That Would Be a Very Bad Idea, Cupcake

Allow me to explain, Pam, why this is a really, really bad idea. I have warned about how bad an idea legal reprisals against a departing administration would be, but let’s consider the specific case you present here.

Let’s consider for a moment, purely for the sake of argument, that this were actually true. If folk, including governors, started treating Trump as the legitimate president and, therefore, the election illegitimate, what’s to stop them from treating an impeachment or indictment as equally illegitimate? Even imprisonment (follow that indictment with a show trial and send him to prison) wouldn’t stop it. After all, it’s not unknown for mob bosses to continue to run their organizations from behind bars.

So, what’s the solution? If this is truly the path they were to take how would they stop that “shadow government”? There are only two ways. One would be to hold Trump completely incommunicado, even to the extent of forbidding him contact with counsel to discuss appeals and other aspects of due process. Or they would simply have to kill him (assassination or execution depending on whether they fig-leaf it with a kangaroo court).

That would be absolute “go time”. Count on it.

Indeed, at this point, after comments by people like you, Pam, the movers and shakers among the Left need to be praying for Trump’s continued good health because if anything happened to him, anything at all–his fault, their fault, nobody’s fault–nothing in the universe would prevent people from assuming it was a political assassination and responding accordingly. Just like few people believe that Epstein killed himself.

So, I’ll say it here first: Donald Trump did not kill himself.

At that point, it won’t matter what actually happened. All that will matter is what people believe. And, people will believe that your side had him killed. And none of your willing lapdogs in the media will be able to change that belief. And when you add rhetoric about making lists of Trump “supporters” with what qualifies as a “supporter” being left delightfully vague, people with even a modest preference for Trump’s policies (i.e. close to half the nation) will see their options shrinking, getting closer to “fight or die” or maybe “fight and die or just die”. In which case, you’ll see a lot of people figuring if they are going down anyway, they might as well take a few others with them.

And that is why following your line of thinking to its inevitable conclusion is a very bad idea indeed.

Feeding the Active Writer: TDG Keto Iced Sugar Cookies

Once again I venture into experimenting with cookie recipes. This is one that has almost no net carbs–1/2 gram carbs per good-sized cookie. They are high in fat and low in protein making them a good “fat bomb” for folk trying to hit specific targets on their daily macros.


The cookies:

  • 1 cup butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sugar substitute such as Splenda (make sure it’s a 1 to 1 sugar substitute. The amount is high because most sweeteners, including Splenda, lose some of their sweetness in cooking. You may need to experiment to taste if you use something else)
  • 1/2 cup cellulose fiber powder
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk fiber powder.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

The frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered (confectioners) sweetener. (If all you have is granulated, you can use a blender to make powdered sweetener. Note that the volume will go down in the course of blending it. Measure the powdered sweetener, not the original granulated.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy cream.
  • optional: food coloring

To make the cookies, place the butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. You can also place them in a food processor and process on high. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Place in the refrigerator to chill at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C). Line a baking sheet (I used a large pizza pan here) with parchment paper. Scoop out some of the cookie dough and roll into about a 2″ (5 cm) ball. Flatten it and place it on the parchment paper. It should make about 16 3″ (7.5 cm) cookies.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the cookies are cooling, you can make the frosting.

Add the butter, vanilla, and 1 Tbsp of the heavy cream to a small mixing bowl. Beat on high until smooth. Add the sweetener and continue to beat. Add small amounts of additional heavy cream until you get a good consistency to the frosting. It should hold together (not break apart into “crumbs”) while beating but should remain stiff. Be careful not to add too much cream or you’ll end up with a runny frosting.

You can leave the frosting its basic off-white color or you can add food coloring. You can divide the frosting into several smaller bowls and add different colors to add some visual variety to the cookies. I did not bother here, just using a bit of yellow food coloring for the whole batch.

Spread the frosting over the cooled cookies. The recipe makes enough for a generous coating on each of 16 cookies.


Each cookie (of 16) has 19.5 g fat, 1.5 g protein, and 0.5 g net carbs and about 4 g of dietary fiber making it a near-perfect fat bomb.

