I like Trump because of his vices

This guy, Shmuel Klatzkin, almost says why I so like the Trump Presidency:

But I think it will become clearer that the only antidote to the clever dishonesty of the Obama years was the blunt, bulldozing, free-talking, bragging Trump. For all his many faults, he has kept the most basic faith between the electorate and an elected leader — he tells the people what he means to do, and then he does it.

The point is that only blunt bulldozing would have sufficed. Where it says “for all his many faults”, it should have said something more like “because of his virtues and because of his faults …”. Trump is operating at a time when “virtue” would have rendered him utterly ineffective. Trump would either come out swinging and yelling and bragging. Or, he’d fail. Klatzkin said all that, but then, when it came to summarising his piece, he missed the nail and hit timber.

I recall writing a piece for Samizdata not long after Trump was elected, in which I expressed the hope that he would not stop tweeting. I hoped he would not turn over a new leaf and become “Presidential”. He has not turned over that new leaf. Good. It was essential that he did not.

England v Pakistan: No spectators and all the time in the world

The first test match between England and Pakistan could be a terrible disappointment, for England fan me. But, as I write this now, it could get special. England are chasing 277, I think it is, in the fourth innings. Pakistan got a first innings lead of over a hundred, but then got bowled out for only 169, so England appear to have a chance. It’s the morning of the fourth day now, so England have two days to get those runs. Nobody is at the ground watching, other than the players not out on the pitch and the ground staff and the TV and radio commentators. But it turns out that mere spectators at the ground aren’t necessary for test cricket to be thoroughly absorbing. Test cricket can be played in front of a live studio audience. But if it isn’t, nothing important seems to change.

Basically, if England start losing wickets now, as they well might according to what I’m hearing about plays and misses, then Pakistan will surely win later today, by quite a lot. If England can somehow hang about until tomorrow, they have a chance.

Oh dear. England one down already.

LATER:

England are nevertheless now hurtling towards their target.

LATER: Three quick wickets. England now four down and sinking fast. Shame. Looks like being all over today. The next LATER in this looks being that.

Some more creature tweets

A scary tweet:

The other thing I found out was that the female monarch butterfly has an array of chitinous teeth inside her ‘vagina’ …

Chitinous? Excuse me while I google that. Here we go.

A nitrogen-containing polysaccharide that is a tough, protective, semitransparent substance and is the principal component of arthropod exoskeletons and the cell walls of certain fungi.

A tweet about how They solved a life-threatening problem for this glorious pelican.

A scornful tweet, about how the brother of a lion was also a lion. Or so CNN claimed.

A tweet about a beautiful, very long but only two-door, charger. Which is a creature.

A tweet about Mama monkey making funny faces at baby.

A tweet about what someone joining in the tweeting called a beautiful bird, which means I can include it in this list. What it really is is a huge nuclear bomber airplane called the Convair B-36, which had both propellers and jets to drive it along. It reminds me of those big old sailing ships that also had coal-powered engines:

Anyone know where that photo was taken? It should be recognisable, if you recognise it I mean.

Are you bored with all these creatures tweets? Well then, here, especially for you, is a tweet about a snake yawning.

Olympic mascot fun on the South Bank

We’re talking about “Wenlock”, one of these two.

All I knew about Wenlock and “Mandeville”, at the time, was that I did not approve, because I did not approve of the Olympics. My opinions on other matters determined my aesthetic preferences. But the aftermath of the Olympics was not the anticlimactic waste and squalour in the Olympic part of London that I then feared. So, now? They look like fun. How we humans do love our other creature friends, even when they’re totally made up.

It would appear that they used the same formula as they later did for buses and elephants, and suchlike. Lots and lots of copies, all identical in shape, but each decorated differently. How could I object to that?

Here we see a couple of Wenlocks, on the South Bank, in the Olympic summer of 2012, being photoed with tourists, by tourists. And by me.

There was a Wenlock decorated with an octopus and two fishes (one jelly, one regular), and I daresay with other aquatic creatures:

And there was a Wenlock dressed as Big Ben:

And, as a little image-googling quickly confirmed, many more besides.

I did some cropping to exclude some faces of kids, which meant Wenlock also had one of his faces sliced in half, while still keeping the excellent fifth finger of the left hand of a photoer. The lady waving her arms and legs in the air was making a bit of a public spectacle of herself, and is accordingly fair blogging game.

Still Thames water at the beginning of Lockdown

I think that, on balance, this was the best photo I got yesterday:

But I didn’t photo it yesterday. I couldn’t have. This was taken on April 5th, by Alastair. He showed it to me on his phone, and I said, can I stick it here. No problem.

What we see is the effect of Lockdown when it began, and when it was as tight as they could make it. The point being: no boats moving on the River. So, in the absence of wind, the surface of the Thames is ultra-smooth. Not quite as smooth as an actual mirror, but pretty close. On his phone, I had to take this on trust. But with my clunky old C20–style computer with its big C21 screen attached, I can see it clearly. Wonderful.

