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Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all. ~~Hypatia

The Arts of Writing and Motorcycle Maintenance

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download (1)The written word has, for as long as I can remember, enthralled me and held me captive. Much as Justice Black said that he could not exactly define pornography, but he would know it when he saw it, I cannot exactly define good writing, but I surely know when I am in the presence of it.

But this is not about writing, for as I just admitted, I can no more set out the requirements of good writing than I can turn a cartwheel these days, but I do know something about writers. Being one, I can relate.

But what a ragged bunch we are. Actually writers make me laugh sometimes. After all, to declare one to be something which is not measured by a weekly salary or a list of duties associated with one’s daily grind, makes it hard indeed to stand with head held high. Starving artist comes to mind. Are you indeed an artist if nobody buys your work?

Well, so say some.

Dorothy Parker famously queried whether one can be a writer and have no book? In her time, there was no such thing as “self-publishing”. So she opined that unless one had taken to the lonely task of writing a book (fictional presumably), one was not fairly a writer. Those who wrote short pieces for magazines did not qualify.

There are other similar questions by some, mostly I’d suggest, from people with an axe to grind.

I mean self-publishing is now easy and fairly cheap. Anyone can publish their writing and disseminate it in book form. One can, as some do, buy up large quantities of one’s own work and count it as “copies sold” to impress others.

But for some (usually those who have been published), the appellation writer only applies to one who has been properly published by an established publishing company. But there are publishers and then there are publishers. These types however don’t tend to worry overmuch about that. Any publisher will do, but published one must be.

Others might draw the line at “been paid for”. If Boy’s Life paid you $25 for your little ditty about handkerchief folding, well baby, you been published and paid! Welcome to the ranks of Faulkner and Balzac.

Once upon a time, I was a lawyer. I’ve also been a student, and even a waitress for a couple of months (oh I was awful at that I gotta say!). When I started blogging a number of years ago, well, I eventually got the idea that I too was a writer, and I began to learn of the various definitions of what constitutes a person whose “job” it is to writ large.

Of course such writing doesn’t differentiate between fictional and other forms of writing. Technical writers are writers too even if their offerings are much less glamorous than the work of a Mitchener or Cervantes. But if publication is the standard, then all writers who get published by a publishing company can claim the banner.

I don’t know if any of this is unusual in other professions. I mean most of them require the same basic standardized list of accomplishments in order to matriculate through its school and to the degree. But heck, who knows, among physicists, there may be many factors that separate the fish from the chum.

I find it all amusing.

I really do.

For I define writer in a rather different way.

Perhaps it is all self-serving since I admit willingly that I’ve not been paid for writing, other than as a lawyer and no one can separate the brief writing from the argument. I’ve been published in school newspapers and here certainly. A few entries in the Courts of Appeal with excerpted arguments.  I have no other bona fides to claim than that.

Yet, still, I am a writer.

Because writing isn’t about any of the stuff others claim for it.

It is singular and something that only the person can claim for themselves or not.

It is not about publishing or being paid.

Writing is a form of communication, so first and foremost is one person placing into written form thoughts that they wish to convey to some “other”. And most important, do they care about how that thought is conveyed?

What I suggest is that writers love words, and love them to death, agonizing over the placement, the right word, the perfect modifier. Writing is not casual, but sweat and yes even tears on occasion.

However one engages in the craft, it becomes the thing itself, not the means to some other end. When it stands or falls on its own as readable, nay enjoyable, success has been achieved. We struggle with each word, each paragraph, and the order of the thing so that it “flows” and brings smiles of recognition and delight.

It is poetry but not. It is some in-between thing. Not an instruction manual and not Shakespeare, but something of its own. As you read, you marvel. What a wonderful turn of a phrase, how beautifully captured, how eloquent.

Each page is turned with fresh anticipation. One fingers the remaining pages with a certain despair and melancholy. Too soon it will be over.

Such writers, whether their offerings are fiction or not, cause people to search out everything they have ever written. We are insatiable in our desire to read more of this wonderful stuff.

If you don’t aim for this as a writer, I don’t think much of your efforts. If you are not continually searching for your own style, your own “voice,” your own distinct way of delivering your message, you are not a writer. You are at best nothing but a competent communicator. No artistry can be found.

Only the writer can honestly assess these things and declare themselves as wanting or as having passed the test. Of course this is entirely self-serving by definition. I control who  am.  But truly to be dishonest with oneself on this issue is to serve no purpose. One can claim the title but if one cannot produce the magic, well, everybody KNOWS you are only a sham.

Lover of words, extraordinary words, ordinary words catapulted to new realms of usefulness. Cantilevered into phrases, exploding into instantaneous meaning by new association, this is writing. This is art. This is sublime.

This is what I strive for. This is what I attain in singular moments of wordy ecstasy. And then it falls apart and I am left with the refuse of words not used, old favorites, and ones I fully wish to use but struggle with finding a context when they will sing their crystal clear illustration of some obscure thought.