Goth on Ice: A rough Day

Just under one hour on the ice yesterday. Had planned to try to do at least a full hour only at about 57 minutes of skating in, they told everyone to clear the ice so they could run the Zamboni. I wasn’t going to wait until they were done resurfacing the ice to skate an additional 3 minutes.

The bad: when I got off the ice I found one of my skate guards where I left it. I leave it sitting on the wall next to the entrance to the ice (common for folk to leave their guards here). I like to wear the guards whenever I’m in skates off the ice. The floors at the rink are padded to protect the blades but there’s always the chance of stepping on something which can nick the blade and ruin your edge.

Now sometimes one of the guards will fall off the wall. I then find it on the floor next to it. Not this time. It was gone. G O N E gone. Brand new guards and I have to buy another pair.

The good: While I was sitting on the floor (the benches and chairs were packed) removing my pads and changing from skates back to my shoes, a couple of young women (early 20’s maybe) approached me and asked where I got my mask. (I was wearing the spiked pleather mask in black and painted to look like blood spatter.) I said “Amazon.” They said that they liked my style (I was wearing a ruffled shirt, a paisley vest in red and back, and dress slacks. And they liked my earrings (little “dragon claws” holding a milky white orb–cheap costume jewelry bought at Hot Topic). Okay, they were a third of my age but it was nice to hear.

The frustrating: Forward change of edge, outside to inside, on a line. That is one of the techniques I need for Adult 6 and it’s proving…a challenge doesn’t begin to cover it. I find it harder than the Consecutive outside and consecutive inside edges that my instructor had me learning shortly before the COVID shutdown stuff. The consecutive forward edges is normally learned in Free Skate 1, which is two levels “higher” than Adult 6. I’m thinking this is actually more challenging than the spins that I’ve been attempting to learn.

This technique, required for “Adult 6” is proving to be my kryptonite.  I swear it’s harder than consecutive forward outside and consecutive forward inside edges even though those aren’t required until Free Skate 1.  While I was struggling with them in practice my instructor skated over from her own class (we have practice time at one end of the rink when the other class is in session) and gave me two suggestions:

1: Don’t try full half circles, just go for shallower “half ovals” for now.
2: Do the outside edge on one foot, then go ahead and glide on both for the other, just to get used to the movement for now.

I was told in another case that the flailing my arms around when I make the edge change was “throwing off my balance.” However, the causal arrow is reversed.  I’m flailing my arms around because my balance is already off and I’m just trying to stay upright.

I start with the “skating foot” side arm forward, and the other arm back and to the outside.  When I make the edge change, I have to move the trailing arm down and to the outside (of the new curve) to keep from falling over, and within a few inches to a couple of feet I have to put the free foot down.

It’s very frustrating.  At first I reminded myself that the consecutive edges were equally frustrating when I was just starting, but it’s not coming together like the edges (and the swing rolls they led to–necessary for Adult 5), so I’m particularly frustrated here.

For other techniques I’ve been able to use YouTube tutorials as an added assistance when I was getting stuck.  They sometimes provide either a different approach from my instructor that “clicks” better for me or a reminder of something that I forgot or didn’t catch when the instructor was teaching it. (Example, the back to front two-foot turn is done on the back of the blade where I’d been trying to do it on the front, on the “spin rocker”.) However, I’ve been able to find nothing on this technique.

Political Violence and the Second Amendment

Anyone reading this blog knows that I am a strong proponent of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, among other things for the defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In particular, when it comes to liberty, as, in the final extreme, as a defense against government tyranny. I have also written, with great vigor, in opposition of using violence in protests and how calling violence “protest” does not make it legal, even if the cause of that protest is just (and especially when it’s not).

Some might think that makes me a hypocrite. Well, that’s for others to judge, but hear me out here on my reasons to hold both views.

