Christopher Tolkien: 21 November 1924 – 15 January 2020

The son of J.R.R. Tolkien. The scholar of Middle Earth.

Christopher Tolkien was the very model of the ideal literary executor. He not only protected his father’s legacy, but substantially added to it through his editing and publishing of the source material that were the foundation for his father’s landmark books. He was a good and faithful servant to his father and Middle Earth fandom, and both Christians and Tolkien fans can rejoice at the thought of the proud approbation with which his father will have welcomed him to his reward.

Because J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian, just as C. S. Lewis was a Christian. You see there was a time when Christians understood fantasy as parable. Not so much anymore.

There will be no Link Roundup Saturday

And maybe not Sunday, either. A very dear friend of mine is burying her mother in the morning. Even though my mother passed away almost 20 years ago, I’ve been crying over her loss since I found out about my friend’s loss the other day.

It truly sucks. And I will be there as much as I can for my friend.

If you haven’t lost a parent, then maybe you don’t know. They made the world safe. Chased away the monsters in the closet. Your mom made you feel better if you skinned your knee, or had your heart broken in high school. When they’re gone, no matter how old you are, the world shifts. And not in a good way.

I still have stuff scheduled, and I may add too the schedule, but I may not. At least for a day or two.

He Will Just Be “Following Orders”

It’s just a job. Doublethink Lesson.

So when he is ordered to “confiscate weapons,” it won’t be his fault. Just “following orders” like the guards at Auschwitz.

He’s a cop somewhere in the not-so-great state of Connecticut.

When he is ordered to guard the concentration camps, load people into boxcars, do anything else his masters in the state decree, he thinks that won’t be his fault either.

Of course that didn’t work out too well in WWII, for the Germans who were just “following orders.” But it will be different this time. (Hat tip to mobiuswolf.)

Heinlein on Censorship

Robert A. Heinlein was a staunch defender of freedom. I think he would be disgusted with the speech codes and safe spaces of our time.

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.

From the Novella, “If This Goes On—” published in 1940, as part of the anthology Revolt in 2100.

Orthodox Jews of New York Defend Their Own

What else can they do? Rely on the politicians? The “system?” That hasn’t worked out too well.

The stabbing attack details at this link.

Japan Executes Murderer

I get the feeling that the only reason this is news is because he was Chinese. Japan executes first foreigner in 10 years in family murder.

Wei Wei, 40, was hanged Thursday at a detention center in Fukuoka where he had been on death row for more than 16 years, Justice Minister Masako Mori said.

Wei was convicted of robbing and killing a clothing store owner and his wife and two children at their home in Fukuoka. He and two Chinese accomplices dumped the bodies into the ocean after attaching weights to them, Mori said at a news conference.

So of course the international “community” is upset that Japan has capital punishment for things like murdering an entire family.

Japan and the U.S. are the only two countries in the Group of Seven advanced nations that retain capital punishment. A survey by the Japanese government showed an overwhelming majority of the public supports executions.

I would be more upset at the state of the Japanese legal system, but then I’m not a “researcher” for Amnesty International. Who they go on about at length.

A Not So Merry Christmas

Hand CuffsBut it’s a story with a happy ending. Pa. homeowner shoots Christmas Eve burglar: police.

According to police, McCleary lunged at the homeowner, who fired a warning shot in the air. McCleary lunged at him again, and the homeowner fired a second shot at McCleary, hitting him in the leg, police say.

Once he gets out of the hospital, McCleary will be charged with criminal trespass, and burglary.

Police say the homeowner is not facing charges at this time, and his actions appear to be protected under state law.

Good Guys 1, Team Grinch 0.

Two Trains Derail In As Many Days?

A curious coincidence.

The first one I heard of was in (or just outside of) Cincinnati. River Road near Sayler Park closed due to train derailment.

Eleven train cars derailed in Sayler Park early Sunday morning leaving River Road closed for the rest of the morning.

The train derailment happened on Bender and Darby Roads around 6 a.m., said Cincinnati Fire and EMS in a Tweet. There are no reported injuries and hazards outside of the immediate area, the tweet stated.

And then I heard about the derailment in West Virginia, which was actually the day before. Freight train derails and falls into Potomac River near Harpers Ferry, W.Va..

A freight train derailed on a bridge near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., early Saturday, spilling two cars into the Potomac River.

That incident damaged a Civil War era bridge.

It is curious, because the commercial-freight rail system is the one part of our infrastructure that receives regular maintenance, not being in the hands of the politicians.

Another Christmas Musical Interlude

This one from Gun Free Zone – Merry Christmas.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra with “Christmas Eve / Sarajevo (Timeless Version).” And another version of Christmas Greetings from Hans Gruber and his crew at Nakatomi Plaza.

Gun Free Zone is (self) described as “Where a Redneck Jew and a Hispanic Catholic write about Gun Rights, Self Defense and whatever else we can think about.”

