in a while too.) It didn't help that we couldn't communicate other than with hand gestures. I believe the Americans kind of figure "hey, those are keys, those are coins, and that's a charger."

The last time I tried to communicate with the young man who was working so hard to see what the cool stuff was in my bag was when I wondered myself "Where'd I put the key fob?" See, the other keys are all on one keychain, while this one is too big, hence goes separately. I asked the guy using hand gestures to run the bag one last time, lucky number 8, so I could see where that key fob was in the x-ray picture. He didn't get the concept of my using the security machinery to, you know, like, help me with something.

With the surplus of time I had to make that connection, the bag search was just amusing. However, I'd say the whole China international travel experience is worse on the China end than it is here. Getting on trains had some of this same security mess involved, but then it was all Chinese domestic travel. Finally, don't get fooled by the initial bag screener machine near the outside of the airport. You throw the bags in, someone sort of watches, and they come out the other end in a few seconds. I think they are designed for masses of metal the size of small hotel safes. That's just the beginning though ...

PS: Health forms: This was a joke. Before boarding the plane in the US, one had to do an on-line Chinese health form. The interface was clunky, and I had a real time of it. There were questions about the Chinese destination(s) and contacts there. I finally got to the actual health survey. There's a big [ ] NO on top of a series of symptoms. If you don't click that one, you KNOW you're gonna have a time of things, so everybody does, including me, the guy who entered the country with quite the sore throat. Nobody cares! ... till they do again...

* You don't hear much from the pilots about all this on the long flights as the announcement must be translated, so they take twice as long and a) people want to sleep or b) watch movies or play video games. These announcements interrupt these. Also, people like me are an exception to the rule that "NOBODY CARES!"

** I'll just write "American" from here on, but I wrote it this way once to distinguish from specially American Airlines, the company. (It could only be 3 though now, American, Delta, or United.)

*** Only way to have gotten a good number on this distinction was to have gotten off the plane first and watched the customs lines. I had other things to do, and Peak Stupidity doesn't pay me enough for this kind of thing. $0 goes quickly...

Comments (4)

Living and Dying in 3/4 time.

Posted On: Saturday - September 2nd 2023 8:58PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  Humor

A Lost (Son of a Son of a) Sailor:

Jimmy Buffett is lost to us. I've got the humor tag on this one in addition to "music" because Jimmy Buffett put a lot of humor in his songs. (I'll put some of my favorite lyrics here.) He was an excellent lyricist, a good songwriter in general, and he probably promoted the laid-back island-lifestyle, and sailing, drinking (and flying too) to more music fans than anyone. Oh, and the humor can be seen in the name of his Coral Reefer Band too.

I'm no hard-core Parrothead, but I saw a good show by Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band in between a Giants double-header at Candlestick Park. There was one other time at some amusement park. Then too, I've been down to his world in the Conch Republic - the Florida Keys, that is a few times. (Jimmy Buffet was not FROM there - he grew up in lower Mississippi and Alabama - hence the nice ballad Biloxi.)

Nobody said it was all profound and that Jimmy Buffett was the next great crooner. He entertained, and he, wittingly or not, promoted that sailing and island life. That all sounds great, especially after you've gotten a few Margaritas in you, but we can't all be Jimmy Buffetts, living in 3/4 time, or it wouldn't work. That's why the islands are what they are, and America was ... a good place for Jimmy Buffett to write and sing about all this.

My favorite album of his is Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, but I'd put Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Son of a Son of a Sailer, Volcano, and A1A* next. Here are some great lyrics from songs I know by heart - no, not the album, but songs that I know by heart:

Miss You So Badly from Changes in Latitudes has the same theme as the more popular Come Monday:
We're stayin' in a Holiday Inn full of surgeons.
I guess they meet there once a year.
They exchange physician stories
and get drunk on Tuborg beer.
Then they're off to catch a stripper
with their eyes glued to her G,
but I don't think that I would ever let 'em cut on me.
Part of Boat Drinks from Volcano:
Twenty degrees and the hockey game's on.
Nobody cares; they are way too far gone.
Screamin' "Boat drinks," somethin'
To keep them all warm.

