00m58s — Demographic conservatism. (Try it, you'll like it.)
09m08s — National Question nullity wins Alabama. (The Old Weird America loses.)
15m31s — The singer-song gap. (Analyzing the loss.)
23m49s — Pervnado latest. (It's getting Soviet.)
42m40s — Black privilege all over. (Justice in today's America.)
51m14s — The Moon's a balloon. (I pop it.)
53m38s — A planet far away. (Alone in the universe.)
56m07s — Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? (Et in Bikini Bottom ego.)
58m16s — Signoff. (Stayin' alive.)
[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! Greetings, listeners, from your astronomically genial host John Derbyshire, here to bring you our third podcast of December — the antepenultimate one of 2017.
Lots to tell you again this week, so I shall dispense with prefatory material and proceed directly to the news wires. Or perhaps not quite directly: first, let me indulge my penchant for neologisms.
02 — Demographic conservatism. Let me start this week with another of my doomed, yes doomed, attempts to float what seems to me a useful new expression, the phrase "demographic conservatism."This phrase is not totally unknown to the world: A Google search brought up 82 results. If I switch the search argument to "demographic conservative" I get more for some reason: 715. That's still not many, though. "Geographic liberal" gets more results than that, as does "noisy rhubarb"; and "homosexual spiders" got almost as many, so I think I can fairly claim a neologism here.
A demographic conservative wants to live among people who closely resemble himself in appearance, manners, dress style, language, and religion — the package we call "culture," except that race is a component here too. Your demographic conservative probably doesn't hold any thought-through abstract opinions about race. He almost certainly does not follow VDARE.com or AmRen. He probably doesn't at all mind a light seasoning of outsiders — some single-digit percentage — in his neighborhood. He just doesn't want his neighborhood to be taken over.
For a very good piece of calm, thoughtful demographic-conservative opinionating, I still recommend Jane Kelly's piece in the London Daily Telegraph five years ago, title "I feel like a stranger where I live." If you just put those words, "I feel like a stranger where I live," into a search engine, Ms. Kelly's Telegraph piece comes right up. It's been widely read and appreciated.
Ms. Kelly was living in Acton, West London — a district that, as it happens, I know quite well. In the early 1980s I lived nearby in Ealing. Since then wide swathes of London, including Acton, have been taken over by foreigners, with Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Middle East being the biggest single group.
That was the subject of Ms. Kelly's Telegraph article. Sample, quote:
Because so many Muslims increasingly insist on emphasising their separateness, it feels as if they have taken over; my female neighbours flap past in full niqab, some so heavily veiled that I can't see their eyes. I've made an effort to communicate by smiling deliberately at the ones I thought I was seeing out and about regularly, but this didn't lead to conversation because they never look me in the face.End quote. Jane Kelly sounds like a pleasant middle-aged English lady like the ones I grew up among. In fact she tells us that she herself grew up in a village in Staffordshire, just like my own mother. To stick the "hate" label on her would be ridiculous. What a stupid, illiterate, childish word that has become!
She just wants some stability, some familiarity in the society around her. What is wrong with that? I'm asking a literal question, not a rhetorical one: What's wrong with it?
Just one more quote from Jane Kelly, before I get on with the news. These are her closing two paragraphs, quote:
I, too, have decided to leave my area, following in the footsteps of so many of my neighbours. I don't really want to go. I worked long and hard to get to London, to find a good job and buy a home and I'd like to stay here. But I'm a stranger on these streets and all the "good" areas, with safe streets, nice housing and pleasant cafés, are beyond my reach. I see London turning into a place almost exclusively for poor immigrants and the very rich.End quote.
It's sad that I am moving not for a positive reason, but to escape something. I wonder whether I'll tell the truth, if I'm asked. I can't pretend that I'm worried about local schools, so perhaps I'll say it's for the chance of a conversation over the garden fence. But really I no longer need an excuse: mass immigration is making reluctant racists of us all.