Neighbor Stops Gunfight

Well, at least one of the people had a gun. Neighbor stops fight where man shot gun 11 times, neighbors say.

Silas said the Good Samaritan lives upstairs and saw him intervene.

“He had the shooter up against the wall,” described Silas.

Silas also said the Good Samaritan got a hold of the gun and was able to give it to police when officers arrived. It’s unclear what led to the gunfight, but Silas said it’s a miracle no one was seriously injured or killed.

At least 11 shots were fired and no one was injured? Maybe it was a Christmas miracle.

White Island (or Whakaari) Volcano Erupts

This story from the Mirror, actually is one of the more complete stories. No more survivors expected to be found after New Zealand volcano disaster: Police issue warning after five people were confirmed dead and more than 20 unaccounted for following eruption.

  • White Island, located 29 miles off New Zealand’s North Island, erupted at 2.11pm local time on Monday
  • Five people have been confirmed dead, 18 injured, and more than 20 people are thought to be missing
  • Police say there have been ‘no signs of life’ from the island, and no more survivors are expected to be found

There is more at the link.

The key takeaway seems to be that there was no warning.

This video from Today is fairly complete, and shows a portion of the cellphone video recorded by an American, whose family had just ended a tour of the island.

Paul Volcker: September 5, 1927 – December 8, 2019

If you have to have a central bank, he was the central banker you wanted. Paul Volcker, Fed chair who fought runaway inflation, has died at age 92.

Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman who in the early 1980s raised interest rates to historic highs and triggered a recession as the price of quashing double-digit inflation, has died, according to his office. He was 92.

People forget about double digit inflation. I would have to look to see the exact rate, but my first mortgage was something on the order of 14 or 15 percent. Today, people complain about 4 percent.

He is also one of the more quotable central bankers, as he spoke in English, and not some bureaucratic doublespeak. (There was a cottage industry that grew up around translating Alan Greenspan’s statements.)

It is a sobering fact that the prominence of central banks in this century has coincided with a general tendency towards more inflation, not less. [I]f the overriding objective is price stability, we did better with the nineteenth-century gold standard and passive central banks, with currency boards, or even with ‘free banking.’ The truly unique power of a central bank, after all, is the power to create money, and ultimately the power to create is the power to destroy.
– Paul Volcker

How many technocrats would admit that their entire industry and its process for the past 100 years have been a failure?

Next Meme: “Jeffery Epstein’s Banker Didn’t Kill Himself”

Who was it that first said, “Follow the money?” Jeffrey Epstein’s Long-Time Banker Found Dead From Hanging, Immediately Ruled a ‘Suicide’.

Corporate banker Thomas Bowers, who ran the U.S. division of private wealth management for Deutsche Bank AG, reportedly committed suicide last month at the age of 55 by hanging himself with a rope in his California residence.

However, his extensive ties to deceased sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein – who also died from a mysterious suicide – has caused speculation about what the real cause of Bowers’ death may be.

I can’t imagine what could cause that kind of speculation.

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Well, almost.

There will be a Saturday Links post today, but it will involve minimal editing, and be a bit truncated. I’ve been too busy.

But the holiday is over. The leftovers are dealt with. I kept my head down and avoided Black Friday insanity. (Mostly, the traffic was killer yesterday afternoon…)

I did end up watching most of an NFL football game. The Thursday classic match – Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions. My brother-in-law is an avid Bears fan, so you cannot avoid football.

Thanksgiving and Family

I will be busy the next couple of days with family, and cooking, and all the things that make Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays. So. Talk among yourselves. I have a few things in the pipe, so it won’t be radio silence, but it also won’t be business as usual until at least sometime on Friday, and maybe not until Saturday.

Don’t forget to look for the various link roundups. (See last Sunday for list of sites to check.) Visit people from the sidebar. But also try to spend some time with family and friends, because that is what makes Thanksgiving special.

What Would You Do With 44,000 Pounds of Chocolate?

I like chocolate as much as the next person, but really… Austrian thief steals 20 tons of chocolate. That would be 20 metric (or long) tons.

“In recent years we have seen a number of individual cases where loaded trucks never arrived — also containing chocolate,” a police spokeswoman told news agency DPA.

Though if you are going to steal 20 tons of chocolate, Milka would be a good choice. If you’ve never heard of “Milka’s purple cow” (she’s named Lila) or had any of her chocolate, you wouldn’t understand. It isn’t the best chocolate I’ve ever had, but it is better than 95 percent of the rest of the stuff sold in such large quantities.

That 20 tons is worth about €50,000 or $55,000.

The Easiest Way to Solve This Is for BK to Stop the Vegan BS

Because you can’t please these people. Vegan Man is Suing Burger King Over Impossible Whopper.

A vegan man is suing Burger King because the meatless Impossible Whopper is cooked on the same grill as meat products.

So screw ’em. Stop the vegan BS.