This morning, I shot six holes in my freezer.
I think I got cabin fever.
Somebody sound the alarm.
I'd like to go where the pace of life's slow.
Could you beam me somewhere, Mister Scott?
Any old place here on Earth or in space.
You pick the century and I'll pick the spot.
Of course, there's the whole song, but how about this one line from Why Don't We Get Drunk?, off A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean
They said you are a snuff queen, but I don't think that's true...**
Some of they lyrics are very specific, making them dated now, such as a line about Anita Bryant in his Manana off Son of a Son of a Sailer, and more so the end of the title song of Volcano:
But I don't want to land in the New York City.
I don't want to land in Mexico.
I don't want want to land on no Three Mile Island.
I don't want to see my skin aglow.
I don't want to land in Commanchee sky park
or in Nashville, Tennessee.
I don't want to land in no San Juan airport
or in the Yukon Territory.
I don't want to land in no San Diego.
I don't want to land in no Buzzard's Bay.
I don't want to land on no Ayatolah.
I got nothing more to say!
I don't know what he had against San Diego. Anybody?

Best old-country-style song titles of his: Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season (not one his best tunes, IMO) and My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don't Love Jesus. Album Titles: Well, yeah, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean and also Last Mango in Paris.

For you Parrotheads, I am sorry for your loss. My very favorite used to be played by a local musician who is one of the few guys I've known who steadily made a living at it (with 4 kids). His name was Jim too.

Now he lives in the islands,
fishes the pilings,
and drinks his green label each day.
Writing his memoirs,
losin' his hearin',
but he don't care what most people say.

Through eighty seventy-six years of perpetual motion,
if he likes you he'll smile, and he'll say,
"Achmed, some of it's magic, some of it's tragic,
but I had a good life all of the way."

For a son of a son of a sailor, and others:

Surely, some Steely Dan music should have appeared this evening on Peak Stupidity. However, you can see why we'll have to get to that next music post***. I didn't have time for so much blogging this week, so that's it. Come Tuesday, it'll be alright...

And he went to Paris,
lookin' for answers to the questions ...
that bothered him so...

* That's the highway the runs down the east coast of Florida from Fernandina to Key West. However, the ~Homestead to Key West portion is one and the same as the US-1 - only that one road takes you through there. A1A runs on some barrier islands when it's not concurrent with the #1, while the #1 is on the land side of the intracoastals, and I-95 is generally a little bit further inland.

** Till this day, I thought it was "slut queen". The song was written by one "Marvin Gardens" (that's Monopoly property), but that was actually Jimmy Buffett.

*** There have been at least 5 Jimmy Buffett songs featured before, but there are few more that ought to be. Coming ...

Comments (27)

Barrack Øb☭ma's "I did not inhale" moment

Posted On: Friday - September 1st 2023 6:48PM MST
In Topics: 
  Elections '16 - '24  Genderbenders  Humor

Do you remember the liar Bill Clinton and his story about his having smoked marijuana, technically, but not in the spirit of the thing, as he did not inhale? It was a different time, you understand ... seriously. These days it would take revelations of one being a transexual, I think, to just maybe put a damper on one's campaign.

Back in 1992, as Clinton was still one among 5 or so prominent D-candidates, revealing that one had taken recreational drugs in the past was not good for one's employment prospects. The grifter/shyster Bill Clinton out of Arkansas was gunning for the type of employment that can screw up entire countries.

Think about the time-line. If one had been 25 or older by the mid-60's, there's a good chance he wasn't involved in that "scene". So, anyone in his early 50's or older even could be forgiven for thinking the smoking of pot earlier (or anytime) in one's life was a big deal. Bill Clinton was only 45 y/o during that primary campaign season, so he likely thought nothing of it. It still mattered to the public, and the press still kind of cared what mattered to the public. In interview during the campaign on March 29, 1992, Bill Clinton stated:
"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two. And I didn’t like it. And I didn’t inhale and never tried it again."
See now, I always thought that this answer made Bill Clinton look like a scumbag, well, more than he already was, as the answer could mean 2 things:

1) He is a liar. (Well, yeah, that turned out to be true, of course...)
2) He told the truth but is such a pussy that he had to succumb to peer pressure by smoking with his peers, but not inhaling so he could say in that lawyerly fashion later, "No, I never got high."

How can you experiment and find out whether you like it, if you don't inhale, you dumbass?