There speaks a demographic conservative. Ms. Kelly doesn't hate anyone, or any race, or any religion. I'm sure that she, like me, is just fine with Islam in its homelands, if it would just stay in those homelands. She just resents losing all the social landmarks she's familiar with — having them all swept away and replaced by things that are foreign to her.
There is actually one group of people that Jane Kelly does have good, reasonable cause to hate, in the dictionary sense, not in the infantile CultMarx sense. She has cause to hate those of her fellow English people who let this happen — who looked on smiling indulgently while her neighborhood was taken over, and who now scold her for her negativity.
How about their neighborhoods? Were they taken over? Of course not. There might be a few foreigners living there; but they belong to the wealthy globalist elite, just like the indulgent smilers themselves.
"Demographic conservatism" — try it. I believe it's a big factor — not the only factor, but a big one — in what I've been calling the Cold Civil War between goodwhites and badwhites.
Now to the latest stateside skirmish in that war: the special election for Jeff Sessions' Senate seat in Alabama, held this past Tuesday.
My dismay is both rational and emotional. I'm rationally dismayed because the U.S. Senate is now a tad less likely to pass real immigration reform than it would have been had Roy Moore won the seat.
The guy who did win it, Democrat Doug Jones, is pretty much a nullity on the National Question. He's had nothing to say about it. A site search on the "Doug Jones for Senate" website using the search string "immigr" got no hits.
Jones did respond to a questionnaire from NumbersUSA, but his responses were deeply uninformative.
I doubt there's any deliberate cunning here. My guess is that Doug Jones has just never given ten seconds' continuous thought to the National Question except as it concerns American blacks, who he believes are held back from full and equal participation in American society by irrational prejudice and discrimination.
Probably he thinks about other minorities — Hispanics, Muslims, homosexuals — through the same prism, to the degree he thinks about them at all. We're all equal! All equally capable and assimilable! If we could just get rid of those crusty old prejudices! If you could get him to read Jane Kelly's Telegraph article, he'd probably say she is a bigot.
My rational dismay at Roy Moore's defeat is tempered somewhat by the reflection that the U.S. Senate, absent a major — and in my opinion improbable — upset in next year's midterms is in any case not likely to pass true immigration reform.
Democratic Senators are lockstep for open borders. That's not an exaggeration: The report grades for immigration reduction at the NumbersUSA website have every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate graded F-minus — every damn one.
The GOP presents more variety, but there are fourteen F-minuses there, too, along with one regular F, five Ds, and twenty-nine Cs. One of the Cs is Luther Strange, who'll now be replaced by Doug Jones, a sure F-minus once he gets down to voting.
In case you lost track of the arithmetic there, that leaves just three Republican Senators unaccounted for. They break one A and two Bs. The A is Tom Cotton of Arkansas; the Bs are Ted Cruz of Texas and David Perdue of Georgia.
Chance of getting an immigration moratorium from this crowd, or legislation against birthright citizenship, or a proper entry-exit visa tracking system, or an end to co-operation with the United Nations bogus-refugee program, or a really secure southern border? Zero, zero, zero, zero, and zero, with or without Roy Moore.
I said that my dismay at Tuesday's result is both rational and emotional. The emotional dismay, leaving aside particular political issues, is that Roy Moore, with all his many flaws, is an instinctive and dogged counter-revolutionary.
I loathe and fear the cultural revolution that's sweeping over our country. I'll gladly vote, and encourage others to vote, for anyone who stands athwart this cultural revolution crying "Stop!"
And then there's my lingering affection for the old, weird America — the America of honky-tonks and freak shows, of sleepy towns in the hollows and corn liquor stills in the woods, of Leadbelly and Junior Johnson, of carny barkers and hellfire preachers.
Yes, of course I know there were downsides. I already told you: This is emotion, not reason. Roy Moore, with all his downsides, reflects echoes of that old, weird America. I like that.
