Mimsy Were the Borogoves

One can rely on a free society to create the moderate, but one cannot rely on a moderate to create a free society. — Natan Sharansky (The Case for Democracy)

Save clipboard text to the current folder—Wednesday, June 9th, 2021
Save clipboard text

The script gets the default filename from the first line of text—often, a Markdown headline.

One scripting option that is often overlooked on the Mac is the Finder toolbar. You can drag any application into the toolbar and it will then be available for clicking in any open Finder window—or for dragging and dropping files from an open Finder window onto the icon.

You can use this as a simple shortcut for items that would normally go under the Services menu, but it is especially useful for doing file-related things that don’t involve selecting files. There is no Services menu in Finder windows if nothing’s selected, but there is a toolbar.

I often have text in the clipboard that I want to save to a file. Very often I can see the folder I want that file in, open in the Finder. It’s annoying to see it right there and still have to go into Terminal to type pbpaste then into the Finder to drag the folder’s drag icon onto the Terminal then back into Terminal to press return. Or, in the case of iA Writer, to have to create the document, paste it in, rename it, drag the title bar icon of the correct location to the Move dialog1 and then approve a move out of iCloud.

It would be a lot easier to have an icon in the Finder toolbar that would automatically dump clipboard text to a text file right there.

Often the text I’ve copied is a subset of a Markdown file. I’ve decided to make one collection of subthoughts in a post be, instead, the main thought in another post. It would be great if this hypothetical script could shift headlines to the left as necessary to make the top line be a top-level headline.

This script will do both of those tasks. It will prompt for a filename to save the clipboard text to, using the folder displayed in the current Finder window as the default location; and it will modify Markdown headlines, shifting them left appropriately to make the first paragraph be a top-level headline.

Open Script Editor on your Mac, and paste this in:

Mitt Romney Day 2021: The West Side Left—Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021
Orwell: mostly peaceful riots

“Mostly peaceful.”

The Mitt Romney’s Day Award recognizes those who go above and beyond the call of duty creating Calvinball rules to silence non-beltway voices. Since last year’s Mitt Romney Day there were several peaceful protests. Buildings were taken over, vehicles burned, and police officers killed. Peacefully.

There was a riot where none of these things happened. Violently.

To my shame, I actually bought into the riot narrative. I was there. I knew that the media were lying about what happened on the front lawn of the Capitol, where I was at, and I still assumed they were telling the truth about police officers killed inside the Capitol, where I was not. It was a classic case of Gell-Mann Amnesia.

The media and beltway politicians in Congress still claim, despite all evidence to the contrary, that I was personally involved in an armed rebellion—an armed rebellion without any arms and with damned little rebellion. Even after the Capitol Police and those same news outlets have quietly walked back the claim that January 6 protestors killed police officers. The media knew this was false almost immediately, according to family members of the officers. They didn’t care. They were using the lie to advance a bigger lie.

They lied about police officers killed during the January 6 protests, after months of covering up real deaths during real riots, even to the point of paying bail for rioters. Officer David Dorn comes to mind. He was killed by rioters in St. Louis. But no officer was killed in the January 6 protests. No one was killed except Ashley Babbitt—and this is the one case where we still don’t know which police officer did it.

Democrats encouraged destruction and death in suburbs and cities. Then they called for punishing unarmed protestors who went into a public building with approval by police on site. They lied about murders that did happen in other people’s neighborhoods, and made up murders that never happened in DC.

Slavery is barbarism—Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
Frederick Douglass: Slavery is barbarism

This was originally going to be part of Two Weeks and the Madness of Experts, but it kept getting longer. The left often uses opposite words, words and phrases that literally say the opposite of what they mean. One of the worst is that when they talk about freedom, they mean slavery. They desperately want to return to a time when a plantation elite controlled the lives of all the lesser folk; I doubt this is ever more obvious than when they talk about the economic benefits of slavery.

The left keeps claiming that slavery is a wealth creator, despite all of the evidence of history. Why? The more I see the left and progressives cling to the regressive notion that slavery was some kind of net economic positive, despite all of the evidence that slavery impeded economic growth and technological progress, the more sinister it seems. Why is it so important to them that we believe slavery had its good qualities?

I think that the left needs us to think slavery was a net wealth creator because they need us to believe that freedom is not a wealth creator. That freedom is inefficient compared to slavery and the expertise of slave owners. For decades under communism, all the way to the end, they bemoaned the “fact” that the Soviet Union’s planned economy would inevitably overtake the United State’s free market and leave us in the dustbin of history.

The kind of aristocratic government they prefer is a throwback to the barbarism of the past. But when people know that freedom creates wealth, people also know that the left’s barbarism doesn’t work.

Everywhere that there have been relatively free societies next to a slave society, the slave society has been poor and backward compared to their neighbors.

From Sparta—it’s where we got the word spartan to mean lacking comfort—through the American south and even into the present, slavery has impeded progress and wasted wealth.

Even after the Civil War, the one industry in the south that improved the fastest was the one that had previously been most dependent on slave labor: cotton.

As bad as industry was in the south after the war, the cotton industry had been worse under slavery.

Their descent into identity politics and social justice isn’t really a change for the Democratic Party. It’s the same old trickery they pulled in Lincoln’s time. They still think their slavery under a different name is a positive force and segregation a social good, just as they did before the Civil War. Let Lincoln’s “it” in the following quote apply to socialism or segregation, and it still is true today:

The Joy of Food—Saturday, May 15th, 2021

“A blog that celebrates eating well and living La Dolca Vita.”

Joy is a master in living the good life with food and travel, and her photos will make you hungry not just for the food but for the place they were taken.