Writers of my ilk love some words to death, hate others, are frightened of the implications of others, and judiciously dole out a few that are so powerful they risk being old hat if used often. Dusted off and polished, old thines and betwixts, hasts and methinks yearn for inclusion in a modern world. Find us a place, tuck us into that sentence, there, with an exclamation point!

Such makes us giddy with excitement. Palpable, throbbing, sexual energy.

I say too much?

I am ready, ready, ready, ready, to write.

Are you ready?

Participating from time to time and loosely with SoCS.

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It Was a Hell of a Ride, But, Dude, It’s Over

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angry-whit-menistan I don’t recall as a pubescent girl, ever much thinking that I’d have rather been a boy. All that stuff in their pants looked rather homely to me as a child. As I grew older and wiser, I figured worrying that my boobs wouldn’t be “perky” enough was small potatoes versus worrying that my pecker wouldn’t pass muster either in the locker room or in a ladies vagina.

And then there was hair loss later in life, and well, I don’t pretend to know whether men obsess over chest hair or not, but it just seemed that their burdens were not worth the exchange.

I suppose it all goes back to caves, or whatever suitable accommodations were “home” to our ancestors on the plains of Africa. Men are for the most part stronger which makes them quite useful for things that require brute strength. Ironically men who work with their hands and use their bodies as their machines are fairly looked down upon by their Madison Avenue brothers as having not “made it” in the wicked world of power and wealth today. But it was the originator most likely of men’s superior classification.

In an event, men ruled, and that is pretty much everywhere you look across the blue marble we call home. In the only parts that counted (by those same men), white men ruled all others, including men of color. And it was all seen as good and well, as evidenced even by major religious scriptures, who took it for granted that men pretty much ruled naturally and with God’s imprimatur.

Somehow, even allegedly smart white men failed to see that Jesus rather turned that cart upside down when he suggested that women were, *gasp* capable of preaching the “good news” of the coming Kingdom.

Things have gone on in that vein for some time. Well, to be honest, it has gone on through most of recorded time. I’d hazard a guess that even where women ruled it had more to do with “blood lines” than competence, and many sturdy men were gathered around such a lady to “guide” her to correct decisions.

It continues today, but the battle is now fully engaged, and white men are getting a bit nervous.

images (1) Women have always been angry, but anger needs direction and some sort of power base to be effective. Only in the 20th century do we begin to see real movement to question the paternalism that has been the history of women’s life in America and the world.

Another aspect is now apparent as well. While white men were busy running the world and making obscene amounts of money to feel “successful”, the rest of the planet was busy reproducing like rabbits. Left with so much extra time on their hands, they played in the garden of rare delights also known as ladies private parts. And the birth rate has skyrocketed and well, do the math.

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Ms. Lindsey is correct. If you look around white dude, well, I can understand why you are shakin’ in your boots and clingin’ to your guns. Your days are numbered and no amount of prancing around neighborhoods with your semi-automatic penises strapped across your chest is gonna make any difference to that.

You are a not dying, but certainly about to become wheelchair ridden, mere shadows of yourselves.

Now, I don’t say this with glee necessarily. After all, I’m married to one of y’all.  I rather like him too, so I have no ill-will in general to white men, just everything mostly that they stand for.

We can all pretty much agree that you have done a lousy job of runnin’ things. I mean yeah, you build a lot of stuff, but it seems for the only purpose of blowin’ it all up eventually. You guys can’t stop arguing about whose penis is bigger and if you ever bothered to ask us, you’d know that has nothin’ much to do with it.

Yet you persist.

And our sons and daughters and well, all of us suffer for your insatiable desire for bloodshed. There just ain’t enough hills for all of ya to be kings on.

So I can get why you are so angry. And like petulant children who can’t have ice cream for breakfast, you take it out on everyone you come across.

What you all are in need of is some basic psychoanalysis. I mean your ability to blame it on anybody but yourselves is shocking. It’s the black, brown, female, immigrant, wrong religion, youth, liberal, educated, government, et ceteras into oblivion’s fault for your troubles. A white man never looks in the mirror and sees the cause of his own disaster.

Anyway, you get all out there in your twisted but fact-less minds, and become conspiracists of one sort or another. We’ve visited the FEMA camps, and gun confiscations, the Muslim Brotherhood infiltration to death. We’ve been birthered to death and delved into the drug-induced supposed gayness of the black guy in the WHITE house.

We have tried to talk sense to your sense of impending loss, we really have, but past a certain point, crazy is too crazy to hear let alone understand. You are like the child who attempts to solve his unhappiness by making public scenes of displeasure at the world.

Unfortunately, you’re methodology includes the killin’ of plenty of innocents as you strike out in anger and frustration that you can’t always be first in line and get the best cupcake.

It’s over dude.

Do the math.

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You are like the king who rules over a kingdom of “others”. Once his army became “others” too, it was only a matter of time, until they learned to count. Suddenly it was lookin’ a bit grim for the king.

Some of you have taken to claiming that you are the one’s being victimized now. Oh, if only that were true. We’d surely come to your aid if it were true. But it’s not.