Enough about my preferences, though. Let's do a little analysis here. Next segment.
more than two thousand votes.
So Roy Moore's colorful personality was a factor in his defeat. So, as VDARE.com's James Kirkpatrick pointed out, was Moore's lackadaisical approach to campaigning.
Following the Alabama race, and reading about how it turned out, I found myself thinking, as I sometimes have in regard to our current President, that I'd welcome a smaller gap in political skill and credibility between the singer and the song.
I am personally acquainted with many people who sing the song: the song, I mean, of patriotism, traditionalism, prudence, and — yes, here I get to deploy my neologism — demographic conservatism. Every one of them is sober, thoughtful, polite, well-read, and well-informed.
Yet the only singers of that song, or anything close to it, on the national political stage this past few months have been Donald Trump and Roy Moore. Trump, with all due respect to the office of the President, and all thanks to Heaven that I am not living under the iron heel of Mrs. Clinton, Trump had never heard of the nuclear triad; Roy Moore had never heard of DACA.
I supported both men, and would support them again, given the alternatives; but can't National Conservatism do better?
Going back to the exit polls, I see that black voters turned out in force and voted with exeptional solidarity. They went 96 percent for the Democrat. Black women went for him 98 percent.
Among whites the sex gap went the opposite way. White men went 72 percent for Roy Moore; white women only 63 percent.
Is this a Cat Lady phenomenon? Were white married women more likely to vote for Roy Moore? I can't tell you. The only exit polling I've seen breaks out black from white and parents from non-parents, but not the cross-products: white parents, black childless, etc. Asking about married or not married is probably obsolete, since a majority of blacks with children in the home, along with a swelling minority of whites, are unmarried.
We do see, though, that blacks, and especially black women, vote their skin. They'll vote for a black if one is available. If none is, they will vote for whichever candidate is perceived as more anti-white.
In my infamous column "The Talk" at Taki's Magazine I opined that, quote from myself:
A small cohort of blacks — in my experience, around five percent — is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us.End quote. I still think I got that about right. There are, though, degrees of antipathy less intense than ferocious hostility. Way more than five percent of American blacks just don't like whites, and will always vote for the blackest or most anti-white candidate, regardless of issues.
Put those blacks together with white gentry ethnomasochists and whites who were turned off by Roy Moore, and you get Tuesday's result.
Meanwhile the question hangs in the air: "How much of a one-off is this? Is it representative of anything, predictive of any big thing? Or not?"
Without trying hard I can make the case that it's very representative of Western-world politics in our time.
Here I get to deploy my neologism again. "Demographic conservatism": just practice it, roll it around on your tongue a couple more times. Then consider the following features of Tuesday's Alabama vote. I'll allow they are implicit features of the vote: but implicit or explicit, the policy outcomes will be the same.
Would Jane Kelly have voted for Roy Moore? I doubt it: He's just too weird for a mild-mannered, middle-aged, middle-class English lady. She'd probably have written in a name, or just stayed home.
All over the Western world today, though — in the U.S.A. and Britain, in Europe and Australia — demographic conservatism is more and more a thing. Sooner or later, I hope and believe, it will bring forth politicians more skillful and more credible than Roy Moore. Then there will be real change, change that immigration patriots can cheer on whole-heartedly.
05 — Pervnado latest. I said back there somewhere that I loathe and fear the cultural revolution we're undergoing. Personal friends of mine were caught up in its prototype, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that consumed China fifty years ago. I've sat listening to their stories. What I see happening here today is all too similar.I don't want to be accused of hyperbole, though. Similar does not of course mean identical. I doubt what's happening here will turn as homicidal as the Chinese model. To suggest that would be to do a dishonor to the millions who suffered and died in Mao Tse-tung's terror.
One of Steve's commenters called this present manifestation "the nerf gun cultural revolution." I think that captures the schoolyard quality of the thing, the infantilism, the lack of corpse-piles.