Well, the word is out that another former US President and scumbag along the lines of Bill Clinton had similar things to say about a relatively more important lifestyle than toking up. Barrack Øb☭ma was initially campaigning for President on 2008, only 16 years after Bill Clinton first was. In that 16 years a lot had changed in our culture. Being a pot smoker, at least in the past, was simply not a problem. Being a homosexual might have been a deal-breaker still. (Right, now, 15 years after that, it'd be a point in one's favor, and even genderbending freaks may not be ruled out.)

There's been a lot written recently about revelations of Øb☭ma's sexual "orientation" (is that what you do the summer before college?*), likely coming from what was written by David Garrow in his '17 Øb☭ma biography, Rising Star. I just came upon this Independent.UK article . The headline says: "Obama’s love letters from 1982 resurface: ‘I make love to men daily, but in the imagination’". He wrote this to his girlfriend. I am no poet, but I can see right away that this is not the way to wooo a girl. Or was the recipient actually... won't go there...

Was this homosexuality deal all in Barry's imagination, or was this a Bill Clinton-style lawyerly statement he wrote to his girlfriend at his college? I would like to see an interviewer bring this stuff up:

"Did you have sex with that man, Michelle , errr, Mike Robinson?"

"I experimented with putting a guy's dick in my mouth a time or two. And he didn't like it. And I didn't inhale and never tried it again."

Ookaaayyyy, well, it doesn't matter now - you've already "done enough" for our country. BTW, I read a good comment that noted that investigating Barrack Øb☭ma's homosexuality is still a much easier task than obtaining his college transcripts. That last was not a joke. Stop clapping.

* Perhaps the weekend at the college didn't turn out like he planned. The things he thinks are sexy, I just don't understand ...

[UPDATED 09/02:]
Fixed the joke, per Alarmist in the comments. Added a couple of sentences at the end.

Comments (16)

Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: **Planes**, Trains, and Automobiles

Posted On: Thursday - August 31st 2023 6:22PM MST
In Topics: 
  China  Peak Stupidity Roadshow

This board does not indicate flights but airlines - it's an index to the various ticket counters at the Departure Level.

We took all the standard modes of transportation within China. That is, air transport, trains*, and auto (private and taxis), but I could include a bicycle rickshaw ride. We didn't avail ourselves of any motorcycle taxis, though. (I'd taken Chinese-made single-cylinder bikes for rides at about 40 cents for a 2 mile ride about 10 years back. I'm not sure they are even allowed everywhere now - didn't notice any.)

Again, I cannot give big overall economic comparisons between China and America. I will look up whatever numbers I can to put things in perspective. These posts are just descriptions of how things go in the Middle Kingdom (village of a million and the Big Time Peking, both) from personal observation.

I took the picture above in Shanghai Pudong Airport. That's not a listing of flights with their departure gates. It's a listing of the different airline's ticket counters. The place is BIG. That's terminal 2 for international travel, but there are many airlines doing a lot of domestic flying too. They wouldn't necessarily appear by name on that board.

On this Wiki page there's a list of airlines operating withing or out of China. Very much like in the US at this point**, there are 3 big airlines, Air China, China Eastern, and China Southern. These have fleet sizes from the high 400 airplanes to the mid-600s. The American big 3 have fleets in the mid-900s each. Then, there is Southwest, without any overseas international travel, but with a fleet of 800 737s.

In the year '21, last I could find, Chinese airlines flew about 2/3 the number of passengers as American (based/run) airlines, 440 million to 666 million. Revenue-passenger-miles is a good measure, but I had no luck finding a number for China***. In '22 the number for the US was almost a Trillion RPM. That is still only 70-80% of the pre-PanicFest numbers. OTOH, the year '22 used for China is probably not the best, as that was the year of the Covid~Zero stupidity. China had that 660 million number in '19, while America had 1.05 billion passengers carried that year. It was still a ratio of about 2:3.

Well, without analysis to go with them, stats have a tendency to bore the crap out of people, so let me relate the experience of that one domestic flight. This was on a 737, I think -800 variant. We paid on average ~$195 each for one-way tickets on a 2-hour flight time trip. That's very good for the purchase of tickets 3 days ahead and 1 week ahead (on one of them). I remember from other trips that what I like about the pricing is its similarity to the SouthWest Airlines of old. (I remember a website with excellent ease of use and pricing visibility 20 years ago.)