Nothing is more pathetic than hearing a white dude proclaim that he is being discriminated against. Dude you were born with a white penis, what more could a person want? With it came all the entitlements and assumptions that have always attached to a new born white male. There is no “stretch” to thinking of you in a new more powerful way. It’s business as usual for you.

You can’t fathom how that is not what it is for the rest of us. We have to first convince somebody(s), that we can do the job, that we are smart enough, strong enough, carry the right emotional schema, are not unsuitably encumbered by family and obligation, and a host of other things. Women must explain that their menses won’t cause them to divulge the nuclear codes nor will “pillow talk”. Black and browns must assure that they have enough of the “cultural”requirements to govern. Remember, they weren’t “raised” the same as white dudes, which has become by their decree the cultural norm.

And since the numbers, (damn them) simple are what they are, white dudes are gonna lose no matter what. You can’t shoot it, marry it, enslave it, or stick it in a company town. It’s just gonna swallow you up.

So you lash out.

Do you realize that almost all crimes of mass murder are committed by white men? Dude, this endears you to no one. Let us know that your brains are falling out because you can’t be king any more, and we will help. If you don’t, well, the end is your demise one way or the other.

But please, stop trying to take us with you.

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Marijuana is My Friend

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001e95a94ffc099169ea25b7d0c42ab9 The following comes with all the normal provisos: I am not a doctor. I don’t portray one on television. As in all things that have to do with your health, consult with whomever you esteem as having expertise in the area you are concerned about. This is just information you might want to research yourself and decide whether it’s a good idea for you.

My husband is a Vietnam Vet. He came away from that war with PTSD. He was probably on the cusp of when the military was starting to take “shell shock” or “battle fatigue”  and other various appellations for PTSD seriously. He attended the PTSD clinic in Kansas City back in the seventies for some weeks.

In addition, he suffers from COPD, and a very strange and intermittent lack of balance which makes mobility difficult for him sometimes. The latter is usually attributed to several concussions suffered in youth and in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.

We live in New Mexico, a state that has a “medical marijuana” law. My husband is candidly, no stranger to pot. After all, we are from the 60’s generation and it would be expected that we had dabbled with cannabis and perhaps more over the decades.

In any event, my husband decided to pursue the issue in New Mexico. The process was easy for him. A quick trip to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, and the securing of his rather large PTSD file at the VA was essentially all that was required. My spouse was lucky in that a few years ago, the VA re-evaluated his PTSD pursuant to a renewed request for VA disability status.

His PTSD was diagnosed as active and ongoing, which, as I said, made the process with New Mexico fairly much a no-brainer.

Within a few weeks of his evaluation and submission of application, he received his card. We live in Las Cruces, which has several “drugstores” that cater exclusively to medical marijuana users, so my husband soon was purchasing weed legally for the first time in his life.

We were concerned that whatever relief he might garner from the marijuana vis-a-vis his PTSD might be overwhelmed by a turn for the worse in his COPD status. We expected that he might have to use it in the form of food or as a vape. But he started out in the traditional way: the joint.

After a week, an amazing thing happened. His breathing improved dramatically. Not just dramatically as far as he was concerned, but it was astoundingly obvious to me. I had long grown used to the fact that even walking from the car to the house left his breathing hard. The focus of walking straight seemed to add to his burdened lungs even more difficulty.

Yet, here he was almost NEVER breathing hard no matter what he was doing. Surely he was still taking his inhalers as required, but he was no longer waiting for his next dosage–he often forgot.

So much better did he feel in fact that he has started to ride the recumbent bicycle each morning, taking Diego for a good ride through the neighborhood. He returns in fine fetter and for a while at least, even his mobility improves.

I’ve done some cursory research. What I have learned is that a couple of very long term studies seem to have put to bed the argument that marijuana is even worse than cigarettes for the lungs. In fact, for “light users” there seemed no long term damage to the lungs at all. Even with heavy usage (daily) there seemed to be little change.

Beyond that, there seems to be an increasingly large anecdotal collection of data that suggests that contrary to expectations, use of marijuana seems to help COPD patients. A number of theories are advanced: the normal coughing that might bring up more phlegm and thus open the lungs, the deeper inhaling customary to pot smokers, or just the general relaxation of the body’s systems which allow for greater oxygen intake.

For whatever reason, some COPD patients have reported that they are doing much much better using marijuana. One person has gotten off inhalers completely.

While my husband has not experienced quite that dramatic an improvement, it has been significant. He has been much more active, which explains the bike riding. He sleeps very much better, the best in years. His balance issues come and go, but he feels that that is a worthwhile tradeoff for breathing so much easier.

I wondered whether I should talk about this, but it seems to me that the tide has turned on the issue of marijuana in this country. Colorado and Washington State have led the way, as well as a number of states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. People on Facebook, for instance, now talk openly, supporting further legalization.