The first thing to consider is the purpose of protest. In general, the purpose of protest is to bring to light injustice (as those protesting see it) in order to sway public policy by creating a climate of opinion such that those in power will be encouraged to change their ways. This usually involves making people aware of the injustice, convincing them that it is and injustice, and making it important enough to them that it will affect their voting decisions (in places with representative government anyway) thus encouraging those in power to address and rectify the injustice. In Milton Friedman’s words, it creates a situation where it’s politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things:

For that purpose, violence, leaving aside moral issues, is rarely helpful. If anything, it tends to harden opposition. Usually, these issues are those where the majority would agree if they were only aware of the scope, or even existence, of the problem.

One might ask, then, if peaceful protest is so much more effective than violent, what, then, is the point of supporting RKBA as a hedge against government tyranny. To answer that, one has to look to more serious cases, cases where the entire system is corrupt, where there is no way to peacefully protest and get the message heard. Censorship (whether by government or by monopolisitic or near-monopolistic information distribution channels). Being deliberately misconstrued and lied about in the media. Or a government that simply is not responsive to popular will or does not respect the rights of individuals. Those are the kinds of things that can render peaceful protest moot.

But, here’s the point. When you cross the line from “peaceful protest” to “using violence” you are no longer engaging in protest, per se. Individually, you are engaging in violent crime. If it goes on enough, you are waging war against the government and nation. You may consider the government illegitimate. It may, in fact, be illegitimate, but even so what you’re doing is waging war. Put another way, once you become violent, you are no longer protesting, but rebelling.

And you can expect to be treated as doing so.

In protest, a peaceful protest, you can generally expect to go home at the end and, barring actual injustice (which will only underscore your cause) you can expect not to be arrested and imprisoned for your peaceful protest. If you are, well, that just proves your point and everyone seeing it can recognize that. You can go on basically living your life as normal until the next protest in which you participate.

If your protest was actually peaceful.

If it was not peaceful however you are now an actual criminal. You might be a traitor (as the government and its supporters, however legitimate or illegitimate they may be). You cannot then expect to just go back to your life. This will follow you until you either win, are captured, tried, and punished, or if you’re lucky until you’re forgotten.

Or, maybe you’ll be lucky. Maybe you’ll actually be useful to those in power for their particular political purposes and they’ll let you go unmolested because it suits them. But beware. That only lasts so long as you are politically useful to them. And it tends to have the opposite reaction of the goal of protest given above: it tends to harden opinions against you. Oh, people might voice agreement with you but it’s fear, or at least prudence, talking. They are saying what they hope will prevent them from being attacked. But their minds aren’t changed, not in your favor anyway, and once the threat goes away they go right back to opposition to your views.

Violence, then, is really only justified when there is no other recourse, when speech is shut down, when public opinion no longer matters, when elections are decided, as alluded to by Stalin, not by those who vote, but by those who count the votes. And when you cross that line, it’s not an issue of “protest and go home” but it’s war. Don’t kid yourself that it’s anything else. The war might be justified, but it remains a war and you are an enemy combatant to the powers that be. They might just treat you as a criminal if they don’t want to acknowledge the war. Or they may go ahead and acknowledge the war and brand you a traitor. In either case, you are pledging “your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor” to that cause.

If you aren’t ready to do that, then keep your protest peaceful, and stay far away from those who do not.

Goth on Ice: Turning Inward

The technique of the day is the Forward Inside Three-Turn. Last week, my instructor introduced me to it but we didn’t really get time to work on it. And I haven’t had a lot of ice time since then, what with one thing or another. Today I got some video of my attempts. It’s not exactly my first attempts but pretty close.

As you can see it’s awkward and rather hit or miss (and rather more miss than hit). Still, it’s better than my outside three-turn was at the equivalent point in my training. And, like with my outside thee-turn (and pretty much everything) I’m better with my left foot than my right.

In class a few hours after this practice session I went over it with my instructor. (First let me note that she acknowledged that my outside three turn was good enough to pass Adult 5. It needs to get better, but for now it’s one more thing I can check off for Adult 5.)