Nah, the flight attendants were no Eva Air or Singapore hotties, but they were slim young women who were nice and professional*****. The pilots? That's what I don't like about the flying in China. They are hiding out in the cockpit, door locked, even before passengers get on the plane. Now, I've had LOTS to say about the TSA, but I do agree with the locking of cockpit doors during flight. (Terrorism aside, some drunkard could fall into the cockpit while looking for the forward lav, and he could lean on one of the yokes and put people into the ceiling!) However, in America, pilots are friendlier, and the door isn't closed until just before pushing back.

The flight seemed packed, with everyone in coach but the one row of 4 1st Class seats. However, when I went to the aft lavatory near the end of the flight, I noticed that about 5 or 6 back rows were empty. I wouldn't think a 737 would have weight/balance problems. That was weird, as people could have spread out more otherwise. There may have been extra cargo loaded aft or a write-up on the plane that required a more forward C.G.

They served a hot meal even, a cross between real Chinese food and Panda Express, I'd call it. With Chinese people still being quite a bit slimmer on average (more on this in another post), I wonder if the airline, the name of which I can't remember, had the seat pitch even shorter than you'd find on SouthWest. (They also would have an extra row of 6 seats due to the lack of 3 of the normal 4 rows in 1st Class. That's 3x2 + 6 extra seats = 12, but then that weight/balance thing...) I believe they were making money.

We arrived at the airport serving this city of 6 million people late at night. 15 years ago when I arrived at the same place I saw a small, simple terminal that had 6-10 gates. It was also late at night, but I could see the airfield looked like ex-military in terms of the landscaping. It was not pretty. Now, there are 3 wide-open brightly-lit terminals! There are flight to overseas including Paris, while that other time you'd be coming from a few big Chinese cities only.

As was the case 15 years ago though, these Chinese people were in a big hurry to get off the plane at 10 at night! There was the usual pushing around. "You're not catching another flight, so what's the freaking hurry!", I remember saying, 15 years ago. This time, there may actually have been a few flights still leaving out of there, as I recall from the "TV"s in the terminal.

I checked a certain American State capital city to compare to this city. It has about 4% of the passenger traffic. Then I remembered. This medium-sized Chinese city is almost as big as New York!

Whatever they do there in China, they do it big and bigger each decade it seems. I'll have more on that thought. As for airline service, America is still a bigger market. I wouldn't be surprised if China has caught up with just a handful of years.

I'll write something about the international airline business to/from China later. Also, I will write a lot more about the situation with the Orwellian controls at airports and the big train stations. (Their version of the TSA in Shanghai was a hoot, both coming and going. They took so much stuff out of one of my bags, that I asked the one guy if he could run it through one more time to make sure I still had my other key fob! Alas, he knew no English.)

* We'll separate out the high speed trains from the subways.

** The consolidation of 6 "Legacy" airlines into 3 from 15 to 10 years back (USAir + American, Northwest + Delta, and United + Continental) was a bad thing for medium-sized city direct service.

*** Yeah, I looked in R-P-Kilometers, of course. China Air (out of Taiwan****, as opposed to Air China in the mainland) has some damn deal with the internet, as no matter how I try to look it up, I get info on China Air.

**** The other biggie out of Taiwan is Eva Air. The only statistic I got for them is that the flight attendants wear tight deep-green curvy uniforms. Again, the internet ... you know...

***** Possibly that was just luck, as on earlier trips, I've gotten guys and very plain women, meaning the hiring may not be all that it could be.

Comments (6)

Jordan Peterson and Free Speech, eh?

Posted On: Tuesday - August 29th 2023 7:59PM MST
In Topics: 
  Political Correctness  Pundits  Orwellian Stupidity  Totalitarianism

As a whole, your Peak Stupidity staff kind of likes Jordan Peterson. We enjoyed 1 hour 40 minute video of he and Camille Paglia. We've made a little bit of fun of the man due to his idiosyncratic ways and that Canadian accent. (See Fun with Jordan Peterson....)

He's not the cat's meow though. I do realize that the man won't go full out when it comes to truth on racial matters. His campaign against what was Political Correctness and is now the much harder-core Wokeness would need some of that to get to the root of the problem.