I thought therefore that I had some obligation to speak out as well. If you have a medical condition and live in a state that allows medical marijuana, you might be surprised at the range of diseases or conditions that can be improved. Who would have thought that smoking a joint would help COPD?

As I said, I’m no doctor. I’m sure a boatload of them will still say it’s a bad idea. A boatload of marijuana supports will say otherwise. As far as I can find, most of the supposed dangers of marijuana are way overblown, and it seems certainly to be less of a health risk than alcohol.

I have no interest in talking you into anything. I just offer one story, one anecdote among others that suggest that some really good stuff can come from pot. I can’t speak to what that might mean five years down the road or twenty. It’s just more information for you to use as YOU see fit in determining your own care.

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I’ll See Your Demagoguery, and Raise You a Revolution

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images (5) If you ask your average Merikan about demagoguery, you’re probably going to hear about Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini. If you are specially lucky, you might hear reference to Joe McCarthy. A significant number of Merikans, perhaps most, won’t have a clue what you refer to, beyond a vague sense of “bad” floating in the air.

It’s no secret that American youth are fairly poorly educated in this country. While there are plenty of reasons and excuses for this, top of the heap is probably because they are taught lies. 

Such is underway in Texas anyway, where new textbooks will play down slavery as a cause of the Civil War, and emphasis a lie–states rights–as being its motivation. Now states rights had something to do with the Civil War, but not in protecting states rights–in actuality it was  the states rights of northern realms that they despised and set out to separate themselves from. In fact, up until the 60’s there were specific “southern” textbooks on these issues, not used in the rest of the land. We are returning to that era, when again, Southern kids will be taught a different “history” than the rest of the country.

A demagogue is one who through resort to fear and prejudice, appeals to the common people, in an attempt to manipulate their approval to gain personal power and influence. Lies are a common vehicle used to gain the support of lower socioeconomic classes which is then used to gain the ends (usually hidden) of the demagogue.

Americans think they are smarter than the average demagogue, and always have. We look at people such as Hitler, Stalin, and others of that ilk with a certain disdain, sure in our adolescent minds, if not our later adult ones, that such a thing could not happen in the good old USA, because we are “on to them” sorts. And the slightly smarter among the great unwashed will use Joe McCarthy as an example. Sure we toyed with demagoguery for a bit, but in the end we censured Joe and sent him packing, destined to go down in history as a rather sinister chap who in the end was admonished, “Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

So, we sit in smug superiority.

We of course were and are wrong. We are no better at ferreting out demagoguery than your average Athenian was when Cleon was stirring the people to behaviors we normally don’t associate with Athens in the classical period.

We live in a soup of demagoguery with any number of suitable candidates lined up to become the populist hero of the day. Fox Noise serves as the propaganda disseminator with plenty of minions named Rush and Ann and Rich and Sean ready and willing to spout the memorized script of why “they” are destroying America, and “we” must get out our guns and show them we will not tolerate their warped secular world.

We finally, at long last, sat down and watched Game Change the other night.  Sure, it was filled with lots of giggles and nodding, as we saw our Sarah entering the national stage. We saw the almost comical cluelessness on anything beyond the demagogue’s rhetoric. We watched as she puzzled over basic European history, attempting to take notes (on paper in the beginning, precursor to the famous hand writing), and figure out who was who, and what was what.

And we saw the debacle of interviews that broke open the wisdom of hirin’ Sarah wide open finally, and exposed what McCain referred to as the “dark side” of Populism–the degree to which it is based not on facts and well-thought out logic, but rather instilling and promoting fear and anxiety regarding “others”.

Sarah is pictured as sitting mesmerized listening almost spellbound to the criticism of her. Yet, either through brilliant acting, or truth, one sees a startling revelation. Sarah is not studying her detractors to learn what she is doing wrong, so much as she is carefully examining her detractors for weakness, and how she might better exploit it.

She studies, not foreign policy position papers, but what makes people smile or frown, what makes them cheer, what makes them nod in approval. She is all about one thing–how best to sell Sarah, and reap of course the benefits–fame, and more importantly fortune.

Sarah, as we have come to know, is really only about becoming wealthy. She forcefully and loudly proclaims that “they are boxing her in”, preventing her from doing what she does best–talk to the common folks. She ends up in a long and exhausting war with her handlers over who will control the agenda.

And of course, we have seen the fine results. After the election, Sarah made all her own decisions and she’s managed in six years, to not be the “new young leader of the GOP” that McCain predicted, but rather she has become a cipher in the conservative movement. A few thousands still shout her name, but largely the great uber right wing has moved on.

But the not surprising popularity of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker remind us all too well, that there are more than one ready to take over the mantle from Ms. Palin.

Cruz, following the SCOTUS decision regarding marriage equality enters the arena with the lie: a few people who were never elected by us have dictated to the rest of us how we must live. Now of course, Cruz leaves out that this is exactly how our constitution intended.  It is what was established in Marbury v. Madison.  Trump contends that Mexico is sending us criminals, and then sets out to find an example to make his case.