Today's cultural revolution is not entirely non-homicidal, mind. The pull-back of policing following the Ferguson and Baltimore hysterias has led to more murders.
And along with homicide you have to consider suicide. A frequent result of the persecutions in China was that the person being persecuted would kill himself. The writer Lao She is only the most famous example.
Well, Wednesday this week Kentucky State Representative Dan Johnson shot himself after a woman accused him of molesting her five years ago. I'm guessing we'll see more suicides before sanity is restored.
That of course relates to the sexual-harassment witch-hunts, currently the Red Guards' most active front — the Pervnado, to use the word that seems now to have definitely established itself. I should have such success with my neologisms.
A striking and depressing feature of the Pervnado panic is the cowardice of employers. We seem to be at the point where any joker can call up a media company — a TV or radio network, a movie studio, a magazine — tell some tale about a male employee putting his hand on her thigh two or three presidents ago, and the guy is outside on the sidewalk holding a pink slip faster than a dose of salts through a widder-woman.
Poster boys here: Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame and the spin-off show on National Public Radio, and Ryan Lizza of New Yorker magazine. Both were dropped with astonishing speed while sound vibrations from the voices of their unknown accusers were still travelling through the air.
In neither case was there the least pretense of due process. It's true that employment, except under some carefully-written contract, is not a legal or constitutional right. It's also true that I, as a freedom of association absolutist, cheerfully support the right of employers to hire and fire at will, for any reason or none.
For long-time employees like Keillor and Lizza, though, whose work must have brought in significant revenues to their employers, surely there are civilized courtesies to be observed. Perhaps in these cases the lack of visible courtesy — no, make that "the gross visible dis-courtesy" — was softened with a golden handshake under the table, I don't know.
The case of Garrison Keillor is by far the creepier of the two. I don't mean that he is creepy, though for all I know he might be. I never cared for Keillor's stuff myself, although my wife liked his radio program. What's creepy — really, disturbingly creepy, way creepier to my way of thinking than any conceivable interaction between a guy's hand and a gal's thigh — is the way his host organization, Minnesota Public Radio, has made him an unperson.
David Vossbrink at the San Francisco Mercury-News had a good piece on this December 4th. Quote:
Garrison Keillor has been disappeared into the Memory Hole. If you look for his biography or the archived shows from a half century of "A Prairie Home Companion" on the website of Minnesota Public Radio since his fall from grace, you'll now find only this [inner quote]: "Sorry, but there's no page here." [End inner quote.]End quote. Am I right? Is that creepy, or what?
Keillor and his entire body of work from "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Writer's Almanac" have been effectively erased from the archives of MPR, along with the work of all the other storytellers, singers, poets and production staff who made the shows successful.
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that New Yorker magazine is calling in all the old issues with a Ryan Lizza article in them so that some Winston Smith employee down there at One World Trade Center can cut them out and feed them down the memory hole.
Or perhaps they are following the lead of the USSR in 1954. In that year the publishers of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia had just put out a new volume with a gushing four-page article on secret-police chief Lavrenty Beria. While they were still distributing it to libraries and colleges, Beria unfortunately fell out of favor, was arrested and shot. The state publishing house sent out a four-page substitution with articles on Wilhelm Bergholtz, an 18th-century general, and the Bering Sea, along with instructions for pasting them over the Beria pages. Quote:
The aforementioned pages should be cut out with scissors or blade, leaving inside a margin on which the new page can be pasted.End quote. If no-one from Minnesota Public Radio is available to help New Yorker with this, I'm sure there must be some elderly Soviet librarians still alive who'd be glad to offer advice.
06 — Nephew of a lottery winner. Here in the podcast back in mid-November I had words to say about Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump's nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security, who was at that point just going through confirmation hearings before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.My words were not kind ones. I noted with disapproval that Ms. Nielsen, asked by the committee about the wall along our southern border, the promise of which very likely won Trump the Presidency, replied that, quote: "There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea," end quote.