I can imagine, however, that he wouldn't have gotten as far as he has in his punditry/youtube/motivational speaking career if he'd started out too strong for what is already a cowardly and unprincipled Canadian political and academic class. I also imagine it'd be same here, if not for our foresighted Founding Fathers having written the right to free speech, assembly and all that into the Law of the Land.*

The obvious truths he has been speaking about are catching up with him anyway. It's not the Government that's after him directly but the College of Psychologists of Ontario. The following (see the link below) is what they don't like:
- Peterson responded to a July 2, 2022, tweet by someone worried about overpopulation that they were “free to leave at any time.”

- Comments made during a January 25, 2022, appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience.” The document states that Peterson was identified as a clinical psychologist and talked about a “vindictive client” whose complaint he described as a “pack of lies.” On the topic of the correlation between air pollution and childhood deaths, Peterson was accused of saying, “It’s just poor children, and the world has too many people on it anyways.”

- A February 7, 2022, tweet in which he called former Trudeau advisor Gerald Butts “a prik.” (sic)

- A tweet on the 19th of that month regarding Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenney. McKenney uses they/them pronouns, and Peterson referred to her as an “appalling self-righteous moralizing thing.”

- In June of 2022, Peterson tweeted, “Remember when pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician.”

- In May of that year, Peterson aired his opinion of the Sports Illustrated plus-sized cover model. He commented, “Sorry. Not Beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that.”
Good stuff, Mr. Peterson. Still, Truth is no excuse for this. It's Canada, so, whatchu' gonna do when they come for you, Jordan?

It's been many years, but I used to follow Instapundit's (Glenn Reynolds') reporting on the Ezra Levant free speech struggle in Canada. Mr. Levant won his battles with the PC Government back then. This Wokeness now has got real Totalitarianism behind it, so Mr. Peterson doesn't seem to stand a chance.

I'm just hoping Jordan Peterson gets off lightly. From what I've read he must undergo reducation. That's better than hanging but Orwellian to the letter of the book. Perhaps The Court will rule that he must first clean his room.

* Yes, I do know that it's only as good as the people who must be vigilant and defend it, who are fewer by the year. We've already let go of about half of Amendment I, and the rest is on thin ice.

Comments (7)

Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom: On taking one's turn... or not

Posted On: Tuesday - August 29th 2023 5:43AM MST
In Topics: 

Peak Stupidity is just getting started with the observations from China. I'll get to plenty of different topics: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles*, living in China, economics, etc.

On the latter, Commenter E.H. Hail had some large-scale economic discussion that doesn't put China in such a great light under the previous post. I doubt I'll be able to address all that from a big finance viewpoint (I'll leave it to ZeroHadge), as I am no finance guy, and that's not what we were up to in China. However, I can give some details on how things work at the low level and what I think is likely sustainable economically and what is subsidized.

For this post, I want to get this one thing off my chest, and I'm doing it now because it follows from the last couple of posts in this series.

I'll put it clearly and plainly: Chinese people don't get the concept of standing in line and waiting one's turn! They can't do it. In this sense, they are extremely pushy, in a way that would shock even a New Yorker**. This view of mine is not coming from just the one incident and one day as described here. I've noticed this since I first visited China over 15 years ago. In our post Chinese free market healthcare - pt. 2, Modern China Experience***, we gave one anecdote:
This being China, as we talked to the Doc, IN HER OFFICE, a Chinese Mom with her kid went right up in front of our chairs saying something in Chinese like "Hey, my kid has this, take a look over here ..." Haha, they are a pushy bunch; that's all there is to it. This was right in the office in the middle of our consultation, but the lady Doc took this in stride as she and 2 others told the Mom in Chinese something like "Hey, wait your turn; ever heard of waiting in line?!" No, it couldn't have been that, as they HAVE NEVER heard of waiting in line, I don't think!
I'm telling you, if you give an inch, where there's room for someone to squeeze up next to you while you are doing business (an example was our buying of train tickets), she will (yes, mostly "she", its seems). If she can make eye contact with the counter person, then, they just get started, and YOU now have to wait.

That's one thing. OK, they don't see a reason for having to line up when you call all just push forward and clamor for attention. Far be it for me to criticize Middle Kingdom folkways. Yeah, but, sometime there IS a line, as constrained by barriers to preclude episodes of mass clamoring. Chinese people can't deal with that sanely. That was the case at the Peking Zoo.