Walker advises he will do to the Middle East problems exactly what he did with unions in Wisconsin–destroy them. Santorum suggests that the rights of every real Christian are at risk if gays marry. Jeb, not quite as capable as demagogues go, wrings his hands and mutters the code words, but doesn’t exactly know how to utter them convincingly.

We need not fear that demagogues will become extinct. We must fear that we are perhaps more susceptible to them than we thought.

Look, we live in a busy world. As has always been the case, the vast majority ignore politics and worry about paying the electric bill and getting packed for that fishing trip to the lake. But while you sublimely watch fireflies at water’s edge, back in the recesses of taverns and game rooms in fancy townhouses and estates, grifters like Sarah are busy trying to figure out what will scare you into voting for them.

I’m not expecting you to spend two hours a day reading what’s going on in the world. It would be nice if you took that interest in the now and future, well mindful of the past, but that’s asking too much. Half  aren’t mentally up to the task, and half of the rest are just too bored by anything that doesn’t speak to the World Federation of Wrestling.

But I ask you to remember one thing. The better it sounds the more likely it is to be not true. 

You do not need guns to prevent the government from overreach. If the government wants to stop you from mouthing off, it will kill you, and no weapon you have will make a difference.

You’re way of life will not end because gay people can marry each other. I’m quite sure almost none of them will want to marry you and with good reason.

ISIS is not plotting to blow up your neighborhood. It is quite more likely that you will die from a bee sting or be blown up by your neighbor’s arsenal when it goes off in a house fire.

You are not being attacked as a Christian. Nobody has ever stopped you from reading the bible you want, interpreting it the way you want, and going to the church you want. There is no war on Christianity, and as much as you want to think of yourself as a martyr, you aren’t. You would piss your panties should the feds show up and demand you become a Sikh or Buddhist, and all to many of you would bow and ask for the rules of proper worship.

If it sounds good, and makes you feel vaguely selfish–it’s a lie and you are being selfish. Don’t fall for it, even though it would mean a cut in your taxes and some sort of wispy comfort that your way of life is being protected. It isn’t and won’t be. We are becoming both NON-white and NON-Christian. It’s a fact. Learn the word ameliorate and learn it well.

If in doubt, don’t vote. A stupid vote is worse than no vote at all. Remember the demagogue is not looking for a smart vote, but a stupid one. Don’t take the bait. There is really nothing in it for you. EVER.

But keep an eye out for Sarah. She’ll be opening a supermarket near you.

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Is I Crazy? You Decide.

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1c4f70b Oh, boy have I unleashed the dogs of war. Offering up such a juicy steak to those incredibly warped individuals who don’t think that I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. Handing them an eviscerating tool of great power–is I crazy? Twice?

Trust me, letting them think they have me at their mercy is just my way of inviting them into my lab-bore-a-tory said the spider to the fly.

Is I?

As a child, I laid upon my bed and wondered was anyone in the world like me? I feared not, and in the era of peer-pressured sameness that we all strove to reach, I quivered. Was I normal?

Now, at the threshold of agedness ( I shall never be a “senior” or and old person I swear), I lay upon my bed and wonder if there is anyone in the world like me. I fear so, and in an era of eccentricism, I quiver. I don’t wanna be normal.

I think my prayers are answered. Were answered, or were ignored but I was just lucky that my prayers were actually the way things are? One of the above.

I’m a nut. I believe in all sorts of things that you no doubt think foolish.

For instance.

I wrote about this before so bear with me. In college I took a logic course and was asked to write a response to this statement: Would you be willing to pay for the support of an individual whose only requirement was to read? In other words can I fathom a world in which not everyone must work for a living?

Buckminster Fuller suggested an answer:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

See,  I went to college. But not to think. I went to earn a living. And I did very well, thank you very much. I set myself up for a gentle life, not working too hard, in a reasonably decent setting. I had tons of friends and colleagues. I made good money and enjoyed the perks of professional work. I needed to make a living and by all standards, I succeeded rather well.

But that’s not what should be or could be. Too many good minds are wasted in menial work of all sorts, professional and otherwise. These minds might be better used if we just let them think.

I think it would all sort itself out over time. I mean if you aren’t a good thinker, then thinking would become both boring and well, mindless at some point. One would ache to get one’s hand on a piece of wood or a pie crust. And one would move to that. We would do what pleases us and revs up our juices. It would be sane.

Trouble is, most of us aren’t willing to pay for others to do what seems pointless to many. But thinkers think about things and thinking about things leads to ideas and ideas lead to schematics and drawings and experiments and prototypes, and, well you see where this goes.

New stuff is discovered and people who work with their hands for pleasure make this new stuff. And thinkers and paper pushers and bus drivers enjoy this new thing, which makes their lives a wisp easier or more pleasant. What’s not to like here?

Still, tight asses will complain. They will suspiciously stare at the thinker and want proof that their money is being well spent. No lobster sir, be satisfied with bean soup you grifter! Yes, they will not trust the process, because they are all about making sure they ain’t bein’ ripped off.