It is possible that in the above, April 5th should be read as May 4th, but I don’t believe so. I wish the Anglos could have a conference and agree about the order of month and day of month numbers. 4-5-2020, 5-4-2020? May 4, April 5? I never know which is which. When communicating dates, to myself or to anyone else, I try always to use English for the month, and then it’s clear.

But back to the photo, which was taken with his mobile (a Samsung). But of course. When those things learn to do x25 zoom, I’ll probably stop bothering with a camera type camera myself.

Greenwich cat

So, what with Fridays being my day for cats and other creatures, did Alastair and I encounter any cats, or other creatures, on our wanderings yesterday?

Well, there was this cat:

As you can see, I did a bit of a photo session with this cat. He/she was utterly unmoved, literally. Right next to the pavement, but not scared and not interested.

From which I conclude that this particular part of London is one of those keep-themselves-to-themselves sort of places. Nice but quiet. Not a lot of socialising in the street but nothing to frighten the humans, or the cats. If you’re a cat, humans tend to leave you be, but are not a threat.

I know, it’s very anecdotal. Maybe he/she was just getting old.

Towers and flowers

I spent this afternoon with Alastair, who often comments here. Great day. We walked from Greenwich to the Dome, with pauses for drink. So, am now knackered.

Which means that just one photo will have to suffice for now:

That was how the towers of Docklands were looking from the other side of the River, where there were flowers.

Good night. Sleep well. I will.

LATER: Well, I didn’t sleep that well, but I did get the starting point of our wanderings wrong. Blackheath, not Greenwich. Which makes it more than I said. Nobody else will care, but I like to get these things right, for myself.

Quotulated on the subject of responsibility

It’s always a pleasure to be Quotulated. That particular Quotulation being from a posting I did for Samizdata entitled Jordan Peterson on responsibility – and on why it is important that he is not a politician.

Here’s another bit from that Samizdata piece that was not Quotulated, but which gives you a flavour of it:

But getting back to what Peterson says about “responsibility”, the deeply refreshing thing about how he uses this word is that, because he is not a politician, he separates the benefits to me of me choosing to live responsibly from the idea of him deciding what he thinks these responsibilities of mine should be, and then compelling me to accept them whether I judge them to be wise or appropriate or meaningful for me or not. The process he wants to set in motion in my mind is of me thinking about what my responsibilities should be. He is arguing that I should choose my own cross, as best I can, and then carry it as best I can, because this is what will be best for me. He is not telling me which cross it should be, in a way that he calculates will be advantageous for him.

Because this Samizdata piece was done quite a while back, I began reading the bit of it that the Quotulatiousness guy Quotulated from it knowing only that it was a Quotulatiousness QotD, by somebody or other, and that it concerned Responsibility. I began reading it, and thought: This is not bad. I like this. I do like it when I read something I like, and then find out that I wrote it myself.

It doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes you read something you know you wrote, because your own name at the top was the first thing you clocked, and then you think: This is bollocks. (In this paragraph, for “you” read “I” throughout.)

Colourful messages in Victoria Street yesterday

One of the reasons I foresee a lot more colour in London in the next few years is that colour is all part of the imagery of thew political orthodoxies of our time.

These three photos, which I took yesterday, all illustrate this opinion of mine, or I think they do:

Left, 55 Broadway, flying a rainbow flag where previously flags like the London Underground flag or the Union Jack would flutter. Middle, a sign signifying the now near-universal worship of the NHS, outside the entrance to Westminster City Hall. Right, a rainbow very recently applied to the road. Who by? For how long? Not sure.

This sort of stuff is now the colour scheme of public virtue. These colours are not merely pretty. They mean something. They are all messages. Sexual identity flexibility. Ethnic diversity. These colours proclaim virtue, and denounce vice.

So, if you are against things being painted or decorated thus, that means you oppose virtue and you favour vice. This is why the colours will spread, because who’s going to stop this? Stopping it will mean favouring vice, and who’s going to do that?

Purple pavement passage

Which sounds like a description of a particularly florid piece of writing about a pavement, but actually I’m talking about this:

Passages like that one are one of the oddities of modern urban life. They happen when a rather posh building is being erected right next to a narrow pavement, over which they want to get some serious work done, but beneath which they do not want to antagonise potential customers and word-of-mouthers thinking about and talking about the people doing the building, thereby threatening the subsequent selling of the apartments or offices in the building, when it’s finished. If the developers mess with the lives of passers-by while they’re building, that at least suggests that they might have a similarly casual attitude to their actual customers. There is so much money at stake here, so big a gap between feast or famine for the developers, that a bit of extra bother at ground level, just next to the site, is well worth going to. Factor in the recent intensification of health-and-safety, and the desire by developers to avoid damaging fights with local bureaucrats, and you have yourself an entire new urban form, the scaffolded pavement passage.

In this particular one, which is in Victoria Street next to and beneath The Broadway, the shininess of the cladding on the inside and the colourful lighting combine to striking effect. We’re looking south east towards Parliament Square. The right hand photo is basically a close-up of the middle of the left hand photo.

I took these photos yesterday afternoon. As with so much that happens in cities these day, if you don’t like it, you needn’t fret. It’ll soon be gone.