First, why did we go to the zoo, when we were in the huge capital city of a 3,500 y/o culture, with lots of history? We have zoos at home. It's like this: In Part 2 of our long-ago (it seems) description of our visit to the now-leveled (!!) Georgia Guidestones, there was discussion in the comments about good barbeque. We had eaten at KFC, alas! Same story here - longer story, but it was not all up to me.

What they do have in the big Peking Zoo who we don't have at home is some Giant Pandas. Those are the first animals everyone wanted to see. We did the TSA-style rat maze thing, only with about 8 ft wide spacing, jammed full of Chinese tourists.

These 2 images really don't do it justice. People were stacked in both dimensions. Whaddya' gonna do? Pandas are cute. My problem with these people's behavior is that even though there's no excess room, they keep pushing. They keep trying to squeeze past everyone else! On a couple of occasions in China, I've just stopped, put my arms out and said "Hey, we're all going the same way. Just give me some room." Of course they don't understand the language, but they don't understand the concept either.

We were all going toward the same gate to see the Pandas. I pushed back once, and then it turned out I was up against a baby a lady had strapped to her. I felt bad about that, but then why'd she keep pressing. I guess it's because everyone else is, and she'd feel left out, and yes, get left behind.

As I tried to follow my party, having to keep holding my ground, I'd finally had enough. I squeezed through sideways through the masses, vaulted one barrier, squeezed through sideways some more, vaulted another barrier (one of these new scissors-style expandable metal things), and walked away from it all toward some relative peace and relative quite on a bench. That's when I wrote a comment to you Peak Stupidity readers with my phone.

Yes. Sick of too many damn people? You and me both, buddy.

Strangely, in one of the many Peking subway stations (amazing job, but that's another post) we saw an actual organized line! The problem was, we weren't in it. People were 2 abreast for well over 100 ft. I figured we were doing something wrong. Actually, it wasn't that they knew something we didn't, but they were lazier. It turns out that they were all stacked up to go up the escalator, but there was a wide set of stairs too. (No, I didn't seen anyone with luggage even, requiring the escalator.) Two of us ran up the stairs and had to wait for the rest of our party. We did a lot of running up and down stairs all over the city. Then, there was that Great Wall. Moar stares! (No typo.)

PS: Again, for those who think Peak Stupidity is here to badmouth the Chinese people and their country, that's not our point. There has been and will be plenty of praise for the people and place. This bit I discussed here is true, so any Chinese readers might want to see themselves as others do, something that may just not be a Chinese thing either.

* We already had one quick one on The TrumpChi.

** The city, that is.

*** BTW, we didn't have a reason to experience Chinese healthcare on this visit, but I have learned long after that post that the system is subsidized by Government. Still, it WORKS, because it seems to be run without much involvement by bureaucrats. We could have paid double or triple the money, and it still would have been cheaper and simpler than the convoluted American "system".

Comments (8)

Dispatches from The Middle Kingdom (and the UK): Rudeness on the Street

Posted On: Saturday - August 26th 2023 5:50PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  Humor  China

In the comments under the first actual "Dispatches from China" post here on Peak Stupidity, SafeNow and I discussed the friendliness and respectfulness of people and how it correlates with population density.

As SafeNow stated, we know New Yorkers are known to be rude, probably not as much as we think, but as compared to Southerners and people all over in small towns, yeah. Regarding friendliness, well you can't say "hey" or "hello" to everyone on the crowded streets of the big city. Many people make no eye contact.

To SafeNow I wrote:
One thing I didn't mean to imply is that Chinese people on the street are all "Howdy" to a stranger, making lots of eye contact, and "No, you first." "No, go ahead please!" It's nothing like that. I believe their personality is on the opposite end from black people, with hispanic, then White, then Oriental, as far as emotional outbursts or getting upset at the drop of a hat. Therefore, they can be so close together and not get on each others nerves, at least outwardly.

They are not necessarily polite, but they are respectful enough so that millions of people can be out and about, yet there's no big outburst, fist fight, whatever, maybe in the whole city all week. (No, I don't know the numbers, but I don't see anything even approaching that.
Let me put it this way: You won't see guys acting like Richard Ashcroft of The Verve does on the Hoxton, London sidewalks. You pull that shit in the streets of China, and you're gonna get a Bitter Sweet Kick in the Ass!