The Tyranny of Experts and the Great Unlearning—Monday, May 10th, 2021

“Gender dysphoria is when XY or XX chromosomes reveal themselves correctly anatomically, but something in the brain views these correctly functioning organs as ‘wrong.’ Who would look at that sad situation and conclude that it’s the genitals that require treatment?

“Wuhan Flu is a killer almost exclusively of the aged, the infirm, the obese, and the malnourished—typically a combination of at least two of the four. Who would look at that situation and decide that the best course was to shut in the young, the healthy, the trim, and the well-nourished?”

Two weeks, and the madness of experts—Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Altar of Feynman

There’s an old saying about people who say one thing, and act like they believe the opposite. They obviously don’t believe their own words. They might be lying, but they might also merely believe that only other people ought to follow the rules they make.

They might even believe that everyone, including themselves, should follow the rules—but only in the abstract. Everyone else is always abstract, but they easily come up with specific reasons why they, themselves, should be exempt in this particular case. They have Reasons for not following their own rules, while not recognizing that everyone else will also have Reasons.

This blindness is not uncommon among people in general; the problem with government administrators and government experts is that they actually get to make rules that only other people have to follow. Government “experts” are still trying to bring back the 55 mph speed limit, and repeal the 85th percentile rule1, despite all of the hard evidence about how many lives were lost the last time we tried that. Of course, when they’re on the road, they’ll have good Reasons for exceeding those limits, just like they did the last time around.

All of the media talking heads and politicians who say that masks help, act like they believe the opposite. If they took masks seriously, they wouldn’t take their masks off as soon as they thought the camera was off. They wouldn’t require people to wear the same old contaminated mask they’ve been wearing all day—or all week or all month. They’d require a new mask for every establishment and every event, and require new masks at regular intervals during each event.

They’d also require new masks whenever someone touches their mask.

That’s what people who take masks seriously do. If you know any surgeons, ask them how often they use the mask from one surgery during a different surgery. Ask them how they dispose of their masks. They never re-use them. Disposal is a serious business. Ideally, they’re changing masks every two hours or less. And they don’t take the mask out to their car, take it off with their bare hands, and lay it aside on the seat next to the groceries until their next surgery.

Deadly complications of government bureaucracy—Wednesday, April 28th, 2021
West Texas Oil Pumpjack

One of the most durable and reliable machines ever constructed. Their biggest vulnerability: government bureaucracy.

The Permian Basin fiasco reminds me of the other major power crisis I’ve been through, when I did lose power—and the hospital that had kept me in power during the regular California rolling blackouts lost power too. In the 2011 Southwest Blackout Event, power was knocked out in “parts of Arizona, southern California, and Baja California, Mexico” including “all of the San Diego area”.

That’s a huge area. The outage started a little before 3:30 in the afternoon on a Thursday. At the time, power used to go out somewhat regularly for the university where I worked so I decided to head home. There wasn’t much point in waiting for power to come back up. The University had backup generators for servers, so they were fine—but not for offices, so I couldn’t do anything. And my workday ended around four anyway.

I was a little surprised to see that the power was also out to the traffic signal at the bottom of the hill. This outage apparently wasn’t limited to the university.

And then the power was also out at the traffic signal at Fashion Valley, and again all around Hotel Circle. Traffic was badly backed up. I got off of my bicycle and walked it the rest of the way to my apartment.

It took a little longer for the battery backups in cell towers to go out, so I was able to discover how widespread the outage was. Knowing that an outage that large would have a correspondingly long restoration time, a bunch of us at my apartment got food out to the grill at the pool, and drinks of course, and we made a party of it.

I remember going to sleep with the power still out. I didn’t have air conditioning at my apartment—it was San Diego—but I did rely on fans for evaporative cooling, and of course those were all electric. The power outage covered everything that ran on electricity. Besides traffic lights, sewage pumping stations were out of power. The dangers cascaded far beyond no air conditioning on a hot day, though that also was dangerous inland—it reached 115 degrees in El Centro.

The reason for the blackout? A technician was going through a checklist of steps, and at the same time talking to people helping him go through this checklist of steps to prepare for future items on it.

The reincarnation of the B6000C bread machine—Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
Baked loaf from West Bend Hi-Rise

A very nice loaf of white chocolate macadamia bread, if slightly overdone.

Those of you who are, with me, fans of the Black & Decker B6000C bread machine should take a look at the West Bend model 47413 on sale at QVC right now.

I received a Black & Decker B6000C All-in-One Automatic Bread Maker for Christmas in 2014. I immediately liked it a lot, but it was my first bread maker, so I had nothing to compare it to. I didn’t realize how special it was until I tried to replace it after semi-accidentally screwing it up (more later). The B6000C itself and its parts were discontinued and, unsurprisingly, expensive from third parties. But there didn’t seem to be anything to replace it with. Most other bread machines only have one paddle. They make vertical loaves of bread. They make tiny loaves of bread.

I continued to make do with a degraded bread machine for another year because there was no replacement.1 It still continued to make bread fine. But it finally died two weeks ago. This time around, when I did a search for a three-pound breadmaker, I found the West Bend 47413 on QVC.

Black & Decker and West Bend breadmakers

The old Black & Decker B6000C and the new West Bend 47413 Hi-Rise side-by-side. They are clearly very similar bread machines. A closer look, and they’re very likely the same bread machines, with some improvements in the West Bend.

The 47413 is for almost all practical purposes the same machine. In fact, it’s so similar I suspect that they literally are the same machine, with minor changes to either improve it or to keep them from using interchangeable parts.

The West Bend has changed a few settings.

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