Hey nothing is perfect. Somebody is always scammin’ the system. Hell people go to great lengths to set themselves up as pillars of the community when they are stealin’ ya blind. Humans are very human no matter the system.

But if you are of the mind that humans are in a process of evolving, then shouldn’t we pursue avenues that point to evolution in our THINKING as well as in our technology? Shouldn’t we be nobler and kinder in our systems of governing, pushing us mere mortals to be better than we think we can be?

Didn’t Jefferson and Adams and Madison and all the rest focus on the horizon and see a future better than any before them? Didn’t they offer us the messiness of democracy because we would screw it up surely as humans, but we would have something worth struggling for rather than languishing in the monarch-subject model?

Why do we keep beating up on the defenseless? Look, a cursory examination of physical types of human being proves rather clearly that genetics is a tricky and sometimes comical thing. I’ve seen people put together in what looked to be no more than random cutting and pasting of various limbs. Head too small, body growing outward as one descended, legs like stumps without the merest reference to ankles?

If some physical jokes pass as the range of genetic drift allowed within the species,why is it so hard to realize that not everyone has inside their cranium the makings of even a good basic biologist? Some people are dumb. Some are thoughtless. Some are unable to walk and chew gum, or see beyond their own nose.  Why must they be conformed to some job to which they are ill-suited in almost all respects?

Let them find their way, and then make up the slack. Don’t they have enough to contend with? What must it be like to realize that one got shortchanged in the brain functioning department? To think but not to reason well? Ah, that’s the rub.

Out of common decency let these people be! A decent home, nutritious food, medical care, education based on interests. Do this to our less fortunate and embrace them as providing a meaningful richness to the fabric of humanity and move on.

Stop the whine. Yes, uber conservative with your compartmentalized brain and your rigid sense of right and wrong, I’m talking to you. You have worked all your life. Nobody gave you a thing (I know you believe this although it’s far from true). You can’t retire because you don’t have enough of whatever it is you think essential.

But that is not the only model of living available. There is nothing to be ashamed of if for any reason you can’t hoe the row established by the not so bright but physically strong average human. There is a place for us all, and if we do it right, we will be doubly enriched by the offerings of all these oddball humans who contribute to the human family diversity.

Sometimes people just make damn bad decisions. Should they pay forever? Or can you cut them some slack and help them exist in what’s left of their lives? Can ya?

That damn Protestant work ethic and those bootstraps will be small comfort in the grave. It did not serve you especially well quite honestly. There are other ways.

It’s a little bit socialistic I guess. And a bit psychosis.

That is. . . .

making-a-living

We participate in SoCS.

Knee Deep in Hair Tufts

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Boehner.Crying-290x238 It’s fairly easy to pick out uber conservatives (aka nut jobs) today. They are the bald ones, having pulled out every last hair upon their holy heads at the vile in-your-face rebuke offered them by “those five unelected lawyers” who have seemingly taken to poking a stick at family values and the American way all in one fell swoop.

I arrived home yesterday to find my Better Half (aka the Contrarian) all dressed up and meeting me at the door. After the usual, “how was the pool?” dialogue, I was unable to contain my query any longer. “Why are you all dressed up in your big-boy clothes at 9:30 in the morning?” i asked.

“Guess you didn’t hear the news,” he grinned. “Gay marriage is now the law of the land, and according to WorldnetDaily, the next step is mandatory marriage. I don’t even have a boyfriend yet, but I’m ready if anyone shows up at the door as my designated gay-marriage mate.”

“I won’t make the cake you know,” I reminded him, “since it’s  my constitutional right based on religious freedom not to be forced to sanction your unholy alliance. Besides, since I’m gonna wear white, I don’t wanna take a chance on getting ganache all over me.”

I have no doubt that similar scenarios were played out all over America.

It’s now a day later, and well, we are being patient. I do hope the Committee to Assign picks a suitable dude for my dude. We are still negotiating whether I’ll get my own room or just get a King-size bed.

Oh, in case you have any “in” with that committee, we just want to say, we are open to most anything but we both dislike back hair if you don’t mind not sending that type. Otherwise we’re pretty open-minded.

On the other side of the ducat you will find your pass to health care still intact. Much as the uber right was praying to see millions of weeping ex-insurance holders collapsing in cancerous piles, all to the tune from The Life of Brian–bring out your dead!

Justice Roberts is being hung in effigy throughout the south and other hidey-hole enclaves throughout the lower forty-eight. “Traitor” is being bandied about and serious inquiry is afoot to determine whether the Chief has middle initials of B.A. and no I ain’t talkin’ about Bachelor of Arts.

It’s been a thoroughly bad week for the side that hides its hatred and bigotry behind phrases like “religious freedom” and “work ethic”. As usual they betray themselves in ‘splainin’ that all they want to do is punish the sin and give charity as they see fit without being taxed. Cuz we are so wilfully caring of our fellow-man and woman ya know.