Did I put together this short post purely for that bolded line at the bottom? In a word, YES.

Peak Stupidity has featured this song before. I hope you like it - we've been running out of music ideas, but there've got to be thousands of songs that still ought to appear. Thank you all for reading and commenting this week! Next week, we'll have more on China, more on Leon Trotsky's advertisement for Communism*, and that other stuff that we've meant to write about and not gotten to. (Hopefully, that include thoughts on population decline.)

PS: I'd forgotten that part in the video in which lead singer Ashcroft walks over the hood of the little car. It seems like it might be a good way to meet chicks, but then, all those tattooes...

* Yes, the name of that post does indeed read like an Andrew Anglin title. I don't like the way this is headed ...

Comments (14)

Trotsky to America: Fisking of a historical Soviet Commie Retard - Part 1

Posted On: Saturday - August 26th 2023 9:03AM MST
In Topics: 
  Commies  The Russians  History  Socialism/Communism

Note: There will be plenty of China road trip posts to come, for those who like that sort of thing. I do want to keep those up before memories get lost, as I also rely on the many pictures I took to jog them. However, there are likely lots of Peak Stupidity readers who couldn't give a Year of the Rat's ass what's going on in China. We'll intersperse other posts here about 1 for 1. You don't have to read about China. Nobody's got a gun to your head, yet, or even an ice axe, for that matter... Speaking of...

He's Leon Trotsky, famous Russian Communist of (most of) the 1st half of the 20th Century.* Born in 1879 to a well-off Jewish Russian family of 5 (kids), Lev Bronstein, aka, Leon Trotsky**, became an ideological radical, as did others in his family, at a young age. At 19 y/o, after a year or so flirtation with being a "Narodnikism" (revolutionary agrarian socialist populism, per wiki), Trotsky's began his love affair with Marxism. He and Lenin were co-conspirators in the massive Russian Revolution against the Czar of 1917, but they were later rivals, with competing brands of Communism. (Solidarity didn't take, I guess.)

Peak Stupidity isn't here to go over the history of Soviet Communism, though. A reply (I think, as it wasn't specifically directed) to my a question of mine about any attempts at implementing Communism in America during the Great Depression 1.0 linked me to the direct words of Leon Trotsky from a 1934 article of his.

Let me get to that question, which would be a good subject for another post. If there was any time before the recent unpleasantness of the last half century and Long March through the Institutions when Communism was considered in America, it was probably not until the desperate economic times of the 1930s. Regular Americans, fairly unified at this time - remember, wisely, immigration had been nearly cut completely off since 1921*** - likely wanted nothing to do with an ideology like Communism due to the great limited government/free-market roots of the country. Yet economic conditions were terrible, and you figure many people didn't know what to make of this. All I know of from the '30s is Woody Guthrie songs, John Steinbeck novels and, oh yeah, the 4-term President of the US, Franklin Roosevelt. He pushed Socialist programs to "cure" the depression, and if not a Communist at heart, he sure put up with a lot of them in high positions in the US Gov't. (Was that oversight, political expediency - during the war - or purposeful policy?)

Well, the reply commenter going by the handle "Cagey Beast" included a short excerpt from a Leon Trotsky article. Appearing appropriately on Marxists.org, from the Fourth International dated August '34 (Vol 12, #2, if you have the magazines in your attic), is Trotsky's article entitled If America Should Go Communist. The article title says "If", but it reads as encouragement and a how-to guide.

I spent over an hour reading about this man on Wikipedia, so I'll intersperse a few pertinent facts about Leon Trotsky, as I fisk**** his proposition to mid-1930s Americans to Go Marxist!

History is full of surprises, to me at least. I would have lost lots of money on the Jeopardy Daily Double if the question - under "Retarded Marxists in History" - had the answer "This stupid Commie spent 6 months in America 107 years ago." First off, I'd probably have forgotten to phrase my answer in the form of a question, "Who is Groucho?" No, that's not the answer ooops, question - Leon Trotsky moved from his WWI self-exile spot in Switzerland to Paris at the end of '14 to write for yet another in long series of Socialist/Commie newspapers. He was kicked out of France and sent to Spain, where he was promptly kicked out and sent to New York City. (Was he part of that wretched refuse program?)