One point she corrected was my foot position. I had been holding my free foot alongside the gliding foot as I had been doing for my outside three turn. She recommended holding it behind my gliding foot, even a bit outside, in a “T” position. This would help get the hip around for the turn. Her second recommendation is a perennial problem. I need to keep my head and eyes up. I have the bad habit of looking down at where I’m trying to skate, to see the curve I’m trying to follow. That’s probably a contributing factor to that forward lean. Finally, she suggested “a little more gas.” It’s easier to do the turn if you have a bit more momentum to carry you through it.

After three turns she asked if I had learned Mohawks. Yes…sort of. She had me show it and, apparently good enough for now because she called a “ten step sequence”. I’m not sure how the “steps” are counted, but it’s two forward crossovers, a forward inside Mohawk, a step behind (stepping and crossing behind the gliding foot, then uncrossing the front foot, then a back crossover, then a “step out” to forward inside edge (a backward inside Mohawk). This is not, actually, too different from what I do as part of my warmup when I skate. It adds that “cross behind”, which I hadn’t done before. It’s also a technique for the Pre-Free-Skate level of skating training. It’s supposed to look something like this:

Let’s just say it will need work. But it does let me practice a number of techniques that I need to improve quickly during the early part of my skating workouts so I can focus on others during the technique practicing segments.

Finally, we worked a bit on my two-foot spin, the last of the techniques I need to complete Adult 5. I might have done three rotations, the standard for passing for Adult 5, but I’m not sure. One of the challenges of spinning on ice is it’s a very sensory-overload situation. You’ve got the rink whirling around you, creating confusing visuals. Your inner ear is getting confused balance signals. Your weight is shifting, and you’re trying to adjust to stay upright. All of that is happening too fast to consciously process so you have to do it enough that it can all be handled at an unconscious level. And while you’re trying to grasp all that, a little thing like keeping track of how many times some reference point has passed your field of view (once per rotation), can kind of get lost.

She worked me a bit on foot position. I’d had my feet too close together. Another was instead of thinking of pulling my legs in, think of instead rising up. I had my weight too far forward on the blades, thus digging the toe picks. And I was pulling my arms in too quickly.

Yeah, that’s a lot to think about. But being aware of them, thinking of one or two at a time when working on the spin, and eventually they’ll start clicking and the spin will finally start coming together.

The last thing we touched on was a moving entry into the spin. She thought it would help as it would give me more rotation to start with in comparison to my standing start with only a half circle pump to get up momentum. However, “touched on” was all it was. She just had time to show me the entry before we ran out of class time. This is something to work more on next time. However, Coach Julia on YouTube has a tutorial on how to do is:

Still got a long way to go but…progress.

Political Reprisals and the Death of the Republic.

One thing I have argued in the past, long and hard, is that one thing the Republic cannot survive is the use of lawfare to “punish” political opposition, or even the appearance of doing so That’s not original with me. I got it originally from the late Jerry Pournelle (and I expect it wasn’t original with him). That’s why Ford pardoning Nixon was the right thing to do even if we were to grant him being guilty of everything he was accused of (and let’s just say I’m more than a little dubious about that). That’s why I argued to let it go when Clinton left the White House, and again when Obama left–they were out of office. Better for the nation to let it go than to give even the appearance of political reprisal through the courts.

You see, one of the cornerstones of the Republic is the peaceful transition of power from one Congress to another, from one Administration to another, from one Party to another. But allow even the appearance that those losing power will be punished by law and that goes away. The party in power then cannot afford to lose power and will, therefore, do anything they must to retain it. After all, if people think that “criminally punish your predecessors” is on the table, they can expect that to be turned around against them should they be the ones losing power.

If any of the current rhetoric goes beyond rhetoric, those in power are saying, quite clearly, that they consider such reprisals on the table and that the tables will be turned on them should they be the ones losing power in some future election.

They have to know this. So that leads to the question of why are they willing to take that risk?

I submit that they don’t see it as a risk. They know what would happen should they lose, but they don’t plan on ever losing. They’ll do whatever it takes to retain power. Just like they did whatever it took to gain it.

In which case, the political reprisals aren’t the herald of the death of the Republic.

They are its obituary.

No Vote Fraud? In a Pig’s Eye.