Meanwhile, another  very right-wing piece of refuse, killed a bunch of surely very nice folks at a Black church in Charleston S.C. The Foxy Fools immediately decried this “attack on Christianity” furiously trying to pretend it had nothing to do with race hatred, since we live in a post-racial loving America.

Inevitably, somebody mentioned that once again, mass murder by guns in the hands of a loon. And just as surely,  the Foxy Fools  recalling their Murdock learnin’ responded, “the libs are trying to politicize this tragedy once again! Shame on them!” This while, Wayne La PeePee, stuttered in a whisper, “tell ’em to buy all the guns they can, cuz that Nazi-Arab-lovin’ usurper in the GOD-DAMN IT, CAN’T YOU SEE IT’S A WHITE HOUSE, is surely gonna take them away from you, declare martial law and declare himself Emperor for life.” Wayne’s phone went off, to the tune of cha-ching.

Meanwhile, I engage in yet another fruitless discussion with idiots. “If the crime rate has gone down in the last 25 years, as you say, well it must be because our gun laws are perfectly strict now,” said the lady who is too lazy to even determine whether crime is down as “I say”, let alone offer a rational explanation. Actually, the drop in crime is so significant that it has spawned several major studies done by illustrious public institutions like the U of Chicago, and the Brennan Center for Justice.

Guess what? It has to do with abortion (meaning unwanted children are not raised in poverty and do not fall victim to crime as a means to get out), and the passing of clean air/water act which cleaned up the lead in our old housing units and the neurological damage is does. Or better policing. Open carry and conceal carry? Zero impact on falling crime rates. Strict gun laws? Huh?

Now that’s gotta twist some knickers don’t it? Things the GOP and the so-conservative-it-hurts group have opposed. Abortion and regulation are ugly words to a Rightie.

So how about that Confederate flag thing? Yep, as soon as the GOP gave up any hope that the Foxy Fools could work their magic and turn the issue of a mass shooting to serve their own purpose, well the GOP turned on a dime and became “outraged” and all agreed that Nickki Haley was “courageous” in doing the “right thing”. Course the Nickster saw the flag as no problem just a few months earlier when running for her re-election.

“Why the CEO’s I’ve talked to haven’t ever mentioned that Confederate flag,” she assured us, so what’s the problem? Black folk, you see, did not figure into her determination. Why should they care?

Meanwhile, Governor Abbott in Texas proves what was deemed unbelievable only a few months ago. Somebody can do a worse job than Rickie “glasses” Perry. Abbott, appointed some woman to head up the state’s Board of Education. Which is of course not remarkable, except the woman appointed home schools her kids.

Did you read that? She home schools her kids because she doesn’t believe in the public school system. How rich is that? Seriously?

I’m keeping a close tab on all points of egress from the US. There are scores of drooling half-wits who claim that if either Obamacare or gay marriage came to fruition they would be movin’ elsewhere. I want to be sure to be there to wave them goodbye. And then burn the damn ramp to the boat once they are aboard. Good riddance!

Oh and California is facing a water shortage. Actually they are facing NO FUCKING WATER. This lead one lady to blame it on gays. God surely hates the wrong people screwing each other she bellowed and will punish US. And the rest of the thirsty bunch is suing to make sure they get their fair share of dry sand.

I gotta say, it’s been a good week for sanity. If you sort out the bullshit.

wildcat

On the Road Again

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On_The_road_again “Are you Catholic?” Alex asked. “Yeah,” I mumbled. “You know,” he added, “I grew up at St. Genevieve’s, went to school there too. But. . . .” So went another of the ever-occurring reasons for “why I don’t go to church anymore”. I can relate.

Substitute, writing for Catholic, and you have my last few weeks in a nutshell.

Confused?

Welcome to my world.

So am I.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had returned to the Church once again, seeking. . .something? Hell if I know what.

I didn’t find it. Nothing bad happened. The priest was okay as priests go. I don’t expect much.

If you don’t know what you are seeking, it’s pretty likely you won’t find it. How would you know?

Writing is just about as confusing. I’ve written a lot over the years. All sorts of writing. Big bold essays of a hundred pages, footnoted to Hades and back. Short, “reflections”. Legal arguments chock full of citation to other learned writings. Notes of books I’ve read. And then all this blogging. Years of it. thousands of posts, millions of words, ideas formed, bent, twisted, reconfigured, spit out. Arrogance, pomposity, mendacity, with a rare humble crumb offered here and about. My guts displayed for any who bothered to note it.

Do I have nothing left to say?

Perish that thought. I’d shrivel up and croke. My enemies (having enemies is a true joy if you think about it seriously) wish I would just “shut the fuck up”. That alone should spur me forward.

I start, I stop, I flounder. As good as I came, I saw, I conquered (veni, vidi, vici) doncha think?

Why are we so three oriented? Tragedies come in three, examples are most often offered in threes. Trinity? Trifecta? Triple creme? Triple crown. Banana split which has little to do with the split banana and everything to do with three scoops.

I’m reading a very intriguing book. What is God? Not Who, but What. It all stems from that flip. Turn a globe upside down and leave it like that. It will make you rethink a few things.