I noted also that when asked about the so-called Dreamers — illegals given reprieve from deportation under Barack Obama's constitutionally dubious DACA executive order — the lady had said, quote: "We owe it to them to find a permanent solution," end quote.
That drew my strong disapproval. To the contrary, I snarled in regard to the Dreamers, they owe us. They owe us an apology for breaking our laws, and restitution of the money we've spent on their schooling and other public provisions while they have been illegally present in our country.
Well, the Senate committee approved Ms. Nielsen in defiance of Radio Derb, and the full Senate confirmed her. She is now Secretary for Homeland Security.
And, to my surprise and somewhat wary pleasure, she is singing quite a different tune. Tuesday this week, appearing alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Baltimore, Ms. Nielsen spoke up in support of ending chain migration and the so-called "diversity lottery" for immigrant visas to random foreigners from countries whose nationals someone has figured we don't have enough of.
That puts Ms. Nielsen totally on board with Jeff Sessions and President Trump. But what accounts for the change of heart?
I can think of a number of possibilities.
This particular reform package — ending chain migration and the diversity visa lottery — is being looked on favorably by all sorts of people right now. If it were a stock, your broker would be urging you to buy.
Here at VDARE.com on Tuesday this week I noted USCIS Director Francis Cissna's December 8th op-ed in The Hill calling for exactly the same thing. USCIS is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which reports to DHS, so this is not nothing.
It helps — I mean, it helps bring these two issues to the fore, chain migration and the visa lottery — it helps that two recent terror attacks, both in New York, arose from them.
The later of the two attacks in fact arose from both of them. This was the suicide bombing on Monday this week at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan.
The bomber, Akayed Ullah, set off a pipe bomb in the busy terminal, hoping to kill himself and many others. Fortunately he failed on both counts, only injuring himself and five other people. He is now in custody.
That same USCIS chap, Director Francis Cissna, told a press briefing on Tuesday that Ullah is, quote:
a green card holder, a lawful permanent resident. He came to this country based on family connection to a U.S. citizen. He was a national of Bangladesh. The U.S. citizen in question was his uncle, and that U.S. citizen, many years ago, came to this country originally as a visa lottery winner.So the uncle got residence from the visa lottery. He advanced to U.S. citizenship, whereupon he sponsored his sister. She got a settlement visa, bringing with her Mr. Ullah, who is her son, and three or four siblings — no-one seems to know exactly.
That's chain migration: a sister and a handful of nephews and nieces … of a random Bangladeshi, picked by lottery. Make sense to you? No, me neither.
Then there was Sayfullo Saipov, who killed eight people and injured eleven by driving a rented truck along a bike path October 31st, also in New York city. Having done the deed and crashed the truck, Mr. Saipov jumped out and ran up and down shouting "Allahu Akbar!" until police shot him, unfortunately not fatally.
Mr. Saipov is a Muslim from Uzbekistan who came to the U.S.A. seven years ago thanks to, yes, the diversity visa lottery. He seems not to have attained citizenship, so he has not yet had the opportunity to bring in any sisters, nephews, or nieces.
So now we're getting calls from significant players — and a promise from the President himself — to end chain migration and the diversity visa lottery.
Hallelujah! This is picayune by VDARE.com standards — we want a moratorium on legal immigration, an end to all guest-worker programs, and deportation of all illegals — but it's a huge improvement on the cuckery of George W. Bush, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and the rest of the open-borders shills that have plagued our public life for the past twenty years.
We'll take it, gladly, if the President can figure out how to get it past all those F-minus drones in the U.S. Senate.
07 — Black privilege all over. Commenting two weeks ago on the verdict in Kate Steinle's killing, I said that, quote, "The evidentiary bar for a murder conviction is high, and it should be," end quote.Here's a guy who disagrees: U.S. District Court Judge David Norton. Judge Norton presided over the federal trial in Charleston, South Carolina of former police officer Michael Slager.