From my friend Larry Correia, who, among other things, is a former accountant and auditor and knows something about “red flags” and audits:

I’m seeing lots of outrage this morning because Trump called the GA SoS and told him to do his job and find fraudulent votes. So there’s a great deal of pearl clutching about what an outrageous threat to democracy this is, so on and so forth. Only this post isn’t about Trump being a dick or not. Trump being a dick does not mean fraud didn’t happen. Do not let your personal like/dislike of Trump determine if something else actually happened. If a crime was committed against someone you like/dislike, that doesn’t determine whether the crime happened or not. Set aside your feelings about the subject and look at the data.

Specifically, in the call the SoS said it was impossible to find that many fraudulent votes, and as an example he specifically named Matt Braynard, and said that Braynard claimed 5k dead people voted, but GA only found two. However on that the SoS is either lying or an idiot, because that was not in Braynard’s report (I’ve shared the link here before). Braynard is the Voter Integrity guy who used to work for Frank Luntz, who did all the phone sampling.

In reality, Matt Braynard specifically said he DID NOT find evidence of dead people voting in GA. However, IIRC he found over double the number of fraudulent votes Trump was claiming off of people who voted with obviously fake addresses (including UPS stores and PO Boxes with the box number being disguised as “apt”) and verifiable things like people who no longer lived in GA who could be documented as having moved, still voting in GA (and when he called them, them saying they did not vote in GA, yet someone still cast a ballot in their name there). Braynard documented all of these people and delivered his data to the authorities in GA. He has the receipt of having delivered this to them.

So you have verifiable, auditable data indicating fraud, in numbers far greater than the margin of victory. This information was gathered by a private citizen (while the actual government investigators did placebo recounts or meaningless spot checks in places not in question) and this private citizen has made his data available to the government to be checked for accuracy.

Yet, when pressed about this auditable data, the person in charge of investigating it either lied to the president, or was totally unaware of what was actually in the report. Either possibility is damning. The report was not about dead people voting in GA, in fact the report specifically said they had found no evidence of that in GA in any statistically significant amount. Braynard talked about that during the summary video and then pressed on into the statistically significant data which could be tracked down instead.

So people can get all butt hurt this morning about how uncouth it is for Trump to angry call a secretary of state to tell him to do his damned job all they want. However, that doesn’t change the fact the SoS hasn’t done his job.

From an auditing perspective, the information Braynard gathered is something that could be investigated, quantified, and verified by state investigators. Instead, the SoS says there’s nothing there, because there’s no evidence of something entirely different.

That’s asinine. That’s like calling the cops and saying I’ve got video of this guy committing a burglary, you should check that out. And them saying, naw, it’s all good, because the building didn’t burn down there was no arson. Well no shit, sherlock, I’m calling about a burglary.

But don’t worry, once again our watchdog media will make sure to focus on how Orangeman is uncouth, rather than the parts with the crime.

In addition to being a former auditor, subject matter expert on all things firearms, and other things, Larry is an excellent writer. You might check out his Grimnoir series that starts with the book Hard Magic:

Goth on Ice: Thinking about Competition.

Spoke to my instructor after class about possible future competition. The purpose was twofold. First was a sanity check. Is this something I can do with a reasonable expectation of some success at it. (Not talking national championship or Olympics of course, but maybe a few trophies I can show off and maybe even a trip to nationals in my age group just to be there). The word was “yes, that’s not beyond the pale.” The second part was to make my instructor aware that competition was a goal so we could keep that in mind while doing my training and keep me pointed in the right direction.

Class was…a rather bad day for me. Well, it happens. You can’t be at your best every time you get on the ice (more on that in a moment). Still, I did the forward outside three-turns well enough that the instructor started me on forward inside three-turns, a more difficult challenge (one I need for Adult 6). I didn’t actually do any inside three turns. This was near the end of class and the exercise was simply to do forward inside edges on a fairly small circle. And I did say I was having a bad day and…yeah. Normally I can do half circle inside edges with no problem but today…I just kept blowing them. Oh, well, work on the practice sessions for next time.