I’m processing faith versus religion. I’m pretty down on religion right now. Composed of fallible humans what would you expect? Is it necessary? Church votes yes. I’m pretty much votin’ no at this point.

I choose to express my faith through some rituals of this faith system. I call it Catholicism. You can call it the Whore of Babylon if you are not well educated. I don’t care. There is too much wrong to defend it. There is more right than I often admit.

I’m pretty sure that God is not what we think. But I am not at all sure. I don’t think I’m supposed to be sure. Augustine said we can only say what God isn’t. That is hardly a recipe for success.

Church is like stopping off at a rest stop. It is good to get out and stretch your legs, relieve your bladder, and munch a snack. But it’s not home. You got to get back at the grueling drive that never ends. Thinking, watching, staying awake. Driving requires concentration  if you plan to do it successfully over time. So is God-seeking.

One premise is that there is always something not quite real about reality. We sense there is more, but we can’t see it. We recognize the unreality. We have become desensitized to unreality. It passes by us with nary a nod.

A man says, “I am going to kill you because you are raping our women and taking over our country.” Another man says, “that’s hate against Christians,” (since the dead are Christians). Whose reality are we talking about?

I don’t reject the Catholic Church because of its theology. There is a Catholic Church here that is “not aligned with Rome”. They love my politics. But I don’t go and sit in the pews there. There is one of those Universalist Unitarians, or something here. There is Bahai here. I am not interested.

I plant my butt in a pew and I sit, and I wonder why I’m there. I count off the various “parts” until we get to communion and then the closing prayer, and then the closing hymn and then. I’m free again.

Why do I go?

I stopped going.

I feel something missing. Vicious and jealous mistress you faith!

Faith and religion. Two separate but unequal things. Faith matters, religion is some bonus at least once upon a time. Ever? Never? I did good once. It does good sometimes, somewhere.

The problem as always is the people. Fallible humans muck up the mud. Turn it ugly and personally motivated.  I hate welfare not because I don’t want to help the poor but because I want to decide who to give my charity to. So they say. What they mean is I can then avoid giving welfare to lazy queens and princes who lay in bed half the day before they saunter down to the welfare store and pick up their checks. As I JUDGE them anyway.

I don’t want the government to tell me how much to give. I bet ya a million bucks you couldn’t come begin to tell me how much the “government is taking out of you in taxes” to support medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and so forth. You couldn’t even give me a ball park figure of what they take. But somehow, you assure me, you would give more if it were voluntary. Yeah, sure ya would.

Religion starts off with laudable goals. Seek God. Take care of God’s people. But your old fallibility rose like the skunky smell it is, and you changed that to “God’s chosen people” however YOU JUDGMENTALLY DECIDED THAT.

I’m for Israel because they are God’s chosen, you utter with perfect surety. Bullshit.

If you believe God has favorites then you believe in an awfully wicked and strange being. One who creates so poorly that He finds one poor slob called Abram and tells him, he will “create a nation” of him. Hope he does it better than the first couple of times. Dont’ forget the whole fiasco of Noah and that damned ark that couldn’t be built large enough to begin to house “all God’s creation”.

Yet you got a passel of morons whose brains are so gucky with sludge that they gotta cling to that stuff as literal and then make it their life’s work to make you take it literally too.

And God is not in that damned Book you fool. PEOPLE wrote the book. They wrote it about the God they were seeking. Since you can’t tell me much about God on your own, why do you think they were any better at it? They’re just trying, same as you and me. Yet you kneel before the freakin’ book.

So here I sit. I read that the Pope has offered up an encyclical on the environment. As sure as it’s June and it’s hot, right wing Catholics are finally letting out what they really think. They really really don’t like this pope at all. Unlike their precious JPII and Benedict however, Francis doesn’t inherit the “God’s chosen” appellation. We don’t have to pay attention to Francis when we don’t like what he says.

“He’s not a scientist. He’s just giving his opinion on a subject that he has no expertise in.” So the upshot is to ignore what he says. He’s a dupe of some libtards in the Vatican who haven’t explained to this poor illiterate fool that words matter. “He’s a marxist, anyway.”  If you tried to continue the conversation say about women priests, they would tell you. “Pope John Paul has spoken on that issue and we will not allow further conversation because he says it is a closed issue.” Some personal opinions count. Oh yeah, the one’s you agree with.

Whose reality are we talking about?

Everywhere I go, I see the same thing. Distinctly different takes on reality. Both can’t be right. Or perhaps they can.

God is in the mysteries of life.

Oh, seeking Him there is not as easy as sittin’ in the pew. Reading and thinking and meditating, and working out the details. Only to realize that each and every insight provides fresh mystery, new questions, and potential conflicting yearnings.

Open your eyes, and your ears. But mostly open your heart. Take little if anything for granted. Seek serendipity, and sweet harmony. Enjoy the sugary taste until the bitterness creeps in. Seek further, and never stop. Ever.

That is human becoming.

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