So, Leon Trotsky knew America, because, you know, he spent half a year in The Bronx There you go. In this post today, I'll just paste in this most stand-out piece - to me - of his long exhortation to Americans to join in the Internationale Communist merry-making. The historically famous Leon Trotsky, co-founder of the USSR, in his own words:
Here is where the American soviets can produce real miracles. "Technocracy" can come true only under communism, when the dead hands of private property rights and private profits are lifted from your industrial system. The most daring proposals of the Hoover commission on standardization and rationalization will seem childish compared to the new possibilities let loose by American communism.

National industry will be organized along the line of the conveyor belt in your modern continuous-production automotive factories. Scientific planning can be lifted out of the individual factory and applied to your entire economic system. The results will be stupendous.
Actually, I don't think I need to write much on this. This stupidity speaks for itself. There's plenty more where that came from, which Peak Stupidity will make light of in posts to come.

Lev Bronstein, aka, Leon Trotsky, came from a well-to-do family and was sent to good schools. He was to be a mathematician in college until he went political. There's no excuse for this stupidity. He wrote this drivel when he was 55 years old! Suffice it to say, that with all that genetic smarts and education, Leon Trotsky could not have lost any IQ points even with an ice axe jammed into the top of his head.

* Honestly, till reading what' I'll discuss here, I'd though he'd died well before he actually did - August of 1940, but he wasn't a big factor in Soviet Communism after the end of the 1920s.

** He lifted his alias from a guard at the prison he inhabited for a couple of years, with exile to Siberia, with his wife, and then 2 daughters there to follow. He escaped in the back of a hay cart. It was no Washington FS J6 dungeon.***** "Trotsky" got married again and had 2 sons by that wife.

*** The Immigration Act of 1924, as signed by Calvin Coolidge, did it, but from what I've read, the clamp-down started in '21.

**** We explained that term 5 years back - see 3rd paragraph there.

***** In fact, Trotsky escaped multiple times from punishment. Except during his time as a military leader - akin to Commander-in-Chief, part of the time - of the Red Army during the ~ 5 year-long Russian Civil war and leader of the Red Terror, he spent a lot of his life in self- and State- imposed exile.

Comments (12)

Donald Trump Arrested, surges in polls

Posted On: Friday - August 25th 2023 8:11PM MST
In Topics: 
  Elections '16 - '24  Trump  US Feral Government  Anarcho-tyranny

I had a post 80% written that will just have to wait until tomorrow. This is big news. It's not the personal damage to Trump that's the big news, but what his arrest means as far as the state of the (dis)union. I never thought in my lifetime that I"d live to see the day there'd be over 1,000 Political Prisoners held without trial in Washington, FS dungeons. I never thought in my lifetime that an ex-President or ANYBODY would be arrested for questioning the results of an election. We are very far gone here.

As regular readers would know, I am a fan of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a few things I don't like about him notwithstanding. However, I'm supporting Trump more and more for the reason shown here:

That's exactly what supporting Trump means to me now. Other than raising the kind of hell one might get thrown into Washington FS dungeons for, supporting Trump right now is the easiest and most visible way to say that one is an enemy of the Potomac Regime.

In this Reuters article, going on about the mug shot of Trump, there are a couple of good paragraphs. This is what I've expected:
Far from damaging his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination, however, the four cases filed against him have only bolstered his standing. He holds a commanding polling lead in the Republican race to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.

Dozens of supporters, waving Trump banners and American flags, jostled for a glimpse as Trump arrived at the jail. Among the Trump backers gathered outside was Georgia U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the former president's most loyal congressional allies.
Yep. Where will we go from here? This is 3rd-World stuff. What happens if we can somehow prevent enough cheating, and he is elected from prison? I mean, remote work is the way now anyway, and we can limit him to one phone call and a tweet a day and no visits from Javanka - he'd get a whole lot more done.

PS: I haven't found which commenter here linked me to this 2nd image some months ago, but thank you! Say "aye" in the comments, if you want.

PPS: I don't know if he'll surge in the polls, actually, but this concept started with the threat of indictment a few months back. How can you run a campaign against this massive movement, not so much pro-Trump as anti-Regime?

Comments (27)