Officer Slager, who is white, was tried earlier this year for violating the civil rights of Walter Scott, who was of course black. Back in April of 2015, officer Slager had pulled Scott over for a minor traffic violation. They'd got into an argument that turned into a fight, and Scott had grabbed the officer's taser. Slager got it back, Scott fled on foot, and Officer Slager shot him in the back as he ran.
On the case as reported, I can't see that Officer Slager did anything wrong. I want cops to be able to shoot a fleeing perp. Interacting with a police officer a citizen — whatever his feelings about the cause of the interaction — should be polite and obedient. If you have an issue with the officer, file a complaint later.
Officer Slager's state trial on a murder charge ended with a hung jury just a year ago, forcing a retrial. The Obama Justice Department then came in with the civil rights charge. May this year Officer Slager's attorneys made a plea deal: state murder charges were dropped in return for a guilty plea on the civil rights charge.
On December 7th we got a sentence on this civil rights charge.
The way it works is, the judge has to decide on what was the "appropriate underlying offense" to the civil rights violation. A pre-sentencing report found that it was manslaughter and recommended 10 to 13 years imprisonment. This wasn't binding on the judge, though. Judge Norton decided, apparently pulling the decision out of his bottom hole, that an underlying offense of murder was more appropriate. He sentenced Officer Slager to 20 years in prison.
It goes without saying that no such harshness would have been applied if Walter Scott had been white.
If you doubt this, consider a different police shooting in the news last week: the shooting in January 2016 by Officer Philip Brailsford of Daniel Shaver in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona.
Officer Brailsford was responding to a report of someone waving a firearm out of a hotel room window. We have bodycam footage of the person in the room, Daniel Shaver, coming out into the hotel corridor while Officer Brailsford covers him with a rifle. A woman also in the corridor was handcuffed by other officers. Nobody seems to know why Officer Brailsford didn't handcuff Mr. Shaver. Instead he barks orders at him — "lie down! … get up! … hands in the air! … crawl towards me! …" Then when Mr. Shaver made some move he hadn't been ordered to make, Officer Brailsford shot him dead.
Officer Brailsford is white. To his great good fortune, Daniel Shaver was also white. So there was no "civil rights" fol-de-rol, no angry demonstrations, no threats of civil disorder.
On December 7th, the same day Officer Slager's 20-year sentence was handed down across the country in South Carolina, Officer Brailsford was cleared of second-degree murder and also of reckless manslaughter.
This is justice in America today. One white officer shoots a fleeing perp who had engaged physically with him. The officer gets 20 years. Another officer shoots a man on his knees begging for his life: he's acquitted on all charges. The main difference between the two cases — the difference that makes all the difference — is that the fleeing perp was black, while the begging subject, who had committed no offense — the supposed firearm was in fact a pest-control pellet gun, harmful only to rodents — was white.
It's like this all over. In Florida a 37-year-old white man who broke into a mosque, committed some minor vandalism, then left a slab of raw bacon on the mosque's doorstep was sentenced to 15 years in prison, to be followed by 15 years' probation on a state "hate crime" conviction.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, January this year, four young blacks, ages 19, 19, 19, and 25, tortured an 18-year-old mentally disabled white boy. They kicked him, part-strangled him, stabbed him, and forced him to drink from a toilet, all the while laughing and yelling racial insults at him. They filmed what they were doing, and live-streamed it to Facebook.
Worse than leaving bacon in a mosque? Of course not! Didn't you hear me: these were black people doing this. December 8th one of the 19-year-olds pleaded guilty to a hate crime and was sentenced to four years of probation plus 200 hours community service. The cases of her three confederates are still pending.
The thing you have to wonder about here is, in those cases where something was done to a black or Muslims, why didn't the accused just play their White Privilege card and walk free? It's a real puzzle, isn't it?