One of the things I found out is that in competition you have to test for various levels which determine which competitions you are permitted to enter. The starting point for adults is “Pre-Bronze.” There are two tests. One is for figure skating skills and you have to demonstrate:

Jumps: Two different jumps,
either one-half or one full revolution Spins:

  • A one-foot upright spin (minimum three revolutions in position)
  • A two-foot upright spin (minimum three revolutions in position)


  1. Forward and backward crossovers (either direction)
  2. Lunge or spiral

Of those I can do the crossovers and the lunge. The first jumps one learns with rotation is the Waltz Jump (a half rotation jump, take off going forward and land going backward):

The half flip jump:

And the toe loop:

For spins, well, I’m working on the two-foot spin. I’ve gotten a little better than I was here. (Note, that a lot of the intervening month since I posted this, I was in quarantine with COVID, so not as much progress as I might have had):

In addition to those, there’s a “moves in the field” test that’s basically how you can move around the ice and do the various steps, turns, and what not that tie the various elements together. (In competition you’ll see “step sequence” and “choreo sequence” as a scored element for this kind of thing.) That includes:

  1. Forward Perimeter Stroking. (Basically skating around the perimeter of the rink with good form).
  2. Basic Consecutive Edges (the inside and outside edges that I’ve talked about before.)
  3. Forward and backward crossovers (this, at least, I’ve got pretty much down).
  4. Waltz Eight. Now this one’s a problem. It’s supposed to look something like this:

That one, I’m well short of, I’m afraid. But…we’ll get there.

Finally, (this would be item “5” but apparently I can’t set a start number other than “1” for an ordered list). There’s forward right and left foot “spirals”. That’s the ballet move of an Arabesque, only done on the ice. Like this:

That requires flexibility that is a…challenge for me right now but, again, working on it.

So, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me but…it doesn’t look impossible.

The Writer in Black Turns Sixty.

I’ve been thinking a bit about growing older and…well, one of the things that came to mind is this song that was one of my favorites when I was…much younger:

It came to mind and I looked it up (thus the link there) and…it resonates to a certain effect.

I have seen a lot of sunshine. I have slept out in the rain. And I’ve spent more than a time or two all on my own. And, oh, have I had myself some friends.

However, much of it is…difficult. Looking back, well, no, it hasn’t been “a good life all-in-all.” It’s been one of frustration and a lifetime struggle with depression. And loneliness, soul-crushing loneliness for most of my life.

There is no “my old lady”. (Thought, hoped, there might be for a while but…that didn’t work out.) While I have a few good friends, they are generally scattered to the four corners of the earth. So rare is the opportunity to “sit around the fire and watch the evening tire.”

The days, they do pass quickly now. And while I don’t exactly smile, the idea of growing old doesn’t bother my like it once did. And, yes, there are still many things to do. Some of the things I’ve wanted to do since childhood will almost certainly never happen. No, I’m not going to get a chance to dance across the mountains on the moon (dammit). But I might sail away. The local reservoir gives sailing lessons and “away” might be out from shore a bit and around the lake, but, you know, I don’t have to brave the open ocean to get pleasure in sailing.

I did raise a family, if a small one. That little girl (she’s sixteen, but as most parents will know, she’ll always be my little girl) is perhaps the one thing that makes it all worthwhile. That, right there, is key, the one thing that overshadows everything else. And while I’d dearly love to have more, and I do think I have it in me to raise another child, it takes two, ya know and…here we are.

Still, there’s much to do that I never even dreamed of when I was younger. It’s been just under two years since I started ice skating seriously. (See my “Goth on Ice” posts.) Recently, I started watching videos of the 2019 world championships on YouTube and that got me curious. I looked at adult competition and found that “free skate” is divided into several age brackets. I would be in “Class IV, 56-65”. So I looked for that and there was this guy:

And this lady:

I can’t do everything those folk did there…yet…but I do not think it’s out of reach. Perhaps I’ll never be a significant competitor even in my own age bracket. Or perhaps with training and dedication, I can. None of the techniques either of those skaters did look impossible for me to learn, even with my own aging body.

And so I have a new goal, another thing my mind has never known.