Imprimis: Some space news here to stir the juices of us old sci-fi addicts.
Monday this week President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1. What's that about? Quote from the President:
The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use.End quote. Excuse my skepticism, but I think this is an empty stunt.
Number One: There is no strong reason to go to the moon. Fifty years ago we had a strong reason: to show our technological superiority over the USSR. There is no such incentive for us today.
Number Two: Congress will never appropriate the funds. Yes, yes, I read the small print. The directive calls for, quote, "an integrated program with private sector partners," end quote. It will still cost taxpayers a ton of money, which nobody wants to spend.
Number Three: We can't do that kind of thing any more. It's not, or not just, that we feel no need to, or can't afford to: we can't. We no longer have the capability.
Professor Bruce Charlton argued Number Three at length on his blog seven years ago. Headline: Human capability peaked before 1975 and has since declined. I'll leave you to read the thing for yourself and decide whether you agree with him, as I do.
Item: More space news: NASA has reported finding an eighth planet in the solar system known as Kepler-90. That means that the number of planets known in that system is now the same as in ours — since Pluto was demoted, I mean. Kepler-90 is the first other solar system to attain that distinction.
I'm not much impressed by this. The entire history of astronomy has been a series of dethronings. The Earth is not the center of our solar system; the Sun is just an average-sized star among billions in our galaxy; our galaxy itself is one of billions, probably trillions; avant-garde cosmologists think that our universe is merely one in an infinity of universes; … Why would anyone think that our solar system is the only one with more than seven planets?
It's not as if we can go and explore the Kepler-90 system. It's fifteen quadrillion miles away. If you had started out as the Jews were being dragged off to captivity in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, and travelled at the speed of light, which of course is far beyond our capabilities, you would have arrived at the Kepler-90 system early in the Kennedy adminstration.
Even then, exploring this new planet would present problems: its surface temperature is 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and it zips around its parent star once every two weeks.
This latest discovery is, I should say, a major feat of advanced data analysis; and of course it's wonderful to learn more about the universe. The more we learn, though, the lonelier and more lifeless the universe seems to be.
Item: Finally: I keep up my subscription to the New Yorker, partly because I like to know what the enemy is thinking, partly for the cartoons, partly because they occasionally run a good article or review, but mainly from sheer inertia.
Well, I was leafing idly through the current issue when my eye fell on a theater review. The review, by Michael Shulman, is of the SpongeBob Square Pants musical, currently playing at the Palace Theater on Broadway.
That got my attention because my two kids were raised on the TV version of SpongeBob Square Pants. They loved it; and I confess I found the sheer wild silliness of it irresistible. I can still sing the theme song, and also the Krusty Krab Pizza jingle. [Sings.]
I was therefore pleased to see that Michael Shulman gave the Broadway version a glowing review. The only negative is, quote:
Kyle Jarrow's jaunty script hints, without preaching, at issues of racial prejudice, environmentalism, and government corruption.Oh dear. Can't we get away from politics anywhere, even in Bikini Bottom? Et in Arcadia ego, I guess.
09 — Signoff. That's the podcast for this week, ladies and gents. Thank you for your time, and thanks especially to the many listeners who have emailed in, and in a couple of cases snail-mailed in, to wish me and my family a Merry Christmas. Back at ya.Forty years ago last Wednesday the movie Saturday Night Fever debuted in New York. The disco scenes in the movie were filmed in 2001 Odyssey, then an actual disco in Brooklyn, now a Chinese restaurant. A local businessman spent $200,000 to recreate the disco just for Wednesday night, to celebrate the movie's anniversary.
You may say that's absurd extravagance. As a Seventies survivor and unapologetic SNF fan, I call it money well spent. Thank you, Sir.
Radio Derb will be stayin' alive through the Christmas season, so there will be more from us next week.
[Music clip: Bee Gees, "Stayin' Alive."]